Best buffer in the game


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Is there a class better than the Alchemist for buffing allies? We aren't talking self-buffs here. Just simply put buffing allies.

Shadow Lodge

The obvious class would be bard. The next step up would be a Bard/Cavalier/Battle Herald.

Grand Lodge

Dragonborn3 wrote:
The obvious class would be bard. The next step up would be a Bard/Cavalier/Battle Herald.

At what level would you recommend switching from Bard to Cavalier?


The Cavalier/Bard/Battle Herald with Flagbearer, probably.


This might help. It hasn't been updated for a while, but still.


Looked into bard, still seems runner-up to alchemist do you agree?


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Evangelist archetype cleric would be up there. Bardic performance and full casting from the best list for buffing with. Variant channeling might be worth a feat or two also if you want to (over-)specialise.

An oracle with the succor mystery, any of several varieties of bard, or even the summoner from the APG ('chained') are pretty good too; I don't know which is best. Then there's a large variety who can do one aspect of buffing very well - your alchemist would be one of those.

Edit: & no, the action economy is terrible for using an alchemist to buff the party, and they don't really have enough extracts.


avr wrote:

Evangelist archetype cleric would be up there. Bardic performance and full casting from the best list for buffing with. Variant channeling might be worth a feat or two also if you want to (over-)specialise.

An oracle with the succor mystery, any of several varieties of bard, or even the summoner from the APG ('chained') are pretty good too; I don't know which is best. Then there's a large variety who can do one aspect of buffing very well - your alchemist would be one of those.

Edit: & no, the action economy is terrible for using an alchemist to buff the party, and they don't really have enough extracts.

Hmm I see, haven't looked into those classes will do. Alchemical allocation is just a beast. He has quite a few extracts at his current level. He has 7 level one extracts, 6 level two extracts, 6 level 3 extracts and 4 level three extracts. These extracts are, Barkskin +5, Magic Circle against evil, shield of faith +4,Shield, Channel Vigor and Displacement (these are very short duration buffs). So that's a total of +13 AC (+15AC against evil). Displacement and Channel Vigor is an infusion so it does take there standard action. So 11mins on Shield, Shield of Faith. This is what he uses on his front liners, so freedom of movement etc he doesn't use on them.


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Atalius wrote:
Hmm I see, haven't looked into those classes will do. Alchemical allocation is just a beast. He has quite a few extracts at his current level. He has 7 level one extracts, 6 level two extracts, 6 level 3 extracts and 4 level three extracts. These extracts are, Barkskin +5, Magic Circle against evil, shield of faith +4,Shield, Channel Vigor and Displacement (these are very short duration buffs). So that's a total of +13 AC (+15AC against evil). Displacement and Channel Vigor is an infusion so it does take there standard action. So 11mins on Shield, Shield of Faith. This is what he uses on his front liners, so freedom of movement etc he doesn't use on them.

Alchemical allocation is indeed very good with decent potions. But the rest?

Applying channel vigor and displacement to himself is two standard actions. If two frontliners each use channel vigor and displacement that's two of their standard actions gone. It should be fairly rare to have that much time free right before a fight, and spending that many actions in a fight seems wildly impractical. Magic circle and shield of faith are both deflection bonuses so won't stack for the AC, though the non-AC parts of magic circle will work.

In the event that he & others do get to apply all the short term buffs then he's out of high-level extracts and can't do that again.

Compare to an evangelist cleric. A cleric with 24 wisdom at level 11 has 2 6th, 3 5th, 4 4th, 6 3rd, 6 2nd & 6 1st level spells, plus a domain slot at each level. At the start of most fights they will probably use bardic performance (move action), blessing of fervor (standard action) and maybe a quickened 1st-2nd level spell (swift action), all in the same round. They can cast magic vestment, magic circle and greater magic weapon in advance without any difficulty; and 11 minute buffs include bless, shield of faith and maybe weapon of awe, aid or a +4 enhancement to an ability spell. This is before looking at domain spells and powers.


