Sacred Huntsmaster for Skulls and Shackles


Advice


Ey folks. I've recently been able to step outside of my GM chair and have managed to land myself a spot in a Skulls and Shackles campaign. As I was reading through both the player's guide and Pirates of the Inner Sea, I realized that dinosaurs were actually present in the area, thus leading me to create Cristoph Pratt and Lil' Blue, a human and raptor pair from Ilizmagorti that decided to go to the Shackles in order to throw in their lot with people who weren't as close to the Red Mantis.

But I'm quickly finding that my utter lack of experience of working with animal companions myself is limiting the ideas I have for later builds for my dinosaur friend, and so I have turned to you guys for help. Cristoph has the Eye for Talent alternate racial feature, which I decided to put to use by placing that +2 into Lil' Blue's Intelligence. I also gave Lil' Blue Weapon Finesse to boost up his to hit, and he currently has his skill points in Swim and Stealth. Like I said, I'm mostly looking for ideas for the later stages. Any help would be appreciated!


Bumping up.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

what are you trying to do? Have the animal companion tank? damage? One thing to consider, it is possible to give animal companions archetypes, so look into that.


Well, as the DM has prevented the party from communicating about their characters with one another, so I'm not 100% certain what roles I may have to cover yet. I looked over the companion archetypes, and none of them in particular stand out to me because the major benefits of the archetypes seems to be the extra feats they allow, which is somewhat of a moot point thanks to the raptor's intelligence.

I mainly want to get as much mileage out of the eventual Pounce that Blue is going to get, and I have never really focused that hard on things like that myself.

Grand Lodge

If you want your pet to be a damage machine, I'd look into a one level dip into a Goliath Druid which will let you cast enlarge person on your raptor which will help his pouncing.

Also don't forget you need at least an 11 to not have to worry about handling your animal companion for any of the the tricks it already knows. A training harness is pretty much essential for any lvl 1 class with an animal companion (and is cheap).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Unless you are sure you can retrain it, I wouldn't go with weapon finesse, since once he hits large size, those two scores would be the same. Additionally, you are likely to be buffing his strength anyway, which will reduce the utility of weapon finesse.

I'd also probably not use eye for talent for Int, although you might throw the first ability score increase there to open up feats. Mechanically there isn't really any difference between an int 3 raptor and an int 4 raptor, so you are 'wasting' a point, while a 2 point bump to STR or CON would be a much more significant advantage.

I don't think there are a whole lot of complex tricks to getting the most out of a raptor. Pounce bite-claw-claw-talon-talon is really all you need. Toughness is a good call for any AC, since their hitpoints are low for their role. Beyond that, you will probably get the most mileage out of basic combat feats like power attack.


Thank you guys for the input. The Goliath Druid would definitely help out Blue's overall damage, but it doesn't entirely fit my concept, and I'm somewhat hesitant to slow down my Inquisitor progression (even by such a small amount). But I really appreciate the reminder about Handle Animal. Guess that's what I get for my first foray into this territory.

Dave Justus wrote:
Unless you are sure you can retrain it, I wouldn't go with weapon finesse, since once he hits large size, those two scores would be the same. Additionally, you are likely to be buffing his strength anyway, which will reduce the utility of weapon finesse.

Retraining may be possible, but I would like to note that the deinonychus only goes up to Medium and starts off with a 11 Strength and 17 Dexterity. Even if I put in the bonus from Eye for Talent into strength, his Dexterity is going to remain superior until level 7. And even then, without Eye for Talent, they remain equal.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I am a big BIG fan of using eye for talent for Int. I did so with my tiger and was able to turn him into a grappling (without killing) machine.

Having a high int means you can take any feat he qualifies for. Having a high int means lots of tricks and combat maneuvers. Go int!


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One interesting thing to note about an Animal Companion is that they naturally stack when multiclassing between classes with access to them; also, the Boon Companion feat allows you to take up to four levels in another class without losing Animal Companion levels. Since the Sacred Huntmaster doesn't get judgements, it's less painful to multiclass a little; with Magical Knack you can avoid losing caster level.

For example, two levels of Scarred Rager Barbarian can get you Reckless Abandon rage cycling at will (Rage with Reckless Abandon when attacking and then turn rage off - fatigue ends when your next turn begins). Or, two levels in some other Barbarian type can get you the Ferocious Beast power, which can be used to make your dinosaur rage(!). Extra Rage is a pretty generous feat, so it's possible to do quite a bit of raging even if you're only Barbarian 2 as long as you're willing to spend some feats. And since you can cast Greater Magic Weapon on yourself, a Furious, Courageous weapon eventually makes you a wrecking ball.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
mourge40k wrote:
Retraining may be possible, but I would like to note that the deinonychus only goes up to Medium and starts off with a 11 Strength and 17 Dexterity. Even if I put in the bonus from Eye for Talent into strength, his Dexterity is going to remain superior until level 7. And even then, without Eye for Talent, they remain equal.

My mistake on the size, but the point doesn't change. As soon as you hit level seven, which I think happens in book 2 of the adventure path or very early in book 3, the feat is at best wasted.

And even without eye for talent, it seems likely you will be looking at ways to increase its STR for damage if nothing else. With Eye for talent and weapon focus you would be one worse to hit at level one, and +2 to hit at level seven compared to the finesse route.


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There are a couple of ways that you could take this.

Thing #1: Friendly Tank-helper
Use Combat Reflexes, Bodyguard, and the Additional Traits feat (your dinosaur was raised by halflings, and is very Helpful) to become an AC machine for you or your tank. For teamwork feats, Harrying Partners will let the bonus to you last a full round on just one AoO and potentially some utility like Escape Route (never provoke again!) and Shake it Off (better saves). If you really don't mind constantly replacing it you can always get In Harm's Way, but that could suck if you bond with it too hard.

