Questions about Magus Archetypes


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K177Y C47 wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Don't go into Power Dome A wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Dave Justus wrote:

The Kensai might have poor strength, but he is adding his int to CMD (as a dodge bonus) so he isn't all that vulnerable to disarm.

Having the ability to see in the dark and see invisible are good plans for a Kensai though (and I'd argue that while Kensai might be slightly more screwed when they can't see, pretty much any character is screwed enough by not being able to see that the difference is neglible).

Which is why we said to use Bluff. A simple bluff (feint) strips the Kensai of his dex & his Int dropping his CMD against a disarm to 10+bab+str and as a 3/4 bab class with the tanked Strength most Kensai have it's pretty much an automatic disarm (or trip, or bullrush or literally any combat maneuver you want). With every realistic combat maneuver build taking improved feint it's always a sad day for Kensai's.

For a 2 feat investment (improved feint & Greater Feint) a Kensai is effectively a sitting duck for the entire opposing team.

No, with all the glaring weaknesses the Kensai archetype has it's at best a glass cannon with a huge crack in it and if you yell boo at it it shatters.

This argument only makes any sense assuming PvP or something. I've been playing 3.x since the day it launched, across dozens of campaigns, and I've never been feinted once. Basically the DM has to build a Kensai killing NPC for any of this to make any sense.

Which entry in which Bestiary or Codex has these two feats? Even if there are any it's an incredibly niche case. You can put forward any character and we could hash out the perfect NPC to kill it, but that's never going to happen in actual play. Realistically there are a lot of builds that will simply OHKO any magus (or any character) if he loses initiative. But again, never going to happen in actual play.

Just because your GM doesn't use the options that the game has put out there doesn't make the
...

IKR? who does that without the improved feint feat? no one xD.

Scarab Sages

pH unbalanced wrote:


So what you're saying is that every Kensai should take Blind Fight (keeps you from losing Dex bonus to AC against opponents you can't see) and put skill points in Sense Motive (to oppose Feint checks)? Easy enough.

Points in Sense Motive: only in a campaign where the GM was constantly using feint. The need, or lack of, will rapidly become apparent.

Blind Fighting is obtainable via ioun stone. At levels 10+, I would recommend Kensai use an Ebon Wayfinder with both a Clear Spindle and an Incandescent Blue Sphere.

Scarab Sages

Zilfrel Findadur wrote:
IKR? who does that without the improved feint feat? no one xD.

Since the OP was asking about a PFS specific character, there is little chance of ever encounters an NPC with greater feint.

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LazarX wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

Just because your GM doesn't use the options that the game has put out there doesn't make the weakness any less glaring.

Also Feints aren't a build, it's a standard action that requires no investment to use, any combatant can do it at will. The feats and skill points are there simply to make it more efficient.
ANY opponent that a Kensai meets who thinks about it for 2 seconds can destroy that Kensai with no problem if they take these actions, the only difference is the one who doesn't invest in this feat needs 2 rounds to do it instead of one. That's it..

The Feint can be countered by anyone trained in Sense Motive. Further more for a serious combat the Kensai is probably whipping up spells like Mirror Image and/or Displacement as part of his defense.

Plus if the character isn't built for feinting, he's spending his standard action to bluff and he's hoping he'll survive into the next round where he can actually make use of that vulnerability, in the meantime doing NO damage at all. If he repeats this process, he'll be spending half his rounds doing no damage while the kensai destroys him.

First off yes it's a standard action to feint but that's not really an issue and there is more of value then just doing damage every round. As for the kensai destroying him that's also highly unlikely as well.

You apparently think that you need to be in melee range to feint. You don't. You simply feint the target whenever you see them from 30+ feet away then move, next round you neutralize the Kensai.
Or the round after that or 20 minutes later, doesn't matter since there is no time limit on when you have to make that attack.

As for sense motive being a valid defense that's hilarious. Remember the DC for feint against someone trained in sense motive is 10 + Sense Motive BONUS. Since A Kensai is already a pretty MAD class with a poor wisdom Score who doesn't have sense motive as a class skill if they put a rank in it every level that would basically increase the DC for the feinter by 2 points at most. It's next to useless as a defense against anyone who wants to strip the Kensai of their defenses.
Try again.

@ARTANTHOS, In PFS there are actually more than one occasion in a PFS scenario where you have an NPC with improved and greater feint as an opponent.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Artanthos wrote:

[

Points in Sense Motive: only in a campaign where the GM was constantly using feint. The need, or lack of, will rapidly become apparent.
.

Or possibly campaigns that actually have oh I don't know... Non-Combat interaction with NPCs?


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

Just because your GM doesn't use the options that the game has put out there doesn't make the weakness any less glaring.

Also Feints aren't a build, it's a standard action that requires no investment to use, any combatant can do it at will. The feats and skill points are there simply to make it more efficient.
ANY opponent that a Kensai meets who thinks about it for 2 seconds can destroy that Kensai with no problem if they take these actions, the only difference is the one who doesn't invest in this feat needs 2 rounds to do it instead of one. That's it..

The Feint can be countered by anyone trained in Sense Motive. Further more for a serious combat the Kensai is probably whipping up spells like Mirror Image and/or Displacement as part of his defense.

Plus if the character isn't built for feinting, he's spending his standard action to bluff and he's hoping he'll survive into the next round where he can actually make use of that vulnerability, in the meantime doing NO damage at all. If he repeats this process, he'll be spending half his rounds doing no damage while the kensai destroys him.

First off yes it's a standard action to feint but that's not really an issue and there is more of value then just doing damage every round. As for the kensai destroying him that's also highly unlikely as well.

You apparently think that you need to be in melee range to feint. You don't. You simply feint the target whenever you see them from 30+ feet away then move, next round you neutralize the Kensai.
Or the round after that or 20 minutes later, doesn't matter since there is no time limit on when you have to make that attack.

