CotCT: What to play with a bunch of powergamers


I bid thee good day, wanderer. I, Sir Stabalot, am confronted with a bit of a conundrum.

To put things simply, my party members are efficient. Maybe a bit too much so. We're currently playing The Rise of the Runelords and... how should I word it... It's not that they're murderhobos, as they aren't completely hobos, but they're quite good at the murder-y part. I joined them toward the end of the book 4 (if I remember correctly), at a moment they were nearly 13th level. Since they were lacking an arcane specialist, I rolled a magus with a knack for Thassilonian history.

And we do try to gather information and learn things. But it's a bit hard to do so when our Samouraï critx4 and whoops 200+ damages in a round. Bosses then tend to die in a gory way. He is closely matched by a Swashbuckler and a Ranger. They annihilate most encounters in less than three rounds. Meanwhile, I hang in the back to read books (fine by me), crack open magic seals, traps, and most importantly, read Thassilonian.

Thing is, our Samouraï just found a Headband of Intelligence, and the skill he got from this was Linguistics. Which made him learn Thassilonian. And make half of my area of expertise redundant.

We're about to start Curse of the Crimson Throne (no spoiler please). From experience, I know I'm not going to match this group in term of damages. Besides, we don't need *more* damage. All it would do would be to kill what little tension we have left.

(So far, the next party will include a Ninja from a less powergamey player)

What I am looking at are builds that are more Skill Monkey(1st)/Support or Healing(2nd) oriented. I mostly do Roguish-type builds, because, you know... I get to stab people, so I was considering the following.

- A Counterfeit-Mage/Sanctified-Rogue Rogue. Plenty of fun opportunities to RP in a city full of spellcasters, lot of skill points to go around and the opportunities to buff and sub-heal allies with wand.

- A Cleric of Desna. Which I wouldn't be playing in frontlane, so I'd try a distance build and I'm none too sure if that's any decent. But I would allow me to heal.

- An Inquisitor of Desna. Because I love the idea of a peaceful religion having Inquisitors, and I get to smite things. But, once again, not sure how it would fare in a non DPS role, so I'm a bit uneasy about this one.

- A Witch. For debuffs and heal. But I have not a single clue for the RP as of now.

Thoughts/ideas? Someone already played a similar build and can offer advices? Someone already went through the campaign and point at the build best fit for this AP without spoiling?

Many thanks in advance.

Shadow Lodge

Crimson throne was one of their best APs, but also one of their early ones. With your powerful group, combat will be very easy (if run as written).

Thematically speaking, the story delves into the Harrow a lot. Playing the harrower prestige class or one of the Harrow themed archetypes would be a good fit (for witch, take a look at cartomancer). The shoanti people also play a big role in the story and could make for some fun RP.

Desna is a good choice of deity for this campaign.

There is a big difference between coming in at 13th level and 1st level. The Rogue won't be able to fill the healing role until you finish the first major encounter. Actually it will be really rough depending on a wand of CLW unless you sacrifice a lot of your character to buff UMD.

Desna cleric is a good choice. You might do an unconventional build and throw most of your stat points into Charisma, with wis at only 14 and whatever you can afford to into con. If you take Desna's divine fighting style you use Cha as your combat stat with starknives. Starting with a 20 Cha would do a lot of things. First, it probably makes you the party face. I doubt anyone would have a higher charisma. Second it makes you a combat monster at 1st level. +5 to hit and damage with melee or ranged is no laughing matter. Third it give you 8 channels per day. With gear support channeling should handle most of your healing, letting you invest spells in buffing.

As far as the throwing build goes, you could dump all your feats into the startoss style and make yourself a little scary. Personally I'd just use the one feat to make yourself good at combat in the low levels and invest the rest of your feats into channeling and casting so you are better able to support the party as their builds go into full overdrive and your attacks matter less and less.

As for the AP, you might consider any Harrow-flavored class. A Harrow deck plays a supporting role through the entire AP so any archetype that uses one would be cool.

