Pathfinder: Kingmaker

In early PK the swarms was a game stopper. One of the NPCs should hand out a bunch of fire potions these days.

Lvl 2-3 sounds quite low for stag lord, but maybe it will be fine on normal. I seem to recall being lvl 4.

There should be a setting for prevent losing the game in the kingdom management. At least they patched it in at some point. Maybe it is part of Auto by default.

^ and @ fang - I believe you can specifically set the toggle for "kingdom management" to "effortless", IIRC on the label.

I keep rerolling, but want to say I was always at least hitting late 3/early 4 any of the times I did Stags (?) You are ~2 as soon as you hit Oleg's or either the two fights there after. Must have flown to him like a crow if you are mid 2/early 3.

And yes, there's something to be said for having builds that feel as though they have a good spread across their life as opposed to deep gaps and/or plateaus. At low levels: a good charge, a well landed dirty-trick to blind, tripping to AoO, or the bull rush where you get an AoO as you hit (and anyone else surrounding the enemy) can feel like big game changers in a battle -- heck had a number of times where my tiefling 'motherless' (IIRC name) bloodline scraped by with her bite attack for the kill. Hmm, I don't go pet often but (iirc) lvl 1 vanish was enough to [often, not always] enable pets to close to first-strike melee. I haven't tried them all out, yet; so not sure if the cats are actually more stealthy or if they'd all benefit the same amount.

I felt really inspired today. I probably missed or glossed over talk about ranged touch attacks because it was way beyond my level of expertise at the time.
But I am totally into it now because I had started to wonder if the cantrips, which can be cast at will and have fire and acid varieties, would work with sneak attack. Obviously my party's lack of cantrip caster made running into the spider swarm in the spider cave a real nuisance. So I followed on with the thought that it would be awesome if those cantrips had a way to boost damage with a class dip.

So I looked at the sorcs for the dip. Sadly sylvan hunter doesn't get cantrips so I can't have my cake on top of my cake and eat it too. I was largely unimpressed so I moved to the magus which had 2 options that interested me greatly: spell combat and ranged spell combat. I went with ranged spell combat because the idea of firing a composite longbow and acid blast with sneak attack on both sounded too good to pass up. So I mixed in with a stock rogue because I really just wanted the sneak attack and weapon finesse and finesse training. The only flaw in my build is that finesse training doesn't work with bows or any ranged weapon that I can see So my tactic of not putting anything into strength has backfired to some degree. The character, despite having seemingly class busting warts, is still a beast.

The next step obviously is to build a sword saint, scion or plain magus with a knife master (kukri more than likely for the wide crit range). The only question I see with that is if the spell combat will trigger AoO's against me.

For a second I was greatly interested in dipping into grenadier for alchemical weapon for another build. Unfortunately it looks like alchemical weapon uses a potion as ammo and bombs can only be thrown level plus stat bonus times per day.

^ I feel as though I'm missing 'phase 2' of where you were headed(?) Finesse training itself ONLY lets you use dex for to-hit -- not damage replacement of STR; even then, bows go off of DEX for to-hit anyways.

There's slashing and fencing grace that help with damage, but those feats are mostly one handed melee, IIRC-- and there are a lot of limits. But yes, back to bows, you want a few points in STR for composite bows bonus but really the bow is still a deliverer for your SA so the DEX for accuracy is still way more important over time than some piddly STR bonus of composite bows (?)

Combat casting, and the specific bumps various magus get help with that spell combat a lot. Really though, you are best to cast your touch or ranged touch spell in your movement action and deliver it after you have closed to melee. Cantrips don't really scale (and spells in general get outpaced due to their spell level as the game progresses). Constantly resting in the campaign isn't as much a thing as in BTSL; you won't constantly be tossing out touch attacks. That reality pains me greatly as well ;-P

For magus I REALLY prefer the eldritch scion because you are a spontaneous caster -- screw preparing spells. You can dip 1 lvl scaled fist monk and that will get you crazy dodge later with CHA items plus free early crane style. Plus it's your caster stat so you want to start with some anyways -- sword saint has some nice AC buff but it's tied to 1 AC bonus per SS level per stat bonus level you have. Scion also has the option of progression to medium and heavy armor spellcasting if you want to go STR to burn fewer feats.

