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Richard Russom wrote:
Q: I have a samurai character who has the Two Weapon fighting Feat and he uses a Wakisashi, light weapon, in his off hand. This makes the penalties -2 and -2. Does his strength modifier and BAB still factor in or will his attack rolls always be at -2 no matter his level and Feats?
The -2s are on top of all other modifiers. So, with Str 18, masterwork weapons, and BAB +1, you'd get one attack at +6 or two at +4/+4.
Do one on one character creation with the newbs. Sit down take away the book for a few min and ask them to envision a character. Ask them how they would like this character to carry them self and solve problems etc. Based on their answers pick a class and walk them through how to do the things they talked about before even looking at the book.
This is also excellent advice.
I'd keep them on the list, but allow the player to retrain the spells if they don't like what they initially choose.
This. I mean, who doesn't let new players adjust things they want to change?
Also, I admit they aren't perfect choices, but having one each full Arcane and Divine caster seems necessary to providing all the basic character options, and they're the best classes available of those choices.
I agree with the basic idea, but, as others have mentioned, Fighter seems a bad Class to do it with. Sorcerer is much more workable, though, especially if the GM can advise on spells.
Some actual good Classes:
Barbarian - As others have said, very simple at heart. At least at 1st level. This is likely the worst of these options.
Paladin - Extremely simple, wonderfully thematic, easy to play mechanically, and thematically no harder for newbies than experienced players, maybe even easier.
Ranger - Very solid. Recommend Archery and they're dead simple to play, too. Probably the single best starter class actually.
Oracle - I think, as much as Cleric is forgiving of creation mistakes, it tends to paralyze new players with option overload. The Oracle is an effective and relatively simple alternative. Especially with GM advice on spells.
Sorcerer - As stated above, I agree with this one. Much like Oracle, with GM advice on spells, I think this is a lot easier for new people to deal with than Wizard or Witch would be.
That's my recommended starter classes.
I could have sworn she was a full fledged goddess before that. I know she originated as an empyreal lord and served at Ihys' right hand when she fought Asmodeus, but I thought by the time Rovagug turned his sights to Golarion, she was already a goddess.
According to her Deity article, she was an Empyreal Lord when she stood up to Rovagug, and it was her bravery in being willing to sacrifice herself going up against Rovagug in that state that gave the other Gods hope and catapulted her to full Deity status, which in turn allowed her to kick Rovagug's ass.
Now, in Book of the Damned, Asmodeus (I believe) implies that she was a Deity before that...but look at the source.
Alignment is descriptive, not prescriptive: Your Alignment is based on your past and current actions, not planned future ones. In the circumstances described, his Alignment likely wouldn't remain NE for long...but at the moment he's mostly a corrupt official interested in his own comfort, occasionally acting spitefully towards his boss in secret, which makes NE reasonable.
Y'know, this thread has convince me that Natural Armor should have a maximum. Skin just doesn't get any harder after a certain point. So I looked at the dinosaurs, who seem to max out at +14 or so, and thought about capping it at +15, but thought about Dragons and other creatures who could reasonably be tougher than that and upped it to +20.
From now on, any excess Natural Armor above that I'm changing to a Deflection bonus (stacking with any they already have naturally). And on Dragons specifically, I've decided that the progression should be more natural than that, and that they're already overtly magical, so I'm having half their Natural Armor (rounded down) simply be converted to Deflection bonus (which neatly maxes the toughest Dragon at +20 each Deflection and NA). This makes creatures who I change thus tougher on touch AC (much tougher in the case of older dragons), but also unable to effectively use Rings of Protection. That works for me, especially in terms of making ancient Dragons not pushovers to Touch Attacks.
So, thanks for a new House Rule! :)
This is true, and why using the Advanced Simple Template to reflect having Wished all their stats up is something I tend to do to main villains in general...but is particularly nice for Fighters.
If gods don't have stats, how did Saranrae fight Rovagug? :p
Actually she was a demigod when she did that...well, right up until the end, anyway. ;)
More seriously, Gods do not have conventional Pathfinder stats. You could definitely stat them in some system...but due to the profound difference in scale and nature between full Deities and everything else, it wouldn't have much of any similarity with the normal Pathfinder system.
Is Iomedae a Demigoddess? Does she have stats?
Iomedae was once a demigoddess and had conventional stats. She has since become a full God and does not.
