Theoretical Build - Thoughts Welcome


Advice


So this is a bit different from the character I'm ACTUALLY using currently, but I thought I'd keep sharp and try to get better at...pretty much this whole thing really. So I generated another character. Well, mostly. No magic items or feats were assigned for specific levels or anything, I'm still a beginner.

I just thought I'd put it up and see if anyone had anything to say, maybe ways to make it better, or correcting any particularly fundamental misunderstandings I might have, and so on.

I'll put it on a subsequent post.


Character Lv 20 (in no particular order)

paladin 2 (archetype undecided) - Divine Grace
monk 1 (water dancer) - Nereid's Grace
oracle 4 (spirit guide) [lore] - Lore Keeper
devoted muse 1 - Artful Defense
skald 1 (spell warrior) - Bardic Knowledge
rogue 2 (unchained) - Evasion, Weapon Finesse
mystery cultist 10 (oracle) - Celestial Boon (Arshea), Summon Celestial, Casting as Oracle 13.

Feats Needed: Weapon Finesse [Rogue], Combat Expertise, Improved Feint, Celestial Obedience

Feats WANTED: Noble Scion (War) Twist Away, Leadership, Two-Weapon Fighting

Objective: Difficult to kill librarian with little to no reliance on arms and armor. summons and/or followers provide damage and protection, and able to fight on the front lines safely dealing (slight) bare handed damage.

15 point buy:

13 Str
7 Dex
13 Con
10 Int
7 Wis
18 Cha

Race: Any +Cha that doesnt -Str (Example: Kryton-Spawn Tiefling)

items needed: Dancer's Garb

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note: neried's grace undine racial spell (its different from the monk thing) as a custom magic item would be awesome too, even if it does have a cap. it would only cost....36,000gp as a first level spell cast by an 18th level witch for continuous-while-worn effect.


There's a rule for full spellcasters: never sacrifice caster levels. The plan above may make a character which is hard to kill with magic, and eventually it will be moderately hard to kill in melee, but it is terrible at summoning (due to 13/20 casting and no means of summoning as a standard action) and followers from leadership tend to be fragile and not hard hitting. With 13/20 casting and just one level in skald the character won't be much for buffing either, and as you said it doesn't hit hard in melee.

You might want to think about making either a more martial character, or eliminating the dips in order to concentrate on spellcasting.


Alright, first of all.

Skald

Bardic Knowledge (Ex) wrote:
A bard adds half his class level (minimum 1) to all Knowledge skill checks and may make all Knowledge skill checks untrained.

Class level refers to your levels in that class, not your total amount of class levels. So the Skald level gives you +1 in all Knowledge skill checks.

Water Dancer

Nereid’s Grace (Su) wrote:

When unarmored and unencumbered, a water dancer adds 1 point of Charisma bonus per monk level to his Armor Class as a dodge bonus. If he is caught flat-footed or otherwise denied his Dexterity bonus, he also loses this bonus. He uses his Charisma score instead of his Wisdom score to determine the size of his ki pool and the DC and effects of monk class features.

This replaces the bonus feat the monk normally gains at 1st level.

Devoted Muse

Artful Defense (Ex) wrote:
When wearing light or no armor and not using a shield, a devoted muse adds 1 point of her Charisma bonus (if any) per class level as a dodge bonus to her Armor Class. If she is caught flat-footed or otherwise denied her Dexterity bonus, she also loses this bonus.

This means you'll only get +2 AC from those two dips. Really not worth it.

Generally speaking, all class abilities refer to your levels in that class, even if they only write 'level'.

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Secondly.

Shouldn't a librarian have high Int?


Monk is actually working as intended, as it converts monks normal wis to ac into cha to ac. the +1 per level is just icing. its actually cha mod+1.

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Edit: Although that being said, now that i read closer it acts in addition to dex instead of replacing it, it does get dragged down by the (intentionally) low dex. could drop monk, take extra revelation, and grab sidestep secret from oracle. unsure if that conflicts with other bonuses present. only reason i didnt set up to do so already was because i was fairly certain it does conflict with monk

end edit
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Librarian duty is managed by lore master converting knowledge bonus from int to cha and bardic lore allowing untrained checks.

