Pathfinder: Reverse Power Creep?


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Dark_Mistress wrote:
I would say Paizo is trying to hit the same power level as already exist and trying very hard. But since no one is perfect means sometimes they are going to hit low and sometimes hit high. Do I think some of the newer abilities are weaker or stronger than core options? Yep sure do, but I think as a whole most are close to being on par which is fine by me.

What DM said.


A Man In Black wrote:
and buffing someone on the fly seems to cause less bad feelings and continuity issues than nerfing them on the fly.

That's how it works for our group. An ability gets a power boost: everyone cheers! An ability gets a bit of a nerf: everyone boos.

(Tongue-in-cheek, though, for our group. We all realize that fixing balance - whether it's a boost or a nerf - is in all of our best interests. Our 'overwrought' reactions are still cause us laughter, nevertheless.)


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The problem I see with how crap all the options in UC are, is that people always want to improve their existing characters, or play cool new ones. If Paizo establishes an expectation among its customers that everything they publish in every new book will be a pile of underpowered crap and misleading trap options, then nobody will buy new books.

UM had alot of cool stuff in it for spellcasters tho, so I'm really disappointed that Paizo dropped the ball so badly with UC, which had very little in it that was good. Hopefully UC was an abberation and future Paizo supplements will have cool stuff in them again.


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Do remember that in PFS, you don't get to decide not to use a book if you don't like it. UC is in. If that is going to ruin your experience, no more PFS for you.


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Sub-optimal is always difficult to define because you never know the needs of a given campaign or story. I suspect that what people mean by sub-optimal is that they are less effective in combat. Which is a fair enough assessment. However it assumes that the players auto-win by hitting things harder. Certainly in my campaigns that rarely is the case.

Also, as the GM my job is to design challenging encounters, combat and non-combat. If my players amp up their damage per round do I:

A) ignore it and play exactly as the AP or module specifies? Or
B) increase the combat challenge to suit the newly powered up players?

As you may guess I am in school B. I play my monsters as ruthlessly as the players play their PCs. Otherwise I am giving away free gold and xp, and not doing my job as GM.

I am surprised how many people think roleplaying games are like static computer games where you can "buff" your toon to clear encounters.

The other point about "sub-optimal" feats and skills is that not all material in the books are for PCs. Many sub-optimal feats can make for awesome and memorable villains. Probably no PC will take the feat to force something into a characters hand, but a cool villain may use it to plant evidence mid fight only to disappear just as the guards arrive.............


A Man In Black wrote:
leo1925 wrote:
Who in their right minds would think that anything good can come from using that? The no.2 option is about something that looks good but it isn't.

Touché.

Also Siege Mage is so hilariously bad that I can't even stand it.

That is true - right up until you are running Spelljammers, where a full 2/3 of all combat is ship to ship/really big monster, or if you are starting off playing a "evil empire slowly gobbling up territory" early on, when suddenly a young wizard's talent for manipulating complex devices becomes critical to the nations defense.

Likewise, if one is running a campaign where equipment of a magical nature is hard to get a hold of, a low magic campaign, or - frightening thought - a D4rk5un campaign, Vow of Poverty suddenly becomes a viable and useful choice, especially if one takes another vow or two along with it. Suddenly the self reliant monk is one of the best classes around.

It's like the Crane Style complaints I see - they apparently suck - unless you're playing a pacifist, someone who doesn't attack first, a monk who duels other warriors to learn their techniques (a staple in many wuxia films, I might add), or even a thoughtful warrior who tests his opponents by playing weak sister at first then hits them with things like Quivering Palm or a Vital Strike enabled Elemental Fist and half-kills his opposition in one blow.


HeHateMe wrote:


The problem I see with how crap all the options in UC are, is that people always want to improve their existing characters, or play cool new ones. If Paizo establishes an expectation among its customers that everything they publish in every new book will be a pile of underpowered crap and misleading trap options, then nobody will buy new books.

UM had alot of cool stuff in it for spellcasters tho, so I'm really disappointed that Paizo dropped the ball so badly with UC, which had very little in it that was good. Hopefully UC was an abberation and future Paizo supplements will have cool stuff in them again.

My UC has a lot of interesting things that also manage not to invalidate my core book options. Perhaps we have different editions...

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I removed some posts. Play nice.

Scarab Sages

Darkholme wrote:
... Am I the only one who feels this way?

Nope. I too was underwhelmed by most of the majority of UC. Though there were the obligatory power up archers even more feets.

Clustered Shoot: Stop being hosed by DR.

