Pathfinder: Kingmaker

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In other news, I have delved into your monk dipping extravaganza. I had to look up flurry of blows because there is no indication that it is working in game. I figured it would be like other games or feats where it is a toggle like power attack or guarded stance or rapid shot. I guess that is how it works and you just have to count the number of attacks in the combat log to make sure it is working.

I am also assuming that using a buckler is okay since it doesn't negate the AC bonus nor does it negate slashing grace. Oh did I mention this is a slashing grace build? Well I really liked slashing grace but I also really liked the attack pacing of dual wielding. So I was dipping in one level of monk and 2 levels of vivi because I wanted feral mutagen because a bite and 2 claw attacks sounded neat. Unfortunately, I didn't take scaled fist so the dex mutagen reduces wis and the monk armor bonus. I then had no idea what to do with it so I went ranger for combat style feats which was lackluster but I did end up with a pet after 4 ranger levels. For being broken or non optimal, it was a really fun build to play. I also went with short swords but wished that estocs were monk weapons for the 18-20 crit range I also am thinking that I should go barb for either the mad dog pet or the subclass that gets resistance as well as DR.

And.... wow! That is the first hard restriction I've found in P:K. Monks can't be barbs due to alignment restrictions. It is so jarring since the whole point of P:K so far has been "there is a way to do it, you just have to spend hours researching and go 6 levels deep to find it"

I know it would be a nightmare on the coding end but it sure would be simpler on the player end (because you wouldn't have to worry about 1 of this class and 4 of that one or 6 of the other) if they would implement "unchained" classes. They say that the video game monk is unchained because it gets BAB +1 at level 1 but there are no other features of unchained that I see.

So I went with 3 rog, 2 vivi, x barb (dr + res) + estoc and at level 8, it is a monster that gets tripped too often and nearly dies every fight. (i.e. the antithesis of why I took the dr + res barb)

^ I believe, as of current state of patching, that FoB only works with ~ "monk weapons" which are a subset of the overall Monk's weapon proficiencies. As examples: a quarterstaff, numchuks, or sai would count still for FoB, but not some of their other weapons. So, guessing the buckler might muck it up still. I often just go high STR Monk (Scaled Fist sub).

As to alignment restrictions there are a few, but the primary ones are Monks and Paladins. I can't get into Paladins in P:K because (and maybe this is a source thing) they seem to fall into the lawful stupid category when it comes to certain dialogue choices in the game -- less of an issue in BtSL, naturally.

At to bites, this is one reason I am ok with 4 levels of DD. You still get 3 levels towards Sorc and, IIRC, you get 2 bites across those 4 levels along with the 2x2x STR and the AC bump. Paired with a motherless tiefling that's a lot of bites to deliver from-stealth or vanish/invis/greater invis (mainly this last spell). Also, that one arcane feat isn't great by itself but not bad as a one feat burn because, if you have enough caster levels for a +3, that's a LOT of +3s -- plus they still get buffed to magic fists for DR purposes without having to take 2 more(iirc) levels of monk.

It's a shame sword saint can't just inherit your caster stat for the INT (ie, to CHA) for AC if you have other caster levels in non INT based class. I'd consider trying a Monk/SF sword saint for the spell combat ability. The level one spell double ups from original Sorc lvl 1 spell pick(I'm blanking here as to name -- insight 1 round roll 20) wouldn't be a waste as I'd use all the dbl lvl 1 slots just to max SA moreso than my base hit. Seems that the game doesn't care if you buff from invis/stealth(?)

edit/ps: as to the base game and bites, ~ cloak of the winter wolf has you covered there. Bite attempts trip.

Scaled fist + 2x vivi + n bard (flamecaller, any) = good. I went with slashing grace kama and still can't tell if flurry is working... Was able to get up to 31 AC with average gear. Sneak attacks weren't as regular and ranged from 14-20 at level 8

Aldori Def + 3x rogue (any) + n vivi = real good but susceptible to burst attacks. TWF dueling swords + was able to get to 25 AC without prot ring +3. Regular sneak attacks 28-35 at level 8

Beginning to narrow down some real solid frontline builds.

Tower shield fighter is no joke. Mix in feral mutagen from 2x vivi and you easily get up to 32 ac and 30ish sneak attacks. Plus way more feats than you can shake a stick at. The only bummer is that 2x vivi will only net you 1 mutagen per rest and it only lasts 20 minutes. Do I have it backwards? Should I dip 1 tower and then the rest vivi? I am going to be more MAD for sure and they aren't stats that are really compatible with aasimar.

