Hard to kill builds?


Advice


Just wondering what are some builds that are hard to kill, but can also still be good/decent at what they're meant to do?

What I mean is that the character would have:
- High saves
- Some/all of the following: high AC, high HP, ways to mitigate damage (DR, healing, Misfortune to force against crits, ghost form, etc.)

Baseline/Example:

As a baseline/example, a paladin gets Divine Grace to give a major boost to saves. They also have Lay on Hands that can be activated as a swift or immediate action (and the heals are no joke, high enough that they can usually heal 30-50% of their HP if using something like Fey Foundling feat), they cab have high AC due to heavy armor, and they can have high HP due to d10 HD. On top of that they can smite the hell out of foes and deal nasty damage.

Likewise, a Bloodrager or Barbarian has high saves from Superstition. They have insanely high HP and they get DR. Their survivability isn't as good as a paladin because they can't self-heal, and they usually have lower AC, but a Destined Bloodrager can get really high AC at the cost of no DR and they get a nice boost to saves too, or if going Arcane blood they can use Displacement as a free action when raging. All this, and they can dish out a hell of a lot of damage.

So those are the ones that I've got. I think Monks can also do something similar, though I can't recall. What I'm looking for is to see if there are any other builds that have similar survivability.

Mainly I'm looking for a full caster build, since all the builds I can come up with are mostly DPR-focused, but any options would be appreciated nonetheless.


A Spirit Fuse Quintessentialist Spiritualist could send a stronger copy of themselves to fight their battles, and completely ignore the normal 100 ft range limitation. Give it the Anger focus, and it basically hits like a barbarian since it uses your ability scores as its base. But in addition to that, it can pass through walls and cast your spells.

The intention seems to be that it can use armor/weapons too, which greatly increases the power compared to a normal phantom. There's also the added bonus that it can't be banished to the Ethereal Plane, so if it "dies" it would just return to your head, ready to deploy again.
The Spiritualist takes 1d6+1 damage each round this phantom would run around fighting, so you'd pretty much be required to wave around wands of CLW or worship Cayden Cailean for Drunken Brawler.

It comes online much earlier than other "similar" builds, such as Simulacrum wizards sending an army of themselves from a demiplane with thousands of bound wish-granting genie. Level 7 would be the optimal level to play one.


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At what level? A first level diviner wizard is the definition of squishy, at L20 they're possibly the hardest to kill in the game. A level range is needed to make sense of this question.


Coinshot wrote:
High saves

That's easy, multiclass. A level of this, a level of that, and your saves with be stoopud high stoopud fast.

Coinshot wrote:
Some/all of the following: high AC, high HP, ways to mitigate damage (DR, healing, Misfortune to force against crits, ghost form, etc.)

I'd say you left one out: a Miss Chance. Blur gives you a 20% Miss Chance. Blink 50%. Greater Invisibility also 50%. The easiest way to get those is to just be a Half Elf and take the Arcane Training Alternative Racial Trait. Then you can just use the appropriate Magic Wands.

A way that always turned me on to enjoy Total Concealment is the Eversmoking Bottle. The EB makes everyone blind, friend and foe alike. But what you do is take 3 levels in Bard with the Flame Dancer Archetype. Song of Fiery Gaze gives your allies the ability to see through Fire and Smoke, so you just Blinded all your opponents, and your allies can see just fine.

A variant on this would be a combination of Ninja Vanishing Trick to disappear as a Swift Action, then you find a hiding place. You take False Attacker, and then with every attack, you get to make a Bluff check. If successful, your opponent thinks the attack from somewhere else, and you don't even have to reroll your Stealth Check, let alone at that -20.

Coinshot wrote:
high AC,

The obvious is some combination of heavy armor and shield and high Dex. The higher your Dex, the less heavy your armor needs to be.

Coinshot wrote:
ways to mitigate damage (DR, healing,

DR:

Living Monolith Prestige Class gets stuff like this: resistance to Crits, immune to Bleed, and DR. And you can keep levelling up as a spellcaster. This is a good choice for a highly survivable full caster.

The Stalwart Feat transforms the Combat Expertise AC Bonus into DR. The prerequisites are Endurance and Diehard. Half Orcs can get Endurance as an Alternate Racial Trait, Shaman's Apprentice. Endurance also lets you sleep in Medium Armor with getting Fatigued.

Fighters can get DR as an Advanced Armor Training Class Ability.

Fast Healing

One of the Inquisitor Judgements available at level 1 give you Fast Healing 1, and it goes up with level.

A Familiar with the Protector Archetype protects you with the Bodyguard Feat early on, and later with Shield Other, so that half the damage you take actually goes to the Familiar instead. If you take the Improved Familiar Feat, you can get a Mephit Familiar. They all have Fast Healing. I'm pretty sure you can get a Mephit Familiar with the Protector Archetype. An Alchemist used to be able to get a Tumor Familiar with the Protector Archetype, but they made that illegal. How do you get your Tumor Familiar to cast Shield Other, is the question.


My entries:

Far Strike Monk
Monks are notably hard to murder, if well built. Zen Archer Monks can brag all they want, but those suckers do NOT have Evasion/Improved Evasion to their name.

Far Strike Monks have unusually potent defences while simultaneously being able to stay well out of the fray with ranged attacks. They also keep Diamond Soul, so there's a measure of SR thrown to the mix.

Green Knight Cavalier
This is just stupid. You are a big ball of HP that can nuke people with Challenges, with Stalwart and lots of tools to remain standing while your enemies maul at you to boot.

Tower Shield Fighter (NOT the archetype)
Tons of AC, great DR (combination of Armored Juggernaut and adamantine), great Reflex and Will saves (Fighter's Reflexes and something like Armed Bravery).
You can even ignore the effects of Tower Shields on your output with the Tower Shield Specialist feat and the Mobile Bulwark featline.

