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Casters end encounters with 1-2 spells. Near invulnerable combatants have to do a hell of a lot more work to end encounters (and have to invest more gold/character generation resources), and often run into more problems with action economy than casters do. Casters are also a hell of a lot harder to kill than the "invulnerable" front liners, if the player/GM knows how to play them.
If you have an 18-20 post racial you are fine. Anything less and you are sacrificing major class features for scores that are irrelevant to what your class does. Going lower than 18-20 means lower DCs, lower DCs means your spells don't work to full effectiveness or at all. You lose out on spells, even 1 less spell can mean you don't have the encounter winning spell ready, or don't have the luxury of open slots, or don't have as many all day buffs available. These are mission critical failures as a wizard.
Now some of the advice about building a lower powered wizard is true, you don't have to have a good int score to play the iconic high int class after all, its just not a good idea mechanically speaking. The advice for an AP, which often contains higher powered encounters, is to build for efficient combat capable characters. The time for rp and soft scores is usually more limited than the large number of combats. Wrath of the Righteous is a combat AP dialed up to 11. The saves of the enemies are going to be high, SR is going to be common so some spells might fail (meaning you might need to cast more often).
The other scores that might be useful? Isn't that why you are in a party? Let somebody else get the spotlight for being the damage dealer, the face, skilled class, or buffer. The wizards job is to have the right spell at the right time to ensure victory. Lower scores means your spells might not work, or you might not even have the spell at all. Heck, with the knowledge secondary role wizards have, you might not figure out what you are fighting in time.
Now if you want to play a less overpowered arcane spell user that has more "balance" the bard is over there, and he is pretty cool too.
People only care about the crane wing rulings because the feat used to be good, probably too good since people actually took it and even bent their builds to include it.
Now it just joins the 90 percent of all feats which happen to suck, or be so marginal that it is a opportunity cost loss to take. Sturgeons Law applied retroactively.
I welcome the diagonal ruling, having blank squares on your threat range was silly. Diagonals are always going to have issues when using square grids, having somebody with reach somehow being impotent in certain directions is to exploitive. Sure the new ruling can be exploited too, but it already could with 5 foot steps and similar shenanigans.
I have a confession to make. I don't actually read any of the books I have or acquire. As a GM I just use them as a reference if something comes up. 90 percent of the options in the books are crap, victims of Sturgeon's Law. I'm not going to read 100+ page books and 30+ page splats to glean the few nuggets of useful info out of them. I just go to the forums or google builds to see what is actually likely to come up.
I would honestly like pathfinder 2.0 now. The FAQs and Errata pages are novel length at this point. Sifting through the thousands of options to find the good stuff is getting to be annoying. For instance the MM adventure path uses 4 bestiaries, all of the hard cover books, some 3rd party material, the supporting splat books, ect ect. I like the new classes in a vacuum, but 30+ classes and their hundreds of archetypes is getting to be too much.
Having played at least a dozen different game systems for both RPGs and table top miniatures I have to say there is nothing more odious than the cheese crying neck-beard.
Its usually cried from the heavens like a divine and irrefutable proclamation that "X is Cheese, Ban it despite strong argument Y proving that the cheesiness isn't nearly as bad as 'acceptable' Z"
Its childish and tiresome to hear after all these years. The very invocation of the word gets me to look closely at the person crying over it. If his lassitude and lack of perspective is without redemption (and it usually is in the case of advanced neck-beard cheese criers) I will refuse to either play with or even associate with said player. I even encourage other players I game with to avoid the infected individual. Because crying cheese is an infectious meme. It leads to tournament organizers banning special characters in 40k(including ones required to run fun theme forces that aren't remotely good). It leads to developers strangling promising advanced game design space after bowing to a vocal minority (primarily video games, but also in mini and rp games). It leads to distorted local meta-games so wrapped up in their own house-rules that they can no longer play with outsiders. In fact it got so bad that the "other" game store in town often is incompatible in terms of how various games are played solely because of an inner circle of friends creating houserules (with various levels of since it beat me or my friend, its cheese, time to ban it/appeal to TO which is also part of the circle).
But mostly I'm just sick of it like the villagers in the "boy who cried wolf". 99 percent of the time I hear it called out, its simply not true. In this threads example we have the gunslinger banned. Really? GM is so lazy they can't properly challenge a 1 trick-shot pony with a low power level cap? Sure it does tons of reliable damage. What else? Its still effectively a fighter. Power level isn't measured in HP damage for people who know the secrets of 3.x based gaming. A fully cheesed out gunslinger has nothing on a 25 point buy equally optimized cleric or druid.
Now if a GM wants to just say, PF, Core only, Final destination... Sure go ahead. Its a completely valid way of playing. But for the love of the game don't call equally valid ways of playing only for "cheesers"
I have no problems with the current system. Some GMs like to seed loot that they know will be used soon, like a Chekhov's gun, where the gun is a specific and narrow item that just happens to solve the next problem. Or they even make it so that the loot you find is required to open the next part of the adventure tree, like Legend of Zelda for the NES.
Both the McGuffin and the Chekhov's Gun are linear and take away player agency. I prefer Magic Mart and loose restrictions on player crafting to increase player agency. Give them Problem A, let the players figure out how they are going to solve it using whatever resources they have (I still follow treasure per encounter and WBL averages, so they can't get too crazy). Sometimes the players come up with Expected Solution A, which you prepared for, Possible solution B, which you have a plan for, but then sometimes they hit you with Solution C, which isn't quite what you expected but you can roll with it. Its when they come at you with Solution D, where they come at you from left field with something that technically legal for play but doesn't conform with the GMs expectations that causes problems.
If you shutdown Solution D, the player will often go into shutdown mode. This means their enjoyment goes down, they come up with less solutions on their own, you have to hand feed them plot hooks ect.
However given players often legitimate desire to optimize resources, it should not be unexpected that players will prioritize the "boring" incremental items over random situational stuff. So what I do is give that sort of stuff to the NPCs and let them use it. If I pull of its use in a memorable fashion, sometimes the players keep it to use themselves. Either because they see the value in it, or don't want to take financial loss of selling it. A few of my players are notorious trophy collectors, and a iconic item from a notable enemy screams trophy.
