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****** Pathfinder Society GM. Starfinder Society GM. 5,154 posts (9,179 including aliases). 61 reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 85 Organized Play characters. 36 aliases.


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Silver Crusade

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Gortle wrote:

Right now I don't even feel like I can have that discussion properly as no one can agree on what the actual rules are for wildshape. That is my real issue.

I am 100% in vehement agreement with that :-( :-(.

The first step in changing wild shape and/or building a shifter pretty much HAS to be a clarification of how the rules actually work

Silver Crusade

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Ascalaphus wrote:

What if we got one of the other things we've been asking for a lot, and be clearly allowed to choose not to heighten focus spells/cantrips if it doesn't seem needed in the situation?

Then you could go to your second-highest level form and almost always be eligible for the +2 to hit. Effectively, trading some damage for accuracy. Looking at how fighters get reviewed compared to barbarians, that's an interesting bargain.

In my experience every GM allows that.

If not, you can somewhat expand the range of forms by using Form Control.

Silver Crusade

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Ravingdork wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
...a Druid with max strength gets the +2 status bonus and so their to hit is within 1 of most martials for quite a few levels...
It's not possible for a druid to get max Strength since their class boost goes to Wisdom. That puts their attacks one additional point behind martials who do have their class boost and attack modifier based on the same stat.

Max strength for a druid.

There are two viable ways to build a wild shaping druid.
1) Max out Str as much as you can and sometimes get the benefit of the +2 status bonus (how often will depend to some extent on how GM rules a few things). Start at 16, put in a stat boost at levels 5, 10 and 15.
2) Ignore Str totally. You'll never get the +2 status bonus but you still get the reasonable to hit bonuses from wild form and now you have stat points to blow on something else (personally, I like Charisma :-)) and even save some money. Identical to 1 some of the time and significantly worse some of the time.

Silver Crusade

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Claxon wrote:
Scarablob wrote:
better not be something you only do once every few fights.

Although I do agree with the general statement that I would expect a druid focused on wild shape to use that option in something like 40-50% of combats and to also be using it a lot outside of combat for mobility and movement types. Being able to turn into something that flies is awesome.

I like druids and have played several through many levels. I'd guesstimate that I actually use wild shape in something like 2/3 of encounters.

Some encounters I'll start with a blasting spell or two (when I can get lots of people and so lots of damage) and then wild shape to finish things up.

Against a single foe I'll often wild shape since another body on the table (to provide flanks and a target) is more useful than the pitiful damage my spells will do.

Sometimes I REALLY value the insane mobility (or something else) that wild shapes tend to give. Whether that is turning into a deer or a dragon it works out well.

Sometimes I'm in a situation where preserving spells is obviously going to be unusually important (or its the end of a LONG day) and so its better to do my wild shape damage than spam electric arc/ray of frost.

And then I reasonably often use them for non combat encounters. Ranging from being able to climb the cliff as a snake to flying somebody or two as a dragon.

I'm curious. I've played several druids and I've played them at levels 3 to 20 and my opinions are based on actual table experience. Those of you who think the wild shaped druid is woefully inadequate, is that opinion ALSO based on actual personal experience?

Silver Crusade

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Gortle wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
WHY I think building a druid to mostly wild shape is a mistake.
Which really completes the argument. It shouldn't be a mistake. It should be a reasonably viable build. Wildshape needs to approach but not equal the output of a martial.

Ah, I hadn't realized that was your argument.

I see no way of achieving that without going to a full bore shifter class. At a minimum, a reasonably viable wild shape druid would have to lose some significant spell casting capability to compensate because otherwise it would just be too powerful.

Right now I think a wild shaping druid is doing just fine. They're generally weaker than a straight martial but they compensate for it with their spells.

If you bump up their martial ability you HAVE to take something away somewhere or they'll be significantly overpowered (probably not game breakingly so due to action economy issues but significantly so).

Silver Crusade

Gortle wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
Gortle wrote:
But the wildshape druid is mostly a melee character and it needs to be somewhat competitive as such.

I completely and utterly disagree with that.

A wildshape druid is an incredibly VERSATILE character, it is NOT "mostly a melee character"

Sigh. I was trying to be even handed about it. But someone always goes over the top and missread what I am saying. It really depends how you build your druid.

I'll also sigh. My point is that a druid who is mostly a melee character has deliberately crippled themselves to a significant extent.


The to hit is lower than martials unless you are missreading the +2 status to hit bonus from Wildshape. Hence my comment about the rules being a problem.
The equivalent Martial will have much better damage and some options besides.

And that is NOT universally true.

Plant Shape is an example. From level 10 up a Druid with max strength gets the +2 status bonus and so their to hit is within 1 of most martials for quite a few levels (sometimes higher). And 2d10 +11 or +16 with 15 or 20 foot reach is quite respectable.

But yeah, I agree that a martial mostly does more damage than a wild shaped druid. But even as early as animal Form the various forms have situational non combat bonuses to partly compensate for that.

