Investigators in combat


Advice


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So I've looked at the investigator, and (especially with the Empiricist archetype and Student of Philosophy and Precise Treatment traits) it's difficult for even the bard to compete with them on skills, especially factoring in bonuses from extracts.

But no matter how good a character is at out-of-combat tasks, if they suck in combat they're going to drag down the whole group and eventually get someone killed.

As far as races go, half-elf (with the flexible +2 from human heritage and the ability to take the Elf favored class bonus to increase their inspiration pool) seems to be one of the stronger options.

Obviously Quick Study is the 5th-level talent (or 3rd-level, if your DM lets you pick it even if you don't have studied combat yet), full stop. Amazing Inspiration, which increases your inspiration rolls (including attacks, saves, and skill checks) by an average of +1, is your 7th-level talent, full stop. Combat Inspiration is the 9th-level talent, full stop.

Studied Strike is interesting. If you wait until the last round before studied combat wears off, you don't really lose much other than a worse chance to hit with your iteratives. But if you use studied strike earlier, you might kill the target a round earlier, which is better all around. But if you misjudge the right time to spring your attack, you wind up gimping yourself.

My question is, do the three talents mentioned above enable an investigator to contribute meaningfully to combat while retaining out-of-combat utility, or does he need to invest in multiple feats? And if so, which ones?

Sovereign Court

I've been working on an investigator that can fight myself. I don't really plan on using Combat Inspiration or even Studied Strike unless I absolutely have to. My focus will be on Studied Combat (and therefore Quick Study).

You forgot one major source of combat power for investigators: extracts. Enlarge Person, Longarm, Alter Self and Monstrous Physique I (gargoyle); Bull's Strength etcetera; the Combined Extracts discovery.

I think you'll still be behind barbarians and fighters, but you can be a decent secondary warrior.

I'm still trying to make up my mind whether I want to commit to Spring Attack. Since your main problem isn't so much offence as a proper defence, using it to duck out of the way seems attractive.


If you give the guy a good to hit stat and factor in that His attack is gonna be 1,25 pr level. He Will hit as well as any full Bab class. Vs one Big guy the investigator is just as good as the others. With alchemy on top it is not gonna look bad at all. He May need the alchemy to stand hus Ground but he dosent need it for attack and damage.
In short i belive a YES is what you are looking for.


I personly like the range investigator...
Something like:

Feats:
1st Human: Weapon Focus (Longbow)
1st Level: Ranged Study
3rd Level: Point-Blank Shot
5th Level: Precise Shot
7th Level: Rapid Shot

Talents:
3rd Level: ???
5th Level: Quick Study
7th Level: Sickening Offensive

For melee trip buils can work wonders. I like Sickening Offensive as 7th level talent for both melee and ranged builds. Its a free debuff on EVERY attack against your studied target...

Breiti


It seems the investigator can't really work in a poison build the way an alchemist can, because they never get the ability to apply poison to a weapon as a swift action.


Ascalaphus wrote:
You forgot one major source of combat power for investigators: extracts. Enlarge Person, Longarm, Alter Self and Monstrous Physique I (gargoyle); Bull's Strength etcetera; the Combined Extracts discovery.

Well, obviously. But an investigator can change those on a daily basis (or potentially even sooner). However, tips on those would still be nice.


Remember also that one of your discoveries can be the Mutagen tree. Rage but better? Sure.

Sovereign Court

Thelemic_Noun wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
You forgot one major source of combat power for investigators: extracts. Enlarge Person, Longarm, Alter Self and Monstrous Physique I (gargoyle); Bull's Strength etcetera; the Combined Extracts discovery.
Well, obviously. But an investigator can change those on a daily basis (or potentially even sooner). However, tips on those would still be nice.

How about using Alter Self or Monstrous Physique to change into a form with multiple natural attacks? You'd get the Studied Combat on all of them.

Enlarge Person + Longarm (in one bottle, with Combined Extracts) will extend your natural reach significantly.

Shield and Barkskin provide a significant boost to AC. With Alchemical Allocation you can recycle a single high-level potion of Shield of Faith or Barkskin. I know for a fact that there exist chronicle sheets with CL 12 Shield of Faith potions on them.


Breiti wrote:

I personly like the range investigator...

Something like:

Feats:
1st Human: Weapon Focus (Longbow)
1st Level: Ranged Study
3rd Level: Point-Blank Shot
5th Level: Precise Shot
7th Level: Rapid Shot

Talents:
3rd Level: ???
5th Level: Quick Study
7th Level: Sickening Offensive

For melee trip buils can work wonders. I like Sickening Offensive as 7th level talent for both melee and ranged builds. Its a free debuff on EVERY attack against your studied target...

