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Meaningful choices are good... but I don't see how you can argue there's a meaningful choice when one option is so significantly superior to its alternative.
If you're not an Operative, you're not going to do anywhere near decent damage with small arms or operative weapons and there's little else to say about it.
So basically half your party is refusing to do anything, then complaining about their own choice not to do anything...
And your conclusion is to blame the Operative?
Can't you see why that's a little bit hard to follow?
No questions asked, no role playing nothing, because there was no mechanical reason not to. Trick attack lost all of it's flavor because there was no reason to make any choices at all.
So if one time he said "I roll bluff" instead of "I roll stealth" it'd magically be more flavorable or exciting for you?
Because your player can just as easily not roleplay the former as the latter.
So if we have no in game explanation as to how they do it, there is no reason not to always take the mechanically optimal path. Thus making the addition of multiple skill options redundant.
So? You've said this several time, but you haven't articulated why it's a bad thing or why it somehow 'breaks' the game.
You seem to essentially be arguing that options are a bad thing, which seems bizarre.
But there are so many issues (trick attack being one of the major sinners) that causes way too much trouble and balancing issues at the table.
Do you honestly believe that though? That someone not having to roleplay up an explanation for every time they use trick attack is actually one of the major issues with Starfinder?
Because even if you got what you wanted and Stealth trick attack became essentially unusable for most Operatives... they could invest in a skill that you can't shut down instead and basically nothing would change with how they actually play out.
I'm scratching my head to think what balance issue you think actually get solved here.
No it doesn’t. You keep saying things are “conundrums” or “break the reason of the game” but they aren’t and they don’t. The logic you’re applying doesn’t even follow. How does cloaking field have any bearing here? There’s nothing about hide in plain sight that somehow would logically invalidate trick attack. Likewise there’s nothing about a talent that lets you auto succeed on trick attack in a certain condition that somehow invalidates it either. The connections you're trying to draw aren’t there.
Operative declares a trick attack. Makes a skill check. If successful apply extra damage and conditions as applicable. That’s really all there is to it.
If you don’t like Operatives or Trick Attack and want to nerf them in your home games, you can argue that without having to invent reasons to do so.
No, I don't see any good argument for why they should even approach the amount of damage longarms can do.
I guess we can just chalk that up to a difference of opinion then.
But I think mandatory feats are terrible. Wasted book space is terrible and making it harder for people to play popular fictional archetypes is... also pretty terrible.
I can't fathom why anyone would argue that those are good things for a game to have.
Not really. A number of them are useful to various degrees depending on build.
More importantly there's the issue of the magnitude of that superiority. A glaive is unequivocably superior to the longspear, but only by 1 damage with static modifiers that are otherwise the same. Meaningful at level 1 but growing rapidly less important over time as static modifiers remain the same between them.
Wealth by level might not be the best statistic, but I think the wealth by encounter numbers are pretty telling too.
A frag grenade III costs 2560 credits. A CR8 encounter is supposed to award about 5400 credits. So throwing a single grenade eats nearly half the money you'd earn back in that same level encounter. That's pretty brutal.
The weird thing is that falcon wildsoul gets true flight at 12.
All of the level 18 abilities are a bit questionable though. Ursine gets beast shape 2 limited to a single form. A restricted version of a fourth level spell at the same time casters are getting ninths is a bit strange even if it is at will.
And the previously mentioned Falcon... gets to add some extra damage to charges a limited number of times per day if they’re diving. Except they aren’t really charges so you don’t get any normal charge bonuses and can’t benefit from anything that modifies a charge.
Ryan Freire wrote:
The most ironic thing to me is that for all the complaint threads about wizards being overpowered, the screeching when people suggest altering the game world or encounter system to make things harder for them and more favorable to martials with limitless day to day abilities gets pretty intense.
There's nothing ironic about simultaneously thinking that on paper Wizards are powerful but also believe that creating a hostile gameplay environment is a poor way to deal with that problem in a real game scenario.
