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I forgot add, the AC at the levels you are talking doesn't matter. The brutes and even mooks are probably at least +20 to hit, the bosses more like +25-30 range. You would have to sink some serious resources to make a difference. Save your resources and invest in miss chance and DR.
As for the fighter dropping stuff in one round... A good fighter can do this to anything short of a boss. If they can't (barring rolling lots of 1s) they are not a good fighter and aren't fulfilling their class role. You NEED that dpr to be able to keep fights manageable when things like CR9 outsiders are spammed in summons at 1d4+1 ect... You need to have min dpr to be able drop the hard to kill mooks quick before they overwhelm the party.
I noticed you are talking about AC40... That is normal AC, the giants touch AC is likely laughable. Spell casters have powerful touch spells at this level.
As for the rest of it, you have the spell casters providing things they excel at (control, overcoming the the impossible, ect), the bard is contributing all of the fighters damage that would normally miss without the buffs. The fighter for your group is nothing more than the war head to a guided missile. Your missile would be useless without a guidance system, propulsion, and counter measures to protect it.
Liam Warner wrote:
On attacks like archery where you actually count ammo it doesn't translate. Also the edition where you had multiple attacks that didn't "count" was the editions where 1 combat round was 1 minute and 1 "turn" was 10 minutes.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
In fairness, a fighter can fire like a billion arrows in six seconds. There ain't many classes that don't bend the laws of reality. ;D
A fighter can fire 4 arrows from base end BAB, 1 more from rapid shot, 1 more from many shot, another from haste effects. I might have missed some more ways to get more, but its not many. A Zen archer has a few more at top end, but whatever. Lets look at the video of the guy IRL that put 11 arrows into the air before the first one hit. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKY9FpRGyJI
No I've heard stated that IRL the best people can get is around 5-6th level, some numbers cranked on skill checks ect to "prove this" Now if a 6th level expert can unleash with reasonable accuracy 11 arrows before the first on hits the ground (and most of them fired before the 6 second round was over) Then I don't see anything reality breaking with what top end monk or fighter can do in regards to archery.
I don't know what damage builds you guys are running to out damage a damage focused fighter, but I would have to see the numbers to believe it. Perhaps you are playing with fighters that don't know how to spec for damage? Or are you expecting a single target specialist to deal the damage damage that a blaster does to a group? I mean 90 damage (maximized, intensified fireball) x7 targets is always going to beat 200 damage (which is on the low side if casters are tossing around spells doing that much) to one target.
I usually make most encounters somewhat easy starting out. It strongly discourages nova/rest cycles. You just used 4 spells and your arcane pool to turn that goblin shaman into a fine red mist... Grats.
Making encounters solvable without nova style play is the key to preventing novas. When you make encounters too hard, or hard enough that not going all out actually uses more resources (as in having to remove negative levels and the death condition), you encourage the 15 minute adventuring day.
When it comes time for a boss fight, or a mini boss fight, sure, let them go all out. But since they had to use some minor stuff getting there they might have some holes in their "optimal" battle preparations. Follow up a tough boss fight with a relatively easier angry pet/spouse/minion attack. "You killed my X, now you must die!" encounters are surprisingly effective even if the fight is easy on paper, the PCs are at their weakest. Its a good way of reminding them that Nova style play has a cost.
Ricard the Daring wrote:
Personally I find having a long lived character in a setting where you can't really die because of GM friendliness to be unremarkable. Having a character live through a meat grinder campaign on the other hand...
Personally I run a pretty lethal campaign, death is possible at every session. But I run it fair, I don't break outside of the CR system, I don't give NPC/monsters wealth outside of the guidelines (and when I do I up their CR as appropriate). But I also don't hold back on save or dies, massive damage packets, permanent (as much as you can when you can heal anything with magic) disabilities ect. The players who manage to get their characters to end of campaign without dying at least 1 can be counted on one hand. Death isn't permanent. Heck with Breath of Life being thrown around its barely an in combat issue. Its about as effective as daze is at level 1.
Honestly the party looks about right for that level. Not particularly crazy or anything. The problem really lies in that APs are built with 15 point buy low optimization in mind. Look at the 15 point buy pregens and look at the steaming pile of poor build decisions and you will understand why your party which knows about good options for the most part is blowing through the AP.
Rise, while revamped, isn't exactly the most dangerous or powerful AP either. If you want challenging combats some other APs might be a little better fitting. Heck Reign of Winter the other day the "tank"fighter took 170 damage in one round because he made a miscalculation in how strong 3 enemies were in Rasputin must die (14th level at the time). Combat still only took 2 rounds with the PCs victorious, but it was a hard fight with little margin for error.
If you want to have fun don't be a heal bot. A battle cleric or oracle is a good enough healer for all levels. Besides, healing isn't a normal combat action, and if it is your party is playing mechanically poorly. Combat is for combat, out of combat is for healing wounds.
