Slayer Discussion


Class Discussion

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Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Thanks to everyone who's been posting character builds and playtest feedback!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I'm going to be playing Thornkeep: The Accursed Halls tomorrow for a PFS game, bringing what is currently a 2nd-level GM credit baby. I'm thinking I'll make a slayer and see how it goes. Anyone have suggestions/requests on the build? Remember, 2nd level, PFS.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Thanks to everyone who's been posting character builds and playtest feedback!

If you don't mind me asking, what is your personal opinion on these ideas?

-Sneak attack dice at level one
-The slayer combat styles I posted last page
-Giving Slayers bluff to go with Disguise

A simple "like/dislike" is good enough.

Note: I came to these ideas after building 10th level Slayers and Rangers and really comparing the combat ability of them along with their group utility. My Builds are about 2 pages back.


Strangely, I seem to view the Slayer as a version of Riddick.

I view him as having most of the same abilities he currently has,but with the ability to befriend animals as a Ranger. He would not have an animal companion as a class ability, however.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Insain Dragoon wrote:

If you don't mind me asking, what is your personal opinion on these ideas?

-Sneak attack dice at level one
-The slayer combat styles I posted last page
-Giving Slayers bluff to go with Disguise

#1: I'm wary of another class granting sneak attack at level 1, it makes it too easy to multiclass and stack sneak attack at a better rate than the rogue, at least at 2nd level.

I address #2 and #3 in this post upthread (and we've edited the sticky post to include some of the points addressed in that post).


Kids Are Creepy wrote:

Strangely, I seem to view the Slayer as a version of Riddick.

I view him as having most of the same abilities he currently has,but with the ability to befriend animals as a Ranger. He would not have an animal companion as a class ability, however.

I imagine a slayer to be more like Chase, a Warden from the Sword of Truth book series. He carries an arsenal with him and is prepared to use various tactics to take out the threat.

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:

If you don't mind me asking, what is your personal opinion on these ideas?

-Sneak attack dice at level one
-The slayer combat styles I posted last page
-Giving Slayers bluff to go with Disguise

#1: I'm wary of another class granting sneak attack at level 1, it makes it too easy to multiclass and stack sneak attack at a better rate than the rogue, at least at 2nd level.

I address #2 and #3 in this post upthread.

I don't even know what class the Slayer could take to make #1 happen, as Rogue and Investigator can't be taken due to the Alternate Class list for Slayer.

Also, as I have said before, why does the Investigator get more Sneak Attack dice when the Slayer is suppose to be the one more focused on damage?


yeah... with a full BAB, you can't get SA at 1st level.
Otherwise its too dippy

I have no problem with this either, I think that their SA starting a little later is fine.

I will say that Favored Target being a move action is b-b-b-b-brutal.
I understand that you wouldn't want people dipping in to grab a swift action +1/+1, but man that move action is rough until level 10.

I actually think I would rather see this as a higher bonus, with a swift (then free at 10th) action activation, that had limited uses per day.

Sort of like a beefed up verision of the Ranger's Focus from the Guide archtype.

Then, instead of having Sneak Attack at all, you can increase the Slayer talents to include more of the Rogue Talent sneak attack riders, which would work on Favored Targets instead of Sneak Attack.

Suggested Rewrite:

Favored Target (Ex):
At 1st level, a slayer can as a move action study an opponent. The slayer then gains a +1 bonus on Bluff, Knowledge, Perception, Sense Motive, and Survival checks against that opponent, and a +2 bonus on weapon attack and damage rolls against it. These bonuses remain in effect until either the opponent is dead or the slayer studies a new target.
At 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th levels, the slayer’s bonuses against a studied target increase by +1. In addition, at each such interval, the slayer is able to maintain these bonuses against an additional studied target at the same time. The slayer may lose this connection to a studied target as a free action (allowing him to study another target in its place).
At 6th level, the Slayer can study an opponent as a swift action.
At 16th level, the slayer can study an opponent as a free action.

The slayer can use this ability a number of times per day equal to their Slayer level plus their intelligence bonus.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Then rewrite talents like this:

Bleeding Attack (Ex):

Benefit: A Slayer with this ability can cause their living favored targets to bleed. The Slayer's attack causes the target to take an ammount of additional bleed damage each round equal to the Slayer's damage bonus from Favored Target. Bleeding creatures take that amount of damage every round at the start of each of their turns. The bleeding can be stopped by a DC 15 Heal check or the application of any effect that heals hit point damage.

Special: Bleeding damage from this ability does not stack with itself. Bleeding damage bypasses any damage reduction the creature might possess.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:

If you don't mind me asking, what is your personal opinion on these ideas?

-Sneak attack dice at level one
-The slayer combat styles I posted last page
-Giving Slayers bluff to go with Disguise

#1: I'm wary of another class granting sneak attack at level 1, it makes it too easy to multiclass and stack sneak attack at a better rate than the rogue, at least at 2nd level.

I address #2 and #3 in this post upthread.

I personally disagree with the idea of Bonus feats as Slayer talents, because what Slayer needs is one more "thing" as a class to compete with Rangers.

