Advice on creating simple but effective Pathfinder 1E builds for Dungeon Crawls?


Advice


So, with Corona here, I'm making an Xcrawl game for my teenaged son who has found my old Xcrawl books and just loves them. I have Maximum Xcrawl, which is a substantially better version of the game for Pathfinder 1e. Xcrawl is an older 3pp setting in an alt/modern/fantasy world where they do artificial dungeons for TV audiences.... You can't just kill the monster, you have to make it look good for the camera!

For the game We're going to start at Level 1. The idea would be we make a team of 4 to 6 players, where I'd GM the monsters, and play a GMPC or two, and he'd play the rest. He'd have one PC be his "star" PC and the others as supports. In this game you really do need the 4 main roles, a trap specialist, a tank, a healer, and a utility class like the wizard.

The question I have is -- I haven't played PF in 3 years, and I'm not wanting super complex builds, but I want to have some simple straight forward builds that don't require piles of accounting and memorization. At the same time, I don't want to accidentally design gimped characters, what are some suggestions? I'm open to any kind of ideas (or links to builds) here, thank you.

The likely classes are:

Fighter
Cleric
Rogue
Wizard
Oracle
Monk


Combine the Fighter and the Cleric, choose WARPRIEST!!!

Now you can fight and heal, and swift action heal yourself as you fight!


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So, I'll start with the Trapfinder. Since this is a combat oriented game, while you could just make a rogue they are fairly reliant on sneak attack when it comes to damage output. So, while the trapfinding part may not require a bunch of rules the sneak attack portion might. I would instead recommend Ranger with the Trapper archetype. Now you have a character that really is a "traps expert" as they can not only disarm traps but at higher levels build traps of their own (instead of casting spells which can be very rules heavy). While rangers do get a favored enemy it's not difficult either the enemy qualifies or it doesn't and if it does you get very straight forward bonuses. Additionally, the trapfinder archetype doesn't lock you into any particular combat style so, you could still pick ranged, dual wielding, or whatever ends up making the most sense.

When it comes to a tank, it really depends on how you define "tank". Pathfinder doesn't have an aggro mechanic of any sort at best there's a few feats and spells that will force an enemy to attack you for one turn and these require checks/saves meaning they aren't reliable. So, I can't recommend much in the way of builds for a "tank" until I know what's actually needed. Plenty of classes could fill this role Fighter, Paladin, Cleric, Warpriest, Druid, etc. Basically any of your non-spell casting classes and at least half the spellcasting ones too.

For healer, the most straight forward is just a good aligned cleric as they will get to channel positive energy and can spontaneously cast healing spells. A paladin can also make an effective healer. Oracles with the life mystery are of course extremely powerful healers but their lifelink ability (the bread and butter of such a build) and curse make the character a little more complex, so I don't know how appealing such a character will be.

A utility class is almost counter to wanting something straight forward. Wizards absolutely can fill this role and fill it well but require substantial knowledge of spells. This is fine as a PC but if they are an NPC you'll want to save yourself the headache of running such a character by making them a spontaneous caster like a sorcerer. Now, they have the utility, but you don't have to worry about what got memorized or how many times. If you want the same flexibility as a wizard, an arcanist can also work well since they are basically spontaneous casters that can swap out what spells they "know" each day.


LordKailas those are both good suggestions. The Ranger as a Rogue for trap finding is a quite useful Archtype. I

"Tank" just means melee character to distract enemies and keep the direct pressure of squishier characters, and can take some direct melee hits without too much trouble. Fighters and Barbarians work just fine for that, but I wasn't sure if there was some new class or build that did it better or something.


Another angle on the trap specialist could be an Archeologist Bard. This also helps with the utility class role.

A Half-Orc with Sacred Tattoos and the Fate's Favored trait is natural choice which compliments the Archeologist's Luck.


