Fortunately absolute critical items like the Cloak of Resistance are basically a requirement for NPCs to not get completely destroyed in combat so as long as the GM uses humanoid antagonists past level 4 or so cloaks should be a pretty common loot bundle because otherwise it's simply too easy to SoL humanoid martial NPCs.
I tend to heavily modify the default magic item economy so that magic isn't so incredibly expensive (the high level economy is basically exclusively driven by the high cost of magic items many of which are going to equal the net GDP of entire regions if not nations) and go with the idea that for every active adventurer there tends to be a decent number of retired adventurers that like to earn a bit of extra cash providing goods and services to adventurers.
Thus most consumables and most of the big six are going to be fairly available at various shops, market stalls and stores. Due to the high cost of magic items even with the prices slashed by a factor of 10 a lot of purchases tend to be driven by barter where the seller might be willing to offer a +1 long sword to the fighter in return for collecting something of value. In addition the process of upgrading enchantments is much easier than it is in the RAW because I dislike the idea that the Cavalier might continual replace his long sword for a new shiny blade when it makes more sense to have his ancestral masterwork blade continually upgraded as the legend of the cavalier increases.
The result is that purchasing magic goods tends to also lead into adventure hooks.
Medievalisms like castles simply don't make sense in the context of flight and teleport and scrying unfortunately.
You end up having to incorporate all sorts of custom wards and rituals that aren't factored into the base game design to deal with relatively commonplace scenarios.
Granted I think it's good for GMs to incorporate houserule material like Gorgon's blood and high volume custom wards, etc if you are using the spell list and bestiaries as written if you want a medieval feel it's just that the rules are not really written to simulate a medieval world well and if you take the impact of magic to it's logical extreme it tends to simulate a world that few people want to play.
Crazy builds really aren't required to show the power of the caster over the martial type.
Even at low to mid-level Fly + Imp Invis + SoL spells can wreck the day of a martial character.
Yes it's a limited duration combo due to the low duration of Imp Invis but it's incredibly powerful and there really isn't a lot of hard counters that the Fighter has to deal with it.
I mean assuming that the Fighter is going to struggle to actually sneak up on a decent Wizard in his Full Plate I think it's safe to assume the first round of any encounter is going to be at range and like others have shown it's really really important for casters to have high init.
So even assuming no pre-buffs the caster can typically choose the following scenarios- fighter appears to be a ranged combatant - invis or imp. invis to make me basically immune to being a pin cushion then summon (even low level summons tend to be good at harrasing archers. If fighter is a melee or charger type then flight to get above the charge line of the fighter and then imp. invis to deal with the possibility that he'll draw a bow.
Both of these tactics fighters are going to struggle with even with bags of flour and missile like attacks at a square.
Even lower level spells like levitation and spider climb can really impact the fighter's ability to counter the wizard in anything other than a tight corridor (where the ability to elude the fighter is limited).
I'm not saying that the fighter is useless by any means it's just that his limited ability to change the shape of the battlefield is an issue as well as his pretty much complete ineptness at non-combat activity.
The problem is not that the classes in theory have niche protection (although honestly the idea that characters should only be competent in one area of expertise is a pretty dated albeit popular design choice) it's that the niche protection afforded the casters isn't really afforded to the skillmonkey and martial classes.
Now personally my preference is that classes should be competent in combat, social interaction and exploration phases of the game. That way if I have an extended session of social interaction the fighter isn't acting bored while the bard does all the work, further I like having each of the characters get some ability to advance subplots on their own which means pretty much every character needs at least one social skill moderately developed because otherwise they are too passive when separated from the designated face character.
Unfortunately the truth of the matter is that the martial and skillmonkey classes have very very limited niche protection and that's larely obviated by spells and called/summoned creatures by level 6-10.
The traditional balliwick of rogues is trapfinding, scouting, door opening, pick pocketing, etc. Trapfinding is useful but at a certain point in time can largely be done away with by summoned creatures and a 10' pole. Scouting can be done better with invisibility and silence. Door opening can be handled with knock, climbing is a joke with spider climb, etc.
PF toned down some of the skill bonus of various spells but it's pretty clear that the rogue is not a particularly stellar class and let's be honest the vivisectionist and urban rogue have basically killed it and stolen it's stuff.
