Smaar Janderfut

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I very strongly agree with the notion that fighters seem to be capped at the "3rd level fireball stage", whereas the casters get powers to go above and beyond. It's a matter of content and the spell lists are vast and multi levelled, whereas feats get a lot less space.

When a fighter player gets access to more books, like "sword and fist", then the extra feats help, as do extra prestige options, but it always seems that in the initial rulebook, fighers have to make do with living in a third of the feat section. One extra page, with a new tier of melee feats, would go a long way towards evening this out. It's like people forgot that fighters beyond level 8 or so even exist.

It is worth noting, however, that any changes to fighters must be carefuly balanced against barbarians. Knockback, for example, was mentioned above as being desirable "battlefield control". Barbarians pay a hefty cost to get this, both in rage and the fact that it is a swift action and thus prevents any other use of rage powers. It's a really big thing for the barbarian to do, so if the fighter gets it with more utility, you will find that barbarians all reroll as fighters (especially if their other powers are taken in the same way).

Currently the barbarian thrives on being able to do the funny things a warrior cannot...that difference is a very fine line and the barb could be very quickly made obsolete by even the slightest changes. I am hopeful that the current rage and rage power review that Jason B is undertaking will improve barbs and thus allow fighters to "move up" a bit in power terms.

We had a similar situation with grappling a small foe in our recent game. In truth, grapple is starting to become attack of choice for the party, especially where the enemies are spellcasters.

There is a handy feat in "Sword and fist" called "close quarter fighting". It lets you take an attack of opportunity against even a grappled with improved grapple and resulting damage is added to your grapple resiting roll. It needs improved unarmed first, but it is a handy feat to bring into play where grappling is something you want to avoid.

One thing that concerns me with grappling is that we are running into the 4th edition territory of solo monsters and daze/ stun. Basically, it is a handy way to lock down a foe so that the party can get the beat down on it, again especially where that foe is a caster and needs gesture for its spells.

Pathfinder is turning into Wrestlemania I think.

Well, that problem still exists. You can take the single barbarian level and get some good rewards, like the movement boost and basic raging. I guess the only limit on that is the chaotic alignment requirement.

My claim isnt false, its just that you are making the assumption of tanking, Crusader of Logic. A good few wizard spells can be slapped onto a fighter assistant to make them handy to have around. Likewise, if you can make magic swords and armour, then putting them to good use means having a fighter as a bodyguard or henchman.

In general terms, the wizard also needs a flag carrier to go do stuff. He simply doesnt have the time, due to crafting, learning etc, to go and do a great many things. Having a "fighter buddy" isnt about cowering behind someone, its about having an intelligent, well armed and buffed killer to help you out.

It's also worth noting that some prestige classes, like "devoted defender", do exist for the "tanking" option, however, its just that they are very seldom taken.

Thankyou for the info, Kaeyoss. I am curious as to how the "planes" will work for pathfinder and how the gods will fit into it all. What you have said gives me an idea of the issues that Paizo will have to work around.

Bah, my post got eaten.

Here we go again. So, i see a lot of talk about fighters and as I play a barbarian, i`ll chip in on my findings. Barbarians, as they stand, are not as interesting as they may appear.

Roleplay wise, barbarians are quite rich characters to play. They tend to have quite an impact on the local npc's and on the party. They have the power to make their personalities felt and their opinions heard. They also have the power to pose a threat to things or enemies that would usually dismiss the party as innefectual. It is nice to know that, regardless of his funny fighting style, you can usually punch the villain in the face at least once. It is also nice for *them* to know that.

Combat wise, the Rage points are currently under a writers review and Jason is looking into making changes. Rage points are clumsy, the powers are often overpriced or restricted severely by level etc. Some powers simply do not work or are pointless to take. If you look at the list, there are really only a handful of worthy powers and most barbarians, due to the level limits, will end up looking pretty similar on the powers they choose.

I have a few bugbears about the class, mainly that, instead of simply adding to the class to encourage barbs to stick with it, penalties have been put in place to prevent multiclassing. The good powers require two things, ie lots of rage and "barbarian levels", both of which you lose when multiclassing. Fighters and rogues seem much more harmonious with regards to multiclassing and the barb is very much stuck with his strange rage mechanic and lack of feat options. This is made all the worse by unarmed fighting being the domain of the high wisdom monk (unarmed feats are very unfriendly to barbs) and with several weapon feats needing the fighter class. Barbs are thus very much limited to the "i have a two handed axe and i chop" style of combat.

The boring part of the barbarian is that it is very limiting with regards to what archetypes it allows. If you exist in the "fighter/ rogue" world or even the monk world, you seem to have more options and an ability to change your character progression to react to game events and life changes. Barbs are barbs for life, though it is possible for other classes to steal a lot of good barb powers by simply taking one barb level as a dip. The reverse is not true as the costs to the barb are so high.

I seriously considered dropping the barb class the other week and taking up fighter instead. As it stands, getting a lot of feats and tinkering around with different weapon options is a lot more interesting than the limited rage powers that cannot always be relied upon. I am going to stick with it through the next story to see if things improve and will then report back.

There are a lot of good points made above.

I strongly agree with the suggestion that we need another dedicated martial class. Especially as barbarian and monk are *alignment restricted*. We currently have a lot of melee "archetypes" that don't work well. I made a barbarian who uses unarmed combat primarily, only to discover that most of the unarmed feats need wisdom (clearly intended for monks only) and that as barbarian is chaotic and monk lawful i cant multiclass both together. Even turning to fighter levels, the "unarmed brawler but not a monk" doesnt seem to exist in a decent manner.

