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Ashiel's page

RPG Superstar 8 Season Star Voter. 10,825 posts (10,828 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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Tacticslion wrote:

Mostly I meant numbers in 5E - I'm not familiar enough with the system to know what kind of numbers there even are.

For example: is the Mystic Theurge thing 5E? Or PF?

(That's what I mean - I'm not sure.)

I was wondering about hypothetical maximums based on RAW stuff for 5E.

So, for example let's say a necromancer could, at maximum level, run 43 (randomly generated number from my brain) undead.

The reason I was looking for that (though I hadn't made it clear), was giving a rough guesstimate of what a person could expect to face.

So, say, Doomkitty's hypothetical death mage was at the minimum maximum undead-keeping level (whatever that was; I think 5E did away with caster levels, so I figured it miiiiiiiight not matter what level they were at, so long as they hit level <X>?).

For the purposes of this conversation, if we "tie" the skin-aberration, gore-ooze, brain-devourer, etc. numbers to that (so, for example, for each skeleton she holds, she can have one of the others), that generates a rough "army" size that she could wield with absolute control.

Beyond that, I figured that she figured that the plague would take care of itself (probably because worshipers of her god, or bearers of her god's holy symbol are immune or something - I dunno, it's not my game, and it was a vague thought anyway).

Anyhoo, that's what I was really after... but if you don't have those, that's fine. I just wasn't sure.

Ah, gotcha. :o

Well I'll go re-download the 5E stuff and browse it. I had deleted it from my HD. :\

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Malwing wrote:
So a lot of us have opinions about Martial/Caster disparity, the idea that martially inclined classes have less of an ability to contribute to many of the deadly situations that arise as you level or that casters have too unique of an ability to trivialize the same problems. Some of us believe that it doesn't exist or is exaggerated on the forums but for those of us that do think that it's around; What do you do about it?

When running Pathfinder or some 3.x based system, I fall back to education first as knowledge is power. Letting players know upfront that some classes have issues compared to others is something I do and I'll let them know as much as I can about any classes they are interested in.

Secondly, I emphasize prioritizing defenses when possible since resistances and immunities like death ward and freedom of movement help tons.

Thirdly, I'm not afraid of the magic item creation rules as they are quite elegant and work very well if you're not using the % cost reductions which were never part of the core rules anyway according to the 3.x DMG. Being able to spend your money on things like an x/day freedom of movement can go a very long way.

Fourthly, I'm very comfortable with homebrewing material if a player wants to fill a gap that is either unfilled by Paizo or poorly filled by Paizo.


We see thread upon thread about the martial/caster disparity, and why it exists and what the problem is but very often, at least to me nothing is outwardly done to make it better and when it is it's scattered throughout arguments branching on and off the topic at hand. So here is a thread for you guys that have done something about it, because if Pathfinder Unchained has told us anything its that this game is not one set in stone even if Paizo itself isn't quick to rock the boat. There are a ton of alternate rules and optional rules within the game and many of the developers spring all kinds of crazy things for the game through other companies.

What have you done in your games that mitigate or lessen martial/caster disparity?

This can be house rules, styles of GMing, implementing specific third party products or making good use of Paizo products. If you reference a specific product please linkify the name so others can view it. If there is no review for it and you have it, try to write one. If you have a laundry list of house rules using a document sharing program such as Google Drive would be helpful, especially if it can be directly commented on. Offer compliments and advice on other people's methods but be nice and constructive even with criticisms. Hopefully by the end of it we'll have very solid ways to bring balance to the game, and hopefully that can partially be achieved by throwing Combat Expertise down the reactor core.

In the system I'm working on, part of balancing martials and casters more closely involves giving all spellcasters access to every spell in the game, giving them 10th level spells, and giving them free heighten spell.


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TPK wrote:
Too many to choose from... Even when I play good it is kinda evil!

It's like the opposite for me. Most of my evil characters have some sort of silver lining. :P

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Tacticslion wrote:

Works for me!

(I was mostly just curious if you knew more/had crunched more numbers - I was reasonably sure you had, but I can't find that now... but what you put works well!)

Well if your interest is just in getting hordes of controlled minions, mystic theurge is surprisingly adept at this even though it's generally inferior to full casters. The main reason is because you can progress multiple caster levels at the same time while applying bonus caster levels twice.

For example, let's take mystic theurge with 3 wizard / 3 cleric, 4 theurge levels (10th level). Spells like death knell or ioun stones can further raise caster level. So with only death knell sacrificing a chicken or something beforehand, or hypothetical theurge at 10th level could cast animate dead as an 8th level wizard and 8th level cleric for a total of 64HD worth of controlled undead (compared to a cleric's 44 HD you've got 20 extra HD). The gap grows as level increases and other forms of +caster level comes online (but you have to wait longer for higher tier spells like create (greater) undead).

A mystic theurge could likewise use binding spells to trivially collect lemure devils to spread around. Realistically speaking, lemure devils would be virtually a no-brainer to bind into service as they are mindless and can't even resist a caster's demands when using planar binding so they could just be unleashed into the world as 1d4 claw damage soul-puddings to pester the local militia.

That said, it's my understanding that necromancy is grossly powerful in 5E because animate dead can crush most anything due to the mechanics of that game. Being a mighty hero doesn't really mean anything because the town militia doesn't really need you, they can kill the dragon/pit-fiend/demigod themselves and if they're facing similar numbers then you can't realistically help much either (because a horde of mooks will kill you too), so it could be very dangerous to face an evil necromancer.

Also the level ranges and overall plot would be a good start for crunching some numbers in Pathfinder or something, or we could talk about justifying a tournament while handling an investigation and such as well or...well, most anything if a particular subject is raised. :P

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Tacticslion wrote:
Hey, brother! Long time no see!


I've been busy. :P

Bumping to get Ashiel's opinion on necromancer/power-level for this thing.

I'm not 100% sure what the question is. Reading through the post linked, it seems this is for 5E which largely means that power level is largely irrelevant since we're talking mook hordes (high level is meaningless in 5E as what 5E describes as high level doesn't exist; in almost all cases you are better off with a suitably sized militia).

As far as the tournament goes there's a lot of ways you could balance both an investigation AND the tournament going on. Especially if it it were drawn out over a few weeks or better in-game time, in addition to all the ideas you posted for giving incentives for participating in the tourney.

If we're talking in terms of d20 scaling and the relative power of the death cleric, that's largely hinging on the outside factors. A plague-zombie type thing is do-able by a 5th level cleric with animate dead so pretty low on the totem pole by D&D power scales but high enough to be a superhero for real-life people. However, in terms of a viral-curse that animates shadows, creates zombies, and traps souls as lemure devils that's kind of outside the scope of a character.

Which brings us to the outside influences. It would theoretically be possible to have some sort of magical item and/or magical disease-curse stuff that could be created with the okay of the GM (such as a magical sacrificial alter or somesuch), and one could probably justify some sort of magical virus created using Craft Wondrous Item with spells like animate dead, create greater undead, and planar ally or something to create a vial of doom-lixir.

That could even be conceivably done at low levels as well depending on what sort of item creation rules you were using (Pathfinder would allow the priestess to make a difficult but not impossible Spellcraft check to create it).

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I prefer vitalists. They make healing really fun and effective.

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Rhedyn wrote:
My Self wrote:
Rhedyn wrote:
One of my GMs thinks kineticist healing is OP because there is no per day limit on it 0_0
But that's not even true. It causes you/them to take burn.
He is well aware of this. It still has unlimited uses.

This makes me very sad. (T_T)

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Rhedyn wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
That would explain why some of the FAQs actually wholly contradict what the rules really say. :o
I like how FaQs will get errata'd without changing the rules text, thus making FaQs meaningless.

Yeah it hurts my soul. (T_T)

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That would explain why some of the FAQs actually wholly contradict what the rules really say. :o

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kyrt-ryder wrote:

The fact of the matter is that Paizo is too rooted in 3E's traditions to bother 'rocking the boat' in favor of a better game at the risk of splitting their support base.

It's time for people with the passion for the game to take it to the next level, to create something that anybody can pick up and play, with a 3E 'feel' but without a gaping hole in expectations of what characters should be able to accomplish and without having different challenge ratings given the same character level.

As an aside, given my own location in Western Washington [in the shadow of giants (of a tiny industry)] it's kind of ironic that I'm picking up this torch.

I'm working on it! XD

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Insain Dragoon wrote:

If he checked via a DPR calculator then that already is taken into account.

In addition having power attack, even if you rarely use it, is something I assume Ashiel does. Since all that DPR means squat if the enemy has DR you cant bypass.

Oh definitely. I'm so much of the opinion that Power Attack is borderline "must have" (not absolute but borderline) that I've baked it into the combat mechanics of the system I'm working on right now.

It's one of those things that is great to have and you should use it when you should use it, but that's different than always using it even when you don't, y'know?

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Zilvar2k11 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Zilvar2k11 wrote:
Rhedyn wrote:

3)Plenty of magic item crafting time. Let's pretend that this isn't truly variable in campaigns and that every pally and ranger is just crafting pearls of power or other gear until their wealth is double wbl.
D20PFSRD wrote:

If the caster is out adventuring, he can devote 4 hours each day to item creation, although he nets only 2 hours' worth of work. This time is not spent in one continuous period, but rather during lunch, morning preparation, and during watches at night
How much time does one really need? If you CAN craft, and AREN'T crafting, it's generally because you don't know the rule or you don't want to, not because you cannot.

Or because you're going up levels faster than you can spend your money at 2 hours a day.

I'll grant that this is theoretically possible, but I am finding it difficult to imagine it actually happening outside of some odd circumstances.

At 13-ish encounters per day, each utilizing some fraction of daily resources (suggested 25%), you are more or less obligated to take 3 or 4 days per level. You're getting at least a little crafting done in that time if you want. Probably not to your full capacity, but a little.

And that's assuming the fast XP track.

For the standard medium track it takes like 20 equal-CR encounters to bump up a level.

It can take tons more if using the slow-track.

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thejeff wrote:
Zilvar2k11 wrote:
Rhedyn wrote:

3)Plenty of magic item crafting time. Let's pretend that this isn't truly variable in campaigns and that every pally and ranger is just crafting pearls of power or other gear until their wealth is double wbl.
D20PFSRD wrote:

If the caster is out adventuring, he can devote 4 hours each day to item creation, although he nets only 2 hours' worth of work. This time is not spent in one continuous period, but rather during lunch, morning preparation, and during watches at night
How much time does one really need? If you CAN craft, and AREN'T crafting, it's generally because you don't know the rule or you don't want to, not because you cannot.

Or because you're going up levels faster than you can spend your money at 2 hours a day.

Rushed crafting is a thing and if you're going up a level every 2-4 days of game time, your campaign is probably far more outside the norm than people think my games are. You'd be 20th level in 1.3-2.5 months of game-time.

EDIT: And again, when upgrading your primary items the process is faster because you only need to make up the difference. So while crafting a +5 cloak of resistance from scratch may take 25 days (13 days by rushing it), upgrading it looks more like...

1. Create cloak+1 for 500 gp and 1 day.
2. Upgrade cloak+1 to cloak+2 for 1,500 gp and 3 days.
3. Upgrade cloak+2 to cloak+3 for 2,500 gp and 5 days.
4. Upgrade cloak+3 to cloak+4 for 3,500 gp and 7 days.
5. Upgrade cloak+4 to cloak+5 for 4,500 gp and 9 days.

