In this series, we recreate a character from our favorite works in Pathfinder.
This installment’s character: Larxene, the Savage Nymph (Kingdom Hearts)
As I learn the ins-and-outs of Pathfinder, one of my favorite ways to test my knowledge is to recreate characters from others works. The Cloning Factory is a series in which I’ll try to build, using only official Pathfinder content, some of my favorite characters.
Each build will stick to a few rules:
- Each build will be a maximum of 10th level.
- Each build will have appropriate average recommended PC wealth-per level and use a 20-point buy.
- Each build will use only official Pathfinder content.
I have characters I’m looking forward to cloning, but if there are any you’d like to see let me know.
So, with all that out of the way, let’s get down to business. Kingdom Hearts came out just at the right time in my life for me to love the hell out of it and, as a true psuedo-gothic gaming high school student, Kingdom Hearts II came out just at the right time for me to love the hell out of people in long black coats with super powers.
In Kingdom Hearts II, Organization XII is the name of a body of antagonists with, unsurprisingly, thirteen members. Each member has a particular weapon and particular theme to their set of superpowers.
The first member I’ll try to nail down is Larxene, the Savage Nymph.
Larxene has a few central characteristics to consider when building her out:
- Her weapon are kunai
- Her theme is electricity (represented by using electricity to attack and being extremely mobile)
- She’s batshit crazy.
Larxene mixes magic with martial attacks and, as a result, we’re going to be looking for a class that will let her wail on her enemies with her kunai and with blasts of lightning equally. Pathfinder has a few classes that combine magic and martial ability, but the most direct are the Magus, the Bloodrager, and the Warpriest. Each has their advantages for bringing Larzene to (simulated) life, but I picked one in particular.
The magus is a class which mixes aspects of the fighter (combat ability, bonus feats) and the wizard (prepared, Intelligence-based arcane casting; spell book) with a resource system called an Arcane Pool to end up with a really fun, easily customized chassis. Magi begin casting spells as early as 1st level, and can temporarily enchant their weapons to achieve different effects, like increases to damage or – as we care most about here – elemental charges. The magus has a lot of blasting and combat-focused spells that will be great for a character as electricity-happy as Larxene. However, the Magus needs a good Intelligence score and Larxene wasn’t shown to be among the Organization’s brightest minds.
While the magus is a mixture of the fighter and the wizard, the Bloodrager combines aspects of the barbarian (a rage mechanic; fast movement; durability) and the sorcerer (spontaneous, Charisma-based arcane casting; bloodlines with powers and abilities). Bloodragers bring out their bloodline’s abilities during periods of Bloodrages. Bloodragers are more martial than magical, only beginning to cast at 4th level and learn a smaller number of spells than their magus cousins. However, the Bloodrager’s durability and their rage mechanic makes them great candidates for channeling Larxene’s wild side. However, the delay in casting and the lack of diversity in spells known makes it difficult for this class to live up to Larxene’s displayed potential.
The divine answer to the magus, the warpriest is a combination of the fighter and the cleric (prepared, Wisdom-based divine casting; other powers derived from a worshipped god or concept). The Warpriest is an equal mix of martial and magic, achieving this through their Sacred Weapon class feature and their Fervor class feature. Sacred Weapon allows the Warpriest to deal increased damage with their chosen weapon, as well as enchant it similarly to the magus. Fervor allows the Warpriest to seamlessly cast spells on themselves during combat while continuing to fight, and the divine spell list is full of excellent buffing spells to bolster Larxene’s combat ability. These are great ways to evoke Larxene’s particular weapon and mix or magic and martial ability, but the divine spell list’s lack of fitting direct damage spells means a Warpriest Larxene will be slightly less zap-happy than she could be.
Since the Warpriest lacks the right kind of magical “oomph” and the Bloodrager leans more towards martial than we need, we’re sticking with the Magus as the base class. However, there are options here that will better enable us to bring these classes together.
There are two archetypes here to look out for. Archetypes are packaged modifications to a class that change some ways in which the class operates. For Larxene, we’re going to be using the Eldritch Scion archetype. The Eldritch Scion changes the Magus’ core attribute from Intelligence to Charisma, her casting from prepared to spontaneous, and grants her a Bloodrager bloodline. It’s the best of both worlds, as far as making this character goes. She gets to enhance her weapons, gets plenty of casting potential, and gets to have moments of craziness.
|Magus (Eldritch Scion) 10|
|AC 26, touch 16, flat-footed 20
(AC Sources: 8 Armor; 5 Dex; 1 Dodge; 2 Shield (from Shock Shield)
HP: 83 (10d8+20)
Fort: +11, Ref: +11, Will: +9
|Speed: 30 ft. (Fly 60ft)
Melee: +13/+8 (1d4 (x2 if critical) +1 Spell Storing Kunai
Special Attacks: May enhance weapon with abilities (e.g. Shocking; Shocking Burst)
1st Level / 6 casts per day
Shocking Grasp; Shock Shield; Vanish; Mirror Strike
2nd Level / 5 casts per day
Bladed Dash; Mirror Image; Defensive Shock; Aggressive Thundercloud; Blur
3rd Level / 4 casts per day
Scorching Ray; Elemental Aura; Lightning Bolt; Storm Step; Burst of Speed
4th Level / 2 casts per day
Dimension Door; Ball Lightning
|Str 10, Dex 20 (16+4 Enhancement), Con 14, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 20 (14+2 Race Bonus + 4 Enhancement)
Base Atk +7/+2, CMB +7; CMD 23
Feats: Weapon Finesse; Dodge; Mobility; Extra Arcane Pool; Sidestep; Spring Attack; Spring-Heeled Style
Magus Arcana: Flamboyant Arcana; Prescient Strike; Hasted Assault
Gear: +1 Spell Storing Kunai; +2 Mithral Agile Breastplate; Headband of Alluring Charisma +4; Belt of Incredible Dexterity +4; Cloak of Resistance +2
Eldritch Scion 1
- Weapon Finesse (Human bonus feat)
- This gets us Dexteritoy to our attack rolls instead of Strength. While we won’t be getting Dexterity to our damage rolls, this feat is useful for consolidating our relevant stats.
