Spell Sunder really that great?


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I've read AM BARBARIAN's barbarian guide and he keeps talking about how Spell Sunder is the bestest and most awesomest (and yes I know those aren't real words) rage powers ever.

But is it?

It requires 2 other Rage powers first, Superstition and Witch Hunter.

Here's my thoughts on those.

Superstition: Barely better bonus than the standard bonus to Will saves you get for Raging anyway. In addition I now have to save against everything my allies cast, Haste, Heals and everything else. With my buffed up saves. Which means I probably negate or half whatever it is.
Would I even have to save against my own things? Like I chuck down a potion of Haste, I gotta roll the save?

Witch Hunter: Ok, I guess that's kinda ok, but Blue? Sure spellcasters or races with SLA become more common later on, but is a +4 by level 12 really great enough for another rage power?

Spell Sunder: Finally can take it. First off I probably need Improved Sunder or I provoke AoO all the time I use it. Ok as CAGM Barbarian I might welcome that even, but still. Second it's 1/rage, and while he keeps talking about Rage Cycling, thats not something most people get till 17 and then most campaigns near their end anyway. (And then the GM might object to it as well)

So that's 3 rage powers there. One I think is ok (Witch Hunter). One I think is actually more a debuff than a buff (Superstition). And the last one, I'm not sure it's worth those other two to get it.

Now if it's really as awesome, please try to convince me. I really want to like it...

Liberty's Edge

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Negating your small buffs like heroism is well worth it to also negate annoying enemy abilities like slow and harm and dominate monster. Superstition makes you a character who can stand up to enemies, and reject your allies' help. You just have to optimize to use it. Make your character strong enough and tough enough that he doesn't need full healing (if the cleric casts heal and you save, you still get 75 hit points) and he doesn't need buffs (oh no, I can't get enlarged. Guess I'll just smash their faces in with my 32 Strength)

+4 damage is the equivalent of increasing your Strength score by +8. It is the equivalent of two feats (Weapon Specialization and Greater Weapon Specialization) except that applies to a certain enemy type rather than a certain weapon. I will tell you right now, if rangers could have Favored Enemy (anything that casts spells or slas), they'd take that every time.

Finally, there's Spell Sunder. Spell Sunder is just...great. You say "I don't want to provoke AoOs." How many casters do you know that actually walk around armed? Maybe a crossbow or something, but most casters past 7th level just rely on spells and keep their hands free. And even if they don't, oh no, I'm going to take a wimpy elven wizard's longsword to the face with my +3-5 HP per level from rage. You crack your weapon over the guy's head and suddenly, his stoneskin is gone. Or his form of the dragon. Or his transformation. Whatever defensive spell he was using to save himself in melee. Then you ragepounce all over him.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Well the next time a wizard drops a wall of force in your way, or has displacement, think about how awesome it would be to simply destroy the spell with your sword.


Yes It is really that good.


Normal dispel checks are a raw caster level check with a DC of 11+the caster level of the target spell.

Spell sunder is a maneuver check against a DC of 15+caster level.

A wizard gets their level vs 11+the other guy's level. They'll fail half the time versus an equal level opponent.

A barbarian gets to add his strength and weapon enhancement. He's raging so if he has at least 14 base strength he will succeed as often as the wizard. He can have more than 14 base strength, gets more from rage at higher levels, and can take improved and greater sunder. A level 8 barbarian with a modest 16 starting strength and a +2 belt can have 24 raging strength and at least a +1 weapon and both sunder feats for +12 relative to a wizard. He will succeed in dispelling 85% of the time against an equal level caster rather than 50% of the time. His odds will continue to get better as he gets more stat boosts and further enhances his weapon. The wizard never improves.

And you're asking if the power is worth taking?


In short: Yes, yes it is.

In long:

Superstition is an incredibly, incredibly good power. You get a gigantic bonus against all spells. A comparable Vest of Resistance would cost 9000 gold, at level 4, 16000 at level 8. Basically, Superstition gives you as much gold value as YOUR CHARACTER POSSESSES BY LEVEL. It's tough to find another single feat-equivalent in the book that does that.

If you really don't think that +3 to all saves vs spells at level 4 isn't a good feat investment, I probably can't help you. The only spells that are worth casting on a barbarian are buff spells, and people should cast those the first round, which you will go at the END of, being a barbarian. So you shouldn't really be saving against them.

Witch Hunter is good. Not amazing, but very good. It's a scaling + to damage that works on almost every relevant monster after 8th level. Well worth a feat equivalent.

