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Pathfinder - The Inquisitor Handbook

Last Updated: November 29, 2017

Disclaimer

I will use content from the core rules, but will intentionally omit any content not published on the official Pathfinder SRD due to the unmanageable volume of non-SRD content, and the wildly varying quality of non-SRD content. If you would like me to write handbooks for specific content not published on the official SRD, please email me and I will consider it on a case-by-case basis. 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.

Temporary Note: Pathfinder Unchained and Occult Adventures were both recently added to the SRD. I'm excited to explore them, and I am actively working on adding their contents to my collection of handbooks. I appreciate your patience while I make these changes.

Introduction

The Inquisitor is, in many ways, the Divine equivalent of the Bard. Inquisitors get 6+ skills with a wide skill list, 6th level spells, medium BAB, and can fill nearly any role in a party.

Because teamwork feats generally only work in melee, Inquisitors are typically melee characters.

Inquisitor Class Features

Hit Points: d8 hit points isn't much for a character on the front line, but it's enough to take a few hits. Fortunately you get medium armor and shields, and you have good saves.

Base Attack Bonus: At medium BAB, the Inquisitor can hold their own with a weapon, but don't expect to fight it out with a fighter and win.

Saves: With good Fortitude and Will saves, and with reasonable dexterity, the Inquisitor's saves are good across the board.

Proficiencies: Simple weapons, shields, and medium armor would be enough to get the job done, but the Inquisitor gets a few other options as well. Most notably, the Inquisitor gets proficiency with the repeating crossbow. I would never recommend using one, but it's ammusing to know that the Inquisitor doesn't need a feat to do so.

Skills: 6+ skill points will let you do a lot of things. The Inquistitor's skill list include all of the face skills, all of the most important knowledge skills, Perception, and Stealth. You can do almost everyting but pick locks.

Spells: The inquisitor learns and casts spells like a Bard: they have a limited list of spells known, and can cast them spontaneously.

Domain: The domain abilities are only half of what makes a domain good, and without the spell list the value of a domain changes greatly. You can also take an Inquisition in place of a domain. See my Cleric Domain Breakdown for help choosing a domain.

Judgment (Su): A few times per day the Inquisitor can choose an ongoing buff which lasts for an entire combat. Many of the buffs are great, and provide bonuses which you usually need to plan well in advance.

Monster Lore (Ex): Very helpful for identifying monsters.

Stern Gaze (Ex): This helps quite a bit if you are the party's face.

Cunning Initiative (Ex): Initiative bonuses are always fantastic.

Detect Alignment (Sp): Great for scouting and for determining people's alignments.

Track (Ex): Situational, and very rarely important.

Solo Tactics (Ex): Take Precise Strike to get bonus damage when flanking. Take Coordinated Charge to follow your allies when they charge. This makes teamwork feats much better without requiring your allies to contibute.

Teamwork Feat: Combined with Solo Tactics, this grants you a huge number of tactical options. You also get the ability to change your most recently gained teamwork feat, which means you can change to something with difficult prerequisites or a situational use case.

Bane (Su): Bane is almost never a good choice for a permanent weapon enhancement because you can never gurantee that it will be useful. Inquisitors can throw it on their weapon and gurantee that it will be effective. Unfortunately, the number of rounds per day is very small, so save this for big important enemies. Note that bane also allows you to bypass DR.

Discern Lies (Sp): Situational, and you should already be great at Sense Motive due to Stern Gaze. You also have the spell Discern Lies avaialable as 4th level spell.

Second Judgment (Ex): As though Judgment wasn't cool enough, now you get to use two at a time.

Stalwart (Ex): Like evasion for Will and Fortitude saves. Combined with a Ring of Evasion and good saving throw bonuses, you can be effectively immune to anything with a saving throw. I'm not sure why you can't do this in heavy armor, but that's not a problem really.

Greater Bane (Su): Here, have a bunch more damage.

Exploit Weakness (Ex): It is difficult to bring this to bear, but it's a very cool flavor.

Third Judgment (Ex): Three Judgments at once. Turn on Healing, Protection, and Purity, and you're basically indestructible.

Slayer (Ex): Increase the bonus from one of your Judgment types by 1 or 2, depending on the Judgment and your level.

True Judgment (Su): Save or Die with a decent DC, and you can use it once every 1d4 rounds with almsot no preperation.

Abilities

Unfortunately, their wide range of abilities also makes the Inquisitor somewhat Multiple Ability Dependent (MAD). When planning your Inquisitor, be sure to decide which roles you wish to focus on and adjust your ability scores accordingly. This guide assumes that the Inquisitor is primarily a melee character, and these ability scores reflect that decision.

Str: Likely your primary combat ability score. Teamwork feats, which are a major part of the class, typically depend on being in melee combat alongside your allies. Because you have other capabilities, you aren't as dependent on strength as Fighters or other strictly combat-focused classes, so you don't need to dump all of your resources into Strength. Even if you prefer ranged weapons, Strength is an important source of additional damage.

