Wanted: Skilled Frontliner


Advice


Dear fellow Pathfinders,
as my group is slowly moving towards Second Edition I start looking at Character Options.

right now I am searching for a frontline melee fighter (at least competent in that field) who brings utility to a group outside of combat.

Focus should be on Str and/or Dex, Con and Int, so classes relying on Wis or Cha are not really on my list.

Any ideas for a class and/or build (up to 10 level) ?

Regards
Cyr


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Inventor or Investigator would be the most obvious, but if you want to be beefier you could go fighter or barbarian and just focus on intelligence skills.

The first thing you should figure out is how much do want to favor durability versus utility. It also might help to define the skills you're looking for more. I'm assuming intelligence driven skills, but that covers four major skills before you consider Lores.

Magus could also work if you want magic. Simplest option is probably smart fighter though.


Pretty much any class can have at least a few things to bring to bear outside of combat. Skill boosts and skill feats are both orthogonal to combat power.

Some classes may do it better than others for a particular concept that you have in mind though. So you might want to describe more what you are wanting to do outside of combat.

But some classes to consider based on your preference of INT instead of WIS or CHA:

Inventor would be high on the list.
Swashbuckler is more of a DEX/CHA class normally, though Gymnast is DEX/STR, which would leave room for boosting INT instead. Monk also often has ability space to boost INT if you want. Though for both of them they don't get much for the INT boosts than more skills trained.
Magus might be a decent choice. They don't handle front line brawling for all that long - they are more opportunistic pouncers. But Inexorable Iron and Sparkling Targe both change that a bit.
Maybe Investigator or Alchemist, though those are not nearly as good at front line brawling, and are somewhat difficult classes to build for that particular combat role. Probably best to not have those be your first character.


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Investigator and rogue are both pretty heavy on the utility, though Investigator really prefers to be at range. Rogue can go either. Of the two... I think Rogue is probably better for your first character.

Inventor is pretty solid as a strength/int melee. Some bits of it are a bit finicky, though, so you'll want to make sure you have a decent understanding of the class and how it's supposed to work before you try to build your character.

Magus gets some spellcasting, which is always a nice source of utility, and works just fine in melee. They're all about the burst damage.

Depending on *how* slowly you're moving over... well, Rage of the Elements ships in early August, and I'm certain there will be melee-capable kineticist builds. Those wuild qualify pretty solidly too, in their own inimitable fashion.

So, yeah. I'd suggest Rogue, Inventor, Magus, or (if you have long enough) Kineticist. Picking between them?

- Rogue: You pretty much already know what a rogue is. Gets extra skills, and in PF2, skills are actually pretty meaningful, both in an out of combat. You're going to need to find ways to get your sneak attack to trigger, but that's doable. With consistent sneak attacks, you're doing a pretty healthy chunk of damage, but you're still a tch on the fragile side. Can easily switch to range when necessary. I'd suggest either Mastermind (for extra utility/int-focus) or Thief (for extra damage)

- Inventor: A decent melee combatant who supplements the standard "hit them with stuff" with a number of effects that act kind of like magic but aren't. The boosts to utility are pretty much all crafting-related in one way or another.

- Magus: "I want to stab people, and I want to set them on fire, and I don't want to have to choose! I want to stab people and set them on fire at the same time!" There's the core Magus idea right there and it delivers. If you like that idea, it's worth looking into. If you find it kind of meh, it's not. You get a decent melee chassis, a few higher-level spell slots, and some cantrips. You'll want to spend those high-level spell slots on setting people on fire when you stab them, and you'll want at least one damaging cantrip, but you can certainly fit some utility into the rest of your cantrip list. You also get easy access to scrolls, wands, and (quite possibly) staves. I've heard good things about Twisting Tree.

- Kineticist: ehhh... well, you probably want to make the switch before this becomes available If that's not the case, let us know and we'll fill you in on that one.

If you can hone in on which class you'd be more interested in, we can start offering more specific advice on builds. Also/alternately, there are a number of class guides available on this forum, and a handy Guide to the Guides that can make it easier to find them..


Outside of skill classes like rogue, everyone gets the same number of skills that scale to legendary. With this in mind, you can play pretty much anything and get the same result.

The simplest option is to run a str/con/wis/other fighter. Pick your three good skills and call it a day.

