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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Pun-Pun wrote:
AM BARBARIAN wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

Does anybody else think the anathema furor is a little strange given that we haven't seen the exact text of a single anathema, nor the full rules for them?

Like people are getting annoyed that Barbarians have "things you shouldn't do" baked in? I don't get it.

BARBARIAN AM THINKING AM MIGHTYWEIRD.

FOR EXAMPLING, BARBARIAN ANATHEMA AM EXISTING FOR FOREVER: BARBARIAN NOT WEAR SHIRT, EVER. AM NEVER NEED FOR SHIRT. THIS AM NOT NEW FEATURE.

But were still good with pants right?

We can only hope - otherwise AM BARBARIAN is going to be getting thrown out of more places, even before the obligatory bar fight sequence...


Sculcuvant wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Quandary wrote:
Polymorph wings is good reason to consider some Barb class abilities working outside of Rage.
I think it's likely that Totem abilities in general work outside Rage. None of the ones we've heard of thus far seem super synchronized with the rage mechanic, and in particular losing your ability to wield oversized weapons from your Giant Totem
How do you figure balancing oversized weapons?
About four inches from the hilt.

Is this a LAIRE thing?


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dysartes wrote:
Pun-Pun wrote:
AM BARBARIAN wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

Does anybody else think the anathema furor is a little strange given that we haven't seen the exact text of a single anathema, nor the full rules for them?

Like people are getting annoyed that Barbarians have "things you shouldn't do" baked in? I don't get it.

BARBARIAN AM THINKING AM MIGHTYWEIRD.

FOR EXAMPLING, BARBARIAN ANATHEMA AM EXISTING FOR FOREVER: BARBARIAN NOT WEAR SHIRT, EVER. AM NEVER NEED FOR SHIRT. THIS AM NOT NEW FEATURE.

But were still good with pants right?
We can only hope - otherwise AM BARBARIAN is going to be getting thrown out of more places, even before the obligatory bar fight sequence...

PANTS AM STILL REQUIRED IN MOST AREAS, YES. NOT EVEN BARBARIAN DUMP CHA THAT MUCH.


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Diego Rossi wrote:
Wultram wrote:

I would say if not a single person even in that small sample size had any care about totems as the argument made in the blog post, it is a pretty good indication that the premise is wrong.

If really no one in your playing circle care about totems RP side speaks lots about how the people with which you play see Roleplaying, way less about what the average player like to do.

Coupled with your comment on the iconic character, it is very clear that what matter for you is getting the best value for the buck when buing your character feats and abilities. Not wrong, but hardly the only way to play.

First I am not going to adress the iconic, as I have stated previously that discussion would venture too far off the topic. I am not unwilling to discuss it, just not here.

As to the main gist of it. Or perhaps we do not care a whole lot about the standard fluff. The people I play with see classes as bags of mechanics, that are to be used to create a character. For example a superstisous barbarian could be the result of some mages experiment. Beast totem could have some lycantrophes in their ancestory(just not to the extenct they would be a full one.) Rage is just a word, it could just as easily be a samurai(the romantisized one not the historic) that has a zen like battle trance. But we do certainly look at best bang for buck in relation to the character. If a character concept for example includes being good with X weapon, well then you look through the classes on who gets profiency in it, or if you can spare a feat to gain it, and how it meshes up with other parts of the concept. If other part of the concept is being sneaky, and one that does not cast spells, then you could look at (u)rogues/ninja and a slayer, well it seems slayer is the best one of the bunch when it comes to weapon use and sneaky so that choice makes sense.

In short we roleplay plenty and our characters are actually characters not just some tacked on fluff from the rulebook. Customized fluff assuming equal level of creativity will always be superior to generic one. The former just has to fit one single character after all. And as such I would say the people that are using the standard fluff while not wrong in doing so are the ones much less invested in the roleplaying part of the game.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Diverging from the norm does not equal being better or more creative

And it is absolutely 100% independent from skill or investment in roleplaying

It is just one way to create a specific combination of character and mechanics


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Does anybody else think the anathema furor is a little strange given that we haven't seen the exact text of a single anathema, nor the full rules for them?

