My IK:RPG Backup Characters

I’m on something of an IK:RPG (Iron Kingdoms RPG) kick currently. I got invited to a group and we’ve been having fun hunting down a necromancer. My first character is something of an abomination, an Iosian Field Mechanik/Ice Sorcerer that runs around with an effective defense of 19. As I’m wont to do, I’m starting to prep back up characters with the player experience I’m gaining for how the game plays and flows. Couple things that I’ve noticed (and thus are guiding my character design):

  • Magic shouldn’t be used for combat purposes early on. 2d6 + 2 or 3 (ARC) is just miserable. Magical buffs on the other hand…
  • Taking damage is not fun. Going down is horrendous (changes recovery time from hours to weeks).
  • DEF skewing is probably the best plan when combined with blast damage ignoring.

So on to the characters! I’ve been digging into some of the supplementary material that PP has produced and scattered around for IK:RPG and come to the conclusion that whoever is planning these books and releases needs to have a serious rethink about layouts and deployment plans (#grumble). The first character I’m toying with is a Stormcaller/Investigator.

Stan Topher – Human (Cygnaran) Stormcaller (KNG 89)/Investigator (IK:RPG 132)

The stormcaller career is based around zapping people with giant lightning bolts from on high using the power of SCIENCE instead of magical voodoo powers. This is done via an occupational skill instead of a military skill and that’s where things start to go a bit pear shaped. The Stormsmithing skill is based on perception and has some interesting utility built in (AoE concealment, weather control, AoE knockdown) in addition to the tasering. As written, all of these abilities require the character to make a PER + Stormsmithing roll which makes this roll both a perception roll and a stormsmithing roll (lack of playtesting, huzzah!). Coupled with Hyper Perception from the Intelligence archetype (granted through Investigator), this makes all of the Stormsmithing rolls boosted (so I’m rolling 3d6 + 1 (skill) + 5 (PER)) right out of the gates to land lightning bolts on people which is pretty good. It gets better when coupled with the Astute ability (also granted by investigator) which allows this character to reroll failed PER rolls. Because Hyper Perception is granted through Investigator, I’m free to pick another another Archetype. I went with Gifted, grabbing Fast Caster for the future class expansion. Since Stormsmithing strikes are full round actions, this would allow me to also toss out buffs to my party mates and make enemies regret their lack of electricity immunity.

Stats PHY 5| SPD 6| STR 4| ALG 4| PRW 4| POI 4| INT 4| ARC 3| PER 5|
Abilities Astute, Language (any), Specilization (Stormcaller and Lightning Rod), Weatherman, Weather Vane
Archtype Gifted (Fast Caster), Hyper Perception
Connections Cygnaran Military
Military Skills Great Weapon 1, Pistol 1
Occupational Skills Detection 1, Forensic Science 1, Interrogation 1, Law 1, Mechanikal Engineering 1, Medicine 1, Stormsmithing 1, Sneak 1
Starting Gear Stormsmith Armor, Stormcaller and Lightning Rod, 100gc


Flint Stonespray
– Dwarf (Rhulic) Artillerist (KNG 304)/Rhulic Field Mechanik (NQ_49 63)

This character is attempting to capitalize heavily on the light artillery weapons added in Kings, Nations and Gods (because the core book had none…at all) in a unique way. So most of the light artillery weapons that aren’t strange (such as shield guns) require a tripod to be deployed and a full round action to set up the gun. There are also comical penalties for lugging these things around (even though they aren’t heavy enough to threaten load capacities…). Normally I’d avoid this sort of weapon like the plague, they typically aren’t worth the action economy but I had a thought (and here’s one of the inconsistencies in the IK:RPG system, jack weapons are basically equivalent to artillery, they just incorporate integrated autoloaders and/or magazines), what if the artillery gun in question was mounted on a jack? This alleviates the action economy issues of having to deploy/undeploy the gun but still puts an action economy tax on the player character (the jack can’t make unassisted ranged attacks). When I tripped across the Rhulic Field Mechanik, I finally decided to put all of this down on paper (NOTE: This does require GM permissions because the rules don’t exist to allow this…yet). The basic idea is that the Grundback Runner has a foot platform at the rear and it’s head ranged weapon slot outfitted with a light artillery mount. The ‘Jack Marshal stands on the footplate and fire the artillery gun. I’m leaning towards a Slugger or Chain Gun since the single shot guns (Light Cannon, Deck Gun, etc) require reloading between each shot (which is a full action).

