How good can a fighter get?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


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The Fighter class has a love/hate relationship with players, often seen as an underpowered class but still beloved. However I don't want to talk about that, I want to talk about the Fighter's upper limits, particularly; what are they? I want to know for a few reasons. I want advice to give newer players so that they can keep up but I also want to better understand the class and how far it can go so that I can build better fighters and prepare for them better as a GM.

So, what is the most broken fighter that the game can make? How strong can the iconic martial class get? What kind of builds, feats, options and tactics make a fighter great?

For people who want to discuss using actual numbers here are some ground rules;

1) 20 point buy

2) Core Races only

3) Two traits

4) Any option that Paizo publishes is otherwise allowed discluding optional rules with the exception of traits and Called Shots.

5) The Fighter is lvl 12

6) The Fighter is assumed to have three companions. [url+http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/npc-classes/npc-codex-iconics]The lvl 12 Iconic Cleric, Rogue and Wizard from the NPC Codex.[/url]

7) Assume that the threat level includes 5 random CR 12 and one CR 14 fight with at least 3 creatures with 8 random CR10 non-combat encounters in between. The terrain is random.

8) The fighter has 108,000 gold to spend on equipment.

9) For the purposes of identifying variances between the core fighter and a fighter with archetypes I'd count core fighters and archetyped fighters separately. I'd like to see how strong a core fighter can be as well as a fighter with all the paizo fighter options.


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Well, lets see...

Reach is always good. Throw on the fortuitous property (1/round, lets you get in another attack in at BAB-5 when you get an AoO; makes it a mini full attack), since that makes it so your AoOs mean business. Throw lunge on there as well (leaves enemies at 15' away at the end of your turn, which means they have to move 10' to reach you, losing their full attack and drawing an AoO; also, full attack anything in 45' wide circle).

Lets throw on some debuffing abilities as well. Cornugon smash is fairly obvious. I could also grab riving strike if there was a source of an SLA (various traits and racial traits, which can give a full caster level; qualifies you for arcane strike). Riving strike causes anything you hit with arcane strike to take a -2 to saves vs spells, and if you combine it with intimidation via Cornugon smash, that means a -4 to saves from 1 hit. This would make the wizard and cleric into terrifying forces with save or suck spells.

I think I could fit all this in on a 8 level build (along with weapon focus/specialization). Make it a half elf (for the +2 to will saves, and +2 vs enchantments) and throw in iron will, and this would work out rather well, and still leave room for more tricks

For archetypes, I immediately advocate the mutagenic warrior and the eldritch guardian. Mutagenic warrior gets access to alchemist mutagens (and they still have weapon training, for a ton of +'s), and they can grab the wings discovery. Eldritch guardian gives you a familiar that shares all your combat feats. Even if you just have a plucky little bugger following you around, you can exploit teamwork feats to hell and back (Coordinated charge, which allows you to immediate action charge when ally charges, seems like a watered down pounce in this case)


The moment I think of a fighter build, I start to think of dipping opportunities... oh well.

I'm sure it's far from optimal, but the first thing that comes to mind is a sword-and-cestus Mutation Warrior with the Hurtful ability and Dragon Style/Ferocity (I think they'd have enough feats...). Two-handed attack + Hurtful attack on a charge, and when going full attack...

Sword/ Sword/ Cestus (2xSTR)/ Cestus(1.5xSTR)/ Rend/ +Hurtful two-handed sword. *All crits bring fear.

Depending on how a GM rules on grip-switching you could theoretically put both hands on the sword once all cestus attacks are finished, but I'm sure some would call foul.

Scarab Sages

Lore wardens can be some of the best manuever specialists in the game. Up to +8 on maneuvers plus weapon training plus know your enemy bonuses is one of the few ways to reliably power through high level CMDs.


Define strong? If you are talking in combat are you looking at damage dealing, the ability to control the battlefield, protect allies, limit opponents actions or what? Is it just combat advice you are looking for or do you want to see what sort of utility they can bring outside of fighting stuff? Can they handle diplomacy, information gathering, travel, survival, research or any of the other myriad tasks you might need characters to do when you are fighting for your life.


andreww wrote:
Define strong? If you are talking in combat are you looking at damage dealing, the ability to control the battlefield, protect allies, limit opponents actions or what? Is it just combat advice you are looking for or do you want to see what sort of utility they can bring outside of fighting stuff? Can they handle diplomacy, information gathering, travel, survival, research or any of the other myriad tasks you might need characters to do when you are fighting for your life.

