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I think some gating is fine.

Specifically Trained gating. I really like that an untrained person does not get access to all of the actions of a trained individual.

The other kind of gating that is fine is Feats.... Needing expert in Diplomacy to get a diplomacy feat that makes you better in specific diplomacy situations or allows you to do something faster is fine.

Gating that is not ok is gating actions behind Expert or higher. I am already not getting the full + and I am already not getting some of the better feats for this skill that I am trained in I do not need to be further punished for not dedicating all of my resources to this skill.

Let me try what I am going to try and if I fail I fail. This is especially true with characters that are supposed to be "decent at skills" but not as good as the rogue. These characters start with more trained skills but no one gets any more bonuses to feats or skills than any other non- rogue character. Which means with current gating the number of trained skills you have does not matter only the number of maxed out skills, but by removing the gating from action from anything above trained all of a sudden starting number of trained skills matter and the "secondary" skills characters can at least attempt a larger amount of things without the benefits of as many + or as many skill feats as a person who dedicated it.

This way the ranger can be good at dedicated skills but by starting with more skill they also have a wider breadth of abilities they can at least attempt to cover for or reasonably assist with.

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Yep paladin is pretty solid, though I would not be surprised if the tone that one down when everyone moves from the fighter one to the Paladin.

Also I do not think for a moment anyone will pick a spell caster archetype they are all SUPER bad.

I still get that Spell casters used to be too strong mid to late game, but I feel like this edition has gone way to far making them horrible start and not good until super late game in which case they are super strong again. There needs to be a way to level this stuff out where casters aren't gods in late game and yet can actually bring something to the table before level 11

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PCScipio wrote:

De-tuning the monsters a bit would solve a lot of problems, IMHO.

I"ll note that my bard in Doomsday Dawn part 2 casts Inspire Courage and smacks creatures with a 2-handed bastard sword (and wears full plate). Fighter Dedication FTW (admittedly, multi-classing may be too good).

Yep fighters are good no surprise that just about anything multi-class + fighter works. So far that has been the only way I have seen Bards be super good is they put a bunch into strength and take the fighter level 2 multi class feat. Which limits races to Goblin and Human and does make Inspire Courage worth it since now you are not sacrificing another fighter slot while simultaneously providing buffs for all the rest of the martial classes and cleric in your group, but the fact that this seems like the only good path for bards shows the inherent problem with the base bard in my opinion.

To be clear not saying this shouldn't be an option it definitely should, but it should also be perfectly acceptable to never cross class and get access to better skills or spell casting ability through bard feats. Which at the moment it really isnt because the 2nd level feats are locked behind your first level feat choice.

If you went versatile (which starts out as a skill thing) you can get "better spell casting" with a prepared book (which costs a crap ton of money to maintain) and that better spell casting is all of 1 spell either known or heightened.... and since spells are all kind of garbage until super late it doesn't really matter in addition to how minor this is, just do not play a spell caster.

If you went Lingering, you get to make other people better at skills sometimes for some skills.... probably would have been better off with a rogue here, just be better at skills and do more damage.

And if you went Lore you get to remember things slightly better... a limited number times per day. Bring a pen and paper and write things down and play something that contributes...

Sorry being negative...

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Oh in addition, spell casters all kind of suck until really late levels except Clerics which are Gods in this game. Bard included. The only reason people think bard is "alright" is because people are used to Bard sucking and doing nothing but Inspire Courage to make martials better, that they are ok with Bards still sucking and only doing Inspire Courage to make martials and Clerics better. Inspire Courage is still miles ahead of some other buff spells, but most of the buff spells are so horrible that it isnt saying much. In most cases of 4 man parties it would be better off smacking someone with a bigger ax instead of a short sword or a rapier + inspire courage, or you know pick a rogue and bring some skills to the table they are better than most of the spells + you can attack with the same weapons AND get dex bonus added to damage and sneak attack. Just my thoughts.

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Dire Ursus wrote:
Tezmick wrote:

Didn't read it all but had to comment on your Rogue opinion. Are you comparing it to unchained rogue in 1e? Because the Rogue in the playtest absolutely destroys the core rogue in pf1e. It's not even close.

Dex to damage, Access to skill increases every level. They even gave them Debilitating Strike. Just a straight upgrade. They also have some of the best class feats in the game like nimble dodge, and dread striker.

I used an unchained rogue last time, however my biggest gripe with them is skills I didn’t play a rogue to be ok at skills I chose them to be AWESOME at skills, I agree that dread striker is really good but found nimble dodge to be a wasted feat with how high monsters to hit bonuses become, I also don’t see why they reduced sneak attack damage but left a lot of creatures with immunity to it, people can beat the ‘realism’ horse all day I don’t buy it, in a world where people can gain flight by being angry realism is a pretty poor argument.