Stats PHY 8| SPD 4| STR 4| ALG 3| PRW 4| POI 4| INT 4| ARC -| PER 3|
Abilities ‘Jack Marshal, Battle Plan: Close Fire, Bodge, Hit the Deck, Load Bearing, Scorched Earth
Archtype Intellectual (Battlefield Coordination)
Connections Dwarf Clan
Military Skills Head Weapon 1, Heavy Artillery 1, Light Artillery 1, Pistol 1, Rifle 1
Occupational Skills Command 1, Craft (Metalworking) 1, Detection 1, Driving 1, Mechanikal Engineering 1
Starting Gear Deck Gun (10 ammo), Grundback Runner w/ Hailshot Cannon, Mechanik’s Tool Kit, 100gc


Nottia Jack
– Human Ironhead (NQ_52 33)/Knight (IK:RPG 134)

This is a fun character and probably my first “tank” character I’ve seriously considered. She is a late game character based around overwhelming enemies with a large number of attacks and leverages the Ironhead Armor to make those attacks hurt (for those unfamiliar, Ironhead armor is steam powered armor that is highly customizable, think Man-o-War armor and that will get you 90% of the way there). One of the big decision points I had to make with this character was what archetype to take, Mighty or Skilled. Mighty has most of the “tank” and “dps” benefits, namely Righteous Anger, Feat: Invulnerable, Feat: Vendetta and Feat: Revitalize. Coupled with the fact that might characters are weapon masters with all melee weapons, there’s a tremendous amount of damage potential to be had, but at lower accuracy and a low number of attacks (a huge hit every turn). Skilled on the other hand, seems to offer a large selection of utility to this character, an extra attack every turn, Virtuoso, Sidestep, Preternatural Awareness and Ambidextrous. Coupled with some of the career abilities I’m planning on and the power lended to the character from her Ironhead armor, I think that overall Skilled offers the better utility. Because this is a character that really needs some experience and gold to function correctly, I’m building her with 30 xp (this puts her online and ready to rumble).

Stats PHY 7| SPD 6| STR 6| ALG 3| PRW 5| POI 4| INT 3| ARC -| PER 5|
Abilities Cleave, Defender, Ironhead, Makeshift Engineering, Tinkerer
Archtype Skilled (Sidestep, Virtuoso (Great  Weapon))
Connections Mechaniks Association, Knightly Order
Military Skills Great Weapon 2, Light Artillery 1, Hand Weapon 1, Shield 2
Occupational Skills Climbing 2, Command 1, Craft (Metalworking) 2, Detection 2, Etiquette 1, Intimidation 2, Lore (knightly order) 1, Mechanikal Engineering 2, Streetwise 2
Gear Ironhead Armor, Adventuring Tack, Mechanik’s Kit, War Hammer, Combat Shield, Boot Dagger, Assault Commando Armor, Purifier, 15ft Collapsable Pole
Ironhead Armor SPD: -1, DEF: -3, ARM: +10, HP: 12. Can run or charge

Heavy Boiler (free starter), Weight Compensators x2 (150 g), Ablative Armor x2 (250g), Hardened Case x2 (150g) (550g spent on upgrades)

Additional Career Cutthroat

 

Troglets! (Half-Trolls)

Sometimes, I feel the need for a monster with PC levels, but this can lead to a creature that is all together far too powerful for my party to face (for example, a troll is a CR5 encounter. A troll with enough druid levels to be scary/cool is CR10-14). My solution is to make a half race that physically resembles the monster NPC I wanted but isn’t absolutely undefeatable. Anyways, I’ve got the pilot seat for my Eberron group for the next few weeks (whoo!), and we’re currently on the edges of the Towering Woods (which is mostly full of anti-social farming communities or druidic cults). There isn’t really much content on the various druid sects outside of the Wardens of the Woods (there’s a couple others, but not more then a paragraph in any case) which means that any interactions the group has is going to be fun. Anyways, I’ll detail more about what’s going on with the Eberron, yes! group in a day or two (real life got a little silly). So, on to the race!

