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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber. 369 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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breithauptclan wrote:
And have you tried actually playing one of these builds in a Moderate or Severe threat encounter?

Not enough to feel comfortable discussing efficacy, hence my statements about optimization. I've run through some personal test battles, but that isn't the same as running through a chapter of an Adventure Path, as an example. I'll need to wait until I join another campaign (and make myself not play a Monk) to give a realistic field test.

pixierose wrote:
While this is doable, I think it fails to do what I like most about the Bloodrager. A bloodrager imo should be able to have their rage or rage analogue work with the spell-casting. Moment of clarity kind of goes against that vibe, you are pausing the rage to do the magic stuff.

So take stuff that doesn't require Moment of Clarity. That's half of what took up time to write the guide - finding all of the stuff that could be cast on its own. Heal, Harm, Elemental Toss and Shadow Projectile are all great examples of spells that can be cast without Moment of Clarity.

To rephrase, Rage /DOES/ work with spellcasting. It doesn't work as well with /ALL/ spellcasting... and it shouldn't given balance issues.

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I added a guide: "Barbarians Are Already Bloodragers!" aka "The Bloodrager 2E Spell List"

Discussion Thread

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Someone on A Pathfinder 2nd Edition FB group I frequent mentioned a while back the idea of converting the Bloodrager class to Pathfinder 2nd, and I went "I think it already exists. It's just Barbarian w/ Moment of Clarity and a Spellcasting Dedication"

Yeah... that opened a rabbit hole for me.

So, here's the first version of what became a guide to trying to make a Bloodrager. The biggest thing is figuring out which spells you can and can't cast based on being in a Rage and how many hands you have free.

I also wrote some sample builds, but, in full disclosure, I don't see myself as much of an optimizer, and I'm specifically much better at modeling an idea. I literally went "This would be cool!", and began doing research. If there are points of optimization I can include, feel free to let me know. They are also linked inside of the guide.

"Barbarians Are Already Bloodragers!" aka "The Bloodrager 2E Spell List"

Samples I created. I tried to vary the Instincts, the spellcasting traditions, and how many spells are focus spells vs spell slot spells.

Goblin Dragon Instinct Flames Oracle

Goblin Dragon Instinct Flames Oracle (Free Archetype)

Human Animal Instinct Aberrant Sorcerer Monk

Human Animal Instinct Aberrant Sorcerer Monk (Free Archetype)

Dwarf Giant Instinct Magus Psychic

Dwarf Giant Instinct Magus Psychic (Free Archetype)

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"Hot Take": Optimization and Tactics are substitutes for each other in Pathfinder 2nd Edition.

That is a shift from Pathfinder 1st Edition. P1E had more "trap" options while also sporting more "best in class" feats and a multiclass system very conducive to maximizing pure power levels. On the other side, the fluidity of movement as well as the streamlined set of bonuses and penalties make tactical combat a considerably stronger option in Pathfinder 2nd than in Pathfinder 1st; simply put, it is easy for any character to assist an ally in attacks, heal an ally, debuff an enemy for an ally, etc., depending on what you do. Optimization was easy in Pathfinder 1st, while using tactics was hard.

The Adventure Paths appear designed to assume a certain level of tactics. It can be expected that a monster will have "bigger numbers" than a PC; tactics drag these "bigger numbers" down to a manageable size. Optimization, on the other hand, reduce this discrepancy by making the PC numbers bigger rather than making the monster numbers smaller. This leads to the "substitution" theory; both are means to get to the same point.

Some often deride optimization; I'm "old school" enough to think of "characters" and not "builds", as an example. Moreover, the design of Pathfinder 2nd makes attempts at optimization rather obvious; you know it when you see the flick mace, shadow signet or any other item in which you can tell someone dug through the crates to find the things that gives the biggest numbers. It is easier to see this as the latest iteration of "ROLEplaying vs ROLLplaying".

With that said, I am personally grappling with whether or not this is a genuinely fair comparison. While I feel a sense of loving nostalgia at the idea of "Stranger Things", TTRPGs have been around for a minute now, and the audience for the games has thankfully changed. If I were still the target audience, as a nearly 50 year old man, this hobby that I love would have long ago gone out of business. We have new people in the hobby, many of whom came from playing video games. If I'm playing a video game, I'm making a character designed to beat the game. To rephrase, the second a controller enters your hand, you stop creating a "character" and start creating a "build". Is it really that unfair to be surprised people come up with "builds" rather than "characters"? Don't get me wrong... I will continue to clown any graduate of Jeziver's School For Gifted Humans, that incredible gnome orphanage that finds parentless humans and trains them to be Fighters with a free archetype of Champion... some level of grace could stand to be given in anything less obvious than that, no?

Moreover, and these are the quiet parts we don't want to admit... tactics involve working with OTHER PEOPLE. Some gamers don't really want to do that, and many gamers don't know HOW to. Interpersonal dynamics can be hard, particularly given the frequency with which we may find ourselves gaming with someone who is not a "friend" per se. Moreover, you have to know HOW to use tactics. As I mentioned above, traditionally tactics aren't a big thing; you ran up to the other team and start swinging. It's hard to admit that you don't know how to "play the game well", but until you learn the nuances of Recalling Knowledge, Athletics, Aid, Flanking, Concealment, Intimidation, etc.. you actually /DON'T/ know how to play well. For many of us, we can learn to ask our fellow players to flank for us or to withdraw from combat if they are getting surrounded... or we can get a weapon with the Fatal trait and try to deal with our problems ourselves. I know I have to be careful to not deride those that chose the latter option, because , even if it is not one I would espouse, it is a very understandable one.

On the other side, it should not be surprising to someone that is focused on a "build" that their cries of "OMG! The game is a MEET GRINDR!!!" may get a response of "Well, how are you playing it?" The game, in my opinion, is really NOT designed to focus on optimization; it's designed for you to work together. You can focus on creating a "character", because, unlike Pathfinder 1st Edition, it is a LOT easier to create something that fits your vision that Doesn't Suck, because the number of trap options are less. The /MINIMUM/ optimization needed in Pathfinder 2e is basically "put the most resources into the thing you do the most"; you should typically be good from there. As such, it is VERY reasonable, when one complains about the difficulty of the game, to not have a conversation about the character creation choices made and to instead have a conversation about the actions used at a given time. Yes, this is a more complicated and difficult conversation, but it is a part of learning how to play the game /WELL/. Before declaring the game bad/wrong/overpowered, we've got to be able to ask about the decisions that led one down that path. You may actually NOT know how to play the game well yet.

