Iconic Design: To Hell and Back

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 Dante (from the Dante’s Inferno video game) Iconic Design.

Welcome back to Iconic Design, everyone! Today’s build is a reader requested one; thanks for being so patient with me as I put this build together (and wait for Hell’s August, the absolute PERFECT time to look at this character)!

Background

So the video game, Dante’s Inferno, is based upon the first canticle of Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri. In the original story, Dante is a philosopher who is given a grand tour of Hell, and almost all of Pathfinder’s visions for Hell’s most basic structure comes from the Divine Comedy. In the video game, Dante is a member of the Knights Templar who journies through the nine circles of Hell to reclaim the soul of his beloved, Beatrice, from Lucifer.

In the game, Dante’s primary weapon is Death’s scythe that can be used in a series of combination attacks and finishing moves. His secondary weapon is a Holy Cross that fires a volley of energy as a projectile attack. In addition, Dante can use numerous magic based attacks and abilities channeled from a mana pool to help in combat, many of which are obtained as the game progresses.

Build Concept

So, let’s take a brief overview of the options I’m choosing for Dante.

  • Human: Although you can totally go dhampir or some cool half-undead creature if you want, I’m sticking with human. Quick and easy.
  • Warpriest: This is the best class for mirroring Dante’s abilities that I can find. From allowing his scythe to burst into flame with sacred weapon to the scaling damage from sacred weapon, this class is PERFECT for Dante! Our stand-in for Dante’s holy cross is going to be the Channel Energy ability, which this build is going to focus on somewhat despite what people will tell you about warpriests and channeling.
  • Pharasma: I had a few options for gods, but I felt that Dante stealing Urgathoa’s scythe at Pharasma’s behest so he can rescue his lover’s soul from Hell was TOO cool to pass up on!

So, with the basics out of the way, let’s talk about the build!

Early Levels (1–7)

  • Classes: warpriest 7
  • Favored Class: Human 1/6 bonus combat feat (Channel Smite).
  • Feats: Extend Spell (Human), Weapon Focus: Scythe (Bonus), Improved Initiative (1st), Furious Focus (Bonus), Power Attack (3rd), Versatile Channel (5th), Weapon Specialization: Scythe (Bonus), Channel Smite (Bonus), Extra Channel (7th)
  • Abilities: aura, blessings (Death, Healing; minor), channel energy, fervor 2d6, focus weapon, orisons, sacred armor +1, sacred weapon +1
  • Deity: Pharasma.
  • Traits: Fate’s Favored, Magical Lineage.

Level 1 for this build is wonky. You get three feats, but there’s nothing very important that you can qualify for. I elected for Extend Spell with the assumption that you’d be using Magical Lineage with divine favor, which will allow you to double divine favor’s duration for free. This isn’t huge at 1st level and likely won’t be huge for a long time, but towards the end game I’m gearing up for Spell Perfection, so taking this metamagic feat now helps towards that end.

Level 2 is always awesome with the fantastically powerful fervor ability but Level 3 is where Dante starts to come together; you’ll gain Power Attack and Furious Focus at the same time. Pretty cool, right? Versatile Channel at 5th level might seem like a weird choice, but in terms of its thematic it is absolutely perfect; it allows Dante to channel both unholy power and holy power at the same time. Its very situational at this level when you’re not likely to have many fervor uses to power it, but it’ll become more powerful at 7th level when you’ll have extra fervor uses to burn on it via Extra Channel. Dante also gets Channel Smite as a bonus feat at 6th level thanks to his human warpriest favored class bonus, which is absolutely incredible.

Because she lacks the Evil, Chaos, Good, or Law domains, Pharsma doesn’t have any cool “summon monsters to fight for me” blessings. With that in mind, the most thematic blessings from her list that I can give to Dante are Death and Healing. I like the thematic “life and death” vibe that it gives and the duality can also be translated into holy / unholy.

So, this is the start of Dante’s build. Let’s see how it progresses into the mid levels!