Legendary


Spell warrior skald.

It lets you get to the DR penetrating points of weapon enchantments on demand as well as offering a host of useful situational upgrades. I personally find it the most powerful buffer simply for the DR penetration alone, but the versatility of the enchantments you can give and the fact that the people benefiting get rage powers without any of rages normal restrictions or drawbacks just cements it.


Drakaar wrote:
Dragonborn3 wrote:
The obvious class would be bard. The next step up would be a Bard/Cavalier/Battle Herald.
At what level would you recommend switching from Bard to Cavalier?

One thing I've been itching to try is Flame Dancer Bard. I'm thinking that if you take 3 levels in Flame Dancer Bard, you can give your whole party the ability to see through Fire and Smoke. So then you acquire an Eversmoking Bottle, which will make everyone Blind within a 20' radius, except for your party because you are Flame Dancing for them!

I'm thinking this would be especially effective in Pathfinder Society. A GM running his own campaign would change the encounters. For some strange reason all the moonsters an NPC badguys you are facing all have Scent and Blind fighting--go figure.

But PFS GMs are stuck with the module they're running, and while some of the monsters can function while Blinded, most dont', and PFS GMs aren't allowed to change the encounters to adapt.


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Wait wait wait...how do you see alchemists as buffers?

They can't really buff until they get the infusion discovery and their are many spells that don't make sense on the list to be able to made into an extract or only affect one person when they would normally affect multiples.

Alchemist are good at self buffing, bad at buffing the party.

Most full spell casting classes are going to be better party buffers than alchemists.

However, bards are the go to for party buffing (especially for martial characters).


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I agree with what's said above, Alchemists don't make for good buffers. They have great spells, but they're limited to you for a reason: they don't have the spells per day to keep everyone topped off. If you want to buff others, go for Cleric or Bard, who can target multiple people at once, or have class-specific buff abilities.

Also, Scott Wilhelm: please don't do that in PFS. Yeah, it's fun to incapacitate your enemies, but if you rely on the same tactic, you remove all challenge from the combats, as well as frustrate your GM.


If we can include 3rd party material, I find it hard to argue with Dreamscarred Press's Vitalist.


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Claxon wrote:

Wait wait wait...how do you see alchemists as buffers?

They can't really buff until they get the infusion discovery and their are many spells that don't make sense on the list to be able to made into an extract or only affect one person when they would normally affect multiples.

Alchemist are good at self buffing, bad at buffing the party.

Most full spell casting classes are going to be better party buffers than alchemists.

However, bards are the go to for party buffing (especially for martial characters).

The Alchemist has to take Infusion, but most Alchemal Extracts are lovely things to put on your allies. I guess the typical mechanic for a Buffing Alchemist would be to give Infusions out to party members for them to Buff themselves. In a lot of cases, the Alchemist would need to use Touch Injection. An Alchemist with the Alchemal Allocation Exttract basically has on his spell lists every spell of every class from levels 1-3 that can be made in Potion form. With Infusion and Alchemal Allocation, all of the party's potions become renewable.

I'm not sure exactly how well any of these ideas work in game time, but they do sound cool.


The Alchemist would be good with a party of Superstitious Invulnerable Ragers that all have the accelerated drinker trait... But your potions still take actions... Action economy is often the decider of fate on the battlefield.


Exactly what Scott said. Our alchemist buffs the party very nicely, it is quite effective. The vast majority with the exception of a couple I listed above (displacement and channel vigor) are taken before any combat begins. He's able to use 'you' only spells to buff allies.

Grand Lodge

The problem with the alchemist is that if a spell does not have 10min/level or greater duration giving them out means wasting a standard in combat. For many classes it is a bad trade.

Evangilist cleric with the heroism domain is amazing.

Skalds are amazing.Community minded so caster can cast when they want and keep the stat buffs. Multiple stat increase, multiple rage powers, fast healing, dr and the class has access to haste and good hope. You can reckless rage and inspired ferocity to buff even further.

