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I have very rarely encountered a situation where immediate status removal was that important. However, YMMV.
Remove paralysis can prevent a PC from getting coup de graced if used right away. Frightened or panicked are fear conditions that are really important to get rid of right away, otherwise your ally will be out of range. Poison that does damage every round is also important to delay or neutralize ASAP. Most ability damage and lesser conditions like shaken can wait until after combat, especially since lesser restoration takes 3 rounds to cast.
Honestly, 20th level PC PVP stuff really means nothing to this argument.
Monsters usually don't have PC wealth.
But at first level, the fighter is almost guaranteed to one shot most opponents, but as time goes on, this becomes less and less true. Very interesting stuff to consider, but I'm still not convinced that you can extrapolate that the whole system favors offense because of these numbers alone.
But at those levels there are so many ways to avoid full attacks and regain HP does it really matter? Can you really say the system favors X because of those numbers?
By that same logic, is a PC just as combat effective at 1hp?
Actually the game rewards offense over defense. So if you want to be rewarded then you optimize more. more..."
If it is optimized PCs fighting unoptimized monsters, I would agree. However, if the GM also optimizes, and uses the same philosophy, does that push the game into something people would want to play?
I would say, "optimization rewards offense over defense." Optimization creates a game where PCs are required to one-shot opponents to stay relevant. In this kind of game, initiative and offense is 100%, and defense is irreverent. The GM can easily optimize monsters for similar offensive capability, however, frequently killing characters through rocket-tag is generally considered not fun by players, and is typically very disruptive to a campaign. The default for Pathfinder is that the GM is supposed to lose almost every battle, and optimization requires that lose to be immediate.
Since PCs and monsters have access to most of the same stuff, Pathfinder rules balance offense and defense fairly well, however it is fairly easy to disrupt this balance (within the rules) and encounter design and pacing can have a huge effect. Sadly, even many published adventures feature many single monster encounters or other recipes for disruption.
probably irreverent note:
In historic military terms, a strong defense defeats a strong offense, as it is generally considered more difficult to take ground then defend it. See WWI
I think this may be right. If we view it this way, is there any question at all how the rules work?
I know it's not a move, but dimounting causes me to be in a different square so is it "movement"?
Hmmm. This is a tough one.
When it comes to a question of; can I do _______ and 5ft. step? I usually ask, are you still in the same square? In the case of dismounting, you are have gone from occupying 4 squares (with the mount), to a single square. I guess if you still occupy one of the squares with your mount, you could then 5ft. step, but if you dismount adjacent to your mount, you have moved, so no 5ft. step.
Am I missing something here? Has anyone's experience really been hurt by a practical analysis of combat and a breakdown of how to build a successful group?
I think the problem is that people forget that guides like that are general advice for defeating combat encounters, or building the Most Powerful PC, not how to play the game correctly. Viewing these guides as anything more then opinion is a recipe for problems, especially when much of the advice is about winning combats, not enjoying the game. The guides themselves often contain some text or fine print about using the advice sparingly (or not in a real game), but it is often overwhelmed by the rest of the text.
Any time you use generalities, especially ones that are supposedly based on the "math" of the rules systems, to advise people how their PC best operates, you are on really shaky ground. When you are talking about assigning "roles" or "jobs" to PCs in a game where they are supposed to be personalities, you rub many people the wrong way. Getting told that your character is doing it wrong because he isn't "tanking", "striking", "hammering" or whatever turns people off to that playstyle and sometimes the game itself.
The problem with guides and optimization, arise when people fail to separate Theoretical Optimization from Practical Optimization. One is about stretching/breaking the rules system, the other is about enjoying the game.
I take it from the drugs text that you either can't coat your weapons, or more likely that it follows the same rules for injury poisons (on a "1" you poison yourself.)
