Just reading through the playtest document and figured I'd give my impressions on all the talents. Before that though, why isn't Intimidate just a class skill, only the Warlock doesn't have it, seems a bit mean. Oh, and also the capstone ability.
Seems fun, my only gripe is the line "or treat his die roll as if it were 2 higher for the purpose of determining if the attack hit or if it threatens a critical hit(maximum 20)."
Armor Silence + Armor Skin: Does this really require 2 talents? At most they're negating a penalty of -5, stealth is a pretty great one to get the penalty removed but acrobatics and escape artist will probably rank down so low its ignored completely. Armor Silence is only barely equal to some silent moves armor after all.
Close the Gap: Wha... all this does is let you sneak around to the other side of an enemy without an AoO or charge without the -2 AC. Given the 20ft range the charge isn't that great(can't double move!) and since you already don't get AoO by simply moving to an adjacent square with an enemy this is a way to reposition for flanking and begin every attack with a charge. Maybe it needs a different name?
Combat Skill: No limit on times picked, nice! 1/2 level as a fighter is always so limiting; can we raise that fraction up? Not having access to that great level 8 feat until level 16 is pretty bad after all.
Environment Weapon: This is about 1/3rd of Improvised Weapon Mastery but with a favored terrain requirement instead of feat/bab prerequisites. You can also pick them up as a swift action, so I suppose that's something, right?
Favored Maneuver: Combat Skill with a bonus! Nice! This is where the hero names their move.
Fist of the Avenger: Well, a monk you aren't... but it could be worse. Another Combat Feat with a little boost, so pretty good.
Heavy Training: Hmm, this talent makes the Armor Silence/Skin talents a bit better. I guess I hadn't realized armor proficiency wasn't a combat feat.
Living Shield: Awesome! Probably hard to use as a Lawful Good Vigilante.
Mad Rush: Pounce with a steep penalty. -4 to AC on top of the usual -2 for charging is pretty steep. Best let your friends charge in first to soften em up before you use this.
Nothing Can Stop Me: Is this a problem people face? Most objects are either too tough to break in a single blow(hardness!) or too small to obstruct the way. Probably fun at really high levels when you can actually cleave tables in half with one blow.
Shield of Fury: Awesome, two feats in one!
Signature Weapon: Weapon specialization! At least we can pick up one of those fighter feats easier, and its two feats for 1 talent. Always good.
Suckerpunch: Non-lethal damage... well, it's certainly something. I wouldn't want to spend a talent on it, but maybe there's a non-lethal weapon specialist out there.
Unexpected Strike: Hmm... I guess if you get attacked in your social persona a lot, this could be useful. It's a combat feat with a bonus, so that's decent.
Unkillable: Skip a feat prereq for Diehard and later on get a bonus too. Good stuff!
Vital Punishment: Ooo, now this is something cool. Vital Strike is one of those feat trees that it takes a specialist to make use of, but with this feat that's no longer the case! That said, certainly works better if you can threaten a large area.
Another Day: Feign Death. Pretty cool.
Case the Joint: This makes sense flavor wise, seems stalkers are all going to be engineers. Well, if they're going to break in somewhere at least. Probably comes in handy if you're a catburglar robin-hood.
Expose Weakness: This is a good one. It's always a pain to try and remember/figure out/prepare for every monster's weakness as a player, now your character is smarter than you!
Foe Collision: Well, it fits the name... not sure if it'd ever be useful. Maybe you need to murder a bodyguard and knock him into an old man and knock him unconscious at the same time? Well, at least it works on flanking Hidden Strikes.
Hide in Plain Sight: This is always good stuff.
Leave an Opening: This one is sort of tricky; 'threatens the foe' probably means the foe is still in your 'threatened area' but since you just hit them and this is a vigilante it could be confused with hurling verbal threats. Otherwise, seems somewhat entertaining... that bit about multiple attacks is going to make some vigilantes figure out how to make full attacks to start battles.