I am hoping that prestige classes will help the melee classes. As it is, the clerics, wizards et al have all got their family and school powers, but fighters, barbs and monks are all left with their starting package which is quite lacking in diversity. Traditionally, where the melee's shine, is when they pick up their prestige options.

Fighters specifically are a very deceptive class. They seem easy and can be played as such, but they can also be very complex. The old fighter books like "sword and fist" really set out some good feat options, strategies for combat and weapon options. A fighter needs to get the right tools for the job and at the moment many of those tools seem to be lacking or require backwards compatability and a willing gm.

What we really need is to free up the melee feats from their class pidgeon holes. Too many feats seem specifically tailored to one class or other, be it monk or fighter. If we had some more compatability between the melee 3, then i think we would see a lot more of those archetype options functioning. That and the coming prestige tests will go a long way to solving our problems.

Fighters traditionally start quite powerful, in comparison to other classes. However, they settle down once the spellcasters get access to higher level spells and once barbarians get their rage pool full and with powers to use.

One of the common criticisms levelled against 3.5 is that melee classes tend to lack options. This isn't as black and white as many people make out, but it is certainly true that, at the higher levels, a spellcaster is the better animal. I personally like this, as it makes magic into something worth studying and matches a great deal of fantasy literature.

Spellcasters are also quite reliant on having a fighter around for protection. You will find that many casters take on a "chosen melee" partner or a bodyguard of some sort. It is a powerful combination, especially where the caster is a crafter of magic items, which he can hand out to his melee chum.

Fighters take a lot of incoming damage and, if the fighter wasn't there, you would probably notice the other players getting a real battering, or being dead. One also needs to recognise that anyone with a strength as high as you describe probably hasn't got anything else worth talking about on their character sheet. That player has dedicated his life to doing one thing well. Put him against a decent caster or a trap, or a social encounter and there will be precious little for him to do.

I would suggest that you try some higher level campaign testing with the fighter and observe how the other characters compare once they have access to their spells. Then things will seem a lot less scary.

Out of curiosity, is Golarion a plane, existing with greyhawk, planescape and the rest? Do multi planar deities like Lolth thus have the option of gaining power there?

Or is the pathfinderworld totally cut off from all the other stuff?

I havent really done your comment on the "poisons doing damage" alternative much justice there, i think that sounds very interesting and needs a detailed examination. I may post one later, mainly i`m just musing on the issue of creatures and poison.

I would say that poisons doing damage like inflict spells (resist for half etc) sounds like a fair option. Very good idea, Archangel. It would still need balance in the form of cost or rarity, however, otherwise you are effectively giving out deadly spells to low level characters or threats.

It does raise the interesting issue of toughness versus con. You would need to include a fortitude save somewhere, or you are effectively saying that a con 18 wizard has less right to avoid poison than a lower con barbarian. Including the con roll would help alleviate that somewhat. Better "Save or die" than "class or die".

Well, again, thats an interesting problem, with the "natural poisons". You are quite right to raise it.

One of the strange things about our real world is that the most poisonous creatures are usually the least threatening in a fight. They tend to be very small, fairly easily avoided and rare. Tiny spiders, jellyfish, pufferfish, not really "monster threats", more like "terrain hazards". You could even consider real world poisonous monsters to be more like traps.

In D&D, a highly poisonous creature is likely to be pretty tough in its own right. Whereas in our world, such creatures survived our purges by being small and sneaky, in D&D they likely got bigger and meaner (hence their xp value). If there were save or die spiders in D&D, then with magic and fire, people would have gotten rid of the pests in anywhere that is in the least bit civilised.

Again, treating such threats as a terrain hazard or trap is a good plan, especially if you are using the "tiny poisonous spider lives in the hole" trick. A swarm is a different matter entirely and a good mix of the two, because the creatures stay small but in a swarm are a proper monster challenge. Big bugs are likely to be less poisonous, however, for all the reasons outline above, including the fact that they are big and thus don't need poison to be that great.

As an aside, many creatures prefer poisons that paralyse or weaken, so that they can drag their victims off as a fresh meal or for their young to snack on. Deadly poison is unusual as a defence, especially instant deadly poison (australian hospitals have lots of anti-venoms in stock and they are usually able to employ them).

As far as i know, the issue here is that D&D monsters tend to get better poison than a party member can "extract" from them. Again, this loss of potency does, i think, make some sense. However, you can play around with the dosage to compensate, i guess. Regardless, that all goes back to what i said in my previous post, relating to game balance and use.

Im interested to look at this the other way round, thinking for a moment about damage rather than healing. I read a good post on the class forum that said the barbarian was a problem for (that party) because it was so easily hit that it ended up using all the heals the party had.

Added to the comments made in this topic about scenarios being designed anticipating a certain level of healing, perhaps the classes are just too fragile. An awesome healing class seems necessary because hit points are lost at what is apparently a massive rate.

The topic is looking for alternatives to the cleric, perhaps we should consider *damage prevention spells* rather than spells which cure damage after it has been registered as hit point loss. A wizard might not be able to get a heal, but it makes sense to give them better armour type defences or buffs that can shield the party members.

Perhaps what we are seeking is a better range of defensive buffs that lessen this terrible dependence on powerful healing. I think there is a lot of room among the abilities and spells of the other classes to do this.

