Character help and advice


Giantslayer


I only have the first module of this AP right now, and I am not yet able to address some of these concerns, so I am posting this on behalf of one of my players...

Assumption 1: This player is expecting that most of this AP will be dungeon focused. After reading the summaries in the back of the first module, I am not sure I agree with that. He plans to create a Dwarven Deep Walker Ranger and is asking to also be allowed to take the Dungeon Rover archetype as well. I am inclined to permit this as the Woodland Stride replacements from each archetype are nearly the same. Any fellow DM thoughts on allowing or not allowing this? (The group has no one else covering the trap thing) Will the character encounter too few dungeon/underground areas to feel like his focus is wasted?

Assumption 2: The player is building a giant killing character obviously, but is building along the lines of a switch hitter. He's picked up a Dorn Dergar as his melee weapon of choice and that's where his build issues start. This is the first time this player has created a character that he feels is feat starved, but I feel this is due to wanting too many nice things. He is basically asking for advice on the best route... mostly at the level 7 mark:

Level 1: Traits - Orphaned by Giants and 1 of Glory of Old, Magical Knack, or Tunnel Fighter
Feat - Power Attack
Level 2: Rapid Shot
Level 3: Quick Draw
Level 4: Hunter's Bond with Companions (solely to avoid needing to take Boon Companion)
Level 5: Deadly Aim
Level 6: Manyshot
Level 7: Two-Weapon Fighting (though he never plans to actually two weapon fight)
Level 8:
Level 9: Dorn Dergar Master (can now wield two and intends to keep one at 5' and one at 10' to negate the need to switch it)
Level 10:Improved Precise Shot
Level 11:Steel Soul
Level 12:
Level 13:Feat?
Level 14:Feat?
Level 15:Feat?

He feels the first 6 levels are kind of required as well as level 10. He'd rather be using a crossbow, but knows that the longbow is simply better for archery. I suggested switching to Two Weapon Fighting style and embracing that since one of the other characters is a Bolt Ace Gunner, but he seems reluctant. He has a long history of attachment to the whole switch hitting thing. The other two characters are Witch and Inquisitor in case that matters, and they are all Dwarves.

Things he wants to fit in, but feel they might be too late by level 13: Extra Traits (to get the two things not chosen at first level), Improved Initiative (for when he is not underground/in a dungeon), Toughness (despite starting with a 16 CON)

I have pointed out the Darting Viper feat as a means to avoid TWF/Dorn Dergar Master (I mean it's two feats vs one... seems like an easy choice to me), but he worries that even as a Swift, he can only do it once per turn*. I've also mentioned Whirlwind as a potential tactic, but he seems set on a starting Int of 10 and does not like all the other feats he would need to get to end up there. He's also aware of the Twin Thunders stuff, but also doesn't like the cost.

So, any advice out there? Or any arguments for going full TWF or single Dorn Dergar?

* - I really don't know what I did to make him want a character that could attack at 5' and 10' simultaneously. I don't think this has come up as a possibility all *that* often, but he seems incredibly concerned about it, even with Giants as a focus.

Silver Crusade

I just finished with book one of Giant slayer. I can say with confidence with out some heavy hitters. This AP will kill most groups. The HP totals alone on the last two boss fights are very high.

I will recommend he go pure melee as it looks as that's what your lacking. The inquisitor being the only melee. Is only going to work until you reach the first BBEG. Then he will go splat with out back up.

I will suggest if their is a inquisitor in the group. He could play a hunter and get with the inquisitor to pick team work feet's. This will be a large boost to your damage. With most of your combat characters sharing team work feet's really changes how things work.

My current games of Giant Slayer is just two players. We are both playing hunters. Having the same team work feet's has really changed the way we do actions. Lookout has proven to be very detrimental to the GM. The fact that every one has outflank make flanking deadly. This list will grow as we level. For the most part we will be taking the same team work feet's.


Thanks for the response... these are his follow up questions...

calagnar wrote:


I will recommend he go pure melee as it looks as that's what your lacking. The inquisitor being the only melee. Is only going to work until you reach the first BBEG. Then he will go splat with out back up.

