Post your best gish


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It's hard to make an effective Gish in 2e currently. But is it impossible? I'm guessing it depends on what you are looking for .

I actually don't have an idea on one really. I've seen some mention of a fighter with a changing staff and a ton of true strike. But is that really better than just taking fighter feats?


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So I'm hoping to (I'm the gm this season) run a mountain monk/bard. The monk chassis offers excellent action economy giving you the space to add spells or compsitions to your routine, the unarmed style means your not worried about hands for components and mountain monk frees a stat boost to put into charisma. The bard side of things gives you some ranged options, let's you self buff and heal as well as improving your skill breadth with skills that are almost universally useful.


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If by Gish you mean a martial character who uses magic to boost himself, then, sorry, PF2 is a locked-down game where actual bonuses (that go above and beyond an already maxed-out character) are very hard to come by.

As I understand "gish", the idea is that working from a decent baseline, you spend your minmaxing efforts on magic effects instead of weapons training, to end up with the same end result. Or, if we're being honest, a better, more flexible, result in previous editions (mostly because anything with magic was always better than a mundane fighter).

I don't see that happening in PF2. The devs have spent considerable energies to stop any and all "shortcuts" to power. It would be much easier to just reskin your fighter feats as mystical or supernatural in nature. It might be possible to replace some of them with magic effects, but I wouldn't count on it.

You can create a martial character that uses spells on the side for utility, though. I see a much larger potential in this regard. For instance, if your fighter could gain the Fly spell, that would be a very strong combination, since it would mean you wouldn't need a spellcaster to project your considerable melee power against unreachable foes.

You would still fight using muscles and sweat rather than mind-games and swirling energies, though.

And you would probably find that losing out on so many fighter feats just to pick enough dedication feats to gain useful spells makes this a role-play rather than a minmax play.

Optimal players likely resign themselves to what the game wants them to play: a fighter that's best at fighting, and a wizard that's best at wizarding (=controlling the battlefield).

As I said PF2 is an extraordinarily locked-down game. In short: its devs really hate broken power combos.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That's not what gish is. Gish is, essentially, a Fighter/Arcane Caster with a focus on martial fighting augmented by magic. 3.5 Duskblade and PF1 Magus are prime examples of gishes. It has nothing to do with "getting ahead of power curve", it's about being an efficient blend of a martial warrior and arcane caster.

Ravingdork has build several interesting gish builds, this being one example.

And I think that a full-on gish archetype was mentioned recently as coming up in the Advanced Player's Guide.


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OP - what is your definition of a gish here? That will give an indication as to whether it is impossible

Because you can do Fighter multiclass wizard who can invest in Intelligence instead of Dex due to heavy plate armour making it not necessary

That qualifies as a gish I would imagine? It gets higher level slots than the old magus and is much easier to play throughout and adventuring career than the old eldritch night

I don’t fully understand Zapp’s ranting diatribe but I am sure this is the second time in the last few days when they have neglected to ignore an OP question (one being on one of my threads) in favour of lambasting 2E instead . This is decidedly unhelpful

I also don’t quite get exactly what Zapp defines a gish as. It sounds quite like they think gish means better at fighting than a fighter due to using spells. Well that is not really part of the game. But a fighter wizard multiclass can self cast heroism to boost attack on their own higher than a plain fighter. But they do so at the expense of combat options through fighter feats

In this instance the OP indirectly encouraged such as response by asking if it was impossible - which was greater with an eager “yes”

But the post asks for “best” gish builds. Anti 2E rants are not overly helpful

But as said it would be useful to consider what the OP thinks of as a gish


Fighter multiclassed into Wizard or Monk multiclass into Bard are no gishes. Otherwise, every 1E Paladin and Rangers would be gishes as they have access to spells.
A gish is a character who needs magic to deal his melee damage. Magus, Warpriest, Arcane Trickster are gishes.
Roughly, if you can make a whole fight without casting a spell and still be efficient, you're not playing a gish.

I've found one functional gish in 2E. It's a bow Scoundrel Rogue who uses Dread Striker to get their enemies Flat-Footed. Because Demoralize is limited to once per enemy, you need Fear spell to apply Frightened condition. So, every round, he casts Fear on an opponent and then shoots him with his bow. And despite the loss of 2 actions for a spell, he maintains a DPR quite close to a more classical Rogue (80% of what a Thief can do).

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
SuperBidi wrote:
Fighter multiclassed into Wizard or Monk multiclass into Bard are no gishes.

The original gish was gityhanki Fighter/Wizard, so I don't really know what to tell you, apart from the fact that somebody who uses arcane magic to buff their martial capability is as much a gish as somebody who channels shocking grasp through their sword by whatever means.

What gishes are NOT is they are not divine casters. So, your "Paladins and Rangers are gishes" argument is not valid. The term refers exclusively to arcane magic uses.


Bards almost fit into gish I think their was an archetype that made them more so. It's still hard to think of them that way but they almost hit all the requirements. You could probably make a gish out of a ranger. just not by itself.

But yeah I hear gish my mind goes to fighter/wizard.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Well there we go, it is impossible to make a gish in all editions because no one can decide what it is.