If you roll combat styles into Slayer talents talents you slightly alleviate the problem, but the Slayer still would fall into the problem of "you need all of these on time"

I suggested bonus feats that people often look at and say "oh those are cool, but I need 2WF, I2WP, Power attack, Iron will, ect so I can't take those"

As Lord Malkov stated.

Quote:

As it stands, the Slayer is VERY feat starved. He needs to take all of the standard melee feats, but also needs the feats to power sneak attack.

This is not a big deal for a rogue, because a rogue ends up ignoring a lot of the standard melee feats, knowing that they are only getting a few attacks or one attack per round. THey also simply can't qualify for a lot of them early on due to a low BAB.

A good example, the rogue at level 12 who uses two-weapon feint. He doesn't need greater TWF. He doesn't use power attack. He doesn't use Two weapon Rend.

The Slayer needs something *extra* right now, not something *tweaked*

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Regeaj wrote:
Also, as I have said before, why does the Investigator get more Sneak Attack dice when the Slayer is suppose to be the one more focused on damage?

We'll be reviewing all classes in this playtest, including whether the investigator's power level (and sneak attack) need to be adjusted).


Suggestion:
A talent that lets you substitute the bonus to attack rolls and damage that Favored Target gives to AC instead on a round to round basis. Would be a nice way for a Slayer to play defensively when hes worried about dying. This bonus must be decided at the beginning of the round.


I would like some more uses for the Favored Target, maybe at higher levels or by selecting related slayer talents

examples:

- When the Slayer can select more than one favored target, he can decide to forgo the usual bonus. Instead, his selected targets are unable to flank him with each other (but flanking still works if one of the flanking enemies is not a favored target).

- The Slayer can use the favored target bonus as a bonus on all diplomacy checks to gather information about one of his favored targets. (so he could get a bonus while asking a guard at the gates of a city if he has seen the favored target leaving or entering the city or other kinds of useful information)

- once per day (?), the slayer can forgo the usual favored target bonus to prepare himself for an action he expects one of his favored targets to. By doing this, he can take a standard action as an immediate action, before the favored target executes said action (e.g. to make an attack to interrupt the target from casting a spell). The slayer needs to be able to select 4 favored targets at once to (use this ability/select this slayer talent)


I just posted some playtest thoughts in the playtest thread.

I get why FT is a move action under 10 but it doesn't make the class awkward with FT levels 1-9.

A suggestion I think could work is if Slayer's Advance should get a revision where its X times per day you can move your speed towards your Favored Target and of course you get it fairly early.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Regeaj wrote:
Also, as I have said before, why does the Investigator get more Sneak Attack dice when the Slayer is suppose to be the one more focused on damage?
We'll be reviewing all classes in this playtest, including whether the investigator's power level (and sneak attack) need to be adjusted).

When I had said this, I had been using it to support my opinion that the Slayer should get more Sneak Attack dice, as the strength of the Investigator is a discussion for another thread.

Also, what do you think of giving the Slayer the Poison Use ability?


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ArenCordial wrote:

I just posted some playtest thoughts in the playtest thread.

I get why FT is a move action under 10 but it doesn't make the class awkward with FT levels 1-9.

A suggestion I think could work is if Slayer's Advance should get a revision where its X times per day you can move your speed towards your Favored Target and of course you get it fairly early.

It would be nice if Slayer's Advance was a pseudo pounce ability. As a swift action the Slayer may move a move action worth of his speed to a square adjacent to a Favored Target.

That would be really really good and give the Slayer an edge over other full BAB classes and the Ranger. Obviously not the Ragepouncebarian but yknow.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yeah I can see the Slayer having Poison Use, maybe even making it easier/cheaper/more effective at making poisons.

Shadow Lodge

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I want to add my vote to the folks who say the Slayer needs to have at LEAST 6+Int skill ranks, rather than 4+Int. When its alternate classes have 6 or 8+int skill ranks, it needs to as well to effectively fit its roles.

EDIT: Also, it doesn't make sense for the Slayer not to have Knowledge Nature as a class skill. If they have access to the Camouflage talent, the character would need to know something about the plants they were using. Would be a shame if the camouflage plant was poison ivy! ;)

I appreciate that you guys added the option for firearm training, by the way. If I were going to build a long-range sniper build (utilizing sniper goggles at higher level), this is the class I would do it with. Overall I love the feel of this class, and its stone cold and stalwart distribution of death has a great ring to it. :)

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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I've made a note to talk about poison use as a slayer talent.


I expected better-than-rogue HD (fixed!) and better... my god, they only get four skill points??? Multiclassed Ranger/Rogue is better than this.

A 9th level Slayer has Saves 6/6/3, Sneak attack +3d6, 36 skill points, four talents, stalker, track, and favored target +2 [edited, thank you Skavion] on up to two opponents.

A 4th level Ranger/5th level Rogue has saves 5/8/2 (for the same total of +15, but adding evasion), two less BAB, sneak attack +3d6, SIXTY-FOUR skill points, two talents, track, favored enemy, two free FEATS, favored terrain, a pet and a SPELL LIST.

C'mon Paizo, I really want to like this class, but we can do better.

Bump up the skill points to six. Grant sneak attack earlier. How's a slayer supposed to gather information on its foe without Diplomacy? And give favored target some teeth... start at +2 and progress the same, and see how it plays from there. As is, this class is dragon bait.


