Fuck Yeah Pathfinder
Good day! I've been wanting to play as a witch. But I've found little in the core rule book and advanced character. What are some good tips into conjuring up info on them?

You see my pretty, witches are quite a fun and powerful class with lots of options for both fun RPing/fluff and gameplay.

Crazy Cauldron Witch

On the “double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble” side of things you’ve got the Cauldron and Poison Steep hexes, which give the witch the ability to make potions and alchemical items, a plus for him/her/the team, and the ability to make poisoned food in her cauldron.  For further mastery of this kind of wtichcraft, you can take the major hexes, Cook People (if you’re evil) and/or Witch’s Brew.  Cook People giving you a choice from a variety of buffs and Witch’s Brew giving highly efficient potion creation.  This gets really fun with the beguiling gift spell, compelling others to eat the poisoned food. (Also, you can use that spell to give other people a lot of fun stuff that’ll ruin their weekends.)

To continue down the cackling, mad, I have lots of evil toys route, the hex, Waxen Image, gives you a voodoo doll, Hidden Home lets you hide your lair, and the grand hex, Witch’s Hut, gives you a crazy animated home.

Obviously, with a witch like this you’ll want to use the Cackle hex, paired with a few of the hexes it lists, particularly the Evil Eye hex because it’s really handy.

More Optimized Stuff

For hexes that fit into the more optimized mold, there’s Flight, which gives the witch various flight abilities on a stick.  Fortune, Misfortune, Evil Eye, Ice Tomb, and Agony are all excellent debuff and control hexes.  If you need healing there’s Minor Healing and Major Healing.  Retribution can be a helpful way to punish enemies that attack you and your party.  Prehensile Hair gives you another hand, which is always handy.

For the patrons, it’s really up to you and what flavor you want your witch to be.  For more optimized patrons, the Deception and Trickery options from the APG and the Time option from UM are excellent.

For spells, keep in mind that while the witch is an arcane caster in origin, the class does have access to some traditionally divine spells, like healing.  The spell list is powerful and suits the needs of the witch.  Whether you’re controlling the battlefield with black tentacles, changing your age with threefold aspect, or causing break outs with pox pustules, there’s a lot of enjoy from that spell list.  Since the witch is a preparation-based caster, you can learn all the of the spells on the witch’s list, given time and resources, the the options are nearly limitless.

Archetypes

The four archetypes in Ultimate Magic give the witch some interesting options.  The Beast-Bonded archetype is familiar mastery archetype and eventually gives the witch an ability allowing her to cheat death.  The Gravewalker gives the which more necromancer-y flavor, being able to control undead and getting a disgusting and creepy living doll, the Spell Poppet, instead of a familiar.  The Hedge Witch is a healer witch.  The Sea Witch is a, well, sea witch.  More archetypes can be found here, which includes a planar specialist witch, a hair specialist witch, and an ice bitch witch.  (Also, there are more hex options there as well.)

Melee Witch?

It bears mentioning that the magus has an archetype that allows the them  to gain hexes.  This magus, the Hexcrafter, trades the spell recall ability for the ability to use the hexes and gain some additional spells, all of the curses in the game (and a special arcana that lets you use them with a melee attack).  It’s a really fun option if you want to go the warrior mage route with a bit of the ol’ hexblade feel, though better, because the hexblade was pretty weak.

Closing Maniacal Laughter

So, I’ll close with some links to guides.  These are mostly for optimization, which is fine, but I generally prefer to make unique characters over min/maxed characters (which is why, above, I never mentioned the Slumber hex, which is broken, IMHO).  They’ll have lots of information, ideas, options, opinions, and so forth.

Thanks for the question!

Hello, I was wondering. For the Cav Archetype, Musketeer; Is there any point having Cav Charge, when you dont get a mount? Seeing as it maked little sense for me to charge when Im gun focused.

Thanks for the question!

So, Cavalier’s Charge may seem like a pointless ability to a Musketeer at first glance, but all that really happens to it is it becomes a secondary/sub ability.  This is because you can still get mounts, you just don’t get the “Cavalier’s Mount”.  So, if you want to keep the mount, shoot from the mount, and do some charging into the fray, it’s still a handy ability

You can get the Charge ability replaced through the Luring Cavalier archetype, since combing archetypes is a legal thing, and that archetype has handy ranged abilities.

There are also a couple other archetypes that can be combined with the Musketeer, but I think the Luring Cavalier gets more bang for the Musketeer’s buck, pun definitely intended.

wolfoverclocked:

Pathfinder Character Designs 2: Warrior-Mages

This is part 2 of my billion-and-a-half part series of writing about random character builds.  I started this with a post about the Rogue and their archetypes.  Today, I’m going to go over some things I’ve learned about making and playing warrior-mage type characters.  I’ll go over single class variations, multiclass variations, then the “gish-in-a-box” characters introduced by Paizo for Pathfinder, and finally I’ll round out the post with some spells..

Core Classes
The Pathfinder Core has one class that I’d consider “out-of-the-box” warrior-mage capable, and that’s the Bard.  They get arcane casting, can wield a pretty nice assortment of melee weapons and some armor, they can self-buff their attacks and defenses, and self heal as needed.  In fact, in the Advanced Player’s Guide and Ultimate Combat, the Bard gets archetypes that make them very combat-oriented with their arcane magics added on top (for reference these are the Arcane Duelist in APG and the Dervish Dancer in UC).

Additionally, and a little surprisingly, if you stat a Sorcerer or Wizard and use the proper Bloodling/School, you can get a little be of melee out of these two.  For the Sorcerer, there are the Aberrant (10-20 foot Touch Spells), Abyssal/Orc (+2-6 Strength), and Pit-Touched Infernal (+2-6 Constitution) Bloodlines, for example.  For the Wizard, there’s the Transmutation School, which gives a +1-5 enhancement bonus to a physical stat, changeable at the beginning of the day.  So, as mentioned, a Warrior-Mage with these two is a little work, but still possible.  It may not be the best, but it gets the job done.

Multiclassing
For history’s sake and for a little bit of fun, here are two warrior-mage builds I lifted from a really old 4chan /tg/ post with a thread about this subject.  In 3.5, these were two of the main warrior-mage builds.  The first is a standard arcane caster + fighting, which results in crazy casting and the ability to whack-things-with-stuff, and the second (“Sorcadin”) is a more complicated but still good mix of smiting and arcane casting.  Both take advantage of the Abjurant Champion and his various “sacrifice spells to buff self” abilities.  

Fighter 1 / Wizard 6 / Spellsword 1 / Abjurant Champion 5 / Eldritch Knight 7
Paladin 2 / Sorcerer 4 / Spellsword 1 / Abjurant Champion 5 / Sacred Exorcist 8 

Now, in Pathfinder, you obviously can’t really take the Abjurant Champion and Sacred Exorcist unless you’ve got a really open GM.  So, you can’t exactly make the same thing, but you can get close.

Fighter 1 / Sorcerer or Wizard 9 / Eldritch Knight 10

If I do the math right in my head, the Sorcerer variant has +15/+10/+5 BAB and casts like an 18th Level Sorcerer.  His main drawback is that he loses out on most of the really powerful Sorcerer Bloodline abilities.  This is somewhat lessened by the Wondrous Item in the Advanced Player’s Guide called the “Robe of Arcane Heritage”.  With the Abyssal/Orc Bloodline, you’ll get a +4 to Strength and the Pit-Touched Infernal gets a +4 to Constitution.  Additionally, if you go Draconic, you can also jump to Dragon Disciple, which has some nice melee-mage potential.

The Wizard is more flexible, you can drop a level of Wizard for Fighter and not lose a lot of spell casting to get +16/+11/+6/+1 BAB, otherwise you’ll have mid-BAB.  You get another bonus combat feat out of that switch as well.  You end up casting as a 17th or 18th level Wizard.  The Transmutation school (with the option of the Enhancement Sub-School) grants this Wizard a lot of self buffs, so he can keep up his stats during the day.  If you go with Illusion you can use an at-will Greater Invisibility and Conjuration has several teleportation options.

As for the Sorcadin, I don’t know that you can build one in Pathfinder easily.  Trading the level of Fighter for a level of Paladin would be an option though.  Same for the Wizard.  You get a Smite Evil out of the deal instead of bonus feats along with all those proficiencies.

Gish-in-a-Box
There are a few other Pathfinder classes who qualify as warrior-mages straight away.  There’s the Bard listed above, but the Advanced Player’s Guide introduces the Alchemist and Ultimate Magic introduces the Magus.

The Alchemist
Alchemists have a limited kind of spell casting, they drink their Extracts, which “casts” the spell.  The advantage is that they can do this in any armor without worrying about spell failure.  Any Extract is like this, including those Ultimate Magic grants through Archetypes (Summon Nature’s Ally from a character in Full Plate is kinda scary).  Alchemists can either dip into a full martial class (Fighter, Paladin, Barbarian, Paladin, etc.) for a slew of armors and weapons, along with other small bonuses that make the job easier, or take a few feats to get the proficiencies, which is fine for Alchemists because they aren’t that feat starved.  Also, since the Extracts don’t actually require DCs most of the time, you only need about 18 Intelligence (more through leveling if need be) to operate them.  Bombs are a nice addition to being able to fighting in melee, but there’s also the Vivsectionist who can do sneak attacking instead of bombs.  Another advantage for the Alchemist is that they’re skill monkeys with everything else, so they have versatility in and out of combat.

The Magus
Billed as an out-of-the-box warrior-mage and does the job great.  He’s got the weapons, spells, and self-buffing to be a terror all over the battlefield.  He can also get a nice defense going, either with high Dexterity (in a Dervish Dance build that uses Dex for melee damage) or eventually getting heavy armor for a Strength Magus.  He’s also exceedingly multiclass friendly, capable of dipping into one or even two classes for their various abilities.  This is because, quite frankly, everything the Magus gets after 7th-ish Level is ho-hum.

With both of these classes, very little necessary is tied to character level, so the multiclassing they may do won’t really hurt their progression that badly.  The Alchemist loses his Grand Discovery which are all nice, but not “oh god the awesome!!11” and the Magus’s late game stuff isn’t all to game breaking either.

Gish-in-a-Box Multiclassing Options
From Walter’s Guide to the Magus (here: https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1DB6sOfbAzFmKVPgcyLWipTVqvWFjfDSv6v_YiGQb5Yw&pli=1 ), there’s a dip option for picking up, of all things, a level of Sorcerer.  By taking the Crossblooded Archetype to gain the Orc and Draconic Bloodlines (Blue or Bronze) and you deal 2 additional points of damage per dice of your bread ‘n’ butter spell, Shocking Grasp.  So, at 5th level, Shocking Grasp is a 5d6 + 10, at 10th level with Intensify Spell, it’s 10d6 + 20 damage.  10/20 damage in exchange for -2 Will and 1 BAB (which can be made up for with a couple levels of Fighter or something), a definitely nice trade.  This also nets you access to Dragon Disciple, which has some nice buffs for a warrior-mage.

Additionally, a Magus jumping to Alchemist gains the ability to self heal and Mutagens for physical boosting.  A Magus/Paladin can be quite frightening here as well, as seen here: http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/paizoPublishing/pathfinder/pathfinderRPG/advice/featSuggestionsForPaladinMagus&page=1#19

I have a list of the things a Magus can jump to:
-Alchemist for Mutagens and self heals.
-Barbarian for the Raging and Rage Powers.
-Bards for self buffing and self healing.
-Cleric for making a Red Mage with Mystic Theurge (Magus 7/Cleric 3/Mystic Theurge 10)
-Druid for a similar combo with Mystic Theurge
-Fighter for the feats.
-Inquisitor for Judgments, utility, and self heals.
-Monk for the Unarmed Spellstrike concept.
-Paladin for Smiting and self heals.
-Sorcerer for the above Bloodlines.

