What to play? (Gestalt)


Advice


We have a group that has 3 archers and a ghost rider wannabe.

Classes
Ranger/Fighter
Rogue/Fighter
Slayer/Magus
Summoner/Kineticist

I don't want to play a healing class, and least not primarily/in combat.


Invulnerable rager barbarian/metamorph alchemist. Build for tough.


Shaman//Monk Hex Strike build could be fun.

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Paladinja! Two-weapon fighting for smiting sneak attack Cuisinart action!


Someone who could stick the enemies in place so that all those ranged characters can pick them off safely would be useful. An arcanist with potent magic, paired with a kensai magus side for self-defence is one way of doing that.


Healing in combat is a waste for any class. Just because a class has the ability to heal does not mean you have to use your combat rounds to heal. That being said you party does need a healer mainly for condition removal. This can be accomplished by scrolls and wands for the most part.

An oracle/sorcerer would work well with the party. Normally having a limited number of spells is a big constraint, but with to spell list to choose from you will probably have more than enough spells known. You also get cool class features from both classes to give you even more abilities.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:

Healing in combat is a waste for any class. Just because a class has the ability to heal does not mean you have to use your combat rounds to heal. That being said you party does need a healer mainly for condition removal. This can be accomplished by scrolls and wands for the most part.

An oracle/sorcerer would work well with the party. Normally having a limited number of spells is a big constraint, but with to spell list to choose from you will probably have more than enough spells known. You also get cool class features from both classes to give you even more abilities.

Except for paladins' swift action self-only lay on hands and, at the umpteenth levels, mass heal which will make the difference between character deaths and barely a flesh wound. Repeatedly and often.


Shaman//Empyreal Sorcerer

Have Hexes you can spam, Spells you can heal, buffs and status removals. Then have the entire Sorcerer List to cherry pick spells from. Would be a very fun build IMHO and very very strong.


Gallant Armor wrote:
Shaman//Monk Hex Strike build could be fun.

Can you elaborate a little?


Rylar wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
Shaman//Monk Hex Strike build could be fun.
Can you elaborate a little?

Hex Strike is a feat allowing you to deliver hexes via punches. You can damage and Hex at the same time.

Since you're a shaman your Wisdom will be stacked so you will benefit from Wisdom to armor, Stunning fist, and all the monk package while still being a full t1 9th level prepared caster with tons of utility and choices.

It is a good package for gestalt.

Shadow Lodge

Ninja'd, but in more detail:

Shaman gets Hexes, like a witch (though more limited). Unlike the witch, it's a Wis-based caster, which works nicely with Monk. With the Hex Strike feat, you can use a swift action to apply a debuffing Hex such as Misfortune or Evil Eye to an opponent any time you hit them with an unarmed strike - making your punches very nasty.

Assuming Unchained Monk, you've also got full BAB, full casting (including condition removal), perfect saves, and lots of nice combat features including Wis to AC and good mobility. The Battle spirit and/or Speaker for the Past archetype provide other melee abilities on the shaman end.


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It looks to me like your party could really use a force multiplier like a bard, evangelist cleric or skald.

Skald is usually easier to work with melee than ranged, so we will leave that one aside for now.

If you like skills, bard is the superior choice, if you like spells, cleric is obviously better. Personally I'd probably be inclined toward the cleric, but either is a strong choice for one side of your gestalt.

If you take the bard, good choices for the other side are Paladin (mostly just for a durable 'chassis' assuming your party is good, or oracle to have access to condition removal you would be missing otherwise.

With the cleric, their are fewer obvious choices. Any full BAB class would work for increased durability, I could make good arguments for Ranger, Slayer, Paladin or Brawler. Alternatively, if you want more magic, Wildblooded Empyreal Sorcerer would work. One could even make a pretty good argument for Cleric/Druid (an AC as a mount would give you a lot of tactical flexability.)

All of this presumes the Summoner/Kineticist is planning on spending at least an action or two on some battlefield control, making sure the archers have room to work their magic. If not, and especially if he is just planning on blasting away, I'd want battlefield control more than support, and then you are looking at a control build. Wizard/Anything else is usually the best choice for that. I'd be looking at summon monster to create a disposable 'front' line as a primary tactic.


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Louise Bishop wrote:
Rylar wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
Shaman//Monk Hex Strike build could be fun.
Can you elaborate a little?