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ZenithTN wrote:

I expected better-than-rogue HD (fixed!) and better... my god, they only get four skill points??? Multiclassed Ranger/Rogue is better than this.

A 9th level Slayer has Saves 6/6/3, Sneak attack +3d6, 36 skill points, four talents, stalker, track, and favored target +2 twice per day.

A 4th level Ranger/5th level Rogue has saves 5/8/2 (for the same total of +15, but adding evasion), two less BAB, sneak attack +3d6, SIXTY-FOUR skill points, two talents, track, favored enemy, two free FEATS, favored terrain, a pet and a SPELL LIST.

C'mon Paizo, I really want to like this class, but we can do better.

Bump up the skill points to six. Grant sneak attack earlier. How's a slayer supposed to gather information on its foe without Diplomacy? And give favored target some teeth... start at +2 and progress the same, and see how it plays from there. As is, this class is dragon bait.

You know Favored Target doesn't run out right? Its a +2 against whatever opponent your facing as a move action. Theres no limit on how many times you can place it. 1 more Level and its a +3 against whatever as a swift.


ZenithTN: I agree the class needs more, but as a Slayer rather than a skill monkey. Skill points are more the domain of d8, 3/4ths BAB classes...and Rangers. As for how they gather information, well, they do get Intimidate.

Dixie: Uh, yeah, K: Nature is a really good catch. Favored Terrain, Camouflage, it seems that they may know a thing or two about...nature.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010

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A thought on Favored Target:
How about at 5th level the slayer has the choice to gain the normal +2 bonus as a move action, or to hastily study an opponent as a swift action, but only gain a +1 bonus (instead of +2) against that studied target?

This at least gives the slayer a choice from 5-9th levels in cases when the PC really wants to make a full attack. 10th level is a very long time to wait for favored target to become a swift action.

Liberty's Edge

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wraithstrike wrote:


PS:I am not saying your point is not valid. The slayer is more likely to do consistently do more damage.

And this is my point, and so far I'm pleased it doesn't overshadow as I feared.

At 10th level you have a +3 to 3 enemies as a swift action, which is actually better than fighter weapon training against those targets. And on top of that you get 3d6 if flanking for an average of +3 to hit and +13.5 to damage, before adding strength, weapon enhancements etc...

That isn't anything to sneeze at, and the talents are more or less a wash with fighter bonus feats.

This is why the skills are fine for me. This is playing with the Fighter and the Barbarian, not with the ranger.

It is less armored than the fighter, but has more skills.
It has less hit points than the barbarian, but has more utility type abilities and isn't dependent on a resource that can run out.

I think it on par for damage with both of them.

Of all the classes, this to me seems the one closest to the mark out of the gate. I wouldn't add much nor do I feel the need to take to much away as the builds I'm seeing aren't overwhelming me so far.

I would enjoy playing this class.

Scarab Sages

ciretose wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:


PS:I am not saying your point is not valid. The slayer is more likely to do consistently do more damage.

And this is my point, and so far I'm pleased it doesn't overshadow as I feared.

At 10th level you have a +3 to 3 enemies as a swift action, which is actually better than fighter weapon training against those targets. And on top of that you get 3d6 if flanking for an average of +3 to hit and +13.5 to damage, before adding strength, weapon enhancements etc...

That isn't anything to sneeze at, and the talents are more or less a wash with fighter bonus feats.

This is why the skills are fine for me. This is playing with the Fighter and the Barbarian, not with the ranger.

It is less armored than the fighter, but has more skills.
It has less hit points than the barbarian, but has more utility type abilities and isn't dependent on a resource that can run out.

I think it on par for damage with both of them.

Of all the classes, this to me seems the one closest to the mark out of the gate. I wouldn't add much nor do I feel the need to take to much away as the builds I'm seeing aren't overwhelming me so far.

I would enjoy playing this class.

I believe 3 targets would take 2 move actions for 2 targets then a swift action for the 3rd.

Liberty's Edge

Skinnytwig wrote:
ciretose wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:


PS:I am not saying your point is not valid. The slayer is more likely to do consistently do more damage.

And this is my point, and so far I'm pleased it doesn't overshadow as I feared.

At 10th level you have a +3 to 3 enemies as a swift action, which is actually better than fighter weapon training against those targets. And on top of that you get 3d6 if flanking for an average of +3 to hit and +13.5 to damage, before adding strength, weapon enhancements etc...

That isn't anything to sneeze at, and the talents are more or less a wash with fighter bonus feats.

This is why the skills are fine for me. This is playing with the Fighter and the Barbarian, not with the ranger.

It is less armored than the fighter, but has more skills.
It has less hit points than the barbarian, but has more utility type abilities and isn't dependent on a resource that can run out.

I think it on par for damage with both of them.

Of all the classes, this to me seems the one closest to the mark out of the gate. I wouldn't add much nor do I feel the need to take to much away as the builds I'm seeing aren't overwhelming me so far.

I would enjoy playing this class.

I believe 3 targets would take 2 move actions for 2 targets then a swift action for the 3rd.

If you are attacking 3 targets at a time, sure.