Most fights in Pathfinder 1E/5e/3.5 are won during character creation. Fights in Pathfinder 2nd Edition are won during gameplay. However, you can still win a lot during character creation in 2E, and we end up with a constant push and pull to balance these things.

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Sanityfaerie wrote:

- Martial Artist is laregely useless for monks, because the monk gets almost all fo that stuff automatically already, at a lower level. Might want to go through and filter out the monk feats. You'll need to do the same with wrestler, if you add it.

Oops! I had a specific scenario for that one. It should have had the following note:

Note: This analysis assumes the Free Archetype optional rule is in use. In this scenario, the Martial Artist Feats are evaluated as Monk Feats.

Thanks for bringing that to my attention!

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Last update planned for a while... added analysis of Combat and Mystical Dedications.

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Updated the guide with a summary of action economy/unarmed attack/movement benefits from all of the multiclass dedications, one action spells for domains, arcane schools, lessons, etc., a link of all spells NOT affected by Enlightened Presence (it's much easier to say what it doesn't help with than what it does), and removed all of the Press/Flourish activities, as they are really incompatible with monk's flurry of blows.

It looks like, in terms of being "more of a monk", that Barbarian, Bard, Fighter, Magus, Oracle, Psychic, Rogue, Sorcerer, and Swashbuckler have the most synergy.

Optimization Special Shout Out goes to the Ranger and the Animal Feature focus spell. Let's start with "It's Wind Jump, one of the absolute best Monk feats, except two levels earlier and without any worries of staying in the air". We could just stop there. Add on Slashing and Piercing unarmed attacks (thus flurry-able) for getting past resistances. The swim speed and enhanced vision just become gravy at this point. Aaaaaaaaaaand... you can refocus and do it all day. The only real problem is that most of the Ranger feats either modify a weapon (and thus don't enhance unarmed attacks) or enhance your animal companion (which, while great, isn't strictly making you a "better monk" as it were), so I don't know about the rest of what you can get but... wow... Animal Feature is powerful on a monk.

My final phase is to go through the combat and mystical archetypes.

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Updated the Guide adding verbiage clarifying basic action support theory, a list of one action spells, basic dedication criteria, and Dedication information for Fighter, Magus, and Psychic.

Here is the new wording for the basic premise: In its simplest form, a standard example of a round for most martials is as follows: <Do Something> <Attack at full accuracy> <Attack at a penalty>. <Do Something> may occur at the beginning or at the end, and <Do Something> could be movement; raising a shield; or some class specific ability. In any case, this is an incredibly common combination of actions for most martials.

A monk’s standard example of a round of actions is as follows: <Do Something> <Attack at full accuracy and attack at a penalty> <Do Something>. The Monk can often do in two actions what other characters do in three; the real question to ask is “What should be done with that extra third action?”.

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I believe they have simply moved the design of the classes/ancestries away from "Here's our initial presentation to be expanded later" to "This is the class/ancestry as-is and in complete form, and unless there is some specific reason germane to a later idea it will not be expanded".

I prefer it this way thus far.

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Temperans wrote:

Given how they handled psychic...

There is an 80% chance that they make kinetic blasts or talents (more likely both): use focus points, be unusuable if you use spells from other classes, wont have any metamagic specially not quickened, you will have to buy both infusions and talents with feats, there will be weird gimmick that is "oh look how smart" but is overall just "why is this here?", etc.

Now, I am not saying that will be what happens. But I have 0 expectations for the class.

(The team all making a different kineticist and then meshing it all together doesn't still more hope to me. Although it does show that they do care which is nice.)

I'd love (as speculation) for the blasts to be ranged unarmed strikes, with the infusions and talents working like amps. Specifically, the idea of starting with and regaining two Focus Points to start would go a long way towards bringing back the feel of the Kineticist without a mechanic as complex as Burn.

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Sanityfaerie wrote:

I was attempting to note monk antisynergies (and associated synergies for those martials that are least like monks), rather than pan the thing as a whole. I've edited slightly to try to make that a bit more clear.

I'd not meant that as a cut on you directly. It's true that it *is* a stance with charisma synergies, and your overall thesis (that there are viable cha-monk builds out there) is still quite true.

How can you say that something "doesn't synergize" if you don't know ay other conditions besides a few feats of one character. Synergy is more than just how a couple of feats behave.

In the Ruby Phoenix campaign that I play in there is a Dragon Fighter on the team with my Crane Style Monk. My monk is a defensive specialist, and the role she plays is to set up the Dragon, who grapples and delivers the big damage. It works really well, as my Monk can easily get into position to set the dragon up to flank with minimal effort for the dragon, who will then keep a big bad grappled. In hindsight, my character's defensive prowess is wasted, and while the second attack a round is nice, Gorilla Pound would be WAY better than Flurry of Blows for my character; making a character Frightened to stack with flatfooted for the entire team is more efficient than my one swing at a negative. If I /DID/ want to make a second attack a round in that situation, I could even pull out a Press action, something most Monks actively eschew. This is not a "situational" set up; the Dragon will almost always make a big hit that will make it the primary target, and the grappling of the Dragon means that stacking frightened is strategically almost always the best call available. For this team, Crane Stance was a suboptimal call to Gorilla Stance for reasons that were not a function simply of what is on my personal character sheet. Moreover, just taking another Martial wouldn't be fun, because my character /IS/ a Mystic Monk, packing Ki Rush, Wholeness of Body, Ki Blast, and Wind Jump in her pocket; Martial Artist doesn't work here.

"Anti-synergy" seems like a nicer way of telling someone they are playing the game wrong. I'm really hesitant to make that kind of statement.

