Banning entire books is... unwise. That's the politically correct term right?
If you really MUST, though, ban the Core.
Core is where the most unbalanced, broken classes, spells and feats are. All the stuff about caster supremacy, Manyshot, and so on and so forth? It's all core. Use the APG, UC, UM, Mythic... But no Wizard, no Cleric, no Druid, no Fighter[at the other end of the uh, spectrum]... No poor fool gets stuck being the rogue.
If you didn't want to bother reading all those new other books, you probably didn't read the CRB enough to see what's really in there either. Don't want to have to think and calculate? Ban core stuff without your explicit per-case-basis permission for racials and feats, and trust the players to handle themselves using the other stuff. If you want full casting types, what's left plus, say, the DSP Psionics books will do you very well.
Ain't gonna see THAT anytime soon as a PFS regulation eh?
That's not true at all. Choices can be a matter of taste, damage type, combat style, situational effectiveness, and so on. "EXACTLY THIS EXCEPT CRAP" doesn't actually need to be there for things to be worth it.
For example, a weapon could have disarm bonuses instead of trip, reach or not reach [given in this game reach has its own drawbacks], x3 vs 19-20/x2. Slashing vs Piercing, even light vs heavy are all there as options, although TWF vs 2h power-attacking is also a bad choice right now.
The weapon tables don't really offer much in terms of choice compared to the size of said tables precisely BECAUSE several combat styles are no good and a vast amount of weapons in the list are in and of themselves no good as well.
"Martial Proficiency" is default to numerous classes, bows [at least short ones, which quickly outpace heavy crossbows at moderate strength scores] are available to all but certain full casters, and even all this assumes you specifically chose a race and class that had no such ability and is likely BAB 10 at 20th. Half-Trained Warrior NPCs can use bows no problem. Any wizard with the right racial traits OR certain character traits can use a bow, if for some reason they wanted to. OR you can use certain magical items to skip the requirement as well.
It's worth half a feat at most, and instead gets tossed around as the reason something should, nay, MUST apparently be half the capacity of the other at the best.
If that were truly the case most exotic weapons would actually be worth it, rather than worse versions of a martial weapon.
Requiring greater training did not automatically mean it was a better weapon, either anyways. The simplicity of use of crossbows [and later firearms] was, in and of itself, a large development. Kind of like if people one day realized they didn't really need to juggle three hamster wheels to open their garage door when they could just grab and push it up.
Besides, "But it's fantasy", especially given the setting, automatically brings up "so why aren't there automatic mechanical crossbows then?", not that a 5 round magazine is realistic either - those things had very bad range but also at least ten shots.
That shows either a lack of knowledge of the mechanics, or blatant favoritism by design.
The Heavy Crossbow is equal to a Composite Longbow with 12 strength.
1d10 is a one point difference with 1d8.
Sure, we could say that's for game balance, but then is it really balance to let the bow hit harder AND fire faster AND do both of these with less feat and training requirements?
We certainly can't be saying anything about "because realism" when bows don't require years of training to even use half-assedly on indirect massed volley-fire and a 400lb draw composite longbow not only exists [and in temperate climates at that] can fire giant-felling shots at 300 yards as quickly as those tiny no-draw things in the constantly linked-to youtube videos can put holes in cardboard at 15 feet.
In fact the crossbow should have smaller range increments than bows as well - the shorter, stockier bolts didn't fly as far as well.
Peter Stewart wrote:
Even a cursory examination of a high level martial character shows they possess abilities that go well beyond what is realistically possible by any stretch of the imagination. To borrow from another post I made...
I'm not saying they succeeded properly in any way, just that that is the 'intent' whenever there's a not-full-caster screwjob in the rules.
What I don't understand is how in a world with things that can lift a thousand times their weight [without being ants], flying dragons, giant mechanoids and MAGIC AND ACTUAL GODS, what is "realistic" is still based on real life as opposed to something more consistent with the world they're in.
You'd think fighters with unnatural abilities matching what they fight, crossbows with a higher tech level than "basic early greek models, and even then let's not be TOO realistic as those draw weights might actually hurt something you aim it at, unlike the water balloons we want these to be beneath in power" and, oh, I dunno, the modern guns being easier to reload than the ancient 'jam that powder in, buddy' ones would exist within this setting.
