Some build that I think might be good but I’ve never thoroughly tested out.


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

Scarab Sages

My friends and I were kicking around ideas the other day and we came up with some, what we thought were, really good build and wanted to see if anyone ever tried them out or crunched the numbers.

1) Master Spearman. One thing that has really gotten us good about 2e is that reach weapons can now hit adjacent. Because of that, Flanking is made easier, as you can flank while adjacent or ten feet away. When combined with the ruffian rogue’s ability to sneak attack with any simple weapon a d8 or less, you get a Longspear wielding ruffian rogue who can flank-sneak attack really easily. Anyone try this?

2)I’ve seen a lot of people pour love on the fighter for having the best accuracy, and rightly so, but I haven’t seen people mention the ranger in that conversation. While the fighter has the most accuracy with their first hit, a flurry Ranger with an agile weapon has a really good to hit with subsequent attacks. Sure, yes, you have to study target first so maybe it isn’t the most optimal option, but when twin striking with short swords and hunter’s flurry you can attack 4 times per round with at most a -4 penalty, (or 5 times if hasted!) that is less than most people’s second attack. Seems like a good build to me but I’ve never seen one. Or, you could get a first level cantrip from somewhere (being an elf, Varisian Tattoos) and be able to shield while still attacking three times a round for, at most, a -4.

3) Champion with a Bo Staff. I’ve actually run this for a few levels and I am amazed how good it is. Again, because reach no longer limits you to not attacking adjacent, you can strike at reach for a decent amount of damage (d8), but you can also parry with it, meaning you have reach and essentially a small shield. Sure it isn’t as good as a heavy steel shield and a gnome flick mace, but this way you don’t have to run through the rigamaroll of finding a way of getting flickmace proficiency. Plus at later levels the champion can pick up both attack of opportunity and a second reaction for shielding an ally, you get reach AoOs, which are just fantastic. I stumbled upon this combo when I made my liberator champion of Sun Wukong and picked up a bo staff for flavor but it has been real great as a weapon, and I can imagine it would be even better on a Paladin with the ranged reprisal feat.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I've seen the flurry ranger in play. They are quite good, but they are also simple. Your optimal play is striking with every possible action. That makes them a perfect fit for some players and a bit boring for others.


Reach weapons are great with rogues. Makes good use of "beat up" too.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

In one game, we are playing through extinction curse with 3 PCs. We have a maul fighter, a flurry ranger and a wizard. We scrape through some fights, but we still dominate quite a few because the ranger uses a short sword and a gauntlet and will often start with a trip, and then twin take down. We both have blind fight and good fort saves, so we spend a lot of fights fighting within stinking clouds and even level+ enemies end up having a hard time not shedding actions and drawing 2 AoO every round.

The Ruffian rogue does great damage. A rogue I GM for has had a blast with a staff and I am sure the spear would be even more fun and effective.


VampByDay wrote:
2)I’ve seen a lot of people pour love on the fighter for having the best accuracy, and rightly so, but I haven’t seen people mention the ranger in that conversation. While the fighter has the most accuracy with their first hit, a flurry Ranger with an agile weapon has a really good to hit with subsequent attacks. Sure, yes, you have to study target first so maybe it isn’t the most optimal option, but when twin striking with short swords and hunter’s flurry you can attack 4 times per round with at most a -4 penalty, (or 5 times if hasted!) that is less than most people’s second attack. Seems like a good build to me but I’ve never seen one. Or, you could get a first level cantrip from somewhere (being an elf, Varisian Tattoos) and be able to shield while still attacking three times a round for, at most, a -4.

At level 8 with Warden's Boon the Ranger can give Flurry to the Fighter.

One of the reasons why I think the most optimal, math-breaking, 4-player party comp is Fighter, Ranger, Champion, Bard.


VampByDay wrote:

My friends and I were kicking around ideas the other day and we came up with some, what we thought were, really good build and wanted to see if anyone ever tried them out or crunched the numbers.

1) Master Spearman. One thing that has really gotten us good about 2e is that reach weapons can now hit adjacent. Because of that, Flanking is made easier, as you can flank while adjacent or ten feet away. When combined with the ruffian rogue’s ability to sneak attack with any simple weapon a d8 or less, you get a Longspear wielding ruffian rogue who can flank-sneak attack really easily. Anyone try this?