This is assuming no rushed crafting but also not while adventuring.
If you're adventuring but not rushing, multiply the required time by 4.
If you're adventuring but rushing, multiply the required time by 2.
If you're not adventuring but not rushing, leave as is.
If you're not adventuring and rushing, cut required days in half.

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Freesword wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
However, I think we do martials no favors for ignoring where they do excel. People need to understand that because one of the most common answers people initially make for martials is "mwoar damaaaage!" which is not what is needed at all.

True, increasing damage just to increase damage is a poor attempt at addressing the actual problem. However, making it easier to do more damage by freeing up more feats (consolidating feat chains and having them scale) creates flexibility and opens up more options. Allowing more than a 5' step with full attack increases mobility options, not just increasing damage output. We can't just dismiss options simply because they also increase damage output.

Ashiel wrote:
The martial caster disparity is real. But we must be honest about how far we have come!
CRB made great strides in closing the martial/caster gap vs 3.5. Those of us that were part of the playtest wouldn't have accepted it if it didn't. But the gap has grown again since then, not as rapidly as in 3.x, but it has grown none the less. Too liberal toward magic, too conservative toward martials. While I count myself as someone who thinks the CRB didn't go far enough, I still stand by my assessment at the time that it was a vast improvement over 3.5. I feel the recent surge in martial/caster disparity discussion is less about trying to force more gains in balance but more pushback against losses to the gains we had made.

Indeed. I have myself felt endless frustration with Paizo's direction over the past few years whereas I was riding the wagon gleefully initially. However they keep making bad FAQs, pushing more and more and more power towards casters, and keep nerfing martial abilities that have no business being nerfed.

Trust lost.

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Otherwhere wrote:

It's the pendulum swinging too far in the other direction. Early D&D, the Fighter was strong and the Wizard was really fragile but capable of great power eventually. But it sucked to be a Wizard at those early levels. "Hey - I've cast my 3 spells for the day! I'm done!"

In the newer iterations of the game, Wizards (arcane casters) were buffed: more HP; more spells; more cantrips, then unlimited cantrips. Because it sucked to not be able to contribute anything.

It's now become the arcane caster's game and martials lose out, having less and less they can contribute as you gain levels.

I loved and hated playing a magic-user in those old AD&D days. I hated the low HP and the few spells I got and then had to sit there with little to add.

I feel similarly about playing a martial character in PF - except that now, as I level up, I lose my ability to contribute rather than add to it. That's what needs to get fixed.

One of the most hilarious parties I ever had in (Vanilla) Baldur's Gate was a party of 5 fighters and a Fighter/Thief, all full specialized in shooting bows. They literally walked over everything in that game. Stuff died as soon as it appeared or turned hostile or whatever. Nothing was safe. I probably should have made the 3rd guy a Fighter/Mage/Thief just 'cause he would eventually get some buff spells like haste (which was stupid because it outright doubled the number of attacks you made) but honestly it was already overkill.

Overkill to the point that I could safely rest even in the heart of my enemy's lair because every time a random encounter (even like 10 bandits) popped, they would just get up, fire, collect any arrows on the enemies, and go back to sleep. I 1-HP rested back up to full in the middle of the iron throne mines this way.

Oh boy, the insanity.

EDIT: Admittedly a lot of that falls off if using the Sword Coast Stratagems mod which makes the AI not suicidally stupid and account for long-duration buffs that would be active (like mage armor lasted 9 hours but NPCs never cast it pre-combat, stuff like that). When enemies are using tactics that transcend "run at it and hit it" it tends to alter the results drastically. :P

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CWheezy wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

Wizards were definitely nerfed in the change to Pathfinder in much the same way Fighters were nerfed from 3.0 to 3.5 (here's a funny thing, Fighter the class didn't change at all). In fact, wizards, clerics, and druids have all been drastically nerfed from their status in 3.5.

Giving wizards an invisible "Toughness" feat and class features to encourage single-classing (all casters in 3.5 were only 5 levels long as they say) does not by any means result in a net gain for them.

tbh I dunno how you can believe this to be true

Not being locked out of your opposition schools is a pretty major buff imo. So is having obscenely good school powers.

All this has really done is give you reasons to specialize in certain schools. If you wanted to be a specialist wizard in 3.5, you specced conjuration or transmutation and you probably dumped some combination of enchantment, necromancy, or evocation because you didn't need them. In fact, the only good thing you'd ever lose from Evocation was contingency and you could mimic that with greater shadow evocation with no downsides. If you had splat material, Craft Contingent spell was even worse IIRC.

Like, maybe some spells are slightly worse??? I don't think this matters when you also add a ton of broken stuff like aroden's spellbane and blood money and sacred geometry and and and.

Like I said, Paizo dropped the ball later, but they are hugely nerfed. The only spell that really got buffed in 3.5->PF was simulacrum and that buff was just not needing a piece of a creature to be copied (a bit of hair, a fingernail, a scale, whatever).

EDIT: When I say really buffed, I mean appreciably stronger in a way that makes them better as opposed to just making them more competitive with spells of their level. For example, flaming sphere got buffed from 2d6 to 3d6 but it sucked in 3.5. Now you can find people using it instead of defaulting to scorching missile ray.

Its basically the same brokenness on a better chassis

It's still not even close to the same brokenness of a core wizard in 3.5. Not even close man. Like, even a teeny, tiny, itsy bitsy bit. XD

EDIT 2: And if you account for splat-silliness, the stuff Paizo added (and ohhhh boy, I've made a stink about Aroden's Spellbane on these boards too, because that spell is nutters) is still not as consistently terrible as options that also existed in 3.5 with splat material.

In the SRD is the Tainted Sorcerer that could eat 23 damage (just damage, that's all, not ability damage, just damage) to ignore any spell component over 750 gp when casting their spell. How's that for Blood Money?

Did I mention that each time they cast a spell, their save DCs increase by +1? And that they released an even stronger version in Heroes of Horror that had more class features, the same benefits, and additional rules that made it so that if you became undead you got stronger and stronger and stronger while doing all of it?

Or Craft Contingent spell which allows you to layer defenses to make yourself essentially unstoppable.

Or the fact using wish spells via SLAs allowed you to create a magic item of any value.

Or that you could take feats that granted you all the special abilities of monsters you turned into via transmutation spells, so you got all those cool monster abilities too.

The martial caster disparity is real. But we must be honest about how far we have come! (0o0)

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Insain Dragoon wrote:

Just looked up the Malkonvoker and immediately knew I would never want to GM for someone playing one in my entire life.

That's a PrC for NPCs, not players.

Also some of the later Paizo casters have pretty cool and useful class features, like the Shaman, Oracle, and Witch.

Actually played a Malconvoker once. They're pretty amazing. She was a party-support that specialized in summons and save-or-die tactics. She's the reason I became an expert at making save or dies stick (which is much better done with a party that combos attacks with you). She collected lawn ornaments.


Insain Dragoon wrote:

Had games become one man circus acts due to abuse of planar binding mechanics and summon monster mechanics on a similar PrC, the Diabolist. Though one case it was just a straight sorcerer abusing planar binding.

The turns take forever, the character and his circus steps on way too many toes around the table, and due to the strong narrative power of the circus the player becomes the "main character."

Literally Angel Summoner and BMX bandit.

Perhaps oddly enough, this didn't come up during that campaign. The only guy who felt inferior was the WARBLADE and he was feeling outshone by the BARBARIAN. :P

However, it did lead to one of the most awesome mini-adventures ever. Two members of our group (brothers) had a familial obligation on our set game day, and the other had some sort of issue spring up with his car and was taking it out to get worked on. So only two of the other players showed up, the Barbarian and Sorcerer player. Since we couldn't progress the main plot without the rest of the party (and wouldn't want to since they would be sad), instead I pitched the idea of having the Malconvoker call up a Succubus and Vrock and let them play as the monsters for a session on a reconnaissance mini-adventure.

They had a blast. :P

EDIT 2: Oddly, the guy who slowed combat down more than anyone else was usually either the Barbarian (who could never keep his combat modifiers strait and would often ponder deeply over which enemy he needed to run into) or the blaster wizard who would spend a while each turn deciding which way did he need to make metamagic BBQ.

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Rhedyn wrote:
Honestly Ashiel, I think your games are ridiculous and brimming with subtle houserules that drastical removes your results from normal play.

Such as? You've got me curious now.

Next to no one has problems with fighter damage, the issue tends to be being able to do that damage or damage not being the answer.

My criticism of the fighter's damage is in relation to his peers since Barbarians, Paladins, and Rangers are all very much capable of out damaging him almost all of the time. The Fighter doesn't even see a damage increase at all until 5th level when they get Weapon Training +1/+1. The Barbarian is sitting at +2/+2 or +2/+3 right out of the gate and until 5th level, Fighter is a Paladin or Ranger with no tricks, worse saves, no animal companion, no skills, no immunities, etc.

When Fighter finally gets his +1/+1, Rangers get things like poison immunity or energy resistances, another character (the companion), or make their weapons hit as if they were bumped a size category (which adds +3 average damage to a longsword or longbow and more to a large weapon). Paladins get divine favor which gives them a +1/+1 for 10 rounds (which can be adjusted with the trait you mentioned as well) that applies to all weapons, attacks, and CMB.

So as per the definition of his tier, Fighter is only good at one thing and he is casually outdone by his peers and those who aren't even doing his one thing as their primary shtick.

I never said clerics were best damage, I said best martial because they handily fill the role and bring fullcasting to the party. I also believe that being a martial is more than just doing damage.

What do you see as being a martial's job? To me, being a martial means putting physical pressure on an enemy to serve as a solution or deterrent to that enemy being a threat to the rest of your group. This is typically done by putting out enough difficult-to-resist damage that the enemy cannot rationally ignore the martial and continue being a threat to the other PCs. When the martials' presence forces enemies to either change focus to them or begin fleeing and wasting actions to keep the martial from killing them, then the martial is doing its job nicely. Being able to down an enemy and move on to he next is likewise a very handy thing to be able to do.

This is a very different role than "meatshield". Though martials are often meatshields not all meatshields are martials. A conjured mount can function as an adequate meatshield in a pinch if the goal is simply to "clog up the pipes" or provide soft cover.

This is one of the reasons I myself really enjoy battle clerics, because they are excellent at being decent at faking it as a martial (as are bards) and they have the ability to flood the battle with meatshields to make the job of their enemies harder while they attempt to apply pressure to the enemy through physical means.

However, I think we do martials no favors for ignoring where they do excel. People need to understand that because one of the most common answers people initially make for martials is "mwoar damaaaage!" which is not what is needed at all.

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kyrt-ryder wrote:

Slight correction Ashiel.

It's far less the class features that keep casters from prestiging in pathfinder as it is the lackluster prestige classes.

I can count on one hand the number of prestige classes I've noticed that are even worth considering [most of them for full casters ironically] and they mostly require rather specific niches from their practitioners.

Now sure there are handy things in the base classes that make them marginally more difficult to give up, but I'd certainly do it for something awesome like a Malconvoker or an Incantatrix.

Indeed. But even if the only prestige class you had access to was loremaster, that's still makes wizard a 5 level class in 3.x because the only thing wizard had in 3.x was a bonus feat every 5 levels and those bonus feats suffered from a sort of diminishing returns (because you were limited in the types of feats you could take and would usually take the good ones first).

Meanwhile going into something like loremaster means that you continue progressing all your spellcasting AND get class features. Loremaster is a natural progression for wizard and the feat you "waste" on Skill Focus [Knowledge] is easily worth the cost since you get 5 "secrets", three of which are +2 to a save, and one of which is "Any feat", and probably +1 dodge to AC.