Troglets

Troglets are the end result when a troll feels something other then hunger for its unfortunate victim. The babies that result from such affairs are usually eaten alive by the troll who birthed it and drowned in the human communities. Those that survive often find that not a single person cares to have such an unnatural creature around. In a cruel twist of fate, the troll genes that make them so hated are also the genes that prevent them from dying. For those rare few that find a place in community, their genes make them well suited for guard or construction work.

Troglet Racial Traits

+2 Str, +2 Con, -2 Cha: Troglets are strong and tough but tend to find that others are unwilling to interact with them.
Type: Troglets are humanoids with the human and giant subtypes.
Base Speed: Troglets have a normal land speed of 30ft.
Low-Light Vision: Troglets have low-light vision allowing them to see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
Darkvision:
Troglets can see perfectly in the dark up to 60 feet.
Scent: Troglets possess especially keen noses.
Natural Weapons: A troglet has two claw attacks that deal 1d4 points of damage.
Parental Hertitage: A troglet gain fast healing equal to 1 + 1 per 5 class levels that she possesses. She is also vulnerable to fire and acid damage.
Savage Combatant: A troglet that hits a creature with both of her claw attacks rends that creature, dealing her claw damage + 1.5 her strength bonus in additional damage as she rips the creature apart with her claws.
Threatening: Troglets gain a +2 racial bonus to intimidate and handle animal and take a -2 penalty to diplomacy.

Now this is the base race I’m building a character upon that could be something of a recurring antagonist (we’ll see how the party role plays however).

Liacia the Crimson Leaf – NE Female Troglet Pack Lord Druid 10

Str    18 +4
Dex  16 +3
Con  18 +4
Int    10  +0
Wis  24  +1
Cha   8  -1
BAB +7; CMB +11; CMD 24
HP 103; Init +3 (+6 in a surprise round);
AC
28; T 16; FF 22;
Saves F
+12; R +7; W +14;
Speed
20ft; Perception +11; low-light vision, darkvision 60ft, scent;

Feats

1: Spell Focus (Conjuration)
3: Augment Summoning
5: Natural Spell
7: Boon Companion
9: Superior Summoning

Class Features
1: Pack Bond, Nature Sense, Spontaneous Casting, Wild Empathy
2: Woodland Stride
3: Trackless Step
4: Resist Nature’s Lure, Wild Shape (1/day)
6: Improved Empathic Link
8: Wild Shape (2/day)
9: Venom Immunity
10: Wild Shape (3/day)

Traits
Adopted (Feline Instinct) – +3 initiative when acting during a surprise round.
Free Spirit – +1 trait bonus on saving throws versus language dependent and effects with the sonic descriptor. In addition, +2 to the DC to intimidate you.

Racial Features
Low Light Vision
Darkvision 60ft
Scent
2 Claw Attacks (1d4) + Rend
Fast Healing 3
Vulnerable to Acid, Fire
+2 Intimidate, Handle Animal, -2 Diplomacy

Equipment
Trollward Breastplate, Ring of Protection +3, +2 Wild Heavy Wooden Shield, Ring of Natural Attunement (Drake), Druid’s Vestment, Reaching Vines, Midsummer’s Sickle, Belt of Physical Perfection (+2), Headband of Inspired Wisdom, Cloak of the Woods, +1 Flaming Amulet of Human Bane, Various Potions

Trollward Breastplate – +3 Wild Ironwood Breastplate of Acid and Fire Resistance
Cloak of the Woods – +1 Cloak of Resistance that grants +4 Stealth in a forest.

