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Nice! That's quite solid and close to what I was looking for. A debuff that has a good level of power against single targets. It's also fun for everybody else in a way that summons aren't, especially since debuffs makes it easier for people like the party bard to land their own spells.

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Hmmmm. The pathfinder SRD clearly indicates that you can only use one metamagic rod per spell.

That said, I'd never thought about a Non-SM9 for spell perfection. I do notice that I have trouble dealing with the One Powerful Enemy. Everything is either a battlefield control spell or a summon that doesn't do much against real threats.

I like the ice spears idea. I also like the notion of Enervation as the single-target backup plan-- what would be a good feat commitment to making Evervation work?

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The "Anti-Magic Field" thing is also pretty annoying because it's a blatant overcorrection. So instead of worrying about combats being dominated by high-level casters, let's just do what we can to take all magic out of the equation entirely. So, in theory, the caster is either crushing the encounter or is totally useless.

Don't get me wrong, AMF can make for some fun gimmick encounters, but any gimmick gets old if you over-use it. Every so often, it can be cool. But if my GM is throwing an AMF into every third combat, I'll probably be taking him aside, asking him what the deal is with the frequency of anti-caster encounters, and ask him to knock it off.

It's not even like AMF even "balances" anything. After all, if the GM wants to get you then they'll get you every time. It just comes across as a lazy catch-all plot device for nerfing casters completely since it's too hard to think of situations that a full caster actually can't get around.

Heck, after the 5th or 6th AMF, I'd probably just have my wizard walk out of the range, teleport away, and ask the group to call me back when there's an encounter I'm supposed to be able to contribute to.

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I don't think OOC combat tactics necessarily constitute metagaming. I think it's reasonable to assume that the PCs spend a lot of time "off camera" talking their way through tactics, since they likely spend a lot more time with one another than the actual players do.

I always imagine the PCs shouting short in-character commands to emulate what we as players are painstakingly discussing out of combat. Sort of like in the X-Men comics, Wolverine doesn't say "Hey Colossus, this enemy that has a weak point that is too far away for either of us to reach! I will move over to you and then you can pick me up and throw him on your turn!". He just say "Fastball special!" and Colossus knows what that means because they've spent countless hours training together and going over all of these tactics because their lives depended on it.

So... do the players think the OOC combat planning is a problem? You might have tried to correct a problem that was only a problem for you.

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I'm running a Wizard 10 (Conjurer) right now and my GM has sort of intimated that the current campaign is likely to go into pretty high levels, possibly even up to 20. So I'm trying to figure out which feats I should be picking up for a late-game build. I'm looking at Spell Perfection, and while it's a terrific feat, I'm wondering if it's worth the investment for a conjurer. My current feat configuration is:

Level 10 (Elf)-- 8 feats

Scribe Scroll (Class)
Improved Initiative
SF: Conjuration
Augment Summoning
Superior Summoning
Fast Study (Bonus)
Opposition Research (Bonus)
Quicken Spell

I figure I have 7 feats left to get, 2 of which would be wizard bonus feats.

Now I'm wondering if Spell Perfection: Summon Monster 9 at level 17 would be worth the investment. Assuming I'm primarily using it to cast from the SM8 or even SM7 list, I'm getting 1d3 +2 or 1d4 + 4 monsters, each with +8 to Str and Con, with the doubled bonuses from Augment and Superior Summoning. Add to the fact that there's a bard in the party and I'm looking at summons that can do respectable damage. The thought of summoning 8 Brachiosaurs and watching them run wild through an enemy camp is the sort of "can destroy entire cities" power that justifies playing a wizard in the first place.

So seems pretty cool and all, but I'm not... in love with metamagic feats, and I'd have to invest in them pretty heavily to get Spell Perfection. I get the need for Quicken Spell, kind of, but I'm not sure what other metamagic does for a Controller wizard. I'd be taking 2 feats that I probably won't use often, which takes a bit of the shine off of Spell Perfection.

There's also a certain fun-factor issue in flooding the battlefield with a million summons. As in, I'd be delighted, but the rest of the party... perhaps less so.

So there's a few reasons that I'm skeptical about the cost/benefit analysis of the feat. That said, if summoning 5 t-rexes is wrong, then perhaps I don't wanna be right.