Personally, I like spellstrike (lvl 2) way more than spell combat: I can focus on strength, I'm more likely to load up a metamagicked spell before closing to range, and then I get to double dip on one big drop-the-hammer hit of a 2 handed reach weapon strike + the spell's damage in one round. Also, I save all the finesse, and grace etc, feats for other stuff.

(There's also a niche for going eldritch scion to a point where you just gained a spell level, then take your (1)level for Vivi and accomplished sneak attacker into arcane trickster for several levels then you inherit your caster class choice as scion when you go AT. Plus bloodlines. Then there's an argument for going to eldritch knight early so you can rank up more BAB and attacks per round with the closer to fighter BAB progression -- and really, it's just one sit-out level, not a whole spell progression level. The AT has the same problem, just you burn it on your one (or two depending on how you did it) levels to get the SA).

Did not work as I expected but it is reasonably cool.
I did some digging. My god this game is crazy deep!
I am thinking of now building a vivi with a mad dog dip to do a few things:
slashing grace (so no str req)
buckler because that does not count against having the off hand free
precise strike since the pet will automatically get it (sneak attack works alongside it too)
now would I be too greedy in expecting that I can shield bash two weapon fight with the buckler?
does having the twf feat negate slashing grace automatically? can you bash with a buckler?
does taking shield bash negate slashing grace automatically?

These questions must be answered!

^ thrawn might have a confirming thought but I think the that fencing and slashing grace are a hard you need a free hand (?) Perhaps some loopholes for buckler... I'd be curious to know too.

Thematically, I prefer DEX fighters but it's just so many feats burned which delays some of the cool stuff till way later in the game on a slow burn level (BtSL being a slightly different beast).

Building so you always get dirty trick blinding strike off is still fun, dex monkeying stuff though.

edit stuff: sort of a ps on the ps but I really like the one scion bloodline with the +2 DC to compulsion and then stacking spell school and greater focus as feats. Easy to carve up folks if you strike, one at a time in rapid order, while they are mass dazed or asleep with matamagicked spells for that effect. All the cleave feats and a STR build remain fairly effective this way (or at least way later into the game than usual).

HAH! As you might note, I'm a big fan of the first alpha strike spells-from-stealth or having extended greater invisibility up before I go in for the butchery. Glaives, and preferably when able, fauchards.

Hmm, I think the snake bloodline has some good utility for this too.. Need to check.

If one doesn't prefer the stealth approach, then a high AC gishwith metamacik'd mirror images seems a good alternative.

more edits: Looping back to the two handed scion magus (and spell strike, lvl2, vs spell combat lvl1 dual wielding of weapon and spell), it's true that 'touch AC' is typically easier to overcome but greater invis + all in on STR (a 4 lvl dip in dragon disciple might be doable). You'd get some magus spell lvls back on the class inheritance through DD. Throw in bull strength, plus maybe Vivi lvl 1 with the accomplished sneak attacker dip -- plus get STR mutagen.

It's a lot to squeeze in, perhaps, but I believe scion magus also gives the every X levels of 3 times per day metamagic feats (specifically where you get to pick which spell on the fly). Mirror image for survivability, plus touch attack on 2 hander (vampiric touch metamagick'd is nice survivability). It just might keep the char upright, even as a glass-ish cannon. Will need to see if the on-paper translates to actual gameplay.

Well by the PnP interpretation Fencing and slashing grace have a hard open hand requirement, you can wear a buckler but anytime you are taking advantage of the bucker AC bonus you don;t get slashing grace... however so does crane style and crane wing so i'm not sure if the wonky math that lets that slip by also lets slashing grace slip by as well in P:K. I think you'll have to try it and see what the numbers say in game, but i think in game a buckler still counts as a free hand even when applying the ac bonus.