But this is also precisely WHY I think building a druid to mostly wild shape is a mistake.


An option which is 50% the value of a martial is useless, and not really a meanigful option . Because a base caster can do that as they are.
You need to consider everything else a martial can do. 15ft reach is easy enough for them to do if they want it.

Yes those percentages are deliberately vague and are just an impression not qualitative.

And I think a wild shaped druid, who choses WHEN to wild shape intelligently and (at least as importantly) when to NOT wild shape is a whole lot closer to the 70=80% than the 50% (Sometimes even exceeding that 80% number).

Silver Crusade

Scarablob wrote:

Even beyond numbers alone, wild shape is full of jankiness and things that need to be cleaned up tho.

Oh yeah, there is a LOT that is unclear about wild shape. No argument there


The fact that RAW your druid forget how to turn into a normal sized animal as the level go up (and as you always must use the highest heigtenning level) is silly, and it wouldn't be overpowered at all to allow you to chose the lower size when you can.

I don't think I've ever seen a GM enforce that particular rule. But you're right its silly.


The fact that no form allow you to speak (not even cast spell, but merely speak) is silly too because now being in wildshape also mean you can't communicate with your teammate, no matter the form you turn into. The fact that very few forms actually specify that you have hand and allow manipulate actions mean that if you turn into a monkey, you can't use your hands for anything else than punching stuff.

You can actually speak in some forms. And no sane GM is going to stop a monkey from grabbing things. But I agree it should all be clearer


There's also the feat issue, and the fact that a big chunk of wild shape feat are basically feat tax. Insect form being a feat instead of a "third level heightenning unlock" is silly, because it have the exact same power level as animal form, it's here solely to be a flavor tax if you want to play an insect themed wild druid, as it bring no power increase and only a smidge of versatility (for the few levels during which insect form is relevant).

A wild shaped druid will spend on the order of 1/2 their feats. While that is a lot its affordable and well worth the cost.

And the various feats DO give you more flexibility. Although some shapes are definitely less generally useful than others.


And finally, there's the problem of your usefullness varying greatly between levels

I think you're significantly overstating the issue but I agree that it exists.

The biggest issue in my mind is that some of the forms require you to be really big and hence not always useful. But that is largely countered by the fact that you're STILL a full caster. Wild shape is ONE of the tools in your kit, if it doesn't fit a situation use the other tools.

Silver Crusade

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Gortle wrote:
But the wildshape druid is mostly a melee character and it needs to be somewhat competitive as such.

I completely and utterly disagree with that.

A wildshape druid is an incredibly VERSATILE character, it is NOT "mostly a melee character"

Depending on circumstances it is
1) A fair-good martial (depending on exact level, wild shape taken, and rules at that particular table for wildshape). Taking the most pessimistic rules interpretation a Druid at L10-12 in Plant Shape is a very decent martial (to hit better than most martials, 2D10+11 damage with a reach of 15 ft is definitely very decent)
2) An incredibly fast flier with a quite good breath weapon (Dragon)
3) A spell caster with full access to all the spells they want
4) A decent gish (decent armor, hit points, and to hit for their third action attack)
5) A decent tank with their shield
6) A decent healer (you're wisdom based so medicine is good and you can easily fit in a few heal spells)

You don't have to give up ANY of your spell casting goodness to be a wild shaper as a druid. You only need the 4 stats (Str, Wis, Dex, Con). Heck, if you really care you can even (eventually) dump Dexterity and get plate mail

The key to playing a wild shaped druid is versatility. Yeah, they're (generally speaking) slightly weak as a martial. Being a full caster (with quite decent focus spells) more than makes up for that.

But if you play a wild shaping druid as "mostly a melee character" you are seriously underplaying it.

Edit: And don't forget that wild shape can be dismissed with a single action. If you need to cast a spell you have the option. Although one only does it when the situation REALLY calls for it I've dropped out of battle form several times in order to cast the killer spell (often heal)

Silver Crusade

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greaterfiend00 wrote:
you get a laughable amount of temp hp and a soso melee attack set. Casting in this form is far from OP.

Well, lets see. You get

1) A speed of 40 and a fly speed of 100
2) Resistance 10 against the energy of your choice (essentially)
3) Darkvision and imprecise scent
4) A quite decent breath weapon
5) A fairly decent (not great but definitely better than so-so) melee attack with reach
6) Some temp hit points
7) Often some other cool ability that you get to pick when you need it (eg, swim speed, burrow speed, climb speed, ability to see through smoke, etc).

All for the low cost of either a spell slot OR a focus spell together with some quite affordable class feats.

I've played a druid who used dragon form a lot and it is quite useful and powerful withOUT being able to cast spells. It is perfectly good as it is. Being able to cast spells would definitely have made it overpowered. Probably not game breakingly over powered but definitely overpowered.