That's what DOES work. Now the bad bits - I completely misread muse and assumed it was similar to monk. Also, although summon celestial doesn't care about oracle caster levels, running on cultist level instead, I completely missed that it's a full round action. That was my bad, and it's a big problem.

So I see two ways of proceeding here, as frankly I'm not comfortable with 7th+ level spellcasting and how reality smashing it is.

Option 1) swap muse for something else, continue as a cultist, and figure out how to reduce the cast time on summon celestial. Rely on angels to deal damage for me while focusing on defense and clerical duties.

Option 2) swap out muse AND cultist (still grabbing the obedience feat, it just kicks in later - total level 16) and figure out how to hit things better. and/or maybe inflict touch spells. because why not. hands aren't occupied anyway.


Priyd wrote:

Monk is actually working as intended, as it converts monks normal wis to ac into cha to ac. the +1 per level is just icing. its actually cha mod+1.

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Edit: Although that being said, now that i read closer it acts in addition to dex instead of replacing it, it does get dragged down by the (intentionally) low dex. could drop monk, take extra revelation, and grab sidestep secret from oracle. unsure if that conflicts with other bonuses present. only reason i didnt set up to do so already was because i was fairly certain it does conflict with monk

I'm gonna assume you meant 'in addition to wis', since that's what the normal monk is granted as a bonus to AC.

Your (intentionally) low wis wouldn't matter since you only add your wisdom bonus to AC, not wisdom modifier.
I do recommend you to take sidestep secret, as I assumed you already did.

Monk (Water Dancer) is however not 'working as intended', since it doesn't convert normal Wis to AC into Cha to AC. That archetype doesn't modify the normal AC bonus ability at all. What you're looking for is the Scaled Fist archetype.

Priyd wrote:
Librarian duty is managed by lore master converting knowledge bonus from int to cha and bardic lore allowing untrained checks.

Yeah, I meant thematically. A guy who spends his time reading and caring for books is a librarian. The guy who gets his knowledge through his connection to the gods is a prophet.

Lore Keeper (Ex) wrote:
Instead of encyclopedic knowledge, you learn most of your information through tales, songs, and poems. You may use your Charisma modifier instead of your Intelligence modifier on all Knowledge checks.

Not very librarian-like, right?

And since you have all knowledge skills as class skills from the Lore mystery, why don't you just place one rank into each of them for an easy +4, instead of relying on Bardic Knowledge?

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Priyd wrote:
So I see two ways of proceeding here, as frankly I'm not comfortable with 7th+ level spellcasting and how reality smashing it is.

Well, you could try a 3/4 BAB spell class instead of multiclassing, ending at lv 20 with martial capabilities and 6th lv spell slots.

A Living Grimoire Inquisitor, for example, is an Int-based caster which fights with a book. It doesn't fit your summoning aspect, though.


Wonderstell wrote:
Priyd wrote:

Monk is actually working as intended, as it converts monks normal wis to ac into cha to ac. the +1 per level is just icing. its actually cha mod+1.

--------------
Edit: Although that being said, now that i read closer it acts in addition to dex instead of replacing it, it does get dragged down by the (intentionally) low dex. could drop monk, take extra revelation, and grab sidestep secret from oracle. unsure if that conflicts with other bonuses present. only reason i didnt set up to do so already was because i was fairly certain it does conflict with monk

I'm gonna assume you meant 'in addition to wis', since that's what the normal monk is granted as a bonus to AC.

Your (intentionally) low wis wouldn't matter since you only add your wisdom bonus to AC, not wisdom modifier.
I do recommend you to take sidestep secret, as I assumed you already did.

Monk (Water Dancer) is however not 'working as intended', since it doesn't convert normal Wis to AC into Cha to AC. That archetype doesn't modify the normal AC bonus ability at all. What you're looking for is the Scaled Fist archetype.

