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b) Regular Rogue which uses hexes to add utility. Hexes can complement your combat ability by adding natural attacks or give you tricks such as flight. You'll want to avoid save based hexes so you prolly won't pick up a hex every two levels.

This is a build I find super appealing as plenty of hexes are strictly better than Rogue powers and lets you add some nice magic sprinkles.

Yeah, this is the one that appeals to me as well. Flight, shapeshifting, some divination-based scouting, breathing underwater, etc. - there are some tricks a Rogue should love that hexes provide.

One thing I'm not sure on: Iroran Paladin adds CHA to your DEX bonus to AC. Scaled Fist adds CHA to AC, untyped. I.E., they're not adding to the same bonus, but they're both going toward AC in the end. Do those stack?

If they stack, then UC Rogue 4 / Scaled Fist 1 / Iroran Paladin X would be a really solid combo.

I agree on 4 levels of rogue: 4 levels is a perfect spot for that class. You get a lot of bang for your buck.

Personally, I think you might find this paladin archetype, the Iroran Paladin, an interesting choice instead of Scaled Fist Monk. You can wear light armor in the beginning and eventually get rid of it. You still get Divine Grace, so your saving throws will be solid. You still get a Ki Pool (replacing your Channeling) and a Divine Bond specifically with your unarmed strikes, you get some emergency rerolls in-class... You even progress unarmed strike damage, albeit at a reduced rate compared to the Monk, so while you should focus on using your polearm you can always mix in some kicks and such. It's not a bad chassis, at least not to me. Oh, and you still get Lay On Hands, which is saucy bacon.

I THINK the Iroran Paladin is allowed in PFS, but someone correct me if I'm wrong. If it's allowed, I think that's the best fit for you. Irori technically isn't a Good-aligned god, but he IS the deity of self-perfection and monks and stuff, so you can get your Charisma-based Zen on and Kung Fu action people down with your polearm.

EDIT: One thing I'll say? I think 4 levels of Rogue is absolutely crucial if you go Iroran. The reason: it adds CHA to your DEX bonus, meaning being flatfooted = all that bonus AC AND your DEX AC goes away. So, it's one instance where I'd want to keep Uncanny Dodge.

With that said, you can wear armor at the start (as said) and eventually ditch it OR wear something like a mithral chain shirt or a haramaki. Mithral Kikko Armor, perhaps? (It's normally medium, but would be Light, 5 AC, +6 max dex, and 0 armor check penalty. The Tatami-Do gives better armor, but still counts as medium, thus costing you move speed and CHA-to-DEX AC.)

Generally, I don't think I'd dip for trapfinding if you can get the class to work the way you want. Ask for the trapfinding trait for Mummy's Mask if your party needs a trapfinder; if that fails, then see how well your party members can cope with traps (Barbarian with Spell Sunder? Wizard with Dispel Magic?). If they don't seem confident they can do so, dip 1-2 levels for trapfinding + other features. (Cryptbreaker Alchemist, Investigator, Trapper Ranger for 2 levels are my suggestions.)

Trapfinding can be gotten back with a 1-2 level dip in an archetype from another class - but as said, I don't think it's NECESSARY.

A good choice would be 2 levels of Trapper ranger for a bonus feat, trapfinding, and favored enemy.

If you don't want to take 13 STR, take 2 levels of Ranger instead. Two-Handed Weapon Style = Power Attack at level 2, can have any STR you desire.

3 levels of Unchained Rogue + Elven Branched Spear + Paladin? It's a bit unconventional, but it works.

The main issue I see is the question "What does this do better than a regular STR/CHA paladin?" So, to that, I say get Combat Reflexes, Lunge, and otherwise focus on being a zone-of-control warrior type. Being a human should help you there. It's pretty easy to get off the ground level-wise (Paladin/Rogue/Rogue/Rogue/Paladin+) and feat-wise (Combat Reflexes and Fey Foundling at 1, Rogue talent to get proficiency with Elven Branched Spears at 3 along with Power Attack/Piranha Strike depending on stats, Combat Patrol at 5, Lunge at 7). With those feats done, you're looking at an effect reach of 10-15 with lunge, and 10-20 with combat patrol. You should have plenty of AoOs, decent defenses (evasion/divine grace), and can take a 4th rogue level later for Uncanny Dodge, Debilitating Injury, and another Rogue Talent (free Weapon Focus, perhaps?).

A few archetypes to consider:

Rogue - Scout (for charge+sneak attack), Phantom Thief (for dropping sneak attack/trapfinding for skill bonuses and more options), Thug (if you want to take Power Attack/Cornugon Smash perhaps). The Sylvan Trickster archetype looks cool, but I dunno if that's made its way into PFS yet.

And note: I'm not an expert on PFS myself. I play online games that aren't PFS.

I thought you couldn't bite and gore at the same time? (Using the same "limb" to attack twice.)

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I'm of the opinion that Uncanny Dodge isn't a terrible loss for the stuff you gain, nor is Trapfinding. This archetype presents so many nifty tricks by giving you hexes - ASSUMING your DM lets you treat your rogue level as your witch level for hex power and what hexes you can choose, which your DM should, otherwise this archetype doesn't make much sense.

As said: you can still find magical traps (but need someone else to disable them), and you can make up for losing Uncanny Dodge by bolstering your defenses.

taks wrote:
Avoron wrote:
taks wrote:
Slim Jim wrote:
Last I checked, bite/slam/claw/claw/rend plus a blown poison save still ruin a rogue's day.
Not in a surprise round. It gets to bite, then it's done.
Not if it has pounce!
Maybe I'm missing something, but doesn't pounce require a charge, a full-round action?

If you're limited to only a standard or move action (staggered, surprise round, etc), you can Charge as a Standard Action.

Unless you're an actual alchemist, I wouldn't invest feats in this stuff. 1d6 fire and acid are straight worthless once enemies pick up their DR:5.