Silver Crusade

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"You deal half your precise strike damage to the target"

" the additional damage is 2d6 precision damage instead."

So, you deal 1/2 of 2d6 precision damage. That is 2d6/2 precision damage.

It seems pretty clear cut to me. The confident finisher damage on a miss IS precision damage.

Silver Crusade

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Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
Can confirm, Canada is an often confusing hodgepodge of measurements. Some things use metric, like distance and speed, some things use imperial, like height. Sometimes both are listed just to be safe, like grocery store produce prices per weight. Some conversions I can do in my head now (temperature and weight), but mostly it's a crapshoot.

Its even stranger than that.

First, there is an age component. Older people are more likely to use imperial measurements.

Second, there is a context component. Go to a pub and you'll buy beer in pints (which may or may not be ACTUAL pints) while buying wine in glasses or 1/2 litres or 700 ml bottles.

Third, small things tend to be imperial and large things metric. So, I'm 6'2" tall but live about 8 kms from downtown. I cook by measuring in cups but buy milk by the litre.

And to compound things we use Imperial measurements for things like pints and NOT the US ones.

It all kinda works but is really hard to explain to furriners :-)

Silver Crusade

Cordell Kintner wrote:

There is not two versions of Produce Flame, what the spell says is

Produce Flame wrote:
This is normally a ranged attack, but you can also make a melee attack against a creature in your unarmed reach.

The Psychic modifier is:

The Oscillating Wave wrote:
When using produce flame as a melee attack, increase the damage dice of the initial damage (but not the persistent damage) from d4s to d6s.
It's clear you can only use Produce Flame as a melee spell attack when the target is within your unarmed reach, so no you can not use the "melee version" when using a ranged Spellstrike.

What about using a ranged strike within unarmed reach? Obviously you risk an Attack of Opportunity but its definitely legal (characters do it all the time)

Silver Crusade

The fact that it is PFS is actually quite important

In my opinion, it is very important in PFS that the GM lean over backwards to NOT try and police character actions except when absolutely required. Any remotely grey areas should be adjudicated in the players favour.

In a home game there can be time and consistency enough to come up with a nuanced agreement.

In PFS a GM should strongly tend towards things like
"So, why does your character think that not healing your companion is acceptable" and accept any reasonable answer

Now, sometimes the GM DOES have to interfere (The champion wants to burn down the orphanage for the pretty things) but those occassions should be few.

So yeah, in PFS this really, really shouldn't have happened.

Silver Crusade

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The Raven Black wrote:

Clearly your GM and yourself were not reading this anathema the same way.

Best to talk together about the anathemas, and even the alignments, so that you both understand each other's take on them and reach an agreement.

I'd go a little further than this.

You definitely need to talk it over with the GM. You need to then decide if, after the discussion, your opinions are reasonably in synch. You also need to decide if, after discussion you're comfortable with how much the GM is policing your actions.

Hopefully you'll be able to come to a mutually acceptable compromise.

But if you can't then you should probably seriously consider changing your character. Trying to play a character with strong tenets with a GM who sees those tenets very differently is, at least for me, a cause of a great deal of frustration.

Or, in the extreme, consider leaving the campaign. Sometimes players and GMs are just not right for each other.

For the record (not that what anybody on the net thinks really matters at all) I think the GM is quite likely being too strict but you haven't really provided sufficient information for me to be certain.

Silver Crusade

Well, somebody has to be a dissenting voice.

Went to this today and I found some parts of it mildly entertaining but most of it fairly boring.

I was kinda amused by the fact that you have 4 quite high level characters together with Chris Pine who seemed to be maybe a 1st level expert or something :-)

Silver Crusade

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I think that the bottom line is that the Thaumaturge is a decent combatant in terms of dealing out damage but that really is NOT the reason to play one.

You're playing a Thaumaturge because you love knowing stuff, the interaction skills, the other cool things he can do while STILL playing a character who is a decent combatant in terms of dealing out damage.

It is also a VERY flexible class and different builds will play out quite differently.

Silver Crusade

As others have pointed out, there is really not generally a need for a character dedicated to healing and little else.

The best path in my experience is for at least 1 (2 is considerably better) of the group to have some reasonable in combat healing resources. Which can come from all sorts of places (alchemist, primal spell list, medic archetype, occult spell list, expensive consumables, etc etc etc).

What IS important is for the group to have a decent and efficient way to get out of combat healing fairly quickly and VERY cheaply. The GM isn't always nice enough to let you rest an hour between fights :-). This out of combat healing usually comes from a combination of medicine skill with feats such as ward medic combined with some focus point powered healing (lay on hands, goodberry, etc).

Silver Crusade

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Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

They're not a fighter, but they hold their own with skills, social encounters and in melee. They're just a well-balanced and fun class that can participate in every aspect of a roleplaying game. What's not to love?


