I've seen the two weapon shield bashing paladin tried before, its a good idea, but it takes so many feats to pull off. And paladins don't get any bonus feats except for a couple archetypes maybe. And you have to get dex up more than you otherwise would, because you can just go full plate.
I'd suggest using the shield as an option in combat by using a solid one handed weapon; when you need a boost to AC pull out the shield, but when you just need to dish out damage you can forget the sheild and just two hand your weapon. It doesn't take long before the extra damage from using a greatsword doesn't seem like that much compared to using a longsword, or between a falchion and a scimitar. Its like 1.5 to 2.5 pts per swing. You could focus on using the shield defensively by taking some feats like missile shield or ray shield
Joey does bring up a good point about bards, that they don't have the spells per day to cast a spell every round of combat. So if you are a bard focused solely on spell casting/performing, you are probably going to run out of options fairly often. In which case you would likely want to fall back on wands/UMD or some way to contribute to combat.
I also find Blistering Invective to be amazing.
Why drop feats when you can simply cast a spell to do the same thing and even damage people too? Bard can have an incredibly high intimidate too, as Cha will naturally be high, and will have items boosting it such as a headband of charisma and a circlet of persuasion. And it will probably be running off your perform skill via versatile performance.
Speaking of, if you have the feats to spare then Prodigy or Skill Focus in your primary versatile performance skill can have an incredible effect.
Couple a high intimidate with Blistering Invective and Improved Dirge of Doom and you can frighten pretty much anything thats not immune to fear with no save or SR check.
I'd also agree that a Dirge Bard would probably be the best archetype if going full Controller and just doing the buffing and debuffing.
Personally I'd suggest an archer bard, as you can still contribute in combat without having to risk getting in the middle of everything, and you only need to keep your Dex and Cha high. Take the basic archery feats (Pt. Blank, Precise Shot, Deadly Aim, Rapid Shot) and you can buff, debuff, or do decent damage every round. If you want to go full controller than you'll want Spell Penetration plus Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus in Enchantment. The issue the bard has with using spells to debuff is that he gets higher level spells at a slower pace, thus the save DCs aren't as high as what a full caster will throw out. So you really need to invest in boosting these as much as possible.
So I have this idea for a Battle Herald character that uses the Exemplar Brawler to qualify into it. The build would be Cavalier 1, then Exemplar 6, then Battle Herald the rest of the way. (Cavalier would be Standard Bearer to get the Banner ability at 1st level instead of a Mount, and would be the Order of the Dragon).
The idea is to use Exemplar instead of Bard (or another class that gets inspire courage) so as to keep the full BAB, and also to be able to grant teamwork feats to the party by way of Martial Flexibility. Thus, allowing him to take any teamwork feat he qualifies for on the fly and then grant that feat to the party.
My question is how do the various class abilities stack with the Battle Herald abilities.
In particular, the Tactician ability of the Cavalier, the Field Instruction ability of the Exemplar, and the Battle Herald's Voice of Authority ability.
Voice of Authority simply states "The battle herald’s levels stack with cavalier levels for the purpose of the cavalier's tactician ability." So clearly this increases the Cavalier's Tactician ability.
Field Instruction states "This ability otherwise counts as the cavalier's tactician class feature; feats and other effects which affect tactician (such as Practiced Tactician) apply to it." So for that I'm not entirely sure that Voice of Authority would advance it, but I'm of the opinion that it does.
However, Tactician and Field Instruction operate slightly differently. Tactician only permits granting the teamwork feat gained through the ability. Field Instruction permits granting any teamwork feat the character knows or has gained through Martial Flexibility. I'm inclined to think these are different abilities from each other due to this fact and would not stack together, but the language in Field Instruction suggest that they might.
So that leaves three possibilities in how these abilities stack:
1) All stack. Tactician and Field Instruction stack as far as determining the duration and number of times they can be used, and Voice of Authority advances this. The broader usage of Field Instruction would take precedence, but he would be treated as an Exemplar of his level for using this ability.
2) partially stacks. Voice of Authority advances both abilities, but they are two separate abilities and must be treated separately. Thus, with a Cavalier 1/Exemplar 6/Battle Herald 5 would have the Tactician ability of a 6th level Cavalier and the Field Instruction ability of an 11th level Exemplar. The argument for this is that Field Instructions is to be treated as Tactician for all feats and effects, so Voice of Authority advances it; but Field Instruction and Tactician are two separate abilities and do not stack with each other. This would also have an effect with the Practiced Tactician feat, as it would seem that it would add an extra use to both abilities.
3) Voice of Authority doesn't stack with Field Instruction. The argument would be that since Voice of Authority only advances the Cavalier's ability, the Exemplar's Field Instruction doesn't advance, as the language under Field Instruction only applies as far as feats and effects and not class abilities. This would basically ruin the build concept.
Any input on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
A tanking skald would definitely be preferable over a tanking bard. Fast healing (from feats), damage reduction, improved uncanny dodge, rage powers, martial weapons, and can cast in medium armor right out the gate. The song boosts your con and str as well, although giving a -1 penalty to AC. You could drop a feat on heavy armor prof and get mithral full plate to cast spells in that no problem.
But with both I'd look more at magical defenses rather than just pumping AC. Mirror Image, spammable for both classes, is awesome at reducing hits. Displacement is on their spell list as well. The skald can also use spell kenning to cast wizard and cleric spells if need be (righteous might? stoneskin?). And with the free scribe scroll feat could have some random spells prepared and ready to go.
Both can make use of UMD and get some nice buffs from low level wands.
I think the big issue is whether to use a shield or not. It is hard to do a lot of damage without two handing a weapon, and you want a hand free to be able to cast spells too. Both classes have easy access to the shield spell via a wand. Theres several options available to get the shield AC going, so it would come down to how one chooses to go about it (animated shield, buckler, shield spell, etc..)
Its definitely doable. You might not reach as high an AC as a fighter/tank or a monk, but you can get it way up there and back up the AC with spell defenses.
The biggest drawback will be the need for good ability scores all around, and to a lesser extent the lack of any bonus feats. A clever build could alleviate this somewhat.
But just to consider potential AC for say a lvl 12 skald with the beast totem rage power and heavy armor proficiency feat. 10 + 3 dex +13 armor (+4 mithral full plate) +3 ring of protection +4 natural (beast totem) -1 raging song +4 shield spell. thats 36 AC right there, with both hands free, and several ways to boost it much further. Lets say combat expertise and haste for an even 40. An adult red dragon CR 14 is attacking with a +25 top attack, and if it power attacks that goes down to +20. So a dragon two CRs higher than your level will rarely hit that AC, and that doesn't even factor in mirror image.