Mighty Ambush: Save vs Knockout! Not bad, 1d4 rounds is pretty short, a bad roll and you can't even tie them up, so that's a pain.
Mockingbird: A combination of a few spells with unlimited use and not even a magic aura to give it away. Badass!
Perfect Fall: Take that slow falling monk. This is good stuff. I wonder if you can get some of those whip talents and let the whip range count as 'within reach'.
Perfect Vulnerability: Ooo, this is nice. Lets you get at least 1 hidden strike off per combat and hits touch AC as well. Once per foe, per day, so this is basically a hex! Awesome.
Pull into the Shadows: This is pretty cool, but the 'drag' maneuver is pretty horrible so even with that extra movement possible and +4 bonus it's pretty underwhelming. I mean, wow you moved the enemy. It's not like their suddenly silenced or knocked out... you just wasted a sneak attack to make somebody move a bit. This should let you precise strike as well or something.
Rogue Talent: Talents from another class. Always good. Opens up a big range of sneak attack talents. That's great!
Rooftop Infiltrator: Climb speed. Always fun. Hmm, now I want to get that rope equipment trick and use it as a rope/whip along with that perfect fall.
Shadow's Sight: Ooo, darkvision for the mundane races without spending all your money.
Silent Dispatch: Super specialized and hard to make happen, then it doesn't even negate the whole noise penalty. Probably fun if you can get a whole party of stealth users together.
Sniper: What! Awesome! Rogues should also have this talent. Now if only there was better ways to get ranged precision attacks to trigger.
Strike the Unseen: Another good one. Eventually this is three feats and you can precise strike enemies with total concealment!
Surprise Strike: Eww. This is like weapon focus that only triggers once per fight, but it increases a bit higher eventually. Probably wouldn't ever take this till at least 8th level.
Throat Jab: Now that is some wordy explaining. I can see the need, but yikes. As for the effect, pretty cool. An alternative for Mighty Ambush, giving you 2 attacks to take a foe down instead of a save and a race to restrain them in 1d4 rounds.
Twisting Fear: Fear that can knock people out! Could be useful if you get really good at intimidating and can affect a group. Otherwise doing a few points of non-lethal to one creature isn't that spectacular.
Up Close and Personal: A good reason to try and trigger some AoO's! Could be interesting with the right feats.
Hmm... an int caster with a spellbook preparing them into spells known slots to use like a sorcerer. Pretty cool setup just like the Arcanist.
Arcane Training 1-6: Okay, this is weird. You have to spend 6 talents to get medium casting? That's nearly half the talents you'll get up through level 20 simply to get casting abilities. You better make good use of those spells.
Arcane Striker: Pretty good. Almost a full class feature.
Bombs: Like an alchemist without an int bonus to damage. Pretty good! Too bad you can't take the Stalker Vigilante's Expose Weakness. You'd be a Witcher! You can also take bomb upgrades, though at this point why aren't you just an alchemist? Spells instead of infusions I suppose?
Bond of Blood: The temporary hit points and blood armor have some nice synergy... but this really isn't many temp hit points. This is sort of like DR that you have to keep rebuilding, but at least it works against energy attacks.
Caster's Defense: This could have been cool, then it only applied if you were threatened while casting and made the defensive casting roll. I mean come on... it's not like the DR is high.
Concealed Casting: Now this is cool. Not ignoring verbal and somatic components like the metamagic feats, but letting them go unnoticed. You get to use the stealthy bits without having to pay spell levels so you can also use it while restrained/gagged.
Educated Defense: Wow, spell negating. This is normally only in magic items. Pretty good!
Elemental Battle Armor: The name for this talent is way cooler than what it does. Cool, but pretty tame. Maybe make this a prerequisite talent for an even more awesome one(that obviously adds damage to wielded weapons, but also more!).
Familiar: At least its at full level. Familiars can be great fun, but probably wouldn't be taking one till way later given you have to spend half your talents on spells!
