Private Sanctuary Episode 275 – Class Features: Investigator

Backed by popular demand, Alex Augunas and Anthony Li return to the Private Sanctuary with another Class Features segment. This time, the Everyman Gamer and the Man Behind the Screens are looking at the investigator base class, from the Advanced Class Guide.

Listen Here!

  • Vital Statistics
  • Class Features
    • Alchemy
    • Inspiration
    • Trapfinding
    • Poison Lore
    • Instant Alchemy
    • Poison Resistance/Immunity
    • Investigator Talents
    • Keen Recollection
    • Studied Combat
    • Studied Strike
    • True Inspiration
  • Builds and Play Experience
Admin Istrator


  1. Donovan

    I love your site. I would love to see your thought on some cool Investigator builds soon.

  2. Can you increase the volume output on your audio? The kd podcast is about 30% louder at the same volume. I listen in my car and it’s kinda hard to hear this podcast on the express way, but I have no problem with kd.

    Love the content, just need to hear it better.

    • Salsa30

      I have the same issue. I usually just listen to podcasts on my phone speakers on my way to work, and this is the only podcast I have issues with. Even with the volume turned all the way up, I gave up listening halfway in because it was so hard to hear.

      • Alex Augunas

        Have or had? We recently adjusted the sound to make it louder and reuploaded the podcast.

        • Salsa30

          I listened to it late last week. I will try it again. Thanks for going through the effort to fix it.

        • Tony

          It’s been quiet for a while actually, though there is a volume difference. Makes it hard to put you on while driving; if I have it loud enough to hear, Waze all warnings will blow my eardrums and speakers.

          Have you considered using a compressor on the audio? It should normalize the volume difference between your two audio streams and allow you to maximize your overall volume without clipping.

  3. swordchucks

    Hey, guys. I just listened to this podcast, and I wanted to comment because I think you missed a few things about the investigator class.

    For one thing, when talking about skills, you kind of hand-waved the differences between the rogue and investigator skill lists, but there are some important distinctions. The investigator loses swim, but gains heal, spellcraft, and ALL KNOWLEDGE SKILLS as class skills.

    Further, when talking about inspiration, you missed something very important. From level 1, without taking any talents, the investigator still gets the following: “The investigator can use inspiration on any Knowledge, Linguistics, or Spellcraft checks without expending a use of inspiration, provided he’s trained in the skill.” While your analysis of Keen Recollection as “half of bardic knowledge” is sort of correct, it’s more accurate to say that the other half of bardic knowledge is already there in the form of that free inspiration use on knowledge checks (it starts stronger, even).

    From a skill perspective, I find that the biggest challenge with the investigator is finding a reliable way to produce detect magic (both to find traps and to synergize with your potential for a very high spellcraft skill with its free inspiration die). In PFS, there’s a wayfinder vanity that can fix that problem, but it can be a little harder outside of that.

    You also didn’t mention my favorite archetype, the Empiricist. While the ones you talk about are flashier, the Empiricist is mainly about taking a handful of ultra-useful skills (disable device, perception, sense motive, and UMD) and basing them off intelligence. With Disable Device moved to int, you can still be a trapspringer with a lower Dex. With Perception and Sense Motive moving from Wisdom to Intelligence, you actually surpass the Rogue as the better trapfinder because you’re almost certain to have a better Perception check. Having UMD based on your good stat is just icing on the cake and makes dumping charisma a little more attractive. That’s doubly true if you can figure out how to get Diplomacy to be fully based on Int (there are at least two PFS-legal traits for doing so).

    Finally, I want to talk about combat paths and builds. You guys dismissed a strength based build for an Investigator, and I think you were a bit hasty in doing that. The Investigator has a couple of tricks up his sleeve that make strength a viable route – mainly the fact that enlarge person as an extract is a single standard action to use. Longarm is another useful extract that boosts reach, and between the two extracts, combat reflexes, and a longspear, you can cover a phenomenal amount of the battlefield (you’d threaten everything past 10′ out to 25′). When you take into account the fact that the to-hit bonus from studied combat makes your attacks more accurate, it’s only natural to burn some of that accuracy on power attack, as well. The main reason to go with such a strength build is that it’s fairly feat-lite, leaving you more feats for things like more investigator talents. You’d want Combat Reflexes, Power Attack, and Phalanx Fighter (from Melee Tactics Toolbox – a feat that lets you ignore the cover your allies would provide to foes from your reach weapon), and that’s pretty much it.

    Anyway, I thought it was a good episode, in general. Playing mostly PFS, I’ve not had a chance to try out the Steel Hound, and hearing about those tricks was interesting.

    • Alex Augunas

      You’re right; we did skim over the skills. I forgot to mention that it gets all Knowledge skills, and I’m multiclassed swashbuckler so the loss of Swim eluded me. I also didn’t know that inspiration could be used for free on some skills baseline. That … would have been nice in a number of different scenarios, and it certainly makes the inspired intelligence talent less mandatory for my builds. I’ll have to investigate that further (pun).

      I can’t speak for Anthony, but I didn’t talk about the empiricist because I have nothing nice to say about it. That archetype takes one of the weakest abilities in the class and replaces it with the ability to make you ultra-SAD in the skills department. I think its balanced horribly and shouldn’t be allowed. We also didn’t talk about Strength-based investigators because they don’t interest us. While I personally don’t discount anyone who goes the Strength-based route, when I play an investigator I’m doing it for the skills, and so Dex is strictly more interesting to me (and from the sounds of it, Anthony too) because it mixes better with the type of character we want from the class.

  4. Dax Thura

    Come over to the forums and vote on which Prestige Class Anthony and Alex will feature in their next Class Feature segment.