I didn't say it did. I said dex for a reason - the monk's wisdom bonus is applied in addition to dexterity instead of as a substitution. Meaning low dexterity drags down the wisdom based defenses, which become charisma instead of wisdom because:

"He uses his Charisma score instead of his Wisdom score to determine the size of his ki pool and the DC and effects of monk class features."

the monk feature in question being

"When unarmored and unencumbered, the monk adds his Wisdom bonus (if any) to his AC and his CMD."

because it adds instead of substitutes like sidestep secret, nature's whispers, or the lunar version whatever that is, dex still drags it down, but it can't stack on top of a charisma substitution over dexterity because theyre both "charisma bonuses" now.

which makes me kind of sad, but is understandable. it's the same ruling as with the scaled fist because it's doing the same thing, except also giving a small dodge bonus BASED ON charisma, which will stack with the main aspect of the feature.

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as for librarian, i meant the function not the literal job description lol. although i could probably get away with tossing 1 rank into everything with enough skill points, you're right. would take a bit of time to ramp up though since these are mostly 2-4 point classes with a +0 int bonus. figured bardic knowledge would make it a nonissue, while also allowing for a short burst of flaming fists.


So for the moment, assume we toss muse and skald for being totally superfluous. if we take extra revelation, we can pick up sidestep secret and dump the archetype from monk. this converts the ac bonus to wisdom, meaning it does nothing unless some major bonuses come along, but that's okay. taking it to second level nets evasion, allowing rogue to be dumped.

That leaves us with the following so far.

Total Level 18

Paladin 2 - Smite Evil, Divine Grace

Monk 2 - Empty-Handed damage, Bonus Feat x2, Evasion

Oracle 4 - Lore Mastery, Sidestep Secret, Wandering Spirits [Need to dump a feat on Extra Revelation, as the versatility of Wandering Spirits are VERY worth losing the 3rd level revelation]

Mystery Cultist 10 - Arshea Boons, Summon Celestial [Need a way to reduce cast time], Fervor as a Charisma Rage for giggles (which might pair well with the Lame curse for Oracles to get around the fatigue)

and now i realize i accidentally made a 21 level setup originally and nobody noticed. that's amusing.

now we have a more streamlined edition that still has a couple levels to mess with, and the different paths mentioned above (options 1 and 2) are still valid lines of inquiry.

reduced reliance on weapons and armor is still a desirable feature, as is putting charisma to work.


Priyd, the main problem with this build is that it doesn't contribute to combat. Are you OK with being deadweight during fights? You can probably survive and make knowledge checks, but that's about it.

It may need a ground-up redesign if you want to have effective combat options. Are you open to that?

Your design goals are to have an extremely knowledgeable character who goes around without weapons or armor, but when confronted proves deceptively difficult to kill - is that correct? Does it have to be charisma-based? Any other design goals that I'm missing?


Priyd wrote:

I didn't say it did. I said dex for a reason - the monk's wisdom bonus is applied in addition to dexterity instead of as a substitution. Meaning low dexterity drags down the wisdom based defenses, which become charisma instead of wisdom because:

"He uses his Charisma score instead of his Wisdom score to determine the size of his ki pool and the DC and effects of monk class features."

the monk feature in question being

"When unarmored and unencumbered, the monk adds his Wisdom bonus (if any) to his AC and his CMD."

Huh, I just assumed that the archetype wouldn't give you 2xCha to AC, but I guess it does.

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If the concept of librarian isn't important, then you could invest into a Sage familiar to keep the knowledge skills covered.

If we assume you take it by Eldritch Heritage, and buy it a Mask of a Thousand Tomes, then It would land on a +31 bonus to every knowledge skill at lv 20.
With +39 in three knowledge skills of your choice each day if you also pick the figment archetype.


RumpinRufus wrote:

Priyd, the main problem with this build is that it doesn't contribute to combat. Are you OK with being deadweight during fights? You can probably survive and make knowledge checks, but that's about it.

It may need a ground-up redesign if you want to have effective combat options. Are you open to that?

Your design goals are to have an extremely knowledgeable character who goes around without weapons or armor, but when confronted proves deceptively difficult to kill - is that correct? Does it have to be charisma-based? Any other design goals that I'm missing?

I wouldn't say it was TOTALLY dead weight in a fight since there's broad access to various healing abilities, and smite always shreds things, but thats pretty much it yeah. Knowledgeable, Persuasive, persistent as a roach, and requiring minimal resources to drain from the rest of the group (the less one person needs, the more other people get to have).

