Indiana Jones build help


Advice


I've been thinking about trying to make a combat maneuver focused character for a bit and thought it might be interesting to try to make something similar to Indian Jones using a whip. The thing is I'm not sure what would be a good route to take. I suppose I could go straight up fighter to help with all the feats I'd want to get a whip to a reliable weapon. One downside to that IMO is a lack of skills, which I think might be nice to have (knowledge history is a must).

A few alternatives I've come up with are:

  • Slayer using the Whip based combat style (though since I'm likely to attempt this in PFS I'm not sure that's legal). Has a nice increase in skill points while still able to take a decent number of feats. Sneak attack is handy for once I can get Improved Whip Mastery and threaten or just an secondary to move in and flank with after tripping.

  • Swashbuckler- gets feats and can actually use an extra one: Slashing Grace to use the whip for swashbuckler abilities. Unless I take Mysterious Avenger, which gives me whip proficiency and lets me use them with Swashbuckler abilities, at the cost of a feat and several AC bonuses.

  • Rogue- Lower BAB which means lower CMB, but plenty of skills and free Finesse if I go Unchained. Can get a few extra feats with Rogue Talents but I believe you can only take Combat Trick once. The trapfinding stuff is thematically appropriate as well. On the other hand I've already got a rogue character I'm playing and would like a bit of variety.

  • Gunslinger- Just occurred to me as I was making this list but Indie did carry a pistol. I've not looked much at Gunslingers to know what all they do but I would likely lose out on feats they want if I wanted to increase my chances with my trip/disarm checks.

Anyway, that's all I've really come up with, what are your thoughts on this sort of thing? I get the feeling the whip isn't going to be optimal no matter how I slice it, but I'd like to make something that can still be of some use in a fight.

Dark Archive

You'll want combat reflexes and to go for the steal/disarm manoeuvres I assume, so I would actually look at half-orc(for whip proficiency with city-raised) and for the class I would go Brawler, as they tend to be really good at manoeuvres and have better skill points than a fighter. Other option would be a Lore Warden Fighter, to make up for the skill point loss as well. If you'd want all of the stuff together I would suggest going Gunslinger(Mysterious Stranger) 1 and the rest Cavalier(Daring Champion). For the last I would go with order of the flame.


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I'd recommend archaeologist bard. Achaeologist's luck compensates your lower BAB (even more so with fate's favored trait, which is a must) and is golden fluff-wise. You get whip proficiency, and several extra feats through rogue talents (you'll need them to use your whip in all the awesome ways).

Many skills and great knowledge bonuses. You also get better trapfinding than a rogue, which is a must (although it could be argued that Mr. Jones actually activates all traps he runs into and then just manages to survive them, but then again that's what trap sense -and archaeologist's luck- is for). High charisma, of course. If you chose your spells right, you can really be a great Indiana.

Combat maneuvers might not be optimal at high levels no matter what class you choose (especially in campaigns with more enemy monsters than enemy humanoids), but if that's the way you want to go archaeologist is a great choice. I mean, it's actually called archaeologist.


So you want to play an incredibly lucky, skilled and attractive character who isn't perhaps the wisest, but makes due with sheer balsiness and amazing improv skills. Oh, and he is an archaeologist.

Mmm, Gee, I wonder what class and archetype comes to mind.

The only real problem is making it work at very low levels. You need a BAB of +1 to get weapon focus(Whip), and +2 for Whip Mastery. An Archaeologist can get them by level 4 with a feat at 3 and a rogue talent at 4, so there's that. You also probably might dirty fighting from the dirty fighting toolbox if you want combat maneuver feats(or combat expertice, if you enjoy useless feat taxes), and unless you can get the GM to houserule in normal bard progression then Lingering Performance is a must. If the GM lets you retrain a feat, you can get it by three by retraining a level 1 feat at level 2 for weapon focus. For a human, that's your feats taken until level 4. Level 5 if you want to play a finesse build (I would probably go for strength instead, since you can two hand a whip, but YMMV). You could also take a 1 level dip in fighter for extra feats, but honestly I wouldn't bother - buffing with bard spells gets you more bang for your buck.


