|Paizo Pathfinder® Paizo Games|
|About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ|
My info dump!
Eh, to a certain extent. There are enemies of whom have been my personal bane (I'm looking at you, Erinyes! >:c) and so it's a good idea to possess something to counter flying enemies but it's not too big of a stickler until the actual Rocket Tag/arms race of optimization begins (of which many tables simply avoid through either the Gentlemen's Agreement, being unaware of the optimization problems that occur, or having a GM that isn't actively trying to obliterate the party).
Fighters aren't very useful when the enemy is 100ft. in the air. Wizards aren't very useful in an Anti-Magic Field. Archers aren't very effective in a hurricane. Badgers aren't very effective on the bottom of the ocean. And I'm not very effective in the cold, cold vacuum of space.
But what happens when they're dire aquatic badgers of death?! Who will save our gnomes now?! D:
You're talking about a class that gets a bonus feat every other level. You may as well say that certain spells are out of line for the discussion of what a wizard can do, in which case they can't fly either. Moreover, this started with the claim that fighters were exception among the melee classes, when in fact, most barbarians and rangers without a special build (akin to the feats you're being told to take) can't fly.
The problem arises when the feats or skills aren't tied to the class (which is why it's a bit odd that a majority of the people taking contention with me are stating feats that aren't part of the problem).
Why non-weapons? You're setting up an artificial situation, one that WotC and Paizo never planned for and had no reason to. A character that is not using magical items is not reaching their potential, and will rarely turn up in the game.
We're talking about the chassis, not a character attempting to solve a situation. Had the discussion been otherwise, you would (and the majority) be right. I've never contested that.
Properly addressed how? No one is arguing that in the general case, without magic items or spells, a lone fighter can't melee a fighting opponent. The argument is that they can still attack the opponent, and that the case is not and should not be a major concern. The fighter like all other classes has its weaknesses.
And I agree that a Fighter can attack. However, again, that isn't the point. The point is that the Fighter does not possess a native method of flight and that's it.
In a way? Perhaps. But at the same time it's not entirely wrong, either. By making the statement "we shouldn't concern ourselves with particular types of answers," I was saying that "neither addresses the strengths or weaknesses of the class' chassis nor addresses the actual topic." In this way it can be seen as this:
By addressing any of these points (especially to the extent this thread has suffered), the only "thing" advancing was the dissonance between deuxhero and the majority of the participants on this thread.
As to the second post, it can be (and in ways ranged combat can't solve, such as Wind Wall or image spells above silent), but I don't think it deserves a full thread either, just something noteworthy for caster classes to use and mundane characters to prepare for.
<:3 But that doesn't address the actual topic and instead refers to a topic that doesn't exist (in this thread). Had deuxhero's statement been "Fighter's cannot contribute meaningfully to ranged combat" then, yes, it would be a point. But deuxhero's post was "Fighters are one of the few without some inmate method of reaching flying foes short of blowing WBL AND actions on activating flight."
Hence why it need have only been a single page long.
Hyperbole much? If the chassis has access to UMD, we should assume that it has access to spells.
Unfortunately, it's an argument that has actually been made for why the UMD classes should be ranked similarly as the actual casting classes themselves (and eventually ended up as "Anyone with UMD can equal a Wizard!").
Do yourself a favor and please read what you are replying to you are ignoring entire paragraphs and dividing the post in your mind how you choose.
Hmm? I stayed true to the entire summation of your argument.
First, no one said anything about any UMD on any monk. The discussion was not about monks. However if it were I'd agree UMD would not solve all their issues. They have the sort of issues that the rest of the system can't help to fix. However since the concern was about dealing with flying enemies it has been agreed that a fighter can do it. The fact that anyone could with the ideas suggested does not suggest a weakness of the fighter but the non-threat that flying poses to intelligent groups.
Second, you missed the point I was making with that argument entirely. The point was about efficiency. We could easily argue that the summoner is even more efficient than either the cleric or the wizard since his eidolon can fly, full attack, and have haste cast on him all in the same round against said flying opponent. I could do away with haste entirely and win the action economy and resource economy flat out. What the OP wants is an absolute win like the summoner....