Like people are getting annoyed that Barbarians have "things you shouldn't do" baked in? I don't get it.

I disagree. Barbarians never really had an Anathema baked into their class that wasn't voluntarily taken. If anything, the only "anathema" they had was "non-Lawful," and when our group handwaved it (for a Lawful Evil campaign), that "anathema" was so low impact that it could just be handwaved, and the game would have functioned the exact same (sans not giving people the "green light" to be Chaotic Stupid/Stupid Evil, but this still wasn't an issue in this campaign).

The vitriol comes from "Why this, and why now?" And I can understand it. Barbarians, ever since the beginning of their conception in D&D, haven't had a class-based "anathema." Any "anathema" Barbarian characters had were derived from things like alignment or personality, which had nothing to do with the class (in comparison to, say, the Paladin, a class that was actually designed to possess a specific alignment, and in earlier editions, was only available to certain races).

This was really only a Pathfinder thing, and was only when Superstition (or even certain archetypes, which were bad,) came into the picture, but that was really only impactful when characters chose the Superstition rage power (or archetype, the former of which was a lot of them, but there was still the option to simply not have it, since it was a sub-feature, and not hard-baked into the class).

Now, compare this paradigm to the one in PF2. One rage power (quintessential as it was) and one or two archetypes, all of which was completely optional, compared to what is now every totem except one having some form of anathema that may (or more than likely, may not) mesh well with character concepts. That is a drastic change of creative liberty, from "I can choose XYZ options that alter how I roleplay my character" to "I can only choose X option if I want something that doesn't force me to roleplay in Z manner." And to be honest, a lot of the options in PF1 didn't need some form of roleplay restriction to keep the Barbarian in bounds, but the ones that did (such as Superstition) was optional (again, even if popular), and it really helped make the class great.

In short, not every totem needs to have an anathema. Some should, such as Superstition, since its anathema is linked to both its increased power level, and the intent of the totem, not unlike Paladins whose restrictions similarly grant them an increase in power, as well as a form of intent for how such characters are supposed to be played. Others, such as the Giant one, or the Strength one? Can easily do without an anathema, and function just fine. Players can roleplay into their totems (such as a warrior who believes Giants are the quintessential combatant, and reveres their prowess, or someone who just values raw power [read: Strength] in its purest form), but it should just be that: an ability, not a requirement

Liberty's Edge

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Barbarians, ever since the beginning of their conception in D&D, haven't had a class-based "anathema." Any "anathema" Barbarian characters had were derived from things like alignment or personality, which had nothing to do with the class (in comparison to, say, the Paladin, a class that was actually designed to possess a specific alignment, and in earlier editions, was only available to certain races).

I, as previously stated, have no opinion yet on Barbarian Anathema in PF2. I'd need to actually see them before forming a real opinion on their appropriateness or lack thereof.

However, as a historical note, this is pretty much completely untrue as I understand it. From what I've heard in D&D 1E Barbarians were actually forced to destroy magic items they ran into (among other things), and even in AD&D2E (the edition I have the 'Complete Barbarian's Handbook' for) where requirements were much looser, many Barbarian Kits carried such penalties (though the base Class, much like the Fury Totem in PF2, did not).

Indeed, the only Barbarian Fighter Kit that lacks something Anathema-like is the 'Ravager' (also the only one that's a berserker) and the Ravager has this problem where they go berserk (unless they succeed at a save) if insulted or the like.

Also, while the book doesn't require these restrictions, it strongly encourages mechanically enforcing the Barbarian not being allowed to trust arcane magic and freaking out whenever they see it, and not being allowed to use metal armor or weapons or they lose class features/suffer major penalties.

So...no, this sort of thing is not new.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
From what I've heard in D&D 1E Barbarians were actually forced to destroy magic items they ran into (among other things)

Not quite, but they were forced to do (or not do) other things even more restrictive.

