Switch Hitting in PFS


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So I had this nifty idea for a Savage Technologist/Medium Build for PFS which uses Natural Weapons to do pretty crazy damage in melee. Since both Savage Technologists Rage and the Medium's static to hit and damage modifiers benefit Ranged Attacks it would be fairly easy to make the build semi decent at archery or firearms. Thus I was wondering whether building a Treantmonk Style switch hitter might be a good idea.

However I've been wondering whether this is tactically beneficial in PFS where you have:

a) fairly small battle maps
b) encounters which tend to include few but powerful enemies
c) fellow explorers who prefer reckless charging to more sophisticated tactics
d) in my experience few flying foes

So I'm interested in other folks experience with switch hitting builds in PFS from a tactical perspective.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

Don't go with firearms. You're not a Gunslinger, so the feat investment is too impeding.

Other than that, I've had a couple switch hitter builds. They're primarily useful when sitting down to a table with 5 other melee types, or 5 other face types.

Then you can go "Well I guess I know what role I'm playing today!"

EDIT: also, if you worship Erastil, and go with Longbow, there's a Religion Trait that's almost as good as Improved Precise Shot.


Nefreet wrote:

Other than that, I've had a couple switch hitter builds. They're primarily useful when sitting down to a table with 5 other melee types, or 5 other face types.

Then you can go "Well I guess I know what role I'm playing today!"

But to make that work you need feats like precise shot and improved precise shot (or that erastil trait...).

In my book the classic Switch hitter concept was to forgoe these feats and shoot at the beginning of combat before closing into melee.

I guess you could also try the contrary and build a fully specked out Archer with decent STR and a racial natural attacks (e.g. Tengu) who can deliver the hurt when cornered but relies mainly on his bow.

1/5 Venture-Agent, Utah—Provo

It's a backup bow, just better then others.
Like a bow would only be nice for you when you can't close into melee. If you can't close then they are either too far for other to close or flying and no one is flying yet. Thus you don't need to have the feats to hit because they aren't in combat or having cover.
If they'd be getting either from allies then you should be up there with them not using your bow.

Silver Crusade 4/5 Venture-Captain, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh

Alex Mack wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

Other than that, I've had a couple switch hitter builds. They're primarily useful when sitting down to a table with 5 other melee types, or 5 other face types.

Then you can go "Well I guess I know what role I'm playing today!"

But to make that work you need feats like precise shot and improved precise shot (or that erastil trait...).

In my book the classic Switch hitter concept was to forgoe these feats and shoot at the beginning of combat before closing into melee.

I guess you could also try the contrary and build a fully specked out Archer with decent STR and a racial natural attacks (e.g. Tengu) who can deliver the hurt when cornered but relies mainly on his bow.

Nefreet's right. Avoid firearms. Archery is better than most other combat options, so with enough investment, expect to be doing a lot of archery. But throwing a spare feat at Power Attack can be useful especially if you're using a two-handed weapon or you have somehow acquired a bunch of natural attacks.


Well I mentioned firerms because Savage technologist gets DEX to damage with firearms at level 5 and thus with a one level dip in Gunslinger is pretty good at guns.

So the consensus opinion seems to be to either go all in on archery or just keep a back up bow for emergencies.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

My Ranger is archery focused, and my Savage Technologist/Pistolero is firearm focused. They each have the requisite ranged feats.

But I've dedicated resources to make them competent at melee. My Technologist is a Kitsune with a Bite and a gravity-clipped Chainsaw, and my Ranger has a fallback Scimitar and +6 vs. Humans.

Scarab Sages 3/5

If you're switch hitting, look at these: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/wondrous-items/wondrous-items/e-g/glove s-deliquescent

8000GP for Acid on whatever weapon you use (including claws) is pretty good when you have more than 2 weapons.


I have found the Brawler is very good for switch hitter build, due to their Martial Flexibility ability.

-j


Nefreet wrote:

Don't go with firearms. You're not a Gunslinger, so the feat investment is too impeding.

