Help for Martial PC Concept Please


Advice


Ok, some of us have gotten into kind of a rut with the types of characters we tend to run. So as a group, we have been talking about making very different characters than the ‘norm’ for us. There has been some intra-group bargaining. I think I am going to end up playing the martial damage machine (or hammer if you use those terms) for the group.

I have normally played straight casters or martial/casters (with the emphasis on the caster part). The only time in recent years that I played a martial, it was very big on the maneuvers more than the damage. Lots of trip, grapple, bull rush, etc… rather than actually doing the killing. My issue is most of the primary damage dealers seem boring to me. This is not an insult. Different people like different things, I get that. But I’ve watched them do the same thing combat after combat – level after level – for the whole campaign.
Barbarian - rage, charge, then full attack. Ok, yes the number of dice rolled and the damage total gets higher but it seems like the same activity from beginning to end. (At the very least, some of the barbarian rage powers give some weird effects for a bit of change through the career.)
Archer - full attack. Ok, more arrows but again that’s just more dice and math.
Ranger TWF – buff spell, then full attack. The buff spell changes from time to time, but seems a fairly minor change and basically the same to me.
Cavalier – charge. Ok, get some teamwork and other powers and the mount grows better over time. But it seems to be basically trying for the exact same tactic/action every single time if at all possible.
Gunslinger – ditto/repeat…

With all of these, the damage total gets higher. However at the same time the damage required gets higher. The total to hit gets higher. Yet the number required to hit gets higher. It seems like the identical thing except adding more dice from beginning to end. That’s why I’ve always liked (non-blaster) casters. Hey, now I can use pilfering hand. Wow, that hungry pit is awesome. Yep that communal protection from energy is coming in handy. Etc… It seems very different and new when I learn wildly different spell capabilities.

So I’m looking for some ideas. I want a primarily martial character. I want to use weapons (or I suppose natural attacks) to do large amounts of damage to the enemy. But I want the character capabilities to grow and change and to have options so I’m not just doing the same thing time after time. The only thing that was coming to mind was barbarian with some of the weirdest rage powers like body bludgeon. But I am obviously not an expert on martial characters, so I’m farming out for concepts.

What suggestions can you give me?


How about a fighter that uses spiked gauntlets? With the bonus feats you get, you can wander into a variety of Styles or combat manuvers.

Or a Gnome Barbarian? Sometimes a counter-intuitive race matchup can help.

Or a Urban Barbarian/Invulnerable Rager that walks around in a loincloth and bountiful quiver and nothing else?

A goblin with a Scorpion Whip and trip attack focus? Pair it with a pickaxe for crit fun.

Sword and board two-weapon fighter who talks like the Swedish Chef?

Dwarven Phalanx Fighter archetype for reach plus shield?

Venezuelan Beaver Cheese?


Monk is what you are looking for. You have a ton of toys and creativity is your friend.


For me personally the single most important thing when picking a martial character is your weapon choice. Your weapon more than most things determines your ability to use combat manuevers, crit fishing, or any thing else to provide meaningful options.

If you don't have an inspiration on weapon then monk would be my go to class. They can do so many different ways of fighting without missing a beat that it's almost the only choice. Since damage seems to be low priority to you I'd suggest master of many styles or sensei archetypes. The sensei is a martial bard and more so he's never boring and the MoMS changes tactics on the fly to fit what you want. Both can be psuedo casters and I do recommend that, if only for barskin or psuedo blasting for ranged battles.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber

Check out the kineticist from the Occult Adventures Playtest. It fills the roll but can add some interesting extras


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Swashbucklers are super fun and dynamic. One of the only classes where even defense is fun - do you parry, or dodge away, or save your immediate action for Charmed Life?

Then at 7th level, there's a whole new range of options: do I aim for the torso, and stop the enemy from full-attacking? Or aim for the head, and confuse the caster to stop him from casting? Or knock him prone, or disarm him?

Hammers can be boring, but I found playing a swashbuckler to be anything but boring.


There's a whole bunch of build suggestions on this thread:

the most interesting to play "tanks"

I posted several interesting martial builds there, if I do say so myself.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

option 1:
I'm a big fan of a human fighter with both the lore warden and martial master archetypes... It makes for a clever fighter with better skills than most martials and a fair bit of flexibility- the bonuses to CMB and ability to pick up 'improved X' and 'greater X' feats via martial flexibility lets you control when necessary without sacrificing any damage feats...

