Suggestions for Divine Tracker Ranger.


Advice


Looking to go with a Divine Tracker archtype worshiping Ragathiel for the bastard sword EWP feat. He is going to be a NG half-elf and going with TWF sword and board.

Here are my questions.
1. I am thinking of going with the Good and Nobility Blessings. Or are there better ones to choose from?
2. Is it worth dipping into Fighter for 2 to 4 levels to get the additional feats to go with the Dodge feat tree. Also to get armor training at 3rd would be the main reason to go to 4th as a fighter.

Any ideas would be great.


It ultimately depends on what you're looking to accomplish with this character. Do you want extremely difficult defenses and competent damage, or the inverse (competent defenses with extremely powerful damage)?

If you're going more damage-based, I'd consider substituting the Good Blessing with the Destruction Blessing, as a Morale Bonus to Damage Rolls is very rare (and very nice to have), and it scales better than Nobility (and stacks with it). Although being able to bypass DR/Good can be nice for the early levels, you'll have access to +1 Holy weapons by the time Evil Outsiders become a norm, and most lower-level creatures will only have DR 5 or so.

I'm curious as to why you're looking to dip for Armor Training. Are you wanting to move normally in Medium armor via Mithril Heavy armor? That's probably the only reason to bother with Armor Training at all. Since Rangers are only proficient in Medium armor, it's pointless unless you want to spend a proficiency feat for Heavy Armor (because their ACP is pretty damn high). Otherwise, Mithril Breastplate is probably going to be your best bet.

If you're interested, I'd consider tacking on the Infiltrator archetype. Infiltrator gives you some very interesting in-combat benefits at the exchange of silly Favored Terrain benefits. If Divine Tracker didn't replace Hunter's Bond, I would've also suggested the Witchguard archetype, which gives you access to exclusive spells and some really nice caster-friendly goodies. If you don't want to deal with spells, there is also the Skirmisher archetype.


Thank you for the reply Darksol.

I am looking to more damage with competent defenses.

I was also looking for the Fighter dip because then I would not have to spend a feat to get heavy armor proficiency as well as the extra 3 feats if I do go to 4th.

Though that does beg the question, if I did go with Mithril heavy armor would it then be considered medium armor or still heavy armor in regards to being able to use my Ranger abilities? I thought that I saw somewhere that I would not be able to use them with this type of armor even if built with Mithril.

I have looked at the Infiltrator archtype but does not do what I want with this character.

One of the reasons that I looked at going with build was for a character concept that I stole from anime. I was looking at loosely basing this character ability wise for this off of Yato from Noragami that my daughter got me watching. Where he blesses his sword when he is going to fight the Good Blessing works for this even though it does not scale. Plus the Destruction blessing looks like it only helps your allies and not yourself. I am going to leave the buffing to another party member, namely the Skald.

I am not one of those who minds the spells since I have been playing Rangers since the early 1980s and 1st Edition. Spells can be fun when you use them in unexpected ways!

If only there were an Ranger archtype that gave more feats for say the cmopanion or Favored Terrain.


Zaskar24 wrote:

Thank you for the reply Darksol.

I am looking to more damage with competent defenses.

I was also looking for the Fighter dip because then I would not have to spend a feat to get heavy armor proficiency as well as the extra 3 feats if I do go to 4th.

Though that does beg the question, if I did go with Mithril heavy armor would it then be considered medium armor or still heavy armor in regards to being able to use my Ranger abilities? I thought that I saw somewhere that I would not be able to use them with this type of armor even if built with Mithril.

I have looked at the Infiltrator archtype but does not do what I want with this character.

One of the reasons that I looked at going with build was for a character concept that I stole from anime. I was looking at loosely basing this character ability wise for this off of Yato from Noragami that my daughter got me watching. Where he blesses his sword when he is going to fight the Good Blessing works for this even though it does not scale. Plus the Destruction blessing looks like it only helps your allies and not yourself. I am going to leave the buffing to another party member, namely the Skald.

I am not one of those who minds the spells since I have been playing Rangers since the early 1980s and 1st Edition. Spells can be fun when you use them in unexpected ways!

If only there were an Ranger archtype that gave more feats for say the cmopanion or Favored Terrain.

Per RAW, Mithril counts as one armor category lighter for all purposes except for proficiency purposes. This means that Mithril Full Plate counts as Medium for your Ranger abilities (which means you still get Evasion for using it), but you will still suffer ACP penalties to hit if you aren't proficient in Heavy armor.

