Iconic Design: Running the Gauntlet

Welcome to Iconic Design, Private Sanctuary’s source for innovative and evocative character builds for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, written by Everyman Gamer Alexander Augunas. Today, we’re going to be looking at a build for a gauntlet-totting vigilante.

After Intriguing April, I think I really just needed a short break from the vigilante, because after just one week of doing something different on Iconic Design, my mental block regarding stuff to do with Ultimate Intrigue has collapsed in favor of some new vigilante builds!

Today I have a fun, abet strange, build that’s all about punching people in ways no other class can do. What do I have in mind? Hop in and see for yourself.

Build Concept

The moving parts of today’s build are listed below.

  • Vigilante (Avenger): Many people have been saying, “Why should I play the avenger when I could be a stalker, or have one of those awesome archetypes?” Well, to those people I have this to say: because the avenger is basically the fighter without the fighter levels and attack bonuses. Yes, where as the slayer can come close to matching the fighter feat for feat, the avenger can actually DO it, and sometimes he can do it while gaining improvements that are simply better than what the fighter gets. Does that mean the avenger is better than the fighter class? Well, no. The fighter has better attack bonuses thanks to weapon training and the Greater Weapon Focus feat plus Advanced Weapon Training abilities, but the avenger vigilante is VERY solid; the two are very close, and both very good.
  • Social Talents: Just as a quick note, social talents are better at choosing your CHARACTER’s personality, rather than your personal build. I’m not going to list social talent progressions for this build as a result, as I can’t predict which will work best for your personal game. Sorry.

That’s really the only big choice in this build. No kidding! Let’s move on to the early levels and take a look.

Early Levels (1–7)

  • Classes: vigilante 7
  • Feats: Combat Reflexes (1st), Weapon Finesse (Bonus), Two-Weapon Fighting (3rd), Improved Unarmed Strike (Bonus), Dirty Fighting (5th), Power Attack (Bonus), Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (7th)
  • Abilities: dual identity, seamless guise, social talents, startling appearance, unshakable, vigilante specialization (avenger), vigilante talents
  • Social Talents: FREEBIE (1st), FREEBIE (3rd), FREEBIE (5th), FREEBIE (7th)
  • Vigilante Talents: lethal grace (2nd), fist of the avenger (4th), shield of blades (6th)

One of the really neat things about the avenger is that its really good with a weapon that NEVER gets any love: the gauntlet. Yes, this humble weapon benefits heavily from having an avenger, especially a Dex-based one, who is willing to take a risk with it.

At 1st level, you’re likely going to want Weapon Finesse, as this is a Dex-based build. At 2nd level, you’re likely going to want lethal grace as a result, which will let you swap your 1st-level Weapon Finesse for Combat Reflexes while giving you Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat AND granting you a bonus on damage rolls while using Dex to hit and Str to damage equal to half your vigilante level. That bonus makes up nicely for not using Strength, and it gets even better when we combine it with Two-Weapon Fighting. From there, our vigilante talents include fist of the avenger, which gives Improved Unarmed Strike for free and adds half of the vigilante’s level to damage rolls with unarmed strikes and gauntlet attacks, up to +5, as well as shield of blades, which gives us Power Attack for free and a bonus to AC when we use it. Between all of this, we’re looking at a total of +6 damage from fist of the avenger and lethal grace, as well as another +4/+2 from Power Attack. That’s not bad modifier-wise at Level 7, especially considering that we’re going to have two attacks PLUS Improved Two-Weapon Fighting.

Now, you might be wondering why I took Dirty Fighting. I’m a big fan of this feat, as it adds the ability to use every combat maneuver in the game safely if you have the right tactical positioning. In truth, this isn’t a “I need this right now ,” feat, but rather it’s a, “I need to take this feat right now so I meet some prerequisites later on.” What prerequisites, you ask? Well, let’s move on ahead to the mid levels and see.

