Pathfinder - Inquisitor Inquisitions Breakdown
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.
- 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.
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.
Inquisitions are primarily for Inquisitors, but Clerics and Druids can take them if they decide that they want to give up free spell slots for some reason.
You may also want to read my Cleric Domains Breakdown for comparison.
The Anger Inquisition gives you access to Barbarian Rage. You don't get any Rage powers, so it's not quite as cool, but it's a fun tactical option when you want to turn on your rage and ruin someone's day.
Hateful Retort (Ex): This is a cool way to get a free attack, but it's only once per day.
Divine Anger (Ex): Rage is pretty great, and combined with your Judgement ability you can do some serious damage. You get rounds at half the rate that Barbarians do, so be sure to save these rounds for important encounters.
You get the ability to use and repair guns and a really lousy ability to debuff arcane spellcasters.
Granted Powers: Firearms are decent weapons, but they're not very exciting without Grit. The debuff on arcane spellcasters is insultingly bad; it allows a save to resist, and doesn't even force a concentration check unless you prepared an action. If you really want to use firearms as an Inquisitor, be sure to take Amateur Gunslinger or a level of Gunslinger. Of course, one level of Gunslinger makes this inquisition totally useless.
The Conversion Inquisition is fantastic for an Inquisitor hoping to play the party's Face. Charm of Wisdom makes Wisdom an extremely powerful ability score and removes your need to purchase multi-ability enhancement items.
Charm of Wisdom (Ex): This makes Charisma a dump stat without cutting into your ability to serve as a face.
Swaying Word (Sp): The save DC will keep pace with the highest level spells available to your party, and Dominate Person is one of the most effective spells in the game. However, you only get one use per day, so be sure to use it on someone likely to fail their Will save.
The Fate Inquisition can be easily replaced by two spells cast by a 3rd level Cleric. Augury is a 2nd level spell, and all of the effects of Agent of Fate can be reproduced or replaced by 1st level Cleric spells.
Augury (Sp): Augury is a great divination, but it's only a second level spell.
Agent of Fate (Su): This is a really cool ability, but it's only usable once per day.
Fire of Belief is garbage, but Fervant Action is pretty cool. Unfortunately, it's hard to know when best to use effects like Fervant Action, so it may be one of those abilities that you keep saving until you eventually realize that you have never used it.
Fire of Belief (Sp): The Inquisitor is no slouch in combat, and they have plenty of ranged combat options. The only really redeeming qualities of this ability are the alignment affects and that the ray is a ranged touch attack.
Fervent Action (Ex): Any one of these actions could turn the tide of battle in your favor, but it's only once per day.
The Heresy Inquisition is a slightly grumpier version of the Conversion domain. Either one works for an Inquisitor acting as the party's Face. The Heresy Inquisition also has a third ability, which is unusual for inquisitions. Even without Word of Anathema, the Heresy Inquisition is fantastic.
Righteous Infiltration (Ex): Note quite as good as the Conversion domain's Charm of Wisdom power, but this still greatly reduces your need for Charisma when you want to play a Face.
Blessed Infiltration (Ex): A reroll on a d20 works out to something like a +5 bonus, which may very well be the difference between your Charisma and Wisdom scores. Rerolls on any roll are fantastic, and not only do you get to reroll, you get to take the higher roll, and you can use this multiple times per day.
Word of Anathema (Sp): Throw this on something big and scary, and watch it proceed to stumble its way into an early grave. Be sure to use this on something with a low Will save because you only get one use per day.
The Inprisonment Inquisition is a cool concept, but the abilities are basically impossible to rely on. You can almost never expect Caging Strike to work, and you can only use Divine Prison once per day. You're better off just throwing a net.
Caging Strike (Su): It's nice being able to use this multiple times per day, but it's awfully difficult to count on critical hits when you don't get proficiency with anything with a threat range better than 20.
Divine Prison: This is a fantastic save or suck effect, but you only get to use it once per day.
Illuminating Touch is a decent buff, though not very exciting, and Aura of Enlightenment is really hard to justify when you can use Aid Another and cast Daylight to achieve the same effects.
Illuminating Touch (Sp): A one hour duration is pretty great, and you can use this multiple times in a day. Before you go into a fight with something that likes to force Will saves, throw this on everyone in your party.
Aura of Enlightenment (Su): This is a weird ability. You can neutralize the Darkness spell, and your allies gain a bonus to skill checks for some reason.
Both abilities are awful and they have nothing to do with each other.
Judicious Force (Su): This is only important if someone in your party is built for critical hits, and if they're built for critical hits they already have critical focus. Otherwise it's just a very infrequent chance to high-five someone who is already doing something awesome without your help.
Chains of Justice (Su): This makes dissuades your allies from attacking the target of your chains, but allows the target to attack your allies with impunity. Why would you buff your enemies?
Life Anchor should not come up often enough to justify its existence, and while Stare of Oblivion is cool and reasonably effective, save-or-suck effects should be left for those who can produce a better DC and a better duration.
