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Unicore wrote:

Yeah, I don't recommend having new players make high level casters to start out with. PF2 spells generally do a good job of saying what they do, but it takes a long time to read through them and make sure that you understand all of the traits and specific terminology. But that was true in PF1 as well.

One issue brought up that I think is interesting is whether or not it is easy to trap yourself in a build that has no where to go as you level up in play. I think the theory crafter answer is absolutely, but I am wondering, if in play, it will become apparent enough when you reach those very dead levels for certain feats, or that your proficiency is falling so far behind that you are starting to get frustrated, that you will be able to train out of it organically enough to feel satisfied. That will largely depend upon GMs and will probably take months before actually new players reach those points, but they are things I would love for GMs and board followers to pay attention to and report back on.

I think low level casters are more problematic than high. Take the Demonic Sorcerer with Fear as a 1st Level spell. A new player might spend two actions casting it where an experienced player will use Demoralize with one action without using up a spell slot, and save the spell slot for heal or magic weapon. Casting the granted spell is a trap.

Retraining prevents traps to some extent, but unless you have a friendly GM, the granted spells of your bloodline are going to follow you all the way up.


I don't think that's overpowered, but I am curious how they did it. I went to the trouble of stripping out 3 feats-worth of stuff from each class, then allowing the player to take a single-class dedication or a multi-class dedication at 1st Level (though the multi-class dedication only gives you 2 feats-worth of stuff). You don't always get back everything the exact same way depending upon what I think is important (e.g., Alchemists lost 1 feat in favor of Efficient Packer). For example (the Alchemist):

Baseline: Trained with Alchemical Bombs, Club, Crossbow, Dagger, and Heavy Crossbow. Untrained with Light Armor and Unarmed. No Research Field. Efficient Packer (ignore up to 2 bulk of alchemical items, including alchemist kit).

Single-Class Dedication: Trained with Simple Weapons. Research Field. If Bomber, you are also Trained with Light Armor. If Chirurgeon, you are also Trained with Medicine. If Mutagenist, you are also Trained with Unarmed.

Multi-Class Dedication [PREREQ: INT 14, Trained in Crafting]: Infused Reagents, Alchemical Crafter (or Dedication 2 if you already have Alchemical Crafter).

Then I added several Multi-Class Dedication 2 feats to let you buff the multiclass up to something a little more presentable. For example (the Alchemist):

Dedication 2: Efficient Packer.
Dedication 2: Quick Alchemy.
Dedication 2: Research Field.

I love how these changes allow you to play with the various classes to really get the right feel, but are fair. For example, the alphabetically next class is Barbarian:

Multi-Class Dedication [PREREQ: CON 14, Trained in Athletics]: Rage. Trained in Unarmed (or Dedication 2 if you are already trained in unarmed).

The CRB had you with MORE skills (because you get trained in Athletics or get a new skill). You get Rage, of course. However, you either get Anathema or no Anathema depending upon whether you choose Fury (no Anathema) or some other Instinct (Anathema). It's not put together well. With my alternative, you at least can fight unarmed (which is important because the baseline alchemist, cloistered cleric, sorcerer, and wizard all lost unarmed training in my game). No more feats, but more flavorful and just enough to give you what you need. For example, a Fighter who MC as Barbarian would get the same stuff as an Alchemist, but because the Fighter is trained in unarmed, he'd get a Dedication 2 straight off. Two of the Barbarian's dedications are weapon feats, but the third lets the Fighter start off better than any class that couldn't even fight unarmed: Dedication 2: Instinct (Anathema and Instinct Ability only or Barbarian Feat if you choose Fury).

The CRB had the bard MC getting 3 "things" including 2 cantrips, occultism, and performance. That's fine because the bard is one of the skill monkeys, but I want every MC to give 2 things. So:

Multi-Class Dedication [PREREQ: CHA 14, Trained in Occultism]: 2 Occult Cantrips and Inspire Courage. Trained in Performance. If you are already trained in Performance, you must take one of the following unless you already have them all (in which case you can take a Dedication 2): Light Armor Training, Simple Weapon Training, Unarmed Training.

I give the thing that makes you a bard (Inspire Courage) in the MC and a skill (because you're a skill monkey). All spontaneous casters should get 2 occult cantrips AND a little something else because everybody gets cantrips, they are static, and they aren't that good (they are flavorful backup for the most part). If you want to be a little more "martial" the option is there to spend skill points to get Performance instead, then pick up some modest martial training.

Or you could go straight for the fighter to make the alchemist as combat-forward as possible. Again, comparing to RAW, you pick up all simple and martial weapons and get either acrobatics or athletics, which makes the class an unfair bonanza for the Alchemist and a waste of time for the Ranger, who basically just gets a skill point. Mine is more fair, but still gives you what it should (Fighter is not a skill monkey, so the skill training should be a prerequisite):

Multi-Class Dedication [PREREQ: STR 14 and Trained in Athletics or DEX 14 and Trained in Acrobatics]: Armor Proficiency (Light Armor  Shield Block*  Medium Armor  Heavy), Weapon Proficiency (Unarmed  Simple  One Martial Weapon Group  All Martial Weapons). If you are already proficient with heavy armor, you can take weapon proficiency twice. If you are already proficient with all martial weapons, you can take armor proficiency twice.

* You can take Medium Armor instead of Shield Block if you have neither.

It looks like the arrows became "", but I think it's readable. Anyway, the Alchemist, who I've stripped down, can be built up for fighting with a Fighter dedication. The Bomber can use Medium Armor or a Shield and is proficient with Unarmed. The Chirurgeon, who I basically turned into a doctor, can have Light Armor and Unarmed. The Mutagenist can get Light Armor and Simple Weapons. It's not going overboard, but it is making them more like what they should be with the multi-class.

Dedications let them pick up additional combat abilities at 2nd level, too, but paced out more fairly (and may require some general feats to meet prerequisites if your chassis is a non-combatant like a Wizard):
Dedication 2 [PREREQ: Medium Armor Proficiency] Trained with Heavy Armor.
Dedication 2 [PREREQ: Trained with all Simple Weapons] Weapon Group Familiarity: Trained with one martial weapon group.
Dedication 2 [PREREQ: Weapon Group Familiarity] Trained with all martial weapons.

I also removed martial weapon proficiencies and heavy armor proficiency from general feats, so you pretty much have to MC to get the best.


I don't think the problem is silo'd classes, but you can fix the problem a little bit by carving out about 3 feats-worth of stuff from each class and then letting the player choose a single-class dedication to get it back or a multi-class dedication to get something else (at 1st level). I think that really blew the doors off of the limitations.

On a related front, I also recommend every race having a stereotypical set of boons and flaws for every attribute, but letting players play against type. That is, in Step A, choose +2 to any two attributes or choose +2 to any three if you take a -2 to one.

This is how the start of my house rules read (not putting them all because house rules are so subjective and it's a huge wall of text):

When creating a character, start with 10 in each attribute. You will increase your attributes as you go through the ABCD’s (Ancestry, Background, Class, Dedication).

In the Ancestry step, increase two attributes by +2. If you wish, you can increase a third attribute by +2 and decrease a fourth attribute by -2. Thus, you can have either two boons to two different attributes (+2, +2) or a flaw in one attribute and three boons to three different attributes (+2, +2, +2, -2). Each ancestry has a set of typical attribute boons and flaws, but you are free to play against type.

In the Background step, increase one of the two attributes associated with your background by +2 and increase any second attribute by +2. If you wish, you can increase a third attribute by +2 if you decrease a fourth attribute by -2. Thus, you can have either two boons to two different attributes (+2, +2) or a flaw in one attribute and three boons to three different attributes (+2, +2, +2, -2).

In the Class step, increase your key attribute by +2. You are free to increase a second attribute by +2 if you decrease a third attribute by -2. Thus, you can have either one boon in your key attribute (+2) or a flaw in one attribute and two boons in two different attributes, one of which is your key attribute (+2, +2, -2).

In the Dedication step, add up the total number of flaws you have taken. Your total number of flaws can be anywhere from zero to three. Increase five different attributes by +2 minus the total number of flaws. For example, if you took one -2 flaw, you can increase four different attributes by +2. If you took a flaw at each of the three steps, you can only increase two different attributes by +2.


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whew wrote:

You're fighting a large creature in a doorway or a 10x10 corridor. Are 4 fighters going to do more damage than 2 fighters and 2 wizards?

A pirate ship attacks and there are a few rounds at range before the ships connect. Is a fighter still going to do more damage than a wizard?

The enemy flies and has a ranged attack. Is a fighter still better? (This one may have a different answer at high levels when the fighter can fly.)

Underwater? The fighter is probably better at swimming, but is he still just as much better at damage?

In conclusion: how much does a max-strength fighter's damage decrease when using a ranged weapon? Does he still do more damage than a wizard?

As a GM who relies a great deal on printed modules, I would say this is not the comparison I care about. What I care about is what is actually going on in the adventure. I can say with certainty that the scenarios in which the spellcasters shine relative to fighters in Plaguestone are few. And I'm really just being diplomatic by saying "few." The new adventure path includes nothing that makes me think spellcasters are going to do any better.

Spellcasters start to get interesting at 5th level. Fireball can be "best" in some cases (e.g., when the foes are all bunched up and not breaking the ranks of the front-liners). Chain Lightning is insanely powerful in circumstances that actually will come up (e.g., when the foes are all over the place). However, spellcasters at levels 1-4 are terrible in comparison in almost every scenario, unless you build them for weapon-based combat.

