Solo frontline skill monkey


Advice


Hi so my friends and I have recently hit half way through our campaign and most of us have hit lv10. Now, our game is more focused on politics and intrigue. But, due to my first two pcs dying I made my 3rd pc an urban barbarian who later on fully retrained into a beastmaster cavalier. Now, due to another character dying and this retraining I lost access to half of my feats (we had a teamwork feat). On top of that my 6ft human was reincarnated as a gnome which lost me another feat due to a stat change. Now we have just been told that the next mission we have is to go undetected into enemy territory and save someone. I have been feeling more and more distant with my current pc even though he is well loved due to his personal development and how much personality he has gained over the year and a half I've been playing him.
Our current party is an insane charismatic sorcerer, crazy smart buff/craft wizard and a super powerful storm druid all are lv10. So I am the only person built for melee frontline combat. However, I feel it maybe time to retire my pc due to the heavy emphasis this next part requires a more subtle approach amd my guy likes to smash while riding an armored lion and has no money or time to retrain and fix himself. He is even stuck using non magic basic gear due to the game lacking in small sized loot and all his money goes into fixing his mechanical problems.

Can anyone suggest a frontline skill monkey to help keep the party alive? We have access to all advanced, ultimates, unchained and occult. With some wiggle room for heroes of the high court amd Taldor setting. 20 point buy and lv9 (retirement death homerule has you start a lv lower)

Thank you.

Silver Crusade

A Swashtigator (Inspired Blade Swashbckler 1/Investigator x) qualifies as a frontline skillmonkey, and is very resilient in combat. But no character can do all the fighting themselves. How are the other characters helping out?


Swashtigator is a solid choice. I'd also look at slayer. Studied target can be used in social situations to boost several skills and rogue talents can be great to helping with skills challenges if you want to.

For class skills traits can fill in a lot, especially with exemplar traits allowing you to take multiple traits in a single category. "Charming Smile, Cunning Soul" and "Traveler of a Hundred Lands" are particularly good at making a skill monkey out of a class that might otherwise not be. It takes a bit of work, but at that level you can make a "skill monkey" out of any class that has enough points to play with or a heavy dependency on inteligence.


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Sanctified Slayer or Sacred Huntsmaster would also probably fill those roles.


Swashigator is a great choice but no reason that a straight strength investigator is not also a great choice. I have one built that makes use of the Healer's Hands and Incredible Healer feats if you are interested.

How about a synergist witch that has great AC and TWF's with pounce as of level 9 from his improved familiar? Ends up as CL18 and gets full 9 levels of spells by level 20. Also fairly skillful as an int caster.

Instead of front-lining yourself, how about a monster tactician inquisitor that summons a phalanx of the most suitable meat shields and uses reach tactics? Sharing your teamwork feats with your summons is the cat's pajamas!

Gotta walk the dog right now. If you want to see any of these, let me know.


Leostarnfire wrote:
Can anyone suggest a frontline skill monkey to help keep the party alive? We have access to all advanced, ultimates, unchained and occult. With some wiggle room for heroes of the high court amd Taldor setting.

I actually have a build for this. I've been developing it on the forums, so maybe I should link to it, but I recently added a refinement.

Meet,

Bonzai!! a Goblin
Level 1, Brawler1: Unarmed 1d4, Sneak Attack 1d6, Dodge, BAB+1
2B1Arcanist1 Dimensional Slide

Dimensional Slide is a 10' tactical teleoport that will make it easier for this character to achieve Flanking and lock in Sneak Attack Damage. Plus this character can now use any Wand with Sorcerer or Wizard Spells, granting huge utility.

3B1A1Unchained Rogue1: Sneak Attack +1d6, Weapon Finesse (Unarmed Strike), Combat Reflexes
4B1A1U2: Ninja Trick, Style Master, Panther Style, BAB+2

When you Provoke an Attack of Opportunity by moving out of a Threatened Square, you get a Swift Action Unarmed Strike in retaliation.

5B2A1U2: Mobility, Canny Tumble, Brawler’s Flurry, BAB+3

Since Bonzai!! provokes lots of Attacks of Opportunity, it behooves him to have Mobility. And if he Tumbles through a square, he locks in his Sneak Attack Damage. He can Tumble through the first square then then allow his movement out of the next square to Provoke, triggering his Panther Style Attack and get his 2d6 Sneak Attack Damage. And he still gets his Standard Action Attack.

6B2A1U3: Finesse Training, SAD+1d6, Danger Sense+1, BAB+4
7B2A2U4: Panther Claw, Combat Training, Panther Parry, BAB+5
8B2A2U4Monk1: Monk Stuff, Master of Many Styles, Snake Style
9B2A2U4M1Fighter1: Snake Sidewind, Snake Fang, BAB+6

So, now Panther Claw lets Bonzai make Free Action Retaliatory Strikes up to his Wisdom Mod. If those Attacks of Opportunity miss, Snake Fang lets him make Unarmed Attacks of Opportunity!

Bonzai!! is going to tear through every battlefield like a little, green wrecking ball!

10B2A1U5M1F1: SAD+1d6, Rogue's Edge
11B2A1U5M1F1Cavalier1: Challenge, Order, Tactician, Paired Opportunist, Spring Attack, BAB+7

Now everyone gets an Attack of Opportunity when Bonzai!! does, and he gets them often!

12B2A1U5M1F1C1Inquisitor1: Judgement, Stern Gaze, Monster Lore
13B2A1U5M1F1C1I2: Cunning Initiative, Tracking, Circling Mongoose BAB+8

Now he gets to Full Attack while moving, and getting lots of bonus attacks from Panther/Snake Style, doing Sneak Attack Damage with every hit!

14B2A1U5M1F1C1I3: Solo Tactics, Broken Wing Gambit, BAB+9

This is another AoO trigger: now Bonzaii gets a Free Action Attack when he is Attacked, and an AoO, Plus another if they miss. He should get a Crown of Swords so he gets an attack when they hit!