Milo v3 wrote:
"If you want a mystic monk, be multiclass" isn't really an applicable answer to me, because I can just not go monk to begin with and already be closer to that pitch. The class just is not designed for the fantasy I'm interested in for monks, never will be unless something major happens. This is okay, just because it doesn't fulfil my tastes doesn't mean it isn't hitting the mark for people who want their monks to just be 'martial artist' focused.

You seem to be complaining in the abstract. What do you want to see the Monk be able to do? How many spells should it be casting in an encounter at first level, for example; out of five rounds, how many spells/magic effects are you expecting?

I don't mean this as sarcasm. I suspect that the image of what you want is one that falls into the "design space" of an unarmed Magus, not a Monk. I specifically found myself wondering if Arcane Cascade was the sort of thing you want at low levels... and if so, then I think that has been "gated" away from Martials in favor of letting Spellcasters have that.

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Applied_People wrote:

I agree, and I love how a monk's movement speed serves to further create action economy for the monk.

One of my favorite examples of this "agency" (I like that term) is on a monk with the Medic Dedication's Doctor's Visitation.

Unfortunately, both Doctors Visitation and Flurry have Flourish, so you can't do both at the same time. They supplement each other well, with Flurry as the default "Two For One" action and DV the one when things aren't going well for the rest of the squad.

My current max has been seven equivalent actions: Raise Shield + Ki Rush (2) + Stumbling Feint (4 equivalent). Admittedly, though... if we are factoring in differences in movement speeds, that's looking like a nine equivalent, no?

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Sanityfaerie wrote:

Gorilla is... less impressive than it could be. In particular, its expansion feat is a flourish, so it's competing for space with FoB. Further, Gorilla Slam isn't finesse, so it requires you to go strength, while denying you access to Mountain Stance. Ironically, it does not have the "you are unarmored" requirement. Between that and the fourish, it arguably works better as a martial artist dip from other classes than it does for the monk itself. A potentially interesting option for thaumaturges, among others.

My friend, I believe in noting synergies, not evaluating effectiveness.

I like the thought of going "If you like Gorilla Pound, these things work well with it". I've found the conversations to be much more pleasant that way. :D

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Sanityfaerie wrote:

In general, any attempt to play a magic-heavy monk is going to seriously benefit from Free Archetype... but it's not strictly speaking mandatory.

If you want to play a monk with a bit of a side order of divine... perhaps a spellscale kobold? Go Stumbling Stance for a dex/cha build with a bunch of deception. Any ki spell will give you a properly scaling magic proficiency, which means that you can switch back and forth between a very solid FoB for one action, Electric Arc for two, or both if you don't need to do anything else that round.

If you *do* have FA, you could instead try going Dragon stance with a str/cha. Dragon Disciple will let you get dragon scales to reduce the importance of high dex, and you'll have nice, beefy kicks with trip built right in. Cha feeds both the aforementioned Electric Arc and your later Dragon's Roar. Small... but fierce!

Basically, the monk does have to dip into other things to get much in the way of magic, but the fact that they have a decently scaling magical proficiency as soon as they pick one of two level 1 class feats makes that dipping much more straightforward and long-term viable.

Cosign on Free Archetype; it REALLY helps with your "Magic Monk".

Following up, I think there is a good bit of support for a CHA secondary (rather than WIS secondary) "Magic Monk". Stumbling, Dragon, and Gorilla Stance all benefit from having high CHA, Bard and Sorcerer both allow you to synergize your spellcasting with your Monk progression, and only four of the thirteen Monk Focus Spells require a high WIS for the purposes of DC: Ki Blast, Wronged Monk's Wrath, Quivering Palm, and Medusa's Wrath. Avoid those four and you don't need a high WIS for your Ki abilities.

Jump and True Strike are gold for a Monk.

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Quick thought on the whole "Monk Weapon" thing:

A while back I made a Monk w/ Sorcerer Dedication and was planning on building around Bespell Weapon. At the time I didn't realize that an unarmed attack can't be subbed in for a melee weapon, so I had to change up the idea since I was set on using Crane Style.

The vast majority of the support for a Monk is for unarmed attacks. the full list of weapon support feats is Monastic Weaponry; Monastic Archer, Shooting Star, and Peafowl Stances and their upgrades; Ancestral Weaponry; and Pinning Fire (cheap plug for my JAM's Monk "Subclass" & Action Economy Guide, which is where I'm getting my list). Clearly there was not meant to be a lot of support for the weapon-based Monk.

However, what if this is really the point of the weapon support for the Monk - to allow you to use other classes abilities within the framework of the Monk? Bespell Weapon, as one example, suddenly makes those Monk Weapons look much better; "Why yes, I'll take casting True Strike before a Flurry of Blows and adding 1d6 mental damage to each Strike... and THEN still have an action left please."

So what if the strength of Monastic Weaponry is really Dedication support? I began analyzing the Fighter class to see what it's unarmed attack support was like for a Monk. I noticed a number of favorite Fighter feats, like Double Slice, Brutish Shove, and Lunge, were incompatible with most Monks as they require melee weapon strikes. I'm not sure how much more Monastic Weaponry brings to the table once you factor in combining your Monk abilities with weapon abilities from other classes, but "It's Not Nothing", as it were...

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Sanityfaerie wrote:
How much magic do you need to feel right. Also, does it *have* to come from your class?

I was thinking to myself "If you want to be able to use magic multiple times a fight it sounds like you want a cantrip, which is easy to get..." :D

The Monk is the mirror of the Magus for spellcasters, IMO. The Monk is as far into casting spells for magic as you're getting for a martial class, while the Magus is as far into efficient combat as you're getting for a spellcasting class.

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Milo v3 wrote:

Doing 1 or 2 supernatural things per encounter is not my idea of a supernatural character.

You could take Clinging Shadows Initiate, Wild Winds Initiate, Wind Jump, Meditative Focus, or Sense Ki to up that number...

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Old_Man_Robot wrote:

If, by your reasoning, we can't sqaure the relative value of these things, how do you arrive at the conclusion its balanced?

