"Assassin of Mages" build


Advice


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I've been knocking around a character concept for a while now: a Rogue-ish mage killer. The Spellbreaker archetype for the Inquisitor comes close to doing what I want -- things like Defense against Magic and Foil Casting are solid and thematically appropriate. What I'm missing is a way to lock down a single caster without having to rely on them botching their Concentration check; in all my time with this game I've never seen an at-level caster fail Concentration unless a Tetori has them in a full-Nelson. I need a way to quickly dish out effects that prevent verbal and somatic casting, and maybe an alpha strike in the same vein as the Rogue's sneak attack (though it doesn't have to be as powerful, since it only needs to hack through a d6 HD).

Throwing another wrench in this plan is the fact that the DM caps us at level 10, because he finds a demigod-murdering warband uninteresting, which I can respect. As such, feats and levels are even more precious.

For those who like fluff to guide their thinking: the character's backstory is that her lover was used as a human sacrifice by a cabal of warlocks and now she's out to put the knife in every last one of them, their lackeys, and anyone who patronizes them.


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Magus can be a solid mage killer.

You have access to most of the same tricks as those you are hunting, plus you have access to the Lingering Pain arcana.

Grand Lodge

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The most effective rogue-like build I can think of for this is a ranged, Stygian Slayer/Sniper with Scrying Familiarity, Shadow Duplicate, Silencing Strike, Assassinate.

This all together gives you a chance to sneak up on a wizard. If you extend your sneak attack distance (sniper) and first range increment (longshot/Distance weapon) you can attack from outside true seeing range (120ft).

If not something like this you need to get into magical counters. This basically requires playing an other 9th level caster. Wizard, or Razmiran Priest/Sylvan sorcerer with a grappling tiger both work (there are some new options in ultimate wilderness to make concentration checks harder near animal companions). Cleric have better saves than other casters so they may hold up well. Grappling druid + dispel magic (when needed) is very effective.

Inquisitors are exceptionally good for this. They are great archers that are good at not being detected. Infiltrator is designed to get around undetected. Witch Hunter is designed for killing arcane casters and defending against their spells.


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Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

As an Inquisitor, you've got access to lots of things!

Silence and Invisibility are second level spells for you. If you can get your hands on a Silent spell rod, and sneak into position, you can be a ball of caster-negation.

Also, remember you have Litany of Sloth, which can help. Yes, it's a Will save to negate, but it is worth the shot. It will completely shut down a caster if it sticks when paired with Step Up.


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I keep reading this thread title as,

Quote:
"Assassination Mages Guild"

Even though I know what it says, I still read it that way every time.

... and it's actually pretty awesome.


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Tactics are just as important as build for this one.

Readied actions and Step Up get you a LONG way towards mage-killing. If you can disrupt their casting with an attack, that's a hard concentration check for them to make. If they try to move away, trip them with your AoO.

Blind Fight is useful to counter Mirror Image.


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Oooh, I'm liking all of these. It's a shame they're all largely mutually exclusive; they're great parts of a fantastic whole.

RumpinRufus wrote:

Tactics are just as important as build for this one.

Readied actions and Step Up get you a LONG way towards mage-killing. If you can disrupt their casting with an attack, that's a hard concentration check for them to make. If they try to move away, trip them with your AoO.

Yes, I love tactics, much to the consternation of the guy in the group who likes playing 6 INT orcs. Step Up and its children are feats that I adore but can never find space for in a build because something else at that level always works slightly better. Harley Quinn X's idea of combining it with Litany of Sloth sounds...nasty. Just a shame LoS only lasts one round.

RumpinRufus wrote:
Blind Fight is useful to counter Mirror Image.

That's part of the reason I took the Umbral Stalker archetype alongside Spellbreaker in the prototype build; the Darkness domain gives you Blind-Fighting for free at first level. The other reason being this build stems from a similar attempt at D&D 4e a few years ago using the Assassin class. Unfortunately, while the Assassin is an interesting class fluff-wise (selling part of your soul to the Raven Queen as a down payment on some kickass powers is ripe for RP), practically speaking anything it can do the Rogue can do better. Thanks, Mike Mearls! Anyway, the Umbral Stalker archetype is a fitting replacement as far as narrative is concerned.

Tacticslion wrote:

I keep reading this thread title as,

Quote:
"Assassination Mages Guild"

Even though I know what it says, I still read it that way every time.

... and it's actually pretty awesome.

[writes that one down for later] I've spent half an hour trying to come up with a clever slogan for this and I've got nothing.

Grandlounge wrote:
If not something like this you need to get into magical counters. This basically requires playing an other 9th level caster.
Volkard Abendroth wrote:

Magus can be a solid mage killer.

You have access to most of the same tricks as those you are hunting, plus you have access to the Lingering Pain arcana.

