Mephit

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A lot of people are interested in playing low-magic campaigns. Unfortunately, this doesn't really work in any variation of 3e, including Pathfinder. There are thus two options to make low-magic function in your home game.

1. Play E6. Stop the game around level six.
2. Listen to me. You mad?

Let's start off with the basics about Pathfinder. At a certain point, you need magical equipment to overcome damage reduction. If you're playing in a game and you encounter DR 15/magic and you don't have a magic sword, you're screwed (unless you have a wizard nearby who can kill the monster for you...which would be using magic). You are also going to be fighting explicitly magical creatures who can cast spells and have access to a host of supernatural abilities. While you might be playing in a low-magic game, the dragons, demons, and fey that you will encounter are not. Because it is assumed that you have a certain amount of magical equipment at each levels, monsters are designed according to such. Unless the DM plans on throwing low CR monsters against you and eyeballing how tough they are compared to your magicless stats, you're in for an extremely rough ride.

Instead of that particular mess, I'm going to present a system for you that allows you to have all the mystery and wonder of a low-magic setting without the headache of pathetic characters. As your characters level up, instead of gaining magic items, they gain inherent bonuses to their abilities. For some people, this will defeat the purpose of a low-magic game. These people should take suggestion #1 and play E6. For others, this may solve the dilemma of having to hand out magic items like candy.

Now, before I introduce the level-by-level guide itself, you need to know that I'm not going to bother with the minutiae that typically suffuses a Pathfinder game. Bonus types, stacking, and so forth don't matter. If you're playing a low-magic game, you're not getting magic items, and you don't have a wizard to throw buffs on everyone. No druids are turning themselves into bears, no clerics are casting righteous might. If they are, you're probably not actually playing a low-magic game. You're playing a "screw the non-casters" game, where the spellcasters get all their nice abilities but the disenfranchised fighter is swining a +1 sword at level 17. But even if that's your style, assume that none of these bonuses stack with any other like bonus. In addition, the later bonuses supercede those from previous levels.

Spoiler:
Level 1: Hah, just kidding. You don't have magical bonuses yet.

Level 3: You gain a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls. You gain a +1 bonus to your Armor Class. All your attacks are treated as magical for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction.

Level 4: You gain a +2 bonus to a single ability score of your choosing. You gain a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls. You gain a +1 bonus to your Armor Class. All your attacks are treated as magical for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction.

Level 5: You gain a +2 bonus to two ability scores of your choosing. You gain a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls. You gain a +1 bonus on saving throws. All your attacks are treated as magical for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction.

Level 6: You gain a +2 bonus on attack and damage rolls. You gain a +2 bonus to your Armor Class. You gain a +1 bonus on saving throws. In addition, when taking a full attack action, you may make an additional attack at your highest attack bonus. You gain a +2 bonus to two ability scores of your choosing.

Level 7: You gain a +4 bonus to one ability score of your choosing. You gain a +2 bonus to a second ability score of your choosing. You gain a +2 bonus on attack and damage rolls. You gain a +2 bonus to your Armor Class. You gain a +1 bonus on saving throws. In addition, when taking a full attack action, you may make an additional attack at your highest attack bonus.

Level 8: You gain a +4 bonus to one ability score of your choosing and a +2 bonus to two other ability scores of your choosing. You gain a +2 bonus on attack and damage rolls. You gain a +2 bonus on saving throws. In addition, when taking a full attack action, you may make an additional attack at your highest attack bonus.

Level 9: You gain a +3 bonus on attack and damage rolls. You gain a +3 bonus to your Armor Class. You gain a +4 bonus to two ability scores of your choosing and a +2 bonus to one other ability score. You gain a +2 bonus on saving throws. In addition, when taking a full attack action, you may make an additional attack at your highest attack bonus.

Level 10: You gain a +6 bonus to one ability score, a +4 bonus to a second ability score, and a +2 bonus to two other ability scores of your choosing. You gain a +3 bonus on attack and damage rolls. You gain a +3 bonus to your Armor Class. You gain a +2 bonus on saving throws. In addition, when taking a full attack action, you may make an additional attack at your highest attack bonus.

Level 11: Your weapons are treated as aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. You gain a +3 bonus on saving throws. You gain a +6 bonus to one ability score, a +4 bonus to a second ability score, and a +2 bonus to two other ability scores of your choosing. You gain a +3 bonus on attack and damage rolls. You gain a +3 bonus to Armor Class. In addition, when taking a full attack action, you may make an additional attack at your highest attack bonus.

Level 12: You gain a +4 bonus on attack and damage rolls. You gain a +4 bonus to Armor Class. You gain a +6 bonus to one ability score, a +4 bonus to two other ability scores, and a +2 bonus to one other ability score. Your weapons are treated as aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. You gain a +3 bonus on saving throws. In addition, when taking a full attack action, you may make an additional attack at your highest attack bonus.

Level 13: You gain a +6 bonus to two ability scores, a +4 bonus to one ability score, and a +2 bonus to two other ability scores. You gain a +4 bonus on attack and damage rolls. You gain a +4 bonus to Armor Class. Your weapons are treated as aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. You gain a +3 bonus on saving throws. In addition, when taking a full attack action, you may make an additional attack at your highest attack bonus.

