I Need Help with Two-Handed Melee Build.


Sovereign Court


I'm looking to make a character that uses a 2handed sword and wondering what races and classes/archetypes would work best.

I'm leaning on the idea of playing a Halfling with the following:

1) Taking Fleet of Foot and Low blow
2) Feats: Improved Low Blow, Risky Striker
3) Using an Elven Curved Blade - 1d8dmg 18-20/x2

Any suggestions for my 2 free traits? or Build path? I'm not really looking for a trip/bull rush/etc type of build....maybe Sunder if it's worth it in PFS. Mostly looking on how to capitalize my damage.

I'm not 100% set on Halfling but it seems like Imp Low Blow and Risky Striker would be pretty nice along with the +1atk size bonus.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

two handed fighter. get double strength bonus and double power attack bonus on damage.


There is a trait introduced in one of the adventure paths that gives you a +1 to cmb and cmd for sunder, I think it is called Giants blood.

I have always loved playing small warriors.

Halfling is not the way to go for great 2 handed damage.
The +1 attack is only compensating for the -2 on str not for the +2 you can get as a human, half-elf or half-orc.
If damage is important then a High str, a greatsword and power attack is a good place to start. If you have 17 or 18 at level 1 is less important. The two handed figther AT is good and so is barbarians.
I personally prefer barbarians because they have better options when Full attacking is not the answer.
You can do all this with a halfling but you will be some damage and 1 to hit behind.

Sovereign Court

@Cap. Darling - Well the Halfling idea was for the +2 to crit confirmations and the crit confirmation reroll once per day to take advantage of the ECB's high crit range (15-20/x2 with Keen).

The Risky Striker is for the +2 (scales +2additional dmg per 4 levels past +4 BAB. +4dmg @ lvl8, +6dmg @ lvl 12) vs creatures 2 size categories larger than Small. I know early on I won't be fighting many large+ monsters but I figure later in PFS (Lvl 5+) I'll be experiencing quite a few battles with Large or bigger creatures to take advantage of the extra dmg.

If the above really isn't worth the two feats then I'll probably pick a medium sized race and go for a Large Bastard Sword for the 2d8dmg. If I went Barbarian, what archetype would be best? "Mad Dog" for a flanking buddy?

I ditent know the risky striker it looks like it will compensate ok for the damage but will take away the only real benefit from being small.
I dont think PFS is the areana for optimising things too badly( but i havent played it so i dont know) but i would say go for the halfling.
The medium sizesed guys is still gonna out damage you until level 12 i think but you may have more fun.
Consider a reach weapon to get most out of the halfling dex bonus.
I like rage and rage powers a bit too much to go with mad dog AT and i think the feats to get a AC is a bit cheaper than the AT but i may be wrong on that one.
Invulnerable rager or normal barbarian are great ATs
Edit: correction you will out damage them by a little already at level 8 but you will still be behind in to hit.

An Invulnerable Rager (/Urban Barbarian) barbarian or an Oath of vengence Paladin (Sacred Servant with rage subdomain for maximum damage or travel domain for increased mobility) are probably your best choices as far as damage and survivability is concearned

A two-handed fighter though is the way to go if you seek maximum consistent DPR.

rorek55 wrote:
two handed fighter. get double strength bonus and double power attack bonus on damage.

Ditto this with a dip into Barbarian because what you give up is more than compensated for with the extra strength, then boosted further by class abilities. In short you will do immense amounts of damage and floor most monsters your CR pretty quickly - although will saves and AC will be your weakness, this is a kill or be killed strategy. In that respect demand buffing and protection from your casters.

strayshift wrote:
rorek55 wrote:
two handed fighter. get double strength bonus and double power attack bonus on damage.
Ditto this with a dip into Barbarian because what you give up is more than compensated for with the extra strength, then boosted further by class abilities. In short you will do immense amounts of damage and floor most monsters your CR pretty quickly - although will saves and AC will be your weakness, this is a kill or be killed strategy. In that respect demand buffing and protection from your casters.

In order to maximise single hit damage you should go fighter 4 / barbarian 16 or if you want backswing for the full attacks you can go Fighter 8 / Barbarian 12. After Superstition saves are no issue.

If you have a strong RP reason to use the large bastard sword, that's fine. If you're just looking for optimal damage output, don't. It will require a feat and still give you a -2 penalty, which will reduce your avg damage output by more than the 2 additional average damage the LBS gives you over a gteatsword.

