Investigators and How to Handle Them


Advice

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Fellow GMs: How do you handle those annoying know-it-alls called investigators?

Their information gathering class abilities have always struck me as problematic, even disruptive, in many traditional games. Am I wrong? What have your experiences been?

How do you play them out without breaking the fourth wall, taking everyone out of the immersion, ruining the plot too early, or making the whole show about them?

Many of the abilities also strike me as rather GM dependent. With Power Attack there is no confusion. Most everyone knows exactly how it works. But an investigator's abilities? Two GMs might be miles apart in their respective interpretations.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:

Fellow GMs: How do you handle those annoying know-it-alls called investigators?

With grace and aplomb. ;)

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Their information gathering class abilities have always struck me as problematic, even disruptive, in many traditional games. Am I wrong? What have your experiences been?

I think you're wrong, but that's just, like, my opinion man. But I'm reminded of this thread you made. Or, this one as well... I think you have a detrimental fixation on hoodwinking your players. Mysteries in games are meant to be solved, and the Investigator just helps you solve them a little faster. Maybe. Because your players could also solve things faster than you anticipate by virtue of a lucky guess or nat 20.

Also, most of the meta abilities of the Investigator amount to some variation of Red Herring. They ensure you're not wasting everyone's time on a bunch of dead end leads. That's usually good for the game. I've seen players grab ahold of a lead they refuse to let go of and it usually results in frustration and boredom.

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How do you play them out without breaking the fourth wall

I don't think that's inherently a bad thing, though D&D&Derivative players often think it is. A lot of RPGs very successfully utilize meta abilities that give players more insight into the story or even power over it.

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taking everyone out of the immersion,

The investigator usually results in players hearing more about the scene around them, not less, or at least more important information. I think people are more likely to stay plugged in with one in the mix.

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ruining the plot too early,

Who defines too early? I don't think any of the Investigator feats allow anything players couldn't already figure out with the right combination of cleverness, skill checks, or in some cases spells. If your plot can be ruined by those things... well, you made a bad plot for an RPG.

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or making the whole show about them?

That's easy-- just create diverse challenges. No Investigator can be the best at every skill or every ability score. And others classes will generally shine more when a fight inevitably happens.

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Many of the abilities also strike me as rather GM dependent. With Power Attack there is no confusion. Most everyone knows exactly how it works. But an investigator's abilities? Two GMs might be miles apart in their respective interpretations.

Now this I will grant you, but it's no worse than the Recall Knowledge action in that regard. The Investigator will do better at tables and campaigns that involve investigating.


The only issues Investigator has, IMO, are the issues Recall has. Other than the fourth wall abilities [which are just there to tell you you're off track] it's nothing another character with Recall and luck could do.


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I concur with Captain Morgan above. I don't run Pathfinder or D&D often but I do tend to run a lot of narratively-focused games. The kind of class a player selects lets you know what they want to do. A fighter suggests that the player wants to kick ass at fighting, a rogue wants to be skilled and usually sneaky, a cleric wants to deal with religion and divine powers, etc..

If a player wants to play an investigator, they want to investigate and be good at it. They want to take charge of those situations and lead the way at the party. Instead of figuring out ways to try and minimize them or make it worse, focus on how to make sure the others have their spotlight moments and make sure that the investigator feels like that they are doing what they are supposed to be doing. Give them mysteries, let them figure out the trick, let them catch the bad guy off-guard or skip something because they're brilliant. Support them and make it interesting.


I agree with Captain Morgan and KingHotTrash. I have an investigator in my game, and all the investigator stuff does is add flavor. Delicious flavor. Not to mention the benefits listed above: they let players avoid the pitfalls of hanging onto a lead that doesn't work.

I've had a lot of fun with it. Plus, I can use the abilities sometimes when I forget to do something as a DM and be like, oh... my investigator would definitely know that...

It requires a chunk of creativity for things like That's Odd and the like, but again, I have a lot of fun with it as a GM.

I haven't had any issues, nor do I foresee any. I think GM-dependent things mean that you need to communicate with your investigator PC and be willing to work out how some abilities will be interpreted and then apply that consistently across the board during that game.

