Ranger Class Preview

Monday, July 2, 2018

Rangers have a long tradition in heroic adventure. Whether they're portrayed as lone striders keeping the edges of the wilderness free of the threats that lurch forth from the world's shadows, as hunters tracking down fugitives or beasts, or as skilled archers serving as a scouting force for a local lord or group of village elders, rangers have a special place in our fantastical imagination.

For the Pathfinder Playtest, we decided to cleave closer to the core principles of the ranger—a rough and tumble warrior in the wild, possibly of the wild himself. Because of this, the most significant change we made to the class was that it no longer has spellcasting ability, at least as a default. Of course, this doesn't mean we have to abandon this aspect of the Pathfinder First Edition ranger forever. Because of the way classes are now structured, it would be easy to create a spellcasting build of the ranger later using Spell Points (like the paladin), but for the Playtest, we are trying out a a spell-less ranger.

But enough of what the ranger doesn't have. Let's take a look at what he does.

Ranger Features

First and foremost, the ranger is a hunter. In Pathfinder First Edition, you picked creature types or subtypes that you were skilled at hunting. There are few things more frustrating than playing a ranger who rarely—or worst of all, never—encounters their favored enemies. It also led to some players who tended to play in more human-centric campaigns picking the human subtype, even if their backgrounds may have pointed to better choices for favored enemies.

This time we made the ranger hunting ability a bit more flexible, based on some popular ideas from the guide archetype and the slayer's studied target. At 1st level, rangers gain the Hunt Target feature.

[[A]] Hunt Target

Ranger

Requirements You can see or hear the target.

You designate a single creature within 100 feet as your target and focus your attacks against that creature. While hunting that creature, you gain benefits for focusing your attacks. As long as all your attacks in a round are against the target you're hunting, the multiple attack penalty you take on the second attack is -4 (-3 with an agile weapon) instead of -5, and -8 (-6 with an agile weapon) instead of -10 on the third and any further attacks in the round. You also ignore the penalty for making ranged attacks against the target you're hunting within your second range increment. You also gain a +2 circumstance bonus to Perception checks when you Seek your target and a +2 circumstance bonus to Survival checks when you Track your target.

You can have only one creature designated as the target of your hunt at a time. If you use Hunt Target against a creature when you already have a creature designated, the prior creature loses the designation and the new target gains the designation. In any case, this designation lasts until your next daily preparation.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

There are many class feats and some higher-level abilities that augment the ranger's Hunt Target. For example, at 17th level, the masterful hunter feature decreases the ranger's multiple attack penalty to -3 (or -2 with agile weapon) with his second attack and -6 (or -4 with agile weapons) on his third or further attack, and he can ignore the penalty against the target of his hunt in the second or third range increment, assuming that he has at least master proficiency in the weapon he is. Speaking of which, like the fighter, the ranger gains weapon mastery for a group of weapons, though he gains it at 13th level instead of at 3rd level like the fighter. At 19th level, the ranger gains the swift target feature, which allows him to use Hunt Target as a free action triggered before he makes his first Strike each round, so he's never without a target to hunt! The specifics of the Hunt Target ability make the ranger excel at a variety of combat styles, especially his traditional two-weapon fighting (since you can decrease the multiple attack penalty with agile attacks to be incredibly small) and archery (since you eliminate some of the most common ranged increment penalties). Of course, a ranger with a less traditional style, like a greatsword with a reduced multiple attack penalty, works great too!

Other class features allow the ranger to stalk and avoid his foes. At 5th level, he gains trackless step. At 7th level, he gains evasion (followed by improved evasion at 15th level). He gains nature's edge at 9th level, which allows him to treat enemies in natural difficult terrain or in difficult terrain resulting from a snare (more on snares later!) as flat-footed. Come 11th level, he gains the wild stride feature, which allows him to ignore or minimize the effects of difficult terrain.

Ranger Feats

Class feats, of course, determine the flavor of individuals within a class, and the ranger is no different. Specific ranger feats allow him to gain an animal companion at the same progression as a druid's, though potentially with special benefits that only a ranger can obtain. Other feats will enable him to further focus on his weapon choice, including a whole string of feats that allow him to specialize in two-weapon fighting.

Some fun feats allow the ranger to use his knowledge and senses to aid his allies as well as himself. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Monster Hunter Feat 1

Ranger

When you critically succeed to identify a target you're hunting with Recall Knowledge, you (and your allies, if you tell them) gain a +1 circumstance bonus to your next attack roll against it, but not against other creatures of that species. The creature is bolstered.

[[F]] Scout's Warning Feat 4

Ranger

Trigger You are about to roll Perception for initiative.

You audibly or visually warn your allies of danger, granting them a +1 circumstance bonus to their initiative rolls.

Harkening back to the hunter's bond class feature in Pathfinder First Edition, these feats allow the ranger to support the rest of the group with increased flexibility in how he chooses to do so, and these are just a few. The ranger can expand on Monster Hunter to grant even more benefits with a successful Recall Knowledge and even share the benefits of Hunt Target with other PCs (pretty much any martial class will love this benefit). And while flanking-savvy fighters might be a rogue's traditional best friend, the 12th-level Distracting Shot feat allows the ranger who hits a target with two ranged attacks in the same turn to leave that critter flat-footed until the start of the ranger's next turn. This helps fast rogues bring the pain quickly and farther away from more heavily armored support.

Another group of feats allows you to create snares. (Told you I'd get to that!)

Snares

Like alchemy, the ability to create snares is granted by a general feat (Snare Crafting). And like alchemists, rangers have the potential to lift general snare crafting to greater heights.