The archaeologist bard IS Indiana Jones.


Don't worry about the lack of whip proficiency at low levels. Indy didn't use a whip (well) at low levels either. His scar on his chin is a direct result of the -4 non-proficiency penalty...


CraziFuzzy wrote:
Don't worry about the lack of whip proficiency at low levels. Indy didn't use a whip (well) at low levels either. His scar on his chin is a direct result of the -4 non-proficiency penalty...

Isn't Bard literally the only class that is always proficient with the whip by default?

EDIT: In fact, that's a good point. Most other classes will require exotic weapon proficiency(Whip), and you also need BAB +1 for that. That's a strong point in the bard's favor.


Snowblind wrote:
CraziFuzzy wrote:
Don't worry about the lack of whip proficiency at low levels. Indy didn't use a whip (well) at low levels either. His scar on his chin is a direct result of the -4 non-proficiency penalty...

Isn't Bard literally the only class that is always proficient with the whip by default?

EDIT: In fact, that's a good point. Most other classes will require exotic weapon proficiency(Whip), and you also need BAB +1 for that. That's a strong point in the bard's favor.

I actually forgot about the bard already being proficient in the whip.


in any case, if you really want to focus on the whip aspect of Indy, I'd say:

H: Combat Expertise
1: Weapon Finesse
3: Weapon Focus (whip)
4: Combat Trick - Whip Mastery
6: Serpent Lash
8: Combat Trick - Slashing Grace (whip)
9: Improved Trip
12: Greater Trip
12: Combat Trick - Improved Whip Mastery

There's a lot of feats burnt up here, but it can be a lot of fun to perma-trip and/or disarm baddies at range.


In exchange for the usual disadvantages, one level in lore warden fighter can get you a feat while minimizing skill point loss. Two levels will get you combat expertise, and three levels will get you maneuver mastery. I'm personally not a fan of multiclassing, but all these things are very useful for this kind of build, in case you are ok with the consequences.


Indy was in a setting where guns are commonplace, and thus only simple weapons. So he was a straight up archeologist bard, no gunslinger levels required.

Scarab Sages

The best way yo maximize whip maneuvers is to add some magus level, get the wand wielder arcana, and use spell combat to true-strike them. +20 will pretty much guarantee a trip or disarm.


Huh, well I feel silly now. I've not done anything with Bards before so I wasn't aware they got whips or had an Archaeologist archetype. A dip into Fighter for a feat still sounds tempting, so does Magus for spell combat (I can skip wand wielder if all I'm using magus for is True Strike). Though I'd probably only go one or the other. Alternatively there's still UMD wand and use two rounds.


Indeed (pardon the pun there, wasnt aware until after i voiced it) and as was already stated - that is THE Indiana Jones archetype. I'm voting a +1 to what CraziFuzzy wrote. You get a nice amount of skills, including knowledge (some linguistics might be in order besides the history part), that fun whip path, and if you tell anyone at your table the archeologist word theyll automatocally imagine a fedora..or boobs and guns, but well..you're trying to make a male right?


I would say he also needs some unarmed combat skills, after all, Indy gets into a lot of brawling, so in fact, a few levels dip into brawler could correct that.

Likewise, Indy is in good physical shape, but he is not a feline character if you know what I mean, so a fully dedicated Dex character would not fit in. I know this will make a very MAD build, but after all, Indy is a very MAD character (pun intended ^^U)

Onto feats, combat expertise + improved trip/disarm, should be mandatory to use with the whip. Improved whip mastery is another must, as it allows him to make whip tricks and using it as a grappling hook.

So to sumarize, I would say stats could go in this priority: Str->Cha->Dex->Con->Int->Wis
Giving the edge to Strength allow us to skip the need of weapon finesse, and will make us a competent brawler. I would not ditch Int but Wis can take the hit as Indy is not always the wisest man, and you have a good will save.

