Cavalier First Impressions


Round 1: Cavalier and Oracle

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Grand Lodge

On first read I'm not enthusiastic about the Cavalier for a number of reasons...

I'm with the others and you can add +1 against the Cavaliers automatic flank during a challenge. Flanking opens up the cavalier for some serious pain for relatively little gain. Put a cavalier in a room with a 5th level warrior and his 4 3rd level rogue thugs and see just how fast the cavalier dies. One volley of attacks from the thugs shortswords could see the cavalier taking 12d6 damage before he's even reached his challenge.

If this was the intent then consider increasing the cavaliers HD to d12 and grant the class some form of damage reduction or increased armor class because most cavaliers will likely be trying to charge their opponents suffering AoO to reach their foe.

The Cavalier seems very skills and saves based on his other abilities but neglects his attack rolls, damage rolls and AC unless specifically dealing with a single foe per combat. while this is more relaxed than the paladins smite evil I get the feeling the cavalier misses the mark as a tank. I know its unrealistic to simply provide him with the abilites already outlined by other classes for fear of destroying their niche in the combat but what about granting the cavalier more specialised abilities like increased AC while using combat expertise or increased CMB? I could see a market for a warrior who compensates his lack of damage and AC by using abilities like sunder and disarm, The drawback of such attacks is the need to use them in place of an attack, why not give the cavalier the ability to disarm or sunder and do a follow up attack as an immediate action? this could also help the cavaliers weakness against sneak attacks if he could disarm those who threaten the flanks. At the end of the day a cavalier is likely to be in heavy armor and his movement around the battlefield restricted unless he is mounted. This should be reflected in his abilities to soak up damage instead of trying to avoid it.

The Cavalier has a lot of abilities that require him to be mounted. In many situations a mount is not of use in a campaign. most typical dungeons, city based adventures and the like will not see the use of a mount. However, this does make him the only viable mounted build granting him bonuses beyond other typical mounted characters such as the paladin. I posted a modification to the knight class that took the rangers fighting style approach. This gave the knight the choice of being a mounted specialist or a foot infantry specialist. The same doesn't fit too well with the cavaliers name but at least it provides more options within the class especially if the campaign might restrict one or the other. You have done the same with the paladins mount by adding a boned weapon and with the wizard/sorcerer familiars and druids animal companion/domain specialisation.

I don't have a problem with the mounted angle of the cavalier but I find it very restrictive and stereotypical. The attention leans more in favor of a prestige class... Let me elaborate on why;
I can see a fighter paladin or ranger taking on the mounted combat angle and multi-classing into a cavalier to gain those benefits but I could not see a cavalier multi-classing away from the goal of the class to pick up abilities from another class more easily.
Also its easy to consider a prestige class for a fighter ranger or paladin but what about a cavalier themed prestige class? short of specialising in a specific mount a cavalier will lose everything his core class has in favor of existing prestige classes like the eldritch knight? This makes the cavalier a one trip pony in my eyes and short of race, oath and order differences every cavalier will likely play out the same.
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Ability Analysis
Challenge (Ex): Overall a nice ability that provides the cavalier with a goal during combat to confront the biggest threat and take it down as quickly as possible. However, the flanking leaves him far too open to use this straight away. Perhaps when the rest of the battlefield is clear the cavalier will issue a challenge against the last foe but by then the arcane artillery has probably been dealing a lot of damage to that target already so is precision damage really enough?

Mount (Ex): Having a strong mount is pivotal to its survival and I applaud the use of the cavaliers full class level as his effective druid level. My only concern is its utility in small confined spaces like dungeons and city streets.

Oath (Ex): I like the Oath ability very much, its unique and provides a lot of roleplaying opportunities. I could also see DMs awarding additional rewards from encounters designed specifically towards a particular oath. The problem is some oaths don't offer realistic goals in certain situations. the oath of chastity seems like an easy one to pick if your spending two months hiking through monster infested mountains with little chance of meeting a female. I think there needs to be more oaths too, as well as clarification on whether certain oaths can be taken multiple times (like taking oath of protection for two party members.)

Dark mistress had a nice idea in the Rules thread about having lifetime oaths and task oaths. That sounds like a nice deviation and I think it would help define the amount of effort applied to achieve these oaths.

Order (Ex): These to me are the main aspects that define one cavalier from another unfortunately it also appears to the the only thing. The only confusion I can see appearing from this is the skills section. When a cavalier abandons an order he loses all abilities of the order but how does this affect his skills from that order? does he loose the bonus class skills? does he retain the bonus from class level to a specific skill use?

Bonus Feat: This is far too broad allowing all combat feats to be selected. I would much rather see a restricted list based on the cavaliers order, however, they would also need clarification regarding order abandonment.

Cavalier’s Charge (Ex): This is a nice boost to the cavaliers mounted combat but its very restrictive in its use by being mounted only. I couldn't see a problem with making this affect the cavalier whenever he charges, mounted or not.

Expert Trainer (Ex): This ability is nice but a little abusive. given small characters almost any creature can be a mount and while the ability states it works on an animal that serves as a mount the ability doesn't stop you from teaching non-mount related tricks and this really makes them better animal handlers than druids or rangers which doesn't rest right with me. Perhaps restricting it to the mount purpose or a specific list of tricks would be in order.

Banner (Ex): This is a nice ability and I cant see any problem with it.

Mighty Charge (Ex): I like the thought of this ability to increase the threat range of weapons while mounted. The free CM attack is very nice and does make more use of non-lance weapons while mounted (trip with a flail) however its still only while mounted and only while charging.

Demanding Challenge (Ex): Now this is seriously underpowered to almost worthless. What your saying here is a cavalier issues a challenge at a target and only your allies get a bonus to hit that opponent as long as the cavalier is avoiding meeting his challenge?!?! That seems very backwards considering the only reason a challenge would be issued is to deal additional damage against that target. I could see it being used while mounted and using ride-by attack but beyond that its not worth the -2 AC to keep running away from your challenge target. I would at least increase this penalty and make it so that the challenge is considered flanked at the very least.

Supreme Charge (Ex): As a 20th level ability this seems a little weak. A Capstone ability limited only to charges and only while mounted is a heavy restriction for a capstone ability. I cant see many cavaliers sticking out 20 levels just to do an extra 1 to 2 dice of damage on a charge while mounted plus a change to stun on a critical hit. The Orders 15th level abilities will likely see the top Cavaliers leaving for another class at 15th level and in some cases for greater benefit (5 levels of rogue adds 3d6 sneak attack)

Supreme Charge with Spirited charge clarification would be useful. As it does involve multiple multiplications it can become cumbersome to calculate. I could see some players mistaking a spirited charge and supreme charge with a lance and having it dealing 27d8 on a critical hit!

According to the damage multiplication rules in the core rulebook the base damage is multiplied only, so the calculation should be.

Charge (Longsword) x1 (1d8 or 2d8 on a critical)
Mounted Charge (Lance) x2 (2d8 or 4d8 on a critical)
Spirited Charge or Supreme Charge (Longsword) x2 (2d8 or 3d8 on a critical)
Spirited Charge or Supreme Charge (Lance) x3 (3d8 or 5d8 on a critical)
Spirited Charge and Supreme Charge (Longsword) x3 (3d8 or 4d8 on a critical)
Spirited Charge and Supreme Charge (Lance) x5 (5d8 or 7d8 on a critical)

Overall its a nice attempt but I think it stretches a little thin on abilities to fulfill the role of a 20 level class. I think it would be much more suited to a prestige class still as there is not enough unique and broad coverage abilities to warrant it replacing a fighter, paladin, ranger, or barbarian in a 4 man group. The Cavalier definitely fits a more martial bard by providing bonuses to his allies however so at the least it fits well into the 5th wheel party slot.


