Bolt Ace: Any Interesting Prestige / Multiclass options?


Advice


So, I'm gonna be playing a Grippli Bolt Ace, starting at level one. I was initially planning on just staying a Bolt Ace (the campaign will probably run to 14), but after reading some other ideas, I'm now thinking of multiclassing or prestige classing (after level 5, obviously. And I'd prefer something interesting with spells or cool class features, rather than a Fighter or something like that.

But, crossbows don't get much love from Paizo, and most archetypes and prestige classes are geared either to bows or guns specifically. So I guess I'm looking for ones that are just generically made for "ranged" combat.

I'm also looking at the Hinterlander PrC, and just houseruling and switching Weapon Focus to a Crossbow (on account of the lack of crossbow love).

Thoughts? I have a good Wisdom score - 18 at level 1 after racial ability modifiers (Dex is 19, don't worry, I didn't sacrifice it: we rolled stats)

Maybe Empyreal Sorcerer or Druid for a caster? If I go that route.

The rest of the party is an Oracle, Ninja, Fighter, and Ranger (Trapper though).

EDIT: Probably not empyreal sorcerer. Totally spaced out on arcane casting failure chance.


My opinion is that Fighters can be pretty interesting, but I digress.

Urban barbarian or urban bloodrager is, I gather, pretty standard to take levels in for Dex based characters that are 'finished' with their prime class.


Ooh. Urban Bloodrager would give the nice dex bonus, and spells!
But, it would be Charisma casting...

What about Warpriest? I have no idea if that make a any sense, I'm just spitballing.

And am I wrong in thinking that most archetypes and prestige classes are either for Bow (Zen Archer, Arcane Archer, etc.) or Gun (Grand Marshal, Spellslinger, etc.)??


Warpriest might be fun, especially if your character worships Abadar, who has the crossbow as his favored weapon. It would give you some spell casting, as well as having some pretty cool class features in the form of Fervor, Sacred Weapon, and Sacred Armor. Inquisitor would also make good use of that Wisdom, with lots of skills and damage pumping class features like Bane and Judgement.

Druid or Cleric are both good caster choices, although I'd lean more towards Cleric for what you have - that or take an archetype for Druid that trades away Wild Shape, since you won't be able to use your crossbow with that feature. The animal companion will lag behind too, so you'd have to get Boon Companion to round it out.

Don't completely rule out Empyreal Sorcerer. While Arcane Spell Failure is definitely a possible issue, the Gunslinger doesn't have anything to do with your Swift action. Arcane Armor Training will let you reduce spell failure chance by 10%, and combined with Mithral can eliminate spell failure chance. Plus, you only need to use Arcane Armor Training on turns where you actually cast a spell. On the turns you don't need to cast a spell, you can use your swift action for Arcane Strike, which pumps up your damage.

Hunter and Shaman are both options as well, with Shaman giving you 9-level spell casting and Witch hexes, plus some Oracle-type mysteries. Hunter would suffer from the same animal companion issue as the Druid, but the Feral Hunter archetype is pretty good for replacing that.


If a little houseruling is allowed how about a 2 level dip into foresight wizard and then going into arcane archer. Favored Prestige class and Prestigious caster for feats and Mage's Crossbow as your new favorite weapon. Though you could do this with Empyreal sorcerer


If you have an 18 to wisdom then going for a wisdom-based spellcaster could work very well for you. I've played around with Gunslinger/Caster multiclass combos recently, and the arcane caster classes are very interesting options. The downside is that it takes a while to mature, and the payoff is fairly mediocre until you get access to higher level spells. If that sounds like a reasonable price to pay, Empyreal Sorcerer should work well for you. Cleric and Druid can work too, but honestly I think the Wizard/Sorcerer spell list is better suited for these kinds of builds.


Think about eldritch archer magus if you have a 12 or higher Int. While it doesn't use Wis it does combine well with gunslinger.

If you want more grit then a dip in sleuth investigator, hooded champion ranger or any swashbuckler adds another pool which combines with grit and gives you other means of recovering it.

Master of many styles monk gives you the option of going into a couple of styles at once - overwatch & empty quiver perhaps.


