Character Idea - Need Some Help / Advice


Silver Crusade

Hello readers! As with all my work I shall begin with an introduction. I am Leland Grier, initiate member of the Pathfinder Grand Lodge of Absalom, pathfinder and scribe. The society sends me to assist particularly noteworthy pathfinders in there endeavors. I'm there to make sure that the amazing tales of these spectacular individuals are recorded! Some have a gift for the craft, others a gift for the sword, and others are true beacons of the gods, its these rare qualities that the society needs documented! So, its with the blessing of the Grand Lodge that I now present you with their tales, and know that it is because of these fine folk that Golarion is a safer place of being.

So, with that out of the way, the character I have planned is this! I want this character to be exactly as the description states, an author! So far, the concept I've come up with has him as an Aasimar Bard, working his way to becoming a pathfinder chronicler. The goal would be to be a SUPPORT hero. Although I'm new to PFS, I'm very experienced with Pathfinder in general. I'd like this character to be able to play with brand new players and be able to make them feel like the celebrities. With all that said, I'd like to optimize a character to make others feel optimized. Any help from my fellow forumites would be greatly appreciated!

The things I'm taking into account are, ability to make others feel tough in combat (buffing/debuffing). Being able to progress the story in ways newer players might not notice (knowledge checks, party face stuffs). Functionality as a party member (always useful, regardless of the situation/party make up). Lastly try to keep to the Bard 5/Pathfinder Chronicler 7 build, unless of course you can give me a good reason to go a different route, while maintaining flavor.

Dark Archive

I think just a vanilla bard might be the way to go with this one. I assume by the logo you have already made your choice for faction. Have a good look at those faction traits. Good luck with the Chronicler, I have actually never seen one played, online or on table.

Dark Archive

The Archivist archetype (Advanced Player's Guide) might interest you, if only for the more academic slant it puts on Bardic Performance, a knack for identifying monsters (a useful skill), and some trap support when dealing with magical traps.

Because the archetype only replaces specific uses of Bardic Performance (i.e. Inspire Courage) it doesn't look like it will interfere at all with the Chronicler's ability to stack with Bard levels for overall effect.

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I don't know bards very well in particular, but I will say this: many people playing "support" casters tend to overemphasize their casting stat. Remember that a 1st-level PC casting a buff spell will see no difference between having a 12 or a 20 in their casting stat. You only need a high stat if you're going for high save DCs. So keep that in mind.

Also, if you're going the aasimar route, make sure to pick up Blood of Angels for awesome heritages; each has a unique flavor along with alternate ability adjustments, SLAs, etc.

Actually a 20 charisma nets him a second bonus spell at first level.

But I agree with Jiggy. If support is your true goal you don't need to boost save DCs. And you only need a 16 charisma (by level 16, after adding your level bonuses) to cast the bard's highest spells. (But you're not playing to level 16 so that's a moot point.)

How many charisma based skills do you want to use?

Silver Crusade

Bdk86 - Losing Inspire Courage seems like a bad tradeoff for the trapfinding gains. Especially since I want to make others feel like the celebrities. But thank you for the suggestion

Jiggy/Therealthom - I agree with you, I think I would set my stats to be balanced maybe something along the lines of 10/12/14/14/10/16. This would allow me to still maintain a party face appearance and be useful in a number of other situations (decent hp/decent skill points/decent saves).

Continuing with your question Thom, I was thinking I'd take pretty much every CHA based skill. Save for maybe handle animal. Maybe I could use Dazzling Display as I get higher in level as a sort of massive debuff.

The idea needs to have lots of options in the way of action choices. This way I can always add something to any type of party. Maybe Dazzling Display for debuffs. Whip for trips and Aid another at 15' range, spell buffs and or debuffs depending on the situation (charm monster/hideous laughter/grease/images as required). Healing when there is a lack of it, and inspiring courage/competence as needed. Toss in the having lots of scrolls of random xyz benefit of the pathfinder chronicler and you have a pretty decent support character.

Does everyone agree with the whip/dazzling display path? Perhaps I should look at it from another angle?

Edit - Oh and jiggy, it was my understanding that lots of the aasimar stuffs from blood of angels wasn't allowed. For example, can musetouched be played in PFS?

Most pfs characters have a dayjob. You can select Author or scribe as your dayjob, have your income be described as book sales and avoid the imho horrible pathfinder chronicler prestige class.

Dark Archive

Leland Grier wrote:
Bdk86 - Losing Inspire Courage seems like a bad tradeoff for the trapfinding gains.

Read the archetype, you're not swapping Inspire Courage for trapfinding. You're swapping it for a Bardic Music use (Naturalist)that improves party AC & saves versus abilities against monsters you've identified.

But again, it was just a suggestion.