I don't have all my build notes on hand, I just know the one thing I'm really keeping at eye out for in choosing spells on my Fighter/Wizard is avoiding material components. Because in this edition you can cast somatic components without needing a totally free hand, so I can keep sword and board going at the same time, but you do need a free hand for a material / focus component.


So in that case eschew materials might have some use?


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Lanathar wrote:
That qualifies as a gish I would imagine? It gets higher level slots than the old magus and is much easier to play throughout and adventuring career than the old eldritch night

That's not true. Multiclass spell slots are great at level 12+, but you hardly get any from levels 1-11.


I think I meant that gameplay was easier at low levels in general , unrelated to spell slots . But that clearly got muddled in with the point immediately prior

I think what I was suggesting is that early on trying to be an eldritch knight either takes ages or puts you behind the curve - such as having to play fighter 1 / wizard 1. Fighter 2 with wizard dedication seems like a more playable character

It looks like a cycle though with each editions having certain ranges of levels where the build is more effective


Lanathar wrote:
So in that case eschew materials might have some use?

Nope. It still requires a free hand.


Gorbacz wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Fighter multiclassed into Wizard or Monk multiclass into Bard are no gishes.

The original gish was gityhanki Fighter/Wizard, so I don't really know what to tell you, apart from the fact that somebody who uses arcane magic to buff their martial capability is as much a gish as somebody who channels shocking grasp through their sword by whatever means.

What gishes are NOT is they are not divine casters. So, your "Paladins and Rangers are gishes" argument is not valid. The term refers exclusively to arcane magic uses.

I may not have been clear. What I mean is that you need to use magic a bit more often than once in a blue moon. Being able to cast Comprehend Languages doesn't make a gish out of your character.

A level 10 Fighter muliclassed into Wizard has 4 spells per day, half of them being level 1, that's not a gish unless you use scrolls or wands during fight.
So, being a gish is not just using magic on a martial, it's blending magic and combat.


I have a sorcerer in my group with the champion dedication that's been working out quite well from what I've seen. Currently level 7, wearing full plate and can mix it up in melee combat fairly decently with his draconic heritage. He buffs and debuffs, has a high Intimidate, and has become the "catch-all skill monkey" with Clever Improviser. At level 8, he's planning to take Champion's Reaction to grab Glimpse of Redemption to further his protector role.

Let me acknowledge (as he does) that he doesn't have a ton of HP, but it hasn't yet become an issue. He's held his own in magic and martial matters, but he definitely excels when it comes to casting. His current wishlist for the APG is some form of Sorcerer archetype that would allow him to reach only master in spellcasting, but also master in his weapons.


Ruzza wrote:

I have a sorcerer in my group with the champion dedication that's been working out quite well from what I've seen. Currently level 7, wearing full plate and can mix it up in melee combat fairly decently with his draconic heritage. He buffs and debuffs, has a high Intimidate, and has become the "catch-all skill monkey" with Clever Improviser. At level 8, he's planning to take Champion's Reaction to grab Glimpse of Redemption to further his protector role.

Let me acknowledge (as he does) that he doesn't have a ton of HP, but it hasn't yet become an issue. He's held his own in magic and martial matters, but he definitely excels when it comes to casting. His current wishlist for the APG is some form of Sorcerer archetype that would allow him to reach only master in spellcasting, but also master in his weapons.

What is the build / stat spread ?


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
SuperBidi wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Fighter multiclassed into Wizard or Monk multiclass into Bard are no gishes.

The original gish was gityhanki Fighter/Wizard, so I don't really know what to tell you, apart from the fact that somebody who uses arcane magic to buff their martial capability is as much a gish as somebody who channels shocking grasp through their sword by whatever means.

What gishes are NOT is they are not divine casters. So, your "Paladins and Rangers are gishes" argument is not valid. The term refers exclusively to arcane magic uses.

I may not have been clear. What I mean is that you need to use magic a bit more often than once in a blue moon. Being able to cast Comprehend Languages doesn't make a gish out of your character.

A level 10 Fighter muliclassed into Wizard has 4 spells per day, half of them being level 1, that's not a gish unless you use scrolls or wands during fight.
So, being a gish is not just using magic on a martial, it's blending magic and combat.

Are we forgetting cantrips? Shield strikes me as particularly nice for a two or open hand martial. My aforementioned monk will be using the ranged cantrips quite often (once he has burned ki rush mountain isnt the most mobile) and also at level 8 he can inspire every round.


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Lanathar wrote:
Ruzza wrote:

I have a sorcerer in my group with the champion dedication that's been working out quite well from what I've seen. Currently level 7, wearing full plate and can mix it up in melee combat fairly decently with his draconic heritage. He buffs and debuffs, has a high Intimidate, and has become the "catch-all skill monkey" with Clever Improviser. At level 8, he's planning to take Champion's Reaction to grab Glimpse of Redemption to further his protector role.

Let me acknowledge (as he does) that he doesn't have a ton of HP, but it hasn't yet become an issue. He's held his own in magic and martial matters, but he definitely excels when it comes to casting. His current wishlist for the APG is some form of Sorcerer archetype that would allow him to reach only master in spellcasting, but also master in his weapons.

