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Quark's thoughts on the Vigilante

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Quark

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Great Adventurer
Great Adventurer
The vigilante is a very new class, but it's now on the d20pfsrd. If you're unaware, basically you have a secret identity. You get lots of social bonuses when you're in your secret identity and lots of combat bonuses when you're in your vigilante identity.
The class obviously favours an intrigue centric game, which is fine by me. It's fun to have that. In more conventional ones it's a very poor choice.
So without further ado, the Vigilante!




Basics

Skills, Saves and attacks: Unsurprisingly for an intrigue character, you have lots of skills, and mostly the ones you'd expect (except, oddly, knowledge nobility). You've got good reflex saves (living life on the edge) and will saves (to stop people finding out who you are with magic). d8 and medium BAB, so you're certainly able to hold your own.

Proficiencies: You're fairly martial, so it's just as well you get simple, martial, light, medium and shields (but not tower shields).

Dual Identity: The definitive feature. You have your social identity and your vigilante identity, and they don't count as the same person for divinations. You can have different (but similar) identities for both.

Seamless Guise: +20 (!) to disguise to not be found out between identities.

Vigilante Specialisation: A first and important choice. Either have full BAB 'Avenger' or a slightly weaker version of sneak attack (that scales in the same way) 'stalker'. This will impact your Vigilante talents later.

Social Talents: Merits its own section, which will come. You get one of these at every odd level.

Vigilante Talents: Merits its own section, which will come. You get one of these at every even level.

Unshakeable: Don't be easily intimidated. This is not very exciting.

Startling Appearance: Make things flat footed for your turn when you attack them and they aren't aware of you.

Frightening Appearance: Same conditions as Startling Appearance, you get a free intimidate check when you hit, which hits a small area.

Stunning Appearance: Same conditions as Startling Appearance, save or stunned on a hit.

Vengeance Strike: Capstone! If a target doesn't view you as a threat or doesn't know you're there, spend time studying to give a variety of benefits, including actually adding 2 to your roll (up to a nat 20), lots of precision damage or large attack bonus.



Social Talents

I'm going to actually arrange these, unlike the book, so it's easier to find things. Bold talents are very good, italics are okay and normal is blah.

Case the Joint: Visit a place in your social ID to get rerolls on failed checks when you go back there in vigiliante ID. Rerolls are always good, but be aware you don't get many.

Double Time: Reduce time taken to make craft/profession checks. This frees up an awful lot of time for your vigilante ID to do stuff if you have a day job (which it might be reasonable to expect 50% to have). Obviously this depends on your particular social ID. whether it's necessary or not.

Gossip Collector: radically reduce the time it takes to gather information, especially in your area of renown. Obviously this is extremely practical with renown, but it is definitely at its best if you can easily make the DC +20 to just automatically know it without needing to spend time/risk other people knowing you're looking for it. But for that, you need to have a high level, so maybe leave it for a while.

In Vogue: Rq L5, Double Time, Social Grace. Sell homemade items for more. Obviously depends on the time you have, but it's not especially fabulous unless you take master craftsman and make magic items, maybe.

Many Guises: Rq L5. Be just a random, non-specific person. This is useful for all manner of reasons.
    Everyman: Rq L11, Many Guises. Disguise yourself as any specific unimportant person, such as a peasant. Divinations might find you instead of the person you're disguised as. Obviously this is going to be very important, since you can now be very nearly anyone.
       Any Guise: Rq L17, Everyman. Disguise yourself as as any specific person, and if they can't be found by divination, it finds you instead. Obviously this is great if you're going to be impersonating high up people, because it's practically flawless, but doing so is always risky. (but by level 17 you should be able to pull this off)


Mockingbird: Rq L5. Variety of at-will sound based effects: throw your voice and make it sound like practically anything else. Definitely got a lot of utility

Quick Change: Rq L7. Swap ID perfectly in 2 rounds (instead of 1 minute) or 1 round but risk discovery. Useful largely only for...
   Immediate Change: Rq L13. Swap ID perfectly as a move action. Since this should be an almost unbeatable disguise, this is extremely good in a tight spot.