I don't think spellcasters need a boost at higher level, necessarily, but at the early levels, I think a wizard should get about 6 spell slots, bump to 8 at 2nd level, then don't increase the number of spell slots at odd levels until 9th level, so it goes 6/0/0 at 1st, 8/0/0 at 2nd, 3/5/0 at 3rd, 3/7/0 at 4th, 3/3/4 at 5th, 3/3/6 at 6th, 3/3/3/3 at 7th, 3/3/3/5 at 8th, 3/3/3/3/2 at 9th. Something like that. Or just given them a bonus of 5 + spellcasting attribute bonus 1st level spells and leave it at that. That would work, too.


Corrik wrote:
I feel like a lot of them come online far too late to replicate the hybrid and 6th level casting classes. It's no fun waiting until level 8 to finally start playing your character concept.

I am toying with the idea of a free dedication at 1st level. You can either take Dedication 2 at 1st level or a dedication to your current class, the latter of which I have not settled upon, but might come from me taking away some things (and then giving them back if you single-class). For example, the fighter and champion might lose heavy armor proficiency; barbarians and rangers might lose medium armor proficiency and only get one martial weapon group; and bards, druids, rogues, and monks might lose their martial weapon training and one skill unless they choose the single-class dedication. You can then make a dedication 4 into a dedication 2.

Not sure what to take away from sorcerer or wizard. I need to get my house rules finalized by this weekend though!


Arachnofiend wrote:

You know I think I may have figured out why the Fighter dedication is so underwhelming; martial weapon proficiency's benefit is being grossly over exaggerated. I suspect that, if instead of "proficiency in all martial weapons" the Fighter dedication gave "proficiency in a single martial weapon" then the archetype would give more stuff baseline because proficiency in a single weapon would be seen as too weak for such an important feat.

Except... that's basically already what it does. Very few characters are building for a plurality of weapon types, especially since many weapon-based combat styles involve feats that lock you in to specific weapon types (Power Attack needs a chunky damage dice to be worth it and such). If your character wields a glaive she does not particularly care that she could also wield a greataxe or main-gauche if she wanted to; that's even more true when striking runes become a thing.

It's impossible for the Fighter dedication to be as attractive as the wizard dedication because the Wizard dedication only gives you bonuses that are immediately relevant to all characters that would be interested in the feat; the Fighter dedication pays for character power you don't care about.

Agreed.

Plus you can pick up martial weapons through ancestry feats and class proficiencies (e.g., bard, druid, and rogue). That makes the additional martial weapon proficiencies even less important for a relatively large number of characters than the one feat it "costs." Martial weapons are strictly better than simple weapons, but half a dozen martial weapon proficiencies after you already have half a dozen is not much of an improvement.

Heavy armor proficiency, on the other hand, is worth it because it is strictly better than medium armor for at least some builds and you have to pay for it unless you are a fighter or champion. So while I would put martial weapons and heavy armor on the same type of scale (as being strictly better than what comes before), it is the heavy armor proficiency that is worth more for most characters who might want it because it doesn't dribble out from a dozen different sources. The fighter dedication should give heavy armor instead of a skill training (except for Champions, who already have it, so you could give them training in Athletics).


graystone wrote:
totoro wrote:
You should double down on healing (healing hands and healing domain) as a white wizard if you want to be able to do something better than anyone else.

I have to say, at low level neither of those options are very exciting or IMO useful: using a focus spell and a use of your font to heal 2 more hp... Instead of using a focus power, I'd rather heal everyone in 30' instead of healing 1d10+9 vs 1d8+8: getting 1 hp/focus point is really bad to me because how often are you going to need multiple heals a a single person at 1st when healing 1d8+8?

IMO, an attack like fire ray is much more useful: it might not do the damage of a overspecialized fighter but it shouldn't be. I have to say I fundamentally disagree that an attack is useless if it even does a single point of damage less than an optimized martial.

We're comparing whether a warpriest is front-loaded compared to a cloistered. The warpriest can also do the fire ray but it's not good enough to waste a spell slot on, even if he can do it once per encounter. In that sense, because the warpriest can throw a javelin for equivalent effect as the cloistered can shoot a fire ray, the warpriest is still front-loaded. In other words, if you want that fire ray to be good in the early game, you build a cloistered because relative to what you can do, it's pretty good. And maybe that's fun for you, which is just fine.

Healing is what matters for a cleric. You don't have to go 18 CHA (with flaws, of course) or even 16 CHA, but 10 CHA is weakening the strongest built-in class feature. Warpriests and cloistereds have equal access to this feature. Cloistereds can just make better use of it because they can get an extra feat that makes it slightly better. I'm not arguing it's more exciting than a ray of fire or as fun as sanctuary; I'm simply making the point that a cloistered can be better than a warpriest in that one thing, but really nothing else of any consequence. That you think that is boring is just one reason more why the warpriest is front-loaded.

At 7th level, the cloistered gets a few more ways to distinguish themselves from warpriests, primarily through relatively improved spell attacks. That goes away at 11th level and comes back at 15th. Thus, finally, at 15th level, the cloistered gets and keeps the better spell attacks. That means the warpriest is front-loaded.


Unicore wrote:
The divine spell list is great at level 1. Especially with an focused spell attribute. Sanctuary is great for a cloistered cleric. Ventriloquism is a very usable spell in PF2, with a duration of 10 minutes. Bless is a great option. Harm can be a nasty option with action economy utility at close range and the ability to dish some AoE with careful party placement. At higher levels Bane can be a great spell for debuffing mobs of lower level monsters. Clerics don’t have spell books and thus Spells like air bubble require no commitment, but have incredible utility when needed.

Lol. We're talking about 1st level and front-loaded warpriests relative to cloistereds. Those spells are a waste of time. When you have spell slots to burn, which comes online around 5th level, you can start making use of air bubble and ventriloquism. It's a game, though, so as long as I know my players are taking spells like that, I can always weaken the encounters a bit. As GM, I don't powergame; I'm just kicking the tires here. Those spell choices will make you useful in the same way the hireling who tends the mule could in theory step up and roll a 20 with a crossbow, saving the day. I'm more interested in the stuff that happens regularly. In any case, the comparison here is not between the divine spell list and awesomeness; it's between the cloistered cleric and the warpriest. The warpriest is just as "great" as the cloistered with air bubble and bless; he's just going to have more important things to do than to cast those spells unless someone else in the party is handling the heavy lifting.


Bill Dunn wrote:


I think a better option may be to have offensive and defensive proficiency. The increases from a class would be to the overall offensive or defensive proficiency from trained to expert to master, etc. Then the weapon and armor proficiencies would just determine when you get to add the full value of those proficiencies or suffer a -4 untrained penalty.

That's essentially what I was doing, at least for simple weapons and light and medium armor. I may just scrap what I was doing in favor of your more elegant solution.

With martial weapons I think I might want to require 2 feats to get all of the martial weapons if you don't have at least some martial weapons as part of your class (e.g., if you are a cleric, sorcerer, or wizard, a first feat gets you ancestral weapons or class weapons (as part of a dedication) and a second feat gets you all martial weapons). However, they would scale up with the "offensive proficiency" you propose.

Heavy armor deserves a two-feat investment like martial weapons because it is strictly better (in at least the AC department) than light and medium armor just as martial weapons are strictly better than simple (with some exceptions for thrown ranged weapons that will probably disappear with an equipment splat-book). I think that two-feat investment should come BETWEEN the medium armor and heavy armor proficiency because medium armor is only better than light armor in the early game. Unfortunately, that seems difficult to do in an elegant manner, so the medium armor proficiency should probably remain and the player can just decide whether to age out the medium armor (by investing in some DEX at 5th/10th level) or buy into heavy armor with a feat (and cash).

I predict the number of characters in medium armor around 10th level will be vanishingly small. Most players are going to be increasing STR and DEX or dumping either STR or DEX every 5 levels, but few are going to dump both STR and DEX. When DEX goes up, light armor is strictly better than medium armor. When STR goes up, heaver armor is strictly better than medium armor. That means, the heavy armor feat is, in a way, a two-feat investment from light armor. :)


I think I've balanced the options to the point where I feel like I'm going to put down my house rule. I searched diligently to try to find anything in the CRB that suggests the DEX cap on armor is adjusted upwards in some cases. I couldn't find it (e.g., mithril doesn't do that anymore). With that caveat, I believe the following is perfectly balanced:

BASIC TRAINING general feat (and part of Dedication 2 for martial classes other than monk) to become proficient with light armor and all simple weapons. This feat impacts precisely one class: Wizard, who can spend 1 feat instead of 2 to get light armor training and simple weapon proficiency training. It doesn't impact a monk or sorcerer because under CRB, they could have taken light armor proficiency as a general feat, and are already trained with simple weapons.

MILITARY DRILL [PREREQUISITE: Proficiency with light armor and simple weapons] general feat (and part of Dedication 2 for all martial classes with medium armor proficiency, but not Druids even though they are proficient with medium armor). Training with medium armor, plus auto-scaling for light armor, medium armor, and simple weapons.

Q: Why is it OK for a wizard to get auto-scaling for free at 11th (for simple weapons) and 13th (for light and medium armor)? A: The wizard needs to invest 2 general feats (Basic Training or Military Drill) or spend a class feat to get proficiency with weapons equivalent to what they can already use and proficiency with armor that is equivalent to unarmored at higher levels. A feat for a bit more versatility but equivalent power levels seems like more than enough.

Q: Why is it OK for a sorcerer to get auto-scaling for free at 13th level? Same reason it is OK for wizard but more so because they already get simple weapon auto-scaling as part of the sorcerer class.