Craft: Alchemy = skill points, hybridization funnel = a cheap magic item. It helps with his concept, even if I disagree with some choices for his concept, and it doesn't cost him very much.

I do agree not to waste feats on chucking bombs, however.

Antipaladin. Signature Skill Feat (Intimidate), lots of ranks in Intimidate. Stack intimidate bonuses. Dazzling display or Cornugon Smash. Send even normally fear-immune enemies fleeing.

Good way for this cohort to support you. She has the charisma to make it work.

Alternatively, take 1 level of Thug? But it only frightens foes for 1 round.

A couple more neat-o things:


Shadow Conjuration - This is one of those amazing "I cast whatever I want" spells. Sure, it's only 20% real, but you can cast things on the fly, or cast spells you normally don't have access to at all (as a Bard, say). Great spell.
Shadow Evocation - See above, though this is largely used in-combat because it's evocation.
Shadow Enchantment - See above...
Shadow Transmutation - See above. And note, all these Shadow spells have Greater versions available at higher levels. Fun spells, and they're great for illusion specialists!
Recharge Innate Magic - Okay, this is a fun 1st level druid spell that needs some explaining. You can cast this spell to recharge all your Racial SLAs. Now, certain core races will find this useless (no SLAs), but others can take a bunch of cool ones. For instance: as a gnome, you could have Fey Magic and Faerie Dragon Magic at the same time, and use a mish-mash of great SLAs, so you're already able to cast several spells a second time because you used this first level spell. But if your GM is either really lenient or super into RAW interpretations, you could take Fey Magic (on multiple races, note) and then choose your 1st level druid SLA to be Recharge Innate Magic. Suddenly, you have an infinite loop of rechargeable spells - though obviously this has limited uses, and you're not going to have much better than 1st level spells, but it's cool. (Although, a Gnome with Faerie Dragon Magic and Fey Magic could have infinite casts of Silent Image and Grease this way, so that's actually pretty good.)


I'm going to try to avoid listing ones others have already noted, but...

Camouflage - Similarly to Hide in Plain Sight, this helps rangers immensely. If you have this ability AND HiPS, you can hide while being observed with no cover whatsoever (in your favored terrain). Neat-o.
Rogue's Edge - Skill unlocks are great. Free skill unlocks are better. You can do some neat stuff, and it's not just "I roll better." It's "I do things with a given skill I normally couldn't do otherwise," in some cases.
Pageant of the Peacock - One of the more fascinating Bardic masterpieces, this lets you spend Bardic performance to use Bluff in place of any Intelligence-based skill. Spellcraft, Knowledge, Appraise, Linguistics - just fake it 'til you make it! It lasts 10 minutes per round of performance used, and grants a +4 circumstance bonus to the bluff checks you make in that time. With enough investment in the skill (a skill-boosting item, Skill Focus (Bluff), Deceitful) you could actually make a pretty impressive skill setup using just one skill.


Sleeves of Many Garments - Kind of a poor man's Hat of Disguise. Still handy - changing your clothes on the fly for 100g isn't bad. You can fancy yourself up for a noble's ball in one instance ("Just add jewelry!"), then be wearing an off-duty guard uniform the next.

avr wrote:
Shorticus wrote:
Why hasn't anyone made a "better than the Shifter" joke yet? Those are still in, right?

If a druid with 9 wisdom can match, let alone better that class, there's little point devoting any thought to it.

Yes, I know there are threads thousands of posts long on the subject. People still reading those probably don't have > 9 Wis either, there's no chance of a thread that long leading to a resolution.

Oh, trust me, I agree. I just find it hilarious that a Rogue archetype can fill a similar role, including the shapeshifting part, when Rogue is the class everyone used to make fun of all the time. It's this strange, ironic ending to the whole affair.

Also, I goofed when I said Pearl of Power. Yes, those are useful, but those are for prepared casters. There's an equivalent for spontaneous casters - I just can't remember the name.

EDIT: Also, in general, Bards are the masters of utility. Tons of skills via Versatile Performance, lots of useful spells, bardic abilities like Fascinate and Suggestion and Inspire Courage, buffs of all sorts... If you want class abilities that encourage utility, look at Bard.

Also: Aid Another is an action everyone should be willing to use to boost important skill checks.

Thanks. It's not comprehensive, note, but it should give you a place to start from.

You know, with some of these hexes... DEX-to-damage, 8 skill ranks a level, full sneak attack, effectively possessing animal-based wildshape at will once you hit level 10 via Animal Skin, flight, the ability to breathe water and air at once, scaling DR/cold iron, hexes...

Why hasn't anyone made a "better than the Shifter" joke yet? Those are still in, right?

Worship Irori. Deific Obedience then grants +4 to all knowledge skills. I think that's PFS legal?

If Breadth of Experience is PFS legal, play an Elf (+2 INT) and take that feat, too. +2 more to knowledge skills.

Much easier and more valuable for your concept than Noble Scion / Enlightened Noble, I think. Otherwise, the items Fuzzy-Wuzzy lists are great.

Oh, and take Bard levels, potentially with the Archivist archetype. Lore Master is great (take 10 on knowledge mid-combat? Yes please!) as is the +1/2 level bonus to knowledge skills.

RDM42 wrote:
Would crit specializing help in addition to dex to damage? Get a bonus and multiply it?

Hmm. Maybe if he had an animal companion with lots of attacks and Butterfly Sting? And he was wielding a x4 weapon?

I want a character that uses the wrong stat for everything. He uses DEX for melee attacks (Weapon Finesse), INT in place of DEX for AC (Student of War 2), Strength for ranged (Belt of Mighty Hurling)... he just uses the wrong stat for everything, INT for DEX for feats (artful dodge), CON for INT for feats (Kinetic Knight 1)...

This isn't a build for making a character do anything *well,* necessarily. I just want a character that does everything the 'wrong' way. Can we build a character that does virtually nothing with the stat he's supposed to use?