15B2A1U5M1F1C1I4: Judgement 2/day, Knockout Artist, BAB+10
16B2A1U5M1F1C1I5: Bane, Discern Lies

There's more, but you get the idea.


Puppetmaster magus would be a fun option you might not naturally think of. Also worth looking at, in no particular order, ranger, vigilante, skald, and alchemist.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:

11B2A1U5M1F1Cavalier1: Challenge, Order, Tactician, Paired Opportunist, Spring Attack, BAB+7

Now everyone gets an Attack of Opportunity when Bonzai!! does, and he gets them often!

I've always found your cavalier dip odd. Tactician can only be used once per day, lasts just 3 rounds, and is a standard action to activate. So what's the point?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Occultist with Trappings of the Warrior panoply: 4 + Int mod skills and a good selection of class skills, Int-based casting (psychic, which means no somatic components), all simple and martial weapons, light/medium armor and shields (except tower shields), treated as full BAB when fighting with weapon and shield 2nd level and up (1st level implement schools Abjuration/shield implement and Transmutation/weapon implement, 2nd level Trappings of the Warrior panoply as the third "implement"). Half-elf for Ancestral Arms to gain falcata proficiency (or possibly tengu for Swordtrained); masterwork transformation might be worth using one of your limited 2nd-level spells known on (along with Craft Magic Arms and Armor as your feat at 5th level, campaign permitting) to improve your panoply items as you advance in levels.


Storm Druid has lots of AOE spells and heals. Charismatic Sorcerer flies around firing fireballs everywhere. Super Smart Wizard goes invisible and buffs the hell out of me.

baggageboy wrote:

Swashtigator is a solid choice. I'd also look at slayer. Studied target can be used in social situations to boost several skills and rogue talents can be great to helping with skills challenges if you want to.

For class skills traits can fill in a lot, especially with exemplar traits allowing you to take multiple traits in a single category. "Charming Smile, Cunning Soul" and "Traveler of a Hundred Lands" are particularly good at making a skill monkey out of a class that might otherwise not be. It takes a bit of work, but at that level you can make a "skill monkey" out of any class that has enough points to play with or a heavy dependency on inteligence.


JiaYou wrote:
Sanctified Slayer or Sacred Huntsmaster would also probably fill those roles.

Ill look into it more


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Leostarnfire wrote:
Can anyone suggest a frontline skill monkey to help keep the party alive? We have access to all advanced, ultimates, unchained and occult. With some wiggle room for heroes of the high court amd Taldor setting.

I actually have a build for this. I've been developing it on the forums, so maybe I should link to it, but I recently added a refinement.

Meet,

Bonzai!! a Goblin
Level 1, Brawler1: Unarmed 1d4, Sneak Attack 1d6, Dodge, BAB+1
2B1Arcanist1 Dimensional Slide

Dimensional Slide is a 10' tactical teleoport that will make it easier for this character to achieve Flanking and lock in Sneak Attack Damage. Plus this character can now use any Wand with Sorcerer or Wizard Spells, granting huge utility.

3B1A1Unchained Rogue1: Sneak Attack +1d6, Weapon Finesse (Unarmed Strike), Combat Reflexes
4B1A1U2: Ninja Trick, Style Master, Panther Style, BAB+2

When you Provoke an Attack of Opportunity by moving out of a Threatened Square, you get a Swift Action Unarmed Strike in retaliation.

5B2A1U2: Mobility, Canny Tumble, Brawler’s Flurry, BAB+3

Since Bonzai!! provokes lots of Attacks of Opportunity, it behooves him to have Mobility. And if he Tumbles through a square, he locks in his Sneak Attack Damage. He can Tumble through the first square then then allow his movement out of the next square to Provoke, triggering his Panther Style Attack and get his 2d6 Sneak Attack Damage. And he still gets his Standard Action Attack.

6B2A1U3: Finesse Training, SAD+1d6, Danger Sense+1, BAB+4
7B2A2U4: Panther Claw, Combat Training, Panther Parry, BAB+5
8B2A2U4Monk1: Monk Stuff, Master of Many Styles, Snake Style
9B2A2U4M1Fighter1: Snake Sidewind, Snake Fang, BAB+6

So, now Panther Claw lets Bonzai make Free Action Retaliatory Strikes up to his Wisdom Mod. If those Attacks of Opportunity miss, Snake Fang lets him make Unarmed Attacks of Opportunity!

Bonzai!! is going to tear through every battlefield...

Cant be a goblin due to the culture being goblin hating and we regularly are seen in courts, balls and in the presence of nobles. They dont even like halflings in Taldor.


born_of_fire wrote:

Swashigator is a great choice but no reason that a straight strength investigator is not also a great choice. I have one built that makes use of the Healer's Hands and Incredible Healer feats if you are interested.

How about a synergist witch that has great AC and TWF's with pounce as of level 9 from his improved familiar? Ends up as CL18 and gets full 9 levels of spells by level 20. Also fairly skillful as an int caster.

Instead of front-lining yourself, how about a monster tactician inquisitor that summons a phalanx of the most suitable meat shields and uses reach tactics? Sharing your teamwork feats with your summons is the cat's pajamas!

Gotta walk the dog right now. If you want to see any of these, let me know.

Summoning has been made extremely limited due to DM not wanting to worry about too many players on the field.


Dragonchess Player wrote:
Occultist with Trappings of the Warrior panoply: 4 + Int mod skills and a good selection of class skills, Int-based casting (psychic, which means no somatic components), all simple and martial weapons, light/medium armor and shields (except tower shields), treated as full BAB when fighting with weapon and shield 2nd level and up (1st level implement schools Abjuration/shield implement and Transmutation/weapon implement, 2nd level Trappings of the Warrior panoply as the third "implement"). Half-elf for Ancestral Arms to gain falcata proficiency (or possibly tengu for Swordtrained); masterwork transformation might be worth using one of your limited 2nd-level spells known on (along with Craft Magic Arms and Armor as your feat at 5th level, campaign permitting) to improve your panoply items as you advance in levels.

