In this series, we recreate a character from our favorite works in Pathfinder.
This installment’s character: Lexaeus, the Silent Hero (Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts 2)
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 over at the Contact page.
Don’t forget to check out the last Cloning Factory subject: Beatrix “The Bride” Kiddo.
As part of a sub-series to the Cloning Factory, we’ll going to be building different members of Organization XIII, an antagonist group in the Kingdom Hearts series. Each member of the Organization has a particular personality, fighting style, weapon, and element. Our inaugural Organization XIII member we built in Pathfinder was Larxene, the Savage Nymph.
In this installment, we’ll be building Lexaeus, the Silent Hero.
Lexaeus features most heavily in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, where he’s a taciturn, mightily strong warrior, and a close friend of the bookish schemer and fellow Organization XIII member, Zexion. Lexaeus’ key qualities in our build are:
- Physical strength. His weapon, the Skysplitter, is too heavy for other characters to lift, yet Lexaeus wields it ably with a single hand. In battles, Lexaeus can very literally throw people around the room.
- Durability. In combat, Lexaeus is slow but sturdy. The gimmick in his return battle in Kingdom Hearts 2: Final Mix is the use of an aura that prevents him from flinching and minimizes damage.
- Earth manipulation. Every Organization XIII member has an associated elemental or otherwise thematic power. Lexaeus’ is earth, though his use of it in battle is ancillary to the attacks he performs with his weapon. Lexaeus can rupture the ground with his weapon or shatter earth to hurl shards at enemies. However, he seems to prefer using his weapon above more complicated magical maneuvers.
- Slow. Lexaeus is as mobile as many other Kingdom Hearts fighters, which is to say very, but he is certainly not among the speedsters. More importantly than movement speed, however, Lexaeus attacks slowly. His damage most often comes from a few powerful strikes rather than spread across a higher number of weaker attacks.
What all of this means to us that we want a class that focuses on Strength and Constitution, has some amount of casting to enable the earth manipulation, and allows us to get away with focused damage on single attacks.
With all this in mind, the Bloodrager takes us to where we want to be. The Bloodrager is a combination of a Barbarian and a Sorcerer, gaining a rage mechanic that temporarily buffs Strength and Constitution, and gaining a minor spontaneous spellcasting ability that keys off Charisma. Lexaeus isn’t shown to be a particularly charismatic individual, but he certainly cuts an intimidating figure and, in our feat chain, we don’t have the space for Intimidating Prowess. We’ll be focusing mainly on spells that don’t prompt saving throws, such as buff spells.
Like sorcerers, Bloodragers get a bloodline that grants them abilities as they level. However, many of the abilities that we would gain either don’t fit Lexaeus very well, or just aren’t good options for the character we want to build. To work around this, we’re going to use the Primalist Bloodrager archetype. An archetype is a set of modifications to a class that change what abilities a character of that class can access. The Primalist archetype allows the Bloodrager to forego a bloodline power and instead receive Barbarian rage powers, abilities usually unique to members of the Barbarian class while they are in a rage. Some of these are a very good fit for Lexaeus, and we’ll be making the most of this archetype to pick them up.
There are arguments to be made that each Organization XIII member’s weapon is a Bonded Object, like those the wizard receives. However, for the sake of build diversity and fidelity to other aspects of the character, we won’t be going down the bonded object route with Lexaeus.
|Bloodrager (Primalist) 10
|AC: 17, touch: 10, flat-footed: 17 (+7 Armor) (+5 natural armor if using Ironskin; +4 shield is using Shield spell)
HP: 111 (10d10+50) (+20 Hit Points if raging)
Fort: +12, Ref: +5, Will: +3
Special Saves: +2 to saves vs. spells Lexaeus or his allies cast; +2 to Fort and Will if ragingDR 2/- (increases to DR3/- if raging)
|Speed: 30 ft.
Melee: +1 Impact Battleaxe +17 (1d10+6, 20/x3) (damage increases to 1d10+8 if wielding weapon 2-handed)Special Attacks:
Bloodrage (34 rounds/day): +4 morale bonus to STR and CON; +2 to Will; -2 AC.
|Bloodrager Bloodline Powers
Elemental Strikes: Swift action, 5/day; for 1 round, melee attacks deal 1d6 acid damage.
