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Organized Play Member. 722 posts (724 including aliases). 3 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 11 Organized Play characters.


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I came back to say one thing, but I couldn't not do two:

Malk_Content wrote:
I'll also note there are several ways to play a 2/3rds caster. Literally any martial with a casting archetype.

... that's what I was playing. Two cantrips does not a 2/3 caster make. The essential 2/3 caster experience was resource management: sucking slightly when you didn't spend resources, but having just enough resources to do well if you spent them correctly.

Malk_Content wrote:
Or the new casting methods of Magus/Summoner being a different and new take on the idea of restricted casting.

Looked at it this week, actually, thinking it might be my bag. Did some arithmetic. Not convinced that a meta of "spellstriking with a cantrip" is really distinct from "hitting with a sword" in terms of gameplay and interesting options.

N N 959 wrote:
(various supportive things)

Thanks, I appreciate that. See you on another board. :)

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Somewhat bizarrely, this has actually led to a useful conclusion for me: the tactical sweet spot of 2/3 casters in PF1 does not exist and is never going to exist, hence PF2 is not worth any more of my time.

Emergent tactics is literally what I love. But I would describe that as where I start with option and information, and use the information to pick options (without certainty as to any being definitely best).

PF2 doesn't give you information, which... maybe it should. XCom gives loads of information, and that makes it a better game.

It also hasn't seemed to give me options. And I thought that was maybe because I'd been looking at the wrong classes or something, but then, we've got this guy, who loves PF2:

Deriven Firelion wrote:
There's just not much you can do at low level. Boss monsters hit low level characters super easy. One big hit or critical can take you out. You hopefully will have a healer to get you back up. A lvl+3 boss monster at lvl 1 or 2 is a beast of a fight. That can easily turn into a TPK without much you can do about it tactically. You're going to have to hope you can kill it

So the system doesn't give you information, it doesn't give you options, hence it doesn't start as a tactical game. Maybe it becomes one somewhere north of level 7, but that's no use to me.

Deriven Firelion wrote:

I'm not sure why people are telling you that tactics are what you need to win.

PF2 and PF1 are no more tactically compelling than 5E or any numbers based RPG.

Well, I appreciate your honesty in this. The thing is though, if it's not more tactical than 5e, and it is more work than 5e, then I don't see any value in it. So I do appreciate that being cleared up.

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Cyouni wrote:

I'm going to be honest, if the choices have always been "obvious", and you've been constantly failing...

Perhaps you're making the wrong choices, and they're not actually obvious.

I won all but one of my fights so far.

And that one annoys me because it seems like the only winning move was to immediately flee.
But hey, you believe what you like.

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Deriven Firelion wrote:
If you want a game where the math is entirely in favor of the players, PF1 is there for you to play.

Did I say that, or did you just decide it and then act like it's true?

(it's the latter)

Deriven Firelion wrote:
By design to make combats faster and more dangerous than PF1.

Okay, but is that actually good? What part of "hey the monster scored a crit so now you get to not play this combat" is supposed to be interesting? What part gives tactics or counterplay? Didn't people get annoyed by save-or-sucks stopping them participating in PF1? I know I did.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
PF2 was designed to be a faster game that is more challenging for the players.

More challenging seems like a success. Faster seems... false. It's still fiddly as f**+.

Also, if it's supposed to be fast and brutal, why is chargen such a f~&!ing chore of picking through mostly meaningless options? Like, D&D 2e is fast and brutal, but it doesn't make you read two hundred skill feats just to understand how the skill system works.

Deriven Firelion wrote:

So you just want to play PF1.
You don't want a difficult game. You want a game where you can customize your character to easily beat the dangers in the system.

Nope. Not at all! I never tried to do that in PF1, and watching other people doing it was super annoying! I picked deliberately weak build concepts and put time and effort into making them adequate!

I want either: 1) a game which isn't about combat, in which combat is over quickly so it doesn't get in the way, OR 2) a game where combat is involved and tactical, and my choices are meaningful. Like XCOM or something.
PF1 sort of managed the latter, but only if I picked the correct build. Something on the lines of a 2/3 caster. And only if nobody else pulled a munchkin. But still, there *was* a sweet spot in there that did that job some of the time. And that is literally the only reason I played PF1.
PF2 does not seem to be managing it so far. Spending actions equipping gear is not doing it for me as a tactical choice. Taking every defensive option available within concept and being dropped because the enemy rolled a fairly high number is also not doing it. Understanding that there are technically options like demoralise, but using them is mathematically a poor choice if I didn't build for charisma, is also not doing it. Possibly this is because I don't gravitate toward Str/Cha builds. Maybe the advice should be "build for Str or Cha or both"?

To be brutally honest, I've had a long-term 5e game going this last year, and we were playing low-optimisation builds with the GM just throwing stuff at us and seeing how we handle it. 5e is the "simple" edition, which is "tactics-light", right? And yet, that long-term 5e game has been tactically more interesting than any of the PFS2 games I've encountered, because we actually had meaningful options in fights. PFS2 has been either easy fights where the choices were obvious, more difficult fights where the choices were obvious but the dice rolls needed to be better, or borderline impossible fights where, again, the choices were obvious (raise shield because it might help, die anyway).
Oh wait, missed one: the fight where the choice that looked good on paper (moving into melee with a caster who thought they were safe behind difficult terrain) was actually a gotcha because said caster was way better in melee than at range.