Very intriguing will look further


Leostarnfire wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Leostarnfire wrote:
Can anyone suggest a frontline skill monkey to help keep the party alive? We have access to all advanced, ultimates, unchained and occult. With some wiggle room for heroes of the high court amd Taldor setting.

I actually have a build for this. I've been developing it on the forums, so maybe I should link to it, but I recently added a refinement.

Meet,

Bonzai!! a Goblin
Level 1, Brawler1: Unarmed 1d4, Sneak Attack 1d6, Dodge, BAB+1
2B1Arcanist1 Dimensional Slide

Dimensional Slide is a 10' tactical teleoport that will make it easier for this character to achieve Flanking and lock in Sneak Attack Damage. Plus this character can now use any Wand with Sorcerer or Wizard Spells, granting huge utility.

3B1A1Unchained Rogue1: Sneak Attack +1d6, Weapon Finesse (Unarmed Strike), Combat Reflexes
4B1A1U2: Ninja Trick, Style Master, Panther Style, BAB+2

When you Provoke an Attack of Opportunity by moving out of a Threatened Square, you get a Swift Action Unarmed Strike in retaliation.

5B2A1U2: Mobility, Canny Tumble, Brawler’s Flurry, BAB+3

Since Bonzai!! provokes lots of Attacks of Opportunity, it behooves him to have Mobility. And if he Tumbles through a square, he locks in his Sneak Attack Damage. He can Tumble through the first square then then allow his movement out of the next square to Provoke, triggering his Panther Style Attack and get his 2d6 Sneak Attack Damage. And he still gets his Standard Action Attack.

6B2A1U3: Finesse Training, SAD+1d6, Danger Sense+1, BAB+4
7B2A2U4: Panther Claw, Combat Training, Panther Parry, BAB+5
8B2A2U4Monk1: Monk Stuff, Master of Many Styles, Snake Style
9B2A2U4M1Fighter1: Snake Sidewind, Snake Fang, BAB+6

So, now Panther Claw lets Bonzai make Free Action Retaliatory Strikes up to his Wisdom Mod. If those Attacks of Opportunity miss, Snake Fang lets him make Unarmed Attacks of Opportunity!

Bonzai!! is going to

...

The build is not race-dependent


Wonderstell wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:

11B2A1U5M1F1Cavalier1: Challenge, Order, Tactician, Paired Opportunist, Spring Attack, BAB+7

Now everyone gets an Attack of Opportunity when Bonzai!! does, and he gets them often!

I've always found your cavalier dip odd. Tactician can only be used once per day, lasts just 3 rounds, and is a standard action to activate. So what's the point?

I've actually found in Pathfinder Society that situations where the rest of the party actually take advantage of you giving out Attacks of Opportunity are disappointingly rare, and 1/day is plenty.

There is another reason for taking Paired Opportunist, though. Bonzai!! takes levels in Inquisitor and Broken Wing Gambit. Broken Wing Gambit grants Attacks of Opportunity to "your allies." And even though there is that FAQ that makes it clear that you count as your own ally and that "your allies" means "you and your allies," a lot of people--possibly the OP's GM--may insist that that doesn't count for Teamwork Feats even though nothing in the description of Teamwork Feats actually says that. But with Solo Tactics, the character gets an Attack of Opportunity when he is attacked after activating Broken Wing Gambit as if he and all his allies had both Broken Wing Gambit and Paired Opportunist. This is especially nice if use of Tactician actually grants Paired Opportunist to allies.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

A more detailed character progression for the occultist:

Half-elf, alternate racial trait Ancestral Arms (Falcata), +2 Str; alternate favored class bonus as elf (half-elves can choose between elf, half-elf, and human favored class bonuses) for +1/2 mental focus point each level

Starting ability scores 18 Str (10 points for 16, +2 race), 14 Dex (5 points), 12 Con (2 points), 14 Int (5 points), 10 Wis (0 points), 8 Cha (-2 points)

1st- Implements 2 (Abjuration/buckler and Transmutation/falcata), Focus Power (Energy Shield); Extra Mental Focus
2nd- Implements 3 (Trappings of the Warrior panoply)
3rd- Focus Power (Counterstrike); Power Attack
4th- +1 Int (15)
5th- Focus Power (Quickness); Craft Magic Arms and Armor (use masterwork transformation to make your focus implements masterwork, then make them magic with Craft Magic Arms and Armor)
6th- Implements 4 (Divination/lenses; the resonant power Third Eye is great from 9th level up)
7th- Focus Power (Mind Over Gravity); feat (?)
8th- +1 Int (16)
9th- Focus Power (Danger Sight); Improved Critical (Falcata)*

Required magic item: headband of vast intelligence +2 for mental focus 9 (level) +4 (Int) +2 (Extra Mental Focus) +4 (favored class bonus) = 19. Allocate mental focus with 4 points in buckler (+2 resistance from resonant power), 6 points in falcata (+4 temporary enhancement bonus to Str from resonant power for +2 on Str-based attack and damage rolls; effective BAB of +8/+3 from Trappings of the Warrior resonant power), and 9 points in lenses (darkvision to 60 ft and constant see invisibility from resonant power)

*- "When wielding the weapon used as the panoply’s associated implement, you treat your base attack bonus as though it were 1 point higher for every 4 points of total mental focus invested in all of the associated implements, to a maximum base attack bonus equal to your occultist level. This increase can grant you additional attacks when using the full attack action (for example, a 12th-level occultist with 12 points of mental focus invested among the associated implements would be treated as having a base attack bonus of +11, with iterative attacks at a base attack bonus of +6 and +1)."

