Gwen, you are leaving out key parts to each of those items.
Helpful (Halfling) reads: "Whenever you successfully perform an aid another action, you grant your ally a +4 bonus instead of the normal +2."
OotD Aid Allies reads: "At 2nd level, whenever an order of the dragon cavalier uses the aid another action to assist one of his allies, the ally receives a +3 bonus to his armor class, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check."
You'll notice that instead appears in the first, but not the second. Therefore, the second does not replace. It is an all-or-nothing proposition, rules as written. ((re-writing after this point, because it was all kinds of poorly written)) The Order of the Dragon Aid Allies ability places a +3 bonus, scaling with level, in addition to your aid another bonus. Now, the question is whether the two untyped bonuses stack and that depends on your interpretation of the concept of similar sources. There is no language in the game text that clearly defines what a source is, in regards to the initiation of a bonus. Can a feat and a class ability each create an untyped bonus on the same stat? Is the source the action or the feat/class ability? That's really the question to be answered... But, most definitely, there exists a +3 bonus on top of aid another's bonus that applies to a character. Aid Allies does not replace the bonus, not without the words "replace" or "instead of" or similar language in the text.
A build that I just started playing:
Either a straight bard or a bard with a splash in Cavalier (the effectiveness of this depends on how your GM views the reading of Order of the Dragon's 2nd level ability).
It uses the following tricks to make Aid Another awesome:
Combining all the parts, the character will around 8th or 9th level or so, be using a standard to share Harrying Partners, a move to begin the Song of the People's Revolt, and their swift to Aid Another which everyone gets and lasts all round. After that first round, you use your swift to aid and can either aid against a second creature or to cast more spells.
Can also slip in really great support options like Battle Cry, Gallant Inspiration, Saving Finale, etc.
Bugrom, I see you're running something similar... but the Bodyguard feat requires you to be adjacent to at least your ally. Bodyguard and Covering Fire don't interact RAW (but, hey, if your GM allows it!)
It really depends on the party make up and scenario. Any of the three feats mentioned in the thread could shine or be useless.
For RotP, I would normally go with Outflank over them. ((Get a high-crit weapon to make this really go))
That said, there are two caveats:
I still very much enjoy dipping 2 levels of Unchained Barbarian w/ Titan Mauler archetype, then going Ranger 6 for TWF and Imp TWF... with a potion of Enlarge Person and a casting of Lead Blades, you're swinging for a cool 4d6 + modifiers for each swing. So what if you're taking -6 to all attacks to do it! ((Rage makes up 2 of it, and Accurate Stance as your Rage Power makes up another 2... wouldn't be too hard to close that gap up with other trickeration))
Bardic Masterpiece "Song of the People's Revolt" sharing Covering Fire. Now, you use a ranged attack (AC of 10) to aid *everyone* in AC against that monster. You use your Ring of Tactical Precision (may have to buy more than one) to give Harrying Partners to any melee in your group the feat.
Another fun thing to add if you go the Bodyguard route is the Paladin archetype Sacred Shield. You can make the baddies either hit for half damage against everyone but yourself or give any adjacent allies your shield bonus to AC (or both). You initially were giving a nice bonus to AC, now it's another up to 10 points higher w/ Tower Shield + Shield Focus + +5 enhancement bonus.
Also, Gloves of Arcane Striking would let you add your Arcane Strike bonus to the aid another bonus, pushing it even higher. It's very nice when you, as a bard, can be sharing Covering Fire w/ a song and it gives more than a dozen free AC pts to the entire party.
Okay, guys, as the story goes, I had wanted to roll up a "confused" gnome for PFS. The little fella thought he was destined to become a dragon rider, but he was more akin to Don Quixote than Hiccup (or whatever actual dragon riding character you care to slot in). He runs around with a peacock *swearing* its a dragon and assuring everyone that when it grows up, he'll get to ride it around. Obviously, no one believes him... until it grows up and he flies around on it.