So no, I don't really want to be playing PF1. Much of PF1 was crap, and it was a lot of effort. If I'm going to spend this much effort on rules and stuff, I would like to be playing an interesting tactical game. I just don't think PF2 is one, really. And people keep suggesting tactics that are either obvious (flanking? Chokepoints? Yes thankyou I know), not seeming to be useful (debuffing with techniques that you have to build for), impossible in PFS (do scouting and learn about foes before the encounter is triggered), or dependant on GMs breaking or bending the rules (knowledge checks, open-modifier dice rolling). I'm sat here waiting for the Wisdom of Stuff That Actually Works to be laid out by people who've played this more than me, any time now, and all I'm really getting is that if I played PF2 outside of a PFS context, and I went for a Cha caster or a Str-athletics build, then MAYBE there would be an interesting tactical game.

Which... I gotta say, is not really selling it. That's a lot of effort for a maybe.

But I do have to say thanks for one thing. Thinking about this has really made me appreciate my 5e GM more.

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Deriven Firelion wrote:
Low level characters have always been able to die quick, even in 3E and PF1. One non-crit hit could often bring you down.

Technically correct, but not really accurate, for three reasons.

First, optimisation. The maximum HP for a 1e character optimised for HP was like... 25 or so. Which is well out of the reach of single non-crits, and into "crit with a greataxe" territory. Okay, that's an extreme case, but it does demonstrate the increased customisability of first edition. Or to put it another way, first ed players could solve that problem if they wanted to. Take Toughness, and you aren't dropping to a non-crit longsword, even if you're playing a wizard.
Second, crits. They happen a lot more in PF2.
Third, "not being hit very often" was a viable defence in first ed. Sure, an 8hp starting wizard could drop to any old longsword... but the person playing that 7hp wizard could at the very least hide behind other characters. In an environment where most martials don't have AoOs, there's nothing to stop even melee enemies targetting whoever they like. Alternatively, they could cast some spells and maybe hit AC22 for a fight, which could see them through. Okay, that's probably with scrolls and that, but using resources was part of the game.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
Usually Recall Knowledge is recommended. Not going to be easy at low level.

Is it, though? Looking at Recall Knowledge as an action, I don't actually see how it helps. Even if we assume I have an action spare (lol), and that I can pass the DC, what it gives you is:

CRB wrote:
A character who successfully identifies a creature learns one of its best-known attributes—such as a troll’s regeneration (and the fact that it can be stopped by acid or fire) or a manticore’s tail spikes. On a critical success, the character also learns something subtler, like a demon’s weakness or the trigger for one of the creature’s reactions.

So... what use is that? "The big monster has a high strength score" is not useful intel. Neither are the examples given, honestly. I play in PFS, so if a manticore showed up we'd probably find out about the tail spike because combat would start with it tail spiking us.

I need to know whether I should just be running away, what defence I should be targetting, whether I have the mobility advantage, and if so what range I should be engaging at. You know, the sort of thing I could have got from recalling knowledge as a free action in PF1. But PF2 took that and... threw it away? I guess now I also need to know if it has AoOs, but the skill for finding stuff out about monsters doesn't give me that information.

Like, if scouting was viable, then sure I'd make the checks and hope for something useful. But even then I wouldn't expect much from this.

And ultimately this is what I don't get. People say PF2 is all about tactics, but tactics come from a position of having information and being able to exert some control. While my experience of PF2 is PFS games, where we get no information and have no control of anything important. We know nothing about the monsters, can't control the time of the engagement or even choose not to engage, we can't control the terrain we engage on, we just get thrown into a mess and then dice+numbers happen. AFAICS the limit of control in PFS is that sometimes you aren't caught with weapons sheathed, and sometimes you can flank the enemy. W00t!

I think Hsui nailed it:

Hsui wrote:

We have to understand that there are actually two PF2 games

PFS games - Combat tactics are much less useful because the setup of the scenario precludes most of them (e.g. lack of allowed scouting, ambush into small rooms, no room to dance out of the npc reach).

If the game mechanics give the enemies dangerous stats, and relies on players being brutally efficient to succeed, and PFS precludes you being efficient, then... why is PFS supposed to be the easy version, again?

I think PFS worked better with PF1 because there was more character optimisation there, which meant that being engaged on the monsters terms was not so bad.

CRB wrote:
My group usually stays in and swings to provide flanks for each other. Someone usually intimidates or tries to apply a status penalty or bonus.

So to apply that concept to PFS, I'd need to play a cha-based caster, to give myself more options for debuffs. Okay, cool. That's actually useful advice... though I'd still be guessing what defence to go for :(

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The Raven Black wrote:
In fact the bigger room has a pretty small entrance through which your party came and that can be used as a chokepoint.

... so we could have fought the one boss monster by only engaging one monster at a time?

