I found that HP healing is the least important thing a "healer" class can do. Remove paralysis, suppress charms and compulsions, remove blindness/deafness, and similar condition removal spells are far more important. That fighter can operate at 100% till he is dropped if he has no conditions on him. If that fighter is dominated, blind, or immobile, not so much.
Last night the party was forced to go without their primary healer, only having a witch (their backup healer) available. Party got hit with a feeblemind trap, and the witch got nailed too. It required a UMD'ed scroll to fix the witch, the witch teleporting back to town to buy the right spells, then teleporting back to fix the party. Then there is the level drain and ability damage they took... They had to risk the saves and spend the time to fix that. They also got hit with confusion (which the cleric usually fixes). It was just a train wreck of a night for them (1 killed, 1 neg, 3 feebleminds, 2 levels drained, and 3 party members taking wisdom damage). They got lucky on the saves vs madness effects, that would have been crippling for the summoner who only made it with a hero point.
My party tends to have 2-3 round combats normally, they usually have 2-3 people who are really good at dealing damage, with the others being able to contribute save or dies/save or sucks in addition to incidental damage. There really isn't time for in combat damage mitigation other than a clutch breath of life (the cleric always has a reach breath of life available for emergencies). Interestingly enough breath of life is a condition removal spell for her, it removes the dead condition.
IMHO condition removal and damage prevention through smart use of buffs/debuffs is more important than in combat damage mitigation. That isn't to say that it isn't sometimes needed, but I have found that in combat healing usually involved the party being caught with their pants down, or that they are low on resources at the time the combat occurs.
1: Skills are often uncovered, and some people forget to pack their own healing. Some people who seek to fix the above problems forget to bring combat ability (ever sit down at a table with a healbot cleric and a skill monkey rogue? I have, as a result my WITCH had to tank an encounter, and she was actually better at healing and skills than the other two combined).
I would say for a pick up game where you are unsure of other players you should pick a hybrid class/versatile class. Examples are the inquisitor, the witch, the magus, the alchemist, the cleric (especially the evangelist archetype), a well built bard, the druid, and the summoner. The other classes are very much specialized/lack important skills and you can't count on the other party members of filling the missing pieces.
By far the best character (IMHO) you can make for a new group you know nothing about is the evangelist cleric. You give up some important features for even better things. You are one of the best buffing characters possible, and you are full caster (and 3/4 BAB). Grab a good domain, build for buffing, and use a ranged weapon to support the party after you are done buffing. This character doesn't really heal that well, but you can just carry a 2 PA cure stick for that (and when you get your channels you might as well pick up a alt channel ability for even further party support, protection is a solid choice).
Troglodytes are stupid? Man, never thought that -1 to int based skill checks was the same thing as being stupid. Heck that is just a racial tendency, no reason why a troglodyte can't be a wizard or sorcerer with different stat allocations.
If an animal is 5 foot away from the enemy, why wouldn't they 5 foot step instead of eating a AoO? Heck even spiders and scorpions approach dangerous prey with cation.
I think part of the problem is that many groups can't find the "tank" class in the core book, APG, or the ultimate books. (btw the term noob doesn't reflect length of experience, not calling you even passive aggressively that, just clarifying). I know with my group which we have in the past gone up to level 18 fighting appropriate enemies have had to deal with monsters capable of doing even more damage than that. Yet they didn't really ever take that much damage, because combats tended to be over in 1-3 rounds of actual combat, the preceding rounds were mostly setting up the perfect round of rocket tag (positioning, buffing, ect). When a party member gets hit, he withdraws and lets somebody else deal with the pressure (or lets the summmons take brunt of the enemies offense). If somebody dies, there is usually a res later or a breath of life now that fixes it.
1. You aren't being creative enough to find your buffs. There are tons of them available that do stack if your party has good synergy and your primary buffer knows what he is doing.
A 40 point buy stat array is ridiculous. The NPCs and monsters are designed around a 3-15 point buy, why would even a 35 point buy character make even the slightest sense?
