Yes, BNW for real niche protection you will want classes to have unique and powerful skill options that are walled off from other classes. Still if you can make an operative that is essentially as good (in terms of a raw bonus) as the other classes in all the relevant skills it is a real problem. So to answer your question it is a bit of both. Operatives are over tuned and the other classes need more cool and unique skill options to better defend their home turf.
Bretl makes a stronger point then mine even. Just allow full level to damage on all weapons period. This is a simple fix that is easy to understand and implement. Sure operatives will do a little more damage overall as they level up but the main issue with this class is how they overshadow every other class in the skill department.
Characters that want to be more competent in battle will still move to long arms (or other options) but at least small arms will be a passable out of the box option.
@Gaulin - A technomancer is the equivalent of a bard or magus and is not a full caster like a wizard. They should do reasonable damage when attacking with a ranged weapon right out of the gate. Small arms do not do a reasonable amount of damage for anyone but an operative.
It is alright for small arms to do less damage but then they are double penalised with weapon specialization being half as effective (for small arms) it leads me to think that most casters would be much better off with a great axe than a laser pistol and that is just dead wrong for all sorts of reasons. :)
It is generally best to explain with words and to include keywords outside the main body of the text. 4th edition D&D did this very well in my opinion. Designing complex games rules that are easily absorbed by the reader is a difficult process so getting it exactly right is just not going to happen every time.
CorvusMask makes an excellent point here and an online reference tool makes referencing scattered text much easier than in a printed book. Still reading a printed book (or pdf) is probably the best way to learn the rules (as opposed to referencing the rules) so organisation of the rules remains important.
This is ugly but it is not like there is not ugliness in the original PF rules. Wild Shape (in PF1) is a great example of a rule set that is found in multiple locations and can easily confuse new players. The main difference is that we know (and love) the quirks of the old system but may be less tolerant to learn quirks for an entirely different system. Most of us came into PF1 with years of 3.0/3.5 under our belt so picking it up was quick and painless (for the most part).
I think that many players were fooled by how different the two systems (PF1/PF2) actually are on a mechanical level and that it will take an actual commitment to learn the game as opposed to picking up Starfinder which was dead easy considering that most players already knew the original Pathfinder game.
Making use of key words is really good way to keep the level of confusion and discussion down and to consolidate your game terms in one section of your book. When you have ambiguously defined terms you slow down the game and give the GM a headache.
All that being said BNW makes a great point in that the rules should be understandable and accessible. If that means more words on the page then so be it. The rules should read like an RPG and not like a tactical war game or a legal document. So the writers have to be judicious in how they use these keywords so they enhance and not interfere with how the reader is able to absorb these rules.
I have noticed that since I responded to a discussion thread in one of my PbP games that my avatar picture will turn into a blue lovable character whenever I type this word in the body of the message(SMU-F). I am wondering if this was done intentionally by Paizo or if it could be a malicious script?
R is the fourth letter of the word that I left out in the word above.
@Xenocrat - My assumptions are different from yours in terms of statistics. I pick numbers that I am likely to see in an actual game. 22 Dexterity seems excessive at level 5 for an Operative and would be a very fringe pick for a Technomancer. How are you even getting more than a 21 Dexterity at this point anyways?
@Gaulin - You are right about this. Operatives should be better at fighting than casters. My whole point is that small arms should be good enough that characters will want to use them and not be railroaded into using longarms to do decent damage.
Like Gaulin said. Please keep it civil. :)
I agree with you Davor. I would much rather have my casters casting spells than firing weapons anyways but I feel that this is not really the point. Small arms as is are not effective for anyone but operatives. This is a real problem thematically in a space fantasy type setting where you want players to feel that they can freely switch from spell to space weapon at a moment's notice and be reasonably effective.
Not to be contrary but showing is much more persuasive than telling. My initial analysis looks at 5th level characters against a CR 4 opponent with an EAC of 16. The full attacking Technomancer will score an average of 8.5 damage while a comparable Operative will score an average of 12.2 damage a round. This is assuming that the Technomancer has longarm proficiency and versatile specialization with the longarm in question. So they are not even remotely close. This is also assuming sonic weapons which do good damage and are not commonly resisted against.
I can show you the math if you like and we can look at other level points as well to see if your statement has any validity.
To be fair there are other areas that could use some shoring up. These are the two top (other) problems that pop into my mind.
