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!

I'm very new to Pathfinder, and as such don't know all the rules and customs. I am a writer, self-published author, and want to make a campaign for the people I play Pathfinder with. I was wondering if their was a rule/etiquette about players "acquiring" characters that they did not make themselves. Could you tell me if that is something that is allowed/accepted? Thank-you

I would probably avoid doing that.

I think that if you really want to have a fun campaign for everyone, let them make a character.  Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it being a GM makes the characters and the players play them. I’m sure it’s been done, but part of running a campaign having the players make the characters, both as game characters and as fiction characters.  Players build their personalities as things go and contribute aspects to the campaign you may not have foreseen or thought of.

Part of GMing is being able to both write an interesting campaign and allow for improvisation from players.  I’ve GMed a campaign for a while now, though it’s on hiatus, and it’s been mostly driven by me just pointing in a direction and the players going there and doing things while I play off of what they’re doing and add in aspects as they go.  I have some things that definitely happen, like a boss fight, NPC encounters, and I’ve designed areas, but how they’re gotten to and gone through is up to the players.

My friend Shaun has been running a campaign for about two years now, and he mostly does bullet points and sets the characters in a direction, then the players do a lot of stuff. 

So, my advice would be to come up with an outline for a campaign, the major points you want to do, then let the players do most of the work while you tell a story off their actions.

Also, one thing that helps out a lot, which Shaun’s done in his campaign, which I’ll steal in the future, is ask the players for five goals each.  They can be anything really, like get a mythic weapon/item/armor, become a ruler, save a princes, etc.  Just five things that you can use to tell the story.

By example, my archer in Shaun’s campaign, Jarad, had two secret things on his list: where’s his lost daughter and what to the dreams mean.  Now, the characters are chasing down his daughter.  I also put get a mythic weapon on the list, which I have.   Another player put, “become king of a small country or island populated by other goblins” and that’s slowly happening.

There’s a lot you as a GM can do to make an interesting campaign, but you shouldn’t force the story on your players, since they can contribute too.

I hope my advice helps!  Enjoy your gaming!

adventuresofanerd:

#Pathfinder Comic! (Taken with Instagram)

Daaaaamn.  That’s sexy even for Seoni!  I gotta get this comic.  XD

adventuresofanerd:

#Pathfinder Comic! (Taken with Instagram)

Daaaaamn. That’s sexy even for Seoni! I gotta get this comic. XD

wolfoverclocked:

Metal Mage Prestige Class Part 4!

So she’s at the like 90-95% complete mark and only needs changes that my friend recommends.

Or, if anyone sees something that needs a correction or has an idea for her, please, by all means, suggest it!

Here’s the final chunk of text for the Prestige Class.  Once I’ve got the artwork fully completed, I’ll post the two-page spread as a pdf for free!  (I’ll also put the OGL info on that document, so it will be free to pass around the text and use it.)


Metal Claws (Sp): At 3rd level, when the metal mage is wearing metal gauntlets, she may change them into claws as a move action.  She gains two claw attacks while using this ability, each dealing 1d4 + Strength modifier damage.  Although they function as primary natural attacks, they are still considered weapons for the purposes of abilities or spells that require weapons.  Additionally, she may lock her gauntlets as a locking gauntlet as a swift action.  Either of these effects may be switched off with a swift action.
	Metallic Pull (Sp): At 3rd level, a metal mage can manipulate the magnetic forces around a piece of metal and attempt a combat maneuver check against a creature clad in metal armor.  She may attempt a trip, pull, bull rush, reposition, or applicable dirty tricks against said creature.  
	She uses her Intelligence or Charisma modifier plus her number of Hit Dice in place of her Strength modifier and BAB, respectively, for her CMB for the attempt, and receives a +2 bonus if the target is wearing light metal armor, a +4 bonus if the target is wearing medium metal armor, or a +6 bonus if the target is wearing heavy metal armor.
	Orb of Iron (Sp): At 5th level, a metal mage may use a large piece of metal, like her armor or a sheet of iron or steel, to form an impenetrable sphere around her person.  This functions as resilient sphere, using her overall caster level, but with the piece of metal as a material component.  The sphere is made of metal, not force, and it can only be cast on herself and still traps her inside until she dismisses it, and she can breath comfortably within the sphere.  Orb of Iron can be used once per day.
	Clattering Chains (Sp): At 7th level, a metal mage can create a pair of chains and use them to strike opponents.  Using this ability is a full attack action consisting of two melee touch attacks at a 20 foot reach.  If a single attack lands, the target takes 3d6 + Intelligence or Charisma modifier damage and the metal mage may attempt to grapple the creature.  If both attacks hit the same creature, it takes damage from both chain attacks and the grapple attempt receives a +4 bonus.  
	The Metal Mage’s CMB for these grapple checks is equal to her number of Hit Dice plus her Intelligence or Charisma modifier instead of her BAB plus her Strength.  Her CMD is this CMB value + her Dexterity modifier + 10. 
	Metal Fluidity (Sp): At 9th level, a metal mage can transform metal weapons, armor, or other pieces of equipment from one shape to another. As a move action, she can change a metal weapon’s shape from one to another, provided that the weights of the two forms are within 3 pounds of each other.  She could, for example, change a longsword into a battleaxe or a falchion into a glaive. She could not, however, change a rapier into a greatsword or a dagger into a greataxe. Any wooden parts involved in this transformation are either simulated by the metal if they require creation, or absorbed if they are previously present.
	If this ability is used with armor, the armor bonus changes to meet the new armor formed, but if a lighter armor is used to make a heavier armor, the hardness is reduced by 30% for each weight class higher.
	Wall of Iron (Sp): At 10th level, a metal mage can cause the metal in the earth to spontaneously erupt in a nearly impassable wall.  This functions as wall of iron using the metal mage’s overall caster level.  She may use this ability once per day.