If 3rd Party is allowed:

Marksman - Wisdom-based Psionic ranged class (perhaps the Shroud archetype and get some invisibility in there)

Stalker - Wisdom-based Martial Disciple, Get Tempest Gale (Ranged maneuvers using Sleight of Hand) and Solar Wind (Ranged damage-boosting) disciplines. There are other disciplines that work with ranged, but those two are ranged-specific. There is also a Stalker Art (Stalker class feature) that increases threat range by 1, applied after Imp Crit-like boosts (Crossbow threatening on a 16-20!) There are also stances that can net you +Wis to damage.


Unfortunately, No 3rd party. All these suggestions are pretty great, though! Thanks everyone!

And I know I'm beating a dead horse here a bit, but there's probably no Prestige Class worth pursuing (without houserules, at least), huh?

Inquisitors is something I hadn't thought of... Shaman too! A lot of cool options...

Shadow Lodge

My idea for a PFS Bolt Ace involves the Sentinel prestige class from Inner Sea Gods, and the worship of Abadar. Seems reasonably effective and fun on paper, and the religious aspect helps add flavor.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I dropped a couple of levels into Freebooter(Ranger) from the Pirates of the Inner Sea splat.

The Precise Shot at L2 helps with cover issues that aren't addressed by Bolt Ace, and having the ability to 'designate' a target for the rest of the party to pound on doesn't hurt (instead of favored enemy) via Freebooter's Bane.


The Freebooter is interesting. When did you pick up those levels, though?

As for the Sentinel, yeah, he is pretty awesome. Problem is mostly the alignment thing, but oh well (I don't like lawful very much). I could figure it out.

Also, is there some sort of "Generic Obediences" for deities that don't have any listed?


bolt ace into fighter would be best option i would think


Lady-J wrote:
bolt ace into fighter would be best option i would think

Maybe, but I'm looking more for interesting - particularly by way of class features or spells - not necessarily "best."


Mbertorch wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
bolt ace into fighter would be best option i would think
Maybe, but I'm looking more for interesting - particularly by way of class features or spells - not necessarily "best."

then warpreist as they are part fighter and get access to fighter things the most important thing to look for when using crossbows are classes that grant extra feats as you need significantly more feats to make them workable than other types of weapons


I've seen alchemist do well, if you have decent intelligence.


Been wondering if making a Gunslinger (bolt ace)/monk (sohei/?)/Ranger (?) or fighter (?) could work out. Nothing concrete just wondering...


Unfortunately my intelligence is only a 12 or so. As for Warpriest, when I leave Gunslinger at level 5, I'll only be missing Deadly Aim, really. How would Warpriest get there any sooner than character level 7 would? Just wondering.


What about Bolt Ace into hunter? Bolt ace 5 + boon companion gives you near equal level animal companion and you can either take one of the best mounts out there and some of the utility mobility/teamwork feats or go full on with the ranged focused feats, using the companion to trigger free shots and the like. The animal aspect gives a dex boost, spell list has gravity bow on it. Wisdom for spells/wisdom for grit. Seems like a pretty good synergy between the two.


When I played a Bolt Ace I wound up BoltAce5/UrbanRanger5/Fighter2 before our campaign wrapped up.

Ranger didn't really give me a whole lot of feat options but the favored enemy was nice, plus some wand access.


I have a build that went gunslinger5 to inquisitor (sanctified slayer) and the damage output is super nice, this would work well with a xbow too. You have sneak att, studied target and bane all boosting damage, plus as a wisdom caster, you will have a decent amount of spells as well.

My guy with studied target, deadly aim and dex to damage was gettin +16 to damage before weapon plus (+3 studied, +8 deadly, +5 dex)

Dark Archive

Slayer, and use the slayer talent Ranger Combat style for Crossbow style from the APG. Also take the ranged sneak attack extender talent, or just take the Sniper Slayer archetype.

Ranged sneak attacks, and crossbow mastery at Slayer level 6 without needing any of the prerequisites.


It would take a while to get really interesting, but sohei monk could be fun, you would get a mount who gets your wisdom to it's ac, and eventually be able to flurry with your crossbow


Mbertorch wrote:

So, I'm gonna be playing a Grippli Bolt Ace, starting at level one. I was initially planning on just staying a Bolt Ace (the campaign will probably run to 14), but after reading some other ideas, I'm now thinking of multiclassing or prestige classing (after level 5, obviously. And I'd prefer something interesting with spells or cool class features, rather than a Fighter or something like that.

But, crossbows don't get much love from Paizo, and most archetypes and prestige classes are geared either to bows or guns specifically. So I guess I'm looking for ones that are just generically made for "ranged" combat.