Living Shadow: This could be pretty cool. I say could because that is one obscure book for the spell. Either way this is probably a pretty high level spell you can use pretty early, albeit with a limited duration, so it could be pretty useful.
Mystic Bolt: Here we go! Like the old Warlock class shooting out magic bolts! You can't give them an enhancement bonus, but good news! It's a touch attack that gets bonus damage based on level rather than stats. Pretty decent.
Nonlethal Spellcasting: By the name I figured, "Not again, another nonlethal annoyance". I was pleasantly surprised as this is something you might actually knock people out with. Too bad it doesn't work with bombs and mystic bolts.
Shadow Jump: Always a great power! Don't let the -6 levels thing sadden you. You'd need to be 5th level before even taking Shadowdancer so you're actually only 1 level behind in progression for this ability. You get the full 320ft by 16th level.
Signature Spell: Sort of underwhelming. Save DC bonus is always good, and at least you can change it every level.
Social Simulacrum: Get around those pesky folks sniffing out your secret identity! Pretty cool, but may not be necessary unless you really use that social identity a lot.
Tattoo Chamber: Ooo, this one is super cool! Use wands without looking like a dork. Trigger wondrous items by laying on hands. Simulate uncontrollable power and put a rod of wonder in there, go wild with it!
Channel Energy: Eh. Backup healing. Probably won't be great unless you dump feats on it.
Discern Lies: Pretty cool. Wish you got more use out of it per day.
Divine Bastion: Doesn't give much of a bonus till high levels. At least it affects your adjacent allies. Too bad it doesn't last long.
Diving Training: Like the Warlock, wastes half the talents. Cha caster using the inquisitor list so that's something.
Domain: Self explanatory. Good stuff.
Empower Symbol: Great flavor. Consecration is a fun spell, if not that powerful, so getting it without having to waste spell slots is great.
Life Bond: Not bad, though I hope you're staying away from the front line or have that con pumped up. Healing Magic isn't very optimal after all. That said, seems pretty badass for saving people from the KO.
Penance Gaze: Interesting. Not sure how useful this one is, definitely something worth playtesting. I'm worried the round limit is too harsh. After all, it only works once per day on any one creature.
Revivifying Touch: Hmm. I guess there's no life restoring spells on the inquisitor list? If so, could be good to have if there's no full divine caster in the party.
Stalwart: Evasion for fort and will saves. Good stuff. Doesn't do anything on those all or nothing saves, but still amazing.
Stern Gaze: This is like a weak class ability, which is enough to be a good talent.
Track: Another like Stern Gaze. Solid talent, but nothing special.
Whew, there's a lot of them! Well, I've gotta say I'm pretty impressed. The base class abilities weren't anything to write home about but more than once I got a great build idea just reading talents. Some are a bit wonky but overall stronger than other classes talents. Makes sense given that sidebar about there being no extra talents feat for vigilante. The avenger seems like the least interesting, so they could definitely use some sprucing up... but then again I've always been bored by DnD fighters.
Prereq: Is an animal companion or mount granted via a class feature; combat training?; [possibly another pre req.]
While being ridden by a rider with the "From Above" feat, you may spend a swift action to attempt to aid another on your rider's first melee attack in a round. This may only be used if you missed on all melee attacks against a foe this turn. All attacks this turn must have been made against the same foe in order to grant this bonus. The aid another bonus only applies if your rider targets that same foe.
Prereq: Have either the animal companion or mount class feature; Mounted Combat; [one other pre req.]
Gain +1d6 damage on your first successful melee attack against a foe that was successfully hit by your mount this round. Your mount must have the "From Below" feat for you to use this ability. Your mount may only have targeted a single foe with all of its attacks this turn in order for you to gain the benefits of this feat. This feat's benefits may only be gained once per round.
Those are definitely interesting. The standard for teamwork feats is to be a singular feat that gives the bonus when someone else also has the same feat and then fulfills some other condition. I'm not sure if breaking that convention here is a good thing or not. It might work better as just one feat that gives a different bonus depending on which you are, given those prerequisites are sort of hinky anyways.
