Monday, November 12, 2018

Warrior Spirit, A Fun Trick For The Pathfinder Fighter's Advanced Weapon Training

Fighters are one of my favorite classes because there are so many different ways to play them. Are you a tactician, using placement and teamwork to enhance your battle plan? Are you a brute, swinging the biggest weapon you can and leaving a trail of bodies? A nimble fencer who relies on pinpoint precision over power? An archer? A one-man barricade behind your tower shield?

The list goes on.

And let's not forget the prize fighters!
I thought I'd seen most of the tricks you could pull off with fighters. However, there's always a combination out there that surprises me. That's why I thought I'd share this one with all the other folks who enjoy this class as much as I do.

Unlocking Your Warrior Spirit!

Weapon training is something of a fighter's bread and butter. The ability to be extra dangerous with a particular group of weapons is a lot of where both your flavor and functionality come from. Normally when you hit level 9 you can opt to choose an additional group of weapons you're skilled with... but you also have the option to take an advanced weapon training special ability. This ability typically applies to any weapon in the group(s) you already wield, and they allow you to bend (and sometimes break) the rules for what a warrior should be capable of.

That's where the advanced weapon training option Warrior Spirit comes into the picture.

You ready to do this?
Warrior Spirit allows a fighter to pick any weapon from one of his weapon training groups, and unlock its true potential via a spiritual bond. Every day he can select one such weapon, and bond with it. The fighter gains a number of points equal to his weapon training bonus +1. While wielding that weapon the fighter may choose to spend one of those points to add an enhancement to his weapon equal to his weapon training bonus. These enhancement bonuses stack up to a +5 with any bonuses the weapon already has, and the fighter may choose instead to add one magic ability to his weapon in exchange for an appropriate amount of his bonus. The weapon must already have an enhancement bonus of at least +1 for that to work. This ability lasts for 1 minute.

What does that mean in common speech? Well, say that your fighter is 9th level, and picks up a regular old longsword, a weapon that is in their weapon training group. So in addition to their normal attack and damage bonuses they get with that weapon, they also have 3 points per day to activate this ability. So they can choose to spend one of their points to make that regular longsword a +2 longsword, or they could make it a +1 flaming longsword spending one enhancement bonus point to add a +1 magic ability to a weapon.

But what if the fighter already had a magic longsword? Well, then he could, say, make it a keen longsword by cashing in his enhancement bonus for that +2 magic ability. Or he could make it a holy longsword. Or add a +1 to the enhancement, and pick a +1 magic ability like shock, keen, flaming, etc.

In short, it allows the fighter to enhance their weapon the same way a paladin's holy bond or a magus's arcane pool would. However, unlike those classes, the fighter can add any weapon property they want, instead of picking off a specific list. Which is handy... but that isn't where this particular trick ends.

A Little Extra

This trick works best if you're going to focus on a single weapon group. Or, if you want to pick only a single weapon by taking the Weapon Master archetype, that works too.

So what you do is, as soon as you gain weapon training (5th level for standard fighters), you also take the feat Advanced Weapon Training. This allows you to add Warrior Spirit to your character at 5th level instead of 9th level, where you're going to get a lot more bang for your buck. If you're a Weapon Master, you can take this feat at 4th level.

If you want to add a little extra damage to your swings, you should also invest a few of your skill points into Use Magic Device (and if you're going to sling wands and scrolls, consider taking the background trait Dangerously Curious, too, to make it a class skill and to get a +1 trait bonus on your checks). Then at your next opportunity, take Weapon Evoker Mastery. This item mastery feat allows you to supercharge any elemental damage a weapon you wield deals. You spend a swift action to activate the feat, and then for the next round you add 1d4 of elemental damage to every successful strike (the element in question corresponding to whether your weapon deals acid, cold, fire, electricity, or sonic damage). The sheer number of attacks you can make as a fighter (and the number of types of elemental damage you can have on your weapon) can quickly add up... even if an enemy isn't weak against a particular element.

A Handy Trick

As with a lot of the mechanical tricks I have here in the Crunch section, this isn't something that will completely re-invent the fighter. And, at least by itself, it won't destroy an encounter. However, the ability to spontaneously alter your weapon to have the abilities you really need it to have when the chips are down is something that can pull your bacon out of the fire. Especially if you combine this trick with an already-solid build geared toward a particular fighting style.

Just a little food for thought!

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  1. Nice Trick. Dont forget to add the "Gloves of Dueling" which increase the Weapon Training Bonus by +2

    "Or he could make it a bane, shock longsword, adding two separate +1 abilities."

    From the Ability:
    The fighter can also imbue the weapon with any ONE weapon special ability with an equivalent enhancement bonus less than or equal to his maximum bonus...

    it seems you cannot make a +1 Shocking Bane sword...

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Funny enough, there's a fun little trick that expands on this, called an "Iron Caster". Essentially, you use a dip in Brawler to get the ability to gain a Combat Feat you meet the prerequisites for as a Bonus Feat for 1 minute a few times per day, picking which feat you want when you activate it.

    With that, you pick up the Advanced Weapon Training feat and get the Item Mastery Advanced Weapon Training, which in turn (for the time you have it) grants an Item Mastery feat of your choice. These feats let you use Spell-like Abilities by manipulating a magic item you hold, so long as it has spells of a given type used in its construction defined by the Item Mastery feat in question.

    Enter Warrior Spirit, which makes your weapon have any of a long list of potential weapon qualities, each with their own effective 'requirements'...

    For bonus flavor points, pick up a trait like Heirloom Weapon or Ancestral Weapon, possibly in addition to a trait granting Use Magic Device as a class skill. Be a warrior descended from a noble lineage who has learned to channel his ancestors, or perhaps the black sheep of a family of casters who has nevertheless picked up a few magic tricks of her own.