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When using this judgment, the kinslayer gains the ability to brand undead creatures with positive energy. To do so, she must make a successful melee touch attack against the undead creature. This attack deals an amount of positive energy damage equal to 1d6 + the kinslayer's Charisma score, and burns her personal symbol into the undead creature's flesh, bone, or even its incorporeal form. From that point onward, the kinslayer can sense the existence of the branded creature as if it were the target of a locate creature spell (caster level equal to 1/2 the kinslayer's inquisitor level). A slayer's brand lasts until the undead creature is destroyed or until the kinslayer uses this ability on another creature.
When the kinslayer attacks a creature that she has branded with her slayer's brand, she threatens a critical hit on a roll of 19–20.
So, I have a question regarding this ability and combining it with effects that increase crit range: namely, do they stack? I know the age-old ruling for Pathfinder is "Nothing about crit range stacks with anything else ever!", and with good reason, because we all remember how out of hand 3.5 crits got. However, I think this is a special case that requires attention, because instead of altering the existing crit range of a weapon it will just automatically set it to 19-20 regardless of original crit range. For certain weapons this is actually a debuff, and for a lot of others it does nothing; clearly the ability is designed in mind to be used with a weapon that only crits on a 20. However, that's where my question comes in. Does it stack with other abilities, like keen or improved critical? Let's look at the wording of keen.
This ability doubles the threat range of a weapon. Only piercing or slashing melee weapons can be keen. If you roll this special ability randomly for an inappropriate weapon, reroll. This benefit doesn't stack with any other effects that expand the threat range of a weapon (such as the keen edge spell or the Improved Critical feat).
This leads me to reason that it would not stack with any weapon that normally only crits on a 20 since its threat range has effectively been "expanded" by the brand. However, I believe it would stack with all the other weapons that have at least a crit range down to 19, since their crit range has not been expanded by the ability.
I'm interested in this for two reasons: 1) Can a scythe-wielding kinslayer be the utter terror of undead everywhere with a 17-20/x4 crit range? 2) Would a keen longsword-wielding inquisitor be screwed out of his improved crit range by this ability?
I appreciate anybody that takes the time to answer this question!
When the kinslayer attacks a creature that she has branded with her slayer’s brand, she threatens a critical hit on a roll of 19–20. If the kinslayer is good, she also gains a +2 sacred bonus on all rolls to confirm critical hits on a branded creature.
The most literal reading suggests that the threat range is replaced per attack, independent of the weapon or other abilities.
The only thing it's good for is to acquire the equivalent of Imp Crit/Keen for a 'base threat range: 20' weapon without paying for either of those abilities. (but then again, you are trading a TW feat)
Boy, that seems kinda crappy haha. It forcibly limits what weapons are good for you if you decide to pick that particular brand modification.
Well you're not forced to brand a creature, but as far as I can tell if you do brand a creature and then attack it you do not have the option to take the devastating brand effect or not.
Actually, I did think of a benefit, which make this archetype very dipable
Spells. It will make any spell (or effect) with an attack roll threaten with 19-20.
This might be particularly exploitable with a Spellslinger who can get his spell crit multiplier up to x3.
There's probably some other decent options, but that's what came to mind.
Also, you are right about the interaction of those abilities, if you brand a target and possess Devastating, it always applies.
Wow, that's a really creative idea. The only problem is you would most likely be creating a very MAD character since there's not a lot of spellcasting classes that gives good ray attacks and use wisdom. Maybe that one sorcerer archetype that lets you use wisdom. You'd be behind by three levels in progression, but you'd have some neat versatility and very interesting flavor.