Wanting to play a 14 CHA fighter? Sure go ahead. Want to not be stupid? Sure, the combat expertise/intimidate fighter is viable after all. Still want to have high strength and con without dumping wisdom or dex? Uhh.... Munchin much?
The game is designed around a 15 point buy (or standard array that is effectively 15 points). Messing around with this changes the dynamics of the CR system. Wanting anything higher than a 20 point buy is either being a bit power gamey, or straight up munchin in the case of the 40 point buy equivelent stat arrays/rolled arrays.
Now If you want to have god like or only good rolled stats (how often do you hear about players who actually go 1-20 with a bad roll?) go ahead, play the character with only strengths and no penalties... Just don't think anybody is impressed by it. Besides, wanting to spread your stats around and still be amazing at your core purpose doesn't always do that much. A wizard with 14 strength is just as likely to be a melee combatant as a the wizard with 8 strength.
Rebel Arch wrote:
Stormwind fallacy much?
Stale dried up cliche unoriginal no RP characters has more to do with the player playing them and not the stats behind them.
My battle cleric of Gorum makes for great RP, despite making the point buy system bleed in terms of maximizing return on points. 9 Dex and 7 Int (yeah, double dump on stats) all so I could get the huge strength (18 after mod) and good wis needed to be a proper battle cleric. I play her as dumb jock only interested in combat, her small stature (I rolled 4'11') is a sore point and she has a chip on her shoulder about it. She only will fight opponents who will fight back (not CE) but has no problem antagonizing people into wanting to fight (so not good either). Gets easily bored by social situations (lack of social skills other than intimidate) and doesn't like situations that don't call for battle (low number of skill points). Only uses spells that help her and others fight better (buffs and condition removal), and feels that healing in combat is cheating (but is fine with it after the fight is over). Finds range combat distasteful (not very good at it, similar to how jocks can be regarding sports they don't play), but respects people who are specialized in it. I've got a good background story written for her, but since its a PFS character it doesn't every come up (other than through her trait selection).
On the topic at hand, I move to point buy because I had the problem of underpowered/overpowered charaters. The guy who rolled up the +4 total bonus character would suck, and the guy who got lucky with the +12 would rock. I would say reroll till you get at least a +8, but that would often be time consuming or result in even more 12+ total bonus character (which would demolish the adventures I was running). Also with the caps and bottoms of stat bonus it would hurt players who rolled above average at everything but nothing actually good compared to the guy who rolled extremes on both ends. Eventually I just realized that a point buy was the only way to enforce parity without having to spend far too long watching rolls (and if you don't watch the rolls you end up with statistically unlikely numbers of 18s...).
With point buy all characters have equal opportunity to make good characters. It does make certain MAD characters more difficult to build however, but that is due to poor design of the class more than anything else (also you don't really need an 18 most of the time, that +1 bonus over a 16/17 isn't a deal breaker, it's 1 result out of 20 when you roll, or 1 damage).
Nothing ruins a good class like taking a few levels of rogue.
Inq/rogue is particularly bad. For 1d6 sneak damage you give up 1 BAB and delayed acquisition of the superior saves and abilities that inquisitor levels give you.
Red mantis assassin doesn't even mesh with inquisitors. The caster levels aren't even remotely the same, so won't stack. You will end up with crappy low level spells from each list. You don't need rogue levels to qualify anyways. In fact any class can qualify, the skill requirements aren't too harsh so just make a fighter or ranger to qualify (human and 10 int will give you the 3 skill points per level you need, + enough feats to spare). Trait support can give you the class skills you might miss from fighter.
I personally wouldn't bother as the RMA seems more like a dangerous mook NPC than a PC class... Too many crappy yet flavorful abilities.
Multi classing in PF is generally a poor idea, unlike 3.x most classes have delayed payoffs and aren't heavily front loaded. Exceptions are fighter, oracle, or barbarian dips.
Personally, I would outlaw the Summoner class outright. No NPC should ever outshine a PC.