If you can use the variant multiclass rules from unchained, I love the idea of adding VMC Magus... It's further incentive to invest in Int, ups your damage with arcane pool, and gives you more options with arcana (and giving up 5 feats won't be a big deal when you're getting 11 fighter bonus feats, free combat expertise, and the temporary feats from flexibility).

option 2:
Eldritch Guardian fighter... People usually build this archetype with a mauler familiar as a flanking/teamwork buddy (which is a perfectly cromulent build), but for you I'd think about an improved familiar who can serve as a UMD monkey for you- that way 'you' can focus on damage but still get some spell support via your familiar for variety. Invest some in your own UMD and you still have some out of combat options too.

option 3:
Mutation Warrior fighter with VMC barbarian. At 3rd level you can stack rage and mutagen for insane strength. That's just more dice/bigger bonuses, but it can be pretty satisfying sometimes to get a massive bonus to hit and damage... Plus you get a few rage powers and discoveries for variety...


I like some of these ideas, but wanted to clarify a few points.

The group is hesitant to introduce 'Unchained' at this time. We have a tendency to let things ride for a year or so before using. That way other early adopters have pointed out most of the pitfalls.

I am supposed to be the group's primary martial damage dealer. I don't mind having some investment in maneuvers as long as I can still carry out my primary role.

I see a couple of suggestions for monk, but I've always heard that the monk (non-Unchained) does a poor job at being the primary martial damage dealer. Is that not true?

I will check your link SW.

Silver Crusade

Have you tinkered with Butterfly Sting yet?
Is the secondary martial willing to build around it?


If 3rd party is an option, DSP has your back.

Aegis
Path of war.


Go for a Two-Handed Fighter archetype for a fighter. Those builds can pump out silly amounts of damage, and in the really high levels get the ability to auto-crit with an extra +1 on their multiplier. I recommend a scythe for an interesting weapon with decent damage, can trip if you want and if you ever get up to that crit trick, you really will be the reaper. Keep in mind that martials deal more damage from static bonuses than die type.


If you really prefer Spellcaster types, why not play a Bloodrager?


Lavode de'Morcaine wrote:

I like some of these ideas, but wanted to clarify a few points.

The group is hesitant to introduce 'Unchained' at this time. We have a tendency to let things ride for a year or so before using. That way other early adopters have pointed out most of the pitfalls.

I am supposed to be the group's primary martial damage dealer. I don't mind having some investment in maneuvers as long as I can still carry out my primary role.

I see a couple of suggestions for monk, but I've always heard that the monk (non-Unchained) does a poor job at being the primary martial damage dealer. Is that not true?

I will check your link SW.

If you are fighting without weapons and you take a lot of attacks/round, you might have a hard time dealing with creatures who have DR. Also, Monks lose abilities if they wear armor, and melee characters should wear armor.

The builds I suggested almost all dip into monk. What you lose by wearing armor is Flurry of Blows, Fast Movement and your Wisdom and level Mods to your AC. But I favor Master of Many Styles, who don't get Flurry anyway. Since I only dip 3-4 levels into monk by level 12, and since I rarely give myself a Wisdom of 22, the wise thing to do is wear armor.


A monk is never going to win the raw damage output battle, but that isn't his purpose or was it my intent of your post.


yeah. I'd def go with a bloodrager. Gets interesting options while still laying the smack down on things.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Bloodrager all the way. It works as a decent jump from your usual.

Good damage, fun options.

Going Blood Conduit will give you an alternate, and equally fun build.

Silver Crusade

Any thing with a high starting Str, and full BAB. Will do a good job at damage. After that it's personal preference. If you want to get away from casters that limits you. If you don't count 4th level casters that dose open it up some.

1: Using a wand of cure light wounds. Not critical however very useful.
2: Utility is harder to do in combat. If your main job is damage. As action economy means damage is normal the best option.
3: Utility out of combat can be dose with out sacrificing damage, or much damage.

Top picks full BAB none casters.
Cavalier (Huntmaster archetype if you don't want a mount.)
Slayer (Can fill multiple roles with little effort.)