As for sense motive being a valid defense that's hilarious. Remember the DC for feint against someone trained in sense motive is 10 + Sense Motive BONUS. Since A Kensai is already a pretty MAD class with a poor wisdom Score who doesn't have sense motive as a class skill if they put a rank in it every level that...

One point I have not seen brought up: feint is a bluff check. Bluff has the following:

Circumstances Bluff Modifier
The target wants to believe you +5
The lie is believable +0
The lie is unlikely –5
The lie is far-fetched –10
The lie is impossible –20
The target is drunk or impaired +5
You possess convincing proof up to +10

So... how does this interact with feint? There are no RAW statements that I can find. So... how likely is it for the action you are pretending to do (threatening to strike or trip or something) to succeed? And this is in the eye of the beholder.

How long does it take the Magus to catch on? One feint might be at 0 (believable) if the feinter is a credible threat. But after the feint has been resolved that changes - I would give each successive feint at least another -5. (The target has to believe the lie).

Also, are you feinting at range with a melee weapon? Beyond 15 feet that should immediately have a -10 penalty. More likely a -20 penalty because it is impossible for the threat to be convincing (sure you can throw a bastard sword, but its not going to do anything).

As for feinting being the next melee attack but you can delay as long as you want... I call RAI vs RAW b**%@&%+ on this one. I'm not sure how long you are supposed to have, but the idea of feinting and then capitalizing many minutes later is ludicrous.

I'm not saying feinting is bad against a Kensai - like any other class that relies on touch AC, its excellent.

However...

Quote:
...next round you neutralize the Kensai...

This is just plain silly. Yes you can get 1 attack. Maybe its a vital strike attack, sure. But you aren't going to drop a Kensai in 1 attack. This is also ignoring the fact that the Kensai should have a spell such as mirror image up to give them a second chance miss percentage.

Finally, consider that you will at best be doing a single attack per round, while the Kensai - a class with possibly the best burst damage in the game - will be doing full attacks. And because you are going to be hitting and doing damage, the Kensai is going to be novaing you, laying doing either insane burst damage or lots of status effects.

So, in summary:

1) Feinting is good against Kensai's. Yup.
2) Its not as good as you think because of the modifiers.
3) The Kensai has secondary defenses - most likely a high miss chance - due to spells.
4) The Kensai is going to be nova-ing you as you are a threat. Good luck.

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Thaago wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

Just because your GM doesn't use the options that the game has put out there doesn't make the weakness any less glaring.

Also Feints aren't a build, it's a standard action that requires no investment to use, any combatant can do it at will. The feats and skill points are there simply to make it more efficient.
ANY opponent that a Kensai meets who thinks about it for 2 seconds can destroy that Kensai with no problem if they take these actions, the only difference is the one who doesn't invest in this feat needs 2 rounds to do it instead of one. That's it..

The Feint can be countered by anyone trained in Sense Motive. Further more for a serious combat the Kensai is probably whipping up spells like Mirror Image and/or Displacement as part of his defense.

Plus if the character isn't built for feinting, he's spending his standard action to bluff and he's hoping he'll survive into the next round where he can actually make use of that vulnerability, in the meantime doing NO damage at all. If he repeats this process, he'll be spending half his rounds doing no damage while the kensai destroys him.

First off yes it's a standard action to feint but that's not really an issue and there is more of value then just doing damage every round. As for the kensai destroying him that's also highly unlikely as well.

You apparently think that you need to be in melee range to feint. You don't. You simply feint the target whenever you see them from 30+ feet away then move, next round you neutralize the Kensai.
Or the round after that or 20 minutes later, doesn't matter since there is no time limit on when you have to make that attack.

As for sense motive being a valid defense that's hilarious. Remember the DC for feint against someone trained in sense motive is 10 + Sense Motive BONUS. Since A Kensai is already a pretty MAD class with a poor wisdom Score who doesn't have sense motive as a class skill if they

...

Yes, Feint is a bluff check but it's NOT a lie and those modifiers are only used when trying to lie so they aren't used when feinting. Also ALL if your ideas on making that feint roll harder are not in the rules. It doesn't matter how far away you are from the target or how many times you've already feinted them or even if you actual have a weapon or are a threat. The feint check has no limitations at all on its use against this target.

Second, you don't attack the Kensai after the feint, you Disarm him. Everything about the Kensai is specifically built around using one SPECIFIC weapon, once that's taken away it loses the lions share of it's power. Remember all the fighter combat feats it has only work with the chosen weapon, his canny defense only works when wielding his chosen weapon. Literally every offensive ability the archetype has stops working if you take his specific weapon away.
At that point he becomes a wizard in melee range, a few more hit points and a better bab but a much easier target to kill. In general the best defense against a Kensai is to simply have someone take his weapon and run away, he's completely hosed without it.

Also for those recommending using a bladebound kensai so they can teleport the blade back into his hands after being disarmed don't ferget the restrictions on that power.
A. it's a standard action spell-like ability which is usually going to happen in melee range (free AoO)
B. It uses the teleport spell as it's base so it falls under the standard restrictions of the teleport spell, mostly this one.

Quote:
Only objects held or in use (attended) by another person receive saving throws and Spell Resistance.

If the black blade is held by an enemy they can make a save to keep the blade from going anywhere.

If a bladebound Kensai is disarmed and the target holds the blade you may not actually get it back.


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

Second, you don't attack the Kensai after the feint, you Disarm him. Everything about the Kensai is specifically built around using one SPECIFIC weapon, once that's taken away it loses the lions share of it's power. Remember all the fighter combat feats it has only work with the chosen weapon, his canny defense only works when wielding his chosen weapon. Literally every offensive ability the archetype has stops working if you take his specific weapon away.

At that point he becomes a wizard in melee range, a few more hit points and a better bab but a much easier target to kill. In general the best defense against a Kensai is to simply have someone take his weapon and run away, he's completely hosed without it.

And are we to assume the magus in question is too cheap to spring for a weapon cord? Spending two rounds to feint then disarm when the magus can use a move action to rearm seems...not such a great option.