Other than that, I've had a couple switch hitter builds. They're primarily useful when sitting down to a table with 5 other melee types, or 5 other face types.

Then you can go "Well I guess I know what role I'm playing today!"

EDIT: also, if you worship Erastil, and go with Longbow, there's a Religion Trait that's almost as good as Improved Precise Shot.

What trait? Sounds op.

5/5 5/55/55/5

Del_Taco_Eater wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

Don't go with firearms. You're not a Gunslinger, so the feat investment is too impeding.

Other than that, I've had a couple switch hitter builds. They're primarily useful when sitting down to a table with 5 other melee types, or 5 other face types.

Then you can go "Well I guess I know what role I'm playing today!"

EDIT: also, if you worship Erastil, and go with Longbow, there's a Religion Trait that's almost as good as Improved Precise Shot.

What trait? Sounds op.

How good can it...

[PFS Legal] Deadeye Bowman [Link]
Source Inner Sea Gods pg. 219 (Amazon)
Requirement(s) Erastil
When you are using a longbow, if only a single creature is providing soft cover to your target, your target does not receive the +4 bonus to AC.

oooo nice.


Yeah one of the best traits in the game...no reason an archer should not always take it. Now if only Erastil weren't such a borin old moral apostle...

Sovereign Court 3/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Canada—Ontario—Toronto

Angel Hunter D wrote:

If you're switch hitting, look at these: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/wondrous-items/wondrous-items/e-g/glove s-deliquescent

8000GP for Acid on whatever weapon you use (including claws) is pretty good when you have more than 2 weapons.

Even if you only use 2 weapons it at least breaks even instead of enchanting it on both weapons.

The Exchange 5/5

crashcanuck wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:

If you're switch hitting, look at these: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/wondrous-items/wondrous-items/e-g/glove s-deliquescent

8000GP for Acid on whatever weapon you use (including claws) is pretty good when you have more than 2 weapons.

Even if you only use 2 weapons it at least breaks even instead of enchanting it on both weapons.

I'm looking at it for my Claw/Claw/Bite PCs... but it would only work for the 2 Claws right? not for the Bite?

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

Indeed.

Still cheaper than any weapon enchantment (or a +1 Corrosive Amulet of Mighty Fists).

Sczarni 3/5

Prof. Wat Sun wrote:
crashcanuck wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:

If you're switch hitting, look at these: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/wondrous-items/wondrous-items/e-g/glove s-deliquescent

8000GP for Acid on whatever weapon you use (including claws) is pretty good when you have more than 2 weapons.

Even if you only use 2 weapons it at least breaks even instead of enchanting it on both weapons.
I'm looking at it for my Claw/Claw/Bite PCs... but it would only work for the 2 Claws right? not for the Bite?

Correct, My Dragon Disciple has been using them for a while now, but they still only affect the claws.

Scarab Sages 3/5

The gloves may only affect your claws for melee, but they also apply to your bow. It's the hands AND whatever weapons you wiill in them. And they help against oozes.

Also, switch hitting is great in PFS. Less for actually switching after you get Improved Precise Shot, more for being flexible. You can take 'em on the ground or in the sky, and you no longer have to dance around the other 5 melee characters at the table.

4/5

So far, I have a halfway decent switch hitting warpriest of Sarenrae. She dervish dances with a scimitar and uses point blank and precise shot with a longbow, using blessing of fire or blessing of good on whichever one she is currently wielding.


Angel Hunter D wrote:
Also, switch hitting is great in PFS. Less for actually switching after you get Improved Precise Shot, more for being flexible. You can take 'em on the ground or in the sky, and you no longer have to dance around the other 5 melee characters at the table.

Sounds more like an all archery PC to me :)

Scarab Sages 3/5

It's archery when you need, and melee when you need it. I run a switch hitter and it's mostly archery, unless the enemy needs my Adamantine earthbreaker to the face, or we're indoors or in a tunnel.