Silver Crusade

Here's a suitable frontline skillmonkey suited to keeping a party alive. Gets lots of skills, some support and healing, plus provides excellent all-party defensive power as a first rate frontline tank. Gets 7 skill points per level and perfectly fits your request. Note the ability to walk around seemingly unarmed yet still pack a big weapon, via the Instant Weapon spell.

Silver Crusade

Leostarnfire wrote:
Can anyone suggest a frontline skill monkey to help keep the party alive?

If you don't want to be the guy that dies all the time, I suggest prioritizing keeping yourself alive. I'm not saying to abandon your team-mates, just that they should bear some responsibility for their own survival.

born_of_fire wrote:
Swashigator is a great choice but no reason that a straight strength investigator is not also a great choice.

I agree that strength investigators work very well. With the given (dysfunctional) party composition, I favor the Swashtigator here simply because it can better cope with getting swarmed, which I see as a big risk here.


Dragonchess Player wrote:

A more detailed character progression for the occultist:

Half-elf, alternate racial trait Ancestral Arms (Falcata), +2 Str; alternate favored class bonus as elf (half-elves can choose between elf, half-elf, and human favored class bonuses) for +1/2 mental focus point each level

Starting ability scores 18 Str (10 points for 16, +2 race), 14 Dex (5 points), 12 Con (2 points), 14 Int (5 points), 10 Wis (0 points), 8 Cha (-2 points)

1st- Implements 2 (Abjuration/buckler and Transmutation/falcata), Focus Power (Energy Shield); Extra Mental Focus
2nd- Implements 3 (Trappings of the Warrior panoply)

I'm a huge fan of the occultist (it's my new favourite class), so I'll echo this, but with a couple of differences.

1. You don't need 18 STR at level 1. Save some of those pointe and put them in CON. Or better yet put more in INT since you'll find you NEVER have enough Mental focus for everything you want.

2. Don't take Trappings of the Warrior at 2nd level, it doesn't really give you much until level 6, and luckily level 6 is a level where you can take it. It's much better there, and you can get something more useful/flavourful at level 2 in the meantime (i guess it doesn't matter since you're starting at 10).

3. Divination is an AMAZING implement, but it doesn't pair especially well with Transmutation (and therefore Trappings of the Warrior). They both want all your Mental Focus, so you'll have trouble using them both at once. This is fine if you're ok having diferent "Loadouts" for different days, but if you want to get the most benefit out if both you'll struggle (I have Transmutation and Divination, but I swap them out depending on what my day looks like).

3. Half-Elves are great, but I'd take Dual Minded over Ancestral Arms. The Falcata is great, but since you'll (hopefully) have a big chunk of damage coming from a source that doesn't multiply on a crit (bane weapon using Legacy Weapon) the Crit modifier is less important to you, so a longsword is fine (or if you're like me, pick a reach weapon instead, you can take Shield Brace to use it with Trappings of the Warrior). On the other hand, failing a will-save could seriously hurt your options. Make sure you remember to use the Elf FCB to get extra mental focus, you'll want it.

(Sorry for poor editing, typing while cooking)


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I've actually found in Pathfinder Society that situations where the rest of the party actually take advantage of you giving out Attacks of Opportunity are disappointingly rare, and 1/day is plenty.

If you've personally experienced that such situations are 'disappointingly rare', then all the more reason to not dip Cavalier. Spending a whole level for something that apparently doesn't even happen once per day is a waste.

====

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Since Bonzai!! provokes lots of Attacks of Opportunity, it behooves him to have Mobility. And if he Tumbles through a square, he locks in his Sneak Attack Damage. He can Tumble through the first square then then allow his movement out of the next square to Provoke, triggering his Panther Style Attack and get his 2d6 Sneak Attack Damage. And he still gets his Standard Action Attack.

You make one Acrobatics check per creature, not per square. So if you succeed on the Acrobatics check (and activate Canny Tumble) you can't benefit from Panther Style since you don't provoke. And one action (like a move action) can only provoke once from each enemy.


Wonderstell wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I've actually found in Pathfinder Society that situations where the rest of the party actually take advantage of you giving out Attacks of Opportunity are disappointingly rare, and 1/day is plenty.
If you've personally experienced that such situations are 'disappointingly rare', then all the more reason to not dip Cavalier. Spending a whole level for something that apparently doesn't even happen once per day is a waste.

It's such a powerful idea though, setting up situations where everybody attacks of opportunity round-after-round.

Also, there is the other reason: that the GM is likely to require Paired Opportunist to activate Broken Wing Gambit.

Also, There is a way to make it happen more than 1/day: be a Constable Cavalier. I'm not a big fan of Mounts, anyway. In my personal experience, Mounts, Cohorts, Familiars, and Animal Companions just exist for the GM to kill when he doesn't want to kill you. That is a concept I HAVE given up on.


Wonderstell wrote:
You make one Acrobatics check per creature, not per square. So if you succeed on the Acrobatics check (and activate Canny Tumble) you can't benefit from Panther Style since you don't provoke. And one action (like a move action) can only provoke once from each enemy.

That's awkward. I will check with my GM to ask if I can voluntarily only Tumble through 1 square but not another.

Presumably, though, your GM would not allow you to move into an opponent's square without a Tumble Check to avoid provoking.

Otherwise, I'll have to use another method to lock in Attacks of Opportunity such as Greater Invisibility or Dirty Tricks.


You could try an Archaeologist Bard. It loses Performance, but you can self-buff with Archaeologist's Luck, which can be doubled with the Fate's Favored trait, and you get several Rogue features. Add a level of Inspired Blade Swashbuckler for some Panache and immediate Dex to damage if you want.

Grand Lodge

I have a Swash1/ unbarb1/ x empiricist investigator that is a slightly different take on the swashigator. The build is meant to maximize accuracy so you can parry and repose the enemies crit on a 3. High int and dex still crush skill checks and temp HP really help you survive.

