Feeling a little useless


Advice


So currently we are playing Strange Aeons, and we are nearing the end of the third book. It may just be some bad luck but I'm feeling useless to the party often. The party is at level 9 and I decided to try my hand at multiclassing I decided to be a Fume Slyph Inspired Blade Swashbuckler 5 levels 4 levels in Empiricist Investigator. Stats are STR 8 DEX 20 CON 12 INT 18 WIS 10 CHA 16 with Max health of 82. Feats I have Weapon focus finesse Rapiers, fencing grace, cloud gazer for flavor, combat reflexes, extra panache, stealth synergy as the team wanted it, and now weapon versatility.

We have a scythe-wielding slayer, a ranged inquisitor with an animal companion, a time Oracle, and a self-perfection psychic or something.

Silver Crusade

Can you retrain 4 of your Swashbuckler levels to Investigator? That would make you a classic Swashtigator.

I presume you have the Mutagen Alchemist Discovery Investigator Talent (if you don't have it, get it). Retrain Extra Panache to extra Investigator Talent (Quick Study).


PCScipio wrote:

Can you retrain 4 of your Swashbuckler levels to Investigator? That would make you a classic Swashtigator.

Yes, as long as I pay the retraining cost and put the in-game time in. I can also retrain feats too if I remember correctly.

No, I didn't get the mutagen thanks for the heads up. And okay I'll give it a shot.


Why are you feeling useless? Not dealing enough damage? Not contributing enough out of combat? Going down too quickly so you can't contribute in combat?

PCScipio has some good advice, but if we know what you want to do we can give more.


MrCharisma wrote:

Why are you feeling useless? Not dealing enough damage? Not contributing enough out of combat? Going down too quickly so you can't contribute in combat?

PCScipio has some good advice, but if we know what you want to do we can give more.

Could be luck I'll admit that or it could be the dream dimension. My damage feels low often, as I move in attack once even with a 15-20 crit range dealing 18 damage(Missing the 15-20 with 14s a lot lol). Compared to my scythe-wielding slayer who puts out high 20's and the inquisitor who blows up many enemies in a single volley. Most creatures we fight I try to parry I often fail and get hit. Many creatures hit my character putting him down to half health in a hit. Low will save getting feared and running, recently fought a leng ghoul who was a guard I walked up to the guard posts as we were trying to get in while talking to this guard suddenly fireballed that did 43 points of damage, then it walks around hitting my character after I tried to parry for 15 damage character was diseased and paralysed (4 dex damage and 3 con). Was out for the whole combat which was the slayer walks up hits for 29 damage then the inquisitor shoots it 4 times with bane from being an inquisitor then 100 damage killing it in one round. (I think he got a crit but still damn, like what the hell am I doing). Out of combat, I tend to get knowledge checks and seem to be fine most times.

(Note I try not to look up creatures so not to ruin things later on)


Investigator is a pretty weak partial multiclass. Having access to a single second level spell at CL4 isn't doing you any favors, and Studied Target taking a move action is crippling. I'd either want Swash1/Invest8, full Swash, or mix in some Rogue or Fighter for some extra oomph.

Your stats are pretty painful. No strength means no Power Attack, which really gimps your damage (and most importantly your crits). No Con means those D8s from investigator are extra painful. Being Rapier focused also means you can't take Piranha strike, which doubles down on the lack of PA.


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So the first problem I see is that you're comparing yourself to stronger builds.

Archery is the strongest damage output in the game. No need to move means you're always full attacking, and Rapid Shot/Manyshot means they're probably making 4 attacks per round (well 3 but one is double damage) where you're making 1 or 2. On top of that Inquisitor has some pretty nice swift-action buffs to throw on as well.

Two-Handed Strength weapons are also pretty easily superior to Dex weapons. Power Attack is better for them, that Slayer is getting +9 damage per hit from that, and even 18 Strength will give him +2 bonus damage as well. Since you don't even have Power Attack he's looking at ~+10 damage per hit and there's not much you can do about it.

Finally you've got a high crit-range weapon with a whole lot of damage that's not multiplied on a crit (+5 from Swashbuckler and +2 from Studied combat). This means you're getting maybe 30 damage on a crit, which means you need crits just to keep up.