While I absolutely love the Thaumaturge it has to be admitted that they do have a few consistent issues

1) Action economy. Their schtick takes up quite a few actions in a normal combat.
2) They are significantly more effective against creatures with some material weakness than they are against ones without, ESPECIALLY when that weakness is unknown in advance. Which means that depending on GM, campaign etc they can vary signficantly in power.
3) They're a bit fiddly in play as you have to keep track of which creatures you've used your esoteric knowledge on.

That said, I agree that they absolutely rock. And trying to measure them just in derms of how much damage they deal in general is doing them a huge disservice. They REALLY fill the warrior bard mode for me too.

Silver Crusade

AceofMoxen wrote:

One thing I have not seen mentioned is the movement penalty. Of course +1 AC is worth -5 speed, but is it worth -5 speed and a feat? I don't always think so.

And for those of you who might say fleet feat, I'll point that reaching 30 feet is an extra action in hexploration games.

L2 longstrider absolutely rocks. Gets almost everybody to at least a 30 ft move speed.

Of course, ALL extra movement is good, the more the better. But 30' is faster than a whole bunch of opponents and is very often "Good enough"

Silver Crusade

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SuperBidi wrote:

Not at all as for a single feat investment (well, maybe 2 if you want to get out of the archetype) you get +6 (+ Bullwark).

Sentinel is good but you're significantly overstating HOW good it is.

1) You need to have medium armor proficiency to get heavy armor proficiency out of it. So not all characters easily qualify
2) It takes up your archetype feat. So, either it is your ONLY archetype or you're spending 3 feats (one of which admittedly can be a skill feat)
3) If you're playing only until L13 or so (depends on class) then you get as much out of a single general feat OR a Champion Dedication (latter if you have the charisma, of course).

And for that you probably get a +1 AC and some bonus to some reflex saves Which is good but hardly "Wow, this is darn near essential"

Mighty Bulwark is also very nice but there is a LOT of competition for Level 10+ feats.

If I'm a melee sort (especially one with medium armor proficiency) I'd strongly consider taking it. But if I was a dex build already I'd probably pass.

Silver Crusade

Gortle wrote:

The size increase for animals is a common trope, but its not the only one. I always allow my players to choose the size of their animal companion. Its not a balance concern in this sytem, and it enables them to keep the same animal throughout their career if they want to.

While I agree that it is no big deal and I'd probably allow it too (it hasn't come up yet at tables I've run) it is wrong to say that it is not at all a balance issue.

While there definitely ARE times that one prefers the large animal as it takes up more space on balance (:-)) a medium or small Animal Companion is going to be better than a large one just because it fits better into most dungeons(*) and most campaigns include a lot of dungeons.

* dungeon - Pretty much any mapped area with lots of encounters

Silver Crusade

Let me ask one obvious question. Why did you pick druid for this character as opposed to a nature sorcerer? The extra spells (and the spontaneous nature) makes the sorcerer a better blaster (especially when combined with some of the feats like dangerous sorcerer).

I'm not saying its a bad choice, mind. But the answer is important to evaluating the character.

As an aside, I'd personally tend to go with Storm Druid over Stone Druid. I like the ability to fly at level 8 and the level 1 focus spell is probably amongst the best focus spells in the game.

Silver Crusade

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Gisher wrote:
pauljathome wrote:


Even with this Wild Shape is still VERY useful to druids or other spellcasters.
Huh. I hadn't considered how it might be useful for other spellcasters beyond things like flight.

Non druids don't get flight until level 16 :-(.

But the other travel modes (climb speed, swim speed) are very useful at low levels. Not to mention scent. And it is a great spell saver for the moderate encounters.

Basically, lots of versatility in a focus spell for the cost of a couple of class feats. And, for most casters, their in class feat choices are pretty meh.

Silver Crusade

Gortle wrote:

For me though battleforms are a major drag to my enjoyment of the game, as I can't really talk about druid builds as there as so many different house rules here.

Personally, I find it a minor nuisance but that is at least partially because I play PFS (or in groups that originally came from PFS) a lot.

Within those groups one just takes the most conservative interpretation of Wild Shape and plans appropriately. Even with this Wild Shape is still VERY useful to druids or other spellcasters.

It unfortunately DOES mean that I've never played a martial using a druid archetype for wild shape. With the most conservative interpretations that just isn't a particularly viable character for most levels. Its pretty much done better by a monk or a barbarian (with only Animal Shape in the mix its pretty much just a mobile fighter sort).

One of my (minor) peeves is that the Magic Warrior archetype just gives you animal shape, NOT wild shape. You could build a quite interesting martial around that IF it gave you the +2 that wild shape gives, but without that you're just much better off going Druid.

Silver Crusade

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Ravingdork wrote:
graystone wrote:
...the only thing extra the Tekko-Kage would give is Disarm and who bothers with that? ;)

A week ago I disarmed an assassin of their rapier and then stabbed him with his own poisoned weapon.

