Gen Con is loaming on the horizon. On Wednesday, Code Switch’s James and I will be heading out to Indianapolis for the best four days in gaming! Part of going out to Gen Con means being prepared to play lots and lots of PFS, and I have to finish leveling up a few characters in order to do it. One of my characters that needed a serious updating is my vigilante; not only did I have a couple of GM and pregen credits on him, but I also put a Sabbatical boon on him. Basically, if I refrained for playing him for one year, I got a free level’s worth of XP, Prestige, and Gold for him. (It was pretty easy to do, really, what with all of the Strange Aeons, PFS GMing, and other character playing I do.)
So with this in mind, it came time to revisit the vigilante, and I decided I wanted to do something cool with him. I wanted to be REALLY good at using Acrobatics, but not just balancing on tightropes or whatever. I wanted to be really good at actually using Acrobatics in combat to do stuff. So with this in mind (and knowing I wanted a few levels of vigilante), I put today’s build together.
Any information important to understanding the build or its roots goes here.
- Classes: unchained rogue (kitsune trickster, scout) 7, swashbuckler (corsair) 1, vigilante 4
- Feats: Dodge (1st; Bonus), Mobility (1st); Skill Focus: Acrobatics (3rd); Canny Tumble (5th); Weapon Finesse (6th; Bonus), Spring Attack (7th; Bonus), Confounding Tumble Deed (7th), Circling Mongoose (9th), Sliding Dash (11th)
- Abilities: debilitating injury, deeds, dual identity, finesse training (kukri), evasion, kitsune charm 2/day, kitsune guile, hidden strike +2d8, panache, rogue’s edge (Acrobatics), seamless guise, sneak attack +4d6, swift target, unshakable.
- Rogue Talents: combat trick: Spring Attack (2nd); slow reactions (4th); fast stealth (6th)
- Social Talents: social grace (1st), Intrigue Talent: Street Smarts (3rd)
- Vigilante Talents: Leave an Opening (2nd), Up Close and Personal (4th)
This build uses a lot of moving parts from several different sources. First, it uses the corsair swashbuckler archetype from Blood of the Beast. It’s a weird little archetype that plenty of people look down on because it drops opportunity parry and riposte. I’m only going one level into the class, though; I need panache to qualify for Confounding Tumble Deed, and this archetype gets Dodge as a bonus feat at 1st level, which is a feat that half of my best feats need as a prerequisite. Ultimately, it really works out for me.
The important classes in this line up, however, are vigilante (stalker specialization) and unchained rogue (kitsune trickster and scout). As you’ve probably guessed, my vigilante is a kitsune, but you don’t need the kitsune trickster archetype or the kitsune race to play this build; having an extra +2 racial bonus on Acrobatics checks really helps though, so if you take a different race try to pick something like halfling or vanara that (A) have a racial bonus to Dex and (B) have a racial bonus to Acrobatics. (Of those two, halfling is better stat-wise, but vanara is better for having medium weapons.) The scout archetype’s mobility is awesome, however; when charge, your attack is a sneak attack.
So, what exactly does this build do? Well, it has a few major tricks by PFS end game.
- When you charge, you get sneak attack. Additionally, when you charge, you can use Sliding Charge to make an Acrobatics check to slide through your foe’s space. If you do, you count as flanking your opponent for your first attack at the end of the charge. (Between scout’s charge and Sliding Charge, your foe is denied its Dexterity bonus to AC and flanked.)
- Up Close and Personal allows you to make a swift action attack against any foe when you attempt to move through their space using Acrobatics. If you succeed, you get to make an attack against your foe using your full hidden strike damage. If you fail, you still get the attack, but its reduced. Sliding Charge applies for this purpose, and will also allow that attack to deliver sneak attack damage.
- Confounding Tumble Deed and Canny Tumble give you some neat perks when you move through an enemy’s space. Canny Tumble gives you an extra +2 circumstance bonus to hit your target, and Confounding Tumble allows you to spend panache as a free action so your foe is denied its Dex against all of your attacks before the end of your next turn. This means that when you charge, you can slide through your foe, get your free attack from the up close and personal vigilante talent, and then still get a sneak attack / hidden strike attack at the end of your charge as normal.
- You have Spring Attack, which you can use to do similar shennanigins as charging, provided you’re at least 10 feet away. (You don’t get Sliding Charge, but you move through an enemy’s space, trigger Confounding Tumble and Up Close and Personal, and then take your attack against your foe after you’ve finished moving through their space.)
Overall, it’s a weird little build that makes you really good at flitting around and across an opponent while still being good at moving!
Next week, I’m planning on having my first Starfinder-themed article for you guys; a Guidance article talking a little bit about some things I really like in Starfinder’s rules, and some others that I don’t. I don’t know how long I’m going to be talking about Starfinder for, but it IS the new shininess. (Don’t expect me to give up on Pathfinder for long, though. My heart will always be in fantasy. :D)
But that’s all for this week; see you on the school-bound side of Gen Con!
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.