Skills
Fly +9, Handle Animal +10, Intimidate +10, Perception +19, Sense Motive +19, Stealth +9

Offense
Melee midsummer’s sickle +12/+7 (1d6+5) or two claws +12/+12 (1d4+7 plus 1d6 fire),
Special Attacks rend (two claws, 1d4+7 plus 1d6 fire)
Spells Prepared (CL 10th)

     5th (3)- Animal Growth, Baleful Polymorph, Wall of Light
     4th (4)- Flame Strike, Ice Storm, Rusting Grasp, Strong Jaw
3rd (5)-
Cup of Dust, Dominate Animal, Mad Monkeys, Resinous Skin, Thorny Entanglement
2nd(6)-
Bull’s StrengthEuphoric Cloud, Frigid Touch, Iron Skin, Sickening Entanglement, Vine Strike
1st (6)-
Bristle, Ice Armor (2), Mudball, Wave Shield (2)
0th (4)-
Detect Magic, Detect Poison, Guidance, Purify Food and Drink

Before Combat
Liacia casts Iron Skin, Resinous Skin and Vine Strike on herself, Animal Growth on her Roc and Bull’s Strength on her Megaloceros and Strong Jaw on its gore. All three then drink potions of Shield of Faith, Blur and Invisibility.

Roc – N Gargantuan Animal

Str    30 +10
Dex  15 +2
Con  20 +5
Int     2  +0
Wis  13  +1
Cha   11 -1
BAB +4; CMB +14 (+18 grapple); CMD 26 (30 vs grapple)
HP 57; Init +3 (+6 in a surprise round);
AC
32; T 12; FF 29;
Saves F
+8; R +8; W +3;
Speed
20ft, 80ft fly; Perception +10; low-light vision;

Offense
2 Talons +10 (2d6+6 plus grab). bite +15 (2d8+10)

Feats

1: Combat Reflexes
2: Light Armor Proficiency
5: Medium Armor Proficency

Class Features
1: Link, Share Spells
3: Evasion
6: Devotion

Equipment
Ice Armor Barding, +1 Amulet of Mighty Fists
Note: These stats include the spell Animal Growth.

Megaloceros – N Large Animal

Str    26 +8
Dex  17 +3
Con  18 +4
Int    3  +0
Wis  15  +1
Cha   5  -1
BAB +4; CMB +11; CMD 24
HP 103; Init +3 (+6 in a surprise round);
AC
25; T 12; FF 23;
Saves F
+9; R +8; W +3;
Speed
50ft; Perception +10; low-light vision, scent;

Offense
Gore +11 (4d6 + 9), 2 hooves +6 (1d4+5) or Gore +11 (4d6+13)
Special Qualities powerful charge (2d6+8)

Feats

1: Toughness
2: Power Attack
5: Cleave

Class Features
1: Link, Share Spells
3: Evasion
6: Devotion

Equipment
Ice Armor Barding, +1 Amulet of Mighty Fists
Note: These stats include the spells Bull’s Strength and Strong Jaw

During Combat Liacia wildshapes into a tiny creature and flies up into the sky to provide support for her two companions through her spells (namely by summoning 1d3+1 Forest Drakes with Summon Nature’s Ally V by sacrificing Baleful Polymorph). Then she casts Mad Monkeys targeting casters (namely, spell component pouches, holy symbols, focus items). Unless her animal companions are seriously injured, she then stays invisible and watches the fight play out, only revealing herself if absolutely necessary. Her animal companions wait for the Forest Drakes to soften and engage the party before charging in. The Megaloceros charges the front liners, withdrawing after each charge to help preserve his health (counting on the drakes to pin enemies down). The Roc prefers to attack flying players, but will charge casters or vulnerable targets in the rear, grappling them and flying up to kill them with fall damage (this includes wages or other objects that the Roc can carry).

Morale Liacia consider’s her survival her number one priority. She would rather disappear into the forest and live to fight another die as opposed to dying. If she is unable to escape, she will parlay with her captors and escape when it is convenient to do so.

