Ran into a bit of an issue in room A9 at the Shrine of the Eclipse... How are the iron golems supposed to fit into the hallways north of the room? My fiancé just ran through the hallway and I ruled it that they were too big to fit, but that definitely felt cheesy, and the module says they pursue heroes to other rooms on the floor. The rules for squeezing don't seem to accommodate that though.
Large creatures treat those small hallways as difficult terrain.
I just finished running through the first chapter, I had adjusted the skill checks to take less time (basically changing them from 8 influence to 4 influence and gaining 1 benefit for every NPC except Nkiruka) but my players and I are overly disappointed from the first chapter. I wonder why go with a grindy skill check system instead of active encounter or roleplay based design.
You have very little to go with from the aspect of running NPC's from a city that's so extremely xenophobic to outsiders. I had extreme trouble with running this and the players enjoyed it for a short while but the monotonoy of the skill checks led them to become fed up with it. It probably should've had half as much NPC's or extremely redesigned way of play. What works better is encounter based skill check systems or something that is in a similar vein to Agents of Edgewatch
When you head over in Book 5 to work undercover for Miogimo you went out to assassinate/follow up with a couple of different angles with both quick and interesting skill checks and combat encounters.
In a similar vein it could have been transalted so that you mayhaps:
- Help out Wekesa as he is being attacked by some thugs, helping subdue them, or something of a similar matter
- Themba Sufu send the PC's to investigate a matter regarding Bright Lions or another faction to gain his trust and benefits.
And this is just a couple of ideas I had post session. Overall loving the AP so far, but there is always room for improvement. :)
I want to preface this by saying I am a Paid GM and thus started running everything Pathifnder 2E from its release. I have finished Age Of Ashes, am somewhere midway in Extinction Curse Book 6 and Agents Of Edgewatch Book 2.
I wanted to record a video to list out some key points but since I saw this thread exists and most points have been made I might as well contribute my experience instead of recording a video.
Age Of Ashes was the first entry that I had into running a whole 1-20 campaign and with it I saw a couple of points that the AP writers are missing.
Age Of Ashes:
Book 1 - Hellknight Hill is a perfect starter into the system that immediately goes into a dungeon delve for the entirety of the book itself going from the Citadel, into the vault, into a cave and then back to the Citadel. It was cool to see them going full circle like that to end up under the Citadel itself and combats were fun and challenging and that Barghest fight was a little bit much out of hand but overall the first book was a more than OK entry into the adventure itself giving out ample amount of starting information who the "interested" parties might be into the following unfolding events.
- Massive Dungeon Delving with various encounters that were fun
- Voz Lirayne was a first good big bad eclipsing the real bads which were the Charau-Ka's
- Overall great intro to the system and the AP's storyline.
Book 2 - Cult Of Cinders is the perfect example of how you can go wrong in an AP. The only chapter my players and me enjoyed of this book was the first chapter and the whole set-up of meeting the Ekujae Elves was perfect as well as hearing their story and partaking in the mini-games was SUPER fun. Going into unknown lands and exploring is a great idea in practice.
I played Starfinder before I started with PF2 and in Dawn Of Flame there is a hexploration segment which captures the beauty of Hexploration, to explore the unknown and give the players opportunities to see something amazing and unusual or never seen before. I would've given anything to go back and re-run Cult Of Cinders and just completely remove the hexploration aspect and 2/3 of the comhat encounters throughout and just leave the meaningful ones. Gerhard Pendergast was by far the most interesting NPC they encountered throughout the second book. In its execution it failed due to the fact that there was nothing interesting to explore apart from forest and an occasional temple to go through and the entire book worth of encounters is just obliterating everything save for some sickly kobolds. The final fight against Belmazog was the only interesting segment and saving Kyrion was a nice change of pace but overall I started to burn out at this point as the AP was just combat, after combat and presented nothing interesting and unique.
- Hexploration was executed poorly, instead of exploring or finding ancient ruins or temples that have some meaning, instead its greenery after greenery and occasional temple.
- Massive overflow of combat that quickly got boring.
- Highly unbalanced as when this was written they didn't have the final GMG monster numbers in.
- Overall very deadly and boring
Book 3 - Tomorrow Must Burn was a finally awaited change of pace with the Hag fights, but then it does a 180 degree turn back into its habit of fighting the same dull enemies in massive throes over and over again with little interesting encounter design. I found the slight roleplay present here in Kintargo a welcome change but it is eclipsed by the fact that it's still following the same boring pattern of dungeons and combats with no end. Laslunn fight was also a slight turn off due to how whack her numbers were. The fight itself as a boss encounter was super fun, but a TPK happened in order to conquer it after.