What are snares? Well, they're small portable hazards, very similar to traps, which can be set up in a short period of time (usually 1 minute). While it's unlikely that you will set up a snare in the midst of combat, they are perfect tools to arrange a battleground to your advantage. For instance, remember the nature's edge class feature that allows you to treat enemies in difficult terrain as flat-footed? Here's the most basic snare that creates difficult terrain.

Slowing Snare Snare 1

Consumable, Mechanical, Snare, Trap

Price 2 gp

A square with this snare becomes difficult terrain when the first creature enters it, and then it is destroyed.

Other snares set off alarms, trip, or deal damage to those entering the area of a snare. Grab some alchemical items, and you can deal even more damage with a snare.

Freezing Snare Snare 8

Cold, Consumable, Mechanical, Snare, Trap

Price 50 gp

You set a trio of liquid ice bombs to explode in unison when a creature enters the freezing snare's square. The target must attempt a DC 22 Reflexsave.

Success The target takes 1d8 cold damage.

Critical Success The target is unaffected.

Failure The target takes 3d8 cold damage and is hampered 10 until the end of its next turn.

Critical Failure The target takes 6d8 cold damage and is hampered 10 until the end of its next turn.

Craft Requirements three vials of liquid ice

Ranger feats that deal with snares allow you to learn more of them as your Crafting rank increases, lets you set them up faster (even in the middle of combat), and increases snares' DCs to match your class DC. Always make sure that your allies know where you hid your snares, or no bonus to attack rolls or initiative that you grant them will make up for the damage and humiliation you might cause.

Stephen Radney-MacFarland
Senior Designer

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Silver Crusade

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N N 959 wrote:
The mechanic where by you get better accuracy the longer you attack something isn't a hunting paradigm or representative of any skill developed by hunters.

That's not the mechanic though. Hunt Target gives you a buff if you spend an action studying and focusing on the target, if doesn't give you a bonus the more times you attack the same target.


Rysky wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
The mechanic where by you get better accuracy the longer you attack something isn't a hunting paradigm or representative of any skill developed by hunters.
That's not the mechanic though. Hunt Target gives you a buff if you spend an action studying and focusing on the target, if doesn't give you a bonus the more times you attack the same target.

Ignoring the range nullifier, HT gives you no benefit if you don't attack at least twice in the same round. So yes, it give you a benefit only if you attack the same target more than once in the same round.

Sovereign Court

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Hunt target is a good buff in a number of situations a hunter or woodsman might find themselves. I like that it applies in both exploration and encounter modes.

Silver Crusade

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N N 959 wrote:
Rysky wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
The mechanic where by you get better accuracy the longer you attack something isn't a hunting paradigm or representative of any skill developed by hunters.
That's not the mechanic though. Hunt Target gives you a buff if you spend an action studying and focusing on the target, if doesn't give you a bonus the more times you attack the same target.
Ignoring the range nullifier, HT gives you no benefit if you don't attack at least twice in the same round. So yes, it give you a benefit only if you attack the same target more than once in the same round.

You take less of a penalty for multiple attacks in a round, and you don't have to constantly hammer them to keep the penalties down, which is different enough from "you get better accuracy the longer you attack something" to be notable, and it lasts until the target is dead or you designate another target.

Putting aside attacking for the moment HT also gives the benefit of a +2 Perception and Survival for Seeking and Tracking the target. That's very Hunterish.


KingOfAnything wrote:
Hunt target is a good buff in a number of situations a hunter or woodsman might find themselves. I like that it applies in both exploration and encounter modes.

If HT can be applied pre-initiative, then it could be great, maybe even awesome. Then it could actually improve alpha strikes.


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N N 959 wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Hunt target is a good buff in a number of situations a hunter or woodsman might find themselves. I like that it applies in both exploration and encounter modes.
If HT can be applied pre-initiative, then it could be great, maybe event awesome. Then it could actually improve alpha strikes.

There is zero reason to think it can't. Just like you can cast buff spell before combat. I suppose if you want to get pedantic, A GM might say you are in initiative for your the round before you actually kick down the door or whatever. But that doesn't really change much, and just moves the surprise round to the second round of the encounter.


Rysky wrote:
You take less of a penalty for multiple attacks in a round, and you don't have to constantly hammer them to keep the penalties down, which is different enough from "you get better accuracy the longer you attack something" to be notable, and it lasts until the target is dead or you designate another target.

My statement could be interpreted that way, and even if it were, it changes nothing. HT modifier mechanic isn't hunting, it's slaying.

My point here is about the marketing/positioning of a the class. How people perceive the class matters. How the class is represented, matters. How the class is presented, matters. Especially when you're asking players to change versions and spend money in the process.

Quote:
Putting aside attacking for the moment HT also gives the benefit of a +2 Perception and Survival for Seeking and Tracking the target. That's very Hunterish.

Conceptually, sure. So is Trackless Step. My questions is how often do I need a +2 Seek/Tracking on a target I'm already fighting? Most the time you track something, you need the bonus before you see or hear it, which is what Favored Enemy did. Does that +2 help with initiative? Doesn't sound like it.

In 15 levels of Ranger between two classes in PFS, and in all the years I played 3.5, I never had to track something after we started fighting it. So while I'm sure players on here will talk about how they had an adventure which it happened, it's not question of absolutes, but frequency. Remember, this blog, itself, disparages Favored Enemy on account of the rarity it was useful. The same applies to this +2. How/when is it actually going to be useful?


Captain Morgan wrote:
There is zero reason to think it can't.