My opinions:

Challenge: Ok, nothing -- Bar nothing -- is worth giving all your other opponents flanking on yourself. It simply isn't worth it, especially for bonus damage less than what the rogue gets. Maybe just letting the cavalier have the damage against one opponent.

Oaths: Exceptionally weak and truthfully lacking. While the basic idea behind them is great the bonuses are barely worth noting... Generally when a class or racial feature gives a bonus to a save it's a general bonus and at least +2... when it is against a specific type of 'attack' the bonus usually climbs up to +4 off the bat. I think that's a good starting point for any ability that's going to be giving bonuses like this.

Mount: No problems with this right off the bat, the one week waiting period is really rough though, and not getting the bonuses for until you level is rather nasty. Everyone else that replaces a pet gets a fully powered pet when they do so, why not the Cavalier... just looks unneeded. Also considering this class is the only class that doesn't have a means to buff their pet on their own a few extra abilities for the Mount wouldn't be out of place.

Banner: Not quite there yet it feels like... Maybe this would be a good place to put additional kickers in as the Cavalier levels. The morale bonuses are nice, but possibly giving another bonus later based on his Oath and Order would be nice too, possibly extra damage when outnumbered, or extra AC when adjacent to an ally or bonuses to other types of effects based on his Oaths. If nothing else then to tie the features together more... they seem kind of thrown together with little rhyme or reason.

Demanding Challenge: Ok so I threaten you with physical violence by being in your threatening space and suddenly I'm not so scary? And I'm only making things better if I got someone else to hit you... Not so much.

Supreme Charge: Could use some "humpf" maybe if he could charge and full attack instead of the extra damage that would be great, something new, and fix the slight problem of "I charge I charge I charge I charge", without relying on a single massive damage hit or miss each round.

Orders: I like this over all and it honestly seems like the place most of the Cavalier's power comes from.

Other Thoughts:

I would really like to see a bit more battle field control out of this class. So far it can deal damage, and it can somewhat help it's allies... now it needs to do something a bit more different than this, as these are concepts that can already be filled by the basic classes.

Perhaps an ability where while mounted the Cavalier can treat any square he threatens as a square he can flank from, or the ability to trip, bull rush, and the like on a charge. More abilities that cause his foes to have to move in specific circumstances would be nice too, (like a pushing advance where he attacks and the horse makes a bull rush as it walks into them with the cavalier swinging). Over all I think this has a lot of room for improvement but is a great start... I think many of those bonus feats could be dropped for better class abilities... Too many of the 'fighter type' classes are loaded with bonus feats and that does step on the fighter's toes in my eyes.


My 2 CP:

Overall: I really like this class. The mechanics are fun and different, and I'd definitely play one. On the downside, I feel like the class has a massive clusterf*ck of little abilities. In terms of bookkeeping and usefulness, I feel like most players are better off with less, more powerful abilities. In terms of power, this feels like it creeps a little. Remember, this guy needs to stand next to the barbarian.

Challenge: I'm just not sold on this. I don't think it does what it says. To me, a challenge means calling the guy out, which would give him, rather than his friends, a benefit to hit you. Also, I don't think they need the extra damage.

Mount: It's good. 'Nuff said.

Oath: I like this. The concept is one that's really fun, and will be amazing to RP in some cases. I'd like a few more options. That being said, these are powers I'd like to see made stronger (and maybe a few smaller ones cut).

Order: I also really like this. The concept is spot on. But, again, my concern is too many little abilities. Also, the orders aren't even close to balanced against one another. The order of the sword kind of owns the others.

Cavalier's charge: This is alright.

Expert Trainer: Honestly, this just seems like yet another extra ability to keep track of. Mounts don't need that many tricks.

Banner: I'm not a fan of this. It feels like it steals from the bard (I'm aware some of the order abilities do as well).

Mighty charge: Ok, this is cool and I like it. But, I worry the cavalier will have only one build if all of their abilities are charged based. No agile horsemen? I do, however, like the free maneuver at the end. That's just fun.

Demanding challenge: I hate this. If a cavalier is trying to honorably/arrogantly call their enemy to fight them, why would they give their allies a bonus to hit that foe?

Supreme charge: Good Capstone. I like some charge abilities, I just want a few mounted abilities that don't require a charge.


Quijenoth wrote:

On first read I'm not enthusiastic about the Cavalier for a number of reasons...

I'm with the others and you can add +1 against the Cavaliers automatic flank during a challenge. Flanking opens up the cavalier for some serious pain for relatively little gain. Put a cavalier in a room with a 5th level warrior and his 4 3rd level rogue thugs and see just how fast the cavalier dies. One volley of attacks from the thugs shortswords could see the cavalier taking 12d6 damage before he's even reached his challenge.

In the first place, what is he doing ALONE against all these people? That's what party members are for, to take care of the things you can't handle.

Quijenoth wrote:
If this was the intent then consider increasing the cavaliers HD to d12 and grant the class some form of damage reduction or increased armor class because most cavaliers will likely be trying to charge their opponents suffering AoO to reach their foe.

If it was their intent to make him suffer horribly for challenging, then I agree, he would need a little help on that side.

Quijenoth wrote:
The Cavalier seems very skills and saves based on his other abilities but neglects his attack rolls, damage rolls and AC unless specifically dealing with a single foe per combat. while this is more relaxed than the paladins smite evil I get the feeling the cavalier misses the mark as a tank. I know its unrealistic to simply provide him with the abilities already outlined by other classes for fear of destroying their niche in the combat but what about granting the cavalier more specialised abilities like increased AC while using combat expertise or increased CMB? I could see a market for a warrior who compensates his lack of damage and AC by using abilities like sunder and disarm, The drawback of such attacks is the need to use them in place of an attack, why not give the cavalier the ability to disarm or sunder and do a follow up attack as an immediate action? this could also help the cavaliers weakness against sneak attacks if he could disarm those who threaten the flanks. At the end of the day a cavalier is likely to be in heavy armor and his movement around the battlefield restricted unless he is mounted. This should be reflected in his abilities to soak up damage instead of trying to avoid it.

I don't see much difference in damage output between the Fighter and the Cavalier. Between the Paladin and the Cavalier, maybe. But, the Cavalier compensates with versatility of usage. He can use it against a Neutral enemy. The Paladin cannot.

Quijenoth wrote:
The Cavalier has a lot of abilities that require him to be mounted. In many situations a mount is not of use in a campaign. most typical dungeons, city based adventures and the like will not see the use of a mount. However, this does make him the only viable mounted build granting him bonuses beyond other typical mounted characters such as the paladin. I posted a modification to the knight class that took the rangers fighting style approach. This gave the knight the choice of being a mounted specialist or a foot infantry specialist. The same doesn't fit too well with the cavaliers name but at least it provides more options within the class especially if the campaign might restrict one or the other. You have done the same with the paladins mount by adding a boned weapon and with the wizard/sorcerer familiars and druids animal companion/domain specialisation.

You don't have to take a horse. In fact, at level 4, you can take a wolf or a boar if you are Medium sized. Level 1 if Small.

Quijenoth wrote:

I don't have a problem with the mounted angle of the cavalier but I find it very restrictive and stereotypical. The attention leans more in favor of a prestige class... Let me elaborate on why;

I can see a fighter paladin or ranger taking on the mounted combat angle and multi-classing into a cavalier to gain those benefits but I could not see a cavalier multi-classing away from the goal of the class to pick up abilities from another class more easily.
Also its easy to consider a prestige class for a fighter ranger or paladin but what about a cavalier themed prestige class? short of specialising in a specific mount a cavalier will lose everything his core class has in favor of existing prestige classes like the eldritch knight? This makes the cavalier a one trip pony in my eyes and short of race, oath and order differences every cavalier will likely play out the same.