All characters deserve a chance to shine & really play their characters. Investigators included. KingHotTrash and Captain Morgan left a lot of good advice here. As a GM, I want my players to win and feel powerful. That doesn't mean they won't experience danger, run into struggles, etc.... but the point of an investigator is to investigate. You gotta let 'em.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

That's Odd, Red Herring, and their ilk gives a GM more control over the narrative, not less. You can use them to guarantee the players take the course of action you want: the one that moves the story along. The best way to get the players to follow your railroad tracks is to make them think they are uncovering a hidden path themselves. And they will feel powerful because of it.

Unless your narrative requires playing your PCs as fools, and that's just a bad idea for the reasons explained in depth in that other thread. There's a reasons APs don't do it.

Generally, I think PF2 works better when you err on the side of giving more in information than less about the world around them. Actually that might be true of most RPGs. Certainly newer systems seem to that approach. The Investigator just kind of drags the game into the 21st century in that regards.


Just don't do what the GM that was running the game I briefly wanted to play an Investigator in did: threaten (and he would have done it) to run That's Odd by just saying there's a rubber duck in every room.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Guntermench wrote:
Just don't do what the GM that was running the game I briefly wanted to play an Investigator in did: threaten (and he would have done it) to run That's Odd by just saying there's a rubber duck in every room.

Ok that's awful GMing but also extremely funny. At least he warned you off it.


I'm glad you got some enjoyment from it. It is a funny anecdote, though it felt really bad at the time.


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Investigator is a class that mostly compresses in-game time. It takes just as long to say "we spend ten minute searching the room" as it does "does anything trigger That's Odd?". The class conscientiously keeps any "ask the GM" stuff as uncommon if it's an issue for you personally, but I tend to find GM dialogue stuff fun.

I played an Occultist or two in PF1 that focused on Object Reading, and the GM used that as a way to deliver relevant lore and information that might have otherwise been missed. I'd view Investigator in much the same way.

It's pretty hard for the class to make the whole show about them, though. Their combat is focused on one attack a round, and their social skills will lag behind anybody with primary or secondary charisma.


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Even more combat focused GMs can make use of that's odd. Just make the details relating to targets in the next room for that free action DAS. I agree with the general sentiment here. The class kind of has GM tools disguised as class feats. Use them to your advantage to tell a better story.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

It would help if you explained what you feel is problematic about Investigators when you're looking for advice.

"They ruin immersion" is vague and unhelpful when you're not explaining how or why you feel that way. Which class features or feats bug you? What about them do you think is problematic?

From my experience, Investigators have been spectacularly mediocre in practice. They have class feats that let the GM feed them information you probably would have fed the party anyways, are mildly better than normal at a handful of checks, and have standout options like the GM getting to tell them to stop wasting everyone's time on something trivial or nudging the group toward relevant plot elements. All things that many threads on this forum and reddit will tell you just qualifies as good GMing and something you should be doing anyways.

And in exchange they pay out the nose for this by being the worst class in the entire game in a fight (by a lot).

As for stealing the show. The class sucks in combat and has no natural predisposition toward social skills, so really their only moment to shine is in... making knowledge and perception checks. The investigator's Big Moment will be saying "Hey look at that thing" and then stepping aside. The class is exceptionally well equipped to identifying problems, but lacks much ability to actually solve them, and usually it's problem solving that ends up taking center stage.

Sovereign Court

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Yeah my experience playing two investigators mirrors what Squiggit says. You're good at finding out stuff that the GM was going to let the party find out anyway.

What I half like, half bugs me about playing them is that you really really wanna know who you're going to fight next, so you can pick a lead on them and get free action strategic combat going. So you HAVE to be fully awake and focused on trying to think ahead. Which can be fun and engaging when you're in the mood for it. But if you're having an off day and you're not as focused, suddenly your class is a lot weaker.

It's a bit like wizards and picking the right spells for the class. But you can pick like 80% spells the same day because they're either generally useful (haste, slow) or because they solve a problem that if you have it is really important (glitterdust). So if you have an off day and don't make a good guess on what to put in the last 20% of your spell slots, you're only a bit weaker.


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You mean that my players will not waste 5 real life hours exploring a random building they deemed suspiscious because it was placed improperly by the ap or i described a bit in too much detail?
SIGN ME THE BORK UP


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Also, the way to not break immersion is to deliver stuff in character. As the GM, you represent the "elementary deduction" or the "little grey cells" in the same way you represent the Cleric's deity.

"A brief observation of the stain is enough to tell you that it was made in the course of ordinary business, and will not lead to the culprit. It only remains at the scene of the crime because cleaning it would have disturbed the body."