What your build should do well is defences,and better skills. It also means you can do more with lower Stats. Judging by your stat array I'm guessing you started with a 25 point buy (or a good roll) which means you're getting less out of Dex to damage than you would in a 15 point buy (or lower rolls).

If you want to be more helpful getting more levels in Investigator will help, but as john salb pointed out that d8 HP is going to hurt. Your Parry/Riposte should up your defences somewhat, but if you're missing a lot anyway you might have trouble (Investigator will help here, they end up very good at hitting their studied target). If you don't already have it, QUICK STUDY will definitely help you, as will Mutagen.

This post is long enough and I have to go to bed, but I'm sure there will be more.


I play a similar inquisitor and honestly your damage will never match him.

But I also play a swash/investigator :) So you bring the skills to the table and you should be pretty decent on skills and def. That will be your big thing, for damage...this will be a challenge with the build. Mutagen and losing the levels of swash for investigator are your first step..the 5 levels sound good for swash sound good but really you wont miss them, just get a keen rapier asap. Would your gm allow you to move points in your stats around? Maybe mention to him you are feeling left behind sometimes they will take pity on you :) Cha 16 really isn't helping you. If not get a effortless lace and then retrain for piranha strike.

I would work on versatility though, personally that to me is where my build shines. (Sorry if this is disjointed I have a one year old yelling at me when she sees I'm not watching her.) My level 7 has a 19umd..which means I have a bunch of wands,(comprehend, cure, detect magic, shield, faerie fire) I also use Alchemical allocation (I took extend potion and enhance potion) I have a ton of potions and always on the look out (pots of barkskin,heroism, fly even bull str etc) basically 4x a day I can extend those and make them my level as needed.

So to give a idea at level 7 I usually have a AC 28, +16 hit and 1d6+11 (+3 Precision) 15-20 crit (keen weapon) BUT I also have 12+1d6+1 to all knowledge skills, +16 diplomacy, +20 disable device, +20 perception, +16 +1d6+1 spellcraft and of course the umd. You just need to keep in mind it isn't just damage :)


You're trying to compete with a ranged attacker with a pet. He will put damage you.

But you've got a tonne of nifty tricks. You gotta focus on what that can bring to the table. Like... you're an amazing skill monkey. I wouldn't sweat damage if they got it locked up. Focus on what they can't do and you'll shine.


The big problem I see is that your build does not really have a unique role. You have two characters that can fill the role of skill monkey while still being good at combat. Both of them are single classed so are getting access to higher level abilities. No matter how optimized this character becomes there is still going to be two other people who can do most if not all that you can do.

It also looks like you are trying to split your levels fairly even. This is usually a mistake especially on a spell casting class. A level or two dip may not be that bad but more than that usually ends up with a weaker character.


It was a 20 point buy actual my character stats without the magic gear is 8, 18, 12, 16, 10, 14.

Yeah maybe I've been focusing on the wrong thing, and it maybe in skills I was feeling a little useless as all my knowledges are covered by both the psychic and inquisitor. Charisma skills are covered by the Oracle, and some of the most recent skills I've tried were stealth which my character was spotted and attacked down, and a trap which I failed to disable then went off on me. The Inquisitor also has some beefy sense motive and perception.

I guess I really don't know what I bring to the group, especially when we have stealth synergy.

Thank you all so much again it means a lot.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:

The big problem I see is that your build does not really have a unique role. You have two characters that can fill the role of skill monkey while still being good at combat. Both of them are single classed so are getting access to higher level abilities. No matter how optimized this character becomes there is still going to be two other people who can do most if not all that you can do.

It also looks like you are trying to split your levels fairly even. This is usually a mistake especially on a spell casting class. A level or two dip may not be that bad but more than that usually ends up with a weaker character.

Yeah, pretty much sums it up.

The idea behind my character (He took the formally mind swapped trait) Was he was a charismatic swashbuckler who was also smart to boot. As he hunts for his memories trying to reclaim what he's lost, his mind was slowly expanding from the creature that left his body. So I did the first 5 in Swashbuckler and then the last 4 levels in empiricist Investigator to show the expanding mind.

Silver Crusade

Switching to swashbuckler 1/Investigator 8 will improve your parrying, because of Heroism and better Studied Combat bonuses. For reference, my 9th lvl Swashtigator has a +22 attack bonus with Mutagen, Heroism and Studied Combat.

