Fighter Class Preview

Monday, March 19, 2018

Over the past 2 weeks, we've tried to give you a sense of what Pathfinder Second Edition is all about, but now it's time to delve into some details on the classes. From now until the game releases in August, we'll go through the classes one by one, pausing now and then to look at various rules and systems. Today, let's take a look at one of the most foundational classes in the game: the fighter.

The fighter was one of the first classes we redesigned, alongside the rogue, cleric, and wizard. We knew that we wanted these four to work well in concert with each other, with the fighter taking on the role of primary combat character, good at taking damage and even better at dealing damage. The fighter has to be the best with weapons, using his class options to give him an edge with his weapons of choice. The fighter also has to be mobile, able to get into the fray quickly and hold the line, allowing less melee-oriented characters time to get into position and use their abilities without have to fend off constant attacks.

Let's start by looking at some of the features shared by all fighters.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

First up is attacks of opportunity. This feature allows you to spend your reaction to strike a creature within your reach that tries to manipulate an object (like drinking a potion), make a ranged attack, or move away from you. This attack is made with a –2 penalty, but it doesn't take the multiple attack penalty from other strikes you attempt on your turn. Other classes can get this ability—and numerous monsters will as well—but only the fighter starts with it a core feature. Fighters also have feat choices that can make their attacks of opportunity more effective.

Next up, at 3rd level, you gain weapon mastery, which increases your proficiency rank with one group of weapons to master. Your proficiency rank increases to legendary at 13th level, making you truly the best with the weapons of your choice. At 19th level, you become a legend with all simple and martial weapons!

The fighter gets a number of other buffs and increases as well, but one I want to call out in particular is battlefield surveyor, which increases your Perception proficiency rank to master (you start as an expert), and gives you an additional +1 bonus when you roll Perception for initiative, helping you be first into the fight!

As mentioned in the blog last week, the real meat behind the classes is in their feats and (as of this post), the fighter has the largest selection of feats out of all the classes in the game! Let's take a look at some.

You've probably already heard about Sudden Charge. You can pick up this feat at 1st level. When you spend two actions on it, this feat allows you to move up to twice your speed and deliver a single strike. There's no need to move in a straight line and no AC penalty—you just move and attack! This feat lets the fighter jump right into the thick of things and make an immediate impact.

Next let's take a look at Power Attack. This feat allows you to spend two actions to make a single strike that deals an extra die of damage. Instead of trading accuracy for damage (as it used to work), you now trade out an action you could have used for a far less accurate attack to get more power on a roll that is more likely to hit.

As you go up in level, some of the feats really allow you to mix things up. Take the 4th-level feat Quick Reversal, for example. If you are being flanked and you miss with your second or third attack against one of the flankers, this feat lets you redirect the attack to the other target and reroll it, possibly turning a miss into a hit!

We've talked before about how fun and tactical shields are in the game. To recap, you take an action to raise your shield and get its Armor Class and touch Armor Class bonuses, and then you can block incoming damage with a reaction while the shield is raised. At 6th level, fighters can take the feat Shield Warden, which allows them to use their shield to block the damage taken by an adjacent ally. At 8th, they can even get an extra reaction each turn, just to use shield block one additional time. (And yes, they can spend this extra reaction on another use of Shield Warden.) At 14th level, a fighter can use their shield to protect themself from dragon's breath and fireballs, gaining their shield's bonus to Reflex saves.

The fighter also has a wide variety of options with ranged weapons, allowing you to deal more damage up close or fire more than one arrow at a time. I foresee a lot of fighters taking Debilitating Shot, which causes a foe to be slowed if the attack hits (causing it to lose one action on its next turn).

And all this is a small sample. We've made a conscious effort to give fighters a number of paths they can pursue using their feats: focusing on shields, swinging a two-handed weapon, fighting with two weapons, making ranged attacks, and fighting defensively. These paths are pretty open, allowing you to mix and match with ease to create a fighter that matches your play style.

The goal here is to give you a variety of tools to deal with the situations and encounters you are bound to face. You might walk into a fight with your bow and open with Double Shot, allowing you to fire a pair of arrows into the two nearest foes, only to swap over to using a greataxe when the rest surround you, making an attack against all enemies in your reach with Whirlwind Strike! It all comes down to the type of fighter you want to play.

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

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Grand Lodge

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Fuzzypaws wrote:
I really, really hope the blogs start giving more information to prevent this kind of hysterical "the sky is falling" claptrap we see in every single thread.

I don't know... I kinda enjoy the drama.

-Skeld


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But the sky
IS FALLING!!!!!


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
That does seem strange. Even if they're giving it to every single class because of how important it is, it's still functionally a skill and presumably can be improved like a skill and pick up feat improvements like a skill; just call it a skill.

I suspect it's *not* a skill for that reason. My guess is that since it's not a skill, improving it requires General feats, instead of Skill Feats.


Not being a skill also means abilities that work with skills (like being able to take 10 in combat) do not mess with it.

Liberty's Edge

Ninja in the Rye wrote:

As long as you have to use an action or reaction to get any benefit from a shield, then they are not better unless a shield gives you substantially more than it does in 1E, and so far all they've indicated that shields give you is the same minor boost to AC as 1E.

Having to use a reaction to raise your shield is, again, not something that makes shields any better. It's something that makes shields worse than they were in 1E.

I've seen nothing to indicated that you're supposed to add proficiency bonus to AC with shields, and since that's something that would represent an actual improvement to shields, I'd think that the design team would have lead with that if it was the case.

Where is the idea of using a reaction to get the AC bonus of a shield coming from?

In All About Actions, it talked about a paladin using a reaction to reduce damage by the hardness if the shield was already raised.

