I also would like to add my agreement with the others that players should play what they want, and should not be pressured into a particular role.
There are a variety of ways to handle "healing". I will your dwarven ranger at 1st level is quite capable of using a cure light wounds wand. 1d8+1 times 50 is a lot of healing for only 750 gp at low level. The GM could make a used, 10 charge wand available on the market in Sandpoint for 75 gold pieces, something purchasable as a group as soon as you arrive.
There are also other options available to the GM if no one in the party wants to play a "healer" but the entire group feels its necessary. A slightly lower level GM NPC could fill that function.
However, to add to other crazy non-standard healing ideas:
Take a skald (Barbarian/Bard hybrid from the advanced class guide).
At 3rd level take the Barbarian Lesser Celestial Totem raging power from the Pathfinder Player Companion: Champions of Purity. Its increases all healing from spells or effects by the caster level or character level while under its effects. This rage power can be shared to all your allies via raging song.
Also take the lingering song feat at 1st or 3rd.
At 4th level, pick the 2nd level spell "Path of Glory" from the advanced class guide as one of your spells known. 1 round of raging song (which lasts for 3 rounds because lingering) + 2nd level spell slot can heal each member of the party 16 hit points after combat at 4th level.
At 10th level, 3 rage rounds + 2nd level spell slot heals 100 hit points to each party member after combat over 10 rounds.
For 1st through 3rd, use cure light wounds, plus a wand. Well, you can also keep using cure spells since their on your list if you want.
Otherwise, the build is pretty open and lets you add other rage powers to your allies at higher levels. I'm personally a fan of superstitious->witch hunter->spell sunder. Especially if there's a sunder specialist in the party.
Keep in mind a skald gets to choose which rage powers to apply each time they start a song, so you could be superstitious one round, and then not the next if you spend the action to restart the song. There's no fatigue, so there's nothing preventing you from providing spell sunder once per rage, every round.
Or combine with different once per rage abilities.
If the party had issues with Paladin morale codes, there is the Gray Paladin from Ultimate intrigue which can be Lawful Good, Neutral Good, or Lawful Neutral. Which means as long as you don't do outright evil, you won't fall. Of course, it trades out channel energy for an non-good smite (i.e. works on neutrals) and generally has weaker abilities (no charisma to saving throws), but in exchange can smite anything at 4th. So without channel, you're down to lay on hands, wands and limited spells.
Its quite happy to be sneaky, intimidating, or dishonest. Just don't go around doing them for evil reasons.
For party wide optimization, everyone could be a Fey Foundling (Inner Sea World Guide). It lets things like lay on hands and channel energy become much stronger (i.e. 1d6 is 3.5 average, while 1d6+2 is 5.5 average, or 57% stronger), plus it makes your wands go a little farther (36% more healing per charge of cure light wounds wand).
Playing the game should be fun, and playing a character concept you don't want to play is a fast route to make the game not fun.
Thanks. I do appreciate the help with brain storming and we'll certainly be stealing some of the ideas you presented. I also do like the movement theme (flowing blade indeed).
Different play styles and experiences are always going to affect value judgements of feats. Which is one of the great advantages of home table top campaigns. They can be tailored to the individual players and GM needs and opinions.
You make a good point about Iomedea's divine fighting technique and battle cry being on the high end of feats, and perhaps aren't the best baselines to use.
On the other hand, the Tempered Champion also has a number of really good feats to take from its bonus list beyond just Divine Fighting Technique.
(Greater) Weapon focus and (Greater) Weapon specialization are solid middle of the road feats providing constant +1 to hit or +2 to damage each, applying to all parts of a full attack and AoOs.
Weapon Trick: One handed can easily get you Stylish Riposte when wielding a katana in 1 hand, turning enemy misses of 5 or more into AoOs (once per day per target). Which will likely trigger in many combats, and with combat reflexes as a requirement, can provide a huge damage spike against a group of lower level enemies.
So perhaps I should be aiming somewhere in between those. I suppose no one ever said coming up with balanced and interesting rules was easy.
I certainly appreciate the discussion. In regards to the flight, I happen to agree, and after some discussion of its repercussions, I've talked the player down to gliding wings (an option for 3 race points), at least at lower levels, which means no active flight, but more of a free feather fall. It is a compromise between "Wings!" and making the GM's job harder for most fights.
With the effective 2 bonus skill ranks coming out of the race builds (skilled + bonus fast learner), the paladin/oracle has taken knowledge: religion and engineering, and the magus/wizard has grabbed knowledge: history, arcana, local, and dungeoneering, as well as grabbing linguistics for Thassilonian. Based on the fact he's been researching the local area, Thassilon, and its ruins. The oracle also has perception as a class skill via battle mystery, and the magus/wizard picked up perception as a class skill via trait.
Discussion on the Diving Fighting Technique:
In regards to the adjacent requirement, the Step up and Following Step feats require adjacency to trigger, rather than threatening. Given you were suggesting those as requirements, I figured it was a reasonable model to follow.
I'd like to clarify that a large creature with a katana threatens adjacent squares (including its own) and 1 more square out. I.e. a katana wielding Ogre has 10 foot natural reach, and threatens 1 and 2 squares out (as well as its own squares). A naginata wielding Ogre has a 20 foot weapon reach, and threatens squares 3 and 4 out, and doesn't threaten and can't hit 1 and 2 squares out, nor into its own square.
While it potentially varies from feat to feat, or potentially GM to GM, generally a tiny or smaller creature is considered adjacent to anyone they are in the same square as.
CRB, page 182 wrote:
With a normal melee weapon, you can strike any opponent within 5 feet. (Opponents within 5 feet are considered adjacent to you.)
Your own square is within 5 feet of you. If you don't use that definition, any tiny or smaller creature trying to get the advanced benefit the normal way is going to have 2 unusable feat taxes in the form of Step up and Follow Step, as being able to stay in the same square for such a character is much more useful than being near, but not threatening.
As for the bonuses I had suggested, I was using the Iomedea's Shining sword as a baseline comparison. It provides a sacred +2 attack/skills/saves to the entire party for 10 rounds with a single hit, whose trigger is basically move and attack or charge,, typically something that happens in the 1st round of combat.
Given I figured this ability was much more limited in scope (i.e. duration until next round instead of the entire fight, only against enemies that were adjacent to the user within the last round, only affects the user, and requires you to use a katana to get the to-hit and damage bonus), I had to provide something a bit more than what Iomedea's bonuses were. Hence the dodge AC and damage.
My suggestion still was, for a typical party, weaker than Iomedea's advanced benefit, given it only applied benefits to the user as opposed to the entire party.
At around 10th level, a +2 damage bonus isn't actually that powerful. A paladin wielding a +2 katana in 2-hands with 22 strength and power attack might be dealing 1d8+9+9+2=1d8+20 or so per strike. The +2 to hit is worth more, given it converts 1 in 10 attacks from a miss to a hit. So +2 to hit is worth like 2.4 damage per attempted swing on average. Assuming 50/50 odds of hitting, but 15-20 crit threat range, +2 to damage is worth about 1.25 per attempted swing.
In Iomedea's divine technique, that +2 sacred bonus to hit is applied to the whole team (and stacks with bardic bonuses, morale bonuses like heroism, fighter weapon training bonuses, etc) and works on ray spells cast by the wizard or archery full round attacks by the ranger.
If your typical 4 to 5 man party at 10th level or higher has characters dealing around 24 damage per standard action (8d6 scorching ray, or a fighter standard attacking), then the +2 to hit is worth 4 to 5 x 0.1 x 24 a round, or 9.6 to 12 extra damage. If they start full attacking, it is worth more.
Thats not including the benefit of +2 sacred bonus to all saving throws in the party, or +2 to all skills (intimidate builds, acrobatic using rogue, spellcraft, knowledge checks, etc). +2 to the entire party saving throws might convert one fail to success every other spell in a 5 man party.
Given the divine fighting technique feats are typically at the end of a 3 feat chain (i.e. Divine Technique, Step Up, Following Step) and requires a +10 BAB (or 10 skill ranks), and require worshipping a specific deity, they tend to be stronger than a typical stand alone feat.
+2 to hit, +2 to AC, +2 to saves, and +2 to damage against targets you are effectively in close melee with (i.e. you have to be adjacent to trigger) for just the user until end of the next turn didn't seem crazy for such a 10th level benefit. I certainly would still prefer Iomedea's benefit over it.
The bonus movement on dropping the enemy I fear is not going to fundamentally change the odds of most combats. I typically remember enemies simply running up and engaging in melee, rather than being spread out, unless they were ranged strikers. In which case, they tended to be spread out farther than that. Now this might not be the case for the RotR campaign. It is flavorful, but I fear not very effective.
To be honest, I think the battle cry feat would be better than your revised proposed advanced benefit in terms of changing odds of victory (or margin of victory). +1 to hit to for the entire party for 10 rounds (the entire combat) for every attack roll as a swift action is better than +2 to hit and +2 to damage on a single attack of a single character at most each round. It is also very hard to trigger if you want to do a full attack. Since it disappears at the start of your next turn, its basically either move + strike, or 5ft, full attack, 5ft, and hope the enemy provokes an AoO (which generally isn't under your control).
If you happen to be fighting a bunch of low level enemies that you happen to be able to take out in a single hit, you might get a cool full attack chain with movement in between - but its really low odds of that happening. Samurai and Paladins get challenge and smite evil which are "I'm really good against a single target", where as this is trying work well with weaving in and out of a bunch of low level enemies. It just doesn't feel like a good mesh.
Personally, I also have game design philosophical issues with abilities that trigger on dropping enemies. First, it encourages non-optimal behavior where allies don't necessarily focus fire, or try to juggle opponents, so as to try to trigger a benefit on the right character.
Secondly, its a "win even more" benefit. If you're dropping enemies, you are in some sense already doing well, and the feat in theory is trying to help you do even better in that case. If you're not dropping enemies, and in fact in a currently losing position, there is no benefit. Or against a boss (which is what every Samurai or Paladin is going to focus on with smite evil/challenge). So it helps you when you don't need as much help, and in some fights can't do anything by design, as the triggering condition is the fight is over.
Thanks again for the comments and for the divine fighting technique idea. I like how you're building them around movement. Neither strikes me as too strong, although the advanced benefit strikes me as too situational when compared to Saranrae's or Iomedea's.
Discussion of Divine Fighting Technique:
As for balance I tend to try to look at several things:
1) What is the typical usage of the feat, and how much of a change in victory does it make, especially when compared to similarly hard to acquire feats
2) If the feat takes an action, what is that action's effectiveness compared to other common actions
3) How often does the feat's typical usage come up
For example, I'd compare to the initial tier of Iomedea's or Saranrae's divine fighting techniques when looking at the initial benefit.
For example, Iomedea's initial benefit trades a full round action for +2 to attacks, saves, and skills for a 1-5 rounds. Generally this is only a good option in combat if you can't engage the enemy for some reason and want to aid those who can, as typically a paladin attacking is going to get you to a victory condition sooner. Although it provides an interesting out of combat boost not unlike a bard. So its a nice buff, but only situationally useful over other things you could be doing.
On the other hand, her advanced benefit is a free rider on a very common action you have a lot of control over. Move + attack or Charge both happen a lot in combat, and getting a +2 sacred bonus to everyone who can see your attack (no range limit?). So basically, every combat has the entire party getting a solid +2 to attacks/+2 to all saves to everyone in the party. That is a solid 10% shift in your favor for the entire group on a lot of d20 rolls.
Looking at Saranrae's initial benefit, it is only useful when you want to deal non-lethal damage which tends to be a rare occurrence. It is very thematic, and in some cases makes certain objectives easier, but in general, doesn't improve a groups odds of winning your typical fight.
Her advanced benefit on the other hand can be likened to fast healing 7 or a free cure light wounds every round when not fighting undead or constructs with a scimitar, which combos nicely with the first ability. It also works half as well with other weapons, assuming you are willing to take a penalty to hit.
