Need some help with a Fighter build


Advice

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I'm a complete newbie to Pathfinder and have joined a first edition game. I know, 2nd is out what am I doing messing about in 1st?! It's an online game and I was able to find a DM running a campaign, so I joined. :) This post is going to be long because I want to lay out the complete scenario and restrictions I face in the campaign.

I'd love some advice on optimizing my current build and how to plan for future levels in order to maximize durability and damage output. I'm one of two front line fighters in our group. We have one cleric (the other frontliner right now), a ranger handling ranged attacks, a bard being bardic, and two mages hiding in the back. No one currently has much in the way of buffing spells.

The game is pretty restrictive as well. We rolled stats so I can't minmax those...they are what they are. It's a low magic and slow leveling world. We're just using the basic rules and some limitations on weapons (so I may not have access to things like nodachi). We moved quickly to 3rd getting out of an intro dungeon and are now striking out into a wartorn landscape. I have roughly 4k xp now at lvl 3 and it will take to 14k to go to lvl 4. BUT, I have a chance to alter some of my early mis-steps right now. So look my build over and offer me advice please!

I am a human fighter Str: 16, Dex: 16, Con: 14, Int: 13, Wis: 10, Cha: 9. (can't change these)

- I chose Falchion as my weapon before I realized how slow leveling was going to go. (could change this if I wanted...even changing to a sword and board I think...though I don't have access to a shield right now)

- Feats are Dodge, Power Attack, Point Blank Shot, Weapon Focus (Falchion), Cleave. (can change these up)

Without knowing Pathfinder well or what the group make up would be I tried to be versatile with bow and a good crit range melee weapon. I now think I'd help the party more by being melee focused and losing the PBS feat for something else. The others I'm not sure about.


Without knowing the specifics of the GM's style, from what I can tell, your Character stats are flexible enough for any style. But if your wishing to focus more on Melee and not be a switch-hitter then the old standbys are good choices.

Iron Will, Improved Initiative, Combat Reflexes, Toughness.

Have you had much use of Cleave in your game so far? If not you might consider trading it and PBS for two of the above mentioned feats.

As far as Weapons are concerned the Falchion is a good two-handed weapon for the long-run.


re: Cleave - Not much so far. It got used in a kobold fight, but others so far haven't been groups so much as large single targets. I had considered Combat Reflexes, but things aren't moving away from me that much yet either. The DM is ALSO learning the system as we go...he may start to once he sees us moving around more.

Thanks for the response!


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If you are planning on being a wall that the rest of the party can hide behind you should switch up some. A two handed weapon without reach isn't doing much for you. You get +1 damage from strength, and +1/2 from power attack. That power attack bonus scales well as you go up, but... lets just say going 1 of 3 routes would be more beneficial.

First route: Get a shield. As you gain levels the ability of bad guys, especially single monster encounters, to hit you will increase fast. Being able to get 2+ enhancement bonus from a shield helps a lot to cut down the damage you take. If you want to be a rock, you should do that. For a weapon I'd recommend staying with a high crit range weapon. Moving from a d6 to a d8 won't matter in the long run as much as having an 18-20 crit range.

Second route: Get a reach weapon. If you move to any two handed weapon with reach you become a better wall. Now monsters have to move further around you to avoid your attacks. If you go this route, you need combat reflexes and to pick a feat that will let you stop things from just running past you. You can still keep the crit range with a good selection of weapon. You'll also keep the two-handed damage.

Third route: Switch to Bow. You have good stats for an archery build. Archery builds aren't normally a front line kind of thing, but a fighter can make it work. It really depends on having point blank mastery so you can keep using your preferred weapon while threatened by opponents. The archery fighter/tank has 3 advantages.

First advantage: You almost never need to move. Sure if there is a choke point you should get your heavily armored ass over there first round and body block. You should also be the front of your party's marching order. Once you get positioned, just full attack every round.

Second advantage: you can reach everything. Enemy has a spell caster? No problem. Enemy flies? No problem. Enemy has a 50' reach? So?

Third advantage: Threat. A fighter only threatens things in his reach. Well, you should establish immediately that you are a threat by pumping your enemies full of arrows. Maybe the enemy feel that the ranger behind you is an equal threat, but they have to run past you to get to him.

I think others will talk about shield and reach, so let me give advice on archery fighter. Each level you can switch out a feat you have for a feat you qualify for. So at 4th level take weapon specialization: composite longbow and switch your weapon focus to Point Blank Mastery. If the GM will let you switch out cleave and power attack for precise shot and rapid shot. I'd also recommend switching out dodge for deadly aim but I can understand why you'd want to avoid that. Get multishot when you can. Stick to heavy armor.

Regardless of what route you decide to take, aim to get gloves of dueling as soon as you can. This item basically gives you +2 to hit and damage with your favorite weapons and is one of the ways fighters out perform other melee classes.


Unless the enemies are so hard that you need optimization to defeat them, there's no need to construct the world's most optimized fighter.

Retraining is mechanically advantageous, but story-wise terrible. It's more fun to think about what makes your fighter unique, rather than aiming for the same optimum that everyone else is.

You have 13 INT, which is high. It opens up some INT-based feats through Combat Expertise.

Having the option of ranged is good. Since you already have Point Blank, consider Precise Strike so you don't annoy your allies, or Rapid Shot or Deadly Aim.

Falchions have a large crit range, you can expand it even further with Improved Critical.


Oh, and I forgot to mention the bow. Get a +1 adaptive composite longbow as soon as you can afford it. When you move to improve the weapon, the first enchant you want is Seeking. Seeking basically lets you ignore cover. Invisibility is cover. As long as you choose the right square the Seeking arrow will let you negate the 50% miss chance. Also Seeking lets you bypass Mirror Image. Really, Seeking is the best bow enchantment.


2 recommendations from me.

1 is to change class to the Slayer, you get way more skill points and it's mechanically more interesting than a vanilla fighter but able to do the same job. It's the class I would always recommend for a new player going melee or ranged, right level of interest but not too mechanically complicated.

The other is to take the archetype for fighter called the gloomblade, this allows you to summon a shadow weapon at will of any melee weapon you want and it gets free enhancements. It's really cool and pretty good being able to switch between a great sword or a reach weapon when you need them.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sammage wrote:

I have roughly 4k xp now at lvl 3

...
I am a human fighter Str: 16, Dex: 16, Con: 14, Int: 13, Wis: 10, Cha: 9. (can't change these)
...
I chose Falchion as my weapon before I realized how slow leveling was going to go. (could change this if I wanted...even changing to a sword and board I think...though I don't have access to a shield right now)

- Feats are Dodge, Power Attack, Point Blank Shot, Weapon Focus (Falchion), Cleave. (can change these up)

I would agree with dropping Point Blank Shot. If you're actually close enough to an enemy to benefit from it, you should be drawing your falchion instead. You should still keep a bow, but it's your secondary weapon with melee being your primary. Don't bother investing feats in it. You could drop the melee weapon instead and focus on ranged if you prefer, but I get the sense you lean more melee.

Cleave and Dodge are poor feat choices. Cleave is just an underwhelming feat that gets worse as you level up, and there is a better option than dodge. Magus Black mentions the Iron Will feat first for a reason; your will save is your Achilles heel as a fighter, not your AC, so if you're going to take a feat to bolster your defenses make it Iron Will. Your high dexterity makes Combat Reflexes a very attractive pick.

The falchion is a fine weapon and there's no reason to change that if you're happy with it. If you want to be more defensive, the answer is to go with longer reach. A shield will protect you from damage, but does nothing to help your allies. A reach weapon will give you a larger threat range and make it more difficult for enemies to engage your allies in melee. Alternately you can just convince one of the mages into casting Enlarge Person on you, which will give you natural reach. If they're being resistant to the idea, just remind them that it'll make their meat shield bigger.

While you won't be able to get access to it until 5th level (which will be a ways off given your slow XP track) you should seriously consider taking Advanced Weapon Training for Warrior Spirit. If you're in a low magic setting then lack of magical weapons will be by far your biggest problem, and Warrior SPirit allows you to make your weapon magical by sheer force of will twice per day. It's an incredible power in any circumstance, but even better in low-magic settings.


Point blank shot is prereq for rapid shot, which is worthwhile if you want to be a relevant range combatant.

Shield focus + unhindering shield gives you buckler + falchion / bow / reach weapon.

As above, dodge and cleave aren’t optimal choices. Also as above, all bow all the time is probably a stronger build, but falchion/bow is a perfectly adequate approach to fighter. Quick Draw is nice for switch hitting.


If your GM will allow you to use the armor masters handbook and weapon masters handbook, swap out dodge for "advanced armor training: Armor specialization (whatever armor you hope to end using in the future)" Its the same net + to ac as dodge but scales as you level.

Silver Crusade

People have already given you good advice. Your post was not long. People have considerable patience to read on these boards.

Should you decide to investigate wielding a reach weapon, know that it's not to stop things getting away from you, it's to stop things from getting at you and your allies. Here's a basic primer on reach tactics. Most foes that want to get at you or past you will provoke an AoO, which means extra attacks for you. Once you have the Combat Reflexes feat you'll get 4 AoOs per round, only 3 Aoos when you are Large. Foes will rarely provoke that many, especially if you're not Large Size, but when they do you get many extra attacks that round. This most often happens at the beginning of a fight, when it's most important to do a lot of damage. Wear your falchion as a backup weapon, since you can't always carry your cumbersome two handed reach weapon.

