Let's build a vampire: Investigator Grappler


Advice


Greetings adventures!

My group with whom I am traveling have been traveling has been send on a quest to save a small island from a spreading plague of undead. When you read this, I have already perished (fell of the ship that got attacked by a zombie whale...).
But my spirit is strong and willing to live once again.

I talked to my DM and he liked my idea of actually playing a "vampire", a Dhampir. I like the classic image of the Keen old vampire who always has a trick up his sleeve and is very knowledgeable (knowledge comes with age right). Also I like the "Bad guy gone Good but is still struggling with the new lifestyle" idea.

I want to play a Dhampir who focussed on grappling and biting people with his fangs. I would like to use blood transcription as a major flavor spell to fill his formula book.I have been looking around for investigator grapple build, but without any luck. Could you guys help me out a bit? It's also the first time I try the investigator class.

I want to grapple and make use of a bite attack during this grapple. Hence my DM let me use blood transcription with spell-like abilities, I would like to play a class with a spell/formula book (Investigator not a must but I like the idea of the class). I like the idea of precision damage like sneak attack, studied strike and Coup de Grace, so utilizing one of these is important to me. I am oke with multiclassing, bit would like to have my build only before or at level 5. He doesn't have to be insanely optimized, but I do want him to be useful in and out of combat. We use a 21 point buy system, no 3rd party aloud. Oh minor detail: we use the wounds and vigor system (controversial I know, but we really like it as it).

If you guys could help me with the build, just give me some suggestions, or even help me with the roleplay aspect of this character that would be great.


You could go with the Dirty Fighting(or Combat Expertise), Improved Grapple, Throat Slice and Greater Grapple feats. I, myself, have always wanted to try this out. Though I don't know whether Throat Slice is PFS legal or not, if that matters.

Grand Lodge

I have a grapple investigator. He is human but the build may help.

Blood conduit (urban if you want) bloodrager 1 (extra rage, power attack, improved grapple archetype bonus feat).

Every other level is bonded investigator. Have a bat familair (Flying Fox) become an imp at 8.

3-Falayna celestial obedience
4-Mutagen
5-Extra investigator talent - quick study
6-Expaned inspiration
7-Dirty Fighting
9-Greater Grapple

Use polymorph extracts, resinous skin, heroism.

Your familair can benifit from your extracts. So it can polymorph and do damage while you grapple. An imp even has martial weapon proficency.

2 sets of rolls of the skills your trained in. So your good out of combat.

Dirty fighting + menacing weapon on the familiar is +6 from flanking to your cmb.

The build has huge bonuses to cmb but fewer to cmd so watch that.

Three modes:

1) Grappler with melee familair (shield companion)
2) Two attacker flanking buddy (shield companion).
3) melee/grappler with support familiar (umd and prisoners gloves), ioun stone.


Shady Stranger wrote:
You could go with the Dirty Fighting(or Combat Expertise), Improved Grapple, Throat Slice and Greater Grapple feats. I, myself, have always wanted to try this out. Though I don't know whether Throat Slice is PFS legal or not, if that matters.

Dirty fighting is a nifty little feat! Very useful for the feat starved investigator! Although (and this is my bad I should have mentioned it), we are also using armor as DR. Which makes Combat Expertise an insanely good feat.

Throat Slicer is the perfect feat for this build, theme-wise and also mechanically. Sneaking up behind some foolish enemy: Grab, Pin, round 2: dead. I am lucky I am playing a homebrew game, so no worries for PFS legal state.

Grandlounge wrote:

I have a grapple investigator. He is human but the build may help.

Blood conduit (urban if you want) bloodrager 1 (extra rage, power attack, improved grapple archetype bonus feat).

Every other level is bonded investigator. Have a bat familair (Flying Fox) become an imp at 8.

3-Falayna celestial obedience
4-Mutagen
5-Extra investigator talent - quick study
6-Expaned inspiration
7-Dirty Fighting
9-Greater Grapple

Use polymorph extracts, resinous skin, heroism.

Your familair can benifit from your extracts. So it can polymorph and do damage while you grapple. An imp even has martial weapon proficency.

2 sets of rolls of the skills your trained in. So your good out of combat.

Dirty fighting + menacing weapon on the familiar is +6 from flanking to your cmb.

The build has huge bonuses to cmb but fewer to cmd so watch that.

Three modes:

1) Grappler with melee familair (shield companion)
2) Two attacker flanking buddy (shield companion).
3) melee/grappler with support familiar (umd and prisoners gloves), ioun stone.

Bloodconduit really suits the character. Especially Urban Bloodconduit. The pure calm before the controlled fury of grapple and attacks. The medium armor is also really welcome and the undead bloodline is just a must if you are going to play a vampire dhampir.

I never really looked into celestial obedience. I found it a lot of hassle to find the right boon. So you saved me a lot of time, thank you. The lawful good deity fits the whole Vampire gone good build. So I really like that and the +4 to grapple is nothing to sneeze at.

Sadly I will not be allowed to have a familiar, since the party is already kind of big. I know familiars do not play a big role in combat, but an extra character in the group is just too much for my DM to handle (also no summoners, summon spells, animal companions, leadership, ect..).

I have been looking around a bit here and there and I have been looking at classes and it feels like Vivisectionist Beastmorph Alchemist seems like a powerful class as well for this build.
I got the idea when you stated the Mutagen. What do you guys think: Investigator or Alchemist?


Investigators can take Alchemist Discoveries. Grow a Tentacle and get +4 on Grapple Checks. Grow a King Crab Tumor Familiar and get a +2 on Grapple Checks.

Yomabo wrote:
I will not be allowed to have a familiar, since the party is already kind of big.

Your GM might allow a Tumor Familiar where another Familiar would be disallowed. A Tumor Familiar is part of your body. Normally, it can detach itself, but you can promise not to. Just tell him you are only getting it for the Grapple Bonus. He might let it go.

You can wear Armor. Wear Armor Spikes. They do an extra 1d6 Damage with every grapple Attack. Poison your Spikes.

You can do your Studied Target Damage against your Grappled Opponent.

Take Pinning Knockout. Double Damage vs. Pinned Opponents, but it has to be nonlethal Damage.