2)I’ve seen a lot of people pour love on the fighter for having the best accuracy, and rightly so, but I haven’t seen people mention the ranger in that conversation. While the fighter has the most accuracy with their first hit, a flurry Ranger with an agile weapon has a really good to hit with subsequent attacks. Sure, yes, you have to study target first so maybe it isn’t the most optimal option, but when twin striking with short swords and hunter’s flurry you can attack 4 times per round with at most a -4 penalty, (or 5 times if hasted!) that is less than most people’s second attack. Seems like a good build to me but I’ve never seen one. Or, you could get a first level cantrip from somewhere (being an elf, Varisian Tattoos) and be able to shield while still attacking three times a round for, at most, a -4.

3) Champion with a Bo Staff. I’ve actually run this for a few levels and I am amazed how good it is. Again, because reach no longer limits you to not attacking adjacent, you can strike at reach for a decent amount of damage (d8), but you can also parry with it, meaning you have reach and essentially a small shield. Sure it isn’t as good as a heavy steel shield and a gnome flick mace, but this way you don’t have to run through the rigamaroll of finding a way of getting flickmace proficiency. Plus at later levels the champion can pick up both attack of opportunity and a second reaction for...

Definitely propped the Longspear idea up for multiple classes (because it's literally the best Simple weapon in the game), Ruffian being one of them. In that case, you do lose some Dexterity (among other things) to compensate for it, but that just makes certain things viable and not optimal, and plus being able to use Reach as a means of defense is powerful. Bonus points if you take a Fighter dedication or something and pick up AoO, and/or Power Attack.

We currently have a Free Archetype Flurry Ranger in one of our groups running around with Red Mantis Assassin dedication dual wielding Sawtooth Sabers. Having hit 17th level, he only suffers -1 and -2 penalties, while accruing an additional +3/+6 damage for each attack. While standing still with Haste, they get 5 attacks in a round. They also aren't even optimal, since they aren't using Gravity Weapon, among other things, and put feats into an Animal Companion instead (which isn't doing much to make his attacks powerful). They don't have as hard to-hit with the early game, but as it stands, they are now our #1 damage dealer in the party. You could probably accomplish very similar results with some newer items (such as the Exquisite Sword Cane + Sheath) and instead invest in the likes of Rogue dedication for some Sneak Attack goodness on top instead of Red Mantis Assassin dedication.

Bo Staff Champion would be passable if you're wanting to utilize a non-magical bonus to AC item. Conversely, you could be a character that picks up a Shield cantrip that effectively lets you do the same thing while gaining a reaction to block fatal damage if necessary, while being able to wield a stronger Reach weapon. Would not work in an Anti-Magic Field, but those are pretty Rare. My current Paladin Champion does this very same thing while wielding a Glaive instead (for the neat Forceful and Deadly D8), and is a worshipper of Shelyn, which is their favored weapon. He is actually referred to, in our campaign, as the Paintbrush of War, since they have a reputation for treating battlefield encounters as canvas' to present to their deity as a means of tribute to their cause. (And plus because the Glaive weapon really is pretty close to looking like a giant paintbrush.)


The flurry ranger is indeed very good. Depending on party composition it can be devastating. Things to look out for with a flurry ranger: dogslicers or sawtooths. Extra status damage (stoke the heart), extra damage from runes, sneak attack, feats like double prey (less actions lost), further lowering of MAP (sweep: tiger menuki, bards, heroism). They really start to shine @L10, when you can get the second damage rune.

Combine a flurry ranger with a (dual wielding) rogue for awesome damage with shared prey.


A Flurry Ranger shouldn't bother with Gravity Weapon unless using it as one's gate to other Warden spells (which don't mesh well w/ the simplicity of the build). GW only adds damage to the first Strike/round so there's no force multiplier there. Flurry Rangers need a Bard (and the bonuses don't stack). Better yet, they need a flanking Champion nearby mitigating damage since the main flaw in a melee Flurry Ranger is having to remain next to one's enemy in order to maximize one's offense and not having the defense nor wanting to spend the actions for defense which cut into their flurries. And w/o lots of flurrying, they should go w/ Precision instead, and skirmish (or go Fighter if it's all about the weapons). Many people assume as a martial a Ranger can tank, yet Rangers tank poorly unless one invests in something like Sentinel.
Alternatively, Rangers make great switch hitters so you could choose your melee moments, though then one of your weapons would likely best be a gauntlet (which is utterly fine w/ Doubling Rings and being able to choose the other weapon to suit one's enemy's Weaknesses/Resistances). The gauntlet's necessary since it's hard to swap to two weapons, though the free hand's often useful too.

