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I think the biggest problem for occult is that bard is the face of it. The idea of separating the weird Cthulhu-esque and wholly mental/spiritual side of magic from the Fireball and Wall of Stone side makes sense. But they are both still the domain of wizards to me. A wizard should be able to crack open books on Cthulhu and learn how to cast occult spells or go to wizard school and learn fireball. The methodology to becoming an occult or arcane scholar *should* have the same grounding of learning and applying that knowledge compared to Divine where a cleric acts as a conduit for a being of great power or Primal where druids learn how to control nature by being in tune with in.

Instead Occult is represented by the bard who casts spells through performances. The only way to become an occultist, without being born with the power or connecting with otherworldly beings and becoming a vessel for their power, is to be a master performer (and before anyone says bards don't need to be performers, every bard knows how to cast with an instrument and song, knows a composition cantrip, and starts with performance at trained. Even if your bard never stands on stage or uses his performance skills, a prominent aspect of the class is being a performer). I don't mind that the bard is an occult caster, they cast in an unorthodox way using cobbled together knowledge from various questionable sources to make it work and their focus is much more on the mental/spiritual side rather than the physical side. I do mind it being the only way. And regardless of the lore put out by Paizo that tries to separate the image of Occult from the image of bard, bard being the only pure Occult caster makes it impossible.

My personal fix is just letting the wizard pick between Arcane and Occult. The spell lists aren't that differently balanced and it lets the occultist have the image of an semi-crazed hermit pouring over cryptic tomes and ancient knowledge rather than charming halfling who usually plays the lute at the local tavern but moonlights as an elder mythos cult leader (not that I've never used that idea before). I also let bards use Arcane instead so they can focus less on the esoteric and more on cobbling together knowledge to create more tangible effects.

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Onkonk wrote:

Ancestors Oracle to hit bonus compared to martials:

1-4: Equal
5-9: -1
10: -2
11-12: Equal
13-14: -2
15-16: -1
17-19 (assuming apex at 17 and that an oracle wants to get apex in charisma): -2
20: -3

So if it was a +2 then they would actually have more hit bonus at some levels and be equal a lot more.

And with the presence of a readily available status bonus to hit they have no boost and is as good as regular caster in that department instead.

Ancestors also has to deal with the randomness that is their curse though. 50/50 shot you don't get the bonus to attack rolls and a 1 in 4 shot you end up with skill focus and have a 6 in 20 chance of losing non-skill combat actions. And Oracle doesn't get any other martial support and spells that help martial abilities give status bonuses. So equal more often or even slightly better on occasion I don't think would be that bad if you are accepting an 8 in 20 chance of losing the actions for doing anything other than striking and have no feats or other bonuses to support melee combat.

Captain Morgan wrote:
demon321x2 wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:

Battle Oracle player here who just played a session with a bard. At low levels the Inspire only fails to stack for +1 damage which is no big deal. At higher levels the bard should have opportunity to replace it with a different composition. Odds are a party with two primary casters will be better served by Dirge of Doom anyway.

I'm more ticked about circumstance bonuses being so common out of combat. Lots of feats and features give them. Aid gives them. And a lot of contextual AP activities give them as well. At least two of those three should usually stack, IMO.

The easiest solution is just making those AP contextual bonuses stack or reduce the DC.

But the bard can't not inspire courage still because the martials who don't get a status bonus still want it.

Yes, they can not inspire courage. Dirge of Doom lowers enemy armor class giving the same net accuracy result. It also penalizes the enemy's to hit, saving throws, and spell DCs. The only justifiable reasons to use Inspire once you have Dirge is if you're already inflicting a status penalty on the enemy (which you just wouldn't bother doing) or you're out of Dirge Range.

Frightened like flatfooted has many ways of being given out. Even fighters get fear support. Why wouldn't you apply frightened in another way so the Bard can Inspire Courage and have frighten applied too? Or have the bard cast a fear spell and inspire courage or spend a focus point and harmonize. Inspire Courage is a spell no one else can replicate, Dirge is an ability anyone with a high charisma and an action can attempt to replicate or a 3rd level spell which quickly becomes fairly cheap (or first if you only have one enemy). Fear is easy, a status bonus to hit is not. Inspire Courage also has twice the radius which is nice.

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Captain Morgan wrote:

Battle Oracle player here who just played a session with a bard. At low levels the Inspire only fails to stack for +1 damage which is no big deal. At higher levels the bard should have opportunity to replace it with a different composition. Odds are a party with two primary casters will be better served by Dirge of Doom anyway.

I'm more ticked about circumstance bonuses being so common out of combat. Lots of feats and features give them. Aid gives them. And a lot of contextual AP activities give them as well. At least two of those three should usually stack, IMO.

The easiest solution is just making those AP contextual bonuses stack or reduce the DC.

But the bard can't not inspire courage still because the martials who don't get a status bonus still want it.

The entire thing seems weird to me. PF2e is a party based system and making certain class features status bonuses means they function relatively worse the better the party works together. If a wildshape druid is supposed to be on par with martials just give it a flat +2 when wildshaped or don't.

The system does not make access to buffs seem like a balancing feature. Attack buffs just aren't that plentiful. Heroism is single target/1 fight and only divine/occult. Bards get inspire courage, but they are the only ones with anything like it. If you don't have a bard you probably won't see a status bonus to hit more than once a day until the 9th+ when 3rd level spells are plentiful enough to spend on +1s to hit for a single character. It ends up not being a penalty for half the game and then when heroism hits +2/3 it becomes painful because the martials suddenly spike to a +2 above you after keeping pace up till that point.

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Kasoh wrote:
Temperans wrote:
We have a super hard time believing that a person who was evil or did something evil can ever change. Often saying that its all a ploy, or that it wont last.

And, I think because people do not want to wrongdoers to continue to exist without some form of obvious punishment. There is a cruel vindictiveness to 'justice' where suffering must be dealt back out to wrongdoers.

When dealing with deities I think it gets strange. Noticula was a Chaotic Evil demon lord for eons. So much evil and pain has been done in her name and she has done quite a bit personally, almost by definition. Having left her old life of sex murder behind, she's trying this new bohemian thing and it'll probably be a long time before her church is widely accepted--if ever.

Redemption = Death is...annoying in many respects. Anakin Skywalker gets a pass because Star Wars is morally simple, but he really shouldn't.

Making sure that a person suffers while doing their penitence only makes it harder for them to complete it. Of course, on the other hand, it feels bad when someone tries to stop being evil and it appears to happen without consequence.

Restorative justice is, like, hard man. Especially when people have varying strong opinions what constitutes justice.

The problem with Redemption = Death is that it's used less to redeem the villain and more to avoid the sticky issue of what to do with the villain after he survives nearly trying to destroy the world so it often ends up contrived.

As an extreme example, if Hitler said sorry about the Holocaust and surrendered to the Allies at the end of WWII what would have happened to him? Most likely he would still have been executed. (How'd that be for the end of a redemption arc?) In writing we also know the redemption is genuine. For all anyone knew Darth Vader weighed his options and decided killing the Emperor was the best way to save his own skin, but we as the viewer know it was an honest redemption.

And then you get into what redemption means. If the villain decides to end his villainy and lead a life as a 9-5 office worker is it wrong to punish him even if he has no intention to do evil again? It's harder emotionally to rip a person who once did evil out of a quiet relatively happy life but just brushing over the fact he once tried to destroy the world is just as wrong. Once again using the Holocaust as an example Germany still prosecutes anyone who worked at a death camp. There's no statute of limitations for crimes against humanity. The 90 year old retirees are no threat to anyone, but allowing the crime to overlooked is considered unacceptable.

Also with the whole redemption requires hard work, at the end of the story the world is no longer in danger. The villain can never save the world to offset the near destruction he caused because there is (hopefully) a happily ever after and not another world destroying threat to protect against. How much community service does it take to offset near genocide? If littering is the next biggest issue the world faces how is the villain supposed to redeem himself?

Redemption = Death avoids all of this. The price is payed. The messy bits skipped over. The villain realizes his mistakes and redeems himself with one big act of selflessness.

On a different topic, is it ever good to submit to evil? As an absurd example if the neighboring country demands a tribute of 1 gold coin a year or it will declare war? 1 gold coin is negligible and a war would cost countless lives. But that's still extortion which is a very serious crime. Considering the value of life is priceless is any amount of extortion that doesn't cause serious economic hardship worth violence? If paying the villain off ends a war and prevents another war is it wrong to pay him off? (There's probably some Demon or Daemon out there who particularly enjoys this thought experiment.)

pauljathome wrote:

I think I'm missing something because I see little to almost no value in expansive spell strike.