Mechanically, I had wanted to run this fellow as a Bloodrager, using the options for bloodline familiar option. I'd grab a Brawler familiar of a Peacock and use Improved Familiar to eventually get a Brawler Faerie Dragon and this lil guys' dreams would come true. Of course... that doesn't work. Improved Familiars don't get to speak to animals of their own kind and so they don't get the Brawler archtype. Bummer.
So now I'd like to resurrect this bizarre gnome idea. I have thought of using the (new) Summoner to build him. Likely take a Protean Eidolon with the Serpentine base, add a pair of legs, flight, breath weapon (maybe), mount, go.
But does anyone have a better way to make this happen? Or something more fun?
Also, any tips and tricks on flying mounts would be helpful. I am planning on going ye olde lance route, but it's not something I have built before.
Okay, let's think of this in two ways: 1) things that stack Int that would work well with this and 2) things that requires Dex.
1) Kensai Magus, Alchemist, Slayer, White Hair Witch, Kirin Style, Combat Expertise (and its associated maneuvers)
2) Two weapon fighting, Ranged Attack feats (many/rapid shot, deadly aim, exceptional pull), Improved/Greater Snap Shot, Focused Shot
Without a solid way to get an Int bonus to attack, this all seems rather futile. The worst part of it all is that while you can make an awesome tank character, he can only ever really get 1 AoO, since Combat Reflexes does not have a minimum Dex requirement (and I'm honestly unsure of the wording of Artful Dodge - Does it only work for prereqs or the functionality of the feat itself?).
That said, I could see a crit-fishing Kensai Magus do well. With just 14 Str to qualify for Power Attack, he could have *massive* Intelligence. That bonus would apply on critical confirmation, so those crits are sure to confirm.
Could also build a sort of bowman using Int and Str to damage. Focused Shot + Exceptional Pull can make you shoot for tons of damage... just a matter of making it hit the target with regularity.
Blood of the Martyr just became my new favorite spell.
My former favorite? Shared Sacrifice. Any damage you take is split between yourself and the target of the spell. If you're making a straight life oracle (and not the ever popular oracle-paladin build), this is your go-to.
Seriously... you can make a really creepy but awesome character with those three spells. Life Oracle's Life Link ability would allow you to take 5 damage from each ally each turn and heal them for that much. Shared Sacrifice would send half that damage to another target (hopefully an enemy). Blood of the Martyr would let you bleed your familiar/companion for twice 1d6/4 levels of healing (which you would eat 5 pts of that per turn with Life Link... and send half of that to the enemy).
You're a healer, kinda... but you're just manipulating the life stream. Steal life from your cuddly buddy. Steal his pain, too. Give his life to your allies in exchange for their pain. Give half the pain to an enemy and heal up from the life you stole from your cuddly buddy. Could be nicely themed as an awesome necromancer.
Okay, folks, I need a few more pairs of eyes to gauge how this feat interacts with other things.
1 - Since this is an aid another action, does the +2 bonus get modified by: A) Helpful trait? B) Aid Allies from Order of the Dragon Cavalier? C) Benevolent Armor?
Thanks ahead of time to anyone that replies!
Two ways to get around that Int 13 problem:
1) Change race. Your blowing your Human feat on Undersized Mount anyway, so why bother? Small sized guys will do just fine. Raise your Str from 10 to 15 before racials. Wayang can save you some points here as they have no str modifier. You could roll in with a 14 cheaper than a Gnome or Halfling gets to 13.
2) Drop to 14+2 Str. This'll free up some points to help you get to 13 Int, as well as bumping up your Wis by a bit for later casting.
Either way, you should remember that high Str is more of a requirement for heavy armors than it is for damage. If I raise my Str to 18, I hit with a +6 damage modifier. But... my Power Attack mod is +3. When I reach +4 BAB, my Str is still 18 and the damage modifier for it is still +6... but my Power Attack modifier is +6 now. And, worse still, I'm getting other modifiers to pile on. If I trade out 4 pts of Str, it's only +3 damage and +2 attack. The attack bonus is more the concern, but with +4 from always-on flanking and +1 from attacking for higher ground (and maybe +4 for the target being prone), you're looking pretty dang'd sexy from an attack bonus standpoint.
