The Perpetual Infusions problem: why bombers always feel more rewarding, and why chirurgeons are terrible
The Perpetual Infusions problem: why bombers always feel more rewarding, and why chirurgeons are terrible
The Perpetual Infusions problem: why bombers always feel more rewarding, and why chirurgeons are terrible
I know, another discussion about the alchemist but this time I want to focus it on a specific class feature.
Perpetual Infusions and its subsequent improvements, Perpetual Potency and Perpetual Perfection, allows to create a virtually infinite amount of two specific alchemical items with Quick Alchemy, the process requires only a single action (Double Brew at level 9 and Achemical Alacrity at level 15 let you create two and three at a time respectively) but the items are quickly lost if not used immediately. The catch is that such a process is only optimal for items that can be used extremly frequently if not all the time and have an instantaneous effect. Bombs are the only option that really makes sense to be chosen for Perpetual Infusions: they're made to be thrown at the enemy immediately for instantaneous damage and debuffing and are a good source of energy damage, while antidotes and antiplagues are extremly situational and producing large amounts of them at a time makes no sense unless you have an entire army to treat, and even then the limitations of Perpetual Infusions makes crafting your strongest version of them during your daily preparations more sensible, and mutagens don't make much sense either being mass-produced if not to spam the Revivifying Mutagen feat for unlimited self-healing.
I gathered from other discussions that the bomber felt like the only research field worth choosing in spite of the class's absurd proficiency limitations and always personally thought that the chirurgeon sucked, while not sure about the mutagenist, and it turns out Perpetual Infusions allows unlimited self-healing that can probably be exploited one way or another but I doubt it would make a strong build considering the alchemist isn't that good at close combat.
It's a bit disappointing to see the effort put into the alchemist's design to make it more of a crafter than a glorified grenadier, only for lobbing an endless amount of bombs to be the most rewarding way to play it.
In other circumstances I would have probably drafted a big wish list of changes I would like to see, but here I'm out of ideas. How would you change Perpetual Infusions to make it more useful for chirurgeons and mutagenists?
Then why does the wind crash attack require the propulsive trait to gain extra damage from strength if ranged unarmed attacks should all apply the character's full Strength modifier anyway? Literally every precedent contradicts the idea that seedpods should add strength to damage.
I shall add that wind crash comes from a stance focus spell available at monk level 8 (so not really free to use), deals the same damage type and uses damage dice only one step above seedpods. Seedpods are far from good as they are, but assuming out of thin air that they get bonus damage from strength would make a level 1 ancestry feat nearly as powerful as a level 8 monk class feat. If you don't see anything wrong with a level 1 ancestry feat giving the equivalent of a limitless amount of thrown weapons that don't require any action to be drawn and have all the benefits of unarmed attacks, at this point you want the game to be broken.
An unarmed attack uses your body rather than a manufactured weapon. An unarmed attack isn’t a weapon, though it’s categorized with weapons for weapon groups, and it might have weapon traits. Since it’s part of your body, an unarmed attack can’t be Disarmed. It also doesn’t take up a hand, though a fist or other grasping appendage follows the same rules as a free-hand weapon.
Where exactly is there a mention that an unarmed attack has to apply your Strength modifier? I see nothing here.
By the way, "natural attacks" aren't even a thing in this edition.
Damage Rolls wrote:
Need I say more?
The rules for damage rolls don't distinguish between weapon attacks and unarmed attacks, they only care about if the attack is melee or ranged. Seedpods are ranged attacks and don't have any damage improving traits or specified bonus to damage rolls, so you don't get to add your Strength modifier to them.
By RAW, only melee attacks add Strength modifier to damage by default. Ranged attacks add no modifier that isn't explicitly specified to damage, unless they have the thrown (apply full Strength modifier) or propulsive (apply half of Strength modifier) traits.
Seedpods are a ranged attack with none of those traits and no specified bonus to damage, therefore you don't get to add your Strength modifier or even a portion of it to your damage rolls with them. The unarmed trait doesn't change anything about it. Case in point, the monk's wind crash is a ranged unarmed attack with the propulsive trait and thus adds half the monk's Strength bonus to damage.