In the LoF game I ran, the party Fighter (male Half-Orc) actually married the party Barbarian (female Human) between chapters 1 and 2. Both players were male, too. It was less awkward than it might sound...rather sweet really, they were both ex-slaves who really enjoyed killing things, so they had quite a bit in common. Good times.
The game sadly ended after Chapter 2, but it was interesting. One player also lost a character and his second one was a Tiefling Rogue who was dating Haleen (for those unfamiliar with LoF, Haleen was the NPC sister of another PC). So...yeah, that game had a surprising amount of romance given the relative isoation of that AP.
Relationships with NPCs are quite common in my games, but between PCs is a lot rarer (though it's happened a few times other than the one above). I like the characters in my games to be fully realized people and that includes things like friends, family, and romantic relationships, so I make sure to include opportunities for such things whenever possible.
I also don't have a particular problem with PC/Cohort relationships, though that may have to do with the fact that in games I've both run and played in cohorts get roleplayed like any other NPC outside of combat (the player does control them during combat...but that's not exactly 'romance time').
Really, Xander is a Fighter? I'd put him as a Commoner or Warrior at best.
Xander's perfectly competent. Well, by the end of Season 2 or so, anyway (and prior to that, Willow is nothing but an Expert either). He's just...not nearly as badass as Buffy or Giles, and lacks ridiculous intelligence or magic like Willow. He's overshadowed, not because he sucks, but because everyone else is just better (Buffy's Template, Willow having, y'know, Magic, Giles being higher level and dabbling in magic as well...).
Or at least, that's how it always seemed to me.
Angel probably has some Rogue in there, too. He's clearly got way too many skills as Class (including the social ones) to be a straight Fighter. Besides which, Angelus always was more of a trickster and manipulator than straight-up Fighter. Or maybe a couple of levels of Paladin for the whole Champion thing. And by the end of his show, he's a little higher level than that, too.
Actually, thinking about it, I'd probably make him as a straight Rogue in Buffy (maybe with a level of Martial Artist Monk), grabbing a couple of levels of Paladin in his time on Angel.
Spot-on on Buffy, though I'd argue being a Slayer is best represented with a slightly modified Advanced Simple Template, and she might have a level of Martial Artist Monk for unarmed combat and unarmored AC.
Spike would be a Vampire Brawler (from the ACG), Willow is obviously a Wizard (despite the Witch terminology), Xander is probably a Fighter, Giles would be probably be an Archivist Bard...y'know, I'm gonna stop before I start actually trying to stat these folks.
Well, to be fair, she does so along with Desna, who's awesome. They are pretty much on their own, though, and Desna has other areas of concern, too.
While we're at it, how dare Paizo include humans in their game! Humans have killed so many people throughout history. It's clearly offensive and insensitive to all the relatives and descendants of those poor victims to include such horrific creatures, and as a PC race at that!
Or animals for that matter! Think of all those people who've died to animal attacks! It's terrible, and I simply won't abide it! I suppose it's slightly better since they aren't PCs, but your player characters are expected to ride and associate with them, with whole class features being based around having one as some sort of 'companion' that you actually care about! At least humans are easily removed, but you can't even use the entire Cavalier class without including these horrors.
I'm just gonna link a thing...
For those who don't follow the link...that's James Jacobs answering my question on the subject of that line in Chronicles of the Righteous. And not the way Rynjin seems to expect/fear. At least I don't think so.
There's quite a difference between defining what you (and maybe I) believe is probably Neutral behavior as Evil, and defining clearly Evil behavior as Good.
School Power from the Arcane Bloodline. The Robe of Arcane Heritage lets me count as 4 levels higher for the purpose of bloodline abilities. It gives me another level 6 spell too as a result of the New Arcana boost at level 13. I have edited them both in to make it clearer.
Ah, gotcha. That works, yeah.
Uh...how are you getting +4 to Save DCs on Conjuration? Your Feats only grant +2, and I'm not seeing anything else that raises them.
I'm not trans*...but I've read several threads where our trans* board members expressed their opinions on this item, and while these varied, since, y'know, trans* people aren't a hive mind, and many wished they had one, the consensus was that being a cursed item made sense, since anyone not trans (which is the majority of people) who put on the belt would in fact now suffer a similar "I'm in the wrong body." problem to that which trans* people face in real life...which is apparently quite unpleasant.
Deities needed worshippers and control of planes to gain more primal energy (the game had a wonky formulae for it).