Barbarian Rage Powers
|Str 20, Dex 10, Con 18, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 18
Base Atk +10/+5, CMB +15; CMD 25
Feats: Power Attack; Toughness; Pushing Assault (3rd) Eschew Materials (4th Bloodrager Bonus) Arcane Strike (5th); Weapon Focus (6th Bloodrager Bonus); Blooded Arcane Strike (7th); Lightning Reflexes (9th Bloodrager bonus); Vital Strike (9th)
Gear: Belt of Bull’s Strength +4; Headband of Alluring Charisma +4; +1 Impact Weapon; +1 Chainmail; Cloak of Resistance (whatever’s affordable)
For each level, we’ll be taking the Human favored class bonus for the Bloodrager, increasing the number of rounds per day we can be in a bloodrage.
Primalist Bloodrager 1
- Power Attack
- A core feat for Strength-based martial builds, Power Attack allows its user to take a penalty on their attack rolls in order to gain a bonus to their damage rolls. Since the Bloodrager has full Base Attack Bonus (BAB) progression – i.e. they’re good at hitting stuff – a small penalty is well worth it in exchange for a bonus to damage. Gained by the bonus feat available to humans at first level.
- While not too interesting a feat on its own, Toughness grants a bit of extra durability in the form of additional HP. Lexaeus isn’t a great dodger, but his durability should mean he doesn’t need to be. Gained through the feat available through normal level progression.
- Bloodline (Elemental: Earth)
- We’ll use this bloodline partially for theme, partially for its 1st level ability to temporarily buff the damage output of your attacks, and partially for the bonus feats. As discussed, we’ve selected the Primalist bloodrager archetype to exchange some of the less thematic bloodline powers for rage powers that better suit our character.
- Bloodline Power: Elemental Strikes
- As a swift action, we add 1d6 acid damage to our weapon attacks for one round. This isn’t a very strong power, and we’ll soon stack up on different abilities which require swift action activation, but it’s always good to have an elemental option to fall back on.
- Fast Movement:
- Lexaeus increases his base movement speed by 10. Which this means Lexaeus will be faster than some of his contemporaries when unarmored, the armor we’ll weigh him down with will lower his speed back to 30.
- For a number of rounds per day, Lexaeus gains a bonus to his Strength and Constitution scores, a bonus to Will saves, and a penalty to AC. Further, it’s only during this period, a rage, that he can use his Bloodline powers. Further still, he will only be able to cast spells while raging and use the rage powers afforded by the Primalist archetype while raging.
Primalist Bloodrager 2
- Uncanny Dodge.
- There are a few Bloodrager archetypes that swap out Uncanny Dodge and its related features, but each of them either did away with another part of the concept that we wanted or took it in a direction that wouldn’t work for Lexaeus. We’ll have to stick with Uncanny Dodge, even though Lexaeus isn’t a nimble guy.
Primalist Bloodrager 3
- Pushing Assault
- Lexaeus throws Sora and Riku around like ragdolls during their fights, but we don’t quite have the space here to focus on grappling and throwing by hand. Instead, we’ll focus on using Lexaeus’ weapon to push his opponents around. Pushing Assault allows Lexaeus to knock an enemy back 5 feet with a successful blow from a two-handed weapon attack. If it’s a critical strike, the enemy gets pushed back 10 feet. Gained through the feat available through normal level progression.
- Blood Sanctuary
- Blood Sanctuary gives Lexaeus a bonus to his saving throws, so he can better stand amidst the chaos of his spells and those of his allies. Lexaeus is hardly bothered by all the terraforming he dishes out, and it makes sense that this should continue here.
Primalist Bloodrager 4
- Eschew Materials
- Part and parcel with sorcerer-based spontaneous casting, Bloodragers don’t have to worry about keeping track of inexpensive material components for spells. Gained through the bonus feat afforded to Bloodragers at 4th level.
- Blood Casting
- Here’s where stuff gets interesting. At 4th level, Lexaeus begins to learn a small number of spells that he can cast a few times per day. He’ll never be a phenomenal spellcaster, but this small amount of magic gives Lexaeus what he needs to evoke the geomancy he performs in Kingdom Hearts.
- Rage Power: Powerful Blow
- The Primalist archetype lets us trade in a bloodline power for two rage powers. The first one we’ll pick is Powerful Blow, a swift action ability that grants a bonus to damage that starts at +1 and scales with every 4 levels we have beyond 1st. It’s weaker than our Elemental Strikes ability, but its consistency may allow it to succeed in cases acid damage isn’t appropriate.
- Rage Power: Knockback
- Once per round, we can replace a melee attack with a bull rush attempt, knocking an enemy back at least 5 feet if successful. Since Lexaeus throws his enemies around, this and Pushing Assault will make it easy for him to focus on repositioning his enemies through actual or artificial bull rush attempts.
Primalist Bloodrager 5
- Arcane Strike
- Now that we can cast arcane spells, we can use Arcane Strike, another swift action ability that increases our damage output. Right now, it competes with Powerful Blow and Elemental Strikes, but as we gain more feats, that will become less of an issue. Gained through the feat available through normal level progression.
