Frontliner Advice for ToEE


Advice

Grand Lodge

Hello folks.

I'm here to ask for a build advice on the frontliner role. Let me give me a quick briefing of the situation before making my point.

Our GM has turned one of those classic ADnD modules, Temple of Elemental Evil (ToEE) into Pathfinder, and have been playing since 5-6 months. Yesterday, we experienced our first total wipe in the module (in the most possible brutal way), thus started to prepare a new party before carry on.

For those who doesn't know ToEE, its combat encouters are pretty tough. We are a party of four PC (if we do not hire an NPC to aid us), and nearly we always face against 12-13 opponents. Of course, just 2-3 of those opponents going to be the big-bad-guy, but nevertheless, its just not gonna be very easy facing that much opponents every time. Environment is also harsh, you cannot find every magical shiny things you want from the market (for those who are familiar with ToEE, we wiped at the very entrance of the temple, so we were hanging around the town Nulb mostly).

Okay, here is the thing: Our party was combined of a Paladin, a Bard, an Investigator, and an Arcanist (which was me). After that damn wipe, we also decided to switch the roles. So, I volunteered to be the frontliner of the party. My other friends now thinking about to build a cleric, a wizard, and a rogue.

Before I decided what to play, I want to ask an advice on this thread. I was thinking to build a bloodrager or a swashbuckler. I really would like to play a swashbuckler, but, as I said, I'm gonna be the group's main frontliner, I have hesitations on swashbuckler's durability. Thus, maybe steelblood archetype?

When we wiped out, we were level 5, so we are gonna build our new PCs from that level. And, our GM limited our new PCs WBL by 4000 gp.

Character shouldn't be also very item-dependent one due to the reasons I mentined above.

Any fun to play and face smashing build advice appriciated. Thanks in advance for your help.


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Against that many enemies you're going to need help on the front line no matter what you play. Are the cleric and the rogue going to do their share?

Also against that many enemies, a swashbuckler is likely to do poorly. Their parry won't do anything much for them in defence with multiple enemies attacking them, though it does still add an attack via the riposte.

A steelblood bloodrager does seem like a reasonable call. If you were often flanked though (given the number of enemies) it might be better not to take the archetype - improved uncanny dodge might help more than heavy armor.

The verdant bloodline is the most defensive of the bloodrager bloodlines, the arcane bloodline has more utility and is notably good later on.

If you're going to be using a reach weapon then combat reflexes is good assuming you can get Dex 12+, and power attack and raging vitality are other important feats to get. If you're not going to be using a reach weapon then variant multiclassing (from Pathfinder Unchained) into magus might help a lot, assuming that's allowed.


Razzle the Second wrote:
Any fun to play and face smashing build advice appriciated. Thanks in advance for your help.

"fun" is subjective, but I do think you'd want to have more options in combat rather than just deciding who to hit during your turn. Straight Bloodrager might feel a bit flat unless you make sure you have other alternatives such as combat maneuvers or threatened areas.

Also, as the main frontliner (read: only frontliner) you'll want to have some sort of healing available for when the cleric is busy dying and you're at 1 HP. Maybe the Urgathoa's Hunger Divine Fighting Technique, or the Healer's Hands/Signature Skill (+ Resilient Martyr) combo.


I'd recommend the wizard or cleric specialising in summoning (especially one of the options for single action summons) - that should help both the frontliner and the rogue. Unchained rogue is not a bad option starting at level 5 as I suspect ToEE is probably quite trap heavy. Also worth considering classes that get a companion (summoner, druid, sylvan sorcerer or some cleric domains)if you are regularly in combat with that many opponents - having a T-rex or big cat can really help at these levels.

Grand Lodge

With only 4K gold at level 5 you guys are not so well off in the equipment department.

Maybe consider a Kineticist as your frontliner? Phytokinesis gets you natural ac and you can UMD a wand of shield, and the wood blast is pretty decent. Once you hit 7th level go hydrokinesis and get cold blast for an energy type, expanded defense and ditch the wand of shield. Go small sized race like Halfling or grippli too. Dex based attacks, natural switch hitter thanks to kinetic blade and extended range; decent damage, and really high AC and HP. Kinetic whip will help provide reach tactics too. And the only equipment you would really need is that wand and some decent armor.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Earth might be a good kineticist, with that many monsters you're more likely facing a lot of small attacks,which the DR can deal with.


Razzle the Second wrote:
Character shouldn't be also very item-dependent one due to the reasons I mentined above.

*Contemplates the extreme.*

Razzle the Second wrote:
...and nearly we always face against 12-13 opponents.
avr wrote:
Against that many enemies you're going to need help on the front line no matter what you play...
Palinurus wrote:
Also worth considering classes that get a companion (summoner, druid, sylvan sorcerer or some cleric domains)if you are regularly in combat with that many opponents - having a T-rex or big cat can really help at these levels.

Action economy seems like the biggest issue, and the others are hinting at that. A Ranger, Druid, Summoner, Spiritualist, Hunter, or Hunter-like Inquisitor would get an extra target on the field. Your own martial strength wouldn't match a fighter's, but companions/phantoms/eidolons can be durable enough for front-lining.


The steel blooded bloodrager should do well. I think aberrant makes a good tank. But arcane with its free blur is very nice.

But with your party, I’d probably go summoner. If synthesist is an option, this might be a good time to try that.

Grand Lodge

Thank you very much guys. I really will do my build according to your advices. In the mean time, we have rolled for the stats. Let me share my dice results:

12, 9, 14, 15, 11, 18

Yeah, I was never a good ability roller.