2)What are some other feats that might provide more utility? My build feels more or less on-line at this point, so my thought is to shore up some weaknesses. So I could take things like Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Spell Penetration, etc. This wouldn't provide the splashy "ALL TEH DINOSAURS" amusement of Spell Perfection, but it also wouldn't saddle me with metamagic feats I'm not sure I could take advantage of.

That said, is there anything I'm overlooking?

NB: Our campaign is less about dungeon crawling and more about character interactions and political intrigue. It's more of a sandbox-style game that takes place in a single city, and our PCs are all considered to have a power-base in the city. I was looking through some more skill-oriented feats and they mostly seemed... profoundly underwhelming. But I'm open to taking one of them if there's one worth grabbing.

NB2: We don't use item creation feats. I had Craft Wondrous Item for a while, but we all agreed that it wasn't really much fun. We'd just take all of the loot, sell it, then have me craft the items that the PCs *really* wanted. It took all of the thrill out of getting loot, so those are off the table.

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I kind of like the back-of-the-napkin tactic of using (Int + Wis)/2 X 100 = character IQ, myself. Most modern IQ tests and theories of intelligence assess both formal, learned knowledge (Int) and the speed in which information is processed and acquired, as well as creative problem-solving (Wis). So just dumping one or the other doesn't make a character intellectually deficient in and of itself. But I digress.

Topics like this kind of crack me up. For sure, bloodless power gaming can certainly be irritating. But I've also played with players who over-RP and want all of the attention and spotlight, take 10 minutes to go over every encounter, make overbearing alignment decisions, and derail the game by backstabbing the other PCs and then declaring "it's just what my character would do". Then they think they're awesome because look at how complex and deep their character is!

Some players are just annoying, regardless of whether they consider the game a number-crunching fest or a "ruining your game is just what my character would do" drama camp. It's more a function of irritating players rather than one play style being endemically "better" than another.

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Damiancrr wrote:
Broken Zenith wrote:
Wow Unklebuck, remind me never to piss you off!

Agreed, wtf man xD

On topic though i think people are taking this a little too seriously. First off its a game that advertises that you can do "anything". Second if the person was truly roleplaying his character then people that kick the person out of the real life group are a bunch of children who would prob cried the same amount if they had died to anything else.


All in all if it was my group and even if i was the one to die i would be totally fine with it. Its stuff like this that makes the game fun. It would have actually been a bit funnier if he succeeded xD

If you'd be fine with it, that's cool, and it seems like the OP was fine with continuing to play with the player. Other people might not be fine with it-- doesn't make them "children".

The game's supposed to be fun, not drama camp. In most cases, RPing a complex character in a consistent, predictable fashion makes the game more fun. But the point of the game isn't to RP such a character, at least to me. If I sit down with a CE rogue who poisons me and steals my stuff, I think he's playing like a donkey and I don't care if "it's what his character would do". I think RP that makes the game fun is "good" RP and RP that makes the game less fun is "bad" RP, and how complex or consistent the RP is has comparatively little to do with it.

But that's just me, and you and the OP don't seem to have a problem with the PC's actions, and that's perfectly valid as well. I think a lot of people who advise the OP to be careful of doing too much PvP are speaking from their own experiences in which it torpedoed their game. If you don't want to kill him, then you could Dominate/Geas him to make him do "good" style deeds, take some kind of glorious non-fatal revenge, gate him into an outer plane, etc.

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Usually I find that casters have to devote resources to defense because the DM knows that they're more powerful and paints a big target on them. For example, if I'm playing a wizard and see monsters with ranged attacks, I'm resigned to being the target of most of them just because wizards can do so much more in combat. So it's not a case of casters being underwhelming in-play because they need to devote time to defense. It's that casters need to be impeded because they can do more, leaving less attention to matials.

To use a sports analogy, if I'm playing the Miami Heat, I'm game-planning for Lebron James, not Mario Chalmers. If my plan is successful and I still lose because Chalmers scores 30 points while I've held James to 10, it doesn't suddenly make Chalmers better than LeBron.

And yeah, no magic items seems to favor casters a lot more, even if you restrict access to uncommon spell components and if you ban things like Scribe Scroll. A lack of magic armor will probably mean that martial characters are actually even squished than casters at higher levels when casters are riding their hour/level buffs and nom-casters have no equivalent.