Click the “Pathfinder Book” tag to see the rest of her class and her art’s progression.  I should be posting the complete class within a few days.  The book that will include this Prestige Class and much, much more will be available this fall!

wolfoverclocked:

Metal Mage Prestige Class Part 4!

So she’s at the like 90-95% complete mark and only needs changes that my friend recommends.

Or, if anyone sees something that needs a correction or has an idea for her, please, by all means, suggest it!

Here’s the final chunk of text for the Prestige Class. Once I’ve got the artwork fully completed, I’ll post the two-page spread as a pdf for free! (I’ll also put the OGL info on that document, so it will be free to pass around the text and use it.)

Metal Claws (Sp): At 3rd level, when the metal mage is wearing metal gauntlets, she may change them into claws as a move action. She gains two claw attacks while using this ability, each dealing 1d4 + Strength modifier damage. Although they function as primary natural attacks, they are still considered weapons for the purposes of abilities or spells that require weapons. Additionally, she may lock her gauntlets as a locking gauntlet as a swift action. Either of these effects may be switched off with a swift action.

Metallic Pull (Sp): At 3rd level, a metal mage can manipulate the magnetic forces around a piece of metal and attempt a combat maneuver check against a creature clad in metal armor. She may attempt a trip, pull, bull rush, reposition, or applicable dirty tricks against said creature. She uses her Intelligence or Charisma modifier plus her number of Hit Dice in place of her Strength modifier and BAB, respectively, for her CMB for the attempt, and receives a +2 bonus if the target is wearing light metal armor, a +4 bonus if the target is wearing medium metal armor, or a +6 bonus if the target is wearing heavy metal armor.

Orb of Iron (Sp): At 5th level, a metal mage may use a large piece of metal, like her armor or a sheet of iron or steel, to form an impenetrable sphere around her person. This functions as resilient sphere, using her overall caster level, but with the piece of metal as a material component. The sphere is made of metal, not force, and it can only be cast on herself and still traps her inside until she dismisses it, and she can breath comfortably within the sphere. Orb of Iron can be used once per day.

Clattering Chains (Sp): At 7th level, a metal mage can create a pair of chains and use them to strike opponents. Using this ability is a full attack action consisting of two melee touch attacks at a 20 foot reach. If a single attack lands, the target takes 3d6 + Intelligence or Charisma modifier damage and the metal mage may attempt to grapple the creature. If both attacks hit the same creature, it takes damage from both chain attacks and the grapple attempt receives a +4 bonus.

The Metal Mage’s CMB for these grapple checks is equal to her number of Hit Dice plus her Intelligence or Charisma modifier instead of her BAB plus her Strength. Her CMD is this CMB value + her Dexterity modifier + 10.

Metal Fluidity (Sp): At 9th level, a metal mage can transform metal weapons, armor, or other pieces of equipment from one shape to another. As a move action, she can change a metal weapon’s shape from one to another, provided that the weights of the two forms are within 3 pounds of each other. She could, for example, change a longsword into a battleaxe or a falchion into a glaive. She could not, however, change a rapier into a greatsword or a dagger into a greataxe. Any wooden parts involved in this transformation are either simulated by the metal if they require creation, or absorbed if they are previously present.

If this ability is used with armor, the armor bonus changes to meet the new armor formed, but if a lighter armor is used to make a heavier armor, the hardness is reduced by 30% for each weight class higher.

Wall of Iron (Sp): At 10th level, a metal mage can cause the metal in the earth to spontaneously erupt in a nearly impassable wall. This functions as wall of iron using the metal mage’s overall caster level. She may use this ability once per day.

Click the “Pathfinder Book” tag to see the rest of her class and her art’s progression. I should be posting the complete class within a few days. The book that will include this Prestige Class and much, much more will be available this fall!

wolfoverclocked:

Metal Mage Prestige Class Part 3!