Same deal for clerics and sorcerers in 3.x. You got a class feature at 1st level and 19 dead levels after. Well, dead except for the obscenely overpowered spellcasting.

And that's really where the power of casters lie. In their spells. Pathfinder made some of them a little less squishy and gave them a few in-class toys with, and then rampaged through the core spells nerfing stuff left and right. The entire polymorph line, while imperfect, is a small shadow of its former glory.

For example, polymorph could be used to turn into a Fire Giant that set your base Strength to 31 before buffs or magical doodads, made you large size, gave +8 natural armor, etc. 4th level spell.

Or a 15 headed hydra.

Or a swarm complete with the swarm subtype. If you want to see something gloriously hilarious, face a wizard who has pre-buffed with things like resist energy and ambushes a party as a swarm.

Black tentacles was a 4th level spell that was near hopeless for enemies to escape as it grappled enemies in a fairly large AoE with a grapple modifier of caster level +8. The opposed grapple check that the majority of enemies got against this was a flat Strength check plus a size modifier if they were really big (being smaller gave a stiff penalty). In addition the tentacles dealt 1d6+4 DR-ignoring damage and anyone moving through the area (even if not grappled) moved at half speed). Being grappled at all had far stiffer penalties for those involved (you couldn't use anything but unarmed strikes, natural attacks, or light weapons, and you took a -4 to attacks even then. Also merely being in the process of grappling meant you no longer provoked other squares, were flat-footed against anyone except who you were grappling with, and you can't move.

Glitterdust all by itself ended tons of encounters because it targets Will and blinded for its entire duration. Grease had similarly debilitating effects (made enemies on it flat footed, gave no save vs enemies running or on an incline, etc).

Then they had a ton of save or die effects (there's only a couple in Pathfinder now and those are flesh to stone and phantasmal killer/weird). Pathfinder even nerfed spells that didn't need nerfing (like ray of enfeeblement which isn't even worth taking anymore).

Now, Paizo has also released some really stupidly overpowered spells but going from core 3.x to core Pathfinder, full casters got spanked with the nerf-paddle all over the place on the way in. People who think they're OP now would shudder to see what you can do in core 3.5.

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CWheezy wrote:

Hi I was reading a while ago and some things popped up:

Wizards are buffed from 3.5 not nerfed. Better HP, skill consolidation helped them a lot, broken spells and feats make them invincible.

I think saying every paladin has 13 int and unsanctioned knowledge is not really an apt comparison to a core cleric spell.

The tier list was not invented by jeronk lol, its older than that.

My experience as a battle cleric was I never casted a spell that had a save. I'm probably the most powerful character in my party of druid, atcanist, fighter/living monolith because I am the most knowledgeable. I feel like I would outdo a ranger at damage because of the crazy amount of spells I can stack, but it dies take a couple rounds.

I think paladins and rangers are tier 4. Tier three gets some pretty b++~+#$! stuff, like teleport or anything magus. Having resist energy is all well and good but it doesn't compare IMO.

Wizards were definitely nerfed in the change to Pathfinder in much the same way Fighters were nerfed from 3.0 to 3.5 (here's a funny thing, Fighter the class didn't change at all). In fact, wizards, clerics, and druids have all been drastically nerfed from their status in 3.5.

Giving wizards an invisible "Toughness" feat and class features to encourage single-classing (all casters in 3.5 were only 5 levels long as they say) does not by any means result in a net gain for them.

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Rhedyn wrote:
From what I can see your rangers have 12-14 higher to hit than mine. ACs are not so high that not using power attack is ever optimal except for rogues, crb monks, and dsp aegi. Furthermore rangers don't milk instant enemy, since they don't just pearl of power it back after every fight. Instead their bonuses are spread out to have +4 against most foes not +10 against all bbegs.

The only time not using PA is ever a sure thing is if you can do so and still retain a 95% hit rating. Likewise, to have the best Instant Enemy, you can spread your favored enemies out as long as you keep one as the dominant one (since each time you get +2 to your main you get a +2 to a secondary one which you can stack into a few +4s or a few +2s across multiple groups).

But you can't make a claim that a cleric is better rangers at fighting if your argument is "badly played and badly built rangers" and you don't actually note that. Well sure, if a Ranger is playing against their strengths and actively making themselves worse, not using their equipment that enhances their class features, etc...well, what do you expect?

So cleric v ranger is a to hit gap of +7 before buffs . Divine power + trait closes the gap and brings an extra attack. Other buffs plus standard action summons, walls, animated objects, planar allies, undead if evil, and injury fixes pull the cleric way ahead. Also the cleric can divine ahead of time to take a better course of action than the ranger would.

Depends on what sort of diving we're talking. When a Cleric is still competitive in the area, most of their divinations are of the augury or divination sort which aren't ideal for a lot of pre-planning.

In your world, post divine power, the cleric is still +8 to hit behind the ranger which is a massive gap. To the point that the cleric isn't really "best martial" since you need paldin levels of to hit and damage to do decent DPR

Decent? No. Clerics, Bards, and a host of other 3/4 classes are just fine at putting out decent physical offense. However, you claimed that they are the best, and that was the claim that I challenged. I have noted repeatedly that clerics are better at problem solving but that Paladins and Rangers (apparently when not gimping themselves) do in fact outpace Clerics when using their class features.

There's a reason battle clerics are my favorite cleric. They are versatile and they are decent at combat and I feel very comfortable wading into combat just like martials, but I would pause and consider my tactics very carefully if I was going to wade into combat against such a martial character because that is a trade that I will undoubtedly lose.

while in my games fighter DPR is fine and if you surpass that, you make a good slugger (though a fighter in your world is beating the cleric by +13 to hit instead of +9 before buffs)

Fighter DPR sucks ass. Bards routinely outdo Fighters in being competent beatsticks. Fighters only get +4/+4 over 20 levels (+6 with gloves). Even full specialized with a weapon they cap at +6/+10 and their trick is tied to their weapon. Every martial outpaces fighters in DPR. Fighters are passable at beatsticking. They are far from an adequate benchmark.

This is why fighters are frequently considered tier 5 instead of 4 (since you brought up tiers before). They do almost nothing besides this one thing and what they actually do is frequently outshone by other classes, often as an afterthought.

And again, for future reference, if you're going to talk about the weaknesses of class X vs class Y, you need to talk about it within the context of the rules as they are in the game. Not the rules as filtered through your unique GM. Your GM may be fine and dandy but hate magic items, your ranger players may be incompetent, but we're talking about balance in a game that assumes you get appropriate treasures for your time and classes are being played competently.

If you're going to make a claim outside of the established norms of the game you need to note that as opposed to making it as a sweeping statement. It will prevent these sorts of arguments in the future from ever cropping up.

PS: Your GM may not realize but less WBL is more of a problem than too much WBL in almost all cases. Further, the more wealth is restricted the better full-casters are. In a game where you cannot buy magic items and have less time to craft magic items, full casters simply win. There is no way around it aside from cheating because they are now a monopoly on magical stuff and can replicate the effects of most any magic items you want with the knowledge that their enemies cannot.

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I'd like to take a moment to again reiterate that battle clerics are my favorite type of cleric and if I make a battle cleric they are going to be damn effective at rocking encounters from a variety of ways and buffs and support spells will be their bread and butter (and they will probably command a number of undead meat-shields).

However, battle clerics typically either have poor saving throw DCs or they are poor battle clerics. There is almost never any in between unless you're rolling for stats and the RNG gods love you.

Now Clerics can frequently fulfill certain purposes that people ascribe to martials (such as portable meat shield) much better than martials. This much is true, because "meat shield" is not what you want a martial for. Undead and summons can fill this role while also being entirely expendable or recyclable.

They are most impressive in terms of actually beating things down at low levels where BAB and buffs have not come online yet, where their high Strength scores and low-level buffs can easily allow them to generate worthwhile hit and damage bonuses. For example, a 3rd level cleric who has an 18 Strength and casts bull's strength on themselves swings at +9 to hit and +9 to damage (assuming masterwork weapon). Other classes (save Barbarian) can't easily reach these numbers as their abilities haven't come online yet (even Paladins don't have the big damage with smite because it scales with their level).

It quickly falls off however as staple buffs are overtaken by assumed magic items like +Str items, boots of speed, and so forth. Martials get their own buffs (Paladins start getting the same buff spells that Clerics were using earlier but with a full BAB to boot). By mid levels, it's over. It's done. Martials win the war in that regard, especially for Rangers and Paladins.

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Rhedyn wrote:
In your games my claim is not reasonable. The to-hit gap between rangers and clerics becomes too large.

Okay, but why? It's not because of anything like custom magic items. I'm talking normal WBL and stuff. I've even presented an explanation for why I assume you to be able to craft consumables for additional utility (which has nothing to do with a Ranger or Cleric hitting things).


I really don't want to debate if the situation in your games is very normal. I've already seen your arguments with people on that and I have nothing new to add.

Edit: "I don't have some secret optimization trick to share with you."

If your argument is "but inherent bonuses", you can drop that one real fast because Rangers and Clerics are equal in that regard (they are available to both classes). The real kicker is that the Ranger is sitting at +5-25% accuracy over the cleric at all levels due to BAB, and the Ranger can get another +70% accuracy with their class features. Divine Power is only +30% accuracy which is making up for the -25% accuracy.

It's not about optimization it's about simple math. Please explain or even make an attempt to explain how a cleric is the "best martial", or how they even keep up with a Paladin or Ranger at what they do best. Divine power, the reason you gave, is simply not enough as Paladins also have access to divine power and having divine power and +20/+15/+10/+5 BAB is just naturally superior to divine power and +15/+10/+5. There is no debating that.

So what are you talking about? I don't want optimization I want explanation. You made a declaration, all I'm asking is that you support it.

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bookrat wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

You still haven't answered my original question. I have met every one of your questions, provided examples, evidence, broke down the mechanics, and explained each bit step by step. I have cited Jaron K on the actual definitions of tiers during your tier tangent in hopes of simply getting a basic explanation of your claim in the previous post.

Could you please, finally, stop trying to evade the question and actually answer it? If it is as easy to do as you say then it shouldn't be much of an issue.

What was the original question, anyways?
Ashiel wrote:
Rhedyn wrote:

Clerics are one divine power away from being better than fighters. Divine favor works until then. The trait that increases luck bonuses by 1 is amazing. Grab the movespeed domain to rub salt into the wound.

Cleric = best martial

*notes in posts that clerics do not match real martials in being a beat-stick*

If you can pose a reason why this isn't true, I'm all ears and ready to learn something new. However, to my current knowledge clerics are amazing but they just cannot match Paladins and Rangers in combat effectiveness. Problem solving? Definitely. Can they do stuff Paladins and Rangers cannot? Without a doubt. Can they match them in a slugfest? No, they cannot.

With these posts: #1: Ranger and Power Attack, #2: Quick glance at Divine Power vs Martial, and #3: 16th level Rangers hit CR 30 on a 4+ to provide rationale against.

I just want Rhedyn to show why his or her claim is reasonable.

EDIT: And shouting "But tieeers!" over and over is not doing that.

EDIT 2: Nor is "It's so obvious that if you don't see it, I'm certainly not going to explain it to you".

EDIT 3: In fact, neither is "In Oz, we don't have magic item creation, treasure vanishes when we try to use it, enemies are all naked, and our GM makes us hit 20th level in a week and a half because downtime isn't something that exists".