Rogues are awesome at skills at least by comparison to everyone else, especially other "skills" characters like ranger (always thought of them as the nature skills people) who is not better than a wizard or a cleric when it comes to skills right now or the bards (always thought of them as social skills people) who at later levels have the worst skills of any character since they have to get performance up to legendary so unlike the wizard or the fighter who can actually get 3 skills topped out bard only gets 2 actual choices of skills while the third is eaten up by performance. Rogues are the only class that can get more than 3 skills to legendary. The problem you are having is with skills in general because of monster stats not the class itself if they didnt touch the class and instead dropped monster numbers your complaint would disappear as the Rogue outstrips every class in the game by miles in terms of number of skills and skill feats it can focus on.

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Neume wrote:

I've now played 5 different bards at various levels and 1 from level 1 to 10. Cantrips are not living up to the hype, especially after level 5. Spells in general are a big problem.

Part of me feels bard may feel very different is spellcasting wasn't so pointless at the moment. Not only do you not have enough spells, you run out quickly (at least in the play test) and are left with cantrips that don't do a lot. Like melee combat, around 7 or 8 the effectiveness of spells wear off. Bard is suffering from all the problems Wizards and Sorcerers are seeing.

I know the design team is aware of both the issue with melee for casters and casting, however, cantrips do not in any way "save" the bard from the issues we're talking about. Though, I agree, if one or both of those issues are fixed it would make bards feel more relevant.

Though, I think one vein that bards are lacking on the class feat spectrum is actually combat feats. Maybe Diva Style type feats for a new Melee focused Muse. This would add both new options for bard and help shore up weaker points. Maybe there is a Caster Muse introduced as well that introduces more spell options.

But spells are in a not good place right now and that includes cantrips and compositions.

I fully agree with this, but I also feel like Skills are a big problem as well. Being gated into having to take and upgrade Performance and likely even Occult skill while not getting any more upgrades than a fighter or any other class except a rogue makes every "skill" based class other than Rogue feel like they aren't skill based at all. It doesn't feel like it matters that bard has the second highest base starting skills when we are pigeon holed into upgrading one of them and we do not get more upgrades.

In addition to this anyone that wants to play the swashbuckling bard is also at a big disadvantage because while bards can get shields, and finesse martial weapons in addition to light armor the rogue is once again the only character that gets access to dexterity being added to damage.

This is not simply a problem with bard either, Ranger is feeling this same problem. I always thought of the ranger as a nature and survival skills based ranged fighter, but right now they get nothing in terms of extra skills by comparison to the fighter and thus live and die simply by the feats with what feels to me like very little real identity.

To me the best designed classes right now are, Fighter, Rogue and Cleric, probably Barbarian as well, have not played with and do not know enough about Monk or Druid to have an opinion on them.....

For spell caster fixes I really think they should make spell casters stronger early and may drop off the scale a little bit in the late road if they are worried to much about later strength.

For Example: Instead of having 3 of every spell level as you get higher, Have it more like
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1: 4
2: 6
3: 6 3
4: 6 5
5: 6 5 3
6: 6 5 4
7: 6 5 4 3
8: 6 5 4 4
9: 6 5 4 4 2
10:6 5 4 4 3
11:6 5 4 4 3 2
12:6 5 4 4 3 3
13:6 5 4 4 3 3 1
14:6 5 4 4 3 3 2
15:6 5 4 4 3 3 2 1
16:6 6 5 4 3 3 2 1
17:6 6 5 4 3 3 2 1 1
18:6 6 5 4 3 3 2 2 1

Basically allowing lower level spell casters to feel stronger while also taking away some strength of higher level casters by severely limiting higher level spells and spell slots. This way you can also make mid level spells a little bit stronger as well, or even have spells that scale all right with character level.

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As far as performance being rolled into other things. Playing an instrument might be a diplomacy or a society roll. Juggling, dancing, high wire acts... sounds like acrobatic performances to me. Singing and oratory is definitely Diplomacy, acting is deception. Comedy can be dependent on what kind of comedy, slapstick could be athletics while stand up could be diplomacy or society again. These are just a few thoughts.

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PCScipio wrote:
Tunewalker wrote:
If the party is a lot of martial classes or martial classes and a cleric I am counting on not being useful for 80% of fights.
In that case, Inspire Courage alone would make you useful, and you still have 2 other actions each round. Also, don't underestimate the usefulness of a 3-action Magic Missile when you need it.

To make my claims on Inspire courage a little bit more accurate. I am finding that using it as an action over attacking has a chance of doing much less and since Martial classes can attack better it might be better to simply play a martial class.

Now some random math.... if you are the 4th party member of say a barbarian a Paladin and a rogue you have 3 people that are going to go in swords a-swinging so this is your best possible group set up this should be where a bard shines, you have a second person that can do some healing and you have 3 people that will attack with weapons.

