Advice with sword and board inquisitor


Advice


Hello, everyone.

My old character has died and won't be resurrected, so I'm preparing a new one to start the campaign (CotCT) at level 6. Group needs a tank and could use some divine magic, so after giving it a lot of thought I think I'm going for a sword and board dwarf inquisitor. Before I post my planned build to gather your feedback and criticism, let me explain the character creation rules in place for our campaign:

- Only Core rulebook and APG are allowed. No exceptions.
- No multiclass allowed except to apply for a prestige class and then to follow it. No other exceptions.
- Racial favored class bonuses giving extra spells to spontaneous casters are forbidden. No exceptions.
- Some other minor restrictions, like some forbidden feats and combos, but I don't think any of those affect my build.

So I'm thinking on a dwarf inquisitor of Abadar. I know other gods (like Sarenrae) might be mechanically more optimized, but I'm set on Abadar for RP reasons. I also want to go S&B because I want to be very tanky, so that's also decided. From there on, optimization is the priority.

My current build involves using a quickdraw shield and the quickdraw feat to be able do two-handed attacks (for those sweet strength and power attack extra damage bonuses) in my turn, but still have a shield between turns (I checked and this particular combo is allowed). I'll wield a one-handed weapon, so that I can also do AoO between turns (in this case, wielding the weapon in one hand). I plan on having non-magic weapon, shield and mithral full plate. Rod of extend lesser + magic vestment x 2 (shield and armor) + magic weapon would give me the magic bonuses that I need for the whole day, every day. Bead of Karma (from string of prayer beads) can be added to further improve all these bonuses every morning when casting those spells for the day. With this + steel soul + stalward, I think the tank part is covered.

Starting attributes and progression (20 point buy): STR 16, CON 14 (12+2), DEX 14, INT 10, WIS 16 (14+2), CHA 6 (8-2). All increases into STR.

Expected feat progression is
1: Heavy armor proficiency. 3: Quickdraw. 5: Power Attack. 7: Exotic weapon proficiency (falcata) 9: Combat Reflexes. 11: Improved critical (falcata). 13: Steel Soul.

For Teamwork bonus feats I'm thinking
3: Precise Strike. 6: Outflank. 9: Lookout. 12: Paired Opportunists.

Potential domains: Protection and Travel.

Group includes a ranger who also has the outflank feat.

Any thoughts? I can't decide if I should go for Falcata or Scimitar proficiency. Also not sure if that's the beast order for feat progression. And I would like love to hear trait suggestions!

Thanks in advance for your help!


I have a build for your consideration

My build multiclasses considerably, so that won't work for you, but you are talking about Sword-and-Board, but you want a 2 handed weapon: might I suggest Thunder and Fang? You get to wield an Earthbreaker in 1 hand and a Shield in the other.

I think you should take a look at Broken Wing Gambit instead of Outflank. Broken Wing Gambit is a more sensitive Attack of Opportunity trigger than Outflank. Actually, your whole party should just straight up take it. If you take BWG, you will get an Attack of Opportunity whenever you are attacked. If more of your party takes it, all of you get Attacks of Opportunity whenever any of you are attacked!

Meanwhile Outflank only triggers on Crits, and your falcata only Threatens 10% of the time (19-20). Plus, I'm pretty sure you don't get the AoO, only you Ally does. I know BWG also says "your ally," but there was an FAQ that specifically says "your ally" means "you and your ally." But Outflank has additional wording that complicates this that BWG doesn't.

Another thing my character uses is the combination of Shield Slam, Greater Bull Rush, and Paired Opportunist. Shield Slam gives free Bull Rushes, GBR gives AoOs whenever you Bull Rush someone, and Paired Opportunist lets you have one, too. If you achieve flanking as much as you hoped to with Outflank, you might take your Attack of Opportunity with your Shield, looping AoOs for as long as your and the Rogues Combat Reflexes hold out. The Shield won't do much damage on it's own, so that's what you'd put Bane on.

I think Falcata is overrated. Personally, I don't like Critting as much as I like just getting the damage up front. Rather than fight with a Falcata, why not just use a Dwarven War Axe. You're a Dwarf: you are already proficient in it: save yourself a Feat. the DWA is like a Bastard Sword, but it's an Axe.