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pellinore wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

Second, you don't attack the Kensai after the feint, you Disarm him. Everything about the Kensai is specifically built around using one SPECIFIC weapon, once that's taken away it loses the lions share of it's power. Remember all the fighter combat feats it has only work with the chosen weapon, his canny defense only works when wielding his chosen weapon. Literally every offensive ability the archetype has stops working if you take his specific weapon away.

At that point he becomes a wizard in melee range, a few more hit points and a better bab but a much easier target to kill. In general the best defense against a Kensai is to simply have someone take his weapon and run away, he's completely hosed without it.
And are we to assume the magus in question is too cheap to spring for a weapon cord? Spending two rounds to feint then disarm when the magus can use a move action to rearm seems...not such a great option.

No, we simply don't care if he does. When he goes to recover that weapon he provokes an AoO letting his attacker(s) beat him down or sunder the weapon cord (or just attack it it has 0 hardness and hp's) or do any other CM on him they want.

Weapon cords don't solve the problem, in some ways they actually make it worse.


You have spent two turns to disarm someone and then he negates it with a move action and maybe eating an AoO.

Even if you won initiative you had to move into melee, then leave the Magus to do whatever he wants for an entire turn (spell combat ho!) and THEN you remove his weapon.

And a magus with a backup weapon (gauntlet, cestus) doesn't even care because he can still cast spells and enhance his backup weapon just as easily as a swift.

Gosh, he could spellcombat-> mage hand the weapon back into his hand and then full attack you AGAIN.


I think a feint is a lie, as supported by the fact that it requires a bluff check and is opposed by sense motive. This is also supported by the very definition of a feint:

"a deceptive or pretended blow, thrust, or other movement, especially in boxing or fencing."

You disagree. I feel that I am both supported by the rules and also by the meaning of the action itself. What are your reasons for feinting not being a lie?

Disarm: its a great thing to do against a Kensai (and every other class that focuses on 1 weapon). A few notes:

The Kensai does however get deflection bonuses and possibly a +10 for locked gauntlets or non-armor similar (add that to the list: Kensai's should take blind fight and have locked gauntlets equivalents, and possibly weapon cords). On the other hand, its a standard action to lock the gauntlet in place, so in an ambush he might not have time. Also be aware that concealment and/or mirror image do apply to combat maneuvers.

There is one thing I will point out: The character in question has just spent two actions to disarm the Kensai. This is great, fine. But... the Kensai is still going to hit you in between. Or cast a nasty spell at you. Or just draws their backup weapon and spellstrikes you if they don't have weapon cords. My real point: yes you can do things to slow down a Kensai, and disarming them is more of a problem than with other Magi as they lose their int bonus to defense...

But the Kensai is doing damage to you in between those two actions, and possibly nasty status effects as well (like staggering you for a round (or 10)), while you are not. The build you are proposing weakens and slows down a Kensai yes, but they have lots of other abilities to fall back on that are still very potent.

Quote:

No, we simply don't care if he does. When he goes to recover that weapon he provokes an AoO letting his attacker(s) beat him down or sunder the weapon cord (or just attack it it has 0 hardness and hp's) or do any other CM on him they want.

Weapon cords don't solve the problem, in some ways they actually make it worse.

This is inconsistent with what you previously said. If you are using the AOO to attack him, why not attack earlier. Either way, you are still getting 1 attack to at minimum the Kensai's 2+spellstrikes or even full action + standard action + spells. Its just a losing proposition.

Sundering the weapon cord does not actually make him drop the weapon as well.

Also, drawing a weapon does not provoke an AoO and anyone who relies on one type of weapon should really have a back up...


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

No, we simply don't care if he does. When he goes to recover that weapon he provokes an AoO letting his attacker(s) beat him down or sunder the weapon cord (or just attack it it has 0 hardness and hp's) or do any other CM on him they want.

Weapon cords don't solve the problem, in some ways they actually make it worse.

Not sure how the theoretical magus is any worse off with a weapon cord? At the very least it makes it possible to 5' step and rearm and still have a standard to do...something. And are we really going to be spending additional actions on sundering the cord? How many resources in terms of feats and actions are we going to spend to possibly neutralize this one guy? What's the rest of the party doing while all the bad guys are playing keep-away with Elric?

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pellinore wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

No, we simply don't care if he does. When he goes to recover that weapon he provokes an AoO letting his attacker(s) beat him down or sunder the weapon cord (or just attack it it has 0 hardness and hp's) or do any other CM on him they want.

Weapon cords don't solve the problem, in some ways they actually make it worse.
Not sure how the theoretical magus is any worse off with a weapon cord? At the very least it makes it possible to 5' step and rearm and still have a standard to do...something. And are we really going to be spending additional actions on sundering the cord? How many resources in terms of feats and actions are we going to spend to possibly neutralize this one guy? What's the rest of the party doing while all the bad guys are playing keep-away with Elric?

He's worse off because he is now provoking an AoO and depending on what the opponent can do with that AoO against an unarmed opponent.

And as I said this is not a tactic that destroys a Kensai, I said it neutralizes him. Until he gets his chosen weapon back he drops to being an inferior wizard with a much weaker spell list.

@thaago, We aren't talking about a magus here, we're talking about a Kensai. That archetype makes enough significant changes to the base class that it really is a different beast.
As for your "options" to avoid this you are now spending significant resources to cover up the glaring weakness built into the archetype. This has been the point of this examination of the Kensai from the beginning. It has such glaring weaknesses that can be exploted by any opponent in the game with little to no cost on their part. If they did invest even a little to improve this tactic the Kensai is in extreme trouble.
Heck a first level human fighter minion who's been built as a melee support can (improved Feint, Skill Focus: Bluff, improved unarmed strike, fast talker) can easily take away 80% of 7th level Kensai with no problem. Get it up to 6th level and he can actually destroy a 14th level kensai even faster. Give him any 2 helpers and the kensai is dead in 1 round.