That is an interesting philosophical question. My gut answer was first "Because it worked at my table", and then, functionally, "Because Paizo said so". Neither of those are good answers, so I'll say, at least off the top of my head, I do not have a good answer. :D

EDIT: Allow me to be more explicit, having just read the post below this one. That's a great point!

I think all of our conversations would go down better if we more readily noted when others have a great point.

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Old_Man_Robot wrote:

To put a bit of a bow on it however, your arguement is basically the specialization vs generalists one. Wherein martials having a narrowing field of focus means that they get rewards and perks for that, whereas the generalists payoff is there access to utility.

This is both fine and correct as an assumption. And it is indeed present already in almost every aspect of the class design.

The standard caster chassis is weaker in virtually every way to that of the standard martial. That is part of the cost they pay. Caster resources are also limited in a way that martial resources generally are not. Casters generally also have less interaction with the action econom of the game, as most spells are two-actions and can't be easily or often spend up.

No, that still does not. The argument is "The numerical white board math you are citing as an inequity is balanced by a utility that you can not quantify".

As such, listing more numerical white board math does not, in fact, respond to my point, because I'm going to simply say, as a response to "but you are physically weaker"... illusions, dimensional travel, and summoning demons.

It's still balanced.

If I can draw an analogy, you are not going to be able to fix the problem of "Linear Fighter, Quadratic Wizard" with a minor shift to the Wizard. The Fighter is still linear and utility power of the Wizard is still quadratic, so the adjustment needed to modify for that is similarly large.

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So I just wrote a Breakdown of the Monk arguing it actually /DOES/ have three subclasses and that action economy is the actual strength of the Monk in a way far beyond Flurry of Blows so... yeah. That's my argument. :D

Martialmasters wrote:

This is a fair point and I think the disconnect on this front for some players is two factors

1- you have to build for the support options, it's not like a champion in that regard.

2-the support often isn't reactive or in the forms it buffs. You are not providing group save bonuses or a reaction to protect someone.

Would you say that, while the Monk doesn't have specific group support options, it has great ways to use standard options, like flanking due to Incredible Movement, Intimidation via Gorilla or Dragon Stance, Maneuver feats, etc..?

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Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:

Because white room theorycraft can give you your to hit % and damage curves but it will never tell you how powerful, in terms of practical gameplay, is your ability to teleport, dispel magic, conjure cozy huts, summon stuff, shadow walk, create walls etc. etc.

This point has been glossed over because of the confrontational presentation (that was kinda harsh), but it is incredibly important. There are a zillion arguments proving decisively that RAW spell attack rolls never match up with martial attacks or save spells.


They absolutely SHOULDN'T, because spellcasters have a versatility that can not be charted in a spreadsheet. You can't easily chart how much of a difference /HAVING/ Save spells is. If the spellcaster with Produce Flame also has Electric Arc, how do we factor in potentially switching to EA? You can't without knowing what the caster decides, and that will be a function of conditions on the ground. There are too many variables in combat to be able to White Room having a bunch of options.

Someone earlier asked about how low spell attack rolls would make a newer player not want to play a full spellcaster. I would respond to that with "Why would you want to give a newer player a full spellcaster?" That is at minimum SIX different mechanics for the player to learn (four cantrips and two first level spells), ignoring anything specific to the class, at level one. That is NOT the formula for an easy time for a new player.

It also conveniently demonstrates the options differences between a spellcaster and a martial and why its a bad idea to boost spell attack rolls. Yes, it is easy to wrap your mind around hitting and less so more abstract topics like options versatility. Yes, missing always sucks. However, if we allow spell attack rolls to match martial accuracy, you suddenly have someone that can blast as well as the martials as well as take over your mind.

That's not balanced, and the imbalance is not going to show on a Google Sheet.

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The "... but True Strike" argument is the bottom line one that people want to ignore in order to get what they want, which is a system closer to Pathfinder 1E. Allow me to rephrase the request.

"Can we have Magic Attacks hit more without using Magic to hit more?"

The answer is and should be "No".

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Dargath wrote:

Tried to see it but all I got was a sorry this file does not exist. I’m pretty interested in the monk class.

Edit: nvm the link got broken

It should be good now.

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Hello all!

I wrote A Thing! Monks don't have subclasses per se, and are often not seen as having much of a strength, since fighters specializing in Brawling hit more accurately than a Monk. I did a breakdown of the class looking at it from the standpoint of having three de facto subclasses - Ki Discipline, Stance Discipline, and Weapon Discipline - and a rather specific focus unique to the class - master of action economy. I also sought to organize things into an easy reference, grouping like feats together, listing available weapons for feats, etc.. I hope you all find it interesting and/or helpful! Please let me know if there are things to add/fix/etc..

JAM's Monk "Subclass" & Action Economy Breakdown

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Deriven Firelion wrote:

I'm DMing a Heaven's Thunder monk right now. I'm definitely going to lower it. It's way too much extra damage.

I found myself thinking "is there anything that I can think of to serve that goal (trading an action for increased Monk damage) better than the lowered version, and the answer was "no". +2 per weapon die seems fair.

Interesting thought - this makes a Fighter with Power Attack taking this really good. Otoh, add in One Inch Punch and your Monk is having a party...

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As almost no one has an practical experience playing one, I'll give mine. I don't have set numbers, though now I'll follow more closely.

I'm playing a Monk using FA and ABP for Ruby Phoenix, with Jalmeri Heavenseeker and a couple of damage runes (Impactful and Frost).

The team has a Barbarian using Dragon Instinct, Rogue Dedication Sneak Attack, and Elven Curve Blade, and a couple of damage runes (Electricity and Sonic).

WITH Heaven's Thunder, the Monk damage has been roughly comparable to the Barbarian.

She is hitting MORE than the Barbarian, however. There is only a +1 difference to hit, but Flurry of Blows and Crane Flutter let her swing more often thus far.

Take that solely as a data point, and a non- specific one to boot, from a single session (we just turned level 12, which is when I picked it up).

Edit: Right after posting this someone hit me with a screen shot of a Discord chat where Mark Seifter offered a suggestion. I can't confirm the veracity. Thoughts?

