Welcome to Iconic Design, where we discuss the creation of exciting new character builds for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game!
So, there’s roughly three people I could be talking about with this article title, isn’t there? Well, let’s play a bit of a guessing game:
- He’s blue.
- He’s in a few video games.
- He’s popular.
- He’s a three-foot tall anthropomorphic hedgehog.
I hope that clears things up.
I’m not sure how much to talk about Sonic the Hedgehog, since he’s basically a video game iconic at this point. He’s a fast runner and he is able to easily run faster than the speed of sound. His primary offensive maneuver is the “spin attack,” in which he curls into a ball and rolls at enemies at hypersonic speed. Throughout the series, Sonic has been shown to have incredible toughness and endurance but he can’t swim well.
Not that any Pathfinder character can swim well, mind you. 😉 (Seriously, no one ever puts ranks in Swim. Not even one ….)
So, how are we going to build Sonic the Hedgehog? Well, let’s get to it! (Note: This build will likely end up working just as well for other speedster characters, such as the Flash or Quicksilver.)
- Speed: We need to really focus on getting Sonic to be as fast as possible for this to work. The best way to do so is to combine barbarian and monk levels to gain both of those class’s fast movement abilities. Since Monks have to be Lawful and Barbarians can’t be Lawful, the only way to do this is using the monk’s martial artist archetype. In addition, we’re going to be taking advantage of the fact that there is no limit to the number of times that you can take the Fleet feat.
- Spin Dash: Going Monk works well for Sonic because all of his attacks focus on what are essentially unarmed strikes. In order to replicate the Spin Dash attack, Sonic is going to be taking the Tiger Style feat. Tiger Style allows a character to change his unarmed strike damage from bludgeoning to slashing, which will work perfectly with the imagery of the Spin Dash. Because monks can make unarmed strikes with any part of their body, Sonic’s spines are fair game here.
- Race: The closest thing we have to a “hedgehog race” is the ratfolk, so I’m going to be assuming that Sonic is a ratfolk for this build. Sorry, Sonic, but given your size it fits well.
Early Levels (1–7)
- Classes: Fighter (Unarmed Fighter) 1, Barbarian 1, Monk (Martial Artist) 5
- Feats: Improved Unarmed Strike (Fighter Bonus), Tiger Style (Fighter Bonus), Run (1st), Combat Reflexes (Monk Bonus), Stunning Fist (Monk Bonus), Fleet (3rd), Dodge (Monk Bonus), Fleet (5th), Fleet (7th)
- Abilities: AC Bonus (Wis +1), Exploit Weakness, Evasion, Extreme Endurance (Fatigue), Fast Movement (barbarian +10 / monk +10), Flurry of Blows (+3/+3), High Jump, Martial Arts Master, Maneuver Training, Pain Points, Rage (4 + Con/day), Unarmed Strikes (1d8)
- Speed Count: 20 ft. (base) + 15 ft. (Fleet) + 10 ft. (Barbarian) + 10 ft. (Monk = 55 ft. speed, or 275 feet (31.5 mph) while using Run.
At this point in the build Sonic’s looking pretty, well, fast. Let’s look at some of the multiclassing choices first. We took a dip in barbarian for the fast movement ability (plus a small pool of rage is serviceable) and fighter for the free style feat (Tiger Style allows Sonic to transform his unarmed strikes into slashing damage. Combined with a charge attack, and this is Sonic’s spin dash attack.) After we get the dips out of the way, we go to the master class of speed: the monk; specifically the martial artist monk.
Let’s face it, speedster type characters are rarely (hint: never) lawful, which is why the martial artist is the perfect archetype for Sonic. The other nice benefit is that the barbarian’s fast movement is an untyped bonus to speed, so the two abilities actually stack. Normally this combination is impossible because barbarians can’t be lawful and monks have to be lawful, so thanks martial artist!
The martial artist has some AWESOMELY thematic abilities for Sonic at a low level. For example, exploit weakness, which can allow the martial artist to ignore an object’s hardness, is perfect for when Sonic needs to crash through buildings or similar debris. Stunning Fist is a wind-up attack that uses Sonic’s speed to harm opponents and pain points only makes this attack more deadly. The martial artist thankfully keeps the awesomely thematic high jump ability and extreme endurance slowly makes Sonic immune to all types of tiredness (including his rage) which is both useful and cool.
If this build has an elephant in the room, it’s the feat selection. I stand by it: if we’re going to do Sonic, we’ve got to do him right and focus heavily on improving his speed. The only time I didn’t take Fleet as Sonic’s character feat is when I took Run at 1st level, which Sonic needs to be, well, Sonic. This won’t likely be a build that you’d take to optimize your damage with, but I’ll be darned if I don’t live up to my word and make this build the fastest thing alive!
