First full, official Pathfinder build, looking for advice


I just finished a character with the thought if possibly using it in a PbP game and as it is the first character I've made for Pathfinder I thought I would post him up here in the boards and see what more experienced players thought of the over all build. He's a 1st level samurai Ronin order with the sword saint archetype using a 25 point buy. He was built not necessarily to be optimal, but rather to a concept, I just want to see what his survivability might be. The link below should take you to his full sheet containing both his stats and background for the concept. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


I will see to it later.


You need a higher strength. At least 16. You can afford to lower two of Dexterity, Intelligence, and Wisdom. Probably Charisma too. with a 25 pt buy, there's no excuse for not having 20 or at least 18 in strength for your melee strength hitter.


Dark Archive

I agree with Paladin of Baha-who?, your Strength is really undeveloped. You seem to be focused on melee, so high strength is a good idea.

OK, I looked up the details of the samurai class and the sword saint archetype. There is nothing about the class that uses charisma at all. That 14 in charisma is a wasted 5 build points. Also, the build numbers look wrong, you appear to have a 30 point buy instead of a 25.

Int and Cha don't need to be above 10. Wisdom is fine at 12. The Samurai class gets a bunch of things that help with Will saves, like Resolve, so you really don't need Iron Will at first level. Maybe at a later level to shore things up when you start getting harder DCs. You can take a trait that gives you a bonus to will, such as Auspicious Tattoo, as well.

You want as much strength as possible, unless you are going for a weapon finesse wakizashi build, in which case you should take weapon finesse at first level. (This is a sub-optimal choice, but not terrible.) If you want to focus on going first, then Improved Init is fine. You should get power attack and two-hand the katana, however, or else you won't have the damage to really be a good front-line combatant. Finally, there's a somewhat cheesy but very effective trick for the sword saint -- use a Sharpened combat scabbard as the sheath for your katana, and if you need to attack a mook before you challenge the big bad, use that instead. This would require you to take Catch Off Guard instead of Improved Init, but it would allow you to use the scabbard to take out a mook on your way to the bad guy you want to challenge, without having to draw your katana and lose the ability to make an Iajutsu strike without taking the time to sheathe it again.

Agree with Baha-who, but the rest looks ok. I like your skill selection and Iron Will is a good feat. Take Improved Initiative later or take a trait (reactionary)

You have to do some damage. In my humble opinion d8+2 (or d8+3 two-handed) is just not good enough for a martial.

I suggest Power Attack.

My stats would be

Strength: 16+2 (10)
Dexterity: 13 (3)
Constitution: 14 (5)
Intelligence: 13 (3)
Wisdom: 12 (2)
Charisma: 12 (2)

Normally I would go Charisma 10, Dexterity 14, but I guess you envision your character as a strong personality and that is completely acceptable.

If you get traits you could take Attractive, World Traveller, or Prince/Princess (and call it Samurai Heritage or sth.)

@Baha-Who: His point buy is correct.

I still think Iron Will is worth it. Especially with all the Resolve stuff. He will put a good will save to good use.

First, thank you both for responding, I always appreciate anyone who takes the time to answer a post.

@ Paladin of Baha-who?, the reason I wanted the Cha was it increases the save difficulty of the below 5th level sword saint ability.

Terrifying Iaijutsu (Ex)
At 5th level, a sword saint’s iaijutsu strike devastates the morale of foes that witness it. When a sword saint successfully hits with an iaijutsu strike, all foes within 30 feet must succeed at a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the sword saint’s class level + the sword saint’s Cha modifier) or become shaken for 1d4+1 rounds.
This ability replaces banner.

As for the comments on a lack of strength, I was building more to concept there than mechanics, I was picturing this character as being fast and I wanted him to be able to be lightly armored and the dex boosts his AC, but if the 14 str would make him less playable, I might change it.

The Sharpened combat scabbard is indeed an excellent trick. I believe that it is best utilized after 10th lvl though.

For stats I would suggest the following:

STR 18 (+1 at 16, 20 lvls)
DEX 14
CON 14
WIS 12
CHA 14 (+1 at 4, 8, 12 lvls)

Take the Focused Study alternative racial trait.
Take the Reactionary and Opportunistic Gambler traits.

1 Weapon Focus (Katana), Skill Focus: Intimidate
3 Power Attack
5 Dazzling Display
6 Shatter Defenses
7 Cornugon Smash
8 Skill Focus: Survival
9 Greater Weapon Focus (Katana)
11 Deadly Stroke
12 Catch Off Guard
13 Eldrich Heritage (Orc: Touch of Rage)
15 Eldrich Heritage (Orc: Strenght of the Beast)
16 Skill Focus: Perception
17 Eldrich Heritage (Orc: Power of Giants)
18 Intimidating Prowess
19 Quicken Spell-like Ability (Power of Giants)

Start with an intimidate based build. In the beginning of the fight use Dazzling Display to demoralize your opponents. Next round use shatter defences to make them flat-footed. Intimidate them every time you power attack with Cornugon Smash. Eventually use Deadly Stroke on flat-footed enemies. Make use of your high Charisma for the Eldrich Heritage: Orc feat tree. Opportunistic Gambler will add 1d4 rounds to your Touch of Rage.

This is just one possible route, but with your high point buy it is totally worth it to raise your Charisma and take advantage of your great Intimidate potential and the massive martial gains from the Eldrich Heritage (Orc) feat tree.

If you want fast and athletic, there's an interesting concept where you take the spring attack feat line, which is relatively effective and fits the concept. If you were to got this route,
I'd recommend taking a level in something that gives you speed, and barbarian is the best option for your build, though an inquisitor or cleric with the travel domain could also work. You can still be strong while having good maneuverability on the battlefield.

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