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1) What does the party need so far? Often times the people with whom I play don't care about, or understand, solid party composition, so I'll wait and see. Typically, damage-dealing roles get picked up pretty quickly, so I'm usually left with Support or Control.
2) How can I fill my role in a way that fits the setting/campaign? I want my character to have an in-game reason for going on X/Y/Z adventure, or joining this group of ragamuffins, and thematic characters help me do just that.
3) Can I accomplish my role in a way that both fits the setting AND uses frequently unused mechanics by my group? I want to avoid stepping on toes, and also want to showcase the sheer variety that characters can have on a roleplaying AND mechanical level. Trip/Dirty Trick specialist that still does reasonable damage? That's Control out the wazoo. Bodyguard/Aid Another specialist for support? A cleric wishes he could heal the amount of damage I effectively heal/deal. I could even do that AS a cleric if I wished.
4) Can I do all of those things without invalidating other characters? Even if my other group members are quite suboptimal (which happens quite frequently), I want to allow them to do their thing without feeling obsolete. I avoid entirely playing the same class, and mechanically similar characters are avoided as well. It narrows down my options alot, especially when I really want to play a certain concept, but it forces me to think outside the box more, and helps everyone else feel important.
I take it you're looking at the Spirit Summoner archetype for that.
The answer, from an optimization perspective, is absolutely not. It scales really poorly compared to Summon Monster, and Summon Monster can eventually get you creatures that an heal allies and take hits for them in combat.
If, however, you decide to just focus on your eidolon and act as party support via buff spells/healing, using your eidolon for damage primarily, then it should be fine, since you can't have both Summon Monster and your Eidolon up at the same time anyways.
I would like to make a couple of points, addressing issues in order of importance:
1) This ability looks WAY too powerful! Look at how much you can do with it!
A) That's a fair point, but there are a few things you need to understand: First, the summoned creature's maximum hit points are equal to 1/2 those of the caster. Given the need for multiple useful attributes, this total likely won't be that high. Sure, eventually a bloody skeleton is VERY hard to kill, but disabling it won't ever be that difficult, and Mental Focus is a finite resource. Think of it like using a summoning spell, except that it's worse than most summoning spells, even with the longer duration.
2) Isn't animating the dead evil?
A) Well, yes, but as I mentioned, and as other posters have mentioned, and even as the OP mentioned, this spell doesn't animate the dead: It creates what is, essentially, a summoned facsimile of an undead. There are no corpses consumed or lost, and the created being is entirely under your control. Plus, this ability DOESN'T function like Animate Dead, or any other dead-creating spells. Hit points, creature's available for use, etc. are not open-ended. It is expressly limited in its use. Now, does it still create horrid monstrosities? Absolutely. But without the evil descriptor, in the Golarion setting it'd be hard to argue that it's DEFINITELY evil.
Bottom line, the ability isn't as powerful as you're afraid it is, and isn't expressly evil. He should be good to go.
See, I fully support the Fighter/Wizard multi-class. Work it Fighter 1/Wizard 5, then take Eldritch Knight. Pick up the Magical Knack trait that increases caster level by 2 for Wizard, and you don't lose any caster levels, are free to wield good weapons/armor as you see fit, and most importantly, get to pick up a few things:
1) Glory of Old trait. Increases your Dwarven Hardy bonus by 1.
At 3rd level, With 1 Fighter/2 Wizard, your saves against spells will be Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +10, and that's all before stat bonuses (which, as a dwarf, mean that your Fort and Will saves are probably a good bit higher). You'll never have to worry about spells again, and you can save your spells for things like long duration buffs at the mid-levels (stoneskin, heroism, etc.) that will keep your damage/defenses relevant, and after casting them you can crawl back into your armor for free (or cast one of those low-level armor-donning spells).
I say stick with it. It's more interesting than pure magus.
It seems reminiscent to the 5e D&D druid's wild shape, which is EXCEEDINGLY powerful.
Overall, I think you're probably overthinking things, OP. Just let him wild shape as a druid of his level, limited to small or medium animals, possibly only 1 that he can change every 24 hours. Functions as Beast Shape I. Done.
