Need help choosing feats for my melee occultist (PFS)


Advice

Grand Lodge

I have a Human occultist, currently level 3, for PFS. My first three implements are Transmutation, Necromancy, and Divination. As a general rule I'm using a necromantic servant and soulbound puppet to give me temporary allies to soak up hits, and using legacy weapon on my greatsword for Bane.

In the future I'll be picking up Mind Eye for scouting, Energy Shield (abjuration) for protection, Mind over Gravity for flight, and at 11th level Side Step (divination) for mobility.

My current feats are Heavy Armor prof, Extra Mental Focus, and Power Attack. I thought about making him a ranged build but I decided that archery as a general combat style in pathfinder was not my cup of tea.

Outside of what I already have, I'm not sure what else I need in terms of feats. Almost all my spells are buffs or defensive spells, so I don't really care about spell DCs.

Things I'm considering:
*Weapon Focus (Greatsword)
-> Weapon Versatility
*Lunge
*Improved Initative
*Maybe Flickering Step?
*Improved Critical

What else should I consider for feats?

Grand Lodge

shameless bump


I would put weapon focus up there since a occultist doesn't get much of a accuracy buff. Too bad you are level 3, half elf with the fcb is close to mandatory imo. I know doesn't help but still :)

Extra focus power will be nice down the road, For some reason I always thought telekinetic mastery would be fun.

You could always go the reach route with size alteration. Really you don't need a lot, I think you hit the basics for greatsword. Honestly I would skip weapon versatility and just pick up back up weapons.


I would consider heavy armour proficiency for improved AC depending on your dex. You are going to be in up in melee and while eventually your main defence is likely to be mirror image you will want some investment to keep you alive.

Personally I like a reach weapon and combat reflexes a lot. Even with a dex of 12 or so, you dont get that many OS'a but being able to take them while still flat footed is still useful.

Eventually you may want to invest in furious focus but probably not until about level 9. Lunge is also extremely useful, especially in later levels as you encounter more large opponents and want to avoid provoking. You will be able to get around this eventually with the teleport power if you pick up conjuration at some point.

Grand Lodge

ekibus wrote:

I would put weapon focus up there since a occultist doesn't get much of a accuracy buff. Too bad you are level 3, half elf with the fcb is close to mandatory imo. I know doesn't help but still :)

Extra focus power will be nice down the road, For some reason I always thought telekinetic mastery would be fun.

You could always go the reach route with size alteration. Really you don't need a lot, I think you hit the basics for greatsword. Honestly I would skip weapon versatility and just pick up back up weapons.

Technically I can change it since it's just GM credit since level 1, but Human seemed like a nice pick for the bonus feat and skill point anyway. I'll look into changing it. I assume you are referring to having access to the Elf fcb because the H-elf one is worse than the extra HP.

Hm. I could even go Ancestral Arms to pick up a decent exotic weapon if I wanted. Or just keep Skill Focus. and I can still have power attack at 3rd level if I hold off on getting Extra Mental Focus, since the fcb will more than make up for that starting at level 6.

So I had planned to take, in order, these implements: Transmutation, Necromancy (at 1st level), Divination (2nd lvl), Abjuration (6th) and Conjuration (10th). I looked over the Illusion abilities and didn't see much that interested me, but I hadn't considered having access to Mirror Image and Displacement. I'll have to see if that's worth swapping out Divination or Conjuration for that. What would you guys recommend?

This character will be doing some Animate Dead stuff though I'm not investing super heavily in it. Basically just learning the Animate Dead spell and buying a couple scrolls of Desecrate. I haven't decided if I want to worship an evil deity and tote around an altar with a floating disk yet though. Since it's PFS I don't need to invest too much into it (minions don't carry over from scenario to scenario)

At the end of the day I want to touch on being a bit of everything - primarily minion master and melee gish, but can party buff and scout as side gigs. I don't need to be the best at any one thing though; I know I won't be as good as a conjurer wizard or archer fighter or anything like that.


So I'm a big fan of reach weapons, and obviously Combat Reflexes helps with that.

