Help me with Harry the Helpful Halfling


Advice


I am looking at making a PFS character based around the Helpful race trait. I am imagining a character who has a decent AC and basically does things to help others in combat rather than actually attacking people, so he will seem non-threatening.

I am thinking at the moment that he will be a cleric, possibly with the luck domain, but maybe he doesn't need it if he is just using Aid Another. Sanctuary will be a good spell for him to use, though for it to be effective he will need a decent Wisdom. Since he won't be great in a fight an animal companion might be in order too, so possibly the Feather subdomain. Maybe take the growth domain so I can cast enlarge person, which I know everyone likes.

I kind of envision him as a farmer. Maybe he will take catch-off-guard as his first feat and use a pitchfork in combat. It would be kind of dumb but fun. The other route would be to dump str entirely, get weapon finesse (for unarmed attacks, etc.) and use a crossbow when I have to attack someone directly. The Weapon Finesse will be useful because to aid another you still need to score a hit against AC 10 which at first level will only work 50% of the time. I could go that way and dump strength entirely.

Possibly I would take a dip into Druid or Ranger to get some flavour skills into class (like ride and handle animal) but I don't think a druid or ranger is necessarily how I want to go overall. Bards is an option but I'm not particularly keen on bardic performance.

Right now I am looking at either:

STR 12 (-2 racial=10)
DEX 12 (+2 racial=14)
CON 11
INT 14
WIS 16
CHA 10 (+2 racial=12)

Or dump STR completely:

STR 07 (-2 racial=05)
DEX 14 (+2 racial=16)
CON 12
INT 14
WIS 16
CHA 12 (+2 racial=14)

What do you guys think?

Peet


Bard is a great class for this because you can use a whip, and your skills means your out-of-combat Aid Another will all the more useful. Plus, Bard is just a very helpful class in general.


In keeping with the overall helpful divine caster theme, perhaps consider Inquisitor. Adaptable, free teamwork feats, lots of skill points, spell selection slanted a bit towards utility, access to a domain. If you like the farmer angle, maybe the Animal domain with an Aurochs animal companion. You can ride around on your cow.

I'm also a big fan of the feat Well-Prepared. Seems like that would fit right in with the whole helpful theme.


If you're going Cleric, you may want to consider the Evangelist archetype, as it gives you Bardic performances at the cost of a domain and some of your ability to heal.

Full bards are great, though. I'm strangely partial to the Court Bard archetype as a debuffer, though perhaps the Street Performer is more in line with the peasant-ish sort of character you have in mind. The "Harmless Performer" ability is pretty great if you plan on standing around close to the action without actually attacking (aiding another, healing, buffing, flanking, etc), and "Disappearing Act" can effectively do the same thing for an ally who is also supporting, or who is badly damaged and needs the heat taken off them; turn them invisible so they can slink off and down a potion or whatever they need to do.

In terms of being helpful in a non-combative way, though, there are a lot of good feats to choose from. There's the Cautious Fighter, chain, which includes Blundering Defense and possibly Uncanny Defense. There's also Bodyguard and Swift Aid to make the best of the Helpful trait.

And it's pretty distant from your farmer concept, but Cavaliers from the Order of the Dragon also gain a bonus when using Aid Another after 2nd level. The Honor Guard archetype also really helps with this. I once helped a friend make a halfling cavalier along these lines. He had been rescued as an infant by a group of wandering cavaliers. They thought of him as a good luck charm, and kept him around as a squire and eventually a flag-bearer. They treated him well, but never really took him seriously, and so when he was old enough he decided to strike off on his own and have his own adventures. We went with a mixture of cavalier and bard, with the flagbearer feat and as many of the feats listed above as we could get.

There are also ways to boost the Cautious Fighter feat, such as taking the Shielded Fighter archetype, using a madu exotic shield, or somehow taking the crane style feats, but may be getting even more min/maxy, which doesn't feel like your style; isn't mine, either.


Yeah, the Inquisitor class looks like it might be good too. I'd miss having the channels since they give you a lot of noncombat healing, but there are always wands. Lend Judgement is good spell for a "helper" too. I also might go for the preacher archetype because of the warning ability. Then just take a trait to get Handle Animal in class.

I wouldn't mind seeing a halfling version of Inquisitor that swapped intimidate out of Stern Gaze in exchange for maybe bluff or diplomacy.

Also I wouldn't need to go so high on INT if I played an Inquisitor. I could perhaps swap it for CON.

