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Another thing I like about the dwarves having a clan dagger from birth is that it does seem like a perfect weapon for any dwarf that's expecting trouble in their line of work to carry with them.

A lot of dwarvish fighting goes on in tunnels where you're in extremely close quarters. It's hard to carry a spear, and swinging a sword or an axe is very difficult...but the trusty clan dagger you carry everywhere is on hand to protect you even when you're chin-to-chin with tunnel monsters and your back is to the wall.

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I wonder if dwarves will be able to retain their resistance to magic in 2e, it was one of the strong factors in why I preferred them to Elves. They've always been a very solid race, although neither dwarves nor elves have ever featured prominently at any tables I've played at.

I like the idea of things like clan daggers, and the Elves using long memories to have a floating proficiency; being able to pick up a corner-case skill on a day when it's useful is a handy little niche.

It is kinda weird seeing a dwarf lady with no beard, though. I know a lot of dwarf women don't have them in Pathfinder art but I've always just liked the notion that all dwarves have beards no matter what. Possibly with the additional factor of no bearded elves.

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I'm aware the original post is sarcasm, but on the other hand I'd have to say the only (and I do mean ONLY) problem that'd exist for half-ogres as a core race that isn't in place for half-orcs is that the half-ogre template from PF1 would be too powerful to get for free. Everything else (assumed to be a rape-baby, assumed to be the child of an evil rapey father and a very unfortunate mother, assumed to be predisposed to violence and cruelty by merit of having a monster father) is baggage the Half-Orc has dealt with and tried to move away from.

I don't see "some goblins are good and some goblins are bad, much like humans, halflings, gnomes, elves, dwarves, dhampir, tieflings, aasimar, etc.," is asking players to wrap their head around too much. The Saxons thought of the Danes as godless demon-men because of their Viking raids, but there were a number of times and places where the two were able to live in peace and even trade with each other. So it really doesn't seem too out there to me that when you're dealing with an entire species "the Red Teeth clan are a bunch of bloodthirsty lunatics that would kill you as soon as look at you, but the Float-Stone clan by the river are all right" is more likely than "all of them, everywhere, are evil. Best to just kill 'em all if you see 'em."

Devils and Demons can be inherently evil, but Gobs and Orcs and that sort have free will. Always Chaotic Evil's a bit of an old hat except for the physical manifestations of chaos and evil. As some others have said, establishing when you're dealing with bad guys is incredibly easy, you just have them do bad things that the PCs have to put a stop to. The parties I've GM'd for have spilled plenty of human blood without any great moral quandaries because the humans they've killed have been invading armies or attacking bandits or evil cults tormenting puppies for entertainment or slavers. We've killed a number of chromatic dragons and not any metallic ones, but that's because the bronze dragons we've met have been friendly and the green dragons picked a fight.

I don't really think there should be a race where it's considered good to go kill them when they're minding their own business, mostly because the inherently evil creatures are never minding their own business; devils and demons are always finding ways to torment mortals while they're on the plane and the undead ceaselessly look for living things to kill. A bunch of orcs hanging out on the mountaintops nearby not bothering anyone haven't done anything to earn the party's emnity, but if you need them to fight, it's pretty easy to just have the lore say that these particular orcs ARE bothering people. Trust your players to recognize the bad guys from the good because the bad guys are doing bad stuff, rather than relying on "green people can't be trusted."

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I mean, as it is right now there's also sort of a monoculture thing going there right now in 1e, while it would probably be a lot more realistic if there are SOME tribes of goblins that are warlike, cruel, and destroy for its own sake and cannot be reasoned with, while there are also SOME tribes of goblins that are perfectly fine to have as neighbors, maybe even handy to have around for one reason or another.

I mean, unintelligent undead, devils, demons, and constructs form four handy types of creatures that can be destroyed mercilessly without any arguments that this is not exactly the moral thing to do, I don't see why green humanoids all gotta be evil until proven innocent.

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I mean, there's already situations in PF1e where the GM would go "no, you obviously can't use Fabricate to make uranium and cause a nuclear reaction, and there is no reason your character would ever think to do that."

You want to make a craft check to build a computer?


1. That's not a craft skill. It cannot be done untrained, or at all.
2. How?
3. With WHAT, exactly?
4. Where does the idea come from?
5. Did you also invent man-controlled electricity in the process? Where did you get the materials and idea to do that?
6. How did you do any of this untrained? This is at least master-level complexity stuff we're talking about here.

Your level 17 character doesn't know any magic but he knows what a frigging dragon looks like at this point in his career and might have at least heard of something that might be of use for it. He does not, however, know anything about how to identify spells or deduce the purpose of arcane sigils because he isn't trained in the skill.

Similarly, a high level untrained character on a natural 20 with craft (devices) would likely amount to "yep, that sure is a device. Some sort of letter-arranging one, judging by all the buttons with letters on them."

Not being able to build one.

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MidsouthGuy wrote:

Oh boy, yet another solution in search of a problem.

The more I see, the more I am not looking forward to PF2.

I mean, "save or sucks are the absolute WORST" has been a complaint since 3rd edition started, let alone pathfinder, to the best of my knowledge. People have long greatly disliked the binary of "either the enemy saves and you have wasted your time and resources because nothing happened" or "the enemy has failed his save and this fight is now all over but the crying."

This is a solution to a very old and very annoying problem. Having degrees of success and failure means you have fewer cases of "this spell either fizzles or stun-locks a bad guy so badly your friends are reduced to playing mop-up with the gormless sots that failed their saves" and makes "save or something bad happens" monsters less of a dick move to throw at your players more frequently. Toss out a batch of basilisks in PF1 and you can often get situations where polite dice make the encounter a non-threat because basilisks aren't scary if you save against their gaze, while a bad batch of dice can murder the entire party before blows are even exchanged. Having a wider variation between "nothing happens" and "you are boned" is a very welcome change.

On a similar note, I like the idea that it matters if you beat the enemy's AC by a LOT because that means a player whose great combat skill gives him a much higher to-hit than his comrades is rewarded for his prowess while the guy who can consistently beat the enemy AC but not by a wide margin is contributing but not doing just as well as the guy who is seeing right through the enemy defenses. It'll help further distinguish classes that are really good at combat from the dabblers even though they both hit.

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John Lynch 106 wrote:

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

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

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

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

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Arssanguinus wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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On the other hand, I think it's really stupid to try and pretend anything is or should be grounded at level 15+.

Casters at that level do not look out of place in series like Dragonball Z, where planet-destroying energy blasts are more the medium of violence than blades, and yet they're travelling with a high-level fighter who is still trying to pretend he lives in Game of Thrones despite the fact you could fire off weapons meant to sink battleships in his face and mildly injure him.

At level 8, a brawler can punch out the spine of a Triceratops with relative ease, but him jumping more than four feet off the ground at level 12 to pursue a cowardly mage trying to strafe him from the air is somehow going too far.

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Turmoil wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
I gave the wizard 10 STR 10 DEX 12 CON. Not terribly unusual. No magic items, just his robe and a dagger. The fighters were very unoptimized as well; this was just ballpark figures. I could haven given them 18 STR, greatswords and power attack and needed even less of them. Or made them level 2. It doesn't matter, the point stands.

On the contrary, I'd say that stat spread is EXTREMELY unusual if you're not using basic stat array. Wizards tend to ignore strength, but dexterity and constitution are both stats adventuring wizards prioritize and even NPC wizards tend to have plenty of both.

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Turmoil wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
A couple of level 1 fighters lose to a particularly vicious HOUSECAT. A level 20 wizard would slaughter them all long before they did enough damage to even moderately inconvenience him.

Do we really have to do the math for things we all know to be true?

