Arcane Duelist (bard) build ideas...Please


Advice


I recently died (again) in my kingmaker Campaign. Now I wantto make something completely different. However, I am really good at concept and really horrible at building. Can you please help?

I can use the core book,The APG and the ultimate books
- We have a 15 point Buy
- I want to be a gnome (irl and ig)
- I am coming in at 6th level.
HELP ME PLEASE


After ability points are all spent (with advancement bonus)

Str:10
Dex:14
con;14
Int:10
wis:11
cha:18
Feats: Weapon finesse (Rapier), Toughness, pow attack

Weapon: +1 Keen Rapier

Extra equipment:Ring of protection +1
Bag of holding 1
500 Gp in other stuff

This is what I would build myself


ME LIKE SMASH wrote:

After ability points are all spent (with advancement bonus)

Str:10
Dex:14
con;14
Int:10
wis:11
cha:18
Feats: Weapon finesse (Rapier), Toughness, pow attack

Weapon: +1 Keen Rapier

why not do a strength build since arcane duelist is a melee striker


gnomewizard wrote:

I recently died (again) in my kingmaker Campaign. Now I wantto make something completely different. However, I am really good at concept and really horrible at building. Can you please help?

I can use the core book,The APG and the ultimate books
- We have a 15 point Buy
- I want to be a gnome (irl and ig)
- I am coming in at 6th level.
HELP ME PLEASE

Just a thought, if you want to explore it - we had an Arcane Duelist in our RotRL campaign. He made an Archer whom took the Snapshot line which, along with the free feats he got from his class, made him an absolute terror against opposing spellcasters.


I played an Arcane Duelist in the AP curse of the crimson throne. It was a blast. One of my favorite characters. Also, I’ve played a few Bards.

Although gnomes are really cool, the Arcane Duelist is built to be a melee class in heavy armor, so I would suggest avoiding gnomes and Hafling. The move and strength penalty really hurts. You can actually build an archer with Arcane Duelist in that case Hafling could work.
Also, Human, Half-orcs and half-elves can pick bonus spells known as a favorite class option. That is great. My advice is to play human, but half-elves are also cool and you can play half-elves a bit like gnomes. He/she can even have some fey blood for role playing reasons.

Some questions:
1. Are you still set on Gnome?
2. What role do you want the bard to fill in the party?
3. What level are you starting at?
4. How much wealth will you start with?
5. Will you continue play kingmaker? If not, what is the new campaign.
6. Do you use traits? If yes, how many? (it is usually 2. One campaign traits and one from the APG)
7. Do you like “dump” stats? If yes, do you want wisdom 7 or wisdom 8?


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I'm the GM of the campaign in question. I don't think gnomewizard gives himself enough credit. His builds are pretty solid. Their only downfall is a tendency for "Big Damn Hero" moments and that's more of a character thing.

I'm not super familiar with bards so I don't have any immediate advice. For those giving advice, some optimization is fine. After all, a 15pt build almost requires it if it is to be effective. Min-maxing, however, gets a frown from me. As mentioned, the approved books are CRB, APG, UC, and UM. Exceptions are granted on a case by case basis.

Zark wrote:

Some questions:

2. What role do you want the bard to fill in the party?

The rest of the party consists of a Elven Witch (debuffing/slumber), Human Inquisitor (ranged), Human Druid (wildshaping to tank/grapple), and a Half-Elf Knifemaster Rogue.

For those familiar with the Kingmaker AP, the kingdom primarily lacks a General and a Magister.

Quote:

3. What level are you starting at?

4. How much wealth will you start with?

The new character will be starting at 6th level, with standard WBL (16,000gp). We keep all characters at the same level and don't track exp, instead using plot points and the level guide in the AP for advancement.

Quote:
5. Will you continue play kingmaker? If not, what is the new campaign.

I sure hope Kingmaker continues. The rest of the party survived, though there is TPK potential as they clear the rest of the dungeon. See the Kingmaker Obituaries thread for more detail. Even then, there are hooks in place to allow the campaign to continue after a TPK as long as everyone wants to.

Quote:
6. Do you use traits? If yes, how many? (it is usually 2. One campaign traits and one from the APG)

2 non-campaign traits allowed. I required a campaign trait when we first started, but with four currently-alive, four formerly-alive, and five currently-alive-but-departed characters, most of those traits have been used. With a satisfactory explanation, a campaign trait could be used, perhaps even as a bonus to the other two traits.