I'm also looking at the Hinterlander PrC, and just houseruling and switching Weapon Focus to a Crossbow (on account of the lack of crossbow love).

Thoughts? I have a good Wisdom score - 18 at level 1 after racial ability modifiers (Dex is 19, don't worry, I didn't sacrifice it: we rolled stats)

Maybe Empyreal Sorcerer or Druid for a caster? If I go that route.

The rest of the party is an Oracle, Ninja, Fighter, and Ranger (Trapper though).

EDIT: Probably not empyreal sorcerer. Totally spaced out on arcane casting failure chance.

Sniper Slayer gives you extra feat options and increased ranged capabilities. Access to Point Blank Master means you can fire into melee without provocation. (Bonus points if you pick up Crossbow Mastery, so you can fire without having to save your Grit.) Since it's full BAB, you also won't lose out on to-hit.

Inquisitor is another decent option. 3/4 BAB, and decent spells to choose from to make up for your lack of BAB. (Divine Favor and Wrath, if you can manage it.) Solo Tactics isn't exactly great for you, but Bane can be pretty awesome. The 6 Skill Points is also preferable, and there are some solid archetypes to choose from, combined with having Reflex and Will saving throws, makes it very solid.

Cleric can also work, but Channel Energy is kind of a lame feature that lacks scaling. Druid is also not a good choice unless you take some specific archetypes, as a lot of the good Druid options (Wildshape) don't mesh with ranged combat too well.

Shaman might be much more preferable, since it takes a lot of the good Oracle stuff, pairing it with some Cleric spells (that are Wisdom) and some Witch stuff. Only downside here is you already have an Oracle, so you might be stepping on toes (or more accurately, he'll be overshadowing your investments, unless you're really creative).

Weapon Master Fighter with the Weapon Master Handbook options can be scary, especially with Weapon Training, Gloves of Dueling, and Warrior Spirit for those boss fights. Full BAB, bonus feats, and Point Blank Master is Fighter-Only, so you'll be able to take that feat going this route as well. Only downsides are nixing your good Reflex Saves, always having crappy Will saves, and realizing that Bravery is basically a dead feature for you.

I really wish there was a Wisdom-based Arcane Spellcaster class you could make use of, because that's the biggest crux of your party make-up right now. Unfortunately, there isn't.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My husband is going bolt ace 5/cold iron warden inquisitor 5/ranger X in our Wrath of the Righteous campaign. It arose spontaneously rather than being planned out, but it's working out fairly well for him. (Story-wise it's right on, too.) 5 levels of inquisitor is enough to get a bit of bane (which will be increased with the bane baldric) and enough spells to buff for most important fights, while ranger will give him Favored Enemy (fantastic in a mostly-one-kind-of-monster campaign), a little more feat room, and access to gravity bow.


So, Inquisitors and/or Slayers seem like the best options overall, which is cool.

As for Wisdom Arcane Casters, the only two I'm aware of are the Empyreal Sorcerer and the Enlightened Bloodrager. Would either of those be useful/beneficial?

And finally, it seems like the only Prestige Class which isn't actively hindering me would be the Sentinel.

Is all this right?


Pretty much, what has been listed above and you repeated. While maybe not optimal, unchained rogue might be decent, with Dex to a melee weapons damage at 3 lvl (and free weapon finesse at lvl 1) and if only to 3rd a rogue talent. 4th lvl gives extra debuff via their debilitating injury and another rogue talent.


Mbertorch wrote:

So, Inquisitors and/or Slayers seem like the best options overall, which is cool.

As for Wisdom Arcane Casters, the only two I'm aware of are the Empyreal Sorcerer and the Enlightened Bloodrager. Would either of those be useful/beneficial?

And finally, it seems like the only Prestige Class which isn't actively hindering me would be the Sentinel.

Is all this right?

i don't see any were in the enlightend bloodrager that they get to swap cha for wis for casting spells

fighter or warpriest would still be the best options tho inquisitor can be useful but needs quite a bit of investment in knowledges to be successful


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Empyreal sorcerer would meant a fairly significant hit to your base attack bonus (+7 BAB over fifteen levels). Depending on your build and starting stats this might be acceptable to you, but it is a consideration, and I'm not sure it's worth it even for eight levels of spells. I haven't looked much at the enlightened bloodrager, but from a quick glance it would probably be the better way to go about getting a selection of arcane spells since you don't lose BAB.