Damage is pretty slow to scale but you are very powerful when buffed, and if you get Evasion somehow, you're pretty much a big lump of metal that can't be moved.

UnMonk
A well built UnMonk has stupidly good saves, immunities, SR, on-demand DR, you name it.


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It's usually best not to rely on stats for your damage mitigation and avoidance. For instance, a druid's access to constant earthglide through elemental form is going to do more for their survivability than a high AC would.
There's also impossible to kill options in the game such as an Eldest worshiping summoner who summons a Remacera (summon monster 5, eldest summoning only) each morning to scratch him up so that he's reincarnated should he ever die before healing to full hit points.
Slightly more conventional options would be to include the ability to cast symbol of mirroring and false focus in your build in order to get constant mirror image effects. Though it may be more valuable to have a permanent version made on something that could be concealed when not needed.


When it comes to a full caster, there are 3 major things to consider. Level, preparation, and items.

At low levels, AC is going to be fairly important. The higher level your caster is, the more foolish it is to chase AC. Why? Because at the high end of the game serious monsters can hit the best armored PC with near 100% accuracy. Do not chase AC. Spend your resources on other kinds of defense. Miss chance is a staple of caster defense. Making sure you can't be reached or attacked is even better. Often your best defense isn't buffing yourself, but rather enabling party members to be more active (and more threatening than yourself), or incapable of reacting to you (confusion, blind, stunned, paralyzed, ect).

All spells have a duration. Some defensive spells have very long duration. However, the best defensive spells usually won't last more than 1 encounter. Also there are a ton of janky defensive spells that are only good in a special situation. But when that situation comes up they make a huge difference. If you prepare spells, your selection can make a huge difference. And making the right selection means gathering information about your intended target. Being prepared means obtaining as many different spells as you can, and making sure you can cast them when the situation calls for it. Taking abilities that make your casting more flexible will save you a ton of grief.

Which leads us into items. Scrolls, wands and potions are temporary solutions to spell availability. Scrolls are useful to take care of situations where a single casting of a spell that isn't very useful but might be needed. Scrolls aren't very good for defensive spells you'll need to use multiple times in an encounter, and for those sorts of spells wands are much better. While the most common potions are healing, being able to spread around low level potions like Delay Poison can save you from a lot of headache when you run into the right situation where the entire group needs some insurance.

Items are also more of a long term solution to defensive spells. A large number of defensive items give their effects all day long. Even those with limited use still free up your spell casting abilities. And while Communal Energy Resistance is probably better than what you'll find in an item, if your group uses decent resistance gear for whatever you commonly run into (like fire), that will let you judge whether you need 40 resist for this encounter or you can hold on to it for later.

Of course items come with gold, and gold comes with levels. More important than relying on items, levels, or even spells is making sure you make good choices in positioning and your own tactics. Most of the time casters don't need to be close to the enemy. Stay close enough that the party can support you, and you can support them. Being far away from the enemy isn't always a good defense. Sometimes that is just a good way to get surrounded. As with anything Pathfinder, be flexible and react to the situation. Having a well prepared full caster should let you take appropriate action. Just try to solve most of your problems with your head and feat instead of with spells. You only have so many spells per day and the sooner you use them up the faster you become a liability holding everyone back from adventuring. Being smart lets you be more durable, in every sense of the word.


Halfling paladins are really hard to kill with hitpoint damage:

* 1d6 (base Loh per two levels of paladin)
* 1d6 (Greater Mercy)
* 2d6 (Bracers of the Merciful Knight)
* +2hp per LoH die (Fey Foundling)
* +1hp per LoH die (Inheritor's Light longsword)
* +1hp per two levels paladin (halfling FCB; also some other races)

At 8th, as a swift-action, they're healing back 7d6+28 = ~52.5 points of damage per round over half a dozen times per day (plus meditation crystals, with are 100gp throwaway items at this level)

With their built-in luck bonus to all saves, they're +2 to everything with the Fate's Favored trait.


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Slim Jim wrote:
With their built-in luck bonus to all saves, they're +2 to everything with the Fate's Favored trait.

No no, you've misunderstood.

All halflings are lucky, which means no halfling is especially lucky. That's why the bonus to saves is a Racial bonus instead of a luck bonus.


My tankiest PC is my dwarf stonelord paladin (currently 9th level). He gives up divine grace, but his racial hardiness helps to offset that. His archetype gives him DR, fortification, and the stalwart defender's defensive stance. With magical full plate and shield, the usual slew of +1's from other items, and a positive Dex modifier plus Dodge, he has an AC of 30+ *before* entering his defensive stance. He also has over 100 hp when tanked up, and Extra Lay on Hands to help offset his mediocre Cha.

The one area he's still a bit weak in is damage output, since he gives up smite evil for stonestrike. He does best against evil outsiders, thanks to his baned waraxe--and as a Mendevian crusader, he gets to fight them fairly regularly.


Wonderstell wrote:
Slim Jim wrote:
With their built-in luck bonus to all saves, they're +2 to everything with the Fate's Favored trait.

No no, you've misunderstood.

All halflings are lucky, which means no halfling is especially lucky. That's why the bonus to saves is a Racial bonus instead of a luck bonus.

However, there is this:

Adaptable Luck: Some halflings have greater control over their innate luck. This ability gives them more options for how they can apply their good fortune from day to day, but also narrows its scope. Three times per day, a halfling can gain a +2 luck bonus on an ability check, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check. If halflings choose to use the ability before they make the roll or check, they gain the full +2 bonus; if they choose to do so afterward, they only gain a +1 bonus. Using adaptive luck in this way is not an action. This racial trait replaces halfling luck.