Unless errata'd into something decent, seedpods are a terrible option until weapon specialization comes around. And even then, you're better off playing an elf with Elemental Wrath if you want a free ranged attack at will.
Honestly I'm not even sure a staff can be shifted into a shield boss for one simple reason:
A staff and a shield boss aren't even made of the same material: a staff is wooden, a shield boss is metallic.
Great answers so far. Actually, I have pretty bad memories of trying to make viable small melee characters back in DnD and being easily shut down by any monster of large size who just had to initiate a grapple. A +8 relative bonus on top of absurd strength was all they needed. I ended up maxing out Escape Artist just to make sure I could break free and run away because of how poorly balanced this whole system was - past a certain point, Escape Artist was a get-out-of-grapples-free card against most monsters of non-aburd size.
It's actually a good thing that small creatures are no longer forced into specific roles not for some natural advantages but because of some glaring weaknesses. I mainly wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything.
I used to play 3.5 DnD and played a PF campaign with friends, and for some reason I always had something for playing small characters.
In both games, being small gives an advantage in terms of attack bonus, AC and stealth but a disadvantage in contests of strength like grappling and other combat maneuvers and also in intimidation. Also, their physical attacks deal less damage.
In 2E, most of the differences between size categories have been removed, except small characters still have an obvious disadvantage in combat maneuvers since they're more limited in what opponents they can affect at all and start with less HP overall (except for unbreakable goblins).
So, is being small a complete disadvantage, or are there benefits from being small to compensate?
The removal of touch attacks makes heavy armor relevant again IMO, and the speed penalty is certainly much less crippling than it used to be in 1E, above all for higher base speeds.
And just by looking at the numbers, it's obvious that for players who want the most AC, heavy armor is a no-brainer unless they dump strength for some reason.
The point of uncommon options is that they cannot be available for free: uncommon equipment isn't available at character creation (save for ancestral weapons for characters with the weapon familiarity ancestry feat, probably) and requires some research to obtain and create, uncommon spells can't be learned for free as part of character progression and need to be learned as additional spells at the normal cost, same for uncommon formulas, uncommon feats are generally limited to specific regions or cultures, uncommon creatures are simply not as well-known as most creatures of similar level and are probably hard to run into randomly.
I don't know how other GMs do it, but as a GM I would only allow uncommon options to be available by spending downtime on them (in the case of feats, an equivalent time and cost as retraining).
Then I guess the Elemental Wrath feat shouldn't be allowed to deal any other type of damage than fire and bludgeoning for the elemental theme to remain internally consistent. Or maybe it's based on an entirely different set of elements?
Personally I was very disappointed by the elemental bloodline: blasting with fire deals fire damage, every other element deals bludgeoning damage. As if cold, acid or electricity stopped existing. The only difference between the other three elements is the effect of Elemental Motion. And even then, a fly speed is infinitely less situational than a swim speed or a very slow burrow speed.
Unlimited lesser bombs are kind of nice I guess, but that still leaves 2/3 of the class unable to do reliable damage. Not everyone is going to be a grenadier alchemist.
This isn't a problem if options that don't involve dealing damage provide some cool stuff to do. The current problem is that none of the research fields provide anything that really feels substantial apart from unlimited ressources for two specific consumables (the chirurgeon clearly being the worst one with only antidotes and antiplagues, the most situational elixirs ever, being affected). Whatever you pick, you remain stuck with many OK-ish abilities but nothing truly outstanding. A bomber is beaten in damage and debuffing by a martial or a combat caster, a chirurgeon can hardly match a divine caster in terms of healing and utility, and a mutagenist doesn't have anything as good as what a buffer caster can offer.
You cannot expect a class to fill several roles at once and not run into serious problems.
