IMHO, building Arcane Trickster to be awesome at combat is totally missing the point of it. It's like trying to build fighter to be a skill monkey.
What AT does really awesomely is be able to elegantly solve any of the non-combat problems the party has. The more you struggle to make something out of it sneak attack dice, the more you sacrifice resources and options to make it simply less bad at combat relative to any other well-built character. That's not where its magic is, so to speak. Instead of trying like hell to only be the second-worst combatant in your party, be the guy who's aces for everything ELSE.
For me it's more about internal consistency than pure spell power. For example, Create Pit is something I think logically would ignore SR, after all you're not actually targeting a creature with it. Furthermore, if it was subject to SR how would you adjudicate it? A creature whose SR you fail to penetrate just floats above the pit?
I don't disagree with that, but if we decide the spell has to be built that way, maybe it isn't a 2nd level spell.
A level 3 version of Create Pit which somehow allowed SR would still see heavy rotation in my prepared spell list -- so maybe it's actually something like a level 4 spell. Glitterdust, same thing. It's when a bunch of spells are among the best for its level without SR being considered AND also happen to ignore SR that the whole balance of SR just falls apart.
What I'm getting at is: this was true at one point with people I played with, now nobody bothers anymore -- because there's so many great SR: No spells that it's pretty easy to just give up on trying to beat SR without an appreciable loss of offensive power.
Why let SR pick your race and two of your feats and one of your magic items when you don't even need to bother?
In Core the SR situation isn't great, but basically every book after adds more and more power and versatility to what you can do without any investment in beating SR. Create Pit, for example, feels too good for a level 2 spell even if it had to contend with SR. Fly beats it, of course, but at the levels you're deploying it you're basically guaranteed to find a ridiculously great use for it at some point in the day.
Honestly in general I think the spells that bypass spell resistance are too good, not just that one. Disable Construct doesn't exactly bother me because there's an opportunity cost to picking it -- you just might not run into a construct that day if you're a prepared caster, or you sacrificed a slot for it if you're spontaneous. But, like, Glitterdust? That's good for almost everything.
In the groups that I play with, the casters just naturally gravitate towards loading heavy on spells (when they pick something offensive) like Glitterdust and Create Pit. It's totally common for the party to encounter a golem or something with atrocious SR and just not even notice, because there are a ton of SR: No spells that are also just plain great for their level besides it.
I think most of the SR: No spells should probably be a level or two higher than current, so there's actually a tough choice to make more often between the most effective spell of your level or something that's a hedge against SR.
We'll have to agree to disagree.
I'm going by what's actually written. You're the one who's decided that abilities that you get for picking a class, that other classes don't get, are somehow not class features. Not sure how that makes sense even to you, much less anyone else.
In any case as you can easly deduce from reading this board with APG and ACG pathfinder is the same if not even worse dipfest that the 3.5 was. At leas in 3.5 you tend to have a single PrC maxed out.
If it seems that way to you it's because you're exposed to some optimizers now in a way that you weren't in 3.X. In Living Greyhawk (3.0 and 3.5 RPGA organized play), stuff like level 12 characters who had 10 or 11 different classes were extremely common. (Full casters were less likely to be mutts and might only have 3-5 different classes.)
While Pathfinder isn't perfect, it made a lot of changes to make many PClass mutt characters less optimal. This isn't to say that a character with half a dozen classes might not be optimal for some specific purpose, but this is way better than 3.5 where it was optimal for literally everything. (Unless you were a druid.)
Also note that you will see more mutts than normal when building for a specific level target, such as PFS which retires at mid-levels. There's not much point (mechanically) to picking a build that gets to do something really cool at level 13 when you know you are 100% guaranteed to never see level 13.
You're certainly entitled to your opinion and to rule it however you choose in a game you run, however I hope you can admit that your version requires reading a lot more into the rules (or making it up) than is actually written anywhere.
Reread UMD. DC 20 to emulate a class feature. Spontaneous spellcasting is certainly a class feature.
I assume that's why he called out Use Magic Device, which generally lets you break the rules of who can use what.
Strangely, the players in one of the groups I play with love rich parents. It's by far the most chosen trait.
But the GM for that group tends to throw heat even at level 1, and having the armor of your choice, a masterwork weapon or two, some weapons for various material DRs, healing items, a level 1 or whatever does buy a lot of survivability relative to any other trait.