If you want a lot of non-combat knowledge, you can run thaumaturge. Diverse Lore allows them to recall knowledge on anything and tome implement gives them extra skills. Since it's all cha based too, you can even be the face and frontline with a champion dedication. Cha/str/con/wis.

Another option is the plate rogue. Go ruffian, grab sentinel archetype for plate. Kinda jank, but it's there.


Cyrilean wrote:

I am searching for a frontline melee fighter (at least competent in that field) who brings utility to a group outside of combat.

Focus should be on Str and/or Dex, Con and Int, so classes relying on Wis or Cha are not really on my list.

Any ideas for a class and/or build (up to 10 level) ?

Depends in how much you want to be front line and what you want to do. It is a trade off.

Inventor and Investigator work well. Inventor has more versatility directly but Investigator gets extra skills like Rogues do. Some mechanical ideas here

If you want to be a fighter but intelligent then Fighter with a dip in Investigator or Magus could be fun

Wily Captain
If you want to role play someone smarter upstairs, this is an intelligent fighter build which is effective. You can out-think your opponent. Devise a Stratagem is like a True Strike you can use every turn. Providing you have something else you can do, like trip that opponent or Strike at a different opponent, it is exceptionally good value. If you don’t have another option, don’t waste an action on it. You can also choose to go with a Power Attack if you have a good opening.

Str 18 Dex 12 Con 12 Int 14 Wis 12 Cha 10

Basic equipment: Breastplate or Full Plate, Guisarme

Class Feats: Level 1: Power Attack, Level 2: Investigator Dedication Level 4: Investigator's Stratagem, Swipe, Knockdown, Level 10: Improved KnockDown, Combat Reflexes, Level 14 Whirlwind Strike

Skills: Athletics


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I can highly recommend taking the Rogue multiclass archetype for additional skills.

Additional Lore is another great source of skill bonuses.

Other archetypes like Pathfinder Agent can also net you some extra skill increases.

Personally, I would lean toward going Fighter + Rogue.


Ruffian Rogue, grab the Shield Block general feat and a spear. Run around as a hoplite.


Among the skilled martial classes, I think Rogue is generally the best. Ruffian Rogue with INT is not that hard to pull off considering that you are still a rogue that gets evasion extremely soon, so you can forgo a bit of DEX compared to other martials and still be fine.

For example, 18STR, 12DEX, 14CON, 10WIS, 14INT, 10CHA could be doable as long as you are careful with your boosts (if you go for something like this, I'd consider getting an elemental heritage if possible, since they can get Noble Resolve at 5, which can fix a bit your Will saves).

Ending up with 24STR, 16DEX, 20CON, 18WIS, 18INT, 10CHA could be a decent final stat spread for that.

If you go for Thief Rogue, stats are way easier, get DEX to 18, two 14's and one 12 for CON, WIS and INT, and just boost those. No need for STR if you do that.

As for good feats, Gang up at level 6 feels like a must. Opportune Backstab at 8 kind of the same. The thief related debilitation feat you get at 10 is pretty nuts as well.

If you are going Ruffian, consider going for Mauler Dedication. Knockdown is pretty good, as it combines offense and CC and once you get to improved knockdown, you can combo it with The Harder they Fall to great effect.

I'd also recommend the thaumaturge picking a book implement, but the class is not a very good place to start playing tbh.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Play a Fighter. They're the most straightforward, hardest hitting front liners. Then dip into the Loremaster archetype to get Loremaster Lore. It's like having all the Lore skills. If you're good with playing a Human, you can also get Skilled Heritage, Natural Skill, and Clever Improviser and Incredible Improvisation to round out your skills.

At 9th-level, take Multitalented to pick up Rogue Dedication, additional skills, and a couple if new Skill feats.

There won't be anything you can't do or know.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:

Play a Fighter. They're the most straightforward, hardest hitting front liners. Then dip into the Loremaster archetype to get Loremaster Lore. It's like having all the Lore skills. If you're good with playing a Human, you can also get Skilled Heritage, Natural Skill, and Clever Improviser and Incredible Improvisation to round out your skills.

At 9th-level, take Multitalented to pick up Rogue Dedication, additional skills, and a couple if new Skill feats.

There won't be anything you can't do or know.

I think this a damn fine build for a newbie, but I disagree with that last sentence. Even if you became trained in every skill you only have so many stat boosts and skill increases, which means you won't be great at all of them. Not will you be as good as, say, a rogue or investigator.

