Making an adventuring character viable... when s / he's wearing a full plate and / or a heavy / tower shield.


Advice

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You know characters fully decked in big armors and such, probably wielding a two-handed weapon or a shield? Yeah, how would you make them viable for adventuring?
- They are heavy, which carrying capacities can be a problem, and drowning.
- Armor check penalties are abound for skills.
- Mobility is also a problem for travelling, sneaking and even attacking.

The thing is that... you just can't forbid someone to play such a character. I mean, if your player wants to play Reinhardt or Steiner, you should just let him/her to do. If s/he wants to be a devoted bodyguard, "go for it".

What classes, feats, skills, abilities and items would make it easier for these characters to be adventurers and not burdens? I say "classes", because fighters, paladins, cavaliers, samurias and certain archetypes can become a walking tank, so anything goes.


Strength has scaling carrying capacities, so burden shouldn't be a problem as long as they are stronk.

There are no rules for heavy armor making you drown faster. It's just a penalty to Swim. ACP is a flat penalty and skills have scaling bonuses. As long as you build for it somehow, you should be fine.

Mobility is a non-issue. Overland speed is not based on hustle speed (the usual 20 vs. 30 feet movement).

In combat, you usually don't build around "reach the enemy really fast!" 'cause that's a surefire way to get your character flanked, surrounded, and killed.
Just like blasting casters call for proper positioning to avoid being roasted by a fireball, heavy armor tanks call for proper positioning to apply chokehold tactics to use their defence as an advantage, and not put their mobility to the test.

That being said, you can build characters that ignore most of these issues.

For example, a Fighter should have no issue with STR checks as they reduce ACP naturally, and their kit (i.e. Weapon Mastery feats) makes them really good at chokepoint control.

A Paladin has access to spells so this is a moot point altogether.

Samurais and Cavaliers have MOUNTS. Those have massive movement speeds. No one will ever say Cavaliers have movement issues – even mount size is not an issue if you build one properly, such as using the Hussar archetype to ignore size restrictions. Proper Order selection can allow you to have more travelling bonuses or even bonuses to Stealth.

TLDR: Heavy armored characters can't do everything but neither can light armored characters. However, in the same way light armored characters need to build to compensate for their weaknesses (like 6 STRers getting Fencing Grace and that weaksauce), so should heavy armored ones.


Secret Wizard wrote:
TLDR: Heavy armored characters can't do everything but neither can light armored characters. However, in the same way light armored characters need to build to compensate for their weaknesses (like 6 STRers getting Fencing Grace and that weaksauce), so should heavy armored ones.

That's exactly my point. The problem is that equipment will weigh down these characters. ACP and weight will affect skills, so I'm looking for ways to compensate this. Mounts are an option, but I need to remember that mounts will need to be strong to carry these characters, and will probably not fit in dungeons :P

I kew that tanking/soaking damage would be the primary role in combat, but my major concern is... about the rest. It's like carrying an Iron Golem ^^;


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JiCi wrote:
- They are heavy, which carrying capacities can be a problem, and drowning.

Those that use Heavy Armor, Strength-based players, have high carrying capacity. Start out with a 16 in strength and you'll have a 86 lb C-C with your MWK backpack, which is more than enough for your plate.

Those that usually struggle with C-C are dex-based characters that have a strength score below 10, which oftens means that the 7 Str UnRogue is pushing medium encumbrance just from carrying their backpack.

That's the kind of character that isn't viable for adventuring.

JiCi wrote:
- Mobility is also a problem for travelling, sneaking and even attacking.

Well sure, but that's not a problem unique to heavy armor. Small races and dwarfs also suffer from 20 ft movement, but the difference is that the Heavy armor user can take off their armor to move faster.

I'd recommend the trait Linebreaker to gain +20 movement on charges, but Haste or a wand of Expeditious Retreat is the best mid-level fix to in-combat movement.

=====

Edit:

Quote:
That's exactly my point. The problem is that equipment will weigh down these characters.

Wait, are we talking about low-strength characters using heavy armor for some reason?


Wonderstell wrote:
Wait, are we talking about low-strength characters using heavy armor for some reason?

No, we are talking about characters with the adequate Strength to even stand up in heavy armor :P

What I mean by equipment weighting down is more about skill checks and speed reduction, which even the highest Str score can have difficulties to compensate.