I have had the chance to play the Dune rpg and anyone who knows the Dune books will be aware that poison is a big issue in that universe.

The issue with poisons here is the same, basically, the more available and more deadly the poisons are, the more common defences against them become. Thus, you only die from poison in Dune if you are stupid or if your doctor is dead. There are personal poison detectors, detectors in the lights, detectors in the walls, food tasters and detectors in constantly worn items like rings.

Weapon poison may well still get you, but food poison really should not.

If we move this situation to D&D, then we have the same arms race. An effective poison world means that poison becomes weapon of choice. If weapons can be poisoned, they will be and if it can be put into food or in clothes etc, then that will be seen a great deal. Then, in order to survive, everyone will be wearing magically crafted poison immunity rings and they will probably be quite affordable and a business in themselves.

So, from what i can see, the poisons listed in the rules are basically incapacitants, they are not intended to kill, merely to slow or weaken. This means that any lethal poison is something that the GM has to introduce personally into the campaign, which is a good thing as the consquences can be severe.

Do such poisons even need rules? I guess we are talking about various levels of "save or die" really. Considering that this is only balanced by cash and not by level as spells are, thats quite a serious move. Adventurers traditionally have access to silly money, so balancing this out will be hard.

My suggestion would be that, should "save or die" poison exist, that it have some sort of delay mechanism, to allow for a cure spell or antitoxin to be introduced. This, at least, means that noble folk can have a court wizard or other bod on hand just in case. Similarly, it means that your players have a chance to save themselves when it inevitably happens to them (and it will). A couple of rounds isnt really a long time in game terms, but it allows for some attempt at healing, for those who are prepared.

Well, in that case your character would probably know something is amiss. It was too easy and, seeing as his loot store included a love potion, it isn't a trick he should be falling for, seeing as he probably used such craftiness himself.

I suggest that when the party gets through the next adventure path, we turn our attention to slapping whatever machiavellian organisation is pulling all these behind the scenes strings.

It may, in fact, be worth concentrating on such things now, rather than later.

I am curious.

Did you make any rolls to kill him? Or did it just happen?

ElyasRavenwood - Very good character you describe there and i am sure he is a joy to play. Very good example of a Sun/ Healer cleric, a real part of the community and great for giving the story some meaning.


Jal Dorak - Having played a barbarian, and having seen the major issues that "rage points" are causing right now on the forums, I would rather avoid "faith points". A well meaning idea to be sure, but it will come with its own problems and that would rather sour the good bits.


One thing i am very curious about is the logic of all this. The topic begins with "nobody wants to play clerics" and seems to be ending with "clerics are clearly overpowered, lets nerf them and remove their abilities". How does this in any way make people want to play them?

If people won't buy your car, scratching the paintwork and pulling off the wheels won't make it more attractive.

I also find it alarming that people consider the healing to be something they can simply give to other classes like wizards. Indeed, bards get an arcane heal, but there seem to be some people who want to do away with the poor cleric and steal all his stuff. Be careful of this, or you may well end up with the 4th edition "anyone can cast spells but every spell takes half an hour" result.

It is like kicking a monk when he is down, robbing his house and then giving his holy cross to the rich guy down the street. Leave priesty alone! Leave him alone!


What we want to do is make the class more attractive, not to damage it or to destroy it and give everyone else free heals. Currently, the most positive suggestion i have seen here is to give clerics many more skill points, a good idea. An alternative, of course, would be tacking on some skill focus feats as a level progression option.

I would say, however, that pathfinder does improve the cleric class with the domain abilities. Some, such as travel, can be very beneficial indeed. Don't disregard these when you consider whether or not you will play the class.

I would hope very much that players don't discount the cleric because they "like to be doing loads of damage in the front line". Is that the limit to our roleplay potential? Is it that Clerics need more utility spells, or a closer link to the crafting feats? What, apart from combat, could be done to make the cleric spellcasting more satisfying? Do they just need a better range of spells?

There is certainly an option to do more with channeling positive and negative energy and some feats exist to tune this. Are there enough of these and could any other interesting feat options be explored?

Or, after all this, is it just a matter of sacrifice. Much as in team fortress 2, few people play medics, but those who do can mean the winning or losing of a match. Is it that our clerics should get some sort of compensation for this back seat role, even, shock horror, more xp?

flash_cxxi wrote:

Do you happen to know by any chance how this relates into the Forgotten Realms, where a God's standing is determined by the number and power of their worshipers and Clerics?

Well, i`m a big fan of the 3.5 realms setting and my main cleric was affiliated to Cormyr. I think the realms had it right with the way the gods worked there and again, 4th ed rather wrecked that. The goddess of Rivers and streams, for example, does have value...or rather did, as 4th ed vaporised her for being "unimportant". Water, one would have thought, is rather important for survival and civilisation, but clearly in 4th ed they drink "pure manly warfare" or somesuch.

The only solid rules I used for deities were from the "deities and demigods book", which was rather good. It gave divine ranks based on followers and influence. It also offered some very interesting reading on the matter of portfolios and pantheons, including if you wanted to make your own. I had the Realms book "faiths and pantheons" which was also very good.

It is a very liberating thing to have access to a god's stats and feats. It lets you know just what a god can sense and what they can do if their followers need help. Temples and shrines, for example, extend the sensory range of a god, explaining why building them is a good thing and why lone cleric in the wilderness may not get any form of divine support (ie adventurers far from home). A deity who sets out a little portable shrine is a very sensible person, despite the group thinking he or she may be a bit eccentric.

