What should high level fighters look like.


Homebrew and House Rules


Assuming you want all classes to be balanced beyond with each (by level) after level 7 how would you perceive a fighter matching up to the cosmic power of magic.

Now and oft repeated trope is the dragon ball z martial which suggest that high level martials should be able to ignore the rules of psychics due to their massive spiritual energy or sheer willpower. Now I think that beam spam martial are in the end of the day a just little to silly for pathfinder but I could see why some would suggest.

Personally I think that Martials do no to be supernatural (and recognized as such) to make sense in the higher levels but would much rather be inspired by mythology than anime. so I would rather have my heroes warp spasming (Cuchullaine) into combat monsters or shooting dozens of arrows in an instant (Hercules) or even just invoking the power of god's or ancient artifacts (Roland, Arthur etc) than going DBZ.

So what is your opinion?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am fine with martial characters defying physics and having world shaping power. I happen to really like tome of battle, and its a good example of what can be done to bring martial characters up.

The other option is to give them inderect narrative power. Give the fighter an army, the rogue a theives guild the monk a monastary etc. As they level, these groups gain power, and the characters ability to influence the world increases. Ofcourse this is going to greate narrative conflicts for alot of stories and its something alot of dms wont like.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Wind Chime wrote:

Assuming you want all classes to be balanced beyond with each (by level) after level 7 how would you perceive a fighter matching up to the cosmic power of magic.

When the game is played properly, quite simply magic isn't so "cosmic". It has definite limits and as often seen, a lone caster faced up against a party is generally meat for the grinder, even if he is a few levels above them. I've played Pathfinder to 12th level so far and the martials tend to dominate more often than not.

You can't balance them perfectly without going beyond even the extreme measures of Fourth Edition.

What really matters are are all the players getting their share of dramatic climactic moments?


LazarX wrote:
What really matters are are all the players getting their share of dramatic climactic moments?

This.

What matters is that each member of the party feels they are contributing something, that their character matters in the grand scheme of things. If a wizard is preparing spells to upstage the rest of the party, he's wasting spells. He should be using spells for things the rest of the party cannot do, and letting them do their thing to get him in position to do just that.

In actual fact martial classes are the best way of dishing out serious damage, and skills are the most efficient way of dealing with stealth, social interactions, and non-combat threats like traps. Sure, a wizard with invibility can scout, but a rogue with invisibility cast him does it way better.

The Exchange

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Hm! Dabbler raised a point that the "spellcasters make other classes useless" folks have never really addressed: what economists call the 'opportunity cost'. Sure, your sorcerer can take spells that let him sneak better than the rogue... or he can hang out with a rogue and use those spell slots to do something more sorcerous. He can take spells that let him tank... or he can hang out with a tank and use those spell slots to do something more sorcerous. The constant repetition of "non-casters are useless" sometimes causes me to forget or overlook this aspect of things.

If you have a party of four wizards - one a healer (it can probably be done), one a tank, one a scout, and one a... well, wizard - then you've proven that the wizard class has great flexibility, but you've also proven that the roles the rogue/fighter/etc. were created for are too fundamental to overlook - even for the mighty wizard.


The thing that I think makes fighters fall flat, besides their lack of skills/out of combat utility, is the fact that their options that aren't damage are rather lackluster. For all the things that I'm hit or miss about for 4e, I think they finally did fighters right. The base defender mechanic makes being a meat shield feel significant, since it's an active thing, where you're basically trying to ensure that both of your opponent's options (attack you, or attack your squishy wizard ally) are equally undesirable. But besides that is the fact that the thing that makes me rarely want to play fighters is the fact that Fighters are DPR monsters, but that means that's all they do, because anything else has too high an opportunity cost. In 4e, the opportunity cost is much lower, since it's usually a choice between going full DPR or going some damage and some battlefield control, which is a satisfying choice to have. It's too bad the rest of the system doesn't hold up as well, but I think that a 20th level fighter in Pathfinder should be at least able to do what a 1st level fighter can do in 4e, and have it still be a legitimate choice, not a high opportunity cost trap-choice.


I kind of feel fighters get really underestimated, a lot of the reason for this comes that in 3.0 and 3.5 they where nothing but feat whores. While They are Still feat whores they got a little more umf with wep training and armor train. One prob is to look at them comparied to other classes the "look" light. But you start adding the feats they can pick to the mix they get really sick. a sample build to lev 7

Fighter Race: Human
Feats

1. Power atk, Cleave, improved init.
2. Great Cleave (a must in 3.x upgraded for PF)
3 weapon focus( long sword) or two- weapon
4. Weapon spec (long sword) or improved Shield bash
5. Double Slice or weapon focus (long sword)
6. Improved Two Weapon or shield slam
7. Vital strike
personally I The Shield bash line I find to be really classic and very effective.