Sap Master Feats might work for doubling your Studied Target Damage, so might the Knockout Artist Feat.

I love the Cavalier Order of the Penitent Ability Expert Captor, but members of the OotP are under a vow to never kill any person. You could take Equipment Trick Rope, which reduces the penalty for Tying Up your opponents from -10 to -5.

Grand Lodge

Study seems pretty vampire-y to me. The attack bonus applies to grapples as well as the damage.

If you want to go Viv beast morph it is good for doing damage but your bonus to start a Grapple will lag. The point of the alchemist, build is to get pounce, which basically does nothing for a grappler that is not polymoph in to also have grab. A grappler generally works toward grapple pin tie up (rapid grappler) and I think the investigator does that better.

I'm generally not a fan of sneak attack. Natural attacks can be great but they tend to be heavily affected by Dr.

Grand Lodge

Scott Wilhelm wrote:

Investigators can take Alchemist Discoveries. Grow a Tentacle and get +4 on Grapple Checks. Grow a King Crab Tumor Familiar and get a +2 on Grapple Checks.

Yomabo wrote:
I will not be allowed to have a familiar, since the party is already kind of big.

Your GM might allow a Tumor Familiar where another Familiar would be disallowed. A Tumor Familiar is part of your body. Normally, it can detach itself, but you can promise not to. Just tell him you are only getting it for the Grapple Bonus. He might let it go.

You can wear Armor. Wear Armor Spikes. They do an extra 1d6 Damage with every grapple Attack. Poison your Spikes.

You can do your Studied Target Damage against your Grappled Opponent.

Take Pinning Knockout. Double Damage vs. Pinned Opponents, but it has to be nonlethal Damage.

Sap Master Feats might work for doubling your Studied Target Damage, so might the Knockout Artist Feat.

I love the Cavalier Order of the Penitent Ability Expert Captor, but members of the OotP are under a vow to never kill any person. You could take Equipment Trick Rope, which reduces the penalty for Tying Up your opponents from -10 to -5.

Investigators can't take tenticle nor a tumor familiar.


Grandlounge wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:

Investigators can take Alchemist Discoveries. Grow a Tentacle and get +4 on Grapple Checks. Grow a King Crab Tumor Familiar and get a +2 on Grapple Checks.

Yomabo wrote:
I will not be allowed to have a familiar, since the party is already kind of big.

Your GM might allow a Tumor Familiar where another Familiar would be disallowed. A Tumor Familiar is part of your body. Normally, it can detach itself, but you can promise not to. Just tell him you are only getting it for the Grapple Bonus. He might let it go.

You can wear Armor. Wear Armor Spikes. They do an extra 1d6 Damage with every grapple Attack. Poison your Spikes.

You can do your Studied Target Damage against your Grappled Opponent.

Take Pinning Knockout. Double Damage vs. Pinned Opponents, but it has to be nonlethal Damage.

Sap Master Feats might work for doubling your Studied Target Damage, so might the Knockout Artist Feat.

I love the Cavalier Order of the Penitent Ability Expert Captor, but members of the OotP are under a vow to never kill any person. You could take Equipment Trick Rope, which reduces the penalty for Tying Up your opponents from -10 to -5.

Investigators can't take tenticle nor a tumor familiar.

Aw, shucks. Well, then I recommend the OP be an Alchemist instead of an Investigator. He can take the Vivisectionist Archetype. He'll be a better Grappler and have more Sneak Attack Damage. Those Alchemist Discoveries make Alchemist the fastest class at increasing your Grapple Mod, at least for those 4 levels. He could get away with 2 and just take the Extra Discovery Feat.

Grand Lodge

The tenticle gets going faster but will eventually be out preformed by study. Study also has the advantage of the damage boost and boosting weapon attacks. Tenticle will not stack with grab from other sources polymorph or beastmorph so it is accessible to all alchemy builds but at later levels. I also don't find the tenticle to be very vampire-y.

The familair is off the table but a protector crab or improved familair is better than the tumor familair imo. Though again a mauler bat the turns into a imp seems much more in line with the character (my imp full attacks with a bardiche against me grappled targest).

I have always found the vivsectionist a bit overrated. Bombs are a far more powerful class feater than sneak attack, though strength damage is nice. Viv builds do put up good damage numbers but I much prefer versatility.

The build I suggested gets to nearly 40 to grapple at level ten which is already more than enough to grapple an iron golem (cr13), so any higher I would deam an over investment of resources. The investigator ends up being a great melee character as well as a very solid grappler.

If I went alchemist I would build up smoke bombs, echolocation / goz mask, and Viv sneak attacks. That feels pretty vampire-y to me.


Grandlounge wrote:
The tenticle gets going faster but will eventually be out preformed by study. Study also has the advantage of the damage boost and boosting weapon attacks. Tenticle will not stack with grab from other sources polymorph or beastmorph so it is accessible to all alchemy builds but at later levels.

He doesn't have to settle for or the other. He only needs to take 2 levels in Alchemist to be able to get both the KCTF and the Tentacle.

Grandlounge wrote:
I also don't find the tenticle to be very vampire-y.

It is fair to say that that Vivisctionist with a Tumor and Tentacle is less Gothic and more Lovecraftian, but still a splendid addition to an Investigator Character. And is it really so bad to mix the 2 genres?

Grandlounge wrote:
The familair is off the table but a protector crab or improved familair is better than the tumor familair imo.

I'm thinking the OP might just get away with a Tumor Familiar, though. My thinking is that it's part of his body, and he's mostly getting it for the Grapple Bonus. The GM might let him have it if he just keeps it as part of his body and pretty much just uses it for the bonus.

Grandlounge wrote:
Though again a mauler bat the turns into a imp seems much more in line with the character (my imp full attacks with a bardiche against me grappled targest).

My King Crab gives the Grappler a +2 to Grapple. The Tumor Familiar has another advantage that is perhaps particular to my own experience. My GMs historically have always seen Familiars, Animal Companions, Henchmen, Cohorts, and Hirelings as just things they can kill when they doesn't actually want to kill you.

I, to my GM wrote:
You keep killing my animals!
my GM wrote:
Scott, why do you think I keep giving them to you?