If I want to hit somebody and throw a cone of cold I can just hit them and throw the cone of cold. With no Crit miss chance and with a LOT more flexibility where the cone of cold goes.

Sure, that is 3 actions instead of 2. But spell strike/recharge is ALSO 3 actions and most of the time that is what I'm going to be doing. Oh, once a fight I get to expansive strike and use my focus spell which is nice.

It just seems rather niche to me and I just have better things to do with that level 2 feat.

Most of the time you are going to be trying to recharging spell strike with a conflux spell or other method rather than just spending the action. Otherwise even normal spell strike isn't that great of a deal. Electric Arc + Strike vs Spell Strike/ Produce Flame + recharge are the same amount of actions and Electric Arc has AoE and damage on a successful save. The odds of a crit fail on a strike should only be on a nat 1 and with hero points you get a reroll if it happens once. The biggest limiters are the amount of spells Magi get and the point of origin being from the strike which means no fireballs or the like in melee unless you want to blow yourself up.

WatersLethe wrote:
I mean, if you want to laser focus only on combat, you can't forget the value of wands and staves. What you've described already seems perfectly balanced against other classes, now add on a boatload of more utility spells.

Generally speaking a party will have enough tools to solve a situation outside combat. Paizo has given every class enough tools to roleplay their way through any out of combat situation in different manners. Being able to use a staff worth of utility spells isn't useless, but anyone can pull it off if they invest, the summoner can do it with no investment. But it does bring up a boon of the summoner which is that it doesn't need to pay for a weapon since the Eidolon auto-progresses. That frees up quite a bit of money to spend on gear.

The game is very much balanced based on combat capabilities. Rogues offset slightly weaker combat abilities with twice as many skill feats and increases to be very powerful out of combat. I don't think the issue is the amount of spells the summoner gets. 4 isn't a lot but even if they had a full 8 the same issues would exist. The summoner is supposed to get an advantage in the action economy to offset the fact it's two comparably weak creatures rather than one strong one. Reasonably though it really doesn't. Boost Eidolon, self-buffs to catch up, double the positioning (there's a fix for that one), etc. All of this eats into the action advantage they are supposed to have. And they don't really have anything unique mechanically in other ways. The summoner doesn't get enhanced summons or special focus spells that really amp up the Eidolon in certain ways. The Eidolon is a rather bland martial all things considered. It's damage is low, its defenses are nothing special (and come with a weakness to AoE). Certain Eidolons get a cool trick, but martials get feats and class features to have a lot of different options at any time.

Comparing it to the Magus, a magus has a clear role of dealing damage with both spells and martial attacks. Spellstrike helps it do that. People will debate whether its mechanically good enough, but it has its niche and it tries to fill it. A summoner is missing that clear role. It's sort of supposed to be the martial who casts its own support spells, but it doesn't get support for that niche. It still has to spend full actions and resources to buff the Eidolon (Boost Eidolon just brings it up to par, it's not a buff). And since the summoner doesn't get any benefits for buffing the Eidolon there's no real benefit to not just buffing a different martial instead. Any spell the Eidolon can make use of the other party martials could as well. The Summoner seems most useful if the party is lacking in a role and no one wants to invest at least the summoner can sort of fill it. 4 top level spells even with decreased saves is enough to nova if needed. If the party needs support the summoner could have support known. If the party needs an off-tank the summoner can soak some damage and be a threat on the frontline. But it does all these roles poorly compared to a class meant to fill them so in many parties will either feel overshadowed because other classes are just better at filling the roles a summoner can do or the summoner will be unhappy because he can't fill the niche he intended to at the start of damage, tank, supporter, whatever because the summoner just doesn't fit any role.

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Having two hitboxes is pretty much meaningless because enemies don't decide who to attack based on surface area and a character has 9 adjacent squares to be attacked from. You will never be targeted simply because of that.

A summoner and Eidolon should fairly quickly get the same AC. Spend the general feats on armor proficiency or just grab sentinel. The summoner can spend an action to raise a shield if he's desperate.

The roll twice take lower on AoE spells is brutal though. It's a massive vulnerability and the class doesn't give any defensive advantages to offset that while actively encouraging the summoner to stay close to the Eidolon.

Another big weakness is that if the Summoner hits zero the Eidolon poofs and isn't coming back for the fight at least. Rather than in a desperate situation even a weak heal can get any other class swinging at full strength again.

But looking beyond the defensive side of things, the summoner's biggest bonus is that it effectively gets 4 actions. Except if the Eidolon wants to pretend to be a martial the summoner needs to spend an action to buff it. So really in most situations it's three actions. And compared to other martials the Eidolon doesn't get much. Its strikes are poor damage. Its defenses are nothing special. And it doesn't have any fancy tricks aside from what the chassis gives it like every other martial.

On the summoner side the summoner gets 4 spells and some cantrips. The cantrips aren't useless but if you really want one there are plenty of ways to get one as any class. And with how progression works summoner cantrips will just be less effective than full caster cantrips at various points, especially if the summoner doesn't start with 18 charisma because it's easy to pick 4 spells that don't care about casting stat, like summons. Now those 4 spells can be top level buffs except there's no rule that you can cast personal buffs (the very few that there are) on your Eidolon so every buff you can cast another full caster could cast instead (it's what they are there for most fights). On top of that they all eat two actions to set up once again eating into the action bonus a summoner is supposed to get.

With all of that summoners end up feeling like bland martials with a few high level spells rather than a summoner or even an Eidolon master because the Summoner's half the class takes away from all the cool things the Eidolon might be able to do if it was a full martial with focus point tricks instead.

fanatic66 wrote:

I’m really shocked people can’t imagine at least Lawful tenets. The idea of order is just as powerful as evil and good in my opinion. Someone devoted to enforcing order is an easy concept to get behind. Bastions of civilization, hierarchy, and control, LN champions will support order whenever possible. Without order, civilization crumbles to the dangers of anarchy and monsters that lie beyond the walls. Judge Dredd is a popular fictional representative of this fantasy. Hobbes Leviathan is another good source of inspiration: anarchy is the most dangerous state for people to be in, which justifies an all powerful ruler to maintain order. In fantasy where actual monsters exist, this is even more true. LN champions believe any form of order and law is safer and more peaceful than it’s absence, and they will fight to preserve order at all costs.

Chaotic neutral is a bit harder but still doable IMO. CN Champions see the dangers that lie behind the temptation of order. It offers peace and security but at the cost of one’s freedom and liberty. But the offered peace and security is a lie. Often enough, order leads to tyrannical rulers that impose their rules on others, while openly acting above everyone. A modern example are politicians that espouse one idea but are hypocrites in private, not doing what they says others should. For a CN champion, this is abhorrent, and they rightfully are skeptical of authority and are well aware of the slippery road from order to cruel authoritarian despots. CN champions are the check and balance against the “natural” progression of order into tyranny. Unlike CG champions, CN champions have no moral qualms holding them back. I’m imagining a League of Shadows like organization of CN champions that proactively remove authority figures before they become too powerful or help collapse powerful regimes. Their methods are not heroic as they are not above using anything in their fight against order. A CN champion would view a CG champion as well intentioned by held back by silly notions...

The problem is Order and Chaos are means to ends. Few follow order for the sake of order and few who do remain LN for long as they dehumanize those within the society which degrades to evil. It also doesn't make for a compelling PC. Someone who protects the law simply because it's the law doesn't think about their actions. They are a passive actor letting the established powers dictate how the world should be.

And zealous Chaos is hard to remain neutral. Acting to create anarchy and undermining non-evil lawful structures quickly descends to violence. Or they go the other direction and reject violent means which quickly turns them towards CG. People always expect something from chaos. If the champion just wanders around overthrowing countries with no greater goal than they're CE. If they have some idealistic view of how life could be when sentients are no longer blinded by society they probably start out CG at least. Chaos is inherently destructive and that makes it hard to maintain zealous CN.

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Trying to figure out the Golarion economy is a mess because a single low level caster makes an order of magnitude more money than anyone else. Even the most basic magic sword is worth years of living expenses. If the goal is highest GDP the best option by far is to gear the entire economy to producing magic items. Even a bad caster can make 1,000 gp a day, a low level commoner makes 8-10 gp a week.