Shadowshot, you rock...When i woke up and saw all those questions at 6 am today i was like there is no way i can answer all of them at lunch break.


Don't be a small race. I recommend Aasimar to pump your inspire levels 1-8 and bladethirst thereafter with their favoured class bonus.

Aim towards getting 2 performances running at the same time so you can buff the party and buff your weapon.

Gr. Invisibility and Cloak of Dreams is a nice combo. Basically you sneak invisibly next to a monster - they have to save or sleep - you coup de grace them - rinse/repeat!

Bards are my favorite class, they get fantastic spell lists and the duelist shores up their normal frailty in melee. Pump Str and Cha at every opportunity. Have a 14 minimum in Con by level 8 and take toughness early. Take lingering performance to manage your rounds. Arcane Concordance is your friend (and the Witch will love you long time!).


1st level spells.
grease, feather step, liberating command, saving finale, silent image, vanish
.
2nd level spells.
allegro, cacophonus call, calm emotions, mirror image, resist energy, pilfering hand
.
3rd level spells.
arcane concordance, confusion, exquisite accompaniment, dispel magic, good hope, haste, see invisibility
.
4th level spells.
dimension door, freedom of movement, gr. invisibility, shout, virtuoso performance
.
5th level spells.
cloak of dreams, deafening song bolts, bard's escape, shadowbard


Others will recommend Masterpieces but personally I think the cost is too high and I don't like them but others will swear by them!

Silver Crusade

What level are you
If 5 or above I'd suggest a greataxe as your weapon/bonded item which will grant proficency in said item.
Try to get your DM to allow it to be a combination guitar/axe, with an adamanite blade
Power attack is then useful


gnomewizard wrote:
ME LIKE SMASH wrote:

After ability points are all spent (with advancement bonus)

Str:10
Dex:14
con;14
Int:10
wis:11
cha:18
Feats: Weapon finesse (Rapier), Toughness, pow attack

Weapon: +1 Keen Rapier

why not do a strength build since arcane duelist is a melee striker

You requested to be a gnome,so I gave it to him.

Although a half-orc would be better.

Shadow Lodge

ME LIKE SMASH wrote:
gnomewizard wrote:
ME LIKE SMASH wrote:

After ability points are all spent (with advancement bonus)

Str:10
Dex:14
con;14
Int:10
wis:11
cha:18
Feats: Weapon finesse (Rapier), Toughness, pow attack

Weapon: +1 Keen Rapier

why not do a strength build since arcane duelist is a melee striker

You requested to be a gnome,so I gave it to him.

Although a half-orc would be better.

aasimar (the variant that gets +2cha +2str and has alter self (another +2 to str) as a spell like ability, I think they are angle blooded) would be better


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Here is a build for you:

Gnome arcane duelist:

Gimwicky
Male Gnome bard(arcane duelist) 6
CG Small humanoid (gnome)
Init +4, Senses low-light vision; Perception +9
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DEFENSE
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AC 22, touch 15, flat-footed 19 (+5 armor, +1 deflection, +3 Dex, +2 shield, +1 size )
hp 57 ((6d8)+24)
Fort +7, Ref +9, Will +5, +2 vs. illusion spells or effects

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OFFENSE
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Speed 20 ft.
Melee +1 agile short sword +9 (1d4+4/19-20)
Ranged darkwood shortbow +9 (1d4/x3)
Special Attacks bardic performance 16 rounds/day (bladethirst, distraction, fascinate, inspire competence +2, inspire courage +2, rallying cry)
Innate Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th; concentration +8)
dancing lights (1/day), ghost sound (DC 12,1/day), prestidigitation (1/day), speak with animals (1/day)

Bard Spells Known (CL 6th; concentration +8)
2nd(4/day)-blistering invective(DC 14), cat's grace, heroism, versatile weapon
1st(5/day)-expeditious retreat(DC ), feather fall(DC 13), liberating command(DC 13), saving finale(DC 13)
0th(at will)-detect magic, ghost sound(DC 13), light, mage hand, prestidigitation(DC 12), resistance(DC 12)

=================================================
TACTICS
=================================================
Before Combat he will cast versatile weapon, heroism, expeditious retreat or cat's grace as needed to improve his ability to attack his foe
During Combat he prefers to use inspire courage or bladethirst to augment his allies, and blistering invective to disable and damage his foes.