A Tumor Familiar seems like a Familiar you can have when you just want the bonus, not the actual Animal, and since the OP's GM doesn't really want Familiars, one that's just sort of part of your body seems like the OP's best bet.

Grandlounge wrote:
I have always found the vivsectionist a bit overrated. Bombs are a far more powerful class feater than sneak attack, though strength damage is nice. Viv builds do put up good damage numbers but I much prefer versatility.

Sneak Attack Damage does a lot of damage but is situational. There are ways of manipulating the situation so you can do SAD more often. I think Vivisectionist is more in keeping with the Vampire genre than many other Alchemist Archetypes. I almost recommended Tomb Rader Alchemist. But the OP likes Sneak Attack Damage, so I recommended Viv.

Grandlounge wrote:
The build I suggested gets to nearly 40 to grapple at level ten which is already more than enough to grapple an iron golem (cr13), so any higher I would deam an over investment of resources. The investigator ends up being a great melee character as well as a very solid grappler.

Mine had a Full-Time GMB of +30 at level 9, and I figured out a way to nova it up to +50 for 2 Grapple Checks with 2 rounds of self-buffing: just enough to Grapple and Tie Up a Balor Demon in 1 Round.

Grandlounge wrote:
If I went alchemist I would build up smoke bombs, echolocation / goz mask, and Viv sneak attacks. That feels pretty vampire-y to me.

Mine was a Half Orc with Scent, Blind Fighting, and an Eversmoking Bottle. She never took enough levels in Alchemist to get Echolocation--about 4. She also took levels in Monk and Cavalier.

I have a level 3 PFS character that is currently mostly an Archer that I will develop into a Grappler. She will take levels in Grenadier Alchemist with the Tentacle and KCTF, and also shoot exploding arrows with Alchemal Weapon and Explosive Missile.

Grandlounge wrote:
I much prefer versatility.... The investigator ends up being a great melee character as well as a very solid grappler.

I agree about the need to be versatile. If you are going to be a Grappler but not a Tetori, you have to resign yourself to the fact that if you run into a creature with Freedom of Movement, your Grappling is completely useless. With the character I mentioned, I was thinking that Ranger-Archer + Cavalier/Monk Grappler followed by Alchemist to pump up the Grapple Mod and shoot Exploding Arrows would have just the right amount of diversification.

Yomabo wrote:
I like the "Bad guy gone Good but is still struggling with the new lifestyle" idea.

I was not previously giving my highest recommendation to Expert Captor because Cavaliers of the Order of the Penitent take a vow to never kill people. But rereading your OP, the OotP actually seems like the perfect thing for a redeemed villain. Expert Captor will let you Tie Up a Grappled, not Pinned opponent and without taking the -10 penalty you usually take. What I was recommending was Equipment Trick, Rope, which only reduces the penalty to -5, but doesn't come with any inconvenient vows. You only need to dip 2 levels in Cavalier. You get a Bonus Feat with the first level, so I recommend Coordinated Maneuver, probably, which gives you another +2 Grapple bonus, and then the 2nd level gives you Expert Captor.

I was also thinking about offering the OP an idea for a Ninja/Arcanist that keeps Stealth while making Ranged Sneak Attacks, then develop Greater Grapple + Expert Captor in that character: being super sneaky then suddenly slipping out of the shadows and taking out 1 victim at a time by either Tying them Up or shooting them.


Grandlounge wrote:

The tenticle gets going faster but will eventually be out preformed by study. Study also has the advantage of the damage boost and boosting weapon attacks. Tenticle will not stack with grab from other sources polymorph or beastmorph so it is accessible to all alchemy builds but at later levels. I also don't find the tenticle to be very vampire-y.

The familair is off the table but a protector crab or improved familair is better than the tumor familair imo. Though again a mauler bat the turns into a imp seems much more in line with the character (my imp full attacks with a bardiche against me grappled targest).

I have always found the vivsectionist a bit overrated. Bombs are a far more powerful class feater than sneak attack, though strength damage is nice. Viv builds do put up good damage numbers but I much prefer versatility.

The build I suggested gets to nearly 40 to grapple at level ten which is already more than enough to grapple an iron golem (cr13), so any higher I would deam an over investment of resources. The investigator ends up being a great melee character as well as a very solid grappler.

If I went alchemist I would build up smoke bombs, echolocation / goz mask, and Viv sneak attacks. That feels pretty vampire-y to me.

I agree. I am going to put away my idea's for the alchemist and I started focusing on the investigator part. A +40 seems utter overkill quite frankly, so I'll take that as a way to get some RP liberty.

At level 5 (1 level Urban blood conduit/4 levels infiltrator(?) investigator it would be:

Str:
16(base) + 2(race) + 4(rage) + 4(mutagen) + 4(Bull strength) = 34 Dex (+12)

CMB (Grapple):
12(Str) + 4(BAB) + 2(1/2 investigator level) + 2(improved grapple) = +21 to grapple. That will be more than enough for now.

So now I am getting in a bit of a pickle. Through bloodconduit I would get improved Grapple, and at first level I would pick Dirty Fighting. Then Throat Slicer and Bushwhacker at 3 and 5. Another option is perhaps the Snapturtle feat tree. I really am looking for a way to pin faster. I may just be impatient, but my group rarely goes beyond level 7, so quick growth is a necessity.

I am afraid of becoming a one trick pony if I focus my complete combat style on 1 maneuver. What if I have to fight something that is on fire, or some kind of acidic ooze, or worse: a burning acidic ooze of critical counters. Then what. I know I still have my extracts left, but self-buffs are not going to save me there. I know I will still have a party around me and that encounter is probably designed by the DM to counter my character a bit, but still.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Grandlounge wrote:
The tenticle gets going faster but will eventually be out preformed by study. Study also has the advantage of the damage boost and boosting weapon attacks. Tenticle will not stack with grab from other sources polymorph or beastmorph so it is accessible to all alchemy builds but at later levels.

He doesn't have to settle for or the other. He only needs to take 2 levels in Alchemist to be able to get both the KCTF and the Tentacle.

True, I could do both, but as I already am planning on taking a one level dip in blood rager and taking a 3/4 BAB class, makes me already late to the cool combat feat party.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:


Grandlounge wrote:
The familair is off the table but a protector crab or improved familair is better than the tumor familair imo.