So I like your proposed initial ability a lot. It doesn't cost an action, it has some applicability in some very specific situations, but in general isn't going to do too much on its own, especially since katanas don't have reach. It won't prevent an enemy's 5 ft step to reach you for a full attack for example, as they can just 5 ft step after you. It seems in line with the other initial benefits.
The second one needs some changes or perhaps a different direction. Abilities which trigger when dropping enemies to 0 are inherently very situational as they typically require multiple enemies to be meaningful, and that you are the one dropping the target. It also sometimes leads to weird tactical choices based on how many hit points you think the target has, and other players than choosing different targets rather than focus firing and so on. It also doesn't build on the previous ability (like Saranrae's) nor a more common or easier way of activating the initial ability (like Iomedae's).
Also the swimming clause while extremely thematic with a carp, just doesn't work in my head with samurai in full armor. I also think the mechanical disadvantage of using a slashing weapon that takes -2 to hit and half damage is a bit rough when swimming.
However, your suggestion has definitely gotten me thinking, and I think I'll propose something like this to the GM:
After taking a 5 foot step, gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC and +2 sacred bonus to saves against any attacks made by an enemy you ended the step adjacent to until the end of your next turn. Any attacks you make with a katana against an enemy you are gaining the above bonuses against gain a +2 sacred bonus to hit and damage.
I'd also expand the initial benefit to be usable after charges as well.
I'd say this roughly about as good as Iomedea's advanced benefit, maybe a bit less in a large party. Iomedea provides +2 to hit/saves/skills to the entire party against all enemies for 1 minute after a successful hit with a standard attack or charge. This one provides +2 AC/hit/saves/damage to only the user, and only against those in melee combat (i.e. keep 5 foot stepping adjacent every turn or else lose the benefit). On other hand, you don't need to hit to activate it. The initial ability then combos by letting you essentially activate this after engaging an enemy from a charge or move + attack when you normally wouldn't be able to. Or edge around someone to become adjacent to more targets. It also activates neatly with Step Up.
It continually rewards you for being in swordplay distance and using footwork essentially.
We were thinking things along the same lines if things look like they're getting too tough at higher levels. Although quantified by race points.
For example there is definitely an interest in adding wings to the Aasimar by the paladin player, the only question is at what level and at what cost (if any). There are Aasimar only feats which add wings and flight around 10th level for example. It has been pointed out Strix have wings at 1st, and the advanced race guide prices 30 foot clumsy flight (-8 to fly checks, making it very hard to maneuver at low levels) at only 4 race points.
The magus/wizard was always going to be taking broad study at 6th, which allows wizard spells with spell combat/spell strike, but I like the general line of ideas you suggested.
Lastly, we are planning on using standard hero points, and allowing the spells and items that interact with those rules. We hope that will be sufficient action economy boosts during climatic tough fights.
Thanks for your ideas. I've had some further discussions with the group, and we're not starting until the GM is finished with AP exams, so we've got a few weeks to finalize things.
For the healing, we're definitely planning on purchasing/crafting healing items in addition to the healing ability provided by the paladin/oracle. The paladin/oracle does start with 5 1st level spells which can be spontaneously cast as cure light wounds, as well as adding 6 lay on hands per day at 2nd to the spell casting.
But acquiring a wand of cure light wounds is definitely on the list of to do things in character fairly early on, if not scrolls/potions.
The healing discussion has also led to the paladin's player deciding to take Fey Foundling at 1st level, which will certainly amplify healing effects for them.
As they were already planning on playing an Aasimar, we can probably roll that all into being found and then raised by a temple to Shizuru. We figure that means they'll have perfect etiquette, reverence for elders/ancestors, and great discipline, but might be lacking in general socialization. Should be something interesting there to roleplay.
As for skill points, one of the reasons for the high point buy was to allow for higher int and more skills. But yeah, even with an NPC rogue covering the traditionally rogue-y options (disable device, stealth, perception), the party still felt light on skills as we were sketching things out. So we'd were thinking about that.
The idea of handing out templates is interesting. We floated the idea to take the Aasimar race as a template, but expand on it, and/or switch racials around. This also helps put an effective level on all the high point buy/free toughness and so forth we're doing.
So for example, drop the point buy back to 25 points. But now customize an Aasimar-like race with the advanced ability score modifier quality. Which baseline would be something like +2 Str/+2 Dex/+2 Con/+4 Cha/-2 Wis (4 RP), and buy advanced charisma and advanced wisdom (8 RP). 25 point buy can do 16/13/12/14/10/14, which jumps up to the previously listed 18/15/14/14/10/20, while keeping true to the idea that Aasimar don't have negative stat modifiers. So the high point buy we had is worth 12 RP.
We then use additional RP to buy toughness as a bonus feat for 2 RP. Skilled is 4 RP for +1 skill per level, and bonus flexible feat lets us take Fast learner for another 4 RP. So in total 10 RP for +2 skills and that toughness feat.
Baseline Aasimar is Outsider (Native) for 3 RP, which also provides Darkvision. Lastly throw on Aasimar energy resistance for 3 RP. That puts us at 28 RP. Probably skip the 1/day spell and two skill bonuses.
According the advanced race guide, 30 RP is roughly level+2 in the level 1-5 range, level+1 in the 6-10 range, and level+0 in the level 11-20 range. So averaging over the entire AP, its like level+1, easier in the beginning, harder at the end. Combine with the gestalt rules which are like level+1, and that puts us around level+2 on average throughout the AP. And level+2 is roughly what you'd want for 2 characters aiming to be worth 4.
If we need to add more later, we can simply add some RP to add abilities and up it to around 40 RP or so (worth another level+1 in the 10-15 range). Of course this race discussion also brought wings to the attention of the paladin/oracle player for a mere 4 RP at 1st level. Insert long suffering sigh here.
I'm tempted to do a Tien-Min tiefling with a touch of Oni blood just to be contradictory, given dual talented human wouldn't be the only option in that case.
Lastly, the GM has asked me to come up with ideas for Shizuru's divine fighting technique. Given she's the Goddess of Swordplay, we can't imagine her not having one, but the GM didn't want just a copy of Iomedea's divine fighting technique (which I thought was the easiest option). But the GM gets what the GM wants.
Anyone have any suggestions for what the Goddess of Honor and Swordplay's fighting techniques would be? Obviously something to do with katana.
Yes they are planning on being gestalt. Sorry I failed to mention that, being a rather key point in balance considerations. Not sure how I missed mentioning that.
I wonder if the max HP on top of the already high point buy and free toughness is too much?
Assuming 14 Con all around, and were 4 separate characters, HP per level would be around 6+2+1, 5+2+1, 5+2+1, and 4+2+1, for 32 HP per level for the party. For the two Gestalts, the max hit points, toughness, favored class, and listed stats gets 10+2+1+1 and 8+3+1+1, for 27. So actually, not too much.
Even including a normal stat rogue would probably bump that up another 7 or so, to 34, so still pretty close.
We'll also look at the hero point option for emergencies. And add the NPC rogue to help cover the spot/trap checks, although I expect to see them more in the background during combat.
And the GM has mentioned they had some kind of terrib... I mean great idea for a tiny chaotic good pseudodragon rogue. What possibly could go wrong with the equivalent of an intelligent, flying, lockpicking and pick pocketing house cat who likes collecting shiny things. And then hiding when mean people show up.
We happened to have a copy of the Rise of the Runelords anniversary edition lying around, and given the situation going into this summer, were thinking of running it with just 2 players and a GM (basically the family), but trying to minimize adjustments on the GM's side of things to keep the amount of preparation work to a minimum. Mostly because this will be their first attempt at GMing. Also there is a preference not to run multiple characters simultaneously on the player side.
So I wonder if people had a feel how the following would handle the AP. We can always changes things later on if necessary, but its nice to be at least be in the ballpark of the right power level at the beginning.
Tempered Champion Paladin of Shizuru/Battle Oracle with Possessed Curse
Str 18/Dex 15/Con 14/Int 14/Wis 10/Cha 20 (after racial mods), with free bonus toughness feat
The GM is also considering having a single class more normally built NPC rogue tag along depending on what the exact final builds look like. Alternatively, changing Kensai Magus/Diviner Wizard to Slayer/Diviner Wizard would cover more skills and trap finding via talent, but have less action economy synergy during combat, as well as less AC.
The extremely high point buy was to adjust for the fact the characters are MAD, trying to fill in for front line melee while also handling back line casting in a single character. Similarly with the free toughness feat for additional hit points to make up for half as many targets. With favored class bonus going to hit points, this leaves them with 16 and 15 hit points at 1st.
Backstory for the two characters would actually pull both from Tian-xia, of the Tian-min ethnicity.
The oracle's possession is by the spirit of an ancient kitsune general who worked in Thassilon but returned to their homeland after Xin became old, isolated, and paranoid. The spirit never rested easily, and ended up possessing the paladin while she was cleansing some ancient ruins in the service of Shizuru. The paladin has come to the land that was once Thassilon to see if they can put the 11,000 year old spirit possessing her to rest. Plus Shizuru seemed to want this particular spirit as far away from Minkai and Tian-Xia as possible.
The paladin/oracle is in Sandpoint specifically as a student of the faith, coming to see the cathedral while continuing their search for a way to exorcise themselves of the half-crazy spirit. The fact that Sandpoint has one of the few inns in Varisia that knows how to serve traditional Tian-min food might have been a draw as well.
The magus/wizard was also "exploring" those same ruins for more traditional adventuring reasons at the time of the possession. And might have accidentally had a teeny, tiny role in getting the paladin possessed. Given the event drew Shizuru's personal attention, and resulted in said paladin becoming an oracle, Shizuru took a rather dim view to his motivations for being in the ruins and the related "accident".
So he was essentially told to clean up his act. In the form of a divine quest spell without a duration. Although Shizuru did kindly include a discharge clause, namely an alive but unpossessed paladin. He is here in Sandpoint with the paladin, researching everything he can about this stupid kitsune general and Thassilon in order to help get the paladin unpossessed.
Verbal components don't add the auditory or sonic traits to a spell. They add the concentrate trait. So a magic missile cast from 20 feet away would work fine.
Verbal component, page 303" wrote:
A verbal component is a vocalization of words of power. You must speak them in a strong voice, so it’s hard to conceal that you’re Casting a Spell. The spell gains the concentrate trait. You must be able to speak to provide this component.
I'd argue you can't speak within the area of silence, so spells with a verbal component can't be cast within the 10' radius area of silence, but unless the spell has the auditory or sonic descriptor, its effects can reach into the silence area without a problem.
Arcane Spells DC 22, attack +12;
Spell slots: 2 Cantrips, 1st: 1, 2nd: 1
Cantrips (3rd): Electric Arc, Ray of Frost 1st level Spells: True Strike 2nd level Spells: Illusionary Object (2nd) (Signature Spell)
Focus Points: 1
Focus Spells (3rd): Dragon Claws
Ancestry Feats and Abilities: Cold Resistance 3, Burn It!, Very Sneaky
Class Feats: Trap Finder, Sorcerer Dedication (Draconic: Red), Basic Bloodline (Dragon Claws), Basic Spellcasting
Class Abilities: Sneak Attack 2d6, Surprise Attack, Scoundrel Racket, Deny Advantage, Weapon Tricks
General Feats: Toughness
Skill Feats: Lie to Me (background), Assurance (Medicine), Battle Medicine (heals 2d8+10), Continual Recovery, Confabulator, Glad-hand, Intimidating Prowess
One interesting thing I've realized that if an enemy rushes up to the rogue to nullify ranged attacks/casting, it can pull a very effective, feint + dragon claw + dragon claw solo. The dragon claw damage roll averages slightly more damage damage than a straight Thief rogue (at the cost of an extra action at the beginning of the fight and lack of agile).
2d4+3+1d6+1 = 12.5
If Burn It! doesn't apply to Dragon claw (I think it should but I could imagine some argument over it), its still 11.5 average. I'd probably swap out Burn It! for something else in that case.
