Pathfinder: Kingmaker

That is what I love about feral mutagen. It adds at least a bite attack if not claw attacks for alchemists.
I also am very aware of casting and rounds. There are times where you hit pause to cast a spell and they are not available because you have no more actions that round. (have to wait for the new round...)

^ Gotta love the vivi. As to the last bit, I've actually mucked around with a TB mod that [person's name escapes me at the moment] has out on Nexus. I like it, for a variety of reasons that I will likely expand upon in the near future via separate post.

Specifically, it draws a shrinking circle around you as you move; as such, you always know exactly when you've used your turn/half action and need to commit to certain spells/abilities/ranged attacks/etc-etc in order to get them in the same round.

I'm unsure if I want to invest too much more time into to it, yet, though. Seems like I'd need to settle on a new set of custom difficulty settings and UI feedback options.

I will tell you that there is a marked difference between something that looks good on paper and what works effortlessly in this game.

The throw weapon magic domain divine caster/rogue party has really struggled with many of the floors from 3 to 11. And then I find myself using up the full rest almost immediately on the ensuing floors to 15 and beyond.

And on the contrary, I was inspired by a video of the ironclad ranger build. But I really thought it would be a perfect test bed for the barbarian mad dog's team feats so I made an "ironclad" barbarian with a smilodon pet. Both are absolute beasts! The barbarian may have to wait somewhat longer than the ranger to get the shield bash and two weapon fighting feats, but she certainly is a great partner for her pet and is sturdier than expected.

The smilodon is absolutely a wrecking ball and one of its weaknesses is lack of trip that is offset by the mad dog's feat. But combine the number of attacks with things firing off crits and attacks of opportunity and you see numbers flying everywhere.

But did I tell you that I rounded out the party with a vanguard slayer and a vivi? When you do sneak attack right and you do it right twice, wow! One of my new favorite things to do in a party is to convert a ranged attacker into a dual wielding javelin thrower. Boy did that fit the slayer like a glove. I kept on passing over creating a slayer because I didn't see the reason to take it over a ranger or a mad dog or vivi for that matter.

But the slayer's sneak attack makes more of a difference than the missing spells or pets because I already have a vivi and druid for heals/spells and the mad dog and druid check the pet box. More than 3 melee characters causes delays in the party's initial burst damage which really tips the scales against an effective party. Until they implement ranged pets, I prefer the 2 pet 1 PC frontline because: I don't want to risk having 2 PCs down in a 1-2 frontline and I don't like losing the utility of 1 PC in a 3 pet frontline.

The slayer's favored targets really work and there is a feat that marks a target she got a crit on to weaken it further. I have yet to see any monster last longer than a second, maybe a second and a half after being marked by the slayer. I think another benefit of the slayer is that you only need to have 2/3 decent stats SDC versus the ranger's 3/4 SDCW

Were you going dual wield throw with your divine, magic domain, caster rogues? Seems like you'd need to keep pushing the STR-DEX-WIS triad to absurd levels. I messed with the idea at one point, but it only ever worked for me and non DW and starting max WIS & STR to nullify any DEX, and you get to roll that WIS into the actual divine spell casting, so WIS was there anyways. It also needed a high damage 2 handed weapon. Sometimes a reach weapons to balance out the deficiencies.. but then you really need to capitalize on enlarge person a lot to max reach, even more, elsewhere.

The latter was an ok middle ground if you had all the advanced cleave feats and were defensive until you could get in a cluster of enemies and kill someone by provoking an AoO, or just killing the most squishy target, to trigger the endless cleave bonanza. Archers are great to park next to, if you know they are about to strike, because the will end up killing themselves and providing you with instant retaliatory attacks on other targets. Sometimes the animation just hitches and three enemies explode near simultaneously.