Mid Levels (8 –14)

  • Classes: warpriest 14
  • Favored Class: Human 1/6 bonus combat feat (Channel Smite, Improved Critical).
  • Feats: Extend Spell (Human), Weapon Focus: Scythe (Bonus), Improved Initiative (1st), Furious Focus (Bonus), Power Attack (3rd), Versatile Channel (5th), Weapon Specialization: Scythe (Bonus), Channel Smite (Bonus), Extra Channel (7th), Greater Weapon Focus: Scythe (Bonus), Improved Channeling (9th), Greater Channel Smite (11th), Greater Weapon Specialization: Scythe (Bonus), Improved Critical (Bonus), Quicken Blessing (13th)
  • Abilities: aura, blessings (Death, Healing; major), channel energy, fervor 5d6, focus weapon, orisons, sacred armor +3, sacred weapon +3
  • Deity: Pharasma.
  • Traits: Fate’s Favored, Magical Lineage.

At the Mid levels, options literally pour into the Warpriest’s hands. Our warpriest becomes WAY more proficient with his channeling via the Improved Channeling and Greater Channel Smite feats and gets better at attacking all around thanks to the Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization feats. The build also finds the time to grab Improved Critical, and while the scythe isn’t the most optimized weapon for Improved Critical, it is absolutely TERRIFYING when it critically hits thanks to its massive damage multiplier. Dante also has tons of special abilities that he can use to flexible alter the type of damage that he deals with his weapons.

Let’s finish this build up at the End Game!

Endgame (15+)

  • Classes: warpriest 20
  • Favored Class: Human 1/6 bonus combat feat (Channel Smite, Improved Critical, FREE BEE).
  • Feats: Extend Spell (Human), Weapon Focus: Scythe (Bonus), Improved Initiative (1st), Furious Focus (Bonus), Power Attack (3rd), Versatile Channel (5th), Weapon Specialization: Scythe (Bonus), Channel Smite (Bonus), Extra Channel (7th), Greater Weapon Focus: Scythe (Bonus), Improved Channeling (9th), Greater Channel Smite (11th), Greater Weapon Specialization: Scythe (Bonus), Improved Critical (Bonus), Echoing Spell (13th), Critical Focus (Bonus), Silent Spell (15th), Spell Perfection: Divine Power (17th), Critical Versatility (Bonus), FREE BEE (Bonus), FREE BEE (19th)
  • Abilities: aspect of war, aura, blessings (Death, Healing; major), channel energy, fervor 7d6, focus weapon, orisons, sacred armor +5, sacred weapon +5
  • Deity: Pharasma.
  • Traits: Fate’s Favored, Magical Lineage.

And here’s the end! I’ve opted to grab Spell Perfection with divine power so you can prepare divine power as much as you want and echo it for free, which basically reprepairs this awesome spell after its been cast. I also used one of the warpriest’s bonus feats to pick up Critical Versatility, a human fighter feat that basically allows you to pick any critical feat you want once per day. You have to use your standard warpriest BAB when determining if you meet the feat’s prerequisites, but this only keeps one critical feat out of your grasp.

And once you get to this point, its like, “Wow, I have one combat feat and one standard feat left to take. I have no idea what the heck to take!” So yeah, freebees. Sorry they’re boring, but it is what it is.

Playing This Build

This is sort of a new section for my articles, and you shouldn’t expect to see them all the time. This is very much reserved for the most complicated builds that I do, of which I think this qualifies. So here’s a quick run-down of how to play Dante using a short priority list.

  • Self-Buff with Fervor. Use your swift action fervor ability to get yourself combat ready as often as possible. At higher levels, I’d also consider a glove of storing with a lesser metamagic rod of quicken spell so I can use my divine favor on lesser fights and save my divine power for the big fights. Regardless, you want the attack bonus (plus an extra +1 from fate’s favored) REAL bad for this build.
  • Channeling: Although you have proficiency in channeling, it is not something you want to do often because most of your channel attempts count against your fervor uses. Save it for demolishing droves of low-Will undead. At higher levels, when you’re buffed up, you can also use channel smite to deal extra damage to your foes. Even in this case, Channel Smite is your “combo breaker.” It is the last thing that you use your swift actions on if you are already A) buffed up with fervor and B) benefiting from sacred armor/weapon.

Told you the list was short! So what do you think? Is this a build you would try? What do you think of the warpriest class? What would you do differently? Leave your comments below and I’ll see you next week for another all-new installment of Guidance!

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.

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