And yes it is silly to discount the things I have mentioned. They exist. They shall be used. Ignoring them is to ignore the vast portion of the game in order to make a pointless argument that, by the reading of this thread, has nothing to do with how it works at the table. And I'm not only referring to items. I'm referring to feats (which you discount adn the op ignores). I'm referring to traits (which have not been mentioned). And I'm referring to mundane tactics and items that anyone can use (which are discounted purely because anyone can use them).
Of course they will be used? But they will (or rather, should) be referred to in threads that are attempting to resolve theorized situations or problems - not for threads that are critiquing the chassis.
Here you go.
[Edit the Edit]
Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play wrote:
[Edit]The page 19 reference in the FAQ is wrong, just to let you know. >:V
Due to the presence of anything that blocks sight for the character but not the enemy (image spells above silent), anything that specifically blocks ranged weapons (if the enemy likes to cast spells), hostile environments, cover, etc? I'm not sure if that's the intent of deuxhero, but those are possible situations.
Argh, the forum deleted my reply. D|
So, wait, the problem is that if we combine the two items, they can act as an incredibly weakened version of an Anklet of Translocation that uses additional actions to activate - and only function if either a friendly caster is around or through the continued investiture of gold - and costs almost ten times as much?
Wait, the problem is that if we combine both of the items it becomes an incredibly weakened version of an Anklet of Translocation that take additional actions and requires either a friendly caster or the constant investment of gold in order to function properly (while costing little less than ten times as much)?
So basically you're defining the problem in such a way that it exists. Exclude this, don't exclude that, count this, don't count that.
In a sense it could be considered that way? I stated earlier that "it is feats, skills (cross-class, typically), and magic items that are not reflective of the class' personal abilities that do not add to an assessment of the class itself." In other words, in an assessment of only the class' chassis, it is not conducive to begin invoking workarounds as if it were part of the class itself (unless they use features that are a part of the class, but that should be a given).
In any case, a magic item-less wizard all alone, with almost no AC or HP, is quite vulnerable. A fighter or rogue, given first shot, can probably kill the wizard in one full attack.
Again, if the argument was to "solve a situation," then yes, that would be an addressable point. But the argument is not to "solve a situation" but rather a discussion about the chassis, which means magic items do not come into consideration.
Yes, then a fighter without ranged weapon (which is btw a defining feature of the base class) having to go against a flying enemy with ranged combat is screwed.
Having a ranged weapon is fine - I have never argued against that, only against attempting to use magic items as if they are a class feature (now that I reread it a bit more, I didn't even argue against using Alchemical items), a portion of the chassis. Which is why my argument is not "we should ignore everything that is not directly contained within the text of the class" and instead "we should ignore feats, cross-class skills, and magic items that are not reflective of a class' personal abilities that do not add to an assessment of the class itself."
So yes, a fighter can't fly. If you see that as a flaw, simply don't play fighter.
And there we go, the actual topic of the thread - "a fighter cannot fly." It only took us four pages to have a shorter rewording of deuxhero's "Fighters are one of the few without some inmate method of reaching flying foes short of blowing WBL AND actions on activating flight."
Not only that - but a CLASS has to, without any outside aid from race, feats, or equipment.
Because we aren't attempting to "solve a scenario" or even compare builds aside one another. We are looking at the chassis of one class (the Fighter) and addressing the issue of whether it possesses the innate capability of flight as issued by its chassis (to which is "no, the Fighter cannot fly of its own power").
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
And they're still answering a question that isn't present. D8A bow does not equate to flight, even if a bow can overcome flying enemies.
Whether or not you believe in or agree with the Tier system doesn't particularly matter (as I don't care if you choose to ignore terms used to describe differences in capabilities). However, once you make the statement that "the classes don't stand on their own," you couldn't be considered more wrong. There will be situations in which a particular character will be caught alone and in those times that character has to stand on his or her personal merits - an issue that ties in directly to the class of the character.
Except that when one refers to the capabilities of the chassis of a class when attempting to establish the baseline a class possess - you won't find many willing to state a specific build for why a Wizard is of a higher Tier than a Fighter. Instead, you'll receive answers explaining a number of different decisions a Wizard may make in order to effectively break the game. While a discussion revolving around a Fighter will discuss many possible combinations but with the acknowledgement that a Fighter must specialize and cannot switch his or her feats each day (as opposed to a prepared casters spells).
A Cleric's divine focus is not inherently a magical item and neither is a spell component pouch.
Except that the complaint is considered to be valid when addressing the chassis and the workarounds are not included as components of the Wizard class (again, something that is often highlighted in Handbooks).
