The Vital Strike Azata Sword Saint encounters Hepzamirah and Baphomet (on core difficulty), and gets a little bit lucky, admittedly. Hepzamirah gets a critical hit in round 1 being caught flat-footed. Too fast for Seelah to get her song up. With Baphomet, Fleur needs to use dimension strike, to hit B’s hittable touch AC instead of the unhittable armor AC (= 84, good luck with that). This burns through the arcane pool fast, which has, after weapon enchantment, 11 points total. However, the second hit is a critical one and ends the encounter on round 2 (enough time for B to kill Lann, though). Too fast for our cleric to get guarded hearth up.
Yes, I did quite some reloads in the mines, awesome place with a lot of difficult encounters, but sometimes you just get lucky.
BTW: I did not cast legendary proportions, because I stumbled into this fight in a blind playthrough.
A little bit of math for the B. fight: At that point, we have 9 points in the arcane pool left, which let’s us make three attacks (2 points for dimension strike, 1 point for perfect strike), where for the last attack the two points for perfect critical would be missing, reducing our damage a bit. Anyway, with the keen enchantment of the Fauchard we crit at 15 to 20, which is a 6/20 = 30% chance. To not crit with three attacks has a probability of 0.7^3 = 0.343, which means that there is a probability of 65.7% to end the encounter as shown (a hit with no crit does over 100 damage, which is also something).
Race: Thiefling, Hungerseed (+2 strength, +2 wisdom, -2 char)
Background: Pickpocket for +2 to initiative.
Skills: Mobility to 3, max Perception, Athletics and another one of your choice (took use magic device, did not use it however.)
We dump persuasion. While that was very much needed for the MC in P:K, that does not seem to be the case (yet) in P:WotR (beta). If that changes, you can choose the background that gives wisdom to persuasion, or you switch wis and char and go Aasimar instead. I chose to go Wis for the saves. All ability upgrades go to strength.
Level 1: Sensei, Dodge + Crane Style
We need a monk dip anyway, and Sensei gives us a song. Unfortunatly this does not extend to the Azata songs (yet?).
Level 2: Sword Saint, chosen weapon: Fauchard
A two handed reach weapon with a critical range of 18-20, as we won’t use spell combat anyway. Spell combat is not worth it, because we would need to invest a lot of feats to overcome spell and elemental resistance of most foes. It would make more sense to take a Bloodrager level here, if you want to take one, but then the game does not let us take dazzling display on level 3. We need the weapon focus here for that. (Maybe this is a bug?)
Level 3: Bloodrager, celestial bloodline, dazzling display as prerequisite for shatter defenses later.
Gives us Rage, the +2 to the attack bonus is good, celestial bloodline lets us bypass damage reduction and adds 1d6 damage.
Level 4: Sword Saint, +1 Strength, Magus Arcana: Arcane Accuracy
Level 5: Sword Saint: Outflank
From here on I took another Bloodrager level to gain uncanny dodge, everything else goes to Sword Saint.
- Crane Wing, Crane Riposte.
- Shatter Defenses.
- Vital Strike, Improved Vital Strike, Greater Vital Strike.
- Greater Weapon Focus.
- Weapon Specialization
Greater Weapon Specialization would follow next.
Magus Arcana: Enduring Blade, Dimension Strike, for enemies with high AC but low touch AC like B., when it becomes available at level 15 (= Sword Saint level 12, if you take 2 Bloodrager levels).
- Unlimited Rage
- Abundant Casting
- Mystic Vital Strike
- Ever Ready
- Archmage Armor
- Mystic Weapon Specialization
- Marvelous Endurance
- Incredible Might
About mystic powers: Ever Ready + Outflank should be taken on all melee chars + feats and weapons that increase the crit chance. Crits will prompt attacks of opportunity which get a boost from Every Ready.
Archmage Armor works if you drink a potion. The Sword Saint does not have access to the spell, unfortunately. But potions are a dime a dozen in the beta.
Instead of Mystic Weapon Specialization one could also take Mystic Weapon Focus. The build will probably take both, anyway, in the end. With “Incredible Might” I thought the AB boost was sufficient at that time.
Apparel and buffing are straight forward. The best Fauchard you can find, strength belt, headband of intelligence, ring of protection, cloak of resistance, amulet of natural armor. Very mediocre compared to what you get in Kingmaker at level 17. Buff with mage armor, shield, cat’s grace, owl’s wisdom, enlarge person, those are all level 1 and 2 spells.
Note that this build does not maximize damage, but balances offensive and defensive feats to achieve a good survivability on the frontline on core difficulty. If you want more damage, you could go Trickster, or take the improved critical feat in order to take the mystic improved critical feat, instead of crane wing/reposte and archmage armor, for example.