Guiding blade 1 freebooter X is a great buffer with really solid action economy.


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As soon as Atalius mentioned the ability to use "you" only spells on allies, I thought of the brown fur brown fur transmuter arcanist. I doubt this would be the best buffer in the game, but I'm sure it'd have potential to be quite strong.


The Bard buffing technique I've seen most often (from level 7 or so) is to cast Good Hope in advance where possible, then on the first round of combat cast Haste, and begin Inspire Courage as a move action. So in the first round of combat you can give your party +5 to hit, +4 damage, +2 to saves (extra +1 to Reflex), +1 AC, +30 feet movement, and an extra attack.

That's a fairly high standard for other buffers to beat.


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Atalius wrote:
Looked into bard, still seems runner-up to alchemist do you agree?

I would not.

Let's look at it this way. Haste. Pretty good spell huh? Everyone likes it? Cool.

Bard casts it on his party of 5. Costs a spell.

Alchemists casts it on his party of 5. How much that cost?

Alchemists are so far behind bards for buffing it isn't even close, and that's after paying the tax to even try.

Shadow Lodge

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I wouldn't say alchemists are bad buffers, but I would say it's a secondary role for them.

Handing out personal-range buffs is a nice trick, and it can be easier to hand everyone an infusion to drink the round before combat than to cast four separate short-duration spells. But the lack of group buffs is a pain, inability to buff as less than a standard action holds them back at high levels, and they only have 6 levels of spells to buff with - no bardic music to supplement.

They're at their best if you have one or two big fights a day and a round or two to prep before kicking in the door.

Grand Lodge

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Bards also have saving finale which is a huge boon that is not easily replicated even by the evangelist. Rolling twice is a general boost 4.5 when used retroactively it can be higher if you know the roll was a 2 a reroll provides a + 8.5 average compared to the initial 2.

Evangelist have more spells than bards even with haste vs blessing of fervor they are acquired at the same level so cleric and bards have an equal number of these resources, but the cleric has more other spells and greater spell access overall.

What the bard gets is some great bard only spells like good hope, finale spells, and early access to heroism. The heroism domain fixes this to an extent and give the Evangelist better action economy by getting what is essentially quickened mass heroism.

Skald are bards that provide way more benefits often to fewer people but if a table is smart and community minded is used almost everybody can be benefit from 2 or 3 better saves, more str (somethings drain str which is bad for the wizard), more hp and fast healing especially as the song is auto accepted when PCs go unconscious.

Where alchemist lack is action economy, no quickened spell, no immediate action spells, limited mass buffing, 6/9 casting means fewer buffs and slower access compared to a cleric.

Then consider stack-ability. On the well built cleric you can find morale to str and att, luck, sacred str and attack, size, and untyped. Bards can do similar things. Alchemist can but it is much harder to do it efficiently.

With all that said alchemist can buff if very unique ways giving out polymorph spells earlier than anyother class, providing shield to the the TWF or THF characters, sharing see invis, etc. For pre-buffing infusions are virtually silent and have no manifestations. Casting behind a door is much more likely to give away your position.


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Ok so what you described as an alchemist buffer is in no way an actual buffer. Wizards, sorcerers, druids, shamans all have those spells and they're a cornerstone of the pathfinder buff economy.

The bard is the undisputed champion of buffing.

In my age of worms campaign we have a host of varied buffs from spells (barkskin, circle of protection vs evil, etc) but the main part of buffing comes from when our flagbearer bard throws down her contingency (finger snapping) to conjure up a shadow bard and then does inspire greatness+inspire courage +haste+brilliant inspiration.

This gives +10 to attack +9 to damage +4 saves +4 AC and roll twice keep best on attacks (with a crit range of 15-20 on the apally)

Alchemists just cant keep up with that, their buffs are just spells, everyone and their mom has spells.