Spell and Tricks
This section is the last and will cover tricks, feats, items, and spells helpful for being a warrior-mage.

Spells (Specific Defensive Buffs)
-Mage Armor: A basic spell for Sorcerers/Wizards which can be used by almost everything here, if needed.  Alternatively, the character can just get some Bracers of Armor.
-Mirror Image: Insanely great buff.  You are incredibly hard to hit, which will happen if you’re in the frontlines.
-Fire Shield/Vitriolic Mist: These two spells punish creatures for attacking you.  You can stack them, or go with one at a time.  They’re kinda short term for the damage returns, but they could deter something from attacking you.
-Shield/Shock Shield: Again, two shields that give you a short term AC buff.  Alternatively, you can pick up a Mithril Buckler, which doesn’t require proficiency to use and eventually results in a better bonus that’s on all the time.
-Stoneskin: Has a Material Component cost, but it’s free DR, which is awesome.
-Adjuring Step: While in melee, you can cast some spells without provoking.  You can’t attack or run away, but you can still get some stuff off.
-Illusion of Calm: Adjuring Step’s bigger brother (though same level), this lets you cast in combat and move without provoking so long as you’re not attacked.
-Bull’s Strength/Cat’s Grace/Bear’s Endurance: Free attack power or temporary hit points.
-False Life/False Life, Greater: Free hit points.

Items
-Bracers of Armor: It’s like Mage Armor but always on.
-Ring of Deflection/Amulet of Natural Armor: More AC is always better for these guys.  I mention them because of Arcane Spell Failure, which these items all ignore.
-Robe of Arcane Heritage: For the Sorcerer multiclasser.
-Robe of the Archmagi: If you don’t want to eat all of your item slots on defense, you can get one of these, but it’s bonuses will be lower than piecemealing all the different items together.
-Mithril Buckler: Ah yes, this trick is so easy and so awesome.  You can equip them without proficiency for a nice AC bonus.EDIT
-Haramaki and Silken Ceremonial Armor: These two armors are from Ultimate Combat and both have a +1 armor bonus with no penalties to skills or arcane casting!  How awesome is that!

FeatsArcane Strike: Because the warrior-mage is not a Fighter, he needs as many buffs as he can get.  This is one of those abilities, though it does require a Swift Action to use.Arcane Armor Training/Mastery: On paper this sounds helpful but it’s really unnecessary.  There are so many ways to buff up AC, the warrior-mage will never need this.Dervish Dance: To help bring relief to the MAD problem with this character, he can use Dexterity for weapon attacks and damage with a scimitar.  It’s not necessary, but it does help.

TraitsMagical Knack: Perfect for the Fighter/Sorcerer or Wizard/EK because you’re spells are actually full power.Magical Lineage: For the Magus, this is a terrific spell to pump up Shocking Grasp easily.

I hope everyone enjoyed this post.  I’m sure I’ve missed something glaring, but it’s not a super-serious guide.

Also, the artwork is a sketch fo a piece of art for the Magus section of the Pathfinder book I’m making with my friend.  And yes, when I drew the sword, I only drew half of it then copied and flipped it so the weapon would actually be symmetrical.

wolfoverclocked:

Pathfinder Character Designs 2: Warrior-Mages

This is part 2 of my billion-and-a-half part series of writing about random character builds. I started this with a post about the Rogue and their archetypes. Today, I’m going to go over some things I’ve learned about making and playing warrior-mage type characters. I’ll go over single class variations, multiclass variations, then the “gish-in-a-box” characters introduced by Paizo for Pathfinder, and finally I’ll round out the post with some spells..

Core Classes
The Pathfinder Core has one class that I’d consider “out-of-the-box” warrior-mage capable, and that’s the Bard. They get arcane casting, can wield a pretty nice assortment of melee weapons and some armor, they can self-buff their attacks and defenses, and self heal as needed. In fact, in the Advanced Player’s Guide and Ultimate Combat, the Bard gets archetypes that make them very combat-oriented with their arcane magics added on top (for reference these are the Arcane Duelist in APG and the Dervish Dancer in UC).

Additionally, and a little surprisingly, if you stat a Sorcerer or Wizard and use the proper Bloodling/School, you can get a little be of melee out of these two. For the Sorcerer, there are the Aberrant (10-20 foot Touch Spells), Abyssal/Orc (+2-6 Strength), and Pit-Touched Infernal (+2-6 Constitution) Bloodlines, for example. For the Wizard, there’s the Transmutation School, which gives a +1-5 enhancement bonus to a physical stat, changeable at the beginning of the day. So, as mentioned, a Warrior-Mage with these two is a little work, but still possible. It may not be the best, but it gets the job done.

Multiclassing
For history’s sake and for a little bit of fun, here are two warrior-mage builds I lifted from a really old 4chan /tg/ post with a thread about this subject. In 3.5, these were two of the main warrior-mage builds. The first is a standard arcane caster + fighting, which results in crazy casting and the ability to whack-things-with-stuff, and the second (“Sorcadin”) is a more complicated but still good mix of smiting and arcane casting. Both take advantage of the Abjurant Champion and his various “sacrifice spells to buff self” abilities.

Fighter 1 / Wizard 6 / Spellsword 1 / Abjurant Champion 5 / Eldritch Knight 7
Paladin 2 / Sorcerer 4 / Spellsword 1 / Abjurant Champion 5 / Sacred Exorcist 8 

Now, in Pathfinder, you obviously can’t really take the Abjurant Champion and Sacred Exorcist unless you’ve got a really open GM. So, you can’t exactly make the same thing, but you can get close.

Fighter 1 / Sorcerer or Wizard 9 / Eldritch Knight 10

If I do the math right in my head, the Sorcerer variant has +15/+10/+5 BAB and casts like an 18th Level Sorcerer. His main drawback is that he loses out on most of the really powerful Sorcerer Bloodline abilities. This is somewhat lessened by the Wondrous Item in the Advanced Player’s Guide called the “Robe of Arcane Heritage”. With the Abyssal/Orc Bloodline, you’ll get a +4 to Strength and the Pit-Touched Infernal gets a +4 to Constitution. Additionally, if you go Draconic, you can also jump to Dragon Disciple, which has some nice melee-mage potential.

The Wizard is more flexible, you can drop a level of Wizard for Fighter and not lose a lot of spell casting to get +16/+11/+6/+1 BAB, otherwise you’ll have mid-BAB. You get another bonus combat feat out of that switch as well. You end up casting as a 17th or 18th level Wizard. The Transmutation school (with the option of the Enhancement Sub-School) grants this Wizard a lot of self buffs, so he can keep up his stats during the day. If you go with Illusion you can use an at-will Greater Invisibility and Conjuration has several teleportation options.

As for the Sorcadin, I don’t know that you can build one in Pathfinder easily. Trading the level of Fighter for a level of Paladin would be an option though. Same for the Wizard. You get a Smite Evil out of the deal instead of bonus feats along with all those proficiencies.

Gish-in-a-Box
There are a few other Pathfinder classes who qualify as warrior-mages straight away. There’s the Bard listed above, but the Advanced Player’s Guide introduces the Alchemist and Ultimate Magic introduces the Magus.

The Alchemist
Alchemists have a limited kind of spell casting, they drink their Extracts, which “casts” the spell. The advantage is that they can do this in any armor without worrying about spell failure. Any Extract is like this, including those Ultimate Magic grants through Archetypes (Summon Nature’s Ally from a character in Full Plate is kinda scary). Alchemists can either dip into a full martial class (Fighter, Paladin, Barbarian, Paladin, etc.) for a slew of armors and weapons, along with other small bonuses that make the job easier, or take a few feats to get the proficiencies, which is fine for Alchemists because they aren’t that feat starved. Also, since the Extracts don’t actually require DCs most of the time, you only need about 18 Intelligence (more through leveling if need be) to operate them. Bombs are a nice addition to being able to fighting in melee, but there’s also the Vivsectionist who can do sneak attacking instead of bombs. Another advantage for the Alchemist is that they’re skill monkeys with everything else, so they have versatility in and out of combat.

The Magus
Billed as an out-of-the-box warrior-mage and does the job great. He’s got the weapons, spells, and self-buffing to be a terror all over the battlefield. He can also get a nice defense going, either with high Dexterity (in a Dervish Dance build that uses Dex for melee damage) or eventually getting heavy armor for a Strength Magus. He’s also exceedingly multiclass friendly, capable of dipping into one or even two classes for their various abilities. This is because, quite frankly, everything the Magus gets after 7th-ish Level is ho-hum.

With both of these classes, very little necessary is tied to character level, so the multiclassing they may do won’t really hurt their progression that badly. The Alchemist loses his Grand Discovery which are all nice, but not “oh god the awesome!!11” and the Magus’s late game stuff isn’t all to game breaking either.

Gish-in-a-Box Multiclassing Options
From Walter’s Guide to the Magus (here: https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1DB6sOfbAzFmKVPgcyLWipTVqvWFjfDSv6v_YiGQb5Yw&pli=1 ), there’s a dip option for picking up, of all things, a level of Sorcerer. By taking the Crossblooded Archetype to gain the Orc and Draconic Bloodlines (Blue or Bronze) and you deal 2 additional points of damage per dice of your bread ‘n’ butter spell, Shocking Grasp. So, at 5th level, Shocking Grasp is a 5d6 + 10, at 10th level with Intensify Spell, it’s 10d6 + 20 damage. 10/20 damage in exchange for -2 Will and 1 BAB (which can be made up for with a couple levels of Fighter or something), a definitely nice trade. This also nets you access to Dragon Disciple, which has some nice buffs for a warrior-mage.

Additionally, a Magus jumping to Alchemist gains the ability to self heal and Mutagens for physical boosting. A Magus/Paladin can be quite frightening here as well, as seen here: http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/paizoPublishing/pathfinder/pathfinderRPG/advice/featSuggestionsForPaladinMagus&page=1#19

I have a list of the things a Magus can jump to:
-Alchemist for Mutagens and self heals.
-Barbarian for the Raging and Rage Powers.
-Bards for self buffing and self healing.
-Cleric for making a Red Mage with Mystic Theurge (Magus 7/Cleric 3/Mystic Theurge 10)
-Druid for a similar combo with Mystic Theurge
-Fighter for the feats.
-Inquisitor for Judgments, utility, and self heals.
-Monk for the Unarmed Spellstrike concept.
-Paladin for Smiting and self heals.
-Sorcerer for the above Bloodlines.

Spell and Tricks
This section is the last and will cover tricks, feats, items, and spells helpful for being a warrior-mage.

Spells (Specific Defensive Buffs)
-Mage Armor: A basic spell for Sorcerers/Wizards which can be used by almost everything here, if needed. Alternatively, the character can just get some Bracers of Armor.
-Mirror Image: Insanely great buff. You are incredibly hard to hit, which will happen if you’re in the frontlines.
-Fire Shield/Vitriolic Mist: These two spells punish creatures for attacking you. You can stack them, or go with one at a time. They’re kinda short term for the damage returns, but they could deter something from attacking you.
-Shield/Shock Shield: Again, two shields that give you a short term AC buff. Alternatively, you can pick up a Mithril Buckler, which doesn’t require proficiency to use and eventually results in a better bonus that’s on all the time.
-Stoneskin: Has a Material Component cost, but it’s free DR, which is awesome.
-Adjuring Step: While in melee, you can cast some spells without provoking. You can’t attack or run away, but you can still get some stuff off.
-Illusion of Calm: Adjuring Step’s bigger brother (though same level), this lets you cast in combat and move without provoking so long as you’re not attacked.
-Bull’s Strength/Cat’s Grace/Bear’s Endurance: Free attack power or temporary hit points.
-False Life/False Life, Greater: Free hit points.

