Bodyguard


Pathfinder Society

Silver Crusade

I'm looking through all the legal material for PFS, and I'm having a challenging time of coming up with an effective way to play a bodyguard type in PFS play.

So far, I've taken a look at Paladins, Cavaliers, and monks. I'm just not seeing a way to make it work, and I'd *really* like to make this character type work.

So, I appeal to the crowd of PFS players out there. Can you help a fellow society member find a way to make a new character?

Dark Archive 3/5

Feats:
Combat Reflexes/Bodyguard/In Harm's Way (APG)

This will allow you to, with a decent Dexterity, use Attacks-of-Opportunity to Aid Another for an ally to improve their AC and choose to intercept an attack on behalf of an ally.

Optional: Stand Still (APG) can be good for also 'holding the line'. It's tempting to take this feat in combination with a reach a weapon, but remember Bodyguard/In Harm's Way require an ally to be adjacent to benefit.

Toughness/Endurance/Die Hard: A good bodyguard is hard to kill.

Class/Archetype:

Duelist (Honor Guard) from Ultimate Combat: Your challenge provides AC bonuses to your charge, gives you Bodyguard as a bonus feat/improves it's effects, and gives you an ability to rush to the aid of your charge. Combine with gear/feats that improve the character's base speed for the best effect. Drawback: Mounts are hard to use in PFS.

Paladin (Sacred Shield) from Ultimate Combat: You trade in smite, channel, and Aura of Justice for the ability to create a very nice AC Buff aura around your PC for the benefit of their allies. Divine Bond takes the form of shield buffs. Drawback: Serious loss of offensive capabilities, but your party will be pretty sturdy for it.

Paladin (Divine Defender) from APG: Lay on hands can be used for small AC buffs, stabilization, and Fortification effects in small areas around the Paladin in exchange for losing mercies. Bond takes the form of armor enchantments. A good compromise of defensive/offensive power versus the Sacred Shield.

Personally, I'd go with a Sacred Shield Paladin with Tower Shield Proficiency. Between that and the Bodyguard chain, you become a pretty solid hub of Defense buffs for the party. Mobility concerns could eventually be addressed via Cape of the Montebank or some form of regular flight. I would lose the offensive capacity that comes with Smite and weapon oriented feats, but I imagine keeping a damage dealer (rogue, mage, etc.) alive longer will counterbalance this in a team environment. Plus, you could always invest heavily in some shield bash action.

Dark Archive 3/5

Note: If Shield Bashing, you'd obviously forgo Tower Shield Proficiency (can't bash with them).

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

My bodyguard is a tower shield using Oracle of battle that can, and does take a tremendous amount of punishment while simultaneously eliminating or minimizing damage to his friends. Built using bodyguard, in harms way, shield other and only attacking to aid, he does the bodyguard role well.

Andrew Christian got to see him in action during the Ruby Phoenix fighting tournament where he basically shielded the group from damage.


Don't forget about the feat Antagonize (Ultimate Magic). It is about as close as it gets to "taunting" mechanic in Pathfinder.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northwest aka WalterGM

CRobledo wrote:
Don't forget about the feat Antagonize (Ultimate Magic). It is about as close as it gets to "taunting" mechanic in Pathfinder.

I'd recommend going with the Intimidate side of that feat. Pulling a creature into position is a very strong mechanic, especially when you have a pair of meat-head melees that ready actions to eviscerate the first thing that comes into range.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Walter, you might want to look up the errataed version of Antagonize. They now have the option of casting spells at your or attacking you with ranged weapons if they choose to. It only makes them attack you now, it doesn't have to be in melee.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

The Diplomacy version could be a fun debuff, though.


Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
Walter, you might want to look up the errataed version of Antagonize. They now have the option of casting spells at your or attacking you with ranged weapons if they choose to. It only makes them attack you now, it doesn't have to be in melee.

Even with errata, it's still a nice tool for crowd control. Though as a bodyguard, there is a slight issue with needing allies to be adjacent to you for the AC bonus, which of course clusters everybody up nicely for a Fireball... not that being hit with such a spell is exclusive to Antagonize.

For one of my characters, I'm working on a Synthesist/Flowing Monk multiclass. Taking the Reach evolution with a reach weapon gives me a 15ft. reach(and if I need to attack adjacent, I have IUS). When I hit Flowing Monk 4, I can use Reposition to trip and Ki Throw anyone in my reach who attacks an ally. It's a bit different from the other builds posted so far, but it works well for protection.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northwest aka WalterGM

Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
Walter, you might want to look up the errataed version of Antagonize. They now have the option of casting spells at your or attacking you with ranged weapons if they choose to. It only makes them attack you now, it doesn't have to be in melee.