Good switch hitting is about always being able to hurt something, and knowing when to drop the bow (or not even grab it)

Shadow Lodge 4/5

I got a Divine Tracker ranger with a doru in the pipe. He's currently level 2 and basically just a str-based ranger with Precise Shot, but once I get a belt of mighty hurling and a sharding doru, the turns will get tabled! Now to just grab Fame and money for 5 levels, durrr...

Scarab Sages 3/5

Wow, sharding Doru looks like a lot of fun and to be an amazing switch-hitting build.

Dark Archive 5/5

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I'm a good "Switch Hitter" too.

I can do Diplomacy OR Stealth....

;)

5/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, New Hampshire

My switch hit build is a gunslinger/monk of the empty hand (currently 5/6 respectively). :)


Muser wrote:
I got a Divine Tracker ranger with a doru in the pipe. He's currently level 2 and basically just a str-based ranger with Precise Shot, but once I get a belt of mighty hurling and a sharding doru, the turns will get tabled!

So once your PFS career is almost over?

3/5 5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm a big fan of the Kineticist for allowing you to switch-hit for the low, low price of Weapon Finesse and a single Infusion. Of course, Burn costs make this a little awkward until level 5.

My Kitsune Rogue could also be classified as a "switch hitter" but romantic scenes aren't all that common in PFS.

Liberty's Edge 2/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Alex Mack wrote:

Well I mentioned firerms because Savage technologist gets DEX to damage with firearms at level 5 and thus with a one level dip in Gunslinger is pretty good at guns.

So the consensus opinion seems to be to either go all in on archery or just keep a back up bow for emergencies.

I have several characters that I use for switch hitting, and I have to say that generally, they work out pretty well. A lot of PFS characters that you run into are one hit wonders. You have your face, your sneak, your tank. I like to play more versatile characters, so I always spread things out a bit. This also helps when playing PbP, where you never really know what the composition of the team is going to be, so you have to be ready to fill in the holes where needed. Yes, you have to spend a few feats to make it work, but it really is worth it when you can stand back and full round attack over the heads of your team mates. And, should one of them go down or pull back, you can always step up, and as I saw above.. "smash them in the face with my earthbreaker". I have found the Slayer class to be particularly adept at this, and the extra feats you get with the weapon style make it easier.

But, once again, as was said above, you really do have to know when to pull the bow and when to leave it alone in order to be most effective.
Just my two cents!

1/5

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Del_Taco_Eater wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

Don't go with firearms. You're not a Gunslinger, so the feat investment is too impeding.

Other than that, I've had a couple switch hitter builds. They're primarily useful when sitting down to a table with 5 other melee types, or 5 other face types.

Then you can go "Well I guess I know what role I'm playing today!"

EDIT: also, if you worship Erastil, and go with Longbow, there's a Religion Trait that's almost as good as Improved Precise Shot.

What trait? Sounds op.

How good can it...

[PFS Legal] Deadeye Bowman [Link]
Source Inner Sea Gods pg. 219 (Amazon)
Requirement(s) Erastil
When you are using a longbow, if only a single creature is providing soft cover to your target, your target does not receive the +4 bonus to AC.

oooo nice.

Suprisingly the pregen hunter has this trait which I ended up playing last saturday. I first saw this and thought wow this is broken. Although wish you did not have to worship erastil with this.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

Got a Vigilante with Lethal Grace rocking longbow/elven curve blade combo. So far, he has been fairly evenly split, using the bow until melee is engaged.


Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Got a Vigilante with Lethal Grace rocking longbow/elven curve blade combo. So far, he has been fairly evenly split, using the bow until melee is engaged.

My concern was more one of tactics. If you stay back to shoot but all the murderhobos go CHARGE!!! you are stuck in shooting position sans Precise Shot.

Still I've come up with a TWF knife chucking Savage Technologist Build that is pretty well suited to both melee and ranged combat so I think I'm gonna have to give it a try...or maybe I can squeeze in PBS and Precise Shot somewhere...

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

I've had that problem a bit, but since I only need Power Attack to be solid in melee, I feel comfortable taking PBS and Precise.