Eidolon isn't an NPC. Its a core component of a PC class. A summoner without an eidolon is a crappy conjurer. With an eidolon the summer is still balanced with the rest of the party given the same level of optimization for all characters. People who complain about being overshadowed by the eidolon aren't building very optimized characters.
I have the idea that the best land is tied up in rich land holders because of the assumed social structure of the major inner sea powers. Cheliax uses large slave populations, which implies a plantation style farming style. Taldor's major exports involve olives and wine, which also has a large landowner style of farming (that and the byzantine social structure it is based off of). Qadira has limited farmland and a social structure that implies that anybody not noble born or city born is a foreigner or slave. Osirion has a large slave populations that work the fields that support the urban areas.
Any farm that is going to escape these kind of conditions is going be either undesirable due to size, productivity, or access to markets. A farmer that doesn't have access to larger markets is going to make enough food to support his family, and enough to trade with the local craftsmen and to pay his taxes.
Which makes the average family farm unlikely to be able afford the cost of the magic grain box.
Any power creep that applies to non tier 1 classes is ultimately a good thing as far as I'm concerned. The APG, UM, and UC have been out long enough IMHO that they have shown that they have things worth taking, but a majority of niche or plain old bad stuff too. Sure, some people will say that the things worth taking are broken because people are actually using those things over some garbage from the core book. Eh, sounds like a desire for stasis rather than legitimate complaints to me.
Some of the classes in the extended books are really good, witch and summoner are both high tier (1-2 range, depending on opinion), yet most of the other classes in those books are tier 3-5... just like the core book. Some of the feats are going to be used in nearly every build of a particular type, just like the core. Some of the feats are never going to be taken except for fluff or by people with poor system mastery, just like core.
The real power creep is the improved system mastery over time, and the highly optimized net builds that are slowly coming out that most people couldn't even conceive of without the power of the internet.
One area that does have potential for abuse is archetypes, but even then most of them are either worse, or about equal to the core version of that class. Even the "mighty" synthesist is arguably not stronger that the base summoner (what it gains in DPR and combat ability, it loses in action economy inherent in a caster + pet build).
Right now the game has over 20 different classes, tons of archetypes to use with those classes, of those classes there are 5 that most agree are top or near top tier. Wizard, cleric, druid, witch, summoner. 3 are from core, 2 from the expanded books. Seems fine. Of the other non core classes, they mostly fall in line with the other low or mid tier classes. Seems fine. Only exception is the ninja, while hardly being a powerful class for tiers purposes, it steps on the toes of the rogue, who hasn't gotten much love. Even the monk has gotten more love than the rogue.
Core only is fun enough, as a GM I used to run core only in 3.5 because even though the core was broken, I at least knew all the break points. In PF the core is much more balanced, and there isn't the busted spat books there were in 3.0 and 3.5, so I feel much more comfortable with just saying "anything paizo is allowed" than I ever was saying "all wizards material" or god forbid the "all wizards and 3rd party".
My thoughts, from 0-10 where 0 is core only and 10 is 3.5, PF is at about a 2 in terms of power creep. Which IMHO is mostly from increased build options without anything being overly dominating.
99 percent of the paladin problems have to do with jerk DMs and other party members that love to make paladins fall. Its a sick corruption fetish right along with elf abuse on the common "that guy" behaviors.
There used to be rules for paladins to tithe their earnings towards their church or charity in general, this was partly to keep them in check (when they were considered to be better back in the dark ages of 1st and 2nd ed) and to burn off negative karma points for minor crap or "no good choices" crap.
I've personally played a black vs white paladin, a lawful good doesn't mean lawful nice kind of character, the sword hand of justice type. Mercy was for the repentant, and he had no problem executing unrepentant prisoners if he had enough legal justification and jurisdiction.
Then I've played a grey knight, where morality was squishy and sometimes it was for the greater good for an evil to go un-righted.
I've not played a pure as driven snow almost pacifist white knight though, just not interesting to me, and the personality type you have to role-play is irritating for the party and GM TBH. Yipee, its Captain Passive Aggressive, now we have to plot behind his back to get anything done.