So yeah, you could put together a tanking bard/skald fairly easily with some careful planning.
He can take the SLAYER talent multiple times to acquire multiple rogue talents, but each rogue talent can be taken only once unless it otherwise permits it to be taken multiple times.
For example, he could take the Terrain Mastery rogue talent multiple times, as it explicitly states, and each time it would apply to a new terrain. He could not take Combat Trick or Weapon Training multiple times. Not even a rogue can do that. For under rogue talents it states "A rogue cannot select an individual talent more than once."
Multiple castings would not undo previous castings. The spells would all have effect, although if providing the same effect the bonuses would not stack. If for some reason the higher effect were dispelled the lower effect might then come into play.
Example: PCs come across a red dragon. PC Sorcerer casts Resist Energy (fire) on himself at 12th caster level. PC Ranger casts Communal Resist Energy (fire) on the entire party at 9th caster level. The Sorcerer would have resistance 30 against fire although the rest of the party would have resistance 20. If the Sorcerer's Resist Energy spell were dispelled, he would still have fire resistance 20 from the Ranger's spell.
It works as you describe.
I think the link to demoralize under psionic powers was simply a mistaken link. The Cornugen smash feat would allow a free Intimidate check when Power Attacking. If successful the target would be demoralized per the rules for the intimidate skill, thus applying the shaken condition to the target. Inquisitor's with the Stern Gaze class ability add 1/2 their class level as a morale bonus to Intimidate checks, although Charisma is typically a dump stat for Inquisitors. Stern Gaze can eventually make up the difference, and of course there are ways to boost Intimidate to very high levels.
Dazzling Display/Shatter Defenses is not a bad trick, but it is very feat heavy. And Inquisitor's gain no bonus feats outside of Teamwork feats, so it eats up a lot of feats and takes a while for the Inquisitor to get them all online. It would also be useless against creatures that are mindless or otherwise immune to fear effects. You take a penalty on Intimidate checks against Larger creatures than you, and any additional Initimidate checks against the same target within the same hour increases the DC by a cumulative +5.
Shaken is a great debuff, as is flat footed. Some things are simply immune to being flat footed. And you have no additional Sneak Attack damage (unless you have the Precise Strike teamwork feat, some magic item or other effect) or any other real benefit against flat footed except for reducing the targets AC against you. And an inquisitor with the medium base attack progression doesn't get a whole lot of attacks each round as compared to say a full BA class or a two weapon fighter.
So to sum it up: It works. Its feat intensive. The benefit is nice but not that major at that level this all comes together.
Personally I'd think theres much more you can do with your feats than that. If you wish to make use of your Intimidate skill I'd suggest looking at the 2nd level Inquisitor spell Blistering Invective, which allows you to attempt an intimidate against all foes within 30' when you cast the standard action spell, and deals minor fire damage and possibly catches them on fire.
Your feat selection should depend somewhat too on your domain ability and your teamwork feat choices. Some of the teamwork feats require other feats as prereqs, so you might want to consider those. For example, Seize the Moment requires Combat Reflexes and Improved Critical, but it is a very nice feat as it would let you take an attack of opportunity anytime an ally criticals a target you threaten.
I played an Inquisitor to fairly high levels, and he had the travel domain abilities and used an Impact Greatsword (spent a feat for the proficiency) and focused on the Vital Strike feats to boost damage. Thus he would use a swift action for a Judgment or a Litany spell, a move action to teleport into position, and a standard action to Vital Strike. I would try to achieve extra attacks through attacks of opportunity and Combat Reflexes and through various teamwork feats. I think the Cleave and Great Cleave feats could be useful for an Inquisitor as well, possibly better than using a full attack unless hasted.
A reach weapon would also be a good choice for an Inquisitor.
Hope this helps.
At 3rd level the Exemplar gains the Inspiring Prowess ability which lets him use certain bardic performances as a bard of 2 levels lower. This differs from the bard's bardic performance in a few ways, notably 1) the types of performances he can do, 2) it does not use Perform, 3) it uses a visual component only and has no audible component, and 4) the number of rounds per day he may use this ability.
The ability further states: "This ability otherwise functions as bardic performance"
My question is: Does the Examplar gain the ability at later levels to activate Inspiring Prowess with a move-and later a swift-action?
The Inspiring Prowess ability does not state this, but only has the caveat of "otherwise functions as bardic performance." The faster activation time for bardic performance is stated in its general description, along with other aspects that aren't listed under Inspiring Prowess but that I assume would also apply, such as 1) free action to maintain, 2) requires new action to change performance, 3) the effects end immediately if the bard is incapacitated, and 4) allies must have line of sight to be affected due to the visible component and a blind brawler would have a 50% chance of failing to activate the performance.
So I'm inclined to think that the faster activation times would apply, but since its not explicitly stated the argument could be made that it does not.
Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
1. As was said, Earthbreaker is a 2 handed hammer that doesn't have reach. It does 2d6 and x3 on crits.
2. You could use a reach hammer anyways. Reach is usually good to have, often giving attacks of opportunity more so than non-reach weapons have. The not being able to attack adjacent enemies can be a pain sometimes, but usually nothing a five foot step can't solve. Just carry a warhammer or another non reach weapon and if you really have to drop the reach weapon and draw the non reach weapon. Or have armor spikes or spiked gaunlets or take Improved Unarmed Strike.
Combine a reach weapon with combat reflexes and a moderate dexterity and you will usually see a significant damage output increase.
Note though that the non exotic two handed reach hammers don't have as good a base damage as the earth breaker, or don't have as good a crit multiplier. The dwarven longhammer does the same damage and has the same crit mulitplier, but unless you're a dwarf it would require taking a feat to use properly.
3. use a warhammer. You can switch between using it as a one or two handed weapon as you like, meaning you can pull out and use a shield if you think you need it, or if you have a shield giving a needed benefit like say fire resistance when fighting fire breathing enemies. And if you want to just unleash damage you can use it two handed, the only drawback being the lower damage of the base weapon. 1d8 (4.5 avg) vs 2d6 (7 avg) is a 2.5 pt average damage difference, and at higher levels this will get dwarfed by the damage coming from strength and power attack and smites. So the extra versatility of the one handed hammer might be worth the minor damage reduction. Unless you're looking at being enlarged often, or getting an impact weapon, or vital striking a lot (things that benefit a lot from the larger base weapon damage), the versatility probably outweighs the extra damage.