For example if you were an inquisitor, you wouldn't be able to use this feat combo as you'd learn 'from above' and count your mount as also having 'from above' giving you no bonus.
Favored target as a move action doesn't seem as horrible for a TWF user, since it already sort of plays into the weakness of the style. Given you're going to be based around getting full attack actions so you can sneak attack as much as possible.
TWF Rogue Plan
1) Move into position, attack once with main hand
2) 5ft step to hopefully flank, full attack
3) Repeat 2, then go back to step 1 when the target dies.
TWF Slayer Plan
1) Study a target, move into position
2) 5ft step to hopefully flank, full attack
3) Repeat 2, then go back to step 1 when the target dies.
So you can easily just trade your single hit on the opening rounds to gain the favored target bonus on your followup full attacks.
So how great the TWF Slayer is all just depends on how many full attack routines you get in before your targets die or run away. So if you've got a constant flank buddy and slow high hp enemies, slayer seems great. If you have no other melee folks in your group or lots of super mobile or long range enemies, that Two Weapon Slayer is going to be sad.
Reaving Spells Prerequisites: BAB +3 or be able to cast 2nd level spells.
If an enemy fails a save this round against a spell cast by an ally that also has this feat, they suffer a penalty to AC for all melee attacks you make against them this round. The penalty to AC is equal to the spell level of the spell they failed the save against.
Fire as One
Prerequisites: Dex 13
To use this feat you must be adjacent to an ally that also has this feat and has made a full attack with a ranged weapon this round. If you are armed with the same ranged weapon as they are, you may choose to make use of all combat feats your ally used on their full attack action even without meeting any of the prerequisites.
Argg... I feel you are all comparing the Bloodrager to the wrong thing. Over and over again it's magus this and magus that. Just because it has the magus spell list does not make it an equivalent for magus.
It has a full BAB and 4 levels of spells. Compare it to the Paladin and Ranger. Stop trying to come up with spells in combat for it to use, it's not trying to do that, the Bloodrager is about beating face and also allows you to cast a spell or two as a utility in case you need it. You don't see people whining about the lack of ranger combat spells, or paladins not having enough slots, do you?
Think of it as an arcane counterpart to the paladin/ranger. It's something I've always wanted, getting a handful of useful arcane spells to go along with my full BAB fighter.
What should really be seeing more work is balancing the different bloodlines against each other. Determining if they should get useful things at all levels or how many of them are now where more powerful options are balanced out with a few real stinkers(I'm looking at you Arcane). Or how to improve the ones that just need a full overhaul aka fey.
How about something simple like just giving the everyone under the effect of a ragesong a bab equal to the skalds level, like a monk gets when flurrying. This will give the skald a little boost and could get a few polymorphing casters on board. Add a Dex boost as well and archers will love you too.
Oh yeah, good catch I had intended that and got caught up in that complicated wording.
If you successfully disarm an opponent of a wielded item you can choose to have it land in the space of an ally adjacent to the opponent that also has this feat rather than drop at the opponents feet. Your ally can choose to catch the disarmed item if they have a hand free.
These feats probably need to be cleaned up a bit on the wording or have the prerequisites worked with. But there definitely needs to be something of this sort to allow a ranged hunter.
Skirmish Training Prerequisites: Dex 13
You must have a clear line of sight to the space closest to your opponent, which must be within 1 increment of a ranged weapon you are currently wielding. If this space is not occupied or otherwise blocked, you may count as a threatening creature standing on this square in respects to flanking with an ally who also has this feat.
Improved Skirmish Training Prerequisites: Skirmish Training, BAB +3
When using Skirmish Training you gain the benefits of flanking as if you were standing in the threatening square opposite your ally with this feat. You may gain the attack bonus on a ranged attack rather than a melee attack using this feat.