Q: Why is it OK for a monk to get auto-scaling in armor? A: This one is trickier. If the armor doesn't auto-scale (or even if it auto-scales no better than, say, a fighter), the monk is better off unarmored, making light armor training and medium armor training strictly worse for a monk. Also, a DEX monk is going to find some use in light armor until 10th level, when DEX increases to 20, at which point the expended feat is valuable only as a springboard to other feats. Only a STR monk is going to find auto-scaling armor useful at all levels and even a STR monk will have good reasons to add +2 DEX every 5 levels, making a STR monk likely to not even want medium armor by 10th level (or ever considering there are other disadvantages to medium armor). Leather armor or a chain shirt on a monk as a reward for training as a fighter seems fine to me.

Q: Why is it OK for a bard or rogue to get auto-scaling with medium armor for one feat? A: Because medium armor is equivalent to light armor in effectiveness and they already get light armor auto-scaling.

---

Martial weapons are NOT equivalent to simple weapons, but are equivalent to one another and it is easy to gain martial weapon proficiency. For example, the CRB lets you gain proficiency with all martial weapons with a single feat (two if you are a wizard) and a handful of weapons through ancestral weapon familiarity. CRB also lets you auto-scale martial weapons via the ancestral weapon expertise family of feats. If you can do that, it seems that auto-scaling equivalent weapons should be fine from a balance perspective. That is, if it takes 2 feats to get a handful of auto-scaling martial weapons, it should be fine to spend 3 feats to get a more auto-scaling martial weapons. I'm still thinking about those.


shroudb wrote:

i don't think an argument is meant to be either enjoyable or not enjoyable. an argument simply is a stated fact/pov.

You used something for a comparison that uses none of the strengths for one of the paths and used something that uses all of the strengths of the other path.

that's simply fraudulent.

take it as you want, but having an extra +2 ac in exchange for 3-4 less spells per day, at level 1, is not that big of a deal, they are balanced fine between them exactly because focus spells, in the early levels that you only have very few spell slots, are much more important than later on when you have more normal spells to spam.

you may disagree with this, and that's your right, don't make a Cloistered if you don't like them, i won't press further.

I apologize. I sometimes get irrationally annoyed with people on forums when they are just stating their opinions. It was a dick move and I wish I could delete my post. Anyway, I'll engage.

The OP build dumped WIS essentially in favor of STR, so there is no difference in spell count between cloistered and warpriest (CHA is 16 in both cases). IMO, there are two good cleric spells: heal and magic weapon. Because heal is actually good, I agree that a build that chooses lower CHA is choosing suboptimally. So the difference at level 1, assuming the cloistered takes something other than the healing domain and the warpriest has high STR, is the warpriest gets +2 AC (+4 if they spend an action to raise shield), +2 fortitude, and treats a simple weapon like a martial by adding to its damage (which is only relevant for a subset of the deity selections). The spell the cloistered gets in exchange, if damaging, is pretty close to what you get for attacking with a weapon as long as you have good STR (or good DEX if you want to throw darts); of course, you can attack with weapons all day long. The spell the cloistered gets in exchange, if not damaging and not healing, is, well, put it this way: if the spell granted only the +2 AC as a free action 1/encounter, you'd be crazy not to take it; it's twice what you could get from Mage Armor at 1st level. And +2 AC is just one of the things you get for being a warpriest.


Bardarok wrote:

Wooh. Long thread but I've been convinced.

I vote we remove proficiency boosts from MCAs and let the profocincy general feats scale with whatever your class gives you. Just like the ancestory feats.

Fighter and Monk dedication can give a free level 1 feat since they are all about feats having no class paths.

Champion can give reaction or lay on hands.

Rogue, well it was odd that they gave light armor to start with, maybe a free skill feat to go with all the proficiencies.

Of course that means I should probably go work this out in the Homebrew section since anyone who plays PFS or RAW won't care.

I agree with your sentiment but the ancestry feats include an auto-scaling feat at 13th level. They don't auto-scale weapons until that second feat is taken.


SuperBidi wrote:
totoro wrote:
I'll give you that Fire Ray is a better choice than the ones shroudb said were so awesome. At least you keep your distance and can use the spell in a fight. Down side is you get to throw it once per fight and it really isn't any better than a warpriest using a weapon.

Of course it is, it's based on Wisdom, not Strength. So you can completely ignore one attribute, which is a big advantage.

The warpriest needs Wisdom, Strength, Charisma, Constitution and a bit of Dexterity. It's a lot, so, at low level, you'll be a lame duck. To compensate for that, he has more abilities at first level, just to be playable. At high level, as you can increase 4 ability scores, he'll be able to go to 18 in all important attributes, that's why Cloistered gets more things in the late game.

Look at the suggested build provided by OP. That build is better than cloistered, which is kind of the point. I think the best warpriest is built with 18 STR, 12 DEX, 16 CHA. The other attributes just don't matter much, but INT is the obvious dump-stat. With an 18 STR you are doing more damage with just as good attack bonus as a cloistered with [pick a damage-dealing spell]. And you can do it at will. Your healing works just fine. Throw in Magic Weapon (or find a magic weapon) and you'll out-perform the cloistered by any reasonable metric until 7th level.

Meanwhile, at 5th level, if I were just going for optimum, I'd probably bump STR, WIS, CON, CHA. Breastplate is good enough so DEX 14 is plenty and INT doesn't matter, though equipment choices and the like may make DEX instead of one of the others a decent choice. The difference between +1 hit point at 1st level and +2 hit points at 1st level is minor. You don't need to go nuts with the CON. It's nice for almost any class to bump it later as long as it's below 18. However, because a warpriest really only has one dump stat (INT), you probably don't want to take the flaw option.

A cloistered can do one thing better than a warpriest. Divine Font. You can heal better because you can take the healing domain for free, plus get healing hands. A cloistered can also take the flaw for better effect (dumping both STR and INT to get WIS and CHA both to 18 so at 10th level, both can be 20, which is somewhat interesting and helps the cloistered pull away from the front-loaded warpriest to realize its presumed role as white wizard).

Counter-intuitively, the cloistered is probably better dumping WIS in favor of STR and getting a reach weapon to be effective in the early game. However, that might be harmful later when WIS starts to matter. On the other hand, if you take a champion dedication you can pick up some full plate armor and you never have to worry about DEX again. Also counter-intuitively, although derisively mocked by someone else on this thread as suboptimal, at least at 1st level, a cloistered with 14 STR, 18 DEX, 10 CON, 10 INT, 10 WIS, and 16 CHA outperforms cloistereds who choose to throw firebolts... by throwing darts. One of the things I like about pf2e is you can build your attributes in so many different ways and still be viable. In pf1e you could not make a viable 10 WIS cleric.


shroudb wrote:
totoro wrote:
shroudb wrote:
totoro wrote:

Edit: Responding to Shroudb.

This is a 1st level character question. All of the things you've mentioned are not relevant.

Also, at 11th level, the spellcasting abilities of a warpriest and cloistered are the same. It isn't until 15th level that the cloistered finally pulls away on the spellcasting front (+2 to DCs) for good. Until that time, the warpriest is better. After that time, I will grant you the cloistered cleric is the better spellcaster and fulfills the promise of the doctrine, which it fails to fulfill until then. Wishful thinking doesn't make it so.

sure, WHY would you pick up +1 healing per spell at first level as opposed to 1d12 aoe damage or aoe fascination, or any other worthwhile Domain.

I mean, at 1st level, one is at the very least "1 action deal 2 actions worth of damage" the other is literally... heal 1-2 hp.

Healing domain is extremely niche and only works in very specific team comps that somehow want to spam 3-4+ healing spells in 1 minute. That's certainly not your everyday occurence, and certainly NOT the "best domain" you can pick. It's actually one of the very worst for an average party.

there's no wishful thinking here, he IS the superior caster, and at level 1 he loses 2 Ac for a spell/encounter. That's more than a fair trade. Actually, regarding some domains, it's actually a WIN for the cloistered.

If you think my choice was suboptimal fine. It was one of the choices presented.

Also, I think your choice of Cry of Destruction for a cloistered cleric is far less useful than you think. It's essentially burning hands, which is a harder spell to position for a squishy than a tank. Plus, 1d12 only after inflicting damage with a strike or spell... what attack are you pairing that with? Cry of Havoc takes 2 actions and heal takes one only as a touch. You moving in to touch? One action to move. That means you have to move into range and stay there for your big flourish. Divine Lance is 2

...

I'm sorry but I just don't enjoy arguing with you.


graystone wrote:
totoro wrote:
Cloistered catches up at 7th, they trade places at 11th, then catches up again at 15th.

Clostered doesn't catch up, they pass warpriest in casting [+2 profociency]. They do it again at 19th.

totoro wrote:
At least you keep your distance and can use the spell in a fight. Down side is you get to throw it once per fight and it really isn't any better than a warpriest using a weapon.

It's easy enough to get another focus point even at 1st, so you could use it twice in a fight. As to "it really isn't any better than a warpriest using a weapon", Is it? You're doing more than a warpriests ranged options [assuming he's a melee] and the spell deals persistent damage on a crit. It also auto-heightens, something your off weapons doesn't.

totoro wrote:
I still think if you're going to go white wizard you should focus on the healing domain. That's what you'll do well; healing's really all you'll do better than anyone else in the early game.
It's simple and easy to take both fire and healing at 1st: healings focus spell isn't for combat anyway, so why not take a combat one too? It doesn't have to be either or.

