[RPG] Best class for making mount tougher in special gestalt 3.PF E6


Unfortunately, this question is going to require a lot of contextual explanation due to the strange, heavily tweaked system and classes in play. Bear with me.

The system

I am playing in a game that uses a special, modified version of E6. The way it works is that we start with a “base” of being 6th-level commoners, and additional levels gained are gained using the “gestalt” rules from Unearthed Arcana. For example, a character might have started at our “1st” level as a commoner 6//fighter 1, and eventually progressed to commoner 6//fighter 6. Every six levels adds a new “layer” to the gestalt, so after commoner 6//fighter 6, one might become a commoner 6//fighter 6//bard 1. Each “layer” is not restricted to single-classing, so the following level could be commoner 6//fighter 6//bard 1/rogue 1 for example.

Other salient points:

  • Feats are gained on even levels in each “layer” (including three from the commoner levels)
  • Ability score boosts happen at each time we hit 3rd and 6th in a “layer.”
  • All layers count towards prerequisites, including the commoner layer
    • Commoner levels do not count towards plain “level” requirements or scaling, e.g. initiator level, the Leadership feat, etc.
    • Prestige classes are on a case-by-case basis.
  • All non-commoner classes are considered favored classes.

The class

My particular character, a true-neutral halfling, is currently a commoner 6//convoker 4. Convoker is a utility/tank class that I am working on for Dreamscarred Press.1 Its origins were as an archetype for the spiritualist class called the goetic, which has a public playtesting document here. The convoker class has changed significantly since that playtest, unfortunately, so the precise details of the class are not available. The summary of the class remains the same, however: mage that transforms into eldritch horrors, and the eldritch horrors provide local control which allows the convoker to protect allies and manipulate his immediate environment.

Details on that:

  • d10 HD
  • Full BAB
  • Good Will save
  • 4+Int skills
  • Simple weapons
  • Light armor and shields (not tower shields)
  • Close-range focus, with some features triggering on melee attacks
  • 0-4th level occult (psychic) spells, in a progression that’s between bard and paladin (starts with 1st-level spells, but progresses slowly). Uses a small, fixed list of spells known (like the 3.5 beguiler, dread necromancer, or warmage).
  • Numerous supernatural abilities gained by “splicing” one of the seven “horrors” to his body. These abilities are the ones most similar to what the goetic got.

The mount, and the problem to solve

My character also has the Blood Steed trait, modified slightly to get him a riding dog rather than a horse. And this leads me to my question: I am playing a tanky character. My character has nearly 80 hp, very high for a character with 6 HD. My dog, that I ride into battle on, has just 13 hp, because she is a stock-standard riding dog. By the time I reach past commoner 6//convoker 6 and am looking at starting a new class, my character will have approximately 100 hp—and my dog will still have only 13.

The dog’s saves, particularly Will, are also large problems—I have been removed from a combat by her getting frightened and running away with my character on her, and would have been removed from a second fight if not for an ally’s timely remove fear.

What class or mix of classes, when gestalted with a commoner 6//convoker 6, will best beef up my riding dog and allow her to take similar levels of punishment as I do? Note that prestige classes enterable at 6th may be available, pending DM review, and alignment requirements are negotiable, but no more than 6 levels of any one class will ever be available. Combining my existing riding dog with a class-granted mount should be no problem. Classes that offer immediate results are preferred over classes that take time to reach the levels where improvements are offered.

The campaign

Beyond the strange rules and the private class, some details about the character and campaign:

  • The campaign is Age of Worms, so this is the Greyhawk cosmology.

  • Str 14, Dex 8, Con 18, Int 14, Wis 19, Cha 8

  • Psionic Body, Psionic Talent, Psionic Meditation, Blind-Fight, Psionic Weapon, Up the Walls, and Intuitive Fighting for current feats. There is also a convoker-specific feat that allows my mount to share in the movement-related abilities of the eldritch horrors I use. Note that Intuitive Fighting makes melee attack rolls Wisdom-based while psionically focused.

  • Trained skills are Autohypnosis, Concentration, Handle Animal, Heal, Knowledge (arcana, dungeoneering, nature, planes, psionics, religion), Ride, and Spellcraft. Most have just one rank; Concentration, Knowledge (dungeoneering), and Spellcraft are maxed (6 ranks).

  • The character is heavily influenced by Twoflower of Discworld fame: he is a foreign scholar on sabbatical to study the regions of the campaign, and he is exceptionally clueless on a variety of topics. Reflavoring classes is encouraged, so I don’t expect this to constrain choices much, but just in case.

    • Despite high Wisdom, the character is easily distracted and often has his head in a book. I have elected not to roll Perception checks at all from time to time (and the dice have been “agreeable” in that I’ve often rolled poorly and failed Perception checks when I have rolled it). So a class that focuses heavily on being aware of one’s surroundings, having high Perception, and so on, might be inappropriate. Magical senses are quite acceptable, however; he already has a number, when he remembers to use them.

    • The character venerates the Far Realms, and has little knowledge or contact with the regular Inner and Outer Planes. Heavily planar-themed classes, especially those that rely on summoning or calling creatures, would be inappropriate.

      Again, reflavoring is OK, so for example, we could reflavor the celestial template offered by the paladin’s special mount to something appropriate, but something like malconvoker or thaumaturgist would be more problematic (and not just because they would do nothing to help my quandary).

  • The convoker class has a lot of incentives to be in melee, several class features are based on melee attacks, and my character’s Dexterity is terrible. It would be very unlikely for him to switch to a ranged weapon.

  • Both D&D 3.5e and Pathfinder material are acceptable, but please note sources. We are using Pathfinder skills (with some further merging beyond what Pathfinder does, and the return of Concentration as a skill), and CMB/CMD-based combat maneuvers. For classes and feats in both, we are allowed to use our choice of either, subject to some tweaking by the DM.

    1. For the record, this weird, modified case is not being used as any kind of serious testing of the class; it’s just a game I am playing in with friends and got the OK to use the internal version of the class.

Best Answer

If you can meet the prerequisites of prestige classes by your previous gestalts, than it is reasonable to take Beastmaster as soon as possible. I assume you are going to finish your Convoker advancement, so the character would look like that:

Commoner 6 // Convoker 6 // Beastmaster 1

At the first level Beastmaster provides boost to your effective Druid level, so it will be a companion of 4 level Druid from the spot. I dont realy think you'll very much need any more levels in Beastmaster as it stacks with any companion advancing classes, and they have better class features.

From now on I see two options:

  1. Take Druid for spellcastng, if you have room for it in your actions. Five levels will give you access to highest level spells even without that level lost due to Beastmaster. You also will have room for adding more prestige classes at those five levels later, as Druid is a regular class. Finaly, as a regular class, it has no prerequisites. It results in:

    Commoner 6 // Convoker 6 // Beastmaster 1/Druid 5

  2. Stack some other prestige and maybe regular classes with nice class features wich progresses your animal companion. I'd consider Wild Plains Outrider, good class with quick advancement and ability to make a full attack after mount's single move. Two remaining levels may be of practically any class wich progresses your animal companion, probably those of a Beastmaster or even some regular class whose class features you like. It results in:

    Commoner 6 // Convoker 6 // Beastmaster 1/Wild Plains Outrider 3/xxx 2

I can't realy wrap my mind around Animal Ally feat mentioned by Chemus. I feel like, depending on your DM's judment, it may be quite usefull, but when to take it is a question I can't answer. Beastmaster and Wild Plains Outrider are both from Complete Adventurer.

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