The Songbird of Doom: A Guide to a most unlikely tank and Mechanism of Mass Destruction (Warning: GMs will hate you)


Advice

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fumblemuffin wrote:
Ok so ability scores specifically don't stack, but what about other class features with the same name? How would having 2 sources of unarmed strike function? Would the levels stack or do you just use the higher of the two, making the other redundant?

If you have two of something, that don't say they stack, you could choose which to use (normally the most advantageous). So one would be redundant, yes.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Depends.

Case by case.


Ok I looked at the OP's breakdown of the full round of attacks, and I can't figure out why the 2 claws are getting the same bonus to hit as the bite, when the bite, which is piercing gets weapon finesse, but the claws, which are slashing, would not. He only has weapon finesse via swashbuckler, which is limited to piercing. I know the claws are a moot point since most of us agree that the beast aspect claws wouldn't carry over, but im considering trying this build with urban barbarian, who can grow claws after the transformation, and I want to know if they would be viable or useful at all.


fumblemuffin wrote:
Ok I looked at the OP's breakdown of the full round of attacks, and I can't figure out why the 2 claws are getting the same bonus to hit as the bite, when the bite, which is piercing gets weapon finesse, but the claws, which are slashing, would not. He only has weapon finesse via swashbuckler, which is limited to piercing. I know the claws are a moot point since most of us agree that the beast aspect claws wouldn't carry over, but im considering trying this build with urban barbarian, who can grow claws after the transformation, and I want to know if they would be viable or useful at all.

As proposed in the original thread, the build isn't PFS legal and has a few flaws. They are covered in the rest of the thread (guessing you didn't read it).


It works with Monk's Improved Unarmed Strike though, and with Two Weapon Fighting.

Sovereign Court

Curious - how does the build hold up against Feinting? I suppose it's not much of an issue in PFS (never seen enemies feinting) - but just one opponent with Greater Feint would basically ruin their day.

I suppose making sure you max sense motive would help some - but they wouldn't be able to make sure that their sense motive is as high as the attacker's bluff.


Skylancer4 wrote:
fumblemuffin wrote:
Ok I looked at the OP's breakdown of the full round of attacks, and I can't figure out why the 2 claws are getting the same bonus to hit as the bite, when the bite, which is piercing gets weapon finesse, but the claws, which are slashing, would not. He only has weapon finesse via swashbuckler, which is limited to piercing. I know the claws are a moot point since most of us agree that the beast aspect claws wouldn't carry over, but im considering trying this build with urban barbarian, who can grow claws after the transformation, and I want to know if they would be viable or useful at all.
As proposed in the original thread, the build isn't PFS legal and has a few flaws. They are covered in the rest of the thread (guessing you didn't read it).

I did read the thread, which is how I came to the conclusion that the two claws from slayer didn't work. However, I wanted to try the suggestion I saw on this thread that replaced paladin and slayer with urban barbarian and the unarmed war priest. With this adjustment to the build I could gain claws while raging, after the polymorph had taken place, which is why i wanted to know how they would perform. From what I can tell they would be hitting off strength but since the OP had them listed at the same attack bonus as the bite, I was wondering if I missed something. Also, as far as I could tell, the slayer claws were the only flaw in the initial build.


I kinda want to see this with kobold instead of halfling and give them the swarm fighter arctype. Hitchcock battle go!


fumblemuffin wrote:

I did read the thread, which is how I came to the conclusion that the two claws from slayer didn't work. However, I wanted to try the suggestion I saw on this thread that replaced paladin and slayer with urban barbarian and the unarmed war priest. With this adjustment to the build I could gain claws while raging, after the polymorph had taken place, which is why i wanted to know how they would perform. From what I can tell they would be hitting off strength but since the OP had them listed at the same attack bonus as the bite, I was wondering if I missed something. Also, as far as I could tell, the slayer claws were the only flaw in the initial build.

I would recommend the Lesser Fiend Totem and grow horns for a piercing gore attack instead. You lose on one attack from claws, but the horns are piercing so it works with swashbuckler finesse right out of the box, and you won't run into a table issue of "Where is the bird growing claws from?" when talons and wings aren't really valid choices.