I still haven't made up my mind on the pathfinder gods. Largely as we haven't encountered much of them and their works in our campaign path yet and we lack a dedicated clerical character ( i chose to play a barbarian, much to everyones surprise). I find that the character art for them really helps, so when more pictures appear, i will look them over.

Well, I like to play clerics, though i traditionally play neutral clerics of necromantic gods that rebuke (fate, time and death gods).

One thing nobody has really mentioned is the roleplay aspect and I think it is important to touch on. A cleric is not just a bunch of spells like a wizard, nor is a cleric something else that also has spells, like a bard or ranger. A cleric is an ambassador to its God.

Having a personal connection to one of the beings that controls the world is quite a roleplay experience. Paladins get a lot more independence, but when the god wants influence over the locals, it more than often sends a cleric to convey the word.

One of the reasons that people don't play clerics is that GM's are not playing up the influence of the divine in their games. It's not a player issue, its that the roleplay aspect is being forgotten. I had a great GM, back when i was a Cleric of Chronepsis, dragon god of fate. Once, when i cast a particularly awesome spell, Chronepsis himself was seen in the clouds and it became the talk of the entire region. When i walked into the Royal Courts, people took note and wanted to know what i had to say.

Clerics, even lower level clerics, have a relationship that leaves even the most impressive wizard out in the cold. Your God loves you, even if its an evil god, it invests significant interest in its Clerics. The portfolio of your god becomes of primary roleplay interest and offers unusual ways of thinking that can be much fun to play out. As a Neutral Cleric especially and one linked to fate and death, I could make some major world decisions, sacrificing whole villages that they might be raised as undead warriors, knowing that this decision would save the lives of hundreds of other innocents. You can think as a God thinks and have an epic agenda.

The biggest smack in the face to me was the severing of this link by the 4th edition rules change. I suddenly had players in my group whose characters *did not believe in the gods*. In 3.5 I had stats for them, they had personalities and feats, but now....they had faded into unbelief and loyalty was no longer required. They were powerless to influence their followers and the one cleric in the party kept religion to himself and thus the faith his god needed was not being spread among the people. A very sad state of affairs.

Pathfinder, however, is closer to 3.5 and thus the gods and their clerics are close once again. Paladins, likewise, have their loyalty and commitment restored. If the GM in a game really shows the party how miraculous and incredible the divine connection can be, then there will be players who wish to learn more.

The Gods are real and the Gods want *you*

Well, locked doors are not much of a defense against players, even at low levels, so a power that moves someone past them at speed isnt really world destroying.

As to walls of force and that sort of nonsense, well, unless this fellow can move the entire party past them, then that usually means someone or a few people being stuck on the wrong side when trouble starts and that can be very bad.

Personally, i`d approach this from a roleplay side. Anyone with travel as a domain is a prime target for gm plot devices. The local church, or his god can send him on trips away, or encourage him not to stay in the same inn twice etc.

I`m a big fan of priests and cleric types who actually take their domain roles seriously, rather than simply viewing them as a source of useful tools. If i had a travel cleric in my game who made a point to roleplay his travels, or to help travellers or to otherwise really big up his faith, then i'd be much happier with him teleporting about.

Some of the campaign arcs tend to be very much based in one place, or city, ie Korvosa. It's also fair to restrict deity or domain choices based on this, i would say, especially where "travel" is concerned. If a domain doesnt really fit with the campaign feel, then its fair game to disallow such worhsippers, unless the player really triest to make it work in some visible and probably awkward manner (like fixing roads or wagons etc in his spare time).

Thed the barbarian is in a thoughtful mood, i would say. There has been a lot of wierdness happening in the city and that sort of thing unsettles him. He may be a chaotic fellow, but he does rely on being guided by others, or by events. A henchman's function, after all.

With the recent "incident" at the execution and with the suspicious changeover of the King of spiders, Thed is probably going to keep to himself for a while. He was betrayed by Lamm and swore that such sneakyness would never fell him again, but it would seem that it is going on in large amounts.

Thed also feels sympathetic for the Queen. She is pretty, charismatic and paid him very well. He may not have political views, per se, but he frequently boasts about the time he visited the Palace, so his royal connection means a lot to him. Thed wants to make something of himself and the nobility have a sort of mesmerising effect upon him.

The encounter with the monsters we had in the recent session has also caused some thought. Thed may be a barbarian, but he fights primarily with his fists or light weapons and this means that major threats are beyond him. His rage is usually provoked and he didnt really need to call upon it in the dungeon romp that we did. In fact, through a combination of luck and good saves, he only took a handful of hit points of damage throughout.

I had hoped that the scenarios may offer some significant incentive to train, or to pick up some meaty looking dropped weapon. Neither of which has really occured (we primarily find spell or armour items). This means that, in mechanics terms, he is using a monk's style without any of the class features that a monk has, he is thus rapidly turning into a glorified hireling. He excels in the city, but in a heavy combat incident he is out of place.

In the session previous to the last, he spent some time investigating the Cerulean society and did some work sanctioned by them. Thed already distrusts the link between the party and the town guard, to the point of being paid by the party and not by the field marshall (he doesnt even go into the citadel). Thus, he will probably move away from Eel's end and its new owner, in preference to being his own man for a bit.