Life Anchor (Su): You should do your best to never need this ability. If you ever need this ability, you have done something wrong.
Stare of Oblivion (Sp): The base DC will keep pace with the highest level spells available to your party, and Feeblemind is a great save-or-suck for arcane spellcasters, Paladins, and a long list of other creatures and roles. The effect only lasts 1d4 rounds, but that should be plenty of time to tackle and subdue enemy spellcasters. You can use it multiple time per day, which is nice if your targets pass the first save.
The Order Inquisition is right on the line between orange and green. Mantle of Chaos is good, but situational, and Commanding Order is good, but not great. If you expect to face a lot of chaotic enemies, this is more on the side of green.
Mantle against Chaos (Sp): Protection from Alignment is a great set of spells. Protection from Chaos is one of the less reliable ones since most campaigns tend be a good vs. evil dynamic. If your campaign involves hunting lots of hippies, anarchists, and abberations than this can be very useful. Of course, Protection from Chaos is a first level spell, so this isn't terribly powerful.
Commanding Order (Sp): Clerics get Greater Command as a 5th level spell one level later, their DC will be better, and they can affect multiple targets. Still, you can replicate a 5th level spell 3+ times per day for free. Command your enemies to Halt, and they are effectively Dazed for 1 round per Inquisitor level, effectively removing them from the fight.
A bonus feat, a swift-action speed boost, and a once per day use of Lay on Hands give you some fantastic options to get you into melee and keep you there.
Granted Powers: Step Up is a great feat when fighting enemies using spells or ranged attacks.
Relentless Footing (Ex): This does not list a duration, so I would assume that it lasts for one round, but check with your GM. Because this is such a short duration, it should be saved for rounds when you need extra mobility; escaping, charging, dodging past enemies, etc.
Inner Strength (Su): This is basically Lay on Hands once per day with a couple of Mercies to removed some fairly common conditions. Many of the conditions are very debilitating (particularly blinded, confused, nauseated, and Staggered), and removing them gets you back into the fight without cutting into your normal action economy for the round.
Spellcasters and creatures with spell-like abilities are among the toughest enemies in the game, and they become more common at higher levels. The Spellkiller Inquisition gives you some good options for handling spellcasters, and a nice AC buff for defeating any random enemy.
Granted Powers: Disruptive is a great feat for killing spellcasters, but you need to stay within reach so make sure that you take Step Up to keep enemies from stepping out of reach to cast spells. Sacred/Profane bonuses are extremely rare, so the AC boost is nice. Unfortunately, staggering a spellcaster doesn't hurt them much because they still get their standard action to cast spells.
Grant the Initiative is so fantastic that it's almsost good enough to offset how lame Inquisitor's Direction is.
Inquisitor's Direction (Su): If the best you can do is grant an ally some minor buffs and a free attack for one round, you are not a useful character. You need to be within 30 feet to use it, so you should be getting into melee to make some of your own attacks.
Grant the Initiative (Ex): This would be blue if it only applied to you. Initiative bonuses are amazing. If this means moving the enemies even one space lower in the iniative order, it could mean the difference between a flawless victory and a crippling defeat.
This Inquisition can be replaced by one feat, a cantrip, and two skill ranks. A pile of stuff you could easily get at level 1 is not worth your single Inquisition choice.
Torturer's Presence (Ex): Need some more Intimidate? Here you go.
Torturer's Touch (Sp): Touch of Fatigue is a cantrip, and a poor one at that.
Critical Precision (Ex): If you want to build for critical hits, just take Critical Focus. Also, don't be a class with 2/3 BAB.
The Truth Inquisition can be replaced by the Guidance spell and the Zone of Truth spell, both of which are on the Inquisitor spell list.
Justice's True Path (Sp): Like Guidance on crack. Good for stuff like opening locks, disarming traps, or other things which are quick to do but generally don't happen in combat.
Grasp of Honesty (Su): By the time you get this ability, you have had Zone of Truth available for four levels.
Do you like the spell Remove Fear? Well then this Inquisition is great! Because that is all that this Inquisiton does: remove fear. If Fear is such an issue for you, play a Paladin.
Touch of Resolve (Sp): Remove Fear is a first level spell for a huge number of classes, including Inquisitors.
Fearless (Su): Fear effects are generally very gentle, and can be easily overcome with a number of sources.
You should never want or need either of these abilities. Get a bow and don't die.
Divine Retribution (Sp): An amusing low-level damage option. This would be great for Clerics, but Inquisitors have access to better weapons and should be able to do more damage at range.
Final Vengeance (Su): You should be working very hard to never need this.
If your campaign involves actively persecuting one group of people for their religious beliefs, you should feel bad, but this Inquisition might be useful.
Zealous Surge (Sp): You never want to need this, but it's a cool way to keep you in the fight.
Scourge of the Enemy (Ex): Hugely situational. This would only make sense in a campaign where you are actively hunting members of one religion, and most campaigns involve a cosniderably more diverse set of opponents.