A hard thing with LN, TN, and CN champions is that generally Law and Chaos are means to an end. Few people serve society simply because they believe society should exist. They have some expectation of what Law or Chaos should bring or in TN's case generally serve something tangential to the alignment axis like nature or knowledge. An LN champion could come across an LN society that doesn't fit his views of what LN should strive to be (say one that focuses on preventing education since knowledge breeds dissent while the champion believes free knowledge is a cornerstone of society to ensure that all members of society can act to the best of their ability). Few CN champions would want to end up like Galt, they may believe in strong individuality but disapprove of borderline anarchy run by the latest strongman. Good and Evil as altruism and malicious selfishness are much easier to write an overarching definition for (and even then people complain about certain restrictions on Good champions). Good and Evil for all the alignment debates don't have too much debate on what a Good or Evil paragon should look like.

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The Raven Black wrote:
What I love about the Tolkien Elves is that they are the ancestors of Orcs and thus of Uruk-Hai, of Half-Elves and thus of Numenoreans, including the Witchking IIRC. Food for thought.


Orcs were created from Elves because Melkor (or any Valar) couldn't create life like Eru Iluvatar. So instead he took Iluvatar's creation, corrupted it, and called it his own. That's what evil was to Tolkien, a corruption of good.

The Elves were the First Children of Iluvatar and better than the other races in every way. In the movies there's a scene where Legolas easily outdrinks Gimli. Tolkien didn't bother with things like "balance" because he was writing a story, not a game system.

Paradozen wrote:
Perpdepog wrote:
demon321x2 wrote:
Unicore wrote:

Something that I am really hoping for in this book is an essay or treatise written by a lich that helps contextualize why creating undead is inherently evil in the Golarion setting, and how the undead have strong compulsions to evil, but how individual undead can overcome that compulsion.

I think seeing this explained from an in game perspective could really help set the whole tone for establishing in world expectations for players of obviously undead ancestries.

Yeah moving undead to not evil opens a whole can of worms on why necromancy isn't used everywhere for free labor, immortal life, etc. It's why even the simplest construct requires high level magic and is expensive to create. I get the squick but humans (and I assume other races by extension) are practical creatures in the end. Animating corpses to do field labor instead of having to do it yourself is something everyone would support if it wasn't an inherently evil act to the point pretty much every non-evil church comes in and smashes them.
Geb already does that. Use mindless undead for labor, I mean. It's one reason why other nations don't bother them as much as they'd like to; Geb is too valuable a bread basket to go trying to tip over.
Also using undead for labor on large scales probably also requires large-scale measures to prevent the spread of disease, especially for food. Geb can manage this because they have a massive centralized body of knowledge for necromancy which is useful for preserving food (among other things), but other nations would have to develop ways to prevent or remove disease spreading from zombies to crops pretty quickly and on a large scale.

But if there is a way to become a non-evil way to become a sentient undead why not just have everyone be one? Necromancy isn't some secret unknown art. Occult, Arcane, and Divine casters all have access to it to some extent. Heck Geb already has that. You are either a necromancer, an intelligent undead, or a food source because some undead need to eat living flesh. Most people who have a choice get killed by the nearest ghoul when they get the chance so they can be undead rather than live as a living being in Geb.

Unicore wrote:

Something that I am really hoping for in this book is an essay or treatise written by a lich that helps contextualize why creating undead is inherently evil in the Golarion setting, and how the undead have strong compulsions to evil, but how individual undead can overcome that compulsion.

I think seeing this explained from an in game perspective could really help set the whole tone for establishing in world expectations for players of obviously undead ancestries.

Yeah moving undead to not evil opens a whole can of worms on why necromancy isn't used everywhere for free labor, immortal life, etc. It's why even the simplest construct requires high level magic and is expensive to create. I get the squick but humans (and I assume other races by extension) are practical creatures in the end. Animating corpses to do field labor instead of having to do it yourself is something everyone would support if it wasn't an inherently evil act to the point pretty much every non-evil church comes in and smashes them.

Arachnofiend wrote:
Blave wrote:
The biggest (as in BIGGEST) advantage of this archetype is probably treating all your spells as Signature. Prepare a low level spell with a decent heightening effect and you can basically throw all your spell slots at it. Something like Magic Missile, Sudden Bolt, Fireball, Phanton Pain... All spells you can cast all day long if nothing better comes up.
A flexible wizard should be able to target the weakest defense 100% of the time (so long as you know what it is). You can't run out of spells that hit Fortitude saves if you find yourself using more than you expected, and you can't over prepare them when what you really needed to target today was Will. Flexible casting seriously unlocks the potential of the arcane list, it should be very difficult to not have any correct solutions to a presented combat problem.

So can a sorcerer. That's just a benefit of spontaneous casting (which I've always felt was better than prepared this edition). With all signature spells that comes online a lot quicker though and frees up top level slots. When you only have 5 signature spells it's hard to have a good scaling signature spell for each save and still grab a few good signature buffs/debuffs or cover different elements. That goes out the window with all signature. Any top level slot can now be any utility, blast, debuff, or control at any time. That's a bard 20th level feat.

I don't know whether all signature spells is going to be more or less powerful than 1 spell/day, but I don't think it's an equal trade. Either an extra spell/day will just be better than being able to do whatever you want with the other slots or the sheer flexibility of top level slots will make flexible better because there's always a spell that if upcast could solve the problem. I'll have to try it out a few times to make a decision.

I think the weird thing with no coercion is that you are champion prepared to use force to prevent evil from happening. So there's always an implied threat. That's why you exist. That's presumably why you picked up a sword and learned how to be the best tank you could be. If the people you are trying to diplomacy to be good don't turn good you are going to kill them or at least beat them up and imprison them (or punish them or whatever chaotic people do to their captives). You just aren't allowed to voice this for some reason.

If a bad guy asks "What are you going to do about it?" you can't respond because saying "I'm going to beat your face in." sounds a lot like a threat and coercion even though that's exactly what you are going to do.

Sanityfaerie wrote:
So... an interesting question. Suppose that you wanted an archetype that, say, would make it worthwhile for your elvish wizard to still be hanging on to his bow at lvl 20 and occasionally taking shots.

There's pretty much no way for it to be viable after 12th for a wizard because forcible energy exists. You can take a pot shot that will do token damage if you roll well and have invested a large sum of money in a good weapon. Or you can give an enemy weakness 5 that the party can then take advantage of. Just work with the martials to make sure everyone can get one damage of that element. Wizards actually get a good 3rd action offensive metamagic, it just comes online at 12th probably because of multiclass reasons.

Bards have their 3rd action invested in cantriping. Druids can command their animal companion or wildshape or focus spell, they just have options. Clerics can 1 action heal/harm. Sorcerers are the only ones really lacking in a 3rd action that they want to use fairly often. Sorcerers are the only class really lacking in a 3rd action they want to use regularly.

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With the way stats work out unless you are a wis caster trying to be a martial requires strength which means you have to either give up your casting stat or drop one of your saves to be subpar at it and casters already lag with saves as time goes on. Bastion could help you get around needing dex but if you are taking a weapon archetype you have to delay that till at least level 10. Trying to martial ends up turning a caster into even more of a glass cannon for slightly more to hit and damage on a third action.

There's nothing wrong with using old books. Paizo's setting has advanced 10 years into the future but there's no requirement to run Golarion exactly how Paizo prints it. If you like the lore on the Worldwound, use it for your home game. Just because Paizo wrote a path doesn't mean you can't run your own adventure there.

But in terms of modern Golarion, everything lorewise is canon unless otherwise mentioned. It may be worth grabbing the Lost Omens World Guide to see how the leadership of the major countries without new books changed (the orcs of Belkzen have a new "leader", Magnimar has a new lord-mayor, and so on).

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dmerceless wrote:

3 - This is a feeling I don't personally have, but I think it's worth mentioning. Blasters are at their best when fighting hordes of minions. Lots of people don't think of punching below their weight class as very fun or important to the party.

Part of it is also that it's better to let the fighter get nearly killed than to actually spend a fireball. Because outside of combat you can get HP back to full for 0 resources. That fireball isn't coming back without resting. There's no reward for nuking the mooks as hard as possible. The casters are the only ones playing resource management so anything short of the fighter's life is cheaper than actually spending a top level slot on fireball. What is the caster actually providing the party by clearing the mooks out in 1 round instead just letting the fighter spend 3 rounds cleaning up?

I wonder if the issue is that spells (not casters) are too powerful. A few failed saving throws can end any fight. When player casters are up against level-1 mooks they can end the fight with 1 or 2 well placed AoE blast spells. When the PCs are the level-2 mooks against a boss monster failing two saving throws can be a death sentence without a healer.

