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I'm playing a gnoll ifrit mosquito witch in outlaws of alkenstar (both geniekin and gnoll are recommended ancestries). I pumped strength and my stats are 16str, 14dex, 12con, 8wis, 18int, 10cha. I plan on going into the hair feats, and taking wrestler archetype so I can do some cool stuff with the hair.

I recognize its pretty suboptimal but its cool so I went for it. The biggest issue is how fragile the character is.

I've also tried to collect abilities that grant me fire damage, so I can trigger elemental betrayal as much as possible when I get it at level 2. The lava spike attack from the ifrit heritage is good for it, and once I hit level 3 I can learn the flame wisp spell which will let the lava spikes trigger elemental betrayal twice (the wisp is a separate source of damage). Alchemist's fire also synergizes well because the persistent damage triggers the bonus as well.
I'm a bit bummed out that the flame wisp familiar I took buffs basically none of the damage outside of fire spells though, but its still pretty thematic.

I wanted to play a dex champion in quest for the frozen flame, but switched to Oracle to role-fill.

Throwing weapons are a bit jank, but once you get a returning rune they become pretty good for a dex champion. Then you can use a shield with a thrown weapon and ranged reprisal.

Other one handed ranged weapons work too, but they tend to be action intensive because of reloading.

In terms of which weapons to use spears and javelins can be good with deific weapon, or tridents. If you can spec into it filcher's forks are very good. Others have mentioned dagger which is still a good option thanks to finesse and agile.

Archer champions can work fine too, as far as I can tell you can use a buckler with a bow, since bows are 1+ hands. You could combo that with a finesse natural attack (like razortooth goblin) to have an option for melee (gauntlets could work too, but are strength based).

another frontliner would be good to set up the rogue. Thief rogue in particular is one of the weaker rogues in terms of setting up their own sneak attacks (they can still do it, but they don't get any special bonuses like scoundrel).

Others have mentioned champion, but I'm going to suggest ruffian rogue. Athletics can set up both you and the thief rogue, and if the bard picks up dirge of doom, and the rogues pick up dread fighter your party can basically make everything flat-footed.
Ruffian can spec into bastion for heavy armor pretty easily, as none of the level 2 feats are particularly important for them.
Some tips if you plan on doing ruffian: Unless you're using a longspear, invest in some gauntlets, they're easily one of the best weapons for them. agile + free-hand means you can make all your MAP attacks with the gauntlet, and the MAPless ones with a "main hand" weapon, while still being able to do combat maneuvers. Assurance athletics is really good, its only 10+proficiency, but its often enough to hit enemies weaker DC, and it ignores the MAP.

If you wanted to do something a but less standard, an animal companion, eidolon, or summoned creatures could fill that frontliner job (note: summoned creatures are generally bad at dealing damage, but are pretty good at utility stuff like athletics). Which opens up ranger, summoner, conjuration wizard, and druid (which can also be a frontliner with a wild form build). As a disclaimer conjuration wizard is a bit complex to play because of managing what to summon and when.

I've been playing through abomination vaults as an alchemist, and I'm not as far as you (we're in the process of clearing out the 4th floor) but I do not recommend it at all. Alchemist is a bad fit for a dungeon crawl.

The new rules lead to silly stuff like foxfire and fire beams being usable underwater anyways.

Elemental betrayal does trigger off of fire or cold damage but not electric/acid (only spells with the air or earth trait). For my character the flame wisp familiar only triggers off of effects with the fire trait, as an example.

There used to be a section in the core rule book called "Damage Types and Traits" (its in my CRB) that seems to have disappeared between printings of the CRB, which stated:


Damage Types and Traits
When an attack deals a type of damage, the attack action gains that trait. For example, the Strikes and attack actions you use wielding a sword when its flaming rune is active gain the fire trait, since the rune gives the weapon the ability to deal fire damage.

Its removal never appeared in the errata.

There was a section in the lost omens ancestry guide that referenced the change indirectly since it said attacks with flaming weapon don't gain the fire trait.

I've been bumping into this rules change a bunch when trying to make my witch for Outlaws of Alkenstar, I'm planning on taking elemental betrayal and a flame wisp familiar, and it turns out there are a lot of feats that give attacks with elemental damage, but don't have the corresponding trait. Stuff like Ifrit's Lavasoul ancestry feat which deals 1 bonus fire damage, Goblins scalding spit, Automaton's energy beam, or Kitsune's foxfire.

I'm not sure why it was changed, since its not like fire immunity gives immunity to everything with the fire trait (the section on immunity explains that for complex effects, like a spell that deals both acid and fire damage, the damage immunity only applies to the fire section).

I'd like to hear community thoughts on it as well? Should stuff like foxfire have the fire trait? Do you houserule it? Was there some edge case I'm not seeing that made it broken?

They probably should've used the degree of success instead of attack roll result then, if for no other reason than making the ability simpler.

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

While I can understand how you came to that conclusion, and it makes sense by RAW, I still disagree with it simply because I view Spellstrike as a Weapon Attack + Spell Attack combined into one effect. If it's combined into a single effect, that means it's still only one damage roll taking place. Otherwise, if I can source damage rolls like that, that means every elemental rune or similar benefit would likewise gain a +1 from Inspire Courage.

Most effects like flaming are additional damage, and additional damage is combined into a single damage roll afaik.

So a flaming weapon would only get an overall +1, but a spellstrike would get a +1 on each part. A strike made with the spell flame wisp active would also double dip, because the wisp isn't additional damage.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

For the record, Inspire Courage double-dipping from a single roll also counts as TGTBT in my opinion, in the same way double-dipping Sneak Attack sounds TGTBT.
Blake's Tiger wrote:

Not exactly. Sneak Attack is not Inspire Courage.

Inspire Courage directly adds bonus damage to the damage, it does not even require an attack roll to do this (e.g., magic missile).

Sneak Attack triggers on a conditional, successful attack roll (or making a successful spell attack roll for Magical Trickster).

Specifically Inspire courage triggers off damage rolls, not attack rolls, so a spellstrike double dips because you do make a damage roll for both the strike and spell.

But since it requires a damage roll it doesn't trigger off of flat damage like bomb splash or elemental betrayal.

My ten cents on the overall discussion is that you don't get to double sneak attack, since only one die is rolled. Its pretty clear the intention is that the two are combined into the same attack (unlike playtest magus) even if the RAW is a bit confusing.
Honestly even the edge case of missing one but hitting with the other because of a specialized AC bonus is questionable. My reading of it is that the "attack roll result" is the degree of success, not the number.

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As Grognard stated spontaneous casters need to know the spell at the level they want to cast it.

So if you picked soothe as one of your first level spells you only have first level soothe in your repertoire. In order to cast a soothe heightened to level 2 you would need to pick a level 2 soothe as one of the second level spells in your repertoire (at which point you would have both soothe level 1, and soothe level 2 in your repertoire).

Signature spells lets you heighten it freely, which means when you pick that level 1 soothe as a signature spell you can cast a higher (or lower) level version of that spell, without knowing it at that level.

another way to think of it is picking a spell as a signature spell adds all possible levels of that spell to your repertoire.