And there are a few good feats for halflings that work well with this bonus. :)

Silver Crusade

Mirror Image is very helpful (but some high level enemies aren't fooled).

Fort and Will saves are very important at higher levels; prioritize a superior Cloak of Resistance (this seems to be the most commonly neglected item), and strongly consider feats like Great Fortitude and Iron Will.

Think about how you're going to get out of a grapple.


I tend to favor characters that can do a bit of everything, adapting to the situation as needed. To that end, I generally default to 3/4 bab, 6th level casters. I only go for full casters when there is a need for someone to fill the role of healer/status remover or when the odd urge to melt faces with arcane magic strikes me. Mostly, I design characters around how well they will fit into the party dynamic.

Towards that end, I do have a party oriented, 3/4 bab, 6th level caster that is designed to be hard to kill, makes it hard to kill his allies, actively debuffs the enemy when/if allies are knocked unconscious/killed, is very capable at healing the party (levels 4+) and who's PRIMARY role is to support the group with his actions and damage the enemy with his reactions (attacks of opportunity).

Just a Human Skald (Sunsinger) VMC Paladin
Feats are: Combat Reflexes, Lingering Song, Selective Channel, Purifying Channel, and then as many Extra Channels or Lay on Hands as you can manage. You can opt for Extra Rage Power or other feats if Channeling is not important to you.
Use a weapon with reach (longspear is great)
Stats are: Str>Cha>Con/Dex>Int/Wis (distribute as you want based on point buy)
Your spell selection should be made to most benefit the party, as should your rage powers. Superstition is good if you want high saves. Lesser Celestial Totem massively boosts healing spells, Linnorn Curses are must haves if you or your allies plan on using ANY summoned creatures.
Choose your Masterpieces well, and use your favored class bonus to pick new spells, every time. You will be buying those Masterpieces with your spells.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Any character whose player brings the GM a 6-pack before gaming.


Thank you all for the responses! After reading through these, and thinking about it more, it seems like physical damage isn't as big of a concern from mid-late levels.

Saves (or other ways of negating spells) are still really important though. Outside of paladins, monks, steel soul dwarves, and general preparations (and bringing your GM a 6-pack) are there any other ways to mitigate succumbing to spells?

Also, someone asked about what levels. I'm looking for general build advice, so no specific levels, though most of my games tend to fizzle out between levels 5-10. They've gone as high as level 16, but those kinds of games are extremely rare for me.


If you're looking at full spellcasters in low & low-mid level games then consider a dual-cursed oracle. The misfortune revelation especially, it can be used on yourself or allies defensively when they fail a save despite the name. Admittedly it's only 1/day/person, but you can pick up the fortune revelation as well at 5th level.

Nature, lore and lunar mystery oracles can use Cha in place of Dex for reflex saves and AC, which lets you get a high Cha without hurting your defences otherwise. Oracles can get some decent defensive spells from the cleric spell list.


Coinshot wrote:

hard to kill... Mainly I'm looking for a full caster build... physical damage isn't as big of a concern from mid-late levels.

Saves (or other ways of negating spells) are still really important though.... I'm looking for general build advice

So, the fastest, easiest way I know to increase your saves is to multiclass, like I said before, but if you want to be a full caster, you should multiclass most sparingly if at all. But you also said

Coinshot wrote:
most of my games tend to fizzle out between levels 5-10

So that means you want to get all you can as fast as you can, because your campaigns never last long, and that does seem to mean you should not be shy about multiclassing.

It occurs to me that when it comes to Full Casters, the best way to be invulnerable is for no one to know you're even there until it's too late. Strategically, it is easy for lots of spellcasters to do that: there are lots of ways to magically hide people and objects from scrying. Tactically, full casters attract a lot of attention. If a Wizard were a Warship, she would be a battleship, not a submarine.

So I'm thinking Arcane Trickster or something like. Maybe start out as a Half Elf, and take Arcane Training, allowing you to use all kinds of Magic Wands right away. Start out as Fighter with Precise Shot. Then dip 2 levels in Ninja and learn Vanishing Trick, and take the False Attacker Rogue Talent.

1Fighter1: Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot
2F1Ninja1: Sneak Attack +1d6
3F1N2: Ninja Vanishing Trick, Extra Trick, Rogue Talent, False Attacker

When your opponents can't see you, they automatically lose their Dex Mods to AC, and you automatically get your Sneak Attack Damage. With Arcane Training, you start off knowing how to use any Wand of your Chosen Class. I like Arcanist: you'll know how to use all Sorcerer and Wizard Spells, and that's most of the spells that there are. There are a lot of level 1 Wizard Spells that are really nice for a sneaky character to know, like Grease for a +10 on Escape Artist Checks and Disguise Self for a +10 on Disguise Checks.

When combat begins, you Vanish then find a hiding place using Stealth (with a +20 because you are Invisible!). Then you shoot at people from your hiding place, perhaps using a Wand of Scorching Ray: Ranged Touch Attacks vs. Flatfooted AC that automatically lock in Sneak Attack Damage! Each Round, False Attacker lets you make a Bluff Check as a Swift Action, and if that works, your targets think your attacks are coming from somewhere else, and you don't even need to make Stealth Checks to stay hidden.

So, at level 3, you have 2 good Saves, and in combat, your enemies won't even know how to find you, let alone hit you. High Damage combined with high survivability.

From here, you can go in a lot of directions. I like the idea of packing in lots of Sneak Attack Damage, so a level in Snakebite Striker Brawler, a level in Cavalier with Precise Strike as your Bonus Teamwork Feat (maybe take Snapshot Feats?), a level in Greensting Scorpion Magus, and take Accomplished Sneak Attacker. Take Vital Strike, and your Wand of Scorching Ray does 8d6. I like Alchemists, maybe stick with Vivisectionist if you are sticking to Scorching Ray, maybe diversify and dip a level in Gunslinger and be a Grenadier Alchemist--exploding arrows are cool--or be a Gunchemist Alchemist.