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STATISTICS
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Str 10, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 15
Base Atk +4; CMB +3; CMD 17
Feats Arcane Strike, Combat Casting, Disruptive, Step Up, Taunt, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +11, Bluff +14, Diplomacy +11, Escape Artist +11, Knowledge (Arcana) +4, Knowledge (Nature) +5, Knowledge (Planes) +4, Knowledge (Religion) +4, Perception +9, Perform (dance) +10, Profession (Soldier) +7, Spellcraft +5, Stealth +11
Traits Rapscallion, Resilient
Languages Common, Gnome, Sylvan
SQ arcane bond, arcane strike, armored casting, bonded object, defensive training, gnome magic, hatred, illusion resistance
Combat Gear scroll (remove fear), scroll (identify), scroll (grease), scroll (glitterdust), scroll (expeditious retreat), scroll (cure moderate wounds), scroll (cure light wounds) (3), scroll (comprehend languages), scroll (invigorate)
Other Gear circlet of persuasion, +1 agile short sword, ring of protection +1, mithral shirt +1, darkwood buckler +1 , cloak of resistance +1, scroll case (2), weapon cord, cold iron arrows (20), blunt arrows (20), pouch (belt/small), flint and steel, mirror (steel), rope (hemp/50 ft.), shortbow (darkwood), backpack , bedroll , ink (1 oz. vial), inkpen, journal, mess kit, outfit (traveler's), pot (iron), soap, rations (trail/per day) (5), torch (10), waterskin, 1329.9 gp
=================================================
SPECIAL ABILITIES
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Arcane Bond (Ex) At 5th level, an arcane duelist gains the arcane bond ability as a wizard, using a weapon as his bonded item, allowing him to cast any one additional spell that he knows once per day. He may not choose a familiar or other type of bonded item. He may use the hand holding his bonded weapon for somatic components. This ability replaces lore master.

Arcane Strike Arcane duelists gain Arcane Strike as a bonus feat at 1st level. This ability replaces bardic knowledge.

Armored Casting (Ex) You can cast bard spells while wearing light armor and use a shield without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance.

Bardic Performance You are trained to use the Perform skill to create magical effects on those around you, including yourself if desired.

Bladethirst (Su) An arcane duelist of 6th level or higher may use performance to grant one weapon, one natural weapon, one end of a double weapon, or 50 items of ammunition of the same type within 30 feet a +-1 enhancement bonus. This enhancement bonus increases by +1 for every three levels after 6th (maximum +5 at 18th level). These bonuses stack with existing bonuses and may be used to increase the item's enhancement bonus up to +5 or to add any of the following weapon properties: defending, distance, ghost touch, keen, mighty cleaving, returning, shock, shocking burst, seeking, speed, or wounding (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook page 469). If the weapon is not magical, at least a +1 enhancement bonus must be added before adding special abilities. This performance replaces suggestion.

Bonded Object Objects that are the subject of an arcane bond must fall into one of the following categories: amulet, ring, staff, wand, or weapon. These objects are always masterwork quality. Weapons acquired at 1st level are not made of any special material. If the object is an amulet or ring, it must be worn to have effect, while staves, wands, and weapons must be held in one hand. When attempting to cast a spell without your bonded object worn or in hand, you must make a concentration check or lose the spell (DC 20 + the spell's level). A ring or amulet occupies the ring or neck slot accordingly.

Bonus Feats An arcane duelist weaves might and magic in his combat style, gaining the following bonus feats at 2nd level and every four levels thereafter: 2nd level-Combat Casting, 6th level-Disruptive, 10th level-Spellbreaker, 14th level-Penetrating Strike, 18th level-Greater Penetrating Strike. This ability replaces versatile performance and well-versed.

Cantrips You have learned a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells. These spells are cast like any other spells, but they do not consume any slots and may be used again.

Defensive Training (Ex) Gnomes get a +4 dodge bonus to AC against monsters of the giant type.

Distraction (Su) You can use your performance to counter magic effects that depend on sight.

Fascinate (Su) You can use your performance to cause up to 2 creatures to become fascinated with you.