Experiment. Discuss. I want to see what sort of ugly monsters we can create.


Elven Branched Spear = finesse weapon, and reach to boot. 3 levels of Rogue gets you DEX-to-damage with it. Bolster your DEX to high heaven. It's a good route to take, IMO.

Swashbucklers get the Mouser archetype. It's... actually something you might consider, given your size.

If you can count as a Halfling somehow, perhaps you could take Risky Striker? It's a great feat and stacks with Power Attack / Piranha Strike. Maybe you can ask your GM to have been a halfling previously in life, then reincarnated into your current form?

As for ranged combat, that's a lot easier. Starry Grace + a 1 level dip into Warpriest for the Air Blessing = throw baby shuriken at things for lots of DEX-based damage. Bonus points if you've got the Startoss Style feat chain. Obviously bows and crossbows work just fine, but crossbows are better for your size.

Finally, have you considered playing a Kineticist?

13 Intelligence CAN be rough, but I generally want 10 or 12 intelligence on most characters already. For a paladin, we're looking at something like...


20 POINT BUY (pre-racials):

16/10/12/13/10/14 (Unsanctioned Knowledge)


16/10/12/8/10/16 (STR/CHA heavy spread)


16/10/14/8/12/14 (defensive spread)


I think it's perfectly viable in 20 point buy. If we're talking 15 point buy? Ouch. Ouch.

You can drop WIS to 8 if you want more spending power. Paladins get great saves. I just get nervous looks if I do that, especially if I'm melee.

A human paladin can safely drop INT to 7. It's not like they're losing much. Actually, most paladins can drop INT to 7, since they're already down to 1 skill point per level with 8 INT. More spending power is God.

Obviously, focus more on DEX and not on STR if playing an archery/sling paladin (sling if halfling only) with Oath of the People's Council. I could see a halfling spread being something like...


20 POINT BUY (post-racials, Halfling)



12/18/12/7/10/17 (Offensive Spread, probably best on a ranged character)


12/17/14/7/12/16 (Defensive Spread)

You sacrifice a bit when you take Unsanctioned Knowledge, as you can see, but it can be very fun - and if you already want to play a smart paladin, well, then it just feels right.

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On my Archivist Bard and on my Paladin, I found plenty of spells and abilities that were brilliant out-of-combat. I'm mostly going to list lower-level stuff, as I enjoy levels 12 and below most.


Lay-on Hands (Fatigue Mercy) - Keep watch all night without sleeping at all, wear heavy armor the whole time, wave away the penalties in the morning with Lay on Hands. Warning: might develop hallucinations if you do this every night for a month, Mr. Paladin.
Loremaster - Bards take 10 on knowledge skills. Wanna be a mega-nerd? This is the key.
Fascinate - It may not come up often, but in urban campaigns this is a brilliant Bardic ability to have.
Inspire Competence - Bonuses to skills are always good.
Wildshape - It's a veritable toolbox of abilities. Druids are amazing.


Unsanctioned Knowledge - Playing a Paladin? Wish you had the cool spells of other divine casters or bards? This feat lets you grab a few, which I recommend should include a solid utility spell or two.
Breadth of Experience - Playing a knowledge monkey? Rolling an elf, dwarf, or gnome? Take this feat and get +2 to all knowledge rolls. Alternatively, worship Irori and take his Deific Obedience instead.
Well-Prepared (Halfling) - Why, yes, I just happened to bring a ball of woolen string. Now we can certainly escape this maze!


Prestidigitation - When cleaning yourself is too much effort, when you need more time for killing and less time for cooking, bring this cantrip. It's got a ton of uses, not least of all making that giant centipede you're eating taste good. Speaking of the giant centipede...
Purify Food and Drink - Best cantrip ever. Out of rations? Just killed a super poisonous monster? Purify it and eat it! Found a rotting foot? Purify it and eat it! Oh, and definitely spice it up with a cast of Prestidigitation; it's all the craze in the cooking world lazy adventurer world. (My party nuked a crab swarm with alchemical fire and nasty magic and just stuff you'd never eat - and then I used my Racial SLA to purify it. Demz good eatz!)
Detect Magic - Your wizard better have it up any time you're walking through new rooms.
Spark - Another amazing cantrip. Setting things on fire has never been easier!
Heroism - It's not just a great combat spell, but a great bonus to everything you do. +2 to all skill checks and saves for 10 min/level makes this a very nifty boon.
Self-Only Polymorph Spells in General - Very handy. Turning into an animal can be a great disguise, or a means of escaping danger; turning into an air elemental for cheap flight is pretty cool; turning into an undead creature doesn't give undead immunities, but later levels of Undead Anatomy get pretty close; and in general I consider polymorph spells to be a brilliant toolbox. Bonus points if you're a Brown Fur Transmuter who turns the party fighter into whatever form is best.
Glibness - +20 to bluff? As a 2nd level spell? Sure!
Honeyed Tongue - Better diplomacy is always good.
Aspect of the Nightingale - Ditto.
Disguise Self - Appearing as someone else is always good when you're a wanted gnome.
Touch of the Sea - In games with lots of watery situations, this is a must have.
Invisibility - Always a great thing to have.
Obscuring Mist - Assuming your party is on the same page as you, this can be useful for making escapes, or for forcing enemy archers to come to you, or for stopping enemy archers from helping their buddies locked in melee combat... Etc. Admittedly, this isn't an out-of-combat spell to me, but it's definitely what I'd consider a utility spell. You COULD fill a room with fog, too.
Darkness - See above. Darkvision functions in it.
Greater Darkness - See above, and Darkvision doesn't work in it if I recall correctly.
Summon Monster Spells - In general, these are handy, especially if the summons are intelligent. You can have a monster go scout the next several rooms ahead, or have a monster kick a dungeon door in for you, or use a monster as a trap detection device (many ponies died via a wand of Summon Monster I in a trap-heavy dungeon I played in). They can also make great distractions: "WHAT'S A BEAR DOING IN THE STREETS" "CATCH IT, MEN, BEFORE IT RAVAGES THE TOWNSFOLK"