Items
-Bracers of Armor: It’s like Mage Armor but always on.
-Ring of Deflection/Amulet of Natural Armor: More AC is always better for these guys. I mention them because of Arcane Spell Failure, which these items all ignore.
-Robe of Arcane Heritage: For the Sorcerer multiclasser.
-Robe of the Archmagi: If you don’t want to eat all of your item slots on defense, you can get one of these, but it’s bonuses will be lower than piecemealing all the different items together.
-Mithril Buckler: Ah yes, this trick is so easy and so awesome. You can equip them without proficiency for a nice AC bonus.
EDIT
-Haramaki and Silken Ceremonial Armor: These two armors are from Ultimate Combat and both have a +1 armor bonus with no penalties to skills or arcane casting! How awesome is that!

Feats
Arcane Strike: Because the warrior-mage is not a Fighter, he needs as many buffs as he can get. This is one of those abilities, though it does require a Swift Action to use.
Arcane Armor Training/Mastery: On paper this sounds helpful but it’s really unnecessary. There are so many ways to buff up AC, the warrior-mage will never need this.
Dervish Dance: To help bring relief to the MAD problem with this character, he can use Dexterity for weapon attacks and damage with a scimitar. It’s not necessary, but it does help.

Traits
Magical Knack: Perfect for the Fighter/Sorcerer or Wizard/EK because you’re spells are actually full power.
Magical Lineage: For the Magus, this is a terrific spell to pump up Shocking Grasp easily.

I hope everyone enjoyed this post. I’m sure I’ve missed something glaring, but it’s not a super-serious guide.

Also, the artwork is a sketch fo a piece of art for the Magus section of the Pathfinder book I’m making with my friend. And yes, when I drew the sword, I only drew half of it then copied and flipped it so the weapon would actually be symmetrical.

wolfoverclocked:

Pathfinder Characters Part 2-B: It’s Kensai-rrific

In keeping with the Warrior-Mage theme, I’ve decided to do a quicky run-up of a Kensai from Ultimate Combat.  This doubles as a another “advicing a friend” on a character.

So, to start, I’ll go over a few things from the class that are neat features and some drawbacks compared to the vanilla Magus.  

First-and-foremost are the diminished parts of the standard Magus features.  He doesn’t get proficiency with any armors and only gains a single Martial or Exotic Weapon (in addition to all Simple).  This may seem like a lose but it’s not much of one.  Most combat characters stick with one type of weapon anyways and the Kensai gets some nice abilities to help relieve the lack of armor.  The only thing with this is he has to take a Sling or Crossbow for ranged, not a big deal, but something to keep in mind.  The second drawback is Diminished Spellcasting (one fewer spell per level per day).  For me, this is a huge enough drawback I probably wouldn’t actually play the Archetype, but since this is partly for a friend who doesn’t care about that, I’ll still continue.  Later, the Magus also loses the Spell Recalls and the armor equips.  The second isn’t as big a deal as it sounds as he gets an AC boost, but the first may also be a game changer, though Pearls of Power are Core.

Now, here are the advantages.  Canny Defense, adding his Intelligence modifier to his AC is a great trade for the armor he gives up.  It’ll take a few levels to get the full bonus because of the way the ability works, but it’s still great.  It’s stackable with Bracers of Armor or Mage Armor (gained through Spell Blending), as well as, the big AC boosting Wondrous Items.

Weapon Focus and Perfect Strike are nice additions and the former sets up the instant grabbing of Weapon Specialization at 7th level.  The latter is a key feature to this class (spending 2 Arcane Pool points for increasing the critical multiplier of his weapon by x1), which I’ll detail in the weapon choices section below.  Fighter Training earlier for the Kensai’s weapon o’ choice is a nice boon, especially since he can instantly get Weapon Specialization and eventually get the rest of the line and sets up for Critical Mastery.

Iaijutsu is great since anything that gets a spellcaster, even a half-caster like the Kensai, to go more-firster in the Initiative order is a definite plus.  The drawing his weapon thing for AoO is more for flavor in my opinion, though it could be fun when combined with Combat Reflexes and Superior Reflexes.  Critical Perfection is a nice boon for confirming crits, plus he can take those high level Critical Feats, which can make this character an absolute brutal crit farmer.

Superior Reflexes combined with Combat Reflexes gets him something like 8 AoO.  It’s overkill, but it could be awesome overkill.  Iaijutsu Focus makes you a little Rogue-ish, and if he’s coupled with another Ultimate Combat character that can pull out those “make opponent Flat-Footed” abilities, this becomes a great damage bonus.  Plus he’ll get lots of combats where he goes before most others, since there are a ton of Initiative bonuses for him.

Iaijutsu Master brings the Kensai close to a Divination Wizard in totally screwing everything else in the Initiative order, though the Diviner can still go quicker, the Kensai could go after him and mop up the control the Wizard dishes out.  Finally, Weapon Mastery give the Kensai’s crits another boost.

Build Concept
The Kensai is a critical hit farmer, meaning he should take as many options to land critical hits and try to maximize the number of crits he can get.  So, his weapon has to be high-crit and he should keep that in mind when selecting feats and abilities.  I’ll do the build to 12th level, with comments on taking it further.

Weapon Choices
Before we get to the meat and potatoes of the build, I have to mention weapon choices.  The Kensai is proficient with a single Martial or Exotic Weapon and, as far as I can see, there are 3 or 4 options.  Here’s the order in which I think they are, from least-best to best-best.

Bastard Sword: 1d10, 19-20/x2
Katana: 1d8, 18-20/x2, Deadly
Falcata: 1d8, 19-20/x3
Scimitar: 1d6, 18-20/x2
The Scimitar is, by-and-large, the best weapon for the Kensai (and the general Magus), because it’s got the widest crit range (and normally doesn’t require a feat to wield one-handed).  Additionally, it gets Dervish Dance, which for the Kensai meshes with his defenses, especially early on when Bracers of Armor or Mage Armor aren’t available.

The Falcata is tempting because it’s got a meaty x3, but I think it’s a bit of a trap, because he ultimately gives up 2 on the range of his critical threat.  As a Magus, who uses the critical range more than the multiplier to get a higher number of crits, he needs the largest threat range.  I’ll still make a Sterngth Kensai below who uses a Falcata.

The Katana has the threat range, but can’t use Dervish Dance.  I personally think it’s a poor choice compared to the Scimitar.  The Bastard Sword bears mentioning because it’s got a mighty 1d10 with a one-handed weapon right out of the gate.  This could be good when coupled with Perfect Strike and maxing out the rolls to 10.

And, while I’m talking about weapons, I’ll note the Black Blade.  Because of Perfect Strike’s 2 point cost to use when critting, I think that the Black Blade is not a great option.  He gets a nice weapon out of the deal, but he loses Arcane Pool points, which are really needed here.  He could take Extra Arcane Pool a couple times, but that costs feats.

Meat ‘n’ PotatoesRacial Options
Elf.  Pretty much the best combination.  Humans work too, but I’m going to go with Elf for the primary build.  The +2 Dex/Int and the +2 vs. SR is just too good for a Kensai to pass up.  However, I will do a Strength-based comparison, in case someone wants a not-Scimitar and/or can’t stand being an elf.

Ability Scores (25-Point Buy because we have a 25-point campaign going right now)Dexterity:Str:10 (0), Dex:18 (+4), Con:12 (+1), Int:18 (+4), Wis:12 (+1), Cha:8 (-1)
Elf Bonuses Applied

Strength:Str:18 (+4), Dex: 14 (+2), Con: 13 (+1), Int:17 (+3), Wis:8 (-1), Cha: 7 (-2)
Human Bonus Added to Strength

The Dexterity path has a much easier job than the Strength path and as he levels he only needs place points in Dexterity.  The Strength one could put points in Constitution and Intelligence along with Strength, though it’s not necessary.  Additionally, the Dexterity version has a better defense, getting a +8 total instead of a +5.  The disadvantage the Dexterity build has is that it has to spend two feats at the beginning.  Additionally, levels 1-3 are going to be low damage for him.  The Strength Kensai does better damage early, but has weaker defenses.

Feats
Since, I’m not doing a full 20th-level build, I’ll point out feat progressions for both sides of the character.Dexterity
1: Weapon Finesse: Requirement for Dervish Dance.
3: Dervish Dance: Use Dex instead of Str for Scimitars.
5: Improved Initiative: Make the Kensai much more first.
5, Bonus: Lunge: Give his attacks reach, making him a greater threat.
7: Weapon Specialization: Boost his attack power.
9: Improved Critical: Kind of important, I mean, if he wants to be an effective crit farmer.
11: Intensify Spell: Used to bring Shocking Grasp into High Rank
11, Bonus: Greater Weapon Focus

Strength
1: Improved Intiative
1, Human Bonus: Toughness: Bonus Hit Points are always nice.
3: Lunge
5: Combat Reflexes
5, Bonus: Power Attack: More damage and the Strength Kensai does qualify.
7: Weapon Specialization
9: Improved Critical
11: Intensify Spell
11, Bonus: Greater Weapon Focus

Future feats include two Critical Feats and Critical Mastery, Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration, a new line of feats from Ultimate Combat based on Dimension Door, Greater Weapon Specialization, and Extra Arcane or Extra Arcane Pool.  The Dexterity Kensai has a slight disadvantage with having to take Dervish Dance, but he has the advantage of not being as MAD.  Additionally, the Dexterity Kensai would probably save Combat Reflexes for 13th level.

Arcana
3: Arcane Accuracy
6: Prescient Attack (Ultimate Combat)
Or, Enduring Blade (Ultimate Combat)
Or, Spell Blending: To gain Mage Armor and Touch of Fatigue
12: Accurate Strike (Ultimate Combat)
Or, Maximized Magic

Every Arcana I chose is a means to improve hitting a target.  Arcane Accuracy and Prescient Attack provide stacking benefits, though he could trade Prescient Attack for Enduring Blade (spend another point to extend the Arcane Pool Enhancing for 1 minute/level), or Spell Blending to gain Mage Armor and Touch of Fatique from the Wizard’s spell list.  Mage Armor would help with your defenses and Touch of Fatique is can act as an at-will Spellstrike and hence at-will Spell Combat (unless of course, you’re allowed to use Arcane Mark with both, some GMs ban that though).  

Accurate Strike is another way to land hits, targeting Touch instead of normal AC, which is great for easily hitting things.  Maximized Magic is necessary for the big one-per-day burst of damage, however, the Kensai could get a Maximize Metamagic Rod instead.  Rod Wielder from Ultimate Combat would be helpful for that then.

Close Range could be good too, if he takes Rime Spell and Magical Lineage (Ray of Frost), he gains an at-will entangling Spellstrike, though this may or may not be optimal in the long run  it’s a nice trick.

Spells
Per Day: 0-Level: 4, 1st: 9, 2nd: 5, 3rd: 4, 4th: 30-Level: Acid Splash, Arcane Mark, Dancing Lights, Daze, Detect Magic, Disrupt Undead, Flare, Ghost Sound, Light, Mage Hand, Open/Close, Prestidigitation, Ray of Frost, Read Magic, Spark1st-Level: Adjuring Step, Chill Touch, Color Spray, Floating Disk, Frostbite, Grease, Illusion of Calm, Mirror Strike, Obscuring Mist, Shield, Shocking Grasp, True Strike, Vanish2nd-Level: Frigid Touch, Glitterdust, Invisibility, Mirror Image, Twisted Space, Web3rd-Level: Force Hook Charge, Fly, Haste, Locate Weakness, Sleet Storm, Stinking Cloud, Vampiric Touch4th-Level: Arcana Theft, Black Tentacles, Dimension Door, Invisibility (Greater), Stoneskin

I should note, the number of spells known is based on how the character levels, I didn’t take into account research and “research” for gaining more spells in the ol’ Spellbook.  A Strength Kensai would definitely want to consider Enlarge Person and the Dexterity Magus would want to consider Reduce Person and both should consider the Monsterous Physiques.  The list includes spells from all the main books.