It is worth noting that this is explicitly not how Deities, Demigods, or any other such beings work in Golarion. They appear to care about being worshiped, but their power does not appear to be based on it.
Do you mean Traits? Because the Feat to do this is Martial Weapon Proficiency.
In terms of Traits, there's Hunter's Eye from the PFS Andoran faction, which gives a bow proficiency and lets you ignore the range penalty for the second range increment.
EDIT: Wow, seriously ninja'd. This is what I get for needing to look up that Trait name.
Achaekek is actually not statted in Pathfinder, but in 3.5, and as a full god isn't available for statting in Pathfinder.
But the Bestiary 4 has three Demon Lords, three Great Old Ones, and three Empyreal Lords statted. All are Demigods. The only general rules for statting demigods appear to be that they are CR 26-30.
Uh...I mentioned action economy as an issue for any single villain. So...let's call it a CR 12 Fighter (say, 11th level with the Advanced Simple Template and PC WBL) and two CR 7 people for backup (say, 8th level standard NPCs). They're not gonna overshadow him because, well, CR 7 as compared to CR 12. We'll call it a melee Cleric and buff-focused archer Bard. That'll...definitely make a workable big-bad group, and it's very clear why the Fighter is in charge, and should make a very interesting encounter for your aforementioned 9th level party.
If you like, and are willing to stat up a 9th level party, we can even try out this scenario...though it's unlikely to prove anything.
EDIT: Screwed up math.
So, the following passage is found in Champions of Purity:
Champions of Purity wrote:
The bolded part concerns some people, as an endorsement of the death of what amount to children/genocide of monstrous races as a canonical Good act. Now, that doesn't strike me as what the author of that passage probably meant...but I can see where people get that idea and it seems an unfortunate and problematic attitude, and is being cited elsewhere on these forums as Paizo's 'official' take.
1. Basically, what was the intent behind the bolded section? Just to give GMs some in-print support for whatever decision they make on the issue, or to present the issue but leave the answer to the readers, or what?
2. In your own games, would killing children, even of a monstrous race, generally be a Good act? To clarify I'm talking Goblin or Orc babies/children here, not something made of supernaturally pure Evil or anything like that.
3. While you obviously can't speak for the other people at Paizo do you think they'd generally regard this as a Good act in games they were GMing?
Let's take a step back: "The people at Paizo." didn't write that. One person, probably a freelancer, did. And, as Mikaze mentions, probably as a sop to a certain gaming style. It is not necessarily agreed upon by, oh, anyone else at Paizo. So chill.
There is no reason why a 7th or 8th level Fighter would be a better Charismatic Warlord than an Incubus Fighter 1.
No, there isn't.
I want to make this clear: I'm not arguing that a 0-HD race, single-classed, Fighter is a better main villain, mechanically, than a monster given Fighter levels. They are not. I'm not arguing they're the most powerful class, or the 'best' to mechanically represent a BBEG . They are not (I'd actually be inclined to argue that Bards and Wizards are the 'best').
All I am arguing is that a properly designed Fighter is an acceptable threat of its CR, and certainly buildable with the necessary skills to believably rule, and thus, at a few levels over the PCs, a valid BBEG if you want to use it as such. Not just a speed-bump or 'treasure pinata'. That is all.
Heck, the BBEG of the first Pathfinder game I ever played was a Fighter (admittedly, we were like 8th level, and he was thus 12th or so, I think...this was a while ago). A couple of PCs almost died (and one did die) in that fight, and we barely managed to defeat him. This is a thing that can happen and works. That's all I'm saying.
Well, Grab gives a +4, so that makes +26...I must admit I'm not finding the other +2 either.
Manuals don't stack with each other above +5, being based on Wish (which also has that limitation). They stack fine with Belts and such, though.
Addem Up wrote:
Barbarian, perhaps? He's usually one or two dice of damage, then a humongous bonus from his strength, two-handed weapon, and power attack. And with rage powers, he can be quite the force on the battlefield.
Yep. For Barbarian, you basically have two numbers: Non-Raging damage and Raging Damage (both with Power Attack, because you basically always use that). You need to do some math to get them, but once you've got 'em they don't change much.
Alternately, an Archery Ranger or Fighter. They have one damage number (since you should also basically always use Deadly Aim). Though they are something of a one-trick-pony in combat.
Kazumetsa Raijin wrote:
What is a particularly good Wizard Archetype(probably just one level), for a mostly Martial character?