I could not have done it without the rune bonuses from my tekko-kage, the +2 bonus from my Ageless Patience feat, high strength modifier, maxed out Athletics skill, aiding allies, and a Hero Point.


Paizo seems to be utterly convinced that disarm is a really, really powerful and cool thing to do judging by the amount of space they spend on it.

Just about every player I've known heartily disagrees. I've seen it attempted less than a handful of times since PF2 came out and NEVER seen it actually be successful in disarming the opponent (admittedly, there is a feedback loop here. Everybody thinks its not worth much so nobody builds for it so on the odd occassion it is tried it fails).

I think your anecdote above is the first time I've even HEARD of disarm being successfully used. Might be forgetting something of course.

Silver Crusade

Scarablob wrote:

A slight tangant here away from the martial/caster balance, do people generally agree that there is a big disparity in usefullness in ancestry feats? They generally seems to be around "skill feats" power wise, but a few ones are seems much more powerfull.

There is definitely a disparity but I don't think its all THAT big.

You also have to take an entire ancestry as a package and look at ALL the benefits and costs over quite a range of levels. Feats are certainly a part of that but only a part of it.

If I have a particular mechanical concept in mind its rare that there is only one ancestry that works for that concept (unless the ancestry or some ancestral ability is PART of the concept, of course). While human is almost certainly on the list there are usually a few other ancestries that fit as well.

For many characters ancestry is largely a matter of flavour in that the advantages/disadvantages of a particular ancestry are pretty darn minor. And I quite like that, its liberating to pay only a tiny cost (if any at all) to play a particular ancestry for a particular character

Silver Crusade

Gortle wrote:

You need a plan B, but I wouldn't be afraid of playing a strongly themed caster.

I mostly agree but I do have one major caveat.

Some campaigns have a HUGE tendency to face some kind of enemy. If you're in such a campaign then some themes will REALLY rock and others REALLY suck.

Don't go with saves vs Fort when playing a PF2 conversion of GiantSlayer, DO go in with lots of anti undead spells when playing Mummy's Mask :-) :-).

Silver Crusade

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dmerceless wrote:
Cyouni wrote:

Please come back to me when you've played a blaster caster from 1-14.

I've literally seen it played in front of me and it's been absolutely fine.

Oh, and it was on staff nexus.

I've seen (more than one) and it was not fine. Now what?

In an ideal world people who HAVE seen the issue have a full and open discussion with the people who HAVE NOT seen the issue. Both sides discuss the factors that made it an issue/made it not an issue and hopefully some conclusions can be arrived at as to WHY it was sometimes an issue (different rules interpretations, house rules, Free Archetype, different player skill, different GM skill, different GM style being some of the more common reasons).

Of course, this is the internet so it is FAR more likely that people will just hurl insults at each other and denigrate the other persons experiences.

For me, the bottom line for Martial/Caster balance is "it seems to be a major issue for a very small number of people, a reasonably mild issue for some people and not an issue for other people. It seems to MOSTLY (but not entirely) be due to the players expectations combined with a significant dollop of Player skill. Personally, I don't find it an issue and think the balance is just about right for the most part"

Silver Crusade

shepsquared wrote:
I really want to see Shifter ported across to 2e basically because of this thread. Combat wildshape can easily cover a class rather than just being another option for druids.

I'd love to see this too but I don't envy the job of trying to make it balanced (not that the PF1 shifter was balanced :-(). ESPECIALLY if there is any remote chance of it being balanced when Free Archetype is in play.

Probably would be done as some kind of archetype that just gives access to higher level beast forms at some level higher than N and less than 2N (where N is the level the druid gets it at).

The fundamental problem is that right now a wild shaped druid who NEVER casts spells other than wild shape or wild morph is already pretty close to balanced (or even overpowered) at some levels in the right circumstances. Plant Shape absolutely rocks and a wild shaped druid can take great advantage of flurry and attack of opportunity, even with the most conservative interpretations of how wild shape works. And that balance is JUST looking at raw damage output. If you consider the flexibility that a wild shape brings to the table (again, JUST considering his wild shape abilities) then a druid is already pretty much a top tier character at the appropriate levels (I just played the L12 adventure The Last Dream and my druid was probably the MVP of the group. He did somewhere between as much and more damage as the barbarian AND his great flexibility was very useful several times).

Of course, one major impediment is that Paizo would pretty much HAVE to decide how the existing wild shape works first which would (regardless of how they decide) piss off a whole bunch of people.

Silver Crusade

Gortle wrote:

pauljathome is saying 2+2=3. It is just not unclear. It is not true.

