Are You Proficient?

Friday, March 16, 2018

The term "proficiency" has been a part of the Pathfinder rules since the very beginning, but in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook, we've expanded the concept to cover more than just weapons and armor. In the new proficiency system, your proficiency matters for just about every check you attempt and DC you have. You don't just have proficiency in weapons, which helps when you swing a sword, or proficiency in armor, which protects you when you try to avoid a blow—instead, proficiency covers everything from axes to spells, from Acrobatics to Thievery, and from Perception to Will saves. Your proficiency in Fortitude saves can allow you to shake off virulent poisons in an instant, and your proficiency in Diplomacy might help you stop a fight before it begins. There are five different ranks of proficiency.

Untrained

An untrained character lacks even basic proficiency. He adjusts his checks and DCs by –2 and sometimes flat-out can't attempt certain things. For instance, someone who is untrained in Thievery might be able to try to steal from someone but isn't skilled enough to pick a lock, no matter how high level he is.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Trained

A trained character has put in enough work that she's able to perform effectively. She can even start taking skill feats to achieve new and special effects with her skills. Many skill feats grow more and more powerful as your proficiency rank increases.

Expert

An expert is particularly accomplished in a particular field, adjusting her checks and DCs by +1, and gains access to more powerful features requiring expertise.

Master

A master is extremely skilled in an area, and she can achieve incredible results. In addition to adjusting her checks and DCs by +2, she may unlock powerful perks like master-level skill feats for skills, or the ability to dodge fireballs completely for Reflex saves. Other than a few classes like fighters, with their incredible command of weapons, characters can't become masters until level 7 at the earliest, and sometimes much later.

Legendary

A legendary character is world-class, and in addition to adjusting checks and DCs by +3, can routinely produce results that defy real-world explanation, even if they're not a spellcaster. For instance, a character who is legendary in Survival could learn to survive without food, water, or air in a featureless void, a character legendary in Thievery might be able to steal the armor off a guard, and a character with a legendary Will save might have a mind so strong that no mental intrusion can fully affect him. Most characters can't hope to become legendary until level 15 at the earliest, and even the mightiest fighters reach these heights with their weapons only at level 13. Most characters become legendary in only a few skills and one or two other statistics.

Proficiency Modifier

Your proficiency modifier is based partly on your rank and partly on your level—you add your level to the modifier from your rank to determine your proficiency modifier. For instance, a level 20 rogue who is legendary at Stealth might have a +23 proficiency modifier, while a level 1 paladin who is untrained at Stealth might have a –1 proficiency modifier. But does that mean that your level 20 untrained and magic-hating barbarian knows more about arcane magic than your friend's level 1 bibliophile wizard does? Not really. Your barbarian, with her extensive experience in battle, might be able to identify a dragon's weaknesses much better than the wizard with his ivory-tower book learning, but when it comes to magical theory, identifying the gestures that compose a spell, or other such topics, your barbarian simply doesn't know anything at all.

Gaining Proficiency

For most of your statistics, your starting proficiencies are determined by your class, though for skills, you can assign your ranks as you choose among any of the skills in the game. When it comes to leveling up, all classes gain skill rank increases at every odd-numbered level (or more often for the rogue!). Your other proficiencies increase based on your class and feat choices.

Making the Nonmagical Extraordinary

The best part about proficiencies is the way they push the boundaries for nonmagical characters, particularly those with a legendary rank. If you're legendary in something, you're like a character out of real-world myth and legend, swimming across an entire sea while beating up sea monsters like Beowulf, performing unbelievable tasks like Heracles, or hunting and racing at astounding speeds like Atalanta. While we did perform a bit of research on things like real world Olympic records and average expectations when it came to the lower ranks, masters and especially legends break all those rules. Want your fighter to leap 20 feet straight up and smash a chimera down to the ground? You can do that (eventually)!

And that's the basics of how proficiency works! Thanks for reading, and let us know what you think in the comments.

Mark Seifter
Designer

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nogoodscallywag wrote:
Thankfully you're type of gameplay isn't what PF 1e is and what most players and GMs like to play.

I can say with 100% certainty that you don't speak for most players, by far. Sorry! I can also say with 100% certainty that PF2 isn't what PF1 is, and the devs obviously want to go this direction, and aren't going to completely scrap their plans over a vocal minority. You'll still have PF1 to play, don't worry.


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nogoodscallywag wrote:

This is the typical reply from martial munchkin characters...they cry about how martials don't get to do "magical" stuff or compare with magic, yet I don't believe I've ever read any caster players complaining about the massive amounts of damage a martial can do nor the hogging of combat that some martials are capable of. I know plenty of people who play great martials that do gobs of damage and realize the magic users are actually on the other side of the same coin- both are equal and for those complaining they should build better fighters to combat magic, build up a better group around them (which may be hard if the fighter thinks they should do everything a wizard can and hog the combat), or change tactics.

I'm not going into this too deep as there are plenty of other forums and threads for this, but I'll just say the disparity is a myth perpetrated by those who can't stand to give other players an opportunity and that want to munchkin everything. My favorite comparison is the 1st level Fighter with a greatsword v. a 1st level Wizard with Magic Missile-oh and by the way the fighter can do that all day without class limitations. Disparity much? Sure, but the power curves are different and I, as do many others, understand that and are ok with that. Even...

This is the typical reply from people who don't actually understand the debate. See, the thing is, it's not damage. Ultimately, damage doesn't mean anything. The fact that you think that just doing more damage makes martial characters "equal" to casters is ... well, it's just very apparent this isn't going to be any kind of actual discussion. If you literally think that, then I don't know what to tell you, other than you don't actually understand how the rules work, and probably should do a lot of reading to educate yourself on what the martial/caster divide really is.

