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But see, there's the kicker: They all enjoy combat. They get bored when there's a lot of roleplaying. So we get to a combat encounter, and the spellcasters are catching allies inside their AoE damage spells that hit multiple allies and a single enemy, or cut allies off from each other to get appropriate aid, and characters are hitting for 1d4+1... at level 7, if they decide to actually take an action on their turn. It's not that they don't like combat: they want way more of it, but they're just mind-blowingly bad.
Well, what I really enjoy playing is support characters, but support characters don't work when the party doesn't actually function like a normal party. I'm playing at this point because I really like our DM, and despite their tomfoolery I actually really like my fellow players. They're just terrible at the game. The adventure we're going through is also interesting, and I'm enjoying the setting.
My main problem isn't that they aren't invested in their characters: They're enjoying the roleplaying aspect of the game. The issue is that they've been making TERRIBLE combat decisions that have not only resulted in the deaths of two party members before (one of which was mine), but would have resulted in several other character deaths if not for the poor luck of the DM.
My desire to carry the group doesn't arise because I care about the game, but from the fact that I want to enjoy doing something on my turn, and helping them in almost any capacity through support/debuffing has, thus far, been a complete waste of time. Therefore, I just want a character that can, himself, survive and be productive without the need for the others.
We're almost 8th level.
Trust me, the campaign is filled with too many creatures immune to sleep for me to do the slumber hex thing. And, believe it or not, a majority of my allies couldn't hit regularly even if I went super buffer/debuffer, and even if they did hit they deal such paltry amounts of damage that my buffs were basically inconsequential.
I know, it sounds crazy. Just trust me. Support will not work for these guys. Any group that routinely decides to take no action for absolutely no reason will not benefit from buffs.
So, I'm playing in a group that, despite having generous stats rolled, have not only built their characters somewhat poorly, but also have exceedingly poor system mastery, as well as almost no understanding of character abilities or even remotely good combat tactics.
Try as I may to teach them, they also all happen to be really opposed to help, trusting in what, so far, has been DM unluck to get through the encounters we've faced, despite several close encounters.
So, here's my question: What kind of character an I make that can carry the party? I wouldn't normally ask this question, and so far I've focused on trying to improve the group through buffing/debuffing/combat maneuvers. But support only works when the support given is used well, and mine never has been. So... thoughts?
Here's the real question: How does your group feel about it? If your DM is the only one with an issue, then he's likely overattached to his encounters and combatants. The primary goal of the DM is to ensure that the group is having fun, and 9/10 times, if he does this, he'll have fun, too. Talk to him about it, talk to your group members, and if he keeps it up, tell him to SUCK IT UP as you slumber his precious minions into their doom.
It's like everyone completely skipped over adding the Throwing enchantment to the lance. C'mon, guys, this is the Paizo rule forum. I expect better. :P
By RAW it works, and I like it. If you spend the tons of mounted combat feats, throwing feats, and ranged feats, on being able to chuck a volley of lances off of the back of a horse, you should get to, even if it's utterly ridiculous.
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
The biggest problem with combat maneuvers is that there's this kinda lie that game perpetrates by giving you this scaling CMD and CMB that says "Hey! You've got this bonus thing you're not using! You should use it!", but unless you play a character that actually devotes a majority of their resources to combat maneuvers, you can't really do it terribly well.
I mean, what character is going to devote two feats just to perform a single combat maneuver WITHOUT PROVOKING AOOs? Some martials might consider the ones that require power attack, but most of them aren't even that great. The two best ones in a majority of situations (trip & dirty trick) require feats most characters don't want to take, so they're just not going to. Sure, you get an extra +2 bonus, but unless you're planning on taking future feats, or increasing your CMB by some other means, you just won't be getting that much out of it.
So, to build a character that uses combat maneuvers well, you NEED to specialize, and I do mean hyper-specialize. This is because you can't just pick a single combat maneuver with which to be a specialist, because when it doesn't work (most combat maneuvers are situational), you need a backup plan. So you end up taking double the combat maneuver feats, the ones that give you bonus attacks and better action economy, and all of a sudden you've spent your mountain of feats as a fighter, or you're 11th level and wondering where all your feats went.
And, of course, to make sure your CMB/CMD stays competitive, you need to take classes that grant you scaling bonuses. The Flowing Monk and Bounty Hunter slayer are both examples of this, and of course the Lore Warden fighter, though several martial classes can be decent with weapon-based maneuvers if they possess a scaling bonus to attack rolls. But let's be honest: You're going to pick a character that can do it exceptionally well, and that means you're pretty dang limited in your choices.
That being said, maneuver specialists are a heck of a lot of fun. I just wish more classes got to enjoy them, and that it didn't require such a big feat investment.
