Need help with a 'sword prodigy that sneaks' for one of our players


Advice


Greetings folks!

I find myself in an awkward spot, trying to put together a character concept for someone who doesn't normally play class based systems.. when I myself primarily play classless, point based systems as well. My GM's caught in crunch time between work and other campaign preparation, so I've got the duty of helping out the other players. Despite having only played with Pathfinder twice, he's used to me being the 'make the characters' person for the groups I'm in, so.. yeah.
The healer over there? No sweat. The mage with a thing for fire? Easy enough.

The person who rubbed their chin and went, 'A sneaky sellsword, the type to use stealth and guile to get him into and past trouble.. and a prodigy-like talent with his blade to get him out.'. There was gesturing at Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser as decent examples of what he was after, and honestly? I'm not sure where to go with it.
I know that, on a BAB standpoint, a rogue will not suit. It'll have it's tricks, but it won't be able to do the stand up, toe to toe, and keep up with the straight fighter types. Likewise, straight up fighter won't work, as there's insistence on the stealth knack. Ranger? Plausible, but we're looking at a fairly urban, and totally not nature/magic aligned character.

Most of my personal class-system experience is the various incarnations of D&D, and while it helps for a lot of the simpler things, this is something that's harder to pin down smoothly.

So! I turn to you folks. As this is to be a tiny group, 'potent' builds are definitely a good option here. And something that truly marks itself 'a prodigy of the blade', even while being decent at sneaking and skulking in an urban environ, would be a lovely thing.
I know we're starting over the first level, buut I don't know how far. The GM's got a fairly beefy collection of books (and then there's the SRD, yay!), so generally anything paizo/official is okay.

Please.. build, or at least advise and point me in the right direction on base class + books to poke into to find some modifiers to 'make it work'? I'd rather not put one more egg in the GM's basket right now, if I can help it. :)

Thanks for the time,
- Shirra


Urban Ranger?

Another way is a dex based scimitar fighter with the Crane Style Feats; if human could go for the alternate trait: Focused Study; = Skill Focus at first, eighth and 16th Level. 1st = Sneak 8th = Perception 16th whatever. Perhaps with the Lore Warden Archetype.

Could go for the duelist Prestige class, but this only makes sense if his intelligence is good.

Or the Urban Barbarian. Controlled Rage...


Ranger who takes Urban as his favored environment... If you are staying in one or more cities the ENTIRE campaign, I suggest Ranger (Urban archetype). Otherwise, Urban Ranger sucks.

Anyway, Ranger gets you the stealth, a decent CHA gets you some guile, the Combat Style feats and Favored Enemies get you the blade skill.

Go Skirmisher archetype if you don't like spells.

If you want to be even sneakier, add in 2 (I wouldn't go more than this) levels of rogue for class skills, a few extra points, and a rogue talent. I suggest Fast Stealth.

Go heavy on STR, spend your feats on Two Handed combat style.. power attack ,cleave, etc.

Moderate DEX (14) same for CON, whatever you can spare on INT and CHA... Only really need a 12 or 13 in WIS, for now. max of 14 later.

Wear Kikko Armor (medium, one less AC than Breastplate, one more max DEX, 170 gp cheaper) and wield whatever two hander you want. No-Dachi is the best mechanically in my opinion, but I often like a longsword in case i want to use it one handed. (wands, potions, macguffins, and fallen party members sometimes take up the other hand).

Dark Archive

Bard. Or Fighter/Rogue multiclass.


Bard won't bring the melee skill. It's better than rogue, but no medium BAB class will serve here.

I think Fafhrd was one of the inspirations for the barbarian when it was first introduced (before they became mindless rage monkeys) and barbarians have better skills than a fighter and stealth. Go for the urban archetype to get rid of the rage fluff and you're good to go.


Urban Ranger -> Aldori Swordlord you can go raw dex based and be sneaky as balls just going to have a tough time getting all the feats you want maybe and a rather weak game from 1-5 iirc.


Baw.

I was gonna suggest a Bladebound Kensai with a Stealth focus but you said no magic.


Dawnflower dervish bard. Tons of skills and all thier buffs are doubled because they only affect themselves plus free dervish dance feat at first level combine with arcane strike for full effect. A small number of spells actually fits the grey mouser. The BAB diff between a 3/4 and a full BAB class doesn't make that big a difference until about 9th and by then the 3rd and higher level spells more than close the gap. If he's insistant on not being a caster dont cast any spells. It still fits your fluff better than almost any other class.