But combat starts, swift action to target who you intend to attack and then you attack.

If you win init, that is +3 and 3d6, if not "only" +3

Kill him, swift action to select someone else if you killed that guy...

Again, this is a base bonus vs anything. Favored enemy is against one thing, out of how many possible things?

And then IN ADDITION you get sneak attack damage.

If you post any fighter or Barbarian build, and swap out, I think you can get to comparable damage at the same level, if not more.

Which is pretty damn good. Which is why "only" 2 skill points.

Just basics, a 10th level Slayer with 22 Str fighting two handed is going to be doing +22 damage before you roll dice when flanking a favored enemy.

+31 when using power attack.

A fighter of the same level, assuming gloves of dualing, will do 24, but will have a higher attack bonus (I think +1 from greater focus and one more than the slayer from the gloves making weapon training a +4)

A Barbarian would rage to 26, meaning one less to hit, +12 from strength, +9 power attack for +21.

I think that puts the Slayer damage as really good.


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The Slayer's Knack feat would be fun to bake into the class somehow.


Glutton wrote:
The Slayer's Knack feat would be fun to bake into the class somehow.

That would be nice to have for the Slayer's Favored Target, though it may end up being too strong since they can get multiple Favored Targets and switch them out each encounter.

Dark Archive

I'd like to recommend a few additional slayer talents. Sorry if I've duplicated any that have already been suggested.

Low-level talents:

Slayer's Focus – The slayer chooses one skill. She is granted the corresponding Skill Focus feat. The chosen skill is now considered a class skill for the slayer.

Poisoner – A slayer with this talent no longer risk poisoning herself when applying poison to a weapon.

Exotic Weapon Master – A slayer with this talent receives the feat Exotic Weapon Proficiency.

Mid-level talents:

Slayer's Charge - Whenever a slayer makes a charge attack against her favored target, her attack deals sneak attack damage as if the target were flat-footed. Foes with uncanny dodge are immune to this ability.

Armor Expert - When the slayer wears armor of any sort, the suit's maximum dexterity bonus is increased by 2.

Invisible Blade – As a free action, whenever the slayer deals damage to a favored target with a melee or ranged weapon, his weapons can be treated as if they have the agile enchantment.

Merciful - As a free action, whenever the slayer deals damage to a favored target with a melee or ranged weapon, his weapons can be treated as if they have the merciful enchantment.

Deadly Blades - As a free action, whenever the slayer deals damage to a favored target with a melee or ranged weapon, his weapons can be treated as if they have the keen enchantment.

Backstabber – A slayer with this talent receives +1d6 to his Sneak Attack dice.

Higher-level talents:

Skirmisher - Whenever a slayer moves more than 10 feet in a round and makes an attack action against a favored target, the attack deals sneak attack damage as if the target was flat-footed. If the slayer makes more than one attack this turn, this ability only applies to the first attack. Foes with uncanny dodge are immune to this ability.

Vicious Sneak – A slayer with this talent uses d8's instead of d6's when dealing sneak attack damage.

Armor Master – A slayer with this talent receives the feat, Heavy Armor Proficiency.


i would recommend giving them access to advanced sneak attack talents if not the entire advanced rogue talent line.

Liberty's Edge

Summarizing some thoughts from my blog

I worry that the slayer is incapable of being balanced with other classes.
There’s already no shortage of character builds that can almost break the game in sheer damage output. For the ranger to be the damage dealing class it needs to set the bar even higher. Ostensibly the slayer is trading out-of-combat abilities for higher damage, but that just makes for an inflexible character useless in non-combat situations (while also breaking the game by killing monsters disgustingly fast). The alternative is that the class is equal in DPR with other damage dealing builds, but that just means the slayer is equal in combat while inferior in other situations.

The slayer gains favoured target (a variant on favoured enemy) and sneak attack. This means the slayer really lacks a distinct tentpole mechanic, something unique to itself.


I would like to recommend an archetype for the Slayer that gives up your 2nd, 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level Slayer talents for the ability to Choose a Ranger Combat Style (maybe only a select few that fit Slayer thematically). I like this since the Combat Styles feel thematically appropriate to the Slayer class, and it also makes a precedent for the Slayer Talents to be more valuable/useful/powerful? By giving this as an archetype, a Slayer decides to specialize in a single form of combat at the expense of future versatility and choices in that he loses half of his Slayer Talents.

Also, I'd like to throw my support behind the idea of giving the Slayer Bluff as a class skill. Since their skill points are rather limited, this isn't really going to make the Slayer significantly better, but it will facilitate a build which focuses on making more effective use of the somewhat limited Sneak Attack mechanic. Basically, I feel like the Slayer is designed to be more versatile, solid in more combat situations, without the spikes in certain situations that both the Ranger and the Rogue get. I personally like this.

I do not, however, feel that the class needs more skill ranks, nor do I feel that any other effective power increases (besides my suggestion of a Ranger Combat Style archetype) are necessary.

I personally feel that the Slayer is in a relatively good spot (power wise) for ONLY being a base class. Comparing the Slayer to a base Ranger, the Slayer definitely won't do as much damage when the Ranger is facing a favored enemy, but the Slayer will out damage the Ranger when it's not facing it's favored enemy. Likewise, the Slayer cannot out damage a Rogue who is getting sneak attack on every single attack, but when sneak attack is hard to come by, the Slayer will be eons ahead.