Gnome Magic (Sp) Gnomes add +1 to the DC of any saving throws against illusion spells that they cast. Gnomes with a Charisma of 11 or higher also gain spell-like abilities.

Hatred (Ex) Gnomes receive a +1 bonus on attack rolls against humanoid creatures of the reptilian and goblinoid subtypes due to special training against these hated foes.

Illusion Resistance (Ex) Gnomes get a +2 racial saving throw bonus against illusion spells or effects.

Inspire Competence (Su) You can use your performance to help an ally succeed at a task.

Inspire Courage (Su) You can use your performance to inspire courage in your allies (including yourself), bolstering them against fear and improving their combat abilities.

Keen Senses (Ex) Gnomes receive a +2 bonus on Perception skill checks.

Low-Light Vision (Ex) You can see x2 as far as humans in low illumination. Characters with low-light vision have eyes that are so sensitive to light that they can see twice as far as normal in dim light. Low-Light Vision is color vision. A spellcaster with low-light vision can read a scroll as long as even the tiniest candle flame is next to her as a source of light. Characters with low-light vision can see outdoors on a moonlit night as well as they can during the day.

Obsessive (Ex) Gnomes receive a +2 racial bonus on a Craft or Profession skill of their choice.

Rallying Cry (Su) At 1st level, an arcane duelist can use performance to rally dispirited allies. Each round he makes an Intimidate check. Any ally (including the bard) within 30 feet may use this check in place of his own saving throw against fear and despair effects. Those already under a fear or despair effect can attempt a new save each round using the bard's Intimidate check. Rallying cry does not work on effects that don't allow saves. This is a mind-affecting ability that uses audible components. This performance replaces countersong.

Rapscallion You've spent your entire life thumbing your nose at the establishment and take pride in your run ins with the law. Somehow, despite all the mischievous behavior in your life, you've never been caught. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Escape Artist checks and a +1 trait bonus on Initiative checks.

Resilient Growing up in a violent neighborhood or in the unforgiving wilds often forced you to subsist on food and water from doubtful sources.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency A bard is proficient with all simple weapons, plus the longsword, rapier, sap, short sword, shortbow, and whip. Bards are proficient with light armor and shields (except tower shields). A bard can cast bard spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. However, like any other arcane spellcaster, a bard wearing medium or heavy armor or using a shield incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component (most do). A multiclass bard still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.

Weapon Familiarity (Ex) Gnomes treat any weapon with the word "gnome" in its name as a martial weapon.

Makes great use of the "blistering invective" spell - combined with taunt, which allows gnomes to use bluff in place of intimidate and not take the size penalty.

All of it is from the originally listed books, except for agile, which transforms dex into damage. If that isn't allowed, you could do an energy enhancement on your weapon, or something else. This assumes you used the arcane bond to get the free weapon and craft it up.

I picked short sword because maybe the dm will allow you to get Piranha strike at higher levels - it would help you stay on top of the damage curve.

Step up is chosen as a feat because all your bonus arcane duelist feats against spellcasters are pretty useless if they can just five foot away with impunity.


Wiggz wrote:


Just a thought, if you want to explore it - we had an Arcane Duelist in our RotRL campaign. He made an Archer whom took the Snapshot line which, along with the free feats he got from his class, made him an absolute terror against opposing spellcasters.

How does that work exactly? I thought a lot of those feats only applied to melee weapons? Then you have to take like four or five archery feats to make it useful (counting qualifying feats), and there would still be ones you really wanted.


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Lord Foul II wrote:
ME LIKE SMASH wrote:
gnomewizard wrote:
ME LIKE SMASH wrote:

After ability points are all spent (with advancement bonus)

Str:10
Dex:14
con;14
Int:10
wis:11
cha:18
Feats: Weapon finesse (Rapier), Toughness, pow attack

Weapon: +1 Keen Rapier

why not do a strength build since arcane duelist is a melee striker

You requested to be a gnome,so I gave it to him.

Although a half-orc would be better.
aasimar (the variant that gets +2cha +2str and has alter self (another +2 to str) as a spell like ability, I think they are angle blooded) would be better

OP's GM says he gets access to Core, APG, UC, and UM. No ARG unless he approves, meaning Aasimar is out the door. (It's a shame, because Aasimars are the best there is for Bards.) Halfling is a great alternative; the only cutback is the -2 Strength, which hurts his melee damage greatly.

