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Sacred fist:Why is it worse then an unarmed warpriest?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I believe the point here is the necessity of hitting certain stat thresholds upon creation.

His concern is that a lot of the rhetoric here is that you have to have 18+ in your main stat upon creation. You have to play a race with a +2 in that main stat, or else you're doomed to fail/hold back the party. Both of which are absolutely false, unless you're in a high-optimization group with inflated enemies, or maybe PFS where things get more complicated because there's this expectation of being able to handle x/y/z threats by yourself.

You might not have said that playing an Elf for a Str build was a disaster, but you did say that you'd be bewildered by someone trying. The fact that it's outlandish a concept indicates that there is a perceived issue with people not gunning for that 18. I know I'm subject to this, as with most builds I'm happy to have a 16 in Str or Dex, but it's very hard to resist the urge to dump things and go for that 18 when I'm playing with a simple 2-hander + power attack build.

Mind, there is some issue when classes like the Wizard can gun for 18/20 with impunity, even in a 15PB game. Wanting to prevent that kind of discrepancy, I appreciate.


The Dandy Lion wrote:
His concern is that a lot of the rhetoric here is that you have to have 18+ in your main stat upon creation.

But that's not it at all. It's that whatever threshhold you have, the race with a bonus in the stat either ends up being +2 to it or spending a lot more points to get there. You end up noticeable worse in the class as a result.

The Dandy Lion wrote:
You have to play a race with a +2 in that main stat, or else you're doomed to fail/hold back the party.

Not at all. You can go in knowing you "are clearly inferior to a strength race by doing so", but without knowing the level of challenge, you can't say how useful you'll be. It's possible the challenge level is low enough that you'll do ok: that doesn't change the fact that another race would have done it better.

The Dandy Lion wrote:
Both of which are absolutely false

Absolutely is far too strong. It depends on how the other players are built and how hard the game is. If everyone is building against their bonus stats, you're average. PFS tends to be built for the lowest levels of optimization [from what I've heard] so it may be ok there too.

The Dandy Lion wrote:
You might not have said that playing an Elf for a Str build was a disaster, but you did say that you'd be bewildered by someone trying.

I generally don't see people actively try to make the game harder to play. It'd be like doing a foot race with a 50 lbs backpack on when no one else does: you can do it but why?

The Dandy Lion wrote:
The fact that it's outlandish a concept indicates that there is a perceived issue with people not gunning for that 18.

Doesn't have to be 18, but whatever number you're going for, not getting a bonus in it takes more points to get there and takes away from your other stats.

The Dandy Lion wrote:
I know I'm subject to this, as with most builds I'm happy to have a 16 in Str or Dex, but it's very hard to resist the urge to dump things and go for that 18 when I'm playing with a simple 2-hander + power attack build.

And to GET that 16 they have to spend 2/3rd the total points, where someone with a bonus spends 1/3rd [15 point build]. it's clear to see why I'd think it strange.

The Dandy Lion wrote:
Mind, there is some issue when classes like the Wizard can gun for 18/20 with impunity, even in a 15PB game. Wanting to prevent that kind of discrepancy, I appreciate.

Even in a 25 point game, an 18 costs 7 more points and a 16 costs 5 more points. 1/5th your total to get to a 16 vs another race is a steep cost.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
graystone wrote:
It's a matter of perspective. Some players like/expect that their stats are better than the NPC's: They want to play the hero's/protagonists of the story. Others don't mind being on even footing with NPC's and being 'one of the crowd'.

I have a question; when you use "NPCs" as a point of comparison, do you mean expecting/wanting better stats than Joe Schmoe the dirt farmer, or do you mean you expect/want to have better stats than major villains?

Because 15 point buy is already a lot better than how I stat random mooks, at least, and I get the impression that's fairly normal/expected?

Anyway, in terms of the optimization thresholds... yes, an elf with a strength build will be worse, statistically, than if they were a race with better strength, at least generally. So what? Necessary strength is a matter of group standards. It's whether you can keep up with the rest of the party and whether the party can keep up with the GM's expectations/the GM calibrates enemy strength to the party.