Like I said, combat isn't much of a problem. If you have a heavy armor and a tower shield, you're soaking damage... unless it's a touch attack, but that's another thing XD Adventuring will have you walk difficult terrains, climb cliffs/ropes, squeeze through cracks and swim, so unless your equipment can liquify and store itself in a gemstone around your wrist whenever you need to lighten the load, you're gonna haul that armor everywhere.


In my opinion, the best option is to be a spellcaster (including alchemy). Touch of the Sea/Monkey Fish/Levivate/Spider Climb/Alter Self take care of pesky swim or climb challenges (and later Fly/Air Walk and polymorph spells improve on that), Invisibility, maybe plus Silence/Silent Table make the caster in heavy armor better at sneaking than the Rogue (haha!), Polymorph spells (most notbaly Monstrous Physique II+) allow pounce (although the "moving around during combat" problem isn't in any way tied to heavy armor), Mount/Phantom Steed/Teleport/Wind Walk take care of overland travel. Lastly, many skill challenged can be overcome with spells.

Other options I like: The trait Voices of Solid Things can make Disable Device a charisma based check, and the trait Wisdom in the Flesh makes any one strength- or dexterity-based skill wisdom based. Either one removes the ACP from the skill.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Bags of holding work for that. Buy some scrolls of shrink item as an emergency situation.


Derklord wrote:

In my opinion, the best option is to be a spellcaster (including alchemy). Touch of the Sea/Monkey Fish/Levivate/Spider Climb/Alter Self take care of pesky swim or climb challenges (and later Fly/Air Walk and polymorph spells improve on that), Invisibility, maybe plus Silence/Silent Table make the caster in heavy armor better at sneaking than the Rogue (haha!), Polymorph spells (most notbaly Monstrous Physique II+) allow pounce (although the "moving around during combat" problem isn't in any way tied to heavy armor), Mount/Phantom Steed/Teleport/Wind Walk take care of overland travel. Lastly, many skill challenged can be overcome with spells.

Other options I like: The trait Voices of Solid Things can make Disable Device a charisma based check, and the trait Wisdom in the Flesh makes any one strength- or dexterity-based skill wisdom based. Either one removes the ACP from the skill.

Well, the Eldritch Knight PrC is a good option, although you will need to be mid-level to benefit from it.


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There are a couple of things you are not taking into account. First of all most heavy armor will usually be at least masterwork if not magical. That drops the ACP down by one. It may not seem like a lot, but every bit helps. This also applies to shield as well. That means that the total penalty for full plate and shield is only -6. The trait Armor expert will drop that down a -5. This is before special materials or magic is applied. If I use mithral full plate and a darkwood heavy shield my penalty drops to -3 before armor expert, and -2 after factoring in armor expert.

Any character using heavy armor is more than likely going to have a high STR. This will reduce the problem with swimming and climbing. Other than paladins all classes that get proficiency in heavy armor also have both of these skills as class skills. Putting even a single rank into these skills gets you a positive bonus even while fully armored. Stealth and other DEX based skills will still be impacted. Also if the character is using a shield and needs to swim or climb, they simply stow the shield and don’t take the penalty for the shield.

Often a low STR character may have more problems with swimming and climbing than the person wearing heavy armor. A human fighter with a 18 STR and wearing masterwork full plate with a single point in climb has a +3 climb. The gnome sorcerer with a 6 STR and no ranks has a -2. The fighter in full plate is going to handle climbing the wall a lot better than the gnome sorcerer.

Many characters besides those using heavy armor will be moving slower. Three of the seven core races have 20 ft. movement. Other than dwarves any race with a 20 ft. movement wearing medium armor will be moving the same speed as the medium race in heavy armor. Even medium races in medium armor will be slowed down. So in reality the medium character in heavy armor is only slightly slower than average.

Last but not least magic items counter many of these problems. Items like rings of climbing, or better yet gauntlets of swimming and climbing are cheap. For stealth you have elven cloaks and the shadow enchantment for armor that are also very inexpensive. Boots of Striding and Springing only cost 5,500 gp.


I like the spell Swift Girding. It normally takes minutes to don a suit of Full Plate, and you can't even don it properly without assistance.

Swift Girding lets you don your armor properly as a Standard Action.

If you dip a level in Paladin or Magus, you can use a Wand of Swift Girding.

If you are playing Pathfinder Socieity, GMs seem to sort of ignore this problem.


