Help with a Dhampir Frontline build

Hi

Trying to be prepared with my build when Pathfinder Wotr releases. There seems to be a massive amount of new options and factors to take into consideration compared to the Kingmaker experience. I’d appreciate some help with cobbling together a Dhampir frontline build. Love the flavour of the race and had plenty of fun toying around with Jaethal’s undead trait in kingmaker. Other than the race choice and restricting myself to choices that would make somewhat sense “in universe” I do like optimizing and would love some help from you guys with beta experience!

My initial thought was to make a Vivisectionist Dhampir that was built for utilizing the feral mutagen and alchemist buffs. Either just going full vivisectionist or following closely to the build bellow (Modified from InEffect’s build). Including a bite on a “vampire” build seems thematically appropriate and the vivi was great in kingmaker.
Other classes I’m considering is a magus, inquisitor or warpriest build of some sort. For the magus i find Sword saint to be pretty apealing, but highly item dependant. Not sure what will be available.
Eldritch scion seems to want draconic / serpentine bloodline for a tanky frontliner, but it would be a flavour fail to not choose undead in my opinion. Same situation with the bloodrager bloodline options.
For the inquisitor or warpriest I’m much more uncertain how i should build this character, but the subtypes that get sneak attack looks interesting, and channelling negativ energy (warpriest) seems interesting for the dhampir.

How would you guys build a frontline tanky Dhampir? Is the build bellow viable for harder difficulties in your opinion? Would it get shredded by touch attacks (heavy armor build)? Anything you would change with access to all the new options for class dips and mythic powers? Are there other classes/builds that you would recommend me to look into? What mythic path / powers / feats would compliment this build?

Race: Moroi-Born (Sacred Ancestry)
(+2 str, +2 int, -2dex)

Stats:
STR 19 > 24
DEX 13
CON 14
INT 14
WIS12
CHA 7

Background: Acolyte
Acolyte adds Persuasion and Lore (Religion) to the list of her class skills. She can also use her Wisdom instead of Charisma while attempting Persuasion checks (assuming this works for dazzling?).

Final Build
Aldori Defender 9, Alchemist (Vivisectionist) 7, Rogue (thug) 4.

Leveling Guide
1 Fighter - Dodge // Weapon Focus: Dueling Sword
2 Alchemist
3 Fighter - Improved Unarmed Strike // Crane Style
4 Alchemist - Feral Mutagen
5 Alchemist - Dazzling Display
6 Alchemist - Combat trick > Outflank
7 Alchemist - Crane Wing
8 Alchemist - Feral Wings
9 Fighter - Shatter Defenses
10 Fighter - Crane Riposte
11 Fighter - Blind fight // Heavy Blades
12 Fighter
13 Fighter - Combat Reflexes
14 Fighter
15 Fighter - Seize the Moment // Fighter Tactics // Heavy Blades
16 Rogue
17 Rogue - Improved Critical: Dueling Sword // Combat Trick > Greater Weapon Focus
18 Rogue
19 Rogue - Power Attack // Combat Trick > Dreadful Carnage
20 Alchemist

I would suggest to go for 16 levels of vivisectionist: Due to discoveries, you wil get combat trick every other level, similar to fighter (just not fighter-only feats like greater weapon focus). You instead get advanced rogue discoveries like crippling strike (2 STR damage per hit) and your +8/+6/+4(!) mutagen will last forever. And access to the spell transformation for full BAB 20 and plenty of extra SA.

Other than that, the feat intimidating prowess (adds your STR bonus to intimidation checks - not instead of cha/wis, but in addition) will help to spread the fear…

maybe a single class vivi would be best.
With the best mutagen and transformation spell your hit chance may be better than a fighter.
I also see that you take both defensive and offensive feats.
If players want to intimidate they usually take power attack early, they take cornugon smash and intimidating prowness and they want dreadful carnage as early as possible.
I do not know why you take rogue so late. Thug means enemies run away from you, is that what you want as melee char? Weapon finesse and dex to damage are useless for you. Dibilitating injury is nice, but you get it at lv 19.

What mystic path do you want?
Trickster might fit you (more sneak attacks, more uses for your skills (I think also intimidate related which would make thug pointless) and some kind of mirror image). But many enemies have true seeing so some illusion buffs may not be as useful as in Kingmaker.
Lich may fit role playing wise to a dhampir, but I am not sure how lich fits to a martial char.

Currently Lich only switches energy healing. That means dhampir will switch to positive energy healing after he takes Lich, and will take damage from negative.