This is all I'm saying to everyone thinking about blaying a Kensai. It has great offensive powers and deceptively great defensive abilities but it has a weakness. A great big glaring weakness that it will require a major expenditure in resources to overcome.
Before you decide to play this class make sure you are comfortable paying the price to cover those weaknesses.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So you proved that a badly run Kensai can be taken down if he's ganged up three on one. And if a player runs one with no other strategy than shocking grasp spam, he deserves his fate. A Kensai (or any other magus) should consider an occasional touch of battle field control as well. a bit of hydraulic torrent to blow away his melee for a couple of rounds if he needs a pause to recoup. Or just burn them with a well placed spell. It's not fatal for a kensai to act just like a wizard every now and then.

Scarab Sages

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
@ARTANTHOS, In PFS there are actually more than one occasion in a PFS scenario where you have an NPC with improved and greater feint as an opponent.

I allowed that it was possible, but in 3 years actively playing in PFS, I have yet to encounter one.

The only reason my bladebound kensai has not already retired without ever encountering an opponent with Greater Feint is because I opted for slow track.

Scarab Sages

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:


No, we simply don't care if he does. When he goes to recover that weapon he provokes an AoO letting his attacker(s) beat him down or sunder the weapon cord (or just attack it it has 0 hardness and hp's) or do any other CM on him they want.
Weapon cords don't solve the problem, in some ways they actually make it worse.

Your forgoing dealing damage to accomplish something the kensai can undo in one round, in addition hitting you. (cast a spell, free touch attack, 5' step, recover weapon)

How do you recon equipping your sword when using a weapon cord provokes an attack of opportunity?

Draw of Sheathe a Weapon wrote:

Drawing a weapon so that you can use it in combat, or putting it away so that you have a free hand, requires a move action. This action also applies to weapon-like objects carried in easy reach, such as wands. If your weapon or weapon-like object is stored in a pack or otherwise out of easy reach, treat this action as retrieving a stored item.

Emphasis mine. The whole point of a weapon cord: your weapon is in easy reach, you don't have to bend down to pick it up, which would provoke.

Scarab Sages

LazarX wrote:
So you proved that a badly run Kensai can be taken down if he's ganged up three on one. And if a player runs one with no other strategy than shocking grasp spam, he deserves his fate. A Kensai (or any other magus) should consider an occasional touch of battle field control as well. a bit of hydraulic torrent to blow away his melee for a couple of rounds if he needs a pause to recoup. Or just burn them with a well placed spell. It's not fatal for a kensai to act just like a wizard every now and then.

My Kensai devotes exactly three spell slots to touch spells.

Touch of Fatigue & Shocking Graspx2

What he does memorize are battlefield control spells and buffs. Haste deals far more damage than Shocking Grasp ever will.

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Artanthos wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:


No, we simply don't care if he does. When he goes to recover that weapon he provokes an AoO letting his attacker(s) beat him down or sunder the weapon cord (or just attack it it has 0 hardness and hp's) or do any other CM on him they want.
Weapon cords don't solve the problem, in some ways they actually make it worse.

Your forgoing dealing damage to accomplish something the kensai can undo in one round, in addition hitting you. (cast a spell, free touch attack, 5' step, recover weapon)

How do you recon equipping your sword when using a weapon cord provokes an attack of opportunity?

Draw of Sheathe a Weapon wrote:

Drawing a weapon so that you can use it in combat, or putting it away so that you have a free hand, requires a move action. This action also applies to weapon-like objects carried in easy reach, such as wands. If your weapon or weapon-like object is stored in a pack or otherwise out of easy reach, treat this action as retrieving a stored item.

Emphasis mine. The whole point of a weapon cord: your weapon is in easy reach, you don't have to bend down to pick it up, which would provoke.

when the weapon cord was a swift action you could argue that you could recover it without provoking but once it was moved to a move action you know look at the move action faq now.

Under the Move action faq
Quote:

Can you pick up or manipulate an object in a square within your reach? Does this provoke an AOO? Does it provoke even if the foe can reach the object, but not your space?

The rules are a little hazy here, but to put it simply, you can affect objects and creatures within your reach. When picking up or manipulating objects, you generally provoke an attack of opportunity, but only against foes that can reach your space.

You are now manipulating an object that you aren't holding or wielding so by this FAQ you now provoke an AoO getting that weapon back.

As for forgoing damage, that's kind of the point of neutralizing a target. the only damage that matters is the last point, before that damage does nothing. I'd much rather a henchmen of mine spend his actions keeping the crit machine caster locked down then wail ineffectually for their measly 1D6+x.
Just like PC's would prefer the Bard to buff first or the cleric to heal when needed a minion who can spend a standard action denying a PC their full round action is a good trade for me. Heck if he just trades his Standard action for a PCs is a net win for the bad guys.


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

...

@thaago, We aren't talking about a magus here, we're talking about a Kensai. That archetype makes enough significant changes to the base class that it really is a different beast.
As for your "options" to avoid this you are now spending significant resources to cover up the glaring weakness built into the archetype. This has been the point of this examination of the Kensai from the beginning. It has such glaring weaknesses that can be exploted by any opponent in the game with little to no cost on their part. If they did invest even a little to improve this tactic the Kensai is in extreme trouble.
Heck a first level human fighter minion who's been built as a melee support can (improved Feint, Skill Focus: Bluff, improved unarmed strike, fast talker) can easily take away 80% of 7th level Kensai with no problem. Get it up to 6th level and he...

But this 'glaring weakness' is actually a very, very specific weakness to one thing which hardly ever comes up. Meanwhile, touch AC vs regular AC is a tremendous [i]benefit[i] against enemy spellcasters, gunslingers, etc - there are lots of nasty touch attacks. The 'major expenditure of resources' is one feat (blind-fight) that also has other benefits and a spell (mirror image) that the Kensai had better have up anyways for dealing with creatures that actually do damage.