If the shield raised, you get the AC bonus against attacks and a paladin, if not all characters, get reaction options.

What is not clear is whether you need to spend an action each turn to raise your shield or if it is just the first time, like drawing a weapon. If it is every turn, I can see it becoming a cleric tax where a cleric has to between using a shield, concentrating on a spell, and casting party spells (pick two).

Liberty's Edge

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Chicken Little wrote:

But the sky

IS FALLING!!!!!

Only if it is master level proficient and spends an action to ready gravity. Then, when someone posts, it can use a reaction to move downwards its full movement rate.


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Rob Godfrey wrote:
Building characters that rely on other characters using up vast resources to be viable? No thanks.

Yes, we shall have none of this "teamwork" people go on about. Every PC must by a gold medalist at the DPR olympics!

Suffice it to say, my group has also has casters using buffs on martials and the game works just fine. I do know that a group of 4 wizards wouldn't make it past level 1 while a group of 4 fighters would probably survive to a higher level (before the lack of divine caster killed them). The game is balanced around the concept of a team working together to overcome challenges and adversaries. Scoffing at "relying" on other characters is just ridiculous. I also disagree that fighters are not viable without buffs from the casters. But if Rob Godfrey routinely plays games where the party doesn't work together then I defer to his experience in how poorly fighters function without teamwork. I can't say I've ever played in such a game (outside of PFS and I do not enjoy PFS nor find it conducive to good roleplay. There are always exceptions of course though).

I can also confidently say that no fighter has ever felt like a spare wheel. Again, players in my group enjoy playing the non-caster and it's typically rotated around (much like the wizard is. Even oracles are played as non-healers occassionally). So YMMV.


Smite Makes Right wrote:
Ninja in the Rye wrote:

As long as you have to use an action or reaction to get any benefit from a shield, then they are not better unless a shield gives you substantially more than it does in 1E, and so far all they've indicated that shields give you is the same minor boost to AC as 1E.

Having to use a reaction to raise your shield is, again, not something that makes shields any better. It's something that makes shields worse than they were in 1E.

I've seen nothing to indicated that you're supposed to add proficiency bonus to AC with shields, and since that's something that would represent an actual improvement to shields, I'd think that the design team would have lead with that if it was the case.

Where is the idea of using a reaction to get the AC bonus of a shield coming from?

In All About Actions, it talked about a paladin using a reaction to reduce damage by the hardness if the shield was already raised.

If the shield raised, you get the AC bonus against attacks and a paladin, if not all characters, get reaction options.

What is not clear is whether you need to spend an action each turn to raise your shield or if it is just the first time, like drawing a weapon. If it is every turn, I can see it becoming a cleric tax where a cleric has to between using a shield, concentrating on a spell, and casting party spells (pick two).

One of the developers said that Fighters can get an ability/feat to let them raise their shield as a reaction instead of an action.

In the playtest podcast it sounds like the Fighter is having to spend an action to raise his shield every round.


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The fighter is raising their shield every round to set up a block reaction.

I don't think we've seen if after you block your shield becomes unreadied and you don't get the normal AC bonus anymore.

I hope proficiencies address this.

Shield Proficiency: A shield must be readied to provide an AC bonus and raised to permit a block reaction. Raising a shield also raises it.
Untrained: Blocking unreadies a shield.
Trained: Blocking lowers your shield, but it remains readied for AC purposes.
Expert: Blocking no longer lowers your shield.
Master: Additional Block reactions.
Legendary: Block everything, all the time. Even emotions. Your shield protects your heart.

Okay, maybe not that last one. ;)

Dark Archive

Stone Dog wrote:

The fighter is raising their shield every round to set up a block reaction.

I don't think we've seen if after you block your shield becomes unreadied and you don't get the normal AC bonus anymore.

I hope proficiencies address this.

Shield Proficiency: A shield must be readied to provide an AC bonus and raised to permit a block reaction. Raising a shield also raises it.
Untrained: Blocking unreadies a shield.
Trained: Blocking lowers your shield, but it remains readied for AC purposes.
Expert: Blocking no longer lowers your shield.
Master: Additional Block reactions.
Legendary: Block everything, all the time. Even emotions. Your shield protects your heart.

Okay, maybe not that last one. ;)

I am fairly certain in the Glass Cannon Podcast it was asked and declared that the fighter does, indeed, need to use one action every round to maintain the raised shield. This is regardless of using the reaction or not.

While I see many people complaining this is not realistic, that may be true. And yes, in general games should err on the side of the fantastic and extraordinary rather than making something that is seemingly simple require actions or being less common. However, in this case, and based on the math shown in an alternate thread, it is likely this choice is due to a number of factors around balance. Yes, they could just let you have the general AC bonus but they're going for making shields more interesting and active and balancing that against the benefits it gives. In this case, not just the AC bonus but access to a reaction that effectively gives you a DR against one attack. A simple wooden shield at level 1 nullifying 9 points of damage on a reaction is pretty substantial.

Liberty's Edge

Ninja in the Rye wrote:

One of the developers said that Fighters can get an ability/feat to let them raise their shield as a reaction instead of an action.

In the playtest podcast it sounds like the Fighter is having to spend an action to raise his shield every round.

I figured that there would be a method to raise it as a reaction. There is no reason it should be fighter-specific.

I haven't listened to the podcast, but putting an action tax on shields is a terrible idea. It's just waiting to trip up new or casual players. Instead of "oh wait, I get a bonus against the enemy, I should have hit!" we will see "oh, I forgot to spend an action on my shield so that last attack should have hit" or "no, your ac is lower because you didn't spend an action on it." You are moving the complexity and the frustration. Suddenly, a shield oriented character has fewer actions. A character with a great axe will be able to move around better and attack more often than the character with a rapier and buckler?