Dex: Breastplate has a maximum dexterity bonus of +3, so a 16 in dexterity goes a long way to boost your AC, your worst save, and your ranged attacks.

Con: Always key for hit points, especially with your.

Int: Not strictly necessary, but nice for skill ranks and Knowledge skills.

Wis: Your spellcasting ability. Becuase you're a 2/3 caster and don't rely on direct spells to defeat opponents, you don't need to focus on Wisdom in order to boost your AC. You won't need more than 16 Wisdom, and you won't need that much for quite a while, so don't take more than 15 Wisdom at start to save points.

Cha: Unless you plan to be a Face, dump Charisma. Even if you need Intimidate, Stern Gaze gives you more than enough of a bonus to overcome an ability penalty. You can also take the Conversion Inquisition, which allows you to use your Wisdom score in place of Charisma for social skills.

Face (Without the Conversion Inquisition)
25 Point Buy 20 Point Buy Elite Arrray
  • Str: 15
  • Dex: 14
  • Con: 12
  • Int: 12
  • Wis: 15
  • Cha: 12
  • Str: 14
  • Dex: 14
  • Con: 12
  • Int: 11
  • Wis: 15
  • Cha: 10
  • Str: 14
  • Dex: 14
  • Con: 12
  • Int: 10
  • Wis: 15
  • Cha: 8
Non-Face (or Face with the Conversion/Heresy Inquisition)
25 Point Buy 20 Point Buy Elite Arrray
  • Str: 16
  • Dex: 15
  • Con: 13
  • Int: 12
  • Wis: 15
  • Cha: 7
  • Str: 16
  • Dex: 14
  • Con: 12
  • Int: 10
  • Wis: 15
  • Cha: 7
  • Str: 15
  • Dex: 14
  • Con: 12
  • Int: 10
  • Wis: 14
  • Cha: 7

Races

Your race determines a lot of your other character decisions as an Inquisitor. Bonuses to ability scores can allow you to shift ability score buy points around to focus on other areas. Racial proficiency with a good weapon is nice, and extra vision types are fantastic if you plan to be stealthy.

Dwarf: Bonuses to both constitution and your casting ability are nice, plus you get Darkvision, proficiency with the Dwarven Waraxe, and some nice defensive bonuses. The penalty to Charisma makes it hard to be a Face, but you can excel at everything else that an Inquisitor does. If you have a favorite Judgment, the Dwarf favored class option can be a good choice.

Elf: The Elf might make for a good ranged Inquisitor, but most of the Elf's spellcasting-related abilities are wasted on the Inquisitor. The Elf favored class bonus allows you to learn additional spells, but Inquisitors are not primarily defined by their spells.

Gnome: Gnomes don't get anything that benefits an Inquisitor.

Half-Elf: The flexible ability bonus is always nice, and Skill Focus can be nice to compensate for low ability scores. Low-light vision is situational, but nice to have. Consider taking the Drow-Blooded alternate racial trait to get Darkvision, and the Half-Elf favored class bonus is helpful if you depend heavily on teamwork feats. If you don't want to lean on Teamwork feats a lot, you can take the Elf or Human favored class bonuses to learn extra spells.

Half-Orc: The half-orc gets proficiency with the Falchion (one of the best two-handed weapons), a racial bonus to Intimidate, darkvision, and a flexible ability score bonus. These bonuses work very well for the Inquisitor. The Half-Orc favored class bonus isn't great, so consider taking the Human favored class bonus to get extra spells known.

Halfling: Good for stealthy or social Inquisitors who prefer ranged weapons. The Halfling favored class bonus is helpful if you depend heavily on teamwork feats.

Human: Always a good choice, you can put your ability score enhancement in almost any ability, and the skill points are always useful. The Human favored class bonus allows you to learn additional spells, but Inquisitors are not primarily defined by their spells.

Traits

Skills

Feats

Suggesting feats for inquisitors is hard. They're a versatile class that can do a lot of things, but they also don't have any obvious feat themes to pursue. Perhaps the best comparison is to a vanilla fighter: tons of options, but you're not comitted to any of them by default. Teamwork feats seem tempting, but since you don't get a way to share them with allies, they're no more useful for an inquisitor than for anyone else. However, there are a handful of feats which specifically pertain to Inquisitors which we can examine.

Weapons

The Inquisitor has limited weapon proficiencies. Because I can't guess at your setting, your pantheon, or character's deity, I am only able to assess the weapons available to all Inquisitors.

Armor

Spells

This section won't address every spell on your spell list, but it will point out some especially notable options. For a complete list of spells, see the SRD Spell Index.

0-Level Spells

1st-Level Spells

2nd-Level Spells

3rd-Level Spells

4th-Level Spells

5th-Level Spells

6th-Level Spells

Magic Items

Weapons

Armor/Shields

Rings

Wondrous Items

Multiclassing and Prestige Classes

Choosing to multiclass depends heavily on your role in the party. Giving up levels of Inquisitor cuts into your spellcasting abilities and your class abilities, so think long and hard before giving up class levels.