Outside of Paizo material, this can be anything, and still have the PCs be quite relatively heroic. Heck, average NPCs could be built with 0 PB, and the GM build suboptimized enemies, and everybody could play a stat penalty race if they wanted, and it would be just the same comparison, except that people wouldn't be mocked if they happened to both want to play a melee build and an elf.

Yeah, when it comes to Paizo material, that would take a bit more work, but frankly I see more complaints of back and forth "the enemies aren't hard enough!" and "my players cheese everything to death..." than I do about anything else balance-wise. This probably is a sign you don't need to optimize that much for first-party adventures, imo.

I don't think people should be looked down on for preferring an optimization threshold that lets them actually prioritize fun builds and creative character concepts and not just "are you gonna pull your weight around here? Show me the 1st-level 20s, huh?" What's heroic and better than the crowd is not a set number. If your group likes those numbers all being high, that's fine. But don't turn it into "low numbers means being a nobody", because it doesn't. Nobody-tier numbers can vary by game just as much.


Kaladin_Stormblessed: "If the NPC possesses levels in a PC class, it is considered a heroic NPC and receives better ability scores." So any schmuck with a non-NPC class. It's NOT just for major villains but any rogue, fighter, cleric, ect... So unless your entire world consists ONLY of players, major villains and mooks, you're doing it wrong.

GM's expectations/the GM calibrating: as I pointed out above; "It depends on how the other players are built and how hard the game is. If everyone is building against their bonus stats, you're average." If the GM doesn't mind throwing you softballs, you can perform just fine with subpar stats. I'm talking about the average game where the character isn't coddled because they went out of their way to make the game harder for them to play...

So, yes, your character with stats less than the average NPC fighters and rogues can be workable, but I don't think it;s be a game I'd enjoy and I'd advice anyone that suggests it's fine to give it a second look.


mooks should have a 3 14s and 3 12s across the board pre racials/templates meaning pcs should have alot better stats with a bare minimum of 18 in their good stat


graystone wrote:
GM's expectations/the GM calibrating: as I pointed out above; "It depends on how the other players are built and how hard the game is. If everyone is building against their bonus stats, you're average." If the GM doesn't mind throwing you softballs, you can perform just fine with subpar stats. I'm talking about the average game where the character isn't coddled because they went out of their way to make the game harder for them to play...

Not going balls-to-the-wall optimised isn't throwing softballs. More accurately, a game where you need bleeding-edge optimisation is drafting someone from Little League to MLB play - you're turning the speaker up to 13, rather than accepting 10 as the usual maximum.

You are right, though - the problem is when the players and the GM have different expectations as to what is optimised enough. That way cake walks and TPKs lie...

Lady-J wrote:
mooks should have a 3 14s and 3 12s across the board pre racials/templates meaning pcs should have alot better stats with a bare minimum of 18 in their good stat

We established a long time ago, Lady J, that the experiences of your particular gaming table don't tend to carry across to the wider Pathfider universe. There are arrays in the CRB for heroic and non-heroic NPCs to use as a starting point - BBEGs may merit higher stats, but most of the time those arrays seem to work.


dysartes wrote:
Not going balls-to-the-wall optimised isn't throwing softballs.

Who's talking about that? I'm not talking about every character having a 20 in their main stat or anything. I'm talking about a very reasonable 18 main stat and not dropping 'dump' stats to 7's while others are talking about 14's are fine. That's not MY idea of "bleeding-edge optimisation" at least...

Also, Lady-J isn't too far off on this. Basic PC class NPC's have a spread of 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8 before racials. That, and myself I generally expect an 18 in the main stat, though that can slip to 16's when a class/multiclass has 3-4 main stats. I play online and I've played with dozens of groups/DM's: this is pretty average, baseline character making. Having 14's for mains is an aberration from my experience.


graystone wrote:

Who's talking about that? I'm not talking about every character having a 20 in their main stat or anything. I'm talking about a very reasonable 18 main stat and not dropping 'dump' stats to 7's while others are talking about 14's are fine. That's not MY idea of "bleeding-edge optimisation" at least...