Many styles are fine, as long as the paladin is internally consistent and isn't actively being screwed by the narrative or other players.
150 rounds of combat, with 1 minute per player, party of 4, 600 minutes, 10 hours of pure combat? Better stock the cheetos and mountain dew, somebody just threw down the gauntlet of old school grognards vs 3.x/PF kiddies.
C'mon, GG was done with D&D back in the TSR days, and got forced out before that company even killed itself. He sold some mediocre 3rd party stuff, and wrote some articles, but didn't have anything to do with balancing 3.x/PF.
Part of the reason why I have been running prepared material is so my players can have a sense of accomplishment for beating an AP. Sort of like how old school players had that shared feeling and awe at somebody who survived the tomb of horrors, or the mega adventure that was Against the Giants.
Lowering the difficulty of the encounters takes something away from that accomplishment IMHO. Its like bragging that you beat battletoads, but don't add that you used the game genie to do it. I prefer my games to be NES hard, but beatable. Most of the time the APs tend to be tough but fair, which is more like SNES hard (as opposed to Xbox easy, or press triangle to win).
The only direction I adjust encounters for parties is harder, and only if the party is larger than the module is built for. Making encounters easier only rewards lazy play, and encourages imbalanced party/character designs. The magic immune encounters should be a warning sign that sorcerer should pay attention to, similar to how doing poorly on a pop quiz should be a warning sign to study harder. If the sorcerer doesn't take heed that his build is fatally flawed, then he should face the consequences.
The encounters in book 2 still look to be on the easy side for my group (one that I've run games for over 3 years, 51 sessions a year, 4-7 hours each), but it won't be the cake walk that was the dungeon in book 1.
APL+3 is the general rule. Your party is large, so its apl9 atm. I would say 2 more levels assuming they have gear that can manage the enemy. Due to action econ its probably better to make the encounter happen higher level than that and add some minions so the party actions aren't just nova on the BBEG killing him in 1-2 rounds.
The thing about encounters is that not every encounter has to be something that a particular PC can handle. Its why we have classes other than casters after all.
Golems are good encounters for the martially inclined to get to shine, as the casters are forced into a support role (which they should be anyways IMHO).
Also magic immune creatures are a good learning experience for players. Sorcerers need to be much more careful about their spells selection since its rather difficult to go back on their choices. Some conjured creatures gets around spell immunity quite nicely, as does many conjured effects.
2nd for shining children. Those things are nasty for sure. DC25 blind aura as a free action? Ranged touch at +19, thats nasty, 10d6 points of damage? Oh, you got blinded, so you take -2 to AC and can't use your dex bonus... 120 foot range and they fly?! They get what as spell like abilities? Yeah, pretty nasty for CR12 IMHO. Biggest weakness is no SR or DR. Good luck getting to hit them considering the full usage of their spell like abilities.
Part of the reason why I'm scared of these things is the blind effect. Which goes back a long time but mostly in 3.0 the entire party got blinded during a overly long combat against a random spellcaster. Cleric was like "I got this covered, just let me get my scrolls of cure blindness out". Everybody out of character just stared at him for a few seconds before the player facepalmed in shame. Needless to say it was rather difficult to get out of that situation.
Eh, I deal with enough 2.0 refugees just converting over to PF, and enough WoW retirees that its still good advice.
...and a much inferior spell list.
Huh, I never really thought of the witch spell list being "inferior". They don't have the deepest spell pool like wizards have, but they have access to some of the stronger spells of both wizards and clerics. This versatility more than makes up for their lack of apparent depth. Heck, chose the right patron and you won't even miss not having some spells on your base list because they are right there on your patron's list. They also have access to the full summon monster chain, so can pick summons that fill holes in their abilities.
Add that the fact they have hexes that are just better than the spells they replicate (uses, DCs ect) and I don't see any problem with witches at all. Some party compositions would rather have a witch than a wizard or cleric. Arcane support with divine healing and debuffs/buffs? Its like a bard/cleric/wizard all in one. Some builds can even make them into a CM master.
