Barbarian Class Preview

Monday, June 11, 2018

Rage consumes you in battle. You delight in carving through your enemies using powerful weapons and wreaking havoc without needing complicated techniques or rigid training, and you rely on your astonishing durability to get you through a fight. You associate your rage with a traditional symbol of affinity known as a totem, which might take the form of an animal, a spirit, or even a part of yourself. To many barbarians, brute force is a hammer and every problem looks like a nail; to others, the dark emotions within them are something to hold back and release only when it matters most.

When it came to barbarians in the playtest, we wanted to take the most popular parts of the original barbarian and the unchained barbarian and brew them together with a few special ingredients to make the class even more flexible to fit even more roleplaying and mechanical concepts. Let's take a look!

Rage

Rage is a barbarian's key class feature. Barbarians aren't super-trained in fancy weapon techniques like most of the other martial classes. Instead, a barbarian can enter a rage that drastically increases her damage and grants her a significant booster shot of temporary Hit Points, in exchange for a –1 penalty to AC and the inability to use concentrate actions unless they specifically have the rage trait (note, this means that somatic-only spells are now possible in a rage!). Unlike in Pathfinder First Edition, rage in the playtest is not limited in rounds per day—let's be honest, in Pathfinder First Edition, our barbarians never ran out of rounds anyway once they had gained a few levels. A rage lasts 3 rounds, followed by a round of fatigue. While you're fatigued, you can't rage again, but once that round has passed, you can enter a new rage, with a shiny brand-new set of temporary Hit Points to go along with it. You can do this as often as you need during the day!

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Totems

Without a doubt, the most popular element of barbarians in Pathfinder First Edition is the totem, introduced in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Advanced Player Guide. These totems are a set of three thematically linked abilities the barbarian can choose, starting at 2nd level. In the playtest, you get a totem right away at 1st level. Your totem is a representation of how and why you rage and grants you an initial ability, access to more totem feats down the line, and, at 9th level, resistance equal to your Constitution modifier against a specific type of damage. Each totem also has its own anathema, most of which are relatively low impact and designed to create roleplaying hooks. For instance, the giant totem's anathema states that you cannot fail to accept a personal challenge of your strength, much like how Amiri accepted the challenging task her tribal fellows set her to slay a frost giant. Some though, are stricter—the superstition totem requires that you never willingly accept the benefits of spells, but grants you some truly astounding antimagic abilities in exchange.

Some of the totems, like animal totem, giant totem, and dragon totem, offer a few abilities that are flat-out magical. For instance, animal totem barbarians can adopt animal features and attacks and even transform into an animal (a great way to represent lycanthrope characters), whereas dragon totem barbarians gain a dragon breath attack can even grow wings. Even though totems are popular and roleplaying opportunities are fun, we recognize not everyone necessarily wants to commit to them, so we also offer the fury totem, which has no anathema or special requirements and focuses more on barbarian feats that aren't tied to any totem, which we'll look at in a bit. But first...

Additional Barbarian Features

Though I called out rage and totems specifically, the barbarian has some really neat abilities beyond those. For instance, at level 3, barbarians gain critical specialization effects when in a rage, even if they don't fulfill the usual proficiency rank requirement for the weapon—they use whatever weapon is most efficient to express their rage! One other thing they have that nobody else does: 12 Hit Points per level. Add that to the substantial temporary Hit Points that they can generate (possibly multiple times in a long fight) and the resistances from their totem that kick in at level 9, and barbarians have incredible staying power. Sure, they don't prevent as many hits as a paladin or a shield fighter might, but they can stand there taking hits long past the point where anyone else could stay standing. This is also a good point to mention one feature barbarians don't have in the playtest: alignment requirements. Barbarians can be whatever alignment they want; for instance, a lawful barbarian might act like one of the concepts I described earlier, controlling and holding back her emotions to channel and release her rage when it matters most.

As many of you have predicted, barbarians also have the best Fortitude proficiency, gaining the juggernaut class feature at level 7 (which grants master proficiency in Fortitude and the ability to count any successes you roll as critical successes instead) and improved juggernaut at 13th (which grants legendary proficiency and removes the chance of critically failing), but they also have a secondary Will focus, gaining indomitable will at 15th level to become masters in Will. Tireless rage comes in at level 17 to allow barbarians to ignore fatigue after ending a rage (though they still must wait the normal amount of time before entering a new rage). Barbarians are all about brutalizing opponents without worrying about carrying lots of different weapons and selecting the right one for the job with their monster knowledge, so it makes sense that they gain the ability to rip through a chunk of resistances automatically with level 19's devastating strikes ability. Possibly my favorite barbarian feature, though, is the level 11 ability mighty rage—whenever you enter a rage, it allows you to immediately use one of your rage-only actions for free. So many possibilities!

Barbarian Feats

In addition to the feats based on totems, there are a variety of other feats available, from the bread-and-butter, low-level Sudden Charge to the devastating Whirlwind Strike (attack everything in your reach), Brutal Critical (your critical hits deal an extra die of damage as well as persistent bleed damage), Vicious Evisceration (you maim the enemy, dealing extra damage, reducing its maximum HP by an amount equal to its level, and giving it a –1 penalty to Fortitude), Contagious Rage (one of your allies gets the benefits and –1 penalty to AC imposed by your rage, but can still concentrate), and Quaking Stomp (you stomp so hard that it creates an honest-to-goodness earthquake). But none caused a playtest GM to raise their eyebrows quite like the superstition totem's Spell Sunder, which really saved us when we faced walls of force, magical trap effects, and more.

To close off, some of you might have expected me to talk about the dragon totem barbarian Linda is playing in my playtest game, who has sometimes been the party's primary healer. She does that through abilities beyond the barbarian class, though certainly Moment of Clarity (which allows a barbarian to use an extra action to use a concentrate ability mid-rage). But if you're wondering why there was a time in my playtest when she was the only one with an area attack, that was because of her barbarian's dragon breath!

Mark Seifter
Designer

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DFAnton wrote:
However, Totems can be anything. They can even just be a personal drive. "I wield tremendous weapons because I think they're the best thing for lopping off the legs of the horses ridden by the raiders in my homeland."

That's not an example of a totem, though. Totems are described as "a representation of how and why you rage". Big weapons are a consequence of choosing the giant totem, they aren't the totem itself.


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Well, "I rage at the thought of the raiders from my homeland" still doesn't imply "I am very insecure about my strength." A better anathema for that may be "I can't allow civilians to be terrorized by criminals and raiders."

However, in structured play or with a RAW-oriented GM, they may just say "nah, not in the book, can't do it." Obviously, any GM could say that anyway, but there are a lot of GMs that feel absolutely compelled to play to the absolute letter. By explicitly including a statement that the default anathemas are just that - default - those GMs can allow themselves to better adapt.


DFAnton wrote:

Well, "I rage at the thought of the raiders from my homeland" still doesn't imply "I am very insecure about my strength." A better anathema for that may be "I can't allow civilians to be terrorized by criminals and raiders."