^ Good stuff, will need to experiment with a bit before I fully digest. Curious, why specifically AD/dueling sword with TWF? Wouldn't dual wielding negate the initiative and AC bonus from the next dueling-sword specific feat upgrade and preclude ~slashing grace from kicking in to give you DEX to damage? My main thing with TWF is one must go all in on, IIRC 3, feats otherwise later, multiple, strikes /round sit at a low to-hit because of reduced BAB on subsequent (same round) hits. Granted, there are more dueling sword options than estocs -- am mostly thinking estocs for the crit feats later on I suppose.

edit add: even when I don't run cleave + stealth builds I appreciate power attack, at least later into the game. IIRC, PA is ~ +2 base DMG per ~ 4 BAB. One could minmax back to 13 STR to squeeze in PA given it's keyed off of base BAB (ie, not total AB). Hmmm... Granted, my dilemma at that point is why not go 2 hander for the other +50% bonus from PA for 2 handers. And in that case, why not go reach. This nets me back 3 TWF feats, plus 1 for slashing/fencing grace, plus weapon finesse (though this is a pure freebie if you have 1 lvl rogue I suppose). Not panning the idea, just I keep coming back to DEX being so very feat-expensive to maintain. The slashing/fencing grace being negated by TWF is the real killer for me. Plus, intimidating prowess is so nice because you can add your STR bonus to your CHA bonus on rolls and is automatic with cornugon smash keyed off of PA. Really brutal later on assuming a thug dip that also is using the 1 dip of Scaled Fist if you are a CHA based gish anyways.

Hmmm, I'm generally not a pet guy because it's hard to keep it leveled if you aren't a pure class, even with the ~ +4 pet level feat, but I'm thinking Sylvan Sorc (still CHA) for faster spell progression. Just enough magic to get caster levels for mirror image and greater invis. Pet gets greater invis cast onto it, which is a good gamble that one could close the gap and strike the enemy flatfooted. This leaves stealth + vanish + invis stacking to get my Sylv Sorc a bit closer but not detected (maybe) to hit with reach weapon. Pet already has enemy engaged so I can SA with Sylvan Sorc. I'll probably want the 1 dip in thug to setup the frightening feats stacking to cornugon. Which means I need more SA, but I have thug plus accomplished sneak attacker because I go AT to inherit sylvan sorc spell progression. Dilemma is I can't go too far before switching back to Sylvan Sorc because I can only burn 4 off Sorc levels before my pet starts to suffer. I'd have to crunch the #s... maybe I'm close enough with AT + Sylvan Sorc for the spells I need to switch to something else with a pet.
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Yeah with flurry of blows if you have a Monk/SF level just pick a big bad (it might maul you but save before for testing) anyways, wait till it gets one strike before you hit back (ai off -- manually attack) so you know you are staring a new round, see how many attacks you get with weapon, then with only fists. If they are the same then it should be working with your monk level dip. Oh, could be a med or heavy load -- I think equip load will kill FoB too beyond just not using a monk weapon(?)

edit/add: If per swing on that Aldori Def + 3x rogue is sticking 28-35, of just SA bonus, at level 8 then that's not bad gravy. When you look at the expanded log (right click or click the roll I think?) what was the breakdown of base damage before the + SA? Or maybe they default to two sep lines... Argh, can't recall. I guess what I'm asking: was the AD/rogue pushing close to 50 per swing total? At around lvl 8-10, consistent hits of 40 range to 50 range with non magic weapons, for testing, is where I like to shoot for. I can feel like I'm not losing anything vs just going full 2 handed STR (the actual fighter sub) pick at that point.
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My biggest 'problem', with SA dice currently, is I find it hard hard to let go of Arcane Trickster. You inherit your spell base at first level with SA (granted, that's balanced as you have to pre-dip for the SA -- I always pick on the same level I'll get a feat so I can immediately get for accomplished sneak attacker). Anyways, SA also gives nice 9th and 10th level perks so it's so tempting. Really though, not enough room.

To the preceding, the increased rate that you rack up new spell levels with a base Wiz or Sorc empowers one to play more with high BAB class infusions. BAB alone can not be overstated, especially when it's at the point of netting you extra attacks per round. This is also why I'm more keen on STR as it gives you to-hit and damage without burning a ton of feats, including not having to burn the feats to make various combat maneuvers work with DEX also. Where I do like DEX is the utility/flexibility of a heavily invested SA character that's decent with first strike bow work and still defensively dish out some pain with melee afterwards.

People dish on the eldritch scoundrel but it's decent fun. Spells, plenty of SA still, you can use those rogue feats for combat tricks (feats) as needed. If you can hit the sweet spot it's a good candidate for EK level switchover. IIRC, free finess and DEX to damage at like lvl 3 (?), same as a pure rogue if so. Somewhat akin to sword saint but trades in more rogue fluff vs the crazy sword saint crit stuff -- that one skill that double the weapon crit range, hard to ignore.

ps to your tower shield remark: for the lolz, I like halfling. Sometimes I'll have a caster reduce person just because it looks absurd for someone so small to tank back-to-back heavy hits. It's not freedom of movement, while in difficult terrain, while dropping quickened slow & haste [as applicable on allies vs enemies] levels of lol but still a decent chuckle.