No, pauljathome is saying that many GMs think that 2+2=3. I'm completely aware that

1) The words are unambiguous and clear (at least in terms of what greater than means)
2) Greater than is routinely misinterpreted by many people. For example, in roll20 1d20>19 means that you crit on a 19 or 20. Ie, > means >=. But I've heard lots and lots of innumerate people get it wrong

I must admit that I find it hilarious that the post immediately above Gortles post is a person saying that they have NEVER seen a GM interpreting things correctly

But back to the OP, some of my wild shape druids dump STR, ALL of them max out Wisdom. Its NICE to have the option of hitting somebody from 20 feet away for 2d10+16 with a to hit modifier equal to that of a fighter (when the fighter does NOT have a status bonus, admittedly) OR to hit people with a chain lightning spell.

Silver Crusade

breithauptclan wrote:
I don't find any of the constructed ancestry / versatile heritage combinations any harder to believe than any of those same constructed ancestries with a Sorcerer bloodline.

Agreed. And I'd want the player to justify the sorcerer as well :-).

Note, I'm NOT going to be hugely critical of these attempts and shoot everything down. But I really want an answer that allows ME to suspend my disbelief. And hopefully the answer isn't (even if it really is :-)) "Well, I really wanted this combination of abilities and a <insert something ridiculous> was the best way to get it".

I've got no issue with Power Gaming your ancestry/class/background combination. But I then pretty much insist that YOU come up with a SANE backstory so that it all makes sense. And then play up the back story when the opportunity arises :-)

Silver Crusade

There are quite a few versatile heritage/ancestry combinations that don't seem to make all that much sense.

By RAW they all work.

As a GM in a home game I'd likely require a very good rationale from the player in order to justify some of them. Otherwise MY willing suspension of disbelief and immersion is harmed.

Silver Crusade

Draven Torakhan wrote:
Thanks all for the input. I doubt I'll ever see level 7 with this guy, considering it's PFS

You certainly easily can if you play it a lot.

Level 7 is only 18 games away. In some places you could do that in a couple of months easy. And if there isn't much local play there are still quite a few online games.

Even at one game every 2 weeks that is less than a year of play.

Silver Crusade

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Ed Reppert wrote:
Why is damage the measure of balance?

While it most certainly is not THE measure of balance in the vast majority of campaigns it is A measure of balance.

Or, somewhat more accurately, combat effectiveness is A measure of balance. In many (most?) cases that is damage but nobody is suggesting that the bard or Champion (to take 2 glaringly obvious examples) aren't contributing because the personal damage they inflict isn't all that great.

And IF you're significantly not competitive in terms of damage then you really should be bringing SOMETHING else to the table in combat to compensate.

And, as always, amounts matter. If you're doing 5% less damage than another character that is no huge deal and the fact that you're wonderful at shmoozing out of combat almost certainly more than compensates for that. But if you're doing only 20% of the damage then, in most campaigns, your shmoozing skills will NOT compensate

Silver Crusade

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You could always join the legions of paladins using the gnome flick mace. Even post nerf its an absolutely wonderful weapon for a paladin (gives the opponents two bad choices. Attack you (the brick, especially with shield raised) or let you whack them while reducing damage on your opponents.

There are now some other 1 handed reach weapon choices but the flick mace continues to have the best crit effect and is reasonably easy to get through unconvential weapon

Silver Crusade

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Greylurker wrote:

They gonna give us the epic story of Gandalf's horse next?

My Little Pony meets The Hobbit. Throw in some ewoks and it sounds like a moneymaker to me :-(

Silver Crusade

Another option for a martial caster is a high STR druid.

It varies with level and GM rulings on wild shape but with wild shape you can easily mix spell casting and martial activity (generally you choose one for an entire encounter).

Warpriest can fill the same role to at least some extent.

Silver Crusade

Gortle wrote:
Alchemic_Genius wrote:
Wild shape gets a +2 status bonus to attacks if you use your own score; which basically makes you kinda close to a martial (but if a martial didn't get the bard's accuracy buffs)

No it doesn't work. Read it, look at the numbers. It applies to a martial multiclassed into druid, never a single class druid except to the optimised druid at level 4 (and only level 4 not levels 1-3 or 5-20) or a druid who is deliberately using a weaker form with a lower attack value.

It is not a useful ability for a Druid.

Partly depends on GM interpretation (does greater than mean greater than or equal? Do you add the +2 before deciding if you're greater?)

But even using the most conservative interpretation plant shape rocks at level 10-11.

Silver Crusade

Lucerious wrote:

If not for my aversion to Vancian magic, I don’t think I would play anything else.

The druid can take flexible caster and maybe get around your aversion to Vancian magic (depending on exactly what your aversion is).

I do this a lot with my druids. Losing the spells hurts but they can just about handle it due to their focus spells and/or wild shapes. Especially with Free Archetype picking up some of the missing spell slack.

Silver Crusade

Gortle wrote:

Having two animal companions is properly described in the Beastmaster archetype. Basically most of the time you only have one in play (till level 16). It is not hard.

Not really sure that I see the point of that except in some edge cases. I'm going to want to build one companion that I bond with (RP), that fights well with my chosen style, etc.