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If you were willing to take up the mantle of Sir Stabsrarely, you might consider a silksworn occultist. I am currently playing one in a homebrew campaign since level 1 where we've just reached level 9 and I'm quite enjoying it, especially now that we are past the lower levels that are painful for any caster-type.

IIRC I have stabbed three things ever, maaaaybe four, but I am a bountiful bag of tricks when it comes to most anything else: I heal, I buff, I debuff, I have a crapton of utility spells plus mental focus powers and, for anything that I can't legit do, like condition removal, I can UMD. I've also got skills coming out the hoohaw and am the party's trapfinder/disabler, diplomancer and walking encyclopedia.

A regular occultist is not a particularly strong melee combat character and the silksworn a little less so but I really like the class. I've made some RP choices that make my character particularly ineffectual in battle however it's such a versatile chassis that you could easily go a stabbier or blastier route than I've opted for. Maybe even stab ten or twelve things by level 9! ;)

A couple of builds come to mind that might fill the support healing role.

Alchemist - combining the Sacrament Alchemist and Chirurgeon archetypes give you the ability to heal and limited access to a domain. If you want the trapfinding skills that a rogue has you can swap out one of the archetypes to get it as follows:

Sacrament Alchemist for Crypt Breaker
Chirurgeon for Trap Breaker or Vault Breaker

Bard - The arcane healer archetype lets you channel energy like a cleric and spend rounds of bardic performance to cast cure spells (at higher levels). Alternatively, you can take the faith singer archetype and pick the healing domain. Both of these have pretty limited healing output but bard will thoroughly cover you when it comes to skills.

Rogue - This can work but as has been pointed out you're going to be limited at low levels. You could take the feat Healer's hands, but that will only give you one additional use of the heal skill at 1st level.

Witch - This can work well, the Hedge Witch archetype will allow you to spontaneously cast cure spells starting at 4th level which helps free up spells at higher levels.

As for clerics and inquisitors. These can be solid choices when it comes to healing. However, neither of them lend themselves well to "rogue skills".

Silver Crusade

I'm playing a Tiefling Inspired Blade Swashbuckler 1/Empiricist Investigator in CotCT. She's a roguish character that can wade into melee (high AC). Healing is limited to infusions.

I forgot to mention, GM only allows: Core Rulebook, Ultimate Magic, Ultimate Combat, Advanced Player Guide and core races, core and base classes. So I'm kinda restricted for the exotic builds. I can *probably* negotiate archetypes for a class I'm allowed, as long as it's Paizo official but that's it.

So no tiefling, no occultist sadly.

I'm more interested in Skill monkeying than in Buff/Heal (that I would do as a secondary role), but I'll take a look at Meirril suggested for a Desnian Cleric.

I could consider alchemist, but bombs are probably not that great in urban environment. I will take a look into it.

(And of course, that's indeed the whole point of taking the mantle of Sir Stabsrarely) I can totally relax in the back while the brutes are having fun. I'm looking at ways to facilitate their adventure (such a opening doors, disarming traps, creating diversions and lie to sweettalking people).

It is incredibly difficult to skill monkey as a cleric. The class is fairly MAD by default, has no Int synergy and gets 2 skill points per level. I love clerics and being skilly so this has long been a frustration for me. As such, I was very happy with the introduction of the inquisitor. It is much more appropriate for that role, with 6 skill points per level as well as a better class skill list. They don’t heal quite as well as a cleric can and usually does but, relatively speaking, they heal far more effectively than any cleric fills the role of skill monkey.

Bard is also a good route for a skillful healer. Although not a healing powerhouse again, even a straight vanilla bard can work if your group plays tactically, uses diplomacy and stealth where possible as well as brute force to overcome obstacles and really lays down the beats when they do fight. With baked in inspire courage and the right party, it’s very doable.

Do you think he'd let you take the False Attacker Rogue Talent? It's from the Heroes of the Streets Player Companion.