For comparison, a 6th level thief likely rolls 2d6+4=11 average in melee, but has access to agile finesse weapons.
The other advantage is the character can trivially switch between melee, ranged, and cantrip actions without issue, as well as provide battle medicine with free hands if necessary (depending on your GM's ruling of that debate). Assurance + Expert medicine at 6th level is an automatic DC 20, so you get the 2d8+10 hit points back for 1 action.
True strike is an interesting option on an opening strike as there's good odds of getting a critical. I could see maybe taking magical trickster at 8th, to provide the option of deception or hide + ray of frost sneak attack out to 120 feet. Or maybe not. Even without it, the choices provide the build with a variety of damage and energy types (slashing, bludgeoning non-lethal, piercing, electric, fire, cold) that it can switch to without any equipment juggling. Plus illusions. And buy some scrolls to taste with the left over 28 gp.
I still think that even with 3 martials having a buffed feint should still see a lot of use. Let the other two do their own flanking, you can do your own. Or go after a solo enemy and apply flat footed yourself. I find in our games with three martials there's usually one pc who can't get flanking.
However, RoscoeDaLib has noted he's taken "Gang Up" which solves the 3rd flanker problem. So basically that leaves the Rogue going off solo and the two martials ganging up one enemy - which is likely going to be not as common as the reverse. Tactically, you'll want to pair the rogue off with a martial, and send the other martial off to solo something if necessary.
Now admittedly, that, and the other situations we've been considering does highly depend on optimal circumstances. Sometimes circumstances will force the rogue away or prevent being adjacent, at which point feint becomes a reasonable choice. As pointed out, various players have used it, but very infrequently.
For example, a non-optimal fight for that party might be something I encountered as a 4 player party in the campaign I'm currently in. At level 3, we encountered a Scorpion swarm (level 4) and a weak Harpy (level 5-1=4). In a narrow canyon. Essentially the fight was the Harpy was using captivating song to draw the swarm to the character's location, and hopefully use the captivate ability to draw the players right into the swarm as well while flying above. And then loot them after the swarm had finished eating.
In such a fight, I feel a Scoundrel Rogue with Sorcerer dedication with Electric arc and/or Ray of Frost would likely fair better than a Thief rogue. Magic can be handy for bypassing resistance or attacking at range, for example.
Admittedly, neither flanking nor feint is likely to be useful in that fight, but starting 18 charisma does synergize better with the Sorcerer dedication compared to starting 16 charisma.
This thread is certainly making me contemplate the build of my Scoundrel Rogue. I'd noticed the lack of oomph as well, since my character had 18 Dex / 12 Str. I've also been finding flanks fairly easily, so I haven't really needed to Feint yet. Since this is a PFS char that just hit second level, I can take a rebuild. That said, I'm committed to the Scoundrel racket, and want to make it more effective. I'm okay with being a Face first, combatant second. I was thinking I'd switch to 12 Str/16 Dex/18 Cha; Studded leather means I'm no worse off AC-wise. Now the question is do I take a Sorcerer dedication right away and lean into that, or wait until 9th level when I can take it as a Human ancestry feat...
If all you're grabbing is cantrips, then I suppose 9th can work. If you're going to be spending feats beyond that, so that you're also getting spell slots and/or focus spells, I'd aim to take it 2nd. Don't discount a charismatic rogue with some low level illusions and other utility spells/scrolls.
Alternatively, if you switch to an Elf, Ancient Elf works well at 1st level if you really want to save the class feat. Also opens up an interesting option of Elven curve blade fairly easily with elven weapon familiarity. 1d8, finesse and forceful.
But for a human, I'd probably go ahead and grab the dedication at 2nd.
The thing is here, by initially playing Scoundrel, he was playing the character that didn't need as much teamwork as the Thief. The Scoundrel is like the Jedi who doesn't need support.
If everyone goes off and fights their own monster, a Scoundrel is stronger than a Thief solo prior to 14th level and Instant opening. The thief with flanking buddies simply gets more benefit than the scoundrel.
The scoundrel wasn't doing bad damage, it just wasn't getting to use all the abilities it had available to it.
Its also a bit magnified by the stats of the character in question. 10 strength, 18 dexterity and 18 charisma at level 1.
If we compare a stat distribution which is better for the scoundrel build in terms of damage output, and compare it to a thief build also using the normal ABCD stat selection process you might get the following analysis for fighting solo.
Consider a 6th level goblin Scoundrel with 16 Str/18 Dex/12 Con/10 Int/10 Wis/19 Cha against a Str 10/19 Dex/14 Con/12 Int/12 Wis/18 Cha goblin Thief.
At 6th level, +15 to hit, and 2d6+2d6+3 for the scoundrel, and 2d6+2d6+4 for the thief using +1 striking shortsword (finesse, agile) Expert Deception on both is +14. Level 6 enemy, moderate percetion DC 24, moderate AC 23.
We'll assume the attack routine of feint, strike, strike, for 2 turns. If they're benefiting from feint until end of next turn already, it becomes strike, strike, strike.
So feint has 50% success chance, 5% critical chance. Except on the 2nd turn, if the scoundrel succeeded on the first, then its 50% success, 15% critical. The scoundrel's applies to all attacks until the end of the next turn, while the Thief's only applies to one, unless they critical feint.
So no feint success, implies (0.8+0.5)*11=14.3 expected damage
Feint success implies 1.0*18 + 0.5*11 = 23.5
Critical feint success implies (1.0+0.6)*18 = 28.8
If the crit is 1st turn, that lets turn 2 be 3 strikes, with the 3rd strike adding 0.4*18=7.2
20.25% of the time, no feint success, 45% of the time 1 success, 25% of the time 2 successes, 5% crit success on first, and 2.25% chance of no success + crit success on second, and 2.5% chance of 1 success and crit success on 2nd.
Total expected damage solo over 2 turns for a thief is ~35.47.
No feint success implies (0.8+0.5)*10=13
Feint success implies (1.0+0.6)*17=27.2
3 strikes on 2nd turn implies 0.4*17=6.8.
20.25% of the time, 55% of the time 1st feint succeeds, 24.75% of the time 1st fails and 2nd succeeds.
Total expected damage solo over 2 turns for the scoundrel is ~48.87 damage. Or roughly 37% more damage solo. For a non-goblin build, strength would likely be 12 starting, 14 at 6th, dropping damage by 1 per attack, to an expected 45.65 (still about 29% more damage).
Compare to a straight 2-handed fighter at 6th. +17 to hit, 2d12+4 damage. (1.0+0.55+0.3)*17 over 2 turns is 62.9 expected damage.
With teamwork, and free flanking, the a 14 strength Scoundrel at 6th level still does 64 damage over 2 turns. The thief just happens to do more at around 72, roughly 12% more.
The overall damage output of both is fine, with the Scoundrel significantly outdoing the Thief solo, and the Thief slightly outdoing the Scoundrel with teamwork.
It just so happens the Thief is effectively getting flat-footed for free via teamwork regularly, rather than needing to feint in this particular group.
I don't run monsters as assuming they know anything about the party that they haven't witnessed/seen evidence of/had reported. Not level, not favored spells, not who has reaction abilities.
I don't understand how that's even a question.
My thinking was provoked by statements like:
"Yeah, this guy is looking at all four of you and doesn't seem particularly upset with the odds."
Working competency into your descriptions can aid as well.
"He looks amused that you outnumber him."
Which made the fact that an intelligent enemy is standing there, at 4 to 1 odds and not trying to escape imply they must have assessed the party's overall power level without a recall knowledge check, or that they are exhibiting confidence that they have no reason to have. Or the NPC is aware of the metagame Low, Moderate, Severe, Extreme encounter concepts and the players can't be too far out of their league.
Otherwise, why did they engage a larger group if they don't know if they're more powerful than even one of them? Or if engaged by the party, why aren't they spending an action to assess them (i.e. recall knowledge on their gear to get an estimated value), escaping, or trying to talk the party out of a fight?
Here's a silly question this discussion raises in my mind. How does the NPC/creature know the level of the PCs? There are a number of monsters with incapacitate spells. Do they automatically know the level of the PCs, or do they also have to recall knowledge?
I mean, what is fair for the player/character divide is fair for the GM/NPC divide.
Why is the monster looking confident when outnumbered 4 to 1? Has it been studying the characters for their last few fights, or is it assuming the 10th level characters are 1st level peasants (especially if its a party of 4 monks...)
I prefer something like Pathfinder Agent Dedication, Eclectic Skill, Clever Improviser, Halfling Ingenuity or Untrained Improvisation that affects all untrained skills so you can access ALL lores vs training in a select few. This is especially true when you roll for extremely narrow lores that allow for the lowest possible DC possibly getting a better chance with a more generic trained lore.
I'm actually quite fond of the Elven options of Ancestral Longevity, Ageless Patience, Expert Longevity, and Universal Longevity. Its great for out of combat research or when you're on a trip to a pathfinder mission, you can swap in an appropriate lore and have some significant bonuses to an easier roll. Not as flexible on the fly, and generally not as good for in combat monster lore, but still flexible on a daily basis and has more bonus in that particular lore. I have a fighter with wizard multiclass dedication who'll eventually grab the line of feats. Level+4 expert +2 time + Int on a DC 5 easier check is going to be pretty good odds at mid-to-high levels (and no automatic critical fail on a 1).
So, for the record two people (SuperBidi and DeadManWalking) have said I simply don't understand the complexity of the system. When I requested a build to demonstrate - I am given something that at face value seems incoherent because it does not need to be a rogue. Unless, someone is going to make the point that a sorcerer doesn't have more value baked into the class by level 6 to outmatch an extra skill and 2d6 on a single bow attack per combat. This character could just be a sorcerer.
So just to clarify, I thought we were talking about comparing rackets, not classes? I'll point out at level 6, a scoundrel rogue has a bit more than a single extra skill advantage over a sorcerer. The scoundrel only has a single extra skill advantage over other rogue rackets.
A sorcerer at 6th, has 2 expert skills, and 3+INT trained skills plus a lore, and 3 skill feats. A scoundrel rogue at 6th has 5 expert skills, and 6+INT trained skills plus a lore, and 7 skill feats.
Out of combat, the rogue is going to be rolling more types of rolls, and generally better at them. While some of the low level skill feats are a bit lack luster, others are quite solid. Also, it depends a lot on the campaign on how often they might apply. I've seen a teenager playing a Leshy bard with Harmlessly cute (i.e. Shameless request feat gotten at level 1) basically pester the pathfinder society non-stop for aid when not on missions. Or to keep the mcguffin we just brought back. Sometimes she rolls a natural 20...
Although, if you aren't considering the skills as being a balancing factor, is there any reason to play a rogue over say, a barbarian? More hit points, damage doesn't require flanking, and they can do more damage reliably. 2d12+8 (21 average) per swing is solid when compared against 4d6+4 (18 average). Plus options like a 6d6 AoE breath that doesn't increase MAP. Or reach weapons combined with attack of opportunity.
So while we could argue the merits of each class, it looks like to me Superbidi was describing his own character which probably was built to be a party face, capable in all sorts of social interactions with maximum charisma and combined with a lot of expert skills. And was designed to be a ranged attacker instead of a melee attacker. Of course that is a lot of assumptions on my part.
A sorcerer might not be able to fill those out of combat needs as well due to a lack of skill breadth and depth.
I don't think you'll find anyone who disagrees with your assessment that a thief rogue in melee and benefiting from flanking does more damage than a scoundrel rogue at range.
Even SuperBidi in the posts above says that if you want a traditional rogue that flanks, you shouldn't play a scoundrel.
Yeah and thats why I am asking him if he is benefiting from sneak attack with that spell due to his DM. So I know for sure. Because I can tell you right now it seems questionable because it would struggle to benefit from free sneak attack damage. Which I think is important.
I dunno, even without sneak attack, that is a fine attack routine.