He doesn't always have to be mounted. In fact, with the feats the mount gets, you could make it a frontline fighter that can double as a mount. Give it things like Armor proficiencies, and some of the feats from the Bestiary.

The Demanding challenge ability: Most Cavaliers will use a lance or a spear of some sort that will provide them with range, while still maintaining their opponent in melee.

The Bonus feats make sense, in my opinion. It helps differentiate Cavaliers, even within their Order.

I agree with the rest, though.


I'm going to re-post something I just posted somewhere else, to support your argument...

I actually think the challenge mechanic is well balanced, and I hope it doesn't change much. Just think a (most likely) heavily armored knightly-man dueling it out with his foe, concentrating all his efforts on that baddie, and leaving his back exposed. A snaky little halfling with a dagger in his hand comes from behind, and puts the blade through a chink in his armor.

With everything else the Cavalier gets (plus bonuses to his challenge from his order), I think it is danger of being overpowered if it were changed much. He doesn't have the restrictions of the paladin, and doesn't have to set it up like the rogue (for sneak attack), he also doesn't get the significant drawbacks the barbarian gets from raging (fatigue,-AC), he can just do it round after round.

And if he were in a den of thieves for some reason (most common thieves would still be NPCs IMO) I would hope he would use his power wisely and not leave himself open to all those backstabbers. What about his party? wouldn't they help keep the thieves at bay? Anyhow, hopefully the GM isn't throwing waves of Rogues at a party ill-suited to deal with them, or maybe the Cavalier is outshining the party in combat and its time to send in the rogue-squad to level things!

I hope Paizo doesn't give in to those who want a crunchy, clunky, overpowered kill-beast that they can optimize to godly heights (a little exaggerated, I admit, but...)


Mr. Subtle wrote:


I actually think the challenge mechanic is well balanced, and I hope it doesn't change much. Just think a (most likely) heavily armored knightly-man dueling it out with his foe, concentrating all his efforts on that baddie, and leaving his back exposed. A snaky little halfling with a dagger in his hand comes from behind, and puts the blade through a chink in his armor.

I agree, it's not like flanking is hard, people are like OMG ROGUES!!!!. really? I mean really how often doe you fight a group of all rogues? how often does your group fight them alone? No one ever get flanked? Ever?

He is a well armored knight. Full BAB, extra damage and paying no mind to anyone but his foe. Knights did that, they paid little mind to the commners in battle(sometimes got ganked for it)


I do think that the Oath mechanic needs work, and I know a couple of players that wouldn't even touch this class without an alternative to having a mount, they hate being mounted. I think this class is great and needs, IMO, less work than the oracle (which seems like a mess to me).

Liberty's Edge

I thought the challenge ability was really meant for what I'd call "Worthy Opponents". A blackguard is a worthy opponent, a paladin is a worthy opponent, a fighter a worthy opponent, but a bunch of grunty thieves? Nope, they're beneath my blade. Besides I don't want to get sneak attacked hehe. /humor


I agree, challenge seems to be something you would only pull out in a tactical or roleplaying worthy situation. Additionally, I like the pull off...mechanically speaking the flanking could be shifted to a simple AC penalty...but I like the set notion so far.

This is going to see my winter playtest table.

Dark Archive

Well I posted in the rules thread. But over all I like the Cavalier and other than for the most part needing a few tweaks I think it is fine as is. Except in regard to oaths, as I said in the other thread and was mentioned by the OP. I love the concept of oaths but right now really don't like how they are being used.

Of course i am a fan of the life oaths and task oaths. The life oaths could just give current abilities boost as they are mostly minor or maybe a little less not sure. Task oaths I think could be boosted a bit.

I am fine with the challange ability as is. Yes it is dangerous to use cause of flanking but it is also a good ability, so i think it is balanced of risk vs reward. I think it is set up, so it is not something you do or always want to do in every fight. Only when their is a call for it, which works for me.


I think the Challenge ability is pretty good as is. But it's hard limit of once per encounter might be worked on. I hate to point to the Smite Evil mechanic for balance comparison, as I think that is the most broken thing I have seen in nine years of D20, but if it is in the game then the Challenge may need loosening up. The paladin can (theoretically) blow several Smites in one fight, and (though I think this should be errata'd) there is nothing saying they cannot have more than one Smite going at once. Also, it should use a different name, or else BE an actual challenge. But, Challenge does work as is.

I do take issue with the class skills. I like what's there, but no knowlege (nobility)? That is nuts. I know that certain orders grant it as a class skill, but ALL Cavaliers should get it. The class has a feature called Banner...which means all Cavaliers have some kind of heraldic symbol. I believe it is intrinsic to the class, and in fact I would support granting them half their Cavalier level as a bonus and let them make checks in Knowledge (nobility) untrained.

Speaking of which, Banner needs clarification. There is no other language in the class description which mentions the "Cavalier's banner". We need to know that they HAVE a "banner", and what that "banner" consists of. If it is meant to actually be a "banner", then the feature is much lessened in efficacy as displying one might often prove difficult. Perhaps it is best if the bonus comes simply from the proximity to the Cavalier.

I must second an opinion I read earlier (sorry don't have the poster's name) that the Demanding Challenge feature is off. I liked it at first blush probably for the same reason Jason wrote it: it makes sense. However, as pointed out by the aforementioned poster, the way it WORKS is counter to the intent. The Cavalier "calls out" a foe, and his companions seize the opportunity to beat on him before the brave knight gets there. Also, there is nothing that says he must go TO the target of his Challenge, so he can deal with the lesser threats while granting his companions bonuses to the BBEG, then joins the fray and finishes him off. I don't think any serious roleplayer would do that, but it is an exploit. And I find that obvious exploits can turn serious roleplayers into mini-munchkins at times (if they are tacticians as well).

And, finally, I must also agree with several sentiments stating that the reliance on being mounted is a major deficiency of the class. Now I LOVE the idea of the mounted warrior and making him kick ass, indeed my longest running and favorite character began life as a 1st Ed. Cavalier and I intend to turn 20 of his levels into THIS Cavalier. However, having played that PC for 33 levels in three (and a half) editions over 22 years, I can tell you...he doesn't spend much time (on adventures) in the saddle. I applaud the inclusion of the mounted bonuses, but I think the class should be centered on the pledge to a cause or code. Also, I believe (previous commentary notwithstanding) that we should strive to "genericize" the class, steering away from things like high medieval heraldry and codes in the general class rules. But these can be enhanced in the Order rules. I do see opportunity in the propensity for charging. You might consider granting the various "charge" abilities (as is, or revised in some cases) while afoot, but some of them could be more powerful when mounted.

Whew! Sorry for the long windedness.

Cheers.


Dark_Mistress wrote:

Well I posted in the rules thread. But over all I like the Cavalier and other than for the most part needing a few tweaks I think it is fine as is. Except in regard to oaths, as I said in the other thread and was mentioned by the OP. I love the concept of oaths but right now really don't like how they are being used.

Of course i am a fan of the life oaths and task oaths. The life oaths could just give current abilities boost as they are mostly minor or maybe a little less not sure. Task oaths I think could be boosted a bit.

I am fine with the challange ability as is. Yes it is dangerous to use cause of flanking but it is also a good ability, so i think it is balanced of risk vs reward. I think it is set up, so it is not something you do or always want to do in every fight. Only when their is a call for it, which works for me.

