Knife Master / Vivisectionist Build Advice


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Hey, everyone! So, I was recently listening to the Gamer's Guide to Pathfinder podcast and I got this idea from them of a knife master/vivisectionist build to use as an antagonist in my campaign. So, the idea behind the character is a dangerous assassin who uses alchemy-based-steampunk-tech (think Full Metal Alchemist, and this is a skin job, BTW) as his mutagen and sneaks around getting sneak attacks with all sorts of poisoned daggers, creeping up on the PC's and their friends with deadly silence and striking with lethal precision. This character is supposed to make the party very, very afraid.

So, here is the build I have so far:

Race: Elf

Stats (25 point buy)

STR: 10
DEX: 18
CON: 10
INT: 18
WIS: 13
CHA: 12

LVL 1 (Knife Master 1): Two Weapon Fighting
LVL 2 (Knife Master 2): Fast Stealth for Rogue Talent
LVL 3 (Knife Master 2/Vivisectionist 1): Point Blank Shot
LVL 4 (Knife Master 2/Vivisectionist 2): Concentrate Poison for Discovery, increase DEX to 19
LVL 5 (Knife Master 2/Vivisectionist 3): Quick Draw
LVL 6 (Knife Master 2/Vivisectionist 4): Extend Potion for Discovery
LVL 7 (Knife Master 2/Vivisectionist 5): Far Shot
LVL 8 (Knife Master 2/Vivisectionist 6): Increase DEX to 20, Sticky Poison for discovery

SKILS: The skills that must be maxed out are as follows: Stealth, Acrobatics, Craft (Alchemy), and Perception. Others skills to consider are Intimidate (for interrogations) and Knowledge Nature. Sleight of hand is a great option as well as use magic device, but the character does not need to know the Heal skill as Vivi3 replaces it with Knowledge Nature.

The strategy would be to sneak around with multiple daggers and throw them at his targets from afar. By the time the above build is complete, he will be attacking with the following stats (assuming no enchantment or masterwork weapons or mutagen bonuses)

+9/+9 to hit at a 19-20/x2 with 2x (1d4 + 4d8 + 0) at 10 ft, and -1/-1 for every 10 ft after. The average damage, assuming both hit, is 41. This is also not including the addition of poisons, which this character would constantly use. With mutagens focusing towards dexterity, this character would be looking at a +11/+11 to hit if taking the dexterity mutagen, or an average damage increase of 2 per dagger if going the strength route.

So, any advice for a highly trained and terrifying killer with this concept?

Please note that this is a far from optimal build, and I am aware that bombs are way more powerful ,but I felt that this character could be very fun to roleplay as a villain. What are your thoughts? (P.S. please do not leave bomb-lobber comments as I will be posting about a build for that later on)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Bruising Intellect trait.

Dump charisma.

Pump strength.

Grand Lodge

I don't think he'll live very long. Say he throws a dagger in surprise round. If he fails his sniping (which is possible, but I believe there's an elf racial that lessens this penalty) and they go into initiative, if any of the PCs win and close he's as good as dead. Improved initiative would be a solid pick.

I also don't think sticky poison is a good call. He's throwing daggers. If he gets into melee (where he would have multiple hits) he's screwed because he doesn't have weapon finesse. The wings discovery could be interesting, as a mode of escape.

Make sure to have them find his victims. Gruesomely tortured people. People whose blood he removed and replaced with poison (actually this would kill fairly quickly, but in the Wheel of Time books the torturer villain said she would transfuse her victims with something that was similar enough to blood to have them live a full hour in complete agony, and hey it's a fantasy setting so GM fiat).

Now on to bombs....jk (but if you do go this route, and I respect your decision already, pick up stuff like poison bomb, madness bomb, stink bomb, etc. Horror stuff)

you need weapon finesse or finesse rogue in there based on your build

i would take that and drop fast stealth, then just make sure he has a couple invisibility and vanish extracts

Thanks for the advice, everyone. I really appreciate the help. So, dump CHA but pump STR, that seems really good. And be very careful with the knife-throwing, in which case I might as well just dump the whole throwing thing and go for two-handed melee.

Again, thank you for everyone's help so far. I'm really grateful, but I doubt my group will be very soon. MWAHAHA!!! :)

What are the rogue levels for?

Race: Vishkanya
+ Feat: Ability Focus (Toxic)
+ Sleep Venom
+ Sticky Poison
+ Weapon Finesse



I Hate Nickelback wrote:
What are the rogue levels for?

First Rogue Level is to pick up Knife Master, which would modify Sneak Attack to deal d8s with daggers. Because vivesectionalist stacks for sneak attack damage, that trend continues with alchemist levels.

As for the second Rogue Level? I guess the player wanted Fast Stealth considering his build is based off surprise attacks with daggers. Not every choice a character makes needs to be hyper-optimized. :-P

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