For the most part assume that 'good' means that the fighter is likely to be able to solve, contribute to solving or enabling companions to solve a problem whether it be in or out of combat. The scenario I posed above includes 6 combat encounters and 8 non-combat obstacles. Since these are random the fighter would have to be either very diverse or capable of solving a narrow list of problems to an overwhelming degree. If the fighter can solve all 6 CR12 fights with minimal resource loss from his three companions then the 8 non-combat encounters would be solved by the rest of the party. If he can only do so with 3 he'd be able to significantly contribute or solve 4 of the non-combat encounters and so on. This isn't exactly a criteria just a target to shoot for, because I think that I described a long adventuring day that would normally end in a TPK.


At low levels, fighters are mainstay party members.

At higher levels? Fighters are just always-summoned pets that are harder to revive for the party spellcasters.

Not to say they aren't effective, but at that level, it's mostly down to luck and gear when it comes to the storm of Save or Sucks, the "oh that's a fighter, let me dominate him!" moments, the waiting for everyone else to do their skill thing or their spell thing, and occasionally chumming up to big nasties and hoping the GM isn't an a**hole about critical failures that would probably still hit by the numbers.

Sure, there are heroic moments, but for the most part, you're an armored pack-mule with a suit of armor and the expectation that you're going to save the Sorceress that insists on wearing nothing but her underwear into a crypt because 'armor chafes'.

There are various builds, from reach builds to damage builds to generally unkillable, but lets face it, the fun and glory were ten levels ago and now the swashbuckler is running around doing swift-action panty-raids, nobody's seen the rogue in months, and the Wizard is asking you to carry the 75lb keg for the "Dimensional Tavern" spell he learned or some nonsense. Something about 'material component'. Either way, he's not letting you drink any, and you could really use it.


lvl 20 version
lvl 12 version
Mythic Version

lvl 14 no archetypes


I've seen a 20th level fighter take out a Great Wyrm Red Dragon (both were properly played), so, yeah, fighters have weaknesses but almost every other single class has them as well.


Zourin wrote:
At higher levels? Fighters are just always-summoned pets that are harder to revive for the party spellcasters.

0_0


Rhedyn wrote:
Zourin wrote:
At higher levels? Fighters are just always-summoned pets that are harder to revive for the party spellcasters.
0_0

And tougher to kill too, and eager to wrestle dragons and the ilk. They're always easy to get back in line by putting them back in the magic hole and not letting them out until they've reapplied the Lotion of Obedience. Sometimes necessary punishment after they've been swayed by naked ladies in the woods, the water, the nine hells, the bar, or by other casters like you who are more obvious with their application of Dominate Person. At which point, you're back in the hole waiting for the lotion to come down in a basket.


lemeres wrote:
(Coordinated charge, which allows you to immediate action charge when ally charges, seems like a watered down pounce in this case)

If you build for it, coordinated charge is better than pounce. You charge as an immediate action... and guess what you can end a charge with if you grab pummeling charge? Swift action full attacks hooooo! You can pull it off at lvl12 neatly too.

If you get Pounce from somewhere else, that works even better, as you don't need to go unarmed.


Berselius wrote:
I've seen a 20th level fighter take out a Great Wyrm Red Dragon (both were properly played), so, yeah, fighters have weaknesses but almost every other single class has them as well.

Tell the tale good sir. Even without his martial prowess a dragon is a caster, and fighters don't fare well against casters.


Quote:
Tell the tale good sir. Even without his martial prowess a dragon is a caster, and fighters don't fare well against casters.

The Dragon's spells were being hampered and undone by the Fighter's colleges while the Fighter literally laid a f'ing bombardment of magic arrows into the Dragon's behind. The Dragon decided spells and breath weapon weren't cutting it so he got in close. BIG MISTAKE, the Fighter CHEWED HIM TO PIECES! It's AMAZING what you can ACCOMPLISH with two magical dual-wielded weapons. ^_~


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Berselius wrote:
I've seen a 20th level fighter take out a Great Wyrm Red Dragon
Berselius wrote:
The Dragon's spells were being hampered and undone by the Fighter's colleges

A slight embellishment, yes?