Finally, Spell Sunder. Here's the thing, Quatar: It's @#$%ing impossible to dispel magic in an efficient way in Pathfinder. Check out Dispel Magic and Greater Dispel Magic. Both of them give you basically a 50/50 shot to knock off 1 spell off an equal level caster.

...do you have any idea what a horrible waste of a standard action that is? Answer: Horrible, horrible waste.

(Edit: Just for fun, let's look at the math. If you're the same level as your opponent and just want to knock off his highest-level spell, you have a 50/50 shot at doing it. 50% chance you do f*#%all. If you want to knock off a specific spell, it's Spell DC - Spell Level + Caster Mod + Feats - which is almost always higher...so you have a less than 50% chance of succeeding at doing anything.)

Meanwhile, with Spell Sunder, a Barbarian gets to negate a spell OF YOUR CHOICE per combat at the mere cost of an attack action. And it's virtually guaranteed - the math works out vastly, vastly better for going against CMD than 50/50, particularly if you're raging/juiced up...and you just sacrifice one of your attacks, not a whole standard action.

So, yeah, it's amazing. Your objections aren't that strong. Saving throw bonuses are good, obviously +4 damage to most attacks by level 12 is solid, and spell sunder, as explained above, is priceless.

-Cross


Q: Is spell sunder that good?

A: Yes.


Go oracle for one level and by level 9 and you can turns rages on and off at will (well as a free action) allowing you stack strength surge with spell sunder and destroy pretty much every spells several times a combat. Superstition with the human bonus adds something like 13 vs spells saves by level 20 when you include the rage bonus that's +17 on will saves vs magic. With eat magic a Barbarian should be almost immune to any spell with a save.

The Exchange

The biggest weakness to spell sunder are not really apparent.

Spell sunder is great against walls of flame.

However, just like schroedinger's wizard there is shroedingers barbarian. How would a barbarian lacking detect magic, or spellcasting know that certain spell effects are on an opponent.

So, playing with meta knowledge the barbarian might sunder a spell immunity, bull's strength, or charm person. But playing in character it is very difficult to know that a charm person, spell immunity etc is in effect.

Secondly, there is still a factor of action economy.
A spell caster can cast slow (or haste) on an entire group of characters. A barbarian sunders it - one character at a time.

So, overall- its a great ability. Just a little care needs to be excised in its adjudication.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I for one never saw the appeal.


cp wrote:

But playing in character it is very difficult to know that a charm person, spell immunity etc is in effect.

Just out of curiosity, how often have you played in a campaign where no characters in the party have spellcraft? Because probably 60 or 70% of the classes in the game get it, and most people who get it take it (because it's excellent).

I would think that a party calling out "Hey, smash that man's stony skin!" would be absolute standard. Teamwork at its best. =)

-Cross


Ravingdork wrote:
I for one never saw the appeal.

Wizard auto win at higher levels with the superstition chain a Barb can do ignore most of the casters save or suck spells and their crowd control , get through a lot of caster defenses and do more damage against them. Its as good an equalizer vs magic as exist in the game (anti-magic field requires magic so doesn't count). Not to mention an air walking barb can spell sunder a fly spell causing a wizard to fall to his death.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It's not really possible to cause a flying wizard to fall to their death. When the spell ends, they float down, per its description.

It does make a good equalizer I suppose. It's just such a shame that Superstitious will usually keep a barbarian from surviving to high levels to take advantage of it.

The Exchange

Crosswind wrote:
cp wrote:

But playing in character it is very difficult to know that a charm person, spell immunity etc is in effect.

Just out of curiosity, how often have you played in a campaign where no characters in the party have spellcraft? Because probably 60 or 70% of the classes in the game get it, and most people who get it take it (because it's excellent).

I would think that a party calling out "Hey, smash that man's stony skin!" would be absolute standard. Teamwork at its best. =)

-Cross

True, but not the issue. The way that combats tend to work is pre-buffed opponents attack the party.

Rarely do I see any of the aforementioned classes taking the actions necessary to determine the buffs. Usually, its: Hey, cast haste. Hey - divine favor. Summon Wildebeast!


cp wrote:
Crosswind wrote:
cp wrote:

But playing in character it is very difficult to know that a charm person, spell immunity etc is in effect.

Just out of curiosity, how often have you played in a campaign where no characters in the party have spellcraft? Because probably 60 or 70% of the classes in the game get it, and most people who get it take it (because it's excellent).

I would think that a party calling out "Hey, smash that man's stony skin!" would be absolute standard. Teamwork at its best. =)

-Cross

True, but not the issue. The way that combats tend to work is pre-buffed opponents attack the party.