Paragraph 2: If the argument was "how to resolve a situation in which enemies are flying" as opposed to "one of the weaknesses of the Fighter class itself is its inability to fly without reducing available gold and using actions to activate items purchased via that gold," then yes, you have a valid point. However, from the first post of this thread, that is not the case.
Paragraph 3: Attempting to address the actual capabilities of the class without factoring in items is not an archaic or alien criteria. You even used this criteria yourself when referring to how casters would resolve the situation ("the Wizard would cast Fly" or "the Cleric would cast Air Walk").
Similarly, by my logic, the various Thassilonian specializations would be gauged individually and judged by what they're sacrificing in exchange for their perceived benefits (which means that they would have varying degrees of recommendation - something clearly visible in Handbooks when referring to choices available).
An example of claims:
A claim concerning Wizards:
A Wizard is great at winning Initiative because it can choose to specialize in the Divination school, access to a familiar that grants an additional initiative bonus, Anticipate Peril spell (and similar spells), and still has all other options that other characters have available in order to further improve its Initiative value (such as Improved Initiative).
Similarly, a Fighter's claim could be:
A Fighter is good choice when attempting to winning Initiative because it has access to the Tactician archetype which improves its Initiative bonus before taking Improved Initiative into consideration.
However, if I were to weigh both:
The Wizard is much better at winning initiative over the Fighter class because the bonuses inherent to the class provide a much greater advantage over those granted by the Tactician archetype and the Wizard has to make a much smaller commitment by way of the sacrifices it makes.
Are you sure you understood my point? Fighter feats (Combat feats) are indicative of the personal capabilities of the class - it is feats, skills (cross-class, typically), and magic items that are not reflective of the class' personal abilities that do not add to an assessment of the class itself.
To work with your example of Improved Iron Will. While the Improved Iron Will feat may be useful for the Fighter class, Improved Iron Will's benefits are not reflective of the Fighter class' capabilities itself (well, in a sense, it is, but in a "deficit" sort of way).
Perhaps it should be looked at this way. Most of the answers (those whose answers do not include builds providing some leeway for ranged combat) do not address the problems specific to the Fighter class (instead, many replies use universal resources that can be accessed by most other classes which means that are not indicative of the personal capacities of the Fighter class). As an example, recommending for a Fighter to take the Leadership feat is not an answer to this discussion as it is an option available to any other character (who meets the requisite level) and, most often, grants access to an ally who exist to specifically address the weaknesses of the character who took the feat.
As to answer the questions listed.
Jason S wrote:
It's not as bad but I'm on the fence. This is probably a must-have item also at upper levels. If it were 1000g it would be must-have for everyone, since it's 5000g it's must-have for upper levels only.
Could you explain what you mean by "it's a must-have for upper levels?"
And if the problem with expendable items is that neither players nor DM's are checking chronicle sheets for potion usage, then the problem isn't found with the items (both this shirt or the potions) themselves but the players and the GM's.
Schools that are typically chosen first are Evocation and Enchantment. This is due to the fact that Evocation is fairly sub-optimal in what it's supposed to do and can largely be replaced by the Shadow Evocation line of Illusion spells; while the Enchantment school suffers from a small/narrow list that tends to be resisted (if not outright negated) by enemies at higher levels. However, should you decide that you do not want to sacrifice either of the two aforementioned, another choice includes Divination.
Schools that should not be considered for opposition schools are Conjuration, Illusion, and Transmutation. Though, depending on your situation, Abjuration may fall into this category as well.
Daniel Luckett wrote:
In regards to comparisons, I'll leave it as this, "Yes."
If you'll end the discussion at that, I understand, but thank you for being willing to express the criteria you personally use (and I hope others will be willing to share their references as well).
In regards to forums, yes. I know there are other forums out there, but once again I just don't have the time to go through everything. Which is why there are multiple of us to bear the load of gathering information, who gather it from all of you, who gather it from everywhere else.
It wasn't a matter of saying that it's "wrong" or "incorrect" to not frequent non-Paizo forums. I was asking because my question had been written as "what forums (outside of Paizo) do you tend to visit," so I was attempting to clarify whether you were using broader, generalized terms or referring, specifically, to the boards here.