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Berselius wrote:
Quote:
Tell the tale good sir. Even without his martial prowess a dragon is a caster, and fighters don't fare well against casters.
The Dragon's spells were being hampered and undone by the Fighter's colleges while the Fighter literally laid a f'ing bombardment of magic arrows into the Dragon's behind. The Dragon decided spells and breath weapon weren't cutting it so he got in close. BIG MISTAKE, the Fighter CHEWED HIM TO PIECES! It's AMAZING what you can ACCOMPLISH with two magical dual-wielded weapons. ^_~

So basically the party worked together as a team and the fighter did his job by being good at doing damage.

Why did the dragon get close if he had the advantage in reach? <---You don't have to answer that. It is more of a rhetorical question since the dragon was supposed to be played well.

He also could have tried to sunder the bow, or disarm the fighter and take the bow away. He could have sundered the spell component pouch or the holy symbol. etc etc.


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He explained that. The dragon closed because the dragon expected to outright kill the archer in melee.

The archer beat it in melee instead.

Similar results could've been had by a spellcaster using Telekinetic Charge, Teleport, or Dim Door to get the fighter into melee range of the dragon.

@ Berselius - FYI, you can't win these discussions. This is the Paizo boards, where teamwork is bad and the game should be played as every man for himself =P

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

fighter Martial Master/Mutation Warrior is basically the fotm for the fighter at the moment and for a good reason. Frankly not much else to say, with martial master, they get access to any feat, situational ones that they might need in a fight and mutation warrior boost their attributes, on top of what they would have with their items.

Every other options is suboptimal at the moment, at least for a melee fighter.

Archer fighter, can just work with the regular fighter and are fine. Might as well make him a mobile fighter to take advantage of kiting tactics.

Scarab Sages

Zhangar wrote:


@ Berselius - FYI, you can't win these discussions. This is the Paizo boards, where teamwork is bad and the game should be played as every man for himself =P

Teamwork is never bad, but it is unreliable. For every group that is able to work well together, there is another that has the tactical knowledge of lemmings attacking a cliff.

For the purpose of discussing the strengths and weaknesses of a class, you need to look at that class in a vacuum, because party composition and player expertise varies from table to table, the mechanics of the class do not.


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The point isn't that he should have solo'd it. It sounded an awful lot like that's what he was implying in the first post, but my problem is that being a Fighter had nothing to do with it. He full attacked with full BAB and two magic weapons. A Ranger could have done that and cast some his own spells, a Barbarian could have sundered some of the dragon's spells, any martial could have done what he did and more.

His story did not make an amazing case for Fighters. It made a case for have a party member that does damage. That's the point.


For the record, I gave the hypothetical fighter specific companions because I assumed that teamwork was a factor, even if its just being the most optimal enlarge person target. I've been in situations where the party casts spells on my martial and then I fly through the dungeon like superman, kill everything, and take little damage. Its a legit enough strategy.


LoneKnave wrote:
lemeres wrote:
(Coordinated charge, which allows you to immediate action charge when ally charges, seems like a watered down pounce in this case)

If you build for it, coordinated charge is better than pounce. You charge as an immediate action... and guess what you can end a charge with if you grab pummeling charge? Swift action full attacks hooooo! You can pull it off at lvl12 neatly too.

If you get Pounce from somewhere else, that works even better, as you don't need to go unarmed.

That certainly gives options for a brawler archetype fighter. It gets them a ton of attacks in 1 round, and they end up close to targets (this fighter is just one level short of getting enough bonus on the stand still maneuver to keep even big beefy things trapped; good for protecting the squishies).

And pummeling style makes unarmed builds much more viable without an AoMF since they can just tear through DR and grab greater magic weapon (from cleric) instead for their enhancement bonus.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Well you did say the iconics so let's take a look:

-Kyra has virtually no buffs for you, most of her spells are only personal uses, Heal, freedom of movement and breath of life are potentially the spell that she would use on you.

-Merisiel only attacks when she can sneak attack, so either surprise round or flanking with you.