Any class that can UMD a CLW wand is a good enough healer at 4th level. What your party is looking for is a healb~#+# from the sounds of it, and since you are the new guy you get to be it. While I'm the last person to say you should "play how you want" without regards to the party, in this case you should give them exactly what they need and not necessarily what they want. If they are struggling enough that they think they need a healer then you should roll up a bard. They get CLW access and make the party better. Or you can be an evangelist cleric, you lose the ability to ditch spells for cures,and get diminished access to channels, but you gain bardic performance and keep full progression on the cleric spell list. For the evangelist you even build for a primary combat role, since your class is inherently awesome at spells and bardic support no reason why you can't also be good in combat. Be so awesome that you shame them into wanting to play good builds instead of ones that beg for a dedicated healer.
The best healing is preventative. Give support that they need which is killing the enemy faster and providing proactive support rather than reactive healing (which doesn't even come close to keeping up, its a downward spiral to death).
Castles are tactically defensive and strategically offensive. They were built to control a territory and be a base for military operations in the surrounding area: a safe place to rest or retreat to to stock up on supplies. They were often built as part of offensive campaigns, such as the castles the crusaders built, or the many castles the English Kings built to control territory in France and their often hostile subject peoples (The Kings of England were foreigners, Norse then Franco-Norman, controlling Anglo-Saxon/Welch subjects). The razing of castles was to deny the enemy a safe place to plan offensive raids or campaigns. Leaving a castle untaken invited a counter offensive.
The most important part of a castle is being something that can be sallied from, which is to say a small army being able to strike enemies outside the walls quickly, and then retreat quickly back into. In sieges since the gate was difficult to reach it was quite possible to have the defenders make raids against the siege camp and retreat before the besiegers were able to respond.
So my response to the question asked, is it needs to be defensible, meaning the approach is guarded by the strongest defenses, and it needs to be able to allow quick in and out movements (so no super inconvenient placement). The terrain dictates the possible approaches, those areas are also the ones the enemy will be occupying in a siege. The actual facing on a strategic scale matters not at all, its about the tactical side of things. If the way into a castle on the Rhine is from the north, then the door is going to be there even if the enemy lives in the south. Besides, in a medieval society enemies and allies are fluid, add in unexpected invasions of barbaric peoples and any choice based on "our enemies are south of us" is quickly rendered obsolete.
Gunslingers are full BAB classes with a wide variety of weapon proficiency. Nothing says great like taking a level in a class that makes you take your armor off and use your fists (without progression, its just a slap compared to other options), and lose out on full BAB.
Don't take a level in monk. Stick with your base class.
If gunslingers were to target normal AC the class would become crap instead of "mostly crap if you don't do specific things with your build no options allowed, and even then you are only competent as a generic optimized martial is" that you have now.
Gunslingers are competent at their one thing, anything done to nerf this would drop them down to being useless.
I don't really get the whole debate when it comes to the mechanical aspects. Cover, concealment, miscellaneous penalties all add up for ranged combat. Sure you get touch AC for first increment... but that is so short and it costs grit to extend it. A good full BAB is hitting on 2+ most if not all CR appropriate encounters anyways, is it really that big a deal when the Gunslinger does it? Perhaps you guys are playing with fighters who use sword and board TWF or tower shield and fight defensively or something. Heck the 3/4 BAB guys hit 2/3 of the time.
At the levels you are fighting at 100-200 ft touch attacks, your fighting in many monster's charge range (some fast flying monsters out there). Its single target damage at that, so as long as there are multiple monsters in combat its not an issue at all.
In a 4 member party you are supposed to have a main attack character, a crowd controller, a buffer, and somebody to be the skills and face. All party members should be able to contribute legitimate damage if called upon, but if you are meant to be main damage, you need to put down a LOT of damage. A Gunslinger is meant to do damage, and nothing else. His damage is on par with paladins, fighters, barbarians, and rangers if built for this role. It only over shadows other classes if there are too many people trying to be main damage and one person not building their character as competently. A main damage character should be able to 1-2 round mooks and 2-3 round bosses. This is taking misses and not getting full attacks into account.
When I see threads like this I wonder if people are even playing the same game. At all levels of the game encounters last 2-3 rounds if there isn't major environmental effects in play. The monsters are built that way, the PC baseline abilities are built that way (even the crappy pregens). Anything longer brings in the possibility of character deaths, looking at the damage by CR for monsters its pretty evident this is the case.
Human: Aristorcrat, Cleric, Paladin, Fighter, that order. Rulers, their holy men, their martials. NPC class due to how human society is depicted, outlier is oracle, depending on god or fame can be top or bottom of society.
Other races: considering that most classes are effectively planet of hats people http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PlanetOfHats, whatever those races are best described as...
Master summoner is banned mostly from time considerations. Having spammed summons means a huge bog down in time, esp when you are dealing with time slotted PFS events.
The gun archetypes are because they wanted guns to be exclusive.