1x alt def was a cheap way to get WP dueling sword + med/heavy armor + 1 BAB + extra feat. Not necessarily elegant but it worked. 28-35 was total damage (base + SA). I haven't done many 2H str classes so I have not seen higher melee or ranged hits than say low 40's total. (even on my level 12 characters)

As an experiment, I did a vivi that took med armor, tower, and ew estoc that was more formidable in practice than my tower fig, 2x vivi experiment. The only real noticeable con's were lack of con, 59 hp at level 8 is piss poor, and the -2 tower to hit penalty. The BAB was low too but along with the -2 penalty, it hurts worse on paper than in BTSL. 59 hp is the same but I know of certain instances where the paper failing will become real.
There are monster duos that splash attack for 30ish damage. Large trolls and huge elementals can hit for 50 by floor 18+

I am definitely finally going to look into DD builds. Another build I am going to try is monk + slashing grace + slayer as I was wondering whether I can get cleave and other interesting feats from combat style feats.

Unfortunately I do not have the arcane DLC so I am chomping at the bit to get it. A lot of my slashing grace builds would love to have a free bite attack and it would open up more interest in 2h builds as well. And then of course I would have to discover the inner workings of the arcanist...

^ Slayers: off the cuff, I suspect they'd get the same combat styles as rangers(?) Last time I really messed with rangers was the stormwalker. I wish lightning step came sooner; I'd be all over that sub, such a fun gimmick if you use it for melee instead and click right on an enemy.

Anyways, yes, I believe there's a 2-hander one and a "carnage" style group that had some overlap. I feel that for some reason the ranger (and thus slayer too) might not get all of them as theirstyle freebies though (?) Perhaps, I've just seldom run a ranger that high. More likely there are too many feats.. I'm REALLY digging stuff you can do with cornugon smash, and thug, plus [any?] rogue's later slow on SA thingy (the one with the insect's leg as an icon), fear triggers that also trigger their own AoO. Brain is blanking, but I can tell you that on the other hand, I do NOT like almost-the-same big AoE-fear builds (dazzling display? + ??) ; I tried some of that nonsense once and it was always waking up other mobs while stuff ran around. Not good if you towards on-the-edge 8 con glass cannons.

The real divide is power attack only, for some later damage juice, or go for the numerous cleave feats. The latter works better than some folks suggest, but you absolutely must pair it with some sort of gimmick. Alpha strike from shadows, or burst immobilize then mow 'em down before the spell wears off, a way to forcibly hard disable a single weak mob in a crowd to make him your target to trigger the cleaving finish feats on others, or just creative attack of opportunity work with enlarge and a reach weapon.

So slayer can take cleave without power attack or str. It is in the two handed combat style feat. I took greater cleave at 6 and will take cleave finisher at the next opportunity. Yes, slayer may be my new favorite flavor because it combines combat style feats with sneak attack.

The funny thing is I took dwarf, 1x monk and rest slayer. I was able to get slashing grace dwarven axe but of course forgot that the axe was not a monk weapon. However, I was able to pump wis and dex to get nice ac bonuses. And then adding cleave and greater cleave with sneak attack made the class a beast. Who needs str or claws, bites or twf to be a wrecking machine?

It certainly lends to going the opposite route dumping dex and exploring dragon disciple like you have been detailing in your posts.

I am definitely chomping at the bit to do a big reach weapon to maximize cleave. It may be a way to whittle down huge elementals while focuses on weaker and smaller foes.

A key I've found with sneak attack is in the fine print. You cannot have more sneak attack dice than half your level rounded up. I can't tell whether my thinking is valid or not but I find the accomplished sneak attacker feat to be very valuable in making up for missing SA dice because of multi-classing or taking a class that has less dice and or starts SA at a later level...

It is especially nice when you 1-3 dip in vivi or rogue.

fangblackbone wrote:

A key I've found with sneak attack is in the fine print. You cannot have more sneak attack dice than half your level rounded up. I can't tell whether my thinking is valid or not but I find the accomplished sneak attacker feat to be very valuable in making up for missing SA dice because of multi-classing or taking a class that has less dice and or starts SA at a later level...

It is especially nice when you 1-3 dip in vivi or rogue.

It's especially helpful to making a spellcast heavy Arcane trickster build work, it lets you get in on the party with only one level of rogue. Thats kind of the core of Olivia's build in the main story

^ Absolutely. With my gish tinkering I rarely go for anything other than rogue 1 or Vivi 1 + the accomplished SA feat. Heck, I've had a hard time embracing magus (and subs) ever since I became enamored with the idea that I could squeeze in more if I'd just suffer through base Sorc or Wizard for a few starting levels -- for the faster spell progression.

My current conundrum is figuring out exactly how much AT vs something like EK for BAB.. or straight up martial class mixing for just a few levels. It seems absurd, but I did ok once with a rough draft where my sorc dipped back to (1) EScion strictly for combat casting. Going a second for spellstrike is hard to justify though.

Spellstrike is good for using STR and doubling down with channeling a touch spell through your reach weapon (very specific build ideas) whereas spellstrike is handy in all sorts of situations, especially if you can stack invis spells + greater invis to end up on an enemy's back before your cover is blown.