And i would certainly prefer charisma as a basis, since its so easy to assign knowledge to charisma, and charisma also lends itself to persuasion, intimidation, and negotiation. plus as a follower of arshea, even without the cultist class (the boons just take longer to come online) it reduces the requirement for armor substantially, especially since the same skillset allowing for charisma to knowledge can increase defense even further.

anyway, it's mostly just a thought experiment as i try to improve my skills with the game, so i don't mind a ground-up retooling of the thing as long as you can explain things thoroughly and simply. like...explain it like im a five year old. because in terms of this game, i basically am. just a five year old who reads and learns more quickly than normal (for a five year old) :P

oh and if TOTALLY unarmed isn't really feasible, packing a concealed dagger or something (which the dancer garb allows for) is perfectly fine.


So since its been a while, I decided to attempt a fresh start at this myself. or well, rather i stumbled upon something that could i think, potentially work with the basic idea very well.

In order to do that competently though...sacrifices had to be made. No monk levels means no Evasion. Cutting Oracle levels means no Wandering Spirit (shame, i really like the flexibility they provide).

It also trades away some of the HP support that was available (life link hex from life spirit, shield other as a 2nd level Oracle spell) and the ability to punch things competently.

But it still meets the core idea of requiring minimal weaponry or armor, and boosting knowledge skills. Also I get to use strength as a dump stat now.

New 15 point buy?

STR: 7 DEX: 7 CON: 16 INT: 10 WIS: 7 CHA: 18 before racial mods

didn't trade any int because i didn't want skill growth penalties since im only getting 2+int for most levels, if not all of them. luckily any permanent boosts are retroactive. besides, just to see if i could i tried to do it and the numbers were far too fiddly to be worth a whole 1 extra con.

so what is this new build doing? wading right into melee and...not punching people. or stabbing them. just...lightly touching them. just a bit.

and then they die horribly. or at least, that's the hope.

in no particular order we have....

->Paladin 2 (Unknown Archetype)

->Oracle 1 (Are there even any archetypes that do anything notable at level 1?)

->Mystery Cultist 6 (Which will be linked and grant +5 Effective Caster Level to...)

->Magus 11 (Eldritch Scion)

The build still uses the Noble Scion (War) and Extra Revelation feats.

Now here's where it gets dicey again, as I'm sure you no doubt notice - Magus's are explicitly weapon-users. Sword on one hand, Spell in the other. I get that. And with no strength or dexterity, weapon strikes are going to be dicey at best which is why i'm forgoing that.

on the bright side, it grants access to bloodrager abilities with perfect conversion and spells on a slight delay, which is nice, has better BAB than a sorcerer (necessary to get those touches in), casts spontaneously like a sorcerer, still gets the magus arcana gimmick (though at 11th level it just barely misses out on a 4th arcana. sad.) and manages to reach 6th level spellcasting as the capstone of the build.

so what do you think?

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How about paladin 2/oracle 1/bard 17?

You get Cha to saves, Cha to Int checks via oracle revelation(s) (Extra Revelation taken as needed), then a 6th level spell casting class with 6+ skill points, good at knowledge, good at buffing the party. Just wear light armor, and eventually, glamered magical armor to look unarmored.

You get 3 good Will saves, so you can afford to dump Wisdom. Good Reflex saves from bard, so you can still dump Dex if you really want to.


@Priyd: It'll be good late, but getting there will be a slog. Once you have a magus caster level of 4-5 you'll have useful spells in combat, that'll be character level 8-9? Or 6-7 with magical knack but magi usually want magical lineage as their magic trait.

BTW dual cursed gives you a very useful revelation at level 1, misfortune. This gives you something useful to do at lower levels.

My other thought is that you're dumping too much already. Con 14 and replacing one of those 7s on Str or Dex with an 11 gives you an attack without penalties.


Why magical lineage? Magical knack seems more useful in multiclass to boost spells per day/spells known.

Is there something I'm missing?


The standard magus trick is to load up metamagic on either shocking grasp or frostbite. Intensify spell for shocking grasp, rime spell in the case of frostbite, empower spell for either. Magical lineage may be better in the specific case of a multiclass character but then you're weakening that trick.