The fighter still has a role to play but let's be honest it really begins to lose ground to some of the other martial classes and the casters around mid-level where called creatures, summons, and battlefield control can successful reduce the need for a tank to absorb opposition. Yes it's still useful to have some classes be able to do decent DPR but a decent battle oracle or druid or summoner should be able to step on the fighter niche pretty effectively not to mention how the fighter begins to lose ground to the barbarian and paladin.
Listen I'd love for PF to be a game about the big 4 classes and their various hybrids getting along as a team fighting crime and you can do that with PF but in many ways you almost have to work against the system.
What people are saying is that they'd like the fighter to actually deliver on it's promise rather than be the flunky of a wizard
If you are playing games where you will stop below level 12 and you will never fight anything above CR 12 where outsiders and dragons dominate the battlefield you can probably play a game and have plenty of fun.
You might even be able to power through a standard AP using level 6 casters although there are definitely going to be encounters that you'll struggle with or the GM is liable to have to pull some punches.
The game is largely still predicated on the ideal of 1 divine full caster and 1 arcane full caster + skillmonkey/face and meatshield.
It's just that after a certain level (differences in opinion on exactly where) the fighter and the rogue tend to be more or less expendable because meatshield and skillmonkey can be handled with spells/called creatures.
I think the key example that shows how much the fighter and rogue really struggle in the high end game is how inept martial only NPCs are as antagonists. Even with UMD and potions the high level fighter gets trucked easily by a competent group because basically he's got good HPs and good damage. What's particularly noticeable is how much you have to buff said warrior with consumables and gear to not make him one-shot vulnerable to a decent SoL.
There are some "broken" options in that they have enough ambiguity in terms of how the they are worded that they result in wide variations in terms of how they adjudicated. Simulacrum is a poster child for this type of option.
There are also options which when they engage with the basic imbalances within the system tend to act as a multiplier effect. Some of the metamagics that tend to make SoL effects more potent are a noticeable example of this.
Very few options simply irrevocably break the game and typically those are fairly easily spotted as they were much more common in 3.x and there has been some effort to avoid recurrences of them in PF. However be very leery of claims of backwards compatibility with 3.x because there can be some options unlocked that can result in extremely unbalanced characters.
I'm not completely sold on ditching iteratives, though. There are advantages in doing so due to ease of play and instead of rolling multiple attacks you can simply scale the damage to represent a combo attack but you still can run into some issues with gameplay due to the desirability of multiple attacks (thus giving advantages to pet based classes). This could be solved with just making the wolf damage be bonus damage but it's unsatisfying because it's gamist as hell.
Honestly the entire Vital Strike as written should basically be a no feat combat option so that anyone can basically use it scaled to BAB whenever a full attack routine isn't viable. You still basically need to decide what to do with pounce-like abilities because they are dramatically better than any current feat option in the game and having that differential between martial classes is a massive problem.
Personally I would actually kinda like pounce to go away altogether (because it simply makes cats the uber companion, summons, animal shape, etc) and replace it with greater martial mobility.
Cirdan the shipwright is the canonical elf with a beard from Tolkien (not that D&D matches Tolkien).
I typically have elves in my game have virtually no body hair even the ice elves. I figure innate magic basically keeps them comfortable in all but extreme weather and a result heavy body hair was pretty much extraneous.
He's still very much tied to 5' steps due to the iterative attack mechanic. In comparison the Barbarian (who will have rage) has a much more expansive area of control due to high mobility and the ability to full attack at the end of a move.
And don't even pull out Vital Strike as a remotely decent replacement because it's not. Even if you got the full chain for the cost of one feat it's still an inferior attack choice.
Unfortunately game rules tend to have areas where they generate non-sensical and undesirable results.
Expanding make whole so that it can repair magic items is a good thing, making it so that repairing an item is 2xCL just results in bad campaign design because in theory level 21 casters shouldn't exist.
It's better to just eliminate the 2xCL and just replace it with CL for the sake of game balance and sanity. It's really not that broken.
So sandbox style games are not "proper" games then?
Considering one of the most popular PF APs is basically sandbox, PC driven exploration I don't think that the artificial "you need to get mcguffin x or princess y dies" is necessary or even desirable for many groups.
I realize that some people like their games to have some degree of urgency that limits the ability of casters to take advantage of crafting and divinations but seriously please stop assuming that your preferred play style is the only one possible or even the dominant playstyle.