I do find it hilariously hypocritical, though, that you accuse the martial character players of wanting to munchkin everything and not give others an opportunity while championing the caster supremacy that's dominated the game since its 3E roots. I mean, it's like a troll post, but I get the feeling you're serious, which means your "points" can't be taken seriously. Sorry, man. Just not worth it.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:

The repeated references to Martials doing awesome things as "cartoons" or "superheroes" is a rather blatant attempt to poison the idea by linking it to things that in Western culture are generally considered more youth oriented. But other cultures don't have those biases and moreover, characters from mythology did all these things first, and that is what this is about. A character being good at jumping like Cuchulain or any other given culture hero doesn't break my immersion, and is something a wizard can do at level 3 with the Levitate spell.

Conflating awesome feats with crazy ones just to disparage the entire package is also intellectually dishonest. I've seen complaining about cutting mountains in half, but Mark even addressed that one specifically, saying if something like that happens it wouldn't be until high level play in an as yet undesigned Mythic supplement. And hey, if that does happen at Mythic tiers when you're around level 18 or above? Sure, why not? The wizard can literally stop time and drop meteors out of the sky, the druid can call up hurricanes and earthquakes, let the mythic martial who is literally a demigod chop mountains like demigods from mythology.

The point is for everyone to be able to have fun. If a martial can have fun now too, that doesn't mean the wizard suddenly gets to have less fun, unless their primary source of fun was lording over the weakling peasants who were just there to support him as best character in the party. And frankly, people like that can get out of my hobby.

Well said, and I also noted the disingenuous attempts to disparage mythic feats by comparing them to whatever the posters consider "childish." Of course, none of this applies to their own godlike magic-users, whose powers even more so exemplify the sort of "cartoonish" powers seen in anime, video games, and what-have-you, so I think it's futile to try to convince them otherwise. You can keep trying, though.

The funny thing is how much of all this awesome martial stuff is present in the mythology that serves as much of the roots of this kind of fantasy gaming. But when you are selective in what's "acceptable," well, you end up with some of the arguments made in this thread.


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Fuzzypaws: I don't agree the "but wizards get magic" as a compelling reason to give fighters magic by another name. Not really anything more to be said on that issue. Creating demiplanes or summoning meteors have never been something that makes the martial characters upset in my games.

Dread Moores: I will be approaching the players as a new iteration on the previous game and not as a brand new game. If the game is "perfect" but doesn't enable the same type of play I enjoy in Pathfinder, then my feedback will be slanted at having the game incorporate what I enjoy in a game. I'm not going to try to say "such and such is overpowered" if mathematically it isn't. But I'll be calling for options to change or make optional the things I don't enjoy from the playtest.

The feedback will be different for this game than if Paizo put together a completely different game called "God's and Heroes". It having the same name should mean that it enables the same type of game as the previous one (allow other types? Sure. But not at the expense of what makes Pathfinder Pathfinder).


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Fuzzypaws: I don't agree the "but wizards get magic" as a compelling reason to give fighters magic by another name. Not really anything more to be said on that issue. Creating demiplanes or summoning meteors have never been something that makes the martial characters upset in my games.

In my experience, most players I've encountered that do take up the martial role (or are pushed into it by the other players to fill a hole in the group) get bored and frustrated at the lack of meaningful options. When I've offered alternatives to my players to let their martials be more like mythological heroes, they've always leapt at the chance and battles got more dynamic and fun at the table as a result.

In a setting with flying firebreathing building sized dragons, and pointy hatted men and women who can break reality, there's no reason why a fighter should have to be stuck full attacking with power attack every round forever.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Fuzzypaws: I don't agree the "but wizards get magic" as a compelling reason to give fighters magic by another name. Not really anything more to be said on that issue. Creating demiplanes or summoning meteors have never been something that makes the martial characters upset in my games.

In my experience, most players I've encountered that do take up the martial role (or are pushed into it by the other players to fill a hole in the group) get bored and frustrated at the lack of meaningful options. When I've offered alternatives to my players to let their martials be more like mythological heroes, they've always leapt at the chance and battles got more dynamic and fun at the table as a result.

In a setting with flying firebreathing building sized dragons, and pointy hatted men and women who can break reality, there's no reason why a fighter should have to be stuck full attacking with power attack every round forever.

This. In a game about being a hero, you should be allowed to do heroic things like described in folklore and myth. Even if you only count the "source material" of LOTR, elves basically have superpowers.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
It's funny when that comes up to bite them in the ass. :)

It just seems to me like it's unnecessarily antagonistic when a GM starts throwing a lot of challenges at a player simply because that player has elected to be deathly afraid of water and horses, for example. Like sure the player might have been min-maxing because the campaign takes place in the mountains, but I don't want to come across like a jerk.

Better to just avoid the situation where "being completely incapable of riding a horse" conveys mechanical advantages.

I'm not talking about the GM being a jerk.

Sometimes things come up your character isn't built for.

That's fun. You have to think of a way to handle it that might not be mechanically covered by your character. Or be inventive and do something new. :)

Mutants and Masterminds had a nice rule for that. When you pick a flaw for your character, you select how often do you want it to affect you. So if you are Superman, you tell the GM if you want Krypton it to appear every game, once in a while, or hardly ever. If it never affects you, it is worth no points. The more often it hampers you, the more points you get.

While that's a neat idea for a flaw that's not really what I want. I just want to customize my PC. They didn't train this so they trained that more etc.

I realize that this is a 100% no go for some of you and you absolutely do not want that in the game. Well I absolutely do want that in the game. It won't effect your PC's.

Anyways we can all agreed to disagree as we've all have already heard each other's arguments.

No offense to you Gustavo. :)


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I mean, people have been stopping a campaign before Wizards and/or the necessary opposition gets absurd, so if you don't like it I do not understand why you cannot do the exact same thing with "fighters suplexing flying dragons".

As a rule it's generally better to include fun options for people who want the thing and let people omit them from their own games to fit their personal aesthetic sensibilities.


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Lemartes wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
It's funny when that comes up to bite them in the ass. :)

It just seems to me like it's unnecessarily antagonistic when a GM starts throwing a lot of challenges at a player simply because that player has elected to be deathly afraid of water and horses, for example. Like sure the player might have been min-maxing because the campaign takes place in the mountains, but I don't want to come across like a jerk.