Improved Snap Shot: Punish people for closing into melee with you.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Removed a post I missed.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Gorbacz wrote:
LilithsThrall wrote:
The one thing I don't understand is why people buy stuff they know isn't balanced. Anyone of us could create unbalanced stuff while sitting in traffic waiting for the light to turn green. So, why spend cash on it? Do some people have cash that is just screaming to be spent?
Me, for example, I'm a rabid fanboy who has been brainwashed using Paizo's orbital mind control lasers into buying anything they put out. It's the best explanation I can give.

Your words say yes but your subscriber tags say no :)

(But I'm totally staying out of the whole balance thing, yep)

Dark Archive

Gorbacz wrote:

And folks still don't get the "this game isn't meant to be balanced" memo.

If you want a cookie cutter balanced game, 4E is right around the corner.

+1

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Mnemaxa wrote:
That is true - right up until you are running Spelljammers, where a full 2/3 of all combat is ship to ship/really big monster, or if you are starting off playing a "evil empire slowly gobbling up territory" early on, when suddenly a young wizard's talent for manipulating complex devices becomes critical to the nations defense.

You've read the name of the archetype, and assumed that it does what it promises.

Before level 10, Siege Mages only get the ability to aim and fire a single siege weapon from up to 30' away. Problem is, anyone with the Siege Engineer feat can direct a crew to aim and fire a siege weapon, and all it costs is one feat. (Siege Mages get to skip a crew for the aiming, but they need it for the reloading anyway.) The only other abilities a Siege Mage gets is the ability to burn spells to buff the siege weapon damage... except that you can just cast spells on siege weapons to buff them, and classes which aren't 1/2 BAB aren't behind on hitting things to begin with.

The abilities are incredibly situational and incredibly weak.


Evil Genius Prime wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

And folks still don't get the "this game isn't meant to be balanced" memo.

If you want a cookie cutter balanced game, 4E is right around the corner.

+1

There's a big difference between being balanced and being cookie-cutter. The rules should be written so that the GM can adjust as needed without going head to head against RAW.


leo1925 wrote:
Darkholme can you give some examples of no.2?

Personally, Pathfinder Cleave

Dark Archive

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Captain Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:
leo1925 wrote:
Darkholme can you give some examples of no.2?
Personally, Pathfinder Cleave

Actually yeah, that was the one I was thinking of. It looks like it's useful *so I get an extra attack on a hit?* but you're giving up your full attack to do it, you can't do it on a charge, can't do it with spring attack, etc.

As I hinted at in my first couple posts before I left for the weekend: "It's a Trap!"

Treantmonk wrote:
Reverse creep isn't really possible. If every option in a splatbook is universally trumped by abilities in the existing material, then power levels have stayed exactly the same.

The maximum potential power hasn't shifted, true. However, the likely power of less experienced players is going to slip, as they pick and choose abilities that are much weaker than they should be.

Kaiyanwang wrote:

@Balance: perfect balance is impossible and would be horribly boring. What one should aim at is interesting, comparable options with situational advantages/disdvantages. This makes a game interesting.

And this is not obtained when there are feats so bad you cannot take them (ERRATED cockatrice strike), so good you can avoid taking them (persistent spells + FtS), exotic weapons all crappy barring few "WTF" ones, and so on. And paizo seems to just ignore this, or just apply fixes that are not fixes (Cockatrice Strike, antagonize). With a surprising celerity in fixing nonbroken things like the Monk INA feat.

These last two things make you wonder if you are just playing the same game.

This. This is precisely what I was talking about. In my ideal situation, if I'm a (class name here), and I just hit level (number here). I shouldn't be surrounded by things so powerful they have to be what I pick, nor things so weak I would never consider taking them, nor things that look useful until you put more thought into it (such as pf cleave). The ideal situation: I have 30 options (or whatever). All of them are both interesting AND useful, and it's a hard decision between those available options. Each new book should add new options which shouldn't be the obviously greatly superior choice nor so terrible I'd be crippling myself by taking them.

I dunno. I just feel like the APG, UM, and now UC included a very large number of options which were quite underwhelming (read: things I would never take, and would want to warn other players from thinking them more useful than they are) - and while I like the Pathfinder Core rules much more than 3.5, I'm starting to think about avoiding crunch-heavy pathfinder books in the future; and going through the ones I have and slowly building a collection of houserules. Dropping/buffing the weak options, and just making a big list of "unavailable" pathfinder content. For new Feats/archetypes etc, perhaps I'll convert it from 3.x, or look into more 3pp content, or write something new myself.

