Friday, November 28, 2014

Builds: Spirited Charging Pouncer


Spirited Charging Pouncer


Sometimes the most fun thing to do is to make the nastiest monster you can pull off and be the character that rides on it’s back. While strictly speaking the summoner is a little better at this the summoner also sort of ends up being the boring half of the duo. You can still be a really cool character in your own right while riding a very cool mount, just like deadpool in this picture except you won’t be at all like deadpool.


Build Core:
We dip into Primal companion hunter first to establish what our AC is and to hook it up with a starting evolution pool. There’s also the matter of the free teamwork feats. We then exploit the careful wording of the hunter companion  that specifies that anything that grants AC levels stack to make sure our monstrous mount is still an awesome tiger (or whatever) when we go into Beast rider which applies combat trained and gives our mount a free endurance feat. It can become better as we level while we lose next to nothing and at 7th level advance a size category if it doesn’t already! Thanks to being an Aasimar we also can take advantage of the Celestial Servant Feat enabling the ultimate in animal companion awesome a flying pouncing large sized tiger with a goodly number of feats! Meanwhile we can also share our teamwork feats with it and our buds with tactician and its improved cousins. Order of the Sword rounds things out by improving our attack power and giving a really nice damage bonus from our strong mount.


Feats/Class Features of note
Aasimar is a part of the core, it can be discarded but that means no celestial template which adds DR, energy resistance, and the ability to smite evil… Seriously why would you NOT want that for your murder machine? Hunter leads the chain for the reasons I’ve outlined. I’d go for Angle Blooded for the Strength and Charisma bonuses and alter self can be very useful.


1: Aasamar Primal Hunter Companion 1: Spells (Druid and Ranger spells which is awesome), Animal Companion with Primal Transformation (1 evolution point), wild empathy, Mounted Combat
2: PHC 2: Precise Companion- For Outflank, Track
3: Beast Rider Cavalier Order of the Sword 1: Tactician- Shake it off, Challenge, Ride by Attack (Companions are now automatically Combat Trained and have endurance feat)
4: Beast Rider 2: By My Honor, 4th level possible upgrade* (Axe beak)
5: Beast Rider 3: Cavalier’s Charge, Sudden Charge (2 points of evolutions can now be wings and flight!)
6: Beast Rider 4: Challenge 2/day
7: Beast Rider 5: Banner, 7th level mount upgrade options now include Big Cat, Celestial Servant**
8: Beast Rider 6: Combat Expertise
9: PHC 3: Pack Tactics- Pack Flanking***, Power Attack
10: Beast Rider 7: Challenge 3/day
11: Beast Rider 8: Mounted Mastery****, Skill Focus (Ride), Arcane Strike*****
12: PHC 4: Improved Empathetic Link, the ability to use 4 point evolutions if needed (like increasing size) 2nd level spells
13: Beast rider 9: Greater Tactician- Precise Strike (remember with pack tactics when mounted you and mount are flanking so this is +1d6 damage for both of you), Indomitable Mount
14: BR 10: Challenge 4/day, banner now adds +2 to hit
15: BR: 11: Mighty Charge, Trick Rider
16: BR 12: Demanding Challenge, Mounted Skirmisher
17: BR 13: Challenge 5/day, Furious Focus
18: BR 14: Greater Banner
19: BR 15: Knight’s Challenge, Cleave
20: BR 16: Challenge 6/day
*It depends on how you read the animal companion stacking line of hunter. I read it as all animal companion abilities both hunter and cavalier levels count which means level dependent options for your eventual 4 evo points count as though you’re basically your character level but you do not gain additional points. Also the upgrade options of beast rider would hit at the appropriate levels. Check with your GM but it’s a solid interpretation of RAW. It’s also what generally shuts down multiple Booned Animal companions without very specific archetypes.  
**You can and should now be able to pull a winged large tiger with the Celestial Template out. You now win at life. Seriously your tiger companion dishes serious damage with pounce while you’re charging.
***Allows you to be on your mount and benefit from flanking, since you have outflank thats a +4 to hit, With Cavalier’s charges, with Spirited charge and a lance with is times 3 damage and you still have challenge and have only lost 1 BAB. Once you hit continue running by because it’s mean and funny.
****+4 to AC when charging, free feat AND add mounts strength mod on top of your own to the already considerable sum of damage you deal when charging.
*****Because you have an arcane spell like ability and there’s a FAQ stating you can use SLAs for prerequisites. Your caster level is equal to your character level making this a +3 to damage that makes even non-magical weapons magic for the purpose of overcoming DR)


Traits
Dirty Fighter basically +1 to damage when flanking which becomes all the time starting at level 9 but is viable anytime you want to flank whcih is anytime you are not charging.
Bralani’s Step gives an axtra 5ft of movement on move actions 1/day


Skills
Max Ride, Handle Animal, Face Skills this isn’t your forte.