Boss monsters compensate for this by having overall high saves with only 1 of the 3 saves being even viable options. And when saved against spells are mostly low damage or 1 round debuffs. This is also why Paizo is extremely reluctant to give more than one spell per turn or DC boosting items, spells that boost DCs, or even easily accessible conditions to lower saves. A fighter with an effective +5 to hit from early items, spells, and conditions is a threat but won't end encounters singlehandedly. A caster with +5 DC would nuke a boss in a single spell. This is also reflected in the building monsters chart. A high AC is +1 on normal AC. A high save is +3 on a normal save. High AC is something that can be worked around. +3 to a save is something that on higher level monsters makes crit successes common. Low saves are -3 from moderate so Paizo does try and leave a weak point but on bosses that -3 still gives them around a 50/50 to save. Moderate saves are enough for consistent defense.

On the flip side PCs can turn successes into crit successes so monsters need to have DCs high enough for PCs to fail otherwise they turn into jokes.

As an example look at a level 15 monster vs a level 13 rogue who just got legendary reflex. A high DC at 15th (note according to Paizo standards 15+ casters should get extreme DCs which is another +4-5) is 36 (40 extreme) and the rogue will have 13 (level) + 8 (legendary) + 5 (dex) + 1 (armor) = +27, success on a 9 (improved evasion makes that not entirely true but still) Everyone with only expert reflex and even maxed non-rogue dex of +4 is -5 from the rogue and succeeds on a 14, crit fails on a 4, 1 in 5 chance of being crippled. And the poor fool who relied on plate mail instead of dex against a non-damage based spell is sitting at 3 below that with a failure on a 17, crit fail on a 7 (seriously never let a save stat fall behind you will die). Caster bosses are built under the assumption players will fail their saves and considering half of any party will probably be casters of some form any non-will save will leave the back lines crippled (or if you are unfortunate enough to have the wizard/sorc/witch saves you're just dead). Imagine in a boss had quicken spell. There'd be no more party after round 1.

Spells' power levels are heavily tied to the curve which is why Paizo doesn't let them off the curve. But bosses are inherently above the curve while the dangerous fights for PCs are against monster who are above the curve defensively. Casters don't have quadratic growth anymore but they do have quadratic effectiveness which is better in some ways and worse in others.

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As a general stance I say anything that was available 5 levels back is something an intelligent enemy will at least attempt to counter. So starting at level 6 enemies who are worried about magical spies will take precautions against things like ravens and rats since there are many different ways a level 1 caster can get information from them. A level 8 enemy will take precautions against invisibility and a level 10 will take precautions against flying. Does that mean every enemy uses perfect protection? No. But it does mean players shouldn't expect enemies to ignore wild animals in their camp after a little while because even the weakest caster has a way to glean information from them (or just transform into one). Unless a familiar gets a new trick at 6th or becomes more skilled at stealth (which as shown above it's not terrible but not rogue level which is where the standard is considering auto scaling perception) it's not going to be a scout on virtue of just being a bird. 1st level features being ignored by level 20 guards makes the world feel too detached from the existence of PCs to me.

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Puna'chong wrote:

I think Pharasma is a built-in wrinkle for non-PCs in Golarion, and a reason for why liches or other eternal youth/life activities would still be relevant.

Seems like a resurrection is necessarily another god/power pilfering from Pharasma's domain, and they probably don't want to do that very often or for people who aren't very important. PCs are different because they're necessarily heroes, but some random rich person might be able to afford the ritual and still have it not work because Pharasma's like "Yeah, nah, to the Boneyard with this one."

It's also why Urgathoa is a thing in the first place. Like her whole portfolio is explicitly a giant middle finger to Pharasma.

Resurrection still never cheats old age so immortality is still important.

It doesn't help there are very few ways to actually *stop* resurrections short of trapping the soul. As long as they cut off a finger and store it somewhere safe to be rezzed from destroying the body doesn't even work. Since spells like remove curse can be spammed anything that can be removed with a CL check is pretty much worthless. It'd be nice if there was a fast judgement sort of spell which gets them judged by Pharasma so they can't be rezzed.

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Kasoh wrote:
Jester David wrote:
Kasoh wrote:
Jester David wrote:

It's like an employer expecting an employee to spend 90% of their paycheque improving their ability to do their job.

"Good job these past weeks, Bob. Here's $1500. Be sure to spend $1350 on office supplies. Upgrade your computer and keep saving for that better scanner."

Adventurers are typically self employed freelancers. There is no employer. Most have patrons or accept contracts for specific jobs in which they bear the cost of expenses. They are expected to use their money to improve their business.

Any other complaints about the economy notwithstanding, this is perfectly normal and expected given the usual type of work adventurers engage in.

Which is true... until it's not. See Agents of Edgewatch.

And while self-employed small businesses should invest *some* money into growing and expanding their business, most small business owners also spend money on housing, savings, personal goods, and luxury items. Adventurers are all people will million dollar businesses and platinum credit cards who spend ALL of their funds on the business while still living in a van down by the river.

And there was quite a bit of talk in Agents of Edgewatch about how it did and did not handle that aspect well.

High level magic items are expensive. Prohibitively so to most people. Adventurers are people who could afford them and likely will purchase them because they don't like dying and keeping your gear topped off will reduce chances of sudden death. At any point, a PC could say 'Naw, I'm done.' and retire. Or just adventure and subsist off of drops while investing their gold into their lifestyle.

How players handle their wealth is not a system problem. Its a table issue.

(How much wealth is too much is a fair question. Does a Major striking rune really have to cost 31,065 gp? Eh. Season to taste.)

Part of the issue with prices is that they don't want a level 10 character being able to afford a +3 major striking weapon or something like that. It was somewhat of an issue in 1e where a caster could just save up 36k and buy a +6 headband far earlier than expected while a martial was busy buying weapons and armor and a belt and so on. So to offset that prices were increased exponentially based on what level they were expected to be earned at. A caster who wants an early Apex item is going to be waiting a long time. So prices are constantly doubling and over 20 levels there's some silly pricing while most goods and services are valued at level 2-3 tops.

fanatic66 wrote:
Thunder999 wrote:
What exactly does the wizard do at higher levels that's so impressive as to justify their many downsides?

Spells are really strong at high levels, but that's a strength of any caster. For wizards specifically, my guess is certain builds really become stronger over time. Spell blending the best candidate for this. A specialist wizard can have 6-7 spell slots of their highest spell level with 3 from base wizard, 1 from specialist, 1 from drain bond, and another 1-2 from spell blending. A cleric can have potentially more with Divine Font, but Divine Font is limited to either harm or heal. Staff Nexus can do similar stuff from what I read, but I could be misremembering.

Also, a high level wizard had whole adventures and time to collect plenty of spells for their spell book. They should have lots of versatility with a huge spell book, meaning they can easily switch out their magical arsenal depending on the the day's goals. That kind of versatility is its own strength. Clerics and Druids can prepare any spell off their list, but from yesterday's thread, the arcane list dwarfs (80ish% IIRC more spells) divine, and is still significantly larger than primal. It lacks healing of primal, but arcane packs a lot of great combat control spells but more importantly, really useful out of combat utility magic. Non combat stuff tends to get lost in these discussions IMO, but it shouldn't be discounted. A wizard won't have every spell on the arcane list, but a high level wizard will likely have most of the useful spells.

EDIT: Also want to make it clear before I get attacked, I'm not saying these strengths justify the wizard's downsides. I do think the wizard's strengths get downplayed, but I also think they are a bit on the weak end for PF2E casters. I wouldn't say no to better focus spells and feats for example.

I don't think more spells on a list in general is necessarily better. The arcane/occult list has some gems like True Target but having 6 different choices for what blast spell you are prepping each with slightly different debuffs isn't particularly useful. Early on a wizard simply can't afford to focus on utility (and there aren't too many good utility spells, by that I mean there are very few spells that simply solve a hazard or problem or give a large enough bonus to be worth a spell slot, fly and invisibility stand out, but they have their limits). Later on all of the lists are varied enough that the wizard being completely locked out of healing and limited on buffs really feels it while most lists are not so strongly locked out of debuffs/damage/control. A wizard needs to reach level 9-11 to be able to spend spells on situations that aren't combat and have a decent enough selection of non-combat spells for that to even be worthwhile. And spell blending cuts into that. You trade 2 utility slots for another combat slot or 2 debuffs that don't need to scale for 1 that does. A wizard generally wants all their 3rd and up spell slots. Concentrating them in the top level makes them try and nova and nova has been heavily nerfed in 2e.

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Spell Substitution is in a weird place. It implies you prepared incorrectly at dawn and can now fix the problem. It also implies you now know about the threat and have at least 10 minutes downtime per spell to adapt to it. It's still not adapt to the current situation. It just means you can adapt to the situation 10 minutes from now. And there aren't many spells that solve one specific problem really well anymore. And with how precious spell slots are now the wizard is going to be hesitant using a high level spell slot on utility even if it's the perfect spell for the job. Because any hazard that isn't lethal can be patched up by medicine. Sure it's an expert skill check to cross the pit safely but fly is a 3rd level spell and medicine is free, both take 10 minutes.