I'm currently playing a level 5 Haunt Collector Occultist (started at level 4) in Carrion Crown, and with Combat Reflexes as my only combat feat I'm the highest damage character in the group. I've done the maths for my character, and Power Attack only increases my average damage per round by ~0.02 or something since I'm getting so much damage from Bane (and lowering my attack roll hurts so much). Meanwhile getting extra attacks from Combat Reflexes has tripled my damage output occasionally (Haven't managed to get all 3 AoO's to land in 1 turn yet).

I'm going a Half Elf and taking the Elf FCB, and I have 18 INT and I've already taken the Extra Mental Focus feat (so 13 MF at level 5) and I haven't regretted putting that much into it at all.

If you do go Ancestral Arms for an exotic weapon, you really can't go past the Fauchard. Reach basically gives you extra attacks. Critical hits basically give you extra attacks. The Fauchard gives you both.

Heavy Armour Proficiency or Toughness would both be great choices for a front-liner - I don't have them, but I burned through my Focus using Abjuration buffs in our last fight and still got down to 2hp ... so maybe I should have them =P

Illusion has some great defensive buffs and utility.
Divination has some of the best utility powers, but I find the spell-list lacking. It'll require a lot of focus to get the most out of it. I do love the flavour of it though (so it's going to be my 6th level pickup).
Conjuration has some really great utility powers like Side Step, and gets you access to CLW wands (although by level 10 you should be able to UMD them in your sleep). It also has the most useless resonant power, so it makes an excellent choice for a Haunted Implement if going Haunt Collector, and a terrible choice for anyone else =P

Grand Lodge

Thanks for the insight. I did end up switching to Half-Elf, and while I DO also appreciate reach tactics I am just slightly hesitant to go Ancestral Arms -> Fauchard prof, but ONLY because I already have a half-elf with Ancestral Arms and fauchard prof (a fighter)

I'm thinking of just grabbing a Lucerne Hammer rather than trying to crit fish. After looking over the numbers I agree that Power Attack isn't super necessary so I'll take Extra Mental Focus as my 3rd level feat. I'll probably pick it up at 5th or 7th level though anyway, once accuracy is not as big an issue. Combat Reflexes will be taken too, as having a reach weapon tends to call for it.

I'm still on the fence about Illusion. I'm not a fan of any of the focus powers; I'd really just get it to be able to cast mirror image and displacement. And is it worth giving up Abjuration, or worth even taking at level 10 in place of Conjuration?


While I agree Illusion isn't the greatest...those spells make up for it..especially in melee.

Another interesting route is just going sword and shield, since you can cast with it. Also if you need a face you can always go skill focus: Linguistic and pick up orator.


I know this is going sound counter productive but consider this Trappings of the warrior Panolopy. You take a one handed weapon say Bastard sword or Katana and then heavy shield. For a trait you can use the shield as a light weapon. With Panolopy your BAB goes up by one for every four points of mental focus you have up to your Occultist level. You take two weapon fighting your damage potential stays comparable to a single heavy weapon. Take armor enchantment enchant your shield with Bashing. Use the spell lead blades and now both weapons are dealing improved damage. Cast Enlarge before lead blades both spells stack for damage improvement. Possessed hand reduces two weapon penalty.


Derek Dalton wrote:
I know this is going sound counter productive but consider this Trappings of the warrior Panolopy.

Not allowed in PFS.

Syries wrote:
I'm thinking of just grabbing a Lucerne Hammer rather than trying to crit fish.

Unless you have something that procs off them, or have a large amount of critable damage, crits are overrated anyway. It's pure math - the increased critical threat range from 18-20 to 20 increases average DPR by always under 10% (10% more critical threats, which have a maximum confirmation chance of 95%, and the reality is usually below that, especially since we're naturally also looking at the iteratives). You need over 20 critable damage per attack before 5% increased crit range can be better than +1 average damage, more with lower accuracy. 1d10/18-20/x2 is better than 1d12/20/x2, but only by a very small amount.

Improved Critical changes thinks a tad, but Occultist can't take it before 13th level.