It's not a good environment for players.


Darius Alazario wrote:
Stone Dog wrote:

The fighter is raising their shield every round to set up a block reaction.

I don't think we've seen if after you block your shield becomes unreadied and you don't get the normal AC bonus anymore.

I hope proficiencies address this.

Shield Proficiency: A shield must be readied to provide an AC bonus and raised to permit a block reaction. Raising a shield also raises it.
Untrained: Blocking unreadies a shield.
Trained: Blocking lowers your shield, but it remains readied for AC purposes.
Expert: Blocking no longer lowers your shield.
Master: Additional Block reactions.
Legendary: Block everything, all the time. Even emotions. Your shield protects your heart.

Okay, maybe not that last one. ;)

I am fairly certain in the Glass Cannon Podcast it was asked and declared that the fighter does, indeed, need to use one action every round to maintain the raised shield. This is regardless of using the reaction or not.

While I see many people complaining this is not realistic, that may be true. And yes, in general games should err on the side of the fantastic and extraordinary rather than making something that is seemingly simple require actions or being less common. However, in this case, and based on the math shown in an alternate thread, it is likely this choice is due to a number of factors around balance. Yes, they could just let you have the general AC bonus but they're going for making shields more interesting and active and balancing that against the benefits it gives. In this case, not just the AC bonus but access to a reaction that effectively gives you a DR against one attack. A simple wooden shield at level 1 nullifying 9 points of damage on a reaction is pretty substantial.

I believe in one of the math threads they showed that the action cost helped balance the damage output ratio.


Darius Alazario wrote:
I am fairly certain in the Glass Cannon Podcast it was asked and declared that the fighter does, indeed, need to use one action every round to maintain the raised shield. This is regardless of using the reaction or not.

I think that you are right about the Glass Cannon podcast, but I'm hoping that this does not make it into the playtest release, let alone the finished game. I'll maintain hope that the Glass Cannon podcast was only as official as that particular session went and it will be changed when it has an official Paizo blog or we see the PDFs.

I can see limiting the ability to block a bit due to the damage reduction, but the passive defense should stay up for as long as the shield is readied (hypothetically a different state than raised).

Even GURPS with the 1 second rounds does this. Even if you've blocked with a shield since your last round, the shield provides a passive defense bonus to all your active defenses.

Dark Archive

master_marshmallow wrote:
Darius Alazario wrote:
Stone Dog wrote:

The fighter is raising their shield every round to set up a block reaction.

I don't think we've seen if after you block your shield becomes unreadied and you don't get the normal AC bonus anymore.

I hope proficiencies address this.

Shield Proficiency: A shield must be readied to provide an AC bonus and raised to permit a block reaction. Raising a shield also raises it.
Untrained: Blocking unreadies a shield.
Trained: Blocking lowers your shield, but it remains readied for AC purposes.
Expert: Blocking no longer lowers your shield.
Master: Additional Block reactions.
Legendary: Block everything, all the time. Even emotions. Your shield protects your heart.

Okay, maybe not that last one. ;)

I am fairly certain in the Glass Cannon Podcast it was asked and declared that the fighter does, indeed, need to use one action every round to maintain the raised shield. This is regardless of using the reaction or not.

While I see many people complaining this is not realistic, that may be true. And yes, in general games should err on the side of the fantastic and extraordinary rather than making something that is seemingly simple require actions or being less common. However, in this case, and based on the math shown in an alternate thread, it is likely this choice is due to a number of factors around balance. Yes, they could just let you have the general AC bonus but they're going for making shields more interesting and active and balancing that against the benefits it gives. In this case, not just the AC bonus but access to a reaction that effectively gives you a DR against one attack. A simple wooden shield at level 1 nullifying 9 points of damage on a reaction is pretty substantial.

I believe in one of the math threads they showed that the action cost helped balance the damage output ratio.

That is what I was mentioning as well. It helped even it out when the shield needed to be actively used. Of course, this was more around the loss of the action to gain the reaction vs the flat AC bonus that a shield gives. Likely not requiring the action to add your shield to your base AC is not that significant (as it wasn't in PF1e) but they made the design choice to make them more an active component of your tactics and I see potential in this. I wont say I necessarily like it yet, I'll have to wait and see the full rules, but I can certainly see potential behind the design choice.


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master_marshmallow wrote:

I was going to preorder the book yesterday, but because of this blog I am now not going to preorder a physical until I get more clarifications on the questions I have about the game's design. If they don't clarify the things I need clarified to justify giving them my money before the window for preorders ends, then I will not even bother getting a physical copy.

This has actively affected my decision to give Paizo my money.

It has also actively affected my decision. Just tried to go order the special edition but they delayed it until the 27th. :(

I am really looking forward to a new edition. Been playing 3.x since 2000 and something new sounds great. Paizo makes great products (love the adventure paths!) So I am sure this will end up good too, been too long since I switched game systems.

Convincing my friends to switch is a different story, I would still be playing 3.5 if I hand't bought them all a copy of the CRB so I imagine I will need to do the same again.


I feel like the 8th level option to take two reactions to block with your shield makes that action to ready a lot more appealing. Particularly if Adamantine keeps Hardness 20 and stays relatively affordable by level 8.


TiwazBlackhand wrote:
Human Fighter wrote:
Flying magic man in the sky rains down fire death, while if I put up my shield as an action, I get a bonus to reflex saves.

FMM spends one action to concentrate on Fly so he doesn't plummet to the ground.