You still need to use the appropriate level's spell slot though, cantrips and focus spells are the only spells that auto-heighten, since they don't use spell slots.

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A Metamagic archetype that gives access to metamagic feats a class might not normally have, in addition to a few brand new ones, or improvements to existing ones. Including possibly being able to combine two (i.e Reach + widen) in a limited manner (1/day? focus spell?)

An archetype that lets you double down on ancestry shenanigans, improving options granted by your ancestry (including innate spellcasting), and possibly giving a way to get extra ancestry feats.

An archetype that lets you develop a signature move, a bit similar to a martial version of spell trickster, but a bit more flexible since it would focus on strikes and skill checks.

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Mana is just endurance/fatigue but for spells.
There are definite problems with pushing mana in place of pf2's spells per day system.
a few implementations for spell costs:
Fibonacci sequence: 1,2,3,5,8,13,21
a 3 slot caster, coverting the spells per day into "mana" at level 10 would have 57 mana. Thats 7 5th level spells, 11 4th level spells, 57 1st level spells, 28 second level spells (or some combination)
This would let you keep high level slots pretty contested, but the spammyness of low level spells could end up being an issue as you'd have nearly an endless amount of the lower level ones, and they can still be very useful. It would be mostly locked to utility though. You'd still inevitably end up with more top level spells.

Things that scale faster would have the same problem with spammyness of lower level spells but worse, as higher levels of spells would also be spammy (max level -1 in particular would be incredibly good), but would limit the number of top level spells pretty significantly.

slowly scaling linear: (i.e cost increases by 1 or 2 each level)
This would limit spamming low level spells, but would instead encourage players to just spend all their mana on high level spells.
If we looked at costs being equal to spell level that same 10th level caster would have 45 mana, and be able to cast 9 max level spells.

Slower than linear costs would increase that trend, making lower level spells generally overcosted mana-wise so you'd rarely ever use them.

In order to make mana work you'd need to rework spells as well, as any of these options completely changes the spellcasting dynamic in (what I view as) an unhealthy way.

If you're reworking spells to make mana work you'd probably remove spell levels, as thats the problematic part, and standardize spell strength relative to their mana costs (or make all spells cost the same mana and be "evenly" balanced). This actually runs the risk of feeling like a martial with extra utility and aoe damage that gets tired after a while which is pretty much the current alchemist, which struggles immensely outside of pfs play, which is partly alchemist design issues, but also partly the problem with this resource design since it works best if you have a static amount of it at all levels, rather than it scaling up (unless it scales incredibly slowly) as there is inevitably a sweetspot where the class has enough resource to feel good, but not so much that they can be reckless with how they use it.

Another massive hurdle is the bookkeeping required, especially if spells don't have the same mana costs.

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I found 4 that might fit:
Besmara (The pirate Queen). Piracy is all about freedom, and while betraying shipmates is anathema, taking what you want is one of her edicts and she might relish the competition.

Count Renalc (The traitor). Literally a deity all about betrayal.

Lubaiko (The spark in the dust). A god of chaos, fire, and change. Summed up: "out with the old, in with the new". Wouldn't be a stretch for it to apply to herself as well.

Azathoth, represents a blind uncaring universe, and treats his devotees in a similar fashion.

breithauptclan wrote:
You mean like Mosquito Witch and Buzzing Bites vs Winter Witch and Clinging Ice?

Yes, but for more of them, although I'm not buzzing bites is enough to save the class, even if its a pretty useful tool.

Poaching spells could be an interesting angle too, like an arcane patron that grants heal/harm/soothe.

Witch is pretty fixable without a full rewrite.

Squiggit wrote:
Rare = better is a paradigm that they're supposed to be avoiding.

I suspect its probably intentional for the witch, since its pretty much agreed upon that its a bit underpowered. I wouldn't be surprised to see new patrons slowly creep up the power a bit until they hit a sweetspot.

Sanityfaerie wrote:
For the one you're building... it would be nice to have feats like Living Hair and Eldritch Nails be actually useful for actual witches, rather than being something that's potentially worth poaching, but not worth taking in the base class.

The witch nails are pretty bad, in order to save them you'd need to do something like being able to apply any hex (cantrip included) with them, which might be a bit much.

When it comes to the hair feats I wonder if the writer thought finesse + maneuver traits let you use dex for maneuvers. I know the Oct 2019 errata made it clear that doesn't work, but before that the rules implied the opposite (with a dev statement from the pf2e playtest confirming thats how it worked). The APG playtest was released a few weeks before the errata. In the playtest the hair had agile, disarm, grapple, parry and trip, while the released version had agile, disarm, finesse and trip traits (so it lost grapple and parry, but gained finesse).
The feat (and the uncommon chain that probably should've been part of the base class) certainly becomes far more interesting for witches if they could use dex on the maneuvers, since dex isn't as much of a stretch for witches to invest in as strength.

The timing of the errata and witch development/playtest (and the fact that the main writer left at some point) may have just led this to fall through the cracks.

Sanityfaerie wrote:

Recharging strike... that's a heck of a lot of damage against the standard block of tofu. Shift energy similarly - you're getting what would normally be a two-action attack for a single reaction, and you get to reuse the charge of spellstrike and the spell (if slotted) to boot. Having it be the same MAP makes it even worse. Between the two of them, this variant as suggested is way overpowered.

Like, starting in base-to-base contact and unleashing is sometimes difficult to set up, but if you pull it off, with this setup...

- You get your spellstrike.
- If you miss, you get to do it again, at the same MAP, at the cost of a reaction and a focus point.
- If you hit either of those, you get a second (third) attack that lets you recharge your spellstrike if you hit - a significant bit of action advantage that doesn't cost you a focus spell.

If anything, I'd make Recharging Strike the conflux spell. "Action efficiency in spellstrike recharging" is kind of the conflux spell thing. If you want to find something shiny for the dual weapon side of things... possibly have a way to mix an offhand attack with starting up Arcane Cascade? That wouldn't give you the same kind of action efficiency as making it a full-on no-resource spellstrike recharger does, but it would still be a nice little bonus.

Maybe I didn't word it properly, but the confluence spell would be at the normal MAP for an attack after a spellstrike (spellstrike counts as 2 attacks, so it would be for 2 attacks, so a -10) I put it there mostly as reminder text.

So if you started base-to-base you could:
Reaction focus spell to spellstrike again at -10 (-8 for agile) if the spellstrike missed
do a recharging strike at -10 (-8 for agile).

So you're making a lot of strikes, but you'll really feel the MAP. I put press on the recharging strike too, so you can either do it at a -10/-8 immediately after a spellstrike, or a -5/-4 and -10/-8 on the next turn after a normal strike, but you won't be able to spellstrike that turn.

HumbleGamer wrote:

For what I care, they might give a 2 weapon hybrid study for the magus, as long as anything like the stuff mentioned before ( which is double slice spellstrike or a focus spell that allow the magus to strike twice + recharge ) is given to the class.

But have to admit that given how paizo works in terms of balance, I can say I feel quite assured.

This gave me an interesting idea, maybe a 2WF magus could get an extra action called Recharging strike.