I always laugh when people talk about how OP slumber is... Guess they don't read the description very closely. 1 round per level. Better slumber enemies standing next to you at first level if you want to coup de grace them since that's a full round action.
Spending 3 rounds to use that slumber hex is not OP, even against a solo. How many combats against solos actually last more than 3 rounds? I know with any reasonably competent group the answer should be "not many".
If its not a solo encounter, such as a BBEG with minions, then having a minion spend a standard action (or any damage source, including 1 damage splash effects) to negate your save or die effect is fine use of actions. Congrats, your multi round built up finisher is negated by a minion/familiar. Depending on initiative order, its possible the only effect slumber has is using up a irrelevant minions actions, and having the BBEG use an action to stand up.
DMs who complain about it don't really have a good grasp of the game system. Sure, the witch can spam it all day long, but only once per target (or twice with a feat). Compare it to spells such as hold person, sleep, or whatever level appropriate spell could be cast, its not a big deal. Sure it doesn't use up a daily resource, but it uses the much more important resource of time (action economy, spending your rounds building up to a finisher, which is still ultimately a save or die is not a great use of time).
It also is completely ineffective against enemies that are immune to sleep effects. So constructs, undead, mindless vermin ect are impossible to stop with this gimmick. Considering how popular these types of enemies are in most campaigns it negates even more the "OP" nature of this hex.
That being said, I still like the effect as a player, because it gives a caster character something relevant to do at all times. Certainly more relevant than the idiot wizards using crossbows to conserve spells, or plinking away with their 1st level wand of magic missile.
As for the OPs question, taking extra hex is a good idea, because most hexes are better than feats. Just don't take it more than a few times, due to not being many hexes that you need to take. In fact, taking it just once is fine if you expect to play through to higher levels (9+ is high level for most groups). Hexes worth taking for a debuff witch: evil eye (bread and butter) misfortune, cackle, and slumber are all you need. So thats only 4 hexes used up, and even non human witches without extra hex can get them all before they start getting the major hexes. Since you are starting out at lvl 1 and need to front load hexes, taking extra hex is a no brainer. At lvl 3 extra hex is still a good choice, but there is a feat you should probably take instead. That feat is accursed hex (lets you hex twice if the save is successful). At lvl 5 extra hex is good again, as flight hex gives you actual flight at that level. Before that the hex is underwhelming, so lvl 5 is the optimal time to take it.
An example of a human witch through lvl 5:
Lvl 1: Feats: extra hex, extra hex
Obv this is front heavy on offensive hexes, leaving your 6th and 8th level hexes for flavor or buffing hexes. A decent one to look at is scar for later on split hex use (lets you use hexes on enemies past normal range if you know how to abuse the errata on scar). Scar a minion, let him go, scry on him, when the BBEG comes into view, split hex a slumber, if it works teleport and coup de grace. (yeah, sounds op, but at the level this works at, 10, it really isn't).
Druid. What other class can fight, have a pet, summon, buff, blast, control, alt movement type, full caster progression, heal,access to domains and get immunities and other powerful defenses?
By far the druid is the most flexible class in the game in range of abilities and being good at all of them. Having 5 of them is just going to be really strong.
My oppon... mean players have gotten rather adept at killing my attempts at recurring villains.So any attempt to make the guy actually a direct combatant is going to be rather difficult for me.
My idea is to make the nemesis a non combatant. Just make him a constant drain on reputation. Have him hire bards to spread slightly slanderous tales ahead of the parties travels. Poison the well of public opinion. After awhile he could make the "virtuous" adventurers into blackguards in the public eye. Direct confrontation would be met with law enforcement protecting a private citizen from out of control adventurers. Murdering him would be met with bounty hunters, banishment, or worse.
Just because he doesn't have his job doesn't mean he didn't have a network of supporters/friends still working for. Many organizations have loyalty that lasts even after a "save face" firing. His proxies can still jerk the PCs around, depending on how much empire building he did it could be a major problem. If it was a government job, its extra dangerous, as govs don't like it when their officials are humiliated, certainly not govs that knowingly employ N/NE characters.