Lots of lessons:
slashing grace w/ bastard sword or longsword + sneak + pet + team feats = great
shield bash twf does not work with buckler (if I swap to a light shield it works but i lose slash grace)
slash grace works with buckler
I did 2 builds:
3 inq SH + n vivi = exot bas, wfin, wfoc bas, sg bas, boon comp, pre stri, s bash, twf
3 inq SH + n vivi = lsword fr domain, wfin, wfoc lsword, sg lsword, boon comp, pre stri

I think you can do it the quickest by going route 2 by level 5 (3 inq, 2 vivi)
You don't have to do 3 inqu but you lose pets getting you team feats or if you go no inq you get no pet and no free long sword from the domain weapon
You could go no vivi but the spells + sneak = too awesome
You could go 1 level sword saint and rest vivi or any other sneak class and be good to go at level 2 probably

But the point of this build idea is dumping str, pet + teamwork, and sneak with a buckler for 2+ AC I am not going to shake a stick at

^ Excellent confirmations and data. I'll certainly cherry pick elements of that to work into some characters. Also, you're reminding me that I still need to give SH a solid shake.
---
Misc bits from last night's mucking around (mostly in form of my mental self-notes)

  • The 1 Viv dip for feral mutagen [and SA, naturally] works well on 2 hand EScion because STR mutagen subtracts from INT when in effect, as opposed to CHA being the EScion casting stat
  • With low level spell buffs: bull strength, enlarge, and [Viv lvl 1] mutagen I was rocking ~ 35 or 36 STR, after 4 DD dip levels -- that's without any item buffs to stats ; I don't recall if I had some meta helping/ or other single element in there to help juice to that level -- definitely had items off though
  • Power attack progression seems a no-brainer [to not stress over] at this point because the high STR offsets the increasing malus in to-hit ; I need to pump BAB more though to help this
  • Add in 2 hander bonus to STR ; also vital strike seems to have good situational uses
  • Charge into cleave at low to mid levels is delicious given all the above
  • Not really a surprise, but delivering touch attacks through a two hander spreads the spell effect to everyone that took a cleave or cleaving finish hit ; was good to see this in action with spellstrike

It's hard to justify NOT taking a single level dip into VIV for any melee class purely for the mutagen and the sneak attack die you get at that level

^ Verily. Seems like I'm dipping Vivi or Traditional/Scaled Fist monk a lot. Monk splash seems nice for the AC bonus, plus you can skip dodge as a prereq and get crane style at Monk1 (or have dodge prior, if you want to just use as a free feat). For grins, and it can help at low levels, free arrow deflection is I think a freebie monk pick as well. I think I tested it once and it worked fine with my slashing grace char.

I've done archaeologist, a few times, for the quick access to uncanny dodge, then stacked it with Rogue or Barb given how it immediately 'inherits' the prior version/gives you the upgrade without multiple levels of char burn to the ~improved version.

Wow, this is mind boggling stuff. When I get around to this game it kinda makes me want to just play a single-class human fighter. I will never get out of the character creator/level-up screen otherwise.

imbiginjapan wrote:

Wow, this is mind boggling stuff. When I get around to this game it kinda makes me want to just play a single-class human fighter. I will never get out of the character creator/level-up screen otherwise.

I havn;t done therogue like dengeon crawl stuff, i've just done the main campeign, and i've restarted 6 times because i thought up a better character concept or messed up kingdom management or what not

imbiginjapan wrote:

Wow, this is mind boggling stuff. When I get around to this game it kinda makes me want to just play a single-class human fighter. I will never get out of the character creator/level-up screen otherwise.

Rubbish! You're making it through BG just fine, aren'tcha? ;-P You don't have to go crazy.. just, y'know, have that human be a mostly fighter and light things on fire here and there.

Besides, you can crib note off of our rampant indecision.

Based on the conversation currently happening in here, this sounds like it would present the ultimate in choice paralysis for me. I love the old Infinity Engine games and really enjoyed playing through them back in the day.... but there are just SO MANY CHOICES here.

If I can get past that, seems like there might be a fairly interesting game underneath it all.