Maybe develop as a Grappler: Turn Invisible, buff yourself, sneak up on your opponent, then the next round have them Grappled and tied up before they know what hit them.

Grand Lodge

Scott illustrates how multitasking can hurt saves with the fighter ninja build. fort 2 ref 3 will 0. A class with a strong fort and ref like an alchemist if 3, 3, 1.

Diping monk or Pali can be a good way to boost saves but you have to weigh that against what you lose. At low levels 1 level of fighter might be better then the second level of your main class. But at some point you are trading that one level for the 5th level of you main class then the 10th and so on.


Grandlounge wrote:

Scott illustrates how multitasking can hurt saves with the fighter ninja build. fort 2 ref 3 will 0. A class with a strong fort and ref like an alchemist if 3, 3, 1.

Diping monk or Pali can be a good way to boost saves but you have to weigh that against what you lose. At low levels 1 level of fighter might be better then the second level of your main class. But at some point you are trading that one level for the 5th level of you main class then the 10th and so on.

That's only 3 levels, though. The OP said he was interested in being a Full Caster. If that's where he's going, then his next level was going to give him a +2 Will.

Meanwhile, your full-Alchemist only has a Will Save that's +1 better than my character at level 3: Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +1 compared with mine Fort +2, Reflex +3, Will 0. The next level, if say my character took that level in Greensting Slayer Magus I talked about, His saves are Fort +4, Reflex +5, and Will +2 where a full Alchemist's is +4/+1/+1.

I stand behind my advice.


I've found the most durable characters are Samurai of the Warrior Order and unconquerable resolve feats. Maybe with Dwarf.

You'll have rerolls on saves, strong saves vs spells, DR on challenges and the ability to gain HP any time you're weakened or vulnerable.

You'll also have full BAB and d10 hp. Not shabby.

Grand Lodge

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Grandlounge wrote:

Scott illustrates how multitasking can hurt saves with the fighter ninja build. fort 2 ref 3 will 0. A class with a strong fort and ref like an alchemist if 3, 3, 1.

Diping monk or Pali can be a good way to boost saves but you have to weigh that against what you lose. At low levels 1 level of fighter might be better then the second level of your main class. But at some point you are trading that one level for the 5th level of you main class then the 10th and so on.

That's only 3 levels, though. The OP said he was interested in being a Full Caster. If that's where he's going, then his next level was going to give him a +2 Will.

Meanwhile, your full-Alchemist only has a Will Save that's +1 better than my character at level 3: Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +1 compared with mine Fort +2, Reflex +3, Will 0. The next level, if say my character took that level in Greensting Slayer Magus I talked about, His saves are Fort +4, Reflex +5, and Will +2 where a full Alchemist's is +4/+1/+1.

I stand behind my advice.

Corrections: fighter 1, ninja 2, magus 1 gives:

Fort: Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +2

An alchemist gives:

Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +1

A magus without multi classing:

Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +4

I so you gain nothing. Multicasting cost three levels to move one point from a strong save to a week one. Three levels wrecks a full caster. This is the danger of not comparing to nonmulticlassed builds. You could be up 4 points had you picked classes with two good save like Pali and ranger.

I won't go back and forth with Scott anymore on this as I don't want to derail things. If you choose to multiclass check to see if you are actually increasing your saves not decreasing your bab and thus accuracy while also delaying important class features. The way to do this is to build a mono class build you are happy with as a control and you want you multiclass to be substantial better at something to want giving up your best level of your class.

Grand Lodge

Now for some advice. I will be echoing what a lot of people have said but &use count those as votes favor of those ideas by someone else that has tried them out.

Dips:

2 levels pali on high cha builds
1 level monk sohei tends to be popular but there are other front load combos
1 level Id rager +2 fort, an additional +2 fort while raising (from con), +2 will while raging and iron will while raging. This also increase HP, attack, damage. Most rage classes give most of this.

1 class with good wand spell, shield, protection from evil, obscuring mist, vanish, find traps, all help survivability in their own way, but remember action economy is kings so most you will not want to use in battle.

1 oracle dual cursed battle. Cha to ref are likely better than battle but Battlefield Clarity is a once a day reroll with a +4.

Races:

Gnomes get a reroll.
Halfling get bonuses to saves.
Half-orcs get luck bonus to saves endurance etc.
Dwarfs get the best circumstantial bonuses to saves or toughness.
Half elves get a will bonuses and situational saves against some pretty bad effects.

Many races to go through in full.

Traits:

Boost your weak save by 1 or grab something like a +2 against mind effecting or compulsion effects.

Companions:

Animal companions these little monsters have good scaling ac and many start with higher con then most pcs. They are useful with the bodyguard line of feats to help spread damage around.

They can grapple thing so they can't come hit you.

Familiars get the protector archetype. They do lose improved evasion so get a familiar satchel. +50 hp is really nice and you get the aid another boost to AC. Watch advice above improved familiars can't use this archetype. Also use to boost a weak save.

Both of the above can benefit from benevolent armor to further aid ac as well as menacing to help offence.

Miss chance:

Darkness: I like darkness shield with nightmare fist but mostly for fun. Deeper darkness and certain races may make your GM crazy 4o check first.

Fog: with the right bard or equipment is an amazing.

Blur/blink/mirro image/invis: mirror image has the best short term effect on survivability and is effected by you AC. It is usually the best option. Arcane blood ranger can activate blur and displacement as part of their rage.

Fast healing:

Spells, spontaneous healing alchemist, regeneration (giant form technically regeneration even better)

Dr:

Defending bone, fighter archtypes and barbarian =nd bloodrager, resins skin. Stoneskin.