I know about the errata. I carry a printed out copy of the entire feat/errata with my antagonizing duelist. I've used it to pull archers around corners to get a clear shot at me. The trick is to use it on the right targets.

The ogre with a club.
The fighter 8 feats deep into <any melee weapon>
The harpy that spends a few round buffing her melee strikes (there is actually a fight like this in society play).

These targets, and the people controlling them, seem to always go into melee, rather than drop what their holding and pull out a bow to shoot me with one arrow. When I GM and a player uses antagonize on one of my minions, I look at their feats and wisdom, and play it out accordingly. The spellcasters will be sneaky, sure. But the big dumb fighter, well. He is a big dumb fighter.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northwest aka WalterGM

Jiggy wrote:
The Diplomacy version could be a fun debuff, though.

Explain why that's good to me though. I mean "good as a feat", compared to just intimidating the target. -2 to attacks against people that aren't you... or a -2 to all attacks, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks. I guess it lasts longer?

/shrug.

Silver Crusade

Looks like I'll be taking the bodyguard tree, adding in improved trip, and rolling up a Paladin of the Sacred Shielding Holy Light (double archetype ftw!). Thank you all for your help!

If you see an individual in a cloak, occasionally hissing...just know that it shall guard your side valiantly!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Walter Sheppard wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
The Diplomacy version could be a fun debuff, though.

Explain why that's good to me though. I mean "good as a feat", compared to just intimidating the target. -2 to attacks against people that aren't you... or a -2 to all attacks, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks. I guess it lasts longer?

/shrug.

The duration is the thing, yes. You hit someone once and the debuff lasts the whole fight. Also, being able to hand out spell failure chances at-will is kind of nice. Especially if you go invisible afterwards.

Also, there are some really fun roleplaying opportunities for it. Consider the following:

• Court Bard gets the opposite of Inspire Courage, using performance to cause enemies to take penalties to attack/damage. Let's say he's using Perform (oratory), so basically he tells people how much they suck, and they get thrown off their game.

• Then he hits 2nd level and picks up Versatile Performance, letting him use Perform (oratory) in place of Diplomacy and Sense Motive. Now he can use Antagonize (via Perform) to tell people how much they suck, and they're preoccupied to the point of an additional -2 against everyone else (-3 total).

• Then you pick up Snake Style, letting you use an immediate action to make a Sense Motive check and treat the result as your AC against one attack. But you have Versatile Performance, so you're using Perform (oratory) instead. So when someone does attack you, you tell them how much they suck, and they blow it and miss.

So the sum total is this: you start telling everyone how much they suck, and they're all messed up. Then you single out one guy to inform of his mother's disappointment in him, and he becomes to preoccupied to attack anyone effectively but you. But then when he does attack you, you mock him until his sobs throw his aim off.

A**hattery for fun and profit! ;)

Dark Archive 3/5

Walter Sheppard wrote:
Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
Walter, you might want to look up the errataed version of Antagonize. They now have the option of casting spells at your or attacking you with ranged weapons if they choose to. It only makes them attack you now, it doesn't have to be in melee.

I know about the errata. I carry a printed out copy of the entire feat/errata with my antagonizing duelist. I've used it to pull archers around corners to get a clear shot at me. The trick is to use it on the right targets.

The ogre with a club.
The fighter 8 feats deep into <any melee weapon>
The harpy that spends a few round buffing her melee strikes (there is actually a fight like this in society play).

These targets, and the people controlling them, seem to always go into melee, rather than drop what their holding and pull out a bow to shoot me with one arrow. When I GM and a player uses antagonize on one of my minions, I look at their feats and wisdom, and play it out accordingly. The spellcasters will be sneaky, sure. But the big dumb fighter, well. He is a big dumb fighter.

I think this is a concept that demands smart fighting (knowing how to prioritize threats, focusing on the protection of 1-2 characters who are most vital to a given encounter/can't hold their own). Antagonize is absolutely a great feat, even with Errata, to this end.

As for clustering together, I'm assuming the concept means picking one PC to be their charge (The Honor Guard archetype only grants benefits to one person, in fact). Sacred Shield and Divine Defender definitely help the whole party, but I imagine only the squishy PCs will have any interest in clinging to to them. Most of the 'squish' characters (Rogues, Spellcasters) have means of defending against fireballs and the like. This concept protects them from serious physical damage.

The shield itself does get Divine Bond, so it's not too hard to toss Spell Resistance or even Reflecting to deal with AoE spells. If taking the Tower Shield route, there's always a readied action to use it for cover. Lay on Hands and healing spells for a Paladin are generally best for those close to them anyways; as long as the Paladin survives.