Tholomyes wrote:
The thing that I think makes fighters fall flat, besides their lack of skills/out of combat utility, is the fact that their options that aren't damage are rather lackluster.

They are also the best at combat maneuvers, remember.


Dabbler wrote:
Tholomyes wrote:
The thing that I think makes fighters fall flat, besides their lack of skills/out of combat utility, is the fact that their options that aren't damage are rather lackluster.
They are also the best at combat maneuvers, remember.

Combat Manuevers don't scale well across levels (Pathfinder Drinking Game: Take a shot whenever a rule doesn't scale well) and many of the better ones are useless, or neigh so on many creatures you'll run into at later mid-high levels. But besides that, unless house-ruled, you'll need a 13 int, because performing them without Improved [Manuever] (and thus, without Combat Expertise) is suicide.

And I'd also refute that they're the best at it; Maneuver master monk is better at it, but not very good at much else


Dabbler wrote:
Tholomyes wrote:
The thing that I think makes fighters fall flat, besides their lack of skills/out of combat utility, is the fact that their options that aren't damage are rather lackluster.
They are also the best at combat maneuvers, remember.

No they're not they are really not both eidolons and barbarians blow them out of the water (one with massive strength, bestiary abilities and size bonuses and the other with massive strength and strength surge.

The Exchange

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A bit off-topic; when I saw the thread title, I thought Wind Chime meant "how should high-level fighters look in-game?" And I immediately thought of some narration from Kung Fu Panda:

"So deadly was he, in fact, that his enemies would go blind from over-exposure to PURE AWESOMENESS!"

That's what a high-level fighter should look like. ;)


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Lincoln Hills wrote:

A bit off-topic; when I saw the thread title, I thought Wind Chime meant "how should high-level fighters look in-game?" And I immediately thought of some narration from Kung Fu Panda:

"So deadly was he, in fact, that his enemies would go blind from over-exposure to PURE AWESOMENESS!"

That's what a high-level fighter should look like. ;)

That is at least partially what I meant from bullet time to my punches bend space time.


I'm just not seeing the problem with fighters everyone is having.

Unless you are in one of those groups where speaking requires a diplomacy check, then you shouldn't be having problems out of combat.

I can play Tywin Lannister without any skill ranks in anything. Tywin us horrible at persuading people. They only do what he wants, because he leaves them no choice.

As for in combat, the fighter does fine, if you don't pick up many of the trap feats (like cleave and vicious strike). Sure it takes 3 splat books to piece together enough decent feats for the fighter, but he holds his own in combat.

I'm just not seeing the problem. A high level fighter should look like what he does now.


Make them magic? Not a popular idea with all fighty types, but could be awesome if it complements who their character is rather than changing it (this all involves tons of homebrewing, but at that level it's probably happening already). I currently have a barbarian with druidric leanings and a wolf animal companion from a leadership-like 3PP feat. When he hits high level, he'll learn to shapeshift into a giant wolf and learn pack tactics with his companion. Make his howl a Frightful Presence like ability, and suddenly the wizard isn't the only one with battlefield control and the ability to make low level armies cower in fear. It'll add to the raging creature of war that his character is without making him something other than a barbarian.

Give fighty-type characters abilities that make them more powerful, both in and out of combat. Give casty-type characters abilities that make them unique casters and flavorful without increasing their brute power. Everyone gets something, but the playing field levels a bit.


Tholomyes wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Tholomyes wrote:
The thing that I think makes fighters fall flat, besides their lack of skills/out of combat utility, is the fact that their options that aren't damage are rather lackluster.
They are also the best at combat maneuvers, remember.

Combat Manuevers don't scale well across levels (Pathfinder Drinking Game: Take a shot whenever a rule doesn't scale well) and many of the better ones are useless, or neigh so on many creatures you'll run into at later mid-high levels. But besides that, unless house-ruled, you'll need a 13 int, because performing them without Improved [Manuever] (and thus, without Combat Expertise) is suicide.

And I'd also refute that they're the best at it; Maneuver master monk is better at it, but not very good at much else

I agree, combat maneuvers do not scale well, but they work better for fighters than for most others. They get to apply their weapon training and Weapon Focus feats to their CMB as well as the weapon's enhancement bonus and a choice of great weapons to use. That makes them better than the monk at any given maneuver save maybe grappling (brawling armour anyone?).