Ah I see. That IS a good trick, especially as a way to carefully inflate spell levels to get more casts of a given useful one and get better results from uninflates ones. Clever.

Looking at races, a dhampir can take a hit to con in order to boost both str and cha. That would result in 12 con and 13 str, enough for a small bonus. And they could self-damage with the negative energy spell to heal significantly if necessary.

Not sure how the minor healing of lay on hands would work out though since RAI it's implied to be a positive energy effect (heal the living, harm the undead) but RAW it doesn't actually explicitly say it's any kind of energy at all. At paladin 2 it wouldn't be strong, but stacking charisma would give it tons of casts per day for healing between fights.

So for the 3 Arcana i was thinking Close Range to make ranged touch spells as melee touch, accurate strike to make melee attacks as melee touch attacks to make using spell combat easier, and...maybe familiar for a stat boost and utility buddy like a wand jockey or something? although hasted assault is nice too, in case nobody else can haste. and pool strike would put the arcane pool to work without a weapon, and spell shield can make for a handy defense booster. hard to pick.

Speaking of wands, can they be used for touch spells? If so, how? Do you smack someone with it like a baton or something?


okay that business with the metamagic? i think that might be off the table. as an eldritch scion, you become a spontaneous caster. apparently spontaneous casters can't apply metamagic except as a full round action. that severely hinders the ability to commit touch spells, due to needing to move and actually touch the target.

i was looking for ways to counteract this deficiency, and all i found was a feat to cast a single spell at normal cast time. yeah it can be taken multiple times, but that robs you of valuable feats for other things, like martial capabilities or - more importantly to the people most likely to invest in metamagic in the first place, the casters - other metamagic feats.

so im puzzled now. i thought i had something actually fairly workable, and which resolved the problems of the previous build at the cost of some of its utility, which honestly i was fine with. but now this comes up.

what do i do about this?


Re wands, you probably don't want to hit people with the wand itself, they're generally a bit flimsy. More like the spell gets delivered with the other hand.

Here's another thought. The paladin save bonus from Cha is nice but sacrificing 2 levels for it is painful. Some monk archetypes (nornkith and scaled fist spring to mind) use Cha instead of Wis for their class features. Oracles have their own touch spells, albeit not with spell combat. Something like unchained monk 1 / oracle 6 / mystery cultist 6 / oracle +1 / mystery cultist +2 / oracle +4 could work. You lose only two caster levels, and you can get part of that back with magical lineage; oracles will probably use higher level spells rather than metamagic for the most part. If you want to be a dhampir you can heal yourself by choosing an inflict spell or two to learn.


that is certainly a build, yes. it loses bonuses to saves, but casts at nearly full progression.

i dont typically aim to cast above 6th level, but having access to higher spell slots would benefit mystery cultist's summon celestial, since it would need to be quickened to be useful. incidentally level 8 in cultist is JUST ENOUGH to hit summon celestial 2.

small caveat on your monk charisma suggestion though - by replacing wisdom, it becomes a charisma bonus. the oracle mysteries replace dexterity bonus to become a charisma bonus. charisma bonus + charisma bonus doesn't play nicely together. about all it would be worth is improved unarmed and a feat. and that not inherently a bad thing, just its part of the function of the class that isn't quite working. i do believe i remember something about scaled fist having +cha to hit though?

the only shame is the loss of divine grace boosted saves. paladin feels like a no-brainer dip for any charisma class. if scaled fist doesnt work, easy enough to slide paladin back into place and eat one more caster level. effective oracle level of 17, 19 with the +2 CL trait. although unless theres a really good reason to get oracle specifically to a high level, might go all the way to cultist 10. many revelations don't interest me too much.

so it would be something like monk 1/oracle 6/mystery cultist 10/oracle 3 or paladin 2/oracle 5/mystery cultist 10/oracle 3.


The thing about losing caster levels early is that it doesn't just hit your endgame spells, it also means you're stuck using 1st and 2nd level spells for that much longer. It's a pain.