Urban barbarian investigator works well for strength builds. You can rage to be better at skills.

I have a flying-mount halfling inquisitor sacred huntmaster that works well for staying alive solo and being skillful. Teamwork feats, flight, ride by, and reach really help.

TWF slayer with a shield a kukri has skills and staying power with great AC good HD but watch that will save.


Other people have mentioned the occultist, and I agree. I have a full-ish build here.

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42bjm?Occultist-Build#1

It's tough enough to play frontliner, especially as he comes with a replaceable buddy (Skeleton), can do nearly any skill as needed using Soulbound puppet tricks, and can even do some pretty effective casting.

I will note that we lost the whole party to a TPK - not anyone's fault really, just some bad luck (multiple 1's) with the aura of confusion of a pair of Seughathi - myself and the barbarian spent the encounter killing each other, while the cleric drooled and the wizard died...


@Scott Wilhelm

Off-topic:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Also, there is the other reason: that the GM is likely to require Paired Opportunist to activate Broken Wing Gambit.

About that. The GM is also likely to not let the Solo Tactics/Paired Opportunist/Broken Wing Gambit combo work since no actual AoO is ever provoked. This is a similar situation to the Outflank discussion we had a while back, if you remember. I propose we continue in that thread if you'd like to know exactly why it won't work.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:

That's awkward. I will check with my GM to ask if I can voluntarily only Tumble through 1 square but not another.

Otherwise, I'll have to use another method to lock in Attacks of Opportunity such as Greater Invisibility or Dirty Tricks.

Acrobatics simply doesn't work with Panther Style, which is why you usually don't bother with it. Keep in mind that Greater Invisibility is a poor choice since the total concealment would prevent enemies from executing AoOs.

I'd advise you to skip the Panther Style feat chain and retrain Canny Tumble later on. Canny Tumble because acrobatics checks become ridiculous at higher levels, and Panther Style because it is very circumstantial. It depends fully on that your enemies are dumb enough to keep taking AoOs against you.

Those freed feat slots are better spent on Light Armor Trick, Fey Obedience (The Lost Prince), or Combat Style Master if you choose another Style feat chain.

***


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
MrCharisma wrote:
Dragonchess Player wrote:

A more detailed character progression for the occultist:

Half-elf, alternate racial trait Ancestral Arms (Falcata), +2 Str; alternate favored class bonus as elf (half-elves can choose between elf, half-elf, and human favored class bonuses) for +1/2 mental focus point each level

Starting ability scores 18 Str (10 points for 16, +2 race), 14 Dex (5 points), 12 Con (2 points), 14 Int (5 points), 10 Wis (0 points), 8 Cha (-2 points)

1st- Implements 2 (Abjuration/buckler and Transmutation/falcata), Focus Power (Energy Shield); Extra Mental Focus
2nd- Implements 3 (Trappings of the Warrior panoply)

I'm a huge fan of the occultist (it's my new favourite class), so I'll echo this, but with a couple of differences.

1. You don't need 18 STR at level 1. Save some of those pointe and put them in CON. Or better yet put more in INT since you'll find you NEVER have enough Mental focus for everything you want.

This is a front-liner first, so the I was optimizing for melee attack bonus and damage. 14 Dex, medium armor, and buckler shield will give good AC, especially once you start using Craft Magic Arms and Armor. Pick up a belt of incredible dexterity when possible, as well; if more hp is a concern, take Toughness as the 7th level feat.

At 1st level, the character has 1 (level) +2 (Int) +2 (Extra Mental Focus) = 5 points; just enough for 2 points in the buckler for +1 resistance and 3 points in the falcata for +2 temporary enhancement to Str. At 2nd level, the character will have 2 (level) +2 (Int) +2 (Extra Mental Focus) +1 (FCB) = 7 mental focus, which gives an "extra" 2 points above the 2 buckler/3 falcata needed to bet the maximum bonus from the resonant powers for both; plus, you now get a +1 BAB on attacks with the falchion. At 5th level, the character will have 5 +2 (Int) +2 (Extra Mental Focus) + 2 (FCB) = 11 mental focus for 4-5 points in the buckler (+2 resistance) and 6-7 points in the buckler (still +2 Str until next level, but the BAB with the falchion is +5). At 6th level, the character has 6 (level) +3 (Int; assuming they have a headband by this point) +2 (Extra Mental Focus) +3 (FCB) = 14 mental focus, enough for 2 points in buckler (I'll take the +1 resistance instead of +2), 6 points in the falcata (+4 Str; BAB with falcata +6/+1), and 6 points in the lenses (darkvision to 60 ft). For 7th and 8th level, add more points to buckler to get resistance back up. At 10th level, you can get to 6 points in buckler, 6 points in falcata, and keep 9 points in lenses, giving you +3 resistance (max for level), +4 Str (max for level), falcata BAB +10/+5 (max for level), and see invisibility (max for level). Your concern over focus points is exaggerated.

MrCharisma wrote:
2. Don't take Trappings of the Warrior at 2nd level, it doesn't really give you much until level 6, and luckily level 6 is a level where you can take it. It's much better there, and you can get something more useful/flavourful at level 2 in the meantime (i guess it doesn't matter since you're starting at 10).

See above. This character is focused on being a front-liner (attack/damage bonus). Also, taking Trappings means you can have both enlarge person and lead blades as two of your three 1st-level spells at 2nd to 5th (3d6/19-10/x3 damage with the falcata; boom).

MrCharisma wrote:
3. Divination is an AMAZING implement, but it doesn't pair especially well with Transmutation (and therefore Trappings of the Warrior). They both want all your Mental Focus, so you'll have trouble using them both at once. This is fine if you're ok having diferent "Loadouts" for different days, but if you want to get the most benefit out if both you'll struggle (I have Transmutation and Divination, but I swap them out depending on what my day looks like).

Again, see above. At most, you are behind +1 on resistance for a level or two (and +1 BAB off full at 9th).