Top picks for full BAB 4th level caster.
Paladin
Ranger

Top picks for 3/4 BAB, and 6th level caster.
Hunter (A very over looked class that in play dose much better then I ever expected.}
Inquisitor

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Bloodragers can use Wands at Lvl.1, just not things like Scrolls.


Barbarians (even non-unchained) can have some fun with rage powers, like mentioned.

I've seen someone do a decent Strength-based monk guide, and I'll probably do that the next time I need to do melee, just to see how it goes. Maybe go with the qinggong archetype so you can have some mix and match in what your qi does. Just don't yell 'Hadouken!' too many times when using any ranged powers it gives.

Plus, you can still tweak a few of them if you want to keep another role. Do you have a party face yet? Some martial classes do have some options there. No-one said a barbarian can't be a witty conversationalist. Sure, out of combat isn't always a big focus but keep that in mind on some level too if you want. Monks have the skills to be scouts and recon, for one.


I also really like the Kineticist. I played a melee Geokineticist during the playtest and had a lot of success with it. One of the few (only?) ways for a PC to get earth glide without casting a spell for it.


Scott, I looked at your suggestions in the other thread Scott. I will admit, I'm not usually a big fan of multi-class conglomerates like those. Many look good on paper at their final level but in practice don't function very well especially at the lower levels when you are just starting to get a few of the eventual abilities.
On the other hand, those look like they should work better than some I've seen. I will give them some more thought.

Bloodrager seems pretty good. I'm not sure it is far enough from my normal gish concepts to really be getting out of my rut. But I usually concentrate on the caster side and that would be concentrating on the martial side.

Slayer and swashbuckler seem interesting. But I've only seen them used as the secondary martial character never as the primary martial damage dealer. Are they really ok in that role.

Thanks for some ideas guys. I will look over these concepts some more.


Lavode de'Morcaine wrote:
Slayer and swashbuckler seem interesting. But I've only seen them used as the secondary martial character never as the primary martial damage dealer. Are they really ok in that role.

I think my swashbuckler got at least 3 GM audits because my party just couldn't believe I was doing so much damage. And that wasn't even doing anything special - Power Attack, Weapon Specialization, Precise Strike, and Swashbuckler Weapon Training all really add up. Inspired Blade is great for the panache and the rapier's crit range. (I think my party's first impressions of a swashbuckler were with a Str-dumped halfling, which is obviously not going to be the most high-damage build.)

edit: For numbers, here's my 10th-level swash build in the DPR Olympics thread.


Barbarian-High STR and CON. and have fun-do things that cause chaos like instead of charging in and tackling the BBEG instead of charging in with your weapon...just do things caused by your anger and be unexpectedly chaotic. it will make it interesting i promise.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Swashbucklers, especially Precise Strike builds can deal very respectable damage. However they have difficulties due to two weak saves, light armor AC, and precision immune creatures. Aside from that they are quite solid.


Wait, you want to play a martial that can adapt to the current situation?

Brawler. The Brawler's martial flexibility grants him the ability to be whatever his team needs him to be at that current moment. As long as you have Combat...whatever it is that lets you learn maneuvers.

The whole point is that you can do whatever you need to do thanks to the ability to swap aboot feats. Need Non-lethal? No problem. Need to get yourself out of prison with only a shovel for a weapon? No problem. Need to grab that guy? Throw that guy in a pit?

Etc etc.

I suggest picking up the basic versions of a few combat maneuvers, like Improved Reposition and Improved Grapple/trip when you can spare the feats. This way you still deal some pretty nice martial damage with your fists but can also throw people into your allies Hungry Pits whenever you feel like it.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

sorry- i haven't checked this thread in a while... the reason i suggested lore warden/martial master is that they gain a lot of control (and other options) through martial flexibility (supported by the CMB boosts from lore warden), and give up very little damage. you miss out on weapon training but can still do a simple Str/PA build with weapon spec on your 2hander. you're going to pick up PA for damage and you get combat expertise for free, so you can just use martial flexibility whenever you want/need a maneuver feat and then you get to invest all your normal glut of feats on damage and survivability...

that gives you a significant damage output and a lot of adaptability to keep things from getting boring (the one downside being that to be really effective you have to have some familiarity with all of the combat feat options).


Brad McDowell wrote:

Have you tinkered with Butterfly Sting yet?

Is the secondary martial willing to build around it?

I checked with him, he is not liking the idea of integrating builds to that extent.

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