It is extremely rare for the party to get move actions before rolling init in encounters with non-humanoids. The nominal combat encounter, going back to AD&D is that parties roll init immediately. Yes, surprise rounds happen, but in PFS, when you're traveling with a party and you're entering someone else's domicile, the scenarios frequently hard code the NPCs to be expecting you by the time you get there.

In PFS, surprise rounds are exceedingly rare.

Quote:
Just like you can cast buff spell before combat.

Both my Ranger's are heavy buffers. There's a fundamental difference between a spell that I can cast, enemy unseen, and a buff that I can only trigger after I've encountered you (and thus had to roll init.) So unlike a buff spell, I can't anticipate combat and use HT preemptively.

Out of curiosity, how is the "or hear" part of HT suppose to work? I listen to a closed door, succeed on a Perception check and then open the door and know exactly which of the five orcs I heard talking and thus get my HT bonus against that orc?

Also, would welcome your input on Trackless Step and how it is used.


N N 959 wrote:

It is extremely rare for the party to get move actions before rolling init in encounters with non-humanoids. [/quoute]

Perhaps on non-humanoids, but "go take out this camp of humanoid X" is one of the most basic quests around. Book 2 of the current AP I'm running alone has three separate forts you need to clear and a Chimera you can track back to his lair, and in each case my party has launched at least one surprise round.

And this is with a clanky cavalier with a negative stealth bonus they had to account for. In PF2, the whole party moving stealthily looks much easier thanks to skill feats and everyone getting their level to skills.

Quote:
Both my Ranger's are heavy buffers. There's a fundamental difference between a spell that I can cast, enemy unseen, and a buff that I can only trigger after I've encountered you (and thus had to roll init.) So unlike a buff spell, I can't anticipate combat and use HT preemptively..

If the buff spell is less than 10 minutes per level, you usually wind up having to cast it when you have actually seen the enemy. Otherwise you are wasting spell slots. Plus, if something is aware that you are casting buff spells, they can potentially pull back and wait for them to wear off.

Quote:
Out of curiosity, how is the "or hear" part of HT suppose to work? I listen to a closed door, succeed on a Perception check and then open the door and know exactly which of the five orcs I heard talking and thus get my HT bonus against that orc?

Seems like a simple enough matter to resolve with a GM, but if I had to guess the ranger could use a seek action to pinpoint the target before they open the door.

Quote:
Also, would welcome your input on Trackless Step and how it is used.

I dunno why I'm justifying an ability I don't care about and have no mechanical information on. Assuming it only covers the Ranger and not the whole party, it basically has a narrow application for making sure you aren't tracked back to your party when you go scout out the enemy encampment. It is a bit of ribbon ability, but again, I don't know why I am supposed to be talking about it.

Quote:

So let me ask you, how often have you been fighting something and it turned invisible or stealthed and you had to make a Perception check to find them to continue the battle? I ask, because several people talk about this like it's some great benefit and I can count on one hand the number of times I've had to do this in PFS in 10 levels of playing my Ranger.

And while I know that occasionally some NPC casters might use Inviso, how much practical benefit is a +2 going to have on pinpointing a creature?

Actually, Invisibility is a super common at will ability for monsters, especially fey. And there are monsters with constant greater invisibility too.

+2 would be more analogous to +4 in the old system, and comes on top of what is almost certainly going to be the best perception proficiency of any class. And I think a critical success will probably tell you exactly where the thing is, which is super important because many invisibility counters like chalk bombs or dust of appearance require you to target a specific square or small area.


Captain Morgan wrote:
If the buff spell is less than 10 minutes per level, you usually wind up having to cast it when you have actually seen the enemy. Otherwise you are wasting spell slots. Plus, if something is aware that you are casting buff spells, they can potentially pull back and wait for them to wear off.

In PFS, some encounters are pretty obviously about to take place. Plus, I use wands. Wand of Gravity Bow/Lead Blades/Feather Step, as needed. You give up a round or two of duration, but once again, I can count on one two hands the number of encounters I've had that last more than 8 rounds.

Quote:
I don't know why I am supposed to be talking about it.

If there was someone who could put a positive spin on this feat, I was hoping it would be you.

Quote:
Actually, Invisibility is a super common at will ability for monsters

No offense, but that's a gross overstatement. No ability is "super common" to any monster, especially not inviso. PFS uses the same creatures from the bestiary and Inviso isn't even the universe of "super common." In fact, I picked up a scroll of Hunter's Eye and haven't had a chance to use it in 5 or so levels.

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
N N 959 wrote:

I don't understand your question. I'm not aware that the designers of AD&D, 3.5, or P1 have any formal design agenda regarding alpha striking, outside of feats like Vital Strike. But any game in which you can potentially kill something before it can attack you back means alpha striking is a preferred approach. In fact, this aspect of combat is so pronounced, the MMORPG City of Heroes[ but an endurance tax on large damage attacks. The CoH designers realized, from the get-go, that if two attacks have the same DPS, but one does damage over time and the other does it in a single hit, the single hit attacks were superior due to crits and that killing your target at the start of the time period is better than killing the target at the end of the time period.

So you are saying that rocket tag is the only way to play roleplaying games?

No, this isn't even close to what I'm saying and is a gross misrepresentation of my post.