Also, in the Rogue vs Slayer comparison, the Slayer will have a full +5 bonus on attack rolls at 11th level compared to a Rogue AND will get extra attacks (1 if not twf, 2 if twf). For this reason, I think the sneak attack is in the right place.

Disclaimer: I have not yet play tested the Slayer, but plan to compare it to a Ranger and Rogue before the weekend is over. I'll try to report back later.


ciretose wrote:
Skinnytwig wrote:
ciretose wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:


PS:I am not saying your point is not valid. The slayer is more likely to do consistently do more damage.

And this is my point, and so far I'm pleased it doesn't overshadow as I feared.

At 10th level you have a +3 to 3 enemies as a swift action, which is actually better than fighter weapon training against those targets. And on top of that you get 3d6 if flanking for an average of +3 to hit and +13.5 to damage, before adding strength, weapon enhancements etc...

That isn't anything to sneeze at, and the talents are more or less a wash with fighter bonus feats.

This is why the skills are fine for me. This is playing with the Fighter and the Barbarian, not with the ranger.

It is less armored than the fighter, but has more skills.
It has less hit points than the barbarian, but has more utility type abilities and isn't dependent on a resource that can run out.

I think it on par for damage with both of them.

Of all the classes, this to me seems the one closest to the mark out of the gate. I wouldn't add much nor do I feel the need to take to much away as the builds I'm seeing aren't overwhelming me so far.

I would enjoy playing this class.

I believe 3 targets would take 2 move actions for 2 targets then a swift action for the 3rd.

If you are attacking 3 targets at a time, sure.

But combat starts, swift action to target who you intend to attack and then you attack.

If you win init, that is +3 and 3d6, if not "only" +3

Kill him, swift action to select someone else if you killed that guy...

Again, this is a base bonus vs anything. Favored enemy is against one thing, out of how many possible things?

And then IN ADDITION you get sneak attack damage.

If you post any fighter or Barbarian build, and swap out, I think you can get to comparable damage at the same level, if not more.

Which is pretty damn good. Which is why "only" 2 skill points.

Just basics, a 10th level Slayer...

Your math is solid, except that you gave the 10th level Fighter a 15000 gp item (out of a total 62000 WBL, so it's a large percentage) without giving the Slayer anything in return. That's worth at least another +1 enhancement on the weapon. So it looks like at level 10, the Slayer is pretty darn close to the Fighter without Sneak Attack even entering the equation, except when enemies die mid-round thus dis-allowing favored target on the subsequent enemies until the next round.

Liberty's Edge

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The Slayer might be my favorite of the new classes, but the big factor to making it the kind of class I want to revisit and approach from different different directions will be a healthy variety of flavorful Slayer Talents. (Also on my wish list would be making the Slayer Talents available to Rogues the same way that Ninja tricks are, but not making all the Rogue stuff available to Slayers. I think it's in character for Rogues to be more option-based and Slayers be more focused).

The flavor of the mechanics and skills the Slayer already has lends itself to:

-Studying your enemies to gain an advantage.

-Lurking/stalking your prey.

-Ambushing from stealth.

-Being implacably focused on a single enemy.

-Being frikkin' scary.

Plenty of cool options to pursue- you could basically watch Batman: The Animated Series for a few hours, write down everything cool that Batman does, and make each one a talent. A few possibilities:

-Let the Slayer Pounce its favored enemy and get Sneak Attack on it's attacks if and only if the Slayer has concealment.

-Bonus to attack and damage if the Slayer is attacking while jumping down onto its target from an elevated position.

-Access to Ranger Traps, and making the traps more effective against the Slayer's Favored Enemy.

-Giving the Slayer make an Intimidate check to Demoralize their Favored Enemy when the Slayer has concealment and the target is unaware of the Slayer's presence. (The target can't put their finger on it but they feel like something is watching them...)

-Eliminating penalties to Stealth and other skill checks while wearing Medium armor.

-Letting the Slayer charge their Favored Enemy as an attack of opportunity if the Favored Enemy attacks someone other than the Slayer. This would combine nicely with the Stealth Pounce trick and let the Slayer simultaneously be stealthy and still do some of the "protect my buddies" job that full BAB d10 HD classes traditionally take care of.

-Letting the self-heal when they defeat their Favored Enemy. This would help justify ignoring other dangers and absorbing the occasional hit in favor of taking down the FE.

Liberty's Edge

Another idea for giving individual Slayers some options- make their secondary abilities cued to different non-physical stats. Intelligence could match up with their "study the enemy" abilities, Wisdom could match up with their "hunting and tracking" abilities (and maybe their self-healing if you want to go that way) and Charisma could match with their Intimidate-related abilities. The powers would have to be powerful enough to justify the MAD, but you'd have all kinds of decisions to make with your character. You could focus on one part of the triangle and be awesome at it, generalize, or downplay the non-physical stats in favor of the physical ones to get a more traditional melee character with a little extra juice. All without losing the flavor of a manhunting killing machine.