Unearthed Arcana wrote:
Barbarians in general detest magic and those who use it. They will, at low levels of experience, refuse to employ any sort of magic item if they recognize it as such. They will often seek to destroy magic items, and if successful they receive an experience-point award as if they possessed the destroyed items. While magic-users will be shunned initially, and always viewed with suspicion, clerical spells of the type used by shamans and witch doctors are not so viewed, though high-level cleric spells are suspect.
Unearthed Arcana wrote:

As barbarians rise in level... some of the limitations placed on the barbarian are relaxed or lifted. A [condensed] summary follows:

Level Actions and Abilities
2 May associate freely with clerics
3 May use magic potions
4 May use magic weapons
5 May use magic armor
6 May associate with magic-users --- if necessary!
7 May use weapon-like miscellaneous magic items
8 May associate with magic-users --- occasionally
9 May use protection scrolls
10 May use most magic items available to fighters

At lower levels they were actually way more restrictive than paladins on what the rest of the party could be.

Liberty's Edge

Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Not quite, but they were forced to do (or not do) other things even more restrictive.

Thanks for the correction, I started with AD&D 2E, and my knowledge of editions before that one is almost entirely anecdotal.


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Damn, the older editions of D&D had some incredibly stupid rules. A Barbarian can't freely associate with clerics until second level? What do you do if one of the other players decides they want to play a cleric?


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That really wasn't an "if." You didn't go on an adventure w/o a cleric back then.

Because of the low-level barbarian prohibitions against associating with spellcasters, in my group (during 1E) we only played them when starting at mid-to-high levels. Of course their presence still made everyone else, esp. wizards, totally paranoid about potential magic items in loot. "A wand? Great, I break it! Do I get XP or was it just a stick?"


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Universal Paladin and Barbarian anathema: "If you don't tell the other players what to play and how to play it at least once per session, you lose your class features during your next session."


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Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

That really wasn't an "if." You didn't go on an adventure w/o a cleric back then.

Because of the low-level barbarian prohibitions against associating with spellcasters, in my group (during 1E) we only played them when starting at mid-to-high levels. Of course their presence still made everyone else, esp. wizards, totally paranoid about potential magic items in loot. "A wand? Great, I break it! Do I get XP or was it just a stick?"

Yeesh. The more I hear about D&D the more I'm glad I started with Pathfinder. It seems like most of the rules in "classic" D&D are designed specifically to prevent you from having fun.


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Arachnofiend wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

That really wasn't an "if." You didn't go on an adventure w/o a cleric back then.

Because of the low-level barbarian prohibitions against associating with spellcasters, in my group (during 1E) we only played them when starting at mid-to-high levels. Of course their presence still made everyone else, esp. wizards, totally paranoid about potential magic items in loot. "A wand? Great, I break it! Do I get XP or was it just a stick?"

Yeesh. The more I hear about D&D the more I'm glad I started with Pathfinder. It seems like most of the rules in "classic" D&D are designed specifically to prevent you from having fun.

It's amazing how many people appeal to the good old days, when seriously a lot of the good old days were ridiculously bad ideas.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Barbarians, ever since the beginning of their conception in D&D, haven't had a class-based "anathema." Any "anathema" Barbarian characters had were derived from things like alignment or personality, which had nothing to do with the class (in comparison to, say, the Paladin, a class that was actually designed to possess a specific alignment, and in earlier editions, was only available to certain races).

I, as previously stated, have no opinion yet on Barbarian Anathema in PF2. I'd need to actually see them before forming a real opinion on their appropriateness or lack thereof.

However, as a historical note, this is pretty much completely untrue as I understand it. From what I've heard in D&D 1E Barbarians were actually forced to destroy magic items they ran into (among other things), and even in AD&D2E (the edition I have the 'Complete Barbarian's Handbook' for) where requirements were much looser, many Barbarian Kits carried such penalties (though the base Class, much like the Fury Totem in PF2, did not).