I enjoy arguing with you, so I don't mean to just shut down one of your points. However, the proficiency thing is a red herring. We are discussing whether the warpriest is front-loaded. The cloistered cleric and the warpriest have the exact same proficiency bonus for 10 of the 14 first levels of the class. At the pinnacle of the front-load (levels 1-6) in particular, the proficiency bonus is identical.

The spell you chose isn't a worthless spell any more than most spells are worthless. It isn't any good, though. The only spell worth a crap other than heal that a warpriest can cast is magic weapon. He's going to out-perform the cloistered cleric with every attack (theoretically up to 30 in a round, though practically it will be many fewer). That's compared to a 2-action spell to do less damage. Yes, it is at a range. Also yes, it is at best comparable to what a warpriest can do. I'm being diplomatic here; I think it is almost always going to be worse.

You should double down on healing (healing hands and healing domain) as a white wizard if you want to be able to do something better than anyone else. That was my only real point. Clerics are only a good class because of the divine font. Take that away and they are awful, as should be expected because it is such a significant part of the class. A warpriest can do it just as good as a cloistered if the cloistered doesn't double-down. That makes the warpriest more impactful in almost every scenario than the cloistered because of the front-loading.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

Well, let's examine the DPR on Disintegrate, then the DPR on Chain Lightning (per foe) and compare them to a Fighter. Both with an 11th level Wizard and an 11th level Fighter, shall we?

The Wizard should have DC 30 Saves and a +20 to hit with spells (+15 Proficiency +5 Int).

The Fighter should have +24 (+17 Proficiency +5 Str +2 Item) to hit for 3d12+5+2d6 damage with a greatsword.

Both will be attacking vs. AC 31, and the Wizard will, unfavorably for them, be dealing with a +20 Save (average low Saves are lower than that, so if you pick targets you can do better than this).

So, the DPR of Disintegrate is 28.97. That's not great, though at two actions, you do have a third one (though at a -5 penalty, the DPR is only 9.8). Total DPR of 38.77.

The DPR of a Chain Lightning, meanwhile, is 28.6 per target. So, assuming you hit three targets (which is easy) that's 85.8. And you have an additional action, which could be an attack (with their very shiny staff...they can have a +2 staff making this attack +21 for 3d8+4+3d6 with Bespell Weapon) for a DPR of 16.8 (since they have no MAP). That's a total DPR of 74 if you hit two enemies with Chain Lightning, 102.6 if you hit three.

On turns they use a cantrip (we'll say Electric Arc) plus a normal attack, their DPR is 16.5 per target on Electric Arc, then 14.7 from a staff attack (as above, -1d6). That's a mere 31.2 with a single target, but rises to 47.7 if there are two, and they can do it all day.

The Fighter, meanwhile, on three attacks, with Certain Strike, does a DPR of 56.975.

So...I think the lesson here is that Wizards look fine, at least if there are a total of two or more foes in the fight (if there's only one, they should likely be debuffing rather than doing damage). All these are vs. on-level foes so their minion sweeping is actually much better than this.

Disintegrate, specifically, looks seriously sub par vs. foes with even decent Fortitude Saves but that's one spell.

Wizards start to be not worthless at 5th level with fireball. They continue to be not worthless with chain lighting. I only mentioned disintegrate because that was the newest reason wizards don't suck (new and improved! with true strike!).

That said, I don't think you accounted for the fighter's weapon specialization (+3 damage with weapon of choice). Also, I'd probably go with Improved Knockdown until the target is prone; then Advantageous Assault. I got lost in your math, but prone targets are flat-footed. Advantageous Assault will be inflicting an additional 5 damage, regardless of whether the attack hits or misses. So 3d12+8+2d6 with Improved Knockdown, then 3d12+13+2d6 after target is prone, so easier to hit.

I'm just going to eyeball this. 52 damage from chain lighting on a success and it keeps bouncing around until there aren't any more targets within 30' or one of them critically succeeds. Fighter does 27 and target is prone, then 32 twice. Fighter seems to be able to dig in for about 1/2 the hp of an 11th level foe, leaving him prone, and wizard can theoretically knock out 1/4 the hp of a huge number of 11th level foes. Wizard only gets a handful of those, but the whole point of dailies is (or should be) the wizard can go supernova and match or be better than the fighter. Accordingly, this is a good result (for evokers anyway).


graystone wrote:
totoro wrote:
james014Aura wrote:

Note, a Cloistered Cleric maxes at 16 Dex at 1, so it's actually 2 AC lower because light/medium armor brings it up to a cap of 5, where the dex is only +3 there. At level 10, the cloistered cleric catches up just fine.

And don't that boost to casting. Granted, the Divine spell list seems more defensive than the others, but I'm fairly sure there are enough options in it that the increased DC could be very useful if you go for a more classical "Mage" style.

I agree cloistered cleric catches up. The premise of the thread is that the warpriest is front-loaded and for all practical purposes better than the cloistered. I don't think the cloistered catches up until 15th level, but YMMV.

cloistered is expert if spell attacks and dc at 7th and then war priest only catches up at 11th... That and the cloistered is always going to be a focus point ahead unless we're talking spending 3 extra feats on Domain Initiate.

As for domain, you can take an attack domain: take Fire Ray[2 action, 60', spell attack, 2d6/level fire damage]. That's not a bad attack at all and something they can cast up to 3 time in a fight if they get 2 more feats.

I said YMMV. You think 7th? Fine. Cloistered catches up at 7th, they trade places at 11th, then catches up again at 15th.

There's always another domain that is better than that other one I just talked about. Every single time. I'll give you that Fire Ray is a better choice than the ones shroudb said were so awesome. At least you keep your distance and can use the spell in a fight. Down side is you get to throw it once per fight and it really isn't any better than a warpriest using a weapon.

I still think if you're going to go white wizard you should focus on the healing domain. That's what you'll do well; healing's really all you'll do better than anyone else in the early game.


shroudb wrote:
totoro wrote:

Edit: Responding to Shroudb.

This is a 1st level character question. All of the things you've mentioned are not relevant.

Also, at 11th level, the spellcasting abilities of a warpriest and cloistered are the same. It isn't until 15th level that the cloistered finally pulls away on the spellcasting front (+2 to DCs) for good. Until that time, the warpriest is better. After that time, I will grant you the cloistered cleric is the better spellcaster and fulfills the promise of the doctrine, which it fails to fulfill until then. Wishful thinking doesn't make it so.

sure, WHY would you pick up +1 healing per spell at first level as opposed to 1d12 aoe damage or aoe fascination, or any other worthwhile Domain.

I mean, at 1st level, one is at the very least "1 action deal 2 actions worth of damage" the other is literally... heal 1-2 hp.

Healing domain is extremely niche and only works in very specific team comps that somehow want to spam 3-4+ healing spells in 1 minute. That's certainly not your everyday occurence, and certainly NOT the "best domain" you can pick. It's actually one of the very worst for an average party.

there's no wishful thinking here, he IS the superior caster, and at level 1 he loses 2 Ac for a spell/encounter. That's more than a fair trade. Actually, regarding some domains, it's actually a WIN for the cloistered.

If you think my choice was suboptimal fine. It was one of the choices presented.

Also, I think your choice of Cry of Destruction for a cloistered cleric is far less useful than you think. It's essentially burning hands, which is a harder spell to position for a squishy than a tank. Plus, 1d12 only after inflicting damage with a strike or spell... what attack are you pairing that with? Cry of Havoc takes 2 actions and heal takes one only as a touch. You moving in to touch? One action to move. That means you have to move into range and stay there for your big flourish. Divine Lance is 2 actions, too. You have to spend a turn to position and another turn to use the spell and then only if you hit with your other attack. Good luck.

Fascinated won't last long and ceases if you are hostile. Very situational.

You still serious about this?

I'll give you this: He's a better caster because he gets one more spell. Still a bad choice at 1st level, though.


james014Aura wrote:

Note, a Cloistered Cleric maxes at 16 Dex at 1, so it's actually 2 AC lower because light/medium armor brings it up to a cap of 5, where the dex is only +3 there. At level 10, the cloistered cleric catches up just fine.

And don't that boost to casting. Granted, the Divine spell list seems more defensive than the others, but I'm fairly sure there are enough options in it that the increased DC could be very useful if you go for a more classical "Mage" style.

I agree cloistered cleric catches up. The premise of the thread is that the warpriest is front-loaded and for all practical purposes better than the cloistered. I don't think the cloistered catches up until 15th level, but YMMV.


Edit: Responding to Shroudb.

This is a 1st level character question. All of the things you've mentioned are not relevant.

Also, at 11th level, the spellcasting abilities of a warpriest and cloistered are the same. It isn't until 15th level that the cloistered finally pulls away on the spellcasting front (+2 to DCs) for good. Until that time, the warpriest is better. After that time, I will grant you the cloistered cleric is the better spellcaster and fulfills the promise of the doctrine, which it fails to fulfill until then. Wishful thinking doesn't make it so.


Xenocrat wrote:
totoro wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Doompatrol wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

A mean, a big thing about Cantrips is that they are literally free. You get them as spells known without additional expense, and they continue to upgrade them without spending money, unlike the archer who is going to spent at least 40,000 GP on their bow (likely much more) over the course of their career.

It would suck to play an archer if the cantrip blaster can be just as good as you at this with minimal investment.

How does the damage from blasting spells stack up to archers?
It depends. A True Strike boosted Disintegrate does quite a lot of expected damage.
I suspect caster damage gets pretty nutty once you get to the point your 1st level slots can just be True Strike.
At 6th level you buy a Staff of Divination and get three free True Strikes per day, goes up to four when you hit 7th level.
If you have an 11th level caster, which is what is required for disintegration, it is more cost-effective to research a new spell called "attack like an 11th level fighter with a +2 striking greatsword for one round." Rolling twice due to true strike improves the attack roll by an average of 3.325 and true strike + disintegrate takes all 3 actions. The fighter only has +2 above the wizard, but gets to attack three times instead of once.
Do you even crit, bro?

