Storm Kindler (Master of Storms) Build and Entry


Hello, all!

I'm theorycrafting today. I've been keen on the Storm Kindler/Master of Storms for a while, but I've always been dissatisfied with the results when I try something like monk 3 (for Monastic Legacy)/sorcerer (empyreal, for Wisdom as a casting stat) 4.

Now, with the release of Unchained, I see that variant multiclassing will allow me to gain several quite good monk abilities, including nearly-full unarmed strike progression, without detriment to my casting, if that's desired.

What would be an interesting entry now? My thoughts are that

  • nature oracle fits in flavor and can give me Charisma to AC, homologating a somewhat SAD build with moderate Dexterity;
  • scarred witch doctor is, as always, a strong choice and would let me focus almost exclusively on my physical statistics;
  • druid remains a strong choice, since (I think) the Strength bonuses from Wild Shape would persist in whirlwind form, augmenting the DC;
  • cleric or wizard, the quotidian "full caster" classes, both have interesting archetypes and lots of spells that don't require a high casting stat; and
  • I could just treat my casting as secondary, skip the monk VMC, and go bloody-knuckled rowdy for seven levels to meet the casting requirements and have an angry tornado build.

I'm trying not to forget that this prestige class also gets cool ancillary abilities (Seasight reminds me of that "Mist Assassin" that made the rounds a while ago), so ways to take advantage of those are appreciated. Mostly, I'm looking for cool and synergistic ideas to make turning into a tornado as cool as it ought to be.

A tiny bump to see whether anyone's interested.

I'm interested in the concept but it's a little beyond my slim theorycrafting skills. It does make me wonder how VMC rules progress when Prestige Classes are thrown into the mix.

Does the Unarmed Strike continue to progress at character level no matter if you take levels in other classes?

Now, I don't see anything that says otherwise. If it works, it works!

- RAW, the Storm Shape ability doesn't seem to be a polymorph effect, so you can shift into a form then become a whirlwind and pump your STR up.
- It is, however, a special attack and so Ability Focus can bump the save DC by 2.
- Bumping your Unarmed Strike damage isn't going to be too difficult and you can steal from any Monk guide for how to do that. The goal should be to amass 12 virtual levels of Monk to get 2d6 base damage.
- Bumping your *size* will be useful here, too... Even if your whirlwind is limited.

- Variant Multiclass Monk sounds like a pretty solid option. It definitely will net the build a 2d6 base damage for unarmed strikes.
- I'm leaning toward Sorcerer as the base class. There's a slew of Str and Size bumping options at each level, as well as the Orc Bloodline. You'll be taking 6 levels of Sorcerer before going into Master of Storms, but with the Robe of Arcane Heritage ( -of-arcane-heritage) you'll count as a 10th level Sorcerer for bloodline powers and effects... which gets you a +2 inherent Str bonus. It's all the things.
- Monks Robe to bump your AC bonus and Unarmed Strike Damage.
EDIT: Monk's Robe and Robe of Arcane Heritage are, obviously, both robes. They cannot be worn together. I opted for Monk's Robes and your idea of Empyreal Bloodline for Wis casting. If VMC monk doesn't get the AC bonus, potentially find a different bloodline.

So... putting all of this together. 9th level is utterly explosive for the build.

Human Sorc (Empyreal) 6 / Master of Storms 3 | VMC Monk
Str 16+2(racial)+2(leveling)=20
Dex 10
Con 14
Int 10
Wis 14
Cha 10

Take the requisite skills and Storm Lashed to get into Master of Storms. Your other feats are pretty well optional. Improved Init? Traits are pretty open as well. Anything that buffs Unarmed Strike Damage. At 9th level, take the Ability Focus (Whirldwind/Storm Shape).

You have access to 4th level spells, so the best bet is probably Monstrous Physique II which nets a +4 size bonus to Str, -2 penalty to Dex, and a +4 natural armor bonus.

You can afford to have Monk's Robes by now, so you now do damage like a 12th level monk (level 9 - 2 + 5 = 12), or 2d6 base damage. When buffed, that bumps to 3d6 + 7.

The save DC for your Storm Shape is now 22 (or 23 if you have a str belt of +2, but you may want a +2 Wis hat first). You can walk in and out of the squares of monsters to make them have to save against this again and again and again... so expect to hit many targets many times over. Small targets may actually fail these saves and get scooped up.

Future break points:
10th level - Medium creatures into the whirlwind
12th level - Large creatures into the whirlwind, Monstrous Physique III, Weather's Fury (3d6 more damage w/ whirlwind)
13th level - 2d8 damage w/ unarmed strikes
14th level - Huge creatures (probably worth it to stop leveling and go back to Sorcerer here)

Hope this helped flesh your idea out some. Take what you want from here or not! I doubt this is fully optimized to go throwing the world around... but it's a start. Cheers!

calicokat wrote:

I'm interested in the concept but it's a little beyond my slim theorycrafting skills. It does make me wonder how VMC rules progress when Prestige Classes are thrown into the mix.

Does the Unarmed Strike continue to progress at character level no matter if you take levels in other classes?

Now, I don't see anything that says otherwise. If it works, it works!

As far as I can tell, VMC is totally distinct from class levels; it just replaces feats gained from advancement. Seems like a 20th-level character that took the monk VMC, indifferently to classes (prestige or otherwise) taken, would end up with the unarmed strike damage of a level 18 monk. Good observation, though; there might be GMs who disagree. Thanks for your interest!

Greg.Everham wrote:
(lots of good stuff)

Thanks! Looks like an extremely fun and solid build :). Ability Focus is a really good call. One can never go wrong with Empyreal sorcerer, I think :).