Grand Lodge

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Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you mean when you talk about alpha striking. But you seem to be under the impression that PF2 will share the issue of PF where going first and killing the enemy before they act is the optimal strategy, which is what I know of as rocket tag. I don't know that this idea of 'full attack first to win the fight' is going to be held out over 'maneuver your actions to win over several rounds' in the final rules. If the rules are tweaked to make it so you can't take out an enemy in the first round, abilities that increase later damage will have merit.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you mean when you talk about alpha striking. But you seem to be under the impression that PF2 will share the issue of PF where going first and killing the enemy before they act is the optimal strategy, which is what I know of as rocket tag. I don't know that this idea of 'full attack first to win the fight' is going to be held out over 'maneuver your actions to win over several rounds' in the final rules. If the rules are tweaked to make it so you can't take out an enemy in the first round, abilities that increase later damage will have merit.

Rocket tag and alpha striking have nothing to with one another. I'm pretty sure Rocket tag comes from games like multiplayer Halo where players would grab the rocket launcher and the first person to hit with it wins i.e. tagging someone with the rocket. This term has been co-opted for high level PF play where the damage is so high that who ever goes first essentially wins, or has an insurmountable advantage. Honestly, its true with Barbarians at low level as well.

Alpha-striking is simply going all out on damage e.g. using Rage, Power Attack, Deadly Aim, right off the bat in hopes that you can do enough damage to cripple or defeat your enemy and prevent any retaliation. This can involve foregoing buffs and/or everyone moving to attack the same target, even if it means less total damage.

Paizo has suggested that they want to do reduce rocket tag. They have said nothing about alpha-striking. There is no rule that prevents three PCs from ganging up on one NPC (alpha-strike). In most combat situations, ganging up and alpha-striking your targets is more effective. If it's 5 vs 5, having three PCs focus on the same target and eliminating it in the first round is far more effective than everyone attacking a different target with little hope of eliminating any of them. This is especially true if DPR is the same for both groups.


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It's easy!

Rocket tag is doing so much damage in the first round that you cripple or defeat your enemy and prevent any retaliation.

Alpha-striking is hoping you can do so much damage in the first round that you cripple or defeat your enemy and prevent any retaliation.


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N N 959 wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you mean when you talk about alpha striking. But you seem to be under the impression that PF2 will share the issue of PF where going first and killing the enemy before they act is the optimal strategy, which is what I know of as rocket tag. I don't know that this idea of 'full attack first to win the fight' is going to be held out over 'maneuver your actions to win over several rounds' in the final rules. If the rules are tweaked to make it so you can't take out an enemy in the first round, abilities that increase later damage will have merit.

Rocket tag and alpha striking have nothing to with one another. I'm pretty sure Rocket tag comes from games like multiplayer Halo where players would grab the rocket launcher and the first person to hit with it wins i.e. tagging someone with the rocket. This term has been co-opted for high level PF play where the damage is so high that who ever goes first essentially wins, or has an insurmountable advantage. Honestly, its true with Barbarians at low level as well.

Alpha-striking is simply going all out on damage e.g. using Rage, Power Attack, Deadly Aim, right off the bat in hopes that you can do enough damage to cripple or defeat your enemy and prevent any retaliation. This can involve foregoing buffs and/or everyone moving to attack the same target, even if it means less total damage.

Paizo has suggested that they want to do reduce rocket tag. They have said nothing about alpha-striking. There is no rule that prevents three PCs from ganging up on one NPC (alpha-strike). In most combat situations, ganging up and alpha-striking your targets is more effective. If it's 5 vs 5, having three PCs focus on the same target and eliminating it in the first round is far more effective than everyone attacking a different target with little hope of eliminating any of them. This is especially true if DPR is the same for both groups.

As far as I know, the term "rocket tag" for RPGs predates Halo and such by quite a bit. I recall first hearing the term back in 1st Edition AD&D days.

Rocket tag is what the game turns into when everyone's best option is to "alpha strike" (as you have defined it), in the hopes of utilizing all out offense for ending the conflict as quickly as possible.

There are two issues that cause this:

1. To-hit and damage potential so vastly outpace AC, HP, and defensive options that the choice to "alpha strike" is clearly the best option for martial characters.

2. Save-or-die or save-or-suck spells are unchecked, resulting in nearly automatic wins for whoever can cast them, should they win initiative.

Supposedly, the math of the new system has been built so that issue #1 is no longer an issue, and spell redesigns are supposed to take care of issue #2, along with tighter math on critical successes and failures.

Whether or not this works or turns combat into a game of padded sumo is part of what we are playtesting, I'm sure.


Moro wrote:
As far as I know, the term "rocket tag" for RPGs predates Halo and such by quite a bit. I recall first hearing the term back in 1st Edition AD&D days.

I doubt AD&D spawned the term rocket tag as there are no rockets in AD&D. I used Halo because I figured most people on the forums would know it. I don't recall if earlier games like Doom and Quake had PvP.

Here's another definition from the Interwebs:

Quote:
When both sides are made up of squishy characters with the means to easily squish the other side, you have a case of Rocket Tag Gameplay. The slightest caress from any weapon in the game will reduce anyone to a fine paste, so the gameplay becomes entirely about hitting first and never getting hit yourself

Rocket tag isn't alpha-striking, it's a situation where the damage you do one-shots the other side and vice versa. Again, alpha-striking and rocket tag are completely distinct from one another.

Grand Lodge

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N N 959 wrote:
Paizo has suggested that they want to do reduce rocket tag. They have said nothing about alpha-striking. There is no rule that prevents three PCs from ganging up on one NPC (alpha-strike). In most combat situations, ganging up and alpha-striking your targets is more effective. If it's 5 vs 5, having three PCs focus on the same target and eliminating it in the first round is far more effective than everyone attacking a different target with little hope of eliminating any of them. This is especially true if DPR is the same for both groups.