And yes, a Musetouched can be played in PFS.

Sounds like a fun character.

I can't comment on whip/dazzling display.

Good luck.

Your party will often look to the bard when a face is needed; frequently in PFS. Try to think of a way you can support someone else as the face if you want to be a totally supportive character.

Hmmm... teamwork feats? (though that would require a way for sharing a feat someone doesn't have... :)

EDIT: oh yeah, carry around a little bit of everything. I ran a bard who had three handy haversacks just so he could pull out... a piece of chalk... a ladder... a fishook...

Silver Crusade

Curaigh - The chronicler ability lets me pull mundane things out like that fairly easily up to 100gp per character level. A ladder might be difficult, but the others fairly easily.

Bdk - My mistake, I'll have to reread the archetype, it may be much more beneficial than I thought.


Excellent! Support characters are great! They are the best and worst class in the game all depending on how the party is doing! Prepare for that.

If the party is struggling to do damage and you're a support character be prepared to get a few glances that convey the idea you aren't producing. No it doesn't matter that other people are not doing damage, it will be your fault. With that out of the way though, we can get to the real advice.

I am by no means an expert on bards. I have only played one bard in PFS to date, it is a level 7 Dirge Bard. Think bard that can affect dead things with mind effecting spells, and you have the concept.

Once you take chronicler, you wont be playing with new characters anymore. You will be adventuring with level six characters are fairly tough people, granted not as tough as the 12+ characters, but solid seasoned adventurers.

I have examined Bard/chronicler and I have a couple questions.

How do you plan on progressing this character? If you are looking at this as I'm inspiring new pathfinders to grow and do things differently, that is a cool, but YOU are a new pathfinder at lower levels and so likely wont be taken as seriously when you are instructing people with the same experience level as you.

Once you get to level 6+ and take chronicler what are you adding to the party? Chronicler is a half bard/rogue mixture that loses increasing ability to cast spells in favor of picking up some favored enemy and disarming. Even at top level you're really just a Quickrunner shirt that occasionally disarms traps and a caster stuck with just a few level 1/2 spells...

Have you considered going 7Bard/5Loremaster? Picking up metamagic feats like extend, bouncing, whatever to make your spell casting last longer/better, an extended haste will make everyone jump for joy, and having a heroism last for 20m/level is pretty awesome. It will up your buffing ability quite a lot.

Unless you are planning on doing some craziness with this character I think you will be lacking in the power curve. My suggestion would be to go with a full bard build, maybe taking a level dip into rogue if you REALLY want those trap disarm skills.

Silver Crusade

Coraith -
Question 1 - The point is not to instruct them at all, but instead to make them better at trying things. As well, to assist them in rules based knowledge as a "lead by example" sort of approach. Inspiring competence in order to make them pass their skill checks, showing newer players how to use the aid another action to maximum benefit.

Question 2 - Your looking at the wrong prestige class....chroniclers don't get trapfinding or favored enemy. Chroniclers become better at the aid another and inspiring actions by giving up spellcasting. Yes, it is a large trade off, I agree, but a flavorfull one that fits the concept of helping someone be the celebrity.

Question 3 - I honestly did consider the loremaster as my first choice, the problem being I can really only assist with my spells then. Bards are not full casters as such don't benefit from being treated like that. Giving up all my other bardic abilities in order to pursue a full casting avenue seemed like I'd just be a weaker wizard.

The flavor of the character is a chronicler for the pathfinder society. As he progresses in levels, his tales would become more elaborate and he would gain renown as an author. My goal is to make this concept work with as large a party diversion as possible (5 paladin party, 5 wizards, etc). This can only be done by having multiple avenues of approach. 5 Wizards wont give a damn if I can haste, but they will certainly be happy with my inspire for additional damage, or increasing their ray spells, as well as with my healing and my debuffing via dazzling display.

Full bard would work better Coraith. I agree, to be honest, I think that may be the best route to go. It just seems like a waste to have a prestige class that directly fills my concept and not use it.

Edit - In addition, I will also record every game played with this character in order to write a short "novella?" about the adventure. Reciting what happened from the perspective of Leland, as well as posting these to this website and a website I have generated for this. It allows for a completely immersible experience. +If you play with him, you know there will be a short story about you which makes it interesting for cons/etc.

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All this talk is making me remember the good old times in this thread, where we had the same discussion a while ago ;)

Head over there if you've got time, Leland, you might stumble across something you can use.

Overall, the character I winded up rolling with is currently level 9 (lore warden 1, bard 8), and has been a blast in every game he's played in. I can shoot things decently with my Heavy Repeating Crossbow (stocked with various ammo), perform as a move, cast spells, UMD, carry several bags of holding with useful stuff (adamantine morningstars anyone?), and just lots and lots of situational perfection. He often spends his turns making everyone else better (as you want to do), and there are some great bard spells that support this (I'm looking at you saving finale).