Better to just avoid the situation where "being completely incapable of riding a horse" conveys mechanical advantages.

I'm not talking about the GM being a jerk.

Sometimes things come up your character isn't built for.

That's fun. You have to think of a way to handle it that might not be mechanically covered by your character. Or be inventive and do something new. :)

Mutants and Masterminds had a nice rule for that. When you pick a flaw for your character, you select how often do you want it to affect you. So if you are Superman, you tell the GM if you want Krypton it to appear every game, once in a while, or hardly ever. If it never affects you, it is worth no points. The more often it hampers you, the more points you get.

While that's a neat idea for a flaw that's not really what I want. I just want to customize my PC. They didn't train this so they trained that more etc.

I realize that this is a 100% no go for some of you and you absolutely do not want that in the game. Well I absolutely do want that in the game. It won't effect your PC's.

Anyways we can all agreed to disagree as we've all have already heard each other's arguments.

No offense to you Gustavo. :)

I saw a really good suggestion earlier in the thread for a pretty workable flaw. Choose two skills to be at "Incompetent" level instead of "Untrained." The modifier is 1/2 level -4 on these two skills, instead of level -2, and if you want to train them in the future you have to buy off the incompetent to become untrained first. In exchange, you pick up one more skill that you do want.

Something like that would do everything you'd want, ne? You could have your wizard who has not even the basic inkling whatsoever in how to approach Athletics and Thievery, and in exchange maybe you pick up something like Cultures, or Medicine, or whatever does fit your theme.


Two for one seems reasonable.

Limit one or two.


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I've played and enjoyed martials so I disagree that players intrinsically want to be mythic when playing one. I also have never had to force players to be one (and with all the options available, I don't know why I would).

Then again I'm currently playing a Rogue (multiclassed 1 level into ranger for more HP and favored enemy human) so I clearly do not represent what is most commonly mentioned on these boards experience.


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As a fan of martials, sometimes I want to be like my man Sabin and just suplex things, including ghost trains. Heroic does not mean "giving martials magic." It just means extraordinary.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I mean, people have been stopping a campaign before Wizards and/or the necessary opposition gets absurd, so if you don't like it I do not understand why you cannot do the exact same thing with "fighters suplexing flying dragons".

As a rule it's generally better to include fun options for people who want the thing and let people omit them from their own games to fit their personal aesthetic sensibilities.

I've never stopped a game early because "the wizard gets too good". I have stopped games because "the PCs get too good" but assuming equal skill in optimisation the issue has always been the PCs overall rather than specific classes (we do not allow the worst examples such as summoners. Wizards do frequently get played. As do fighters, barbarians and oracles).

[EDIT]: Juggling trains or whales is not what I want from my martial characters. Nor is splitting mountains in twain or swimming across the Pacific Ocean or ceasing to need to breathe.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Juggling trains or whales is not what I want from my martial characters. Nor is splitting mountains in twain or swimming across the Pacific Ocean or ceasing to need to breathe.

I hope for your martial players you warn them they will wind up bag carriers (or a convenient Big Stupid Fighter if the casters decide not to dirty their hands directly) if the campaign goes to sufficiently high levels.

Or ban martial characters over level 10 and force a transition (either retraining or a fresh character) to a class that can actually play High Level Pathfinder.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
It's funny when that comes up to bite them in the ass. :)

It just seems to me like it's unnecessarily antagonistic when a GM starts throwing a lot of challenges at a player simply because that player has elected to be deathly afraid of water and horses, for example. Like sure the player might have been min-maxing because the campaign takes place in the mountains, but I don't want to come across like a jerk.

Better to just avoid the situation where "being completely incapable of riding a horse" conveys mechanical advantages.

I'm not talking about the GM being a jerk.

Sometimes things come up your character isn't built for.

That's fun. You have to think of a way to handle it that might not be mechanically covered by your character. Or be inventive and do something new. :)

Mutants and Masterminds had a nice rule for that. When you pick a flaw for your character, you select how often do you want it to affect you. So if you are Superman, you tell the GM if you want Krypton it to appear every game, once in a while, or hardly ever. If it never affects you, it is worth no points. The more often it hampers you, the more points you get.

While that's a neat idea for a flaw that's not really what I want. I just want to customize my PC. They didn't train this so they trained that more etc.

I realize that this is a 100% no go for some of you and you absolutely do not want that in the game. Well I absolutely do want that in the game. It won't effect your PC's.

Anyways we can all agreed to disagree as we've all have already heard each other's arguments.

No offense to you Gustavo. :)

I saw a really good suggestion earlier in the thread for a pretty workable flaw. Choose two skills to be at "Incompetent" level instead of "Untrained." The modifier is 1/2 level -4 on these two skills, instead of level -2, and if you want to train them in the...

I saw that post. That might be a solution.

Is one for one fair? Is two for one fair? Three for one?

Maybe the more you take as not advancing you increase the skills tax for what you get in return?

Ie: one for one, then two for one, then three for one etc.

It's hard to say though.

I suppose it depends on the math when we have the final picture.

It's better then that not being there. :)

For the record I usually play high strength casters. Or at the very least ones who can tumble and jump well. :)


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I mean, people have been stopping a campaign before Wizards and/or the necessary opposition gets absurd, so if you don't like it I do not understand why you cannot do the exact same thing with "fighters suplexing flying dragons".

As a rule it's generally better to include fun options for people who want the thing and let people omit them from their own games to fit their personal aesthetic sensibilities.

I've never stopped a game early because "the wizard gets too good". I have stopped games because "the PCs get too good" but assuming equal skill in optimisation the issue has always been the PCs overall rather than specific classes (we do not allow the worst examples such as summoners. Wizards do frequently get played. As do fighters, barbarians and oracles).

[EDIT]: Juggling trains or whales is not what I want from my martial characters. Nor is splitting mountains in twain or swimming across the Pacific Ocean or ceasing to need to breathe.