Well prepared is neat but if it was for an inquisitor I would have to get a GM to permit Survival to be used instead of Sleight-of-Hand. Is that legal for PFS?


Mr. Bacon, thanks for the advice, particularly with the feats.

Street Performer is pretty neat because it's basically a sanctuary at will as a bardic performance. Also Cha as a casting stat is ideal for a halfling. However, I lose the animal companion, which is a downer.

Those halfling defensive feats are great, though. Feats are expensive as an inquisitor, but it is a good plan to fight defensively while you use the aid another action, so feats that work with that atr nice.

Bodyguard is a bit weird, though... it says you can use an AoO to aid another on an ally... but the enemy's attack on your ally does not necessarily provoke an AoO, right? So the enemy basically has to charge or otherwise move into your threatened area.

I had thought about cavalier but I think I want the ability to cast divine spells. Besides, the Order of the Dragon's ability does not stack with the helpful trait (as far as I can tell). Likewise for fighters, though the feats would be helpful. Might dip to fighter for a level or two for them, and that allows more armor & weapons too.

Oh, and MacGurcules, I was actually thinking of the feather domain, and taking a giant chicken companion (an axe beak). But the cow is a good idea. The other idea I had was a donkey (same stats as a pony, so I assume that's kosher).

Peet


I also recommend a bard. An Order of the Dragon cavalier is also a good choice given that they too are focused on aiding their allies. I don't know what level PFS goes up to each season, but for a character that likes to aid others and support his allies so that they shine and achieve glory, you really can't do much better than a Battle Herald, IMO.


I don't think Swift Aid works with the helpful trait. Both change your aid another bonus rather than being worded as increases or decreases so the more "specific" completely overrides the "general" and an optional use feat is more specific than an always active class ability.


Swift aid is not benefited by the helpful trait, but you could use the swift aid action as a swift action and then the regular aid action as a standard action, so the bonuses would stack. Multiple Aid attempts do stack. But no, I'm not sure I would spend a feat to be able to do this, since it would only be an extra +1 and I'm already getting +4.

BTW, PFS maxes out around level 13.


Peet wrote:
Bodyguard is a bit weird, though... it says you can use an AoO to aid another on an ally... but the enemy's attack on your ally does not necessarily provoke an AoO, right? So the enemy basically has to charge or otherwise move into your threatened area.

With Bodyguard, the act of attacking your allies is what provokes an attack of opportunity, so they don't need to do something else to provoke. The only difficulty is being adjacent to an ally while still threatening the opponent in question. Reach weapons help a lot with this, though.

Peet wrote:
Swift aid is not benefited by the helpful trait..

Is this official somewhere? My friends and I have house-ruled it that Swift Aid simply gives you 1/2 whatever your usual bonus is (rounded down, naturally), so in the case of a Helpful halfling, it would be +2.

Thinking of inquisitor builds, it's also tempting to coordinate a Butterfly's Sting build with a strong ally. Focus on using something like a kukri (originally a peasant weapon derived from a tool, essentially a small machete, so appropriate for a farmer) for the high crit rate, and just be really accurate and don't worry about damage. Maybe you can convince a friend to make a big burly farmer friend who uses a scythe (conveniently a x4 crit weapon) who can do insane damage with the crits you pass him.

If each of you takes outflank, you get into this situation where when you score a crit, you deal normal damage, and your buddy gets a free AoO that is an auto-crit if it hits. Now, if you can also pick up Seize the Moment, when your ally lands his crit you get an AoO, too. With a keen weapon and a little luck, this can lead to some impressive chains of damage. It'll take a lot of feats, though, and obviously a willing friend.

I also like the idea of a cow or a bull companion, I guess using the aurochs stats. I can't figure out a way to get summon spells on a inquisitor, which is too bad, because summoning a herd of cows to take advantage of that stampede ability would be hilarious! A pig (using the boar stats) would be fine, too, or even a farm dog.


Chris P. Bacon wrote:


Peet wrote:
Swift aid is not benefited by the helpful trait..

Is this official somewhere? My friends and I have house-ruled it that Swift Aid simply gives you 1/2 whatever your usual bonus is (rounded down, naturally), so in the case of a Helpful halfling, it would be +2.

Swift Aid reads "As a swift action, you can attempt the aid another action, granting your ally either a +1 bonus on his next attack roll or a +1 bonus to his AC" and Helpful reads "Whenever you successfully perform an aid another action, you grant your ally a +4 bonus instead of the normal +2."

Since there is no +2 bonus when you use Swift Aid, you cannot take anything instead of the +2 bonus, and Helpful has no effect.


