Vigilante, Serren's Masterstroke, Vital Strike, aaaaand...


Advice


So I'm attempting to build a Dragonscale Loyalist (Avenger) Vigilante for a Kingmaker AP game, but am having a devil of a time trying to make him effective in combat.

One option I'm pursuing is throwing Vital Strike onto Serren's Masterstroke.
This translates to an extra 10 damage at level 8, 17 at level 12, and 24 at level 16.

Assuming gear, magic items, 2 handed damage bonus and ability increases go towards maintaining strength this would get me DPR of..
17 at 4,
34 at 8,
48 at 12
61 at 16.

Not really worth the 4 feat investment.

I could pick up an impact weapon that would increase my damage to 52 at level 12 and 73 at level 16. This moves me from subpar to adequate, but it feels like I should be tossing more onto here to be meaning ful in combat.

Which gets me to here. I still have enough between feat slots and skills to go for a few feats on an intimidate build, Enforcer + Take 'em Alive is a pretty effective combination. Otherwise, there's..?

Well, I'm hoping you could suggest stuff. The Aldori Dueling Sword has a lot of other feat options, but those all require weapon finesse. That would be doable, but pirhana strike is just low enough compared to power attack that I'd be losing out on too much by keeping vital strike and Serren's Masterstroke.

Anyone have any helpful ideas? Not looking to min-max or dominate, just keep my abilities in the green range as a martial. Any help would be appreciated.


The Aldori dueling sword is something that developers have wanted to be good but just isn't. Sorry. Vital strike is useful in some builds but an ADS is not a good place to start for them.

With a vigilante the best talent for damage is take 'em alive, but it's incompatible with enforcer since a free demoralize is a secondary effect.

If you have 13+ Str, high dex, power attack and get the lethal grace and take 'em alive vigilante talents you should have a solid amount of damage to work with.


avr wrote:
With a vigilante the best talent for damage is take 'em alive, but it's incompatible with enforcer since a free demoralize is a secondary effect.

I disagree. Enforcer does not in any way modify the attack. Indeed, only after you have fully resolved the attack do you need to make the decision whether to use Enforcer or not. I don not think that making a conditional, triggered ability usuable counts as an "effect", not the way the game uses that word.


avr wrote:

The Aldori dueling sword is something that developers have wanted to be good but just isn't. Sorry. Vital strike is useful in some builds but an ADS is not a good place to start for them.

With a vigilante the best talent for damage is take 'em alive, but it's incompatible with enforcer since a free demoralize is a secondary effect.

If you have 13+ Str, high dex, power attack and get the lethal grace and take 'em alive vigilante talents you should have a solid amount of damage to work with.

That's the feeling I've gotten from it as well. Lots of setting value, virtually no reason to use the thing. I thought I could combine a swift or better feint with vital strike and Serren's masterstroke to fill in the damage gap, but even after all that investment the damage bonus ends up being paltry compared to all that's invested.

The relevant passage is "In addition, the vigilante gains a +1 bonus on all attack and damage rolls for attacks that deal only nonlethal damage and have no secondary effects (such as poison)." I'm not sure that technically applies, since the secondary effect isn't happening due to the strike, but actually an effect that allows me to take a free action. Then again, I can see where you're coming from. I'll put it down to 'ask my GM' if I decide to go that route.

Unfortunately I don't have the ability spread to get the strength and dexterity for lethal grace to work effectively. Our GM has us using rolled abilities and a low point value since it's the Kingmaker AP, and I'm wanting to keep his charisma up for leadership roles.

My fallback is a Sworn to the Eldest (replaces Wis caster stat with Cha) Inquisitor, so it's not like I don't have any other options. Thanks for the suggestion.


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Halcyon_Janissary wrote:
That's the feeling I've gotten from it as well. Lots of setting value, virtually no reason to use the thing. I thought I could combine a swift or better feint with vital strike and Serren's masterstroke to fill in the damage gap, but even after all that investment the damage bonus ends up being paltry compared to all that's invested.

The main problem is not the Aldori Dueling Sword, but rather Vital Strike - outside of very few specific builds, the feat is just not a valid main plan. Base weapon damage dice just don't usually play that significant part of a character's damage, but what's really killing the feat is Haste - once you get that (or Blessing of Fervor, or Boots of Speed), it's almost impossible to have VS competitive.


Derklord wrote:
The main problem is not the Aldori Dueling Sword, but rather Vital Strike - outside of very few specific builds, the feat is just not a valid main plan. Base weapon damage dice just don't usually play that significant part of a character's damage, but what's really killing the feat is Haste - once you get that (or Blessing of Fervor, or Boots of Speed), it's almost impossible to have VS competitive.

The boon for this build was the Vigilante 'Vital Punishment' talent, which allowed me to use vital strike with attacks of opportunity. But thinking more strongly about the character, it's not as if he'll have the ability (or remaining feat slots) to take advantage of increased AoO, say by way of improved trip or other AoO creators.

I was under the assumption that Adding Serran's Masterstroke (hence the need for an Aldori Dueling Sword) to Vital Strike would land me a solid amount of base damage, and a constant move+feint (by virtue of Vigilante talent cunning feint) would give him mobility as well.

It appears that putting it all together still leaves him wanting as a frontline martial. While I'm not so concerned with haste (I can't assume he'll benefit from it since we're going to be just a 4 person party) the amount he'll lag behind when doing the thing he's built to do just makes his build a bit of a waste.

Ah well, plenty of other character possibilities; thanks for the advice.


Halcyon_Janissary wrote:
I'm not so concerned with haste (I can't assume he'll benefit from it since we're going to be just a 4 person party)

Everyone can buy Boots of Speed, and if noone in the party provides a similar effect, they're usually the best investment a martial character can make, presuming they don't desperately need the boot item slot for something else.

Halcyon_Janissary wrote:
The boon for this build was the Vigilante 'Vital Punishment' talent, which allowed me to use vital strike with attacks of opportunity. But thinking more strongly about the character, it's not as if he'll have the ability (or remaining feat slots) to take advantage of increased AoO, say by way of improved trip or other AoO creators.

Greater Trip, actually. Such a build is possible, as an Avenger can get a huge amount of feats (more than a Fighter without AWT/AAT), but you'd want to focus on tripping rather then feinting for that. I'm not sure if there's a feasible way to make feinting provoke an AoO from the target. In any case, you wouldn't want to use an ADS for that build, but rather a reach weapon or a high damage weapon like Buthering Axe.

That be said, a feinting ADS build is totally doable, you just wouldn't want to combine it with Vital Strike. I think the best options would be Rostland Bravo Swashbuckler, Dragonscale Loyalist with Cunning Feint. Obvious traits would be Sword Scion and Dueling Cloak Adept.

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