I would estimate that a prepared Liacia is roughlya CR9-11 encounter (I wouldn’t bump it much above 11 as summoned creatures quickly loose a lot of their threat level as party damage increases). An encounter would stress the importance of having a balanced party (as without ranged damage or flight, the party is kill-able just by the drakes circling and spewing acid. This encounter is against an intelligent opponent so tactics are actually employed (none of this “age of MMO threat” nonsense that players seem to expect). Liacia herself can also wildshape into a variety of forms, so she could potentially shift and join her animal companions in the fight. As a druid, Liacia has a large number of spells at her disposal to make life difficult for the players (Cup of Ashes) outside of combat (which is important in a persistent NPC villain). Now for her background:

Liacia was born as part of a crazed woman’s plan to take over the Wardens of the Woods. This woman figured that if she had the most perfect druid daughter, she could play puppetmaster and twist the Wardens to her whims. Unfortunately for the crazy lady, her daughter was as stubborn and free willed as the troll she captured to create her child. Tortured and tormented throughout her childhood under the guise of “training”, Liacia quickly learned how to harness the power of nature. As she matured, she grew more and more resentful of the cruelness of her mother, one day snapping out in rage and killing her. Fleeing in panic over what she had done, Liacia ran into the Towering Wood, unaware that her mother was a hermit that no-one actually knew about. She was found several days later by a disciple of the Ashbound who brought her in and converted her to the cause of protecting nature. She now one of the more powerful druids in the Ashbound, often leading raids to cull the villagers that dare to infringe upon the forest.

Surprisingly Cleaver! (It’s got great cleavage!)

So I have only recently been sorting through Paizo’s Pathfinder Unchained book (which had a number of “fixes” and updates to Barbarians, Rogues, Monks and Summoners). Paizo still hasn’t fixed the awful “+1 BAB” requirements on a number of feats that really aren’t intended for Full BAB classes (but that’s a different argument). The lowly, awful, bottom tier Rogue got a huge update that makes it not only a viable choice to play, but fun to play! I whipped up a couple builds that leverage it in all its new and shiny glory!

The first build is one that I’ve been toying with for a long time, I just could never bring myself to play it due to how badly rogues used to be outclassed by everyone else. It is based around the synergy between sneak attack dice and Surprise Follow-Through. Now SFT has a prerequisite of being Orc-y to use it and that’s actually not an issue. Fantastically, the two feat prerequisites SFT needs (Cleave and Power Attack). (SOP, 20pt buy, two traits, etc). Now there are two race options, Human (plus racial heritage) or Half Orc (plus lots of racial goodies). Since we don’t have a +1 BAB at level 1 (boohoo), Half Orc is the superior choice in this situation (Darkvision, some nice weapon proficiencies, etc). Next up is the question of what we take for the level 1 feat. It really boils down to one option, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Elven Branched Spear). This weapon is from the recent Melee Tactics Toolbox (also by Paizo) and is seriously worth the feat (that entire splatbook is totally worth picking up). It is a reach weapon that is finessable AND grants bonuses to attacks of opportunities.

Nora Deftbranch – Rogue 5
Str   13  +1
Dex 18  +4 (16, +2 Racial to bring it to 18)
Con 16  +3 (this was a 15, level up at 4 went here)
Int     8   -1
Wis  12  +1
Cha 10  +0
BAB +3; CMB +4; CMD 18
HP 48; Init +6;
AC
21; T 14; FF 17;
Saves F
+5; R +9; W +3;
Speed
30ft; Perception +X; darkvision 60ft;

Feats

1: Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Elven Branched Spear)
3: Power Attack
5: Surprise Follow Through

Class Features
1: Finesse Training, Trapfinding
2: Talent – Opportunist, Evasion
3: Finesse Training (Elven Branch Spear), Danger Sense +1
4: Talent – Combat Talent (Cleave), Uncanny Dodge
5: 3d6 Sneak Attack, Debilitating Injury, Rogue’s Edge

Traits
Unstable Mutagen – Gain a Mutagen with some random effects.
Reactionary – +2 Initiative

Equipment
+1 Mithral Breastplate (5,350gp), +1 Elven Branch Spear (1,320gp), Masterwork Cestus (305gp), Cloak of Resistance +1 (1,000gp), 1045gp left for other items