I'm thinking the OP might just get away with a Tumor Familiar, though. My thinking is that it's part of his body, and he's mostly getting it for the Grapple Bonus. The GM might let him have it if he just keeps it as part of his body and pretty much just uses it for the bonus.

Tumor familiars are the best. Not taking up any space, can at tonnes of rp and great buffs. Sadly my last character was the (in)famous: Skald/bloodrager inspired rage/amplified rage/tumor familiar build. I am oke with taking a dip into bloodrager again, but also taking the tumor familiar again? The rest of the party will just look at me like: "wait, I thought the last guy died?"

Tieing people up sounds really good, especially with the 2 levels in cavalier like you mentioned. With Rope of infinite Twine makes it a hilarious image. I am just having trouble picking between that and Throat slicer (coup da grace). I would need greater grapple (level 9 ): ) or bushwhacker for that. Bushwhacker fits the bill but keeping people flat footed is rough.

Grand Lodge

You have limited feats on an investigator build which will restrict your ability to fully utilize all of the fun silly grapple stuff. That has to be left for other builds.

The shaping turtle feats would be my recommendation because the if you wanted to go further down the grapple route as the add to cmd which basically can't be to high and they greatly improve action economy.

Tumor familair lost access to improved familair and more recently protector they took a hit.

Robe of infinite twine is pretty fun.

Warning on grab you can't use it to grapple something larger than you.

@Scott Being able to grapple a iron golem at 10 is optimization. Grappling a balor is exactly what I consider over optimizations. Was the character that spikes at 50 a primary single class? Like the build I was talking out? I'm actually curious I don't see a lot of not heavly multiclassed builds hitting those numbers.


Grandlounge wrote:

You have limited feats on an investigator build which will restrict your ability to fully utilize all of the fun silly grapple stuff. That has to be left for other builds.

The shaping turtle feats would be my recommendation because the if you wanted to go further down the grapple route as the add to cmd which basically can't be to high and they greatly improve action economy.

Tumor familair lost access to improved familair and more recently protector they took a hit.

Robe of infinite twine is pretty fun.

Warning on grab you can't use it to grapple something larger than you.

@Scott Being able to grapple a iron golem at 10 is optimization. Grappling a balor is exactly what I consider over optimizations. Was the character that spikes at 50 a primary single class? Like the build I was talking out? I'm actually curious I don't see a lot of not heavly multiclassed builds hitting those numbers.

Snapping Turtle it is. That saves me a round basically. I have to keep in mind that, thanks to the armor as DR rule, that natural attacks are doing almost no damage, but with all the buffs I should be good to go. Also my AC will be low (can't focus on STR, DEX and INT without dropping the other stats insanely). So actually for enemies to miss me is going to be a hard one. I could go for agile maneuvers but that takes another feat.

Maybe a one level dip into inspired blade. Free weapon finesse and weapon focus (rapier but alright). Darring do = inspiration lite. Parry and Riposte works wonderful for a dex build. Basically the same as Snapping Turtle Clutch because you are allowed to make an attack roll after the Riposte (combat maneuvers are attacks with CMB instead of attack bonus, so that is legal). That leaves me tie or to pin the next turn as a standard action. Coup da Grace the round after. One level dip saving two feats, 1 round of combat, adding vampire flavor and more, sound good to me. So the feat progression would look like

1: Agile maneuvers
B: Improved grapple
3: Dirty Fighting
5: Throat slicer
Bushwhacker would be nice but I see no way of keeping people flat footed. I could disappear using vest of immolation and Cloak of Fiery Vanishing. Funny combo and I can see a vampire disappear using Fire. Would enemies who fail the save (DC: 11 like never going to happen) be flat footed for me? Otherwise what is the bonus of them believing I died?


Grandlounge wrote:
@Scott Being able to grapple a iron golem at 10 is optimization. Grappling a balor is exactly what I consider over optimizations. Was the character that spikes at 50 a primary single class? Like the build I was talking out? I'm actually curious I don't see a lot of not heavly multiclassed builds hitting those numbers.

My Grappling character was heavily multiclassed as will be the character I have been playing most recently.

Human
1Ranger1: Freebooter, Freebooter's Bane, Power Attack, Cleave, BAB+1
2R2: Precise Shot, BAB+2
3R2Monk1: Improved Grapple, Blind Fighting,
4R3M1: Endurance, BAB +3
5R3M1Cavalier1, Constable, Tactician, Coordinated Maneuvers, Weapon Focus Grapple BAB+4
6R3M2C1: Feat, Evasion, BAB+5
7R3M2C2: Expert Captor, Greater Grapple, BAB 6
8R3M2C2Alchemist1: Grenadier, Bombs 1d6, Extra Bombs, Throw Antying
9R3M2C2A2: Alchemal Weapon, King Crab Tumor Familiar, Extra Discovery, Tentacle BAB+7
10R3M2C2A3: Bombs 2d6
11R3M2C2A4: Explosive Missile, Extra Discovery Infusion.

This is a PFS Character. She has changed in concept a lot as I have played her, partly because of rules changes. Initially, She was going to use a Great Sword and use Great Cleave, also have a Protector Familiar via levels in Eldritch Guardian Fighter and also take Paired Opportunist so she would get an Attack of Opportunity whenever she was attacked. But they changed the rules to make Bodyguard no longer trigger real AoOs, so they don't work Paired Opportunist anymore (I'm the reason why they did that.). I lately realized that my character's AC is way too low for using Great Cleave, So I should probably retrain Power Attack and Cleave or maybe do something clever like work in a level of White Haired Witch, maybe take those 2 levels in Eldritch Guardian and take Broken Wing Gambit: not sure. The Familiar was going to be a Protector Familiar. Oh Well.

The idea of using Great Cleave didn't work, but she is still a strong archer, She has Precise Shot and a Wand of Gravity Bow, so she can make her arrows do 2d6. She doesn't have Point Blank Shot (She'll probably retrain and get it.), but Freebooter's Bane gives her and all her allies +1 Attack and Damage to any target which she can specify as a Move Action. As she starts taking levels in Alchemist, she will start shooting exploding arrows with Alchemal Weapon and Explosive Missile. Exploding Arrows are cool.

