Pathfinder – The Slayer Handbook (2022)

Last Updated: March 21, 2022

Introduction

The Slayer is one of my absolute favorite classes. It meshes the excellent stealth of the Rogue with the versatility and combat prowess of the Ranger, includes some of the best elements of both classes, and improves on some of the Ranger’s weak points. The Slayer is viable in a huge number of combat styles and builds, and can fill an impressive number of roles without needing to rely on spellcasting or a pet.

Unfortunately, this versatility also makes it very hard to recommend specific options which work for every Slayer. Normal sections of this handbook have been intentionally omitted, but will be detailed in specific Slayer build handbooks in the future.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Disclaimer
  • Slayer Class Features
  • Abilities
  • Races
  • Skills
  • Magic Items
    • Weapons
    • Armor/Shields
  • Multiclassing and Prestige Classes

Disclaimer

We support a limited subset of Pathfinder’s rules content. If you would like help with Pathfinder options not covered here, please email me and I may be able to provide additional assistance.

RPGBOT uses 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 whichare extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful optionsthat only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essentialto the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

Slayer Class Features

Hit Points: d10 hit points is standard formartial characters..

Base Attack Bonus: Full BAB is fantasticconsidering the other features of the Slayer.

Saves: Good Fortitude and Reflex saves.Will saves will be a problem, and without the Ranger’s spell list there islittle other reason to invest in Wisdom.

Proficiencies: All simple and martialweapons, medium armor, and shields. You can use basically anything you wouldever want, and if you really need heaby armor for some reason you can spend afeat on it.

Skills: 6+ skill ranks and a decent skilllist. The Slayer doesn’t get Diplomacy or Disable Device by default, but youcan get Diplomacy with a trait if you need to serve as the party’s Face, andyou can take the Trapfinding Slayer Talent if you need to serve as the party’sScout.

Studied Target: Favored Enemywishes it was this good. The bonus is half as good, but you can useon anything. You need to spend a move action to study the target, but thatdrops to a Swift Action at 7th level, and you can gradually have more studiedtargets are a time, at which point you should never attack an un-studiedtarget. You can use this any number of times per day for as long as you want,which is a bit ridiculous in my opinion. They could have stuck a 3+int/daylimitation on this and I would still call it blue. Don’t forget that the bonusapplies to your class abilities, including things like the Assassinateadvanced talent.

Track: Situational.

Slayer Talents: The Slayer gets a talent atevery even level, like many classes, but in addition to having a short list ofSlayer-specific talents, you can also pick Ranger Combat Style feats, or RogueTalents. This allows a huge amount of versatility and customization. For helpwith Slayer Talents, see mySlayer Talents Breakdown.

Sneak Attack: The Slayer gets a new SneakAttack die every 3rd level, so your pile of d6’s will be smaller than aRogue’s, but the Slayer is also considerably less dependent on Sneak Attackfor damage, and with full BAB the slayer can make enough attacks (and hit withthem) to make up for the deficit.

Stalker: Studied Target bonus to a few moreskills.

Advanced Talents: For help with SlayerTalents, see mySlayer Talents Breakdown.

Swift Tracker: Very situational.

Slayer’s Advance: Situational. At thislevel you should have plenty of other options for movement, especially if youhave a Wizard handy.

Quarry: The tracking thing is situational,but you get a bonus to attacks which stacks with Studied Target, and youautomatically confirm critical threats. Grab a Keen Scimitar, some CriticalFocus feats, and go mess someone up. There is no limit on uses per day, butyou need to wait an hour between quarries, so save this for the biggest targetin a fight, then take a lunch break between fights.

Improved Quarry: Quarry as a free actioninstead of a standard. Now you can study the target, declare your Quarry, andAssassinate it in two rounds.

Master Slayer: Somewhat redundant with theAssassinate Advanced Talent, but more versatile. Don’t forget that you StudiedTarget bonus applies to the DC, so you should be looking at a 25+int DC, whichwill rival your Wizard’s scariest save or die spells.

Abilities

The Slayer is exceptionally versatile, and your choice of abilities depends heavily on what you intend to do.

Str: Crucial for damage on melee charactersand archers.