Recharging strike:
Traits: Press
Requirements: You are holding a weapon in each hand, and have used spellstrike since the start of your last turn.

Make a weapon strike with a weapon that wasn't used as part of your last spellstrike against the target of that spellstrike, if it hits you may siphon some of the residual energy of your spell to recharge your spellstrike as a free action.

I put some weird requirements on it to be a bit more lenient in terms of action economy (this would let you move->spellstrike/ move->strike->recharge or work in an arcane cascade in the middle). You could make it more or less restrictive but this gives the general idea of how it could work. (maybe removing Press would be fine? maybe it only works if the last action was arcane cascade or spellstrike?).

The conflux spell could be something like:
Shift energy:
Trigger: Your last action was a missed spellstrike
Requirements: You are wielding one weapon in each hand
You quickly channel the magic from your missed spellstrike into your offhand weapon in an attempt to save the spell. Make a spellstrike using the weapon you didn't use for the spellstrike, using the same spell and your current MAP.

I'm not sure how powerful this would be overall, a reaction based focus spell seems good, but it would be at a -10 (-8 if agile) so it probably wouldn't do much most of the time.

Just a rewrite to patrons and hexes and witch is good. It could actually be done through new content instead of a rework, but then the older stuff would still be weak.

For the patron rework just make the hex cantrips stronger, and let the granted spell poach something interesting from another spell list.

A cool direction for the hex cantrips would be making them get better each time they're sustained, like evil eye increasing the frightened condition by 1 each time you sustain it, or stoke the heart's damage bonus increasing each time. Would make witches a caster who excel in extended fights.

For the lessons just make better options for the most part. Theres a few that can stay, like elemental betrayal and life boost, but the rest could be pumped up a bit.

There's a few other odds and ends that could be adjusted too, like first lesson being a class feature, adding more feats, and making the hair/nails feats more appealing somehow.

The witch hex elemental betrayal essentially gives enemies a weakness and synergizes pretty well with alchemical shot.
You can spec into casting a bit for some other cool tools like true strike or flame wisp (the flames deal separate damage from your strike so you could trigger the bonus damage twice off one attack.) The setup might be a bit too action intensive though

Its uncommon, but an alchemical crossbow would be a cool pairing with that setup

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Wizard is definitely not weak. They get 4 spells at all levels (barring a max level one at odd ones) and can drain their item to get another making them a 4/4 or 5/4 caster.

The "problem" with wizard is that they're a bit boring and/or flavor-lite. All the power is built into the base chassis, with very little going into things like the thesis or focus spells. Theres a lot less build variety in a wizard than with something like a rogue or sorcerer.

I don't think witch needs an unchained version. Just give them stronger patrons/lessons, and possibly their first lesson at level 1, or even be unique and let them be the only caster with a level 1 class feat.
Witch just needs something to shrink the gap between them and the competition. A cool angle would be hex cantrips with statuses like enfeebled or clumsy that get worse each time you sustain. More lessons that let you poach useful spells from other traditions, like heal, would be really good too.

IMO alchemist is prime for an unchained version. It doesn't even need significantly more power, just dire need for streamlining. Rewriting the number fixer feats, making additive feats more plentiful and accessible to low level alchemists, adjusting research fields like chirurgeon and mutagenist and adjusting the number of infused reagents to be more static across all levels to flatten out their power curve would all be great changes. There's way too much to adjust for it to fit into an errata or something.

Off the top of my head (before playtesting or getting too deep into the details) I'd:
make daily reagents ~6+int (or 2xint, or something that isn't tied to character level) at all levels
Give perpetuals starting at level 3 (or possibly even at level 1)
give them a focus point system ("Recycled reagents") which can only be used for quick alchemy, possibly limited in use by research field or something
Give all alchemists a class feature to draw and use an alchemical item in a single action.
remove and/or rewrite all feats that provide flat damage increases. These go against pf2's design. (this includes calculated splash, sticky bomb, expanded splash, and feral mutagen)
do something about attack proficiency, I'm not sure martial parity is a requirement, but many of the damage increasing feats would be removed entirely so maybe.
rewrite mutagenist to be able to ignore the penalties of their own mutagens
rewrite chirurgeon entirely, changing the advanced discovery which eats the entire power budget for the research field
Bonus: Add a new homunculus research field, which would be an alchemical animal companion that might auto scale if the power budget allows, with feat support for using alchemical items (so they could throw bombs or drink mutagens or whatever, alchemy related stuff normal companions can't)

(note anywhere I wrote numbers it could be adjusted upwards or downwards)

The basic idea of the changes would be to try to make alchemist's power curve more parallel with other classes, rather than the roller coaster it is currently, so it should be stronger at low levels and very high levels, but the same or weaker in the mid levels.

The main selling point of oracle is the focus spells imo. Many of them feel more impactful than the focus spells of other classes.
I don't think their defenses are as tragic as you make out, as many of the mysteries do improve defense in some way, and light armor proficiency is good, the other divine caster options don't have it unless you're playing a warpriest who makes sacrifices elsewhere.

I agree some of the mysteries are bad, but most of them are fine, with several standing out as fantastic.
Ancestors is terrible for actually playing with.
I feel battle is a bit of a trap. especially since the focus spells feel weak by oracle standards and your defenses are rarely better than any other oracle (and can often be worse).
Bones, Life, and lore are all solid. not sure how to feel about lore exactly, but an extra spell in the repertoire is a strong mystery benefit.
Flames, Cosmos, and tempest are all fantastic. strong focus spells, solid cantrips for flames and tempest good bulk increasing mystery benefits for cosmos and flames, and generally manageable curse effects.

SuperBidi wrote:

Higher survivability, better focus spells, easier access to spells outside their tradition and spontaneous casting. On top of that, in terms of healing, they are extremely close.
The Life Oracle is a clear improvement over the Healing Font Cloistered Cleric, but it is definitely harder to play.

My point about life oracle isn't that their healing is similar, but that Life oracle overspecializes in healing. The amount of healing it gets is overkill. In most situations all you need is to keep an ally going or bring them back into the fight you don't need to fully heal them or keep them topped off at all times.

If you want to be the best at healing, or only do healing, I agree life oracle is what you want, but healing font clerics are generally enough to get the job done without specializing in healing.

I'm not sure I'd agree with life oracle having better access to spells from other lists though, clerics get "divine access" at level 1 essentially, the only difference being its heavily tied to a clerics RP, while oracle is tied to its mystery, costs a feat, and isn't available until 4th level, so they both have their limitations. The extra cantrip is sometimes really nice but in life oracle's case its stabilize.

I actually really like oracle in general, the dynamic of the curse with some of the best focus spells in the game is really fun, I just think life oracle is overkill.

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Salamileg wrote:

The only classes I feel are underbalanced are Witch and Alchemist (the latter, at least, the ways people want to play it are underpowered). If anything, I've thought more frequently that Fighter and Bard are a little overpowered rather than classes like Summoner or Magus are underpowered.

Quick Edit: To clarify, I'm only talking about fully released classes. Post-CRB playtest classes have almost universally been underpowered.

While I think alchemist is undertuned as well, the big issue with alchemist is that its poorly designed. It breaks common design principals that pf2 uses constantly. I'd rather see them streamlined and stay undertuned than to be strong with the current design.