For your race, Wayang makes a great choice. They're small and so can mount medium sized wolves, but they do not get a Str penalty. You'll probably have to invest in the Weapon Finesse tricks or accept that 16 Str is all you get, but they're pretty solid.
As for trickeration... You leave off a pair of really cool options, both teamwork feats:
Your turn can look like this:
4 attacks while moving is pretty sexy. For added jollies, get a high crit weapon. When you get a crit, Outflank says your allies get an AoO... and that means PO says you get one more attack... Oh, and if they stand, you get 6 attacks in a round because, you know, standing up triggers for everyone!
Would be easier with the Step Up chain of feats than Stand Still. "Oh, you moved away with your lone move action this round? Fine, I'ma just follow you then."
It's probably not the most efficient in terms of resources or whatever... but what it lacks there it more than makes up for in being hilariously awesome.
Legitimately, a small sized creature could wield a tiny 2-handed weapon as a one-handed weapon. This much is certain. Now, assuming that this chosen 2-hander was a longspear, what happens?
- Does Swashbuckler's Finesse come into play?
Extra question... If this small creature were to cast reduce person on himself, how would this affect the reach aspect?
Thanks, ladies and gents!
With a 15' reach, you Spell Combat and Spellstrike a Rime Frostbite, applying the entangled and fatigued conditions. You also hit with your whip, so you can roll to apply shaken. On your regular hit with your whip, the Cruel weapon enchantment applies sickened. If 4 debuffs doesn't do in your target, I dunno what will.
Otherwise, Kestral nailed what the Magus can do. True Strike = nigh automatic combat maneuvers. You don't need any trick other than this to succeed at whatever combat maneuver you could possibly want. Even more amazing is that you don't need to worry about incurring AoOs to cast, because of your insane reach. Basically, don't bother dumping feats into Combat Expertise or Improved Whatever. It won't help you, realistically. The same applies to the Maneuver Mastery Arcana. It's just a waste.
You'll also have damage as a possibility. While not as spikey as a scimitar wielding Magus, you'll be able to cast Shocking Grasp (and later, you can add the metamagic Intensified to that) for 1d6/level bonus damage. If that doesn't slice through your opponent, there's bigger issues to worry about.
Rumpin Rufus gave you a great option with the combination of Locked Gauntlet + Any Blade.
A few have stated the Scizore.
Just remember that game mechanics are not flavor. Want your dude to be a Samurai? Cool, grab that falchion and call it whatever; dress him in scalemale and call it whatever. The *numbers* matter, but the image and dressing doesn't.
Take one of the above and roll with it. Your character looks and acts however you want it to.
I have a Tiny Halfling Swashbuckler (Mouser) build that works. Well, two of them really...
One goes Cav (Honor Guard) 2 / Paladin (Sacred Shield) 4 / Magus (Eldritch Scion) X and abuses the Aid Another action and the Body Guard feat to deliver upwards of +8 bonus on a skill check or save and +20-25 AC to adjacent allies.
The other goes Swashbuckler (Mouser) 1 / Monk (Underfoot Adept) X. Since you get an AoO as a Mouser whenever an enemy steps out of your square, you can trip them using Underfoot Adept. Tiny size means you use your Dex for CMB automatically. With things like Greater Trip and Vicious Stomp, you can hammer home some AoOs. Once you move into something's square, you can rest assured that it will get tripped and get dead mighty quickly.
It would seem like the combination, then, arguably, is Fighter (Armor Master) + Adamantine Heavy Armor (Full Plate?) + Stalwart.
Here's my problem with it. Stalwart specifically calls out DR from any other source besides class abilities. So it refuses Adamantine armor's DR.
It might be best to run a Barbarian (maybe Invulnerable Rager?) and take the rage power "Improved Damage Reduction" a the allowable three times. That'd get you to a cool DR 9/- when raging, or DR 14/- with Improved Stalwart.
The other problem / question I have with this build is that you are potentially wasting AC and the feats that generate them. Stalwart and Improved Stalwart allow you to trade your dodge bonus for up to DR 5/- (or 10/- with Improved). But you still lose that whole dodge bonus. Why have feats that maximize it when you only need to be gaining a +5 dodge bonus maximum?
