Iconic Design: I Like These Articles, ANOTHER!

Welcome to Guidance, Private Sanctuary’s source for tips and techniques for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, written by Everyman Gamer Alexander Augunas. Today, I’ll be sharing a Iconic Design for Thor, God of Thunder!

Its been a while since I did an installment in my Avengers line, so today I’m back and ready to tackle a new member of the team. And who better to write about then a god? So today, we’re going to be diving into the wonderful world of Thor!

Background

Thor, as in the Marvel comic character Thor, is complicated in terms of his backstory. In the comic books, every Norse legend about Thor is real, and he dwells on Asgard, the magical realm of the Norse gods. Thor’s powers are magical, he himself is mythical, and he has all of the powers of a god. In the cinematic universe, however, Thor was scaled down somewhat. While still the basis of real-world Norse worship, Thor is instead a member of a long-lived race of aliens from the planet of Asgard. Still, most legends surrounding Thor are the same, abet somewhat misconstrued by a superstitious population that mistook his advanced science for godly magic.

But yeah, pretty much everything you’ve ever heard about Thor in mythology is true for both of these characters.

Build Concept

So, how do we make a god? Excellent question!

  • Human: Eh, its close enough. Besides, the bonus feat is pretty god-like.
  • Warhammer: Gotta have Mjolnir, right?
  • Magus (Eldritch Scion): It was actually pretty tough to come up with a convincing build for Thor, as you might imagine. In the end, I settled on Magus for a few reasons. First, using a one-handed weapon would NOT be weird for this class. Second, there are TONS of ways to deal electricity damage as a magus. (Hint: some of the BEST ways.) Third, I love the Charisma focus, and fourth….
  • Elemental Bloodline: The bloodrager’s elemental bloodline sold me on the concept of Thor as an eldritch scion. All of the bloodline powers fit PERFECTLY into this presentation of Thor, it is quite uncanny.

And with that out of the way, let’s talk about the build itself!

Early Levels (1–7)

  • Classes: magus (eldritch scion) 7
  • Feats: Improved Initiative (Bonus), Extra Arcane Pool (1st), Weapon Focus: warhammer (3rd), Power Attack (Bonus), Furious Focus (5th), Intensify Spell (7th)
  • Abilities: eldritch pool, elemental bloodline, medium armor, spellstrike
  • Bloodline Powers: elemental strikes (1st), elemental resistances (4th)
  • Magus Arcana: arcane accuracy (3rd), flamboyant arcana (6th)
  • Magus 3rd-Level Spells: burst of speed, lightning bolt
  • Magus 2nd-Level Spells: aggressive thundercloud, bladed dash, gust of wind, tactical acumen
  • Magus 1st-Level Spells: burning hands; returning weapon, shocking grasp, silent image, thunderstomp, true strike
  • Magus Cantrips: arcane mark, detect magic, disrupt undead, open/close, prestidigitation, spark

One of my favorite things about Thor’s build is that it is beautiful in its simplicity. Feat-wise, all Thor really needs is Power Attack and Weapon Focus with his warhammer. I’m also grabbing Furious Focus because hitting people more often is fun as well as Improved Initiative because the God of Thunder should be quick. And as everyone who reads my articles likely knows, I consider Intensify Spell a must-have for the magus. But after that, there isn’t a lot Thor needs except for arcane points.

Why arcane points, you ask? Well, some of the very best magus arcana use arcane points, but for an even better reason look at the mechanics of eldritch pool: you are going to have to be constantly spending arcane points in order to gain you best abilities: for example, the eldritch scion can’t use spell combat outside of mystic focus until 8th level. Chances are that you are going to want to enter mystic focus at every possible opportunity with this build, and to maintain that sort of power, you’re going to need more arcane points.

For Thor’s arcana, I felt that arcane accuracy is a must-have. Thor is a martial master and allowing him to add both of his most important stats to his attack rolls is fantastic. I also grabbed flamboyant arcana because I felt that giving Thor opportune parry and riposte was extremely flavorful. As for how often you’ll use it, I don’t know, but at least you’ll have the option. Plus with a selection of Extra Arcane Pool at 5th level, you’re well on your way to having plenty of arcane points for the job anyway.