Skills
Acrobatics +12, Intimidate +10, Perception +9, Sleight of Hand +12 (+10 for the Cestus Hand), Use Magic Device +8

Discussion
This build is entirely circular around triggering the sneak attack damage on the second cleave target. The beauty of the Elven Branched Spear is that it is a finessable reach weapon. Since you can take a 5ft step during a Cleave action to bring the second target within reach, having a reach weapon just purely increases your threatened area and thus increases the amount of sneak attack damage we can dole out (just remember to take that 5ft step BEFORE you cleave). Assuming two targets, with the Spear, not power attacking, we’re looking at an attack profile of:

First Target: +8 (1d8+6) vs AC
Second Target: +8 (1d8+6+3d6) vs FF

If both attacks hit, we’re achieving a DPR of about 30.5. Now if we power attack instead, we loose 1 to hit, but gain 6 damage total, boosting us to a DPR of 36.5. So we’ve got okay DPR by our lonesome selves without flanking. Add in a flank buddy and power attack, and we’ve increased our average DPR by 1.5 (to 47 damage). This is unbuffed, raw DPR. If we assume a balanced party and “boss buffs” benefits, it really shoots through the roof (I’m talking Mutagen, Cat’s Grace, a level 5 inspire courage; three sustainable buffs), we can push the to the low 70’s which isn’t shabby at all!

Sadly, this build doesn’t have the feat space to really get tremendous utility. As more levels trickle in, I’d would take serious consideration of splashing two levels of brawler to scoop up some BAB progression, feats and would look at expanding into maneuvers (you get dex to CMB for Disarm, Trip and Sunder from Finesse Training). Stacking this with Opportunist (which is amazing), there’s the potential for a very, very annoying woogily spear reach build (doing the very classic, trip –> disarm –> trip combo that procs when your allies slap enemies). Once level 4 is taken for this build (for the sneak attack debuffs), staying in rogue isn’t hugely important.

That’s really all for this build, feel free to post questions/comments. Soon to follow is the other Unchained Rogue build that plays with more Melee Tactics Toolbox Goodness!

Gorman di Wulfe Redux

So it’s been close to two years since I’ve even looked at Gorman di Wulfe and it reminded me of the concept of loading up an arrow (bolt, throwable, etc) with a comical amount of damage and dropping it on enemies (think of this as a vital strike build without all the disappointment and sadness). Ideally suited to a low magic campaign that ends at around level 7 or so.

The Basic Concept

Gorman squishes a couple of different things from a couple of different books together to produce a damage line on a weapon that looks like: +to hit(1d10+1+2d6+2d6+4 + delayed 1d6 + 1d6). Breaking this massive line into it’s components, we’ve got:
Heavy Crossbow Bolt: 1d10+1
Alchemist’s Fire x Acid Flask: 2d6
Alchemist’s Bomb: 2d6+4
Alchemist’s Fire:1d6 (yo, yer on fire!)
Bomb bolt: 1d6 (cause more explosives!)

There’s been quite a bit of debate back and forth on the topic of how exactly Grenadiers functions, and honestly I don’t really care what the internet has decided (the residents of the Paizo forums tend to have massive, knee-jerking hate boners for anything that’s: New, Fun, Different). Anyways, onto the build itself. This is a straight alchemist build with the Grenadier archetype. It leverages the interaction between the “Alchemical Weapon”, Explosive Missile and Hybridization Funnel. It also functions pretty much identically to a normal alchemist additionally, so there’s that.

The basic idea is that you shove two alchemical splash weapons into each other, then shove that combo into a piece of ammunition, then shove a bomb into that ammo, load it and fire it. By doing a lot of digging, I’ve found a number of small additions that help to make this build really rather silly for a couple of rounds.

Step 1: Hybridization Funnel
This 200gp item allows you with a DC25 (or 30 if you’re using holy water) Craft(Alchemy) check to splice two alchemical splash weapons into one (for some reason Half Elves get a +5 bonus to this check and that’s why Gorum Redux is a half elf instead of his original tiefling self). Alchemists can get their Craft(Alchemy) super high super quickly, and the fact that you make the items that you then squish together really can help to cut down on costs.