No, ganging up is focused fire, not alpha striking. But in either case, I don't see how you can claim that PF2 is focused on alpha strikes over Mark's objections. Maybe the playtest will show that the changes are not enough. If so, I'll agree that you were right.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
No, ganging up is focused fire, not alpha striking. But in either case, I don't see how you can claim that PF2 is focused on alpha strikes over Mark's objections. Maybe the playtest will show that the changes are not enough. If so, I'll agree that you were right.

Alpha-striking is essentially selling out to do the most damage right up front. Yes, on a team it involves focused fire from other teammates, but it also involves foregoing buffs and using consumables to do the most damage at the start. Wikipedia equates it with zerging/blitzing/rushing the opponent at the onset.

I didn't say PF2 is focused on alpha strikes, I'm not sure where you're getting that..


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N N 959 wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
If the buff spell is less than 10 minutes per level, you usually wind up having to cast it when you have actually seen the enemy. Otherwise you are wasting spell slots. Plus, if something is aware that you are casting buff spells, they can potentially pull back and wait for them to wear off.

In PFS, some encounters are pretty obviously about to take place. Plus, I use wands. Wand of Gravity Bow/Lead Blades/Feather Step, as needed. You give up a round or two of duration, but once again, I can count on one two hands the number of encounters I've had that last more than 8 rounds.

Quote:
I don't know why I am supposed to be talking about it.

If there was someone who could put a positive spin on this feat, I was hoping it would be you.

Quote:
Actually, Invisibility is a super common at will ability for monsters
No offense, but that's a gross overstatement. No ability is "super common" to any monster, especially not inviso. PFS uses the same creatures from the bestiary and Inviso isn't even the universe of "super common." In fact, I picked up a scroll of Hunter's Eye and haven't had a chance to use it in 5 or so levels.

I don't play PFS and don't really care about it. But I can tell you my current AP's second book, we have probably been averaging at least one monster with invisiblility ity or something equivalent a session.

Grand Lodge

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N N 959 wrote:
I didn't say PF2 is focused on alpha strikes, I'm not sure where you're getting that..

I quoted it in my original response.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
I didn't say PF2 is focused on alpha strikes, I'm not sure where you're getting that..
I quoted it in my original response.

You didn't quote anything that has me saying PF2 is focused on alpha-strikes.


Captain Morgan wrote:
I don't play PFS and don't really care about it. But I can tell you my current AP's second book, we have probably been averaging at least one monster with invisiblility ity or something equivalent a session.

So the monster selection in one AP's second book equates to something being "super common" across all of Pathfinder?

Whether you care about PFS or not, the scenarios represent a much wider selection of PF legal monsters than any single AP. So what happens in PF is far more representative of PF encounters than a single AP. In PFS, invisibility is not "super common" by any stretch of the imagination.

More the point, the existence of some creature with inviso is not the debate, it's whether creatures in combat using inviso during combat is "super common." You know what is "super common"? Glitterdust, which completely obviates the need for a +2 on a Perception check. So once again, I'm skeptical that this +2 amounts to much in combat. But hope springs eternal.


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N N 959 wrote:
Moro wrote:
As far as I know, the term "rocket tag" for RPGs predates Halo and such by quite a bit. I recall first hearing the term back in 1st Edition AD&D days.

I doubt AD&D spawned the term rocket tag as there are no rockets in AD&D. I used Halo because I figured most people on the forums would know it. I don't recall if earlier games like Doom and Quake had PvP.

Here's another definition from the Interwebs:

Quote:
When both sides are made up of squishy characters with the means to easily squish the other side, you have a case of Rocket Tag Gameplay. The slightest caress from any weapon in the game will reduce anyone to a fine paste, so the gameplay becomes entirely about hitting first and never getting hit yourself
Rocket tag isn't alpha-striking, it's a situation where the damage you do one-shots the other side and vice versa. Again, alpha-striking and rocket tag are completely distinct from one another.

Oh yeah, rockets totally didn't exist before video games or anything, I forgot!

Quote:
the gameplay becomes entirely about hitting first and never getting hit yourself

You know, like selling out and "alpha striking" in an attempt to take out your opponent before they can hit you?


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N N 959 wrote:
I doubt AD&D spawned the term rocket tag as there are no rockets in AD&D.

I heard the term back in the AD&D days: I have no idea how the term started but it predates halo by quite a bit, and active PVP video games as a whole.

N N 959 wrote:
Rocket tag isn't alpha-striking, it's a situation where the damage you do one-shots the other side and vice versa. Again, alpha-striking and rocket tag are completely distinct from one another.

For most people that talk about the terms, IMO they are functionally the same. Both are attacking as strongly and with as many resources as possible in an effort to incapacitate a foe before they can retaliate. The only real difference in how I understand the term is that rocket tag assumes that a successful attack is 'a win' while an alpha strike isn't a forgone conclusion.


Moro wrote:


Oh yeah, rockets totally didn't exist before video games or anything, I forgot!

Well people certainly didn't fight each other with them in games, that's for sure. Rocket tag comes from gaming, not from real life using of rocket launchers on real people. Which means the term came from video game players or RPG games which had rocket launchers, not AD&D players co-opting it from real life.

Quote:
You know, like selling out and "alpha striking" in an attempt to take out your opponent before they can hit you?

You're still not getting the distinction. "Rocket tag" is function of the gaming environment. "Alpha-striking" is tactical decision you make when you attack someone. One has nothing to do with the other. The fact that hitting you first in rocket tag type of game has the same effect that alpha-striking you in a non-rocket tag type of game, does not make them synonymous or interchangeable.


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N N 959 wrote:
Moro wrote:


Oh yeah, rockets totally didn't exist before video games or anything, I forgot!