If starting 'in position', you can get all swings in plus one spell in a round. Unless I'm benefiting from buggyness... I've snuck right up behind someone before and opened with dropping hold on someone that was close, but still out of range of melee, then carving up their comrade I was up on before turning back to them.

Octavia's basic setup is so good for SA raycaster that I'm trying to avoid most ray and direct evo focus on my main.
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@ Fang -- I don't think I've, specifically, opined on this yet(?) but I'm a big fan of "sense vitals" on any gish that has SA dice: "dealing an additional 1d6 points of damage; this additional damage increases by 1d6 for every 3 caster levels you possess beyond 3rd, to a maximum of +5d6 at 15th level. This additional damage stacks with other sources of precision damage."

P:K thought of the moment: I really hate the visual for dazzling display -- looks like they repurposed, with edits, some sort of PBAoE gas cloud attack. There had to be better bard or cleric FX they could have lifted. Anyways, visual yuck aside, I'm swinging the other direction on my opinion of dazzling display itself. At first I thought I despised it because of the large range and the complications it would often cause.. but there's nothing like ping ponging an enemy back towards, and into, a ground hazard they JUST waded through. This goes doubly so because you start to get a feel for when it will wear off. Like, "oh yeah, he's going to make it half way across before he gets his wits back and charges through, again." Sort of the cheaper version of the kinetecist's wall tricks.

I believe that is how I made my arcane trickster is 1 dip rogue or vivi and accomplished sneak. I forget what all the other requirements were but that is the character that soloed BTSL to level 8. So that save game is the one I use to test new builds with by buying them from the dragon and seeing what they look like at level 8 with enough cash left over to buy basic +1 items.

edit: Jesus you weren't kidding with the str + cleave + power attack + (sneak attack) + fauchard (or 2H)...
I dipped into dragon disciple but that isn't even necessary. And I totally ef'd up the build twice and the broken builds are making mince meat out of enemies. Once I dipped monk, then sylvan which banned me from DD. The next time I took eldritch scion and locked myself out of monk because I chose chaotic good. I ended up getting DD on her anyways but she has a piddly 16 AC. (I could wear medium armor on her...)

^ LG alignment is often 'best', in this regard, because you can dip Monl\SF and or Paladin (for saves). Plus you have some game flexibility with INT/WIS/CHA sorc subs and monk/EK pairing. Granted, lately I've had to squeeze monk out of my latest builds. I was messing with a spell 2-hander last night that hit 2 enemies with a non crit iirc (and the wrong 2 handed weapon, not her fauchard) long spear or something... I forget, exactly; anyways, thing wasn't magic or masterwork and with the buffs, SA dice, and sense vitals it was like 180 combined on one swing across two enemies (one took ~80 and the other ~100). I think I may have had that one feat though that scales all weapon attacks up to, a max, of +3 [to 5?] magic). Mind you, wrong weapon, so I know wasn't getting ANY dbl cit range bonus from my martial class or EK infusions which gives enough to get the weapon range crit buff (2x of base -- assuming right weapon is equipped). Long story short, it's a narrow focus but it has enough other tricks with the spells to be fun. [edit add: granted they were simple bandit mooks, but considering the lack of gear I figure a decent baseline test]

And yup, the monk/SF (1) dip really relies on getting the right gear later.

It's very build-situational, but if you can get enough martial in your caster (and assuming a magic stealth char) I really like the vital strike feats for an opener intended to kill at least one enemy and cleave others (just toggle it OFF after first strike or whatever). Greater Vital strike: as a standard action, make a full BAB attack for extra damage. The weapon's damage dice is multiplied by 4.

Really hard to work the above in, but you can also get the prior feat for, iirc, 3x dmg (need ~ BAB 11). There's also the 2X starter one but not near the same impact if you are already rocking crazy SA+sense vitals.

hmm... I'm sure there isn't enough room but I wonder if a WIS Sorc could get just enough Ranger for lead blades spell too... I believe that's Ranger...

Oh, If you are cutting off caster early enough (and rushed it soon enough) you can round out the last levels with 3 of two handed fighter for the one ability that doubles down on the first hit too. This is pretty much end of build gravy if you can sneak it in though.

