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  1. #21
    Member Yesterday's Hero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenriHakl View Post
    Note to Yesterday's Hero: your Dex spread suggested is at 20 point buy.
    Ouch, my bad. Make the INT an 18 and add a point to WIS and your are set.

    As the OP mentioned, Sword Saint (Kensai) is not proficient with any kind of armor, so ignore the STR build.

    Since you get proficiency with the estoq for free and it is a one handed-finessable weapon, then go for it (it IS better than the rapier).

    And to all of those that don't like minmaxing: don't min-max. There is nothing wrong with either aproach. What I would say, however, is that a guide on min-maxing is more useful than a "general guide". If you don't care about optimization, then just play the character however you like. An optimization guide is useful for those looking for an optimized build and those who just want to get the basics of which options are the better ones and which options are traps (and on Pathfinder there a ton of trap options).

    Please, don't take my posts as an attack on non-optimizers, that was never my intention. My comments where written with the understanding that this was an optimization guide. Disregard them if that's not what you are looking for.

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Yesterday's Hero View Post
    Ouch, my bad. Make the INT an 18 and add a point to WIS and your are set.

    As the OP mentioned, Sword Saint (Kensai) is not proficient with any kind of armor, so ignore the STR build.

    Since you get proficiency with the estoq for free and it is a one handed-finessable weapon, then go for it (it IS better than the rapier).

    And to all of those that don't like minmaxing: don't min-max. There is nothing wrong with either aproach. What I would say, however, is that a guide on min-maxing is more useful than a "general guide". If you don't care about optimization, then just play the character however you like. An optimization guide is useful for those looking for an optimized build and those who just want to get the basics of which options are the better ones and which options are traps (and on Pathfinder there a ton of trap options).

    Please, don't take my posts as an attack on non-optimizers, that was never my intention. My comments where written with the understanding that this was an optimization guide. Disregard them if that's not what you are looking for.
    I'm still going to argue for NOT going with a Dexterity based build when playing Sword Saint.

    I made a sort of "optimized" dexterity build for this:
    --
    Race: Elf

    STR: 10 or 12(if you want to use light armor later)
    DEX: 17 (develop at lvl4)
    CON: 14 (we can't pick toughness at lvl1 because that feat is reserved for weapon finess)
    INT: 18 (develop at lvl8 and 12)
    WIS: 10 or 12(if you want that extra +1 will save)
    CHA: 7 (this means use magic device is out of the question, which is unfortunate seeing as Sword Saints really need the mage armor wand for example)

    Now comes the question if you want to go with rapier or estoc. When you find an agile rapier you'll only get 1.5 DEX-mod to damage, so let's say you have 18dex at lvl4 and an agile rapier; That will be 1d6 dmg plus 2 (3-8 dmg) compared to estoc 1d4+1d4 (2-8). Estoc using two dice will make the average damage statistically go up, but an agile rapier will have 1 more minimal dmg. So when you find an agile rapier the difference is minimal or non at all.
    I haven't seen an agile estoc yet so if there are any, they are rare.

    Let's compere this to:
    --
    Race: Human

    STR: 14
    DEX: 14
    CON: 13
    INT: 17 (dev. lvl 4)
    WIS: 13
    CHA: 12

    We are not restricted to finess weapons so let's go with a bastard sword. From lvl 1 to 4 it will do 1d10 +2 (3-12dmg).
    --


    With a DEX build we get 2 more in AC and hit than a rounded build. The loss to dmg in DEX-build makes perfect strike less valuable. The loss of AC in rounded-build can be circumvented and exceeded with mage armor wand. So we lose versatility and damage for a small striking gain. And remember that we gain (regardless of how you build) hit with enchanting of our weapon.
    A DEX build is in my opinion slightly weaker till mid game and arguably marginally stronger late game.

    I just don't see how the loss of early game is optimal allocation.
    Last edited by KensaiGrandMaster; Yesterday at 09:16 PM.

