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To begin with - this is not a caster/martial disparity thread. It isn't. Kobold Cleaver doesn't need to index it. This is in response to part of what I've seen laid out in caster/martial disparity threads and in party balance threads.

When the question of power disparity or balance comes up, a lot of people jump straight to the Wizard. I'm aware of how earth-shakingly powerful high-level wizards are - designing a team of 20th-level NPCs for a team of 'heroes of old' I had to conclude that while they were all armies of one and all powerful enough to win a conventional battle by taking part in it, the sheer range of tricks at the wizard's disposal meant that he could compete as a player, rather than a gamepiece, on the cosmic scale.

So, in all the discussion of balance and imbalance between casters and martials, when people start talking about wizards, are they bouncing over the issue of Caster/Caster Disparity?

1)Doesn't the wizard's ease of access to the wizard/sorcerer spell list(and the arcanist's, to a different and arguably greater extent), or their bonus metamagic/item creation feats, put other perfectly worthwhile casters in the shade?

2)There's idea that throwing buff spells on martials can keep them in the hunt, and help them deal with enemies they would otherwise be unable to damage effectively (ones with regeneration, flight or some other fast movement, potent defensive spells, so forth) - but there doesn't seem to be quite as much about putting buffs on casters, except protective spells or spells designed to allow a caster to get into the fight. Is there an aspect of teamwork missing between casters, of directly supporting another character's action, that can add to this caster/caster disparity.

Disclaimer: This isn't talking about the Summoner. The Summoner is a secondary caster that can cast an awesome ninth-level spell (Dominate Monster) at Level 16, before primary casters which are basically defined by their exclusive access to ninth-level spells can even get their hands on it. For this and other reasons, the Summoner is an ill-designed class, and any disparity casters (or martials) experience is a symptom of the Summoner's design.

TL;DR: Do people who like playing divine casters, spontaneous casters, and secondary casters, sometimes feel that their access to spells and feats or just the teamwork style between casters leaves them feeling unenjoyably redundant next to wizards or arcanists?

Edit: Where I said wizard/oracle, I meant wizard/sorcerer. Typo.

With 3rd edition, 3.5, Pathfinder, the idea of class tiers emerges as an unofficial but impressively widely acknowledged fact of the game. Characters who can do everything in the game at least as well as any specialist are tier 1, Characters who can excel at nothing are tier 6, everyone else is strewn somewhere between.

My question is - what happens to the tactics of enemies in a campaign when class tier is treated as something that sufficiently experienced characters understand? How would you run that campaign, how would you react as a player if savvy became active antagonists of the PCs before the PCs yet had any impact on them?

As a caveat, this is about how enemies behave, not about adjusting encounter CR to cater for a highly effective party.

Two examples of what I'm wondering:
1) The party faces a mighty warlord as a mid-level villain, who is, for the sake of the argument, a fairly smart 9th-level fighter who retreats when things go bad. They meet him again a few months later, and he's not only gained a couple of extra levels, he's retrained his old ones - he's now an Eldritch Knight who can cast fifth-level spells. The character has realized there was an upper limit to his potential as a fighter, and if he's going to stay ahead of his enemies and remain powerful as he grows older, he needs to start becoming a wizard. The same character is kept with all his story, but he is a tactically fresh threat, and not one that will be trivialized by the expanding powers of the party's own level 8-9 casters.

2)The PCs have a party that is a little too high-tier; let's say they've got a wizard, a cleric, a druid, and one DPR ace such as an archer paladin. Once word gets around of this party of brave heroes, does that word ring alarm bells? When a good-aligned wealthy NPC rewards the party for their heroic efforts on his behalf, and the spies in his establishment pass this fact on to his rivals, do they get much more worried about this than they would about a more rag-tag collection?
Basically, would the actions or even existence provoke hostility from foes that are worried about their potential?
For example, a mature adult green dragon hears about this party operating within the region he calls home. Why wouldn't it set out to neuter the party as a threat long before they were a direct danger to it or its family, simply because it was intelligent and experienced enough to recognise the enormity of the potential threat such a party poses? Why wouldn't anyone of an Evil bent who has heard of the great and terrible powers of grandmaster wizards and Archmages hesitate to at least prepare contingencies against such a party, if not plotting their downfall outright.

This is not to suggest a screaming green dragon emerging from the skies to devour the party at level 3. This is also not to suggest that in a mixed-tier party, the wizard would find that someone was casting 'Nightmare' on him all the time, and that someone Sleight of Handed Tears of Death onto the contents of his spell component pouch when he was walking through the market while the rest of his party went untroubled.