Class balance: operatives are clearly too good in this system. It would take a skilled player to play another class and keep up with the operative in terms of damage and skills. Most builds from other classes will not even come close. The floor for this class is way too high. Play an operative and win the game without even trying.
Weapon balance and weapon specialization: Small arms are almost useless for any class but the operative. The caster classes (generally) do not have proficiency with better ranged weapons so are forced down the path of using their feats to catch up with other classes, use spell gems to be exclusive casters or insanely decide to focus on a basic weapon and grab a great axe.
Personally if they were to reboot Starfinder I would prefer that they do more of an update (so a 1.5 version) than to make it more like Pathfinder 2e mechanically. What I like about Starfinder is that it is so very much like the original Pathfinder mechanically but streamlined in some areas (for example critical hits or grappling). If they continue to refine and simplify the rules and work to correct the obvious problem areas then they can have a game that is both improved and very easy to learn.
@GM Roll4initiative - Are we close enough to town to make use of spell casting services for multi-hour spells? The description in the module is too vague to know. :)
If Jhaeman does not decide to play then someone that can handle traps and fight would be ideal. I think that the party would be better served with an alchemist, a bard or an investigator than a rogue. It is build dependent of course but most rogues do not pull their weight. :)
I could bring my 6th level wizard with his Earth Elemental combat familiar to allow players to bring their martial characters. That would still be PFS legal (playing down) but not within the 3-5 stated range so it would be up to the GM. He has a free body recovery boon if needed and enough gear to sell should he die.
^You can run it in CORE but realistically you have to expect the party to be either completely optimised or at the upper edge of the level range (level 5's playing down in a 3-4) to have a good chance of survival. A TPK here for a randomly selected party is not only possible but probably the most likely outcome if the party intends to see it all the way to the end.
All that being said it can be done (and has been done before). People just have to go in with the right expectations. :)
Nice guide. :)
I do think it is possible to have a skill monkey cleric with the right archetype (Herald Caller or Cardinal for example), reasonable intelligence and a skilled race. Add in a Sage/Figment familiar for even more monkey power.
I would really love to see a section for the best cleric spells pulled from all the sources. Perhaps limit it to 4/5 or greater spells as the cleric spell list is long.
The easiest way to store your character sheets and chronicle sheets are in a solid 3-ring binder with nice divider sheets. You can organise them anyway you like but I like to sort them by type of campaign, character and then by character level. This way you always have everything you need in order for that character and can find it quickly. Paper copies are the best way to go to preserve your sanity and to easily reference a character at any time as long as they are properly organised.
Then if you wish you can always scan in (or save) your characters and chronicle sheets to store electronically. If you wish to do so then follow the excellent suggestions provided in the previous posts.
I think that Hmm has the right approach. Find a system that works for you and then stick to it.
Personally I love this archetype and it fits my play style but to be fair it is well balanced against a well built school wizard. Losing the school power is not the biggest deal IMO and your familiar you can get back with an exploit (well worth it) but losing a spell per spell level is very significant.
That being said I really, really like Potent Magic.
I find that a person can learn by asking probing questions. They either refine their own knowledge or better inform the person that they are asking. The only problem is that asking questions can be annoying and for that I do apologise. :)
Chaine "The Butcher" Alazario wrote:
Xilt puzzles me: favored class alchemist, and arcane reservoir/arcane exploits despite being a wizard? is this the result of some kind of archetype / feats / chronicle boon? PS: interested to know for a campaign mode Strange Aeons character I'm building...
Xilt started off his career as an alchemist and latter retrained his first two levels of alchemist into wizard (at third level) so this explains his unusual choice of favoured class being alchemist. This is clearly not optimal. :)
In terms of his exploits, well his is simply a straight wizard with the exploiter archetype. That is simple enough.
I just find it hilarious that you are pushing a tier 1-2 run for what is to most people a very hard to find capstone event. However if that is what you want to do then more power to you. It is so deliciously ironic. :)
I noticed a player that I know in the waiting list for 16-19 and I would be grateful if another slot was opened up in the 16-19 category so as many people can make the climb to 20th level as possible.
I am certainly extremely interested in playing Moonscar and I really appreciate you saving me a seat. :)
Fireball could be a good option or not depending on the circumstances. I would say that if you are fighting a group of low CR enemies that are not resistant to fire then being able to do 24.5 points of damage (as per your example) to each of them on average is a very good deal as the total damage dealt can be very high. If you are able to target at least four opponents you are looking at almost 100 hit points of damage with a single third level spell. That is pretty good in my book. Also never forget that blowing up enemies with Fireball is fun. Haste might be a better spell pound for pound but it is not as satisfying as yelling boom as the fireball scorches your enemies.