What's REALLY killing me is building this way seems to need a fast Wiz or Sorc base. I can squeeze a later dip back in for spell combat, but what I really need is spellstrike, so I can get back to vampiric touch on 3-4 fools with an enlarged fauchard strike from stealth. I really can't justify the two level burn for those skills though, unless I'm using a Magus or ES as base, but that slows down spell progression a few levels. Popping a mirror image and getting a good roll of like 5 duplicates, while you have greater invis up, is just too much fun to ditch when you are using it to push glass cannon offense, vs the usual Wiz/Sorc that just does it because they are afraid of a stray arrow.
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later edit notes/thoughts:

  • Leaning [more] away from AT, for above build, towards: 1 Vivi and 1 Thug + accomplished SA'er feat
  • Monk, in specific build, is mostly out now.. maybe.. it's really great later on though.. argh..
  • Sense Vitals is great, but works best with more CL -- which is why I'm ok inheriting some DD and EK
  • The EK vs 2 hand fighter lvls (the actual fighter class sub) vs EK is one big dilemma right now
  • To offset some AC, the dips in EK or 2H fighter get a lot of feats; can grab both armor casting feats
  • If Magus/Escion had just a few more of, specific, Sorc spells available this would be so much easier
  • This is probably a wash, and I love max STR reach weapon Sorc+ (cloak of the winter wolf plus that one fauchard is great for trips , but I have the sudden urge to try somewhat similar but with dueling sword.. maybe serpent bloodline sorc, drop the DD, metamagic compulsion till I get cloak of dream spell then just selectively kill one enemy at a time vs cleaving at once (so as not to break CoD sleep..) haste/slow would be the new gimmicks paired with greater invis (or mirror image if in the thick of things when need to outlast the pain). Using charge to CoD bomb into enemies seems like it could be a riot (but need to actually build to it now and see how well it lasts). One guy gets hit and with enough DC+ juice people just randomly fall down when they realize you are in their midsts.

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aaand more edits/new:

[not in this order but] elf sword saint 1 w/ dueling sword (DEX) / a few Sorc w/ bloodline snek / Scaled Fist (1) / thug (1) / then EK levels to keep Sorc going and more BAB and combat feats -- mostly the same illus/enchant tricks on the spell front. Not OP persay, but if you have a bunch of caster levels, or caster-inheriting levels, then Sense Vitals scale to it's own pile of SA. Really miss the reach weapon when inflicting fear with Greater Invis though. Before, stand in the middle of folks with your ~ 72 stacked sneak then drop Fear. They run and you get free AoOs while all cozy in your Greater Invis state (assuming you have that one /Dex feat for AoO to hit 'em all as they scatter). Max Dex, vs my pref for Str, works out well here because if you don't want to chase someone down you just ray them (and it will be painful because your greater invis will still be up so precision damage from SA/Sense Vitals will still get them even if they aren't flanked as they flee -- and they may be weak from an AoO. Assuming you dropped the mic from in the thick of things, spell combat helps because if you are already toe-to-toe you can ray the runner then drop your 3-4 melee strikes, depending on how well you built or if haste was up, on the guy in your face. IF you didn't move, it all tracks as one round (ie, back to back). Tricky with how the game round works, but good fun when you execute right.

Aside from optimizing where I grabbed some feats and whatnot, I'd probably not rush Monk or Thug till later. Rushing greater invis seems a priority as this let's you keep enemies from scattering when you're trying to AoE from 'outside' onto a group. Even with the above tricks you can't always survive springing the trap from in their midsts, in which case sneak close and drop mind fog for that sweet (IIRC) -10 to WIS checks and will saves.

I am sort of wising up to the idea of eldritch knight and dragon disc if only because you get the benefits of better BAB and more spell levels. Not just for the spells but there are things I haven't even begun to research that are effected by caster level.

It says it stack with other types of precision damage so does it stack with sneak attack? So I could take four levels of bard and the rest vivi and for a round per level I'd get double sneak attack with just a level 2 spell? If I wanted to make a ranged touch attack, I can't imagine how that wouldn't be mind boggling!

^ The log treats them as one big pile of combined SA dice while the spell is up. And yup, SV adds extra ~ 'magic SA' of 1d6 at spell lvl 2 then again at every3 caster levels beyond 3rd to a maximum of +5d6, at 15th 'level' (ie, caster level if I understand correctly).

DD(at least 3-4) and AT (All 10, iirc) inherit Sorc progression. You can pump your caster levels high and effectively double dip with AT, seeing as it's also granting SA dice itself and will inherit Sorc class and stack-- I try to keep my pure Sorc levels low since every level there is lost ground on the BAB march. Note: if you're making a stealth gish this can REALLY hurt BAB though with back-to-back Sorc into AT.

[later edit / clarification] Yes, bard 4 should qualify for it's spell level 2 and you'd keep it on the Vivi as at least a second ~ spellbook. I'm almost certain the caster levels wouldn't stack though.