Level 14: You gain a +4 bonus to saving throws. You gain a +8 bonus to one ability scores, a +6 bonus to one ability score, a +4 bonus to two other ability scores, and a +2 bonus to one other ability score. You gain a +4 bonus on attack and damage rolls. You gain a +4 bonus to Armor Class. Your weapons are treated as aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. You gain a +3 bonus on saving throws. In addition, when taking a full attack action, you may make an additional attack at your highest attack bonus.

Level 15: You gain a +5 bonus on attack and damage rolls. You gain a +5 bonus to Armor Class. You gain a +4 bonus to saving throws. You gain a +8 bonus to one ability score, a +6 bonus to one ability score, a +4 bonus to two other ability scores, and a +2 bonus to one other ability score. Your weapons are treated as aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. You gain a +4 bonus on saving throws. In addition, when taking a full attack action, you may make an additional attack at your highest attack bonus.

Level 16: You gain a +8 bonus to one ability score, a +6 bonus to two ability scores, a +4 bonus to two ability scores, and a +2 bonus to one other ability score. You gain a +5 bonus on attack and damage rolls. You gain a +5 bonus to Armor Class. You gain a +4 bonus to saving throws. You gain a +8 bonus to one ability score, a +6 bonus to one ability score, a +4 bonus to two other ability scores, and a +2 bonus to one other ability score. Your weapons are treated as aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. You gain a +4 bonus on saving throws. In addition, when taking a full attack action, you may make an additional attack at your highest attack bonus.

Level 17: You gain a +8 bonus to two ability scores, a +6 bonus to two ability scores, a +4 bonus to one ability score, and a +2 bonus to one other ability score. You gain a +5 bonus on attack and damage rolls. You gain a +5 bonus to Armor Class. You gain a +4 bonus to saving throws. You gain a +8 bonus to one ability score, a +6 bonus to one ability score, a +4 bonus to two other ability scores, and a +2 bonus to one other ability score. Your weapons are treated as aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. You gain a +4 bonus on saving throws. In addition, when taking a full attack action, you may make an additional attack at your highest attack bonus.

Level 18: You gain a +6 bonus on attack and damage rolls. You gain a +6 bonus to Armor Class. You gain a +5 bonus on saving throws. You gain a +8 bonus to two ability scores, a +6 bonus to two ability scores, a +4 bonus to one ability score, and a +2 bonus to one other ability score. Your weapons are treated as aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. In addition, when taking a full attack action, you may make an additional attack at your highest attack bonus.

Level 20: You gain a +10 bonus to one ability score, a +8 bonus to one ability score, a +6 bonus to two ability scores, and a +4 bonus to two other ability scores. You gain a +6 bonus on attack and damage rolls. You gain a +6 bonus to Armor Class. You gain a +5 bonus on saving throws. Your weapons are treated as aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. In addition, when taking a full attack action, you may make an additional attack at your highest attack bonus.


Now, some people are going to freak out. A PLUS TEN BONUS TO AN ABILITY SCORE BROOOOOOKEN. But let's be brutally honest here: that additional +2 doesn't mean much when you're losing the special properties on weapons and armor and lacking the potency and versatility of spellcasters. Even the 20% miss chance from a minor cloak of displacement will be sorely missed. I increased the bonuses available to the PCs to compensate slightly for their loss of magical items.

You may now discuss.


Without rewriting the system, there are some classes that need more stats than others. Monks and paladins, for instance. So here's how I'm thinking point buy should work for classes. Single-classed only, of course; if you allow multi-classing, this will fall apart.

Monks: 18 Wisdom, 22 point buy.
Paladins: 18 Charisma, 18 point buy.
Fighters & Barbarians: 18 Strength, 16 point buy.
Bards: 18 Charisma, 16 point buy.
Rangers: 18 Wisdom, 16 point buy.
Rogues: 18 Dexterity, 16 point buy.
Clerics & Druids: 18 Wisdom, 13 point buy.
Wizards: 18 Intelligence, 13 point buy.
Sorcerers: 18 Charisma, 13 point buy.

Thoughts?


Don't like them very much, or wealth-by-level, for that matter (or the way that wealth-by-level and crafted magical items work together). Magic equipment should be in the hands of the DM and the loot tables, not the players.

Just my two cents.


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I have a masochistic streak a mile wide, so I'm going to go through a number of the Pathfinder feats and "update" them so they aren't so terrible anymore. First things first, I'm going to remove all of the following feats:

• Quicken Spell.
• Natural Spell.
• Point Blank Shot.
• Mobility.
• Endurance.
• Every single little piss +2/+2 feat.
• Crafting feats. These irritate me for a number of reasons.

With that being said, let's go through the feats in no particular order.

• Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Greater Weapon Focus, and Greater Weapon Specialization. These feats give powerful disrespect to the fighter. Powerful disrespect, I say. +2 to attack and +4 damage? For a single weapon? Pathetic.

Weapon Focus
Choose a single weapon group (as described in the fighter class description). When using a weapon in that group, you gain benefits depending on your level.

1st level: +1 on attack rolls.
4th level: +2 on damage rolls.
8th level: +1 on attack rolls (+2 total).
12th level: +2 on damage rolls (+4 total).

Special: You may take this feat more than once. Each time you take it, it applies to a new weapon group.