Which is where I have problems with solution D: I give random items out throughout the campaign, and more than once the perfect time to use them happens very late and suddenly a challenging encounter is trivialized because one of the PCs saved the item from level 3 that perfectly ruins the BBEG. One of my players actually saved some dust of dryness and obliterated one of the BBEGs key minions.
Raise your hands if you actually care how James Jacobs run things at his table in terms of how you run thing at your own... I personally don't give a rodents behind about how the creative director runs his games. His game is his game and our games are our games.
Dr Deth, can you please tell me where in gods green earth are you seeing the "tank" class, or barring that any mechanic that is inherently built into the game for aggro management? There Is No Trinity In Pathfinder.
If the GM wants to artificially run the "mobs" with a simulated buggy AI that only attacks the guy they are least likely to hurt, then maybe it might work out for a trinity style of game. The healer/tank/dps archetype of gaming exists in other games, like 4th ed or MMOs (and even GW2 abandoned it because its stale and boring, just look at the lines for instances in other games waiting for healers and tanks, more people want to play dps, not the tank/healer duo). Just keep in mind that this is how the GM is running his game, not actual rules.
As for "massive damage output loss" perhaps if everybody contributed their share it wouldn't be a big deal if he got knocked out? Go ahead and defend the pocket cleric/healer all you want. All I see is a pocket anchor not doing enough. Nothing in the classes says that the "buffer/healer" can't also be the primary or secondary damage source. Clerics and oracles are deep classes, playing as just buffer/healer is like playing half of the class.
About half the time when my cleric is used in PFS I end up being primary dps and primary buffing. She has broad shoulders, but its annoying when I adventure with people asking "where is the tank" or "who do I need to follow to heal" I usually handle it in character the first time one of them tries to touch my character in combat with a heal: "stop jostling my elbows, its just a scratch", "wait till the tavern if you want to hanky panky", "I have a stick I use to scratch my back, I don't need your help" If she gets into trouble I say something to the other clerics like "Don't be as useless as your god, get in here and FIGHT!" Yeah, Clerics of Gorum are jerks, but I think its a funny way to play it.
Sigh, I was hoping for something a little lower level.
Yeah, sometimes you just have to blow a heal to get rid of simple stuff like daze. On the bright side unless you are topping off all the time, its likely you at least did some healing. Personally I like heal most of all for the catch all condition clearing more than the HP healing.
If you have a dazed barbarian in full attack range of the enemy, its better use heal on him than let that full attack not happen. Also as you level up there are dazes that last longer than a round, so a heal spell is completely worth it.
I remove conditions that take other PCs out of the fight for more than one round. Blindness is usually permanent, but more importantly makes the character with it useless for the rest of the fight. High priority to remove it. Fear effects that cause the PC to flee or cower are high priority because most are for more than one round. Stuns and dazes? If its for more than one round or if the player is in danger of being killed due to not being able to act to save themselves (dead is usually out of the combat, barring a breath of life). Any lockdown lasting for more than one round is pretty much a no brainer to give up your actions to fix.
When its a 1 round for 1 round, that is a little trickier. It comes down to if the guy you are clearing is going to have a more relevant action than you could, or if they are are in immediate serious danger. A stunned wizard in full attack range of anything is looking at a pine box in his near future. A dominated or confused barbarian (even for one round such as lesser confusion or a seugathi's controlled confusion) is a potential for serious party problems.
Since the party had access to move action perform, they are at least 7th level. My battle cleric at that level averages 40ish damage with a single hit. I would hope that the fighter type would be able to deal more damage than 99 with 3 swings. Hell in my finished RoW campaign the cavalier broke the 100 damage mark in the first book.
I think this debate reminds me of Guild Wars 2 debates over healing. In GW2, unlike in other MMOs, there is no "trinity" everybody can handle their own healing/dps/support. Aggro mechanics aren't very predictable so tanking isn't a role either. It ends up being that the most optimal way to play is pure berserker mode with using your own active damage mitigation to survive and bursting the enemy down before it becomes an attrition fight. However, if one or more of the party isn't very good, or is badly geared/traited, the burst style becomes harder to make work. Then healing/support/tanking builds technically become viable. It makes the fights take 4 times longer, but it lets less proficient groups complete the content. Some people don't like the berserker style of play, and actually choose to play in clerics gear (there is no "healer class", anybody can be a party healer, gear and traits define roles). When a "cleric" player joins a berserker group, there is a clash of playstyles, players argue, failed fights, party votes, and the hurt feelings of the cleric players devolve into "stupid zerk elitists, without me being there they would be kissing the ground, why did they kick?".
I guess what I'm saying is both styles of play are "viable" but one style is slower and uses up more resources. To some people that makes the "rocket tag" style more viable than "trinity" style. It's really what you define optimal as. Also the play-styles clash and don't work well together in the same party.
A full round action and 3 uses of your channel is not good resource or action use.
I like quick channel pretty much only when its an alt channel ability. Buffing up AC for a critical round while sacrificing a little healing seems to be better IMHO.
During my Shattered Star Campaign the party cleric was an Evangelist. She would do whatever her STD action was (cast a buff or control spell if it was first round), move action quick channel, swift action perform. Having blessing of fervor, +AC for a round, and +to hit and damage was pretty powerful once she got swift action perform. With those buffs going the party just demolished encounters and didn't really need to heal damage. A couple of nights she wasn't able to make it, in addition to the party never making a DC 10 diplomacy roll (true story) they lost a good chunk of their offense: her normal offense + 15 percent or more of rest of party damage + other buffs + however much a player who would have been locked out of a fight contributes after she brought him back into it. Loss of offense + no divine caster + bad arcane caster (party load)= 4 deaths in one night (they got better, always pack enough scrolls). Its not just from being a man down, the party was still 5 strong in an AP (when I get all 6 players I buff the monsters a little, quick templates and/or max HP). Its not from lack of healing (she didn't heal due to her archetype other than hit people with sticks). It was lack of support and condition removal.