He's a chronicler too, but without the prestige class (just in flavor, with profession (scribe), etc), and perform oratory so he quite literally just talks about how great his allies are to inspire them. Definitely one of my favorite characters.

Kudos to you for wanting to roll up a bard, I'm sure you'll have fun no matter what you make!

Grand Lodge

Whips can be interesting, although a bit feat intensive if you want to be able to get away with things without provoking.

Without working the feat chains, remember never to use a whip while adjacent to an enemy, it provokes. And won't damage anyone with any armor at all, and very few animal opponents. Using a whip for attacking provokes, using a whip for combat maneuvers provokes, etc.

In other words, carry at least a dagger for backup/grapples.

And, yes, keep your eye on the various consumables, both mundane and magical. And on mundane equipment that no one thinks about, but may prove handy in the oddest circumstances. No matter what anyone else says, Batman was a Bard. ;)

On skills, don't forget UMD. Don't forget the Circlet of Persuasion. (Does that use a different slot than the Headband of Charisma uses?)

Remember, having fun is the object, for you, the other players, and even the GM.

Dark Archive

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Yes, kinevon, circlet is head, headband of charisma is headband.


Indeed I was looking at another class, the Pathfinder Delver, which still seemed kinda weak. After looking at the chronicler, boy oh boy... it's weaker still. I think possibly you should look at a different class altogether for a combo, a bard/Pathfinder Savant would probably be more useful to the party then a Bard/pathfinder chronicler

Silver Crusade

Walter - Thank you, I'm reviewing the thread now! Lots of good advice there it seems.

Kinevon - I think for the whip I'd just go for weapon focus/dazzling display.

I'm still currently having lots of trouble deciding on feats and such. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Walter, do you regret getting rid of the chronicler idea? I notice you started with that initially.

Dark Archive

I think the largest concern with Chronicler is the loss of caster levels, which is going to make it harder to keep up with spell-based buffing at higher levels (on a class that already doesn't have a lot of spells per day).

As far as feats, if you're thinking Whip, get a Scorpion Whip (does lethal damage; you're proficient in it if you have Whip proficiency). I'd then recommend the following feat progression. Obviously, you can mix it up as needed/delay taking any of these, just mind level based prereqs like BAB.

  • 3rd-Weapon Focus (Scorpion Whip)(Whip Mastery & Dazzling Display Prereq)
  • 5th-Dazzling Display
  • 7th-Whip Mastery (Ultimate Combat) (Whip Attacks No Longer Provoke AoOs)
  • 9th-Improved Whip Mastery (Ultimate Combat) (Threatened Area for Whip, Grab Objects, Use Whip as Grappling Hook)

Weapon Finesse might be worth considering if your Dexterity bonus is 2 or more higher than your strength bonus. Combat Reflexes at 11th could also be worth it, just to enjoy the threatened area granted by Improved Whip Mastery. By the end of this tree, though, you'll be able to do the following with a Whip: Intimidate all foes within 30', take AoOs in a 10' reach, grab small or tiny objects within 15', use your whip as a grappling hook, and no longer provoke AoOs for using a whip adjacent to a threatening foe.

For your other two feats, I'd also look at things that improve your Bardic Music or spell casting in some way.

EDIT: I'm a doof and forgot Weapon Focus requires a +1 BAB, meaning a bard couldn't take it at 1st level. Pushed the feat progression up level wise.


Leland Grier wrote:
Walter, do you regret getting rid of the chronicler idea? I notice you started with that initially.

I have played with his Bard before. I must say I couldn't imagine his character as a chronicler. It would be a step back from where it is, spells will always trump aid another buff.

I really suggest not giving up your spellcasting. Being stuck at 2nd level spells means no haste, greater invisibility, dispel magic, displacement, break enchantment, all those spells that will take a party member from good to great. I know on my fighter I would much rather have Haste then a +4 on the next attack I make, and I know the argument will come up that a wizard can haste. It's true, but if the wizard doesn't have to haste because he knows somebody else has it covered, it means he can prepare that extra damage spell. That means you just empowered a melee character with haste and the fireball the wizard gets to cast, is because of you.

Silver Crusade

I think for PF Chronicler, Deep pockets Is only class level not character level, so only your PF Chronicler levels apply and your Bard levels would not. At least that's the way It reads to me, what's the opinion of everyone else?. I do really like the theme of the character but It would have been nice If It was a little stronger. Good luck and play what you want to.

Silver Crusade

Bdk - Thanks for the whip information, do you think its still a good route if I'm going pure bard now?

Coraith - Okay, you sold me. I'll drop the chronicler, is pure bard my best option now? What other options might you recommend. Does the whip still look like a good choice?

