Best class for a "muscle" wizard?


Creating a Character


We finally had our session 0 and the GM told us we would be needing a second character soon, after we finished up our first one. I along time concept I've always wanted to try was a Wizard/Monk hybrid, focused on self buffing and fists with a few damaging spells for flair. Something close to Armstrong from FMA.

With the Monk archetype feats finally released, it seemed like a really great way to create something like this. The new action economy and general lack of AoO means spellcasting in close range is fine and you can follow up with an attack.

I don't have any preference, but I'd rather be Wizard or Sorcerer, since those two classes seem like the less likely character to be in the front lines. I'm assuming the Sorcerer with the Divine spell list would be the best fit, but I haven't had a good chance to look over the 4 spell lists yet.

Also, which is the most important monk archetype feat to pick up at 4th? Basic Kata for a stance, Unarmored Expertise for 1(?) bonus to AC (not sure if you start out "trained" or "untrained" if you aren't a monk in unarmored defense) or Monk Resiliency for more hit points.


The Strong-arm Alchemist is a beautiful man with high charisma so maybe an imperial bloodline with arcane techniques that have been passed down for generations!

You are going to be a bit MAD so maybe start with just a 16 in your Cha and use ancestray surge to compensate (it gives +1 on spell DCs and spell attack rolls for the cost of 1 SP and a Verbal action)

The go to gish combo thees days is True Strike spell plus magical striker. Though it is unclear if magical striker applies to unarmed attacks because the limits of "counts as a weapon" is not clearly defined in the book. If that works then you are golden.

Take dragon style for the high Str unarmed strikes and telekinetic projectile to chuck rocks at folks.

Suggested Starting Stats (if Human)
Str 16 Dex 14 Con 12 Int 10 Wis 10 Cha 16

Or at least those are my first thoughts on the concept.


Are the normal buff spells found in the divine spell list not worth it, or do you get basically the same thing minus healing from the arcane spell list?


Mostly I was going for flavor but mechanics wise, especially at low levels, a melee focused Unarmored Gish needs mage armor and that is not on the Divine list. There are plenty of other good buffs in the arcane list too, haste and fly stand out.


Bardarok wrote:

Mostly I was going for flavor but mechanics wise, especially at low levels, a melee focused Unarmored Gish needs mage armor and that is not on the Divine list. There are plenty of other good buffs in the arcane list too, haste and fly stand out.

by level 2 you get your first tier of bracers, so mage armor is really only for the 1st level.

If starting Sorc, talk with your GM how he sees dragon claws working, some people think that both the d4 slash and d4 element are base damage (hence they get multiplied by potency) some others think only the slash part is base damage.

If the GM thinks that both are base, then Dragon claws are pretty awesome weapons and keep your hands open for spellcasting.

Alternative, demonic bloodline is pretty nice sustain with both temp hp every round from your bite and Heal selfcasted as a 1 action spell to trigger magical striker.

For a Gish, magical striker at 4 is all but mandatory.

Even if going Monk, i see no reason to not start as a human and pick up medium armor proficiency from level 1. The only (good) thing you lose is stances. But those come at the earliest at level 6 (if you pick arcane striker at 4) and you would need at least level 8 to pick up expert unarmored. In general, I see no appeal in going unarmored in a Str build. You'll get pummelled to death.

In fact, I would probably not pick up monk feats at all in your case. Monk at 2, flurry at 10, expert unarmed at 14 would be my multiclass feats.

If i would pick a monk feat (level 6 or 8 instead of another sorc feat) I would pick up Ki strike for both the +1SP but also the ability to both gain a +1 to an attack AND trigger Magical striker with a "free action" instead of needing a 1/2action spell.

If going for dragon/demonic your main use of SP would be 1 at the start of each combat, so you could probably spare some, although dragon breath at 6th level if dragon is also good since it autoscales.


shroudb wrote:
Bardarok wrote:

Mostly I was going for flavor but mechanics wise, especially at low levels, a melee focused Unarmored Gish needs mage armor and that is not on the Divine list. There are plenty of other good buffs in the arcane list too, haste and fly stand out.

by level 2 you get your first tier of bracers, so mage armor is really only for the 1st level.

Ah you're right! I keep thinking of them as being the same level as +X armor like they were in PF1.


Bardarok wrote:

Mostly I was going for flavor but mechanics wise, especially at low levels, a melee focused Unarmored Gish needs mage armor and that is not on the Divine list. There are plenty of other good buffs in the arcane list too, haste and fly stand out.