On that note, a bit tricky but you can build a decent eldritch scion magus (base) who is all-in on vanish, invisibility, greater invisibility, (mirror image on top is nice) who has a CC pure caster buddy manage the battlefield, with said CC, then dimension doors into a group with greater indivisibility up. I think my best one of those, thus far, made the jump over to arcane trickster for the added SA dice. My most frequent dips in vivi seem to be 1 lvl (as opposed to the 2 lvl dip for feral) ; I always burn the feat to acquire the second SA dice at lvl 1.

later edit note: I like that the magus variant gets the X a day metamagic-of-type ~feats. On the above, I usually go for extend so I can free action (IIRC) then cast extended greater invisibility. It was a bit feat starved, but I had a char once that was great at greater invisibility tripping + extra AoO feat + higher rank cleave perks. Better at mid levels, but around then enemies would waste so many attacks trying to take down the mirror images to get to even strike at the invis.

I was trying to go minimum str in favor of dex. I wanted to find a finesse throwing weapon to work with finesse training (use dex for damage rolls) and I think throwing axes are. Unfortunately throwing axes are not available for regular purchase and are very rare drops.

On to other news, I found a video guide for and unfair difficulty solo sorc arcane trickster build. It is working out well so far. They took a stock sorc but I chose sylvan to get a pet. The routine goes 1 level sorc, then one vivi + the feat for extra sneak attack, then 3-4 more levels of sorc until I cast 2nd level arcane and have the mobility, knowledge arcana and trickery to unlock arcane trickster. Then 10 total levels of arcane trickster before going back to sorc until level 20. Right now I am level 1 arcane trickster but I feel like the build is about taking the arcane trickster's sneak attack to use with a dragon form. I have yet to figure out what the spell is for dragon form but I know its there and the plan is to use focus weapon bite with it.

-blinks- Ninja dragon, eh? I won't lie, a touch absurd on its nose but utterly delicious

Hmm, I don't recall if this is modified by needing a draconic bloodline, or if it applies evenly to all sorc subs, but I believe there are III progressive tiers/spells for dragon form(?)
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Of separate note, I was toying with a stormwalker (or is that stormcaller? maybe that's the bard's subclass name..) anyways, we'll go with 'lightning ranger'.. I had dipped a few levels of monk for the extra movement speed and some other things I was testing, which didn't pan out well on the damage side but I noticed, somewhat by accident during weapon swapping, that the dimension door-like ability that gives one immediate attack after worked with melee!

Unsure if it's something funky with game coding between monk fists/flurry of blows, and the pblank arch feats, or whatevs, but it worked. Perhaps because that sub doesn't have access to TWP the game erroneously assumes, per the skill description, that you are going to take a shot.

Anyways, I started playing around with the above and, given the range on the ability, it was a fun way to close from stealth for an initial strike. It's waaay late into the stormwalker's progression, so not a very practical gimmick, but I really want to dip one level in 2 handed fighter just to try it out / see if that works too like the monk dip. It may not prove a total loss because, IIRC, the stormwalker's archery bonus feats use the same UI for choose weapon focus --> weapon of choice [any proficiency] ; also, some of the latter ranger archery 'free' perks had stuff in there like better crit (or somesuch) aside from just rapid shot, doubleshot, etc. So, perhaps a bit delayed, but not a total loss for non-archery feats (and chars) even though that sub is limited to 'archery' style.

...realistically, you could probably just go back to monk and get all the pummeling style feats, then initiate the combined charge/trip/all flurry of blows still applicable at end of charge pummel combo and come way ahead, when striking from stealth, given the monks ludicrous charge range at later levels. Especially if you throw in tiefling 'motherless' bloodline bite and use sais or numchuks for flurry of blows.. come to think of it maybe STR monk because I think you can have pummeling style and dragon style on at the same time. Heck maybe qstaff would give a few more points till fists rank up.

*Sigh*

FINE. I'll get it.

It looks like next year's theme for my games will be all RPGs all the time.

This year the goal was pound through the Assassin's Creed series. I'm starting up Origins in a few weeks and then Odyssey in the winter.

Next year it's time to brush through all the party RPG that I've played in the past or have been sitting on the pile for an indefinite period of time before Baldur's Gate 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 and Vampire: Bloodlines 2 consume my life.

^ Origins AND Odyssey back-to-back? hah
Just prior to an RPG bender? HAH
What, exactly, is the color of your madness??