-Ezren has one fly spell prepared, which he most likely will use on himself. Guess he has a scroll of Polymorph, to spare if he wants to give you more physical stats. If you are using weapons sadly, Elemental Body is basically the only form you would be able to use decently. Beside that, he summons monster and blast.

Basically synergy wise, you are looking at one classic cleric, one classic rogue, and a blaster/summoner wizard, not crowd control, so you are literally in the front to take hits and hopefully get breath of life or heal from the clerics, while the rogue sneak attack and the wizard blasts.


Eltacolibre wrote:

Well you did say the iconics so let's take a look:

-Kyra has virtually no buffs for you, most of her spells are only personal uses, Heal, freedom of movement and breath of life are potentially the spell that she would use on you.

-Merisiel only attacks when she can sneak attack, so either surprise round or flanking with you.

-Ezren has one fly spell prepared, which he most likely will use on himself. Guess he has a scroll of Polymorph, to spare if he wants to give you more physical stats. If you are using weapons sadly, Elemental Body is basically the only form you would be able to use decently. Beside that, he summons monster and blast.

Basically synergy wise, you are looking at one classic cleric, one classic rogue, and a blaster/summoner wizard, not crowd control, so you are literally in the front to take hits and hopefully get breath of life or heal from the clerics, while the rogue sneak attack and the wizard blasts.

So in this scenario your party mates aren't too synergy minded. Lack of synergy is a factor.


I'd suggest going for stuff like the Seven-branched Sword and/or Trip/Disarm/Reposition/Dirty Trick -- feats that focus on shutting down foes and forcing the synergy the party otherwise doesn't have.

Hmmm.


I also made homebrew fighters

Favorite CRB fighter progression:
Human Fighter || 18 15 14 10 10 8 || Intimidate, Perception; Climb, Survival, Swim, Ride|| Seeker(+1 perception), Indomitable Faith(+1 Will)
1 |Toughness, Intimidating Prowess, Combat Reflexes
2 |Bravery, Power Attack
3 |Armor training, Cleave
4 |Great Cleave, +1 Strength
5 |Weapon training(Blades, Heavy), Blind-Fight
6 |Bravery, Lunge
7 |Armor training, Iron Will
8 |Quick Draw, +1 Strength
9 |Weapon training(Bows), Deadly Aim
10|Bravery, Weapon Focus(longbow)
11|Armor training, Greater Weapon Focus(longbow)
12|Point-Blank Shot, +1 Dexterity
13|Weapon training(Spears), Rapid Shot
14|Bravery, Manyshot
15|Armor training, Precise Shot
16|Improved Precise Shot, +1 Dexterity
17|Weapon training(Close), Pinpoint Targeting
18|Bravery, Farshot
19|Armor mastery, Improved Critical(longbow)
20|weapon mastery(greatsword), Improved Critical(greatsword), +1 Dexterity

The story of the archer-fighter baiting the Dragon into melee seems like the way to go with fighters at higher levels. Now a friendly wizard with haste/fly will put the fighters move-speed at 90ft per move action. A wizard or cleric also throwing on protection against X covers low will save weakness. This requires a synergistic team, which will not always happen. I've seen plenty of groups where no-one will go near wizards and all the spont casters avoid spells they do not personally need (like haste).


I am going to have to withdraw the riving strike stuff, since appearantly SLAs don't count anymore.

Use the feats for improved critical and sickening critical instead (obviously you should go for a 18-20 weapon).

I think an eldritch guardian fighter with a nice buff build could support the play style of our suboptimized party. Debuff saves from you and your familiar's attacks (works particularly well with earth elemental familiar with weapons to get crit feats in), gives you 2 parties to flank with rogue, and gives another body to heal for cleric (...I guess...darn assumption of healbots...)

Earth elemental also works as a nice buddy for the rogue to take while scouting (since enemies need tremor sense to find it while it is underground...and stealthing against those is bad anyway)


Mutation Warrior gives you in class flight. A damn near must have at 12th level.


lemeres wrote:
I am going to have to withdraw the riving strike stuff, since appearantly SLAs don't count anymore.