Rarely do I see any of the aforementioned classes taking the actions necessary to determine the buffs. Usually, its: Hey, cast haste. Hey - divine favor. Summon Wildebeast!

Totally fair. But parties can usually figure out stuff like Stoneskin, Shield, Protection from elements, etc, pretty fast ("Hey, that didn't work like it was supposed to"). With that spellcraft, it's not metagaming.

It's probably up to DM interpretation, but "I'd like to smash the spell that's making him harder to hit" is probably a legit way to target anything from shield to mage armor.

-Cross (I may play in a more lenient game than standard, this way)


Superstition for a none human maxes out as a +7 to all saves vs spell/slas and the fort increase from con while raging goes with it so yea its exremely great for a none human.. For a human it caps at +13 which is.. umm... yea... Its Great..

Witch Hunter.. Its 2 feats of damage for 1 rage power vs 75% of the monsters after 8th level.. yes its great as well..

Spell Sunder.. Above explanations just barely do it justice.. It is just about the greatest thing the barb has going for him..

Liberty's Edge

Ravingdork wrote:

It's not really possible to cause a flying wizard to fall to their death. When the spell ends, they float down, per its description.

It does make a good equalizer I suppose. It's just such a shame that Superstitious will usually keep a barbarian from surviving to high levels to take advantage of it.

You act like a barbarian has to rage every combat, at the very beginning of combat, to be successful. A barbarian is still a martial character with high Strength and feats. Usually in most combat situations that aren't the BBEG, the barbarian can cut through the entire crowd of minions and stand toe-to-toe with the hulking giants on his own. He's got medium armor, the highest hit points in the game, and the best Fortitude save.

Even against the BBEG, it's quite possible to delay your raging until one or two turns after combat has started, so that your party has time to buff you up.

You can't negate cure spells with a saving throw. You can only half the damage healed by a cure spell. So the 6th level cleric can still heal you for half of 3d8+6.

Additionally, and much more importantly, you only have to save against spells cast on you. Channel Positive Energy is not a spell. Lay on Hands is not a spell. The Lifelink ability of the Oracle of Life is not a spell (and is by far the most action-efficient healing ability in the game).

Surviving to a level 13 barbarian with Superstition takes just as much teamwork and group tactics as surviving to level 13 with any other class, except a little less, since you won't need the cleric to remove your paralysis, curses, or petrification.


Has anyone tried out a dwarf fighter build with Shatter Spell (essentially Spell Sunder)? Would it also be worthy, or is it just too inferior to consider?

Disruptive
Spell Breaker
Shatter Spell (dwarf only)


Ravingdork wrote:


It does make a good equalizer I suppose. It's just such a shame that Superstitious will usually keep a barbarian from surviving to high levels to take advantage of it.

The idea that superstition kills barbarians is way overblown. Superstition doesn't kill barbarians...players who make poor choices kill barbarians. I leveled a superstitious barbarian to lvl 12 in PFS and plan on that character being my high lvl module character. I have only gotten close to dying one time and that was from a crit off of a weapon designed for crit damage. If you can mitigate spikes in the damage taken (sneak attack and crits) then you will probably never need in combat healing as a barbarian. As far as buffs go...grab them before combat or just don't worry about it.

The Exchange

Crosswind wrote:


Totally fair. But parties can usually figure out stuff like Stoneskin, Shield, Protection from elements, etc, pretty fast ("Hey, that didn't work like it was supposed to"). With that spellcraft, it's not metagaming.

It's probably up to DM interpretation, but "I'd like to smash the spell that's making him harder to hit" is probably a legit way to target anything from shield to mage armor.

-Cross (I may play in a more lenient game than standard, this way)

Yep, I totally agree on things like stoneskin. Its why I gave the example of simpler non-apparent things like charm person, dominate, bullstrength.

Quote:


Surviving to a level 13 barbarian with Superstition takes just as much teamwork and group tactics as surviving to level 13 with any other class, except a little less, since you won't need the cleric to remove your paralysis, curses, or petrification.

Its not *quite* that cut and dried. Lets just agree it reduces the need for the cleric to remove your paralysis, curses, or petrification more often.

You'll still fail on a 1, and on an occasional bad roll, especially with things like misfortune or mythic.

Quote:


Has anyone tried out a dwarf fighter build with Shatter Spell (essentially Spell Sunder)? Would it also be worthy, or is it just too inferior to consider?

Disruptive
Spell Breaker
Shatter Spell (dwarf only)

Still its a solid build. The dwarf build is also great, completely different feel, and it works well with several different builds.