I have to vote for Crimson Throne. I bought the whole thing years ago but I've never mustered up the energy to run it.
A lot of it is awesome, and the parts of it I love, I really love -- but then I think about the titanic effort to fix the parts of it I don't like as much, to pad the parts of it I think are thin, and most of all to convert the encounters to be not just Pathfinder but interesting encounters in Pathfinder and I give it a pass for another year.
I'd buy a well-done update of it in a heartbeat.
Yeah, this is a recurring issue. For all the APs I've played or run, the PCs need to straddle this weird line where on one hand, they're so heroic that they get involved in world-threatening danger without any prompting or payment, yet are not so piously good that they won't work with obviously evil forces. Get a PC that falls on either side of that line and the whole thing starts to come off the rails.
It's gotten to where I flat-out tell players to aim for that at character creation.
As much as 2E stoneskin is stupid broken given a reasonable reading of the rules, as I mentioned when I brought it up, it's just one spell. So let's add a second one: invisibility.
It's a second level spell that lasts literally all day unless you attack, so it's also extremely reasonable to assume our 2E wizard has it up at any time when someone wants to ambush him.
Good luck guessing where to throw darts (which actually is one of the better ways to deal with the spell as a humanoid) since there's no such thing as a Spot, Listen, or Perception skill.
And, sure, there are counter tactics for that too. But we're not even through the spells that last forever. When people make an argument that the 3E caster is best, they often assume that the caster is prepped for the encounter at hand, which in an actual game they might or might not be. In 2E with its titanic defensive/utility spell durations you always would be ready. The 2E Wizard's Handbook even basically says you're an idiot if you're walking around without a fresh Stoneskin because there's no reason that you have to.
Yeah, you're not going to find a lot of DMs who would let that fly. Sorry. I saw it tried a lot of times in that era (I was a very active convention gamer at that time) and I'd estimate less than 5% success rate.
At most tables only a real attack strips a charge, although of course it does so regardless of hit roll.
To sum up:
Yes, I know what the rules were. Yes, we played it correctly. No, I did not get my 2E PHP out of storage to find the exact number of attacks Stoneskin blocks at 7th level.
The wizard still is basically immune to being surprised and destroyed by a strong melee combatant ever again at level 7. Even a 20th level rogue has basically no chance of killing a wizard.
(Yes, you can beat it by having a large number of people surprise the wizard.)
And this is just one spell. The reasons wizard, played well, is utterly dominant is a long list. I'm just giving you a single example of something even the people who designed core 3E -- people who were intentionally trying, as per Monte Cook (one of the three designers) to put strong and weak options into the game so players could feel clever for finding the strong ones -- would not have put into the game because it was so obviously a bad idea.
The better your players get at 2E, the better the wizard gets and the less its supposed shortcomings matter. Conversely there's no amount of system mastery that makes the 2E rogue or fighter competitive with them past very low levels. This is doubly true if you did something crazy like actually roll for stats as outlined in the rules.
I really, really disagree with that. Wizard (in smart hands) is dominant in 2E in a way that it could never be in 3.X or PF.
It may be that you didn't play with optimization-focused players in that era but... yeah. I mean, look at 2E stoneskin: it negates several attacks regardless of what they are or how much damage they might do, and its duration is permanent until used. The terrasque manages to ambush a level 7 2E wizard somehow? Sorry, it's going to be several rounds before he can do anything at all to the wizard.
I would argue that the AD still has "reach build" as a niche the Magus doesn't cover, because you don't threaten an area with a whip, which is the whole point of 90% of the reach characters I've ever seen in play (and is the point of 100% of them that have feats like Disruptive).
If I'm building a reach-weapon AD, what I'm going for is a character who creates this zone around them in which it's obnoxious to cast spells and which is non-trivial to step out of. I don't see a good way to do that with the Magus. I don't know that I'd build a fighter this way either, but with the AD's bonus feats?
The first two - cheaper still doesn't mean cheap.
The second two - Grit isn't an infinite resource. Especially if you're set up for maximum fire speed misfires come up a lot.
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
This seems like it's really glossing over all the drawbacks. Weapon cost/availability, ammo cost/availability, short range, misfires, etc.