It does allow for some "rebalancing" midday where the wizard can go oh we've fought a lot of bad fort enemies let me swap a fireball over to a fort debuff to keep all my bases covered. But that can also backfire when it turns out the rest of the enemies are high fort. But that's just trying to emulate a spontaneous caster who can just pick which save as needed.

And the wizard doesn't have that much money compared to a martial to spend on fleshing out a spellbook with a bunch of niche utility spells to even take advantage of spell substitution. A stave costs nearly as much as an on level weapon and a wizard wants on level armor as much as martials if not more so because of the terrible saves and slow AC progression. And it's a skill roll. Rolling low means sorry have to wait an entire level to learn a spell. A wizard trying to learn fireball at 5th off a scroll because it was in loot instead of from the level up has a 25% chance of failing and not being able to learn fireball. Next level it's only a 20% chance of being forced to wait yet another level. (Combined that's a 1 in 20 chance a wizard has to put off learning fireball till 7th because of trying to take advantage of loot instead of using one of the four spells learned from level ups)

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Proven wrote:
Calybos1 wrote:
Ruzza wrote:

If the AoA thread is any indication, level 8 versus a level 9 boss, which should put his DC at 26 and the bosses saves between 18 and 16. Very far from "bosses don't fail saves."

If this is about a certain book 1 encounter, that's a whole 'nother story that has nothing to do with wizards and everything to do with the wonkiness of that encounter.

Level 7, spell DC 25. I know everyone keeps saying, "the math is very tightly tuned," but around what value? If a caster targets a spell at the boss's worst save, the odds of beating him should be around 75%, not 50/50.

Getting everything exactly right with all factors in my favor shouldn't be the expected bare-minimum break-even point; it's a a rare and lucky occurrence that should result in extremely high likelihood of success.

The problem is the balance against enemies of various levels.

If you make it 75% against an enemy’s weakest save that’s Party Level+2, then it’s around 90% against an enemy that Party Level+0, and 100% against an enemy that’s Party Level-2.

So Paizo made it that it’s closer to 50% for Party Level+2, since they’re a boss, and then around 65% against Party Level+0, since they’re your equals and it feels good to be hitting around that percentage of a time given enough rounds, and then you get to the 80% against Party Level -2.

And if the boss has a legitimate Terrible Save and not just a Moderate-to-Low save, then you will have that 60-70% hit chance on their lowest save. Otherwise, you need someone else to help debuff with Demoralize/Bon Mot/etc. to help increase your success chance to that level.

It doesn't help that because of how crits work they can't make bad saves too bad since that'd mean double damage or major debuffs from spells which does make them overpowered. But on the flip side unlike a weapon attack where a whiff just means trying again next time (or right now) a caster is down a resource. Most spells aren't powerful enough for a successful save to feel like it was worth two actions and a very limited resource. This stings worse when a 20 is rolled on a save or a wrong bad save guess on a boss and it's actually a complete loss of 2 actions and a resource. The wizard might not have prepped two on level reflex blast spells or more than one good fort debuff. This lessens over time because debuffs don't need high slots usually so a wizard can prep stinking clouds at 3rd level and prep fireball in all 5th level slots and always have a tool for the situation. At very low levels its entirely possibly that the wizard prepped almost all reflex blasts because the low level debuffs aren't great which means a reflex boss really hurts the caster. A high save on a L+2 is around 80% likely to pass which means 30% chance of completely avoiding the spell. (High AC on the other hand is only +1 over moderate AC so a martial hits 35-40% of the time on a L+2, a fighter 10% more, before de/buffs and it's important to note that there are 0 ways to buff spell DC vs a bard cantrip increasing to hit by 1 for all martials combine with flatfooted and a martial suddenly hits 50-55% of the time, fighters 60-65%)

I think part of the issue also comes from there being a lack of ways to manipulate saving DCs or enemy saving throws. It's not common to hand out conditions outside frightened and sickened (and even that one is usually from another spell effect). Aside from target weakest save there's not much a caster can do to make their spells more effective. Investing another spell and action for stupefied 1 is a big investment for something that only benefits the caster. And as time goes on martial buffs tend to go up. Heroism/Inspire Courage gets more powerful high AC stays in the same place. Frightened/Sickened are generally stuck at 1-2 and require regular reapplication while Heroism lasts the fight. It makes martials feel much more tactical and that the player has control over how good a martial is in a fight compared to a caster where it's very dependent on the monster being fought.

The fact flexibility is so important in the middle of combat is why I think spontaneous casters are more powerful than prepared ones at least early on. As long as they know a spell for each defense they can spam it for the fight while a wizard needs to have prepped enough of each individual spell. Arcane sorcs and bards both get a way to prep a spell which is enough to cover a lot of downtime advantages for prepared casters as well.

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Anything that'd require more than 10 combat feats. (joking, though any build that relied on investing in a feat chain to be good at needs class support or you can't do it)

2/3rds casting is the big one. Which is weird because with the way DCs work 2/3rds casting should be better than ever. And with access to archetypes magic is no longer caster only so access to magic should be worth less. I think it's mostly that the power budget for the classes is just so small that spells don't really fit in combined with a lack of action economy help for spells. No Magus spell strike, no warpriest fervor, no bloodrager greater bloodrage, heck summoner just gave a 2nd set of actions in a strong pet, you are always having to pick between martial or casting and with how tight the bounded accuracy is there's not much leeway for being good at both. Either you are going to be better at martial at which point you should pick a martial class and focus your feats and actions on that or you are going to be good at casting in which case you should focus your feats and actions on that. And since there's no way to combine them to get small buffs and attack or using martial abilities to make spells more effective it's hard to make a balanced 2/3rds caster.

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I think the flavor text doesn't match what the ability actually does.

>You can pull forth both positive and negative energy simultaneously to harm your enemies and heal your allies.

Is just flavor text with no mechanical effect.

>If your next action is to cast a 1-action or 2-action heal or harm spell, choose one creature in range that would be harmed by the spell, and choose another creature within range that would be healed by the spell. Your heal or harm targets both creatures.

The rest seems clear to me. If you cast a heal/harm spell you can target one creature who would be healed by the spell and one who would be harmed (these are not referencing the spells, but just the regular meanings of heal and harm since harm is never referenced in heal and vice versa) by the spell. So one undead and one living creature. And then the same spell hits them both.

So it's not you use both positive and negative energy simultaneously, but you use the same energy for both effects.

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I spent a lot of time wondering why I always felt guns were out of place in High Fantasy. My first thoughts actually went to Sci-fi and Star Wars more specifically. Because in the Knights of the Old Republic game there are regular people (not space monks) running around with swords in a world of laser guns and I was never bothered by it.

The main reason is because it's all so alien. I have no frame of reference for what a laser gun can do in real life. And when they say they have advanced armor that deflects laser bolts and energy shielding, but they've also advanced sword tech to wear it can slice through that armor I can just nod my head and accept it like I can accept magic.

And for Heroic/High Fantasy I can see it work even with black powder guns. Even if I have a frame of reference for guns magic exists and the heroes have it. Impregnable armor, swords of impossible sharpness, spells that ward off ranged attacks, all of these are common tropes and having them effect bullets doesn't bother me. The heroes using magical gear instead of guns can fit just fine because magic is still magic.

But in Star Wars everyone can go to their local shop and buy an energy shield for a few credits. Not a good one, but one that'll let you get into close range with a sword. And for most civilians and soldiers guns are still the weapon of choice. Swords are side arms, not the weapon of choice for most.

In High Fantasy mundane swords and bows are the weapons of choice. If guns are introduced there's no good way to justify that not being the case unless guns are rare or expensive, but then in game terms it means no level 1 character is going to have a gun. And guns are also very good at killing things that don't have guns, like raiding orc/goblin tribes.

In Sci-Fi Sci-Fi tech is the baseline. In High Fantasy, the baseline isn't everything is magic, it's everything is idyllic medieval tech and magic is something hard to acquire. And in Sci-Fi the opposition is usually other sentients with equal or even greater tech. In fantasy especially early on the threats are relatively mundane, giant rats, a pack of wolves, and an ogre as a boss. All things in my mind a gun should easily handle. And yet the PCs will still use swords and spears and bows and the peasants will never band together and shoot a charging ogre dead (heck I doubt a level 0 NPC could harm a level 5 monster even with a gun).