Take level 2. Assume you've got 2 targets within 30 feet. Assume your character's stats. 10 Str, 18 Dex, 18 Cha.
So compare 3 bow strikes with sneak attack against bow with sneak attack and cantrip without sneak attack, against level 2 moderate AC and moderate reflex save, so 17 AC and +8 reflex save.
Base to hit is +2+2+4+1=+9 to hit for the bow, DC 18 for the spell. 1d6 base damage on bow, plus 1d6 for sneak attack is 2d6 per attack. Spell is 1d4+4 to two targets, and 1d6 for one attack.
First attack hits on a 8, crits on a 18. Second attack hits on a 13, crits on a 20, and third attack hits on a 18, and crits on a 20.
0.8+0.4+0.2=1.4 times base damage, or 1.4*7=9.8 expected damage.
Cantrip does no damage on a 20, half damage on a 10-19, full damage on a 2-9, and double on a 1. To two targets.
So 0.8*7+0.75*6.5*2 = 15.35 expected damage. Against a single target, it drops to 0.8*7 + 0.75*6.5 = 10.475.
So in situations where there are 2 targets within 30 feet, the cantrip and no sneak attack is significantly better than 3 attacks with sneak attack. And to be fair, the lone bow shot should get sneak attacks if the other routine is getting them.
As you go up in level, this changes, but it remains reasonable.
6th level its more like 2d6+1d6 rune + 2d6 sneak against 4d4+4 times 2 plus 2d6+1d6+2d6.
Bow is at +6+4+4+1=+15. Spell save DC is +6+2+4=22. Against 23 AC and +14 reflex save.
So 1.4*17.5 = 24.5 expected damage for 3 bow shots. 0.8*17.5 + 0.65*11.5*2 = 28.95 expected damage against 2 targets, or 21.475 damage against a single target.
Still competitive in terms of expected damage, even without electric arc benefiting from sneak attacks.
Im confused why you need to be a scoundrel Rogue for what you have laid out.
Is your DM allowing you to get sneak attack from Electric Arc? Because it's not a spell attack roll, and therefore gains no benefit from magical trickster. Also couldn't literally any racket do as you have laid out? You just admittted you don't even use the feint feature which is kinda the point of my post. There is nothing unique about the subclass, and there is nothing you have described that is complex.
If you're not rolling your stats (PFS, certainly my home campaign is using the base build rules), scoundrel lets you start with an 18 in charisma rather than a maximum of 16. 2 points for race, 2 points for background, and 2 points for one of the four free boosts for a normal rogue is the max. So their electric arc is better with Scoundrel, as it does +1 more damage and has +1 more to hit at levels 2-4, and then 10-14, and finally level 20, assuming you're boosting charisma at 5,10,15 and 20.
So for 9 out of 20 levels (roughly half the game), scoundrel is superior with sorcerer dedication cantrips. +1 to hit, better save DCs, and slightly better damage is the reason.
He might not have taken magical trickster with his build. I was the one that mentioned using it with Ray of Frost. What he does get is a full damage cantrip and a bow attack with no multiple attack penalty. He said the biggest benefit over the other rackets was the extra skill for him (i.e. Deception + Diplomacy vs just Thievery or just Intimidation). As you note, none of the rackets combat abilities help with that routine, but scoundrel helps him more out of combat (plus charisma in combat).
2) Their Racket gives them the ability to make someone Flatfooted against every attack you make for two turns, meaning they don't need support from teammates to set up Sneak Attack, and the Crit Success result is a solid debuff when it lands. This feature also means they're one of the better Racket options for ranged Rogues, as they can more easily take advantage of the debuff Feinting applies and don't need to spread out their physical stats as much.
I'm a bit confused by this, given feinting doesn't apply to non-melee attacks, unless there's a feat I've missed. I think all the rackets are potentially equally good at using a bow, since none of their traits apply, no? You also need to be within melee range of the target to feint and generate the benefit.
However, Rogues do still have access to Divert (Deception roll, they get +4 circumstance bonus if you've already done it to that particular target in the last minute), as well as Hide (Stealth) if there's cover and can add the cover bonus to the stealth roll, so certainly ranged rogues are a good option.
I agree with SuperBidi that a Scoundrel/Sorcerer build can work quite well, especially after 4th level. If you add spell slots with further feats, you can start to mix illusions or other concealment producing spells in to allow you attempt to hide no matter what (or just straight up make you hidden).
Even a simple 1st level Illusionary Object spell can create the illusion of a wall or small building without windows (or maybe arrow slits?), completely blocking LOS and making you hidden to sight, while still allowing you to attack a target multiple times until they spend actions to move over and interact with it, or spend an action seeking it (turning it into a mass slow for 1 round). And even then, its not guaranteed if they roll low on their perception check.
So its totally possible to take Magical Trickster and sneak attack each round with cantrips. Electric Arc + Bow will probably average more damage if you have a way to get sneak attack on the bow automatically, such as with the aforementioned illusion. But Divert/Hide + Ray of Frost also works out to 120 feet. Nothing preventing you from taking both cantrips.
As for the feinting ability of the Scoundrel, I see it bringing more to the table in a party with fewer front line martials and more arcane/primal casters (reflex save spells) and ranged rogues (perception penalty). Also an alchemist in the party can make Poison Weapon go from terrible to OK-ish as it can be used to deliver at level injury and contact poisons created for free every day. Normally an alchemist can't put a contact poison on a weapon, but a rogue can.
Scoundrel rogues also have the capability of being the best party faces outside of combat. Lots of skills, lots of skill feats, and potentially max charisma. Of course, that benefit is highly dependent on the campaign and the GM. In campaigns that are designed to roll with it, it can be awesome and memorable. I've been in campaigns where we've deceived our way through the front door of the evil empire's base, and all the way to our objective.
Lycar, I wanted that fight, but basically only with boss monsters.
I wanted to curb stomp most other encounters, and have an occasionally heroic encounter with someone(s) the parties equal. As a GM I knew how to make that happen, though it wasn't easy. However, since it was basically just at significant plot points it wasn't overly difficult to do, but definitely required invested time.
In PF1 making a challenging fight took work on the part of the GM.
In PF2 they don't really need to do anything, maybe place your party against a couple level+2 enemies. But for players to survive they need to get lucky and work incredibly well together. And that's definitely a shift from how my group got used to playing. PF2 has been terribly lethal, with our GMs often going..."Yeah, we're not going to do X the way it's written because I think you all will die, at least one of you. And since no one has access to life restoring magic...that would leave one of you out for a while."
So why not just fight groups of Level-3 and Level-4 enemies when you want to feel heroic? Between level 6 and level 14, there is an 11 to 12 point difference in AC and saving throws.
10th level martial (10+4+5+2=+21) against 6th level moderate AC hits on a 3, criticals on a 13. Same martial against even level opponent hits on a 8 and criticals on an 18 (your 65% number). Against a 14th level boss fight, they hit on a 14, and critical on a 20.
Level 10 enemies are not CR 10 enemies from PF1. Moderate encounters in PF2 are not Average encounters from PF1. An NPC with character classes in PF1 was level+1, and level+2 if they had gear equivalent to a player (i.e. their magic weapons are up to date - which is true of all enemies now). So that fully equipped 10th level wizard that was a CR 12 enemy from PF1 is now a level 10 enemy in PF2.
There are 5 tiers of encounters in both systems, but try lining up the names sometime.
Easy vs Trivial. Average vs Low. Challenging vs Moderate. Hard vs Severe. Epic vs Extreme.
So another way to think of it, all those moderate threat encounters are "challenging" situations. They're supposed to make you work. The low threat encounters used to be the average one you'd encounter in PF.
If you want encounters to make you feel heroic, have more "trivial" and "low" encounters. Instead of two equal level enemies, have three level-2, or better yet, six level-4. Now you're defeating more enemies than your party with little to no effort.
From the core rule book on encounter design:
"Trivial-threat encounters are so easy that the characters have essentially no chance of losing; they shouldn’t even need to spend significant resources unless they are particularly wasteful. These encounters work best as warm-ups, palate cleansers, or reminders of how awesome the characters are. A trivial-threat encounter can still be fun to play, so don’t ignore them just because of the lack of threat."
If those are the encounters you like, talk with the GM, or run them as the GM. Its not a question of the system, its a question of picking which encounters to create.
What the PF2 system is much better at is having consistency across monsters and encounters. When the encounter includes two level 10 enemies, you know how hard it is. In PF1, two CR 10 enemies could have wildly different difficulties if they were say, wizard or fighter NPCs.
Edit: Is the issue because the label "Level-3" and "Level-4" sounds weak, when in reality they're not?
If all the character was doing was sustaining a cantrip every round and moving, it should not be fatiguing.
The Repeat a Spell action, defined on page 480, can be used to sustain. If you look at the sidebar on page 498, it suggests actions which involve 10 actions per minute (i.e. sustain once per round), is non-fatiguing. A quicker pace, (i.e. 2 actions per round), might have limited use or cause fatigue.
So if they're casting Dancing lights (2 actions) once every 10 minutes, then using sustain a spell once a round (10 actions per minute) for 10 minutes, it shouldn't be fatiguing, as that averages really close to 10 actions per minute.
It is the same reason using Repeat a Spell for the Shield spell (1 action cast), shouldn't be fatiguing either when used for more than 10 minutes.
Fighter/wiz. Pros: true strike, pre combat buffs, lots of all day buffs, spell substitution gives you huge flexibility. cons: lack of one action spells other than true strike, just a fighter with true strike if you don't have a few minutes to intisabate combat.
The Shield cantrip is the other common 1 action spell a fighter might want. With access to specialization school spells, there's a number of focus spell options with 1 action, like Protective Ward, Force Bolt, or Physical boost, for example. Warped terrain as a 3rd action in a round might prevent an opponent from using Step, forcing an AoO if they want to escape.
Casting haste on themselves opens up things like 2 strikes + 1 save spell each turn. Solid for a bow using fighter for example.
If you include the rewind as an "effect of your turn", that's not what happens. What actually happens is that the rewind undoes all "effects of your turn" after the Beacon point, which would include the rewind itself. That would simply put you back at the end of your turn, as the effect that rewinded your turn never happened.
That is also a valid reading, that the spell effectively does nothing, or traps you in an infinite loop forever, preventing the round from proceeding and having the other players complain until you stop being silly. :)
It is mostly a theoretical discussion in any case. Certainly there's confusion about the reading of the spell.
The power level of the spell should be in line with other 7th level spells, like True Target, which provide a couple of re-rolls as opposed to auto-crit fails/successes. As a GM I'd certainly run it as a single rewind, as I'm assuming that was the intent.
"At the end of your turn, you can choose to rewind time back to just after you cast time beacon,..."
Since you rewind to the moment after you have already cast the spell, you obviously don't get the spell back.
So, right after you cast time beacon, you're under the effects of time beacon, no? I agree the intent is you don't get the spell back, but all effects you're under at the time immediately after casting should still be there, no?
Consider the following situation.
The enemy has put a sickened 1 effect on you and your ally cast Physical Boost on you, which ends at the end of your turn.
Action 1: Cast time beacon.
Rewind point: Just after action 1 you are sickened 1, under the effects of Physical Boost until end of turn, and under the effects of time beacon until end of turn.
Action 2: Fort save to remove sickened, fails.
Action 3: Fort save to remove sickened, succeeds. No longer sickened.
End of turn, choose to rewind, go to rewind point.
Rewind point: You are sickened 1, under the effects of Physical Boost, and under the effects of time beacon until end of turn.
Thats the problem. If you rewind to the point just after time beacon, you are still under the effects of time beacon and haven't expended its use.
Or would you have the character rewind and no longer be sickened nor under the effects of Physical Boost?
Its needs errata to say that you rewind to the point just after you cast the spell, but no longer benefit from it after rewinding. I think that an errata like that was what writer was aiming for, but as written, it certainly can be interpreted the way the Excaliburrover presents it.