AlastarOG wrote:

Ok so what you described as an alchemist buffer is in no way an actual buffer. Wizards, sorcerers, druids, shamans all have those spells and they're a cornerstone of the pathfinder buff economy.

The bard is the undisputed champion of buffing.

In my age of worms campaign we have a host of varied buffs from spells (barkskin, circle of protection vs evil, etc) but the main part of buffing comes from when our flagbearer bard throws down her contingency (finger snapping) to conjure up a shadow bard and then does inspire greatness+inspire courage +haste+brilliant inspiration.

This gives +10 to attack +9 to damage +4 saves +4 AC and roll twice keep best on attacks (with a crit range of 15-20 on the apally)

Alchemists just cant keep up with that, their buffs are just spells, everyone and their mom has spells.

This is very impressive. What is the roll twice keep best on attacks ability, sounds like bit of luck but this is different.

Shadow Lodge

That's from Brilliant Inspiration, a special bard (and leadership domain) spell.


Uhh lvl 16? Pretty late


derpdidruid wrote:

Spell warrior skald.

It lets you get to the DR penetrating points of weapon enchantments on demand as well as offering a host of useful situational upgrades. I personally find it the most powerful buffer simply for the DR penetration alone, but the versatility of the enchantments you can give and the fact that the people benefiting get rage powers without any of rages normal restrictions or drawbacks just cements it.

And can get down right ridiculous with master performer and grandmaster performer feats from the faction guide.

You could probably even make the argument that the bonuses from rage powers would be affected by the master performer feat sinve they are possibly considered as "bonuses from inspire courage" and weapon song counts as such. That would give a hefty ammount of buffs to anyone.

Silver Crusade

AlastarOG wrote:

Ok so what you described as an alchemist buffer is in no way an actual buffer. Wizards, sorcerers, druids, shamans all have those spells and they're a cornerstone of the pathfinder buff economy.

The bard is the undisputed champion of buffing.

In my age of worms campaign we have a host of varied buffs from spells (barkskin, circle of protection vs evil, etc) but the main part of buffing comes from when our flagbearer bard throws down her contingency (finger snapping) to conjure up a shadow bard and then does inspire greatness+inspire courage +haste+brilliant inspiration.

This gives +10 to attack +9 to damage +4 saves +4 AC and roll twice keep best on attacks (with a crit range of 15-20 on the apally)

Alchemists just cant keep up with that, their buffs are just spells, everyone and their mom has spells.

Out of curiosity, how does a bard get access to contingency? And does shadow conjuration get to act instantly?

Grand Lodge

Could be a Studious Librarian. Shadowbard is its own spell. This is in the spell text.

Quote:
When a shadowbard comes into being, it immediately begins a bardic performance of your choice—it has access to all of the bardic performances that you do.


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Contingency is from a mnemonic vestment, which works great for utility and is very cheap.

Thanks grandlounge for the shadow bard.

And yeah that whole build is level 16 but early on with master performer, grand master performer, dervish sikhe and banner of the ancient king you're still pretty good, at level 7 you can inspire courage for around +5, +2 from flagbearer, and then haste. It's incredibly brutal.

Brilliant inspiration is a high level cherry on top of an awesome sundae.


Although an imperious bloodline sorcerer with the encouraging spell metamagic would be a strong contender as well.

And of course the Evangelist has access to a lot of very powerful buffs on top of inspire courage.

Grand Lodge

You can spend eldritch heritage feats to get imperious bloodline powers and it is amazing. Though it is late to come online. If you are playing to level 11 it's a strong choice.


AlastarOG wrote:

Ok so what you described as an alchemist buffer is in no way an actual buffer. Wizards, sorcerers, druids, shamans all have those spells and they're a cornerstone of the pathfinder buff economy.

The bard is the undisputed champion of buffing.

In my age of worms campaign we have a host of varied buffs from spells (barkskin, circle of protection vs evil, etc) but the main part of buffing comes from when our flagbearer bard throws down her contingency (finger snapping) to conjure up a shadow bard and then does inspire greatness+inspire courage +haste+brilliant inspiration.