Grand Lodge

Requirement is BAB 8 so I can get it at 11th level, which is basically a capstone for PFS. And I could also just Keen an applicable weapon too. But overall I agree with Derklord; This isn't a critical hit-focused build (unlike my fauchard wielding fighter) so I'm not going to stress out about the weapon choice. I think the Lucerne Hammer is neat and works for what I want. Plus, with Half-Elf keen senses, skill focus going to perception, liberal use of the heightened awareness spell, and the divination implement giving me +1 perception per 2 mental focus, I have stupid high Perception for 3rd level and I always enjoy that, especially if I'm playing a frontliner.

It's unfortunate Trappings is not PFS legal, I would definitely take that.


Syries wrote:
Thanks for the insight. I did end up switching to Half-Elf, and while I DO also appreciate reach tactics I am just slightly hesitant to go Ancestral Arms -> Fauchard prof, but ONLY because I already have a half-elf with Ancestral Arms and fauchard prof (a fighter)

Yeah I kinda thought the same thing. I took "Dual Minded" in place of skill focus rather than Ancestral Arms. I do think the Fauchard is the "best" melee weapon, but the difference between it and the Bardiche is pretty minimal (I noted the Fauchard just as an "If you do take Ancestral Arms" more than actually thinking you should do it).

Syries wrote:
I'm thinking of just grabbing a Lucerne Hammer rather than trying to crit fish. After looking over the numbers I agree that Power Attack isn't super necessary so I'll take Extra Mental Focus as my 3rd level feat. I'll probably pick it up at 5th or 7th level though anyway, once accuracy is not as big an issue. Combat Reflexes will be taken too, as having a reach weapon tends to call for it.

For my character (who only has a base STR of 14) I've found that Weapon Focus is more valuable to me than Power Attack. If you went Power Attack and Furious Focus that might be better, but it's twice the feats (also you COULD take all 3 if you want to). I've also found Combat Reflexes to be invaluable, not for the extra attacks (although that's occasionally nice), but for the ability to make AoO's while flat-footed. In our last session I got jumped by 4 Ghasts and was able to kill 2 of them before they even had a chance to attack.

Syries wrote:
I'm still on the fence about Illusion. I'm not a fan of any of the focus powers; I'd really just get it to be able to cast mirror image and displacement. And is it worth giving up Abjuration, or worth even taking at level 10 in place of Conjuration?

I like Illusion, but not as much as some of the others =P

My Occultist has Transmutation, Abjuration and Conjuration (haunted). My plan is to pick up Divination at 6th and Illusion/Necromancy at 10th. I'm leaning toward Necromancy over Illusion, so I can't really fault you for thinking of something else. I'll probably pick Illusion if I decide I really need the defense.

Derklord wrote:
Unless you have something that procs off them, or have a large amount of critable damage, crits are overrated anyway. It's pure math - the increased critical threat range from 18-20 to 20 increases average DPR by always under 10% (10% more critical threats, which have a maximum confirmation chance of 95%, and the reality is usually below that, especially since we're naturally also looking at the iteratives). You need over 20 critable damage per attack before 5% increased crit range can be better than +1 average damage, more with lower accuracy. 1d10/18-20/x2 is better than 1d12/20/x2, but only by a very small amount.

The bonus damage dice from Bane don't multiply, but you can still get some pretty monstrous numbers early enough to make it good. An Occultist with a starting STR of 16 can have 1d10+2d6+21 by level 8: +9 STR (2-handed weapon, 18 STR, +4 STR from Transmutation), +6 Power Attack, +2 Champion Spirit Haunted Implement, +1 Magic weapon, +1 Enhancement from Legacy Weapon, +2 Bane from Legacy Weapon. That's enough to make the improved crit-range from a Fauchard worth a racial trait ... but it's also over-kill =P

While you could make yourself a combat monster by going all that way, I've found that I'm out-damaging everyone without worrying about it, and Combat Reflexes adds more damage than Improved Critical would since it also multiplies bonus damage dice. Also remember you can give Legacy weapon to other characters, so if you have a pouncing barbarian you could give them the bonus instead and watch everything die.


You could also ease off the max damage further by going for shield brace. Since psychic casting doesn't need a free hand, the ability to take a hand off your weapon without dropping something isn't as critical. Still handy if you want to open a door or something of course,


Syries wrote:
Requirement is BAB 8 so I can get it at 11th level, which is basically a capstone for PFS.

Oops, sorry!