As a Barbarian its good to look into other damage mitigation besides armor.. Look into miss chance stuff like mistmail/cloak of displacement etc, as well as fortification enchanment for ur armor... Your gonna get hit so it best to mitigate damage other ways imo..


Superstition is pretty good most of the time, though every so often it can hurt the barbarian pretty badly. Once the barbarian reaches the point that dropping rage puts him at high probability of death, superstition becomes a real problem. Any attempts to help him through magic get resisted a lot, whether it's simply healing or getting the barbarian out of a tight spot (via teleportation or movement spells). One important thing to keep in mind is that the only healing spell that can hope to keep up in combat, Heal, is negated on a save, meaning you gain no hp and no conditions are removed.

As people have said, witch hunter is really good at mid to high level simply because it applies against everything. That's hard to beat.

Spell sunder is a pretty nice rage power simply because it allows you to quickly get around spells that could cause you a lot of headache otherwise, such as Displacement, Mirror Image, and Blade Barrier.


Dot.


Superstition: Yeah, it has it's pro's and cons. Some people shrug them off, some don't like it.
You really need to change your play style in order to not be hampered by it,
not expecting friendly spells targetting you during Rage, or dropping Rage temporarily to receive spells when you need them.
(which works well if you have Fatigue-negating strategies, Rage Cycling every round is an inefficient use of Rage Rounds since you're losing half your benefits of Rage, but dropping Rage when you need to get a spell and re-enter Rage next round isn't all that bad of a penalty to pay when you really need a friendly spell)
Of course, you not receiving spells (unless you Fail a Save) during combat frees your allies to cast spells doing other things.
Different play style.
Personally, this is the #1 thing I don't like about this combo.

Fortunately, there is also an option for Dwarven Fighters which enables the same thing... and doesn't involve Superstition.
Except they still aren't really as awesome as a Barbarian... >8-D
Disruptive and Spellbreaker are rather less useful than the Spell Sunder Pre-Reqs:
Casting Defensively doesn't care about the enemies' CMD so is easy enough to beat, even with 2xSpellLevel: Combat Casting Feat exactly counters Disruptive, Spellbreaker doesn't do anything if they can pass the check, and if they don't pass it they just wasted their turn so who really cares about getting an extra attack on them, they already lost).

Witch Hunter: Yeah, your DPR just beat basically everybody else vs. the kinds of enemies you should be most fearful of. Sure, just some boring damage modifiers, but with this damage boost you can afford to not worry about other damage boosting Feats/Rage Powers, and choose more interesting/useful stuff. Not a waste of pre-req.

Spell Sunder: You only need to worry about having Improved Sunder (to not provoke an AoO) if you are targetting a creature with spell effects on them. There's tons of on-going spell effects that this doesn't apply to. Prismatic Sphere? Wall spells? If you are targetting a creature with spell effects on it, then you could potentially provoke... SO, either take Improved Sunder, or use a Reach Weapon and/or Lunge, or be Invisible...

OK, I get that you don't like the idea of Rage Cycling, but given that this strategy is part of AM BARBARIAN's guide, I don't see how you can fault him for making use of it with Spell Sunder. As I mentioned above, the same Fatigue-negation tactics used for Rage Cycle 'abuse' (every round) can also be used to re-enter Rage the round after dropping it when you need to drop Superstitious, e.g. not 'abusively' every round, but just on occasion.

As somebody mentioned up-thread, the numbers for Sunder CMB are just way better than pretty much any other way to Dispel. Especially if you are a Barbarian with Strength Surge. Even without that, you can use all the attack bonuses YOU ALREADY USE for all your normal attacks, and apply them to the Dispel check (Flanking and Higher Ground too: Dispel From Above FTW!). Being able to KNOW you can Dispel an effect makes it a much more attractive option than HOPING you roll decently. Plus, being able to Dispel with an Attack Action means you can do useful stuff in situations where a pure Martial may just not be useful.

Somebody mentioned the issue of recognizing spell effects like Bull's Strength, and sure, those may not be visibly obvious. But plenty of other spell effects ARE visible. Spell Sunder could have a line just flat-out saying 'this doesn't work on Bull's STR or Charm Person', and it would still be great over-all. Of course, nothing is stopping the Barbarian (or Dwarven Fighter) from investing in Spellcraft or Knowledge: Arcane in order to be able to ID spellcasting/spell effects, so they may well be able to know that such 'Invisible' spells HAVE been cast on a target.