Synthisist because they were probably responding to all the butt hurt players out there, and that most people couldn't legally build one to save their life.
IIRC they banned vivisecionist not because of power concerns, 3/4 BAB sneak attack class that doesn't suck for once gets banned not from power, but from the fluff not being heroic.
And all you who think a synth is so much better than martial characters at dealing damage don't know how to make them to the same level of optimization. The scary part of a synth isn't that it is a melee god or anything, its that it is still a 6 level caster while being good at combat. which points out the action economy problems with the class compared to the base version which can pump out nearly the same amount of hurt without giving up spell casting every round.
When it comes to pure cheese I would take a cleric over a synth any day. 3/4 BAB character that can easily spam summons as a standard action and can take an archetype that lets them inspire courage like a bard. Being a divine character like that lets them heal massively to keep their summons up under pressure and lets them have a fuller array of defensive/offensive buff spells. And a cleric isn't a bad combatant if you know how to build them.
I always saw dogs as a great anti goblin thing. Smelly goblins detected by scent. That is why goblins hate dogs, always ruining their raids with their superior speed and ability to offset their sneakiness. Same thing with horses, allows the enemy to ride them down when they think they can just lob a couple arrows down range and withdraw for hit and run tactics. Goblins aren't very wise, so fail lots of will saves against guys with books, that makes written words dangerous and all books should be gotten rid of.
That low wisdom score also means that they aren't always good at detecting counter sneakiness. This means they can be ambushed in turn.
I have no problem with unforgiving game design. Its certainly more fun than the no challenge hold your hands games. I'm against the "rocks fall, everybody dies style of play. But in the case of one being one shotted it was "poor luck" in the style of I made decisions that left my character vulnerable. Either provoking attacks because the odds were in my favor to do what I wanted (either bad luck or miscalculations) sacrificed a save/hp/AC for other design choices, or made tactical mistakes in other ways. Or they are just random variance where crits can drop you just like how crits can trivialize encounters. A luck based game is like that, and at least in PF you can manage your risk exposure.
Idk, a lvl 1 goblin warior is 1/3 CR, 3 to make CR 1. They have a +4 to hit with their 1d4 bow, which means it takes a long time to kill a PC. Their melee is even worse. 6 goblins is a CR 3 encounter. Which is pretty trivial for a level 1 party with competently built characters (or even the not so competently generated pregens). I mean sure they aren't easy to hit (15-16 AC depending if they have their shields up), but any offensive PC should hit on an 11 or higher (50%) and a hit should drop them (if you can't do 6 damage on average with your hits, than you really aren't an offensive character). They also have really bad saves so the spell caster should be able to drop multiples.
Now if you talk PC classes and other modified non default gobos, that's another story. They have some good builds that they can go with if the GM wants to get the most of the race.
Skeletons aren't a challenge unless there is a whole lot of them, or they are variant/no human skeletons. Goblins aren't a challenge, unless there is a REALLY large number of them. Level 1 also means orc NPC (any class, actually multi levels due to how class vs CR sytem works) and other powerful offensive monsters. Level 1 doesn't mean you ignore the CR recommendations for CR of encounters.
A wight is a fair encounter for a level one party used as a hard encounter. It's not even epic for that level. Its stats shows that it can be 1 rounded by a competently build party at level one. Sure, luck against you means a dead character. But that is true at any level. Sure, wights can cause a cascading failure resulting in TPK, but that can happen at any level. Its an easy to hit low HP punching bag with crappy saves. Its CR is solely based on its offensive power, which it doesn't exactly have huge to hit.
If a player gets butthurt over a dead level one character perhaps they should find another game where you can't die and they hold your hand every step of the way.
I've had level 1-10 one shotted in the past. It sucks to have a character killed so easily, but monster abilities such as save or dies/bighits/bigcrits can kill you at any time. Its just how the game is made. How a player handles his character dying is just as important for their development as a player as how they handle their successes.
Guided weapon is a 3.5 era weapon modification. I for one would not allow it since it isn't PF system material.
Guided hand is in fact terrible for a cleric. Building for it requires 2 feats, only works on one weapon, and doesn't increase your damage. Which means you give up far too much for damage that is lower than a lvl 1 warrior, and it doesn't even scale up since its damage stat is a dump for this particular character.
Which brings up another point, heavy armor on a character that only has 11 str is a rather glaring problem.
Power attack on a 3/4 BAB character is debatable in the first place, taking a minus to hit is very questionable. The way it's built currently nearly every action it would want to take would be better than making attack rolls. Even aid another to give somebody a +2 would be better than attacking. It's that bad as a combatant.
A front line battle cleric starts with 18 strength, and just enough wisdom to get your spells by the time they come on line (i like having a 16 by 5th level because of the bonus spell on 3rd level list at level 5).
Syths are actually weaker than normal summoners. People ban them because they don't want high power characters, yet they allow wizards, druids, clerics, witches ect to do what they want. Hypocrites. They also ban them because the average rules weak person has trouble making them correctly.