ER:

Stack protection from energy and resist energy.

Tactics:

Reach not having to take aoos improve survivability, getting with them even more so.

Cheese:
Contingency, clone etc very high level I ignore these for my own characters but hey they exist.

Get access to encouraging heroism.

Ac:
It's mostly about spending the money to keep up. There are class features that help but be careful and something like judgment is better spent on offense most of the time.


Grandlounge wrote:

Corrections: fighter 1, ninja 2, magus 1 gives:

Fort: Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +2
An alchemist gives:
Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +1
A magus without multi classing:
Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +4

Well, +4/+3/+2 is better than +4/+4/+1.

Meanwhile, the 3 levels I put up offer impressive capabilities: This character can effectively hide in plain sight and engage in sustained combat with high damage and accurate Ranged Attacks while invisible, and is therefore highly survivable and effective.

I stand by my advice.


Grandlounge wrote:

Half elves get a will bonuses and situational saves against some pretty bad effects.... Fog: with the right bard or equipment is an amazing.

Blur/blink/mirro image/invis: mirror image has the best short term effect on survivability and is effected by you AC. It is usually the best option. Arcane blood ranger can activate blur and displacement as part of their rage.

My, what excellent advice!

I wrote:

I'd say you left one out: a Miss Chance. Blur gives you a 20% Miss Chance. Blink 50%. Greater Invisibility also 50%. The easiest way to get those is to just be a Half Elf and take the Arcane Training Alternative Racial Trait. Then you can just use the appropriate Magic Wands.

A way that always turned me on to enjoy Total Concealment is the Eversmoking Bottle. The EB makes everyone blind, friend and foe alike. But what you do is take 3 levels in Bard with the Flame Dancer Archetype. Song of Fiery Gaze gives your allies the ability to see through Fire and Smoke, so you just Blinded all your opponents, and your allies can see just fine.

Grand Lodge

Grandlounge wrote:
Now for some advice. I will be echoing what a lot of people have said but count those as votes favour of those ideas by someone else that has tried them out.

Scott you should read the whole post.

You did not quote the part about protector familiars even though they overlap.

A three-level dip to get 2 rounds on invisibility as a swift action on a magus (non-CHA class) for Cha times a day. This making the build more MAD meaning fewer points for other stats. The magus can already vanish with the vanish spell and do so during a full attack using spell combat leaving the swift action for other useful things. It is fine if you like your build you presented the strengths. I'm showing the rest of the build side-by-side with a non-multi-class magus. All builds have strengths and weaknesses all of those have to be weighed and then evaluated by players. In this case, those differences were exaggerated by accidental errors when you compared the two builds and the rest is subjective. For example, you think

Quote:
"Well, +4/+3/+2 is better than +4/+4/+1"

but many people would say that +4/+1/+4 is better than either which is what the mono-class magus would have so selective comparisons make it easy to sway data.


Grandlounge wrote:
A three-level dip to get 2 rounds on invisibility as a swift action

Are you talking about my build, here? Because if you are, my build gives you a good deal more than 2 rounds of Invisibility. My build calls for taking False Attacker. Once the character uses Vanishing Trick he then uses Stealth to find a hiding place. Then he can use False Attacker every round as an Immediate Action to Bluff after shooting, and if successful, maintains Stealth without recourse to that Stealth Check at a -20.

Grandlounge wrote:
The magus can already vanish with the vanish spell and do so during a full attack using spell combat leaving the swift action for other useful things.

Most people, I think would consider Standard Actions more valuable than Swift Actions, but it is a good point you make that Spell Combat mitigates this.

Grandlounge wrote:
many people would say that +4/+1/+4 is better

That is fair to say, but I do maintain that multiclassing is a good way increase your saving throws very fast. The build I posted was the beginnings of an invisible sneak attacking sniper, but as I said, since it was only 3 levels in to achieve that, there were still a lot of directions the character could go in.

I mentioned dipping a level in Magus with the Greensting Scorpion Archetype for +2 Will Saves, more spell utility, and augments Sneak Attack Damage by 1d6 through their Arcane Pool.

For instance, if you dip a level on Inquisitor, you get Fast Healing and Fort and Will +2.

If you dip a level in Arcanist, you get Dimensional Slide, which helps with Flanking, another way to lock in Sneak Attack Damage, and a +2 on Will Saves.

If you take another level in Ninja, you get a +1 on Will Save and an extra +1d6 Sneak Attack Damage.

If you took a level in Brawler with the Snakebite Striker Archetype, you get a +2 Fort and Reflex and +1d6 Sneak Attack Damage.

If you dip levels in Monk, you get 3 good Saves, with +2's to start. You might take 2 more in the Drunken Master Archetype, replenishing your Ki endlessly with Drunken Ki, also, you could start to develop your character as a Grappler or with an Attack of Opportunity feature, taking Improved Grapple and Combat Reflexes as Bonus Feats.

Grandlounge wrote:
Three levels wrecks a full caster.

It is fair to say that to maximize your character as a full caster, the thing to do usually is to just pick a class and cling to it with all your dear life. But the OP is exploring other options. Multiclassing to get high saves, Fast Healing, and other things is a viable option, and I have created many powerful builds this way.

It is fair to say that a single-class full caster will outpace a multi-classed one in the long run, but the OP himself said that his campaigns peter out after 5-10 levels, and that suggests a get-what-you-can-while-you-can, multiclassing approach might be a much more appropriate option than us usual.

Grandlounge wrote:
This is the danger of not comparing to nonmulticlassed builds.

Oh, I agree that there is a danger. Character building commands the best efforts of intelligent people. You should plan your build carefully and have a good reason for doing what you do.