Sovereign Court

Well, my build path consists of 1 level of Kensai Magus for no UMD check needed to use wands of mirror image and blur. Plus it grants me Weapon Focus and Weapon Proficiency. I'll be playing PFS and you never know what classes you'll get during a session so I prefer to go this route for the 2 free feats and access to arcane spells despite the small drawbacks.

So this is why I'm considering either the Halfling with the crit confirm build using 1d8 Elven Curved Blade 15-20/x2 once keen and extra Power Attack like move called Risky Striker vs Large and bigger size enemies.


Medium sized character with Large Bastard sword for 2d8 19-20/x2 dmg. Which I'm sure the weapon would jump another size category with enlarge person and do some scarey dmg.

Either way, the Weapon Focus and EWP Bartard Sword are both going to be free from Magus so I may as well go ECB or Bastard sword imo. I do also like the idea of a sword as large or larger than myself and greatsword doesn't strike me as "that big".

What are your thoughts? I'm still not sure which race I should pick, either halfling or a medium sized race.

It is PFS. You need to be effective from lvl 1. Do not go Dex-based. The bastard sword is a better idea IMO. Just make sure you have reliable access to Enlarge Person and Lead blades. Raise your to-hit as much as possible. Take Vital Strike too.

For these reasons, start as a medium sized character.

You could go like this:

1. Kensai magus
2. Kensai magus
3. Guide Ranger
4. Guide Ranger
5. Guide Ranger
6. Guide Ranger
7. Guide Ranger
8. Guide Ranger
9. Weapon Master Fighter (Bastard sword)
10. Weapon Master Fighter (Bastard sword)
11. Weapon Master Fighter (Bastard sword)
12. Weapon Master Fighter (Bastard sword)

Why this progression:

The 2nd lvl of kensai magus will give you access to spellstrike. Wands of enlarge person should be a trivial investment, so you can afford using your spell slots for shocking grasp. With magical knack by 4th lvl it is an extra 4d6 bonus to your damage; not bad at all.

Guide Ranger will give you access to a lead blades wand without UMD. With 4 lvls of it, you will also be able to prepare it. I go up to the 6ht lvl for the extra feat. Choose the Two-Handed Weapon style.

Finally, 4 lvls of weapon master fighter will give you bonus feats and access to weapon training + gloves of dueling and weapon specialization.

With Enlarge Person and Lead Blades you are looking at 4d8 dice damage.

Sovereign Court

Not sure if I want to go 2 levels of Kensai. Spellstrike would ONLY be useful for shocking grasp I believe. I could use my spell slot/slots for buffing spells instead and stay lvl 1 Kensai.

I could also buy potions of enlarge person and lead blades as it doesn't seem worth 6 levels for that. You could say it's not worth dipping into Kensai either but I am getting 2 bonus feats out of that and the Ranger levels aren't as great as the Barbarian or Fighter bonuses/feats. Also, with the extra feats available I can easily pick up Arcane Strike that Kensai will grant to make up for the 1atk I'd be missing.

Or...I could just take 1 level of ranger I'd think and have access to using Lead Blades wands whenever I felt and save 50g a cast (potion). What are your thoughts?

Being able to add shocking grasps through your blade is not a small deal, the only buff you really need is enlarge person (and maybe shield), which you can easily buy as wands.

Dipping ranger is a great idea. If you do not want 6 lvls though, take at least 2 lvls of ranger for the bonus feat of the Two-Handed Weapon style.

Arcane Strike will only give you 1 bonus damage and no bonus on attack rolls. It does not seem to worth it.

After these, a good idea would be to continue with six lvls of titan mauler barbarian, this way you will also eliminate the penalty to your attack rolls. Also, if you find a way to become immune to fatigue (a lvl of lame oracle at 9th will do it) you can take Furious Finish to make the vital strike feat tree totally worth it. If you do not want to lose BAB, with one bonus lvl of Ranger you get Endurance for free, so you qualify for Horizon Walker, that gives you fatigue immunity at 3rd lvl with Desert dominance.

In the barb case though, going kensai 2 does not really worth it, as you cannot cast shocking grasps while raging.

