Check my build, please.


I'm redoing an old character of mine, and I'm trying to figure out the feats. The concept of her in my head is sort of like a female gnome version of Indiana Jones. So I would like to pick out some feats that would make her really good with a whip, but she also uses a rapier for most melee combat. The character is an archaeologist bard so she's proficient with both of those.

Her stats are 10 Str, 16 Dex, 14 Con, 12 Int, 12 Wis, 14 Cha. She has the traits Fate's Favored, which doubles the bonus the Archaeologist's Luck class feature gives, and Muscle of Society so she can actually carry her stuff.

At level 4, the archaeologist gets a Rogue Talent, I chose the talent Combat Trick. It gives you a Combat Feat. So I was thinking that the first set of feats could be these:

LV1) Weapon Finesse
LV3) Weapon Focus Rapier
LV4) Fencing Grace

After that, I could go straight to Weapon Focus Whip, Whip Mastery, and Slashing Grace, but would that really be the best thing?

This is a link to my character sheet. I haven't bought any equipment yet as I'm still figuring out the build.

For most character classes, trying to specialise in two weapons is a poor idea. An archaeologist bard is no exception. I'd suggest you treat the whip mostly as a tool rather than a weapon so that you can use further feats for other stuff - lingering performance to get the most out of your limited rounds of luck, or dirty fighting/improved disarm which could work with rapier or whip, or dodge/osyluth guile for defence, or whatever.

That does make sense.

Well, fates favored doesn't double the archaeologist's luck, it increases it by one.

A small rapier does 1d4, a small dagger does 1d3, nearly the same damage (although the crit mod is better). I'd suggest that if you want both a melee weapon and whip for a gnome I'd recommend a whip/dagger so you don't need fencing grace and slashing grace. Weapon finnesse, weapon focus (dagger), slashing grace, then perhaps whip feats and weapon focus whip.

You could also take dirty fighting and focus on using the whip for combat maneuvers instead of direct attacks, whips are both disarming and trip weapons and with reach you could provoke less for combat maneuvers. You'd probably need a feat for dex to maneuvers though, so you may not save many feats.

Since Fate's Favored starts at +1, increasing it to +2 is in fact doubling it. Does Slashing Grace work for multiple weapons?


Slashing Grace wrote:
Choose one kind of light or one-handed slashing weapon (such as the longsword).

Weapon finesse suffices to use dex for maneuvers with a whip (or rapier), it's why I mentioned dirty fighting/improved disarm. It doesn't make you an expert, but it is an option.

Understood. And if I really needed to, I could take Agile Maneuvers which applies to all maneuvers.

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Since Archaeologist’s luck is treated as bardic performance for the purposes of feats that affect bardic performance, this makes the feat lingering performance a must have.

At the moment you only have 6 rounds of Archaeologist’s luck, but you could increase it to 18 rounds with this feat.

Simply activate the luck with a swift action on round 1 for a single round only. Lingering performance will extend it through the next 2 rounds without costing any uses of luck, or any actions. At the start of round 4 you could take another swift to activate the luck again for another single round, if necessary, which would again be extended for a further two rounds by lingering performance.

A +2 luck bonus on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and weapon damage rolls for an extra 12 rounds for the cost of 1 feat is too good to pass up.

I ran a similar character but with a halfling. I did a dip at level 3 into inspired blade swashbuckler for the dex to damage feats. The parry and riposte deed makes you hold your own in combat and with mirror image can be a bit of a tank. My stats we’re almost same I had 14 in int for the skills.
I think my feats were something like this:
1 additional traits (I had fates favored, vagabond child for disabled device, helpful, and lessons of chaldira)
3 fencing grace (finesse and weapon focus from swashbuckler)
5 lingering performance/ combat reflexes (with combat trick rogue talent)
7 bodyguard
9 lunge

I think I would go for Gladius rather than Rapier. Yes, it's less cool. But that P or S damage means zombies don't eat you. And it uses shortsword proficiency, so I think you're fine.

Lucy_Valentine wrote:

I think I would go for Gladius rather than Rapier. Yes, it's less cool. But that P or S damage means zombies don't eat you. And it uses shortsword proficiency, so I think you're fine.

Inspired Blade has to use a rapier. The trade-off is that you get the Weapon Focus (Rapier) and Weapon Finesse (Rapier) feats for free.

I'll definitely take the lingering performance then, upping my luck bonuses is something very useful. I'll take a look at the Inspired Blade. Although if I wait to get Weapon Finesse at level 3, I'd probably want to use a bow for fighting until then. Unless I start off as the Inspired Blade and go into Archaeologist Bard the very next level.

A build like that would go:
Level 1: Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus, Fencing Grace.
Character level 3) Lingering Performance
Bard level 4) Combat Trick - Agile Maneuvers
Character level 5) Breath Of Experience, perhaps? Up my knowledge checks.

Agile Maneuvers without Dirty Fighting & some improved manuever feat (or power attack or cbt expertise with some improved maneuver feat) is pretty useless. You get those first, then consider agile maneuvers.