I'm not sure you've understood the problem, here. It wrecked the hardest to kill character in the party in its first turn, before he got to act, by moving up to him and hitting him. Standing in a narrow spot and stopping it getting to the easier-to-hit parts of the party wasn't the problem, because it didn't do that. The fact that the toughest character on the team can drop because the monster rolls a 6+ on its first attack and an 11+ on its second (it didn't even crit!) is the problem.

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The Raven Black wrote:

Just checked. The fight should happen in the bigger room not in the small one. Also Research never states that you do not keep your weapons and shields at the ready.

The fight happened in the "bigger" room, which is still a room where you can't actually get away from the monster. The amount of space we'd need to fight that thing at level 1 is like... a football pitch, so we could just retreat across it while shooting.

As for research not requiring you to put away your weapons, that seems ridiculous to me. The characters spent six hours looking at a mural and copying parts of it down. A) that would require them to be writing things down, so they'd be using their hands for that and hence weapons would be sheathed, and b) standing around with weapons at the ready for six hours would be pretty silly even if somehow you weren't using your hands for something else.

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Squiggit wrote:
Do you remember which scenario that was?

2-01, citadel of corruption

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considerably wrote:
Severe encounters are going to be nail-biters, that's the whole point. I still don't think you should be straight up dying to it, though. The biggest risk would be if it downed a character with a critical hit, no one Stabilized them, and then they rolled a 1 or 2 on the DC 12 dying check.

+12 to hit, but yes seemed like it was level 4.

Ironically, it was not a nail-biter at all, because there wasn't any question we were going to lose. It won initiative, dropped the toughest character on the team, and then proceeded to drop everyone else in two more rounds.

And yeah, it could outright kill people with massive damage, if it crit. Which it would do on a 16. GG no counterplay!

Now, if we'd fought it in a large open space, with room to retreat, and we all had bows... yeah, maybe. But it was sprung on us in a confined space where we were not ready for combat because that was The Plot.

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YuriP wrote:
Don't underestimate the tactics. Many people don't understand how good could be the old "let's back to the door strategies" that exists since we have a battle map.

In all the PFS2 games I've played, there has only been two encounters where a chokepoint could technically have been used to help the PCs (and three where chokepoints worked against the PCS). One of those encounters started with most PCs two move actions away from said chokepoint, and not enough space on the map behind said chokepoint to actually fit the party in. The other started with the party one move action beyond the chokepoint and enough space to actually use it, but also engaged in melee with enemies who had AoOs and with an initiative order that meant we'd have had some issues retreating even if we'd had perfect co-ordination.

So what I'm saying is: "use chokepoints" isn't really advice I needed or could even implement. Though this has got me back on the idea that part of the problem is the way PFS sets up encounters.

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SuperBidi wrote:
PFS adventures are made with random players/characters. They have a strong potential in going south.

Yes, but also no.

Because yes, you might be in a party with no synergy. But also, a starting PC has an AC of 18, 20 with shield. So the boss monster hits on a 6, crits on a 16, and has a pretty decent chance of insta-killing an L1 PC. It may be a PFS thing that those numbers are so stupid high, but the problem isn't a lack of PFS player co-ordination.

The Raven Black wrote:
One encounter in one PFS scenario is not enough IMO to insultingly scorn the advice given by posters who only wish to help.

And if I'd had one encounter in one game, that would be a valid point. But if I bring the most egregious example from a string of games, and those posters who "only wish to help" have no useful advice, then maybe that's actually a sign there's some kind of problem with the game, or at least with the PFS statting.

Squiggit wrote:
I mean, clearly those tactics are working for other people, which is why they keep getting brought up.

Yeah, and I'm really not sure why. I've had a bunch of PFS games, and "move away from the boss monster so they have to spend an action coming after you" would not have been good advice in any of them, since I think they all had AoOs. Moving away from the mooks because they don't have AoOs... okay, that could be sound in theory. But many of them also had ranged attacks. "Don't engage the boss in melee at all" would have been useful advice, except that it was impossible in most of them, and the situations it could have been implemented were against ranged bosses... where it would still have been useful advice.

Maybe it's a PFS thing. PFS seems based around the paradigm of the encounter happening in a way that really suits the monsters. Maybe the PFS standard of just starting encounters as setpieces with no option for scouting or engaging from a different side or whatever is just not a good combination with a game like this.

I thought I was onto something building an archer, and I was. But while it was definitely more effective, and less frustrating, it was also less interesting to play.

Also, that whole "debuffing with cha checks" thing seems like it's only good advice for cha builds. With a cha 10 character, I'm being advised to throw an action and a dice, and if I get probably a 16 or 17 the boss will take a -1 penalty to stuff for one round? How is the arithmetic working out well there?
Still, maybe everyone giving that advice is playing cha builds? That could actually be the case. Is the advice here actually "play a cha build so you can use those options"?

Malk_Content wrote:

I think one of PF2s strengths is that no single piece of advice works in all situations. You have to be constantly evaluating the game, not just apply a tactic every single encounter.