MrCharisma wrote:
The bonus damage dice from Bane don't multiply, but you can still get some pretty monstrous numbers early enough to make it good. (...) That's enough to make the improved crit-range from a Fauchard worth a racial trait

Well, I didn't call it useless, just overrated (the effect is way smaller than what most people imagine). We're still talking less difference than a feat, here, with a Keen weapon.

If you want to min-max, Strength of Submission plus a potion of Anonymous Interaction is PFS legal...


Out of curiosity, how is gnome flick mace handled in PFS?


I highly recommend haunted collector archetype. I often used legacy weapon on team mate weapons due to action economy (if you use it on your weapon, you have to wait till your next turn to use it). I also did haunted champion on conjuration. Conjuration is nice for healing, monster summoning, and side step.

I did a range build so I didn't worry about armor class. If I was melee, I probably would have prioritized illusion sooner.

Grand Lodge

@MrCharisma I think I've settled on using a lucerne hammer, I just think they're neat and make for a decent reach weapon. Plus, I just like rolling d12s over d10s. I do have to remember that Legacy Weapon can be put on other people's weapons. On an action economy sense it works better for me to do that.

Derklord wrote:
Syries wrote:
Requirement is BAB 8 so I can get it at 11th level, which is basically a capstone for PFS.
Oops, sorry!

No worries, I do that all the time. Until recently I'd been thinking Spring Attack required BAB +6 rather than +4.

And while I do think you can optimize crit fishing, there are classes that do the job so much better than an Occultist.

Lelomenia wrote:
Out of curiosity, how is gnome flick mace handled in PFS?

Not sure where that's coming from but a Gnome Flick Mace is just an exotic weapon with the trip and reach category. Nothing really fancy about it other than the fact that it's a 1h reach weapon. Which actually is pretty neat, now that I think about it.

nicholas storm wrote:

I highly recommend haunted collector archetype. I often used legacy weapon on team mate weapons due to action economy (if you use it on your weapon, you have to wait till your next turn to use it). I also did haunted champion on conjuration. Conjuration is nice for healing, monster summoning, and side step.

I did a range build so I didn't worry about armor class. If I was melee, I probably would have prioritized illusion sooner.

I've been looking into that archetype. Can I choose to take a normal implement or a haunted implement for each school, or does it have to be a haunted implement? I know I'd definitely want the Champion and probably Trickster to gain Knowledge(Planes) as a class skill, but other than that I don't need any other spirits bonuses. If I can choose between gaining the normal resonant power or the seance boon/spirit bonus for each implement I'll definitely take the archetype. The haunt ability at level 8+ is neat but just as situational as (if not more so) the base Outside Contact ability so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Looking over it now, I think I'll go Trans & Necro at 1st, Div 2nd, Illusion 6th, Abjuration 10th, and pick up the Flickering Step feat at 9th level for a bit of dimensional mobility since I won't be getting Side Step. Flickering Step is a downgrade from Side Step, I know, but I don't think Conjuration will otherwise be very useful for me, especially by 10th level. I shouldn't have trouble UMDing a wand of shield until I get to 10th when I get Abjuration. I likely won't even learn any other focus power from Illusion but getting Mirror Image and Displacement is just so helpful as a frontliner I don't think I can justify not taking that. Illusion will also help out with scouting since I can grab Invisibility through a spell page of knowledge.

So after all this deliberation, this is how I'm currently planning my build:

Seamus Gunterton, relic collector extraordinaire and part-time necromancer:

Half-Elf Occultist 11
True Neutral
Str 20 (15, +1@lv8, +4 enhancement from Physical Enhancement)
Dex 13
Con 16 (14, +2 enhancement from Belt of Mighty Constitution +2)
Int 24 (15+2, +1@lv4, +6 enhancement from Headband of Vast Intelligence +6)
Wis 12
Cha 7
Traits: Clever Wordplay (Diplomacy), Elven Reflexes

Senses: Low-Light Vision, Darkvision 60 ft, constant See Invisibility

Offense: BAB +8, CMB +13
+3 Lucerne Hammer +16/+11 (1d12+10) 20/x2, Power Attack -3/+9
+1 Longsword +14/+9 (1d8+6) 19-20/x2, Power Attack -3/+6
Ranged: +1 Adaptive Composite Longbow +9/+4 (1d8+6) 20/x3