Yes. [Awkward silence.] Do you?


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I don't see how anyone could say cloistered cleric > warpriest. Folks always try to find some difference and point to it as the thing that matters. In play, cloistered cleric < warpriest. If you are willing to take a penalty for a roleplaying choice, take it. If not, your GM might be willing to give you something to make up for the weakness of the choice.

Light and Medium Armor proficiency is not trivial. AC gets tested all the time in play, even if you are not a front-line fighter. The two proficiencies give you the character building flexibility to focus on STR or DEX. Shield block is exceptionally useful. Expert in fortitude doesn't come up all that much, but it's better than not having it. Deadly simplicity is quite valuable if the deity with the simple weapon is what you really want.

The cloistered cleric gets the ability to cast an almost-worthless spell. Healer's blessing, for example, gives you the ability to heal +1 hit point once per ally over the course of the next minute.

Can you play a cloistered cleric effectively? Of course! Is the cloistered cleric better than the warpriest by any reasonable metric? Nope. At a minimum, you the cloistered cleric should pick up deadly simplicity and I think they should get an extra domain. Even though the domain spells suck, taking a suboptimal doctrine has versatility as the reward.


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Corwin Icewolf wrote:
totoro wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Doompatrol wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

A mean, a big thing about Cantrips is that they are literally free. You get them as spells known without additional expense, and they continue to upgrade them without spending money, unlike the archer who is going to spent at least 40,000 GP on their bow (likely much more) over the course of their career.

It would suck to play an archer if the cantrip blaster can be just as good as you at this with minimal investment.

How does the damage from blasting spells stack up to archers?
It depends. A True Strike boosted Disintegrate does quite a lot of expected damage.
I suspect caster damage gets pretty nutty once you get to the point your 1st level slots can just be True Strike.
At 6th level you buy a Staff of Divination and get three free True Strikes per day, goes up to four when you hit 7th level.
If you have an 11th level caster, which is what is required for disintegration, it is more cost-effective to research a new spell called "attack like an 11th level fighter with a +2 striking greatsword for one round." Rolling twice due to true strike improves the attack roll by an average of 3.325 and true strike + disintegrate takes all 3 actions. The fighter only has +2 above the wizard, but gets to attack three times instead of once.
3d12+5, 8-42 damage, average 25 even assuming all three attacks hit is an average of 75, 2 damage less than the average of a successful disintegrate, so no, not really. I guess weapon spec would bump it up to about 80, but that's not so much more.

I've been wrong before, so let me show my math. If a disintegrate hits, it does 12d10 (66 average) damage on a failed save and 33 average on a successful save. If you take the middle, that's about 50 with 3 actions. Fighter needs 2 hits to match that.

Is your calculation doing something with feats or critical hits?


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Campbell wrote:

I would much rather the answer to a character fundamentally changing who they are result in effectively retraining their class and rebuilding that character as if their new class was always their starting point. A war priest who has the multi-class archetype for fighter transitions to the opposite or maybe a champion. As long as I can square the fiction I am fine with this.

From where I stand your class is not just indicative of a particular skill set. It represents who you are, who you see yourself as, how you address the world. This does not change easily. Being a fighter requires dedication, daily practice, and a commitment to honing your martial skills. Abandoning that path and mentality means that you are no longer in your core a fighter. You have given it up. It should be a big deal. Your entire life up to that point has all been in dedication to skill at arms. I think transitioning from one class to another is the best way to handle what should be a big story moment.

That is precisely what happened in my game. War priest retrained as a fighter with a cleric dedication. It was easy, as is all character creation in this version, and nobody had any real reason to notice. I tend to let my players make whatever choices they want, but a good rule might be to take a dedication if you want to retrain to a new class (and retrain to the class in which you took the dedication).


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MerlinCross wrote:
whew wrote:
In PF2, the action cost for debuffing is much less: characters can do a debuff instead of taking a third attack at -10 or for free with a crit.
Arachnofiend wrote:
If a third strike at -10 is universally a better choice than inflicting Frightened on an enemy then that's a damning criticism of the system. I suspect that isn't actually true, though.

You Can. Will you want to is left to be mathed out. Especially later on when new splat books come out and there might be ways to over come that -10.

I mean for the sake of all the PF gods, we have people mathing out DPR already, to decimal points.

It's why I hang my head at times when talking about PF1. It's not Agency or the choice, it's the Math that makes people do stuff. And far too often it seems. Did it make sense to take this trait for my character? NO but it gives me the Math I wanted. Story be sod off, I need Fey Foundling on Paladin. We'd be here all day if I kept giving examples but I think people get it.

I might not like the changes but right now might actually be the best time to try PF2 as the math isn't figure out just yet. Or maybe it is but it hasn't been broadcast to the wider community just yet.

I can only speak for myself, but the math and attempts to break the system are precisely why I'm here. At some point, I am going to gather up all my toys, write up my houserules, and not come back for a while. That doesn't mean we do math when making player choices. It just means I want the game designed to maximize choice with minimum punishment for "roleplaying" choices. I'm sure the game designers would tell you that requires some math. The simplest way to put it might be: You don't come to the forums to roleplay.


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CyberMephit wrote:
totoro wrote:
I think it would be far superior game design to simply figure out how much X is worth and then charge the player the requisite number of feats necessary to match the value of X at every level.

That would become GUPRS then. I don't think that game is free from balance problems.

The issue with this approach is that the value of X to a specific character is not constant and depends on whether the character (or even someone in the party) also has Y or Z. It is possible to balance costs of a specific set of abilities in one book (to an extent), but every next book would require a re-balancing of everything published so far to take into account the new synergies. If this is not done then the same kind of universally good and universally bad option groups will eventually surface.

A complexity of balancing a set of options grows exponentially with the number of options in the set, so properly designing 1000 universal feats takes much more time than 10 classes with 100 feats each.

I can point to a number of feats within PF2 that prove the game designers think a feat is worth a constant amount. The simplest example is probably the ancestry weapon expertise feats. They let you auto-scale a bunch of martial weapons with your class weapons. If a dwarf wizard with an auto-scaling battle axe doesn't break the game, I don't see why a halfling cleric with an auto-scaling rapier would.

(And the main problem with GURPS is not balance; it's that it isn't very fun to play and power scaling is awful, IMO, of course.)


The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
totoro wrote:
I think it would be far superior game design to simply figure out how much X is worth and then charge the player the requisite number of feats necessary to match the value of X at every level.

That sort of design would then have to be rolled out over most proficiencies and would turn away a lot of players/gms with its bean counting nature. Mind you I do not lament the loss of skill ranks, so make of that what you will :P.

The reason I don't care if a RPer has a -2AC (at most) is because unless you are optimising it isn't that big of a deal, it opens up new armour types (regarding specific magical items and materials) and we KNOW we are getting new archetypes, feats and other options.

A general feat is a nice easily accessible option for a RP dip where someone just wants to wear something or wield an item. Something else giving scaling proficiency is a healthier design imo.

Fair enough, but it isn't any different than the bean counting that is done for ancestry weapon familiarity, but instead of taking an ancestry feat at 13th level to get auto-scaling, you would push it forward to where it matters.

I think a well-designed game allows players to make roleplay or customization choices that do not gimp their characters. I'm sure there is no "perfect" system, but -2 AC seems like an unnecessary hit for a choice that doesn't result in any other substantive advantage. You can make armor from any material you want and, at least in my experience, the fact a character could wear lots of different kinds of armor generally didn't matter much with armor choice. I don't see there being a significant deviation from that with the current ruleset.


Andarr wrote:

I just houseruled that spells automatically heighten to the maximum level without having to use higher level slots (effectively giving casters automatic scaling back).

It's been working out pretty well, and no complaints from either my players playing casters OR melees.

Of course I'm sure a lot of the people in this thread will tell me that this is "unbalanced", which is a barrel of laughs considering all the nerfbats wizards took to the skull in the transition to 2nd edition.

That's a good solution, but it doesn't address the weakness of spellcasters at the lowest levels. I think I'm going to go with spellcasters getting 9 + spellcaster level spells. You have to take at least 3 spells in each spell level up to the maximum you know, with the remainder in the highest spell slot. So it would work out to 10 1st level spells at 1st level (11 at 2nd level) and at 3rd level they could take 3 1st level spells and 9 2nd level spells for a total of 13. At 17th & 18th level, you snap back to what the book offers (3/spell level up to 8th and 2/3 9th level spells). You'd get a first 10th level spell for free at 19th and a second at 20th, but you have to "unlock" the second slot with Archwizard's Might or the equivalent.


Xenocrat wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Doompatrol wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

A mean, a big thing about Cantrips is that they are literally free. You get them as spells known without additional expense, and they continue to upgrade them without spending money, unlike the archer who is going to spent at least 40,000 GP on their bow (likely much more) over the course of their career.

It would suck to play an archer if the cantrip blaster can be just as good as you at this with minimal investment.

How does the damage from blasting spells stack up to archers?
It depends. A True Strike boosted Disintegrate does quite a lot of expected damage.
I suspect caster damage gets pretty nutty once you get to the point your 1st level slots can just be True Strike.
At 6th level you buy a Staff of Divination and get three free True Strikes per day, goes up to four when you hit 7th level.