A level 10 Indy could look like this:

1 Archeologist 1 - Bardic knowledge, Archaeologist’s Luck, Cantrips, Combat expertise, Lingering performance (H)
2 Brawler 1 - Brawler's Cunning, Martial Flexibility, Martial Training, Unarmed strike
3 Brawler 2 - Brawler's Flurry, Power attack, Improved disarm (BF)
4 Archeologist 2 - Clever Explorer, Uncanny Dodge
5 Archeologist 3 - Trap Sense +1, Improved trip
6 Archeologist 4 - Rogue talent (combat training: whip)
7 Archeologist 5 - Whip mastery
8 Archeologist 6 - Trap Sense +2, Evasion
9 Archeologist 7 - Improved whip mastery
10 Archeologist 8 - Rogue talent (Firearm training)

I think this progresion here, gives an Indy able to fist fight, do whip tricks, have a nice amount of treasure hunter/archeologist skills and I just added the firearm training for the theming.

All in all, I think this could be the closest a character can be to emulate Indy.


Nadlor wrote:

I'd recommend archaeologist bard. Achaeologist's luck compensates your lower BAB (even more so with fate's favored trait, which is a must) and is golden fluff-wise. You get whip proficiency, and several extra feats through rogue talents (you'll need them to use your whip in all the awesome ways).

Many skills and great knowledge bonuses. You also get better trapfinding than a rogue, which is a must (although it could be argued that Mr. Jones actually activates all traps he runs into and then just manages to survive them, but then again that's what trap sense -and archaeologist's luck- is for). High charisma, of course. If you chose your spells right, you can really be a great Indiana.

Combat maneuvers might not be optimal at high levels no matter what class you choose (especially in campaigns with more enemy monsters than enemy humanoids), but if that's the way you want to go archaeologist is a great choice. I mean, it's actually called archaeologist.

Pretty much this. My wife is playing one in our Mummy's Musk campaign and is having a blast with it.


OldRolero wrote:

I would say he also needs some unarmed combat skills, after all, Indy gets into a lot of brawling, so in fact, a few levels dip into brawler could correct that.

Likewise, Indy is in good physical shape, but he is not a feline character if you know what I mean, so a fully dedicated Dex character would not fit in. I know this will make a very MAD build, but after all, Indy is a very MAD character (pun intended ^^U)

Onto feats, combat expertise + improved trip/disarm, should be mandatory to use with the whip. Improved whip mastery is another must, as it allows him to make whip tricks and using it as a grappling hook.

So to sumarize, I would say stats could go in this priority: Str->Cha->Dex->Con->Int->Wis
Giving the edge to Strength allow us to skip the need of weapon finesse, and will make us a competent brawler. I would not ditch Int but Wis can take the hit as Indy is not always the wisest man, and you have a good will save.

A level 10 Indy could look like this:

1 Archeologist 1 - Bardic knowledge, Archaeologist’s Luck, Cantrips, Combat expertise, Lingering performance (H)
2 Brawler 1 - Brawler's Cunning, Martial Flexibility, Martial Training, Unarmed strike
3 Brawler 2 - Brawler's Flurry, Power attack, Improved disarm (BF)
4 Archeologist 2 - Clever Explorer, Uncanny Dodge
5 Archeologist 3 - Trap Sense +1, Improved trip
6 Archeologist 4 - Rogue talent (combat training: whip)
7 Archeologist 5 - Whip mastery
8 Archeologist 6 - Trap Sense +2, Evasion
9 Archeologist 7 - Improved whip mastery
10 Archeologist 8 - Rogue talent (Firearm training)

I think this progresion here, gives an Indy able to fist fight, do whip tricks, have a nice amount of treasure hunter/archeologist skills and I just added the firearm training for the theming.

All in all, I think this could be the closest a character can be to emulate Indy.