Dismissing people with such an opinion as 'screeching' or acting as though they're oblivious just because they disagree with you is obnoxious.
So what, are these half dozen extra encounters just pathetically weak trash clearing events? Because otherwise I don't understand how the non-casters are getting through without dying with the casters just straight up not participating in case something more troublesome comes along. HP is a limited resource, too.
One of the earlier mentioned conditions was that you shower noncasters with a virtually endless supply of free consumables.
Firstly, Omnius, you really need to take a breath - when you've resorted to RANDOM caps LOCK to try to make a point, you've conceded defeat already.
Really? I've never heard that rule before. Sounds kind of absurd though.
But if random caps lock is conceding defeat, what does it mean when you have to resort to insulting someone's writing style? That must be like, ultra concession or something.
Secondly, maintaining verisimilitude within the game world is not abusive GMing
No, but trying to justify abusive GMing with a versimilitude argument is a pretty weak defense. Going out of your way to make one player's experience miserable is just that, regardless of whether or not you can come up with a reason that it makes sense.
You're the GM, by definition you can justify pretty much anything. Doesn't make it a good way to run a game.
This hypothetical campaign where everything is on a strict timer and adventuring days are intentionally dragged out while free consumables are showered upon martials to keep them going and the wizard is prevented from resting for eight hours or even learning new spells at all seems more like one designed to make the wizard player either quit or try even harder to break things than one meant to balance the game.
Honestly if a specific character is being disruptive in a specific campaign, you should talk to their player. Trying to annoy someone into submission by making it miserable for them to even play the game is something I've never actually seen work out in practice.
I'm not sure I really agree. More spells and more monsters and more things are always awesome, but it's not like Core doesn't have a really strong suite of spells too.
But I don't really want to play a fighter without AWT on the table and I'd really be sad if I couldn't get greater beast totem or come and get me on a high level barbarian. Or be stuck with only a chained rogue and none of the niftier archetypes. Etc.
I feel like "this archetype of another class does class x better than class x does" is not a new problem. I mean, the Daring Champion Cavalier and Viruoso Bravo Paladin are way better Swashbucklers than the Swashbuckler, and nobody is nerfing those.
First ACG update took riposte away from daring champion tho.
That is nice that you have one vigilante build you like.
That's not a build. That's just a basic overview of the chassis.
But it doesn't change the fact the class is a single city focused dual identity super hero class that is designed for a single city focused adventure or at least as an interesting NPC in one city of an adventure. That is still very niche. It also doesn't help that many aspects/options of the class are focused on how popular/infamous you are.
Dual Identity is an incredibly minor class feature in terms of overall mechanics and the city specific stuff is a talent tree you can just... not take.
Your vigilante is required to be that as much as a Barbarian is required to be a shirtless muscleman in a loincloth as much as a Wizard is required to be old and have a giant beard.
Avenger Vigilante is a full BAB martial with 6 skill points and a decent array of combat and utility talents to pick up as you level.
I can't think of a campaign where that kind of chassis wouldn't be useful.
Contrast with the Skald's Inspired Rage which expects to have specific types of party members coming along in order to leverage what it has to offer.
The trouble with the Skald is that it's arguably the most niche class in Pathfinder. It cares a lot more about party comp than anyone else, which makes playing one often a more of a reaction than a conscious choice. At least, from my experience.
It's also I think the most archetype-like of the ACG classes, which isn't really doing it any favors either.
A lot of people couldn't get past the vigilante's fluff to see the potent mechanical framework underneath, and a lot of people couldn't see past the arcanist's flexibility
Yeah, of course. But the topic was whether or not the shifter's mechanical shortcomings were a necessary evil of broadening its appeal. You mentioned the arcanist and vigilante, I argued neither of those classes had a particularly compromised design.