Matthew Downie wrote:
Healing, say, 4 people a total of 160 damage sounds pretty effective to me.
Its efficient after combat is over, mostly a waste of actions in combat.
I liken combat healing to using a spoon to bail out a canoe with a hole in it.
Yeah, you are doing something, but you probably aren't making much progress and your time would be better spent rowing to shore or fixing that hole.
Matthew Downie wrote:
Well if you build your concepts to do things a class is not naturally good at of course you are going to have issues with doing basic things like buff and bash.
Rod of reach is one of my first choices for rods as well, but they are rather pricey (but worth it). Channelled energy requires too much opportunity cost to be good at it (feats and a high CHA) for too little reward (minor healing which can be done with a stick) Mass cures aren't worth the spell slot in my experience.
A CR 8 monster has a +15 to hit with its primary attacks. A fighter in fullplate might have an AC that makes about half the attacks miss (+1 fullplate=10, +dex bonus and whatever deflection you might have). Barbarians and other primary dpr characters won't always have decent ACs, and this is against generic monsters, NPCs with PC classes (or even just warriors) can have higher dpr and to hit (some of the stuff built for modules and PFS greatly exceed the guidelines in monster creation tables).
Also on the Fighter needs better AC: Well you are a cleric, you can fix that, and even provide miss chance.
*(and any encounter of less than APL+4 is one in which the PCs are stabbing staked-down prey, or shooting fish in a barrel, by definition)
Not exactly true. I've killed PCs with CR=APL-1 encounter before.
It all depends on what time of the adventuring day it is, how prepared the players are, if they are prepared for "that" encounter (like at low levels as swarm or magic required enemy can murder an otherwise prepared party).
Those same players have 2 rounded CR=APL+5 encounters before. But that was when they were ready, worked for setting up a devastating surprise round, and unloaded all of their highest level abilities in one go.
As for sacred bond, its a decent enough spell but I personally don't like the fact that it takes up a 3rd level spell slot and has such a short range. That and it still doesn't solve the "heal for 25, take 100" problem.
Matthew Downie wrote:
Actually its not particularly hard to build a cleric for melee damage and still be a primary caster. To many players see cleric and tank their combat stats for being the best possible caster/channeler despite not really needing much in the way of stats for that (like 16 wis and 12-14 CHA is the most I go with before headbands) and the fact that channels are one of the least important class features as you level up. My clerics have a min of 16 STR (usually 18), use a good 2 handed weapon, brings a wand for common combat buffs, and after a round of prep is on par with pre buffed martials. My combat orientred PFS cleric broke 100 damage at level 6, my support PFS cleric broke 50 damage at level 3.
From my experience healing ISN'T a reliable option. Why? You have to deal with SR and saving throws (I jest, but some players have SR or a thing that requires them to resist all magic like superstition, a common rage power). The real problem with healing is range until you get metamagic. How many of you actually prepare reach cure spells on a regular basis? Then you have to deal with highly variable numbers on the healing (at least until you get heal). A d8 has a high degree of variance. If healing was d4 and scaled faster to make up for it (so about the same average, but less high/low numbers) it would be a more reliable option. Still not good because it doesn't scale with damage.
Heck in you scenario, you have a martial with 100 HP, which is around 9th-10th level probably. A cure spell that heals for 25 hp is probably 4th level (4d8+9=27). At 9th level you should be fighting CR11-12 monsters as a solo which do 50 damage per round, or if you are fighting multiple level 8-9s you are looking at 35-40 per monster per round. In your scenario your fighter is taking concentrated attacks from multiple enemies. So 35*4= 140 (CR8x4=CR12). Yup, your fighter is potentially dead in one round, no healing is going to save him. But you know in 4 levels of spells, and perhaps your 5th level spell, you ought to have SOMETHING that will prevent him from being attacked so brutally. A brute at CR 8 often will have around a +7 will save, not very good (4th level spell is at least a DC16=4th level +2 caster mod+10). Drop a holy smite and blind half or more of them (with some minor damage, and doesn't work on non evil, but its just an example, deal with it). Not reliable, but its better than healing 27 when the ally is taking 140 out of 100.
The only real reason is that damage has progressively gotten larger while healing has for the past part (barring certain domain abilities, etc) stayed the same. It's kind of a shame, really. It would be nice if the larger healing potions (or potions at all for that matter) actually were somewhat viable.
Its really the gold cost of them more than anything. 300 gold for 2d8+3 HP? (2*4.5)+3 is only 12 hp. 25 gold per HP is a rip off. 750 for 3 level works out to be (3*4.5)+5=18.5, ends up being like 40 gold per HP. At the levels you will have that sort of wealth to blow you will be wanting more healing than that. If the cost for the potions were lower you would see them being used at the levels where that amount of healing is viable. Heck, just bring them into line per HP that a CLW potion gets and it wouldn't be so bad: 5.5 for 50 gold, 9.09 gold per HP (not that great, but anybody can use them unlike wands which require class features or skill ranks.
IDK if HEAL is even that great a spell in combat. In my experience it negates like 1 round of full dpr of a brute encounter. 110 damage at 11th level? Not really that hard to get to with npcs built like PCs, or even some of the monsters you will be facing. In this case heal just becomes a daze effect with no save. Saves you a round of damage, and that's it. I'm not particularly impressed with 6th spell level daze effects.
The other parts of heal however make it a great spell. Get rid of nearly all that is impeding a party member? Yes please. It gets rid of many a shutdown effect like stuns and blindness. The ability to say no to enemy CC and SoS is critical. THIS sort of healing is what is actually required in combat IMHO. HP healing is for the wands/potions/scrolls after combat is over most of the time. I do like quick channels, but that is more of alt channel effects potentially being amazing as a swift action.