I was thinking

Level 1: Fighter 1: Precise Shot
2F1Ninja1: Sneak Attack 1d6
3F1N2: Ki Pool, Ninja Vanishing Trick, Extra Trick: Rogue Talent, False Attacker

When combat starts, you Vanish, then use Stealth. Then you snipe from your hiding place targeting Flatfooted AC and also doing Sneak Attack Damage. False Attacker lets you make a Bluff Check as an Immediate Action, and if that succeeds, you don't have to reroll your Stealth check.

I was thinking play a Half Elf and take the Arcane Training Alternate Racial Trait which lets you use Magic Wands as if you were an Arcane Caster of 1 Class, such as Wizard, and you could use Wands such as Jolt or Scorching Ray: Range Touch Attacks vs Flatfooted AC that lock in your Sneak Attack Damage! If your GM doesn't allow False Attacker, you could dip 3 levels in Monk, Drunken Master and endlessly replenish your Ki by Drinking. If your GM doesn't allow Arcane Training, you could dip a level in Wizard and be on your way to becoming an Arcane Trickster, or dip a level in Gunslinger, using a flintlock instead of a magic wand: Drunken Ninja with a Gun!

Anyway, this is a solid start to a skill monkey support character who has a decent trick for combat that you can take in any of a lot of directions.

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whenever someone says "fill the role of the skillmonkey" + powegamer i always have to go with "Play an investigator, they're the best skillmonkeys around and built properly do really good damage as well"

You may want to consider an Archaeologist bard. You trade away the traditional bardic performance for a luck bonus and the ability to function as a rogue. You still have bardic knowledge and enough skill points to easily fulfill the skill monkey roll. Archaeologist luck combined with heroism means you are actually better at this role than just about any other character.

Bards get enough healing spells that you can easily fill this role as well without too much trouble. You are also a CHA based character with UMD as a class skill. This means you can use wands and scrolls to supplement your own healing magic. Your other spells can be used to boost your efficiency as a rogue. Why be a normal rogue, when you can be an invisible, teleporting rogue able to turn into mist?

This would also put you at the same level of optimization as the rest of the group, but focused on noncombat instead of combat. Even your combat ability can be quite good. Go with a finesse weapon and something like fencing grace and your combat ability is solid. The Archaeologist luck and heroism combination works just as well for combat as it does for skills.

Quick thoughts.

Thundercaller bard: Best thing to do with powergamers is make them stronger while being able to drop stun bombs and skill monkey as bards like to do. Also Shoanti makes for interesting roleplaying in korvosa :D

Sunshadow of Sarenrae: A Sacred hunter/umbral stalker (minor clash there with a judgement our gm oked if not allowed clandestine inquisition works too) Inquisitors of Sarenrae the bring the light right into your face before they reveal it and you. (note: technically doesn't have to be either of those archetypes any inquisitor works my friend just likes animal companions and we were tickled by Sarenrae granting the darkness domain though umbral stalker)

Edit: One more thing!

A healer /skill monkey could also be achieved to a greater or lesser extent with an oracle psychic searcher getting some investigator skill boosts and charisma skills out where you may need them.

Bard Archaeologist, been there, done that. Good character, actually love to take a 1 level dip when making Rogues now that I tasted it, but I'm into trying new things :D

Investigator miiiight be an idea, need to check if they're legal for our campaign. (Though I need to see if I can make any connection to the main story).

Will check False Attacker, seems awesome (way better than the Sniper route, with the -20/-10 to stay hidden)

Will take a closer look at the Inquisitor, try a few builds to see how it goes. Thanks for all the ideas :D

(I will probably just create a bunch of characters and ask my group which one to take given the group we want to play - so many concepts, yeeaaaah)

Detective bard wouldn't be hated by the group. 3 rounds to give everyone boosts for an hour? Cant hate that. Plus you'll have traps and locks skills.

Downside is a lot of the major combat buffs are gone. In a magic heavy party this isn't so bad.

Errata: I mistook Archaeologist for Archivist.

Why not just go with a Summoner? Your Eidolon can end up as the skill monkey while you can support to your heart's content. I can't imagine you'll still be worried about keeping up with the rest of the party in or out of combat.

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