I'm not sure about your allowed-books rule, and if my suggestions follow them. I hope you find my suggestions useful.


A dwarf treats a waraxe as martial so the inquisitor is not proficient. I’d go with the battle axe to get a slashing option (to complement the spiked shield).


Broken wing gambit is great, but it's not in Core + APG. Outflank triggers on crit, and then my ally gets AoO, but then I also get AoO with paired opportunists. That's also quite good, but it's the reason why a high crit range is so important in this build, and why I'm having trouble deciding between falcata and scimitar (with improved critical, their crit range would be 17-20 or 15-20, respectively, but with Falcata criting x3). I can't use Dwarven War Axe one handed, but in any case the low crit range makes weapons dwarfs are proficient with less desirable than usual.

Shield slam with Greater Bull Rush and paired opportunists is a great combo I hadn't thought about! But these kinds of S&B TWF builds are way too feat intensive for an inquisitor without multiclassing (they can't even use a shield as a weapon since it's martial). I thought about Quickdraw feat with two handed attacks because it's equally tanky and still kind of competitive in damage, without needing so many resources (and keeps just one weapon candidate for bane).


Nadlor wrote:
I'm having trouble deciding between falcata and scimitar (with improved critical, their crit range would be 17-20 or 15-20, respectively, but with Falcata criting x3).

Between the 2, I'd say scimitar. Between that, Outflank, and Paired Opportunist, scimitar will give you more attacks.

Since you are thinking about a 2 handed weapon, Quickdraw, & a Quickdraw Shield, and you are also thinking about an Exotic Weapon, take a look at the Elven Curved Blade. Also Crits on a 18-20, but does 1d10. It's a good thing to make Attacks of Opportunity with.

Nadlor wrote:
Shield slam with Greater Bull Rush and paired opportunists is a great combo I hadn't thought about! But these kinds of S&B TWF builds are way too feat intensive for an inquisitor

You could do it if you were a Ranger instead of an Inquisitor. Lead Blades+Dwarven War Axe would make your DWA do 2d8 instead of 1d10--quite powerful. You might also dip into the Living Monolith Prestige Class--you said that multicalssing for Prestige Classes was okay in your campaign--which would let you Enlarge and let your 'Axe do 3d8: Pretty good.


weapon and shield is a poor path fomr a inquisitor.
it's a GREAT one for a slayer or ranger.

Inquisitor need 1 hand to cast spells, they lack bonus feats, they need STr and WIS so no room for TWF requirements.

they value 1, bigger the better weapon or 1 super Crit range weapon.


666bender wrote:

weapon and shield is a poor path fomr a inquisitor.

it's a GREAT one for a slayer or ranger.

Inquisitor need 1 hand to cast spells, they lack bonus feats, they need STr and WIS so no room for TWF requirements.

they value 1, bigger the better weapon or 1 super Crit range weapon.

I tend to agree, but with quickdraw+quickdraw shield I can always wield a high crit range weapon two handed during my turns, so it's practically the same as a two-handed weapon build. The only difference between scimitar and, say, elven curve blade or falchion is around 1 point of base damage, which is negligible. Additionally, there's no problem with getting a free hand to cast spells.

I'll admit damage difference gets higher in opportunity attacks, since outside of my turn I will wield the weapon in only one hand because I will also don the shield (this is also why two-handed weapons are not compatible with this build). But in exchange I can have a much higher AC and therefore tank better. Seems a reasonable deal (not clearly better, but arguably not really worse either).

So I want a S&B build that functions practically like a two handed weapon build. I agree a TWF S&B build is not an easy option for an inquisitor, but that's not what I'm pursuing here.

Or am I missing something?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

If you're concerned about having your hands full and casting in combat, don't be. Maybe allow a buff spell in the first round of combat, but then focus on Bane and Judgments. You can plan to use your spells for utility like exploration and social interactions outside of combat.

One thing to consider is the number of swift actions your build will be using. Is switching between using a shield and wielding 2-handed a free action or a swift action?

Getting lots of AoOs while Bane is up is a big damage multiplier.


