Pathfinder - The Bloodrager Handbook Handbook
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I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks. Also note that many colored items are also links to the Paizo SRD.
- Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
- Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances
- Green: Good options.
- Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.
The Bloodrager is a weird fusion of the Barbarian and the Sorcerer. With full BAB, medium armor, a Rage mechanic similar to the Barbarian, and a small complement of spells, the Bloodrager is an excellent front-line Striker or Defender. Despite depending on Charisma for spells, the Bloodrager's skill list doesn't support the Bloodrager serving as a Face.
Bloodrager Class Features
Hit Points: d10 hit points is standard for a martial class.
Base Attack Bonus: Full BAB.
Saves: Fortitude is the Bloodrager's only good save, and with no dependency on Dexterity or Wisdom, the Bloodrager's other saves will have issues. Bloodrage helps by providing a bonus to Will saves, but don't use that as an excuse to not boost your Will saves.
Proficiencies: Simple and Martial weapons give you lots of options, and medium armor and shields will give you a respectable armor class.
Skills: 4+ skill ranks, but the Bloodrager's skill list is very sparse.
Bloodline: Bloodlines grant bonus feats, bonus spells known, and several abilities. These options determine greatly how your character operates in combat, and can determine your role in the party. For help selecting a bloodline, see my Bloodrager Bloodline Breakdown.
Bloodrage (Su): The Bloodrager's signature ability. This is almost identical to the Barbarian's Rage ability, but it also activates the abilities granted by the Bloodrager's Bloodline.
Fast Movement (Ex): Excellent, especially for highly mobile builds.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Situational. If you're worried about being ambushed, invest in Perception.
Blood Sanctuary (Su): Or you and your allies could just not drop fireballs on each other. That's good too.
Blood Casting (Su): If you're in combat, you should be bloodraging. This allows you to use all of your tricks at the same time.
Eschew Materials: Nice, but replaceable with a spell component pouch, and most GMs hand-wave the material components of spells covered by Eschew Materials.
Spells: The Bloodrager only gets 4 levels of spells, but the Bloodrager spell list is fairly good, and includes a lot of buffs which are really fantastic for melee characters. Unlike other 1/2 casters like the Ranger or the Paladin, Bloodragers get their full class level as their caster level.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Extremely situational.
Damage Reduction (Ex): DR/- is fantastic on any character.
Greater Bloodrage (Su): This is really fantastic. A lot of really fantastic buffs have rounds/level durations, which makes it hard to spend a whole combat round casting them. This allows you to pick up one of those buffs as a free action, and get right into the fight.
Indomitable Will (Ex): Situational, but Enchantment spells are among the scariest effects in the game, and mind-controlling the party's front-line characters is a great way for enemies to ruin the party's day.
Tireless Bloodrage (Su): While this isn't as important for the Bloodrager as it is for the Barbarian because the Bloodrager doesn't need to rage cycle, it's still fantastic. If you used Greater Bloodrage to apply a spell and the spell isn't required anymore, you can drop out of Bloodrage and start again with a new buff.
Mighty Bloodrage (Su): Excellent linear increase to the effectiveness of Bloodrage.
Str: The Bloodrager is a melee combatant, and you need enough Strength to be scary with a weapon.
Dex: With only medium armor, you want enough AC to keep yourself alive, and Bloodragers have poor Reflex saves.
Con: d10 hit points is good, but you still need extra hit points to survive in your medium armor. Constitution also gives you extra Bloodrage rounds.
Int: Intelligence only gives you skill ranks, and the Bloodrager's skill list is lousy.
Wis: Only needed for Will saves, but certainly don't dump it.
Cha: You need 14 for your spells, but you don't need to worry about getting more because you should never be relying on your spell DCs. You may be tempted to invest in more charisma for additional spell slots, but you can easily supplement your spell slots with Pearls of Power.
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Like the Barbarian, Strength is key. Charisma bonuses are nice, but hardly essential, and bonuses to defensive abilities will keep the Bloodrager alive.