Thed is moving through a thoughtful, serious and self-examining stage of his life. He spent much of his life poor and, since the adventure started, not only did he defeat lamm, thus taking control of his life back, but he ended up pretty wealthy. He has slept with the most expensive woman in the area (100gp a night no less) and has been able to buy friends, clothing, drink and even status. He was in the noble box at the Queen's invitation. The question is, what now?

Revenge was the motivation that started the party going, then it became the hunt for wealth and status. We have achieved all of these in large amounts. It may well be that his story is all played out. He got what he wanted and could well drift into the background as an NPC. Alternatively, he needs new motivation, so if the coming story provides that, he may undergo some changes.

He will thus continue to talk to various npc's and groups in the city looking for some guidance on where to take his life and destiny. The Ceruleans offered him some purpose, so maybe his future involves moving up in their ranks. Similarly, the Queen is in need of help more than ever before and that would offer some options.

It is just so sad that our hobby has come to this. I remember when d20 was allowing everyone to make supplements and games for anything that took their fancy, yet it was all harmonious.

Now we are on either side of an edition battle-line, taking some comfort in our loyalty to one side or other. I am still despairing at how we can have gone from what some called "a roleplaying renaissance" to this bitter civil war.

I personally wish that there was no "side" to welcome you to, my friend, but it seems that there is and that there has to be.

Let us hope things settle down, in time.

Personally, i think that it gives a more sensible looking set of stats. The way some people talk, they seem to expect and 18 to 20 in everything they might find useful in a class.

I read a very interesting post on the 4th ed wizards board that talked up the advantage of secondary stats, basically saying that a 16 in a primary was better than an 18 because of the points saved being spent on other things. Making a character with more realistic, well rounded bonuses is a sensible strategy in and of itself.

As to monks, well, i`d be interested in knowing what makes a "good monk". Just how high do all those stats need to be? Are people simply looking at what should be a reasonably spread set of class abilities, a generalist, and presuming that it should be exceptional everywhere?

Well, i`m glad people think it's useful. Much of what i wrote had been said by others, of course, i just packaged it up, really )

I love a bit of a ramble, sign of my roleplaying age methinks.

I have a great little supplement on wild magic. I could, with minimal fuss, use it to make a character in pathfinder with the wild caster template and thats something i`m grateful for.

d20 was really good for random stuff, people were publishing books and tiny magazines on all manner of things they liked. I have numerous hardbacks on "steampunk", one book all about tieflings and aasimar, the wildmagic book, loads of drow stuff, etc.

Backwards compatability means that i can salvage a great deal of stuff from my investment there, rather than having to throw it all out. As a gm thats a real godsend. As a player its also very nice.

Interestingly, i play a standard pathfinder barbarian at the moment, with no funny rules. Pathfinder itself offers a lot of good stuff, but i know that when the mood takes me, or when i get a hankering to try something a bit off the wall, its there for me to use.

It's not perfect, but it means i dont have to throw out all my old books. Thats good for me.

Well, i wont get into the current angle of the debate, but i`ll discuss a few ideas on how to run the game when such a character is already present.

In my experience, how such a character works out is based upon the other party members. In this case, we don't know much about them, but it is entirely possible that they too are pretty awesome folks.

The main worry comes when the rest of the party just don't compare in terms of power. In those cases, the GM tends to smash other players flat by calling out the big guns to take on the "power player". This leads to problems and is effectively like the player using the other, weaker characters, like some sort of moral defence against the gm evening the odds.

However, there are ways around this.

1. The party split.

Making situations where the party is forced to split up can allow balance. The tough character can be sent off to do the bigger, badder end of the encounter and the rest of the party can deal with things on their own terms. It's a good test of the player in question, if he is abusive, then he will do his best to keep with the party. If, however, he enjoys a challenge, he will rise to the occasion and go out to be a big damn hero.

2. Roleplay consequence.

Suggested by posters above, so not my idea here, but worth putting in again. As such, these kinds of characters tend to be roleplay freaks with downsides (hunted, prejudice etc) that the build doesnt initially make obvious. A wise GM plays up on these and some players who make these characters do enjoy that, so its not all a gm invoked response. When the character finds it has to sleep outside the castle, or that the local human folk attack it on sight, then the hint is pretty quickly given, especially with monster characters, that their power comes at a price.

3. Battle Magnet.

When one character is doing all the fighting, then it tends to be the case that the fighting comes to the character, in large amounts. The player may well like the fact that he is in the thick of it, being an awesome combattant, so a good GM should give him what he wants. Most monsters and bad folk will sensibly throw themselves at the larger threat, so the weaker characters can be shielded by its presence. Massed troops are the natural counter to a multiple attacks player with high damage capacity. Simply use enough cannon fodder to keep him busy.

4. Freeform Campaign.

When tailoring encounters for the players proves too hard, simply create your world and let the players choose where they go. This way they will find their natural power niche. If the characters are powerful enough to take on monsters many levels beyond them, then let them go do so. The challenge here is character motivation. Insist that the powerful character has an end goal and that they must work towards it. If they simply expect you to give them things to do, then don't. Anyone making an awesome epic hero has a duty to use it to make a difference to the campaign world by doing something noteworthy. Let them choose what that is and make it as hard as you think it should be.

5. The Character Equal.

Be sure to throw in the occasional monster or foe that is created as a mirror image of the player character, or better. So long as the player remains the primary combattant, then such a foe will naturally end up fighting him. This works especially well when the foe has a reason to fight that character, allowing them to call the character out for a challenge. Alternatively, go down the buffy route of "the big bad", where the powerful character has a responsibility to fight the most horrendous monsters when they come along. With great power comes great responsbility, after all.