Witch's design is fine, its just lacking in power and there are plenty of ways to adjust that. New patrons with stronger hex cantrips/granted spells and/or new lessons with stronger hexes/granted spells would do it.

SuperBidi wrote:

I don't have the same feeling. I feel that new classes are just harder to play than CRB ones and aimed to be efficient at higher levels. I consider the Magus to be the highest martial damage dealer, especially for the ranged version, Life Oracle is stronger than healing Cleric but way harder to play, the Summoner is a very strong skill monkey but once again it asks for a lot of system mastery, the Inventor is the best AoE martial (nearly the only one) and as such extremely strong at high level, the Swashbuckler is bad at low level but at very high level gets insanely crazy.

On the other hand CRB classes are immediately efficient but some of them tend to fade at high level, like the mighty Champion that ends very badly when 15ft. starts to be extremely close and save-based attacks become more dangerous than AC-based ones.

Life oracle heals more, but that doesn't make it better. Healing is best used to keep allies from going down or bringing them back up and divine font is way better for that since you can still use your normal spell slots for other things. Life oracle firmly goes into the overkill range. In general I think oracle is in a good spot, although a few of the mysteries could use a boost.

Champion is also the only "defender" class, which puts it in a bit of a weird spot, its got issues but it also doesn't really have competition.

In general I do think the classes are a bit weaker numerically, but for the most part the options they offer still make them a compelling choice. Inventor will often be -1 to hit over other martials, swashbuckler is taxed through keeping panache up, and investigator's "sneak attack" is arguably weaker but the classes make a good case for the slightly worse numbers.

Witch is the only class that doesn't make a great case for itself as it generally just seems worse than playing another caster of that tradition. Its a shame because imo Oracle nailed the whole weaker caster with powerful focus spells thing, but the witch ones don't do enough to make them competitive with other casters. Witch could probably be fixed with just additional feats/patrons/lessons though, so its not like alchemist that should probably just be rewritten. It doesn't help that familiars seem to be getting worse at every turn.

Gisher wrote:

One of the design goals of PF2 was to avoid making ability scores entirely replaceable the way that they often were in PF1. Str isn't usable for ranged attack rolls, and it can already be replaced by Dex with finesse weapons. Letting Dex also be used for athletics checks would make Str largely unnecessary.

It was a bit ridiculous in pf1 but I think there can be some cases where exceptions are made without breaking the system. I don't agree that it would make strength unnecessary, as it provides useful benefits elsewhere and being limited to low damage dice and specific maneuvers is a cost involved.

Dex vs Str is a bit of a complex problem, but a big part of the puzzle is that the game punishes you for having low dex, unless you're wearing full plate, but doesn't if you have low str. I think its less that dex is too good, and more that you can't afford to dump AC.

Gisher wrote:

Being skill checks does let you use Assurance, though. That's the standard approach for low-strength characters who want to perform such maneuvers.

yeah assurance athletics is fantastic, it also ignores the MAP. I played a ruffian rogue with it and it was a blast. That character made me develop a love for gauntlets, free-hand + agile is one of the best trait combinations for an off-hand weapon. It does struggle to work against anything "strong" though.

Ah yeah, the discussions I saw about it were all pre-errata (including a link to an old dev post) but the errata makes it pretty clear.

Seems like a bit of a strange direction though, as it seemed fair? most of the weapons with the combination have low damage dice, and even then most of them are uncommon with whip, light mace, sickle, and rapier being the only common ones. rapier is the only one with a d6, but it only has disarm. whip would be the most abuseable but its still on a d4 and is a nonlethal martial weapon.

It certainly makes the witch hair feats terrible, as the entire point of them seems to be the combat maneuvers.

Something to note is that the campaign we're doing only goes to level 10.

I can see the value in the fervor witch focus cantrip though, its only 1 action to cast/sustain.

Divine access is pretty weird for tempest oracle, it comes at level 4 but none of the spells you really want are level 4 spells. Hydraulic push is a level 1 spells, but spell attacks become pretty inconsistent eventually, and hydraulic torrent is level 4 which doesn't turn on until level 7. The best option for that would be Hei Feng who gives gust of wind, hydraulic torrent and chain lightning (which you'd get at level 11). The best options imo are apollyon or Ghalunder for goblin pox and vomit swarm, and divine access doesn't have any deity or alignment restrictions.
Cosmos doesn't have many powerful divine access options imo. There are a handful good utility spells but not something I'd want to give up a feat for.

I do want to try out vision of weakness though, so maybe its not a bad thing that I'm not interested in the divine access options.

As a divine sorcerer things are more limited if I want to keep things on flavor, but Sarenrae would be a solid pick.

I doubt divine lance/wrath will be particularly useful? but thats just a guess.

@HumbleGamer I'm looking to play around with the divine spell list.

I think I'm starting to lean more towards the cosmos oracle now though. I recently discovered that weapons with both finesse and a maneuver (like the sickle, or witch's hair...) get to use dex for the athletics check so when I'm enfeebled I can still contribute that way if I'm stuck in a fight. It makes the curse feel a little more impactful too.

In terms of archetypes cathartic mage seems pretty fun, gets me a bit of extra casting and anger is a good option. The character is a bit hotheaded and it will give me a chance to escape if I ever do get grabbed.

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AlastarOG wrote:
With that party I'd suggest to the ranger to go flurry instead and I'd go fervor witch as Stoke the heart is just one of the best cantrips of all especially shines on a multi attacking party like one with a Monk and a flurry ranger.

You're not helping! I barely looked into witch before but you're right, stoke the heart would be fantastic in this party. I might have to play around with witch as an option. lack of charisma could be an issue though.

I'm going to be starting Quest for the Frozen Flame in a couple days, and I'm struggling a bit with deciding on my character's build (we're doing free archetype as well).

The party is a giant instinct barbarian (who's covering medicine), a monk, a precision ranger, and my character.

I've yet to play a caster in 2e yet (but have DM'd for a few) and with this party composition I figure a divine caster would be good.

I want the character to fit into the setting well, and wrote a backstory about them being a human born into the tribe and having a friend who was taken by an "evil and twisted" smilodon.

For divine caster options there are Cleric, Witch, Oracle and Sorcerer (also summoner but I'd like to try a full caster). I'm leaning towards Oracle at the moment, or possibly sorcerer as I think the party needs a face of some sort. I like the strong focus spells of the oracle though. I'm hoping to be able to get into combat a bit too, not as a main focus but as a supplement. I'm planning to pick up shield block and maybe take bastion as an archetype.

I'm having trouble sorting out the pros/cons and deciding on a build though. For oracle I like tempest and Cosmos, as they seem the most appropriate for the setting.

Tempest seems to have some solid focus spells in tempest touch and thunderburst, plus electric arc as a cantrip, but there isn't a lot of benefit from the mystery, and tempest touch really wants reach spell asap.

Cosmos meanwhile has a weak initial revelation spell in spray of stars, but a phenomenal advanced one in interstellar void and built in DR which will be useful if I want need to take a few hits. Plus the darkness domain spell cloak of shadows is fantastic support for the ranger. I can still get electric arc through adapted cantrip. enfeebled makes being in melee tough though, or even using something like a javelin or dagger since I'll take a penalty to the damage rolls.