Like most rule systems that are added after the core rules and monster books are written, I think it require GM discretion to blend it into the game system in a logical way. I think it would be fair to say that poisons=drugs in terms of effects such as spells and immunities and such, or create spells such as delay drugs, neutralize drugs etc. Either way, it should be consistent and balanced by the GM, not the letter of rules that were written before "drugs" existed in the game system.
PRD: "An arcane spellcaster who augments his magical skills with combat to create a deadly combination of weapons and magic."
Oh, hold on, you already used your swift action to use arcane strike? You would need another swift action to use spell critical, then a third swift action to use arcane armor training...
I think perhaps EK is set up a little too broadly to satisfy what many people are looking for. I suspect people want a class that is about turning arcane abilities into attacking power, rather then maintaining full access to the wizard spell list. I think many people want a magus, or soulknife or whatever, rather then an old school fighter/magic-user.
*That does open the door for some options that let the EK focus on polymorphing, rather then weapons and armor, but I think that is a separate character concept, and not what people think of as a 'knight'.
5, tempered by 10.
Martials seem to rule for levels 1-3, then for many levels the balance seems to work out fine. After 10th level, things steadily start to favor the full casters.
We have an agreement to not use a lot of save-or-suck/die and action denial builds on both side of the screen. That goes a long way towards keeping balance and preventing rocket tag.
Sorry Jiggy, but you are missing all kinds of little details like the EK starting with a 1 BAB, and weapon focus, so unbuffed, he is +2 ahead of the other two (who could bet weapon focus at level 3. They can each spend a round buffing to be -1/+1 from where the EK walks around unbuffed. He also has many more options of race, weapons, deity, etc.
Most of the levels the EK is down in BAB, he has options like mirror image, that put him in much better shape then the cleric, and access to the entire wizard spell list, which give him versatility that blows the bard out of the water.
But really this is all boiling down to +1 or +2 at mid levels. Not a big deal, especially since the EK is probably a transmuter, and can walk around with +2 to strength due to school ability. And since he made his own belts and headbands and other wondrous item crap (from his wiz bonus feat and rocken spellcraft), this stuff means very little. Seriously, who cares about +2 when the EK can get 5 attacks per round +4 to str and NA, pounce, 40' move, scent and grab? with ONE SPELL. And he can cast that spell 4 times a day!
Again, the EK is probably a little worse then battle bard or battle cleric, at least at a few levels, (As most agree it should be) but I just don't see why a point or two here or there really matters in unoptimized play. Most of this stuff boils down to the difference of a single feat, item, or 1st level spell, so it is REALLY INSIGNIFICANT!
I really don't care what classes are 'best' at something, especially when people start using optimized wizards as their base. Many people have made claims that the EK is garbage, or worthless, or whatever, but nothing has shown the class unable to function at its APL.
And I'd need some quite formidable evidence before I ascribed that to lack of rules understanding on his part.
I would say that if your goal is to create a "magical swordsman" EK would not be your best option. I would also say, that if you like being a wizard, but would like to be a lot better at attacking things, a EK is pretty decent. Much less powerful then a straight wizard, but still a competent character.
PS If you want to struggle as an EK, I played one toward the tail end of 3.5 (core only) until about 15th level. THAT was painful!
No. The EK can hit because it is EASY to hit most CR 1/4 - 4 monsters. Even if you are power attacking.
Honestly, if you think hitting things at low level is difficult, you need to spend some time checking the charts in the back of the Bestiary.
20 doesn't become the average AC until CR 7! With true strike I can essentially auto hit most CR 11 opponents, while power attacking, at level 3.
In what universe does True Strike replace Str investment, especially at low levels?
I never made that claim. I would invest in strength in any character who was going to melee. But I don't need an 18 or 20 strength to kick ass at low levels. If I swing a glaive, greatsword or whatever, and power attack, I'm going to do great for the first several levels of the game. If I do need more strength, I just cast bulls strength, and there is my 18 or 20. While the fighter tops out there, I have the option of casting true strike a couple of times (12.5 gp a scroll) so I can power attack the guy in full plate with cover, and I'm essentially guaranteed to hit.