If you have an 11th level caster, which is what is required for disintegration, it is more cost-effective to research a new spell called "attack like an 11th level fighter with a +2 striking greatsword for one round." Rolling twice due to true strike improves the attack roll by an average of 3.325 and true strike + disintegrate takes all 3 actions. The fighter only has +2 above the wizard, but gets to attack three times instead of once.


GentleGiant wrote:
totoro wrote:
I'm sure you're right about spellcasters being better. My players just didn't make the right choices and I am not smart enough to see what choices would have done the trick, at least for Fall of Plaguestone. No doubt, those spells are awesome when we finally figure out how to play this game. Unfortunately, we are going to move onto Hellknight Hill with new characters now that we have gotten some experience and we are just going to houserule spellcasters to give them A LOT more power. Open spell slots (choose spell on the fly) feels about right. I'll be around to say how that goes.
Now, being true to form you should, of course, not implement any house rules and just have everyone create a fighter. Then come back and let us know how your 4 fighters roll through the entire AP without a problem due to them being so superior to casters at hitting things.

Good call! I don't know if you did a comparison through theorycrafting or this is just a case of a broken clock is right twice a day, but 2 fighters, a barbarian, and a druid rolled through Plaguestone with trivial ease. I made a couple mistakes, like not advancing the party a level when I was supposed to, but because they were martials, it wasn't a big deal. I believe the game designers expected a balanced party, which would have been much harder. In any case, you are correct! Well done!


Nox Aeterna wrote:
totoro wrote:
Hopefully due to my serious disappointment in some areas of the game you can take this for what it is worth: This is the best version of the game I've ever played. The combat is smooth and fun. The modularity makes for easy adjustment. (We already have house rules in place to fix the parts I consider broken and we've only played four times.) If I were you, I'd give it a chance and just fix the broken parts. The chassis is stable.

Well, while it does seem to have some interesting areas, this isnt my only grievance.

Even if it were, rewriting every single spell or almost all of them, be duration, effects... is a bit too much for the houserule end, so really, it is just easier to avoid the entire thing.

With the above said, lurking on the forums did give me a better grasp on many parts of it.

I don't think the place to start is with rewriting spells because that would be tedious and you'd have to start over again with each splatbook. It's easier to rewrite the classes.


Aashua wrote:
totoro wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
totoro wrote:
Finally! This is the only rational explanation for the state of spellcasters in PF2. It is a rationale I despise, but it has to be the answer. Spells are "good." Fighters are "better."

That is not what I said. Or meant. A Fighter is the single most accurate and one of the best DPR Classes in the game (indeed, I think the highest DPR build in the game is a Fighter with a bit of multiclassing). They are very good when attacking, just in general.

Individual spells can be better than that (and many are), but by a fairly narrow margin on how much better given how good Fighter is already. And narrowly better but costing resources doesn't tend to be a better choice than free 'really good' stuff.

This isn't a choice the actual game makes you make, with a PF2 spellcaster having basic attack routines inferior to a Fighter, but spells just a tad better, and then utility spells as an option as well. But you give a Fighter spellcasting and it starts looking weird.

It is what you said, you just didn't mean to. (I should probably put a snark tag or something.)

Individual spells are better is kind of like playing a rigger in shadowrun. "Is anybody a rigger?" "Right here!" "OK, you make it safely to where you want to go. Now, what does the magician do?" (In this example, wizard with that "good" spell is the rigger and magician is fighter.) Wizards are awesome if you need to alarm your camp! Or if you need to breathe underwater! But in actual gameplay, there is never a spot in the adventure where it says, "Party needs to have someone cast waterbreathing to continue." It's a potion or hand-waving and you move to the next spot.

I'm sure you're right about spellcasters being better. My players just didn't make the right choices and I am not smart enough to see what choices would have done the trick, at least for Fall of Plaguestone. No doubt, those spells are awesome when we finally figure out how to play this game.

...

Agreed. I am contemplating doubling 1st level spells per day. I don't know if that will scale at higher levels, but seems fine at 1st.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
totoro wrote:
Finally! This is the only rational explanation for the state of spellcasters in PF2. It is a rationale I despise, but it has to be the answer. Spells are "good." Fighters are "better."

That is not what I said. Or meant. A Fighter is the single most accurate and one of the best DPR Classes in the game (indeed, I think the highest DPR build in the game is a Fighter with a bit of multiclassing). They are very good when attacking, just in general.

Individual spells can be better than that (and many are), but by a fairly narrow margin on how much better given how good Fighter is already. And narrowly better but costing resources doesn't tend to be a better choice than free 'really good' stuff.

This isn't a choice the actual game makes you make, with a PF2 spellcaster having basic attack routines inferior to a Fighter, but spells just a tad better, and then utility spells as an option as well. But you give a Fighter spellcasting and it starts looking weird.

It is what you said, you just didn't mean to. (I should probably put a snark tag or something.)

Individual spells are better is kind of like playing a rigger in shadowrun. "Is anybody a rigger?" "Right here!" "OK, you make it safely to where you want to go. Now, what does the magician do?" (In this example, wizard with that "good" spell is the rigger and magician is fighter.) Wizards are awesome if you need to alarm your camp! Or if you need to breathe underwater! But in actual gameplay, there is never a spot in the adventure where it says, "Party needs to have someone cast waterbreathing to continue." It's a potion or hand-waving and you move to the next spot.

I'm sure you're right about spellcasters being better. My players just didn't make the right choices and I am not smart enough to see what choices would have done the trick, at least for Fall of Plaguestone. No doubt, those spells are awesome when we finally figure out how to play this game. Unfortunately, we are going to move onto Hellknight Hill with new characters now that we have gotten some experience and we are just going to houserule spellcasters to give them A LOT more power. Open spell slots (choose spell on the fly) feels about right. I'll be around to say how that goes.


My player retrained from warpriest to fighter/cleric (yeah, we stretched the retraining rules), so I know what he liked. The no-brainer was Shield (to go with his maul). For fighters, the question always seems to be what to do with that third action, so if you're going to use a cantrip in combat, it needs to take one action. Anything that takes two actions is a preparation or out-of-combat option.

The second choice after Shield was between: Detect Magic (but the druid could already do that). Forbidding Ward (can work if you get the drop on an enemy and cast just prior to entering combat). Guidance (you become immune for a little while after you use it, so you can't do it all the time). Light (again, druid). Message, and Stabilize. He ended up going with Guidance.

He mostly used shield when he didn't have to move to attack and attacked twice if he had to move.


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Nox Aeterna wrote:

I do wonder why people keep pointing to utility of casters really.

I gave a look to the spells, paizo literally broke the utility to pieces. Spells have crappy duration, buffs were tossed down the hills, many of the tolls in the shed are gone, some arent even caster only anymore.

I mean, the state of how crappy is the utility of casters now can be seen in something as inoffensive as unseen servant, which now lasts ALMOST 10 minutes... IF you stay all ALMOST 10 minutes concentrating on it.

Well, it isnt my problem since im just checking on news of 2E so i can make sure i convince my group to never adopt it, but still, im not seeing the point people are trying to make here.

Seriously... alarm is what people are pointing to the use of casters in 2E. Wow! Amazing!

Casters are then meant to be inferior in combat in some weird trade for utility... very crappy utility, that is then very limited in access since they have less slots too. Well, happy i can see this thread, sure gives me much to talk about to my table.

Hopefully due to my serious disappointment in some areas of the game you can take this for what it is worth: This is the best version of the game I've ever played. The combat is smooth and fun. The modularity makes for easy adjustment. (We already have house rules in place to fix the parts I consider broken and we've only played four times.) If I were you, I'd give it a chance and just fix the broken parts. The chassis is stable.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

Casters can contribute to combat quite a bit. Indeed, they're very powerful in combat if used properly...but the Fighter chassis is designed to make them almost equally powerful specifically in combat just doing what they do, because otherwise, what's the point of a Fighter?

This has the side effect that, if you give a Fighter spells, in combat he's often better off just attacking instead. Not because the spell wouldn't be effective, but because just attacking is equally so (or almost, anyway) and has no associated cost.

It does not mean that spells aren't good, it means Fighters are really, really, good even without spells.

Finally! This is the only rational explanation for the state of spellcasters in PF2. It is a rationale I despise, but it has to be the answer. Spells are "good." Fighters are "better."


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I don't think there is a problem with player agency. What I've noticed is there is "bumpiness." You expect something to happen a certain way, not necessarily based upon 1e, but based on common sense. If it is OK for your wizard to use a morningstar as well as a staff at 1st level, then it should be fine for the wizard to use a morningstar as well as a staff at 20th level. That's common sense. The bumpiness is that at 11th level, the wizard who was just as good with a morningstar as with a staff is... until 11th level.

There are several straw men about how that is just fine because rogue doesn't use rapier but gets better blah, blah, blah, but it is not what a reasonable person would expect to happen. There is nothing special about 11th level that makes you think, "Ah, at 11th level it seems like a wizard should cease to be as skilled with a morningstar as with a staff, unlike he was from 1st-10th levels."

For this reason, an 11th level powergamer will say, "wizards need to start using staves again and retrain weapon proficiency feat," and roleplayers will say, "you just have to suck a little more than the rules allow to keep the 1st-10th level vision alive." That is an unfortunate bifurcation of the player base at this arbitrary point in a character's development. I think it would be far superior game design to simply figure out how much X is worth and then charge the player the requisite number of feats necessary to match the value of X at every level.


james014Aura wrote:
totoro wrote:
Rysky wrote:
totoro wrote:
If the fighter were given the option to cast any cleric spell at will (other than Heal and Magic Weapon), the fighter would likely never cast it.
This is just blatantly bad assumption.
You are undoubtedly correct. Player of Fighter: "I'll cast fear." Response: "Um, you sure?"