You bring up an interesting point about size bonuses. Retaining STR bonuses from polymorph effects makes a weird kind of sense (as much as anything regarding polymorph effects does, since we have to suspend our disbelief a bit when a 7-STR wizard turns into a bear and still can't win at arm wrestling against a fighter ...), but size-based increases to unarmed strike ... huh. Hard to imagine an in-universe justification for it, but, rules-wise, it looks completely legitimate :).

Eventually, then, it seems that we could become Huge and gain +10 to STR (via Form of the Dragon III) and add lead blades, yielding +5 to the DC of our whirlwind and granting us 6d8 damage (2d8 -> 3d8 -> 4d8 -> 6d8). That's tasty.

Lead Blades might be hard to finagle onto your spell list (Ring of Spell Knowledge II?), but it would bump that damage up even more. (add entangle) (add damage) (ignore hardness)

Form of the Dragon seems to not quite be the best spell option for us until 9th level spells are available.

Dragon I comes in as a 6th level spell, but leaves the character at medium size and with a +4 bonus to Strength, albeit with extra attacks if you want to full attack rather than move around and doing your whirlwind thing. At that level, you could cast Beast Shape III/IV (+6 Str, Huge Size) or Monstrous Physique III/IV (same bonuses). Either way, you could pick up a slew of other abilities (like Trample). Dragon I just isn't sexy enough for this build.

Dragon II is a 7th level spell. It makes the character Large w/ +6 Str and all kinds of kickers including a breath weapon (which might be nice against all the monsters you've picked up, actually). But... Monstrous Physique III seems to still be outperforming Dragon II by way of giving out Huge size. Plant Shape III is ironically better with a +8 Str bonus, but I cannot imagine a huge Oak Tree creating a whirlwind.

Dragon III at 8th level *finally* allows Huge size and a massive +10 Str bonus. This beats out Monstrous Physique III (except that its super incredibly low level). Giant Form can't match the Str bonus. All the other polymorph options have no new level here.

At 9th level spells, you can add Fiery Body for a LOL-worth 3d6 fire bump to damage and a Dex bump to make up for the penalties you're taking... Or, you know, you can start casting insane Quickened spells and all kinds of other face-melting, game-breaking stuff.

Any which way, Monstrous Physique seems like the go-to until you've got 8th level spells. Then Dragon Form III is the best numerically, but I might still cast the lowly 3rd level spell in favor of using my 8th level spells no the standard fare of ungodly spells. Is +2 str and a breath weapon really worth it when you'll probably be dishing a ton of damage via whirlwind?

Actually, Vine Strike seems to be the funniest and most powerful spell to add to your buffs. You would basically be giving them a -4 to Dex, so they have a 10% worse chance to not get stuck in your whirlwind and then they move at half speed so they're less likely to be able to move out of it. Kind of a nasty 1-2 punch for a 2nd level spell.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

I have a build I used in PFS that used whirlwind consistently.

Rather than going Str based I went 1 level Monk and the rest Druid. This will work with a 3 or 4 level Monk dip as well. If possible I suggest Sohei monk so you can always go on the Surprise round.

The build focuses on Wisdom as its primary stat. Although you can not reach the same DCs for your Whirlwind as with the Storm Kindler (SK) you are not restricted on uses per day and have a number of other abilities in addition.

Start with a 20 Wis, ok str/dex/con are fine. This allows your primary stat to apply to Will Save, AC, CMD and Spellcasting. The two important feats are Shaping Focus at level 5 or 7 and Powerful Shape at level 9.

Turn into an Air Elemental, starting at level 6 or 7. You can now WW but only pick up small creatures. Keep in mind you have to be level 8 to do this as a straight SK. This is limited but awesome against swarms. Until this point you are a druid or druid/monk with a good AC and casting and possibly an Animal Companion.

At level 9 you can grab Powerful Shape. Now your Medium Whirlwind can pick up Medium Creatures. You DC is Wis based so you are looking at DC in the 22 range and unlike the SK, the WW requires 2 saves each time, one to damage and one to pick up.

At level 10, when you are getting Medium targets with the SK, you are getting Large with the Large Air Elemental shape, and WW at will. Since you have 40 hours of wild shape a day, you pretty much can be in this form all you want. At level 12 you can turn into a Huge Elemental and pick up Huge creatures.

You won't ever do as much damage of have as high a DC as an SK, but the defensive benefits will often allow you to survive being attack with a bunch of creatures in your Whirlwind. So far in PFS I have juggled (trapped in WW) 3 Hill giants at once, 2 Stone Golems, 2 advanced Girallons all of whom were unable to hit me on anything less than a 20 between the high AC benefit of the Air Elemental Shape and Wis to AC plus a few buffs (mage armor, barkskin) and the WW penalty. This was all done on a chasis that could cast Druid spells with only one level lost (3 if you want more whirlwind damage)

One advantage that both builds have is the ability to alter roles when the WW ability won't work. In the case of the SK you are Str build with shapechanging options, so go kill stuff. In my build is more about being a spellcasting tank, I have for example used summoning spells to tank by drawing a bunch of attacks from people trying to disrupt the spell.

Couple of other things, the character was a blight druid so he had a sickening aura to debilitate the targets. Vine strike and Sickening Strikes are great spells to further penalize your targets. Also AoE spells that entangle are a great opener as they can slow targets down and reduce their reflex save prior to whirlwind activation.

In our group I played a druid/storm kindler, and when I used Wild Shape to turn into something with a slam attack, I used that damage rather than my unarmed strike, as per the Whirlwind Universal Monster Ability. Don't know if it's legal, but it makes sense?

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