Sure, lets give up the massive action economy advantage that a pet class with the option for standard action summons and a great spell list has for a character that has to choose carefully what it is doing each round and can only use half of its class at a time. On top of that replicates a game role that other party members can do well enough without him.
Also this thread has already been Godwin's ruled. Argument over, everybody go home.
Our GM would NEVER kill our characters, he is to "good" to let such an unbalanced situation occur.
Such coddling makes me sick. It's an easy CR3 encounter, less deadly than other CR 3 encounter can be, and CR3 is a hard, but not impossible encounter for a level 1 party.
2 orc barbarian1 is a CR 1 encounter, and has a similar chance of causing player fatalities (and if you are making it orc barbarians instead of warriors, you use the herioc NPC stat array). 4 orc babarian is CR3, which is probably a TPK unless the party is prepared for that sort of thing (or lucky, orcs in perfect sleep/color spray formation).
I've played through this module with a four member level party. We lost the rogue on that part, but that's what he gets for bringing a rogue to a fight like that instead of letting the cleric of gorum with higher AC and 1 hit capability fight the wight. The shadows were similarly dispatched because any experienced player knows that Magic weapon is on your list of spells known until you actually get a magic weapon.
This module isn't meant to be a coddling adventure for new players, its meant the be an old school style challenge and you get rewarded accordingly.
People who think its too hard need to suck it up. Its a level 1 adventure, make a new character, its not like you have anything invested in it yet.
Trash this entire build and start over. Battle clerics deal damage, and your damage numbers are pathetic at every possible level. Guided hand is a trap feat, provides no damage bonus and you dumped the stat that would give this to you. Nearly 100 percent of your remaining feats are bad to situational, and situation ones are often bad on this build.
Sword and board is a bad playstyle for 3/4 BAB classes. You just don't have the to hit to sacrifice on 2 weapon fighting. You also don't need the damage mitigation of higher AC at the expense of damage ability.
If you want to use channel smite be a negative energy channel cleric. A healing domain cleric with glory implies a positive energy style.
Dump Int. You don't need it at all for a cleric, and certainly don't need a +1 bonus to it.
Battle clerics don't need much wisdom starting out. They don't need to push DCs and they won't be casting as much. A 15 starting out is enough. Starting out: 18,10,14,7,15,12. Con and wisdom can be swapped. Con can go lower if you are willing to use favored class choices on hp rater than skills. 17 STR can be used instead if you want to use the 4th level increase on that instead of on wisdom. (and if you do you can put a 14 in CHA giving you more channels, or in wisdom which gives you the same effective build).
And these changes are just a start. Honestly this build shows a pretty poor understanding of how combat works and the mathematics of the game IMHO, a complete rebuild is required if it wants to be used as a front line combat character. In addition some time looking over monster abilities by CR chart would probably be very helpful.
I understand I'm coming off pretty harsh, but if this is an existing character you are wasting your time trying to make it a frontliner. As it stands you just need to only use half the class and make the best of it as a full caster/healbot.
I don't ban anything other than 3rd party. Nothing is really OP IMHO. I have very limited controls on non core races, but only because I'm sick of so many special snowflakes wanting to play drow or some other disruptive race. I ban based entirely on RP reasons, not power concerns. So if we are playing a heroic campaign, no evil characters.
I disallow campaign traits from other APs. I also disallow rich parents.
I strongly discourage characters who aren't capable in combat, I run a pretty tactical game and push the bounds of the CRs of encounters pretty hard. Needless to say it actually makes the party actually willing to RP past stuff instead of having a risky fight.
Its pretty harsh on certain aspects. Some of the combats can be hard for some play styles to deal with. Also its important to read up on environmental hazards (cold and snow) and later on aerial combat.
Much of the difficultly will lie in how hard your GM plays some situations, as written and played as intended its going to be rough for the PCs. If the GM rules loosely or gets certain details wrong it can be a cakewalk. Read environmental conditions closely.
Oh, the random encounter chart is on the brutal side of things, pray you don't get hit with some of the stuff on there.
Hellknights which are an important institution in Cheliax are often LN. The average Chelish person is going to be LN/le anyways, the ruling classes are the ones that push it into full LE territory. Tieflings favor evil but can be any alignment. I would honestly be more concerned with worshiping the wrong devil more than not being evil.
Also on your skills: You will still suck at knowledge checks, you will still have virtually no skill points, investing in intelligence for a battle cleric is like investing in a pool for a battleship. It doesn't serve a purpose and it takes away resources from its primary use. If you want to have skills look elsewhere. A 7 Int battle cleric plays the same a 10 int one.