FMM now has a choice, spend 2 actions for a decent spell, or spend an action to move and 1 action for a single magic missile dart.

Also, Normal Fighter Dude, with Master Grade Athletics (so, lvl 7) has literally been said in a blog preview to be able to leap into the air and smash flying foes to the ground.

FMM needs to rethink his plan.

Depends how far NFD can leap into the air. If it's 30' max then FMM should be safe 60' up. Etc.


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I'm reasonably certain that the game rules are not going to want to add a lot of verticality to the game rules (I mean, this is hard to do on a battle mat, and many groups aren't going to want to do trigonometry for fun) so the fighter's "jump attack" is probably something to the effect of "you can leap and attack flying creatures" implying that any creature flying low enough to be part of this scene is within one's reach.

I mean, someone flying 600' above the fray is no more part of the action than someone 600' to the west.


Chicken Little wrote:

But the sky

IS FALLING!!!!!

I already did that one... maybe in this thread.


It could be that PF2 has stuff bounded in such a way - encounters without distances or some such - but I'd be surprised. Still, we'll need to wait and see.


avr wrote:
It could be that PF2 has stuff bounded in such a way - encounters without distances or some such - but I'd be surprised. Still, we'll need to wait and see.

I feel like what's ultimately doing the bounding is the narrative. Like if we're doing a battle between two ships, there might be other ships in every (horizontal) direction but we're only going to talk about the ones participating in the naval battle and boarding operation. If another ship shows up, the GM was probably not tracking its position every round, it just shows up when it shows up. We draw a bubble around the world that includes all the things in the scene we want to talk about or interact with, and sometimes the bubble changes shape, moves, or new things enter it but we're always in that bubble.


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One thing I caught notice of was the note how the four core classes (Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, and Rogue) will complement each other. Well, it seems the Fighter is the weapon specialist and primary damage dealer. How then do you see the other three classes working with the Fighter?

I mean, the Rogue will likely be the one to detect traps, scout ahead, and the like... if they alter how Flanking works (so that two people side-by-side can flank perhaps?) then rogues can be a helpful fighting-support type, doing more damage by attacking weakened or occupied foes.

Clerics probably would do defensive spells, buffs, and healing. What with spells usually taking two actions, that could allow for defensive casting and then clerics still getting one blow in so they're not feeling left out.

And Wizards would probably do offensive magics primarily.

----------

As for fighters and AoO... envision this.

The Fighter charges first into combat. He runs up to a group of foes and attacks one and then readies his shield. And the foe that he attacked hits him back, but he doesn't try to Block with his Reaction. Instead, he uses that for the Attack of Opportunity when a second foe tries to push past him and get to his allies behind him. And he uses his second Reaction (if high enough level) to attack the second foe who tries to get past him... making him a roadblock that is damaging and weakening foes as they try to reach his comrades.

Meanwhile his allies are using spells and arrows to weaken and kill foes that the fighter has tied up. And he's gotten three attacks in after charging into combat. Not bad all things considered.

You just need to think tactically. Not everything is doing power attacks and the like. Sometimes what you're doing is creating a roadblock to damage anyone who tries to push past. And with the right Feats you might be striking multiple people if there are things like Cleave or the like, creating a barrier of blades to keep enemies from evading you. (And if you have an allied warrior with a polearm, then they might be right behind you and likewise getting attacks of opportunity with reach.)

Don't look at it as "I can't do X anymore!" and instead look at it as what you *can* do. You may be pleasantly surprised.


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Tangent101 wrote:

One thing I caught notice of was the note how the four core classes (Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, and Rogue) will complement each other. Well, it seems the Fighter is the weapon specialist and primary damage dealer. How then do you see the other three classes working with the Fighter?

I mean, the Rogue will likely be the one to detect traps, scout ahead, and the like... if they alter how Flanking works (so that two people side-by-side can flank perhaps?) then rogues can be a helpful fighting-support type, doing more damage by attacking weakened or occupied foes.

Clerics probably would do defensive spells, buffs, and healing. What with spells usually taking two actions, that could allow for defensive casting and then clerics still getting one blow in so they're not feeling left out.

And Wizards would probably do offensive magics primarily.

----------

As for fighters and AoO... envision this.

The Fighter charges first into combat. He runs up to a group of foes and attacks one and then readies his shield. And the foe that he attacked hits him back, but he doesn't try to Block with his Reaction. Instead, he uses that for the Attack of Opportunity when a second foe tries to push past him and get to his allies behind him. And he uses his second Reaction (if high enough level) to attack the second foe who tries to get past him... making him a roadblock that is damaging and weakening foes as they try to reach his comrades.

Meanwhile his allies are using spells and arrows to weaken and kill foes that the fighter has tied up. And he's gotten three attacks in after charging into combat. Not bad all things considered.

You just need to think tactically. Not everything is doing power attacks and the like. Sometimes what you're doing is creating a roadblock to damage anyone who tries to push past. And with the right Feats you might be striking multiple people if there are things like Cleave or the like, creating a barrier of blades to keep enemies from evading you. (And if you have an allied warrior...

Indeed the "Raise Shield" status, when used in the right position, puts the enemies adjacent to you in a VERY bad spot. They get to pick beetwen attacking you and doing no/negligible damage or, if they're smart, they might try to just ignore the turtle, but then you get AOO. Just like AOOs in PF1, shield raise action is powerful even when you don't use the reaction, just the threat of it.

Great tanking will require getting at least 1 more reaction so it's not that easy to "bait" the Fighter. Speaking of which, do you get to make the "block" reaction after seeing the enemy roll? Would be so good if you can skip using it against something weaksauce.

