Gnome melee fighter?


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Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

What would be a good build for a gnome melee fighter? Maybe something with the hooked hammer?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Shar Tahl wrote:
What would be a good build for a gnome melee fighter? Maybe something with the hooked hammer?

Here is what I have so far with a 20 point buy:

STR:15
DEX:15
CON:14
INT: 13
WIS: 9
CHA: 9

Level 1:Two Weapon fighting
1st Ftr Bonus:Weapon Focus(Gnome Hooked Hammer)
2nd Ftr Bonus:Combat Expertise
Level 3:Improved Trip


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Oh, man, another small race loyalist (halfling man, myself). Come, let us sit on the ground and tell sad stories...

There is no good build for a small fighter. We've been hosed since 3.5 released, and while Pathfinder didn't make things worse, it didn't make things any better. Any melee build you can think of will be struggling against the gnome's intractable strength, CM, and speed penalties (especially in heavy armor). You suck before you even start.

That said, the hooked hammer is a pretty good idea. It's not a great weapon, but the TWF style helps a small character a lot and you'll save a bunch of feats and concentrate your weapon training properly. But for the love, do not bother with the trip property, it's a waste of time with your CM penalty.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You also may wish to make dex your primary stat in order instead of strenght. You are going to take a hit in strength anyway, you might as well make sure you hit (with weapon finesse). I would also lower your con a little in favor of an increase to either str or dex. Posibly further lowing wis and char to 8 or 7. You really need higher physical stats because you are taking the hit to strength (which really hurts any fighter).

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I would think trip would be helpful, since only taking a -1 for size. Taking someone to a prone position would seem to "cut them down to size" so to speak.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Shar Tahl wrote:
I would think trip would be helpful, since only taking a -1 for size. Taking someone to a prone position would seem to "cut them down to size" so to speak.

The problem is its really a -3. -2 strength (where normally you would give your str a +2 as a fighter for a net loss of -4) and -1 for size. And trip is already something that becomes harder and harder to pull off. For a gnome it just starts off as hard, and becomes impossible sooner.


Kolokotroni wrote:
Shar Tahl wrote:
I would think trip would be helpful, since only taking a -1 for size. Taking someone to a prone position would seem to "cut them down to size" so to speak.
The problem is its really a -3. -2 strength (where normally you would give your str a +2 as a fighter for a net loss of -4) and -1 for size.

It's just a -2 penalty (-1 str mod + size mod), isn't it?

My problem with it is that the tripper build forces you to put points in INT, costs 2 feats to begin, and you can only trip Medium or smaller creatures. There's also the fact that if you fail the trip by 10 (remember that penalty?) you are forced to drop your weapon or fall prone yourself - and both choices suck.


Yeah trip stinks in this case.

Depends on what you're trying to do. If you're trying to be a damage machine, you won't be. However, you could be quite a meatshield. . . if you go the pure defense route. Pump Con/hp like crazy and focus on defense (sword and board) could be one route. No, you won't be good at pure damage -- but you'll be great for taking hits. Moving in heavy armor sucks -- but at least those penalties go away at 7th level. I'd focus on a reliable one-hander like longsword.

Str 13 (7) (-2)
Dex 14 (5)
Con 18 (10) (+2)
Int 9 (-1)
Wis 12 (2)
Cha 9 (-3) (+2)

Feats: Toughness + Dodge

HP: 18 = 10 (base) + 4 (Con) + 1 (favored) + 3 (Toughness)
AC: 21 = 5 (scale mail) + 2 (Dex) + 1 (Dodge) + 2 (heavy shield) + 1 (size)


Meabolex's build is solid, but a little passive for my taste. I think I'd prefer to play the double-weapon "buzzsaw" build and trade the trip feats for Double Slice and TW Defense.

meabolex wrote:
Moving in heavy armor sucks -- but at least those penalties go away at 7th level.

I'd forgotten all about this! Score one for the Pathfinder fighter!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
meabolex wrote:

Yeah trip stinks in this case.

Depends on what you're trying to do. If you're trying to be a damage machine, you won't be. However, you could be quite a meatshield. . . if you go the pure defense route. Pump Con/hp like crazy and focus on defense (sword and board) could be one route. No, you won't be good at pure damage -- but you'll be great for taking hits. Moving in heavy armor sucks -- but at least those penalties go away at 7th level. I'd focus on a reliable one-hander like longsword.