As aside, this is why I prefer spontaneous casters. If had (example) 6 uses of level 2 spells I could, as the situation warranted, use all of those on Sense Vitals if I wanted -- or none of them and go with other spells. Prepared casters would have to 'gamble' and prep all 6 uses as SV, to the exclusion of everything else spell level 2, if they wanted to guarantee 6 casts of it /rest in same scenario. Also, you aren't burning slots for heightened spells. Specifically, I can keep some of my lower go-tos around without burning slots but still have their heightened versions available to push their DCs on enemy (for example) will saves. Hmm, in theory, I suppose you could pump up some of the save vs half reflex spells too (but in that case you probably have better later spells). Anyways, helps keep things like hypnotism or glitterdust viable longer.
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If I'm not rocking X combat gimmick + EK (for BAB and being feat-starved otherwise), then AT w/ SV is love. The spike damage from pumped SA + pumped SV can be ludicrous. Especially if you have a few DD bites and/or the Tiefling motherless bite to act as 'carriers' and push you to ~ 6 hits full round -- or bloodline's temp claws-out offhand adding another. With 3 or 4 of the proper dmg buffs added and that one 1-round lvl-1 insight-20 spell (nice opener from stealth/invis but too much micro after), things get red fast.

later edit thought: I think Ranger could technically 'know' it by lvl 4 but would only have the, base, spellslot(s) to begin using it at ~ lvl 5 (??) For some reason it's showing that way in game's level up preview. I don't think I'd have a real use for it, but if the rest was, say, cleric I wonder if the divine caster levels stack, as you progress, for the 1D6s. TO BE CLEAR, I'm almost certain that the caster levels wouldn't stack -- that's sort of one of the perks of AT, EK, DD -- within their limits as to type

Should be relatively simple to test the Ranger and sense vitals relationship.
I will need to check whether ranger is listed as a divine caster or its list says "ranger spells" like the alchemist has alchemist spells and is not an arcane caster.

That's along the lines of what I expect.. then again, you have subs like Eldritch Scoundrel that straight up state, in it's description, ~no spells / ~ can't cast / something-very-explicit-to-that-end; also, shows nothing spell related (other than lvl 1 cantrips) when you click through the columns for lvl 2 - 20 (neither the tooltip mouseover or via R-click).

Given the above, I assumed for the longest time that El Scoundrel only possessed cantrips and cast-via-scroll spell access. In reality, they're sort of a wizardly rogue prefab'd mashup with closer to magus spell progression -- minus spellstrike and spell combat in exchange for the frequent rogue perks and 'combat trick' feat options and such (also the nice Rogue lvl 10+ perk stuff).

Anyways, every so often the in-game info is somewhat unclear. There are still a few instances where subs references wrong info relative to the base class and a few uneven tooltips that properly convert things to the proper sub name and some that still have the reference back to the unmodified base class version. Minor issues, but every so often the text is off base or incomplete.

So dual wielding bard/slayer/DragDisc with cleave feats is wasted. It seems like cleave only allows one attack per round so it would be better to use a shield and get some AC. Or I just equipped a glaive +1 and critted for 60 at level 7 (1B/4S/2DD) and was chopping 3-4 wolves at a time. The funny thing is that while I had high mobility, I had no dex so my reflex save was low enough to get tripped once. Except I got up and took a few hits from the AoO, but managed to cleave and kill 3 of them within a single round.

From the slayer combat feats I took 2WF and wish now I had taken Menacing for cornugan. I guess I can rebuild that and I might try the rogue caster for the arcane DD req so that I get another sneak attack dice if possible.

fangblackbone wrote:

So dual wielding bard/slayer/DragDisc with cleave feats is wasted. It seems like cleave only allows one attack per round so it would be better to use a shield and get some AC. Or I just equipped a glaive +1 and critted for 60 at level 7 (1B/4S/2DD) and was chopping 3-4 wolves at a time. The funny thing is that while I had high mobility, I had no dex so my reflex save was low enough to get tripped once. Except I got up and took a few hits from the AoO, but managed to cleave and kill 3 of them within a single round.

From the slayer combat feats I took 2WF and wish now I had taken Menacing for cornugan. I guess I can rebuild that and I might try the rogue caster for the arcane DD req so that I get another sneak attack dice if possible.

Ima tap your brain as I rarely mess with TWF types: to clarify, was the Bard/Slayer/DD too feat starved to also snag Greater Cleave and Cleaving Finish, etc OR was BAB at that point too low to qualify? [need BAB 6, IIRC] Cleave tends to take off once you have Cleaving Finish and Improved Cleaving Finish -- Greater Cleave itself is an 'ok' bump up. At the point of Cleaving Finish my situational, from-stealth, attacks drop off and I migrate, mostly, into just proccing it from kills on wounded targets or weaker enemies to start the chain.

Oh/also: did the lack of reach seem to make it less viable? I ask as I was going to double down and try a TWF cleaver soon but I have my concerns on TFW + cleaving finish vs 2-hand reach + cleaving finish. Plus my Sorc bases typically have enough low level magic to use enlarge person left and right... which just pushes fauchard reach into absurd fun with cleaving finish.

When you toggle cleave (and I assume when you click cleave and click the target also) You only get to make that cleave attack in the round. It basically has a 6 second timer count down until you cleave again and you get no other attacks (other than cleave related ones) during that countdown, whether bites, claws, or off hand attacks. I am curious as to whether you get a flurry attack so I will have to try it with a monk dip. You will get lots of attacks with a reach weapon but they will be tied to whether you have greater cleave and or cleave finisher.

My BAB should have be 6 (1 bard, 4 slayer, 2 Dragon disc) but maybe it wasn't. The text says you will do your extra BAB attacks.