I'm not saying there was nothing good in the books. There most definitely were some flavorful and reasonably powered options in each and every one of them. But I'm not sure I'd have paid 40$ for them if I'd not gotten them at release or had read the material carefully before deciding if it was worth bringing a copy to game.

Liberty's Edge

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I always wonder about the really bad feats. I mean, some are so bad that it has to be a really, REALLY specific situation, which if you are lucky happens once in the campaign.

I am all for diverstiy and Feats for flavour and Roleplay. But as usual, I can't help but get the feeling that 'concept' and 'roleplay' gets punished by having te flavorsome feats really lousy. As if a concious effort is made to seperate optimisers and roleplayers.

While it does not help for PFS, when we play campaigns we actually allow Feats to be adjusted. So for example, if running an AP, after each book the chance to revist your choices is given - so if you picked what you thought would be cool but ended up being useless you can erase your mistake and find something else. It helps those who did not have a clear goal with their char when first created, it helps those not experienced at identifying the 'trap' feats and it also gives us the opportunity to be brave enough to experiment with feats that look interesting but may be a lot worse or possibly better than expected.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Darkholme wrote:
The maximum potential power hasn't shifted, true. However, the likely power of less experienced players is going to slip, as they pick and choose abilities that are much weaker than they should be.

This is always the risk when you have lots of trap options. Or any trap options, really.

Dark Archive

A Man In Black wrote:
This is always the risk when you have lots of trap options. Or any trap options, really.
A Man In Black wrote:
trap options

And that's exactly my point. I dont think there should be trap options. I see them as wasted space in the book, and extra work for me as GM because I need to know what all the trap options are in each book as I get it - to tell my players not to take them.

Asteldian Caliskan wrote:
We actually allow Feats to be adjusted. So for example, if running an AP, after each book the chance to revist your choices is given - so if you picked what you thought would be cool but ended up being useless you can erase your mistake and find something else. It helps those who did not have a clear goal with their char when first created, it helps those not experienced at identifying the 'trap' feats and it also gives us the opportunity to be brave enough to experiment with feats that look interesting but may be a lot worse or possibly better than expected.

And that's a good way to find the 'trap options' as you play without kicking your players in the dicebag by making them keep them forever. but they will still struggle with what they're stuck with until they're allowed to change.

If the trap options weren't there, and all of the choices were decent (sure some would be better for x, a couple would be just better, but ideally they'd all be close in usefulness) that would save alot of headaches.


Darkholme wrote:
A Man In Black wrote:
This is always the risk when you have lots of trap options. Or any trap options, really.
A Man In Black wrote:
trap options
And that's exactly my point. I dont think there should be trap options. I see them as wasted space in the book, and extra work for me as GM because I need to know what all the trap options are in each book as I get it - to tell my players not to take them.

Seriously? Why? What effect does it have on your game? Your players don't like their characters?

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

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Alan_Beven wrote:
Seriously? Why? What effect does it have on your game? Your players don't like their characters?

Yeah! That's a real risk, that someone is just unsatisfied that they're left behind by the rest of the party. It can also be a problem if the trap options promise that they make a character able to do something, and then fail to do so. Then either the player is disappointed, or the GM needs to rewrite things on the fly.

Dark Archive

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Alan_Beven wrote:
Seriously? Why? What effect does it have on your game? Your players don't like their characters?
A Man In Black wrote:
Yeah! That's a real risk, that someone is just unsatisfied that they're left behind by the rest of the party. It can also be a problem if the trap options promise that they make a character able to do something, and then fail to do so. Then either the player is disappointed, or the GM needs to rewrite things on the fly.

Not to mention how the other players deal with one player's character being very weak. Last campaign, the player who built the "tank" was inneffectual. He liked his character due to the personality he gave them, but the rest of the party kept complaining about how he's dead-weight. They were making off-hand remarks like not giving him an even share of the loot or hiring an NPC fighter to replace him and leaving him in some town. They never actually did, but the entire party was especially displeased with how they lacked a tank because the guy who said he was building a tank couldn't tank. And it was an ongoing problem the entire campaign. They struggled against encounters that were of the 'suggested' CR if they couldn't talk their way out of fighting them, so I'd have to eye-ball everything and throw easier things at them.

So it's not just the guy who makes the useless character that can have their experience soured. It can be any/all of the players who don't enjoy the campaign as a result.


Darkhome wrote:
So it's not just the guy who makes the useless character that can have their experience soured. It can be any/all of the players who don't enjoy the campaign as a result.

I'm interested to know what kind of party was at the table and how the one player brought the entire team's power level down. Likewise the build of "tank" that caused said problem.