Recreational Villain wrote:

Rubbish! You're making it through BG just fine, aren'tcha? ;-P

Yes, and it only took me four re-rolls!

I wonder how RV's stuff on low level buffs for 35ish str would fair with some of the druid shapeshift forms?
This is the first game where the shapeshift forms, while cool, are lackluster (beast form, shapeshift, elemental body) Shambling Mound form is amazing looking

^ Though deep in the throes of minmax sluttery, I still <3 me some thematic RPing. Which is to say, I rarely touch druids in CRPGs. For me they seldom fit as the main within the story; companions are ok if they have a suitable backstory or plausible reason for tagging along / joining up.

... granted, if you figure out anything super juicy then report on it! I could totally roll one druid, per adventuring party of 4, when I get back into BtSL at some point.

EDIT: dammit, now that you have me thinking on it... (like seriously, I haven't done anything druid) but can you wildshape into a cat type or [anything] that has pounce? Off the cuff, I'd want to look at natural weapons, monk crossover, and IF you can get pounce then can you build feats [etc stuff] that meshes well with charge. Wouldn't that be like full attacks vs the usual one attack? Seems like things could get crazy.

ps. if I ever rolled a druid main I'd be compelled to build around this scimitar for at least one char:

"Wrath of the bear God: Any creature struck by a critical hit, either from a natural attack or from this scimitar, becomes a target of lightning, as per the Call Lightning Storm spell (5d6 damage, 24 DC Reflex Half).

"All Natural Attacks from both the wielder of this scimitar and the wielder's animal companion have concussive (1d6 sonic) and shocking (1d6 electricity) modifiers applied to them. If the wielder is wild shaped into a bear or if their animal companion is a bear, the sonic and electrical damage from their attacks is increased to 1d10"

You can be a leopard. And you can be a smilodon but I am not sure they get pounce. The leopard does for sure. People like the smilodon because of 5 natural attacks. I believe the wild shapes get the same benefits as the pets so dogs get trip, bear gets rend and I don't recall any other animal shape not mentioned. I know the elemental shapes get specials like whirlwind...

BTSL the rogue like is way more forgiving in regards to adjusting builds. You level faster so you can tell if a build is just a dud or if it needs some later feats to gel. You can also create a new companion if you want to rebuild something that isn't working or to correct a screw up. This works at any level so long as you have the gold and you will be swimming in gold in short order to afford building new companions practically on a whim.

Recreational Villain wrote:

^ Though deep in the throes of minmax sluttery, I still <3 me some thematic RPing. Which is to say, I rarely touch druids in CRPGs. For me they seldom fit as the main within the story; companions are ok if they have a suitable backstory or plausible reason for tagging along / joining up.

THIS story however really lends itself to a Druid Main, for reasons that are way too spoilery to mention, and there are a number of places (at least in act one, as far as i got w my druid) that reward being neutral.

^ Tantalizing prospect. I messed around with a Sylvan Sorc/Druid---> MT last night (ok, ~ 3am -- because, constant insomnia or whatevs). BtSL is, indeed, great for arena testing and accelerated level testing for the main campaign -- who knows if I'll ever actually make it all the way through [the main campaign] at this rate.

I went with Sylvan Sorc (lvl1) then alternated back and forth to Druid until I possessed the requirements for MT -- wanted to keep it all in one stat. Talk about slow burn at the start.

That said, man oh man, he was wide when it came to spells -- all the sorc and druid stuff plus the 'additional' (?) spell slots it gives you to prepare, which was odd because technically both base classes are spontaneous casters I believe. I need more coffee..

Speaking of, while the spellbook UI itself is fine, it was hard to keep track on the (~skill/spell/ability) bar which was spell was from, er, where -- I accidentally ended up with some duplicates at one point between the prepared slots MT gave me and the spontaneous casts from base classes

At first you could, easily, tell because the base class spontaneous stuff was much higher in uses per day. Near the end of a rest cycle I had to constantly hover over, for tooltip popup, to see which was the higher level variant from the MT's combined spells. It's kind of odd the first time.

Unsure as of yet on whether I'm sold on the slow char progression. SO MUCH CC THOUGH.