Is your third attack more valuable than an opponents? Then don't move. If it is, then maybe moving is a good thing. Or if you are faster than your opponent, then you are trading a third attack for 2 enemy attacks etc.

That seems like reasonable advice, and actually seems like a good paradigm for a game. Just one small problem: how do you know? How do you know that your third attack is better than theirs? How do you know which defence you might target with some chance of success? Do you have some wacky thing where you get to see the monster stats? Because honestly, that might actually be a good way to do this. If you could actually see the odds of success, then yes that could make for a good tactical game. It works for a whole bunch of interesting computer games. But AFAICS PF2 goes "lol no, spend an action to recall knowledge and MAYBE we'll tell you something useful, or maybe we'll tell you that the monster with a special attack has a special attack, which might happen after it has already used its special attack". Is everyone else just looking up monster stats on the internet? Or memorising them?

(this is not sarcasm, I am seriously asking: is looking up monster stats the accepted meta?)

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Perpdepog wrote:
Oh, and the delightful "use debuffs", which is super-cool advice if you're a cha-based character, but otherwise it's just chucking a dice and hoping... which is exactly the thing you're not supposed to do with a third attack. Are we supposed to throw dice for a low chance of achieving something or not?
Sort of confused on this point, because charisma based skills aren't attacks, don't suffer MAP, so their effectiveness isn't dependent on when you use them during your turn. Well, their likelihood of success isn't impacted, at least.

No, but it was much lower to start with if cha isn't your primary stat. Sure it might be a better chance than a third attack at -10, but it's still chucking a dice and hoping for an unlikely high result.

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I love how the advice for newbies is "move around more", but moving away costs your enemy a third attack, and might give them a bonus AoO for a 0 MAP attack, which is a terrible trade as and when they have AoOs... which bosses tend to. Are players supposed to memorise which monsters have AoOs? Or just get lucky?
Also how you should move around more... but if you're in a module, it's quite likely you'll get dropped before you get to act because of the *delightful* penchant of modules to go "hey, monsters ambush you".
Oh, and the delightful "use debuffs", which is super-cool advice if you're a cha-based character, but otherwise it's just chucking a dice and hoping... which is exactly the thing you're not supposed to do with a third attack. Are we supposed to throw dice for a low chance of achieving something or not?

We had a TPK in a PFS 1-4 because the boss hit at +12 with d12+5 damage. Starting characters cannot deal with that, especially if the setup is "boss has drawn a weapon and is one move away, while you all have your weapons and shields sheathed because you were reading books, oh and also there's no option to run away because this is a small room".

Its super-cool that the advice for people who are having trouble is "use tactics, noobs", but none of the tactics proposed could actually work in the situations that people are encountering. That's great, much advice, very community.

I mean, half my recent characters have been neutral on the G/E axis. They go out and do "heroic" things reasonably often, but they always have an eye to getting paid in money or favours, or at least in good PR.

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Is "I am selfish/selfless in equal measure" actually a fun character to roleplay or be in a party with?

Well, for one it doesn't have to be deliberate or conscious. A person considering themselves good and selfless while actually not being is hardly an unusual occurance. I mean, if you say "her, who here is selfih, raise your hands", you're not usually going to see a lot of raised hands.

Is it fun to play? That's subhective, some people find it so. Is it fun to be in a party with? Can be. Nothing about it implies the character is boring or annoying... as long as they're not specifically meting out kindness and cruelty in deliberate equal measure. That would be pretty messed up.

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
But there's no real way to "do neutral", and I can't fathom what the "tenets of neutrality" would be

If good is selfless and evil is selfish, "neutral" might be thinking that selflessness can be self-destructive, while selfishness is society-destroying, and that therefore some sort of balance is appropriate?

I'd love to, but the only games I've got at the minute are PFS, so...

Mind you, I really like the idea of doubled class feats. Hell, just double all feats, why not? Let people pick up some of those ribbon abilities without shooting themselves in the foot.

I already have a spellbook, which is to say a printed-out table of spells with their effects and stuff listed. It's useful to the point of being necessary. Arithmancy would just add one box at the top to tally how many times I'd used it, and one very narrow column (heading A, digit 1-9 for each spell), and then it'd just be a spellcraft check for free +1 CL. If I can take ten, that's not even going to be a dice roll.

Is it worth it? IDK, it's always been banned in games I've been in. It's absolutely useless on armoured casters using Arcane Armour Training, because they also use a swift action. But for a pure caster it seems like a cheap way to get +1 CL. Okay, use-limited, but that's no bother. Getting +1 CL is consistently okay on damage spells, but I think it really shines on non-damaging stuff where an extra CL boosts the effect, like Resist Energy or Greater Magic Weapon.

Sacred Geometry:
The big problem with this feat is that some people are too good at mental arithmetic (like me! I am distressingly good at mental arithmetic), and will basically never fail if we have five or six dice to play with. So the question changes from "would you like a complicated feat with a risk of failure" to "would you like one or two free metamagics to every spell where they apply, at the cost of one feat, five or six skill ranks, and using your move action". Which... is too good. I mean, metamgics are a feat each, and free metamagics are an overpowered feat that's only available at level 15.