However, on the more general topic, I have found that there are very few systems which have managed to strike a balance for one book, let alone the whole system, in producing new options that are both flavorful and have a good overall balance without some filler stuff. The amount of playtesting and revision needed would make splat books come out on a completely extended timeline and consume so many resources that the company would have trouble making them profitable in the least.

Too many new feats/options/classes would need to have full roleplay experience built in. You'd essentially have to drop fishbowling to make it all be okay. And Paizo has done a nice job of at least open the playtesting of classes up so that they get playtested, in essence, for free. But to do such with entire books at a time? That would be so incredibly problematic to track it would be crazy.

I understand the desire to have your players avoid the fluff feats/options, but I for one, have not really had a problem with that so far. Thematic builds with the occasional fluff option usually end up pretty well off in our games.

And if the concern is truly for new players to the game, my recommendation is always to play the first couple characters with the most straight-forward options as possible. Have them give you their concept and then help them build something easy to manage. That way after the first couple characters (probably 2), they'll have enough grasp of what is a better option and what kinds of things work better in games than others.

Dark Archive

umbralatro wrote:
I'm interested to know what kind of party was at the table and how the one player brought the entire team's power level down. Likewise the build of "tank" that caused said problem.

Here was the basic party:

Social character. (I believe he was a Cha focused Rogue of some sort) - was very good at the social stuff, and underwhelming in combat.
Blaster Mage. I gave him a 'gun' that fired magic bullets, and he could fire it as a standard action. the magic bullets were essentially scrolls of combat spells, with the same range and cost as such. I let him make them priced as potions as well, and the potion priced ones anyone could use if they had one of his patented guns. All the same limits and costs as potions usually have.
I dont remember what type of healer they had. I just remember they had a full progression caster with access to cure spells. May have been a druid with a domain, may have been a cleric. I know it wasn't a witch or an oracle. But they were support/healing focused.
DPR focused rogue. Surprisingly effective for the player's first pf character. The only skills I remember him using are stealth, disable device, and bluff.
Aand the 'tank': a fighter/barbarian. He had decent strength, but didn't take advantage of it. He didnt go with more than hide armor, used kukri and javelins (and harpoons: was a seafaring (mostly on coastal towns) campaign so I allowed stormwrack stuff). His feat selection wasn't much to write home about either.

The character wasn't ineffective because he took 'trap' options so much (this player doesn't usually build very effective characters.) but he was ineffective nonetheless, and the rest of the group suffered(and complained at me) because of it.

umbralatro wrote:

However, on the more general topic, I have found that there are very few systems which have managed to strike a balance for one book, let alone the whole system, in producing new options that are both flavorful and have a good overall balance without some filler stuff. The amount of playtesting and revision needed would make splat books come out on a completely extended timeline and consume so many resources that the company would have trouble making them profitable in the least.

Too many new feats/options/classes would need to have full roleplay experience built in. You'd essentially have to drop fishbowling to make it all be okay. And Paizo has done a nice job of at least open the playtesting of classes up so that they get playtested, in essence, for free. But to do such with entire books at a time? That would be so incredibly problematic to track it would be crazy.

I agree that it would be unwieldly to have EVERYTHING be open playtest. But I disagree about the need for a whole bunch of filler options that are absolutely horrible. They could write these options to have some punch behind them. Maybe they're not the best option, maybe occasionally they come out slightly on top of the stuff in core. but get closer to the mark. I'd prefer stuff that's between 80% and 120% the power level of the core book to stuff that's 30% to 90% the power level of the core book. Playtesting them in a single session would help if its an option. At least they could run the numbers, or think "when would this ability be useful?".

umbralatro wrote:
I understand the desire to have your players avoid the fluff feats/options, but I for one, have not really had a problem with that so far. Thematic builds with the occasional fluff option usually end up pretty well off in our games.

Fluff options should be useful as well. And it's not when they have the occasional fluff option that is a big problem. but what about when they hit say level 9, and 3 of their feats are crap. and they're melee characters.

umbralatro wrote:
And if the concern is truly for new players to the game, my recommendation is always to play the first couple characters with the most straight-forward options as possible. Have them give you their concept and then help them build something easy to manage. That way after the first couple characters (probably 2), they'll have enough grasp of what is a better option and what kinds of things work better in games than others.

I agree with you, and that's what I'll be doing from now on. But that doesn't stop me from feeling that all the 'filler' options constitute wasted space. I wonder what the page count of the APG (Or UM, or UC) would be without them? Would I have the page count of a (roughly) 40$ book? or would I have the page count of a 25$ module? Somewhere in between? The filler options seem to me to just introduce power problems, or artificially inflate the page count.