Indeed, the only Barbarian Fighter Kit that lacks something Anathema-like is the 'Ravager' (also the only one that's a berserker) and the Ravager has this problem where they go berserk (unless they succeed at a save) if insulted or the like.

Also, while the book doesn't require these restrictions, it strongly encourages mechanically enforcing the Barbarian not being allowed to trust arcane magic and freaking out whenever they see it, and not being allowed to use metal armor or weapons or they lose class features/suffer major penalties.

So...no, this sort of thing is not new.

I'll concede the first edition concept, I forgot that was a thing (only because I remember other posters making identical claims), but similar to "Barbarian Kits" in AD&D2E, those were optional for specific benefits (same as PF1 Archetypes) even those were bad ideas. I've played games where kits for classes were a thing, but a lot of them were very badly designed and didn't really give any sort of personal incentive to do it; I imagine if the internet were around in those days, people would have spouted how horrible a lot of kits are, and wish they were never developed, or that rulebooks didn't waste design space on such things.

The biggest problem with these anathemas is taking away creative freedom. Barbarians were pretty "blank slate," comparable to Fighters (and to certain degrees, Rangers, Rogues, Wizards, etc.), unlike Paladins (and to certain degrees, Clerics) that were very strict (Cleric being less so since it lacked a Code of Conduct in PF1) in the ways you could play them. The main takeaway from Anathemas is that they were meant to replace things like the Paladin's Code of Conduct (and to a greater extent, actually give Clerics and other similar classes a Code of Conduct that they authentically have to enforce now), since those were the classes that anathemas were specifically designed for, due that PF1 Paladin codes were too vague and too easily corruptible, and that PF1 Clerics could literally not fall since they did not have any form of guidelines to adhere to (seriously, you can look throughout the entire Core Rulebook, and you would find nothing that could make a Cleric fall, making it a dead rule from the start that required supplements to remedy).

The fact that Barbarian has one of these "anathemas" to counteract their Totems, also in exchange for allowing a Lawful Barbarian, is a major concern coming into playtesting, and it extends to more than just the Barbarian, since Monks and Druids likewise have alignment restrictions that may or may not be lifted from PF1 in exchange for anathemas that, to several posters, can ruin a player's creative freedom. There may even be anathemas for other factors (such as Bards for certain performances, assuming they still get them, and Sorcerers for certain bloodline heritage selections). I will agree that I can't 100% say for certain that it shall happen until we get the entire playtest and feel it out, but I'm sitting on the 75% mark that there will be tables with unhappy Barbarian (or other similar) players dealing with silly anathemas, and will either houserule them out (which is fine, but not viable in PF2S or other organized play), and that there will be threads that emerge with titles like "Did this Barbarian fall?" or "Paizo, PLEASE get rid of Anathemas on XYZ classes!"

One final note: Creative Freedom is supposed to be one of the biggest selling points of PF as a whole, but especially PF2, with how modular feat choices and ancestries and other options are. Being a "Build-a-Character" workshop is what Paizo is focusing on; sending a mixed message of "Yeah, you can have all of these feat and ancestry options to choose from, but selecting XYZ classes means you have to play them in XYZ manner or you lose class features for X amount of duration" is going to both confuse potential consumers and annoy existing players, even if a playtest is conducted. I'd rather Paizo plays it safe and not have anathemas bolted onto half the classes simply because it's new and functions as a potentially better form of balance between classes.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Malk_Content wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

That really wasn't an "if." You didn't go on an adventure w/o a cleric back then.

Because of the low-level barbarian prohibitions against associating with spellcasters, in my group (during 1E) we only played them when starting at mid-to-high levels. Of course their presence still made everyone else, esp. wizards, totally paranoid about potential magic items in loot. "A wand? Great, I break it! Do I get XP or was it just a stick?"

Yeesh. The more I hear about D&D the more I'm glad I started with Pathfinder. It seems like most of the rules in "classic" D&D are designed specifically to prevent you from having fun.
It's amazing how many people appeal to the good old days, when seriously a lot of the good old days were ridiculously bad ideas.