• Power Attack/Deadly Aim. Boy, do these two irritate me. If you want to do your fightan thing, you need this feat to do damage. Now, the game pretends there's a trade-off because you're taking a penalty to damage, but you're almost always going to want to use PA/DA. In 3e, with the "slider" method of Power Attack, there was an illusion of choice, but that's completely gone in Pathfinder. Why are we even bothering pretending that this feat is anything other than free bonus damage with a penalty to attacks that pretends to balance it out? Might as well make it easier to use.

Power Attack
You gain a bonus on melee damage rolls equal to half your level (minimum 1).

Deadly Aim
You gain a bonus on ranged damage rolls equal to half your level (minimum 1).

• Iron Will, Great Fortitude, and Lightning Reflexes. They just aren't that great. +2 to a saving throw? That's just not that good, especially not when a cloak of resistance hands out a +5 bonus to all three of them. Best suggestion I have is to combine them with other, less-than-stellar feats.

Iron Will
You gain a +2 bonus on Will saves. In addition, you gain the benefits of the Blind Fighting feat. (Which I am too lazy to reproduce here.)

Great Fortitude
You gain a +2 bonus on Fortitude saves, and you gain +1 hit point per HD. (This feat replaces the Toughness feat.)

Lightning Reflexes
You gain a +2 bonus on Reflex saves and a +1 dodge bonus to AC. In addition, you can draw or sheathe a weapon as a free action. (This feat replaces the Quick Draw and Dodge feats.)

• Vital Strike. Lots of potential but it was ruined by a crappy feat chain. Also the mechanics of the feat itself are wonky.

Vital Strike
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +6.
As a standard action, you can make a single attack at your highest attack bonus. If the attack hits, you do additional damage according to your base attack bonus.

+6: +2d8 damage (melee), +2d6 (ranged).
+9: +4d8 damage (melee), +4d6 (ranged).
+11: +7d8 damage (melee), +7d6 (ranged).
+13: +9d8 damage (melee), +9d6 (ranged).
+16: +12d8 damage (melee), +12d6 (ranged).

If you are wielding a weapon in two hands or two-weapon fighting, you do +1 damage per die rolled.

Special: You may use this ability with the melee attack at the end of a charge.

• Armor & Shield Proficiency feats. Is there anything more useless? Chances are that anyone who wants to use these feats can't cast in the armor anyway.

Armor Proficiency
You gain proficiency with all armor and shields.

• The above also goes for weapon training.

Martial Weapon Training
You gain proficiency in all simple and martial weapons.

Exotic Weapon Training
Prerequisite: Training in simple and martial weapons.
You gain proficiency in all exotic weapons.

• Skill Focus is terrible. Pathfinder attempted to make it better but didn't really.

Skill Focus
Choose two skills. You gain a +3 bonus to each of them.

Special: You may take this feat more than once. Each time you do, you choose two different skills.

• The two-weapon chain is awful, just awful. Too many feats at once with a ridiculously high stat prerequisite.

Two-Weapon Fighting
Your penalties on attack rolls for fighting with two weapons are reduced. The penalty for your primary hand lessens by 2 and the one for your off hand lessens by 6. You also get a +2 shield bonus to AC when fighting with two weapons.

In addition, once you have +6 BAB, you can make a second attack with your off-hand weapon at your full attack bonus (though you still take the penalties for fighting with two weapons). (This replaces the TWF, Improved TWF, and Two-Weapon Defense feats.)

• The various combat maneuver feats. Huge waste of resources.

Improved Combat Maneuvers
You do not suffer an attack of opportunity for attempting any combat maneuver. In addition, you gain a +2 bonus to your CMB and CMD, and you may freely intersperse CMB checks in place of attacks in a full attack (taking appropriate penalties as if the attack were an iterative attack).

• Cleave, Greater Cleave, Cleaving Finish, etc. How ridiculously lazy is it that Paizo reprinted 3e Cleave as Cleaving Finish? Shameful.

Cleave
As a standard action, make a melee attack at your highest attack bonus against an enemy within reach. If it hits, you may make an attack against another enemy within reach. You may continue to make attacks against enemies as long as you continue to hit, but you may not attack the same target more than once.

Whenever you drop a target (typically by reducing it to 0 or fewer HP), you may make a melee attack at your highest attack bonus against an enemy within reach. If you hit and drop that enemy, you may continue to make melee attacks until you miss or an enemy survives your onslaught.

• Shield feats. The shield fighter needs some love, but he ain't getting it with Paizo.

Shield Master
You gain a +1 bonus to your AC when wielding a shield, you do not lose your shield bonus to AC when performing a shield bash, and you do not suffer a penalty on attack rolls when using a tower shield. In addition, you may apply your shield bonus to your touch AC.

• Step Up and Step Up & Strike. So close, yet so far away.

Step Up
When an opponent that you threaten takes a five-foot step, you may take a five-foot step as an immediate action to follow him. This does not use up your five-foot step for the round. You may also make an attack of opportunity against your opponent when using this ability.

• Improved Critical I would like to simplify.

Improved Critical
All your critical hits automatically confirm.

• Run and Fleet both suck.