The 1st level against 7th and 6th against 14th examples are silly. Even if they can lower just 1 of the Kensai's defenses for 1 round (armor class from dex and int) the rest (armor from enhancement, deflection, and natural, concealment from mirror image come to mind) are still around. And the Kensai's offensive output is still way too high for those examples to survive a single round, even if they go first.

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Thaago wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

...

@thaago, We aren't talking about a magus here, we're talking about a Kensai. That archetype makes enough significant changes to the base class that it really is a different beast.
As for your "options" to avoid this you are now spending significant resources to cover up the glaring weakness built into the archetype. This has been the point of this examination of the Kensai from the beginning. It has such glaring weaknesses that can be exploted by any opponent in the game with little to no cost on their part. If they did invest even a little to improve this tactic the Kensai is in extreme trouble.
Heck a first level human fighter minion who's been built as a melee support can (improved Feint, Skill Focus: Bluff, improved unarmed strike, fast talker) can easily take away 80% of 7th level Kensai with no problem. Get it up to 6th level and he...

But this 'glaring weakness' is actually a very, very specific weakness to one thing which hardly ever comes up. Meanwhile, touch AC vs regular AC is a tremendous [i]benefit[i] against enemy spellcasters, gunslingers, etc - there are lots of nasty touch attacks. The 'major expenditure of resources' is one feat (blind-fight) that also has other benefits and a spell (mirror image) that the Kensai had better have up anyways for dealing with creatures that actually do damage.

The 1st level against 7th and 6th against 14th examples are silly. Even if they can lower just 1 of the Kensai's defenses for 1 round (armor class from dex and int) the rest (armor from enhancement, deflection, and natural, concealment from mirror image come to mind) are still around. And the Kensai's offensive output is still way too high for those examples to survive a single round, even if they go first.

Their glaring weakness is that their defense AND offense can be taken from them extremely easy. You can feint, or turn off the lights or grease them or do anything that costs them their Dex bonus. THAT guts their passive defensive abilities and has always been the flaw with Dex builds, the Kensai is just double penalized since it costs him his Int bonus as well. Add to that he is restricted from having any armor as a backup and it's much more dangerous. Also as 3/4 BAB class with (usually) a low strnegth score it makes him particularly vulnerable to Combat Maneuvers. Though under-utilized they are a frighteningly effective tactic as the many Tetori Monks and Lore Warden Fighters have shown.

Covering all the ways that their dex can be taken from them costs significant resources which no longer needing to purchase actual armor doesn't quite cover.

The second issue is their dependence on a single weapon. ALL of their offensive class abilities rely on 1 singular weapon, once that is taken away 95% of their archetype abilities go with it. A backup weapon can help protect against this but that simply raises the cost of playing this class even higher.

As for the 1st vs. 7th level if you're not going to address the actual comment and choose to be flippant instead that's your choice, doesn't take away the truth of it.


Okay, you win initiative, go close, feint, Magus fails his sense motive.

He uses spell combat, casts blur or mirror image, then full attacks you.

Your turn, you try to disarm. You miraculously succeed (despite having a about a 1 in 5 chance at most).

He spellcombats, casts mage hand, recovers his weapon, and full attacks you.

EDIT: do note that when you tried to disarm, you provoked an AoO as well.
EDIT II: Mage hand actually needs a move action I think, my bad. I remember some spell that zaps the weapon to your hand, I'll dig around for it.
EDIT 3: Just summon an unseen servant and have it hand it to you or put it into your scabbard so you can quickdraw it something.

Scarab Sages

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
when the weapon cord was a swift action you could argue that you could recover it without provoking but once it was moved to a move action you know look at the move action faq now.

Except you are not "picking up" a weapon attached to you with weapon cord. It is, literally, attached. Specifically, with a 2' long cord. Weapons in easy reach are covered under Drawing a Weapon, which is also a move action.

Quote:


As for forgoing damage, that's kind of the point of neutralizing a target. the only damage that matters is the last point, before that damage does nothing. I'd much rather a henchmen of mine spend his actions keeping the crit machine caster locked down then wail ineffectually for their measly 1D6+x.
Just like PC's would prefer the Bard to buff first or the cleric to heal when needed a minion who can spend a standard action denying a PC their full round action is a good trade for me. Heck if he just trades his Standard action for a PCs is a net win for the bad guys.

So now we are devoting multiple henchmen to help. henchmen who will have even lower chances of successfully disarming a kensai than a level appropriate foe.

How many NPC's are you going to throw into the fight to disarm 1 guy who is still hitting you with spells every round.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Artanthos wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
when the weapon cord was a swift action you could argue that you could recover it without provoking but once it was moved to a move action you know look at the move action faq now.

Except you are not "picking up" a weapon attached to you with weapon cord. It is, literally, attached. Specifically, with a 2' long cord. Weapons in easy reach are covered under Drawing a Weapon, which is also a move action.

Quote:


As for forgoing damage, that's kind of the point of neutralizing a target. the only damage that matters is the last point, before that damage does nothing. I'd much rather a henchmen of mine spend his actions keeping the crit machine caster locked down then wail ineffectually for their measly 1D6+x.
Just like PC's would prefer the Bard to buff first or the cleric to heal when needed a minion who can spend a standard action denying a PC their full round action is a good trade for me. Heck if he just trades his Standard action for a PCs is a net win for the bad guys.

So now we are devoting multiple henchmen to help. henchmen who will have even lower chances of successfully disarming a kensai than a level appropriate foe.

How many NPC's are you going to throw into the fight to disarm 1 guy who is still hitting you with spells every round.

If the Kensai has combat reflexes and these henchmen are true mooks, they're all going to get AOO'ed by our master swordsman.

Dark Archive

LoneKnave wrote:

Okay, you win initiative, go close, feint, Magus fails his sense motive.

He uses spell combat, casts blur or mirror image, then full attacks you.

Your turn, you try to disarm. You miraculously succeed (despite having a about a 1 in 5 chance at most).