Still it was pretty fun, with way less problems about linear martials and quadratic magicians, the ability to make a full move and full attack, fast combat, fighters not having weaker saves than other classes, control magic ruling the day and so on.

It was a different game with way less personalization of the mechanics of the character but a more open way of playing.

Plenty of thing pro and against.

Liberty's Edge

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@Darksol the Painbringer:

I'm not arguing Anathema are a good idea for Barbarian. Indeed, I've specifically noted I have no opinion on that whatsoever at the moment.

But arguing that Barbarians having Anathema is out of nowhere and has never been done before in D&D when they had very strong restriction in D&D 1E and often had one or more such restriction in AD&D 2E (either due to Kits or the DM taking the strongly worded advice of the book to put such restrictions on them to heart) is just not true.

Shadow Lodge

Honestly if they scrubbed off the name "pathfinder" and called the 2nd edition something else I wonder how many people would have been as upset as they are now.


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Meanwhile, back at the farm....

Is anyone else annoyed at "superstition" as a name for that totem? The word is basically pejorative, carrying a strict implication of irrationality.

Barbarians should be able to talk about their totems in character, and should (generally) be proud of them. "I am of the Giant Totem!" "My totem is the mighty Dragon!" "Yeah, well, mine is Superstition!" (The PF1 rage power didn't bother me because I didn't think people would name most rage powers in character anyway.)

While "Anti-Magic Totem" or "Anti-Spell Totem" can probably be improved on, I think they're already way better than "Superstition Totem."

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I am not especially invested in anathema either way, but I have to say that if they wind up being a thing in PF2 they aren't going to bother me. That's largely for the same reason that a lot of the counterarguments don't make much sense to me: why would you choose an anathema that doesn't suit your character? The answer seems to be "because I want the mechanical benefit," but that seems back-assward to me. If you have a character image so clearly in mind, why are you starting from the mechanical end of things?


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Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

Meanwhile, back at the farm....

Is anyone else annoyed at "superstition" as a name for that totem? The word is basically pejorative, carrying a strict implication of irrationality.

A distrust of magic to the point that you resist even healing is pretty irrational in golarion.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

Meanwhile, back at the farm....

Is anyone else annoyed at "superstition" as a name for that totem? The word is basically pejorative, carrying a strict implication of irrationality.

Barbarians should be able to talk about their totems in character, and should (generally) be proud of them. "I am of the Giant Totem!" "My totem is the mighty Dragon!" "Yeah, well, mine is Superstition!" (The PF1 rage power didn't bother me because I didn't think people would name most rage powers in character anyway.)

While "Anti-Magic Totem" or "Anti-Spell Totem" can probably be improved on, I think they're already way better than "Superstition Totem."

Totem's aren't external or set things though. The Giant Totem can be represented by whatever the hell you like. It is just a mechanics term. In the same way my characters in game don't reference their feats by name, they aren't going to reference their Totem like that directly.


Ryan Freire wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

Meanwhile, back at the farm....

Is anyone else annoyed at "superstition" as a name for that totem? The word is basically pejorative, carrying a strict implication of irrationality.

A distrust of magic to the point that you resist even healing is pretty irrational in golarion.

Sure, but do the distrustful barbarians feel the same way?

IRL I don't think people usually refer to themselves as superstitious.


Diego Rossi wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

That really wasn't an "if." You didn't go on an adventure w/o a cleric back then.

Because of the low-level barbarian prohibitions against associating with spellcasters, in my group (during 1E) we only played them when starting at mid-to-high levels. Of course their presence still made everyone else, esp. wizards, totally paranoid about potential magic items in loot. "A wand? Great, I break it! Do I get XP or was it just a stick?"