Grand Lodge

Gunslinger 5/Fighter 4 is how I have my PFS bolt Ace planned out.

See profile for current stats at level 1 and LINK for planned progression.


Crap, yeah. Enlightened Bloodrager does not cast from Wisdom. Hmm. Too bad.

Well, I'm not exactly sure which I'll take, but I have a heck of a lot better idea than I did before!

Thanks everyone!


I had a loot of fun with one, that went into Feral Hunter.
got a lot of self buffs, some great little utility things, a cool "look" and when needed I could toss out distraction summons. Sure not the strongest summons due to hte latness of it all, but amusing enough.


Personally, I prefer full BaB dips, and honestly I think Fighter is always a sound option.

That said, with a bonus that high, I'd even recommend a Unchained Monk dip for Wisdom to AC. It's a full BaB class, has good Fortitude and Reflex saves, and if you go two levels deep you get Evasion, and four gets you Still Mind and some ki powers. You also threaten while wielding your crossbow thanks to Improved Unarmed Strike, which can be handy for a ranged character, even if they suck at unarmed fighting.

It also helps snag a few style feats that don't otherwise require you to use unarmed attacks to benefit, like Crane Style and it's feat line (except for Crane Riposte, which requires you to make an attack of opportunity to benefit).


Monk could be cool, Does Unchained still have alignment restriction?

And Hunter could also be cool, I'm just worried about wild shape being irrelevant. Also, don't want an animal companion if I go regular. Sorry.

That's one of the reasons I was looking at Prestige classes like Divine Scion, Exalted, Planes Walker, etc. Because they're built on the assumption that you're coming from somewhere else + starting "late," unlike core/base/hybrid/ classes, which you usually need to mostly play as to get the good stuff.

Also, just remembered the Magical Knack trait in case I do go caster.

EDIT: Peoples, what about Nature Fang Druid? Spells, Studied Target, Slayer Talents? Sure, only 3/4 BAB, but at least it's not 1/2 like the Sorcerer. I know Druid has an inferior spell list for this compared to Wizard and even Cleric, but still... just a thought. Seems like an okay compromise.


Aside from the Martial Artist archetype (non-unchained only) all monks have alignment restrictions.

Feral hunters don't get an animal companion, and even the base hunter gets long duration animal focus if your companion is dead and you don't replace it.

As far as the starting late goes - most PF prestige classes are sufficiently conservatively designed that they have little advantage there. There are a handful of exceptions, mostly either updated from D&D or in a recent book, Paths of the Righteous where you saw the Hinterlander IIRC.

Seriously, 12 Int is enough for a late starting eldritch archer, by the time you need 13+ you should be able to afford an ioun stone even if your headband slot is taken.

Edit: yes, nature fang druids are pretty good. I guess you could spend a round buffing with aspect of the falcon and studied target sometimes. Though an extra round full attacking might often be better.


Rennaivx wrote:
Empyreal sorcerer would meant a fairly significant hit to your base attack bonus (+7 BAB over fifteen levels).

Eldritch Knight has been a thing since the CRB. You only lose 3 BAB.


Dasrak wrote:


Eldritch Knight has been a thing since the CRB. You only lose 3 BAB.

True. For sure a solid option. I guess I was just looking for something a bit more out there. Still, could definitely pair well with the Empyreal, so not bad...


Also look at some of the buff spells that sorcerer could offer him. He might suffer a bit when he has no time to buff before the fight but when he gets to :D


Mbertorch wrote:

Monk could be cool, Does Unchained still have alignment restriction?

And Hunter could also be cool, I'm just worried about wild shape being irrelevant. Also, don't want an animal companion if I go regular. Sorry.

I mostly used the wild shape for utility effects rather than battling. I mean... I'm a crossbower, why would i shape change for combat? I used it to get to places to shoot from and such


Dip 3 levels into zen archer monk for 3 free feats and improved unarmed strike. Wisdom and dexterity to AC. Then the rest in inquisitor or nature fang or war priest or slayer.


Zwordsman wrote:


I mostly used the wild shape for utility effects rather than battling. I mean... I'm a crossbower, why would i shape change for combat? I used it to get to places to shoot from and such

Medium Air elemental gives you +4 dex and +3 natural armor and perfect fly. Rain death from above.

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