Well, with one level of Divination (Scryer) you can get Eldritch Knight. If not aiming for that...Tranmutation and Wood each add to a stat (though as an Enhancement bonus it will not stack with Belts), and Conjuration (Teleportation) can be very cool for escaping grapples and such. The Elemental Schools mostly give elemental Resistances, too, which is quite nice if you lack such things otherwise.
Spellslinger gives you Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Firearms) and Gunsmithing. Siege Mage gives you some siege engineering Feats...
EDIT: Ah, based on that description I'd go Conjuration (Teleportation). Mage Armor's Conjuration, and the abilities are cool.
Edit @ Deadmanwalking - Once they lose, everything can be dismissed as "poorly designed". A rather poor argument to make I think.
Uh...when almost every single numerical measure of power is significantly less (-4 AC, -65 HP, -2 or more on all Saves, -2 to hit) than the CR expectations, I don't think 'poorly designed' is an unfair characterization...
I believe it was this character.
I'll just take a moment and note that that character is...significantly poorly designed as an actual threat for PCs, his HP is only a bit more than half what it should be as a CR 11, his AC four points low, his attack a couple of points low when TWF, his damage is solid...but only when Sneak Attacking and TWF. His saves are abysmal...in short that's just a poorly designed character (as Paizo NPCs sometimes, though by no means always, are).
Using a poorly designed character as a barometer for what decently designed ones can do is bad policy. I can put that character up to par on almost all of that with some equipment changes and swapping out a Racial Trait...but sans that sort of modification, it's a problem.
EDIT: I'll respond to Ashiel in a while.
Depending on the nature of the campaign, Paladin, Cleric, or Druid can definitely work...but all three are a bit incomplete in terms of skills, since they aren't Int based and lack a comprehensive list.
Rogues have that, but lack a flanking buddy, which makes them well-nigh useless in combat, and lacks the ability to self-heal. Cavaliers, Barbarian, Fighters, Monks, Wizards, Magi, and Sorcerers lack sufficient self healing, and sufficient skills to boot (okay, the Wizards and Magi can have enough skills...healing is still an issue, though UMD and a few wands might do it, those are your two best bets out of this lot).
Summoner technically lacks self-healing, but can heal his Eidolon, and is a Chr based class with UMD on its class list. Probably not quite enough skills, but very solid in combat.
An Oracle's a good choice with the right Mystery, providing healing, offensive casting, and a pretty solid skill list, though not as good as those listed below. You can get an Animal Companion for physical backup with the right Mystery, though. Witch is good for similar reasons (though it lacks the Animal Companion, as good a skill list, and is notably more fragile, it does have better offense spells, however).
Among the top-tier for this, Alchemist is solid (though their skill list has notable gaps, they are Int-based, which helps a lot), and Inquisitor is very solid (you can even give them an Animal Companion with the Chivalry Inquisition) as is Bard (especially Dawnflower Dervish or Archaeologist, since you don't need party-buffs). Ranger works, though it's a bit light on healing for a single player game, and with Boon Companion has an Animal Companion worth talking about.
Does your definition of BBEG include mostly a solo encounter or a group encounter? Because by itself... a fighter isn't very good at dealing with groups, IMHO at least.
Honestly? Nothing does that well by itself against groups. Action economy is brutal. Wizards might be able to do area-effects, but they're also less able to stand up to focused fire (though Mirror Image can buy them a round or so).
But ideally, yeah, a Fighter (like any BBEG) will have minions to back him up. At higher levels, a 7th level Bard is a great little addition. Even once he's dead Haste + Good Hope keeps right on chugging...
Wizards eat synthesist summoners: Dispel Magic and poof, no more eidolon.
This doesn't work. You need Dismissal.
And even then, Summoners are Spontaneous Casters and can burn all their spell slots re-summoning it, or, if smart, hold their action to counterspell you with Dispel Magic if you try it.
Wizards are still better...but they prove it by taking out the Summoner themselves, not the pet.
Okay, point by point response to Ashiel's CR 8 creature analysis, followed by some of my own. Note: I'm aware Ashiel is comparing these things to the 18th level Warrior, not a Fighter, but the comparisons mostly stand (barring the 18th level Warrior having a lot more HP).
I'm not sure that's equivalent at all, touch AC doesn't actually come up that often. Especially in non-elemental forms (which, as you note below, are already stopped by Energy Resistance most times).