I just want to set expectations for OP. PF2 does reward well balanced characters but you have a finite power budget to work with. There will be give and take between your overall skill level and your toughness.

Scarab Sages

I'll add my support for Rogue. Unless you're the party's only frontliner, Rogue can be an excellent melee/skills character. Take toughness when you can. Boost your con. You'll generally be fine.

The build Ravingdork offered is also excellent, and will be better in combat generally (due to accuracy and weapon choices). I will point out that Loremaster only works for Recall Knowledge, which may be a majority of the times a Lore skill comes into things, but not everytime. Negotiating with a merchant? Not sure Loremaster Lore is going to substitute for Mercantile Lore in that instance, or many similar ones. Also, you can't boost it independently. Loremaster Lore proficiency doesn't improve until you reach Legendary proficiency in a skill that can be used to Decipher Writing. And finally, depending on the GM, they may let you roll Loremaster Lore, but not use the reduced DC for having the specific Lore, because Loremaster Lore is about as general of a skill as you can get, not the specific Lore skill.

It's still fantastic, though.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

Play a Fighter. They're the most straightforward, hardest hitting front liners. Then dip into the Loremaster archetype to get Loremaster Lore. It's like having all the Lore skills. If you're good with playing a Human, you can also get Skilled Heritage, Natural Skill, and Clever Improviser and Incredible Improvisation to round out your skills.

At 9th-level, take Multitalented to pick up Rogue Dedication, additional skills, and a couple if new Skill feats.

There won't be anything you can't do or know.

I think this a damn fine build for a newbie, but I disagree with that last sentence. Even if you became trained in every skill you only have so many stat boosts and skill increases, which means you won't be great at all of them. Nor will you be as good as, say, a rogue or investigator.

I just want to set expectations for OP. PF2 does reward well balanced characters but you have a finite power budget to work with. There will be give and take between your overall skill level and your toughness.

Anyone looking to be great at everything is playing the wrong game.

This build will certainly allow you to participate in and contribute to just about everything, while still excelling at a few more things than most people.

I suspect most players wouldn't do much better with skills short of playing a rogue or investigator.

If anything, the build potentially gets so many skills that Clever Improviser and Incredible Improvisation might not be necessary at high levels and could be retrained out for more combat oriented things like Toughness or Fleet.

I agree that setting one's expectations is important. :)


Cyrilean wrote:

Dear fellow Pathfinders,

as my group is slowly moving towards Second Edition I start looking at Character Options.

right now I am searching for a frontline melee fighter (at least competent in that field) who brings utility to a group outside of combat.

Focus should be on Str and/or Dex, Con and Int, so classes relying on Wis or Cha are not really on my list.

Any ideas for a class and/or build (up to 10 level) ?

Regards
Cyr

The Outwit Ranger taking the Monster Hunter line of feats is an almost perfect fit. They have a 10HP progression and Martial proficiencies, making them a frontliner. It does focus on Wisdom instead of intelligence, but the level 10 feat Master Monster Hunter lets you use Nature to identify any creature type, so you should be the primary enemy identification character in the party at that point. With access to Legendary perception at the highest levels and a great perception progression, you can often act as the scout for the party as well.

Similarly, the Thaumaturge is a Charisma focused class, but access to Esoteric Lore lets them use their Charisma for a large array of Recall Knowledge checks. It's pretty debatable if you can consider them a frontliner with 8HP progression, but they do get Martial proficiences. Perhaps someone with more experience could help here if the Thaumaturge sounds interesting.


Thank you for all your kind advice, really some great ideas here to build upon.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

Play a Fighter. They're the most straightforward, hardest hitting front liners. Then dip into the Loremaster archetype to get Loremaster Lore. It's like having all the Lore skills. If you're good with playing a Human, you can also get Skilled Heritage, Natural Skill, and Clever Improviser and Incredible Improvisation to round out your skills.

At 9th-level, take Multitalented to pick up Rogue Dedication, additional skills, and a couple if new Skill feats.

There won't be anything you can't do or know.

I think this a damn fine build for a newbie, but I disagree with that last sentence. Even if you became trained in every skill you only have so many stat boosts and skill increases, which means you won't be great at all of them. Nor will you be as good as, say, a rogue or investigator.

I just want to set expectations for OP. PF2 does reward well balanced characters but you have a finite power budget to work with. There will be give and take between your overall skill level and your toughness.

Anyone looking to be great at everything is playing the wrong game.

