Friday, December 5, 2014

GM_Solspiral's PAP Guide to the Cavalier: Archetypes and Multiclassing

Archetypes
There’s a few awesome options and a few head scratchers. The cavalier could certainly use more.


Beast Rider trades heavy armor and expert trainer for a really nice mount upgrade that continues to upgrade at 4th and 7th levels. Really solid choice.
Daring Champion pretty much your best option if you do not want a mount
Dune Drifter if you wanted a gun this is the way to go, you lose tactician which is awesome and you aren’t quite as cool as a regular gunslinger but it is an equitable trade.
Emissary you gain things you can gain in other ways and lose things you cannot gain in other ways.
Gendarme be less versatile for no good reason
Herald Squire takes out some of the best parts of being a cavalier, no dice
Honor Guard another spellcaster’s cohort
Horselord ok if you wanted to make a dex/dervish build but if you’re doing that why cavalier?
Huntmaster it is a really good trade low-mid levels a sad mistake in high level play
Luring Cavalier Cavalier’s aren’t great archers, if you are hell bent on this path this is for you.
Musketeer dune drifter does it better
Outrider (Lashunta) basically this is a decent teamwork focused archetype.
Standard Bearer great way to get banner instead of mount for a cavalier dip, for a standard cavalier this is not a good option.
Strategist improves cavalier’s best abilities, swaps one of the worst.
Wave Rider not an aqua campaign? red, aqua campaign? Blue

Racial Archetypes
Fell Rider is amazing I just wish it came with mount options, but this will make a mean horse.


Multi-classing
Thanks largely to boon companion you can dip upto 4 levels in a full bab or ¾ bab class with little to no pain, there are some truly solid options that reward you for doing so. Some even give you your feat back!


Barbarian- solid option if you want a damage upgrade and lose no BAB. The 2 rage powers you gain usually trump feats and you get a few bonus goodies to boot.
Bard - For 1 BAB and a feat you get to be even more a team player than a normal cavalier, gain a boatload of skill points and class skills, some ok spells, and shore up your 2 weak saves. It is a solid option
Cleric - for a 1 level dip you can gain 2 domain powers worth way more than that feat, for 3 levels you can self buff a bunch as well. You’re a little more MAD but not overly much.
Druid - I love druids but you’re way too into metal for this to work.
Fighter- only reason to bother is weapon specialization.
Monk poor synergy.
Paladin/Antipaladin - It’s a good match if you’ve got the Cha.
Ranger not a terrible route, not a great one either.
Sorcerer -sorcs are very all or nothing, exception is to get into Dragon Disiple which is an awesome prestige class for you.
Wizard good utility but you’ll mostly cast from wand.
Alchemist -Vivisectionist and mutagens sell me.
Inquisitor -cleric dip is way better.
Magus -I want this to work, it does not
Oracle -Great options with revelations and opens up extra revelation. You can pick an AC and stack them which is another bonus.
Summoner -Not for you
Witch -not front loaded in the right way
Arcanist -like the wizard only not as front loaded, like at all.
Bloodrager -good alternative to sorc dip for DD
Brawler -the fighter called, he wants his lunch money back. This class is broken because of that flexible feat.
Hunter -ok this can mix really nice if you want to maximize your TW feats and pets. I’ll revisit in the builds.
Shaman -like  the witch only worse.
Skald -it’s an ok option but I’m not sold for some reason
Swashbuckler -just play a daring champion
Warpriest if you’re in this it is likely for sacred weapon meaning you’re in it for 4
levels. There’s a lot to like about warpriest but I’d rather dip 1-3 levels of cleric for the more powerful domain abilities.


Prestige Classes
For this guide I’m going to stick to the ones that seem like they might make sense to a cavalier. If it isn’t called out specifically it is in all likelihood red.


Dragon Disciple -so many nice bits for a cavalier primary… the stat adds being the best part, but also the spells, and the wings, and the breath weapon.
Duelist -lose no BAB and get really good with 1 handed weapons, seems like it’d mix well with daring champion.
Eldritch Knight -lose no BAB but you’re mount is going to suffer and you’re just gettign caster stuff in exchange.
Shadow Dancer -would mix well with daring champion but only take 4 levels.
Battle Herald -if you want to make your bard dip pay off a little more there are worse choices.
Celestial Knight -your mount suffers for your gain, might be worth it for some builds but nothing I’m about to present.
Chevalier -lots of the benefits of the paladin dip without the paladin code, or being specific to a deity.
Furious Guardian -if you were determined to make one of those awful guard the other character archetypes work this would be a decent way to finish the concept into something kind fo awesome.
Golden Legionnaire -ok so make yourself even more of a team player for not at all painful requirements. Would mix well with a daring champion or something that loses mount in particular.
Grand Marshal -mixes great with your gun archetypes.
Gray Warden -gain judgements and divine caster levels and bonuses to intimidation. Good way to round out a cleric dip and order of cockatrice.
Hell Knight Commander -kind of awesome really.
Hell Knight Enforcer -loses too much
Holy Vindicator -could be worth it but I hate losing mount levels for this.
Inheritor’s Crusader -just be a paladin if you wanted this.
Justicar -sounds like something we’d want, we don’t
Liberator -weird combo that could make a fascinating character… Beast rider from isc + Liberator to make a wild savage that broke from slavery and now takes revenge. You’d be really good at sunder.
Low Templar -mix a little roguish dirty fighting in with your knight.
Mammoth Rider -no BAB loss and your companion gets better… if you’re not into dungeons and spend most time out in the open this is almost a straight upgrade
Nature Warden can be sooo awesome when combined just right with an oracle or cleric dip and aasamar
Pit Fighter -progresses BAB and gains a few nice dirty tricks and could mix well with a order of cackatrice
Stalwart Defender -mixed with barbarian and dwarf maybe this could be worth it but generally I prefer mobility to standing still and hoping to get attacked
Student of War -could be cool despite losing mount levels, there’s something for the stances and bonus feats.
Swordlord -not a good mix