However, in structured play or with a RAW-oriented GM, they may just say "nah, not in the book, can't do it." Obviously, any GM could say that anyway, but there are a lot of GMs that feel absolutely compelled to play to the absolute letter. By explicitly including a statement that the default anathemas are just that - default - those GMs can allow themselves to better adapt.

How about a world where later products introduce other "totems" that also give you access to giant swords and have their own anathema or lack thereof? Frankly, I suspect that is the world we will come to live in. Failing that, 3PP will do this thing.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Malk_Content wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
Temperans wrote:
I have a question to people asking for less or more varied anathema, did any of you have a problem with: Cavalier/Samurai orders, Monk vows or Oracle curses? (Just want to see if there is a difference, and sorry for the side track).
Cavalier and Samurai, nope the core concept of those archetypes is honour bound warrior fighting for a cause (be that a Lord, a philosophy, or something else), a Barbarian isn't that, they are rage and hate given big choppy things, Oracle's curses are different, they are explicitly external, and as the spells are divine, restrictions make sense.

I don't see why I couldn't play a LN Samurai via a Giant Totem Barbarian. The Totem represents my desire for strength so that I may better serve my Lord, and challenges to that strength if left unanswered bring such shame upon me (and thus my Lord) that I must seek atonement for my loss of honour before taking up my Zanbato again. In battle I achieve intense focus which, although both mentally and physically tiring, allow me to perform great acts. I do all this in service to my lord.

Nothing about that goes against any of the barbarian stuff shown so far, or the flavour of an honour bound character. To say you can't use the class to represent those archetypes is a severe lack of imagination.

that... May be an interesting Samurai archetype, it is not the Barbarian class.. At all, in fact no, just no, anathema are no win traps waiting to happen, and it requires playing enemies as stupid to not be trying to trigger those traps (not all would, some have their own honour, but some should for sure)


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Excaliburproxy wrote:
How about a world where later products introduce other "totems" that also give you access to giant swords and have their own anathema or lack thereof? Frankly, I suspect that is the world we will come to live in. Failing that, 3PP will do this thing.

Oh, certainly, and this seems like the direction Paizo will head, if they don't change course on how Totem anathemas are handled. One of my favorite parts about PF1 is the huge wealth of codified options.

A big part of the issue is that we don't have the full picture. For instance, the only example we have of oversized weapons being usable is Giant Totem. If, for example, you could take oversized weapons with a separate feat, whereas with Giant Totem it's just a "free" perk, then the problem is very much diminished; just take Fury Totem and the Oversized Weapons feat.

However, if oversized weapons are RAW locked behind Giant Totem, we run into the problem of the only mechanical option dictating an aspect of your character's personality.

I get the feeling this will all clear up as more info is released.

EDIT: Correct me if I'm wrong on this being our only example. I may be forgetting something.


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It still doesn't make sense for every barbarian who takes x totem to have x anathema.

Instead, barbarians should have a list of anathemas (including the fury one and superstition one), and they need to select one when selecting a totem. Some totems could be restricted based upon the anathema you choose (superstition), but they should be exceptions instead of the norm.

This allows you to have a variety of flavors to choose from, and some can be restricted, but for the most part it gives players the freedom to choose ones that match their character while allowing them to choose the mechanics they want.


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KingOfAnything wrote:
I prefer my expression to be grounded by the fantasy. I like making characters that fit in or stick out in the world of Golarion. That scaffold inspires me.

I prefer my expression to be grounded in fantasy too, as it turns out. I just want that to be the fantasy that my group decides on, not the One True Fantasy that binds an entire RPG system. This is the difference between my understanding of a Golarion-infused system, "this shows a typical example of X mechanic in Golarion as a source of inspiration", and a Golarion-specific system, "This RPG only really works for Golarion and the flavor provided is just as much a part of the rules as the mechanics." When the mechanics provide plenty of room for other worlds or even other interpretations of Golarion, its a shame to limit them to a single fantasy instead. Put another way, I think governance of flavor restrictions needs to be clearly, unambiguously, and forcefully abdicated by the rulebook to the individual table. If it is at all common to hear "you must have a strength complex to use big weapons because it's in the rules (as opposed to, "our group only likes that flavor"), then the rulebook has failed to be clear enough on this issue and is an unnecessary impediment to Expression and creative roleplaying.

Note that I would never have your inspiration taken from you. Golarion-infused, by my above definition, is perfectly reasonable to me. It's the obvious alternative that bothers me.

KingOfAnything wrote:
I don't agree that the default should be anything goes. It feels much better for GMs to loosen up restrictions and be generous in interpretation than it does for GMs to impose those Fantasy restrictions after the fact.

In terms of mechanics, everything goes has to be avoided to keep the game balanced. In terms of flavor, that really needs to be a conversation that occurs at the beginning of the game, preferably as a part of or prior to character building. That communication is good for mutual understanding. If a GM wants to impose certain limitations, the group should know about them and come to an agreement on them. To me, this is coming across as an argument that the default limitations should be there so the GM can lean on the rulebook rather than reach an agreement with the group, but I hope that's not what you mean.


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DFAnton wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
How about a world where later products introduce other "totems" that also give you access to giant swords and have their own anathema or lack thereof? Frankly, I suspect that is the world we will come to live in. Failing that, 3PP will do this thing.

Oh, certainly, and this seems like the direction Paizo will head, if they don't change course on how Totem anathemas are handled. One of my favorite parts about PF1 is the huge wealth of codified options.

A big part of the issue is that we don't have the full picture. For instance, the only example we have of oversized weapons being usable is Giant Totem. If, for example, you could take oversized weapons with a separate feat, whereas with Giant Totem it's just a "free" perk, then the problem is very much diminished; just take Fury Totem and the Oversized Weapons feat.

However, if oversized weapons are RAW locked behind Giant Totem, we run into the problem of the only mechanical option dictating an aspect of your character's personality.

I get the feeling this will all clear up as more info is released.

EDIT: Correct me if I'm wrong on this being our only example. I may be forgetting something.

I am guessing that oversized weapons are going to be a Giant Totem exclusive mechanic in the in the playtest. It seems like a potentially really powerful mechanic and locking it to a certain totem feels like a good way to make it balanced.

I understand your frustration with the fact that a mechanic you might want is tied to flavor/RP limitations that isn't right for your character.

For my part, I like the flavor and anathema being baked into the core rules and other people like that too. It makes the mechanics more evocative to me in a way that setting/theme agnostic "mechanic packages" would not. What I discussed above is essentially an approach that does not completely ignore the needs of players like you while making flavorful game mechanics the core rules expression.


DFAnton wrote:

Lordy lord. Couldn't this entire issue be solved with (and I believe this was even suggested) a simple little sidebar (or section on anathemas, overall) that the default ones are suggested defaults that Paizo thinks fit strongly with the theme, and that better fits should be worked out as necessary between player and GM? Boom, bam, suddenly Rule 0 is codified for this instance.