---------------------------------------

So, might you decide you dislike Superstitious enough that you don't want to go down this route? Sure.
Might you also not want to play a Dwarven Fighter who sucked up the Disruptive/Spellbreaker Feats in order to get Shatter Spell? Sure.
(Dwarven Maguses, especially Kensai or Myrmidarchs, or Eldritch Knights also work... That adopted thing also lets EVERYBODY be a Dwarf! ;-P)
But that doesn't mean that Spell Sunder isn't a damn fine Rage Power.
THAT also doesn't mean that Spell Sunder is a MUST HAVE Rage Power, any more than Beast Totem is.
I'm sure with the 3 Rage Powers/Feats involved to get Spell Sunder, you can find some other great ability to qualify for.


Superstition is a horrible power without the human favored class investment, and the fact it overlaps with rage's will save bonus is a massive slap in the face.

Witch Hunter is bonus damage you'll seldom need.

And Spell Sunder basically requires rage cycling with Strength Surge in order to actually hit the stupidly ridiculously high DCs to "dispel" spells.

I can totally understand the OP's argument. The entire rage power tree is basically "go big or go home."

Spoiler:
Mechanically, I mean. You're as free to gimp yourself w/ superstition +2 to saves that doesn't stack w/ rage in return for having to save against allies' spells just as you're free to take levels in the Commoner class or play an Int 8 wizard. And still "have fun."

So please, no "but I can/have made a barbarian with the tree that didn't invest everything towards it and still had fun" retorts....


Um. Superstition has built in scaling, no need to be human. There are also a bunch of other races with the same favored class bonus.

Sunder, well look at the numbers. A level 8 barbarian with 16 starting strength, two fairly modest magic items that he wants anyways, and three feats can sunder an equal level spell 85% of the time. One of those feats is power attack. Or without greater sunder but with the +2 weapon you really should have by this point, well you're a barbarian. If it's a +1 furious weapon you're still at 85% success and have two open feats to sink into extra rage power. That's enough to fill out both the beast totem and spell sunder power trees as quickly as you make the level prerequisites. Past this point what are you going to use your feats for? Furious Focus maybe, but you're probably rarely missing on your first attack anyways.


StreamOfTheSky wrote:
Superstition is a horrible power without the human favored class investment, and the fact it overlaps with rage's will save bonus is a massive slap in the face.

slap in the face? kinda. massive slap in the face? not hardly. it means there's a +2 in a class ability on your sheet that doesn't do anything because there's a much larger number in its place.

Quote:
Witch Hunter is bonus damage you'll seldom need.

a great majority of everything you encounter from mid-to-late levels has spells or SLAs (which conveniently, you're very likely to not have to deal with their effects because of superstitious). you're effectively getting weapon specialization and its big brother +1 for the cost of one rage power.

Quote:
And Spell Sunder basically requires rage cycling with Strength Surge in order to actually hit the stupidly ridiculously high DCs to "dispel" spells.

i'm not actually so sure on that one, since d20+bab+(rage-buffed) str mod+weapon enhancement+whatever else (weapon focus, courageous enchant, etc.) can still reach some pretty high levels. with strength surge you can beat them quite handily, but i'm not sure it's outright required.

Quote:

I can totally understand the OP's argument. The entire rage power tree is basically "go big or go home."

** spoiler omitted **

well, yes. "going big (and then smashing faces)" is sort of the whole class in a nutshell, regardless of feat/rage power choices. also remember that since ending rage is a free action (if you've got rage-cycling measures in place or a helpful paladin buddy with the fatigued mercy or somesuch) you are more than capable of dropping your rage to not have to save against your friend's spells.

usually you should be able to handle yourself enough that they shouldn't NEED to spend spells on you after combat starts, barring extreme situations (such as if you get KO'd, which conveniently ends your rage--it also could kill you, but that's a pitfall every barbarian sans urban has to deal with).

also, you sound kind of upset. grab a drink and relax with us, we're all buddies here.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

After spending a couple hours making the most powerful dispeller I could, and then besting his modifiers with a barbarian of the same level with Spell Sunder in less than ten seconds, I've concluded that this really is the best way in the game to beat single spell effects short of Mage's Disjunction.


Quatar wrote:


Superstition: Barely better bonus than the standard bonus to Will saves you get for Raging anyway. In addition I now have to save against everything my allies cast, Haste, Heals and everything else. With my buffed up saves. Which means I probably negate or half whatever it is.
Would I even have to save against my own things? Like I chuck down a potion of Haste, I gotta roll the save?

I'm actually kind of surprised at the swipe at Superstition... at 17th level my Human barbarian gains a +11 bonus to save vs. all spells and spell-like abilities, dwarfing the additional +4 save against Enchantments only that his Rage gives him.