What do you suggest as "pure melee". Normally a switch hitter style Ranger is just fine in melee. Power Attack/Furious Focus and a Two Hander have sufficed so far in the APs he's played in and in some of those, he was the only "meat shield". His use of combat style to get archery feats is only to support the opening round or two of combat until melee is necessary. He's rarely picked up other melee feats, arguing that "a round of archery is almost always better than any melee trick or feat chain".

Should he go TWF or stick with a single 2H weapon? Are you recommending using the style feats for melee and ditching ranged completely?

calagnar wrote:


I will suggest if their is a inquisitor in the group. He could play a hunter and get with the inquisitor to pick team work feet's. This will be a large boost to your damage. With most of your combat characters sharing team work feet's really changes how things work.

The ACG classes are not being used in this AP, so the Hunter is not an option.

Silver Crusade

Darkbridger wrote:

Thanks for the response... these are his follow up questions...

calagnar wrote:


I will recommend he go pure melee as it looks as that's what your lacking. The inquisitor being the only melee. Is only going to work until you reach the first BBEG. Then he will go splat with out back up.

What do you suggest as "pure melee". Normally a switch hitter style Ranger is just fine in melee. Power Attack/Furious Focus and a Two Hander have sufficed so far in the APs he's played in and in some of those, he was the only "meat shield". His use of combat style to get archery feats is only to support the opening round or two of combat until melee is necessary. He's rarely picked up other melee feats, arguing that "a round of archery is almost always better than any melee trick or feat chain".

Should he go TWF or stick with a single 2H weapon? Are you recommending using the style feats for melee and ditching ranged completely?

With the large areas you will want to do one of two things stay at range and doge rocks, or close. Both are good options you can't do both. If the inquisitor gets in melee with any of the giants he will only last one to 3 hits before he is down. With out any one their to help him. He will more then likely die in the first encounter with a real giant. Switch hitter is a good idea as long as the inquisitor is wiling to stay in the back and only start fighting if the giant closes with you.

This is just a suggestion. Ranger is a good class. However if you have a character that has team work feet's now. Getting the other player to have them. Makes them much better over all. That and animal companions are much simple to replace compeered to player characters.With the hunter barded a cavalier is not a bad idea. They get free team work feet's as well. He could even go with the huntmaster archetype and have a dog if he dose not want to be mounted. It works almost as well as the hunter and keeps the team work feet's to play off the inquisitor.

Giant:
The first true giant you run in to has two attacks per round at +12/7 to hit and +9 damage. We lost the other player. At the time he was playing a oracle. With only one melee there is no way. One level 4 character can handle that kind of damage for more then two rounds.


calagnar wrote:


Switch hitter is a good idea as long as the inquisitor is wiling to stay in the back and only start fighting if the giant closes with you.

This is exactly what this group does on a regular basis. The meleers (and there are always two) start with ranged weapons and either switch to melee when the target closes or charge if the circumstances favor it. That's not to say they never pull out weapons and melee from round one... it does happen... but they prefer to pull/draw enemies to them. At no point does this player expect the Inquisitor to melee on his own outside of mook level combat. The Inquisitor is also built similarly... he can range or melee as the circumstances require it, but of course he won't have all the fancy archery feats.

Three characters will full attack with ranged weapons from round one. The fourth may outright disable one or more of the enemy as well. The entire party is being built around the presumption that you don't just charge into melee against Large sized enemies. They all have ranged and reach weapons.


We killed the guy in the spoiler tag without meleeing him that much. Used ranged weapons, and Summon Nature Ally->Stirges, then charged him to death, if I remember well.

We are doing it with a group of 3, a Goliath Druid, (archer) BeastMaster Ranger and Paladin (with Mount), and we are doing fine so far, but some of the fights are tough. Extra pets that tank a few hits help us, because we are only 3. The last dude in book 1 almost TPK'd us, because we pressed the fight when out of resources (no spells, lay on hands, etc). It was just the ranger conscious, with 2-3 hp left, trying to make the final killing shot.

As a suggestion: in later books, it might be useful to have players which can use large weapons. The Guide itself suggest titan maulers, goliath druids, titan fighters, etc. It's not needed at all, but it's helpful, and cool.

EDIT: Also, there's some dungeoneering, yes, but not all the AP is that. The second most used skill (after perception) for my druid is Diplomacy I think.