The alchemist class in its current state is riddled with issues. Other than the now fixed mutagenist ability that didn't do anything, the chirurgeon baseline ability actually has a skill tax, it does nothing unless the alchemist is trained in Medicine, and its benefit is to replace Medicine checks with Crafting checks for all Medicine's uses, while you can produce enough elixirs in a day to heal the whole party to full health several times over and an infinite amount of antidotes and antiplagues, and higher proficiency in Medicine is still required to have access to related skill feats. What baffles me the most is the alchemist's bomb proficiency never going beyond expert. Have fun trying to use those sweet additives effectively against the one strong enemy when you have less chances to hit with everything you have than any class ever.
The alchemist would be more interesting if research fields were more impactful, for example by altering the class's progression like the cleric's doctrines do.
Currently experimenting with character creation and interested in the monk class for its excellent combination of mobility and melee damage, with skills on the side to become a self-sufficient survivalist.
Timeless Body fits the survivalist theme for the most part, and I wonder about the "you cease aging" part: does it mean that my character can live forever as long as nothing bad happens?
The description of the Splash trait is straightforward to me:
When you use a thrown weapon with the splash trait, you don’t add your Strength modifier to the damage roll. If an attack with a splash weapon fails, succeeds, or critically succeeds, all creatures within 5 feet of the target (including the target) take the listed splash damage. On a failure (but not a critical failure), the target of the attack still takes the splash damage. Add splash damage together with the initial damage against the target before applying the target’s weaknesses or resistances. You don’t multiply splash damage on a critical hit.
Splash damage works like a special property and isn't affected by weapon damage modifiers. The only way that currently exists to alter splash damage is with alchemist feats.
This reminds me exactly of a player my friend and I had in a 1st Edition campaign we never got to finish: he used to be our GM for D&D 3.5 and already had a terrible habit of making up rules all the time (even telling us one day that the game doesn't need to be balanced because it wouldn't be realistic) and invoking rule 0 when called out, and as a player in our Pathfinder campaign he would question every rule and every decision from my friend/the GM while showing he hadn't read anything, wouldn't listen when we agreed to not take any 3rd party feats or classes for they were terribly badly balanced or outright overpowered, and legit tried to impose himself as the party leader.
We had to abandon everything and let the campaign die to be rid of him. If I were you I wouldn't bother any longer with your problem player and get rid of him as early as possible before he ruins everything for everyone.
I'm generally the kind of player who likes sticking to the rules and doesn't try to make stuff up when it's convenient, then I have a few questions about (mostly) fighter feats with two weapons or a free hand as a prerequisite:
- The rules state pretty clearly that unarmed attacks are not weapons, even for monks, and don't benefit from effects that apply to weapons. Does this mean that two-weapon fighting feats don't work with unarmed attacks at all since they require to wield one weapon in each hand?
- Gauntlets are weapons and not unarmed attacks (makes sense since, you know, you strike with the gauntlet and not your fist directly) and leave your hand free. Does this mean that a fighter with any main-hand one-handed weapon and an off-hand gauntlet is treated as both wielding two weapons and having a free hand to use feats?
That's the problem: anyone could easily have access to any weapon in the books just by taking a weapon proficiency feat then take more feats to do cool stuff with them. No amount of feats could help you avoid the problems of misfires and the deadly combination of short range and long reload times that would make firearms unreliable at best and too risky to be worth using at worst. Only the gunslinger could avoid those problems.
I admit that feats allowing anyone to get cool tricks with any weapon regardless of character class had a tendency to make the game bland quite rapidly, but creating a new type of weapon that only a single class in the game can use reliably is merely the extreme opposite and not good design.
From what I could gather, D&D wizards really started to become insane because of rulebook authors being overly biased and buffing them to the stars, while at the same time crippling the sorcerer as much as humanly possible. The D&D 3.5 system could legitimately be labeled unbalanced as a wizard could do virtually everything better than any other class except healing (and in PF1 even wizards had access to healing spells).
The main problem that arose was extensions bringing always more spells that prepared spellcasters could hoard to be even more unstoppable. PF1 tried to balance things out by skimming the spell lists but the magic system still had its fundamental problems, like save-or-suck spells that can cheese encounters and the prevalance of touch attacks that make most armor totally useless.