Just want to point out that I'd agree on a bandolier being related to the action economy... in that it allows you to retrieve an item in one action rather than two (similar to benefits of a belt pouch). One of my first questions as a GM when a player wants to pull out a potion/etc is, "where were you carrying that?" If I get a blank stare, that means it was in a backpack (2 actions to retrieve) because the player never thought to purchase items to carry stuff.
As a GM, I'd tend to let the player retcon the purchase of a belt pouch or bandoleer if they've never come across that rule, because the character is likely experienced enough to know why they're useful even if the player had never encountered that rule. Especially a character who is rich enough to own potions, as they've likely seen a fight or two at minimum.
Of course, my follow up question to yours would likely result in retconning a purchase of clothes as well. I'll note the adventurer's pack includes 2 belt pouches, so most characters created by new players will have them, but no clothes. Any of the pregen Iconics who own armor, don't own clothes either. It is kinda odd, as I've been in social situations in PFS where you were not supposed to be in fullplate and carrying a greatsword, and taking a pregen to one of those could be awkward without some on the fly adjustments if people only realize that halfway through the encounter.
I think it would be best if the rules didn't give a benefit to building a new character rather than keeping your old one.
Selling items does not give enough. I think it would be best if every level you could sell you items for as much as a new character would get starting at that level.
Whether its worth making a new character or not depends on if the GM is following the treasure by level guidelines and new character build, as well as the general advice in the treasure section. If the GM is contemplating allowing a player to create a new character due to wealth, there should be other options to correct the problem.
A character following the traditional path of leveling up normally should have more wealth than a new character purchases exactly what they want initially, so the incentive shouldn't be there. Its explicitly told to the GM to keep an eye on it to make sure characters don't end up behind, even in APs. If your martials have 3,000 gp worth of equipment each at 9th level, and the casters only have 1,600 gp worth of equipment, then the GM needs to add more treasure the casters want.
Take as an example, the GM has an adventure on a boat and the martial loses their +2 Striking Bastard sword of shock overboard on an ocean voyage. The GM is supposed to make provide more treasure in the very near future to make up for it, not have the character retire because they just lost 33% of their wealth. The same goes in an AP if treasure is provided that isn't usable by the party. If the GM is allowing a new character, the GM can also simply hand the party more treasure to fix the problem.
A new 9th level character, according to table 10-10, either starts with a lump sum of 1,600 gp or an 8th (~500 gp), 7th (~360 gp), 6th (~230 gp) and 5th item (~160 gp) and 250 gp, which is only 1500 gp.
A party of 4, leveling from 1-9 (thus earning up level 1-8), should each have split up 3021.25 gp in value. Assuming the party sold everything they found and rebought, they would still have 1510 gp, which is close to those other values. So the new character build is already assuming you've sold everything you found, whether you used it for 1 level or 8 levels.
Assuming at least some of the equipment you find will be usable by someone in the party (even if its just 1 in 4 items), a naturally leveled character should have more wealth than a new character based on table 10-10.
As for selling the 5th level magic wand for 160 gp instead of 80 gp, that is a small difference given you're earning around 145 gp in treasure per moderate encounter at 9th level (assuming party of 4). I also don't think it'd be a problem if you made the wands upgradable, since again, you're only saving 80 gp or so. Its essentially a rounding error by those levels, or a single at level consumable. Personally, I'd keep the 5th level wand, and just buy the 9th when funds allow. 1d4+1 five times for 1-action (spread over 5 rounds) is still a good choice at 9th level. Especially in harder to hit fights. Once bought the 9th level one, use both wands at the same time for 3d4+3 per round at the cost of 2-actions.
Seems to me house ruling upgrades might also solve your problem. Rather than an undead transfer ritual, just make an undead strengthening/transformation ritual. Cast the ritual with the gold difference cost and upgrade the undead. Same amount of house ruling, as the transfer ritual, and everyone is happy. Or rule minion undead can be used as components in the summon undead ritual at full "value".
If you're GM is looking for a reason that might let them rule you can upgrade wands to a higher tier version, page 534 under multiple types notes that "For some items, the types listed are upgrades to the base item." It is certainly a simple enough house rule to allow items listed as upgrades to be upgradable like runes. Some might argue that line allows upgrades for those items as part of the base game without house rules.
At the end of the day, if you look at a snapshot of wealth of the party at each level, ideally any differences should disappear quickly, and not systematically have any characters be consistently under (or over) equipped.
Selling for 50% and an exponential wealth curve get you reasonably close to that ideal. Its not perfect, and can't take into account all possible situations, but that is what the GM is for.
Staffs specifically require that you spend spell slots to charge them, making them more of a side grade. While wands do act as more of +1 spell/day.
Sorry, I'm confused by this statement, and want to make sure I'm not missing something. You get free charges equal to your highest level spell everyday in one staff, whether you are prepared or spontaneous.
"During your daily preparations, you can prepare a staff to add charges to it for free. When you do so, that staff gains a number of charges equal to the highest-level spell slot you have. You don’t need to expend any spells to add charges in this way."
If a prepared caster wants, they can choose to sacrifice a spell slot to add charges.
So at 11th level, a staff defaults to 6 charges for a full caster, with no sacrifice. If he sacrifices a 3rd level spell, he has 9 charges. If he sacrifices a 6th level spell he's got 12 charges. But he can always choose to just get the free 6 without spending anything.
I'm not seeing how that is a side grade. It is directly comparable to +1 spell/day of your highest spell level, assuming the staff is of high enough level.
In Exploration Mode, if no PC is using the Search Activity, the Invisible NPC would be Unnoticed.
Why if I might ask?
In my opinion if you are invisible and not sneaking successfully (or not trying to sneak at all) you will be prone to imprecise senses (e.g. hearing) and will immediately become hidden once in hearing range, even without any active search.
Its kinda implied by the invisible condition:
While invisible, you can’t be seen. You’re undetected to everyone.Creatures can Seek to attempt to detect you; if a creature succeeds at its Perception check against your Stealth DC, you become hidden to that creature until you Sneak to become undetected again. If you become invisible while someone can already see you, you start out hidden to the observer (instead of undetected) until you successfully Sneak. You can’t become observed while invisible except via special abilities or magic.
You don't need to sneak while invisible to be undetected. You're undetected to everyone unless they use seek to detect you using your Stealth DC (or you started out visible in front of them, then turned invisible). The invisible one isn't the one rolling, its the seeker. Once you are simply hidden, then you start needing to roll Sneak.
This is of course will interact differently with creatures with precise senses other than sight, but as written, an invisible creature doesn't need to make stealth rolls unless they want to become undetected again.
Thats why a character needs to be using the search activity to make you hidden. Its more of a GM's call if you transition from unnoticed to undetected automatically, or if you need to make stealth checks versus perception, or the GM makes hidden perception checks against your stealth DC. Thats a bit unclear to me.
This is also why Bast is confused. If you are rolling sneak, a failure means you are only hidden. An undetected invisible creature doesn't need to roll to remain undetected. They need to roll sneak only to transition from hidden to undetected. And thats why the failure mode makes sense. If you fail or critical fail sneak trying to go from hidden to undetected, you remain just hidden.
I gave my players wand of potency +1, which gives +1 on spell attacks only, few sessions back. Sorc has it now...but still uses only cantrip attack spells....none of his slot spells have a spell attack roll...
I don't think it will affect my game in any significant way even later when they get the wand to +2 or +3
I'm curious, how well does a potency +2 rune for spell attack rolls stack up against say, a bunch of 5th level item (1st level spell) manifold missiles for 160 gp a pop? You can buy 5 for the 800gp, which is less than the presumably 935 gp for the +2 potency rune. That'd basically run you all day even in the worst situations, with the option to double up on particularly hard fights.
1-action to start (or 2-3 if you actually use it for the full magic missile effect), and then 1 missile free per turn for 10 turns. 3.5 average damage is a fair bit when comparing to a +1 or +2 to hit. Since its magic missiles, its 100% chance to hit each time, out to 120 feet.
At 10th level, +2 to hit on say, telekinetic projectile, is 2.25 to 4.5 per round, depending on the exact to-hit value. Even at 15th level, those 5th level wands are still comparable against harder targets, +2 at 15th on telekinetic projectile is 3.3 to 6.6 per round.
By 16th you could afford a stack of 4 9th level wands (3rd level manifold missile) for 2800 gp and two 13th level wands (5th level manifold missile) for 6,000gp, roughly the same price as the +3 potency rune (8,935 gp). Thats 7 to 10.5 extra damage per turn. 14 to 21 average damage if you use two wands at once.
Compared to 20th level telekinetic projection getting a +3 potency rune to hit(0.15 to 0.3 times 10d6+7), which is 6.3 to 12.6 extra average damage per turn, depending on how hard it is to hit the target. Not to mention the option to double up on using the manifold wands.
What are people's thoughts on using already existing wands to supplement arcane caster per turn damage? Most damage comparisons seem to assume wealth expenditures on the part of martials, but none on the part of casters. A few people brought up discussions of consumables like scrolls for extra backup in tough situations, but what about things like wands or staves for regular, daily use?
But when would something like that ever actually happen in roleplaying games? The heroes are almost always pitted against small groups of enemies (a dozen or less) at relatively close ranges (within 100 feet).
When you get to mass battles, like your theoretical example, that's usually when completely separate (and oft-simplified) mass battle rules come into play.
I didn't present the situation, I merely analyzed the implications. Ubertron_X said a 3 hour battle and 1797 rounds, implying a martial would be far more effective than the wizard, and thus implied it should be a balancing point. I was curious if that was true, given the best case assumption in favor of the fighter. And even in that case, it doesn't seem to hold.
If it never occurs in play or is unrealistic (i.e. say it take 30 seconds to resolve a round of combat for the GM and players, then it stands to reason a 3 hour battle would take 15 hours straight to complete, not to mention be the most boring thing ever after awhile), then it is reasonable to assume it shouldn't be a balancing point.
I happen to agree with you as I've never been in a session or campaign that had something done that way. I've been in plenty of sessions where there was a single combat in a day. Or only 2. I've been in climatic end boss raids where there's were 5 combats in single day, but at that point you're pulling out all the consumables and expendables since you know its going to be rough going in, and we definitely prepared for it.
I believe the expectation is 3 or maybe 4 per day on average, with fewer per day being much easier with casters going nova, and more per day meaning you pull out those expendables you've been hoarding for the last 3 levels. Certainly I've had far more 1 battle days than 5 battle days in PFS and SFS. So far in PFS2/home campaign, our GM hasn't thrown more than 3 encounters a day at us from level 1 to 3, but of course that might change once we get back to playing.
One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet (in this thread) is that spellcasters aren't meant to do the damage of martial characters. If they did, there'd be no point in playing a martial character. Why would anyone want to play a damage dealer when they could be a damage dealer AND manipulate reality?
Lets count the damage and kill figures in an all afternoon battle, aka after the wizard has had his 3 rounds of fireball, lets see what the martial can do in the additional 1797 rounds of this 3 hours long battle. Note that this is not to question PF2s design decision, just to show a long time "selling point" of martials as far as RPGs go and that is often overlooked when just taking a look at skirmish level damage meters: Staying power.
This seems like a fun mental exercise. Ok, so 3 fireball wizard implies level 5. Given you've mentioned 1797 rounds, that implies non-stop combat without 10 minute rests, since clearly the fighter is fighting in all of them. Given they've got to last 1797 rounds, that means melee or returning thrown weapons since ranged weapons will run out of ammo. So lets assume a 2-handed d12 weapon wielding fighter.
So +5 (level)+6 (master)+4 (strength)+1 (rune)=+16 to hit. 2-hander does 2d12+4=17 average damage. 1-hander 2d8+4 = 13 average damage
AC is full plate, so 5+2+6+1+10=24 AC. Will assume 18 Str/12 Dex/14 Con/10 Int/14 Wis/10 Cha for stats, so 8+5*12=68 hit points. We'll assume fleet, so 25 movement speed, with sudden charge.