"After wracking your brain, you are certain that a connection exists between the walking stick and the necromancer, but you cannot pin down the exact link."

It doesn't need to be any more immersion breaking than making a knowledge check about something.


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Guntermench wrote:
Just don't do what the GM that was running the game I briefly wanted to play an Investigator in did: threaten (and he would have done it) to run That's Odd by just saying there's a rubber duck in every room.

If there is a rubber duck in every room that the Investigator is being tipped off about - then clearly there is a greater conspiracy involving rubber ducks! That entire campaign deserves to be derailed to further delve into why rubber ducks are appearing with such frequency and what sinister secrets they might hide.


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No more rubber ducks


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Charon Onozuka wrote:
Guntermench wrote:
Just don't do what the GM that was running the game I briefly wanted to play an Investigator in did: threaten (and he would have done it) to run That's Odd by just saying there's a rubber duck in every room.
If there is a rubber duck in every room that the Investigator is being tipped off about - then clearly there is a greater conspiracy involving rubber ducks! That entire campaign deserves to be derailed to further delve into why rubber ducks are appearing with such frequency and what sinister secrets they might hide.

My only question is, how much can you sell rubber ducks for? Seems like an endless supply of cash!


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The real question is, how many rubber ducks do you have to run into before the presence of rubber ducks stops being out of the ordinary?


First of all: „[…] skipping obvious clues that can be easily noticed without a check or specifically looking for them.“ does read very yellow, rubbery, and waterfowlish to me.

Now, myself as a GM actually would have loved the Investigator’s taking any or all of those feats; but of course, they didn‘t because they believe themselves to be so very smart to see through any plot without the game‘s help, surveiling a totally innocent NPC for a whole session and some after an unfortunate 1 on Sense Motive.

What did they annoyme with instead, you ask? Dubious Knowledge, of course. Which to me is far worse than any Investigator feat, for what it‘s worth.


Red Metal wrote:
The real question is, how many rubber ducks do you have to run into before the presence of rubber ducks stops being out of the ordinary?

You don't see rubber ducks everywhere?


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Red Metal wrote:
The real question is, how many rubber ducks do you have to run into before the presence of rubber ducks stops being out of the ordinary?

Three. The answer is Three.


Grimmerling wrote:
What did they annoyme with instead, you ask? Dubious Knowledge, of course. Which to me is far worse than any Investigator feat, for what it‘s worth.

Dubious Knowledge is easy.

Give them the same thing you would on a success, and either the same thing you would on a critical failure or something that complements the success result.

Roll a die to make sure you don't have a predictable pattern (or just so they don't waste time trying to figure it out), and on an odd number tell the truth then the lie, and on an even number tell the lie than the truth.
You don't have to have any ideas for Dubious Knowledge that you didn't already need for any Recall Knowledge check.

Yes, they'll know which is which once they test it. They're supposed to. Remember that Dubious Knowledge is a feat. It's supposed to give them an edge compared to not having it.


Super Zero wrote:
Grimmerling wrote:
What did they annoyme with instead, you ask? Dubious Knowledge, of course. Which to me is far worse than any Investigator feat, for what it‘s worth.

Dubious Knowledge is easy.

Give them the same thing you would on a success, and either the same thing you would on a critical failure or something that complements the success result.

Roll a die to make sure you don't have a predictable pattern (or just so they don't waste time trying to figure it out), and on an odd number tell the truth then the lie, and on an even number tell the lie than the truth.
You don't have to have any ideas for Dubious Knowledge that you didn't already need for any Recall Knowledge check.

Yes, they'll know which is which once they test it. They're supposed to. Remember that Dubious Knowledge is a feat. It's supposed to give them an edge compared to not having it.

Yeah, I'm going to second not liking Dubious Knowledge: it's the thing I dislike the most with the class.


Dubious Knowledge isn't part of Investigator--it's Thaumaturges who get it as a class feature.

I love it, but preference aside it's not like these Investigator features at all.


Super Zero wrote:

Dubious Knowledge isn't part of Investigator--it's Thaumaturges who get it as a class feature.

I love it, but preference aside it's not like these Investigator features at all.

Sorry, talking about Thaumaturges in one thread and read Dubious Knowledge here and my brain made the wrong connection. Myself, I REALLY dislike the 'give wrong info' for crit failed recall checks normally so the opportunity to trigger it MORE often isn't something I want, much less pay a feat for or want a class feature force me to have. rabble, rabble, rabble... :P


If anything, dubious knowledge serves as a kind of nerf to balance the thaumaturge since esoteric lore is so powerful.