Hex Strike is a feat allowing you to deliver hexes via punches. You can damage and Hex at the same time.

Since you're a shaman your Wisdom will be stacked so you will benefit from Wisdom to armor, Stunning fist, and all the monk package while still being a full t1 9th level prepared caster with tons of utility and choices.

It is a good package for gestalt.

Problem I see with this is that you are going to be all alone out front, and that means either you are likely to be overwhelmed before the ranged folks and take out the bad guys or only attract one or two while the rest get in the face of your archers, limiting their attacks (at least until they manage to get Point Blank Master or something similar).

It is a good gestalt, just not one I am sure really works well with this party.


The party is level 8. Playing a bard/cleric in the other group, so needs to be something different.

The Kineticist is whip based, so he and his Ediolon are in melee range most of the time.


Rylar wrote:

The party is level 8. Playing a bard/cleric in the other group, so needs to be something different.

The Kineticist is whip based, so he and his Ediolon are in melee range most of the time.

I still like the Shaman//E. Sorcerer

Different than a Cleric but the need for removal and light healing is there for this group. But you definitely do not need to focus on it. You can make your main focus as the Sorcerer with Hexes and use Wisdom as your main stat for both sides of the Gestalt. Stand back with the archers and unload hell on the enemies.


Monk/Spiritualist.

Say it with me: ORAORAORAORAORAORA! WRRRRRRRRRRRRY!

*poses in backround*


paladin sorcerer?


Louise Bishop wrote:
Rylar wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
Shaman//Monk Hex Strike build could be fun.
Can you elaborate a little?

Hex Strike is a feat allowing you to deliver hexes via punches. You can damage and Hex at the same time.

Since you're a shaman your Wisdom will be stacked so you will benefit from Wisdom to armor, Stunning fist, and all the monk package while still being a full t1 9th level prepared caster with tons of utility and choices.

It is a good package for gestalt.

There are some good options depending on what spirits you go with. Battle's Greater Spirit ability is quite good depending on if unarmed strike qualifies:

Enemies’ Bane (Su):
As a swift action, the shaman imbues a single weapon she’s wielding with the bane weapon special ability, choosing the type of creature affected each time she does. The effect lasts for 1 minute. If the weapon already has the bane weapon special ability of the type chosen, the additional damage dealt by bane increases to 4d6. The shaman can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + her Charisma modifier.

Wood Greater Spirit is nice as well:

Bloody Roots (Su):

As a standard action, the shaman can cause a field of thick roots to burrow up from the ground.

This ability functions as black tentacles with a caster level equal to the shaman’s level. The area is centered on the shaman but remains stationary if she moves. The shaman is unaffected by the roots. Her allies treat the area as difficult terrain but are not attacked by the roots.

The shaman can end the effect as a free action. She can use this ability a number of rounds per day equal to 3 + her Charisma modifier, but these rounds do not need to be consecutive.

The goal would be to deliver a hex with a swift each round as part of your flurry of blows using hex strike. Evil Eye is a great choice as it doesn't matter if they save or not, you can debuff their AC, attacks or saves by -4 as needed each round. Misfortune is another good choice as it isn't mind effecting, though it would only work for two rounds at a time per target. Slumber is a good go to but has less overall utility due to mind affecting/sleep immunity issues and requiring your enemy fail their save.


Empyreal Sorcerer and Unchained Monk. Casting and Monk stuff - including AC - off of WIS; Unchained Monk combat with a nice two-handed weapon that gets buffing from full arcane caster. At level 9 they even qualify for Guided Hand.

Edit: So if worshipping Hei Feng and using Ascetic Style, they can make all attacks, including Style Strikes like Flying Kick, with a 9-ring broadsword.


Or any sorcerer with scaled fist unchained monk although draconic bloodline is thematic.


Perhaps an even more broken combo would be Guide Ranger and Strength Patron Synergist Witch. Synergist Witch + Improved Familiar: Agathion: Sylvenshee gets pounce and natural flight by level 8, plus multiple natural attacks. Guide Ranger basically gets 'Smite Favored Enemy' instead of normal Favored Enemy (limited uses/day, swift action, any target you like). Strength Patron gets Divine Favor and Divine Power. So by level 8, you can cast Divine Power, trigger Ranger's Focus, use Ranger Two-Weapon Fighting Style combined with natural attacks (longsword/unarmed/claw/bite, using a Bodywrap of Mighty Strikes), and make flying pounce attacks that straight-up rip a target to shreds. Plus, if you split STR and INT scores you also get tons of skills and pretty good full-level arcane casting.