Unfortunately limiting casters to x spellpoints or x spell slots a day tends to just heighten the problems of the 15 minute workday because make no mistake the martials are still completely dependent on the casters to function if you are fighting CR appropriate foes.
Also it would just make most casters really dependent on wands which isn't exactly a great solution.
Uncoupling healing from spells (and wands) helps because then the Fighter's core resource management mechanic becomes more controlled by the PC but we still have a large percentage of the fanbase that can't seem to acknowledge that hit points are not meat points.
You've failed to actually say why you think the game would suffer by giving the Fighter more options.
What harm is there giving the Fighter more mobility? I mean the Barbarian already has pounce and the Fighter has to go with an archetype to cover something even close to pounce?
What harm is there giving the Fighter better skill points? That it might make the Rogue seem even more incompetent as and adventurer?
What harm is there in giving the Fighter better defenses? Does the iconic fighter really have to invest in cloak of resistance to not be completely hosed by will saves?
What harm is there in fixing the HP system so that fighters can be less dependent on magical healing? Is the game really served by making the PCs dependent on healbot clerics and wands/potions of CLW?
What harm is there in making it where the Fighter is less dependent on magic items or spell buffs by incorporating stuff like inherent bonuses (for stuff like the mandatory +1 items) and/or martial buffs like a warrior's trance that functions like some common buff spells?
The game can be incrementally improved for martial players without either adding in too much complexity or too much "magic" so that people's precious verisimilitude can be maintained.
Yes we know that Paizo has no intentions of fixing caster vs martial imbalance in this edition (or possibly a future edition) but fans can still agitate for an improved game.
Keep in mind that a lot of games are basically built around high stakes games of rocket tag. This was especially prevalent in high end 3.5 games. PF toned down some of the rocket tag aspects of the game but they are still there.
You don't have to invest in init boosters if you aren't playing rocket tag . The GM can influence that decision by building encounters differently. The casters can also influence that by playing less selfishly.
The problem is that in some games the social contract necessary to neuter rocket tag doesn't exist. This can be really problematic in settings like PFS where one or more players deciding to optimize for rocket tag can heavily influence the entire group.
I have no problem with a generic tanking machine but unfortunately the 3.x/PF isn't a particularly great tanking machine.
1) He has nothing that makes him sticky - no mechanics that either force the NPCs to attack him or punish them for moving away and attacking someone else
2) He has mediocre defenses - bad saves and the need to push every last dime into boosting AC and still getting hit relatively easily by level appopriate monsters does not a tank make
3) No ability to self-buff or self-heal- Self buffing could easily be described as a martial trance or katana and assuming that everyone actually plays were HP is not equal to MeatPoints then self-healing really isn't that hard to get past.
4) Fighter has crap mobility- the high level martial game is built around iterative attacks and guess what you can't do if you want to have iterative attacks? Oh yeah move.
Fix those 4 issues plus give the Fighter more narrative power in non-combat situations (2 + Int SkillPoints is a joke) and the Fighter actually be comes viable.
When I talk about AD&D having far greater parity between caster and martials it definitely revolves around the 3.x caster getting a ton of power ups while the fighter got some nerfs.
Some of those changes were beneficial but over the net effect was to make the caster and the martials imbalanced.
I'm not going to defend the AD&D thief because it was largely garbage until 2e but 3.x Rogue could also be substantially improved
Who says that they are false?
Magic being imaginary isn't something that we can objectively measure so it's really up to the artistic license of the developers to say exactly how strong or weak it is in comparison to the feats of brawny men (and women).
I mean it's not even like the 3.x Godwizard was even the norm within the history of D&D. AD&D casters were way way weaker and easy to defeat than 3.x casters ever were and AD&D fighters were significantly more powerful than they currently are. Same with B/X and OD&D.
Granted some changes in 3.x were made to limit caster squishiness and give them more low level narrative power but a lot of the buffing of casters was also done by weakening the martial classes (mobility, saves, etc were all weakened for Fighters in 3.x).
The problem about that LazarX is that some people do want to play in the high level game and even though it's common knowledge that issue with caster imbalance really don't show up until mid-levels and above (I don't really subscribe to the idea that Wizards are roxxor at 1st level even though the are much much stronger than they were in AD&D).