Fleet of Foot
Your base move speed increases by five feet. When running, you move five times your normal speed (if wearing medium, light, or no armor and carrying no more than a medium load) or four times your speed (if wearing heavy armor or carrying a heavy load). If you make a jump after a running start (see the Acrobatics skill description), you gain a +4 bonus on your Acrobatics check. While running, you retain your Dexterity bonus to your Armor Class.

• Diehard and Disruptive are unrelated aside from starting with the letter D, and yet they are both terrible.

Diehard
When your hit point total is below 0, but you are not dead, you automatically stabilize. You do not need to make a Constitution check each round to avoid losing additional hit points. You may choose to act as if you were at 1 HP, rather than dying. You must make this decision as soon as you are reduced to negative hit points (even if it isn't your turn).

In addition, your minimum negative hit points are equal to -10 - your Constitution score. If that makes sense.

Disruptive
All enemies that are within your threatened area cannot cast spells defensively. This only applies if you are aware of the enemy's location.

• Some more random feats drawn from a hat.

Nimble Moves
You may treat all difficult terrain as normal terrain.

Penetrating Strike
Prerequisite: Base attack bonus +5.
Your weapon attacks may ignore damage reduction based on your level.

5th level: DR 5/any.
10th level: DR 10/any.
15th level: DR 15/any.

Wind Stance
If you move more than five feet in a round, all ranged and melee attacks against you suffer a 20% miss chance.

Lightning Stance
The miss chance from Wind Stance improves to 50%.

Lunge
Your reach increases by five feet.

Discuss.


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The fighter is supposed to be the fightingest class that ever was or is or ever shall be, so why does everyone else get full BAB next to him? He should have the most attacks and the most accurate attacks. Drop every other class that is full BAB to 3/4 BAB and every class that is 3/4 BAB down to half (take that monks) and watch the tears flow.


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From the perspective of melee classes (and especially fighters):

1. It requires 13 Int. Enjoy sacrificing a number of more important stats so you can burn a feat that you're unlikely to use.

2. It sucks. Both the Pathfinder and 3e versions suck, but the Pathfinder version angers me more. In 3e, you could at least take a -1 penalty to get the benefits of the feat if you wanted. In Pathfinder, you have to suck down the whole penalty. I imagine whoever rewrote this thing looking like this picture except saying, "WE TOLD THEM IT WAS AN OPEN PLAYTEST."

But at high levels, you're looking at a -4 to -6 penalty on your attack rolls. Given that all the fighter does is damage (and even then, he does it poorly), he'd damn well be putting out major hurt every round. Instead, you sacrifice your fighting prowess...to avoid being hit. Good job.

I mean, if you could do something like take a -2 penalty on attack rolls and get a +4 bonus to AC, I'd say it would be decent. That would be nice. But you don't get to do that because you are a fighter and you stupidly thought you would get nice things.

3. It's a feat tax. Not only is it a worthless ability, but you have to go through this junk feat as a sort of gatekeeper. Did you want to trip or disarm an opponent? Haha, piss off, waste another feat that could have been better spent on something mediocre like Iron Will or Lightning Reflexes. Even Skill Focus would be better than this turd.

I hate this feat and every single feat that requires it. I seriously saw a feat that let you shine light in your opponents' eyes to temporarily blind them. Except you dazzled them, not blinded them. And it was for one round. And what feat did that crappy feat have as a prerequisite? COMBAT EXPERTISE.

Every feat that requires CE is junk, prove me wrong.


Bored, so I'm going to write up a palatable fighter. Note that the class isn't supposed to be super-powerful or even particularly balanced; it's just supposed to be less crappy than the 3e/Pathfinder fighter. To make the fighter decent would invovle rewriting the foundations of the class and feat system. This is just an attempt to keep things fairly simple.

HD: d10. Duh.
BAB: Full. +1 per level. Obviously.
Saves: Good Fortitude and Reflex, poor Will. (Remember in 2e when the fighter got the best saves in the game? I think he deserves decent Reflex.)
Skills: 4 + Int per level. Class skills are Climb (Str),
Craft (Int), Diplomacy, Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (engineering) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str).

Weapons and Armor Proficiency
All simple and martial weapons; all armor and all shields.

Mighty Warrior
A fighter can treat half of his Strength modifier as his Constitution modifier for all purposes and effects (including Fortitude saves and bonus hit points at each level). So save those points in Constitution and put them into Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma so you can do something beyond "I hit it with a stick."

This ability only applies to single-classed fighters. So if you're thinking about doing something trickly like dipping into the class as a barbarian, you can think again, buster.

Weapon Training
When a fighter gains a feat that applies a benefit to a specific weapon or weapon group, he can apply the benefit to every weapon with which he is proficient. For instance, the Weapon Focus feat would provide him with a +1 bonus on all attack rolls (as long as the fighter is proficient with the weapon wielded).

Bonus Feats
At 1st, 2nd, 5th, 8th, 11th, 14th, and 17th levels, a fighter gains a bonus [Combat] feat.

In addition, the fighter gains the following feats at the following levels: Weapon Focus (1), Weapon Specialization (4), Greater Weapon Focus (8), Improved Critical (8), Greater Weapon Specialization (12).

Bravery
At 2nd level, a fighter is immune to fear. (You mad, paladins?)

Armor Training
At 3rd level, a fighter no long suffers movement penalties from wearing medium or heavy armor.