But you do concede, I hope, that there is considerable interest from a number of other people in these threads for martials that can indeed to the kind of stuff the heroes in epics and mythology can do at high levels?

I agree with PossibleCabbage on this one. It's easier for everyone if the whoa-nelly options are included and people like yourself that say "I'd rather not" have the option to nix those options while the people that like them have access. The other way around, the option doesn't exist in the first place, the people that are interested in that would have to make them up, and in most cases get shut down hard by GMs because your view is the only one being supported by the existing rules.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:

I hope for your martial players you warn them they will wind up bag carriers (or a convenient Big Stupid Fighter if the casters decide not to dirty their hands directly) if the campaign goes to sufficiently high levels.

Or ban martial characters over level 10 and force a transition (either retraining or a fresh character) to a class that can actually play High Level Pathfinder.

Feel free to stop responding to my posts at this point. Neither of these things happen in my game. As I am sure you were quite confident they wouldn't. But then again, fighters don't become bag carriers for the other classes in my game but instead get involved in just many awesome things as the casters. Everyone seems to enjoy playing martial characters. I even had one player say "I'm loving my fighter. I don't have to constantly roll knowledges or worry about spells" (FYI: This was a player choice. I always make sure my martials have an area of interest when it comes to knowledges).

Blackwaltzomega wrote:
But you do concede, I hope, that there is considerable interest from a number of other people in these threads for martials that can indeed to the kind of stuff the heroes in epics and mythology can do at high levels?

Sure.

I don't want to "nix" them though and by that I mean houserule them out of the game (and simply remove options for fighters at those levels). I want viable alternatives that don't require me to play a demigod and yet still play a fighter and enjoy the fighter. If once you get to a certain level the only "level appropriate" (remember, class powers feats are likely being sorted by level in the new edition) options that don't have me casting "martial spells".

As I've been saying, I am happy for people to play "basic training in everything" characters so long as the game by default also supports "specialised training in specific things and untrained in others". If the game has "swimming across the pacific ocean as a single action" as a class feat then I'd like something else level appropriate that's more grounded in reality as an alternative.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:

I hope for your martial players you warn them they will wind up bag carriers (or a convenient Big Stupid Fighter if the casters decide not to dirty their hands directly) if the campaign goes to sufficiently high levels.

Or ban martial characters over level 10 and force a transition (either retraining or a fresh character) to a class that can actually play High Level Pathfinder.

Feel free to stop responding to my posts at this point.... have me casting "martial spells".

I believe you are correct.

I doubt I will ever see eye to eye with someone who views extreme martial prowess as spells, or (appears to) want martial characters to keep playing lord of the rings while the casters surpass the silmarrilion.

I will endeavor to stop responding to your posts going forward (fair warning I might fail, but I will give it a shot)


nogoodscallywag wrote:


This is the typical reply from martial munchkin characters...they cry about how martials don't get to do "magical" stuff or compare with magic, yet I don't believe I've ever read any caster players complaining about the massive amounts of damage a martial can do nor the hogging of combat that some martials are capable of. I know plenty of people who play great martials that do gobs of damage and realize the magic users are actually on the other side of the same coin- both are equal and for those complaining they should build better fighters to combat magic, build up a better group around them (which may be hard if the fighter thinks they should do everything a wizard can and hog the combat), or change tactics.

That's because a properly built spellcaster can out damage the martial characters.


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MadScientistWorking wrote:
nogoodscallywag wrote:


This is the typical reply from martial munchkin characters...they cry about how martials don't get to do "magical" stuff or compare with magic, yet I don't believe I've ever read any caster players complaining about the massive amounts of damage a martial can do nor the hogging of combat that some martials are capable of. I know plenty of people who play great martials that do gobs of damage and realize the magic users are actually on the other side of the same coin- both are equal and for those complaining they should build better fighters to combat magic, build up a better group around them (which may be hard if the fighter thinks they should do everything a wizard can and hog the combat), or change tactics.

That's because a properly built spellcaster can out damage the martial characters.

Or, more relevant to the problem, is that they can trivialize the encounter in ways other than damage, on top of doing a dozen other things far beyond the rules of mere mortals. But when we possibly want our demigodlike martial heroes to push boulders, wrestle hydras, or leap tremendous distances, that's too far out of line. It breaks suspension of disbelief, it's asking too much, it's (and I can't believe he had the audacity to actually say it) those players wanting to have all the cool stuff and deny their caster counterparts anything fun.


MadScientistWorking wrote:
nogoodscallywag wrote:


This is the typical reply from martial munchkin characters...they cry about how martials don't get to do "magical" stuff or compare with magic, yet I don't believe I've ever read any caster players complaining about the massive amounts of damage a martial can do nor the hogging of combat that some martials are capable of. I know plenty of people who play great martials that do gobs of damage and realize the magic users are actually on the other side of the same coin- both are equal and for those complaining they should build better fighters to combat magic, build up a better group around them (which may be hard if the fighter thinks they should do everything a wizard can and hog the combat), or change tactics.

That's because a properly built spellcaster can out damage the martial characters.

You say that like damage even matters at the levels where the disparity becomes blatantly obvious.

C
Trust me, I have GM'd for some extreme practical optimization games with the most extreme of 3.5, martials doing well over 1000 damage per round, and it doesn't even matter because it's just damage.

Either the enemy was too dumb to have defenses prepared for a meat grinder, a 'bone' thrown to the martials so to speak, or they completely negated the character and the 'real heroes' of the 3.X system had to step up and solve the problem because that's what magic is in 3.P. Problem Solving Ability that lets them participate in high level play.

Thus, the beginning of a long journey into homebrew


People are using examples of media that have characters doing such martial things as you describe rather than using them as insults and you know it, and it’s rather insulting for you to try to play the victim to disable trying to have an honest discussion over preferences here. ‘Upper half Marvel’, ‘cartoon physics’ etcetera. Can you stop just attacking the terminology and actually just engage the discussion? Please?