But yes, it would be fun :) Until everyone else metaphorically slapped me for taking the mickey.

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I think we could all get behind the idea of swapping bloodline spells out for other, similarly themed, spells. Right?

But also:

Abyssalwyrm wrote:

It's not like you can jump into melee, in... let say 10 round combat, hit twice for 40+ damage, and then cheerfully claim: "hey, guys, have you seen those two melee hits i landed?!"

Ranger: "Yeah, totally not like mine 30+ hits, for just poor 30+ damage each"

The pure sorc is somewhere between -1 and -3 to hit from the Ranger's first attack, and therefore at or better than the (flurry) ranger's second or subsequent attacks. If the flurry ranger is landing thirty hits in ten rounds then the target(s) must be pretty easy to hit on the ranger's third attack, which ought to be less accurate than the sorcerer's claws...

... unless of course the sorcerer has raised neither dex nor strength, and chose not to buy those handwraps to boost their accuracy?

Maybe if you're making up examples, make up one that has accurate numbers without the sorcerer player being incompetent.

Also, if the sorc player spent ten rounds in combat and didn't cast any spells besides this focus... why are they even playing a sorcerer?

"Oh no, I can't compete with martial characters for damage, in melee, using one first-level focus spell" is not a great argument for increasing the power of the focus spell.

Also, all these people complaining about this not being PF1... IDK if you remember, but claws were a dragon sorc thing there too. And required a specialised build to be more than a hilarious joke after about level 1. Of course, it would be nice not to repeat mistakes, but w/e, this game has any number of trap feats.

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Abyssalwyrm wrote:

Well, let me explain.

First edition pathfinder lived to the legacy of 3.5. Where you presented very broad variety of options. In particular you could be matrial-class with good spellcasting capabilities. As well as spellcaster who specialized in melee.

Okay. I'm sad about the lack of gishes too. 2/3 casters were my favourite, and I am profoundly unhappy that there are none in this edition.

Abyssalwyrm wrote:
But thing is, martial classes still get roughly 60% of spellcasting capability of spellcasting class, they multiclass into.

... but this is nonsense. And trying to get people on your side while saying things that are false is not helping this whole "consensus" thing.

At second level, multiclassing into wizard class means you have two cantrips. You can also use scrolls and wands.
At fourth level, it's one first-level spell, compared with five base, not counting wizard features.
At sixth, it's one first-level and one second level spell, compared with nine. So, 22% of casting power if we don't care about spell level and don't count wizard feats and features.
At eight, it's one third level, one second level, and maybe two first level spells if you spend a third feat. So 16% of casting power, again ignoring both spell level and wizard features.
At ten, yours haven't gone up. The wizard's have.
At twelve you can spend a fourth feat and get access to your first fourth level spell. At this stage you have a maximum of six spells per day, while a wizard has eighteen up to level six as base. So 33%, not 60%
At fourteen you get two extra spells, one at fifth level and one at third, total eight. The wizard has twenty-one.
At sixteen it's ten vs twenty-four.
At eighteen you get a seventh-level spell slot. Which means you now have twelve spells to the wizard's twenty-seven base. Still less than half.
At twentieth, you get an eight-level slot and now have fourteen slots... compared with the wizard's twenty-eight base (not counting feats and features). So half the slots in raw numbers, less than half once you add in wizard features, and missing the most powerful slots.

So no, martials with a casting dedication don't get "60% of casting power". Before level twelve a caster dedication is closer to being a first-ed one-third caster than a two-third one. It picks up a bit after that, but it never catches a PF1 2/3 caster in terms of numbers of spells.

Which is all a bit of a shame, because I really want a two-third caster.


Abyssalwyrm wrote:
How would that matter if you JUST... CAN'T... HIT?

So if you're using a secondary attribute instead of a primary attribute, you're 1 point behind. Except from 5-9 and 15-19, when you'd be on the same stat mod.

Meanwhile with proficiency, you'd start at trained, the same as everyone except a fighter, be 2 points behind from 5, same from 11, and 2 points behind from 13
So putting that together we get:
level 1-4 (-1), 5-9 (-2), 10 (-3), 11-12 (-1), 13-14 (-3), 15-19 (-2), 20 (-3)
Oh wait, I forgot magic items... except, casters can also get handwraps which apply to unarmed strikes, so those even out. But what about apex items? Well, looking at the WBL table, it seems like a dedicated martial would have one of those in their to-hit attribute at 17, while a caster wouldn't reasonably be able to grab one until 19.
level 1-4 (-1), 5-9 (-2), 10 (-3), 11-12 (-1), 13-14 (-3), 15-16 (-2), 17-18 (-3), 19 (-2), 20 (-3)

It's a bit of a janky relationship, but it's always between -1 and -3. So I guess if you "just can't hit", that also means by extension that Flurry rangers are a total waste of time, since their whole gimmick is making second attacks at -3?

So no, I don't really get it. This option is like a second attack on a martial who is specifically good at second attacks, with no feat investment beside what brought you here. And you want it buffing because... it ought to be as good as a martial character's primary attacks while also being on a full-casting chassis?