Mid Levels (8 –14)
- Classes: Fighter (Unarmed Fighter) 1, Barbarian 1, Monk (Martial Artist) 12
- Feats: Improved Unarmed Strike (Fighter Bonus), Tiger Style (Fighter Bonus), Run (1st), Combat Reflexes (Monk Bonus), Stunning Fist (Monk Bonus), Fleet (3rd), Dodge (Monk Bonus), Fleet (5th), Improved Trip (Monk Bonus), Fleet (7th), Fleet (9th), Spring Attack (Monk Bonus), Fleet (11th), Improved Bull Rush (Monk Bonus), Fleet (13tH)
- Abilities: AC Bonus (Wis + 3), Exploit Weakness, Evasion, Extreme Endurance (Fatigue, Exhaustion), Fast Movement (barbarian +10 / monk +40), Flurry of Blows (+10/+10/+5/+5/+0), High Jump, Improved Evasion, Martial Arts Master, Maneuver Training, Pain Points, Physical Resistance, Rage (4 + Con/day), Unarmed Strikes (2d6)
- Speed Count: 20 ft. (base) + 30 ft. (Fleet) + 10 ft. (Barbarian) + 40 ft. (Monk) = 100 ft. speed, or 500 feet (56.8 mph) while using Run.
In the mid-levels, Sonic becomes immune to exhaustion, which is cool. In addition, he gains a few excellent mobility-based monk feats that he can make great use of (namely Spring Attack). I wonder how many people I’m driving absolutely bonkers by presenting a build that takes Fleet nine times by 20th level? Its actually funny to think about.
As you might have guessed, Sonic’s build is one that ages by making numbers bigger. Bigger AC bonus, bigger unarmed strike damage, bigger flurry of blows. Not a whole lot of new stuff, though. Let’s move along.
- Classes: Fighter (Unarmed Fighter) 1, Barbarian 1, Monk (Martial Artist) 18
- Feats: Improved Unarmed Strike (Fighter Bonus), Tiger Style (Fighter Bonus), Run (1st), Combat Reflexes (Monk Bonus), Stunning Fist (Monk Bonus), Fleet (3rd), Dodge (Monk Bonus), Fleet (5th), Improved Trip (Monk Bonus), Fleet (7th), Fleet (9th), Spring Attack (Monk Bonus), Fleet (11th), Improved Bull Rush (Monk Bonus), Fleet (13th), Deflect Arrows (Monk Bonus), Fleet (15th), Fleet (17th), Fleet (19th), Improved Critical (Monk Bonus)
- Abilities: AC Bonus (Wis + 4), Defensive Roll (2/day), Evasion, Exploit Weakness, Extreme Endurance (Fatigue, Exhaustion), Fast Movement (barbarian +10 / monk +60), Flurry of Blows (+16/+16/+11/+11/+6/+6/+1), High Jump, Improved Evasion, Martial Arts Master, Maneuver Training, Pain Points, Physical Resistance, Quivering Palm (2/day), Rage (4 + Con/day), Unarmed Strikes (2d8)
- Speed Count: 20 ft. (base) + 45 ft. (Fleet) + 10 ft. (Barbarian) + 60 ft. (Monk) = 130 ft. speed, or 650 feet (73.8 mph) while using Run.
And here’s where we end up! Sonic can actually do a lot of nasty stuff to people, especially with his stunning fist and quivering palm attacks. I like the imagery that Sonic could literally kill someone by vibrating them too quickly with quivering palm and the gain of Improved Evasion is very appropriate for the build. Sonic can perform many appropriate combat maneuvers without penalty or provoking and he can endure a lot of punishment with this build. Overall, I’m pleased with how it turned out but it certainly feels like a build that is best-suited for an NPC.
Or a Mythic character.
Oh yeah, I’m going here.
So if we’re doing Mythic for Sonic, the most important Mythic path is the Champion Path, with Trickster as a powerful (and thematic) second. The key players in this build are:
- Path Abilities: Impossible Speed (Tier 1), Aerial Assault (Tier 2), Fleet Warrior (Tier 3), Wall Run (Tier 4), Nimble Glide (Tier 5), Shadow Stealth (Tier 6), Seven-League Leap (Tier 7), Burst Through (Tier 8), Sweeping Strike (Tier 9), Juggernaut (Tier 10)
- Mythic Feats: Run (Mythic) (Tier 1), Dual Path: Trickster (Mythic) (Tier 3), Fleet (Mythic) (Tier 5), Fleet (Mythic) (Tier 7), Fleet (Mythic) (Tier 9)
- Speed Count: 20 ft. (base) + 45 ft. (Fleet) + 15 ft. (Fleet [Mythic]), 30 ft. (Impossible Speed) + 10 ft. (Barbarian) + 60 ft. (Monk) + 100 ft. (Impossible Speed w/ 1 Mythic Power) = 280 ft., or 1,960 feet (222.72 mph) while using Mythic Run.