I wonder if the superstition "must always make a save" clause supersedes the "You may always choose to fail a save you are making" clause?

Also, superstition is wonderful with Urban Barbarians.


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Yep. Not to mention the fact that a well built Str Surge/Spell Sunder barbarian can sunder a spell cast by a spell caster well above their level. A CM check of 45 permanently dispels a non-creature spell cast by a 20th level caster. At lvl 12 my barbarian has a 70% chance of doing this. In a few levels he will basically always dispel on any roll but a 1.


WerePox47 wrote:
As a Barbarian its good to look into other damage mitigation besides armor.. Look into miss chance stuff like mistmail/cloak of displacement etc, as well as fortification enchanment for ur armor... Your gonna get hit so it best to mitigate damage other ways imo..

Or if you don't want to be magic-item dependent, go the Invulnerable Rager route with Diehard, Endurance, Stalwart and Greater Stalwart for something like DR 24/-...


Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:

I wonder if the superstition "must always make a save" clause supersedes the "You may always choose to fail a save you are making" clause?

Yes. The reason a normal character gets full healing is because they choose to fail the will save. A superstition barbarian doesn't have that option.

Silver Crusade

I'm curious if the OP realizes that Superstition applies to ALL saves, not just Will saves.

Liberty's Edge

I honestly never saw the appeal of the human favored class bonus to Superstition. When I play a barbarian and I want to be immune to spells, I play a dwarf with the Steel Soul feat and the trait that gives dwarves a +1 bonus to their saves against spells. Ends with me having a +5 racial bonus to saves against spells and SLAs (along with a +2 racial bonus to saves against poison), right from level 1. Why only pump your saves when you're raging, when you could have much higher saves while you're not (IE, when you're unaware the enemy is near you and they have the chance to take out the party's best fighter before revealing themselves).

The +5 bonus to saves against spells and SLAs is almost as good as the end result of the human class bonus (+6 total to saves against spells and SLAs, if you spend 18 levels in barbarian), except you get it right from the start, it applies while you are not raging, and you can take the dwarf favored class bonus instead, which gives you an extra round of rage per day per level. Plus, you get a Con bonus and a Wis bonus, which improves each of your saves by another +1 (and gives you an extra round of rage per day). Sure, humans get an extra +2 Str, but dwarves can just afford to invest a higher score in Str since their Con is automatically pumped. And humans do essentially get two extra feats (One racial and one that's not Steel Soul), but I've never found that I had much to spend my feats on as a barbarian anyway. Just Power Attack and maybe Improved Sunder, then most of the rest of them go into Extra Rage Power.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

NeoSeraphi: Why not do both? Have a dwarven barbarian with both the racial bonuses AND the superstition bonuses?


NeoSeraphi wrote:

I honestly never saw the appeal of the human favored class bonus to Superstition. When I play a barbarian and I want to be immune to spells, I play a dwarf with the Steel Soul feat and the trait that gives dwarves a +1 bonus to their saves against spells. Ends with me having a +5 racial bonus to saves against spells and SLAs (along with a +2 racial bonus to saves against poison), right from level 1. Why only pump your saves when you're raging, when you could have much higher saves while you're not (IE, when you're unaware the enemy is near you and they have the chance to take out the party's best fighter before revealing themselves).

The +5 bonus to saves against spells and SLAs is almost as good as the end result of the human class bonus (+6 total to saves against spells and SLAs, if you spend 18 levels in barbarian), except you get it right from the start, it applies while you are not raging, and you can take the dwarf favored class bonus instead, which gives you an extra round of rage per day per level. Plus, you get a Con bonus and a Wis bonus, which improves each of your saves by another +1 (and gives you an extra round of rage per day). Sure, humans get an extra +2 Str, but dwarves can just afford to invest a higher score in Str since their Con is automatically pumped. And humans do essentially get two extra feats (One racial and one that's not Steel Soul), but I've never found that I had much to spend my feats on as a barbarian anyway. Just Power Attack and maybe Improved Sunder, then most of the rest of them go into Extra Rage Power.

In this case you're giving up 2 feats (the Steel Soul feat and the bonus feat for being Human) to get something that's basically the same benefit and 1 extra round of Rage a day (past 6th level I rearely run outof Rage). In my builds I need ALL my feats.

Liberty's Edge

Ravingdork wrote:
NeoSeraphi: Why not do both? Have a dwarven barbarian with both the racial bonuses AND the superstition bonuses?

Oh absolutely! I never said I didn't take the Superstition rage power. Of course I do that. I just buff it with my own dwarf-ness rather than with human favored class bonuses that are slow scaling.

