Good Game Design: No Feats Should Suck


Skills and Feats

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Psychic_Robot wrote:
Your example is an extremely specific example that is wholly contrived. Mine involves, you know, dragons and sh*t.

No more contrived than say, an optimised dungeon based encounter which favours wizards is contrived. It involves an entirely reasonable set of events from a social focused campaign set in one of the major countries of golarion.

It also represents exactly the sort of scene that regularly turns up in the games i play in and run.

Both our views are biased by our play style, the difference is, i am not saying that something you find useful is rubbish and should be gotten rid off, but your making the arguement that, its not use in your game, so it shouldn't be in the system.

Sovereign Court

One of the key aspects of this is that it comes down to play style and different people find different feats more or less useful than others do. Also there is the issue of yes it may be subpar but the character has a flavour reason for taking a particular feat (this applies to PrCs as well)

With regard to weapon proficiencies specifically Weapon Group Feats from UA/d20 SRD


ruemere wrote:
Bagpuss wrote:
Dennis da Ogre wrote:


Sure... but don't Barbarians get things fighters don't? Rangers, likewise. Fighter only "feats" should really be reclassified as Fighter class features to eliminate this sort of confusion.

Well, if they should be fighter-only, sure. But the new fighter-only feats just shouldn't be fighter-only, is my point, as they're part of fixing the problems with combat (particularly at higher levels) and so should be open to all.

Precisely. We just need enough high level (high BAB prerequisites: 12+, 14+, 16+, 18+) powerful feats.

Regards,
RUemere

And then we still have the case where a Fighter 4/Sorcerer 2/Dragon Disciple 4/Eldritch Knight 10, or a Bard 8/Fighter 2/Eldritch Knight 10 (to take two fairly mediocre examples) can take all the same feats as a Fighter 20 while still being to cast spells and whatnot.

Liberty's Edge

Zombieneighbours wrote:
Psychic_Robot wrote:
Your example is an extremely specific example that is wholly contrived. Mine involves, you know, dragons and sh*t.

No more contrived than say, an optimised dungeon based encounter which favours wizards is contrived. It involves an entirely reasonable set of events from a social focused campaign set in one of the major countries of golarion.

It also represents exactly the sort of scene that regularly turns up in the games i play in and run.

Both our views are biased by our play style, the difference is, i am not saying that something you find useful is rubbish and should be gotten rid off, but your making the arguement that, its not use in your game, so it shouldn't be in the system.

I was curious; I looked at your example with the duel and was intrigued by the novel nature of it.

Did the story event in question evolve from the feats involved, or just naturally, then it's up to the players to (hopefully) have the useful feat(s) in place? Regardless, it's a really nice setup. To contrive isn't always a bad thing...


Psychic_Robot wrote:
Your example is an extremely specific example that is wholly contrived. Mine involves, you know, dragons and sh*t.

Specific, yes. Contrived, no. And your example... Well, I haven't actually seen one. The previous "specific" example certainly IS an example of something that could easily come up, and therefore the feats used are perfectly valid.


Heathansson wrote:
Zombieneighbours wrote:
Psychic_Robot wrote:
Your example is an extremely specific example that is wholly contrived. Mine involves, you know, dragons and sh*t.

No more contrived than say, an optimised dungeon based encounter which favours wizards is contrived. It involves an entirely reasonable set of events from a social focused campaign set in one of the major countries of golarion.

It also represents exactly the sort of scene that regularly turns up in the games i play in and run.

Both our views are biased by our play style, the difference is, i am not saying that something you find useful is rubbish and should be gotten rid off, but your making the arguement that, its not use in your game, so it shouldn't be in the system.

I was curious; I looked at your example with the duel and was intrigued by the novel nature of it.

Did the story event in question evolve from the feats involved, or just naturally, then it's up to the players to (hopefully) have the useful feat(s) in place? Regardless, it's a really nice setup. To contrive isn't always a bad thing...

The example is fictional, it never actually happened, but it is loosely based on two other scenes from games i ran at university and the specific feat mentions. The two original scenes where in in warhammer fantasy roleplay and involved stalling honour duels through various means. On was a pistol duel which kept on being put off though the charms of one of the female characters, which was where the 'until the guards arive' element came from and the other was a sword duel in which the opponent was the superier fighter, as parry was being desperately imployed until the poison that had been in the opponents wine kicked in, which is where the 'holding of with sword play' element came from.

Its hard to comment on the specificially crafted scene/naturally developing one, in this case clearly, but i do use both. contrived scenes tend to be used to help a character shine based on what they are ment to do, while naturalistic scenes rewards quick thinking.


hogarth wrote:
ruemere wrote:
Bagpuss wrote:
Dennis da Ogre wrote:


Sure... but don't Barbarians get things fighters don't? Rangers, likewise. Fighter only "feats" should really be reclassified as Fighter class features to eliminate this sort of confusion.

Well, if they should be fighter-only, sure. But the new fighter-only feats just shouldn't be fighter-only, is my point, as they're part of fixing the problems with combat (particularly at higher levels) and so should be open to all.

Precisely. We just need enough high level (high BAB prerequisites: 12+, 14+, 16+, 18+) powerful feats.

Regards,
RUemere

And then we still have the case where a Fighter 4/Sorcerer 2/Dragon Disciple 4/Eldritch Knight 10, or a Bard 8/Fighter 2/Eldritch Knight 10 (to take two fairly mediocre examples) can take all the same feats as a Fighter 20 while still being to cast spells and whatnot.

just to play devils advocate hogarth. Is there a compelling reason a Bard 8/Fighter 2/Eldritch Knight 10 shouldn't be able to blind a man and leave him seriously bleeding with his rapier in a single stike?Why shouldn't a sufficiently talented swords man of any class be able to use criticial mastery?