Daniel Luckett wrote:
Disclaimer: This is all my opinion, what I say here is only reflective of my own personal point of view, and will only give you the tiniest glimmer of insight into the machine that is PFS because I am a single voice, not the chorus.
As subjective a personal opinion is...insight is insight and I can't especially complain about that (other things, sure, but not that).
Each CRB class is the accepted "norm" of Pathfinder in my opinion. Assuming that, then does any archetype, class, or combo there of make another unsuitably worthless?
Example of Generic Caster Comparison:
Or is it more specific such as:
Example of Ever Slightly More Specific Caster Comparisons
I haven't actually bothered checking these yet...so this might be a bit off.
For the same reason people insist on playing Fighter's despite having Warblades available in D&D 3.5? :P
Forums I frequent in order of what I look at first thing in the morning...PFS boards, VO Boards, MichiganPFS.org boards, PFRPG boards, Carrion Crown boards. I don't tend to wander too far from that list. Not enough time in the day to read that much, prep sessions, work, and all the other things that suck up my life. Most days I don't get past the first 3.
So...setting aside MichiganPFS.org, just the Paizo forums, then?
The "spotlight" is the GM's attention in my head. If I have to spend all my time dealing with X character, and that character type is always demanding an excessive amount of time regardless of who's playing it and how efficient we're being, then that character type needs review.
Is this an issue of "how difficult is this class to master or use properly" rather than an "able to outperform the rest of the party" concern? Or does your definition include that?
Daniel Luckett wrote:
This is something more personal than I would normally address. Is it like a transportation problem, you live out in the boonies and $50 in gas to drive the 50 miles to the nearest PFS hotspot is too much, or some similar issue? The reason I ask is aside from the CRB, dice, paper, and a pencil I don't see where PFS is a high costly endeavor (It was the one hobby I was able to keep when unemployed for 9 months).
Nothing so fanciful, I'm just a perpetually broke student. I think it comes with the territory...and it will stay that way until I can secure a job (in which case I'll lose all of my free time). :x
As for a PFS hub though...there isn't one (my table tried to establish one but eventually time conflicts broke the group apart). This isn't to be confused with PF tables, as those are run across sparingly, just not many individuals interested in PFS.
Woo! ^o.o^Something I can comment on.
Points "a" and "d" heavily lean towards World-Building and while I have my own personal thoughts on how to construct settings, those are subjective and not conducive towards a discussion. Similarly, I cannot particularly comment on "f" since I do not believe I've seen anything that runs against this (aside from challenging established determinations and beliefs on the bounds of Good and Evil).
Point "h" and "k" are too speculative for me to comment on.
For the latter two, how about a binder with a basic summary of rules for conditions, actions, and so on, (a page citation included) and PFS changes that either DM's or players could carry around with them?
I don't really know what to say about the first and second though, I'm not entirely sure how to approach the matter (as I've never really had that problem) but, if Paizo isn't involved, I still support the magical shoe box of anonymity.
Like I posted earlier, completing the scenario grants you a boon transferable to another character of appropriate level. Just fill in their PFS ID number on the boon and call it a day. You earn something special for completing a scenario, but you don't get ambushed and lose out on a cool bonus.
Would this mean you're limited to two characters who can advance in the Prestige Class if we followed your recommendation? Just for the sake of clarification.
What type of complaints are you looking to catalog, Jiggy?
If it's just being kept simple though, as Command Sheppard said, use a shoe box and either leave the room when the cards are being turned in or have the players drop it into the box as they leave.
Chris Mortika wrote:
While I agree that such a program would be an interesting (and possible) solution, the major problem with such a proposal is that it involves quantifying particulars of DMing and considering which aspects of DMing are more valuable than others (largely due to how coverage and emphasis work). As an example, while student teachers are almost always taught how to react to a struggling student, there is rarely enough emphasis on both resolving the issue and mitigating the effects on the rest of the class (I apologize if this isn't specific enough but I'll try to find a non-confidential example if needed).
Daniel Luckett wrote:
I think what frustrates me about you Baka is that even when given the best answer you're going to get and repeatedly told that is the best answer you're going to get you keep pushing. You're pushing so hard on it, that I've taken to the opinion that you don't actually care (ie you don't even play) and are only here to troll the leadership.