Thing #2: Pounce Murder Machine
Teamwork feats are Lookout, Distracting Charge, Precise Strike, and Coordinated Charge. Outflank + Pack Flanking helps too. Make sure your main character has high Perception and stands next to your dinosaur. In the surprise round, you charge and make one attack and your dinosaur uses an immediate action to charge and pounce. Then it gets a full attack. For your companion, look into Power Attack, Weapon Focus, and eventually possibly Dazing Assault. Consider getting Improved Unarmed Strike and Dragon Style if your allies are bad at charge lanes or you are not consistently in the front.

Thing #3: Flank/AoO Buddy
Teamwork feats are Outflank, Pack Flanking, and Paired Opportunists. Works best if you have a Menacing weapon and a high crit range. Anytime you crit, both you and your pet take an AoO at +10 (after accounting all bonuses). Anytime your pet crits, the same thing happens. If you can convince your melee friends to also pick up Paired Opportunists, they can join in with a +4-+8 depending on their positioning. Your companion's base feats should include Combat Reflexes and then Dodge/Mobility. If you want more damage, look into Power Attack, Rending Claws, and Rending Fury. This build has the upside that it doesn't require your companion to have an Int of 3 until its level 9 and you've had two chances to boost it.

Thing #4: Actual Tank
You don't want a deinonychus for this, which is why I'm listing it last. Anklyosaurus is a very good choice if you need this, with an extra 11 natural armor by level 7 and the excellent Stun ability. Toughness helps make up for its low Con and other good feats include Combat Reflexes (think Stand Still on steroids), Weapon Focus, and after an Int of 3 Ability Focus (stun) is incredible and Tribal Scars can give it more hit points and a couple nice perks. Teamwork feats are Extend the Bulwark and then whatever you want. Works well with Archer builds for this reason.

Side note #1: Why you don't want Armor Proficiency feats
Your pet should be wearing armor. Armor Proficiency is the intuitive way of doing this but sadly not the optimal route because feats are so limited and precious. Since the only downside to non-proficiency in armor is based on the armor check penalty, any pet can wear Darkweave Cloth Hide Barding (+4 AC, max Dex +6) without suffering ill effects. If you happen to pick up Additional Traits, you can also pick up Armor Expert and then choose between Darkweave Do-Maru (cheaper, +5 AC, max dex 6) or Mithral Breastplate (+6 AC, max dex 5).


BadBird wrote:
And since you can cast Greater Magic Weapon on yourself, a Furious, Courageous weapon eventually makes you a wrecking ball.

Actually, Courageous weapons only apply to saves against fear, as specified by this FAQ here. Only reason I know that is because I casually read it a while back. However, the rest of the advice is solid, and Barbarian would be the way to go as far as I'm concerned as it still meshes with my overall concept better than a Goliath Druid would.

Dave Justus wrote:
With Eye for talent and weapon focus you would be one worse to hit at level one, and +2 to hit at level seven compared to the finesse route.

Your math has won me over, good sir. Weapon Focus it is!

Tsutsuku wrote:
Loads of helpful things

The sheer fun look and effectiveness of options two and three is now forcing me to figure out where to juggle my stats so I can get the 13 intelligence that is now entirely mandatory for my build. Damn you 15 point buy!!!!


mourge40k wrote:
The sheer fun look and effectiveness of options two and three is now forcing me to figure out where to juggle my stats so I can get the 13 intelligence that is now entirely mandatory for my build. Damn you 15 point buy!!!!

Options for getting Combat Expertise without 13 int:

1 level of Brawler (martial flexibility or mutagen, both surprisingly nice. Both work with Wild Child archetype to progress your pet)

1 level of Swashbuckler (if you REALLY like parry and riposte and have decent Cha)

2 levels of Fighter - Lore Warden (now with extra skill ranks and bonus feats!)

2 levels of Ranger - faithful to Cayden Calean (probably sub-par but it works)

1 level of Magus - Spire Defender (if you like cheese and your DM is ok with it, this is probably strictly best since it ignores prereqs, gives you 2 feats, AND you can use it to cheese Arcane Strike if you want.)

1 level of Cavalier - Qabaret Outrider (if you're ok with never being a full Cavalier, it also gives you a free Improved Maneuver feat. Ask your DM if it stacks with your pet's levels even though your pet isn't a real mount.) Requires Racial Heritage (Lashunta)

TL;DR
I'd recommend Brawler or Magus as the best options here, Brawler also nets you IUS for prerequisite purposes and flexible offensive options, whereas Magus just gives you 2 free feats upfront.


mourge40k wrote:
Actually, Courageous weapons only apply to saves against fear, as specified by this FAQ here.

Yikes that's a downgrade... well on the upside Furious Weapon crossed with GMW is still an amazingly cheap way to have a +4.


Being able to work in the water and on land is huge.


I know this is not really helpfull but i would go with the spinosaurus companion. You loose pounce but you so much in return(amazing str and swim speed) On a 15 point but versatile human is great and since you have skills enough. But even with eye for talent stats like str 15(+2), dex 12, con 12, int 13, wis 14 and cha 7, Is good. If you take conversion inquisition you Can even be party face.
In a low point buy the AC Can be the strongest melee guy in the group.


Cap. Darling wrote:

I know this is not really helpfull but i would go with the spinosaurus companion. You loose pounce but you so much in return(amazing str and swim speed) On a 15 point but versatile human is great and since you have skills enough. But even with eye for talent stats like str 15(+2), dex 12, con 12, int 13, wis 14 and cha 7, Is good. If you take conversion inquisition you Can even be party face.

In a low point buy the AC Can be the strongest melee guy in the group.

so true

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