Maybe you should campaign for a sorcerer version of the magus using claws? That seems way more plausible.

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The arguments aren't to "fix" the problem, merely to expose the problem for what it is: A bad focus spell that is a trap feature to the bloodline choice.

Okay, but at what point do you go "it's a trap option" and then stop talking about it? Because right now it seems like the plan is... never?

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
(stuff comparing fighters to sorcerers)

I don't get it. If you want to play a melee dragon-type character, you have options. Like, dragon instinct barbarian, or fighter with a sorc dedication, or probably a bunch more - I'm right now thinking thief rogue could use those claws. And if you want to play a stand-off sorc who casts spells outside melee, you can do that. As a dragon sorc, even, since you know, they have spells besides this one. And if you want a sorc with a useful bloodline spell there are others you say do the job, so that's okay too. So the problem is what? That you specifically want to play PF2, specifically want to play a sorcerer, specifically want to play the dragon bloodline, specifically want to use the dragon claws, specifically don't want to multiclass, and... think the dragon claws are bad?

Okay, so what if you're right? What do you expect to happen here? Do you think you're going to spend hours arguing with random people on the internet who couldn't fix your problem even if they wanted to and something good is going to come of it?

Look, the solution is simple: if you're in a home game, talk to your gm and suggest a buff for the claws that makes them work better. If not, don't play dragon. But don't keep bringing up weird and not really accurate comparisons like that's going to achieve something.

EG: this is misleading, and I hope you know it:

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Heck, a Fighter with 2 or 3 spellcasting feats and a trained skill (certainly reasonable for Aid Another activities, at the least) can buff themselves with Blur, Haste, Mirror Images, and more, a couple times a day;

A non-caster with a three feat investment has dedication, basic spellcasting, and either breadth or an extra feat (which could be a focus spell). That means that from L8 onward (before which, they do not have Haste) they're either buffing themselves with exactly one haste, exactly one mirror image, zero blurs (because they used their singular L2 slot on mirror image), and two level one spells, or they're swapping a level one spell for a caster feat (possibly granting a focus spell). Or to put it another way, they spent three class feats to purchase some cantrips and casting power equivalent to owning 640gp worth of wands. That might or might not seem good at 8th level when wealth by level is 1,100 gp, but it's probably going to seem less and less relevant as wealth goes up. At level 13 the WBL is 6400 total, so this non-caster has traded three of eight class feats in order to gain about a 10% gold increase, and at 20th WBL is 112K so... yeah. Guess they'd retrain out of that at some point. Or keep going and trade five feats for 33,060gp worth of wands in terms of spell slots (though granted having them as slots does give more flexibility than a pile of wands has).

I really don't understand why you keep acting like being a martial with a multiclass dedication is even remotely comparable in casting power to being a full caster. The power of full casting really looks like it's in spell slots, not in spell attack proficiency.

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Temperans wrote:
* P.S. We have gone from Sorcerers need 5 monk feats and 2 feats from archetype that is at least uncommon. To Sorcerers need 5 monk feats, 2 feats from another archetype, and at least 2 general feats. Just to reach a spot where the Sorcerer is still worse than a Monk who spent just 5 feats on Sorcerer.

... so the sorcerer is worse than a monk because the monk can get multiclass spell progression and that makes a full casting class irrelevant because their level one focus ability isn't very useful? Is that really what you're saying?

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Ravingdork wrote:
You can't retrain bloodlines generally, so at best such characters are stuck with a class feature they never want to use.

Okay, but that only matters in like, PFS or something. Squiggit is the GM, so they can decree that retraining is an option, or make it faster and cheaper, or pretend the character was never demon bloodline, or even make re-bloodlining a plot point.

Though, the point about treading around trap options is one I totally get. I don't like it myself.

Squiggit wrote:
I don't anymore, but I've had players try to in other games and get incredibly frustrated when their characters routinely fail as a result.

Well, it seems like you could:

a) advise them that they're not great options
b) point them in the direction of Retraining
c) alter the spells to work better

Seems to me like they could be spell attack rolls without wrecking anything.

Squiggit wrote:
How often do you use Eldritch Nails or Glutton's Jaws on your Sorcerers and Witches, then?

Serious question: why are you even taking these options if you think they are bad?

I spent some time trying to build options for a snakey medusa, drider, and glirtablilu (scorpion centaurs). More for the intellectual curiosity than anything else, since I'd no game to use them in.

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Temperans wrote:
But we are talking about casters trying to use their melee CLASS abilities. So are you saying the very idea of using their abilities is a standing in the wrong spot then?

Am I understanding correctly, that this whole multi-page argument exists because some of the caster focus spells are bad? I mean, I don't want to be rude, but it does seem to me like character building in this game is all about weighing up your options, because everything has a significant opportunity cost so... can't you just write off those options as bad and move on? That's what I end up doing with about half of all class feats and a bunch of ideas that seem like they should be cool.

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Calybos1 wrote:
We don't want to enroll in a military academy and become combat specialists; we want to make combat go away faster.