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Planescape's Dustmen had a really neat take on this. Basically they had people sign a contract by which they were paid money in life so that the Dustmen could animate their Corpses as mindless undead labourers in death. Nothing inherently evil according to that setting (Dusties were N I believe). The people were fully aware of what they were condensing to and were fairly compensated, and presumably the money improves their lives. Certainly not something objectionable to a lawful character like a paladin.

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Protection from (Alignment) only stops summons from the appropriate alignment as I understand it-- so those dire lions and elementals are still safe.

Average damage seems like a fantastic idea. I'm running into this problem myself and will definitely try that.

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As mentioned:

-- Skill tricks. Just buffing skills in general. Extremely high skill bonuses should allow for ridiculous/awesome actions.

-- Tome of Battle. Give martial classes nice things.

Prestige classes: I go back and forth on this. 3.5 might have made them too broken, but I think PF has erred too far on the other end and made them pretty useless. I think prestige classes are a good idea, though, if done correctly.

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I've seen other casters dominate encounters and dominated encounters as a casters. I've also seen a martial character fail a will save and become dominated or not be able to do much because of their limited skill list. I've outdamaged fighters with spells plenty of times, and have been more difficult to deal damage to for a few levels now. The party paladin might do more damage than my wizard does more consistently, but at the same time his build is specifically designed to do nothing but damage-- and against non-evil creatures or non-smite targets my summons still do more damage and can absorb hits with impunity. And that's just one spell.

In my experience this is definitely not just theorycrafting.

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Well, as a lot of people have stated, if you have a party of 3 wizards then you get utility out of a front-line combatant, for sure. But that doesn't mean a martial character, it likely means a druid or oracle that's built to be a front line combatant. The utility that the caster brings to the party vastly exceeds the utility that any martial does.

The analogy between real-life military and a game breaks down a bit when you consider that the game is much simpler-- whereas in real life you need to have a contingency plan for a million different outcomes, in D&D there are way fewer tools for the job and way fewer types of challenges that somebody could face. In PF casters can be infantry, engineers, and armor all rolled into one. Casters break the assumption of specialization that a theory like combined arms warfare assumes.

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Ranger spells slots tend to be more limited then those of full casters, so Instant Enemy won't be infinitely available. You could get a wand of instant enemy, but unless you're carrying the wand in your hand all of the time then it takes a move action to retrieve it and use it. This will mean that you won't be able to full attack in the same round you use your wand to cast instant enemy unless you're already holding the wand when combat begins.

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Shimesen wrote:
Magic Butterfly wrote:
Ah, of course! I'm really bad at this =/ I don't think it changes the calculations much-- even an unoptimized fighter is doing pretty well. What I'd really like is for somebody to give me a more realistic ranger baseline. Mostly I'm just trying to shift the conversation away from minutia into an examination of how the classes actually play. If fighters deal more damage, can we get a sense of how valuable that is? My post was really back-of-the-napkin stuff that oversimplified pretty much everything, but the point was to try to shift the discussion into the realm of play a bit more. The point isn't "can the fighter do more damage", because the answer is probably "yes". The point is to ask "how important is that extra damage". If both classes are dropping CR equivalent enemies in a similar number of attacks, then there's not much value in the added damage. But it seems as if this isn't the case; fighters are actually having a demonstrable effect on how quickly combat is resolved.

from personal experience:

round one of combat, ranger goes before fighter in intiative. uses first round to cast a spell. fighter uses first round to close the distance and makes a single attack (or more commonly this is just a bullrush)

second round: ranger closes the gap and makes a single attack (almost never a bullrush). fighter makes a full-attack actions, drops one baddy, 5-foot steps and lays into another.

thirst round: ranger gets a full attack and drops one enemy. fighter drops a second enemy and moves on to a third.

this goes on until everything is dead. sometime the fighter gets more then one kill in a matter the numbers, the fighter is almost always at least one kill ahead of anyone else in the group. if you replace the fighter with the ranger for the group dynamic, you are giving up that one kill lead in just about every encounter. no matter who you replace the fighter with as you tank, you are still giving up that kill.

thats your answer.