3/5

The problem with most switch hitters is that when you get to around level 5 you realize there is no reason to drop your bow, and you're actually just an archer who took power attack.

Liberty's Edge 3/5

I made a Halfling knife master switch hitter a while back. He was decent, but the campaign only made it to level 3. (We were playing RotRL for credit. It fell apart. [/ooc]

5/5 *** Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

I designed a hammer fighter for PFS who TWFs with a Taiaha and throwing hammers, using a combination for melee and ranged.

Link to his planned progression.

Harada is currently level 1 and plans to take all his levels in fighter (no archetype)

He uses Advanced Weapon training for Weapon Specialist, so he can apply a bunch of his feats to both weapons.

It's too bad he can't make use of Trained Throw, since he's using the Hammer group, but getting access to both a thrown weapon with 20ft range and a double weapon that can be wielded as a 1-hander instead is what allows the build to work.


Jodokai wrote:
The problem with most switch hitters is that when you get to around level 5 you realize there is no reason to drop your bow, and you're actually just an archer who took power attack.

I agree that this will be the case if you took feats like precise shot. But committing to precise shot to me is the moment at which you decide that you do not want to be a switch hitter. Anyways from a mathematical perspective Archery is always gonna beat out Two Handing by a fairly large margin.

I've run a lot of DPR numbers recently and for a Barbarian it actually looks like 2 weapon fighting beats out the Archer/two hander/natural attack combo on both fronts. It does not have the same range as a bow, but in PFS that's rarely a concern. Also it's way cooler.

Build looks a lot like Pirate Rob's Fighter except he's getting his to hit and damage bonuses from Savage Technologist Rage, Reckless Abandon and Savage Hurl and also picks up Rapid Shot. The new Rage Powers from Villain Codex really make this viable despite all the to hit penalties.

@Pirate Rob: If you do your DPR calculations you might notice that power attack is a very lackluster feat for the build...was the case for me. Also good call on the Ioun Stone totally forgot about it... there's some nice exotic weapons with throwing range.

5/5 5/55/55/5

Alex Mack wrote:


I've run a lot of DPR numbers recently and for a Barbarian it actually looks like 2 weapon fighting beats out the Archer/two hander/natural attack combo on both fronts. It does not have the same range as a bow, but in PFS that's rarely a concern. Also it's way cooler.

This is the problem with making decisions based on calculations rather than practice and experiment.

Two weapon fighting is slightly better when

1) you don't have to attack and move. PFS fights are VERY mobile, especially with the herd of cats you generally tend to adventure with. People don't know you and know your tactics as well as they would in a home game with a pre planned party of 5. you very often have to move up, hit, move, hit move hit move. It makes full attacks a fairly rare thing.

Enemies hit just as hard with 1 hit point as with a 100. Good groups focus fire and burn down enemies (literally on occasion..) so when you hit something, chances are pretty good someone's going to go "oo! i hit that too" or the rogue goes "YES! A FLANK! 4 levels and Finally a flank! my life choices were justified" *gank*

2) There's no dr. PFS is crawling with swarms, DR, and swarms with dr, and swarms of things that have dr in swarms. dr 10 or even 5 will EAT your DPR

3) You don't need magic weapons. Magic weapons help a LOT. Maintaining 1 is easier than maintaining 2.

All three of those assumptions get tossed, so you're back to having to eyeball it by experience rather than the cold numbers of math. I have seen a lot of frustrated 2 weapon fighters and rogues.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Wisdom of the ages.

That's precisely the point of making a TW Fighter a switch hitter. You get to full attack... always. But the more I think about it the more I realize that I'm gonna need that stupid precise shot feat.

As to weapons: a TWF Switch hitter needs two + Blinback Belt. Just like an Archer/Swordsman.

5/5 *** Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

Alex Mack wrote:
@Pirate Rob: If you do your DPR calculations you might notice that power attack is a very lackluster feat for the build...was the case for me. Also good call on the Ioun Stone totally forgot about it... there's some nice exotic weapons with throwing range.