- Boring encounter design with samey enemies over and over
- Little to no roleplay present as it is just combat after combat.
- Massive dungeon with no overall larger flavor.
Book 4 - Fires of the Haunted City was a hopeful change of pace for me and my players since it offered a lot of variety of how to approach things thus making this book fall perfectly within an equal split of roleplay, social mini-game fun and combat and offered some unusual options like helping King Harral instead of killing him outright.
- Some smaller interesting NPC's with their unique side story
- Perfect split between all segments.
Book 5 - Against The Scarlet Triad was the pinnacle of the adventure that me and my players experienced both offering the same split in content as Book 4 but somewhat more varied and had a lot of fun mini-games and situations. There were combats that I cut out such as the 4 Elite Stone golems that the players fight at the start of the AP for total of 3 times throughout the entire AP series. Once in Book 3, once in Book 4 and past this point I had a thought of "Why didn't they bother creating some UNIQUE stone golem guardians instead of just the same ones over and over." As they pass through, the first thing that they experience was an amazing addition into the game The Promise Of Fire was a perfect vision of what they are to experience if at any point they fail. Into Katapesh itself was a plethora of interesting mini-games that finally stemmed away from the, go to dungeon, kill same enemy at least 10 times. Various fun encounters both roleplay and combat to end the unecessary variation of dull enemies.
The final chapter had some minor repeat but it was not as troublesome as the previous books.
- An adventure should play like this with various things happening that are interesting and captivate the attention to the players. The minigames and overall structure of the AP make it fun to go through since the order of things are done just right as a fine change of pace.
- Overall freedom for the players to decide what they want to tackle first.
Book 6 - Broken Promises is the first book to ever introduce a flavorful and real NPC, and by real I mean having moral dilemmas. Mengkare the great Golden Dragon strayed from his path of good turning Promise into a very disgusting settlement where he decides your very fate. An absolutely great finish to the AP but with one very glaring issue. Dahak itself was made into the moss underwhelming final fight that I have ever seen in my TTRPG career. Imagine being a Dragon God, but having the same generic powers that everyone else has. As we started the fight everyone kind of devolved from a serious final epic encounter to a laughing joke as he was absolutely getting destroyed by the PC's. Mengkare's Ritual does help in making this very easy, but the way it was created made the fight super easy if you manage to not kill Mengkare and save Jonivar makes the final chapter über easy. Since the length of end game combat encounters was too long for anyones likng we elected to skip past the in between encounters in Alsetas' Landing saying that the PC's defeat the enemies with great ease.
I want to state that most of the issues I bring up here a either gone or appear slightly in Extinction Curse and Edgewatch but it feels like the AP format could be changed to offer slightly more varied play. I wholehearedly agree with Errant Mercenary's comment and this could bring new light to AP's. Most NPC's feel generic and without personality. Age Of Ashes Big bads have the most meaningless backstory making them literally sound like "Hurr Durr Evil". In Extinction Curse and Agents of Edgewatch having the bads shown in a slightly different light throughout the story which is a really good start but it can always be improved upon.
Errant Mercenary wrote:
APS AND THE X FACTOR
- Good NPCs
- Great locales
- Passable writing (sometimes brilliant, sometimes terrible)
- Great skeleton to build on
- Good enough to pick and play after a read
WHAT I WANT THEM TO INVEST MORE INTO
- Making interesting scenarious, where the meat of the product is towards making parts click, and giving the GM the tools to put the players in the spotlight and bring each player something.
- Less passive backstory. Checkovs gun, I want the APs to present a more tangible access to the information given. Of course much is to inspire the GM, but there is TOO MUCH information the players will NEVER KNOW. Always a hot topic discussion with APs.
- Expanded toolbox. The Gazette is great, the items, all that. Build on it, extra variables to pluck from are great.
A GM does not need help sprinkling the goblins from a list accross a massive dungon. This becomes second nature, and with the basic list, context and short description they'll be fine.
What a GM finds difficult is the ambiance, the scenario, the tools to make players come out of that cocoon and provide interesting, meaningful scenarios. (Combat can achieve that, but interesting combat. Not deadly, interesting.)
- Too many combats.
- Too many irrelevant combats.
