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Organized Play Member. 14 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Organized Play character.


So at level 3 the Wild Child gets +1 to maneuvers, and has an animal companion which I mentioned I wasn't too keen on having to invest in. Although this doesn't really fall in line with the play-style I mentioned, I do appreciate the feedback.

Its been a long while since I've played, and I'm looking to get back into a small group. I always wanted to play a ratfolk, and now that I've started trying to hammer out a build, I'm finding some fun stuff and hitting roadblocks with the build concept.

Here's the situation:
1) Character level 3. 3k gold.
2) I don't know what the other party members will be playing.
3) The group is still forming, so presumably 2-3 other players.
4) I want to keep Scurrying Swarmer in the build, because it sounds super fun.
5) I don't need max optimization to have fun.
6) I would like the character to be effective from start to finish (waiting till level 11, 12, etc. for the build to "come online" will end with me just not really enjoying each session)
7) There doesn't need to be a master endgame plan.

So that being said, I started with a Hunter concept, for teamwork feats, but I keep feeling like my animal companion would be a drain on my feats, and I'm worried I will have to split my combat time between helping friends and managing the pet so it doesn't die. The simpler it is for my builds to function, the more time I can spend participating with and helping the other players, if that makes sense.

After scrapping the Hunter, I started looking at the rogue and unchained rogue. Because Scurrying Swarmer would let me get constant Sneak Attack as long as I'm sharing squares and targets with allies, I wanted to maximize on that as much as possible. My main roadblock though, has been with rogue vs unchained rogue. I -really- like Unbalanced Trick because it helps my feat economy towards the tripping side. Unfortunately, Unchained Rogue doesn't have access to this, while I like the Unchained Rogue version better than the regular Rogue.

At the moment, here's what I've got jotted down.
Rogue 3
Feat 1: Exotic Weapon Prof (Elven Branched Spear)(+2 att on movement AOOs)
Feat 2: Scurrying Swarmer
Rogue Talent: Unbalanced Trick (free Improved Trip. "free" Greater Trip)
Combat Trait: Reactionary (+2 Init)
Equipment Trait: Heirloom Weapon (+2 Trip)

25pt buy:
Str (-2) = 12 (10)
Dex (+2) = 16 (18)
Con = 14
Int (+2) = 14 (16)
Wis = 13
Cha = 10

No idea for equipment aside from Branched Spear and Ratfolk Tailblade to threaten and SA 5' squares. So that's 31g down so-far.

So the combat play-style would be to share squares with whomever I'm trying to assist. Trip enemies that move around at spear range, and SA enemies when they close the gap. Unchained Rogue gives Finesse Training, which lets me use my dex for attack and damage, but I have to spend 2 feats to get Improved Trip. I have to buy Weapon Finesse as a regular rogue (with a struggle for Dex to Damage path), but I can get into Improved Trip immediately.

Would anyone be willing to help me getting this concept off the ground?

[qoute=Lamontius]effortless lace is not pfs legal

That's fine. It was just a suggestion.

Lamontius wrote:

and yeah, if you do not understand the basics

or understand that doing two things well is better than doing three things poorly then yep maybe it is not for you

I understand the basics, thanks. If you don't want to take the time to read, then yep, maybe this thread isn't for you.

To be fair, I should have been excruciatingly specific in that I was looking for suggestions on how to alter the build theme without actually removing the theme. I'll give you a little credit, since your suggestion for a mechanically better sword and pistol theme actually had a pistol in it.

It's your mentality that I'm avoiding. The "throw fun out the window. This is Mathfinder, and if you aren't completely optimized to do one specific task, then you aren't doing it right."

No, doing one thing well enough isn't any better or worse than doing two things well enough. You've just decided that on your own and assumed it was the general consensus. I'm glad I won't ever find myself at your table. I'm certain it'd be a terrible experience having to deal with you hounding players for not being up to your standards of gaming.