Many people have mentioned ‘impossible for a human but not for physics’ as a standard. Start there.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I would suggest everyone cease using insulting terminology all around.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
MadScientistWorking wrote:
nogoodscallywag wrote:


This is the typical reply from martial munchkin characters...they cry about how martials don't get to do "magical" stuff or compare with magic, yet I don't believe I've ever read any caster players complaining about the massive amounts of damage a martial can do nor the hogging of combat that some martials are capable of. I know plenty of people who play great martials that do gobs of damage and realize the magic users are actually on the other side of the same coin- both are equal and for those complaining they should build better fighters to combat magic, build up a better group around them (which may be hard if the fighter thinks they should do everything a wizard can and hog the combat), or change tactics.

That's because a properly built spellcaster can out damage the martial characters.

You say that like damage even matters at the levels where the disparity becomes blatantly obvious.

C
Trust me, I have GM'd for some extreme practical optimization games with the most extreme of 3.5, martials doing well over 1000 damage per round, and it doesn't even matter because it's just damage.

Either the enemy was too dumb to have defenses prepared for a meat grinder, a 'bone' thrown to the martials so to speak, or they completely negated the character and the 'real heroes' of the 3.X system had to step up and solve the problem because that's what magic is in 3.P. Problem Solving Ability that lets them participate in high level play.

Thus, the beginning of a long journey into homebrew

I say that because it's a more egregious case of the disparity. I was actively dumfounded when it was pointed out to me that my "lorewarden" actually scaled faster in attack and damage than the actual fighter.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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I'm seeing a lot of back and forth arguing and comments that are disrespectful to other people in the community based on their preferred character type or game play style. If you want to have a really nuanced conversation about a specific topic, its probably best to take it to it's own thread. Remember that you need to be respectful of others, including other gamers and the game designers.


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Arssanguinus wrote:

People are using examples of media that have characters doing such martial things as you describe rather than using them as insults and you know it, and it’s rather insulting for you to try to play the victim to disable trying to have an honest discussion over preferences here. ‘Upper half Marvel’, ‘cartoon physics’ etcetera. Can you stop just attacking the terminology and actually just engage the discussion? Please?

Many people have mentioned ‘impossible for a human but not for physics’ as a standard. Start there.

Although that would have to take into account that physics and pathfinder don't have a very good relationship to begin with. We understand that dragons are magical creatures, but they're not using magic spells to fly, they're allegedly using wings that are incapable of actually propelling them through the air by the laws of physics as we know them. Numerous wholly nonmagical creatures in the bestiary can violate the square cube law, and the troll's capacity to heal so fast that death and dismemberment just piss it off unless you burn the wounds is something it achieves without any magical powers at all.

So that creates a third level of abstraction, where we have to consider what's possible for humans, what's possible by physics, and what's possible by physics in the setting Pathfinder takes place in, which supports dragons and other assorted things that make your physics professor shake his head no.

I generally read the third category here as "Pathfinder physics work on the Rule of Cool since we're trying to play a high-fantasy game and so what's cool will beat what's scientifically accurate every time," so that makes it hard to set markers for what "should" be possible in such a fantastic world and what should not.


Personally, I'm of the opinion that all of PF is completely correct physics-wise. We have concepts of conservation of energy and matter, but in Golarion, alternate realities (planes) are very real and full of very real matter. I always figured that for things like trolls, they gain their extra mass/energy through a wholly natural connection to the planes, and that fire is able to cut off that access. Dragons... yeah, no real explanation for that one. It's possible that they too have semi-access to the elemental planes, particularly that of air, and when they fly, they're actually micro-channeling the plane's negligible gravity, allowing them to ignore most of their mass while flying.

Most of physics as we know it goes out the window with the possibility of any given system not being isolated, but instead multidimensional. Think MCU Dr. Strange- no physics is violated, it's just that extra accessible dimensions full of energy do all sorts of weird things to our assumptions of what is/isn't possible.


I mean, if Magic exists in this universe, what is to say that magic is not simply a force that subtly affects everyone in inscrutable ways, so that the warrior who can swim across the entire ocean is someone who has simply metabolized (or whatever verb is appropriate) a great deal of magic in their life so has a deeper pool or energy to keep them going.

I mean, there's some reason a level 15 adventurer can fall in lava and come out only slightly the worse for wear. It might as well be "experience makes every living creature slightly more intrinsically magical".


If I'm playing a human fighter there's a good chance I'm looking to play a non-magical character. I'm looking to play a character grounded in reality (no matter how fantastical the world around me might be). If I'm "so awesome" I get to cut reality and create a portal to the plane of fire with my sword (because martials have to be comparable to casters) then I've ceased playing the character I want to play.

Saying "magic permeates the air and all fighters have gained magical powers through osmosis" might make sense in game. But if Pathfinder 2nd ed requires everyone to have magic powers (or pseudo-magical powers), I'm not going to get to play the type of fighter I enjoy.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

It's not impossible that extraordinary, supernatural, and spell-like distinctions will be left in the past - I recall hearing that the latter were just becoming
part of "spells". So magical vs. nonmagical might not be so easy to tell apart.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:

If I'm playing a human fighter there's a good chance I'm looking to play a non-magical character. I'm looking to play a character grounded in reality (no matter how fantastical the world around me might be). If I'm "so awesome" I get to cut reality and create a portal to the plane of fire with my sword (because martials have to be comparable to casters) then I've ceased playing the character I want to play.

Saying "magic permeates the air and all fighters have gained magical powers through osmosis" might make sense in game. But if Pathfinder 2nd ed requires everyone to have magic powers (or pseudo-magical powers), I'm not going to get to play the type of fighter I enjoy.

Take different feats? It sounds like that shield to Reflex one would be right up your alley. And that's high-level content, so clearly it's not going to be 100% high fantasy at the high levels.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:

If I'm playing a human fighter there's a good chance I'm looking to play a non-magical character. I'm looking to play a character grounded in reality (no matter how fantastical the world around me might be). If I'm "so awesome" I get to cut reality and create a portal to the plane of fire with my sword (because martials have to be comparable to casters) then I've ceased playing the character I want to play.