That's just a case of bad writing. I'd propose reading helpful as "Whenever you successfully perform an aid another action, the bonus you grant your ally increases by +2."


If you're willing to consider a spellcaster, here's a halfling abjurer build. He's "helpful" in the sense that he's specialized as a buffer and battlefield controller. By midlevels the rest of the party should be very happy indeed that they have him.

Halfling abjurer:

Halfling wizard (abjurer). Start with 15 Int and 14 Dex (16 racial). Opposing are two of enchantment, illusion, or necromancy. Take one or more skill-related traits. Max out Spellcraft and otherwise spread your skill ranks thinly but widely so you can get maximum benefit from the Helpful trait. Take a bound object instead of a familiar, because you're going to be casting a lot of situational buffs.

1 -- Take Dodge as your 1st level feat. For starting spells, take Protection from Evil, Mage Armor, a couple of utility spells -- Color Spray, Sleep, Summon Monster 1, or such. You carry a light crossbow, but already it's clear you're not about offense. You walk around at AC 16 (size, dodge, dex), boosted to 20 before entering a dungeon. You can throw protective ward (+1 to AC for self and allies within 10') several times per day, though its short range and limited duration (2 rounds!) make it pretty conditional, especially since it's a standard action. Still, you're a perfectly good first level wizard.

2 -- Pick up Shield and another utility spell. Shield is a miserable 2 minutes duration but it's good to have when facing a boss or in an unexpected combat late in the day after your mage armor is gone. Consider Reduce Person -- it's just a solid for you. +2 Dex, +1 AC and +1 to attack? The only drawbacks are -2 Str (have the barbarian carry all your stuff) and short duration (1 min/level).

3 -- Honestly not sure what's the best feat here, but Improved Initiative can't hurt -- get your Init up to +7 so you'll usually go first, activating your ward or throwing buffs on the party before the bad guys can act. The second level abjuration spells are not great but you can't go too wrong with Resist Energy. Consider investing in a no-DC offensive spell (Summon Monster or the like) to boost your offensive contribution. Also, depending on your opposing school, look at buffs that stack with yours, like Blur, Cat's Grace, Defending Bone, False Life and Invisibility. You cast these on yourself if threatened; otherwise, on your fellow party members as they charge into combat.

4 -- Put that point into Int -- even if you don't cast a lot of spells with save DCs, you'll want that bonus spell next level, and also it will increase the duration on your protective ward. Mage Armor now lasts four hours so you're often walking around with AC 20; Shield can boost that to 24 for four minutes. Pick up a couple of good 2nd level battlefield control spells like Web or Glitterdust. You may now start eagerly eyeing that Lesser Metamagic Rod (extend) -- maybe not yet, but soon.

5 -- This is a very good level for this build. Two feats, third level spells (and there are some good third level abjuration spells -- Dispel Magic, Magic Circle), Summon Monster III (good monster list), and several good buffs that stack with yours (Ablative Barrier, Displacement.) (Unfortunately not Haste; its +1 AC bonus is a Dodge bonus. Still a fine spell anyway as a party buff.) Also, your protective ward jumps to +2. Also, you can now afford that LMR! Suddenly you can have Mage Armor for 10 hours, Shield for 10 minutes, and if you summon creatures they last for 10 rounds. You may also be able to afford a +2 Dex boosting item -- those are 4,000 gp, the rod was 3,000, and in theory you should have around 10,000 at this point.

6 -- You get that spiffy energy-absorbing ability at this level, which is definitely the best thing about the abjurer. First 18 points of anything? You laugh at fireballs and barely flinch at dragon breath. You can also afford a +2 Int-boosting item, so you'll get that 4th level bonus spell.

7 -- Pick up Dimension Door; not only is it a great getaway spell (and grapple insurance), but it lets you blip around the battlefield throwing your buffs and protection spells where they're most needed.

At 5th level the halfling will walk around most of the day with AC 21, enter the dungeon with Mage Armor and Shield up for AC 25, and can briefly get up to AC 31 or 32 with some combination of Reduce Person, Cat's Grace and either Protection from Evil or protective ward. That's not bad. You'll usually need to balance buffing yourself and helping the party, mind.

Doug M.


I agree with Rufus, that's my reading of it too. Not that it's a huge problem, becuase with a swift action you are still getting an extra +1. Not a bad trade for a swift action if you don't need it.

But of course, there are other abilities that modify the aid another action too, particularly the Order of the Dragon ability. In both cases they change the aid another action to a fixed amount, so I think the wording is intentional to prevent exploits.