I'm not OP, but piggybacking on this, I'd personally be interested in hearing arguments for why Gunslinger is interesting or fun to play. For bonus points, compare/contrast with other popular ranged characters like a bow-based fighter or ranger.
I mean, a certain amount of this is obvious (the fighter has the most feats, ranger gets spells/skills/versatility, bow characters in general probably pour out more damage against bad-AC targets relative to the gunslinger and less vs. great-AC targets, etc., deeds are cool but are they as cool as more feats or spells?) but I'm sure a lot of it isn't, too.
There's a lot of good discussion here but I think it actually misses the most broken thing (in a balance sense) about the Summoner, which is:
It basically does not care what its stats are.
As a thought experiment, imagine playing in a zero point buy campaign. Even the mighty Wizard suffers somewhat here, having to dump most of his stats to get his Intelligence into playable territory. Martial characters are in deep trouble and very MAD characters like the Monk struggle incredibly.
But as long as the Summoner can get his starting Charisma up to about 12 he's almost as good as he'd be with 18s across the board. His Eidolon or summoned monsters have literally identical stats either way.
I think the rarity even made the problem worse -- because now, once you've played a 1E/2E melee character who had a girdle, every melee character you play thereafter is going to mechanically pale before them until the next time you find one. It's such a huge bonus that it really skews the balance of the game.
You'll think, "Oh, my 16th level fighter can handle this, my last 13th level fighter could beat these enemies." Not while doing half the damage despite being several levels higher he can't.
Don't forget favored class bonuses and Toughness. And full HP at first level, for that matter.
This is also assuming that we're just talking base HP and glossing over the fact that wizard or sorcerer can pretty quickly keep False Life up permanently, etc.
Between those and being able to craft a +CON item for cheap it's not uncommon for me to play something like a wizard and have the highest HP total in the party quickly. Not that a barbarian or whatever couldn't be built to go higher but more that they tend to have different item priorities.
I go with your reading of it, but that's mostly because
1) This is only really worth a feat if you have Sneak Attack, and
2) Rogues are reasonably feat starved, and
3) I personally view Combat Expertise as a punishment feat. (That is, it forces you to have a stat high on a character that you probably don't want to have to spend the points on, it forces you to take a feat that is also weaker than most other feats, and it's a feat you need for other feats which actually are cool).
So I look at this and think: semi-auto flanking at the cost of two feats on a rogue? Yeah, that's not breaking the game.
The Soulcatcher and the Howler are interesting, fun characters, or Shivetya. I don't remember others that well. I think Malazan surpassed its inspiration considerably.
Man I soooo disagree with that.
If anything I think Malazan took the wrong lessons from Black Company and not the right ones.
Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
None of which hurt you as much as 20 INT helps you.
If we are talking about optimization, which in this case we are.
Okay, then why did you ask a question you already knew the answer to? :P
I go the opposite way on that one: the human favored class bonus for sorcerer is so good you'd have to be crazy to not pick it (from an optimization perspective, anyway), which means you're potentially a very low HP character, relatively -- even the party wizard's probably taking an extra HP every level. To slightly offset that and milk the sorcerer's versatility, you pick False Life and pretty much keep it up for life.
Why would you ban one of the most flavorful classes in the game?
More than just about any other class, you need to build encounters specifically to challenge a summoner. That pretty much means you can't run any of the older APs (for example) with a half-competent summoner player unless you feel like rewriting huge swaths of the adventure.
If you're a GM with a limited amount of prep time or energy it's easier to just ban the class and call it a day.
One angle that works pretty well as long as you don't overuse it is to introduce encounters where winning or losing isn't precisely about the PC's survival. That is to say, they can all survive and still lose the encounter.
Maybe the PCs encounter an enemy first as part of a tournament or contest with combat that isn't to the death.
Or, maybe the bad guys' henchmen beat the PCs to the dungeon and they're trying to run off with the loot. The challenge isn't not to die -- the henchmen are mostly just trying to make a run for it -- but to keep them from escaping.
Or, maybe the PCs are trying to rescue children from a burning orphanage with fire elementals and the like inside torching the place. They're in some danger, sure, and they'll do some fighting, but winning or losing that encounter isn't really about their survival, it's about the children's survival. For more mercenary PCs, maybe they're trying to rescue a guy with information they want instead. Oooh, I'm sorry, as the burning building fell on him because you were too slow, it crushed his skull beyond Speak With Dead being possible.