6. Emphasise alternate threats.

Specialist uber characters usually shine in one area and are a big let down everywhere else. It's a test of a gm's creativity and resolve, with the player gambling on the fact that the gm uses only one sort of threat, ie combat. So, traps, dangerous terrain, social encounters, creatures that are only affected by magic and so on, all become viable ways to balance things out. Really, a good game should include these anyway, so the presence of such a character can be a sign that your games are becoming very reliant on one encounter type, change is needed.

7. Praise the character and player.

Players often make these sorts of characters because they want attention and recognition. Often, i have found, such players become less of a problem when the gm makes a point of praising them and offering them rp rewards. If the local city has an arena, then offer the character the chance to become a famous arena champion. Even freakish half ogres and worse can overcome local prejudice by taking on such status in a community. He could become a tavern bouncer or any other manner of significant rp member of the community where his prowess can bring positive rewards. Encourage the character to interact with its family or community, especially if it is a monster based character - think about Worf, the Klingon, and how Star Trek dealt with him.

8. Put in cool, but awkward, items.

I added this one in as an edit, since it occured to me after i made the post. Anyway, such uber characters tend to be unable or unwilling to use certain item types. They usually choose the largest, most intimidating thing around and they are often short of feats that would allow them to use alternatives. Be sure to add in rewards that are very cool, but that are tailored for the other party members. Crystal balls, staves, daggers, clumsy items that have lowered damage but that cast cool spells etc. These items can redress the balance in power terms or can simply remind the other players that you are thinking of them too. You can use alignment specific, or deity specific items to do the same thing, especially where the power player has ignored such game elements. This may also motivate the troublesome player to learn crafting or to go on specific ventures to look for particular items, thus giving you a means of control over him.


Words of caution.

I`ve taken over a few games where bad players have forced another gm to stop running. I find that i can usually set things right for a time, but that a truly dedicated troublemaker can only be dealt with by getting kicked out or having their character retired.

The trick is to spot the players who are beyond help and those who are simply attention starved or weak and who can be "steered right". There are some players who deliberately sabotage games and i know at least one who boasts that he does this. Those characters you must catch before their character even enters play, otherwise it is too late.

Weaker players, who make these uber characters to counter their lack of rp confidence, can be managed and can have a rewarding game for all involved. The trick is to learn what they want and to give it to them in such a manner that the game is not messed up. That can be hard and can require a lot of invested time. It is worth it, however.

It's all about the options really. Pathfinder is basically picking up the pieces that 4th ed is throwing out....and this is a sign of just how many pieces are getting thrown.

I am a big planescape fan, so i`m naturally used to the idea of there being numerous planes, or countries with their own themes and rules. I also played a lot of TORG, where this was actually the case on earth after some other dimensions invaded ours.

As to the gunpowder, i think it is nice to have it around. It managed to get into lord of the rings to blow up helms deep wall, so it seems fair to have it in most fantasy settings ("large blast of fire" seems fair to interpret as some sort of bomb, as was seen in the film).

I would say that anyone wanting to lessen the effect of these elements is free to do so. Just stick with one part of the world in the campaign and don't worry about the rest. Our whole campaign is set in one city, thus far and that is the "world" for our party. We see the odd exotic visitor or item, but they are a notable curiosity when they appear.

So, in short, take the bits you like and keep them, throw out the rest. It's all about the options and choice. These days, i`m rather thankful that the choice is there at all.

I like the current system, but change is needed - option 1.

The basic idea is a good one, its just the the costs need to be rebalanced (lessened) and the levels of rage made to cost the same, rather than getting larger (which defeats the point of progression).

As it stands, barbarians are like economists, carefully planning out their points use, because rage is too precious a resource in the current setup.

This can be stressful and i am sure that many barbarians are choosing not to rage, for fear of spending their points at the wrong time.

Can we also do something about those "pretend temporary hit points". Managing those (especially when they vanish) is a real brain-strainer.

Asgetrion wrote: my opinion the barbarian's ability to boost his attack bonus and AC by half his level feels like stepping on the fighter's toes...

Well, the problem comes in that he can "outshine the fighter" for a very limited time. After the fight, the barbarian is basically a fighter without the feats. He won't outshine the fighter then, he`ll just be dead weight.

The barbarian is, by its definition, a nova fighter. You break out the barbarian when you really want something dead in a few rounds. I play one myself, but i constantly look at the fighter with a niggling envy....i have gone into a fair few fights and have had to make the choice *not to rage*, because i fear a later battle or because i just don't have that many points to play with (some of the powers cost a shocking amount and the better rages cost more per round).

However, though this is uncomfortable, i do feel somewhat better when i get the chance to really break loose and do something that is "above the party power level" for a short time. It makes a difference and it can make a bad situation manageable or turn a likely loss into a break even.


My main concern with the rage mechanics as written is that they lock you into buying more barbarian levels. It's bad enough that you lose rage points when multiclassing into anything else (effectively losing a feat for each non barbarian level taken), but to compound this, most of the powers use barbarian level to generate their effect, causing a double loss. When you have powers sucking up more rage points than you might be getting each level, this hurts a lot.

The barbarian is basicaly a victim of its own success. The barb player gets a lot of rewards for sticking with his class, but by contrast he is severely punished for straying, beyond the rewards that multiclassing may offer.