Agree with original sentiments. I might got as low as 10 Int for a character whose already getting tons of skill points (e.g. human rogue), but I need my skill points, at least 6 a level. I won't play fighters for this very reason. Why play a fighter with 2 skill points when I can play a ranger with 6?
I'd also point out with your sage sorcerer, why do anything else?? A human sage sorcerer is the pinnacle of power! Load up on all those tasty spells, take lots of metamagic, and go to work!
With a solid Int, the class skill bonus, and masterwork tools, just one rank in any craft skill should get your over a 10 to the check. A +6 or +7 Int should be fairly doable. So lets say +7, then +3 for class skill, then +2 for Mwk tools, then +1 skill rank. You're already at a +13 to the check. Thats enough to take 10 and succeed on all but the most complex crafting items.
Craft (traps) looks to have the highest possible crafting DCs, reaching into the 30s. The other crafts with relatively higher DCs (requiring anything over a 20) would be alchemy, bows (just for high Str composite bows) and blacksmithing? or whatever would be used for making high DC locks. Masterwork anything requires DC 20. Weapons cap out at dc 18. Armor looks to cap out at around 19 or 20.
So you can put ranks into the ones that have the higher DCs so you can be sure to do those, and then just spread the rest around to cover everything.
The Traveler's Anytool woundrous item is cheap at 250gp and essentially functions as a set of Mwk tools for any craft skill (except for something requiring specialized equipment like alchemy). Easy enough to craft with Craft Wondrous Item or should be easy to find and buy.
The real benefit to higher craft checks is being able to make the items faster by adding a +10 to the DC, and the higher check results means faster progress. For instance, crafting a suit of non masterwork full plate with a craft skill check of 20 (probably achievable around lvl 7 or 8), a DC of 19, adding +10 to the DC to speed up crafting, and taking 10 on the skill check for a result of 30, still takes 18 days of crafting to make.
But this becomes far less of an issue once the wizard hits 9th level and can take the Fabricate spell. Then, a single casting will instantly create whatever you can craft. So with this available, its not necessary to boost a lot of those craft checks as high as possible, since the benefit of a faster result is no longer an issue. A single rank plus your other automatic bonuses in all but a few craft skills will be sufficient to take 10 and succeed on the basic check and instantly fabricate almost anything.
So I'd suggest just spreading those ranks around to get 1 rank in as many of them as possible, then boost up the ones like Traps and Alchemy and maybe some more ranks in ones like blacksmithing, armor, weapons, and bows. And once you get 5th lvl spells and Fabricate you'll be able to make pretty much anything you want instantly.
I don't think concentration can be classified as a "Charisma" check, because while SOME classes might use charisma for concentration checks, not ALL classes do. It certainly doesn't say under the description for concentration check that it is an "ability check" and that the type of ability check it is varies among the different classes. No other ability check works this way either, with some classes using one ability for the same check while another uses something else. Thus, its far different from any other type of "ability" check, and more accurately should be considered a caster level check, albeit one with a bonus based on the ability score.
Also, if concentration checks are ability checks, then we have some other issues that arise. For instance, a luck stone would provide a +1 luck bonus to it. Furthermore, the shaken and sickened conditions would impose penalties to concentration checks. However, these do not provide bonuses or penalties to checks to overcome SR or to dispel magic (the other checks that rely primarily on caster level), so why should concentration be different from these?
Ability checks are essentially skill checks for which there is not appropriate skill, such as using strength to break through a door (as there is no Break Object skill). They are doable by anyone regardless of class or level. Concentration however is different, as its primarily dependent on caster level, and some characters who have no caster levels can't even make concentration checks. You can make a concentration check with a +0 modifier to your ability, or even a negative modifier, but you can't make one without a caster level.
So it seems counter intuitive to call it an ability check, and it can make for some odd and probably unintentional results if it is treated as such.
For a melee Inquisitor probably Seize the Moment is the strongest. It requires Improved Crit and Combat Reflexes, but you basically get an Attack of Opportunity anytime someone criticals something you threaten.
Outflank is very strong too, an additional +2 to flanking and if your flanking buddy crits you get an AoO. Get the Menacing enchantment on your weapon to get an additional +2 to flanking (its only a +1 enchantment) and to give everyone else flanking that creature a +2 to hit.
If you'll be doing a lot of flanking then Precise Strike for the extra damage is solid.
I like Escape Route too. You can move freely through the squares adjacent to or occupied by your allies without provoking AoOs. Depending on your party makeup this can be a very large area or a very small one. Works best with large melee allies, such as summoned creatures or enlarged fighter types.
Shake it Off, Lookout, and Stealth Synergy are really good more for out of combat than in combat. When you're doing a dungeon crawl and worried about traps or what not you can get a lot of benefit from shake it off, but once combat starts it can be hard to stay close together (wizard flies off, everyones trying to flank, etc..) These are good ones to switch to, so I probably wouldn't keep them as the permanent bonus feats.
Also, don't forget about the 3rd lvl Inquisitor spell Coordinated Effort. You grant a teamwork feat to your allies for 1 min/lvl, but only in relation to you. So you want a good one to share with everyone.
But think about how you typically will be fighting with your Inquisitor, and see which ones give the best benefits for that.
Well given the FAQ an Aasimar can satisfy the arcane side, and a Agathoian blooded aasimar could satisfy the divine side. So an Agathoian blooded aasimar could go Sorcerer 4/Oracle 1 then straight into MT. That certainly makes things a lot easier.
Quick glance at the other races give:
Any assimar with Heavenly radiance feat and at least 5th character level can take searing light as SLA to satisfy divine
There might be some other combinations I didn't see, similar to the Heavenly Radiance feat for aasimars.
Just to clarify for you, the earliest you can take levels in Mystic Theurge as a Sorcerer/Oracle is lvl 9. You need to be able to cast 2nd lvl spells for both classes to qualify for MT, and both classes get 2nd lvl spells at 4th level. Thus, Sorc 4/Oracle4 is what will be needed to qualify for MT; at 9th lvl you could be Sorc 4/Oracle 4/MT 1, and you would cast spells as if 5th lvl in both classes.
In order to cast spells as an 11th lvl sorcerer and 8th lvl Oracle, you would need to be Sorcerer 7/Oracle 4/MT 4, thus 15th lvl.