What is the build / stat spread ?

I'm going off my memory here (and I know he lurks on these forums and never posts, but I'll try and do it justice).

Ancestry: Human
Heritage: Half-Orc
Class: Draconic Sorcerer (Level 7)

  • Str 18
  • Dex 12
  • Con 14
  • Int 10
  • Wis 12
  • Cha 19

2nd level: Champion Dedication
4th level: I want to say Bespell Weapon, but I haven't seen it get used. It could just be Champion Resiliency
6th level: Advanced Bloodline
8th level (when he reaches it): Champion's Reaction

If he ends up in melee or needs to provide flanking for the martial in the group, he uses his Dragon Claws and does a decent bit of damage. He generally debuffs stronger foes with Slow or Touch of Idiocy, buffs the martial with Haste, and blasts with Magic Missile or controls weaker groups with Sleep. He's been solid in my group.


Gorbacz wrote:
That's not what gish is. Gish is, essentially, a Fighter/Arcane Caster with a focus on martial fighting augmented by magic. 3.5 Duskblade and PF1 Magus are prime examples of gishes.

Isn't that EXACTLY what I said??

Quote:
It has nothing to do with "getting ahead of power curve", it's about being an efficient blend of a martial warrior and arcane caster.

a) why would you ever study arcane magics if you wouldn't get better results than a "plain" fighter? All I'm saying here is: previous editions gave magic-users "more" than non-magic users. There was a reason the plain fighter was considered among the least powerful/flexible characters. "Gishing out" was a popular method of escaping that. None of those expectations hold up in PF2.

b) if you roleplay that your gish is a less physical character (putting valuable points that could go into Str/Dex/Con into Intelligence instead), what do you gain for that? If all your magics do is put you back where you started, that is, not "ahead" on the power curve, all you have is a less physically powerful character who "only" complicates things by having to cast magics to match his "plain" fighter friends.

In short: there was a reason (besides "its fun") for gishes. Not sure there is now. Meaning if the game is so well balanced that all your complicated build shenanigans only allow you to retain the power level of a "plain" fighter, then all you've accomplished is a more complex path to the same result.

You might come from a previous edition of Pathfinder or Dungeons & Dragons and expect greater power in exchange for a more intricate and complex build, and...

... you would be well advised to adjust those expectations, is all I'm sayin'...


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Zapp wrote:
In short: there was a reason (besides "its fun") for gishes. Not sure there is now. Meaning if the game is so well balanced that all your complicated build shenanigans only allow you to retain the power level of a "plain" fighter, then all you've accomplished is a more complex path to the same result.

All in all, "it's fun" is the only reason necessary.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Zapp wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
That's not what gish is. Gish is, essentially, a Fighter/Arcane Caster with a focus on martial fighting augmented by magic. 3.5 Duskblade and PF1 Magus are prime examples of gishes.

Isn't that EXACTLY what I said??

Quote:
It has nothing to do with "getting ahead of power curve", it's about being an efficient blend of a martial warrior and arcane caster.

a) why would you ever study arcane magics if you wouldn't get better results than a "plain" fighter? All I'm saying here is: previous editions gave magic-users "more" than non-magic users. There was a reason the plain fighter was considered among the least powerful/flexible characters. "Gishing out" was a popular method of escaping that. None of those expectations hold up in PF2.

b) if you roleplay that your gish is a less physical character (putting valuable points that could go into Str/Dex/Con into Intelligence instead), what do you gain for that? If all your magics do is put you back where you started, that is, not "ahead" on the power curve, all you have is a less physically powerful character who "only" complicates things by having to cast magics to match his "plain" fighter friends.

In short: there was a reason (besides "its fun") for gishes. Not sure there is now. Meaning if the game is so well balanced that all your complicated build shenanigans only allow you to retain the power level of a "plain" fighter, then all you've accomplished is a more complex path to the same result.

You might come from a previous edition of Pathfinder or Dungeons & Dragons and expect greater power in exchange for a more intricate and complex build, and...

... you would be well advised to adjust those expectations, is all I'm sayin'...

I think you are the only person who is coming in with this perception that gish needs to be a power gain. Everyone else seems to be happy with fun, viable and different.

In terms of what you do gain, versatility. Yeah your raw numbers aren't going to be better, but there is something to be said for not having to keep a fully upgraded back up ranged weapon, or spending your feats to gain spell effects rather than your gold on items to achieve the same result.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I've played with a couple variations of "gish" characters, to me gish is just a martial that casts in combat as well to supplement thier abilities.

If you must be arcane then Monk/Arcane bloodline Sorc. Monk to me is clearly the best option for a base, great defense at no cost, great action economy, great saves, crazy movement speed. Cool abilities.

Sorcs now get signature spells when Archetyping from the Errata which for me makes them clearly better than having to prepare. Just set True Strike as a Signature Spell and now I can have space for other things instead of just preparing 1 thing all day.

If non arcane is cool with your "gish" occult bloodline can be great, gets true strike, haste, and heroism.

