Thoughts are torturous for me, little things that chase one another round and round and round. My mind aches with their constant action, seldom do they let me be, let my soul settle to a point of peaceful relaxation. I bury myself in pointless games, trivial activities to escape, to flee my own thoughts…those blasted nagging notions that chase sleep into a sweet memory. These thoughts take many forms; questions and answers, questions to questions, worries, obsessions. They have a life of their own that I cannot hope to control, to throttle back for a little peace. My mind is always racing…forever racing forwards, seldom pausing to allow me a moment to breathe, to catch up. A rare moment passes now, that perfect moment between the disordered chaos of thoughts chasing questions chasing worries and the quiet stillness of crystalline sleep so easily fractured. A moment when I can reflect on the chaos, examine the stillness, come to terms with the bustle of my thoughts and the stark quiet of sleep. From such precious few moments, entire worlds reveal themselves at a pace far too rapid to scribe. Destinies, stories, people, places, history, love, loss, conflict, strife, heroic villains, villainous heroes; it plays out in a theater of the mind, all within the quiet fragility between resting and running. A multitude of lives pass by, friendships, rivalries and yet even as my mind swells with stories and tales of worlds far and strange, the void of rest consumes them all…doomed and forgotten before a single story was told. I lament my lack of fortitude, the inability to grasp a pencil and sketch the words requires to outline such brilliant constellations. Yet as I fall into the dark abyss of sleep each night, the same legends unfold, time and time again. Perhaps if I focus, struggle against the slothfulness that lays claim to my limbs, I might be able to just this once, remember. Just remember.
One of the phrases I’ve heard countless times since I’ve started playing Pathfinder (and before that, 3.5) is, “Fighters don’t get nice things”. It’s a true statement. Fighter’s tend to be the benchmark by which most classes are compared or built upon. Yet as a class, Fighter is amazingly unremarkable. 1 Good Save, d10 hit dice, 4 class features and 2(+int) skills per level. And the feats. To make up for no class features, fighters get 11 extra feats over everyone else, Awesome, right? Wrong. The list of “fighter only” feats is short which means there’s really no reason to be a fighter unless a player wants or needs the feats for some reason and even then a player is often better served with a 2 level dip. Now if the fighter only feats were better, fighter could be an amazing class (or if the class features didn’t suck). Imagine if power attack had the prerequisite “Fighter 1”. Or if there was an “Improved Power Attack” feat that was fighter only. As it stands however, fighters largely suck and are outclassed by every single class (even rogues, at a later date I’ll crunch out a comparison between Fighter and Rogue to examine the difference in class features, hit dice, etc).
So now it’s time for the meat of this post, building a better fighter! Obviously I’m no fan of fighter beyond a fast n easy way to grab a few extra feats (and there are some builds that need that, see Thunder, Fang and Monolith). This build was in some competition with spawn in terms of mechanical difficulty and system mastery to put together (at some point I’ll get a ranking system together to evaluate things like; ease of play, rule interaction, and source material diversification).
The core of this build revolves around making a character that fulfills the same party role as a fighter, while possessing class some actual class features. To accomplish this, I’m planning a level split of Fighter 2/Ranger 2/Inquisitor 3/Stalwart Defender. Inquisitor is the key to making a fighter that not only feels good to play, but gets some nice class features that, and here’s the important bit, stay relevant from level 1 to end game! Inquisitor also brings some other niceties to the build; skills, spells, spell list, being important things. The other very important thing that Inquisitor does, is enable the taking of the Spellbreaker Archetype (unlike Spawn, archetypes are key in this build).
-From Ultimate Combat
Strong-Willed (Ex): At 1st level, a spellbreaker is able to stand strong against magical effects that seek to control, compel, or persuade her. The spellbreaker rolls twice and takes the best result when making a Will saving throw against a mind-affecting effect. This ability replaces monster lore.
Defense against Magic (Ex): At 3rd level, a spellbreaker picks a single wizard school. She gains a +1 bonus on saving throws against arcane spells of that school. Every four levels beyond 3rd, the spellbreaker picks a new school and gains this bonus against arcane spells of that school (to a maximum of five schools of magic at 19th level). Furthermore, each time the spellbreaker picks a new school, the bonuses for the schools she has already chosen increase by 1. This ability replaces all bonus teamwork feats.
Foil Casting (Su): At 3rd level, when an opponent tries to cast an arcane spell within a spellbreaker’s threatened area, the DC for that caster to cast defensively increases by 2. This increase stacks with the effects of the Disruptive feat. Furthermore, the spellbreaker knows where to hit foes to foil casting from a distance. Each time she hits an arcane spellcaster or a creature that uses spell-like abilities with a ranged weapon attack, the DC of any Concentration checks the caster makes increases by 2 for 1 round. This ability replaces solo tactics.
This takes a couple of class features of the Inquisitor that I don’t particularly care for and trades them for AMAZING ones. Strong-Willed would be worth a feat or two (and in my opinion is how bravery should’ve been). Defense Against Magic is solid, you can stack it with Strong-Will by picking Enchantment or help cover weak points by grabbing Evocation or Conjuration. Foil Casting is just icing on the cake and has wonderful synergy with certain feats.
To be continued!
After some delay I think I’ll begin posting on this blog again. Exciting news, my copy of Paizo’s Advanced Class Guide should be arriving this coming Monday! What does this mean? A giant new block of cheese and munchkin-ing! I’m very, very excited. See the reason I play Pathfinder is two-fold; Fun and Socialization. This new book (forever known as the ACG) represents hundreds of hours of entertainment for me from creating wacky and fantastic new combos to the hours spent at the table roll and role playing with friends. Just for my own sanity I’m going to whip out some quick class combos that pop to mind at this moment to be expanded upon later.
-Swashbuckler x Paladin
Dex > Cha > Con, typical Cha based cheese. Pump saves with Divine Grace. Go Dex + Falcata with Slashing Grace. Solid DPR, Good Saves. Need to look into AC boosts probably.
-Skald x Paladin
Str>Con>Cha (usually, there’s argument for being ranged instead of melee, would make a fabulous switch hitter).
Takes about 4 feats to be viable ranged + 1 for viable two handing melee. Skald gets buffs, rage song, rage powers. Paladin brings smite and Divine grace. Good times. Did I forget to mention that the Skald shares it’s rage powers with it’s rage song? Ooops. Did I also forget to mention that superstitious is a legal choice? My saves never looked so good!
-Slayer x Ranger x Bard
Odd combo which is almost illegal (normally paizo restricts taking classes upon which the base classes are based upon. They lifted that restrict for this book). This build looks to stack a bonus of untyped and moral bonuses to turn into a dakka machine. Slayer Target + Inspire Courage (Dervish Dance if I wanna be selfish) + Freebooter (or metagamed favored enemy) means that at level three that the max bonuses gained would be:
+1 Slayer + 2 Favored Enemy + 2 Battle Dance = +5 to hit and damage ontop of any normal bonuses (BAB, Str or Dex). Being crowd friendly drops that to a +3, but shares +2 of that with all allies within 30ft.
-Hunter + Fighter
Hunter is rumored to have an archetype that removes the animal companion for full progression wild shape starting at level 1 (oh my!). Tack on fighter levels for feats. Life is wonderful.
-Bloodrager x Bloodrager
This class is fantastically good by itself (Abyssal Bloodline best Bloodline). It’s what most people want out of a Gish build (buffs and Full BAB). Also does the normal Paladin Cha synergy trick that I’m fond of.
Once my copy of the ACG lands, I’ll do an initial reaction of each of the ten classes and my favorite archetypes from within.