On a related note, would Helmet of the Mammoth Lord work while under the effects of fox or bird shape to add another gore attack, since constant effect magic items continue their effect while shapeshifted?


Charon's Little Helper wrote:

Curious - how does the build hold up against Feinting? I suppose it's not much of an issue in PFS (never seen enemies feinting) - but just one opponent with Greater Feint would basically ruin their day.

I suppose making sure you max sense motive would help some - but they wouldn't be able to make sure that their sense motive is as high as the attacker's bluff.

The OP's build is an unarmored build, so if the Feint is successful, he's in trouble, so it is important that the OP invest heavily in Sense Motive.

But I suspect that is already the case. Remember that the OP is taking Snake Style which gives you a Sense Motive bonus, and lets you substitute your Sense Motive check for your Armor Class Bonus. So the OP's build already implies a heavy Sense Motive investment.

Now, however, I wonder what the OP's answer is to Invisibility. When you are Invisible or your opponent is Blinded, he loses his Dex bonus to AC and Monks lose their Wisdom Bonus. What would the OP do vs a Ninja with a shortbow who could Vanish every round and do Sneak Attack damage with every arrow?

I have a Grappling character who also has Keen Scent, Blind Fighting, and carries an Eversmoking Bottle. She is a little impaired by her own smoke, but not nearly as much as almost everybody else. A character that relies on dexterity for AC is especially vulnerable to Blindness and Invisibility.

Of course, no build can be good at everything.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:

Now, however, I wonder what the OP's answer is to Invisibility. When you are Invisible or your opponent is Blinded, he loses his Dex bonus to AC and Monks lose their Wisdom Bonus. What would the OP do vs a Ninja with a shortbow who could Vanish every round and do Sneak Attack damage with every arrow?

I have a Grappling character who also has Keen Scent, Blind Fighting, and carries an Eversmoking Bottle. She is a little impaired by her own smoke, but not nearly as much as almost everybody else. A character that relies on dexterity for AC is especially vulnerable to Blindness and Invisibility.

Of course, no build can be good at everything.

Simple answer: hover 15' up and ready a charge for when the Ninja appears. Tactic has been used against me often enough.

/cevah

Scarab Sages

Cevah wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:

Now, however, I wonder what the OP's answer is to Invisibility. When you are Invisible or your opponent is Blinded, he loses his Dex bonus to AC and Monks lose their Wisdom Bonus. What would the OP do vs a Ninja with a shortbow who could Vanish every round and do Sneak Attack damage with every arrow?

I have a Grappling character who also has Keen Scent, Blind Fighting, and carries an Eversmoking Bottle. She is a little impaired by her own smoke, but not nearly as much as almost everybody else. A character that relies on dexterity for AC is especially vulnerable to Blindness and Invisibility.

Of course, no build can be good at everything.

Simple answer: hover 15' up and ready a charge for when the Ninja appears. Tactic has been used against me often enough.

/cevah

Might want to go higher than 15' in case the ninja has flurry of shuriken. That a lot of potential sneak attack damage.


Well, if he has two levels of Barbarian, he gets Uncanny Dodge, which stops that. I do agree that 15' might be a bit close.

/cevah

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber

Helm of the Mammoth Lord is a no go. I originally included it in a Druid build I was using but checked with James Jacobs and he said it didn't work.

Specifically, the gore attack is from the tusks on the helm itself, rather than an effect of the magic. Since the tusks go away when you transform so does the gore attack. Technically you could put the helm on afterwards.

So feint can be a big deal and remember that effects that make you lose your Dex to AC and those that make you flatfooted are different. Uncanny dodge covers flat footed, but losing Dex to AC is more difficult to prevent.


So the real question is how close can a PFS character get to this build while staying well within RAW.


Barbarian doesn't really fit the build very well though.

Seriously. Just go Monk and use Improved Unarmed Strike and TWF. It completely works.

Sovereign Court

Scott Wilhelm wrote:


Now, however, I wonder what the OP's answer is to Invisibility. When you are Invisible or your opponent is Blinded, he loses his Dex bonus to AC and Monks lose their Wisdom Bonus.