Switch Hitter Ranger is a good choice, I think.

You need to be able to burn orcs down fast, high strength and a two-handed weapon is what you want. Honestly, I'd suggest a polearm. If you want to start out with arrows, sure, Rangers get some combat style feats to help with that.

Make sure you have a good healer and I'd suggest Toughness to your player at lvl 3 rather than anything else. Strength and Hit points, strength and hit points.

I'm playing a high strength wizard (long story) and it worked well for this first module. But if I were to do it over, I'd go with Ranger/barbarian.

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

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Hello all!
I’ve been playing in The Giantslayer Endeavor for the past few months, and if you haven’t caught any of our Giantslayer Marathon posts on the Paizo Blog you might want to check them out (or our Dropbox and/or Facebook) for information regarding this AP. We’ve finished parts one through five already, and after surviving many battles totaling over 100 giants to date, I definitely agree with some of the advice mentioned so far:

#1: Dealing lots of damage is absolutely necessary against giants with hundreds of hit points, but if you can’t drop a giant in a single round, you’ll need a way to prevent them from doing just as much damage to you on their turn. (Trust me - my character has died three times.) We’ve designed our iconic characters to have a high damage output, and even with some of us at a high AC and class features/spells/magic items that prevent damage and mitigate critical hits, we still often find ourselves in a “kill or be killed” situation the next round after a giant full attacks us.

#2: I strongly suggest teamwork feats. We all know giants have reach, and getting past that without provoking AOOs is a must. Acrobatics is generally a high risk maneuver considering their high CMD, so our group took Escape Route (UC) at 3rd level, then Swing About (GHH) at higher levels to avoid them. Keep in mind that these feats are not only useful for getting into melee, but also for getting out of it when a character is too injured, needs healing from another character who is more than one move action away, or retreating to safely heal themselves. Yes, teamwork feats are a significant commitment of resources, but they have paid off tenfold with our group and I can honestly say that without them we wouldn’t have made it this far.

Have fun playing Giantslayer, we sure have!

“Oloch”
Son of Halgra, Warpriest of Gorum, Champion of Trunau


Darkborn wrote:

Hello all!

I’ve been playing in The Giantslayer Endeavor for the past few months, and if you haven’t caught any of our Giantslayer Marathon posts on the Paizo Blog you might want to check them out (or our Dropbox and/or Facebook) for information regarding this AP. We’ve finished parts one through five already, and after surviving many battles totaling over 100 giants to date, I definitely agree with some of the advice mentioned so far:

#1: Dealing lots of damage is absolutely necessary against giants with hundreds of hit points, but if you can’t drop a giant in a single round, you’ll need a way to prevent them from doing just as much damage to you on their turn. (Trust me - my character has died three times.) We’ve designed our iconic characters to have a high damage output, and even with some of us at a high AC and class features/spells/magic items that prevent damage and mitigate critical hits, we still often find ourselves in a “kill or be killed” situation the next round after a giant full attacks us.

#2: I strongly suggest teamwork feats. We all know giants have reach, and getting past that without provoking AOOs is a must. Acrobatics is generally a high risk maneuver considering their high CMD, so our group took Escape Route (UC) at 3rd level, then Swing About (GHH) at higher levels to avoid them. Keep in mind that these feats are not only useful for getting into melee, but also for getting out of it when a character is too injured, needs healing from another character who is more than one move action away, or retreating to safely heal themselves. Yes, teamwork feats are a significant commitment of resources, but they have paid off tenfold with our group and I can honestly say that without them we wouldn’t have made it this far.

Have fun playing Giantslayer, we sure have!

“Oloch”
Son of Halgra, Warpriest of Gorum, Champion of Trunau

First off, wow... that's a serious marathon... the likes of which I have not seen since college.

After looking over your group, I have a question (I did not read the entire PDF):

Have the Warpriest and Investigator done much casting beyond self and/or party buffing?

The reason I ask is that your group seems to be pretty melee heavy, but I have no idea if they actually played out that way. It also doesn't look like anyone was using reach weapons, but again, I only scanned the intro section.