Str 13 (7) (-2)
Dex 14 (5)
Con 18 (10) (+2)
Int 9 (-1)
Wis 12 (2)
Cha 9 (-3) (+2)

Feats: Toughness + Dodge

HP: 18 = 10 (base) + 4 (Con) + 1 (favored) + 3 (Toughness)
AC: 21 = 5 (scale mail) + 2 (Dex) + 1 (Dodge) + 2 (heavy shield) + 1 (size)

Hmmm. I like that! I am going to toy around with that.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Mental stats are terrible, but hey...he's a fighter. This is a shield fighter build. mapped him up to 11.

Gnome Fighter level 11

Str 14 (10) (-2)
Dex 15 (7)
Con 18 (10) (+2)
Int 9 (-1)
Wis 8 (-2)
Cha 9 (-4) (+2)

HP: 18 = 10 (base) + 4 (Con) + 1 (favored) + 3 (Toughness)
AC: 21 = 5 (scale mail) + 2 (Dex) + 1 (Dodge) + 2 (heavy shield) + 1 (size)

Stat increases : all to STR to increase load for heavier armor so he would be 16 STR by level 11. Could also go increasing CON every level too for health.

Level 1:Toughness
Fighter 1:Dodge
Fighter 2:Shield Focus
Level 3:Two Weapon Fighting
Fighter 4:Improved Shield Bash
Level 5:Combat Reflexes
Fighter 6:Disruptive
Level 7:Shield Slam
Fighter 8:Greater Shield Focus
Level 9: Stand Still
Fighter 10:Spell Breaker
Level 11: Shield Master


Oncehawk wrote:
There is no good build for a small fighter.

A good build for a small fighter:

Halfling fighter; Level 1; Favored Class fighter
-----
Init +0; Senses Perception +2
-----
Defense
AC 17, touch 11, flat-footed 17 (+1 size, +4 armor, +2 shield)
hp 12 (1d10+2)
Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +1
Defensive Abilities +2 racial bonus on all saving throws against fear
-----
Offense[/u]
[b]Speed
25 ft. (25 ft. unarmored)
Melee masterwork heavy mace +4 (1d6+4/x2), or
Melee masterwork heavy mace +4 (1d6+6/x2) [2H, reduce AC by 2 and ACP by 1]
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
-----
Statistics
Str 14, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 11, Cha 10
Base Atk +1; CMB +2; CMD 12
Feats Fleet, Power Attack
Skills (Ranks) Acrobatics +0 (0), Climb +4 (1), Gather Information +1 (0), Knowledge (engineering) +5 (1), Knowledge (local) +6 (1), Perception +2 (0), Stealth +2 (0), Swim +4 (1); Armor Check Penalty -2 included
Languages Common, Goblin, Halfling
-----
Traits
Rich Parents
Well-Informed
-----
Racial Traits & Class Features
Weapon Familiarity: Halflings are proficient with slings and treat any weapon with the word “halfling” in its name as a martial weapon.
-----
Stuff
Equipment: masterwork chain shirt, masterwork heavy wooden shield, masterwork heavy mace
Magic: everburning torch
Monies: 71 gp
Baggage: 22.5 lbs. (light load up to 43.5 lbs.)


Shar Tahl wrote:
What would be a good build for a gnome melee fighter? Maybe something with the hooked hammer?

Gnome paladin/duelist with the Dervish Dance Feat (From the Quadira Companion). Works even better with halfling.

Screw strength, use dexterity for attack and damage!


I think a high dex, moderate strength Weapon Finesse TWF kukri build is probably your best bet in the long term. With Imp Crit, Crit Focus and Bleeding Crit on top of the TWF feat chain you can definitely be a nasty buzzsaw style pit fighter.

Add flaming, shock, holy etc in order to maximize the amount of bonus damage your attacks get.

Other races can probably do it better but it's a decent build for small fighters.


Mark Chance wrote:
Oncehawk wrote:
There is no good build for a small fighter.
A good build for a small fighter:

Umm, good for what?

Heavy Mace?!? Why?

I see lousy damage coupled to a lousy defense. Is there some upside I'm missing here? I can assure you the smidgen of stealth won't cover the holes.


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KaeYoss wrote:
Shar Tahl wrote:
What would be a good build for a gnome melee fighter? Maybe something with the hooked hammer?