But arcane let's you access Ring of Wizardry for sexy extra slots.

Built to 20 EDIT: Just noticed the spells are messed up here somehow, gonna have to fix that real quick. Fixed

The concept being to use True Strike in combination with the big 2 action single strike abilities like Tiger Slash and Shattering Strike, while also being mobile and doing Monk things.

I also put points into Deception since I like those abilities, Reveal Machinations is just funny thematically "It was me the whole time! mwhaha"

I've also done a variation of this where you take more Ki Spells instead of Shattering/Disrupt Ki. Where you can teleport and heal while also having the arcane spells.


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Zapp wrote:
a) why would you ever study arcane magics if you wouldn't get better results than a "plain" fighter? All I'm saying here is: previous editions gave magic-users "more" than non-magic users. There was a reason the plain fighter was considered among the least powerful/flexible characters. "Gishing out" was a popular method of escaping that. None of those expectations hold up in PF2.

1) Even though your family has a long tradition of practicing the arcane arts you felt called in another direction, to hone your physical potential. Still, the tradition is a strong one, and you've learned a few tricks along the way. - Wizard or Sorcerer

2) After adventuring alongside spell casters for some time you found that you had to admit sometimes a sword isn't the best solution for every problem, and had you friends teach you a thing or two. - Any spellcaster

3) From a young age you've trained in a variety of combat arts, designed to help you overcome any sort of foe that comes your way. A blade handles most, but sometimes fire is needed to burn a troll, or a charm spell can turn a guard to your side for just long enough. - Wizard

4) You always felt a call to the sea and the waves, and joined the navy or a pirate crew, learning the basics of combat and the ways of the ship. But the oceans call only grew stronger, and after nearly drowning it suddenly manifested as a latent sorcererous bloodline. - Sorcerer

5) While taking watch at camp one night a black cat suddenly appeared in the fire light, and whispered in a voice that offered secrets and power to tempting to pass up. - Witch

6) Your trek through the icy tundra finally resulted in your victory, felling a might linnoworm, and as it blood washed over you it awakened new abilities in you. - Dragon Sorcerer

I mean, I could go on, but while 'this optimizes my combat efficiency' is a fine story reason, there are so, so many more...


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Or one of my favorites, "Flunked out of a wizard academy and turned to a life of crime to pay back your tuition costs, using what little you've learned and your own deft fingers." - Rogue Wizard/Arcane Trickster

Gish isn't a term used only in powergaming circles, it comes from far before that. (I mean, if we're being literal, gish just means a gith'yanki fighter/magic-user) It really is just anyone who blends the martial and spellcasting ability. The idea that someone would be gishing for anything more than versatility might not have done that much CharOp.


Malk_Content wrote:
Are we forgetting cantrips? Shield strikes me as particularly nice for a two or open hand martial. My aforementioned monk will be using the ranged cantrips quite often (once he has burned ki rush mountain isnt the most mobile) and also at level 8 he can inspire every round.

I agree with you. What I mean is: To qualify as a gish, you need to use magic in your basic combat routine. If you cast spells only to handle very rare cases or as a fallback instead of a -10 attack or mostly outside combat, it's not a gish to me. It's someone who dabbles in magic. So, it's not necessarily about the number of spells, but how you use them. If people consider your character as a caster or not.

Anyway, the border between a proper gish and a non gish is hard to define.

PS: I must admit I don't consider Composition use to valid a gish. They are more Bard features than real spells to me.

Sovereign Court

I thought PF1 inquisitors were also considered gishes? Where'd this non-divine thing suddenly come from?

---

Anyway, I play a fighter multiclassed into wizard. Cantrips give me a better ranged option than taking off my shield and grabbing a bow. Eventually a shifting divination staff with true strike will become part of the plan.

I really dig how the decreased need for Dex (full plate) and changed ratio of HD to Con (10HP+Con is a very different ratio than 6HP+Con) makes it much easier as a fighter to shell out for a mental stat.

It'll probably not be quite as efficient as a pure, combat only fighter. But for the price of 10% combat efficiency I can gain 30% more out of combat usefulness, just by having a variety of good skills now.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It's because doing a divine fighty casty is usually a duh-level no-brainer, due to divine spells being traditionally about buffing. Blessing of fervor, divine whatever, righteous something.

It's mashing fighty with arcane casty where things require a little more creativity.


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I like rogue as the 'martial' half for gishes personally. Light armor is good for 12 levels for caster bases (though you ditch it for no armor when you hit 13 for the unarmored casters), basic trickery for nimble dodge helps a little with being squishy, sneak attack helps make up for weaker weapon specialization, and dread striker combos well with fear spells to help with the accuracy gap for casters. Enchanter might be a nice pick for this, dread aura is a great way to keep enemies scared and a bunch of free spell slots you can use on heightened fear is good too. Bard is also pretty great with dirge of doom. Biggest problem is that you are super squishy.

Zapp wrote:
a) why would you ever study arcane magics if you wouldn't get better results than a "plain" fighter? All I'm saying here is: previous editions gave magic-users "more" than non-magic users. There was a reason the plain fighter was considered among the least powerful/flexible characters. "Gishing out" was a popular method of escaping that. None of those expectations hold up in PF2.

