A friend is throwing together a home brew game using pfs and aside from me the other 4 players don’t have a lot of experience so I’ve been waiting to make my class decision. Right now we have a asmodeus warpriest, a bard, an air elemental blaster sorcerer, and a standard magus. Not looking to play a cleric but otherwise open to suggestions to shore up the party.
That's a very balanced party as it stands; you could do pretty much whatever you want. You've nixed Cleric (which is a very solid class for someone new to the system), and I presume that also applies to Cleric-like classes such as the Oracle, but that still leaves a huge number of class options. A couple of other options that come to mind:
Fighter: very solid class if you want to play as a peerless warrior. Using the Advanced Weapon Training options can be help address the Fighter's natural inflexibility; Warrior Spirit and Item Mastery feats can give you unusual abilities, Armed Bravery helps your otherwise weak saving throws, and Versatile Training greatly expands your skill repertoire.
Wizard: classic for a reason and a great complement to the Sorcerer. The ability to change spell preparation from one day to the next is great to allow you to try out different spells. Wizards are also one of the easiest classes in the game to build for. Max intelligence, pick a school to specialize in, and don't oppose conjuration or transmutation. Follow those three rules and you will have a good wizard build and the rest is just figuring out the best way to use your spells.
Alchemist: extremely versatile class that can do a whole bunch of different things. High explosives, alchemical concoctions, mutations, and a wide variety of unique ways to build the class. There are so many different ways to build and play the alchemist.
You already have 3 6th level casters and a 9th level caster. Both the warpriest and the bard have access to healing spells so that is covered. With a bard, magus and a sorcerer you have plenty of arcane spells. What you don’t have is a full BAB class. While both the warpriest and the magus do well in combat they both have a tendency to rely on limited resources. When they are fully buffed they are very good, but will often run out of steam. It also looks like you may not have a wilderness specialist. That to me suggests a ranger. Depending on the build of the bard an archery focused ranger could be very useful.
I should point out, I'm not new to the system, been playing for almost 10 years now. The rest of the party is very new to Pathfinder and tabletop RPG's but are very familiar with RPG settings.
I have a shield champion brawler rolled up but a switch hitting ranger might be better because the GM hinted there would be a decent amount of outdoors time.
I agree with Dasrak - that seems like a pretty balanced party to begin with. You should be able to play what you want to play without worrying too much.
Since you said that you want to shore up the party, I do have some thoughts to share.
With your experience and four new players, playing a buffer character may make their game more enjoyable for them. I would have recommended a Bard, except you already have one. The Skald class is very similar, but the buffs from the two classes can stack for the entire party. Pick a different set of skills to focus on, or just tag-team with the bard on important things like Diplomacy. Pick "Urban Skald", and the Magus and Warpriest will love you.
If you do not want to occupy so much turf of another character for the entire campaign, you can decide to switch-hit with a class like the Medium. You need another fighter? Today he is a champion. You need emergency healing, that day he is a Hierophant. You need a class skill that no one wants on a permanent basis (Profession: Barrister)? Then he can channel a trickster. The downside to the class is how complicated it can be.
The last of my trifecta of support characters is the Unsworn Shaman. It can play a lot like a wizard in being very flexible when using a Lore spirit and the Arcane Enlightenment hex to pick and choose which spells. The plus side is you do not have to find the spell in a book! The down side is that you need decent CHA, WIS and INT scores for a character. That, and the character can get stuck playing as a cleric, which you said that you did not want.
The above was my first take. My second take is that your party is a little short on ranged melee. You have a blaster sorcerer, but an archer would fill in some gaps that the other characters could not easily do. Hunter? Zen Archer Monk? Ranger?
But then I started thinking about the current party's makeup. One full caster and three 2/3 casters. That suggests your sweet spot where you do not get left behind and do not outshine everyone else would be another 2/3 caster. So, back to Hunter or Skald. Or maybe a Questioner Investigator.
Personally? I would pick a dexterity-focused Halfling Swashbuckler (Inspired Blade) 1/Medium 16 that focuses on Dex and uses a Rapier. (Favored class: Medium, 15 favored class bonuses into tha Seance Boon).