The issue is even though it's fantasy, wolves are still wolves, humans are still humans. I have a frame of reference for what those are and when guns are added in I have a frame of reference for what I expect guns to do. When it doesn't match it affects verisimilitude in a way adding in a way to launch fireballs from your hands just doesn't. And I have an expectation that when guns exist they are the weapon of choice for most people who can get their hands on them (magic not withstanding). And guns allow humanoids to overcome mundane nature which just isn't true in Pathfinder.

Salamileg wrote:
Yeah, while seeing the total number of features is interesting, I don't think this says very much about balance. For instance, with your system, Warpriests are a few points higher than Cloistered Clerics, while it's generally agreed that CCs are mechanically superior.

CCs are mechanically superior once casting really gets going. In the beginning warpriest is better. The problem is warpriest never makes you better at doing things that aren't casting so by the higher levels you are never doing warpriest things.

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Old_Man_Robot wrote:
NemoNoName wrote:

How about no. Why do you people insist on stuffing high levels of tech into a fantasy game?

While I agree in general, lets not forget that incredibly advanced technology has been baked into Golarion for a long time, namely in Numeria.

It's a land of crashed starships, Androids and laser-toting barbarians.

In the specific setting of Golarion, its possible that the corpse of a Technic League Gearman has been transported down to Alkenstar for study, wherein some of the less high-tech but otherwise more advanced designs and techniques have been reversed engineered for general use.

Gearmen seem to have internal magazine fed weapons, which another step more advanced than the move from muzzleloader to chamberloader, so it might even make sense for Golarion to even "skip" the chamber step.

Either way, within the bounds of Golarion, it's far from impossible. Its a lot easier to replicate something which you know is possible and can see applications of, rather than invent it wholesale.

I'll start by saying this is my personal take on guns in fantasy. Everyone has their own take on it and I'm not trying to tell people they are wrong. Make the setting you enjoy.

There's a big difference between aliens who crashed advanced tech into fantasy land and actually having access to advanced tech. To Numerians laser guns, robots, and cybernetics are just as magical to them as magic weapons and constructs. Not every wandering tribe is going to be a bunch of cyberpunk barbarians, maybe only the chieftain. Alien sci-fi occupies the same place as ancient magical gear from long lost civilizations so it can fit into high fantasy. As long as its distinctly alien and poorly understood just like ancient magic is. In Golarion terms, ancient Thassilon takes up the same space in Varisia as the crashed spaceships do in Numeria (at least until Return of the Runelords happened).

Once guns become efficient and common the settings tend to change. Because guns kill things good and anyone can use them. Gone are the days of villagers fearing dragons since they all have mounted cannons. Gone are the days of goblin raids because the guard can just shoot them dead. The shambling undead horde gets shot redead by a disciplined firing line.

So to manage that guns are balanced against crossbows and swords to try and explain why people keep using weapons other than guns. But at that point is it even really a "gun" in anything other than description? It doesn't kill things good. It's not easy to use. It doesn't capture any of what makes a gun a gun. It's just another mundane weapon in the weapon shop on the rack between bows and crossbows. The only way to make guns fit into fantasy is to make them not really guns.

The AC isn't too bad. If they spend a general feat on light armor and have 16 dex they are only behind till then and from 11th to 15th, but it's annoying because every other class will all have the same AC till 19th. The saves are far more atrocious. A wizard gets master will saves at 17TH! later than the rogue let alone that the bard gets legendary will saves at the same time (but not the wisdom casters). And for all that lack of defense what can the wizard bring to the table the other three casters can't?

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Rules wise I'm not sure it matters, but looking at what it does which is grow a lump of flesh into a body that seems to fit most with either Divine which focuses on spells related to life or Occult which still has life based spells but with a more weird tilt to them. Arcane really doesn't do the necromancy/life thing well anymore. Though class wise it's definitely much more of a wizard spell than a bard or cleric spell.

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Ruzza wrote:

Wrapping it in with Focus creates way more problems then it solves. MM brought up dedications which works as a double-edged sword: grabbing dedications would allow for inventors to get access to their more significantly powerful abilities while also disincentivizing actually using the Focus powers as flavorful character options. An Inventor with champion dedication now has to choose between Explode (or any number of unstable actions) and Lay on Hands and I don't think that's actually an interesting design direction.

But that's what every other class designed has to deal with. You want to be a monk/champion? Your lay on hand uses the same pool as your monk ki powers as any other multiclass focus power you pick up.

graystone wrote:
Being able to get a d6 ranged unarmed attack with versatile damage for a Construct Companion is a clear niche for an offence focused build that stands out from animal companions.

It's a d4, you can't upgrade it to a d6 since it's not a simple weapon. A wizard with an enchanted sling does more damage and will be about as accurate for most of his life.

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I really don't get the connection between "focus abilities" and "unstable". Not every ability that is not supposed to be available every round is a focus ability; spell slots are not focus abilities.

Because they take up the exact same design space as focus. A slew of abilities you get 1 of per combat and eventually 2/combat for a feat. It functions a bit different in that instead of getting a point with every unstable power and having to take a separate feat to be able to recover 2 uses you just take a feat to get 2/combat and be able to restore them both.

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WatersLethe wrote:
The wizard proficiency exceptionalism should just be dumped at this point. More headache than it's worth.

It's the most unique part of the class. No matter how hard any other class tries or what feats they spend they can't get wizard proficiency.

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The DC does scale slower than the increase over time but you still end up less than 50/50 to get full int.

Standard DC at 20th is 40.

Level (20) + Proficiency (8) + Int (7) + Magic Item (3) = +38 so 40% chance of a crit

The bigger issue is damage doesn't scale at all. It starts at +2 from 18 int and reaches +3 when you have 22 int at 20th (or if you grab an int apex item which isn't worth it since str apex item gives to hit and damage). Why not just invest those points into a different stat when you don't get a boost until long after most characters retire? The inventor's main combat style seems to be beat them over the head with a slightly modified weapon rather than something inventor-y.

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
We already broke the seal on "martial classes can have non-magical metacurrencies" with the Swashbuckler and Panache.

Panache isn't really a currency. It's more like a state you get a bonus when you are in and can turn off for a boost.

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I think unstable is good as a flavorful focus pool. The explosion chance is a non-issue to me. A 20% chance of an additional focus point is better than any other class aside from the oracle. Though the totally-not-magic! aspect of the class when it has infrared see-in-the-dark googles, a semi-sentient construct pet, and ways to build and adjust inventions on the fly makes me roll my eyes.

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Preparations vary heavily depending on the GM and scenario. Some places will put up divination wards, sometimes the area to explore is just the wilderness in general, and sometimes it's too dangerous to risk being down a party member in combat. Or on the flip side the place you are exploring is a volcano. You probably don't want to prep fireball. No divination needed.

But knowing you don't need fireball just means you don't waste a slot. It means you are on par with the spontaneous caster who could already cast cone of cold every time instead.

Divination is also available to spontaneous casters through staves and scrolls, Prying Eye is actually on the divine list, and arcane sorcerer can spend a feat to prepare one spell per day. Getting ahold of certain spells during downtime or for an off-day generally isn't too hard and casters generally have gold to spare. It doesn't mean prepared casting doesn't have the advantage there, but it's something spontaneous casters have tools to mitigate and work around. There are tools a spontaneous caster can use to pretend to be a prepared caster for a day. Aside from spell substitution there isn't much a prepared caster can do to pretend to be spontaneous.

But you only have 5 at a time unless you spend a feat and they mostly run off spell attacks (electric arc being the exception). You probably aren't prepping to hit every weakness with them. Several cantrips also have other weaknesses that being able to just cast fireball at third instead of a cantrip help with. 10d4+7 vs 6d6 at 20th isn't even that good since fireball is AoE and comes with a basic save instead of a spell attack. Cantrips have their use but being able to pull out a low level fireball is a better tool to have blasting wise.

A spontaneous caster will out do a prepared caster in the role they choose. There's opportunity costs involved but a prepared caster doesn't have opportunity at all. A sorcerer at 5th level has 5 different top spell choices they can pick at any given time along with 5 one level down. And those numbers only go up as time goes on. A wizard gets 2 + 1 from school + 1 reuse from drain bonded object so they get 3 different spells in the day chosen at the start of the day and if they want to use a spell twice that means they need to prep it twice (aside from the 1 bonded object use). If the wizard wants to use fly that means one less fireball from the start of the day even if it's never used, a sorcerer can just know fly and fireball and pick whenever he wants. And a blaster doesn't need that many spells. Even hitting every main element that's 5 signature spells out of 9. And then every other spell you know top level or otherwise can be focused on whatever you want. A primal/arcane sorcerer can leverage the versatility of the blast spells on their lists better than a wizard can.