I don't know why, but "Send the wizard to kill the wizard" just feels...weird to me when it comes to characters who are dedicated to killing mages. It occupies the same mental space as Ordo Malleus Inquisitors using bound daemons. I usually try to avoid it for that reason unless I'm trying to tell that particular kind of story.


theunforgiving wrote:
RumpinRufus wrote:

Tactics are just as important as build for this one.

Readied actions and Step Up get you a LONG way towards mage-killing. If you can disrupt their casting with an attack, that's a hard concentration check for them to make. If they try to move away, trip them with your AoO.

Yes, I love tactics, much to the consternation of the guy in the group who likes playing 6 INT orcs. Step Up and its children are feats that I adore but can never find space for in a build because something else at that level always works slightly better. Harley Quinn X's idea of combining it with Litany of Sloth sounds...nasty. Just a shame LoS only lasts one round.

The children feats are pretty bad IMO but Step Up is a gem. Great for dealing with both casters (combined with a readied action) and also ranged attackers (no readied action required.)


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Have you considered a Monk? I know that the monk has a reputation of being a poor class but it actually works well as a mage killer. From a defensive point a monk is very difficult for a spell caster to affect. It gets all good saves and other defenses like evasion and spell resistance. The monk also has a very high touch AC to avoid rays and touch attacks. Since wizards have poor BAB this makes the monk very resistant to anything a wizard can do to a monk.

Stunning Fist targets fortitude saves and scales with the monk’s level so can be used to shut down a mage quite easily. At higher level the ability to apply other conditions make this even better. They also get quivering palm which can be used to kill the mage even after the monk is no longer there.

The monk may not be all that strong vs other foes, but vs mages they are quite effective. If you want something that does well vs mages, but may struggle vs other types of threats consider the monk. If you want a more balanced character that is able to handle a variety of threats while still doing well against mages the inquisitor is probably the best choice.


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Color me intrigued...

I like readied ranged vital strike builds. Soak up all the damage possible into one shot and set it to interrupt the spell. Optimized DPR will probably outpace their concentration check. I like Inquisitors but maybe a crossbow fighter. I know there is a fighter feat that makes readied attacks more disruptive. Heck, since you're at it maybe a Musket Master. If you're just using standard action attacks, why not use a Musket?


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There might be something to be said for the Arcane bloodrager using Gorum's Swordsmanship - arcane BR gets fighter only feats in bloodline, like Disruptive, and Gorums style inflicts COLOSSAL concentration penalties on a mage you charge.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

I second MageHunter on readied Vital Strikes. Crossbowman Fighter as a Kobold with their super tasty FCB option.
VMC Oracle, take Battle Mystery with the War Sight revelation and Powerless Prophecy curse is what I'd say if you'd ever get to 11th level. In your case, it'd probably be more lucrative to just take 1 level in Oracle for that revelation/curse, and keep the rest of your feats.


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MageHunter wrote:

Color me intrigued...

I like readied ranged vital strike builds. Soak up all the damage possible into one shot and set it to interrupt the spell. Optimized DPR will probably outpace their concentration check. I like Inquisitors but maybe a crossbow fighter. I know there is a fighter feat that makes readied attacks more disruptive. Heck, since you're at it maybe a Musket Master. If you're just using standard action attacks, why not use a Musket?

Ranged attacks are weak against mirror image, unless there's some ranged version of Blind Fight I'm not aware of. Just something to keep in mind.


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LoudKid wrote:

I second MageHunter on readied Vital Strikes. Crossbowman Fighter as a Kobold with their super tasty FCB option.

VMC Oracle, take Battle Mystery with the War Sight revelation and Powerless Prophecy curse is what I'd say if you'd ever get to 11th level. In your case, it'd probably be more lucrative to just take 1 level in Oracle for that revelation/curse, and keep the rest of your feats.

Someone finally appreciates the power of KOBOLD MASTER RACE! You, sir, are a KOBOLD MASTER FRIEND!


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RumpinRufus wrote:
MageHunter wrote:

Color me intrigued...

I like readied ranged vital strike builds. Soak up all the damage possible into one shot and set it to interrupt the spell. Optimized DPR will probably outpace their concentration check. I like Inquisitors but maybe a crossbow fighter. I know there is a fighter feat that makes readied attacks more disruptive. Heck, since you're at it maybe a Musket Master. If you're just using standard action attacks, why not use a Musket?

Ranged attacks are weak against mirror image, unless there's some ranged version of Blind Fight I'm not aware of. Just something to keep in mind.

Good point. One trick I like is a dip in zen archer. Good save boost, feats, and for when you can't vital strike you can flurry and save some feats from things like rapid shot. So you can toggle between quantity and quality.

Edit:For the Kobold Crossbowman I would recommend the Kobold racial feat that boosts sniping. The class boosts it as well, and Kobolds are just great snipers. Sniping vital strikes is just more fun. :)

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