Dark Archive

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Bardic Dave wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
Hmmm... I don't know if anyone's mentioned this yet, but to me (whose native language is not English) "battlefield surveyor" sounds like a really confusing name for an ability, especially one such as this. Considering what it does, wouldn't "vigilance" or "alertness" be a more fitting name, since the ability is more about being alert and seems to work just fine outside the battlefield? Or is something "lost in translation" here?
Nope, nothing is lost in translation. You've successfully detected a fairly clunky and ineloquent use of the English language. I think both of your suggestions would be better, especially because the word "surveyor" happens to also be the name of a profession. I can't help but read the words "battlefield surveyor" and picture a contractor in a hard hat!

Heh, you know, I was picturing exactly the same thing! :D


This sounds...horrifyingly bad.
An extra die of damage?
Really?
whoop dee f%#~ing do, an extra 1-8 or 2-12 of damage, when before you were GUARANTEED to get 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 or 3, 6, 8, 12, 15 points with each swing. It's better to have guaranteed damage than leaving it to random number generation. Objctively.

It seems to me that all you're doing is cranking down player power level the way 5th edition did


Tangent101 wrote:
Don't look at it as "I can't do X anymore!" and instead look at it as what you *can* do. You may be pleasantly surprised.

No.


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I suspect the reason Power Attack adds an extra die of damage instead of a static modifier is that this makes it better on big weapons (greataxes) than small weapons (Spears sized for halflings). Big weapons should do better with "powerful attacks" than their smaller counterparts, it just makes sense.

If you're using a d12 weapon, Power Attack adds an average of 6.5 damage to your attack, which is better than you'd get from PA with a greataxe until level 12 (and at some point PA adds another bonus die, which would put you at 13 bonus damage, better than old PA gave until level 20).

It also effectively discourages "make a lot of power attacks" as a strategy since "swing hard" and "attack rapidly" are kinda opposed strategies.

I also want to disagree that static damage is "objectively" better. We play these games to have fun, and "rolling dice and caring about the outcome is fun" is the basic aesthetic hook for the hobby. Will you sometimes do less bonus damage? Sure. Will you sometimes have more fun? Seems likely.

Dark Archive

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Aaron Goddard wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Don't look at it as "I can't do X anymore!" and instead look at it as what you *can* do. You may be pleasantly surprised.
No.

Or, actually look into it beyond face value.. there's an entire thread discussing the math and it does turn out that, given various factors in PF2, this new version comes out ahead in overall damage. You can find the thread here: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2uzsk?Power-Attack-Math

Perhaps the guaranteed value is more stable but the hit to accuracy is far more devastating in the new edition. So, there was a trade off. You still do more damage than a base attack but not a guaranteed flat bonus. In exchange, you crit more often, thus increasing your overall damage output.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I suspect the reason Power Attack adds an extra die of damage instead of a static modifier is that this makes it better on big weapons (greataxes) than small weapons (Spears sized for halflings). Big weapons should do better with "powerful attacks" than their smaller counterparts, it just makes sense.

I can get behind that. Vital Strike was always a "meh" or a "why the hell would I" feat. I can get behind power attack in it's current format assuming the math works out for it to actually be useful for certain kinds of weapons.

Paizo Employee Designer

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I suspect the reason Power Attack adds an extra die of damage instead of a static modifier is that this makes it better on big weapons (greataxes) than small weapons (Spears sized for halflings). Big weapons should do better with "powerful attacks" than their smaller counterparts, it just makes sense.
I can get behind that. Vital Strike was always a "meh" or a "why the hell would I" feat. I can get behind power attack in it's current format assuming the math works out for it to actually be useful for certain kinds of weapons.

It's cool because you guys have been following right along our design process. First we tried an accuracy penalty, and that didn't work. Then we tried the extra action for a flat add on damage (I believe it was something like +4 that eventually doubled to +8), but that just meant that tiny little daggers got the most out of Power Attack, which didn't fit the fantasy of Power Attack. Then we moved to the extra die (doubling to two dice), and suddenly it all worked out!

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Mark Seifter wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I suspect the reason Power Attack adds an extra die of damage instead of a static modifier is that this makes it better on big weapons (greataxes) than small weapons (Spears sized for halflings). Big weapons should do better with "powerful attacks" than their smaller counterparts, it just makes sense.
I can get behind that. Vital Strike was always a "meh" or a "why the hell would I" feat. I can get behind power attack in it's current format assuming the math works out for it to actually be useful for certain kinds of weapons.
It's cool because you guys have been following right along our design process. First we tried an accuracy penalty, and that didn't work. Then we tried the extra action for a flat add on damage (I believe it was something like +4 that eventually doubled to +8), but that just meant that tiny little daggers got the most out of Power Attack, which didn't fit the fantasy of Power Attack. Then we moved to the extra die (doubling to two dice), and suddenly it all worked out!

I don't expect this to be the last time the forums retread the design process.

I find the design notes really interesting, though. Thanks for cluing us in!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Aaron Goddard wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Don't look at it as "I can't do X anymore!" and instead look at it as what you *can* do. You may be pleasantly surprised.
No.

Okay, then think of it this way.

Pathfinder has 10+ years of material and multiple source books that you can use. I very much doubt you have played every module, every Adventure Path, and every product. So you can play the original Pathfinder for many years to come and not care.

Or if you GM games, then you could easily choose to run a hybrid game where you include the Feats you want from the old rules. There will be players who protest this and you won't be able to do Pathfinder Society stuff but it's not a big deal.

But you're not going to convince Paizo to change their mind on Power Attack for Pathfinder 2. That seems fairly obvious.