This character starts out at 4th if the changes anything.

I sort of want to avoid going the dragonic bloodline since I just played a Dragon obsessed character, but it looks a ton easier than the multiclass.

Is there not an official ruling on the claws damage? It seems like something like that since it gets its own magic bonus would have a ruling by now.


SorrySleeping wrote:
Bardarok wrote:

Mostly I was going for flavor but mechanics wise, especially at low levels, a melee focused Unarmored Gish needs mage armor and that is not on the Divine list. There are plenty of other good buffs in the arcane list too, haste and fly stand out.

This character starts out at 4th if the changes anything.

I sort of want to avoid going the dragonic bloodline since I just played a Dragon obsessed character, but it looks a ton easier than the multiclass.

Is there not an official ruling on the claws damage? It seems like something like that since it gets its own magic bonus would have a ruling by now.

they haven't touched spells/powers at all. I'm guessing there will be a "spell pass" at some time since it's quite a controversial issue atm.

I mostly talked about Sorc because, well, armstrong was a Cha-type of guy.

If you go wizard with multiclass monk, the base d6s of monk unarmed are on par with most agile+finesse weapons and you could probably grab a nifty school power like the divination one for proccing magical striker as well instead of the claws.

I would still recommend going for medium armor over unarmored+stance if you build for primarily Str though.

Starting at 4 is great, since you need level 4 to grab magical striker and that should be your bread and butter.


If you want buffing/healing and damage, the closest bet is probably primal or arcane.

Personally I think the best bet for buffing though here is occult.
Shield, forbidding ward, guidance. Mage armor, bless, sanctuary, true strike.
It goes on to have the wizard stuff like blur and haste.

I guess it just has the huge issue of being the least flashy spell list.


Elleth wrote:

If you want buffing/healing and damage, the closest bet is probably primal or arcane.

Personally I think the best bet for buffing though here is occult.
Shield, forbidding ward, guidance. Mage armor, bless, sanctuary, true strike.
It goes on to have the wizard stuff like blur and haste.

I guess it just has the huge issue of being the least flashy spell list.

I don't think you can forbidding ward yourself

Most spell language has been cleared to "You or ab ally" or "creature" while ward says "ally" only. The only other such spell I can find is allegro, and allegro also makes sense to be ally only and not self.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
shroudb wrote:
Most spell language has been cleared to "You or ab ally" or "creature" while ward says "ally" only.

The convention in PF1 is that you count as your own ally for the purpose of targeting. If that's changed, it probably needs to be stated explicitly somewhere because a lot of people (myself included) never even considered that this convention might have implicitly changed.


Dasrak wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Most spell language has been cleared to "You or ab ally" or "creature" while ward says "ally" only.
The convention in PF1 is that you count as your own ally for the purpose of targeting. If that's changed, it probably needs to be stated explicitly somewhere because a lot of people (myself included) never even considered that this convention might have implicitly changed.

In PF1 the convention was that "you count as your own ally only if it makes sense to do so"

Or, basically, there were no concrete rules, just a few faqs here and there (you count for this, you don't count for this, and etc)

But yeah, I do agree that it needs to be clearly stated.

So far, most spells have the "you or an ally" language, while only 2 specific spells have "ally" only as a target.

So, I'm willing to say that it's easily steamlined a whole lot more than PF1 where it was a mess.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
shroudb wrote:
In PF1 the convention was that "you count as your own ally only if it makes sense to do so"

And it does make sense in the context of Forbidding Ward. The spell works just fine if it's allowed to self-target.

shroudb wrote:
Or, basically, there were no concrete rules, just a few faqs here and there (you count for this, you don't count for this, and etc)

The FAQ's are official rulings by Paizo on common rules questions. Many people treat them as errata, and for the purposes of PFS organized play they may as well be errata.

Certainly for something like the "you are your own ally" FAQ, I'd take it as a statement of intent by Paizo as to what they mean when they publish such a spell or ability, so when I read rules text like that I remember the FAQ and fall back to that presumption.


Dasrak wrote:
shroudb wrote:
In PF1 the convention was that "you count as your own ally only if it makes sense to do so"

And it does make sense in the context of Forbidding Ward. The spell works just fine if it's allowed to self-target.

shroudb wrote:
Or, basically, there were no concrete rules, just a few faqs here and there (you count for this, you don't count for this, and etc)

The FAQ's are official rulings by Paizo on common rules questions. Many people treat them as errata, and for the purposes of PFS organized play they may as well be errata.