I dont find rage points fiddly, i just find that the supporting mechanic is unique and thus causes some incompatability with multiclassing and general playstyle. Prestige classes need to fix this, by offering "rage progression" or "barb level progression" like spell progression. Otherwise they will be lost to us as well.

My betting would be on House Arkona. From what our characters have seen, the house imports a lot of things from overseas. Likewise, that cash has to go somewhere and the House seems to be doing very well for itself, despite being in crime central.

The drugs issue is an interesting one. My character is part of the Cerulean society and is also Chaotic Evil, a drunk and a womaniser, but he steers clear of drugs.

The theater owner of the Marbledome didnt pay his Cerulean protection money in the last session, so i beat him stupid and robbed him, including taking up his carpet, which was rather lovely. However, when i found his drugs stash, i chose to give it away rather than sell it.

Drug sellers are a bit nasty, even for the tastes of my character and he will have no part in the trade.

Well, I`ve been investigating the membership benefits of the Cerulean society, the only legal guild in Corvosa. Also known as the thieves guild.

Basically, they charge protection money from pretty much everyone and if you don't pay, they give out your details to all the thieves, so you get menaced, robbed and generally have a bad time.

There are a couple of ways to take advantage of this arrangement, in member terms. You can register territory, or a gang. If you own territory, then you pay your vice tax and can do sneaky things there, as well as leaning on the locals and collecting Cerulean protection money. By contrast, a gang gets the rights to rob anyone who doesn't pay or play ball with a territory holding member.

I`ve been in the latter part, basically using my old membership of Gedron Lamb's gang to go out and do some sanctioned robbery. It's quite nice, as you can explain to the locals whats going on and they can see the fairness of it and keep out of the way. Guards will still interfere, but you actually get legal protection and a reduced sentence should you be foolish enough to get caught. You even get a free lawyer.

For a character like mine, its a godsend, as it lets me go out and use my "profession - Henchman" to its full capacity. It also lets me dispense large helpings of violence upon the helpless without causing party problems or messing with the flow of the game. It even pays the bills and lets me get hold of shiny things, or handy gifts. In the last session i even got an expensive rug, which the likes of our party would never see usually.

It's certainly a lawful aligned city, regulating crime as it does, but that works just fine for chaotic characters like mine. We basically get channeled in a manageable way and i`m ok with that.

These are the sorts of things worth fighting for in the Corvosan way of life. The right to rob!

It's no longer worth it. We had a good surprise moment where it may well have worked, but i suspect we won't get another, at least not for a long time.

I`m interested to see what job the crown offers the party next. We have done a lot of minor things, but i sense that the storyline proper picks up at this point. As things are pretty stable, i suspect that something else will come along to cause trouble and cause chaos in Corvosa.

The manner of that event will dictate where we go from here.

*rawr* another level of Barbarian for me!

Anyway, as to my further findings on the game mechanics etc, i thought i would comment on barbarians.

Now, there have already been some very good posts on the barbarian class on the other sections of this forum, so i wont duplicate those if i can. What i will say, though, is that the class does seem to hinder multiclassing. The fact that barbarian levels give rage points, which no other class does and the fact that barbarian powers are all "adds you level of barbarian to...." basically means that you are a Babar for life, especially at lower levels.

The barbarian class does offer some rewards though, mainly in that, for a few rounds, you can be pretty godlike with the right rage powers. A good warrior is probably better, in the long run, but the barbarian is still satisfying, especially for the excessive hit points.

I guess that the barbarian is the equivalent of a 3.5 wizard. The payoff comes with dedication and after a food few levels. The low level barbarian seems to be a clumsy creature, but they get more focused the higher they go. This is especially visible in a party that multiclasses early, so in our game, its nice to be dedicated to the art of smashing things up.

My hope is that some prestige classes will appear that favour the rage mechanic and that allow it to go up while providing some alternative options. I`m in agreement that some of the higher barbarian powers in the rage list are a bit lacking, so, when the time comes to be choosing those, i may be branching out into warrior for some feats.


In rp terms, in the campaign we are playing, i`ve enjoyed being an "urban barbarian" thus far. It makes a big impression in the criminal underworld to be a scary bruiser type, even if your education and background are not that good.

Wenching, drinking and living life to the full are noble goals indeed!

Well, apart from talking about our group and characters, i am guessing that this forum is for talking about our findings on the adventure path too. I thought i would add in some interesting scenario related stuff that we encountered.

Elves - One of the most interesting things about Corvosa and the southern section of the city is that it has an elven enclave. Elves, in short, are bad news. They worship really dubious gods, seduce noblewomen and are responsible for an entire outcast society of half-elves. By contrast, most half-orcs get no such prejudice, but nobody really likes a half elf.

This is quite a turn around from the usual approach that 3.5 people will be used to and i found it to be quite refreshing.

Vice Tax - In Corvosa, crime is alright, so long as you pay your taxes on it. It's a registered activity to do and maintains the only legal guild in the area, ie the thieves guild. We had a run in with Field Marshall Croft, who was saying how much she hated the "King of Spiders" from Eels end, but that, because he pays his vice taxes on time, she couldnt actually touch him.

Our group, being Ruffians and scoundrels, fit in fine with this set up and, even though we are criminals, we can still feel that we are a valued part of the city. We pay our vice tax and that makes us goodly citizens.

Hmm, interesting suggestion, Cpt_Kirstov. An urban ranger or detective type would certainly make more sense than the traditional sort.

It's all a mystery though, till we learn more.

