Slayer playtest: PFS Thornkeep

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Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I played a 2nd-level slayer through level 1 of Thornkeep yesterday, and all in all I'm a bit underwhelmed. I was basically a fighter who was missing a feat. (I would say missing two feats, but I spent my 2nd-level talent on a bonus combat feat.)

My value to the team came entirely from the fact that I wore armor and had a high STR score. I couldn't actually do anything interesting.

There are what, ten-ish fights in that module? I used Favored Target twice. Spoilers below:

I used it against the goblin oracle specifically because I wanted to make sure I actually used it. And frankly, it was a mistake. I got to make exactly one attack roll in that fight, but might have made another had that move action been spent on positioning. Basically, instead of playing that fight like I was actually in a fight, I played that fight with single-minded determination of "I will use this ability, and I will make an attack with it!" The only reason the ability got used is because I forced it; it wasn't actually a good idea.

The second time I used it was against the shadow. The GM had it hiding on the ceiling, and wasn't allowing those who didn't see it any additional perception checks unless it moved, so I spent a few rounds trying to get its attention, ran out of ideas, and used favored target just in case because I had nothing better to do.

Speaking from mere personal opinion, I think if a class gives you an at-will ability to activate, it should be something that you would want to activate often; it should only be in rare or weird circumstances that the better choice is to NOT use your bread and butter. Instead, however, I was a more effective "slayer" if I pretended I didn't have that class feature.

It's definitely better for archers pre-Rapid Shot, but then Sneak Attack is worse for archers, so in total archers are less well off. Were you never in a fight where enemies were a five-foot step away from each other? I guess Thornkeep in particular doesn't have that, but in my First Steps 1 game I got one off with a melee Slayer via 5-foot step in the last encounter (and we avoided the other two encounters entirely). Low level Favored Target also highly favors stealthing a little bit ahead to peek at the next room via Stealth and set Favored Target, which seems Slayer-y to me and I wouldn't call a bad thing. It's also pretty useful in social encounters as you can spam it. It's definitely going to be a big pain once iteratives hit for Tiffany, if I actually play her that far.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Were you never in a fight where enemies were a five-foot step away from each other?

Nope, not once.

Also (moving more into the theoretical now), I was often pondering my movement abilities during combat, especially in regards to sneak attack that I now have access to at 3rd.

How am I moving to get into flanks for sneak attack? I was frequently (due to medium armor) just having enough movement to get TO the enemy and attack, let alone try to get around to a potential flank. Combining that with the fact that tumbling requires uninhibited movement, it seems like I'd have needed to be in light armor (for greater movement and for tumbling) if I'd been trying for consistent flanking.

Now if you go with light armor in melee, then of course that screams "pump DEX or die", which in turn suggests a Finesse build... but then you're sacrificing two-hand STR damage for more reliable sneak attacks... but then your reduced sneak attack damage isn't enough to make up the difference.

Or you can do a STR build like I did, which means lower DEX, which means medium armor (or heavy with a feat?), which means more difficult positioning. At lower levels, that means you're killing things with 2HPA when you first reach them, so you effectively don't have sneak attack. Once things start surviving a hit, you can 5ft-dance into a flank for the second attack... At that point, does adding +1d6 to the second batch of XdY+12 really matter at all? Then eventually you get to where there's such a pool of hit points to hack through that getting into a flank for your second attack(s) might actually speed things up, but now we're back to "slayers don't have class features until higher levels", just like with the favored target issue I ran into.

I feel like giving them something to help use sneak attack is in order... even if it's getting Mobility as a bonus feat sans prereqs at 3rd or 4th level or something.

Yeah, Tiffany had light armor by necessity, but I think Mithral Breastplate or such is probably a solid armor for Slayers.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Indeed; I'm thinking that as things currently stand, slayers have to be:
1) STR based, so they can actually slay something
2) Pump stealth so they can sneak up and get FT active before the fight even starts
3) Pump acrobatics (including buying items like daredevil boots) so they can get into flanks
4) Have DEX as a secondary stat to enable #2-3
5) Use a mithral breastplate to enable #2-3

That's a lot of "soft requirements" just to be able to use your class features effectively.

SO I have a pretty good build for a slayer that has been working out well for me so far.

Drow Slayer
Slayer ( 6 ) Sorcerer ( 1 ) Arcane Archer ( 3 )

Racial Traits : Darklands Stalker , Surface Infultrator

Spells : Gravity Bow, Enlarge Person , Abundant Arrows

This combination gives you a nice mix of archer/combat abilities that may be needed up close and at range. Makes you a decent archer, and using a greatsword with the ranger combat style of two handed fighting, taking shield of swings and Vital Strike.

All in all, I have a lot of fun with it.

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