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When I first read the Titan Mauler, I thought it was meant to produce a barbarian who fights giants with their own weapons, and therefore uses weapons too large for a creature of their size. But it doesn't.
Instead it gains the ability to use two-handed weapons of appropriate size as one-handed weapons, and the ability to reduce the penalty for using an inappropriately sized weapon. Neither ability is useless, but the way they are expressed means there's no synergy; you can't treat a Large two-handed weapon as a one-handed weapon which you wield in two hands with reduced penalties for inappropriately-sized weapons.

The reduced penalties for inappropriately-sized weapons also scales much further with levels than it needs to - you can use a Huge light weapon with no penalty at level 12... but why would you?

This is the Heavy Hand, a less complex Barbarian archetype that is not built to fight enemies bigger than itself, but to fight as though the character was bigger than they really are. I've had a player at my table testing the Heavy Hand for more than a year now, and so far it works as advertised.

Heavy Hand:

Abilities replaced: Uncanny Dodge and Improved Uncanny Dodge, Trap Sense, Indomitable Will. All else is unchanged.

Oversized Weapons: At level 2, the Heavy Hand reduces the penalty for wielding weapons built for a larger size category by 1. At level 5, the Heavy Hand reduces the penalty for wielding such weapons by 2. This replaces uncanny dodge and improved uncanny dodge.

Heavy Hand: At level 3, the Heavy Hand can treat a two-handed weapon she has proficiency with as a one-handed weapon, taking a -2 penalty to attack rolls for doing so. This affects weapons that are built as two-handed weapons, regardless of their size category. Every six levels beyond 3rd, the penalty to attack rolls is reduced by 1 (to a minimum of 0 at 15) This ability replaces trap sense.

Indomitable Physique: At level 14, the Heavy Hand gains the benefits of Powerful Build, as the Half-Giant racial trait. She counts as a creature one size larger under certain conditions when it would be advantageous to do so, such as size modifiers to CMB and CMD, determining whether special attacks like grab or swallow whole affect her, or determining penalties for wielding inappropriately-sized weapons. This does not change her actual size, space, or reach. This ability replaces Indomitable will.

To sum up - gain the ability to wield a two-handed weapon sized for a creature larger than you at Level 3 with a -3 penalty on attack rolls, which reduces by 1 in 2 levels, 1 more in 4 more levels, and down to 0 in 6 more levels. Trades away some useful defensive features, but keeps Fast Movement, which Titan Mauler omits. Adds damage dice to a two-handed, non-TWF melee build, but more an exercise in personalisation than power.

Why not try with knockback, knockdown, powerful blow, surprise accuracy, mighty swing, reckless abandon, come and get me, or other suitable rage powers to taste. Power Attack and Furious Focus come highly recommended, while a large greataxe or other 3d8 weapon with Vital Strike promises hassle-free penetration of hard-to-bypass Damage Reduction.

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This is what it says on the tin - a feat chain to let an oracle take an extra mystery, or, with a higher degree of difficulty (because non-oracles don't have a curse) to let a non-oracle benefit from a revelation without taking an oracle dip. (Like the idea of a sorcerer picking up Sidestep Secret, or a bard picking up Lore Keeper for Charisma-based Knowledge checks.)

Name: Mysterious Induction
Prerequisites: 13 CHA, Skill Focus (any one class skill granted by the chosen mystery)
The subject gains access to an oracle mystery, as per the mystery class feature. Their effective oracle level for access to revelations from this mystery and the effect of those revelations is their character level -2, even if they have levels in Oracle.

From this point, an Oracle may add revelations with their regular class feature revelations or the feat Extra Revelation. Someone who isn't an oracle and doesn't have an Oracle's curse has no revelation class feature, and cannot yet add them.

Name: Mysterious Revelation
Prerequisites: 15 CHA (maybe), Mysterious Induction (definitely)
The subject gains the Oracle's revelation class feature. They may select a single revelation without a level requirement from their existing mystery through Mysterious Induction. They gain the benefit of this revelation (uses per day, effectiveness) at their effective oracle level from Mysterious Induction.

This gives a non-oracle access to a low-level revelation without taking a dip or curse, with a feat tax and a partial feat tax depending on how much use they get from the Skill Focus. (Multiple class skills from each mystery make it fairly easy to get some benefit from Skill Focus)
If they want more revelations, including higher-level revelations, at this point the non-oracle can now take Extra Revelation, rather than having an Improved and Greater feat chain like Eldritch Heritage.