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This thread is for noteworthy new class options, like Mystic connections (three), and Soldier fighting styles (lots).
First, up, lets talk about the bonkers Melophile mystic connection. You hear the song of the universe, and share it with others. Associated deities are Azathoth, Desna, Ibra, Yaraesa, which is cool, and finally makes Ibra the last core deity to get a second associated connection. Your bonus spells are 1st—charm person; 2nd—augury; 3rd—clairaudience/ clairvoyance; 4th—cosmic eddy; 5th—[greater] synaptic pulse; 6th—enshrining refuge; a random grab back of charm, divination, and crowd control, and your skills are Culture and Physical Science, which aren't going to break any games.
But, oh, your connection powers.
1st Song of the Spheres: As a move action spend 1 RP or a spell slot to provide a 60' radius bardic inspire courage effect, a +1 morale bonus to hit, damage, and some mental saves. Expensive to do every fight and short duration at low level, but as you gain levels and can afford some RP expenditure it'll last through your fights. A very good buff that only gets better in large parties. Compare to Get 'Em, which can only spend 1 RP to get part of this ability at level 6, and then for less duration. Weep, envoys, weep.
3rd Universal Choir: You can talk to anyone who is affected by a will save spell, including a harmless one (or your Charm Person bonus spell), as if tongues. So you're a good communicator in peace, and can apply language-dependent effects like Suggestion freely. This one is probably tradeable away, but it has its uses.
6th Reinvigorating Song: Fast healing added to your Song of the Spheres at no additional cost in RP or spell slots. It's kind of low scaling, so I can see trading this one away, too.
9th Song of the Celestial Dance: Spend 1 RP on top of your Song of the Spheres to grant Haste to everyone! This is insane, RP fueled move action haste that hits every ally within 60' plus to hit/damage bonuses? Ugh.
12th Dampening Song: Whelp, your Song of the Spheres now gives 1-2 (scaling later up to 3) types of energy resistance equal to your level. This is disgusting compared to the reactive energy defense the Xenowarden has. So now your whole party is better at hitting, they fast heal, they resist energy, and if you spent an extra RP they have haste.
15th Resilient Song: Ok, now everyone in your Song of the Spheres has DR against B/P/S equal to your level. Why did the Soldier waste that feat on enhanced resistance, again?
18th Rewrite the Spheres: Take your total number of RP used to activate Song of the Spheres (1, 2 if you used the Haste option, and I guess you can spend more if you want) and grant that number of allies the effect of the Subjective Reality spell against one target. So now not only are you super buffed in general, some of you can ignore or reduce lots of effects from a chosen target.
This connection is very cool and extremely gross. In a book with quite a few powerful options, this one stands out as the most yikes so far.
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I'll admit that as the bardiest of players, I wanted that one! I keep saying that I'm not going to make another Mystic because I have three already, but they keep coming up with awesome new mystic connections. I am wondering though if this one will be SFS legal.
The ninth level power is the one I am worried about, since that is well within the levels of SFS play. But there are other crazy things that start to happen at higher levels.
On the other hand... playing this would be a non-stop invitation to filk, which I totally want to do!
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On the "I wish this were better" front, the Ambusher Fighting Style found in the human section.
1 Vigilance: Bonus Improved Initiative feat, +1 insight to attack rolls against anyone who hasn't acted during the first round of combat. Bonus feats are of little value to a Soldier, and a +1 for only the first round isn't that great. But once your full attack bonuses and reducers come on line this does give you a potentially decent boost to your opening DPR.
5 Cheap Shot: When you are stealthed or have improved/total cover against a target, you can as a full round action make a single attack and get half your dex bonus as extra damage. This is so painfully bad you'll never, ever use it. In no circumstances will this trivial damage bonus be worth not full attacking or using your movement action for something more useful.
9 Deadly Reflexes: If an enemy attacks you before you act, you can spend a reaction and RP to make a ranged attack. The RP requirement is expensive and it may be rare that you are both beaten in initiative and attacked by that guy, but when it triggers you can make four attacks, one at no penalty, in the opening round. Note that there's no requirement that this bonus attack be against whoever attacked you, so you could pick someone later in the initiative count to get your +1.
13 Exploit Cover: +4 insight bonus to stealth if you move into improved/total cover as part of your check. I hope you didn't take Skill Focus in stealth or this is almost entirely wasted. You also only suffer a -10 penalty to sniping, instead of -20, and it's easy to reduce that to no penalty with some Armor accessories on a projectile weapon. But sniping isn't a super viable PC tactic in a party vs full attacking. This isn't quite a dead ability like Cheap Shot, but it's not great.
17 Ambusher's Edge: Make a full attack action for a single shot that adds a one round off target debuff. Awful. Works as a standard action against a flat footed target. Also awful. You're a high level Soldier, your full attack DPS is far better than a single shot damage plus off target debuff.
I really wish this was good, I like the conceptual space. The 1st and 9th level abilities have some promise as first round buffs, the rest is just a waste.
|Third Strongest Mole|
Ambusher fighting style only make sense if you want to play a soldier using a sniper rifle. Snipers have the best chance of taking advantage of the stealth abilities, and sniper weapons are unwieldy, and hence cannot full attack.