Renown: Get a small area you're famous in. Takes a week to set up. Social ID is liked more in area and vigilante ID gets +4 to intimidate nearby. Much of the value comes from how well this interacts with many other social talents and how many things it is a prerequisite fore.
    Celebrity Discount: Rq L3, Renown. 90% discount on cheaper items. Obviously buying things that won't raise suspicion may be challenging, but this is is worth it.
    Celebrity Perks: Rq L5, Renown. Get cheap things for free, notably eventually large free bribes. It eventually becomes worth it, but it's better to leave this until you can spare the talent.
    Feign Innocence: Rq L5. Social ID gets +10 on bluff checks to seem innocent in area of renown. This is fantastic for keeping your cover.
       Subjective Truth: Rq L9. With truth telling magic, you can say what's true from the point of view of your current identity. I imagine it becomes something like Social saying 'I don't know anything about the robbery' if you did all of your planning in Vigilante ID, which I can see becoming fairly useful if people are getting close.
    Great Renown: Rq L7. Get larger area of renown and intimidate bonus in Vigilante ID. Upgrades many other social talents, which is the primary reason to get this.
        Incredible Renown: Rq L11. Get larger area of renown and intimidate bonus in Vigilante ID. Upgrades many other social talents, which is the primary reason to get this.
          Instant Recognition: Rq L13, Triumphant Return. Change renown area in 4 hours as opposed to a week. This will depend a lot on how much you move around.
   Loyal Aid: Rq L3. Get friends who will help out in a variety of ways. It's certainly got its uses, but it's not overwhelming.
   Triumphant Return: Rq L3. Anywhere you've had renown, it only takes 3 days to get renown back instead of 1 week. Obviously if you're not moving it's not especially wonderful.

Safe House: Make a base that's safe from divinations, with increasing potency. At least until 8th level spells come in. You can move it if you have renown. It's nice if you're a thief from the start, but otherwise it's better to leave it until level 7 where creatures are also hidden. Of course, a lot of the time it's actually better for your friends, since you've already got such a powerful protection.

Social Grace: Social ID gets +4 with a mental skill (excluding perception or UMD), with extra skills every 4 levels. Obviously this is fairly practical in many, many ways.




Vigilante Talents

Same deal as social talents, I'm going to arrange them. I'll also group things by Stalker (S) or Avenger (A) if necessary. Talents that modify hidden strike are marked with *.

Another Day: Auto stabilise, but appear to be dead unless something makes a very hard heal or caster level check. Always be conscious after an hour, unless you actually die. I see this being of more use for villains who can escape and come back, but after a while you just take too much damage for this to be relevant.

Armour Skin: No armour check penalty for some skills, and eventually move at full speed in medium armour. This will probably come in handy until you can afford more expensive (read Mithral) armour.

S Blind Spot: Rq L6. Don't be automatically detected by special senses (but they get +20 to spot you). At least you can succeed. Can be nifty for getting your hidden strike in.

Chase Master: +4 to any checks made as part of a chase. It might be helpful, but I'm more inclined to guess it would not. I'd guess many would simply let you just outrun things or let them catch you.

Close the gap: One close, non-adjacent enemy doesn't AoO you from moving and you don't take the charge penalty from that creature if you charge it. It can be nice to get flanking more easily, but I'm unimpressed.

A Combat Skill: Get a bonus combat feat. You can take this multiple times and count as having a low fighter level. This is certainly very practical and should be a default choice if you haven't got anything else you want. Of course, there are better ones for specific purposes, but this is flexible.

Cunning Feint: Effectively Improved Feint, improving to Greater Feint at level 8. It does make things slightly easier to hit, but it's of extra value if you're a stalker or have some other sneak attacking friend.

Environment Weapon: Swift action to get an improvised weapon that you take no penalties with, but terrain limited. I'd personally get catch off guard instead.

S Evasive: Get evasion and eventually improved evasion. Very solid defence talent.

Expose Weakness: Can use dirty tricks to reduce DR by 10, so long as it's not DR/-. Dirty tricks are already good, and now they're better. Especially useful as a martial.

Favoured Manoeuvre: Get improved manoeuvre feat of your choice, and sometimes get bonuses. Nice that you don't need the prereq for the feat, but sad that you therefore can't take the greater version.