Still fishing for a valid answer though. Wish me luck! It's like trying to catch a mermaid!

Anzyr wrote:
Isonaroc wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
I'm trying very hard to take "Wrestler myths are examples of high level martials" seriously. Can someone familiar with the theatrical performance explain how Stone Cold Steve Austin would beat a hydra, other then presumably all of it's heads getting his bones stuck in their throats and then choking to death?
I don't know about Steve Austin, but John Cena would just no-sell it.
How exactly? Is he immune to crushing fangs? Cause if so I assume that chairs to the face are 0 threat to him and that he wins all his fights by letting his opponents punch him until they collapse from exhaustion.

That's a pretty good description of professional wrestling so...maybe? I mean nobody actually takes blows like that and keeps standing, let-alone fighting, for very long. :P

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bookrat wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

Ashiel is a Him, not a Her, btw.


Thank you. I think I get that wrong a lot. Sorry, Ashiel.

No worries. There's nothing wrong with being a girl so I've no problems being referred to as one (:P). I'm comfortable with whatever pronouns people want to refer to me with since it (shouldn't) have any impact on the validity of our shared discussion. :)

Also, thanks for the kind words earlier. (^.^)

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Rhedyn wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Tiers have exactly 0% to do with anything I've asked of you.

In your mind they might not. But I already know from your positions that you won't be convinced.

So why bother? More likely than not you already know what clerics can do and have already decided your position on that. I don't have some secret optimization trick to share with you.

I was more curious about what could possibly make rangers tier 3 than I was about fullcasters being better at fighting than t4s.

I'm just going by JaronK's actual original definition for Tier 3. Rangers by his definitions most certainly do not fall into Tier 4 because there is too much that they can do. Too many options.


On that note, a few things go on in your games that make rangers tier 3 to you.

1) Power attack is not something you always use.

Why would you always use something, even when it's not a good idea? Power Attack can be great in the right situations but there are many places where it's pointless (if my 18 Str warrior-type is attacking an enemy with 5 HP with a longsword, PA is doing nothing but hurting my chances; similarly if the % of PA's bonus damage is small enough relative to the rest of my damage bonuses then the extra 20-30% accuracy will be more helpful.

What is it about having the option to use or not use a feat suddenly go up or down a tier in this fashion?

2) Monsters boost ac with treasure.

You realize that martials actually excel even stronger if you don't, right? The Ranger I posted earlier will utterly destroy any monster that doesn't boost its AC with treasure. The Ranger was assumed 16th level and against AC 31 (CR 16 enemies) he can't miss aside from natural 1s on his attacks, and is more likely than not to hit with all of his attacks against a CR 19 enemy. He has a solid chance of actually landing some good hits in against a CR 30 enemy (he hits AC 48 on a 4+) and he has room to be buffed much further by his team as needed, or by switching to enemy-specific weaponry (because it's cheap to carry around lots of +1 bane weapons and have greater magic weapon cast on them) to get another +2 to hit, +2d6 to damage, and hit as an Epic weapon.

3) Tons of item creation.

Define "tons". Item creation doesn't take very long. In a week's time you can do 14,000 gp worth of item creation if you don't mind the +5 to the DC. Further, you can keep upgrading your gear for the difference in cost so going from a 1,000 gp cloak of resistance +1 to a 4,000 gp cloak of resistance +2 is only 1500 gp in materials and takes 2 days.

When adventuring, you can rush crafting to get 1,000 gp / 2 days. That's plenty to poop out an elixir frequently enough to have one when you need it (because you don't have to always use them but you have the option when you need to beef up).

This is basic crafting. Paladins and Rangers can do this quite adequately. It's one of their biggest advantages. At 7th level when you can grab Craft Wondrous item, it's trivial to poop out pearls of power I at 500 gp per pop to get tons and tons of uses of your really nice 1st level spells like resist energy and delay poison (or for paladins bless weapon and stuff).

4) Easy access to inherent bonuses.

Unless the GM is modifying the game to make them hard to access, inherent bonuses are in fact easy to access. A single candle of invocation and Diplomacy means making an Aladdin's deal with an Efreeti to get your inherent bonuses (it's even easier if you party has a full caster in it because full casters). Inherent bonuses are one of the wishes that you can't accidentally screw up.

It's also something we have record of being used by NPCs in published campaigns because it's not hard.

Your Rangers have higher reflex saves than paladins, close will because of wisdom pumping, slightly lower fort, close AC do to dex pumping and paladins not needing it for heavy armor. So in your games ranger defenses are not all that weak, they carry around bags of pearls of power, and they have more accuracy from no power attack or deadly aim.

Oh no, not even close. I never said that Rangers exceed Paladins in any regards to defense, you just keep making arguments against things I never said.

You should know that if inherent bonuses are easy to access in my games Paladin saves will be better - not worse - than Ranger saves because Paladins are getting a 2:1 increase in their saves due to Divine Grace and 3:1 if they use bestow grace on themselves.

In most cases a Paladin's Reflex will still be better than a Ranger's and is one of the reasons two great investments for a Paladin are ring of evasion and ring of freedom of movement (rangers can skip the rings, they have Improved Evasion and freedom of movement is on their spell list so they just have a lot of extra gold to play around with).

It's simple math. If a Ranger's Dex, Con, and Wis increase by +4 (netting a +2 to each save) the Paladin gets another +2 to each save 'cause of her Charisma. The difference between good and bad saves at 20th is +6 (30%) which means all the Paladin has to do is get a +6 Charisma modifier (trivial by 20th level) to entirely erase the save advantage the Ranger has over her (it's actually more likely +9 or +10).

Rangers and Paladins have similar AC because both are looking at the same armor options end-game with only slight variations based on Dex. An ideal starting area for Paladin and Ranger dex is about 14 so you can wear Chainmail or Breastplates in the wee levels and eventually upgrade to mithral heavier armors and/or celestial armors. Both have access to shields equally as the other.

I still don't understand your fixation with Power Attack and Deadly Aim. They're good enough that you should probably take both on a martial character if you've got the feats to spare. Simply choosing when to use them and when not to use them is just playing the game.

Yes, I see why Rangers hit tier 3 for you but none of that applies to our(my groups') games.

Which has little to nothing to do with the discussion of the game as a whole. So far you have pointed out several contrivances that your GM forces to make things harder to do than they actually are (and even then, rushed crafting makes the staples do-able even while adventuring on the go which means you don't absolutely have to have downtime), your GM is being at least somewhat dishonest (or misunderstanding the treasure system) if he actively lowers treasures to compensate for item creation (and in that case he's also actively making enemies weaker since they have less treasure to use) and in these discussions we're talking about the game as run strait by an honest GM.

If you always use a given tactic even when the tactic is bad, you're going to invite failure. This seems reasonable enough logic, so I don't see the confusion over power attack or why my choosing to not always use Power Attack suddenly causes a great shift in their viability.

You still haven't answered my original question. I have met every one of your questions, provided examples, evidence, broke down the mechanics, and explained each bit step by step. I have cited Jaron K on the actual definitions of tiers during your tier tangent in hopes of simply getting a basic explanation of your claim in the previous post.

Could you please, finally, stop trying to evade the question and actually answer it? If it is as easy to do as you say then it shouldn't be much of an issue.

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Rhedyn wrote:
Uhh if you won't agree about wizard v fighter than I see no reason to argue cleric v ranger which is a weaker argument.

...Are...are you serious? This is...a joke, right?

You can't possibly be this thick. I refuse to believe it.

At what point did I say anything about a FIGHTER other than to say that I was saying NOTHING about a FIGHTER!?

*insert famous Pulp Fiction quote here*

Edit: also you won't be convinced since you believe rangers to be tier 3. I'm stuck to typing on a phone and working around Chinese internet blocks. So I try to keep post very short.

Tiers have exactly 0% to do with anything I've asked of you.

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For example, you can't bind any outsider that matches a well built martial. They just don't exist within the HD limits. Even things like balors and pit fiends that are beyond them aren't actually good enough to match a martial at their game. The closest that a core caster can get is a cleric who can gate a Solar who is actually strong enough to rival a martial at their own game (because they have a +22 BAB, 28 Str (unbuffed), and cast as 20th level clerics (so they can toss divine power for +6/+6). Even they can't really match them in attack/damage unless they're given a lot more gear than they have by default though. They're more than suitable for slaying the Tarrasque though.

Golems? Well, you try to say that item creation isn't very useful because your GM regularly engages in some questionable practices but golems take forever to make and are horribly priced (really, the answer to golems is just say no, because it's a waste). Their cost vs value is obscenely bad. They all universally suck at fighting (even the goofy ones like adamantine golems).

Summons? Nerfed to hell compared to 3.x summons (where you could routinely summon gargantuan monsters without effort and drown your enemies in massive grapple checks). Good spell utility though! :o

Polymorphing isn't that good against lots of enemies. Natural attacks have some wicked drawbacks. Most of the time I'd much rather have a sword and board than five natural attacks that get hosed by DR and have poor damage bonuses. Especially when I'm probably going to hit with every attack in my 5-8 attack routine and auto-confirm criticals. :|

The thing is, I'm not trying to argue for the heck of it. All I was saying originally was let's give credit where it is due and work on shoring classes up where they're lacking. You said clerics are better at fighting and I asked you to explain how.

Your explanation can be summarized as "because clerics are tier 1". Okay, but...what does that matter? I asked you to explain how. I explained what the martial can do, so you show me how the cleric does it better. It shouldn't be so hard that it takes this many posts and this much avoiding and sidestepping the question if it is so easy for the tier 1, right?

Humor me. C'mon. I really wanna see.

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Rhedyn wrote:
Atarlost wrote:

Tiers aren't actually relevant to the question Ashiel asked.

Tier has nothing to do with power except at the "cannot do anything effectively" rungs. Tier describes only versatility.

Surely you wouldn't claim that a wizard front lines better than a fighter just because the wizard is a "tier 1" class, why does tier then make the cleric better at that specific role? Arguably the cleric isn't even tier 1. The cleric list is more specialized than the wizard list and combat competence doesn't make up for that gap.

Oh I would totally say a wizard frontlines and can outslug a fighter. They don't even have to be optimized for it after a certain level. Just possess bodies and polymorph them as needed to out slugfest. Summons, walls, BFC, undead, bond servants, golems, ect let a wizard take up the fontline better.

But it's a 4 tier difference. Ofcourse wizard can outclass both fighter and crb rogue at the same time with little effort.

I'm noticing that you will never actually answer the question. I didn't ask anything about Fighters. They can't even reliably keep up with Paladins and Rangers in terms of attack power. >_>

Meanwhile, most of the other things that you mention suck at trying to match a real martial, aside from body possession (and even then, only when abusing simulacrum). :P

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Rhedyn wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

The long and short of it is, the majority of the core classes stand beside each other pretty well. A barbarian is tier 4 but fits in a group of higher tiers easily enough to be valued. Rangers, Paladins, and Bards are solid tier 3 classes (and lots of the expanded classes like the alchemist and inquisitors fall into this comfy zone).

I do still think martials do need better things. I do still acknowledge martial/caster disparity. Just, again, I think it's important to acknowledge where they do excel at and why. A cleric casting divine power does not wholly replace a competent martial. It doesn't even come close to doing what they are good at doing (nor does a druid, IMHO).

That doesn't change the fact that clerics tend to be angel summoning badasses that can probably fake it well enough for casual fights and can always call god to step in and stomp the dragon for her.

Our big difference is I don't value item crafting like you do because of my gaming experience.