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Similar defense problem w/ the Ruffian Rogue, though the reach helps a bit as do the Debilitations. Those 8 h.p./level bite you in the ass. Even with a better Con to start, other frontliners will pass your Rogue up when hitting 18 slows down its progress. But Opportune Backstab warrants the risk, that is if supported well by one's team when you remain in danger. The Rogues too can take Sentinel to aid with that. That +1 to AC is like denying 1/7 of the damage headed your way. And they can get the Shield Cantrip for another +1 and a 1/lull hit point sponge.

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Of course Bo Staff w/ Champion works well. Though 14 Dex is unusual for a Champion, it could lead into a Monk MCD for flurry later (so much later that one might want to go Half Elf instead for entry at 9th w/o the required Dex (and some freedom for another Archetype), then to flurry at 10th for a reliable action economy booster.)


I'd prefer the fighter as dual wielder

lvl 10 > Agile Grace
lvl 14 > Two-Weapon Flurry

Unless I'd like to also use a companion, I guess, or make a survivalist specialized in traps, or recall knowledge master, or similar.


Double Slice fighter seems to be better when there's less team synergy, whereas Flurry ranger needs support but really shines when it gets it.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Something that's been weirdly fun in a group I'm in has been a flurry ranger with a greatsword.

The subclass already has accuracy boosters, what it's lacking in is raw damage output and surprisingly just picking up a huge weapon works much better than you'd think. Even without any internal class support it ended up doing just as well, even outpacing often, the classic agile-twf build, at least until impossible/accurate flurry come online. Hitting a chain of strikes with a giant weapon is very satisfying too.


Fighter with double slice and an agile weapon spends 3 actions to attack at +2/+2/-6

Flurry Ranger with twin takedown and an agile weapon hunts prey and attacks at 0/-2/-4

For a full comparison:

Single Action (Not hunted)

Fighter +2 | Ranger +0

Two Action (Not hunted)

Fighter +2/+2 | Ranger +0/-2

Three Action (Not hunted)

Fighter +2/+2/-6 | Ranger +0/-2/-4

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Single Action (Hunted)

Fighter +2 | Ranger +0/-2

Two Action (Hunted)

Fighter +2/+2 | Ranger +0/-2/-4

Three Action (Hunted)

Fighter +2/+2/-6 | Ranger +0/-2/-4/-4

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Any turn the flurry ranger does not start with their target hunted the fighter routine is clearly better.

For simplicities sake lets assume a shortsword doing 1d6+4 (7.5) where a +0 hits on a 10.

So +2 is worth 6 damage
+0 is worth 4.5 damage
-2 is worth 3.75 damage
-4 is worth 3 damage
-6 is worth 2.25 damage

Replacing attacks rolls with average damage:

For a full comparison:

Single Action (Not hunted)

Fighter 6 | Ranger 4.5

Two Action (Not hunted)

Fighter 12 | Ranger 8.25

Three Action (Not hunted)

Fighter 14.25 | Ranger 11.25

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Single Action (Hunted)

Fighter 6 | Ranger 8.25

Two Action (Hunted)

Fighter 12 | Ranger 11.25

Three Action (Hunted)

Fighter 14.5 | Ranger 14.25

So the only time the flurry ranger has higher expected damage than the fighter is with a single action available and their target is already hunted.

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At 2d6+4 damage (striking)

The damage becomes:

Single Action (Not hunted)

Fighter 8.8 | Ranger 6.6

Two Action (Not hunted)

Fighter 17.6 | Ranger 16.5

Three Action (Not hunted)

Fighter 20.9 | Ranger 20.9

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Single Action (Hunted)

Fighter 8.8 | Ranger 12.4

Two Action (Hunted)

Fighter 17.6 | Ranger 16.5

Three Action (Hunted)

Fighter 20.9 | Ranger 20.9

Looks a little better for the ranger here, still only better on a single action but tied when 3 actions are available.

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Of course the primary weapon should probably be d8 or deadly or something which would even further move toward the fighter.

This math is why people suggest the fighter and not the ranger.


Yes that is the basic comparison. But with additional attacks, damage starts to count with extra (status) damage and dice. Haste works better for the ranger. Extra damage and extra dice work better for the ranger. Switch hitting works better for the ranger. And hunt prey isn't a combat action, so you can get into combat with a prey, or later on you have feats like double prey, which becomes even better with master monster hunter.

At lvl 17 & 18, if you ever get so high, the difference becomes bigger.

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