Heaven's Thunder Hammer wrote:

LordKailas those are both good suggestions. The Ranger as a Rogue for trap finding is a quite useful Archtype. I

"Tank" just means melee character to distract enemies and keep the direct pressure of squishier characters, and can take some direct melee hits without too much trouble. Fighters and Barbarians work just fine for that, but I wasn't sure if there was some new class or build that did it better or something.

Investigator is also good for traps in that they can take the trap spotter rogue talent, which automates the trap searching rather than doing checks every 10sq feet or whatever.


I second Archaeologist Bard. You lose the Bardic Performance abilities but keep everything else and get some Rogue abilities. And any feats and the like that apply to Bardic Performance also apply to Archeologist's Luck.


A Half-Orc can start with the Endurance feat, which will help the relatively feat starved Bard.

They can also start with a constant +1 Luck bonus to all saving throws. Easily made a constant +2 Luck bonus to all saving throws with the Fate's Favored trait.

The Fate's Favored trait will also boost your Archeologist's Luck.

Half-Orc's are proficient with the Falchion and Orc HornBow... can even have a bite attack, too, if you want.

You have Darkvision and can even get Scent from a feat... with Uncanny Dodge and Evasion, you will be doing ok.

Trapfinding and Rogue Talents should be able to round out the rest... if you are wearing Shifting Jerkin, you can swap/trade out your Rogue Talents, too.

Not to mention, you are a Bard! High Charisma, 6th level spontaneous casting with some healing spells on your list, picking up more spells with the Human FCB or extra rounds of Archeologist's Luck with the Half-Orc FCB, 6+Int skills per level, all the skills ever as class skills... you know, Bard stuff!


My own choices for a 4 man party, that is performing for an audience.

Paladin for the face of the party. Also the tank. Paladin has 2 good saves, extra save bonus from charisma, and can use healing touch on himself as a swift action. The only two negatives are the moral code (which isn't generally a problem), and the need to spread stats between str/dex/con/wis/cha. I'd recommend going with 12 in wis and dex, and most substantial into cha. Make sure the party face can talk well.

Cleric is the easiest healbot out there. Channel positive energy is amazing at low levels. Also clerics get remedies to afflictions faster than anyone else. People will argue otherwise, but cleric is the no-brainer choice for easy character creation. Try to match the worshiped god with the paladin. Hopefully a deity with the Freedom domain so you can grab that domain power.

Trap expert..you know the Ranger idea above is great. Gives you two front line fighters. Ranger with a shield can be very tanky if you like. Don't limit yourself to a bow or dual wielding swords. Alternatively if you want more casters Alchemists make a good rogue replacement as well.

For a Utility caster either straight Wizard or Arcanist is best. If you want to keep it simple on the build, make a Universalist Wizard with a bonded object. Not much in the way of bonuses, but you can learn any wizard spell and cast them without penalties. If you want flexability, struggle through building an Arcanist. Arcanist exploits offer a lot of abilities that most wizards would be jealous of.


Thanks for the suggestions everyone! If people have more I'm all ears. :)


Meirril wrote:


Paladin for the face of the party. Also the tank. Paladin has 2 good saves, extra save bonus from charisma, and can use healing touch on himself as a swift action. The only two negatives are the moral code (which isn't generally a problem), and the need to spread stats between str/dex/con/wis/cha. I'd recommend going with 12 in wis and dex, and most substantial into cha. Make sure the party face can talk well.

Paladins don't need to add anything to wisdom, their spellcasting is based on cha in pathfinder. I'm not a fan of dumping any stat but wis is definitely the tank paladin "dump" stat. So that at least


1. Don't multiclass your full casters, especially laggy full casters like oracle and sorcerer, unless the benefit outweighs delaying your spell progression an entire level.

2. Don't skimp on Con.

3. Don't skimp on Will save, especially if you hit like a truck.

4. Be willing to violate 1-3 if it looks like fun.

Other than that, don't worry too much about it. Think up a concept, build a character, have fun, try not to die, and don't worry too much if you do. There's always another character concept to try out!

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