Or

Just go Ranger. Forget everything you think you know about ranger fluff and just look at the class abilities. It has everything you're talking about plus a few extras there's literally like 3 nature only ranger ability and they all work in the city.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Urban Barbarian, with Dervish Dance, and the Highlander, Silent Hunter, or Bandit trait.


Ask to use the Swashbuckler from the 3.5 book Complete Warrior. You'll hafta convert some skills over, and perhaps treat the Dodge Bonus more like the pathfinder Dodge feat . . . but I think this is exactly what they wanna play.


What combat style? What other skills/stuff? Light armour or medium?

Anyone can be sneaky and use guile, just put some skillpoints in Stealth, Bluff.(The PF skillsystem differs from 3e in that there are no cross class skills anymore. You get a +3 bonus on your class though)

So you need BAB and a few combat feats for the sword prodigy and skill points.

A fighter can do it.

Check out the cad (more skills, dirty tricks, light armour) , lore warden (more knowledge skills, bonus feat expertise, light armor) , the (aldori) swordlord (sword prodigy) or weapon master (sword prodigy) archetypes . Also check out the prestige classes: (Aldori) Swordlord, Duelist or Student of War. ( just search on d20pfsrd)

Other classes to consider for dipping/multiclassing: (urban) ranger, (urban) barbarian, maybe a few levels of rogue.

PS: Fafrhd is a Ranger more than a Barbarian, The Grey Mouser is a Rogue mainly with a bit of Fighter/Duelist.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Urban Barbarian is different.

Bluff, Acrobatics, and the whole deal.

Just throw out your usual "Barbarian" stereotypes.

Combine with the Dervish Dance feat, and you have Swashbuckling high dex swordmaster, with good skills, and versatility.

Liberty's Edge

Urban Ranger has been said.

This Archetype gets stealth as a class skill.

And depending on how you feel about races This Tengu Archetype sounds almost perfect.


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Let him take a trait that gives Stealth as a class skill. Make him a Fighter.

BAM. Done. He's new, don't bog him down with stuff he won't need. If he wants to be Dex-Based, then do the scimitar thing.


So, my recommendation too is Ranger. Full BAB class that has Stealth as class skill. To supplement abilities, I recommend the following archetypes:

Must Have: Skirmisher
Skirmisher gets rid of spells entirely, which sounds like something the player wants. Instead, he gets a variety of neat combat tricks that are on par with rogue talents. It's an excellent and thematic tradeoff for what he wants.

Then, choose one of the following:
Urban Terrain Advantage: Urban Ranger
This archetype gives a plethora of stealth-based abilities while within a "favored community," so if the game is taking place within cities predominantly, than it is extremely appropriate for this situation. If this campaign will not focus on a single city for very long, I do not recommend this archetype.

Master of Terrains, No Animals: Warden
Possibly a safer bet, the Warden archetype does not gain hunter's bond (which will supplant an animal companion entirely. Suddenly the character will not feel like a "ranger" but a stealthy sellsword). Warden also gives extra favored terrains, which can be helpful for stealth and tracking abilities.

Silver Crusade

Atarlost wrote:

Bard won't bring the melee skill. It's better than rogue, but no medium BAB class will serve here.

I think Fafhrd was one of the inspirations for the barbarian when it was first introduced (before they became mindless rage monkeys) and barbarians have better skills than a fighter and stealth. Go for the urban archetype to get rid of the rage fluff and you're good to go.

depends the two dervish archetypes have battle dance, which basically gives them rage without the negatives, at the price of 3/4 bab


fighter, swordlord archetype. You might be able to get stealth as a class skill through traits or otherwise take skill focus stealth. You can go aldori swordlord PrC or duelist, or both later on.

fighters are not per definition bad at stealth, you can get ranks in stealth like any other class. Just make a dex focused build, get items that improve stealth and dex and wear armor with few penalties to dex based checks, armor training might help with that. In general you will just be 3 points behind on the rogue and you can spare a feat for skill focus if you have to.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What are you permitted in terms of material? If your dm allows 3rd party material this can definately be done. Otherwise you are going to sacrifice in either the sneaky talky part of the class or the sword master part of the class.

One prime example is using the super genius guide to Martial Archetypes.

Using that you could take say a bard, and trade out it's spellcasting for the weapon champion archetype which gives fighter like bonuses to a certain weapon group. You can even use it as back door to use the feat dervish dance with a weapon other then a scimitar (assuming if you have the grey mouser concept you might prefer a rapier or longsword to a scimitar as weapon).