It also doesn't help that we've had roughly 15 years worth of encounter design logic that also accentuates the strength of the caster vs the martial types. This is largely because 4 PCs vs 1-2 monsters is relatively easy for a module designer to write up but 1-2 monsters really tends to accentuate SoL tactical thinking and CR equivalent foes tend to do a relatively high amount of damage to melee combatants because their success rate against the average PC AC and saves is pretty high.
The result is that 1-2 monsters vs 4-5 PCs tend to eat up a large amount of the martial players limiting resources (HP) while it often doesn't drain a huge percentage of the caster's resources unless a lot of buffing is required. It also has the unfortunate effect of making Evokers which are some of the most iconic casters pretty much junk in comparison to control and batman wizards.
So while I do think that a game played in the low to mid -levels (consensus on where the game shifts dramatically range from level 6 to level 10) with a skilled DM can limit if not completely negate the caster imbalance it's still frustrating that we continue argue the same topic over and over again especially when it's pretty clear that the fighter and the rogue struggle in aspects of the game (especially high level) because they are largely designed around the conceit that fighters shouldn't be particularly useful in non-combat in order for rogues to be skillmonkeys and vice versa.
If the game was instead designed around the belief that all of the classes should be fairly effective in all phases of the game without having to make significant sacrifices in combat utility to impact the non-combat social and exploration phase then you could have a fighter that wasn't inept in terms of skills and a rogue that was more universally deadly in combat and I think people would be a lot happier.
So just because swordsmen existing in reality means that they need to be bound by the restrictions that encumber you or I? Or would it better to just assume that fighters and thieves of D&D are actually legendary and can do legendary things just by the blessing of being a PC?
I mean people are okay with Wizards basically wholesale shaping reality on a grandscale and they can't get past the idea than maybe the high level fighter and rogue should be able to do completely unbelievable things?
I understand wanting to have more mundane games but that's why variants like E6 are fun because nobody gets earth shaking power, it simply isn't a particularly great design to have the 13 year old that looks at the cover of PF and really being inspired by Valeros automatically being inferior to the player that looks at Seoni and is inspired to play a sorcerer.
I think you want to reward every player for being interested in the types of characters depicted in the supporting art but unfortunately in many ways the actual game undermines some of that epic feel.
So was there a new printing of the game that said ohh lol we really didn't mean for you to take Fighter as a class from 1-20, you really need to respec to a different class at 6th level?
I'm sorry but if I want to play Ars Magica with godwizards and muggle companions I'd play that game instead.
I think it's a legitimate concern to expect the fighter (or rogue) to contribute to the game in a meaningful way from 1-20 and even though PF made some nerfs to the casters it's still relatively easy to negate the narrative power of both the fighter and the rogue in actual play.
As the fighter progresses in level they tend to fall farther and farther behind their fellow adventurers in terms of non-combat utility because they don't have the skillpoints to contribute outside of a narrow scope of activities and many of their class skills are largely rendered irrelevant once stuff like flying becomes more common. Why have a big investment in Climb or Swim if they have very limited narrative applicability after level 6 or so. Plus their primary area of expertise which is front-line combat (assuming this isn't an archer build) tends to force them into a very tactically uninteresting 5' step and then full attack to work well.
In contrast the wizard and cleric start somewhat weaker although let's be honest these are the 80-lbs weaklings and healbots of AD&D. Once they get higher levels of spells they can transform the battlefield and provide utility that the fighter can't.
In theory the fighter and rogue could try to negate some of those advantages with gear but unfortunately the fighter and rogue are even more gear dependent than the SAD casters because they need to spend more money buffing their basic big 6 gear slots because otherwise they'll get trucked by CR equivalent monsters.
Yes you can say that the utility of the caster is meant for the benefit of the whole party but it's still a nice thing to be the person unlocking the puzzle rather than waiting on the sidelines for someone to do it for you. The martials have significant problems in that they are dependent on the casters for replenishment of their resources (HP healing) and for help bypassing various non-combat obstacles.
It's got less lasting power than the sorcerer and the specialist wizard (I pretty much assume that basically nobody goes generalist anymore) and most of the flexibility advantage it has can be negated by a decent batman wizard build.
I could see it being a wholesale replacement of the sorcerer and the wizard but I'm not sure I see a compelling reason to have all three in a setting simultaneously.
Brawler is a mechanically simpler martial artist without a bunch of abilities that tend to work against each other in undesirable ways and probably better matches the idea of a brutal unarmed buttkicker.