Nadlor wrote:
666bender wrote:

weapon and shield is a poor path fomr a inquisitor.

it's a GREAT one for a slayer or ranger.

Inquisitor need 1 hand to cast spells, they lack bonus feats, they need STr and WIS so no room for TWF requirements.

they value 1, bigger the better weapon or 1 super Crit range weapon.

I tend to agree, but with quickdraw+quickdraw shield I can always wield a high crit range weapon two handed during my turns, so it's practically the same as a two-handed weapon build. The only difference between scimitar and, say, elven curve blade or falchion is around 1 point of base damage, which is negligible. Additionally, there's no problem with getting a free hand to cast spells.

I'll admit damage difference gets higher in opportunity attacks, since outside of my turn I will wield the weapon in only one hand because I will also don the shield (this is also why two-handed weapons are not compatible with this build). But in exchange I can have a much higher AC and therefore tank better. Seems a reasonable deal (not clearly better, but arguably not really worse either).

So I want a S&B build that functions practically like a two handed weapon build. I agree a TWF S&B build is not an easy option for an inquisitor, but that's not what I'm pursuing here.

Or am I missing something?

I think 666 was at least partially addressing my advice to take Thunder and Fang, Dwarven War Axe and Shield, or be a Ranger instead of an Inquisitor so you could do those things better. You yourself were talking about using a Shield, but only a Quickdraw Shield that you would put away for hitting people then pull out when you finished making your attacks. I suppose it's also possible that he was confused about how exactly you intended to use your Shield.

The difference between Scimitar and Falchion: Scimitar does 1d6, so 3.5hp on average, and a Falchion does 2d4, so 5. That is a difference of 1.5. The Elven Curved Blade gives you a clean +2 over a scimitar: it does 1d10 for 5.5 damage on average. Is it worthwhile to hustle to get an extra +2? Most players think so. That's like taking Weapon Specialization, only you can't take Weapon Specialization as an Inquisitor. On the other hand, the difference between Falchion and Elven Curved Blade is only 0.5 damage. Maybe you should save the Feat and just use a Falchion unless you can't find a better use for your Feat. I'd certainly recommend Elven Curved Blade over Falcata: my advice comes from the fact that you are spending the Feat on an Exotic Weapon anyway.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:


The difference between Scimitar and Falchion: Scimitar does 1d6, so 3.5hp on average, and a Falchion does 2d4, so 5. That is a difference of 1.5. The Elven Curved Blade gives you a clean +2 over a scimitar

Ah, I thought ECB was 1d8, my bad.

If I use a two-handed weapon I won't be able to use it to do Opportunity Attacks, though. With the Quickdraw feat, both to don and to put away the shield are free actions, so I can put the shield away just before attacking and don it when I'm finished attacking. That means for the rest of the round the shield is on, and therefore I can't wield a two-handed weapon (I could just carry it in one hand, but not use it to attack). This is why I want to use a one-handed weapon: I'll wield it two-handed in my regular attacks (in my turn) and I'll still be able to wield it one-handed the rest of the round (for opportunity attacks).

I lose some damage and gain substantial AC (with magic vestment + karma bead, having the shield up is an extra 5 to AC at level 12). It's up to debate if it's worth it or not, but if I want to tank I think it it's not a bad deal.

Of course, I agree slayer or ranger (or fighter, for that matter) would be the right classes to properly build a TWF S&B character. It's because I want to play a tanky inquisitor (the other two melee characters are more striker-like and not too tough) that I have to settle for this middle ground where I'm basically a two-handed build (which only needs power attack) but with a shield and a one-handed weapon.


Nadlor wrote:
If I use a two-handed weapon I won't be able to use it to do Opportunity Attacks

Sure you will, at least you will with the attacks you are anticipating through Outflank and Paired Opportunist.

Nadlor wrote:
With the Quickdraw feat, both to don and to put away the shield are free actions, so I can put the shield away just before attacking and don it when I'm finished attacking. That means for the rest of the round the shield is on, and therefore I can't wield a two-handed weapon (I could just carry it in one hand, but not use it to attack). This is why I want to use a one-handed weapon: I'll wield it two-handed in my regular attacks (in my turn) and I'll still be able to wield it one-handed the rest of the round (for opportunity attacks).