Well people certainly didn't fight each other with them in games, that's for sure. Rocket tag comes from gaming, not from real life using of rocket launchers or on real people. Which means the term came from video game players, not AD&D players co-opting from real life.

Quote:
You know, like selling out and "alpha striking" in an attempt to take out your opponent before they can hit you?

You're still not getting the distinction. "Rocket tag" is function of the gaming environment. "Alpha-striking" is tactical decision you make when you attack someone. One has nothing to do with the other. The fact that hitting you first in rocket tag type of game has the same effect that alpha-striking you in a non-rocket tag type of game, does not make them synonymous or interchangeable.

I suppose you've never heard of tabletop wargaming then? That's where original Chainmail/D&D has its roots, and yes, I can assure you they were shooting one another with rockets in the WWII tabletop simulations.

"Rocket tag" is the result of a game situation wherein going first and hitting hardest is of prime importance. The first side to tag the other with their rocket most likely wins. Doesn't matter if that rocket is a rocket, a save-or-die spell, or a full attack action.

And yes, I agree that attempting to alpha strike is not a tactic limited to games that have rocket tag situations, and in a well-balanced game, alpha striking will have a high chance of backfiring. In games that are not so well balanced, only initiative really matters, and alpha striking becomes the only viable tactic, resulting in the game combats degenerating into rocket tag.


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N N 959 wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
I don't play PFS and don't really care about it. But I can tell you my current AP's second book, we have probably been averaging at least one monster with invisiblility ity or something equivalent a session.

So the monster selection in one AP's second book equates to something being "super common" across all of Pathfinder?

Whether you care about PFS or not, the scenarios represent a much wider selection of PF legal monsters than any single AP. So what happens in PF is far more representative of PF encounters than a single AP. In PFS, invisibility is not "super common" by any stretch of the imagination.

More the point, the existence of some creature with inviso is not the debate, it's whether creatures in combat using inviso during combat is "super common." You know what is "super common"? Glitterdust, which completely obviates the need for a +2 on a Perception check. So once again, I'm skeptical that this +2 amounts to much in combat. But hope springs eternal.

I've seen painful invisible enemies in every AP I've run, actually.

It isn't super surprising that they don't get used much in PFS on further reflection, because they often make combats drag on a ton. Rise of the Runelords has a level 2 boss fight with at will invisibility, and I think that combat went 16 rounds.

Also, glitter dust still needs to be targeted, which will almost certainly require a Seek check first.

It may very well be that a Ranger is bad for PFS. PFS is a very particular environment though.


In 1st Edition Advanced D&D, there was no limit on the damage that could be done by spells, so (for example) a Fireball cast by a 20th level magic-user did 20d6 (20-120) Hit Points of damage. This meant that at higher levels of play, whichever side gained initiative would probably win the fight. IE, rocket tag as it was called at the time. As far as I know it had nothing to do with actual rockets in d&d but from some of the same player of it also playing war games with units that had rockets that used a similar tactic: a self propelled rocket artillery piece was one such unit, light and mobile often attacking similar units on the other side resulting in one hit/one kills or rocket tag.


Does it really matter WHERE the term "Rocket Tag" came from? I feel it matters more on people agreeing on just what the term means and if it's a good thing or not(usually not).

As for the whole "Alpha Strike" thing; that's not bad. Stealthing to get the first turn, setting an ambush, blowing a hole in a wall followed by some control spells(Cough, Flashbangs); all of those are good examples of an Alpha Strike.

It's just if both sides move to Alpha Strike before the other in every encounter because of the dangers of letting an enemy take a turn... then we start hitting Rocket Tag.

At least that's how I view it. The idea of "Everyone focus on X first" side of that idea read more as "Primary Target"


MerlinCross wrote:
It's just if both sides move to Alpha Strike before the other in every encounter because of the dangers of letting an enemy take a turn... then we start hitting Rocket Tag.

For me, rocket tag is then your alpha strike is pretty much guaranteed to take your target out of a fight and your opponent's alpha strike can do the same.


graystone wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
It's just if both sides move to Alpha Strike before the other in every encounter because of the dangers of letting an enemy take a turn... then we start hitting Rocket Tag.
For me, rocket tag is then your alpha strike is pretty much guaranteed to take your target out of a fight and your opponent's alpha strike can do the same.

Shrug.

I agree but there's a line to me. Setting up say an Alpha strike because you're worried the big bad is too strong, the hostage might get killed, the magic maguffin might get destroyed, the ritual might finish etc etc; that's a smart move. It can be fun to set up fights like that from a PC side.

PCs doing it for EVERY fight beause they either CAN do it or are scared of what happens if they don't instantly remove any threat is full on Rocket Tag.

Example, Two groups of 4 adventures meet and fight. Both have a high level Wizard, with Time Stop. This is very much a rocket tag in the sense of "First person to go ends the fight"


MerlinCross: I agree. I too don't mind the off instances of rocket tag but I prefer a game where every encounter isn't 'hit the big red button and fire everything!'. I prefer combats to take a few rounds and require thought and tactics as opposed to using your most powerful attacks until nothing is left alive on the scorched earth.


I thought “rocket tag” came from people chasing each other and playing “tag” with bottle rocket fireworks? Maybe it was just my twisted youth though and not the general populace.

Regardless, it’s pretty hard to discourage reducing target count over other tactical options. My experience with Starfinder does not give me any hope that combats will last longer. They claimed it there and was not true in execution for the games I ran.


I heard the Term Rocket tag came about from the game Quake.

Silver Crusade

Vidmaster7 wrote:
I heard the Term Rocket tag came about from the game Quake.