A gish isn't better than a plain fighter at killing things. It is better than a plain fighter at walking through a crack in the wall, sneaking across an open courtyard in broad daylight, turning into a nondescript citizen when hiding in a crowd, charming the guard into letting you pass, flying over the canyon, teleporting out of the prison cell, walking across the river without getting the rare ancient book wet, sending word that the town 3 days away is about to be infiltrated by shapechangers, suppressing the party's scent from guard dogs so you can slip past the castle defenses, surviving the icy grip of the tundra etc. etc. etc. You pursue spellcasting because it adds another dimension to your problem-solving ability assuming you face problems more complex than killing monsters.

Sovereign Court

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Gorbacz wrote:

It's because doing a divine fighty casty is usually a duh-level no-brainer, due to divine spells being traditionally about buffing. Blessing of fervor, divine whatever, righteous something.

It's mashing fighty with arcane casty where things require a little more creativity.

I always thought it was about taking a 3/4 BAB chassis plus magic and turning it into a full featured combatant.

Between the magus and the inquisitor, I have a hard time seeing how one class is obvious and the other isn't.

Now, if we were talking turning a PF1 wizard or arcanist into a viable combatant, that certainly takes some ingenuity.


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I wanted to hit a number of these all at once.

__________________________________________

1. What is a Gish?

Like Gorbacz said, a Gish is most commonly a Martial that can cast spells; and the term originated with the Githyanki. Not that high of a bar to reach.

2. What tradition of magic is a Gish?

With the fact that 2e brought in two new traditions of magic (Occult/Primal) and the original inspiration for the niche was a Fighter/Wizard, Arcane would be the most basic assumption. That said there is a specific Magus Archetype called the 'Nature-Bonded Magus' that reads; 'A nature-bonded magus synergies arcane magic and the divine magic traditions of druids into a deadly synthesis.' This would be good evidence to support that a Gish is pretty much just a Martial/Magic Hybrid, and any tradition could apply.

3. What about MC caster Spell Slots being so low??

Currently Arcane gets the biggest break in this area. By level 10 with a Familiar, a type 2 Ring of Wizardry and the 'Spell' Breadth feat in Caster MC's, you end up with [4/3/1] 1st to 3rd lv spell slots. This is before taking Staves and other items into account.

4. Does magic have to be part of your combat rotation?

Well, frankly no, it doesn't as far as i'm aware.

5. Is a Gish impossible with the 2e system?

Not in the least. There's using a Shifting or off-handing a Divination Staff for a pool of True Strikes that was mentioned; using Jump to trigger Bespell Weapon for Flurry builds; Channel Smite for getting Harm infused powerful strikes; and shifting a fight with significant buff/debuff spells to tip a 50/50 fight into a 60/40 one.

6. Is this any better than a Fighter/Martial just grabbing their own feats?

Depends on the build in particular. Using the previous examples the answer is yes, but it comes with the catch of having a pretty limited pool of resources to rely on; and spamming too much will result in spans of less than optimal play than if you were going with a regular Martial Build; but in well timed scenarios you will be rather strong.

________________________________

Currently i'm looking into making a build with a Scoundrel Rogue that focuses on Innate Spellcasting to be an Arcane Trickster. I want to see how effective it can be w/o multi-classing.


You can typically recognize a Gish from quite a ways away.

They carry Bastard swords.

Sovereign Court

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rainzax wrote:

You can typically recognize a Gish from quite a ways away.

They carry Bastard swords.

Now that you can do somatic components with your hands full, there's actually a lot more possible, such as polearm gishes and sword and board gishes.


If I type gish meaning on Google:
Wiktionary. gish(Noun) A magician, or character that is skilled in both physical combat and the use of magic. Most gish characters use their magical abilities to increase their own personal combat abilities (known as "buffing").

So, inquisitors are gishes according to this definition. And it says "skilled", so casting spells is not enough if it's way under your fighting abilities (so PF1 paladins are no gishes).

Sovereign Court

Yeah I'd say full martials aren't gishes, and "archcaster" full casters aren't either. In PF1 terms, gishes were mostly the 3/4BAB, 6 level spellcasting crowd.


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Malk_Content wrote:
Zapp wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
That's not what gish is. Gish is, essentially, a Fighter/Arcane Caster with a focus on martial fighting augmented by magic. 3.5 Duskblade and PF1 Magus are prime examples of gishes.

Isn't that EXACTLY what I said??

Quote:
It has nothing to do with "getting ahead of power curve", it's about being an efficient blend of a martial warrior and arcane caster.

a) why would you ever study arcane magics if you wouldn't get better results than a "plain" fighter? All I'm saying here is: previous editions gave magic-users "more" than non-magic users. There was a reason the plain fighter was considered among the least powerful/flexible characters. "Gishing out" was a popular method of escaping that. None of those expectations hold up in PF2.

b) if you roleplay that your gish is a less physical character (putting valuable points that could go into Str/Dex/Con into Intelligence instead), what do you gain for that? If all your magics do is put you back where you started, that is, not "ahead" on the power curve, all you have is a less physically powerful character who "only" complicates things by having to cast magics to match his "plain" fighter friends.