The downside with going TWF for sword and board is that you have to devote two sets worth of feats to each weapon that you will be using, so you'll want 2 Improved Criticals, 2 Weapon Focuses (if you want), 2 whatever weapon-related feats you plan on taking, and that can be a real killer, even with bonus feats. It's also heavy on the pre-requisites.

I'm presuming you will be going Weapon and Shield style, as getting Shield Master and Bashing Finish are both pretty nice. Unfortunately, TWF has some pretty steep Dexterity pre-requisites (17 Dexterity for GTWF), and you will want some Wisdom for your Blessings and such.

As for Destruction, it actually does work on yourself, per this FAQ here. It makes sense to count as your own ally for that ability, so I don't see why it wouldn't be allowed to work on yourself. Of course, if you don't want to make the decision, then that's fine, but the Destruction blessing does provide a unique benefit that isn't really mimicked anywhere else in the game, so it wouldn't be a bad idea to pick it, if only because it's unique.

So, here's what I'd project for this character:

Plan on going Bastard Sword (as you requested, though a Rapier or Scimitar would work better) and using a Light Steel Shield (Quickdraw if you want, but not necessary). You'll want an Adamantine Bastard Sword and either an Adamantine Light Shield, or a Mithril Quickdraw Light Shield. As for armor, a +1 Mithril Breastplate with the Comfort enhancement will leave you with a +6 Armor item with +5 MDB and 0 ACP. You'll also still be moving at 30 feet. You could step it up to a Mithril Tatami-Do, a Heavy Armor with +7 Armor, +5 MDB, and a -1 ACP, but this limits your movement to 20 feet.

If you're really interested in getting the ability to use Heavy Armor and don't mind being more Feat-starved, I'd consider using the Variant Multiclass Rules in the Unchained book to get Armor and Weapon Training benefits without actually having to multiclass.

Recommended statistics would be as follows, assuming 20 point buy:

Stats:
Strength - 16 + 2 = 18
Dexterity - 16
Constitution - 11
Intelligence - 8
Wisdom - 14
Charisma - 7

I don't like dumping Intelligence, but since you have 6 skills/level, I imagine it's not gamebreaking to do so. And normally, I'd recommend substituting Wisdom with Dexterity, but since you need the Dexterity for TWF requirements, the cut has to go somewhere, and unfortunately, I can't make the build Dexterity-based, as a Bastard Sword cannot be finessed, so...this is probably the best I can do.

For your additional stat points for leveling up, I'd consider putting your 4th level point into Dexterity for access to ITWF. Rest can go into Strength. Your Wisdom can be increased with Headbands, so no big deal there, and plus you'll have enough Wisdom to cast all levels of your spells starting out, so you aren't technically losing any spellpower.

Feat progression assuming standard feats (* = Bonus):

Feats:
1. Improved Shield Bash, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword)* [from archetype]
2. Two-Weapon Fighting*
3. Power Attack
5. Quick Draw
6. Shield Master*
7. Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
9. Double Slice
10. Bashing Finish*
11. Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
13. Two-Weapon Rend
14. Shield Focus*
15. Hammer the Gap
17. Improved Initiatve?
18. Greater Shield Focus*
19. Iron Will

It would be difficult to fit VMC in there properly, as you'll be cutting half of your normal feats (meaning your normal feats combined with your standard feats cuts you down to essentially having an amount of feats equal to if you didn't have bonus feats). It can work, but things like Two-Weapon Rend, Iron Will, Improved Initiative, Quick Draw, and Hammer the Gap would have to go (a shame on that last and first one, those are pretty powerful late-game feats), and a lot of your de-facto feats would be delayed, meaning you wouldn't get GTWF until 17th level. Here's an estimated projection:

Feats (VMC):
1. Improved Shield Bash, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword)* [from archetype]
2. Two-Weapon Fighting*
5. Power Attack
6. Shield Master*
9. Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
10. Bashing Finish*
13. Double Slice
14. Shield Focus*
17. Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
18. Greater Shield Focus*

Note that I decided not to include Improved Critical in there as a feat, because it's cheaper to get the Keen property on your Bastard Sword than to spend a feat when you're already in a very feat-intensive environment.

The benefits of Fighter VMC would be as follows:

VMC Benefits:
3rd level - Bravery Class Feature, scaling as Fighter level - 1.
7th level - Armor Training I
11th level - Weapon Training I
15th level - Armor Training II
19th level - Weapon Training II

Items like Sash of the War Champion and Gloves of Dueling become very useful, especially the latter, as it would give your Bastard Sword a +4 to hit and damage, and your Light Shield a +3 to hit and damage by the endgame, which shores up some of those lost damage feats.