JiCi wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
TLDR: Heavy armored characters can't do everything but neither can light armored characters. However, in the same way light armored characters need to build to compensate for their weaknesses (like 6 STRers getting Fencing Grace and that weaksauce), so should heavy armored ones.

That's exactly my point. The problem is that equipment will weigh down these characters. ACP and weight will affect skills, so I'm looking for ways to compensate this. Mounts are an option, but I need to remember that mounts will need to be strong to carry these characters, and will probably not fit in dungeons :P

I kew that tanking/soaking damage would be the primary role in combat, but my major concern is... about the rest. It's like carrying an Iron Golem ^^;

Carrying capacity is a problem with all characters. I'm more of a better-to-have-it-and-not-need-it-than-to-need-it-and-not-have-it sort of fellow, myself.

When you can afford a Handy Haversack or Bag of Holding, your general encumbrance problems are pretty much over. But there are cheaper solutions.

You can drag like 5X what you can lift, and you can lift like 3X what you can carry. I don't remember the numbers, but a character can drag a lot. Well, there is a piece of mundane equipment called a stretcher. It can hold 500 pounds of whatever, and you can drag it. In combat, you drop it and hope no one steals it.

A lot of mundane equipment: pick, shovel, sledge hammer, crowbar gets really heavy. there is an inexpensive Wondrous Item called the Traveller's Anytool, which can turn into, well, any tool. That saves a lot of weight. Similarly, there is the Robe of Infinite Twine.


Val'bryn2 wrote:
Bags of holding work for that. Buy some scrolls of shrink item as an emergency situation.

Potion of Ant Haul + Oil of Lighten Object.


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Between Mobile Bulwark Style, the tower shield specialist feat, and all the various other ways to reduce ACP around (ask your GM if you can get Comfort on your tower shield) it feels like you can get that ACP penalty pretty low.

Like all the reasons I can think of not to play this character have to do with how enemies are probably disinclined to actually attack you so you probably need to rely extensively on positioning to be effective in combat, which may not be workable in all situations.


@PossibleCabbage

Lv 8 Human Bulwark Style Lancer:
Convoluted mess of bonus feats ahead.

Blood Conduit Bloodrager 1 / Gendarme Cavalier 4 / Drill Sergeant Fighter 2 / Vampire Hunter 1

Bloodrager 1 (bloodline hedgehog)
1 Extra Rage, Shield Focus (H), Improved Bull Rush (B)

Cavalier 1-3 (order of the Saddle)
2 Power Attack (B)
3 Boon Companion, Mounted Combat (B)
4 Cavalier's Charge

Fighter 1-2
5 Ride-By Attack, Spirited Charge (B)
6 Mobile Bulwark Style (B), +1 Teamwork Feat (B)

Vampire Hunter 1 (or Brawler if it must be PFS legal)
7 Mobile Fortress, Rhino Charge (B)

Cavalier 4
8 Expert Trainer

Retrain Boon Companion to Horse Master, and you'll use your character level for your mount's progression

====

Horse Animal Companion

2 Iron Will
3 Power Attack
3
4 Int raised to 3
5 Improved Bull Rush
6
6
7 Rhino Charge

====

The above build would let you set up total cover each round as a move action, and then ready a charge with your standard. Since your mount also has Rhino Charge, it can use its own move action to secure the charge.

You are considered to share the same space as your mount, so the total cover you set up would block attacks targeting your horse too. This would also mean that you can protect two adjacent allies behind you when mounted, as you now have a 10x10 space.

A lance cavalier has good synergy with the Tower Shield as you get 1.5x Str even though you're holding your shield, and cavaliers ignore the ACP on ride checks.


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I feel like there's a misunderstanding with carrying capacity here.

If your character is wearing armor, use the worse figure (from armor or from load) for each category. Do not stack the penalties.

This means you don't add your penalties from armor and carrying capacity together, you use the worse of ths two.

If you're wearing FULL PLATE hou already have a Max DEX of +1 and an ACP of -6, so you don't care about the penties for a heavy load (because tbey won't stack). A character with 16 STR has a heavy load of 230lbs. The full ate weighs 50lbs, leaving 180lbs for your other gear. Not a problem.


JiCi wrote:
Wonderstell wrote:
Wait, are we talking about low-strength characters using heavy armor for some reason?