More likely:

Player of Fighter: I Power Attack (or Stride then Strike), then cast Shield.
Player of Fighter: To help coordinate the ambush across a distance, I cast Message.
Player of Fighter: I cast Alarm to ward the area while we sleep.

Bless, Mending, Create Water, and Protection all have uses, too, though some are out of combat. And that's just the first level and cantrips.

I'm fine with the casters being refocused towards utility of their powers (and area blasts) rather than raw DPS. Raw DPS was supposed to be the martial's power anyway. I have no complaint about classes doing what they're supposed to.

Those are all good examples. The fighter can actually get them at 1st level under RAW, too, and I never said they were wasted feats. I don't even disagree with your last sentence, but you are paraphrasing a misrepresentation of my position. There is no question wizards can use fireball to great effect in specific instances. Clerics can use Heal and Magic Weapon effectively, too. Sometimes they seem to be fine. However, in my specific experience running a module, I can think of no instance where it would have been better for the fighter (not a spellcaster) to have wasted his precious actions to do the equivalent of a 1st level spell even if he could choose it on the fly in combat. It's nice there was a cleric around without more important things to do who could cast Heal, but it would be a much more difficult choice if the fighter had to spend those actions because she is so much more effective.

People seem to just be ignoring the observation that if you let a fighter cast Fear and Command at will, which would be a choice a cleric presumably could make for all of his spell preparations for the day, the fighter wouldn't bother to cast them. It just isn't worth the actions. The cleric might because the cleric's actions are so much less valuable. That's not just DPS.

I will never agree that out-of-combat capabilities make up for a lack of meaningful effectiveness in combat. That is also not a DPS argument. It comes from decades of experience at GM where I learned I don't like to split the party and I like everyone to contribute at every phase. The diplomacy check will matter when speaking with the king, but everyone gets to talk and sometimes what you say matters. Combat is the same.


Rysky wrote:
totoro wrote:
If the fighter were given the option to cast any cleric spell at will (other than Heal and Magic Weapon), the fighter would likely never cast it.
This is just blatantly bad assumption.

You are undoubtedly correct. Player of Fighter: "I'll cast fear." Response: "Um, you sure?"


Garretmander wrote:
totoro wrote:
Garretmander wrote:

So far, the only understandable complaint I'm seeing about this party is that multiple minions are a bad idea, but that's what the player wanted to do.

Hopefully that's fixed in a future supplement without bogging play down the way any summon focused character used to.

I'm just not at all understanding the complaint that fighters are better at combat than spellcasters... Isn't that how it's supposed to be? They are support and elemental or AOE damage, not zweihander armed blenders.

You're not alone in failing to pay attention. If the fighter were given the option to cast any cleric spell at will (other than Heal and Magic Weapon), the fighter would likely never cast it. Why? Because it is almost always better to do what a fighter can do than what a cleric can do twice per day.

All classes should be "best" in their style of combat. Saying fighters should be best at combat might be good in Conan the Barbarian, but it is not good at a gaming table. The combat contribution should just be different, not inferior.

I'll just ignore spells over level 1, since past that point at will anything on the list becomes insanely better. We're also on the cleric list, the least combative of the four IMO.

Harm is a decent choice for a third action.

Bless isn't a strong choice on round one, but at round two if my enemy is not trying to run away, I'd probably cast it as a fighter.

Shield is great for a two-handed fighter, or any fighter not carrying a shield of course.

Alarm at will would be amazing for a whole lot of out of combat situations, but I suppose we're discussing combat as if it was the only thing existing in the game.

Command is real iffy with no effect on a successful save, but causing them to go prone, and exploiting your attack of opportunity is decent. It's competing with a one action skill check of course, but that skill use brings in MAP.

Disrupting weapons vs. undead with a weakness... I'd use it like bless of course, but,...

Well, I guess I understand why the game is in the state it is. "I'd probably cast it if I could cast it at will" is the response to what if you could cast the one of the things a cleric can do once per day? Pfft. I just ran a game to level 4 and your opinion just doesn't comport with what I actually saw. And keep pretending what I said is "duh, the only thing that matters is DPS." You, sir, are disingenuous.


I think weapon proficiency is instructive. You can gain proficiency with all martial weapons with a feat (I'm ignoring wizards for simplicity). Or you could take adopted ancestry plus another feat (two feats total) and treat battle axe, pick, and warhammer as simple weapons and dwarven waraxe as martial. You can spend a dwarven ancestry feat at 13th level to auto-scale dwarven weapons. That is, three feats to auto-scale a handful of martial weapons and an advanced weapon.

It takes two feats to get training in all martial weapons and one advanced weapon. To make the ancestry weapon familiarity feats worth anything, you have to require at least four feats to auto-scale all martial weapons and one advanced weapon. The feat choices should also play well with ancestry weapon familiarity feats because "you can just retrain" is a lazy game design solution. I propose one good solution is to treat ancestry weapons as a "group" and to require when you use martial weapon proficiency to train beyond simple weapons, to choose one group of weapons instead of getting all martial weapons. Classes that get some martial weapons (like rogues) can also be treated as having one group of weapons trained. Only after having two groups of weapons trained can you take weapon proficiency to train all martial weapons. Same for the auto-scaling feat, which should be available at any level, but only matters by 7th or 13th level, depending upon the class (so you can retrain into it when needed). Also, ancestry weapon expertise should be available at 7th level for all ancestries.

Assuming there is a similar design goal with armor, you should have the ability to advance armor commensurate with the training granted by your class, just as you can with weapons via the ancestral weapon familiarity feats. Unlike martial weapons, medium armor is not strictly better than light armor, but heavy armor is (at least for AC) strictly better than light and medium armor (unarmored can be strictly better than any other armor, but every class has unarmored training, so it doesn't matter). The light to medium armor comparison is more similar to a ranged/finesse to melee weapon comparison, because ranged/finesse rely more on DEX and melee rely more on STR, just as you rely more on DEX for light armor and more on STR for medium armor. Heavy armor is like a "martial from simple weapon" upgrade.

If we treat light/medium armor similarly to martial weapons, anyone who takes light armor training should be able to treat it as unarmored and anyone who takes medium armor training should be able to treat it as light armor if you take an "auto-scaling" feat, just as you would expect with ancestry weapon familiarity.

However, there should be another feat stuck in between medium armor and heavy armor because heavy armor is better. I'm toying with the idea of the first time you take heavy armor your dex cap is reduced by 1 (making heavy armor no better than medium) and the second time you get heavy armor you get a dex cap as shown in the CRB.

Alternatively, you could break the armor feats up into 6 feats: Light Armor, Medium Armor, Heavy Armor, Light Armor Auto-Scaling, Medium Armor Auto-Scaling, Heavy Armor Auto-Scaling. It has the advantage of simplicity, but medium armor probably costs 2 more feats than it deserves and heavy armor probably costs 1 more feat than it deserves.


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Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
totoro wrote:
In my specific case, I had one player say they wanted to be an elf with lots of pets who loves nature (yes, she is a girl and no it doesn't make her a bad player to choose an option that makes her happy). She wanted to be pretty and not bad at anything, so she ended up with 18 WIS, 12 everything else (a poor min/max choice). Her background gave her animal training and her druid choice gave her an animal companion. I made a RAW mistake and allowed her to give her guard dogs a command ("sic 'em") that only took her one action, but that was what she wanted to do in combat. When I tried to fix my error it was a problem because her spell...
I'm genuinely curious, how does 12 CHA and 12 every translate to "be pretty and not bad at anything"? I'm not for min-maxing myself, optimization yes, and as a GM I try to find out ways that can work with requests such as these, but 18 WIS and 12 everything seems pretty far away from "pretty and not bad at anything.". Also not sure why the player's gender mattered in this situation at all.

Since you are genuinely curious: My player wanted to play a cute elf. Is she strong? Is she quick? Everything was yes. She didn't really want the details or to be pushed into something "more optimal," so I didn't push her. Anyway, 18 WIS for a druid is the "optimal" choice and the other attributes make less difference. She could have dumped INT or CHA and been more optimal, but that was not what she wanted.

The player's gender was relevant because I got the little girl who wants to play a cute little elf with animal friends vibe from her. I like that a non-traditional gamer wants to play. I wasn't about to discourage her from making choices that are stereotypically associated her gender identity, even if they were sub-optimal. Nobody is saying "every druid should start with a morningstar," so I am not intending this as a straw man, but I wouldn't suggest she start with a morningstar because it is optimal if she wants to use a sling and a spear. If options are presented as options, game design should ensure they are viable or at least close.


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Garretmander wrote:

So far, the only understandable complaint I'm seeing about this party is that multiple minions are a bad idea, but that's what the player wanted to do.

Hopefully that's fixed in a future supplement without bogging play down the way any summon focused character used to.

I'm just not at all understanding the complaint that fighters are better at combat than spellcasters... Isn't that how it's supposed to be? They are support and elemental or AOE damage, not zweihander armed blenders.

You're not alone in failing to pay attention. If the fighter were given the option to cast any cleric spell at will (other than Heal and Magic Weapon), the fighter would likely never cast it. Why? Because it is almost always better to do what a fighter can do than what a cleric can do twice per day.

All classes should be "best" in their style of combat. Saying fighters should be best at combat might be good in Conan the Barbarian, but it is not good at a gaming table. The combat contribution should just be different, not inferior.


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Ruzza wrote:

Arachnofiend keeps bringing up archetypes which seems like a solution for the future. I'm not annoyed by this idea, however, since I like the design space.