The thing is, a well-rounded party often has a means of debilitating an enemy to the point that boosting your AC that high isn't entirely necessary. For example, I'm currently playing a combat-maneuver oriented fighter in one of my groups. Between knocking enemies prone, blinding them, and entangling them, my buddies don't get hit terribly often, even though their defenses aren't great. This means they get to focus on being offensive, and our enemies still have a hard time. If we had something like a witch or a God wizard in our group, this would only be compounded.
Being tanky is nice, but it only really matters when you don't have the means to disable or debilitate your enemies. Even then, I've got a backup shield and Combat Expertise if I ever need to really go on the defensive.
See Invisibility does last a good bit longer. However, it only affects you, and you have to constantly be telling your allies the new locations of enemies, and if you ever become incapacitated, blinded, etc., your spell stops working. I'm not saying it isn't useful, but if Glitterdust leaves concealment, then it works similarly to See Invisibility, but with a blinding AoE rider for rounds per level. This seems relatively balanced to me given the similarity between the spells.
I don't think my understanding of Glitterdust is a nerf, and I happen to disagree with the lead designer on this one. Glitterdust has a lot of useful applications as my understanding of the rules gives it, and it becomes more balanced next to a spell like See Invisibility, an equal level spell that PALES in comparison for a vast majority of situations, especially if you think that Glitterdust completely counters Invisibility.
At least if the enemies retain concealment, Glitterdust becomes helpful (the effects are party-wide, and there's a blind tacked onto it), but remains roughly balanced with an equal level spell with a similar effect.
You're not there to please anyone. If you like playing with them, play what you want. If you don't, then don't. My current group was LIVID when I changed out my channel-focused aasimar cleric for a Gnoll fighter, but he's proven himself invaluable time and time again, because he's way more fun to play, and he's a combat maneuver specialist, so he manages to support and defend the party without actually tossing heal spells. The druid typically handles post-combat heals with a wand.
Long story short, just play whatever you want. Let them deal with it. :P
As for classes, consider the Occultist archetype Arcanist. Decent spells, spontaneous prepared spellcasting, and bonus summons to serve as meat shields/support/damage when you need it. If you like spellcasting, that's the one for you.
Mark Seifter wrote:
Sorry. The extent of my involvement in the playtest was: "Ooo! Playtest! Let's download the PDF and look at it because I'll never find a group to play it in." :P Not much reason to check the forums after that, hehe.
Still, I wish they had unlimited out-of-combat healing. We could finally put that Wand of Cure Light Wounds to rest.
Quintin Verassi wrote:
I get the concept. It's awesome. I just want things to work in a simple, unified way. If you bring the 1 attack interpretation, you don't get to pick and choose what gets added to the damage. It's not treated like a critical hit, because there are rules for what happens when you roll a critical hit. Either you add all appropriate damage modifiers, or you don't. There is not a single situation I can think of (barring odd spells w/ sneak attack) where a character doesn't qualify for appropriate damage modifiers because of the means by which his attack was executed. The only thing that comes close to this is something like Clustered Shots. I will admit that Pummeling Style is an odd feat due to its wording, but it should be consistent with general combat rules, not this nonsense about "Well, everyone gets precision damage, except sneak attack, because it's not the same, even if it kinda is, and some bonuses apply, but not others, and this one applies to all damage rolls even though it says only the first roll, because there's only one attack, but you still get to use your strength on everything, and probably enhancement bonuses, but that might only apply once because it's one attack..."
It boggles the mind.
I was asking my questions rhetorically. For simplicity's sake, Pummeling style should either be considered multiple attacks, or a single attack in reference to all effects. It doesn't make sense to say "Well, it counts as multiple effects for this type of damage, but as a single effect for this type of damage" when the game never makes a distinction between them.
Chess Pwn wrote:
So how does that work on a charge? What about dragon style? Also, if it's only one attack, why do you even make multiple attacks? Why not just make a single attack and multiply it? That'd make all of this much simpler (even if it would be a tad OP). What if I manage to snag Precise Strike, or take levels in Investigator?
I could agree to your interpretation, but let's at least make it internally consistent (unlike those silly sneak attack/volley rules).
Edit: Also, why would your Strength modifier be added to each attack if it's only one attack?
As written, I feel sneak attack should apply to each hit. Each roll is an attack roll, and attacks that qualify for sneak attack damage get said damage. If this is the case, then feats that affect specific attack rolls should work on the appropriate rolls. It nerfs the mounted charge/pummel trick, but is the most consistent ruling I can see.