Screenshot Here

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Karmagator wrote:

Class features that do not fit:

- 8 HP/ level
- Dex as possible key stat
- flurry of blows (this is exactly the opposite of the paragon concept)
- Path to Perfection
- huge inherent movement speed increase (to some extent)

That is like 90% of what makes the monk unique. At that point not even a class archetype will bridge the gap. I get what you are saying and appreciate the well-done attempt, but even with heavy reflavouring the mechanics are simply not sufficient for what I have in mind.

I'd argue that a class archetype for monk is EXACTLY what you need, replacing Flurry of Blows and Incredible Movement. Everything else still fits the general concept.

Puna'chong wrote:

Well, I suppose we can get into the "nothing is true and everything is possible on the internet if you argue minutiae long enough" conversation, or we can maybe agree that the people who want to play superhero TTRPGs don't gravitate towards Pathfinder first for a variety of reasons.
M. Gustave: Yes, I suppose you're right; of course it depends.

I'm currently running a superhero campaign that is "Marvel 1602" style with P2E. What's your rubric for success in saying you can't do it?

In P1E there were a number of archetypes that really seemed to mathematically model superheroes within Pathfinder. Captain America was a Shield Champion Brawler. Psylocke was a Mindblade Magus. Gambit was a combination Card Caster/Quarterstaff Magus. Aquaman was a Pearl Seeker Paladin. Give a couple of levels of Ninja and Forgotten Trick to any martials to create a member of the Bat Family. There were any number of Vigilante archetypes that covered superheroes; one could definitely argue how well they modelled them, but we can call them a "definite attempt". Toss in an implementation of the Mythic

I will definitely say that a "traditional" view on roleplaying - starting at level one and work your way up - didn't quite work. It's just too hard to be able to fly at level one. Starting from a higher level (I used six in P1E and 7 in P2E) though... it's not that bad. I've been tuning the system around when you can fly decently consistently; that appears to be a good "sweet spot" to start the game.

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Hey all,

I'm running a campaign using the Free Archetype variant but without the limitation of needing to complete three feats before taking a new Dedication. Philosophically, there are very few basic Dedication feats that are so powerful as to mess up the balance as compared to a 4th or 6th level feat of a class.

What are the potential pitfalls of allowing this? I'm modelling super hero characters, so the freedom of being able to take Martial Artist or Acrobatics Dedication and then stopping has proven helpful.

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Jedi Maester wrote:

I'd like gadgets to be something that I can use multiple times, or even all day. I think the simplest execution would be class feats that represent the different gadgets you build. That way they are balanced against other all day abilities. The playtest class feat that gives you dark vision is a great example. They can be given a gadget tag with its own rules for limited sharing or breaking and such.

As these are tied to leveling up, each invention would be a significant achievement representing hours of research and work. They aren't things you just break down and build as you want each morning. You maintain and take care of your babies. Too much work went each one to replace it the next morning.

And you wouldn't need to conserve for suitable moments. As they are mechanically class feats, you can use your gadgets all day. So from small flavorful moments to actually important ones, gadget away!

I think there is room for jury rigging a feat you don't have for a specific purpose that only works once. Or maybe like switching out fighter feats, you can trade a gadget or two each day. But this is my hope for gadgets!

I have something I'm using as a class feat for Inventors to get something similar. It is a conversion of the Legendary Item Mythic Class Ability. In this case, a Legendary Item is an Inventor Class Feat available at Level One which can be taken more than once assuming it is applied to a different item each time. The Legendary Item gains six levels from whatever it's current level is, gaining new abilities to match the new level. I'm eschewing keeping track of gold for simply using levels for items (my players start level 7, so they get two level 8 items or their equivalents, two level seven items or their equivalents, and whatever common mundane equipment they desire and can carry), but if you're using gold you can just as easily fit the amount of gold they want to spend into a "level slot" and calculate from there.

For the purposes of this feat, getting the usage of a spell once a day is the equivalent of a rune of the lowest level in which the spell can be cast plus two; this is taken from the Create Magic Item rules. Using Talking Corpse once a day, as a 4th level spell, would be the equivalent of a 9th level rune; twice a day would be 11th level, and three times a day would be 13th level. Similarly, two items of the same level cost roughly as much as an item of two levels higher. Most 7th level items, for example, cost between 325 and 375, while most 9th level items run roughly between 600 and 700 gp.

As an example, we converted the DC comics superhero Katana as a 7th level character that took a Dedication in Inventor to have a Legendary Item. She drops the equivalent of gold for a 7th level item (about 350 gp), but now has the equivalent of a 13th level item. The blade Soultaker needs to be a hard-to-destroy item with the ability to talk to ghosts, which we chose to call the Talking Corpse spell. An adamantium longsword is an 11th level item; adding on an 11th level rune would complete the 13th level item. Talking Corpse twice a day is also 11th level. So for the cost of a 7th level item, Katana can have an Adamantine sword that can talk to dead bodies twice a day.

The system isn't designed for permanent abilities, mostly because the item creation rules imply moving away from that. We haven't considered what happens if one loses an item because no one has let anything close to that happen to one of their Legendary Items. :D

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This is awesome! hank you for sharing it!

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm playing around with a house rule that would make Gadgetry work exactly as Alchemy, except that instead of creating Alchemical Items you can create snares, ammunition, and talismans. I hope they do something similar, leveraging the items we already have in some manner.

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OMG this thread is everything!