Besides, you don't know. You might end up enjoying the new system. There are things about the new system that I don't know if I like but part of that is how vague the blog on Proficiencies was. But I do know this. I'm running Rise of the Runelords right now. We are in the final game against Karzoug himself. It took three hours to run one turn - admittedly I had to look some stuff up and I also beefed up the encounter as the players have Mythic (but had used most of it up leading up to the fight) so the players are facing down two additional Storm giants and have an allied Planetar on their side... but even so, it is taking a lot longer than low-level fights did.

If the new system makes fights less complex and helps speed things up? I'm all for it. If the fights are more fun for my players? I'm definitely all for it. And over the next four months, we'll learn a lot more about what we're in for.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I suspect the reason Power Attack adds an extra die of damage instead of a static modifier is that this makes it better on big weapons (greataxes) than small weapons (Spears sized for halflings). Big weapons should do better with "powerful attacks" than their smaller counterparts, it just makes sense.
I can get behind that. Vital Strike was always a "meh" or a "why the hell would I" feat. I can get behind power attack in it's current format assuming the math works out for it to actually be useful for certain kinds of weapons.
It's cool because you guys have been following right along our design process. First we tried an accuracy penalty, and that didn't work. Then we tried the extra action for a flat add on damage (I believe it was something like +4 that eventually doubled to +8), but that just meant that tiny little daggers got the most out of Power Attack, which didn't fit the fantasy of Power Attack. Then we moved to the extra die (doubling to two dice), and suddenly it all worked out!

Assuming that the Greatsword (2d6), Greataxe (1d12), and Bastard Sword (1d10) still use the same dice it means Greataxe and Bastard Sword beat out the Greatsword when Power Attacking. Was this taken into account? Moot point if their base damage was changed :3

Thankies for hanging around and talking with all of us btw ^w^

Paizo Employee Designer

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I suspect the reason Power Attack adds an extra die of damage instead of a static modifier is that this makes it better on big weapons (greataxes) than small weapons (Spears sized for halflings). Big weapons should do better with "powerful attacks" than their smaller counterparts, it just makes sense.
I can get behind that. Vital Strike was always a "meh" or a "why the hell would I" feat. I can get behind power attack in it's current format assuming the math works out for it to actually be useful for certain kinds of weapons.
It's cool because you guys have been following right along our design process. First we tried an accuracy penalty, and that didn't work. Then we tried the extra action for a flat add on damage (I believe it was something like +4 that eventually doubled to +8), but that just meant that tiny little daggers got the most out of Power Attack, which didn't fit the fantasy of Power Attack. Then we moved to the extra die (doubling to two dice), and suddenly it all worked out!

Assuming that the Greatsword (2d6), Greataxe (1d12), and Bastard Sword (1d10) still use the same dice it means Greataxe and Bastard Sword beat out the Greatsword when Power Attacking. Was this taken into account? Moot point if their base damage was changed :3

Thankies for hanging around and talking with all of us btw ^w^

Two-handed great axe and bastard sword do not beat out great sword.


Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I suspect the reason Power Attack adds an extra die of damage instead of a static modifier is that this makes it better on big weapons (greataxes) than small weapons (Spears sized for halflings). Big weapons should do better with "powerful attacks" than their smaller counterparts, it just makes sense.
I can get behind that. Vital Strike was always a "meh" or a "why the hell would I" feat. I can get behind power attack in it's current format assuming the math works out for it to actually be useful for certain kinds of weapons.
It's cool because you guys have been following right along our design process. First we tried an accuracy penalty, and that didn't work. Then we tried the extra action for a flat add on damage (I believe it was something like +4 that eventually doubled to +8), but that just meant that tiny little daggers got the most out of Power Attack, which didn't fit the fantasy of Power Attack. Then we moved to the extra die (doubling to two dice), and suddenly it all worked out!

Can you tell us if you're sticking with the single (or double) die route of Pathfinder 1.0 or going the multitude of dice route that Starfinder introduced?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I suspect the reason Power Attack adds an extra die of damage instead of a static modifier is that this makes it better on big weapons (greataxes) than small weapons (Spears sized for halflings). Big weapons should do better with "powerful attacks" than their smaller counterparts, it just makes sense.
I can get behind that. Vital Strike was always a "meh" or a "why the hell would I" feat. I can get behind power attack in it's current format assuming the math works out for it to actually be useful for certain kinds of weapons.
It's cool because you guys have been following right along our design process. First we tried an accuracy penalty, and that didn't work. Then we tried the extra action for a flat add on damage (I believe it was something like +4 that eventually doubled to +8), but that just meant that tiny little daggers got the most out of Power Attack, which didn't fit the fantasy of Power Attack. Then we moved to the extra die (doubling to two dice), and suddenly it all worked out!

Assuming that the Greatsword (2d6), Greataxe (1d12), and Bastard Sword (1d10) still use the same dice it means Greataxe and Bastard Sword beat out the Greatsword when Power Attacking. Was this taken into account? Moot point if their base damage was changed :3

Thankies for hanging around and talking with all of us btw ^w^

Two-handed great axe and bastard sword do not beat out great sword.

Yay! Thankies for responding.


Aaron Goddard wrote:

This sounds...horrifyingly bad.

An extra die of damage?
Really?
whoop dee f*@&ing do, an extra 1-8 or 2-12 of damage, when before you were GUARANTEED to get 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 or 3, 6, 8, 12, 15 points with each swing. It's better to have guaranteed damage than leaving it to random number generation. Objctively.

Not really: think harder about the statistics!

Or, check out this link (http://anydice.com/program/f3a0), which calculates the average number of 1d6 rolls it would take to get sums of 10 through 15 (that is, the number of successful 1d6 damage attacks it would take to down a creature with that number of hit points). For about half of these values, you can statistically expect to down the target in fewer hits by rolling d6s than by doing a constant 3.5 points of damage with each hit. Averaging all six cases, the total number of expected hits is about the same (4 with constants, 4.05 with dice).