If you use inspire courage and each of them has a 55% chance to hit a target you increase both their chance to hit and their chance to crit by 5%, so with your one action you have 10% chance per attack of adding another die of damage to the enemy. With 3 people attacking your action is equivalent to adding a 27% chance of adding an extra die of damage to the round if each player makes 2 attacks this actually increased quite a bit to a whopping 49% chance of adding an extra die to the round

Now compare this to attacking yourself if you have a 55% chance of hitting the first attack than simply making an attack has better odds of adding a die of damage, if you make a second attack at minus 5 you have a 35% so using it when you have an extra action after moving and attacking (something you wont have if you decided to cast a spell that takes 2 actions like T. projectile) and while these numbers are the same for a fighter when the fighter hits he is likely doing 1d8 + 4 damage or 5-12 while you with a short bow are doing 1d6 or 1-6 or with a rapier if you didnt stack strength also a d6 for about 1-6. If you did stack strength than you either took a hit to dexterity which is bad for your survivability and your spell attacks or you took a hit to something like wisdom which is bad for some skills (perception sense is the biggest) or constitution which could leave you pretty low on health for some one that wants to get up close and personal or your primary stat charisma which if you did than why play bard???

This said the extra 1 damage over the course of 3 attacks at 55% will mean you contribute 1 damage 83% of the time. 2 damage (spread out over 2 attacks) about 60% and 3 damage (spread out over 3 attacks about 17% of the time) The chance that the single damage dealt over each of these attack has to make a difference in the actual fight though is even smaller as it depends on how much damage a player can do vs how much health a creature has. Now if you happen to be playing a bard then yes Inspire courage is great, but do not prioritize it over actually attacking yourself the odd of it actually helping by comparison to your attack helping is much smaller.

The biggest issue is this is best case scenario we are working with here and it still doesn't quite shine. In this scenario we would still want a second healer but it would always be the cleric. They are just to good and if I replaced the Paladin with a cleric to begin with then and only then would a bard start to look good, but only about as good as every other caster which in early levels they are not good at all.

I think this may just be a "caster problem" in general right now. They needed to be toned down at higher levels but brought up at lower levels. The fact is the linear fighter and the quadratic casters problem is more than just a caster power problem at high levels it is a caster problem at all levels. They are too weak at low and too strong at high, nerfing them at all levels doesnt solve this problem it just makes them unappealing at all levels of play.

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First level spells feel useful and powerful, only having 2 though makes me feel completely useless pretty quickly if I do not hold onto them. I am sure most casters feel like this. If the party is a lot of martial classes or martial classes and a cleric I am counting on not being useful for 80% of fights.

Inspire courage, The + 1 starts out feeling really cool, but I quickly realized it doesn't do a lot. +1 to attack only makes the attack 5% more likely to hit with how high Monster AC is it is unlikely to affect crit chance at all as Nat 20's seem like the must hit for a crit. The + 1 damage sounds useful, until you realize that if that 1 damage is not the difference between it being alive and it being dead than it is just adding to overkill from a later hit.

Skills: this is actually what feels the worse about this class. You start with 6 skills + your intellect bonus trained, but because you do not get anymore skills ranked up per level than any other class it does not feel like it matters if it is 6 skills, 5 skills or 3 skills, you will still only be able to get 3 to legend or 2 to legend and 1 to master and 1 to elite, and you will always feel the need to get performance up first which causes you to fall behind everyone else who will be taking what ever skill they feel is most useful for the campaign. It makes the bard, which I have always felt to be the "skill monkey" next to the rogue, feel like the least flexible character in terms of skills as you are pigeon holed into maxing out one of your skills for in combat performances.

Overall: spells are nice in the few fights you get to use them, if you do not have a cleric you will not get to use anything except healing spells because you do not have enough slots and your spells are not strong enough to justify using them over keeping the fighter or barbarian topped off. Skills feel awful do to being pigeon holed into a skill and thus having less flexibility than other classes while still having just as few skills as them. As cool as Inspire courage sounds on paper it has very little real affect. Ultimately there seems to be very little reason to bring a bard or even an occult spell caster for that matter over any other class. They just do not bring anything to the table except a good laugh at how ridiculous you can play them.

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Well so far my group has only made through about half the first dungeon and I am pretty sure we are going to wipe.

I am the only caster in the group (I am a bard) and I was dumb and used my first spell to early in the dungeon and was left with only 1 spell to heal with. I did so and it worked out fine, and we found a healing potion which the barbarian used for a whopping 1 health. So far we have kind of figured that if we leave to go back to town it is a fail as the mission implies a tight time constraint on finding and killing the main big bad.

I am at around 7 health, the barbarian has 3 health left, the rouge only has 3 damage and the ranger has only taken 3 damage, but with me out of spells and half a dungeon to go I am not counting on us surviving to the end without finding a few more healing potions and hopefully the barbarian rolling higher than 1 on the heal effect for it especially since he probably only has 1 or 2 resonance left.