That being said, I personally find Bards to not be great melee types unless you choose an Archetype that grants massive attack and damage bonuses, or the ability to convert your Dexterity to Attack and Damage, given their lack of proficiencies with armor and weapons and 3/4 BAB. Arcane Duelists make better caster types, since they get one "Get out of Jail Free" spell, Bladethirst comes online at this level, not to mention the ability to cast spells with your Arcane Bonded weapon in hand. They do get increased armor proficiencies, but that won't be until 10th and 16th level.

The only real melee weapon they can use is a Rapier, and the only real ranged weapon they can use is a Shortbow, which sucks because no extra damage modifier. (You're better off using a Firearm by that point.)

That isn't to say that Bards can't be in the front lines. If they invest in enough Dexterity and Armor items, their AC and Saves can tolerate having lower-than-usual hit points. They can do other things besides melee attacks, such as buffs, debuffs, and Aid Another, which makes having a 3/4 BAB and weak damage moot when you can make your melee friends that much more effective.

I understand dump stats aren't really appreciated, so for a conservative 15 point buy pre-racials, I recommend this:

Strength 10
Dexterity 14
Constitution 12
Intelligence 10
Wisdom 8
Charisma 16

If you take Halfling, your statistics would be as follows:

Strength 8
Dexterity 16
Constitution 12
Intelligence 10
Wisdom 8
Charisma 18

So he's a little weak and a little on the brash side, but is agile and charming. Sounds like a typical halfling to me!

You could even just go Human to bump the Charisma to 18 (and save your Strength to being 10), given that the Human Favored Class Bonus is extremely valuable to a Spontaneous Caster like a Bard.

If you plan to Aid Another, investing in Weapon Finesse and using a Rapier will be required, plus having Bodyguard to make proper use of AoOs for your allies being attacked makes you indispensable as a fellow combatant. Getting Arcane Strike, Combat Casting, and Disruptive for free feats makes you even better at being in the front lines casting spells (and making it harder for enemies to cast spells with you around), meaning you'd make great spellcasters become shut down. I also recommend these gloves later down the road.


This has been so helpful. I have a question instead of the long/short sword many of you have suggested. Could a Gnome bard use the gnome hooked hammer. Cause really this pc idea is being inspired by the NPC on pg#19 of the npc codex. Obviously not the build on that page but the picture.

I like that the npc is ready and raring for battle but has rods and potions and wands strapped to him along with his bow and hammer...


What are your stats?


gnomewizard wrote:

This has been so helpful. I have a question instead of the long/short sword many of you have suggested. Could a Gnome bard use the gnome hooked hammer. Cause really this pc idea is being inspired by the NPC on pg#19 of the npc codex. Obviously not the build on that page but the picture.

I like that the npc is ready and raring for battle but has rods and potions and wands strapped to him along with his bow and hammer...

Unfortunately no. Being a Gnome only allows you to treat weapons with the word "Gnome" in its name (Gnome Hooked Hammer) as a Martial weapon. It does not outright grant proficiency, meaning unless you get all-around Martial weapon proficiency, you can't make use of it without spending feats for proficiency.

And if you have to spend proficiency feats for it, why bother limiting yourself to being a Gnome to spend the Martial proficiency feat when you can be any other race and get the Exotic proficiency for the same effect, and have a much better Favored Class Bonus like the Human's?


stuart haffenden wrote:
What are your stats?

As I am reading this I am thinking of going for the dex based since i am smaller.

Str: 10 (+0)
Dex: 16 (+3)
Con: 13 (+1)
Wis: 10 (+0)
Int: 10 (+0)
Cha: 16 (+3)

This is a 15 point buy including 4th lvl bonus and racial bonuses for gnomes. i don't really like dump stats 15 pt buy is hard enough w/o being hindered by negative to things like perceiving.

someone also suggested this array:
Str 10, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 15

Thoughts?


I went with a str build and a longspear to use disruptive line.


gnomewizard wrote:
stuart haffenden wrote:
What are your stats?

As I am reading this I am thinking of going for the dex based since i am smaller.

Str: 10 (+0)
Dex: 16 (+3)
Con: 13 (+1)
Wis: 10 (+0)
Int: 10 (+0)
Cha: 16 (+3)

This is a 15 point buy including 4th lvl bonus and racial bonuses for gnomes. i don't really like dump stats 15 pt buy is hard enough w/o being hindered by negative to things like perceiving.

someone also suggested this array:
Str 10, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 15

Thoughts?