20 point buy
Str 18 (with 2 points from Racial)
Dex 10
Con 13
Int 13
Wis  12
Cha 14 (with 2 points form Racial)


Stat Adds- 4th Con, 8th INT, 12 & 16 Str


Tactics at level
1- Use your companion as front line while you buff or cast some BF control,
3- Challenge and you can ride or flank with companion
5- Saves are likely not an issue and now you should ABC… Always be Charging!
7- Your Mount is now supremely Awesome. You get your big hit with the charge and it gets a full attack with pounce, make sure to take fly-by-attack for when you sprout wings on the AC
9- Assuming you are following the build:
To Hit: BAB +8, Str bonus (not counting equip) +4 Challenge + 2 (swift), +4 from Cavalier Charge, +4 (outflank and pack flanking), +1 worn banner, assuming minimal +2 from magic weapon, -3 from power attack = +20 to hit against a CR( average AC = 23 meaning you donly fail to hit on a 1.
Damage: 1d8 lance, +4 Strength, +6 power attack, +2 from magic weapon +1 from trait multiplied by 3 for 42 -63 damage + Animal companion gets pounce and rake full attack off gaining most of your to hit sheenanigans against an average of 115 HP. If you crit it dies… If not your team can finish if they haven’t softened it up. This also isn’t factoring force multipliers like bard songs or Bulls strength.
11- You should never fail a ride check, Arcane strike and 8th level order fo sword ability just added 4 to your mounted charge AC a +8 total to damage before the times 3 is applied.
13- More damage, more saves, pretty much more everything as you level.


If for some reason you cannot bring your mount you are far from useless in combat you just deal a little less damage (lance becomes x2 still reach, no shield) per strike BUT you get your itterative attacks which should balance. See if the party can shrink your companion to medium for tougher spots as it is a big part of your sheet.


Possible Variants
I considered going Chevalier for a lovely 3 level dip from level 12-14. You’d be even better against will targeted effects, add an aura to your awesomeness, immunity to poison, another attack damage bonus condition, a little better ac on a charge and oh yeah SMITE EVIL. What you’d lose is the 15th level order of the sword ability and delay the progression of some rather sweet cavalier abilities and that was the biggest factor in me saying no thanks.

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

9 comments:

  1. How are you getting Arcane Strike?, you need to be able to cast Arcane Spells.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Also Spirited Charge, you list it but I dont see it anywhere in the level progression?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. In response to both of these questions:

      I believe the case of Spirited Charge is just a typo, and it should be the 5th level feat in place of Sudden Charge (which is a monster ability, not a feat).

      An FAQ states that Spell-Like Abilities count as spells for prerequisites (In this case, the Aasimar's racial SLA qualifies it for Arcane Strike)
      Relevant FAQ: a hrf=http://paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1fm#v5748eaic9qow

      Delete
  3. Real sorry to be a downer but unless I missed something, it seems one can't take the Flight evolution unless one has 5 levels in Hunter due to this line from the Primal Transformation ability: "A primal companion hunter uses her hunter level to determine the number of evolution points gained, limitations on how often an evolution can be selected, and so on."

    Looking then at the description for the Flight evolution itself, the last line states that the summoner (in our case, Hunter) must be at least 5th level before selecting this evolution.

    If this is the case, any idea over the order one would want to take your Cavalier and Hunter levels?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I want to note a problem with the spirited charger and the choice of teamwork feats. I don't know how other DM's rule this (considering mounted rules are so freaking poorly done in this game), but if I were the DM, I would absolutely enforce how lances are reach weapons. I do not recall any instance of how the lance loses it's reach status on a mount, only that it can be used one handed. Thus, my issue with your build is the pack flanking, and anything else that spawns off of that feat.

    If you're on the mount, unless you increase the range of the mounts attacks, you are never threatening the same area of space as the mount. Granted, having the eidolon as a mount very likely makes this trivial to achieve, I just didn't note it in the build path that you did anything for the mount but make it bigger. Even the large mounts, like an actual animal tiger, still has 5 foot reach.

    I've been trying to make a beast rider cavalier using a deinonychus. And I simply could not justify how I could ever be threatening with the mount while I was wielding the lance as to cheese those flanking feats. Dropping the lance and wielding a non-reach weapon would be the only way (in my mind).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Get an axe-beak. Has built in reach. And a free trip if it hits on a charge.

      Delete
  5. I want to note a problem with the spirited charger and the choice of teamwork feats. I don't know how other DM's rule this (considering mounted rules are so freaking poorly done in this game), but if I were the DM, I would absolutely enforce how lances are reach weapons. I do not recall any instance of how the lance loses it's reach status on a mount, only that it can be used one handed. Thus, my issue with your build is the pack flanking, and anything else that spawns off of that feat.

    If you're on the mount, unless you increase the range of the mounts attacks, you are never threatening the same area of space as the mount. Granted, having the eidolon as a mount very likely makes this trivial to achieve, I just didn't note it in the build path that you did anything for the mount but make it bigger. Even the large mounts, like an actual animal tiger, still has 5 foot reach.

    I've been trying to make a beast rider cavalier using a deinonychus. And I simply could not justify how I could ever be threatening with the mount while I was wielding the lance as to cheese those flanking feats. Dropping the lance and wielding a non-reach weapon would be the only way (in my mind).

    ReplyDelete
  6. And I completely ignored the lunge feat. It's perfect in that it gives your mount the exact same reach as your lance for the round.

    ReplyDelete