In short: there was a reason (besides "its fun") for gishes. Not sure there is now. Meaning if the game is so well balanced that all your complicated build shenanigans only allow you to retain the power level of a "plain" fighter, then all you've accomplished is a more complex path to the same result.

You might come from a previous edition of Pathfinder or Dungeons & Dragons and expect greater power in exchange for a more intricate and complex build, and...

... you would be well advised to adjust those expectations, is all I'm sayin'...

I think you are the only person who is coming in with this perception that gish needs to be a power gain. Everyone else seems to be happy with fun, viable and different.

In terms of what you do gain, versatility. Yeah your raw numbers aren't going to be better, but...

Of course it needs to be a power gain. If you go gish, your abilities are limited to spell slots. If you go straight fighter, your abilities are unlimited. That limitation should offer greater peak power in exchange.


Ascalaphus wrote:
rainzax wrote:

You can typically recognize a Gish from quite a ways away.

They carry Bastard swords.

Now that you can do somatic components with your hands full, there's actually a lot more possible, such as polearm gishes and sword and board gishes.

Wait.

Really?


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rainzax wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
rainzax wrote:

You can typically recognize a Gish from quite a ways away.

They carry Bastard swords.

Now that you can do somatic components with your hands full, there's actually a lot more possible, such as polearm gishes and sword and board gishes.

Wait.

Really?

Yeah, you're free to wiggle your fingers on the hilt of a greatsword in order to do somatic components. Material components still need a hand, but those are pretty rare in this edition.


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Strill wrote:
Of course it needs to be a power gain. If you go gish, your abilities are limited to spell slots. If you go straight fighter, your abilities are unlimited. That limitation should offer greater peak power in exchange.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. A fighter doesn't have unlimited abilities as compared to a gish. They can't fly, hurl fireballs, or haste themselves. Adding in a spellcasting counterpart confers to them those abilities that, like all spellcasters, have spell slots. You're adding versatility without increasing overall power.

Though it could, and should, be argued that more versatility is a form of power.


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Ruzza wrote:
Strill wrote:
Of course it needs to be a power gain. If you go gish, your abilities are limited to spell slots. If you go straight fighter, your abilities are unlimited. That limitation should offer greater peak power in exchange.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. A fighter doesn't have unlimited abilities as compared to a gish. They can't fly, hurl fireballs, or haste themselves. Adding in a spellcasting counterpart confers to them those abilities that, like all spellcasters, have spell slots. You're adding versatility without increasing overall power.

Though it could, and should, be argued that more versatility is a form of power.

I mean limited in terms of how many times they can use it. A Fighter's abilities can be used all day. Spells cannot. If you're getting your abilities from spells, they should be more powerful than similar at-will abilities to compensate for the fact that they cost spell slots.


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But a gish can do what a martial can do. They're less limited by design. To say that a martial can use abilities all day doesn't stop a gish from using those same abilities all day, they just get that AND spellcasting.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Strill wrote:
Ruzza wrote:
Strill wrote:
Of course it needs to be a power gain. If you go gish, your abilities are limited to spell slots. If you go straight fighter, your abilities are unlimited. That limitation should offer greater peak power in exchange.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. A fighter doesn't have unlimited abilities as compared to a gish. They can't fly, hurl fireballs, or haste themselves. Adding in a spellcasting counterpart confers to them those abilities that, like all spellcasters, have spell slots. You're adding versatility without increasing overall power.

Though it could, and should, be argued that more versatility is a form of power.

I mean limited in terms of how many times they can use it. A Fighter's abilities can be used all day. Spells cannot. If you're getting your abilities from spells, they should be more powerful than similar at-will abilities to compensate for the fact that they cost spell slots.

Yes. I was talking about the overall power of the character, which considers nova, sustain, durability, utility and versatility. In general you are trading out sustain and durability for nova, utility and versatility. The trade is just roughly even, close enough that we can debate on its efficacy without it coming up either clearly over or under powered.


Ruzza wrote:
But a gish can do what a martial can do. They're less limited by design. To say that a martial can use abilities all day doesn't stop a gish from using those same abilities all day, they just get that AND spellcasting.

If they're a gish, then they're sacrificing a bunch of class feats that they could be using on other things. Yes, they can technically do martial things and spellcasting, but they're missing out on a ton of martial stuff.


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Interesting discussion but it I feel this subtext discussion is beginning to take away from the main one.

That is. Posting your best Gish builds.

IMO all that required of a Gish is a character that it's roughly equal parts martial and caster.

Meaning a fighter that takes all combat feats up get more spell slots is still a Gish even if their martial options are rather limited.

I could see monk doing well since after fob they have 2 open actions and no real feat taxes up buff damage much until high level and only for specific builds.


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Strill wrote:
Ruzza wrote:
But a gish can do what a martial can do. They're less limited by design. To say that a martial can use abilities all day doesn't stop a gish from using those same abilities all day, they just get that AND spellcasting.
If they're a gish, then they're sacrificing a bunch of class feats that they could be using on other things. Yes, they can technically do martial things and spellcasting, but they're missing out on a ton of martial stuff.