I made a homebrew class called the Warden I was pretty pleased with. You can still find it on the boards. Made quite a few adjustments in thread, though. It ended up being a paladin-style chassis, but replaced LoH and other stuff with Cavalier-esque magic schools and other nifty things. I should go back and revisit it.
Technically, the Order of the Dragon ability doesn't modify the bonus that Aid Another grants, it adds to it. I've seen most DM's allow it to work that way, though I can understand concern. I'm currently playing a character built around Aid Another, and I was pointed to the [/url=http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/rings/ring-of-tactical-precision]Ring of Tactical Precision[/url]. That plus Gloves of Arcane Striking is about as good as it gets... unless you can grab the Harrying Partners teamwork feat to share with Tactician, because the only thing better than giving your ally a +8 to hit, is giving him a +8 to hit on ALL of his attacks.
Order of the Star Cavalier. If you don't want the mount, pick up the Daring Champion archetype. Alternatively, go Order of the Star Samurai, and consider the Sword-Saint archetype. It's worth mentioning that Order of the Star STRONGLY benefits from a single-level dip in a class with the ability to channel energy, which will drop your BAB below full-level, but you can take a single level of Oracle (Life Mystery) or a Cleric of whatever CG deity you want and get half-level channeling progression (Charisma-Based), a few 1st level spells (Charisma-Based), a morale bonus to attack rolls based on your Charisma modifer few times per day, and really darn good saving throws against your challenge target.
It's one of my favorite orders/character builds EVER.
Your group has plenty of healing, okay damage, and access to plenty of spells that mean they don't NEED trapfinding. Don't force in your own character just because you think they can't hack it. If you're really concerned with their chances, just throw a few wands their way and maybe scale up the treasure a bit to give them a bit more bite. Don't make combat take longer and be more complicated, and don't be the solution to their problems.
There is, as far as I can tell, only one reasonable argument that could be made against this:
Swarm traits. Now, here's the thing: You're dropping a bunch of fine-sized (or maybe smaller) whatevers from your hand, and typically objects of that small a size don't count as individual entities. You're not dropping 20 rocks in quick succession (abusing free actions, which you could totally do but are limited on by the DM), you're dropping a handful of rocks, and a handful could be reasonably argued as being a single object for most intents and purposes. Once you get above fine, you start being limited by how many of said object you can reasonably hold in a single hand when you cast the spell.
That being said, I'd still allow this little rules abuse to work once. :P
You can use the Handle Animal skill to train them. It's what predominantly governs interaction with animals.
From the SRD:
Handle Animal wrote:
To rear an animal means to raise a wild creature from infancy so that it becomes domesticated. A handler can rear as many as three creatures of the same kind at once. A successfully domesticated animal can be taught tricks at the same time it’s being raised, or it can be taught as a domesticated animal later.
The game assumes animals don't act like robots, but NPC's, and consequently have motivations that would lead them to WANT to continue being with their trainer. For your character, he might have reared them from birth, or possibly gotten enough Wild Empathy checks to make these creatures count as friendly towards him, at which point they would likely be willing to be trained.
Well, it depends.
Splitting your levels between multiple companions hurts. A LOT. At higher levels you get to count your full Ranger level instead of level-4 (which saves you a feat), but even so, having multiple useful companions is challenging. If I were to do it, I'd split my levels to the point that my companion animals became good for utility, and then get them each to the point where they could survive. (Ex: Get a mount that can fly, a small creature that can scout, and maybe a climber/swimmer.)
You cannot do combat with diminished progression companions, though.
Actually, the reach weapon is there because our group is really melee heavy. With my two animal companions, our barbarian, goliath druid, and melee oracle, it's almost TOO melee heavy. To be fair, most of us have ranged options, but the reach weapon is there so that I don't have to be adjacent to my enemies to attack or support attacks against them. It means I can hide behind our beefy guys and companions and still do stuff.
Sorry, but one thing you said is a common misconception. A possible crit is not an automatic hit. A natural 20 is an automatic hit, but if a critical threat would miss that isn't a natural 20, it still misses.
Fun Fact: Alternate Classes like the Samurai still count as the original class for most effects. The description of alternate classes states that they're actually still just archetypes, but just change so many features typically that they kinda need a full, new write-up. It does, however, mean that, as written, the Cavalier can take the Sword Saint archetype, since it's just archetype-ception.
Well, here's the thing: I can add bonuses, and better bonuses than what most spell buffs can, all day long, every day. I keep my party alive against enemies better than the cleric can because I prevent damage entirely, and it happens off my turn so I can still do what martials do best: Bring the Pain.