Gnome paladin/duelist with the Dervish Dance Feat (From the Quadira Companion). Works even better with halfling.

Screw strength, use dexterity for attack and damage!

Heehee, Breechgnome?


Laddie wrote:
KaeYoss wrote:
Shar Tahl wrote:
What would be a good build for a gnome melee fighter? Maybe something with the hooked hammer?

Gnome paladin/duelist with the Dervish Dance Feat (From the Quadira Companion). Works even better with halfling.

Screw strength, use dexterity for attack and damage!

Heehee, Breechgnome?

I'd make fun of your typo, but I don't want to burn any britches here ;-P


After thinking about it a bit, I think the duelist approach might be the best way to go, but there's some stat weirdness. . .

You need an 11 Charisma to cast the gnome racial spells, so you can't drop your base Charisma down below 9 before racial bonuses. With the duelist build needing Int and the general idea that you don't spare on Wisdom for melee, you now really don't have a dump stat. . . even Str shouldn't be a true "in-the-negatives" dump stat. 20 point builds make this a little easier. Since the duelist gives you essentially the prereqs for Whirlwind Attack, you might as well work toward that feat progression with your fighter levels:

10 (2) (-2 racial)
15 (7)
16 (5) (+2 racial)
14 (5)
12 (2)
11 (-1) (+2 racial)

1F1: Weapon Finesse
1F1B: Weapon Focus: Rapier
2F2B: Dodge
3F3: Mobility
4F4B: Weapon Specialization: Rapier (+1 Dex boost)
5F5: Spring Attack
6F6B: Combat Expertise
7D1: Whirlwind Attack

Definitely a neat build worth trying. . .


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Surprised no one has mentioned it but... gnomes are good mounted combatants since they can ride medium sized mounts they can function anywhere. Charge for triple damage through the dungeon corridors. Ride by attack, etc.

Add in the CHA bonus and they are even better paladins. If you want to build take advantage of their strengths.


Oncehawk wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
Shar Tahl wrote:
I would think trip would be helpful, since only taking a -1 for size. Taking someone to a prone position would seem to "cut them down to size" so to speak.
The problem is its really a -3. -2 strength (where normally you would give your str a +2 as a fighter for a net loss of -4) and -1 for size.

It's just a -2 penalty (-1 str mod + size mod), isn't it?

My problem with it is that the tripper build forces you to put points in INT, costs 2 feats to begin, and you can only trip Medium or smaller creatures. There's also the fact that if you fail the trip by 10 (remember that penalty?) you are forced to drop your weapon or fall prone yourself - and both choices suck.

If he went with a Dex build, though, he could pick up the Agile Maneuvers feat to get his trip CMB back up to snuff, right? Then he would only suffer the -1 to size, right?


I'd recommend 1-3 levels of Rogue for the extra damage if going with a non-mounted build, saving for a pair of Boots of Springing & Striding.

As Dennis mentioned, the small races do really well mounted, mostly due to mount space required is only medium, not large. The mount will typically have a 40+ move and once you get multiple attacks, you can 'full attack' since the mount is doing the moving.

If there's also a medium-sized fighter-type in your party you are going to be extremely underwhelmed by your capacity for damage and movement, been there done that. Tried rebuilding the little bugger 4 times before I just decided to play a Medium Fighter/Ranger that monsters didn't laugh at, not to mention totally ruining my initial character concept by trying to do all of that compensation.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Daniel Moyer wrote:

...

As Dennis mentioned, the small races do really well mounted, mostly due to mount space required is only medium, not large. The mount will typically have a 40+ move and once you get multiple attacks, you can 'full attack' since the mount is doing the moving.
...

That's not entirely true, you don't get to full-attack at the end of your mount's movement. It's a weird case but essentially the amount of time taken up by your mounts movement negates the ability to full attack. Unless you have pounce or some similar ability.

Nothing stopping you from Vital Striking though.


Daniel Moyer wrote:

I'd recommend 1-3 levels of Rogue for the extra damage if going with a non-mounted build, saving for a pair of Boots of Springing & Striding.

As Dennis mentioned, the small races do really well mounted, mostly due to mount space required is only medium, not large. The mount will typically have a 40+ move and once you get multiple attacks, you can 'full attack' since the mount is doing the moving.