One of the interesting facets of the eldritch scion is that it is a spontaneous spellcaster that casts using the bard’s spells per day. In addition to the standard bard spells known, Thor slowly gains the bloodline spells of the elemental bloodline, limited to an electric version of burning hands at 7th level. This isn’t a great spell for the time that you get it, but on the other hand it has already reached its maximum damage potential. That’s gotta be worth something, right? As for the other spells, obviously shocking grasp was a must-have here. I also picked some extra flavorful options, like stone fist so Thor can fight with his bare hands if need be and thunderstomp, because I love me some ranged tripping!

Overall, I think this build speaks for itself. I’m ready to move on to the mid levels!

Mid Levels (8 –14)

  • Classes: magus (eldritch scion) 14
  • Feats: Improved Initiative (Bonus), Extra Arcane Pool (1st), Weapon Focus: warhammer (3rd), Power Attack (Bonus), Furious Focus (5th), Intensify Spell (7th), Disruptive (Bonus), Spontaneous Metafocus: shocking grasp (9th), Extra Arcane Pool (11th),Weapon Specialization: warhammer (Bonus), Spellbreaker (Bonus), Extra Arcane Pool (13th)
  • Abilities: eldritch pool, elemental bloodline, fighter training, heavy armor, improved spell combat, medium armor, spell recall, spellstrike
  • Bloodline Powers: elemental strikes (1st), elemental resistances (4th), elemental movement (8th), power of the elements (12th)
  • Magus Arcana: arcane accuracy (3rd), flamboyant arcana (6th), disruptive (9th), spellbreaker (12th)
  • Magus 5th-Level Spells: overland flight, any two.
  • Magus 4th-Level Spells: elemental body I; ball lightning, stoneskin, any two.
  • Magus 3rd-Level Spells: protection from energy; burst of speed, lightning bolt, haste, cloak of winds, any one.
  • Magus 2nd-Level Spells: scorching ray; aggressive thundercloud, bladed dash, gust of wind, tactical acumen, any two.
  • Magus 1st-Level Spells: burning hands; returning weapon, shocking grasp, silent image, thunderstomp, true strike, any one.
  • Magus Cantrips: arcane mark, detect magic, disrupt undead, open/close, prestidigitation, spark

What can I say? The God of Thunder needs as many arcane points as possible so he can trance all day long! Nothing too interesting in this tier, however. For his non-arcane pool feats, I picked up Disruptive and Spellbreaker as magus arcana, plus Weapon Specialization using the fighter training class feature. I figured that those are very fighter-type feats and I wanted to show off Thor’s fighting prowess with as many fighter feats as possible.

Spell-wise, there’s a lot of cool electricity spells, plus stoneskin because Thor is SUPER resilient in the comics; I figured that stoneskin would be a good fit as a result. There’s also some awesome buff spells like haste on Thor’s list since he’ll be spurring his allies onward to victory.

Aside from that, there isn’t much interesting stuff going on with Thor’s build in the mid-games. Very methodical; perhaps surprisingly so for the God of Thunder. Let’s wrap up this build in the end game!

Endgame (15+)