Actually - monks keep their wis bonus. (Not that it still wouldn't be a really good tactic.)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber

If you are going Master of Many Styles and using Unarmed Strike consider dipping Warpriest/Sacred Fist. One level will get you Flurry and some Blessing while 2 levels will get you Fervor.

Sovereign Court

Taenia wrote:
If you are going Master of Many Styles and using Unarmed Strike consider dipping Warpriest/Sacred Fist. One level will get you Flurry and some Blessing while 2 levels will get you Fervor.

The flurry can't combo with nat weapons.


But Improved Unarmed Strike and TWF can.


Imbicatus wrote:
Cevah wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:

Now, however, I wonder what the OP's answer is to Invisibility. When you are Invisible or your opponent is Blinded, he loses his Dex bonus to AC and Monks lose their Wisdom Bonus. What would the OP do vs a Ninja with a shortbow who could Vanish every round and do Sneak Attack damage with every arrow?

I have a Grappling character who also has Keen Scent, Blind Fighting, and carries an Eversmoking Bottle. She is a little impaired by her own smoke, but not nearly as much as almost everybody else. A character that relies on dexterity for AC is especially vulnerable to Blindness and Invisibility.

Of course, no build can be good at everything.

Simple answer: hover 15' up and ready a charge for when the Ninja appears. Tactic has been used against me often enough.

/cevah

Might want to go higher than 15' in case the ninja has flurry of shuriken. That a lot of potential sneak attack damage.

And I was actually suggesting the ninja carry a bow! I have an idea for a ninja/gunslinger, because guns make Ranged Touch Attacks, and when Ninjas Vanish, it's a Ranged Touch attack vs. Flatfooted AC! Since I'm always dipping, go 3 levels in Monk Drunken Master. Drunken Ninja with a Gun!


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
And I was actually suggesting the ninja carry a bow! I have an idea for a ninja/gunslinger, because guns make Ranged Touch Attacks, and when Ninjas Vanish, it's a Ranged Touch attack vs. Flatfooted AC! Since I'm always dipping, go 3 levels in Monk Drunken Master. Drunken Ninja with a Gun!

Actually, it is vs. Denied Dex, and not Flat Footed. This is why getting Uncanny Dodge can be quite beneficial.

/cevah


So interesting concept, but some holes in it. Bite works. 3 IUS attacks with TWF work. Ranger/Slayer Claws don't as you lose them when morphing.

What about a Mouser1/Urban Barbarian4/Brawler4/Ranger2 mix? This gets you up to 4 IUS with TWF at Level 11, a Bite from the bird, and 2 claws from Barbarian. You can also bump the Dex another +4 and pay for a +1 Agile Furious AoMF to have a +3 Agile enhancement while raging.

Granted you lose a bunch of niceties from giving up Monk and Paladin, but you get more damage output.


I wanted to point this out earlier but did some rules digging to confirm my suspicions. This FAQ seems to indicate that claws go on your hands only, unless you're a quadruped with pounce/rake, and if you somehow are bipedal with wings, what goes on your feet has to be called talons, not reskinned claws.

That being said, do these rules actually allow claws on your polymorphed "hands" (wings) like an archaeopteryx might have? Or is it strictly just hands? The ingame archaeopteryx doesn't have any, which is why I thought I'd ask.


I was going to post that very thing, Katydid. RAW I do not believe you can have claws while you are a bird. Period.

For home games I would think it would be reasonable to allow, though.


This falls into the same category as Prehensile Hair on a Tengu. Can a Tengu pick that Hex? If so, what exactly is growing? It says hair, which birds to not have.

It seems reasonable to say that if the claws can't grow on the songbird's feet (which I think many GM's would just wave) then they do at the end of their wings.

An alternative is a Halfling with Ranger Claws, Ring of Rat Fang for a bite attack, and Lesser Fiend Totem that drinks a Reduce Pot before each fight. No flying about and a little less on extras, but all the gear is in the right place.

Edit: actually in looking at that FAQ it really just talks about claws needing to be on hands with regards to biped forms (2 hands and 2 feet). Using "claws" as "talons" is something you can't do as a biped, but "claws" and "talons" are basically the same thing on a bird. In either event, if not feet, then wingtips...or just use the potion and skip the bird all together.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

There are birds with hair, whose to say tengu don't have any?