With the CR system its pretty hard to TPK a well built party even if the enemy is aware without going to the higher ends of the "reasonable" encounter scale, or abusing flaws in the CR system. A prepared adventuring party can take down buffs and defenses of the enemy faster than he can keep them up, if you boost the numbers of enemies you have to reduce the individual CR or increase the XP budget for the encounter. Lower CRs means the enemy might fail to reach thresholds to actually harm the PCs. It becomes a story of action economy vs having capable enough monsters. Lower the mooks too far and they die to an AoE effect. Make it one solo or a pair and they get focesed down with action economy. When it comes right down to it, expending resources on an alpha strike actually conserves resources since you have such short combats. A high level wizard or sorcerer is hardly going to run out of spells in a normal adventuring day if played that way (often 1 spell 1 encounter can happen, if its the right spell that is).
Interesting points, i have one player who fits into several of those categories. AND he wants to play a kender. I told him he has 2 strikes and him playing a kender would be strike 3.
stuart haffenden wrote:
The success rate of spells, especially ones that actually allow saves, isn't the problem. Its that the spells them selves have to much narrative power. Got a over land trek complete with random encounter charts and such? Too bad, over land flight. Got a dungeon complete with traps to challenge the rogue and tough fights to challenge the fighter? Tough luck, detect magic finds the dangerous traps, spells can bypass the danger, and you can use magic to get past the monsters. BBEG doesn't see it coming because you bypassed his defense (unless he in tern is a caster). Surprise round, drop a battlefield control spell blocking off reinforcements. Round one the enemy goes down because the sorcerer did the barbarian full attack delivery trick. The rest of the party is reduced to being the war head of the magic ICBM.
The thing is there is nothing in the arsenal if full martials that can compete with the story changing powers of casters. A party full of martials by definition are all aboard the plot train types. It requires a much heavier hand to control casters.
Not really. I've done it with relatively weak characters before. Apparently a heavy pick + crit kills bosses in one hit. Same with save or die spells/hexes. Even a non crit can end an encounter with little effort, and a lance charge just obliterates enemies.
Heck, at first level a power attack + cleave can drop 2 CR 1 monsters (which is a CR3 encounter) in one round on average (2d6+9 = 16, 15 is average HP of CR1s). Seen it done in society before, seen it done in normal play.
DM Under The Bridge wrote:
Player assassinations particularly going above and beyond the normal CR scaling and targeting specific weakness that can't be overcome by ANY of the party sounds like controlling behavior and not creating a challenging encounter.
Your scenarios involve: out ranging range specialists, the melee characters in that sort of party are hardly going to be able to contribute at all. Specifically murdering a PC using over CR rogues with no chance to respond whatsoever. Destroying weapons on the weapon specialist, note that this doesn't really work since he can just club it to death with a chair leg if he has to. Draining the strength of the melee specialist, which doesn't' work because he is still better than any other combatant in the same situation (in fact it could KILL other characters against many enemies). Draining all of the dex of the range characters, not that this doesn't actually work due to similar issues that appear in the melee example.
It all smacks of heavy handed attempts to control the party and/or punish players. And that is poor form. You can challenge a party without such ham fisted tactics and without going beyond APL+3-4 range.
Chengar Qordath wrote:
The funny thing is at high enough levels even a APL+8 encounter can be beaten if the party is built right and can spike damage or boost DCs by enough. I've seen it done. Hell had a party do 1/3 of the health of Yamasoth, a CR24 qlippoth lord. At level 12. It was a "cinematic encounter" but it was still crazy that they did that so i had to shorten his appearance by a round.
DM Under The Bridge wrote:
MY PFS has a longbow. It's an elf, which is the iconic alchemist. Bows are really good. Bombs are limited. Both have overlapping feats. You would have to be stupid to not see the synergy. Alchemists don't have to be steam-punk, in fact alchemy predates steam by centuries.
Most of your "solutions" sound like tactics a control freak GM might use if they feel like they don't like how their players are playing and need to punish them for building characters by the rules they don't like. Sure once and a while its good to through a variety of encounters at the party to let other people shine, but if every encounter is against dex draining/distored longer range than the PCs fly aways, it gets really old really fast.
Also, rogues do crap damage. Sure, if you want to throw multiple rogues of a level that can combined one shot a PC, go ahead. You are likely blowing right past the CR guidelines to do it. 4 rogues vs a PC would have to be several levels below the level of the summoner for it to be a legit challenge, as 4 enemies is normal CR+4. Since a normal NPC PC class is CR=lvl-1, the rogues would have to be at least 2 levels below the level of the summoner. And that would be really vindictive because that is asking a single PC to face a total challenge 2 CR higher than his level, when that is a hard encounter for a party of 4. Way to go GM, you can use fiat to murder PCs, what an amazing discovery. Any thing lower than that and the summoner is likely to survive in my experience. Which is more of statement about how much rogues suck. Also Summoners are 3/4 BAB classes that have access to good AC boosting things, while rogues are 3/4 BAB guys that for some reason like to lower their to hit by being edgy and duel wielding light weapons.