Sure, there is the circumstance where I want a different companion on the ocean than in the city but that definitely seems more an edge case to me than something worth spending character resources on.

Silver Crusade

breithauptclan wrote:

Spellcasters are more complex than many martial classes, but are not more powerful - and may be worse at the dealing damage part of the game unless a particular set of circumstances all arise.

Even this really isn't true. Its closest to true when talking about a single target, under most circumstances a caster does not have as much sustainable single target damage output as a martial (although they can often peak higher)

But once you have multiple targets? Then a fireball or a chain lightning spell can do a HUGE amount of total damage. Sure, its spread across multiple opponents and so no one enemy goes down but past the very early stages of the game the martial isn't putting their enemy down in one round either. Its not quite true to say "damage is damage" but its close.

Its not remotely rare for a bard to be "dealing" the most damage in a group if you count the bonus damage he causes everybody else to do as the bards damage.

But mostly its a team game and "who does best" is a pretty silly argument. Once a group is synergizing well and is more than the sum of its parts then it doesn't matter who is dealing 'more' damage, what matters is how effective the group as a whole is

Silver Crusade

Gortle wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:
Claxon wrote:
No Paul, I agree with you.

Seconded. The Ranger would need to take Animal Companion from Ranger class feat list in order to share their Hunter's Edge with them automatically. Getting a companion from Beastmaster wouldn't do that.

The companion would qualify as an ally for Warden's Boon and similar if that is useful for something.

If the Ranger has both Animal Companion (Ranger) and Beastmaster Dedication, I would allow the Hunter's Edge to apply to all of the companions, but that is my personal ruling on an unclear interaction.

Yes you have to take the 1st level Ranger Feat. Then you take all the Beastmester feats.

I think it's ambiguous how that works but I don't think it matters much.

I mainly play PFS where 2 companions aren't allowed. I also know at least some GMs are going to disallow multiple companions.

Personally I don't think it's worth the extra feat to just have 1 ranger companion levelling up quicker.

I have no clue how effective a ranger with 2 companions would be. White room very especially with precision ranger. But in a mobile combat they just won't be able to keep up with the group.

Silver Crusade

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Slacker 2.0 wrote:
Pronate11 wrote:
You realize that is textbook victim blaming. It is not the GMs fault if the system can be easily exploited.
As a GM it's your job to know what your party can and cannot do. If you don't account for your party you're a bad GM and the encounter falling flat is 100% on you. A system cannot prevent a GM failing to understand their players and building badly because of it.

Must be nice to be a totally omniscient GM who knows every ability all the characters have AND the uses the players will put said abilities to. And even the effects random chance will have on things.

Actually, thinking about it a tad more, I think it would be quite boring.

Fortunately I'm nowhere close to omniscient and so am often surprised by player and character actions. Or by the dice.

I think I'll just about manage to live with the fact that you think that I'm a bad GM.

Silver Crusade

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Lucerious wrote:

This is so utterly true and is tied to my biggest issue with spell casting in this system. It takes the blaster their highest level slots to remain competitive and effective in a combat, but rarely if ever does a single slot do enough damage on its own to suffice for the encounter. This results in every other class using it’s best features every encounter while the blaster is having to pick and choose if they will use theirs in any encounter. It leads me to the conclusion that either slotted spells need to do more damage, enemies should have lowered defenses, or there should be more total slots for casters. Any one of those three seem like the right solution to me.

Somehow this comment crystalized WHY I love druids so much in 2nd edition.

A druid can wild shape into a reasonably effective combat form. Not generally as effective as a martial but not TOO far behind.

When you toss in some quite good focus spells (tempest surge, for example) they have the option of not using ANY high level spell slots in moderate encounters, conserving their higher level spell slots for the encounters that really benefit from them.

Although having significantly less spell slots than a wizard or sorcerer they often FEEL like they have as many or even more since they can be quite effective without using any (unlike a wizard or sorcerer).

Combine that with their significantly better defences (as compared to a sorcerer or wizard) they form a very effective caster who only blasts some of the time but is nearly as dangerous blasting as a sorcerer those times that they DO blast.

Silver Crusade

Gortle wrote:
pauljathome wrote:

Note that if you go Ranger you have 2 options for the Animal Companion.

1) Take a beastmaster archetype. This means that the Animal Companion gets better at level 4, 8, 12 etc.2) Take the in class animal companion. This allows the companion to use your Ranger ability (precision or flurry)

This is not supported by the what the rules say. This is your interpretation. You can mix and match and benefit from both.

Am I missing something here? Note, NOT trying to be defensive, I'm genuinely curious what I'm missing.

Going from my rulebook (note AoN brings druid and ranger animal companion to the same place but this section is under a Ranger: section) the Ranger Animal Companion Feat has the text

"When you Hunt Prey, your Animal Companion gains the actions benefit"

The Druid doesn't. Beastmaster doesn't. Beastmaster doesn't even link to Animal Companion, it basically just reprints the text from the druid Animal Companion

How does that NOT mean that that phrase ONLY applies to rangers getting a Ranger animal companion through their class feats?. If a ranger gets an Animal Companion through a Beastmaster archetype how do the words possibly indicate that his companion gets the Hunt Prey benefits?