Actually, I *used* to play and would, most likely, still play if I had the funds necessary to do so. It's a bit like why I quit playing MTG, I ran out of money. :|
[Edit the Edit]
If this is "trolling," I sincerely ask that you reread the definition of the term as my original and current intent is to bring about an explanation - I have not harassed, attempted to cause grief, disrupted normal activities, or otherwise attempted to incite or elicit emotional reactions from anyone on this thread (or, at least, not intentionally).
"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
In the words of my 3 year old, . . . [doe-eyed look]"I WANT ICE CREAM" [/doe-eyed look]
Hahaha, yes, and I want it bad. :P
Apologies for the delayed response. I tried responding to one person and subsequently developed a wall of text.
Nani Pratt wrote:
So...I guess my answer is not satisfactory? :)
Unfortunately, it failed to cover the specific criteria used. However, like I said, I appreciate the fact that you've attempted to discuss this rather than simply providing a statement.
I guess that I just won't be able to come up with an answer that is satisfactory to you, and for that I apologize. I am very poor at these kinds of line by line arguments.
Simply put, it's just the easiest way to respond to others over a forum since normal interjections aren't possible (and the flow of a conversation is effectively "stunted" because of that).
I simply cannot articulate myself in a meaningful and productive manner.I apologize, since I am very tired after having volunteered four days nonstop at Gencon, which is of course a specious argument.
The last part is actually a very good reason to "delay the discussion" (though it would be difficult not to agree that it doesn't add much to the topic being discussed). And this most likely ties in poorly to my being in a timezone that is terribly not favorable towards interactions with people on the U.S. mainland.
Since you are so clearly passionate about this game, and are in possession of a keen Intellect with an aptitude for critical analysis, as well as some spare time to read the messageboards, might I make a humble suggestion? Perhaps you should volunteer your powers in service as an organizer and as a Venture-Officer. We are in need of passionate volunteers to help us make critical decisions, and we welcome opposing viewpoints to our own in order to make the best choices. We are very interested in your expertise in the meta that exists outside of Paizo's forums.
While such a recommendation is unexpected (as well as praise I don't deserve), I am hardly equipped to act on behalf of Pathfinder Society (especially as a representative) - as seen by my lack of handbooks, analysis threads, and other such achievements. If anything, Streamofthesky or Treantmonk would be far better at serving such a position than me - especially when they both have far greater experience than I in the high-end of optimization (and they are the only ones I actively notice posting here).
Then, you will be a part of the administrative process, and you can hold us accountable for our process. That is why most of us applied as VOs. We saw a desire in ourselves to make PFS better, and a need for those who have something to contribute.
I've heard this comment a lot across a variety of forums but I've never understood the argument. Why doesn't it make sense for a normal member to hold the staff (in this case Paizo's staff and the Venture-Captains) accountable for their decisions and requesting the criteria they referenced? I understand that there's the NDA (to which I categorize as a non-answer) but I hardly see how adding myself to the problem (lack of transparency) decreases it (creating more transparency). Perhaps it is because I take a number of things too literally but I can't comprehend it.
Edit: I am never insincere.
It may not be wise of me (as I've found many a knife in my back) but I'll take your word.
Walter Sheppard wrote:
Greetings Baka - In this respect, you may be correct. What is the issue here, though?
I'm numbering this because I'm a fair bit lazy...so I'm ignoring some formal conventions. I apologize in advance if this format seems a bit dismissive.
As to the former portion, wouldn't this be disproved by the presence of optimization boards? There are a number of things that people tend to disagree on (oddly, one of them being efficacy, but, whatever) yet, many of them tend to agree on key points or criteria that must be met in order for a class to be considered viable in particular settings or degrees of optimization.
I know this is a fallacy, but at which point does the party member whose actively forcing his or her views onto other party members become intolerable?
Nani Pratt wrote:
How rude of me not to include this in my original version. D:
Salutations, Nani Pratt!
I think the reason you're getting some negative feedback is that you keep asking the same question when many points have been previously addressed. I shall make my best attempt at giving you a satisfactory answer.
From my vantage point, non-answers are not explanations. But opinions may vary on this (and I wouldn't be surprised). However, for the sake of specificity, citing the NDA (or the existence of it) is not an explanation and neither is blithely stating "we discussed it" (as was done in the past and what I've been trying to work around even now).
