Skill Monkey for a new player?!?


Advice


Ok, I'm helping to make a char for a newbie. Has never played a PnP RPG before. Closest is WoW online.

He really likes the idea of lots of skill points for knowledge skills and sneaking/scouting. However, he seemed very confused about flanking or bluffing for sneak attacks. So I don't think a rogue would be a good fit for his first char.
My next thought is an investigator. Do you think the inspiration mechanic is too complex for a new player?
Note: I'm not worried about the complexities of creating the build. I will be doing the build and leveling for him (with his preferences and input of course). Just concerned about how difficult it will be for him, in use, during the game. He is a bit introverted and doesn't want to feel like a doof in front of the group.

Can you think of a better choice for a skill monkey?

I think the group is starting at level 2 or 3, but they usually continue up through level 12-15 before ending the campaign.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I would suggest slayer or ranger. Both have the things he is asking for and are active characters who "do stuff", often a draw for newer players. The slayer has some sneak attack, but really it's just a nice bonus when you get it, not the central combat mechanic, by the time it comes online flanking should be more inderstood. And while the ranger has several different featurss and abilities (spells, companion, favorsd stuff) they are added incrementally, which I like for an introductary character to teach the mechanics.


I think rogue is easier than investigator, so I would agree slayer or ranger or bard.


Just let him run with the free inspiration, and once he has a grasp of that you can mention when he's making a non-free skill that he could add inspiration to that roll.

The other option is a class that gets 1/2 level to knowledges, like questioner investigator, bard, perfect scholar monk to name some.


+1 on slayer. It will be more consistent which is good for someone new. A class with both combat and magic is likely not a good fit as he may not know which to do round to round (The Paradox of Choice).

If you give him a character with a clearly defined role that he can grow into and decide which path(s) to take gradually I think it will go much smoother.


if you are open to 3rd party content rogue has a archetype called true professional which nets them more skill stuff and trades out sneak attack combine it with unchained rogue and he can still be some what useful in combat while having a pretty big skill pool


I don't think that GM is very open to 3rd party stuff, but I can check.

I haven't really looked into slayer or seen it run much. What are it's major strengths, weaknesses, and/or complications.

Ranger might actually be a good choice. Especially if it is an archtype with no animal companion. Even some experienced players seem to have difficulties with those.
If i give him the basic feats for a switch hitter (power attack and precise shot) he can function reasonably well and decide where he wants to go from there. They get decent skill points. And a couple of traits could add some class skills if he wants others.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Having skills is fine. A huge percentage of time playing Pathfinder tends to be combat though, and I generally advise people to think about what they want to do in combat first and then worry about the other stuff.

In general, there are three roles a PC can fill in combat, striker, support and controller. Ideally a party should have all of these, and letting a new player 'pick first' isn't a bad idea. Generally speaking controller is pretty complex and takes a fair amount of system master to pull off, but either striker or support is pretty doable.

So I'd get that clarification from him first, and go from their. If he want's a striker their are some pretty good suggestions above. If he thinks support fits him better, Bard is a pretty obvious choice, and if he wants the other players to love him, bardsong is a pretty good way to win friends.


The butterfly blade slayer may be good for him, as long as he doesn't mind using that weapon. It's the slayer without sneak attacks.

Grand Lodge

There is a new slayer archetype Turn Coat which makes a decent back up face.

Control caster can be hard for new players. Battle field control with size and reach with one combat manuever added mid levels can be good easier enough a satisfying.

Bards are harder to play well then people think. They can run out of good spells quickly and often don't have much to do after round 2 if built poorly. If you go this way help him build it and help him come up with a few three round plans so he has an idea how to run the character.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Have you considered an archeologist bard? They are probably the best skill monkey in the game and get spells. A spontaneous caster is a lot easier for a newbie to deal with since they don’t have to learn the entire list or worry about which spells to memorize. The have a limited number of spells that they can cast and those are the only ones the player needs to learn. Basically they are rouges that trade out sneak attack for spells.


I'd like to endorse Slayer as well. It's a ranger/rogue hybrid that is pretty easy to build but has a solid skill base. Studied target gives a minor atk/damage buff and also enhances certain skill checks. As mentioned, sneak attack comes online later, so it might give your player time to learn the mechanics.

It's full BAB, and gets plenty of feats/rogue talents (which can be traded for feats), so there's flexibility in how it goes into combat, but it doesn't get too complicated.

IMO it's one of the best classes for a newbie. I'd recommend it over Investigator only because of the extra layer of complication that extracts bring, but that's based heavily on the player.

Sczarni

The real power from the slayer comes from its power to ignore ability score prerequisites for feats like two-weapon fighting or power attack. Make sure you use that.


Slayer seems like a good choice I was coming to this thread ready to sing the praises of the Silksworn Occultist which should have between 8-10 ranks from level one and high int for knowledge and high Cha for face skills.
If he finds flank confusing however then this seems like a very bad idea because they can get pretty complex with 4 resonances from level one. xD

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Rangers and slayers are both great intro classes. Lots of fun skills (Climb, Stealth, Perception, Survival, some Knowledges), good combat stuff, nice progression of class feature introductions and bonus feats.


Just have him be a wizard with the right traits.

Or he could go rogue and arcane trickster if the DM rules generously on sneak attacks with spells.