An unoptimized level 1 fighter with very ordinary stats would have something like 12 HP, an AC of 17, and an attack +4 for 1d8 + 2 damage. The level 20 Wizard with a dagger might have like 90 HP, an AC of 10, and an attack +10/5 for 1d4 damage. Ball-park math has each fighter dealing an average of about 5 damage per round, and surviving an average of 5 rounds. Take a group of 6 fighters. In the time the wizard kills 1 fighter, he's down 30 HP (6 fighters * 5 rounds). For the next, down 55 (5 fighters * 5 rounds), the next, 75 (4 fighters * 5 rounds), the next he's dead. So he would take down 2 or 3 of them and then die. These are ball-park figures and rough calculations, but you can easily do the exact math with exact stat blocks yourself if you want.

The exact stat block from the NPC codex for a level 20 wizard suggests HP and AC are twice as high as you're ballparking it. It'd take a while for the wizard to do 14 damage to each of them but he's got the time even six on one.

Unless you're suggesting a naked dex 10 con 10 wizard vs six optimized level 1 fighters, but let's be frigging real, bud, when was the last time you REALLY saw a wizard with less than 14 of both?

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Turmoil wrote:
A PF1 level 20 wizard with a dagger will lose against a regular ogre, a level 4 fighter in mundane gear, or even a couple of level 1 fighters. The new rules seem to imply that a level 20 wizard will demolish such foes without even taking damage.

A couple of level 1 fighters lose to a particularly vicious HOUSECAT. A level 20 wizard would slaughter them all long before they did enough damage to even moderately inconvenience him.

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People already need to stop playing the game less than a third of the way through (E6) to play "gritty" adventures as it is.

It is always, always, always easier to go long and then set handicaps for people that don't want to reach that level than to kneecap what you can do and force people to make up their own rules if they want to go beyond that. Lots of people have been talking about "accommodating both sides", but the way I'm seeing this break down:

Option A: The rules accommodate being able to jump to incredible physics-breaking heights with enough training. People that want to be able to make incredible jumps and play things like the Final Fantasy's dragoon class are able to, and the people who don't feel like that fits the game world they want can soft-block that level of skill mastery or play exclusively at low levels for a grittier feel, much like people already do. Both sides can play the game they want to play.

Option B: The option to make the hundred-foot leap doesn't exist in the first place. The people that didn't want it are happy and the people that wanted to do things that were impossible in 1e are not.

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Frankly I think cutting down on the numbers of weapons would probably be a good thing, and you can bin most of the "exotic" weapons or fold them into martial weapons without losing anything.

I don't feel like the game is losing anything in particular if a katana's just a longsword but it's understood that since this is an east asian flavored area of the game world it is a katana. We don't mechanically play out the nitty-gritty in how you're using a sword, after all, so there's no particular reason you can't say this longsword happens to have a single-edged curved blade in settings where that is what swords look like. You don't swing a sword and axe in at all the same way, but any given fighter is equally capable with each before investments, after all.

We already do this to an extent. The scimitar and the cutlass are different kinds of sword but mechanically it's just scimitars because they're close enough and you get the idea. I don't think we lose anything by increasing this. Longsword and Katana are both swords that deal 1d8 slashing, have a somewhat better than normal critical hit rate, and can be used with one or two hands. I don't see any reason for there just to be the stats for one sword with all these traits that can be either of them as flavor demands.

As far as I'm concerned, "exotic" weaponry should be strange and more to the point powerful unconventional weapons that can do things you can't normally do with weaponry, not weapons you have to pay an extra feat for because they're japanese or nonsense like that.

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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Malwing wrote:
The lack of opposed rolls makes things very different. To the point where I understand less about what's going on. It's really hard to determine if this is good or bad.
It's basically the transition from opposed rolls in Combat Maneuvers to CMB vs CMD

Which would honestly be more convenient for some things. When I GM, for example, it's with an online group; our dicebot rolls in the open so I don't ever fudge rolls and the players are at least aware something is going on, which I assume is also the case for face-to-face games just with the dice behind a screen.

Having enemy skills set a DC to overcome rather than two rolls opposing each other seems handy to me; it reduces the amount of rolling, flattens the variation in the skill challenge an NPC presents (my skilled liar trying to mislead the party into doing his dirty work is less effected by fluctuations in luck, so what we have to concern ourselves with is how well the players do trying to sense if his intentions are legit), and generally helps speed things along. Opposed rolls can get real swingy at times and are harder to plan around than the enemy presenting a DC to overcome in skill challenges.

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Arssanguinus wrote:
Enough to have a better bonus than the guy whose career it is?

You seem to be absolutely refusing to accept the idea that there could be a game where having a bigger number doesn't mean you're better at something than the person who has more capabilities than you at the task.

"My high-level adventurer is a better mountain climber than the mountaineer because he's higher level and gets a big bonus to untrained checks," I believe was your earlier claim?

If you are judging "better mountain climber" by the high-level adventurer getting a +15 to the mountaineer's +10, which is how it would work in 1e, I suppose. But this isn't 1e.

The expert mountain climber doesn't need to roll to climb something an untrained person could climb. You do. Your high level adventurer can fail an untrained climb check, and the mountaineer can't.

The expert mountain climber can climb a number of things your higher-level adventurer cannot. He can attempt difficult climbs because of his training. Your alleged high-level polymath cannot.

On things that both characters can attempt to climb, for fairness's sake, the expert mountaineer will always climb twice as fast as your high-level adventurer no matter how well the adventurer rolls. You can roll five natural 20s in a roll to climb, get 35 after 35, and the mountaineer will still handily beat you to the top. Because he has more training than you do, and he will climb at least twice as fast and probably more like three or four times as fast.

You are not a better mountaineer than the career mountaineer.

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BryonD wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
To be fair, Jason said that it presented HUGE problems to them, as game designers, to design high level play. And certainly the number of APs that delve into lvl 20 is pretty small, and PFS ends at 12 I think. Maybe one of the reasons is because it's hard for them to properly design things at those levels because the math breaks.
He said "which distorted character choice and severely hampered design". You have ignored the first part. Not that it makes any difference to the real issue at hand.

With APs character select forcing and avoiding it when writing can be a bit of an issue that an organic campaign won't run into.

I don't run adventure paths with my group, but I see where this skill system would make things easier on AP writers. My dungeon design is spontaneous and comes as the campaign develops, and as a result the challenges the party faces will be at least partially if not heavily informed by what the party can in fact do. I know it is a waste of everyone's time if I've made a dungeon that has a number of challenges that don't reflect anything anyone in the party is good at.

An AP doesn't have that kind of flexibility. Characters that don't know about the scenario are inserted into a scenario the writers designed without the ability to know anything about who was undertaking the tasks they laid down. There are certain challenges the writer may have in mind that the group, not having any spoilers, doesn't know to be ready for and therefore you can't assume any level of competence with nearly any skill (I'll consider perception an exception to this rule, but that's because by osmosis it is commonly held among players you want max Perception no matter what your class or character concept is) because maybe nobody took that skill, or trained in it enough that it's even remotely possible for them to make the check at higher levels, and now the GM must step in to cover for this problem if it might mess up the adventure.

Adjusting things so that there is a baseline you can make assumptions that the party can at least be expected to accomplish this or that at the appropriate level does offer more freedom in design.

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Kalindlara wrote:
While I generally support this system, I will say: I'd really like an option to be Bad At That One Thing. (Sense Motive is the one that comes to mind for me.) Ideally with some sort of payoff, like a bonus skill rank or something.