Here's a thought. Just... bear with me.
We play up the divine devotion, and go Sacred Fist Warpriest. Before that, you go full Dexterity/Wisdom investment (dwarf makes this easier). At 9th level, you take Crusader's Flurry, which will let you Flurry of Blows with your Axe. You get access to divine spells, get better at buffing, and your Blessing choices can get you some nifty bonuses. Now, I'm assuming you're using a Handaxe to get the dex-to-damage with it, which should work well enough.
Alternatively, if you want to wear armor and ignore flurry, combine it with base Warpriest and pick up the two-weapon fighting feats yourself. This lets you wear armor, and your Handaxe damage goes up with your Warpriest levels. Plus, you get swift-action buffing.
No, I meant CR appropriate. I've said it before, and I'll say it again (not in this thread, but many different threads): The threshold of viability as far as the baseline assumptions of the system are concerned is much lower than the community makes it. The reason that people complain about the rogue is that other classes are just better than it. That's a fair complaint, but it doesn't make the rogue unviable: It just means that the DM needs to compensate less for a well-built rogue than, say, a well-built ranger, slayer, etc.
That's a statement that I've never heard fully refuted on the Paizo boards, but with as much math as I've seen, it's pretty true. If you assume that a CR=APL encounter is supposed to be an average encounter, go do the math on how much damage a character should be able to put out regularly over the course of several rounds (3-4 at minimum, roughly the expectation of the game). You'll find it's actually REALLY low compared to what most modestly optimized characters can do.
Rogue doesn't need a fix. Pathfinder just needs to be balanced more towards the claims of the base system. Against CR appropriate enemies and challenges, Rogues perform completely viably. They simply don't min/max as hard as other classes.
If the game were more consistent in the way it's optimization is executed, you wouldn't hear complaints about rogues. That's party of why I'm excited for Starfinder. I'm willing to bet the system will, while being backwards compatible, be more consistent throughout.
As was mentioned above, Hunter is basically perfect. Great spellcasting, great proficiencies, lots of skills, and an animal companion for all the combat bonuses that come along with it. If you really want some buff versatility, take the Verminous Hunter archetype and work your companion death into your backstory. You get Fast Healing 1 at 1st level, solid animal focus buffs when needed, and the druid/ranger spell list is a good bit better for out-of-combat utility than Bard and Inquisitor spell lists.
When my next character meets his untimely end, or I start in a new game, I'll probably make one myself.
I mean, you already have everything for what you want to do. Take the Archery combat style for Precise Shot, take Power Attack, and your damage is good pretty much forever. I would recommend Combat Reflexes, as Bodyguard gets better and better when you get to use additional AoOs to bump ally AC.
My only issue is that Bodyguard works rather poorly with Sneak Attack, since you need to be adjacent to the ally with whom you'd probably prefer to be flanking, but really for this kind of character Bodyguarding will be a secondary endeavor. The feat line only really works well when you actively work to make it powerful (halfling helpful trait, armor/weapon enchantments, gloves of arcane striking, etc.), so I wouldn't worry about it too much. You've got really great damage potential, and as far as scouting goes you're pretty much as good as you can get. I would bring along an Elven Branched Spear, and possibly substitute your Curved Blade with one. It's a reach weapon (awesome) that allows weapon finesse (awesome), which means it qualifies for Finesse Training (awesome), and your Attacks of Opportunity are based on your Dexterity bonus (awesome). Against melee enemies, you'd start off with a volley of arrows, then swap to your Spear before they get into melee, provoking AoOs from you as they do so.
Sure, it's a LITTLE less damage than the Elven Curve Blade, but reach is a powerful tool, even for flanking. It's pretty sweet.
To be fair, we have a LOT of crowd control, utility, and support. I picked up Cure Light Wounds (because at 1st level, that's a very useful spell), and between color spray and sleep, little has stood in our way. I can see how a less debuff-oriented group might struggle at times.