A Fist of the Avenger: Improved unarmed strike as a bonus feat and (fairly good) damage bonus with unarmed attacks. It's often a useful feat to have, but it's certainly not necessary.

S* Foe Collision: Deal hidden strike damage and hurt a nearby creature for non-lethal reduced hidden strike damage. Extra attacks are always great!

A Heavy Training: Get heavy Armour Proficiency, and armour skin applies to it. Eventually can move at full speed in it. It's tough to keep AC competitive, so this might be useful, although by the time you can move at full speed in heavy you can just afford mithral full plate anyway or other magical workarounds, so... I feel like there are better uses of your talents.

S Hide in Plain Sight: Rq L8. You don't need concealment to hide. This is strong regardless of anything else, but it's nice to get the hidden strike in even more easily.

Inspired Vigilante: As Investigator thing. Pool that you can use to get +1d6 on intelligence skills, attacks or saving throws. It's practical for a lot of reasons. Comically, it stacks with actual inspiration.

S* Leave an Opening: Foes provoke if they're next to you at the start of their turn when hit with hidden strike. So basically, a free attack. Seems pretty good.

Lethal Grace: Weapon finesse as a feat. Use dex to hit and str to damage gives damage bonus that's unchanged for off-hands. I can see this working very well with the fist of the avenger talent... I'm also glad it's not another stupid dex to damage thing. Works well if you're going to Two weapon fight, which I can see a lot of Stalkers doing.

Living Shield: When grappling, you can make your grappled creature the target of an attack. Hilarious vs Disintegrate or similar spells.

A Mad Rush: Rq L12. Pounce. Always a good ability.

S* Mighty Ambush: Rq L10. 1/round save or fall unconscious, but only 1/enemy/day. Still, it's an auto kill/capture, so this is pretty good if it comes off.

A Nothing can stop me: Make a free attack against an obstacle to stop it interfering with your charge. Yay?

Perfect Fall: Take no falling damage if you have a wall or at least much reduced. This is very boring.

Perfect vulnerability: Rq L8. Standard action attack is touch attack and target denied Dex to AC, 1/creature/day. Sometimes, that guaranteed hit is valuable.

Pull into the shadows: The kidnap talent! Charge and hit, then drag with bonus. It's quite funny, but I'm not sure it's very good.

Returning weapon: Weapon returns to you when thrown, and ultimately lets you full attack with it/endless magical ammunition. Obviously if you're throwing stuff this is the way to go, and I suppose it's a way for a melee character to have ranged? It's something you'd have to build around though.

S Rogue Talent: Get a rogue talent. Check the rogue/ninja thing I did for options. This will probably be a default option once you're done with the other things, but there are many good options before this.

Rooftop Infiltrator: Get climb speed. When you can't fly, that's fairly decent.

Shadow's sight: Gain both low-light and darkvision. While light is very easy to get, this is much more subtle.

Shadow's Speed: Speed increase. It's usually useful.

Shield of Blades: Power attack for free, and gives a shield bonus to AC when you use it. If you care about your AC then it's worth looking at this, but there are perhaps better talents to get. Of course, if you don't qualify for it normally...

Shield of Fury: Improved shield bash for free, and can TWF with a shield more easily. Opens up an interesting avenue for TWF vigilantes, particularly stalkers. Regardless, 2 feats for 1 is usually worthwhile.

A Signature weapon: Pick a weapon, +1 to hit and eventually +2 damage. Two feats for one is usually worth it.

S Sniper: Rq L6. No range limit on hidden strike. Obviously this makes you flat out the best sniper now, so have fun if you're going for a ranged stalker.

S Stalker Sense: Always act in the surprise round, and get uncanny dodges. another solid defence talent.

Strike the Unseen: Eventually 3 feats for one: the whole blind fight chain. Also good for stalkers. Real value of course is being able to beat those nasty mirror images.

A Sucker-punch: Deal extra nonlethal damage when targets are unaware of you or don't view you as a threat. Great for surprise rounds, but if you're doing this... why not just be a stalker with a sap?

Surprise Strike: Tiny bonuses vs targets without dex to AC. Useless.