Name: Budo
Residence: [the cul-de-sac] at 1313 Eternity's End

I see what you did there. But I did get through Unity, Rogue and Syndicate this year. I've been playing one every 3 months and it's been working out. Also I'm usually not one of those 100%er folks.

I've hit a bit of a stumbling block with the game.
I wanted to create a party that explores most/all of the prestige classes. But in doing so, it is so cumbersome to keep track of and understand all the requirements. Then through more exploration and the discovery that I can right click the prestige class to see its traits, I've found them to be near useless and more trouble than their worth.

-The mystic theurge sounded cool, but you trade off every other spell rank to arcane or divinity. I said to myself, why wouldn't I just create a 10/10 sorc/inqu or mix that up depending on how far I wanted to go down each casting line or just take a cleric with a domain that has the arcane spells I want? I could also take an alchemist or druid which have a good mix of mass damage elemental spells, buffs, and heals.

-The arcane trickster or eldritch knight have their allure for sure. The trickster's ranged trap removal is nice but pretty much a gimmick. The eldritch knight gets spell critical but what good is it at level 20? (a level I may never get to in BTSL) And do I want to go through the trouble when I can play an eldritch scoundrel, a monk, a magus or a smitadin?

-The duelist seems like it is way more active than I want my melee characters to be. Plus it seems like this game is about maximizing you number of attacks. The duelist sacrifices dual wielding for the ability to parry or riposte an attack . I'm just not seeing anything that fodder pets don't provide, especially when the smilodon gets 5 attacks and way more AC and hitpoints.

-The dragon disciple gets the dragonkind spells for free. But it is at the cost of getting them a level later and again, you are already getting them at level 12ish, which is right around when you are done with your BTSL run.

I guess I just don't see anything more interesting than the stuff I can already do with sub classes. I can already come close to the same or better utility. And many times, the sub class versions trade that one special late game feat for more control and options over the build.

Well as for Mystic Thiurge the benefit is for each MT level you take you advance in BOTH the component spell tracks, so you end up advancing much further in both tracks than you would just doing a 50/50 multiclass, at the expense of losing out on the class abilities that aren't spellcasting.

According to the game notes, it seems a wash. Because if you start with divine, then you get divine level 1,2,3 at 1,3,5,etc and then arcane levels 1,2,3 will come at the cost of divine 2,4,6,etc. If that is not how it works, then they need to fix the description text in the game.

fangblackbone wrote:

According to the game notes, it seems a wash. Because if you start with divine, then you get divine level 1,2,3 at 1,3,5,etc and then arcane levels 1,2,3 will come at the cost of divine 2,4,6,etc. If that is not how it works, then they need to fix the description text in the game.

for the first 6 levels that's true when you are building up the prereqs, but all ten levels of the prestige class add one of each, so when you finish the prestige class at level 16, you have the equivalent of caster level 13 for each, as opposed to if you just alternated levels you would only have caster level 8 of each. If dedicate to one you end up 17/13, if you keep it balanced you end up with 15/15 at level 20, as opposed to 10/10 with a regular balanced multiclass progression

assuming of course you are going wizard cleric. it's slower if you are using sorcerer or another class with a delayed progression because you have to wait longer to take the prestige class. I feel that wouldn't change the math if you dedicated to sorc and did just enough cleric to qualify though, that would put you in line with the 17/13 dedicated progression at 20, with MT finished at 17 or 18 instead of 16

@ thrawn: excellent breakdown.

@ fang: as you said, given BtSL, a MT's likely against the, practical, leveling wall. Personally, I suspect I'd only ever roll MT if I was running the main campaign as a four party self-imposed [for reasons] group cap. Seems less of a strategic boon at 6 people or in a non (or near to) lvl 20 run.

Spell level leapfrogging in a pure class can already be painful at low levels. Add in lagging BAB, weaker spells duration/spell dice/etc scaling, lower capability to overcome resistance and DC concerns... To me it's one of those rounding 20 builds OR if the specific buffbot spells you are after can be leveraged well at lower spell level -- which, sure, may still be a solid yes based on battle strategy, but that's a per-player call.