If you are playing this from lvl 1 this becomes very difficult once you start getting into your second class. Around lvl 7 and 8 you are still casting just 2nd lvl spells but the full spellcasters are using 4th lvl spells. If you are coming in at higher levels (12+) its not quite as bad, but you will still be 2 levels in spellcasting behind the straight spellcasters, although you will have caught up with the mid range casters (bards, inquisitors, etc).
The concept is good, as all your spells are based on Cha, and you get some additional benefits from the Oracle levels (Cha to AC/Ref saves and to Knowledge checks from Lore revelations). But your lower caster level and mid range spells are going to hurt if trying to use those offensively; SR becomes a major problem and save DCs suffer as well.
You might want to consider taking one class as a prepared caster and the other as spontaneous. This helps in that the one class still has access to all the spells instead of just limited spells known, while the other has the constant access to its spells known.
The only way to do MT and keep the same casting stat for both classes and being a full spellcaster for both classes aside from Sorc/Oracle that I can think of is cleric/Empyreal Sorc, as the Empyreal Sorc uses wisdom for casting. This reduces the levels you need to get into MT by 1 (cleric 3/Sorc 4) and gives full access to the entire cleric spell list. You lose out on the "best stat to AC/Reflex" ability though.
But to your original question, since your caster levels and save DCs are going to lag behind for your level you should focus on things like buffing, healing, utility, and battlefield control, and find spells that don't rely on high caster levels and saves. Pick one of your classes to be your "offensive" class and take the Magical Knack Trait for it to alleviate the caster level loss somewhat. (Also take Spell Penetration, thats almost required for a MT. Elf or Half elf with Elven Spirit feat also get a boost to overcoming SR.) The other class becomes your buff/utility class, so you don't need to worry about saves or SR with that one.
You'll probably want to focus on Conjuration and Transmutation spells as a lot of times these don't have saves or SR. Wall spells, fog/cloud spells, some illusion spells, etc, tend to be the best as far as offensive spells go. The ones you have chosen so far are pretty solid. For spontaneous casters always look for spells that have multiple uses, such as Wall of Stone (battlefield control, shelter, a bridge, etc.) or things like Polymorph instead of Elemental Body or Alter self.
I look at the MT as more the ultimate utility knife as opposed to a longsword. You should have a spell for every occasion, you're just not good at blasting people in the face. Thats one reason I prefer a prepared caster to spontaneous for this, as you can leave some spell slots open so that if you come across a problem you can take a few minutes and prepare the needed spell; meanwhile you still have your full complement of spontaneous spells from the other class ready. Again, cleric works well since you have full access to the entire spell list.
If you continue with Inquisitor levels, you might want to consider picking up Snap Shot and Imp. Snap Shot at higher levels, plus combat reflexes. This would synergize greatly with solo tactics and some of the teamwork feats that the Inquisitor gets. You should be able to get Imp. Snap Shot a 13th level.
Indeed. Menacing weapon is the best ability you can have on your weapon as an Inquisitor, especially when combined with Outflank. Outflank will also give you an AoO whenever an ally you are flanking with confirms a crit. You can start grabbing Outflank at lvl 6 when you get BAB +4. (I actually took Craft Magic Arms and Armor with my dwarf Inquisitor just to craft menacing and impact weapons and animated bucklers.)
This is why reach and/or size increases can be extremely helpful, as it increases the possibilities for flanking and taking AoOs. And if you take any Cleave feats this helps as well. With Seize the Moment you can take an AoO whenever an ally crits any foe you are threatening, no matter the positioning. Paired Opportunist can work very well with these abilities but requires being adjacent to an ally who threatens the same target, so its harder to put together since you usually want to be flanking.
Now, consider these teamwork feats when you cast Coordinated Effort on your allies, granting them one of your teamwork feats in relation to you. So with Seize the moment, now anytime you crit, they get an AoO, and anytime they crit you get an AoO. You can really stack some serious damage up this way. (And at 10th lvl, the Justice Judgment doubles its bonus on confirming crits, so an additional +3 to confirm.)
See how the synergies of these abilities start to work together? This is how an Inquisitor succeeds in combat.
Currently playing a lvl 13 dwarf inquisitor of Abadar with the Travel domain. Great fun!
The inquisitor's strength is in his versatility and ability to adapt to a situation. He has a lot of options available to him through his skills, spells, teamwork feats and judgments. However, getting these all to synergize well takes some planning.
The weakness of the inquisitor is, especially if going into melee, his AC and low hitpoints; he generally can't stand around and take attacks without some type of investment for protection either through feats, spells, or equipment. Also, the inquisitor doesn't have that high BAB, so getting multiple attacks in a round through a full attack action is tough unless you have reliable access to haste.
The class gets lots of skills, lots of spells and bonus abilities, and the teamwork feat things. Where it falls behind is combat effectiveness due to mid BAB and having to spread out stats; thus feats should be used primarily to strengthen combat effectiveness as everything is pretty solid.
The class lends itself toward melee combat due to the better teamwork feats working when threatening or flanking an opponent. Thus, the inquisitor is always looking to optimize his position tactically to make use of his feats and abilities.
Also, the inquisitor tends to run out of actions in a round quickly. Judgment takes a swift to activate or change, bane takes a swift to activate, some great spells take a swift to cast, so you run out of the swift action pretty often. Also, since position is so important, the move action gets used a lot too. Thus you often are only left with a single standard action in order to attack or cast a spell. Furthermore, like the battle cleric, you don't want to spend 2,3 or 4 rounds buffing yourself with spells only to find that the combat is over once you get into it. So you don't want to have to rely on a bunch of buff spells to be effective in combat.
The route I went was to focus on tactical positioning and single attacks, combined with combat reflexes and trying to maximize attacks of opportunity. Power Attack, Vital strike, and combat reflexes are his main thing. Another way to do this would be to focus on critical hits; the scimitar from Sarenae is nice for this, althought it is rather useless for vital strike. But this would be a great way to go since you get it for free. The cleave feats would be a decent option as well.
So I would suggest looking at a melee combatant focused on critical attacks through the scimitar. You have a lot of ways to stack static damage on attacks to deal solid hits with criticals. This saves a feat on weapon proficiency as well.
Dervish Dance might be something to consider with the scimitar. This would let you forego str enitrely and focus instead on Dex. The drawback is you can't use a shield with it when you need the extra AC, and it takes two feats to get. But the higher Dex would reduce the need for a shield at times. And it leaves a hand free for spellcasting or wielding a wand or something else.