Heroism (3rd lvl extract) also increases your skills and saves.


Well, in a way, you sacrificed your character's effectivity for the character's fluff. Retraining Swashbuckler levels to Investigator levels should work for the "regaining the mind" thing, though.

Firstly, Swashbuckler is one of the weakest classes in the game.* Slayer and Inquisitor are stronger classes, with a skillset similar to your character's., thus what you're experiencign isn't all that surprising. Investigator is actually a pretty good class, but a) a bit light on the damage dealing side unless you know what talents to grab, and b) your multiclassing rather hurts - at 9th level, you should have access to extracts like Channel Vigor, Displacement, Fly, and Heroism (and a +4 Barkskin would help with defense), and get extracts like Greater Invisibility, Monstrous Physique II, and Echolocation at next level. That one class has charisma as a secondary focus and the other intelligence doesn't help, either.

Investigator basically needs Quick Study and Alchemist Discovery -> Mutagen to be good in combat. You should try to get these ASAP, and look at extracts that might allow your character to do things other can't.

Mottzilla wrote:
I've tried were stealth which my character was spotted and attacked down

You do know you have Invisibility on your formulae list, right?

­
*) Cavall will disagree because of one very specialized Swashbuckler being good in a campaign practically tailored towards that character, but you've seen the problems.


Derklord wrote:
Well, in a way, you sacrificed your character's effectivity for the character's fluff.

And there's nothing wrong with that. I've got a fluffy blind Wizard, Drow Wildsoul, and dominatrix Pain Taster. So long as you're having fun it doesn't really matter your character's effectiveness.

That said, you don't seem to be having fun with your current character. I understand useless feeling in my Starfinder campaign where I built an Intimidate-focused character and then quickly learned everything in the campaign was either an undead, a construct, or a plant. I still have fun with the roleplaying aspects though, so the uselessness of my main abilities doesn't bother me too much.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As others have said, you have too many levels in swashbuckler and not enough in investigator.

One other option to consider, if the character is a follower of Desna, is to take Butterfly's Sting and pair up with the scythe-wielding slayer. Your character won't be doing the damage, but you will definitely be useful!


So here is a different question, considering the party makeup how attached are you to the character/concept? Looking at the party I am seeing what you are talking about..everyone has a place and specialty and I could see getting frustrated. Honestly I have a opposite issue, I tend to play my character in the background to let others get the first chance to roll.

So basically I would try to figure out what you think the party needs. Going with more investigator will help in combat but it seems like you are lacking in a bunch of areas.


Dragonchess Player wrote:
As others have said, you have too many levels in swashbuckler and not enough in investigator.

I think this is the crux of it. Your multiclass is 50/50, which isn't great for pathfinder. The retraining should help, and even fits the character you're describing.

Dragonchess Player wrote:
One other option to consider, if the character is a follower of Desna, is to take Butterfly's Sting and pair up with the scythe-wielding slayer. Your character won't be doing the damage, but you will definitely be useful!

I was going to suggest this but forgot the name. =P This would mean you're still not doing all that much damage, but you're giving a pretty huge boost to your ally.

Along those lines you could also consider Magus (INT-based sword fits your character concept) or Bard (CHA based, but 6+INT skills, bonuses to knowledges & Versatile Performance make it a very "smart" class) as alternatives to Investigator. The Magus would up your own damage significantly, while the Bard would help your party more. I don't usually suggest different classses, but you're retraining anyway. If I were in your shoes I'd probably stick with Investigator, but these options would be pretty strong if you want to change.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
MrCharisma wrote:
Dragonchess Player wrote:
As others have said, you have too many levels in swashbuckler and not enough in investigator.
I think this is the crux of it. Your multiclass is 50/50, which isn't great for pathfinder. The retraining should help, and even fits the character you're describing.

There are some archetypes where you may want 5+ levels in swashbuckler to qualify for certain Advanced Weapon Training options (if your GM allows it) or to stack bonuses for certain weapons (like flying blade and Startoss Style), but inspired blade isn't one of them IMO.