Dwarf: The Dwarf is an excellent defensive option for many melee classes, and the Bloodrager is no exception. The Charisma penalty is a problem, but because you don't need much more than 14 Charisma it's fairly easy to overcome. The Dwarf favored class bonus grants extra rage rounds, which is always nice.
Elf: The Elf has nothing to do with the Bloodrager.
Gnome: The Strength penalty is problematic.
Half-Elf: The flexible ability bonus is nice, and the Half-Elf's other bonuses are nice, but they don't specifically contribute to the Bloodrager. The Half-Elf favored class bonus is garbage, so take the Human favored class bonus to get extra rage rounds.
Half-Orc: The flexible ability bonus is nice, and Darkvision is always fantastic. The Half-Orc favored class bonus grants extra rage rounds, which is always nice.
Halfling: The Strength penalty is problematic, but if you're dead set on playing a small character the Halfling's bonus to Charisma will help the Bloodrager's spells a little bit. The Halfling favored class bonus is surprisingly good, and because most things are medium or bigger it will apply in most fights.
Human: Always fantastic, the flexible bonus can go into Strength or Charisma, and the bonus feat can be very helpful. The Human favored class bonus grants extra rage rounds, which is always nice.
- Acrobatics (Str): The Bloodrager doesn't really have a reason to make use of Acrobatics.
- Climb (Str): Too situational.
- Handle Animal (Cha): The Bloodrager has nothing to do with animals.
- Intimidate (Cha): The Bloodrager doesn't typically make a good Face, and doesn't get any interesting ways to make us of Intimidate.
- Knowledge (arcana) (Int): Knowledge (Arcana) is one of the most important Knowledge skills in the game, but Intelligence is a dump stat for the Bloodrager.
- Perception (Wis): The most rolled skill in the game.
- Ride (Dex): The Bloodrager has nothing to do with animals.
- Spellcraft (Int): Useful for identifying enemy spells, but Intelligence is a dump stat for the Bloodrager.
- Survival (Wis): Situational
- Swim (Str): Too situational.
- Greatsword: Generally the go-to weapon for two-handed weapon users. Good damage, and 19-20x2 crits.
- Guisarme: The Bloodrager isn't much of a combat maneuver user, but the Guisarme is still a great polearm. If you want to have reach, go for the Guisarme.
- Longsword: The Bloodrager is proficient with shields, but still incurs an arcane spell failure penalty when using them, making sword and board fighting styles problematic. If you really want a shield, stick to a mithral buckler. If you need damage, you can switch to a two-handed grip and forgo your shield bonus to AC.
Armor is presented in the order in which you should acquire it, rather than alphabetical order.
- Hide: Probably your starting armor.
- Mithral Buckler: Your best bet for a sword-and-board build. The Mithral Buckler has 0% arcane spell failure, which makes it a nice option for any arcane spellcaster. If you're not using a two-handed weapon, it's certainly worth the price.
- Beastplate: The best armor available to the Bloodrager without a feat. Upgrade to Mithral if you need mobility or if your Dexterity is particularly high.
- Mithral Full Plate: If you want a bit more AC, Heavy Armor Proficiency is a good investment, and Mithral Full Plate won't interfere with your spells or Bloodrage, and has the same +3 max dex as a Breastplate.
Multiclassing and Prestige Classes
The Bloodrager really has all that it needs, and gains a lot of excellent abilities as you increase in level. Unless you have some specific concept in mind, there isn't really a reason to multiclass. However, prestige classes can offer some interesting options.
- Dragon Disciple: Dragon disciple is a hard option for most of the characters who would qualify it because it gives up a bunch of spellcasting to emphasize numerical increases which mostly work in melee combat. However, the Bloodrager thrives in melee combat and spellcasting is only a secondary concern, to Dragon Disciple has a lot to offer. Dragon Form is especially good since you're already well-suited to melee combat.