@ Ravingdork

Quite.

Anyway, the witch's white hair is magic hair, and you can use the magic ability even if you are someone normally without hair.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You can even have it on Nagaji.


In a home game, reflavor songbird to bat if you can't wrap your heads around magic or special abilities granting claws to a form that doesn't have any normally. Problem solved.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Anyway, the witch's white hair is magic hair, and you can use the magic ability even if you are someone normally without hair.

That was my point. Lesser Beast Totem is a (Su) ability, so having those claws grow at the ends of your feet (or wings if you're of the flavor that only Giant Eagles can have claw attacks) is certainly doable.


Elbedor, you raise a good point. From the Giant Eagle bestiary entry we might have a case directly contradicting that FAQ's technical validity, because it's clearly implied the claws are on the eagle's feet.

Eagle, Giant wrote:

This immense eagle's feathers are golden brown and shimmer in the light. Its sharp beak and curved TALONS are dark yellow...

Melee 2 CLAWS +7 (1d8+4), bite +7 (1d6+4)

Not only does this mirror the normal eagle's entry for talons in the exact same location, but the term talons refers only to a flying creature's feet.

These stats are also the same in the d20srd, leading me to suspect that the differences were always intended. Mechanically, claws can do blunt in addition to slashing damage, but as you can see from the Giant Eagle text they're virtually interchangeable.

Maybe this justification doesn't hold up in PFS due to the FAQ ruling, but anyone who examines the rules progressions from 3.5 could obviously conclude that claws can go on your feet.


Katydid wrote:
Elbedor, you raise a good point. From the Giant Eagle bestiary entry we might have a case directly contradicting that FAQ's technical validity, because it's clearly implied the claws are on the eagle's feet.

No, you have talons on a critter that are being called claws. This is not the game breaking loophole you're looking for, do not try to push it.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
No, you have talons on a critter that are being called claws. This is not the game breaking loophole you're looking for, do not try to push it.

I don't see how examining the validity of this build and a relevant FAQ counts as pushing for "game breaking loopholes." Stop using loaded words - there is only the game and its rules. What it means to break a game is a matter of personal bias and has no place in this discussion.

That being said, claws and talons appear to be a relic of 3.5, as they both did piercing and slashing. In such a case, I can only conclude that the Giant Eagle entry in Pathfinder needs to be updated to talons, because claws by Pathfinder rules function as a different weapon. The RAW entry stats as they stand are still against the FAQ ruling.

It would be nice to know if these differences resulted from editorial oversight, or if someone actually knew about the change and left them as they were until the FAQ came around.


The FAQ came out after the giant eagle was published and released. The FAQ would be an explanation and clarification of intent on how things work.


Katydid wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
No, you have talons on a critter that are being called claws. This is not the game breaking loophole you're looking for, do not try to push it.
I don't see how examining the validity of this build and a relevant FAQ counts as pushing for "game breaking loopholes." Stop using loaded words

No.

If you don't want to be called out on attempting to cheeseweasel your way to a mechanical advantage from a gray area of rules that was not only questionable to start with, but was SPECIFICALLY called out in an FAQ not to work then the problem is not my language its your behavior.

Quote:
The RAW entry stats as they stand are still against the FAQ ruling.

That MIGHT be true if the character in question was a giant eagle. He is not. He is a song bird. You are, at best, trying to extrapolate from the eagle to the songbird and call it raw. That doesn't work.

Even if it did, faq trumps raw anyway. That idea isn't going to fly.

Quote:
It would be nice to know if these differences resulted from editorial oversight, or if someone actually knew about the change and left them as they were until the FAQ came around.

They don't go back and change everything because of the FAQ.


You sound like you'd be fun at parties.

Anyways, I was never debating what the FAQ says explicitly and what it means for legal play, so that's that.


Cevah wrote:


BS2 is 4th level, CL7, so it might be a better match. Also, the Raven called out only needs BS2 not BS4.

/cevah

As I saw it, the reason its BS4 for the ring, not BS2, is that the songbird you turn into is a tiny magical beast, and uses the modifiers for that.

Contributor

Question: Can you even use Stand Still with this build?