Quote:
In this case you're giving up 2 feats (the Steel Soul feat and the bonus feat for being Human) to get something that's basically the same benefit and 1 extra round of Rage a day (past 6th level I rearely run outof Rage). In my builds I need ALL my feats.

"The same benefit"? +5 to all saves against all spells is the equivalent of 6 feats. (Iron Will, Great Fortitude, Lightning Reflexes, all of them doubled). And it's much better to have them always active and front-loaded than "2*your class level+2+Con mod rounds per day".


getting both Steel Soul and Superstitious is just over-kill.
one or the other is fine. one is for dwarves, the other for non-dwarves.

i mean, you COULD go for some uber-save build, perhaps even just dipping in barbarian for several levels to get just enough rage rounds to rage when you WANT superstitious save bonus and not always use it... but that is no longer really in the realm of 'normal' builds that are just trying to have good saves, it would be a build where uber-saves are the primary point of the build.

the point about spell sundering spells well above your char level is very apropo IMHO.
when fighting a BBEG with CR=APL+4 or 5 or more, conventional Dispels will fare rather poorly, Spell Sunder does fine.
as mentioned, Strength Surge is NOT usually needed (although certainty is nice, and if you have SS, why not?), certainly not unless facing an opponent who's Caster Levels are substantially above your own... there's just too many Attack Bonuses floating around that all help Spell Sunder.

with the new FAQ/pending Errata for Sunder, allowing to do it via Iteratives, Spell Sunder is even more powerful.

again, that still doesn't mean there aren't very powerful Barb builds that don't include it.


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Saying Steel Soul + Superstition is overkill is pretty much akin to saying that going Human for the bonus to Superstition is overkill. The Dwarf version is better at low levels, while the Human one is better at high levels.

Also, you're a dwarf, which makes you awesome.


humans are only spending one rage power/feat on superstitious. not true for steel soul + superstitious.
there is also the aspect that superstitious has a substantial down-side, so you really want it to work 100% if you can't rely on ally's spells, while steel soul doens't have any down side what-so-ever so NOT taking on the downsides of superstitious is a better deal IMHO. dwarves are also getting further bonuses via WIS and so on.

i did edit my post to acknowledge a SS+S build, it just doesn't seem like a reasonable allocation of feats/RP for normal builds: i have never felt a steel soul dwarf barbarian to have too-low saves vs. magic... while the other approaches just using a single RP/feat are on-par with iron will, investment-wise.

true, but it doesn't detract from the supreme race to not rub it in the face of the awkwardly tall pretenders to glory... ;-)


I reject your reality and replace it with my own.

Liberty's Edge

Khron Stonearm wrote:

The Dwarf version is better at low levels, while the Human one is better at high levels.

That's...debatable. First of all, if you use Glory of the Old Dwarf along with Steel Soul, then humans only surpass dwarves in saves against spells and slas at level 18. That's not "high levels", that's "end of campaign". And as I stated before, this save bonus only applies when you're raging. Meanwhile, the dwarf's bonus is only one less than the human's, but 5 of it applies at all times. Additionally, you get a +2 bonus to saves against poison. Pretty nice overall.


I seem to recall someone saying that Human Superstition overtakes Dwarf Superstition + Steel Soul at like level 12.

Oh well, I'm not complaining!

Liberty's Edge

Khron Stonearm wrote:

I seem to recall someone saying that Human Superstition overtakes Dwarf Superstition + Steel Soul at like level 12.

Oh well, I'm not complaining!

Well, Steel Soul gives you +4 to saves. So, yes, a human with Superstition bonus matches a dwarf at level 12, and overtakes him at level 15. However, dwarves can also get a trait called Glory of the Old Dwarf that gives them an additional +1 trait bonus to saves against spells and SLAs, which means that human favored class bonus matches them at 15th, and doesn't overtake them until 18th. And that's not even taking into account that a dwarf also gets +2 Con and +2 Wis, which increases all Fort and Will saves by +1 each. So assuming the human got +2 Str as a racial feature, he doesn't even match the dwarf bonuses until 18 and only overtakes Ref.

So you can see why I'm not a fan of the human favored class bonus. You get a crappier ability score adjustment, worse saves when you need them most (all the time, instead of X rounds per day when you're not flat-footed), and less rage per day (because you don't have the dwarf favored class bonus). Also, you don't get to be a dwarf.


NeoSeraphi wrote:


So you can see why I'm not a fan of the human favored class bonus. You get a crappier ability score adjustment, worse saves when you need them most (all the time, instead of X rounds per day when you're not flat-footed), and less rage per day (because you don't have the dwarf favored class bonus). Also, you don't get to be a dwarf.