I thought about going with a str build as well, but the Serpent Lash feat is just so appealing (2 disarms with 1 standard action), and it required weapon finesse. Though after looking at it again, by the time it would be active, you've also got iterative attacks, so it's not gaining THAT much for the 2 feat cost.

Brawler's an interesting choice for level dip, but it's hard to compete with the flexibility and skill synergy of the Lore Warden dip Nadlor mentioned up above.

For example:

Spoiler:
Traits: Fate's Favored, Pillager
CL Class BAB Feat(ures)
-- ------ ---- -----------------------------------------------
1: Arch 1 0.75 H: Dodge; 1: Improved Unarmed Strike; Luck +1
2: Lore 1 1.75 FT1: Weap Foc (whip)
3: Lore 2 2.75 Combat Expertise; FT2: Improved Trip; 3: Whip Mastery
4: Arch 2 3.50 Uncanny Dodge
5: Arch 3 4.25 Trap Sense +1
6: Arch 4 5.00 6: Imp. Whip Mastery RT: Improved Disarm
7: Arch 5 5.75 Luck +2
8: Arch 6 6.50 Evasion; Trap Sense +2
9: Arch 7 7.25 9: Greater Disarm
10:Arch 8 8.00 RT: Firearm Training
11:Arch 9 8.75 Trap Sense +3


Although I love Lore Warden I don't see it in an Indy build. To really make it work, you will need another level to get the maneuver bonus. The skill sinergy is not really impressive as the bard already nets you all the Int skills. And while the LW gets another feat, I think the Martial Flexibility works better on the long run.

Also, the unarmed strike of the brawler is more potent and can be upgraded with monk robes, that could come in the form of his signature leather jacket.

Actually, I think both can work well. However, I am thinking that another dip, could enter the fray. Instead of taking the Firearm training as a rogue talent, expend that level in a gunslinger (Mysterious Stranger) dip. I think is sinergic and gives extra potential with a revolver (another of the iconic Indy things)

Scarab Sages

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Another option for an Indy build is the Spellscar Drifter cavalier. You gain whip and firearm proficiency, you can use your fedora as a banner, and get gunslinger deeds. I'd probably multiclass with a Sleuth investigator.

I don't really like the archeologist bard for Indy, because it has too much magic.


The benefit of Serpent Lash is more for the Greater version. It says anytime you make a successful trip/disarm you get to make another within reach. Make one trip attempt and suddenly everyone in range is on the ground and disarmed. Kinda crazy. The downside is you need Finesse and if you don't go for Dex then it's just raw feat tax. Of course, if you do go Dex, then you need another feat or the Agile enhancement to get your damage back up.

Something to note about the Brawler is that you can basically get Improved Disarm/Trip or any other handy combat feat for a minute with just a move action. So until you can actually get those feats you can still make use of them. Though Lore Warden gives you a feat earlier and outright gives you Combat Expertise instead of just letting you qualify.

Trying to figure out an ability set-up that would work well. I'm likely to do PFS so it's 20 point buy. Going human for the extra feat gets me a +2 wherever. My thoughts are:

Str: 14+2
Dex: 12
Con: 12
Int: 10
Wis: 9
Cha: 16

Could leave the Wis at 10 and drop the Dex or Con down to 11, but the low Wis seems appropriate. Could perhaps drop the Dex to 13+2 and then bump it up at lvl4 as well. I could also switch the +2 to Cha for more Luck and better UMD (another skill that seems appropriate).


Indy is really not that good at unarmed combat. Most of the time what he fights are normal people who are also unarmed. I don’t see him fighting dangerous animals without weapons. He probably has decent physical stats and uses archeologist luck (with fates favored and lingering performance). Also spells can help with this too. All archeologist bards should be taking heroism as soon as they get second level spells. He brawls a lot because he has no choice, not because he is highly trained hand to hand expert.

By 5th assuming a 14 STR he is +10 to hit and doing 1d3+5 points of damage.

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