How is "realistic" on Golarion ANYTHING related to earth instead of Monster Hunter or the such? How is only "You CAST magic, specifically CAST spells" the only thing that gets to go above and beyond real life?
Even with twin revolvers sounds like the 'slinger player went and did his best on the build [or read and found out double pistolero was as good as it gets for guns] and the others didn't think too hard about what they want to do.
This is quite true. Proper optimization is less often complained about because your damage doesn't spike across the heavens. But proper optimization involves recognizing diminishing returns, or just plain when you're about to shoot yourself in the foot.
A well optimized character won't necessarily be the top DPR slot in the party, or the highest AC... If the rest of the group really IS quite bad at it perhaps, but more likely he'll end up in a solid second place in several things and middling in the rest, rather than first in one and last in six others. Versatility, Survivability, Output, all of these things are good, but all of these things together is better.
I would point out that a significant reason for a lack of "damn those non-optimizers" on forums/threads is very simple: People don't view it like that.
If one character was vastly outpacing the others, enough that someone gets bothered, it's because "he was a damn dirty munchkin".
If someone's just the opposite, the complaint is still there, but it's worded differently:
When characters are too strong, it's "those bastards on the charop boards". When characters are worthless liabilities that a party would throw out the airlock at the first opportunity [or maybe find a way to "settle him down" and out of danger maybe if they're LG], we just shrug it off as the player being worthless.
But they're kind of the same spectrum in reality.
On the other hand, if they're playing PFS, how many sessions and PPs are just plain gone?
Whether a king or your organization's recruiter, there's always a long list of people more than willing to tell you that whatever has things they want or is interfering with them is baby-eating monsters who want nothing less than to destroy everything you've ever loved and stood for.
Tell them they're being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing their country to danger.
Many of the worst atrocities are carried out by people who genuinely believe they are committing "good", or protecting their loved ones from "evil".
Makes things rather subjective huh? If the characters honestly believed they were destroying 'evil'.... was it evil? was it not evil?
... You know, I see nothing in the called shot rules that would prevent a scatter or automatic weapon from making a[A?] called shot. You DO target regular AC, MAYBE [it's not actually an RTA, so "resolved against Touch AC" by RAW probably still works], and you still have your scatter/auto penalties and all, but you do get to ignore the boosted concealment and the such to make up for it.
Rust Monsters had an amazing way of scaring the bloody crap out of most of the party then and there.
I've seen parties charge dragons they're nowhere ready for, but a rust monster? THAT sends them charging right the other way.
Again though, it's not the possibility of equipment destruction. It's the accompanying high likelihood that between WBL, "we-only-get-our-equipment-through-dumb-luck" and other limitations, you might not be able to get a replacement. Ever. And for classes that depend on their equipment [ie every not-caster out there] that's a permanent axing of class abilities, just in a different 'form'.
Some games that use point-purchases explain the idea well: Temporary losses are fine; often even the point/limitation of items as an ability, but if you've paid for the thing with those same character points, you expect to either get it back eventually, OR the gm gives you your CP/XP/Whateversinuse back.
I'm reminded of old GM advice. If, for example, PCs are asked to leave their weapons/equipment at the door for some formal meeting, and you use that to just get rid of a couple of pieces here and there, chances are that's the last time those players play nice that way. Real bloodbath afterwards, and they'll be looking for whatever whomever is in there waiting to meet them may have left behind.
edit: Jeremy, I think most of us understand that if the goal HAD been to make 'a weaker wizard', we'd have a wizard, just as broken, and then artificially nerfed in a few points. Psion doesn't play like that.
Now, some people do, and this is where the arguing came along, believe that it is somewhow more versatile AND more powerful AND better-scaling than a First-Tier Full-Caster. That much isn't true. Not a problem since even those classes shouldn't be that high up in the fist place, just sayin.
A possible issue might be handwaving the rules for such things. It's not above some gm's to just go "he shatters your sword", instead of being willing to "bother" with all that "minutiae" like the weapon's enchantment-modified hardness and hp, or even sometimes the player's CMD.
No particular axe to grind, but giving them out as examples.
To the martial classes, losing your big magical weapon IS the same as suddenly being told "only cantrips work now" or "your god's too dead/far/sealed/etc to give you spells any more". Sure you still have cantrips or can still channel energy, but you've still just lost a lot of class abilities. You're spayed, neutered, and probably no better than the pet of whomever's not in such a situation.