Maybe I'm just playing the game wrong, but in my experience primary damage dealing monsters/npcs 1-2 round most PCs at any level if they get full attacks or whatever boosted damage they get (power attack, pounce, constrict ect). Healing at the very best negates 1 round, and the more likely not even close to 1 round. Same thing goes with what the players do for that matter. If you spend all your CR budget on 1 brute, he gets action economied down in 1-4 rounds. If you spread it out, each individual monster gets 1-2 round KOed. Yeah, "rocket tag" and "use tactics" bs. When you have prepared PCs run by vet players you have to delve into some deep tactics to even get 4 rounds out of any encounter.
Morale of the story is don't bother with non emergency in combat HP healing, do bother with removing conditions and being proactive in solutions. If you need to fix somebody up, it can usually wait till after combat for the healing sicks to come out. Even with being able to toss a prepared spell for a cure, it means that next encounter you won't have a useful spell because you wasted the slot on something that can be replicated with a wand of infernal healing (at 750 gold, 15 gold per charge, and 1.5 gold per HP... its a bargain) or CLW (2.3 gold per HP on average iirc).
Dungeon Master Zack wrote:
While I have yet to receive a severe stab wound I do have some experience with minor ones:
I slipped with a knife and stabbed my leg about 2 inches deep, wound was 1/2 wide (narrow blade). Didn't really hurt, didn't require stitches, didn't do anything other than hide the fact i cut myself that badly (I was 12 and didn't want to lose my knife privileges). Some gauze and being easy on that leg was all that was needed.
Cut my hand 3 inches with a seam ripper, 3 inch long slice through all layers, could see a blue vein completely exposed. Didn't really bleed for 5 minutes, required a couple of butterfly sutures, no pain.
Had 3 once inch circles removed from my back, down to fatty tissue. No stitches, had local for it, but it wore off pretty much after 30 minutes, itched like crazy but didn't hurt really.
Sliced a 1/2 wide 3 inch long spot on my ankle bone on a bolt as a kid. Didnt' really hurt, saw the white fatty layer and a blue vein exposed. Almost no blood loss.
Got attacked by a dobberman when i was 7, bite leg pretty bad, 5 inch wide affected cicle. The bruise hurt, as did the bone bruising, but the cuts were not that bad.
Now none of those events really created any major damage, and I only have a few scars from them (time and proper wound care), but I never really felt much pain at the time on them, either from shock or adrenalin... but even the pain after it wasn't much. Me and my father are both pretty resistant to pain, I've seen him pull a nail that he shot into his hand out the wrong way (all the way through), put a band-aid on the spot and keep working. His shots were current so he didn't' even see a doctor.
I guess what I'm saying is minor wounds (as in the non solid hits you often receive in combat) don't really hurt all that much when the adrenalin is flowing, and not everybody feels the same amount of pain either. one persons 8/10 pain scale is another's 3.
And for everyone who thinks real wolves are a pushover... Clearly you've never seen The Grey. ;)
I have a "wolf park" near my home, its has a nearly wild enclosure for them and it has a full pack with all the normal dynamics.
One of them alone is really no more dangerous than a medium dog gone feral. As a pack? Yeah, I'm not going near that when they are hungry. They more are willing to get hurt when in a pack, if it brings down a big meal. Hell their pecking order fights can result in pretty heavy bloodshed.
If hungry, and they are required to eat fairly regularly, a wolf is not really going to worry about a hit from a single MM.
In PF a wolf is fully functional until its at 0hp, and since the PF wolf has 2hd, it will heal a MM hit in 2-3 days. Which is less time than a bad bruise or laceration.
The HP system in this game is fairly abstract, but against most things the MM is no different than a really hard punch. A trained boxer can shrug it off, but the average person is going to be really hurt.
You probably want to run a cleric in this campaign. I'm 2 sessions in and my players have had to clear 3 diseases and 8 total ability score damage points due to poison. And that was just level 1-2. And yes, you need to deal with swarms.
Also, don't forget to tell the other bard player that he can take the campaign trait for trapfinding instead of being stuck with archaeologist.
The combats I run usually last a minimum of 5+ rounds but I also try to play intelligent creatures...intelligently. Soften up the PCs first before getting into it with them. Once the PCs actually start to land a few blows it is often over from that point in a couple rounds.
I have really resourceful players that usually have 1-2 people that are prepared to negate most common delaying tactics that creatures have. Combine that with a dedicated support character that delivers fully buffed melee brutes for full attack actions regularly and all but the toughest of brute type enemies fall in a single round.
And while I do allow for players to use most source material as long as its paizo (if its legal in PFS Its allowed, if its banned I'll look at it and probably allow it as well). The PCs still get hurt badly, use up resources, and even die (which is a temporary problem once they get going, reach breath of life fixes lots of problems).
Its not really rocket tag either, rocket tag is more "I go first and didn't miss, you die instead of me". First round is setup and buffs. Second round is initial assaults (unless its a short range ambush, then that happens round 1). Round 3 is full attacks and clean up. Occasionally combats get to round 4-5 if the enemy is running out the clock using hit and run, but the players know how to stop that tactic cold.
And yes, MM is mostly used to finish off enemies in the clean up round.
Wait, BBEG lasts 4 rounds? What tables are you playing at ;)
My combats, even epic ones, are over in 3 at the most. 5d4+5 isn't enough at level 9 to affect the outcome unless we get into one of those the enemy is at 1-15 HP, somebody finish it before he runs away or pops another "kill the entire party" effect.
If you are wanting do damage as a sorcerer you don't even want to consider using level 1 slots, combats dont' last long enough to bother with those. Level one spells? Sure, why not, but you meta magic those suckers so they can actually do something.
I feel really sorry for people that super optimize the wrong things in APs. Heck in Mummies Mask book one
Pretty much only the rival NPCs group can be affected by Color Spray and Sleep due to being contructs/vernmin/undead and some random SR thrown in for good measure
Shattered star is has
a truly disgusting amount of constructs and high SR/immune to magic monsters
I personally have been running the APs for midlevel optimizers, they dont' go full munchin, but they leverage the mechanics to be as favorable as possible and don't run screaming away from "duh take this" level stuff like some anti optimizers do. I have tons of pc kills just running the encounters as is (and by raising the monster HP to max due to running for a large party). None of them take sleep or color spray (unless they run a build that makes it scale better, heavens oracle iirc), and they don't even consider MM till at least level 7. Besides, a super optimized low level caster is still better off using grease to almost auto trip the bad guys letting the other players get to hit much easier.