And that carries over to any role. A support sorcerer only needs to know haste at 3rd. A wizard needs to prep haste in every slot.

The big benefit a prepared caster has is he can change his role, but how often does your blaster wizard suddenly need to change roles and be a supporter? He can, but usually party composition takes into account the fact the wizard is the blaster. And the same is true the other way around. If the support wizard suddenly becomes a blaster the entire party combat dynamic can change. And part of that is roleplaying too. If I'm playing a friendly support wizard even if it's optimal to prep a pile of fireballs I'm still going to stick to mostly support spells. My necromancer is going to prep vampiric touch and phantasmal killer over the evocation equivalents because I'm a necromancer, not an evoker who wears black and casts animate dead.

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KrispyXIV wrote:

I still think Arcane has relative value due to its access to unique spells and elemental value

I think the issue is wizard has trouble taking advantage of that because of prepared casting. It's nice that there's a blast for cold, poison, fire, electric, and so on. But a wizard only has so many top level slots and those are picked at the beginning of the day. If the wizard prepped too many fireballs and needs lightning bolt then that's that. Or if he tried to be versatile and cover all his bases he may only be able to hit weakness once. Spontaneous takes advantage of that much nicer. You can have a signature fireball, a signature cone of cold, lightning bolt at top level, and still have room for top level buffs. And then you can pick which blast you need when you need it. A wizard can with foreknowledge prepare against enemies very well. A sorcerer doesn't need foreknowledge he can just be constantly versatile. The sorcerer can also cast low level spells to ping weaknesses that a wizard can't because he didn't prep a bunch of level 1 snowballs to ping cold while a signature snowball can be any level between 1 and max.

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Arcane may have technically more spells but Occult poaches a lot of the interesting ones that aren't straight damage. It doesn't help Occult isn't helpless on the damage front (though more susceptible to being countered by an immune monster). And blasting is generally something spontaneous casters do better than prepared ones because a wizard needs to prepare 3 fireballs or 3 lightning bolts or some mix to keep on curve in combat while a sorcerer can know fireball, lightning bolt, and haste and pick which one to cast when the time comes.

Even at first level Occult is already stepping on Arcane/Primal damage toes with Phantom Pain (an occult only spell) that deals 2d4 to a single target ON A SUCCESSFUL SAVE. On a failed save it deals 2d4+1d4 per round per level and also inflicts sickened. Snowball the closest analogue for ranged single target damage with a rider on the arcane list is 2d4/level on a hit, nothing on a miss, and there's a save to avoid the rider. Admonishing Ray is 2d6/level, no rider, also spell attack.

At 2nd Occult gets Animated Assault, 2d10 a small AoE and is sustainable if the monster stays in place.

3rd it gets Vampiric Touch, 4th it gets Phantasmal Killer, and at 6th it gets Spirit Blast and Vampiric Exsanguination to be dealing AoE damage.

But even before 6th the Occult list has options for single target damaging options that even come with debuff riders. Occult shines against bosses and big fights because it has spells that can multitask and Arcane's big boost over Occult is AoE. Arcane can pick some of those spells up too, but that defeats the purpose. If the wizard is just preparing spells that are on the occult list regularly then is arcane better? And that doesn't even get into Occult poaching Chromatic Wall and Wall of Force giving them battlefield control if they want it. Meanwhile the wizard can never heal, their anti-invisibility spell Glitterdust is just worse than Faerie Fire. They get Summon Fey at 1st and Summon Entity at 5th so they can call in some utility. They even put fly on the Occult list so mobility from transmutation isn't a draw. There is very little on the Arcane list Occult can't at least bootleg. On the other side I feel there are a lot of things on the Occult list Arcane wishes it could do. Like heal or have defensive buffs like death ward or protection or buff like heroism. (Or get have bard proficiencies and features instead of wizard/sorc/witch ones but that's not what this is about.)

So I was trying to build a low level Summoner and I was trying to find what the Eidolon brought to the table above a 16 str Summoner trying to use a weapon. Until proficiency kicked in it was surprisingly little aside from HP.

Level 1


16 str 16 dex 16 con 8/10 int 10/12 wis 10 chr HP: summoner racial + 10 + summoner con (assumed to be 16)

For the example I decided the Summoner for the Eidolon was a Dwarf. The -2 charisma hurts but the extra HP for the Eidolon is more important.

So at level 1 the Eidolon has 23 HP, 16 AC and +6 to hit. They can't take any options to change this. Their only choice of weapons is 1d8 with no tags or 1d4 agile for an average of 7.5 and 5.5 damage per hit respectively. Boost Eidolon is another +2 per hit.

Each Eidolon does get something combat based at level 1. Angel gets +1 good damage which will come up sometimes but animals are fairly at level 1 and aren't evil so they don't take good damage. Beast gets a charge action with +1 to hit. Adds some nice mobility to charge in and exit a fight. Devotion Phantom gets Dutiful Strike for attack of opportunity when attacked but it requires the Summoner stand next to the Eidolon and be targeted which is the opposite of what you want to aim for even if you do have the same AC as the Eidolon. Dragon gets a breath weapon which is fairly weak at level 1 but the area is big. None are particularly impactful but it is something that no one else can bring to the table.


This is a Summoner build to use a weapon in melee. I went with human because extra general feats at 1st for cloth casters is more important than +2 to another stat if they want to try and fight in melee. There are more optimal builds I'm sure but this is quick and simple. Human boosts went to str and dex, background went to str and dex, and 4 boosts went to str, dex and con. Ancestry feat went into General Training which turned into Armor Proficiency for Light Armor. Heritage was Versatile Heritage for Weapon Proficiency for Martial Weapons.

Stat Line: 16 str/ 16 dex/ 12 Con/ 10 int/ 10 wis/ 12 Chr

HP: 19 AC: 18 (Light armor + dex) To Hit: +6

Weapon choice wise they have access to the entire martial weapon list. 1d12 is the top damage so I'll just use that. Average damage ends up 9.5.

So the Summoner has 4 less HP and no special attack for +2 AC and +2 damage. The +2 from Boost Eidolon is necessary to make the Eidolon the better option when acting in melee combat to the Summoner at level 1 and it'd still be better if the Summoner was the one tanking the hits because it has more AC. The Summoner can also get access to Shield and Electric Arc for a ranged option and a little extra defense. Or pick up a bow or use another martial weapon if they want specific weapon tags.

At level 1 there is little reason to summon an Eidolon outside flavor for the melee summoner. It's a vulnerability that doesn't add anything.

Level 2:

Level 2 helps the Eidolon, but it's mostly just catching up to the melee Summoner. Magical Evolution gives access to the Shield and Electric Arc cantrips or whatever other cantrips it might want. Reinforce Eidolon is +1 AC and -1 damage which helps survivability but costs an action or means no Boost. The only issue is it can only take one of those.

A melee Summoner doesn't have class feat support so it has to look to archetypes. Ironically since I frontloaded Armor and Weapon Proficiency from human and started with 16 dex Summoner doesn't have many choices that bump melee power (There are at least 10 different archetypes that give some level of armor or weapon proficiency at 2nd but none are useful for the build I went with). I settled for Mauler Dedication which gives nothing as far as this analysis is concerned.

Level 3:

Eidolon gets +2 AC which puts it on par with the Summoner. With that and Magical Evolution and Boost Eidolon it is suddenly on par with a Melee Summoner and has 8 extra HP. The only drawback for using the Eidolon at this point is AoE. The Dwarf Summoner can also pick up Toughness for an extra HP per level but that will be cancelled out.

The Summoner gets a general feat and access to more spells. I've been ignoring spells for the most part for this analysis since the Eidolon does have a summoner than can cast spells as well, but the melee summoner has access to True Strike 3/day at this point while the Eidolon does not. At this point it can actually be used for most of a boss fight or a few times throughout the day at key moments. The general feat I picked was toughness since high dex and 2 handed weapon do not play into more armor proficiency or shield block.

Level 4:

The Eidolon gets a boost at this level mostly in the +10 ft move speed. Suddenly the Eidolon can kite like a nimble Elf or monk. Unfortunately Tandem Move is also at this level and it's integral to not losing actions when caught out of position with the Summoner. Since the general feat was spent on toughness the Summoner is still a weak point with at least 2 less AC than the Eidolon so getting out of harm's way with lower action cost is important. I'd say the +10 ft movement speed isn't worth it because of the lack of Tandem Move meaning that even if the Eidolon can kite with the best of them the Summoner is just standing around in melee reach. The Eidolon can also just pick up Reinforce Eidolon or Magical Evolution instead if kiting and maneuverability aren't concerns.