Special Mount
At 4th level, a fighter gets a special mount because a fighter without a horse is like a fish without an underwater bicycle. This functions like the druid's animal companion, and the fighter's effective druid level is equal to his fighter level.

Maneuver Master
At 4th level, a fighter is treated as having the following feats for all purposes and effects: Improved Bull Rush, Improved Disarm, Improved Sunder, Improved Overrun, and Improved Trip. This even counts for the prerequisites of other feats.

Weapon Specialization
At 7th level, a fighter gains a +1 bonus on weapon attack rolls and a +2 bonus on weapon damage rolls. Boooooring, but who turns down a chance to hit something better?

Armor Specialization
At 9th level, a fighter gains a +2 bonus to AC to any armor he wears (not including shields) and damage reduction 4/--. In addition, he can ignore all armor check penalties from armor and shields.

Full Attack
At 12th level, a fighter can make a full attack as a standard action or on a charge.

Weapon Mastery
At 13th level, the bonuses from Weapon Specialization improve to +2/+4. (If you've been keeping track, the fighter has +4/+8 to damage thus far, booooo for those who don't like boring fighters, but it makes those iteratives more likely to hit, so suck it up, buddy.)

Armor Mastery
At 15th level, the damage reduction from Armor Specialization improves to DR 8/--. At this point, you probably don't care that much anyway.

Okay, I've lost interest in doing anything else with the fighter. Discuss.


Without, y'know, casting spells.


http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/death-or-glory-combat

(Please note that the following assumes minimally optimized characters. There are no chargemasters or Power Attack finaggling, just a THF using Power Attack and the basic feat line.)

Let us pretend for a moment we have a level 20 fighter on our hands. He's wielding a greatsword and using Power Attack (obviously), and his Strength is around 26. We will then suppose that he has wasted feats on the Vital Strike lines. Assuming magic items and other miscellaneous bonuses, his damage will be about 8d6 + 46 damage, or an average of 74 damage on a hit. And that's only usable against a Large or larger creature, AND the creature gets a free melee attack against him afterward.

This is with a full-round action. Meanwhile, the fighter who wasn't tricked into thinking that Death or Glory is useful would just make a full attack. Assuming the same stats, he's going to be doing roughly 2d6 + 39 damage per attack. He's also going to be attacking five times in a round with a weapon of speed. His potential damage output will thus be 10d6 + 195, or 230 damage. Obviously, this damage will be reduced overall by the decreased likelihood of hitting, but even assuming that only the first two attacks hit--and there is a pretty good chance of more hitting--the fighter does 92 damage in the round, meaning that he's outdamaging the Death or Glory fighter AND he's not getting hit by a melee attack AND he can do this all the time AND he has four more feats at his disposal to use elsewhere.

Discuss.


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I just don't get it. Even the 4e developers managed to produce a badly-done game that is mostly balanced (even if their product is a grotesque mockery of traditional D&D). The Pathfinder developers, however, have had all the opportunity to learn from 3e D&D's mistakes and yet they continue to repeat them.

For instance, we KNEW that Two-Weapon Fighting was bad in 3e. It required a huge feat and stat investment to make it work, and it was worse than simply using Power Attack with a two-handed weapon. And yet the TWF feat chain was unchanged. There was a little support added for it, but nothing to make it not suck enough to consider worth taking. Likewise, the Vital Strike line is a good idea, but it's not worth three feats to use, especially when you can't even use them on a charge. And then there's the Weapon Focus/Specialization line. A ridiculous waste of feats. A +2 bonus on attack rolls and a +4 bonus on damage rolls for FOUR feats? And it's available ONLY to fighters? That's awful.

So why is the majority of Pathfinder content unbalanced garbage when even 4e--a product developed, shilled, and sold at the behest of a retarded megacorporation whose main success is Magic: the Gathering--managed to create balanced content?


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Since there's been a lot of talk about monks on these forums, I've decided to create a thread dedicated to discussing how to fix them.

1. Monks add their Wisdom bonus to attack and damage rolls with monk weapons in place of their Strength modifier.

2. Monks get full BAB all the time. Ignore the clunky "but but but the monk can use his monk level as his BAB on a flurry and for his CMD" mechanical failure. (No, I don't care that it breaks the BAB/HD rule.)

3. Pretend that the Paizo vow of poverty doesn't exist.

4. Wholeness of Body is a swift action that heals 3d8 + monk level hit points. (None of this "standard action, low healing" junk. The ability doesn't need to be super powerful, but making a swift action with a slight boost in healing ability makes it worthwhile to use for 2 ki points.)

5. Quivering Palm: as a standard action, make a single melee attack. If the attack hits, the target must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 monk level + the monk's Wisdom modifier) or die. Consumes 5 ki points. (No reason to make it a random 1/day ability when the spellcasters are throwing out save-or-loses all day long from a range of 50 feet or more.)

6. Empty Body lasts 1 minute per monk level. (Seriously, 3 ki points to go ethereal for 1 minute? Lame.)

7. Nevermind, as Paizo apparently fixed this.


The way that the Paizo development team and the community disregard mathematical analysis, constructive criticism, and rational discussion in favor of emotional discourse based on perceptions of "fun" has pushed me to my breaking point. I'm picking up D&D Essentials and not Ultimate Magic.