Changing anathemas is now no longer a houserule, and the Golarion defaults are still attached to every Totem. Isn't this the happiest medium? Like 25 words in a margin?

As long as that codification is extremely clear and unambiguous, I don't have a problem with it being said once earlier on. As this thread has shown me, however, that their current explanation of anathema, including the bit about how a GM and player should customize it together as necessary, isn't working as intended. I've been told way too many times that I'm having fun or roleplaying improperly by wanting a character with different limitations, and my concern is that the current presentation of anathema (limited though it may be, without the full rules) is fostering that attitude.

Exo-Guardians

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Pandora's wrote:


As long as that codification is extremely clear and unambiguous, I don't have a problem with it being said once earlier on. As this thread has shown me, however, that their current explanation of anathema, including the bit about how a GM and player should customize it together as necessary, isn't working as intended. I've been told way too many times that I'm having fun or roleplaying improperly by wanting a character with different limitations, and my concern is that the current presentation of anathema (limited though it may be, without the full rules) is fostering that attitude.

If I may, a big reason why many players and GMs (Myself included there) took your arguments in that manner is becasue a lot of them have dealt with problem players who claim that very same attitude, then turn and stab it in the back 23 times because they really don't care about the flavor they just wanted the mechanics. It's why I long ago started requiring my players to justify why they need a mechanic for a character, and not just with the 'but my build depends on Favored Enemy from Ranger class for the bonus to hit animals, which are going to be the main enemies in this campaign' but with the "My Farmer girl grew up on the frontier and quickly learned to use a bow to help secure her family food for the winter. Because she often had to hunt wolves that stalked the family's flock of sheep she learned to hate the creatures and became adept at tracking them in the forests around her home'. I can say that having players take a flavor first approach has greatly helped my party, though sometimes I do have a player who needs to be reminded that we do things flavor first.

Anyway sorry about the mini rant, basically they way you have argued and worded many of your posts often gives flashbacks of problem players who would disregard flavor for raw mechanical builds that often made no sense. (See Paladin 2/Monk 2/Lore Oracle1/ Fighter 5 BS with guns yes someone actually did this build, we don't play with them anymore.)

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Pandora's wrote:
I've been told way too many times that I'm having fun or roleplaying improperly by wanting a character with different limitations

It's a good thing you're not putting words in anyone's mouth, given your earlier concerns about that happening.


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Kalindlara wrote:
Pandora's wrote:
I've been told way too many times that I'm having fun or roleplaying improperly by wanting a character with different limitations
It's a good thing you're not putting words in anyone's mouth, given your earlier concerns about that happening.

Having read this whole thread from start-to-finish, there are a few people who accused Pandora of wanting no anathemas/drawbacks whatsoever. I can see why he would feel personally called out, in that regard.

A bit of a problem is as MER-c said. A lot of people are coloring each other's arguments with their own biases, sometimes to the point of misinterpreting the argument entirely.

Shadow Lodge

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DFAnton wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
Pandora's wrote:
I've been told way too many times that I'm having fun or roleplaying improperly by wanting a character with different limitations
It's a good thing you're not putting words in anyone's mouth, given your earlier concerns about that happening.

Having read this whole thread from start-to-finish, there are a few people who accused Pandora of wanting no anathemas/drawbacks whatsoever. I can see why he would feel personally called out, in that regard.

A bit of a problem is as MER-c said. A lot of people are coloring each other's arguments with their own biases, sometimes to the point of misinterpreting the argument entirely.

That's a common phenomenon of communication.

The only way past it to make a conscious decision to try and understand the other person and their point of view.


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It certainly doesn't help that this is the internet, where the default assumption is that any given discussion with room for disagreement is necessarily hostile.


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MER-c wrote:
If I may, a big reason why many players and GMs (Myself included there) took your arguments in that manner is becasue a lot of them have dealt with problem players who claim that very same attitude, then turn and stab it in the back 23 times because they really don't care about the flavor they just wanted the mechanics.

Y'know what, time to play devil's advocate for a second. A player is a problem player if they are disruptive or uncooperative with the group (and this includes not making reasonable concessions to the groups' style). A player is a problem player if they lie to the GM about the reason they want their character to have some special consideration. A player is not a problem player for enjoying the game differently from you or any other GM.

If you want a fairly comprehensive take on this, I posted an extremely good article earlier in this thread on the topic. One of the major "kinds of fun" the article discusses is challenge. A lot of mechanical/combat-oriented players thrive on the challenge of it, and find that to be the most important part of the game. Some groups play tabletop RPGs basically as social, turn-based version of Diablo II. I'm not that player; I'd be miserable doing that. But that doesn't make their way of enjoying the game any more wrong.

MER-c wrote:
It's why I long ago started requiring my players to justify why they need a mechanic for a character, and not just with the 'but my build depends on Favored Enemy from Ranger class for the bonus to hit animals, which are going to be the main enemies in this campaign' but with the "My Farmer girl grew up on the frontier and quickly learned to use a bow to help secure her family food for the winter. Because she often had to hunt wolves that stalked the family's flock of sheep she learned to hate the creatures and became adept at tracking them in the forests around her home'. I can say that having players take a flavor first approach has greatly helped my party, though sometimes I do have a player who needs to be reminded that we do things flavor first.

I think this hobby has too many One True Roleplaying fallacies, and depending on how you mean this, this could be one of them. I think there's too much emphasis on mechanics being a dirty necessity rather than a fun, engaging part of the game. While I tend to be the player with a justification for every last part of my character, that isn't for everyone. Heavens forbid someone just thought an ability or class looked fun and wanted to play it without jumping through hoops. If playing that way is your group's consensus, good for you guys, have fun. If that's something you force on your players as a GM without their input, I think that's deplorable.

MER-c wrote:
See Paladin 2/Monk 2/Lore Oracle1/ Fighter 5 BS with guns yes someone actually did this build, we don't play with them anymore.

And calling a certain mechanical build BS because it's not the way you want to play is not classy. If they made this character to be disruptive or knowing it would inhibit the fun of the group, I agree, they shouldn't have done that. If those things are not true, you may be the problem player here.

Exo-Guardians

I think you're getting a tad too defensive my friend, I was not calling you out, or even saying your way was wrong, I was saying that a lot of what you were advocating had a echo of players I have had an issue with in the past. And a lot of us also had that similar impression. Now frankly I could not care less if the specific issue was handled your way or the way the blog seems to handle it, the goal is in the end the same. As such if the goal is the same then perhaps we should agree to disagree and let sleeping dogs lie. You and I will never agree on what 'fun' is, and I think I can with some safety assume that most people here can't even put a solid definition of what they find 'fun'.

Now good day to you sir, I do hope you find success in your endeavors, be they game related or otherwise.