I'm actually kind of tempted to stat this concept out to 12th level the more I talk about it.

Silver Crusade

Jiggy wrote:
Walter Sheppard wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
The Diplomacy version could be a fun debuff, though.

Explain why that's good to me though. I mean "good as a feat", compared to just intimidating the target. -2 to attacks against people that aren't you... or a -2 to all attacks, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks. I guess it lasts longer?

/shrug.

The duration is the thing, yes. You hit someone once and the debuff lasts the whole fight. Also, being able to hand out spell failure chances at-will is kind of nice. Especially if you go invisible afterwards.

Also, there are some really fun roleplaying opportunities for it. Consider the following:

• Court Bard gets the opposite of Inspire Courage, using performance to cause enemies to take penalties to attack/damage. Let's say he's using Perform (oratory), so basically he tells people how much they suck, and they get thrown off their game.

• Then he hits 2nd level and picks up Versatile Performance, letting him use Perform (oratory) in place of Diplomacy and Sense Motive. Now he can use Antagonize (via Perform) to tell people how much they suck, and they're preoccupied to the point of an additional -2 against everyone else (-3 total).

• Then you pick up Snake Style, letting you use an immediate action to make a Sense Motive check and treat the result as your AC against one attack. But you have Versatile Performance, so you're using Perform (oratory) instead. So when someone does attack you, you tell them how much they suck, and they blow it and miss.

So the sum total is this: you start telling everyone how much they suck, and they're all messed up. Then you single out one guy to inform of his mother's disappointment in him, and he becomes to preoccupied to attack anyone effectively but you. But then when he does attack you, you mock him until his sobs throw his aim off.

A**hattery for fun and profit! ;)

I have a friend pulling together a kitsune bard. He'll be using this now. Hilarity!

Dark Archive 3/5

Alexander_Damocles wrote:

Looks like I'll be taking the bodyguard tree, adding in improved trip, and rolling up a Paladin of the Sacred Shielding Holy Light (double archetype ftw!). Thank you all for your help!

If you see an individual in a cloak, occasionally hissing...just know that it shall guard your side valiantly!

I didn't even consider Holy Light. That's an awesome combination.

Also...is this a Nagaji Paladin? Because that's pretty awesome.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northwest aka WalterGM

I like it Jiggy! Although, aside from the 10% spell failure, the duration is not a good enough selling point for me. You can do more or less the same thing with full ranks in intimidate instead, and, when you are good at intimidating, it ends up lasting half a minute or so anyway, which is usually the whole fight.

But combining it with Sense Motive for Perform (oratory) is fairly classy ;)

Silver Crusade

bdk86 wrote:
Alexander_Damocles wrote:

Looks like I'll be taking the bodyguard tree, adding in improved trip, and rolling up a Paladin of the Sacred Shielding Holy Light (double archetype ftw!). Thank you all for your help!

If you see an individual in a cloak, occasionally hissing...just know that it shall guard your side valiantly!

I didn't even consider Holy Light. That's an awesome combination.

Also...is this a Nagaji Paladin? Because that's pretty awesome.

Oh yes, yes indeed. So, it stacks nicely with paladin, but I didn't want to play to racial strengths unless it fit the concept.

At level 4, her eyes start glowing and the whole party is now nigh unkillable.

I am a happy happy man :D

Dark Archive 3/5

Alexander_Damocles wrote:

Oh yes, yes indeed. So, it stacks nicely with paladin, but I didn't want to play to racial strengths unless it fit the concept.

At level 4, her eyes start glowing and the whole party is now nigh unkillable.

I am a happy happy man :D

Let us know how it works out in active play! I certainly know I'd be excited to play with them on several of my characters, both from a role play and a mechanics perspective.

Scarab Sages

I really like Bodyguard, but I've only played a single session with it.

I'm trying out a 1st level Human Dawnflower Dervish Bard with the Bodyguard feat and the trait Adopted to get the Halfling Helpful trait (+4 instead of +2 when aiding another). WIth an 18 Dexterity, I just needed to roll a 6 (or a 4 when using Battle Dance) to protect my adjacent allies, and give them a +4 to their AC against an incoming melee attack, and I could do it 5 times each round. With the trait Blade of Mercy, I was doing 1d8+5 nonlethal damage (or +7 with the battle dance) as well.

It was a lot of fun - I plan on abandoning the bard class to go to a Freebooter Ranger at level 2 to be able to boost my allies and myself at-will, and at 3rd level going for the Enforcer feat to do some free demoralizing, then Dazzling Display at 5th. I found a loophole with the ranger combat style, where I can use the natural style to get Weapon Focus (doesn't specify what I need to get it in, so scimitar it is) and Vital Strike later.