Why are these classes banned? For a lot of reasons. Some of these reasons are because they do not fit into the world of Golarion from a lore standpoint, are not suitable for a game that is meant to be PG-13, cause problems at the table because they are difficult to manage in an efficient manner, are easy to abuse and break, employ difficult mechanics, or simply don't work for Pathfinder Society.
Second sentence on is a bit too contradictory to me (as it clashes with the other material present in PFS). If possible, could you please re-frame this point?
Why these classes and not X? Again, it's complicated. We listened to the community. We debated a lot of classes, abilities, equipment, etc. We gave M&M our opinions, which all differed wildly, since we are flawed human beings. They made a final decision based off their BEST judgement, and feedback from you, the community.
I know I can't put this kindly...but I'll try, I really will.
Were the opinions not specifically vocalized on the Paizo forums considered? Were the dissections of different mechanics looked at and studied? When all of this aggregated information was presented to Paizo's staff, did they look at the meta that exists beyond Paizo's forum?
Without presenting any information regarding the criteria used to assess the mechanics (in this case, the archetypes), none of these sample questions are answered and no one can find fault with them (as the opportunity does not exist).
I know I haven't argued this in this thread but, just because the majority believes one thing does not necessarily mean they are right (of course, neither are the minority at times, but, in this case, it's difficult to find something wrong with asking for the criteria used - ignoring the possibility of irking the staff).
We are not saying that their decision was perfect. M&M are human beings. VOs are human beings. Sometimes stuff makes it into PFS and we find that after months of playing a given archetype/ability/whatever that the campaign would be better without it. Unfortunately, this means that the brave and wonderful souls who essentially play tested it will have to give it up. We salute their sacrifice, and give them the ability to make a new build. The alternative to this process of campaign revision is that we ban everything by default, keeping the player base stagnating for fear of change. I don't think that anyone would benefit from that.
And that's not true now? Any material not accepted in Pathfinder Society is considered "banned" as is any material not currently released to the public. If one were to deconstruct it, all material released by Paizo is banned from Pathfinder Society play until Paizo's staff explicitly says otherwise (hence the Additional Materials section and the restrictions presented in the list). As an example, it's not as though the alternative Aasimar or Tiefling variant abilities were publicly tested before the material was not allowed (that is, as far as I can remember, I've never seen discussions of sacrificing the spell-like abilities for an additional +2 to an ability score).
But, in either case, presenting a strict dichotomy of choices doesn't work because there are other options available. Publicly declaring that certain material is being "audited" and creating the understanding that it is a "public play test" of the material reduces the need for a discussion such as this (but does not entirely mitigate it as expectations towards answers may increase). Similarly, using purposefully destructive play-testing in order to test the upper limits of the mechanics (while keeping in mind whatever the mechanic may be modifying) without moving to a public play-test may be deemed "acceptable" (though, an explanation may still be necessary as the chances are only reduced due to the public having never considered the legality of the material).
I am not giving character references for the VOs in order to elicit your sympathy for our lot in life. I am attempting to convey that we are in the same boat as you. And I am attempting to convey that we are not in fact operating in a black box, but are instead listening and drawing the communities responses.
And while I understand that everyone is bound to the "real world" (definitions may vary, so quotations were included), it does not change the actual situation nor the analysis of it. Though, it seems your definition of a "black box" differs from mine. As I, personally, am unaware of any definition that states "a block box is no longer a black box by virtue of listening to opinions but never actually expressing the interior machinations."
I'm sorry that I don't have a black and white answer to give you, because frankly there isn't one. There was no hard foolproof reason...
I'll reiterate a previous point I've made, I'm not here to strangle either Paizo's staff or the Venture-Captains for a "perfect, foolproof reason;" rather, I am here "pulling teeth" in order to get either of the aforementioned parties to explain and present their criteria in a meaningful and productive manner (so far, this has not been met).
As to my comments on Mr. Luckett or Mr. Sheppard,
I do not appreciate non-answers disguised as answers (and I've made this point several times ever since I first posted in this thread) and neither do I appreciate people who attempt to shift responsibility from themselves to others (especially when claiming to represent the greater majority). If they had wished to explain why they can't answer something while taking a neutral stance, then it's simple, state that "due to the presence of the NDA, "I" (in this case, either Mr. Luckett or Mr. Sheppard) am unable to specify any of the criteria used in our discussion." It is not necessary for the reply to include any of the extra material I've pointed out in the past.
[Edit the Edit]
[Edit the Edit the Edit]