How would a Dawnflower Dervish work out as the primary melee class?


Advice


The party consists of a Cleric caster who seconds reach attacks, Witch, Druid blaster and Arcanist.

I was originally considering a duettist Bard but as there aren't any other martials I thought about taking Dawnflower Dervish, the self only buffer.

Character would be Halfling, heroism up as often as possible.

Silver Crusade

Probably not so well, but could maybe work. Per The Forge of Combat essay, where Sun Tzu meets Pathfinder, this party has Arm (aka Support & Healing) well covered, Anvil (aka Battlefield Control) well covered, but lacks a dedicated Hammer (aka melee tank). Your reach/caster cleric is a secondary hammer but that's not enough. This party needs a dedicated hammer.

The Forge of Combat wrote:
Groups without Hammers: Groups without hammers are exceedingly rare due to the ease of which many classes naturally fulfill that task. However this is usually noted by extended battles with supposedly easy encounters where more than a normal amount of resources are expended to control the enemy and buff the group sufficiently to quickly end an encounter without taking too much damage.

I just don't see a halfling Dawnflower Dervish making a very effective Dedicated Hammer. Defences will be too weak, and Heroism is not sufficient. Trying to play this way in Hard Mode almost certainly won't work. It could work fine if you discuss it with your GM and your GM decides to soft-pedal combat. I.e. It'll work fine if you play in Easy Mode.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

'Hammers' or I prefer 'Strikers' don't have to be either melee or even physical attacks. A blaster druid is a striker.

Of course classes alone don't tell us anything about the roles a character is built to play, let alone what role they will actually play as. I could certainly build a party of nothing but strikers with the 4 character's mentioned above. Clerics though are often support, and arcanists and witches both can be great battlefield controllers.

Bards can certainly be built to stand in the front line and fight just fine. I wouldn't be inclined to a Dervish Dancer with this group, particularly if the druid has an animal companion because the reach cleric could really benefit from a buff, not being full BaB either. Duettist Bard, particularly with a mauler familiar, would be better in my opinion. A reach or ranged build would be things I would look at, with inspire courage and arcane strike you should be able to dish out pretty good damage.

Every class there can have either an animal companion or familiar (which is the character is small and the familiar is a mauler can serve as a mount) an all mounted party whose primary defense is keeping at range with a reach defender or two (druid and cleric can do this) can be quite effective. Throw in some summons from any of the 5 classes you have that can cast them, and you have great defense. Then I'd have the bard be a ranged combatant.


I think dawn flower dervish is a perfectly adequate archetype for a bard that wants to melee (and actually hurt things). But being The Only Melee In The Group is a special situation that is tough to survive. d8 hp and not much in the way of defensive class abilities makes things tough.

Silver Crusade

I'm playing a halfling Dawnflower Dervish as a primary melee character in Hell's Rebels, and find it works well. Once you have Mirror Image, your defenses are very good (better than many martials). It gets even better once you have Meditative Whirl, because you can replenish your Mirror Images and heal yourself at the same time.

Damage output is moderate, but very reliable due to high attack bonuses.

I played this character in PFS as well. On one occasion, my 2nd lvl character was tougher than the 3rd lvl characters in the party. At higher levels, enemy bosses occasionally despaired of damaging my character.


Done it. Worked fine until we got TPK'd by a trio of lucky crits. "Extended battles" using a lot of resources were not an issue.


If you're going Halfling, I'd probably recommend Swashbuckler. Actually, I built a Halfling that took one level of Lore Oracle for Sidestep Secret and then continued as a Swashbuckler using a Starknife and Desna's Shooting Star. It's actually pretty effective. Take Fate's Favored to boost Adaptive Luck and Divine Favor and you're much more of a force to be reckoned with. You don't really need the extra buffing and battlefield control a Bard can provide, I'd argue.


It could work, if one of those other four will do a bit of summoning each fight to ensure there's more than one body on the front line. It doesn't have to be the same PC each time (all four classes could do so, two of them without even needing to learn new spells) but it is necessary.

Silver Crusade

PCScipio wrote:

I'm playing a halfling Dawnflower Dervish as a primary melee character in Hell's Rebels, and find it works well. Once you have Mirror Image, your defenses are very good (better than many martials). It gets even better once you have Meditative Whirl, because you can replenish your Mirror Images and heal yourself at the same time.

Damage output is moderate, but very reliable due to high attack bonuses.

I played this character in PFS as well. On one occasion, my 2nd lvl character was tougher than the 3rd lvl characters in the party. At higher levels, enemy bosses occasionally despaired of damaging my character.

I was thinking this, once you get blur/mirror image and a couple other spells, you really can have a bunch of tricks to keep yourself safe.

damage output should be rather good at the end of the day, once you get your self buffs. It won't be OMG AM SMASH levels, but adequate.

Silver Crusade

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Resource management helps ensure that you don't run out of Battle Dance — I try to avoid using it for easier encounters.

At 5th lvl, with Cat's Grace, Heroism, Battle Dance, a masterwork weapon and Arcane Strike, I will be +17 to hit, for 1d4+12 damage.


PCScipio wrote:

Resource management helps ensure that you don't run out of Battle Dance — I try to avoid using it for easier encounters.

At 5th lvl, with Cat's Grace, Heroism, Battle Dance, a masterwork weapon and Arcane Strike, I will be +17 to hit, for 1d4+12 damage.

Similar but I'm really going to have to watch the resources.

I will also take soundstriker. On the first turn if the enemy is not next to me, soundstrike and then activate battle dance and arcane strike so they have to move in, rather than my character moving in.

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