|What was your total? Heh, git gud, scrub.|
#1: Deflect Arrows
|Catch these hands!|
The reason this feat doesn't wind up on nearly as many sheets as it should is because it has Improved Unarmed Strike as a pre-requisite. As such, most folks only give it to brawlers and monks. However, if you have a DM who actually uses archers, poisoned throwing stars, darts, firearms (as Ultimate Combat states that this feat works on the flintlocks and muskets we typically see) it is well worth the investment. It's ideal for warpriests (whose Sacred Weapon ability lets them bump up their unarmed strike damage, as well as apply blessings and bonus abilities to their strikes), but as a purely defensive measure it's also worth keeping in mind.
|What did you say? "Parry this"?|
With that said, the duelist prestige class also offers a parry ability. The difference is that the swashbuckler's ability costs panache to use (based on your Charisma modifier), whereas the duelist's just allows you to use your normal attacks reserved from a full attack action. So which option works better for you depends on what your Charisma modifier is going to be (for the record, a paladin with a dip in swashbuckler, or simply taking the paladin archetype Virtuous Bravo which gives you swashbuckler abilities is one of the best combos for this ability). This is only going to work in melee, of course, but sometimes that's all you really need.
#3: Snake Style
|Go on, punk... take your shot.|
The hard part, of course, is beefing up your Sense Motive to a high enough degree. Skill Focus will help a lot here (making it ideal for half-elves wondering what to use their free Skill Focus on), and any traits that give you a bonus, and which make Sense Motive a class skill will stand you in good stead. Again, this is commonly used by monks and warpriests, but it's great for any class that wants to be able to just cobra their way out of being hammered into the dirt.
#4: Cut (And Smash) From The Air
|Better make it count.|
I keep saying fighter, because like many other feats from this book, you need to have weapon training with a melee weapon in order to use these feats. While there are other classes and archetypes that gain this ability other than fighters (looking at you, swashbuckler), your options are pretty limited for which characters you can slap these feats onto.
#5: Missile Shield and Ray Shield
Of course, just to add insult to injury you can also take Ray Shield out of the same book. It requires you to have the Spellbreaker feat, which itself requires you to have Disruptive, and to have 10 levels of fighter. However, it allows you to basically deflect ray spells and effects, taking the hit on your shield. Your shield still takes the effect of the spell, which can be a problem for things like disintegrate or spells that deal absurd amounts of energy damage, but if your shield is tough enough you can often negate enemy magic that could otherwise seriously impede you. Especially if the ray wouldn't have an effect on an object, so you can basically ignore it.
Also, for those who like the idea of getting to smack away rays with impunity, the Crystalline Body feature of the oread not only increases your AC against rays (making them more likely to miss in the first place) but gives you a once-per-day deflection due to your crystalline structure. Just something to think about!
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