Wayfinders Contributor

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DUBIOUS KNOWLEDGE FEAT 1
GENERAL SKILL

Prerequisites trained in a skill with the Recall Knowledge action
You're a treasure trove of information, but not all of it comes from reputable sources. When you fail a Recall Knowledge check using any skill, you learn a bit of true knowledge and a bit of erroneous knowledge, but you don't have any way to differentiate which is which.

★ ---- ★ ---- ★ ---- ★

I don't see this as a nerf. It only kicks in on a failure, and you always get both some true knowledge along with the erroneous knowledge.

The tough part is for GMs. It's become part of my GM prep to note erroneous tidbits that I can give on a failed RK check.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
The tough part is for GMs. It's become part of my GM prep to note erroneous tidbits that I can give on a failed RK check.

This should be a standard note in any published module wherever Recal Knowledge checks appear.


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Ravingdork wrote:
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
The tough part is for GMs. It's become part of my GM prep to note erroneous tidbits that I can give on a failed RK check.
This should be a standard note in any published module wherever Recal Knowledge checks appear.

One of the common use of Recall Knowledge is on monsters and there's no indication as to what you get on a failure.

And there are overall very few Recall Knowledge checks that are written in the adventures. You can't know beforehand what the players want knowledge on.


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SuperBidi wrote:
And there are overall very few Recall Knowledge checks that are written in the adventures.

You and I must be reading very different adventures.


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I've read mostly PFS adventures. There are often a few Recall Knowledge at the beginning of the adventure, like 2 or 3, with critical failures effect. Otherwise, you have to improvise a lot when it comes to RK checks, as players are always asking for weird things.
So, compared to all the RK checks done within the adventure, I experience a small quantity of them that are laid out in the adventure (around 10-20%).


Squiggit wrote:

From my experience, Investigators have been spectacularly mediocre in practice. They have class feats that let the GM feed them information you probably would have fed the party anyways, are mildly better than normal at a handful of checks, and have standout options like the GM getting to tell them to stop wasting everyone's time on something trivial or nudging the group toward relevant plot elements. All things that many threads on this forum and reddit will tell you just qualifies as good GMing and something you should be doing anyways.

And in exchange they pay out the nose for this by being the worst class in the entire game in a fight (by a lot).

Admittedly, I only have two levels of PFs Investigator under me, but this is 100% accurate so far. The class, is, IMO, a dud. I was excited about this class when it was introduced, but in actual gameplay it offers very little to the party. Wait...let me rephrase that. The best thing I've done with my Investigator is upgrade the Medicine skill and take Continual Recovery. So I'm a big help to the party, but it has nothing to do with being an Investigator.

Now, maybe at higher level, the combat gets better...but I'm not holding my breath. I do see there is some type of kicking Kato path with Takedown Expert and Athletic Strategist, but then you're looking at pumping STR and getting into melee, neither of which is complimentary to the class.

But I couldn't be more disappointed with how That's Odd is implemented. Add to that, many of the Feats like Flexible Studies or Underworld Investigator are just not generally useful.

Granted, I'm only 2nd level, but after playing through level 1, I was so underwhelmed, i lost interest in even playing it. Sure, many 1st level characters are underwhelming in PF1, but the Investigator has been doubly so.

In many ways, the Investigator suffers from the same problem that the Ranger suffers from and much of PFS implementation of feats. It creates this very narrow scope of applicability, but even when applied, it has negligible impact. So it combines a feeling both limited use and uselessness. I contrast this with the PF1 Investigator who, by 4th level had Talents and abilities that were substantial in combat and out of it. I suppose things could turn around by lvl 4, but I don't see where that happens.


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N N 959 wrote:
I suppose things could turn around by lvl 4, but I don't see where that happens.

It doesn't.

Don't misunderstand me, I thoroughly enjoy my investigator character going through Fall of Plaguestone - which admittedly does have a pretty prominent theme of investigating stuff.

But if you aren't happy with investigator at level 2, I don't think anything changes between then and level 4. I haven't played one at higher levels than that, but I don't see any major changes to the core mechanics of the class as levels go up.