Also note that reach allows you to trip foes, even without investing any feats. You will provoke an AoO if you lack Improved trip, but unless your foe also has reach you'll be out of their reach so they can't attack you!

Here's a bonus video clip [Youtube: Historical 1643 Battle of Rocroi] that shows reach weapon wielders protecting Gunslingers against a Cavalry Charge. Notice how the reach weapons act like a moving fortress that protects nearby allies. Reach weapons work the same way in Pathfinder.


Sammage wrote:

I'd love some advice on optimizing my current build and how to plan for future levels in order to maximize durability and damage output. I'm one of two front line fighters in our group....

I am a human fighter Str: 16, Dex: 16, Con: 14, Int: 13, Wis: 10, Cha: 9. (can't change these)...

- I chose Falchion as my weapon before I realized how slow leveling was going to go. (could change this if I wanted...even changing to a sword and board I think...though I don't have access to a shield right now)...

- Feats are Dodge, Power Attack, Point Blank Shot, Weapon Focus (Falchion), Cleave. (can change these up)...

I now think I'd help the party more by being melee focused and losing the PBS feat for something else. The others I'm not sure about....

I recently got turned on to the Split Blade Sword. 1 handed, 2d6, only threats on a 20, but it's also a Disarming and Tripping Weapon.

I would drop PBS for Exotic Weapon, Split Blade Sword. I'd keep Power Attack and Cleave, but I'd get Furious Focus instead of Dodge, unless there is a price for Retraining, then I'd consider building on Dodge later instead of retraining it away.

You can't change races? I'd make you a Half Elf instead of a Human, then you could get EWP via an Alternate Racial Trait. I also really love Arcane Training.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Sammage wrote:

I'd love some advice on optimizing my current build and how to plan for future levels in order to maximize durability and damage output. I'm one of two front line fighters in our group....

I am a human fighter Str: 16, Dex: 16, Con: 14, Int: 13, Wis: 10, Cha: 9. (can't change these)...

- I chose Falchion as my weapon before I realized how slow leveling was going to go. (could change this if I wanted...even changing to a sword and board I think...though I don't have access to a shield right now)...

- Feats are Dodge, Power Attack, Point Blank Shot, Weapon Focus (Falchion), Cleave. (can change these up)...

I now think I'd help the party more by being melee focused and losing the PBS feat for something else. The others I'm not sure about....

I recently got turned on to the Split Blade Sword. 1 handed, 2d6, only threats on a 20, but it's also a Disarming and Tripping Weapon.

I would drop PBS for Exotic Weapon, Split Blade Sword. I'd keep Power Attack and Cleave, but I'd get Furious Focus instead of Dodge, unless there is a price for Retraining, then I'd consider building on Dodge later instead of retraining it away.

You can't change races? I'd make you a Half Elf instead of a Human, then you could get EWP via an Alternate Racial Trait. I also really love Arcane Training.

Further down the line, I'd start taking Vital Strike Feats and Great Cleave.

I'd dip a level in Ranger and a level in Living Monolith when I can. Even 1 level in Ranger will allow you to use a Wand of Lead Blades, a level 1 Spell that will give you a 1 slot Virtual Size Increase, raising the Damage of your sword from 2d6 to 3d6, but I do have 1 reservation about this:

Sammage wrote:
It's a low magic... world.

Is this a world where you can expect to be able to acquire level 1 Magic Wands? Check with your GM first.

I like the Freebooter Archetype. As often as you want, as a Move Action, you can designate a single target, and you and all your allies get +1 Attack and Damage against it until the combat ends or you designate a different target.

A level 1 Living Monolith gets the Toughness Feat and gets to Enlarge Person as a Swift Action. My thinking is that if you have a round to buff yourself, you can use and drop your Wand of Lead Blades, draw your weapon and approach your enemy as 2 Move Actions. You then Enlarge as a Swift Action. The next round, you have a 10' Reach and inflict a base 4d6 Damage/hit. If you have Vital Strike, double that.

The Split Blade Sword is also a Tripping and Disarming weapon, so it would be good to double that.

Fighters get some really good Advanced weapon benefits. I'm particularly fond of those Teamwork Feats.


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I feel like dips in multiple classes, alternate racial traits, specific weapons, magic items and spells from supplemental material aren't quite what a "complete newbie to Pathfinder" ought to be looking for.
See how feats interact with each other. Get used to the basic mechanics of the game.

If I was going to suggest a well-rounded, no-weird-stuff lvl3 human fighter, I'd probably consider something like"

Power Attack, Combat Reflexes, Iron Will, and Dodge. Then pick up a longspear, a bow (or maybe some javelins) and a dagger, the best armor you can get and call it a day.

Get between your enemies and your allies, set your spear against a charge and let them try to get past you.


Quixote wrote:
I feel like dips in multiple classes, alternate racial traits, specific weapons, magic items and spells from supplemental material aren't quite what a "complete newbie to Pathfinder" ought to be looking for.

A complete newbie to Pathfinder ought not to be playing a Fighter in the first place. Fighters are the most difficult class to play. A complete newbie to Pathfinder ought to be playing a Cleric, a Wizard, or both as a Mystic Theurge or something because Clerics are the easiest class to play, and Wizards are the second easiest.

Also, this is Pathfinder. Pathfinder was created with the intent to multiclass. One of the first things they changed from 3.5 when they wrote the Core Rulebook was to remove the XP penalty for multiclassing unevenly. Easy multiclassing is literally fundamental to Pathfinder!

Meanwhile, the dips I'm suggesting do not complicate play very much. All of the dips I'm proposing are martial dips that just give some buffing options and bonus Feats. Also, the benefits each one gives is huge.

I was actually planning a build. It doesn't start dipping until level 6: plenty of time for a newbie in a slow-progression campaign to learn the ropes.

Quixote wrote:
Power Attack, Combat Reflexes, Iron Will, and Dodge. Then pick up a longspear, a bow (or maybe some javelins) and a dagger, the best armor you can get and call it a day.
Sammage wrote:
Feats are Dodge, Power Attack, Point Blank Shot, Weapon Focus (Falchion), Cleave.

So, you are supporting the OP's choice to take Power Attack and Dodge. You are recommending Reach or Range where the OP is saying he is playing a Front Liner and wants to pick up a shield.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
A complete newbie to Pathfinder ought not to be playing a Fighter in the first place. Fighters are the most difficult class to play.

The hardest to play? Or the hardest to play optimally?

I'd say any spellcaster involves more paperwork than other characters, wizard and druids being among the most labor intensive of these.
And of the non-spellcasters, fighters are probably the least complex. Few skills to consider, no crazy special abilities. Just feats, hp, AC and arezzo rolls, for the most part.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Pathfinder was created with the intent to multiclass.

I'd definitely agree that it made multiclassing easier, but I doubt Pathfinder was made specifically for the purpose. They removed the penalty for multiclassing, but they added an incentive to focus on a single class.

I was actually planning a build. It doesn't start dipping until level 6: plenty of time for a newbie in a slow-progression campaign to learn the ropes.

Quixote wrote:
Power Attack, Combat Reflexes, Iron Will, and Dodge. Then pick up a longspear, a bow (or maybe some javelins) and a dagger, the best armor you can get and call it a day.
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
So, you are supporting the OP's choice to take Power Attack and Dodge. You are recommending Reach or Range where the OP is saying he is playing a Front Liner and wants to pick up a shield.

I just threw out a simple, effective concept.

Also, I didn't mean any offense to anyone else on the thread. I don't see anything that appears overtly defensive in my first post, but your tone seems to be offensive and rather accusatory. Though I could be misreading it, of course.
At any rate, I simply disagree with your approach. That is all. I'm not trying to attack you.
But hey, you might have what the OP is looking for. I certainly don't know; just using my best judgment here, same as anyone.


This is a build I was working on. It might give Sammage some useful ideas.

1Fighter1: Weapon Focus, Power Attack, BAB+1

I would have the OP play a Half Elf instead of Human and get Exotic Weapon Proficiency Split Blade Sword through the Ancestral Arms Alternate Racial Trait, or if he can't, then take EWP as the Human Bonus Feat. The OP was suggesting that maybe his GM would not allow the Split Blade Sword. This build would work just fine with a Greatsword and just do without the Shield and the Tripping. The advantage of the Split Blade Sword is that the OP can get the big damage and still use a Shield.

2F2: Cleave, Bravery +1, BAB+2
3F3: Furious Focus, Armor Training +1, BAB+3

Furious Focus lets you use Power Attack for 1 attack/round without taking the Attack Penalty. It's nice.

4F4: Weapon Specialization, BAB+4
5F5: Great Cleave, BAB+5

This character is very straight-forward so far. 1 Opponent: Power Attack and Furious Focus. More Opponents: Cleave or Great Cleave. Lots of Damage; lots of attacks if you need them.