Dark Archive

It was mentioned a little bit earlier on in this post. What annoys the hell out of me is when some part members aim for roleplaying, not worrying about feats and optimization, and one player decides to optimize.

I miss the days with no internet sometimes.

I cannot tell you how annoying it is when you want to build a fighter with TWF, and the ROgue ALWAYS does it better.

Fine.

But then when you research read guides, follow threads, it can be frustrating when a player who does not spend hours researching will have the ranger a better fighter then the fighter, and a better theif then the rogue etc...

Sometimes it annoys me that there is so much choice as to allow a fighter to not be a fighter, with the new archtypes, and to have to goto forums to research what is good, what is balanced, what is broken, and how to optomize.

sigh....but it happens right? i miss the days of roleplaying.


Nos wrote:

I miss the days with no internet sometimes.

Beacuse 2e didn't have any power creep or trap options at all!

Ok, now to compliment your bard kit that gives up most of his bard abilities to cast a few level 1 druid spells, I'm going to make a Bladesinger, who has all of the benefits of a fighter and wizard combined with none of the downsides...


Holy Gun makes me cringe.

Let's see, we give up Smite Evil, possibly the most powerful of the Paladin's class features, which functions for an entire combat, giving you bonuses to hit and damage and bypass the DR of evil creatures as well as providing a substantial AC bonus... for a 1/day (until level 11) smite shot that only adds to damage and bypasses DR, and only on a single attack which you must declare ahead of time. And it can't even be used as a part of a full attack. And it comes a level later than Smite Evil.

And there are no significant higher-level abilities. You get some extra Grit and your Holy Champion banish effect switches to the smiting shot instead of smite evil.

Why on EARTH would I ever take Holy Gun when the default Paladin can do better with a gun than the Holy Gun does, by an unimaginably huge amount?


Darkholme wrote:

Party build:
Here was the basic party:

Social character. (I believe he was a Cha focused Rogue of some sort) - was very good at the social stuff, and underwhelming in combat.
Blaster Mage. I gave him a 'gun' that fired magic bullets, and he could fire it as a standard action. the magic bullets were essentially scrolls of combat spells, with the same range and cost as such. I let him make them priced as potions as well, and the potion priced ones anyone could use if they had one of his patented guns. All the same limits and costs as potions usually have.
I dont remember what type of healer they had. I just remember they had a full progression caster with access to cure spells. May have been a druid with a domain, may have been a cleric. I know it wasn't a witch or an oracle. But they were support/healing focused.
DPR focused rogue. Surprisingly effective for the player's first pf character. The only skills I remember him using are stealth, disable device, and bluff.
Aand the 'tank': a fighter/barbarian. He had decent strength, but didn't take advantage of it. He didnt go with more than hide armor, used kukri and javelins (and harpoons: was a seafaring (mostly on coastal towns) campaign so I allowed stormwrack stuff). His feat selection wasn't much to write home about either.

Yeah, that party would really suffer from having the tank be ineffective. When you're the only real down and dirty melee class in the group, that would be trouble. At that point, I think they could have switched to trying to rely on the rogue to talk them out of a lot of combats, which at least in our group tends to get you XP for "defeating" an encounter, much like "defeating" a trap.

To the rest of the response, I do agree that filler should be useful, but I tend to find most of the options in the 70-90% range of usefulness. There are those that are terrible, certainly. But as for UC, for example, the feats section is probably half monk-ish type feats. And from a cursory reading, most seem at least pretty useful. So, overall I wouldn't say UC did too badly. UM so far has been my least favorite, but I think it's focus went a little too broad and that was it's real downturn for overall quality.

Now, having said that, I still think UM was a better splatbook than most of the 3.5 books, with some exceptions obviously.

Dark Archive

umbralatro wrote:
Now, having said that, I still think UM was a better splatbook than most of the 3.5 books, with some exceptions obviously.

Better than Complete Warrior, certainly. Complete mage was pretty damn good though, as were most of the FR books (which fill most of my 3.5 shelf).

I'm really hoping the Advanced Race guide has decent Monsters as players rules. the crap they came up with in Savage species was terrible (the simplified and still terrible version of which is the LA system).

I think 70% to 90% is still on the low side. But my experience is that its lower than that.

I could deal with some power creep over the main rules, so long as they keep it anchored to the core book. 80%-120% is acceptable to me. The important part is that mo0st of the options are in the 90% to 110% range.


Darkholme wrote:
umbralatro wrote:
Now, having said that, I still think UM was a better splatbook than most of the 3.5 books, with some exceptions obviously.
Better than Complete Warrior, certainly. Complete mage was pretty damn good though, as were most of the FR books (which fill most of my 3.5 shelf).

