Pathfinder 1E The dex-based fighter, how does he fare?

Lord Pendragon

First Post
Does anyone have experience in the mid- to high-levels with a dex-based fighter? I'm wondering how he would stack up against a traditional str/greatsword fighter. It seems like he may wind up falling behind due to the higher feat requirement to get dex to work?

Also I'd be interested in hearing folks' thoughts about two-handed versus two-weapon fighting.

I'm starting a new campaign soon (as a player) and on of the classes I might play is fighter. It will be an airship-based game, so the idea of a fighter that dual-wields and is based on speed over strength appeals to me, but when it comes to my character's stats/build I've always been a powergamer at heart. (I love RP, but find--at least in my group--that RP is almost completely unrelated to stats, so I tend to min/max my stats while writing long RP backgrounds at the same time, to start things off. :) )
 

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mr_outsidevoice

First Post
I like it as a build. True you won't deal out big damage strikes, but multiple hits can balance some of that out. A few levels of rogue for sneak attack could help and enough rogue tricks provide bonus feats to handle some of the feat loss.
The Agile weapon enhancement can help as well. It allows you to use Dex instead of Str for damage with weapons you can use Weapon Finesse with.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Consider ditching the Max Dex bonus for armors as a house rule. That way a higher Dex character always fares better in armor than a lower Dex character. You'll probably still see your high Dex fighters avoiding the heavier armors because of skill check penalties (hard to tumble in heavy armor) and reduced movement rate anyway. But it does put another option on the table for them.
 

almagest

First Post
With the two-weapon warrior archetype, the two-weapon feat chain, and agile weapons, you'll fare pretty well, though not as good as a two-handed fighter. It's going to be very expensive, though. I would also suggest a longbow and deadly aim for some versatility, if you can afford the feat, since you're so dex-heavy. Power attack is always good, if you have 13 STR.

In this case, the best armor for you is probably a mithral breastplate, since you won't be getting armor training. If you'd rather keep armor training, so you can move 30 feet in medium and heavy armor (eventually), go with mithral full plate. Double Slice would be good if you have some strength and can retrain feats, until you get agile weapons.

Also worth considering is using one scimitar and going the dervish route.
 

StreamOfTheSky

Adventurer
Do you mean specifically the fighter class, or more generic? For a Fighter, dex-based is doomed to suck. I am currently playing a Vivisectionist Beastmorph Alchemist, however, and he kicks ass quite well. He's a goblin, has dex 24 at level 6 currently, and has an Agile amulet of mighty fists, weapon finesse, and feral mutagen (and a gauntlet for when mutagen is off).

Haramaki armor and/or mage armor buff help provide with an armor bonus w/o capping max dex. Even so, if it were not for his spare tentacle holding a darkwood heavy shield and the mutagen itself giving nat armor bonus, his AC wouldn't be much different than a str-based guy in appropriately big armor. His damage is poorer, but with sneak attack, that matters less, and as a stealthy type class (got stealth and acrobatics as class skills via traits, though the latter is hopeless for tumbling, mostly just use it to power Roll With It feat), the high dex is very nice.


Dex-based Magus w/ Dervish Dance and Dawnflower Dervish Bard (who gets Dervish Dance as a bonus feat) are the other builds where a high dex warrior can do well enough in PF.


I see a lot of people try to make a dex-based maneuver expert out of Lore Warden Fighter, but that just doesn't work. The ONLY finessable reach weapon in all of PF is the whip, and that takes 3 feats to unlock and even then it's a woefully subpar weapon. Then add in the fact you can't use many maneuvers (including trip, the best one) on foes more than 1 size larger, and that enlarge person is pretty bad for you and...it sounds nice, but don't do it.
 

Liquidsabre

Explorer
Honestly, given the nature of the campaign (airships) I would definitely go with a Dex fighter build but I would get both archery and TWF feats. You'll have plenty of feats for it.
 

Systole

First Post
I am currently playing a Vivisectionist Beastmorph Alchemist, however, and he kicks ass quite well. He's a goblin, has dex 24 at level 6 currently, and has an Agile amulet of mighty fists, weapon finesse, and feral mutagen (and a gauntlet for when mutagen is off).

Goblin = facepalm. In my opinion. Goblins are broken with respect to dex-based classes, due to their unbalanced ability scores and racial bonuses, as I've said before ... vehemently. I'm not saying you're a bad person for playing one, but I am saying that that a goblin dex-based character does not compare to base races.
 
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Scott DeWar

Prof. Emeritus-Supernatural Events/Countermeasure
Currently I have a dex based fighter [free hand style] (APG) with the following feats and traits:

Feats

*_* Impr. Feint (Bonus Human): Feint as a move action

*_* Combat Expertise (Bonus Fighter 1st):(-1 att for +1 ac)

*_* Improved Disarm (General 1st): +2 Bonus on disarm attempts,
no AoO. +2 CMD vs. Disarm attempts

*_* Improved Trip (Bonus Fighter 2nd): +2 bonus on trip attempts,
no AoO. +2 CMD vs. Trip attempts

*_* Weapon Focus (General 3rd): rapier [+1 on attacks]

Traits

Fencer (combat) {+1 att on AOO }

Fast-Talker (social) {+1 to bluff and bluff is class skill}

although he is a low level, I think he will do pretty good as an LPF character.
 

StreamOfTheSky

Adventurer
Goblin = facepalm. In my opinion. Goblins are broken with respect to dex-based classes, due to their unbalanced ability scores and racial bonuses, as I've said before ... vehemently. I'm not saying you're a bad person for playing one, but I am saying that that a goblin dex-based character does not compare to base races.

Goblin also has a net +0 bonus to scores instead of a +2 like most. It's definitely a great race, but I don't think it's broken. Spellcasters are still much better served picking a race that boosts their casting stat, archers are better off being medium for the damage boost (from damage die increase -- more pronounced w/ gravity bow -- and not taking a str penalty), and...dex-based melee fighters aren't exactly the pinnacle of power in PF.

In any case, I wanted to do goblin for the novelty of being a small melee death machine. Str-based would've been the better build, I could've layered on enlarge person (reduce person, while boosting dex and attack bonus, = no reach, which = no flanking for you!, which = sad panda) and later on, Monstrous Physique for the six-armed (on top of any vestigial ones or tentacle discovery) Calikang for super melee damage output.

I realize that +4 to a stat on its face sounds unbalanced, but...seriously, what can you actually do with it that is so plainly superior to some other racial choice? It's not like it's +4 to a mental stat (Tiefling can pull that one off, albeit w/ a random roll).
 

Lord Pendragon

First Post
Dex-based Magus w/ Dervish Dance and Dawnflower Dervish Bard (who gets Dervish Dance as a bonus feat) are the other builds where a high dex warrior can do well enough in PF.
Magus is actually another class I'm strongly considering. However, reading over these and the paizo boards the last couple weeks, I've gotten the impression that a fighter can perform much better than a magus in dealing raw damage, so figured that might be something to explore.

How would Dervish Dance work with a fighter? Hrm. I suppose he would still have trouble with armor and his dex not meshing well, wouldn't he? Grrr.

The airship concept definitely has me wanting to go with lighter armor. On the other hand, my powergamer nature doesn't want to give up a lot of effectiveness for fluff. :(

Hrm. Perhaps in this case the magus wins out just because it's a better compromise between the two...
 

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