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First I built a twf ranger and a twf slayer to compare but I decided that I didn't really like either so I started over with Str builds of each. These are not optimized but I tried to make them as close to each each other as possible. This was done with HeroLab (and some tweaking)

Str Ranger
Human Ranger 7
Medium humanoid (human)
Init +2; Senses Perception +2
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Defense
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AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 15 (+5 armor, +2 Dex, +1 dodge)
hp 64 (7d10+21)
Fort +7 (+4 vs. hot or cold environments and to resist damage from suffocation), Ref +7, Will +6
--------------------
Offense
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Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 greatsword +12/+7 (2d6+14/19-20)
Special Attacks favored enemies (humans +4, undead +2)
Ranger Spells Prepared (CL 4th; concentration +6):
2nd (1/day)—barkskin
1st (2/day)—lead blades, resist energy
--------------------
Statistics
--------------------
Str 21, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 10
Base Atk +7; CMB +10; CMD 25
Feats Dodge, Endurance, Furious Focus, Iron Will, Power Attack, Step Up, Toughness, Weapon Focus (greatsword)
SQ combat styles (two-handed weapon), favored terrain (underground +2), track, wild empathy, woodland stride
Other Gear +1 Chain shirt, +1 Greatsword, Belt of giant strength +2
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Special Abilities
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Endurance +4 to a variety of fort saves, skill and ability checks. Sleep in L/M armor with no fatigue.
Favored Enemy (Humans +4) (Ex) +4 to rolls vs Favored Enemy (Humans).
Favored Enemy (Undead +2) (Ex) +2 to rolls vs Favored Enemy (Undead).
Favored Terrain (Underground +2) (Ex) +2 to rolls vs Favored Terrain (Underground).
Furious Focus If you are wielding a weapon in two hands, ignore the penalty for your first attack of each turn.
Power Attack -2/+4 You can subtract from your attack roll to add to your damage.
Step Up When a foe makes a 5 ft step away from you, you can move 5 ft to follow them.
Track +3 Add the listed bonus to survival checks made to track.
Wild Empathy +7 (Ex) Improve the attitude of an animal, as if using Diplomacy.
Woodland Stride (Ex) Move through undergrowth at normal speed.
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Str Slayer
Human Slayer 7
Medium humanoid (human)
Init +2; Senses Perception +2
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Defense
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AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 15 (+5 armor, +2 Dex, +1 dodge)
hp 64 (7d10+21)
Fort +7, Ref +7, Will +6
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Offense
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Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 greatsword +12/+7 (2d6+14/19-20)
Special Attacks favored target
Slayer Talents : Combat Trick (Step-Up), Weapon Training (Greatsword), Terrain Mastery: Underground
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Statistics
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Str 21, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 10
Base Atk +7; CMB +10; CMD 25
Feats Dodge, Furious Focus, Iron Will, Power Attack, Step Up, Toughness, Weapon Focus (greatsword)
SQ track, stalker
Other Gear +1 Chain shirt, +1 Greatsword, Belt of giant strength +2
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Special Abilities
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Sneak Attack 2d6
Favored Target (+2) (Ex) +2 to rolls vs Favored Target (Move Action).
Favored Terrain (Underground +2) (Ex) +2 to rolls vs Favored Terrain (Underground).
Furious Focus If you are wielding a weapon in two hands, ignore the penalty for your first attack of each turn.
Power Attack -2/+4 You can subtract from your attack roll to add to your damage.
Step Up When a foe makes a 5 ft step away from you, you can move 5 ft to follow them.
Track +3 Add the listed bonus to survival checks made to track.

The two seem really close. The Favored target is more flexible and the sneak attack damage is a nice bonus when it applies (in my experience not very often). The ranger has bigger bonuses and once the Instant Enemy spell becomes available the Ranger is going to win any DPR contests. The animal companion is a tough one. Most of the animal companions I've seen in play were more hindrance than help (lots of riding in the portable hole) but there are now feats available that make it as good as a druid's (minus the nice animal selection). I'd like to see better Slayer (and Rogue) Talents. More combat focused. When you look at Rage powers there are lots of awesome ones but Slayer talents are largely "meh". Put level limits on to balance them. I agree that Poison Use would be a good fit to this class (and Poison Immunity is always handy). Skill points should be 6+Int.

At this point in the test, I think the Ranger is still a better slayer - at least after level 10 when the Rangers spells tip the balance in its favor.


Jaunt wrote:

@wraithstrike: DC28 is just from level 20, 26 int. The reason I threw the plus on there is because I couldn't be bothered to calculate the theoretical maximum off things like ability focus, +5 more int off wishes, et cetera et cetera. I'm confident at level 20 it could have at least a 50% chance of success if you find all the right stuff. It's still a capstone, and it still means 19 dead levels. I'm just saying if for some reason you start a campaign at level 20, it has potential.

@Alex Mack: Rogues have full SA, 3/4 BAB, 8+ skills, Trapfinding, a really long list of talents, and are generally regarded as misery to play. If you benchmark against the Rogue, Slayer's going to wind up just as unpopular. Ranger's Favored Enemy goes to what, +10 on anything you can Instant Enemy, with +10 to hit as well? Smite Evil tops out at +20. So yes, 6d6 is about equal to those, and they're all of limited use or situational. The issue is that Paladins and Rangers get half casting, and a whole slew of class abilities which give them both flavor and utility. As Wraithstrike said (paraphrased), if the Slayer isn't head and shoulders above other similar classes who have lots of utility, something is terribly wrong. In other words, everything Malkov has said while I was writing this post.