Actually you are still limited to a standard attack if your mount moves more than 5 feet as you need to wait for the mount to move. A riding dog charge lancer isn't a horrible build for dungeon usage, as dogs can pretty easily handle most stairs but you will need to worry about situations where you need to climb (ropes plus climbing harness until you have some sort of flight capacity). Paladins of course can get by with summoning a riding dog as needed.

If you don't want to go mounted a dip into barbarian isn't a horrible choice due to the gnome con bonus helping out rage but honestly you are largely going to be doing it for the enhanced land speed.

Also keep in mind that Arcane Strike is a good feat for Gnomes, their gnome magic allows them to qualify for it without needing to multiclass and because gnome magic caster level = character level so the benefit will continue scaling up as you rise in level. I assume that the bonus for arcane strike is enhancement so it's not going to stack with magical weapons but it's nice if you want to invest your gold in bonus damage adders instead.


Oncehawk wrote:

Oh, man, another small race loyalist (halfling man, myself). Come, let us sit on the ground and tell sad stories...

There is no good build for a small fighter. We've been hosed since 3.5 released, and while Pathfinder didn't make things worse, it didn't make things any better. Any melee build you can think of will be struggling against the gnome's intractable strength, CM, and speed penalties (especially in heavy armor). You suck before you even start.

That said, the hooked hammer is a pretty good idea. It's not a great weapon, but the TWF style helps a small character a lot and you'll save a bunch of feats and concentrate your weapon training properly. But for the love, do not bother with the trip property, it's a waste of time with your CM penalty.

If I were GMing someone who really wanted to play that kind of character, I would consider allowing trade-offs on the rulebook racial build. For example, the character might be less hardy than the garden variety gnome (+1 Con or no bonus), but exceptionally strong for his kind (only -1 Str, or no penalty). It's a reasonable way of allowing customization without unbalancing the game. For other aspects of the character, you could perhaps negotiate similar agreements.

Sczarni

Gnome paladin with charging basis.
Mounted combat, spirited charge, etc.
with smite, your damage goes really high, and the mount compensates for your slower spd.
T

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4

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I think I would go with a Gnome Barbarian myself. Focus on Dex to keep your attack rolls high and pour on the Power Attack.

If you went the mounted combat way remember...you can mount anything you have a saddle for. When your riding dog get's old and grey pick up an exotic saddle and start riding around the other party beatstick! Masterblaster style.

Shadow Lodge

vuron wrote:
Also keep in mind that Arcane Strike is a good feat for Gnomes, their gnome magic allows them to qualify for it without needing to multiclass and because gnome magic caster level = character level so the benefit will continue scaling up as you rise in level. I assume that the bonus for arcane strike is enhancement so it's not going to stack with magical weapons but it's nice if you want to invest your gold in bonus damage adders instead.

Not sure on this one. Gnome magic says "spell-like abilities" and you need to be able to cast arcane spells to have Arcane Strike.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So what would a gnome mounted paladin build look like? I've never made a mounted focused character. not sure if you still need high strength or go higher dexterity for riding checks.


DM_aka_Dudemeister & Vuron wrote:
Actually you are still limited to a standard attack if your mount moves more than 5 feet as you need to wait for the mount to move.

Oops, I remember the rule now that you pointed it out, sorry/thanks. Last time I went mounted it was a caster/buffer, full attack was the last thing on my mind.


Shar Tahl wrote:
So what would a gnome mounted paladin build look like?

20 Point Build:

STR:14 (10pts, -2 STR)
DEX:14 (5 pts.)
CON:15 (2 pts, +2 CON)
INT:10
WIS:10
CHA:15 (3 pts, +2 CHA)
This build is without taking hits to INT & WIS. You could squeeze out another 8 pts.(dropping INT & WIS both to 7) and change things up a bit, like rocketing up to an 18 CON after total bonuses.(10pts, +2 CON)

Feats:
1st - Mounted Combat
3rd - Ride-By Attack
5th - Spirited Charge (Divine Bond - Mount)
7th -
9th -
11th -
Someone may have a better suggestion, but working with Paladin you really need to be focused on one feat tree IMO. I choose Mounted Combat, I remember this tree having BAB requirements, but the SRD doesn't show any and I don't have the book readily available. 'Weapon Focus (Lance)' and/or Combat Reflexes(Lance has Reach) might be something to consider picking up as well. If you have access to non-CORE books, Powerful Charge & Greater Powerful Charge would also work nicely.