Honestly I think sleep just has a nostalgia factor from when it was a standard action. Or going back a few editions of D&D when monsters didn't often gain class levels or full HD and just gained some HP on their HD (like 1HD+1 being "upgraded" to 1HD+4) Full round certainly drops it out of my list of must takes, and if I want to play sleep and slice I'll just go with witch.
I kind of laugh at the people who think that sleep is effective in this game. At level 1 you can face creatures that are already laughing at it. The guys even at level 1 that are problematic can have 5 HD, even at level 1. CR3 monsters and NPCs can have 5 HD quite easily. Another thing that sucks about sleep is its a full round cast and half the time even against mooks you waste a portion of it. Got a 2HD(which is CR1/2) and 3 HD (which is CR1) tolal encounter 2? Guess what, you sleep one of them, you still have to worry about it waking up (damage or being woken up). Still somewhat effective but nothing earth shattering. CR 2 encounters are pretty much the expected normal non trivial fight at level 1, which is when sleep is supposed to be most effective. At level 4, which i hear so often being used in sleep discussions, sleep is completely useless as even the minion level monsters have enough HD that you will be lucky to get even one.
As for color spray, it allows a save and requires you to be in squish range of the enemy. Not a good combination in my experience, especially at low levels. Some builds this works for, but quite often it doesn't. Against that CR3 boss? Its a save or stun for 1 round. Might as well just be flinging daze at it.
As for the SR issue that somebody brought up earlier not coming up at low levels: Several of the APs introduce SR monsters right at the start. Sure its low, but so is the ability of the players to overcome it.
I'm no fan-boy of magic missile either, but its reliable damage once you don't have better things to spend your slots on. At lower levels you are better off buffing the martials and doing some light control/summons (like grease and SM1). However the potential for dazing or toppling magic missiles and other meta magic (both feat and rod based) increases my opinion of MM as you gain enough levels and wealth Just don't use it the first few levels because damage dealing those levels are for the BDF types (unless you go for full evoker of course, even then you probably won't be using MM as your primary spell). Personally I think its not a bad wand to have as a backup, but 15 gold (or 7.5 if you make it) per 1d4+1 is a little steep (actually its close to using cartridges once you account for misses/misfires and base cost of the gun). Hmmm I guess get an improved familiar have it UMD it as a ready action against foes that cast spells. You can't say the same for many other of the lvl one spells, though I personally prioritize mage armor and infernal healing for wands in PFS.
My group got done with the AP 3 weeks ago, the last book is really strong, but you will need to adjust the final showdown to your parties composition. The final BBEG only lasted 3 rounds and she only manage to get one effective spell off (still killed a PC). Honestly though the continuing the campaign stuff looks amazing, so if you find the final underwhelming I encourage creative GMs to pick up the mythic book and go for it.
While damage has value, in many encounters damage is one of the least important aspects compared to just shutting down enemies. Alchemists have tricks for that too, like tanglefoot bomb (tonight the party alchemist learned the value of such nasty effects the fun way, by nailing a CR=APL+1 encounter to the floor. But in general the wizard/arcanist/full caster is going be better at controlling effects. Damage is largely arbitrary when you are talking casters,though you can specialize in blasts if you really want to and be quite good at it, it actually makes for a weaker overall caster if you are going for straight damage.
Oh, did you not know that wizards can heal? Summon spells and infernal healing. Also the wizard support has superior ranges and can do some pretty good damage if it wants to. Dazing fireballs with bonus damage per dice intensified to 15d6 is pretty decent.
setup hex + slumber hex is pretty powerful, but it doesn't work on plenty of enemies. You have to know what you are fighting, the correct SoD hex available, and have to have the enemy fail some saves. Its balanced esp since its not particularly hard for enemies to get out of trouble as long as it isn't solo monster encounters.
In general I find alchemist to be a powerful class, but its options aren't on the same tier as wizards, they give up a bit too much to be skill and damage characters. Hell, a wizard giving up some options to be amazing at damage still makes for a formidable character at its normal role of caster support/control. I play both an prefer the alchemist, but I don't hold any illusions on which one is ultimately more powerful.
Vrog Skyreaver wrote:
Out of curiousity what initiative are your gunslingers at? The casters I DM for tend to start the game with +8 and go up from there. I have a divination wizard that I'm DMing Mummies Mask for that is going to have crazy high initiative.
Gunslingers have range issues, if they want to use longer ranges for their touch attacks they are going to get hurt by grit use. Their ranged attacks are also trivial for a caster to deal with (tons of hard counters to ranged combat).
Alchemists have short range on their bombs, they can't even fight with them at the ranges a mage will engage at.
Witches are terrible grapplers. Their BAB doesn't scale well and their gimmick is a terrible use of the class. Yes hexes are really powerful but its just a save or suck or save or die that is limited on individual targets. Fail to make that slumber stick? Tough luck. Fail to coup de grace the slumbered target because target was woken up by an ally? Tough luck. Also the range on them barring some scar hex abuse is often pretty short, also known as charge range for many builds. Witches are a great class but the reason cited don't make them any more OP than established casters.
As for the Bard, meh, they have better things to do than be a primary save or suck spellcaster. Its a waste of the class if you go full caster monkey IMHO. Its also not anything special, a full caster can do similar things with a quickened spell (either the feat or the rod). Sure the bard can do that particular trick at a rather low level, but going further they fall behind full casters.
Don't cherry pick specific build sweet spots if you are comparing classes. Heck by this sort of logic barbarians are OP because they deal 2d6+12 damage at first level and can have over 20 HP (12 from HD, 6 from tribal scars, 4+ from constitution).
It worked out pretty well, but I had to end it because how can you top a showdown with an enemy operative trying to gain control of a clockwork colossus factory culminating in a giant robot vs giant robot fight in the middle of a city? Every "missed" cannon shot leveled a slum tenement. If the PCs failed hundreds of mostly complete clockwork constructs would have fallen into enemy hands.