He spellcombats, casts mage hand, recovers his weapon, and full attacks you.

EDIT: do note that when you tried to disarm, you provoked an AoO as well.
EDIT II: Mage hand actually needs a move action I think, my bad. I remember some spell that zaps the weapon to your hand, I'll dig around for it.

Well you obviously haven't read this thread.

Whoever said get close and feint? You feint from 30+ feet away and then do a move action (depends on what all is going on).
Magus can't attack but can cast mirror image and move in preparing to attack putting him in melee range.
Bad guys turn he attempts to disarm IF he has improved disarm he makes a CM check vs 10 + Kensais BAB + 0 (no dex allowed) + 0 (tanked str on this dex based build). Kensai is disarmed and since he had no weapons in hand (but did have imroved unarmed strike) he is now wielding the kensai's weapon.
(If we don't have improved disarm then he 5' back and uses a reach weapon, no AoO, same result except weapon is now on the ground behind the bad guy)

@ARTANTHOS, I specifically did not say pick up, I said manipulate. If you are not Wielding, Holding or retrieving the object from storage then you are Manipulating it.
Now if you are going to quote a rule quote ALL of it

Quote:

This action also applies to weapon-like objects carried in easy reach.

If your weapon or weapon-like object is stored in a pack or otherwise out of easy reach, treat this action as retrieving a stored item.

A weapon dangling from a 2 foot cord is not being carried in easy reach. Pulling that back in provokes an attack.

As for accusing me of using multiple henchmen I call foul on that. I have used exactly 1 npc to shut down this kensai, yes he's a mook and built exactly like a mook (I even posted his first level abilities). YOU are the one pulling things out of the air and making assumptions not in evidence. Try again.


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

Well you obviously haven't read this thread.

Whoever said get close and feint? You feint from 30+ feet away and then do a move action (depends on what all is going on).
Magus can't attack but can cast mirror image and move in preparing to attack putting him in melee range.
Bad guys turn he attempts to disarm IF he has improved disarm he makes a CM check vs 10 + Kensais BAB + 0 (no dex allowed) + 0 (tanked str on this dex based build). Kensai is disarmed and since he had no weapons in hand (but did have imroved unarmed strike) he is now wielding the kensai's weapon.
(If we don't have improved disarm then he 5' back and uses a reach weapon, no AoO, same result except weapon is now on the ground behind the bad guy)

Magus casts (defensively) Shocking Grasp, 5d6 (average 17) damage drops the 1st level mook and Magus re-arms as a move action (weapon is in same square thanks to weapon cord). GG mook.

Dark Archive

pellinore wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

Well you obviously haven't read this thread.

Whoever said get close and feint? You feint from 30+ feet away and then do a move action (depends on what all is going on).
Magus can't attack but can cast mirror image and move in preparing to attack putting him in melee range.
Bad guys turn he attempts to disarm IF he has improved disarm he makes a CM check vs 10 + Kensais BAB + 0 (no dex allowed) + 0 (tanked str on this dex based build). Kensai is disarmed and since he had no weapons in hand (but did have imroved unarmed strike) he is now wielding the kensai's weapon.
(If we don't have improved disarm then he 5' back and uses a reach weapon, no AoO, same result except weapon is now on the ground behind the bad guy)
Magus casts (defensively) Shocking Grasp, 5d6 (average 17) damage drops the 1st level mook and Magus re-arms as a move action (weapon is in same square thanks to weapon cord). GG mook.

Mook disarms kensai and then runs away. Chase him.


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Mook disarms kensai and then runs away. Chase him.

Okay, sub Scorching Ray for Shocking Grasp, DJ Mooky Mook is still dead and Magus still rearms with a move action. Then the rest of the Flunky Bunch still have to deal with the fully armed and operational Battle Magus.

And this is assuming Mooky Mook can even disarm the Magus! 1BAB + 4STR (Mooky Mook was top of his class in Smashin' Stuff) + 2ID = 7 vs. 15 (no Prot. Ring yet, i guess) succeeds 65% of the time but(!) our Magus cast Mirror Image last round so 1 in 5 chance of picking the right one reduces the success rate to 13%. Them's kinda long odds.


This Side wrote:

Thanks everyone! After all this, I think I'm leaning towards going the non-Kensai Bladebound route, mostly because I think the benefits of the Kensai are probably beyond my level of playing right now

For those who are Kensai fans, what do you think are the main advantages? As someone who's never played before, a lot of these terms that are thrown out are a little over my head, so ideally the simpler the answer the better.

Since everyone else seems to have gone into discussions about disarming a kensai, I'll mention some of the things I've liked about it.

Iaijtsu: Always act in a surprise round, add your INT to initiative, and...well, this part is probably irrelevant for PFS, but at 19 all initiative rolls are auto 20s for you. Add Improved Initiative. Go first 99% of the time.

Perfect Strike is nice. Changing the crit multiplier of your weapon from x2 to x3 is a nice bonus. Not as nice with a low STR character, but still useful. Confirming crits becomes near automatic when you add your INT to crit confirmation rolls.

Diminished Spellcasting is not as bad as it seems at first glance if you pump INT. The offense of a kensai doesn't completely have to revolve around touch spells either. They do good work, don't get me wrong, but haste works too.

AC isn't a true problem as you get higher in level. Bracers still work. Harakami/Ceremonial Armor/Armored Kilt still work and can be enchanted. Blur. Mirror Image. Shield. Use Magic Device and a scroll or wand of mage armor. Ring of Protection.


Mathwei... just no. You have outlined a ridiculous series of events starting with:

1) A character purpose built to disarm, going as far as having almost no other combat ability. Even then, with the simple addition of locked gauntlets the DC is looking to be 20+bab+deflection AND you are at a -4 penalty because of doing so unarmed. So that disarm that you have set up with a feint action is still probably not going to work. The odds there are a 1 + 4 (generous strength) - 4 (unarmed) vs 25. So even with the feint its only possible on a 20 if you play with auto successes. Heck, even without the locked gauntlets the odds still aren't bad: 1 vs 15, so the mook needs a 14 or better. Now add in secondary defenses (20% chance to hit from mirror image) and the odds for that disarm look pretty terrible.