EDIT: I don't need all those buffs to keep up. I keep up well enough with a two handed martial and power attack. Once I start casting mirror image I'm a much better tank then almost any martial in most situations. IF, and I say IF here, I need more power, I have the option to get it. Most of the time I do great without it. Once my martial skills do start to fall behind to the point where I might struggle, I laugh and laugh, because I'M A WIZARD. If it is too tough to fight, I just end the encounter with a save or suck spell. BECAUSE I'M mostly THE MOST POWERFUL CLASS IN THE GAME!
If you want to compare a fighter in platemail swinging away to an EK with mirror image and perhaps a bulls strength, you will not find that much difference. THE PURE FIGHTER IS BETTER AT FIGHTING. The EK is fully able to contribute his share to the success of the party in a fight.
I'm not ignoring ability scores, I happily bypassing the need for them. I care less about Dex because I have mirror image and half a dozen other buffs that prevent damage. I care less about Con because I have false life, and ways to get temp HP. I care less about Strength because I have bulls strength, true strike, etc. etc. Walking around and in the first round of combat, I'm weaker then the fighter. With a round or two of buffing, I can do most things well better then him. I'm worse then the wizard as well, but I don't care because I don't need to be as good as a wizard, (even one a level or two behind) to hit above my APL.
Please point me to where Jiggy said that an EK is not a functional character?
If I were writing a guide for optimizing the wizard, I would say that caster levels are king. No doubt. That is optimizing 101, and 102 as well.
But the thing is, as a EK, I start off the game great! I'm a martial with power attack and a two handed weapon! YEEE HAW! At second level, I still kick ass because I'm power attacking away and my will save is even improved! I probably still wear armor, but I have some wizard school SLAs that still function. What do you know, true strike even still functions in armor! So do wands! Pretty soon, I'm power attacking while mirror imaged, and I have a pile of scrolls for weird situations. I have a bonded item, or a familiar who boosts a save or some other cool effect. Around 5th level I'm just one caster level behind, but still able to function perfectly well as a fighter, or caster. I could even pick up point blank shot and another ranged feat or two. Level 7 or 8, yeah a little bit of a bummer to be 2 CL back, but I'm one tough wizard, and HOLY CRAP I have craft wondrous item (as a bonus feat!) and a whooping spellcraft! But wait, even if I don't craft, make an attack roll or fortitude save, I'M STILL ABLE TO BEAT APL+2 encounters fairly easily! I haven't been sucking or paying dues, I've been able to hit above my APL THE WHOLE TIME!
If being a wizard was hard or frustrating, you would have some great points, but it is just the opposite. If you can function well enough as a wizard 5 commoner 2, being a F1/W5/EK1 is perfectly serviceable. Is it better then a melee bard, or melee cleric? Probably not in many ways, but definitely better in some. That means it is an acceptable character build.
I'm not trying to pick on you personally Rynjin, but using your posts for quoting because they seem to get a lot of favorites, and you seem to sum up what many others are saying as well.With all do respect, if you can't build a functional character because you are a wizard with higher BAB, more HP, improved saves, etc, but two caster levels behind, you should do more research before giving advice on how the game should work.
Prestige classes could probably use a little boost, specifically allowing earlier entry. I don't think there is really any disagreement about that. But in the context of the ruling on SLAs, people complaining that they can't build a decent character says more about their understanding then it says about the rules and game balance.
So what? The Bard is the weakest full casting class (meaning full caster level) but bards kick ass, and most people thoroughly enjoy playing them. Don't get me wrong Jiggy, I greatly respect your knowledge of the game, and agree with most of what you say on the subject. I just don't buy the argument that PrCs, specifically EK and MT can't be totally viable participants in the game as designed. If you say EK is worse then other "gish" options, I might not disagree, but to say that they can't carry their weight is ridiculous.