Equipment:
Lance (primary weapon)
Heavy Shield
Breastplate -> Fullplate
You won't get the entire DEX AC benefit while wearing normal Fullplate, use a Breastplate for lower levels until you can afford that swank Mithril Fullplate. Other equipment is entirely up to you and how you want to play it... Backup Weapons, Mount Barding, etc.


I'm currently playing a mounted halfling fighter in our Eberron campaign. I haven't quite got there yet, but the idea is:

Reach Weapon + Great Cleave + Lunge + Combat Reflexes

Trading -4 AC for a doubled threatened square range and a lot of potential attacks via Great Cleave. If they want to close to standard melee range with me, they will need to eat an AoO due to needing to move more than 5 feet unless they also have reach. Remember, you can use a lance one handed while mounted, so if you're feeling squishy you can always use a shield.

From my reading of the mounted combat rules, it seems that your mount can move, you make an attack, and then your mount moves again as long as it doesn't attack. That is a very powerful ability, and really cuts down on the squishy factor when you're doing Lunge + Cleave. Just beware ranged attacks!

You can also abuse the superior mobility by getting behind your opponents, making it very easy for everyone to get a flank bonus. And with +2 from flank, + 2 from charge, you can easily afford to use your power attack and get that nice x2 damage with a lance.

I think someone stated that Vital Strike is good for a mounted fighter. As a small creature, your base damage die is not really worth using a feat to double. 2d6 at level 6 isn't really worth it; at that point, most of your melee fighter's damage should be coming from flat bonuses and you can't use VS with the Cleave feats.

If your mount is combat trained (riding dog, war pony, etc) the riding checks for most things are pretty low.

If you're planning on going Paladin, you won't have the feats to do all of this. Being able to summon and dismiss your mount is nice, but not super awesome, and aside from gaining the celestial template at level 11 (which doesn't do a heck of a lot) and getting SR at 15 or so (nice-ish), your mount doesn't advance any more than a regular mount would. A Ranger would work, (more so if you wanted to go for mounted archery, a very powerful build for small characters imo) as the mount levels with him, and you'll get free feats.


The key advantage of a Paladin's steed in pathfinder is that it functions as a druid animal companion of the same level as the Paladin (although it also gets improved intelligence- woot more tricks ). You'd have to come up with a workable template for an animal companion riding dog but it's pretty much in line with a warpony.

The celestial template is kinda meh but the smite evil ability can be useful to pump up the steed's damage a little.

In comparison a gnome lance fighter can probably do more damage with their charges (based on the feats) but his mount is much more vulnerable even with mounted combat. A lancer without a mount is pretty much crap after all.


People mentioning rogue and paladin are missing the point of the thread. I think we know that paladin and rogue are good/better options. The key is finding some kind of melee fighter option for the gnome.

Kolokotroni wrote:
The problem is its really a -3. -2 strength (where normally you would give your str a +2 as a fighter for a net loss of -4) and -1 for size.

The same is even worse for damage. Instead of pushing Str 16 to 18, you drop from 16 to 14. +4 to +2, a net loss of -3 damage while wielding a two-handed weapon. With the size differences in the most damaging melee weapon -- greatsword -- the damage drops from 7 to 5.5 --- a loss of 1.5 damage. So you're losing 4.5 (2d6 + 6 [13] vs. 1d10 + 3 [8.5]) points of damage over a human/half-orc/half-elf fighter doing the exact same thing. If you give the gnome fighter 2 Weapon Specialization feats, he still won't overtake a human fighter with no feats. Even with the size bonus to hit (you're still down -1 to hit), I don't think there's a reasonable way to recoup that much damage loss.

The duelist option does give significant damage with precise strike -- but getting there is hard. The duelist build I presented above is just extremely weak through the early levels. He's doing 1d4 of damage between level 1 and 3 -- as a full attack. That's just unacceptably low damage for a melee character. Also, using a prestige class is kind of a cop-out -- you're essentially moving to another class to make up for such inherent weakness.

Even with mounted combat -- which makes up for significant difficulties with movement -- the damage output is just so much lower than using a human/half-orc/half-elf that I don't think it's worth trying to make a damage-based build. Even if you're dealing triple damage consistently, you're still far behind in damage percentage wise until significantly later in the game (when 3-4 damage difference isn't that big of an overall percentage).