Yeah, you don't absolutely have to take an oracle revelation which swaps dex for cha bonuses if you go that way. Suppose you go for the occult mystery as an alternative means of becoming a learned adventurer. There are some better revelations there including phantom touch - frightened with no save is a useful effect. Or

A level in scaled fist unmonk gives you a bonus feat for which you can bypass prereqs. Dragon style is a feat which you could take there which lets you charge or withdraw over difficult terrain, and gives you +2 to a bunch of saves. Also unmonk has two good saves not just one as paladin does. You also get stunning fist (based off Cha) which isn't terrible, and flurry of blows. And both oracle and unmonk are base 4 skill point classes. Spending two levels on paladin is not a choice without costs.

There's a trait named irrepressible which gives you +Cha to many will saves. Or there's a few oracle mysteries which give you access to the natural divination revelation, which can be +Cha to one saving throw per combat.

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You can also take Great Fortitude, Iron Will, and Lightning Reflexes to shore up your saving throws. Also, a Cloak of Resistance is one of the cheapest Big Six magic items: +1 1000 gp, +2 4000 gp, +3 9000 gp, +4 16000 gp, +5 25000 gp.

If you're taking 2 levels of paladin JUST for the Saving Throws, it's probably not the best use of those levels. Especially if you are primarily going to be a spellcaster. Most spellcasters don't multiclass, and if they do, it's usually just a 1 level dip, and it's often to get into a prestige class.


apparently unchained monk isn't legal with most if not all classic monk archetypes, so im not sure if scaled fist would even be workable. :/


Scaled fist was made to work with both versions of the monk. You're in the clear on that one.


Hi, not to butt in or anything but does the scaled fist's dragon style attack function with effects to use dexterity instead of strength for hit and damage?

If so, it might still be worth it for a defensive-leaning monk. My group is a bit short on front liners, and I wanted to try and make a movement denyer without being a boring shield wall. I thought running dexterity and finesse with combat expertise for lots of AoOs would let me trip people up. Literally. But I do still want to deal at least a bit of damage, and dragon style's multiplier would be great. It's like a power attack without the hit penalty. For only one hit per full attack, but at least it's free!


not sure about finessing dragon style, but the rest of it looks handy.

here's what im looking at so far.

Arshea Cultist Ifrit ChLv20

7Str/14(+2)Dex/11Con/10Int/7(-2)Wis/18(+2)Cha

1st Level Scaled Fist Unchained Monk
2nd Level Dual Cursed [Lame+?(Covetous maybe? immune to fatigue + fatigue penalty seems practical)] Lore Oracle
3rd-7th Levels Eldritch Scion Spell Dancer Magus
8th-13th Levels Mystery Cultist
14th-20th Probably Magus, but maybe Cultist

Ability Growths:

4th) +CHA
8th) +CHA
12th) +CHA
16th) +CHA
20th) +CHA

Racials: Desert Mirage, Efreeti Magic, Mostly Human, Wildfire Heart

Traits: Magical Knack (Magus), Adopted (Elf, able to take due to Mostly Human), Persuasive (Elf-only, Bonus from Adopted), Hedonistic (Drawback for 3rd Trait), Irrepressible (shore up bad will saves)

Feats:

1st Level) Racial Heritage (Elf) - to qualify for Spell Dancer Magus
3rd Level) Weapon Finesse (Unarmed) - strength dump part 1. needs agile amulet of fists for part 2.
5th Level) Combat Expertise - opportunity attacks to take advantage of dexterity
7th Level) Celestial Devotion - can prestige next level
9th Level) Favored Prestige Class (Mystery Cultist) - feat tax for prestigious, but a good one imo.
11th Level) Prestigious Spellcaster (Mystery Cultist) - cuts out the dead level of caster progression, preserving spell levels.
13th Level) Leadership - high charisma = better minions. plus i can use them as devotion fodder as long as they're willing. which, with super high charisma and diplomacy, they all but certainly will be.)
15th Level) ?
17th Level) ?
19th Level) ?


Ah, i meant Youthful Mischief as the Elf Trait, not Persuasive. i just caught that. my mistake.

it also doesnt account for bloodline, arcana, bonus feats, or spell selection. i'll definitely be picking up a familiar, but im not sure if it will be from the bloodline or the arcana, or what the familiar will be, but im definitely getting one. theyre too useful not to if you have the option.

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