Oh wait, you don't need STR for Athletic Strategist, but you'd be investigating in DEX and CON for survivability in melee. . So you're only need INT, DEX, CON, and possibly WIS. I guess the benefit of DaS is that you don't get into melee if your aren't likely to be successful using it. I'll have to see if I can pick it up at 4 and make it work.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I played an investigator from 7 to 9 in an outlaws of Alkenstar AP. She was a replacement for a fallen PC. I was an empiricist with a lot of the skill focused feats. My GM really did not like that is odd. They did like red herring to cuts down on needless questions that were going no where. I got a fair bit out of being really good at perception and searching rooms quickly. I was incredibly focused on fire arms and disabling explosives, which is useful in the AP.

If there were not traps to disarm, my character was useless in combat. People talk about devise a stratagem like it is true strike and it is no where close. It is nearly not worth using in fights where you are not pushing a lead into combat, except all of your class damage boost and most of your accuracy is tied up in them, and only if you take the roll. Not being able to hero point a low devise a stratagem roll is brutal in hard fights against solo monsters. Yeah, I get rolling a 7 or an 8 on a first attack roll can be rough for most non-fighter martials, but it can be a whole turn killer for an investigator because you cannot attack again without first burning your devise roll, which you already paid an action for. With a firearm, that was not going to happen, even with quick draw and a couple of options with striking runes. It could just be the empiricist that is really really bad in this roll, but when I spent an action to devise a stratagem and rolled under a 12, it felt like I was pretty much letting the whole party down. Ranged accuracy is tough with cover and the difficulty of targeting flat-footed. It didn’t help that the third book of Outlaws of Alkenstar is not good for ranged martial characters and is basically a total flip from the rest of the AP as far as encounter design.

I may try a different investigator again in the future, but it will be a long time and I’d want to talk with the GM about a bunch of the campaign expectations because it is not fun to feel like complete dead weight in combat.


Devise a strategem is about 80% of a True Strike or so (if Pursue a Lead is active, it's on par or better due to being a free action), with the caveat that you have to have a plan for low rolls.

It's significantly better if you're using a bow, for instance, as there's zero cost to changing your target (assuming another target exists, anyways). Cantrips are popular backup options I've found as well (coincidentally it doesn't apply to spell attack rolls, but I think people often just grab Electric Arc anyways). If you don't have Athletic Strategem than maneuvers are an option (that feat is a double-edged sword somewhat). Prepare to aid instead with an attack. Roll Recall Knowledge. Heal someone up (Forensic/Alchemical Sciences are good here in particular). Etc.

But I do think it's something you need to plan for. I know I've heard some other clever tricks with it I can't recall atm too.


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Unicore wrote:
Yeah, I get rolling a 7 or an 8 on a first attack roll can be rough for most non-fighter martials, but it can be a whole turn killer for an investigator because you cannot attack again without first burning your devise roll, which you already paid an action for.

This, definitely.

That is why it is so useful it almost feels mandatory to get a cantrip from somewhere. Wizard Dedication is probably the most useful and easiest.

◆ Devise Fail
◆◆ Spout

was all too common of a combat routine for me.


I generally play Forensic Medicine Investigators. If I have a ranged weapon and a cantrip or 2 [Psychic Dedication works well], I don't have an issue with combat.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Dubious Scholar wrote:
Devise a strategem is about 80% of a True Strike or so (if Pursue a Lead is active, it's on par or better due to being a free action), with the caveat that you have to have a plan for low rolls.

Part of the problem is that (ironcially, considering the class themes) the Investigator isn't really well equipped to have a strong backup plan.

Like target switching is good, but target switching as a traditional investigator does a number on your damage by reducing your to-hit and depriving you of strategic strike, and might not be an option in certain fights. Cantrips work, but cantrips aren't exactly a power move even for full casters and you're going to be behind on proficiency a lot of the game. Athletics is okay, but can be swingy with a traditional investigator build.

None of these are really power plays. Casting Electric Arc or Telekinetic Projectile on a big solo boss is kind of lame, and you might potentially be doing it half the time. And it's not like the Investigator is kicking ass when their gimmick does work either.

Strength Investigator with a polearm gets around some of these issues by doing more consistent damage even while target switching and having better athletics and second attacks, but that's also a build that intentionally ignores some core aspects of the class so I'm not sure how great that is in terms of class design.


Squiggit wrote:
Dubious Scholar wrote:
Devise a strategem is about 80% of a True Strike or so (if Pursue a Lead is active, it's on par or better due to being a free action), with the caveat that you have to have a plan for low rolls.