I'm glad now that magic no longer makes automatic top-tier classes. By the way, spellcasting was nerfed but at least casters no longer need to ditch their weapons to cast and can actually fight decently with them now that they don't get only half the scaling bonus on attack rolls that martial classes get. Using your weapons as a caster is not great, but not a waste of actions either.
Bombs and firearms weren't the same thing at all: bombs weren't considered equipment at all, but a class feature no other class had access to save for archetypes. Firearms were weapons that could technically be obtained by members of all classes but were so impractical and expensive that only the existence of an entire class dedicated to them made them relevant. There were still special rulesets to make firearms more accessible and give access to more practical ones but they made armor useless in the process and many high-level mosters little more challenging than target practice.
Let's face it : firearms were terribly designed and ranged touch attacks on weapons were a mistake.
Filthy Lucre wrote:
Why did you start this thread in the first place if just deciding to reskin crossbows into guns solves your problem then? You basically wasted everyone's time with a problem you didn't even have. If firearms are that simple to implement, balance be damned, then go for it.
Filthy Lucre wrote:
Sure, have gunpowder and bullets function exactly like crossbow bolts as well, it would be a shame to take any risks by making the setting believable.
Filthy Lucre wrote:
That's not even remotely related to Pathfinder. What is your point?
In this case, the only class in 2E that's remotely close to the Gunslinger I can think of right now is the Alchemist: it relies entirely on the existence of a certain subcategory of equipment that's prohibitively expensive for most adventurers and requires a feat to craft that alchemists get for free. Having a gunsmith research field and early firearms and their ammunition as alchemical gear (since in 1E rulesets that ditch Gunsmithing, alchemy is required to create black powder) would avoid having firearms compete directly with other existing ranged weapons and either overshadow them completely or become nearly useless. Plus it would probably make the alchemist more attractive as an offensive class once its design problems are solved (because having an ability that doesn't do anything unless you are trained in a skill that isn't part of the class's starting proficiencies is ludicrous).
Filthy Lucre wrote:
I feel like people consistently over think guns in table top role playing games. For practical game purposes a gun should just be a repeating crossbow - it doesn't need to have gigantic damage dice, or weird clunky reloading mechanics.
Why have them in the first place if they're no different from what already exists in the game?
Guns from D&D 3.5 Dungeon Master's Guide were designed as glorified crossbows and guess what? They were terrible and very uninteresting weapons that even non-powergamers wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. Designing a new weapon isn't as easy as "take an existing weapon and make it better at a cost". It either becomes mandatory and overshadows its predecessor (power-creep) or no one is interested in it at all. To be fair, crossbows are so terrible that overshadowing them isn't that hard.
Simply going back to what made firearms interesting in 1E would be a good start: shorter range but great stopping power at close range.
A spell-storing rune creates a reservoir of eldritch energy within the etched weapon. A spellcaster can spend 1 minute to cast a spell of 3rd level or lower into the weapon.
Unless you have truly awesome low-level spells that don't need to be heightened beyond 3rd level to be worth the effort, this rune is worthless at the time it becomes available. And I'm not even sure willingly lowering a focus spell's level instead of using it fully heightened is possible.
My theory is this was made explicitly to avoid breaking the game by making the extra action usable for anything: an older edition of D&D (I think it's 3rd) has a version of haste that gives an extra standard action per round of combat, and it pretty much breaks the game by allowing everyone to make full attacks after moving and spellcasters to cast twice per round (and magic has always been considered overly powerful in general in this edition).
Having an extra Stride/Strike per round is already a big deal no matter what class your character is, and not having a multiple attack penalty on the extra Strike would make the spell way too good.
Personally, I like having a non-magical option to patch up teammates. If magic was the only reliable way to treat injuries, every doctor in-setting would be a spellcaster.
The amount of healing provided by clerics with healing font is obviously greater than what mundane wound treatment is capable of, and it requires 1/100th of the time and can target multiple people at once. Clearly healing magic is far from falling behind.
I can see guns being one of two things in 2E:
Where did I say they dealt double damage?
It's already in the rules:
"In most cases, Small or Medium creatures can wield a Large weapon, though it’s unwieldy, giving them the clumsy 1 condition, and the larger size is canceled by the difficulty of swinging the weapon, so it grants no special benefit."