Guys who are like this rely on their reputation for vindictiveness to protect them, he pretty much HAS to go after the PCs as best as he can. If he is a NPC class then he can come after the PCs in a way that they may not be expecting, and that they can't realistically deal with.
Bloodline: Honestly whatever sounds fun at the time, generally only GM NPC sorcerers.
1st: grease, magic missile
Reasons: 1:Grease is great at low levels, and can always be useful. Magic missile is reliable force damage, though I rarely take it early. Decent meta magic target (toppling spell).
The Saltmarsh 6 wrote:
I've seen barbarian rogue build for over 10 years with 3.5 and PF systems. This is the first time I've even seen a suggestion that sneak attack and rage don't work well together.
Also the fluff reason doesn't make much sense either, when you are angry aren't you MORE likely to go for the most painful/powerful hit locations? Like going for kidney shots or throat punches. Or the bar fight sneak attacks you see in movies (bottle on the back of head, pool cue across small of back ect).
So I think its a player call if they want to play with a GM who would make such a nerf (to such a rare combo in martial classes which hardly needs nerfing).
On the build itself I'm not overly concerned about power. Still requires full attacks to work, damage is not significantly above other more vanilla DPR characters, and still has a hideously low will save.
alexander leah wrote:
15 point buy is very doable, just keep in mind that you might have to tank a mental stat or two if you want super high scores, especially for the switch hitter.
The switch hitter is super easy to build for, since its just an archer build with high strength and a 2 handed weapon. I recommend a human archer, 18, 15, 12, 8, 12, 7, first 2 feats point blank and precise (lets you arch at first level with some proficiency). Until you actually get a +4 bow you probably will want to fight with sword more often than not. At level 2 you might be able to pick up the bow you want (but don't bother unless you can get it masterwork), and you get your archery style + rapid shot which makes shooting more attractive esp if you have your bow. After that just pick up the normal good stuff for archer as feats allow, remembering to pick up clustered shot and the improved precise shot (helps with DR if you don't have the right arrow, and removes cover penalties). At 4th you want to put your point into dex, since its a no brainer to increase your to hit. After that its not a bad idea to increase your wisdom for casting, saves, and perception purposes. Remember to pick up the normal stat boosting gear that is good for archers, and always have special arrows available for those special monsters with DR. As for enemies, ask your GM what will be common. Since this is an evil party and good guys are likely to try and stop them, human is a decent default.
"If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail".
Confirmation Bias. Seems to be a big problem with threads like this. One group always plays a game a certain way, expects the whole world to be the same. Ignores data that shows otherwise, or dismisses the viewpoints that disagree.
More than one way to play cleric, more than one way to have fun.
Mechanically healing in combat is undesired due to efficiency, average DPR of balanced encounters out paces almost most all normal healing ability. This is fairly evident with a close study of the appropriate charts of monsters/NPC by CR.
In practice it is not uncommon to require healing, due to damage spikes (crits or focused fire), unfortunate circumstances, enemy/player tactics, or unbalanced encounters (its not too hard to balance things, but there are some pitfalls and not all groups are the same).
This is just the type of reason why I dislike the GM fiat strip powers issue some classes have. Divine casters, paladins, and witches can all lose pretty much all their powers that matter at the GMs whim. Some GMs show restraint and only inflict these powers when the player is being creatively stupid (like attacking with their spellbook as improvised weapon, sacrificing people despite being cleric of god of love and sunshine, making their familiar make touch attacks, ect). When it branches out into low level subjective/minor issues...
Having the power to strip a character of his powers is a one of those "with great power, great responsibility" things. Its also been so overdone its pretty much "bad GM" territory to make it a plot point rather than an in game warning for bad RP that is fixable. In this case it wasn't even a plot point, and the RP was actually appropriate for the god in question.