A wizard can practically solo many APL+2 encounters. I can add two levels of commoner, and still kick ass. Why all this crying about being denied early entry into these PrCs? Your being "forced" to take levels in THE MOST POWERFUL CLASS IN THE GAME!
PS Take that 6th level of wizard BEFORE that first level of EK.
You miss that EKs and MTs are significantly BETTER then if you had kept going with the multi-classes that allowed you to fulfill the entry requirements.
Yes, you are LESS powerful then a single class SAD full caster. Just like EVERY OTHER CLASS in the game. However less powerful does not equal "garbage" or unplayable.
Define ability to participate at an adequate level in the game.
Contribute approx 25% of required effort to defeat an APL-1, APL 0, APL+1, and APL+2 encounters (or some other variation) before resting.I believe MOST people who post frequently on these message boards could build a Fighter/Wizard, or Cleric/Wizard, or whatever who could fulfill that requirement. I think the few who could not could easily do it with access to the PRCs. It would be a little harder with the Rogue/Wizard, or Arcane Trickster, but not much.
Yes you have TONS of spells as a MT. Do they have saves or allow SR? If so you might as well not learn them because they will not land. Your lowered progression and MAD stats mean that you are much less likely to have a DC or CL check that matters.
If it were true that you NEEDED a high DC or that beating SR was a huge struggle, you would have a good point. But the math of the game just does not back up your statements. Beating monsters weak saves is EASY even for lower level spells and beating (or avoiding) SR is also just not that hard. Really, things are not as difficult as you make them out to be.
All of the same statements could be made about any multi-class character who has some martial and some magic, but they are all over the place and seem to work fine in the game. Why are PrCs sooooo much worse that people are saying that they are "garbage" and such?
Are people really unable to handle level appropriate encounters with PrC characters? Does having to do a couple levels of some casting class instead of picking a drow or whatever really ruin your ability to participate at an adequate level in the game?
PrCs work just fine, they are just not that among the "more powerful" options, but if that is REALLY important to you, just play a full caster. There are many to choose from. Your complaints seem to be about not being able to access what is openly known to be a lesser option (PrCs), based on the reversal of a temporary FAQ (SLAs), and the requirement to take a few levels of what are generally considered the most powerful classes in the game, instead of selecting specific races.
The real issue is that Prestige Classes are invalidated again.
Since the game is about having fun, the classes could only be invalid if you could not have fun. I would say that being a sidekick or obviously very inferior to the other PCs, would qualify as "not fun", but honestly the current versions of the PrCs are not even close to sidekick status. They might not be AS good as straight classes (its no secret they were never intended to be AS good) but they are seem capable of participating in CR appropriate challenges.
Perhaps you could explain why you can't have fun playing an EK, Trickster, or MT? Why can't they handle encounters intended for their level?
How often? (If you don't mind my asking.)
I'm guessing he is asking how often you have encounters that push the players to the brink. I have found that is only fun for something like 10%-20% of encounters. More then that, and it pushes the players to feel they need to optimize to survive. It also requires that the players take the only options that will get them out of extreme circumstances, which in a way limits player choice of how to play their characters. I recommend that most fights are fairly easy (APL+1) by the CR system, but can become high risk due to dice, party composition, player mistakes, etc.
You're not going to score points with the IronHard Dice Nazi crowd. :)
I think this is something I need to address, as there are very different opinions..
-IronHard Dice Nazi crowd - Or "GM roles in the open crowd" function as I described in the original post.
If a Pathfinder player has a great idea, it should work. It shouldn't be hostage to the outcome of a d20 roll.
Do you apply that to opposed roles such as in a combat situation? Or is it a more general statement about dictating the story? Perhaps an example might help?
I was going to title this thread, "what is fun in life", but I worried everyone would answer with variations of the three things Conan listed. While crushing your enemy and seeing him driven before you is no doubt fun, after a while, hearing the lamentations of the women isn't as fun as it first sounds.