This seems like it'd be pretty easy to implement with traits or flaws/drawbacks. Sacrifice untrained proficiency in a skill (but not capacity to train in it, I should think; lots of people like a character to be able to overcome their flaws as they adventure) to acquire a proficiency elsewhere. Possibly a 2:1 tradeoff to avoid minmaxing? The wizard has an uncommon-for-his-class skill for disguise, for example, but can't swim to save his life and has no head for climbing.

Things like-

Clumsy: +1 proficiency in a non-class skill, no untrained bonus to Stealth or Acrobatics
Guileless: +1 proficiency in a non-class skill, no untrained bonus to Bluff or Sense Motive
Overprivileged: +1 proficiency in a non-class skill, no untrained bonus to Profession or Survival

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Eh. I'll take "every high-level Sorcerer is good at climbing" over "no high-level Sorcerer is good at climbing". Wizard might have a choice between good and bad on any given skill, but that's only because they could afford tons of Int. Paladins, Clerics, Fighters, and Sorcerers just got to suck at almost everything.
Any sorcerer that wants to be good at climbing in Pathfinder can be good at climbing in Pathfinder.

That said, the opportunity cost for a sorcerer is four or five times higher than that of a class like a wizard on a given skill. The old ranks system regularly forced you to invest in intelligence whether that was part of your character concept or not, or a number of classes would lack basic competence in a lot of things. Skill starvation is a very real and persistent problem in Pathfinder, which is why I don't agree with the people feeling like the baseline should be sucking at extremely basic tasks even if you are a demigodly superhuman, which is what a high level character is no matter how you slice it.

I strongly prefer the notion that a seasoned adventurer attains basic competence in a wide variety of tasks from a long and interesting career, and that being good at a skill means you can move beyond basic competence. From how I'm reading it, this system conveys that much better than the skill ranks system does, and the "right to suck at things" seems easily addressed for the people who insist their social skills should remain abysmal forever rather than growing from abysmal to bad/meh with experience by including flaws like 3.5 did. Sac proficiency in some things to get a benefit elsewhere, while letting people who enjoy basic competence in a wide field have their system. It's a hell of a lot easier to convince the GM to let you take a handicap on the skill system than imposing that handicap as the baseline and taking away people's right to play broadly competent characters to protect other peoples' right to play characters that are particularly incompetent at things.

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Arssanguinus wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Fortunately, yes. We can only hope it makes it into the final product, right next with resonance and non-LG paladins.
Hopefully it can be mitigated because there is a pretty sizable group of players that find it rather distasteful, however disdainful you might act of their opinion.

Eh. I feel like "I want my character to be more incompetent at stuff" is more easily patched with a houserule than making that the baseline and forcing players who LIKE broad basic competence from seasoned adventurers to talk the GM around to allowing that.

Hell, if it bothers people so much they can take another leaf out of 3.5's book and reintroduce Flaws in this system where you can go ahead and make your character incompetent at things for a payoff elsewhere without dragging everyone else down with you, which seems preferable to me to forcing incompetence at basic tasks on everybody so low-level NPCs can pretend they're playing the same game as high-level PCs.

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
The untrained barbarian is more likely to know that Justice Ironbriar is the harshest judge in Magnimar than the law school student, but she still can't actually practice law effectively at all, let alone superhumanly well.

Wow. So we actually do get +level to untrained skills as well as trained skills? This seems worse than both 4th ed (+5 being trained bonus) and 5th ed (+6 being trained or +12 expertise).

It made some degree of sense being able to know certain things about magic and such simply from being exposed to it for 15 levels. But getting +level good at something seems too much even for me. This seems like a lot more is going to have be gated behind "being trained" which means either looking up what you can do trained or untrained or having to simply remember it all.

I'll reserve judgement until I see it. But this doesn't seem like we're getting to keep the flexibility of PF 1st ed.

I don't honestly think PF 1st ed was actually that flexible, because after the first couple levels if you weren't trained in a skill you only really attempted to use it if you didn't mind failing hilariously at it. Untrained skills paying off has never really been a thing in PF 1e in my experience both as a player and a GM.

And it's +level -2 for being untrained, so a trained person has a +3 effective bonus over an untrained person, an expert a +4, and so on. The numerical bonuses aren't as enormous as in 1e, partially because how much you beat or fail a skill check by matters more in 2e, but what the trained, expert, master, and so on can do comprises a number of different things while untrained are basic tasks any idiot could do. Wizards might not be the most spry fellows but I'm gonna assume a wizard who's been adventuring long enough to hit level 10 can manage to climb a frigging tree if he has to.

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Milo v3 wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
You aren't, the different tiers of proficiency gate what tasks can even be attempted

For some reason I think things like lying, climbing, jumping, surviving in the wild, and sneaking will all be things that you can do untrained.

characters already at those higher tiers of proficiency don't even need to roll.
I'm not comparing it to the higher level characters, I'm comparing it to the NPCs who will be low level and unable to keep up with heroes who are outclassing them at their jobs despite that hero never actually spending any time doing that skill.

You can do things untrained, from what I'm seeing of this, but I feel like people are looking at the number next to a d20 and going "this alone determines what being good at a skill is."

The guy who has a big jumping number and the guy who can jump, stand in the air, and piss on the first guy's head are not rivals. The guy who has a chance of sneaking around despite not being trained in it and tell a whopper with a straight face is not a rival to a guy who can hide behind his own shadow and quietly convince a bartender that he is in fact Shelyn to get out of paying for drinks.

Untrained characters can compete with trained characters in tasks that are so absurdly easy for the trained characters that they no longer need to roll the dice at all. I'm not going to go around saying I'm as good at math as Einstein because I too know my multiplication tables, or claim that being able to swim laps in a pool at the gym without drowning makes me a rival to Michael Phelps.

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rooneg wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Dαedαlus wrote:

I feel like calling everything 'proficiencies' and 'feats' might get a bit confusing, but maybe that's just me.

Also, it seems strange that the adventurer who's spent all his life plundering Ancient Osirani tombs might go to the sea and immediately be better at sailing than someone who's spent decades on the deck of a ship.

That said, I am all for making skills awesome again. By the time you hit level 15, logic goes out the window, and I can't wait to make a thief with Skyrim-style pickpocketing.

Your tomb raider actually wouldn't be able to practically sail at all, though you might know basic facts like the names of different ships that you read about somewhere. An actual sailor trained in the skill would be able to practice sailing. Now if your tomb raider became trained in it, that's a different story.
But that's part of the problem. If your higher level character somehow becomes "trained" in Sailing they immediately jump from "I know the names of some ships" to "I am better at this than everyone on the boat because I'm a 15th level character". That strains credulity. I'm not sure I like the way that level mixes in to this at all.

To be fair, situations like this can already happen in 1e.

You would run out of fingers trying to count the wizards that bang on about how it takes years of careful study to become a wizard but the truth of it is in game terms a level one rogue could spend a week adventuring, if that, and come back as wizardly as the 1st-level wizard that started his adventure at 60 because he'd been practicing cantrips for the last 30 years.

Or said rogue at level 9 finding herself a landlubber that's in a campaign with some nautical interests. Come level 10 after defeating a sea serpent, she decides to pause up on maxing out other skills for a bit and sinks 10 ranks into Profession (Sailor), which is a class skill. With her minimum +13 bonus (and probably more than that, given that rogues like their wisdom nice and high to spot traps and keep the will saves at bay) she has become a masterful sailor overnight.

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Bloodrealm wrote:

So your defense of a crap system like 5E is that nothing matters because you have about the same chance of succeeding or failing no matter what?

Advantage doesn't stack, by the way, no matter how many clever or useful things you do. You could set up an awesome plan and all you'd get is Advantage. In PF1, the GM might reward you with a total +10 circumstance bonus or something.