A Phantom Thief Rogue is one of the best skill monkeys in the game. You give up the majority of your combat prowess, but that seems to be the part that confuses the new player anyway.


Rosc wrote:
A Phantom Thief Rogue is one of the best skill monkeys in the game. You give up the majority of your combat prowess, but that seems to be the part that confuses the new player anyway.

In my opinion, that's the worst thing to give a new player. With a character that is basically useless in combat, and lack of knowledge that it's the class and not the player, there's a high chance of making the player resent combat, and thus quickly the game, too.

The player may think that he wants a skillmonkey, but that's not necessary what he actually wants. A skillmonkey is not a good scout, someone with Invisibility is. To be actually good at knowledge skills requires more than just many skill ranks, you need either high Int or a bonus. I'd suggest asking the player to say what he wants without using Pathfinder terms.

In my experience, a character is easy to play when he's in his comfort zone. Having to track a recource isn't complicated; I'm sure every one of us has used tally marks before ever playing Pathfinder. Buff durations aren't complicated, you basically ask your GM how much time has passed.
"I've taking a lot of damage, should I fall back?" "I'm hitting it for five rounds and it's still standing, what can I do to kill it?" "I can't reach that enemy, should I use my Potion of Fly or should I save it for later?" "That enemy does mind affecting stuff, should I still go near?" — Those are situations where a character is hard to play, situations where if your character doesn't show you the right way, the decisions become difficult to make.

Constant recalculations of attack and damage rolls can be overwhelming, but that can easily be helped with a cheat sheet. Seriously, do a cheat sheet for every level, I've found it to be the #1 thing to help players (not just new ones, but especially those) in combat. I don't even use my character sheet most of the sessions, because my cheat sheet contains almost every needed information. It's especially helpful for characters with pets and/or multiple "forms" (e.g. Rage, Wildshape, or Enlarge Person).


Oh, don't get me wrong. If I were to give advice without the OP's parameters, I would tell them to play something with a rat familiar or a skill based eidolon. Or something like a Bard. Or Vigilante.

Player experience can vary quite a bit, espeially with the x-factor that is the GM's style and content. I once spoke with a player who swore up and down that the core rogue was overpowered because of it's high number of skills that he used on NPCs and the fact that sneak attack had so much damage potential. He was baffled by the fact that Paizo went back and buffed the class.

After reconsidering my previous post, I would suggest Ninja or Slayer to this new player. Ninja more closely matches the pseudomagic that WoW rogues get, and since this is a home game the GM can "unchain" it if so desired. Slayers have a simple, effective chassis that can still allow for the typical scout/face/trapmonkey, though I strongly suggest a race with Darkvision. Carrying a torch kinda gives you away.


I believe he has decided on a half-orc slayer, though the ranger is still under consideration.

He doesn't want to be face, but many of the other skills interest him. A 14 int will give enough skill ranks to explore quite a few until he decides where to specialize.

Thanks for the help folks!

Note: Invisibility (in my opinion) does not usually make a good scout. Due to the short duration of the spell and the length of time a scout is expected to be scouting, they will not usually be invisible when needed.


Revolving Door Alternate wrote:
Note: Invisibility (in my opinion) does not usually make a good scout. Due to the short duration of the spell and the length of time a scout is expected to be scouting, they will not usually be invisible when needed.

I consider a half hour sneak not scouting, but a solo mission. I mean, if leaving the party a mile behind to sneak through the entire enemy fortress while relying on your mundane stealth check is a smart thing in your games, feel free to do so.


+1 archaeologist bard, you can go ranged or a dip in inspired blade swashbuckler for dex to damage.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Half-orc slayer or ranger sounds good. Darkvision makes a lot of things a lot easier. So do Combat Style feats/talents.


SmiloDan wrote:

Half-orc slayer or ranger sounds good. Darkvision makes a lot of things a lot easier. So do Combat Style feats/talents.

full orc slayer is even better(assuming no pointbuy as the -2 to all mental stats will hurt alot)


Derklord wrote:
Revolving Door Alternate wrote:
Note: Invisibility (in my opinion) does not usually make a good scout. Due to the short duration of the spell and the length of time a scout is expected to be scouting, they will not usually be invisible when needed.
I consider a half hour sneak not scouting, but a solo mission. I mean, if leaving the party a mile behind to sneak through the entire enemy fortress while relying on your mundane stealth check is a smart thing in your games, feel free to do so.

Not sure I've ever had a scout go a mile ahead of the group, but usually a good 50-100 ft ahead of the group for most of the day.


Revolving Door Alternate wrote:
Derklord wrote:
Revolving Door Alternate wrote:
Note: Invisibility (in my opinion) does not usually make a good scout. Due to the short duration of the spell and the length of time a scout is expected to be scouting, they will not usually be invisible when needed.
I consider a half hour sneak not scouting, but a solo mission. I mean, if leaving the party a mile behind to sneak through the entire enemy fortress while relying on your mundane stealth check is a smart thing in your games, feel free to do so.
Not sure I've ever had a scout go a mile ahead of the group, but usually a good 50-100 ft ahead of the group for most of the day.

i've seen some scouts go a good 2-3 days ahead of the party to scout out a location

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Skill Monkey for a new player?!? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.