Well, if you know what you want (less/no combat), that's good! But maybe the solution is not to be playing a combat-focussed game? Pathfinder, and D&D more generally, have a lot more rules devoted to combat than anything else, because combat is expected to be important. If you don't really want the combat, I suggest talking to your GM and getting a new setting and system with less of it.

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Verdyn wrote:
Rules balance aside, shouldn't the stronger, more dexterous, smarter, ect. person always just be better than the equally skilled person when using that skill? How do you logically square the circle and suspend your disbelief when something like this comes up?

Well, it doesn't make sense. But does that matter? The question was "is assurance bad" (and by extension "what uses are there for it") not "does assurance make sense".

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My admittedly small experience of PFS2 has so far seen an awful lot of encounters where melee was at some kind of painful disadvantage. Between flyers, archers the other side of a field of traps, spellcasters whose spells are meh but who will wreck you in melee, teleporting enemies, debilitate-on-hit attacks, the difficulty of "draw weapon, move to position, use shield, oh what no actions left to hit?", bottlenecks working against the PCs, and of course the monster who crit on a 16 and TPKd the party because we tried to stand and fight instead of immediately fleeing... playing as melee characters has been profoundly unrewarding. Hence my current plan is to play primarily as an archer, but switch to melee as and when necessary.

Now granted, I'd assume that archery is usually going to face at least -1 to hit from minor cover, and I'm currently pondering the shortbow/longbow question (probably going to go shortbow when I can actually afford a composite one in one more game). Also my first attempt at this is a flurry ranger and I'm wondering what I should be doing instead of relatively low-value third attacks, but... I am definitely seeing the advantage of wandering around with bow in hand.

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Watery Soup wrote:
It doesn't matter whether the obvious trap was obvious to the players. It wasn't an obvious trap to the characters,

Well, no. But they didn't act like it was an obvious trap. They acted like it was suspicious, which it was.

Ravingdork wrote:
But Deception specifically states that "Success The target believes your lie."

Well then the problem is this rule, and specifically the application of it to player characters. If you try to use this on players it is always going to cause trouble, because it's a mundane skill that exists in the real world, and in the real world it doesn't work like that.

I am a real human being in the real world (and definitely not a swarm of bees in a human suit), and I have had several instances of human beings lying right to my actual face without me noticing they were lying based on their body language, but where I've either known they were lying from other sources or discovered later that they were lying. I can therefore conclude that my own ability to detect lies is not perfectly accurate. With that information in mind, I can avoid trusting people in scenarios where their story doesn't stack up with the evidence. Like, say, this one.

Personally, I'd chalk this one up to poor adventure design. Or maybe ask your players why they played it that way just to make sure, and then chalk it up to poor adventure design. At the end of the day, it's just not a very good lie to tell.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
Maxed out main stat item (Highly desirable for martials and Necessary for casters)

People usually put belt and headband as two of them, because most characters would really like both. Still...

With regards to PF2, while the lack of number bonuses outside the obvious runes is nice, I keep feeling like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Like I've missed something really important, and any minute now someone is going to point it out, and I'm going to facepalm so hard I knock myself out.

Patriot moved back down Castlegate somewhere, and no longer have a gaming space :( Though, when they did, they didn't have regular PFS specifically, just Monday night open RP. People could just about have run PFS if they'd started early and not overrun.

Mind you, I'm not actually sure that face-to-face gaming is even allowed under whatever lockdown rules we're currently on. :/

I know some people who do a bit of PFS, but Ian knows them too, so probably go through him. :)

It's one of those complicated enemy-motivation questions, at the end of the day. I have a character with a familiar and sneak attack. If she can't get her damage in any other way, her familiar can flank for her. If it does, I'd fully expect it to be targeted by non-Mindless foes - the process of flanking is not something the enemy can miss!

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Yqatuba wrote:
I've never been entirely sure, but I assume it's because treating all suits of armor like onesies is just easier than having to calculate each piece?

It's because Pathfinder is a rehash of a system that was a rebuild and complexifying of a system that was a neatening of a system that was an extremely simple base system with a whole bunch of extra tat tacked on, where said original simple base system came from wargaming where parsimony with the dice rolling is important, and as such weird approximations are built right into the core of it.

I mean, if you want to get fundamental, that's why.

No. Because they don't have the original familiar.

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a pencil eraser with a horse drawn on it.

OmniMage wrote:
There is no staves of acid or lightning (at least not in the core rulebook). So I prepared myself to make my own, but there doesn't appear to be much of selection of spells for energy types either. Acid has the least.

Dragon's Breath, maybe? Custom staff, obvs, but you could keep it as the same item for each caster.

Diego Rossi wrote:

Lightingbolt instead bounced on the obstacles it was unable to destroy. You could do amazing things calculating the angle of reflection and using the rebounds to sweep an area or double bach on enemies.

Or you can be Jimmy (again that player) and hit twice the character of the player that said 5 minutes before the event: "Remember, guys, I will be in that corridor, invisible. Don't use lightingbolt!"

*flashbacks to Baldur's Gate and one lightning bolt killing half the party with bounces*

I think you'd get the better of Iceplant Hex and lizard person, plus dragon disciple, plus amulet/barkskin/ironskin (ironskin is a witch spell).