The build seems legit, but I would suggest going the Cavalier route. 2nd level Cavalier of the Order of the Dragon gets Aid Allies, a +3 bonus to stack onto your allies when you use an Aid Another. Expect some table variation on it, but many agree that it stacks with Aid Another (a few dissent, though).
Another place to look is Paladin's Sacred Shield archetype. By being adjacent, you offer your shield bonus to your allies. That's an easy +2 if you have a heavy shield or +7 when it's fully enchanted. A nice bump.
I dunno that I'd mess around with Cautious Fighter and Blundering Defense. They, unfortunately, require you to use your standard to attack. I run a similar build and my most common standard action is to ready an action to position myself to use Bodyguard when an ally is attacked. You can get an extra interrupt that way!
I want to say that this was covered in many a Rules Questions forum post, but there was never a solid ruling from anyone. It falls squarely in the realm of "expect table variation." Both your argument (that immunity doesn't apply because of that phrase) and the counter (that you apply fatigue just fine, but it immediately disappears because you're immune to that quality) are legitimate in a system that does not define immunity to conditions all that well.
The snake forms are *really* good. Esp if you're already getting something like a +11 Str bump from all your gadgets and amplified rage. Getting a bite w/ grab and massive Str means you can basically be a straight up grapple tank. Or, you can get massive constrict damage. Or you can poison, which is based off of Con usually and you'll have a massive Con score too. And if you don't want to shift, you're just a regular skald with awesome oozing from you.
Oh... "TL;DR" -> "Too Long; Didn't Read." & "Snakes pwn face" -> "Snakes own face" or snakes are awesome.
Instead of 4 levels of Ranger, you could dip two levels of Lame Metal Oracle. You'd end up just as fast as before (-10ft for Lame curse, +10ft for Dance of the Blades revelation), 2nd level Metal gives you Lead Blades, and Lame curse makes you immune to fatigue at level 8 (so faster rage cycling ever so slightly).
On the totem skald:
It might be better to look for the less used totems and wild shapes. Falcon, for instance, gives the Totemic Skald flight (very useful), and hits the party with a +6 to Perception. I think the best two, though, are Snake and Mouse. The bonuses for each are very attractive. Snake helps gain battlefield control (better AoOs for you, worse for your opponents) while Mouse hands out evasion and improved evasion which can neutralize blasters (which lets be honest many enemies are). Even the wild shapes have uses. Snakes often get both climb and swim speeds, scent and low-light vision, and as your virtual druid level grows so will your ability to pick up things like grab, constrict, and poisons. Mouse totem... I have no clue... do they count as Rats? Cause that'd give you swim and climb speeds and nothing else.
TL;DR version: Enhancement bonuses don't stack, so don't take them. Snakes pwn face and you should use it.
The problem with getting a ruling on this, Lune, is that the people who play it really want two rulings (one on Bodyguard and one on Aid Allies), but the build isn't powerful or popular so the official PF folk aren't entirely interested.
Not long ago, Crane Wing was quickly errata'd because the PFS people were getting a bevy of complaints about the feats trivializing content. I can rest my head knowing that PFS's office has not received a single complaint about the power of Aid Allies or Bodyguard. Not. A. Single. One. Unfortunately, until this build picks up steam (or another piece to outright break the game), the general rule for playing either Aid Allies or Bodyguard will be "expect table variation." Enjoy being a great support character maybe half the time or about as useful as a t!#% on a nun the other half.
Lazar, we both agree that nothing about replacing is stated. From that point on, you *cannot* revert to asserting that it replaces the Aid Another bonus. This can *only* happen if something specifically states that it is replacing. "Doesn't say either way... so replace!" isn't how the rules work. The bonus that OotD gives is an untyped bonus separate from the aid another's untyped bonus.
The firmer argument is that it doesn't stack because both are untyped bonuses from the "same source." In this case, it's one action creating both... or so one could allege. I would also disagree with this interpretation as well, but that's neither here nor there. This is the better argument that they do not stack. It's not that one replaces the other, but that both would be untyped bonuses from the same source and so only the highest one is applied.