Saying "magic permeates the air and all fighters have gained magical powers through osmosis" might make sense in game. But if Pathfinder 2nd ed requires everyone to have magic powers (or pseudo-magical powers), I'm not going to get to play the type of fighter I enjoy.

How does the fighter having access to quasi-magical abilities force you as a player to actually select/use those abilities?

If you want to be mundane guy,then just keep selecting weapon focus type feats/abilities and using power attack and shield block every turn.

This is like me saying that if I don't want my sorcerer to be an illusionist that the existence of illusion spells somehow prevents me from playing the sorcerer that I want to play. Or that them having simple weapon proficiency would force me to rush into melee with a spear instead of standing back and casting fireball over and over.

I can simply not select illusion spells and refuse to use illusion spells off of scrolls or wands if we find them in the loot. I can simply not pick up a spear, and stand back using spells all day.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:

If I'm playing a human fighter there's a good chance I'm looking to play a non-magical character. I'm looking to play a character grounded in reality (no matter how fantastical the world around me might be). If I'm "so awesome" I get to cut reality and create a portal to the plane of fire with my sword (because martials have to be comparable to casters) then I've ceased playing the character I want to play.

Saying "magic permeates the air and all fighters have gained magical powers through osmosis" might make sense in game. But if Pathfinder 2nd ed requires everyone to have magic powers (or pseudo-magical powers), I'm not going to get to play the type of fighter I enjoy.

At high levels, that "fighter grounded in reality" is quite capable of wrestling a rhinoceros to the ground and pinning it there without the least bit of training in grappling. It's not even hard for him.

Grounded in reality and high level go together like water and oil. E6 fighters are gritty. Going higher than that and expecting it to be a regular guy is not what the game offers as it is now, and I wouldn't expect it from PF2 either.


Blackwaltzomega wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:

If I'm playing a human fighter there's a good chance I'm looking to play a non-magical character. I'm looking to play a character grounded in reality (no matter how fantastical the world around me might be). If I'm "so awesome" I get to cut reality and create a portal to the plane of fire with my sword (because martials have to be comparable to casters) then I've ceased playing the character I want to play.

Saying "magic permeates the air and all fighters have gained magical powers through osmosis" might make sense in game. But if Pathfinder 2nd ed requires everyone to have magic powers (or pseudo-magical powers), I'm not going to get to play the type of fighter I enjoy.

At high levels, that "fighter grounded in reality" is quite capable of wrestling a rhinoceros to the ground and pinning it there without the least bit of training in grappling. It's not even hard for him.

Grounded in reality and high level go together like water and oil. E6 fighters are gritty. Going higher than that and expecting it to be a regular guy is not what the game offers as it is now, and I wouldn't expect it from PF2 either.

And it's a lot easier for players who want such low-powered heroes to simply stop leveling up after a certain point, or basically ignoring class feature gains and stat boosts and stuff.


I mean, your aesthetic preferences are valid, but no more valid than mine, or anybody else's. One makes a game that appeals to both the person who wants more things to be possible and the person who wants fewer things to be possible by providing game rules for more things, and letting the people who don't want to use them make that call on their own.


Blackwaltzomega wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:

If I'm playing a human fighter there's a good chance I'm looking to play a non-magical character. I'm looking to play a character grounded in reality (no matter how fantastical the world around me might be). If I'm "so awesome" I get to cut reality and create a portal to the plane of fire with my sword (because martials have to be comparable to casters) then I've ceased playing the character I want to play.

Saying "magic permeates the air and all fighters have gained magical powers through osmosis" might make sense in game. But if Pathfinder 2nd ed requires everyone to have magic powers (or pseudo-magical powers), I'm not going to get to play the type of fighter I enjoy.

At high levels, that "fighter grounded in reality" is quite capable of wrestling a rhinoceros to the ground and pinning it there without the least bit of training in grappling. It's not even hard for him.

Grounded in reality and high level go together like water and oil. E6 fighters are gritty. Going higher than that and expecting it to be a regular guy is not what the game offers as it is now, and I wouldn't expect it from PF2 either.

You can squeak by to level 8 as a somewhat grounded hero.

By that point you're very much a hero without any remnants of 'regular guy caught up in big stuff.'


Kalindlara wrote:
Take different feats? It sounds like that shield to Reflex one would be right up your alley. And that's high-level content, so clearly it's not going to be 100% high fantasy at the high levels.
Ninja in the Rye wrote:

How does the fighter having access to quasi-magical abilities force you as a player to actually select/use those abilities?

If you want to be mundane guy,then just keep selecting weapon focus type feats/abilities and using power attack and shield block every turn.

We'll have to wait and see what's offered and what's actually viable and what's "we like putting timmy cards in the deck so here's this timmy card". If the level 14 options are "saving throw -100 vs death", "automatically be raised from the dead and get +1000 damage to your next successful hit" and "+1 to damage on your third iterative when you take three attacks in one turn" then you could point to the third option and say "see! You can play the game" and I'm going to tell you to get lost.

Blackwaltzomega wrote:
At high levels, that "fighter grounded in reality" is quite capable of wrestling a rhinoceros to the ground and pinning it there without the least bit of training in grappling. It's not even hard for him.

Can quite easily say never happened in my game. Someone else posted how a high level fighter can rip out a triceratops's spine out of their body with a single punch. It's pretty clear to me some of you play a very different game to the one I do. It's okay, I'm not trying to judge you or say your game isn't fun for you. I'm glad Pathfinder 1st edition can apparently service your needs. It's simply a very different type of game to what I play.

Lady Firebird wrote:
And it's a lot easier for players who want such low-powered heroes to simply stop leveling up after a certain point, or basically ignoring class feature gains and stat boosts and stuff.

Option 1: Play a game that is clearly not designed for my style of play and either ban or not use half the abilities my PC has.