6F5Ranger1: Freebooter’s Bane, Tracking, Wild Empathy, BAB+6

Freebooter's Bane does not add a lot of complexity: It gives him and all his allies +1 Attack and Damage. If he can find low-level Magic Wands, I particularly recommend Swift Girding and Lead Blades. With Lead Blades his sword will inflict 3d6 instead of 2d6.

Swift Girding allows the PC to don

Quixote wrote:
the best armor you can get

as Standard Action instead of the several minutes it usually takes. Few things make my skin crawl than that look in the GM's eyes when he asks "Are you sleeping in your armor?" Yes, and you wake up Fatigued; no, and you WILL be fighting Hill Giants in your underwear before dawn! Overlooking the time it takes to put on armor is just the kind of thing that a newbie overlooks, and advice to a newbie should consider that.

7F5R1Living Monolith1: Ka Stone: Toughness, Enlarge Person, Iron Will

Quixote and I are both suggesting Iron Will. Apart from the obvious, I'm suggesting it as a Prerequisite for a level in Living Monolith. It will give you +1 hit point per level (Toughness). Enlarge Person will give the OP an extra 1d6 Base Damage, and +1 Damage due to Strength.

Enlarge Person will also give the OP an extra 5' of Reach, which Quixote wants to achieve with a Long Spear. It's interesting to note that both of us want to give the OP Reach. If you really want a Reach Pole Arm, though, I don't recommend Long Spear. I'd Recommend the Leucerne Hammer: 1d12 Damage instead of 1d8, and it does either Piercing or Blunt Damage instead of just Piercing. Both are Brace Weapons.

8F6R1L1: Vital Strike, Bravery +2, BAB+7

The idea here is that Lead Blades and Enlarge Person between them increases the Base Damage of the Split Blade Sword or Greatsword from 2d6 to 4d6. Vital Strike increases it to 8d6, and that's pretty good.

I don't think this character is very complicated to play in combat. Power Attack with Furious Focus and Vital Strike against single opponents; Great Cleave vs. multiple opponents. If the character has time to self-buff before combat, he can use Lead Blades as a Standard Action, Freebooter's Bane as a Move Action, then Enlarge as a Swift Action. If he is awoken from sleep into Combat, he can dress with a Wand of Swift Girding as a Standard Action. In a pinch, both Enlarge Person and Freebooter's Bane can be used in the midst of melee with no problem.

9F7R1L1: Armored Juggernaut, Combat Reflexes, BAB+8
10F8R1L1: Devastating Strike, BAB+9
11F9R1L1: Weapon Training +2, Advanced Training: Fighter’s Tactics, Broken Wing Gambit, BAB+10

Combat Reflexes and Reach: I got there, eventually.

With Broken Wing Gambit, when you hit your opponent, you give them a +2 Attack and Damage against you, but if they do attack you, your allies all get an Attack of Opportunity, and you count as your own ally. This is a Teamwork Feat: your Allies don't actually get that AoO unless they take the Feat, too, but you get the AoO: Fighter Tactics give you the Benefits of all your Teamwork Feats as if all your allies had all your Teamwork Feats.

12F9R1L1Cavalier1: Tactician, Challenge, Paired Opportunist, BAB+11

Tactician gives all your allies your Bonus Teamwork Feat, so now they get an AoO whenever you get one, and you get one whenever you are Attacked or whenever anyone tries to Move inside your Reach. It might be better to take BWG as your Bonus Teamwork Feat: then whenever any of you are Attacked, all of you get Attacks of Opportunity!

13F10R1L1C1: Improved Vital Strike, Combat Expertise, Bravery +3, BAB+12
14F11R1L1C1: Armor Training +2, BAB+13
15F12R1L1C1: Improved Trip, Greater Trip, BAB+14

I like Tripping. Greater Trip gives you an Attack of Opportunity when you Trip someone. If they try to get up, you get another Attack of Opportunity. If they try to leave the square, you get an Attack of Opportunity. And if you can give Paired Opportunist to all your Allies, they all get Attacks of Opportunities as well!

16F13Rr1L1C1: Weapon Training +3, Armed Bravery (Bravery Bonus applies to all Will Saves), BAB+15
17F14R1L1C1: Fury’s Fall, Greater Vital Strike, Bravery +4, BAB+16
18F15R1L1C1: Armor Training +3, BAB+17
19F16R1L1C1: Harder they Fall, Coordinated Maneuvers, BAB+18

You can't Trip someone who is more than 2 sizes bigger than you, but Harder they Fall lets you get around that. An Ally has to use Aid Another, but I think they just might.


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Most important things were already said, but to summarize the important stuff:
1) Shore up your weaknesses - doing awesome damage is worthless if you fail every saving throw.
2) You can't reasonably invest all your feats into more melee damage. See #1 instead. More situations in which you can use your main shtick is better than slightly improving it.
3) Archery heavily rewards focussation - if you want to be good at it, go all-in. At as early as 5th level you can have Point Blank Master, which makes switching to a melee weapon redundant, even if you're toe to toe with an enemy. Right now, you may be reasonably good at both melee and archery, but once you start to gather magic items, you have to decide which of the two to focus on. A backup ranged weapon is indeed a good idea, but investing too much into it isn't.
4) Cleave is crap, because it's too situational to compete with the full attacks that you will be making later on. Just as a precaution, Vital Strike sucks as well, for the same reason.
5) Reach is pretty good, for both defense and offense (once you can make full attacks, 5th to 6th level). Even without Combat Reflexes, although you certainly have the feat slots for it.
6) Don't overvalue critical hits. You need over 40 (critable) average damage on a regular hit before a falchion is better than a greatsword.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Pathfinder was created with the intent to multiclass. One of the first things they changed from 3.5 when they wrote the Core Rulebook was to remove the XP penalty for multiclassing unevenly. Easy multiclassing is literally fundamental to Pathfinder!

I call bull s#&+ on that. The biggest change they made was to strengthen staying in-class, as compared to 3.5's rampant prestige class (ab)use. If you want to claim that "Pathfinder was created with the intent to multiclass", please post proof for that.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
You are recommending Reach or Range where OP is saying he is playing a Front Liner and wants to pick up a shield.

He didn't say that. Plus, a reach build is still a frontliner; indeed a better one when it comes to protecting the other party members.

Quixote wrote:
The hardest to play? Or the hardest to play optimally?

One of the hardest for a beginner to build so that it doesn't suck (which usually leads to frustration). Well, there are plenty of worse offenders (*cough* Rogue *cough*), but it's indeed not a good class for beginners.


Quixote wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
A complete newbie to Pathfinder ought not to be playing a Fighter in the first place. Fighters are the most difficult class to play.
The hardest to play? Or the hardest to play optimally?

Between the 2, I'd say the latter. A Fighter may be easier to play in a single adventuring session, but they are the hardest to play from level 1 to level 20, to build, to optimize. And it is optimization that the OP is asking for.

Quixote wrote:
I'd say any spellcaster involves more paperwork than other characters, wizard and druids being among the most labor intensive of these. And of the non-spellcasters, fighters are probably the least complex. Few skills to consider, no crazy special abilities. Just feats, hp, AC and arezzo rolls, for the most part.

Fighters may involve the fewest choices, but they demand the most careful planning.

The bulwark of the Fighter's power is a small number of Feats and Class abilities that after selected, are very hard to change. The bulwark of the Cleric's power is a huge cornucopia of spells to pick and choose from and the Cleric can completely change his mind about every day. A Wizard's hard decision is in selecting spells, but there's no limit as to how many spells he can learn, so he can and wants to always learn more. So every day, a Wizard has a large selection of spells to choose from, and he can change his mind every day as well.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Pathfinder was created with the intent to multiclass.
I'd definitely agree that it made multiclassing easier, but I doubt Pathfinder was made specifically for the purpose. They removed the penalty for multiclassing, but they added an incentive to focus on a single class.

I can only conjecture, but why make it easier to multiclass if they didn't expect more multiclassing? It is true that certain classes, especially spellcasting classes, benefit from single classing, but in general, I'd say that if you want build based on the attainment of high level class abilities, you single class. If you want a build based on the accumulation of bonuses, multiclassing can yield powerful results. I multiclass a lot, but I don't do it willynilly. I have good reasons for taking the levels in the classes I do.

Quixote wrote:
Power Attack, Combat Reflexes, Iron Will, and Dodge. Then pick up a longspear, a bow (or maybe some javelins) and a dagger, the best armor you can get and call it a day.
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
So, you are supporting the OP's choice to take Power Attack and Dodge. You are recommending Reach or Range where the OP is saying he is playing a Front Liner and wants to pick up a shield.
Quixote wrote:

I just threw out a simple, effective concept.

Also, I didn't mean any offense to anyone else on the thread. I don't see anything that appears overtly defensive in my first post, but your tone seems to be offensive and rather accusatory. Though I could be misreading it, of course.
At any rate, I simply disagree with your approach. That is all. I'm not trying to attack you.
But hey, you might have what the OP is looking for. I certainly don't know; just using my best judgment here, same as anyone.

Perhaps I was being hypervigilant. I get rudely attacked and get targeted by a lot of ad hominem attacks.

Derklord wrote:
I call bull s@~~ on that.

See what I mean?