In before "don't let the door hit your ass on the way out!" I won't.


Sounds like a plan.


If he's not exactly a melee-heavy caster--which Jason has confirmed--then what is he supposed to be bringing to the table? Before we can really discuss how the class functions, we need to know what it's supposed to do mechanically.


I am interested in hearing from you, the head developer guy. From the horse's mouth, so to speak.


Why is this the popular opinion around here? Clerics can kick the crap out of the magus, but people think that giving the magus full BAB is OMG OVARPOWERED. That's ridiculous.


I'm confused. They're all self-buffs. When I hear "judgment," I think of damning pronouncements, which are more debuffs. It just doesn't sit right with me. I'd suggest making judgments something that hinders a monster's ability to fight. For instance:

Condemn: The creature receives a -4 penalty to its Armor Class for the duration of the judgment.

Censure: The creature takes a -4 penalty to its attack rolls for the duration of the judgment. A Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 level + the inquisitor's Wisdom modifier) halves this penalty.

Castigate: The creature's healing and regeneration special qualities stop functioning for the duration of the judgment.

Chastise: The creature's spell resistance is reduced by 5 (to a minimum of 0).

Reproach: The creature receives a -2 penalty to its saving throws for the duration of the judgment.

Decry: The creature is deafened for the duration of the judgment.

Denounce: The creature loses any damage reduction it has for the duration of the judgment, except for DR/--. Any DR/-- is instead halved.


I'm going to have to say that I don't like this ability. Not because it's not thematic, but because it's a little ability that is kind of a pain in the rear to keep track of (especially given that it can be used rounds/day). Why not just eliminate this and bump up the power of the inquisitor's judgments to compensate? That seems like an easier, more streamlined way of doing the class powers.


Right now, I feel that the bombs that the alchemist can make are pretty weak. 10d6 + Int mod damage at level 20 is not spectacular, as was discovered when WotC released the warlock. It seems really good, but it's not.

Here are the current problems with the bombs:

1. It takes a full-round action to use them (move to mix, standard to throw). Even the warlock can use his eldritch blast as a standard action.

2. Bombs are limited per day. The warlock could blast all day; why not the alchemist?

3. Fire damage is very easy to resist. Fire resist 30 is available from a 2nd-level spell. Again, the warlock didn't do energy damage and that class is a little on the weak side.

Suggestions on how to fix this:

1. Alchemists can mix and throw bombs as a single standard action.
2. Alchemists can use their bombs at-will.
3. Bombs should do force damage instead of fire damage.


Even at 12th level (and after three rounds), a +6 sacred bonus on damage rolls isn't that impressive. Although the inquisitor can add that damage to all his attack rolls, it's still pretty weak--assuming the inquisitor is getting four attacks (BAB, haste, Rapid Shot), that's only an additional +24 damage (and that's assuming that they all hit).

Compare that to...

Fighters: +14 damage per swing each round (Power Attack + Weapon Training).
Rogues: +7d6 (average 24.5 average damage per swing).
Barbarians: +15 damage per swing each round (Power Attack + raging).
Paladins: +12 or +24 damage per attack (smiting).

Obviously, the inquisitor is a little weak in the damage department, especially since the judgments build up in strength over time. My recommendation?

Damage begins at +2/+4/+6. At 8th level, it becomes +4/+6/+8. At 16th level, it becomes +6/+8/+10.

Alternatively, the damage bonus could be boosted against evil foes (like the paladin's smite).

Again, let's compare the damage potential of other classes at 20th level with this proposed damage boost.

Inquisitors: +10 damage per attack (third round of combat).
Fighters: +22 damage per attack.
Rogues: +10d6 damage per attack (average 35).
Barbarians: +22 damage per attack.
Paladins: +20 or +40 damage per attack.

Even with that suggested boost, the inquisitor would do less damage per attack than the other classes. However, I purposely am suggesting that the inquisitor do less individual damage per attack because the inquisitor doesn't have to take an attack penalty to get bonus damage. (And paladins are just crazy when it comes to damage against demons.)

Now, some of you might think that it's unfair that I'm letting the fighter and barbarian use Power Attack while not allowing the inquisitor to do so. My reasoning is simple:

1. The inquisitor has a weaker attack bonus. He can't afford to sacrifice accuracy.
2. The inquisitor receives less benefit from the feat due to his lowered BAB.
3. The inquisitor has more multiple ability dependency, meaning he is less likely to have a high Strength than the other classes.

Thoughts?


Right now, I fear that many tactical feats are going to go unused, save for the Precise Strike feat. The main problem is that I don't see the inquisitor's allies having a lot of incentive to take the feats. While I like the idea of tactical feats, I don't think it's going to work out in play.

Why not make the tactical feats grant additional effects if the allies happen to have those feats? This would promote teamwork and coordination between the inquisitor and his allies.

For instance:

Spoiler:

Outflank
When you are flanking with an ally, your ally gains an additional +2 bonus on attack rolls. Whenever you score a critical hit against an enemy you and your ally are flanking, your ally can make an attack of opportunity against your opponent.