- Too many unchallenging, resource-taxing, xp-table-fillng combats.
Why and what is happening
I think the XP track in Pathfinder and their adherence in it throughout the APs is causing an oversaturation of meaningless, filler combats. Whilst it is important to give guidelines both for authors and gms, I do not believe this helps story telling or creating an interesting environment. It is a tax.
There is baggage in the system and we have the dungeon syndrome still. Fine. It has uses, good reference for quick monsters. Some tables also play this style.
Pick and Choose table/short description, of the creatures found, quick why and then suggestion encounters.
Keep the 1 or 2 exotic encounter and highlight that one, making it more interesting. The tables that feel they must have those grindy lower level encounters can just pluck from the pick and choose. We dont need the backstory of every single entity, specially when there are few avenues to interact with said backstory.
Better fewer, higher quality, interesting fights, with some modular addons for flexibility.
AMOUNT OF DUNGEON
- Lot of dungeon. Oh gawds some modules are just dungeon. Then the next module is half RP, 1/4 minigame, 1/4 dungeon.
- Dungeons feel shoehorned in, sometimes with little context
- Dungeons are too long and soon loose context and believability
Why and what is happening
APs are just too long, they stretch the story and need filler episodes. That's fine, but it takes over.
Dungeons are what this hobby came from. There is some sacred cows here. Also how some groups prefer to play.
XP needs to be awarded, and monsters are XP. Needing to show the work to get neat numbers in XP imposes strict rules.
- Cut down dungeons to always 1/2 or less of AP.
- Consider shortening APs or providing more toolbox space in them. (3 volume APs are coming, though I think the sweet number is 4)
- Do like PFS and provide level ranges for encounters, with variantions.
- Do provide maps since those are great, perhaps in a more modular way with only beginning/interesting parts/end in a set way, and not tied to particular encounters
MINIGAMES AND SUBSYSTEMS
- Hit or miss with this, but always interesting to see the implementation and drives the theme.
- Shorter dungeons could allow for better implementation and more relevancy.
- Sometimes what happened the last volume is thrown out or forgotten
Why and what is happening
- Multiple authors writing almost simultaneously, or back and forths, in short super difficult to write something relying on the previous volume if that is still in production.
- Writing a massive story for a hobby like this is excruciatingly different, they need standarisation and rigidness.
- 2 volumes per Author (or different communication, I dont know the ins so cant really comment much).
- Less dungeon space gives rise to more story planning or alternative scenario exploration and planning.
- Clearer formatting, more modular, allows for faster on the fly adjustments by the game.
- The more rigid the story is the easier it is to break the flow, like memorising a speech vs knowing the gist of it well and the subject matter real well.
Hopefully Paizo designers read this so we could have more flavorful stories to tell in varied ways...
For some reason, there are rules for item damage but only some specific creatures can target them with certain abilities.
So what would happen if for example I were to target a players armor or item?
The example I'm drawing from is the Naunets, they have the options to choose adamantite for their attacks, but there's no ability to use that for apart from shield users which will be gone in a single snap. And against a pair of PC's the other variants are useless as well.
Has anyone done something like
Strike to attack a specific item a player is wearing = players AC following the rules for Shields? Anything past hardness damages the item and the player?
After playing a little bit more after the closing of the thread, another issue I saw is that the Fighter does not get enough feats to compete with everyone else. And they still feel so small in comparison to what others get.
Why must a combat grab, be a press? This makes no sense at all. Why not do it at the start of the attack? I'll never understand why are these limitations here to someone who feels so limited already.
At 5th level, in comparison to what a wizard can do, vs what a fighter can do.
A Wizard has a couple of spells to choose from each doing something else..
The Fighter has only 3 feats which already feel limiting, with negative penalties. (this is not quadratic lizard, linear gizard talk about DPS)
Instead, why not increase the amount of feats the fighter gets? To have more things to do in combat, so you don't feel so *linear* in your choice of specialization.
All this discussion about strapping shields to forearms and having a FREE hand is completely irrelevant.
Shields just don't work that way. They never have.
Bucklers are HELD in the hand like a weapon. Never strapped.
Targe sheilds have a pair of "enarmes", one of which was often adjustable (to fit larger or smaller forearms (e.g. Popeye the Sailor Man) or fit over armor pieces (bracers, if worn). The other enarme was gripped in the hand.
Larger shields often had a rigid handle instead of a leather strap. This is held in the hand and helps keep the larger shield in the correct orientation.