Instead of being skirmisher whose best ability depends on staying still this is a much more straight forward pugilist that I could actually see suggesting to players who want that sort of character I generally can't ever suggest the monk in good conscience.
Honestly I could see giving it some boosts to HD and/or movement and it would still be well within the sweet spot.
If anything I think an opportunity was missed in not pairing up the monk and the barbarian because rage + unarmed fighting would be pretty cool and probably significantly less fiddly than fighter + monk
I think if we look at this in the context of the druid it's going to be somewhat lackluster but if we look at it in the context of a pet focused ranger it's certainly acceptable.
In general it's going to be a challenge to create a hybrid class that competes effectively with the Cleric and Druid because both are full casters with 3/4 BAB and a decent amount of special abilities. Even with the power hit that the Druid took in the transition from 3.x to PF it's still one of the top tier of classes so automatically expecting any druid hybrid to be automatically as good it probably not a good design goal.
I think it's better to go with the question of "If the Druid didn't exist would this be an acceptable class in comparison to other classes" as it stands I think so.
Slayer capstone is garbage due to the general unlikelihood of a high CR opponent actually failing a Fort save effect vs a typical Slayer. I understand that's the standard Save DC formula but Fort is like the worst possible save to target and there really aren't a large number of ways to boost save DC on a martial character and Int isn't exactly going to be the primary stat for the slayer.
That being said I think it's a decent class to represent the rogue type that likes getting stuck in especially with the HD boost.
I basically agree with the sentiment that Paizo has decided to not patch a handful of bad base classes and is throwing out these new advanced classes to satisfy people that like the rogue role but hate the rogue as it's currently written.
I have some issue with some of the mechanics for some of these replacement classes such as the capstone for the slayer clearly being garbage (the save DC simply doesn't scale with the average fort saves of high CR foes) but overall I like the idea that Slayer, Investigator and Swashbuckler could be used as drop ins to replace the 3 most common rogue build strategies.
I simply can't see ever using Rogue in a game with these classes as anything other than a NPC class.
I've played a decent number of mega-dungeons across most of the editions of D&D.
Overall I'd say experiences have been mixed. I still enjoy T1-4 even though portions of the Temple of Elemental Evil were underwhelming.
Other classic dungeon crawls had a variety of issue which limited my enjoyment especially if they were highly antagonistic between Players and GM.
2e had some of the better megadungeons in my personal experience as this represented in some ways the high point of dungeon design that was intended to be more organic such as the dragon mountain with a bunch of kobold tribes living symbotically with a red dragon.
3.x saw a return of the megadungeon in a big way but many of them were distinctly underwhelming especially the Return to ToEE and some of the other 3.0 megadungeons (Rappan Athuk, etc). AEG's mega-mega dungeon that basically was designed to have the PC crawl through the entire MM worth of monsters kinda marked a point in which megadungeons were clearly being designed around gamist concerns rather than narrative or simulationist consistency.
Personally I still like the occassional dungeon crawl but I prefer it to be more geared towards a maximum of 3-4 sessions a dungeon rather than 10-12 sessions a dungeon.
Let's be perfectly honest the 3.0 rules were written to be "gamey" with deliberately good and deliberately bad choices baked into the fundamental game design.
Yes some weapons are going to be objectively better at certain tasks than others but if you go down that road too far you risk needing to bring in 1e's weapon modifiers vs AC or 2e's weapon type vs AC modifiers and that way lies madness.
So in the interest of making a workable game weapons and armor are heavily simplified and abstracted because let's be honest if we wanted total verisimilitude in our game we'd be playing something different.
So instead of "realism" which is a bogus goal anyway you decide to balance the weapons on a narrativist and gamist methodology which isn't entirely a bad idea. However you want to reinforce that some weapons are tacitly inferior (simple weapons) whereas some have some mechanical advantages in certain circumstances, or advantages that show up at higher levels or when some feat chains get unlocked (Falchion I'm looking at you).
Of course EWP pretty much get consigned to the scrapbin unless you get it as a result of your racial selection because +1 base damage simply isn't worth the feat cost.
Steve Geddes wrote:
I fail to see why there is some sort of prize for taking a deliberately suboptimal stylistic choice. I played a lot of AD&D and the Bastard Sword was a pretty common choice for front-line fighters back in the day. However with the shift of Bastard sword to exotic weapon proficiency it's one of the poorest uses of a precious feat slot.