Doing that delays the decision about how to bolster the party to each game session you play. Champion, Marshal and Trickster spirits all use the same ability score. Rest a day, and switch to what you need. Need a caster? He may not be a true 2/3 caster, but in a pinch he can pick up Arcane or Hierophant and mimic one when needed. With a dex focus, he can put a few points into the mental skill (CHA) needed to cast.
And some of the spells he gets as a half caster are pretty solid. Teleport as a fourth level spell? No one else in the party will have that.
How about Mesmerist? Your stare with the Sluggish option for Bold Stare and intimidate on a Charisma based class will help at least the Sorcerer and Magus by killing the enemy saves (Bard and Warpriest might also get benefit depending on their spell options). The class also has plenty of other debilitation magic which (depending on the Bard's spell selection) you might be lacking. With a party of damage dealers you're never going to totally miss triggering Painful Stare (though missing the bonus you get for triggering it yourself hurts), Mesmerist Tricks are another party bonus and Touch Treatment can help with condition removal the Warpriest might not have the spells prepared to deal with.
I joined a Giantslayers campaign at level 4 with a party of pretty unoptimized characters and players of very varied experience levels. It's been fun RP-wise because I have my personality change when my Spirits change (and if we get to level 6 and I get two spirits I suggested our DM choose one and I choose another and I have to combine their personalities). Mechanically it's been interesting because I can change my hexes every day, so I can be a crafter one day, a multi-natural-weapon fighter another day, and a Slumber/Flight/Misfortune/Cackler a third. Since I didn't know what to expect from the players, I wanted to choose a class that had a lot of flexibility so I could adapt easily to the other characters/players.
Here is one to consider
Standard Aasimar (Variant reroll for daylight spell)
Stargazer (Life) Oracle 1/Enlightened Paladin 2/Lore Warden(PFSFG) Fighter 1-17
14 12 14 8 16 14
Take Fey foundling 1st level and Powerless Prophecy revelation (for uncanny dodge)
3rd Extra Revelation (Channel energy)
4th level go fighter. Take snake style
5th take guided hand and channel smite
I prefer using a falchion. It's a pretty nasty class. Especially once you start taking skill focus and alterness to boost your snake style.
Traits: Anxious (Drawback), Magical knack (oracle), Vigilant Battler, Wisdom in the Flesh (acrobatics)
Alternate racial traits: Exalted Resistance, scion of humanity.
Items: Adamantium keen falchion, belt of mighty constitution, daredevil softpaws boots, handy haversack, headband of inspired wisdom, potions of bull strength, cloak of resistance, saliharion for your monster identification. Wand of Divine Weapon.
Great saves. Great BAB, decent skills. Backup healer. Can't be flat footed to lose snake style and gets a bonus versus feign.
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I'm against the idea of playing something to balance the party.
I think you should play something that allows everyone to enjoy the game more, and get more involved in it.
My biggest suggestion would be a Druid.
1. You can use control magic to make it easier for the Magus/Warpriest to reach enemies and slaughter them.
2. You can provide off-healing to make the Warpriest able to spend more
Focus on buffing themselves and the Bard to do more swashbuckling and cool stuff.
3. You can go into Wild Shape and flank for them to make their BAB be stronger.
4. There's no one else in the team prepared to give resources for expeditions, and a Druid could ensure you have food, light sources, you name it.
5. The Druid can also help take heat off the sorcerer so they can do their blasting in peace, with control spells and wild shapes to tank.
|Mark Hoover 330|
Wow. I could literally suggest anything other than Cleric and it would work well with the existing party.
The OP suggested outdoor time, so that made me think Druid/Hunter/Ranger. Others have pointed out there's no brutish frontline martial type, so that made me think Barbarian/Bloodrager/Brawler/Fighter/Ranger/Unchained Monk/Skald.
The bottom line is, you could be whatever you wanted here. To meet the "outdoor time" requirements all you really need would be Survival as a Class Skill; this is obtainable with either a Trait or by picking one of a number of classes. You don't want to go Cleric but that only tells me what you DON'T want.
Say you picked a switch hitter ranger as you suggested. Optimizing a Dex build ranger, taking feats around ranged attacks with your Ranger Style focusing on Weapon Finesse, Combat Reflexes and maybe Lunge from the Fencing line you could be a pretty effective martial type. However if you chose a Str based Brawler or Fighter you could do the same thing optimizing around thrown weapons as your ranged option and focusing a lot of feats that also give attack/damage bonuses on melee attacks.