I agree... we should add nothing to the text and interpret it with the words printed. Nowhere is a type of bonus stated, nor does it say to replace anything. It's additive.
The Helpful trait *specifically* states that it replaces the base bonus with a new one. Order of the Dragon does not state this, so it is not replacing anything. The differences in language here are notable and should lead one to conclude that OotD's ability gives a second +3 bonus, separate from that of the aid another check.
Amplified Rage increases the morale bonuses by +4. Courageous increases the morale bonus by 1/2 the weapon bonus. Yes, your raging song gives you a +8-11 bonus to STR. There's not really wiggle room or interpretation, but rules as written it the morale bonus is increased. It's not additional bonuses, but increases to the bonus.
On the negative side, Lesser Celestial Totem specifically calls out fast healing and regeneration and things it does not stack with. That won't work.
I am currently using a similar build in PFS. Mine is a Swash (Mouser) 1 / Cav (Honor Guard) 3 / Paladin (Sacred Shield) 4 / Bard or Magus (Eldritch Scion) X. His main tactic is to get tiny (starts small as a Halfling) and then run into the square of an enemy he wishes to neutralize. So far, I have played it to level 4 and nothing melee has hit an ally since level 2.
Just note that Bodyguard requires you to be adjacent to your ally (not the attacking creature). Aid Another normally requires you to be adjacent to the target but the Bodyguard feat replaces the qualifier for using that action.
Order of the Dragon is really the heart of the build. It's a free +3 you're handing out on top of your normal aid another. Add in things like Benevolent armor, Ring of Tactical Precision, Gloves of Arcane Striking, and you're looking at giving a hefty +14-17 when everything comes to fruition.
Regardless, if you want to run Bodyguard, there's a few things to keep in mind. First, you're not a damage dealer, so don't try to be. Second, you need to get a +8 bonus to as many things as possible. Every skill, every save, and your attack bonus. Why? Because (with the Mentored trait) that would let you overcome even the worst rolls and you'd score a hit (a roll of a 1 still fails on an attack or save, bummer). Third, finding ways to get adjacent to allies is critical. I *really* like Combat Patrol as an option, because you could move adjacent to an ally off-turn. This is insanely important. When playing my build, most of my turns involve moving underneath one enemy, using a swift action, and then readying another action to move when an ally is attacked. This allows me to move in to save that ally off-turn. Being able to do this and retain a standard action on any turn is *amazing.*
Half-Orc, Barb 1 / Cavalier 1 / Skald X. Get a Valet Familiar and the Amplified Rage teamwork feat. Enjoy +8 Str and Con and Fast Healing 8 at level 3. Add in Courageous and Furious Weapon. Enjoy +10 Str and Con at level 12; grant the entire party Fast Healing 10. If you're struggling to be awesome with a Str score in the high 20s and a Con score in the low 20s, you're doing something very, very wrong.
No. You can attack with any appropriate weapon in your main or off hand. You *could* swing with a light in your main and a one-handed in your off. It wouldn't be optimal, but you *could* do it. The same is true of shield and sword; either can be the main hand, per RAW and RAI.
As for two-weapon fighting, you only fight with two weapons when, uh, you attack with two weapons. I don't know what the confusion is? If you hold a second weapon, but don't attack with it, it's just the same as holding a shield but not bashing with it. Why would you suffer the penalties?
Storm of Swords: Why would you take the Phalanx Soldier archetype? If you're a medium sized creature, you can wield a small 2-hander as a 1-handed weapon. It still has reach, but you take a -2 for improperly sized weapons. Oh no! The damage is a die size down, but you're more concerned with battlefield control than anything else. CMBs hit for 0 damage most of the time, anyway.
If you're interested in Sword and Board, the only good way to do it is taking 6 levels of Ranger. That qualifies you for Shield Slam at level 2 and Shield Master at level 6. These are both early entry and without having to be a two weapon fighter.
That said, do note that shield bashes don't have to be offhand or triggered from a crit off a weapon. You can easily just slap someone with them.