The group I will ultimately DM for will include a Witch that is being built to specifically target the expected lower Ref and Will saves of Giants. The Bolt Ace player originally wanted a normal Gunslinger, but I hesitated on that one due to concerns with targeting touch AC, another obvious Giant weakness.

Given those other two characters, is the PC in the original post worrying too much about 5' vs 10' melee?

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

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Darkbridger wrote:
Have the Warpriest and Investigator done much casting beyond self and/or party buffing?

Not much casting has been done aside from buffing really. The warpriest’s fervor ability is strongest when used as such, although Oloch has been using it to help the group indirectly, like casting aura of doom as a swift action then using Dazzling Display/Disheartening Display as a full-round action to escalate targets to frightened, forcing giants in close range from making full attacks and also making space on the battlefield. With bloody tears and jagged smile usually active due to its 10 min/level duration, the DC for aura of doom goes up by 4, as does his modifier for Intimidate, which is high enough to demoralize a giant for at least one round. But all we need is one round, because that essentially buys us two since the fleeing giant has to run away on his next turn, then run back the following turn. Being surrounded by giants making full attacks is deadly, so Oloch casting in this manner helps the entire group deal with giants in greater numbers.

As for Quinn, the investigator’s extracts have been more useful to the group out of combat. He prefers to leave many slots open for versatility, but during the last module his use of communal resist energy and airwalk were crucial to our victory in the end. When it comes to a group like ours, and in the AP that we’re playing, it’s totally fine for the spellcasters to be self-efficient because it’s what keeps us alive. With average BAB and d8 hit die, Oloch and Quinn have struggled to keep up with Crowe and Zadim at times, and since we fight as a unit(teamwork feats) the longer the spellcasters can stay in the battle and contribute the more successful we are as a group.

Darkbridger wrote:
The reason I ask is that your group seems to be pretty melee heavy, but I have no idea if they actually played out that way. It also doesn't look like anyone was using reach weapons, but again, I only scanned the intro section.

Yes, it did play out that way actually, that’s the nice thing about featuring the hybrid classes! Crowe with bloodrage, Oloch with sacred weapon & fervor, Quinn with inspiration & studied strike, and Zadim with studied target are all quite capable in melee combat, plus with giant bane weapons all around we've been able to carve a swath through the big folk all the way up the Mindspin Mountains.

Of course we would benefit immensely from having a full spellcaster of any kind, but that’s not what we were built to do. Since each member of the group took the same teamwork feats, if one of us was a full spellcaster or preferred ranged tactics over melee, it would greatly diminish the effectiveness - and the purpose – of taking said feats.

As for reach, Crowe uses enlarge person quite often, Oloch recently got righteous might, Quinn does indeed use a reach weapon (longspear), and Zadim...well...we like to use the Swing About teamwork feat on him to get him a 5-ft step away from a full attack, so that sort of gives him reach in way, right?

Darkbridger wrote:
Given those other two characters, is the PC in the original post worrying too much about 5' vs 10' melee?

No, there’s no such thing as worrying too much about 5’ vs 10’ reach when you’re fighting giants. It’s a very real threat and PCs who aren’t prepared for it will find themselves in deep trouble, especially against multiple giants with overlapping reach, and after they get pounded to less than half of their hit points in one round they won’t even be able to withdraw from combat for the same reasons. Our group uses the Escape Route teamwork feat is how we got around that very problem, which will inevitably happen against giants.

Truth be told, it changed the dynamic of the game for us. Not having to deal with the 5’ vs 10’ reach issue was just the beginning: Oloch and Quinn would cast spells/drink extracts then move into the first threatened square, thus allowing Crowe and Zadim to come in at any angle and get into melee, using vital strike and sneak attack respectively. But then we found out that it was really useful in difficult terrain – we no longer had to use a 5-ft step to move since a move action didn’t provoke anymore. It also let Crowe and Oloch walk right out of reach to cast spells without concentration checks. For close-quarters fighting, it allowed whoever was in the front to attack and move back without provoking, thus allowing someone else to move in and attack, which also spread out the damage we were taking to the point where we could heal in between turns fighting at the front. So yes, the 5’ vs 10’ reach is issue, but it seems we’ve solved it.

“Oloch”
Son of Halgra, Warpriest of Gorum, Champion of Trunau

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