I second the idea of "life oaths". The bonuses should be constant but smallish. The life oath is really a roleplaying oath, and as such will be abused by those so inclined. So, for instance, the oath of chastity could grant a +2 to Will saves vs. Enchantment (charm) effects. Or a life oath to slay all Goblinoids might grant a +2 favored enemy bonus, but watch out for the nursery in the goblin warrens or you'll hate yourself in the morning.

I also think the "task oaths" should, as much as possible, grant bonuses while working on the oath. Else, they don't have much use. "I swear on my the souls of my fathers to slay the Witchking and bring down his Empire!"....(after an epic multi-session battle fest, culminating in the dissolution of the Witchking and his Empire)...."Great, NOW I get the bonus!"

Dark Archive

To me the last one would kinda be a life oath, something you swear to do in your life.

To me a task oath should be something one could do in a short time frame a month or two at most. Like escort the princess to her new husband or protect this town from the NEXT Orc raid etc.

And I agree the task oaths should only be bonuses when doing said task. For example escort the princess oath, might give a +2 moral to hit bonus and will saves as a off the top of my head example. Which would work in any fight or encounter about the princess. But wouldn't apply if the princess was upstairs asleep in the inn and the cavalier got involved in a drunken brawl that night.


(edited, tidied up & clarified)
The Challenge ability of the Cavalier in my opinion encroaches on the territory of the Fighter who was (for a few glorious months during the Beta Playtest) actually the king of melee, but who has since been having his supremacy nibbled away at, piece by piece, as other classes invade his turf.
Each of those dice of extra damage against a challenged foe is worth, on average, 3.5 extra damage per successful hit. As currently written the 19th level cavalier, against a challenged foe, scores on average an extra 24.5 points of precision damage on each successful strike.
The 19th level fighter, identically equipped and statted, only gets 8 extra damage between weapon training, and specialisation, assuming he is using his favourite type of weapon in which he is greater focused and specialised. Granted such a 19th level fighter is 5 points of BAB more likely to hit, and could power attack for extra damage, but without the flexibility in Power Attack in PFRPG the 19th level Fighter has to take a -6 to his chance to hit for +18 damage (26 extra damage total, assuming both he and the cavalier are using a two handed weapon) which leaves the fighter doing 1.5 points of extra damage more than the cavalier on a successful hit, whilst now having a 1 point worse chance of hitting. The Fighter needs to hope that he crits for his extra feats (and weapon training, if that multiplies on a crit) to count to be able to beat the Cavalier for damage against a specific foe.

The Cavalier counting as being 'flanked', whilst issuing a challenge, by other foes is a minimal penalty in my opinion. The sort of foe which you most seriously need that level of extra damage against is often a solitaire monster, with few henchman/associates - and a PC cavalier is in any case likely travelling with an adventuring party, and his companions can handle any mooks or apply magic to him (greater invisibility?) to obviate any problem that this might cause. If an in-game reason exists for which counting as being flanked is a serious problem, the Cavalier can sacrifice two dice of precision damage (7 damage, on average, per successful hit) and class-dip barbarian for five levels to pick up Uncanny Dodge, or acquire a magic item which gives the Uncanny Dodge ability if/when such an item becomes available - although I concede that this commitment of resources to target a specific concern would put the Cavalier back on a more equal footing with the Fighter.
The Fighter, however, is still restricted to using his favourite weapon in terms of specialisation, focus, and weapon training for maximum effectiveness against an enemy. The Cavalier can select an enemy in any fight, challenge it, and beat it to death with a sword, axe, warhammer, or even a chair leg, if necessary (although the latter would suffer improvised weapon penalties, unless the cavalier had appropriate feats).

I also have some concerns about the use of Challenge against inanimate objects. Can the Cavalier announce that he is fighting and issuing a 'Challenge' to a mithral door that is blocking the party's way, to be able to carve through it extra fast?

In summary, the concerns I have thus far are these:
1) As it stands the Challenge allows the Cavalier to out-damage the Fighter, in the absence of critical hits. Basically, in a party with a Cavalier and a Fighter, the Fighter's role is reduced to going after the mooks, whilst the Cavalier carves the baddest enemy into salami. The Fighter seems to me to have been reduced to the part of Cavalier's henchman, there to protect his back.
2) I have not gone into this above, but the Cavalier can go on issuing Challenges for however long the day lasts, in combat after combat going after the most appropriate foe in each. The Paladin's Smite Evil ability, for comparison, is usable only a limited number of times a day, and only against evil foes, although the Paladin's Smite does give a bonus to hit alongside extra damage.
3) The flanking 'penalty' for issuing a challenge against an enemy may not be a sufficiently serious penalty, and in any case there will be ways for an adventuring party to obviate it without too much effort.
4) Clarification is needed over just who/what and in what circumstances a Cavalier can issue a challenge and get the bonuses against.

I do not like the Cavalier as it stands. The Challenge is too flexible (for me) in terms of being able to select and then deal high damage against a target; too much better than the options to which the Fighter has access. Unlike the Rogue who can (circumstances permitting) deal sneak damage in bucket loads, the Cavalier has a BAB progression and number of attacks to match the Fighter's. I have not yet properly looked over the oaths and orders but it seems to me possible that they may heighten disparities or tread on the toes of other classes.

What I would prefer to see:
1) Drop the specific reference to flanking in the Cavalier's Challenge. If being flanked is a problem, a player will find a magic item which negates flanking, a spell from another PC, or class-dip into another class to get around it. Make this a flat penalty instead. EG 'Whilst so distracted a Cavalier is at a -2 penalty to armour class from attacks from any other enemies, and his attack rolls to hit, or damage rolls against them are identically penalised'.
2) Drop the '1 Challenge per combat' and instead implement something like a monk's ki pool, based on Charisma, which the Cavalier can use to issue challenges. He uses his force of will to drive him forward to extra exertions against his enemies, but can only draw on those reserves so much in a day.
3) Drop or decrease the bonus-to-damage effect of the Challenge. In line with the ki pool, instead give the Cavalier the option to burn points to do things like trip an opponent, taunt a sentient opponent so severely that they have to make a Will save or make a rash attack next round, or jump up and grab a chandelier and launch a flying kick across the room at an opponent's chest. What I'm thinking of here is making Cavaliers more like the Musketeers from the various films based on Alexander Dumas' books, and less someone who simply does super-damage against one enemy a fight.

Anyway, that's my initial impression and feedback.


Can'tFindthePath wrote:
I do take issue with the class skills. I like what's there, but no knowlege (nobility)? That is nuts. I know that certain orders grant it as a class skill, but ALL Cavaliers should get it. The class has a feature called Banner...which means all Cavaliers have some kind of heraldic symbol. I believe it is intrinsic to the class, and in fact I would support granting them half their Cavalier level as a bonus and let them make checks in Knowledge (nobility) untrained.

I think having Know:Nobility as a general Cavalier Class Skill is reasonable, but the 1/2Level Bonus and extra stuff should be specific to specific Orders. It's clear that all Orders are NOT about the Chivalry as much, or the Mount as much, and that's a good thing IMHO.


Quandary wrote:
Can'tFindthePath wrote:
I do take issue with the class skills. I like what's there, but no knowlege (nobility)? That is nuts. I know that certain orders grant it as a class skill, but ALL Cavaliers should get it. The class has a feature called Banner...which means all Cavaliers have some kind of heraldic symbol. I believe it is intrinsic to the class, and in fact I would support granting them half their Cavalier level as a bonus and let them make checks in Knowledge (nobility) untrained.
I think having Know:Nobility as a general Cavalier Class Skill is reasonable, but the 1/2Level Bonus and extra stuff should be specific to specific Orders. It's clear that all Orders are NOT about the Chivalry as much, or the Mount as much, and that's a good thing IMHO.