Hat of Disguise - Appearing as someone else is always good when you're a wanted gnome.
Traveler's Any-Tool - Now you don't need to carry a dozen different tools!
Handy Haversack - Good for storing the sheet you jacked.
Pearls of Power - Great when you need spell slots back on a sorcerer or bard and you actually have utility spells known.
Horn of Fog - Okay, this may not seem that useful at first, but it actually has several uses. For one, note that the cloud will continue traveling unless blocked by something substantial - so it will visibly pass through illusions. Since it acts as Obscuring Mist, it can be blown toward pursuers in a hallway so they can't see what you're doing through the mist (such as casting an illusion that LOOKS like you). You can probably imagine other uses - it's not something I'd actively buy, normally, but I'd keep it for several levels if I happened to find it at a low level.


Flint + Tinder - Fire. Fire? FIRE!
Bullseye Lantern - Great for seeing your enemy when you're standing at the front of the party without revealing your party to your enemy. Also great for sticking two of them on your horse's head. Headlights, yo.
Rope - Just bring it. Rope gets used for everything. Grappling hooks might be useful, too.
Dagger - Also just bring it. Cut things, skin animals, have a backup weapon when everything goes to Hell... Just bring it.
Chalk - F$&+ing bring it. Make maps on the floor and leave marks on walls and such. Also, play tic-tac-toe in-character when bored.
Charcoal - See above. F@%&ING BRING IT.
String - I SAID F%*~ING BRING IT! String has tons of uses. I used it in an Emerald Spire campaign along with bells to make a makeshift alarm at the door whenever we camped in the dungeon.
Marbles - Situational, but great for making a "trap" when resting, or for making your escape a bit easier. Mix them with...
Caltrops - Because while DC10 reflex is fun at low levels, it's better when dumped in a pile with caltrops, too.
Smokesticks - Uh-oh! We're in a ten foot or five foot wide hallway and an archer has us pinned! Smokestick, bam, easy escape at low levels. Similarly, consider the Horn of Fog. Smokesticks have the added benefit of being handy signals in the wilderness: follow the smoky trail to get back to your ally.
Animals: Always useful to bring a pack mule or a guard dog or a combat-trained dire rat or a cow to detect traps for you by walking on them.
Hirelings: Always useful to bring a pack mule or a wilderness guide or a sacrificial lamb peasant trap detector valued ally.
Soap: What are you, a barbarian? Bring soap. Oh, right, you're an adventurer. Cast Prestidigitation instead.

Greater Invisibility from a friendly wizard buddy, octopus form with something to let you breathe air, sneak attack grapple things to death?

Slim is right in that the game involves a lot of fighting. Fighting is the core of this game, and he gives solid advice on ideas for building your character. (I actually normally am not a fan of TWF usually, but still, it's not a bad call.)

So, build for the other stuff as you please, but make sure you're competent at combat. If you can't contribute in a fight, you're not contributing to most situations in the game.

With all that said, here's some items for rogues that want to do cool stuff in general:

Hat of Disguise. Every adventurer should have one, especially you. Take it and love it. Blend in with a crowd after robbing a store, or make yourself look like a guard, or like an orc, or whatever else you need.

Traveler's Any-Tool. Useful for... well, most skills. Make yourself whatever widget or gadget is needed for a given situation.

You like caltrops, you say? Why not bring marbles as well? With some preparation, you can set up a do-it-yourself trap before a fight by setting this crap up and luring an enemy (slowed if barefoot and DC 10 reflex or fall prone). It's good for guarding doors when resting, too - couple it with a string connected to some bells that will ring whenever someone manages to open the door, and you've got a nice low-level alarm + doorway trap.

Plan on chucking alchemist's fires and the like? Then you want the Hybridization Funnel, and yes, you want Craft Alchemy. Mix an Alchemist's Fire with an Acid Flask; get the effects of both on a single throw! Or combine other alchemical items. Makes your splash weapons more effective, generally.

At low levels, considering that you're going to be focusing on boosting your own offensive abilities, it might not be a terrible idea to have Handle Animal and a purchased pet. Say you bring a guard dog or a dire rat buddy, combat trained. You can order them to attack enemies, giving the enemy more targets in a fight, assuming you can succeed at basic Handle Animal checks. Bonus points: they serve as ambush detectors if you need them to, as you can have them lead on a leash or prod them along with a pole. Yes, this is animal cruelty. You can always retrain Handle Animal points into something else later.

Again, these are all just low-level tricks you can start using immediately. In general, I like playing rogues as an opportunity to spill open my brainbox and search for items and ideas that provide more options, same as I do when I play my bards.

I'd still recommend pure Oath of the People's Council myself. You can get those bard spells like Bladed Dash via Unsanctioned Knowledge. It's a good feat.

As an example of spells to grab with Unsanctioned Knowledge (note: only take one per level!):

1st - Disguise Self, Feather Fall, Saving Finale, Liberating Command all have their place. Feather Fall and Disguise Self provide great utility, Liberating Command saves the squishy wizard when the shambling mound grapples him, and Saving Finale is just great in general.
2nd - Bladed Dash, Invisibility, Heroism, Gallant Inspiration, and Alter Self are all very nice. Glibness doesn't mesh well with most paladin codes, but some paladin codes (if you go with the ruling that deity specific codes override the standard code) may let you use Glibness well. All of these have relevance in combat-heavy games, but Alter Self has the added bonus of being great for disguise (especially if you don't take Disguise Self). I don't think Invisibility needs explaining.
3rd - Good Hope, Haste, Invisibility Sphere are all fun choices. Good Hope and Haste are obviously combat buffs. Invisibility Sphere is useful for... well, again, you know all the reasons it's useful. Contingent Action COULD be interesting, as you can use it with wands, but that requires having a wand in hand, doesn't it?
4th - Greater Invisibility, Shadow Conjuration, Freedom of Movement, Adjustable Polymorph all seem like good options to me, all for different reasons. Greater Invisibility is just a great combat buff. Freedom of Movement saves lives. Shadow Conjuration is super flexible, and if you're savvy on Wizard spells you might be able to get good utility out of this spell. But then, I like the Shadow spells in general.