I still think a one-hander with a shield is the best damage output option. You lose the least amount of damage output with a one-hander (-3 damage with a longsword). You're still down -1 to hit, but your AC is higher than a medium sword+board fighter with same stats. Perhaps the best option is a mounted sword and board character. That way you get the mobility boosts of a mounted character, you get great defensive capabilities, and you're suffering the least for a lower Str score.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The thing is, I don't play the little races because they will be same as a medium race fighter. I play them for concept and role playing. What I am trying to do is optimize them for what they are, not what they are missing. Ultimately, the character is only as good as the player behind them. There are some good ideas presented here (Daniel Moyer, meabolex,Mark Chance).
I liked the idea of a mounted fighter, but they would seem to be less useful off the mount, with all the feats focused on BEING mounted. I still like the sword/board ,mini battle turtle idea. That would just be fun!

Sczarni

Abilities, everyone above is spot on.

Prioritize Str, Con, Dex, Wis, Int, Cha.

If playing a paladin, swap Dex for Cha, then dump Wis and Int until you feel comfortable.

Your big damage dealing trick will be: Charge + Cleave or Charge + Spirited Charge. When you're stuck in melee, Power Attack + Smite will yield some nice results.

For my upcoming Gnome Paladin, I plan on focusing more on AC than damage output, but those melee feats slot in nicely, anyways. Basically, I plan on using the class abilities for the damage output, with a little help from Power Attack and (later) Spirited Charge. The rest of my feats / equipment will be tailored around either high HP or high AC, or both.

Progression will likely be something like this:
1: Power Attack
3: Shield Focus
5: Mounted Combat (Divine Bond: Horsey)
7: Ride-By-Attack
9: Spirited Charge (with Smite and decent Str, this becomes rather nasty)

For another option, the Cavalier class has some really nice mounted-combat style tricks (bonus feats and other stuff), including one Order which allows you to add your mount's Str to your own when charging with a lance...Order of the Dragon? Shield? Sword? I forget which one.

-t

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Oncehawk wrote:

Meabolex's build is solid, but a little passive for my taste. I think I'd prefer to play the double-weapon "buzzsaw" build and trade the trip feats for Double Slice and TW Defense.

meabolex wrote:
Moving in heavy armor sucks -- but at least those penalties go away at 7th level.
I'd forgotten all about this! Score one for the Pathfinder fighter!

The thing about two-weapon fighting is you really have to commit to it. You will need to eventually have 19 dex by the time greater two weapon fighting is available. You have 4 feats dedicated (if you include weapon finesse), so it would have to be fighter with two light weapons to get the most of the Cuisinart action. I will try to come up with a little Tasmanian devil build.

Sovereign Court

I played a Gnome Paladin in LG, and I tell you from experience ... find a way to get you mount Iron will or something to boost it's fear saves.

Theres nothing like getting ready to charge an ice demon only to have your faithful mount charging the other way.

If you a chance to get an ebony fly don't pass that up either.

too bad there's is no divine might/ divine shield in pathfinder...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Gnome Fighter - Two-weapon build - 20 point buy

STR:13 (7)
DEX:16 (10)
CON:18 (10)
INT:9 (-1)
WIS:8 (-2)
CHA:9 (-4)

Level 1:Weapon Finesse
Fighter 1:Two weapon fighting
Fighter 2:Weapon Focus(Kukri)
Level 3:Two weapon defense
Fighter 4:Weapon specialization(Kukri)-- +1 Dex
Level 5:Double Slice
Fighter 6:Improved Two Weapon Fighting
Level 7:Dodge
Fighter 8:Improved Critical(Kukri)-- +1 Dex
Level 9:Critical Focus
Fighter 10:Mobility
Level 11: Two Weapon Rend
Level 12: Greater Two weapon fighting +1 Dex

I think this would work good in the games we play because we use the critical deck. stat damage and crippling ends up being quite a drawback for those hit. Although, I would have to play him like a slight dummy making bad decisions.