Calling your claim bull s#@@ is not ad hominem. 'Ad hominem' means attacking the person, whereas I said I called BS on "that". "That" clearly refers to the statement and not a person (you), which means the statement can't possibly be an ad hominem.
Stop playing victim. You don't get "rudely attacked", you just take anyone disagreeing with you as a personal attack.


Derklord wrote:


3) Archery heavily rewards focussation - if you want to be good at it, go all-in. At as early as 5th level you can have Point Blank Master, which makes switching to a melee weapon redundant, even if you're toe to toe with an enemy. Right now, you may be reasonably good at both melee and archery, but once you start to gather magic items, you have to decide which of the two to focus on. A backup ranged weapon is indeed a good idea, but investing too much into it isn't.
4) Cleave is crap, because it's too situational to compete with the full attacks that you will be making later on. Just as a precaution, Vital Strike sucks as well, for the same reason.

So fighters have an ability that lets them change a feat each time they level up. So that means you can afford to take a feat like cleave early when it is actually useful and get rid of it when it starts to lose effectiveness.

It also lets you gain Point Blank Master at level 4 if you take weapon specialization as your bonus feat and then switch one of your other feats to PBM. Free retraining isn't a huge ability, but it has its uses.


Good points, thank you for the corrections.

You can only swap one feat, every four levels (shame you can't swap one every other level, like how it works for spells known), but yeah, for a Fighter it's probably not bad for the first three (or possibly even seven) levels.


I'd also make an argument for Vital Strike down the line.
I don't think it's worth building a whole character around, but there are plenty of situations where you can't make a full attack

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Your feats and ability scores look good.
Lots of other good feats too but these are fine.


Derklord wrote:

Good points, thank you for the corrections.

You can only swap one feat, every four levels (shame you can't swap one every other level, like how it works for spells known), but yeah, for a Fighter it's probably not bad for the first three (or possibly even seven) levels.

I would swear you could retrain every level. And obviously I'm wrong. But 4 is a convenient level to be able to switch out a feat.


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Meirril wrote:
But 4 is a convenient level to be able to switch out a feat.

I think 6 would be a more convenient level, with the first iterative attack gained, Haste becoming aviable usually between 5th and 7th level, and the plenty of feats with a BAB +6 requirement.

Meirril wrote:
I would swear you could retrain every level.

Well, spontaneous casters can swap spells known once for every spell level gained, so obviously the overpowered Fighters had to be toned-down in comparison so that the poor poor weak casters have a chance to compete. At least that seems to fit the rationale of Paizo developers back then.

Quixote wrote:

I'd also make an argument for Vital Strike down the line.

I don't think it's worth building a whole character around, but there are plenty of situations where you can't make a full attack

No doubt about that, but is it worth the investment? Take the OP (falchion), Vital Strike is +5 average damage. A charge would be +2 to attack rolls, and going by the usual 1:2 ratio between attack and damage rolls, that doesn't make the feat worth it when you can charge, and it's obviously useless when you can full attack. It's not like the feat was useless, it's just " too situational" as I said.

Broading out the character is a good thing, hence my point #1, but Vital Strike doesn't really do that, it's just a bit bonus damage. Which means that even if you can use the feat, it often doesn't have any effect because you end up doing more damage than necessary with your killing blow (or killing full attack!) anyway.


Derklord wrote:
Quixote wrote:
argument for Vital Strike
is it worth the investment?

Sure it is.

Derklord wrote:
the OP (falchion), Vital Strike is +5 average damage.

+5 is quite respectable. In the build that I posted using the Split Blade Sword Vital Strike gives +7, unless the character buffs himself with Lead Blades and Enlarge Person, then Vital Strike gives +14. That's a lot for 1 Feat.

Derklord wrote:
it's obviously useless when you can full attack.

I don't see it that way at all! Each iterative attack due to high BAB is at a -5 compared with the one before it. I think that it may well result in a higher DPR to take a single attack at your highest BAB while doubling your damage dice rather than take extra attacks with severe penalties.

If you are getting extra attacks through 2 weapon fighting where the off hand weapon is light, and you take the 2 weapon fighting Feat, then the attack penalty is only at -2 instead of -5, but that is a -2 on all your attacks, including your first. Plus, your light off-hand weapon will probably not do as much damage as your primary weapon, so in some cases, the amount you add from your off-hand weapon is not as much as the amount you would add from using Vital Strike. That might not be the case with a Natural Attack build where all the attacks are at Full BAB with no penalties, but a character like that is not being considered by the OP.

Derklord wrote:
it's just " too situational"

Bear in mind that the ability to Full Attack is situational in and of itself. Combats can be quite mobile. When you move up to an opponent and Attack, the situation normally is that you are using a Move Action and a Standard Action and Full Attacking is not an option. You can only Full Attack if you are spending more than 1 Round not moving more than a 5' Step. Situations like that tend to happen more when you are up against fewer, more formidable opponents, the kind that have a high AC and/or Damage Reduction, and that is exactly the kind of opponent that Vital Strike is relatively better for. Iterative and 2 weapon fighting increase your base damage at the expense of your Attack Roll, and that can lead to lower effective Damage against a high AC opponent, and the effectiveness of your opponent's DR is multiplied by the number of attacks you get. These things might be situational, but they are by no means uncommon situations.

Something else to bear in mind is that the OP is a newbie, and it really might be better to offer a character that is simple to play, and the build I proposed is very simple to play in combat: Vital Strike single opponents; Cleave multiple opponents, simple.


The math on vital strike has been done, its not super worth it outside of things like minotaur double xbow and butchers axe or greatswords with a few select feats but it wont be a game ending hamstringing if someone takes it


Ryan Freire wrote:
The math on vital strike has been done, its not super worth it outside of things like minotaur double xbow and butchers axe or greatswords with a few select feats but it wont be a game ending hamstringing if someone takes it

That's just the kind of weapon I'm recommending it for, though: The Split Blade Sword does 2d6. I'm recommending a level in Ranger to use a Wand of Lead Blades and a level in Living Monolith so he can Enlarge Person. Between those 2 buffs, that Split Blade Sword would have a base damage of 4d6, and Vital Strike would make it 8d6.

The Butchering Axe is the obvious choice for a Vital Strike/Great Cleave build. The 2 main reasons I didn't lead with that are

1. The OP specifically mentioned a Sword-and-Board build.
2. The OP suggested that there were limitations on what fancy weapons he could use.

In the event that neither the Split Blade Sword nor the Butcher's Axe would be allowed by the OP's GM, I did recommend a Greatsword instead. I suppose a Bastard Sword might be a reasonable 4th choice.

There's kind of a 3rd reason in the back of my head for recommending the SBS over the BA that involves a variant feature I like to put into builds.

Part of the reason I proposed Vital Strike had nothing to do with mechanical advantage but rather mechanical simplicity. When you are a Fighter with Vital Strike and a Butchering Axe, you always know just what to do!

All that said, Ryan, I wouldn't mind looking at how you think the numbers crunch out.


I mean I love the s#@* out of some vital strike. I'm trying to decide if heritor knight abilities work with large longswords, if dual wielding longswords is superior thanks to double cut trick, or if taking the sacred weapon weapon training and being good ol sword and board is the best choice to make a vital strike build.


Sammage wrote:
I'd love some advice on optimizing my current build and how to plan for future levels in order to maximize durability and damage output. I'm one of two front line fighters in our group. We have one cleric (the other frontliner right now)
That cleric won't be a frontliner for much longer past 4th. Monsters scale up fast in the mid-level, and a medium-Con d8 class can be two- or three-shotted pretty quick if he's leading by the chin. Unless he's a total tank build, in which case, objection withdrawn.
Quote:
a ranger handling ranged attacks, a bard being bardic, and two mages hiding in the back. No one currently has much in the way of buffing spells.
Well, that's what bards and clerics should be doing at low level. Inspire Courage + Bless means +2 attack for everybody.
Quote:
The game is pretty restrictive as well. We rolled stats so I can't minmax those...they are what they are. It's a low magic and slow leveling world. We're just using the basic rules and some limitations on weapons (so I may not have access to things like nodachi).
I actually approve of this (well, not die-roll generation), as it keeps things on an even keel for newbs.
Quote:
We moved quickly to 3rd getting out of an intro dungeon and are now striking out into a wartorn landscape. I have roughly 4k xp now at lvl 3 and it will take to 14k to go to lvl 4. BUT, I have a chance to alter some of my early mis-steps right now.
As a fighter, you also get to retrain feats occasionally without utilizing the Retraining Rules themselves (introduced in Ultimate Combat).
Quote:
I am a human fighter Str: 16, Dex: 16, Con: 14, Int: 13, Wis: 10, Cha: 9. (can't change these)
I'd like to see a dwarf here, but you'll skate so long as your GM isn't slamming the party with will-saves left & right. (Being in a home-game is an advantage here, as the GM caters to the party average, rather than you being at the mercy of, say, a PFS module writer's inclinations in a cash-rich campaign crawling with overpowered builds.)
Quote:
- I chose Falchion as my weapon before I realized how slow leveling was going to go. (could change this if I wanted...even changing to a sword and board I think...though I don't have access to a shield right now)

What do you mean you don't have "access" to a shield? (Have you never been to a town? Can't you pick one up off a corpse?)