No, you don't have "about the same chance of succeeding or failing no matter what." A social rogue who has maxed his charisma and used expertise in Persuasion has a +17 to the check at high levels. Anything short of "nearly impossible," he succeeds on an 8+, and that's before he gets advantage. A rogue who is not charismatic (but didn't dump) and didn't train in persuasion is just rolling a d20. If he can manage to get advantage in some way, he has a decent chance of pulling off an easier bit of fast-talking but no, his chances of succeeding at a genuine social challenge are nowhere near that of someone that's actually trained for them.

I have never, in any circumstances, seen a GM hand out a circumstance bonus that big. The @%$*ing gods themselves descending to play background music on your intimidate check wouldn't wriggle a +10 circumstance bonus out of most GMs.

Which is a shame, because in Pathfinder you can have a +10 circumstance bonus and still be so far off from what the DC of the check you're attempting is that you're still guaranteed to fail, and so should not waste anyone's time by attempting in the first place.

5e's not obsessed with big numbers the way Pathfinder is. If you don't like that, that's fine, but personally I like a system where people feel free to try for long-shots and think about how they can get an advantage to better their odds. Circumstance bonuses are exactly as arbitrary as Advantage in how they're granted, tend to vary far more in size, and are much less likely to make a long shot pay off.

As a result, time and again, I've noticed 5e players experiment and try things outside their specialities, trusting that advantage granted for clever planning or good roleplaying can see them through trials outside their comfort zones. Pathfinder players stick to things they've specialized in enough to get their big auto-win numbers and will not attempt something outside their specialities because the system is poised to spank them if they do.

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Basically any situation where you would get a numerical bonus to your roll in Pathfinder gives advantage in 5e instead.

Flanking? Higher Ground or other terrain advantages? Doing something outside the box? You get advantage.

If all else fails, spend inspiration, a reward your characters should be getting on a fairly regular basis if your DM isn't stingy.

Also I find 5e's DC system is a lot better for players that are willing to improvise than PF's is, as 5e tends to err on "you're welcome to try, and if you can come up with a plan that lets you try with advantage your odds of success should be decent unless the task was quite difficult to begin with."

PF, by contrast, tends to err on "don't even try if you weren't built to do this."

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thflame wrote:

I never had an issue with low level threats not being threats to PCs.

GM - "You see a small band of goblins ahead."

Level 10 Players - "We got this!"

GM - "Roll for initiative....looks like the goblins go first."

Players - "What?"

GM - "The first goblin hits you and since it is the first round, they get to use Sneak Attack....45 damage."

Players - "Oh @#$%."

All you have to do is give "low level" enemies some class levels and stuff works out.

So Low-Level enemies not being a threat works out if...the enemies are not, in fact, low-level.

Personally I liked Bounded Accuracy when I GM'd and played 5e. Players don't get complacent because there aren't many encounters where they're in no danger of being injured, while the GM can throw out encounters that are a little quicker because the easier enemies don't have as much HP, but are still able to get some licks in to make their encounters something other than a transparent excuse to burn party resources.

A thing a lot of PF encounters end up being if you don't pack a LOT of beef into your encounters.

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The main guidelines I think should be kept in mind:

1. Feats should be nice, not necessary. Avoid or severely limit things that CAN'T be done without a big feat investment.

2. Do not overcomplicate trees. 1e's feat system is by far its most bloated segment of the rules and feats became needlessly dense and convoluted because there were too many chains, taxes, and things that didn't need to be related used to form feat trees. Feat chains should be concise and to the point when they exist at all, and scaling feats should be the norm, not buying the same feat again 5 levels later.

3. Do not design like a character has feats coming out of their ears. Pathfinder misstepped badly in my opinion in that the presence of the fighter and its bonus feats seemed to encourage combat feats in particular to be designed like you get dozens to spend. For the most part, you don't, which means putting too many feat slots on the price tag of something nice means it will only come up late-game or not at all for most classes. Fighters and other classes with lots of bonus feats BENEFIT from keeping feat selection concise and free of taxes, because in a world where you don't have to sink twelve feats into two-weapon fighting or throwing weapons to be good at either style a fighter could stand above other martials in the sheer number of styles he could master rather than making his claim to fame a way to pay his taxes on one style faster.

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Allow for feat chains where each new feat grants a new behavior, and more feats that scale.

Down with feat chains where you have to buy the same frigging feat three times over your career just to make it stay relevant.

Vital Strike
Prerequisite: BAB +6
Benefit: When you use the attack action, you can make one attack at your highest base attack bonus that deals additional damage. Roll the weapon’s damage dice for the attack twice and add the results together before adding bonuses from Strength, weapon abilities (such as flaming), precision-based damage, and other damage bonuses. At BAB +11 and again at BAB +16, roll your weapon's damage dice an additional time when using this feat.

Two-Weapon Fighting: Allows you to fight effectively with two weapons by greatly reducing all penalties involved. As your BAB increases, you can make more attacks with your off-hand.

Improved Two-Weapon Fighting: You're faster with your two weapons, and can now make a double-attack as an attack action, striking once with each of your weapons. If you can make more than one attack of opportunity, you can also double-attack as an AoO, expending one AoO for each weapon strike.

Greater Two-Weapon Fighting: You're even better with your two weapons now, taking no penalties at all for using two-weapon fighting. You gain an additional benefit, such as the ability to make a free combat maneuver that doesn't provoke when you hit with your main and off-hand weapons.

Vital Strike, Improved Vital Strike, Greater Vital Strike

The TWF chain as it currently exists.

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Meirril wrote:

Paladins get quite a few bonuses because they have a code of conduct they have to adhere to. Any violation, even under the influence of a spell, should be punished.

These are rules, breaking the black and white (even on a technicality) should get the punishment. This is like saying a Barbarian who loses his extra hp from a rage shouldn't die because it isn't the barbarian's fault. Sure, the monster/GM did this to them. Its part of the game. The GM should't be playing favorites here.

Where the wiggle room comes in is when the Paladin seeks atonement. If the paladin only committed evil acts under the influence of a mind control/illusions/ or even a fantastically successful Bluff check but came to regret those actions and fully upheld his oaths after the fact, the actual atonement itself should be painless. On the other hand, if the player committed an evil act because they know they can get atonement cast on them by another player or a NPC, it should be harsh or even impossible to complete the quest. The actual atonement is where the GM gets to be "fair".

Neither should the GM be actively looking to **** over one of the players when you know as well as I do he will do no such thing if a barbarian does something lawful or a monk does something chaotic, especially if it is not willfully done.

The powers of the paladin are granted either by gods of good or the very idea of goodness itself.

In the case of the paladin having a god, why on earth would a being next door to all-knowing take away one of their most devoted followers' powers when they know damn well the paladin is not willingly acting in violation of their principles? If someone looking to make the paladin look bad poisons the paladin's sword without their knowledge, there is no grounds for the god, who would KNOW this because the gods have access to knowledge mortals do not, to punish the PALADIN for someone else's actions.

In the case of the ideal of good, there isn't a sentient force that grants the paladin their powers, which means the only thing that would extinguish them is if the paladin no longer holds the ideal of good in her heart, possibly because of feeling unworthy or something else. But it's certainly not going to disappear on the paladin while they're being mind-controlled and trying to fight off their tormentor's will.

The paladin's abilities are not so strong that it's notably better than the barbarian or the ranger. It's absolute nonsense for GMs to feel like they're obligated to take a fall, which is meant to be a punishment for bad roleplaying as a paladin, and jump through however many flimsy hoops they need to in order to FORCE a paladin to fall even if the player has done nothing wrong.

There is also a BIG ****ing difference between "you are reduced to 0 hp because you were hit by attacks" and "because you rolled a natural 1 on your will save you no longer get to play your class until I feel like giving it back to you."