Yes, it's possible to HOLD things with the shield hand. The leather enarme is fairly flat and leaves the thumb and fingers free for grasping even while the palm is held held in place by the enarme.
Note that if you wanted to simply slide the shield farther up your arm so that BOTH enarmes were on your forearm, leaving your hand completely free, then the shield would flop around on your arm. When you lifted it up to block, instead of orienting vertically like you want, it would be flopping at some weird angle with it's face pointing downward. Any blow to the top or bottom of the the shield would wrench it around your arm.
This is because your arm is not flat. It's round. The only way to keep your shield straight up-and-down (oriented vertically) is to have that enarme held flat against your flat palm.
Also, it is never possible to WIELD weapons with any of these shields. Any kind of swing you would make with a 2h sword, spear, axe, or polearm would put your shield out of position - it wouldn't defend you at all. Worse, the bulk of the shield would make your attack inaccurate. So you sacrifice accuracy and get no defense for it. Nobody would ever do this.
Everybody who used shields in battle always chose a weapon that they could wield in one hand. The only notable exception was the pike (or sarissa) which was thrust with the weapon hand and guided by the shield hand. In this case, it's just a...
So let's say, because it is like this. Would a Fighter be able to pull off feats like Combat Grab, regardless?
The deal isn't to make it realistic. Give the fighter tools only available to him. Per se the critical specialization is fine But let's say he can target creatures and their weak spots better. You don't need to have it realistic.
He currently has some tidbits, but is outclassed in terms of what he can do opposed to other classes.
Fighter D&D 5E is just horrendous in my opinion. He has some tiny tricks up his sleeve which are clearly outclassed by the barbarian and the monk in terms of melee.
I'd say the fighter in Pathfinder 2E is good only about 1/3. He has a decent and good start based on what tools he has available right now.
But he needs to be more versatile then that. He doesn't only know a couple of pre-defined skills. There is a plethora of different fighting styles available, and cherrypicking doesn't do it much glory.
The critical specialization is fine. Only what's your chance that you can score a critical strike in Pathfinder 2E? Very low. The effects of the critical strikes are good, but let's say you can apply them all the time. Suddenly the Fighter which can make targets flat footed all the time, bleeding etc is more threataning and gives him a wider pool of weapon usage to reap the effects.
I'll try the following changes since I'll be playing with Yoogee next Sunday:
- Shield no longer takes a hand free.
- Critical specializations can be applied when you normally hit.
No one can wield a sword in their shield arm. That's like complaining that you can't fire a bow with your toes.
You're clearly not reading the point that you don't hold a shield, rather it's on your arm. Your hand is still free.
Most of the people above, like to cling to one point which is the DPS. Forget the DPS. Look at the other points.
Better yet. LOOK AT THIS
YooGee the Kodiak DM wrote:
I am playing the fighter in Peenicks's campaign. He was either sick of my ceaseless ranting or perhaps found some of my points worthy enough to indulge in writing this.
The issues with the fighter class are multitudinous, and they aren't at all new (according to my current research into the mechanics of several D&D editions, possibly excluding the 4th I still need to compare and contrast).
I will preface this with an addendum: I don't claim to know everything there is to know about the fighter class neither in PF 2nd edition or D&D. I DM a 5e campaign and have previously only dabbled in tabletops.
But (and this is a big one), I have 7 years of body training, 2 years of Japanese Jiu-jutsu, and boxing/mma experience. I know the difference between a physically apt and trained individual vs. an average Joe. I am also well read on HEMA techniques. This is not to stroke my ego, merely to lend some credentials that may give me a better insight into how a fighter should be designed mechanically.
THEREFORE - - -
I believe that the root of the problem(s) is in the absolute lack of understanding of how medieval combat used to work, and how those techniques would be applied and built upon in a fantasy setting where magic and mythical creatures are involved. Too much time has been spent balancing the caveats of spells, not enough on the weapons. Yes, the tools of the fighter need more work. Consider them the Fighter's spellbook if it makes it easier. Because of this, the fighter is, for all intents and purposes, misunderstood as a class.