Q1. What is your armor?
Q2. What are your character's traits (or is your GM not using those)?

Quote:
- Feats are Dodge, Power Attack, Point Blank Shot, Weapon Focus (Falchion), Cleave. (can change these up)

General obs:

* I don't like seeing Power Attack and Weapon Focus in the same low-level character; they cancel out, and you're essentially getting +0/+2(or+3) att/dmg at the cost of two feats...which is a very poor deal.
* Point Blank Shot is mathematically a good feat for an archer, but for a thinking-about-switch-hitting martial still under BAB6 and still without Quick Draw, it's lousy.
* Cleave is a great feat -- but you need reach to really exploit it, as otherwise it's going to waste most of the time because you won't have multiple enemies within range.
* Dodge is seemingly a good feat, but it relies upon you having good initiative...and that will become poorer and poorer relative to monster initiative as time goes by. Shield Focus is a better AC feat, as that'll work while you're flat-footed. (See also the trait Defender of the Society.)
Quote:
Without knowing Pathfinder well or what the group make up would be I tried to be versatile with bow and a good crit range melee weapon. I now think I'd help the party more by being melee focused and losing the PBS feat for something else. The others I'm not sure about

~ ~ ~

Here's my advice: go with a polearm. With a dex of 16 and a moderate con of 14, you're an ideal candidate for a Combat Reflexes type who prefers to keep the critters at a distance. With a starting Str of 16, you're also the sort of fighter who relishes being made bigger to enjoy the two-handed "sweet spot" of an 18.

1. fighter1 [combat: Cleave], Power Attack, [human: Combat Reflexes]
2. fighter2 [combat: Friendly Switch]

With just these three feats -- all available at 1st -- used in conjunction with a polearm, you'd be more destructive than you are now.

-- So, you'll be fighting with a bardiche now. The d10 weapon is 0.5 damage upgrade over the 2d4 falcion, or essentially the same when the falc's slightly better crits are factored.

You'll need a 5' weapon only seldomly, as you can usually take a five-foot step away from most opponents when you're not Enlarged, and armor-spikes will deal with corner-cases without need of Quick Draw to put something else in your hands.

Common tactics:

* Move to position threatening two opponents; declare standard-action attack to the one you think has weaker AC, using a successful hit to trigger Cleave.

* Ready to strike inbound opponents; score the Ready on the opponent's turn, then get an AoO as they continue approaching, then more AoOs versus other inbound opponents via Combat Reflexes

Tip: do not Power Attack at low-level, especially when a Cleave or an AoO is riding on the outcome. Wait until BAB4 + magical weapon + strength belt have boosted attack bonus nicely, as well as made the damage bonus big enough to be worth the risk of whiffing.

3. fighter3 FEAT(g)
4. fighter4 FEAT(c) ...Quick Draw, Pushing Assault, or Great Cleave?
5. fighter5 [Weapon Training group: axes], FEAT(g)
6. fighter5 [combat: Vital Strike]

Weapon: +1/Fortuitous bardiche; misc masterwork backups.

Here's how it'll go down at 6th: You'll be Enlarged, by hook or by crook (ideally a party mage has Enlarged you before your turn, less ideally you're swigging a stockpile of 50gp potions; see the Accelerated Drinker trait if you're permitted to take traits). Your bardiche is a 20' 2d6 weapon while Enlarged, and your character base is 10x10', giving you an threat zone 50' wide. Perfect for Cleaving. On your turn, you'll have the option of making two attacks in a full-attack against a solitary opponent, or utilizing a move+standard Cleave as described above, then tacking on Vital Strike as a rider for +2d6 damage (this comparing very favorably to WSpec in a melee martial). Probable 4d6+14 2hPA is nothing to sneeze at here.

As both bardiche and butchering-axe are in the axe group, your WT bonuses will apply to both at some point (should you ever get a butchering axe...although wielding one will be difficult prior to 8th unless you multiclass barbarian...but that'll be annoying as your Con isn't high enough for Raging Vitality, and AC taking enough of a hit whenever you Cleave).

Equipment: you're keeping your armor up-to-snuff. Put +1 spikes on it at some point.


Slim Jim wrote:
I don't like seeing Power Attack and Weapon Focus in the same low-level character; they cancel out, and you're essentially getting +0/+2(or+3) att/dmg at the cost of two feats...which is a very poor deal.

Huh.

Do you think Power Attack on it's own is a good Feat? Do you think Weapon Focus on it's own is a good Feat? I think if both of them are good Feats separately, then they must be good together. I get what you are saying about cancelling each other out, but the way I see it, rather than one of them giving a bonus that is cancelled by the other's penalty, I see it as getting a +2 or +3 Damage Bonus penalty-free. I guess it's all how you look at it.

Furious Focus is literally the Feat you take for getting your Power Attack Bonus penalty-free. But Weapon Focus gives you a bonus all the time with that weapon whether you use Power Attack or not. But Furious Focus scales up with Power Attack. Weapon Specialization gives you that +2 with no penalties at the cost of only 1 Feat, sort of. There's a prerequisite, and that's Weapon Focus. Also, you can't even take WS till level 4. Which brings me to my other point: Power Attacks and Weapon Focus are Feat Tax payments. All-in-all, I'd say the game has some balance here, and they're all worth taking.

Slim Jim wrote:
Point Blank Shot is mathematically a good feat for an archer, but for a thinking-about-switch-hitting martial still under BAB6 and still without Quick Draw, it's lousy.

I agree with you 110% here. The extra 10%? I don't think the OP should even go for switch-hitting in this party. It's a 5 player party with 2 Wizards and an Archer! I'd say the party needs him to be a dedicated frontliner or else be another Archer. The latter would mean he would be committing the party to tactics that never revolve themselves around holding a position. in every combat, the whole party would have to disperse like bees from a hive, constantly sniping and running.

Slim Jim wrote:
Here's my advice: go with a polearm. With a dex of 16 and a moderate con of 14, you're an ideal candidate for a Combat Reflexes type who prefers to keep the critters at a distance. With a starting Str of 16, you're also the sort of fighter who relishes being made bigger to enjoy the two-handed "sweet spot" of an 18.

I'm not sanguine about a Reach Pole Arm for the OP's situation. You can't always take a 5' step back. Sometimes you have to stand your ground when you have 2 wizards and an archer to protect. A Reach Pole Arm doesn't allow for attacking adjacent opponents, and the OP's character sometimes will need to.

That Cleric in his party would be a good candidate for a Reach Pole arm. Then they should all stand in single file behind the OP

Enemy
---------scrimmage line------------
OP
Cleric
Wizard
Wizard
Archer

That Ranger/Archer is the one who should be a Switch hitter.

Slim Jim wrote:
So, you'll be fighting with a bardiche now. The d10 weapon is 0.5 damage upgrade over the 2d4 falcion, or essentially the same when the falc's slightly better crits are factored.

Why Bardiche? If the OP's going with a Reach Pole Arm, I'd recommend a Leucerne Hammer. It does 1d12 as compared with the Bardiche's 1d10. It gives you a choice of Piercing or Blunt Damage as opposed to the Bardiche only doing Slashing. And in addition to being a Reach Weapon like the Bardiche, the Leucerne Hammer is also a Brace Weapon. And I know Brace is a highly situational feature, but it is yet 1 more thing the Leucerne Hammer has that the Bardiche doesn't. It's a comprehensively better weapon unless you really want Slashing Damage, in which case I'd go with a Horsechopper, which like the Bardiche is also 1d10 Slashing with Reach, but the Horsechopper is also a Tripping Weapon.

I'm not a big fan of it myself, but if we are talking about Reach Pole Arms, then we should consider the Fauchard. It's an exotic weapon that only does 1d10 Slashing with Reach like the Martial Bardiche, but the Fauchard has a Threat Range of 18-20 like the OP's Falchion. If the OP really loves crits--he might--then maybe his Reach Pole Arm of choice should be the Fauchard.

Slim Jim wrote:
Shield Focus is a better AC feat, as that'll work while you're flat-footed. (See also the trait Defender of the Society.)

Shield Brace makes less sense if you are using a Reach Pole Arm and therefore aren't using a Shield. He'd have to work in the Shield Brace Feat somewhere to get around that or else be a Phalanx Soldier Fighter.

Slim Jim wrote:
You'll be Enlarged, by hook or by crook (ideally a party mage has Enlarged you before your turn, less ideally you're swigging a stockpile of 50gp potions; see the Accelerated Drinker trait if you're permitted to take traits).

I'm recommending a 1 level dip in Living Monolith to get Enlarge Person. It's activated as a Swift Action. Also, the OP said that the party Wizards have so far shown no interest of buffing him.


First, I thank you for going back to a rational discussion, rather than lashing out in response to percieved but non-existant attacks.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Each iterative attack due to high BAB is at a -5 compared with the one before it. I think that it may well result in a higher DPR to take a single attack at your highest BAB while doubling your damage dice rather than take extra attacks with severe penalties.

