Iconic Design: Ssssee What I Did There?

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 naga aspirant.

Hey everyone! In honor of my Kickstarter, I’m going to continue with me theme of, “Builds for Alex’s Dynastic Races.” Today, I’m going to do a nagaji aspirant build. Because that way, maybe you’ll be “aspired” to throw some money at my Kickstarter.

*Crickets*

Let’s just ignore that bad joke and move on, shall we?

Build Concept

So, what is today’s build going to look like? Snakes. It has to be snakes.

  • Nagaji. Snaaaaaaaakes!
  • Druid (Naga Aspirant): A racial archetype for a class that the race doesn’t have any ability mods to? Challenge accepted.

Alright, let’s do this!

Early Levels (1–7)

  • Classes: druid (naga aspirant) 7
  • Feats: Toughness (1st), Power Attack (3rd), Natural Spell (5th), Scribe Scroll (7th)
  • Abilities: aspirant’s enlightenment, naga shape, nature bond (animal companion), trackless step, wild empathy, wild shape 2/day, woodland stride
  • Animal Companion Feats: Weapon Focus: bite (1 HD), Power Attack (3 HD), Final Embrace (5 HD)
  • Aspirant’s Bond: mage hand (1st), divine favor (2nd), shield (3rd), mirror image (4th), see invisibility (5th), displacement (6th), divine power (7th)

Building a naga aspirant isn’t too different from building an ordinary druid in the early levels. First, we’re taking an animal companion—the lost of the spontaneous casting really hurts the aspirant as a spellcasting class (that’s one whole spell per day per level), so we’ll go with MOAR SNAKEZ instead. The archetype itself trades very little; the big thing you get in this stage of the game is the ability to add a whole bunch of sorcerer/wizard spells to your list of spells known, and the list is actually REALLY good for both a spellcasting focus and a melee focus. Why a melee focus, you ask? Well, there are TONS of awesome defensive buffs on the list. Pretty much every good sorcerer/wizard defensive buff that’s 4th level or lower. Yes. I’ll take it. PLEASE.

Our snake is actually pretty good, believe it or not. We’re taking a constrictor snake, and that little buddy’s got grab AND a 4th-level advancement; a beautiful combination. At 4th level, a constrictor snake gets constrict, so all we need to do is bump up our snake’s Intelligence to 3 and presto! It can take any feat it wants. Including FINAL EMBRACE. This wickedly cool feat lets the snake grapple and constrict a LOT more then it normally could, which is helpful.

Now, it might seem weird that I’m advising you to take Scribe Scroll, but the general idea is that you’ll have TONS of short-duration, limited-use wizard spell buffs that its totally worth it. Obviously if you’re playing in PFS, this feat is off the table—I suggest Improved Initiative in that case.

And with that, let’s advance our little snake-man to the mid levels!

Mid Levels (8 –14)

  • Classes: druid (naga aspirant) 14
  • Feats: Toughness (1st), Power Attack (3rd), Natural Spell (5th), Scribe Scroll (7th), Vital Strike (9th), Outflank (11th), Powerful Poisoning (13th)
  • Abilities: aspirant’s enlightenment, naga shape, nature bond (animal companion), trackless step, wild empathy, wild shape 6/day, woodland stride
  • Animal Companion Feats: Weapon Focus: bite (1 HD), Power Attack (3 HD), Final Embrace (5 HD), Outflank (7 HD), Final Embrace Horror (9 HD), Vital Strike (11 HD)
  • Aspirant’s Bond: mage hand (1st), divine favor (2nd), shield (3rd), mirror image (4th), see invisibility (5th), displacement (6th), divine power (7th), divine power (8th), dispel magic (9th), fireball (10th), mage armor (11th), shield of faith (12th), charm person (13th) lightning bolt (14th)
  • Augmented Form: Sting (9th), Poisonous Sting (13th)

Mid levels are big girl levels for this build. First, our nagaji and her snake are going to be grabbing Outflank for the simple reason that when you grapple someone, they’re basically stuck with you. The idea is that Mr. Snake will grapple people so you (the druid) can run over into the proper positive and flank with your snake for that tastey +4 to hit. Your snake is the grappler and you’re the poisoner. Eventually, anyway. The idea is to build into that second attack, your sting, which will allow you to go into the devastatingly effective poisonous sting feat. This fantastic ability allows your tail to deliver a sting that renders foes unconscious, and at the precise time you get it you can also take the Powerful Poisoning feat, which allows you to gain a bonus to the save DCs of your poisons when you use Power Attack. Plan for a decent Charisma modifier (+2 or +3) and you can EASILY render foes fast asleep in your animal companion’s loving, horrific embrace. (Because your animal companion will have Final Embrace Horror, which causes it to shaken anything it damages with the constrict attack.) That way, your foe will be fast asleep and completely helpless as your snake friend pins it to the ground almost effortlessly.

I know, this is pretty mean. Let’s move on to the end game.

Endgame (15+)

  • Classes: druid (naga aspirant) 20
  • Feats: Toughness (1st), Power Attack (3rd), Natural Spell (5th), Scribe Scroll (7th), Vital Strike (9th), Outflank (11th), Powerful Poisoning (13th),
  • Grasping Strike (15th), Winter Strike (17th), Improved Vital Strike (19th)
    Abilities: aspirant’s enlightenment, naga shape, nature bond (animal companion), trackless step, true naga, wild empathy, wild shape 8/day, woodland stride
  • Animal Companion Feats: Weapon Focus: bite (1 HD), Power Attack (3 HD), Final Embrace (5 HD), Outflank (7 HD), Final Embrace Horror (9 HD), Vital Strike (11 HD), Final Embrace Master (13 HD), Weapon Focus: grapple (15 HD)
  • Aspirant’s Bond: mage hand (1st), divine favor (2nd), shield (3rd), mirror image (4th), see invisibility (5th), displacement (6th), divine power (7th), divine power (8th), dispel magic (9th), fireball (10th), mage armor (11th), shield of faith (12th), charm person (13th) lightning bolt (14th), suggestion (15th), charm person (16th), magic missile (17th), true strike (18th), open/close (19th), acid arrow (20th)
  • Augmented Form: Sting (9th), Poisonous Sting (13th), poisonous bite (17th)
  • And here we are at the end game! Some fun things to note, our snake friend now deals double damage with his constrict attack. Furthermore, you have a number of HILARIOUS debuffing abilities tied to your vital strike. (Grasping Strike is especially good, as every time you strike someone they’ll have to save or become entangled.) You also literally have poison coming out of both ends now; your mouth deals Con damage and your tail puts people to sleep.

All in all, this is a VERY unique, if weird, build. I don’t think its going to win any DR Olympics or anything, but I’m willing to bet that you’ll have a stellar time playing it, especially if you play it in a campaign going up to 15th level. (Aka try it in an AP, but be prepared for it to just get “good” as society play ends.)

And that’s the end of my nagaji build! Like I mentioned earlier, I’m running a Kickstarter so I can write cool stuff about the nagaji, kitsune, samsaran, and wayang races, and I’m very much appreciate your support if you’re willing to help me out. Next week I’ll be back with a wayang-themed build, but until then, 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.

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