I just joined a "Superheroes in Pathfinder ie Marvel/DC 1602" campaign that inspired me enough to GM a "subuniverse" in it, and I came looking for character conversions. I haven't had a chance to go through and integrate all of the suggestions on here, but I did want to give what I could contribute. Here's the "brain dump", along with links to an excellent set of conversions of a variety of characters, and another set of X-Men conversions. Note that some are dated, so I updated things if I believed a better class came along (such as Slayer for Winter Soldier):

  • Arsenic (or similar "hero w/ pet"): Hunter
  • Beast: Beastmorph Alchemist
  • Beast Boy (or similar general animal-based shapeshifter): Feral Hunter / Metamorph Alchemist / Shifter / Weretouched Shifter
  • Black Widow: Spy Rogue
  • Blade: Dhampir Vampire Hunter
  • Blue Beetle / Talkback / Other gadget-based hero: Scavenger Investigator / Psychometrist Vigilante / Occultist
  • Brother Blood: Cult Master Mesmerist
  • Cable / Jean Grey / Other Telekinetics: Aether Kineticist
  • Captain America: Shield Champion Brawler w/ Advanced Template
  • Catwoman: Burglar Rogue (GUIDE RIGHT HERE)
  • Clayface: Oozemorph Shifter
  • Deadshot: Sniper Slayer
  • Diablo: Alchemist
  • Dr. Doom: Battle Host Occultist
  • Dr. Faustus: Vox Mesmerist
  • Dr. Occult: Psychic Detective Investigator
  • Dr. Octopus: Sythesist Summoner; Eidolon has four arms
  • Dr. Strange / Zatanna / Similar Mystic Character: Arcanist / Sorcerer / Wizard
  • Drax the Destroyer: Scarred Rager Barbarian
  • Flash: Elven Monk (w/ Long Limbed & all FCBs to movement), single level dip in Occultist Reliquarian for Travel Domain, Transmutation Implement with Sudden Speed Focus Power, and Expeditious Retreat spell, all of which combines into "Taps into the Speed Force".
  • Gambit: Card Caster & Staff Magus
  • Green Goblin: Construct Rider Alchemist
  • Jakeem Thunder (Spiriualist)
  • Geo-Force: Earth Kineticist
  • Green Lantern: Bonded Wizard
  • Hate Monger: Hate Monger Mesmerist
  • Hawkeye: Arrowsong Minstrel Bard / Trapper Ranger / Archer Fighter (GUIDE RIGHT HERE)
  • Hawkman: Strix Constable Cavalier
  • Hellcat (or any other feline-based hero): Feline Wildsoul Vigilante
  • Hulk: Brute Vigilante
  • Human Target: Infiltrator Investigator / Skinshaper Druid / Master of Disguise Rogue
  • Human Torch: Fire Kineticist
  • Huntress: Urban Ranger (GUIDE RIGHT HERE)
  • Iceman/Frozone: Water Kineticist
  • Invisible Woman: Aether Kineticist (requires level 6)
  • Iron Fist: Sacred Fist Warpreist
  • Jericho: Projectionist Mesmerist
  • Jessica Jones: Sleuth Investigator w/ Advanced Template
  • John Constantine: Occultist
  • Katana (Or any other "I conjure up my weapon" types): Phantom Blade Spiritualist
  • Kingpin (or similar Crime Boss): Mastermind Investigator
  • Kitty Pryde: Formless Adept Psychic
  • Kraven, the Hunter: Packmaster Hunter
  • Leader: Vizier Mesmerist
  • Lone Ranger: Mounted Fury Vigilante
  • Lucy In The Sky: Vrillbound Magus
  • Luke Cage / Bruiser / Similar Power Character : Invulnerable Rager & Urban Barbarian / Monk of the Iron Mountain (either with Advanced Template)
  • Mantis: Dreamstalker Mesmerist
  • Moon Knight: Splintersoul Vigilante
  • Mr. Zsasz: Serial Killer Slayer
  • Nightwing: Teisatsu Vigilante
  • Patriot (Eli Bradley) / Nuke / Hourman : Mutation Warrior Fighter
  • Poison Ivy: Urushiol Druid (GUIDE RIGHT HERE)
  • Professor X (Or other telepaths): Lore Psychic
  • Psylocke: Mindblade Magus
  • Punisher (or any other gun-based hero): Gunmaster Vigilante
  • Question: Cypher Investigator
  • Raven / Dark Phoenix: Abomination Psychic
  • Riddler: Gnome Perfect Scholar Sensei Monk w/ Bewildering Koan
  • Robin(Damien Wayne): Martial Artist Monk (GUIDE RIGHT HERE)
  • Rose: Majordomo Investigator
  • Sailor Moon (Magical Child Vigilante)
  • Sister Grimm (or similar magic based character with prominent item): Wizard w/ Bonded Item
  • Storm: Storm Druid
  • Vampire Hunter D: Vampire Hunter from World of Vampire Hunter D official Paizo supplement (Yes, that's a thing!))
  • Vixen: Adaptive Shifter
  • Whiplash (or other dual wielding "I conjure my weapons" types): Ectoplasmacist Spiritualist
  • Wolfsbane / King Shark: Mooncursed Barbarian
  • Wolverine: Abyssal Spelleater Bloodrager
  • Winter Soldier: Slayer w/ a Clockwork Prostetheses(GUIDE RIGHT HERE)

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

OK, with Pathfinder 2.0 announced, I decided to come back into this and try to move towards a "final" version. Here's my update:

* All new archetypes should now be in, though obviously the more eyes to doublecheck the compatibility the better.

* The Peaceful Sensei has been given its own section. After playing with the build a few times I'm pretty convinced it is up there with the Zen Archers and Tetoris, with utility as the shining point rather than attacking... at least past level three. I have yet to try it out at first level, and I admit I do suspect it would have a tough time then.

* I noted a number of modular "add-ons" that are sets of things that synergize well with any monk. Healing/Condition Removal, Martial Flexibility, Psychic Abilities, Specialized Equipment, and a very convenient one level dip (Reliquarian Occultist) are all analyzed.

I don't anticipate this to be "final", but I suspect that there won't be a lot more new monk archetypes coming...

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The Phrenology and Prognostication Occult Skill Unlocks can be used to determine class and levels.

Good luck getting someone to let you rub their heads...

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There are very few things that can handle both Stunning Fist and Touch of Serenity, and ToS functionally gives you "free hits". The classic Big Strong Fighter is typically stuck with no other option than "Run" after a ToS. It's good stuff.

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Psychic Sensitivity.

Perception, Sense Motive, Heal, and Survival are all WIS based, and each has an occult skill unlock. It also, once you get the ki pool, gives you what is functionally Cloud Step for 2 ki (Sacral Chakra for a Fly speed for a turn, but you must hit the ground at the end of the turn).

Psychic Sensitivity, Empath, and Snake Style has been a fun combination in a game I'm in.