And keep in mind it goes past +5. But even then, that +3 replacement won't work against many DRs, is less accurate, and so on. To someone who depends on the stats modified by gear, that stuff all adds up, and fast, especially as the ACs and all you're facing assume you're swinging that +5 around.
So like I said; if you're going to have a not-wizard have to work hard to get a replacement weapon, you should be just as willing to have a wizard have to work hard to get his magic to work again, or the cleric to revive his lost god, as all of those are pretty even levels of "this is gonna be a bloody quest".
After all, if he wants to afford a new sword, there's probably a dragon's horde involved to pay for it.
Ingenwulf: The problem is that gear IS an integral part of your abilities.
This isn't an issue if you're a wizard: A full caster has ALL his class abilities even if naked - gear is just boosters to them. Yay class balance huh.
This is NOT the case for, say, a Fighter or Barbarian or Rogue - non-casters are completely dependent on their gear. They cannot keep up. If you don't have that +5 sword, you're not just +5 damage down. Your accuracy just got shot, your damage is down way more [as suddenly DR actually works like you were some hapless town guard against that dragon] than just by that, and you've probably lost one or two special abilities.
So keep that in mind; the amount of extra work they need to do to get back to how they were is no different from all the questing you hopefully also expect from that mage to get his spellcasting back.
You DID also have the cleric's god tell the cleric to go f*** himself as a result of someone else's curse or something at some point too, right?
Wealth is a significant part of characters. Especially the weapon. Without it, you're suddenly behind by the Enhancement bonus, Feat bonuses, and [not for a bard] Training or Favored Weapon bonuses...
As far as monsters and CR are concerned, your equipment's right there with all your other stats and abilities.
S*~! happens. Characters deal with it. The real problem is when there's no replacement. A GM might look at the WBL and go "but you'd be WAY over if they ever got replacements". Or might think "they should have protected it better, it's their fault". Or they just flat out, depending on the campaign style, have no chance to ever replace it. Just use that +2 dagger you found last week, battle-axe guy. That's no different, ESPECIALLY for a non-caster [so slightly less bad for a bard, but still quite bad] from just saying they've now lost their class abilities.
How do casters feel upon finding out they'll be spending the next adventure or two in a dead-magic-even-those-other-spells/metas-that-usually-ignore-that-won't-wor k zone? Pretty f***ing worthless and wondering why they're even sitting at your bloody table, right?
As long as you don't happily scrap their stuff permanently with no hope of ever getting replacements [especially on the customized stuff], it's probably okay. As shown above Make Whole won't be any help.
Worth remembering that magical items are VERY difficult to seriously damage, though it's certainly possible when dealing against massive melees. A sunder by some random guard'll probably just end in him breaking his own sword on your staff.
Power Point Augmentation follows the manifester limit [TOTAL PP one wants to spend] but an important part of this is that you're no longer "casting a 1st level spell". You're going to have to remember that when someone complains that the third level power is now acting like a 6th level spell just because the manifester put in an extra 13PP in there [18's just over a 9th level slot in resource use].
This is also that specific power's manifester level, NOT your highest or the total. If I learned energy missile as a fifth level kineticist and then gain twelve levels of psychic warrior, my energy missile can only be cast with a total of 5PPs.
Where Magic Missile, Fireball and friends all gain damage dice just for being a higher level caster, you pay for this, actively, dynamically, with psionic powers. Powers don't get a free ride in most cases. Those that do are already more expensive and higher level than the exact-same-thing in a real caster's repertoire.
If you tell us what class he wants we can tell you tons.
Overall, nothing he does is going to be as much of a worry as what the Cleric/Wizard/Druids/theusualreally can do, even as a full Psion.
HOWEVER, they ARE different classes, they DO have different tricks and abilities, and so you CAN get caught quite off-guard. Kinda like how so many people [and adventure paths] call "up the normal AC a few points" an increase in difficulty and then wonder why nothing changed at all for the gunslinger or ray-slinger.
When everyone knows the rules well though, they're very nicely balanced... one warning though; classes in the middle do make the really bad stuff in core look really bad. Core's got the most broken stuff BOTH ways after all. Sorry rogues, Cryptics be pretty cool.