Completely agree on all points. Merging feats -- please. Traps should not exist. I see arguments about how this isn't friendly to new players... and I can't even fathom the concept. Trap choices are friendlier to new players than slightly more complex feats? Well, let's see. One permanently damages his character, the other... involves slightly more reading. Sorry, no competition. Trap feats are far less newbie friendly than more complex feats.

About the conditional nature of feats: Would you rather have a feat that is good in very specific circumstances, such as Combat Reflexes in a circumstance where you know the enemy will attack you and only you, or would you rather have a feat that is good in every situation, such as Power Attack? The choice, for me, doesn't even exist. One of those feats proves it's worth once in a campaign, the other every single fight. Therefore, the first is a trap, and needs to be fixed.

Re: 'Martial Weapon Proficiency'. As is, given the choice between a MWP or an EWP, an EWP is strictly superior in every single way. By rolling all MWPs into one feat, a choice suddenly exists -- you could become proficient with one excellent weapon, or with a large amount of good weapons. While I think most characters would still choose EWP, MWP would actually become an option. This is a completely excellent change and I hope it makes it to the final product.

Re: Toyrobot, and the concept that the PFRPG contains too much power creep already. Yes, PFRPG contains entirely, massively, too much power creep -- and in all the wrong places. Taken as a whole, melee characters are just as strong in PFRPG as in straight 3.5, but casters, especially Wizards, have become supercharged. I agree that this product needs to scale back it's power creep if it is to be anything more than a mockery in the D&D community, but this isn't the place for it to be scaling back -- this is the place to push forward. Combat classes need feats to function. They need good, strong, feats. Feats that define their characters and give them a chance to be as successful as full casters. This is the place to give them that.

What this project needs in order to succeed is two things -- one, all spellcasters must get toned down to the level of physical characters. Two, physical characters must be given feats that are actually feasible, good, powerful, and scaling with level. Power Attack, pre PF nerf, is a great example of such a feat. Take that... and make more. Dozens more. Keep them relevant to only physical characters -- the point that casters can benefit from combined feats is very true. But they need to exist.


Bagpuss wrote:
Well, if they should be fighter-only, sure. But the new fighter-only feats just shouldn't be fighter-only, is my point, as they're part of fixing the problems with combat (particularly at higher levels) and so should be open to all.

As things sit right now... these are the new optional fighter class features.

  • Critical Mastery
  • Disruptive
  • Greater Penetrating Strike
  • Greater Shield Focus
  • Greater Shield Mastery
  • Penetrating Strike
  • Shield Mastery
  • Spellbreaker

The rest of the feats are general melee fixes. The goal of these feats is to make the fighter class viable and interesting as a 20 level class. It's interesting to note that the only one of the critical feats is on that list and it's the final, capstone feat of the tree. Beyond that you have a few feats targeted towards disrupting wizards and some shield help.

Is this handful of feats really interesting enough to make the fighter unique and interesting as a class? Personally I think no.

Which of those feats do you think really belongs in the public domain? What sort of feats (class features) should the fighter get to make it unique and interesting if not those?


Zombieneighbours wrote:


just to play devils advocate hogarth. Is there a compelling reason a Bard 8/Fighter 2/Eldritch Knight 10 shouldn't be able to blind a man and leave him seriously bleeding with his rapier in a single stike?Why shouldn't a sufficiently talented swords man of any class be able to use criticial mastery?

I don't have a problem with that. But I think there should be something -- anything -- that a fighter can do that no one else can do. Otherwise why not just play a spellcasting melee fighter instead?


ruemere wrote:

1 level of Fighter (gains):

- 1 feat
- multiple proficiences
- +1 BAB
- +2 Fortitude
- 1d10 hp
1 level of Fighter (disadvantages):
- 2 skill points (make it 4, please)
- loss of a single in original class

Again, class levels cannot be compared to feats. The opportunity cost of a feat is completely different than the opportunity cost for a class level.

ruemere wrote:

Feat: Martial Weapon Proficiences

Prerequisite: BAB 1+, proficiency in all Simple Weapons.
Benefit: Gain proficiency in all Martial Weapons.

I think the feat is viable and usable by classes lacking the feature (Clerics, Monks, Druids).

Quote:

I find it amusing that of the three classes that you list only one of them is qualified for the feat you suggest. Both Monk and Druid would have to take Simple Weapon Proficiency first (as would the wizard) then Martial Weapon Proficiency. In about 99% of cases they would be better off taking the existing MWP feat for the one or two weapons they want.


hogarth wrote:
Zombieneighbours wrote:


just to play devils advocate hogarth. Is there a compelling reason a Bard 8/Fighter 2/Eldritch Knight 10 shouldn't be able to blind a man and leave him seriously bleeding with his rapier in a single stike?Why shouldn't a sufficiently talented swords man of any class be able to use criticial mastery?
I don't have a problem with that. But I think there should be something -- anything -- that a fighter can do that no one else can do. Otherwise why not just play a spellcasting melee fighter instead?

While i agree with your point of view from a game point of view, i have some trouble seeing why any of the feats listed should be fighter exclusive from a narrative perspective.


Paul Johnson 245 wrote:

Completely agree on all points. Merging feats -- please. Traps should not exist. I see arguments about how this isn't friendly to new players... and I can't even fathom the concept. Trap choices are friendlier to new players than slightly more complex feats? Well, let's see. One permanently damages his character, the other... involves slightly more reading. Sorry, no competition. Trap feats are far less newbie friendly than more complex feats.

