Azata Sword Saint III: Kill B. (Spoilers for chapter 4)

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.

Hepzamirah:

B.:

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).

Build:

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.)

Attributes:
Strength: 17
Dex: 14
Con:12
Int: 16
Wis: 16
Char: 5

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.

Feats:

  • 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).

Mystic Feats:

  • Unlimited Rage
  • Abundant Casting
  • Mystic Vital Strike
  • Ever Ready
  • Archmage Armor
  • Mystic Weapon Specialization

Azata Superpowers:

  • 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.

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Mind sharing your build in this thread?

Sure, will update the main post.
Edit: Main post updated.

Hey, I just noted the “dead in 60 seconds” contest:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/owlcatgames/pathfinder-wrath-of-the-righteous/posts/3205436

I had a merc with me, but that did not really influence anything. I don’t think I will replay this in order to earn a toy, so, be my guest :slight_smile:

Crane Wing and Crane Riposte require to have a free hand so they should not work with a 2h weapon.
If it works, it’s a bug.

I’ve never had any luck getting crane wing to work for me, even one handed. I assume it should show up on your characters AC in inventory when engaged in combat? I see +4 for fighting defensively with crane style there but never any bonus for crane wing.

Look at the combat log, some bonuses are aviable just there (like AC bonus from deffensive parry that Aldori has)

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Yes, it was a bug in Kingmaker, and I expected it to carry over. But I never actually saw the bonus from crane wing in the combat log. In case this is fixed to work as intended, then obviously you can choose if you want to go for more damage with a 2h weapon and improved critical etc., or you go for more defense with a e.g. Falcata and crane wing.
It is not uncommon to have enemies with 35 AB or more in chapter 4, and the build as described reaches AC around 50 without the crane wing bonus, so I don’t thinkt that I overinvested in AC.

I just checked this morning and crane wing is working fine for my SS whose using a falchion. As per Kopi’s comment it only shows in the combat log.

Why dimension strike?
Why not Ghost Blade (that gives Brilliant Energy) + Enduring Blade?

Brilliant Energy is kindof terrible, as it ignores essentially only worn armor.

Most creatures have Loads of Natural armor and little to no armor value ignored by Brilliant Energy.

So the difference between Brilliant energy and Dimension Stike is that Dimension Strike ignores Natural Armor too?

That is the principal difference, yes.

I’m not 100% confident in every type of armor bonus that is not included in Touch AC, but im sure that it definitely doesn’t include Armor, Natural Armor, or Shields.

Why did this build use Strenght if it doesn’t go for Power Attack + Vital Strike but only for Vital Strike?
Maybe it’s better to dump Strenght and go for Dex and Elven Curved Blade (2h finesse weapon), Weapon Finesse and Mythic Weapon Finesse so u can have Higher AC and Higher Initiative?
Elven Curved Blade has same stats of Faulchard except that it’s not a reach weapon.

That’s certainly a viable idea. Strength has these advantages:

  • 1.5 damage modifier from 2h wielding,
  • profits from “enlarge person” and later “legendary proportions”, because those boost your strength. “Enlarge person” gives you -2 dex, so this is less good for a dex build.
  • You safe two feats.

So a strength build will always have higher damage. If you can achieve a high enough AC with a strength build, it beats the dexterity build for this reason.
You can swap crane wing and crane riposte with improved critical and power attack, if you like, but the malus to attack bonus from power attack makes it less worthwhile. The encounter design right now has very few instances where you are swarmed by a lot of easily hittable enemies (power attack!), but rather few enemies with very high AC, where you would not use it.

This build here is especially designed to possibly one-shot the hardest enemies the game throws at you while having an OK performence in standard encounters.

The encounter design of mostly having easy encounters with the occasional “single incredibly deadly foe” has also led to me view defenses as generally being targeted at “Good Enough” to minimize damage during normal encounters, and leaning on the mythic ability Last Stand to tank the hard encounters.

Or in other words, I don’t need to be able to be able to avoid all incoming damage from the hardest foes, I just need to be able to kill them before Seelah (or whoever is taking hits) is physically able to be killed, two turns after they hit 0 hp.

…which also supports Strength builds in that it’s generally not to hard to get “Good Enough” defenses on them without investment in Dex.

I’m doing a two handed strength based SS with PA and crane style/crane wing. I’m finding PA a mixed bag, the damage improvement doesn’t feel night and day better and that -2 penalty to hit in tougher encounters (and there’s a lot of them) is a bit hard to take when you need every additional attack bonus you can squeeze out. Thinking of dropping in a respec.

I might make a similar char one day.
I play on normal and first I will try a single class bloodrager with Seelah as single class paladin tank.
In beta1 I made through acts 1+2 this way and I hope I do not hit a wall later and I have to restart with a char like yours.

anyway, I just realized that it feels like 99% of the strengh based chars use power attack/cornugon smash/dreadful carnage in combination with weapon focus/dazzling display/shatter defense to demoralize with auto attacks. This requires also intimidating prowness, so quite a lot feats. If you do not crit the enemy before they can act to one shot them, you are dependent on somebody else to get enemies flat footed. Your crit chance is high, but not guaranteed. Plus your number of quickened true strikes per day is very limited. I am not sure how many rods you can find, but only very late a magus can use it 3 times per day.

According to a post in the other thread, crane wings/reposte now (beta) only works with one free hand as intended and not with 2h weapon or weapon and shield any more.
I did not play beta2 so far, so I cannot confirm it.

Not on normal, I don’t think. But you’ll want to have other sources of damage than physical hits, and hitting stuff with e.g. spells also requires to get the builds mostly right (with spell focus, spell penetration feats etc.). Any you may want to skip some of the optional bosses.

Yes, but a dirge bard is the optimal solution for this, in terms of action economy, then clerics with spells. The dirge song does not have a safe, if enemies are not outright immune, it is effective.

Right, I did not find a single rod, actually, in WotR. However, as the game works right now, you can make it so that you have one really hard boss fight per rest, with maybe one or two exceptions, so this is not really a problem.