Also, Lady-J isn't too far off on this. Basic PC class NPC's have a spread of 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8 before racials. That, and myself I generally expect an 18 in the main stat, though that can slip to 16's when a class/multiclass has 3-4 main stats. I play online and I've played with dozens of groups/DM's: this is pretty average, baseline character making. Having 14's for mains is an aberration from my experience.

You know, just because someone mentioned an example with 14s, doesn't mean all of us were specifically referring to that as advisable...

I'd find it a bit weird if a PC had 14 in a main stat, yes, and would politely advise the player that they might want to make it higher. 15 to start with doesn't sound crazy if using arrays or rolled stats or a really low PB or it was something really MAD.
16s seem very reasonable to me. The occasional use of a race with an inconvenient stat penalty seems reasonable, sometimes people want to do that for flavor and I don't think it's crazy or something to shame people over. If you don't actually mean to sound like you think people who do that are crazy or should be shamed for it, great.

Also, no, my entire world does not consist only of players, major villains and mooks, just that the majority of NPCs do not have class levels, certainly not as many as the PCs, and even the ones who do sometimes have -gasp- imperfectly assigned stats and bad race choices, but you know what? Seeing as the players are enjoying the game, even if that was the case, I really don't think I'm doing it wrong, thank you very much for your helpful opinion on the matter.


Kaladin_Stormblessed wrote:
shamed for it

I would do like you suggested for those 14's. If they are willing to hobble themselves and underperform, far be it from me to stop them: they have been forewarned. They, however, lose the right to complain about underperforming though.

Kaladin_Stormblessed wrote:
Also, no, my entire world does not consist only of players, major villains and mooks, just that the majority of NPCs do not have class levels

I'm not implying that there aren't a huge amount of people that are non-PC classed. The thing is that huge mass never gets stated. Usually anyone of any import that gets stats has those PC levels. Random hobo 16 might get a paragraph of background but no stats.

Kaladin_Stormblessed wrote:
imperfectly assigned stats and bad race choices

For NPC, it doesn't matter if you assign them with odd stat choices. They don't notice how they don't do as well as the other NPC's.

Kaladin_Stormblessed wrote:
Seeing as the players are enjoying the game

Not having seen your game, there can be a LOT of reason to like a game and not have a very good character. You might tell an amazing story. You might set the difficulty lower than normal. You might have low combat, high social game. I don't know. I just know in several dozen online games [15-25 points], I don't recall any 14-15 main stat characters and I can count 16's ones on one hand. I also haven't noticed any "imperfectly assigned stats and bad race choices". it's not a matter of "shaming", but a matter of wanting to contribute and do your best.

I can see more leeway in a home game but online you don't know your party members and picking flavor over mechanics is generally a formula for a bad time because either you or your party will eventually notice you're lagging behind. If you make your adventure based on your party's abilities, it's possible to adjust for a less than average group but AP's and premade games don't adjust as well.


So... I'm getting the impression we don't actually disagree, and it's all just talking at cross purposes. That explanation makes a lot more sense. So I'm not going to further debate semantics of it.


Kaladin_Stormblessed: Cool, it was worth the back and forth then. Happy Gaming! :)

The Exchange

Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:

So i came to the realization that unarmed warpriest is overall better then the sacred fist archtype for a few main reasons.

The first being how many more feats the base warpriest gets over sacred fist, making it a lot more flexible when it comes to builds.

Second is the fact that if you were worshiping irori you would get improved unarmed strike as a bonus feat anyway, making what you get from sacred fist redundant, in actuality all you're really doing is LOSING weapon focus

And the fact that it doesn't matter which one you take you aren't getting pummeling charge, which is basically the cornerstone of this class until level 12

So all the sacred fist really gets in return is an admittedly way better skill list. Standard monk AC bonus and Ki pool and the ability to brush off most fort saves, but I'm not convinced that it's worth what you lose in the long run

What do you think?