Are you sold on half elf as race? From an optimization standpoint is not the best, but if its the concept you want then run with it. The half elf inquisitor favored class bonus is worthless, so you'll be putting those points into skills or hitpoints; not bad but dwarf, half orc, and human have better options. Human has significant advantages over half elves, especially with altered racial traits. (Instead of human bonus feat and skill points get +2 to another ability, or get skill focus at 1st 8th and 16th levels instead of just 1st).
As for feats, Skill focus (Sense Motive) is a bit of a waste. You will have an incredible sense motive skill anyways, the feat will be overkill. Stealth, Perception, Diplomacy, or Intimidate would all be better options.
Improved Initiative isn't bad, but you are already going to get a bonus to initiative by adding wisdom to it, so it might be overkill as well.
Feats are where you are short, so these need to be carefully chosen. I'd probably start with Combat Reflexes or a weapon proficiency at 1st lvl. Then power attack at 3rd. You are proficient with a spear at start so that might be a good weapon to use early on to maximize combat reflexes (and also to avoid getting hit). Or if looking at Dervish dance pick up weapon finesse at 1st then dervish dance at 3rd. Then look at how else you want to play the character in combat.
Also figure out your role in the party. Are you going to be the face of the party? Will you be relying on Intimidate and/or Diplomacy? Is Intimidate a skill you want to use in combat? Its not necessary to be good at either or both of those, but you can be if you want to be. For inquisitor skills I prefer perception, stealth, survival, spellcraft, sense motive and knowledge skills, as there tends to be a rogue or paladin or sorcerer or bard in the party who does diplomacy better. You get the free bonus on intimidate though, so its easy to make good use of it. But as was said before, dump Cha. You can make up the difference either through domain abilities or feats (skill focus or intimidating prowess).
For stats I'd go in order Str, Wis, Dex, Con, Int, and dump Cha as far as possible. If you can go weapon finesse and/or dervish dance I'd switch dex to first then Wis, Con, Int and Str. You'll need at least 13 Str for power attack though.
For teamwork feats I like outflank, precise strike, sieze the moment (requires combat reflexes and improved crit), and escape route. Others are nice too. One thing to remember is you have access to the coordinated effort spell (3rd lvl) which lets you give your teammates access to one of your teamwork feats for 1 minute/level, but only in relation to you. These can be an amazingly effective ability, especially with Seize the moment. I found escape route to be a great teamwork feat to have as it lets you move pretty easily around in combat without provoking AoOs, especially if you have a large party or lots of companions or summons.
A great first level spell is litany of sloth. swift action and last 1 round, but it prevents a single opponent from taking attacks of opportunity or casting defensively. This is a game changer at times as you can shut down an enemy caster with proper positioning and you can save your allies and yourself a ton of damage against those big creatures with long reach who like taking lots of AoOs.
Litany of defense (2nd) is another good one for boosting your AC quickly in combat, so long as you have a good enhancement bonus on your armor.
Don't be afraid to switch judgments around in combat either. The situation changes constantly from round to round, so one round you might want extra damage, another you need AC, another you need good saves, etc... This is where the inquisitor can be really versatile, switching from offense to defense as needed.
Another good 1st level spell is share judgment, and lets an ally benefit from your current judgment. So you can really help someone else out sometimes with this.
And the Judgment Light spell at 4th level can have some significant effects depending on which judgments you have active. So its good to know what you need to do so you can switch to the rigth judgments to cast the spell.
Wow thats a lot. I hope this helps!
The new skeleton or zombie will have 10 Cha regardless, so the base creatures Cha won't matter at all. Likewise, it loses its Con and Int score, and its Wis changes to 10. Thus, the only base abilities that remain when creating a skeleton or zombie are Str and Dex. (Skeletons get Dex +2, Zombies get Str +2 and Dex -2.)
Also worth noting, per the description under Skeletons in the bestiary, a creature with more than 20 HD can't be turned into a Skeleton using the Animate Dead spell. And since the strength of skeletons and zombies is almost completely dependent on the amount of HD, it looks like zombie will be the way to go.
Under variants for skeletons it says that creating variant skeleton types counts as twice the number of HD when using animate dead. There is no restriction for variant zombies, although it looks as if this was an ommission of oversight. In any event, given the high number of HD available for use it shouldn't matter either way, and it will be entirely worth it to create a fast zombie, which gets all of its attacks plus an extra on a full attack, as well as losing the -2 Dex and instead getting a +2 Dex.
So we're looking for things with lots of HD (20+), high Str and Dex, colossal size, and lots of attacks. It looks as if the creatures original natural armor bonus is replaced by the new one for zombies, so a high natural armor doesn't help. Absent the base natural armor, many of these creatures are not going to have a good AC no matter what; in fact, AC will be of no protection whatsoever against melee creatures of anywhere close to the caster's CR. Its only real defense will be Hit Points and outdamaging things, and whatever other spells and armor you might be able to tack on.
So going with just PF monsters, not considering advanced creatures, and not counting unique creatures like the Tarrasque, we are looking at mostly dragons, linnorns, behemoths, and titans. (I'm not certain Titans can be created as their souls and bodies are not unique per outsider rules, but I guess that depends on GM decision.) So here would be the benefits of each:
Great Wyrm Gold Dragon fast zombie: 41 HD for BAB, saves and hitpoints, 6 natural attacks, high Str (45) but poor Dex (8), very fast fly speed (300ft, clumsy), horrible AC of 12. 20ft reach (30ft with bite)
Tor Linnorn fast zombie: 35 HD, 6 natural attacks, high Str (48) and Dex (32), decent fly speed (100ft, clumsy), bad AC of 22, 30ft reach with all attacks. Not sure if it retains the poison bite or not, if it does its pretty significant but the DC would drop due to losing Con score and having 10 Cha. Still, with 35 HD the DC would be 27 and it is a very nasty poison.
Tempest Behemoth fast zombie: 44 HD, 4 natural attacks, High Str (45) and decent dex (23), fast fly speed (200ft, clumsy), bad AC of 19, 30ft reach with all attacks.
Hekatonkheires Titan fast zombie: 35 HD, can use colossal sized weapons for multiple attacks plus fast zombie slam attack, retains proficiency with all martial weapons, amazing Str (50) and ok dex (17), No fly speed, bad AC of 16 but can wear armor (although would not be proficient with it), 30ft reach. The big thing here that would make this creature useful (and not so much for other Titans) is the Hundred Handed Whirlwind ability. Not sure if that carries over to the Zombie version or not, but if it does it would be a significant attack ability.