So it could be:

Kensai 1 / Guide Ranger 2 / Titan Mauler barbarian 4 / Lame Metal Oracle 1 / Titan mauler barbarian 2 / Fighter 2


Kensai 1 / Guide Ranger 2 / Titan Mauler barbarian 1 / Guide ranger 1 / Horizon Walker 3 / Titan Mauler barbarian 2 / Fighter 2

Actually screw Titan Mauler. You can get avoid the penalties of the large weapon with the 16# variant ability if the Tieflings, if you are allowed to do that. Are you? Is it considered a legal move to chosoe by yourself the variant ability in PFS?

Keep in mind you cannot do spell combat when wielding or holding a large bastard sword or an elven curved blade.

Edit: Nope! No large weapons without penalty for you.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Risky Striker makes me happy, so here's something a bit more unconventional: Pump your strength as high as you can as Halfling, go Barbarian for the plus to strength, and then focus on getting Reduce Person on you at all times so that Risky Striker works on medium enemies.

Assuming you start with 16 strength (18 bought in strength) and Power Attack, with Reduce Person and Risky Striker you'll have +8 damage versus the +10 that you could have if you didn't reduce yourself/have Risky Striker, but at level 4 it will be even, and at level 8 it should pull ahead. The bonus to hit from size will also make up for the strength reduction. If all else it would be different :p

Housecat sized Halfling running around kneecapping people with a sword, hell yeah.

tiefling can get oversized limbs to remove the large-size penalty the LBS gives

Sovereign Court

Only issue with going from small to tiny with reduce person is I have no 5ft reach. So I'd have to provoke every time I wanted to go in and do damage. Not sure what other benefits or problems I'd run into as tiny size either.

But Risky Striker and Halfling is definitely diff from the norm. I don't think anyone in my PFS group is playing a halfling out of like 40 people. (Maybe 1 or 2 but I've not ran across them)

I have ARG but not the Tiefling Blood book and not planning on buying it either. Honestly I can live with the -2 to attack. If halfling I'd be going with size appropriate ECB since the damage is almost on par with a larger sized bastard sword and the crit range is bigger.

Also, exactly what Paladin said. I'm going to be 2handing and I don't think I can shocking grasp so 2 levels of Kensai is 1 too much. Really the 1 level gives me plenty with the 2 free feats and access to Magus spell list wands. I'm going to be wearing medium or heavy armor most likely anyways so I'll be taking a spell failure chance. Best to have my spell slots just be buffs or utility.

I don't really want to go 5 different classes. I know I want a 1lvl dip in Kensai and then a mix of Barb/Fighter or just straight one or the other. I thought about Paladin but I don't like the Code of Honor restriction I'd have to follow in PFS. I'd be willing to take a 1dip in Ranger maybe....and then go full Barb or Fighter, but not 4 classes in 1 character.

EDIT: Also, keep in mind that in PFS that characters "retire" at 12th level. So waiting till 9th-11th level for my character to get all set with certain feats/abilities isn't optimal. I'll be halfway done with my career once I hit lvl 6. Being behind a few in to-hit bonus is fine but 9 levels of oracle for fatigue immunity and in the process reducing my BAB wouldn't be a good choice for PFS. Keep ideas coming and let me know what you'd pick. Medium character or Halfling and what Classes beyond 1lvl of Kensai. :)

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Basic building blocks:

Invulnerable rager build in the AM BARBARIAN guide.

Fighter, 2 Handed Fighter archetype.

Stick with greatsword or if allowed no-dachi. Unless your Large Bastard Sword is for flavor/fluff.

Power Attack to start.

Then consider other feat paths like Cornugan Smash or if barbarian, Come and Get Me.

Any race with Str add suitable. Flavor to personal taste.

It is not 9 levels of oracle, it is 1 lvl of oracle at the 9th lvl.

If you dip 1 lvl of Ranger, then there is no point not to take the second lvl too, as it is a free bonus feat that ignores prereqs.

The basic combination is Kensai-ranger-barb with 1 lvl of Oracle or Kensai-ranger-barb-Horizon walker. The 2 lvls of fighter are just for the bonus feats and BAB, they could be anything really.

EDIT: You can also stack the Impact weapon ability on top of lead blades and Enlarge person for a total of 6d8 weapon dice.

The reason I do not stay in Barb more than six lvls is that the Titan Mauler archetype actualy sucks after the 6th lvl.

But I really do not understand why you do not want to mix classes. All of them are martial anyway, it is not that the concept of your PC changes in any way. Just pick the mechanics that work best with your concept (dealing tons of damage with a high damage dice weapon).

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / I Need Help with Two-Handed Melee Build. All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.