1) You can't craft because of time constraints.

2) the GM throttles wealth to compensate.

Those two factors do not have to be taken to extremes for item crafting to lose much of it's impact.

They kind of do. Time restraints are easy to circumvent through crafting on the go and rushed crafting (+5 DC, half crafting time, woot). More than enough to make simple consumables for your staples. Likewise, it's hard to justify not having time for crafting unless the GM is actively forcing it and being grossly obvious about it (and that also tends to imply the game is very shallow in the RP department because your PCs never take any downtime or do things other than rush to the next battle to kill something).

Likewise, the GM changing the nature of the game by reducing treasures to spite players likewise does nothing to actually counter the value of item creation, just as the GM making magic not work in their world doesn't counter the value of wizards in the context of the game.

A GM can, with enough effort and acrobatics, force anything into seeming more or less desirable than it actually is. For example, I could just decide that clerics are hated by the general populace because of *insert campaign specific reason here* and suddenly just being a cleric means everyone starts hostile or unfriendly the moment it's determined that you can cast cleric spells or wear a holy symbol or something. Suddenly nobody sells you stuff without really hard Diplomacy checks all over the place, nobody helps you, blah blah blah.

We're not talking about cleric hater world.

Another big difference is our value of defense as utility. To me paldins and spell sunder barbars (one true build and variants) can do a lot by virtue of being able to bypass barriers that destroy the rangers. (Though other barbars are tier 4)

Yes. Rangers are weaker defensively against certain types of spells (particularly mind-affecting ones as they're pretty solid against most Fortitude and Reflex hindrances not only due to having good saves in those areas but also due to having spells that immunize them to harsh issues that affect those).

But I think the Ranger gets plenty to make up for that and their defenses are not bad. They just aren't at the Paladin and Barbarian level. But not being the best is not the same as not being okay or good, nor does it severely inhibit their roles.

Paladins are probably the best tanks in the game. That makes them resilient but it doesn't do much to change their utility. Likewise, expecting other martials to be the Paladin doesn't seem particularly fair. Alchemists, Inquisitors, Bards, and Slayers certainly are far from Paladins in terms over durability, and those classes are pretty decent. Clerics aren't even capable of Paladin-level defenses.

I think the CRB is pretty broken. Three T1s, one T2, two T3s, two T4s, and three T5s. The most problematic classes (T1 and T5) dominant core and are the root of the overall system balance problems.

Gut Fighter, Monk, Rogue, and the rest of the core classes play pretty nice with each other overall. Most of the worst spells in 3.x got the nerfbat pretty hard. There's only a few outliers now that are really cheesy (simulacrum and limited wish->geas jump immediately to mind).

Again, they have issues, but even wizards are far from the beasts they were in 3.x.

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The long and short of it is, the majority of the core classes stand beside each other pretty well. A barbarian is tier 4 but fits in a group of higher tiers easily enough to be valued. Rangers, Paladins, and Bards are solid tier 3 classes (and lots of the expanded classes like the alchemist and inquisitors fall into this comfy zone).

I do still think martials do need better things. I do still acknowledge martial/caster disparity. Just, again, I think it's important to acknowledge where they do excel at and why. A cleric casting divine power does not wholly replace a competent martial. It doesn't even come close to doing what they are good at doing (nor does a druid, IMHO).

That doesn't change the fact that clerics tend to be angel summoning badasses that can probably fake it well enough for casual fights and can always call god to step in and stomp the dragon for her.

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Rhedyn wrote:

Let's do a little thought experiment with pallys and rangers. Drop the spell casting for each. What tier are they now? I say ranger drops to tier 5 while paladins only fall to tier 4. For me, paladin spellcasting = ranger spell casting. Rangers basically stop being viable without their spells while the paladin is still a powerhouse with smite, divine grace, divine bond, and lay on hands.

I'm not seeing anything I was aware of about rangers. Perhaps you can explain to me how ranger is just slayer+? They are in basically the same role. So if ranger is tier 3 then the slayer has to look as bad next to ranger as crb rogue looks to slayer

Is slayer trash next to ranger like crb rogue is to slayer?

If slayer and ranger are equivalent at all then both are tier 4.

I think this isn't true at all. It's very possible for a tier 4 to compare to a tier 3 in many but not all ways. Rangers by virtue of item creation and the utility and options that their spells provide are more versatile and broad. That's a hallmark of tier 3 classes. Would a bard be a tier 3 class if it didn't have spells? Hells to the noes.

Paladin wouldn't either. They'd be tier 4 again easily. They excel defensively but a lot of Paladin's utility and versatility come from their spell list. Without it, you lose access to things like the restoration line, their buff spells (like divine favor and potentially divine power), they lose bless weapon (which is worth casting even at 20th level because you auto-confirm crits vs evil foes while it's active). They lose resist energy and death ward which make them harder to hinder by casters and monsters (and immunizes them to shadows).

Because smite, lay on hand, divine grace, and so forth do not make the Paladin versatile. It makes them sturdy and makes them deal a lot of damage but that is the end of that.

Mind you, since we're talking about tiers, I'm going to reference the originator of tiers again.

JaronK wrote:
Tier 4: Capable of doing one thing quite well, but often useless when encounters require other areas of expertise, or capable of doing many things to a reasonable degree of competance without truly shining. Rarely has any abilities that can outright handle an encounter unless that encounter plays directly to the class's main strength. DMs may sometimes need to work to make sure Tier 4s can contribue to an encounter, as their abilities may sometimes leave them useless. Won't outshine anyone except Tier 6s except in specific circumstances that play to their strengths. Cannot compete effectively with Tier 1s that are played well.

This is where Barbarians usually fall. Barbarians lack versatility but they tend to do their one shtick really, really well. Despite loss of versatility and problem solving (which would bring them to tier 3 along with Paladins and Rangers) they still fit very well into a party because they are just really damn good at what they do and have a few niche tricks that keep them competitive.

A slayer is an easy tier 4 and may even be able to compete with a Ranger at a lot of things without having the overall versatility. There are certain things they can or will do better than rangers and there are things rangers will do better, but they won't match the ranger's versatility. A slayer, for example, cannot just cast a spell and become completely immune to poisons for hours on end but a ranger can and that's worth something (especially when you're the martial fighting the wyverns).

I also don't value magic item crafting so much that doing it puts you in tier 3. I also put bloodragers in tier 4 unless they are the one true barbar build via primalist. Then I put them in tier 3.

You may not value it but that doesn't really mean anything to me. It's quite valuable. Being able to craft your own items at half cost means not only improved efficiency but it means you aren't a slave to the RNG gods or NPCs for getting your goodies. It also means you have more effective loot for consumables and the ranger's ability to produce consumables on the cheap is a huge edge in their favor (for example, an elixir of hiding costs a measly 125 gp to craft and gives +10 to Stealth as a competence bonus for a full hour. You can comfortably carry a few of these for when you need to go balls to the walls solid snake mode.

In-class access to item creation is pretty much a huuuge boon to a class (Master Craftsman sucks and is a trap). It alone is a massive point in the favor of a Paladin or Ranger and Barbarians are sadder for its loss.

It's another weapon in their arsenal of success.

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Malwing wrote:
Although I'm not on the side of arguing that martial/caster disparity doesn't exist one thing that I just don't see is casters being superior frontliners. I guess you could summon some meat shields but I'm not counting that and even with divine favor I've never really seen a battle cleric that was actually effective.

Let there be no confusion. I definitely think that martials could use a little more shoring up and I definitely believe and profess the caster-martial disparity.

However, I do believe in facts as well and it's important to me to be accurate on what good things martials do have. Could they stand improvement? Absolutely. For one I'd like to see Rangers/Paladins begin the game at CL 1st and progress from there, getting 0 level spells immediately from 1st-3rd as opposed to not at all.

I'd like to see all martials have better defenses and/or answers to magic users. I'd like to see skills in general being better overall to do incredible things like magic. I'd like to see more mobility for martials.

However, the system for the these changes needs to be re-defined at its core (which is a project I'm working on with a few friends). A lot of things at the core mechanics needs to be adjusted. For example, either you end up with the irritating task of applying magical-like functions on a per-class basis or wizards just get to cherry pick all the good skills at the right levels anyway (and it overvalues Headband of Intellect). Movement issues are not solved by pounce and never will be (in the same way that a missing eye is not solved by a bandaid).

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Rhedyn wrote:
Cleric is a better frontliner via the 3 tier gap. Even a wizard who focused on it could be a better frontliner. To say otherwise you have to argue ranger into tier 3, which means finding how it is equal to an investigator or alchemist or even a hunter. Investigator clearly has both better damage and utility. Hunter is in tier 3 just because of 6th level casting and non garbage class features. Hunter has problems next to a druid but a druid is 2 tiers higher.
Wraithstrike wrote:

I know from history that Ashiel is going to ask you for specific proof. While we I normally agree with Ashiel, the times I have not specific proof was asked for. Just saying it, is not likely to be accepted.

How is a cleric a better frontliner than a ranger?<---One question you will be asked to provide proof for.

Wraithstrike is not wrong. :)

Before I Continue
This is the definition of "Tier 3" by the guy who came up with tiers and knows what they are and what they mean.

JaronK wrote:
Tier 3: Capable of doing one thing quite well, while still being useful when that one thing is inappropriate, or capable of doing all things, but not as well as classes that specialize in that area. Occasionally has a mechanical ability that can solve an encounter, but this is relatively rare and easy to deal with. Challenging such a character takes some thought from the DM, but isn't too difficult. Will outshine any Tier 5s in the party much of the time.

That is an extremely accurate description of a Ranger.

Rhedyn wrote:
Hiding is action economy intensive.

Stealth (according to the skill) checks are made as part of movement. A 5 ft. step + Stealth check is adequate to vanish if you've got cover, concealment, or some variation of hide in plain sight. Which means a Ranger can full attack, 5 ft. step and immediately re-Stealth. You might have an idea as to where he is (he didn't go far) but he now enjoys what is essentially invisibility.

It is not a viable defense like the paladins. Divine bond can get a pretty bamf AC but she probably prefers the other option.

Remember that the animal companion shares the ranger's favored enemy bonuses and favored terrain bonuses. This means that when the Ranger pops Instant Enemy, the animal companion is getting up to a +10/+10 to hit/damage as well. The animal companion also enjoys all the benefits of favored terrain (including but not limited to the bonuses to Perception and Stealth checks).

Oh sure hitting things is something pallys and rangers do better, but when it comes to combat in general that goes to the cleric. Martial v caster disparity hits hard here. The cleric easily makes for a better front liner (something the ranger should avoid).

You need to explain why the cleric makes for a better front liner as opposed to just repeating it over and over. Yes the cleric has superior spellcasting and can carry a frontliner role if needed but you need to actually explain why because cleric + buffs = not even close to Paladins and Rangers (who do the same buffing but better).

Honestly, the best argument I could see for a cleric being a superior front-liner would be that at 17th level using an ioun stone and a prayer bead can gate a Solar into a combat and control it without question at the cost of 10k in components and Solars are 22HD outsiders (full BAB) that cast as 20th level clerics (so divine power and all that jazz) and are really hard to kill for the vast majority of the game (which means you essentially win this encounter unless the enemy is prepared to counter your tactic). This is also probably the best trick I've found that a cleric has in Pathfinder that they can brag about (oracles can do this too but I like clerics more).

