Returning player: Ratfolk trip-flanker advice


Its been a long while since I've played, and I'm looking to get back into a small group. I always wanted to play a ratfolk, and now that I've started trying to hammer out a build, I'm finding some fun stuff and hitting roadblocks with the build concept.

Here's the situation:
1) Character level 3. 3k gold.
2) I don't know what the other party members will be playing.
3) The group is still forming, so presumably 2-3 other players.
4) I want to keep Scurrying Swarmer in the build, because it sounds super fun.
5) I don't need max optimization to have fun.
6) I would like the character to be effective from start to finish (waiting till level 11, 12, etc. for the build to "come online" will end with me just not really enjoying each session)
7) There doesn't need to be a master endgame plan.

So that being said, I started with a Hunter concept, for teamwork feats, but I keep feeling like my animal companion would be a drain on my feats, and I'm worried I will have to split my combat time between helping friends and managing the pet so it doesn't die. The simpler it is for my builds to function, the more time I can spend participating with and helping the other players, if that makes sense.

After scrapping the Hunter, I started looking at the rogue and unchained rogue. Because Scurrying Swarmer would let me get constant Sneak Attack as long as I'm sharing squares and targets with allies, I wanted to maximize on that as much as possible. My main roadblock though, has been with rogue vs unchained rogue. I -really- like Unbalanced Trick because it helps my feat economy towards the tripping side. Unfortunately, Unchained Rogue doesn't have access to this, while I like the Unchained Rogue version better than the regular Rogue.

At the moment, here's what I've got jotted down.
Rogue 3
Feat 1: Exotic Weapon Prof (Elven Branched Spear)(+2 att on movement AOOs)
Feat 2: Scurrying Swarmer
Rogue Talent: Unbalanced Trick (free Improved Trip. "free" Greater Trip)
Combat Trait: Reactionary (+2 Init)
Equipment Trait: Heirloom Weapon (+2 Trip)

25pt buy:
Str (-2) = 12 (10)
Dex (+2) = 16 (18)
Con = 14
Int (+2) = 14 (16)
Wis = 13
Cha = 10

No idea for equipment aside from Branched Spear and Ratfolk Tailblade to threaten and SA 5' squares. So that's 31g down so-far.

So the combat play-style would be to share squares with whomever I'm trying to assist. Trip enemies that move around at spear range, and SA enemies when they close the gap. Unchained Rogue gives Finesse Training, which lets me use my dex for attack and damage, but I have to spend 2 feats to get Improved Trip. I have to buy Weapon Finesse as a regular rogue (with a struggle for Dex to Damage path), but I can get into Improved Trip immediately.

Would anyone be willing to help me getting this concept off the ground?

You need +1 BAB for Exotic Weapon Proficiency.

That being said, tripping is really bad on Rogues because CMB is super low.

My advice, honestly, is for you to check on a Wild Child Brawler.

So at level 3 the Wild Child gets +1 to maneuvers, and has an animal companion which I mentioned I wasn't too keen on having to invest in. Although this doesn't really fall in line with the play-style I mentioned, I do appreciate the feedback.

If you don't go Unchained Rogue, make sure to get Weapon Finesse. Due to the way Trip works, this not only covers attack rolls, but your CMB for Trip actions will also work off your Dex.

You could take this level 1, and use Combat Trick to pick up Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Elven Branched Spear) with a rogue talent later.

Grand Lodge

I'd go Slayer over Rogue if keeping a similar character feel is "mandatory". The problem of the latter isn't only the lower BAB, but also the lack of other attack bonuses, the lower hit dice, and the weaker base saving throws. That starts to make a lot for a maneuver specialist which is bound to attract attention at times, and not always for good reasons.

Umm...why an Elven Branch Spear? To benefit from swarming you and your partner need to attack the same target. Partner being the ratling (or other) you are sharing a square with. Reach only benefits you if your partner is using reach as well, and chooses the same target.

In actual play, you'll need to delay your action until after you ally goes to get the benefits from swarming, or just do without the benefit this turn and hope his target is still in striking range next turn.

Now if the player you pair up with has a reach weapon, the Elven Branch Spear is a fine weapon. If he doesn' can't use it against opponents adjacent to you.

My suggestion would be to choose between crit fishing, either with a rapier or spend a feat to do wave blades and TWF. I actually don't recommend that path since it will suck up a lot of feats, which also means delaying the benefits till you can spend the feats.

Or go with a natural attack build. Pick up the feat Sharpclaw at 1st level. Assuming you're a UC rogue pick claw for your finesse weapon at 3rd level since you have the most claw attacks. Try to pick up a bite at some point.

At first level you'll have 2 primary natural attacks, and the tail is a secondary natural attack. A first level character performing 3 attacks is crazy! Until you get to 6th level nobody else will catch up to your number of attacks. Aim for items and feats that will buff your natural attacks, and add more natural attacks.

Also since your Scurrying Swarmer lets you pretend that you have a partner for Team Feats...take some team feats. Paired Opportunist is very strong if also very situational. Make it less situational by picking up Outflank once you have the BAB. If you can talk one of the other players into a crit fishing build even better.

Y'know, there's the Guided Blade archetype for a Swashbuckler. They get bonus Teamwork feats at level 1, level 4, and every 4 levels after. They also get to spend a Panache point and a Standard action to hand out a Teamwork feat gained specifically from those bonus ones to their teammates. The others don't need to qualify for the bonus TW feat but still get to use it with you for 3 rounds +1/2 Swashbuckler levels.

What's more, you get a redirecting deed at level 3. Essentially when you're adjacent to an ally (which I think you count as even when Swarming, right?) you make an AoO when one adj ally is attacked. If successful you redirect the attack against yourself and, if you have at least 1 Panache point left you make an attack against the attacker as an Immediate action.

By level 3 you'd only get 2 feats, so you could spend those to get to Imp Trip, but you'd also have a bonus TW feat. You'd get Weapon Finesse for free as a Swashbuckler and can deal a small amount of extra damage on every hit from 3rd level on from the Deed Precise Strike, so long as you keep one Panache point handy in your pool at all times.

You'd be full BAB, get decent Ref saves but only have 4 skill points + Int bonus/level as opposed to the rogue's 8. Still, this might be a handy way to make sure you have all those fun TW feats you want without having to take an Animal Companion or a Mount.

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