Intro
Attributes and Races
Traits, Skills, and Feats
Orders
Archetypes


Alternate Opinions and a few areas I didn't cover

Builds
Spirited Charging Pouncer
Knight of Shadows
Dragon Knight
Mighty Halfling
Drive-by-skirmisher

GM_Solspiral's PAP Guide to the Cavalier: Orders

Cavalier Orders

To evaluate an order we have to consider if the edicts are manageable, the class skills useful, the challenge bonus, and the order abilities. Order abilities that are front loaded at 2nd level are going to weigh much more heavily than the 15th level ability or the class skills. Overall ratings are essentially balanced on Edict, Challenge bonus, and 2nd level order ability the rest is significantly less important.


Order of the Beast (ACG) if you start at 8th level this is green possibly blue.
Edict: predictable and not hard to follow.  Challenge: yeah giving your bonus to your mounts sucks Class Skills: good class skills to have 2nd level ability: garbage, after like 5th level animal enemies never come up 8th level ability: awesome ability that comes late to the party 15th level ability: just not good enough for a 15ht level ability.
Order of the Beast (ISC) in an evil campaign this might be the best choice especially if you are not starting a level 1 but this is hard to pull off with a neutral character so edict is where this gets a little hamstrung.
Edict: really hard to follow in a non-evil campaign.  Challenge: useful to cleave, except what if I don’t pick up cleave this early (likely) 2nd level ability: great when I get something like Improved sunder for free. 8th level ability: freebie trample for my mount, yes please 15th level ability: this is pretty useful except the part where it almost ensures you will get yourself killed.
Order of the Blue Rose so much no in one order.
Edict: pretty much talk first edict makes this one of the more annoying ones  Challenge: reinforces an annoying edict by giving a bonus to an attack roll you likely don’t need Class Skills: two of the worst knowledges 2nd level ability: look at all the not-killing you’re doing 8th level ability: situational DR essentially 15th level ability: good team player ability that would be awesomesauce at 2nd level, here it is almost an insult.
Order of the Cockatrice if it isn’t the best order it is close.
Edict: I hereby dub you the munchkin edict, seriously though you can play this with a degree of subtlety  Challenge: synergizes with your order ability Class Skills: garbage 2nd level ability: free dazzling display with no prerequisites and removes a condition on it, YES! 8th level ability: hang with a crit fisher for maximum carnage 15th level ability: who gets 1 round a day to be completely awesome? You do.
Order of the Dragon plays extremely well with others and with the right team can be awesomesauce.
Edict: Do that thing you were going to do anyway Challenge: I don’t need help hitting with a full BAB class Class Skills: best class ability add ons you can ask for 2nd level ability: great ability for a team player 8th level ability: see 2nd level 15th level ability: near broken level of teamwork.
Order of the First Law want to make Pathfinder cause as many arguments as monopoly, take a cavalier with this, and an evangelist, then have a paladin, and a CE rogue.
Edict: look a mechanic that makes you argue with the healer all the time  Challenge: if your AC is high enough this further elevates your ability to tank Class Skills: you need heal as a class skill because you’re likely to piss off the healer 2nd level ability: here have a +2 on all saves in exchange for never taking a divine buff… yeah that’s a shitty trade 8th level ability: situational but useful in those situations 15th level ability: great for GMs pissed off at their high level clerics.
Order of the Flame one of the better options, especially if you can ramp the damage enough and don’t really get into charging lane issues.
Edict: if you are the party tank this isn’t doing things that differently but it can get you into some trouble so it’s not blue  Challenge: if you can 1 hit things this is essentially an endless challenge, smart players can make this very broken very quickly Class Skills: not bad 2nd level ability: slightly confusing but essentially can get you a immediate move action and not be flatfooted for it to get into position for the next round 8th level ability: extra rider on crits, the problem most things are dead now if you did your job 15th level ability: useful but 1 round with no progression.
Order of the Guard mediocrity except at escort missions. This is a great order for your wizard’s cohort.
Edict: not hard to follow but sort of lame  Challenge: it scales somewhat poorly but it’s always useful thus green Class Skills: best class skill in the game and a crap knowledge 2nd level ability: depressingly mediocre 8th level ability: excel at escort missions 15th level ability: I like Attacks of op but this is a little late.
Order of the Hammer this order adds versatility and fun. It is also super front loaded for those looking for a quick beneficial dip.
Edict: Not a hard thing to do Challenge: eliminate the need for 2 feats Class Skills: not bad 2nd level ability: forces you to get into improved unarmed combat for some reason (not literally but you prolly should) 8th level ability: neat 15th level ability: useful bonus that isn’t just a single use and it buff allies in multiple ways and its a +4!!!.
Order of the Land not a great choice unfortunately.
Edict: not hard to follow makes you act like a hero  Challenge: more damage Class Skills: ok mix 2nd level ability: I loved this so much until it was pointed out that this is a 1/ per combat power then I got depressed 8th level ability: even the ranger is like, that sucks 15th level ability: if this was the power at 8th it would be my go-to order despite how much that 2nd level ability sucks.
Order of the Lion great cohort archetype as if can buff all your friends 3 ways.
Edict: not hard to follow but sort of lame  Challenge: it scales somewhat poorly but it’s always useful thus green Class Skills: boo 2nd level ability: solidly green, makes your allies better, stays green because it doesn’t effect you 8th level ability: see 2nd level only more so 15th level ability: excel at escort missions.
Order of the Paw despite a meh challenge ability this is a solid choice especially because it helps out your mount, blue if starting at 8th level or better.
Edict: painless entry  Challenge: power is meh Class Skills: survival is good 2nd level ability: flexible, multiple uses, strong duration, and doesn’t effect you so green 8th level ability: 2 solid bonuses to upgrade your mount 15th level ability: it’s a damage bonus so it’s not red but a little situational, a common situation but situational none-the-less
Order of the Penitent challenge and order ability sucks so this order sucks
Edict: painless entry  Challenge: power is meh Class Skills: survival is good 2nd level ability: this si not very helpful 8th level ability: look something that is actually good. 15th level ability: this is a murder-hobo game