@Insain: I think it's a good idea, but there should be both Ranger and Slayer styles available. TWF, Archery (I'm determined to push ranged sneak attack, it'd be super cool), a style that incorporates both what you call Feinting and Dazzling and one other uniquely Slayer, but broadly applicable style. Maybe one based off of Mobility, or AoOs.

If you are pushing intelligence to be really high, then you have to give something up. I see that as making the class more MAD than it should be. Even if you push the DC up to 33 making save wont be that difficult, and that is for common fights which is what things like pit fiends and balors will become at level 20.


Regeaj wrote:


Also, as I have said before, why does the Investigator get more Sneak Attack dice when the Slayer is suppose to be the one more focused on damage?

Balance reasons and most people want consistent damage while dropping loads of d6 is not consistent. If they give more sneak attack damage they will have to take away from the damage in some other way such as the quarrying be reduced or taken away, or a drop to 3/4 BAB.


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3.5 had a feat I always found neat in Telling Blow. Whenever you confirmed a critical, you also got to add your sneak attack dice. I always wanted to see this feat return to Pathfinder. If we could get it made into a feat for this book so the classes with sneak attack could ALL benefit that would be great, but if not adding it as some sort of talent or class ability for the Slayer would be most excellent.


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wraithstrike wrote:


If you are pushing intelligence to be really high, then you have to give something up. I see that as making the class more MAD than it should be. Even if you push the DC up to 33 making save wont be that difficult, and that is for common fights which is what things like pit fiends and balors will become at level 20.

I never implied that utterly maximizing int wouldn't cost anything, and after a cursory search, I'd say that DC 33 is about the middle of what I'd expect to be able to accomplish. Maybe one could eke out a couple more points off magic items, beyond just straight boosting Int. A pit fiend has a decent enough chance of flat out dying, the Balor much less so. In any event, we fundamentally agree: the Slayer capstone, and intelligence, are not worth building around.

Honestly, I don't see a solid balance reason that the Slayer can't have full SA/more SA than Investigators. They probably just picked 6d6 as a good number because it comes out pretty close to what Smite Evil is, and that's been judged balanced already. Between the difficulty of qualifying for SA with full attacks, and the total lack of utility the Slayer faces when compared with his martial brethren, it's probably perfectly reasonable to either give them 10d6, or just talent in a way to make SA way more reliable than it is for Rogues. I perceive most people would rather have the latter than the former.


Glutton wrote:
3.5 had a feat I always found neat in Telling Blow. Whenever you confirmed a critical, you also got to add your sneak attack dice. I always wanted to see this feat return to Pathfinder. If we could get it made into a feat for this book so the classes with sneak attack could ALL benefit that would be great, but if not adding it as some sort of talent or class ability for the Slayer would be most excellent.

I would love Telling Blow as a talent.


Jester David wrote:

Summarizing some thoughts from my blog

I worry that the slayer is incapable of being balanced with other classes.
There’s already no shortage of character builds that can almost break the game in sheer damage output. For the ranger to be the damage dealing class it needs to set the bar even higher. Ostensibly the slayer is trading out-of-combat abilities for higher damage, but that just makes for an inflexible character useless in non-combat situations (while also breaking the game by killing monsters disgustingly fast). The alternative is that the class is equal in DPR with other damage dealing builds, but that just means the slayer is equal in combat while inferior in other situations.

The slayer gains favoured target (a variant on favoured enemy) and sneak attack. This means the slayer really lacks a distinct tentpole mechanic, something unique to itself.

Without first gallivanting off to read a blog, I agree that Slayer damage needs to be higher, but disagree that it would break the game to have someone even better at combat than the ranger but worse out of combat than the ranger. Fighter already fits that description, except I'm not entirely sure they're better in combat. And yet, I don't see everyone clamoring to play a shiny new fighter in most of my games or in forum chatter. Casters, meanwhile, are still awesome in combat, and still trivialize noncombat situations that any martial would struggle with.

Basically, Slayer is a class whose whole thing is damage, and tiny bits of stealth and tracking. Theoretically, if the world was just, that would make them just a tiny bit below Fighter for damage, but also only slightly less useless than Fighters out of combat. I just don't think that the facts on the ground support the assertion that even a 20% delta in damage from the most damaging class to the second most damaging class "breaks" combat, or that having no special, mechanically supported non-combat role "breaks" the roleplaying and problemsolving elements of the game, or the notion that there's a slider Paizo carefully calibrates between combat utility and noncombat utility to be perfectly balanced in the middle for each class.

Liberty's Edge

Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Your math is solid, except that you gave the 10th level Fighter a 15000 gp item (out of a total 62000 WBL, so it's a large percentage) without giving the Slayer anything in return. That's worth at least another +1 enhancement on the weapon. So it looks like at level 10, the Slayer is pretty darn close to the Fighter without Sneak Attack even entering the equation, except when enemies die mid-round thus dis-allowing favored target on the subsequent enemies until the next round.