Derek Dalton wrote:
I'm a two handed weapon damage dealer and Witches don't get the Shield spell trying to boost my armor any way I can.

I think you could use a Vibrant Purple Prism ioun stone to cast Shield, if you can get someone on your team to cast it into the item. It's 2k, so fairly affordable at some point. The stone casts at minimum CL, so wand recharges can work.

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Die, Sculpt Corpse, Raise Dead. Easier than Wish, though you do have to trust somebody. For added cheapness while adventuring, just have it as an "in case of death" instruction, which will come up sooner or later.

Of course, the cheaper solution is to get a hat of disguise.

So you're a hybrid deinonychus who constantly swigs booze? I... don't know if I love it or hate it, but I'm definitely impressed.

In PF most of my characters can heal HP with a wand. In Baldur's Gate using 2e rules, I needed (mostly) dedicated healers, usually two in a party of six, and I had to stop regularly to heal and then recover healing spells. Neither is ideal, but the wand solution is better, and that's bearing in mind BG is a computer game and I control the whole party. Committing a character to that role when it's the only character the player gets to play seems... how should I put it politely? Like a major imposition on the player being committed to the role. I don't want to play that, and I don't want to commit my friends to playing that either. Use wands! Or 5e hit dice and short rests. Or something else.

In a home game I'd allow it for non-goblins. Because it's cool.

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Sysryke wrote:
I'm curious to hear about any games people played where you had to get outside of you role-playing box.

Playing Blades in the Dark. It's a game you play in author stance rather than actor stance, so you're deciding stuff because you think its cool or because of the numbers, rather than character motivations, and you're dictating social interaction approaches rather than acting through them.

... that's probably not what you meant. In terms of skillset I tend to default to high int/dex and skills. In terms of attitude I tend to pick NG-CN and team players.

Last time I played evil it was a full evil party trying to save the world from a cosmic horror because the world was where all our stuff was and also our bosses told us to. After we solved the problem, in space, I stole the teleporting machine and abandoned the party... which meant I had a full haul of all four minor artifacts we'd found to buy myself a nice retirement back in Elfland. But still, team player apart from that. ;)

One of my characters is *slightly* outside my usual dynamic in that she's headstrong/cocky/violent enough that she gets stuck in first, without really stopping to think about it.

It seems to me that if you want to run "your camp got looted" as a plotline, you probably want to take some steps so it doesn't feel unfair. Maybe the PCs get back and their stuff is gone, but one or two of the NPCs got away from the fracas, and can show them which way the thieves went. So it can seem more like a plotline rather than an arbitrary punishment.

My problem with the druid is that it can do a lot of different things, but you have to pick one to focus on, and I get option paralysis. Also I like playing elves and elves make bad druids, despite fluff.

Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
The player says he doesn't understand how folks consider this 3/4 BAB class a potential melee monster... I have to admit that I've also wondered the same thing... Hitting seems to be the problem for non-multiclass druids though. How do you solve it?

If you spec for melee you should be able to start with a str of like, 17 or 18. That's a +4 mod by 6th when wildshape becomes beast shape 2, so you can become Large critters for -1 to hit, but +4 str. Str 22 becomes 24 with a belt of str. Also you can get Pounce. So you shapeshift into a Dire Tiger or something and pouncecharge with three attacks +grab and two more from Rake, with a base +12 to hit (4 BaB, 7 Str, 2 charge, -1 size), which bearing in mind the bestiary AC target is 19 or so is pretty good. Add on an amulet of mighty fists, weapon focuses, and maybe an ioun stone or something as you level, and it's impressive.

Mind you, I picked level 6 because that's when you get pounce and a second wild shape. It's pretty meh-looking at level 1.

At its most basic level I've only used it for skill checks, though to be fair I do that a lot - raising social skills so you can reliably hit ten is a thing. In combat I think giving up a standard action to raise someone else's attempt by 10% is pretty niche, to put it mildly. Is there really nothing better I could be doing? Are my own attacks totally ineffective? So far the answers are "yes", and "no", respectively.

But then, I've never played a bodyguard build, which is something I've been meaning to do for a while. Reach + combat reflexes is theoretically good on its own, so adding bodyguard and one trait (that will also help skill checks) is not that big a deal.
Class is a bit of an issue though. Ideally I'd want arcane casting and Long Arm, with 3/4 bab or better. Bloodrager doesn't really appeal, so maybe the vigilante with 2/3 casting and the wizard list.

Mind you, the idea that everyone in the world who is good at this one useful fighting technique were all either halflings or raised by halflings does make me gag a bit.

VoodistMonk wrote:
As a big, dumb fighter, I am always complaining about the Wizard magic'ing problems away... I don't try get developers to nerf Wizards. Why? Because I have no d@mn right or desire to do so...

I'm not super convinced that the lance-pounce thing was a caster vs martial thing. It seems to me that the people most put out by epic martial pounce damage are people playing other martial characters who for whatever reason do not have access to pounce.

I don't think the grayflame property is affected by the question of whether the target is healed or harmed by positive or negative energy. It checks alignment and alignment only.

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