I know that it was an actual game mode in Halo 3 (and perhaps halo 2, but I am a fetus so I didn't play that game when it was online). In that, everyone started with a rocket launcher, so the game was just to try to hit your enemy a single time to score a kill while not letting them do the same.


Captain Morgan wrote:
I've seen painful invisible enemies in every AP I've run, actually.

Considering AP's go from 1-12, that should hardly come as a surprise.

Quote:
It isn't super surprising that they don't get used much in PFS on further reflection, because they often make combats drag on a ton. Rise of the Runelords has a level 2 boss fight with at will invisibility, and I think that combat went 16 rounds.

One of PFS' 1st level intro scenarios has a mephit or something go inviso, but players aren't finding it with Perception checks.

Quote:
Also, glitter dust still needs to be targeted, which will almost certainly require a Seek check first.

No, it doesn't require Seek check, it requires a readied action.

Quote:
PFS is a very particular environment though.

No, it's not a "very particular environment." Many AP's are legal for PFS, so PFS players are running some of the exact same scenarios as you are. What's more, Paizo officially endorses PFS and funds it as a viable and desirable environment for its rule system.


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N N 959 wrote:
Considering AP's go from 1-12, that should hardly come as a surprise.

Let me rephrase: I have seen invisible enemies in book 1 of every AP I've run. I MIGHT have seen them in every book of every AP I've run, but verifying that one would be more work than it is worth.

Quote:
No, it doesn't require Seek check, it requires a readied action

A readied action to... what? Target the thing if it becomes visible again? There's lots of ways a creature can avoid doing that.

Quote:
No, it's not a "very particular environment." Many AP's are legal for PFS, so PFS players are running some of the exact same scenarios as you are. What's more, Paizo officially endorses PFS and funds it as a viable and desirable environment for its rule system.

It's a particular environment not because it isn't official, but because it requires running a very specific kind of game, a point which you have driven home pretty extensively. The nature of these games may not play to the strengths of the Ranger, or at least the strength's of the Ranger previewed here. *I* don't actually care about that, so I'm not going to argue whether this point is true or not.

The Ranger as currently previewed is going to be at their best when they can plan an assault or ambush on an enemy. Hunt Target works best when done before combat, and it sounds like Snares will too. This is a situation that can come up quite often in an AP or other home game, but sitting around planning for 45 minutes is a no go in PFS because it needs to run on strict time tables.

When they aren't getting to do this beforehand, the Ranger is worse at fighting than the fighter but is better at skills, which doesn't strike me as unreasonable. Hunt Target doesn't look like it will be worth using in every combat like a barbarian uses rage, and I'm fine with that. Honestly, while it has clear similarities to the slayer's studied target, it reminds me of favored enemy in that it will probably only get applied against certain kinds of foes.

Or maybe it would be more accurate to say it functions like early Studied Target but not the later version. Past level 7 when a Slayer could study as a swift, it was pretty much always on. Before that it was probably only going to be used on rounds the slayer started next to the enemy. Hunt Target will probably be in the same boat. I am cool with having something you need to think about when to use, rather than just spam it without thought.

If you don't like all that, and it doesn't suit your play style, that's fine. I am not going to try and sell you on something you don't like. I know you like rangers, so I'm sympathetic if your favorite class winds up as something you don't like. But I also don't find this argument to be particularly enjoyable and don't really see it going anywhere, especially when we will actually have the class to playtest in a week.

I only posted in this to clarify what a Seek action was to some folks, and somehow let myself get sucked into an argument I really am not interested in having. So I'm just not gonna respond to this anymore.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
I heard the Term Rocket tag came about from the game Quake.

I've heard that too but I heard the phrase used before that came out. Quake was 1996 and I'd heard the phrase at least a decade before that.


graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I heard the Term Rocket tag came about from the game Quake.
I've heard that too but I heard the phrase used before that came out. Quake was 1996 and I'd heard the phrase at least a decade before that.

Huh interesting. I really feel like it had to be a video game first. That just seems so video gamey to me.

Edit: or maybe paranoia... it could be a paranoia thing.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Let me rephrase: I have seen invisible enemies in book 1 of every AP I've run. I MIGHT have seen them in every book of every AP I've run, but verifying that one would be more work than it is worth.

And how many encounters is in a book? You're trying to imply and defend that invisibility--at will-- is "super common" and it just isn't. You aren't helping your credibility by continuing to insist it is.

Quote:
A readied action to... what? Target the thing if it becomes visible again? There's lots of ways a creature can avoid doing that.

No, there aren't "lots" of things that stop PCs from using readied actions from targeting inviso creatures that attack or cast spells. Inviso isn't meant to be an "I win" for those who have it. In fact, there are for more things to defeat inviso than there are to allow those who have it to go around untargetable. And of those things to defeat inviso, straight-up Perception isn't really one of them until you get PCs in the stratosphere of Perception.

Quote:
This is a situation that can come up quite often in an AP or other home game, but sitting around planning for 45 minutes is a no go in PFS because it needs to run on strict time tables.

The majority of PFS I play is PbP which has no time limit. So players can plan something for days. Trying to pigeonhole PFS play as some singular specific thing undermines the validity of your assertions. You might be better served by not trying to look for ways to invalidate it as a valid test case for PF.

Quote:
When they aren't getting to do this beforehand, the Ranger is worse at fighting than the fighter but is better at skills, which doesn't strike me as unreasonable

Given this wasn't true before, I would say if this is true in P2, it is an unreasonable change. The sufficiency of the class shouldn't be dependent on or require a specific style of play contingent on the entire table agreeing to go along with it.

