So now that we’ve gone over combat maneuvers and related character options, I want to show what a character who focuses on these maneuvers might look like, and present a pair of unorthodox builds to show off the flexibility of Pathfinder Second Edition’s interchangeable features. In particular, I wanted to port over a character concept from Pathfinder 1e I featured on my original blog: the kitsune who fights with their tails! Now both paths have some mild table variation you should be aware of: Some Gamemasters may rule that Gorilla Stance can only be used with your arms/fists, even if you have a tail (or hair) unarmed attack. Also, the Living Hair ability does technically specify hair, mustaches, or eyebrows. But in both cases, I can’t imagine a Gamemaster who allows this character concept letting these minor quibbles get in the way of your ability to choke someone to death while you file your nails. After all, stances do not strictly specify which body part is used for the special unarmed strike!
There are numerous ways to go about this build, most involving archetype feats that make it far easier to accomplish when using the Free Archetype variant rule. The monk will have higher weapon proficiency and be better equipped to stay on the front lines, whereas the Witch gets to play with demoralize actions and can cast spells. As usual, I only put what I consider to be the “necessary” elements of these builds. And more than usual, you should feel free to play around with the concept, mixing and matching the feats and classes that you will have the most fun with to make this character your own!
Build Concept: Monk of the Fluffy Tails
- Ancestry: Kitsune
- Heritage: Ganzi
- Class: Monk
- Class Feats: Gorilla Stance (1st), Crushing Grab (2nd), Fighter Dedication (4th), Whirling Throw (6th), Basic Maneuver (Combat Grab) (8th), Sleeper Hold (10th), Advanced Maneuver (Dazing Blow) (12th)
- Ancestry Feats: Smashing Tail (1st), Skillful Tail (5th), Larcenous Tail (9th), Mischievous Tail (13th)
- Skill Feats: Titan Wrestler
This build is about grabbing your target with your tail and squeezing the life out of them with either Sleeper Hold or Dazing Blow, or throwing them aside with Whirling Throw! You get the offensive and defensive capabilities of a monk, including decent weapon proficiencies and armor class. This build is otherwise a potent front-line martial. If you find you don’t want any of these feats, I highly recommend looking at Flurry of Maneuvers to take full advantage of your Mischievous Tail (or Living Hair).
Build Concept: Fluffy Tailed Witch
- Ancestry: Kitsune
- Heritage: Dark Fields
- Class: Witch (Curse Theme for Evil Eye)
- Class Feats: Living Hair (2nd), Monk Multiclass Dedication (1st), Basic Kata (Gorilla Stance) (4th), Advanced Kata (Crushing Grab) (6th), Advanced Kata (Gorilla Pound) (12th)
- Skill Feats: Titan Wrestler, Battle Cry, Terrified Retreat
- General/Ancestry Feats: Adopted Ancestry (Hobgoblin for Agonizing Rebuke or Ganzi for the Tail Feats) (3rd)
- Spells: Grim Tendrils
This build focuses on Grab and Intimidation, striking fear into the hearts of your targets before you grab them and slowly squeeze the life out of them. That being said, you won’t be able to “grab with your hair” until level 4, but you will be able to disarm and trip with your hair starting at level 2, whereas the Monk has to wait until level 13 with Mischievous Tail. While your attacks with your tail will have a lower attack bonus, you are still grabbing using the Athletics skill. And don’t forget your familiar, which may or may not be a Star Orb depending on how your GM wants to rule stacking two abilities that grant a familiar.