If you tried to go Dexterity, you need a way to apply Dexterity to Damage rolls for being an actual melee combatant to work. Otherwise, your damage is going down the crapper. Unfortunately, none of the sourcebooks you listed that you have access to allow for such, meaning you might be better off simply dumping Dexterity and Constitution down to 12 and increasing Strength to 14, and stick to using a Reach weapon as others have suggested, so you aren't getting slaughtered by those who don't use Reach weapons.

That being said, contributing via damage in melee isn't the only route. You could bump Intelligence to 13, get Combat Expertise, and focus on Dirty Tricks. At Greater Dirty Tricks, your debuffs last 1D4 + 1 per 5 you beat their CMD, and if they want to remove them sooner, they need to spend a Standard Action for each one. Bonus points for you taking Agile Maneuvers feat, so you get Dexterity to your Dirty Tricks Maneuvers instead of Strength, and you can apply a multitude of conditions, such as Staggered (Cheap Shot), Blinded (Sand in the Face, Eye-Poking, etc.), Dazzled/Fascinated (Extremely Bright Lights?), etc.

Aid Another routes are also good. Being able to bump up to a +9 to AC per enemy attack (up to your Dexterity Modifier+1) is a really nice ability to have, and granting a +9 to a melee ally's lowest attack roll via Readied Action is great for confirming your allies' damage and increasing their DPR consistency. And since you can cast spells with your weapon in hand, you can use a Heavy Shield for increased survivability, a one-handed weapon, threaten to use Aid Another, and cast spells all at once. I personally use a Cestus, so that I can hold a Metamagic Rod in that hand, make use of it, and still fulfill my ability to cast spells, as well as be able to make attacks for Aid Another.


Power attack requires a str of 13. Tangaroa gave the best advice imo. I would ask the gm if he would allow piranha strike and the agile enchant. If not I would say go a normal sized race and go str (in the end it works better imo but going by your preference)


With inspiring courage, arcane strike and versatile weapon his damage won't be a total wash, but yes agile and piranha would certainly help.

For damage, another option would be to save up and go for holy on the weapon. That's a significant delay in the power curve, but holy is effective against a huge fraction of enemies.

I kind of find bladethirst to be supobtimal. The disruptive chain much the same, especially for small/low damage/low mobility characters. A high mobility character with a reach weapon would get much more mileage out of that feat chain (although, there is always haste and expeditious retreat.)

If you want my opinion regarding gnome melee bards, I would probably just go with a vanilla bard, or any of the following archetypes: animal speaker, savage skald, sound striker. All of them have more interesting powers, and give up less useful features of the bard class. (although, sound striker has confusing rules the bear a careful forum search).


Tangaroa wrote:

With inspiring courage, arcane strike and versatile weapon his damage won't be a total wash, but yes agile and piranha would certainly help.

For damage, another option would be to save up and go for holy on the weapon. That's a significant delay in the power curve, but holy is effective against a huge fraction of enemies.

I kind of find bladethirst to be supobtimal. The disruptive chain much the same, especially for small/low damage/low mobility characters. A high mobility character with a reach weapon would get much more mileage out of that feat chain (although, there is always haste and expeditious retreat.)

If you want my opinion regarding gnome melee bards, I would probably just go with a vanilla bard, or any of the following archetypes: animal speaker, savage skald, sound striker. All of them have more interesting powers, and give up less useful features of the bard class. (although, sound striker has confusing rules the bear a careful forum search).

By the endgame, with those abilities included, you're looking at, at-best (assuming 14 Base Strength) 4 + 5 + 5 + 7(24 Strength, +6 Belt and +4 Level Stats) + 3.5 = 24.5 damage per hit, and with 3/4 BAB and a maximum of 4 attacks with Haste, an average of 2 or 3 hits per full attack equates to a minimum of 73.5 damage per round. That's the damage of a competent martial's single attack. At that point, creatures will have an average of over 200 hit points, meaning it would take at least 3, usually 4 rounds of full attacks to kill one big guy, or maybe 3-4 mooks.

