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In 3.5 I made a rogue / cleric / invisible blade that dealt sneak attacks through the inflict wounds line of spells.

This made the attack both a touch attack, and on a feinted character, which was basically a roll against 10 (some monsters had deflection and such), with negative energy, something only a select few creatures have immunity against. Against Undead, I used cure wounds line for similar effect.

But I digress. I am trying to make the same thing in pathfinder, but don't have the option of migrating Invisible Blade or using non Paizo content.

I would like the character to either cast or use a wand to cast the inflict wounds(/cure wounds) spell, or another spell that is also a touch attack and does more damage as he levels up. I'm not set on a specific spell or class, just one that few things are immune to, does decent damage, and is a touch attack. I'd like a class and feat build that does maximum damage via this single attack, which has the ability to do sneak attack damage in nearly any circumstance, and ideally is also attacking the flat-footed AC as well (thus nearly always hitting).

To reiterate; I would like a character build using only paizo-published books in pathfinder that uses touch attack spells to deal sneak attack damage reliably in all circumstances. Please tell me the best build, including feats, for this concept.

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You need to define "optimal". I can think of a couple of things to optimize for, but just doing sneak attack with negative energy only takes having a rogue attack with something that can do negative energy damage (like being a cleric or having a wand). Undead no longer are immune to sneak attack or criticals in Pathfinder... –  Jacob Proffitt Sep 20 '13 at 23:09
Ah, well multiclassing has major drawbacks, the main one being that one loses caster levels :| or loses bab from the non magical classes or level dependant character abilities such as from a rogue. I am looking, perhaps, for a prestige that takes cleric? and rogue? as prereq and has some nice abilities towards this build. –  Discipol Sep 20 '13 at 23:34
So you're optimizing for what, exactly? BAB? Caster levels? negative energy damage? –  Jacob Proffitt Sep 20 '13 at 23:39
I would say damage. Since, in theory, I would have to beat 10, bab would be useless. Add the fact that its a standard action to cast the inflict so no multi negative energy sneak. –  Discipol Sep 20 '13 at 23:40
Please edit these requirements into your question. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Sep 21 '13 at 0:30

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Thug Rogue

A build I recommend a lot on this site is the Thug Rogue.

The Thug is an archetype for the Rogue in pathfinder. It allows you to stack the Shaken condition from Intimidate up to Frightened. If you score well enough on Intimidate to make it last for four rounds or longer. With the Enforcer feat, you can Intimidate for free any time you use non-lethal damage. With the Swashbuckler archetype (stacks with Thug), you can swift action demoralize a certain number of times per day.

How is this relevant to what you want to do? Enter Shatter Defenses. It requires Weapon Focus and Dazzling Display, but once you have it, if you attack a Shaken or Frightened person, they are Flat-Footed against you until your next turn. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am.

Produce Flame

Produce Flame is a great spell. Much-maligned, people often forget that it isn't just for hurling fire bolts at people - the flame held in your hand can be used for melee touch attacks at no cost to the duration. Note that unlike spells such as shocking grasp or inflict light wounds, the 'charge' is not used up if you strike someone with the touch attack - this means you can potentially full-attack people with your palm of flame (although you can't dual wield it - i'd recommend actually using a non-lethal weapon like a sap (or an Improved Unarmed Strike) in your off-hand to trigger Enforcer/Thug/Shatter Defenses, before you go in for the kill with your murderpalm).

A druid dip gives you access to this fantastic spell, in addition to other goodies (like an Animal Companion who can trigger Flanking).

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Since you're making touch attacks here, I'd like to see some suggestions for how to turn attack into damage or other useful effects (i.e. take attack penalties to improve what happens when you hit, because you will not need a high attack bonus to make most touch attacks) –  KRyan Jun 26 at 2:48
@KRyan - Oh, hey, Power Attack would totally work on this. I don't really know how to optimize extra damage in pathfinder other than that - i'd be advising bands of the blood rage, Assassin's Stance, gloves of arcane murdering etc in 3.5e, but this is pathfinder only. Any suggestions? –  Jack Lesnie Jun 26 at 2:56
Power Attack works, but poorly since you cannot two-hand produce flame (and it simply doesn't scale as fast as it did in 3.5). Unfortunately, no, off the top of my head I cannot think of anything particularly good here. –  KRyan Jun 26 at 2:58
Yeag, I chose inflict wounds because you can't find resistanct creatures, only immune or ones that would be healed by negative energy (like undead). Fire might be a problem since there are a lot of fire resistance or immune monsters. But some metamagic or a custom variation of the fire base to another energy type might work around that. –  Discipol Jun 27 at 13:31
In 3.5e I could recommend Searing Spell, or Energy Substitution, or even non-fire spells like Thunderlance, Wraith Strike, or Blade of Force. In Pathfinder, though, I can't really find anything that does that. There's like, a sorcerer bloodline power somewhere I think, but I can't find it, so it might as well not exist. Compared to 3.5e, pathfinder sucks for rogues, no darkstalker, no easy access to good wanded spells, sneak attack is more annoying. You can sneak more stuff, though, including undead, but still, ugh. –  Jack Lesnie Jun 27 at 23:56

If you're looking to optimize negative energy damage, your best bet is probably to concentrate on rogue levels and dip a single level of cleric. The cleric level opens up inflict light wounds and it also enables you to use all inflict wands without chance of failure. This is particularly useful at lower levels when your Use Magic Device skill isn't that high. More levels of cleric can open higher-level inflict spells and an additional point of damage per level, but your sneak attack makes up for most of that.

The real limitation is that you won't have many inflict spells to cast for yourself and you'll have to make the difference up in wands. If that's a concern, then dipping oracle instead is probably better as that'll give you an extra inflict per day and tie extra spells to Cha instead of Wis. Also, the Bones mystery has some complementary revelations (like bleeding wounds or death's touch). Also remember that "In addition to the spells gained by oracles as they gain levels, each oracle also adds all of either the cure spells or the inflict spells to her list of spells known."

I don't see any great prestige class options published by Paizo for what you want. There may be third party ones that fit, though.

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@Discipol Pathfinder has a lot less emphasis on PrCl than 3.5 did; there are only a handful available. They provided more base classes instead; in particular, the inquisitor might be an interesting mix with rogue. –  starwed Sep 21 '13 at 4:53

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