Battle Cry (The Art of Gish – 3pp Upgrades)

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In yesterday’s look at gish combat, that is melee combat spellcasters, we only really considered core Paizo options. Adding the world of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game’s third party publishers there are a lot more viable options to make melee-casters. In fact way more than we could look at in a single article. But today we will look at some of our favorites. Here are 10 third party elements you can use to make a gish truly a think of beauty and power…

10 Elements from Third Party Publishers for a Gish

Remembering our goals from yesterday when we look at a gish we want to keep pace with other melee fighters via abilities to hit (harder, more, and easier), get hit less, survive, and have class features that support us. Keeping those in mind:

  1. Hit More & Harder – Battle Caster – This feat from Kobold Press allows a BAB +6 character to cast a spell as part of a full attack action. It is not quite as good as a magus spell combat but it allows you to attack and cast and anything that helps action economy is good. The penalty DOES NOT affect the melee attack and only impacts spells if they require an attack  role so it is possible to dodge penalties entirely on this one. The real difficulty is getting to that +6 BAB which can be a long road without a bit of multiclassing. A level of fighter or brawler might be called for.
  2. All of the Above – Cascade Spell – This feat from Rogue Genius Games allows multiple low-level personal spells (up to for total levels) to be fused into one spell and cast with a single action. It shortens the durations to the shortest spell but the benefits of one action nearly completing any needed battle preparations are too hard to deny.
  3. Survive and Get Hit Less – Defensive Spell – This feat allows spells to increase effective bonuses as they go up a level. Combined with Stacking Metamagic, Rogue Genius gives us a ramping defensive set up that can carry us through 20th level.
  4. All of the Above – Bladecaster – This prestige class from Dreamscarred Press allows martial casters to fuse maneuvers and spells with devastating results. The real beauty is in the stance arcane steel which allows spells to be expended to give us ANY of the defensive and offensive categories we need (at very short duration). It is also possible to enter with a single class caster though that can be both feat intensive and limit weapon options, where a single level of martial class opens the prestige class faster.
  5. Hit More & Easier – Astute Fighting – This cleric spell from Rite Publishing’s 1001 Spells adjusts BAB up by 2 for a round per level. This can eliminate penalties and grant iterative attacks. Wands, scrolls and other solutions may help non-cleric gishes get access to this jewel.
  6. Hit Easier & Harder – Cherub’s Burning Blade – This Kobold Press spell is an example of a touch attack spell with solid damage, this fire sword clocks in at 4d6 +1 per two caster levels making it an amazing value at 1 minute a level duration. Metamagic may be needed to adjust the fire damage of the weapon but half of the damage is raw energy and ignores resistances and immunities.
  7. Get Hit Less – Torc of the Pharaoh, Greater and Elf Lord’s Battle ArmorKobold Press‘ improved versions of mage armor both yield better AC bonuses and additional effects, the Elf Lord’s Battle Armor even throws in a  +1 morale bonus that adds to attacks (in additon to saves) to help out with BAB issues.
  8. Hit More & Harder – Arcane Forge – Another Rogue Genius offering this spell allows for rapid enchantment of weapon abilities temporarily. These temp enchants can give a gish favorable energy damage, bane and spell storing over time allowing better hits with more impact.
  9. All of the Above – Modular Spells – Necromancer’s of the Northwest provide a number of modular casting spells that can be “upcast” and gain different effects. The versatility of these spells is amazing for the gish due to reduced spells know from potential multiclassing. A spell selection that keeps its value over the levels is must.
  10. All of the Above – Eldritch Knight feats – If you are going to play a the base eldritch knight prestige class, look at this supplement from LPJDesign. These feats make the class go from okay to a-list and allow for unique expressions of the class through various extended builds. From reaping arcane power back from fallen foes to a bardic EKs song still being relevant, there is something for most any entrant.

This just barely scratches the surface of what is out there for gishes in the Pathfinder extended play environment. Don’t give up on the sword and spell in the front lines, with a little work the gish-style of character is one of the most exciting there is.

Speaking of new ideas for your melee casters? You can check out our Pathfinder content at these fine vendors:, drivethruRPG, paizo and RPGNow.

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