At level 6 (his starting level), having a base increase of +2 from Inspire Courage, +2 from Arcane Strike, a +3 Strength modifier (14 Base Strength, +2 Belt), and a +2 Arcane Bond weapon, plus base weapon damage would equate to 12.5 damage per attack. Being 3/4 BAB, he only gets a single attack until 7th level, so 12.5 is his DPR. Most things by that level have ~70 hit points, meaning it will take close to 5 or 6 full rounds of attacking to kill a relevant creature. By PFS standards (maybe not a good way to do it, but it's much more conservative than the minmaxing that occurs on this board), that's two entire combats where he effectively can focus one guy and get him dead.

So, even if you kept with it, while it makes your ability to kill much more relevant, you're still equating to requiring 3 or 4 full attacks (which means 3-4 rounds worth of actions) to kill one melee-competent guy by the time you reach levels where every encounter turns into Rocket Tag.

That's not even including the enemy striking you back, and with Bards having only D8 hit points and only able to use Light Armor with a 12 Dexterity (because Charisma is required, you need Strength for your "damage," plus some Constitution for extra hit points doesn't leave you much for Dexterity with a 15 point buy) you are going to get hit a lot, and hard, quite easily.

The reason why Bladethirst may seem suboptimal is because you haven't yet come across a situation for it to be relevant, but there are plenty. When fighting incorporeals and you don't have Ghost Touch weapons? Bladethirst gives Ghost Touch property to a frontliner's weapon, now he does full damage. Enemy hiding in Displacement? Help a ranged out and give their weapon the Seeking property. Crit fishing, but too poor to make it effective? Keen property just made you twice as effective at your job. Even making it +1 higher could allow your allies to bypass certain DR should the situation arise.

All of those benefits increase damage and hit probability way more than an Inspire Courage could ever hope to accomplish. A shame it only works on one weapon, but Mass Bladethirst is pretty lame in comparison, and by the time you get to it, the property itself becomes useless because Rocket Tag.

If he could apply Dexterity to Damage and use Piranha Strike, he'd be competent at melee (and have good defenses, too!), and still be an awesome Bard. Problem is, since he doesn't have access to that, he could try to be good at melee, but he won't last long, and the math doesn't support his choice being a strong and useful one.


I do understand those applications of bladethirst and get what your are saying, but there are other ways to achieve most of those effects. If it is a world where magic items have low-availability, it becomes a much better ability.

I did forget about the effect of armor for the class though. The casting in medium and heavy armor do help the situation.


gnomewizard wrote:
stuart haffenden wrote:
What are your stats?

As I am reading this I am thinking of going for the dex based since i am smaller.

Str: 10 (+0)
Dex: 16 (+3)
Con: 13 (+1)
Wis: 10 (+0)
Int: 10 (+0)
Cha: 16 (+3)

This is a 15 point buy including 4th lvl bonus and racial bonuses for gnomes. i don't really like dump stats 15 pt buy is hard enough w/o being hindered by negative to things like perceiving.

someone also suggested this array:
Str 10, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 15 maybe also wis and int

Thoughts?

I'd say swap con and cha

Maybe also swap int and wis but the second of those two don't really matter much
If I remember how point buy works well enough given the +2 racial bonus to cha you'll get more bang for your buck that way
There are other races that I'd suggest over gnome though
Races like Nagaji or is that not in one of your books


Shadowshot wrote:
stuff

thanks for excellent answer.

Will you allow the “Pathfinder Society Field Guide.”
It is a free download from Paizo.
I mostly wonder because it has some really useful stuff in it like the agile weapon property that grants dex bonus to damage. It seems the party could need some melee help.

gnomewizard wrote:
stuart haffenden wrote:
What are your stats?

As I am reading this I am thinking of going for the dex based since i am smaller.

Str: 10 (+0)
Dex: 16 (+3)
Con: 13 (+1)
Wis: 10 (+0)
Int: 10 (+0)
Cha: 16 (+3)

This is a 15 point buy including 4th lvl bonus and racial bonuses for gnomes. i don't really like dump stats 15 pt buy is hard enough w/o being hindered by negative to things like perceiving.

someone also suggested this array:
Str 10, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 15

Thoughts?

16 con is a bad move.