So thats the basics as far as I can tell. If looking for a pet then probably the dragon or linnorn is best. If looking for a melee monster than the Titan if outfitted properly might work, especially if the Hundred Hand Whirlwind ability carries over.
Even if its determined that the HD limit does not apply to Mass Daze, its still a weak spell as its duration remains 1 round. Compared to other spells of the same level or lower and it would still be an underpowered choice. Off the top of my head, Confusion and Fear are the same level for several of those classes (both are lower for the bard actually) and have longer lasting and more devastating effects.
Not sure if this has been mentioned, but the Second Chance (religion) trait looks pretty good for an Inquisitor, particularly with the Stalwart ability.
It lets you reroll a failed save once a day. So those Dwarven Inquisitors with Steel Soul and Glory of Old who get that occasional natural 1 on a Fort or Will save can take another shot at it.
I also think Stalwart is a little underrated in the guide. Granted, that many Fort and Will save are (negate) and not (partial), the ones that are partial can be devastating in themselves, especially at higher levels. Disintegrate, Horrid Wilting, Blasphemy, Harm, Slay Living, Finger of Death all come readily to mind. Also many illusion and enchantment spells can be completely negated with this ability; my understanding is that the Shadow Conjuration and Evocation spells would be completely negated with a successful Will save, instead of having partial effects.
I had a monk character in 3.5 that used Quickdraw, TWFing, and flurry of blows to throw shurikens at people if he dropped his main target. At higher levels he had a ton of attacks per round, so if he happened to drop the adjacent target he was pounding on and still had attacks left in that round, he would start throwing shurikens at other targets from range. Not that they did a lot of damage--although they did some as he was rather strong--but every little bit helps.
Quantum Steve wrote:
Yeah Charge Through is icing on the cake so to speak, and really lets overrun be the ability it is supposed to be. i.e. close in real fast on the main guy by busting through his wall of minions. Charge Through lets you do that and still get the charge attack off in the same round.
I think this fits well with a barbarian build, especially with fast movement. Is there anything that lets a creature change directions during a charge? There were a couple things in 3.5 that would let you do that, but I'm not aware of any in PF? That would really open up some tactical opportunities.
In general, if a bonus or penalty is not typed, you can 'type' it as the cause of effect. In this case, consider it an "Aura of Menace penalty." Thus, it wouldn't stack with other "Aura of Menace penalties."
Consider say a Hill Giant that gets attacked by a wizard and a sorcerer. Both casters cast Ray of Enfeeblement against the giant. Both spells will take effect, but the penalties will overlap and not stack, as the penalties are both "Ray of Enfeeblement penalties."
On thing to remember regarding summons, and that can sometimes be a strong protection against them, is the Protection from Evil/Good/etc. and the Magic Circle spells. These prevent summoned creatures of the corresponding alignment from making physical contact with a target protected by such a spell.
For instance, BBEG is fighting the party. He casts Magic Circle vs Good on himself. The conjurer summons a celestial boar to fight the BBEG. The boar can't touch the BBEG, in fact he can't even get within ten feat of him, so long as the Magic Circle overcomes the boars SR.
The belt of dex +4 and headband of wisdom +4 will both cost 16000gp each. Note that cats grace wont stack with the belt of dex so no need for a wand of it. The Cloak of Resistance +4 costs 16000gp too. All of those are excellant choices.
A Handy Haversack is an essential item and relatively inexpensive (2000). Keep your important stuff in there and don't provoke AoOs for pulling out a potion or wand or what not.
Eyes of the Eagle are cheap (2500) and give a nifty +5 bonus on Perception checks.
I think a Ranger can greatly benefit from a rod (or two!) of lesser extend. Makes those long duration buffs last all day. Also inexpensive (3000gp).
The greater bracers of archery cost 20,000gp more than the lesser, and grant a net +1 to attack and damage over the lesser. not sure if its worth the cost or not, you could make your bow a +2 Holy bow for less than that. You could get boots of speed (12,000) instead and have quite a bit of change left over.
I don't see any rings in your possession. Rings of Protection are always nice. Theres a couple other rings in your price range that could be interesting to use for an archer/ranger. Ring of Invisibility is quite useful, and a ring of blinking could be pretty handy as well.
Just some ideas for you, although I'd definitely get a handy haversack and a rod of lesser extend.
Edit: oh you might also want to look at picking up some arrows of different materials such as adamantine, cold iron, and silver. They can be real handy when you need them.
Notice how there is no listing in the item tables for arcane or divine wands, even if the spell shows up on both arcane or divine lists. Also notice how in an adventure or module the treasure gained from an encounter never indicates whether a wand is arcane or divine. Thats because wands are not arcane or divine.
In 3.5 the random item tables for creating treasure included a roll for scrolls to determine whether it was an arcane or divine scroll (70% chance it was arcane). There was no such roll for wands or staves.
Just a comment about the Extra Lay on Hands feat: it only gives a benefit if you use up all your normal lay on hands in a day. Otherwise it becomes a wasted feat. At lower levels its much more likely that you will use all your LoH in a day; at higher levels this is less likely. Also if there is a cleric or another solid healer in the party you will be less likely to use channel energy and won't burn through LoHs nearly as fast.
Thus, if it doesn't seem likely that you would use all your LoHs regularly, then another feat would probably have more benefit.
Toughness and Greater Mercy offer comparable benefits to Extra LoH. Toughness gives more hp obviously; yet while Extra LoH will offer a mathematical increase in total hp benefit, the actual use of the extra hps lowers the benefit. First it still requires an action to make use of the extra hps from extra LoH even if just a swift action; i.e. the 10 hps toughness gives you at level 10 might be the difference between surviving another round or not, as opposed to being unconsious and unable to make use of LoH.
Greater Mercy likewise won't generally give as much of a mathematical benefit as extra LoH if you are just totalling up overall hp benefit. But again its getting those hps when you need them, and can potentially result in not needing to use as many LoHs in the first place. For instance, at 6th lvl if a Paladin with Greater Mercy uses LoH three rounds in a row and gets the extra d6 from Greater Mercy on each of those, he's achieved the same result as having used a free LoH, albeit without having to spend the time or action to get the benefit of that free LoH. This diminishes at higher levels where LoH does more healing with each use, but at lower levels that 1d6 can be significant.
