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Pathfinder - Investigator Talents Breakdown

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.

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Investigator Talents

Investigator talents marked with an asterisk (*) add effects to an investigator's Studied Combat or Studied Strike. Only one of these talents can be applied to an individual attack, but the decision can be made when the damage is dealt.

Alchemist Discovery (Ex): Access to some of the best Alchemist Discoveries for buffing your Infusions.

Amazing Inspiration (Ex): This only means an average of 1 higher on your inspiration die rolls, but combines very well with Tenacious Inspiration.

Blinding Strike* (Ex): Permanently blinded? This is fantastic, and I can see why it's reserve for level 17.

Combat Inspiration (Ex): Using Inspiration on your saves is a great way to keep yourself alive, and cutting down on the Inspiration cost will help keep you going all day.

Confusing Strike* (Ex): This is not nearly good enough to be reserved for 19th level.

Deafening Strike* (Ex): Deafness really only affects spellcasters, so this is situational.

Device Talent (Ex): UMD is a class skill, and while it's fantastic, you don't want your expensive magic item charges to be dependent on a die roll. Instead, pick up the Pragmatic Activator Trait so that you can use your high Intelligence instead of your mediocre Charisma.

Effortless Aid (Ex): The Swift Aid Feat is better.

Eidetic Recollection (Su): Not only are you good at Knowledge, you are consistently good at Knowledge. Of course you can add Inspiration to Knowledge rolls for free, but reliability is nice.

Empathy (Ex, Su): Situational.

Expanded Inspiration (Ex): More free uses of Inspiration is always nice, and Diplomacy, Heal, and Perception see a ton of use.

Greater Combat Inspiration (Ex): Combat Inspiration is great, so most Investigators will take it. Pick your favorite weapon, and get a permanent 1d6 bonus to attacks with it. I can see why this is reserved for level 19, especially in the face of Amazing/Tenacious Inspiration.

Hidden Agendas (Ex): Very situational.

Inspirational Expertise (Ex): A +4 insight bonus is pretty nice, even if the duration is short.

Inspired Alertness (Ex): Just spend a skill rank on each Knowledge skill. You have enough to go around.

Inspired Intelligence (Ex): Just take Eidetic Recollection and spend an Inspiration point to take 20 when you need a boost.

Inspired Intimidator (Ex): Skill Focus (Intimidate) will pay off better (especially after 10th level), and doesn't cost inspiration.

Item Lore (Ex): Very situational, and you probably have someone in the party who can do it, or you can pay some NPC to cast Identify for you.

Perceptive Tracking (Ex): Very situational.

Quick Study (Ex): The text appears to be incorrect: Studied Combat is a move action by default, but dropping that to a swift action is phenomenal. I would take this on every Investigator without question, and I would probably take it as my first Talent.

Repositioning Strike* (Ex): Reposition is very situational.

Rogue Talent (Ex): Most of the options are bad, redundant with your Infusions, or can be replaced by Inspiration.

Sapping Offensive* (Ex): This doesn't specify that you need to damage the target with an attack, which is potentially abusable, but this is still situational.

Sickening Offensive* (Ex): Sickened is a decent status condition, applying penalties to attacks, damage, and saves. This can be a good way to debuff enemies, or to set them up to be hit with a spell next round.

Stealing Strike* (Ex): Situational, but certainly better than taking Improved Steal.

Studied Defense (Ex): Insight bonuses to AC are rare, and the scaling it good. This could be good in a pitch, but it will severely inhibit the Investigator's damage output.

Tenacious Inspiration (Ex): 1d6 has an average of 3.5. Rolling twice and taking the highest increases that to 4.7. Taking Amazing Inspiration to boost your Inspiration die to d8's will increase your average to 5.8. If you really depend on your Inspiration die, Amazing and Tenacious Inspiration are a good investment.

Toppling Strike* (Ex): Tripping a target makes them very vulnerable to melee attacks, and getting a free Trip after throwing a pile of d6's is great. Combine this with Improved/Greater Trip, and you can really get a lot done.

Unconventional Inspiration (Ex): At 17th level your skill bonuses should be absurd, and devoting the equivalent of a feat to one skill is a poor use of an excellent resource. Skill Focus would be considerably better at this point, which is pitiful.

Underworld Inspiration (Ex): The listed skills are situational, but a constant free 1d6 bonus to all of them is nice if you can bring them into play often.