Part of the problem is that (ironcially, considering the class themes) the Investigator isn't really well equipped to have a strong backup plan.

Like target switching is good, but target switching as a traditional investigator does a number on your damage by reducing your to-hit and depriving you of strategic strike, and might not be an option in certain fights. Cantrips work, but cantrips aren't exactly a power move even for full casters and you're going to be behind on proficiency a lot of the game. Athletics is okay, but can be swingy with a traditional investigator build.

None of these are really power plays. Casting Electric Arc or Telekinetic Projectile on a big solo boss is kind of lame, and you might potentially be doing it half the time. And it's not like the Investigator is kicking ass when their gimmick does work either.

Strength Investigator with a polearm gets around some of these issues by doing more consistent damage even while target switching and having better athletics and second attacks, but that's also a build that intentionally ignores some core aspects of the class so I'm not sure how great that is in terms of class design.

Against a boss, the best thing to do is something like an amped Message [have a barbarian Strike for you], Aid someone, ect if you roll low for Devise a stratagem.


Investigators combat niche is cool. Treasure vault is buffing their damage with an alchemical coffee at least. But I like that you have great crits if you carry around a gun and picked up quickdraw at some point.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Firearms are really bad for investigators though. There is no real class support for them. You very rarely crit on anything but a natural 20, so you are fishing for a very long time for your big hits. The gun slinger I played before the investigator easily crit 3 to 4 times as often.

Feats to support firearm use as an investigator would be awesome. Combine reload and devise a stratagem? Or have a ricochet ability that let you keep the damage bonus on a redirected shot taken when you shoot even with a bad roll? One or two feats in that vein could make it work. As is, it sounds cool in theory, but is very painful in practice. Aiding is probably your best bet, but my GM required actually firing the weapon to aid an attack roll so it meant ending the round with a loaded gun.


Unicore wrote:

Firearms are really bad for investigators though. There is no real class support for them. You very rarely crit on anything but a natural 20, so you are fishing for a very long time for your big hits. The gun slinger I played before the investigator easily crit 3 to 4 times as often.

Feats to support firearm use as an investigator would be awesome. Combine reload and devise a stratagem? Or have a ricochet ability that let you keep the damage bonus on a redirected shot taken when you shoot even with a bad roll? One or two feats in that vein could make it work. As is, it sounds cool in theory, but is very painful in practice. Aiding is probably your best bet, but my GM required actually firing the weapon to aid an attack roll so it meant ending the round with a loaded gun.

I meant that you can just carry one on you and only attack with it when you crit. Otherwise, normal hits should be with a bow or something. The point was you have more options for when you crit. You could do similar tactics if you have specific crit specializations or want to crit an athletics maneuver if you pick up athletic strategist. Investigator has the most flexible crits since you know when they're coming.


Although, if you do want to build a gun investigator, risky reload is pretty much all you need. DAS makes it far less risky and all you need is one attack per round anyways with the investigator so it's not all that different from using a bow.


Unicore wrote:

Firearms are really bad for investigators though. There is no real class support for them. You very rarely crit on anything but a natural 20, so you are fishing for a very long time for your big hits. The gun slinger I played before the investigator easily crit 3 to 4 times as often.

Feats to support firearm use as an investigator would be awesome. Combine reload and devise a stratagem? Or have a ricochet ability that let you keep the damage bonus on a redirected shot taken when you shoot even with a bad roll? One or two feats in that vein could make it work. As is, it sounds cool in theory, but is very painful in practice. Aiding is probably your best bet, but my GM required actually firing the weapon to aid an attack roll so it meant ending the round with a loaded gun.

About the only firearms/crossbows that work well are the repeaters if you can get access to them: otherwise, it's compete with the bows' reload 0 [and deadly doesn't hurt]. The only other thing that might be interesting is a Backpack Ballista for those times when you roll a 20: Might as well load it with alchemic ammo while your at it too.


graystone wrote:
Unicore wrote:

Firearms are really bad for investigators though. There is no real class support for them. You very rarely crit on anything but a natural 20, so you are fishing for a very long time for your big hits. The gun slinger I played before the investigator easily crit 3 to 4 times as often.

Feats to support firearm use as an investigator would be awesome. Combine reload and devise a stratagem? Or have a ricochet ability that let you keep the damage bonus on a redirected shot taken when you shoot even with a bad roll? One or two feats in that vein could make it work. As is, it sounds cool in theory, but is very painful in practice. Aiding is probably your best bet, but my GM required actually firing the weapon to aid an attack roll so it meant ending the round with a loaded gun.