Ah yeah, that does make more sense on the topic of damage. If that's how the alchemical rounds function, then disregard the commenting on action economy. The feat swaps made the list look like this:

Weapon Proficiency (sawtooth)
Weapon Focus (sawtooth)
Weapon Finesse
Slashing Grace
Weapon Focus (Pistol)
Weapon Specialization (Pistol)
Point Blank Master

All achieved at level 7 so no provoking from shooting, minimized penalties from wielding two weapons, dex to damage with both weapons, increased damage to both pistol and sabre, and threatening all adjacent squares. If we wanted to talk items, I'd only say Effortless Lace is required, so the build would be dex to attack and damage on both weapons.

I guess I've lost my interest in playing in PFS, if a thematic character design means I wouldn't be welcomed in a group. I have better things to do with my time than play with a bunch of elitists who can't get over 11dmg per round for a few levels. My group of friends enjoys more than just who can get the highest damage rolls once initiative has started.

Slashing Grace increases damage from the sabre. Gun Training increases damage for pistols. Weapon Specialization increases damage for pistols. Point Blank shot increases damage for pistols.

Ability scores are not MAD. Dex Primary, Strength secondary. Absolutely every single character ever created would be consider MAD if you add in CON simply for HP and INT simply for skill ranks. Wis is not a dump stat, but this isn't a "max grit" build, so if you want more grit, sure increase your wisdom. Regardless of what it is, you'll always have at least 1 grit point, and Deeds that consume grit should be considered Oh Sh*t buttons.

There are only 2 weapons, but if you WANT, you can pick up a third. In that same vein, most players want extra weapons for extra options. This build, of course, is using a sword in the offhand, and a pistol in the mainhand, so if you have the ability to grow a third arm or don't want to use a pistol, then you'd probably build this a different way to begin with.

Your out of combat utility is better than anyone who doesn't have 4+int skills. Most all fighters, most all Sorcerers, most all barbarians, etc etc. Out of combat utility here is perfectly fine. Choose the skills you want to use. If you want them all, play a rogue or an investigator.

Going Human/skilled with this build is not a limitation of this build. Everyone who goes Human/skilled will get the same very low skill point return.

Gold-wise, you have the same limitations as anyone who uses 2 weapons, or who uses multiple weapons because of a desire for options, or who wants equipment to effectively support their character in some way.

On a full round attack for a character that is designed to get three attacks, your correct, it does in fact get three attacks. The only issue with this, is that you're comparing it to a character who doesn't get 2 attacks as though thats a problem. We are both well aware that not every build gets 3 attacks at level 6, or 7, or 8, or 9, so for your example, its apples and oranges. In the nicest way possible, your point here is irrelevant.

Just to make it clear though, you aren't making 3 shots per turn because of needing either A) a Pepperbox which adds 3k gold to your expenses, bringing you up to your assumed 3 weapon costed Black-baller, B) you are adding in a third pistol which you are drawing and firing, again increasing your costs, or C) you have some way of reloading one of your pistols without using your hands, which again would imply increased gold costs.

for sake of simplicity, lets assume only the most basic equipment possible, that way we aren't dictating what someone will spend their gold on in-game, which can skew numbers in any direction we please.

2 gunshots from the Pistolero using 2 pistols:
1d8+X / 1d8+X

1 gunshot, 1 stab from Black-baller using 1 pistol and 1 sabre:
1d8+X / 1d8+X

We both have point blank shot, and weapon focus with our weapons of choice. BadBird's point of dropping Dodge, Mobility, Deft Shootist in favor of Weapon Specialization and Point Blank Master was much better, so I went with that instead (I know, its not in the thread so I'm not holding that against you here. No harm no foul). At level 7, the Black-baller completes its feat progression, but doesn't have dex to damage just yet for the pistol.

Without putting a whole ton of thought into it, lets assume Human, 18 dex, 14 str, 12 con, 12 int, 10 wis, 9 cha.