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I doubt MER-c has any problem with people who play for crunch, so long as it's known early enough that they can say "That isn't the kind of game I'd like to run." However, speaking as a GM, it really does get bothersome if it just pops up. That Paladin 2/Monk 2/Lore Oracle 1/Fighter 5 may have went, say:
1 Paladin
2 Paladin
3 Fighter
4 Fighter
5 Fighter
6 Lore Oracle
...

At that point, the person you've been playing with for the past 3 months, who's a well-established member of your group, suddenly tips their hand that their character's existence is going to steal the combat spotlight from everyone else.

Now you have to have an awkward conversation with them that you aren't going to let them take that level in Lore Oracle, at which point they get offended because this has been their character for 3 months. Changing course now would mean ditching or reinventing the character.

It's just a bad time, all around. All the Session 0 groundwork-laying in the world won't stop some players from trying as hard as they can to make a munchkin, and booting a close friend isn't always a solid option.


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DFAnton wrote:

I doubt MER-c has any problem with people who play for crunch, so long as it's known early enough that they can say "That isn't the kind of game I'd like to run." However, speaking as a GM, it really does get bothersome if it just pops up. That Paladin 2/Monk 2/Lore Oracle 1/Fighter 5 may have went, say:

1 Paladin
2 Paladin
3 Fighter
4 Fighter
5 Fighter
6 Lore Oracle
...

At that point, the person you've been playing with for the past 3 months, who's a well-established member of your group, suddenly tips their hand that their character's existence is going to steal the combat spotlight from everyone else.

Now you have to have an awkward conversation with them that you aren't going to let them take that level in Lore Oracle, at which point they get offended because this has been their character for 3 months. Changing course now would mean ditching or reinventing the character.

It's just a bad time, all around. All the Session 0 groundwork-laying in the world won't stop some players from trying as hard as they can to make a munchkin, and booting a close friend isn't always a solid option.

You are a wise man, Anton. However if out the outset of your campaign, you say to the players, "hey, don't try to break the game over your knee" then I don't think that player can really fault you for taking him aside and complaining when his dark plans finally come to their fruition.

Man, Multiclassing in PF1 is either busted or garbage. I really do hope things are much more evened out in 2E.

This is officially off topic though~

Exo-Guardians

DFAnton wrote:

I doubt MER-c has any problem with people who play for crunch, so long as it's known early enough that they can say "That isn't the kind of game I'd like to run." However, speaking as a GM, it really does get bothersome if it just pops up. That Paladin 2/Monk 2/Lore Oracle 1/Fighter 5 may have went, say:

1 Paladin
2 Paladin
3 Fighter
4 Fighter
5 Fighter
6 Lore Oracle
...

At that point, the person you've been playing with for the past 3 months, who's a well-established member of your group, suddenly tips their hand that their character's existence is going to steal the combat spotlight from everyone else.

Now you have to have an awkward conversation with them that you aren't going to let them take that level in Lore Oracle, at which point they get offended because this has been their character for 3 months. Changing course now would mean ditching or reinventing the character.

It's just a bad time, all around. All the Session 0 groundwork-laying in the world won't stop some players from trying as hard as they can to make a munchkin, and booting a close friend isn't always a solid option.

Oh that player was and is not a friend, the game was a school club game and myself and a few others were players, the problem player showed with an already sketchy gun paladin build and we knew from the past that he had in issue with what we had dubbed protagonist syndrome, basically always wanting to be the hero and never wanting to fail, they were a super mechanical player and often made their builds unable to be challenged by story or other encounters. I left the group after an issue with it came up and many of my current players were part of that same group.

The long and short of the build is you take High Dex and High Charisma, with some Int thrown in. Paladin ended up with Lay on Hands and Divine Grace for super saves, Default monk, I believe with a archetype allowed for bonus AC and free movement, Fighter netted feats for days allowing for efficient use of the firearm. Then Lore Oracle for even more AC and a few other bonuses, basically they hit touch, could heal, could cast spells, and were almost impossible to be hit in return, while having decent HP.


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Less than 4 hours on the forums, and I'm already a wise man.

Heck yeah.


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Tarik Blackhands wrote:
You mean like Cavalier Orders? I don't recall many people complaining about those honestly. Or druid codes. Or cleric stuff.

Funnily enough I complain about Cavalier Edicts and Druid Codes being non-nonsensical whenever it comes up. Clerics (and sometimes Paladins depending on the definition of the class in the RPG) make sense to have roleplaying restrictions of "If you aren't a devout worshiper of x faith, then you don't get powers from x faith".

Cavaliers are odd, because apparently if you want to be a tanky character you need to devote yourself to protecting commoners? So you can't have a tanky evil knight who guards the evil king, which is just odd. Admittedly, most cavalier edicts are closer to their concept than Order of the Shield, and would be a good thing for Totem Anathema to be similar to "most" of the Cavalier edicts when it having the restriction match up with the concept.

Druids are especially weird because their roleplaying restrictions are so setting specific and ... they don't really seem to fit the Druid of Pathfinder to begin with, that are only there because of legacy. Metal isn't unnatural in Pathfinder. Why is druidic language so integral to the class that it affects your magic when the rest of the class has nothing to do with language and there is no reason given on why druids would even need a secret language?

KingOfAnything wrote:
That's not an example of a totem, though. Totems are described as "a representation of how and why you rage". Big weapons are a consequence of choosing the giant totem, they aren't the totem itself.

Except totems have been said to just be a result of belief or states of mind? Why would there be a mental block preventing anyone who lacks a strength complex from learning how to use big weapons when it isn't magical in nature. It is literally a skill (standard english definition not RPG Skill definition) that the can barbarian learn without needing to tap into anything supernatural or special.... so why does a skill require you to have a very specific personality if you want to learn it without supernatural aid?

The inconsistency is what is creating this friction. Hopefully it will become more clear once everyone has the playtest rules in our hands and/or devices.


Milo v3 wrote:


Cavaliers are odd, because apparently if you want to be a tanky character you need to devote yourself to protecting commoners? So you can't have a tanky evil knight who guards the evil king, which is just odd.

Without even trying, I can name LE Order of the Lion Cavalier.

So at some point, you might need to recheck your biases.


Cyouni wrote:

Without even trying, I can name LE Order of the Lion Cavalier.

So at some point, you might need to recheck your biases.

I was referring to Order of the Shield. I made this more clear in an edit that appears to have been happening while you wrote this post because I felt that I could have written my comment on cavalier edicts better.


MER-c wrote:
I think you're getting a tad too defensive my friend, I was not calling you out, or even saying your way was wrong, I was saying that a lot of what you were advocating had a echo of players I have had an issue with in the past.

Defensive? It doesn't bother me at all that people play other ways than me. What do I have to defend? My way isn't the One True Way either. Literally the only thing I take issue with in this discussion is when people tell others how they should play or have fun. I doubt you ever did that. I was merely pointing out that the details in your post weren't enough to define a problem player, and how not everyone who plays with those emphases is a jerk. I wish you the best as well, and hope that you are able to avoid problem players in the future.