About the only firearms/crossbows that work well are the repeaters if you can get access to them: otherwise, it's compete with the bows' reload 0 [and deadly doesn't hurt]. The only other thing that might be interesting is a Backpack Ballista for those times when you roll a 20: Might as well load it with alchemic ammo while your at it too.

Having a backup jezail will do you better than the backpack ballista for that purpose. Not bad for a regular opening hit though.


aobst128 wrote:
graystone wrote:
Unicore wrote:

Firearms are really bad for investigators though. There is no real class support for them. You very rarely crit on anything but a natural 20, so you are fishing for a very long time for your big hits. The gun slinger I played before the investigator easily crit 3 to 4 times as often.

Feats to support firearm use as an investigator would be awesome. Combine reload and devise a stratagem? Or have a ricochet ability that let you keep the damage bonus on a redirected shot taken when you shoot even with a bad roll? One or two feats in that vein could make it work. As is, it sounds cool in theory, but is very painful in practice. Aiding is probably your best bet, but my GM required actually firing the weapon to aid an attack roll so it meant ending the round with a loaded gun.

About the only firearms/crossbows that work well are the repeaters if you can get access to them: otherwise, it's compete with the bows' reload 0 [and deadly doesn't hurt]. The only other thing that might be interesting is a Backpack Ballista for those times when you roll a 20: Might as well load it with alchemic ammo while your at it too.
Having a backup jezail will do you better than the backpack ballista for that purpose. Not bad for a regular opening hit though.

jezail requires 2 hands to get the fatal dice, which means stowing your normal weapon, drawing the jezail, firing it, stowing it [or dropping it] and then drawing your normal weapon. The backpack just requires you use your off hand [if you have a bow] to deploy it, fire it then retract it [or 'drop' it] all while holding your bow in the other hand. You're saving 2 action over a Fatal Aim d12 or you're even but using lower dice for damage and lower range [if that matters].


graystone wrote:
aobst128 wrote:
graystone wrote:
Unicore wrote:

Firearms are really bad for investigators though. There is no real class support for them. You very rarely crit on anything but a natural 20, so you are fishing for a very long time for your big hits. The gun slinger I played before the investigator easily crit 3 to 4 times as often.

Feats to support firearm use as an investigator would be awesome. Combine reload and devise a stratagem? Or have a ricochet ability that let you keep the damage bonus on a redirected shot taken when you shoot even with a bad roll? One or two feats in that vein could make it work. As is, it sounds cool in theory, but is very painful in practice. Aiding is probably your best bet, but my GM required actually firing the weapon to aid an attack roll so it meant ending the round with a loaded gun.

About the only firearms/crossbows that work well are the repeaters if you can get access to them: otherwise, it's compete with the bows' reload 0 [and deadly doesn't hurt]. The only other thing that might be interesting is a Backpack Ballista for those times when you roll a 20: Might as well load it with alchemic ammo while your at it too.
Having a backup jezail will do you better than the backpack ballista for that purpose. Not bad for a regular opening hit though.
jezail requires 2 hands to get the fatal dice, which means stowing your normal weapon, drawing the jezail, firing it, stowing it [or dropping it] and then drawing your normal weapon. The backpack just requires you use your off hand [if you have a bow] to deploy it, fire it then retract it [or 'drop' it] all while holding your bow in the other hand. You're saving 2 action over a Fatal Aim d12 or you're even but using lower dice for damage and lower range [if that matters].

Ballista is 1+ like bows are. You'd save actions if it was in your hand from the start and you're using a returning thrown weapon as your main I guess. I'd rather just grab quickdraw and blast with a fatal gun that way.


aobst128 wrote:
Ballista is 1+ like bows are. You'd save actions if it was in your hand from the start and you're using a returning thrown weapon as your main I guess. I'd rather just grab quickdraw and blast with a...

The + is meaningless as you can't reload it when worn: as such, it's effectively a 1 handed weapon. The + is only when you take it off to reload it and take out a min to do so. So you only really need the action to deploy it and if you're willing to spend one to draw the jezail [or go out of your way to get quick draw], you can do the same with the backpack. I don't see the jezail as anything but a worse option unless you expect multiple crits but even them each additional crit is STILL extra actions with the jezail [or you're dropping weapons] or you're not getting fatal.

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