"Fight" is their name. They feel at home on a battlefield, they are a cerebral class during a battle despite not being spellcasters. Their understanding of the weapons they wield turn them into an extension of their own bodies. It should be on par with the wizard and his knowledge of the arcane. Sounds too radical? Well, imagine how smart and trained you'd have to be to have a chance against someone who can sling spells at you. If you consider that you'd be the underdog, then you might as well try to sling spells yourself. They should be adaptive, perhaps more so than the other classes. They don't have the overwhelming strength of the barbarian, nor the ambush skills of the rogue, nor the holy magic of clerics and paladins, nor the reality bending capabilities of sorcerers and wizards. So what DO (should) they have?
How about instead of critical hits applying a certain effect on the attacked target, you get a specific skill that
So here are my current problems, specifically, with the fighter class in PF2.
1. Not being able to attack with the longsword whilst holding it with two hands if I have a shield in one hand. This may sound stupid when you don't know how people used shields. Shields in medieval times were mostly *strapped* to the arm. If you were ever winded by a strike in the body you know that not even heightened adrenaline helps the body retain absolute composure. Your hand "forgets" to hold the shield, you drop it, bon voyage to the afterlife. This type of a shield doesn't leave much in the way of offensive capabilities with it, but some consider it a better version than the center-grip shield. With the shield being strapped you needn't always hold it. A two-handed attack is quite possible while still holding your shield, in fact, it is preferable to swing it that way in certain conditions since the shield still protects you while you strike. Whoever made that restriction has no idea what they're restricting.
2. Medium armor constraints in acrobatics or god-forbid - movement. This is high-quality b*&&$!## for anyone that has trained anything passionately. 10 kg of added weight is nothing to scoff at, but the key thing is - it. is. spread. out. over. your. entire. body. I know of people, regular people, who wear chainmail shirts underneath normal clothing to protect themselves against being stabbed in rough neighborhoods. Its barely visible underneath a blouse. They have claimed that after a month they don't even feel it. I don't find that hard to believe. Ok, certain acrobatic checks need to get harder, just if the armor goes past the knees, below the character's center of balance. But movement speed, seriously? On a trained m&#@$&$+!#&$? Give me a break, please. And yes, I realize it "gets better" once you hit a certain level, but I don't see how someone's mind can handle learning and channeling numerous spells each day, whilst it takes longer for a body's physiology longer to adapt to added weight. It makes no sense for the 1st level fighter to not already possess this aptitude.
3. NO VERSATILITY. I can harp about this for an eon. And it is so easily fixable it perplexes me why they haven't tried to balance it. The fighter deserves way better in the way of options. And here's how we give the class what it needs - the aforementioned weapons. Instead of critically hitting to achieve a weapon's extra trait, how about you give smaller bonuses in the form of different options when the fighter becomes better versed with the weapon.
Example: Longsword. Trained: + to hit. Expert: Chance to parry/ added AC. Master: Roll to disarm. Legendary: Counter attack. This is just off the top of my head. Some weapons could allow for bleed effects, others for dismembering or disabling body parts. It will allow for so much versatility while still keeping the class strictly martial. You will finally have a use for having expert status on all weapons, many of them will serve you well in different situations, as they historically did. If you think it is over powered nerf the damage. But its versatility that the class sorely lacks.
Here's why I'm in such a ranting mood on the topic. The druid in the party can deal fire, lighting, positive and negative damage, on top of the slashing damage provided by the scimitar she wields. That's versatile. I can do slashing (longsword), and bludgeoning (shield). If a fighter wants to do magic damage then the only way to do it is through wielding magical weapons. Because this off-balances things in the druids favor the aforementioned weapon traits will make up for it.
And Edge93, I don't know how far you've progressed with your fighter, but at level 5 I feel underpowered as hell compared to the druid. She can deal a lot more damage, whilst not having to move into range, whilst having similar AC, whilst not being encumbered by armor, whilst having enormous versatility, whilst being able to have the additional output of damage from her pet. The flavor text Peenicks mentions is an outright lie. Why a taunt mechanic in a form of a shout/battlecry still hasn't been implemented is infuriatingly confusing. At the very least it would allow the class to have a protection role without DM fiat.
First off, on the DPS note, if you're playing a tank you probably won't have the best DPS, 1 handed weapons are naturally better than 2-handed. I'm not sure though how the rest of the party is out-DPSing you unless they are all using 2-handed weapons. Fighters in my experience are top-notch DPS due to having the best accuracy in the game.
As for lacking versatility-wise, I'm not sure where that's from either. In my experience the Fighter feats can give you a really cool variety of options that let you pull different tricks in combat.