I think that Fireball is worth a spell known but others might disagree. What I like about spells that do damage is that damage stacks. So your fireball damage from last round will add nicely to your full attack routine this round.
I would not worry about flying. There are scrolls and potions for that and it is a more fun (and effective) play style to use your character's spell resources for combat use and save your consumables for utility use when needed.
Dazing with Magic Missiles is probably better than it looks as the Will DC save is going to be quite low for a Bloodrager casting a first level spell. I would rather target Reflex saves at higher levels than Will saves if given a choice. With the Magic Missile spell I would go with Toppling instead. Cheap and effective if used against humanoids. :)
Dazing Flaming Sphere could be fun. It is a two round daze, a multi-round spell (so multiple attempts) and it targets Reflex.
I think that you are setting the bar a little bit too high for a martial class if you are not happy with a naked 10d6 Fireball as a standard action. Sure with Dazing or Quickened (for two 10d6 Fireballs) it is much better but for a pure martial class this is still good. If you can catch multiple opponents (say four or more) you will still do a ton of total damage.
Rods are good but difficult to handle for a martial. There is Aroden's Spellsword or Glove of Storing but both options are expensive. My high level Bard often struggled needing to hold the rod (and then drop it after casting) and never wanted to invest in Quick Draw. Also Full-Round casting time hurts spontaneous casters especially martials that want to close the distance. Prepared casters seem to get all the love with better spell progression and much better magical support with Pearls of Power and more efficient use of Meta-magic rods.
Dazing spell is a good suggestion for this build.
There is a balancing act required here to limit the number of meta-magic feats and overall resources going into the spell casting but still be effective and fun. In my mind Quicken spell is really attractive and would be my first pick of feats. Now the real question is how many feats can the Bloodrager's limited (but growing) pool of bloodrage support and when should you invest in these feats? I have my own ideas on the topic but I am curious how other people think.
The favored class option of extra bloodrage rounds is the same for Human and Dwarf so that is a good selection of races.
In terms of Constitution you can potentially shave 1-2 rounds off my total if you like however that brings up an even more important point than being able to meta-cast or not. Bloodragers NEED a solid constitution because they are typically front-line fighters. I find that many players hate spending their points (or upgrades) on Constitution but it really pays dividends for fighting characters who just need a huge pile of hit points in case things go wrong. A lot of time you can mitigate damage but sometimes things happen and your character just gets hit with a ton of damage. Being super-tough really, really helps your survival.
All of these assumptions depends on your character's build, play style and environment of course. I play exclusively PFS so I am expecting a maximum of 12-15 combat rounds maximum per scenario.
That being said I am expecting my Bloodrager if she ever reaches level 10 to have 37 rounds of Bloodrage by level 10 (base (4) + 20 con (5) + level 2-10 (18) + favored class option for Half-Orc(10). So that leaves me roughly 25 rounds of rage to burn at level 10. So she can afford to cast an Empowered Fireball followed by a Quickened Fireball in the same round and still rage all day long if she likes. I am not saying that DD is the best use of quickened spells (maybe a quickened Haste and Mirror Image would be a better use of the rounds) but it sure would be fun to use at least some of the time. :)
These ideas are not exactly new and have been mentioned by others before but I just want to echo the point that casting and meta-magic can be a better option then many people think for the Bloodrager.
Opinions vary a lot but I feel that the direct damage options of Bloodragers can be alright if used in the right circumstances. You have full bab and a decent dexterity and full caster level so any range touch spell should be pretty good for an enemy out in the open and out of your reach. That is pretty well (except maybe for the use of a quickened spell) the only time that you should be using these types of single target spell anyways. Most of the time you should be hitting them with your big honking sword or hammer.
People complain a lot about the DCs of Bloodrager spells but a 10th level Bloodrager could easily cast a 10D6 Fireball with a Reflex DC of 16 or better. If you are fighting a swarm or can hit multiple opponents then this can be a good use of your turn. Now if you quicken a Fireball first before your regular casting you are pumping up the volume to 20D6 which is even better. You should not try to compete with the wizard or sorcerer but only attempt to pick and choose the right time to cast your limited spells to best effect.