About the conditional nature of feats: Would you rather have a feat that is good in very specific circumstances, such as Combat Reflexes in a circumstance where you know the enemy will attack you and only you, or would you rather have a feat that is good in every situation, such as Power Attack? The choice, for me, doesn't even exist. One of those feats proves it's worth once in a campaign, the other every single fight. Therefore, the first is a trap, and needs to be fixed.

Trap is an emotive term and based on your personal bias.

It does not add anything to the discussion to lable feats you don't like as traps. Because there are players for who, they are excilent choices, not bad.

As for the conditionality of feats.

Firstly, power attack is conditional there are occations where an Antagonist's AC is to high to make power attack a viable option, so please don't try to say it can be used in every fight of a campaign.

Secondly, my first consideration when choosing any element of a characters progression is not utility but how it relates to the characters concept. So it i am playing an avid fencer or a slightly cowardly scholar or any number of other options, i might take combat reflexs, over power attack.

Lastly, threats which are likely focus on a single target are more common than you make out.

many plants, unintelligent undead, unintelligent constructs, Oozes, Most animals and vermin, other low intelligence creatures may such as hydra, NPC's with specific emotional reasons to select a target(insane jealousy for instance.), charmed companions and cohorts and numerous other threats. So to say an occations where raising AC to a level where it is almost impossible to be hit is might be useful, is a once in a campaign option is disengenous.

Scarab Sages

Snorter wrote:


Maybe, a compromise could be to have the feats teach broad weapon groups?

One-Handed Blades
One-Handed Concussion
Two-Handed Weapons
Spears and Polearms
Bows, etc?

Bagpuss wrote:
Sweet, one more (thrown, I think, from memory) and it's Rolemaster!

LOL, indeed, and, given the 3.5 writers history of writing for RM (where a rank in a weapon group improves skill with all weapons in the group, whether you've ever used one or not), one wonders why they were so stingy with the weapon proficiencies in D&D?

Hmm; 11 invisible posts...

Scarab Sages

Jim Callaghan wrote:
And I disagree that "Exotic" is a euphamism for "Oriental".

But the reverse is true, with 'oriental' being a euphemism for 'exotic' and therefore, falsely assumed to be difficult to use.

Many of these were customised peasant tools, and have come to be associated with fighting monks and ninja, precisely because they were cheap, easy to obtain, and could be carried as part of a disguise without raising too much suspicion.

(see also, polearm, another class of weapon that, initially, was intended to arm untrained peasants with something they already instinctively knew how to use...)

Jim Callaghan wrote:
Of the weapons you list, the tonfa does not appear in either the SRD or Pathfinder, the kukri is a martial weapon, and the siangham... Well the siangham is an exotic weapon.

Yes, I meant the kama, not the kukri. Seriously, it's a pick!

You hold the blunt end, and you hit people with the pointy end! How hard is that?

Just checked, the tonfa is in the Arms and Equipment Guide, yet, bizarrely doesn't provide a picture. We appear to need showing what a double scimitar looks like (Hmm, would it, perhaps, be two scimitars?), yet an inexperienced player would have to search for info on this weapon, such as this site HERE.

As can be seen, these are standard issue police equipment. Did all our boys in blue just get given a level of Monk?


Snorter wrote:
Jim Callaghan wrote:
Of the weapons you list, the tonfa does not appear in either the SRD or Pathfinder, the kukri is a martial weapon, and the siangham... Well the siangham is an exotic weapon.

Yes, I meant the kama, not the kukri. Seriously, it's a pick!

You hold the blunt end, and you hit people with the pointy end! How hard is that?

Just checked, the tonfa is in the Arms and Equipment Guide, yet, bizarrely doesn't provide a picture. We appear to need showing what a double scimitar looks like (Hmm, would it, perhaps, be two scimitars?), yet an inexperienced player would have to search for info on this weapon, such as this site HERE.

As can be seen, these are standard issue police equipment. Did all our boys in blue just get given a level of Monk?

First of all, yes, the kama is an exotic weapon, despite being (as someone else, I'm not sure who, pointed out somewhere on these boards) statistically EXACTLY like the sickle, except that the kama counts as a special monk weapon, and is 4 gp cheaper (?!?!?).

Second of all, I must correct myself: the tonfa is in the SRD... in the Modern section, where it is revealed to be a simple weapon that can deal either standard or nonlethal damage. That way our boys in blue don't need that level in monk (although in my area, the collapsable metal baton is more popular; also a simple weapon per d20 Modern).

Sovereign Court

We can at least agree that hardly anyone would seriously take a martial weapon proficiency when they can get the whole lot with a fighter level dip and get a bonus feat? So, those martial weapon proficiencies would appear to be pretty pointless as written (i.e., per-weapon).


Bagpuss wrote:
We can at least agree that hardly anyone would seriously take a martial weapon proficiency when they can get the whole lot with a fighter level dip and get a bonus feat? So, those martial weapon proficiencies would appear to be pretty pointless as written (i.e., per-weapon).

Assuming that the level dip is appropreate? What if a concept calls for a build that a, can't fit fighter level in b, wouldn't be appropreate to contain a fighter level? If you leave the feat as an option, you can play wizard whos father taught him how to use knightly weapons to follow in his foot steps, before he was spirited away to study at a school of arcane learning.

Leave the option in, it lets people built the characters they want to play, rather than the characters you think they should play.

Sovereign Court

I'm just saying that it seems to me that, in practice, the significant majority won't take it. I have no interest in telling people what sort of characters to make, I'm saying what I think that the actual practices are, on the whole.