As for tanking, yeah, there's a bit of issue though. Attack of Opportunity helps give you some area control but really as it stands now making a tank work falls partly to the GM as a responsibility. There is no aggro mechanic, but the GM chapter of the rulebook recommends that GMs consider allowing players to taunt monsters for aggro and such when appropriate as it can make for a better story feel to battles. And Fighters are honestly plenty capable of making themselves a significant threat, which should draw enemy attention, whereas in PF1 tanky Fighters couldn't really do that.
Also having critical specialization effects proc on a regular hit would probably be pretty broken. Some of those abilities are seriously strong.
Sorry Fighter isn't working great for you, I'm curious what leads to your issues as they don't match up with my own experience.
Let's ignore the DPS for a moment there, what tricks are there?
Intimidating Strike? Combat Grab? Double Shot? Most of the good ones, require 1 free hand, which is occupied by the shield. At no point there is something, which consists the shield apart form Reactive Shield. Abilities like Twin Parry Should be reactions because you usually parry as a reaction not, as an action.
Most of the tools which a fighter knows to combat problems are way at the end of the leveling tree. Level 14 has knockdown per se. But do you realize how long that is until you get those?
Most of the other tricks are moving things, and let's face it. They are very situational.
Don't take PA. It's a trap. If you have any level of potency rune on your weapon, it's a straight downgrade. I forget the name of it, but the feat that lets you ignore your second strike for MAP if it misses is much better.
Now that I think about it, good point. :D
So two things- a taunt mechanic is singularly inappropriate for a tabletop roleplaying game IMO, since one of the core assumptions of the genre is that we assume PCs and NPCs are individuals with minds who are free to make decisions based on the circumstances they find themselves in. While certainly antagonists make bad decisions as befits their characterization all the time, something like "I will stop attacking the person next to me in order to run over to the heavily armed person and attack them" simply stretches credulity.
Another thing though, D&D/PF has never really supported the fantasy of "I am an impenetrable wall of defense, nothing can harm me." Even the tankiest characters you could build in previous editions could only survive a few more hits than everybody else. Defense simply is not very strong in D20 games, and I don't think it can be without switching to a completely different system. So don't even try to "tank" - your defense is simply a measure of how long your offense lasts in a fight.
This is the point of realism where it gets really wonky. If you cut someone, he starts bleeding by default. Why don't most weapons have a bleeding value. We can add realism to this as much as we want. A simple taunt ability which would only be usuable let's say, once or twice per encounter like Spell Points for Fighters would be simple enough to mitigate all of the above problems.
Pen & Paper RPG's which go along the lines of D&D/Pathfinder, have a long history of Fighters being the single most shittiest class ever. Literally why bother with some tiny mechanics that don't do anything when you can just be a Barbarian, Rogue, literally anything else.
Hello, I want to talk about the fighter and how weak it feels when it competes in terms of DPS towards other classes and it feels weak, in terms of what it can do, apart from attack and the occasional shield block to defend a friendly character. I will be speaking about 10th level.
The first issue I have come upon is the flavor text of the fighter:
"During combat, you stand between allies and enemies if you’re a melee fighter. You draw fire and deal out major damage with unmatched accuracy. Your ability to attack foes who move away lets you punish those who try to get past you. If you’re a ranged fighter, you deliver precise shots from a distance. It’s likely you’ll benefit from spells from spellcasting allies to make you tougher, faster, or better at attacking."
The thing is, there is no ability which allows you to draw fire, and I am clearly out DPS'ed by other classes. There's literally no Taunt ability which allows me to shield my allies. The Coerce ability works if I speak for 1 minute but I'm sure enemies won't wait for me to finish my emotional speech.
Sure the DM might decide that since I go first enemies would attack me, but other than that in an ambush I can't make my enemies draw the fire to me.
There is no incentive for me to play as a Fighter with a sword and a shield dishing out massive damage, where clearly the damage is not there.
Sure, I can take Power Attack, and the damage would seldom increase when I mix it with Forceful weapons such as the Scimitar and the Orc NeckSplitter. But that would be 5d8 at most,
Now that's only DPS wise.
Versatility wise, the class is lacking. If you look at fighters throughout they can complete combat feats which others aren't able to do normally. Their weapon training would allow them to do much more and clearly with the critical specialization that was the intention.
But it is still lacking. I still would need to roll a critical hit against a creature which means going over it's AC or rolling a 20 which is hard however you look at it. I would allow the fighters to use the critical specialization without having them hit a Critical at any case.