- Lower HP / Saves, but DR 10/material or alignment; Immunity to death effects, electricity, paralysis, and poison; Resist acid, cold, and fire 10; and Spell Resistance 19.
Vs. spells you have a distinct point...but Cold Iron is cheap, and you're frankly expected to have it by this level. It might cost a +1 or +2 to hit and damage fom using a non-magic weapon, but it's not the actual bulwark DR 10/good or DR 10/admantine is. So...I'd say that's a wash.
- Much, much better movement options. It's base speed is better and it has a natural fly speed of 60 ft. It also has the ability to greater teleport at will, giving it unbeatable potential mobility.
It is indeed more mobile, I won't dispute that.
- It's attack routine is similar in chances to hit (it has three attacks at +15, contrasting the +17/+12/+7 routine), and while it's damage per successful hit is lower it has the option of delivering vampiric touch spells through its claw attacks (and the spell is not consumed on a miss).
Vampiric Touch delivery is a Standard Action, you can't do it as part of a Full Attack. It's a solid option...but an action consuming one. And, as a spell-like, potentially provokes AoO.
- It has superior tactical options. The Nabasu can one-shot an entire party with mass hold person at DC 21 (which is higher than the monster chart for those at home watching) if their will saves aren't in their favor and can do so as an ambush tactic (the spell range is 180 ft.). They can potentially summon more enemies and blind parties with deeper darkness, or hurl objects around with telekinesis. Three times per day they have a ranged touch attack at +12 to hit that inflicts 1d4 negative levels on a target from up to 55 ft. away. If they ambush an enemy they get an extra +7 average damage (of 2d6) on each of their attacks that hit from sneak attack.
Well, yes. This has to do with being a spellcasting monster. Of course it has more options. No one, I think, and certainly not I, has argued that Fighters have as many options in combat as full casters or equivalent monsters.
- If the above wasn't enough, they have powerful custom abilities in the form of Death Stealing Gaze and Consume Life, allowing it to inflict negative levels in an AoE as a free action, which can potentially buff it significantly (adding +1 to most everything it has including caster level and an additional +10 HP) which depending on where it attacks the party may be a given (for example, if the Nabasu attacks the party near a group of normal people, it's likely going to inflict horrible collateral damage on the first round and buff itself while also taking its actions).
Nabasu get...weird. And actually start seriously breaking CR guidelines with enough Consume Life. I won't argue that a CR 8 Fighter can match a fully buffed Nabasu...but neither can any other CR 8 anywhere.
The Dig: The simple fact of the matter is that the Nabasu is overall more dangerous than the CR 8 warrior. Even when counting the warrior's equipment, his overall combat routine relies entirely upon being a superior martial combatant and being able to strait out survive incoming attacks by soaking damage while threatening opponents who would ignore him. Even still, unless equipped with a potion of fly or similar, a single wind wall and fly will ruin his offensive routine, while peppering him with attacks is going to lead to him being unable to full-attack effectively (which means that a quickrunner's shirt is almost required if you want him to be a significant threat to even a 6th level party.
A Quick Runner's shirt is also cheap as hell. And all this is only true for some parties, a party of primarily melee characters with ridiculous saves (Paladins and Barbarians, say) will almost certainly stand toe-to-toe with the Fighter and shrug off the Nabasu's ranged options, forcing it to engage in melee as well (which it's not as good at).
A Fighter in his place would have no prayer whatsoever and would be completely invalidated the moment the party decided to drop any pit spell, charm person, or just decided beat through him (the warrior at least is tanky enough and deals enough burst damage that simply running him over isn't a strong option).
This is all true to some degree (though that potion of fly really helps). It is also almost all true for the Giant Slug, Dire Tiger, Gorgon, Triceratops, Mohrg, or many other CR 8 monsters.
Since you picked a very similar monster (Evil Outsiders have some serious commonalities)...this is unsurprising.
- We have an opponent that has lower HP but a pesky DR (it's only bypassed by Good-aligned attacks which means most groups are going to need to buff upon encountering it to overcome DR instead of just drawing a material weapon), and lots of resistances and immunities, complete with another SR 19.
Indeed yes. And her DR matters, to boot.
- Like the Nabasu it has superior mobility and the ability to greater teleport around at will.