The vigilante had some issues appealing to people, but someone you know not liking Dual Identity has basically nothing to do with whether or not vigilante talents were well conceptualized or whatever. There are people who hate the shifter's fluff too, but it's neither here nor there when we're talking about a class' mechanical direction.
Also think it's a little bit strange just asserting those two classes are abject failures, but that's another issue entirely.
anyways, to go back to an earlier point:
How big an issue low build diversity actually is... Well, I disagree that some forms being better at combat than others is an issue.
Well, for starters, a utility form maybe not being as good in a fight but having some awesome other uses is all well and good. What's less good is when you have two forms that are both meant for combat and one of them just falls flat.
Beyond that, I think part of the trouble here is you're thinking optimally. Using your claws as a primary damage source while leveraging a utility form until your usage and options expand makes a lot of sense when you know how to play the game.
But is a new player going to think that way? Most new players I introduce to the game don't.They just want to play a thing that looks cool and realizing your giant lizard form is literally just a worse tiger until level 8 or watching your bull's relative damage to HP taking a nose dive as you level is not a nice feeling. "Just use your claws" might be a good mechanical answer, but it's not going to be satisfactory for someone who's wooed by what the shifter offers.
This is doubly true for something like the Weretouched, since it's locked to a single form for the whole campaign.
Basically, if a class exists to try to appeal to newer or less experienced players, I think extra care should be put into making sure the class does everything it can to fulfill its own fantasies perfectly, because it could very well be one of the player's first impressions of the game.
As it stands right now, I really don't want the Shifter to be anyone's first impression of Pathfinder.
At least as written. In a home game I'd just give them unlimited wild shape right from level 4 and rescale a bunch of forms so they aren't silly at level 4 and painful at level 12 and so on.
Except neither arcanist nor vigilante were particularly well received.
For entirely different reasons though. People complain about the arcanist being too strong. Or about a class that's halfway between two already similar classes being unnecessary. People complain about dual identity being a gimmick or the vigilante not 'fitting' well enough.
None of those complaints have anything to do with accessibility (or even all that much to do with the ultimate specific design direction of those classes), so I'm not really sure what the point is in bringing them up.
"Better" is a very subjective term. <snip>
The thing is, many of the issues people have with the shifter have nothing to do with it being simple or accessible or not. Constantly referencing the Shifter as being an 'easy' class as if that forgives all of its shortcomings almost feels like a misrepresentation at this point.
Being forced to stay shifted all day at low levels or risk losing out on one of your main class features has nothing to do with simplicity (and in fact trying to judge how to best mitigate that can be very complicated).
And so on and so forth.
Your own examples of the Arcanist and Vigilante seem to undermine your position even, given that you describe both of those classes as accessible and yet they still both managed to be nuanced and involved enough to not discourage other players in the way the Shifter does.
That clearly shows you can create an accessible class without creating one with an overtly narrow focus or hamstrung progression. It's not a zero sum game.
It might be possible to make Wildshape easier to use without destroying the flexibility of it, but the Shifter sure didn't do it.
I still feel like the best foundation we've had for a simpler wild shape is the Beastmorph alchemist. Instead of picking specific forms with certain traits, it selects abiliites right off the beast shape list. Cuts out most of the bookkeeping, removes the problem of 'trap' forms and mixing and matching to create weird hybrid abominations is fun.
I don't find Wizards over powered in general but they can be if you allow higher than normal stats and greater wealth. In those situation they can shore up weakness. Wizards are typically glass cannons. Higher stats means better saves, better hit points while keeping the 20 INT off the start. That leads to being over powered. Give the same stats to fighter and they are better but nothing like what the Wizard gets.
My experience has been pretty much the exact opposite. No one is going to say no to more stats or more money, but giving a wizard another point of AC or a few extra hit points ultimately isn't really going to change all that much and while I'll totally buy more scrolls and magic items only a fraction of that gold feels really necessary.