She starts with a St of 16, for a +3 on all melee attacks
By level 9, her BAB is +7.
She has Improved and Greater Grapple for +4.
She has a Tentacle and a Familiar for a +6.
Weapon Focus Grapple +1

Magic Items in Pathfinder Society are generally available at Market Prices.

Armbands of the Brawler: +1
Belt of Strength: +1
Gauntlets of the Skilled Maneuver: +2
Adhesive Armor Enchantment: +2
That Ioun Stone that gives +1 on all attacks.

That's only 28. I promised 30. The Grappler Character I played before wore Mithril Steel Lamellar Armor with the Brawler Enchantment, but since I was playing her, The Mithril Medium Armor no longer counts as Light Armor with respect to the Brawler Enchantment, and the cost is not a +3 equivalent where it used to be a +1, so this character will probably never get that. She took the Endurance Feat so she can sleep in an Agile Breastplate. If she were an Unchained Monk, that would have been an extra +1 BAB, but I prefer the +2 Will Save.

She can use Freebooter's Bane to give herself a +1.
She can use Tactician to give everyone in her party Coordinated Maneuvers for +2.
She can take a ST Mutagen to give herself a +2.

So that's a pretty easy +5.

an extra +20:
My original idea was that she would take Potion Glutton. She would put True Strike on herself, then close to Grapple. She would then Grapple as a Standard Action, use Potiopn Glutton to take another True Strike Elixir as a Swift Action, then Grapple to Tie Up with another +20 as a Move Action. But they re-wrote Potion Glutton to exclude Alchemal Extracts. (I think it was also because of me.)

Now to nova with True Stike, I need to use the Touch Injection Spell. I need to use a Wand if I want to cast it before level 4. I'll use Share Spells so my Familiar is the one that casts it. I give it an Infusion of True Strike. Then after Grappling as a Standard Action, my familiar hits me with the True Strike Infusion as a Readied Action, and then I Tie up as a Move Action. It might make sense for me to take Infusion at level 9 and Tentacle at level 11.

Grand Lodge

You have been hit with more errata on one character than I have on 17. I feel bad. That kind of sucks. This is why I avoid unclear rules because that would bum me out.

For the op sorry to derail maybe you will find useful stuff in the build.

I think the Cracked pale green ioun stone does not stack with the armbands as they are both competence bonuses one is to all attack (including cmb) the arm bands are a subset of attacks.

You can replace it with the dusty rose in a wayfinder. +1 ac and +1 cmd cmb (insight bonus) and that will help you AC too.

Gauntlets of Twisting Vines are my go to for hand slot for grapplers as they stack with anything (circumstance bonus) and they have a great once a day ability.

What's the will save on this guy? What the range dpr when there is cover and your shooting into melee?

My version of the build that focuses a bit more by dropping the range thing:

I’m going to see if I can make a version of this build with minimal multi-classing. This is more a thought experiment for me than anything else.

I went with steelblood bloodrager with a familiar (mauler (remove weapon focus for maulers endurance) or protector crab) followed buy exemplar.
Trait: Bread for war, something for will saves
Feats:
1)Dirty Fighting, Improved grapple
3)Extra rage, Weapon focus
5)Boon companion
6)Greater Grapple
7)Celestial obedience
9)Iron will, Rapid Grappler
Grapple
At level 10 - 3 Grapple bonus attempts around (grapple, pin, tie) at 36 (10 bab + 6 str + 8 feats + 2 rage +2 familiar +7 items +1 weapon focus ) ( optional +2 Giant Ancestry, bread for war)
Other options include +6 from flanking with a mauler using menacing and dirty fighting and/or an additional +2 flexing in to dedicated adversary for 46 or 48 with inspire.

You can still use Field Instruction to give everyone in her party Coordinated Maneuvers for +2, outflank, or broken wing gambit.

Damage
For damage you have rage, furious, inspire, dedicated adversary, items and TWF and improved TWF.

This build has more uses of tactician, buffs the group better, grapples better, I suspect does more damage. I don’t know overall but I suspect some saves are better others are worse. It is defiantly can’t spike as high with true strike but it should be in the only fails on a 1 range most of the time anyway. It also has a starting AC of 20 full plate max dex so that should be relatively easy to keep up.

Martial flexibility provides a tone of utility.

There are some definite trade offs it seems pretty sound to me.

Grand Lodge

I double count the belt of strength in my build though I'm sure there is a 1 item I'm in aware of to make up the difference.

@Yomabo.

10+ 6 Medium armor + 2 Dex + 2 mutagen + 2 or more barkskin and the option to use shield gives you great AC. I think if you play smart you will be fine. You can also get Dr from resinous skin though I don't know how that interacts with the rules you are using. Heavy armor prof is better than going for a Dex build. Especially if you are using armor as dr.

With armor as DR doing grapple damage will be hard but with a few building exceptions it's a bad use of grapple. Pin, tie up, and facilitate other people doing damage is better.

All the damage boost and carrying a two handed weapon is how you do damage when you need it. Study, rage, furious, mutagen, will keep you hitting hard.


Grandlounge wrote:
You have been hit with more errata on one character than I have on 17. I feel bad. That kind of sucks. This is why I avoid unclear rules because that would bum me out.

Well, one of them was just a realization that my AC was too low. All-in-all, there have been 3: Bodyguard, Potion Glutton, and Tumor Protector Familiar. I appreciate the sympathy. I didn't actually spend any money on the books, and getting hit by the rules changes is better sooner than later. It is a little annoying having to change my build so many times, but it does give me bragging rights.

Grandlounge wrote:
This is why I avoid unclear rules because that would bum me out.

I wouldn't bring a character to PFS that was unclear. I would say rather that those rules were controversial. I can't really help myself. I use the rules creatively and aggressively to create powerful effects, which is something nearly everyone I see play the game does. I'm just more creative and/or aggressive than most.

Grandlounge wrote:

I think the Cracked pale green ioun stone does not stack with the armbands as they are both competence bonuses one is to all attack (including cmb) the arm bands are a subset of attacks.

You can replace it with the dusty rose in a wayfinder. +1 ac and +1 cmd cmb (insight bonus) and that will help you AC too.

Thanks. I didn't remember exactly which Ioun Stone, just that there was one.