Unlike Fighters, Rangers do have a lot of tricks to bring to bear in combat. They have a decent variety of AoE CC spells such as entangle, spike growth and stone spikes, wind wall, and fickle winds (seriously, **** this spell). This is in combination with lots of very effective defensive spells.

Hunters while better casters aren't as good at actually attacking as Rangers (they lack critical bonus feats early, are behind on to-hit bonuses, do not get sufficient buffs to compensate, their animal aspects do not stack with magic items (virtually everything that would help you hit, move, or skill better is an enhancement or competence bonus, which means they don't stack with bull's strength type spells or magic items that grant enhancement bonuses, nor do they stack with magic items that grant skill bonuses such as elixir of hiding). They're also exceptionally reliant on their AC to function (via teamwork feats) and offing their animal companion slows them down hard (AC is mostly expendable for a Ranger).

If the Ranger decides to not go with the animal companion (which is a valid choice) the Ranger gets a strong mid-game buff to allies by being able to dump 1/2 his favored enemy bonuses onto anyone within 30 ft. of him as a move action (which isn't bad, especially if your party composition includes summoners or other front-liners). I generally prefer the animal companion in most comps because of the added utility early game and value of having an expendable sidekick.

Rangers are pretty high tier 4 but can you really say the skill points make up for the weaker combat presence than the Paladin?

I never said skill points, though yes their skills are useful as they can afford to cap all the skills they need even while dumping Intelligence (a Ranger can tank to 7 Int and still have more skills than a 12 Int Fighter). However, when I was talking about problem solving I was also including their small but precise list of spells and class features that allow them to react or prepare for problems.

Investigators and Alchemist can do more damage AND have better utility. All those cool ranger spells you talk about, the hunter gets faster and isn't dependent on max level spells like the ranger (instant enemy).

Unfortunately Investigators cannot qualify for magic item creation under normal circumstances because investigators explicitly do not gain caster levels as part of their class (the way it is worded they can create their extracts and stuff and those things have an effective caster level equal to their investigator level, but the investigator cannot qualify for things like Craft Wondrous Item).

Also, instant enemy isn't a max-level spell, it comes online at 10th level for rangers organically and is a cheap scroll or wand until then for when you really need to burgermeat some guy.

But I'm not arguing that the Ranger is better than all those classes. Every single one of them is Tier 3 (Ranger included) as all excel at certain tricks really, really well, while being versatile enough to frequently have something to contribute to most any situation or to enhance the overall success rate of the party.

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Rhedyn wrote:

I put paladins at tier 3, but I remain unconvinced that rangers are higher than tier 4. Fighters are tier 5 but clerics are tier 1, putting all of the above to shame.

Paladins hit tier 3 for me because of excellent defenses and survival with 4th level casting and great damage. The ranger gets an AC and skills instead of great defenses. Bards, Alchemist, investigators, Usummoner, and even hunter strike me as better than the ranger.

I'd definitely place rangers on tier 3 with Paladins. They have a lot of versatility and even have AoE crowd control. Their nonmagical hiding abilities allow them to strike-vanish and cannot be magically countered with things like see invisibility, true seeing, or invisibility purge (glitterdust mostly just tilts their skill checks into "Can probably see them now"). They also have in-house access to item creation, freedom of movement, a good number of immunization and defensive spells like resist energy and delay poison at spell levels suitable for spamming them, and they are very versatile in their combat options.

Their defense is "Kill it first or hide from it and kill it next round" in most cases. They're very versatile, especially with their animal companions who can serve as an additional character or a competent mount to up their mobility (and their mounts receive all the benefits they do in their favored terrain). Their big weakness is that they don't meet the magic-resistance that a Paladin does, but they can excel at offing VIP targets and then suddenly vanishing into nowhere again. Also boots of friendly terrain are cheap and a Ranger can keep adding additional instances of the boot's effect for +50% cost (so +3,600 gp for each additional terrain) which is a decent competitor to boots of speed (unless the ranger just adds the effects to said boots).

Rangers are ideally paired with a team member who can cast mind blank on them during their adventure (otherwise the ranger will have to craft something to get stronger defenses vs will-targeting effects).

Clerics lack a lot of the prowess that they did in 3.5 because their buffing spells and summoning spells got nerfed hard (they no longer utter a spell and get full BAB and all the benefits associated with it plus stacking benefits with their other buff spells, nor can they summon colossal centipedes to grapple their foes while they beat on them).

Clerics cannot effectively match a Paladin or Ranger at what they do, even bringing to bear the might of their spells. They can at best try to cover their role if they are missing (they do adequate at this but it's nothing to write home about and I say that as a fan of war-clerics).

If you can pose a reason why this isn't true, I'm all ears and ready to learn something new. However, to my current knowledge clerics are amazing but they just cannot match Paladins and Rangers in combat effectiveness. Problem solving? Definitely. Can they do stuff Paladins and Rangers cannot? Without a doubt. Can they match them in a slugfest? No, they cannot.

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Rhedyn wrote:

Clerics are one divine power away from being better than fighters. Divine favor works until then. The trait that increases luck bonuses by 1 is amazing. Grab the movespeed domain to rub salt into the wound.

Cleric = best martial
Wizards then replace rogue with the barest effort.

For an optimal group you only need two classes. (Though any prepared caster works uere)

I'm fond of clerics as well and battle clerics are among my favorite sort (and they tend to be very resource efficient). However, comparing the cleric's combat prowess to the Fighter does a bit of a disservice. Even in Pathfinder, the real martials (Barbarian, Paladin, and Ranger) will generally outshine clerics in the "own your face with direct damage" department. Barbarians are actually the weakest in burst damage at higher levels because their rage only ever adds up to +4/+6 to hit/damage alone (whereas smite / favored enemy both are pushing +10 to hit and +10 or better to damage) but barbarians have some other cool benefits going for them.

Paladins and Rangers can push harder than clerics in that regard and usually take less rev-up time (quickened divine power is a good spell for the cleric in a hurry though), and Paladins also get divine favor and can pick up divine power if they want to burn a feat on getting 4 new spells to their list (one of which can be a 4th level cleric spell such as divine power or it could be greater invisibility off the bard list and both are pretty nice, though divine power is harder to counter).

Clerics need divine power and similar spells to reach competency levels in combat. They're behind on BAB and they lack class features which push it further. For example, even with CL 20 divine power, a cleric clears the -5 BAB gap by +1, and adds +6 damage. This is merely catching up to the martials like Paladin and Ranger pre-buffs and it's good but when those classes start expending resources you begin seeing +40s to +50s in the upper teen levels in terms of hit and damage modifiers.

For example, if a ranger really wants you dead he pops instant enemy as a swift action. Instantly he's at +30 hit/+10 damage before ability scores. Most rangers that specced Str prime at 1st level will have around a 30 Str at 20th, which is instantly +40/+20. If the ranger really, really doesn't like you, he declares Quarry on you as a free action (+44/+20). The ranger's likely using a +5 enhancement weapon (either crafted himself or a lesser weapon with a cleric or wizard casting greater magic weapon to save cash) which brings us to +49/+25. Haste (boots of speed) bring us to +50/+25 with +1 attack (doesn't stack with divine power).

Now at this point, the Ranger probably hits the vast majority of enemies with all of his attacks (even his iteratives which are currently sitting at +35 at the lowest). This is with fairly minimal outside support. If the Ranger has buff-buddies such as a wizard (or better yet a bard), the numbers can fly into the stratosphere (greater heroism, good hope, and Inspire Courage push his routine to a whopping +59/+32).

At this point the Ranger hits 95% of the time on all attacks, or hits frequently against mega-tanks (dedicated tanks can get ACs in the 50s-60s), or trades excess accuracy for damage or status conditions using Power Attack or Dazing Assault (I prefer dazing assault as at this point the Ranger can full attack making off-hand shield bashes and getting 100% of this static modifiers to the damage, and now throwing out something like 6-8 attacks per round, each with a DC 30 save or lose your turn).

I'm a very big fan of clerics but let us give credit where it is due, right? The core (non-fighter, non-monk, non-rogue) martials do have some nice things and they excel at what they do (gibbing enemies who they can physically attack). Their issues, I think, stim more from being very limited in problem solving and/or non-burgermaking areas.

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Malwing wrote:
Quite frankly there are a lot of limiters that don't really need to be there. I'm reminded of my constant house rules that weapon size difference goes by 'handedness' so a Halfling can wield a medium longsword as a two handed weapon and any handedness past that gets a cumulative pentalty. That way when you get to abilities like Titan Mauler instead of some garble that doesn't even work right at first you can just be able to count as a size category bigger for the purpose of wielding weapons and the game doesn't break down.

Sounds very similar to the house rule I use which is based on 3.0 which was, also, very similar. In 3.0, weapons had size categories right along with creatures.

A short sword = small longsword
A longsword = medium longsword
A greatsword = large longsword

And so forth.

Creatures could wield a weapon their size in 1-hand, a smaller weapon as a light weapon, and up to +1 size category as a 2-hander. It was IMHO very simple and worked well. It also made random treasure suck significantly less for small or large sized races since finding a medium longsword wasn't a huge loss for a halfling, nor finding a halfling-sized longsword a huge bummer for a human. In 3.5 and PF, suddenly they magically take a -2 penalty for it being mis-sized (poor Bilbo and Frodo, Sting was giving them a -2 since that elven blade sure as hell wasn't made for no halflings :P).

It also opened up things that you just can't do in Pathfinder anymore. Like wielding a small-sized longspear 1-handed with a shield (sorry, no phalanx reach + shields, that'd be silly, like fighters having nice things).

EDIT: Because of course it was so very too much OP to let Fighter-types take Exotic Weapon Proficiency [Bastard Sword] and be able to wield bastard swords ranging from small to large size to deal 1d8, 1d10, and 2d8 damage. Oh no, the horror.

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Malwing wrote:

One thing that could help is to get rid of some of the artificial limiters that should work if you have the right stats.

For example, naturally eliminate the movement limit for jumping. Eliminate the size category limit for combat maneuvers.

Honestly I think that the size category limits for maneuvers are pointless and have always been. Characters of smaller sizes should be much weaker in terms of maneuver potential than larger characters in the system (in 3.x, you had at least a 4 point difference to size-related checks when mis-sized and it got much higher, before accounting for ability scores). Even comparing a human to an ogre, the ogre's got a +10 racial bonus to Strength (+5 CMB/CMD), -2 Dex (-1 CMD), and a +1 due to size. Ignoring BAB, the ogre should already have a pretty huge advantage over a man-sized character and a massive advantage over a halfling-sized character.

If El Flyrkee the Kobold Luchador can manage to grapple, trip, disarm, or bull rush the ogre's CMD, let him!

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thejeff wrote:

Of course, implementing actual superheroes in PF is pretty silly anyway, despite the "superheroic" power levels you can reach. The tropes are too different.

And just as a nitpick to earlier description - Spidey doesn't "see bullets and dodge them". His danger sense kicks in and he dodges. Seeing them isn't really involved.

This is pretty much textbook Uncanny Dodge. Spiderman has an insane agility + Uncanny Dodge which allows him to retain his AC against attacks despite being unaware of them.

A secondary feature of Spiderman's spider-sense is pretty much textbook diviner's initiative. If combat starts, he's on the initiative track. Venom has an ability that explicitly allows him to get a surprise round against Spiderman despite his awesome modifiers.

Honestly, building super hero-esque characters in Pathfinder isn't that hard. I've wanted to do a super-hero-adventurer game for a while but the concept of it confuses people who can't make genre-salad.