Also, my vanilla summoner is IN the battle-line. Summoners are legitimate combatants if you know how to build them.
DM Under The Bridge wrote:
Most of what you are describing is actually attacking the strengths so only weakness remains. Problem is most of your examples are pretty easily surmounted:Alchemists have ranged feats, lots of them. They also carry a longbow if they know what they are doing. Or can fly.
Nothing stops the lightly armored quick barbarian from using ranged attacks. Or drinking a potion of fly.
Greatsword fighter has back up weapons. If not his fists are mighty enough to take out a rust monster if he has to.
Summoner summons more. Or uses create pit or other spells do to the right job. This one is so easy I don't know why you even stated it I mean rogues? Really? really? Laughable. Glitterdust those idiots and laugh all the way.
Archer ranger vs ranged foe that has protection from arrows? as per the spell? As in the spell that doesn't actually work against magic arrows? I don't know what beholders abjurers is supposed to be, but beholders aren't in PF at all.
Most melee fighter/barb/ranger have back up plans if the player isn't an idiot, and after combat is over they chug a potion of restore or give over some gold for a restore/remove spell. Cost of doing business. They are also still full BAB, so will still hit more frequently than a 3/4 BAB or low strength same class would in the same situation. I mean a 14 strength fighter cursed for -6 strength is a joke. A 18 strength fighter still can do some stuff, and is barely worse than the weakling is normally.
Two weapon combatant is already fighting at a disadvantage by going with 2 weapons. He wises up and fights with one hand and loses a couple of attacks. As long as those attacks weren't light slaps he is still effective.
I've played characters that dumped con, only to 8, because I didn't need any more points, but still, its doable. There are more forms of damage mitigation than having a big health pool. Positioning, high AC, miss chance, cover, making use of enviromental and situational bonuses... Heck my PFS witch had a 10 con, and didn't take a single point of damage till 4th level despite being forced to "tank" some enemies due to party incompetence (partially build incompetence, but also tactical).
Nearly every drawback that comes from optimizing one area at the expense of another can be mitigated with magic, items, tactics, or RP in my experience. Tank wisdom on a barbarian? Well he is superstitious and took some nice traits to help that out, and wears a cloak. Tank Charisma? Well normally other party members can do that part, since they have Cha as a primary or secondary focus (cleric, sorc, pal ect) but if not you can erase deficits in character creation through trait use and skill points, and you can roleplay for those super nice situational bonuses to diplomacy (bribes work too), and perhaps pick up some items (which are cheap honestly, gold solves most problems) that boost your diplomacy.
In all honesty it doesn't actually matter what your Charisma score is as much as how high your skill is in Charisma based skills. The -2 that you get for a full dump is not going to invalidate your build, favored class bonus, trait bonus, and a skill rank more makes up for taking a low score, not to mention racial mods like half orcs and intimidate, or class mods like stern gaze.
Some classes get no real benefit from INT, like clerics. They get 2 points for class, INT does nothing for them, they don't get a generous allotment of class skills, they can use magic for most things, dropping down to 7 still gives them 1 skill point for being a character, and they can favored class for 1 more (and they can be human for a third if they really want another). An 8 actually gets them the same number of skill points. Since they usually have good scores in most other skills, they can afford to spread their paltry skills out a bit and still be adequate for what you need clerics to do. Fighters are in the same boat, and unless they need 13 int for feat chains there is not any real reason not to tank further.
Now if you say that perhaps people shouldn't play mono task characters that only do damage, then I can agree with that, fighters kind of suck at most things, but man they are good at dealing damage. Why give up the ability to deal damage when you have 3-5 other guys who don't do so much damage, but can handle the others stuff? I mean once you choose the role "fighter" you aren't really seeking to play diplomat, professional sailor, burgler, merchant or anything other than a guy who fights. Same thing goes with Barbarians, Why invest in diplomacy when you are the freaking barbarian?
In the long run dumping wisdom on a paladin isnt' going to matter, they get their CHA bonus to Will pretty quickly, and they will have over all strong saves even with taking a -2. Also IMHO its a bit of a jerk move for a GM to hit a new player with a cursed item gambit, it smacks of screwing with a player in game because the GM didn't like the fact that the paladin dumped some stats, GMs doing this sort of crap often drive new players away. As for missing the perception stuff, its actually hard for most classes to get perception, since wisdom isn't the main focus for them and perception isn't a class skill (and most classes are skill point starved, and can't afford to spend much on any one thing). Getting surprised also isn't that big a deal, because your enemy gets ONE action, not a full round action, ONE action. Paladins being a heavy armor class rather than finesse rarely lose much AC being flatfooted, and have damage mitigation pretty early as a swift action. None of the trade offs are actually a big deal most of the time (-2 isn't' a game breaker, you aren't suddenly going to see ambushes with a +2 anymore than a -2, the stealth bonuses for hidden enemies are just too high if they are designed for it).