Grand Lodge

An Oread Kineticist with the combined Earth and Water elements would be a pain to kill. Huge HP pool, high AC, High DR, good dex and fort saves, and being an outsider instead of a humanoid makes them immune to some of the nastier will save spells.


The hardest-to-kill character I can think of is a Drow Druid with Natural Spell, Reach Spell, and Hellcat Stealth.

With a couple of items and focusing on boosting stealth as high as possible, you can have a hummingbird-sized 9th lvl caster with 1200ft range with +100ish stealth who can re-stealth as a move action even while being actively viewed after every spell cast every round.


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I'd get a Ring of Chameleon Power for +10 competence bonus, Child of the Moon Trait for +1, +2, or +4 Stealth depending on the Moon, Potion of Greater Heroism, and go as a Drow. Drow Druids get FCB +1/2 bonus to Stealth while Wild Shaped. I'd go true Neutral for alignment so I can avoid Aura Sight and alignment-based detection spells, and I'll have Negate Aroma up to counter tracking by smell. I'll be flying so I don't need to worry about tremorsense. Let's assume I have an 18 dex.

At level 20, I could have 20SkillRank + 3ClassSkill + 6SkillFocus + 1-4 CotMTrait + 10DrowFCB + 12Diminutive + 2Cat'sGrace + 4GreaterHeroism + 10Chameleon Power + 4dex + 20-40Greater Invisibility =

1d20+92-95 Stealth while moving

1d20+112-115 while not moving

1d20+72-75 if enemy has See Invis and is within range to see me

-10 Stealth from these figures if you're being actively viewed

Basically, I cast a Quickened Spell as a Swift and a normal spell as a Standard, then use my move action to restealth every round (so this qualifies as Stealth while not Moving, so I'll be doing Stealth checks as 1d20+112-115 each round). If they can't see me, they can't target me. If I do take damage, I fly away and heal. And I'll cast as many spells as possible from max range (1200ft with Reach Spells). If the GM sends an army after me, I cast Control Weather and make a Hurricane-sized storm to wipe them off the map.

Even if I'm being actively viewed by someone with See Invis and are actually within range to see me and it's the first Moon cycle of the month so CotM only gives me a +1, that's still a 1d20+62 to stealth. So even if I roll a 1, that's a 63 Stealth check. So basically, even with the worst possible outcome, any enemy would need a minimum +43 Perception and a 20 on the die to see me for 1 round.


I have a Cleric(Evangelist) 14/Slayer 1. [I needed to get a proficiency & chose Slayer.]
Saves: Fortitude 20, Reflex 16, Will 22
Armor Class: 35 until hit, then 34
Hit Points: 123
DR 2/Bludgeoning
As an Evangelist, I give everyone Sermonic Performance (bardic Inspiration) of +3

Here is how I got this:
Half orc (Sacred Tattoo) w/Fates Favored
STR 18, DEX 16, CON 14, INT 10, WIS 20, CHA 18
Sunsilk Explorer's outfit, Mithral Breastplate, Heavy Darkwood Shield, Magic Vestment * 2, Scale and Skin feat, Amulet +2, Ring +2, Ioun Stone (Dusty Rose Prism) +1, Sanctified Shield +1
I sometimes have Defending Bone up giving DR 5/Bludgeoning, max 50
Cloak +4, Ioun Stone (Pale Green Pricm-cracked) +1, Wayfinder w/Ioun Stone for +1 Will. I also have a bunch of conditional stuff:
> Runeward Tattoos: +1 vs. spells and SLA if school is one of (trans, ench, nec, evo, abj, conj, ill)
> Charm of Fate (double cost for slotless): 1/day, when miss a save, add 5 and recheck miss.
> Defiant Luck: Reroll a natural 1 once a day
> Fate-Woven Braid of the Norns: 3/day, reroll a natural 1, note any reroll that is a natural 20
> Four Leaf Clover: 3/day, can use to add +1 to a saving throw as a free action
Common spells I have up:
> Life Bubble (protections)
> Longstrider (Travel Domain) (I get to move 50')
> Eaglesoul (assorted hours long buffs that can go uber for rounds)
> Rags to Riches (extra +1 on 2 weapons)
> Hunter's Blessing (serious buffs for some stuff)
> Lucky Number (small cheap bonus)
Common spells I have ready:
> Blessings of Fervor (cleric's Haste)
> Breath of Life (emergency healing)
> Dispel Magic (anti caster stuff)
> Divine Favor (+4 attack +5 damage bonus-using a power component)
Some magic stuff:
> Boots of the Cat (feet) (max 20 points damage, doesn't use ring slot)
> Charm of the Thriceborn (1/day roll 3d20. Later use at random instead of d20 roll)
> Extraction Scarificator (1/day: lesser restoration for some sacrificed hp)
> Fate-Woven Braid Of The Norns (wrist) (get a reroll for a nat-1 or failed save on a death effect)
> Four Leaf Clover (3/day, +2 to save or attack or ...)
> Guiding Vellum, 1st-4th (1/day, GM gives a suggested spell for that level)
> Pearls of Power, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th (more spells!)
> Robe of Components (body) (free power components w/o tracking as many details)
> Runeward Tattoos (7 schools) (+1 on many saves)
> Clockwork Songbird (w/poppet) (can get +1 dodge & reflex or +1 attack & damage)
> Rune Guardian (spam a spell!)
> Healer's Satchel, Specialized (can cure ability drain)
> Metamagic Rod, Extend (make my spells last longer)
> Metamagic Rod, Extend, Lesser (make my spells last longer)
> Traveler's Any-Tool (skill bonuses)
> Ioun Stone (Magenta Prism (cracked)) (+2 any one skill chosen each day)

Be sure to check the magic items I list in the spoiler. Many are cheap.

/cevah


PCScipio wrote:
Mirror Image is very helpful (but some high level enemies aren't fooled).