To give a sense of scale for what this looks like in action, Sonic can literally move a mile every two minutes. This means that in an hour, he’s run 30 miles. This is fast, but it is by no means “fast enough” to be Sonic the Hedgehog. That, of course, is why we took Seven-League Leap.
After spending Mythic power and running for 1 minute straight, Seven-League Leap allows you to make an Acrobatics check and travel a number of miles equal to half your Acrobatics check result. Let’s look at some broad numbers: 20 ranks in Acrobatics is a +23 because Acrobatics is a class skill for a monk. A monk also adds his level on Acrobatics checks made to jump, so that brings the bonus to +41. Every 10 feet beyond 30 in your speed gives you a +4 bonus on Acrobatics checks, so at full speed Sonic has another +100 (280 feet – 30 feet = 250. 25 x 4 = 100), bringing his bonus to +141. Mythic Run adds another 4 + your tier for +145. Assuming you roll a 10 (a result of 155), you can jump 77 miles at a rate of 1 mile per round. At this rate of speed, you’d move 770 miles in 10 rounds (1 minute) and 46,200 miles in 60 minutes (1 hour).
Now, we want to transfer this into Mach speed because its fun. A Mach number notes how much faster than the speed of sound something is. For example, the speed of sound is Mach 1.
- Convert miles per hour to meters per hour. 46,200 x 1,609.3 = 74,349,660 meters per hour
- Convert to meters per second. 74,349,660 / 3,600 = 20,652.6 meters per second
- Divide by speed of sound. 20,652.6 / 312.9 (sound) = Mach 60.6
So yeah. Sonic is about sixty times faster than the speed of sound. I tried to find some sort of reference point for this speed, but as far as I know there isn’t anything. An object falling through the earth’s atmosphere moves at about Mach 25, and Sonic is over twice as fast as this. He’s typically faster than High-Hypersonic Speeds.
Now, let’s talk about open-air outdoor combat. If Sonic is at a point where he is able to move with that juicy 280 foot speed, he can REALLY hurt stuff with his Aerial Assault ability. So Sonic makes an Aerial Assault and rolls that lovely 155 on his check. The Falling Damage rules state that you suffer 1d6 points of falling damage per 10 feet that you fall, maxing out at 20d6. So with this build, running at full Mythic speed, Sonic will manage to deal an average of +15d6 extra damage on his Aerial Assault ability. If he rolls a natural 20, it’d go up to 17d6. If he rolls a 10 on his Mythic Surge, it’d go up to 18d6. Is it likely? Nope. Is it freakishly awesome to seismic slam someone 180 feet and deal 18d6 damage to them? Yes. Yes it is.
And Now a Word from Our Sponsors
Updated 7/4. My little brother is a HUGE Sonic buff. When he read my article, he got pretty ticked off that I said Sonic would be a ratfolk. He told me that I had to write you a custom Sonic the Hedgehog race. So… enjoy!
- Humanoid (0 RP)
- Small (0 RP)
- Normal Speed (0 RP)
- Flexible Ability Scores: +2 Dex, +2 Con. (2 RP)
- Acrobatic: Sonic gains a +2 racial bonus on Acrobatics checks and Acrobatics is always a class skill for him. (2 RP)
- Fleet-Footed: Sat 1st level, Sonic receives Run as a bonus feat and a +2 racial bonus on initiative checks. (3 RP)
- Low-Light Vision (1 RP)
- Sprinter: Sonic gains a +10 racial bonus to his speed when using the charge, run, or withdraw actions. (1 RP)
- Stubborn (2 RP)
- Standard Languages (0 RP)
- Total: 11 RP
And there you have it; a supersonic Sonic the Hedgehog build! What do you think? Too specific? Not enough speed? What did you like and what did you hate? Leave your answers below in the comments and I’ll see you next week for another exciting Iconic Design!
Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long over 90% of his colleagues. Affectionately called a “budding game designer” by his partner at Radiance House, Alexander is the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series (Radiance House) and a handful of other Third-Party Products. Before founding the Everyman Gaming blog, Alexander gained notoriety for writing the GM’s Guide to Challenging Encounters, which remains accessible to this day. His favorite color is blue, his favorite Pathfinder Race/Class combination is kitsune speedster, and his favorite pastime is rolling around at the speed of sound.