She’s about 85% or so finished at this point.  Mostly lots of small fixes and clean up along with some texturing.  After that, I show it to my friend and he’ll give opinions then I’ll do a little more tweaking thereafter.

Here’s the next chunk of text, the first half of the levels:


Class Features
All of the following are features of the Metal Mage prestige class.
	Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Metal mages gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.
	Armor Spikes (Su): When wearing metal armor, the metal mage gains the ability to give it armor spikes as a swift action.  She can retract the armor spikes as a free action.
	Cloth of Metal (Su): The bond the metal mage has with metal is heightened, allowing her to wear and move in it as if it weren’t there.  Reduce the arcane spell failure for any metal armor and metal shields by 10% and the armor check penalty by 2.  At 5th level, these reductions increase to 20% and 4, and she can sleep in metal armor without penalty.  At 10th level, these reductions increase to 30% and 6, and she can don metal armor with extraordinary speed, taking only 1/4 the time to do so.
	Metal Crafter (Ex): The metal mage adds her class level to any Craft skill checks she makes that use metal as a crafting material.
	Metal Enchancement (Su): The metal mage begins to infuse her arcane powers into the metal about her body.  At the beginning of the day, she may chose to give her weapon, shield, or armor a +1 enhancement bonus, so long as it is made of metal.  This stacks with any enhancement bonus the item has already, but it cannot exceed +5.  At 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th levels, this bonus increases by +1, to a maximum of +5 at 9th level.  Additionally, she may forgo a single point of this bonus to give her weapon the corrosive property.  At 5th level, she may forgo 2 points to give her weapon the corrosive burst property.
	Spells per Day: At the indicated levels, a metal mage gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in an arcane spellcasting class she belonged to before adding the prestige class.  She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained, except for additional spells per day, spells know (if he is a spontaneous spellcaster), and an increased effective level of spellcasting.  If a character had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming a metal mage, she must decide which class she adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day.
	Heavy Metal Proficiency (Su): At 2nd level, the metal mage gains proficiency with heavy armors made of metal.
	Metal Spear (Sp): At 2nd level, a metal mage learns to form a small sampling of metal into a deadly spear, hurling it at her foes.  This requires her to have a small bit of metal as a material component, which is lost when she throws the spear until she can pick it back up.  The spear is a ranged attack  against one creature, which has a range of 60 feet, and uses her Intelligence or Charisma modifier in place her Dexterity modifier for the attack roll.  It deals 1d6 + Intelligence or Charisma modifier damage.  A metal mage may use this ability a number of times per day equal to her Intelligence or Charisma modifier.  At 4th level and every two levels thereafter, the metal mage may use an additional piece of metal to create and hurl another spear, using a new ranged attack as part of the same action.


Click the “Pathfinder Book” tag below for more!

wolfoverclocked:

Metal Mage Prestige Class Part 3!

She’s about 85% or so finished at this point. Mostly lots of small fixes and clean up along with some texturing. After that, I show it to my friend and he’ll give opinions then I’ll do a little more tweaking thereafter.

Here’s the next chunk of text, the first half of the levels:

Class Features
All of the following are features of the Metal Mage prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Metal mages gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.

Armor Spikes (Su): When wearing metal armor, the metal mage gains the ability to give it armor spikes as a swift action. She can retract the armor spikes as a free action.

Cloth of Metal (Su): The bond the metal mage has with metal is heightened, allowing her to wear and move in it as if it weren’t there. Reduce the arcane spell failure for any metal armor and metal shields by 10% and the armor check penalty by 2. At 5th level, these reductions increase to 20% and 4, and she can sleep in metal armor without penalty. At 10th level, these reductions increase to 30% and 6, and she can don metal armor with extraordinary speed, taking only 1/4 the time to do so.

Metal Crafter (Ex): The metal mage adds her class level to any Craft skill checks she makes that use metal as a crafting material.

Metal Enchancement (Su): The metal mage begins to infuse her arcane powers into the metal about her body. At the beginning of the day, she may chose to give her weapon, shield, or armor a +1 enhancement bonus, so long as it is made of metal. This stacks with any enhancement bonus the item has already, but it cannot exceed +5. At 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th levels, this bonus increases by +1, to a maximum of +5 at 9th level. Additionally, she may forgo a single point of this bonus to give her weapon the corrosive property. At 5th level, she may forgo 2 points to give her weapon the corrosive burst property.

Spells per Day: At the indicated levels, a metal mage gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in an arcane spellcasting class she belonged to before adding the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained, except for additional spells per day, spells know (if he is a spontaneous spellcaster), and an increased effective level of spellcasting. If a character had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming a metal mage, she must decide which class she adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day.

Heavy Metal Proficiency (Su): At 2nd level, the metal mage gains proficiency with heavy armors made of metal.

