Fast As You Can – Speedsters in Pathfinder (Speed Freak Week!)

 

©2015 Lost Spheres Publishing, Swiftblood - Art: Dio Mahesa,

©2015 Lost Spheres Publishing, Swiftblood – Artist: Dio Mahesa,

While we at Lost Spheres have never been the biggest advocates of “build guides” (aside from their aid in quick GM prep) a lot of times we get a friend, playtester or game group member asking us to help make a  particular “type” of character. One of those is the general type of “speedster” often affiliated with comic book characters and superheroes like those at DC and Marvel.

Pathfinder (generally speaking) is not a superhero game. But with characters that are fantastically gifted and heroes the comparison holds up pretty well. So where are our “speedsters?”

Well, our options for benchmarks are probably one of three: Barbarian (Enhanced Move and damage acceleration), monk (attack acceleration, movement augments) or rogue (scout archetype for damage boosts related to movement).

With the amazing breadth of third party options out there, there are probably more than enough ways to get to a fairly amazing speedster. Today we are going to look at the umbra by Amora Game from this book. If your game allows that source, they might also allow martial maneuvers from Dreamscarred Press which will be very helpful in getting our speedster up to speed.

For base race we are going to choose bloodborn (from our own Races of the Lost Spheres: Bloodborn) mostly for the racial abilities around a deftmind synergy from his sourcerune. These will add to our speedsters quality of attack.

Base Build:

1st Level – bloodborn umbra (Air planar attunement)

Here’s what we start with:

  • Fleet of Body gives us free action haste at 1st level for 2 rounds per PE invested. Two attacks with a bonus and a 60′ move, not bad.
  • Deftmind resonance gives us our Int bonus to attack and confirmation rolls vs. flat-footed opponents.
  • Graceful hits our Dexterity.
  • Primary runic attunement is going to run umbra powers off of Dex instead of Cha.
  • Secondary runic attunement for Int gives us racial bonuses to skills which we will use to crank up acrobatics to amazing levels as we go.
  • Other planar powers give us miss chances, initiative buffs, whirlwinds and even lightning that hurts our attackers (not to mention a nice “discharge” power).
  • Short bursts of flight that can simulate being fast enough to run over water or on air and can be combine with haste power for up to 90′ flight speed at this level.
  • Wind Shear grants random wind/speed powers.
  • Feat: Devastating Deftmind for Int damage to flat-footed opponents.

Stats:

Generally with a standard point buy (if you have to use one) probably looking at:

Str 13 Dex 16 (+1 from Graceful to 17) Con 14 Int 16 Wis 7 Cha 7 = Be honest are most speedsters wise or likable?

Racial Stat Choice: Int or Dex for racial, arguments for Dex (get people flat-footed) or Int (more damage to flat-footed)

Advancement: Consider the Ubiquitous power “Edged with Raw Energy” to gain bonus electrical damage to every hit. Improved Initiative might be a good thing. We would probably like our speedster to use their hands so you might want to take Improved Unarmed Strike. If you are wanting more attacks consider prepping  for Two-Weapon Fighting. If using Pathfinder Unchained, a variant multiclass for monk might be even better or maybe even a level dip for flurry. For sake of simplicity we will just use daggers for our speedster today.

5th Level – bloodborn umbra (Air/Fire planar attunement)

Here’s what we are probably looking at now:

  • Fire trait movement increase to base speed +10.
  • Autoclave lets us “burn” through poisons and diseases in seconds, classic speedster.
  • Heat Wave gives us all sorts of friction coverage for fires and heat damage.
  • Reborn in Flames gives us fast healing, total speedster trope.
  • Solar Flare gives us a burning blazing living line attack which can be our “speed shift” where thinks get dangerously fast and blow up physical objects. It also allows motion through any non-airtight surface which gives us a little of the phasing/vibration tricks we might expect to see.
  • Thermal Mirage gives us a miss chance.
  • Depending on leveling the Str adjustment from Burning Might might make 8th level at shoe-in for Str.
  • Heat Metal touch attack.

Stats (Before Magic Items):

Str 14 (Burning Might)  Dex 18 (Graceful and Level Up) Con 14 Int 18 (Racial) Wis 7 Cha 7

Advancement: We are starting to look at a pretty fast (40’/70′ hasted with bursts of 90′ flight) base speed and Run is a pretty obvious feat choice for us (200’/350′ at full speed on ground). Fleet can continue to up our base speeds but depending on your preferences you might want to consider the Spring Attack chain for run-by attacks. While these speeds are not anywhere near most stated super-human speeds they are pretty much “anywhere on board” in a round in most tactical situations. If you are in a game where Path of War is an option, consider ranking Knowledge (martial) and taking Martial Training I allowing your speedster a selection of martial maneuvers which with our focus on Acrobatics and possible unarmed attack makes Broken Blade look good or if we focused on two-weapon fighting Trashing Dragon a likely fit.

10th Level – bloodborn umbra (Air/Fire planar attunement, Smoke demiplane)

Here’s what we are probably looking at now:

  • Smoke lets big action power uses like Solar Flare inflict even more fire damage with Fan the Flames.
  • Slow Burn allows you to speed buff your allies, as long as they can take the heat.
  • Hidden Reserves now begins to give us more and more uses of our “speedster” tricks and can ramp up base damage for both electrical bonuses.  Assuming we have taken edged with power and are focusing on it as primary source of damage we can surge our attacks to a standard of +8 electrical and + 5 fire per hit.
  • If we are Two-Weapon fighting and using Trashing Dragon our attacks are going to start adding up. Attack routines with your bonus elemental damage, strength modifier, dexterity modifer and intelligence modifier become possible. Our speedsters fiery thunder punches are moving up a notch.
  • Note: The Smoke demiplane was left out of the Liber Communis Influxis but we managed to track it down. See the developer Bradley Crouch’s Patreon page for more info!

Advancement: If Path of War is not an option then consider a Spring Attack approach with less damage but little ability for the enemy to retaliate. If your GM allows magic flight speeds to qualify to Flyby Attack, it is far more efficient (if less on theme) Spring Attack.

15th Level+ – bloodborn umbra (Air/Fire planar attunement, Smoke demiplane)

Here’s what we are probably looking at now:

  • At this point Hidden Reserves and Quickswap pretty much allow us to move through our speedster tricks as needed in the workday.
  • Aggressive combination of Hidden Reserves and Reflective Discourses’ Smite can drop amazing amounts of electrical damage on an enemy (as much as 12d8 electrical damage added to an attack at 15th).
  • If Path of War is in use maneuvers to hurl cones of rapidly thrown weapons, attacks that resolve on nearly everyone in range and the like just add to speedster vibe.

Advancement: If you haven’t taken Natural Attunement for Reflective Discourses yet (you probably will) do so now. Piles of bonus electrical damage can really add up. Also take the Open the Door ubiquitous power to allow your electrical attacks to take effect on resistant targets.

Our 15th level speedster umbra clocks in well against his peers meeting similar outputs of speed and damage to all three of our benchmarks (barbarian, monk and scout). Not to your liking? Check back tomorrow for another stab at a Pathfinder speedster!

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