As for dismissing the circles, yeah, problem was the casters who made them were not on site to monitor them (or long dead). They were important court officials and had better things to do. You can do a lot of damage with a few minutes of free access to a teleportation circle.
Those circles were also internal national ones, but they are still a security risk. Heck the road that rome build for internal trade and military logistics ended up being used as invasion routes.
An international circle network is just suicidal IMHO. You can't disable it from the receiving end. If you do use them that way you need to have some sort of embassy on the sending end so you can control access and disable it in the face of undesired access.
Teleportation gates are a problem for rulers: any trade route is a potential invasion route.
I had a campaign world that had an empire extensively using gates for military purposes. The gates were built inside of an inward facing fortress to defeat any invaders with control of the far end attempting to come through. In addition they were outfitted with self destruct devices that was to be used in case a gate was about to fall. The gate hubs were surrounded by the largest garrisons of the empire for both defensive purposes and to stage them for rapid deployment. The technology was deemed to dangerous for mere trade, though it was used for military logistics. It allowed quick reinforcements and one of the clockwork factories for the war effort had its own hub so it could move the newly produced war-machines quickly.
Trade for this empire was based on the canal networks, and transportation of VIPs was done mostly via airship (state agents could make use of the teleportation network). Peasants made due with land transport, assuming they were given leave to travel. Adventurers were either state agents or permitted and licensed foreigners. Everybody who didn't fit and attempting to travel were considered brigands and barbarians. Magic users from the population were identified through state examinations and sent to learn at the imperial college where they became state agents (or were exiled/executed/imprisoned depending on the level of perceived threat). Unsanctioned magic use was routed out by inquisitors.
Why such harsh social structure? The campaign "mongol hordes" made use of unrestricted magic taken to its fullest potential. Yeah, instead of horsemen from the steppes think of armies of clockwork constructs and zombie hordes constantly invading and probing for the slightest weakness. A massive wall was constructed to counter the trump play of overland invasions and the teleportation network could rapidly deploy forces to counter a teleportation based deep raid. Due to limited numbers of teleportation capable casters the main goal of the evil hordes was to get unrestricted access to the network long enough to break entire clusters of nodes so they could get more freedom of attack.
TPing mules is not that different the casting raise dead or regeneration for someone. The point is they meant as spells for hire. They might balk at transporting catapults into besieged castle but why would they mind a day trip so some other city?
Raise dead and regeneration isn't an everyday request. And yes its reasonable to restrict access to those spells for role-playing reasons despite the tears of entitled PCs.
The average speed of a merchant ship is going to be slow. A cog or caravel is not built for speed, and optimal conditions aren't all that common. Comparing that to the maximum speed possible, perhaps the full rowing power of a military galley, isn't going to produce a reasonable conclusion.
The current speed of a racing sail boat is higher than 50 knots, but those ships aren't built for cargo and use modern technology.
There is a big disconnect between being able to cast spells and willing to be teleport mules.
I remember reading some Greyhawk novels, White plume mountain and decent into the depths of the earth. In it the main character has what is effectively just a +1 sword (might have the keen enchantment, he said it was enchanted to cut better, but even then it was affected by the DR of a cambion) that he pulled from the dead hand of his former master who had fallen in battle. It had a cool hilt, backstory, and the character treated it as a prized tool of his trade. When it was lost to a rust monster the owner was devastated, and not just from being weaponless in the middle of an underdark expedition.
He soon gets a replacement sword, a X+1 holy sword. He doesn't like it because it was decorated for a dandy paladin and was an intelligent weapon with partially incompatible alignment. It talked to much, had an over appreciation of protocol, didn't appreciate the simple yet brutal fighting style of the main character, and had an inflated self worth. He got it rehilted with his old sword's skull pommel and ego slapped it into submission.
Weapons have histories. Some weapons were just mass produced yet high quality tools of the trade for soldiers (elite enough to justify a +1 even), other were owned by individuals of renown and have complex backstory in spite of low bonuses. Sting from the Hobbit was a modest weapon (they did after all let the "burglar" use it), yet its implied that it had a long backstory.
After the markets normalize, if the teleportation really is as cheap as mundane shipping, the same price. Besides, fishing is pretty much the only source of food for many desert countries (the ones that aren't inland, and even then fishing in rivers/aquaculture in those regions has a long history).
One other thing I forgot to bring up. The opportunity cost of a caster participating in bulk cargo shipping. A real world example: Bangladesh is one of the least productive countries that participates in global trade in a per man hour basis. They have very low production for a variety of historical, political, economic, and sociological reasons. Yet they are gaining tons of orders for their clothing production. Why is this so when they aren't even good at that? Because they are more productive at that than other things. Why don't more productive countries just dominate the textile industry? Only so much labor to go around, and its better to make Bangladesh do it when your own workers can engage in even more profitable enterprises.
In a RPG the reason why casters don't do bulk shipping is because they have better things to do with their time, and you have tons of commoners and experts that can do shipping better than they can do other things (and they CAN'T do what the casters can do). Maximizing the labor pool's ability to do work is better than spending your most valuable assets on low tier economic activity.
I think that the biggest issue of the magical shipping industry is how many casters of sufficient level is there actually a supply of that would be willing to do such repetitive work for so long. Sure it pays really well, but how much gold does a person need to acquire for their service? IIRC the average commoner earns a few silver a day, a teleporting sorcerer earns thousands in a day. Even the tax rates of 1960s (83 percent plus 15 percent more for super earners) UK would still allow casters to become fabulously wealthy in short order.
Not many people really like doing repetitive work on a long term basis, once the sorcerer acquired a nice nest egg they would probably retire early only taking missions when they felt like it. High level casters don't grow on trees, and they have sufficient resources to do what they want instead of working for somebody on a daily basis.