Also, I think you're underestimating the value of those buffs. A +7 to AC, for many levels, isn't just a "might miss"; that's basically a guaranteed miss (did I mention that it scales as I level to around +10 without any other Aid Another bonuses?). A +7 to hit means that even the most uber-buffed opponent is going to get smacked by our hardest-hitting guy. And I can do all of this while putting out respectable damage with my challenge.
That having been said, building for personal damage is WAY to easy, imo. I'd rather contribute something more interesting to combat other than just dealing lots of damage. But then, you make a good point about this being really useful for Torchbearers and the like.
The other thing to remember is that I'm a gestalt with 2 animal companions, whose combined attacks get my challenge damage bonus & get free combat maneuvers. Helping those attacks hit is actually much more important than what I could do, even if I was optimized for damage.
Edit: Oh, and nice find on the Ring of Tactical Precision! That's FANTASTIC.
Well, I didn't want it to encompass the entirety of the conversation, but I did it because I took the Packmaster Archetype AND the Huntmaster Cavalier archetype. Lots of bonus teamwork feats, and it lets me do some really creative things with my Bird and Dog companions, especially things that will let me land multiple combat maneuvers per round at later levels. He's not just a group aid: He's a 3-man dream team.
What everyone else said. Two-hand it, grab power attack. At this level, you have good to-hit, and power attack two-handed will add an extra +9 damage. That's a good chunk right there.
See if you can retrain toughness. From a logistical perspective, it is strictly worse than Extra LoH for a paladin (the HP from the extra LoH is greater than the HP you get from Toughness).
Okay, so I recently made a character for a campaign designed around martial support of my allies. The purpose of the thread is not only to showcase some cool synergies that I don't see mentioned often, but also to identify whether or not I've missed anything, or need to change things around.
So, the goal of the build is helping my allies. I'm currently playing in a gestalt game, but 99% of what matters in this build is on my Cavalier side. I'm playing a Halfling Cavalier/Hunter, with Order of the Dragon. We're level 4, and I've currently taken the Combat Reflexes and Bodyguard feats. Why?
Well, thanks to the Helpful racial trait for halflings, when I use Aid Another, I grant my ally a total of +7 to their AC against the triggering attack, or +7 to their next attack roll against the Aid Another target. (Side Note: There's a bit of debate about how the order of the dragon ability works, and I've never seen it resolved, but this is how our table rules it.) That's +4 from Helpful, +3 from Order of the Dragon.
My plan is to just completely keep going down this route, wielding a reach weapon to ensure that I can bodyguard anyone near me all the time. The beautiful part comes when I can start passing around Harrying Partners via Tactician.
Now, to the task at hand: What ELSE can I do to pump up these bonuses? I know about the Benevolent weapon enchantment, and I can grab a trait for a spell-like ability (again, controversial, that's my table ruling) to qualify for Arcane Strike which lets me grab the Gloves of Arcane Striking, but is there anything, and I mean ANYTHING else I can pick up to pump up my Aid Another bonuses? Any feats or other suggestions to help the character out?
Channeling is actually a pretty darn good ability for Mummy's Mask. Having played a high-charisma spellcasting-oriented cleric in the first 2 books (at a level disadvantage, I might add), if you focus on pumping it up (namely via the Sun domain), you can end fights with a couple of channels and very little party damage. It's quite possible to make a spellcasting/channeling cleric in Mummy's Mask and have a blast with it. (Hah! Puns!)
Okay, I'm going to give you the low down, as a teacher & musician:
Bard sounds fun, but the truth is that the class is really complicated. You've got way to much to deal with.
If she's new to roleplaying games completely, you should be prepared to introduce her to fundamental mechanics, and keep things at a low level to keep math simple. Whatever you do, don't give her a spellcasting class or a class with summons/animal companions. This is a LOT to process, especially as a new player. New players make good Rogues & Fighters, but they may require help building them in order to make them function well, especially in the case of the Rogue.
Early games should have simple, safe combat, and require relatively little mechanical knowledge. It's for this reason that I suggest Rogue. It has lots of skills to make sure you always feel useful, and Sneak Attack directly implies tactical thinking without forcing you to understand lots of different abilities and power descriptions.
I have a player in my group that doesn't like math, doesn't like prep, and doesn't even like making her own character sheets, but she LOVES roleplaying. I usually end up making and advancing her character, and she plays simply enough that she doesn't need to know mechanics that well (Her characters so far have been "SMITE" and "CHARGE" respectively. They did little else in combat). Keep in mind that social, RP-focused players can be a HUGE boon to the group's fun, but that they also typically require a bit more maintenance on the part of the DM as far as character abilities are concerned.
Again, keep her abilities simple so she has a clear understanding of what she can do, and keep it organized so she can find things easily. If you can do that, you're set. Just let her roleplay, and keep things moving and fun.