Breiti

Due to feat prerequisites, will need to change up the feat order to be:

1) Point Blank, Precise Shot
3) Weapon Focus (shortbow) - Investigators aren't proficient in longbow
5) Ranged Study

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I ran Quinn the Investigator Pregen at level 4 in a PFS adventure, and he saved the party's necks. Between being able to knock out of the park all knowledge skills and his supplies of extracts and potions, he was extremely useful.

In combat, he needed the studied combat, mutagens and his extracts to become competitive, but he wasn't bad at all. He wasn't the top melee guy, but he hit and did damage and he was always able to identify how best to kill any given monster.

I would totally play an investigator again.

Hmm


Well, all you have to do is crunch the numbers and make the decision either for early game viability or mid to late game insanity.

The first two levels suck. But "Suck" is relative seeing as you can boost your attack rolls whenever they "just" miss. You also have access to a standard action personal enlarge person. That at least puts you a step or two above rogue though maybe not as good as a bard.

I think there are more interesting talents to take early on than a +1 bonus on your inspiration roll. Mutagen, as an example, will have more utility for you than a numerical bonus on one roll. Extended/Enhanced Potion broadens your options immensely synergized with alchemical allocation.

So let's grab a build from the guide and see what it looks like at 10th.

Buy Str 13 Dex 15 Con 12 Int 16 Wis 10 Cha 8

With racial and level bonuses we end up at 10th with.

Str 13 Dex 17 Con 12 Int 18 Wis 10 Cha 8

We'll go half elf with their racial bonus of making inspiration rolls bigger. There's a good reason for this. Inspired weapons and inspired strike give the opportunity for more damage. We'll also grab the mordant envoy racial trait. Extra SLA's won't go unwelcome and it gets me arcane strike.

1 Weapon Finnesse
3 Two Weapon Fighting
5 Arcane Strike
7 Inspired Alchemy
9 Improved Two Weapon Fighting

Since we're going for alllll the inspiration and skills we cna handle a typical two handed brawn investigator won't work. So I opt for number of attacks instead. If you prefer damage over potion usage you can certainly take power attack earlier though your attack bonus suffers.

3 Alchemist Discovery (Extend Potion)
5 Quick Study
7 Sickening Offensive
9 Combat Inspiration

Now the reason I don't take mutagen right away is the penalty to intelligence which is not something I want to deal with outside of combat or really in combat either.

So assuming no buffs or anything beyond this we'll have an attack sequence of +5/+5/+5/+0. That's crap no matter how you look at it.

But, investigators are the quintessential "Thinks ahead" class. So of course we're going to buff ahead of time. So heroism is in adding +2 to our skills, saves, and yes attack rolls. This boosts us to +7/+7/+7/+2

Just before combat we can throw down a monstrous physique of our preferred level for a charda.

So just before combat we have a sequence of +11/+11/+11/+6 weapon attacks +6/+6 Claws +6 bite. This is, again, before buffs.

So in combat our first round buff sequence is:

Swift: studied combat for +5 to attack and damage.
Standard: Buff of choice.(we'll go with haste cause why not)
Move: fly to target.

So on the round we should be full attacking we have an attack sequence on our target like.

+17/+17/+17/+17/+11 Weapon attacks

+11/+11 Claws +11 Bite

Alrighty so let's throw in some equipment.

+2 Short swords are easy enough. But with the attack bonuses available let's go with +1 inspired weapons. You can grab agile if you prefer for better consistency.

A belt of dex +4 boosts our saves, several important skills, AC and in our case attack rolls.

so +20/+20/+20/+20/+14 Weapons.

+14/+14 Claws and +14 Bite

So what about damage?

Well sadly our damage isn't super fantastic.

Each sword attack will deal around 1d4+9 damage.

Each claw will deal 1d6+8 damage with bite dealing 1d4+8 damage.

If we have power attack things improve though at the cost of accuracy. Our damage will go up by 6 on all attacks with attack being reduced by 3.

Inspired weapons give us a rather powerful thing to use our inspiration on. With so much attack (that doesn't include party buffs)I would save it for when we roll a critical threat, or on attacks where the enemy is fairly close to dead and need an extra push to drop them.

The reason for this lay in our increased inspiration bonus which translates into damage through an inspired weapon. So an extra 1d6+2 x2 damage can be added on some attacks.

Now we can build for more damage easily through natural attacks. But, I presented this build as a way to have lots of good skills and plenty of combat viability. We can get more of either with little sacrifice to the other if we choose.

Point being is that combat viability is a definite yes but you ahve to take a class as a whole not just a few parts.