Gear
+3 Sword, +3 Ring of Protection, Ring of Wizardry, +3 Amulet of Natural Armor, +4 Cloak of Resistance, +4 Bracers of Armor

There are other things he’d need, these are just some basics.  Pearls of Power, Mantle of Spell Resistance, other miscellaneous odds-and-ends are all handy.  I also haven’t picked up the belts, headbands, or books that increase Ability Scores.  Everything below is pure natural power on his part.

Statistics
Here are the stats for the 12th level Kensai.  Dexerity Kensai puts three points in Dex, Strength Kensai puts a point in Intelligence, Constitution, and Strength.

DexterityHP: 80, Initiative: 13AC: 29 = 10 + 4 Armor + 5 Dexterity + 4 Intelligence + 3 Deflection + 3 Natural ArmorTouch: 22, Flat-Footed: 20Fort: 13 = 8 + 1 + 4, Reflex: 13 = 4 + 5 + 4, Will: 13 = 8 + 1 + 4BAB: +9/+4, CMB: 9, CMD: 24Skills: I’m just skipping these this time, but this character gets 6 per level.

StrengthHP: 104, Initiative: 10AC: 26 = 10 + 4 Armor + 2 Dexterity + 4 Intelligence + 3 Deflection + 3 Natural ArmorTouch: 19, Flat-Footed: 20Fort: 14 = 8 + 2 + 4, Reflex: 10 = 4 + 2 + 4, Will: 11 = 8 - 1 + 4BAB: +9/+4, CMB: 13, CMD: 25Skills: I’m just skipping these this time, but this character gets 5 per level until 8, then 6 per level.

Here it’s visible that the Dexterity Kensai has slightly better stats but much less HP.  Now I’ll have them do some practice swings and we’ll see who does better.

Dervish Dance AttackAttack 1: +15 (1d6 + 7)Attack 2: +10 (1d6 + 7)Spellstrike: +15 (11d6 + 7) (Intensified Shocking Grasp)
With these swings he can deal the following damages:
-13d6 + 21 damage, or 65-ish damage.  The Perfect Strike can Maximize the normal damage and the Maximize Arcana can max out the Spellstrike as well.  That’s:
-Maximized: 87
Since the Spellstrike is what counts, here are its critical hits.
-Normal Crit: 102-ish, Maximized Crit: 146
-Perfect Strike Crit: 121-ish, Maximized Perfect Strike:  217

Strength Falcata AttackAttack 1: +13 (1d8 + 5)Attack 2: +8 (1d8 + 5)Spellstrike: +13 (1d8 + 10d6 + 5) (Intensified Shocking Grasp)
With these swings he can deal the following damages:
-3d8 + 10d6 + 9 damage, or 54-ish damage.  The Perfect Strike can Maximize the normal damage and the Maximize Arcana can max out the Spellstrike as well.  That’s:
-Maximized: 93
Since the Spellstrike is what counts, here are its critical hits.
-Normal: 123, Maximized Crit: 205
-Perfect Strike Crit: 176, Maximized Perfect Strike: 276

I hope my math is correct.  Anyways, barring that, the Dervish Dance Kensai can deal more consistent damage, but the Falcata Kensai has a higher burst damage.  Additionally, the Strength Kensai can Power Attack, which I didn’t take into account.  It’d be another +4 per hit or +8 on crit.  I still think that the Dexterity Kensai is better because he can pull more crits, having a 15-20 threat range, while the Strength Kensai has a 17-20.  The Dexterity Kensai can dish out more crits over time, and thus more damage.

I think that about covers this character.  He’s a fun Archetype, though he may lack some features a normal Magus has.  He has devastating burst damage, though his staying power is not as much as other normal Magi.

wolfoverclocked:

Pathfinder Characters Part 2-B: It’s Kensai-rrific

In keeping with the Warrior-Mage theme, I’ve decided to do a quicky run-up of a Kensai from Ultimate Combat. This doubles as a another “advicing a friend” on a character.

So, to start, I’ll go over a few things from the class that are neat features and some drawbacks compared to the vanilla Magus.

First-and-foremost are the diminished parts of the standard Magus features. He doesn’t get proficiency with any armors and only gains a single Martial or Exotic Weapon (in addition to all Simple). This may seem like a lose but it’s not much of one. Most combat characters stick with one type of weapon anyways and the Kensai gets some nice abilities to help relieve the lack of armor. The only thing with this is he has to take a Sling or Crossbow for ranged, not a big deal, but something to keep in mind. The second drawback is Diminished Spellcasting (one fewer spell per level per day). For me, this is a huge enough drawback I probably wouldn’t actually play the Archetype, but since this is partly for a friend who doesn’t care about that, I’ll still continue. Later, the Magus also loses the Spell Recalls and the armor equips. The second isn’t as big a deal as it sounds as he gets an AC boost, but the first may also be a game changer, though Pearls of Power are Core.

Now, here are the advantages. Canny Defense, adding his Intelligence modifier to his AC is a great trade for the armor he gives up. It’ll take a few levels to get the full bonus because of the way the ability works, but it’s still great. It’s stackable with Bracers of Armor or Mage Armor (gained through Spell Blending), as well as, the big AC boosting Wondrous Items.

Weapon Focus and Perfect Strike are nice additions and the former sets up the instant grabbing of Weapon Specialization at 7th level. The latter is a key feature to this class (spending 2 Arcane Pool points for increasing the critical multiplier of his weapon by x1), which I’ll detail in the weapon choices section below. Fighter Training earlier for the Kensai’s weapon o’ choice is a nice boon, especially since he can instantly get Weapon Specialization and eventually get the rest of the line and sets up for Critical Mastery.

Iaijutsu is great since anything that gets a spellcaster, even a half-caster like the Kensai, to go more-firster in the Initiative order is a definite plus. The drawing his weapon thing for AoO is more for flavor in my opinion, though it could be fun when combined with Combat Reflexes and Superior Reflexes. Critical Perfection is a nice boon for confirming crits, plus he can take those high level Critical Feats, which can make this character an absolute brutal crit farmer.

Superior Reflexes combined with Combat Reflexes gets him something like 8 AoO. It’s overkill, but it could be awesome overkill. Iaijutsu Focus makes you a little Rogue-ish, and if he’s coupled with another Ultimate Combat character that can pull out those “make opponent Flat-Footed” abilities, this becomes a great damage bonus. Plus he’ll get lots of combats where he goes before most others, since there are a ton of Initiative bonuses for him.

Iaijutsu Master brings the Kensai close to a Divination Wizard in totally screwing everything else in the Initiative order, though the Diviner can still go quicker, the Kensai could go after him and mop up the control the Wizard dishes out. Finally, Weapon Mastery give the Kensai’s crits another boost.

Build Concept
The Kensai is a critical hit farmer, meaning he should take as many options to land critical hits and try to maximize the number of crits he can get. So, his weapon has to be high-crit and he should keep that in mind when selecting feats and abilities. I’ll do the build to 12th level, with comments on taking it further.

Weapon Choices
Before we get to the meat and potatoes of the build, I have to mention weapon choices. The Kensai is proficient with a single Martial or Exotic Weapon and, as far as I can see, there are 3 or 4 options. Here’s the order in which I think they are, from least-best to best-best.

Bastard Sword: 1d10, 19-20/x2
Katana: 1d8, 18-20/x2, Deadly
Falcata: 1d8, 19-20/x3
Scimitar: 1d6, 18-20/x2

The Scimitar is, by-and-large, the best weapon for the Kensai (and the general Magus), because it’s got the widest crit range (and normally doesn’t require a feat to wield one-handed). Additionally, it gets Dervish Dance, which for the Kensai meshes with his defenses, especially early on when Bracers of Armor or Mage Armor aren’t available.

The Falcata is tempting because it’s got a meaty x3, but I think it’s a bit of a trap, because he ultimately gives up 2 on the range of his critical threat. As a Magus, who uses the critical range more than the multiplier to get a higher number of crits, he needs the largest threat range. I’ll still make a Sterngth Kensai below who uses a Falcata.

The Katana has the threat range, but can’t use Dervish Dance. I personally think it’s a poor choice compared to the Scimitar. The Bastard Sword bears mentioning because it’s got a mighty 1d10 with a one-handed weapon right out of the gate. This could be good when coupled with Perfect Strike and maxing out the rolls to 10.

And, while I’m talking about weapons, I’ll note the Black Blade. Because of Perfect Strike’s 2 point cost to use when critting, I think that the Black Blade is not a great option. He gets a nice weapon out of the deal, but he loses Arcane Pool points, which are really needed here. He could take Extra Arcane Pool a couple times, but that costs feats.

Meat ‘n’ Potatoes
Racial Options
Elf. Pretty much the best combination. Humans work too, but I’m going to go with Elf for the primary build. The +2 Dex/Int and the +2 vs. SR is just too good for a Kensai to pass up. However, I will do a Strength-based comparison, in case someone wants a not-Scimitar and/or can’t stand being an elf.

Ability Scores (25-Point Buy because we have a 25-point campaign going right now)
Dexterity:
Str:10 (0), Dex:18 (+4), Con:12 (+1), Int:18 (+4), Wis:12 (+1), Cha:8 (-1)
Elf Bonuses Applied

Strength:
Str:18 (+4), Dex: 14 (+2), Con: 13 (+1), Int:17 (+3), Wis:8 (-1), Cha: 7 (-2)
Human Bonus Added to Strength

The Dexterity path has a much easier job than the Strength path and as he levels he only needs place points in Dexterity. The Strength one could put points in Constitution and Intelligence along with Strength, though it’s not necessary. Additionally, the Dexterity version has a better defense, getting a +8 total instead of a +5. The disadvantage the Dexterity build has is that it has to spend two feats at the beginning. Additionally, levels 1-3 are going to be low damage for him. The Strength Kensai does better damage early, but has weaker defenses.

Feats
Since, I’m not doing a full 20th-level build, I’ll point out feat progressions for both sides of the character.
Dexterity
1: Weapon Finesse: Requirement for Dervish Dance.
3: Dervish Dance: Use Dex instead of Str for Scimitars.
5: Improved Initiative: Make the Kensai much more first.
5, Bonus: Lunge: Give his attacks reach, making him a greater threat.
7: Weapon Specialization: Boost his attack power.
9: Improved Critical: Kind of important, I mean, if he wants to be an effective crit farmer.
11: Intensify Spell: Used to bring Shocking Grasp into High Rank
11, Bonus: Greater Weapon Focus

Strength
1: Improved Intiative
1, Human Bonus: Toughness: Bonus Hit Points are always nice.
3: Lunge
5: Combat Reflexes
5, Bonus: Power Attack: More damage and the Strength Kensai does qualify.
7: Weapon Specialization
9: Improved Critical
11: Intensify Spell
11, Bonus: Greater Weapon Focus

Future feats include two Critical Feats and Critical Mastery, Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration, a new line of feats from Ultimate Combat based on Dimension Door, Greater Weapon Specialization, and Extra Arcane or Extra Arcane Pool. The Dexterity Kensai has a slight disadvantage with having to take Dervish Dance, but he has the advantage of not being as MAD. Additionally, the Dexterity Kensai would probably save Combat Reflexes for 13th level.

Arcana
3: Arcane Accuracy
6: Prescient Attack (Ultimate Combat)
Or, Enduring Blade (Ultimate Combat)
Or, Spell Blending: To gain Mage Armor and Touch of Fatigue
12: Accurate Strike (Ultimate Combat)
Or, Maximized Magic

Every Arcana I chose is a means to improve hitting a target. Arcane Accuracy and Prescient Attack provide stacking benefits, though he could trade Prescient Attack for Enduring Blade (spend another point to extend the Arcane Pool Enhancing for 1 minute/level), or Spell Blending to gain Mage Armor and Touch of Fatique from the Wizard’s spell list. Mage Armor would help with your defenses and Touch of Fatique is can act as an at-will Spellstrike and hence at-will Spell Combat (unless of course, you’re allowed to use Arcane Mark with both, some GMs ban that though).