Zombieneighbours wrote:


While i agree with your point of view from a game point of view, i have some trouble seeing why any of the feats listed should be fighter exclusive from a narrative perspective.

Well, if you get right down to it, there's no reason that any class feature (like Sneak Attack or Uncanny Dodge) couldn't be made into a feat (from a narrative perspective). But this is D&D where men are men, elves are elves, and class features are class features. So if we have a fighter class, I think it should have a class feature no one else can duplicate (hint: +1 to attack and damage with a weapon can be duplicated pretty easily).

Awesome feats benefit all classes; the fighter deserves one or two crumbs to call his own, I think. Then again, I don't really care too much -- the Tome of Battle classes do an O.K. job, in my opinion.


hogarth wrote:
Zombieneighbours wrote:


While i agree with your point of view from a game point of view, i have some trouble seeing why any of the feats listed should be fighter exclusive from a narrative perspective.

Well, if you get right down to it, there's no reason that any class feature (like Sneak Attack or Uncanny Dodge) couldn't be made into a feat (from a narrative perspective). But this is D&D where men are men, elves are elves, and class features are class features. So if we have a fighter class, I think it should have a class feature no one else can duplicate (hint: +1 to attack and damage with a weapon can be duplicated pretty easily).

Awesome feats benefit all classes; the fighter deserves one or two crumbs to call his own, I think. Then again, I don't really care too much -- the Tome of Battle classes do an O.K. job, in my opinion.

An exilent point. Still can't quiet get over the whole, 'but any one should in theory be able to do that' itchyness between the ears but i do get the point.


Bagpuss wrote:
I'm just saying that it seems to me that, in practice, the significant majority won't take it. I have no interest in telling people what sort of characters to make, I'm saying what I think that the actual practices are, on the whole.

But, why does that mean that it "shouldn't be an option", which is what Pychic robot is advocating, even if he doesn't realise it.

Sovereign Court

From the design point of view -- i.e., say I am involved in designing a game -- I wouldn't include options that most people wouldn't take. I particularly wouldn't hide attractive options behind them so that people had to take it for various other purposes even though it wasn't much use.

As a player or GM, I'm not a gamist; I'm more of a simulationist with a little narrativist. However, that's a different thing to game design; I think that game designers have to look at things in a much more gamist way even if they, themselves, aren't gamists when playing or DMing. Sure, I can probably enjoy any game, no matter how it was designed, but that doesn't mean that if I'm thinking about design, I won't be trying to make options moderately attractive, particularly given that with limited page numbers, unattractive stuff is a waste of space (and if it's only 'attractive' because it has to be taken to get at the good stuff behind it, I'd also consider that something of a waste). On the other side, I don't want to make options too attractive (so that, for example, they cease to be options but become must-haves).


hogarth wrote:
ruemere wrote:
Bagpuss wrote:
Dennis da Ogre wrote:

Sure... but don't Barbarians get things fighters don't? Rangers, likewise. Fighter only "feats" should really be reclassified as Fighter class features to eliminate this sort of confusion.

Well, if they should be fighter-only, sure. But the new fighter-only feats just shouldn't be fighter-only, is my point, as they're part of fixing the problems with combat (particularly at higher levels) and so should be open to all.
Precisely. We just need enough high level (high BAB prerequisites: 12+, 14+, 16+, 18+) powerful feats.[...]
And then we still have the case where a Fighter 4/Sorcerer 2/Dragon Disciple 4/Eldritch Knight 10, or a Bard 8/Fighter 2/Eldritch Knight 10 (to take two fairly mediocre examples) can take all the same feats as a Fighter 20 while still being to cast spells and whatnot.

Dear Sweet Deity.

Have you stopped by any chance lately by any copy of PFRPG Beta and read Fighter class section there? If you did, you would have surely noticed that it grants 10 feats more than other classes.

Had you read some stuff we posted previously, you would have noticed that Fighters need more love at higher levels, and that the love should come in form of feats because Jason already stated on these forums that Fighter will not be changed.

So, it's either high level feats or Waterloo, Napoleon. But since we get 10 more feats than your example, of which 5 come in high level range, it is still fixable at this point by putting in high level abilities.

And since it's 10 feats, it's easy to put in feats which, without Fighter-only flag, will be usable only by Fighters. Sure, other classes make steal a trick or two with their 5 feats (level range: 11 - 20). Meanwhile, the Fighter gets double this and Weapon/Armor Training.

All you need are some really kickass feats instead of vanilla "add X to damage" (like recent Critical enhancers feats).

Seriously, people, pay attention to stuff Pathfinder designers write.

Regards,
Ruemere


Dennis da Ogre wrote:

[...]

Is this handful of feats really interesting enough to make the fighter unique and interesting as a class? Personally I think no.

Which of those feats do you think really belongs in the public domain? What sort of feats (class features) should the fighter get to make it unique and interesting if not those?

The problem here is that Fighter with those feats is trumped by caster since they boost Fighters damage dealing abilities. The aspects of mobility, defenses, countermeasures and bad saves were neglected or not appropriately addressed.

Mobility:
- dimension door
- enemies with total concealment
- flying enemies
- intercepting enemies

Defenses:
- it's very hard to improve AC without losing ability to deal damage
- Combat Maneuvers in high level range are very difficult to pull off

Countermeasures:
- what is the melee guy supposed to do when he gets Walled/Forcecaged/Solid Fogged off?
- how should he escape from Improved Grab?

Bad saves:
- as it is now, with insta-kill [1] spell/ability, you just need to fail once to lose
- Will save, with Bravery and stuff to improve resistances, does not offer significant chance of survival

To sum it up: Fighter deals more damage. Their criticals got more fearsome. They can still be outmaneuvered or negated easily since they lack tools to deal with barriers, insta-kills and impossible DCs [2].