I suppose you are right on that, I am all for (as I said) genericizing the class to be applicable to many different cultures. I was just thinking in the vain of them having the "banner" etc. that it would allow those who weren't into it to ignore the skill and still be proficient.

But yeah.


Charles Evans 25 wrote:

(edited, tidied up & clarified)

The Challenge ability of the Cavalier in my opinion encroaches on the territory of the Fighter who was (for a few glorious months during the Beta Playtest) actually the king of melee, but who has since been having his supremacy nibbled away at, piece by piece, as other classes invade his turf.
Each of those dice of extra damage against a challenged foe is worth, on average, 3.5 extra damage per successful hit. As currently written the 19th level cavalier, against a challenged foe, scores on average an extra 24.5 points of precision damage on each successful strike.
The 19th level fighter, identically equipped and statted, only gets 8 extra damage between weapon training, and specialisation, assuming he is using his favourite type of weapon in which he is greater focused and specialised. Granted such a 19th level fighter is 5 points of BAB more likely to hit, and could power attack for extra damage, but without the flexibility in Power Attack in PFRPG the 19th level Fighter has to take a -6 to his chance to hit for +18 damage (26 extra damage total, assuming both he and the cavalier are using a two handed weapon) which leaves the fighter doing 1.5 points of extra damage more than the cavalier on a successful hit, whilst now having a 1 point worse chance of hitting. The Fighter needs to hope that he crits for his extra feats (and weapon training, if that multiplies on a crit) to count to be able to beat the Cavalier for damage against a specific foe.

The Cavalier counting as being 'flanked', whilst issuing a challenge, by other foes is a minimal penalty in my opinion. The sort of foe which you most seriously need that level of extra damage against is often a solitaire monster, with few henchman/associates - and a PC cavalier is in any case likely travelling with an adventuring party, and his companions can handle any mooks or apply magic to him (greater invisibility?) to obviate any problem that this might cause. If an in-game reason exists for which...

Regarding damage per round: you left out the fact that the Cavalier could have all the same feats that your fighter has (although fewer at any given level) including Power Attack and the Focus tree....OOPS almost said Specialization, forgetting that is a house rule (though I imagine a common one). Anyway, they can power attack.

Now, as far as Challenging inanimate objects....well the bonus damage is precision based, so it won't apply to inanimate objects. However, I agree that some clarification (and possible name change) is needed in regards to the Challenge ability.


Dark_Mistress wrote:

To me the last one would kinda be a life oath, something you swear to do in your life.

To me a task oath should be something one could do in a short time frame a month or two at most. Like escort the princess to her new husband or protect this town from the NEXT Orc raid etc.

And I agree the task oaths should only be bonuses when doing said task. For example escort the princess oath, might give a +2 moral to hit bonus and will saves as a off the top of my head example. Which would work in any fight or encounter about the princess. But wouldn't apply if the princess was upstairs asleep in the inn and the cavalier got involved in a drunken brawl that night.

Okay, so I was a little over the top with the whole "bring down the empire" thing, but the point is, that WHILE you are fighting the bad guys is when you need the bennies not afterward. The Paladin gets his bonus to all saves while he's sleeping, or for that matter (individual God willing) while engaged in a drunken brawl.

The Exchange

Just a thought on the rogue issues.....if a Cavalier thinks that there is a rogue around, or figures out that there is after a spleenectomy, then all he has to do is not use his special ability for that fight. No problems. Occasionally a class isn't able to use 100% of it's ability. It happens.


Fake Healer wrote:
Just a thought on the rogue issues.....if a Cavalier thinks that there is a rogue around, or figures out that there is after a spleenectomy, then all he has to do is not use his special ability for that fight. No problems. Occasionally a class isn't able to use 100% of it's ability. It happens.

You mean like Rangers in 80% of the encounters they have (barring an overgenerous GM, or a particular campaign focus).


Fake Healer wrote:
Just a thought on the rogue issues.....if a Cavalier thinks that there is a rogue around, or figures out that there is after a spleenectomy, then all he has to do is not use his special ability for that fight. No problems. Occasionally a class isn't able to use 100% of it's ability. It happens.

Exactly what I was thinking. You have to pick the time to use the ability. It's a tactical decision. Any cavalier stupid enough to challenge / focus on one enemy with a pack of others ready to jump him... well, that's what we sometimes call evolution :D


(edited, rephrased)
Can'tFindthePath:
Thanks for reminding me: I should have made clear in my comparison between the 19th level Cavalier and the 19th level Fighter in terms of the damage that they were dealing on a successful hit that the Cavalier did at least have regular Weapon Focus with whatever weapon both he and the fighter were using. If the Cavalier doesn't, then the otherwise identically statted and equipped Fighter who has maximum training, and Greater Weapon Focus & Specialization in that weapon has 1.5 more points of damage when power attacking on each successful hit and the same chance to hit as the Cavalier instead of being 1 point behind on the to hit rolls.
But it seemed fair for the purpose of comparison to assume that the Cavalier would have Weapon Focus since he doesn't have a shortage of feats, and as I had assumed that the Fighter had optimised to some extent with feats with regard to chances to hit and damage.


Cavalier oaths : a few thoughts.

First of all, a distinction is usually made (in *real life*) between an oath (a vow) and a promise. An oath/vow is made to God (a higher power) whereas a promise is made to a human authority or institution. An oath/vow is binding and permanent. It is a spiritual transgression to break a vow and some sort of atonement is needed. A promise, on the other hand, is also binding but the promise can be lifted by the authority figure to which the promise was made. For example, a roman catholic priest makes a promise of celibacy (not a vow/oath) which includes a call to chastity (sexual abstinence) during the entire time he serves as a cleric. But he could have this promise lifted (e.g., in order to marry) by the institution to which the promise was made (e.g., a church).

On the other hand, a religious priest or Brother/Sister (a *religious* priest is a priest that is part of a religious order) makes an *oath* (vow) of chastity, which means that he/she makes the vow to God : it is spiritually and personally binding. It cannot be broken or "lifted" without spiritual transgression ("sin").

It is not clear in the Cavalier description if he swears the oath to his chosen order or to his deity (or to himself). It seems however from the description that the oaths spoken by the Cavalier are temporary promises rather than long-term, binding ones (which is fine as long as the meaning in the context of the game is clear). As someone pointed out, the "oath of chastity" is more like a temporary ascetic sacrifice that that the Cavalier chooses to do rather than the equivalent of the real-world "vow of chastity".

It has to be made clear I think if this oath is meant to be an oath of *chastity* (i.e., sexual abstinence) or *celibacy* (i.e., no marriage and no singular "romantic friendship").

The wording "The cavalier swears to avoid temptation" seems opened to interpretation (again, coming from a *real world* perspective). All the other oaths are made for a specific goal, but "avoiding temptation" is pretty general and relative (if not darn right impossible). "The cavalier must avoid all physical contact with members of a gender he is attracted to for 24 hours to complete this oath." This is more specific, but what the cavalier actually swears in this case is not to avoid temptation, but to avoid "physical contact" with the opposite sex (you can have no physical contact and still be tempted, as y'all know).

My suggestion (something along those lines): Oath of Chastity: For ascetic purposes and to avoid sensual temptations, the cavalier swears to refrain from contact with members of the opposite sex. This includes talking to, staring at, or otherwise doing any activity that would involve touching or interacting with a person of the other gender [except perhaps in a battle situation, if that person happens to be your foe?] If the cavalier succeeds in avoiding all such contact for 24 hours, he completes his oath and receives a +1 morale bonus on saving throws against enchantment (charm) spells and effects as long as he respects his oath. This bonus increases by +1 for every five levels the cavalier possesses.

I think this can create interesting role-playing situations!