As for the particulars of how far he took strength, if it was past 18 post racials, or 16 pre, then yes, he boosted that too much at the expense of other things. I personally will put a pre racial 16 in STR, a 15-16 in CHA, and the rest in Con after a INT dump (PFS 20pt buy). If its 15 point buy I will just 17 STR post racial, 14-16 CHA post racial (some good races can get +2STR +CHA, angel blooded Aasimar for expample), actually i would pretty much use the standard heroic array for 15 point buy on a paladin, its pretty good and you can wait till 4 to get your 18 STR, esp if you sword and board: 15, 12, 13, 8, 10, 14 pre racials. Notice the standard array has a mild dump score, an 8. Putting that in wisdom is probably a mistake, INT is better 9/10 to dump a paladin, but its not much worse than a 10 that you would put into wisdom either. Saves are pretty important, but honestly paladins have some of the strongest saves in the game, RNG are going to bite anybody however, particularly if GM is out to get a player for dumping a score.
As for the party face, every party that ever was has somebody that handles most of interactions. Even in a troop of actors there is still the spokesperson who has the most CHA and skill in it. Only when you get a party of surely dwarves is the Face going to be an issue. As for healing, any class can heal, either natively or with UMD, and its an easy check to make DC20 with not much real penalty for failing. Dumped wisdom is an issue, but honestly even spending your feats on iron will and the like isn't going to make up for the fact that will saves don't scale up worth a damn. Any fighter type is going to eventually have to resort to save enhancers or immunity items (or play a build that gets bonuses). Spending your irreplaceable feats on mitigating things largely outside of your control just waters down what your class is supposed to do. No point of having a fighter if he can't actually hurt things, might as well just taken a battle cleric instead.
I personally only respond to anti optimizing threads for one reason and one reason only. People often spread bad advice in this hobby to new players, and this forum is often where new players go to learn the hobby. Nothing is more discouraging for a new player than to spend hours making and playing a character using the advice presented and having it just not perform as well as some people on these boards say it will. People agreeing a bad build is good is going to make a new player put the lack of performance on themselves, which may lead to early exit from the hobby. Its important to have somebody there to call crap, crap, instead of the entire board spending time polishing it and placing it in the best light.
In other games I've seen quality content and good advice drowned out by the fluff bunnys and anti optimizers/no net builds ect saying "Play how you want!" While that is true the hobby is still a cooperative game, and if you play how you want to the point of making really bad choices that harm your groups enjoyment and/or chances of success, then that is not good for anybody. In MMOs you kick the person who can't play their class in an appropriate way or who are undergeared, misbuilt, or underpowered. In P&P people get hurt feelings and leave the group/hobby.
That being said you should always dial down your power level to the expectations of the group you are playing with, but that doesn't require a complete aversion to optimizing your character.
From a guy who played magic at Nationals in 2006, this isn't really true. You can make a killer casual deck, one that is more tuned than a competitive deck even.
Competitive decks exist in a tournament metagame, and have to make choices that actually harm what the deck is doing to be able to counter the known competition. Often tourney decks have to change so much from week to week that they never really find the optimal list, they just find the right list for that week, or as close to it as they can with time and card resources (scrambling for the right card can nuke your wallet or trade binder, one of the reasons why I cashed out).
Casual decks can be tuned to a greater degree, because you aren't worried about making top 8 or having a hard counter vs your deck like a competitive deck is often worried about. They aren't concerned about wining as much as doing their "thing" whatever that happens to be. Taking a tuned casual deck against a tourney deck can actually be eye opening, often casual decks can crush a good portion of the meta. But the reason why they stay casual is they can't stand the rigors of a tourney season, either through meta swings or having hard counters that are also popular. Sometimes casual decks actually make the transition to competitive, some really crazy ideas have been meta breakers after being tuned by casual players.
Basically what I'm saying is even though the casual deck is doing things that the tourney player thinks is not tourney worthy, it doesn't' mean that the casual player isn't building their decks optimally. Playing casual isn't an excuse to be lazy. I don't want to play against a guy who has a deck that is more like a pile of draft rejects any more than I want to build such a deck myself. Nothing is more frustrating than watching your opponent flounder with his poor deck design/play while you beat him without even trying hard.
Which is really where I stand on optimization. Just because you are playing a low power, RP heavy, or suboptimal character style doesn't mean you shouldn't optimize with what you have. If nothing else if you over build for an adventure, you can always choose to self limit things. When things get dangerous, you can swap your sword to your right hand, and declare "I'm not left handed!"
If you just want generic soldiers there are often bargain bins of dead war games at game stores. GW's WHFB minis used to be a decent value, but they have priced them selves sky high these days. I would just browse the reaper catalog and pick what you like, what you see people play a lot, and what you would like to use if you GM.
Also the iconic line of minis for PF is a good way to get great sculpts of various PF classes.