Ciaran Barnes wrote:
I recently convinced my group that just started Hell's Rebels that we don't need a cleric/dedicated healer. We had a session recently where our party was Barbarian/Bard (Me)/Wizard/Arcanist. Literally the safest party comp. in which I've ever played. It was amazing.
And yes, I know you're speaking tongue-in-cheek. :P
I did something like this once. I went Barbarian, but the principle was the same.
Basically, pick up tail terror, use that Dexterity to get two-weapon fighting, multiattack, and get yourself a monk's robe + helm of the mammoth lords.
Your attack routine ends up being Kick/Kick/Kick/Kick/Bite/Claw/Claw/Tail/Gore. It's pretty fun. The penalties stink, but w/e. It's fun making all those attacks. Plus, you get to REALLY get some mileage out of that Amulet of Mighty Fists. A Furious one actually becomes almost cost effective. If you have the feats (hint: you won't) you could consider Arcane Strike instead of Power Attack. It boosts your damage without the to-hit penalty.
I'm going to be honest: I LOVE this archetype.
Now, you may be saying to yourself "Davor, that is absolutely CRAZY. Hexes are awesome, the way infusions are handled is TERRIBLE, and if you don't even get patron spells you're losing out on one of the must crucial parts of the Witch class!" You might even be yelling that last bit out loud.
What you DO get, however, is a spellcaster that is more in line with other classes. I feel that the Havocker is just about the ideal balance state around which most spellcasters ought to be balanced. Now, let me be clear: Spellburn is REALLY poorly designed. If the spell slot required was at least 1/2 the level of the infusion, it might ALMOST be worth it as an option (but still clearly isn't). I feel that, if they had given the witch Gather Power (to replace something else they normally get that was given up early, because too much is given up for the blast, imo), and then you needed to sacrifice spell slots of a level equal to the burn taken, it would be a bit more reasonable.
Still, though, it's very well balanced and designed outside of Spellburn. I'd be willing to say it's one of the MOST well designed classes that Paizo has put out.
Dude. Skald. You get Rage, Rage Powers, and you can share them with allies. You know who loves Pounce? EVERYONE IN YOUR PARTY! Pick up Arcane Strike and Two-Weapon Fighting and you'll get to be your own flavor of awesome. Or, just go two-hander and pick up all the damage you can.
Oh, and if your group isn't receptive to raging, pickup the Spell Warrior archetype and turn you AND your group into pouncing blenders with acidic lightning swords!
Kurald Galain wrote:
And all those spells also require saves.
And all those spells are part of a very limited resource, especially at low levels.
Also, ALL of the math in this thread has shown that, when the enemy makes their save, you've had a generally average turn (because something still happens on the save, which isn't the case for most misses & successful saves), and when they fail their save, your contribution for a single standard action becomes quite large, especially given that Evil Eye is reusable throughout the day.
In a large party (between 3 and 6 people other than the witch), being able to drastically increase your party's ability to succeed at the task at hand is a big boon, and while many spells have potent effects, and many hexes do as well, Evil Eye is consistent, reliable support with a direct impact on combat. The ONLY hexes that really compete with it are Slumber (which is effectively a KO if they fail the save), Fortune on an ally (which only affects a SINGLE ally), or Misfortune on the enemy (which requires a save, and only reduces damage effectively, not increasing damage taken).
All of these hexes have their place, but if a majority of your party finds themselves making attack rolls, or if the majority of your party casts spells, there's always a consistent, beneficial use for Evil Eye which CAN outshine other hexes when used well.
Kurald Galain wrote:
So, answer this question: What spells is the witch casting? If your fallback is "The Witch should always be casting spells, or using other hexes than Evil Eye", you need to show some examples, and demonstrate clearly that the other options are better.
The fact is that mathematically (as in, the way most everyone decides on optimal builds & strategies), Evil Eye is a reasonable way to use your action. Yes, hexes like Misfortune and Fortune are nice, but few of them have the widespread impact on your entire party that Evil Eye has. Healing is widely held as being ineffective in combat scenarios, Fly has little point at low levels, and unless you're also burning a hex on Cackle (which, to be fair, most people are), Misfortune and Fortune while awesome, will only last one round on a failed save.