Divine sorcerer loses out on light armor base, and the focus spells generally feel weaker, but an extra spell every level is good. Unfortunately none of the bloodlines for divine casting have a fitting narrative feel, I'd probably take wyrmblessed or psychopomp.

edit: the statline I'm looking at is 10str/16dex/12con/10int/12wis/18cha

What archetypes are good on oracle/sorcerer? I'm leaning towards bastion at the moment, but I'm curious what others have tried or suggest, especially since I'll probably end up with a second archetype at some point.

I'm just looking for some suggestions or advice from people who are a bit more experienced with divine casters.

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Book 1: "Alchemical Sciences in Golarion", revamps alchemist, introduces "Arcanochemist" who's more similar to the 1e alchemist and mixes magic with alchemy (the revamped alchemist would have a more martial bent, so the class wouldn't be trying to fit somewhere between martial and caster). It would also be full of new alchemical items, tools, weapons, archetypes and subclasses, like a potion brewing druid/cleric, or a poisoner rogue. Would also have some variant crafting rules to make it simpler to manage, for consumable items in particular.

Book 2: "Nature's Wrath", heavy primal focused book that revamps and cleans up animal companion rules and gives them more options. Would also have new primal spells, new subclasses with primal support. Could have a few new classes in Bloodrager and hunter. Also the first Ancestry Class. Its an Ancestry with some special rules that can only ever be one class. In this instance it would be "Beast". Beast would be a martial class focused mainly on unarmed attacks, sort of like monk. Beast heritages would be related to the species of animal, so things like "canine", "feline", "bear" etc. The heritages would also determine which subclasses are available, so a cat might be locked out of a defender subclass, where a bear could be locked out of dex focused striking. They would also get special unique backgrounds, that are mostly stronger than usual, to explain why the animal is as intelligent/cooperative as it is. So options like "Awakened animal" which would give a full int score (and corresponding understanding), "former animal companion", "Pet", etc. Maybe the class could combine their ancestry and class feats together into a single pool as well, or have class feats with the ancestry tag.

Book 3: "The Ultimate guide to Combat", a book full of archetypes, with a martial bent. Nothing is too niche or cheesy not to get an archetype here, and the narrative author would be some naive wizard who conducted a bunch of interviews and couldn't tell when someone was pulling his leg. Swordmaster? check. Axemaster? check. Gishes? Check. That one guy who dual wields shields from pf1 because of weapon training/focus/specialization? check. Everybody is here.

I don't know if it was addressed in the setting directly, but the requirement to be a wizard is to be smart, and training to be a wizard takes a lot of work.

If it was a lone wizard living in a small community, maybe teaching children on the side, They'd probably be able to tell which children would make good wizards, either by directly testing them and teaching them magic, or just by watching for the ones that seem smartest and trying to steer them towards learning wizardry.

There's also the scenario of someone being interested in learning wizardry, studying as much as they can, and trying to find someone/somewhere that can train them more formally. This group would be largely self selected.

If you're thinking of a big wizard school of some sort that recruits from all over they probably have standardized tests (like the wizard SATs) to determine if candidates are qualified, possibly followed by interviews to figure out personality.

Using real world tools you could probably figure out who would make the best wizards by using an IQ test, to determine intelligence, a personality test, to determine industriousness (how hardworking they are), and an interview to see if magic is interesting to them.
The best wizards would be high IQ, very industrious, and find the subject incredibly interesting.

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I think you could just make it as a spell, a focus spell could work but I'm not sure what class it would go into, although I would love a weapon eidolon option for summoner. You wouldn't get the companion, but would have full martial proficiency with the weapon eidolon. It would probably need some feats specific to it for it to work or something. Although actually if you made a rule that the eidolon can only make strike actions while the summoner is holding it, so it would use the eidolon's actions and proficiency to strike but the flavor would be summoner swinging the weapon.

As a spell:
Conjure Arms:
Level 1, Conjuration
1 action
Duration: 1 hour
You summon a magical weapon in your hand. Pick a weapon you are proficient with, only you can use the weapon and if it ever leaves your grasp the spell ends. The weapon is a +1 version of the weapon you chose.

Heightened (2nd): The weapon is a +1 striking weapon
Heightened (5th): The weapon is a +2 striking weapon
Heightened (6th): The weapon is a +2 greater striking weapon
Heightened (8th): The weapon is a +3 greater striking weapon
Heightened (9th): The weapon is a +3 Major striking weapon

Essentially all the spell does is get casters a "free" weapon, but you've got to spend spell slots on it, which seems fair. They do get the runes a level early but they'll still be worse than martials. It wouldn't be a good spell for a multiclass though. Maybe the weapon could get a property rune at higher levels?

My beef with battle oracle is that while it encourages striking, by inflicting a penalty for not striking, it doesn't go far enough in making it better than other oracles.

Your defenses are on par with other oracles at best. If you use only a single focus spell in a day you can have +1 AC. If you use any more than that you're arguably less durable because of the hit to your saves, you do have some control over it though. Meanwhile flame oracle gets boosted reflex saves and concealment, cosmos gets flat DR vs physical and life gets extra HP.

Your striking isn't any more accurate, sure you can get a +1 status bonus for "free" at 11+ but your casting takes a big hit. So the only offensive boost you're getting is +2 damage for -1 to AC and saves, and the freedom to pump str for strength damage, if you aren't using your curse you're barely above a normal oracle striking, but if you are using it you're less durable than a non battle oracle.

The tradeoffs just don't feel worth it imo, + 2/6 +str damage on strikes isn't worth the drawbacks to your defense and rigidity in your action economy. Better to just play another mystery and spend a few feats speccing into striking (ancestry for weapons maybe and a class feat or two for plate if you want str) You'll be more durable and hit nearly as well, and not need to worry about being crippled if you can't strike for a turn. Level 1 might be rough if you dump dex, but its usually the shortest level.

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Perpdepog wrote:

A bomb and gun-using rogue racket seems pretty doable to me. Make the rogue proficient with bombs, mayhap martial guns, and give them a choice of using Int or Dex as their key stats.

Also, harkening back to the stance discussion, how would people feel about metamagical stances? You are required to have the metamagic feat to take it, and the stance comes in say six or so levels after the fact, but when you enter the stance it allows you to use a metamagic on any applicable spell?
Though now I say it, it occurs that would be functionally like the wizard capstone feat, which could be too much of a power gap.

Metamagical stances could be cool, but maybe instead of matching current metamagic effects they'd have new ones (and you can't stack it with metamagic). Stuff like elemental spell to change the spells damage type, or something to add weapon properties to spell attack roll cantrips. I'm just spitballing here but I like the idea.

I learned something new, somatic components dont need a free hand and eschew replaces material components with somatic ones, which is why I used a d8.