Well, he hasnt really said anything about his character choice to the rest of us....i dont think we have much influence on it.

Currently, a warm body is the only real class requirement i think. Though, if he could take hits and deal them out, i guess we would be ok with him being undead and thus cold bodied.

So long as he fits with the party alignment, then i`m ok with it. We are a pretty suspicious bunch, so his choice to reroll so early has probably cost him, in terms of fitting in. It's entirely possible that we simply won't accept another party member unless some major factors make him or her acceptable.

I think we would all accept a Harrow reader, without any question. We would probably be very protective of them, in fact. We would certainly see the use of any sort of outcast mage type, though would probably want the destructive sort over the sneaky sort as we are already fairly sneaky people.

The initial campaign link was that we all hated Lamm or whatever the alligator crimelord guy was called. That has now passed and he is dead. Then we had the Harrow reader who hired us....that has also now passed, so a newcomer character isnt even going to have those things to make us want to like them.

Considering that, even in a few sessions, we have been betrayed or set up a few times...we will not just pick up a passer by for convenience.


Archetypes the Party would probably accept:

1. The herbalist - We rely on potions to heal us, so someone with the ability to brew potions and a decent heal skill would meet our characters' approval swiftly. We are also about to stock up on potions, so it would seem sensible for the character to join now.

2. A Harrow Reader or Varisian Witch - We are a Varisian party and already did some work for a Harrow reader. We would probably be a bit fearful of such powers, which means we would show such a person a lot of respect, despite our evil alignments.

3. The Outcast Mage - Anyone capable of blowing stuff up, possibly while being a bit insane, would probably fit in. The group would appreciate their combat prowess and probably wouldnt want to mess with them. We also don't like the local mage house, so people with a grudge against them would be good for us.

4. Combinations of the above - A potion brewing, harrow reading Varisian Witch who can cast some combat spells would be very nice. If she has been badly treated by others, we can help get revenge.

5. A freak - Be it a wierd animal guy, an ugly guy, or someone with no real place in long as they dont fit in with the commoners, we can probably take them in.

6. A thug - The more strong arms we can get, the better. We are basically a gang of ruffians, so another ruffian would probably find a place with us. The only thing scarier than one thug beating on you is a whole pack of thugs, so recruitment is open.

7. Someone with a plan - A new leader, one who has the charisma to replace the current one, is always an option in an evil party. So long as they can improve our riches and our sense of safety (we have many enemies) then thats a positive step for us. A less positive step for the old leader, but then, if they were good, they`d still be in charge, or still breathing etc.


What we don't want:

1. Someone who doesnt impress or frighten us. We don't want any weedy, helpless sorts who take more than they give. We are not a charity.

2. Suspicious people. Anyone we don't trust will probably be left or, if they hang around, killed.

3. People in good standing with the Nobility or Guards. What have they done for us, hmm? We are people of the streets and we do not take kindly to people who think they are better than us, or people who have a wierd fascination with the law and being virtuous.

4. Preachy religious types. Our characters, on the whole, are either non religious or have quiet religious belief in sneaky gods. Anyone with a big cleric/ paladin divine mandate is probably going to get slapped. The gods have not done anything for our characters, so they don't have a share in our destiny, as far as our characters are concerned.

5. Pointless people. Basically, if a newcomer is just there "because he or she is a player character", then that's not good enough. Everyone earns their place in the party, by positive or negative means. If they trick their way in, blackmail their way in, seduce their way in, then so be it. If they expect a free ride, then at best they will be told to get lost.

Jason very kindly signed the Beta rules that i bought at Gencon UK. He seemed a very nice fellow indeed and it is good to know that the response from the convention goers was such a positive one.

My group recently started playing pathfinder and we are working through "Curse of the Crimson Throne". The whole pathfinder setting is very good, with depth and grit.

It's a nice thing when the writers of these games are out and about, where you can meet them in person. I wish you all every continued success with the Pathfinder line and its good to know that the banner of 3.5 is still flying proud.

As Jason signed in my book - "3.5 Lives".

Basically, our party has several strong motivators here, despite being evil aligned. Though our characters are selfish, they have also learned that sticking together seems to be a very good idea, as there are some powerful enemies out there that pose a very real threat.

In addition, a good few of us are Varisian and have an interest in looking out for our own and in respecting the will of Harrow readers, which works well in the Scenario.

The interest here is in helping the city to avoid disaster. Selfish and brutal as we are, we need somewhere to live and prosper and keeping that place intact is a good thing. Likewise, most of us have had terrible upbringings or backgrounds, so we are evil as a matter of survival instinct, not due to some wish to control the world etc. I guess you could call us anti-heroes.

It has been a good game so far and we are running without a healer and with non optimal characters. It has a real feeling of grit to it all and thats a welcome thing. It also leaves much room for character development and watching the party form naturally has been interesting. Without the spell support and with no healer, we nearly lost two characters in this evenings session, so each success we achieve feels very real.

Heck, my only armour is padded clothing (a sailors greatcoat) and i use a simple club or fists as a weapon (or random thrown objects as i have "throw anything"). I`m a barbarian only to reflect the fact that my character is a surly drunkard and prone to fits of anger (he is based on Bill Sykes from "Oliver Twist"). I am happy to take on armoured knights in my simple outfit and i wrestled an alligator in the first part of the scenario with some success.

If anyone should be saving a city like Corvosa, then its the dockyard scum like us. We`ll do it too, even if the means and method are none too pretty.