In an attempt to write an optimization guide, I'm trying to learn more about how and why people enjoy the game. Please read over the following lists, and tell me if anything is missing, or if you agree or disagree.
IMPORTANT: This thread is for expressing opinions about what you enjoy. DO NOT POST TO TELL SOMEONE THAT THEY ARE HAVING BADWRONGFUN! You are welcome to express how you have fun or not but don't argue or even debate how someone else has fun!
As a player, I have fun:
GMs enjoy the game for different reasons then players.
* GM, and even player "Cheating" (i.e. ignoring dice rolls) is a highly debatable topic. Like all issues, discuss it beforehand, and come to a consensus on how your group views it.
Note: I would like this thread to be about how you have fun, not things that ruin your fun. I would also like to keep this as general as possible, so that these ideas about fun can be applied broadly to many situations.
Again, this is a thread for people to express how they have fun. Don't tell another poster that they are doing it wrong.
What is so important about fun?:
I am starting this thread because I am working on a guide for optimizing the game for FUN! You can see it by clicking on my profile. It is a work in progress, so please keep this thread about fun for now.
There is Barkhad Abdi from the movie Captain Philips. There was a caricature of a black villain in Blackhawk Down, a whole movie about white people fighting black people. Speaking of white guys going to fight black people..., if we go all the way back to 1980, there is Dogs of War, starring Christopher Walken, and XM-18.
"Black cat is bad luck, bad guys wear black, must have been a white guy who started all that... "
EDIT: Oh yeah, and Clubber Lang and Apollo Creed from the Rockey series, but I can't remember when they were villains and when they were good guys...
I still reject the idea that core only prevents power gaming. Power gamers are going to powergame, whether it is the beginner box or everything ever printed. If you want to prevent power gaming, talk to your players.
I think power gaming makes expansion material much more needed because very few options are viable for a high powered game. I can get more usable options by dialing back the optimization and power then adding a bunch of books were only a handful of options are fit for X-treme play.
The short answer is that the game is designed for fun, not optimization. Optimization bends/breaks the game. The GM can adapt to this, and run a sort of Pathfinder Hard Mode, but it requires a lot of work, and system mastery and produces a game that might not be fun for people to play. I recommend making your character versatile, not a specialist, and ask yourself if your character choices are going to result in fun for the other players and the GM.
Note: I started a rough draft about this topic you can find by clicking on my profile. So far it is just the introduction, but I think it addresses your questions.
But I don't think core is more balanced then later books, it just has less options. The general complaint is that full casters hit well above the APL after the mid levels. Thankfully Paizo didn't just powercreep everyone up to the level of a god wizard, and make the CR system a joke. The additional books are based on the APL/CR system, and with a few exceptions (some summoner stuff, gunslinger stuff, slumber hex, dazing spell,etc.) it is balanced.
Once you accept that the game isn't balanced for optimized play, you then need to establish a power baseline. You can either use the CR system the game is designed around and bring the casters down a peg or you can throw it out and up the power of every other class. Since the expansion books do neither of these things, they aren't the cause or solution to power inbalance.
Core-only PF is the worst kind of PF. It's a world where the Wizard, Cleric and Druid are the godkings of adventurerkind, and the Fighter, Monk and Rogue are so laughably useless that they'll be lucky to be kept around as pack mules.
Or you could just try not powergaming the hell out of your full casters, and you might find the game works a little better. YMMV
Somewhere there is a thread where Evil Lincoln (I think) rated all the feats.
But yeah, how you make a character depends what you want to do.
I should warn you, "optimized" playing often means lots of anti-climatic "rocket tag" encounters, and enforces a fairly limited amount of options. And no matter what you do, if your GM just wants to one-up your character with his monsters and DMPC, he can just do that. Hopefully your GM is just learning to balance his encounters, (a fine art), and things will improve as time goes on.