This gives +10 to attack +9 to damage +4 saves +4 AC and roll twice keep best on attacks (with a crit range of 15-20 on the apally)

Alchemists just cant keep up with that, their buffs are just spells, everyone and their mom has spells.

This is so awesome. Shadowbard on Contingency is righteous. You are using Contingent Scroll to pull this off, right?


VoodistMonk wrote:
This is so awesome. Shadowbard on Contingency is righteous. You are using Contingent Scroll to pull this off, right?
AlastarOG wrote:
Contingency is from a mnemonic vestment, which works great for utility and is very cheap.

Grand Lodge

Not possible in most games.

"The spell must be on her spell list, the same spell level or lower than the expended spell slot, and the same type of spell (arcane or divine) as the spell slot expended."

Contingency is not a bard spells. Umd or the right archtypes can do it.


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I'd argue that the Stonesinger is up there when it comes to being a buffer for the party.

Not only does your regular Inspire Courage stuff with Master Performer + Flagbearer + Banner of the Ancient Kings + Dervish Sikke apply, but starting at level 1, you're giving all enemies within 30 feet (that's touching the ground, not exactly an uncommon occurrence) a -1 penalty to AC just by performing. This penalty keeps on scaling with Inspire Courage naturally, so at level 5, your Inspire Courage gives a +2 to attack / damage, and Tremor gives a -2 penalty to your opponents AC.

Hit level 8, and whenever you start a bardic performance, you're forcing a scaling reflex save for your enemies to save or fall prone. Since level 7, you've been doing this as a MOVE action.

So, not only does it give your allies the standard bonuses to hit, it also gives your enemies up to -8 AC depending on your level, and severely restricts their actions if they fail their reflex save. Not to mention, the 8th level ability seems good enough action-economy wise that it might even be advisable to stop performing and start performing every round, in order to lock your opponents in a prone position. It seems... remarkably strong.


^Stonesinger looks good enough to make a Dwarven Bard actually viable.

Shadow Lodge

Brown furred transmuter. +4 is nice, but when you can turn your barbarian into a dragon you've won on a whole new level.


Grandlounge wrote:

Not possible in most games.

"The spell must be on her spell list, the same spell level or lower than the expended spell slot, and the same type of spell (arcane or divine) as the spell slot expended."

Contingency is not a bard spells. Umd or the right archtypes can do it.

Yah our bard has +42 UMD it wasn't hard for her.

If that didn't work she does have contingent scroll. As a contingency for when contingency has been spent. How contingent?

And dammmmn stpnesinger bars seems awesome.

Brown fur transmuter is just insane I know. If you're going to be casting buff spells go that way. Although I'd argue that shape of the dragon isn't as strong as a well optimized bard (ideally you'd want both!)


Atalius wrote:
Looked into bard, still seems runner-up to alchemist do you agree?

Nope.

As already noted, bards can eventually start performance as a move or swift action, which means that they will be able to do that, and cast a spell, in one round.

Alchemists (respectively investigators) have some very good buffs, but they are all or almost all single target buffs. For an alchemist to cover the entire party, they must expend multiple slots and multiple rounds, which means it has to be done before the fight starts. The bard (or evangelist cleric for that matter) can also throw some spells before then, but can then follow up with a good suite of short-duration buffs (performance + haste is usually the staple) on round 1.

Silver Crusade

AlastarOG wrote:

Contingency is from a mnemonic vestment, which works great for utility and is very cheap.

Thanks grandlounge for the shadow bard.

And yeah that whole build is level 16 but early on with master performer, grand master performer, dervish sikhe and banner of the ancient king you're still pretty good, at level 7 you can inspire courage for around +5, +2 from flagbearer, and then haste. It's incredibly brutal.

Brilliant inspiration is a high level cherry on top of an awesome sundae.