Peet


Chris P. Bacon wrote:
Peet wrote:
Bodyguard is a bit weird, though... it says you can use an AoO to aid another on an ally... but the enemy's attack on your ally does not necessarily provoke an AoO, right? So the enemy basically has to charge or otherwise move into your threatened area.
With Bodyguard, the act of attacking your allies is what provokes an attack of opportunity, so they don't need to do something else to provoke. The only difficulty is being adjacent to an ally while still threatening the opponent in question. Reach weapons help a lot with this, though.

I don't see that the enemy attacking grants an AoO from the wording of the feat. It just says that when the enemy attacks you may use an AoO to aid your ally. You still need to get an AoO somehow.

Peet


Peet wrote:
Chris P. Bacon wrote:
Peet wrote:
Bodyguard is a bit weird, though... it says you can use an AoO to aid another on an ally... but the enemy's attack on your ally does not necessarily provoke an AoO, right? So the enemy basically has to charge or otherwise move into your threatened area.
With Bodyguard, the act of attacking your allies is what provokes an attack of opportunity, so they don't need to do something else to provoke. The only difficulty is being adjacent to an ally while still threatening the opponent in question. Reach weapons help a lot with this, though.

I don't see that the enemy attacking grants an AoO from the wording of the feat. It just says that when the enemy attacks you may use an AoO to aid your ally. You still need to get an AoO somehow.

Peet

I'm pretty sure you're misreading the feat. Here's the text just for clarity:

Bodyguard wrote:

Bodyguard (Combat)

Your swift strikes ward off enemies attacking nearby allies.

Prerequisite: Combat reflexes.

Benefit: When an adjacent ally is attacked, you may use an attack of opportunity to attempt the aid another action to improve your ally’s AC. You may not use the aid another action to improve your ally’s attack roll with this attack.

Normal: Aid another is a standard action.

Note that by your interpretation of the feat, it would serve almost no purpose because attacking allies does not normally trigger attacks of opportunity.

Moving through one of your threatened squares would trigger an AoO, but that would be before the creature attacked, so you wouldn't be able to use this feat in that situation. The creature would move, trigger the AoO, and then after it was resolved they would attack, so the feat would be meaningless.

Instead, note that it does not say that you're actually making an AoO, you're aiding another at the expense of one of your per-round uses of an AoO. You're "using" an AoO, not making one.

It's awkwardly worded, I'll admit, but I think it's heavily implied that this ability is triggered whenever an adjacent ally is attacked. I've been in a few other discussions with this feat and nobody thought to interpret it in any other way.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

It's not really the farmer type you're looking for, but the Cloistered Cleric can use Aid Another at range once it hits level three. They lose a lot of your typical cleric chassis to become bookworms, but you can lecture people on how they're "doing it wrong" in order to help!


Don't be persuaded that a cleric is a bad way to go. They rock, however you build them.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Yes, Cleric of Abadar, then go into Balanced Scale of Abadar.

The Access the Vault power is basically a more awesome version of the Well-Prepared feat.

The party needs an obscure item, then you have it.

Holocaust Cloak? Yeah, you have one.


OK, it is sounding like the helpful halfling is a viable guy in melee. He fights defensively with Cautious Defense, and with weapon finesse he can still hit AC 10 reliably at low level. Or would you ditch WF? I'm on the fence there. I`m guessing a fighter dip at second level just to get an extra feat, but rather than WF, maybe combat expertise, to get butterfly`s sting later.

But at range against flying guys I can still envision a problem. You can only aid another in melee, not at range. Mind you, he will have a decent DEX and will be carrying a ranged weapon, but with the feats spent on defense there won't be time to build an archer.

So what would your solutions be for dealing with flying enemies or other situations where you are forced to operate at range?

Also, here`s a question: if you cast a spell with a range of touch, can it be considered an attack even if you are using it on an ally? Fighting Defensively will likely be the option at all times with this guy, and I`d hate to lose the AC when doing that.

Peet


One feat I'm personally fond of that you might consider is Lucky Halfling from APG. Lets you roll a save for an ally once per day - and gives them the option of choosing whether or not to take it AFTER the roll. Synergizes well with classes that have good saves - like cleric or possibly bard.


Shadowdweller wrote:
One feat I'm personally fond of that you might consider is Lucky Halfling from APG. Lets you roll a save for an ally once per day - and gives them the option of choosing whether or not to take it AFTER the roll. Synergizes well with classes that have good saves - like cleric or possibly bard.