I like combining Cornugon Smash with the Cruel weapon enchantment to impart a total of -4 to saves (between Shaken and Sickened). If you can manage to pick up Final Embrace your ability to debuff goes up pretty drastically, as you can do the following:

1) Strike your opponent for damage, triggering Cornugon Smash, rendering them Shaken
2) Trigger Grab, giving your opponent the Grappled condition
3) Activate Constrict, giving your opponent the Sickened condition from your Cruel Amulet of Mighty Fists

The foe will be thoroughly unhappy and ready for painful ministrations from your party at that point, be they martial or spellcaster. I have a more advanced version of this build that uses Magus spellcasting to impart a host of additional conditions (including Entangled and Staggered) but the core idea works fine for a Fighter.


If you want to get really crazy, throw in Greater Trip, and start this sequence by tripping them, Grab them on the successful trip attack, Constrict them to impart Shaken with Cornugon Smash (yes, you can Power Attack on your trip roll even though it was not going to deal damage directly), then drop them as a free action, take your AoO, render them Sickened, re-Grapple them, and Constrict again for good measure.

It can get pretty intricate, actually. Now just on my Fighter I've given them the Prone, Shaken, Sickened, and Grappled conditions and done a few attacks' worth of damage to boot, potentially giving them the supreme condition: Dead.

The best part is, none of this required a full attack, meaning your mobile Fighter build could pull this off without the party complaining about his lack of Fighter-y DPS.

EDIT: I'm not sure how this interacts with Cleave and Whirlwind Attack but if the Fighter is capable of making enough AoOs he could potentially be inflicting this upon an entire slavering horde of foes. I know Whirlwind Attacking to trip an entire room is already a thing people do. I've seen it happen, it's really funny.


Zhangar wrote:

He explained that. The dragon closed because the dragon expected to outright kill the archer in melee.

The archer beat it in melee instead.

Similar results could've been had by a spellcaster using Telekinetic Charge, Teleport, or Dim Door to get the fighter into melee range of the dragon.

@ Berselius - FYI, you can't win these discussions. This is the Paizo boards, where teamwork is bad and the game should be played as every man for himself =P

It is still a bad tactical move and I brought it up because he claimed the dragon was played correctly.


Exguardi wrote:


The best part is, none of this required a full attack...

However, nearly all of this requires combat maneuver checks.

Meaning, past the first few levels this has overwhelming chances of not working, even if you manage to pick very much racial-specific Final Embrace. Accidentally just yesterday I was checking CMD for monsters of 9-11 CR. It ranges from 29 to over 40. A fighter who wasted four feats just on bringing Trip and Grapple up to stuff, went to reasonable lengths to max Strength (18 at the start, a +4 item), and secured a source of Enlarge should be having CMB of what +23 at 10th level? He had better hope that his GM likes using giants and not elementals or megafauna as melee brutes, because the latter are close to being imrevious, and against outsiders or golems he was about a 40-60% chances of failing a maneuver. HE can absolutely crush a good deal of humanoid NPCs in published adventures, but well, this says more of their builds.


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FatR wrote:
and secured a source of Enlarge should be having CMB of what +23 at 10th level?

In Core, maybe, but when we're talking Final Embrace builds we're not exactly talking Core. Let me do a rough breakdown of what a theoretical 10th-level Fighter can have going on in terms of her CMB (and I'm sure I forgot something since I'm not a Fighter expert by any means).

Warning, wall of text:
Let's take a look at Lucy the Half-Orc Lore Warden Martial Master Fighter 10 who worships the Empyreal Lord Falayna, the Warrior's Ring. Lucy chooses her initial statistics as: 18 / 16 / 13 / 14 / 7 / 7 with a 20 point buy after racial modifiers. She will put both level up points into STR, giving her 20 STR.

Lucy will take the alternate Half-Orc trait granting her a bite attack. She will choose as her traits Fate's Favored and Pragmatic Activator, applying her INT to UMD. As UMD is now an INT-based skill, it becomes a class skill for Lucy as a Lore Warden, and she will max out UMD. At level 10 this gives her a +19 UMD (10 ranks + 3 class skill + 2 INT + 2 Masterwork Tool + 2 ioun stone bonus) so she can activate any wands with no failure chance. We'll revisit why this is awesome later.