I would note that extra LoH translates into one extra channel energy too, so if you see yourself doing a lot of that it will offer a benefit re channeling energy whereas the other two feats do not. Additionally, LoH can be used offensively against undead, so if that is a common use of your LoH the extra uses will have more benefit, whereas the other feats offer no benefit when using LoH offensively.
In any event, my point would be that all three feats have their benefits depending on your play style and group composition. Use whichever one sounds like the most fun.
Just as the title suggests. Is there any official word on this? For instance, if a character has both the mindblank and the invisibility spells active, would another character with true seeing be able to see him? Obviously the see invisibility spell won't work, as its said right in the spell description for mindblank. But just curious if there is any official word?
Not a bad idea. Enervation is probably the closest thing he has to a signature spell, and that would let him do quickened enervations in 4th lvl slots instead of 8th. (assuming I've read the feat correctly). And would give an additional +4 to overcome SR as he has greater spell penetration. I'll have to think on that one, but thats a good suggestion.
Hi. I've got a Sorcerer (sage bloodline) who I made at lvl 16 and who just hit level 17. I could use some suggestions on spells and feats.
Actually he is taking Loremaster 1 at this level, which opens up two potential feats, one for lvl 17 and one from the Loremaster's Applicable Knowledge secret, which seems to be the best secret available.
(The sorcerer has robes of Arcane Heritage which treat his sorcerer level as 4 higher for purposes of determining bloodline powers, so he is essentially lvl 21 for bloodline purposes. Hence no need to worry about increasing sorcerer levels and why I took a level of Loremaster)
He has a few spells known to choose this level. He gets an 8th and a 7th for levelling, plus another 7th or lower for favored class bonus. I'm also considering taking expanded arcana once or twice which would allow for up to 4 more 7th or lower spells. But I'm definitely open to other nice feats as well, or another loremaster secret if theres a good reason for it.
I'll post his relevant stats here. Note that he has an additional 2 spells known per level due to human favored class bonus, plus additional spells known for 8th, 6th, and 4th level from the arcane bloodline bonus. Also, his Int is at a +11 modifier, and he gets a +2 to his save DC's for transmutation spells.
human Sorcerer (sage) 16/Loremaster 1
Feats: Eschew materials, Improved Initiative, Spell Penetration, Greater Spell Penetration, Reach Spell, Quicken Spell, Empower Spell, Silent Spell, Still Spell, Persistent Spell, Dazing Spell, Skill Focus (Know (arcana))
So I need 1 to 2 feats. And also one 8th lvl spell, one 7th lvl spell, and one 7th or lower spell. Additionally, if any of the two possible feats are for expanded arcana then I'd need spells for that too.
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
edit: oh we are using just the CRB, APG, UC, and UM books.
Its an initiative check, pure and simple.
Two people are standing face to face, and one takes a swing at the other. Is the defender fast enough to respond? Is the attacker quick enough to catch the defender off-balance? Those are questions initiative is designed to answer.
Ever been sucker punched? You have a split second where you see it coming and can react. Its a question of how fast you respond to the sudden influx of information. And that means initiative.
However, if the attacker is intending to deceive the defender such that he doesn't realize an attack is coming, such as trying to casually reach for something on the shelf beside the defender and OH BAM KNIFE IN THE FACE! In that case I'd make it a feint check, at the least bluff vs sense motive.
Fact is, its really hard to get the jump on somebody when the two of you are standing right in front of each other. The "oh i'm going to act all nice and stuff and then I'll get a free shot" routine really doesn't work that well.
I see the purpose of dazing spell to be more of a battlefield control option than a Save or Suck effect for a single BBEG.
Use it on multi-target or AoE spells (magic missile, fireball, etc.) to affect numerous creatures, i.e. mooks. If you have a high casting stat and the targets are just cannon fodder, you have a good chance of dazing most of them. Thus with one action you can 'freeze' several baddies in place, possibly for multiple rounds.
As with any metamagic feat it is situational. But in the right situation it is extremely potent.
I see it more usefual at lvls 12+ when there are multiple high level spell slots to play with. Its also more useful for a spontaneous caster than a prepared caster, due to the situation-dependent nature of the feat; the spontaneous caster can use it when the situation pops up whereas the prepared caster has to hold up a spell slot to keep it ready for that situation.
Lots of ways to make an AA.
Fighter 1/Wizard 5/Eldritch Knight 3/AA X is pretty solid. Like most builds it loses 2 spellcasting levels, but the nice thing about this one is you can continue on with EK if you finish AA. Or if you only want a few levels of AA you can switch back into EK to keep both spellcasting and BAB up. You could instead take 6 sorcerer levels instead of wizard and then would need only two EK levels to get to AA, if you'd prefer spontaneous casting. Also could switch out FIghter 1 for Ranger, or any other class that gives +1 BAB and martial weapon prof.
Another option is to take Witch as your casting class. This gives access to some spells that would normally be off limits, and also gives hexes, several of which can be useful without being a full witch.
To get the most out of saves via charisma synergy could do Paladin 2 (for divine grace)/Sorcerer 6/EK 1/AA X. Although this loses 3 spellcasting levels. Or if spellcasting is more important than BAB go Paladin 2/Sorcerer 8/AA X to lose only 2 spellcasting levels, although at the cost of being down 4 BAB from a full BAB character. But either of those builds gives a nice boost to all saves, plus the ability to smite once a day (which wont do much damage, but will give a nice boost to attacks and AC and will bypass DR). Also if using Paladin can take the Divine Hunter archetype to get Precise Shot for free at the cost of Heavy Armor Proficiency (a worthy trade for an archer build).
Bard 8/AA x works well, although you just get bard spells instead of wizard spells. But you would have a lot of skill points to work with too. And several of the bard archetypes are well suited to this.
You need a fair number of feats to be a solid archer, so you need to plan these out with your build. Of the top of my head I'd want Pt. Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Deadly Aim, Arcane Strike, and Manyshot. And at higher levels Imp Precise Shot and Quicken Spell. So it doesn't leave lots of room for things like Imp Initiative or Improved Crit, for instance. The EK builds do pick up a feat at EK 1, as does first level fighter and first level divine hunter (paladin), so that helps quite a bit.