Certainly for something like the "you are your own ally" FAQ, I'd take it as a statement of intent by Paizo as to what they mean when they publish such a spell or ability, so when I read rules text like that I remember the FAQ and fall back to that presumption.

While in PF1 terms ward does make sense to count yourself as an ally, I don't think there were any "you or an ally" targeted spells in PF1.

Again, we just need a clear rule if we're our own allies.

But as far as it goes right now, most (including me) GMs won't allow ward imo. Strictly due to preexisting spells that go beyond to make yourself a target, language that ward explicitly lacks.


SorrySleeping wrote:
Bardarok wrote:

Mostly I was going for flavor but mechanics wise, especially at low levels, a melee focused Unarmored Gish needs mage armor and that is not on the Divine list. There are plenty of other good buffs in the arcane list too, haste and fly stand out.

This character starts out at 4th if the changes anything.

I sort of want to avoid going the dragonic bloodline since I just played a Dragon obsessed character, but it looks a ton easier than the multiclass.

Is there not an official ruling on the claws damage? It seems like something like that since it gets its own magic bonus would have a ruling by now.

There doesn't need to be a ruling, it's quite clear as written. The claw weapon damage dice is 1d4, it also happens to do an extra 1d4 energy damage. Potency (which the heightened effect of the claws emulates) ups the number of weapon damage dice rolled. Which is 1d4. Multiplying the energy damage dice would be like multiplying the dice from property runes on a weapon, it's just not how it works.

We had this nonsense in 1e where people argued about the meaning of rolling extra weapon damage dice meant for weapons with 2dx base damage, which I expect is why in 2e all the 2dx weapons got switched to 1dx (like Greatsword going from 2d6 to 1d12), it's to avoid confusion like this. So naturally we find the ONE spot where ambiguity could be dug out. XD

TL;DR Potency ONLY multiplies the weapon damage dice, the energy damage on the claws is an extra separate from the weapon die that never scales up. As a note these claws start out stronger than a long sword due to the extra damage but as the energy die doesn't scale they eventually end up at dagger strength.

As to your initial question I would definitely recommend grabbing Basic Kata for a stance. If you're Str-based I recommend Dragon Stance. Your AC will be a bit low if you don't keep your Dex up but the Shield Cantrip helps.

If Dex based just get a style that gives an attack with Finesse.


Edge93 wrote:
SorrySleeping wrote:
Bardarok wrote:

Mostly I was going for flavor but mechanics wise, especially at low levels, a melee focused Unarmored Gish needs mage armor and that is not on the Divine list. There are plenty of other good buffs in the arcane list too, haste and fly stand out.

This character starts out at 4th if the changes anything.

I sort of want to avoid going the dragonic bloodline since I just played a Dragon obsessed character, but it looks a ton easier than the multiclass.

Is there not an official ruling on the claws damage? It seems like something like that since it gets its own magic bonus would have a ruling by now.

There doesn't need to be a ruling, it's quite clear as written. The claw weapon damage dice is 1d4, it also happens to do an extra 1d4 energy damage. Potency (which the heightened effect of the claws emulates) ups the number of weapon damage dice rolled. Which is 1d4. Multiplying the energy damage dice would be like multiplying the dice from property runes on a weapon, it's just not how it works.

We had this nonsense in 1e where people argued about the meaning of rolling extra weapon damage dice meant for weapons with 2dx base damage, which I expect is why in 2e all the 2dx weapons got switched to 1dx (like Greatsword going from 2d6 to 1d12), it's to avoid confusion like this. So naturally we find the ONE spot where ambiguity could be dug out. XD

TL;DR Potency ONLY multiplies the weapon damage dice, the energy damage on the claws is an extra separate from the weapon die that never scales up. As a note these claws start out stronger than a long sword due to the extra damage but as the energy die doesn't scale they eventually end up at dagger strength.

As to your initial question I would definitely recommend grabbing Basic Kata for a stance. If you're Str-based I recommend Dragon Stance. Your AC will be a bit low if you don't keep your Dex up but the Shield Cantrip helps.

If Dex based just get a style that gives an attack...

Can you point me to the place where the elemental part is "extra" damage.

Because as I read it, it's 100% base weapon damage.