Step 2: Alchemical Weapon
A level 2 feature of the Grenadier archetype, you can take a move action and shove any alchemical weapon (including splash weapons) into a weapon or piece of ammunition, cause those alchemical weapons to effect the target upon impact (there’s a massive list of alchemical weapons, ghoul powder, sneezing powder, etc). We generally will smoosh acid and alchemist’s fire together (but its a situational thing, you can adapt to different enemies by smooshing different things together, a.fire + holywater for undead, etc). One of the big arguments is whether an alchemical splash weapon is a alchemical splash weapon when you imbue it. What people fail to read (including myself for quite a while) is the following line from the text: This action consumes the alchemical item, but transfers its effect to the weapon in question. When you use this power, you aren’t simply sticking the vials on the arrows, but smooshing the power of the items into the ammo (thus you have an Arrow of Alchemist’s Fire x Acid, which isn’t a splash weapon). So no Int bonus to damage from throw anything (sorry 😦 )

Step 3:
The level 4 discovery, Explosive Missile, allows you to shove a bomb into a piece of ammunition, load that ammo into a weapon and fire it. All as a standard action (if you recall, its a move action to shove alchemical weapons into ammo). This ability means that we pick up the biggest, baddest ranged weapon we can find (since we reload it for free…basically). At the moment I’m sticking to a heavy crossbow, but it depends on what you have access to.

Extra: There are a giant number of special ammunitions. Mostly just useless do to cost or low DCs, one of the less useless ones is the Slow Burn Arrow. (Now I know there’s a clamoring, BOLTS AREN’T ARROWS, but there’s a line If it comes as an arrow, there’s a bolt-type version for the same price). So we add 1d6 extra damage for a -1 to hit (that’s a better ratio then Power Attack!)

So that’s the entire build. I’m still playing with the best format for character sheets on wordpress, you can scroll down if you want to see the mess that is Gorman Redux’s character sheet (I haven’t done HTML in years).


Gorman di Redux – Alchemist Extraordinaire (Half Elf Grenadier 4)

Stats Score Bonus Armor Class| Init:+4| Perc:+7| HP:31
Strength 8 -1 Normal: 19
Dexterity 18 +4 Touch: 14
Constitution 12 +1 Flat-Footed: 15
Intelligence 18 +4 Saves
Wisdom 11 0 F+6/R+9/W+2
Charisma 7 -2 BAB:+3|CMB:+2|CMD:16

Feats:
1: Point Blank Shot
3: Precise Shot
BF: Precise Bombs
BF: Skill Focus(Craft(Alchemy))
Discoveries
2: Explosive Bombs
4: Explosive Missile
Relevant Skills
Craft(Alchemy): +18 (4 from Int, 4 from ranks, 3 from class skill bonus, 2 from alchemy, 2 from trait, 3 from skill focus). When crafting items it is effectively +20 (+2 from tools).
Perception: +7
Stealth: +10
Traits
Highlander: +1 Stealth, it’s a class skill (this increases to a +2 in hilly/rocky areas)
Alchemical Adept: +2 Craft(Alchemy). You don’t loose ingredients by failing a craft check by 5 or more (you still fail on a natural 1).

Equipment: +1 Heavy Crossbow, +1 Chain Shirt, Preservation Flasks, Hybridization Funnel, Masterwork Artisan Tools (Alchemy), Portable Alchemist’s Lab.

This is pretty much everything that’s needed to run a character along these lines. *thumbs up*

The Wall, Part 2

So I promised a while back (while I was still thinking that I wanted to write a blog ontop of a number of things), a fabulous build that involved shields, damage and was something akin to “Greatshield Bashing” chumps off walls in Dark Souls. So without further ado, here’s Spawn, The Wall.