You’ll never be the big damage dealer but with your spell selection and parry and riposte you can be strong defensively. Remember with parry any increase in your attack bonus increase your defense. You have to be mindful of your swift action with using luck and your parry. I always thought of my character as a spell casting rogue with out sneak attack. Great skills, especially knowledge, perception, disable device and stealth, was a good scout/face and just always something to do in and out of combat. It’s a fun archetype.
Yeah I tended to go ranged early levels, or flank and aid another with my +4 from helpful.

I took a look at Swashbucklers. They're complicated, huh?

Let me second the comment that if you are going to take the luck trait, play as a halfling.

Use the halflings alternate luck racial trait. Umd divine favor.

Can I use the combat feat Cat and Mouse with just one level of Swashbuckler? I don't mean using it at level one, but do I get the deeds needed?

The answer to your question is yes. I never heard of that feat, seems pretty bad, you need to invest 10 skill ranks and a luck/panache point to sometimes get a +1 ac bonus vs 1 opponent for one round. The thing that makes party/riposte so good is the free counter, not only do you block their attack you get a free attack. I think there’s better feats, even dodge that’s +1 almost all the time vs everyone without all the prerequisites.

I'm just going through all my options. Thanks for the info.

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Perfect Tommy wrote:

Let me second the comment that if you are going to take the luck trait, play as a halfling.

Use the halflings alternate luck racial trait. Umd divine favor.

It's good and bad news with adaptable luck.

Fate's favored will increase the adaptable luck bonus to +3 before or +2 after the roll, since adaptable luck is a luck bonus.

It will not increase Halfling Luck, as this is a racial bonus.

One drawback is that adaptable luck can only be used 3 times per day (but it can be used on ability checks, attack rolls, saving throws, or skill checks).

Another drawback is that adaptable luck will not stack with an ongoing Archaeologist's luck (both are luck bonuses), whereas Halfling luck will stack with Archaeologist's luck (a racial bonus and a luck bonus).

If you choose to go that way, a good use of adaptable luck is if you are ambushed or beaten on initiative by a spellcaster before you can use a swift action to start up your Archaeologist's luck, you can still use adaptable luck on your saving throws, since it is not an action. It gives a greater bonus than halfling luck.

If you want to make your 3 uses of adaptable luck last, mainly use it after the roll (for a +2 bonus), when you think you failed, but think you were within 2 points of success.

I already have a halfling character. I'd like to keep this one a gnome. I've made characters for each core race, with 2 extra humans that are third-party classes.

I think I'm going to drop her Dex down to 15. That way I can bump her Int up to 14. That will give me more panache points as an Inspired Blade. That'll help since Blades only regain panache when they get a critical with a rapier. Then I could take the Improved Critical feat to double the rapier's crit range.

Well, it looks like I won't be able to take Improved Critical until level 11 since it needs a BAB of 8. I'll have to take something else at level 5.

That OP's stat array looks ideal for a Swashbuckler dip to exploit Swordmaster’s Flair for reach.

2500gp, and it avoids all the baggage of whips.

Yeah, though I'd have to spend Panache Points to use it. I want to keep as many as possible for parry and riposte.

Is this a home-game, or PFS?

(Tactics that might work 98% of the time in PFS may not work will in home-games as the GM's bad guys learn more about the PCs and adjust their tactics to probe weaknesses.)

Neither yet. I'm redoing an old character and probably won't be using her for a while.

If you can get ahold of BadBird on the forums, they'll no doubt have some good advice on both Swordmaster's Flair and Swashbuckler tactics, since it appears to be a speciality of theirs.

I'll keep that in mind.

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Inspired Blade is a good 1 level dip. It does suffer from only regaining panache on a crit though. Might I suggest Plume of Panache -of-panache/

as a good magical item for you. 1000gp for +1 panache. Not a top priority item for you, but something to consider.

I have heard about people buying multiple plumes and switching them out during the day, after they are expended. Seems a bit cheesy to me, but it is certainly effective.

Hm, that's not bad. It'll certainly be nice to have more than 4 panache points, especially once I get Combat Reflexes and can parry multiple times a round.

Heather 540 wrote:
Well, it looks like I won't be able to take Improved Critical until level 11 since it needs a BAB of 8. I'll have to take something else at level 5.

One thing about swashbucklers, at level 5 they get Improved Critical as a class feat...

Hm. I wasn't really thinking about taking more than one level in Swashbuckler. It's something to consider.

A person on another forum suggested dropping Muscle of Society for another trait. She did make a decent point that it's easier to buy items to boost my carrying rather than using up a trait. Perhaps Failed Aspirant instead? Give me a +2 on disarm and not provoke, at least once a day. Or maybe Eldritch Delver? The bonus to Knowledge Dungeoneering and History does fit her character pretty well.

Ok, here are some traits that would be helpful.

Eldritch Delver: +2 Dungeoneering and History. +1 Caster level for all conjuration spells of the teleportation subschool.
Criminal: +1 Disable Device, class skill.
Etymologist: +1 Linguistics, class skill, +1 bonus language.
Maestro of the Society: +3 rounds of Bardic Performance or Archaeologist's Luck per day.
Intrepid Volunteer: Use Dex instead of Strength for Disarm. (Halfling trait, requires Adopted.)

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