The melee Summoner once again has no class feat support but does get access to power attack from Mauler. The Summoner can now with 3 actions do True Strike + Power attack 4 times. That's a pretty solid hit when it's needed and Power attack for an extra d12 is nice.

Striking weapons also come online this level but it's irrelevant since the melee Summoner gets an extra d12 and the Eidolon gets an extra d8 with Boost Eidolon for an extra +2.

Level 5:

The Eidolon gets expert proficiency for a flat +2 to hit over the melee Summoner. Stat boosts to Str, Dex, Con, and Wis give it as good defenses as it could hope for and +1 AC which the melee Summoner can't match.

Summoner gets access to 3rd level spells but loses 1st level spells so 4/day true strike with a two handed weapon is still the cap. Stat boosts to Str, Con, Wis, and Chr make it keep up stat wise. More Dex with light armor doesn't add to anything but reflex saves. The 5th level human ancestry feat isn't useful for combat with this build.

At this point 12 HP, 1 AC, and 2 to-hit behind the Eidolon it's safe to say outside the True Strike + Power Attack bursts the Eidolon is better in melee. Without Boost Eidolon the Melee Summoner is still 4 points of damage ahead per hit though.

For the 4 levels just being a caster and grabbing proficiencies puts you equal the Eidolon. The Eidolon needs access to 2 handed weapon damage if it can't use its free hands for anything (A simple longspear is a better weapon than the Eidolon primary attack). It should have expert unarmored from 1st. It needs access to martial feats. Where's Power Attack? Where's Flurry? Where's Nimble Dodge? Where's a circumstance bonus to AC? The Eidolon gets a lot of varied abilities but it never learns how to hit someone better or defend itself. The Summoner has easier access to martial tricks than the Eidolon does. Letting the Summoner give their class feats to the Eidolon so it can take martial archetypes seems necessary even if it just makes it feel even more like you are playing an Eidolon with a pet Summoner rather than the other way around.

Ice Titan wrote:

My only thing is that the class feature for the sigil calls out that it's obvious the two are linked.

Most enemies with a functioning brain may decide to stop tangling with the buffed monster with expert unarmored and go for the spellcaster if it'll have the same result as "the eidolon goes away."

Add in that for area debuffs like divine wrath or frightful presence that the summoner rolls twice and takes the worse-- so we could both just be frightened 4 because of an unlucky 1 on 2d20-- it's enough for me to want slightly more HP than a fighter, yeah.

If a fighter has to roll twice and take the worse on every dragon's breath weapon then maybe he should have some more HP too, but he doesn't. And his 10th level feat can be spent on something other than "now I don't have disadvantage," which feels real bad...

Spellcasters aren't squishy ACwise. The Eidolon and Summoner likely have the same AC and similar saves. Walking past the Eidolon to hit the Summoner ends up with targeting the same AC. The big weakness is the double saves vs AoEs which is just punishing when they have similar AC , saves, and HP to all other martials.

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KrispyXIV wrote:

I suppose none of you ever fielded or saw a bipedal Eidolon with a greatsword that made a Fighter with a greatsword look scrawny, and then proceeded to make them feel completely unnecessary for the rest of a session.

So what if it wasn't technically as good as an ideal, fully optimized, built from a thousand books fighter?

They made most other players feel bad, because an Eidolon was a second PC run by the Summoner and they were great regardless of what you did with them.

As noted, some were just way more broken than others - but there wasn't one that didn't roll straight off the assembly line as a second martial player character.

The Fighter could outdo a non-absurd Unchained Eidolon (Pounce + Reach is hard to match no matter what) without Summoner support. Large/Huge were absurdly good too which is why they halved the bonuses in Unchained.

The Eidolon had better raw Str and damage dice (if Large/Huge) but the Fighter had higher HD + Weapon Training +Armor Training or whatever archetype he picked. To-Hit wise the Eidolon ended up behind a well geared Fighter and AC wise they had to share items with the summoner so they'd end up behind there over time as well. The Fighter would also have double the amount of feats. Now the Eidolon did get a Summoner to cast buffs on it which was a massive boon, but in a straight Eidolon vs Fighter comparison the Fighter comes out better in almost every metric (ignoring Chained Large/Huge and Pounce).

Deadmanwalking wrote:

I also think it's abundantly clear the Eidolon should get Expert in Unarmored at 1st level rather than 3rd.

graystone wrote:
oholoko wrote:
Counting that the summoner has a "free" action every turn
How so? If you're talking about Act Together, that just gets up up to Animal companion/Familiar+ Master action economy...

Sure, except that the Eidolon is almost as good as a full martial, so we're talking almost full martial action economy plus one action from the Summoner. The Summoner's action actually upgrading the Eidolon to full martial level makes a lot of sense from that perspective, since it makes their effective turn on par with martial characters.

Now, I'm not sure it quite does that as is, but it comes fairly close in many ways.

It's not as good as a full Martial. It starts with 16 str and has no class features so its behind in all respects. It also gets no action economy feats so its behind there as time goes on and it needs boost to even be competitive. Ranger + Animal Companion is fine and the Ranger gets decent damage even if he ignores the Animal Companion. A boosted Eidolon right now will be outdone by a Barbarian with a Greataxe before he even starts raging.

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My initial impression of the Summoner is that I like the concept, but it's subpar mechanically with it pulling in so many directions.

The Eidolon is the centerpiece of the class and in combat is supposed to take the leading role with the Summoner supporting it in combat. They get 4 actions between them sort of which is the same as other pet classes but they split 2 2 action actions which is a disadvantage.

But the Eidolon is behind on all fronts compared to a martial. Its Str is behind and it doesn't get class features to boost its damage and it's stuck with a d8 weapon at best. Looking further no class feats really help the Eidolon much with combat. The ranged weapon evolution gives it another option but not a better one. Getting to Towering Evolution gets 10 ft reach, but with no AoO it just helps avoid AoOs in exchange for not fitting anywhere. The 14th level feats for resistance and saves don't stack with the level 2 cantrip that the summoner will be using a lot. With the Eidolon behind on all fronts that means the Summoner part has to make up for it right?

Not really. The Summoner half gets sorcerer proficiencies for weapons and armor. That's not a big deal, it's one general feat to fix the armor and the Eidolon was handling the attack part anyway. I feel the Summoner should get light armor to at least. They aren't casters and they are already a weak point when it comes to AoE effects, they don't need lower AC than the Eidolon without investment as well.

Spellwise the Summoner gets cantrips and 4 spells per day. I don't think 2/2 spells per day even at top level slots offsets just how behind the Eidolon is. The lower proficiency makes the key stat being Chr actually hurt since with an innate -2 and the class flavor pushing the Summoner towards picking summon and support spells which don't run off Chr. Summon X being effectively 4 actions since you can't use Act Together stings as well though there are feats to offset that.

Looking at Conduit spells,

Evolution Surge I like. It gives access to the niche evolutions when they are needed.

Boost Eidolon would be a good buff, but it doesn't even let the Eidolon keep up with other martial damage boosters like rage or sneak attack. It ends up more like a band-aid that is required to keep the Eidolon competitive which also eats the extra action the Summoner gets. +2 damage per die is the average difference between a d8 and a d12. A barbarian even not raging deals more damage with their greataxe and is more accurate than a buffed Eidolon since he has higher str. An Eidolon should be much closer to a raging barbarian when buffed.

Unfetter has a 1 minute duration. Should be 10 at least. Even moving at full speed an Eidolon couldn't even get 1/2 a mile before vanishing even moving at full speed. With a longer duration it's a good 1st level feat.

Reinforce Eidolon is good. +1 status bonus to AC and Saves and resistance to damage. Since Eidolon saves and AC are on par or better after 3rd level this is just nice and resistance to all damage is nice. Not stacking with Boost is somewhat moot when the Eidolon can't get attacks off reactions so Boost-Attack-Reinforce doesn't have a drawback.

So while I like what the Summoner does, none of it feels quite impactful enough to offset the inherent weakness of the Eidolon. Either the Summoner needs a fleshed out spell list or the Eidolon needs to get more martial abilities. With more spells the Summoner could actually afford to cast spells like haste and heroism consistently. Or it could ditch the spells entirely so that the Eidolon can shine. I prefer if it got some spells but if no casting means getting a good Eidolon I'd take it.

One last complaint: Why wait till 3rd to give the Eidolon Expert unarmored? Just having it be 2 AC behind the curve for two levels doesn't make much sense.

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