My first Grappler had 3 good saving throws, but I don't remember what they were. Hester Estrella has the Indomidable Will Trait for a +1 on Will Saves. She has a Wisdom of 12 at level 3, would get that Headband that gives a +2 on Int, Wis, and Ch before getting the Adhesive Armor Enchantment. She has a Cloak of Protection +1 right now, and would upgrade it probably to +2 or +3 by level 9. 3 levels in Ranger give her a +1 Will, 2 levels in Monk, +3, 4 levels in Alchemist, another +1, so conservatively, she would have a +10 Will Save by level 9. Her other saves would be better.

Grandlounge wrote:
Gauntlets of Twisting Vines are my go to for hand slot for grapplers as they stack with anything (circumstance bonus) and they have a great once a day ability.

The Gauntlets of Twisting Vines are clearly superior to the Gauntlets of the Skilled Maneuver, and the cost is still quite reasonable! Thank you for the tip!

Grandlounge wrote:
bloodrager

I was thinking maybe Rage would be a good choice for a Grappling character. It seems like a low-cost way to give yourself another +2 to your CMB and all your other attack rolls.

I was kind of thinking of a Half Orc Barbarian that worshipped Dahak. I would give him a Bite Attack as a Racial Feat I would take Beast Totem for the Claws. I would then start taking levels in Warpriest to buff the character with things like Weapon Against Evil so his Natural Attacks would bypass DR. Dahak's Favored Weapon is the Bite Attack, so no need to take Weapon Focus Bite. Dahak has the Destruction Domain, and the Minor Blessing of Destruction is lovely for this character: +1 Global Damage. I would dip a level in White Haired Witch for the Hair Attack and acquire a Helm of the Mammoth Lord. I would take that Warpriest Archetype that gets Tactician, and I would take Sympathetic Rage and Amplified Rage.

I would take Grappling just to do Hamatula Strike + Armor Spikes. I do so love Expert Captor, but that seems inappropriate for this character: I might have to rely on Equipment Trick Rope. I would want to work in those levels in Alchemist, but there's not enough time to do everything.

Grandlounge wrote:
What the range dpr when there is cover and your shooting into melee?

When she buffs herself with Gravity Bow, the base damage is 2d6. She is using a masterwork str. bow, Freebooter's Bane, and so her damage is quite respectable at level 3. There will be a lull in middle levels--although I will probably have her retrain Power Attack and Cleave for Point Blank Shot and Deadly Aim. Her archery will start to get better when she starts taking levels in Alchemist, with a +1d6 (Alchemist Fire) at level 9 and Explosive Missile at level 11. She will barely do any damage at all in melee: Grappling and Tying up opponents, defeating them without inflicting any damage at all!

Grandlounge wrote:
Iron will,

It occurs to me that if you are taking Iron Will, well, Iron Will is a prerequisite for the Living Monolith Prestige Class. Living Monoliths get to Enlarge Person as a SLA as a Swift Action, that that will give you a +2 St and a +2 CMB, and your weapons will have a higher base Damage: not bad for a 1 level dip.


Yomabo wrote:

1: Agile maneuvers

B: Improved grapple
3: Dirty Fighting
5: Throat slicer
Bushwhacker would be nice but I see no way of keeping people flat footed. I could disappear using vest of immolation and Cloak of Fiery Vanishing. Funny combo and I can see a vampire disappear using Fire. Would enemies who fail the save (DC: 11 like never going to happen) be flat footed for me? Otherwise what is the bonus of them believing I died?

I've been fooling around with another idea that might work for your character. It seems you are thinking of sneaking up on people and Grappling them. So how about a combination of Ninja and Arcanist? You use Ninja Vanishing Trick to turn Invisible. You use Ranged Touch Attack Cantrips to snipe at people with Ranged Touch Attacks vs. Flatfooted AC--Try saying that out loud without smiling!--and False Attacker to say hidden, maybe some levels in Monk, Drunken Master to endlessly replenish your Ki by Drinking. Acquire a Wand of Scorching Ray so you do even more Damage. Then develop yourself as a Grappler, building toward Greater Grapple and Expert Captor by the time your BAB reaches +6. You can keep raising your Sneak Attack Damage with Vivisectionist while you grow your Tumor Crab Familiar and Tentacle, or you can just diversify your repertoire with Bombs. If you are turning Invisible and sneaking up on people to Grapple and Tie them Up, you will also be attacking their Flatfooted CMD, and that's a nifty bonus, at least for your first check. I was thinking of skipping the level of Arcanist altogether by making my character a Half Elf and taking that Arcane Racial Trait so I can just use Magic Wands, but you want to be a Dhampir.

Anyway, you'll be a super scary specter that strikes from the shadows like Batman.


Grandlounge wrote:
I went with steelblood bloodrager with a familiar (mauler (remove weapon focus for maulers endurance) or protector crab)

There is a small problem with a King Crab Familiar. Crabs are Aquatic creatures, and will take Con Damage when away from water. I make my Familiar a Tumor Familiar to get around this problem. There are other ways around this problem, but I find GMs love, love, love to create problems like this for PCs, creating rock slides where you fall and break your fish tank, or you are hit by some antimagic effect that disenchants your Crab's Breathe-without-air Ioun Stone or necklace of adaptation, or something...

Grand Lodge

Re Living Monolith Prestige Class

It costs a feat and is actually mathematically not that valuable on this build. You use your swift to get +1 damage (small base damage weapons), +2 CMB, +1 to CMD(dex cancels out size, and size cancels out attack). You lost your FCB 1 to cmb so now you just used a swift for a +1 to damage and +2 cmb and you make your ac worse by 2. Dedicate adversary is much better for your spent swift action, or any of the other feats we have talked about before.

If you are doing this, you should go half orc for the free endurance feat and squeeze some darkvision out of it. Though still a bad option.

Re Crab

Quote:
Crabs can survive out of the water for 1 hour per point of Constitution. Beyond this limit, a crab runs the risk of suffocation, as if it were drowning

Familiar Bubble.

There are very few anti magic fields in PFS. Your charter was made for PFS correct?

Quote:
I find GMs love, love, love to create problems like this for PCs

I don't have this problem and this one can be solved so many different ways.