Option 2: Play a different game.

Up until now Pathfinder has allowed me to play the type of game I enjoy. I'm hoping that doesn't change in the 2nd edition and will continue to advocate for it to allow me the game I enjoy. I am not sorry if this aggravates you or upsets you in some way. This is the game I've enjoyed and I want to keep enjoying it in the years to come. If you've been able to play Pathfinder and enjoy it up until now I certainly expect and hope there is a way for both of us to enjoy Pathfinder 2nd edition. I don't subscribe to this being a zero sum game, although it appears (based on your posts) you do.


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I mean, no matter what kind of PF1 you're playing a Rhinoceros has a CMD of 20. Which means that a 12th level human fighter with no grappling relevant feats or magic items and a strength of 20 will succeed on the grapple check on a roll of 3 or greater. Sure you'll provoke an AoO but the rhino will only hit you on a 20 because of your AC.

If you're playing games where people don't wrestle rhinos for fun, that doesn't change the fact that they very easily could. I figure "don't wrestle rhinos for fun if you don't like that idea" is pretty much the same thing as "don't jump 60' in the air if you don't want to" so this shouldn't be a problem for anyone. Unless you want to change the grapple rules, "don't do stuff you don't like the idea of" is the only solution to "high level fighters can very easily wrestle rhinos".


John Lynch 106 wrote:
If you've been able to play Pathfinder and enjoy it up until now

That's the thing... I don't enjoy raw Pathfinder as written, where the game evolves three or four times while some classes are lucky to evolve once.

My houserules to reconcile martial classes with mid-level and above play very much looks and feels like a different game for those classes.

(I am aware my effort to not respond to you didn't last long. I am trying to be more respectful this time around.)


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John Lynch 106 wrote:

Option 1: Play a game that is clearly not designed for my style of play and either ban or not use half the abilities my PC has.

Option 2: Play a different game.

Up until now Pathfinder has allowed me to play the type of game I enjoy. I'm hoping that doesn't change in the 2nd edition and will continue to advocate for it to allow me the game I enjoy. I am not sorry if this aggravates you or upsets you in some way. This is the game I've enjoyed and I want to keep enjoying it in the years to come. If you've been able to play Pathfinder and enjoy it up until now I certainly expect and hope there is a way for both of us to enjoy Pathfinder 2nd edition. I don't subscribe to this being a zero sum game, although it appears (based on your posts) you do.

Option 3: You demand they create a game that denies any other options for any other type of player, when you still have PF1 which obviously suffices for your needs.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Option 1: Play a game that is clearly not designed for my style of play and either ban or not use half the abilities my PC has.

What's the difference? You don't want to use any kind of high-level abilities in the first place, so ignore them. I mean, seriously! You don't want those, so why on earth would it matter that you just choose not to get or use them? You still get to play the character you wanna play, while the rest of us have actual rules for playing the characters we want to play. But that's not good enough for you, it seems. It's "irrelevance or bust" for the rest of us?

At this point, yes, because you aren't willing to at least acknowledge the possibility of letting others have what they want in a way that still gets you what you want, I do hope that the final game isn't what you want. You can stick with PF1, and I'll happily play PF2 where I can actually be an awesome martial hero instead of some mook traveling with Super McWizard and Friends. I'm tired of the hypocrisy. You like to claim that others want to be closed-minded while at the same time championing design that only caters to yours and deliberately closes out all other options.


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Lady Firebird wrote:
Option 3: You demand they create a game that denies any other options for any other type of player, when you still have PF1 which obviously suffices for your needs.

You've seen my posts. If you think that's what I've been doing then so be it.

Lady Firebird wrote:
What's the difference?

There is a significant difference between "I can't rage" or "I'm not a spellcaster" and "I choose not to rage" and "I choose not to cast spells". Typically if I don't have those abilities I'll have something in their place. If the game is going to very clearly force me to have things I don't want (without significant houserules) then I'll be unhappy.

Lady Firebird wrote:
because you aren't willing to at least acknowledge the possibility of letting others have what they want in a way that still gets you what you want
John Lynch wrote:
As I've been saying, I am happy for people to play "basic training in everything" characters so long as the game by default also supports "specialised training in specific things and untrained in others". If the game has "swimming across the pacific ocean as a single action" as a class feat then I'd like something else level appropriate that's more grounded in reality as an alternative.
John Lynch wrote:
I could totally see Wonder Woman or Thor as an epic destiny (semi-immortal), which would kick in at level 21 or mythic 1.
John Lynch wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
So, if in the playtest Paizo finds that combat substitution (ie: roll acrobatics as a reaction to dodge an attack, for example, or use Athletics to grapple) works well, they can keep that without making Acrobatics autoscaling for everybody.
Agreed.

All of the above are quotes from me articulating that I am happy for other people to get what they want, so long as I also get what I want.

But here it is, in bold this time: this is my formal acknowledgement that not everyone wants the same thing I want from Pathfinder 2nd edition. It is my hope that Paizo can give me what I want while still meeting the needs of what other people want from the 2nd edition in so much as our wants are compatible and can both be met with different options within the game's rules.

NOTE: I do want a game that works at least as well (if not better) than Pathfinder 1st edition from 1st level to 20th level. That isn't exactly a high bar to set though.

kyrt-ryder wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
If you've been able to play Pathfinder and enjoy it up until now

That's the thing... I don't enjoy raw Pathfinder as written, where the game evolves three or four times while some classes are lucky to evolve once.

My houserules to reconcile martial classes with mid-level and above play very much looks and feels like a different game for those classes.

Fair enough. In that case it is quite unlikely we'll both be happy from Pathfinder 2nd edition without one of us adopting house rules (I will of course be arguing from the viewpoint that I shouldn't need to make houserules and thus consequently likely force you to need to).

kyrt-ryder wrote:
I am trying to be more respectful this time around.)