If you read the last post I made on the last page, you'll see I'd arrived at approximately the same conclusion.

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Ah, of course! I'm really bad at this =/ I don't think it changes the calculations much-- even an unoptimized fighter is doing pretty well. What I'd really like is for somebody to give me a more realistic ranger baseline. Mostly I'm just trying to shift the conversation away from minutia into an examination of how the classes actually play. If fighters deal more damage, can we get a sense of how valuable that is? My post was really back-of-the-napkin stuff that oversimplified pretty much everything, but the point was to try to shift the discussion into the realm of play a bit more. The point isn't "can the fighter do more damage", because the answer is probably "yes". The point is to ask "how important is that extra damage". If both classes are dropping CR equivalent enemies in a similar number of attacks, then there's not much value in the added damage. But it seems as if this isn't the case; fighters are actually having a demonstrable effect on how quickly combat is resolved.

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Marthkus wrote:

An opt fighter can do the same damage as meteor swarm at lvl 10. A more vanilla build managed like 71 DPR on a full-attack. Heavy opt druid can pull 79 unbuffed all day with wild shape. Opt blast sorcerer can pull 90 per round provided they still have slots.

10 lvl fighter

assume +4 str and +2 weapon for magic

Hit 10BAB + 2 feat + 2 weapon training + 7str - 3 power attack + 2 magic weapon = +20

Damage = 7 greatsword + 2 weapon training + 2 feat + 2 magic + 10 str + 9 power attack = 32

That's without gloves of dueling with boost that to +22/34

Thanks! This is the kind of thing I was looking for. I wanted to get a general baseline of the kind of damage that a martial class that was moderately unoptimized could do but my system mastery is pretty poor. So the above post, assuming, what, a 2d4 Falchion?, will do about 72 DPR on a full attack. We'll bump it to 74 with Gloves of Dueling because it looks like there is never any reason for a fighter not to have those. I'm miserable at DPR calculations, so let's just assume that both attacks will just hit. But as mentioned, there might be times in which the fighter's weapon will not be *optimal* for the job-- perhaps it's against a flying enemy or an enemy with DR/bludgeoning or a "no greatswords allowed" rule or something. This won't be common, so I'll just estimate that the fighter's class features will operate 90% of the time. So 10% of the time he'll lose those +4s to hit and damage, to just spitball a number. This will barely put a dent in his DPR on average, so it's honestly barely worth calculating.

We'll assume that the base stats are the same-- that there's no reason to believe that a fighter and a ranger will have different Str scores or access to different equipment-- this might be a poor assumption but it's what I'm going with. So the "special" fighter contribution to damage and to hit is the +2 Weapon Training Damage and +2 for Weapon Focus. So I'm trying to parse out "generic" martial damage, with no special class features thrown in. So Mr. Generic Martial loses 8 damage across 2 attacks because he lacks those spiffy fighter abilities, bringing his dpr to 66. He also loses +4 to hit with each attack, meaning he'll do about 20% less damage overall. This brings his DPR to 53 or so-- a well statted/equipped martial DPR with no special abilities.

Ok, so let's take that and add Ranger class feature damage to it. At 10th level a ranger has 3 favored enemies. That said, I have no idea how often FE comes up, but I do know that I am not bullish on it. I'll say a ranger has a 5% chance of encountering any one of his FE at any given time, so a 15% chance overall to do an additional +2 to hit and damage. This will not likely nudge the ranger's DPR over Mr. Generic's 53. I am not a big fan of FE. This will leave the ranger with about 53 dpr compared to the fighter's 74-- admittedly a baseline that is accurate for the fighter and shows disfavor to the ranger. Somebody can correct me on that if they'd like.

Next I'll go through the bestiary and look through CR9, 10, and 11 monsters; the sorts of things that would be reasonably difficult for a Level 10 character. I took a random sample of 20 of each and averaged their HP to ask how many full attacks it takes each class to kill the monster.

Full attack damage: Fighter: 74 Ranger: 53

CR 9: 115.79 damage average.

The fighter will drop a CR 9 monster in 2 attacks, while the ranger will not quite make it. But let's give the guy a break. Critical hits are a thing and weren't accounted for in these calculations, so let's say it nudges the ranger enough to drop it in 2 hits. If the enemies don't have DR. Which 40% of them did.