The reason that the current Outflank feat isn't so hot is because it requires the ally to have that feat. However, if only the inquisitor has the feat (which is likely, given that he gains the feats for free), it still grants his ally a bonus. If the ally also happens to have the feat, the two synergize together in a way that I feel the feats want to--each gains a bonus on attack rolls, and they have the chance to score additional hits against an opponent.

Another example:

Spoiler:

Coordinated Maneuvers
You grant all adjacent allies a +2 enhancement bonus to their CMB and CMD. If an opponent attempts to use a combat maneuver against you, an adjacent ally of your choosing can attempt a combat maneuver against that opponent. (Your ally's CMB check does not provoke an attack of opportunity.)

This allows the inquisitor to grant bonuses to everyone and to give them free attacks. Again, multiple allies with this feat work together nicely because of the additional attacks of opportunity.

One final example:

Spoiler:

Shield Wall
When you are wielding a shield, you grant an ally a bonus to his defense. As a free action, you can grant an adjacent ally a shield bonus to AC equal to the AC bonus of any shield you're wielding. If your ally is wielding a shield, you may instead improve his shield bonus to AC by +2.

If an opponent attacks you and misses, the ally that you are granting a shield bonus to may immediately take a five-foot step.

This grants additional maneuverability and defense, allowing allies to coordinate themselves in combat.


Right now, I don't think that the mutagen ability is as strong as it should be. I love the Jekyll/Hyde aspect of the mutagen, but right now it has two problems.

1. The alchemist takes 1d4 Cha damage.
2. The mutagen starts useful but ends weak unless the alchemist spends his discoveries on making the mutagen better.

1d4 Charisma damage is a serious hindrance to most alchemists (who are going to be Int-based). It greatly reduces the number of times that an alchemist can use a mutagen--not just in the period of one day, but over the course of a week. I get that mutagens are supposed to be somewhat risky, but I'd like to see the Charisma damage changed to a change in personality. An alchemist who imbibes a mutagen should become belligerent, easily provoked, prone to taking risks, and so on.

However, my main concern with the mutagen is that it starts really useful and then trickles off in effectiveness. At level 1, a +2 enhancement bonus to natural armor and an ability score is awesome. At level 15, it's not.

Here's suggestion #1:

Spoiler:

At 4th level, the mutagen grants a +4 enhancement bonus to an ability score.

At 8th level, it grants a +4 enhancement bonus to an ability score and a +2 enhancement bonus to a second ability score.

At 12th, it grants a +4 enhancement bonus to one ability score, a +4 enhancement bonus to a second ability score, and a +4 enhancement bonus to natural armor.

At 16th level, it grants a +6 enhancement bonus to one ability score, a +4 enhancement bonus to a second ability score, a +2 enhancement bonus to a third ability score, and a +4 enhancement bonus to natural armor.

At 20th level, it grants a +6 enhancement bonus to one ability score, a +4 enhancement bonus to a second ability score, a +4 enhancement bonus to a third ability score, and a +4 enhancement bonus to natural armor.

The feral mutagen discovery could stay in the game, and you could add others that increase the abilities of the mutagen without making them numerically superior (a size increase, the ability to breathe fire, and the like).

My suggestion #2 is making the mutagen bonuses alchemical. This is thematic and it makes them useful because they stack with other bonuses.


Since secondary natural attacks are made at a -5 penalty, do CMB checks made with secondary natural attacks take a -5 penalty? (In particular, I'm wondering about the pull ability--if you make a successful melee attack, you can make a CMB check to pull the target of the attack five feet toward you. Does this CMB check take a -5 penalty if your pull attack is made with a secondary natural weapon?)


Given the witch's heavy nature theme, I think that call lightning/call lightning storm should both be on the spell list. I mean, lightning bolt is on there, so it doesn't seem unreasonable to put call lightning on there.


The witch’s healing hexes just aren’t that strong. I realize that they aren’t supposed to be powerhouses (especially since they can be used at-will), but the once-per-day target limitation really curtails their usefulness. I feel that they should offer some form of increased power.

Perhaps the minor healing hex could become cure moderate wounds at fifth level, and perhaps the major healing hex could advance to cure critical wounds at fifteenth level?


Right now, I fear that the summoner is too focused on conjuring monsters. I understand that the class is called “the summoner,” and I understand that summoning is its schtick. However, I’m afraid that its SLA ability of summon monster might be a tiny bit over the top. If the summoner were to lack its eidolon and instead summon monsters each combat, I would be fine with the current ability. However, because the summoner has its eidolon, I fear that the ability is going to lead to a multitude of economy of actions problems—both in terms of class power and in terms of time taken by the summoner’s player.

Right now, the player has the summoner’s actions, the eidolon’s actions, and the potential for a slew of other actions with his summons. Instead of doing this, I would suggest allowing the summoner to learn bonus conjuration spells off the sorcerer/wizard spell list. Here’s how I would set it up:

Level 3: Add a 1st-level spell to your 1st-level spells known.
Level 5: Add a 1st or 2nd-level spell to your 1st-level spells known.
Level 7: Add a 2nd or 3rd-level spell to your 2nd level spells known.
Level 11: Add a 3rd or 4th-level spell to your 3rd level spells known.
Level 15: Add a 4th or 5th-level spell to your 4th level spells known.
Level 19: Add a 5th or 6th-level spell to your 5th-level spells known.