This is coming from a "forever GM" kinda guy who rarely plays but runs games week after week for 5 years straight. I've had to rehabilitate players into being able to safely play divine characters because of other bad GMs. Nobody likes playing crappy fighters without feats, or rogues without class abilities/sneak attack (clerics and rogues have same progression, 3/4 BAB), or wizards without spells. Its honestly the same thing as character death for many people.
I'm sure somebody will have fun necroing this thread sometime in the future.
The only time it annoys me when somebody necroes is when somebody tells a previous poster they are wrong, but in reality that wasn't the case when the post was made. Like when a new errata or new source book comes out.
Other times necroing a thread is useful because when something new comes out, or when something is errata'ed its nice to update the discussion.
Anybody else notice that despite paladins not being very good since 3.0 came out there is tons of people who think its great fun to make them fall and become effectively NPC classed?
Following a code doesn't mean slavish obedience to it. LG is law tempered with mercy and forgiveness. If your own god can't forgive a minor lie to prevent a great evil, then why would anybody follow it?
If you slip up, you atone for it, but it doesn't mean you should immediately lose your powers. I take a very Catholic view of it. You build up these minor sins/transgressions, and you need to eventually confess it to your priest or it will weigh down your soul (lose powers till you atone). Alternatively if you commit a major transgression the clergy and your god could just excommunicate you (lose powers, potentially irrevocably).
As a player I hate the things. A trap that nobody can stop, a deactivation that can be nearly impossible to achieve, and effects that range from oooh I'm scared to lose control of your character and have it try to suicide.
As a GM I hate the things, as they are a pain to run well, and PFS they too often randomly put them in to boost the encounter numbers on short adventures.
At least they aren't quite as stupid as chase scenes. Those things are just stupid beyond belief. Either be a master at it (barbarian or rogue with right skills, or fly) or completely suck at it (clerics and fighters with armor on and typical skills).
Is this what you are looking for?
Selgard I think that there is a general disagreement on what "theft" is.
In common usage, theft is the taking of another person's property without that person's permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it.
The rightful owner of some gold is the player who has it. He voluntary gives that gold to somebody in exchange for an item. I see no theft.
I do see theft when you take somebodies labor without paying for it when they don't wish to donate that labor.
The argument on theft doesn't get any simpler than that.
What you are saying is that the group owns all labor performed by all members. Even if they don't wish to give that labor.
You are assuming all groups have effectively a communist charter, where all of the fruits of labor belongs to the group, and there is no property. This is NOT how all groups work.
Then you trot out the straw-man about making every action in combat being a chargeable thing. Guess what, most groups don't play a la carte either.
A balance between this is probably what most people play. Actions in combat count towards party share. Once you have your share you are free to do anything with it. If you want to burn your gold buying glamoured armor, go for it. If you want to buy a stronghold that the party can chill in, go for it. Heck, if its cool enough and the party wishes to benefit from it, they might even chip in.
I had a gnome in my party that was also a bard. He specialized in keyed instruments. He didn't settle for a squeezebox or something small. No, he had a steam organ. It was pulled by a team of ponies trained to dance to music. While not very effective actually helping the party in combat, it was very effective in increasing our pay. Mostly so we would leave sooner.
Not charging for crafting is too metagaming for me. Nobody does things without benefit of some sort, if a crafting wizard is making something for free, where is his incentive? He is actually working against his own self interest for somebody else's self interest. A state know as slavery. Why would a person volunteer to be a crafting slave?
Not helping your companion in combat is role abandonment. The wizard comes along on adventures to lend arcane support, not to make items. The cleric comes along to protect the party by buffs, heals and combat. If he starts charging for in combat healing, then lower his share of party loot by an equal amount. Its the reason why he is on the adventure, and the reason for his share. If he abandons his job he abandons his share. Crafting is NOT the reason why casters go on adventure. You don't suddenly stop and go "hey, I need a magic sword to kill this guy make one for me". The group doesn't "own" all of the fruits of labor that each member creates. What a wizard chooses to do with his downtime is up to him. If you decide to not buy for a discount on matter of principle, or start charging for services that should be covered by your party share, then the crafter is perfectly justified for completely cutting you off from his services.