Also, I suppose you could stack some shenanigans with keeping both classes in one casting stat even though you are combining arcane and divine -- for some folks that might be one of the draws, I guess(?)
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Personally, and I'm a simple mutt, if I'm rolling prestige (at least from my P:K exposure) I'd cap 4 levels of DD for the 4 (IIRC) STR and 2 AC. It's not bad too that you only need one lvl of a spontaneous caster and you get the prior class levels right away as you progress in DD. I think the BAB scales slightly better than sorc too(?) I need to check, maybe the same.

Anyways, I could see the extra STR being leveraged into anything that gives a [situational] 2x bonus. Assume it'd work with some of the dragon style monk stuff or a P:K's 2 handed fighter STR doubling [situational] stuff.

I guess I am just viewing it through the admittedly narrow lens of BTSL.
Spamming summons are absolutely essential for some boss encounters but largely unnecessary for most of the dungeon run. (unless you run into floors with swarms of huge, elder and ancient elementals)
Disposable front lines with as many attacks and attacks of opportunity or creating attacks of opportunity are incredibly strong, especially with sneak attack and sneak attack ranged attacks.
The above is much more efficient than your typical D&D crpg bread and butter spells like fireball. So casters either are buff bots/archers/healers and/or shapeshift.
You can stray from this but it will result in more resting, more deaths, more expenses on removing conditions and diseases and restorations. (your divine casters won't have enough spell slots and won't get the spells until later)
You also will probably have to finish clearing a floor with less than a full party with less than full abilities/buffs.

edit: also of note that abilities available 1-6 are much more important to most of your party than spells/skills from level 13+. (I was tempted to keep using my party that killed the first boss to see how many floors it could clear... I may recreate it, IIRC it was a knife master, druid, chiurgeon and mad dog)

Thats why IMO Mystic Theurge is best done with Wizard (who has basically no class abilities other than spells) and a low cha cleric (who likewise gets very little besides spells) That also provides the widest variety of spell options since the sorc/wiz list and the cleric list are the two largest.

It may be that MT just isn't appropriate for a gamestyle that tops out early, it is definitely intentionally giving up abilities early in exchange for being about to cast crazy numbers of 6th 7th and 8th level spells later.

I looked it up last night. My most successful party is an eldritch archer, knife master, druid and ranger with elk and leopard pets. I feel like my party that is stuck on the wicked chanter boss is tougher (scaled fist, mad dog, vivi, and herald caller with bear and leopard). Unfortunately, the wicked chanter is a complete bastard all by herself(?) but she has a ton of minions too.

My latest party includes the staples knife master and druid but also has a bard(thunder) and ranger. The knife master took a level of mad dog to get a pet. The 3 pets are wolf, and 2 smilodons. Its doing really well but is only level 7.

Another party I am thinking of is 3x herald callers and a vivi or knife. I also want to try out a druid that takes the domain instead of the pet but chooses the animal domain to get the pet at level 4. I want to see if there are any interesting benefits or trade offs in the animal domain...

*rubs chin while staring off into space* Hmm, if AC is too good, I reckon I could manage it, down -- as needed, with calculated use of rage. What with how P:K implements crane riposte, it'd be a downright shame not to (almost, within 4) get nearly struck. Frequently. Also, I should definitely almost get hit while holding a big 2 hander. Frequently.

Lol!

Yeah, random dumb thought I had earlier while stirring coffee. Now that I actively turn it over in my head, dipping scaled fist monk solely/mostly for charisma to AC seems a waste if I'm not putting the free unarmed fighting stuff (strictly as a pre-req) and the free monk feat, from the dip, to better use. IIRC, simply means a prior class lvl should scoop dodge, but that's frequently worth it at low level.

The smart money says it'll end poorly, but now I'm wondering if 2 handed fighter sub, or lvls in barb (who are more prone to get hit, and thus more prone to almost get hit, more) etc etc would be worth it. I mean, a single free AoO with a monk isn't that great because they are usually the sum total of many hits, so why not make it work for someone else.

After the initial crane style I don't [explicitly for this] need more monk, I just need a class with a fast BAB progression as the "OR" qualifier to grab the other two crane feats. I'm unsure if that'll be the next thing to actually hammer into a char or not.

