That's a great idea for experienced GMs who have played Pathfinder for 1+ years and are familiar with all the quirks and failures of the system. It is not very helpful for those who are new to the game.
If I may make a sideways comment on this:
Strategic combat should not involve shutting characters down because shutting characters down is not fun for the players of those characters. When you come up against a fire Pokemon, you break out the water Pokemon. When you come up against a werewolf, you break out the silver weapons. But what can you do against a creature with DR 10/--? Nothing. Without a method of bypassing such, you're SOL.
Unfortunately, 3.PF doesn't offer any methods for characters to do so...at least not unless they're the right class that has invested permanent resources into it.
Please don't try to roleplay someone who is competent. That's bad roleplaying. It's much more interesting to roleplay someone who fails and dies. Where would Game of Thrones be if Ned Stark was still alive?
More to the point:
Ideally, optimization would provide a fairly modest (~15-20%) boost in character power. In 3.PF, the boost is much, much greater. A fighter is one Will save away from being an evil wizard's b+#%! for the foreseeable future.
Part of this is the D&D legacy, where character options and versatility is managed almost entirely through spells and magic items. Part of this is the number of moving pieces in 3.PF (it's much harder to balance a complex game than a simple game). Part of this is bad design from Paizo.
Nonetheless, in a game that is geared toward combat--and 3.PF *is* geared toward combat, which is why a significant amount of text is devoted to combat rules, in the form of class features, spells, feats, and magic items--I expect the combat system to be functional. If you don't optimize, the combat system is non-functional.
There are plenty of ways that you can fail if you don't optimize properly.
• Attack bonus is too low to hit high ACs.
This essay is about some 1990s games I'm calling "fantasy heartbreakers," which are truly impressive in terms of the drive, commitment, and personal joy that's evident in both their existence and in their details - yet they are also teeth-grindingly frustrating, in that, like their counterparts from the late 70s, they represent but a single creative step from their source: old-style D&D. And unlike those other games, as such, they were doomed from the start. This essay is basically in their favor, in a kind of grief-stricken way.
I think Pathfinder is a fantasy heartbreaker. It tweaks the rules of 3e a bit here and there, but it's the same game under the hood. That's the intent of the rules, but it seems that Pathfinder could break away from that and becomes its own game.
Do please elaborate on this point, it's not one I've heard before.
Played several APs with dungeon crawls. You enter the dungeon. There is an encounter. Roll initiative. Now move onto the next portion of the dungeon. There is another encounter. Roll initiative. Continue onward. Time for the boss fight. Roll initiative.
Compared to older modules, like Keep on the Borderlands, Paizo's APs are Point A to Point B.
Having played some Paizo APs that included dungeon crawls, I have a feeling that the PATHFINDER (TM) GAMESTYLE include one scripted combat encounter after another.
Benefit: If you have been prone since the end of your last turn, the penalty to your Armor Class against melee attacks made against you is reduced to –2. In addition, the bonus to your Armor Class against ranged attacks made against you is increased to +6.
I kind of want to make a fighter who fights from prone.
1. Remove the skills system entirely. Specific classes can have bonuses on relevant skill checks, but there's no generic Stealth skill, no Knowledge (Arcane) skill, etc. Skill checks are handled by ability score checks and GM judgment. Here's how every Pathfinder game I've ever played goes:
Roll a skill check. Oh, you don't have any skill ranks in that? You fail.
Roll a skill check. Oh, you have ranks in that? You automatically succeed.
Roll a skill check. You rolled a 27? Well, this is really, really hard so the DC is 30.
Replace the skill system with a giant section explaining how to GM better.
2. Make spellcasting take multiple rounds depending on the spell level.
3. Eliminate spells that infringe on role protection.
Eben TheQuiet wrote:
Can we see how your monk is built now? And do you have details of the brawler's build?
My starting scores are:
My character is human.
My feats look like:
I don't have my sheet on hand for the rest of the info.
I made an unarmed monk (no archetype) using the CRB for the campaign, and I was doing okay for awhile, but now I feel really incompetent. A new player joined with a brawler, and he basically does everything better than my character. His attacks hit and do more damage than mine, and it seems like everything saves against my Stunning Fist. He also gets hit less often than me (or so it seems), and he has more HP.
How should I build my character to make him better?
The fact that most people don't have a high Str and Dex. And once you start getting up in level, the ability score bonuses pale in comparison to high BAB from massive HD, massive size bonuses, and other ridiculous bonuses to CMB. Go look at some high level grapplers and see how much adding your Dex into the equation matters.
I'm not sure if that's good or bad. If the fighter wants to specialize in combat maneuvers, is he boned or will he be okay?
CMB = Base attack bonus + Strength modifier + special size modifier
Okay, that much makes sense. But then...
CMD = 10 + Base attack bonus + Strength modifier + Dexterity modifier + special size modifier + miscellaneous modifiers
So you're adding Strength AND Dexterity to CMD? Doesn't that make it unusually hard to perform a combat maneuver? Or am I missing something? Especially since some combat maneuvers require a standard action to perform, I'm tempted to drop the DC to 5 + whatever if you're adding TWO stats to it...
Unfortunately, I'm not experienced enough as a GM to create balanced MPCs. The players in my group want Vampire, Werewolf and Doppelganger characters, but I don't know how to handle this. I don't trust myself to create MPCs that are fair, balanced and fun.
Do you really suppose the Paizo design team would fair much better?
*looks at Prone Shooter feat*