- Like the Nabasu it attack routines are only slightly worse than the warrior's from a physical attack perspective, but those routines combo effectively with their increased mobility (their flight capabilities can easily allow them to ambush and full-attack the bank-ranks of a group while ignoring the soft-cover provided by any front-liners, likewise their ability to move anywhere they please with greater teleport makes them more dangerous as support since they can ambush stragglers who aren't well defended).
Erinyes are very nasty. I'll not deny...but all the stuff you list? An archery Fighter with a Potion of Fly (or who happens to be a Strix) can do almost as well.
- Like the Nabasu, the erinyes has a wider variety of offense that is harder to deal with than the CR 8 warrior. In addition to see in darkness and constant true seeing (which nullifies the benefits of things like blur, displacement, mirror image, makes them immune to phantasmal killer, and allows them to ignore lighting conditions) they also have minor image for creating ambushes and/or concealment, a fairly powerful single-target fear effect (DC 19, higher than the monster chart) which inflicts the shaken condition on a successful save and the panicked condition on a failed save (this will automatically remove someone from the fight on a failed save and since fear effects stack, even succeeding on two saves in a row means you're out of the fight). Finally one of their most amusing offensive tactics is the AoE unholy blight which allows them to pound parties with a 20 ft. radius non-elemental AoE that hits good-aligned characters for 5d8 damage and save vs sickened, and neutral characters for half as much, which when coupled with its 220 ft. range allows the erinyes to sport some very nasty unblockable chip-damage. And of course, the erinyes can often summon a pair of Bearded Devils for poops and giggles.
Yup, lots more options, going back to that whole 'monsters that cast' thing.
Again comparing to our CR 8 warrior, the warrior is definitely no more dangerous than the erinyes except in its limited specialization (that specialization being "soak some more damage and get a full-attack off").
And, again, you're comparing it to one of the most powerful and versatile of the CR 8s. Though not as bad as a buffed Nabasu, I admit.
- The stone giant demonstrates another failing of the "monster chart" and that is it doesn't account for things like Reach at all. The stone giant has a natural speed of 40 ft. and reach of 10 ft. If it wields a reach weapon (such as a longspear) then it has a massive 20 ft. reach and a safe-attack zone of 10 ft. thanks to its pair of slam attacks. If the giant has a potion of enlarge person then things are going to get ugly.
That's possible. Note its lack of Combat Reflexes however.
- The stone giant has less HP / saves than the warrior and is its fatal flaw which helps make up for its massive reach and attack routine.
Well, according to your discussion of my Fighter build, it's saves are suicide and the PCs will simply take it out with a single spell...
- The giant's melee routine actually matches the warrior's in accuracy (I gave the warrior a mwk weapon bringing him to +17, which the giant would also have +17 with a masterwork weapon) and deals similar damage without power attacking (2d8+12 = 21 average damage vs 1d8+19 = 23.5 average damage), though the giant can power attack for an additional +9 damage against low-AC opponents (whereas the warrior is already power attacking because without using power attack his damage output is only 1d8+4 or an average of 8.5 damage).
Again, true. The Stone Giant does some serious damage.
- While the giant has fewer iterative attacks with its weapon it also sports a pair of slam attacks that can be used as secondary attacks to bring its attack routine to +16/+11/+11/+11 assuming the giant is using its legs to perform the slam attacks at 1d8+4 (the slam attacks don't call out a specific limb that is required to perform them).
Since it's attack line specifically lists the Slams as not available while it wields it's weapon...I'm gonna have to argue that they are in fact assigned to its arms. Otherwise they'd be listed as part of the attack routine.
As a brute the giant is also comparable to the CR 8 warrior though it's a fight that's is a little different in terms of tactics and individual strengths. Another thing that's worth pointing out is that when I was building the CR 8 warrior I designed him specifically to be more dangerous, choosing a longsword so he could wield it even if grappled, two-handing it for best power-attack routines, giving him blind-fight to make it less likely to one-shot him with glitterdust or blindness/deafness or any cloud or light-affecting spells, and gearing all of his feats towards improving his saving throws and resiliency. While the giant has an absolutely terrible feat selection (seriously, who spends a feat on greatclubs when you've already got proficiency with longspears, clubs, maces, and shortspears?), and if given a similar feat selection and equipment loadout would look even more like the warrior.
Yes...and be higher CR, since you have changed it's stats to make it more effective. That's how monster stat-blocks work.