Pardon for the long, over zealous post :)


Taman, I find your commentary on oaths quite interesting and thoughtful.

My problem with the wording on oath of chastity is that you could have serious problems if, for example, you're a male human cavalier of heterosexual orientation and the party cleric is a Calistrian female...you've just sworn an oath to avoid physical contact with the party cleric! Sure, you can use potions to heal, and she can channel energy, but if she needs to hit you with something like remove curse or another touch-based spell, oh boy...


Oh, I forgot!!

Charles Evans: In regards to your misgivings on the "flanked" condition while Challenging and ways to munchkin out of it. From the Challenge description: "Improved uncanny dodge, and similar abilities, do not protect the cavalier form being flanked as the result of a challenge".

Cheers


I guess cavaliers will be investing on fortification enhancements heavily.


Does anyone find it odd that the Cavalier doesn't get Mounted Combat as a bonus feat at 1st level? The Sword Order Cavalier only gets it at 8th level.

Grand Lodge

Kevin-Éric Bouchard wrote:
In the first place, what is he doing ALONE against all these people? That's what party members are for, to take care of the things you can't handle.

First off the cavalier is not alone. however the cavalier will likely be the first person to engage the enemy in a standard 4 man party. As I mentioned later in my post the cavalier will likely attempt to charge the biggest threat on the battlefield, in this senario the thugs are rogues but the cavalier has no idea they can sneak attack. The cavalier charges past the thugs who all get attacks of opportunity for the movement dealing a possible 12d6 damage for his recklessness. This will generally leave you with a dead cavalier and is utterly devistating. If any other class tried this they wouldnt suffer sneak attack damage.

What I'm mainly gettting at is that the sneak attack is supposed to be situational for the rogue, that is the rogue must make some form of effort to gain this extra damage but when up against a cavalier the rogue gets his situational damage all the time! even just one rogue in the opponents ranks (or a monster that does precision based damage) would be dealing extra damage against a cavalier which he cannot avoid.

I'm just glad the challenge weakness states it only applies to melee attacks because just think of the devistation awaiting a cavalier against an array of scouts and rogues with bows!

Kevin-Éric Bouchard wrote:
I don't see much difference in damage output between the Fighter and the Cavalier. Between the Paladin and the Cavalier, maybe. But, the Cavalier compensates with versatility of usage. He can use it against a Neutral enemy. The Paladin cannot.

Your forgetting its precision based damage, cavaliers are limited to one opponent per combat and as long as the character isnt immune to precision based attacks so the limitation is closer to a rogues sneak attack. Fighters have a constant damage bonus against ALL opponents with unlimited useage, thats what makes them the best fighters regardless of the situation. Anyhow that paragraph was actually looking at making the cavalier more interesting in combat rather than comparing damage and given the cavaliers lean towards heavy armors I think the class would benefit from a greater "general" AC boost instead of a greater "general" atk/damage boost. For me a cavalier relies on his mount for maneuverability, if he gets hit his abilities and armor choice should soak up the damage.

Kevin-Éric Bouchard wrote:
You don't have to take a horse. In fact, at level 4, you can take a wolf or a boar if you are Medium sized. Level 1 if Small.

Doesnt matter if its a horse, wolf, bear, dinosaur, or giant hedgehog! The fact is there are plenty of places the mount will not be welcome in a game. Dungeons are generally designed with small doors, pits, shafts, stairs, flooded rooms, or areas to climb, while cities may have restrictions on particularly wild animals and I'm sure most wont let you take them indoors!

Kevin-Éric Bouchard wrote:
He doesn't always have to be mounted. In fact, with the feats the mount gets, you could make it a frontline fighter that can double as a mount. Give it things like Armor proficiencies, and some of the feats from the Bestiary.

Yeah the mount can be a strong combatant besides acting as a mount. What about the cavalier though? by not having a mount he loses the use of Cavaliers charge, mighty charge and supereme charge (his capstone ability!).

Also heres a thought, a cavalier whose mount dies must spend 1 week in mourning before choosing a new mount and doesnt gain link evasion devotion or improved evasion until he gains a new level... how many other classes do you know that can technically lose their capstone ability for a whole week?!?! I'm sure most DMs will allow a player to use "standard" mounts until you have bonded with your loyal steed but thats unlikely to survive past the first encounter at level 20. And with no level 21 (unless you use epic levels) you have permanently lost the special abilities granted (unless the DM rules otherwise).

Kevin-Éric Bouchard wrote:
The Demanding challenge ability: Most Cavaliers will use a lance or a spear of some sort that will provide them with range, while still maintaining their opponent in melee.

I assume you mean longspear so the cavalier is relying on reach (not range) to use demanding challenge. Its a fair tactic but again if the cavalier is to replace the parties warrior hes not going to want to keep that distance and may find it increasingly difficult to maintain that advantage against bigger foes especially at 12th level! any large (tall) creature negates the benefit from reach weapons automatically.

Kevin-Éric Bouchard wrote:
The Bonus feats make sense, in my opinion. It helps differentiate Cavaliers, even within their Order.

Good point but I still feel its a little half hearted. When building a new class i want to try and fill it with new and wonderful abilities, not simply chuck in a few extra bonus feats just to fill in the gaps.

Regarding new abilities I have a few I'd consider in place of bonus feats.
Why not increase the cavaliers ability with the mounted combat feat to protect his mount with a ride check by increasing the uses per round.
Increase his skill with "HIS" chosen mount when making ride checks or allow the cavalier to take 10/20 under certain conditions?
Why not allow the cavalier to apply his shield bonus (if he uses one) to protect his mount as well?
How about granting abilities to call/mount/dismount as free/swift actions.
Regarding non mount abilities I'd consider things like stalwart defence (cavalier gains a bonus to CMD and AC in any round he doesnt move more than 5ft.) or improved bonuses with a shield (extra AC, improved damage with a shield bash, reduced ACP from shields, etc.).
How about abilities like improvised cover; grant a cavalier the benefits of cover while using a shield suffering a -2 penalty to attack and moving at half speed but negating AoO for movement because of that cover (that would deal with the above thug senario quite nicely) and maybe at higher levels removing the movement penalty and allowing its use as part of a charge.


This Class reminds me of the Knight from 3.5 and that class was a sure fire way to inflict myself with a deep slumber affect!

Challenges: Meh & yawn
Oaths: Dull
Orders: mini Bard-like abilities that are just underwhelming.

Don't like, at all. Will never play a Cavalier.

[Oracle on the other hand is very good, although it certainly doesn't give you a non-cleric option for a party as it can't heal without taking healing spells from it tiny list of spells known.]


Most of the others have already expressed my sentiments. The people in my group dont care for it either. I really don't like the vagueness of some of the challenges. The idea of the class is good, but I don't like the execution.

Grand Lodge

questing gm wrote:
Does anyone find it odd that the Cavalier doesn't get Mounted Combat as a bonus feat at 1st level? The Sword Order Cavalier only gets it at 8th level.

Yes very odd indeed - I would guess 99% of cavaliers would actually select Mounted combat as their first level feat though which prevents diversity at 1st level unless your human. As for awarding it to the Sword Order at 8th level I'm sure that most would have picked it up well before then so its a waste, at least its not limited to just mounted combat though.


Can'tFindthePath wrote:

Oh, I forgot!!

Charles Evans: In regards to your misgivings on the "flanked" condition while Challenging and ways to munchkin out of it. From the Challenge description: "Improved uncanny dodge, and similar abilities, do not protect the cavalier form being flanked as the result of a challenge".

Cheers

Which seems to go with my feeling that it was a mistake to use the word 'flanked' with regard to the Challenge ability in the first place, if what is apparently meant is 'it's-like-being-flanked-only-some-of-the-normal-methods-of-specifically-no t-being-flanked-granted-by-other-classes-don't-actually-work-in-these-circu mstances'...