In fact, the very part of it that it's the single one power where "extra" effects don't scale with power level seems to be a clear indication that the scaling (potency) of the ability affects the whole part of said ability, which, surprise surprise, it does happens when you consider elemental part as base.

**
Take a look at the exact equivalent Gluttons jaws:
A) the fact that the healing is something extra is clearly stated as Enchantment on the base bite
B) it's enchantment scales with level
**

In fact, the equivalent of d8 (well, d9) that's 2d4 is what you'd expect from a power/feat based claws ability.

What you assume is that the elemental part is property, when a) it doesn't work like property (numeric or effect wise) and b) it isn't stated anywhere. Again all things easy to do if that was intend. Look at glutton jaws power for an example.

RAW wise 100% potency affects the element as well


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Edge93 wrote:
As a note these claws start out stronger than a long sword due to the extra damage but as the energy die doesn't scale they eventually end up at dagger strength.

This is the one thing that makes me give some credence to the "both weapon and elemental dice scale" interpretation, because the ability doesn't track consistently and instead falls consistently behind as you gain levels. If both dice scaled, it would track the longsword consistently which makes much more sense. It may very well be that having both the weapon and elemental damage advance is the RAI, but unless Paizo clarifies we don't know.

Still, as written the text is pretty clear that it should only be the weapon dice that increase. If it meant that the elemental dice is also increased, it would need to say so explicitly.


Dasrak wrote:
Edge93 wrote:
As a note these claws start out stronger than a long sword due to the extra damage but as the energy die doesn't scale they eventually end up at dagger strength.

This is the one thing that makes me give some credence to the "both weapon and elemental dice scale" interpretation, because the ability doesn't track consistently and instead falls consistently behind as you gain levels. If both dice scaled, it would track the longsword consistently which makes much more sense. It may very well be that having both the weapon and elemental damage advance is the RAI, but unless Paizo clarifies we don't know.

Still, as written the text is pretty clear that it should only be the weapon dice that increase. If it meant that the elemental dice is also increased, it would need to say so explicitly.

again, look at Glutton's Jaws.

the fact that the healing is something "add on", something "extra" is clearly written as an enchantment to the "base" jaws attack.

dragon claws lack s any of this. Dragon claws lists the elemental damage EXACTLY the same as the slashing damage.

so, why do you think that it's something extra and not base?

why do you even think that the slashing is the base and not the elemental?

again. Same tier abilities, same class, same use, but one lists the extra effect as an enhancement, and explicitly how that scales, the other lists it as base effect and leaves the potency as the scaling.

seems to me that's both the rai and the raw right there.


shroudb wrote:
Dasrak wrote:
Edge93 wrote:
As a note these claws start out stronger than a long sword due to the extra damage but as the energy die doesn't scale they eventually end up at dagger strength.

This is the one thing that makes me give some credence to the "both weapon and elemental dice scale" interpretation, because the ability doesn't track consistently and instead falls consistently behind as you gain levels. If both dice scaled, it would track the longsword consistently which makes much more sense. It may very well be that having both the weapon and elemental damage advance is the RAI, but unless Paizo clarifies we don't know.

Still, as written the text is pretty clear that it should only be the weapon dice that increase. If it meant that the elemental dice is also increased, it would need to say so explicitly.

again, look at Glutton's Jaws.

the fact that the healing is something "add on", something "extra" is clearly written as an enchantment to the "base" jaws attack.

dragon claws lack s any of this. Dragon claws lists the elemental damage EXACTLY the same as the slashing damage.

so, why do you think that it's something extra and not base?

why do you even think that the slashing is the base and not the elemental?

again. Same tier abilities, same class, same use, but one lists the extra effect as an enhancement, and explicitly how that scales, the other lists it as base effect and leaves the potency as the scaling.

seems to me that's both the rai and the raw right there.

With Glutton's Jaws it has to be called out because it's an effect besides damage. That's not necessary for Dragon's Claws.

Also the claws are an Agile, Finesse, and Free-Hand (by virtue of being an unarmed Attack) weapon. To have them gain 2d4 total damage per Potency point would put them at a power level clearly above martial weapons (1.5 damage per Potency above a Shortsword which shares the claws' 3 traits, and .5 per potency above the Longsword, which only has 1 trait instead of 3). This should be clearly not the intent simply due to the obvious imbalance. I can't buy that a level 1 Sorcerer bloodline ability is -intended- to give you a weapon that outdoes possibly any 1-handed Martial weapon in overall power level, that you don't even have to pay to keep upgraded! Granted it is limited per day but it lasts long enough to go a full encounter and you're very likely to have enough spell points to use it in every fight if you don't blow them on other things.