S* Throat Jab: 1/creature/day, can't speak until your next turn. Gives you that little bit of extra time to take out a guard safely.

S Twisting fear: Deal extra nonlethal damage when you scare things. CORNUGON SMAAAASH!

Unexpected Strike: Quick Draw for free, and ultimately draw hidden weapons quickly. Sure, useful for you, but not a great talent.

A Unkillable: Diehard as a bonus feat, and do better while below 0. Diehard is... a very two-edged sword, and is a trap that I, as a beginner, fell into. The best thing about this is being not dead for a round at level 12, which is pretty great, but that is the only reason you should look at this.

S Up Close and Personal: Rq L4. When you try to move through something's space, swift action high damage hidden strike. Of course, Close the Gap works better for starting flanking, but you could always combine it if you wanted to be safe.

Vital Punishment: Rq L6. Vital strike for free. Can make 1 AoO/round a vital strike. I'm not very fond of vital strike (seriously, what's the point?), but the extra damage on the AoO could be nice.




Archetypes

Brute: Get larger (though your gear doesn't) in vigilante, get slightly better to hit, effectively always rage and risk hitting friends. You're effectively avenger, but don't have access to those talents, or the permanent good BAB for feats. That's your vigilante specialisation. So far, so bad. The talents it has available as extras are... interesting. Notably Awesome Blow with no prerequisites (other than level 8). All up, though, I have to say, it's a horrible, horrible archetype.

Cabalist: Cast up to 6th level spells from the witch list in place of 5 vigilante talents. Under same conditions as sneak attack, cause heavy bleed damage in place of specialisation. Special talents are largely fairly uninspiring except for tattoo chamber, which lets you hold multiple wands/staves. Lose appearances for higher DCs vs bleeding, intimidate vs bleeding and constant blur. I'm not totally sure how good the witch list is, because that's obviously a big thing, but seems about the same power-wise as the base.

Gunmaster: Use guns slightly better than normal in place of specialisation. Talents are unremarkable except for a duplicate capstone. Get slight AC bonus in place of unshakeable. Seems like Amateur Gunslinger would be the way to go here, but of course, guns tend not to be very good until you get advanced ones. I'd probably shun this archetype.

Magical Child: Comically, you get to be one of those anime magical girls, complete with magical transformation sequence to swap you between IDs. Transformation is faster, but very obvious. Casts summoner spells in place of 5 vigilante talents. Specialisation is a familiar that becomes improved with time, has 2 IDs and large DR/magic. Familiar gets benefits of the appearances. I'm not sure how good the summoner list is, because that's really what you're getting with this.

Mounted Fury: Transformation is always 1 minute. Get a strong mount and count as an avenger for talents for your specialisation. Lose 2 vigilante talents for bonus to charging on a horse. Somehow, a mount isn't exactly... subtle. You could get away with it much more easily as a small character and just have a big dog, at which point it might be okay.

Psychometrist: Lose 4 vigilante talents and a social talent for occultist impliments (although you don't get the spells). You get the very nice object reading ability from occultist and a twice as good (potentially) capstone. Sadly, you don't get the fun resonant powers from the impliments, and your first one is always going to suck. Still, if you haven't got any other plans for your talents this might be worth your while.

Warlock: Get 6th level wizard spells in place of 5 vigilante talents. Specialisation is some weak magic bolts that quickly become touch attacks. Have access to some fairly fun and useful talents, notably being able to create a fake social you to cover up and the tattoo chamber thing from cabalist. This one is a pretty good trade (which is why it used to be part of the base class).

Wildsoul: Lose 4 vigilante talents for animal themed abilities. They'll probably add more, but for the moment the options are basically Spiderman, Wolverine and some kind of bird. Some of the abilities are nice, but I'm not especially impressed.

Zealot: Lose 5 vigilante talents for inquisitor casting. I'm not sure how good that is, but it's a major feature. You get an inquisition in place of a specialisation, which, having looked through them, is of very debatable use. Your talents include smite, which is great, and eventually stalwart. It honestly might be worth it for the smite. It's sadly weaker than it was in the play test.


And that's done! I haven't looked through the feats yet, but there doesn't seem to be much that's particularly keyed to the vigilante. So we'll call it quits there.


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