Ah, but with your build, your Attacks of Opportunity trigger off of the Critical Hits you get, and you can only be getting those Crits while you are making your regular attacks, which means that any of those times you would be getting your Crits, you are already 2-handed wielding your Elven Curved Blade or Falchion. If you were using Broken Wing Gambit like I suggested but you can't take because your GM is disallowing the book it comes in, THEN you would need to be using a 1 handed weapon if you were using a Shield! With your 2 handed super-critting weapon, you are in business!

I think you would benefit from being able to squeeze in a Feat like Great Cleave: The more attacks you get, the more crits you get, and the more attacks of opportunity you get. I was thinking an ideal Crit-fishing character would be a Warpriest using 2 Kukris. Kukris also crit on an 18-20, but they only do 1d4, but they wouldn't do 1d4 when a Warpriest uses them: They'd do Warpriest Sacred Weapon Damage: 1d6 at level 1 and going up as the Warpriest gains levels. But you can't play a Warpriest, and I don't think you can use Kukris :(


This is a small thing compared to the rest of the build, but since youre playing a dwarf, you dont need mithral full plate. Also, I really like the travel domain for the extra fun movement stuff.


Having played a similar build myself (half orc instead of dwarf, but should still apply), I fully recommend the shield dancer setup.

I would personally push heavy armor proff back to 9, or even not take it at all. You've got the right idea with extend rods and magic vestment, and a breastplate is still +6 to ac vs +9 (max dex 1) for full plate.

Teamwork feats I recommend (and remember you can swap out the last one you've acquired fairly easily) include outflank, precise strike, escape route, and stealth synergy. I don't think Broken Wing Gambit works with solo tactics, as your allies don't have the feat themselves.

Travel domain (and exploration subdomain, which is what I used) is way better than protection. That move-action not-quite-dim-door is amazing for setting up flanking positions.


pocsaclypse wrote:
This is a small thing compared to the rest of the build, but since youre playing a dwarf, you dont need mithral full plate. Also, I really like the travel domain for the extra fun movement stuff.

I missed that he was going to give himself Mithril Full Plate. If the GM puts a suit of MFP into the dungeon to be found, then by all means take the Feat to use it, otherwise, it is prohibitively expensive. It just makes much more sense to invest capital into your Agile Breastplate and other forms of protection. Frankly, the only characters I ever saw that had Mithril Full Plate were GM's characters.

Feel out your GM. Few things make my skin crawl more than that wicked gleam in the GM's eye when he asks, "Are you sleeping in your Armor?" If you sleep in Medium or Heavy Armor, you wake up Fatigued. If you take your armor off, you WILL get Wandering Monsters, and donning Heavy Armor takes minutes, and by then your party will be TPK'd waiting for you to pull up your pants. So if you depend upon Heavy Armor that you can't sleep in, you will be fighting Wandering Monsters in your underwear.

My character build I linked to addresses this problem with a 1 level dip in Paladin, allowing him to use a Wand of Swift Girding, which will allow him to dress as a Standard Action, but this option is not open to the OP. Still another way to deal with this is to take the Endurance Feat which allows you to sleep in Medium Armor. Mithril Full Plate is Medium Armor. That's the reason a Dwarf would need Mithril Full Plate: pajamas. A Mithril Agile Breastplate is Light Armor, so there would be no need to take the Endurance Feat.


Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
I don't think Broken Wing Gambit works with solo tactics, as your allies don't have the feat themselves.

I am 100% certain that the rules-as-written do say that Broken Wing Gambit will work even without Solo Tactics whether or not the character's allies have the Feat. My advice is carefully considered vis a vis what the rules say, and in this particular case, it has been vetted with this community and withstood severe scrutiny.

The reason why the OP should not take Broken Wing Gambit is that his GM is only allowing certain rules books for character building, and BWG is not in those books.