Vigilante Pathfinder Game Pitch:
Pathfinder characters are minor superheroes out of the gate, since most of them have minor but noteworthy abilities compared to commoners. By mid levels they're pretty much the X-Men, and by high levels they could actually curbstomp most of the cast of Marvel comics (because there's not much that even characters like the Hulk could do against the terrible things that D&D PCs go up against).

Similarly, Urban adventures place PCs in a position where their murderhobo-ing isn't very appreciated. Law and order doesn't lend itself to adventuring like wilderness and dungeons do, and heroes taking the law into their own hands probably aren't going to make many friends among those in power (especially if those in power may be at least a little corrupt).

Enter the vigilante (not that horrible class) campaign where the PCs live their lives as mostly normal people but don disguises and aliases to adventure in the urban environment and deal with threats against the citizens and city from within.

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Rhedyn wrote:

One factor to all of this is that bigger numbers are pointless if the enimies numbers also get bigger.

This guts the point behind most martial class features.

Weapon training is garbage because you need it to hit things. Power attack is garbage because you have to use it. Once a Paladin can pass 95% of saves, further boost are pointless.

I just wanted to point out a few things.

1. Martials are usually sitting at between +5% to +25% accuracy by virtue of class when compared to their 3/4 competitors. This is prior to buffs or class features (with most martials having up to an additional +30% to even +70% hit chance abilities) which gives them an edge and makes them slightly better buff targets in many cases (Paladins w/ Divine Power are really awesome for example).

2. Power Attack is optional. IMHO, it's sweetest spot is actually 3rd-10th level. At 1st level, enemy HP is usually too low to matter and to-hit modifiers are in high demand. At 3rd level and fourth level the damage boost is significant for the types of foes you're facing and AC hasn't budged much from 1st level (most enemies in this theater have ACs around 16, and NPCs can't afford magic armor or even full-plate yet). However, as iterative attacks come online, the extra accuracy afforded by BAB, class features, and buffs, combined with damage bonuses from ability scores (which get up to around 30 easily enough at high levels), class features, and enhancement bonuses, makes many situations more attractive to the guy not using Power Attack (the penalty to hit keeps increasing) as it's very possible to hit with most if not all of your iterative attacks later on.

Let's take a well built Ranger for example. By around 16th level, our ranger has a +16/+11/+6/+1. He's probably sitting at around a 28-30 Strength score (+27/+18/+13/+8). He's sporting a +3 weapon (+30/+21/+16/+11). Boots of Speed and Heroism bring him to +33/+33/+24/+19/+14. He can drop instant enemy to bring him to +41/+41/+32/+27/+22 and if he really needs to, Quarry for +43/+43/+34/+29/+24 and auto-confirming critical threats.

Against a 34 AC foe (typical naked AC for CR 19 enemy), he has the following chances to hit: 95%(150%)/95%(150%)/95%(105%)/80%/60%. Power Attack gives him a -25% chance to hit for +15 damage, bringing his hit-% to 95%(125%)/95%(125%)/80%/55%/35%. Furious Focus doesn't help 'cause you're hit-% capped on the first attack either way. Now the +15 from PA might make up for the lost hits but probably not, because at this point we're looking at +24 static damage (Str + Enhancement + Favored Enemy) so hitting with your three iterative attacks is netting you another +75 damage (assuming you roll nothing but 1s on a d8).

The higher your enemy's AC scales the worse PA is for you (unless your to-hit % is so bad that you're hit capped at 5%, then PA all you can). This is against an unbuffed enemy. A pit fiend (who sports a naked AC of 42 before magic items) has little to fear from the power-attacking ranger by comparison to the non-PA ranger (as the PA ranger's DPR is going to suffer from it). The more damage per hit you can push the less PA's bonus damage helps (I'm being pretty generous in assuming only a +3 weapon as rangers can make their own magic weapons and having a golfbag of bane weapons and having your party's wizard cast greater magic weapon on them is not hard).

PA is good in certain situations. It is very far from required and is actually bad for most 3/4 classes who are relying on things like divine power to keep their hit/damage relevant.

3. Paladins reaching 95% saves and still getting more save potential is not wasted. In further insulates them from save-bombing. Having a 150% chance to save capped at 95% means you still get to laugh at the wizards using limited wish to give you a -45% chance to save. Similarly, when your enemies coordinate their debuffs, it means that you will still be sitting at 75% or better when everyone else would have gone from 95% to "roll a 20 or die".

Other than those little tidbits, carry on. :)

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HWalsh wrote:
the secret fire wrote:
Rub-Eta wrote:
I'm sorry but, 4th ed is nothing like "MMO" games, there are fundamental design differences. It's not even similar to any "MMORPG" games that are out there. I'd say that any edition of D&D and most other pen&paper RPGs are more like 4th ed than any "MMO" game. I think you just need to get over your hate for young people and their "MMO" games and motorcycles and their punk-rock music and their "My Little Pony" and their what not. Even when I'm not a fan of MMORPGs, I can't really say "people didn't like it", so 4th ed would probably be better off if it was more "MMORPG"-esq.

I dunno...I also get a video-gamey feel from the daily/encounter/at-will breakdown of abilities in 4th ed. It feels like a very contrived and artificial way to achieve game balance which is ultimately quite similar in its execution to games like Diablo.

I think 4th ed. is a perfect example of designers taking the easy way out in terms of game balance. Balancing limited-use magic with at-will martial abilities is hard, but that doesn't mean it can't or shouldn't be done.

There was even an article where the 4th Ed devs did admit that they did base elements of the character mechanics on MMORPG mechanics. Just google it, shouldn't be hard to find.

And the same MMOs based most of their mechanics on RPGs, so it's just going back through the filter of mass playtesting.

I myself have studied some of the mechanics of MMO gameplay where it was succeeding at things that tabletop RPGs were failing at and the information was quite valuable. There is a lot of things that tabletop RPGs can pull from games like World of Warcraft and be better for it.

The thing is, people get the wrong idea (out of sheer ignorance it seems as many of the people I've met who criticize RPGs based on WoW also don't know much about WoW or where WoW works) as to what elements are desirable. It's not about things like pickup groups, color-coded items (hmmm, there's an idea), or whatever. It's just about what works.

In WoW, warriors make a transition from the mundane to the majestic. At lower levels, warriors in wow can do things like...

1. Cause a wound with severe bleeding that deals damage over time.
2. Hit someone with their shield and daze them.
3. Wound their legs to cripple their movement.
4. Parry an attack and counter it.

At high levels, warriors in wow can do things like...

0. Everything the low levels did but better.
1. Hit the ground so hard that it produces a shockwave that hurts and stuns foes.
2. Wield two-handed weapons in a single hand.
3. Leap into a crowd of enemies and turn into a tornado of blades that is unstoppable by man or magic.
4. Spank incoming spells back at their caster with their shield.
5. Dispel magical auras on a creature by striking with their shield.
6. Throw their weapon at an enemy and shatter their protective spells.
7. Leap through the air and crash into enemies stunning them in an AoE.
8. Become the avatar of a god of war.
9. Shout a roar that causes enemies to wet themselves and run screaming.
10. Charge around the battlefield rapidly and over great distances, crashing into enemies, and even from in the air, allowing you to look like you're pseudo-flying.

All things that are appropriate for high level heroes, that is - so far beyond divorced from the mundane realities of warriors - should probably be able to do. Since they do so much more than just hit people for some damage they can be very strong in team play even against enemies who are saturated in magical abilities.

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CWheezy wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

Like, if make an archetype for wizard that doesn't cast spells but instead converts all of its spell slots into passive buffs that make him a martial powerhouse (such as being able to convert spell slots into bonus hit, bonus armor, bonus damage, bonus HP, bonus saves, etc) and grant his familiar similar benefits, that would be a pretty crazy cool archetype.'s not really a wizard anymore. :|

Yeah in that case but this case is just like, armor training lol, fighter still moves and attacks or full attacks, being a tower shield specialist doesn't change any of that imo.

For an example of what I consider basically being a brand new class, the stonelord paladin archetype is basically a new class

I admit to being sad that said fighter archetype is worse than the warrior NPC class in most every way, CR for CR. Albeit the regular fighter is too, but using a tower shield makes them more limited in options than a normal warrior. :|

I'm not bitter about fighters being failures. Nope. Not at all. (3_3)

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CWheezy wrote:
I think replacing armor training with a slightly different armor training isn't that much of a difference. They still get the training, just for shields, like some archetypes don't get weapon training they get "lance training" or something

The thing is, when an archetype changes the entire role of a character along with most of its iconic features, is it really the same class in anything but name alone?

Like, if make an archetype for wizard that doesn't cast spells but instead converts all of its spell slots into passive buffs that make him a martial powerhouse (such as being able to convert spell slots into bonus hit, bonus armor, bonus damage, bonus HP, bonus saves, etc) and grant his familiar similar benefits, that would be a pretty crazy cool archetype.'s not really a wizard anymore. :|

On the Subject of Tower Shield Specialist
I was re-reading this archetype and I'm astounded by how bad it is. I hadn't even realized how horrible it was but it's nothing but the deepest of traps. Tower Shield Training actually doesn't do anything beneficial for the Fighter, because it says the Fighter gets armor training as normal except armor training gets better when the Fighter is using a tower shield (reducing the penalties from his armor and improving the max dex of his armor) and reverts to normal armor training when he's not. After really reading it (as opposed to skimming it before) I realized this ability is useless aside from slightly lowering your total armor check penalty because it doesn't increase your max-dex allowance for the shield.

So it works like this:
Fighter in Full Plate w/ Armor Training I: +2 Max Dex.
Fighter in Full Plate w/ Tower Shield Training I: +2 Max Dex.
Fighter in Full Plate w/ Tower Shield Training I and Tower Shield: +1 Max Dex (but his full plate has +4 Max Dex now).

Aside from this gross oversight, Tower Shield Specialist doesn't play much like a fighter. You lose what little a fighter has to bring towards defeating enemies because you're always far behind even a regular fighter for using a tower shield (you have a -2 to hit until 5th level, and at that point you're -1 to hit and damage behind a regular fighter, up to -6 to hit and damage behind a regular fighter.

The defensive abilities you get outside of destroying your AC are pretty meh. The bonus reflex saves only apply to burst effects (so spreads, traps, and stuff aren't any good; it's useless vs dragon breath; it doesn't even work vs fireballs). Immediate re-position is useless and can't even be used for the one thing you would actually use it for (interrupting an attack). You lose your higher weapon training and weapon mastery for evasion. :|

This entire page in the book was wasted. It could have been a killer piece of Wayne Reynolds are just randomly pasted into the book right here.

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I wish I could say that the tower shield fighter was at least good (it's actually worse than the normal fighter IMHO). :(

CWheezy wrote:
You said no rules legal way to lower acp and raise dex on a tower shield, I just wanted to say there is in fact a rules legal way.

True that. I stand corrected. :)

I make zero comments on power or whatever, but saying a fighter archetype isn't a fighter any more I think is wrong.

Well I would pose the question "what makes it a fighter"? You've gotten rid of bravery, weapon training, and armor training. Those are the only class unique class features a fighter has.

About the only thing they have in common other than "barebones martial stats" is that they technically qualify for "Fighter" feats.

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CWheezy wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
4. Having tower shields that aren't terrible (no, really, they can get you killed because there's no legal way in the rules to ever get their max dex higher than +1, even Armor Training doesn't help).
Nitpicky man here to save the day, tower shield specialist

Which isn't a fighter anymore in the same way a kensai wasn't a fighter in Baldur's Gate II. It also does no favors since it loses your other class features which makes the net result a wash.