Okay, those edits would be pretty great on making the Hunter stand out some more. I'm still on the side of making Animal Focus also apply to the Companion, so we'll see how that goes when changes are made.
I'm not a huge fan of the animal focus and such as they are, but I'm liking the way things are going for the Hunter.
If there is some good ranged/mounted teamwork feats that would open up a lot of options. Even more so if the Hunter get's an increased list of weapons(Or some more feats are included in the book that makes more simple weapons more viable - daggers/slings!). Something like being able to flank at range would be excellent!
As for Animal Focus, it either needs to get a new bonus type or last a lot longer/have more uses. In addition, I'm really liking the idea of having it also apply to the companion.
I would push for it to a permanent buff that applies to both the hunter and companion, with the hunter getting to choose a new one on each of the levels that they're getting an extra use per day at the moment.
So then its a choice: Do you want to go druid and wildshape a few times a day, or get a lesser effect that lasts all day on yourself and the companion. It would also be cutting down on the bookkeeping of adding a temporary bonus to both yourself and the companion.
Since I still think it needs a better way to trigger sneak attack... how about knocking Hunter's Surprise down to a non-advanced talent and changing it thus.
Hunter's Surprise(Ex): As a free action, a Slayer can add his sneak attack damage to all attacks made against a studied target for 1 round, even if he's not flanking it or isn't flat-footed. At the end of the round the target is no longer considered a favored target(this does not prevent the Slayer from studying the target again).
Heh, we've got some people saying they're too weak because of MAD and then another group complaining about them being too strong compared to normal barbarians.
MAD: This is how Ranger/Paladin are built. You have a physical fighter fellow that needs all those physical stats, and then a whole different stat for casting. Paladins and Rangers do just fine like this, it's a balancing factor for having spells on a full BAB character. You get the option of going for high Charisma to boost casting or just planning for 14 charisma by level 13.
Too Barbarian: Look at the Ranger compared to the fighter. He gives up 6 bonus feats and gains a whole ton of useful features. Sure the fighter gained a few things from the 3.5 to pathfinder switch but it's most those bonus feats in exchange for oodles of features. A barbarian gets the freedom of all those rage power selections vs bloodlines that seem to have 2 abilites and 4 bad for each one. This isn't even taking into account Rage cycling which at higher levels makes Barbarians into crazy powerhouses.
The main problem with the shaman is that the tastiest hexes aren't here anymore. Instead we've got each spirit with a few promising hexes, but since very very few of them last more than 1 round and there's no way to extend them after a few levels they're going to get ignored once you've got access to 3rd level and higher spells.
I haven't actually played an oracle in a game yet, so I can't speak about most of their mysteries/revelations, but I know that there is a few combinations that are powerful from seeing others use(Life to make an Oradin, or Heavens to use Color Spray forever). So they've also go things to extend into the later game.
With Witch you can run into a big baddy and without casting a single spell, spend a few rounds to debuff and then knock a guy out for the coup de grace. While it becomes a lesser choice at higher level because of the action expenditure, it's still a good option.
With the shaman though, most of the hexes don't let you get into a save or die situation, only a save or suck; and then its for 1 to cha mod rounds(which also won't be many since its a secondary stat).
Now, being able to swap out the ability and hex every day is pretty cool for the wandering spirit; but it seems to me only 1 or 2 of these spirits is going to be a real option for the permanent spirit(Nature and Battle) given the base ability of either reducing MAD, or the faster access to Bane with Battle.
The Life Spirit for example needs to lose it's greater ability(no body cares about having mass stabilize) and instead have the first ability from Battle. Battle on the other hand should get martial proficiency and a feat or two for its first ability.
Hmm, most of you seem to be comparing the Bloodrager to the Magus and focusing on the casting. Instead, this is more of an arcane version of the Paladin/Ranger.
You're a full BAB fighter that has a smattering of utility abilities. In this case your bloodrage adds combat options, while the spells are for buffing or out of combat utility. Like the Paladin and Ranger, the spells are not meant to be a combat focus, just allows more useful options.