Giving up some class features to have different armor proficiency seems like a valid way to get certain builds and a small way that archetypes can bridge that gap.

That sounds awfully clunky.

Light and Medium armor cost practically the same because you trade off DEX resources for STR resources for the most part. I think any effort to distinguish the two by class beyond the initial training is a waste of space. Even heavy armor distinctions are unnecessary because, while you get better AC with heavy armor, high DEX characters might not appreciate the check and speed penalties.

The armors have enough resource gating to make archetype dedications unnecessary or perhaps even annoying. Feats are more than enough of a cost to increase the weight of your armor training. A whole archetype for a heavier armor just seems insane to me.


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Ruzza wrote:
I would say just make them cheaper at your table? This is sounding more like a molehill than a mountain. Like, some people enjoy that choice when making a character.

I'd add a crude plate variant that is to heavy armor what hide/scale is to medium armor. Going from +2 AC/+3 DEX cap (light) to +3 AC/+2 DEX cap (medium) resulted in armor that was roughly the same cost. That is Hide/Scale cost about the same as Studded/Chain Shirt. A Crude Plate with +5 AC/+0 DEX cap (heavy) should, using a similar progression, cost 5-7 gp, -3 check, -10 ft., 18 Strength, 3 Bulk, Plate.

That way you don't mess with relative effectiveness of builds.


Lanathar wrote:

It could have been intentional design decision - some classes are supposed to wear heavy armour. Others use it as a stop gap but are never really supposed to use it

Perhaps the thought was opening everything up like this removes so much from classes that at that point you may as well have no classes

Although I do see the point on not getting better with something you have worn for 10 levels. Perhaps there should be feats to advance your feat gained armour training to expert. But they would simply have to come online later than those who naturally gain expert in Heavy armour (for example).

Tricky part is some get it at different levels (so you would have to go with the latest, which for heavy I think is fighter)

Would this be a compromise? I would this also be considered unfair?

I think they just forgot to add the paragraph that was included in the ancestry weapon familiarity feats: "For the purpose of determining your proficiency, martial [ancestry] weapons are simple weapons and advanced [ancestry] weapons are martial weapons." If it doesn't break anything for an ancestry to get a bunch of martial weapons that are treated as simple weapons, it's not going to break anything if anyone can take a feat that lets them treat one martial weapon as a simple weapon.

Methinks the dwarf ancestry may have benefited from a "treat heavy armor as medium armor and medium armor as light" as the unburdened iron feat, which, BTW, is kind of useless at character creation anyway unless you are a low STR dwarf in medium armor. Maybe also throw a Very Heavy dwarven armor variant into the equipment list like full plate with +7 AC, -4 check, -15 ft, 20 STR, 5 bulk, that dwarves treat like heavy armor. Dwarves would still benefit from high STR.


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Cyouni wrote:
totoro wrote:

Perhaps you're right. My specific situation is complicated by the fact the fighter has a magic sword, but the numbers aren't quite as bad for a druid with animal companion as long as the druid casts magic fang. I'll just recommend she prepare magic fang in lieu of any other 1st level spells and maybe it won't be as bad. She's probably not going to be quite as afraid to let the cat enter combat now that it is getting the hp it is supposed to have and it will be more effective than her two guard dogs while it has magic fang on it.

Thank you for helping me work through this.

You also mentioned that you're very close to 4th level, so it going up to a mature companion at that level's feat will also help. It gets similar base stats to a rogue of the same level, plus gets the damage half of Magic Fang built in. Being able to manage 2d6+3 normally at a to-hit of +10 will also help, plus getting the extra action choice can let her have the option to reposition for spells if she wants.

The main thing you might want to remind her of is to try for flanking.

Yes. I am not nearly as worried about the druid anymore. Thank you for the help.


graystone wrote:
totoro wrote:
Not true.

Is it? How many creatures did they fight that had a save lower than AC? Elemental resistance? How much healing did they need? How many conditions did they deal with? Had to breathe underwater? Needed skills rolled? Needed to enter a tiny hole? Had to make ranged attack? This is just things 1ST level spells help with. :P

EVERYTHING you've mentioned is 'the fighter does more damage!!!' and you've had nothing to say about anything else. You're talking about all fighter parties so you must think they can cover each and every role for every situation because they have a +2 to hit... If that's not true then you haven't been saying it.

I am running four players who made characters with official rules through an official module and they did not come up against all of these things a 1st level spellcaster can address that would make them better than a fighter. What they did experience, officially, is NOT THAT. Even if I let them choose to prepare spells as a free action using any spell on their spell lists, the fighter would have been better through the entire module.

I know there are lots of things in a game world. I could make a list of things and ask you if you are aware of them, but why is that relevant? Did you realize if a monster is exactly 70' away, you could take the nimble elf ancestry feat and sudden charge then hit the monster twice in a single round? Would you choose it as a spell you could cast once per day? In a great many scenarios, that is better than casting Command, which is 1/2 of the cleric's arsenal of big spells at 1st level, except you can do it whenever you want.

I'm going to run the same group through Hellknight Hill with new characters next. I can already see it's NOT THAT, either. When the spellcasters suck, I'm sure it will make the players feel better if I say "yeah, you suck, but if you were in any of these scenarios and chose just the right spells, you wouldn't suck so bad."

I am comparing spellcasters to fighters because the fighter is so dominant. An 18 STR fighter who can cast Command and Fear at will would rarely cast either spell because they are not as effective as just attacking. In plaguestone, the fighter would have been stupid to cast either of these 1st level spells (even if he could cast them AT FREAKING WILL) if it meant losing two actions. Doesn't that mean anything? At 2nd level, the fighter can attack AND apply the same effect as fear, but better because it is with damage and the "save" is harder because it works on a hit/critical hit. I'm sure you will point out that a cleric who chooses Command and Fear as 1st level spell preparations is doing it wrong, but those are seemingly appropriate choices. Or is the cleric supposed to take Air Bubble because if they find themselves underwater, the cleric is really going to shine?

I've played every version of D&D and pathfinder. I have run characters through a huge number of adventure paths and modules and I have built many a campaign that took characters through all of the levels to 20 (though rarely over because it wasn't fun for me). I am aware there are [fill in the blank]s that will make it better if you pick this spell or do that thing, but they only matter if they happen. The most important abilities are the ones you use frequently. Breathing underwater is not something that makes up for sucking most of the time.


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Garretmander wrote:
totoro wrote:
Maybe I'm just getting hung up on the shape of the wand, but why would you put these spells on a stick? They feel like they belong on a figurine or gemstone in almost every case. I would reserve the word "wand" for something other than a thing you rub once a day.
I don't think there's anything stopping a player from saying their wand is a talisman/figurine/gemstone/etc. as long as it's mechanically a 'wand' as in: wielded exactly as a wand, but looks different.

Absolutely, and I was certainly going to allow that, but what I meant was I think there was a design space for wands to be something interesting and unique. Specialty wands are closer to what I want, which means I just have to come up with a third alternative to 1/day wands and specialty wands. It doesn't have to be earth-shaking, but I want them to be the kind of thing a wizard doesn't treat like a mug (just using the clean one when they want a cup of coffee).

Maybe as simple a change as an evoker's wand that allows you to prepare an extra evocation cantrip as long as you have at least one other evocation cantrip prepared; +1 Focus Point as long as you know Force Bolt; plus that 1/day (evocation) spell.


Cyouni wrote:
totoro wrote:
Cyouni wrote:

How did you get animal companions so completely wrong? A 1st-level cat should have +6 to hit, 1d6+2 damage base, 11 HP, and 16 AC (17 with barding). The problem in this case is that the cat's effectively running off rogue numbers (it wants the 1d4 from hitting flat-footed targets), so it's worse than any other combat companion on its own.
A bear, for example, would be immediately more comparable, having +6 to hit, 1d8+3 base damage, 16 HP, and 15 AC (17 with barding). Magic Fang would put that to +7 to hit, 2d8+3 damage - 12 damage average. Though the hit chance is lower than the fighter's, the damage numbers are good enough to make up for it.

totoro wrote:
Fear is "useful" because it gives Frightened 1 even if the save is successful and Frightened 2 if the save is failed. Fear is the kind of spell where you roll
...

I used the cat stat block on pg. 215 and didn't modify the hp for level. It's not such a big error that your jaw need drop to the floor, but thank you for correction.

I don't really care if there is a "better option" than the one my player chose. Everybody keeps saying that. She chose a cat and that's what I've got in my game now. Magic Fang makes her animal companion almost as good as a fighter for 1 encounter if you have time to buff before combat. If battle has already started, you never make up for the fact magic fang took 2 actions to cast. It's not a bad spell, just as Magic Weapon is not a bad spell if you have time to prep for combat, at least until you have magic weapons.

My test nowadays is if a fighter could cast a spell some other class gets, would the fighter ever bother to cast it if he could cast it at will. A feat to get an animal companion and the ability to cast magic fang at will would be something a fighter would be tempted to take instead of, e.g., sudden charge, so at least it passes that test.

Magic Fang, action to Command the animal companion. It Strides and Strikes.

Exact same action...

Perhaps you're right. My specific situation is complicated by the fact the fighter has a magic sword, but the numbers aren't quite as bad for a druid with animal companion as long as the druid casts magic fang. I'll just recommend she prepare magic fang in lieu of any other 1st level spells and maybe it won't be as bad. She's probably not going to be quite as afraid to let the cat enter combat now that it is getting the hp it is supposed to have and it will be more effective than her two guard dogs while it has magic fang on it.

Thank you for helping me work through this.

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