I built a Gnome Mastermind, using the Dread Gnome racial subtype. Not as strong as an Alchemist, but interesting to play!


I absolutely love Investigators. They are perfect "Jack of All Trades" type characters since they can be very proficient at combat, scouting, knowledge, trap-finding, and general utility.

So for combat effectiveness:

Let's take an example level 5 investigator who started with an 18 strength. If we assume a small amount of pre combat buffing (which should be viable, though it varies from one campaign/scenario to scenario). Something like Enlarge Person will do fine for our quick assessment, and Mutagen (at around level 5 or so) should be very easy to keep up for a large portion of an adventure or scenarios and some APs.

So his strength, before items, would be 18 base + 4 Mutagen + 2 Enlarge, so 24 (+7)

And let's assume your Investigator has the swift studied target talent and power attack.

To hit = 3 bab 7 str 2 studied combat -1 power attack
To hit = 12

Now let's assume a Barbarian starting with a 19 str, power attack, reckless abandon, and rage.

To hit = 5 BAB 7 str 2 reckless abandon -2 power attack
To hit = 12

Now for damage (we'll assume longspear and a martial polearm, so 1d8 and 1d10 respectively)

Investigator = 1d8 + 2 studied combat + 10 str + 3 power attack
Barbarian = 1d10 +6 power attack + 10 str

So the Barbarian edges out the slightly buffed Investigator by a small margin. If you take Studied Strike into account, they are about even. This is a pretty good benchmark for a character's combat effectiveness, and the Investigator definitely hits the benchmark, albeit with a small concession to allowing the investigator to pre-buff a reasonable amount.

Obviously, nothing is in a vacuum, and both classes have plenty of different things to bring to the table besides just damage and to hit, but that is far more subjective than straight numbers. And both classes can invest more to become better at fighting, and the barbarian probably get's a little bit better if they invest more than Power Attack for feats. Then again, the Investigator still has Inspiration and a ton of buffs at their disposal.

I've played an Investigator to level 5 in PFS and I've routinely been one of the biggest hitters in combat. Unfortunately, however, my AC is garbage without shield, and my saves are mediocre. But I'm not a tank, I'm a skill monkey/secondary combatant, and I feel like he's more than proficient at those roles.

Also, once you get past the first 2 levels as an Investigator, every level is exciting. Even levels you get an extra 1d6 and +1 to your studied combat, and you get new talents and feats at all the odd levels. There's very few "meh" levels post level 2.


3+7+2-1=11, and the Investigator who is now Large has another -1 because of that, so Sherlock there is at +10 to hit. Just saying.


Oops, my bad. So yeah, the barbarian certainly edges you out a bit, but again, still not huge. And you keep pace since Studied Combat scales very well. The sentiment is the same, though I'll make sure to edit my posts a little better next time XD


TarkXT wrote:

...so +20/+20/+20/+20/+14 Weapons.

+14/+14 Claws and +14 Bite...

Could you help me with calculating these stats?

As I understand it:
BAB +7/+2 (level 10 Investigator)
with Weapon Finesse you apply Dexterity (17+3) => +10/+5
you have 2×Shortsword(+2) => primary-hand (PH): +6/+1 off-hand (OH):+2
Two-Weapon Fighting feat => PH:+8/+3 OH:+8
Improved Two-weapon fighting feat=> PH:+8/+3 OH:+8/+3
heroism => PH:+10/+5 OH:+10/+5
monstrous physique II (tiny monstorus humanoid) => PH:+12/+7 OH:+12/+7
studied combat => PH:+17/+12 OH:+17/+12
haste => PH:+18/+18/+13 OH:+18/+13
but the Shortswords are Inspired => PH:+17/+17/+12 OH:+17/+12
Belt of Incedible Dexterity (+4) => PH:+22/+22/+17 OH:+22/+17

Is that right?
Where did you get Claws and Bite?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Maybe it's just me, but when I gave the Investigator a read-through, my first thought was "every feat after 3rd is going to be Extra Investigator Talent".

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Jiggy --

Extra inspiration might be up there too, depending on archetype! I so want to play one of these for PFS. Maybe it can be my third PFS character. (I don't want to have too many going at once.)

Hmm

Grand Lodge

Jiggy wrote:
Maybe it's just me, but when I gave the Investigator a read-through, my first thought was "every feat after 3rd is going to be Extra Investigator Talent".

I don't really agree. The talents are so specialized that it really would depend on your build. Most of the must haves for combat have level prerequisites as well. I don't feel this is at all like the alchemist where discoveries are so good, that you rarely take a feat over extra discovery.


Domino Strike is a must for any combat build.

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