You could do the same with an inquisitor as well if that fits your concept better OR you can check out the super genius guide to inquisitors judgements which offers an alternate full bab-non-spellcasting inquisitor that focuses on judgements (and still has all those fun skills a normal inquisitor gets).

Edit:
You can do the above with the rogue too, essentially trading 5 sneak attack dice and trap sense for 5 +1s to attack and damage with a weapon group, and some other bonuses (like bonuses to CMB or CMD with certain maneuvers or adding weapons to the group that you get the above bonuses too (and merging them for feat purposes thus allowing dervish dance for any weapon in the group if you have scimitar in the group).

Thinking about it rogue or bard are probably the best choices for the concept the op mentioned. Either way, the super genius games archetypes are a great way to get this done.


As someone suggested before if they aren't picky on races they could go Tengu but pick up the Racial Archetype of Swordmaster for the Rogue class here's a link for you here.


Personally, I suggest Multi Classing Fighter/Rogue into Duelist. The benefits:

-He should have plenty of feats for the requisite and then some if he stays in fighter long enough.
-In addition to Sneak Attack damage, he'll have the Duelist precision damage.
-Rogue will flesh out his skill points so he can be "guiling" & "stealthy".
-His BAB should be just shy of full, as I wouldn't stay in Rogue longer than 4 levels.
-He'll be able to do some really cool things with his sword, like Parry attacks away & get counter attacks.
-His AC should be pretty decent since he should be able to get Mithral Medium Armor along with his INT bonus to Dex with duelist.
-He'll also get Evasion & Uncanny Dodge; two good defensive features.

If you do go this route, check out the Duelist Guide in the guide to guides.


Darth Grall wrote:

Personally, I suggest Multi Classing Fighter/Rogue into Duelist. The benefits:

-He should have plenty of feats for the requisite and then some if he stays in fighter long enough.
-In addition to Sneak Attack damage, he'll have the Duelist precision damage.
-Rogue will flesh out his skill points so he can be "guiling" & "stealthy".
-His BAB should be just shy of full, as I wouldn't stay in Rogue longer than 4 levels.
-He'll be able to do some really cool things with his sword, like Parry attacks away & get counter attacks.
-His AC should be pretty decent since he should be able to get Mithral Medium Armor along with his INT bonus to Dex with duelist.
-He'll also get Evasion & Uncanny Dodge; two good defensive features.

If you do go this route, check out the Duelist Guide in the guide to guides.

I'd go with Fighter 3/Ninja 4/Duelist X instead of Fighter 3/Rogue 4 but otherwise basically the same recommendations. Ninja seems more charismatic than the rogue to me but it's personal preference in the end.

Sovereign Court

I think most of these options are going to be too complicated for a player that doesn't like class-based systems. Adding more classes will probably be a non-starter.

Make it simple, create a fighter with Conspiracy Hunter and Charming or Fast-talker traits to pick up the skills (stealth and bluff, respectively). Plus, only fighters get access to the groovy weapon specialization feats.


The tengu swordmaster is still medium BAB with no boosters. It is not what it says on the tin.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Lore Warden fighter, IMO.


Rogue 2/ weapon master 4 (weapon spec)/ rogue 1/ duelist X.

Dawn flower dervish 4 (cha 12 just for fun)/ cavalier Or lore warden

Ninja 2/ paladin (oath of vengeance) 4/ ninja 1/ shadow dancer X

Rogue / fighter straight mix (half elf)

Paladin/ bard straight mix (also half elf)

But Rangers do it better than anyone else!


I'm going to second the Urban Barbarian, because that's actually a really good archetype for an otherwise already good class.

I would also suggest just going Fighter with one of the Stealth traits blackbloodtroll mentioned above. Between Armor Training and mithral armor, you have no ACP by 4th level with breastplate, no ACP with field plate by 7th level, and no ACP with full plate by 11th level. At this point, your Stealth is as high as a Rogue's, but you have more AC, higher BAB, Weapon Training, and do more damage.


And I come back when finally at a machine again, and.. wow. Okay. _Definitely_ no shortage of ideas to work with. Lots of great thoughts to dig into, in a nice variety. Thank you muchly folks! I have no idea what to settle on.. but this is wonderful to get this all going together.

The great part is that I'll have a the ability to pass along and set up for any amount complexity that -they- want to deal with. :)

So.. thanks again!

- Shirra

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I am going to suggest the Urban Barbarian/Dervish Dance combo again, as it is a one class route that provides what you want.

Remember, you can just pick up the Highlander, Silent Hunter, or Bandit trait, and have stealth as a class skill, plus a small bonus.

That is more than enough to provide the "sneaky" portion of the concept.

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