Let throw them up against hobgoblin soldiers (a proper giant skirmish against an army of hobgoblins), 1 at a time. These are CR 1, so level-4 opponents, 1 at a time. As easy as it comes. We'll assume the hobgoblins begin by shooting at 60 feet with their shortbows, then drop the bow, draw sword and start swinging after being engaged.
3 attack shortbow expected damage from hobgoblin: 1.675.
Fighter moves (to 50' from 60'), then sudden charges. 57.5% of the time, he'll kill the hobgoblin in 1 blow. So 42.5% of the time, the hobgoblin will draw their sword, and swing back 2 times, dealing on average 2.625 damage. We'll just assume the fighter's next 3 attacks finish the hobgoblin.
So, expected damage per encounter is about 2.79. At 68 hit points, the fighter lasts through 24-25 hobgoblins before dropping, over the course of 36 rounds or so. For an effective 500 damage (25*20 hit points), which is pretty impressive. Although 216 seconds, or about a minute and a half isn't really anywhere near 3 hours.
Depending on enemy density, a fireball in a battlefield situation might catch a shield wall or archery line (given Hobgoblins get a benefit for having at least 3 of them adjacent). Certainly against martials, grouping up is better than spreading out and coming at them 1 at a time.
Hobgoblins have a reflex save of 6+2 (formation)=+8, against 6d6 fireball. Lets assume there are lines of archers, so a 20 foot burst, increased to 25 with widen spell, hits 10. Damage is capped at 20 per target, since that is all they have. Spellcaster has a save DC of 21. Assuming average damage rolls, so 6/10 fail or crit fail, 3.5 succeed, and 0.5 critical succeeds. Times 3 fireballs on 3 different groups gives, 18*20=360 damage. 10.5*10=105. Total damage is 460, 18 defeated and 10 at half hit points in 3 rounds.
Seems pretty comparable given the wizard still has 2nd and 1st level spells after bombing the archery line from outside their attack range. I mean, the fighter probably appreciates not taking 30 ranged attacks a round and the survivors splitting up so they come at the fighter 1 at a time.
If the wizard happens to be a spell blending evoker at 5th, they can cast 5 fireballs for 775 damage in 5 rounds, taking out 30, and severely wounding 17. That is basically basically soloing an entire platoon of the enemy in 30 seconds.
How did you see a 3 hour non-stop battle playing out?
The math at this point seems pretty clear, Paizo dropped the ball when it came to Edges and there's only one real choice.
To be able to say that, you'd have to analyze flurry and precision against melee attacks as well. As those tend to do more damage with full strength, not to mention the ability to stack with agility (i.e. agile melee is -2/-4 instead of -3/-6 for non-agile ranged attacks), changes the math some.
On the other hand, melee also needs to move more at the beginning of a fight, so fewer actions to attack in general.
So it would depend on your experiences in combat about how actions you can spend on melee attacks you typically can make combined with typical melee damage per hit to make that general of a statement.
If all you want is trip and reach, I'd probably just go Guisarme. The extra die size is reliable. Disarm is very niche and you basically have to build around it to have good odds of making the critical success. Backswing is a nice idea, but I don't think its worth the drop of a die size in this particular case.
Prone is arguably better than move 5' as a critical weapon effect, but if you're already tripped them, knocking them prone does nothing. The move 5' at least lets you do something on a critical against an already prone target, although potentially not a useful effect either.
So unless you have a plan to leverage the traits (which it sounds like you do with the reach and trip traits), just grab the bigger damage die.
Hiruma, we are disagreeing. I was saying precision is better against low ACs/debuffed targets, not just high ACs. I was also saying that flurry being better or equal at 3 attacks is what I might have thought before analysis, but after analysis I see it's better only in very rare circumstances, not common ones like 4 attacks in round.
I'm confused. What does this graph show then?
I read it as flurry out performing precision.
That is specifically level 10, with a longbow, and 4 attacks (Hunted Shot + Strike + Strike). Which is a rare circumstance in his parlance, and might actually be rare, as I haven't taken a poll of all Ranger players or played a Ranger to mid-levels, so I don't have any personal evidence one way or the other.
He didn't make a simplified plot for level 11, where Precision gets its 1d8 to 2d8 bump.
For example, at AC +0, Precision is going to jump up roughly by another 1d8*(0.5 + 2*0.15) + 1d8*0.35*(0.35+2*0.05) + ... = 3.6 + 0.70875 + ... = 4.3. Which I think puts it right on top of the flurry at +0 AC.
In which case, Precision is better in all fewer attack cases, and matches flurry at level 11 in flurry's unenhanced optimal case. If haste, for example, gets thrown in the mix, flurry will move ahead again by about 5 damage points. However, as discussion in this thread shows, haste cannot be taken for granted, again potentially making it a rare circumstance.
For the vast majority of players, for a large selection of play styles and groups, precision will do better. However, there are some crazy people out there, with crazy friends, who do weird things. Like have the Ranger and cleric be pals, and worship the same deity. And the cleric emblazons the ranger's weapons because the ranger gets more out of it than the cleric, or say the barbarian of the party.
Similarly, the party hands the damaging runes to the character who gets the most effect out of them first (which will be whoever makes the most attacks with the highest accuracy, which will tend to be a flurry ranger over most other martial builds, possibly excluding a ranged fighter).
At level 11, if the usual group I played with had a ranger, it wouldn't be crazy to see a ranger dealing 2d6 P + 2 strength + 2 (expert weapon spec) +2 (point blank shot within 120 feet) + 1d6 (Emblazon, Saranrae Fire) + 1d6 (Flaming) + 1d6 (Shock) + 1 (status, bard song).
Against a non-resistant enemy, that is 5d6+7, or 24.5 average hit. On a 4 attack action sequence against a target that you need 10's to hit, flurry provides an expected average 12.25 increase in damage over baseline. In the same situation, Precision adds about 6.8 expected average damage over baseline. Even if you only need a 5 to hit on the first attack, Precision jumps to roughly 11.
If on the other hand, you need 14s to hit initially, flurry's marginal increase is only 2.45. Hence the need for debuffing bosses.
If you start throwing haste into the mix, flurry jumps to 17.15 (again assuming 10s to hit). And will continue to go higher as more weapon specialization comes along, greater striking runes start popping up at 12th, and so forth.
At low levels 1-3, it will be behind unless magic weapon is cast. At 4th, the bump up to 2d6+2+2 (point blank)+1 (status) per hit means on round 2 or later with a 4 attack sequence, the 11 average damage equates to 6 extra expected damage against targets with 10s to hit. Versus precision's 3.4, or 5.5 if you only need 5s to hit.
And if the party's can't debuff a bosses AC down to 10s, or flurry can't bypass resistances, then flurry will under perform precision. Hence the need for boss debuffs in terms of accuracy. On the other hand, properly prepared against weaknesses, flurry will completely outdo precision. So again, circumstances.
If you're only getting 3 or fewer attack rolls off typically, go precision. If you're not in a team that organizes their loot by maximum benefit (i.e. front liners get ac boosts first, character who makes the most attacks gets damaging runes first, etc), go precision. If you want an animal companion, go precision. If you're in a small group, go precision. That probably covers most players. "Its lows are lower".
However, there are groups and builds where flurry does make sense and does have a higher peak than a precision choice will. If you can reliably get 4 attack sequences off and have optimized the entire party. "Its highs are higher". That is all I'm saying.
Hiruma, if you look at the graphs you see precision edge does just as well as flurry against low ACs, this is because of the greater chance for the precision damage to double. Haste is a fair point in its favor though. So if flurry only outperforms precision in exceptional circumstances (haste, 3 actions used to attack with a longbow at level 10, weaknesses) and precision is better in way more situations then it seems like flurry is really underperforming compared to precision, and that's something people should be aware of when making a decision, because I would think people would assume flurry is better when you take 3 attacks.
I don't think we're disagreeing. As I said, I believe precision is better if you're essentially on your own, and flurry is better with buffs and more accurate attacks.
Edit: I'll clarify and say sufficiently accurate attacks. As people pointed out, if you need 20s to hit on your 3rd attack, you're not getting any benefit out of flurry. In order to hit an APL+3 or +4 boss on 16s with your third attack, you'll typically need an effective boost of +4 to +6 to hit or so. Of course, against such a boss, those types of debuffs that lower AC that much like Synethesia help everyone trying to hit so in a coordinated team, those will come out if they've got them anyways. Otherwise, I agree, flurry is definitely not better against higher level bosses.
I agree the break even point for expected extra damage is around 3 attacks, or if you want to be more general for all levels, somewhere between 3 and 3 and a half attacks.
I guess the question is, what is an exceptional circumstance, and what isn't. An exceptional circumstance in a PFS session might be modus operandi in a coordinated home campaign.
I'll note, given were discussing ranged attacks, and in a thread that is specifically asking about Hunted shot, the minimum number of attacks we should be considering is 2.
Anyways, for a non-companion ranger, I'd guess the typical turn is going to have 3 attacks. Hunt Prey + Hunted Shot + Strike. That is a simple, straight forward turn that is easy to do with a 60 to 100 foot ranged attack.
If you have an animal companion, it is a different story, but as noted in this thread, not everyone wants an animal companion, as having the possibility of being without half your feats for a week can be a turn off, or needing additional magic to make your bear fly in the mid-levels.
Precision is likely to be better for the majority of animal companion situations, simply because they'll want to be commanding the companion.
However, 4 attacks isn't going to be rare for companion-less Rangers, possibly as common as only 2 attacks. Given half the point of being a ranged striker is you don't have to move as much as the melee fighters. If you are finding yourself moving every turn in most combats, you may want to seriously consider retraining to melee or at least be a switch hitter.
So, personally, if I had to guess, I would've expected the Developers to have aimed for a balance between precision and flurry somewhere near 3 attacks. 2 attacks Precision is the clear winner, 3 attacks is a bit muddy, and 4 attack flurry is the clear winner.
At low levels, because of the coarse nature of the damage scaling (1d8, then 2d8, then 3d8), Precision comes out significantly ahead until you can get your hands on a striking rune.
But I still argue, that with buffs and teamwork, flurry scales better. Even at level 1. Whether that is exceptional situation or not depends on your allies.
At 1st level, the level when Precision is at its relative strongest, its clearly better than flurry on it own.
For typical ACs, requiring say a 10 to hit, 20 to crit, you're getting something like 3.4 expected damage for 2 attacks, 3.55 for 3 attacks, and 3.7 for 4 attacks. A little less for harder to hit targets, a bit more for easier to hit targets. i.e. (0.5 + 2*0.05)*4.5 + 0.45*(0.25 + 2*0.05)*4.5 + and so on.
For those same kinds of ACs, flurry is hitting on 2 rolls out of 20 more on the 2nd attack, 4 rolls out of 20 on the 3rd attack, and 4 rolls out of 20 on the 4th attack. These are normal hits, not criticals, so 0.1 times base damage on 2 attacks, 0.3 times base damage on 3 attacks, and 0.5 times base damage on 4 attacks.
It falls off harder against high AC enemies, which is why the teamwork and debuffs are important. Against a target you need 12s to hit instead of 10s, you're only getting 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3 bonus damage. You need to be hitting on a 16 or better with 3rd and later attacks to get the full benefit. Which on a coordinated team is quite possible against APL+3 enemies.
Anyways for this hypothetical hit on 10 or higher, 2 attacks with a shortbow is a mere 0.35 extra expected damage, 3 attacks gets 1.05, and 4 gets 1.75.
But say you use a longbow, then its 0.45, 1.35 and 2.25. Now we're at a little less than half the benefit at 4 attacks. Relatively not very good.
Somewhere halfway to first you buy your composite bow.
Now we're at 0.55, 1.65, and 2.75. Over half way there. Still relatively not very good.
So at 1st level, flurry by itself is definitely not in the running.
But now its the level 3 boss fight, and the bard sings and casts magic weapon on your composite longbow. At least that is what happened at level 1 in my party in boss fights (admittedly it was cast on the Champion's longsword, but same concept).