Evil Eye always works, and mathematically is shown to be a valid use of a character's standard action. Most spells have powerful effects, but the overall effects are often mitigated by chances of saving. In addition, most of the spells that would outdo Evil Eye in effectiveness are your higher level spells, of which you often have fewer. This is also subject to build decisions, as patron spells and archetypes can completely change what your character does well. Sure, at higher levels I'd rather be casting Haste for support, but you know what a great follow-up for that is? AC drop via Evil Eye. Black Tentacles for the enemy spellcaster? Well, AC penalties apply to CMD too, so you wanna keep him grappled? Evil Eye. Fighting a single boss enemy with lots of attacks? That Evil Eye automatic penalty to attack rolls is more effective healing than most of your spells can prevent.
So even when you have spells with fantastic effects, Evil Eye can compound those effects after the fact, and when you're testing the waters (i.e., are unsure of enemy capabilities) it's a solid fallback option.
So, we need to stop looking at evil eye as a 10%/20% chance of failure, and instead look at total % contribution.
Against an enemy whose primary combat ability revolves around attacking, Evil Eye is, effectively, a ~10% reduction in total damage, for free (up to 20% at 8th). That is like giving your entire group a +2 to AC against the target, which is solid support for no cost. The AC penalty, in a combat heavy party, increases group damage against the target by 10-20% PER ATTACKER. In a large group at 8th level, in one standard action, you can basically deal 60-100% damage in party contribution with a single, irresistible action. That effective damage keeps rolling over as well if the fail their save, or you cackle.
It's the same with support characters. A +1 bonus to attack rolls to all attack-oriented allies means you have roughly contributed 5% of your share of the damage per relevant ally, and if you can keep it going and apply it to yourself (as a bard,etc.), your contribution is rather easily met.
Alright, lots of critique incoming.
1) Drop toughness, take Weapon Focus later (or drop it completely), and move Power Attack and Combat Reflexes to 1st level. They're both solid feats, and WELL worth the investment at low levels, particularly Combat Reflexes if you're grabbing a reach weapon.
2) Your Intelligence is fine at a 14, but you aren't using it for anything but skill points, and that's a shame for a reach fighter. Either swap your Intelligence and Wisdom scores (that +1 to Will Saves and Perception checks is well worth it), or change out Weapon Focus/Specialization/some other feat for Combat Expertise and Improved Trip, possibly up to Greater Trip when you get the chance. Remember, you want lots of attacks off of Combat Reflexes, and that -4 AC penalty prone enemies get is WAY better than weapon focus.
3) Swap your Strength and Dexterity, put the racial bonus into Strength. 16 Strength, 15 Dex, pump Dexterity at 4th, put the rest into Strength. Armor Training will eventually let you make use of that Dex, but you don't need too much. A Belt that improves Dexterity may eventually give you more than enough.
4) You have too many eggs in one basket. Fauchards are a great weapon, and may be worth the Exotic Weapon Proficiency, but you've sunk SO much investment into them that you'll be unwilling to use other weapons when they come along, and that's a shame. Pick up other feats that will help your overall cause. Furious Focus, Combat Maneuver Feats, and if you're okay with dropping some of the critical feats/other weapon specific feats, consider the Spear Dancing Style/Spear Dancing Reach feats. You've got the feats space for them, and they'll do a lot to improve your damage output against single targets, allowing you to hold your own against groups and larger solo threats.
5) If you don't want to throw that many feats into melee combat, consider investing a few feats into Ranged combat. Again, your Dexterity will be pretty beefy for a melee character, so why not put it to use? Drop all that weapon focus/specialization/toughness stuff, and grab Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, and Rapid Shot. Now, against flying enemies, or enemies you want to keep out of melee (or heck, if your HP just gets low) you have a viable ranged option. If you're willing to pick up quick draw, you could actually start combat with a ranged flurry, drop the bow, and then quick draw your reach weapon for the incoming attacks of opportunity.