On a side note, I did make a traditional monk dip + the sorc that uses wisdom for a nice dex/wis slashing grace kama build. The damage is nothing to write home about with no cleave or sneak but the AC is 25 unbuffed with average gear. I had to laugh because the HP was something like 43 or 49 at level 7. The good news is that flurry is working (with a buckler too mind you) as I attack much faster than a cleaving class.

^Yup yup. Ok, on same page it sounds like. I lean to rushing BAB these days; as such,I try to scoop cleaving finish as soon as I can. With CF, you can leave the cleave toggle itself entirely disengaged and you WILL still receive cleaving finish attacks if you kill something. At least, I've never noticed any issues with it (CF) firing if I had cleave off.

Since monk talk is on the table: I created a char like that once with minmax Wis and Wis Sorc but went Sensai for the (lvl 2 or lvl 3?) anyways Sensai has a skill where basically your WIS replaces your STR or DEX so you can all-in on just WIS. I believe you lose flurry of blows as trade though. I had ~30+ AC with low level spells and NO gear. Really though, the cleaving finish 2 hander put it to shame with damage if optimized.

I try to scoop cleaving finish as soon as I can. With CF, you can leave the cleave toggle itself entirely disengaged and you WILL still receive cleaving finish attacks if you kill something. At least, I've never noticed any issues with it (CF) firing if I had cleave off.

Yeah, I wised up to that. In fact you might be able to save 2 feats (unless you want power attack for cornugon's which I haven't experimented with yet) and go straight to greater cleave and cleaving finish. Would I be making too much of an assumption that cleaving finish could trigger greater cleave if you skipped the reqs through combat style feats?

I will definitely say that reach makes a big difference with cleaving but it doesn't mean it can't be effective with 2ft weapons. If you have reach, you will easily hit everything around you all the time, even if an ally is in front of you. Without reach you have to be in the thick of things to hit 2 extra and most often you only hit 1 extra.

It is worth experimenting how much enlarge increases reach. If you have a 2 hander, it may be overkill. If you are SG or TWF it may be as effective as a 2 hander or more.

On another subject, straight up slayer 18s, 14d, 16c with TWF, shield bash/mastery, light shield, accom SA, PA, cleave, GC, CF etc. is surprisingly effective.

Since monk talk is on the table: I created a char like that once with minmax Wis and Wis Sorc but went Sensai for the (lvl 2 or lvl 3?) anyways Sensai has a skill where basically your WIS replaces your STR or DEX so you can all-in on just WIS.

Totally amazing... I did this with a monster tactician 2m/5mt. Got a pet, was TWF kamas with +11 to hit. The only problem was WIS is only used for attack rolls and not damage. So I was hitting a lot for 1-5 damage
It would probably be better with sneak attack and accomplished sneak attack.

Perhaps it could work with ranger and sense vitals?
Don't paladin's get something that is a weapon damage add? Holy?
Maybe I'm thinking of blight druid? I know they deal poison on being hit...
If you went with the WIS sorc you could take arcane strike

Will definitely have to look into it (and add another 10-15 hours of play, heh)

^ Yeah, the 1 Sensei dip thing def only works (at all) because of all the SA and SV stacking. With crazy WIS as caster stat it also has enough spells for constant use, which sort of fuels the whole invis/greater invis thing for the SA + SV.

Yeah, Paladins have a bonus to weapons; some sort of bonded weapon thingy. Their biggest trick is smite. Smite tears through evil enemy DR and, IIRC, is permanent for that combat, I believe. Granted, one has to be of LG alignment. LG in P:K is beyond cartoony dumb in several places.

I'm unsure if later patches changed it/toned it down, but the most fun with a ~monk I ever had was in in PoE2. There was a special spellbook you could obtain that had a unique ranged attack poisoned fists spell in there with other thematic spells. It took quite a bit of investment, but you could make a BRUTAL Wiz/Monk-like combat hybrid with distance strike magic snake hands. And yes, decent poison.

So, Eldritch Scoundrel is indeed crazy for SA dice + Sense Vitals. Also, you hit spell lvl 2 quick for AT eligibility ---if you want to go that route. Either way, it's nice to avoid that lvl 1 dip for a separate SA dice class and great for all the feat access via 'combat trick' on the rogue side while simultaneously keeping your spell class levels up for SV.