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I genuinely feel like the Paladin code should be viewed as a player taking on a roleplaying challenge, not as a hammer for the GM to wield against Paladins. I guess you could make a case for a GM using the code as a hammer if a player completely fails to take the code seriously, but any honest effort of playing a Paladin as "a genuinely good person, above reproach" should basically make you immune to falling (unless this is a story you want to tell about your character, in which case- talk to the GM!)

I feel like this is it exactly. The Paladin has some strong abilities (although not so strong that it's out of whack with the other strong martials in similarly capable hands) but comes with a double alignment lock compared to the Barbarian and Monk's one...and a roleplaying challenge.

The code of conduct wasn't built into the class to give the GM a handy "off switch" to take away the player's powers the second they put a toe out of line, even in situations like this where they're not putting a toe out of line so much as a third party appears and shoves them off the line. It's designed to give the player a certain set of rules that guide their roleplaying. Sometimes it gets in the way of doing the most expedient thing, but it's to help convince the player to get into the mindset of a real dyed-in-the-wool good guy. It's meant to be a tool the player uses to remind themselves of what beliefs their character would have been taught to uphold as part of their training, and a tool the GM can use to remind the player of something their honor would demand they do something about.

It's NOT there to play "gotcha" with the paladin player any more than the cleric losing their spells and domains if their god turns away from them is something that's SUPPOSED to happen to Clerics any time they get in trouble. Just because a class can lose its powers doesn't mean that it should unless the player is intentionally going way out of bounds.

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Zarius wrote:
Mystic_Snowfang wrote:

Paladins are Lawful, as are most of the gods they worship. I don't think a Lawful or Good god would punish their holy warriors for having someone FORCE them to do something. By magical OR mundane means. Because it is "willingly commits" an evil act. Even if there is just mundane corrosion that's not willingly.

Heck I'd go so far to say that temporarily being out of it because of severe head trauma might be iffy.

Though going in for an absolution would likely still be something to do in character, as would the Paladin being mortified at what they were forced to do.

Two points that have been pointed out. First, the RAW (which, in this case, is my main concern) states that the paladin only has to commit the act, not that he must be in any way complacent. The shell of a meat puppet that his soul wears merely has to go through the mechanical motions of, say, stabbing a relatively innocent person in such a way that they cease to be.

I take issue with this. If you are being mind controlled, you the player aren't doing jack. The person controlling you is committing the act, using your hands. A fighter who is possessed by a shadow demon and used to commit evil acts is not himself evil or committing evil acts; the shadow demon is. By the same token, the paladin ISN'T violating his code of conduct because he isn't doing anything except fighting against his tormentor's commands. This is not grounds for falling.


Second, if they ARE being controlled, and so weak willed that they are easily taken over by magical control (Will is a good save for them, and wisdom is a critical score), why would a god of good want the opposition to have access to that power? That's a good god's power, none of them would want their power falling into the hands of evil.

From both a RAW and a RAI, I think it's fair to say that, while a god might forgive them, a Paladin can be forced to fall against their will.

By this basis gods will always strip any divine class of their powers the instant things start going bad for them. Evil gods will immediately revoke their priests' powers as punishment for failing them if the priest starts to lose, while good gods will, by this logic, abandon their most dedicated servants when they go up against something powerful with mind-control.

This is obviously stupid. Shelyn would not say "tough cookies, kid, enjoy being a sock puppet. I've got ten more kids just like you I'll give your powers to instead," because the paladin sworn to her service was overpowered by an Aboleth, who is ancient and very good at bending even the most resilient minds to its will. Good doesn't abandon its own. It's one of the reasons it's good. If a god immediately withdraws any help they were giving you because you were put in a bad spot they are an evil god, and therefore wouldn't have paladins in the first place. You could almost make a point for evil gods being vindictive and abandoning their faithful at the drop of a hat to punish them for failure, but that's one of the reasons evil gods are different from good ones and somehow I never see people questioning if their clerics of Asmodeus should suddenly lose their spells because the antagonist beat them and Asmodeus does not forgive failure, or a PC antipaladin getting depowered out of the blue because his demonic masters are capricious jerks (even though demons ARE capricious jerks who enjoy screwing over their own side, unlike the forces of good).

People are way too eager to yank away a paladin's powers because the notion that it could happen somehow means it should happen, often in ways that imply the god pulling the plug was LOOKING for an excuse to yank this paladin's chain and seized on the first one that presented itself. That's really not how gods of good and law roll.

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Matthew Downie wrote:

Cú Chulainn lost his powers because he was under two geas obligations that came into conflict; never eat dog, never refuse hospitality.

Samson lost his strength because his hair was cut off.

Sometimes legends aren't fair.

Failing a Will save isn't much different from giving into temptation. From our perspective, he rolled too low on a d20. From an in-universe perspective, he didn't resist as hard as he could. (Doing your best is when you get a natural 20, maybe?)

Remember also that a Paladin's abilities don't come for free; they're assigned from a finite pool of holy energy. If one Paladin stops serving good, the powers that be can use that magic to help someone else until the Paladin atones.

I strongly disagree with this assessment. Failing a will save isn't "giving in to temptation", it is being overpowered by an outside party. If a paladin who considered celibacy a part of his oath was drugged or in some way overpowered and raped by a villain, that is not the paladin giving in to temptation, that is blaming the paladin for the villain being able to penetrate his defenses and taking away his powers even though at no point did he willingly violate the oath.

From an in-universe perspective, rolling too low on a d20 doesn't mean you weren't doing your best to resist, it meant the person attacking you was strong enough to pierce your defenses. You don't fail a save against poison because you didn't WANT to stay healthy enough.

A paladin who is subjected to mind control by someone stronger than them does not change alignment because they are not in control of their actions, and is not willingly performing evil actions. There's no point in having the player roleplay a code of conduct to remain a paladin if you can just have a bad guy get lucky on a single d20 roll, which always has at least a 5% chance of happening, and strip the player of their powers even though they didn't do anything wrong. Falling is supposed to be because of a failing of the player, not a result of getting punk'd by one of the bad guys.

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GM Rednal wrote:
An important thing to remember is that we don't necessarily want two classes to have the same sort of narrative power, nor for things to be totally unique to one class. (If ONLY a Cleric could heal, that would make them near-mandatory, regardless of whether or not anybody in the group wanted to play a Cleric.) In general, a class should probably have at least 2-3 areas it's pretty good in - one in combat and one out of combat, at bare minimum, and each area coming up often enough to be genuinely impactful on the game.

The "Three Pillars" seems like a pretty easy way to resolve things for class design.

Basically, every class should be designed with three things in particular in mind: Combat, Exploration, and Interaction. While none of the classes should be a master of all three pillars, each class should have features that are geared towards these three pillars to different degrees. For example, a Ranger gets strong combat and exploration abilities but limited (but still present!) interaction abilities, while the bard has decent combat and great interaction abilities and less developed exploration abilities.

The classes have niches, but each is designed to be able to perform outside of its niche, facilitating greater teamwork. I'd be putting the fighter next to the Vigilante here for an example of where I feel the latter is what I'm talking about and the former isn't.

The fighter's exploration and interaction abilities begin and end with skill ranks, of which he does not get very many. Even recent attempts to skill up the fighter with things that let him use his BAB as ranks, like Master Marshmellow's more versatile Shrodinger's Fighter, are dependent on being able to grab a feat that gives them the skills they're using. Once this is done, however, it's not so much a power that facilitates better exploration or interaction as the fighter has now brought himself up to speed with a normal character who has trained in the skill naturally.