Whereas my martials tend to be the ones interested in a wider selection of magical equipment and with stats being more spread out in general more points makes it a lot easier to take a high primary without tanking everything else.
From my reading, you only get the hybrid form, not the animal form, which cuts down on a lot of flavor.
Instead of assuming a major form she can assume a hybrid form.
It's can, not must. I don't see how you can read that as mandatory.
That said yeah being stuck to only one form compounds how niche some of the forms are even more.
Alex Mack wrote:
It's definitely a pretty strong comparison. They're both sort of one trick classes with comparatively little player choice compared to many other paizo classes. Both have a lot of controversy around them too!
But the weretouched really is amazing in how underwhelming its later levels are. 5 gets you trackless step, 8 and 15 give you upgrades to your major form. Other than that even levels give you +1 DR/silver and +1 wild shape/day and odd levels give you bigger claws, except 9 which is completely dead.
Looking at the Weretouched I really think that if you're ever designing an archetype you should write up a post-archetype version of the class table. On paper the weretouched's trades seem sound enough but when you actually look at what the level progression looks like post 6 it's really disheartening.
Granted, that's in part because the base shifter itself is really bare bones later on, but still.
This is entirely about the player trying to loophole something and seeing what they can get away with.
Only on these forums can someone argue that a character trying to find a way to overcome their shortcomings later in life is somehow exploiting a loophole.
As I pointed out earlier, if the player intends upon gaining immunity later, then the deformity would (using that future tense if time frame is a factor) not disadvantage the mutant (which is also a valid interpretation if the time frame is not a factor), and therefore, that option would not be a valid choice to be taken.
"If time frame is a factor" seems like a pretty big assumption here though. The ability's text only mentions whether or not you can take the deformity. Nothing about whether or not the deformatiy can be disqualified retroactively. Nothing future proofing and nothing about overcoming immunities, whereas there are a number of other abiliites scattered across Pathfinder that do specifically point out things like this, such as the Brute vigilante specifically saying you can't use brute form if you're immune to fatigue.
Without any text asserting that it does any of these things, why should anyone assume that it's suppposed to work that way? It's not like that interpretation is particularly better for versimilitude or anything either and no one's so far made an argument that it's broken or anything, so I can't see a reason to favor it.
You insist it's poorly written. I say that's only because you're trying to read things into it.
I'd play it in pretty broad strokes. A creature who's already light blinded naturally or doesn't have eyes can't take light blindness. that kinda thing.
I really can't agree with the notion that it should be retroactively applied if it stops mattering later or that it should overcome immunities though. That just feels gamist and spiteful.
You know destroying all of creation was Rovagug's goal too, right?
Also worth noting that "The Devourer" was one of Rovagug's titles in Pathfinder. Their portfolios are nearly identical too and The Devourer's real name has been curiously lost to history.
I'd be more surprised if they weren't just the same thing (or something along those lines). Too weirdly redundant otherwise.
It's a pretty fitting comparison. Both the Shifter and the Swashbuckler are full BAB martials don't do a great job at fulfilling their own fantasy, have narrow build options natively and have an oddly small amount of choices they get to make compared to other paizo classes.
Both can still be reasonably well optimized though.
Living Grimoire isn't bottom tier, but it's pretty bad in some unfortunate ways.
An int-based prepared divine caster is a really cool concept so it sort of frustrates me that it's tied to so many other underwhleming changes.
Additionally for an archetype that's all about their one special weapon it's not a very good one, stripping away most of your good combat features and leaving you with a pretty crappy light weapon while providing no support for dueling or TWFing.
Really the coolest thing about the archetype was all the theorycrafting about having an enchantable weapon that could benefit from improvised feats for like a week before they FAQ'd that away.
So while I wouldn't say it's in the running for worst archetype, it does fall into a category of archetypes with cool ideas and unfortunate execution, of which there are sadly quite a few as well.