Silver Crusade

Ended up finding out about the beauty of Greater Mercy and Ultimate Mercy for paladins. Raise dead at 6th level, with no expensive component required.

So, here is a question: would you rather play with a Paladin who could try to stop your damage, or one who could bring you back from the dead if you did fall?

Dark Archive 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

How do you get the 10 uses of LOH to power the Ultimate Mercy?

Silver Crusade

Todd Morgan wrote:
How do you get the 10 uses of LOH to power the Ultimate Mercy?

20 charisma for 5, warrior of the holy light for 1 at lvl 4, 3 from paladin levels (6/2=3), and purchase a headband of charisma +2 to get the last one.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

Jiggy wrote:
A**hattery for fun and profit! ;)

You sir are an evil, evil man! :-)

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ryan Bolduan wrote:

My bodyguard is a tower shield using Oracle of battle that can, and does take a tremendous amount of punishment while simultaneously eliminating or minimizing damage to his friends. Built using bodyguard, in harms way, shield other and only attacking to aid, he does the bodyguard role well.

Andrew Christian got to see him in action during the Ruby Phoenix fighting tournament where he basically shielded the group from damage.

Yeah, he was pretty effective, but when the sorcerer and bard/alchemist got out from behind his shield, I kicked some butt all over them.

Dark Archive 3/5

Alexander_Damocles wrote:
Todd Morgan wrote:
How do you get the 10 uses of LOH to power the Ultimate Mercy?
20 charisma for 5, warrior of the holy light for 1 at lvl 4, 3 from paladin levels (6/2=3), and purchase a headband of charisma +2 to get the last one.

My only concern there is you spend every encounter agonizing on if you should use LoH or hold out in case a Raise Dead is needed.

Silver Crusade

bdk86 wrote:
Alexander_Damocles wrote:
Todd Morgan wrote:
How do you get the 10 uses of LOH to power the Ultimate Mercy?
20 charisma for 5, warrior of the holy light for 1 at lvl 4, 3 from paladin levels (6/2=3), and purchase a headband of charisma +2 to get the last one.
My only concern there is you spend every encounter agonizing on if you should use LoH or hold out in case a Raise Dead is needed.

Nope, if someone dies I'll grab the body, beat a retreat with it, and wait a day.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

bdk86 wrote:
Alexander_Damocles wrote:
Todd Morgan wrote:
How do you get the 10 uses of LOH to power the Ultimate Mercy?
20 charisma for 5, warrior of the holy light for 1 at lvl 4, 3 from paladin levels (6/2=3), and purchase a headband of charisma +2 to get the last one.
My only concern there is you spend every encounter agonizing on if you should use LoH or hold out in case a Raise Dead is needed.

You could always spend a feat (or two) on Extra Lay-On-Hands. Stackable, and adds 2 LOH each time it is taken...

Silver Crusade

kinevon wrote:
bdk86 wrote:
Alexander_Damocles wrote:
Todd Morgan wrote:
How do you get the 10 uses of LOH to power the Ultimate Mercy?
20 charisma for 5, warrior of the holy light for 1 at lvl 4, 3 from paladin levels (6/2=3), and purchase a headband of charisma +2 to get the last one.
My only concern there is you spend every encounter agonizing on if you should use LoH or hold out in case a Raise Dead is needed.
You could always spend a feat (or two) on Extra Lay-On-Hands. Stackable, and adds 2 LOH each time it is taken...

I would look at doing that at level 7. I would either be taking Extra Lay on Hands or going the bodyguard route of feats at that point.


My take for a bodyguard would be with an halfling Cavalier (honor guard) with helpful trait and the Order of the Dragon. By level three when you use Bodyguard you would give +6 AC (base +2, +1 order, +1 Honor Guard, +2 Helpful). With your mount you can easily manage to stay next to a fast moving ally. Also the 2 new fighting defensively for halfling in ARG gives half your bonus to all adjacent allies. This build will not make you the greatest tank yourself but your allies should be safe from AC attack when they stay near you.

The Exchange 5/5

Bugromkiller wrote:
My take for a bodyguard would be with an halfling Cavalier (honor guard) with helpful trait and the Order of the Dragon. By level three when you use Bodyguard you would give +6 AC (base +2, +1 order, +1 Honor Guard, +2 Helpful). With your mount you can easily manage to stay next to a fast moving ally. Also the 2 new fighting defensively for halfling in ARG gives half your bonus to all adjacent allies. This build will not make you the greatest tank yourself but your allies should be safe from AC attack when they stay near you.

with a level of fighter you can add in Plate armor and tower shield, getting an AC around 25...

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