Likewise, it doesn't do you much good to trade out armor training for tower shield training as either way either your heavy armor or your tower shield is gimping you. Heavy armor just happens to be the better choice most of the time.

EDIT: Also by taking tower shield specialist you're gimping your ability to fight to less than that of a bard's as you lose your scaling bonuses to hit and damage with weapons, leaving you at only BAB plus (maybe) weapon focus feats. That's horrible for a martial. Paladins do better simply by casting divine favor (a 1st level spell).

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Bard of Ages wrote:
Anyway, I'd like to take a moment to thank those on this board for an interesting couple of days. I find it hilarious this has so far strayed from the original topic into what Cthulhu's CR is and comparing him to gods, laughing out loud.

Cthulu as written's kind of a weeny too. :P

Ashiel, you make good points, and I feel I made a few good points as well. It's at this point I'll just agree to disagree, though I have changed a few ways of my thinking. I think the main difference here is, I'm not really looking for a fix to this problem :). Nor any problem. If the game is broken, eh?

That's cool. Not everyone cares but I feel like everyone has the right to know. :)

I find the power levels of classes more of a draw than a hindrance. Sure, fighters are broken, rogues suck, what have you. But when I just want to turn my brain off and not really track per day resources or spells, good ol' fighter is there for my old school dungeon crawling. Give me my longsword, my shortsword and dagger, my tower sheild, my ten foot pole, my greatsword, and my buckler and light steel shield (with alot of extra knick knacks to boot) and I'm a happy camper most days.

It's funny that you bring this up. There's nothing at all wrong with the notion of having a class that doesn't use resources or whatever. Fighters haven't always been this bad though and understanding why they are bad would be a great step towards making them tons less bad and I dare even say good.

For example, pre-3E, Fighters actually had really good saves (like really, really good), were pretty amazing at dealing damage, and could move and attack (something all martials need to be able to do really). In Pathfinder, we can look at the theater that the fighters must play in and realize things like...

1. Betters saves, not just good saves, but scaling saves across the board would be nice (kind of like superstition for barbarians).
2. Resistances or immunities to certain bad status ailments, or the ability to shrug off movement issues like Conan shouting "By Crom!".
3. Having scaling hit and damage bonuses that aren't anchored to a specific type of weapon (which not only means you can't benefit from cool loot if it's not the right type but also makes it easier to negate you and flies against the versatile combat master the class is described as being).
4. Having tower shields that aren't terrible (no, really, they can get you killed because there's no legal way in the rules to ever get their max dex higher than +1, even Armor Training doesn't help).

You could totally have the fighter be the "just passives" class. But that doesn't mean they have to be bad at it. Their role could be "the perfect buff-target" as opposed to "buff to competence".

If I want to break the game, or feel like a sexy shoeless god of war, it's not ranger I turn to, it's druid. Feel the might of my bear hugs!

Rangers actually fight better than wildshaped druids in terms of issuing serious punishment. Druids are significantly more frightening casters though. In 3.5, druids won out over rangers everywhere. This is an example of that evolving balance I was talking about and it's a good thing.


Is the game PVP? I still believe yes and no. Yes ESPECIALLY if the DM uses the same mechanics as the players to make humanoid ratfolk rogues. (if you think Tucker's Kobolds are dangerous, try Kevin's Ratfolk, *shudder* now you aren't just in cramped spaces, you're in cramped spaces, single file, and somehow the front and last guy in line can still get flanked.)

Is the game supposed to be thought of as PVP? Well, not really. The DM (a good DM at least) is there to help tell a story and be a referee. He absolutely should play 70% of encounters with kids gloves. But that 30% of the time, when the party is in the lair of the final story arc's villains, there should be a few deaths and alot of drama. (and preferably some John Williams star-wars music in the background for added effect. I am so cheesy sometimes.)

I think in the end, we all love this...

Ever play Final Fantasy Tactics? It's one of my favorite games ever. Mechanically speaking it is a very elaborate option-filled wargame of small teams of about 5 people engaging other teams of about 5 people in skirmishes all over the place. It's a lot of fun in that respect.

It's also a game with a rather epic story of political and social unrest, magical conspiracies, false prophets, corrupted churches, familial betrayals, doing what's right in the face of adversity, and loyalty of friends. It has choices to be made and many traditional RPG elements. It has beautiful music and themes, a rich history laid out in the game that you can learn about as time progresses (including giving a full real-time updating biography on even minor characters who never even appear in combat).

Saying Final Fantasy Tactics is a wargame should not be taken to mean that all of the other stuff doesn't matter. In the same sense, it is the same reason why my saying that Pathfinder or d20 in general is PvP mechanics should not be construed to suggest that it is somehow lesser or devoid of things like story, choices, or any other aspect of the game is somehow less important.

If anything all of it adds together to make a truly wonderful game. Discussing one aspect of that game does not and should not somehow devalue the other aspects of the game, even if they are being put on the back burner momentarily for the purpose of a single discussion.

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blackbloodtroll wrote:

I really would like to see this where this standard expectation of 15 Point Buy for Adventure Paths comes from.


It must be noted, somewhere.

Well, there's this.

Core Rulebook wrote:
The number of points you have to spend using the purchase method depends on the type of campaign you are playing. The standard value for a character is 15 points. Average nonplayer characters (NPCs) are typically built using as few as 3 points. See Table: Ability Score Points for a number of possible point values depending on the style of campaign. The purchase method emphasizes player choice and creates equally balanced characters.

Unless it explicitly says it isn't 15 PB, it is. Yeah?

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Bard of Ages wrote:

Yes, that is true, but then, we haven't established the CR system vs certain point buys or rolling for stats.

Pathfinder Adventure Paths, one of paizo's biggest subscription products, have an inherent base assumption of a 15 point buy.

Compare that to Pathfinder Society Modules, which is also a big product in the paizo market, that assume a 20 point buy.

Well the standard point buy as defined by the Pathfinder Core Rulebook is 15 Point Buy. Which is also the same point buy used by heroic NPCs, which means that when being played by the book so to speak, there is actually no difference between a PC and an NPC of equal level aside from gear allotment (NPC-gear levels mean your CR is equal to level-1, while PC-gear means it's equal to level).


There is a huge gap in the level of game-play there. From what I've seen, however, most APs (with the exception of a few "notorious" experimental APs like Wrath of the Righteous) are the closest to the game balance that Pathfinder actually wishes to attempt at maintaining. So if you throw a 20 point buy build party into any AP, with a team of relatively experienced players who can optimize relatively well, you end up with people wanting to "up the challenge" or "fix the AP" in the community boards with altered monster stats.

Who does all this altering and re-balancing? The GMs of home games. If you stick to the 15 point buy, however, the GM becomes a referee instead of a game designer, as the encounters, tactics, and npcs are already spelled out for him like a script.

That was more my point. There's much more to a balanced game than class balance and game mechanics that just one thing. If you throw a 40 point buy fighter, wizard, cleric, and rogue into an AP, they will have a much easier time than a 15 point buy monk, paladin, barbarian, sorcerer.

Perhaps but there's diminishing returns on point buy because of how much more expensive stuff gets. Over the course of your career it usually amounts to a +5% to a few other things or some more skill points but the upper limits aren't changed very much (and there's honestly precious little difference in potential between a wizard with a 15 Strength and one with a 7 Strength). It does mean that buying an 18 at the start isn't painful (where in 15 PB you're probably better off aiming for 14-16 before racials). Not really enough to swing the CR as the differences are less than those provided by templates (it's definitely far less than the difference of the Advanced simple template), and I've made a few people very fond of 15 PB in the process (as to their surprise stepping down from 25 to 15 wasn't the nerfbat they were expecting).

It's those factors that add up to the make the entire game either balanced or not. Not JUST class balance. Which yes, some people see class balance or imbalance as a huge disgrace that needs to be fixed, other people refuse to see the imbalance, and then there are people like me who see the class imbalance and just shrug. In the end, what matters most isn't the game balance really. If that was the case we would all be playing chess or checkers or something more classically balanced. What matters is whether or not this is the system you want to play.If you want to house-rule it to the point that it's vaguely d20 anymore, great!

Hold up, I'll let you finish but...

You realize that we've been playing d20 for 15 years now, right? D20 has been the heart of the open gaming revolution. 3E, that is 3.0 was the first D20 game. We have gone through three different iterations of 3rd Edition, or 1/5 years (though PF might be drag it out longer). Balance has been constantly shifting and changing, with designers (both professional and volunteer) inching the game in different directions. Improving class balance does diddly to threaten the d20 system. Furthering balance over time only strengthens the game. Back in 3.0, Rangers and Paladins and Barbarians were crap. Barbarians were kinda less crap. Fighters were...actually not that bad by comparison to their peers (they all just kinda sucked but the game mechanics elsewhere in the d20 system made fighters feel better than they do today).

Paladins, Rangers, and Barbarians have been getting steady improvements and upgrades through the editions. They're sitting at a really nice place right now where they are well balanced between one-another, each having certain pros and cons, each able to fill the martial party member role in slightly different ways, and so forth. They are different but pretty equal all things considered.

All this has done is made things like Paladin actually matter. In 3.x, if you wanted to play a Paladin, the best option you had was to take a cleric, file the nameplate off, write "Paladin" in its place, and take off. Now, you can still do that but you could also just play a Paladin and not be gimped for doing so. I'm 100% happy with that (I think pallies can stand a bit more polishing but they are already pretty beautiful).

Do what's fun for you and your group. But, realize there is much more to a balanced game than just class mechanics, and depending on whether or not it's a home game or a pre-written adventure, it's not as PVP as the OP implies. I mean, since when does the barbarian get dragon's breath that has a DC based on Con? Before kineticists, not too many classes had Con as a main DC attribute.

Class composition means a lot more to balance than point buy does, that's for sure. The difference between a Ranger and a Fighter in terms of sheer numbers and opportunities far outweigh even an extra +2 in your main stat or +5% to your saves, for example. At high levels, the difference in PB is pretty negligible, but class is not.

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Ahhhh, home again! :D

On the subject of monsters vs PCs and who can blow their rolls the fastest and stuff, I'd like to point out something really funny concerning that (and I admit it's not directly concerning PvP at the moment but it's interesting from a balance perspective).

Monster resources tend to come in the following flavors (sometimes in any combination): At-will, X/day, or strait up casting.

Most monsters with things like SLAs simply have relatively minor abilities at-will. These are typically their throw-away and/or spam abilities. Then they have a few "big guns" that have between 1-3 uses per day. They're pretty much made with the idea that they're going to go nova.

Whereas the PC classes tend to have more resources and if they go nova, well they might not burn hotter but they're going to burn longer (sure, a wizard's got about 3/day of his highest tier of spells but he's got another 3-4 of his next highest which are probably about as good, and another 4-5 of his next highest which are probably reaaaaally benefiting from free-scaling right now).

One of the most jarring things as a GM who experiments with including "monsters" (there's no real distinction between not-monsters and monsters) in parties is the reliance upon using certain abilities more or less infinitely while having a scant few big guns. For example, a succubus sits pretty well in a 7th-8th level party but can really throw your expectations for a loop (at-will self-only greater teleport, ethereal jaunt, and charm monster are like "whoa, I never expected that!") and it can force you to think about the game in a lot of ways normal PCs won't make you think about. :P

As for individual combats though, I've found they tend to be pretty on par with the "good" classes in the core rulebook (more or less anything but Fighter, Rogue, and Monk).

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