The math proves you wrong (unless there's DR involved). Let's take the OP's character, 6th level, 16 strength, Weapon Training (heavy blades), Weapon Focus (Falchion), Power Attack, Weapon Specialization (Falchion), +1 weapon, +2 Inspire Courage. Agains an average CR6 enemy, a full attack is 27.8 DPR, Vital Strike is 20.4 DPR, charge is 19.3 DRP. For a greatsword, the numbers are 29.1/22.6/20.2, with a greatsword, Enlarge Person, and Lead Blades, the numbers are 44.0/36.9/29.9

That's without Haste, that the Bard might well cast come 7th level, at which point Vital Strike is just helplessly behind a full attack (75.0 on the huge greatsword vs. 39.4, and that's VS's best case).

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Bear in mind that the ability to Full Attack is situational in and of itself.

Yes, but it comes free. You always have the option to make a full attack, while you need to invest a feat to have the option to use Vital Strike.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
When you move up to an opponent and Attack, the situation normally is that you are using a Move Action and a Standard Action and Full Attacking is not an option.

I think the situation is normally that you charge. New players especially usually like to charge.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Part of the reason I proposed Vital Strike had nothing to do with mechanical advantage but rather mechanical simplicity. When you are a Fighter with Vital Strike and a Butchering Axe, you always know just what to do!

I'd say it's better they learn how charge works. If that's too complicated, or if having three different actions to take in a combat is too complicated, Pathfinder is not the right game for them. Seriously, they have to learn that stuff sooner or later, might as well start now - give them a good cheat sheet, and there shouldn't be any problem.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I'm recommending a 1 level dip in Living Monolith

"Special: Must have a handcrafted stone scarab worth at least 1,000 gp created and bound to his forehead in a sacred ritual with at least one sphinx or living monolith present." Do you really thing that the OP's character is likely to encounter a sphinx at early levels in their low magic world?

And that's not even considering the 12 skill ranks and the feat it costs to enter (no, people can't just change their race in the middle of a campaign).

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Do you think Power Attack on it's own is a good Feat? Do you think Weapon Focus on it's own is a good Feat? I think if both of them are good Feats separately, then they must be good together.

The important part is "low-level character" - mathematically, Power Attack is not a good feat for early levels, not even on a 2H weapon. Attack roll bonuses rise faster than enemy AC, and enemy HP rise faster than damage bonuses. At early levels, thanks to overkill damage, attack roll bonuses are more important than damage bonuses.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Slim Jim wrote:
I don't like seeing Power Attack and Weapon Focus in the same low-level character; they cancel out, and you're essentially getting +0/+2(or+3) att/dmg at the cost of two feats...which is a very poor deal.
Huh. Do you think Power Attack on it's own is a good Feat? Do you think Weapon Focus on it's own is a good Feat?

Attend to the context, which I've now bolded. If you're a 1st-level human fighter, you've devoted two-thirds of your feats to obtaining (drumroll) two or three points of damage. Versus opponents the majority of whom have only one hit-die anyway. That s-u-c-k-s.

Quote:

I think if both of them are good Feats separately, then they must be good together. I get what you are saying about cancelling each other out, but the way I see it, rather than one of them giving a bonus that is cancelled by the other's penalty, I see it as getting a +2 or +3 Damage Bonus penalty-free. I guess it's all how you look at it.

Furious Focus is literally the Feat you take for getting your Power Attack Bonus penalty-free. But Weapon Focus gives you a bonus all the time with that weapon whether you use Power Attack or not.

Or you could not have either, enjoy the same attack bonus, and have two feats that don't suck! Like, I dunno, Combat Reflexes and Quick Draw? Or <shocking shudder horrors> Additional Traits or other general feat in the General slot?

Some of the most versatile and impervious fighter builds I ever saw in PFS never took Power Attack at all. Conversely, the builds that died like mice over and over until forced retirement almost universally pursued damage to the exclusion of all else. Feats that give you more options are better than those that dribble damage.

Quote:
Slim Jim wrote:
You'll be Enlarged, by hook or by crook (ideally a party mage has Enlarged you before your turn, less ideally you're swigging a stockpile of 50gp potions; see the Accelerated Drinker trait if you're permitted to take traits).
I'm recommending a 1 level dip in Living Monolith to get Enlarge Person....
From the OP's description, I rather doubt that sort of munchkin-dippery goofiness is, er, welcome at his GM's on-the-straight-and-narrow game. (My opinion of Monolith is poor, btw, due to most of its prerequisite load being worthless crap.)
Quote:
Also, the OP said that the party Wizards have so far shown no interest of buffing him.
Then at 5th the player takes Additional Traits [Accelerated Drinker + Eyes and Ears of the City] for his fighter, and starts buying twelve-packs of Enlarge Person potions.
Quote:
I'm not sanguine about a Reach Pole Arm for the OP's situation. You can't always take a 5' step back.

This accounts for maybe 5%, tops. It just doesn't happen that often, and when it does, if you're a full-BAB martial you really don't care that much because you're an armored beat-stick who can take it, not a wilting wallflower trapped in a corner by a reach-monster. Most things have to roll pretty high to hit you, meaning most of their attacks whiff, so you've the luxury of time to sort out the situation. E.g., clobber it with the haft of your polearm at -4 as an improvised quarterstaff, or use your spikes, or maybe you have Quick Draw now + a backup weapon of the sort that you'd need in a grapple anyway.


I would definitely agree that more options is better than more damage, overall.
I think Vital Strike is a good choice to make your standard actions pack a better punch, but that's really it. Personally, I HATE enlarge person; it is an unimaginative and tacky spell. My magic is subtle and strange and mysterious, not a mushroom you eat to get big. And what I hate even more is the trend this spell began, with lead blades and impact becoming standard issue nonsense for every martial character that hopes to deal more damage. But I digress.

I think brace is a seriously underrated weapon ability, especially at low levels. Either you effectively get an extra attack or your opponent delays their own attacks by a turn, effectively giving your ranged support an extra attack.
Comparing the longspear to the glaive (I hate all these additional weapons almost as much as enlarge person), I'd gladly trade an average of 1 damage per hit to gain one or more extra attacks In certain situations. and by certain situations, I mean any situation where your party and the enemy begin with some distance between you and And at least some of the enemy wants to close into melee combat with you. which is actually quite a large portion of combat situations.


Derklord wrote:
First, I thank you for going back to a rational discussion, rather than lashing out in response to percieved but non-existant attacks.

Well, thank you for trying on a civil tone this time. I hope you find it comfortable. So far I’d say it suits you.

Derklord wrote:
The important part is "low-level character" - mathematically, Power Attack is not a good feat for early levels, not even on a 2H weapon. Attack roll bonuses rise faster than enemy AC, and enemy HP rise faster than damage bonuses. At early levels, thanks to overkill damage, attack roll bonuses are more important than damage bonuses.

That’s a lot of generalizations that might be true. I showed you my build. Show me yours, and explain why yours is better than mine.

Derklord wrote:
Do you really thing that the OP's character is likely to encounter a sphinx at early levels in their low magic world?

I was proposing he take it at level 7, which is not exactly what I would call an early level. He should definitely vet any build with the GM. It is fair to day the OP said “basic rules,” and I don’t really know what that means to his GM, nor do I know what the GM would do with that special roleplaying requirement: keep it as is, making room in his campaign world for the OP to find a sphinx which may or may not have existed before the OP brings it to the GM, alter the requirement to something more fitting to his campaign world, handwave it and just let the OP build the character he wants, or forbid it altogether.

You concern is legit, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad advice at this stage.
If the OP, as you are guessing, can’t take it at an early level, but can take it later, then the build is flexible enough that the OP can easily work that in at any odd numbered level after level 5.

Derklord wrote:
The math proves you wrong

Well this isn’t wrong:

I wrote:
Each iterative attack due to high BAB is at a -5 compared with the one before it.

That’s just what the rules say. You must be referring to this.

I wrote:
I think that it may well result in a higher DPR to take a single attack at your highest BAB while doubling your damage dice rather than take extra attacks with severe penalties.

Okay, lets take a look.

Derklord wrote:
6th level, 16 strength, Weapon Training (heavy blades), Weapon Focus (Falchion), Power Attack, Weapon Specialization (Falchion), +1 weapon,

The expected Damage from a Great Sword is

2d6~7 + 4 (ST) + 2 (Wspec) +1 (Wtrain) + 1(Weapon) + 6 (Power Attack) +2 Inspire Courage = 23

The Attack Bonus

BAB+6: St+3, WF+1, WT+1 PA -2, En Bonus +1 +2 ICourage= +12
Iterative +1, St+3, WF+1, PA -2, EnBonus +1 +2 ICourage = +7

What do you reckon the mean AC for a CR 6 Monster? I spot checked a few, and I got 16, 17, 20, 20. Let’s call it 18? So the first attack requires an 6, and the second requires a 11. So, the first attack has a 0.75 chance of hitting, and the second a .50
So the DPR is [23 X .75 = 17.25] + [23 X .5 = 11.5] = 28.75

I’m having a bit of a problem comparing, here: The character ubils I proposed doesn’t take Vital Strike until level 8. So this might not be fair
My character’s BAB is +7, normally, but while Enlarged, it’s back up to +8.
Split Blade Sword buffed with Lead Blades and Enlarge Person using Vital Strike

8d6~ 28 + +4 Strength + 1Weapon Training + 1Freebooter’s Bane + 2Weapon Sepcialization +1Magic Sword +6Power Attack +2 Inspire Courage = 45

His Attack Bonus is +8BAB-1Size+1FBBane+1 Weapon Training +4ST + 1 Wfocus +1Magic Sword + 2Inspire Courage = +17
vs. AC 18: 18 – 17 = 1, so a .95 probablility of hitting, so 42.75

So my character at level 8 is significantly better than yours at level 6 and enjoys the AC bonus of a Shield. Since my attack bonus is so high, my character might be outperforming yours by even more vs. higher AC monsters. That doesn’t tell us much, though. We're comparing a level 6 character to a level 8 character. Make your character level 8, too, then let’s compare again.