Fluff

The towering figure clad in black and red armor stood silently in the doorway, casting a shadow into the bar. The music stopped, the conversation stopped, everything stopped for a moment. With hesitation, the carousing and merriment started up again. With near silent footfalls, the figure moved through the room and to the door leading into the owner’s office. The door cracked open after a quick knock, just long enough to allow the occupant to see the giant suit of armor and slam the door shut. A click vibrated the door as the figure reached for the doorknob. Pausing for a moment, the figure unslung the massive shield from across the back of the armor and buckled it to the gauntlet of the armor. Taking a step, the figure braced and slammed the shield into the door…which gave way with a tremendous splintering. Spawn stepped over the debris, into the owner’s office, there was work to be done.

Crunch

Spawn, The Wall
Human Fighter 2/Ranger 2

Stats
Str    20
Dex  13
Con 16
Int     7
Wis  12
Cha  7

Feats
1: Power Attack
Human Bonus Feat (HBF): Improved Bull Rush
3: Squash Flat
Fighter Bonus Feat (FBF) 1: Merciless Rush
FBF 2: Spiked Destroyer
Ranger Style Feat (RSF) 1: Shield Slam

HP:42 (4d10+12 Con+2 Favored Class)
CMB: +10 (+13 when Bull Rushing with shield)
CMD: 20
AC: 23 (10 Base + 3 Shield + 9 Armor + 1 Dex)

Armor: Masterwork Spiked Full Plate
Weapon: +1 Bashing Spiked Heavy Metal Shield
Weapon: Masterwork Armor Spikes

Traits:
Bred for War – +1 CMB and +1 Intimidate
Shield Bearer – +1 Damage with Shield Bashes, 1/day as a free action provided a +2 armor class bonus to an adjacent ally.

That’s the basics of the build. In the next two levels (5/6 both fighter), Spawn grabs Combat Reflexes and Vicious Stomp. At that point the last feat really needed is Improved Shield Bash. There’s an item from Inner Sea Gods that grants the Improved Unarmed Strike feat constantly when it is worn, Perfectionist Shavtoosh.

Tactics and Mechanics

Spawn’s entire attack routine focuses around his one attack (which he almost always will be power attacking with). Two handing his shield, the attack profile is the following:
+8(2d6+14)x2[20]
Now on each attack with his shield several things happen;
1) Shield Slam triggers a Bull Rush using the attack roll +3 (for Improved Bull Rush + Bred for War).
2) When Spawn Bull Rushes and beats his opponent by 5 or more, he can choose to move through their square (akin to Overrun) and deal his Str bonus in damage to that creature.
3) Whenever he makes a successful Bull Rush, Spawn gets a free attack with his Armor Spikes by burning his swift action. +7(1d6+9)x2[20].
4) Finally, whenever he triggers #2 Spawn also get’s a free Trip Attempt against his target.

Once he hit’s 6, he adds an unarmed strike against the tripped target at: +9(1d6+9)x2[20]

At level 4, Spawn has the potential to deal to a single foe 3.5 (1.5 Two Handing Shield + 1 Merciless Rush + 1 Spiked Destroyer) times his strength bonus in flat damage. This will, of course, be completely dependent upon what enemy he is facing, but he still is wielding what is in essence a greatsword with a poorer crit range.
As is true with most fighters, Spawn will benefit greatly from any and every buff that he can gather, especially ones that buff his strength (Bull Strength, Skald Rage song, etc). Beyond level 6, Spawn would be taking levels in Barbarian to help shore up his weak spots, increase the pile of hp that is his body, and add raging as a combat buff. Feats would be fairly standard, looking for Greater Bull Rush, Furious Focus and Vital Strike (as Spawn starts to seriously injure the game physics world when he gains multiple attacks against multiple people).

I haven’t bothered detailing specific archetypes or gear beyond the initial buy (at a later point I may come back and do just that) but that’s largely due to the fact that what you need to operate the build is online at level 4.

Books Used

All feats from this build are in:
Inner Sea Gods
Core Rules
Available for purchase at Paizo.com (follow the hyperlink!)

Building a Better Fighter

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).

Spellbreaker

-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!

Books
So far I’ve used two books beyond core:
Ultimate Magic – Inquisitor Class
Ultimate Combat – Spellbreaker Inquisitor Archetype