Because the OP has stated that for his reason he will definitely not be taking Broken Wing Gambit, it is inappropriate for us to debate here whether or not it is legal. I welcome debate on this topic in principle, so if you want to link to another thread or PM me, we can continue the debate in another place.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:

Sure you will, at least you will with the attacks you are anticipating through Outflank and Paired Opportunist.

Well, I've thinking about the build for days and that didn't cross my mind no matter how many times I envisioned getting opportunity attacks through my own crits LOL.

I'm so used to assuming AoO are outside of my turn, so thanks a lot for that. Actually I'm much happier now about going the two-handed route instead of TWF. Besides the lack of feats, now that I'm fully aware that the extra two-handed damage from STR and PA will apply not only in my regular attacks but also in most of my AoO, I'm more convinced about the viability of the build damage-wise.

Now I have to think if 2 extra points of damage (elven curve blade vs scimitar) are worth not being able to do "regular" opportunity attacks outside of my turn (especially considering there's a ranger in my group who also has outflank). But these are just details. :)

pocsaclypse wrote:
This is a small thing compared to the rest of the build, but since youre playing a dwarf, you dont need mithral full plate.

Mithral is useful because I need light or medium armor for Stalwart (level 11 inquisitor trait), and because with 14 DEX and (hopefully) a +2 DEX ioun stone I can have a +3 DEX bonus to AC. 16 DEX is as far as I'll be able to go, so best to squeeze everything out of it.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:

Few things make my skin crawl more than that wicked gleam in the GM's eye when he asks, "Are you sleeping in your Armor?" If you sleep in Medium or Heavy Armor, you wake up Fatigued.

This is a drawback for sure. I'm thinking, as a possible alternative, going human for more STR (with less WIS), an extra feat (or two, since steel soul won't be an option), and the Hearth of the Fields trait, which replaces skilled and allows me to ignore an effect that would cause me to become fatigued once per day. The loss of +4 to all saves against spells surely hurts and has the potential to affect my tankiness, but it seems an interesting alternative nevertheless.

Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:


Travel domain (and exploration subdomain, which is what I used) is way better than protection. That move-action not-quite-dim-door is amazing for setting up flanking positions.

That seems to be the general consensum and I tend to agree, so Travel it is!

This gave me a lot of tips, many thanks to everyone for their contributions. Also, please feel free to discuss other options with less DM-dependent restrictions. It's always interesting to get ideas for future builds in other games :D


Even if you are getting AoOs on your own turn, there are tactical advantages to threatening the whole round. Remember, as a tank you need to actually protect your squishy friends. If you aren't actively threatening there's nothing stopping an intelligent enemy from walking past you to stab the wizard. Prone enemies won't hesitate to stand. Casters gonna cast in your face, archers gonna arch.

It sounds like you can just choose to not don the shield in those situations, but then you could make the wrong call or forget to shift stances.

Grand Lodge

As for sleeping in armor just buy a wand of keep watch or learn the spell.


Grandlounge wrote:
As for sleeping in armor just buy a wand of keep watch or learn the spell.

Or maybe a Wand of Bed of Iron?


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Grandlounge wrote:
As for sleeping in armor just buy a wand of keep watch or learn the spell.
Or maybe a Wand of Bed of Iron?

or the comfort enchangment


Neither Comfort, or the similar Restful, are rules legal to the OP. One is in the Society Field Guide and the other in the ACG.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Even if you are getting AoOs on your own turn, there are tactical advantages to threatening the whole round.

Yes, I think I'd rather threaten out of turn and lose 2 points of damage per attack than go for an actual two-handed weapon.

River of Sticks wrote:
Neither Comfort, or the similar Restful, are rules legal to the OP. One is in the Society Field Guide and the other in the ACG.

Yes, and same with Bed of Iron. It's a shame, because those were all very simple, efficient solutions to the problem. I'm thinking that, if all sources were allowed, Hellknight Plate + Mithral + Restful + Armor Expert trait would even save me the Heavy Armor Proficiency feat. Ah, well! It is what it is.


If your GM is the sort to pay attention to rules like Sleeping in your Armor and the time required to don and doff your armor, I recommend you just wear a Chain Shirt or take the Endurance Feat and wear an Agile Breastplate. An Armored Coat is worth a look, and so is an Armored Kilt.

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