This build will certainly allow you to participate in and contribute to just about everything, while still excelling at a few more things than most people.

I suspect most players wouldn't do much better with skills short of playing a rogue or investigator.

If anything, the build potentially gets so many skills that Clever Improviser and Incredible Improvisation might not be necessary at high levels and could be retrained out for more combat oriented things like Toughness or Fleet.

I agree that setting one's expectations is important. :)

Agreed on all points. Just wanted to make it clear to our new community members. :)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Queaux wrote:
Cyrilean wrote:

Dear fellow Pathfinders,

as my group is slowly moving towards Second Edition I start looking at Character Options.

right now I am searching for a frontline melee fighter (at least competent in that field) who brings utility to a group outside of combat.

Focus should be on Str and/or Dex, Con and Int, so classes relying on Wis or Cha are not really on my list.

Any ideas for a class and/or build (up to 10 level) ?

Regards
Cyr

The Outwit Ranger taking the Monster Hunter line of feats is an almost perfect fit. They have a 10HP progression and Martial proficiencies, making them a frontliner. It does focus on Wisdom instead of intelligence, but the level 10 feat Master Monster Hunter lets you use Nature to identify any creature type, so you should be the primary enemy identification character in the party at that point. With access to Legendary perception at the highest levels and a great perception progression, you can often act as the scout for the party as well.

Similarly, the Thaumaturge is a Charisma focused class, but access to Esoteric Lore lets them use their Charisma for a large array of Recall Knowledge checks. It's pretty debatable if you can consider them a frontliner with 8HP progression, but they do get Martial proficiences. Perhaps someone with more experience could help here if the Thaumaturge sounds interesting.

Outwit is a good call. They get a bonus to AC which helps tank, and if you use a d12 weapon your feat budget will allow for Sentinel. It but you'll do less damage than the Hunter's Edges and you'll need to spread your skills pretty thin until level 10.

Dark Archive

Suggestions:

- Thief Rogue for Dex to Hit/Dex to Damage is going to be the best combo skill monkey/front liner. Start as a Dwarf, take toughness at L3, take Golem Grafter at L8, and at L9 take the Mountain Stoutness feat. That gives you +3HP/Level which means you have the HP of a non-barbarian fighter with toughness. Rogue gets a skill bump and skill feat every level which is amazing. If you keep taking golem grafter feats you get additional resistance up to 5 vs all physical damage (except adamantine) by L14 with free archetype (two level 10 feats) or L16. This is better with free archetype.

- Kashrishi Thaumaturge. Grab finesse 1D8 horn from heritage + L1 Feat. Take L5 fey/L9 Dryad feats for a 1d6 unarmed ranged strike. Take the Regalia and Tome implements for extra status damage and tons of skills/skill bonuses. Take the L1 Thaumaturge feat diverse lore so their lore skills applies to SO MANY skill rolls and is off CHA. Take toughness at L3, Grab L8 Golem Grafter for more HP, get adopted by mountain dwarves for some stoutness at L13. The Thaumaturge feats aren't super necessary so even without free archetype you could spend a L2/L4/L6 feat to get in and out of an archetype like Sentinel for scaling heavy armour/armour specialization. Another example would be Monk Dedication at L2, Ki strike/Ki Rush at the other two levels or a finesse armour allowed stance like stumbling stance. At L10 you can grab the flurry of blows to improve action economy for the thaumaturge which suffers in that area and at L12 you can grab more ki spells or the L12 monk archetype feat to boost your reflex save to master so you end with master in all 3. Any multiclass that can get you that L12 bump of reflex saves to master would be good. So even rogue could give you sneak attack dice (1d6 limited) open up the skill mastery feats for a bump of one skill from trained to expert and another from expert to master (and a skill feat) to fake being a rogue.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Red Griffyn wrote:

- Kashrishi Thaumaturge. Grab finesse 1D8 horn from heritage + L1 Feat. Take L5 fey/L9 Dryad feats for a 1d6 unarmed ranged strike. Take the Regalia and Tome implements for extra status damage and tons of skills/skill bonuses. Take the L1 Thaumaturge feat diverse lore so their lore skills applies to SO MANY skill rolls and is off CHA. Take toughness at L3, Grab L8 Golem Grafter for more HP, get adopted by mountain dwarves for some stoutness at L13. The Thaumaturge feats aren't super necessary so even without free archetype you could spend a L2/L4/L6 feat to get in and out of an archetype like Sentinel for scaling heavy armour/armour specialization. Another example would be Monk Dedication at L2, Ki strike/Ki Rush at the other two levels or a finesse armour allowed stance like stumbling stance. At L10 you can grab the flurry of blows to improve action economy for the thaumaturge which suffers in that area and at L12 you can grab more ki spells or the L12 monk archetype feat to boost your reflex save to master so you end with master in all 3. Any multiclass that can get you that L12 bump of reflex saves to master would be good. So even rogue could give you sneak attack dice (1d6 limited) open up the skill mastery feats for a bump of one skill from trained to expert and another from expert to master (and a skill feat) to fake being a rogue.