Now, qualifying for Final Embrace. We don't need to be an odd race, we just need to have the Constrict ability. We can get that by dipping, but let's stick with a pure Fighter for this example. By level 10 we can easily afford Anaconda's Coils especially if we are playing a home game with a crafting party member. Not only does this give us Constrict, but +2 Competence to Grapple and +2 STR.

By level 10 we should have a 22 STR, between level up points and the Anaconda's Coils. We also have a 16 DEX, 18 DEX if we can afford an ioun stone. If we Enlarge Person for additional reach, our STR goes up by 2 and our DEX goes down by 2, for 24 STR and 16 DEX. We also get a +1 Size bonus to CMB checks.

Our base CMB is now +17 (+6 STR mod + 1 Size + 10 BAB), +19 to Grapple. Let's start adding in feats, class features and items in earnest now. Our feat progression will look something like this:

1) Power Attack, Dodge [BONUS]
2) Improved Trip [BONUS], Combat Expertise [BONUS]
3) Celestial Obedience (Falayna)
4) Combat Reflexes [BONUS]
5) Greater Trip
6) Cornugon Smash [BONUS]
7) Mobility
8) Improved Grapple [BONUS]
9) Greater Grapple
10) Final Embrace (Bite) [BONUS]
Item Bonus: Improved Unarmed Strike (Perfectionist Shavtoosh)

As a Lore Warden, we gain Maneuver Mastery, giving an untyped +4 bonus to CMB and CMD by level 10. Falayna's Celestial Obedience adds a +4 sacred bonus to CMB and CMD. As a Martial Master we can spend a move action up to 8 times per day to gain 2 bonus feats, which we can use to select Spring Attack and Whirlwind Attack. Or just surge as a swift action to pick up Spring Attack and do some hit-and-run combat. We'll go ahead and add in a +2 Insight bonus to CMB and CMD from the Dusty Rose Prism Ioun Stone's resonance, as well.

Our raw CMB is now the +23 from your off-the-cuff example (+6 STR mod + 10 BAB + 4 Lore Warden + 2 Ioun Stone + 1 Size). Our CMB when Grappling is +37 (23 CMB + 4 Improved/Greater Grapple + 4 Celestial Obedience + 2 Final Embrace + 4 Grab monster ability). Our CMB when Tripping is +27 (23 CMB + 4 Improved/Greater Trip). We can add in +2 to hit with a UMD'd Divine Favor which applies on Trips. We then subtract 3 from Power Attack in order to use Cornugon Smash, although we don't need to do that on the initial trip attack, just the Grab attack.

So to review, we have a +37 Grapple with no buff beyond Enlarge Person, which we can even UMD ourselves. This will likely dip to +34 due to Power Attack, but their CMD will also potentially be penalized by 4 due to the Prone condition (as any condition that lowers AC also applies to CMD). We have a +29 to Trip, or +26 with Power Attack. We don't have to choose to Trip, of course, and as a Lore Warden we stand a pretty good chance of ID'ing our high-CMD foes.

If we didn't want to be cute with Whirlwind Attack, we could easily gain some extra bonuses by surging for Weapon Focus and Greater Weapon Focus; alternatively we could drop Martial Master entirely, replace Dodge and Mobility with Cleave and Great Cleave, and get Weapon Training back as another bonus to hit. Lucy also has no Amulet of Mighty Fists currently, no permancied Greater Magic Fang, or any of the other things she could have by level 10. She is also not even using her hands currently and could easily wield a weapon and/or shield if she would like to do so.

=======

Lucy has a +34-37 to Grapple, a +26-29 to Trip, and the ability to Whirlwind Attack and attack every enemy within the reach of her bite. Alternatively she could trade out Whirlwind Attack for Cleave and Great Cleave and retain Weapon Training bonuses, or surge for Weapon Focus and Greater Weapon Focus instead of Whirlwind Attack. If we happen to be under the influence of Haste or Heroism, common buff spells accorded to the Fighter by this level, our to-hit goes up accordingly. Lucy also has no Amulet of Mighty Fists currently, no permancied Greater Magic Fang, or any of the other things she could have by level 10. Check the spoiler for the breakdown.

Therefore Lucy should be able to auto-succeed vs. foes without notable CMD, and stands a very reasonable chance (especially if buffed beyond the basics she can supply herself) to succeed against even astronomically-CMD'd foes. And, as I've said, I'm sure I've missed things and I don't believe I've spent all of her gold, although I have purchased some expensive items.