So I ask why a weapon that really isn't that much more difficult to use than a longsword (of course a D&D longsword hardly represents a real world long sword but that's a different argument) requires a stylistic cost?
Or why does using a non-western weapon suddenly impose a feat tax? Is a kama really that difficult to use in real life? Especially since it's basically a improvised farm implement.
Why are polearms martial even though conscripts have used them for ages? Why do spears suck? Why is there not an option for a one-handed spear? Even though you can use a trident one handed?
There are tons of decisions that were made in 3.0 in regards to weapon balance that simply haven't proven to be particularly great from a verisimilitude or a gamist perspective but because it's a relatively minor issue it basically seems to get ignored in the shifts between 3.0 and 3.5 because by the time you get to mid levels most weapons become a relatively minor percentage of the overall dpr of a fighter.
Besides how often do you fight in places where dropping something is bad? Extremely rarely.
Honestly after roughly 5th or 6th level where death by falling is less of an issue I find it to be relatively commonplace.
Fighting on the edge of a cliff, fighting on a bridge over a river, fighting near lava/firepits/etc, fighting while flying, etc all become really common if you are going with highly dynamic battles.
If you are on a flying ship a disarm which has your weapon fly over the side of the ship is effectively a perma-loss.
I dislike actively punishing players but I also don't want them to assume that their goods are completely inviolate either.
Spamming disarm and sunders vs material component bags is kinda lame though even if it's technically a good technique.
I don't use Sunder a ton simply because most NPCs are only going to last 3-5 rounds and Sunder is a mediocre tactic in most situations.
Honestly though by the time PCs get to be about mid-level they should probably have access to a flying mount if they want to. Griffons or Hipporgriff mounted warriors are kinda iconic and they can go a long way to extending the range of PC activities without making the group utterly dependent on the wizard for magical bus.
Exactly, most parties should have a handful of utility scrolls that are paid for out of general fund to cover contigencies like raise dead and make whole.
Yeah it's a tax of a sort but adventuring groups should be prepared and assuming that NPCs will never target gear especially when many PCs are utterly gear dependent is delusional.
If your PC is so dependent on a single piece of gear and you don't have a reliable way of repairing it on the off chance it gets a broken trait then you really only have yourself to blame.
Pay for the make whole scroll necessary to keep your gear in decent shape. I mean it's not really that easy to have a magical weapon that's designed for crit-fishing to be sundered anyway.
Sunder is definitely fine assuming it doesn't get used a ridiculous amount. Having a small number of elite NPCs use it is definitely fine. Having every unnamed NPC use it is just going to get tiresome and bog down play immensely not to mention it's rarely successful if the NPC is much lower in level than the PC.
I'm not going to do calculations but a Heavy Crossbow is going to have a shorter draw length and the quarrel is liable to weigh less so even though the initial velocity is probably significantly higher some of that is going to be negated.
That being said the heavy crossbow should do significant damage. Of course in general weapons really don't scale correctly in D&D at all because most of the damage tends to come from strength bonuses rather than damage dice. The result is that big massive weapons that don't have strength bonuses such as catapults and ballistas don't really do much damage comparatively even though their mass and velocity would actually be quite devastating.
Another possible fix would be to give heavy x-bows bonus damage based upon relative strength rather than just a larger damage dice. Strength rating would be rated on how much strength it would require to load the crossbow without a handcrank. Stirrups could be used to multiply character strength by 1.5 or some ratio.
Walking or riding overland is the best way to come across plot hooks such as creepy villagers, traveling minstrels, fleeing peasants, wandering peddlers and tinkers, etc.
Plus you can stop in the village pub and try the local brew.
Adventuring is just how you pay for all the partying you do in your off hours.
I just assume that all of the Angels can be found in all variations of Good and are basically customized by their relative gods accordingly. Archons, Azatas and Agathions are more shaped by their respective planes.
Of course I'd also be in favor of using angels to represent divine heralds of any god so that you might have LE Planetars serving one god and a CE Solar of another god.
But that would have very interesting implications on planar ally spells
Honestly the verisimilitude argument is pretty bogus anyway due to the fact that D&D and PF in no way function as a real world simulator. In terms of simulationism they best simulate D&D physics rather than anything resembling reality.