Accurate Strike is another way to land hits, targeting Touch instead of normal AC, which is great for easily hitting things. Maximized Magic is necessary for the big one-per-day burst of damage, however, the Kensai could get a Maximize Metamagic Rod instead. Rod Wielder from Ultimate Combat would be helpful for that then.

Close Range could be good too, if he takes Rime Spell and Magical Lineage (Ray of Frost), he gains an at-will entangling Spellstrike, though this may or may not be optimal in the long run it’s a nice trick.

Spells
Per Day: 0-Level: 4, 1st: 9, 2nd: 5, 3rd: 4, 4th: 3
0-Level: Acid Splash, Arcane Mark, Dancing Lights, Daze, Detect Magic, Disrupt Undead, Flare, Ghost Sound, Light, Mage Hand, Open/Close, Prestidigitation, Ray of Frost, Read Magic, Spark
1st-Level: Adjuring Step, Chill Touch, Color Spray, Floating Disk, Frostbite, Grease, Illusion of Calm, Mirror Strike, Obscuring Mist, Shield, Shocking Grasp, True Strike, Vanish
2nd-Level: Frigid Touch, Glitterdust, Invisibility, Mirror Image, Twisted Space, Web
3rd-Level: Force Hook Charge, Fly, Haste, Locate Weakness, Sleet Storm, Stinking Cloud, Vampiric Touch
4th-Level: Arcana Theft, Black Tentacles, Dimension Door, Invisibility (Greater), Stoneskin

I should note, the number of spells known is based on how the character levels, I didn’t take into account research and “research” for gaining more spells in the ol’ Spellbook. A Strength Kensai would definitely want to consider Enlarge Person and the Dexterity Magus would want to consider Reduce Person and both should consider the Monsterous Physiques. The list includes spells from all the main books.

Gear
+3 Sword, +3 Ring of Protection, Ring of Wizardry, +3 Amulet of Natural Armor, +4 Cloak of Resistance, +4 Bracers of Armor

There are other things he’d need, these are just some basics. Pearls of Power, Mantle of Spell Resistance, other miscellaneous odds-and-ends are all handy. I also haven’t picked up the belts, headbands, or books that increase Ability Scores. Everything below is pure natural power on his part.

Statistics
Here are the stats for the 12th level Kensai. Dexerity Kensai puts three points in Dex, Strength Kensai puts a point in Intelligence, Constitution, and Strength.

Dexterity
HP: 80, Initiative: 13
AC: 29 = 10 + 4 Armor + 5 Dexterity + 4 Intelligence + 3 Deflection + 3 Natural Armor
Touch: 22, Flat-Footed: 20
Fort: 13 = 8 + 1 + 4, Reflex: 13 = 4 + 5 + 4, Will: 13 = 8 + 1 + 4
BAB: +9/+4, CMB: 9, CMD: 24
Skills: I’m just skipping these this time, but this character gets 6 per level.

Strength
HP: 104, Initiative: 10
AC: 26 = 10 + 4 Armor + 2 Dexterity + 4 Intelligence + 3 Deflection + 3 Natural Armor
Touch: 19, Flat-Footed: 20
Fort: 14 = 8 + 2 + 4, Reflex: 10 = 4 + 2 + 4, Will: 11 = 8 - 1 + 4
BAB: +9/+4, CMB: 13, CMD: 25
Skills: I’m just skipping these this time, but this character gets 5 per level until 8, then 6 per level.

Here it’s visible that the Dexterity Kensai has slightly better stats but much less HP. Now I’ll have them do some practice swings and we’ll see who does better.

Dervish Dance Attack
Attack 1: +15 (1d6 + 7)
Attack 2: +10 (1d6 + 7)
Spellstrike: +15 (11d6 + 7) (Intensified Shocking Grasp)
With these swings he can deal the following damages:
-13d6 + 21 damage, or 65-ish damage. The Perfect Strike can Maximize the normal damage and the Maximize Arcana can max out the Spellstrike as well. That’s:
-Maximized: 87
Since the Spellstrike is what counts, here are its critical hits.
-Normal Crit: 102-ish, Maximized Crit: 146
-Perfect Strike Crit: 121-ish, Maximized Perfect Strike: 217

Strength Falcata Attack
Attack 1: +13 (1d8 + 5)
Attack 2: +8 (1d8 + 5)
Spellstrike: +13 (1d8 + 10d6 + 5) (Intensified Shocking Grasp)
With these swings he can deal the following damages:
-3d8 + 10d6 + 9 damage, or 54-ish damage. The Perfect Strike can Maximize the normal damage and the Maximize Arcana can max out the Spellstrike as well. That’s:
-Maximized: 93
Since the Spellstrike is what counts, here are its critical hits.
-Normal: 123, Maximized Crit: 205
-Perfect Strike Crit: 176, Maximized Perfect Strike: 276

I hope my math is correct. Anyways, barring that, the Dervish Dance Kensai can deal more consistent damage, but the Falcata Kensai has a higher burst damage. Additionally, the Strength Kensai can Power Attack, which I didn’t take into account. It’d be another +4 per hit or +8 on crit. I still think that the Dexterity Kensai is better because he can pull more crits, having a 15-20 threat range, while the Strength Kensai has a 17-20. The Dexterity Kensai can dish out more crits over time, and thus more damage.

I think that about covers this character. He’s a fun Archetype, though he may lack some features a normal Magus has. He has devastating burst damage, though his staying power is not as much as other normal Magi.

wolfoverclocked:

Character Write-Ups 3: Beefy Caucasians with Guns

As requested by a friend, here’s a write-up of a Dwarven Cavalier.  When mentioned, I instantly thought of the Musketeer Archetype in Ultimate Combat, which seemed like a cool idea for a character.  So, this post will be about a Dwarven Musketeer.

This not-at-all an optimization build.  Nothing will be optimized here as the Dwarf is just about the worst Race for the Musketeer.  If I were optimizing I’d probably go with the Gnome or Human, followed by Half-Elf, Halfing, or Half-Orc, followed by the Elf, and then last with the Dwarf.  It’s stats don’t mesh with the ability to shoot while being a Cavalier, and every other Race has better options for it.  Because my friend requested a Dwarf, however, I have to use them.

We’ll start with the Cavalier class and the Musketeer’s abilities.

The Musketeer has three replacement abilities.  Weapon and Armor Proficiency, Gifted Firearm for the standard Cavalier’s Mount, and Swift Powder for Expert Trainer.  So, this Archetype trades a mount for a gun and a number of abilities to use it better.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Musketeer loses Heavy Armor Proficiency but gains proficiency with Firearms.  Equal trade.  Additionally, he may count his Cavalier level as levels of Fighter for feats that apply to firearms, like Weapon Specialization, which is a huge plus.

Gifted Firearm: The Musketeer loses his mount and all it comes with for a gun and a number of abilities related to it.  He can choose a Pistol or a Musket, two very specific weapons for this ability.  He’s not barred from using other firearms, but the abilities he receives later only apply to either his gifted Pistol or gifted Musket.  He also gains Gunsmithing as a Bonus Feat.  At 8th level, he can focus with his chosen weapon to gain the benefit of Improved Critical for a number of minutes equal to his Cavalier level.  At 11th level, this reduces his misfire chance (more for the musket than pistol).  And finally, at 20th level, he can make Full Round Attacks with his chosen firearm no matter the reload time for the expense of one of his Challenges.  These minutes are used all at once but he gets multiple uses of the focus ability.

Swift Powder: At 4th level, the Musketeer gains Rapid Reload with his chosen weapon.  A definite plus!  At 14th level, he gets a free reload when he issues Challenges, another plus.

Orders
For the Orders, I’ll provide a snippet of text with my thoughts, along with a rating on how difficult the Order would be to use and a second rating on how nice the Order meshes with the Musketeer.  For difficulty, lower is better.  For quality, higher is better.  Remember, I’m making a specific character here, so my ratings and thoughts are based on that.  This is not a guide to general Cavaliers where things would be different.

Advanced Player’s GuideCockatrice: I’m the greatest gunner ever!  If the Musketeer were a braggart, this would be his bread ‘n’ butter.  If he’s a more calm and contemplative character, this isn’t for him.  The Challenge only applies to melee damage rolls, not ranged attacks.  Free Dazzling Display is nice, but the +2 provided by Braggart is only on melee attacks.  Steal Glory is great for pot shots, and Moment of Triumph can make the firearm attacks even more damaging.Difficulty: 1/5, Quality: 4/5

Dragon: While geared towards melee, this order is nice for providing boons to your allies, as advertised in its description.  It’s great for a Musketeer who stands in the back of the party and buffs them while continuing his shooting.Difficulty: 2/5, Quality: 3/5

Lion: The Cavalier of order and protecting king and country.  This one is another set of abilities about buffing and booning allies.  I think that this Order is really geared towards high Charisma Cavaliers, as several of the bonuses rely on it.Difficulty: 2/5, Quality: 3/5

Shield: Protector and guardian, the Order of the Shield is made for a tank.  The immediate lack of Heavy Armor with the Musketeer hurts and the concept of him being in the back can make it troubling for this Order.  It’s not impossible to manage or use, but it is more tricky.Difficulty: 3/5, Quality: 2/5

Star: Religiously based Cavalier.  This is a great set of self-buffs, which could be helpful to the Musketeer.  Great for getting boosts to Saving Throws and Attack Rolls, which is always helpful.  The only negative here is the fluff, which may or may not work with a character.  However, crossing with a Paladin works nicely with this character.Difficulty: 2/5, Quality: 3/5

Sword: This one, for a normal Cavalier, is like the most basic of Orders.  It provides bonuses to a mounted Cavalier which the Musketeer is not.  He can go out of his way to use this Order, but that could be difficult.  The mounted Bonus Feats help.  Knight’s Challenge is excellent though, even though it comes at 15th level.Difficulty: 4/5, Quality: 3/5

Ultimate CombatBlue Rose: Probably the most difficult but it could be the most interesting.  It’s based around not killing targets, being a capturer or hunter, rather than killer.  The difficulty of this could be really fun, being a character who brings targets to justice rather than the seemingly usual “run in, swing weapons until things stop moving” approach.  He can protect himself to an insane degree and extend protection to allies near him.  As a gunner, the Musketeer can help guard the “back row” characters (mages, archers, other gunners, etc.) while still fighting, though he needs a Merciful weapon for this to work, which means an expensive +2 enhancement total.Difficulty: 5/5, Quality: 4/5

Seal: This Cavalier is all about protecting secrets.  While defending his thing he’s defending, he gains bonuses.  He can basically declare one ally or thing his thing to protect, so it’s easy to use, unless the thing is broken or dies.  He also gains bonuses against Bull Rushs and Trips, while gaining bonuses to his own.  I’d ultimately say this is a middle-ground Archetype.Difficulty: 2/5, Quality: 3/5

Tome: This Cavalier can become a monstrous beast with this Order.  He eventually gains access to spellcasting by using spells from scrolls as either an Arcane or Divine caster with a CL - 4 from his Cavalier level.  This could get insane.  The only difficulty for the Musketeer is that the Archetype can’t really utilize high Intelligence for the arcane stuff, the really powerful stuff.  He could pick up the Wisdom/Divine scrolls and use them, which leads to self healing and self buffing.  He also gets abilities related to being an anti-mage Cavalier.  All-in-all, rather stocked.Difficulty: 1/5, Quality: 5/5

Samurai OrdersWarrior: While you can’t use the 8th level ability, the Cavalier can still use the other abilities and Strike True could lead to a straight 48 damage with a single shot, not counting bonuses from feats, abilities, etc, while ignoring DR, while blinding, deafening, sickening, or staggering the target for 1d4 rounds, no save.  However, not having Resolve is killer.  And, a Cavalier can’t multiclass to Samurai because of the way the class is setup, so he can never get Resolve.  Likewise, a Samurai can’t become a Musketeer.Difficulty: 4/5, Quality: 1/5

Ronin: Nice boons for a solo, man-apart character.  Chosen Destiny gives the Musketeer an auto-crit once per day.  This one is definitely better than the Warrior and really easy to use.Difficulty: 1/5, Quality: 4/5

So, for this character, I’m going to use the Order of the Blue Rose.  It has the most flavor and has the most difficulty, which hence, leads to a lot of fun.