While you are not wrong that the base warpriest will have some more flexible [combat] feat options, I think they build pretty differently.

For starters, a normal Warpriest must choose a deity with the favored weapon: unarmed strike to get the favored weapon bonus, or spend a feat to grab another weapon focus, which means no unarmed strikes til level 3. Hardly ideal. Discounting homebrew, that leaves you with Irori or one of two empyreal lords to choose from. A sacred fist, on the other hand, can choose any deity while going unarmed, which gives it more flexibility when looking at Blessing options or for character backstory.

To me this is a big creative draw as it lets you do some fun things with the Crusader's Flurry feat and races that get weapon proficiency, like an Elf SF of cayden cailean with a rapier, or a dwarf SF of Torag with a warhammer, or a half-orc SF of rovagug with a waraxe, or tengu of Iomedae, or a half-elf with ancestral arms and [insert weapon you want to flurry with here + deity].

Losing the Weapon Focus isn't a big deal since you can pick it up for a feat anyway and probably will do so early on in your career.

Since warpriest is already really good at enhancing it's own attacks, you really aren't that far behind in the to-hit game. Sacred weapon has anemic round/lvl use for a swift action when you already have plentiful swift action options to choose from. It really doesn't get useful until higher levels when you have a better enhancement bonus and can flexibly choose an add-on magic effect, but by that point you can be doing the same with your spells.

The Sacred Fist gets a Ki pool, which makes feats like Ki Channel or Ascetic Style potentially interesting options. Crane style as always is exciting. I never would think about Kyton style, but a half-elf sacred fist could probably use it to good effect at higher levels. Aforementioned pummeling style, too. There are some ki-pool specific styles like Deadhand which ends up letting you inflict negative levels without saves against opponents, though they come online rather late. Magic items like a Ki Mat or Ring of Adept Maneuvers/Ki Mastery can give you some other little perks. The options the ki pool gives are pretty flexible in comparison, too- the movement speed is rather nice for mobiility and positioning (especially compared to a medium/heavy armor-wearing warpriest) and can even find some uses outside of combat (sacred fist is in general a far better scout than the standard warpriest thanks to the skills). An extra attack at your highest attack in a flurry is pretty nice, if situational, considering the amount of +damage buffs you can give yourself. Even the +4/+5 AC can be helpful in a pinch.

Taking Guided Hand could make for a very different style of SF Warpriest, letting you pump wisdom and giving you some more spellcasting options. Granted you could do that with a normal Warpriest, but Sacred Fist benefits a lot from wis synergy. A +wisdom item gives you +hit, +ac, +will save, +spells/day, +spell DC, +blessing DC, +fervor/day, +ki pool and +wis skills.
It also gives you some really nice synergy options for spells- you can use Fervor to swift-cast Owl's Wisdom for +2 to all of the aforementioned class features.

Obviously you still get access to Divine Favor, Magic Weapon/Greater, Smite Abomination (just cruel with a wis build and pummeling charge!) and everything else on the cleric list. Losing Sacred Weapon round/day is pretty fair, since you are swift-action heavy already- how many rounds of buffing do you really have?

Losing Sacred Armor hurts a bit more since you can potentially prep it before combat, but AC really shouldn't be behind anyway, especially when you have so many ways to double down on enhancing your AC or buffing it with spells. You could always take Craft Wondrous Item, too, unlike a normal monk.

Finally, switch-hitting flurrying shuriken is kind of fun, if you are willing to burn the feats for ascetic style. Even if you aren't, Destruction Blessing plus Divine Favor/your other buffs is still amusing.

tldr; it gives some flavorful options and has terrific wisdom synergy. A lot you could replicate with either enlightened paladin or the normal warpriest, but it does occupy the gap between the two. I tend to think of the normal warpriest as being split between STR, DEX, CON and WIS, while Sacred Fist can sort of get away with just DEX, CON, and WIS. Feat starved you will be, but honestly, with the number of feats out in pathfinder now, I never feel feat-satisfied with any class.

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