Quote:
would get that Headband that gives a +2 on Int, Wis, and Ch before getting the Adhesive Armor Enchantment.

I get buying the headband of wisdom but the rest seems like a waste of 12000 on gear intensive build but that's me.

I like to squeeze more than most out of a build I just like to get there as cleanly as possible. 4 attacks before haste + 2 more from the familiar + 2 more if hasted + broken wing gambit with the +2 attack and damage for the team. Is a lot to bring to the table. The familiar gets 2 free grab attempts in there as well. The bonus are both high and reliable. You can flex into Ghostslayer to deal with incorporeals.

When I multi-class I build side buy side with a lightly multi-classed or mono classed version of the character. If the multi-classing does not actually make me numerically better at my primary and secondary tasks, grappling and damage in this case, then I failed. Third role is is flexibly buffing allies.

I'm not confident until I build them out that CAV2 Brawler X or just Cav are not better options. I run controls for my builds because it is easy to convince ones self a build is good without actually controlling the experiment.


Grandlounge wrote:
For the op sorry to derail maybe you will find useful stuff in the build.

Don't worry about it. I love to search through others people's builds for useful interactions. :) I would choose a derail over a dead threat any day of the week and twice on Sundays.


Grandlounge wrote:
3-Falayna celestial obedience

I don't know anything about Obediences. What is their duration? After beating on a practice dummy until my hands are imprinted with the shapes of my rings, how long does that +4 Grapple Bonus last?

Are there any game-term conseuences for an Obedience like this? Are these PFS legal?


Yomabo wrote:
Grandlounge wrote:
For the op sorry to derail maybe you will find useful stuff in the build.
Don't worry about it. I love to search through others people's builds for useful interactions. :) I would choose a derail over a dead threat any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Good man!


Grandlounge wrote:

Re Living Monolith Prestige Class

It costs a feat... If you are doing this, you should go half orc for the free endurance feat and squeeze some darkvision out of it.

Two Feats, Endurance and Iron Will, but you were talking about taking Iron Will anyway, and like you said, as a Half Orc you can get Endurance for free anyway.

Meanwhile, Endurance is a Feat I recommend anyway. It lets you sleep in Medium Armor. In my experience, that's a very big deal. The Fatigued Condition is onerous. And if you just take off your armor to sleep, and there is a Wandering Monster, you will be fighting off Goblins or something in your underwear. While PFS GMs seems to not worry about this, I have NEVER taken off my armor to sleep without Wandering Monsters showing up. GMs love pulling that on me. There are other options I'd consider, such as dipping in Magus, Paladin, or something and use a Wand of Swift Girding, or wearing Mithril Medium Armor, but even in PFS, I never wear Medium or Heavy Armor without some kind of precaution.

Grandlounge wrote:
and is actually mathematically not that valuable on this build.

Oh, I don't know.

Grandlounge wrote:
You use your swift to get +1 damage (small base damage weapons),

I was thinking of this at least partly for Warpriest. When the Sacred Weapon Damage gets up to 1d8, then you use Enlarge Person, your Base Damage goes up to 2d6. Take a look at my Natural Attack character I sketched above. They would get multiple attacks, and the DPR increase becomes significant, even if it is +1.

But you also get a +2 Strength, so you get an extra +1. Even a mere global +2 on Damage for all your attacks is usually mathematically valuable.

Grandlounge wrote:
+2 CMB,

I thought it was just +1. Growing to Size Large makes you suffer a -1 on all Attack Rolls, but that is offset by your +2 Strength. Then growing from Size Medium to Size Large gives you a +1 on CMB Checks.

But it is a +1 Bonus that stacks with all your other Bonuses, activates on a Swift Action, and lasts the whole combat. Between us, we have been finding ways of pumping up our GMBs to very high levels even without this, but I think it is still worth considering, depending upon the build.

Grandlounge wrote:
Dedicate adversary is much better for your spent swift action, or any of the other feats we have talked about before.

What is Dedicate Adversary?


Grandlounge wrote:

Re Crab

Quote:
Crabs can survive out of the water for 1 hour per point of Constitution. Beyond this limit, a crab runs the risk of suffocation, as if it were drowning

Familiar Bubble.

There are very few anti magic fields in PFS. Your charter was made for PFS correct?

This would never work for any crab of mine at any PFS Table I've sat at. The crab is an Aquatic creature, and needs water.

Familiar Bubble wrote:
The bubble is transparent and continuously generates fresh, breathable air within.

Even though, per RAW, the air is breathable to the Crab, the fact that it is not water means that per RAW, it will not arrest the crab's Con drain for being out of water. Better to buy an Adamantine canteen and hope for the best. It will be heavy, but don't put it in your bag of holding, because, per RAW, the crab won't be able to breathe air in there, either. It might fit inside your Handy Haversack.

Pathfinder Society GMs do not bend RAW for the benefit of players. Pathfinder Society GMs only bend RAW to invent illegal excuses to deny players the value of the rulebooks they purchase.

I do like the Familiar Bubble. Thank you for showing me that.

Grand Lodge

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Grandlounge wrote:
3-Falayna celestial obedience

I don't know anything about Obediences. What is their duration? After beating on a practice dummy until my hands are imprinted with the shapes of my rings, how long does that +4 Grapple Bonus last?

Are there any game-term conseuences for an Obedience like this? Are these PFS legal?

All day. No consequences. And yes. There is a prestige class that keeps all class features -1 level and gets you the boons early.

Many God's offer divine favor 3x per day. Every optimizer loves that spell.

Grand Lodge

"These creatures always have swim speeds and can move in water without making Swim checks. An aquatic creature can breathe water. It cannot breathe air unless it has the amphibious special quality. Aquatic creatures always treat Swim as a class skill."

Water dependance means they can survive out of water before their subtype issue comes up. That 12 hours for the crab. What con drain are you talking about?


Grandlounge wrote:

"These creatures always have swim speeds and can move in water without making Swim checks. An aquatic creature can breathe water. It cannot breathe air unless it has the amphibious special quality. Aquatic creatures always treat Swim as a class skill."

Water dependance means they can survive out of water before their subtype issue comes up. That 12 hours for the crab. What con drain are you talking about?