Just use your spells. They're there to be your contribution to the situations at hand, and have something you can do regardless of spellcasting ability. Most schools of magic, domains, and other class features provide useful (occasionally) features to use between or after spells, but as Drahliana mentioned above: Saved spells are of little consolation to dead party members.
Think of it this way: Would you rather your allies got hurt and burned extra resources in the first several encounters a day, then hope that your spells could handle the last despite the deficit? Or would you rather those beginning encounters were cake-walks and then your whole group enters the final ones in better condition?
So, what we need to understand as players, is that the bar for viability (that is, being able to handle an at CR encounter with minimal expenditure of party resources) is REALLY low. It is, in fact, a lot lower than most people think. Consider this:
At 10th level, the average monster has a 24 AC, 130 HP, and saving throws between +9-+13. In order for a party member to be considered viable, you need to be able to functionally either A) Cast spells that effectively reduce the target's HP (such as by increasing the damage it takes by reducing its defenses, or taking it out of the fight) or B) Be capable of dealing damage, or supporting your allies' damage, in any combination, equal to a percentage based on the number of party members.
Basically, everyone in the group needs to be able to do roughly 43 points of damage on average, but the game also doesn't assume you're ending this encounter in one turn. In fact, what you're REALLY looking at is about 20-25 damage per turn, on average, per group member, possibly even LESS if you assume an encounter should go on longer than 2 rounds (which is fairly reasonable, I think). That number is RIDICULOUSLY low, especially compared to what most optimization guides recommend. Heck, without heavy optimization or specialization, most damage-oriented builds are pumping out roughly double that listed amount of damage, and around that level a totally optimized Wizard will likely be throwing out DC24-ish spells, each of which also deals an effective amount in excess of the above numbers.
Overall, starting with a 16 in a primary attribute isn't a problem, you just need to understand that that number (as opposed to an 18) will result in an overall 5%-ish decrease in effectiveness in your main schtick (closer to 6.5%-ish, depending on what the schtick is). If your character isn't well built (class/feat/archetype build choices), that can matter a lot. But, say, if you know that your Halfling Barbarian should be taking the Halfling-unique feat, Risky Striker, which greatly increases damage against large & larger creatures, and create a barbarian basically the same way as a traditional one, your overall contribution will only be minimally smaller, and in the case of the numbers with which we're dealing, they likely won't matter at all before the enemy is dead.
Agreed. Paladin 2/Sorcerer X/Dragon Disciple is widely considered the strongest entry. You can do some work with Bloodrager getting you higher base strength, and therefore damage, but the Charisma to saves ALONE makes Paladin the stronger 2 level dip, and you want sorcerer levels for the spellcasting.
Well, the main issue is that, without added spell support, there is little reason to consider a heavily paladin-based DD over a split Paladin/Sorcerer. Paladin 2/Sorcerer 3/Dragon Disciple 4 has a lot more going for it, and if you want to continue down the gish path, you now qualify for Eldritch Knight, so you can keep your BAB up. This way, at 9th level, while your BAB is a tad low, you have access to 3rd level spells like Haste, Heroism, and Fly, all of which can support the party, or close the melee gap with the raw Paladin build, while also giving you access to more 2nd level spells, a better Arcane Strike damage bonus, and it opens up some of your feats.
If you are insisting on using a one-handed weapon, pick up a mithral light shield/buckler. It's an easy way to keep up your defenses. If not, grab a two-handed and put that strength to work. Instead of Dodge/mobility/spring attack, consider Arcane Strike, Furious Focus, Or something else with more direct benefit. Swap out one of your traits for Magical Knack. That caster level boost is too important not to take.
With your stats, consider grabbing a reach weapon and Combat Reflexes. With Enlarge Person up, you cover a huge area with lots of threat. If you really want a companion, swap out your 1st level bloodline power for a familiar, and consider the Protector archetype for it. It's a solid utility/defensive boon.
This may sound odd, but I'm actually a big fan of the Harrowing stat generation method from Wayfinder 5. My best friend and I use it exclusively for our home games, usually with a 16 card draw. We also add a rule where we allow a single, one-time swap of any two stats. We find it regularly produces viable characters, without all the risks of straight stat rolling, that forces you to really think about how best to use your stats, while still allowing for player choice.