- Improved Uncanny Dodge
1st level: Stone Shield
Primalist Bloodrager 6
- Weapon Focus (Battleaxe)
- Additional accuracy is rarely a bad thing, and the +1 afforded to us by Weapon Focus helps to increase the value of Power Attack by creating a small buffer between our previous effectiveness and the results of Power Attack’s accuracy penalty. This is also a useful feat prerequisite for something we’ll pick up later. Gained through the bonus bloodline feat gained at 6th level.
1st level: Shield
Primalist Bloodrager 7
- Blooded Arcane Strike
- Action economy hasn’t been our friend in these past levels, as we’ve had to struggle between using Arcane Strike, Powerful Blow, and Elemental Strikes. This feat makes sure that Arcane Strike is always “on” during our bloodrage without us needing to activate it with a swift action. This means our damage consistency ticks upward very nicely and we’re less pressured to choose which benefits we’ll tap for an advantage. Gained through the feat available through normal level progression.
- Bloodline Spell: Burning Hands
- Lexaeus gains a bonus spell to his list of spells known, a blessing for a caster so restricted in known spells like the bloodrager. Lexaeus never sprays acid at his enemies in-game, but a bit of reflavoring can still allow this spell to be a storm of rock shards. With acid tips. Those elemental descriptors will get you every time.
- Damage Reduction
- Whenever Lexaeus takes damage from a weapon or natural attack, that damage value is reduced by 1. We’re looking for durability, and we’re getting it.
1st level: Burning Hands (change elemental descriptor from [fire] to [earth]; deals acid damage)
Primalist Bloodrager 8
- Rage Power: Increased Damage Reduction
- When raging, Lexaeus increases his damage reduction by 1. More durability!
- Rage Power: Strength Surge
- Our Lexaeus is reliant partially on Knockback’s bull rush maneuver and we haven’t taken Combat Expertise or any of its subsequent improved maneuver feats because Knockback removes the fear of provoking an attack of opportunity for attempting its combat maneuver. Strength Surge gives us a once-per-rage bonus to a combat maneuver check equal to our Strength modifier. When Lexaeus absolutely must move an enemy, he’ll damn well do it.
2nd level: Protection from Arrows
Primalist Bloodrager 9
- Vital Strike
- Whenever Lexaeus makes an attack action, one of his attacks rolls its damage die twice and combines the results before adding other modifiers. Lexaeus is a heavy hitter; Vital Strike lets him pour more damage into a single strike, as befits the character. It also allows him more freedom to work Knockback into his full attack actions without worrying as much whether he’s missing out on damage by doing so. Gained through the feat available through normal level advancement.
- Lightning Reflexes
- Our bonus feat options are pretty slim, but Lightning Reflexes shores up a saving throw gap that our high Constitution and bloodrage enhancements built between our Reflex saving throws and our Fortitude and Will saving throws. Lexaeus is durable, but sometimes not getting hit at all is preferable to absorbing the hit you do take.
1st: Returning Weapon
2nd: Winged Sword
In Kingdom Hearts, Lexaeus can throw his weapon and have it return to him. While useful for facilitating ranged Knockback attempts, I selected these spells largely for fun.
Primalist Bloodrager 10
- Damage Reduction
- Our damage reduction increases by 1. We have a constant DR 2/-, which increases to DR 3/- when raging.
- Bloodline Spell (Scorching Ray)
2nd level: Scorching Ray ([earth] elemental descriptor and acid damage)
Recommended items are of course the ability score-enhancing items (Strength Belt +4; Charisma headband +4), a cloak of resistance, armor, and an Impact weapon.
I spoke earlier of Lexaeus’ physical strength, and how it allows him to be the only one to successfully wield his heavy weapon. We might have been able to pursue a pure Barbarian build using the Titan Mauler archetype and wrangle with oversized weapons, but we avoided that here to better focus on other aspects of the character. Instead, we’ve used an Impact weapon to simulate the weight of Lexaeus’ Skysplitter. Weapons with the Impact special property have their damage treated as though the weapon was one size category larger, taking us from the battleaxe’s 1d8 to a 1d10. This is where much of our money has gone.
Lexaeus is an underdeveloped member of the Organization, but it’s hard not to like the earth-shaking, silent, strong guy. Much like the other Cloning Factory builds, there are a lot of options by which one can arrive at a character much like Lexaeus, but this build is focused on the slow, high-damage attacks and the pushing around of enemies, with minor spellcasting ability to facilitate Lexaeus’ geomancy.
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