Also your battle oracle's damage is across 3-4 actions with the assumption you don't need to move and actually outdamages the martials in the level 5 example and would essentially match the barbarian in the level 12 example (although the accuracy is an issue). That level 5 battle oracle probably won't have both haste and another level 3 blaster spell though, so its more like 4d6 spell (14) + super strike (29) (43 total) for a level 2 spell, a level 3 spell, a focus point, and ideal positioning at the start of their turn, or normal strike (15) + cantrip/second level spell (11-14) (26-29 total) if you need to move with haste active, and yeah thats more than a caster casting one spell, but they've got an action left to do something with and if they were so inclined they could do something like a crossbow strike for 2d6+0 (or a bow strike if they specced into it), which would even out the damage.

aobst128 wrote:
It is a good question though, how would the alchemist be designed if they designed it today instead of on release. I think it would be more in line with martial classes. Standard proficiency progression with simple weapons and bombs. I don't know what it would have to give up from it's original power budget though.

You can afford to buff low level alchemists even then, so a modified amount of reagents (more at low levels, less at high levels) would work. Even investigator got flat int as their number of quick reagents.

You could also remove/modify the math fixer feats like feral mutagen and sticky bomb to not be straight damage increases (i.e sticky converts the splash into persistent instead of getting bonus persistent).

Captain Morgan wrote:
I glossed over that sentence before, and I just noticed it and need to back. There's no way in heck that is true. First off, spells have a really hard time competing with strikes for single target damage. AoE, they are obviously king, but it isn't like the divine spell list is amazing for blasting anyway. But the thing that is really important here is that there's no third action that increases spell damage to be better than spell+strike. A few mysteries do have some nice one action focus spells, but you can't spam them and they deal d4s. Speaking of d4s, you know what usually does worse damage than striking? Cantrips.

Martials only pull ahead of casters on single target damage when they're landing multiple strikes per turn (or something similar to multiple strikes). Likewise casters outdamage martials when they hit multiple enemies. This is because a single strike is "roughly" equivalent to a spell hit at any given level. Casters are largely gated out of hitting multiple times because of spells taking 2 of your 3 actions, which is how the game keeps the two in check.

At level 5 fireball does 6d6(~21), electric arc does 3d4 + 4(~11), a rogue does ~ 4d6 +4(~18), a barbarian does ~2d12+8 (~21), and a striking battle oracle would do ~2d8 + 6 (~15)
At level 12 fireball would do 12d6(~42), electric arc does 6d4+5(~20), a rogue would do 6d6+7(~28), a barbarian would do ~3d12+15(~34), and a battle oracle would do ~3d8+10(~24). A fire oracle with their major curse and incendiary aura deals 4d6 + 4d4 (~24) just by existing near an enemy.

Battle oracles aren't outdamaging blaster oracles vs single targets unless they're hitting multiple times, which is where the lower proficiency really starts to hurt them.

Also demoralize is a super strong option for that third action if you don't need to move or something.

Captain Morgan wrote:

You know when durability usually matters? In melee. You know what a battle oracle can do if they are in melee? Spell+Strike. Or if they can't cast spells (out of slots, provoking AoO, whatever...) they can just strike. I've played the battle oracle from levels 3-7 so far and I am not sure I have ever been targeted in a round I didn't strike. Maybe once? Like, it can happen, but in practice it usually doesn't. The most dangerous time is before you act, but if you don't take front and center in the march order you're usually fine. When you boost the whole parties initiative, either you get up into melee and attack or one of your allies does, and...

Defense is always useful, smart enemies should prioritize fragile opponents when its convenient, and not leave themselves open for attacks. Spell + strike is good, but if an enemy used an action to step away all of a sudden you're stuck deciding between striking to keep your defenses up or casting a spell. I know when I dm I tend to play smarter enemies this way but YMMV based on situation, campaign and DM.

Captain Morgan wrote:

How do you figure? Battle Oracles get the same number of spell slots and proficiency as a "caster" Oracle. Both are capable of reaching max charisma and their armor stat. They are still casters. War Priest makes a meaningful sacrifice but I'd say that is more for offense than utility. Air Walk don't care about proficiency.

Because battle oracle is taking huge penalties if it doesn't play a striking (martial) playstyle, which taxes their spellcasting through action economy. You could play a battle oracle as a caster, but you'd basically be less durable than any other oracle at that point.

Captain Morgan wrote:

A dex based character does far less melee damage than a strength based one. And the saves advantage is offset by bulwark. Using a bow on a Bespell Weapon caster works really well because you don't have to move as much, but a finesse melee caster without strength would do something like 1d6, 3.5 average damage at level 1 where the strength based battle oracle is doing 1d12+3+2, or 11.5 average damage. Three times the damage per hit is simply not a comparable performance.

The biggest advantage dex builds get is range, but casters can already cover that with spells.

Now, a strength based champion dedication has potential. But you're losing out on:

Level 1 AC worth a darn
2nd level class feat
Focus spells tailored to melee
Battle's Divine Access. I bet you can still get a lot goodies with digging but the battle mystery gets some gods with really great spells for melee.
Bonus damage from curse
Fast healing
Access to other archetypes (I don't really count this one against you, though, because Lay on Hands and Champion's Reaction are amazing pick ups to finish your requirements. But it does limit your options until then, especially without free archetype.)

None of which would be terrible to give up alone, but collectively you're sacrificing a fair bit to do what the subclass does naturally.

When I'm talking about output I'm talking output period, not strike output. Sure, battle oracle can pump its strike damage up, and will have more damage with its strikes than other oracles, but it won't be as much as a caster oracle can do with their spells, and caster oracles have just as much utility, and pretty easy access to the same defenses.

Battle oracles and warpriests aren't competing with martials in terms of optimization, because of how hard it is to put value on the utility, but are instead competing with casters who offer the exact same amount of utlity and higher output. Thats the gap that they need to bridge somehow, how can we make these subclasses better than just taking heavy armor on a cloistered cleric or maxing dex on an oracle.

The solution doesn't need to be offensively focused either, offering up higher defense proficiency would also do the job, but essentially these subclasses should be stronger in some way than the others because they conflict with the classes natural playstyle, and in a way that's inaccessible to the other subclasses.

Captain Morgan wrote:

That's what a magus and summoner should be doing. The subclasses are filling a different niche. They are casters first and foremost.

Summoner doesn't really fill that role (its not really supposed to though), magus kind does, but its a full martial proficiency-wise and there's still wiggle room between that and casters.

Captain Morgan wrote:

Except the feats you spend to catch up with the battle oracle are feats that the battle oracle can spend to increase their durability and striking power further. My battle oracle got to spend ancestry and general feats on things like Orc Superstition/Ferocity and Toughness instead of getting a decent weapon and heavy armor.

Nor will the other oracles be just as good as striking. Battle's domain spells are great for reaching the fray and hitting harder when you need to, and the curse just flat out gives you more damage.

A max dex oracle has the same AC as a battle oracle with their moderate curse, with better saves unless the battle oracle dumps charisma. Heavy armor only offers a +1, and oracles have access to light armor. So in terms of defense battle oracle doesn't offer much over a regular oracle.

In terms of offense you do get a good boost to your weapon strike damage, but you'll probably still fall behind a casting oracle, who's roughly balanced with full martials in terms of damage. This is my issue here, you could just as easily have the same or better defenses and better offenses with similar commitment. Sure the battle oracle has a really cool narrative, but I'm not fond of how it backs up that narrative mechanically.

