Run Boy Run – Path of War Speedster (Speed Freak Week!)

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

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

Recently, a friend asked us about “speedsters”  in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. With Comic-Con going on, we decided to provide our answer(s) and go big with SEVEN variants of Pathfinder speedsters!

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 stalker class from Dreamscarred Press (which we already recommended as a dip but this time we are going to go all in with it). To rev up our speedster we will again be using some material from the ki related feats by Legendary Games.

For base race we are going to go with human, as that the bonus feat comes in handy with our ki based needs.

Base Build:

1st Level – human stalker

Here’s what we start with:

  • Alacrity (Ex): A stalker’s land speed is faster than the norm for his race, gaining a +10-ft. enhancement bonus to his base speed and he may add his Wisdom
    modifier to Acrobatics checks, due to his nimble and finely honed body. The stalker enjoys this benefit only when he is wearing no armor or light armor, not using a shield, and not carrying a medium or heavy load. As a swift action, the character may spend a
    point of ki to pour extra speed to his step to increase this bonus from 10-ft. to an additional 30-ft. for one minute, but he is fatigued afterward for 1d4 minutes as he catches his breath.
  • Deadly Strike goes a long way toward giving us a powerful punch.
  • Improved Unarmed Strike and Run will probably be our second feat.
  • We ramp up our “speed punch” with Pugilist Stance: Stance – While in this stance, unarmed or discipline weapon strikes inflict an additional 1d6 points of damage from Broken Blade.
  • With this “build” we are going for a speedster who pushes themselves hard so consider Fuel-Ki as a possible alternative bonus feat over Run or if you intend to just use weapons.
  • Speed is minimum 60′ when it matters and with maneuvers can be better.

Stats:

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

Str 14 Dex 14 Con 12  Int 14 Wis 17 (15+2 racial) Cha 7

Racial Stat Choice: Wisdom is king but too many feats need 13+ that we may need.

Advancement: Consider the flavor of your speedster and how you want to develop it. Maneuvers are going to cover a lot of what we want. Broken Blade and Thrashing Dragon in particular will give us maneuvers that accelerate or include movement, damage augmentation and multiple attacks. During this early progression you will want to commit to a style of weapon fighting (Armed vs. Unarmed/Two-Weapon or not) and match maneuver selection to favor your style.

5th Level – human stalker

Here’s what we are probably looking at now:

  • Deadly strike is up t0 +2d6
  • 3rd level stances Battle Dragon’s Stance (Initiative/Damage Bonus with 2-Weapon/Reduced Penalties to Fight) or Broken Blade Stance (Extra Attacks/Increased Acrobatics) go a long way toward persistent speedster effects.
  • 3rd level Stalker Art is important as that it can give us Unfettered Movement: Stance – Gain an additional +10 ft. to base speed, +4 bonus to AC vs. attacks of opportunity or the ability to move without attacks of opportunity BUT only if you have picked up another Scarlet Throne with an Advanced Study feat at the same time.

Stats (Before Magic Items):

Str 14 Dex 14 Con 12  Int 14 Wis 18 (15+2 racial+1 level) Cha 7 = ki pool.

Advancement: Our base compares to other speedsters with a minimum 40′ and possible 80′ base move with maneuvers. Advanced Study should become a more common feat for Scarlet Throne maneuvers with have a large amount of speed effects to augment Broken Blade and Thrashing Dragons attack and damage acceleration. Try to get at least one Scarlet Throne before 7th so you can get: Red Zephyr’s Dance at 7th: Strike – Each successful melee attack allows the martial disciple to move 10 ft. and make an additional attack. Round out with Ki feats.

10th Level – human sorcerer (youxia archetype)

Here’s what we are probably looking at now:

  • Ki talents probably include: Arcane Arts, Meta-Ki, Ki Stance, and 2 more theme powered ki powers, probably Healing Chi and No-Shadow Step
  • A possible dip into stalker might be worthwhile as ki has become THAT important to our speed.
  • Spells like telekinetic charge (which can be used on the caster), earth glidesonic thrust, or rubberskin can go a long way to filling in speed effects.

Stats (Before Magic Items):

Str 10 Dex 14 Con 10  Int 10 Wis 18 (14+2 racial+2 level) Cha 16 (Getting to 18 Wisdom is probably a priority over Charisma for the ki  boost)

Advancement: Skill ranks should be allocated to support ki powers like Ki Cloak or Ki Agility. Intensify spell might make a good augment for our good old shocking grasp and even the possible selection of Extra Ki should be considered.

15th Level+ – human sorcerer (youxia archetype)

Here’s what we are probably looking at now:

  • Ki talents should include almost all powers you desire for speedsters and Iron Shirt now eclipses mage armor for AC.
  • Inscribed Ki Tattoo starts to become too tempting to resist allowing many ki based “speedster” powers to become cheaper or always be fueled.
  • Mystic Tattoo could make Extend or Intensify metamagics free for favorite spells.
  • Path of the windssirocco and sonic form should continue to round out some speed themed effects.

Advancement: If you have struggled with hitting Weapon Finesse might be a good idea for your touch spells. You should be moving at least 60′ whenever it matters and can take persistent movement augments like overland flight if you need more.

Our 15th level speedster youxia sorcerer clocks in well against his peers meeting decent outputs of speed, moderate to high damage to all three of our benchmarks (barbarian, monk and scout) but really blows the doors off of battlefield control leaving burning trails and unleashing blasts of debilitating wind.

Not to your liking? Check back tomorrow for another stab at a Pathfinder speedster!

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