I misremembered. I thought being an aquatic creature being out of water entailed Con drain.

But my point is that Aquatic creatures need water, and the Familiar Bubble doesn't provide water, so you need some other method for keeping your Aquatic Familiar. That's part of the reason why I still like the Tumor Familiar. You don't have that problem while it is part of your body. My other suggestion: some sort of Adamantine fishtank.


The OP could also look into taking 2 levels of Strangler Brawler, plus the feat Accomplished Sneak Attacker.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Replenishing Aquarium Ball for 500gp crab hops in once every 12 hours.

I should also add that on top of everything else the crab has constrict.

Grand Lodge

Errant Inlad wrote:
The OP could also look into taking 2 levels of Strangler Brawler, plus the feat Accomplished Sneak Attacker.

It's a good dip to start a grapple build.


Errant Inlad wrote:
The OP could also look into taking 2 levels of Strangler Brawler, plus the feat Accomplished Sneak Attacker.

I have been looking into that. 3d6 when damaging of pinning the target does sound nice. And the move action, gain a free feat is also always welcome. But the only problem I have with it is another 2 level dips into another class.

I have been thinking about perhaps dropping the whole investigator thing altogether, but it stopped feeling like the character that I had in mind. I do like him to be clever and craft potions and stuff.


HOLD UP! Mutagenic Mauler stacks with Strangler Brawler!
*EDIT* No, no it doesn't. ....

Grand Lodge

Remember 3d6 is only 10.5 damage. It's not that much beyond low levels. The investigator gets half level, study strike, extra strength mutagen damage, extra strength polymorph damage. The investigator will have better ac, saves, skills. It would be embarrassing if your vampire get mind controlled regularly. Giving up the skills means losing the class fantasy of having hundreds of years if knowledge.

Are there better grapples some, not by much by the numbers, and they don't have invisibility or turn into gargoyles.

Whatever you decide to play take a look at these Gloves of Feasting.

You can go brawler 1/2 investigator x. That works well enough dedicated adversary in place of rage is pretty good. I would take extra martial flexibility.

Scarab Sages

I'm in the process of doing something like this with a Dhampir Vigilante. I say in the process, because I'm only 3rd level, so haven't realized the full build yet.

Scaled Fist Unchained Monk 1/Strangler Brawler 2/Hangman Vigilante 8
LN/LG Dhampir

1 UM1) F: Power Attack, BF: Improved Unarmed Strike, BF: Improved Grapple, BF: Stunning Fist, Flurry of Blows
2 V1) ST:Guise of Life, Hidden Strike 1D4/1D8
3 V2) F: Celestial Obedience (Falayna), Hangman’s Noose
4 B1) Strangle +1d6, Martial Flexibility 4/day, Martial Training, Brawler’s Cunning, +1 STR
5 B2) F: Snapping Turtle Style, BF: Snapping Turtle Clutch, Strangle +2d6, Practiced Strangler
6 V3) Bound to Truth, Hidden Strike 2D4/2D8, ST: Social Grace (Diplomacy)
7 V4) F: Greater Grapple, Twisted Rope
8 V5) BF: Chokehold, Hidden Strike +3d4/3d8, ST: Street Smarts, +1 CHA
9 V6) F: Body Shield, VT: Foe Collision
10 V7) Hidden Strike +4d4/4d8, ST: Quick Change
11 V8) F: Rapid Grappler, VT: Combat Feat: Pinning Knockout

You can definitely skip Hangman. I liked the flavor of the archetype, so I built around it. Vigilante has some of the same feel as an Investigator, and there's a nifty Social Talent "Guise of Life" which lets you have a Human Social Identity, so people don't know you're a Dhampir.

Vigilante also has several talents that are fun with grappling. Foe Collision means if you pin someone and deal Hidden Strike damage, you get to swing them into an adjacent opponent and deal (nonlethal) hidden strike damage to that opponent. Living Shield lets you use whoever you have grappled to defend yourself, and potentially make them take damage from attacks. I'm going Body Shield instead, because my Vigilante Talents were spoken for, but it's a similar effect.

One drawback of taking the Strangler Brawler archetype is that Strangler trades away Improved Unarmed Strike... which is a prerequisite for Improved Grapple. It really makes no sense, but it is what it is. That's why the Unchained Monk level is in there, but you can get around that by just taking the IUS feat, or Fist of the Avenger Vigilante talent. You could take the Favored Maneuver Vigilante talent (ignoring the prerequisites for Improved Grapple), but you'll run into issues when you get to feats down the chain that also list IUS.

Anyway, with all of this going, you can immediate action grapple off turn, Move maintain on your turn to pin (deal 2D6 sneak from Strangler), then Standard maintain to damage (Adding Sneak/Hidden Strike).

Each time you successfully deal Hidden Strike damage, you can bash your victim into someone adjacent dealing Hidden Strike damage (nonlethal) without an attack roll.

After your turn, if someone attacks you, you can immediate action gain cover, and potentially have the attacker deal damage to your victim.

If you haven't used an immediate action, and your Move to maintain is successful, you can Swift maintain to damage (Adding Sneak/Hidden Strike).

Anyway, it seems pretty fun to me.

Grand Lodge

The benefit of a straight martial build like Ferious Thunes is combat-wise you can multi-class as much as you like without to much concern (other than will save).

Id rager with the dedication is a good way to buff up your will save and get a little wand use into a build.


Grandlounge wrote:

Replenishing Aquarium Ball for 500gp crab hops in once every 12 hours.

I should also add that on top of everything else the crab has constrict.

Bingo!


Yomabo wrote:
I have been thinking about perhaps dropping the whole investigator thing altogether, but it stopped feeling like the character that I had in mind. I do like him to be clever and craft potions and stuff.

Well, I outlined 2 builds where you take levels in Alchemist and keep the general flavor of a high-skill, Sneak Attacking Grappler. Alchemists get Brew Potion as a Bonus Feat, get a decent number of skills, and there is a Sneak Attack Archetype option: the Vivisectionist. You can also take Master Craftsman and then take Craft Wondrous Item and Craft Magic Arms and Armor, too.

I wrote:
Anyway, you'll be a super scary specter that strikes from the shadows like Batman.

I made the post 2 days ago at about this time. You should review it.

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