Metal Spear (Sp): At 2nd level, a metal mage learns to form a small sampling of metal into a deadly spear, hurling it at her foes. This requires her to have a small bit of metal as a material component, which is lost when she throws the spear until she can pick it back up. The spear is a ranged attack against one creature, which has a range of 60 feet, and uses her Intelligence or Charisma modifier in place her Dexterity modifier for the attack roll. It deals 1d6 + Intelligence or Charisma modifier damage. A metal mage may use this ability a number of times per day equal to her Intelligence or Charisma modifier. At 4th level and every two levels thereafter, the metal mage may use an additional piece of metal to create and hurl another spear, using a new ranged attack as part of the same action.

Click the “Pathfinder Book” tag below for more!
wolfoverclocked:

I haven’t made a real creative post in a long time, mostly because I’ve been drawing in a sketchbook larger than my scanner and I’ve been kinda busy with stuff.
That stuff is: me and my friend, also named James, are working on a Pathfinder RPG book.  Writing, editing, designing, and doing all of the artwork ourselves, and we’re gonna sell it through a self-publishing company (probably Lulu, but we’ll do a last minute look before deciding completely).  So, over the next two months, I’ll post previews of the art (mostly in progress) and the text from the book (of course, I’ll post other things related to the various creative nerd things I do still, but this will ramp things up).
The release date for the book is going to be very late September, possibly first few days of October.  We really want to make sure it’ as right as we can get it, so we’re going to take our time in the finishing of it.
Here is sample artwork in progress and the intro text for the Prestige Class, the Metal Mage.  As this art progresses, I’ll post more of it, along with more of the text.

The Metal Mage
Metal.  Core of strong weapons and armor, a focus of trade, a common element to some (so much so that they have it as a base elemental of the universe), and an extreme rarity to others.  Mages of a particular disposition seek to control this material to the best of their abilities.  They master its shape, bend it to their whims, control and maniupalte it and those who chose to wear it.
	Role: A metal mage is a form of armored and attacking spellcaster, manipulating metals to form their own unique weapons and mold armor to their bodies.  Metal mages will eventaully be able to hold their own, wearing the heaviest of armors and wielding the heaviest of weapons with ease, so long as they’re made metal.
	Alignment: The art of crafting metal through arcane manipulations are available to all who have discipline to concentrate on doing so.  Therefore, metal mages tend to not be chaotic, though chaotic metal mages can still be found.

For these posts, I’ll use the tag “Pathfinder Book” so anyone wishing to see all related posts can just click the tag.  As always I’ll use the “artwork” and “Pathfinder” tags to lump these in with my art and other Pathfinder related posts, respectively.

wolfoverclocked:

I haven’t made a real creative post in a long time, mostly because I’ve been drawing in a sketchbook larger than my scanner and I’ve been kinda busy with stuff.

That stuff is: me and my friend, also named James, are working on a Pathfinder RPG book. Writing, editing, designing, and doing all of the artwork ourselves, and we’re gonna sell it through a self-publishing company (probably Lulu, but we’ll do a last minute look before deciding completely). So, over the next two months, I’ll post previews of the art (mostly in progress) and the text from the book (of course, I’ll post other things related to the various creative nerd things I do still, but this will ramp things up).

The release date for the book is going to be very late September, possibly first few days of October. We really want to make sure it’ as right as we can get it, so we’re going to take our time in the finishing of it.

Here is sample artwork in progress and the intro text for the Prestige Class, the Metal Mage. As this art progresses, I’ll post more of it, along with more of the text.

The Metal Mage

Metal. Core of strong weapons and armor, a focus of trade, a common element to some (so much so that they have it as a base elemental of the universe), and an extreme rarity to others. Mages of a particular disposition seek to control this material to the best of their abilities. They master its shape, bend it to their whims, control and maniupalte it and those who chose to wear it.

Role: A metal mage is a form of armored and attacking spellcaster, manipulating metals to form their own unique weapons and mold armor to their bodies. Metal mages will eventaully be able to hold their own, wearing the heaviest of armors and wielding the heaviest of weapons with ease, so long as they’re made metal.

Alignment: The art of crafting metal through arcane manipulations are available to all who have discipline to concentrate on doing so. Therefore, metal mages tend to not be chaotic, though chaotic metal mages can still be found.

For these posts, I’ll use the tag “Pathfinder Book” so anyone wishing to see all related posts can just click the tag. As always I’ll use the “artwork” and “Pathfinder” tags to lump these in with my art and other Pathfinder related posts, respectively.

garabating:

Pathfinder Comic cover 1 by *theirison
The full wallpaper can be found on Paizo’s Blog!

I’m currently using it as my desktop background.

The full wallpaper can be found on Paizo’s Blog!

I’m currently using it as my desktop background.

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.