Black-baller numbers:
+8 (sabre) / +6 (pistol, touch)
1D8+6 / 1D8

Pistolero numbers:
+8 (pistol, touch) / +8 (pistol, touch)
1D8+7 / 1D8+7

Rapid reload reduces your reloading to a move action, so as a full attack you only get 2 shots before you run out of ammo, unless you are dropping a weapon and drawing a third, at which point you then need to take 3 move actions to reload the weapons. Essentially, after the first round of combat, you are reduced to 1 shot per turn using a move to reload and a standard to shoot. After the Black-baller's first turn, he is reduced to:


assuming he drops his pistol as well so that his sabre is no longer an offhand weapon. This is all of course assuming these two characters are butt nekked with only belts and boots (don't want to drop those pistols on our feet). When you start adding in gear, the numbers go up. Of course as well, the Black-baller has 5 more feats to play with, and will also get dex to damage for his pistol, but we are pushing closer to 12 so it doesn't really make much sense to argue that.

Like I said, at the end of it all, I don't think this themed build is as bad as you say it is, expecially since it is more versatile in combat, and has plenty of skill points available to fill a role out of combat. In a vacuum, the pistolero will do more damage in round 1, but after that, the black-baller takes control.

I had written a response to BadBird earlier regarding his mention of the Point Blank master and how it cleans up some of the feet requirements. Apparently it timed out when I tried to submit it while at work yesterday (I seem to have a lot of issues with the paizo website in general, as they can't seem to handle a normal load of people on their server).

Unfortunately I don't have the time right now to repost it, but I'll try again later this afternoon. Hopefully it will help clear up some of the things I believe you've got wrong, Lamontius.

I guess I just don't see how you're determining that the build has poor damage. I also don't see how the idea has little utility out of combat.

I dropped the Fighter archetype and was able to get everything on the list by level 6. That being said, The core build isn't an all inclusive, its just a grouping of feats that are considered required for a concept, and then trying to obtain those feats as quickly as possible using methods in-line with the character concept while staying as PFS legal as possible. Level 6 is numerically half of your PFS career, but as far as XP goes, and thus play time with the character, you'd have more than half of your character's career to play with the build. Just for the sake of example, here's the level progression I went with:

1 Fighter: Weap. Prof. (Sawtooth), Dodge, Mobility
2 Fighter: TWF
3 Gunslinger: Deft Shootist
4 Gunslinger
5 Fighter: Point-Blank Shot
6 Fighter: Precise Shot
7 Gunslinger: Open
8 Gunslinger: Open
9 Gunslinger: Open
10 Fighter
11 Fighter: Open, Open
12 Fighter

This doesn't mean one has to do this specifically. It just means that within a handful of levels you can have a character who uses the Sawtooth Sabre offhand / Pistol mainhand, can shoot and strike in melee without provoking. Anything taken after that would be specializing the character beyond "Gun and sword".

Your point stands though, that before any items or spells or buffs gained through the party, your damage could be surpassed by a more optimized build. So then you have to consider if you care more about min/maxing than you do about a combat competent foundation built on a theme.

Dodge and Mobility are used to gain access to Deft Shootist, which removes AoOs for shooting and reloading. I do like Empty Quiver Flexibility, although the prereqs don't really add anything to this build (we can already switch between melee and ranged freely by choosing to shoot with the gun or slash with the sabre, we already don't provoke when shooting because of shootist, we threaten because of the sabre) Though your build allows a 5 foot knockback instead of using Rapid Shot which is pretty cool.

If I wanted to specialize this build more, I could pick up Weapon Finesse -> Slashing Grace and that would allow us dex to damage with the the sabre, giving us a comparable version of Empty Quiver Flexibility without needing the Empty Quiver chain. If I wanted to emulate your build a little more, I could drop Precise Shot and grab Weapon Finesse, level 7 would be Weapon Focus (sawtooth) and level 8 would be Slashing Grace.

By level 9 (2 levels behind when you have all your tricks), the black-baller if specialized could have potentially better ranged and melee damage than the John Wick build, no AoOs for any enemy (not just the target of our attack), but would have reloading issues without the pepperbox, doesn't have a floating feat, and can't do the nifty 5 foot knockback.