The vigilante, meanwhile, is a character built with combat and interaction in mind, and to enable this he has a distinct pool of socially-oriented abilities that are distinct from the abilities he uses to get better at fighting, which are themselves formidable. With his social talents, the Vigilante can gain powers that improve his social interaction (and to a lesser extent, his ability to explore) beyond just having skill ranks in the right place. With Social Grace he can get a sizable bonus to a number of mental and social skills, while other social talents enable him to do things another face-oriented class would not, like gathering information in a much shorter period of time, fool magical lie detection, create absolutely secure hiding places, become a master of disguise to an extent even skill-unlocked rogues could only dream of, and so on.

Ideally, I feel like every character would have some separate pools of abilities, some of which are used to fight enemies, some of which are used to get around the game world, and some of which are to gain powers that facilitate new and interesting interactions with NPCs. Primary magic-users would get the smallest pool of such abilities to compensate for the fact they get magic, which already does this, while wholly nonmagical characters get a much larger pool of such abilities to compensate for not having spells.

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I think the fighter vs feats problem is actually a result of approaching feats in what seems to me like a very backwards way.

"The fighter gets a feat every level."

"Clearly we should make lots and lots of big chains of feats so that the fighter is more appealing since he can afford them!"

In practice, I kinda feel like feats are bloated and overcomplicated BECAUSE a class that gets bonus feats instead of class features exists. Which is a problem that doesn't need to exist, really. If more feats, like Two Weapon Fighting, Vital Strike, and most things with an X/Improved X/Greater X progression instead scaled with BAB, it would be good for gameplay. Not only would you greatly reduce the number of feats that don't need to exist and bring the ones that do more in line with spells (Remember the time you needed to re-learn fireball every couple levels to make it stronger? Me neither!) it would make the Fighter more appealing because while less feat-laden classes like the paladin might be able to more effectively master a fighting style, the fighter could master LOTS of fighting styles at once. Which seems better than the current model where Mr. Bonus Feats is using a lot of said bonus feats to pay his taxes while the other guys are resenting the fact that many of these taxes seem to exist entirely because Mr. Bonus Feats has so many bonus feats to begin with.

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Lausth wrote:
There are so many points ı can make.....but a fighter(or any other damage source character) isnt needed?No.Just no.

I've pointed this out a couple times, but the role the fighter fills in a party is having decent strength and AC and doing damage with multi-attacks.

The basic assumption of how the game thinks the Druid is supposed to be played is a caster who is accompanied at all times by a creature with decent strength, AC, and damaging multi-attacks, shapeshifts into a creature with decent strength, AC, and damaging multi-attacks, and is particularly adept at conjuring creatures with decent strength, AC, and damaging multi-attacks. The Druid needs to go out of his way to avoid his spells and class features stepping all over the fighter's niche. Similarly, the summoner is a mage that's walking around with a diet Fighter in his pocket as a class feature and can summon monsters that are also diet Fighters without even using spells per day.

It's not good for giving classes particular niches if you then turn around and hand the things you have nonmagical classes for to magic users and justify this by "but the magic-user MIGHT not infringe on another class's niche because he wants to use his spells on something else." In an all-mage party, a battle cleric and bruiser druid are probably going to be pretty good damage sources if they know how to use their classes effectively, with the side perk that they also have very powerful resources for tasks besides dealing damage.

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Cavall wrote:

I'll go with magus.

There's no class worse for photocopy characters. It isn't a class, it's a single character being reprinted over and over.

Boring as hell.

The Magus is fine. It's better-designed than a number of other classes I could mention.

Give it some more 1st-level touch spells that don't fill the same niche as shocking grasp, make a dex-to-damage feat that doesn't suck along with some strength incentivizing feats, and problem solved.

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I don't even neccessarily think that casters require more effort to level up than most martials. For prepared casters in particular, you don't tend to have many class features to speak of and new spell selections can be pretty trivial compared to someone like the sorcerer because you can just buy new ones later if you wanna.

The fighter has to go back to the overcomplicated trap-laden jungle that is feats every time it levels up and those decisions will make huge impacts on how well the character performs while being much harder to reassign in the event a feat choice was not the best option. It's part of the reason I think the fighter is probably the worst martial class for new players, but its sparse class features make people think it's the best.

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I voted Cavalier, but Cleric is a close second.

The Cavalier needs it most because it tends to be a very one-dimensional chassis for a class despite having more going on than, say, a base fighter. You feel like you're being contrary if you don't play the class as all about dat lance charge but at the same time that's an inconvenient thing to have your class revolve around on several levels.

Cleric kind of has a different problem in that while it's powerful and versatile as all getout it has so little customization going on compared to things like the Oracle that it's kinda boring despite being a strong contender for one of the strongest classes in the game.

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Ryan Freire wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Omnius wrote:

If my party is a Wizard, a Druid, a Summoner, and the rapier-using one-hand-free finesse Fighter putting their advancements into charisma, my life as a GM gets a lot harder when I try and give the fop something to do.

Party Face.

Thats not that hard.

Summoners use charisma for spells and may end up with higher charisma. So between them and the eidolon they could be better at fighting and being the party face.

Summoner has the same skill points per level, the same int priority, and more "i'm decent at being a summoner" skill requirements than face skills and fewer face skills as class skills.

So how many resources is this summoner going to spend to work out of niche?

To be fair, the fighter's incredibly poorly equipped to play a party face either until he's spent two or three feats on this while a summoner's got the option of Skilldolons.

Although the fighter in this theoretical scenario is clearly either being played by someone who hasn't yet read the ACG and is going to have his life changed by the Swashbuckler or someone who HAS heard of the Swashbuckler but is electing to play his character concept badly out of spite.

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Gallant Armor wrote:
I think that wizards get built in flavor progression in more ways than martials. It helps to imagine a 1st level fighter with one unsteady swing and the 20th level fighter expertly slashing and slicing multiple times per round.

I get what you're saying here and I don't entirely disagree. I just feel it's kinda lame that for martial arts you're often not feeling like you're learning new techniques and stuff (third party martial options often get around this, as do tactical feats, but Paizo is resolutely refusing to make tactical feats for reasons that elude me), just needing to roleplay your numbers getting bigger while the spell list is tripping over itself in its haste to ladle out flashy new powers for magic-users. The rules just seem very unfriendly to the things I've noticed my sword-swinging players want to do at higher levels, like swinging around on chandeliers or hamstringing giants or bursting through walls; you can sorta manage some of it but it's certainly requiring a lot more work and permissiveness on my part as the GM than the magic-user just, well, casting a spell that does what it says it does.

Crit builds and feat chains can help your character come alive as well, adding nasty effects on your attacks and giving a better sense of improvement.

...To a point. I've never really liked crit builds because I feel like that's an entirely luck-based character by the end. You've got the numbers to try and coax Luck to be a lady tonight, but you can't plan around critical hits, and that's usually where the stuff is at for martials because the things you can plan around are feats like stunning assault, which is pretty powerful but arrives at the same time spells are letting you open portals into heaven and nonsense of that sort.

I'd appreciate more feats that scaled and gave you more of a sense of pizzazz at the end of your career. Stunning enemies is well and good, but what about feats for a flying leap, or running on/up walls, or things like the Whirling Dervish's Whirlwind Dance to rush through a crowd of enemies, striking an entire mob at once? None of those are particularly out-there powers for high-level martials to use at will but it sorta seems like far too many feats focus on numerical bonuses or making your crits add a condition rather than the feeling of truly expanding your powers like going up on the spell list does.

The Barbarian's rage powers get him to a good place at the end of it, I feel. At first level he's getting mad and breaking some heads. At 20th level he can get mad, break any head he wants, break the castle walls, break the wizard's spell, and be so angry he flies through the air to break the laws of gravity. I'd just like other full BAB classes to get powers that are similarly flashy at the end of the day. The fighter's journey culminating in a nice critical hit feels very anticlimactic by comparison.