DFAnton wrote:

At that point, the person you've been playing with for the past 3 months, who's a well-established member of your group, suddenly tips their hand that their character's existence is going to steal the combat spotlight from everyone else.

Now you have to have an awkward conversation with them that you aren't going to let them take that level in Lore Oracle, at which point they get offended because this has been their character for 3 months. Changing course now would mean ditching or reinventing the character.

I agree that it's a challenge. There's no bright line that says "this is a problem player, and this is how you deal with them." That said, you can't expect people to be mind readers, so as much communication about game expectations should happen at the beginning as possible. In each individual case, you'll have to make a judgment call. That doesn't in any way negate my stance that there is nothing inherently wrong with a Paladin 2/Monk 2/Lore Oracle 1/Fighter 5. It was the subversion of the group's playstyle and expectations that was the problem, not the mechanical combination and multiclassing.


Milo v3 wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
That's not an example of a totem, though. Totems are described as "a representation of how and why you rage". Big weapons are a consequence of choosing the giant totem, they aren't the totem itself.

Except totems have been said to just be a result of belief or states of mind? Why would there be a mental block preventing anyone who lacks a strength complex from learning how to use big weapons when it isn't magical in nature. It is literally a skill (standard english definition not RPG Skill definition) that the can barbarian learn without needing to tap into anything supernatural or special.... so why does a skill require you to have a very specific personality if you want to learn it without supernatural aid?

The inconsistency is what is creating this friction. Hopefully it will become more clear once everyone has the playtest rules in our hands and/or devices.

You are learning it without supernatural aid but it is still an esoteric technique that perhaps requires you to first attain a specific state of mind to access. I do not see any disjoint from a storytelling standpoint at all:

The barbarian class interact with these primal concepts/mind states/mythic archetypes that result in them unlocking techniques that are unattainable through traditional martial education.

What is mechanically important is that these mind states are mutually exclusive. -w-


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At this point in the discussion, I've said just about everything I'm going to at least three times. Just as a final note to no person in particular, no matter how smart you are, you don't have a monopoly on the right way to have fun. It's subjective, and that's great because it means people who are very different can all get it from a single RPG system. Don't be that guy and force your preferences on other people, and don't advocate that the system only work for the way you want to play. The community is better as a whole when many different styles contribute and when people respect each other's preferences.

My concern with anathema has always been that it can be used to deny a particular style of play unnecessarily, whether by self-absorbed jerks or by GMs who just don't understand the intent or feel they can't change the rules. I hope that the developers see that danger and make its use broad and clear enough to allow for many styles to exist somewhat more harmoniously.


Excaliburproxy wrote:

You are learning it without supernatural aid but it is still an esoteric technique that perhaps requires you to first attain a specific state of mind to access. I do not see any disjoint from a storytelling standpoint at all:

The barbarian class interact with these primal concepts/mind states/mythic archetypes that result in them unlocking techniques that are unattainable through traditional martial education.

The text we have been shown of Totems doesn't really match up with this flavour. It matches up with one of the multiple methods that the totem text supports, but it specifically seems to support other options.

Perhaps it will become more clear once everyone has the playtest rules in our hands and/or devices.


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Excaliburproxy wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
That's not an example of a totem, though. Totems are described as "a representation of how and why you rage". Big weapons are a consequence of choosing the giant totem, they aren't the totem itself.

Except totems have been said to just be a result of belief or states of mind? Why would there be a mental block preventing anyone who lacks a strength complex from learning how to use big weapons when it isn't magical in nature. It is literally a skill (standard english definition not RPG Skill definition) that the can barbarian learn without needing to tap into anything supernatural or special.... so why does a skill require you to have a very specific personality if you want to learn it without supernatural aid?

The inconsistency is what is creating this friction. Hopefully it will become more clear once everyone has the playtest rules in our hands and/or devices.

You are learning it without supernatural aid but it is still an esoteric technique that perhaps requires you to first attain a specific state of mind to access. I do not see any disjoint from a storytelling standpoint at all:

The barbarian class interact with these primal concepts/mind states/mythic archetypes that result in them unlocking techniques that are unattainable through traditional martial education.

What is mechanically important is that these mind states are mutually exclusive. -w-

You're making stuff up. Just straight up. In an effort to justify a specific anathema that doesn't particularly make sense you're inserting fluff where it does not exist.

Earlier in this thread I came up with a concept for a Superstitious Barbarian that got the Mark Seifter badge of approval who's totem isn't related to a state of mind in any way; she was the subject of scientific experiments to turn her into an antimagic supersoldier, and her body and spirit simply repels magic automatically whether she wants it to or not.

Essentially, the justification for your totem that Paizo recommends is "whatever the f%#% you want". As such, it is very important that a totem's anathema is instrinsically linked to the benefits it grants; there must be a clear, obvious connection between the two or else the freedom of choice that Paizo wants out of this mechanic falls apart completely.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Arachnofiend wrote:
Essentially, the justification for your totem that Paizo recommends is "whatever the f~%# you want". As such, it is very important that a totem's anathema is instrinsically linked to the benefits it grants; there must be a clear, obvious connection between the two or else the freedom of choice that Paizo wants out of this mechanic falls apart completely.

I’d much prefer looser connections that can be interpreted in a wider variety of ways. Learning to rage from studying giants has a different take on accepting challenges of strength than by fighting giants and both are different from a giant’s curse. That single anathema can be expressed in many different ways. Tying the anathema too closely to the giant theme would limit those possibilities.


Arachnofiend wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
That's not an example of a totem, though. Totems are described as "a representation of how and why you rage". Big weapons are a consequence of choosing the giant totem, they aren't the totem itself.

Except totems have been said to just be a result of belief or states of mind? Why would there be a mental block preventing anyone who lacks a strength complex from learning how to use big weapons when it isn't magical in nature. It is literally a skill (standard english definition not RPG Skill definition) that the can barbarian learn without needing to tap into anything supernatural or special.... so why does a skill require you to have a very specific personality if you want to learn it without supernatural aid?

The inconsistency is what is creating this friction. Hopefully it will become more clear once everyone has the playtest rules in our hands and/or devices.

You are learning it without supernatural aid but it is still an esoteric technique that perhaps requires you to first attain a specific state of mind to access. I do not see any disjoint from a storytelling standpoint at all:

The barbarian class interact with these primal concepts/mind states/mythic archetypes that result in them unlocking techniques that are unattainable through traditional martial education.

What is mechanically important is that these mind states are mutually exclusive. -w-

You're making stuff up. Just straight up. In an effort to justify a specific anathema that doesn't particularly make sense you're inserting fluff where it does not exist.

Earlier in this thread I came up with a concept for a Superstitious Barbarian that got the Mark Seifter badge of approval who's totem isn't related to a state of mind in any way; she was the subject of scientific experiments to turn her into an antimagic supersoldier, and her body and spirit simply repels magic automatically whether she wants it to or not.

Essentially, the...