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At 2nd level, as a swift action an elemental monk can gain the benefits of one of the following style feats, based on one of the five types of genies.

That's pretty straightforward - you get the benefits of the feat. Four out of five of those have, as one of its benefits, "An extra use a day". Therefore, you can get up to four more a day.

I'm not making a comparative statement about the efficiency of the archetype, because I believe we sometimes spend a bit TOO much time on "optimization". The number of bonus feats is a rules question, not an evaluation of quality.

Derklord wrote:

Genie Style says "an elemental monk can gain the benefts" - as written, with infinite duration. Considering how ridiculously bad the archetype is (seriously, you lose all your bonus feats for an ability every character already possesses), I'd actually be fine with the archetype granting 3 or 4 extra EF uses.

There is no way to have five elemental style feats by level six. In fact, you will probably only have one. Even a MoMS cannot get to the second feat in the feat chains until 10th level, as they still have to meet the prerequisites. Elemental Monk lets you get the second feat at 6th and complete the chain at 10th. No one else can do that.

Again... I am not evaluating the efficiency of the archetype, but I don't see how it can be said that "every character" already possesses this ability, as they do not.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

By RAW I do believe you are gaining four total uses of elemental fist a day. Each time you adapt one of the feats, you get the fist. The "per day" wording prevents it from being unlimited but still... four free fists a day isn't bad. Marid Style in specific benefits heavily from being used six times a day at level two.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Sohei and Zen Archer stack with almost nothing. Hence, they get mentioned in the "These archetypes change enough to make it a completely different class" group (with Tetori) and then basically not mentioned again.

Wow Paizo has been hooking the monk up! Thanks zer0darkfire; I credited you for the Nornkith, Sin Monk, and Nimble Guardian. It's going to take a moment for me to update the document, but I do have my workload set: Elemental Monk, Hellcat, Menhir Guardian, Wasteland Militant, Water Dancer, and Treetop Monk are all on the agenda to add in! I'll hopefully have the document updated in the next week or so.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Give that Sensei two levels of Ninja and Forgotten Trick as the Ninja Trick. You just added to your list of abilities to distribute an extra attack each round that stacks with Haste, Vanish, and any given combat feat to the whole team. Giving everyone an extra teamwork combat feat is worth a ki point.

You can safely stop the Sensei at level 15; you've pretty much gotten everything you need there.

Last thought - add in the Monk of the Lotus archetype, which stacks with all three of Sensei, Drunken Master, and Ki Mystic. Stunning Fist becomes Touch of Serenity (Fort Save vs Will Save), but more importantly, levels 12 and 15 offer no save Charm Monster on your foes. So at level 12 via Mystic Wisdom, whenever ANYONE takes a foe down to 0 hp you can "save" them as that person's pet without a Save.

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VoodistMonk wrote:
derpdidruid wrote:
Drunken master/sensei gets infinite party wide ki powers
I really need to examine this further...

The rules are... squishy... about how much a character can drink a day. There's a level of GM interpretation, but at minimum you know you can drink CON*2+1 drinks a day before negative repercussion. Add in Deep Drinker, and that's a LOT of ki in the harshest interpretation of how much you can have a day.

In the most liberal interpretation... The game never gives a limit to how many drinks one can have in a day...

EDIT: Mass Drunken Step is also fun and high utility as well.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I don't know if I would say "best", but one of the more unique ones that I'm loving right now (as a monk guy) is a Sensei/Ki Mystic Monk. You get some really good Bardic Performances (Inspire Courage, Competence, and Greatness), and access to all of the feats and add-ons of having Bardic Performance as a result. The unique part is the ability to give people your ki-based powers while using your "performance". With Qiggong substitutions, this provides a lot of variety. The Sensei casts TrueStrike from a distance. Extra speed, gaseous form, dodge bonuses, barkskin, no-component restoration... anything you can do on yourself, you now do on others. Ki Mystic gets you more ki (more buffing!), plus the ability to distribute an extra +4 to a skill that stacks with Inspire Competence, or reroll an attack or save as an immediate action.

So that poison dart your partner succumbed to? Have them reroll that. Plus, you can reduce the cost of your bigger gun abilities (Ring of Ki Mastery). At level ten it goes into overdrive, as now things affect EVERY ally within 30'.


Again... I don't know about "best", but it is certainly unique.

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Ryan Freire wrote:
kaisc006 wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
kaisc006 wrote:
Either way monsters will ignore him.
Why? Does he have a sign "Hard to hit, but doesnt do any damage"?
No when the other characters actually do something from casting an offensive spell to hitting for good damage they will have signs that say “hit me because I can kill you”
Good thing he gives them all +4 to ac

For perspective, a 10th level Sensei gives everyone within 30' +4 to AC for an hour and a half at the cost of a single ki point... and can Inspire Courage/Competence/Greatness, give out an extra 20' movement, allow everyone TrueStrike, etc.. All of this while keeping his Crane Style.

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Yeah... I was hoping I wasn't just reading it harshly. :) Ah well.. time to decide between Boar Style and Pummeling Charge for my offensive style.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I've been That Monk in a campaign, where my defensive-minded guy made it to where the GM could either design a bad guy that could definitely hit me (but mollywhop the rest of the party), or was a "proper" threat to the rest of the party but was untouchable to me. I can tell you from personal experience that it SUCKS if you go out of your way to try to set up bad guys that can threaten the one thing the player built around.

My thought: DON'T build around trying to overcome their AC, and, if targeting saves, make it make sense in context. I present, as evidence, my favorite fail moment of the character.

So the team is taking on a vampire and we managed to damage it. The vampire goes into gaseous form and flies away, with only our Fighter/Wizard (we were playing core only, so no magus) being able to fly. My monk decides instead to run and leap from rooftop to rooftop after the vampire. Eventually, it gets annoyed with being chased, stops, confronts the "magus" and I, and dominates us. No problem, I think... I just need to roll a 5.


I turned to the "magus" with the wrong gleam in my eye and the fight suddenly became more interesting.

My point is that the encounter, while one that could target my character's "weakness" (if you can call it that) wasn't artificial. It didn't come off as the GM trying to shut me down.