You get the idea.
You can have a different opinion. What you can't typically do (or, at least, and get away with it) is assert your opinion as fact when other information contradicts it.
I was always partial to Jacqueline Carey's "The Sundering", which is a two novel series, Banewreaker and Godslayer which is kind of the standard fantasy trope told from the bad guys side and leaves him as a rather sympathetic character force by the "evil" good gods to be the antagonist.
I was thinking the same, although depending on your point of view it doesn't fit the bill.
Basically, it's Lord of the Rings told from the side of Sauron's guys. Carey isn't exactly ripping off LotR a la Sword of Shannara; she makes it so obvious she clearly wants you to know and make the connection that she's riffing on it.
I might also add R. Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing to the list; things go rough for the only character I could make a serious argument for having a Pathfinder-style Good alignment, and mostly it's like a sociopathic character scheming against other sociopathic characters, evil political opportunists, and, hey, some monsters that are like Cthulhu monsters, if Cthulhu monsters had an overdeveloped sex drive, with a psychopathic murderer as one of his closest allies.
This will be controversial... I really think A Song of Ice and Fire has gotten its death toll on characters overhyped.
A Game of Thrones Spoilage:
I can't think of anything else I've read where the author sets you up to see a character as the protagonist of the series, then abruptly kills him 2/3 of the way through the first book.
I've yet to meet anyone who read AGoT when it first came out, i.e., before anyone or anything or internet memes or HBO could spoil it ahead of time for you, and who didn't get to the chapter where Ned Stark died and actually believed he was dead right there and that it wasn't some kind of crazy trick or plot twist. Because the protagonist obviously can't die right there...
There are other kind of shocker moments, of course, but that one I think remains the biggest gut punch because you just don't see it coming.
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about fighting one guy with your primary hand and another with your off hand. For some reason, the guys I game with think it's cool.
Okay, so: the problem isn't that two weapon fighting is inherently silly, it's that the guys you game with are inherently silly. :)
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
All those examples are of people wielding two weapons against one target. I'm not talking about that. That's fairly realistic. What I'm talking about is the nonsense of some guy with two swords or two pistols fighting two guys at once. I see it in films all the time, and it's usually how I see the fighting style used in D&D, and it just isn't happening. Concentrating on one opponent is one thing, but on two simultaneously? No. Even IRL fighting styles that teach fighting multiple enemies teach you to go after one at a time.
So what you're saying is... people play D&D and take one hand's attacks against one enemy and the other hand's attacks against a different enemy rather than focus fire on one until they're down?
I can honestly say I've never seen someone do that, and I've seen hundreds of 2WF characters across multiple editions.
The base game should be as balanced as we can make it. If individual groups want to deviate from that and let people play crazy crap, more power to them, but the baseline should be a game in which all the players get to contribute without the GM having to go out of his way to make it happen.
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Smite's a really good ability, and the Pathfinder paladin may be the first version of a D&D paladin class that isn't either A) a trap or B) really, much better as a dip than a straight class or both -- but it's still not like it's always the paladin's time to shine.
As number of encounters per day goes up, the value of smite goes down. As the number of non-evil or morally ambiguous (e.g., casting detect evil in combat is not worth your time) enemies goes up, the value of smite goes down. As the number of enemies per encounter goes up, the vlaue of smite goes down. Etc. etc. etc.
If I was trying to find things I thought were too good or gamebreaking, the paladin wouldn't even make the list.
I have to say Wizard just because they have that much broader of a spell list (even factoring in that Witch gets some nice things that aren't on the Wizard list). There's just too much good stuff that's only on one or two Patron lists, and you only get to pick one.
I don't think the Witch is in any way a weak class and in many encounters I wouldn't be surprised to see it outperform the Wizard -- but when push comes to shove I think the Wizard is still king..
Jeranimus Rex wrote:
I would like to mention that any DM who has issues w/ hitting AC should just start rolling behind the screen and then say hit or miss depending on the die roll and not the modifiers.
Maybe "if the DM has to cheat to make it competitive, it's overpowered" should be the threshold. :P