Order of the Scales really solid 2nd level ability but everything else about this order essentially sucks.
Edict: basically be a lawful character  Challenge: how does it get worse than an attack bonus? make it situational Class Skills: boo 2nd level ability: very decent, effectively gives a bonus to a useful skill and a feat for both you and your mount 8th level ability: situational as heck 15th level ability: very powerful in enforcing contracts which would be great for a side business I guess.


Order of the Seal overshadowed a little by order of the hammer, but a very solid choice nonetheless.
Edict: this can be blue or red depending on what you’re defending  Challenge: eliminates the need for 2 feats Class Skills: decent 2nd level ability: flexible as it applies to attack rolls and saves 8th level ability: I’m not moved by this bonus 15th level ability: Good ability but not great


Order of the Shield might seem like a harsh rating but the 15th level ability sours me that much.
Edict: be a goody two shoes  Challenge: I guess a bonus to attack rolls isn’t so bad if you’re fighting defensively all the time Class Skills: look 2 skill you didn’t want 2nd level ability: oh boy converting small chunks of damage to non lethal 8th level ability: great feat freebie 15th level ability: is there a worse color than red?


Order of the Staff this is a great 2nd character or leadership feat option for spellcasters, it would be a little less exciting as a primary caster.
Edict: makes you every spell caster’s bitch basically  Challenge: this is powerful, for your spellcasting allies Class Skills: useless 2nd level ability: again you’re the caster’s bestie 8th level ability: finally you get something out of this arrangement, you know as long as your caster is giving out a buff 15th level ability: add insult to injury.


Order of the Star solid choice, better with cleric or paladin dips
Edict: depends on the faith in question Challenge: shores up saves Class Skills: survival is good 2nd level ability: flexible and extremely friendly for multiclassing 8th level ability: this si pretty boss if everyone is on the same page faith-wise 15th level ability: really really good since it specifies you


Order of the Sword for mounted builds this is beyond good, its prolly cyan, for everyone else it’s yellow at best.
Edict: be good aligned basically Challenge: situational attack bonus, not red because its a very common situation for you Class Skills: no good 2nd level ability: passive and shores up saves 8th level ability: this is so powerful for mounted builds that it is hard to justify a different order 15th level ability: Upgrades the heck out of your challenge ability


Order of the Tome you suffer until 8th level then you become a 2nd rate backup caster on top of being a decent tank...
Edict: be the uber librarian  Challenge: pretty darn close to useless Class Skills: predictably terrible 2nd level ability: if I wanted to play a wizard or bard... 8th level ability: the only reason to bother with this, but it is a pretty solid reason  15th level ability: solid team friendly power


Order of Vengeance an amazing 8th level ability doesn’t fix the early issues with this one.

Edict: this will cause trouble  Challenge: power is meh Class Skills: no good 2nd level ability: if you wanted an intimate build go cockatrice 8th level ability: this is really a good ability 15th level ability: good ability makes little sense for you though