Defense:
AC 27, Touch: 13, FF: 26 (+1 Dex, +3 Full Plate, +2 Deflection, +2 Natural Armor)
CMD 26
Fortitude 13 (7+Con 3+ Resistance 3)
Reflex 7 (3+Dex 1+ Resistance 3)
Will 11 (7+Wis 1+Resistance 3)

SQ: Mental Focus (25), Keen Senses, Elven Immunities, Elf Blood, Magic Item Skill, Object Reading, Aura Sight, Shift Focus, Implements (Transmutation, Necromancy, Divination, Illusion, Abjuration), Focus Powers [DC 22] (Legacy Weapon, Mind Fear, Necromantic Servant, Sudden Insight, Soulbound Puppet, Mind Eye, Minor Figment, Mind Over Gravity, Philosopher's Touch, Mind Barrier, Energy Shield, Telekinetic Mastery), Resonant Powers (Physical Enhancement, Warding Talisman, Distortion, Third Eye, Necromantic Focus), Flickering Step, Magic Circles, Outside Contact I

Feats: Heavy Armor Prof., Skill Focus(Perception), Extra Mental Focus, Combat Reflexes, Power Attack, Flicking Step, Extra Focus Power

Skills: Won't go over all but high diplomacy, high Kn (Arcana, Religion, Planes), UMD, perception, spellcraft, decent linguistics

Equipment: Wand of Cure Light Wounds, Wand of Inflict Light Wounds, scroll of Desecrate, scroll of Paragon Surge, Extend Metamagic Rod, +1 Longspear*, Masterwork Breastplate*, Spell Page of Knowledge II, Boots of Speed

*Given to summoned skeleton from Necromantic Servant

Spells:
1st (7/day): Preserve, Lead Blades, Heightened Awareness, Shield, Vanish
2nd (6/day): False Life, Darkvision, See Invisibility, Mirror Image, Invisibility, Resist Energy
3rd (6/day): Animate Dead, Haste, Displacement, Share Language, Communal, Resist Energy, Communal
4th (3/day): False Life, Greater, Air Walk, Locate Creature, Life Bubble, Invisibility, Greater

Mental Focus typical allocation: Transmutation 8, Divination 9, Necromancy 5, Abjuration 2, Illusion 1


You can gain a haunted implement at 2,6,10,etc. You can also opt to take a normal implement. In my opinion, it's almost a straight upgrade over the base class

Grand Lodge

nicholas storm wrote:
You can also opt to take a normal implement.

That's what I was hoping to hear.I'd have to switch things up a bit but I think I can make it work the way I want to.


Yup, I think the developer who actually wrote Haunt Collector weighed in on one of the threads a while back saying that it was basically made to offset the useless Conjuration Resonant Power. Personally I love the flavour of the magic circles, but mechanically it's not that different to Spirit Speaker. Aura Sight is probably better generally than Hauntist, but the Possessed Implements more than make up for it.

(I went Haunt Collector because we're playing Carrion Crown, how could I not?)

Grand Lodge

quick question about Haunt Collector. If I pick Warden as one of my haunted implements can I change the seance boon I get each day? or is it set the first time I choose when I first get the haunted implement?


Syries wrote:
quick question about Haunt Collector. If I pick Warden as one of my haunted implements can I change the seance boon I get each day? or is it set the first time I choose when I first get the haunted implement?

I'm not quite sure what you mean.

Generally:

Once the spirit type is selected for an implement, it cannot be changed.

If you're referring to the Martial Spirit and the Seance Boon ...

Seance Boon: Choose a seance boon from any of the other legends to benefit from. When using the shared seance class feature, each participant can choose a different boon.

... I don't know. I think I've seen this asked before and the consensus was that you have to choose a boon and stick to it, but I really don't remember.

If you're referring to something else then I don't know =P

Grand Lodge

Oh yeah I was referring to Marshal, don't know where I got warden.

Grand Lodge

Can I choose Champion for one Implement, then choose Marshal on a different one, and pick the Champion's seance boon for a total of +4 dmg?

*edit* Looks like they don't... bummer

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