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I just don't get it


Advice


I've been in parties with 4th level barbarians that dish out 40-50 points of damage a hit. And 2nd level rangers that dish out in the 25-30 point range.

For the life of me, I can't figure out how this is done.


Barbarian with greataxe, STR 18
1d12+4 base damage
+2 for two handed
+2 for power attack
+2 for raging
assuming a +2 axe (possible at level 4)

if they roll a 12 to hit thats:
Greataxe: 12 + 4 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 24 with x3 on a crit.

If they have gauntlets etc their STR could be even higher, or if the cleric has given them a Bull's Strength etc.

As for Rangers, by the time you've added up favoured enemies, point blank shot, deadly aim, mighty composite composite longbows and all the rest, the numbers can get just as high

Grand Lodge

Well, in the case of the barbarian, you can always cast charm person on him and ask. Chances are he'll fail the save...

It all comes down to min-maxing, and in some cases faulty math that leads a player (and his GM) into thinking things that shouldn't add together actually do.

Assuming a 20 point buy for ability scores, and a max out of STR to 18, +2 for being something that give +2 to STR, and by level four you've managed to find/steal/craft/trick/buy or otherwise convince the GM you have it/ a belt of STR, you'll have a solid 23 by level 4. Raging makes this 27. If you've taken a level of alchemist you can even get this up to 31. Let's say you do.

That's a +10 to hit and damage on each and every swing. The damage is +15 if you use a two-handed weapon.

Now make sure you also have Power Attack. At level four that another +6 to damage with that 2H weapon for a total of +21. If it's a greatsword, you now deal between 23-33 points of damage per swing while raging and under the effects of a plus STR mutagen.

Then you crit a lot, which doubles all that. And there's your 50ish points of damage on a swing. Sometimes you just find some other means of getting an extra hit or two in every turn.

If someone convinced the GM the barbarian/alchemist can take Arcane Strike it gets even worse.

It's trickier with rangers, but the process is very similar.

Qadira

KidDangerous wrote:

Barbarian with greataxe, STR 18

1d12+4 base damage
+2 for two handed
+2 for power attack
+2 for raging
assuming a +2 axe (possible at level 4)

if they roll a 12 to hit thats:
Greataxe: 12 + 4 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 24 with x3 on a crit.

If they have gauntlets etc their STR could be even higher, or if the cleric has given them a Bull's Strength etc.

As for Rangers, by the time you've added up favoured enemies, point blank shot, deadly aim, mighty composite composite longbows and all the rest, the numbers can get just as high

Right fast, man. Power Attack gives you +3 if the weapon's being wielded 2 handed, and at 4th level you double the quantity given. At 4th level, you're taking a -2 to hit and a +4 to damage, +6 if it's 2-handed.


You don't even need high super high str, feats or spells to pull off high damage.

I have a druid in our party, she's using a scyth +1 with str 18 so thats 2d4+7 dam assuming she rolls max dam thats 15 and she crits at x4 thats 60 damage, and thats without any feats, str items potions or spells etc. Admitadly that's maxed out but you get the idea.

Yes easily done.

Qadira

To take that to the next point, ferrinwulf, the minimum is 32 points of damage.

In fact, a few levels from now, your Druid might decide that a Keen weapon would be good, since that would make it a 19-20x4 crit weapon. Pretty catchy, even if it's for a Druid.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Tirq wrote:

To take that to the next point, ferrinwulf, the minimum is 32 points of damage.

In fact, a few levels from now, your Druid might decide that a Keen weapon would be good, since that would make it a 19-20x4 crit weapon. Pretty catchy, even if it's for a Druid.

Er, would that not be min 36 points of damage on a crit!

2D4+7 (min 1+1+7=9 x 4 = 36)

Qadira

Excuse me, I'm going insane. Yes, it is a 36 and not a 32.


However, it's really difficult, at level 4, to crit more than, say, once every 7ish swings.

So if you've got somebody who is averaging 50, they're cheating. =)

But if you get people who occasionally hit 50 on crits, nothing spectacular there.

-Cross


And at level 4, this simply represents a one-hit-kill. Nothing unusual for a barbarian with great strength and a greataxe to achieve cinematically.

Just go with it. Make him realize his weaknesses, too (Will saves, climb checks, etc.)


That much damage is also overkill most of the time. I recently realized that there is almost no need to do 2d6+9 damage at level 1. A goblin (for example) has only 4 hp, so even 1d4+3 damage will do the job.


It isn't hard to build a fourth level character that can pump out 25 DPR. It's a bit harder to build one that does 30+ DPR, and usually with any sort of reasonable point buy, that means some min/maxing is going on. 40DPR at level 4 is pretty dang impressive if it's real.

Most of the low level major damage builds are usually based on power attack and two-handed weapons.

As you level up though, the balance of power will shift to archers who have the benefit of not having to stick their face in the enemy's face to do their massive damage.

I played a ranger in 4e who dealt out crazy damage. I felt bad about it but the rest of the group loved him. There is no doubt that bringing massive hurt to the table is a fun thing to do. But honestly I get bored with it after a while. I much prefer having to work out tactical challenges in a fight to just literally diving in and whaling away with a greataxe or two handed sword.


Barbarian can have 25 strength at level 4 when raging. A belt of giant strength (+2) costs 2000 gp, 1/3 of level 4 WBL. It boosts strength to 27 and is the best item for boosting melee offense at this level. A +1 weapon is another 1/3 WBL.

A Falchion does 2d4 damage (avg 5).

That's 5(dice)+12(two handed strength)+6(two handed power attack)+1(enhancement) for 24 average damage. Crit (and it's going to crit 15% of the time with fair dice) and you're looking at 42-54 damage.

The second level ranger can have 20 strength and probably has no magic boosts yet outside a monty haul campaign. Let's give him a scimitar and kukri and assume both hit.

Against favored enemies we're looking at 6(dice)+7(half strength on kukri, full on scimitar)+3(+1 PA on kukri, +2 on scimitar)+4(favored enemy on two weapons) for 20 average damage (7.5 for the kukri, 12.5 for the scimitar).

At least one of those weapons will crit 22.5% of the time with ideal dice. If it's the kukri we're looking at 27.5 average damage. If it's the scimitar we're looking at 32.5 average damage. If both crit we're looking at 40 average damage.

Now consider that Chessex doesn't make perfect dice. A player who retires unlucky dice he will tend to have dice biased towards high numbers and on a 18-20 crit weapon a third of the above average rolls are critical threats. A "hot" die has a bit more than a 1 in 3 chance of being biased towards something that will crit a falchion, scimitar, or kukri.

Or he could test his dice for bias directly by floating them in a neutral buoyancy saline solution and cheat consciously.

Or it could be an observation bias. If he's critting 15% or 22.5% of the time with a fair die (such as a line noise based digital die) you are more likely to remember the times you were shocked at his damage output than the times you weren't. Or if you were playing organized play or cons you may be remembering the players who happened to have lucky nights when you were playing with them and forgetting all the equally optimized characters who weren't having lucky streaks.

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