They called him Ernie, the fastest Elf in the West.

Ahem. I'm trying to improve the initiative of an Elf Wizard.

At the moment it's at a respectable: +15

+4 Dex (Base)
+4 Improved Initiative (Appears untyped, nice!)
+2 Warrior of Old Trait (Trait Bonus)
+1 Cracked Dusty Rose Ioun Stone (Competence Bonus)
+4 Weapon with dueling enhancement (Enhancement Bonus)

Is there any other (preferably non-spell) ways to get Ernie even faster?

Sub Level 12 solutions preferred, but solutions of all levels are welcome.

For reference adding in the ideas from below; a level 12 diviner (+6) Elf with A familiar (+4) and Fleet-Footed (+2) gives a further +12, for a grand total of +27 initiative. :)

  • \$\begingroup\$ I have just discovered the Aspect of the beast feat. If you are a lycanthrope you can buy this feat for another +2 (untyped) initiative. \$\endgroup\$ – Rob Jun 9 '15 at 8:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can also boost your dex for more inititive if you can convince a Succubus to use their Profane Bonus (+2 to a stat) on you \$\endgroup\$ – Rob Jan 27 '16 at 16:38

Become a Diviner. They get a blanket +1 per 2 levels bonus to initiative. They also ALWAYS act in a surprise round so your biggest weakness of not going first (getting surprised) NEVER happens!!! You're already a wizard, and pride yourself in going first, so why don't you just start saying, "I saw that coming."

This might be what you're looking for. We have a diviner (foresight school) in our Jade Regent game, and he's saved the party NUMEROUS times by going first. Kinda aggravated the DM since he can never take us by surprise with his ninjas, and then he just glitterdusts them. True story, blind ninjas just aren't as scary as invisible ninjas.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Great answer, and Divination in general is a great way to be prepared for encounters. I believe the OP is optimizing his summoner, but since he didn't mention it in the question this is awesome advice for optimizing PF initiative for 'zards. \$\endgroup\$ – Lord_Gareth Jan 11 '13 at 20:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ I had a player that did this, and it is indeed a really good initiative build. Oh, but I do need to correct you. Even if they act in the surprise round they can still be surprised, provided the monster happens to beat them on the initiative roll. \$\endgroup\$ – Cthos Jan 11 '13 at 23:20

The most taken trait ever, Reactionary, gives you a +2 trait bonus to your initiative. Won't stack with Warrior of Old but frees up that racial trait.

There's a Greater Improved Initiative third party feat, but no one I know allows non-core rules.

Better for a sorcerer, but the Noble Scion feat lets you use Cha instead of Int for Init, which makes for a fast person if they are high Cha.

If you're prepared to swash your buckle, Corsair of Taldor gets you an untyped +2. There's a variety of other Taldan feats that give situational Init bonuses.

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In addition to all the previous answers, take a Familiar. The Compsognathus, Dodo, and Greensting Scorpion all give an untyped +4 to Initiative.

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As with @Lord_Gareth's answer, this option is only viable if your DM lets 3.5 stuff in. The Swiftblade prestige class.

At fourth level, they get Arcane Reflexes.

Arcane Reflexes (Ex): At 4th level, you infuse the energy of previous haste castings into your natural reaction time. You receive a competence bonus on initiative rolls equal to your arcane spellcasting ability modifier.

Emphasis mine. Loss of two caster levels, requires two feats (dodge, mobility) and some flavor. Gain reflex, BAB, skill points, d6 HD instead of d4 and some sweet special abilities. If your DM will allow it, and you're looking exclusively to max out your initiative - this is so worth it.

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If 3.5 content is allowed in, the Eager enhancement gets you a +1 untyped bonus to initiative. Additionally, the Player's Guide to Faerun has some Regional feats - though you can only take one Regional feat, by RAW you can take any one you like as long as you have at least two ranks of Knowledge (Local). Thug, I believe, grants a +2 initiative boost. A Hummingbird familiar further increases this, and spells like Nerveskitter and Celerity make initiative a non-issue.

Of course, this point is moot unless your DM is running with both PF and 3.5 content, but PF is woefully low on what you're looking for.

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I'm going to keep this PFS legal for people doing that.

Change Elf to Ifrit (Advanced Race Guide) for two BIG bonuses, having Darkvision and being an Outsider. Ifrit also changes the racial modifiers to +2 DEX +2 CHA / -2 WIS. This means +2 CON compared to an Elf. Ifrit gets better as you can take the Wildfire Heart trait to get a +4 Racial bonus to Initiative.

Assuming an 18 DEX, that's +8

Add the Reactionary Trait for +2 | +10 Total

Pick up the Improved Initiative Feat for another +4 | +14

Make your first level Sorcerer with the Arcane Bloodline so you can grab a Compsognathus for yet another +4 | +18 total out of character creation!

It's a Ifrit Sorcerer, not an Elf Wizard, but its fast on the draw

Picking up a Dueling Brass Knuckles (you can cast with that hand, but weapon attacks are at -2) is good for a +4, but is 14,000GP, so not cheap.

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