Yeesh. The more I hear about D&D the more I'm glad I started with Pathfinder. It seems like most of the rules in "classic" D&D are designed specifically to prevent you from having fun.
It's amazing how many people appeal to the good old days, when seriously a lot of the good old days were ridiculously bad ideas.
Still it was pretty fun, with way less problems about linear martials and quadratic magicians, the ability to make a full move and full attack,

Here's where it gets a bit hazy, especially in 2nd Ed, it would seem you can move up to half your speed and "make an attack", but it doesn't specify how many.


Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

Is anyone else annoyed at "superstition" as a name for that totem? The word is basically pejorative, carrying a strict implication of irrationality.

While "Anti-Magic Totem" or "Anti-Spell Totem" can probably be improved on, I think they're already way better than "Superstition Totem."

Annoyed, no. But there can be a better name for it, just like how there can be better names for Spell Points, many uses of the term "level" and "feats," and so on, to avoid confusion and to streamline differentiation.

Unfortunately, there aren't many fitting words that are antonyms of Magic. I mean, we could call it the "Martial" totem, but that's a little on-the-nose, and equally confusing, since it would more likely mean that you're more of a prideful soldier, with an anathema of disobeying a superior officer's orders or something equally silly.


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Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Is anyone else annoyed at "superstition" as a name for that totem? The word is basically pejorative, carrying a strict implication of irrationality.

I'm wondering how difficult it would be to reskin that as the "Skepticism" totem, in case I wanted to play a bookish yet insufferable Barbarian.

"Magic is not real, you see."


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
I will agree that I can't 100% say for certain that it shall happen until we get the entire playtest and feel it out, but I'm sitting on the 75% mark that there will be tables with unhappy Barbarian (or other similar) players dealing with silly anathemas, and will either houserule them out (which is fine, but not viable in PF2S or other organized play), and that there will be threads that emerge with titles like "Did this Barbarian fall?" or "Paizo, PLEASE get rid of Anathemas on XYZ classes!"

I get why you are upset about Anathemas, and I think it is a legit reason to not like it (even if I don't share the opinion.) But I gotta ask, do you really see this coming up in PFS? My experience with it has been that it's need to run the rails on a tight schedule means any role-playing is fairly cursory-- I would be shocked if Anathemas came up in PFS. Maaaaybe for deity based stuff, since those seem a little stricter, but I can't foresee a lot of GMs challenging my barbarian specifically, for example.


What I meant when I said that was that you can't just houserule potential fixes for player problems in PF2S, not that the anathemas themselves wouldn't be viable, but that can still be a concern for PF2S, especially for differentiating between Superstition Barbarian #87264 and Superstition Barbarian #74562563, since both now have the same restrictions, making them more homogenous than before (and that's something that people have despised in 4E, and something I still dislike about PF1S to this day).


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
What I meant when I said that was that you can't just houserule potential fixes for player problems in PF2S, not that the anathemas themselves wouldn't be viable, but that can still be a concern for PF2S, especially for differentiating between Superstition Barbarian #87264 and Superstition Barbarian #74562563, since both now have the same restrictions, making them more homogenous than before (and that's something that people have despised in 4E, and something I still dislike about PF1S to this day).

My point is more that if the role play restriction doesn't actually come up, you can basically think of your dude however you want. Like, say there's a ballad totem that states whenever you sing it must be in a baritone. If you never actually sing in PFS, your character can actually be a tenor for all intents and purposes.

Like, you don't need to actually embody behaviors that are never brought up. As pointed out upthread, your character doesn't have to like the restrictions, or have any sort of particular personality. It seems really unlikely that you're gonna have that tested in PFS, where I could see a home game getting far enough into the specific PCs to have those things come up.


Basically, the only games where it seems like Anathema would actually impact how you can play your character would be non-official games with GMs who won't bend for you. Which is totally a thing, but I just can't imagine it being relevant to PFS.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

It's worth noting that Pathfinder Society has had its own series of houserules for a long time now. Perhaps they could be persuaded to include some modifications to the anathema system for organized play. ^_^

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
What I meant when I said that was that you can't just houserule potential fixes for player problems in PF2S, not that the anathemas themselves wouldn't be viable, but that can still be a concern for PF2S, especially for differentiating between Superstition Barbarian #87264 and Superstition Barbarian #74562563, since both now have the same restrictions, making them more homogenous than before (and that's something that people have despised in 4E, and something I still dislike about PF1S to this day).