  3. #23
    Member Yesterday's Hero's Avatar
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    The idea of the DEX build is to use an agile weapon or a Slasphing/Piercing grace. That way you mostly negate STR as a required stat (only for carrying capacity). From what I've seen of the streams, there are agile rapiers and picks, I haven't seen any agile estoqs yet (nor am I sure if Slashing/Piercing grace is available). You DMG calculations are a bit off. Why would a rapier add 1.5 times your DEX mod to DMG but an estoq wont? My understanding is that neither weapon does.

    However, this whole damage point is moot since magus' DPS comes mainly from touch spells like shocking grasp. Therefore, maximizing acuracy (on a class that already takes a huge hit to it, since it's essentialy a two weapon figthing class with 3/4 BAB) is paramount IMHO.

  4. #24
    You know what? Sure, there is nothing wrong with a dexterity build but it's not "optimal" and one should know the gains and losses.

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Yesterday's Hero View Post
    The idea of the DEX build is to use an agile weapon or a Slasphing/Piercing grace. That way you mostly negate STR as a required stat (only for carrying capacity). From what I've seen of the streams, there are agile rapiers and picks, I haven't seen any agile estoqs yet (nor am I sure if Slashing/Piercing grace is available). You DMG calculations are a bit off. Why would a rapier add 1.5 times your DEX mod to DMG but an estoq wont? My understanding is that neither weapon does.
    There are no slashing or piercing grace as of yet. davross pointed out that you can lvl dip in Rouge to get the same effect but then you'll get crit and fighter feats later (and so on..) so i don't know how valuable that is.

    Never said that an agile estoc would not give you dex-mod but there aren't any by lvl 4 so it wont fit in the context of the example. And we also don't know if there are any at all.
    Last edited by KensaiGrandMaster; 05-16-2018 at 01:48 PM.

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Yesterday's Hero View Post
    You DMG calculations are a bit off. Why would a rapier add 1.5 times your DEX mod to DMG but an estoq wont? My understanding is that neither weapon does.
    Damn, you're right. So an agile rapier, if you have 18 dex, should do 5-10 dmg. So IF you wanna' go with dex-build an estoc is not worth it (because agile estocs probably wont be in). It's important to note that being bound to agile rapier might be a bit limiting.
    Last edited by KensaiGrandMaster; 05-16-2018 at 01:44 PM.

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Yesterday's Hero View Post
    However, this whole damage point is moot since magus' DPS comes mainly from touch spells like shocking grasp. Therefore, maximizing acuracy (on a class that already takes a huge hit to it, since it's essentialy a two weapon figthing class with 3/4 BAB) is paramount IMHO.
    Sword Saint get lower amount of spells then Magus so the two weapon fighting is limited and if the attack miss that's a lost spell. It also don't have any recall spell ability. This means that overall damage is not moot. Perfect Strike is a compensation for this that only drain arcane pool when successfully hitting. Every hit balance out your misses if we look at it from a DPS point of view (if we have high damage potential).

  8. #28
    Member Yesterday's Hero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KensaiGrandMaster View Post
    This means that overall damage is not moot.
    If damage is not moot, then why isn't adding DEX to damage (and starting with a DEX of 18) better than using STR (and starting with a 14)? And don't forget that accuracy has a huge effect on damage. Critting with a touch spell means a TON of damage too (10d5 at level 5 with shocking grasp plus whatever your weapon deals times 2) and accuracy helps a lot there.

    Of course, as you point out, factoring the oportunity cost of adding DEX to damage is also very important. If Slashing/Piercing grace is not available and you have to rely on Agile weapons, then this a very important thing to consider.