At the end of it, I think the black-baller holds up to the John Wick build, adding a little to column A and removes a little from column B. They are both designed to be thematic without being terrible. I definitely want to try them both out now and see how they handle. =)

You're completely right. I was messing with the core build trying to avoid using the swashbuckler again, but that's what I get for doing it while at work. Let me see if I can't clean it up, now that I'm home and can pay more close attention.

EDIT: That's a little absurd that you can't edit your posts after a limited time. I guess I won't ever be cleaning up the original thread. I don't see any reason at all as to why they would structure the forums like that. Needless and thoughtless restrictions are massively frustrating.

In my last thread, here I got some really good build advice which has been working great in the campaign I'm in. So I'd like to probe the community again for something a little different this time. I'm referring to these as build "cores" for lack of a better term. I'm trying to keep these builds PFS legal, but more importantly, the builds should assume they need to be established before level 10, since characters retire at level 12 in PFS.

Basically, these are what one might consider "absolutely required" or "take serious consideration" when building a character who's theme falls in line with the ideas. What I'll probably do if this gets a little traction, is clean up this first post to organize a list for easy reference, but I'll start with two Cores that I've been messing around with, and I'd like to see what you guys and gals think. If you have any suggestions, think I've missed something, or even disagree with me completely, speak up! I'm all ears and I think this could really help other players as well who are looking for a good solid foundation for their next character build.

Whip Fencer

This core deals with wielding a whip in one hand and a rapier in the other.

Race: Human (for the feat)
Class: Swashbuckler (Mysterious Avenger)
Feats: Weapon Focus (Rapier), Weapon Focus (Whip), Combat Expertise, Fencing Grace, Whip Mastery.

From this core, you can move into disarming or tripping with the Improved Disarm/Trip feat trees, which plays well with Targeted Strike deed. Both the trip/disarm feat and the deed would be obtained at level 7. alternatively, you could work towards Improved Grapple and Greater Whip Mastery.


This core deals with wielding a pistol in one hand and a sword in the other.

Race: Human (for the feat)
Class: Gunslinger (Pistolero), Fighter (Corsair)
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Proficiency (Sawtooth Sabre), Two Weapon Fighting, Dodge, Mobility, Deft Shootist Deed

This core is designed to set a character up to shoot into melee then close in with the sabre. Depending on the desired level progression, if the Black-baller gets their hands on a pepper box, they can intermix pistol attacks that don't provoke alongside melee attacks.

These are really good points, and I've been putting some thought into them yesterday evening and this afternoon.

I went over the rules for retraining, and found that it would take about 25 days and 500g to get out of Vivisectionist and into Grenadier. Definitely not too much to ask for,assuming the GM doesn't mind a little time-warp "Three Weeks Later!". If I'm allowed to do this, I'm definitely going for it. The "double-'splosion" of the syringe spear with loaded and applied alchemical substances is way more in style with the character concept.

I wasn't really too concerned with becoming a melee powerhouse, so losing a little melee ability by not going to 4 investigator isn't really a let down. What I have been thinking on, has been losing the Insight Talent at level 3 that I was going to use on Underworld Insight. I feel the extra D6 on my socials will help to offset my low charisma, but since I can still use regular insight points for the really important rolls... I suppose if it really becomes a problem, I can just take the investigator levels. I only have the 1 level of it right now, so I'm still on track with the given advice.

As for the cost of crafting, our GM is going with the spontaneous alchemy rules presented in the Alchemist Manual. I had made a list of material components that I had collected over time, but it became such a hassle that we just treat it as though you would with Eschew Materials. Instead of finding Black Powder, or Cytalesh Spores, or Salt, I just find X amount of gold in alchemical reagents that can only be used for crafting and have no resale value. I also intend to bring up the idea that daily/weekly profession/crafting income rolls just add to my crafting reagent stockpile instead of providing me with a handful of silver or gold coins in my pocket.