You are going to play a small character and an archer so 12 con is enough (+2 and you have 14)

8 in a stat is hardly “dumping” I’d say you need 8 in at least one stat. Strength or wisdom. I would pick wisdom 8 and keep str at 10.
8 wisdom isn’t a problem. Will saves is one of your good saves and perception is still a class skills for you. Also I suspect that a lot of the other party members will have high perception so wisdom 9, 8 or even 7 won’t be a problem. Remember that according to Pathfinder core rules the default method of gaining stats is roiling and getting a stat bellow 7 or even below 6 isn’t unusual.

Looking at your party it seems they really could do with a buffer and a charismatic character.

Being small and playing a bard you can just drop the idea of playing a melee dude although you can still help with flanking if that is needed. I would focus on playing a jack of all trades kind of guy with the ability to do some archery.

My suggestion is playing a core bard. Starting at level 6 means you can really take advantage of versatile performance. Another really REALLY! good option is the Dirge Bard.

You get some really good stuff like a boost to your fortitude saves and bonus spells known from the necromantic school. A scroll that got some really good debuff rays.

If you play the core bard you can pick PBS, Precise shot and arcane strike. However you don’t have to. If you play core bard (and especially if you play the Dirge Bard) I’d go all in and create a jack of all trades kind of a bard. You are not going to be a good damage dealer anyway.

So here is my suggestion.
Str 10
Dex 16 (15 and +1 at level 4)
Con 14
Int 10
Wis 9 (or 10 wisdom and 9 str depending of If you use now or crossbow).
Char 16
At level 8 and 12 and 18 you go all charisma.

Some more advice:
I really think hafling would have been a better pick for a small race, but your party seems to be a colorful bunch so go with gnome if that is what you like. Having at least PBS and Precise shot isn’t bad. You have two choices: Use a composite short bow and don’t go lower than 10 str str use a crossbow and dump str as far as you like. Gnomes aren’t supposed to be strong anyway.

If you use a cross bow you might want to pick rapid reload at level 7.

Dirge Bard does loose versatile performance, but the keep bardic knowledge. However with a Rogue, witch and Inquisitor in the party you don’t have to worry about skills.

Stay away from extra performance. By level 7 or 8 you usually have all the rounds you need. If you really want more rounds then get lingering performance, but I think you will manage without it.

Get a headband of charisma. Get some wands, scrolls, potions, alchemical items (antitoxin, tanglefoot bagbag, etc.) and a rod of extent spell so some of your buffs last longer. Feather step and heroism are rock solid. Glitter dust and grease are also nice. Silence is a must have. First 3 level spell you pick at level 7 must be haste. All in the party will love you for it. Most Finale spells are great, but get Saving Final strait away.

If you want to play a buffer, archer and jack of all trades the Arcane Duelist isn’t bad in this party. You lose both versatile performance AND Bardic knowledge and that would REALLY hurt normally. However your party is loaded with skill experts so Arcane Duelist isn’t a bad idea, but in this party a jack-of-all trade character that focus on always having a plan B and being smart would probably be more useful.

Final advice: Max out Use magic device and boost it with circlet of persuasion. You can pick a feat like magical Aptitude or skill focus but I don’t think it is worth it.

I won’t list the best feats or traits. I would pick a trait that fort saves and a trait that boost initiative. As a buffer / debuffer you want to come first. Remember that you have a debuffer spell caster in the party. He /She will love you if you at level 8 could start the round using Dirge of doom. So improved initiative isn’t a bad feat.

Edit:
The feat "Extra trait" could also be a good pick.

Again: I know it is tempting to build a pure archer, but is that really what is best?

PS don't forget to pick some utility spells. Everybody forget divination spells and trasmutation spells. Tongues, Comprehend Languages, Identify, Alter Self, etc. Either as scrolls or as spells know or both.

Edit2:
You could actually start with con 12 (10 + 2 race bonus) and boost char to 17 and at level 8 boost it to 18, but with con 14 you get better fort saves and more HP. More HP means you can inestimable most of you favored class points to bardic performance per day meaning you save a feat if your contemplating picking lingering performance.

Dark Archive

Kingmaker has the Sword Scion campaign trait.

Bards get Longsword proficiency.

I'd make a Str based Arcane Duelist with Sword Scion for that bonus. Use the Longsword 2-handed, it's a good weapon.

And Eldritch Heritage because why not


At mid/high level you're better off UMD-ing scrolls of Form of the Dragon 3.


IMD rocks!

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