Other Archetypes
This being Pathfinder, Archetypes can have specific combinations, of which there are two.  The Honor Guard and the Luring Cavalier.

Honor Guard: This Archetype is all about defending the party.  His abilities are based around guarding those around him and being a general nuisance, tank-wise.  This would be nice to aid in defending the weaker members of the party while sitting in the back row.

Luring Cavalier: Another gun-based Cavalier, well actually, he’s ranged weapon based, but for the purposes of this guide, we’ll stick with gun-based.  The things it gains are so good, that I’m going to use it combined with the Musketeer.  Far Challenge adds damage to his ranged attacks against the creature he’s challenging.  Careful Aim is great for boosting the hit chance on his single shot firearm attacks.  Infuriating Aim makes the Luring Cavalier the target of the creature’s mirth when he crits.  Versatile Challenge means he can use his normal or Far Challenge.  Supreme Aim grants him Careful Aim and Infuriating Aim on all attacks.

FeatsFreebies: Gunsmithing (1st level), Rapid Reload (4th level)

Amateur Gunslinger (UC): The Musketeeer gains Grit and a Deed.  Deadeye, Gunslinger’s Dodge, Quick Clear, and Gunslinger Initiative are all nice and any one would make a fine addition to the Musketeer.  Since I’m combining with the Luring Cavalier, Deadeye isn’t entirely necessary, so I’ll go with Dodge or Initiative.  Additionally, since Wisdom isn’t really necessary for anything but Grit, I think this may be a skippable feat.Related: Deft Shootist, Extra Grit, Signature Deed: Deft Shootist for protecting yourself while firing and reloading, Extra Grit helps if the Musketeer needs it, and Signature Deed can reduce Grit costs.

Clustered Shots (UC): This is for high level (like 19th level), so the Musketeer can break past some DR with multiple ranged attacks at once.

Deadly Aim (Core): A necessary feat.  Improves damage with firearms and stacks with everything.  It even gets multiplied on crit.  It’s the ranged equal to Power Attack.

Heavy Armor Proficiency (Core): Easily gain this back for a single feat.  It makes Gunslinger’s Dodge useless though.

Opening Volley (UC) and Power Attack (Core): I’m listing these together to point out a tactic.  A ranged fighting character can often drop or sheath the ranged weapon and go into melee.  Since the Musketeer has access to all martial weapons, he can do this.  Having a Falchion (Dancing would be a nice mod as it can fight while you shoot) at your side for going melee isn’t an unwise decision.  Of course, throwing in Weapon Finesse for a Rapier and making a book/movie Musketeer would be neat.  Or furthering that, Weapon Finesse and Dervish Dance for a Scimitar that meshes with the high Dexterity of a Musketeer is also nice.

Point-Blank Shot/Precise Shot/Improved Precise Shot (Core):  All utility, all helpful.  More damage up close, easier to shoot into melee, easier to hit things with Concealment.

Snap Shot/Improved Snap Shot/Greater Snap Shot (UC): You can make AoO and threaten with a ranged weapon within 5 (first feat) then 10 (second feat) feet around you.  It’s nice but it has a high Dexterity requirement, which the Musketeer will more-than-likely be able to meet.  Mixing with Combat Reflexes seems a plus.

Weapon Focus/Weapon Specialization/Greater Weapon Focus/Greater Weapon Specialization (Core): Necessary for gaining hit chance and damage, plus the Musketeer automatically qualifies for them as a Musketeer.

Musket-related
Vital Strike/Improved Vital Strike/Greater Vital Strike/Devastating Strike/Improved Devastating Strike (Core and UC)
Because of the mighty 1d12 damage of the Musket, these feats are invaluable to the Musketeer.  It jumps the total damage up to a base of 4d12 + 6, though the extra damage from these is not x4 on a crit.  The only note here is the Improved Devastating Strike has no merit if your campaign doesn’t confirm crits (I happen to be the GM in one that doesn’t bother with confirming, but that’s up to your GM).

Pistol-related
Two-Weapon Fighting/Improved TWF/Greater TWF and Rapid Shot (Core):
With these feats, the Pistol Musketeer becomes a turret for damage.  Since he can use a Pepperbox in his off-hand while still gaining the benefits of his main hand Pistol, he can use Rapid Shot with the Two-Weapon Fighting.

Improved Shield Bash/Shield Focus/Saving Shield (Core and APG)
If using a shield is more your style, these can be placed in instead of the TWF feats, for a Pistol and shield Musketeer.

Teamwork FeatsLookout or Coordinated Defenses (APG)
Target of Opportunity (UC)
Enfilading Shot (UC)
Since the Cavalier gains three Teamwork feats, I’ve chosen these as the bonus feats.

Multiclassing
Only three multiclasses sound good to me.Gunslinger: A really obvious choice here.  Gains Deeds, Grit, and Gunslinger features though the higher Gifted Firearm abilities are lost.

Fighter: For using a gun with a Tower Shield, free Heavy Armor Proficiency, and/or more feats to expand the abilities to shoot.

Paladin: Mainly for the Order of the Star, crossing with a Paladin gains the Musketeer Smiting and healing.  I’d skip the Holy Gun though and keep the generic Smite Evil.

Pistol or Musket?
Before the build proper, here’s the question the Musketeer has to answer: Should he take the Pistol or Musket as his Gifted Firearm.  Each has it’s own advantages and disadvantages, listed here:

Pistol - Stats: 1d8, x4, 20 ft. (x5), Misfire 1 (5ft.), B and P
+ One-Handed, so it’s useable with a shield or Two-Weapon Fighting
+ Reload time is a Standard Action or a Move Action with Rapid Reload
+ Lesser Misfire of the two
- Low Range, 20-foot increments and only 5 of them
- Lower Damage between the two

Musket - Stats: 1d12, x4, 40ft. (x5), Misfire 1-2 (5 ft.), B and P
+ Higher Damage with a ranged 1d12
+ Longer Range, 40 foot increments with 5 of them
= Greater Misfire, but while using the Gifted Firearm focus this is a non-issue
- Two-Handed, so there’s no shield available above a Buckler and no Two-Weapon Fighting
- Slow Reload times, being a Full-Round Action! or a Standard Action with Rapid Reload

Okay, the easier to use of the two seems like the Pistol.  Since you can TWF with it, you can get a Pepperbox or something in your off hand and use that.  However, the Musket can deal large single hits, so I personally think the two are equal in strength.  The only major drawback on the Musket is the absurd reload time, but there are abilities the Musketeer gets to avoid that.  Since the concept of “challenging build = fun build” has appeared on this guy, I’m going with a Musket for the build.  Also, this guy is a MUSKETeer, not a PISTOLeer (see the Gunslinger section of Ultimate Combat for a Pistolero Archetype).

The Build Proper
20-Point Buy, 11th-LevelStr: 10 (0), Dex: 20 (+4), Con: 13 (+1), Int: 8 (-1), Wis: 9 (-1), Cha: 14 (+2)

AbilitiesDwarf: Slow and Steady, Darkvision 60 ft., Defensive Training, Greed, Hatred, Hardy, Stability, Stonecunning, Weapon Familiarity

Cavalier: Gifted Firearm, Far Challenge 4/day, Order (Order of the Blue Rose), Tactician, Order Ability (Flat of the Blade), Careful Aim, Swift Powder, Banner, Order Ability (Inner Peace), Greater Tactician, Infuriating Aim

Feats
1: Point-Blank Shot, Gunsmithing, Outflank
3: Deadly Aim
4, Freebie: Rapid Reload (Musket)
5: Precise Strike
6: Vital Strike
7: Weapon Focus
9: Weapon Specialization (Musket), Target of Opportunity
11: Improved Vital Strike

Skills
3 per LevelBluff: 11 = 4 + 2 + 3Diplomacy: 14 = 9 + 2 + 3Intimidate: 11 = 4 + 2 + 3Sense Motive: 11 = 9 - 1 + 3

Gear
Most of his gear would be the standard, the exception being his Musket, which he’s obviously got enchanted.  With the damages listed below, I’ll use this weapon for factoring anything.  All-in-all his personal Musket is a:
+3 Merciful Musket

In closing, let’s talk damage, since that’s fun.  With a single shot, this Musketeer can unload a heap of trouble on a single target.  So, let’s look shall we.

Basic Ranged Attack: +19 (1d12 + 5), Critical Hit: 4d12 + 20Deadly Aim: +17 (1d12 + 9), Critical Hit: 4d12 + 36
Within 30 feet, the attacks and damages are +1 and the damage is +4 on crit.
Non-lethal shots are made with 1d6 + 2 non-lethal damage or 4d6 + 8 on crit.

Far Challenge: +19 (1d12 + 16), Critical Hit: 4d12 + 64Deadly Aim Far Challenge: +17 (1d12 + 20), Critical Hit: 4d12 + 80
Within 30 feet, the attacks and damages are +1 and the damage is +4 on crit.
Non-lethal shots are made with 1d6 + 2 non-lethal damage or 4d6 + 8 on crit.

Far Challenge, Deadly Aim, Vital Strike -or- The Earthshattering Kapow
+17 (3d12 + 26), Critical Hit: 6d12 + 104
Within 30 feet, the attacks and damages are +1 and the damage is +4 on crit.
Non-lethal shots are made with 1d6 + 2 non-lethal damage or 4d6 + 8 on crit.

I did a bunch of rolling and it’s about 145 lethal damage!  For non-lethal, which sounds funny coming from a gun, it’s about 165 damage!

Conclusion
So, that wraps up another character write-up section with me!  A Dwarven Musketeer from the Order of the Blue Rose who uses his firearms to knockout and trap his opponents.  

Questions/Comments/Requests/Feedback
Any questions or comments, or if you want to make a request, please drop me a message in my /ask!

Next Time
So far, the next idea I have is a Magus/Monk who uses the Kirin Style combined with powerful Unarmed Spellstrikes.  Unless anyone asks for something.

wolfoverclocked:

Character Write-Ups 3: Beefy Caucasians with Guns

As requested by a friend, here’s a write-up of a Dwarven Cavalier. When mentioned, I instantly thought of the Musketeer Archetype in Ultimate Combat, which seemed like a cool idea for a character. So, this post will be about a Dwarven Musketeer.

This not-at-all an optimization build. Nothing will be optimized here as the Dwarf is just about the worst Race for the Musketeer. If I were optimizing I’d probably go with the Gnome or Human, followed by Half-Elf, Halfing, or Half-Orc, followed by the Elf, and then last with the Dwarf. It’s stats don’t mesh with the ability to shoot while being a Cavalier, and every other Race has better options for it. Because my friend requested a Dwarf, however, I have to use them.

We’ll start with the Cavalier class and the Musketeer’s abilities.

The Musketeer has three replacement abilities. Weapon and Armor Proficiency, Gifted Firearm for the standard Cavalier’s Mount, and Swift Powder for Expert Trainer. So, this Archetype trades a mount for a gun and a number of abilities to use it better.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Musketeer loses Heavy Armor Proficiency but gains proficiency with Firearms. Equal trade. Additionally, he may count his Cavalier level as levels of Fighter for feats that apply to firearms, like Weapon Specialization, which is a huge plus.