In my opinion, I don't think going Fighter VMC for the Armor Training is worth it, especially when a standard Breastplate will provide more than enough MDB to shore up what you could get with a Heavy Armor, but if you want to do it, then the math is there for you.

I don't know what you'd want to specialize in skills, but you will have access to 5 Skill Points/level, but your Intelligence and Charisma statistics aren't really that good, so I wouldn't recommend statistics involving them. I'd recommend Perception (duh), Survival, Sense Motive (decent for Feint builds), Heal, and one other of your choice (probably Knowledge [Nature]).

I also don't know if you would have traits available to you on character creation, but if you do, taking the Reactionary and Indomitable Faith cookie cutters are always nice.

**EDIT** Applied medication for OWTS (Overly Walled Text Syndrome). Should be good now.


Thank you for pointing out the FAQ about counting as your own ally. Of course a dip into fighter for 4 levels gets my the heavy armor proficiency as well as lowering ACP and allowing me to move at 30 feet while wearing heavy Mithril armor by the time I reach 7th level. And gets me three feats that I can spend on the Dodge feat tree if so desired. Or continue on the Power Attack one with Cleave and Great Cleave.


So I am doing an infiltrator divine tracker (the archetypes stack), with 2 levels of monk zen archer (monk2/ranger6 currently) for the flurry ability. this guy is a machine with the good and nobility domain, particularly against his favored enemies. luck and war blessing are okay - war let's you pick a different benefit per rd, so versatile. Air is good if you take snapshot and use a bow.

I looked at using covering fire and bodyguard feats with the community blessing and the benevolent armor trait whilst playing a dual class cavalier/ranger halfling with the helpful trait, but while racking up a +10 untyped aid another AC bonuses from the 2nd ranks of our battle lines as a AoO seems cool, it would probably drive my GM to result to nasty things - equal but opposite reaction and all that.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

For a Two-Weapon Fighting/Improved Shield Bash ranger, I'd recommend scimitar over bastard sword and human over half-elf. Damage is slightly less to start (although selecting Sarenrae as their deity and the Flame of the Dawnflower as a trait can help a bit), but the critical range pushes DPR up faster at higher levels (especially with Improved Critical or keen).

The ranger combat style (two-weapon combat) feats let you focus more on Str: you only really need 15-16 Dex to pick up Two-Weapon Fighting and Improved Shield Bash at 1st level; Double Slice as the 2nd level combat style feat, Quick Draw at 3rd level (switch to a light mithral quickdraw shield; get it enhanced to +1 bashing ASAP), Power Attack (for Cleave/Cleaving Finish later) or Improved Initiative at 5th level, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting as the 6th level combat style feat, Shield Slam at 7th level, Improved Critical (Scimitar) at 9th level, Two-Weapon Rend as the 10th level combat style feat, Shield Master at 11th level, and Bashing Finish at 13th level. You may want to consider dipping two levels of fighter to pick up Cleave/Cleaving Finish (after ranger 6) or Critical Focus/a critical feat (after ranger 10 or 11, depending on whether you want Bleeding Critical or Staggering Critical).

For blessings, Good and Sun look like thematic choices that fit in well with a "holy crusader" type of character.


MyCup, thank you for the reply. Good to hear that the Good Nobility Domain Blessings can work.

Dragonchess, I understand that mechanically the scimitar is better for roll playing. My DM challenged me to role play with the bastard sword and I excepted the challenge. It basically comes down to getting a scaling heirloom weapon from the gate. All the players are going to get one.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

In that case, skip Improved Critical/Bashing Finish and go for Cleave/Cleaving Finish (possibly with Great Cleave/Improved Cleaving Finish later, if your GM uses multiple weaker foes regularly).

With a bastard sword, you definitely want to focus on Str to boost damage as much as possible; use your combat style feats for Double Slice, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, and Two-Weapon Rend so you don't have to boost Dex. If you are set on half-elf, then fighter 1/ranger X will let you keep about the same feat progression as a human (the combat style feats are gained one level later).

IMO, mithral full plate is probably not worth it. Your character's AC will be high enough from the shield and a mithral breastplate; use the additional 6,000 gp on other items.


Dragonchess Player wrote:

In that case, skip Improved Critical/Bashing Finish and go for Cleave/Cleaving Finish (possibly with Great Cleave/Improved Cleaving Finish later, if your GM uses multiple weaker foes regularly).

With a bastard sword, you definitely want to focus on Str to boost damage as much as possible; use your combat style feats for Double Slice, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, and Two-Weapon Rend so you don't have to boost Dex. If you are set on half-elf, then fighter 1/ranger X will let you keep about the same feat progression as a human (the combat style feats are gained one level later).