No, we are talking about characters with the adequate Strength to even stand up in heavy armor :P

What I mean by equipment weighting down is more about skill checks and speed reduction, which even the highest Str score can have difficulties to compensate.

Like I said, combat isn't much of a problem. If you have a heavy armor and a tower shield, you're soaking damage... unless it's a touch attack, but that's another thing XD Adventuring will have you walk difficult terrains, climb cliffs/ropes, squeeze through cracks and swim, so unless your equipment can liquify and store itself in a gemstone around your wrist whenever you need to lighten the load, you're gonna haul that armor everywhere.

Compare a strength based character in heavy armor vs not-strength based characters in the same party. At low levels you can't really afford plat anyways so you're looking at -4 from medium armor, which is offset by a typical 18 strength. If someone actually invests ranks that is going to put them higher than other party members that don't. Typically other party members will have a 10 strength so they are the same.

At higher levels when you actually acquire plate its usually magical. That turns the -7 ACP into a -6 penalty because its at least mastercrafted. If the player did nothing to counter the negatives that will make them slightly worse off than a wizard in robes, but I think its worth the penalty for the extra armor. And there are tons of feats, class abilities, and other ways to lessen ACP so if your armor is what prevents you from taking a brisk morning swim that is your lack of foresight.

And as for touch attacks, they aren't as common as being flat footed or denied dex. Any encounter can have a surprise round. Touch attacks are about as common as creatures that stun or deny your dex bonus. There are circumstances that make you flat footed, but not ones that deny your armor bonuses. And by the time you really worry about touch attacks, you can't gain enough touch AC to do anything about it anyways.


The bigger problem is that most classes with heavy armor prof. have 2-4 skill points per level and disincentives to have high Int. Try to argue for background skills if you want to avoid having the fighters et al. left out - it doesn't directly affect mobility skills but it does let them get flavour skills without cutting into the same pool of skill points.


avr wrote:
The bigger problem is that most classes with heavy armor prof. have 2-4 skill points per level and disincentives to have high Int. Try to argue for background skills if you want to avoid having the fighters et al. left out - it doesn't directly affect mobility skills but it does let them get flavour skills without cutting into the same pool of skill points.

Fighters have Versatile Training and Adaptable Training, skill ranks aren't that big of an issue.


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Secret Wizard wrote:
avr wrote:
The bigger problem is that most classes with heavy armor prof. have 2-4 skill points per level and disincentives to have high Int. Try to argue for background skills if you want to avoid having the fighters et al. left out - it doesn't directly affect mobility skills but it does let them get flavour skills without cutting into the same pool of skill points.
Fighters have Versatile Training and Adaptable Training, skill ranks aren't that big of an issue.

If they sacrifice a little combat ability, which some won't and others won't know how to, and which the paladins & cavaliers mentioned in the OP can't do at all.


I just want to point out Folding Plate goes from a brooch (negligible weight) to Full Plate on command (standard action).

A Folding Shield can become either of a Buckler, Heavy Shield, or Tower Shield as a move action.

This means that as a full action, you can go from +2 AC and no ACP to +15 AC and -15 ACP (barring any feat or abilities that changes does numbers).

***********
ACP is really easy to reduce. As previously said just making them masterwork removes -2. A handful of feat removes the penalty from a some things; Ex: Armor Athlete reduces ACP by 3 for 1 skill and Tower Shield Specialist reduces it ACP by 3.

***********
As far as Touch AC goes, building for tower shield and use Mobile Fortress; You get a minimum of +2 Touch AC (equivalent of having +2 Dex).

As an added benefit, eventually you can even get partial cover vs spells and total cover vs attacks as a swift/immidiate action.

Silver Crusade

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A reach weapon helps in combat. Later on, Boots of Striding and Springing can increase your speed.

I am playing a full plate wearing Flame Spirit Shaman in Ironfang Invasion (spent a feat on Heavy Armor Proficiency at 3rd lvl). The Cinder Dance Hex increased his speed, and now that he's higher level, he travels via Overland Flight. In combat, he uses reach tactics with a longspear. He started with 18 Str, so carrying capacity hasn't been a problem.

Sovereign Court

Yeah heavy armor, Full Plate, weighs 50 lbs.
And light armor, chain shirt, weighs 25 lbs.

The 10 str rogue is going to have a lot harder time than the 18 str fighter.