Please note that above numbers are not in an order. So, I can put that 18 to STR and that 9 could go to INT etc. As I said in my first post, we are going to start from level 5, so I have a free +1 from level 4 achievement. Thus, above numbers are also free from race ability modifiers.

By the way, occult classes and unchained rules (and classes too) are forbidden. Apart from these two boks, nearly everything is permitted.

So, you are saying Bloodrager will do good? How about the race? Azata blooeded Aasimar maybe :)

Grand Lodge

No occult classes? That's a shame, they're so much fun!

If you really want to build a tanky character consider paladin, Swift action lay on hands is amazing.


With bloodrager, you don’t usually need much charisma, because you only get a few spells and you don’t get much more benefit from it. Starting with 12 charisma should be enough to get you by until you should almost certainly have a headband of charisma.

There are two main ways you can take your build. You can go more offensive with a two handed weapon. Or you can go more defensive with a shield and one handed weapon and focus on dirty tricks to make yourself a threat. If you go the dirty tricks route, you will want all of the feats you can get, so human is great. If you are going for damage then anything with a strength bonus should be good.

Since you have a rogue, you may want to coordinate with him and both go dirty tricks. You use the feat dirty fighting to make the prerequisites much easier for the improved dirty tricks feats.


Razzle the Second wrote:

occult classes and unchained rules (and classes too) are forbidden. Apart from these two boks, nearly everything is permitted.

So, you are saying Bloodrager will do good? How about the race? Azata blooeded Aasimar maybe :)

Lots of those classes mentioned on this thread are fine, but when I design characters, I don't think that way at all. I build characters in terms of what I want the character to do, not in terms of what class I want to play. I think up combinations of Feats, Class Abilities, and Spells, then pick a few to go together into one character. I multiclass a lot, especially when I make martial characters. Multiclassing is a good way to high survivability, because the saving throws tend to be better.

Razzle the Second wrote:
I volunteered to be the frontliner of the party. My other friends now thinking about to build a cleric, a wizard, and a rogue.... level 5

It sounds like you want to focus on survivablility, and you will be the only front-liner.

The Stalwart Feat lets you use Combat Expertise for DR.

Half Orcs have high survivability: They can take Feats that give them a Natural Armor Bonus. They can get Endurance as a Bonus Feat, which you would need as a prerequisite for Stalwart. They can get Scent as a Feat. If you have Scent and the Blindfighting Feat, you can function while Blinded, say by a Horn of Fog or a Fog Cloud or Pyrotechnics Spell. But the whole party would have to go in on the tactic. If they do, you all get a 50% Miss Chance for Concealment. So, pile on the Armor--you can sleep in Medium Armor with Endurance--enjoy a 50% Miss Chance, and you have DR.

Size Small characters have an AC Bonus and an Attack Bonus. Sadly, Base Damage scales down with Size, so I was thinking you work out a way to reliably do Sneak Attack Damage. SAD doesn't scale down with Size. I have some ideas for that. But even if your character doesn't do a lot of Damage, it probably doesn't have to: that's what Wizards are for. I have a build for a Goblin Monk that runs around the battlefield provoking and getting lots of Attacks of Opportunity, attacking everybody all at once like a little, green pinball.

I have a couple of ideas for a Battlefield Control Build.


Razzle the Second wrote:

12, 9, 14, 15, 11, 18

Yeah, I was never a good ability roller.

I hope that's sarcasm - that's a 31-point buy right there!

The party looks like it might need a face. Before the wipe, it had a Paladin and a Bard. Now it doesn't seem to have a CHA-dependent character (unless the Cleric likes channel energy and has a high enough INT for skill ranks, but it might be better for the cleric to put higher scores into STR, DEX, and CON to be useful in melee). The Wizard can rock the knowledge skills and the Rogue could cover everything else, but it is hard to see it cover the face skills well. Unlike an Unchained Rogue, they could use a bit of STR for damage, and I don't know if they have the stats to be viable in combat and have a decent CHA. Syries recommended Paladin, and I think that is a dependable option. With a Paladin, you'd get more out of CHA than a Bloodrager and be better at Diplomacy.

Yet I can't help but think a better option is a Sacred Huntsmaster Inquisitor with the Conversion Inquisition. The Conversion Inquisition lets you use WIS for the CHA-dependent face skills to be the best face in the party, and you'd have enough ranks for Handle Animal and Perception. The Sacred Huntsmaster archetype isn't as good of a pure front-liner as a vanilla Inquisitor, but I think the improved action economy would make up for it, especially since it offers a possible flanking partner for the Rogue. Also, Inquisitors get Bane, combat buff spells, teamwork feats, a decent initiative bonus and medium armor to hold their own on the front lines.

Throw in a 31-point buy and you are terrifying.

Of course, the best option is what you'd have fun playing.


I might make a different suggestion, especially with those stats:

Either a Master Summoner or a Monster Tactician.

The Monster Tactician and Summoner both get standard-action summoning, which is huge. You're starting at level 5. If you take (get if you're the summoner) Superior Summons, you can summon 2-4 Earth Elementals 3+Wis/5+Cha times per day. That SERIOUSLY evens the odds (those elementals Power Attacking another target on the ground do 1d6+11 at a +8 to hit, and they have tremorsense against invisible opponents. The Summoner would obviously have better spells (Haste would be quite nice) while the Inquisitor has Bane, better skills, and better armor, plus the ability to give teamwork feats that you know to your summons(which you can set as a standard action a few times a day before combat; Tandem Trip and Ferocious Loyalty are good at 3rd level, Outflank is great at 6th, and Broken Wing Gambit at 5th is probably a great idea). I am playing an Inquisitor of Shelyn in Curse of the Crimson Throne and my summons absolutely clean up. I'm only level 4, but next level, hoo boy!

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