Im still not sure how mnemonic vest comes into this. Contingency isnt on the bard list and the vest requires the spell to be on your spell list to work?


Trevor86 wrote:
AlastarOG wrote:

Contingency is from a mnemonic vestment, which works great for utility and is very cheap.

Thanks grandlounge for the shadow bard.

And yeah that whole build is level 16 but early on with master performer, grand master performer, dervish sikhe and banner of the ancient king you're still pretty good, at level 7 you can inspire courage for around +5, +2 from flagbearer, and then haste. It's incredibly brutal.

Brilliant inspiration is a high level cherry on top of an awesome sundae.

Im still not sure how mnemonic vest comes into this. Contingency isnt on the bard list and the vest requires the spell to be on your spell list to work?

That is a requirement bypass able by UMD. If that is not the ruling of your DM contingent scroll (the spell) can sub in.


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I don't know if I would say "best", but one of the more unique ones that I'm loving right now (as a monk guy) is a Sensei/Ki Mystic Monk. You get some really good Bardic Performances (Inspire Courage, Competence, and Greatness), and access to all of the feats and add-ons of having Bardic Performance as a result. The unique part is the ability to give people your ki-based powers while using your "performance". With Qiggong substitutions, this provides a lot of variety. The Sensei casts TrueStrike from a distance. Extra speed, gaseous form, dodge bonuses, barkskin, no-component restoration... anything you can do on yourself, you now do on others. Ki Mystic gets you more ki (more buffing!), plus the ability to distribute an extra +4 to a skill that stacks with Inspire Competence, or reroll an attack or save as an immediate action.

So that poison dart your partner succumbed to? Have them reroll that. Plus, you can reduce the cost of your bigger gun abilities (Ring of Ki Mastery). At level ten it goes into overdrive, as now things affect EVERY ally within 30'.

MASS RESTORATION! MASS +4 TO DODGE! YOU GET A TRUE STRIKE! YOU GET A TRUE STRIKE! EVERYONE GETS A TRUE STRIKE!

Again... I don't know about "best", but it is certainly unique.


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Grandlounge wrote:

Not possible in most games.

"The spell must be on her spell list, the same spell level or lower than the expended spell slot, and the same type of spell (arcane or divine) as the spell slot expended."

Contingency is not a bard spells. Umd or the right archtypes can do it.

It's also not legal because "The spell to be brought into effect by the contingency must be one that affects your person." Shadowbard doesn't effect the caster.


Ah well s@#% then. I'll tell the DM and we'll contingency virtuoso performance instead.


JAMRenaissance wrote:

I don't know if I would say "best", but one of the more unique ones that I'm loving right now (as a monk guy) is a Sensei/Ki Mystic Monk. You get some really good Bardic Performances (Inspire Courage, Competence, and Greatness), and access to all of the feats and add-ons of having Bardic Performance as a result. The unique part is the ability to give people your ki-based powers while using your "performance". With Qiggong substitutions, this provides a lot of variety. The Sensei casts TrueStrike from a distance. Extra speed, gaseous form, dodge bonuses, barkskin, no-component restoration... anything you can do on yourself, you now do on others. Ki Mystic gets you more ki (more buffing!), plus the ability to distribute an extra +4 to a skill that stacks with Inspire Competence, or reroll an attack or save as an immediate action.

So that poison dart your partner succumbed to? Have them reroll that. Plus, you can reduce the cost of your bigger gun abilities (Ring of Ki Mastery). At level ten it goes into overdrive, as now things affect EVERY ally within 30'.

MASS RESTORATION! MASS +4 TO DODGE! YOU GET A TRUE STRIKE! YOU GET A TRUE STRIKE! EVERYONE GETS A TRUE STRIKE!

Again... I don't know about "best", but it is certainly unique.

I freaking love this. I'll write it down.


Drunken master/sensei gets infinite party wide ki powers


derpdidruid wrote:
Drunken master/sensei gets infinite party wide ki powers

I really need to examine this further...

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