And honestly I'm okay with realism being abandoned in order to make a better game. Ultra realistic combat goes down the Phoenix Command route and that's madness and it's not D&D. That being said having clearly inferior options that aren't clearly labeled as such isn't a great design either.
Is there such a compelling reason why simple weapons have to be significantly weaker than martial weapons? Does using an x-bow have to be inferior to the archer always? Does that create a good game?
Obviously there are ways to fix the crossbow to reflect it's superior power (such as boring the ability of PF firearms to deliver touch attacks) which would definitely fit from a verisimilitude perspective but wouldn't fit from a game balance perspective, etc.
I understand that the current design represents over a decade of iterative changes to the existing 3.x mechanics but part of me kinda would like more examination of the underlying mechanics if and when we ever get a new version.
In the meantime I can continue to not use the monk and homebrew variations of the fighter and rogue that better match the narrative vision I have for those classes.
Peter Stewart wrote:
I agree to a point, however there is definitely a point in which the xbow user will struggle to keep up with most higher CR encounters due to the rate at which HPs scale relative to the damage dealing capacity of a x-bow user and that's mainly a function of how the game as written favors iterative attacks (that x-bows struggle at delivering in comparison to archers).
Now if the game was less geared around delivering a large number of iterative attacks X-bows would be more viable without a major investment in feats but PF decided to not mess with too much of the underlying framework of 3.x for good or ill.
I was generally referring to tendency of some within the user community to be absolutely against the idea of attaching any sort of limited use maneuver system onto the fighter or rogue chassis that makes them more competitive with spellcasters. Bot9S is still regarded with a high degree of antipathy even though it could easily be used as the model for a more narratively engage martial class.
Personally I don't necessarily want fighters and rogues to be reliant on limited use maneuvers and would be more happy if the fighter was better in non-combat (more skills and narrative functionality) while the rogue could be better in combat (less dependent on sneak attack damage).
Less good is a trap option especially if the option is iconic and flavorful (like the monk). By making them intentionally weaker without telling people that creates the system mastery game which can really diminish people's enjoyment.
Crossbows are weak in the context of the game not because they are weak in real life (they definitely aren't) but because they are considered a simple rather than non-martial weapon and simple weapons have to be inferior than martial weapons according to the overarching design because otherwise I guess Clerics and Wizards would be too strong at low levels or something.
Anyway, it's pretty clear that for the most part Paizo wasn't really interested in designing a game with balance between the classes across levels 1-20 considering that wasn't really a design goal of 3.x either.
Basically the assumption is that it's a popular game and you can make the power differentials between classes slightly smaller and improve gameplay and most groups aren't going to have a problem. It's at the margins of the game that most of the issues arise.
Yes the 2 primary mundane classes are almost certainly weaker in terms of narrative power than their spellcasting brethren but there is a very vocal percentage of the fanbase that is absolutely against the idea that fighters and rogues should be in any way supernatural and it seems Paizo wants to accomodate that.
The essential problem was that in 3.0 they decided to differentiate the 2 martial non-magical base classes by having the Fighter sacrifice non-combat utility for the sake of damage dealing capacity (although the increases in NPC HPs tend to negate that in many ways) while the Rogue sacrifices combat utility for being useful out of combat.
This artificial and frankly unnecessary divide in order to maintain an strictly defined class role has been unfortunately carried forward across the successor iterations of 3.x/PF even though it really wasn't that useful and was largely a design choice of 3.0. In contrast AD&D even with the optional NWP system has less of a differential between rogues and warriors in terms of non-combat utility.
Once you get past the artificial need for niche protection between the Rogue and the Fighter you can contemplate a more balanced system where the rogue is more of a dexterity and trickery based warrior and the fighter is more of a front-line smash and bash warrior and you can easily blend the two roles with skill and feat choices.
You can break the game with core only and indeed many people will suggest that some of the most imbalanced classes are the core ones.
That being said I think limiting choices in order to keep some degree of sanity in the face of a huge number of character design choices is somewhat viable. I just disagree with the default assumption that additional splatbooks automatically involves gamebreaking power creep. Typically most splatbooks might have some new options that can be exploited but most of the egregious ones merely highlight imbalances in the core mechanics
I have no problem with Sunder or stuff like Disjunctions being used against the PCs especially by monsters that are big and beefy and are unlikely to want to get loot designed around medium sized PCs.