Quote:
Benefit: When a foe provokes an attack of opportunity due to moving through your adjacent squares, you can make a combat maneuver check as your attack of opportunity. If successful, the enemy cannot move for the rest of his turn. An enemy can still take the rest of his action, but cannot move. This feat also applies to any creature that attempts to move from a square that is adjacent to you if such movement provokes an attack of opportunity.

Stand Still states that you have to be moving through your adjacent squares. If your enemy is provoking via either Monkey Shine or underfoot assault, she's not provoking because she's moving through your adjacent squares; she's provoking as the result of a specific class feature / feat, which triggered because she's moving out of your space, which is much, much different.

As far as I can find, there's no way to actually stop your enemy from fleeing you; your best bet is to take Step Up and Following Step to move 10 feet with them. Because as a Tiny creature, you have no reach and therefore don't threaten enemy squares.


Alexander Augunas: That is the same question I am asking here and here. There appears to be some contention on this issue. There is disagreement on both whether your own space is considered "adjacent" or not by RAW and also whether or not the same movement can provoke multiple AoOs if there are separate feats/abilities that allow for one from the same provoking action.

In short... lemme know when you find out for sure as I would sure like to know as well. :)


I'm trying to make a build for a home game using a skinwalker werebat-kin with the Bat Shape feat and using only three classes if possible. Is it possible and still effective despite the setbacks? Which three classes are key? Any help is appreciated.


I'm going to try making a fox with

Unchained rogue (vexing dodger)
Mouser swashbuckler (Lets you flank from inside the square)
Urban barbarian (claws, and dex boost)


Can you detail your build a little more BigNorseWolf? I'd be curious to see how it compares to the OP's.


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My guess would be Kitsune (fox shape +3 BAB, 13 Cha) and in no particular order (though you could qualify for fox shape at level 3 doing barb2/swash1 right off the bat).

4 Rogue Unchained (vexing):
-Ability to move through opponent's square with no acrobatic check
-Dex to damage on finessable weapon (bite or claws)
-Improved dirty trick
-Debilitating, 2 rogue tricks as well as 2d6 SA

1 Swashbuckler (mouser):
-Because, well, you know why.

2+ Barbarian (urban):
-Beast Totem for claws
-More levels = more rage rounds and Dex bonus

Mix with MoMS/Fighter (unarmed) to get style feats as needed. Rogue can grab a combat feat with combat trick as well.


Skylancer: That is pretty close to my build that I shared with BNW minus the Unchained bit. I don't have Unchained and doubt it will ever be PFS legal. The character I am playing is for PFS.

Grand Lodge

Um... unchained is already pfs legal. In fact for summoner, it is required.


Initially, the Unchained Rogue looks to be tailor-made for this build but, upon trying to incorporate it, it becomes apparent that its abilities become largely redundant once you add in a level of Swashbuckler and the Amulet of Mighty Fists (Agile) that the build necessitates. A shame; it'd be nice to streamline the build a bit with the Unchained Rogue. Meh.


Really? Dang... I really need to get that.


Dot. I'm going to read past page one someday. Probably.


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Ambrus wrote:
Can you detail your build a little more BigNorseWolf? I'd be curious to see how it compares to the OP's.

1st: Urban Barbarian 1 Feat: Feat: Pirhana strike (retrained)

2nd: Mouser swashbuckler 1
3rd: Unchained rogue (vexing dodger) 1 Feat: Foxshape. Start play.
4th: Urban barbarian 2 Lesser beast totem
5th: UC Rogue 2: Rogue talent replaced by archetype. Combat expertise
6th: UC rogue 3:
7th: UC rogue 4: Feat: Improved trip. Rogue talent ninja trick wall climber Rogues edge: ???? (was going to take crlimb but ninja trick wall climber takes care of that)
8th: UC rogue 5
9th: UC Rogue 6 Feat Extra rage Rogue talent ninja trick wall climber
10th:UC Rogue 7
11th: UC rogue 8 Feat?? Rogue talent??

Str 7
Dex:17 (22 in fox form)
Con 14
Int 13
wis 14
Chr 13

Gear Priorities : agile amulet. Wand of mage armor.

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