Suddenly, flurry is providing 1, 3, or 5 extra expected damage, as your base damage roll jumps to 10. This is on top of the extra damage any ranger or other martial would have gotten from magic weapon. So if you're in the back line and just shooting away, now you're better off if you had chosen flurry for that fight. By roughly as much as Precision was beating you without it. At level 1. Is that exceptional or not? Only experience playing the game can tell you that.
So Precision looks to be balanced against roughly 3 attacks when flurry is using a striking rune.
So yeah, from 4-7, when everyone has striking runes, 3 attacks precision generally wins out, but flurry wins out at 4, but falls off hard against high ACs.
When property runes start showing up, Precision and Flurry start to tie at 3, and flurry pulls farther ahead with 4 attacks.
However, at around 9th level, Haste becomes a really good budget buff for casters, being 2 levels down from their top slot, or alternatively, you've grabbed a casting dedication to cast it yourself on big fights. 0.7 times base expected damage when using 5 shots. That definitely pulls ahead at around level 8 to 10, and just stays there.
So I still stand by my statement, that depending on build, teamwork, buffs, and party composition, flurry has lower lows and higher highs than Precision.
Whether you can reach those higher highs depends a lot on the team. If you want a sure thing that just works, I'd probably go with Precision. If you are familiar with the game, and other players are willing to work with you in a regular session, flurry has the potential, but not a guarantee, of being more rewarding.
In regards to multiple backup magic weapons, I suggest having a caster in the party invest one of their 1st level spell slots in magic weapon, or invest in a couple cheap wands or scrolls of it. For literally half the game, level 1-10, its going to give you the same to-hit bonus.
At level 11 and above, the 100 gold for the +1 striking runes isn't going to break the bank on a couple backup weapons, and is probably worth the action economy savings. Although you'll be down 1 to hit and a damage die, but a 10 or 15 point resistance/weakness is going to still be worth switching over for.
First, you have omited 1-action sequences, which should be better for Precision. I agree that they are less common than 2 and 3-action sequences, but they happen and should be taken into account
1-action sequence is the damage listed for the 1st attack. I just felt saying 1 cumulative attack was a bit silly. And yes, precision wins hands down in that situation. I presented the individual attack information because you can see the decision break down more easily. If the ranger's are hasted, then you just add on another 3rd attack to the damage (at that point the expected damage difference for precision finally making a hit on the last attack is much less than 1 point of damage). But of course, a single attack is precision's best case. Just as 4 or 5 attacks is flurry's best case. It'd be a false choice if these options did identically in all situations.
I presented levels 10 and 11 as they're basically precision's worst and best match up against flurry, as the damage bonus doubles between those two levels. Plus I only had to calculate flurry once.
AC, as well as other damage mitigation effects, have a huge impact.
For example, a Level 4 Ranger with a +1 Striking Longbow, assuming 18 DEX and 14 STR, has a +11 to hit. A Greater Barghest (an actual boss that we encountered at level 4) has an AC of 25.
So, the Flurry Ranger has to roll 14 to hit with the first attack, and 17 to hit with the second. Assuming both of those hit, he deals an average of 9 damage, because Hunted Shot combines for Resistance. If only the first shot hits, which is most of the time, it's 2 damage.
He needs to roll a 20 to hit with either his 3rd or 4th attack, so he essentially gets no Edge benefit at all to those attacks. Even if they hit, they only do an average of 2 damage.
Just want to clarify that there is a difference between a flurry and precision ranger on their 3rd attacks in this case.
Natural 20 + 11 - 10 (MAP) = 21. That doesn't even hit AC of 25, so failure bumps up to a normal hit. Natural 20 + 11 - 6 (MAP) = 25. That hits a Barghest's AC, and so bumps to a critical hit. 2d6-5 vs 4d6+1d10-5 is a fair bit of difference on that admittedly 1 in 20 chance. Certainly if you do roll that one 20 during the fight, 2 is going to feel different from 14.5 average damage. Still not great against a boss, but that is why you've got 4 characters wailing on him. Also any debuff on the Barghest won't help a precision ranger's 3rd attack until it reaches +4, while the flurry is gaining normal hit chances with each single point.
I agree resistance will generally make precision better (except maybe against some aberrations with precision resistance/immunity), but on the other hand, a weakness that can be exploited will tend to make flurry better. Slow will make precision better, while for a ranged striker already in position, haste makes flurry better. True Strike is great for a first attack, but haste is great for a 4th or 5th and lasts multiple rounds.
So like many things in the game, which is better really depends a lot on circumstances, build choices, team composition and level.
I still believe Precision is better when the chips are down, but Flurry is more enhanceable and thus can shine more with teamwork. Flurry has lower lows, but higher highs.
As an example of enemy composition, if you're in a campaign fighting demons, flurry is going to be a much better choice, assuming you can get your hands on cold iron arrows.
For teamwork, if your 10th level 6 person team is constantly piling on Synethsia, Fear, bard song or heroism, Haste, and cat pet flat-footed against bosses, flurry is going to do really well. And yes, a flurry ranger will be a priority for haste and heroism in such a party because flurry magnifies those buffs.
If your 1st level 3 person team is up against a construct with adamantine resistance 3, precision is going to do much better (although if you've got 16 strength, pulling out a short sword and attacking that way will probably do better than shooting).
Except in the cases of strong resistance or weaknesses, the two options seem relatively balanced against each other to me. We're not seeing factors of 2 differences, we are seeing 10% or 15% differences with the 2 or 3 attack sequences. A player is unlikely to notice the difference in the long term successes or failures of the party when comparing the two.
I'm pretty sure Boumxyz is referring to 2nd edition Dungeons and Dragons energy drain, not pathfinder 1st edition energy drain, given his opening post.
In 2nd edition D&D, drain level was terrifying, since it would permanently remove levels without access to Restoration (a 7th level spell) within a certain time limit. Not to mention casting restoration aged both the recipient and the caster, something like 2 years. And you had to cast it once to get each individual level back.
Your experience point total literally dropped to the middle of the previous level with each hit. Two levels on really nasty enemies. And you were now that new lower level, with everything that implies. It snowballed like mad, and even if the party survived the encounter, it was likely you now had a party with wildly different levels.
It had the potential to lead to completely imbalanced parties, especially if your cleric was the one that got drained or died. At which point you needed to level back up the old fashioned way.
For various reasons, those kind of effects, which could permanently lower your level relative to the other players have been removed. Similarly, equipment destroying effects like rust monsters have become extremely rare if not non-existent. Those are only two effects that can really produce that level of dread in players of a single hit I think.
So yeah, for better or for worse, I don't think you'll find monsters that can instill that kind of old school terror in a player. The worst that really happens is you die in PF2.
I'd be interested in the comparison sans bear (for both Precision and Flurry). Not everyone wants a bear, y'know?
Propose a build?
Here's how the numbers might play out for a Hunted Shot, Fighter Dedication, Point Blank Shot, Far Shot build using the same gear as before and within 120 feet of the target. 4d6+6 normal hit, 8d6+12+1d10 critical, so +2 striking shortbow of flaming shock.
Actions would be:
0) Assume hunt prety from a previous turn
0) Assume point blank shot from beginning of fight
1) Hunted Shot
If there's no companion, then there's no need to spend an action on support. Point blank is a 1 time cost, at the beginning of a fight, so sometimes you'll be able to get 4 attacks off.
Not sure why my numbers seem to disagree with your chart's level 10 and 11 calculations. It is possible I made a mistake, but I'd love it if someone points it out to me. Or perhaps note the different assumptions I've made?
You've forgotten to add Precision damage on the second attack and third attack if the previous attacks misses.
You're right, I did. Although looking at that, its a relatively small expected damage increase. 0.35*0.45*4.5=0.70875 for a 2nd attack at 10th and 0.6*0.35*0.2*4.5=0.189 for the second, so roughly a 1 point difference in the cumulative damage for 3 attacks.
My bigger issue is using 55.0 damage for non-precision criticals instead of 50.5 in the calculations apparently.
So I went to code it up real quick in python, including the precision applying to first successful hit, and fixed the 55 to 50.5 assumption of non-precision critical damage.
Edit: Had left the lack of a shock rune in the calculation I first posted for level 11.
Flurry remains the same. In which case precision not quite but almost ties flurry on 3rd attack. Precision pulls ahead slightly on 3 attacks.
My guess is the equipment rune assumptions are affecting this compared to the charts.
One the bright side, I think the Dev's did a good job on the math for this, as precision and flurry seem to be comparable, while also having interesting differences. Flurry for example becomes more powerful with buffs like haste, while Precision is going to be stronger if you've been slowed. Flurry will be better if you are exploiting a weakness to silver, while Precision will be better against enemies with resistance (although not immune to precision damage for obvious reasons).
Edit: An interesting point of comparison is the 3rd flurry attack is worth roughly 83% of the precision's 2nd attack in terms of expected damage. Also, if you take the 1st shot with a precision build, and know you hit, then you know your expected damage for your 2nd shot is only
Wouldn't that be 3d8+1, not 3d8+3? I don't think the Bear or Precision get to add STR damage.
Isn't that what I wrote? 1d8+1d8+1d8+1 = 3d8+1. Three d8's and a +1. Apologies if it is hard to read.
Just to make things explicit at level 10, which is presumably similar to the chart's underlying math:
Assume Str 18/Dex 20. +2 striking composite shortbow of flaming shock. +10+4+5+2=+21 to hit and 2d6 P +2 Str + 2 weapon spec + 1d6 F + 1d6 E (or 4d6+4)
Feats assumed are Animal Companion, Hunted Shot, Far Shot, Mature Animal Companion, Hazard Finder, Incredible Companion.
Moderate AC level 10 is 29 AC.
0) Presume prey has been hunted prior to turn
1) Minion action to support and/or move
2) Hunted Shot (-0/-5)
3) Strike (-10)
Precise and Bear support rolled damage (2d8 for nimble/savage):
4d6+4+1d8 = 22.5+ 9 = 31.5 non-crit
8d6+8+2d8 + 1d10 = 50.5 + 9 = 59.5 on critical
No precise, but does have Bear support rolled damage
4d6+4 = 18 + 9 = 27 non-crit
8d6+8 + 1d10 = 41.5 + 9 = 50.5 on critical
1st attack: Hits on 8, criticals on 18: 0.5 * 31.5 + 0.15*59.5 = 24.675 expected
2nd attack: Hits on a 13, criticals on 20: 0.35*27 + 0.05*55 = 12.2 expected
3rd attack: Hits on an 18, criticals on 20: 0.1*27 + 0.05*55 = 5.45 expected
In this case flurry stays the same. Flurry still edges out the 3 attack case at level 11, but no longer ties the 2 attack case.
Not sure why my numbers seem to disagree with your chart's level 10 and 11 calculations. It is possible I made a mistake, but I'd love it if someone points it out to me. Or perhaps note the different assumptions I've made?
Edit: It is possible I'm over estimating the wealth in the character's weapon. Dropping a shock rune would shift the numbers more towards the precision case, although it seems in line with a potential level 11 character focusing on damage.
After doing some calculations by hand, I'm convinced the highest Ranger DPR build is a Flurry Ranger with an Animal Companion with Bear Support (assuming the bear Support ability can crit), regardless of if you have to mark your target or not.
This is comparing Flurry + Bear support, vs Precision vs Bear Support, specifically at level 10.
Comparing generic flurry vs generic precision, flurry wins when using all 3 actions to attack and you don't need to spend an action to mark.
Precision wins at 2 attacks.
Bear support can't critical as it does not roll to hit. It is also the bear dealing damage, so it is not added to your attack damage. It is a separate damage roll that just happens with the bear as the source. This also means damage reduction is extremely effective against it since it applies both to the bear's 1d8 slashing damage as well as to your shot's damage. It also means when you roll a critical hit, the bear's damage is not doubled.
1- To second Kyrone, animal companions don't get counted in XP budget.