Wind Chime wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Tholomyes wrote:
The thing that I think makes fighters fall flat, besides their lack of skills/out of combat utility, is the fact that their options that aren't damage are rather lackluster.
They are also the best at combat maneuvers, remember.
No they're not they are really not both eidolons and barbarians blow them out of the water (one with massive strength, bestiary abilities and size bonuses and the other with massive strength and strength surge.

I've never worked with Eidelons, but the barbarian's Strength bonus when raging is not generally better than the fighter's weapon training bonus, and the fighter can steal an advantage with Greater Weapon Focus. However the barbarian's strength bonus will count defensively as well as offensively, so he's better at resisting maneuvers.


Strength Surge (Ex)
Benefit: The barbarian adds her barbarian level on one Strength check or combat maneuver check, or to her Combat Maneuver Defense when an opponent attempts a maneuver against her. This power is used as an immediate action.

Special: This power can only be used once per rage.

Just take a dip in Oracle or the right ion stone and rage power so you can rage cycle and thats a permanent +1-20 to all combat maneuvers which is more than enough to blow the fighter out of the water.


Lincoln Hills wrote:
Hm! Dabbler raised a point that the "spellcasters make other classes useless" folks have never really addressed: what economists call the 'opportunity cost'. Sure, your sorcerer can take spells that let him sneak better than the rogue... or he can hang out with a rogue and use those spell slots to do something more sorcerous. He can take spells that let him tank... or he can hang out with a tank and use those spell slots to do something more sorcerous. The constant repetition of "non-casters are useless" sometimes causes me to forget or overlook this aspect of things.

Or, more beneficial than hanging out with a Rogue, the Sorcerer could hang out with a Sorcerer that took all the "better than a Rogue" spells, since, uh, he'd be better than a Rogue.

And instead of a fighter, he could hang out with one of the many full spellcasters who took the right spells to be better than a Fighter.

Spellcasters can be "the rogue" or "the warrior" if they want to, but it's actually most powerful for them to be "the spellcaster." However, it's better for the group as a whole if someone is "the rRogue" and someone is "the warrior."

The spellcaster can do any of them, while, say, the actual Rogue can only do "the rogue." And then to add insult to injury, a spellcaster doing "the rogue" does it better than, well, the actual Rogue. As if that weren't enough, not only are spellcasters better at the martial roles than the martials are, they're actually nerfing themselves by fulfilling those roles.

In other words, the problem has nothing to do with who plays what roles. The problem is that magic is always better than anything else that isn't also magic.

Anyway, onto the real point of the thread:

Wind Chime wrote:
Assuming you want all classes to be balanced beyond with each (by level) after level 7 how would you perceive a fighter matching up to the cosmic power of magic.

Fighters need to be anti-mages. The wizard should be able to bend the minds of normal men, but the Fighter should just laugh in his face and punch him out, conan style. The wizard should throw fireballs and the Fighter deftly blocks the blast with his shield. Fighters should have all good saves, Evasion in any armor, Mettle (the 3.5 version of Evasion for Fort and Will), and maybe even the improved versions. They should be unstoppable juggernauts in the face of magic.

Right now, the only thing that stops magic is, well, more magic. There should be a mundane counter, and the Fighter should be it--he should be the Rock to the wizard's Scissors. It's the only way to stay relevant. It's the only reason to "need" the Fighter.

Normally, high level games become Rocket Tag, which sucks. Make the Fighter's damn near rocket proof, and they'll be wanted again.

I would also suggest that to be truly balanced, both sides need to move towards the middle, rather than just buffing the Fighter up to the Wizard's level, but since this is a Fighter thread, I'll leave all my suggested spell-nerfs out of it.


mplindustries wrote:
Or, more beneficial than hanging out with a Rogue, the Sorcerer could hang out with a Sorcerer that took all the "better than a Rogue" spells, since, uh, he'd be better than a Rogue.

I am unaware of spells that can detect and disarm traps without setting them off, and sorcerer spells that allow you to move silently while still hearing what's going on are few on the ground as well. In fact the only 'roguey' spells are invisibility and knock. A sorcerer can 'muddle through' as a rogue, but he's not really doing the rogue's job.

The same with the fighter's job, it's not easy to do with spells. Sure, there are direct damage spells, but they tend not to actually do as much damage as a well-trained psychopath with a sharp length of steel. What the spells tend to be good at are clearing out mooks, not dealing with BBEGs.