Derklord wrote:
That's without Haste,

It’s fair to say that Haste would change things in your favor, but the OP was saying that his party has shown no interest in buffiing him.

Derklord wrote:
I think the situation is normally that you charge. New players especially usually like to charge.

That hasn’t been my experience. Meanwhile, my character has shown itself to preliminary tests to have a fine Attack Bonus with little need for the +2 Attack Bonus for charging, and I’m pretty sure the damage bonus from Vital Strike makes a big difference. Do you even get a Damage bonus for Charging?

Derklord wrote:
I'd say it's better they learn how charge works.

So, now it looks to me like you are saying you are recommending a Charging build, which is something that I don’t think the OP has even considered.

But that does not mean it’s a bad idea. I’d like to see your Charging build.


Slim Jim wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Slim Jim wrote:
I don't like seeing Power Attack and Weapon Focus in the same low-level character; they cancel out, and you're essentially getting +0/+2(or+3) att/dmg at the cost of two feats...which is a very poor deal.
Huh. Do you think Power Attack on it's own is a good Feat? Do you think Weapon Focus on it's own is a good Feat?
Attend to the context, which I've now bolded. If you're a 1st-level human fighter, you've devoted two-thirds of your feats to obtaining (drumroll) two or three points of damage. Versus opponents the majority of whom have only one hit-die anyway. That s-u-c-k-s.

Well, I think my character build is just splendid.

Slim Jim wrote:
Or you could not have either, enjoy the same attack bonus, and have two feats that don't suck! Like, I dunno, Combat Reflexes and Quick Draw? Or <shocking shudder horrors> Additional Traits or other general feat in the General slot?

Actually, my character build does take Combat Reflexes and does get lots of Attacks of Opportunity, just later. I have a variant on the build that gets those sooner.

Slim Jim wrote:
Some of the most versatile and impervious fighter builds I ever saw in PFS never took Power Attack at all. Conversely, the builds that died like mice over and over until forced retirement almost universally pursued damage to the exclusion of all else. Feats that give you more options are better than those that dribble damage.
Quote:
Slim Jim wrote:
You'll be Enlarged, by hook or by crook (ideally a party mage has Enlarged you before your turn, less ideally you're swigging a stockpile of 50gp potions; see the Accelerated Drinker trait if you're
...

I think the character build I proposed enjoys a high level of versatility. With a dip in Ranger and Living Monolith, this fighter has good Fort, Reflex, and Will Saves. He has a high AC due to his ability to quickly don heavy Armor and use a Heavy Shield, and has a high damage output. Plus, 10' of Reach and the ability to strike adjacent opponents with extra classes come extra inclass skills. And all by level 8.

Slim Jim wrote:
From the OP's description, I rather doubt that sort of munchkin-dippery goofiness is, er, welcome at his GM's on-the-straight-and-narrow game. (My opinion of Monolith is poor, btw, due to most of its prerequisite load being worthless crap.)

The OP has a GM to vet his build with. If he is refused, then there you go.

And ah, crap! I forgot he needs to take Endurance to be a Living Monolity. I gotta work that out :(


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You don't seem to understand what Slim Jim and I are talking about. We are evaluating specific aspects, while you seem to fixate on complete builds. Which also partially explains your tendency to post advice that I consider not fitting for the respective thread, you have good experience with the full build, but fail to recognize that individual parts may be weak, and thus not good advice for someone who can't or won't duplicate the entire build.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Derklord wrote:
The important part is "low-level character" - mathematically, Power Attack is not a good feat for early levels, not even on a 2H weapon. Attack roll bonuses rise faster than enemy AC, and enemy HP rise faster than damage bonuses. At early levels, thanks to overkill damage, attack roll bonuses are more important than damage bonuses.
That’s a lot of generalizations that might be true. I showed you my build. Show me yours, and explain why yours is better than mine.

We aren't discussing builds, we're discussing Power Attack. Not that I've seen a low level build form you. Seriously, we're talking about levels 1-3 here.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I’m having a bit of a problem comparing, here: The character ubils I proposed doesn’t take Vital Strike until level 8.

Why would you want to compare your build to mine? What part of my post made you think that I was comparing builds against each other? I was adressing your statement of "I think that it may well result in a higher DPR to take a single attack at your highest BAB while doubling your damage dice rather than take extra attacks with severe penalties." Comparing builds does not in any way help check that statement. Comparing a full attack and a Vital Strike within a build can do that, and that's what I did.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:

8d6~ 28 + +4 Strength + 1Weapon Training + 1Freebooter’s Bane + 2Weapon Sepcialization +1Magic Sword +6Power Attack +2 Inspire Courage = 45

His Attack Bonus is +8BAB-1Size+1FBBane+1 Weapon Training +4ST + 1 Wfocus +1Magic Sword + 2Inspire Courage = +17
vs. AC 18: 18 – 17 = 1, so a .95 probablility of hitting, so 42.75

Let's see - for this character, against an average CR8 enemy (see below), full attack damage is 57.0, Vital Strike damage is 49.2. So my claim that "The math proves you wrong" is correct, even for your pet build deliberate made for VS, making a full attack is mathematically better when possible. Which was all I was talking about.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
What do you reckon the mean AC for a CR 6 Monster?

19. That's what both the Monster Creation Rules (Bestiary pg. 291), and my spreadsheet of all different Paizo monsters ever printed say (a more up to date version of this). Average AC for CR8 is 21, by the way.


Derklord wrote:
We aren't discussing builds, we're discussing Power Attack. Not that I've seen a low level build form you. Seriously, we're talking about levels 1-3 here.

I think it's problematic to look at Feats in isolation. Feats, Class Abilities and the occasional spell all work together synergistically to create powerful effects.

If you are limiting your discussion to level 3, and I am discussing these feats in context of whole builds, then our arguments are oblique to each other, and we are barely arguing at all. That being said I do concede that it is worthwhile to consider, even in the context of a whole build, what the character will be like at level 3 (or level whatever)

Are you sure we should be limiting the discussion to level 3? Isn't the OP level 3 already? The initial piece of advice is how the OP should change up his Feats, but he's also asking other questions like should he switch from Falchion to sword-and-board, and if so, how?

Sammage wrote:
I'd love some advice on optimizing my current build and how to plan for future levels

According to the OP, it is not at all clear to me that discussing long-term build plans is inappropriate.


Derklord wrote:
Let's see - for this character, against an average CR8 enemy (see below), full attack damage is 57.0, Vital Strike damage is 49.2. So my claim that "The math proves you wrong" is correct, even for your pet build deliberate made for VS, making a full attack is mathematically better when possible. Which was all I was talking about.

This character? Your link seemed to lead to a blank character record sheet. Do you mean my own character?

45-14 = 31

Primary attack +17

Secondary Attack + 9

vs. AC 21

Primary Attack needs a 4, so the chance of hitting is .85

Secondary Attack needs a 12, so the chance of hitting is .45

So the DPR would be [31 X .85 = 26.35] + [31 X .45 = 13.95] = 40.3

Vital Striking will do 45 X .85 = 38.25

So that's actually pretty damning right there! My own character optimized for Vital Strike is better off Full Attacking when he can! So, the math does seem to prove me wrong, at least against a monster without Damage Reduction that you can't bypass.

Looks like I'm going to redesign my character build!

Grand Lodge

Is the OP still following his thread?
Is so, consider a 1 lev. dip in blood conduit bloodrager to get rage and improved trip for free without preq. If you take draconic or abbyssal bloodline you get claws to help you in close combat if you grab a reach weapon instead of the falchion.
If you go for trip, the consider, 1 lev. dip in Brawler to grab Vicious stomp to get an extra AOO when possible.

Grand Lodge

*Khan* wrote:

Is the OP still following his thread?

Is so, consider a 1 lev. dip in blood conduit bloodrager to get rage and improved trip for free without preq. If you take draconic or abbyssal bloodline you get claws to help you in close combat if you grab a reach weapon instead of the falchion.
If you go for trip, the consider, 1 lev. dip in Brawler to grab Vicious stomp to get an extra AOO when possible.

If you go for both blood conduit bloodrager and brawler, then choose another bloodline for the bloodrager, as claws are less ideal than kicking with an unarmed strike, when you are holding a reach weapon with both hands.


Sammage wrote:

I'd love some advice on optimizing my current build and how to plan for future levels in order to maximize durability and damage output....