For race, I'd generally say that if you are going with an Int based caster then go Elf, as the bonuses to both dex and int are very nice, and con is not quite as important since you are a ranged character and should not ever be up close in melee. The elven magic racial trait is also very nice at helping ensure your spells affect targets with SR. If using a different casting stat then Half-Elf would probably be superior. However, since dex will be your primary stat, elf will work either way.
Theres a lot of options available as far as bloodlines (for sorcerers), school specialization (for wizards), hexes/patrons/archetypes (for witches), and archetypes (for bards). Plus a lot of spell choices to be made, especially for spontaneous casters who have a limited number of spells known. It'd be a lot of work to list the better choices out of all those possibilities; but if you get a character concept down then we'd be happy to discuss any of those that might work.
Wizard into the Loremaster PRC at earliest chance probably wins out over Bard, at least in the long term. Wiz 7/LM 2 gets Lore at character level 9, mimicing the Bardic lore ability of the Bard. Wiz 7/LM 2 at lvl 9 would have a +1 to all knowledge skills, while Bard 9 would have a +4. At lvl 10 the Bard gets to a +5 (On even character levels bard would gain a +1, while on odd levels LM would get the +1). So the difference would fluctuate between 3 and 4 in favor of the bard.
However, consider that the wiz/LM will have a much higher intelligence than said Bard. If his Int Mod is 3 or 4 over the Bard's then they will be roughly even. If his Int Mod exceeds the Bards by more than 4, then the Wiz/LM will pull ahead and stay there.
Lets assume a bard will have around a 14 Int, probably unmodified by magic items (as he'll want Cha over Int). So the wiz/LM needs a 20 to 22 Int mod to keep up, which is pretty easy for a wizard around lvl 9 or 10. If he can get that to 24 he'll pull ahead. And 24 Int at lvl 9/10 is doable, but not necessarily guaranteed.
At higher levels the wiz will probably have an incredibly high Int, due to continued boosting of his Int through ability point increases due to levels, headband of Int, and possibly a tome of clear thought or whatever its called. By lvl 20, the Bard 20 would have a net +5 bonus due to bardic lore over the Wiz 10/LM 10's lore ability, but the wiz/LM's Int will likely be 30+ at that point, giving the wiz/LM a boost of a few points over the bard.
All in all though, it will probably be pretty close overall, so either character would work well. The bard will be easiest to do, but the wizard will probably pull ahead of the bard in the long run. (Also consider that while the bard has lots of skill points, he has lots of skills to spend them on, so not as many into his knowledges. The wiz gets lots of skill points from his massive Int, but doesn't have nearly as broad a class skill list as the bard, so he'll likely put more points into knowledge skills overall.)
Oracle of Lore into Loremaster will work too, and the oracle's focused trance ability is pretty awesome for getting incredible knowledge skill checks. However, his skill points will be much lower than the wizards and bards, so he won't have as many to spend on putting points into the knowledge skills.
Elf as the race probably wins out due to the Int boost, and allows for the Breadth of Experience feat that gives a +2 to all knowledge skills.
(Not familiar with the mind chemist class, but if thats the case then taking that into Loremaster if possible would win out completely over the others. Assuming its an Int based class, that is.)
If Cha is your highest stat and you primarily focus on boosting it (through ability points gained through levels and magic items) then your DCs will be high enough to make use of saving throw spells with good reliability. If you are focusing on a particular school of magic that has a lot of saving throw spells....such as necromancy...then feats or abilities that help boost that are decent choices too.
Some feats help with saving throws in addition to Spell Focus. Persistent spell metamagic feat makes people roll twice against a spell modified in that way; if its their bad save or your DCs are really high then it greatly reduces the chance of their making the save. Heighten spell can work wonders with a spontaneous caster, as you can tailor the DC of a spell to your need at that particular moment.
For a Cha based, caster Oracle I'd take feats like Imp Initiatve, Spell Penetration (possibly Grtr), Maybe Spell focus or Grtr if I'm very focused on a particular school, and as many metamagic feats as I can grab (Reach, Persistent, Quicken, Extend, for starters).
Yeah, a 20th level wizard could fill every single one of his spell slots levels 1 through 9 with Mage Armor if he desired.
But seriously, yes you can prepare multiple castings of the same spell using any appropriate spell slot. This works well for certain spells that you know you will need multiple castings of. A common example would be preparing Teleport twice to get to and from a place.
I'd suggest having a summoning spell or two ready to go every day. Its an easy fix for your problem. Cast it in the first round and it gives you something to do in addition to healing if you have to. Augmented Summoning is not necessary, it just makes them a little tougher. Unless you want to be a dedicated summoner, or simply have no other options for feats, I wouldn't spend the feats on it. You're short list of feats has all good feats on it...I wouldn't mess with augmented summoning unless you plan to summon all the time.
As someone above hinted at, using metamagic feats can essentially expand your 'spells known' by making new versions of spells you already have.
I'm a big fan of Reach spell, especially for a spontaneous caster, due to its flexibility. For example, add a level to that bestow curse to do it at range...a worthy trade for someone who will generally have spell slots to burn. Low level cure spells will be able to be done at range too.
At higher levels quicken is a necessity, essentially giving you two spells a round. The low level buffs become much easier to get out when you can quicken them.
For spells I like versatile spells. Wall of Stone is great because theres so much you can do with it. Summons are very good because not only because are they versatile (get the type of creature most useful to your current situation) but also expand your action economy...now you and your summoned creature both have actions.
I'd generally look to have a nice collection of buffs and debuffs among the lower level spells, with a small number of 'attack' spells thrown in. But mostly I'd focus on protecting the party, removing negative status conditions from the party, imposing negative status conditions on the enemy, utility effects, and contributing to damage.
I think someone posted a pretty good oracle spell list in this forum a couple weeks ago, definitely worth checking out.
Humans obviously have the edge due to the substitute racial favored class bonus to get more spells known. Plus an extra feat.
I'll agree with whats said about Whirlwind attack...its very situational, and it has a heavy feat investment.
Great Cleave is far better I think if you want to be able to get multiple attacks out, and its only a standard action.
And as a bard, you will actually want your move actions, as from lvl 7 through 12 it takes a move to activate a bardic performance.
I'd highly suggest combat reflexes, combined with anything that will improve your reach. You get Disruptive and Spellbreaker for free as an arcane duelist, so you can really lock down enemy spellcasters if you can get a large reach going. I haven't looked closely at the whip feats, but my understanding is they would let you get a very large reach. The snap shot feat line can do the same if you were to be an archer.
The dervish archetype is pretty strong too for a melee bard.