Dex: With medium armor, you will wantdecent Dexterity.

Con: Hit points and saves. Slayers are amartial character, so you should expect to draw a lot of hits.

Int: Skill ranks, and increases the DC ofAssassinate, but that’s about it.

Wis: Only needed for Will saves, but Willsaves will be a problem if you dump it.

Cha: The Slayer could be a Face if youtake a trait to get Diplomacy as a class skill, but if you don’t want to be aFace dump to 7. Studied Target can compensate for dumping Charisma if youabsolutely need to be social. However, there are a lot of Slayer-only featswhich depend on Intimidate, and therefore Charisma.

Races

The Slayer is a very Flexible class, and can function with a variety of builds.

Dwarf: As always, the Dwarf is a fantasticoption for a durable melee character. Darkvision is fantastic for stealth, butthe Dwarf favored class bonus is worthless.

Elf: Bonuses to Dexterity and Intelligencemake for a great Slayer, but the Elf’s other racial abilities are wasted bythe Slayer’s lack of spellcasting. Alternate racial traits can improve theElf’s viability as a Slayer. The Elf favored class bonus is helpful forpursuing and ambushing a studied target, but it’s probably not worth more thana skill rank.

Gnome: The Slayer is too much of a martialcharacter for the Gnome. The Gnome favored class bonus offers extra SlayerTalents, which is tempting, but it’s still not enough to make the Gnome a goodchoice.

Half-Elf: The Half-Elf offers a flexibleability bonus and some elf abilities. Alternate racial abilities offer someadditional customization which can work really well for the Slayer. TheHalf-Elf favored class bonus is garbage, so take the Human favored class bonusfor additional talents.

Half-Orc: A flexible ability bonus isalways nice, and Darkvision is great for sneaky Stalkers. The racial bonus toIntimidate is great because Stalkers have so many Stalker-only feats that workfor fear stacking. The Half-Orc favored class bonus is garbage, so take theHuman bonus instead to get extra talents.

Halfling: The Halfling is your best bet fora small Slayer. A bonus to Dexterity is good for finesse or ranged builds, andthe Halfling’s racial abilities are good for any stealthy character. TheHalfling favored class bonus adds a Dodge bonus against your Studied Target,which is fantastic as you gain the ability to study more targets at once.

Human: Always the gold standard, a flexibleability bonus and a feat work for any build. The favored class bonus grantsadditional Slayer Talents, allowing even more options.

Skills

  • Acrobatics (Dex): Excellent for gettingout of bad places in combat, but situational because you should be able tostand up to whatever your enemies are dishing out in melee.
  • Bluff (Cha): Required if you plan to bethe party’s Face.
  • Climb (Str): Too situational.
  • Disguise (Cha): Too situational.
  • Heal (Wis): Better on someone with betterWisdom, but this is your only healing option without dropping money onpotions.
  • Intimidate (Cha): Required if you plan tobe the party’s Face, and essential for fear-stacking builds.
  • Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int): One ofthe most important knowledge skills.
  • Knowledge (geography) (Int):Situational.
  • Knowledge (local) (Int): Often helpfulfor plot purposes, and for identifying all of those weird humanoids.
  • Perception (Wis): The most rolled skill inthe game.
  • Ride (Dex): Only important if you planto go for a Mounted Combat build, and there are better options than theSlayer for Mounted Combat builds.
  • Sense Motive (Wis): Helpful if you’re theFace, or if your party’s Face has poor Wisdom.
  • Stealth (Dex): Essential for anyScout.
  • Survival (Wis): Situational.
  • Swim (Str): Too situational.

Magic Items

Weapons

  • Headsman’s Blade (13,850 gp;):Assassinate is great and it’s really hard to find ways to boost its DC.

Armor/Shields

  • Celestial Armor (22,400 gp): Unless youhave heavy armor proficiency and a Dexterity modifier of at most+5, Celestial Armor is the best armor in the game if all you need from yourarmor is AC. For more, check out myPractical Guide to Celestial Armor.

Multiclassing and Prestige Classes

The Slayer is already a fusion of the Rogue and Ranger, so there is little reason to multiclass unless you have a very specific build in mind.

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