I don't think we disagree. My point is that the call for more damage is a bit misguided.

At this point the damage is fine.

Liberty's Edge

Instant enemy is a 3rd level ranger spell. Meaning starting at 10th level IF they get a bonus from wisdom they can cast it once a day for a minute a level on a single target.

Lets not over blow the utility...

From what we've seen so far, the slayer will out damage the ranger against non-favored enemies...which is about right.

It is competitive with the Fighter/Barb...which considering it is a full BaB with 4 Skill points a level is about right.

Having it be equal to a Ranger under the most optimal ranger circumstances, most of the time, is not a good goal.

I would say new talents should probably be more utility or flavor focused as the damage is fine.


Just a thought but why not give the Slayer an ability similar say to the Magus where they can qualify for Fighter-only feats after a certain level. This would open the door to chains like Disruptive and Specializations. Keeping them to a one half Slayer to Fighter ratio can keep it in check and with feat chains like Disruptive keeps in the theme of a specialized hunter targeting powerful prey.

Liberty's Edge

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Carmeilliken wrote:
Just a thought but why not give the Slayer an ability similar say to the Magus where they can qualify for Fighter-only feats after a certain level. This would open the door to chains like Disruptive and Specializations. Keeping them to a one half Slayer to Fighter ratio can keep it in check and with feat chains like Disruptive keeps in the theme of a specialized hunter targeting powerful prey.

The slayer is doing as much if not more damage than the fighter as is.

Let's not go overboard...


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wraithstrike wrote:

For the posted slayer I have a DPR of 19.64

With favored target on 34.16

sneak attack(assumed flanking for +2 49.63

favored target+sneak attack 71.77

FT+SA+power attack 70.25

Just as I thought, with two light weapons power attack is not your friend. That damage is not bad. I still think the ranger is ahead though.

Ranger with same feats and attributes but using favored enemy

+2 28.88

+4 39.88

+6 52.62

but a ranger can also grab two weapon rend at this level. 61.85

His animal companion is another 20 points of DPR so the total is 81.85

If the slayer has 4d6 instead of 3d6 then he is now doing 82.62 points of DPR, barely edging the ranger.

Conclusion: The slayer needs to either do more damage or get more utility so it can compete with the ranger.

Slayer vs. ranger

  • and the animal companion adds to versatility
  • and SA is often problematic
  • and at higher levels the ranger got instant enemy
  • and the ranger got spells that add to versatility and damage and even though he doesn't have many spells he can use scrolls or wands
  • and he can get pearls of power to get more spell slots
  • And the ranger has more skill points
  • And there are Ranger archetypes such as Guide and Urban ranger that really let the ranger do anything you like.
  • and the ranger got more skill points.
  • and Slayer is a Rogue/Ranger mash. Rogue has 8 skills per level and Ranger has 6 skills per level. So two of the most “skilled” classes in the game mash end up being less skilled?

    Repeating this as a mad man: Give it trapfinding.


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    All I have to say is please don't give it trapfinding. If you do it basically because Rogue 2.0 and we don't want that (or at least I don't and I get the idea the designers don't either). Trapfinding isn't versatility, it's a burden. The moment you give the class Trapfinding you basically say that every Slayer should take Disable Device to use it because they are the trap guy. The Slayer should not be the trap guy, he should be the kill guy.

    Trapfinding as an option, sure. Make it an archetype or a talent but please don't make it baseline.

    A thing I do find surprising though is the lack of a Hide in Plain Sight equivalent. He comes from two classes that both have it in some form and the small blurb at describing their role even says they specialise in getting in, killing, and then back out again. Why is it not one of the talents?

    As for the poison use mentioned before, I agree that that should also be in, either baseline or as talent. Then again, baseline might be overdoing it a bit.


    Cuàn wrote:

    All I have to say is please don't give it trapfinding. If you do it basically because Rogue 2.0 and we don't want that (or at least I don't and I get the idea the designers don't either). Trapfinding isn't versatility, it's a burden. The moment you give the class Trapfinding you basically say that every Slayer should take Disable Device to use it because they are the trap guy. The Slayer should not be the trap guy, he should be the kill guy.

    Trapfinding as an option, sure. Make it an archetype or a talent but please don't make it baseline.

    A thing I do find surprising though is the lack of a Hide in Plain Sight equivalent. He comes from two classes that both have it in some form and the small blurb at describing their role even says they specialise in getting in, killing, and then back out again. Why is it not one of the talents?

    As for the poison use mentioned before, I agree that that should also be in, either baseline or as talent. Then again, baseline might be overdoing it a bit.

    I agree, NO trapfinding or Disable Device in the base class!


    Still little to no builds from level one.


    I'm actually working on a Slayer as we speak, though the game starts at lvl 3. I'm actually still figuring out whether or not I want to try it with a two hander (the game has an Eastern setting so it would be a Nodachi). More likely option would be burning a feat on exotic weapon proficiency and use Sawtooth Sabres.


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    Belle Mythix wrote:

    Still little to no builds from level one.

    Level 1 builds aren't very indicative of a class's efficacy or anything really at all.

    I'll post a level 5 Ranged build here soon though.

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