I am just filling in the gaps for you cool kids. It is easy to justify the mechanic. I was able to do so pretty quickly. You could also just say "it makes for giant themed barbarians to use giant-ass swords" and you get to the same destination pretty easily. It also makes sense that giant Barb always wants you to know that she is the biggest and the swollest on the block. The restriction gives the player guidance on how to actualize the concept.


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Late to the party here, but . . .

I think the changes to rage look great. I think the 3/1 round rhythm has the potential to add some tactical depth and decision making to playing a Barbarian, especially since it adds a bit of a "HP tank" aspect to Barbarian, which I personally like the flavor of.

I like the totems listed, and am glad to see that some of them are still giving magical abilities. I also think the option of a totemless Barbarian is a good call.

I like having a specific anathema tied to a specific totem as well. The listed anathemas seem fun, thematically appropriate, and relatively lightweight in terms of day-to-day impact (well, giant totem's looks lightweight. Superstition totem's is more severe, but that's apparently a balancing mechanism).

All of these reactions, of course, are subject to change once we get to see the playtest.


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KingOfAnything wrote:
I’d much prefer looser connections that can be interpreted in a wider variety of ways. Learning to rage from studying giants has a different take on accepting challenges of strength than by fighting giants and both are different from a giant’s curse. That single anathema can be expressed in many different ways. Tying the anathema too closely to the giant theme would limit those possibilities.

I sort of agree. I think that an Anathema drawn from the Giant Totem should be pretty giant centric and likely strength focused, but not necessarily on the "always take a dare" side of things.

I've been toying with "Always answer strength with strength" with the clarification that such strength doesn't have to be physical and doesn't have to match a direct challenge type for type.

So while what we have now is all too easily defined as a Marty McFly style of taking any strength based dare after being called chicken, a Giant Totemist should be able answer a Biff's challenge with a stare down, a fist fight, a sound rebuttal of how the challenge is beneath him, etc. Basically anything that shows the totemist has strength to overcome, even if that strength is something less tangible than raw brawn.

EDIT: Or something to that effect, anyway. Nice and broad in application, but specific in theme.


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Monk thread got me thinking about unarmed and unarmored barbarians. Seems like easy grounds for basing a totem around that. "Don't wear armor" is a pretty easy Anathema for a Totem that gives you bonuses unarmored.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The question that needs to be answered is why barbarians have anathema at all? Whta doe sit achieve? If its balance are mages going to have a 300 page contract to keep spell casting? Because so far they make no sense at all. (apart from superstition and that is easily covered by 'this resistance applies to all spells beneficial as well as detrimental) I mean the base idea makes no sense as a concept.


Question for Developers:

Will there be just a fiend totem or will it be split by fiend type? If split will Daemon be one of the types?


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Stone Dog wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
I’d much prefer looser connections that can be interpreted in a wider variety of ways. Learning to rage from studying giants has a different take on accepting challenges of strength than by fighting giants and both are different from a giant’s curse. That single anathema can be expressed in many different ways. Tying the anathema too closely to the giant theme would limit those possibilities.

I sort of agree. I think that an Anathema drawn from the Giant Totem should be pretty giant centric and likely strength focused, but not necessarily on the "always take a dare" side of things.

I've been toying with "Always answer strength with strength" with the clarification that such strength doesn't have to be physical and doesn't have to match a direct challenge type for type.

So while what we have now is all too easily defined as a Marty McFly style of taking any strength based dare after being called chicken, a Giant Totemist should be able answer a Biff's challenge with a stare down, a fist fight, a sound rebuttal of how the challenge is beneath him, etc. Basically anything that shows the totemist has strength to overcome, even if that strength is something less tangible than raw brawn.

EDIT: Or something to that effect, anyway. Nice and broad in application, but specific in theme.

but why does ot need to exist at all? The 'downside' of a totem is the opportunity cost of not having the other totems, why are all guys with big swords strength obssessed jerks to the extent they loose their core ability if they don't act like strength obssessed jerks?


Is it just the totems that are giving the anathema? If so maybe the totem options are slightly better then non-totem options?


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There is no evidence that all guys with big swords are strength obsessed jerks or that they fully lose their core ability if they don't act like jerks OR that jerkiness is implicit in their behavior. The extent of how Anathema impacts a Totemist isn't clear yet aside from the blog stating "relatively low impact."

As mentioned earlier in the thread, it is also possible that Totems are not limiting. Druidic orders can take feats outside their order so Barbarians in one totem might be able to take feats from other totems, just at a later level. So the downside may not be much of an opportunity cost at all.

As for why in general, it is something new they are trying, which is the whole point of a playtest, to try it out before the corebook is finalized.

It sounds like awesome roleplay hooks and world building to me... potentially. It really will depend on how it actually reads in the full version and I admit, from here I'm being optimistic.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Is it just the totems that are giving the anathema? If so maybe the totem options are slightly better then non-totem options?

Looks like just the non-Fury totems.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Is it just the totems that are giving the anathema? If so maybe the totem options are slightly better then non-totem options?

their are no 'non totem options' as far as I can tell, from reading this they are a core class mechanic.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Stone Dog wrote:

There is no evidence that all guys with big swords are strength obsessed jerks or that they fully lose their core ability if they don't act like jerks OR that jerkiness is implicit in their behavior. The extent of how Anathema impacts a Totemist isn't clear yet aside from the blog stating "relatively low impact."

As mentioned earlier in the thread, it is also possible that Totems are not limiting. Druidic orders can take feats outside their order so Barbarians in one totem might be able to take feats from other totems, just at a later level. So the downside may not be much of an opportunity cost at all.

As for why in general, it is something new they are trying, which is the whole point of a playtest, to try it out before the corebook is finalized.

It sounds like awesome roleplay hooks and world building to me... potentially. It really will depend on how it actually reads in the full version and I admit, from here I'm being optimistic.

and with the lack of sense of this mechanic, I am not. For divine casters, and honor code based orders, anathema make sense, they don't for any other situation at all. If it's fpr balance then where is the novel length code limiting mages?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Excaliburproxy wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
That's not an example of a totem, though. Totems are described as "a representation of how and why you rage". Big weapons are a consequence of choosing the giant totem, they aren't the totem itself.

Except totems have been said to just be a result of belief or states of mind? Why would there be a mental block preventing anyone who lacks a strength complex from learning how to use big weapons when it isn't magical in nature. It is literally a skill (standard english definition not RPG Skill definition) that the can barbarian learn without needing to tap into anything supernatural or special.... so why does a skill require you to have a very specific personality if you want to learn it without supernatural aid?

The inconsistency is what is creating this friction. Hopefully it will become more clear once everyone has the playtest rules in our hands and/or devices.

You are learning it without supernatural aid but it is still an esoteric technique that perhaps requires you to first attain a specific state of mind to access. I do not see any disjoint from a storytelling standpoint at all:

The barbarian class interact with these primal concepts/mind states/mythic archetypes that result in them unlocking techniques that are unattainable through traditional martial education.