Blue Minotaur - IT definitely is only pathfinder chronicler levels that stack for that RAW and RAI.

Dark Archive

Leland Grier wrote:
Bdk - Thanks for the whip information, do you think its still a good route if I'm going pure bard now?

It depends. The best use of the reach weapon in this case is being able to aid another from a distance. Improved Whip Mastery is still fairly awesome in all the stuff it lets you do with a whip, but you're not going to have the +4 aid another bonus Chronicler would give you so the buff you're granting won't be so useful at higher levels.

I think your biggest thing is figuring out something to do in combat when you don't need to be casting a spell and you've already started Bardic Music up for the combat. Dazzling Display is a pretty good choice for mass a debuff you can refresh, but you don't have to go the whip route for that.

I would personally go with stats more 10/16/10/14/10/18 if Musetouched Aasimar, if you want the bard debuffs/dazzling display to work you need the Cha for the DCs. Other races Human/Gnome are my personal choices for the favored class options, would let you hit close to those maybe needing a 17 Cha to make the point spread work.
Also, having a couple odd stats 15/17 means you save a few creation points, and you're going to get +3 in 14 levels to work with, so you have an odd one out anyways before you max out.

The archivist doesn't lose the inspire courage completely, it changes it Naturalist, which works on any creature you identified with a knowledge check. it still gives +1 to all attack/saves/ac/whatever to all allies in x feet, also gives you trapfinding, lets you take 10 spellcraft to identify items/scrolls and +1/2 level to do so. You do lose versatile performance completely tho, so you actually have to pay for all the cha based skills individually.

Are you set on the Aasimar race? If you chose Gnome/Elf/Dwarf you could take the Breadth of Experience feat at 1st for +2 to all knowledges and the ability to make them untrained, 5 or 10 levels before you get Jack of All Trades. Giving you +8 on all knowledges you put ranks in at 1st level, with that 14 int you listed.

Even without this feat, with 14 Int, and since you get to start taking 10 on any you have 1 rank in at 2nd level, 18 on all knowledge skills you have 1 rank in at level 2 is killer Meaning your naturalist ability pretty much always works at full benefits so long as you are even close to the proper level for scenarios.

If you plan like the archivist after consideration, also take the Vagabond Child Trait, so that you get Disable device as a class skill, no sense not maxing it out to give you one more thing you do well.
Then probably Maestro of the Society? it think for 3 more bardic music rounds/day.

As an Aasimar, look closely at not taking the hp/skp each level and instead increasing a bardic performance type by 1/2 level, hitting the +4s at 12 instead of 15-17 is kinda cool since they're otherwise unavailable... especially if it's your naturalist ability to everything you identify.

Also, masterpiece performances are legal, but very costly normally. If you chose to be human, and to take the bonus spell known instead of the hp/skp option for favored class, then you will have the extra spells known to burn in order to learn the masterpieces, which provide some handy buffs just with the ones in UM, not sure what ones are in other supplements. If nothing else, The House of Imaginary Walls masterpiece, ability to ignore pits/broken bridges for bardic performance? Bleed damage AoE that bypasses DR? 10 Ft enhancement bonus to speed for 1 ally/level? Yes please...

So far as the Whip thing, wpn focus, whip master, dazzling display, and you'll need wpn finesse, thats... 4 of your 6 feats... as much as the aid another at range is awesome i don't think its gonna pay out for a feat-light build, especially for only a +2.

You're already lookin at 3rd level weapon focus, 5th level Dazzling Display, I'd suggest wpn finesse or arcane strike at 1st level to be personally combat effective, or Lingering performance/xtra perform for bard buffs, Spellsong is great to cast 2 charm persons (or another concentration to maintain spell) at the same time, or persuasive for the face job and dazzling display checks in the future. Regardless of where you start, you're gonna have to pick 2 of the three, personal combat, caster/perform buffs, face/skill man. Even a bard in PFS can't do them all, altho he's probably the closest one who can.


Whips are never a bad choice until you want to do damage. If all you want is to do aid another with it, then a whip is going to be the best idea. I would always keep a weapon or two in reserve plus your whip.

If you want to provide bonuses to your allies and still manage to participate in combat past aiding another and spell casting, you could look into Arcane Duelist, but you lose Bardic knowledge which sucks imo.

I'm a fan of just a straight bard if you are going to go with a party assist build.

Dazzling display is decent, but can be accomplished with a second level spell (Blistering Invective) as a standard action that also deals fire damage and can catch them on fire. I recommend getting the meta magic Extend feat so you can double those buff duration. Other feats are hard to pick out without knowing your playgroup but you can always pick up improved initiative, Lingering Performance, and bards naturally go well as the face so there is no reason not to pick up some of the feats that bolster that.

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