Most classes that have Mirror Image can also access Non-Detection.

With a DC 15+CL on the caster level check, Non-Dectection can be difficult to overcome reliably.


I have found that a well-build Bladebound Kensai can be very difficult to take down once past the lower levels.

[list]

  • All good saves (Dex is a primary stat).
  • Very high AC - stupid high if it wanted. I typically aim for level +25, but you can go higher.
  • High AC includes touch.
  • Diviner level Initiative, or higher, with all the same bonuses
  • Mirror Image, Blur, Displacement, Non-Detection, Heroism all are options.
  • Can still be high DPR while having high AC
  • Two stats for initiative, damage, and AC; allows more room for growth
  • Bladebound allows more resources used for AC/Stats


  • kinticist of nearly any variety are particlularly tough and can do a bunch of things that help, like flying all the time starting level 5, insane dr, a recharging temp hp bubble, etc...

    Grand Lodge

    Fighter with Adamantine Full Plate, Armored Juggernaut, surrounded with :

    Advanced Armor and Weapon Trainings (including coming from feats) :

    Armed Bravery (extending the bonus will saves vs. fear to all will saves)
    Trained Reflexes (chosen Weapon Training bonus to Reflex saves)
    Armor Specialization (up to 1 quarter of total Armor Bonus Class as extra AC)
    Defensive Combat Training (chosen Weapon Training bonus to CMD)

    Feats and Traits:

    Missile Shield
    Deflect Arrows (won't work if the character isn't using unarmed strikes, cestus or similar)
    Iron Will

    Defender of the Society
    Seeker (making perception as a class skill sounds overly important)

    (Ray Shield has too much requirements so I'm not recommending it)

    Outside equipment :

    Noqual shield
    Ring of inner fortitude -> Ability damage and drain become more and more common at later levels, so become more useful over time, even if (very) pricey

    Nothing else that immediately comes into mind, and these are only possibilities to choose from, simpler is sometimes better.


    A cleric with the trickery domain can have a reliable miss chance combined with AC, self healing and saves. And of course there are all of the buffs available as a 9th level caster.


    Coinshot wrote:

    - High saves

    Some/all of the following: high AC, high HP, ways to mitigate damage (DR, healing, Misfortune to force against crits, ghost form, etc.)
    I wrote:
    a Miss Chance.

    I find myself wondering what a character build would be like if it had all those things crammed into 1 character:

    1 level in Inquisitor: Fast Healing
    3 levels in Flame Dancer Bard + Eversmoking Bottle
    level 7 character Protector Mephit Familiar
    Stalwart, Armored Juggernaut, Levels in Fighter, or Living Monolith

    I need to produce a build.


    A warpriest with the trickery blessing might be even better than the cleric. It has good miss chance abilities and can also buff and heal itself as a swift action, while using heavy armor and a shield for good AC.


    Scott Wilhelm wrote:

    I find myself wondering what a character build would be like if it had all those things crammed into 1 character:

    1 level in Inquisitor: Fast Healing
    3 levels in Flame Dancer Bard + Eversmoking Bottle
    level 7 character Protector Mephit Familiar
    Stalwart, Armored Juggernaut, Levels in Fighter, or Living Monolith

    I need to produce a build.

    Sounds like a fun challenge. Can you do it using only levels in one class? And how are you getting an archetype on an improved familiar?


    The wasp familiar can have the protector archetype and fast healing 2. And goes pretty well with the trickery warpriest. It’s not PFS legal, but people rarely care about that these days.


    Inquisitor VMC wizard with the (air)smoke school should cover it by level 7. You could go ravener hunter inquisitor with volcano mystery for ash cloud if you wanted to avoid the need for an eversmoking bottle, or life mystery for life link to make the healing reciprocal.

    It would require the wasp feat, but oh well.


    Metamorph alchemist.
    protector tumor familiar.
    Shapeshift into rock troll
    extended/permanent resist element potion
    Heal something like 15 hp per round
    Yuge physical stats from mutagen + monstrous physique/giant form


    Ultimate Wilderness made protector and tumor incompatible. Sadly.

    You can try getting your DM to houserule it though.


    DeathlessOne wrote:
    Scott Wilhelm wrote:

    I find myself wondering what a character build would be like if it had all those things crammed into 1 character:

    1 level in Inquisitor: Fast Healing
    3 levels in Flame Dancer Bard + Eversmoking Bottle
    level 7 character Protector Mephit Familiar
    Stalwart, Armored Juggernaut, Levels in Fighter, or Living Monolith

    I need to produce a build.

    Sounds like a fun challenge. Can you do it using only levels in one class? And how are you getting an archetype on an improved familiar?

    I didn't think that it was illegal to get an Archetype on an Improved Familiar

    Familiar Archetype wrote:
    The abilities of an improved familiar don’t stack with those of any familiar archetype that alters or replaces the variable bonus a familiar grants its master or speak with animals of its kind.
    Improved Familiar wrote:
    Improved familiars otherwise use the rules for regular familiars, with two exceptions: if the creature’s type is something other than animal, its type does not change; and improved familiars do not gain the ability to speak with other creatures of their kind (although many of them already have the ability to communicate).

    The Protector's Shield Other ability replaces Speak with Animals of its kind, and Improved Familiars don't get that, so I guess that's a problem.

    What I really wanted was a Protector Tumor Familiar, with levels in Eldritch Guardian Fighter. Then I (we) would take Paired Opportunist so then I would get an Attack of Opportunity whenever I was attacked, but the Paizo Design Team made both of those things illegal, probably because of me. The Paired Opportunist thing was definitely made illegal because of me.

    I guess a Tumor Familiar could be given Oil of Shield Other.
    Imbue with Spell Ability could give a Familiar the ability to cast Shield Other.