Mottzilla wrote:
MrCharisma wrote:
Why are you feeling useless? Not dealing enough damage? Not contributing enough out of combat? Going down too quickly so you can't contribute in combat?
Could be luck I'll admit that or it could be the dream dimension. My damage feels low often, as I move in attack once even with a 15-20 crit range dealing 18 damage(Missing the 15-20 with 14s a lot lol). Compared to my scythe-wielding slayer who puts out high 20's and the inquisitor who blows up many enemies in a single volley. Most creatures we fight I try to parry I often fail and get hit....

Well, OP&R is overrated, so I'm not surprised that's starting to break down at 9th.

The main problem is the single attack, when a fair chunk of the time you probably have a full-attack sequence available. You choice of archetype also (without expenditure of feats or gold) limits you to a rapier, which is not a light weapon, and therefore denies you the use of Piranha Strike.

Rolling the character over into Investigator, as others have suggested, is one solution, as it grants flavorings of rogue and alchemist, albeit at the cost of dropping to 3/4ths BAB. Since they've already done that, I'll propose something a little different: be a professional Cuisinart. With a psychic, an oracle, and a critter-dude already covering the caster bases, what your party really needs is a second primary melee role, and I'm guessing that the slayer with the scythe has large but infrequent single attacks that only rarely crit).

Stats.... You have way more Int than you need (you're not a wizard!). I'd rather see Con, Wis, and Cha all higher than Int.

Multiclass build:

01 Bloodrager[Id Rager(Despair)/Urban] (or Barbarian[Urban], if Id Rager's obtuse mechanics make your GM's head explode), Extra Rage, Two Weapon Fighting

..."Power from Despair: The phantom gains a +2 bonus on attack and damage rolls against creatures that are shaken, frightened, panicked, cowering, or subject to effects such as aura of despair or crushing despair..." (Nethys) With this, and the ability to dex-rage, you'll be +2 to hit versus a non-rage build nearly all the time and +4 versus anything scared. Your AC will also be +2 while dex-raging.

02 Swashbuckler1, [Panache pool][finesse]
03 Ninja1 [SA+2d6], Accomplished Sneak Attacker or FEAT(g)
04 Ninja2 [Ki Pool], [Forgotten Trick or Flurry of Stars or Trick(?)]
05 Ninja3 [SA+3d6], Quick Draw
06 Ninja4 [Uncanny Dodge][Trick:Long Step]
07 Swashbuckler2 [Charmed life], Improved Two Weapon Fighting
08 Swashbuckler3
09 Swashbuckler4 [Feat: Lunge], Piranha Strike
10 Swashbuckler5 [Swashbuckler Weapon Training]

Equipment: +1/Furious/Agile wakizashi (pair; one adamantine, one cold-iron or other metal), Celestial Armor, Goz Mask.

At 10, you'll pick up Improved Critical for free as part of Swashbuckler Weapon Training.

Tactics: always be full-attacking:
* Long Step: ...move 10' with a 5'-step.
* Lunge: ...increase your reach by 5'
* Dodging Panache : ...spend a point for a free 5' that doesn't count

...all of these essentially let you full-attack anything within 20', or 25' if they take a swing at you.

Silver Crusade

OP&R is mostly a modest buff to your damage output, since you have to roll reasonably well to parry an attack which would hit your AC (which should be pretty high as a Swashtigator).

@OP: Make sure you're making full use of your Inspiration. I've seen some Investigator players neglecting to use the free Inspiration on knowledge checks, for instance. Use Inspiration to boost key saving throws.

Finally, Iron Will is worth considering for just about any character in Strange Aeons.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

I played through Strange Aeon's as a (Strength Based) Psychic Detective Investigator. Out of our 4 man party I was #3 in damage (although still respectable) after the Bolt Ace Gunslinger and the Phantom Blade Spiritualist wielding a scythe. Once you get studied target up and running as d8's as a swift action and an inspired enchantment on your weapon you start throwing out some pretty decent damage. Its been some time since we finished the AP, but I want to say you start feeling combat effective around 8th level. I also picked up the dimensional dervish line of feats as soon as I was able, but I don't think you will be able to do so with the standard extract using investigator.

Another thing I did was take butterfly sting to pass those crits to the scythe wielder (who was also eventually spell striking Harms).

Also, skill. With the obscene number of skill points I had I was able to solo cast most of the occult rituals we encountered, and pretty much had every knowledge we needed for every situation. I somehow turned into the party's rogue/wizard.

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