Hand-in-hand, here's a fun thing: despite ES being an arcane/INT/prepared caster you can take a (1) lvl dip into Eldritch Scion (Sorc base) yet still retain light armor casting, spell combat, and if you pick a Sorc bloodline with a good lvl 1 'skill' it still seems to apply to our non ES base (it kept the bloodlines +2 DC vs enchant; I suspect this would work with any bloodline). Example: lvl I un-heightened hypnotism = 10 (base) + 1 (spell lvl) + 2 (bloodline) + 2 (greater spell focus) + 3 (16 int for the +3) = 18, which matched the combat log info showing DC18. Add in mind fog later and it seems a good gimmick. [naturally, you aren't going to progress the bloodline this way so you'd want to go for the best lvl 1 benefit, as opposed to the spread across bloodline progression].

misc: elf might work nice with this as that should(?) unlock elven curved blade (if you dip 2 EScion for spellstrike -- though debatable vs just 1 dip for spell combat) coupled with the level 3 rogue pick, from your mainline of Eldritch Scoundrel, which gives you the the ability to pick a finessable weapon to apply DEX instead of STR for damage. I went with dueling sword. Anyways, on this build, DEX is nice to keep those ray hits up, given all the ramping SA + SV damage as you level. I suppose one could also dip back 1, or 2, lvls for Eldritch Archer instead of EScion or base Magus(?) -shrug- Even if not, with the feat saves and DEX, a bow would make an early level backup from-stealth option to go along with your your dueling sword, or whatevs you picked. Ps: decent early AC with high DEX, armor, shield spell, plus defensive spells.

So I really feel I need to take a break from all of this. I installed and fired up PoE2. I think I am going to play it in turn based mode but I really wish I could switch at will. Because I know I will quit from boredom much quicker with turn based because even simple combats will take so long.

But looking at the PoE2 character creator I felt refreshed

Man, they desperately needed an endless dungeon DLC for PoE2. TB is fine because it really lets you use your skills and forces you to balance out the spells you use because of the limited uses per encounter. They really implemented the initiative and casting times well in PoE2. The only problem is that the combat can be so deep but you still spend too much time running around talking to people.

I'll have to look up mods. I don't know how well PoE2 mods or if it has any mods. If not I guess I'll just go back to P:K BTSL.

Personal preference, but I feel that PoE2 does an exceptional job of creating it's own, nearly Pathfinder or D&D deep system, and making it work in RTwP -- Dex determining ACTUAL RT swing speed and things like that. One of PoE2's problems is the baseling difficulty is on the easy side for veteran/tactical leaning RPGers -- in which case, adjust accordingly.

In contrast, PoE2's TB mode feels horrible to me; specifically, just slows individual combats down waaay to much and, in a handful of really painful cases, weird issues with NPCs milling around in Neketaka when fights break out.

Kingmaker, on the other hand, really pulls from systems that could belong wholesale in TB.

*** If one was going to jump into modding, between the two, I'd go with Kingmaker's Turn Based Combat mod on Nexus. It doesn't require a Nexus mod manager, just extract the zips (and the typical ZIP redundant parent folder -- keeping the sub folder, and drop into the mod folder once you have the referenced Unity mod framework thing in place. ***

Seriously, best of both worlds as you can assign a key and hop between RTwP and TB when you want it for non trash mob fights. The mod has a number of other options and they can be accessed, via menu, in game with a key -- as such, you can tweak as you go. Granted, you may want to dive into Kingmaker's custom diff options and adjust them up, as needed, as TB makes it easier to game initiative order. Which is nice because of the flavor of initiative being a thing, on a given character, as opposed to RTwP where you can only really manage it with first strike hit.

Note, that after a few levels in, TB -can- be harder in some fights as you can't easily game simultaneous alpha strike on a single enemy and insta-chunk them, unless you build an entire team of high initiative folks where the whole party is going before all the enemies.

Caveat: more of a boon if you are executing on casting strategies such as [random example]freedom of movement + magical AoE hazard to enemies (or any spell 'combo' that requires a 1-2 [or 1-2-3-4..] punch for the payoff.

ps. There's also a Bag of Tricks Mod and Respec mod that is mostly cheaty stuff, BUT, one practical application is you can keep a save at Oleg's, right after the intro, and have merc cost set to zero -- this way you can create parties (and 'respec' your main entirely) and use that as a jumping off point for a more IWD-like experience with full party control. One thing I prefer in the base game, that I feel BtSL is somewhat lacking in, is the occasional combats that pit your party vs a kitted out enemy part of non trash mobs.

edit/add: there's also a mod that speeds up that damnably slow book zoom effect that occurs when you first load up the game ;-P

I am enjoying the turn based mod for PoE2. I feel it lets me use the playbook from all of my characters and I don't have to have any pet companions let alone 2-3 to make losing a party member or 2 every fight. They also prevent that odd difficulty spike from lucky enemy crits and the ensuing premature reload. In PoE2 I feel I can cover for that and fights that aren't going my way at the start more easily and without the pet buffer. I have discovered a lot of awesome abilities and a lot more use for Aloth the wizard (or wizard/fighter in my case) by using turn based.

The awesome thing is I am really gathering great research for creating my own PnP system! I am going to leverage some Gwjers for insights on Roll20 or rpgmaker or kickstarter. I have some crazy ideas on dexterity fighters vs. str fighters, and actions/feats or attacks of opportunity based on weapon type. I also love the idea in pathfinder 2e where it isn't races, its ancestries. The change is a little on the unnecessary politically correct side for me but the execution is brilliant. (and it plays better than things like subraces)

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