The first Discovery I took was Infusion, and there was no question in my mind about that. I consider it absolutely necessary to the character doing their job. Now its just a hunt for ways to effectively debuff or inconvenience enemies while buffing and aiding the party.. and if anything gets too close and takes a swing, Parry and Riposte with a loaded Toxicant Poison and an applied hybrid Artokus's Fire / acid potion.

Toxicant poison DC and Splash Weapon damage from Throw Anything are two things I benefit from for having a high Int score, and those two things happen to be used every combat. Although I understand under the average alchemist lifespan int might not be important, for my character it has value. It has also allowed me to not waste what little coin we get on failed craft checks to make alchemical items and weapons. In this instance, it's value has literally continued to grow.

I could rework my stats, but we would be using a lot of downtime in-game, and a lot of my character's wealth in order to do so, so that's not an option. To be honest, I kinda like how my character has developed over time. He most definitely wasn't initially designed to do what he's doing in the game, but he is doing it very well thanks to party support. The 9 charisma hurts, but my character is a terse jerk to people he doesn't know. It makes sense and I enjoy having to work around the weakness there.

The only thing I'm losing from multi-classing alchemist and investigator is some extract progression. The archetypes I've chosen, to some extent, remove overlapping features. The sleuth is better than the other options for my character concept, so its actually mechanically quite good. Guns aren't an option, and I'm saying that because there seems to be a lot of gushing about the gun hound, but frankly I don't care for it. I'd just play a Gunslinger. The sleuth gives me access to luck points and some interesting deeds that have already proven useful. Also considering that Grit/Panache/Luck points all can be interchanged when being used, having the luck pool helps out without me having to dip into yet another class only for 1 feature.

Since the Alchemist doesn't get any of the Insight d6 stuff or studied strike, I felt a few levels dip into the Investigator was worth it for me. It may not be worth it to some people, but I have no issues with my character's build as it is.

If anyone would like to give me some tactics, tricks, or synergies having to deal with Parry and Riposte, I'm still very interested. If anyone would like to basically tell me to reroll my character, I appreciate the wellwishing but I'm not interested in doing that.

As a preface, our game uses the books as published, so there isn't a massive scouring for errata and alterations etc. Most everything is handled on a case by case basis if player choices look fishy.

Currently our party is level 3, and we are about to experience a slower progression from here out. Gold is somewhat limited, favoring loot rewards hand-picked by the GM (for the most part). When I get to play, I usually do something new to me, so that I don't get burned out on any one thing, but it also means that I'm often a bit lacking in how to go about fine tuning my characters mechanically. I'm trying to appeal to the wisdom of the members on these boards to throw me some much needed advice on how to make my concept more combat effective, though I have no interest in blowing it out of the water min/max style.

So here's the quick and dirty character details:

- Alchemist 2 (Vivisectionist / Toxicant), Investigator 1 (Sleuth)
- Changeling (its a pull-over from 3.5, not the one from Advanced Races)
- Str 15, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 18, Wis 14, Cha 9
- Feats: Weapon Prof. (Syringe Spear), Amateur Swashbuckler, Extra Panache (bonus feat for drawing our characters)

So I've been using Craft Alchemy in order to keep myself relevant in combat using the usual suspects (acid, alch's fire, Liquid Ice) and I just got my hands on a hybridization funnel (only dropped myself to -2hp once so far! =D), but my main problem has been the melee aspect of things. I usually am the one to initiate combat by using subterfuge, gaining access to somewhere, bluffing my way around, then surprise attacking before pulling back to let my party step in. It's been working well for me, but I find myself "railroading" combat by circumventing it through lies and deceit. I'm going to be cutting back on that so that my party doesn't start to feel left out, but that means I need to be able to survive in melee. I'm not too concerned with outshining our barbarian, or our ranger, but I do want to be able to position myself for flanking bonuses and to provide aid another while hindering/debuffing ememies (Toxicant poison, crafted poisons, drugs, and alchemical whatsits).