Siege Mage is interesting to look at because it's not only pretty obviously designed to be an NPC archetype, but it's really aggressively an NPC archetype.
Siege Engines are already something most PCs will never touch, much less specialize in, so that already nudges most players away from it.
But then losing arcane school and getting an extra opposition school and losing cantrips just comes across as a scorched earth tactic designed to make sure no one will ever want to play one.
Okay, wonderful. Five natural attacks at level 1 is too much. Sure.
But the Oozemorph only gets two at level 1. And it scales up to four at level 15. That's not really all that special as the campaign progresses.
So huge weird argument about skinwalkers and martials vs caster aside, there's still a point to be made here. Even moreso for the regular shifter who can end up being stuck with an even lower cap if it doesn't pick the right form.
Yeah, I forgot about dual mind (also my math was wrong the human succeeds on an 11).
I know it's the point of this thread but the will save isn't even their only big issue. Being a d8 HD class that suffers -3 to AC is also pretty brutal.
Anyways. As far as level 1 options go: Human with 20 wis, awareness, iron will and indomitable faith can succeed on an 11 and I'm not sure it gets much better than that.
edit: forgot about dual mind halfling. That gets you to 50%, neat.
Aasimar can technically get one if your GM lets you use the alternate ability list and you roll a 50.
Slim Jim wrote:
If you think Brute vigilante kills his own party fast on a failed will save
Well the saving grace here is that with the Brute's weak defenses it's more likely to be the one that ends up dead (assuming the brute doesn't just die in the fight).
Seriously a level 1 Brute needs 16 Dex just to hit 10 AC. Ew.
It keeps the Order ability, although nearly all of them are of little use since they augment the forfeited Challenge feature.
Worth noting that Sentence does mention that it counts as a challenge for the purpose of order abilities, so it does actually sidestep that issue.
The result is a pale shadow of an inquisitor with a free horse
Maybe less favorably also worth noting that Inquisitors can pick up a mount for their inquisition.
While I think Brute is the worst I have to give a special mention to the Cardinal Cleric and... every single drake companion archetype for being disappointing.
Mostly because they were ideas that really appealed to me thematically and it's kind of a shame how much they end up falling short.
Cardinal is interesting because it seems to imply that Paizo values cleric domains and a BAB step together about as much as 4 skill points.
Why exactly did design decide not to give brutes a Strength and/or Con bonus when they hulk out? The bonuses left seem clumsy in execution compared to the obvious.
Same reason I guess they thought d8 HD, -2 to AC and no armor at level 1 on a melee combatant was a good idea.Or why they decided to nuke the will save on an archetype that required you to make scaling will saves to even be playable.
Or why stuff that's basically required to make the archetype work at all like the ability to use equipment or have decent damage dice are all locked behind talents.... and for some reason even the talent that lets you wear armor comes with a penalty when you first pick it up.
I think that's why the Brute really wins this contest here. Most bad archetypes have some underwhelming thing that stands out but are otherwise harmless, but for the Brute every time you think you've hit bottom you find something else exciting further down.
You sorta have to wonder what the designers were so scared of throwing in so many downsides and restrictions when if you strip all that stuff away you've basically got a monk with free enlarge person.
I can totally see the appeal. One of my friends is definitely attracted to
Personally if I was going to make a simple shifter I would have modeled it after the beastmorph alchemist. Instead of picking animal forms the Beastmorph picks abilities right off the beast shape list. That way you’d only need to reference some specific spells. Expand on that idea and maybe make the natural attacks you use variable too and you’d arguably have something even simpler than the current Shifter but also better encapsulating the concept of a strong and flexible shapeshifter that the class’ fluff suggests.
At the very least I think that woulda been really cool on the oozeshaper to pair with moronic weaponry and play up the fluidly shifting angle.
There's also the notion though that some people like certain themes or aesthetics, but don't necessarily like other things attached to that. So when someone makes their own setting they include stuff that they like and don't include things they aren't interested in. That's perfectly normal and entirely valid, even.