According to bestiary entries, large creatures use the same damage dice as medium ones (see the gnoll hunter as an example).
There is also a bulk conversion table for equipment of larger size, and it globally works just like in 1E: every extra size category doubles the base price and weight for everything of 1 bulk or higher and converts light bulk into 1 bulk, with small and medium sizes being treated as identical when it comes to equipment.
Take a medium weapopn, double its base price, double its bulk or increase it to 1 bulk if it's originally of light bulk and you get the giant-sized version. It's globally pretty worthless for a regular adventurer who isn't a giant instinct barbarian.
The giant instinct is more or less the glass-cannon option for the barbarian: its abilities have a negative impact on defenses but the damage bonus is insane, and assuming the player has several weapons, as most martial characters should, said damage is hard to counter. It's also great for battlefield control with the extra reach and the possibility to wrestle with even the biggest creatures with Giant's/Titan's Stature.
Vorsk, Follower or Erastil wrote:
Kineticist is a fan favorite
Are you sure about this? Because everything I ever read about the kineticist online was about how terrible and underpowered the class was. I personally liked the concept and just couldn't get how a class that can emulate several spells at will with less restrictions than actual casting (even some 8th level ones like earthquake) was underpowered in any way.
There is still the problem of the magic tradition: 2E occult magic has no elemental spell at all, primal magic provides nearly every elemental spell with the exception of flame strike but nothing as esoteric as what aether and void would provide. The kineticist class needs to be reworked entirely to fit in 2E and will likely lose a part of its powers to get in line and not feel overloaded.
It was a fun option in 1E, though I admit that it could quickly become very exploitable with the massive number of upgrades available and some of them being pretty poorly worded (the ability upgrade above all was so poorly worded that everyone kind of assumed it was an infinitely stacking +2 bonus for 2000gp each). Even the weakest constructs could be turned into fearsome killing machines, like upgrading a clockwork familiar with higher speed, AC, extra feats, guns and other additions to have a killer drone at your side.
Judging by the Bestiary, golems seem definitely off-limits and info about other constructs and the possibility of crafting them is very vague.
Is there a possibility that crafting constructs (or at least some kind of construct companion for players) comes back in 2E or is it out of the question?
The elemental damage is explicitly treated as extra damage on top of the claws' base damage:
Vicious claws grow from your fingers. They are finesse unarmed attacks that deal 1d4 slashing damage and 1d6 extra damage of a type determined by the dragon in your bloodline.
In this case, the handwraps of mighty blows only affect the base slashing damage.
If I understand correctly, deific anathemas are an area of concern only for the most devout followers and clerics and other classes with abilities that depend on remaining in a deity's good graces. Most deities have anathemas that make sense and don't need special sets of circumstances to be avoided.
Then comes Rovagug and his "create something new" anathema. It makes sense for the quintessential god of annihilation of everything to be repulsed by creation, but the fact is that depending on how its wording is interpreted, it may either make Rovagug worshippers too limited to be a threat or it may barely be an anathema at all:
Hos is this anathema supposed to impact Rovagug worshippers?
One thing that should definitely be baseline for a class that revolves around heavy use of consumables would be a quicker access to them. Only a sadistic GM would require an extra action for spellcasters to grab their material components, then why does the class whose entire job is creating and using consumables have to suffer that restriction, above all considering these items aren't that good when compared to what spells are capable of?
And not getting at least master proficiency in alchemical bombs at high level for THE class that uses them the most is also pretty baffling to me. Consider that the fighter, the barbarian, the champion and the ranger all have better proficiency in bombs than the alchemist... I guess that similarly to how a cleric's doctrine heavily affects the class's progression, the alchemist's research field should too to a certain extent. Spitballing a few ideas:
Bomber: Ranged nuker specialization, higher Reflex proficiency, better bomb proficiency (at least up to master, maybe legendary, at high level), get greater weapon specialization with bombs at high level, bombs you create use your class DC if higher than their base DC.