This reminds me of some of my crazy 1E builds.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah, ironically the best know it all character might be the charisma based Thaumaturge rather than intelligence based classes. Though I think you could make a case for Investigator winning that contest still.


Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

All of the options people have mentioned look good.

Ruffian Rogue with Fighter dedication can make a very strong, skilled melee build. You can improve the hit points via Fighter Resiliency and take fighter feats. Rogue gives the most open skills and skill feats of any class. You will not be as resilient at the other martial classes, but you can come really close.

I’m glad others mentioned Thaumaturge. It is a strange class, but can be used to build a charisma based melee character with some very unique options. This one will take some research to build properly as you will want to know how your first two implements will interact with each other. The different builds of Thaumaturge can look like completely different classes.

I am fond of the Magus and have built an Inextorable Iron Magus. The high intelligence is partially negated by the low number of base skills the class gives. Still, you should be able to build something that has utility in and out of combat.

There are a lot of archetypes that expand your options. Do not ignore them.

Have fun!

Dark Archive

Ravingdork wrote:
Red Griffyn wrote:

- Kashrishi Thaumaturge. Grab finesse 1D8 horn from heritage + L1 Feat. Take L5 fey/L9 Dryad feats for a 1d6 unarmed ranged strike. Take the Regalia and Tome implements for extra status damage and tons of skills/skill bonuses. Take the L1 Thaumaturge feat diverse lore so their lore skills applies to SO MANY skill rolls and is off CHA. Take toughness at L3, Grab L8 Golem Grafter for more HP, get adopted by mountain dwarves for some stoutness at L13. The Thaumaturge feats aren't super necessary so even without free archetype you could spend a L2/L4/L6 feat to get in and out of an archetype like Sentinel for scaling heavy armour/armour specialization. Another example would be Monk Dedication at L2, Ki strike/Ki Rush at the other two levels or a finesse armour allowed stance like stumbling stance. At L10 you can grab the flurry of blows to improve action economy for the thaumaturge which suffers in that area and at L12 you can grab more ki spells or the L12 monk archetype feat to boost your reflex save to master so you end with master in all 3. Any multiclass that can get you that L12 bump of reflex saves to master would be good. So even rogue could give you sneak attack dice (1d6 limited) open up the skill mastery feats for a bump of one skill from trained to expert and another from expert to master (and a skill feat) to fake being a rogue.

This reminds me of some of my crazy 1E builds.

High praise indeed!

This build is one i'm saving for a high level AP like Fist of the Ruby Phoenix (just so you have the ranged unarmed strike). Felt very on theme to be a monk surrogate without actually taking the monk.

Not a lot of rhino fantasy monk art where the rhino has a wicked set of hair filled with blooming flowers. Probably will need the help of a computer generated art server.


A front liner that can help outside of combat?

The Champion or Monk are generally the best front line fighters.

Champion is built for it out of the box.

Monk maneuver fighter with trip and a shield is a poor man's Captain America for front line fighting.

You can build a decent fighter too.

You could also try a Shield Magus. With the high intelligence and casting, may be able to pull of a front line guy with some skill ability. You also get a big spell strike. Your intelligence gives more skills. You can choose dex or strength as your preference.

You could also configure a shield ranger front line fighter. Never done this, but a precision ranger with a shield probably do decent damage. You get more skills as a ranger and still have 10 hit points.

I've found the rogue to be too much of a soft target to be a front line fighter-type. They get hammered and don't have the hit points.

Barbarian can be a front line fighter as they level, but at low level the AC penalty for raging is brutal and leads to getting crit and dropped quite a bit.

My go to front liners are the monk with shield, knockdown shield fighter, or a champion, usually a paladin. Champion is best built for it. But the monk is the most fun because of the flurry and maneuver builds.

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