Silver Crusade

Like others above, my observation as GM is that high STR characters are more viable than STR-dumped DEX-based characters, heavy armor notwithstanding. More than a few times, as GM, I've checked carrying capacity and found STR-dumped PCs overloaded to where they can barely walk.


Doesn't that mean they have poor weight management skills? Or lack of access to handy haversacks (120 lbs capacity, but only 5 pound actual weight) or other dimensional storage.

Btw the biggest problem is money. 50 coins/lb with easily 2k+ gp by lv 5, that's 40+ lbs just in gold coins.


Firebug wrote:

Yeah heavy armor, Full Plate, weighs 50 lbs.

And light armor, chain shirt, weighs 25 lbs.

The 10 str rogue is going to have a lot harder time than the 18 str fighter.

Forget the 10 STR Rogue and the 18 STR Fighter.

The 13 STR Rogue (he splurged for power attack) has to keep all his gear (including armour) below 50lbs.

The 13 STR Fighter (INT was his dump stat, so he didn't know he needed STR) wearing Stone Plate (the heaviest armor I could see, at 75lbs) can still carry 75lbs worth of other stuff.

When you stop worrying about your Light Load carrying capacity stops being something you care about at all.

Magda Luckbender wrote:
More than a few times, as GM, I've checked carrying capacity and found STR-dumped PCs overloaded to where they can barely walk.

Yeah my 10-STR Gnome-Alchemist is running round with a 15 foot movement speed and he's not even wearing armour - It's not ideal. I don't actually know how much weight he's carrying but I know he's at a medium load (I should check it, he's getting close to heavy).


Um...I've never known of a player to build a super tank like that who was concerned about skills or movement. The fighter gets Armor Training thus reducing some of the ACP and I will assume the fighter is looking at Mithral anyway. The other thing to think of here is that the tank characters usually get low skill points every level anyway, which means that the player sacrifices skills because their purpose in the party is to stand and fight.


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As a big dumb Fighter, I don't think I have ever failed a climb or swim check... ever. Meanwhile I watched the Dex Ranger fail seven consecutive checks to climb out of the water and get back on a boat he was pushed off of.

In fact, more times than not, I put the Rogue/whoever on my back and climb with them because they simply can't make the climb reliably. And you can absolutely bet on me doing this in heavy armor.

My big dumb Fighter will jump from the deck of a boat on to the deck of another boat with bottomless open ocean between them. And he will do it in heavy armor without hesitation. Might even have to do it with the Rogue/whoever on his back, too.

At level 7 you can move full speed in heavy armor, and you become faster than the weaker encumbered characters... start carrying them because it's faster. I put the Tiefling on my shoulders, sprint through the city away from the mob, even aced my balance check running on muddy cobblestones with the Tiefling on my shoulders. Jumped over a push cart full of vegetables, with her on my shoulders. All in heavy armor.

If you have a big dumb Fighter in heavy armor that can't do these things, then you have absolutely failed your character and your party.


VoodistMonk wrote:


My big dumb Fighter will jump from the deck of a boat on to the deck of another boat with bottomless open ocean between them. And he will do it in heavy armor without hesitation. Might even have to do it with the Rogue/whoever on his back, too.

At level 7 you can move full speed in heavy armor, and you become faster than the weaker encumbered characters... start carrying them because it's faster. I put the Tiefling on my shoulders, sprint through the city away from the mob, even aced my balance check running on muddy cobblestones with the Tiefling on my shoulders. Jumped over a push cart full of vegetables, with her on my shoulders. All in heavy armor.

Those things are Acrobatics (Dex-based), not Strength-based skills.


My big dumb Fighter has a the Soaring Sprinter trait, giving him Acrobatics as a class skill and a +2 bonus to keep balance or to jump.

The Run feat gives a +4 to jump with a running start.

A couple of ranks to get the +3 class skill bonus.

A positive Dexterity stat adds a few more.

Suddenly the DC20 horizontal gap is within my ability to take the chance. I can take 10 and clear it if not engaged or distracted.

And if I fail, I don't care because I can swim and climb my way up just fine.

Grand Lodge

So what? They are still affected by the armor penalties.


Drakaar wrote:
So what? They are still affected by the armor penalties.

Which can be reduced by Armor Training, and masterwork/magical armor, and Agile armor, and a Regional Trait, and special materials... suddenly it's not so bad.

It is almost as if this game has already given us the tools we need to overcome armor check penalties.


VoodistMonk wrote:
It is almost as if this game has already given us the tools we need to overcome armor check penalties.