Regards,
Ruemere

[1] Insta-kill - any ability which negates target's usefulness. You don't need to actually kill to remove combat potential. Walls and Solid Fog are particularly effective, no-save insta-kills.

[2] Monster related DCs (or caster DCs) improve faster than melee guy's offensive (monster hitpoints vs Fighter's damage) and defensive (Fighter's saves) abilities. For example:
When grappled, spellcaster can navigate around impossible DC by using a Dimension Door spell, Rogue can use Escape Artist (Fighters + 2 skill points per level + heavy armor = no Escape Artist).

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

Solid fog isn't and hasn't ever been an instant-kill. Generally, it is a two-round delaying action (double move, double move) for someone in the center of the fog to get out of it as a worst-case. Walls, other than force and thorns, are shorter delays than that.


ruemere wrote:
hogarth wrote:


And then we still have the case where a Fighter 4/Sorcerer 2/Dragon Disciple 4/Eldritch Knight 10, or a Bard 8/Fighter 2/Eldritch Knight 10 (to take two fairly mediocre examples) can take all the same feats as a Fighter 20 while still being to cast spells and whatnot.

Dear Sweet Deity.

Have you stopped by any chance lately by any copy of PFRPG Beta and read Fighter class section there? If you did, you would have surely noticed that it grants 10 feats more than other classes.

Please take a look at what I wrote. A Fighter 20 has 11 bonus fighter feats; a Fighter 4/Sorcerer 2/Dragon Disciple 4/Eldritch Knight 10 has 6 bonus fighter feats and one dragon bloodline feat. Are you trying to claim that 4 more bonus feats is equal in power to 14 levels of spellcasting? Because that's the most idiotic thing I've ever heard.


Russ Taylor wrote:
Solid fog isn't and hasn't ever been an instant-kill. Generally, it is a two-round delaying action (double move, double move) for someone in the center of the fog to get out of it as a worst-case. Walls, other than force and thorns, are shorter delays than that.

Given that most 3.5 combat consist of 3 meaningful rounds, given that you can wall the fogged area at your leisure, given that you can put some tentacles, summons, cloud kill and other thins inside...

Properly placed Solid Fog is almost as good as Time Stop against melee tanks. Actually, it can be even better since you can damage your targets indirectly.

Russ, with all due respect, spellcaster who cannot cook a tank within two rounds, is either out of luck, does not play to his intelligence or used up their resources already or tried to tackle some Godzilla masquerading as tank.

Regards,
Ruemere

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

ruemere wrote:

Given that most 3.5 combat consist of 3 meaningful rounds, given that you can wall the fogged area at your leisure, given that you can put some tentacles, summons, cloud kill and other thins inside...

Properly placed Solid Fog is almost as good as Time Stop against melee tanks. Actually, it can be even better since you can damage your targets indirectly.

Russ, with all due respect, spellcaster who cannot cook a tank within two rounds, is either out of luck, does not play to his intelligence or used up their resources already or tried to tackle some Godzilla masquerading as tank.

Combat often last 2-3 rounds, yes, but that's if you don't burn up actions on delay-of-game tactics. I've played a fairly staggering number of high level games, and I've rarely seen solid fog decide a battle - it just drags it out. Generally speaking, if you're dropping solid fog in order to target the critter inside with other spells, you'll do better to just start with those other spells instead, and save a resource. After all, if you can cook a tank in THREE rounds (solid fog + two other actions), you might as well-half cook it right off the bat.

A lot of things in the game sound better than they are, if you don't consider what you could have done instead.

Edit:
Let me throw out there that I think battlefield control gets overused. The most appropriate applications (relative to resource cost) are spreading a large fight out over time (so that you can focus fire better while some foes are delayed) and neutralizing a single very dangerous foe. The second option is very resource-intensive, and in terms of strategy I've found you're better off working towards eliminating a single PC-class rather than just delaying or inconveniencing them. In other words, battlefield control isn't always the cheapest solution - and it certainly costs more game time than most other options.


hogarth wrote:
ruemere wrote:
hogarth wrote:


And then we still have the case where a Fighter 4/Sorcerer 2/Dragon Disciple 4/Eldritch Knight 10, or a Bard 8/Fighter 2/Eldritch Knight 10 (to take two fairly mediocre examples) can take all the same feats as a Fighter 20 while still being to cast spells and whatnot.

Dear Sweet Deity.

Have you stopped by any chance lately by any copy of PFRPG Beta and read Fighter class section there? If you did, you would have surely noticed that it grants 10 feats more than other classes.

Please take a look at what I wrote. A Fighter 20 has 11 bonus fighter feats; a Fighter 4/Sorcerer 2/Dragon Disciple 4/Eldritch Knight 10 has 6 bonus fighter feats and one dragon bloodline feat. Are you trying to claim that 4 more bonus feats is equal in power to 14 levels of spellcasting? Because that's the most idiotic thing I've ever heard.

Let's dissect this:

Fighter 4: 3 bonus feats.
Sorcerer 2: 0 bonus feats.
Dragon Disciple 4: 1 bonus feat - not necessarily combat related.
Eldritch Knight 10: 3 bonus feats.
Total: 7 bonus feats.

Fighter 20: 11 bonus feats.
Total: 11 bonus feats.

Number of feats in 11 - 20 level range (where Fighter distinctively loses to any spellcaster):
Your example: 5 feats + 3 bonus feats = 8 feats. (Note: Eldritch Knight in PFRG gained 2 more bonus feats - I did not look up prestige classes seriously yet, considering their tweaks to be subpar... looks llike I was wrong about their power.).
Straight Fighter: 5 feats + 5 bonus feats = 10 feats.