You don't always need to ascribe the worst possible motives to people.
I went through several chapter specifically looking for reprinted items. Here are my notes:
There might be more, but one I noticed you missed is the Scarab Stalker hunter. Reprinted with its bonuses to saves switched from competence to resistance.
Abilties aren’t always traded out equally for Archetypes, it’s just how they’re structured, you have to look at the Archetype as a whole rather than on an ability by ability basis.
I never said they were. The issue I have with the green knight is its 'take' comes online very early while the 'give' doesn't show up until much later in the campaign.
While it’s obviously sort of the point I think the order locking and heavy nature theming is a bit of a let down, just because otherwise the archetype really does come pretty close to hitting that unmourned knight concept well.
It also suffers from being kind of a late game archetype. Stalwart is really the first ability that’s all that impressive and you don’t get that until 9. Before that none of its new combat features even do anything if you aren’t dying.
The level 1 is also really unimpressive to me and I’m not sure the writer valued the mount feature highly enough. Hell, even if you never use your mount in combat at all I think trading tactician and 200 pounds of carrying capacity for diehard, endurance and wild empathy is still kind of a wash.
There's a difference between a class functioning well as a design package and a class statistically outperforming every specialist class at their own specialities, which is what some people seem to want most from the Solarian
I don't really see the point in arguing in such bad faith like this. Literally no one in this thread has said anything of the sort. If you think the Solarian is fine as is, that's fine. But you can make that argument without having to put words in the mouth of people who disagree with you.
While I disagree specifically about how strong (or weak as it were) HWalsh finds the Solarian, I think there are some real points to be brought up about its design and how easy it is to ignore big chunks of the class' core features.
Even if you think the class is amazing it should send up some red flags when one of the most standard (and arguably one of the most well optimized) builds flat out ignores stellar manifestation, half of stellar mode and doesn't really care all that much about the class' key attribute. Or more than a small handful of revelations really. The game all but encourages you to build a Solarian that avoids being an actual Solarian and that feels wrong.
Oh and it really should have 6+int skill points per level, too.
Hiruma Kai wrote:
If armor does make you immune, then it must be a radiation/poison effect. Does it still use Solarian save DCs? If so then dealing Charisma + level/2 damage to everyone who isn't immune
Well, the damage is there regardless. It being a poison effect is really the only unambiguous thing about it. The question is just whether or not it counts as a radiation effect and if so what level of radiation it applies.
This book is full of really good archetypes (IMO), but one that stands out to me and has not been mentioned is for the Investigator: The Star Watcher, which trades rapier proficiency for Starknife and alters Alchemy from extracts to star charts--including being given the Scribe Scroll feat. Talents are included for choices that include applying your Studied Combat, etc. to the Starknife, even while thrown. Returning is even a choice! Really cool.
I’m not a huge fan of that one. You essentially get infusion for free, but having to pick the targets for your extracts at the start of the day ( and requiring your target to be present) is pretty killer, then you have to burn a talent just to make the archetype’s new weapon work anyways. Being able to craft scrolls like an alchemist can brew potions is pretty sweet in the right campaign, but that’s another talent too. You also lose out on some cool talents too.
The idea behind the archetype is neat, but reading it I kept expecting some big payoff for all the penalties and losses in the archetype that ended up never manifesting itself.
Granted it technically does match the only consistent portrayals between the Magical Girl genre, and that’s a transformation sequence and cute Animal buddy.
Transformation sequence, yes. But while I'm not super familiar with the genre, from my limited experience isn't the animal buddy usually more of a background element or plot device? Often playing a role more like mentor, instructor or observer and sometimes even with ambiguous or even potentially antagonistic goals. I can't think of any example where the animal buddy plays as much of a direct role as a familiar.
Thematically seems more comparable to the outsiders the Insinuator antipaladin invokes or a witch's patron if it were played as a literal being.
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