I really don't like the retarded healing progression that the witch suffers (same as the druid's). Clerics will always be the kings of the healing hill because they can spontaneously convert their spells to healing spells. Since the witch doesn't have this particular boon, I don't think that the witch is going to be overpowered (or steal the show from the cleric) if she has standard healing progression.

EDIT: In case anyone doesn't know, I'm not saying that the witch's healing progression is stupid; I'm saying that it's slowed down (retarded). I'm using the actual definition of the term, not the slang.


I get that the summoner is, well, a summoner, but I feel that the "summon monster I-IX (and then gate)" ability the class gets is pushing it a little far. The main goal of the class seems to be its uberpet with the actual summoning put into the background. Personally, I feel that encouraging the summoner to use summoning spells makes the class a nightmare to use within the battlefield--the summoner is one character, his eidolon is another, and his summons are another whole batch of characters for him to control.

That's a little much.

What I might suggest instead of this is allowing the summoner to get bonus conjuration spells from other spell lists to add to his spells known--perhaps in the following manner:

Level 3: Add one 1st level spell from wiz/sorc list to your 1st level spells known.

Level 5: Add one 2nd level spell from wiz/sorc list to your 1st level spells known.

Level 7: Add one 2nd or 3rd level spell from wiz/sorc list to your 2nd level spells known.

Level 11: Add one 4th or 5th level spell from wiz/sorc list to your 3rd level spells known.

Level 15: Add one 6th or 7th level spell from wiz/sorc list to your 4th level spells known.

Level 17: Add one 8th spell from wiz/sorc list to your 5th level spells.

Level 19: Add one 9th level spell from wiz/sorc list to your 6th level spells.

Thoughts?


Just wondering. I think that allowing us to critique the classes as-is and then immediately before they go to the press would help catch any minor errors, but I understand that might not be possible with the Paizo scheduling.


Take the Burning Magic revelation: your fire spells do an additional 1 point of fire damage per spell level. That's just not very strong; a second-level spell negates it entirely. If anything, it should be twice the spell's level; perhaps even three times the spell's level.

Likewise, the Bleeding Wounds revelation causes a maximum of 5 bleed per round at level 20. Five damage just isn't worth it to keep track of. Perhaps the bleed should be equal to half the oracle's level plus his Charisma modifier. (You'd have to tone it down at lower levels, but the bleed needs to be way higher to keep track of. Most encounters don't last more than a few rounds, anyway.)

On top of this, the various touch abilities--analogous to the sorcerer and wizard abilities--do 1d6 + 1/2 level damage. These are, unfortunately, far too weak to be worth considering. 1d6 + 10 damage at level 20 is barely enough to kill a commoner. There's no way that anyone would waste the time to use this against an opponent except at level one or two. I would suggest increasing the damage or allowing the oracle to use these as a swift/free action later on in his career.


While I really like the cavalier class, I'm afraid that it has a lot of "little" abilities that make the class far messier than it could be. Some of the abilities that I feel are problematic are:

Expert Trainer: Although thematic, this one will probably never come up in gameplay.

Banner: Bonuses against fear are sort of a paladin thing, and a +3 morale bonus on charge attacks feels insignificant. As a passive ability, I can also foresee a lot of:

Player 1: "I charge and roll a 21. Does that hit?"
DM: "No, you miss."
Player 2: "Okay, I'm going to--"
Cavalier: "Don't forget to add +3!"
Player 1: "Does a 24 hit?"
DM: [Sighs.] "Yes."

Challenge: The challenge ability itself is fine, but the bonuses to challenge from the various Orders feel like they're a bit much.


PRD wrote:
Flurry of Blows (Ex): Starting at 1st level, a monk can make a flurry of blows as a full-attack action. When doing so he may make one additional attack using any combination of unarmed strikes or attacks with a special monk weapon (kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken, and siangham) as if using the Two-Weapon Fighting feat (even if the monk does not meet the prerequisites for the feat). For the purpose of these attacks, the monk's base attack bonus is equal to his monk level. For all other purposes, such as qualifying for a feat or a prestige class, the monk uses his normal base attack bonus.

According to the text, if you're a monk 10/prestige class 10, your base attack bonus when you use flurry of blows is going to be +10 at level 20. Not only does this cripple you on attack bonus, but it actually reduces the number of attacks that you can make in a round.

I'm guessing that this is not the intent, so I would change the text to read: "For the purpose of these attacks, the monk's base attack bonus granted by his monk levels is equal to his class level. Base attack bonuses granted from other classes are unaffected and are added normally."


http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/faq

The FAQ wrote:

Grappling a monster no longer requires you to have a master's degree in combat rules with a minor in spatial mechanics.

Bards don't suck. Now they can make you die with laughter.

Monks don't suck. When they use flurry of blows they actually hit.

Paladins don't suck. Smite evil lasts until your target is dead.

Rangers don't suck. You really do not want to be a ranger's quarry.

Sorcerers don't suck. Bloodlines give you a host of cool powers and abilities.

While I understand the intent of the Pathfinder FAQ, this comes across as a bit insulting to people who enjoyed 3e. It feels very much like the 4e marketing campaign that insinuated that 3e was "un-fun." The language is a little harsh, particularly with the term "suck."


Name, e-mail, that sort of thing.

Just wondering.


Nothing?