- Dodge (1st level feat)
- This feat is a necessary evil, getting us on the path to the mobile fighter we’re aiming for.
- Bloodrager Bloodline (Elemental (Air))
- Elemental Strikes
- This will let us expend a point from our Eldritch pool to add 1d6 electricity damage to our weapon.
- Elemental Strikes
- Eldritch Pool
- Larxene can expend a point form her pool to enter Mystic Focus for 2 rounds, letting her use Bloodline abilities
- Spell Combat (Only while in Mystic Focus)
- Spell combat lets us cast spells and attack in the same turn.
Eldritch Scion 2
- This lets use deliver a spell’s effects, like Shocking Grasp’s electricity damage,through our weapon to effectively combine damage.
- 1st Level: Vanish
Eldritch Scion 3
- Mobility (3rd level feat)
- Another necessary evil, but this feat will help us be more mobile on the battlefield without worrying about taking attacks of opportunity for movement through threatened areas.
- Magus Arcana: Flamboyant Arcana
- Larxene is a flashy fighter and could attack even while being attacked herself. Flamboyant Arcana helps build her defenses and increases her agility all towards the purpose of being a better combatant. However, this build eats up a lot of Eldritch Pool points. We’ll mitigate this a little later.
- 1st Level: Expeditious Retreat
- This spell increases your base movement speed by 30. Hello mobility.
Eldritch Scion 4
- Arcane Pool Functionality for Eldritch Pool
- This is what lets use enhance our weapons with elemental damage
- Elemental Resistance (Electricity 10
Eldritch Scion 5
- Extra Arcane Pool (5th Level Feat)
- Mystic Focus and Flamboyant Arcana drink up a lot of pool points. Eldrich Pool’s description lets abilities and feats which would modify Arcane Pool also modify Eldritch Pool, so this gives us some more breathing room in our point expenditure.
- Sidestep (5th Level Bonus Feat)
- At 5th level, magi get a bonus feat. Sidestep plays well with Flamboyant Arcana. If you successfully parry an attack, that opponent’s attack misses and you can activate Sidestep to move 5 ft as an immediate action. Larxene isn’t very beefy, so her ability to tactically position is important.
- 2nd level: Blur
Eldritch Scion 6
- Magus Arcana: Prescient Attack
- 2nd Level: Defensive Shock
Eldritch Scion 7
- Spring Attack
- Spring Attack allows for hit-and-run tactics for which we’ve previously had to use Bladed Dash. Though Spring Attack is a full-round action, and therefore doesn’t work with Spell Combat, it’s going to do a lot to help us remain relevant and safe when Larxene runs out of spells after a long adventuring day.
- Medium Armor Proficiency
- This feature lets Larxene wear medium armor and cast safely while wearing it, a boon for our short-ranged combatant.
- Bonus Spells
- This Eldritch Scion feature is the reason we haven’t yet taken Scorching Ray. Scorching Ray is a bonus spell awarded by our bloodline, and we finally get it here. Normally, Scorching Ray deals fire damage but, because of the way the Elemental bloodline works, it here deals electricity damage.
Eldritch Scion 8
- Spell Combat
- Previously we’ve had to enter Mystic Focus to use Spell Combat. At 8th level, that restriction is removed.
- Improved Spell Combat
- This gives us bonuses that will help us maintain concentration during Spell Combat, so we’re less likely to fail a casting if an enemy attacks us during it.
- Enhanced Movement: Flight
- The Elemental (Air) bloodline gives its bearer a flight speed of 60 feet at 8th level. Eldritch Scion requires us to spend 1 point from our pool to access it, but a flight speed is a flight speed and we’ve got it.
- 3rd: Storm Step
Eldritch Scion 9
- Spring-Heeled Style
- Spring-Heeled Style ties together all the mobility we’ve been building. Any time we take a move action to move 10 feet or more, we get a +2 bonus to our attack rolls until the start of our next turn. Rules-as-written, nothing prevents us from using this style in medium armor.
- 3rd: Burst of Speed
- Because Burst of Speed grants an untyped bonus, it stacks with the bonus to our speed from Haste or Expeditious Retreat (which do not stack with each other). Burst of Speed also applies to any form of movement, not just land speed. Fly, crazy lady!
Eldritch Scion 10
- Fighter Training
- Half of our levels now count as fighter levels for the purpose of qualifying for feats. While unhelpful to us here, since we’re stopping at 10th level, this opens up later feat choices.
- 2nd: Aggressive Thundercloud
- 4th: Ball Lightning; Dimension Door
- Nothing faster than teleportation. If we were continuing, our next feat would be Dimensional Agility, so we could blink around the battlefield and attack in the same turn. For now, we’ll have to settle for one or the other.
While the build above might be faithful to Larxene as she’s presented, it is also a translation from her Kingdom Hearts identity to one more suitable for the Pathfinder framework. As such, there’s wiggle room both in terms of power – this build could easily be improved to make the character deadlier, but perhaps at the loss of the Larxene identity – and in terms of specific mechanics. Since Larxene has a lot of kunai she uses, rather than one, and never throws the weapons, a different version might instead look to give Larxene claw natural weapons and work Natural Spell Combat into the build.
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