=======

Secondary notes:
Note that even though Lucy has specialized heavily in combat maneuvers there's a lot going on behind the scenes which lets her have pretty fine defenses as well. With +19 to UMD Lucy can easily wear Mage Armor if strapped for cash, or just wear something like a +2 Chain Shirt. She can also easily UMD Shield, or her hands are free to wield an actual shield. With Fate's Favored she can use a Jingasa of the Fortunate Soldier for +2 luck to AC, and she can easily UMD a wand of Shield of Faith or Protection from Evil for a +2 Deflection to AC. She doesn't even have an Amulet of Mighty Fists right now, so if she wanted to throw in some natural armor, great.

So her AC is going to be pretty respectable at 28 at level 10 (+3 DEX mod + 10 + 6 Armor + 4 Shield + 2 Luck + 2 Deflection + 2 Natural Armor - 1 Size). This is with super basic gear and no Combat Expertise, no Haste, no buffs from other party members. We could also easily pick up a natural attack from another source, and instead take Sacred Tattoo to gain the equivalent of 3 bonus feats (gaining +2 Luck to all of our saves by swapping ).

Lucy even makes a pretty decent archer, with her reasonable DEX and the ability to use Martial Flexibility to pick up archery feats on the fly. So she's not helpless at long ranges. With more optimization of her UMD, she might even be able to use scrolls pretty effectively, as she has enough INT to not need to make the secondary UMD check.


I neglected to optimize Lucy's Intimidate for Cornugon Smash, but as a skill check that's not hard to do. Also she should have a Cruel Amulet of Mighty Fists for the debuff. If we wanted to get really crazy we could dip White-Haired Witch to qualify for Final Embrace sooner and Riving Strike for more debuffs, but I wanted to stick with Fighter 10 for the example.


My next character will be a Eldritch Guardian/ Mutation Warrior. Full Archery with Improved Familiar(Mauler archetype) (Azata, lyrakien). From the look of it, it should be a ton of fun. My little familiar will have a godly str and share all my archery feats. Give her a bow and watch the DM shake his head when it is dealing almost as much DPR as me.


Point, Dragonamedrake, I don't believe that familiar archetype is applicable to improved familiars, as they lack one of the prereqs (I think it's Speak with Others of Kind?).

Additionally the recent SLA FAQ reversal killed your ability to have a caster level via SLAs, so unless Eldritch Guardians have a special exception they can't take Improved Familiars.


Exguardi wrote:

Point, Dragonamedrake, I don't believe that familiar archetype is applicable to improved familiars, as they lack one of the prereqs (I think it's Speak with Others of Kind?).

Additionally the recent SLA FAQ reversal killed your ability to have a caster level via SLAs, so unless Eldritch Guardians have a special exception they can't take Improved Familiars.

Improved Familiar doesn't require a caster level. It requires a Spell Caster level. At 1st level, an eldritch guardian gains a familiar, treating his fighter level as his effective wizard level for the purpose of this ability. In my mind that qualifies him for Improved familiar.

As for Mauler... it already has the ability to speak. Again I would consider that counting. Even without the Mauler template it would be a pretty good little damage dealer.


Dragonamedrake wrote:
Exguardi wrote:

Point, Dragonamedrake, I don't believe that familiar archetype is applicable to improved familiars, as they lack one of the prereqs (I think it's Speak with Others of Kind?).

Additionally the recent SLA FAQ reversal killed your ability to have a caster level via SLAs, so unless Eldritch Guardians have a special exception they can't take Improved Familiars.

Improved Familiar doesn't require a caster level. It requires a Spell Caster level. At 1st level, an eldritch guardian gains a familiar, treating his fighter level as his effective wizard level for the purpose of this ability. In my mind that qualifies him for Improved familiar.

As for Mauler... it already has the ability to speak. Again I would consider that counting. Even without the Mauler template it would be a pretty good little damage dealer.

Yeah, mauler felt rather wiggly wobbly on this issue. It goes on about how the familiar does not gain the ability to speak, even if a normal member of its species would. While you can argue about 'normal' for raven familiars, this still seems like an issue that has a lot more to do with improved familiars.