A giant dropping the weapon proficiency feat, point blank shot, quick draw, and precise shot and picking up lightning reflexes, improved initiative, improved iron will, and lunge or improved lightning reflexes, and then wielding a masterwork longspear while wearing some leather armor or masterwork studded leather armor would still be the same CR but it would round the encounter out better (the giant's AC would be 25, and while it's average damage would drop by 1 point it would increase its reach, and be heartier).
Okay, y'know what, you're right. These articular changes don't raise CR. They just make there absolutely no reason to close into melee with the Giant. You pick it off at range, or with spells, casually. Again, how dangerous this actually is depends heavily on your articular party makeup.
Once again, a "CR 8 Fighter" has nothing on what the bestiary already gives. It is nothing more than a speed bump pinata with no tactical capability outside of whatever its equipment allows, making it pretty much inferior to any other core martial or just throwing NPC levels on an enemy.
Ah! And here we come to the part I can actively disprove. You are cherry-picking monsters (very possibly unintentionally), having, for two of your three examples grabbed what are probably the two most dangerous CR 8s in the original Bestiary. Let's look at some of the other CR 8s, shall we? I'll compare them to the Fighter I modified. For clarity.
-Vastly lower AC. Like a silly amount lower.
That...doesn't look like as bad a comparison, does it? Let's try another:
Young Green Dragon:
Ooh, a Dragon. Clearly this will be more powerful.
-Significantly lower AC.
So...again, better offense, debatably more mobility, worse defense. Better off than the Tiger, but still, not looking like a 'Fighters are useless' sorta thing. Heck, a Strix Fighter with an archery focus is probably more dangerous, as he has almost all the Dragon's strengths and few of it's weaknesses if built properly.
-AC significantly lower.
The Fighter wins this one hands down. Better in almost every respect.
Very similar to the Tiger, though a less severe version of the attack/defense disparity, better offense but worse defense than the Fighter. Of course, weak will save and no ranged attacks are pretty severe weaknesses to have...
I could go on, but this seems a reasonable sample, so I'll just walk along to the...
Not all the monsters in the Bestiary have the advantages you list over the Fighter. Some do, but others most certainly don't. Making the Fighter a perfectly valid threat at the listed CR. Is a level 9 Fighter probably the most powerful CR 8? No. Is it the weakest? No. That makes it a valid threat.
Now, I'm not saying the Fighter is the most powerful PC class. It's generally not even close...which will inevitably make it not the most badass possible thing of its CR...but it's solid, and very workable. Which, combined with being of a CR equal to APL+4 makes a pretty solid BBEG.
Especially at PC wealth and with enhanced stats (both accounted for in CR, obviously).
I allow both LG and CG Paladins, and both LE and CE Antipaladins. Yes, that means some Gods have both (though others only have one variety...I don't think Azathoth has Paladins).
I honestly don't change the mechanics at all (aside from replacing Lawful spells with their Chaotic equivalents or vice versa). CG doesn't strike me as less brave than LG, and LG doesn't strike me as more easily controlled by the forces of Evil than CG.
Paladins have immunity to fear because they're the light that the forces of Good shine into dark places, because they're out on the 'sharp end' not because they're Lawful.
As for code of conduct, I'd agree that it varies by individual God...and for the more generic version I would say that a direct reversal of the standard Lawful Paladin prohibition against Chaotic ends is...a bit antithetical to the whole 'Chaos' thing. I'd go with something like this:
"A paladin must be of chaotic good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act.
Additionally, a paladin's code requires that she respect the freedom of others, as long as it doesn't cause harm to people other than themselves, keep an open mind and not allow habits of thought and behavior to dictate your actions (not listening when someone tells their side of the story because you've already made up your mind, refusing to try something new and seemingly harmless when offered, refusing to accept someone based on their race or non-Evil religion, customs, or sexual practices, etc.), help those in need, especially if their need is protection from the law (provided they do not use the help for evil ends, such as to avoid arrest for unjustified murder), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents, even (or especially) if the law says they are untouchable."
So...less prohibitions on poison or lying, but they're obligated to keep an open mind, defend any thief who says "Hide me, please." and exact vigilante justice if they feel a real monster is getting away with it. It's as little longer, but hell, I'd have expanded a bit more on the examples in the standard code if I'd written that...
I remember hearing some hints about this way way back now. My concern was that its canonicity would be called into question, but if that isn't the case... Bumping that book up on my reading list. Thanks! :)
I'm pretty sure it's as canonical as the APs, anyway. As in 'this hasn't necessarily happened in your games but might've'.