Quote:
I only posted in this to clarify what a Seek action was to some folks

I responded to your post accusing Colette of saying Mark was wrong, when that's not what she said as I understood it. Then you seem to be invested that +2 Seek was some worthwhile benefit because inviso using combatants are apparently "super common" in PF because they are in nearly every book of every AP you've played. In my experience, needing to use Perception after combat to find enemies rarely happen, a rarity that makes encountering FE's feel super common.

Quote:
...don't really see it going anywhere, especially when we will actually have the class to playtest in a week.

I'm pretty sure that applies to every topic in the Playtest forum. Yet, people continue to discuss it.


Captain Morgan wrote:
I am not going to try and sell you on something you don't like. I know you like rangers, so I'm sympathetic if your favorite class winds up as something you don't like. But I also don't find this argument to be particularly enjoyable and don't really see it going anywhere, especially when we will actually have the class to playtest in a week.

This discussion hasn't felt enjoyable because up to and through this point, it feels like you're trying to rationalize and dismiss the concern I, and others, have about what has been discussed/revealed with Rangers.

Admittedly, you finally seemed to acknowledge some potential problems with the class. Would have helped the discussion if you had started there.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I heard the Term Rocket tag came about from the game Quake.
I've heard that too but I heard the phrase used before that came out. Quake was 1996 and I'd heard the phrase at least a decade before that.

Huh interesting. I really feel like it had to be a video game first. That just seems so video gamey to me.

Edit: or maybe paranoia... it could be a paranoia thing.

I wouldn't deny that the game might have made it more popular, but I first started hearing it in wargames using tanks, artillery and other miniatures to fight each other on a hex battlefield. Light and no armor units that fired on each other with large guns were playing racket tag. [for instance infantry units or unarmored trucks with rocket launchers attached like a Katyusha]


graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I heard the Term Rocket tag came about from the game Quake.
I've heard that too but I heard the phrase used before that came out. Quake was 1996 and I'd heard the phrase at least a decade before that.

Huh interesting. I really feel like it had to be a video game first. That just seems so video gamey to me.

Edit: or maybe paranoia... it could be a paranoia thing.

I wouldn't deny that the game might have made it more popular, but I first started hearing it in wargames using tanks, artillery and other miniatures to fight each other on a hex battlefield. Light and no armor units that fired on each other with large guns were playing racket tag. [for instance infantry units or unarmored trucks with rocket launchers attached like a Katyusha]

I'm pretty sure that violates the laws of the Geneva convention.


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N N 959 wrote:

Rocket tag comes from gaming, not from real life using of rocket launchers on real people. Which means the term came from video game players or RPG games which had rocket launchers, not AD&D players co-opting it from real life.

"Rocket tag" is function of the gaming environment.

I do not agree with the last two assertions, the term "Rocket-Tag", oh, and "Fantasy Vietnam", go way back.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I heard the Term Rocket tag came about from the game Quake.
I've heard that too but I heard the phrase used before that came out. Quake was 1996 and I'd heard the phrase at least a decade before that.

Huh interesting. I really feel like it had to be a video game first. That just seems so video gamey to me.

Edit: or maybe paranoia... it could be a paranoia thing.

I wouldn't deny that the game might have made it more popular, but I first started hearing it in wargames using tanks, artillery and other miniatures to fight each other on a hex battlefield. Light and no armor units that fired on each other with large guns were playing racket tag. [for instance infantry units or unarmored trucks with rocket launchers attached like a Katyusha]
I'm pretty sure that violates the laws of the Geneva convention.

The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 only had a prohibition on "the Discharge of Projectiles and Explosives from Balloons". The Geneva Conventions where after WW2, and the games I was playing were ww1 or ww2. Even then it didn't prohibit that: even the CCWC [Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] of 1983 would only limit rockets if they are "Incendiary Weapons" or have "Non-Detectable Fragments".


After reading through all this, I am kind of excited to try a support Ranger. If your Hunt can be buffed to apply to allies (and buffed in other ways beyond that), Monster Hunter boosting allies as well, and 2 ranged attacks can make something flatfooted, you can get a significant boost to your allies' attacks. If you can use any shenanigans to boost Perception to ensure you go first, you can really set up something to die each turn.


graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I heard the Term Rocket tag came about from the game Quake.
I've heard that too but I heard the phrase used before that came out. Quake was 1996 and I'd heard the phrase at least a decade before that.

Huh interesting. I really feel like it had to be a video game first. That just seems so video gamey to me.

Edit: or maybe paranoia... it could be a paranoia thing.

I wouldn't deny that the game might have made it more popular, but I first started hearing it in wargames using tanks, artillery and other miniatures to fight each other on a hex battlefield. Light and no armor units that fired on each other with large guns were playing racket tag. [for instance infantry units or unarmored trucks with rocket launchers attached like a Katyusha]
I'm pretty sure that violates the laws of the Geneva convention.
The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 only had a prohibition on "the Discharge of Projectiles and Explosives from Balloons". The Geneva Conventions where after WW2, and the games I was playing were ww1 or ww2. Even then it didn't prohibit that: even the CCWC [Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] of 1983 would only limit rockets if they are "Incendiary Weapons" or have "Non-Detectable Fragments".

Hmm good to know If I'm ever driving a tank into battle.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Hmm good to know If I'm ever driving a tank into battle.

Just never bring a balloon or you can be up on war crimes. ;)


graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Hmm good to know If I'm ever driving a tank into battle.
Just never bring a balloon or you can be up on war crimes. ;)

I'll take things that should be updated as time progresses for $1200.

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