Other similar ideas:

* Non-combat event resolution: This is your biggest, best option, and another one that the GM of the campaign ran with. You don't have to beat the big Wizard at the end; you have to destroy the sample of the uber-potion being used as a MacGuffin.

* Bad Guys that are a threat for OTHER reasons: The four good guys save the MacGuffin prince. They are then attacked by 40 mummies, which under regular conditions would be wiped apart by the PCs. The twist - you can NOT let the Prince contract Mummy Rot. NOW things have becomes interesting.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Hey all,

I have a "corner case" to run by folks. I want to combine a full Crane Style chain with Linnorm Style via Combat Style Master. However, because of the wording of Linnorm Style, I'm uncertain if what I want to do works.

I would like to use Crane Style on defense. Assuming someone has tried to attack my character, I would want to switch to Linnorm Style on offense. At the end of my turn, I'd switch back to Crane Style.

The difficulty is that the verbiage of Linnorm Style has most of the effect AFTER it says "When using this style". That would imply that you must be /IN/ Linnorm Style at the time of the attack to get the Wisdom bonus to damage.

How would things work?

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Thread resurrecting, as I am trying something similar (using a Sensei monk with high Heal as a backup healer/condition person).

A few thoughts:

* A Healer's Kit has 10 uses. That means that you're actually paying 10gp each time you use these abilities, not 100.

* A single level dip into Cleric or Inquisitor and then taking the Medicine Subdomain. This is the game changer, IMO.

Medicine Subdomain:
Blessed Surgery (Su)
Your divine patron guides your healing hands, allowing you to perform minor miracles with mundane cures. You can use this ability as a free action when using the Heal skill in order to roll the check twice and take the higher result. When you’re using this ability, any use of the Heal skill requiring 1 hour instead takes at most 1 minute. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier.

This reduces Treat Deadly Wounds, Disease, Caltrops, Restore Vitality, and Suspend Affliction all down to 1 minute usages, rolling your Heal check twice and taking the best result. Combined with Battlefield Surgeon and good rolls, you can let someone regain (LVL+WIS)*2 in two minutes. The Signature Skill for Heal applies a multiplier to that. Psychic Healing allows you to give someone temp hit points a minute before the fight, with Trepanation and/or Psychic Maestro allowing you to "power up" multiple people before a fight.

* Half-Elf seems to be the go-to race if you want to do this, as it provides a couple of different ways to get Psychic Sensitivity without dropping a feat (trading either Keen Senses and Multitalented, or trading out Adaptability). I'm actually doing the former, to be able to Skill Focus (Heal). You're now two feats down the road to doing this. A Half-Elf Wendo Caller Medium would have EVERYTHING needed without dropping a feat OR multiclassing (Channelling a Wendo for the Healing domain).

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There are also some items like the Gloves of Unfolding Wind or Mountainshaper's Girdle that can also be used by anyone with a ki pool to spend. I would assume that the SoP could use it as well.

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Ferious Thune wrote:

I'm also assuming that the OP doesn't have Magical Knack, so is losing a full caster level with the dip. That alone on a Warpriest means that at 1/3 of your levels, you'd be effectively cutting the benefit of something like Dedicated Adversary in half, and that's about the best fallback feat for Martial Flexibility when you don't need something else.

It's an option. :) I just didn't want to include it because it muddied the waters. The question is whether or not 25 feats minimum available a la carte were worth a spell level. The answer is "no".

I'm looking at doing the dip at 5th level. At that point, my feats (for the purposes of analysis) would be the following: Dodge, Dirty Fighting, Crane Style, Power Attack, and Improved Unarmed Strike. Based on what PCGen, with nowhere near all of the books loaded, that gives me access to the following: Archon Style, Gang Up, Improved Dirty Fighting, Improved Feint, Improved Reposition, Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, Awe-Inspiring Smash, Cleave, Furious Focus, Improved Drag, Improved Sunder, Pushing Assault, Improved Overrun, Shield of Swings,Dazing Fist, Deflect Arrows, Improved Grapple, Jabbing Style, Nightmare Fist, Pummelling Style, Scorpion Style, Snapping Turtle Style, and Tiger Style. I have them for either 4 "standard" fights, or a couple of standard ones and a long one. That is based SOLELY on the feats I listed as taking; it doesn't include things without prerequisites, like Dedicated Adversary, which in this light I can STILL take via MF and pick a new adversary every day.

It feels weird to me that this sort of utility isn't viewed more strongly. A lot of these are situational, but that's the beauty of MF; I don't have to "invest" in it until I need it. I'm a bit taken aback, but I understand the arguments and reasoning given.

That said, I'm thoroughly convinced to cut Aldori Caution for Magical Knack, though. :)

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Wouldn't taking Advanced Weapon Training: Abundant Tactics on an Arsenal Chaplain WP to supplement the Barroom Brawler feat be better?

Not if I'm a Sacred Fist.

I'm not looking for an alternate methodology, at least for the moment. I need to get a sense of the comparative importance of Martial Flexibility vs a level of cleric spellcasting.

lemeres wrote:

Well, the essential question is this: what are you planning to do with it?

Because martial flexibility basically just gives you a bonus feat that you have to activate with an action, but you can switch it every time. So the question is: what bonus feats are you looking for?

All of them? That really is my answer, unfortunately.

The way I'm analyzing this is that every new feat I pick up is not just that feat, but anything else I can unlock using MF. Dirty Fighting isn't just Dirty Fighting; it's Archon Style, Gang Up, Improved Dirty Fighting, Improved Feint, Improved Reposition, Improved Disarm, and Improved Trip.

I did look once to build toward Hurricane Punch. I wasn't looking at it as just Hurricane Punch - I'm also picking up Awe-Inspiring Smasg, Cleave, Furious Focus, Improved Drag, Improved Sunder, Pushing Assult, Improved Overrun, Shield of Swings, AND Hurricane Punch.

So the thought was never looking at any one thing; it was more "what else are we pulling in the process to getting that one thing.

The question is whether or not all of those things picked up en route become worth a spellcasting level.

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