Summing it up: 4 feats more, 2 BAB more (Fighter) vs spellcasting abilities = Fighter loses.
Summing it up for high level range (11 - 20): Fighter get only 2 more feats and a few class features against spellcasting abilities. Fighter does not just lose - he is turned to ash and scattered to the wings

What can I say? You're right. I should buy you a beer (or two) as a way of apologizing. I did not know that current prestige class proposals nerf Fighter's role even further.

*sigh*

I wonder what was the intention of upping power of Eldritch Knight and Dragon Disciple while leaving stuff like Shadowdancer still seriously lacking.

regards,
Ruemere

Liberty's Edge

Russ Taylor wrote:

Combat often last 2-3 rounds, yes, but that's if you don't burn up actions on delay-of-game tactics. I've played a fairly staggering number of high level games, and I've rarely seen solid fog decide a battle - it just drags it out. Generally speaking, if you're dropping solid fog in order to target the critter inside with other spells, you'll do better to just start with those other spells instead, and save a resource. After all, if you can cook a tank in THREE rounds (solid fog + two other actions), you might as well-half cook it right off the bat.

A lot of things in the game sound better than they are, if you don't consider what you could have done instead.

The thing is, with solid fog your target is not getting to take any actions in response.

Instead of:
1. You blast he full attacks
2. You blast he dies
It is:
1. You solid fog he full moves
2. You blast he full moves
3. You blast he dies

I prefer fights where the other guy never even gets an attack.

Of course, adding other effects can extend the impairment, and free blasting time, even further. With other terrain control, it can also mean the creature caught inside is taking a -2 to hit and damage, as well as the 20% miss chance, if it gets to the edge and goes toe to toe with a fighter on your side.


Russ Taylor wrote:

[...] I've played a fairly staggering number of high level games, and I've rarely seen solid fog decide a battle - it just drags it out. Generally speaking, if you're dropping solid fog in order to target the critter inside with other spells, you'll do better to just start with those other spells instead, and save a resource. After all, if you can cook a tank in THREE rounds (solid fog + two other actions), you might as well-half cook it right off the bat.[...]

The games I saw looked usually like this: one caster (the one which wins initiative) drops delay stuff on opponents (not necessarily Solid Fog, there are several other spells) taking care not to restrict ability to act of his partner. The other guy either supplements it with further delay spell or goes straight for the kill or readies spellcasting or delays so that he can make sure that he goes last and reacts appropriately.

It's not like this is the sure-win tactic, of course, it's just that getting one free round (while opponents are treated to Cloudkills or grapples or anything which distracts their attention while you gauge their defenses) makes for a good start.

Use of SoDs straight away is fine if you do not need to account for actions of several targets. Single targets are easiest to plan against, after all.

Still, this is just my experience, it varies from yours, but apparently casters in my games prefer to be more cautious softening target first. Guess they are still smarting from some Spell Turnings and Illusions.

Regards,
Ruemere


ruemere wrote:
I wonder what was the intention of upping power of Eldritch Knight and Dragon Disciple while leaving stuff like Shadowdancer still seriously lacking.

An excellent question, and one I don't have the answer to. It looks like casters still get most of the love when it comes to improvements.


You know, I do have to say that after being here sense alpha it has become clear to me that two key things happend to melee classes in general. Melee classes got improved, sometimes slightly, while their key feats got nerfed in one of two ways; they drastically reduced the power in a flat nerf such as power attack, combat expertise, improved combat maneuver feats, etc. Or they got turned into an action and made slightly better producing an illusion of improvement, but really a nerf such as dodge, cleave, great cleave, etc.

Some of these feats might need to be nerfed, but not to the degree that they have.


Zombieneighbours wrote:

Trap is an emotive term and based on your personal bias.

It does not add anything to the discussion to lable feats you don't like as traps. Because there are players for who, they are excilent choices, not bad.

Trap is not an emotive term and has nothing to do with personal bias. A trap is a trap -- it is a choice that is far weaker than other choices you could make with no payoff. There are no players for whom traps are excellent choices, there are simply players who think traps are excellent choices. This perception does not make the trap an excellent choice. It is still a trap. The feat is still weak beyond measure, people who choose it are still making characters weaker than they could be, and it still needs to be fixed -- and by fixing it, the players who think it is good due to their lack of game system mastery (which is a bad thing, mind you, for a game to have to rely on to be playable) are actually justified with it being good.

Zombieneighbours wrote:
Firstly, power attack is conditional there are occations where an Antagonist's AC is to high to make power attack a viable option, so please don't try to say it can be used in every fight of a campaign.

And this is the exception as opposed to the rule. Yes, there are circumstances that nullify each and every feat. However, in considering two feats that have fairly equal effects, if one is applicable in nearly every circumstance but is nullified under certain rare situations and the other is not applicable except under certain rare situations, the second is still vastly inferior and is still a trap.

Zombieneighbours wrote:
Secondly, my first consideration when choosing any element of a characters progression is not utility but how it relates to the characters concept. So it i am playing an avid fencer or a slightly cowardly scholar or any number of other options, i might take combat reflexs, over power attack.

And here you go off the deep end. You do not need Combat Reflexes to be a dashing swordsman. You could be a commoner with a skill focus in basketweaving and you would be able to RP as a dashing swordsman. Your feat choices, and, indeed, your entire combat function, is completely separate from your character. Just describe it better. Talk about your fancy footwork, and your decisive blow. This is what defines your character. Don't let your stats get in the way.