But you can still do pretty well, even with unarchetyped improved familiars. Earth elementals, if they are allowed to take on humanoid forms, could just grab simple weapons and copy your playstyle. Throw some armor on that (aim for 0 ACP so nonproficiency is not an issue) and you have a sturdy little guy following you around. And honestly, he would probably outshine you if he got the mauler archetype on top of that....

Scarab Sages

lemeres wrote:


But you can still do pretty well, even with unarchetyped improved familiars. Earth elementals, if they are allowed to take on humanoid forms, could just grab simple weapons and copy your playstyle. Throw some armor on that (aim for 0 ACP so nonproficiency is not an issue) and you have a sturdy little guy following you around. ....

Non proficency is never an issue for an eldritch guardian, proficency feats are combat feat, so the familiar shares them.


Imbicatus wrote:
lemeres wrote:


But you can still do pretty well, even with unarchetyped improved familiars. Earth elementals, if they are allowed to take on humanoid forms, could just grab simple weapons and copy your playstyle. Throw some armor on that (aim for 0 ACP so nonproficiency is not an issue) and you have a sturdy little guy following you around. ....

Non proficency is never an issue for an eldritch guardian, proficency feats are combat feat, so the familiar shares them.

I was vague on that issue, and just went with the more conservative interpretation (proficiency as something separate from feats). Just in case of a similarly unclear understanding from a GM.

But yeah, that sounds great. Get that little guy into some full plate. Make a small tank. And then team up and teamwork feat your way to victory.


It really does feel like a fun little archetype to try out. I was planning on the archer route but there are plenty of other ways to try it out.

I didn't realize they got your armor proficiencies and weapon proficiency. I understand there are feats that mimic those proficiencies but its not really the same thing as a feat in my mind. If you can go with an outsider however they have decent proficiencies to begin with.

Proficient with all simple and martial weapons and any weapons mentioned in its entry. Proficient with whatever type of armor (light, medium, or heavy) it is described as wearing, as well as all lighter types. Outsiders are proficient with shields if they are proficient with any form of armor.

I dont think any of the Improved familiar outsiders wear armor but they can at least use any martial weapon.


Imbicatus wrote:
lemeres wrote:


But you can still do pretty well, even with unarchetyped improved familiars. Earth elementals, if they are allowed to take on humanoid forms, could just grab simple weapons and copy your playstyle. Throw some armor on that (aim for 0 ACP so nonproficiency is not an issue) and you have a sturdy little guy following you around. ....

Non proficency is never an issue for an eldritch guardian, proficency feats are combat feat, so the familiar shares them.

Class proficiencies do not count as feats, so I do not think they can be passed over with Share Training.

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2p4aa&page=3?Fighters-swapping-out-armor-pr oficiency

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
None of the classes refer to armor or weapon proficiencies as feats or as bonus feats. The Armor Proficiency feat text is in error (an error inherited from 3.5), and shouldn't be used to justify something that's not actually a feature of any of the classes.


Kyrrion wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
lemeres wrote:


But you can still do pretty well, even with unarchetyped improved familiars. Earth elementals, if they are allowed to take on humanoid forms, could just grab simple weapons and copy your playstyle. Throw some armor on that (aim for 0 ACP so nonproficiency is not an issue) and you have a sturdy little guy following you around. ....

Non proficency is never an issue for an eldritch guardian, proficency feats are combat feat, so the familiar shares them.

Class proficiencies do not count as feats, so I do not think they can be passed over with Share Training.

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2p4aa&page=3?Fighters-swapping-out-armor-pr oficiency

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
None of the classes refer to armor or weapon proficiencies as feats or as bonus feats. The Armor Proficiency feat text is in error (an error inherited from 3.5), and shouldn't be used to justify something that's not actually a feature of any of the classes.

...and this is why I like elementals, since they can have simple weapon proficiency. Just grab a long spear and have a nice reach build. And it is not hard to fake light armor proficiency.

And it is also a great excuse to get that exotic weapon proficiency feat you could never justify. Maybe a nice fauchard for high crit reach. It can be worth it since you are getting two warriors with these benefit.


IUS is also great for familiars who don't really have the right appendages. Also pre-req for a bunch of feats.

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