CR 10: 128.63

Again, the fighter takes 2 full attacks and the ranger takes 3.

CR 11: 145.47

Big difference here. The fighter will still eke out dropping an enemy in 2 full attacks, but the ranger is laboring. Setting aside critical hits, he'll drop an enemy in 3 full attacks on average... but if that enemy has DR then he won't-- he'll need 4 full attacks. Now, neither will the fighter, but when critical hits ARE taken into account then I'd expect him to get over the hump.

Ok, so this was obviously a pretty terrible comparison in a lot of ways, but to me it does give a baseline as to how *much* more effective the fighter is in combat. On average it seems like the fighter will drop a CR appropriate challenge ONE FULL ROUND earlier than the ranger will. Personally, I think this make the fighter substantially more effective in combat and does seem to imply that he can kick ass so solidly that he has a role that is difficult to replace. Also note that none of this takes defenses into account at all.

There are a lot of caveats, of course-- no equipment, no optimization, full attacks assumed all of the time, no buffs. But I'm not sure that any of those things will favor a ranger any more than it favors a ranger.

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Lamontius wrote:

well uh since the party does not have any means of healing themselves I guess I will just make sure none of the enemies they encounter will be able to do damage

I am the best GM ever

Well, yeah. The ability to do Combat and the ability to disarm traps do seem to be about equivalent in importance in PF, it's true.

(NB: This is not actually true!)

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So what I'm gathering from that is that nobody can fill the rogue's niche, which is essentially traps. So if nobody plays a rogue, then the GM can make sure that the rogue's niche never comes up. This leads me to the conclusion that the rogue's niche isn't incredibly important in the broader context of the game.

It's kind of like the linguistics skill. If nobody can speak any language but common, the DM will probably make sure that the party rarely needs to speak any other language. If an adventure comes up where it's going to be an issue, they'll make sure to provide a way to make up for the PCs' lack of linguistics.

Meta-gaming for fun and profit!

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Shrug. Summon spells don't cost 5000gp a pop like creating a duplicate Pit Fiend does. And I don't have to worry about my summoned monster being smote to smithereens by an NPC paladin like my 10HD Pit Fiend simulacra-- at the cost of 100gp per hp to heal.

I'm not the best on how to use Simulacrum, to be fair. My understanding is that Simulacrum is pretty abusable and that a lot of players and GMs recognize that it's cheese and just... don't use it. But it's also interesting and has uses outside of abusing it, so it's something interesting to leave in the game.

Heck, if you go by Xaratherus' usage of the spell, I can find a level 20 wizard and make a simulacrum of that wizard and replace myself. Wizards are underpowered because a spell can replace them!

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CWheezy wrote:
Magic Butterfly wrote:
How do we know the developers don't care about balance?

Sean K reynolds posted that balance is impossible in pathfinder, so there is no point to try I guess

In what context?

And Simulacrum doesn't invalidate fighters. At least, if that's what you're using simulacrum for, it seems that Summon spells or the Leadership feat would be a lot more efficient.

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Now that IS a good analogy. Well put :)

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Well... rogues have become less good because their niche protection was removed. But their "niche" was skills, and the designers decided to let every class enjoy getting skills. Which is a good decision, in my mind. Monks... ah, monks were always pretty terrible. The class suffers from an uncertain design goal-- what's the point of it? Mobile fighter? Anti-caster melee class? Versatile SLAs? I dont' see a singular vision there.

It seems to me that the advanced base classes are better balanced than the core classes. Or is that not a good assumption? Honestly I'm not too familiar with how most of them work, aside from Cavaliers not being fantastic.

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Leonardo Trancoso wrote:
MrSin wrote:
Magic Butterfly wrote:
Agreed. Razh's build is a sexy build.
I think the oracle was sexier. I mean, look at that charisma! Anyways, should I try to make a wizard with lots of skills for this, or is that playing with fire?
Make whatever you want..thist thread is for who want to escape the monologues of this thread = P

I kept up with that thread for the first 200 posts or so. 1100 posts later, it seems that some people just really love rogues... and others really don't.

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Invisibility is just awesome for a lot of wizards, but yeah, knock is something of a waste of a slot at low levels.