Gifted Firearm: The Musketeer loses his mount and all it comes with for a gun and a number of abilities related to it. He can choose a Pistol or a Musket, two very specific weapons for this ability. He’s not barred from using other firearms, but the abilities he receives later only apply to either his gifted Pistol or gifted Musket. He also gains Gunsmithing as a Bonus Feat. At 8th level, he can focus with his chosen weapon to gain the benefit of Improved Critical for a number of minutes equal to his Cavalier level. At 11th level, this reduces his misfire chance (more for the musket than pistol). And finally, at 20th level, he can make Full Round Attacks with his chosen firearm no matter the reload time for the expense of one of his Challenges. These minutes are used all at once but he gets multiple uses of the focus ability.

Swift Powder: At 4th level, the Musketeer gains Rapid Reload with his chosen weapon. A definite plus! At 14th level, he gets a free reload when he issues Challenges, another plus.

Orders
For the Orders, I’ll provide a snippet of text with my thoughts, along with a rating on how difficult the Order would be to use and a second rating on how nice the Order meshes with the Musketeer. For difficulty, lower is better. For quality, higher is better. Remember, I’m making a specific character here, so my ratings and thoughts are based on that. This is not a guide to general Cavaliers where things would be different.

Advanced Player’s Guide
Cockatrice: I’m the greatest gunner ever! If the Musketeer were a braggart, this would be his bread ‘n’ butter. If he’s a more calm and contemplative character, this isn’t for him. The Challenge only applies to melee damage rolls, not ranged attacks. Free Dazzling Display is nice, but the +2 provided by Braggart is only on melee attacks. Steal Glory is great for pot shots, and Moment of Triumph can make the firearm attacks even more damaging.
Difficulty: 1/5, Quality: 4/5

Dragon: While geared towards melee, this order is nice for providing boons to your allies, as advertised in its description. It’s great for a Musketeer who stands in the back of the party and buffs them while continuing his shooting.
Difficulty: 2/5, Quality: 3/5

Lion: The Cavalier of order and protecting king and country. This one is another set of abilities about buffing and booning allies. I think that this Order is really geared towards high Charisma Cavaliers, as several of the bonuses rely on it.
Difficulty: 2/5, Quality: 3/5

Shield: Protector and guardian, the Order of the Shield is made for a tank. The immediate lack of Heavy Armor with the Musketeer hurts and the concept of him being in the back can make it troubling for this Order. It’s not impossible to manage or use, but it is more tricky.
Difficulty: 3/5, Quality: 2/5

Star: Religiously based Cavalier. This is a great set of self-buffs, which could be helpful to the Musketeer. Great for getting boosts to Saving Throws and Attack Rolls, which is always helpful. The only negative here is the fluff, which may or may not work with a character. However, crossing with a Paladin works nicely with this character.
Difficulty: 2/5, Quality: 3/5

Sword: This one, for a normal Cavalier, is like the most basic of Orders. It provides bonuses to a mounted Cavalier which the Musketeer is not. He can go out of his way to use this Order, but that could be difficult. The mounted Bonus Feats help. Knight’s Challenge is excellent though, even though it comes at 15th level.
Difficulty: 4/5, Quality: 3/5

Ultimate Combat
Blue Rose: Probably the most difficult but it could be the most interesting. It’s based around not killing targets, being a capturer or hunter, rather than killer. The difficulty of this could be really fun, being a character who brings targets to justice rather than the seemingly usual “run in, swing weapons until things stop moving” approach. He can protect himself to an insane degree and extend protection to allies near him. As a gunner, the Musketeer can help guard the “back row” characters (mages, archers, other gunners, etc.) while still fighting, though he needs a Merciful weapon for this to work, which means an expensive +2 enhancement total.
Difficulty: 5/5, Quality: 4/5

Seal: This Cavalier is all about protecting secrets. While defending his thing he’s defending, he gains bonuses. He can basically declare one ally or thing his thing to protect, so it’s easy to use, unless the thing is broken or dies. He also gains bonuses against Bull Rushs and Trips, while gaining bonuses to his own. I’d ultimately say this is a middle-ground Archetype.
Difficulty: 2/5, Quality: 3/5

Tome: This Cavalier can become a monstrous beast with this Order. He eventually gains access to spellcasting by using spells from scrolls as either an Arcane or Divine caster with a CL - 4 from his Cavalier level. This could get insane. The only difficulty for the Musketeer is that the Archetype can’t really utilize high Intelligence for the arcane stuff, the really powerful stuff. He could pick up the Wisdom/Divine scrolls and use them, which leads to self healing and self buffing. He also gets abilities related to being an anti-mage Cavalier. All-in-all, rather stocked.
Difficulty: 1/5, Quality: 5/5

Samurai Orders
Warrior: While you can’t use the 8th level ability, the Cavalier can still use the other abilities and Strike True could lead to a straight 48 damage with a single shot, not counting bonuses from feats, abilities, etc, while ignoring DR, while blinding, deafening, sickening, or staggering the target for 1d4 rounds, no save. However, not having Resolve is killer. And, a Cavalier can’t multiclass to Samurai because of the way the class is setup, so he can never get Resolve. Likewise, a Samurai can’t become a Musketeer.
Difficulty: 4/5, Quality: 1/5

Ronin: Nice boons for a solo, man-apart character. Chosen Destiny gives the Musketeer an auto-crit once per day. This one is definitely better than the Warrior and really easy to use.
Difficulty: 1/5, Quality: 4/5

So, for this character, I’m going to use the Order of the Blue Rose. It has the most flavor and has the most difficulty, which hence, leads to a lot of fun.

Other Archetypes
This being Pathfinder, Archetypes can have specific combinations, of which there are two. The Honor Guard and the Luring Cavalier.

Honor Guard: This Archetype is all about defending the party. His abilities are based around guarding those around him and being a general nuisance, tank-wise. This would be nice to aid in defending the weaker members of the party while sitting in the back row.

Luring Cavalier: Another gun-based Cavalier, well actually, he’s ranged weapon based, but for the purposes of this guide, we’ll stick with gun-based. The things it gains are so good, that I’m going to use it combined with the Musketeer. Far Challenge adds damage to his ranged attacks against the creature he’s challenging. Careful Aim is great for boosting the hit chance on his single shot firearm attacks. Infuriating Aim makes the Luring Cavalier the target of the creature’s mirth when he crits. Versatile Challenge means he can use his normal or Far Challenge. Supreme Aim grants him Careful Aim and Infuriating Aim on all attacks.

Feats
Freebies: Gunsmithing (1st level), Rapid Reload (4th level)

Amateur Gunslinger (UC): The Musketeeer gains Grit and a Deed. Deadeye, Gunslinger’s Dodge, Quick Clear, and Gunslinger Initiative are all nice and any one would make a fine addition to the Musketeer. Since I’m combining with the Luring Cavalier, Deadeye isn’t entirely necessary, so I’ll go with Dodge or Initiative. Additionally, since Wisdom isn’t really necessary for anything but Grit, I think this may be a skippable feat.
Related: Deft Shootist, Extra Grit, Signature Deed: Deft Shootist for protecting yourself while firing and reloading, Extra Grit helps if the Musketeer needs it, and Signature Deed can reduce Grit costs.

Clustered Shots (UC): This is for high level (like 19th level), so the Musketeer can break past some DR with multiple ranged attacks at once.

Deadly Aim (Core): A necessary feat. Improves damage with firearms and stacks with everything. It even gets multiplied on crit. It’s the ranged equal to Power Attack.

Heavy Armor Proficiency (Core): Easily gain this back for a single feat. It makes Gunslinger’s Dodge useless though.

Opening Volley (UC) and Power Attack (Core): I’m listing these together to point out a tactic. A ranged fighting character can often drop or sheath the ranged weapon and go into melee. Since the Musketeer has access to all martial weapons, he can do this. Having a Falchion (Dancing would be a nice mod as it can fight while you shoot) at your side for going melee isn’t an unwise decision. Of course, throwing in Weapon Finesse for a Rapier and making a book/movie Musketeer would be neat. Or furthering that, Weapon Finesse and Dervish Dance for a Scimitar that meshes with the high Dexterity of a Musketeer is also nice.

Point-Blank Shot/Precise Shot/Improved Precise Shot (Core): All utility, all helpful. More damage up close, easier to shoot into melee, easier to hit things with Concealment.

Snap Shot/Improved Snap Shot/Greater Snap Shot (UC): You can make AoO and threaten with a ranged weapon within 5 (first feat) then 10 (second feat) feet around you. It’s nice but it has a high Dexterity requirement, which the Musketeer will more-than-likely be able to meet. Mixing with Combat Reflexes seems a plus.

Weapon Focus/Weapon Specialization/Greater Weapon Focus/Greater Weapon Specialization (Core): Necessary for gaining hit chance and damage, plus the Musketeer automatically qualifies for them as a Musketeer.

Musket-related
Vital Strike/Improved Vital Strike/Greater Vital Strike/Devastating Strike/Improved Devastating Strike (Core and UC)

Because of the mighty 1d12 damage of the Musket, these feats are invaluable to the Musketeer. It jumps the total damage up to a base of 4d12 + 6, though the extra damage from these is not x4 on a crit. The only note here is the Improved Devastating Strike has no merit if your campaign doesn’t confirm crits (I happen to be the GM in one that doesn’t bother with confirming, but that’s up to your GM).

Pistol-related
Two-Weapon Fighting/Improved TWF/Greater TWF and Rapid Shot (Core):

With these feats, the Pistol Musketeer becomes a turret for damage. Since he can use a Pepperbox in his off-hand while still gaining the benefits of his main hand Pistol, he can use Rapid Shot with the Two-Weapon Fighting.

Improved Shield Bash/Shield Focus/Saving Shield (Core and APG)
If using a shield is more your style, these can be placed in instead of the TWF feats, for a Pistol and shield Musketeer.

Teamwork Feats
Lookout or Coordinated Defenses (APG)
Target of Opportunity (UC)
Enfilading Shot (UC)

Since the Cavalier gains three Teamwork feats, I’ve chosen these as the bonus feats.

Multiclassing
Only three multiclasses sound good to me.
Gunslinger: A really obvious choice here. Gains Deeds, Grit, and Gunslinger features though the higher Gifted Firearm abilities are lost.

Fighter: For using a gun with a Tower Shield, free Heavy Armor Proficiency, and/or more feats to expand the abilities to shoot.

Paladin: Mainly for the Order of the Star, crossing with a Paladin gains the Musketeer Smiting and healing. I’d skip the Holy Gun though and keep the generic Smite Evil.

Pistol or Musket?
Before the build proper, here’s the question the Musketeer has to answer: Should he take the Pistol or Musket as his Gifted Firearm. Each has it’s own advantages and disadvantages, listed here:

Pistol - Stats: 1d8, x4, 20 ft. (x5), Misfire 1 (5ft.), B and P
+ One-Handed, so it’s useable with a shield or Two-Weapon Fighting
+ Reload time is a Standard Action or a Move Action with Rapid Reload
+ Lesser Misfire of the two
- Low Range, 20-foot increments and only 5 of them
- Lower Damage between the two

Musket - Stats: 1d12, x4, 40ft. (x5), Misfire 1-2 (5 ft.), B and P
+ Higher Damage with a ranged 1d12
+ Longer Range, 40 foot increments with 5 of them
= Greater Misfire, but while using the Gifted Firearm focus this is a non-issue
- Two-Handed, so there’s no shield available above a Buckler and no Two-Weapon Fighting
- Slow Reload times, being a Full-Round Action! or a Standard Action with Rapid Reload

Okay, the easier to use of the two seems like the Pistol. Since you can TWF with it, you can get a Pepperbox or something in your off hand and use that. However, the Musket can deal large single hits, so I personally think the two are equal in strength. The only major drawback on the Musket is the absurd reload time, but there are abilities the Musketeer gets to avoid that. Since the concept of “challenging build = fun build” has appeared on this guy, I’m going with a Musket for the build. Also, this guy is a MUSKETeer, not a PISTOLeer (see the Gunslinger section of Ultimate Combat for a Pistolero Archetype).