I forgot all about that. A very useful ability for a helpful halfling, who, just by being a halfling, has a little boost to all his saves. Helpful, indeed!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

definitely make a bard!
1) racial bonus to Cha.
2) maintaining performance is a free action so it won't inhibit your ability to aid (after the first round), and at 7th starting it is a move action (which increases likelihood of aiding that round).
3) party buffs are super helpful!

you can still make him a farmer. just have him be a gossip (knows something about everything/everyone) who whistle or sing no matter what kind of work he's doing (plus the occasional jig...), and sometimes it gives everyone bonuses :)
since you'll have a decent Cha (and a caster level), you can pick up Eldritch Heritage [Arcane] and bond with your weapon- that'll give you one extra spell slot per day and allow you (even in PFS play) to enchant it (put Benevolent on it).


Lemme take a look... Ah yes. Link


Peet wrote:
What the original poster said

Strongly consider the fighter class: for what you have in mind, feats are worth twice your weight (because you're a halfling) in gold. Your entire build's based around "Helpful", yes? Great idea.

Take Combat Reflexes and Bodyguard early. You'll likely have a high Dex. 3 to 4 opportunities, EVERY ROUND, of giving your allies a +4 to their AC = priceless. You don't have threaten the baddie. Just be adjacent to the to-be-bolstered ally.*

Take the Combat Expertise, Gang Up, and Team Up tree. Now you can give an adjacent ally a +4 to their attack, as well (and you can do it as a move action, so you still get the chance to get your attack in!)

Feats like Lucky Halfling and Well-Prepared (as others above have said) are great "fillers" and should be strongly considered.

Finally, consider grabbing Taunt and another feat or two to give you options to Intimidate (ex: Enforcer, Weapon Focus + Dazzling Display, etc)...you achieve some helpful crowd-control with a minor debuff. Don't do it the usual (Intimidate) way, because your small size gives you a -4. But Taunt bypasses this, so put your points in Bluff.

If your CHA score gives you a positive modifier, consider Battle Cry.

The Cautious Fighter / Blundering Defense combo is also a boon to your allies.

Obviously, a feat-intensive idea. But you could have a tough little helpful bastard who gives anyone he's standing next to a +2 bonus (Cautious Fighter / Blundering Defense / fighting defensively), with multiple options of STACKING another +4 bonus (Bodyguard)**, who also can assist in one ally's attack roll +4 (Team Up), while still getting his own attack in.

A very ego-less build. Great idea (as I said). I considered building you an example, but you get the idea.

*Confirmed. On a thread at this site.
**if he has a shield and Saving Shield, yet another +2


Varisien pilgrim is a great archetype for this: You can give out your domain powers.

Swift Aid and Order of the Dragon don't stack with helpful because they both set a number(eg, you get +3),instead of a blanket "increase".

Bodyguard just expends an AoO; it doesn't say anything about "provoking", so you should be OK if a GM rules that attacking does not provoke. (long, contentious argument on this in the forums, but so far inPFS, you're ok as long as you are adjacent and have an AoO available.)

Cautious fighter and blundering defense work well with Crane Style a d Three ranks inAcrobatics.

Combine aid another with benevolent armor for extra.aid to AC.

(sorry for typos. On my phone.)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Maybe go fighter since you want lots of feats and AC. With a dip into cleric or bard or inquisitor.

I can see you using a rake or hoe to trip opponents, disarm them, and do lots of dirty tricks. Which then give bonuses to your allies on hitting the shaken, sickened, prone opponent.


There are a couple of mentions of bodyguard only requiring you to be adjacent to the ally. Would somebody point me to this thread please? I intend on playing a character with this feat and would like this proof on hand for PFS.


Gummy Bear wrote:
There are a couple of mentions of bodyguard only requiring you to be adjacent to the ally. Would somebody point me to this thread please? I intend on playing a character with this feat and would like this proof on hand for PFS.

Sure thing.

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2l7ns&page=514?Ask-James-Jacobs-ALL-your-Qu estions-Here#25673

Silver Crusade Contributor

Note that James Jacobs is not part of the rules team, as he will tell you himself. He specifically stopped answering most rules questions after his answers were used as evidence in various forum debates.

Your PFS GM may not accept his posts as evidence - I'd get a second opinion, just to be on the safe side. ^_^

As for the topic at hand, I have a Oath of Loyalty paladin with Helpful in PFS that I'm quite fond of.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Halfling Tactician Fighter seems great. Lots of feats and ability to hand them over and Aid Another multiple allies.

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