Unless you just get a scroll of knock, I suppose; 125 gp isn't much of an investment. It's not like there are a ton of situations in which you're faced with a locked door that it's impolitic for the barbarian to just kick down, in my experience. I guess the sound could attract monsters, but if they were close enough to the door to hear the crash then the party was gonna have to deal with em soon enough anyway.

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Oh, I don't know. It's all built on the shell of 3.0, and I'm inclined to believe that the 3.0 designers honestly didn't know how their game really worked. Not that I blame em, since they built so much customization into it that it would be hard to playtest every possible scenario. The PF designers have actually done a pretty good job of balancing the classes pretty well IMO. It's not perfect, since spells are just so flexible, but they've done some really good work buffing some of the core classes. And a lot of the non-core PF classes have been really interesting and powerful in their own way. So I don't think that the designers don't care about balance or aren't trying to build it into the game-- if anything, they've done a pretty solid job with it given the limitations of trying to preserve a 3.5 framework.

EDIT: Ninja'd.

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Most dedicated casters get a lot of spells very early in their careers, so running out isn't that big a deal. Certainly I find that casters' spell slots last about as long as other classes' HP, especially since HP loss often takes spells to fix. Honestly, I don't think my wizard has "run out" of spells since level 4 or so. The party's ninja and paladin have tended to run out of hp at a much faster rate. And most parties I know will certainly stop when the front-liners start to run out of HP and the party is low on healing.

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Yes but a 16 Cha is way out of my league :(

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Agreed. Razh's build is a sexy build.

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How do we know the developers don't care about balance?

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In my mind, the DPR difference is really only meaningful if it allows the fighter to kill things faster than the ranger, like if the fighter kills a CR-equivalent monster in 2 rounds then the ranger takes 3. If the DPR difference is low enough, this is probably unlikely to occur often. But if the difference is pretty substantial, then yeah, it's hard to claim that rangers can "do combat" as well as fighters, and so can't really replace them.

There definitely needs to be some build comparisons like the Rogue thread eventually became. I remember seeing a great post comparing the standard DPRs of the 4 main martial classes (Fighter, Paladin, Barbarian, Ranger) in some Barbarian thread a while back but for the life of me I cannot find it. I know that the fighter had the highest DPR (except in cases where the Paladin can use Smite Evil) but I can't remember how big the gap was.

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This thread is a fun thread. I don't mind a good "in theory" thread every now and then, but unless you start to compare builds then it's all just navel-gazing.

Would a Ninja be considered a rogue? Or just a rogue? Does this change the calculus any?

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Grappling is a big problem early, for sure. Later on it's more of an inconvenience.

I don't think it's any easier to pull apart a wizard party than any other class, truth be told. Sure, a party of low-level wizards will have trouble with grapples. A party of low-level fighters, for example, is in a lot of trouble if they're invited into that same yurt and the orc shaman casts color spray or sleep on them. A party of low-level rogues will have trouble with... well, they'll basically have trouble with combat in general. Low-level PF is swingy as hell even for non-gimmick parties.

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Luckily there are 3 other wizards around for them to save against, then!

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proftobe wrote:

2 builds stolen from Lemmy over in his singing swords thread. THey both do the exact same thing and work on the exact same concept. s-and-Kickin-Ass BASHING BILL s-and-Kickin-Ass#467 BASHING BUZZ

followed by Lemmy's breakdown s-and-Kickin-Ass

2 builds for the exact same thing built by someone with equal system mastery that proves my point with the math. The fighter wins DPR and AC and the Ranger wins everything else. The EXACT same thing I said at the start of this post.

Let we hit the point in the discussion where Schrodinger's fighter is against Schrodinger's ranger, perhaps we can test some of these assertions? I'll point to proftobe's post about the excellent analysis that points out what we're talking about-- fighters win DPS, rangers win most other things.

I think a valid question to ask is how much DPR is enough DPR. If, say, my fighter is doing 110 DPR and your ranger is doing 100 DPR, my fighter is strictly better at damage-- but if we're fighting enemies that have 90 hp then my figther's advantage isn't really that important.

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Sure are! A Ring of Mind Shielding will stop all of that. A Nondetection spell is 1 hour/day. Misdirection is also 1 hour/day, and as an added bonus can be used in such a way as to have your vampire actively detect as a living being, or as good-aligned.