Mid Levels (8 –14)

  • Classes: vigilante 14
  • Feats: Combat Reflexes (1st), Weapon Finesse (Bonus), Two-Weapon Fighting (3rd), Improved Unarmed Strike (Bonus), Dirty Fighting (5th), Power Attack (Bonus), Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (7th), Weapon Focus: gauntlet (Bonus), Weapon Specialization: gauntlet (Bonus), Vicious Stomp (9th), Improved Trip (Bonus), Greater Two-Weapon Fighting (11th), Greater Trip (13th), Improved Disarm (Bonus)
  • Abilities: dual identity, frightening appearance, seamless guise, social talents, startling appearance, unshakable, vigilante specialization (avenger), vigilante talents
  • Social Talents: FREEBIE (1st), FREEBIE (3rd), FREEBIE (5th), FREEBIE (7th), FREEBIE (9th), FREEBIE (11th), FREEBIE (13th)
  • Vigilante Talents: lethal grace (2nd), fist of the avenger (4th), shield of blades (6th), signature weapon: gauntlet (8th), favored maneuver: trip (10th), mad rush (12th), favored maneuver: disarm (14th)

Mid levels! We’re looking at a total of +12 from our talents by this point, plus another +8/+4 from Power Attack and another +2 from Weapon Specialization, which we unlock from the signature weapon vigilante talent. We also pick up Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, and some wonderful combat maneuver tricks like Vicious Stomp, Greater Trip, and Improved Trip. Better still, the favored maneuver vigilante talent gives an extra +2 bonus on combat maneuver checks made with any maneuver you select with it, so we’re looking at a total of +6 on trip attempts and +4 on disarm attempts, increased to +10 and +8 if we happen to be flanking thanks to the Dirty Fighting feat. Naturally, I also picked up the mad rush vigilante talent as soon as I could at 12th level, because anything that lets you pounce is AWESOME. (And by the end of this level of gameplay, shield of blades cancels out about half of the penalty that you take from the talent anyway.)

I’m pretty pleased with this build by the mid levels, but let’s see what we can do by the end game.

Endgame (15+)

  • Classes: vigilante 20
  • Feats: Combat Reflexes (1st), Weapon Finesse (Bonus), Two-Weapon Fighting (3rd), Improved Unarmed Strike (Bonus), Dirty Fighting (5th), Power Attack (Bonus), Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (7th), Weapon Focus: gauntlet (Bonus), Weapon Specialization: gauntlet (Bonus), Vicious Stomp (9th), Improved Trip (Bonus), Greater Two-Weapon Fighting (11th), Greater Trip (13th), Improved Disarm (Bonus), Greater Disarm (15th), Vital Strike (Bonus), Improved Vital Strike (17th), Greater Vital Strike (Bonus), Devastating Strike (19th), Improved Grapple (Bonus)
  • Abilities: dual identity, frightening appearance, seamless guise, social talents, startling appearance, stunning appearance, unshakable, vigilante specialization (avenger), vengeance strike, vigilante talents
  • Social Talents: FREEBIE (1st), FREEBIE (3rd), FREEBIE (5th), FREEBIE (7th), FREEBIE (9th), FREEBIE (11th), FREEBIE (13th), FREEBIE (15th), FREEBIE (17th), FREEBIE (19th)
  • Vigilante Talents: lethal grace (2nd), fist of the avenger (4th), shield of blades (6th), signature weapon: gauntlet (8th), favored maneuver: trip (10th), mad rush (12th), favored maneuver: disarm (14th), vital punishment (16th), combat skill: Greater Vital Strike (18th), favored maneuver: grapple (20th)

I also really like the vital punishment talent, and getting the ability to pick up all of the Improved/Greater Vital Strike feats and cap it off with Devestating Strike is pretty cool. You might be wondering why I took this talent, considering I have mad rush and will never want for full attacks? The answer, my friend, is Greater Trip/Vicious Stomp. By 20th level, those feats add 3d4+6 damage to my attacks of opportunity that I make when I trip a foe or when they try to stand from prone. Vital punishment is WICKED cool like that.

And that’s it! I’m pretty pleased with this build, but I’d love to hear what you think. Leave your comments and questions below, and I’ll see you back here next week for what is arguably our most important event of the year here at the Know Direction Network: MY BIRTHDAY!

The question remains, however: do I do a week of Iconic Designs like I usually do, or should I write a Guidance article for Monday? I guess you’ll just have to wait and see….

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.

1 Comment

  1. I though for sure you would be using the new gauntlet style from Armor Master’s Handbook. 🙁

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