  • Classes: magus (eldritch scion) 20
  • Feats: Improved Initiative (Bonus), Extra Arcane Pool (1st), Weapon Focus: warhammer (3rd), Power Attack (Bonus), Furious Focus (5th), Intensify Spell (7th), Disruptive (Bonus), Spontaneous Metafocus: shocking grasp (9th), Extra Arcane Pool (11th), Weapon Specialization: warhammer (Bonus), Spellbreaker (Bonus), Extra Arcane Pool (13th), Extra Magus Arcana: enduring blade (15th), Extra Arcane Pool (17th), Extra Arcane Pool (19th)
  • Abilities: eldritch pool, elemental bloodline, fighter training, heavy armor, improved spell combat, medium armor, spell recall, spellstrike
  • Bloodline Powers: elemental strikes (1st), elemental resistances (4th), elemental movement (8th), power of the elements (12th)
  • Magus Arcana: arcane accuracy (3rd), flamboyant arcana (6th), disruptive (9th), spellbreaker (12th), enduring blade (Bonus), bane blade (15th), devoted blade (18th)
  • Magus 6th-Level Spells: chain lightning, transformation, any three.
  • Magus 5th-Level Spells: overland flight, any four.
  • Magus 4th-Level Spells: elemental body I; ball lightning, stoneskin, any four.
  • Magus 3rd-Level Spells: protection from energy; burst of speed, lightning bolt, haste, cloak of winds, any two.
  • Magus 2nd-Level Spells: scorching ray; aggressive thundercloud, bladed dash, gust of wind, tactical acumen, any two.
  • Magus 1st-Level Spells: burning hands; returning weapon, shocking grasp, silent image, thunderstomp, true strike, any one.
  • Magus Cantrips: arcane mark, detect magic, disrupt undead, open/close, prestidigitation, spark

And that, as they say, is that!

Thor’s build features a high number of arcane points; by 20th level, he’s got 10 (1/2 his magus level) + 12 (from Extra Arcana) + his Charisma modifier. That means he can keep his mystic trance going for quite some time, which is helpful considering that elemental strikes, one of his best bloodline powers, also takes a swift action to use, meaning that you’ll need to use one swift action to enter mystic trance and then a second swift action on your next turn in order to actually use that specific bloodline ability.

I ended up grabbing enduring blade with Extra Magus Arcana because it’s a VERY good ability; if you wanted to pick it up earlier instead of Extra Arcane Pool, I wouldn’t blame you. For my other arcana, I picked bane blade (+2d6+2 damage and a +2 enhancement bonus against whatever you want to hurt is REALLY good, especially with enduring blade) and devoted blade (same). Spell-wise, there isn’t much that Thor really NEEDS, but there are some awesome flavor spells available to him, especially chain lightning and transformation. Overall this build leaves Thor as a heavy-hitter with the power of the gods literally in his fingertips, and I particularly enjoy it! With the new Vigilante class around the corner, Thor might benefit from a dip into vigilante (likely avenger) for the dual identity ability, but that’s a power of Thor that is pretty localized in the comic books; Thor doesn’t really have a human alter ego in the movies. But with that said, this is an awesome Thor build and bringing it to the table would make YOU worthy of the title of Thor yourself!

I’ll be back next Monday for another installment of Guidance! Until then, leave your comments and questions below and take care!

Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long as 90% of his colleagues. Alexander is an active freelancer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is best known as the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series by Radiance House. Alex is the owner of Everyman Gaming, LLC and is often stylized as the Everyman Gamer in honor of Guidance’s original home. Alex also cohosts the Private Sanctuary Podcast, along with fellow blogger Anthony Li, and you can follow their exploits on Facebook in the 3.5 Private Sanctuary Group, or on Alex’s Twitter, @AlJAug.

Alex Augunas

Alexander Augunas lives outside of Philadelphia, USA where he tries to make a living as an educator. When he's not shaping the future leaders of tomorrow, Alex is a freelance writer for esteemed Pathfinder Roleplaying Game publishers such as Paizo, Inc, Radiance House, Raging Swan Press, and more, and also acts as a co-host and blogger on the Know Direction Network, where he has earned the nickname, "The Everyman Gamer." Recently, Alex has forayed into the realm of self-publishing through his company, Everyman Gaming, LLC.

3 Comments

  1. Thanks for this build it’s fired up my imagination.

    Couple of questions

    – weapon focus needs +1 BAB

    – have you consider angel kin aasimar

    – meta magic for a spontaneous caster is a full round action, so makes spell combat impossible. Could take spontaneous metafocus to allow intensified shocking grasps though.

    Apart from that, thanks and keep up the good work.

  2. Boy am I biased, but this is my favorite build so far. Well done.

  3. Great build but furious focus needs to be using 2 hands so no spell combat and the new acg faq means no reposting with flamboyant arcana.

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