MrCharisma wrote:
3. Half-Elves are great, but I'd take Dual Minded over Ancestral Arms. The Falcata is great, but since you'll (hopefully) have a big chunk of damage coming from a source that doesn't multiply on a crit (bane weapon using Legacy Weapon) the Crit modifier is less important to you, so a longsword is fine...

One more time, this is a front-liner first; i.e., primary melee damage dealer. At 9th level, enlarge + lead blades + Improved Critical (Falcata) + +2 falchion (being conservative) = +16/+11 attack and 3d6+9/17-20/x3 damage (or +15/+10 and 3d6+12/17-20/x3 two handed if you want to give up the AC from the buckler) before Power Attack.


You can get a Fairy Cap instead. 250 gp, enlarge OR reduce for 10 minutes.

While expensive, it does let you be a medium sized gnome with attendant change in stats (+2 size bonus to strength) for being enlarged. Might get the feat back you lost to stats.

/cevah


Wonderstell wrote:
not let the Solo Tactics/Paired Opportunist/Broken Wing Gambit combo work since no actual AoO is ever provoked.

Not actually true per RAW. But you are right that it is an old argument that would derail the thread.


Leostarnfire wrote:

Our current party is an insane charismatic sorcerer, crazy smart buff/craft wizard and a super powerful storm druid all are lv10. So I am the only person built for melee frontline combat.

<skip>
Can anyone suggest a frontline skill monkey to help keep the party alive?

The essential problem, as I'm gleaning it here, isn't going to be solved by that, since "the party" doesn't seem to be having trouble staying alive -- it's frontliners having trouble staying alive. In a nutshell, welcome to the world of "martial/caster disparity" when your GM is neglecting his duty to equally challenge each PC (and not over-challenge any of them in particular). Your full-caster allies at 10th are already strutting along like untouchable gods and making their gear half-priced while you're an apparent pauper being repeatedly mauled by his monsters that can't reach (or even locate) them (so you're their sole target). And you're not any better in combat than the druid's sidekick, and maybe not even as good.

This disparity is even worse if you're behind the wealth-by-level curve. (I.e., I'm perplexed why a dead 9th- or 10th-level character would suffer to endure the crap-shoot of Reincarnation rather than be Raised unless he were flat broke.)

Quote:
I have been feeling more and more distant with my current pc even though he is well loved due to his personal development and how much personality he has gained over the year and a half I've been playing him.

The paths that lay before you:

* Talk to your GM, and hope relaying your frustrations pays off. (Wouldn't hold out much hope, as this getting splicked situation is reoccurring.)

* Retrain your cavalier into a merciful bracers-wearing paladin with Fey Foundling and Greater Mercy. (Skills? Fah. Perception checks are what your mount makes for you. You have one important skill, and it is Ride. Your butt is welded to the saddle with sovereign glue. Dip levels might include Fighter [Dragoon] and Cavalier [Gendarme] to tuck in feats.)

"Oh I sorry; did you need a Knowledge: Dungeoneering check? ...ask the wizard. I don't do those anymore. He has an Int of 30; he should know *everything* by now, right? Of course he's probably sold his eternal soul to some devil, so maybe not."

* If your GM hasn't given you a flying mount yet, retrain your cavalier into a built-like-a-brick-$#!thouse core fighter who rides around on a carpet of flying with a nasty polearm. Get Versatile Training a couple times for skills of interest (or not). Take Smash from the Air, Armored Bravery, and Armored Sacrifice.

* Heave a weary sigh and join Team Full Caster.


So, now I'm thinking about something that Full Attacks with lots of Sneak Attack Damage. I like Natural Attacks. It's not that hard to get an obscene number of Natural Attacks. Develop Dirty Tricks to Blind and/or Deafen your opponents, and then all those many, many Attacks all do Sneak Attack Damage.

I'm thinking Tengu with Claws.

A level in Barbarian

3 levels in Unchained Rogue and get Underhanded Trick

Another Level in Barbarian and get a Gore Attack

Get Quick and Greater dirty tricks when your BAB hits +6.

Stack up on Sneak Attack Damage and get more Natural Attacks.


Leostarnfire wrote:
On top of that my 6ft human was reincarnated as a gnome which lost me another feat due to a stat change.

Mental Stats don't change when you reincarnate. Neither do feats or skills.


I assume OP meant access to a feat due to STR dropping, but I couldn't be wrong.

Scott et al, can you tell me why Dirty Trick is better than Feint for triggering Sneak Attack? Other than it's a more solid debuff? I feel like Feinting is actually more reliable no? Genuinely don't know.

Anyway, OP I theorycrafted a fairly munchkin Oracle 1/Virtuous Bravo X that uses a starknife with Desna's Divine Fighting Technique and it seemed pretty dang solid. Can buff with Divine Favor (with Fate's Favored) and high CHA would be good for social interactions. You shouldn't have to change literally everything about your character to suit the other characters if you don't actually want.


JiaYou wrote:
Scott et al, can you tell me why Dirty Trick is better than Feint for triggering Sneak Attack? Other than it's a more solid debuff? I feel like Feinting is actually more reliable no? Genuinely don't know.

Dirty Tricks is more expensive to develop, but the character that commits to it can have some powerful advantages.

Both Feinting and playing Dirty Trick are a Standard Action normally. Improved Feint lets you Feint as a Move Action, and Improved Dirty Trick doesn't. You need to take another Feat, Quick Dirty Trick to Feint instead of a regular attack. This is better if you have a character with multiple attacks in a Full Attack or if the character gets lots of Attacks of Opportunity.

Feinting can rob your opponent of his Dex Mod to AC, but a Dirty Trick can make an opponent Blind, which means they lose their Dex Mod to AC against everybody, not just the one Attacker, everyone enjoys a 50% Miss Chance against them. All terrain becomes Difficult for them.