Agreed. Complete Mage was one of the ones I used almost all the time. But the rest of the Complete books didn't really keep up all that well. And truthfully, I didn't have that many FR books, so I can't speak to those, but they did seem fairly good from the ones I did see/use.

Darkholme wrote:
I think 70% to 90% is still on the low side. But my experience is that its lower than that.

I agree somewhat. I think that honestly if they hit 80-100%, I'd be overjoyed as that would be better balance than I've seen in most other systems. And I have not had enough time to really go through all these new options to "test" how useful they really are, but UC so far looks awesome for monks and between good and eh for most other classes. Which is pretty good I think, but UM needed more for sure. And I'm with you in hoping the Advanced Race guide gives a good monster/pc conversion.


Darkholme wrote:
umbralatro wrote:
Now, having said that, I still think UM was a better splatbook than most of the 3.5 books, with some exceptions obviously.
Better than Complete Warrior, certainly.

Complete Warrior was lower power level than core rules.

Quote:
Complete mage was pretty damn good though, as were most of the FR books (which fill most of my 3.5 shelf).

Complete Arcane and Complete Adventurer weren't too bad either. Complete Divine would've been Complete Warrior if it wasn't caster focused. Complete Scoundrel was a little too fluffy and Complete Champion was just confusing.

PHB II was good though.

Dark Archive

I just think they(paizo) should raise the average power level in each book (without significantly raising the maximum power level). I like the power level of the stronger abilities in the books, but I feel like there are too many weak options, trap options, and options that are so bad they're never worth taking.


Darkholme wrote:


Fluff options should be useful as well. And it's not when they have the occasional fluff option that is a big problem. but what about when they hit say level 9, and 3 of their feats are crap. and they're melee characters.

One of my major complaints about Pathfinder, is that it is way to 'Rule heavy' to begin with. I'm sure it's a problem brought over from 3.x, but everytime I want to try something interesting... theres a RULE for that... and odds are you get hosed over somehow for trying something fun...

Trip, Disarm, Grapple, just to name a few... AoO rules in general just annoy me... Way too much overanalyzing things.

That said, I LOVE Fluff. I LOVE Role-playing fun ideas... I do NOT like having to have a certain feat in order to try something new and wacky...

I would love if the 'Fluff feats' just disappeared, and you didn't NEED Feats to do Fun Role-playing things...

All that said, I have no UC examples to play with... my books still in shipping. Can not WAIT to look that thing over!!!


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@People who say poor / overpowered options are OK.

You guys are missing an important point in Game Theory. (This game theory not this game thoery)

We have to ask, what purpose do those options serve in the game? Do they enrich the gaming experience? They typically do not. While exotic weapon proficiency (bastard sword) seems like a harmless feat that it should be obvious for no one to take, what of EWP (Spiked chain)? Inevitably someone will take it and be disappointed (particularly 3.5e converts with the later), that will reflect negatively on the game and by extension Paizo. Games should not have things that reflect negatively upon themselves. Same thing happens with overpowered options. Sure 13 BAB or improved evasion look nice, but it sure doesn't match up against the wizard who uses planar binding to ask for the hair off an efreet to make a simulacrum out of it and get 3 wishes per day, for free. How is that rogue or fighter going to feel after a few days of that? Yup, really gonna feel like they're contributing to the party now. Now people could just choose to not pick the overpowered options, but it is well known that not everyone is considerate of others in their gaming group.

Now I'm making a slightly tangential point here, what we need to eliminate are options that provide bad gaming experiences. While overpowered and underpowered options are certainly the largest set of them, there are others as well. Some options provide bad experiences while not being over/underpowered, examples of this are charms / dominates cast on players, 3.5e disjunction, and diviners.


Cartigan wrote:
Darkholme wrote:
umbralatro wrote:
Now, having said that, I still think UM was a better splatbook than most of the 3.5 books, with some exceptions obviously.
Better than Complete Warrior, certainly.

Complete Warrior was lower power level than core rules.

Quote:
Complete mage was pretty damn good though, as were most of the FR books (which fill most of my 3.5 shelf).

Complete Arcane and Complete Adventurer weren't too bad either. Complete Divine would've been Complete Warrior if it wasn't caster focused. Complete Scoundrel was a little too fluffy and Complete Champion was just confusing.

PHB II was good though.