2) A perfect situation where - somehow - the mook can feint from 30+ feet away (something I disagree with because I firmly stand behind the bluff modifiers being added to feint for threats that are unbelievable/impossible), close range, then close range again to do the disarm, all without the Kensai being able to respond. Or without one of the Kensai's allies intercepting him. How about the Kensai uses a mobility spell like bladed dash to do a full attack + an extra attack + release a stored 10d6+ SG? Or even simpler, he readies an action to cast Frigid Touch as soon as the mook enters range, spellstrike, and stagger him with no save (oh and release the stored SG if you want overkill)? What if he uses any one of the battlefield control spells he has? Or an ally moves to confront the mook who just feinted the Kensai (any good melee ally will do this, if only because the Kensai just told him that it was a big threat!)?

I reject your argument that this mook is a threat. I would be much more concerned with a 1st level wizard mook casting grease to make the Kensai drop the weapon. It has about the same success chance and takes fewer actions.

Scarab Sages

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
LoneKnave wrote:

Okay, you win initiative, go close, feint, Magus fails his sense motive.

He uses spell combat, casts blur or mirror image, then full attacks you.

Your turn, you try to disarm. You miraculously succeed (despite having a about a 1 in 5 chance at most).

He spellcombats, casts mage hand, recovers his weapon, and full attacks you.

EDIT: do note that when you tried to disarm, you provoked an AoO as well.
EDIT II: Mage hand actually needs a move action I think, my bad. I remember some spell that zaps the weapon to your hand, I'll dig around for it.

Well you obviously haven't read this thread.

Whoever said get close and feint? You feint from 30+ feet away and then do a move action (depends on what all is going on).
Magus can't attack but can cast mirror image and move in preparing to attack putting him in melee range.
Bad guys turn he attempts to disarm IF he has improved disarm he makes a CM check vs 10 + Kensais BAB + 0 (no dex allowed) + 0 (tanked str on this dex based build). Kensai is disarmed and since he had no weapons in hand (but did have imroved unarmed strike) he is now wielding the kensai's weapon.
(If we don't have improved disarm then he 5' back and uses a reach weapon, no AoO, same result except weapon is now on the ground behind the bad guy)

@ARTANTHOS, I specifically did not say pick up, I said manipulate. If you are not Wielding, Holding or retrieving the object from storage then you are Manipulating it.
Now if you are going to quote a rule quote ALL of it

Quote:

This action also applies to weapon-like objects carried in easy reach.

If your weapon or weapon-like object is stored in a pack or otherwise out of easy reach, treat this action as retrieving a stored item.

A weapon dangling from a 2 foot cord is not being carried in easy reach. Pulling that back in provokes an attack.

As for accusing me of using multiple henchmen I call foul on that. I have used exactly 1 npc to shut down this kensai, yes he's a mook and...

Carried, in this circumstance, cannot mean in-hand. An in-hand object is already drawn.

Since we are not talking about in-hand, carried must refer to the object being carried by our gear (sheath, bandolier, weapon cord).


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:


Well you obviously haven't read this thread.
Whoever said get close and feint? You feint from 30+ feet away and then do a move action (depends on what all is going on).
Magus can't attack but can cast mirror image and move in preparing to attack putting him in melee range.
Bad guys turn he attempts to disarm IF he has improved disarm he makes a CM check vs 10 + Kensais BAB + 0 (no dex allowed) + 0 (tanked str on this dex based build). Kensai is disarmed and since he had no weapons in hand (but did have imroved unarmed strike) he is now wielding the kensai's weapon.
(If we don't have improved disarm then he 5' back and uses a reach weapon, no AoO, same result except weapon is now on the ground behind the bad guy)

Disarming is a maneuver that is made in place of an attack action, it has 1 in *number of images* chance to succeed.

If the henchman isn't even close to the magus he has no reason to even care about him. He can bladed dash right past him (or at him). This is besides the fact that you have to be in melee to feint unless you are an Archer Fighter, or something similar.

Also, this henchman apparently has at least 3-4 feats, and this all hinges on the Kensai not having a backup weapon, or sense motive (which, considering this is a high INT class is entirely reasonable). It's absolutely ludicrous and you can pull it off maybe once until the player wisens up and grabs a backup weapon.

Dark Archive

LoneKnave wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:


Well you obviously haven't read this thread.
Whoever said get close and feint? You feint from 30+ feet away and then do a move action (depends on what all is going on).
Magus can't attack but can cast mirror image and move in preparing to attack putting him in melee range.
Bad guys turn he attempts to disarm IF he has improved disarm he makes a CM check vs 10 + Kensais BAB + 0 (no dex allowed) + 0 (tanked str on this dex based build). Kensai is disarmed and since he had no weapons in hand (but did have imroved unarmed strike) he is now wielding the kensai's weapon.
(If we don't have improved disarm then he 5' back and uses a reach weapon, no AoO, same result except weapon is now on the ground behind the bad guy)

Disarming is a maneuver that is made in place of an attack action, it has 1 in *number of images* chance to succeed.

If the henchman isn't even close to the magus he has no reason to even care about him. He can bladed dash right past him (or at him). This is besides the fact that you have to be in melee to feint unless you are an Archer Fighter, or something similar.

Also, this henchman apparently has at least 3-4 feats, and this all hinges on the Kensai not having a backup weapon, or sense motive (which, considering this is a high INT class is entirely reasonable). It's absolutely ludicrous and you can pull it off maybe once until the player wisens up and grabs a backup weapon.

A). Mirror Image isn't that hard to defeat, just close your eyes. Moves it back to a 50/50 chance to succeed and completely ignores the mirror image spell.