DeathlessOne wrote:
Hmm, checking out the potential for Animal Skin as your first Major hex... The Quillcat is a good choice, at small size and with pounce. It has a bite and tail slap attack that you can get. Between Prehensile Hair (slam), Nails (claws), and taking multiattack, you'd have one hell of a pounce.

Oh, yeah. It's a great first major hex. Again, though: keep other skins for other uses.

Quillcat skin for fighting; a large flying animal skin for the same, in case the flight hex doesn't work out. You might considering having other skins for blending into environments: a dog skin, a cat skin, a deer skin, a squirrel skin...

Actually, just go visit a taxidermist.

But seriously: you can use Animal Skin as an animal disguise, as a combat tactic, as a means of getting around barriers you otherwise could not... There's tons of potential if you have enough skins.

With the Disguise and Animal Skin hexes combined with Rogue's Edges and 8+ skill points per level, you'll have a lot of cool stuff to do outside of combat and blend in... wherever you want to blend in.

I guess it could be useful, but it's one of those "The stars have to align" abilities rather than a trait that just always works when you need it. Moreover, when the stars DO align, it might not actually be useful that fight. You get 2 traits, or 3 if you have a drawback, or 5 if you also spend a feat on Additional Traits. Make sure you get the most bang for your buck.

To shore up your defenses, for instance, I'd sooner take a +1 will save trait instead of Wary Eye, or Armor Expert. Or you could take a bonus to perception, or give yourself low-light vision, or tons of other things that always function vs. something that MIGHT help.

Again, better defenses = you've made up for lacking Uncanny Dodge.

Focusing on the fun side of things, now:


Flight is an obvious one, as is Animal Skin, but some of these hexes you can nab could be great utility depending on the campaign. For instance...

Discord could be useful for getting guard NPCs to start behaving irrationally around each other when you're trying to get into a secure place or a similar situation, but it only lasts for rounds/level. It wouldn't be a go to for me, but might be fun for an urban campaign.

Disguise is... like a free hat of disguise, sort of. At least, it's Disguise Self without needing a spellbook or the like, and you can do it while having no equipment whatsoever. Handy.

Ward is a handy enough pre-battle buff because it lasts until a saving throw is failed or the creature is hit, not for a set duration. Handy in that you can slap it down and not have to worry about placing it on someone again until after a fight, and everyone loves extra saves/AC. Only issue? It's resistance/deflection, so this becomes redundant at high levels when everyone has a cloak of resistance and a ring of deflection.

Water Lung is useful for obvious reasons.

Fortune could be handy when making important checks outside combat. Disarming a trap? Climbing a wall to escape guard dogs? Giving the paladin a pep-talk before trying to negotiate with the king? Fighter need any bonus to saves vs. poison he can get to wade through the cloud of death and bring back a comrade's corpse? Etc. Rerolls are great.

On that note, Aura of Purity is a brilliant one for the party trap monkey. Okay, so sure, you don't have Trapfinding (and again, that just means you can't DISABLE magical traps, which others can do for you). However, with Aura of Purity, some of the deadlier traps can be avoided. Stinking cloud, cloudkill, and similar spells can be negated. Only issue is this one depends on the DM: if your party doesn't encounter traps like these or wizards that use these spells, you've wasted a hex.

Major Hexes give us more interesting options. Beast Eye is like a poor man's scrying tool; Speak in Dreams gives you a means of calling for help or keeping someone up-to-date on your goings-on from long distance; Vision could be fun in a game with a GM willing to work with that ability; and we've already seen discussion of Animal Skin earlier, but remember to keep several dead animal skins around so you can turn into things for utility purposes (flight, climb speed, swim speed, scent, darkvision, tiny animals, large animals). Also, Arcane Eye as a hex (Hag's Eye) seems pretty great for scouting.

Basically, it seems like this archetype has TONS of potential for utility.

@Deathless: Generally, I'd say that boosting your flatfooted AC is your best investment for ignoring the lack of Uncanny Dodge. It's definitely doable. A 1 level dip for Medium/Heavy armor proficiency + masterwork or better breastplate, or mithral full plate, or a mithril breastplate... Those are all solid. Invest in the usual defensive items (Deflection/Natural AC), perhaps wear a shield you can drop as a free action? (Shield AC applies to flat AC IIRC.) Etc.

Examples: a quickdraw heavy shield can be put away as a free action if you have Quick Draw. If you happen to have gloves of storing, you can put away any shield whenever you want, easy. (Tower shield up when hexing bad guys, tower shield go away when NOT hexing bad guys.) However, I wouldn't buy gloves of storing explicitly for that purpose, because they're expensive. The cheapest option is to just have a buckler - you still can't drop it as a free action, but you can wear it while holding something in the hand (though if you're using that hand to attack you take a -1 penalty, and you don't get the buckler's AC bonus).

All of these would help in flatfooted situations.

Either way, don't take Wary Eye. It's... honestly, it doesn't seem that good to me. Focus on boosting your defenses instead: saving throws, Armor, ability to escape grapples and such, etc. Your hexes should give you a few options here (flight = staying out of danger, right?).

Straight fighters are not particularly adept at controlling animals, because, even with Handle Animal on their class list, they just don't have enough skill points to spread around. If your GM never asks for handling checks, then I guess you can get away with it. If not, it's a pain in the ass dealing with recalcitrant mounts.