Base range of a longbow is fifth increment for that pistol, or third on a musket. They're only hitting Touch AC in their first increment, and the weapon can't keep up without that so you GO there.
Gunslingers are dealing with more melee than other ranged characters.
and can potentially never stop at all.
Until they run out of Power Points. Surge Blast ain't too hot at higher levels, even with the archetype. "Infinite" is little help though, as "Level/Day" is already plenty. This is a similar false-boon as the Warlock had in 3.5; by the time infinite is an advantage over slot or prepared casters, the party as a whole, warlock inculded, is dead a few times over without said casters supporting them.
The dread class I feel is an archetype that gets too much. The "it doesn't ignore mindless immunities" etc clarification is good, but it needs to be in the d20pfsrd, or a FAQ note with it since that's where alot reference psionics, specifically when a GM is playing a game where he's allowed a character to play it but the gm doesn't own the books themselves....
Illiteracy or not bothering to read all the rules let alone applying them is NOT the fault of those who wrote the books. There's a lot designers are to be blamed for in game design but USER ERROR ain't one. You don't get to ignore immunities you're not listed as being able to ignore. I don't get to ignore immunity to holy damage just because nothing's written on my paladin that says I can't.
And again, it doesn't indicate that ignores immune to fear only applies to a trait "immune to fear"
Creatures that are normally immune to fear lose that immunity while within 10 feet of a dread with this ability. This ability functions only while the dread remains conscious, not if she is unconscious or dead.
Never indicated, right.
If you did a survey of wizards, you'd find that few if any ever use much more than 34 different spells in their entire career, and that if they do those spells were easily substituted by one of 34 spells
CITATION NEEDED, but also "what part of as many damn spells as they want to bloody know and/or come up with" is too complicated to understand? Also CITATION NEEDED.
Sounds like it at first glance eh?
Now we throw in the penalties and drawbacks of each experiment... There's not that many class abilities out there that come with extra drawbacks.
Spoiler:You get to pick a pistol or a musket. You can rebuild it later. But that's it. Starter pistol or starter musket. Would be pretty good an archetype if you could apply to other weapons, but as is... meh.
"At 1st level, an experimental gunsmith begins play with an experimental firearm. This acts as the gunslinger's gunsmith ability, but the firearm the experimental gunsmith begins with has one innovation (see below). Further, the experimental gunsmith is treated as having the Gunsmithing feat, but only in regard to his beginning firearm (or the construction of a replacement firearm of the same design, if the original is lost)."
Between the players can be one of the good party-bonding/creation activities that gets you a group that really works well together. Whoever's really good or particularly enjoys optimizing should help those with difficulty to get what they WANT to do as good as it gets.
Don't stop the rogue from being a crossbow sniper if he wants to be, but use that knowledge to help him almost be useful with that theme.
The trick with optimization is that it lets you be perfectly viable if you DON'T make all the "right" choices. That's where it's real good; letting you play what you want while still being good at what you do.
You might have to optimize a LOT for your monk or soulknife to keep up with the Ranger and Magus in the party [let alone real casters] but if you DO do so, then more 'casual' builds are going to be on even footing with you, and everybody's happy.
There's actually the other end of the spectrum - I know a handful that actively believe that any choice NOT worse than other choices is nothing but some mad power grab of 'rollplayers'. One of these would play a quadraplegic Wizard if he could be sure that none of his spells will ever NOT need somatic and material components. No, he ain't planning to ever touch 'still spell'. Being sh** at EVERYTHING YOU DO EVER is the real secret to roleplaying, stormwind, yadda yadda yadda.
Society Games are a high investment, moderate return style of gaming. You don't want to lose your character, and the limit of options to the most broken [in each direction] stuff means there can be a serious divide between optimized and trash. It's only natural [not necessarily righteous or even good sportsmanship] that people are going to take big issue with someone they view as weighing the party down and risking the life of their investment through an incorrect selection of feats/levels/race/skills and abilities.
Bow Wielders become powerful regardless of class. Mastering the Bow in pathfinder requires a couple of feats. Same as any melee weapon.
A Gunslinger needs those same feats [plus reloading, minus manyshot they just can't get] but ALSO only matches up in what he can do thanks to picking a specific class whose abilities are designed around letting the trap-option-not-bow catch up to the bow.