Dabbler wrote:
mplindustries wrote:
Or, more beneficial than hanging out with a Rogue, the Sorcerer could hang out with a Sorcerer that took all the "better than a Rogue" spells, since, uh, he'd be better than a Rogue.

I am unaware of spells that can detect and disarm traps without setting them off, and sorcerer spells that allow you to move silently while still hearing what's going on are few on the ground as well. In fact the only 'roguey' spells are invisibility and knock. A sorcerer can 'muddle through' as a rogue, but he's not really doing the rogue's job.

The same with the fighter's job, it's not easy to do with spells. Sure, there are direct damage spells, but they tend not to actually do as much damage as a well-trained psychopath with a sharp length of steel. What the spells tend to be good at are clearing out mooks, not dealing with BBEGs.

There are oracle and sorcerer archetypes that can disarm magical traps without expending spells and cross-class skills no longer advance at half HD like they did in 3.5. And that's without going to the 6 level casting bard and pseudocasting alchemist, who can do pretty much anything a rogue can with skills and cast spells 66% as well as a sorcerer top of that. Even ranger casting is worth more than the rogue. If nothing else they have the best pearl of power price for spamming energy resistance.

And for the fighter there are the divine casters and 6 level arcanists and the alchemist. Or you could put a witch in the party and use evil eye and/or ill omen to set bosses up for a SoD.


Dabbler wrote:
I am unaware of spells that can detect and disarm traps without setting them off

Aram Zey's Focus

But really my point was less about Sorcerers specifically and more about spellcasters in general vs. non-spellcasters. In which case, yes, things like the Bard opens up, or yes, the Seeker archetype that lets a Sorcerer trap find.

Dabbler wrote:
The same with the fighter's job, it's not easy to do with spells. Sure, there are direct damage spells, but they tend not to actually do as much damage as a well-trained psychopath with a sharp length of steel. What the spells tend to be good at are clearing out mooks, not dealing with BBEGs.

You can build quite a competent front liner out of full spellcasters. The recent rulings on SLAs and Eldritch Knight entry requirements have made it even easier than before. If you go with a Wizard/Sorcerer base, sure, you'll have a rough time of it for a few levels, but Druids, Oracles and Clerics are also full spellcasters and more than capable in melee, not to mention the Summoner which is practically a full caster.

So yeah, my point was magic > not magic, rather than "four sorcerers is the best party!"


The Tome of Battle for 3.5 did an excellent job at handling this question.


mplindustries wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
I am unaware of spells that can detect and disarm traps without setting them off

Aram Zey's Focus

But really my point was less about Sorcerers specifically and more about spellcasters in general vs. non-spellcasters. In which case, yes, things like the Bard opens up, or yes, the Seeker archetype that lets a Sorcerer trap find.

The bard and ranger don't trump the rogue because of spells, though, they trump the rogue by being almost as good with skills and having spells as well - and I'd count them more as rogues than as casters, at least for the ranger. And if the sorcerer trap-finds, can he still sneak? And has he the skills left to use Diplomacy too? A sorcerer won't beat a rogue at being a rogue, he'll be a character able to do some of what a rogue can do and is also a sorcerer.

mplindustries wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
The same with the fighter's job, it's not easy to do with spells. Sure, there are direct damage spells, but they tend not to actually do as much damage as a well-trained psychopath with a sharp length of steel. What the spells tend to be good at are clearing out mooks, not dealing with BBEGs.
You can build quite a competent front liner out of full spellcasters. The recent rulings on SLAs and Eldritch Knight entry requirements have made it even easier than before. If you go with a Wizard/Sorcerer base, sure, you'll have a rough time of it for a few levels, but Druids, Oracles and Clerics are also full spellcasters and more than capable in melee, not to mention the Summoner which is practically a full caster.

Competent, yes. The best, no.

mplindustries wrote:
So yeah, my point was magic > not magic, rather than "four sorcerers is the best party!"

I agree, magic gives you massive versatility, but it's not the be-all and end-all. Non-casters can still have a place, a valuable role, and do things that casters cannot do (or at least, cannot do efficiently).


Have any of you played Kotor the Guardian, Sentinel, Consular play exactly how I imagine a martial, rogue and wizard should play in a world ruled by magic. They all have access to spells and swords and skills to reasonable level but are still better at their particular knack.


I don't really draw much of a distinction between anime and mythology. I mean, Beowulf swam and held his breath for days. Not to mention how overtly supernatural something like "warp spasming" is.

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