Sovereign Court

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The key things to keep in mind for an effective Gestalt build are:

  • Action Economy - Make sure you have relevant Swift actions, maybe even free actions, and you probably want a companion or an eidolon.
  • Passive Abilities - Any passive bonuses or other abilities you pick up are great because they don't eat into your action economy. You want to make sure you get passive abilities that stack. Typeless bonuses, Sneak Attack, etc.
  • Meshing Classes - You obviously want to make sure that the classes you're combining share key ability scores so that you're not going too MAD, but you also want to look at BAB, saves, and hit die.

A problem I see a lot of people have with Gestalt builds is that their characters can do so many things, but only one at a time. So instead of being nearly as powerful as two separate normal characters, as you should be, they end up just being slightly better than one normal one.

Hunter is a great choice for Gestalt builds, since you get a companion, bonus feats, and a good Swift action to use in the form of Animal Focus. They've also got super solid spell casting, thanks to being 2/3 casters with access to both Druid and Ranger spells. And they make capable melee OR ranged characters. They also get lots of skill points and two good saves. Combine that with something with a d10 hit die and full BAB and you're off to the races.

With all that in mind, I'll toss in a recommendation for Hunter/Unchained Monk. Tiger or deinonychus companions are basically full fighters in their own right, and you end up with a mini-pounce of your own in the form of Flying Kick.

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I once DMed for a 20th level Mystic Theurge, and there were so many spells available, the player just fell back to fireballing everything.

I think a good gestalt build has an "active" class and a "passive" class that synergize well. Ideally with d10 or d12 HD, 6+ skill points, all good saves, full BAB, and at least some spellcasting potential.


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SmiloDan wrote:

I once DMed for a 20th level Mystic Theurge, and there were so many spells available, the player just fell back to fireballing everything.

I think a good gestalt build has an "active" class and a "passive" class that synergize well. Ideally with d10 or d12 HD, 6+ skill points, all good saves, full BAB, and at least some spellcasting potential.

Its a big part of why I like a full martial/caster + 6 level more than martial/martial or caster/caster Most of the 6 level casters have useful class abilities to add to a martial or caster without running into the dichotomy of armor use, or forgoing weapon combat with your full BAB to cast a spell. Like fighter/magus is going to synergize much better in the long run than fighter/wizard. Wizard/alchemist is probably going to work better together than Wizard/sorceror, and so on.


Having versatile options for how to spend actions is not only tactically useful, it's also far less boring. A character whose main function is swinging a weapon around can bring a lot more to the table if their first action is throwing Confusion or Dazing Fireball or whatever, instead of just 'Chaaaaarge!!!'. Stronger casting also lends itself to many complimentary melee uses, like Dimensional Dervish or Quicken Spell or spamming Fiery Shuriken with nasty metamagic effect riders.

Especially in a gestalt sense, I'd probably bet on the Arcanist Fighter slinging earth-shattering Battering Blast and nasty Heightened Persistent Dazzling Blade against the Magus Fighter who's really, really good at zapping things for some extra damage.


BadBird wrote:

Having versatile options for how to spend actions is not only tactically useful, it's also far less boring. A character whose main function is swinging a weapon around can bring a lot more to the table if their first action is throwing Confusion or Dazing Fireball or whatever, instead of just 'Chaaaaarge!!!'. Stronger casting also lends itself to many complimentary melee uses, like Dimensional Dervish or Quicken Spell or spamming Fiery Shuriken with nasty metamagic effect riders.

Especially in a gestalt sense, I'd probably bet on the Arcanist Fighter slinging earth-shattering Battering Blast and nasty Heightened Persistent Dazzling Blade against the Magus Fighter who's really, really good at zapping things for some extra damage.

Your arcanist fighter needs Str, Dex (since they aren't going to be using particularly good armor), Con, Int, and Cha

A magus fighter needs Str, Con, Int.

There's also an attribute spread/overlap that should be considered when gestalting.

Dark Archive

Mysterious Stranger wrote:

Healing in combat is a waste for any class. Just because a class has the ability to heal does not mean you have to use your combat rounds to heal. That being said you party does need a healer mainly for condition removal. This can be accomplished by scrolls and wands for the most part.