    I think the way to go would be to have an +1 Adamantine Spell Storing Shield and store Shield Other in it.

    Spell Storing wrote:
    This armor allows a spellcaster to store a single touch spell of up to 3rd level in it. Anytime a creature hits the wearer with a melee attack or melee touch attack, the armor can cast the spell on that creature as a swift immediate action if the wearer desires.

    So I touch the Shield, and the Shield Casts Shield Other on me. Half the Damage I take goes to the Shield instead, which will tend to be offset by the fact that an Adamantine Shield has a Hardness of 20.


    Shield other is not a touch spell.


    Cavall wrote:
    Shield other is not a touch spell.

    So?


    Scott Wilhelm wrote:
    Cavall wrote:
    Shield other is not a touch spell.
    So?

    Crap, it has to be a touch spell


    The Familiar can be given a weapon with Spell Storing on it, and the Stored Spell would be Shield Other.


    I guess you can carry a Wand of Infernal Healing for your Protector Familiar.

    Infernal Healing is a Touch Spell. Your Protector Familiar can touch your shield.


    Here's a tentative build: Survivability Hat Trick

    Half Elf, Ancestral Arms Split Blade Sword, Arcane Training

    I like the Split Blade Sword. It does 2d6, and it's a 1 handed Weapon which means you can use a Shield. I also really like Arcane Training because the ability to use almost any magic wand offers tremendous promise of utility. If you want to where Heavy Armor--not necessarily because you also want a high Dex--Swift Girding is essential: it lets you don a suit of heavy armor as a Standard Action instead of the minutes it usually takes. My GMs always love to make fun of fighters that need time to put on their armor or make them fight Hill Giants in their underwear.

    Level 1, Ranger1: Freebooter’s Bane, Endurance, Ranger Stuff, BAB+1

    The Wand of Lead Blades will make the Split Blade Sword do 3d6 instead of the usual 2d6. Endurance lets you sleep in Medium Armor. It's also a prerequisite for Living Monolith, which I like.

    Freebooter's Bane gives the character and the whole party a +1 Attack and Damage on any 1 opponent, designated as a Move Action. That's nifty.

    2R1Inquisitor1: Spells, Domain, Judgement

    So, right now, this character's Base Saves are Fort +4, Reflex +2, Will +2, and that's quite good for a level 2 character. One of the Judgements an Inquisitor can use give her Fast Healing.

    3R1I1F1: Eldritch Guardian, Protector Familiar, Combat Reflexes, BAB+2
    4R1I1F2: +1 Will, BAB+3
    5R1I1F3: Armor Training +1, Advanced Armor Training Feat: Armored Juggernaut, BAB+4

    There's the DR.

    6R1I2F3: Cunning Initiative, BAB+5
    7R1I3F3 Broken Wing Gambit, Solo Tactics, Feat, BAB+6
    8R1I3F3Cavalier1: Tactics, Challenge, Paired Opportunist, BAB+7

    Now You and your Familiar get Attacks of Opportunity off each other, and all your Allies will get AoO's, too.

    Base Saves: Fort: +10, Reflex: +4, Will: +4. A single class character's Good Save at Level 7 is +5, the Poor save is +2.

    9R1I3C1Living Monolith1: Iron Will, Ka Stone: Toughness, Enlarge Person

    Even though my character is getting DR through Armored Juggernaut, I still like Living Monolith. That Split Blade Sword that was previously doing 3d6 now does 4d6. The Strength goes up +1. The downside, though is that the Dex goes down 1, which means -1 AC and -1 Attack of Opportunity. I still think you come out ahead. Hopefully the loss of AC will be made up for with the Toughness Feat.

    Saves: Fort +11, Reflex +4, Will +6

    10R1I4C1L1: Judgement 2/day, BAB+8
    11R1I5C1L1: Bane, Discern Lies, Feat, BAB+9

    I had been thinking that The character would get her 50% Miss Chance with 3 levels in Bard with the Flame Dancer Archetype and an Eversmoking Bottle, but she is already Level 11. She can use any Sorcerer or Wizard Wand, though, so by this point, she can just purchace a Wand of Blinking and get a 50% Miss Chance that way. Before she can afford a Wand of Blinking, she can get a Wand of Blur.

    This character's saves are

    Fort +12, Reflex +4, Will +7. A single Class, level 11 character has +7 on the good save and +3 on the Poor Save. So this character's saves are superior to most.

    She can have her Miss Chance through wands of Blur and Blink as she can afford them.

    She can wear Heavy Armor and carry a Shield. She has Endurance, so can sleep in Medium Armor. And her Protector Familiar is giving her almost a +2 AC (Bodyguard Feat)

    She has DR, only 1/- at this point, but that can improve either through forgoing or focusing more on Living Monolith.

    Her Familiar makes it so she only take 1/2 the Damage with Shield Other, and she has good recourse to Healing her Familiar and herself.

    She has Toughness.

    She has Fast Healing 2.

    And, she does respectable Damage in Melee with a base Damage of 4d6, Bane that brings it up to 6d6, and frequent Attacks of Opportunity.

    I think this is a pretty hard-to-kill build.

    Grand Lodge

    Inspired a little by Scott I want to see what a bloodrager can do to single class.

    Primalist (I know cheese) arcane bloodline, bloodline familiar urban bloodrager.

    At level 10 you have heavy armor feat or med with good dex), displacement with every rage, dr2 (Dr 5 slashing with resinous skin, superstition for a good boost to all saves, optional AC, Dr, or ER through unsigned rage powers, improved uncanny dodge.

    I would go hedgehog familiar for the boost to will. No wand or items need no actions in combat need as heinous skin is 10min per level.

    Base save are the weak point as blood ragers only have 1 good save

    Base fort 7, ref 3, will 3 with +4 too all while raging.

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