Of semi separate note: I don't know why I rarely used it before but the slow spell (small circular AOE) seems quite serviceable at low levels, especially in the middle of battlefield spell cocktail happy hour.

So you can take human and sword saint and get slashing grace at level 1.
The game gives you 2 feats first before choosing your chosen weapon, but you can click on the chosen weapon to choose it first and the select weapon finesse which will let you take slashing grace.
If your chosen weapon is a dueling sword, you can choose aldori "something or other" at the next feat availability which nets you +2 AC when you have no off hand. Sadly wielding a buckler does negate the aldori AC bonus despite it not effecting slashing grace's damage bonus

^ Yupyup, that's specifically one of the reasons, prior to the buildathon rabbit hole, that I was [nearly] anchored to human sword saint. It's just such a nice start out the gate. Prepared casting drives me supremely batty though. Estoc is love too, later on after you feat up.

I watched even more class building videos. One in particular was a monk based duelist. It seemed like too much to get started but it inspired me to try aldori defender experiments. Well, experiment since my inital plan just flat out "worked". I tossed back and forth and ended up seeing if twf dueling swords could trigger parry and if finesse training (from 3 levels rogue) worked with dueling swords. So, yes and yes and despite losing some to hit because dueling swords are not light, the character is a monster that I feel will only get more monstrous when they get riposte after 10 levels of aldori def. They also get a bonus to will for certain things so I decided to add a couple points into wisdom to enhance that. I need to figure out some way to get her ac up. In that monk video, the ac was like in the high 40's I believe with no armor other than bracers.

I really want a class that can stand up to ancient elementals.

[test post -- will edit, site borked?] [EDIT: Weird... it doesn't like one of these P:K terms or a combination thereof... keeps rejecting the post] [Ahh, something in the first paragraph responding to your aldori stuff]

On the note of fun/amusement from another angle, since you mentioned 'monk dip': ES(for CHA) + power attack + cornugon smash + thug dips for frightening + flurry of blows to deliver your sneak attacks + heavy into SA dice with maybe + some Sorc (dbl down on the CHA use) to get enough util spells to stack simultaneous vanish and invis on your stealth skill lvl + [optional] on to greater invis + mirror image.

...I forget the last link. There was some trick where I was doing charge(?) from stealth to trigger mass fear AOEs. Or maybe it was power attack to trigger cornugon for greater bull rush from stealth(?) There may have been some other specific ability or skill in there. Anyways, I'll have to rebuild it as it was a stumble-upon. It boils down to everything is constantly getting feared, which was simultaneously funny-annoying as the cycle just kept perpetuating. COME HERE YOU COWARDS STOP RUNNING!

LATER EDIT/ADD: It may just be crits in general on the char. I believe I was running dragon ferocity, "When you score a critical hit or a successful Stunning Fist attempt against an opponent while using this style, that opponent is also shaken for a number of rounds equal to 1d4 + your Strength bonus."

I need to hunt it down in game but I believe the above, plus thug dip, plus [IIRC] one of the tiefling heritages helps with this. Then the whole power attack/cornugon smash thing.

Anyways, need to also verify, but I believe I was getting sneak from the 2 dragon bites from those 4 levels of DD... maybe just the bite itself... in theory motherless would add a third bite(?) as a low [base] damage mechanism for adding a SA carrier. Greater invis not breaking stealth on attack, etc stacked, helps with positioning for this.

edit-edit self note: would likely end up sub par, but I wonder if thundercaller or archaeologist bard would make a good spell base. I need to look at their defensive spells up to level [x]. Even with the 1 monk[Scaled Fist] dip, AC is an issue because you are focusing STR instead of dex. In short, I'd really like to justify a build that goes thug 4 but that's a better bang for the buck with DEX. ARGH

Ok, crazyness. So, one thing I realized and one thing I did NOT realize.

The various sorc elemental bloodlines give you a handful of free spells that are [appropriate element] conversions of common spells -- known.