B. Feint DOES NOT BEING IN REQUIRE MELEE RANGE, I have no idea where this assumption keeps coming from.
C). I've already shown the build on this mook and it's about as legal as can be. It's everyone else who is making assumptions on what the Kensai has. We've also already shown how poor a defense Sense Motive actually is for Kensai against a feint build.
Try Again.


Quote:
B. Feint [b]DOES NOT BEING IN REQUIRE MELEE RANGE[b], I have no idea where this assumption keeps coming from.

Because it absolutely does? How are you going to feint out an opponent if you are not even in range to threaten him? What's the point of trick shot if you can feint from range? If it can be used outside of melee what's its max range, is it listed anywhere?

This whole thing is ridiculous, I'm out.


Core Rule Book wrote:
Feint: You can use Bluff to feint in combat, causing your opponent to be denied his Dexterity bonus to his AC against your next attack. The DC of this check is equal to 10 + your opponent’s base attack bonus + your opponent’s Wisdom modifier. If your opponent is trained in Sense Motive, the DC is instead equal to 10 + your opponent’s Sense Motive bonus, if higher. For more information on feinting in combat, see Chapter 8.

At 30' you are not in combat.... If you are in combat you can threaten someone and at 30' (unless you have lunge and a few whip feats) you are not threatening somone.


I think we should just be done with this discussion (we've derailed OP something fierce...). We've shown pretty conclusively that, while disarm and feint are things that can slow down/weaken a Kensai, they are not actually effective ways to deal with one. At this point Mathwei is just trolling us - pretty successfully too from the number of responses.

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
B. Feint DOES NOT BEING IN REQUIRE MELEE RANGE, I have no idea where this assumption keeps coming from.

You are correct. Rather than having people shout back and forth, I thought it might be helpful to present the feinting rules. However, note that your other assertion, that Feinting doesn't expire, is incorrect. Your attack must take place by the next turn in order to gain the benefit of feint.

Here are the Feint rules from the CRB:

Feint wrote:

Feinting is a standard action. To feint, make a Bluff skill check. The DC of this check is equal to 10 + your opponent's base attack bonus + your opponent's Wisdom modifier. If your opponent is trained in Sense Motive, the DC is instead equal to 10 + your opponent's Sense Motive bonus, if higher. If successful, the next melee attack you make against the target does not allow him to use his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any). This attack must be made on or before your next turn.

When feinting against a nonhumanoid you take a –4 penalty. Against a creature of animal Intelligence (1 or 2), you take a –8 penalty. Against a creature lacking an Intelligence score, it's impossible. Feinting in combat does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Feinting as a Move Action: With the Improved Feint feat, you can attempt a feint as a move action.

It is absolutely possible to feint from 30' away, run up, and then attack them next turn without them having their Dex Bonus to AC. If you are trying to imagine what that looks like, imagine that they are Feinting a Charge, or Feinting throwing a weapon, either of which could lead to the opponent to get off balance.

But if you are farther than, say, 60' away, you'll never get the attack off before Feint expires.

EDIT: I play a lot of Arcane Tricksters. Typical tactics are

Round 1: Cast a Ranged spell with my Standard Action, Feint with my move action.
Round 2: Close with my move action, Melee attack with my Standard Action. (Then Vanishing Trick with my Swift Action :) )


Quote:
As a standard action, you can attempt to grapple a foe, hindering his combat options. If you do not have Improved Grapple, grab, or a similar ability, attempting to grapple a foe provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver. Humanoid creatures without two free hands attempting to grapple a foe take a –4 penalty on the combat maneuver roll. If successful, both you and the target gain the grappled condition. If you successfully grapple a creature that is not adjacent to you, move that creature to an adjacent open space (if no space is available, your grapple fails). Although both creatures have the grappled condition, you can, as the creature that initiated the grapple, release the grapple as a free action, removing the condition from both you and the target. If you do not release the grapple, you must continue to make a check each round, as a standard action, to maintain the hold. If your target does not break the grapple, you get a +5 circumstance bonus on grapple checks made against the same target in subsequent rounds. Once you are grappling an opponent, a successful check allows you to continue grappling the foe, and also allows you to perform one of the following actions (as part of the standard action spent to maintain the grapple).

Grapple also doesn't say you need to be in melee. Apparently, you can grapple foes from 30 feet and they teleport to you then, using the same logic.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
pH unbalanced wrote:


EDIT: I play a lot of Arcane Tricksters. Typical tactics are

Round 1: Cast a Ranged spell with my Standard Action, Feint with my move action.
Round 2: Close with my move action, Melee attack with my Standard Action. (Then Vanishing Trick with my Swift...

And you've been playing wrong with all of your Tricksters then. Feinting is a melee maneuver, you have to be in melee to do it.


Lone Knave is ignoring that Grapple is a Combat Manuever, which has specific rules. Including that you must be within melee. I believe that while Feint comes directly after the combat maneuvers it is not one, and is instead a bluff check.

If you look under the first heading for combat maneuvers you do not see it listed as one of the possibilities.

Also it explicitly states combat maneuvers are made as attack rolls, while feint is not. It seems to function much more like intimidation. At no point does it menton a range, though presumably one needs to be aware of the opponent.

As an aside I have seen NPC opponents use feint effectly, in one case using it to get off a death attack.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Um...so what did the OP decide to go with? It's been a couple of weeks so I'm assuming it is a done deal :)

I'd throw my vote in for Hexcrafter, but that's because I like the fact they give you more options and I feel you gain more than you lose. Bladebound is great at early levels...not so much at the higher ones. Still for PFS you have a decent weapon for most of your career.


Actually, the Combat maneuvers section never states they have to be in melee. The only thing they say is that combat maneuvers can be sometimes done in place of an attack. It also never says that the target has to be within your reach.

Attacks can be melee or ranged, just using attack itself implies both.

Specific maneuvers, however, like dirty trick, specifically call out that they are done in melee right in their first line. This also implies that if grapple was melee only, it'd say so in the description.

I'm glad I took the time to look it up, this opens all kinds of new possibilities!

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