Zombieneighbours wrote:

Lastly, threats which are likely focus on a single target are more common than you make out.

many plants, unintelligent undead, unintelligent constructs, Oozes, Most animals and vermin, other low intelligence creatures may such as hydra, NPC's with specific emotional reasons to select a target(insane jealousy for instance.), charmed companions and cohorts and numerous other threats. So to say an occations where raising AC to a level where it is almost impossible to be hit is might be useful, is a once in a campaign option is disengenous.

Unintelligent creatures react. If presented one target, they will attack it, yes. If presented three targets, one hitting hard, one hitting soft, and one not hitting at all, they react to the largest threat because even the least intelligent being has a sense of self preservation. Therefore, barring a DM who willingly abandons his monster's RP to justify your poor feat choice, unintelligent monsters will react to you just the same as an intelligent monster -- once it realizes you pose no offensive threat, it will ignore you.

In certain circumstances, yes, you can goad an intelligent creature into focusing on you and only you. If you hold a specific item that creature is focused on, or stand on a specific part of terrain, yes, the enemy may choose to focus on you and only you. But again, we reach a situation as above -- this feat is one that only proves it's worth once in a rare while, as compared to an alternative that proves it's worth in nearly every single fight. That the feat even functions is an exception to normal combat, as opposed to the rule.


Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:

You know, I do have to say that after being here sense alpha it has become clear to me that two key things happend to melee classes in general. Melee classes got improved, sometimes slightly, while their key feats got nerfed in one of two ways; they drastically reduced the power in a flat nerf such as power attack, combat expertise, improved combat maneuver feats, etc. Or they got turned into an action and made slightly better producing an illusion of improvement, but really a nerf such as dodge, cleave, great cleave, etc.

Some of these feats might need to be nerfed, but not to the degree that they have.

None of these feats (or features) needed to be nerfed. Many of them needed to be buffed. All of them need to be fixed -- at least to return them to their viability in 3.5, and hopefully to buff them to the point of being worth taking.


Psychic_Robot wrote:
Uh...no.

I like the sharing of ideas, but I dislike the "don't interrupt me while I'm on my soapbox" attitude.

Thanks for your input.


Paul Johnson 245 wrote:
Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:

You know, I do have to say that after being here sense alpha it has become clear to me that two key things happend to melee classes in general. Melee classes got improved, sometimes slightly, while their key feats got nerfed in one of two ways; they drastically reduced the power in a flat nerf such as power attack, combat expertise, improved combat maneuver feats, etc. Or they got turned into an action and made slightly better producing an illusion of improvement, but really a nerf such as dodge, cleave, great cleave, etc.

Some of these feats might need to be nerfed, but not to the degree that they have.

None of these feats (or features) needed to be nerfed. Many of them needed to be buffed. All of them need to be fixed -- at least to return them to their viability in 3.5, and hopefully to buff them to the point of being worth taking.

Agreed, with the exception of power attack, that did needed to be simplified and powered down, but not to the current degree. When I have time I will be producing my own versions, hopefully you will help back me up on this when I make the post.


I agree, many feats are not equal to each other in their power level.

I personally feel that the only real solution to this is to use a "point buy" system for feats.

Many other games do this with Advantages/Disadvantages. Where each is worth a set number of points and you simply pick the ones you would like to spend your points on.

Thus if we instead of gaining "a feat" upon a certain level, gained 10 feat points to spend on the feats we want, then we have circumvented this problem.

I know this will probably never happen but I have felt for a long time that this was the way to go. I think it would be a simple change and would go a long way towards balancing the feats with each other.

Sovereign Court

If we were designing 4e, I'd agree that point-buy for feats would be the sensible option. However, I don't see how that can be the option for this version of PFRPG (maybe an optional rule in that Unearthed Arcana variant I would love to see...), which probably just means making feats more equal or, alternatively, less unequal, with consideration for the fact that a lot of these feats reside in feat chains.


Vult Wrathblades wrote:
I agree, many feats are not equal to each other in their power level. I personally feel that the only real solution to this is to use a "point buy" system for feats.

I reluctantly have to agree that point-buy feats, or feats with "levels" analogous to spell levels, probably won't make it into Pathfinder. But there's another option: make all feats scale by relevant attributes. Metamagic feats, for example, already are self-scaling because higher-level casters have more higher-level spell slots to devote to them, and hence get more and more use out of them as they level up. Likewise for item creation feats: higher level = more disposable wealth = more use out of those feats. Spells themselves scale with level as well, of course.

Combat feats in general scale very poorly, or not at all. Toughness has been improved so that it scales with HD, but the same treatment hasn't been given to the other combat feats that are the melee classes' bread and butter (and in some cases, like for Power Attack, the scaling has been capped or removed). A reasonable scaling factor allows a feat to be more powerful for a higher-level character, without making it overpowered at low levels. For combat feats, BAB is a great scaler because it ensures warrior classes get the most eventual benefit.

Sovereign Court

Wouldn't point-buy feats be sweet as an option, though? You could then have scaling options, as you say, purchased with more points that you'd get each level...

If it was very popular as an option then maybe it'd end up in a future revision and in general, I like the idea of trialling big changes as options (which is part of why I lust after an Unearthed Arcana for PFRPG).


Bagpuss wrote:
If it was very popular as an option then maybe it'd end up in a future revision and in general, I like the idea of trialling big changes as options (which is part of why I lust after an Unearthed Arcana for PFRPG).

Yeah, I'm for sure hoping for one of those, down the road...


To Psychic Robot:
You are correct, no feat should suck.

Now to qualifiers. No feat has the same worth to all classes of all levels, so "suck" has a degree of subjectivity to it. What I see is that characters generally have a small nuber of feats compared to the number available, which is where the problem lies.