Note : I can see that things are a little ambiguous if a ranger blows TWO feats (one on a ranger animal companion and one on Beastmaster Archetype). But I am just not seeing ANY way of reading the current text as indicating that a Ranger with an Animal Companion JUST from the Beastmaster archetype would give that Animal Companion the Hunt Prey abilities. So, since at least 3 people disagree with me I'm probably missing something. WHAT is it that I'm missing?

Silver Crusade

dmerceless wrote:

Casters, on the other hand, have sooo many more.

I think people are overstating this.

Sure, a caster who somehow or other figures out exactly which spells to cast WILL be significantly more effective SOME of the time.

But there are a considerable number of encounters where your opponents have no resistances, no weaknesses, and their saves are all reasonably close. In those encounters the difference between the optimal caster and the suboptimal caster is likely fairly small.

And almost all characters will recognize many of the resistances/weaknesses (don't throw fire at the fire elemental, for example).

There most definitely is a difference between a well played caster and a poorly played caster. But it usually isn't THAT significant unless the caster is VERY poorly played.

Heck, in Age of Ashes i ran a druid (one of a party of 4) through about 12 levels who tried to constantly just spam electric arc except when the other players almost forced him to use other spells. He was obviously significantly less powerful than he should have been but we was still contributing to the encounters and I had to do very little to keep things from escalating to constant TPKs.

Silver Crusade

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Slacker 2.0 wrote:
The largest issue is that magic doesn't feel very magical these days. It's very locked down and rigidly ruled upon with very little grey area of the kind that older versions of D&D and even Pathfinder 1e had. There simply isn't as much room for being clever because being clever could lead to imbalance and we simply cannot have that in our modern system.

No, that isn't at all correct.

Sure, spells are well defined (as are swords, skills, magic items, etc).

But there are LOTS and LOTS of grey areas (not at all sure that is a good thing). I've seen "discussions" on what is meant by something just about every session I've played or GMed.

But much more importantly there is still huge room for being clever. I EXPECT to be surprised by my players on a fairly regular basis.

Now there isn't much room for a "creative" interpretation of a spell to totally shut down an encounter any longer. To me, that is a good thing. I've seen far too many "creative" players use their "interpretation" of a spell (especially an illusion spell) to achieve ridiculous results over the years.

Silver Crusade

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dmerceless wrote:
I think the main issue with casters is that they seem to be balanced around a perfect scenario.

Personally, I think the main issue (at least for much of Paizo published material) is that Paizo frequently breaks their own rules on monster design.

Almost all the really tough fights I've seen involve a brand new monster which just breaks Paizos own guidelines. Everything will be moderate or higher with at least one ability that is extreme (or above extreme). Or there will be significant environmental effects that aren't factored into the XP budget

Or sometimes more than 1 encounter will occur together or in very rapid succession.

And there is always my favourite factor. The ability to gain relevant information varies MASSIVELY by GM which can have a huge effect on character (especially caster) effectiveness.

Silver Crusade

WatersLethe wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
But I don't think that there the MVP any more often than the rogue is, or the fighter, or the barbarian, etc. With a couple of outliers player skill and luck mean more than character build.

That's just it, though. In my experience casters *have* been punching above their weight. Even after the mega-nerf from PF1 to PF2 they're still on average, over the course of a campaign, having an above average impact on the success of the group in a variety of situations.

That is not my experience. I think martials and casters have about the same average impact.

I say that as somebody who plays casters and martials and hybrids and have GMed martials, caters and hybrids

Silver Crusade

Note that if you go Ranger you have 2 options for the Animal Companion.

1) Take a beastmaster archetype. This means that the Animal Companion gets better at level 4, 8, 12 etc.

2) Take the in class animal companion. This allows the companion to use your Ranger ability (precision or flurry) but means that the AC only advances at level 6, 10, 14, etc.

Basically, the Ranger AC is worse at level 4,5 better at 6,7, worse again at 8, 9 better at 10,11 etc etc

Also note that an Animal Companion gradually gets less and less effective compared to your character. If you're going to spend a lot of time at levels 15 or so + this can be important. It never gets useless, mind, but it DOES get less useful relatively speaking.

But the best advice is the advice above. First decide WHAT you want the AC to be.

Depending on the group an AC can also be something like the tank, the flanking buddy for a rogue, etc. If you've got a group of 4 wizards the best AC will be very different than for a group of 4 melee martials.

Another thing to keep in mind (in play) is that your AC is LESS powerful than a martial. Do NOT have your AC take the flank instead of the fighter, block the hallway instead of the Champion, etc. He'll be worse at the job AND it will (rightly) tend to piss off the other players

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