On that note, I think more time needs to go into testing all the bloodlines to see what's too strong or too weak.
I'm going to be statting up an Arcane and a Fey to see how they stack up. The Arcane bloodline looks to have half awesome abilities and the other half completely useless. While the Fey seems to just have useful powers at far too late a level and then a few complete losers to start out with.
The slayer doesn't seem too bad to me so far, but it could probably use 6 skill points a level and also it needs a lot of love for those talents.
For one, it seems like there's 4 talents dealing with ranged sneak attacks, but none of them give any real great options for getting more than 1 round of them.
Sneak Attacks at range usually require a teammate to help and none of the pile of talent options seem to change that outside the surprise round. Their should be a third talent requiring both "Sniper's Eye" and "Surprise Attack" as prerequisites that makes ranged sneak attacking a thing. Otherwise you need a 20,000gp item, or teammates casting grease.
After a more thorough looking over, I'd like to see them starting with Weapon Finesse at level 1, making the deeds use any light or one-handed weapon(there's not that many one handed piercing weapons! It might as well just say Rapiers), and finally of course, adding in Dex to melee damage.
Add Weapon Finesses as a 1st level bonus feat.
Ditch Bravery and instead have: Add dexterity bonus to melee damage, up to a max of the Swashbuckler class level(Or half?); Depends on whether or not this is a replacement or in addition to strength to melee damage.
And of course, change all the deeds/features to any light/one-handed weapon instead of only piercing; or at least anything finessable if that is too far.
"Menacing Swordplay: At 3rd level, while she at least 1 panache..."
"As a swift action, a swashbuckler can spend 1 panache point to her precise strike's damage bonus on the next attack."
Also, Precise Strike... the opening paragraph seems to imply a handful of conditions for it to work, and then the final paragraph sounds quite contradictory. Spending points and requiring swift actions: Is this part a mixup?
Swashbuckler Initiative: This is basically just +2 to initiative... the second part is pretty unnecessary; you get the option to spend panache and parry, make an opportunity attack, I guess? It might need something more.
I was just imagining a force of Vikings(mostly fighters) getting bonuses from their buddy reciting war songs... but it does have some issues. The main problem I see is that lack of stacking with Barbarian Rage since they're the same bonus type.
I wonder how things would change if it also added to dexterity, or with a different type of bonus?
Haven't read the other comments yet... but I'm just giving my initial reaction.
Awesome! I've always loved the 'jack of all trades' feel from the bard, but I never really loved many of the performance abilities. I can enjoy the existence of the whole area, the magical singer; but was never my forte.
The Skald on the other hand, being a Viking, brings a quite different picture to mind. I mean sure, you could re-fluff the bard, but the bard performances were not nearly as awesome as just having a.... RAGE SONG!
Watching Viking(the TV show) and hearing all those Sea Shanties in Assassin's Creed 4, the Skald seems perfect(in concept at least, going to need to do some testing to see how it works mechanically).
Edit: Just noticed the weapon proficiencies. Who chose these? Sap and Rapier? Ugh.
Well, most of the Teamwork feats are triggered by being adjacent to the companion or flanking with the companion so that sort of makes ranged combat less optimal.
In fact, that is another reason the Hunter should be getting Wild Shape. It sort of seems like Animal Focus could be part of an archetype for Hunter that would allow ranged combat and give the companion a teamwork benefit like Inquisitor, where they can count everyone else as also having the same teamwork feats they do.
Then you could have an archer and your companion could be a flank buddy for a teammate.
I've always wanted a Ranger that could give up the boring bits(Favored Enemy and Favored Terrain) for more Wild Shape and a full Animal Companion.
This is close, as Animal Focus is more useful if you don't want to get forced into being a melee fighter. The one weak point is the loss of the Combat Style. I would rather be giving up more of the wilderness utility options or staying down at 4 levels of spells and keep the Combat Style.
That said, I suppose that might just be a better option for a Ranger Archetype?