Making each feat more specific and small in its effect exaggerates the problem. I see the solution as one of two possibilities.

First, give characters more feats and keep all feat at the same power scale as they are now, or

Second, make feats more flexible in their scope (like combine all metamagic feats into one, choose the effect when you use it).

The first one is easiest. Make sure that each class has a list of exclusive feats. Every character gets a feat every level. This will allow a player to develop a theme and still be able to something besides that. Unfortunately, the GM is more burdened by this option.

The second one is more elegant, combats power creep, gives the GM more flexibility with less to remember, and pretty much requires reshaping the entire feat system, throwing backward compatibility in the toilet.

So, if you can take more of those feats that never get taken, then fewer of them will suck.

Sovereign Court

orcface999 wrote:


The first one is easiest. Make sure that each class has a list of exclusive feats. Every character gets a feat every level. This will allow a player to develop a theme and still be able to something besides that. Unfortunately, the GM is more burdened by this option.

Ick. Classes are artificial and metagamey. We can't get rid of them, of course -- it wouldn't be D&D at all without them, let alone 3.x -- but class-only feats reinforce it and detract from one of the really good things about 3.x, which was customisation outside of the class system.

Redefining combat feats and adding new ones is my favoured option (and I think that Jason's done some great work there, although I don't like any of the new feats being fighter-only, I think that the Power Attack and Combat Expertise nerfs are horrendous and I think that Lunge and Shall Not Pass should work together by removing the 'adjacent squares' SNP requirement and putting in 'threatened squares', which makes sense to me in any case).

Upping the goodness of some existing feats doesn't break backwards-compatibility, necessarily, although obviously stat blocks containing the effects of feats (rather than just their names) will be wrong to the extent that the feat changed. Yes, some pre-existing PCs and NPCs may then have substandard feat picks or combos, but that's true every time new feats are added and most DMs can, if they wish, fix that with a little time and a pencil or post-it (kids: use post-its so that when I buy it from you on ebay I don't have to look at your handwriting every time I use it!).

Sovereign Court

I like Ruemere's take on CMB feat fixes. The MWP feat could work better as a weapon group type of thing sword, axe, bow etc. Save bonus feats should scale. PA and CE should be relaxed a bit if not changed completely to their 3.5 state.


So many voices clamoring for something for the fighter--exclusive feats are probably the ticket. Sure, my preference would be to broaden feats and reduce the list to a max of about 120 total.
By increasing the scope of feats, some would disappear, making any NPC in any module needing fixing.

I was just looking at the Feat Point threads on Sean K Reynolds website and thinking it reminded me of AD&D 2nd Skill and Powers and Combat Options books. That sort of system would be great, but I don't have time to tinker with it. For now I'll just occasionally give extra feats based on character concept.

Sovereign Court

orcface999 wrote:

So many voices clamoring for something for the fighter--exclusive feats are probably the ticket. Sure, my preference would be to broaden feats and reduce the list to a max of about 120 total.

By increasing the scope of feats, some would disappear, making any NPC in any module needing fixing.

Actually, even those people clamouring for stuff for the fighter don't necessarily want more exclusive feats...


Actually, some people argue that Fighters need options to work around impossible odds, just like Rogues and Wizards (and Druids, and Clerics can).

Grappled by Dragon? Dimension Door / Escape Artist!
Walled off? Teleport / Stay hidden in the first place!
Dominated? This is my best save, no need to fear Dominate!
Pelted by direct damage area spells? Evasion!

Of course, not every class can come up with decent defense against eveything (though spellcasters get really close to the ideal). It's just that the fighters need to be carried around, rescued, buffed - in a way, they are like mail parcel: unless it gets delivered under right address (i.e. put in a position to do some smashing) it gets returned to sender (i.e. does not deliver at all).

During recent session the party was being Ice Walled by a Hamatula. Barbarian somehow managed to break down the wall, Wizards sidestepped the problem and finished the devil, while Fighters lost time trying to walk around obstacles and find the real opponent (the others were illusionary).

Currently, the worst flaws of straight Fighter:
- no way to overcome magic obstacles
- difficult to resist Will targetting attacks
- weak maneuverability

If it was anime, then:
- strength-based fighter would break Ice Walls with weapon and charge the opponent
- agility-based fighter would jump high in the air, sit down at the top of the wall, locked on closest target and, sidestepping multiple ranged attacks, would use vertical walls to charge
- nature-based fighter would sniff the air to find the real opponent, then with an animalistic roar would scale the wall monkey-style and...
- wizardly fighter would use rapier strike to dispel all walls around, the eyes would flash some weird color and, seeing through all illusions, ...

Meanwhile, d20 Fighters, after doing some *poke* *poke* *poke* *does not budge* have decided to *let's wait for wizzies to deal with this annoying guy*.

And wizzies did so. Seek the Soulless to deal some damage (Book of Eldritch Might II), Feeblemind and some damage spells.

Regards,
Ruemere

The Exchange

Bagpuss wrote:
orcface999 wrote:

So many voices clamoring for something for the fighter--exclusive feats are probably the ticket. Sure, my preference would be to broaden feats and reduce the list to a max of about 120 total.

By increasing the scope of feats, some would disappear, making any NPC in any module needing fixing.
Actually, even those people clamouring for stuff for the fighter don't necessarily want more exclusive feats...

i would beg to differ. the extremist (like me) would rather have class abilities that set them apart from a warrior with bonus feat, almost all Fighter supporters want (at the minimum) a strong list of Fighter only feats. if you would not like to see that...then you might be on the other side of the issue.

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