:(


Perhaps the Cavalier would be better with some of the abilities from the Knight class (with an ability or two from the Fighter class mixed it)? Maybe a level progression like this:

Possible Cavalier Level Progression:
1st Challenge +1d6, mount, mounted combat, oath, order
2nd Bonus feat, order ability,
3rd Cavalier’s charge, shield block +1
4th Challenge +2d6, expert trainer
5th Bonus feat, oath
6th Banner, bulwark of defense
7th Armor training 1, challenge +3d6
8th Bonus feat, order ability
9th Oath, vigilant defender
10th Challenge +4d6, shield ally
11th Bonus feat, mighty charge
12th Demanding challenge, shield block +2
13th Challenge +5d6, oath
14th Armor training 2, bonus feat
15th Order ability
16th Challenge +6d6
17th Bonus feat, impetuous endurance
18th Improved shield ally
19th Challenge +7d6, shield block +2
20th Bonus feat, supreme charge

Bulwark of Defense: Turns all squares you threaten into difficult terrain.

Vigilant Defender: Increases the DC to tumble through your threatened area without provoking an attack of opportunity.

Shield Block: Your shield bonus to AC against one chosen foe increases by a certain amount.

Shield Ally: You can take half the damage that adjacent ally takes.

Improved Shield Ally: As Shield Ally but you can opt to take all the damage that an adjacent ally takes once per round.

Impetuous Endurance: You no longer fail a saving throw on a roll of 1.


stuart haffenden wrote:

This Class reminds me of the Knight from 3.5 and that class was a sure fire way to inflict myself with a deep slumber affect!

Challenges: Meh & yawn
Oaths: Dull
Orders: mini Bard-like abilities that are just underwhelming.

Don't like, at all. Will never play a Cavalier.

[Oracle on the other hand is very good, although it certainly doesn't give you a non-cleric option for a party as it can't heal without taking healing spells from it tiny list of spells known.]

Hrmmm. I pretty much completely disagree with everything you just wrote. My group's pretty excited about them (and an oracle would be a fine healer).

Shadow Lodge

As I mentioned elsewhere, the more this class has the ability to focus on shields and protecting allies, the better, IMO. (Especially after playing Dragon Age Origins... mmm)

However, another thing I wanted to throw out is consider changing the Cavalier's save. I personally think good Will would work better than good Fort. They are likely to already have a decent Con, and do not have the innate bonuses that Barbarians (rage), Fighters (Bravery), or Paladins (Divine Grace) get. Granted, there are the Oaths of Chastity and Protection, but I still find it strange that the Cavalier is more cowardly than a Fighter, while I could certainly understand them not being as hardy as one.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Quijenoth wrote:
Kevin-Éric Bouchard wrote:
In the first place, what is he doing ALONE against all these people? That's what party members are for, to take care of the things you can't handle.
First off the cavalier is not alone. however the cavalier will likely be the first person to engage the enemy in a standard 4 man party. As I mentioned later in my post the cavalier will likely attempt to charge the biggest threat on the battlefield, in this senario the thugs are rogues but the cavalier has no idea they can sneak attack. The cavalier charges past the thugs who all get attacks of opportunity for the movement dealing a possible 12d6 damage for his recklessness. This will generally leave you with a dead cavalier and is utterly devistating. If any other class tried this they wouldnt suffer sneak attack damage.

I've seen this a couple of times, but I have to disagree.

Firstly, it assumes that all of these thugs lie directly along the cavalier's line of approach to his challenge target but without actually blocking the line of his charge.

Secondly, it assumes that the bad guys have beaten the cavalier's initiative or had Combat Reflexes.

Thirdly, and most importantly, even assuming that all of the above are true, the cavalier does not have to declare his challenge at the beginning of the round. If the cav sees an enemy he WANTS to challenge but there are mooks in between, he does his charge toward the main bad guy but doesn't actually declare his challenge until he gets there, just like a paladin smiting evil or deciding to use Power Attack.

A cav could have reasons to WANT to declare challenge early (say, an Order of the Lion cav to get his dodge bonus to AC vs. a challenge target that has reach and might attack her on the approach), but they could just as easily have a reason NOT to want to declare it until the last moment, like the mook screen above.


Velderan wrote:


Hrmmm. I pretty much completely disagree with everything you just wrote. My group's pretty excited about them (and an oracle would be a fine healer).

I pleased your group like the Cavalier but it just puts me into a coma.

But that's ok becasue that's what the play-test is all about!

The oracle can't heal without taking Healing spells. He knows very, very few spells. If he wants to fill his few spells known slots with Cure's then he will be a good healer but he'll do bugger-all else in the casting spells department.

Grand Lodge

Jason Nelson wrote:

I've seen this a couple of times, but I have to disagree.

Firstly, it assumes that all of these thugs lie directly along the cavalier's line of approach to his challenge target but without actually blocking the line of his charge.

Secondly, it assumes that the bad guys have beaten the cavalier's initiative or had Combat Reflexes.

Thirdly, and most importantly, even assuming that all of the above are true, the cavalier does not have to declare his challenge at the beginning of the round. If the cav sees an enemy he WANTS to challenge but there are mooks in between, he does his charge toward the main bad guy but doesn't actually declare his challenge until he gets there, just like a paladin smiting evil or deciding to use Power Attack.

A cav could have reasons to WANT to declare challenge early (say, an Order of the Lion cav to get his dodge bonus to AC vs. a challenge target that has reach and might attack her on the approach), but they could just as easily have a reason NOT to want to declare it until the last moment, like the mook screen above.

Assumptions on how the combat might play out doesnt wash with me as a strong argument. the fact that is can happen is enough concern for me to consider it happening at least once per session. but based on your assumptions my initial thought of the encounter was 2 thugs guarding the door and two thugs guarding the boss, the cavalier does have direct charging line because the boss is standing opposite the door and the guards are at his front diagonal corners.

Just how easy is it for a rogue with high dex to beat a heavy armored cavalier at initiative?

I agree with you that the cavalier must be choosy with when to use challenge but I still feel its a pretty severe trap to fall into. For example, the average encounter will see mostly martial combatants that only get a +2 to hit because of the flanking condition. A cavalier with a high ac will often become complaycent about such a small penalty using his challenge as often and as soon as possible. however as soon as he walks into the above encounter, not knowing the thugs are rogues he suddenly finds himself at the mercy of 4 opponents that gain +2d6 damage to every attack against him on a level 7 encounter. you show me one other class that has an ability that has that sort of penalty because I cant think of one, even the barbarians fatigue from rage doesnt have that kind of penalty.

On the roleplaying front declaring a challenge at the start will likely be commonplace while thinking "I won't declare my challenge yet in case these guys can sneak attack" may not fall into the minds of most players until its too late.


I really wish Jason would clarify this, but it seems to me that the intention is for the "flanked" condition to apply only when the cavalier is engaged in melee with his challenge target. After all, you only get your bonuses against the target in melee, and it makes sense that you focus completely only when you are getting the bonuses. Also, this would solve the issue of the Challenge "not ending".

Cheers


Can'tFindthePath wrote:
I really wish Jason would clarify this, but it seems to me that the intention is for the "flanked" condition to apply only when the cavalier is engaged in melee with his challenge target.

+1

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

stuart haffenden wrote:
Velderan wrote:


Hrmmm. I pretty much completely disagree with everything you just wrote. My group's pretty excited about them (and an oracle would be a fine healer).
The oracle can't heal without taking Healing spells. He knows very, very few spells. If he wants to fill his few spells known slots with Cure's then he will be a good healer but he'll do bugger-all else in the casting spells department.

