|Captain Hawley Cromwell, "The Mad Barnacle"|
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Some posters have joked that Paizo should just get rid of martial classes and make them all casters. The way the game is set up in P1, that's probably the only way to do it.
Joked? If you are referring to me, I was quite serious. Imagine the world of pathfinder - it has the usual, real life laws of physics, but also additional physical laws of magic which describe how magic behaves, as well as bridging laws between those two sets. Now you have two kinds of people - one kind(mages) can interract with the latter set, while the other(various mundanes and muggles) can't. How can you expect mages not to dominate the design process here? It'd be like if in real life some people could only move, look and interract with objects in two dimensions, while some others could jump, climb, raise their head to look at things above or below them and otherwise move in three dimensions. Obviously the latter kind would be ridiculously overpowered. They could sneak past people by climbing a tree and moving along the branches, kill people without repercussions by dropping things on them (not like 2-d people would know why a person suddenly died), heal diseases nobody else could heal (how can you heal a sprained ankle if you can't look down to notice your ankle is sprained?), and so on.
IMO if you want players to be in some sense equal, then the least you should do is make it possible for all players to interract with all laws of physics, instead of a ridiculously limited subset. The.Bard mentioned they (and many others) want their fighters to be "like a warrior from the legends, like Beowulf, Heracles or Cu Chulainn (spelling?), not some random historically accurate-ish fighter." Well, Cu Chulainn was a reincarnation of a god. Heracles was a son of a god. Beowulf (unlike the other two) wasn't of literal divine descent, but he did do things like:
- In order to kill a monster at the bottom of a lake, he dives into it. In full plate armor. It takes him a day to sink to the bottom, which does little more that bore him because dude just can hold breath that good. He then kills the monster, and swims out of the lake (still in full plate) while carrying it's head.
- Gets into a week-long swimming contest across the sea. He loses, but only barely, and because he was doing it in full plate armor and had to waste time killing 9 leviathans along the way, while swimming, without rest.
- When asked to get rid of a realy scary giant fella, decides that it would be only fair to not use any weapons, since the giant doesn't use weapons either. He then rips the giant's arm off and wins the fight.
- Gets into a fight with a dragon. Dragon bites him clean through the neck, which lightly inconveniences Beowulf as he proceeds to disembowel the dragon with a dagger. He dies later, but not because of something lame like horrific blood loss, but because of epic-level dragon poison that was on it's fangs.
As far as their respective worlds were concerned, those three were the casters of their respective settings. Or at the very least, they had full access to the full set of laws of magic in their respective universes. So IMO, if you want "balanced" parties, give everyone magic. Monks use magic to become tough enough to drop from orbit, fly through the air, and so on, warriors use it to punch out dragons and make their swords cut through light to become invisible or what not, and casters use it to change shape and send fire from the heavens. Nice and balanced, using the same force of magic.