There are creatures out there that can't be faked out in Combat. There are creatures who can function while Blinded, but Dirty Tricks can be played to inflict other Conditions, such as Deafened. Most creatures that can keep their Dex mods to AC while Blinded can't do that if they are both Blinded and Deafened.


JiaYou wrote:
I assume OP meant access to a feat due to STR dropping, but I couldn't be wrong.

Confidence is key.

JiaYou wrote:
Scott et al, can you tell me why Dirty Trick is better than Feint for triggering Sneak Attack? Other than it's a more solid debuff? I feel like Feinting is actually more reliable no? Genuinely don't know.

If you have the option to replace your first attack or feint as a swift action, it's probably more reliable for Sneak Attack (at higher levels when CMD starts to climb). But a character that is proficient in Dirty Tricks has more options in combat than just damage.

JiaYou wrote:
Anyway, OP I theorycrafted a fairly munchkin Oracle 1/Virtuous Bravo X that uses a starknife with Desna's Divine Fighting Technique and it seemed pretty dang solid. Can buff with Divine Favor (with Fate's Favored) and high CHA would be good for social interactions. You shouldn't have to change literally everything about your character to suit the other characters if you don't actually want.

Wouldn't it be a problem to worship a CG deity as a lawful paladin?

Grand Lodge

JiaYou wrote:
Anyway, OP I theorycrafted a fairly munchkin Oracle 1/Virtuous Bravo X that uses a starknife with Desna's Divine Fighting Technique and it seemed pretty dang solid. Can buff with Divine Favor (with Fate's Favored) and high CHA would be good for social interactions. You shouldn't have to change literally everything about your character to suit the other characters if you don't actually want.

Likewise Wonderstell just above, as a GM, DFT is currently extracting a mechanical benefit out of worshipping, not just venerate. LG paladin with a CG deity is a flat no (luckily for a similar reason, bye paladins of Asmodeus).


JiaYou wrote:
I theorycrafted a fairly munchkin Oracle 1/Virtuous Bravo X that uses a starknife with Desna's Divine Fighting Technique and it seemed pretty dang solid.

This has some mechanical issues. The bonus to attack rolls from Smite Evil doesn't stack with Desna's Shooting Star (both are untyped bonus with charisma being the source), and a weapon that crits only on a 20 makes for very poor panache recovery.

Wonderstell wrote:
Wouldn't it be a problem to worship a CG deity as a lawful paladin?

RAW, no. There is nothing in the Paladin class discription that says the Paladin's "alignment must be within one step of her deity’s" (unlike the Cleric's discription, where I took that part from). The text in Gray Paladin acts like if there was some such limitation, but quite frankly, Ultimate Intrigue isn't exactly the best edited book in existence. If the archetype references something not in the original class discription, it's the archetype that's wrong, not the class.

Flavorwise, Desna is chaotic in name only, and if you look at her teachings, they fit a Paladin like a glove.

Desna's aphorisms straight out of Inner Sea Gods:

Be Ready for Challenges and Unexpected Friends:
Worshipers should train in combat or magic so they can overcome adverse situations in their travels. They should be especially vigilant for agents of the Old Cults and harmful creatures from the Dark Tapestry, but should welcome friendly travelers from far places and distant stars.

Totally fits a paladin.

Feet Are for Walking: Desna teaches that it's better to wander and explore than to stay home and grow stale in thought and habit. Those who can't wander in the flesh may still explore through their dreams and through the stories of others.
Sitting at home doesn't get any evil smitten, so kinda a given for a Paladin. Compare Chaldira Zuzaristan's Paladin code from Faiths of Golarion: "It is my sacred duty to learn and explore."

Follow a Hunch, but Bear the Consequences: If faced with a sudden problem, worshipers should be guided by intuition and emotions if reason doesn't provide an obvious answer. If this leads to something harmful, they are responsible for repairing the harm that is done.
This actually sounds kinda lawful good to me, so no problem for a Paladin. Would fit a "when in doubt, bump uglies" (wait, that's Calistria... let my try that again) "when in doubt, smite evil" playstyle. Compare Chaldira Zuzaristan's Paladin code from Divine Anthology: "I will not let caution stay my hand in the face of evil."

Learn from What Is Different: Desna's followers should accept others who espouse friendship, regardless of race or religion. They learn redemption and acceptance from Sarenrae, appreciation of beauty from Shelyn, bravery from Cayden Cailean, passion from Calistria, magic from Nethys, combat from Gorum, nature from Gozreh, and more. Ignoring the teachings of other religions is ignoring the chance to learn.
"Don't be a lawful stupid jerk". Should be a rule for any Paladin, in my opinion.

The Lawful-Chaos axis is incredibly vague. Desna's biggest "chaotic" aspect is her love of freedom. Is fighting agains slavery chaotic, or should a Paladin as a paragon of good do just that? Isn't trying to fulfill all of a deity's teachings lawful since you are following a code (and as one can see above, Desna's is even a code of honor)?
The other big "chaotic" part is the luck stuff, which doesn't prevent Chaldira Zuzaristan from being NG, and having a Paladin code saying you should praise your goddess for granting luck.

Inner Sea Gods says "Desna's faithful can be just as implacable as the adherents of any other good-aligned faith when it comes to opposing evil. They are especially dedicated to guarding against the return of ancient, evil gods, and to rooting out cults of Ghlaunder and Lamashtu." That actually sound Paladin-ish. Of course, there's no way Desna's church has a problem with LG followers, because "Desna is a goddess of inherent contradictions; fortunately, her loosely organized church accepts all plausible interpretations of the scrolls that do not radically deviate from standard church teachings."


Derklord wrote:
Wonderstell wrote:
Wouldn't it be a problem to worship a CG deity as a lawful paladin?
RAW, no. There is nothing in the Paladin class discription that says the Paladin's "alignment must be within one step of her deity’s" (unlike the Cleric's discription, where I took that part from).