An oracle/sorcerer would work well with the party. Normally having a limited number of spells is a big constraint, but with to spell list to choose from you will probably have more than enough spells known. You also get cool class features from both classes to give you even more abilities.

Healing in combat is absolutely not a waste. BBEG crit hits your main tank / Cuisinart and brings him to negative inches away from dying. You might want to be able to heal him with a little more than the typical 1d8+1 wand of cure light wounds out of combat healbot wand. Unless of course the player controlling the fighter doesn't mind re rolling a new character.


Arcane Armor Training, Mage's Shield, Weapon Finesse, Agile, Slashing Grace, Elven Battle Focus, Artful Dodge, Draconic Monk, Empyreal Sorcerer... There are whole books full of solutions to ability spread issues. I'm not sure why an Arcanist Fighter gestalt would need charisma, but regardless, there's plenty of other caster-side options.


BadBird wrote:
Arcane Armor Training, Mage's Shield, Weapon Finesse, Agile, Slashing Grace, Elven Battle Focus, Artful Dodge, Draconic Monk, Empyreal Sorcerer... There are whole books full of solutions to ability spread issues. I'm not sure why an Arcanist Fighter gestalt would need charisma, but regardless, there's plenty of other caster-side options.

Because the arcanist has a chunk of class abilities that feed off cha including save dcs of a bunch of exploits, and duration of a bunch of exploits?

And while you're burning feats to shore up lack of synergy between the two classes the fighter/magus is burning feats that enhance what it already does.

Arcanist/magus works better than arcanist/fighter, and Arcanist/alchemist probably works best of all.

Edit: Although i'll hand it to arcanist or sorceror/swashbuckler which is probably the best martial/caster combo.


A gestalt Fighter Arcanist has no need of CHA-based Exploits; even a normal Arcanist doesn't need them really. How many Arcanists actually pump up their CHA modifier - including item-wise, with all the expense that involves - when their casting is INT-based anyhow?

As far as feats go, are Magi who invest in Finesse/Dervish to run DEX-based builds 'burning feats', or is that kind of a silly way to describe spending feats towards a purpose? On a gestalt character who is part Fighter and rolling in feats, what exactly is a permissable amount of feats to 'burn'? And if a Figher Arcanist is able to throw out things like +3DC Confusion or +5CL Intensified Battering Blast to open a battle, or +3DC Heightened Persistent Dazzling Blade up to twice a round against dangerous targets while attacking them, is that plainly 'worse' than just running the DPS clicker as hard as possible?


Meh, ive had enough "whaddabout" arguments on this forum. If you think fighters are "rolling" with feats good luck to you, at the point that you're chewing them up for dex to hit/damage plus metamagic, plus all your "cast in armor" plus spellfocus needs you'll find out you don't really have as many as you think.


Screwit, MEANWHILE

The fighter-magus gets to use ALL his class abilities from both classes. He has to wait quite a while for heavy armor, but by the time he gets there he not only gets the AC boost of using heavy armor, but by virtue of advanced armor training off the fighter he's got Invulnerable rager levels of DR, can take advantage of being a melee monster WHILE casting spells, and gets the opportunity to throw crits reasonably often on spells that really shouldn't be critting. Edit: He also (since he doesn't HAVE to narrow attributes down) has the option of burning feats here or there to pick up the utility from those advanced training options, crushing the skill game, or helping the debuffer role via intimidate and magus shenanigans.

Also the Arcanist-alchemist sucks down a cognatogen, and is throwing around +6 DC confusion, and other save or suck spells, he doesn't have to have much blasting magic memorized because bombs, which also double dip off his primary stat. So his spell list is basically all utility and save or suck. He doesn't even need to learn fly since he can sprout wings around level 6.

Those classes have synergy, they work together like pieces of a puzzle to become more than either of the two classes seperately. Your arcanist fighter is basically an arcanist with full BAB and d10 hd, plus a bunch of combat feats he's never really going to use because casting a spell is almost always going to be the superior option.


It's fairly seldom that there's no synergy in a gestalt class combo. A blade adept arcanist // weapon master fighter can be a magus-oid with 9-level casting on full BAB. The arcanist // alchemist (or the arcanist // magus I suggested) is the more powerful, true, but it's a different character entirely.