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Gallant Armor wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
Will.Spencer wrote:
Bluenose wrote:
Using "anime characters" as a shorthand for ridiculous over-the-top power-levels is quite annoying...
Do you have a preferred short-hand for "fighters who can fly, turn invisible, teleport and have swords that can cast AOEs"?

Epic heroes? Wuxia protagonists?

I'm just sayin', I feel like a high level fighter is Gilgamesh or Hercules, not a regular guy with a sword and armor. A level 1 fighter is a regular guy with a sword and armor who hits very hard, where's the sense of PROGRESSION?

A first level fighter can kill a rat each turn, a level 20 fighter can kill a dragon each turn. That's the PROGRESSION.

Well, actually, no, the first level fighter runs away or dies screaming against a swarm of rats.

As does the 20th level fighter who didn't bring a swarmbane clasp or alchemist's fire, interestingly enough.

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So some of the problems are already addressed; namely, with the rules the way they are you are already capable of building fighters that can dispatch Pit Fiends in single combat but were not designed by the game to really do anything besides deal loads of damage. Giving them bigger and cheaper magic weapons and armor is merely enforcing what the fighter is already doing and not its lack of options to do anything else.

At the same time it buffs Clerics, who DO make use of magic weapons and armor and raises the specter of the magic weapons and armor-crafting battle-cleric looming over the fighter.

Which brings us to part one of my points of balance for Pathfinder:

Magic and 9th-level magic-users that can do the warrior's job for them have to go.

The fighter's role in the party is to be an obstacle to enemies that has decent AC and HP and strong multi-attacks.

The baseline assumption of how the Druid plays is that he transforms himself into a monster that has decent AC and HP and strong multi-attcks, is accompanied at all times by a second monster that has decent AC and HP and strong multi-attacks, and can summon a small battalion of expendable monsters that have decent AC and HP and strong multi-attacks. Part of the reason the Summoner gets so much heat is that his primary CLASS FEATURE is a slightly worse Fighter or Rogue (for Skill-Eidolons) in his pocket on top of being able to summon his own legions of helpers/defenders.

Summoning and Battle-polymorph both need to have a major axe taken to them to end the niche infringement of martial characters beyond "I might want to spend those spell slots on something else." Make them more difficult. Make them outright DANGEROUS. Make minionmancy a high-risk high-reward thing where the caster might be able to magic up some numbers for fights but if things go wrong risks dropping an entirely new encounter on the party every time they do it.

Similarly, proficiency with magic should be inversely proportional to your casting proficiency. The Druid and the Cleric and the Oracle and the Shaman and those other 9th-level casters need to get busted down to 1/2 BAB and stripped of armor proficiencies entirely to establish they are not combatants, they are CASTERS. Some adjustment to spell lists and class features can come with this, but not only does this improve the fighter's lot by not forcing him to compete with battle-clerics and shape-shifted druids leading strike teams of dinosaurs, it also improves more overlooked classes like the Warpriest's lot by making him the default battle cleric instead of a poor successor to his father class in most situations.

Secondly, no more bonus spells. At all. You get what it says on your class sheet. If you have 40 intelligence, whoop de doo. You still don't get extra spells per day, you get high save DCs. 5e did away with the idea of more spells for maxing out your casting stat and strongly capped the number of high-level spells you can cast in a day, and I feel like that was a step in the right direction. Time Stop is a very powerful ability. Being able to cast it once before you have to rest again rather than seven times a day helps keep you honest. Put the squeeze on spell slots and the GM doesn't need to be running a very deliberate treadmill to make even crafty mages start to feel the limits of their spells.

Thirdly, make skills do more, and increase nonmagical skill access. Mastering magic is a lot of work, but our fighters and rangers and brawlers and barbarians have had to pick up a number of skills to live long enough to possess their combat prowess. Not only should martials have more skills than mages to reflect this, they should have easier access to skill tricks and masteries that elude mages. The wizard has learned a very potent stealthy power in his spell to become invisible, but the rogue must master stealth in her own way; it takes longer and more of an investment, but when Stealth MASTERY is achieved invisible mages must concern themselves with being detected by scent or blindsight while the rogue moves so softly and so stealthily even advanced senses cannot detect her presence without beating her stealth check. The mage can fly and walk up walls; the fighter can climb like a monkey and swim like a fish even in full armor, and take flying leaps that can carry him across huge gaps or high enough to make the flying fiend that thought to harry him from the air regret all its life decisions that brought it to this point.

Part the fourth, let the lords of the battlefield control it a bit, too. The warrior defending the wizard is all well and good to say, but tanking is more of a theory than a fact in Pathfinder as it currently exists. Ways for the martials to actually force enemies to confront them directly rather than focusing their attention on the more troublesome healers and mages first are sparse, and what few there are have been harshly criticized as making things too much like an MMO. But the fact is tanking only works if there is a mechanical way for the defender to FORCE even an intelligent adversary to ignore craftier battle tactics and expend its efforts trying to kill the enemy best-equipped to take its attacks first. Pit fiends are geniuses, and at the level they're fighting adventuring parties, well aware that clerics can keep that swordsman on his feet through all kinds of fire and fury while that mage is searching his memory for a spell that will dispatch it; naturally, the pit fiend would move to neutralize these two threats first, depriving the fighter of his force-mulitpliers and healing before their duel commences on much less even terms. Martials need more forms of crowd control and ways to ensure an enemy can't just shoot or run past them to geek the mage and silence the healer first; attacks of opportunity do not, in my view, do enough to keep squishier targets from being prioritized. A swipe from the fighter's sword might hurt but the thing that kills enemies is full attacks. If you move past the fighter to kill his friend you have taken a little damage but he has to give up on his full attack to come get you afterwards, and you've put the mage in a bad spot. 5e evades this once again with the Sentinel feat, which lets its user stop foes in their tracks with a successful attack, strike them if they try to withdraw, and get in attacks of opportunity if their careless foe continues trying to ignore them to attack other party members. Stand Still, the Pathfinder feat, is much less likely to impede a foe's advance as effectively.

Incidentally, running a game with the third party Spheres of Power and Spheres of Might system goes a ways towards implementing many of these ideas, but let's assume we're talking about fixing the first-party Pathfinder.

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Will.Spencer wrote:
Bluenose wrote:
Using "anime characters" as a shorthand for ridiculous over-the-top power-levels is quite annoying...
Do you have a preferred short-hand for "fighters who can fly, turn invisible, teleport and have swords that can cast AOEs"?

Epic heroes? Wuxia protagonists?

I'm just sayin', I feel like a high level fighter is Gilgamesh or Hercules, not a regular guy with a sword and armor. A level 1 fighter is a regular guy with a sword and armor who hits very hard, where's the sense of PROGRESSION?

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The King In Yellow wrote:
Sixth, this isn't an anime. Martials shouldn't be doing anime stuff, unless they have access to magic. The game world should be (mostly) internally consistent. Guy with sword may know all kinds of tricks with that sword, but in the end, he's STILL just a guy with a sword. Not an anime character. (Note, I watch a lot of anime, but if I want to play with anime characters, I'll play in an anime-themed RPG. - That's what BESM and TFOS are for.)

My problem with this is that there's no point to a level system if that's the case.

A level 20 fighter is hundreds of thousands of EXP higher than a level 17 wizard. If the level 20 PC wealth fighter is a CR 20 encounter, he is worth more EXP than TWO fully equipped level 17 wizards.