I am a human fighter Str: 16, Dex: 16, Con: 14, Int: 13, Wis: 10, Cha: 9. (can't change these)...
- I wanted... changing to a sword and board I think...though I don't have access to a shield right now)
- Feats are Dodge, Power Attack, Point Blank Shot, Weapon Focus (Falchion), Cleave. (can change these up)…

I now think I'd help the party more by being melee focused and losing the PBS feat for something else. The others I'm not sure about.

How about Thunder and Fang? That's a Feat that lets you wield an Earthbreaker (hammer) in 1 hand and a Klar (shield) in the other. Earthbreakers are awesome. They do 2d6. Klars are nice: they do 1d6.

It has a lot of prerequisites, but you said you could change up your Feats now at level 3. So,

1Fighter1: Weapon Focus Klar, 2 Weapon, Weapon Focus Earthbreaker
2F2: Thunder and Fang, Bravery +1
3F3: Power Attack, maybe Endurance

Endurance will allow you to sleep in Medium Armor, and so improve your AC.

Power Attack is a Feat tax: I'd have you take Shield Slam, Greater Bull Rush, and Paired Opportunist:

With Shield Slam, you get a Free Bull Rush with every hit from your Shield.

With Greater Bull Rush, all your allies get Attacks of Opportunity with every Bull Rush.

With Paired Opportunist, you get an Attack of Opportunity, too.

Paired Opportunist is a Teamwork Feat, so unless your Teammates take it, too, you need something else to make good on it.

If you take 3 levels in Inquisitor, you get a class ability called Solo Tactics that give you the benefits of all your Teamwork Feats as if your Allies had them, too.

Fighters can get the same benefit as an Advanced Weapon Training option, which means they can get it as a Feat as Early as Level 5.

Which why to go? Tough to say. Sticking with Fighter actually gets you that faster, but Inquisitors have some really nice things: Good Will Saves, that's important; lots of utility with those Spells, including the Bloodhound Spell, which gives you the Scent Ability, which comes in handy when you fight someone who is Invisible. Also, Inquisitor Judgements can give you bonuses to hit, damage, or even Fast Healing, all good stuff. And if you take 2 more levels in Inquisitor, you get to put Bane on one of your weapons. Bane adds an extra 2d6 to that weapon's Damage. On the other hand, some people feel uncomfortable with multiclassing, and would hesitate recommending it to a newbie player.

To bypass DR, I'd save up money to get the weapons made out of exotic materials: an Alchemal Silver Hammer, Cold Iron Armor Spikes, and an Adamantine Klar, maybe switch the spikes and klar.

I might be stating the obvious, but you get a +1 to your Ability Score every 4 levels. I recommend your level 4 bump be Intelligence, and your level 8 be Charisma. You get your +1 Ability Mod at even numbered levels, and Int and Charisma are your odd-numbered levels that you will then make even and get your bonus with your bump.


If the OP can change his Race to Half Orc, he can take the Shaman's Apprentice Alternate Racial Trait and get Endurance that way. I'd also have him take Sacred Tattoos for a +1 on all Saves.

1F1: 2 Weapon, Weapon Focus Klar, BAB+1
2F2: Weapon Focus Earthbreaker, Bravery +1, BAB+2
3F3: Thunder and Fang, BAB+3, Armor Training +1
4F3Inquisitor1: Judgement, Spells, Stern Gaze, Monster Lore
5F3I1Ranger1: Freebooter's bane, Combat Reflexes, BAB+4
6F3I2R1: BAB+5
7F3I3R1: Solo Tactics, Broken Wing Gambit, BAB+6
8F3I3R2: Shield Slam, BAB+7
9F3I3R2Living Monolith1: Iron Will, Ka Stone
10F3I3R2L1Cavalier1: Paired Opportunist, BAB+8
11F3I4R2L1C1: BAB+9
12F3I5R2L1C1: Bane
13F4I5R2L1C1: Weapon Specialization Klar and Earthbreaker
14F5I5R2L1C1: Weapon Training
15F6I5R2L1C1: Power Attack, Improved Bull Rush
16F7I5R2L1C1: Armored Juggernaut
17F8I5R2L1C1: Greater Bull Rush, Harder they Fall


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
This character? Your link seemed to lead to a blank character record sheet. Do you mean my own character?

WTF? It's not a character sheet, it's a DRP calculator. And yes, when I said "This character" I was referring to the character whose main statistics I had just quoted.

The numbers were accidentally with a +2 great sword, sorry about that. Correct numbers with crits are 42.3 (full attack) and 39.6 (Vital Strike).

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I think it's problematic to look at Feats in isolation. Feats, Class Abilities and the occasional spell all work together synergistically to create powerful effects.

That's why I made my Vital Strike calculations with a sample character. Theorycrafting can neven exactly imitate play, not the least ebcause groups/tables/GMs are different, you can still make statements that are true most of the time. Like the statement that it's better to make a full attack than use Vital Strike, if you can. There are builds where this is not correct, but those are extremely few (Greater Weapon of the Chosen Warpriest, for instance).

I dislike presenting complete builds, because in my opinion copying them goes against the spirit of the game, and when not copying them, the individual party might not work properly. If you want to see my style of in-depth advise, look here.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Are you sure we should be limiting the discussion to level 3?

I never meant to imply that we should limit the general discussion. Slim Jim was explicitly talking about low level characters when he made his initial statement regarding Power Attack, though, so any discussion about that statement only makes sense for low level characters.

And because I didn't want to clog my last post:

Slim Jim wrote:
Some of the most versatile and impervious fighter builds I ever saw in PFS never took Power Attack at all. Conversely, the builds that died like mice over and over until forced retirement almost universally pursued damage to the exclusion of all else. Feats that give you more options are better than those that dribble damage.

There's a world of difference between taking Power Attack, and "[pursuing] damage to the exclusion of all else". For many builds Power Attack presents a significant damage boost, at the pretty low cost of but one feat. I vehemently disagree with the statement of "all melees must take Power Attack" that I've actually heared more than once, but it is a good mid-level feat for a large number of builds. More options are nice, but the ability to seriously hurt and thus quickly kill the enemy does fall under that, too. 'Dead dudes don't do damage', as I like to say.


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Hey where did the OP go?

Cus I'd like to join 'em.


For vital striking, general commentary only.

Butchers axe. 2d6 weapons are close to good enough but not quite.

Abyssal bloodrager. Auto enlarge at level 4, plus rage plus strength increases to that rage, PLUS access to that feat that ends your rage to do max damage.

Impact ASAP. Once you get impact the base damage is 6d6 which is in the territory to make up for lost passive damage but the key is that by around level 11 you're ending a rage to do low 3 figures in a single hit. At one point i did some comparisons and there were very few (edit CR approriate) monsters that build didn't oneround in the mid levels by using the max damage/end the rage feat with vital strike


Derklord wrote:
Slim Jim wrote:
Some of the most versatile and impervious fighter builds I ever saw in PFS never took Power Attack at all. Conversely, the builds that died like mice over and over until forced retirement almost universally pursued damage to the exclusion of all else. Feats that give you more options are better than those that dribble damage.
There's a world of difference between taking Power Attack, and "[pursuing] damage to the exclusion of all else". For many builds Power Attack presents a significant damage boost, at the pretty low cost of but one feat. I vehemently disagree with the statement of "all melees must take Power Attack" that I've actually heared more than once, but it is a good mid-level feat for a large number of builds. More options are nice, but the ability to seriously hurt and thus quickly kill the enemy does fall under that, too. 'Dead dudes don't do damage', as I like to say.

When "mustering" for PFS at local cons, if I'm bringing a "squishy" to the table, I have come to *greatly* prefer traveling in the company of a heavily armored + Defender of the Society + Shield Focus fighter who does "good" damage, rather than with, say, a charge-monkey greatsword power-attack barbarian who does best-in-game damage.

Too many times I've seen barbs with abysmal AC face-plant, snowballing to multiple character deaths. The fighter, otoh, takes another round to kill the bad thing, but is seldom a drag on party resources. Reliability is something I can plan around. (A particular encounter in a crypt springs to my recollection: the party fighter, paralyzed by a crit, stood surrounded by enemies on the other side of a chokepoint the rest of the party couldn't get through. He stayed paralyzed for three rounds while a mass of undead flailed futilely against his flatfoot AC. He took moderate damage, eventually made a save to pop back into action, then killed them all with a heavy flail. Anybody else in the same situation would have been pizza.)

Damage matters a lot, but attrition matters most.


Thanks everyone!


*Khan* wrote:
*Khan* wrote:

Is the OP still following his thread?

Is so, consider a 1 lev. dip in blood conduit bloodrager to get rage and improved trip for free without preq. If you take draconic or abbyssal bloodline you get claws to help you in close combat if you grab a reach weapon instead of the falchion.
If you go for trip, the consider, 1 lev. dip in Brawler to grab Vicious stomp to get an extra AOO when possible.
If you go for both blood conduit bloodrager and brawler, then choose another bloodline for the bloodrager, as claws are less ideal than kicking with an unarmed strike, when you are holding a reach weapon with both hands.

Yep...haven't had time to respond to anything recently. Lots of things to think about so far. We've only got access to Core rules so a lot of the other classes (slayer, bloodrager etc) aren't available. Nor are some of the feats you've mentioned. We may get to those later, but for now this group is PF 1 basic. :)

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