I appreciate it. Thank you.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
There is a significant difference between "I can't rage" or "I'm not a spellcaster" and "I choose not to rage" and "I choose not to cast spells". Typically if I don't have those abilities I'll have something in their place. If the game is going to very clearly force me to have things I don't want (without significant houserules) then I'll be unhappy.

No there isn't.

Okay, as it stands right now, the kind of martial character you want, in PF1, gets nothing to compensate. The Fighter is bare bones and gets nothing at all to make up for it. That's the thing. You're already choosing not to have the epic abilities by playing that character. The bare bones PF2 Fighter presumably has a lot more abilities by default that make her more than the equal of the PF1 counterpart. So you're losing nothing, you're just not gaining anything, and that solely by your own choice.

PF1 Fighter: Basic combat abilities and nothing more
PF2 Fighter: Basic combat abilities, mythic feat potential

You choose not to have the second part of the PF2 Fighter's repertoire. You still get everything the PF1 Fighter had, which isn't much. Meanwhile, those of us who want to be awesome fantasy heroes doing big epic world-shaking things get the chance to do the same. But then you say that it's not the game you want to play, it's not the Pathfinder you know, etc etc. So which is it?

I'm just thankful that the devs seem to have embraced the latter, because it's pretty frustrating being held back by people who simply don't want you to have all the cool toys the spellcasters get.


To be fair John, there is a way for us both to get what we want.

Paizo can scale high level martials to epic heroes suitable to oppose shogoths and pit fiends and all other manner of cosmic horrors... And people who want grounded play can play at grounded levels.

Anything under the Legendary Skill cutoff will likely be tolerable to your sensibilities John.

Possibly stretching them, such as the case of the Master Leaper exceeding 20 feet, but I am guessing while that might be a bit uncomfortable, is it tolerable?


Kyrt-ryder: I'm not going to sit there with a book of world records and compare every ability and say "this one is clearly not possible, therefore it must be gone!" It's the tone of the game and how a character plays. There is a qualitative difference that will be noticeable once the rules are released.

But if I can make someone who doesn't pick epic skills and instead chooses to increase other skills and they keep up with others I'll be happy and won't begrudge others for getting what they want. I won't be happy if I have to retire my character at level 10.

Lady Firebird: It's become clear we have different experiences in Pathfinder and those experiences are informing our viewpoints and posts. Given you gave such a fundamentally different view of how Pathfinder 1st edition works I see no further value in us continuing to discuss this point. In my experiences Fighters don't fall way behind the Paladin and Wizard. Could more be done for fighters? Sure. But what you are advocating is so extreme at this point that it is clear we have different experiences.

I am very surprised you have said D&D 4th ed didn't suit you because it sounds so much like what you want from Pathfinder. I hope both of what we want can be achieved in the new edition but given how extreme your arguments are compared to the starting point I have I have very little hope. It will be interesting to see which of us is playing 2nd edition next Decsmber.


In PF1, a "Grounded, Realistic" Level 12 Brawler can use Martial Versatility to pick up Improved Grapple, Greater Grapple, and Grabbing Style then wrestle a rhino into submission with one hand tied behind his back, succeeds on the check on a 2.

If you instead take Improved Grapple and Greater Grapple as normal feats, you can pick up the entire grabbing style chain and grapple two rhinos, one with each hand, at the same time.

If this Brawler decides "I'm gonna be good at grappling" and takes improved, and greater grapple and also puts their third level maneuver training into grappling, at level 12 with a 20 strength they beat a common elephant's 30 CMD on a 10 or more.


And he will grapple said elephant after surviving being trampled by it, in a fight in the top of a cliff in a desert island, where he got there by climbing and swimming in full plate after having arsenic for breakfast


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That said, I don't think fighters need to open gates to the plane of fire to be cool. There are plenty of mythological fighters that do cool martial things, like Beowulf, Achilles, Hercules or Cu Chulain. No need for a spell in disguise.


Yup. There are definitely limits to how "realistic" things are in a game with levels. For the most part, our games run a more realistic style and just because these things can be theoretically done doesn't mean it crops up in actual play. It's the difference between theorycrafting vs actually playing.

Gustavo: Sure. But if we're going to get "completely invulnerable to all damage at all times and can never be harmed unless a critical hit is made with a called shot" or "cutting mountains in twain" or "swimming across the Pacific Ocean as a move action" or "does not need to breathe and can swim between planets unaided because he's such a good swordsman" then I'm going to want viable alternatives.

Giving fighters nice things doesn't mean giving them magic.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Unfortunately, it looks like your preference for the game and others' preferences may simply be incompatible. That's not a jab at anyone... it's just how it seems to be. If both can be reconciled within a single system, so much the better. But if the option for other players' fighters to do extraordinary things (presupposing the existence of reasonably competitive low-fantasy options at those levels) is itself enough to disrupt your enjoyment, I'm afraid it might not work out.

My feeling on it is... soon we'll have two versions of Pathfinder. You have a version of Pathfinder that fits your preference. The people who would like fighters to be extraordinary don't. So, in regards to this specific issue, I find myself somewhat more sympathetic to their desires.

As with everything else related to this playtest, though, my judgement is withheld until I have rules in my hand. Perhaps the system will do both well; perhaps it will only do one well, or neither at all. We'll have to wait and see.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Yup. There are definitely limits to how "realistic" things are in a game with levels. For the most part, our games run a more realistic style and just because these things can be theoretically done doesn't mean it crops up in actual play. It's the difference between theorycrafting vs actually playing.

Well, maybe not the specific example of grappling rhinos with a hand tied to the back. But if you ever had used dinosaurs, or dragons, or kraken or purple worms, and those have hit a fighter, then you have had fighters surviving being held in Jaws, or swallowed, or crushed or constricted by giant monsters that can destroy human flesh and bone (or tanks, for that matter). People who want lvl 15 fighters to be realistic simply turn a blind eye to that.

I understand your desire, tho. And I feel your request is fair, and you don't try to make your playstyle the only valid one, just ask for an option that works for you. I fully support options, so I honestly hope Paizo can find a way to give you the fighter you want, while also give me the one I want

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