Nobody in their right mind would ever choose to fight 2 level 17 wizards instead of the level 20 fighter unless the fight takes place in a dead magic zone because fighting something with a really dangerous full attack is not particularly hard for competent adventurers but fighting two enemies with 9th-level spells is a nightmare even if you know what you're doing. Most people wouldn't prefer to fight ONE level 17 wizard boss as opposed to a level 20 fighter, because the former has the power to stop time, summon tyrannosauruses, and then teleport away to fight you later while the other has a good critical hit and a small amount of damage reduction.

Why are these both being presented as equally viable classes if it goes without saying that getting all the way to the peak with the one is still much less powerful than getting most of the way there with the other?

If a level 20 fighter is a regular guy with a sword, a level 20 wizard should be a slightly better Houdini, not Doctor Strange. Similarly, if a level 20 caster is functionally a demigod from the PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWER of their magics, a level 20 martial should similarly be capable of godly feats of prowess.

It feels extremely inconsistent to me that an orc fist-fighter can kill a triceratops with a single punch but could never possibly jump high enough to catch a flying mage strafing the party, but that's how the rules are treating it.

In a setting where magic is as powerful as it is in Pathfinder, martial arts should be similarly powerful. If martial arts at level 20 are just the exact same thing you were doing at level 1 only with bigger numbers, 9th level spells should be something more like being able to turn LOTS of things blue or produce a really big shower of sparkles, like you were doing at level 1. But with more numbers.

People kvetch about the "weaboo fighting magic" of PoW/Tome Of Battle, but honestly I suspect in a setting as ridiculously high-magic as pathfinder martial arts would be a fair bit more varied and powerful than "stand very still and hit it until it dies."

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Mykull wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:

. . . The fact that plotlines and locations need to be "caster-proofed" at all is an indication of how the GM needs to account for spellcasting in a way that they don't necessarily need to for other things . . .

Magic requires you to think a little more carefully about how they're getting into the fortress. Is the fortress protected against aerial assaults, if the mage can cast fly? Is there something in place to stop one from using burrowing spells to get in from underneath? Can they scry on things inside the castle to learn more about what they're up against? God forbid, can they teleport past the outer defenses, and what happens if they do? Can they open holes in the walls with magic? Can they supplement the aforementioned plans to fight, sneak, or talk their way inside with things that make these plans much, much more likely to succeed?

Magic can do a lot of things, and it's hard to account for them all.

This is not the first argument of this type that I've seen in this thread, or in others. It implies that the over-powered wizard "just showed up, <*POOF*>, from, like, nowhere, man." That the castle was all prepped for a frontal assault or sneaky-creepy thieves, but had absolutely not one iota of an inkling that such a thing as arcane magic was in existence.

And if that were true, I'd agree that it's a good reason to consider a wizard to be overpowered. HOWEVER, it isn't true.

The castle exists in a magical world and is aware of that fact. The castle that readies defenses against magical assault makes the castle prepared, not the wizard overpowered.

A goldsmith or silversmith who protects his shop with simple locks and then gets robbed doesn't have the right to moan, "Oh, thieves, with their masterwork thieves' tools are just so overpowered!" Passersby would, quite justly, chide the smith, "Dude, you're the one who deals in precious metal and used only simple locks! You know there are thieves and that they have pretty good...

And the shopowner gets those wonderful locks and finds the following day he's been robbed anyway because a thief with magic simply enchanted them open or teleported inside, took everything that wasn't nailed down and on fire, and teleported back out. The guards noticed nothing because the thief was invisible. Was the shopkeeper a fool because he quite reasonably can't afford to hire wizards to make his store dimensionally locked?

The fact that worldbuilding by default has to revolve around how powerful magic is in Pathfinder is an indicator to me that magic is overpowered. It's only part of the world that everyone worth taking seriously lives in a lead-lined fortress that dispels invisibility, blocks summoning and teleportation, and has sleepless heavily armed guardians constantly on alert for spellcasting because the magic system is powerful enough that any sort of real-world defenses seem laughably quaint, and so nobody that isn't a very high level caster or has several on their payroll is going to be equipped to deal with the PCs.

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On the basis that there is no real off hand involved in a Brawler's flurry, my general feeling is that it is a -2/-2 penalty regardless. You are making all the attacks in the flurry with your main hand weapon. If you are "wielding" anything else, it's your unarmed strike, which is a light weapon, so there is no cause for increased penalties.

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I'm sure there's a game somewhere that is improved by item degradation, but I've never played one or met someone that has.

Your sword just falling apart after a while doesn't make life more interesting, it just means you have to repeatedly mention that you're maintaining your sword and move a couple GP around to that effect rather than the GM making the reasonable assumption that the players, who often have access to a basic repair spell that can be cast an infinite number of times, maintain their gear.

Assuming the gear even needs to be maintained, given that nearly everything worth writing down a 6th level PC owns is at least somewhat magical.

It's like eating food. There are probably some people out there that really want to keep track of that stuff but for most players it's a pointless addition of annoying minutiae that just bog the gameplay down in distracting nonsense that in no way enhances the fun.

Players can be reminded their weapons aren't invincible by running into something that sunders or damages their weapons, but beyond that I assume my master swordsman does basic maintenance on his sword and keeps it in fine condition as he adventures, and given that his sword is magical I assume it's not particularly hard to keep it in perfect shape. I similarly assume the wizard is gathering components for his pouches, and since he spent 20 GP for a pouch, a backup pouch, a backup backup pouch, and a backup backup backup pouch I'm not going to give him grief about how much he can cast with one.

I assume my players are eating food without them having to go "I now take a break from the adventure we're on to eat," particularly because after the first couple levels it is basically impossible to fail the survival check to forage for food if anyone in the party is any good at survival. I also assume they're going to the bathroom and procuring clean water.

If the element is "realistic" but isn't adding anything fun or interesting to the game, I leave it in a bin. Pathfinder is already an insanely unrealistic game, trying to make it gritty is like as not to be a frustrating exercise in futility.

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Another factor in the Wizard/Sorcerer/Arcanist having a better spell list is that they actually need to have a spell list. Sorcerers have their spells known, while Wizards and Arcanists can only prepare the spells in their spellbook, and if something bad happens to their spellbook they're left scrambling for a backup.

Clerics do need to keep track of holy symbols, but eventually you can just have a tattooed backup that's not going to be easy for the GM to "take", and while their spell list isn't as good as the wizard's...

A.) Nothing should be as good as the Wizard's spell list, including the Wizard's spell list. It's way too good a spell list.

B.) Clerics have access to EVERY cleric spell that exists and the player knows about (and the GM allows) every time they prepare their spells. An arcane caster might have some scrolls of corner-case spells squirreled away somewhere but if the cleric needs to make a drastic change to their usual spell loadout they can do so to an extent a wizard cannot.

Oracles get a bit of a bite in this dynamic since they don't get this benefit, but that's part of the reason why Oracle Mysteries give them way more class features than Arcane Schools or Domains give to their classes.

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Will is almost always the worst kind of save to fail.

Blowing Reflex saves is generally inconvenient but not so bad. You're usually just taking some damage or getting entangled or knocked down by failing one, which means it's really not any different from a brute monster hitting you with attacks.

Fort saves hurt to fail a lot; a lot of ability damage causers require fort saves, and diseases can be pretty nasty if your GM has a mind for it. Most instant kill effects are fort saves, too.

Will saves, however, make you the GM's puppet. Do you abandon the party, completely wrecking the team's strategy? Do you get stun-locked and left wide open to coup de grace attempts until an ally drops what they're doing and goes over to save your butt? Or, worst of all, do you start trying to help the bad guys kill your friends?

Blowing a Reflex save hurts you. Blowing a fort save can kill you. Blowing a will save can kill the entire party.

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