A Crossbowman needs even more feats, but despite them still is behind the others.
Here, I'll disect it a little more:
Prepared to Shoot [ex]: At 11th level [so far so good]
you can prepare to shoot for 3 rounds as a standard action
First snag. Do you PREPARE with three rounds of standard actions to fire once? Do you prepare to fire the same combined deed for three rounds with one standard action?
By doing this you can combine two deeds and make them into one
fixed the spelling but this leaves us a few questions:1} can't you ALREADY use multiple deeds so long as you've got the cost covered? I know I can Dead Shot and Bleeding-Wound normally, the limitation is usually the Action Economy.
Which leads us to 2} What are the actual limitations on here? Can you combine and use any two different Full-Round deeds? Or only a Move and a Standard? Two frees? What IS this ability actually giving us?
Crossbows are questionable. You CAN fire one that's the wrong size, at a hefty penalty [one-handed penalty with both hands plus wrong size penalty], but even with vital strike that's pretty s%!$ty damage compared to bows. As in "a small fraction of at best". But it's two-handed to reload. Which is now bigger than what you can hold.
A wizard has 36 spell slots
Several of those prior to his day are divinations that tell him exactly what the GM is planning [sorry dude, wizzy's gotta know].
He then prepares 18ish spell slots [of his only 36? we're tossing the psion a bone here?] with exactly the kinds of things he'll want or think he needs, knowing with total accuracy that that white dragon is secretly a red dragon with magic paint, protected by seventeen lightning-immune kobolds that fry as well as they freeze.
He points out the pit trap trigger on the way, saw the rogue fall to his death in the process and decided he liked seeing her walk in front of him enough to do something about that DESPITE the whole dealie with selling that ring she totally never found last week.
Meanwhile the GM is on the floor, huddled in a little ball, weeping and remembering the days when people just wanted to mother****ing BLAST with their magic users, because fireballs were cool. He's hugging that Psion's leg, because the psion made a character that does exactly that. All nice and safe despite the versatility.
Feel free to swap out 'wizard' for cleric or druid there, though the druid's more than ready to rip out something's face with his bear hands if he has to.
The Wilder can go high nova. But he's not a Psion.
The Psion is just about a Sorcerer but with less gamebreaker tricks. But he's not a Wilder.
And if your Wizard isn't absolutely chock-full of spells between the freebies at level up and every damn scroll or spellbook you come across, you have never done something more 'wrong' than you have just played a wizard there.
edit: oh and research. let's not forget the customs he's developed.
Seriously. If your wizard has only fifty or so spells by level 20, either your GM hates you in a terminal fashion that could make for an awesome climactic scene in a movie when you both finally have your final duel, or we've got a literacy issue here.
Which you still have just eleven of.
Now go read that Dreamscarred link, and then go spend a nice, increasingly uncomfortable evening rolling up clerics, druids and/or wizards and trying to optimize them as best you can.
I'll give you your first hint: Gods Worship the school of Conjuration.
As in they get on their knees and pray to it in hopes that invisible magical men high above the earth [invisibility/flight] will grant them the boons of its amazingness. Or summon something that does exactly that under their explicit orders.
Sometimes their prayers come true and a level 6ish wizard decides to act for them.
Didn't think we'd end up posting that twice in one thread...
Iantzev: If you put 11 extra points into psionic sleep, you oughta be [quite unfavorably] comparing it to the LEVEL THREE spell "Deep Slumber"... In fact, I pointed this out earlier. Specifically, that spell among others.
Which leads me to start thinking whatever old version of the PFSRD you have access to has a significant PEBCAK issue.
Wild Surges cover some augmentation for free, which yes is awesome, but powers known are extremely limited, and ONLY the surge part of augmentation is given for free [it even raises the manifester level so you NEVER break the PPmax=ML limitation].
They certainly CAN nova. But that's at a cost [you can deal with that] and a great cost in versatility [that, you'll have to deal with].
Again those combos are, seriously, things the 'real casters' [that's cleric/druid/wizard/sorcerer/oracle and sometimes witch magus and summoner] can do.
They, like with the little Energy Adaptation vs Energy Resist deal, can usually do so AS easily, but if not, they do so earlier [lower spell level], easier [less stacking with the metas], or just plain more powerfully for the same, or less, total daily resource % expenditure as a Psion can.