Kirth Gersen wrote:
I only started in 2nd ed AD&D, so I'm just beginner. THAC0 was a bit of a pain in the butt, but I remember making a fighter, my very first character, rolled 3d6 in order, first stat was 18 STR, rolled 00 on the bonus strength. Witnessed by the GM and all players. Got 17 dex, and everything else was 7-11 range. GM made me retire character after only a few sessions because it was "to strong". He was really upset about the negative AC more than the high strength though. He didn't want to run monsters with good thacOs against the party since everybody else was like AC2-5 range.
I see grognards like you in games stores from time to time, harping on about the kids on their lawn, how if G Gygax (whom they played a game with personally) were still around he would sick an owlbear on them and make them go away.
They usually have some old ignored supplement they tried to self publish back in the day they want to you try out, complete with rusty staples from the university copy shop. They drag out old minis that had runs of less than 4 digits, from companies that haven't existed in 20 years. Talk about how in the keep on the borderlands they totally destroyed that crazy old guy in the woods with a 10 foot pole and a bit of chalk and some string. Now kids won't even go adventuring without a +1 weapon, the spoiled snots.
In all seriousness I find OD&D pretty fun, its not the same game as 3.x/PF though. In OD&D if you rolled up something with terrible stats, it didn't matter all that much because the game largely didn't give out much unless you were at the extreme of the bell curve. Most of the mechanics came from the class and not the stats. 3.x/PF stats matter much more, and how you choose to progress your character matters much more.
Joanna Swiftblade wrote:
A typical encounter should late 2-4 rounds, depending on the set-up. A large encounter with a miniboss/BBEG should probably only one or two longer than that. The only time I have experienced long encounters was in the two final encounters of a level 1-20 campaign. The first one lasted about 6 rounds (spanning about 3 hours in real life) where the party had to fight an absurdly powerful barbarian and two incorporeal (who did practically nothing). The barbarian died in three rounds, and then was promptly resurrected by the impossibly angry god sword he was wielding. The last encounter only lasted that long because the final boss (Orcus himself) was hiding from the party trying to ambush him (the party had gotten so strong at that point that Orcus was legitimately afraid of their power).
I've found that long combats are the result of difficult environments more than any other factor. Combats in water, combats using flight heavily, combats with massive terrain altering spells (solid fog, walls of thorns, entangle, and a whole host of others). Other methods of generating long combats involve deceptive monsters that can hit and run, or aren't what you think they are. Phase spiders are a good example, and incorporeal creatures are really nasty this way. High level casters who make good use of magic jar or summon gobs of demons/devils with sacred summons can make a combat bog down for a VERY long time.
I actually had an enemy "solo" boss abuse the summons hard (did a one shot dungeon done up in a tuned MMO dungeon style, complete with trash, DPS checks, and a end boss with adds, but followed all encounter design rules in terms of CR math), round one, sacred summon max ereynes with superior summons, augmented summon, swift action inspire (evengelist cleric of asmodius), move action quick channel to protect his summons with an anti party debuff alt channel. Full attacks from the archers put the PCs immediately on a defensive footing. Just getting through the field of fire that the archers put up was daunting, and waiting out the summons wasn't an option either, since he had more spells incoming. Fight took about 8 rounds when it was all over, and instead of fighting the summons they went for caster assassination followed by a bugout by all PCs via transportation items (teleport scroll, ninja abundant step, full run with magic boots, ect). It took 8 rounds because I messed up and didn't reposition him 5 feet on turn 5, if i had remembered to it would have been much longer since he would have been able to avoid the lockdown combat maneuver monk that got through the defensive line.
I'm not privy to what the devs say in private conversations, so I won't comment on that. But I have read the monsters by CR chart, monster design chart, seen and run years of paizo created encounters, understand their intended tactics, and what the players need to do to overcome those obstacles. Mostly on the GM side of the screen excluding society play. With that knowledge there is a certain baseline ability that needs to be reached without risking loss of too many resources and/or player death. The build of your inquisitor doesn't meet the minimums as far as I can see to be able to thrive in published APs or PFS. In a home setting with encounters tailored to the party and/or very few combat situations? Yeah, any build can do that by definition. I by no means mean badwrongfun, but if you are playing by houserules or heavy modification of encounter design as presented in the core rule book and/or game mastery guide, then complaining about people who build more in line with the APs and society play optimizing to a degree that you find excessive is perhaps misguided since your own baseline perceptions might be off.
On the other side the stories I hear about power gaming parties using 35+ point buy, 3rd party splats from 3.5, Gestalt characters, templates, powerful monster races ect. are also far from the baseline that I don't really consider that to be the same game either. Which is fine, people can optimize the big guns as well as the smallest knife. Not going to tell them to stop, but I will say that isn't by the books baseline expectations of pathfinder. I do find it funny to look at one of these "munchin" characters and point out that they are actually pretty bad in terms of power though. I remember one having like a PB equivalent of like 42 AND gesalt, and it wasn't as good as the 15 point versions of the iconics at similar levels.