I know this asrgument is cathartic (I've been doing it too), but this right here brings us back to the question of the thread.

How DO you make your full-plate-wearing fighter viable?

Let's assume this is a genuine question that lots of new players ask, how would you answer them?

VoodistMonk, since you seem to already have a character written up who can help with this, could you list the measures you've taken to be a viable skillful adventurer in heavy armour?


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Don't ditch Armor Training.

Get Agile Half Plate made out of Mithral, as soon as possible.

Take the Armor Master Regional Trait. And the Run feat.

You will probably have Armor Training 2 by the time you can afford Mithral Agile Half Plate...

With the trait reducing ACP by 1, you have a total ACP of -1 (-0 for Climb and Jump).

You can move your full speed in medium and heavy armor. You can run at 5x your speed with the Run feat and Agile armor.

If you take the Soaring Sprinter trait for Acrobatics as a class skill with a +2 bonus for balance and jumping, two ranks in Acrobatics and you can take 10 to clear DC20 jumps with a running start, not even factoring in a positive Dexterity bonus. A Rod of Balance makes this a take 10 on DC30 jumps, which is your full speed/ max you can jump.

Fill the roles of the big dumb Fighter. I hit stuff well. I carry stuff well. I break things well. I can throw the Rogue over the wall well. I control the battlefield around me well. I protect the squishies well. I don't slow down the party. I'm ugly and don't socialize well, but I have a maxed out Perception (via the Heart of the Fey alternative racial feature).

I can still use Intimidate effectively via the Bruising Intellect Social Trait, and free Skill Focus from Focused Study alternative racial feature. Intimidating Prowess, Power Attack, Cornugon Smash, and Hurtful work well with this.


I have a paladin with an item mastery feat called Teleportation Mastery.
I have to let you know, teleporting paladins are somewhat scary when used properly.


MrCharisma wrote:

How DO you make your full-plate-wearing fighter viable?

Let's assume this is a genuine question that lots of new players ask, how would you answer them?

"Don't be a Fighter". Let's face it, newbies tend to get over-fixated in some class (mostly Fighter or Rogue) because in their lack of knowledge and experience, they have the misconception that they need to play that specific class to best fulfill their character concept, but most of the time, a different class would be way more fitting.

Not that Fighter is bad with AWT, but starts rather slow and boring. For instance, I proposed an Armored Hulk Barbarian 1/Investigator X recently (for someione who wanted a "tanky" high strength character). Heavy armor prof, lots of strength, strong low levels (unlike a straight Investigator), the AC bonus from mutagen offsets the AC penalty from rage, lots of skill ranks plus inspiration, literally every skill in the game except fly as a class skill, and spells (including Touch of the Sea/Monkey Fish and Invisibility to help offset the armor's penalties).


For a Shield and Heavy Armor wearing character, I'd play a straight Warder from Path of War. With Int to Reflex and Init, you'd not need Dex too much (and 4 + Int skills and high Int, you get a good number of skills), and with Defensive Focus, you can let the enemy come to you, and get plenty of AoO's in the process.


KahnyaGnorc wrote:
For a Shield and Heavy Armor wearing character, I'd play a straight Warder from Path of War. With Int to Reflex and Init, you'd not need Dex too much (and 4 + Int skills and high Int, you get a good number of skills), and with Defensive Focus, you can let the enemy come to you, and get plenty of AoO's in the process.

That's some of Dreamscarred Press's ridiculous 3rd-party stuff, not official material. You should generally assume people are asking for Paizo content when asking for advice, and I recall their martial options basically being non-magical spellcasters anyway, which I don't think people are looking for when they want to play a martial class.


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Having just finished a campaign featuring two heavy armor wielding characters, neither of which had armor training, I'm having trouble understanding the premise of this thread.


Bloodrealm wrote:
KahnyaGnorc wrote:
For a Shield and Heavy Armor wearing character, I'd play a straight Warder from Path of War. With Int to Reflex and Init, you'd not need Dex too much (and 4 + Int skills and high Int, you get a good number of skills), and with Defensive Focus, you can let the enemy come to you, and get plenty of AoO's in the process.
That's some of Dreamscarred Press's ridiculous 3rd-party stuff, not official material. You should generally assume people are asking for Paizo content when asking for advice, and I recall their martial options basically being non-magical spellcasters anyway, which I don't think people are looking for when they want to play a martial class.