I think they'd be better off playing a "sniper" who uses a Reaction Cannon. Or those unwiedly ice cannon things in Armory that have the highest single shot damage, but are harder to get rid of the sniping penalty for stealth. I can't believe they didn't make the bonus Cheap Shot damage full Dex bonus, it's just so trivial at later levels.
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SOLDIER FIGHTING STYLES
There are quite a few! They are mostly bad or poorly edited, but a couple are nice.
Grants a number of highly situational bonuses, but at least they're also tiny. Found in the human section, not Soldier options. I used to be really mad about this one, but I don't have the energy anymore.
I like this one for being sort of useful when tied into its somewhat financially impractical theme of wielding lots of weapons with extra arms.
1st: Double Draw feat, upgraded later to allow you to draw/sheathe as many weapons as you have limbs. It's nice utility, I guess, but free combat feats isn't something a Soldier needs to be getting via its style, and the upgrade isn't likely to be very useful.
5th: While wielding two weapons, make a standard action to combine a feint with a single attack. Ok, this I like, it's sort of a trick attack for soldiers.
9th: Spend 1 RP to simultaneously reload every weapon you're holding as a move action. Hmm. Ok if you're using a pair of automatic weapons and want to use auto fire two out of every three rounds in combat, I guess. (3/4 if you're a wealthy Skittermander.)
13th: If holding two+ weapons, you can move before or after a full attack, but each attack must come from a different weapon. It's sort of permanent haste, but without a speed bonus and you need one weapon per attack. The only tough part is not getting a third attack if you're a ranged Kasatha. Get those cyber arms.
17th: Full attack with two different automatic weapons. The -8 penalty (before modifiers) is hilariously bad, but it's definitely cool to attack everything in a cone twice. And then reload both next round with your 9th level ability and do it again the following round.
It's no wonder the Vesk lost a colony to the Azlanti if their forces are made up of Battlemasters. Only the 9th level ability isn't trash. But if you like burning move actions on trivial bonuses, take a good look at this.
Ranger flavor with terrible mechanics. LOL at the 5th level Hunt Foe, which allows you to spend a move action to get a +1 to some skills and damage that never scales, can fail, and if it fails shuts down this key (but terrible) feature for 24 hours against all creatures, not just the one you tried it on.
It's cool, it's very poorly edited, it's an open book how much of it works. See other threads dedicated to asking these questions.
Unlike the ranger-wannabe, this faux-barian actually works very well.
1st: Meaningful melee damage bonus that scales! With meaningful duration! Also a will save boost and AC penalty.
5th: Temporary HP! = level is not great but it's not bad.
9th: Did you miss? You can spend 1 RP to hit and do minimum damage. Not bad at all with all the static damage boosts you can get in melee and the three attacks per round you can get. Spend RP like water to keep up DPR on tough bosses. No reaction requirement, so you can do it as many times per round as you want.
13th: It's a second instance of the excellent Enhanced Resistance feat. Now you're presumably running around with DR/- and fire resistance equal to half level.
17th: Change your 13th level type of resistance as a reaction or swift action. It's permanent until changed again, but only one change between stamina rests. Congratulations, you don't need to spend money or armor upgrade slots on all those standard defensive upgrades.
This is great, and combined with Blitz as your secondary fighting style is probably the powergamer's choice for melee soldiers now.
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My Favorite was Squad Fighting Style for Soldiers.
Coordinated shot as a bonus feat. Your allies gain the benefits of Coordinated shot even if you're giving that target cover.
Combine that with Advanced Coordination gear boost and it literally doesn't matter where you're standing, your allies will get +1 ranged attack vs anything you threaten, even if you're directly in its way.
Full Action to move twice your speed and make an attack, but the target must be threatening an Ally. Once per 10 min rest.
This can really give you some good battlefield maneuverability if something unexpected happens to your back line.
Move Action, spend an RP to teleport and swap places with on Ally within 60 ft.
This has all sorts of shenanigans you can do with battlefield control.
You and allies using you for Flanking increase the bonus to hit by 1. If the flanked creature takes a guarded step, it provokes AoOs from you and anyone else that you're flanking with.
Extra to hit, and better keeps enemies in your control.
Pick 3 Combat feats you have. When you start your turn next to an Ally, spend a reaction to let them gain the benefits of that feat for 1 round. They must meet the pre-reqs.
Situational, but can definitely be useful and allow a lot more adaptability for your party. Can even give give them DR or resistance with your reaction if you want to.
Overall, this is the team player fighting style I've been looking for, and finally will make me break from always leaning towards "I kind would rather go Blitz solider" all the time.
Squad Fighting Style is full of stuff that looks innocent enough on the surface but just seethes with it-all-adds-up numerical efficiency under the hood.
Wrathful has that L9 ability that raises questions about how guaranteed hits are supposed to work with concealment, mirror image and injection delivery.
Qi Adept also raises so many questions about what stacks with what.