He shouldn't get Improved Critical as a feat anyway, his feat slots are too valuable and have more important things to spend on than improving the Critical value. That's what the Keen property is for, and he'd really only want it on his Bastard Sword (as getting it on his Light Shield wouldn't really be worthwhile unless he was dual-wielding Light Shields and finessing them).

Also keep in mind that dipping does delay his Blessings (and technically his Bastard Sword proficiency) and other Ranger goodies if he dips, which is why I was trying to recommend the VMC option, as it gets the prime reason he was wanting to dip (Armor Training), and some attack/damage benefits to help shore him up for lacking feats (Weapon Training + Gloves of Dueling) without delaying his Divine Tracker progression (at the cost of delaying his feat progression, which might not be that horrible). This means that he must take his level of ranger 1st if he wants to be able to use his Bastard Sword right out of the gate, and that if he dips, he'd be waiting as early as 5th level, or as late as 7th-8th level, before he gets Blessings.

@ Zaskar24: Do you have details about what this heirloom weapon does for your character? Is it like the Heirloom Weapon trait, or would it be similar to something like 3.X's Weapons of Legacy?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

A scimitar focused character should take Improved Critical and add an additional +1 on their weapon instead of keen. The whole point of the scimitar/shield advancement I posted is to get as many worthwhile attacks as possible (which is why Two-Weapon Rend is taken instead of Greater Two-Weapon Fighting); also, it's a crit-fishing character, so imposing bleed or staggered on opponents in addition to a free shield bash just makes them more effective.

It's not really worth getting either Improved Critical or keen with a bastard sword. Impact, on the other hand...

Also, note that VMC fighter does not grant proficiency in heavy armor, so the character would have to use a feat in addition to the ones already being given up to avoid the armor check penalty from mithral full plate on attack rolls (-3 on top of TWF penalties). Just skip the mithral full plate altogether; you give up way too much for this type of character; the one level dip I was recommending was solely so that the half-elf could fight with weapon/shield bash at 1st level, picking up bastard sword proficiency for free at 2nd (alternately, ranger 1/fighter 1/ranger +X delays Improved Shield Bash). Gaining blessings at 5th/11th character level instead 4th/10th is a lot more palatable for me than losing feats in a feat-heavy concept.

VMC fighter can make sense for a 6 or 9 level divine caster (such as a cleric, non-Metal oracle, or inquisitor; or even a druid that wants to wear dragonhide full plate) to move at full speed in medium/heavy armor and has less of a need for feats (not going archery or TWF).


All of this theory crafting of how to make the most potent characters is highly interesting.

@ Darksol: Knowing the DM, we have been playing together for something like 30 years, it will be something along the lines of a 3.x weapon of legacy type deal. At least that makes the most sense since every party member is going to have one item like that. Also considering how much time we played in campaigns in the Realms I can also see it being like a Moonblade, except that you do not unlock the abilities all at once. Heck, I am not even sure if I am going to be starting with the weapon or if over the course of the first adventures we will each be discovering them.

@ Dragonchess: What is the reasoning behind keen not being worth it for the bastard sword? Because of it only being x2 or because of the lower beginning threat range?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Zaskar24 wrote:
@ Dragonchess: What is the reasoning behind keen not being worth it for the bastard sword? Because of it only being x2 or because of the lower beginning threat range?

Mathematically, Improved Critical or keen on a 19-20/x2 weapon (or 20/x3; the results are pretty much the same) is not that different from an additional +1 enhancement bonus: (simplified) Improved Critical/keen increase the critical threat range (and DPR) by ~10%; an extra +1 increases hit probability by 5%, the critical confirmation by 5%, and the damage (doubled with a critical) by 1 (roughly 6-12% total increase to DPR, depending on average total weapon damage). The difference is greater at higher levels, as more bonuses come into play, but is much closer to the lowest at around 7th-8th level (when Improved Critical and keen normally become available).

Generally speaking, Improved Critical or keen are significant upgrades for the 18-20/x2 and 20/x4 weapons (+15% DPR), as well as the falcata (19-20/x3; +20% DPR). For everything else, not so much (and actually a slight downgrade on a 20/x2 weapon, even when comparing Improved Critical to Weapon Focus).


I will believe you on the math side of this Dragonchess.

I do have to admit that if the game had been like this when I started to play I probably would not be still involved. I mainly still play truthfully to see old friends, have some fun and drink some beers.

Thank you to everyone who contributed something I could use in creating this character.

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