What is mechanically important is that these mind states are mutually exclusive. -w-

You're making stuff up. Just straight up. In an effort to justify a specific anathema that doesn't particularly make sense you're inserting fluff where it does not exist.

Earlier in this thread I came up with a concept for a Superstitious Barbarian that got the Mark Seifter badge of approval who's totem isn't related to a state of mind in any way; she was the subject of scientific experiments to turn her into an antimagic supersoldier, and her body and spirit simply repels magic automatically whether she wants it to or

...

no it does not, its a 'nerf the barbarian button' for intelligent enemies to press, when no such button makes any sense


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Rob Godfrey wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
Temperans wrote:
I have a question to people asking for less or more varied anathema, did any of you have a problem with: Cavalier/Samurai orders, Monk vows or Oracle curses? (Just want to see if there is a difference, and sorry for the side track).
Cavalier and Samurai, nope the core concept of those archetypes is honour bound warrior fighting for a cause (be that a Lord, a philosophy, or something else), a Barbarian isn't that, they are rage and hate given big choppy things, Oracle's curses are different, they are explicitly external, and as the spells are divine, restrictions make sense.

I don't see why I couldn't play a LN Samurai via a Giant Totem Barbarian. The Totem represents my desire for strength so that I may better serve my Lord, and challenges to that strength if left unanswered bring such shame upon me (and thus my Lord) that I must seek atonement for my loss of honour before taking up my Zanbato again. In battle I achieve intense focus which, although both mentally and physically tiring, allow me to perform great acts. I do all this in service to my lord.

Nothing about that goes against any of the barbarian stuff shown so far, or the flavour of an honour bound character. To say you can't use the class to represent those archetypes is a severe lack of imagination.

that... May be an interesting Samurai archetype, it is not the Barbarian class.. At all, in fact no, just no, anathema are no win traps waiting to happen, and it requires playing enemies as stupid to not be trying to trigger those traps (not all would, some have their own honour, but some should for sure)

How is that not a Barbarian as is presented in the blog post?

EDIT: And it is only a trap for enemies to use if you play in a world where enemies can identify your class features and have knowledge of their rules. Now a well researched enemy who has studied a characters behaviour might, but it isn't an assumption that every single bad guy will know to challenge a particular barbarians strength. Hell many would know it but not be able to do so, they'd lose. Unless you play the villains have perfect knowledge of the party and use that against them GM card I don't see it being a massive issue.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Pandora's wrote:
Malachandra wrote:
Ya, you had me half on board up till there. We shouldn't divorce the game from flavor.

I have repeatedly advocated for optional flavor to be included alongside mechanics for inspiration or to represent what is common on Golarion. As I've said time and time again, the only difference between optional flavor and mandatory flavor is the ability to push it on someone who doesn't like that flavor.

Malachandra wrote:
Thing is, no we shouldn't force flavor on people. But that's why we have a plethora of options.
What makes more sense, to create the same ability over and over with different flavor each time or to make the flavor in the rulebook optional and allow the gaming group to be in charge of setting the flavor rather instead of the rulebook? In addition to the duplication, the former will always result in cases where an ability only exists once and it is inaccessibly without a single forced flavor.

Hi P.

When you write about optional flavor, I read it as being able to choose the flavor/restriction that best suits your concept (ie having many options). But I think other posters may read it as being able to have zero flavor/restriction at all (ie not choosing an option)

I also understand the concerns of those that feel some players will try and pick the best of both worlds

But if anathema are as little game-impacting as Mark Seifter implied, Superstition being the exception, then giving the choice would carry very little risk of munchkinism


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Dragon78 wrote:
I like the totem mechanic, it reminds me of sorcerer bloodlines, but was never a fan of rage and was hoping for some other options.

What were you expecting to see on the class which has been defined since at least D&D 3.0 by getting slightly irate in combat, if not Rage?

Nathanael Love wrote:

Superstition totem sounds like the worst party destroying character types of editions past- vow of poverty and the Forsaken remixed into a core book option.

Hoo. Ray.

Any chance of why you think the Superstition Totem will be a problem for parties? It only seems to directly affect the Barbarian, especially if someone in the party has taken non-magical healing options.

tivadar27 wrote:
NOTE: While it would be amusing, pretty sure I've never seen a wizard cast fireball by flippin' the bird.

I'm not 100% certain, but I think Harry Dresden may have done something along those lines - though I'm not rereading the entire line of books right now to check ;)

Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
I wonder if the rage bonus will also be MOAR damage die. My gut likes Barbarians throwing the biggest fistfuls of dice in a game full of big fistfuls of dice, but I'm not sure how if that works well in practice.
Plenty of people like throwing ye olde dice bukkit. It's at least 33% of the appeal of playing Shadowrun after all.

Or the West End Games classic Star Wars engine.

I think playing a high-XP Jedi in that system, whilst spending a Force Point, is one of the few times I have had to use more than one brick of Chessex d6 (i.e., over 36 dice) in a single attack roll...

Pandora's wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Taboos, from the Medium class were interesting restrictions that gave a bonus. However, they were fairly easy to game by taking one with the least impact to your character, and thus practically ignorable. That made the idea much less interesting. So, I'm skeptical of too many options.
It's almost like forcing role-playing restrictions that the player doesn't want doesn't work out well. If Bookrat's interpretation is correct, the developers' intent is to instead encourage a dialogue where the GM and player together decide on restrictions the player finds fun. If that's correct, it's an ingenious way to sidestep this problem.

Nah, it's more like a chunk of the Pathfinder playerbase are determined to get as much ice cream as possible, while eating as few vegetables as possible.

Pandora's wrote:
This is needless cosmology. What source? There is no defined, single individual responsible for the anathema like there is for clerics. Why does an intuitive warrior who loses track of everything but the battle and uses massive weapons to intimidate his enemies have to also have a competition complex? More generally, why does a feature as generic as "barbarian who uses big weapons" need to be tied to a specific role-playing restriction?

I'm assuming this is something that will be explained a bit in the write-up of the Totem feature in the Playtest Rulebook. Instead of flying off the handle about it now, how about cooling your jets a bit until you can see the full picture on them?

Pandora's wrote:
But even if you weren't, the role-playing restriction having a cosmological source doesn't make it any more fun for me. We're essentially back to the same debate as with paladins. You can have your character with the default flavor, and I should be able to have mine that's another flavor that makes just as much sense. A rulebook with unnecessarily narrow flavor restrictions tells some people "your idea is correct" and others "yours is wrong." In what way does that improve the game?

Well, one would like to think that when it comes to games set in Golarion, the dev team's ideas are what's correct for the default setting. And let's not bring the Paladin argument into here - so much of that in PF1E boiled down to "I want Divine Grace, but can't deal with playing LG!", with a variety of bull-pucky claims as to how this wasn't actually the case, that it wasn't funny.

Meophist wrote:
I hope I can make a fist fighting Barbarian. I hope unarmed combat isn't restricted to the Monk.