My point is more that if the role play restriction doesn't actually come up, you can basically think of your dude however you want. Like, say there's a ballad totem that states whenever you sing it must be in a baritone. If you never actually sing in PFS, your character can actually be a tenor for all intents and purposes.

Like, you don't need to actually embody behaviors that are never brought up. As pointed out upthread, your character doesn't have to like the restrictions, or have any sort of particular personality. It seems really unlikely that you're gonna have that tested in PFS, where I could see a home game getting far enough into the specific PCs to have those things come up.

Yeah. Accepting challenges doesn’t mean every giant totem barbarian is insecure and compensating. The character could treat such challenges as a solemn duty to be performed or they could have a pack mindset where such challenges formally establish rank in their tribe. There are many directions you can go with such a simple anathema.


KingOfAnything wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
What I meant when I said that was that you can't just houserule potential fixes for player problems in PF2S, not that the anathemas themselves wouldn't be viable, but that can still be a concern for PF2S, especially for differentiating between Superstition Barbarian #87264 and Superstition Barbarian #74562563, since both now have the same restrictions, making them more homogenous than before (and that's something that people have despised in 4E, and something I still dislike about PF1S to this day).

My point is more that if the role play restriction doesn't actually come up, you can basically think of your dude however you want. Like, say there's a ballad totem that states whenever you sing it must be in a baritone. If you never actually sing in PFS, your character can actually be a tenor for all intents and purposes.

Like, you don't need to actually embody behaviors that are never brought up. As pointed out upthread, your character doesn't have to like the restrictions, or have any sort of particular personality. It seems really unlikely that you're gonna have that tested in PFS, where I could see a home game getting far enough into the specific PCs to have those things come up.

Yeah. Accepting challenges doesn’t mean every giant totem barbarian is insecure and compensating. The character could treat such challenges as a solemn duty to be performed or they could have a pack mindset where such challenges formally establish rank in their tribe. There are many directions you can go with such a simple anathema.

I'm saying it doesn't even have to go that far. A character trait that never comes up in game may as well not exist. I'd be shocked if you couldn't just pretend Anathema wasn't a thing as far PFS is concerned.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

Meanwhile, back at the farm....

Is anyone else annoyed at "superstition" as a name for that totem? The word is basically pejorative, carrying a strict implication of irrationality.

A distrust of magic to the point that you resist even healing is pretty irrational in golarion.

I mean, the existence of this totem largely proves that opening yourself up to "benign" magic makes you more vulnerable to being dominated by an evil wizard. In that context the distrust isn't irrational at all. Heal spells are a gateway drug!


Depends on the mechanics of the totem. I'd be surprised if there weren't options in other classes that rivaled it. Historically paladin saves vs things like that were close to if not exceeding barbarians, without the need to refuse things like healing.


Ryan Freire wrote:
Depends on the mechanics of the totem. I'd be surprised if there weren't options in other classes that rivaled it. Historically paladin saves vs things like that were close to if not exceeding barbarians, without the need to refuse things like healing.

Yeah, but if we are talking in universe justification (which we are right now, right? I might be losing the thread) then you have to uphold the Paladin code. I reckon the average barbarian has a waaaay easier time refusing refusing things like spells than refusing wholesome things like murder. ;)


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Depends on the mechanics of the totem. I'd be surprised if there weren't options in other classes that rivaled it. Historically paladin saves vs things like that were close to if not exceeding barbarians, without the need to refuse things like healing.

If Superstition isn't stronger than every other magic-resistance ability by a wide margin then it has utterly failed as a mechanic. Hell, if it's only as good as PF1 Superstition then we're looking at Vow of Poverty levels of uselessness.