The Build Proper
20-Point Buy, 11th-Level
Str: 10 (0), Dex: 20 (+4), Con: 13 (+1), Int: 8 (-1), Wis: 9 (-1), Cha: 14 (+2)

Abilities
Dwarf: Slow and Steady, Darkvision 60 ft., Defensive Training, Greed, Hatred, Hardy, Stability, Stonecunning, Weapon Familiarity

Cavalier: Gifted Firearm, Far Challenge 4/day, Order (Order of the Blue Rose), Tactician, Order Ability (Flat of the Blade), Careful Aim, Swift Powder, Banner, Order Ability (Inner Peace), Greater Tactician, Infuriating Aim

Feats
1: Point-Blank Shot, Gunsmithing, Outflank
3: Deadly Aim
4, Freebie: Rapid Reload (Musket)
5: Precise Strike
6: Vital Strike
7: Weapon Focus
9: Weapon Specialization (Musket), Target of Opportunity
11: Improved Vital Strike

Skills
3 per Level
Bluff: 11 = 4 + 2 + 3
Diplomacy: 14 = 9 + 2 + 3
Intimidate: 11 = 4 + 2 + 3
Sense Motive: 11 = 9 - 1 + 3

Gear
Most of his gear would be the standard, the exception being his Musket, which he’s obviously got enchanted. With the damages listed below, I’ll use this weapon for factoring anything. All-in-all his personal Musket is a:
+3 Merciful Musket

In closing, let’s talk damage, since that’s fun. With a single shot, this Musketeer can unload a heap of trouble on a single target. So, let’s look shall we.

Basic Ranged Attack: +19 (1d12 + 5), Critical Hit: 4d12 + 20
Deadly Aim: +17 (1d12 + 9), Critical Hit: 4d12 + 36
Within 30 feet, the attacks and damages are +1 and the damage is +4 on crit.
Non-lethal shots are made with 1d6 + 2 non-lethal damage or 4d6 + 8 on crit.

Far Challenge: +19 (1d12 + 16), Critical Hit: 4d12 + 64
Deadly Aim Far Challenge: +17 (1d12 + 20), Critical Hit: 4d12 + 80
Within 30 feet, the attacks and damages are +1 and the damage is +4 on crit.
Non-lethal shots are made with 1d6 + 2 non-lethal damage or 4d6 + 8 on crit.

Far Challenge, Deadly Aim, Vital Strike -or- The Earthshattering Kapow
+17 (3d12 + 26), Critical Hit: 6d12 + 104
Within 30 feet, the attacks and damages are +1 and the damage is +4 on crit.
Non-lethal shots are made with 1d6 + 2 non-lethal damage or 4d6 + 8 on crit.

I did a bunch of rolling and it’s about 145 lethal damage! For non-lethal, which sounds funny coming from a gun, it’s about 165 damage!

Conclusion
So, that wraps up another character write-up section with me! A Dwarven Musketeer from the Order of the Blue Rose who uses his firearms to knockout and trap his opponents.

Questions/Comments/Requests/Feedback
Any questions or comments, or if you want to make a request, please drop me a message in my /ask!

Next Time
So far, the next idea I have is a Magus/Monk who uses the Kirin Style combined with powerful Unarmed Spellstrikes. Unless anyone asks for something.

wolfoverclocked:

Archetype Fun Stuff - Rogues

I decided to do the Rogue for this, mainly because I have a friend starting to play one (the same friend who asked about this) and because the Rogue is kind of a lower tier character.  They don’t get spells, they don’t get lots of weapons and armor and the abilities to use them, and the role they fill isn’t that great (or necessary depending on how the party is set up as Alchemist, Inquisitors, the new Ninja, and even Sorcerers and Wizards can fill it).

While I know Ultimate Combat is being released and there are new Archetypes for the Rogue in that book, I figured it’d be fun to run through the class now.  I’ll maybe do the new ones (Bandit, Chameleon, Charlatan, Driver, Knife Master, Pirate, Roof Runner, Sanctified Rogue, and Survivalist) are in the future, but I have a feeling they’ll follow the same patterns established for Rogues so far.  The patterns being this: there are two options an Archetype has as replacement powers.  It either changes out Trapfinding/Trap Sense (or just Trapfinding in the case of the Investigator), or it changes out Uncanny Dodge and Improved Uncanny Dodge.  That means there are a limited and easy to figure out list of combinations the character can take.

Here they are: Trapfinding/Trap Sense:
Acrobat, Cutpurse, Investigator, Poisoner, Rake, Sniper, Spy, Swashbuckler, ThugUncanny Dodge/Improved Uncanny Dodge:
Burglar, Scout, Trapsmith

This means you can take any Archetype from the first set and mix it with any single Archetype from the second.  By example, an Acrobat/Burglar would be like an acrobatic thief, leaping and making stunts to get into a room, then emptying it of all the good stuff, while the Scout/Sniper would be like a woodland marksman, shooting from a far then rushing in for the kill.

My friend has a really good combination, the Scout/Thug, who’s going to use the Scout’s Charge/Skirmisher and Brutal Beating to whip around the battlefield damaging and sickening people.  He also is going the graceful combatant route, picking up Dervish Dance and later the Duelist class.  His character is going to use grace and deadliness mixed with a hard-edged, street raised personality for his character.  Like a lanky, street rat whose looking for glory and coin.

For combinations, here ere are a few that caught my eye: Acrobat/Burglar: As mentioned above, use your Acrobatics to raid a difficult-to-reach place, use your Burgling to get the stuff.Burglar/Cutpurse: The classic thief.  They can pick locks and pockets with ease, in and out of combat.  Rake/Scout: Like the Scout/Thug combo my friend is using, this one combines the Scout’s abilities of pulling out Sneak Attacks on a charge to activate Bravado’s Blade.Scout/Thug: As mentioned above, this Rogue can pull up Sickening Sneak Attacks like nobody’s business.

So, I’ll finish some with some things my friend has learned about playing a Rogue.  These are little tidbits that popped up while he started playing the character.Acrobatics is Acrawesome!: Acrobatics allows a  character to move through threatened spaces without getting hit.  It’s essentially doing a cartwheel or Patented Kirk Roll through the square.  It additionally gives you the ability to jump higher and/or longer, fall easier, and move across narrow areas.Prestige Classes Help: The Duelist (and if you’re evil, the Assassin) are great for the Rogue.  While the Duelist’s requirements are a little restrictive, you get a lot back for your investment and you make your Rogue more combat friendly, while still preserving his out-of-combat skill monkey status.  This also gives him some non-Sneak Attack-based abilities.Dipping: Here-and-there, a dip is fine for Rogues.  This is because they have a very open-ended class.  Pretty much everything is the “same thing, more powerful” as they progress, so they can trade a little bit of that power for more versatility or effectiveness.  Alchemist for Mutagens and Discoveries, Barbarian for Rage (and as far as I know, you can Rage Sneak Attack), Fighter for weapons and armor and a feat, or the Paladin for Smiting, all sound like reasonable options.  Going to the full casters isn’t that great of an idea, since they rely on levels for spell power, unless of course, you go with Arcane Trickster.  The only problem there is the Rogue will be under powered for the levels when his/her classes are split.Pair the Rogue with a Flanker: This is a key thing for the Rogue.  Having another character in the party who can advance with the Rogue will make them a better character.  I’m playing a Dexterity Magus, who can advance with spells and Acrobatics side-by-side with the Rogue, so we can tear stuff apart.

wolfoverclocked:

Archetype Fun Stuff - Rogues

I decided to do the Rogue for this, mainly because I have a friend starting to play one (the same friend who asked about this) and because the Rogue is kind of a lower tier character. They don’t get spells, they don’t get lots of weapons and armor and the abilities to use them, and the role they fill isn’t that great (or necessary depending on how the party is set up as Alchemist, Inquisitors, the new Ninja, and even Sorcerers and Wizards can fill it).

While I know Ultimate Combat is being released and there are new Archetypes for the Rogue in that book, I figured it’d be fun to run through the class now. I’ll maybe do the new ones (Bandit, Chameleon, Charlatan, Driver, Knife Master, Pirate, Roof Runner, Sanctified Rogue, and Survivalist) are in the future, but I have a feeling they’ll follow the same patterns established for Rogues so far. The patterns being this: there are two options an Archetype has as replacement powers. It either changes out Trapfinding/Trap Sense (or just Trapfinding in the case of the Investigator), or it changes out Uncanny Dodge and Improved Uncanny Dodge. That means there are a limited and easy to figure out list of combinations the character can take.

Here they are:
Trapfinding/Trap Sense:
Acrobat, Cutpurse, Investigator, Poisoner, Rake, Sniper, Spy, Swashbuckler, Thug

Uncanny Dodge/Improved Uncanny Dodge:
Burglar, Scout, Trapsmith

This means you can take any Archetype from the first set and mix it with any single Archetype from the second. By example, an Acrobat/Burglar would be like an acrobatic thief, leaping and making stunts to get into a room, then emptying it of all the good stuff, while the Scout/Sniper would be like a woodland marksman, shooting from a far then rushing in for the kill.

My friend has a really good combination, the Scout/Thug, who’s going to use the Scout’s Charge/Skirmisher and Brutal Beating to whip around the battlefield damaging and sickening people. He also is going the graceful combatant route, picking up Dervish Dance and later the Duelist class. His character is going to use grace and deadliness mixed with a hard-edged, street raised personality for his character. Like a lanky, street rat whose looking for glory and coin.

For combinations, here ere are a few that caught my eye:
Acrobat/Burglar: As mentioned above, use your Acrobatics to raid a difficult-to-reach place, use your Burgling to get the stuff.
Burglar/Cutpurse: The classic thief. They can pick locks and pockets with ease, in and out of combat.
Rake/Scout: Like the Scout/Thug combo my friend is using, this one combines the Scout’s abilities of pulling out Sneak Attacks on a charge to activate Bravado’s Blade.
Scout/Thug: As mentioned above, this Rogue can pull up Sickening Sneak Attacks like nobody’s business.

So, I’ll finish some with some things my friend has learned about playing a Rogue. These are little tidbits that popped up while he started playing the character.
Acrobatics is Acrawesome!: Acrobatics allows a character to move through threatened spaces without getting hit. It’s essentially doing a cartwheel or Patented Kirk Roll through the square. It additionally gives you the ability to jump higher and/or longer, fall easier, and move across narrow areas.
Prestige Classes Help: The Duelist (and if you’re evil, the Assassin) are great for the Rogue. While the Duelist’s requirements are a little restrictive, you get a lot back for your investment and you make your Rogue more combat friendly, while still preserving his out-of-combat skill monkey status. This also gives him some non-Sneak Attack-based abilities.
Dipping: Here-and-there, a dip is fine for Rogues. This is because they have a very open-ended class. Pretty much everything is the “same thing, more powerful” as they progress, so they can trade a little bit of that power for more versatility or effectiveness. Alchemist for Mutagens and Discoveries, Barbarian for Rage (and as far as I know, you can Rage Sneak Attack), Fighter for weapons and armor and a feat, or the Paladin for Smiting, all sound like reasonable options. Going to the full casters isn’t that great of an idea, since they rely on levels for spell power, unless of course, you go with Arcane Trickster. The only problem there is the Rogue will be under powered for the levels when his/her classes are split.
Pair the Rogue with a Flanker: This is a key thing for the Rogue. Having another character in the party who can advance with the Rogue will make them a better character. I’m playing a Dexterity Magus, who can advance with spells and Acrobatics side-by-side with the Rogue, so we can tear stuff apart.