Just keep in mind that Amplified Rage is a teamwork feat. So... you have to make everyone else that wants the +4 increase to take it as well. There's a few tricks to get around that, mostly a 1 level dip into Cavalier for the ability to share it once a day (then you can increase that number of times with feats and what not). Another trick is to get a familiar with the valet archetype. It will share your teamwork feats... so your little familiar gets super angry along with you. Finally, Ring of Tactical Precision can be "charged" with a teamwork feat and handed over to another character. They have that feat so long as they wear that ring. Oh, and it bumps the bonus by +1 for that person.
Amplified Rage only works while next to another person with the feat, which blows up flanking bonuses (but you've got no rogue, soooo). A drawback, certainly, but that valet familiar stays right with you. Best way to do it right there.
Rufus: I can totally see that. Although, at 16th level, there are more and more fights against enormous stuff, so the ability to target them with blasty spells stops being "Fireball the room" and more "Disintegrate their face." Even at that, the evocation school around 6th level spells starts to turn from area effects to "bouncing" effects, which is nice because it takes the party out of the line of fire!
That said, Evangelist is awesome. Lots of buffing, healing, cleric spell list. It's good times.
Okay... so Ranger is high str (but could afford more), Pally is high str (but could afford more), and the Magus is str (maybe?). Sounds like what you want is a Skald.
"But how does a skald heal!?" you ask. Well, he uses a neato pair of feats Skald's Vigor and its greater kin. The skald, awesomely, hands out rage to all its allies (which would buff those strong guys nicely). Skald's Vigor gives you fast healing equal to the Str bonus you hand out... Greater Skald's Vigor hands that bonus to your entire party.
"So what? Fast Healing 6 is lame at 16th level." Maybe it is at level 16... but with some clever use of the teamwork feat Amplified Rage, the Corageous and Furious weapon enchants, Ring of Tactical Precision, etc... We're talking about something more like Fast Healing 10 to the entire party almost every fight you're in.
You'd be not only an *amazing* buffbot for this group (seriously, you are handing out big Str and Con bonuses to everyone) but you'd also heal rather nicely with that fast healing. Hard to beat. Did I mention that you're also effectively a bard and can do all their awesome spell casting tricks? Yeah, it's pretty rad.
I think the problem you're running into is that your friends suck at this game. No, really, they're not targeting the right enemies at all. If I'm playing something that is all-in for damage, I aim for the softest targets first. Normally, these are the full casters. In any situation where I can 5' and they cannot, I own their face. If your heavy hitters are going after other heavy hitters, or an even worse target of the tank, they're doing it wrong. Dude with the heavy armor and tower shield? yeah, leave him be cause his damage is not great. Dude with the staff spitting arcane rhymes in draconic? That mofo needs to get dead right quick. It's D&D 101.
Also, remember that you can let your heavy hitters get into position and then use your difficult terrain spam. Use it to lock in the positions that they like once they've reached them. This can be to great tactical advantage as well. The delay action and ready action options are available for a reason.
I run a build similar to this for PFS. It uses the Mouser archetype and dips an extra 3 levels into Cavalier (Honor Guard). If I'm going to be standing next to my allies, I might as well buff them to all get out. Mouser makes enemies hate to miss you (and if you can get tiny, it makes you able to impose an extra -4 attack penalty). Honor Guard gets the Bodyguard feat, bumps it +1 and with Dragon Order bumps all aid another bonuses by an extra +3. Helpful (halfing trait) makes aid another start at +4. You can *easily* be handing out a more than awesome +8 bonus to AC at 3rd level cavalier, a virtual +12 AC with 1 level of Mouser and a +19 with Mouser and Sacred Shield. Woof. With some smart buffing and what not, the build just gets meaner and that AC buff goes higher. It's nice when you triple your wizard's AC or double the cleric's.
For resource's sake, these are other easily obtained bumps to Aid Another:
Benevolent armor/weapons (AC or attack, respectively)
I might be missing a few more. In any case, you can easily be applying a +10-14 AC buff to allies using the aforementioned Bodyguard feat. All within rules-as-written.