That being said the cost to benefit ratio for sundering is pretty limited unless you pull out sunder specialists and they kinda stretch my credulity as a GM if they are used too often.
Blasters are fun to play but they really depend on GM playstyle. If your GM plays with a ton of mooks that can be fried with various blast effects they do pretty well but if you GM uses a small number of really tough monster with lots of defenses and HPs then blasters tend to struggle because they simply have a hard time keeping up with the high single-target DPR that high-end martial types can do.
The optimal encounter design seems to be a mix of weaker mobs that go down quick to AoE spells anchored by a limited number of high HP, high defense monsters that Fighters and Single-target casters excel at handling.
Silent Saturn wrote:
So if Keen turned a x4 weapon into a x8 weapon instead of a 19-20/x4 weapon, then x4 weapons would actually benefit more from Keen than 18-20/x2 weapons? Interesting...
Depending on what variable you are manipulating the doubling is always going to benefit one weapon over another weapon.
Doubling threat range from 18-20 x2 to 15-20 x2 is dramatically more 19-20 x2 doubled to 17-20 x2 or 20 x3 doubled to 19-20 x3.
3.x in generally wanted there to be system mastery elements which rewarded certain weapon = feat combos like the imp crit falchion. I just don't think it's particular good design.
My problem with this is that 20 x8, 20 x6 or even 18-20/x4 and 19-20/x4 create really unbalanced weapons and lead to massive mortality simply because optimized characters are going to have such massive static damage bonuses meaning that a big crit will be absolutely lethal
Doubling the critical multipler is really dangerous. While 20 x 8 might not happen very often when it does it will almost certainly result in massive damage to the victim.
This increases the swinginess of combat which almost always favors the NPCs (they are assumed to only face one battle) vs the PCs (who end up facing a lot of potential criticals over the course of their lives).
Even adding +1 to the multiplier is dangerous.
I don't really care for imp. crit and keen as they currently work simply because they make 18-20 x2 weapons unreasonably desirable but there is some danger in throwing around big crit multipliers.
Being willing to defend your home from brigands or goblin raiders is one thing. You should reasonably expect to see the militia being called out to deal with an Ankheg infestation.
Actually heading into the wilderness in order to trackdown the source of the goblin raids or the brigand camp is generally left to the professional soldiers or adventurers.
I typically make a large number of the NPCs of a village level 2 NPCs (Commoner 2, Expert 2, Commoner1/ Warrior 1) simply because CR 1/2 allows me to use a good number of them before completely overwhelming the low level PCs.
But honestly having somewhat competent NPCs really helps provide the resources needed by PCs plus means that even a low level party of PCs is going to have to somewhat mind it's manners in the average village.
You seem to be assuming that NPCs would be getting the elite array (15,14,13,12,10,8) instead of the base standard (13,12,11,10,9,8) or the bog standard (11,11,11,10,10,10).
A Human Commoner 2/Adept 1 might have the following array:
Str: 10 Dex: 10 Con: 12 Int: 9 Wis: 13 Cha: 11
The +1 on Con and Wis give the Goodwife a slightly more robust frame (+3 HP, +1 to Fort Saves) and good skill checks (+1 to Wisdom based skills). Save DCs on her spells are pretty low but she rarely needs to cast an offensive spell.
For me the idea that an experienced villager might be a commoner 2/warrior 1 or a commoner 2/adept 1 really doesn't undermine verisimilitude for me.
Golarion (insert other generic fantasy world here) is a violent place, it really stands to reason that the average farmer has probably seen his share of conflicts if he's older than 18 or so.
Yeah most of what he does on a daily basis is relatively boring Profession (Farmer) stuff but he's probably been recruited to function in the militia and has probably been used to beat of the occasional goblin raid. In border areas with a high level of conflict he's probably even served in the king's military a handful of times. Most of that is just marching a drilling but he knows how to hold a spear and set a shield wall.
He's probably even got a set of leather armor (or padded armor) in a trunk that he can pull out if the constable needs help.
His wife has some skill at herbalism/healing on top of the profession (farmer) and profession (cook) skills. She's also been inducted into the local temple as a acolyte of Erastil so can function as a adept.
Most mornings she prepares a cure light wounds or maybe a cause fear spell (in case there are known predators in the area). Burning Hands or Sleep are rarely prepped.