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Freehold DM wrote:
I also wonder what happens when enemies succeed on saves/attacks? Because that doesn't seem to be mentioned here much. I think there is a strategy component missing here. something doesn't seem right.

A lot of spells still do things on a passed save. Web, for example, still creates a zone of difficult terrain that tries to grapple anybody that moves through it, plus it provides cover for anybody outside of the web. Stinking cloud still obscures all vision of anybody in the cloud (and they have to keep saving if they stay in the cloud). Cloudkill still does Con damage on a passed save and can kill weaker creatures outright. None of these spells are blocked by SR either. For single-target encounters, Enervation doesn't even require a save, and reduces the likelihood that they enemy will save in the future (still vulnerable to SR, however). So there is a strategy component, but having enemies pass saves isn't the end of the world and it's not difficult to have tactics that are valid even in the presence of a passed save.

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Good question! I'm thinking of "fluff" in terms of campaign settings, personally. And it depends on the game. For whatever reason, I'm not attached too strongly to most 3.5/PF fluff. I just don't most of the published settings I've read to be that interesting or immersive. Even the ones I think are solid tend to support pretty much every fantasy trope, so it doesn't feel like there's too much point in tying mechanics to setting that strongly.

That said, other settings seem to be pulling for a certain "kind" of game and in these settings I take the flavor a bit more seriously. I was extremely attached to the old Planescape setting and the current Legend of the Five Rings ones. In those games I could see looking askance at certain characters, like a lawful Anarchist or a Lion Clan Ninja, concepts that wouldn't make sense with the setting as written. A player would have to have some sort of creative explanation to make this character fit in the world. If they *could* do that, then we're good to go, of course. But in those cases I'd take the setting seriously, since it's integral to the story I'd be trying to tell.

That involves a lot of work from the players' perspectives, however. It's hard to suggest running L5R to my group and then tell them they should read 3 books to get a good sense of the lens through which their character and clan view the world. Some players are into that, some aren't.

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Artanthos wrote:

A fighter I built some time ago, and occasional post to the forums whenever somebody tried to tell me fighters suck out of combat.

** spoiler omitted **...

Definitely a cool build. I'd play that.

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Atarlost wrote:
Marthkus wrote:

What kind of fighter starts with less than 10 in any mental stat?

You don't need to dump stats to optimized a fighter. 16 14 14 10 10 10 with a 20 point buy. Through in racial mods 18 14 14 10 10 10.

Almost all of them. Almost everyone that isn't a charisma based caster dumps charisma.

This does not feel like it is true. Even if you have a GM that won't put you in an awkward situation due to low CHA, UMD is just too good for too many classes.

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To be fair, the lack of skills is a fighter problem, not a martial problem. Rangers get a bunch of skills. Paladins get poor skills but have good ability synergies that allow them to specialize in social skills. You could always just house rule that fighters (or all martial classes, really) get at least 4 + INT skills. I can't imagine that any GM would find it unbalancing and it would help fighters out considerably.

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DrDeth wrote:
ciretose wrote:

He isn't being a jerk. He wants to try and get gold and xp. Let him try. The woods are dark and dangerous, and adventurers are delicious.

No, that's absolutely the wrong way to handle this sort of guy. The right way is "You encounter nothing." meanwhile have a cool encounter for the rest of the party. Wash, rinse, repeat.

"Ok, so you're in the middle of the woods. Any ranks in survival? Any tracking skills? Nothing? Ok, you stay there all day and don't find anything."

He's not being a jerk, per se, or at least isn't from what I've read. He just has a different notion about how the game works. Talking to him is the best solution, as always.

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Of course-- and I completely agree with you. The notion of the caster's role is buffing that seems to be kicking around is mostly predicated on the fact that it's more fun for martials if the casters play the buffing role. And this is based mostly on sentiment, that I want my friends to enjoy themselves. And I don't mind sitting in the background and playing the support/controller. But in the grand scheme of (non-bard) caster abilities, buffs tend to be a less efficient way of ending combat than, say, summons or save-or-suck spells. And of course you're right, if the "martial" was a tanking oracle or druid than the party would be strictly better at combat, especially since not every caster has fun playing the support class (and isn't the game all about maximizing everybody's fun?)