Here's a somewhat decent Gnome Kukri Dervish through level 15

20 Point Build
Str- 12 (5) -2 Racial
Dex- 15 (7)
Con- 16 (5) +2 Racial
Int- 12 (2)
Wis- 12 (2)
Cha- 11 (-1) +2 Racial

1F1- Weapon Finese
1F1B- Two Weapon Fighting
2F2B- Weapon Focus (Kukri)
3F3- Dazzling Display
4F4B- Weapon Specialization (Kukri)
5F5- Double Slice Weapon Training: Small Blades
6F6B- Imp. Two Weapon Fighting
7F7- Lunge
8F8B- Improved Crit: Kukri
9F9- Crit Focus
10F10B- Greater Weapon Focus: Kukri
11F11- Greater Two Weapon Fighting
12F12B- Greater Weapons Specialization
13F13- Bleeding Critical
14F14B- Stagger Critical
15F15- Critical Mastery

Basically the core idea of this build is that small creatures can't do massive DPR but that they can hit reasonably often and hard and do status effects to opponents. Lunge + TWF chain + critical chain should result in a large number of potential attacks within a close proximity.

Weapons should be enchanted with a good number of bonus damage boosters and eventually it would be nice to have supplemental dancing kukris to help out.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
vuron wrote:

Here's a somewhat decent Gnome Kukri Dervish through level 15

20 Point Build
Str- 12 (5) -2 Racial
Dex- 15 (7)
Con- 16 (5) +2 Racial
Int- 12 (2)
Wis- 12 (2)
Cha- 11 (-1) +2 Racial

1F1- Weapon Finese
1F1B- Two Weapon Fighting
2F2B- Weapon Focus (Kukri)
3F3- Dazzling Display
4F4B- Weapon Specialization (Kukri)
5F5- Double Slice Weapon Training: Small Blades
6F6B- Imp. Two Weapon Fighting
7F7- Lunge
8F8B- Improved Crit: Kukri
9F9- Crit Focus
10F10B- Greater Weapon Focus: Kukri
11F11- Greater Two Weapon Fighting
12F12B- Greater Weapons Specialization
13F13- Bleeding Critical
14F14B- Stagger Critical
15F15- Critical Mastery

Basically the core idea of this build is that small creatures can't do massive DPR but that they can hit reasonably often and hard and do status effects to opponents. Lunge + TWF chain + critical chain should result in a large number of potential attacks within a close proximity.

Weapons should be enchanted with a good number of bonus damage boosters and eventually it would be nice to have supplemental dancing kukris to help out.

Would need to bump the Dex up to get the two weapon feats that early. Improved needs 17 and Greater needs 19


While a riding dog works at lower levels why not get a better or bigger animal or beast at later levels. Unlike special ability mount classes a Fighter is not restricted. If it can be trained it could also be riden into combat.

What about those giant geckos in the first AP? A nice point of keeping the Cha at 11 for a mounted gnome fighter is Speak With Animal (not just the burrowing ones anymore). Lots of choices for swimming mounts as well. With a high Con an amphibious attack Gnome would be unexpected. I guess one could try the same tick with a burrowing mount, like a dire badger. Also don't forget about using the Giant Creature template on Small Creatures to create even more mount options at later levels when the fighter has cash to burn and the means to find more exotic mounts.

Ya, almost 100% behind the idea of a Giant Gecko as the perfered Gnome lower level dungeon mount.


Shar Tahl wrote:


Would need to bump the Dex up to get the two weapon feats that early. Improved needs 17 and Greater needs 19

Oops, you are right.

Boost dex up 1 and make all the mental stats 10s and you should be able to qualify for the feats at the right time. This of course illustrates why the halfling makes for a better kukri-dervish but it's still a decent gnome fighter build.


meabolex wrote:

People mentioning rogue and paladin are missing the point of the thread. I think we know that paladin and rogue are good/better options. The key is finding some kind of melee fighter option for the gnome.

Kolokotroni wrote:
The problem is its really a -3. -2 strength (where normally you would give your str a +2 as a fighter for a net loss of -4) and -1 for size.
The same is even worse for damage. Instead of pushing Str 16 to 18, you drop from 16 to 14. +4 to +2, a net loss of -3 damage while wielding a two-handed weapon. ...snip...

surely the gnome gets a +1 BONUS to attack rolls for size, not a -1 penalty?