If you went Fighter/Brawler, putting a few skill ranks into Survival and having at least a 12 in Wis would be helpful not only for Will saves but also for the outdoor time. You could tank up your AC on either build and be a monster up front, or from range, and dominate using your skills outside, moreso if you ran the ranger/hunter/druid or outdoorsy type archetypes for other classes.
But then... what about the 4 newbies?
You've got four folks new to PF who are playing four characters that require good resource management and knowledge of lots of different types of spells-vs-defenses. The Magus especially needs to time their Arcane Pool usage well at low levels to make sure they don't nova at an inappropriate time.
What those players might need is a guide, someone with patience but also humility. Someone capable of plugging themselves in where needed, shoring up weaknesses in combat and outside of it as well.
Do these players understand what "outdoor time" needs? Do they know how to use Diplomacy to the utmost in a settlement? Do they understand how to ID monsters and what use that will be in a fight? Do they appreciate recon, intel gathering on upcoming engagements, the skills and Wis score to know when they're being played by an evil NPC, and so on?
My suggestion would be an Inquisitor.
Take a character that is easily capable of switch hitting (Crossbow and melee weapon), gets a couple spells and class abilities they can share out to the others, and has plenty of skills to not only help outside of combat but, in a fight, has targeted utility around those skills to improve his and his party's chance of success (Intimidation to Demoralize and Monster Lore get a boost by this class).
Inquisitors with limited Judgment usage, a small pool of spells and 3/4 BAB won't outshine any one PC in the group, giving the other 4 newbs their time in the spotlight, but a couple times a day this PC can put themselves center stage.
The baseline Inquistor, before any archetypes or even a race is chosen, gets 6 + Int bonus skills/level, a Domain, a bonus of half level (min 1) to Intimidate, add their Wis bonus to other bonuses for knowledge checks specifically to ID monsters, and as they level they get tracking, alignment detection, Wis bonus to Initiative, bonus Teamwork feats as well as counting all allies as if having those feats for the purpose of how well they help the Inquisitor, Bane a number of rounds/day = to level... the list goes on.
There's builds that give you an Animal Companion, trade the Domain for an Inquisition, you're more of an outdoorsy type or even one kind that trades Intimidate bonuses for Diplomacy bonuses instead and actually hands out Teamwork feats to the rest of the party. While that one might not be helpful to anyone but the Magus, that potential exists.
So my suggestion would be to play an Inquisitor. I'd suggest the vanilla one, but you can mod it as needed. Go switch hitter with Ranged feats and Teamwork feats to aid your use of the Crossbow while your melee skills focus on perhaps a reach weapon. Since you only get Simple weapons as well as weapons of your faith, I'm a huge fan of Weapon Focus: Glaive/Bladed Brush/Weapon Finesse, but you can go whatever way you want I suppose.
As the senior player, it might be easy for you to steal everyone's glory by accident: I have. In a situation like that, I'd prefer to play a support character like a ninja-sniper spy, and be the one who quietly shepherds the party, making sure they know that the barrels full of spices actually IS the treasure and quietly keep the whole party from getting TPK'd.
Those are three good choices but hear me out.
Yes its doubling up on bard, however it trades out inspire courage for a bardic performance that hands out combat feats to your party. I suggest that you take this archetype, and take a bunch of teamwork feats, which you then hand out to the party based on the situation. It even moves your casting stat to Wisdom. One bard can be the face, and your bard can be the knowledge focused character.
As the experienced character, this lets you kind of guide the newer players to good combat tactics by boosting them with teamwork feats, and you can kind of act in an advisory role by taking on the knowledge skill role.
You also get free proficiency in some dwarven weapon, so if you ever wanted to mess around with the dorn dergar, longhammer or giantsticker you get essentially a bonus feat.
Going to give my vote for Druid. It has the kind of utility the party otherwise lacks sufficient quantity of while the other two are just brutes who risk killing things in ways that outshine the others. Animal Companion is the biggest danger, but there are choices like wolf that compliment melee fighters instead of replacing them.