IMO Complete Mage was overpowered (rapid metamagic and metamagic school focus is sick), Scoundrel had some good stuff, especially skill tricks. PHB 2 gave arcane thesis and celerity which are completely and utterly broken. Saying that something is weaker than core isn't saying much since core is one of if not the most broken books in 3.5 (time stop, simulacrum, polymorph, divine power, grease, silent image... the list goes on and on and on)


The new books have done something that TSR/WoTC couldn't manage, there is an increase of the subjective feeling of balance for me. Slightly weaker classes got nice buffs and the strong classes haven't got more powerful, meaning the most powerful options for them are still in core.

In such there is a power creep and it is the "good sort".

On balance:
In Pathfinder the factor that matters most is the player and the GM.

Really, the rules contribute only a small part.

In other words a mediocre player can play the most optimized mage (probably given to him) and be outperformed by a core Monk played by an innovative veteran - if the GM lets them.

Liberty's Edge

Fozbek wrote:
Why on EARTH would I ever take Holy Gun when the default Paladin can do better with a gun than the Holy Gun does, by an unimaginably huge amount?
Reminds me of various bard archetypes which give up Inspire Courage, or rogue and barbarian 'types which give up traps and Uncanny Dodge....because, you know, it's always a good idea to let the stealth/surprise-monsters maul you twice before you do diddly in a fight.
Nos wrote:
I cannot tell you how annoying it is when you want to build a fighter with TWF, and the ROgue ALWAYS does it better.

Fighter/rogue multiclass will do it better than either as a straight class.

Dark Archive

erik542 wrote:
IMO Complete Mage was overpowered (rapid metamagic and metamagic school focus is sick), Scoundrel had some good stuff, especially skill tricks. PHB 2 gave arcane thesis and celerity which are completely and utterly broken. Saying that something is weaker than core isn't saying much since core is one of if not the most broken books in 3.5 (time stop, simulacrum, polymorph, divine power, grease, silent image... the list goes on and on and on)

Yes there were a handful of broken powerful options in complete mage, but there were a very large number of good and reasonably powered options as well. It's less work for me to disallow powerful options in a book than it is for me to go through the underpowered options and beef them up. And in the example I mentioned (CM) the number of options I felt I had to remove was low compared to the number of options I thought were both useful, reasonably powered and flavorful.

Skill tricks were something I intentionally avoided. In our games they were telling us you couldn't do things we'd been doing since 3.0 came out unless we acquired the appropriate 'trick' which cost extra skill points - a resource most players had a shortage of in 3.5. Some of them were new things we didnt have, which was cool, but many of them had been things that we just set DCs or modifiers to do long before that.

I wasn't a fan of luck feats either. But many of the other things in that book were quite cool, I agree. I really like the Malconvoker, for example.


Darkholme wrote:
erik542 wrote:
IMO Complete Mage was overpowered (rapid metamagic and metamagic school focus is sick), Scoundrel had some good stuff, especially skill tricks. PHB 2 gave arcane thesis and celerity which are completely and utterly broken. Saying that something is weaker than core isn't saying much since core is one of if not the most broken books in 3.5 (time stop, simulacrum, polymorph, divine power, grease, silent image... the list goes on and on and on)

Yes there were a handful of broken powerful options in complete mage, but there were a very large number of good and reasonably powered options as well. It's less work for me to disallow powerful options in a book than it is for me to go through the underpowered options and beef them up. And in the example I mentioned (CM) the number of options I felt I had to remove was low compared to the number of options I thought were both useful, reasonably powered and flavorful.

Skill tricks were something I intentionally avoided. In our games they were telling us you couldn't do things we'd been doing since 3.0 came out unless we acquired the appropriate 'trick' which cost extra skill points - a resource most players had a shortage of in 3.5. Some of them were new things we didnt have, which was cool, but many of them had been things that we just set DCs or modifiers to do long before that.

I wasn't a fan of luck feats either. But many of the other things in that book were quite cool, I agree. I really like the Malconvoker, for example.

Aye, Complete Mage is indeed where most of my creative juice flowed from. There's just a handful too many things in there that let you cast epic-level spells without too much effort for me to as open with it though. My favorite skill trick is the one that lets you replace verbal and somatic with different verbal and somatic components, it allows for limited public casting without having to eat a +2 level.


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Argh. I will never understand peoples' obsession with 'balance'.

I've had extremely powerful and very weak characters in the same party without so much as a peep of complaining. Why? Because they're playing what they want to play and they're all on the same team. The DM is on their team too so I don't really understand this.

As for power creep in general and the idea that they're trying too hard to keep things in line, I don't agree. The Pathfinder team has found two excellent methods of limiting possible combinations and still allowing interesting choices. Archetypes and alternate classes. I am thrilled to see very few prestige classes in the game. Prestige classes should be saved for things like organizations the players can join or transformations of some sort. Otherwise everything can be covered with base classes using archetypes and alternate classes.