Taking classes (or at least archetypes) with some common interests is useful for building to an impressive focus. Also it's easier to make them work conceptually. The examples in the OP do not suggest to me that maximum optimisation is necessary in this case though.


avr wrote:

It's fairly seldom that there's no synergy in a gestalt class combo. A blade adept arcanist // weapon master fighter can be a magus-oid with 9-level casting on full BAB. The arcanist // alchemist (or the arcanist // magus I suggested) is the more powerful, true, but it's a different character entirely.

Taking classes (or at least archetypes) with some common interests is useful for building to an impressive focus. Also it's easier to make them work conceptually. The examples in the OP do not suggest to me that maximum optimisation is necessary in this case though.

But its pretty common that a gestalt combo finds itself acting as primarily one class with the other being a raw stat crutch. Your blade adept arcanist/weapon master fighter is still either fighting, OR casting, its still either significantly MAD and/or forgoing class options from one class or the other. On top of the basic combat feats it's probably burning 3-4 feats just to use one of the gestalts basic class benefits. It doesn't have to be about raw optimization, but setting yourself up for situations that may prove frustrating in game isn't great either.


Blade adept arcanists can get spellstrike which bridges the gap between casting and fighting. Point taken on the other stuff tho'.


avr wrote:
Blade adept arcanists can get spellstrike which bridges the gap between casting and fighting. Point taken on the other stuff tho'.

That said, there is ONE exception IMO regarding full caster/full martial pairings and thats shapeshifting. It can still be a little clunky, but barbarians, fighters, bloodragers, cavaliers etc etc make amazing bodies to hang beast/elemental/wild/dragon shape on. Its just kind of a niche build that still might be better served by alchemist or investigator since they can also throw in a mutagen, and monstrous physique/giant form let the martial keep all their magic gear active.


unchained monk (Perfect Scholar) / spiritualist (Ectoplasmatist)


I still think unchained monk using Asthetic style/Phantom blade spiritualist would be interesting.


Ryan Freire wrote:
But its pretty common that a gestalt combo finds itself acting as primarily one class with the other being a raw stat crutch. Your blade adept arcanist/weapon master fighter is still either fighting, OR casting, its still either significantly MAD and/or forgoing class options from one class or the other. On top of the basic combat feats it's probably burning 3-4 feats just to use one of the gestalts basic class benefits. It doesn't have to be about raw optimization, but setting yourself up for situations that may prove frustrating in game isn't great either.

If one goes about having versatile abilities badly, then of course it will prove frustrating. That's an indictment of doing it badly, not of doing it at all. But the idea that 'you can only really perform one role on a given turn, so it's pointless to be able to perform more than one role' is actually pretty absurd in a tactical sense. A character who can, on any given turn, assess the overall tactical situation and then choose which role is ideal at that moment has enormous tactical strength, even before considering ways to weave full caster abilities into combat without needing Magus. I like the Magus fine, but they tend to play out less like a 'battle mage' and more like a 'fighter with fireworks'. Every time I look at going Magus and think of a spell-trick that an Eldritch Knight can use, I run into the limitations of Magus casting.

Saying that a Martial/ Full Arcane type character has to burn a whole string of feats to get anywhere is a bit absurd. Arcane Armor Training on a STR-based character is one feat. Weapon Finesse and Agile is one feat and one weapon property. Weapon Finesse and Trained Grace is one to two feats. Feats are meant to be spent to further a character, as any Magus using Dervish Dance can attest to. And if you despise the idea of having to 'burn feats' to run a DEX-based build, then there's options like a Psychic Bloodline Sorcerer or Blood Arcanist who has zero issues with wearing armor, or various Monk/Sorcerer combos which tack their casting ability onto their AC and end up with very strong defenses.


Arcane armor training at level 3, there goes your swift action for the turn + mithril armor gives you, mithril shirts that you can wear without rolling for spell failure. If you want plate, you're now a second feat deep and level 7, using mithril instead of adamantite for dr and still dropping 1 in 20 spells. Focus, finesse, dex to damage feat. 5 feats deep to shrink your MAD stats down to 3, while forgoing a big chunk of arcanist exploit options, or rendering them less potent via forgoing cha. edit: AND you've spent 25% of your total feats just to manage that.

Feats are meant to further a character, you're correct. If you have to spend them to simply let your character even use class features from one of the two gestalt classes you've chosen, those classes don't have very good synergy with one another.

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