I think, at least in the little experience I've had playing martial characters, that one ought to realize something.
Damage is useful, but the amount of damage it takes to be viable in a party is a lot lower than you would think. Find a reasonable amount of damage to deal in one standard/full-attack, and once you've hit that threshold, start diversifying your portfolio. Every martial ought to have a ranged option, so find a way to make ranged combat reasonable. If you have the feats for it, consider going down a combat maneuver feat line. I played a reach fighter oriented around trips/dirty tricks at one point, and between the two maneuvers and dealing respectable damage (thanks in part to the number of AoOs I got), I found that most situations I could contribute to the group in different ways, depending on the scenario.
One big, bad guy? Trip him, give everyone AoO's, then use Dirty Trick to blind him. Horde of enemies? Reach trips are amazing, and they all provoke when they stand back up. Flying enemies? Dirty Trick to entangle/blind them if they get into reach, and because my Dexterity is reasonable, I can pull out a bow and fire with decent amounts of success.
Dirty Trick is probably the best maneuver as far as keeping the game interesting is concerned, mostly because you can't just "dirty trick". You actually need to describe the action you're taking as part of the maneuver. That alone keeps things fun, and it's rewarding because, once your CMB gets high enough, even giants and dragons don't stand much of a chance avoiding getting blinded/etc.
Combat Reflexes is an amazing feat, assuming you have a semi-reasonable Dexterity investment, because it does something no other feat does: Gives bonus attacks at no penalty. Two-weapon fighting imposes a penalty and requires a full-round action to use. Same goes for Many/Rapid Shot. Combat Reflexes should be considered the TWF/Rapid Shot of reach weapons/two-handed fighting. Anything that increases your attacks per round, especially on such a consistent basis (reach weapons, enlarge person, etc.), is exceedingly powerful.
I love the Warlock archetype, and recently did a bit of reading into it, because it looked AWESOME at first, but I've learned that it's just okay.
1) Remember that Lethal Grace only applies to your starknives, not to your mystic bolts. You seemed to have accounted for that, but I just wanted to point it out.
2) You can only use the Conductive property once per round. I had considered it before, and that restriction REALLY put a damper on the idea.
After that, everything seems fine, but those two things really kill warlock damage potential, imo.
For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure mystic bolts qualify for both Pirahna Strike and Deadly Aim. That should spice things up in the damage department, especially with them being touch attacks past 4th.
Most complicated? I dunno. I feel like, if I have to make things overly complex, I probably messed up somewhere from a concept optimization standpoint. I love strange characters, though. I'm currently playing a blood marked skin walker grenadier/toxicant alchemist with a sword/board combat style. Possibly one of my favorite characters ever, from a mechanical standpoint.
No way. We already know that Paladins of Abadar are all sexy, crossbow-wielding cowgirls.
If you want more combat presence, there are a few things you could do.
Consider retraining, or talking to your DM about a minor rebuild. You can keep your stats, but take either the Sound Striker archetype, or the Thundercaller archetype. Both have spell-like effects they create based on bardic performance, and their effects are REALLY good (particularly Thundercaller). You lose out a little bit (a very little bit) on utility, but the combat benefits FAR outweigh the loss, imo.
Yes, everyone, I understand the character will not be contributing much in the damage department. His party contributions will revolve around skill support, scouting, social strength, and aiding during combat (with combat reflexes/bodyguard, he'll regularly be throwing out +5 untyped bonuses to attack rolls/AC thanks to good traits). No, he won't be putting out much damage, but I've already accepted he'll be a support character that will be strong in social/trapfinding situations.
1) We're running through Hell's Rebels, starting at 1st level. Presumably we'll get up to high levels eventually.
2) No Automatic Bonus Progression.
3) I do count extracts as being "magic". However, I'm looking at the Sleuth archetype to remedy that situation (yes, I know it's a straight downgrade, but it's the best solution to that problem).