So I chose Amateur Swashbuckler to gain 1 panache point, then retrained my bonus feat into Extra Panache giving me a total point pool of 6 for use with Opportune Parry and Riposte. I know the deed was errata'd from being an option for the Amateur Swash feat, but like I said, we use published material only and my DM said it wasn't a problem. Either way, I'm primarily using it as a way to avoid some damage while I have myself stuck into melee combat, but I'm looking for ways to enhance my use of the Parry and Riposte actions.

Since the Riposte action is used in place of an AoO, does it gain the benefits of anything that affects AoOs? 

I guess the long and short of it is, I'm looking for ways to help my chances of survival using the point pool (luck/panache) and making my Riposte attacks count. I'll be going with sticky poison for my syringe spear, and I think at level 5 I'll be grabbing Combat Reflexes for when things get really hairy. Any other little synergies or tricks would be greatly appreciated. Just a heads up, our gold income has been slow (I've got about 500g on the character right now) so heavy investments for ultimate gear isn't really an option at the moment. I'm more interested in something thats going to benefit my character while working towards level 5-6 when I start falling into more of my class abilities. I intend on going 4 Investigator for the Insight Talent, Studied Strike, and Sleuth goodness, then putting the rest into Alchemist for poison/alchemy/sneak attack progression.

Thanks in advance!

I'm currently level 1 Alchemist (vivisectionist, toxicant), so if I needed to drastically change the character, it wouldn't be a problem. The race is a converted Changeling from 3.5, that the DM looked over and offered to me, and has played a huge role in the 2 sessions we've completed. Basically, I'd like to avoid changing races because there was a big ol' discussion at the table where I wanted to build the changeling using the Advanced Race book, but he essentially insisted I use the converted version because its disguise ability is better than what I could build.

The character is built to use poisons in combat. At the moment, the primary poison is the toxic secretion from Toxicant, which I load into a Syringe Spear. The character is primarily built for subterfuge, so he doesn't need amazing "toe-to-toe" combat ability. His combat tactic will consist of using an Effortless Lace ribbon on the syringe spear to allow access to weapon finesse, and some time in the near future getting a GoZ mask or Fogcutter Lenses so he can open with some smokesticks/smoke arrows/smoke pellets and be able to hit and run with poisons. The party is pretty well rounded, so my character has been acting as the party face.

I've been trying to work out how to build my character based on some abilities I'd like to have, but several pages of notes and feats and class skills later... I have essentially gotten nowhere. Here's the list of things I'd like to have:

Gunslinger (Bolt Ace) = Guns aren't allowed, and this seemed like a good place to get a pile of handy crossbow stuff without burning feats.

Investigator Talents: Underworld Inspiration. Anything that lets me use the inspiration +1d6 on social skills and knowledge checks. I'm the face, but that aside, I REALLY like the inspiration mechanic.

Discoveries: Sticky Poison, Poison Conversion, Malignant Poison.

Feats: Toxicological Timing, Imp. Toxicological Timing, Poison Focus, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Prof. (Syringe Spear), Treacherous Toxin.

Critical Focus
Sneaking Critical
Tumor Familiar (Greensting Scorpion)
Amazing Inspiration
Combat Inspiration
Quick Study

I'm not really carrying this build up to 20, because we all know how games go, generally speaking. We started at level 1 and are taking the "Slow Progression" route, so I don't want to project too much further past level 10-12 if I don't have to.

The best I've been able to come up with is having 3 levels of Investigator (Empiricist), 1 level of Gunslinger (Bolt Ace), and the rest in Alchemist (Toxicant, Vivisectionist). Im just worried that all the multiclassing is going to sink this ship before it leaves port. Does anyone here know how I could weasel in some of the features I want without having to dip so much? If I could find a way to snag an Investigator Talent without needing the class levels, I could just go with Amateur Investigator for the Inspiration points, grab Underworld Inspiration, then go alchemist / gunslinger, but I just cant seem to make this gel.

Halp =(