So, yeah, all else equal bonus dice might be slightly than constant numbers in the abstract, but this can trivially be compensated for by making the dice slightly bigger! In any case, hardly a massive nerf!


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I suspect the reason Power Attack adds an extra die of damage instead of a static modifier is that this makes it better on big weapons (greataxes) than small weapons (Spears sized for halflings). Big weapons should do better with "powerful attacks" than their smaller counterparts, it just makes sense.

If you're using a d12 weapon, Power Attack adds an average of 6.5 damage to your attack, which is better than you'd get from PA with a greataxe until level 12 (and at some point PA adds another bonus die, which would put you at 13 bonus damage, better than old PA gave until level 20).

It also effectively discourages "make a lot of power attacks" as a strategy since "swing hard" and "attack rapidly" are kinda opposed strategies.

I also want to disagree that static damage is "objectively" better. We play these games to have fun, and "rolling dice and caring about the outcome is fun" is the basic aesthetic hook for the hobby. Will you sometimes do less bonus damage? Sure. Will you sometimes have more fun? Seems likely.

Sorry but, your damage numbers are wrong. A greataxe is a Two-Handed Weapon, meaning it gets -1/+3 Scaling for Power Attack.

That means you actually equal 2E Power Attack (well, average 2E Power Attack) by 4th level (-2/+6), then beat it soundly at 8th (-3/+9) before almost equaling the upgraded "average" 2E at 12th (-4/+12), which you beat by 16th (-5/+15).

As for rolling dice, that may be you, but it's not me. I prefer my damage to be as reliable as possible, which rolling more dice goes against. It's the reason I always pick Powerful/Deadly Sneak ASAP as a Rogue (well, after Trap Spotter, nacht).

If I want to roll loads and loads of dice, I play Shadowrun, not Pathfinder.


TheFinish wrote:
As for rolling dice, that may be you, but it's not me. I prefer my damage to be as reliable as possible, which rolling more dice goes against. It's the reason I always pick Powerful/Deadly Sneak ASAP as a Rogue (well, after Trap Spotter, nacht).

You know how bad those feats are mathematically, right? And that even apart from this, getting to reroll 1's and 2's makes no meaningful difference to the stability of your results when you're rolling that many d6's anyway?

Paizo Employee Designer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Ludovicus wrote:
TheFinish wrote:
As for rolling dice, that may be you, but it's not me. I prefer my damage to be as reliable as possible, which rolling more dice goes against. It's the reason I always pick Powerful/Deadly Sneak ASAP as a Rogue (well, after Trap Spotter, nacht).
You know how bad those feats are mathematically, right? And that even apart from this, getting to reroll 1's and 2's makes no meaningful difference to the stability of your results when you're rolling that many d6's anyway?

Rerolling 1s can give you a meaningful expected gain with enough d6s (2s much less so but still it's something); however, you are correct that the PF1 version's accuracy penalty hurt much worse than any gain from the rerolls helped, for a net negative. Really for all the same reasons that PF1 Power Attack causes lower damage in PF2.


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Is it possible that "lots of dice" will be the realm of 2-handers and "lots of static modifiers" will be the mechanic for another playstyle (say swashbuckler-esque 1-handed fighting)? I think both should be available since obviously different players prefer different things and could see them being assigned to different weapon types.


Ludovicus wrote:
TheFinish wrote:
As for rolling dice, that may be you, but it's not me. I prefer my damage to be as reliable as possible, which rolling more dice goes against. It's the reason I always pick Powerful/Deadly Sneak ASAP as a Rogue (well, after Trap Spotter, nacht).
You know how bad those feats are mathematically, right? And that even apart from this, getting to reroll 1's and 2's makes no meaningful difference to the stability of your results when you're rolling that many d6's anyway?

It's not rerolling 1s and 2s though, it's counting them as 3s. Meaning with both of them your average becomes 4 instead of 3.5, not to mention it greatly increases your Minimum damage.

I mean if you take them at the earliest level possible (so, Deadly Sneak by 10th):

5d6 goes from 5-30, 17.5 Average to 15-30, 20 Average.

If you can't see how that's incredibly helpful, I don't know what to say.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
TheFinish wrote:
If you can't see how that's incredibly helpful, I don't know what to say.

The to hit penalty makes you miss more, losing more damage than you gain on average. When you hit, you hit harder, but you hit less.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
TheFinish wrote:
If you can't see how that's incredibly helpful, I don't know what to say.
The to hit penalty makes you miss more, losing more damage than you gain on average. When you hit, you hit harder, but you hit less.

But at that point it's literally -2 for +10 Damage on any attack that has Sneak Attack. That is Power Attack on steroids (minus the fact that you don't multiply on a crit). How is that not a worthy tradeoff? It's a -10% chance to hit, though granted, Rogues are 3/4. But with Flanking and other modifiers, I'm pretty sure you come out on top.

Then again, I am no math god, so I could be wrong.


TheFinish wrote:
Ludovicus wrote:
TheFinish wrote:
As for rolling dice, that may be you, but it's not me. I prefer my damage to be as reliable as possible, which rolling more dice goes against. It's the reason I always pick Powerful/Deadly Sneak ASAP as a Rogue (well, after Trap Spotter, nacht).
You know how bad those feats are mathematically, right? And that even apart from this, getting to reroll 1's and 2's makes no meaningful difference to the stability of your results when you're rolling that many d6's anyway?