But in this edition you're gaining combat options as a martial, not combat power. Trading out options for options isn't degrading your power in any way. It's still a gish.


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Below you'll find a true strike build I'm considering, taken to level 11. Its more a of a fighter/mage/thief, although I think it qualifies.

Focusing on lighter armor for maximum speed, high strength and dex allows for decent switch hitting. An interesting option presents itself at level 13 with retraining, to grab both sword and bow legendary training via Elven Weapon Expertise. Or keep expert and ancestral longevity and go Universal longevity for wild card skills.

Combat flexibility allows for another fighter feat, probably Sudden Leap for 30 foot jumps vertically on demand. The build can be highly mobile in 3 dimensions.

Elf Martial Disciple Creature 11
Cavern Elf Fighter
Perception +19 (+21 for initiative), Low-light Vision, Darkvision

Languages: Common (Taldane), Elven, Sylvan, Draconic

Skills: Acrobatics +17, Arcana +19 (Master), Athletics +20 (Expert), Medicine +15, Society +15, Stealth +17, Survival +15, Thievery +21 (Master), Warfare Lore +15
At Daily Preparation pick 1 skill to be trained, pick another to go from trained to Expert

Str 20 (+5), Dex 19 (+4), Con 14 (+2), Int 14 (+2), Wis 14 (+2), Cha 10 (+0)

Items: +1 resilient breastplate (508 gp), +2 striking shifting staff of divination (1455 gp), +1 striking composite longbow with 40 arrows (120.4 gp), ring of wizardry (type 1) (360 gp), gloves of storing(360gp), spellbook, wand of Longstrider(2nd)(160 gp), scrolls (fly (70gp), haste (30 gp), enlgarge (12 gp), invisibility (12 gp), alarm (4 gp), fleet step (4gp)), adventurer's pack(0.7gp), bandolier (0.1gp), healer's tools (expanded) (50gp), thieves' tools (infiltrator) (50 gp), grappling hook (0.1 gp), writing set (1 gp), 27 silver pieces

AC 31; Fort +19, Ref +19, Will +17
HP 149

Speed: 50 feet (40 feet without longstrider)
Melee: +2 striking shifting bastard sword +24 (two-handed d12), damage 2d8+8 slashing
Ranged: +1 striking composite longbow +20 (deadly d10, range increment 100 feet, volley 30 feet), damage 2d8+4 piercing

Arcane Prepared Spells DC 25, attack +15;3rd (1 slot) haste, 1st (3 slots) true strike (3)
Note: 2nd level slot given to staff of divination at prep

Cantrips (6th): shield, prestidigitation, light, ghost sound

Ancestry Feats and Abilities: Darkvision, Nimble Elf, Ageless Patience, Ancestral Longevity (B), Expert Longevity

Class Feats: Power Attack, Wizard Dedication, Basic Wizard Spellcasting, Basic Arcana (Expanded Cantrip), Advanced Arcana (Bespell Weapon), Disruptive Stance

Class Abilities: Attack of Opportunity, Shield block, Bravery, Fighter Weapon Mastery, Battlefield Surveyor, Weapon Specialization, Combat Flexibility, Juggernaut, Armor Expertise, Fighter Expertise

General Feats: Fleet, Ancestral Paragon, Toughness

Skill Feats: Quick Jump (B), Cat Fall, Powerful Leap, Assurance (Athletics), Trick Magic Item, Recognize Spell


Ruzza wrote:
Strill wrote:
Ruzza wrote:
But a gish can do what a martial can do. They're less limited by design. To say that a martial can use abilities all day doesn't stop a gish from using those same abilities all day, they just get that AND spellcasting.
If they're a gish, then they're sacrificing a bunch of class feats that they could be using on other things. Yes, they can technically do martial things and spellcasting, but they're missing out on a ton of martial stuff.
But in this edition you're gaining combat options as a martial, not combat power. Trading out options for options isn't degrading your power in any way. It's still a gish.

That's not true. Caster feats generally provide combat options, but martial feats absolutely do provide combat power. They give you more actions per turn. They give you passive perks that apply to the things you're already doing. They give you activities that give more actions than they cost. All of these raise your power. Just look at the Fighter.

Extra actions:
* Combat Reflexes
* Quick Shield Block
* Paragon's Guard
* Stance Savant

Passive Bonuses with no action cost:
* Aggressive Block / Flinging Shove
* Reflexive Shield
* Agile Grace
* Fearsome Brute

Improved action efficiency:
* Sudden Charge
* Quick Reversal
* Two-Weapon Flurry
* Whirlwind Strike
* Spring Attack

The first two categories don't cost you any additional actions, so they're just raw power. The third category are mutually exclusive with other options, but still give you more actions than they cost, so they give you raw power as long as you don't plan to use some other option.


At the OP's request, I'm not going to continue this derail. I disagree with your premise that gishes require the character to get an exchange of more power and that fighter feats provide more power than spellcasting.