And yes, Wilders are the lords of Nova techs. A two-fight-then-full-rest GM is going to feel a little brutalized when the guy dynamically scales his PP-burn rate to match the lack of threats - though be aware that a true caster could do even worse, they just tend not to want to bother or risk it.
Again, the difference is that the strongest psionics abilities are kind of... honest about it. It's there, it's staring you in the face, and it's pretty much outright saying "you will be HUGE. YOU WILL CLEAVE HUGE EVIL. CLEAVE AND SMITE", and so it's easy to go "oh. HUGE".
Meanwhile the Cleric of Oz is shutting the hells up in hopes people will forget that he puts all of those other classes beneath him to shame. Just think of the 'hidden' quality of the strongest caster abilities/combos as MMO players in the top classes being very very quiet about their game performance in hopes it gets mistaken for "no need to nerf, if that class is quiet that means they suck and need a buff not hammer to the face".
It sure as **** worked in between editions of d20 and derivatives... Think about the Cancer Mage, and how infinite MUSCLE MAGIC passed editing no problem, but "a crossbow might end up doing half the damage of his longbow because tons of feats vs he-took-none" will have those involved fired and their families shot.
Augmentation is just the term for pumping additional points into it. The limit is always your current manifester level, IN THE CLASS that you got that specific power from.
So if you're Psion 10 Psychic Warrior 10, and you manifest a power, even if both have the power available to them, you're either level 10 or level 10, depending upon whether you learned the power from gaining a level in PsyWar or in Psion. So your maximum, given your manifester levels in either are 10, is 10PP on the power.
Doesn't matter that you are level 20, 10 is your limit. A torque of power preservation will make that cost 9 after the limit, which is nice, but 10 points is the limit.
You only have a single source, as well. So your power pool, OR a cognizance crystal, OR that other cognizance crystal, OR a dull grey ioun... And as you can only use a single source, if those are smaller than your manifester level limit, well them's the breaks. If all you have is one point in the source, a 1pp TOTAL power is all you can do there if you use that source. And yes, if that's not enough to activate a power, you are just plain screwed.
It does not state you cannot combine two of the same deed. That's wording in the rules you wrote that needs adjusting if that's what you intend.
As you have it written, I take three rounds and a standard action to be allowed to 'combings' two deeds [any two deeds?] as a full round action so long as I have one grit point the entire time. Maybe.
I understand your intent a bit better now, but the wording of the rules has to match that as well.
I also, just so you know, fully agree with the need to have big fat crossbow single hits. Because they're fun.
At such levels, a wizard would have full contingencies anyways.
Yes, there's a handful of things a Psion can do that other full casters can't - they're different classes after all.
But nothing they do, again, is anywhere near as broken as what the true casters can do.
Psionics is good, very good. But Tier 2/3 still can't match up to what Tier 1 can do.
Prepared too shoot (Ex): At 11th level, you can prepare to shoot for 3 rounds as a standard action. By doing this you can combings two deeds and make them into one. The new deed takes a full-round action. To do this you need to have one grit point. This ability replaces Bleeding Wound.
You are not able to combine two of the same deed? Explain this one word for word, then.
Reloading remains an issue - If you take a full round action to dead shot, you can only do this every other round without rapid reload or crossbow mastery [for heavies]. Like Pistol-Whip, spending a grit point to get to pretend your crossbow is a club as a standard action is something we just kind of ignore the existence of. An Archer would be using point-blank-master and skewering the target with arrows with all his ranged bonuses in melee anyways.
The Ranged Grapple is quite weak. -4 does not help, but being able to just snap the bolt makes that even easier to escape.
Ignoring all concealment and cover for 1 grit point is nice... but not at such a high level. At that point you've got feats and/or magical effects like seeking which let you do this freely at no cost.
Crossbow Training helps - just like guns aren't too good without gunslinger, but you're still generating multiple AoOs for loading/firing, and simply put, rapid reload and crossbow mastery are TAX feats, not actual bonuses.
The reason you may want to swap out Deadly Aim at highest levels is that 12 hits quite hard, but not as hard as getting another two hits in instead of missing with numbers six and seven.
Until then you'll happily be hitting like a bloody truck, but if you're really optimizing on damage then yes, eventually you may want to drop it.