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I feel that if I said to my friend "I'm not going to buff your fighter until you switch to a druid" then he'd have some choice words for me.

Now, I could say "I'm not going to buff your character because playing a support class isn't fun for me." Which is to me the main argument against "wizards should buff". If you enjoy that sort of thing (personally I do) then it's great! But it's usually a less efficient way to end combat. Instead of buffing the fighter you could just summon 3-4 monsters and buff them.

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Madclaw wrote:
Magic Butterfly wrote:
Plus it just seems like lazy design. "Hmm. What do do with a fighter? Well, let's just take feats. And give the fighter MORE of them, right? And no other class abilities!". Honestly, the Combat Styles that a ranger gets should be fighter abilities.

Wait a second, so just giving a class feats is 'lazy and bland.' But Combat Styles, which grant you BONUS FEATS, is an awesome and "cool" because it has a different name? What?

Is anyone forgetting the high-level fighter capstone abilities? Those are pretty awesome.

No, Spells, good skills, an animal companion, and FE/FT make a ranger awesome and cool.

What I'm saying is that, as designed, "feats" seem to be the purview of the fighter. The fighter is also the self-made combat specialist, the man who gets by with his skill and training. So if you're going to give a class a bevy of pre-packaged feats that allow them to specialize into any combat style they want, then doesn't that seem to fit the fighter's MO moreso than the ranger's?

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I could see all of that with FE: Human. But yeah, FE can be pretty limited at times. Favored Terrain, on the other hand, is much more consistent. In my campaign, FT: Urban would basically be akin to a semi-permanent +2 on all of the FT bonuses. It's no more limited than having a fighter specialized to use axes come across a mace or having a paladin fight an elemental.

But the main draw, to me, is that FE, FT, Rage, Smite Evil, etc. have a certain "cool" factor to them. Feats are pretty bland to me-- they give static bonuses or remove penalties for things I should probably be able to do anyway (TWF, Bull Rush, etc.). Plus it just seems like lazy design. "Hmm. What do do with a fighter? Well, let's just take feats. And give the fighter MORE of them, right? And no other class abilities!". Honestly, the Combat Styles that a ranger gets should be fighter abilities.

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On a more serious note, you could do away with XP entirely. I'm in two separate groups that don't use em. After 5-6 sessions, the GM just tells us to level up for next time doesn't bother to award xp for every challenge surmounted. This would put the kibosh on "power levelling" schemes and take the focus away from combat as a means of character advancement.

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Yup, this is a problem that the rules seem to have forseen. When you take into account crafting times and look at Settlement Statistics, you can limit how much money can be made from magic items without flat-out saying "no" to the character. I mean, time he's spent crafting for profit is time taken out of crafting for the party, so it actually might be more balanced from a WBL perspective than half-price Wondrous Items for everybody. To serve any kind of market, he'll have to churn out low-level, easily crafted items, like a Cloak of Resistance +1 or something. After all, there aren't THAT many high-level adventurers running around, and there's a good chance that many of them have access to their own crafting feats. You can probably work it out so that he won't make substantially more money with crafting then he would with just a Profession roll, if you'd like.

Heck, make a plot hook out of it! The fat-cat owners of Wal-Magic, Inc. aren't happy that this guy is heavily low-balling them and send some burly dudes to break his fingers.

And if he wants to go into the woods and fight things for XP he's welcome to. Like a videogame, PF has random encounter tables too. "And, while hunting for boars, you find... *rolls dice*... four shambling mounds! Roll initiative! Too bad you couldn't convince the others to come along!"

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Why, Grug Howls At Mountains, Esq., takes umbrage at your dismissal of him as a person! He's so angry he shall serve you crumpets with tea, but you'll get no jam!

And yes, I'm a pretty big fan of rangers. A lot of flexibility there. I actually like the design for most of the PF martials over their 3.5 counterparts. A lot of Martials Getting Nice Things.

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Have never used encumbrance in my life. I feel that it might be a bit more bookkeeping in a game that has enough of it, but I can't say since we don't really use it. That said, if a PC at the table dumps strength then the DM takes note of it for situations in which the character is trying to move something heavy, like dragging an unconscious Warforged paladin in full plate to safety.

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