Captain Morgan wrote:

I'd disagree with "often." Sticking a boost in dex and sticking with medium works fine, and taking dex higher is great with a trident. Also... cloistered cleric has zero armor, so they need to spend at least two feats to get up heavy, with at least one being a class feat. And war priests actually have some great class feats to take instead-- Divine Weapon, the Emblazon Armament line, Channel Smite, Align Armament... You're giving up some tasty damage enhancers.

Cloistered clerics are better off cranking dex, taking ranged weapons and snagging those damage enhancers than trying to emulate war priests in melee.

Its only a single class feat to get heavy with champion dedication, it doesn't scale, but its still a sizeable increase to your ac and lets you free up some stats. Armored casters are a thing you can build pretty easily in pf.

I don't really disagree here though, but from a balance perspective warpriests fall off eventually, they're trying to be strikers but don't benchmark against martials because of their casting so their value is tied to their utility, but then the caster variant of the class has that exact same utility, while (presumably) benchmarking against martials in combat in some manner, while also being able to be as durable as the warpriest.

Offense is tightly controlled and gated in pf2, but defense isn't nearly as much, which I guess is the point I'm dancing around, so for me I don't think warpriest and battle oracle offer an interesting mechanical draw over "armored caster" builds. (The narrative for them both is really cool and isn't what I take issue with)

Lycar wrote:
Ganigumo wrote:

It seems my point was misunderstood a bit.

Martial subclasses of casters are objectively poor at striking in comparison to martials, and fail to effectively bridge the gap between caster and martial in an effective and unique way, which is what they should be doing.

No. This is exactly what they should not be doing. Martials being good at hitting things is their core competency, the very thing you are not supposed to be able to poach with dedication feats.

And it works the other way around too. How many caster players bemoan the lack of item bonus to caster attack rolls. And yet, a martial, lagging behind in both proficiency and casting stat is somehow supposed to be stealing a 'real' caster's thunder? Hardly.

No, casters get to play at being a 2nd rate martial by picking up some 'tricks of the trade', a.k.a. feats, but they never get better at accuracy.

Same way as martials get to pick up a few 'tricks of the trade' from the casters, a.k.a. spells. But they will never be good enough with them to justify using them over their own core abilities.

Casters being able to usurp the non-casters' everything without impunity was one of the biggest failures of D&D 3.x. PF 2 goes long ways to avoid that, and it is a better game because of it.

There is a class that blends martial proficiency and magic, the Magus. And even a Magus is free to pick up archetype feats to get more magic or different martial utility.

But a class that is a caster first will always be a caster first. Same for martials.

Magus is a full martial proficiency wise, and piggybacks off its martial ability to make its spellcasting good, but its gated heavily by action economy and limited spells.

There's still a gap between the accuracy of casters and martials that could be filled by things like warpriest and battle oracle where they would still be less accurate than martials, but more accurate with strikes than casters, the maths been run a few times in this thread, but for a lot of the career the difference is 2 points, so a +1 untyped bonus would still be less accurate than martials, and wouldn't have access to any of the many other abilities martials have to improve their combat above just their proficiency.
We're not in a situation with two hard binaries, there's space in between casters and martials where some subclasses or new classes could exist, where they wouldn't be better at being a martial than a martial, or being a caster+.

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I can't say for sure what paizo would do, but I can see a lot of ways to take it.
One would be to revamp all the items and make them more effective for the alchemist, so stuff like making bombs that are more effective on misses or hit saves instead of AC, and reducing drawbacks on mutagens.
Another would be to split the class into a martial and caster version, with the martial version being a full martial, and the caster getting some minor casting (cantrips maybe?) and the ability to brew up some potions as well, being a class that mixes magic and alchemy.

Another would be to keep the current class and try to just rewrite and streamline it, which IMO would require significant rewrites, and is the one I've thought about the most. I'll go over some of the stuff I'd like to see done to streamline the class while keeping it mostly the same.

1. Perpetuals starting at level 1. Alchemist bombs are pretty comparable to weapon strikes, and you need to spend an extra action to make it anyways. You'd get a single level 1 perpetual at level 1, the second at level 3, and then progress at the same rate as the base alchemist. This could replace signature items.

2. Flatten out the Infused reagents progression. Alchemist has the weirdest progression curve in the game, starting out being starved for resources, and ending the game flooded with them. Make it a base 10+int or something so the class' playstyle doesn't shift as dramatically as it does currently. The fact that quick alchemy and additive feats are basically dead until mid levels is disappointing, because those are some of the coolest class features. Also it would be cool if alchemists could get a focus point equivalent that could only be used for quick alchemy (note this would be a fine low level feat).

3. Powerful alchemy is level 1 and applies to literally anything you make. Other classes don't need to wait on making their abilities scale so why does alchemist?

3. combat proficiencies, This is a definite problem. The research fields and flavor encourage a few of the alchemist builds to be strikers, but they don't have the proficiency to back it up. It doesn't need to be full martial progression but something should be done to help out. Like maybe mutagenist gets a small untyped bonus when under the effects of their own mutagens or increases the item bonuses slightly, and bomber can apply debuffs like debilitating bombs and maybe even sticky bomb on a miss. Although I'm not convinced full martial proficiency would break the class.

4. The feats are an absolute mess at the moment. Number fixers like calculated splash and expanded splash just need to go. Either build them into the research field (there's a hole there at level 7 where it could fit if perpetuals are granted at level 1) or remove them entirely. Quick bomber is a necessity for an alchemist to use bombs at low levels, is strictly worse than quick draw AND STILL BECOMES A DEAD FEAT AT HIGH LEVELS (because double brew + perpetuals gives a similar effect and you can mix additives in) change it to quick draw or an equivalent for all alchemical items. Demolition charge is depressing, let it do the full damage to creatures, it takes an entire minute to set up + 4 bombs and an opponent to step into the space. Enduring alchemy should probably be a base feature, combine elixirs is confusing and doesn't work on mutagens (which would be cool) so its mostly for making super healing potions, Feral mutagen is another number fixer etc...
In general the feats need heavy rewrite, with less must haves, and more cool options like additives.

5. Chirurgeon: Its a mess, either let them have perpetual elixirs of life (its worth noting that they're always a tier behind on their perpetuals & the action economy on elxirs of life is bad in comparison to options like heal, in addition to the effectiveness, plus plenty of other classes have "infinite" out of combat healing anyways. Now that I think about it though an infusion focus point would work wonders here) or make them REALLY good at medicine. Also the greater field discovery should probably be nerfed to just change the die to d8s or something, literally the entire power budget for chirurgeon is tied into that level 13 bonus.

6. Mutagenist: Give them an untyped bonus somewhere, replace mutagenic flashback with an ability that lets them ignore the drawbacks of their own mutagens, and make mutagenic flashback a level 1 feat. Also change their perpetual option to "any common level <x> or lower mutagen"

7. Bomber: Mostly fine, change their perpetual option to "any common level <x> or lower mutagen"

8. Toxicologist: its fine, just clarify how long perpetual poisons actually last. If enduring is a level 1 feature either ruling would work.