Sure, but the intention is obvious since the only deities that have gotten a Paladin Code are LG/LN/NG.

Here's a thread with input from JJ regarding what deities a paladin can choose from.


Swashtigator is more about getting early access to dex to damage. Since this character is starting at level 10, I think a straight investigator would be better. You could even invest in an agile weapon if you want dex to damage, instead of taking fencing grace.

Grand Lodge

Investigators are arguably the most accurte class in the game under most circumstances. 3/4th bab + 1/2 level/ + mutagen + heroism etc. This makes parry really powerful for them. High crit weapons + more attacks + nearly never missing means a virtually endless supply of panache.

Though, I think a STR investigator is ultimately better, parry repost dramatically increases the DPR of the dex invetigator in most fights while simultaneously increasing survival. Being able to move 5ft away from an enemy that has 5 foot step this round can neutralize their full attack which is huge and often forgotten.


Investigator is the way to go, plenty of skills and can hold it's ground with studied combat and mutagen, taking your first level as inspired blade is viable but your alchemy buffs and mutagen works better with str than dex.

Occultist also works nicely, it's INT based so it get enough skills and it's focus powers are amazing, if you take haunt collector as archetype you can also exchange a resonant power for the champion spirit which adds some damage and transmutation resonant power gives you enchancement bonus to str since level one... And don't forget size alteration which is basically enlarge whatever so you can be a tiefling or Aasimar (native outsiders) and still go large.
Take a reach weapon, enlarge yourself, have combat reflexes, move close enough and start to score a few AoO, on top of that you also has a few spells for utility and buff.


Aleister VII wrote:
Investigator is the way to go, plenty of skills and can hold it's ground with studied combat and mutagen, taking your first level as inspired blade is viable but your alchemy buffs and mutagen works better with str than dex.

A single class investigator (especially strength based) can actually do way more than just "hold its ground". Because 10th level is when an Investigator gets access to 4th level spells, including Monstrous Physique II. An Investigator with Quick Study pouncing with 6 primary natural attacks (and flight) is a force to be reckoned with!

_____________________

Wonderstell wrote:

Sure, but the intention is obvious since the only deities that have gotten a Paladin Code are LG/LN/NG.

Here's a thread with input from JJ regarding what deities a paladin can choose from.

As this is off-topic, I won't reply in-depth, but two things: First, if they had that intention as you claim, why didn't they ever erratum or FAQ it?

Second, if you didn't know Desna's alignment, from the aphorisms (and that's every single one, I didn't leave any out), and the other quotes, would you think that she was chaotic, and that this was a deity unfit for a Paladin? I'm not making a case for any deity, only for this one where I believe the stated alignment is actually wrong.

Grand Lodge

The worst part about inspired balde dip is that weapon finesse is rapier only so useful polymorph is difficult. With a standard dex investigator you just need an agile amulet which is not a problem because you have barkskin. That said, strength based polymorphing is much better.


Strength based investigator is better for damage, but what about its AC? It's not like they can easily make up for it with heavy armor.

Grand Lodge

Decent dex, mithril breastplate, mutagen, barkskin. I have never had an issue with AC on a strength-based investigator. You can also spend the saved feats on defensive boosts to fill any remaining gap (though there are better options).

If you are comparing strength-based investigator vs Swashigator then a one-level dip in solves the problem all other things being equal a one-level dip in a heavy armour archetypes bloodrager will outperform the swashigator in damage and can easily match total AC, with worse touch better flatfooted, and more options for incorporeal creatures via wand use.

Finally, AC is hard to compare because what really matters is damage taken. There is an opportunity cost to killing things slower, which is they get more chances to attack. I would have to do damage for-and-against for both builds to come up with a concrete answer.


Melkiador wrote:
Strength based investigator is better for damage, but what about its AC? It's not like they can easily make up for it with heavy armor.

Investigators have no reason to not wear heavy armour except that they're not proficient with it. 2 feats will get you heavy armour, so a Human Investigator can wear heavy armour at level 1.

Grandlounge wrote:
If you are comparing strength-based investigator vs Swashigator then a one-level dip in solves the problem all other things being equal a one-level dip in a heavy armour archetypes bloodrager will outperform the swashigator in damage and can easily match total AC, with worse touch better flatfooted, and more options for incorporeal creatures via wand use.

If you're dipping then I really like the FREESTYLE FIGHTER. Heavy Armour, Martial Weapon proficiencies and Martial Flexibility is a great package for a 1-level dip (and shoring up that Fort-Save doesn't hurt either).

I will say that one of the defensive advantages of the swashtigator is to really maximize the ability to Parry. Investigators get some absolutely incredible accuracy boosts, so Parry is a better defensive boost for them than it is for a straight Swashbuckler. You can also use it to parry things like Touch attacks, which is pretty game-changing (I also like that Daring Do is kind of an extra source of Inspiration for certain rolls).


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Dragonchess Player wrote:
MrCharisma wrote:
<OCCULTIST STUFF>
One more time, this is a front-liner first; i.e., primary melee damage dealer.

I think you and I just have different play-styles and philosophies about how to best make use of this class, as such I won't reply to most of your post (I don't think it'd be productive).

I do want to address the part I quoted though. The party has a Druid and a Sorcerer who are built around dealing damage, but it has no one who can stand toe-to-toe with the enemy without fear of dying.

The Primary role of a front-liner (in this party) should be to create space for the casters to do their thing. The secondary role should be to "Not Die". The tertiary role is to deal damage.

This is regardless of Race/Class/Weapon-choice.

The best weapon choice (meaning highest damage) for you in this party is to dual-wield "Sorcerer + Druid". Any round when they have free range to cast their spells is a round that you've done your job (so you can count all their damage as your damage).

This doesn't mean you ignore damage, it means you prioritise your ability to control the battlefield and survive the enemy attacks (I would 100% use a reach weapon in this party). Higher AC, Saves and HP are as important as damage numbers.

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