Chirurgeon: Medic specialization, automatically trained in Medicine (trained proficiency goes to another skill if already trained in Medicine from background), can use Crafting instead of Medicine for feat prerequisites and all checks, using an appropriate elixir along with healer's tools to treat wounds, poisons and diseases increases your degree of success on the check by one step while applying the elixir's effect on your patient.
Mutagenist: Buffer specialization, higher Fortitude and Will proficiencies, you can dismiss the effects of your mutagens with a special action, your mutagens last longer.
I'm not against a part of randomness in the result of a decision, but one thing that particularly bugs me is the idea that no matter how much you work on a particular skill to be the best, there is always a 1/20 chance that you fail miserably at even the simplest of tasks, sometimes having nasty or long-lasting consequences (a critical failure at earning income essentially gets you blacklisted as a terrible employee in a community, a critical failure at treating wounds might kill your patient).
The rules themselves don't really make anything clear about natural 20s and natural 1s:
Chapter 1: Playing the Game wrote:
Once a check is rolled, the GM compares the result to a target number called the difficulty class (DC) to determine the outcome. If the result of the check is equal to or greater than the DC, the check is successful. If it is less, the check is a failure. Beating the DC by 10 or more is referred to as a critical success, which usually grants an especially positive outcome. Similarly, failing the check by 10 or more is a critical failure (sometimes called a fumble). This sometimes results in additional negative effects. You also often score a critical success by rolling a 20 on the die when attempting a check (before adding anything). Likewise, rolling a 1 on the die when attempting a check often results in a critical failure. Note that not all checks have a special effect on a critical success or critical failure and such results should be treated just like an ordinary success or failure instead.
What is "often"?
All I get is from Archives of Nethys. I should probably try to contact them about the error on Giant's Lunge. This already clears up a lot of confusion.
Where I have a big question about Animal Rage is, if "statistics" refers to every numerical value that gets altered, then what is the point of mentioning "3rd level animal form spell" since the differences between 2nd and 3rd level animal form are statistics and temporary hit points (also excluded in Animal Rage)?
Looking at the barbarian feats, I spotted some inconsistent elements among them:
- Animal Skin: gives expert proficiency in unarmored defense, but doesn't grant any greater proficiency at later levels unlike other class feats that improve weapon and armor proficiencies. Add the restriction to maximum Dexterity to AC and it becomes close to a trap feat.
- Animal Rage: what does the term "statistics" refer to?
- Giant's Lunge: its effects last "until your rage ends", but it shouldn't be usable at all while raging since it has the Concentrate trait and lacks the Rage trait.
Is there anything I am missing or is there an actual problem with the rules as written?
Quoted from Archives of Nethys:
Now explain me how having characters with diverging beliefs, opinions and personalities is a problem.
Saros Palanthios wrote:
In addition, the classes that grant animal companions also all have feats that give your companion take extra actions-- Druids can take Mature Animal Companion at lvl 4; Rangers can take Companion's Cry at lvl 4 and Mature Animal Companion at lvl 6; and Champions can take Imposing Destrier at lvl 10.
Mature Animal Companion doesn't grant an extra action: it lets the animal companion act on its own when not directly commanded but it only does one action.
I understand what the minion trait is about : it's a way to let players have creatures under their control without stretching encounters too much or breaking the action economy.
To be fair, I was messing around trying to create a rogue with druid archetype feats to get an animal companion and thus always have a flanking partner available. The mounting part was mostly a bonus.
A fairly simple observation: by the basic rules, riding a mundane mount requires to spend a Command an Animal action for every single action the animal has to do, and it has 3 actions per round. An animal companion has the minion trait and thus only has 2 actions per round but only needs one command per round. Does it mean that an animal companion would be a slower mount than a mundane animal?
Force damage isn't a form of energy damage and is subject to damage reduction if it comes from a weapon attack. As weapons that deal force damage are extremly rare, this doesn't come into play often.
Anyway, I personally wonder how this feat interacts with antimagic fields.
I suppose that as being in an antimagic field suppresses your ability to cast spells, this feat would be unusable anyway, but what about shooting a spell cartridge into or through an antimagic field?