What I didn't realize is that they also receive a toggle ability that converts other energy spells they cast to their element. So, yes, testing with this I could alter spells, such as lvl 1 acid spray and lvl 1 snowball, to electricity damage instead. I'm unsure if this has implications beyond character RP flavor, however, now I absolutely must check the entire spell list to find out... (like, would chain lightning acid work??) egads

So I thought that going mystic theurge would allow me to make an insane summoner by choosing something like monster tactician and whatever on the arcane side (I chose eldritch archer because the sylvan sorc didn't seem to have all that many summons or summons support spells or feats)

But unfortunately, spell rank 2 doesn't happen until level 4 with each class. So instead of being able to take mystic at level 7 I have to wait until level 9. That doesn't take too long but I am not stuck at level 8.5 on a floor where I need to kill a pack of elementals with 2 huge elementals in it. I am thinking of filling out the roster with 2 strong pet classes since I am only running with 4 PCs and a monitor lizard right now. (I goofed when I took magus first and chose CG alignment so when I swapped to monster tactician, I was locked out of the deities that had animal domain to get a pet...)

I guess one of my new companions I roll could take something that gets arcane level 2 at level 3 so that I can test out mystic at level 8... And I can take monster tac first so that I choose a deity with animal to get the pet...

^ I've poked around with that sort of thing quite a bit and, yeah, only way I could stomach the slow progression of the MT is with something like cleric and mage/sorc or, iirc, druid once on the one side OR something like one of the int or wis sorc subs. Best of recall and all that, there are a lot of gotcha landmines if you don't have all this stuff memorized or the references up on a second monitor.

For the most part, I've placed MT on ice and my current obsession is back with monk/thug/sorc -- and things that inherit sorc spell progression and also trying to get a solid 2 hander gish ninja.

Granted, you can only hold one vampiric drain at a time, but there's something lovely about when a single from-stealth SA'd 2 hander attack combat logs a mid 30, high 40s, and low 50s HP drain at once with all the cleave stuff. Not sure if it was buggy, actually RAW/RAI, or some odd feats-toggled-on combo, but the SA dice seem to count towards the drain total too on that tripple pop. I think when the one guy dropped the temp health it gave me was the ~54 HP vampiric touch via weapon. Can't recall if he was the first to die on the swing or if it automatically awards you the highest health in a multi kill(?) Anyways, a solid boost when you are running a glass cannon that you've minmaxed CON down on during chargen.

Of completely separate note: I'm assuming you can cast cloak of dreams on a pet(?) I bet it would make a nice knockout Zzzz bomb if you pop mind fog on a group of baddies first then charge the pet in with greater invis on the pet. Granted, I'm guessing those juiced up elementals are highly resistant or immune. [self note: I need to look at the 'serpent', or whatevs name, bloodline again; I believe they receive an ability that lets certain spells, which usually only work on humanoids, also work on a bunch of other stuff-- again, I suspect elementals are immune though].

Welp just like you, mystic theurges are just not for me. It gets way over the moon when sifting through massive spell lists of prepared spells and it isn't much easier with sorcs and inqs. I did find something interesting when I made a merc mystic that was based on wiz (the only class that is arc 2 @ lvl 3) and druid. Apparently druids can replace any prepared spell with a summon nat ally spell of the same or lesser rank. I chose weather domain for the dru and I think that may have messed up my ability to have a pet since I didn't seem to have one. I did get call lightning as a domain spell so that worked nicely. (My brain is fried but I am sure that I either choose no domain to get the level 1 pet or choose animal domain to get it at level 4. The real question is do I need animal to get the summons replacement trait or do I need to not take it or any domain to get the trait...)

The other thing I have discovered is that wizards might be more fun that I have yet to completely tap. Arcane bomber might be wicked fun one I figure out why I have 4 opposition schools to select or whether is a difference between how they are doing opposition schools and my understanding of them. It just seems odd to pick 4 opposition schools without picking a favored school. (unless that favored school is bombs?) Thassilonean seems cool too. I have always stayed away from wizards because of the flexibility of sorcs and many games they are nerfed to high heaven because you can't find any scrolls to scribe and they can fizzle too easily when scribing them.