A typical trading cog makes dozens of stops along the way picking up and dropping off cargo and passengers. Opportunities that a teleporting network can't make use of is the passenger trade,low priority mail, and low value bulk cargo (you really want to ship building materials and livestock with teleport?). Teleporting is best on hub A to hub B shipping. But then you want to disperse the goods to various lesser areas beyond. Shipping from London to New York is one thing, but what about all the local shipping? The cost for a teleport is ONE jump. The cost for the boat is as many stops as it can make on its route. That churn rate on the boat can make it realize larger profits than a one cargo teleport can.
Vrog Skyreaver wrote:
Alchemist, gunslinger, and bards aren't even in reaching distance of wizards, clerics, and druids.
Arcanists are right in the top tiers with witches, wizards, sorcerers, oracles, clerics and druids. Full casters are just better period. Putting a full martial in that list is laughable. Sorry, gunslingers are one trick ponies which are easily countered, and I'm just not even coming close to understanding why you think any bard archetype is OP. Some builds can be really really good, but nothing OP. Witch is one of the weaker full casters, so I assume its because of the hexes, which aren't that big a deal.
The entire point of most encounters is to deplete resources from the PCs. A typical scry and die routine is going to use up a large chunk of resources. First there is the scouting spell, depending on what you have ready this could be several spells. Like a commune to know the location of X, followed by a more specific scry effect once you know the location. Then you have the pre encounter buffing, most likely 2+ spells per available caster (not including spells that are effectively all day spells). Then you have the teleport, which could be several spells, first a teleport to get you to the general area, followed by a ethereal jaunt/dimensional door/passwall effect to get you to the encounter zone. Then the real spell slinging happens as you bushwhack the enemy, or the find out the enemy was prepared after all and ambushes you. You need to have spells remaining as an exit strategy in any case, spells that you can't use unless its a dustoff maneuver.
If you are keeping track a high level party can't do this very many times a day. Sure, they can do the 15 minute adventuring day, but that is effectively true at any level (and thus its the GMs job to give a narrative reason why you would have more than one fight a day).
Sure, a high level party executing their strategy well will end encounters fast and not take any damage ect. This is also true at any level. PCs getting hurt is not the only measure of a good encounter. As long as there is either a chance of failure or the PCs use up some sort of resource (which can be anything: time, hp, spells, consumables, reputation, ect), its perfectly valid encounter.
The water room was surprisingly dangerous for my party. They hadn't collected the few cure potions that were in the dungeon and they had taken a fair amount of minor damage earlier. Most PCs after using up the last of the healing were at about 3/5th health +/- 2 hp. So when the trap sprung the paladin would have gone down to the burst if it wasn't for the racial resistance to electricity, and the fighter would have gone down if it weren't for the made save. Even then the angry box 1 round KOed the fighter leaving him unconscious in the water (which is really bad). Half of the party got locked out in the hallway, so it was rather rough and had the potential for 1-3 PC deaths (out of 5). IMHO it was perfectly scaled trap/encounter for a "boss" room in a level 1 dungeon.
If they had faced the room earlier than it was, the party would have not been as challenged, since none of the damage taken would have been as meaningful. The vermin and minor traps however had softened the party up and given them a false sense of security in terms of expected challenge.
I rate chapter 1 book 1 at a solid 8/10. Solidly challenging for 5 veteren players (15 point build), not a meat grinder. Nothing really memorable other than the water room, and the toysoldiers (which is funny because the same person mobbed by the soldiers this time got hit by the dolls in CoT and the doll in Reign of Winter).
Only thing is going forward at level 2 my party is much more powerful due to builds starting to come on line. They purchased a healing stick and the paladin is pretty much never going to fail a save going forward. Combined with the wizard filling up his scroll purchases and the alchemist getting his discoveries... IDK if the other 2 dungeons are going to be enough challenge.
I had my biweekly PFS game today. One paladin showed up and insisted on stabilizing all enemies not killed outright, even during combat.
This isn't particularly unusual. My druids and clerics often do this. Cleric one is a follower of Calistria, he doesn't like killing his opponents because its crueler to be saved by your opponent. The cleric of Gorum only kills in combat. Knocked out enemies that had the fortitude to survive meeting him deserve a chance to engage in battle at another time. The druid just doesn't like to kill if he or his badger isn't going to eat it. Don't waste meat and all that.
My local area has one guy who only plays paladins. As such we see him and a couple of randoms every week. We don't get as many wizards as most wizard types try other classes rather than deal with the no crafting railroads that PFS is. They are a pain to navigate the low levels with and most of the higher level power is highly constrained by PFS rules and mission structure.
Kobolds get a racial effect on their CR. Lets you give them more levels for the same CR. Translation: 10d6 lighting bolts cast by 10th level adepts at lower CR than it normally is.
Same deal with warrior kobold archers. Nasty little guys with full BAB and just enough feats to make them into low level killing machines.
In general 1/4 CR NPCs allows for a lot of levels and if abused can make kobolds into party level 1-3 killing machines. Nobody exects the CR2 enemy to ignore sleep because it has 5HD? A CR2 that has a BAB of 5 and a racial bonus to dex AND 3 feats? At CR 2 that is a "reasonable" encounter for a first level party to encounter.
Well the problem of mass assaults against PCs that include casters is the same as mass assaults across no mans land. You don't send human wave assaults against ranged in artillery. You probe, feint, attrition, outflank, then you send in the knockout blow.
Also with how the CR system works, you can't really throw all resources at the PC without breaking the system and creating an unfun unwinnable situation. If the BBEG has the resources of a nation behind him throwing all of that in one combat might work, but its against the guidelines for balanced pathfinder. Sending in multiple waves balances around CR=APL+ 0 to 4 is fine however (you still are supposed to be allowing small breaks because otherwise its not a separate encounter, its all the same and that blows your CR budget). Even then you have to keep in mind that the game is balanced around only so many encounters per day.