2- Define combat changing in your opinion? Is Darkness combat changing? Terrain effects? Movement? Buffs? Some kind of combat where damage isn't the point? Character abilities are extremely wide ranging, and some change combat a lot (especially control and buff spells).
3-The numbers work out that way because the players get 15 action (potentially 15 rolls) against the monsters 3 actions. A +4 boss is an extreme encounter and is expected to have 50/50 odds of just wiping the party.
If you start providing extreme encounters regularly, the PCs will eventually start dying when their luck proves lacking. And given enough encounters it will.
That said, what level are the PCs currently? If you're really aiming for an extreme encounter for 5 that would push most groups to the edge, but not 1 giant monster, you'll want an intelligent group that works together with tactics. By working together, lower level enemies can become force multipliers.
Assuming they are level 2, and you want a lethal extreme challenge, something like the following would work:
Drow Priestess (level 3, 60 xp), 2 Drow Fighters (level 1, 30 xp each), and 2 Drow Rogues (level 2, 40 Xp each), total of 200 xp (160+40 for 5 players).
If they're level 3, then add another Priestess and Fighter to get back to 200 xp.
Its got darkness which changes the entire nature of the fight against PCs without darkvision, providing 50% miss chances all over the place and enabling sneak attacks. Any of the enemies can cast it, which makes it hard to fight it with light cantrips. They have solid spells like Fear and Command which put PCs out of position (command a wizard to come here so he runs into the a bunch of fighter AoOs and perfect flanking for rogues). It has slowing poison (and if you fail 3 times, you're out), solid melee and range capabilities, and they're faster than base line PCs.
Sure, they are player character like enemies, but player characters are strong.
Personally, I would expect most groups encountering walking into that kind of fight to simply lose.
Remove the 2 fighters to drop it to a rough severe encounter for 5 PCs. At that point action economy starts to help the PCs, but it is still a tough fight. Stealth initiative + Darkness + poisoned crossbow volley at effectively blind characters is a nasty start, for example.
If I need a 17 and I'm getting +2 from other buffs, then I'm only needing a 15. Is that a good attack?
It's not a question about being a good attack or not. There are other alternate abilities which will give you similar bonuses, like the Bear Support Ability that I have highlighted in my graphs. And to be really better than the Bear Support Ability, they need to reach ridiculous level of chances to hit, meaning you're certainly in a Trivial Encounter.
They are not good enough because you can get similar damage by using something else that is far easier to get than an Hunter's Edge.
Of course, bear support does come with its own opportunity cost, namely in terms of feats to get and keep your pet up to date. At 1st level it takes your class feat (so no Hunted Shot at 1st), at 6th it takes 2 out of 4 feats, at 10th it takes 3 out of 6 feats, and 4 out of 9 at 16th.
So at 1st level isn't the comparison more like:
Precision + Bear Animal companion feat + 14 Str/18 Dex composite longbow:
1) Minion action to have the bear move 35 feet and support
2) Hunt prey
3) Strike for 1d8+1d8+1d8+1
Option 1 is clearly better with enemies starting within 35 feet, but the second option is arguably more flexible if enemies start farther away or you have to deal with difficult terrain or even flying enemies.
At higher levels its going to depend a lot on the precise builds you are considering (pun intended).
I could totally see a Ranger with Rogue Archetype aiming to grab things like Hunted Shot, Rogue Dedication, Sneak Attack, Snare Specialist, Powerful Snares, and Camouflage, and not wanting a large, non-sneaky animal companion around. The build would aim to avoid notice, detect enemies early, and place snares out of sight before beginning combat, and aiming to catch targets flat footed against their stealth initiative.
Or a Ranger with Fighter Archetype grabbing point blank shot and combining with Far Shot on a composite shortbow for an additional +2 damage within 120 feet, and no ranged penalty out to 240 feet against their hunted target.
Of course those types of options are very feat intensive and become harder to combine with an up to date animal companion.
Turns out no, I just assumed the Wizard and Sorcerer were very similar.
Its not an unreasonable assumption if you've played PF1 or D&D. This is the first edition where sorcerers can have a spell list radically different from a wizard.
A divine Sorcerer plays like a cloistered cleric without the extra heal spells, favored weapon proficiency, and fewer hit points, in exchange for spontaneous casting and not needing to follow a deity at all.
A 1st level cleric (who is forced to the Divine list) with 18 Wis and 16 Charisma can get 4 heal spells and 2 prepared spells per day, compared to the Sorcerer's 3 total spontaneous spells, for example. With the same hit points if their Con is 10 instead of 14.
A Draconic bloodline Sorcerer, with Arcane spell list, for example, does play a lot like a wizard though. Perhaps a little bit better in the blasting department with Dangerous Sorcerery.
You won't hit on a 10 with a -6 attack. In general, you'll hit around 17. And it's bad.
That doesn't sound quite right to me. That is more like level+1 or level+2 boss territory as opposed to in general. That would imply most martials other than a fighter shouldn't bother with their 2nd attack. And that just doesn't feel right based on my experiences playing along side a Champion.
Typical Ranger will have an 18 attack stat (Strength or Dexterity), and trained at level 1 for +7. Level 1 "high" AC for monsters is 16. That should be 15 or higher to hit (25% chance to hit, 5% chance to crit) assuming a -6 MAP. First shot hits on a 9 or higher (50% chance to hit, 10% chance to crit). Expected damage of the 3rd attack is exactly half that of the 1st. A -10 instead would imply hit on 19, crit on 20 (5% chance to hit, 5% to crit, expected 15%), so 3rd attack does something like 1/5th expected damage of the 1st (ignoring precision).
This holds at higher levels. At level 11, a high AC is 31. Typical Ranger at 11 would have 20 attack stat, +2 to hit weapon, and expert proficiency, for +22. 1st shot hits on a 9, 3rd shot hits on a 15.
A moderate AC level 13 or a high AC level 12 would require a 17 to hit with a -6 penalty for a level 11 Ranger.
Is 50% expected damage of your first attack, or phrased another way, a 70% chance of failure a bad option? Every two "third" attacks in that case is worth a single first attack. Really depends on your other options, but it doesn't sound crazy to take the shot.
The second encounter of the campaign (vs some deserters turned bandit, level 1 fighters with bad gear) started like 20-30 feet away after some discussion failed. One of the bandits immediately got in the face of the ranger, who then felt very ineffective because A, the volley trait on his longbow was hindering him and B, he didn't want to provoke for firing. In fact, after the battle he decided to switch to a shortbow but still felt like maybe he should just go melee so he got a strength bonus to his attacks (even getting a composite bow only gives half strength).
Just to comment on this, I'll note switch hitting rangers are a classic build.
A Ranger has no reason not to have both a short sword and a composite longbow. They have identical to-hit bonuses, assuming their Dexterity is their highest stat. Both can use Dex for their to-hit bonus and benefit from strength for damage (bow to a lesser extent), and both benefit from Hunt Prey + Flurry.
I'd recommend the Quick Draw feat at level 2 in that case. That way at ranges 30 feet to 0, they use the short sword, and at longer ranges they use the longbow, and reduce action costs to switch.
Keep in mind, a shortsword can be used even with 1 hand on the longbow, so no need to stow it or drop it. The only inefficiency comes when you want to go back from melee to ranged by stowing the shortsword, but that is no different than using a move action to get back into melee with the next target.
The Sorcerer has a range limit of 30 feet on a two action attack, or a sling he's legitimately bad with. Calling him a ranged combatant is overly generous.
Maybe I'm extrapolating too much from the wizard who has Ray of Frost up to 120 feet, Electric Arc/Telekenetic Projectile up to 30 feet, and Reach Spell metamagic.
Unfortunately yeah. With a 10 in strength, a 12 in Dex, only simple weapon proficiency, and only the divine list to pull from, a level 1 Angelic Sorcerer's only effective attack options are chill touch (melee range), Daze (60 foot but sub-par damage, and doesn't work on mindless enemies), and Disrupt Undead (30 foot, which is highly restrictive in its targeting).
Unlike a Universalist Wizard (the only caster who gets a class feat at 1st, even specialists don't after the errata), Reach spell isn't an option unless you're a human/half-elf/half-orc who took Natural Ambition. And to be honest, a human divine Sorcerer should prioritize Adapted Cantrip if they want to have a real ranged attack like Ray of Frost, and take the Reach metamagic at level 2.
Being able to use Divine Lance (still only 30 feet, and also highly restrictive targeting - only works against 1 alignment) for a Divine Sorcerer is only possible if the GM says its OK. Sorcerers don't have a deity in the same sense a cleric or champion does. A cleric literally has a class feature called "Deity". Worshiping a deity is arguably not the same thing as having it in the cleric sense, so its not generally true Sorcerers can use it in all campaigns. Depends on how you, the GM, choose to handle it.
So this particular character, while potentially providing great roleplaying for the player, is going to have severely limited offensive success in combat. The choices made in creating it look to be all the least offensive ones. Which is normally fine if that is what the player was aiming for.
Angelic Sorcerers at low levels basically use their 1st level spell slots to heal, buff, and debuff, and that is about it unless you use your stats and racial choices to fill the gaps. If you happen to be fighting demons, devils or undead, then their attack cantrips can shine, but otherwise, they're sub-par direct combatants.
Versatile Humans with Adapted Cantrip would be a huge boost, as that provides an option like Ray of Frost (120 foot range) or Electric Arc (two targets). At which point the 2nd level class feat could be used for Reach metamagic, allowing for hitting 2 targets out to 60 feet for 3 actions or maybe 1 out to 150 feet.
An Elf might have started with 16 Dexterity and 18 charisma (10 Str /16 Dex/10 Con/12 Int/10 Wis/18 Cha), and grab the Elven racial feat for sword and bow proficiency. +6 to hit at 100 feet isn't bad, plus 16 AC.
A 16 Str/18 Cha stat line can go towards Champion archetype at 2nd level to become a heavy armor Sorcerer with a shield to become much harder to hurt. At which point they can hit stuff in melee as well with a strength bonus. Plus more carrying capacity for backup ranged weapons and that heavy armor.
At 9th they start to get access to slightly decent attacks like Flamestrike. At 8th, Crossblooded evolution can get them access to an attack spell from another list, and then make it a signature spell. However, its a long slog to get there from level 1 if you're just relying on Daze and Divine Lance.
If its really true that you'd almost consider the party a 5 member party instead of 6, my guess is the Sorcerer player is also really frustrated. Its sounds like it from at least one of the quotes you provided, assuming that was the sorcerer's player.
If the sorcerer player is the one having the least amount of fun (or its actively not fun), they need to figure out, in addition to the RP out of combat elements, what would they find fun and satisfying to do in combat. And then they need to change the character so that they can do that. And it should be possible while still retaining the RP elements I presume drew them to the class (perhaps with a bit of reskinning), or maybe the limited spells per day put a damper on the heal/buff/debuff plan they envisioned.
Edit: Just realized the party composition, and the Angelic Sorcerer could be imagined to fill the "healer" role, which isn't strictly necessary. The player wasn't forced into that role, were they? That is always a recipe for disaster for player satisfaction in a party.
While I realize its not the direction you are requesting, given the desire to be in melee, the fact that Armstrong's moves are all basically punching (combined with alchemy), both want to go around bare chested, and the requested stat distribution, I'd almost suggest Monk base with Mountain stance plus Cleric Archetype at level 2.
But if you're going Cleric primary, you could go Monk Archetype and grab mountain stance at level 4. So you still get a similar setup with a lot more spells by level 4. Levels 1-3 will be rough if you go Armstrong style clothing though. Powerful fists makes you not terrible at simply punching, and mountain stance unarmed combat is 1d8 plus forceful, a solid martial weapon. Grabbing shield block with a general feat and carrying a steel shield isn't a terrible idea as well.
If you don't mind wearing heavy armor and simply using gauntlets for your melee, then the Cleric + Champion archetype is probably a better option, although offense will suffer (1d4 agile vs 1d8 forceful).