    The build is very feat intensive (Weapon Finess + Weapon Focus + Slashing/Piercing Grace) but Kensai (at least on P&P) gives you weapon focus ON LVL 1 so you can get all those feats by level 3 with an Elf. In that case, the starting stats might look something like this:

    STR 07
    DEX 16(+2) 18
    CON 16 (-2) 14
    INT 16(+2) 18
    WIS 13
    CHA 07

    You also get the elven goodies (inmmunity to sleep, +2 saves vs enchantments, +2 perception and the other things) by loosing the +1 skillpoint and the extra feat from the human. This might be a good trade, depending on the game.

    Overall, anyway, in my opinion we should wait until we get to play the full game and be very familiarized with the system to make a useful optimization guide.

    I'm not trying to be an asshole, I just want to contribute to your build suggestions.

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Yesterday's Hero View Post
    If damage is not moot, then why isn't adding DEX to damage (and starting with a DEX of 18) better than using STR (and starting with a 14)? And don't forget that accuracy has a huge effect on damage. Critting with a touch spell means a TON of damage too (10d5 at level 5 with shocking grasp plus whatever your weapon deals times 2) and accuracy helps a lot there.

    Of course, as you point out, factoring the oportunity cost of adding DEX to damage is also very important. If Slashing/Piercing grace is not available and you have to rely on Agile weapons, then this a very important thing to consider.

    The build is very feat intensive (Weapon Finess + Weapon Focus + Slashing/Piercing Grace) but Kensai (at least on P&P) gives you weapon focus ON LVL 1 so you can get all those feats by level 3 with an Elf. In that case, the starting stats might look something like this:

    STR 07
    DEX 16(+2) 18
    CON 16 (-2) 14
    INT 16(+2) 18
    WIS 13
    CHA 07

    You also get the elven goodies (inmmunity to sleep, +2 saves vs enchantments, +2 perception and the other things) by loosing the +1 skillpoint and the extra feat from the human. This might be a good trade, depending on the game.

    Overall, anyway, in my opinion we should wait until we get to play the full game and be very familiarized with the system to make a useful optimization guide.

    I'm not trying to be an asshole, I just want to contribute to your build suggestions.
    Yeah you're right. Successfully spell-crit'ing is glorious! The chance until lvl 9 is extremely low tho, and still very low after that because of the extra checks you need to do in close combat and the low amount of touch-spells. First the melee-touch-spell need to threaten (threat range die roll). Then hit with a -2 penalty (spell combat penalty), and also against a possible attack of opportunity. If the opportunity attack hits you, you need to make a concentration check to see if you can proceed or els the spell is disrupted and lost. A lot of "if"s and "maybe"s.
    Only at mid-game combat (with the Sword Saint) will you have maybe 4 - 6 melee-touch-spells ready that might do high damage.

    Sure, if you can live with the the 2-3 feats that it cost (If S/P-Grace will exist) it's a solid dexterity-build. Also to note is the 2 point combat-maneuver-defense loss and 4 point C-M-bonus loss from the strength dip (compered to 14/14 STR/DEX -build). The CMD loss (defense against disarm, grapple, trip, knockdown?.. etc) is a slightly bigger pity then the CMB loss.

    I know you're not trying to be an asshole. We're just debating! :)

    Sword Saint and Magus are from the same palette but i don't think they should be played the same way. A Sword Saint is a fighter with wizard capability and a Magus slightly more the reversed (a bad analogy). Losing spell-amount but gaining better fighting abilities gives it the possibility to not rely on uncertain spells and instead focus on a broader picture, being solid in all situations. I think buffing-spells are tighter(better) for a Sword Saint.
    Last edited by KensaiGrandMaster; 05-16-2018 at 11:55 PM.

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Yesterday's Hero View Post
    If damage is not moot, then why isn't adding DEX to damage (and starting with a DEX of 18) better than using STR (and starting with a 14)? And don't forget that accuracy has a huge effect on damage.
    Perfect Strike. Using it with a bastard sword will reliably crush stronger enemies.

    This is a weak argument but you also get a troll belt (2+ STR) relatively early.
    Last edited by KensaiGrandMaster; 05-16-2018 at 05:55 PM.

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