Fair enough - though it's something you can overcome. Assuming Background Skills and a 20 point buy game, you could have 12 INT and thus 5 skill points/level. As a halfling, you get bonuses to dexterity (Ride) and charisma (Handle Animal), so that helps. A halfling fighter under these conditions can make a perfectly fine mounted warrior.

You can also purchase some intelligent mounts. A combat-trained griffon is 8k gold, which IS a big investment especially with magical or masterwork barding added on, but it's a pretty good flying mount. Riding geckos are also worth buying, especially at low levels (Rich Parents at level 1, yo). These and other options are great if you're not taking an animal companion by some means.

Leadership, of course, gives you access to things like blink dogs and pegasi and hell hounds and dragons and unicorns or whatever other mount buddy will work with you. Those all make great cohorts if you can get one. (The blink dog less so - you can't teleport with it - but it's still a good mount.)

But as you've observed, multiclassing is where mounted classes shine. Sohei, Fighter (Dragoon or Drill Sergeant or Weapon Master), Barbarian... All can make awesome dips for a mounted warrior.

Another aside: even if Mounted Skirmisher isn't a feat you want, Sohei is a quick way of getting Trick Riding (the better, bigger brother of Mounted Combat). Being able to ignore lots of Ride checks and ignore two attacks against your mount per round = AWESOME, especially if you can snag a level of Sohei at level 2.

I don't know if it stacks, but I know that Oath of the People's Council is one of the most fun and interesting paladin builds I've ever toyed with. Full BAB class with inspire courage. Good for large, martial-heavy groups, or groups with summon monster buddies and animal companions.

As a muse-touched Aasimar, you're looking at having high DEX. I'd consider either going as a ranged character (archery?) or getting your hands on Slashing Grace, or perhaps Dervish Dance. Archery is probably the more effective route, and lets you sit in the rear / center of the group to provide your inspire courage, lay on hands, and other support abilities. But if your party needs another melee buddy, well... You can do just fine in that position.

If you go archery, I vote looking intp Unsanctioned Knowledge to nab other useful spells from other spell lists. You might find condition removal that you lack, or find neat Inquisitor or Cleric buffs. Certain deities can grant spells that aren't normally on your spell list, too. Keep that in mind.

Either way, I vote Oath of the People's Council.

That seems horrible compared to going cavalier, saving two feats by getting the animal free. (And archers are ideally suited for the Weapon Master archetype, and so needing only three levels of fighter, four if they want Weapon Specialization too.)

Which is why I listed, y'know, BUYING the mount before I listed Animal Ally. You'd be surprised how easy it is to just outright purchase a solid mount every few levels. Bonus points if Leadership is allowed, because then you can get a magical beast buddy or the like to serve as your mount AND it scales up as you level.

Animal Ally is a good option if you have more feats to burn (which Fighters do), but I'd sooner just use gold.

With that said, this was mostly me saying "If you want to do halfling and use a sling, go with something that gives tons of feats." Warpriest and Fighter are the ways to go if you do that.

If you're NOT using a sling, then just play a Luring Cavalier or something else, probably. But taking advantage of the sling means Startoss Style feats means you ought to have more feats.

Third level is good for you. I have a couple build suggestions:

1. Luring Cavalier is a brilliant archetype for this. It's a very simple but straightforward archetype that makes it easy to play a mounted archer. If you're new to this combat role, I highly advise taking this route, and ignoring my other class suggestions.
2. If you're playing a martial mounted archer of some kind, a 2 level dip into Sohei Monk is cheesy buy can nab you things like Mounted Skirmisher for free. It's... very cheesy, actually.
3. If that's too cheesy, I actually like 2 levels dip into Dragoon (Fighter archetype) instead. This isn't as game-breaking as Sohei, but you get a lot of bang for your buck.
4. If playing halfling, sling can be a fun option, but it requires having feats to burn. I'd advice playing a Fighter and getting a mount somehow. Spend gold on a mount (meaning buying new mounts as you level), or spend feats on a mount (Nature Soul > Animal Ally > Boon Companion), or take Leadership for an appropriate mount if allowed. All are good options.
5. Carry backup melee weapons just in case, as you're not high enough level to have point blank master. A lance (for charges) is probably wise. A smaller weapon for personal range combat is also wise. And nobody ever regretted carrying a dagger - well, almost never.

Beyond all that... Stat-wise, you want high DEX and high STR. Use a longbow; if a halfling, you can consider a sling + startoss feats as a fun option, but again, that requires a Fighter route (or Warpriest) to make truly effective.

You want Improved Precise Shot sooner than later. You want Mounted Skirmisher, probably, hence why the Sohei dip is so good. You want the mount archetype that increases movement speed (in my opinion at least) so you can always run away from your enemies when necessary.

At low levels, consider the following situations:

1. An enemy moves around a corner, out of sight, and you would have to enter melee range to see them.
2. You need to climb up some steep terrain that a normal mount would normally have difficulty traversing.
3. Your enemy is fighting in melee, has cover, and other conditional effects making it difficult to attack him.
4. Your enemy is hiding in a fog effect, such as Obscuring Mist, and you cannot see him.
5. You have been separated from your mount somehow.

These are all bad situations for a mounted archer. You need to have answers for each of them at low levels. For situation 1, you want a backup melee tactic. Situation 2? There are magical solutions, there's rope (ow), and there's also just having a mount with a climb speed. For situation 3, keep a lance (it's a reach weapon) in case reach is an effective answer, and also try to keep moving to a better shooting angle an option (later you'll have improved precise shot and ignore these problems). 4 can be tricky, because an enemy you can't see is an enemy you can't shoot, and could force you into a melee situation - so, again, have a melee tactic prepared at low levels. And 5 is just a warning to make sure you have decent enough defenses that you aren't mincemeat when separated from your mount.

Hopefully this helps!

Yeah, as far as builds go, I see building a character for this archetype as similar to building an Eldritch Scoundrel. Both archetypes seem pretty awesome, function off INT, and work well with the Unchained Rogue. One gets spells but weaker SAD; the other gets hexes.

If you really wanted to focus on INT, you could possibly take VMC Magus for Prescient Attacks or whatever it's called, adding INT to your attack rolls. I don't think that's necessary, however. DEX/INT is a perfectly acceptable stat split to focus on.

In 15 point buy games, a build like Deadman's is great. In 20 or 25 point buy, you'll have plenty of points for... whatever role you want to fill, really.

Race-wise, a standard Tiefling would be amazing here. An elf would be really good if you're limited to core races, but the -2 CON would hurt substantially - but it's workable with 20 point buy. Human, half-elf, and half-orc make good third choices. I normally like dwarf for tough rogues, but with no bonus to DEX or INT, they're right out. Halfling doesn't add much to this, since you could always turn small sized with Beast Shape via your Animal Skin hex.

As an aside: trapfinding is great, but you don't actually need it to FIND magical traps. You only need it to disarm them. Your rogue could find a trap, then tell Mr. Barbarian to Sunder it, or tell Mr. Wizard to cast dispel magic from a distance.

I think I like the ideas of increasing bleed-out rate and making them ignore some armor. I'll be considering those carefully, and probably implementing both.

I hope you can get something out of these house rules!

I did read up on your races, but I found the changelings to be quite odd and their evolution history to fell somewhat canned. Races would not evolve as neatly as the changelings appear to. If you want to use them, I suggest you let the details of the evolution be lost in history and simply describe how their recent culture fits into your world through the last 5 to 10 generations (depending on how well history is recorded).

It's not an evolution history. Changelings in this setting are literally people who were kidnapped as children. You are never born a changeling; you are made one by the Fey.

It's also not a separate culture. They're humans, and they live among humans, and they try to come across as humans.

Basically, think of it this way: the only playable 'race' in this setting is Human. Half-orcs are just the result of humans and orcs having kids; death-touched are just human individuals that have had a close brush with death that changed them; and changelings are individuals that were kidnapped by the Fey as children. They're all still humans - well, arguably not the half-orcs, but you get the idea. They share the same culture (assuming they come from the same nation).

Setting the hit points below zero to Constitution x2 will likely only lead to party members not taking action to save fallen comrades since they know they have a larger buffer. You want urgency when a character is in danger of dying. I really would not change anything. Let them feel their mortality.

The one concern I have here is that I want the players to have less risk of dying when they survive one hit near 0 HP (say you have 4 HP left and you're still standing) when an orc swings his greataxe two-handed and knocks them out.

See, in this setting there are VERY few potions. There are no magic wands of healing. There are no friendly wizards selling you scrolls at your convenience. Ergo, there's very little in-combat healing, and it mostly takes place outside of combat (I need to further flesh this out, but fights are generally not something you walk away from looking unscathed after the healing is done).

Plus, this lets me throw x3 crit weapons at my players without feeling guilty when a monster rolls a nat 20.


I am not a fan of the changes with the sling, crossbow, and hit points below zero.

Slings are not a fast weapon to shoot in the same way a bow is. I woul dnot change it.

While the crossbow generally hits harder than a bow (the English longbow would be an exception), the crossbow isn't even close to being on par with an early firearm. If you want to represent the strength of the crossbow, I suggest giving it a +1 bonus to damage at point blank range.

Ah - it's not meant to simulate realism. It's to make those weapons more useful, so that they're actually viable options. The crossbow's touch-to-hit IS based off its lethality when it was first introduced in Europe (it's disdained by knights in this setting as a dishonorable weapon), but I also chose that so if someone wants to use a crossbow it's actually comparable to a bow user's build (since bows are generally better).

Likewise, the reload limitations on slings have always annoyed me and I wanted people to be able to build to use them if they wished. Ergo, reload speed made the same as a bow.


I know I sound like I'm just defending myself here, but I DO want to make clear why I made the decisions I did before I proceed.

First thought: I can change the text behind the Changelings to make it clearer they're not a species, but individuals, if you think that would help.

You ARE right about wanting urgency when people are dying - but I don't know. There SHOULD still be urgency, because enemies will coup de grace the fallen members at times; just because someone is downed doesn't mean you stop trying to kill them, necessarily. I think I can probably make the enemies' tactics more brutal if I go this route, but perhaps there's a good marriage to be found between giving the players a too huge "I'm down" buffer and making this permadeath world turn into reroll central? Any suggestions?

The ranged weapon changes, though, are probably going to stay as they are. I want slings and crossbows to be worth considering.

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The houserules I'm about to link have been made for use in an online (Roll20) campaign that I hope to start in the next month or two. The premise: the PCs are non-spellcasting characters (not even 4th level spellcasters) in a world where humanity is threatened by powers that DO have magic. Lycanthropes, demonic cults, undead armies, orcish incursions, dragons, the works - they're all here, along with evil spellcasters, and the players have to contend with these threats without spellcasters of their own, nor with scrolls or potions from the local Magic Mart.

Now, I know some people are going to immediately be annoyed by this. Let me clarify: the players in this campaign are ALL going to be people that were specifically interested in this style of campaign. It's meant to be hard, and it's meant to have permanent death, among other things. So, the people participating in this game are interested in its concept. I'm not thrusting this on unaware players.

With all that said: I want someone to double check my stuff. I'm bad a analyzing my own material fairly, and I want someone to tell me if any houserules or races I've created seem like bad decisions given the context.

Without further ado, here come the links:
Men-at-Arms - House Rules

Men-at-Arms - Characters (Incomplete)

Please post here with your thoughts, judgments, comments, and concerns. Critique my stuff! Yell at me! Give me attention!

Or purchase oils of Bless Weapon, a paladin first level spell.

Paladins are MOSTLY self-healing tank types with some status removal and the potential to murder evil real good. A great class, but you have plenty of beef.

Paladin with Oath of the People's Council swaps Smite for Inspire Courage. You can also take bard, cleric, or inquisitor spells with a feat (unsanctioned knowledge). Archer paladins work fine, too.

Evangelist cleric is really good for your group.

Arrowsong Striker Bard is good.

I think there are two great things about this to consider:

1. If you're experienced with another spellcasting class (druid, bard, or cleric) and want to try wizard for the first time, this lets you take advantage of your previous expertise, because you already know the spell lists and such of the previous class. Using past experiences to make your new character even better = great.

2. I think there are a few spells that would be really useful at low levels. Depending on the campaign you're in, Monkey Fish could actually be a great spell to either cast or have ready on a scroll (here, fighter: now you can climb up the wall with a rope and lift the rest of us up). Likewise, Glibness lets you turn into a master tier liar with a snap of your fingers. Etcetera. Utility, as has already been said, is amazing for this character.

3. But also, what about Brew Potion? Since you can cast spells from most lists, you could brew potions of Divine Favor for party fighters to use before they kick the door in, or Aspect of the Nightingale and Honeyed Tongue for your party's Diplomancer. Making all the potions your party needs during downtime could be incredible.

4. Also, besides magic missile, consider the merits of having a Wand of Sound Burst. The damage ain't much, but in some fights a good stun is the breadwinner. If you're crafting wands yourself, you can make it as a second level Bard spell because you're a Spell Sage.

Couple ideas:

Drill Sergeant Fighter is a good leader. So is Seasoned Commander, a Fighter archetype that gains Inspire Courage. I imagine either could make fine archers.

Warpriest make great archers.

If you want to avoid magic, I vote Fighter with the seasoned commander archetype.

Provide more details, but definitely improve the boss's action economy and give him some minions.

The boss is a swashbuckler - assuming your campaign is in a standard magic/power setting, give him a couple magic using buddies.

Personally, pure Phantom Thief is probably a safe bet. You get free dex-to-damage in class (at level 3 because you're an Unchained Rogue with the Phantom Thief archetype). You're actually really good at skillmonkey business, and you can mix in bonus combat feats and vigilante social talents as much as you please.

Personally, the Phantom Thief is one of the coolest rogue archetypes I've seen. It trades out sneak attack for versatility in skills and for the potential to be a straightforward fighter type (albeit at medium BAB). My one gripe is that it doesn't count as a Fighter for the purposes of what feats it can choose (such as having Weapon Spec available at 4th level). I'd love it more if it did.

I COULD see dipping Swashbuckler 1 level for the Panache and the like, but you already get weapon finesse for free, so there might be a better option somewhere.

Slim Jim wrote:
Shorticus wrote:

Fun fact: sniping + fast getaway rogue talent + Halfling with right racial and feat + Vital Strike = a pretty good sniper. Zero penalty for sniping, withdraw action after snipe for free. Follow up with a Decoy Ring and those goggles that increase sneak attack range for funnies.

Definitely not core, but definitely fun.

Somebody's gettin' it. (Don't need VS so much, though, as weapon die is generally small. Check out that sapmaster link in my last post. Way better.)

When you're clicking, it'll get to the point where you scarcely remember the last time your AC was targeted because no one ever knows where you are.

For some reason I didn't even consider Sapmaster for the build. That's not a bad thought.

I think the best core rogue is STR based and multi-classes with barbarian and optionally fighter. You lose some skill points, but you retain enough to perform the traditional rogue skills while gaining better BAB, rage, feats, weapon training, fast movement, etc.

Yeah, that's what I advertised when the thread began, too. Dip Fighter or Barb 1 level (probably Barb), then go full-on Strength rogue. In Core, that's a solid place for a Rogue, as you can invest gold to make up for any deficiencies you might possess as a rogue while only really needing a +1 weapon for a long time.

In combat, you charge, flank, and work with your melee buddies as often as possible. Use a polearm, a spiked gauntlet, and a 1-handed sidearm along with javelins, sling, or composite longbow.

Out of combat, you'll have enough STR and DEX to be solid at all the usual rogue skills as well as Swim and the like. +1 Breastplate with Armor Expert = a good place to start, as -2 armor check penalty ain't bad, and you can carry a darkwood heavy shield (0 penalty, fairly cheap) when you need extra defense.

To be honest, a Fighter 4 / Rogue X setup may not be bad either. 4 levels gets you Weapon Spec, Armor Training (now the penalty for magical breastplate is -1) and three bonus feats in total. This gives plenty of room for dedicating other feats to, say, Deceitful or the like.

Fun fact: sniping + fast getaway rogue talent + Halfling with right racial and feat + Vital Strike = a pretty good sniper. Zero penalty for sniping, withdraw action after snipe for free. Follow up with a Decoy Ring and those goggles that increase sneak attack range for funnies.

Definitely not core, but definitely fun.

Oh, not disagreeing. It's a very solid build. I do want to crunch the numbers with a single classed character, though, and see how it operates at different intervals. I'd also want to see how many rounds it takes for the character to get online.

My instinct? Weapon Training + Good Hope + the higher level cleric spell that functions as Haste and Divine Favor, Fate's Favored, encouraging rod... It won't be shabby in comparison. ItIt'll probably do less damage, but have better spellcasting and solid enough defenses. I might test a dip in Barb or Bloodrager.

Arrowsong Minstrel is a fun one I want to finish analyzing. Good buffs, adaptable luck if Halfling, and solid spellstrike options.

34 attack is damned good, though.

I would do the downtime after theythey've had culture shock for a bit. Culture shock RP. You don't get these opportunities often.

Or you can be a single classed Warpriest, using either a sling or longbow. I'll crunch numbers after work - the Warpriest's spellcasting does wonders.

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Yakkity yak.

Got a bit more info on the setting and campaign idea? Is it Golarion or something else? Homebrew?

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