It's not rerolling 1s and 2s though, it's counting them as 3s. Meaning with both of them your average becomes 4 instead of 3.5, not to mention it greatly increases your Minimum damage.

I mean if you take them at the earliest level possible (so, Deadly Sneak by 10th):

5d6 goes from 5-30, 17.5 Average to 15-30, 20 Average.

If you can't see how that's incredibly helpful, I don't know what to say.

Okay, first, that's worse than rerolling. 3.5 > 3. Second, -2 attack for +2.5 expected damage is not a good trade for a 10th level rogue. Third, your odds of getting a 10 or lower on 5d6 is a bit over 3%--not only will the increased damage floor be basically undetectable in practice, but your attack penalty will way increase your risk.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
TheFinish wrote:
Then again, I am no math god, so I could be wrong.

You would be. As I recall, you have to actually roll those 1s or 2s to be counted. If you roll all 3s or higher? No damage increase, but you still took the penalty to hit.


Aaron Goddard wrote:
It's better to have guaranteed damage than leaving it to random number generation. Objctively.

So enforce average dice rolls for damage. (Crits multiple of flat number)

That isn't more disruptive to over all system than average HPs for Hit Die are, like PFS using rule system built on assuming rolled HPs.
If random damage dice variation is so "objectively" bad, then that is already case with P1E existing weapon and spell damage dice.

This is ignoring that "maximizing consistent damage" is NOT an inherently objective value re: better system design.
Removing random variation from attack rolls would also lead to more consistent damage output, is that "objectively better" design?
Char Op is playing a mini-game of optimization within game system, it's perspective horizon is not definitive of system design.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Is it possible that "lots of dice" will be the realm of 2-handers and "lots of static modifiers" will be the mechanic for another playstyle (say swashbuckler-esque 1-handed fighting)? I think both should be available since obviously different players prefer different things and could see them being assigned to different weapon types.

The thing with the difference of modifiers is that the magic weapons are actually stronger in PF2 than in PF1.

Let's take a dagger and a greatsword, both at +1, and compare them to what they are in PF1 and PF2.

In PF1, both weapons had +1 to their attack roll, and +1 to their damage roll. Fairly bland, and fairly basic. With little to no support for damage dice outside of size and effective size bonuses, which are very restrictive and hard to come by, static modifiers became the meta, and with garbage weapon properties, there was no reason to not rush +5 weapons ASAP as a martial, unless you had some super niche build that was not technically a beatstick.

In PF2, both weapons have +1 to their attack roll, but add +1D to their damage roll (D = weapon dice total). Mathematically speaking, unless your weapon does 1D1 damage per hit, the extra dice will (potentially) do more damage overall, and with each +1 bonus, the effects will (assumedly) scale linearly. Even if you roll all 1's, your damage will be the same as if you followed PF1's magic weapon rules, meaning PF2 is objectively stronger in terms of raw damage with magic weapons. A +5 weapon grants +5 to hit with 5 additional sets of weapon damage dice (assuming it follows PF1's modifier scaling, which it may or may not, but let's say it does for now). A dagger that does 6D4 is much more potentially devastating than a dagger that does 1D4+5, since the maximum damage there is 24 (not including modifiers), compared to a maximum of 9 damage, with averages of 15 and 7.5 damage, respectively.

Conversely, a Greatsword of medium size, assuming PF1 damage dice, is 2D6. A +5 Greatsword does 12D6 damage (2D6 base + 10D6 enhancements. You're basically adding CL 10 PF1 Fireball damage to every attack you make), that's massive! Now imagine if you were Enlarged with Lead Blades and/or Impact. That becomes a base 4D6, with a scaling of up to 24D6! A greatsword that does 2D6+5, with a maximum damage of 17, and an average damage of 12, will be infinitely weaker than a greatsword that does 12D6, with a maximum of 72 damage, and an average damage of 42. And this isn't even including static modifiers from Strength and other effects, which increase these numbers even further.

In my opinion, this is a change for the better, especially considering the revised action economy, so that enhancements were more useful for certain weapons than others, and as such, daggers and other low-dice weapons would be more prone to have special abilities to counteract their overall lower damage. The only way to balance that out is to make weapon properties more powerful and more interesting, regardless of weapons or damage dice. A Disruptive mace was a pretty awesome undead slayer's weapon, but with the pricing and meager save DC effect, it easily got outpaced by a +X weapon of higher damage dice simply because it was better overall.


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It's still weird to me that people say "Rolling lots of dice is anathema to Pathfinder" when there were Arcanists running around tossing 10d6 fireballs all over the place. I mean, the whole Kineticist class is arranged around "roll a lot of d6s".


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Conversely, a Greatsword of medium size, assuming PF1 damage dice, is 2D6. A +5 Greatsword does 12D6 damage (2D6 base + 10D6 enhancements. You're basically adding CL 10 PF1 Fireball damage to every attack you make), that's massive! Now imagine if you were Enlarged with Lead Blades and/or Impact. That becomes a base 4D6, with a scaling of up to 24D6! A greatsword that does 2D6+5, with a maximum damage of 17, and an average damage of 12, will be infinitely weaker than a greatsword that does 12D6, with a maximum of 72 damage, and an average damage of 42. And this isn't even including static modifiers from Strength and other effects, which increase these numbers even further.

Yikes! If that's the case, that +5 greatsword is going to hit like a meteor. But then, you are talking about one of the most powerful enchanted weapons to ever grace the world, so ... I rather like it that way. It feels a lot more impactful and really sells that these things aren't just another magic item, only slightly better than a +4 greatsword. This is a powerful artifact enhanced to such a degree that in the hands of a great warrior it might fell giants, dragons, even gods.

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