That's more math than I've done, but I also have the advantage of getting 3:1 if I want to move and make a single melee attack which helps justify Power Attack.

That said, I still don't pick it up until 7th.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden

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The high mobility of PFS fights has actually convinced me that Vital Strike is much better in practice than it looks on paper. As a "consolation prize" feat for not beginning your turn in a space ready for a full attack anyway, it's got excellent synergy with 2H weapons (especially Furious Focus).

A single feat that gives you +1d10 or +2d6 damage in about 50% of your attacks is really quite decent. Because that seems to be the ratio of single vs. full attacks.

3/5 ** Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro

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Where are we getting all these mobile fights from? It's usually something I'm happy with because it's such a rarity.

5/5 5/55/55/5

The only luck i've had full attacking has been on my foxform kitsune. Its really, really weird how being able to stand into the same square as your party members and opponents shrinks the battlefield.

3/5 ** Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro

BigNorseWolf wrote:

The only luck i've had full attacking has been on my foxform kitsune. Its really, really weird how being able to stand into the same square as your party members and opponents shrinks the battlefield.

I guess it also depends on what you're built out as because I forgot I usually play ridiculously mobile characters though a barbarian's bonus is probably enough.

3/5

I agree with BNW, unless you're ranged, you full attacks far less often than one attack. You move up, attack once, everyone else attacks it, it dies, now you have to move again. Even with a barbarian's pounce it can still be rough getting that charge lane.

5/5 5/55/55/5

Jodokai wrote:
I agree with BNW, unless you're ranged, you full attacks far less often than one attack. You move up, attack once, everyone else attacks it, it dies, now you have to move again. Even with a barbarian's pounce it can still be rough getting that charge lane.

It's weird how dragonstyle should be called herd of cats style...

3/5 ** Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro

Jodokai wrote:
I agree with BNW, unless you're ranged, you full attacks far less often than one attack. You move up, attack once, everyone else attacks it, it dies, now you have to move again. Even with a barbarian's pounce it can still be rough getting that charge lane.

Ehhh... I feel like it's one of those things you can't generalize. Especially when PFS decide to make ganging up next to impossible.

1/5 Venture-Agent, Utah—Provo

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It's also dependent on your lodge/players in the group. When the table is a crossbow oracle, a wizard, a gnome rogue that takes forever to get into a flank, and a barb. The barb gets more full attacks off than when people are able to collapse and finish off one enemy.

But full attacking is also easier with a reach weapon and lunge, Bloodrager for auto reach when raging, Umonk, or outslug style giving a 10ft step and unpenalized lunge.

5/5 *****

It also depends on how mean/tactical your GM prefers to play. I am mildly infamous for having large creatures with reach regularly trip people charging/moving into melee which delays things even longer.

3/5 ** Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro

Thomas Hutchins wrote:

It's also dependent on your lodge/players in the group. When the table is a crossbow oracle, a wizard, a gnome rogue that takes forever to get into a flank, and a barb. The barb gets more full attacks off than when people are able to collapse and finish off one enemy.

But full attacking is also easier with a reach weapon and lunge, Bloodrager for auto reach when raging, Umonk, or outslug style giving a 10ft step and unpenalized lunge.

Or which is doable that all the other martials need two full rounds to get to the badie while you only need a move.

Dark Archive 4/5

I have found vital strike on my Panther style monk to be very effective, combined with the shattering punch style strike has made him quite effective at the mid levels dealing with a lot of different situations even though he doesn't have a large strength score to blow through DR.

2/5 5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I have a really stupid character that I've enjoyed playing as of late. He uses a musket and vital strike on the first round of combat, then promptly drops it and closes for melee. Hes a Gunslinger (Techslinger) / Swashbuckler (Guiding Blade). He's a terribly optimized character but he's a hell of a lot of fun to play. He uses armor spikes as his light piercing weapon. He uses opportune redirect/riposte... with his shoulder. He's an idiot. I love playing him.

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