BUT it costs you a feat and a trait. 2 feats if we're talking a difference between humans and dwarves. You get less skills, less speed, and you take even great penalties to Intimidate if that's your thing.

Dwarves are good. I acknowledge this but I'd be hard pressed to say they're better than humans.

Liberty's Edge

TarkXT wrote:


BUT it costs you a feat and a trait. 2 feats if we're talking a difference between humans and dwarves. You get less skills, less speed, and you take even great penalties to Intimidate if that's your thing.

Dwarves are good. I acknowledge this but I'd be hard pressed to say they're better than humans.

"Costs" me? It's not like Rapid Reload/Crossbow Mastery, where you have to spend resources to be "as good" as the "optimal" option. Human has to stay in barbarian 18 levels and give up 18 hit points/skill points to be as good as the dwarf, not the other way around.

Costs me a feat? I'd gladly spend a single feat to get +4 to all saves vs all spells and SLAs. Double the bonuses provided by Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, and Great Fortitude, for one feat? And unlike Superstition, this bonus is always active. As for the traits, I haven't found a single trait that gives you a more noticeable bonus than Glory of the Old Dwarf, except perhaps the Druid of the Society trait.

Edit: The only way human barbarians are faster than dwarf barbarians is if the human is wearing light or no armor (read also: Bad). If the human wears Medium, he's at 30 speed because of Fast Movement reduced. If the dwarf wears Medium, he's at 30 speed, because of Fast Movement and his speed can't be reduced.

Skills aren't as important to a barbarian. Barbs get 4+Int skills from a decent skill list. One extra skill point per level isn't going to help when the only skills you have worth taking are Intimidate, Perception, Survival and Acrobatics.

Meanwhile, dwarves get darkvision, they get bonuses to two scores barbarians need and a penalty to a dump stat, they get a bunch of cool skill bonuses that are flavorful (if not entirely useful) and they get a +2 bonus to saves vs poison, in addition to Steel Soul/GotOD. And finally, they get more rage per day as a barbarian.

People keep talking about how Superstition is dangerous. The dwarf barbarian gets a substantial (better than a paladin's) boost to all saves with Steel Soul, while he's NOT RAGING. While he's able to be buffed and healed and so forth. Meanwhile, the human has to risk and play smarter to get his massive save boost.


NeoSeraphi wrote:
TarkXT wrote:


BUT it costs you a feat and a trait. 2 feats if we're talking a difference between humans and dwarves. You get less skills, less speed, and you take even great penalties to Intimidate if that's your thing.

Dwarves are good. I acknowledge this but I'd be hard pressed to say they're better than humans.

"Costs" me? It's not like Rapid Reload/Crossbow Mastery, where you have to spend resources to be "as good" as the "optimal" option. Human has to stay in barbarian 18 levels and give up 18 hit points/skill points to be as good as the dwarf, not the other way around.

Only in the point on saves. You'll still be poop in a lot of other things

By the way anyone can take Glory of Old. We call it the Adopted Trait.

And yes it's a cost. Steel Soul keeps you from getting into things that you might otherwise want like progressing further down feat chains or picking up new rage powers you otherwise could not. Iron Will and co. don't even come into it. Though you are unlikely to take Iron Will with a dwarf with Steel soul.

Barbarians are a feature heavy but feat light class not unlike paladins. So yes you gave up one or two feats to get an early advantage in your saves. It all comes out rather evenly really.


Quote:

Edit: The only way human barbarians are faster than dwarf barbarians is if the human is wearing light or no armor (read also: Bad). If the human wears Medium, he's at 30 speed because of Fast Movement reduced. If the dwarf wears Medium, he's at 30 speed, because of Fast Movement and his speed can't be reduced.

Depends on your build. There is a point where you jut need to stop bothering about armor class at all. Around the point that reckless abandon becomes used for example. If armor class does become important they do make this remarkable thing called a mithril breastplate. :)

Quote:
Skills aren't as important to a barbarian. Barbs get 4+Int skills from a decent skill list. One extra skill point per level isn't going to help when the only skills you have worth taking are Intimidate, Perception, Survival and Acrobatics.

Again, this is dependent upon the game and build. If you're a mounted fury you're also going to want Ride and Handle Animal if the game takes place on boats than Swim is definitely a keeper. And did I mention the dwarf is going to be relatively lousy at intimidate? An extra skill point is an extra skill point no matter how you cut it. Add that it is independent of your intelligence and it makes dumping that int score even more viable.


Also, god forbid anyone plays martial classes smarter. ;)

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