Ruzza wrote:
At the OP's request, I'm not going to continue this derail. I disagree with your premise that gishes require the character to get an exchange of more power and that fighter feats provide more power than spellcasting.

Fighter feats aren't stronger than spellcasting. Fighter feats are stronger than caster feats.


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So just for the fun of it, I considered how I might approach a caster gish, using sorcerer as a base.

To help counteract the low hit points, we go champion multiclass dedication, for a Redeemer of Gozreh. We grab heavy armor (half plate) and a shield (plus shield spell for another 15 hit points - which for Draconic bloodline gives +1 shield AC plus 1 status AC). Use cross-blooded sorcerer to eventually add heal to spell list. Utilize defensive arcane spells to help avoid or prevent damage such as Resist Energy, Mirror Image, Illusory Creature, Wall of Wind, Invisibility (4th), Fly, Black Tentacles, Repulsion.

Combine with Glimpse of Redemption to reduce to-hit and damage to allies, while grabbing Vibrant Thorns. Casting heal means enemies take 6d6 piercing damage each time they hit the sorcerer for that round.

Rounding it out with Bespell weapon adds a bit of damage to weapon based attacks, and grabbing a staff of divination for an extra 6 true strikes per day (plus optionally See Invisibility). One could also swap the +1 bonus from the staff to the bow to focus on ranged attacks more. We use elf to be able to grab training in a couple martial melee and ranged weapons that jumps to expert at 11th level.

Raw melee combat stats show the build has +21 to hit and 30 AC (32 with shield) at level 11. Compare that to a maxed Champion with +22 to hit and 32 AC (34 with shield).

Lastly, it is a full caster, giving up nothing of its saving throw DCs or spells per day.

So I present the draconic defender of nature.

Elf Warrior Creature 11
Ancient Elf Sorcerer (Champion of Gozreh)
Perception +15, Low-light Vision

Languages: Common (Taldane), Elven

Skills: Arcana +13, Intimidation +22 (Master) +22, Warfare Lore +13, Religion +13, Survival +13, Athletics +21 (Master), Acrobatics +16, Deception +20 (expert), Nature +13, Elven Lore +13, Stealth +16

Str 19 (+4), Dex 16 (+3), Con 14 (+2), Int 10 (+0), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 20 (+5)

Items: +1 resilient half plate (518 gp), sturdy shield (lesser) (360 gp), +2 striking shifting staff of divination (1455 gp),+1 striking composite longbow with 40 arrows (120.4 gp), ring of wizardry (type 1) (360 gp), wand of Longstrider(2nd)(160 gp), scrolls (haste (30 gp), enlgarge (12 gp), invisibility (12 gp), alarm (4 gp), fleet step (4gp)), adventurer's pack(0.7gp), bandolier (0.1gp), writing set (1 gp), ten 5x5x1 inch sections of stone wall under the effect of shrink item in the bandolier, 162 gold pieces, 8 silver pieces

AC 30 (32 with shield); Fort +17, Ref +18, Will +15
HP 105

Speed: 35 feet (25 feet without longstrider)
Melee: +2 striking shifting longsword +21 (versatile P), damage 2d8+4 slashing + Bespell Weapon
Ranged: +1 striking composite longbow +19 (deadly d10, volley 30), damage 2d8+2 piercing + Bespell Weapon

Arcane Spells DC 30, attack +20;
Spell slots: 5 Cantrips, 1st: 6, 2nd: 4, 3rd: 4, 4th: 4, 5th: 4, 6th: 3

Focus Spells (6th): Dragon Claws, Vibrant Thorns

Cantrips (6th): Shield, Electric Arc, Ray of Frost, Detect Magic, Light, Ghost sound
1st level Spells: True Strike, Magic Missile (Signature), Summon Construct, Gust of Wind, Feather Fall
2nd level Spells: Resist Energy, Heal (Heightened, Signature, Cross-blooded), Mirror Image, Obscuring Mist, Illusory Creature
3rd level Spells: Haste, Fireball (Signature), Slow, Wall of Wind, Shrink Item
4th level Spells: Spell Immunity, Lightning Bolt (Heightened, Signature), Invisibility (Heightened), Confusion, Fly
5th level Spells: Chromatic wall, Cone Of Cold (Signature), Wall of Stone, Black Tentacles, Veil (Heightened)
6th level Spells: Dragon Form, Vampiric Exsanguination (Signature), Repulsion, Disintegrate

Ancestry Feats and Abilities: Multiclass Dedication, Elven Weapon Familiarity, Elven Weapon Elegance, Elven Lore

Class Feats: Champion Dedication (bonus), Dangerous Sorcerery, Basic Devotion (Deity's Domain: Vibrant Thorns), Champion's Reaction, Crossblooded Evolution (Heal Spell), Bespell Weapon

Class Abilities: Draconic Bloodline (Black), sorcerer spellcasting, spell repertoire, signature spells, magical fortitude, expert spellcaster, lightning reflexes, simple weapon expertise

General Feats: Shield Block, Toughness, Fleet

Skill Feats: Intimidating Glare (B), Assurance (Athletics), Intimidating Prowess, Battle Cry, Lie to Me

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