To illustrate the problem with 50 v 1 or 1v1 50 times: An encounter with 50 minions requires that the minions each be much lower than the party in terms of CR. This means they are dead to low level control spells like cloud kill and die to aeo effects instead of just being injured. 1v1 50 times means the CR budget allows the encounters to have solos that are as high as 4 CR above APL, which means you actually use up more resources per body, thogh a solo vs the party means they can be destroyed by number of actions per round. Due to action economy if you have 50 mooks to use and follow the CR rules you want between 2-8 per fight, average 5ish (lets you have minions and a leader/brute type). This way you don't lose the action economy fight and each threat is actually threatening. 10 encounters is about the limit for an adventuring day too. Bam, optimal use of CR budget AND it follows the guidelines for encounter building. It also makes good use of the strengths of classes with limited per day resources and ones that are only limited by wealth=healing (a problem that solves itself due to WBL appropriate drops and access to magic marts).
If you are just trying to kill the party however, sure, go head and just use the rocks fall everybody dies method, if you are ignoring the guidelines you might as well.
As long as the CR vs APL rule are being followed its more like 3-5 instead of the usual 1-3. One giant battle type things actually favor the casters even more as the powerful control or aoe spells don't have much waste involved (like using a fireball to fry 2 mooks). The big fight actually encourages the 15 minute adventuring day and makes casters stronger.
What favors rogues and other mundanes is lots of small encounters where its not efficient to use up limited resources. A party with a fighter and rogue can go all day assuming they have a healing stick or two. Since they are gaining wealth through the encounters faster than they use up healing resources, it can just keep going assuming a magic mart or occasional healing item drops are available.
The difference between knowledge local and diplomacy is the difference between "I already know this, lets get started" and "I don't this, but I can ask around" One takes MUCH more time and possibly money, and requires talking locals, and the fact you are asking around gives away information to possible 3rd parties.
On top of that knowledge local can help identify weaknesses and powers of humanoids. Many players just meta knowledge that sort of thing like "orcs have darkvision" but they really shouldn't.
Knowledge local won't however get you out of trouble or get you in trouble like diplomacy can. So a well built social character should have both.
IDK, for somebody who is into rogues it seems there is a lack of proper appreciation for something so basic.
This thread is pointless because there is no usable parameters, the goal posts keep moving, and there is no real definition of "eclipse" other than some vacuous statements. On top of that the real discussion is supposed to happen in an ambiguous "future" thread. There has been no statements made in favor of the rogue that hold any water even under the shifting goalposts anyways.
The rogue is a crap class and people who play them play them because of the name and fluff of the class and not the mechanics of them. There are other classes that do everything that the rogue does + more, but since they are named other things and have different fluff, people play the mechanically inferior choice. Really nothing more to it than that.
Bard is a tier 3 character, thief is tier 5 by most estimates, and IMHO should be a high 6 with the other NPC non casters. Yes I would lump them in with the experts/warriors/aristocrats. At least the aristocrats and warriors get decent weapon and armor profs. Sadly the adept actually rates higher than the rogue. Not a good place to be.
Rogues do crap for dpr, they aren't the master of skills, they don't have unique abilities anymore, and their tricks very often don't work or require so many inefficient actions/build choices that its just not worth the opportunity cost to play one.
Now if you are the sort of person who doesn't like mechanics, numbers, being credit to team, and in general being effective: Go ahead and play a rogue, its the right class for you. But if you feel that way you might as well pick an NPC class because they are even more optimized for that style of gameplay.
What the rogue currently has that makes it "special" is trap finding and a generous assortment of skills.
Problem is that trapfinding isn't unique to the rogue anymore, isn't really required (due to how traps are handled in PF), and traps aren't even all that dangerous (most being a chance to take some damage or a save vs some poorly scaled inconvenient effect like poison or spell), heal/cleanse and move on type stuff.
Their skills can be handled by ANY class with proper ability scores, traits, and skill ranks. Even a barbarian can be the party face if traited for it (and be a master of intimidation if he wants to be).
The damage aspect (sneak attack) is laughable since the rogue can't reliably deliver it, it scales poorly, and the class is among the squishiest in the game. That and the 3/4 BAB is very hard to make up for compared to others with the same sort of BAB (clerics/bards/summoners/druids/alchemists all have native buffing ability) Sneak attack is also not exclusive to the rogue now doesn't help it either.
Bards can do all of the skill things that a rogue can, can buff the party, can cast spells, and build for solid reliable damage. Once they get some levels behind them they have such amazing action economy that its quite obvious that the bard is better.
Hell in the most current adventure path Paizo even made trapfinding a campaign trait. Yes, that means that the iconic rogue ability to find and disable traps is worth about the same as half of a feat.
Remy Balster wrote:
If you don't have at least 4 encounters where casters have to expend resources you tend to have a campaign structure where the casters blow all their power in one go then the group rests till they can do it again.
Combat is time consuming, since PF is heavily combat focused, you will spend at least a plurality of your time in combat rounds. This is at least my experience in 3.x/PF play (my 2nd ed gaming had more RP, but that was because I played in RP heavier groups in instant death settings for murder hobos: Ravenloft and Planescape).
As for rogues being more powerful if you don't' have combat: A NPC expert is just as good as a skill monkey, if you are breaking out that argument you are essentially saying that the rogue's power level is best compared to an NPC class, not a great place to be. Hell an aristocrat is arguably as good in combat as rogues (better weapons and armor) and has a respectable amount of skills and better inherent social position.
The same level of system mastery required to bring rogues up to even monk levels of suck applied to any other class would in fact cause that other class to be better than anything the rogue can do.
Its a bad class and nothing currently saves it. Everything it does can be done better by an archetype in a better class,or isn't actually needed and its niche can be ignored.
Rogues suck and its best use is playing one as a self imposed nerf (like if you are a high system mastery player with a group of low mastery players).
Being amazing at not taking damage from reflex saves isn't a big deal. Reflex 9/10 means not taking full damage from a fireball ect. all of the rogues saves are based around this. Fort and will saves tend to be more life and death than reflex saves. Fail a fort, you could lose 1d6 con each round ect. Fail a will, and you will attack the party, be controlled long term (for future betrayals), or be locked out of combat by the multitude of mental based shutdown spells/effects.
The ninja, while not being a powerhouse by any means, is probably a better choice most of the time if you restricted the choices to just those two classes. Not a good place to be in terms of power levels.