From what we've seen, I believe Unarmed is likely to be a weapon proficiency. So, in theory, an unarmed Barbarian would be doable, though I doubt they'd reach the same proficiency level (or have the same Class Feat support) as the Monk.

Stone Dog wrote:
Please, first example of Barbarian doesn't fall because we don't even know if that is a thing that can happen yet. I'm taking "relatively low impact and designed to create roleplaying hooks" at face value instead of assuming that it makes them lose all their powers and makes them need a cleric.

I'm pretty sure the blog (or a post from Mark) mentions what happens if the anathema is breached - lose totem abilities (but not RAEG!) until you can spend a day to straighten yourself out.

Cyouni wrote:
Is it really necessary to literally write THIS TOO CAN BE DISCUSSED WITH GM on every single page people might have a problem with (every page)?

Just pop it in the template for the page header or footer...

Rob Godfrey wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Is it just the totems that are giving the anathema? If so maybe the totem options are slightly better then non-totem options?
their are no 'non totem options' as far as I can tell, from reading this they are a core class mechanic.

Fury Totem (not Furry Totem) exists for the Barbarian who wants an anathema-free life. From what little was mentioned in the blog post, it sounds like generic PF1E Rage Syndrome (as opposed to PF1E Forum Rage Syndrome).

Rob Godfrey wrote:
no it does not, its a 'nerf the barbarian button' for intelligent enemies to press, when no such button makes any sense

That assumes that a, it is simple for an enemy to identify a given totem; b, it is commonly known what the anathema for a given totem is; and c, that it is simple to generate conditions to trigger an anathema in a given scenario.

+ + +

Question for Mark Seifter, if he's still reading the thread - are Totems (other than Superstition) being presented with a single Anathema each for the playtest, or are more than one per Totem available?


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I think that the anathemata are going to present significant problems in PF2. I can understand the reasoning behind their introduction, especially as regards Pathfinder Society: the PF1 rules for clerics "grossly violating their god's code of conduct" or the paladin "who ceases to be lawful good, who willfully commits an evil act, or who violates the code of conduct" or the druid "who ceases to revere nature" have always been massively open to GM interpretation - I can see that the game designers would want to provide better guidance on what that means in PF2.

But applying them to the barbarian - a class that had no such restrictions in PF1 - was only ever going to divide opinion.

Paizo blog wrote:
Each totem also has its own anathema, most of which are relatively low impact and designed to create roleplaying hooks. For instance, the giant totem's anathema states that you cannot fail to accept a personal challenge of your strength

For the record, "But Thou Must!" is not something I would consider to be "relatively low impact."


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Rob Godfrey wrote:
The question that needs to be answered is why barbarians have anathema at all?

Isn't one of the things common to most media presentations of "Barbarians" in the Pathfinder style that they have taboos or keep superstitions that people not from their culture seem strange? I figure the Anathema mechanic is the best way to do that without making Barbarians culture specific.


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With regard to the Superstition Barbarian, I imagine if you show up as the Big Nasty Damage Dealer for a PFS game with that build and someone else comes in with a Buffbot Bard then the Bard is going to feel pretty useless. A Wizard could just choose to prepare a different selection of spells that day, but a Bard or Sorcerer built for buffing would be rightfully miffed if they can't use their abilities to bolster the proper target for said bolstering.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Malk_Content wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
Temperans wrote:
I have a question to people asking for less or more varied anathema, did any of you have a problem with: Cavalier/Samurai orders, Monk vows or Oracle curses? (Just want to see if there is a difference, and sorry for the side track).
Cavalier and Samurai, nope the core concept of those archetypes is honour bound warrior fighting for a cause (be that a Lord, a philosophy, or something else), a Barbarian isn't that, they are rage and hate given big choppy things, Oracle's curses are different, they are explicitly external, and as the spells are divine, restrictions make sense.

I don't see why I couldn't play a LN Samurai via a Giant Totem Barbarian. The Totem represents my desire for strength so that I may better serve my Lord, and challenges to that strength if left unanswered bring such shame upon me (and thus my Lord) that I must seek atonement for my loss of honour before taking up my Zanbato again. In battle I achieve intense focus which, although both mentally and physically tiring, allow me to perform great acts. I do all this in service to my lord.

Nothing about that goes against any of the barbarian stuff shown so far, or the flavour of an honour bound character. To say you can't use the class to represent those archetypes is a severe lack of imagination.

that... May be an interesting Samurai archetype, it is not the Barbarian class.. At all, in fact no, just no, anathema are no win traps waiting to happen, and it requires playing enemies as stupid to not be trying to trigger those traps (not all would, some have their own honour, but some should for sure)

How is that not a Barbarian as is presented in the blog post?

EDIT: And it is only a trap for enemies to use if you play in a world where enemies can identify your class features and have knowledge of their rules. Now a well researched enemy who has studied a characters behaviour might, but it isn't an assumption...

because it is a Samurai, not a Barbarian, and anathema for any class whose power is not divine make no sense, if it is for balance reasons the MAge Anathema list should be longer than The Hobbit.


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Rob Godfrey wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
That's not an example of a totem, though. Totems are described as "a representation of how and why you rage". Big weapons are a consequence of choosing the giant totem, they aren't the totem itself.

Except totems have been said to just be a result of belief or states of mind? Why would there be a mental block preventing anyone who lacks a strength complex from learning how to use big weapons when it isn't magical in nature. It is literally a skill (standard english definition not RPG Skill definition) that the can barbarian learn without needing to tap into anything supernatural or special.... so why does a skill require you to have a very specific personality if you want to learn it without supernatural aid?

The inconsistency is what is creating this friction. Hopefully it will become more clear once everyone has the playtest rules in our hands and/or devices.

You are learning it without supernatural aid but it is still an esoteric technique that perhaps requires you to first attain a specific state of mind to access. I do not see any disjoint from a storytelling standpoint at all:

The barbarian class interact with these primal concepts/mind states/mythic archetypes that result in them unlocking techniques that are unattainable through traditional martial education.

What is mechanically important is that these mind states are mutually exclusive. -w-

You're making stuff up. Just straight up. In an effort to justify a specific anathema that doesn't particularly make sense you're inserting fluff where it does not exist.

Earlier in this thread I came up with a concept for a Superstitious Barbarian that got the Mark Seifter badge of approval who's totem isn't related to a state of mind in any way; she was the subject of scientific experiments to turn her into an antimagic supersoldier, and her body and spirit simply repels magic

...

I was unaware Cavalier orders were a "nerf the Cavalier button". They're basically the same feature, and if you weren't up in arms about the Cavalier, I fail to see why you should be now.

It's a "But Thou Must" in the same way the Order of the Lion must serve their liege, or the Order of the Shield must protect the common folk, with approximately the same level of penalty for failing to uphold their convictions.

Does everyone go around baiting Order of the Cockatrice cavaliers into things where refusing would violate "The cavalier must take every opportunity to increase his own stature, prestige, and power"? Is there a culture where this happens that I've missed? Why is this suddenly a concern for the Barbarian?

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