|Class||Fighter (Tower Shield Specialist) 1|
|2||Alchemist (Vivisectionist)||–||True Strike, Reduce Person|
|3||Alchemist||Accomplished Sneak Attacker, Feral Mutagen||Cure Light Wounds|
|4||Monk (generic)||Crane Style||–|
|5||Rogue (Thug)||Weapon Focus: Bastard Sword||–|
|6||Fighter||Armor Focus: Heavy Armor||–|
|1||Str 14, Dex 13, Con 19, Int 9, Wis 10, Cha 15|
|Persuasion (max)||Athletics (max)||Mobility (3)||Use Magic Device|
Valerie starts out wearing heavy armor, lugging around a tower shield, and has a level in Fighter (Tower Shield Specialist). Her role is abundantly clear from the outset - she’s a tank. Unlike Amiri, she doesn’t suffer from a poor generic class choice, rather she has a rather questionable stat spread.
In Pathfinder: Kingmaker, Armor Class and buffs determine your survivability, not your Hit Points, so Valerie’s incredible Constitution score will help a lot less than you might think. Her Dexterity is only 13, which is high enough for feats like Dodge and Combat Expertise, but it won’t contribute much to her Armor Class. This isn’t a huge handicap, given Valerie’s penchant for heavy armor and an absurdly huge slab of wood and metal she decides to call a shield. Her Strength score of 14 is less of a mixed bag - it’s just a poor Strength score for a dedicated warrior.
All in all, Valerie is a fairly compromised warrior who nonetheless has the potential to become a pretty good tank, even if her offense is shoddy and will likely remain so for a while.
For Valerie’s first level up, we’re going to veer into Alchemist (Vivisectionist), which will get us a Mutagen, boosting Valerie’s Strength and Natural Armor - a very useful buff this early in the game. It’ll also get Valerie +1d6 Sneak Attack damage, which she’ll enjoy any time she’s flanking. Last and least, Valerie will also gain Alchemist spells. We pick True Sight and Reduce Person, but note that you won’t be able to cast spells with Valerie unless you put an Intelligence-boosting item on her.
As for skills, she’ll start out getting quite a few, but this won’t last. Start out by getting Mobility up to rank 3 as soon as possible, then work on maxing Persuasion and Athletics. Any spare points can go into Use Magic Device.
Another character level, another level in Alchemist. Pick the Feral Mutagen upgrade to grant Valerie two claw attacks (she won’t have her hands free, hence, won’t make much use of this) and a bite attack whenever her Mutagen is in effect, which should be quite often. She might have trouble hitting much with it, but a free attack is nothing to shake a stick at, especially if she’s racking up Sneak Attack Damage. Speaking of which, we’ll also pick up the Accomplished Sneak Attacker feat.
We bid farewell to the Alchemist and turn our attention to Monk. Valerie is one of the few lawful characters in Pathfinder, hence one of the few who can benefit from dipping into Monk. She won’t enjoy those lovely Armor Class bonuses, since she’ll always wear armor and bear a shield, but she will gain Unarmed Strike as a freebie, which will allow her to shift smoothly into Crane Style. If you got Valerie’s Mobility up to Rank 3 she should now gain a +4 bonus to Armor Class whenever she Fights Defensively, which you’ll want to do for the rest of the game.
Only one more diversion and we’ll be back to Fighter. For now, pick up a level of Rogue (Thug), as this will bolster Valerie’s upcoming Dazzling Display + Shatter Defenses combo and grant her another +1d6 Sneak Attack damage boost. Pick up Weapon Focus: Bastard Sword - don’t worry, there are enough good bastard swords to go around.
For the foreseeable future you’ll level Valerie as a Fighter. This will do wonders for her flagging Base Attack Bonus and she’ll start coming into her own offensively. As she levels up, pick Armor Focus: Heavy Armor, Dazzling Display*, Shatter Defenses, Outflank and Shield Bonus, to boost her Armor Class, allow her to debuff enemies and exploit their weaknesses (making it much easier to land those Sneak Attacks) and boost her proficiency as a flanker.
It’s not at all difficult for Valerie to hit over 40 Armor Class by 10th-level, although she’d like to have Reduce Person and Haste cast on her, and she’ll also benefit from Displacement. Unlike The Tank build, she also won’t lose as much of her Armor Class when she’s flat-footed or otherwise not able to Fight Defensively, so even though she can’t quite reach the same lofty heights, her Armor Class can’t drop as low, either.