9. More alchemical items to fill holes in their toolkits. I know it seems obvious, but there isn't really a strength alternative to quicksilver, or anything to buff casters much. Also the elixir of life progression is an issue, 1d6hp is barely relevant at level 1 except to wake up a dying ally. Just make it scale up at every odd level.

It seems my point was misunderstood a bit.
Martial subclasses of casters are objectively poor at striking in comparison to martials, and fail to effectively bridge the gap between caster and martial in an effective and unique way, which is what they should be doing.

Most of the benefits of battle oracle are pretty easy to replicate, even as a full caster. They only ever get up to expert in armor, and take penalties anyways, so champion dedication is nearly as effective in defensive utility. The unique parts are the revelation spells and the fast healing. You could arguably make a more durable oracle out of a life or fire oracle (bonus HP or higher reflex saves with no save/AC penalties), while being just as good at striking.

Most of the Warpriest benefits are also defensive, with the only bonus that can't be replicated elsewhere being getting expert proficiency at level 7, which only temporarily shrinks the gap. Warpriests often need to spend a feat to get heavy armor anyways, which a cloistered cleric could also spend to get the same defense. Many players will just retrain out of warpriest at higher levels anyways because of this reason. (I tend to find retraining like that distasteful because it always feels like munchkinning, and there's too many scenarios where it just IS the right decision. Even if the rules support it)

Warrior muse is basically only effective as a feat prerequisite, but you can just take multifarious muse to spec into it as any other bard, but thats kind of how the bard is designed in general, with the subclasses' feats being the draw.

An initial reading of these archetypes has them read as combat casters, but someone knowledgeable about the system can get most of the benefits with any caster anyways, which is what the actual problem with these subclasses is and where small untyped bonuses could fill in.

I'd go as far as to say these subclasses should go further to limit spellcasting, maybe trading 1 spell per level or legendary proficiency etc... to widen the gap between them and other casters.

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Pathfinder 2e in general struggles with these combat subclasses for casters, they all tend to just be bad options because they lack proficiency, their prime attribute doesn't affect their strikes, and there aren't many support feats for them. Plus the bonuses are easily obtained through other means.

If we don't factor in level or item bonuses, casters can get:
+5 to hit from 1-4
+6 to hit from 5-10
+8 to hit from 11-14
+9 to hit from 15-20

Normal martials have:
+6 from 1-4
+8 from 5-9
+9 from 10-12
+11 from 13-19
+12 at 20
Most martials have access to significant untyped bonuses to hit and/or damage.

Alchemist has:
+5 from 1-4
+6 from 6-7
+8 from 8-14
+9 from 15-20
*with potential access to +1 to hit as an item bonus that might apply to party members

Given these numbers, and how much martial caster subclasses struggle with being MAD, having a small untyped bonus somewhere would not break the math that much if they couldn't be picked up by other classes, especially if it came in after level 4, it would actually put their martial ability roughly on par with the alchemists' and consistently below what a martial could achieve at the same level.

Honestly I would go as far as to say they probably should get an untyped bonus of sorts somewhere for picking the martial subclass, as otherwise it's way too easy to get most of the benefits without taking it. An ancestry feat and/or a single class feat can often reap the full benefits.

Also there was a lot of talk about heroism(level 3 spell), Marshal, and inspire courage (bard only) but bless is also an easily accessible status bonus.

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A few more ideas:
Unchained Alchemists (plural), I know its not a "path" persay but alchemist just feels messily put together, and even when its performing well it has some design issues that could be cleaned up.
By plural what I'd love to see is alchemist broken into two separate classes, Unchained Alchemist and Arcanochemist. Unchained alchemist would use a martial chassis, and arcanochemist would use a "caster" chassis and mix in some magic, get access to potions etc, it would be a class that mixes alchemy and magic.

Some class options bonded weapons. Inventor is good at this, Paladin has it as a feature but could be built upon more, but it would be cool to be explored in more depth with stuff like a "weapon" eidolon, a magus school, or an archetype.

RiverMesa wrote:

More alchemical-themed stuff - we only have the alchemical sciences methodology for the investigator right now (outside of the alchemist class proper, and some alchemical archetypes), a criminal underuse of the theme, especially given how many classes get magical-themed stuff.

A chymist rogue racket, a mutagen-blooded barbarian instinct, an herbalism order for druids, a potion thesis for wizards (not alchemy technically but it's adjacent)...there's room for possibilities here.

Those would be really cool, although they'd probably end up overshadowing alchemist pretty heavily (not that alchemical sciences or forensic medicine investigator, or pretty much any class with alchemist dedication don't already).

Neutral champions:
LN: The judge, edicts: respect the law, judge others impartially, punish oathbreakers.
N: The mediator, edicts: remain impartial in issues that don't involve you, seek diplomatic solutions, always offer to mediate between warring parties.
CN: The Truthseeker, edicts: Seek the truth always, spread important truths regardless of the consequences, never lie.

A wisdom based chassis that can choose their spellcasting tradition.

More "gish" options like eldritch trickster, and/or improving the ones we have. (I.e giving trickster free basic spellcasting at 4, and give warrior bard a to hit bonus while performing, and add bloodrager).

Temperans wrote:

The idea of this type of curses being able to give free feats if you lean into it does sound really cool actually. Suffer a lot but you are not corrupted further, or relish in it and gain power. It would be in a similar spot to the deity boon/curse system where it's an extra to what the character does.

I was thinking more that just the "dedication" would be free, and it would have class/ancestry/skill? feats in it for you to take normally.

Now that I think about it though, getting free feats that worsen the penalties could be cool. Like maybe just being a vampire requires you to feed on blood or get penalties, but for each feat you get more of the vampire penalties (and powers from the feats) until eventually its incurable.

Also a rare background that gives access to it at level 1 would work pretty well.

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Not sure how it'll work, but if I was writing something like vampire/lycanthrope I would:
Make it a versatile heritage. The heritage would come with a few of the base abilities (low light vision, negative healing, etc.) as well as the traditional weaknesses (weakened in sunlight, etc).
make an uncommon/rare archetype that is ONLY available to characters with that heritage (or something similar i.e dhampir for vampire or beastkin for lycanthrope)

That way it makes narrative sense, and it allows the kind of power budget allocation players who want to play those concepts want.

Alternatively make it a "cursed archetype" or something, where the "dedication" is literally just the affliction, and only really comes with downsides. You'd get the "dedication" for free when you're afflicted, and it wouldn't have the feat requirement to get out of it like most archetypes do. In this scenario an afflicted character would be driven to either lean into the archetype, or find a cure for it.

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I had this idea today, and am now baffled as to how this isn't an official option.

Literally just a versatile heritage that grants you the adopted ancestry general feat at level 1.

Although maybe it would just devolve to gnomes adopting the entirely of golarion for flickmace proficiency.

I've been wondering if maybe bows should drop a damage die (shortbows to d4, and longbows to d6) but gain the agile trait. This could emphasize the difference between crossbows being slow and easy to use, and bows being better in the hands of experts (martials).
Also I don't know why bows have deadly and crossbows don't, from a narrative sense.

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