EDIT: rats! crane riposte doesn't explicitly state it in the language I am looking at, but the prior crane wing skill does state a free hand.. though for P:K engine purposes I'm unsure if that contemplates how certain 1 hand weapons are treated as two handed for 1.5 STR bonus -- I think bastard swords, for example, if you don't have a shield equipped...

Anywhoo, I suspect I'll have to reign in expectations. I hate reigning in my expectations.

I made a whimsical hodge podge summoner party. Stock cleric to pick 2 domains: animal to get pet and another with more pew pew blasting, I think I chose air. Inquisitor monster tactician might be a real sleeper class. You get all those monster summons for free and you get a feat that gives all your summons your team work feats. I also included a vivi and lastly, the magus eldritch scion. The last on intrigued me because they just seemed to get all sorts of interesting stuff starting with a Bloodline.

^ Monster tactician strikes me as a supremely great switch hitter. Perhaps one could make a better uber mage, gish, or fighter* but the MT is a great multi-hat class.

*or if we are going to be honest, some sort of bow rogue that stealths, uses magic device, camouflages like a ranger [or whatevs] so he can alpha strike from stealth. I mean, seriously, without even looking at a reference that's like +10D6 damage of sneak attack as gravy. You can essentially autolevel and get that with 0 thought. While I appreciate the archetype, I'm also kinda salty about it. I'd be ok with those numbers if it was a rogue feat you had to burn each rogue feat level to make a supreme sneaker as opposed to the 'every pure rogue will get this loltastic damage'. There's no trade off to be had, or agonizing over 'is sneak attack dice worth it this level, again, or is giving up one SA dice for XYZ alternative, this level, worth it?'

edit add: Eldritch scions are fun because you are, at least somewhat, encouraged to design them a spell-build synergy/focus given their lower spells per day, especially vs a sorc or perhaps a thassilonian mage -- the latter being sort of this middle ground of'choose a broad focus from [choice] that we'll give you, but get a bunch of spells in return. Personally I prefer spontaneous casters over prepared casters though on that point.

It might be interesting to take 3 levels of say the eldritch rogue (if they get the level 3 finesse training so they can dump str and be less MAD) and then going the rest MT to make a melee mancer that buffs all her summons with team work feats.

Those archery bonuses for the thunder caller ranger seem awesome. Free teleport that gets 2 attacks at full attack bonus upon arrival? Yes please! The flame warden stuff seems really powerful too. If you get hit after you get this flame innate skill thingie, you heal ability damage or cure status effects: disease, fatigued, etc.

^thunder caller ranger was great fun to play around with, per my one post or set of posts (forget how many) because that ability was either limitless OR it was so damn high I never ran out. That's the reason I want to make a melee around it, but iirc, it's like freaking lvl 11 (??) and about the only thing they get that's really great up to that point.

It would need another gimmick somehow, but I bet you could make a CRAZY hybrid with monk WIS and ranger WIS... or maybe just a supergimped char. Not sure which. And yes, despite the description, if I clicked right ON a guy it would put me adjacent and I'd melee. Didn't appear to be locked to only range, at least on my accidental stumble-upon that had the monk dip for AC.

EDIT NOTE: the real bummer is the lack of TWF feats... like, they took the pet wasn't that balance enough??

Recreational Villain wrote:

^ Monster tactician strikes me as a supremely great switch hitter. Perhaps one could make a better uber mage, gish, or fighter* but the MT is a great multi-hat class.

*or if we are going to be honest, some sort of bow rogue that stealths, uses magic device, camouflages like a ranger [or whatevs] so he can alpha strike from stealth. I mean, seriously, without even looking at a reference that's like +10D6 damage of sneak attack as gravy. You can essentially autolevel and get that with 0 thought. While I appreciate the archetype, I'm also kinda salty about it. I'd be ok with those numbers if it was a rogue feat you had to burn each rogue feat level to make a supreme sneaker as opposed to the 'every pure rogue will get this loltastic damage'. There's no trade off to be had, or agonizing over 'is sneak attack dice worth it this level, again, or is giving up one SA dice for XYZ alternative, this level, worth it?'

edit add: Eldritch scions are fun because you are, at least somewhat, encouraged to design them a spell-build synergy/focus given their lower spells per day, especially vs a sorc or perhaps a thassilonian mage -- the latter being sort of this middle ground of'choose a broad focus from [choice] that we'll give you, but get a bunch of spells in return. Personally I prefer spontaneous casters over prepared casters though on that point.

