Friday, December 5, 2014

GM_Solspiral's PAP guide to the Cavalier: Traits, Skills, and Feats

Rather than go into the extensive list of traits out there I will simply point out anything that adds +2 to your initiative, shores up one of your weak saves, helps you multi-class better for multi class builds, or opens a new class skill can be good for you.

You have all the face skills, you need handle animal and ride, and stealth is not a bad call despite being “clanky.” Chances are you’re going small so stealth might not be so bad.

I am not crazy enough to run through all the feats, but I’ll highlight some choices. Generally one wants to pick a path early and build off of that choice.

Mounted Combat - Ride by Attack - Spirited Charge is a crazy good combo if you are small sized and can keep your charging lanes open. You will need to build up other options because there simply is no way your GM is going to allow you to continue to pull this off every time.

Trick Riding - Mounted Skirmisher Trick riding is ok, mounted skirmisher is your bestie if you’re going with a mount build.

All other Mount based feats (mounted shield, indomitable mount, trample) are ok and possibly brilliant depending on what your mount is and how often they get to come into play.

Weapon Finesse - Dervish Dance or Slashing Grace for some builds this is needed but I’d rather have strength.

Power Attack - Cleave- Great Cleave and/or Furious Focus the power attack lines are great for any strength based melee character cavalier is no exception.

Quickdraw Useful for any character.

Archery Related Feats If you’re going to do this Samurai is a better base.

Style Feats there are a few styles that are outstanding if you are dipping monk but if
you are not it’s a 3-4 feat investment for anything worthwhile like say Crane Wing.

Squire/Lantern bearer- Leadership remember you can always trade out your squire/lantern bearer for a different more magical follower if you wish which could work with say a buffer or healbot.

Boon Companion has 2 uses, 1) allows for multi-class dips without hurting your Mount’s survivability 2) upping the power of a secondary animal companion.
Skill Focus - Eldritch Heritage get a sorc power online, or get into dragon disciple.

Horsemaster Ok I lied about Boon Companion, if you didn’t pick something that trades out expert trainer this is THE FEAT to make sure your Animal Companion stays viable. Don’t be fooled by the name it doesn’t have to be a horse.

Combat Expertise- Improved (Trip, Grapple, ect) potentially gives you some battlefield control.

Chain Challenge this lets you declare another challenge without getting into your other challenge pool in a round you take out the subject of a challenge. I like this but often my swift action is spoken for and in a lancer build that uses swift action to challenge move and kills on a charge you don’t have another swift action to use.

Combat Reflexes - Stand Still is excellent with a proper reach weapon and enough dexterity. Stand still means the enemy doesn’t get past you to get at say the caster.

Skill Focus - Eldritch Heritage is usually a poor choice for you, exceptions are Draonic bloodline solely for getting into Dragon Disciple without sorc levels. There’s a few powers that might be worth it but as a general rule not for 2 feats!

Anything that gives your mount flight - Flyby attack want to fix your charging lane issues get yourself or your mount a flight option

Teamwork Feats nothing beats plus you  have a way of sharing these for even more utility! I am BTW ignoring the Betrayal feats, they are in my opinion not very useful yellow or red.

Allied Spell caster you’re not a spell caster
Amplified Rage only ok even when you dip barbarian and have a buddy barbarian
Back to Back pretty much negates flanking
Improved Back to Back not worth 2 feats even free ones
Broken Wing Gambit great if the enemy lets you gang up on them, useless if your GM is a little smarter
Brutal Grappler if your group has 1 grapplerit’s a little odd… this requires 2 and you have to have orc blood.
Cavalry Formation just charge different foes!
Combat Medic only applies to heal skill
Coordinated Charge amazing once you meet the prerequisites if you’re a charger and there’s like a pouncer too.
Coordinated Defense CMD tends to be high already
Coordinated Maneuvers CMB can use the help sometimes.
Coordinated Shot better for luring cavaliers or samurai
Distracting Charge meh and I’m being generous
Duck and Cover look you made the party rogue feel more useful!
Improved Duck and Cover And now the team rogue is annoyed with you
Elemental Commixture this is so good for spellcasters which is NOT you
Enfilading Fire works when you have a dedicated archer
Ensemble who ever has more than one performer in the party
Escape Route I’m not a fan of running but this can be very helpful if you have the GM that throws CR+5s at you a lot.
Feint Partner your rogue thanks you
Improved Feint Partner everyone thanks you
Intercept Charge meh
Lookout most useful of the skill helpers
Outflank your 1st level TW feat
Pack Attack the other possible candidate for first TW feat
Pack Flanking awesome for charging builds
Paired Opportunists better for reach folk
Precise Strike extra damage is always useful, early use of this with tacvtics teaches your party to flank
Seize the Moment extra attacks are always useful especially if your co-front liner is a crit fisher
Shake It Off this can be way too much fun with a summoner, basically a +4 to all saves with a smart party.
Share Healing I suppose this helps with healing resources not sure I’d pay a feat for it.
Shield Wall I want to like this more but a lot fo folk do not use shields.
Shielded Caster smart casters have already dealt with this problem
Improved Spell Sharing if you have near all days buffs from you casting ally you can share with your mount! Also good for the shorter duration buffs when you know the fight is going to last long enough
Splash Volley even with an alchemist in the party this would be garbage
Stealth Synergy good when you have a lot of sneaky types
Swap Places too specific and doesn’t do enough
Improved Swap Places better but still really specific
Tandem Trip small cavalier with a wolf mount will appreciate this
Target of Opportunity best archer buddy feat
Team Pickpocketing not spending a feat on this
Tribe Mentality awesome power but group emotion effects are highly situational
Wall of Flesh the problem is small characters have so many other work arounds that are more effective
Wounded Paw Gambit I’d never buy this but I can see the value


  1. Outflank has a bab 4 requirement, and can't be taken at first level.

  2. Blades Above and Below from inner sea races is a teamwork feat. If you and your ally (mount) threaten the same target, and are different size categories, you count as flanking if the target matches one of your sizes.