In this Pathfinder Kingmaker Guide we will take a look at Valerie. Valerie is Tower Shield Specialist, which is a subclass of Fighter, and as such is a fantastic front line tank that can survive almost anything thrown at her. She can be built in many ways and multiclassed with other classes, but this guide will cover the most simple and effective build focusing only on the Tower Shield Specialist Fighter subclass. This build guide is aimed for beginners and everyone else that need their memory refreshed regarding certain mechanics.
Pathfinder Kingmaker Builds – Valerie
This build focuses exclusively on being very tanky by having an extremely high AC. The downside is that she won’t hit very hard with her attacks, but that is not what Valerie is here for. However, we are going to use the combat maneuver Trip in a very offensive manner.
Tower Shield Specialists automatically receive these Feats:
- Armor Training: Reduced Armor Check penalty and increased Max Dex Bonus. At lvl 7 she can move at normal speed while wearing Heavy Armor
- Armor Mastery: 5 Damage Reduction
- Tower Shield Training: Reduced Armor Check penalty and increased Max Dex Bonus.
- Burst Barrier: Bonus on Reflex Saves against Burst Spells
- Tower Shield Specialist: No penalty on Attack Rolls due to Shield’s Encumbrance
- Tower Shield Defense: Shield Bonus works against Touch Attacks
- Total Cover: Can’t be flanked anymore
- Tower Shield Evasion & Improved Evasion: You get the Evasion Feat, meaning every attack that deals half damage on a successful Saving Throw will deal no damage instead. Improved Evasion takes this further by halving the damage upon any failed Reflex Saving Throw.
Valerie has a decent Attribute spread. Strength helps in dealing with encumbrance so that she can wear heavy gear with no issues, Dexterity gives a +1 bonus which will be added to AC no matter what Heavy Armor she wears, and Constitution is extremely high already so it adds more Hit Points. Charisma is not needed for combat in this build but can be used to Multiclass effectively with a Bard.
If you want to have the Combat Expertise Feat then you will need 13 Intelligence. This Feat gives a penalty to attack rolls but adds Dodge to AC, and Dodge stacks with every AC bonus. Attribute Points are gained every 4 levels with a total of 5 upon reaching level 20. The first 4 points should be used to get INT to 13 and the final one can be put into CON.
Mobility is the only important fighting Skill here because it improves the effectiveness of Fighting Defensively. With only 3 ranks in Mobility you get +3 Dodge bonus to AC, which stacks with other Dodge bonuses. Fighting Defensively should always be on to increase Valerie’s survivability. The rest of her Skill Points can be put wherever you want, with Persuasion being the obvious choice due to Charisma and the Class Skill bonus to it. It does not affect combat but helps in conversations, which is nice to have.
Fighters get an insane number of Feats, so there is plenty of different ones that can be chosen, and it is also important to consider party composition as well when selecting them. Having a second melee character with a shield in your group, with same teamwork bonuses like Shield Wall, can make your frontline almost immortal. This gives everyone else plenty of freedom to focus on taking down enemies, and can be invaluable.
If you plan on playing Valerie as a solo, tanky frontliner, then you do not need any defensive teamwork Feats like Coordinated Defense. Instead you can choose something like Iron Will to boost Will Saving Throws, since this is where Valerie is weaker. Having an Inquisitor next to you, on the other hand, means you should invest heavily into teamwork feats since that is what Inquisitor gets automatically. Be sure to consider these things when selecting Feats, as this part can vary quite widely based on your party make-up.
The idea here is very simple. Stack as much AC as possible through Feats, while adding other defensive Feats like Missile Shield and Combat Mobility. Outflank is just too good to pass up, because you are likely to have one more melee class in your group that can benefit from it, and they should have that Feat as well. From combat maneuvers I chose Trip, and all the necessary upgrades to increase its chance to Hit. Combat Maneuvers are attack rolls, meaning all bonuses and subtractions apply. Unfortunately that means a minus to attack roll because of Combat Expertise and Fighting Defensively, and that is why we have feats that increase Hit Chance with Trip like Tandem Trip, Greater Trip, Fury’s Fall and Coordinated Maneuvers.
- Blind Fight: Melee Attackers get no bonuses when attacking you from Stealth and it gives you more chance to hit Concealed enemies
- Coordinated Defense: Only if you plan on having another melee character with this same bonus in the party
- Seize the Moment: Useful when you have a melee DPS character with the same feat next to you. Gives you an Attack of Opportunity if an ally confirms critical hit.
- Shake it Off: Adds +1 to all Saving Throws per adjacent ally with this feat (max +4)
- Weapon Focus: Adds +1 to attack rolls with the chosen weapon. Useful for increasing your chance to Hit with a weapon and Combat Maneuvers. Can be upgraded with Greater Weapon Focus.
- Iron Will: Adds +2 to Will Saving Throws. Can be further upgraded with Improved Iron Will.
- Endurance: A non-combat related Feat that helps with Fatigue.
The best Armor choice for this build is Full Plate, because it gives the most increase to AC. Weapon choice does not matter that much as long as it is Single Handed and falls under Simple, Martial or Bastard Sword proficiencies. The Shield needs to be a Tower Shield because this is what this Class specializes in. Belt of Giant Strength is recommended because it adds +2 to Strength, which is then added to Attack Rolls and Trip, increasing chance to Hit.
There are many accessories in the game, but be aware that many bonuses do not stack. For example, 2 Rings of Protection would give the bonus only from the stronger of the two. Bonus-on-bonus items stack, however, if they do not have the same description. The easiest way to see which bonuses stack is to just equip items you are unsure about and see at the bottom left corner if they add bonuses or not.
Example: + 1 enhancement to Natural Armor and + 1 enhancement bonus to AC stack and gives +2 bonus to AC in total
Valerie is an amazing frontliner that should go in combat first and draw aggro from melee opponents. Adjacent to her you can have any melee Class, but just make sure both can benefit from Teamwork Feats. Inquisitor, Rogue, or another Sword & Shield character with the Shield Wall Feat, and many others can work well depending on the chosen Teamwork Feats and party composition. Do not forget that you have Trip at your disposal whenever you want, so use it often as it really helps out.
This build is straightforward and very effective at keeping the aggro of enemies on Valerie, while at the same time being able to tank it with ease. It is not difficult to use, nor is it overly complicated, making it ideal for newcomers. If you are having issues keeping your squishier party members alive, then give this build a try.
Stay tuned for more Pathfinder Kingmaker Guides through out October, as we dive deeper in to this CRPG!