Arachnofiend wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Depends on the mechanics of the totem. I'd be surprised if there weren't options in other classes that rivaled it. Historically paladin saves vs things like that were close to if not exceeding barbarians, without the need to refuse things like healing.
If Superstition isn't stronger than every other magic-resistance ability by a wide margin then it has utterly failed as a mechanic. Hell, if it's only as good as PF1 Superstition then we're looking at Vow of Poverty levels of uselessness.

wouldn't be the first time something failed as a mechanic. As bent out of shape as people were about "heavy armor tank" being alignment restricted (and it turns out it wont be), "able to resist spells well" isn't going to be well received if its gated behind superstition barbarian. Which means if its a "wide margin" its going to trivialize spellcasting enemies more than is probably reasonable in a game.


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I generally prefer to assume Paizo knows what they're doing until proven otherwise.


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I did too, and then they thought goblins as core was a good idea.


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And they were correct. :)


Just need them to put kobolds as core as well.


Or just have goblins in the playtest, but not make the final decision on if they should put them in the core book. Pretty sure they said that was what was happening.


If were gonna let humans in core I say we let goblins too. Its only fair. Humans are a way eviler race then gobbers.


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That is a sound argument


Definitely NOT a certain Kobold wrote:
If were gonna let humans in core I say we let goblins too. Its only fair. Humans are a way eviler race then gobbers.

Yes, we all know in the real world humans are the most evil of animals (chimpanzees can also be rather unpleasant), but sometimes in a fantasy games it's nice to think of humans as a more idealised, romanticised version of the race, with things like orcs and goblins representing the evil, twisted side, sort of like LotR (I know orcs were made in mockery if elves, but the general idea).

I also dig more cosmopolitan campaign settings, like Al-Qadim, cities with humans, elves, goblins, dwarves, kobolds, gnomes, and lizardfolk all living in relative harmony.


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Weather Report wrote:
Definitely NOT a certain Kobold wrote:
If were gonna let humans in core I say we let goblins too. Its only fair. Humans are a way eviler race then gobbers.

Yes, we all know in the real world humans are the most evil of animals (chimpanzees can also be rather unpleasant), but sometimes in a fantasy games it's nice to think of humans as a more idealised, romanticised version of the race, with things like orcs and goblins representing the evil, twisted side, sort of like LotR (I know orcs were made in mockery if elves, but the general idea).

I also dig more cosmopolitan campaign settings, like Al-Qadim, cities with humans, elves, goblins, dwarves, kobolds, gnomes, and lizardfolk all living in relative harmony.

Cheliax and Belkzen are equally evil, it's just that Cheliax has better marketing. I suppose you can have settings where humans are a monolith of vanilla bean good guys but that's definitely not Golarion.


Arachnofiend wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Definitely NOT a certain Kobold wrote:
If were gonna let humans in core I say we let goblins too. Its only fair. Humans are a way eviler race then gobbers.

Yes, we all know in the real world humans are the most evil of animals (chimpanzees can also be rather unpleasant), but sometimes in a fantasy games it's nice to think of humans as a more idealised, romanticised version of the race, with things like orcs and goblins representing the evil, twisted side, sort of like LotR (I know orcs were made in mockery if elves, but the general idea).

I also dig more cosmopolitan campaign settings, like Al-Qadim, cities with humans, elves, goblins, dwarves, kobolds, gnomes, and lizardfolk all living in relative harmony.

Cheliax and Belkzen are equally evil, it's just that Cheliax has better marketing. I suppose you can have settings where humans are a monolith of vanilla bean good guys but that's definitely not Golarion.

Total, as I said, defends on the setting; I can easily see Goblins being an accepted part of certain societies, cities and what-not in Golarian, there is a place for pretty much everything there. They could have their own city, where they export alchemical items.


Seriously a setting where humans are the paramount of good would be weird for me... I don't think I could take it seriously
And I've had some rather weird settings until now


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Kobolds are most good! we never do evil things except occasionally steal things like silver, and candles and, babies.

But its more like a trade we leave things behind like fake silver.

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