I don't assume. If they don't use Path of War, then the OP can bypass the advice.


A bit off topic, but heavy armor is way, way more prominent in fantasy media than the tower shield. Using the Heavy Shield should fit most characters just fine without having to jump through all of the hoops to get your tower shield to a good place.


KahnyaGnorc wrote:
Bloodrealm wrote:
KahnyaGnorc wrote:
For a Shield and Heavy Armor wearing character, I'd play a straight Warder from Path of War. With Int to Reflex and Init, you'd not need Dex too much (and 4 + Int skills and high Int, you get a good number of skills), and with Defensive Focus, you can let the enemy come to you, and get plenty of AoO's in the process.
That's some of Dreamscarred Press's ridiculous 3rd-party stuff, not official material. You should generally assume people are asking for Paizo content when asking for advice, and I recall their martial options basically being non-magical spellcasters anyway, which I don't think people are looking for when they want to play a martial class.
I don't assume. If they don't use Path of War, then the OP can bypass the advice.

But if they are actually new to the game it could lead to a lot of frustration. You hear about this great stuff, you look it up and find the rules and start building your character. Now you show up with your shinny new Warder and the GM has no idea what it is, and eventually tells you "that is 3rd party material, and I don't allow that."

Now our new player is stuck trying to figure out his new character at the first game. Or maybe he can't find the Warder class and spends his time researching to find out it is 3rd party material. Then its the back and forth of finding out if he can use it and does he want to.

I'm not saying don't post about 3rd party stuff, but I do recommend that the first thing you say is: Here are some 3rd party options. Also maybe mention which company makes it. If they want to use it, most GMs want a physical print copy around so they can read it in full form.


KahnyaGnorc wrote:
Bloodrealm wrote:
KahnyaGnorc wrote:
For a Shield and Heavy Armor wearing character, I'd play a straight Warder from Path of War. With Int to Reflex and Init, you'd not need Dex too much (and 4 + Int skills and high Int, you get a good number of skills), and with Defensive Focus, you can let the enemy come to you, and get plenty of AoO's in the process.
That's some of Dreamscarred Press's ridiculous 3rd-party stuff, not official material. You should generally assume people are asking for Paizo content when asking for advice, and I recall their martial options basically being non-magical spellcasters anyway, which I don't think people are looking for when they want to play a martial class.
I don't assume. If they don't use Path of War, then the OP can bypass the advice.

This is Pathfinder RPG/Advice. There is a separate section for Third Party Advice.


SorrySleeping wrote:
KahnyaGnorc wrote:
Bloodrealm wrote:
KahnyaGnorc wrote:
For a Shield and Heavy Armor wearing character, I'd play a straight Warder from Path of War. With Int to Reflex and Init, you'd not need Dex too much (and 4 + Int skills and high Int, you get a good number of skills), and with Defensive Focus, you can let the enemy come to you, and get plenty of AoO's in the process.
That's some of Dreamscarred Press's ridiculous 3rd-party stuff, not official material. You should generally assume people are asking for Paizo content when asking for advice, and I recall their martial options basically being non-magical spellcasters anyway, which I don't think people are looking for when they want to play a martial class.
I don't assume. If they don't use Path of War, then the OP can bypass the advice.
This is Pathfinder RPG/Advice. There is a separate section for Third Party Advice.

I don't think including 3rd party stuff is a bad idea, plenty of gets used. It's worth telling people that it's 3rd party though, so they can work out if it will fit with their group.

Path of War is 3rd party, check it out if you're looking for more heavy armour options.


MrCharisma wrote:
SorrySleeping wrote:
KahnyaGnorc wrote:
Bloodrealm wrote:
KahnyaGnorc wrote:
For a Shield and Heavy Armor wearing character, I'd play a straight Warder from Path of War. With Int to Reflex and Init, you'd not need Dex too much (and 4 + Int skills and high Int, you get a good number of skills), and with Defensive Focus, you can let the enemy come to you, and get plenty of AoO's in the process.
That's some of Dreamscarred Press's ridiculous 3rd-party stuff, not official material. You should generally assume people are asking for Paizo content when asking for advice, and I recall their martial options basically being non-magical spellcasters anyway, which I don't think people are looking for when they want to play a martial class.
I don't assume. If they don't use Path of War, then the OP can bypass the advice.
This is Pathfinder RPG/Advice. There is a separate section for Third Party Advice.