It is great that the system allows people to build the same class in such different ways to suit their priorities. I simply find that Quickened spells are generally worth the cost. My high level Bard was happy to cast 5th or 6th level slots to quicken his low level spells so what is a few rounds of rage in comparison. Generally I think that going Human/Half-Orc/Dwarf for your build is best so you can pick an extra round of rage every level as a favored class option. I agree that spending feats on Extra Rage is unappealing.
Some fantastic things you can do with a quickened spell are:
1) Blade Lash - Almost a guaranteed auto-trip as a swift action, followed up by your full attack and the full attacks of your party.
2) Snowball/Shocking Grasp - Finish off the boss before he can attack again all as a swift action. The GM was laughing when you left the big bad at 5 hit points. He is not laughing anymore. :)
3) Mirror Image - Instant defence for when things get rough.
4) See Invisibility/Glitterdust - Now your opponent can be attacked at full strength this round.
5)Haste - Fun for the whole party and you don't lose your turn casting it.
6)Force Hook Charge - Do some force damage and then pretend you are a Magus and full attack after your charge. For extra profit activate your Spell Storing weapon as well.
There are too many other options to list...
Nice guide and it is even nicer that people are still contributing to 1st edition. I do think that the Metarager archetype is perhaps a bit better than you give it credit for. Metamagics like Quicken spell and to a lesser extent Empower or Maximise make it extremely tasty.
By 5th level you can quicken 1 spell/day. By 8th-9th level you are looking at perhaps 2 spells/day and this is without investing feats and such in Extra Rage. A quickened spell can radically change the flow of a combat at lower levels helping to finish off a combat instantly, cast to give you a decided advantage or most importantly save your behind. It is a really nice ace in the hole that virtually no other character is able to pull out this early in their career and it helps to make the Bloodrager's admittedly limited spell casting abilities much more valuable.
I would be down for total random draw on everything. Let Lady Luck decide who we might face. :)
I have played this one at least twice before with different characters but the random factor makes it fresh each time. It is a nice change of pace to have a non-plotted old style hack-n-slash adventure once in a while.
I made a few minor tweaks to my character as well.
1) Intellect reduced from 5 to 4.
2) Dark vision reduced to low-light vision.
3) Luck reduced from rank 2 to rank 1.
4) Perception increased from Rank 7 to Rank 11 for a total bonus of +15.
5) Ultra-hearing added.
6) Added a new alternative effect for my character's Alchemical Concoctions array: "Alchemical Blade" - Damage Rank 8 (electricity), Accurate Rank 2 (+4 to hit),Split Rank 1, Reach Rank 1. (1 point)
I am just verifying that the split advantage can be added to a damage effect as it is a resistible effect in my mind.
Doctor Night - PL 6 (90 pp)
Strength 0, Stamina 8, Agility 4, Dexterity 0, Fighting 0, Intellect 4, Awareness 4, Presence 0
"Natural Camouflage" - Concealment rank 3 (Normal Sight and Normal Hearing) (Blending Flaw -1 cost per rank) (3 points)
"Prodigious Leaper" - Leaping Rank 4 (4 points)
"Enhanced Senses" -
Hearing: Accurate Normal Hearing 2 Ranks (2 points), Extended Normal Hearing 1 Rank (1 point), Ultra-Hearing 1 Rank (1 point).
Danger Sense (Hearing) 1 Rank (1 point).
Vision: Extended Normal Vision 1 Rank (1 point), Low-Light Vision 1 Ranks (1 points).
Alchemical Concoctions: (12 pt Array)
- "Nauseating Stench Elixir" Affliction Rank 6, resisted by Fortitude. Conditions - Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated , Area (Burst, 30 feet)(12 Points)
- "Dragon Breath Potion" - Damage Rank 6 (Acid), Area (Line, 5 wide, 30 feet long). (1 point)
- "Webbing Spittle" - Affliction Rank 6, resisted by Dodge. Conditions - Vulnerable, Immobile, Paralysed, Area (Cone 60 feet) (1 point)
- "Marvellous Paints" - Create Rank 5,precise,subtle.(1 point)
- "Healing Draught" - Healing Rank 6 (1 point)
- "Alchemical Blade" - Damage Rank 8 (electricity), Accurate Rank 2 (+4 to hit),Split Rank 1, Reach Rank 1. (1 point)
Quirky Magic - Alchemy is not an exact science and sometimes it might go askew leading to an interesting situation.
Secret Identity - Graduate student (John Graves).
Responsibility - John wishes to help where he can and to put his new powers to good use.
Power Point Totals: Advantages 4 + Abilities 40 + Skills 11 + Defenses 4 + Powers 31 = 90 Points