I feel like if it scaled this way then I feel like a lot of people would be multiclassing Draconic Sorcerer to get these epic 3-inch claws that are somehow more powerful than any non-massive weapon they can find on the market. I think it's fairly clearly not the intent given how much effort has gone into balancing out a lot of things.

Granted, if the elemental die doesn't scale these claws aren't that great a weapon. They end up eventually coming in at or below Shortsword level. Which honestly isn't bad, that's a good light weapon. And these claws are clearly light weapon. I think they outdo simple weapons in overall power which I think is pretty decent. You could build around these but I never really felt like they were intended as a primary weapon. They always felt like more of a "I'm the Mage, I don't want to invest my hard-earned wealth into a weapon I'll rarely use, but if I really need a weapon I can pop out these cool claws that are almost as good as the weapon I'd have been keeping!"

Also good for a "Surprise, motha!" moment. XD

But yeah, I really can't see this at all being RAI, I really can't call it RAW either, and that's before even addressing what seem to me to be clear implications left by how the other weapons in the game have been adjusted from PF1.


To the OP, if you're going Str based and aren't too picky about the actual weapon Paladin Multiclass for heavy armor is pretty good if you take a bloodline that gives you a natural attack. But if it needs to be fists then yeah it's a trickier concept and Monk is pretty mandatory but makes you quite MAD.


Edge93 wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Dasrak wrote:
Edge93 wrote:
As a note these claws start out stronger than a long sword due to the extra damage but as the energy die doesn't scale they eventually end up at dagger strength.

This is the one thing that makes me give some credence to the "both weapon and elemental dice scale" interpretation, because the ability doesn't track consistently and instead falls consistently behind as you gain levels. If both dice scaled, it would track the longsword consistently which makes much more sense. It may very well be that having both the weapon and elemental damage advance is the RAI, but unless Paizo clarifies we don't know.

Still, as written the text is pretty clear that it should only be the weapon dice that increase. If it meant that the elemental dice is also increased, it would need to say so explicitly.

again, look at Glutton's Jaws.

the fact that the healing is something "add on", something "extra" is clearly written as an enchantment to the "base" jaws attack.

dragon claws lack s any of this. Dragon claws lists the elemental damage EXACTLY the same as the slashing damage.

so, why do you think that it's something extra and not base?

why do you even think that the slashing is the base and not the elemental?

again. Same tier abilities, same class, same use, but one lists the extra effect as an enhancement, and explicitly how that scales, the other lists it as base effect and leaves the potency as the scaling.

seems to me that's both the rai and the raw right there.

With Glutton's Jaws it has to be called out because it's an effect besides damage. That's not necessary for Dragon's Claws.

Also the claws are an Agile, Finesse, and Free-Hand (by virtue of being an unarmed Attack) weapon. To have them gain 2d4 total damage per Potency point would put them at a power level clearly above martial weapons (1.5 damage per Potency above a Shortsword which shares the claws' 3 traits, and .5 per potency above the Longsword, which only...

both bolded parts are wrong:

a)EXACTLY because it's healing it would have no need to have it called seperately.

because healing doesn't scale from potency either way.

but they went out of their way to call it as something extra.

something that they explicitly did NOT for claws. Ergo, making the elemental damage part of the BASE damage of the "weapon".

again, elemental damage is described the same exact way as the slashing damage.

there is 0% justification to call it anything other than base damage.

there are also 0 rules that say that elemental damage can't be base damage of a weapon, and i'm sure we'll see in the future base elemental damage weapons (i mean we had them in pf1 already, they're bound to come back)

b)who cares about martial weapons that you get with a general feat?
look at all the class feats/abilities natural weapons:
monk gets d8 agile, finesse, forceful unarmed (effectively d10 finesse, agile)
barbarian gets d10 and d8 agile simultaneously

the 2d4 agile, finesse is right on par (actually below) with those.

you don't see "everyone multiclassing to barbarian to get those sweet animal form unarmed" or multiclassing to monk to get those "ultra hardcore fists of doom"

again:

rai and raw seems to point out that claws elemental damage scales per normal. as it's the only thing that also makes sense both power wise and flavor wise (i mean, it would be the only non-scaling extra effect of a power if it did not)

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