I don't think including 3rd party stuff is a bad idea, plenty of gets used. It's worth telling people that it's 3rd party though, so they can work out if it will fit with their group.

Path of War is 3rd party, check it out if you're looking for more heavy armour options.

3rd Party stuff is still Pathfinder. Open Source Gaming License, boys and girls! If the OP said or says "Paizo Only" or "no 3PP stuff," that's one thing. But you know what he did say?

JiCi wrote:
anything goes


3rd-party material may or may not be allowed, but... should that stop us from listing whatever they offer for us to use in order to solve the problem at hand?


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JiCi wrote:
3rd-party material may or may not be allowed, but... should that stop us from listing whatever they offer for us to use in order to solve the problem at hand?

You are the OP, JiCi. It's your thread. We are giving advice for your character in your campaign with your GM. Is 3rd party material allowed by your GM?

You tell us, and we will give you the best advice we can!


My PFS dwarf stonelord paladin is currently 8th level. As a dwarf, he's slow, but armor won't reduce that any further. His archetype gives him the defensive stance ability of a stalwart defender, so his usual strategy is to find the best place to plant himself and tank out. If he needs to move, he has the fatigued mercy to let him re-enter his stance within a round (and despite his superb AC, he's usually taken a hit or two by then, so none of the healing is wasted). And he has boots of striding and springing so that he can get to that one square he wants just a little faster.

As for skills, he's only at a net -1 or -2 on Str/Dex checks in his mithral full plate, and hasn't bothered investing ranks in them. He loses spellcasting due to his archetype, but acquiring potions of touch of the sea, water breathing, or fly is trivial at his level (and more often than not, there's an alchemist or full caster at the table who can provide similar help). Most of his precious few skill ranks are spread among a few Knowledge skills (to allow him to make checks), Diplomacy (he's a holy warrior, but no warmonger), and a few other class skills to get the +3 bonus. These all make him useful outside of combat, even if he's not stellar at any of them.


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Also, I'd like to second the general feeling here that dumping Str in ANY class is a poor decision.

When I started PFS a few years ago, I played the rogue pregen for my first couple of sessions, and was surprised to see that she had a 14 Str. But then I calculated the weight of all her equipment, and it turned out that she needed that Str to keep herself at a light load. Even without the excessive number of daggers she carried, her rapier, armor, thieves' tools, and other must-have adventuring gear added up quickly. (And Merisiel's larcenous side definitely needs a few extra pounds of C.C. kept free for loot.)

The only PFS characters I have with Str under 12 are my sorcerer and witch (both at 8). And even with no armor, they have felt the pinch. My sorcerer has always relied on cantrips for routine ranged attacks because adding a crossbow would encumber him. My undine witch bought muleback cords as soon as she had enough Fame, so she would no longer be encumbered by her familiar's aquarium ball--and she still needs them, even with a handy haversack, because her familiar is too darn useful to hide its ball away.

(I love that Hero Lab automatically tracks all that weight, and imposes the ACP for encumbrance when warranted. It keeps me honest!)


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
JiCi wrote:
3rd-party material may or may not be allowed, but... should that stop us from listing whatever they offer for us to use in order to solve the problem at hand?

You are the OP, JiCi. It's your thread. We are giving advice for your character in your campaign with your GM. Is 3rd party material allowed by your GM?

You tell us, and we will give you the best advice we can!

Well, I'm running multiple games with multiple GMs, so each has its rules. Some do and some don't allow 3rd-party materials. Some might not even know about certain books, because of how many there are.

My comment was basically to tell people that "I'm allowing people to suggest 3rd-party materials", because even if you don't know what books are allowed, it's always good to know that many solutions exist. So you want to suggest 3rd-party books? Go for it. I'll talk to my GMs with what I've collected and see what can and cannot be allowed.

Beside, I'm not the only player who ran into this problem... right?


JiCi wrote:
Beside, I'm not the only player who ran into this problem... right?

Dunno, I'm still not completely clear on what your perceived problem is, actually.

If you believe that characters with high ACP aren't fit to be adventurers because they can't walk a tightrope, then you have a different idea of what an adventurer is compared to many of the people commenting in this thread. I do prefer dex-builds myself because I have a much larger selection of skills to become good or great at, but the whole point of being in a party is that you can complement each other and shore up other's weaknesses.

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