I think this is an artifact of how they changed sneak attac kand flanking to make it work for the game. flanking/dex denial in the PnP system is MUCH harder to achieve and maintain. as a rogue if you want that 10 dice you have to work at perfect positioning. not just have another dude nearby.

A great swathe of folks out on P:K internet threads trashtalk the kineticist as, allegedly, lackluster compared to its PNP counterpart. Seems to me there are still a score of ways to build them and the damage output strikes me as more than serviceable.

Granted, the game UI gets a bit fiddly in combat for them if you aren't tocking like 20 direct shortcuts.. Anyways, once you get a handle on the combos (composites?) and infusions(?) and, also assuming a good element progression order, they seem to really cut loose.

Fire(first x1), earth(2nd x1), water(last -- IIRC for the third) really mix well. That seems to grant you clouds, walls and ground AOE hazards. I was digging trip on earth at first but, HA HA, buffed push is superb for knocking people back through the elemental wall they just ran through.. only to have to wade through 'magma' earth/fire (iirc) ground hazard on the other side of the wall. Oh yeah, lets drop a storm on top of all that mess just for the icing on the cake.

Granted, I haven't figured out how to dismiss the stuff. Sticks around forever after you kill all the things.

depending on who you ask in the PnP community, the Kineticist is either so broken and complicated that it shouldn't even been considered to play, or so OP that you should just comprise a party of nothing but kiniticists.

my main play through now is with a kinitic knight and it';s going fantastic.

I was thoroughly enjoying the kineticist class until I detoured into the character building rabbit hole that is 'metamagic'. Currently, am uncertain on whether or not I don't just prefer the simplified magus approach to metamagic -- what with those X use per day metamagic feats... That said, fiddling with the spellbook UI on a wizard, or sorc, is a fun, momentary, distraction within the larger game.

Anyways, I now have a 'decent' (realistically read as: still very basic) handle on the topic; but there are so damn many little devils in the details [of everything about this game]. Speaking of:

  • reach and extend: these are seemingly straightforward -- distance and duration
  • empower: is it only the direct dice or also the, sometimes present, +N flat numbers; like, 4d6 + 4 would become 6d6 + 4, or would it be 6d6 + 6 ?
  • heighten: are there additional benefits (examples if so?) beyond upping the DC a few points [to the new spell level] That's all spell level and not caster level bumps, right?
  • maximize: unlike empower, I take this to mean you essentially don't roll the dice? 1D10 wouldn't be a variable of 1-10, rather it would just max directly to 10 (?)

Of related note, reach vampiric touch from stealth, with SA damage no less, is <3
Heighten seems to work well for making sure enemies are dazed or asleep before you open up a pit spell below there feet. That's pretty much all I sussed out thus far, but I like it.

So some interesting things came up yesterday.
Since I was used to BTSL and selling anything not magic to the vendor, I accidentally sold my torches. Which presents problems since I have nothing to deal with swarms other than whatever alchemical fire potions I've collected. Note to self, when you hit level 2, have one of your party take a level of sorc for the acid or fire touch cantrips. I probably should have had Linzi take a level of sorc or perhaps eldritch rogue if they get cantrips.

I guess I am just too low level but I don't recall swarms giving me a hard time in BTSL though they were so rare.

Gear and levels just come by so much faster in BTSL that it is almost a different game even if you use the same difficulty. I think it helps to know that my main is still effective and only going to grow moreso when she dies in all but the most trivial encounters on normal.

Anyone know if I am going after the stag lord too soon at level 2 (early 3)? I am at the temple of the elk to clarify.

Also, I did not want to deal with kingdom management at all. Is there any other setting I needed to check other than "auto" kingdom management? Isn't there a setting that turns off ending the game if the kingdom fails or is mismanaged?

One of perks of the campaign are the alignment choices and skill options as well as using things like charge much more often.