Liberty's Edge

Net Loss due to size.

because the gnome is small, he has a -2 penalty to strength. That is -1 to hit and -1 damage.

because the gnome has a racial penalty to strength, he does not get a racial bonus to strength (unlike human, half-elf, half-orc could). so that's another -1 to hit and -1 damage.

because the gnome is small, he gets +1 to hit due to his size.

so that's a Net Loss of -1 to hit and -2 to damage (or -3 with two-handed weapon). Damage is further reduced due to smaller weapon damage dice.

A size-small melee damage dealer using strength as a primary stat will never be able to match a medium size character doing the exact same thing.

That said, as mentioned above, a Small Fighter makes a good tank.


BobChuck wrote:

Net Loss due to size.

because the gnome is small, he has a -2 penalty to strength. That is -1 to hit and -1 damage.

because the gnome has a racial penalty to strength, he does not get a racial bonus to strength (unlike human, half-elf, half-orc could). so that's another -1 to hit and -1 damage.

because the gnome is small, he gets +1 to hit due to his size.

so that's a Net Loss of -1 to hit and -2 to damage (or -3 with two-handed weapon). Damage is further reduced due to smaller weapon damage dice.

A size-small melee damage dealer using strength as a primary stat will never be able to match a medium size character doing the exact same thing.

That said, as mentioned above, a Small Fighter makes a good tank.

well, it was phrased above as a -1 size penalty, which confused me. also, i'm not sure i like the implication that there are no dwarf or elf fighters. gnome is certainly worse on str than any other race but halfling, but considering them only vs the races with the flexible stat bonus isn't quite kosher i don't think.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
angryscrub wrote:


well, it was phrased above as a -1 size penalty, which confused me. also, i'm not sure i like the implication that there are no dwarf or elf fighters. gnome is certainly worse on str than any other race but halfling, but considering them only vs the races with the flexible stat bonus isn't quite kosher i don't think.

Well i guess its a matter of what you want to compare it too. Do you compare it to the average or to the good. Certainly Humans, Half Orcs and Half elves make the best fighters, particularly when it comes to Combat manuevers. Elves and Dwarves make OK fighters, not as good as the 3 human offshoots, but can be pretty good.

So again it depends on what your standard of comparison is. For me the comparison is looking at what is best at the job you are trying to accomplish. That way you know the entirety of what you are losing for choosing gnome, instead of just what you lose against choosing the average race.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The penalty was regarding my initial concept of a tripper, which uses CMB. there is a -1 size penalty to CMB. As for the net loss, its all relative. That is assuming you would choose a race with no Strength penalty AND put the bonus to Strength. Again, its all how you play it. its not an "optimal" race for a fighter type, but those gnome villages got to have fighters to protect the towns! I mostly play small races so I make the most of what they are. Gnomes and Kobolds FTW!


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Shar Tahl wrote:
The penalty was regarding my initial concept of a tripper, which uses CMB. there is a -1 size penalty to CMB. As for the net loss, its all relative. That is assuming you would choose a race with no Strength penalty AND put the bonus to Strength. Again, its all how you play it. its not an "optimal" race for a fighter type, but those gnome villages got to have fighters to protect the towns! I mostly play small races so I make the most of what they are. Gnomes and Kobolds FTW!

You can make a pretty good gnome fighter. Just have to make sure you focus on what you can do pretty well instead of what you cant. Combat manuevers unfortunately is not in your favor. But losing 2 or 3 (strength penalty and smaller weapons) points of damage per attack (when using the double weapon) is not a huge deal, and you can have a better AC then your bigger counterparts.


It occurs to me that I've been overlooking a strength of the Gnome - it's charisma bonus! Intimidate doesn't take a penalty from size or strength, and those feats are just sitting there...

This is with the hooked hammer:

STR 13 (7)
DEX 15 (7)
CON 14 (2)
INT 10
WIS 12 (2)
CHA 14 (2)

1 2WF
1B W. Focus (Hook Hammer)
2 2W Defense
3 Dazzling Display
4B W. Specialization (HH)-- +1 Dex
5 Lunge -- Weapon Training (Double Weapon)
6B Power Attack
7 Shatter Defenses
8B Greater W. Focus (HH)-- +1 Dex
9 Improved 2WF
10B Vital Strike -- Weapon Training (Thrown)
11 Deadly Stroke
12B Greater W. Specialization (HH)-- + 1 Str

Might work better without the 2WF, but I like the free double weapon. Do we know if you can Vital Strike doing the Deadly Blow's single attack?

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