Thymus Vulgaris wrote:
He isn't. Sadly.
He's popular with my group (myself included), though. And I don't even drink.
You in no way need all those AC items (as I demonstrated, actually...) leaving 4k more for weapons and things. Or 1k more if you up the Cloak to +2. Which is plenty.
Here's the thing though, I'm not picking and choosing to cheat the CR. See, I'm using the bestiary rules for advancing monsters so naturally I'm going to use the bestiary rules for advancing monsters when it comes to their gear-set.
My point was not that you were cheating. It was that, if built as CR 16, they would indeed have that much gold. Which makes looking at their stats with as much gold as you give them and then claiming that obviously the can't be that high CR...somewhat inaccurate.
Which by the way says to issue them gear equivalent to a heroic NPC of their CHALLENGE RATING. Say it with me. Of their CHALLENGE...RATING. No gold fountains here. It's absolute madness to take a CR 3 encounter, slap treasure on it equivalent to CR 3 encounter, slap treasure on it equivalent to CR 20+ creature on it, and then declare it a CR 8 encounter. That's just stupidity of the highest caliber. >_>
So...why is there a non-heroic class NPC wealth chart at all? I'm curious what you think the explanation is.
Sure...which brings up the fact that you have stated that monsters are better than Fighters because you can use their treasure allotments or Feat changes to buff them...except that if you do that sufficiently to raise their CR, they are then that CR, and should be compared to higher level Fighters. Because that's how CR works.
Thank you greatly for demonstrating that with proper optimization the fighter is still grossly underpowered and will be a lawn ornament in a very short time. Without the Improved saving throw feats his saving throws are a death sentence, and despite all this optimization he's still not really anything special in comparison to the CR 8 warrior, except that he's an easier encounter that awards even more treasure.
Uh...those saves are on par with everything else of that CR. Hell, they're better than the CR 8 dragons have. Now, they do lack the immunities non-human creatures possess, and that is a mild disadvantage, but not one that cripples them as you seem to imply.
Also...that Fighter isn't optimized in the least. I cranked it out in maybe 10 minutes by looking at your build and fixing all the most obvious suboptimal choices and changing almost nothing else.
If you want a closer-to-optimized Fighter big-bad, I posted a CR 15 one several pages back. Have a look at it, it's a lot closer(though even there, I didn't seriously optimize)
Because you pushed his ability to kill harder to try to make up the deficiency, but now he just has bad defenses all around. To try to shore up his defenses would require several rounds of chugging potions to do anything worthwhile, and he's still completely hosed by a 2nd level spell (even at +10 Fortitude save, he has a significant chance to just be wiped with a DC 18 blindness spell, or a hideous laughter, or DC 19 deep slumber, or DC 19 hold person, or DC 19 slow).
Several of which can also casually take out the Stone Giant, or the Dire Tiger, or practically any CR 8 without Spell Resistance. And even those with SR if you beat it. Blindness works on all of them quite effectively, for example (though the Dragons are a bit less screwed by it, I admit).
And at DC 18-19 you're talking Spell Focus or a really optimized casting stat on 4th-5th level characters (ie: the ones this is a BBBEG for). It's a doable, but pretty heavily optimized Save DC, of course it's likely to be effective. On anything.
You've also demonstrated that all that extra effort was worthless, and displayed one of the greatest advantages that NPC classes have. Simplicity. It takes precious little time to dump lots of warrior levels, figure out power attack modifiers, select a couple feats and call it a day.
I...never argued NPC classes or existing monsters weren't easier to use. I argued you could make an effective Fighter BBEG. Which you can.
Also, if you use PC wealth, then the total CR increases by +1.
Which is why I said a Level 8 Fighter with PC WBL.
Have you read Called to Darkness from the Pathfinder Tales fiction line? It contains at least one tribe of almost certainly non-Evil Orcs. I mean, it's fiction and doesn't involve anyone with Detect Evil, so I guess they could be Evil...but basically all evidence in the book seems to contradict that idea.
And the fiction line is canonical. :)
Mr Zhun wrote:
All the standard caster Feats. Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus if you're wiling to specialize in one variety of magic. Spell Penetration. Metamagic Feats (Heighten Spell to make Deeper Darkness 4th level plus spell makes it nearly un-counterable with light spells). Save-enhancing Feats. Power Attack if you ever do want to engage in melee.
That sort of thing. All based on specific build, of course.
And you're very welcome. :)