The oracle can swap out spells as he levels up though, so he wouldn't need to use up a spell known at 1st - 4th level to be a good healer, but could always make sure he has the highest one with a cure, and swap out lower level ones as he advances. I'm thinking that by 8th level you could have cure moderate and cure critical and still be a pretty effective healer. At 12th you can add heal and swap out cure moderate if you wanted.


JoelF847 wrote:
The oracle can swap out spells as he levels up though, so he wouldn't need to use up a spell known at 1st - 4th level to be a good healer, but could always make sure he has the highest one with a cure, and swap out lower level ones as he advances. I'm thinking that by 8th level you could have cure moderate and cure critical and still be a pretty effective healer. At 12th you can add heal and swap out cure moderate if you wanted.

Exactly. And obviously an Oracle of Healing/Sun/Positive Energy Focus will have Revelations with Healing/Channeling (+) Energy/Status Removal type abilities.


Quandary wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:
The oracle can swap out spells as he levels up though, so he wouldn't need to use up a spell known at 1st - 4th level to be a good healer, but could always make sure he has the highest one with a cure, and swap out lower level ones as he advances. I'm thinking that by 8th level you could have cure moderate and cure critical and still be a pretty effective healer. At 12th you can add heal and swap out cure moderate if you wanted.
Exactly. And obviously an Oracle of Healing/Sun/Positive Energy Focus will have Revelations with Healing/Channeling (+) Energy/Status Removal type abilities.

+1 back


Can'tFindthePath wrote:

I really wish Jason would clarify this, but it seems to me that the intention is for the "flanked" condition to apply only when the cavalier is engaged in melee with his challenge target. After all, you only get your bonuses against the target in melee, and it makes sense that you focus completely only when you are getting the bonuses. Also, this would solve the issue of the Challenge "not ending".

Cheers

I could go with this. On the other hand, you could argue that the "tunnel vision" starts when you make the challenge and move to engage your enemy. I can see it going either way, or even with a lesser penalty until he makes contact with the challenged. Alternatively you could argue that his bonuses should apply to anyone that gets between him and his target including flankers... if they fail to drop him on the way in he might strike out at them. Attacking him on the way to his chosen challege could trigger an AoO if they fail to stop him. That might add an element of danger for anyone who tries to get in the way of the challenge. Certainly make them think twice about doing it. Has a certain dramatic flair to it too.


stuart haffenden wrote:


I pleased your group like the Cavalier but it just puts me into a coma.
But that's ok becasue that's what the play-test is all about!

The oracle can't heal without taking Healing spells. He knows very, very few spells. If he wants to fill his few spells known slots with Cure's then he will be a good healer but he'll do bugger-all else in the casting spells department.

I'm curious what you find boring about it. I saw oaths and orders and flashed back to knights of the round and thought "oh, that's true, that really doesn't exist right now." I mean, it definitely needs some cleaning up, mechanically, but I find it conceptually pretty fresh. What would make it feel less meh to you?

As for the Oracle, I'd just swap out spell selections every couple of levels (I mean, who the hell keeps cure moderate anyway?). But yes, I suppose it does take a larger chunk of resources to heal for an oracle than it could for a cleric (though I'm sure there'll be a healing Mystery (focus) and the battle Mystery(focus) ability is quite nice).


Quijenoth wrote:

Assumptions on how the combat might play out doesnt wash with me as a strong argument. the fact that is can happen is enough concern for me to consider it happening at least once per session. but based on your assumptions my initial thought of the encounter was 2 thugs guarding the door and two thugs guarding the boss, the cavalier does have direct charging line because the boss is standing opposite the door and the guards are at his front diagonal corners.

Just how easy is it for a rogue with high dex to beat a heavy armored cavalier at initiative?

I agree with you that the cavalier must be choosy with when to use challenge but I still feel its a pretty severe trap to fall into. For example, the average encounter will see mostly martial combatants that only get a +2 to hit because of the flanking condition. A cavalier with a high ac will often become complaycent about such a small penalty using his challenge as often and as soon as possible. however as soon as he walks into the above encounter, not knowing the thugs are rogues he suddenly finds himself at the mercy of 4 opponents that gain +2d6 damage to every attack against him on a level 7 encounter. you show me one other class that has an ability that has that sort of penalty because I cant think of one, even the barbarians fatigue from rage doesnt have that kind of penalty.

How often do you see rogues fail to get their sneak attack damage against an opponent that is not immune? If there are 4 rogues, they should be moving to where they are flanking their target regardless of what class that target is.

Seriously, rouges are barely more dangerous to the Cavalier than they are to any other class, especially if the Cavalier has a good AC.

Just to put this in context for you, when I first read the challenge rules I thought for sure flanked was too much, so I stated up a party including a Cavalier and set them against 4 rogues and a Barbarian who was the subject of the challenge. The Barbarian was more of a threat to the Cavalier. In fact he could drop the Cavalier in just as many hits as the rouges, but he would hit much more often. Oh, and the Cavalier was using a great sword, so no shield and was fighting on foot, making him a slow moving target.


Freesword wrote:
Quijenoth wrote:

Assumptions on how the combat might play out doesnt wash with me as a strong argument. the fact that is can happen is enough concern for me to consider it happening at least once per session. but based on your assumptions my initial thought of the encounter was 2 thugs guarding the door and two thugs guarding the boss, the cavalier does have direct charging line because the boss is standing opposite the door and the guards are at his front diagonal corners.

Just how easy is it for a rogue with high dex to beat a heavy armored cavalier at initiative?

I agree with you that the cavalier must be choosy with when to use challenge but I still feel its a pretty severe trap to fall into. For example, the average encounter will see mostly martial combatants that only get a +2 to hit because of the flanking condition. A cavalier with a high ac will often become complaycent about such a small penalty using his challenge as often and as soon as possible. however as soon as he walks into the above encounter, not knowing the thugs are rogues he suddenly finds himself at the mercy of 4 opponents that gain +2d6 damage to every attack against him on a level 7 encounter. you show me one other class that has an ability that has that sort of penalty because I cant think of one, even the barbarians fatigue from rage doesnt have that kind of penalty.

Seriously, rouges are barely more dangerous to the Cavalier than they are to any other class, especially if the Cavalier has a good AC.

Just to put this in context for you, when I first read the challenge rules I thought for sure flanked was too much, so I stated up a party including a Cavalier and set them against 4 rogues and a Barbarian who was the subject of the challenge. The Barbarian was more of a...

What levels were the participating characters and what were their builds?

How often do you see rogues fail to get their sneak attack damage against an opponent that is not immune? If there are 4 rogues, they should be moving to where they are flanking their target regardless of what class that target is.

Grand Lodge

Freesword wrote:


How often do you see rogues fail to get their sneak attack damage against an opponent that is not immune?

Quite often in fact. I would say unless the rogues on the side that outnumbers his opponent a good 60% of the rogues attacks do not count sneak attack.

And yes its easy to deny a rogue his sneak attack. not so much at low levels but at high levels when the rogue is forced to move more than 5 ft to maintain his sneak attack on someone he often has to forgo his second attack.

How often does a single rogue vs a single opponent get the option to sneak attack? If the target of a cavaliers challenge has rogue levels he can sneak attack all the time! Thats a huge benefit to his challenge dont you think?


Quijenoth wrote:


How often does a single rogue vs a single opponent get the option to sneak attack? If the target of a cavaliers challenge has rogue levels he can sneak attack all the time! Thats a huge benefit to his challenge dont you think?

No he can't: "Melee attacks made against the cavalier, except those made by the target of his challenge, treat the cavalier as if he is flanked."

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