If it isn't organized play with people you don't personally know I don't see how any of this detracts from the game at all. It's just the same old argument phrased differently.

Some options aren't mechanically as strong as others. So what? Would you rather an attempt at flat balance and progression *cough* 4E *cough*.

I'm trying to wrap my head around the idea of a 'trap' option. So it's a trap if not every option is equally useful in every situation? Get out of here. That's just a ridiculous perspective. 'traps' aren't intentional, they're there for the people who will like them (not anyone who calls them 'traps' obviously).

That's basically spitting on someone's decision because it's not optimized in your mind.


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You've been very lucky, then, Tebbo, or your players just aren't complaining to you.

DMing for an unbalanced party is much, much, MUCH harder than DMing for a balanced party. With a balanced party, every party member is threatened roughly the same amount by a given challenge. With an unbalanced party, that isn't true, which means that you have to jump through a lot more hoops to provide everyone a reasonable challenge.

As a player, if the DM doesn't jump through those hoops, you're going to wind up with everything being A) too easy (if you're above the power level the DM is targeting), B) too deadly (if you're below it), or C) just right but wrong for everyone else (if you're right at it but the rest of the party isn't).

Also, people do play in PFS.


Fozbek wrote:

You've been very lucky, then, Tebbo, or your players just aren't complaining to you.

DMing for an unbalanced party is much, much, MUCH harder than DMing for a balanced party. With a balanced party, every party member is threatened roughly the same amount by a given challenge. With an unbalanced party, that isn't true, which means that you have to jump through a lot more hoops to provide everyone a reasonable challenge.

As a player, if the DM doesn't jump through those hoops, you're going to wind up with everything being A) too easy (if you're above the power level the DM is targeting), B) too deadly (if you're below it), or C) just right but wrong for everyone else (if you're right at it but the rest of the party isn't).

Also, people do play in PFS.

Yeah for people playing in PFS I understand why these things are very important and I respect that. But for anyone else I really don't understand that angle. If you can't make things work with the tools you're given as a DM, you and your players aren't really working very well together.

It's a shame because I like the idea of PFS but I don't really believe this kind of game is meant to be played in that environment. I think it's important to have a good established relationship with your group before you've even played a game. Maybe I'm in the minority.

But if you're playing in PFS you are probably already concerned with these things are are picking optimal builds. So then what is the issue really? The fear that you might pick something sub-optimal and bring the party down? Certainly I wouldn't want to do that. If I played in PFS I would definitely try to make a strong character that's as capable as I can. Are people simply that intense in PFS?


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Looking through the feats in Ultimate Intrigue, the trend does not seem to have changed. We get a feat that is strictly inferior to the already-poor Persuasive from the core rules, feats like Quick Favor which are strictly inferior to low-level divination spells or cheap items, and is once per day to boot, and an abundance of feats locked behind outlandish prerequisites. And then there are archetypes which are significant downgrades from their base classes.

Is Horror Adventures any better?


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Who can say?


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Why do ppl necro five year old threads? I think it is safe to say you can create a new topic at this point.


What have you done, Intern?!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

But then that makes clutter.


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Grond wrote:
Why do ppl necro five year old threads? I think it is safe to say you can create a new topic at this point.

Why, for the unlimited power of fossilized nerd rage, of course!


A Man In Black wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
And folks still don't get the "this game isn't meant to be balanced" memo.

Because it exists only in your mind. If game balance didn't matter, there are much more versatile or lightweight or simulationist or detailed games, depending on your taste.

Besides, 4e is a horribly-balanced game.

I don't think balance was the problem with 4E. 4E seemed like money sink. Once you played the class you it was the same the next time, no variation. To play something different you needed buy more books. Even then it got dull as class all played the same. Strikers were strikers no mater which striker you played.

The other problem 4E was combat took way too long for a fight with just mooks. I'm all for long battle with BBEG but when every fight is like that it's gets boring really quick and the end guy fight loses it's significance. Pathfinder I find the fights with the BBEG tend to go by too quick though.


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Grond wrote:
Why do ppl necro five year old threads? I think it is safe to say you can create a new topic at this point.

Why do people spam threads that had a long period of time pass between posts with comments proclaiming "thread necromancy!" without bothering to respond to the actual topic of the thread?

Besides, if someone started a new thread on the same topic, you'd be whining about "thread bloat" and how people should "just use the search feature instead of starting a duplicate thread."

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