Thanks for your feedback on this! I can definitely see a strong argument for deeper with the vivisectionist class.
16 levels of viv for the grand mutagen and transformation seems strong as far as damage goes. That leaves me with 4 levels to play with here though, is 2 levels of fighter for heavy Armor and bonus combat feats worth delaying some casting progression for? Maybe just 1 level? Or maybe 1 level of monk for some free feats and unarmoured AC would be a better tactic? The monk level seems very dependent on items like AC monk robes (with alignment restrictions?) being available and i might need to change subrace and move some stats around. Are any of the new classes worth a dip? 2 levels of Cavalier with the order of the peacock also seems nice for bonus teamwork feat, heavy armor and dazzle.
Or maybe just pure 20 levels of Vivi would be just as capable to take punishment on the frontlines with buffs running?

When it comes to mythic paths I don’t know enough about the mechanics of that systems (as it was not part of kingmaker), but i think Aeon, legend, lich and trickster all can be made to work with the theme I’m going for. I will probably chose between them based on what’s mechanically compliments my chosen party role best. Any insight you could provide me about their major selling points would be awesome!

Yeah, having second thoughts about the rouge dip. The idea was that enemies running around in fear are not attacking, and therefore can’t attack / get a lucky crit in. Another form of pseudo damage mitigation and some free feats. But yeah, I’m probably getting way to late for it to really matter.

A dexterity tank with a monk splash is generally considered the strongest type of tank. It’s not realistic, IMO, and I have trouble bypassing cool looking heavy armor. As a result, I run one of both—-plate tank and dex tank. For a vivi, that would be monk 1/vivi x or vivi 1, monk 1, vivi x. Personally, I prefer the natural weapon build with a motherless tiefiling because of their default bite attack. It works very well with feral mutagen and gives a lot of natural attacks, which is useful at early levels. For a dhampir, I’d be more inclined towards a TWF build, but that doesn’t synergize with your str subtype. You might be better off with a slayer type because it will allow you to cheat the TWF without investing in dex. You can skip monk with vivi also because it drowns in feats. But I like it because early crane style is worth a lot of AC in the early levels, which tend to be the most difficult. I’d look at whether there are any synergies with the demon path, which has natural attack boosting options.

How do you make them work well? Could you give me an example build because I love heavy armored tanks.

Sure. To be clear, I think plate tanks are weaker than dexterity tanks, but Seelah at least was viable through Act III in Alpha, so I suspect the game’s tuning will allow for a plate tank. A plate tank’s main weakness is that they gain AC only from their armor (and possibly dexterity as well). In comparison, a dexterity tank gains AC from their dexterity and usually 1 (but sometimes 2) other attributes. To compensate for that weakness, a plate tank should gain additional AC from their class. I’d look either at Aldori Defender 8 as a base and then maybe venture into Barbarian to get guarden stance/pounce or Primalist/Dragon (pick up guarded stance, some DR, and 4 levels of Dragon Disciple–if that’s still allowed in the game–for 4 str and 2 natural AC). You could also consider an Arcane or Dragon Steelblood (although I think it’s worse than primalist), and there’s also the old TSS–but that will do virtually no damage, so I don’t prefer it.

I ran through Act III with a steelblood starting with celestial and adding in serpentine bloodline. The natural armor from serpent bloodline helped keep my AC at decent levels. I don’t think I would use it on unfair difficulty though.

Yeah. I wouldn’t recommend a plate tank for unfair. I’m not even sure whether I’d recommend a character tank. Instead, I’ll probably suggest selecting a class with an AC at level 1 or plentiful summons, like monster tactician. Disposable health sponges/road blocks are useful.

Since you are into the alchemist and the feral mutagen I think you should go all the way with all natural attacks, or you can grab the Metamorph Archetype and get beast shape 1 at level 4.

Either way you can grab Weapon focus in both claws and bites. These are counted as light weapons by the way so 4 levels multiclassed in to rogue will allow you to go full dex instead of strength. Depending on what kind of armor you wanna use.

Simplest would be to just go all out Alchemist: Metamorph, with 19 STR and 14 INT minimum. Grab Power attack asap and depending on how high your dex is you might wanna take some medium and heavy armor proficiency. remember that a mithril fullplate counts as medium but you need heavy to use it and it can handle a +3 dex modifier, so starting with 10 dex is in the end okay due to the belts.

As a last thought I would avoid Rogue Thug is you wanna go the Dreadful carnage route, due to all enemies running away from you… they can run really far, far enough to potentially pulling the entire map. Normal rogue will just make em scared enough to let you Sneak attack em all day long.

Hope it helps a little!
GL HF! :smiley: