I just don't understand how casters are better...


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
i will admit that much, but the game wasn't built around minmaxed 20-25 point fighters who start with a 20 STR

At leasst for me that is a terrible way to build fighters. A 16 st fighter would still way outdamage your tiefling cleric.

Full spellcaster with their 9th lvel spells are the strongest class in the game, they have the versatility and the power. Unbuffed clerics by the other hand are no math for any martial in their own game.


Nicos wrote:
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
the fighter's excessive attack and damage bonus are just that, excessive. you don't need to kill a CR appropriate foe in 1 round. if you can do that, it just means the DM has to use monsters 2-3 CRs higher because stuff is dying in 1 round.

Besides, if the DM have to alter the encounters to counter the full caster than show how powerfull the spellcasters are.

But According to your argument it is fine if the Dm alter the eocunter to counter the martial, and that do not show anything.

i suggest the following

instead of Using APL +2 - APL +4 monsters

using a bunch of APL-4 - APL-2 encounters for cannon fodder and APL+0 encounters for boss fights

when PCs don't need to optimize so heavily, it benefits the DM and the players by having to counter neither the martial nor the caster

don't counter either, it hurts those who lack in that ability

APL+0 foes are not cannon fodder.

APL+4 is intended for the really hard boss fights


Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:

the fighter's excessive attack and damage bonus are just that, excessive. you don't need to kill a CR appropriate foe in 1 round. if you can do that, it just means the DM has to use monsters 2-3 CRs higher because stuff is dying in 1 round.

the CR system, was balanced around a party of 4 consuming 20% of their resources

but due to excessive levels of optimization, monsters had to be power creeped to keep up with the arms race of individual PCs who due to sheer minmaxing, can drop a CR appropriate foe in 1 round singlehandedly.

the game is much more balanced when you don't deliberate build a level 10 PC that can solo a CR 9-CR 13 encounter in one round.

Isn't that what you're arguing about casters relative to other classes, though? That they're TOO good at, well, everything? If the optimized fighter is outright slaughtering CR appropriate foes in 1 round because it's almost impossible for him to miss while half the weaker enemies the wizard is targeting go down, where's the imbalance? It's a team game, so shouldn't this one-two combo of fighter-wizard in order to selectively destroy the most dangerous / opportune targets while laying down cover and controlling fire over the battlefield be looked at as a good thing?

And while we're on the topic of balancing, why is it okay for a 15 point-buy wizard to have a 20 INT and neglect everything else to be a highly optimized casting machine, but it's a bad thing for the same point-buy fighter to have a huge STR and neglect other things so he can be a highly optimizing fighting machine? You mentioned that the game runs better when not min-maxing out the wazoo (I agree), yet that's all some people in this thread are doing by positing the numerous ways in which a wizard or oracle can own the entire battle by themselves if they only do X, then Y, then Z every other round. Forgive me, but it's a disparity in treatment to the two class types for which I'm not quite following the rationale.


Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
Nicos wrote:
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
the fighter's excessive attack and damage bonus are just that, excessive. you don't need to kill a CR appropriate foe in 1 round. if you can do that, it just means the DM has to use monsters 2-3 CRs higher because stuff is dying in 1 round.

Besides, if the DM have to alter the encounters to counter the full caster than show how powerfull the spellcasters are.

But According to your argument it is fine if the Dm alter the eocunter to counter the martial, and that do not show anything.

i suggest the following

instead of Using APL +2 - APL +4 monsters

using a bunch of APL-4 - APL-2 encounters for cannon fodder and APL+0 encounters for boss fights

when PCs don't need to optimize so heavily, it benefits the DM and the players by having to counter neither the martial nor the caster

don't counter either, it hurts those who lack in that ability

APL+0 foes are not cannon fodder.

APL+4 is intended for the really hard boss fights

I agree with you, I do not even like heavily optimized games. Because uber optimized build are few, moderate optimized games are more fun IMHO.

Still, a fullcaster breaking the game is optimizing his spellcasting and their use of spells. If they are not that optimized and do not use their spell at maximun capability then the most of the prolbem with Martial/caster disparities do not appear.


Nicos wrote:
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
i will admit that much, but the game wasn't built around minmaxed 20-25 point fighters who start with a 20 STR

At leasst for me that is a terrible way to build fighters. A 16 st fighter would still way outdamage your tiefling cleric.

Full spellcaster with their 9th lvel spells are the strongest class in the game, they have the versatility and the power. Unbuffed clerics by the other hand are no math for any martial in their own game.

i admit that

but spellcasters aren't dropping foes in one round, or at least they shouldn't be.

the big problem with Martial DPR, is that everybody just stands there and full attacks, and whines when they can't get a full attack.

DPR becoming the sole measure of contribution tends to negate such things as Hit and Run builds (whom are viable in their own way in a non-minmaxed game), or such things as hybrids (like bards, rangers, and paladins)


Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
Nicos wrote:
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
i will admit that much, but the game wasn't built around minmaxed 20-25 point fighters who start with a 20 STR

At leasst for me that is a terrible way to build fighters. A 16 st fighter would still way outdamage your tiefling cleric.

Full spellcaster with their 9th lvel spells are the strongest class in the game, they have the versatility and the power. Unbuffed clerics by the other hand are no math for any martial in their own game.

i admit that

but spellcasters aren't dropping foes in one round, or at least they shouldn't be.

the big problem with Martial DPR, is that everybody just stands there and full attacks, and whines when they can't get a full attack.

DPR becoming the sole measure of contribution tends to negate such things as Hit and Run builds (whom are viable in their own way in a non-minmaxed game), or such things as hybrids (like bards, rangers, and paladins)

I agree with you again, standing there an full attacking is boring (my favorite fighter is the hamatula striker with huge CMB/CMD).

But I feel we have a argument about diferent issues.


Cerberus Seven wrote:
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:

the fighter's excessive attack and damage bonus are just that, excessive. you don't need to kill a CR appropriate foe in 1 round. if you can do that, it just means the DM has to use monsters 2-3 CRs higher because stuff is dying in 1 round.

the CR system, was balanced around a party of 4 consuming 20% of their resources

but due to excessive levels of optimization, monsters had to be power creeped to keep up with the arms race of individual PCs who due to sheer minmaxing, can drop a CR appropriate foe in 1 round singlehandedly.

the game is much more balanced when you don't deliberate build a level 10 PC that can solo a CR 9-CR 13 encounter in one round.

Isn't that what you're arguing about casters relative to other classes, though? That they're TOO good at, well, everything? If the optimized fighter is outright slaughtering CR appropriate foes in 1 round because it's almost impossible for him to miss while half the weaker enemies the wizard is targeting go down, where's the imbalance? It's a team game, so shouldn't this one-two combo of fighter-wizard in order to selectively destroy the most dangerous / opportune targets while laying down cover and controlling fire over the battlefield be looked at as a good thing?

And while we're on the topic of balancing, why is it okay for a 15 point-buy wizard to have a 20 INT and neglect everything else to be a highly optimized casting machine, but it's a bad thing for the same point-buy fighter to have a huge STR and neglect other things so he can be a highly optimizing fighting machine? You mentioned that the game runs better when not min-maxing out the wazoo (I agree), yet that's all some people in this thread are doing by positing the numerous ways in which a wizard or oracle can own the entire battle by themselves if they only do X, then Y, then Z every other round. Forgive me, but it's a disparity in treatment to the two class types for which I'm not quite following the rationale.

i don't think it is okay for a 15 point buy wizard to have 20 INT either.

hell, i don't think starting stats of 18+ really contribute much to the game beyond needless excess.

i mention the 20 INT as an example of a game breaker just like the 20 STR.

CR appropriate foes shouldn't be soloed by 1 PC in a single round, that road leads to the perpetual arms race.


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The thing people that don't see the problem fail to grasp is that damage is the least important part of the game. Even the least important part of combat. (unless you have no casters then its the only way to win. But removing casters is not a fix most would like.)

Even a low level example. A well placed glitter dust disables most of the enemies then the melees go in and finish it up.

Who won the battle? The caster or the clean up crew? Melees largely become nothing but janitors cleaning up whats left.


Stome wrote:

The thing people that don't see the problem fail to grasp is that damage is the least important part of the game. Even the least important part of combat. (unless you have no casters then its the only way to win. But removing casters is not a fix most would like.)

Even a low level example. A well placed glitter dust disables most of the enemies then the melees go in and finish it up.

Who won the battle? The caster or the clean up crew? Melees largely become nothing but janitors cleaning up whats left.

Except if you're fighting something with Blind-Fight, or that doesn't need eyes in the first place. Or whatever it is passes the not fantastically hard Will save initially or on any of the successive rounds because 2nd level spell. ARE people just assuming that the targets never make their saves and/or the caster always passes their check? Because it seems to be a thing in this thread.

Also, is it really polite to call the guy in armor hacking away at the venomous demon that came out of the shadows at him because he was up front in party formation and not your scrawny little wizard behind a 'janitor'? Unless this is the EVE universe, front-liners probably deserve more respect than being called lowly filth mopper-uppers. Heck, it's no more fair than calling the casters weak and lazy, when you get down to it.


Cerberus Seven wrote:
Stome wrote:

The thing people that don't see the problem fail to grasp is that damage is the least important part of the game. Even the least important part of combat. (unless you have no casters then its the only way to win. But removing casters is not a fix most would like.)

Even a low level example. A well placed glitter dust disables most of the enemies then the melees go in and finish it up.

Who won the battle? The caster or the clean up crew? Melees largely become nothing but janitors cleaning up whats left.

Except if you're fighting something with Blind-Fight, or that doesn't need eyes in the first place. Or whatever it is passes the not fantastically hard Will save initially or on any of the successive rounds because 2nd level spell. ARE people just assuming that the targets never make their saves and/or the caster always passes their check? Because it seems to be a thing in this thread.

Also, is it really polite to call the guy in armor hacking away at the venomous demon that came out of the shadows at him because he was up front in party formation and not your scrawny little wizard behind a 'janitor'? Unless this is the EVE universe, front-liners probably deserve more respect than being called lowly filth mopper-uppers. Heck, it's no more fair than calling the casters weak and lazy, when you get down to it.

the will save isn't excessively hard

unless you failed to account for Wis due to your excessive focus on your primary stat.


Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
Nicos wrote:
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
i will admit that much, but the game wasn't built around minmaxed 20-25 point fighters who start with a 20 STR

At leasst for me that is a terrible way to build fighters. A 16 st fighter would still way outdamage your tiefling cleric.

Full spellcaster with their 9th lvel spells are the strongest class in the game, they have the versatility and the power. Unbuffed clerics by the other hand are no math for any martial in their own game.

i admit that

but spellcasters aren't dropping foes in one round, or at least they shouldn't be.

the big problem with Martial DPR, is that everybody just stands there and full attacks, and whines when they can't get a full attack.

DPR becoming the sole measure of contribution tends to negate such things as Hit and Run builds (whom are viable in their own way in a non-minmaxed game), or such things as hybrids (like bards, rangers, and paladins)

Fighters, due to their bonus feats, can be quite well equipped for defense, damage, and a selection of combat maneuvers. That's how our Jade Regent fighter gets the best AC in the party, the most hit points, a great damage modifier at all times, and the ability to walk up to the enemy, roll a natural '2', and still disarm or trip or reposition any enemy whose CMD isn't through the freaking roof. This character is easily the core of our 4-man group and proof that good players who know how the classes are SUPPOSED to work don't care soley about DPR. So, let's pay more attention to ones like them and less to those who are treating this whole debate like a theory-crafting PVP discussion about an MMO. Pathfinder is a team game, you make your characters work well together or they die.

Oh, and because I'm sure it will come up, said fighter often does what I listed with minimal to no spell support.


Casters being SAD are able to dump all their coin and feats into things to pump DCs. The argument of failing saves is hyperbole and always has been. They can pour so much into DCs because they don't require the large amount of coins and feats that melee do just to function at all.

So is the So is "if the DM tailors the encounter to be strong against your favorite spell" argument. Any problem can be "fixed" using enough DM metagaming. More so the number of spells that can shut down most of an encounter is staggering. Glitterdust is just one early level example. It is by no means the only one.

You really need to decouple your personal preference and emotion from this. Arguing against facts with "us it polite to" and such won't get you anywhere. And pretending that there is not a imbalance won't do anything to help the melees you (and I) love.


Cerberus Seven wrote:
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
Nicos wrote:
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
i will admit that much, but the game wasn't built around minmaxed 20-25 point fighters who start with a 20 STR

At leasst for me that is a terrible way to build fighters. A 16 st fighter would still way outdamage your tiefling cleric.

Full spellcaster with their 9th lvel spells are the strongest class in the game, they have the versatility and the power. Unbuffed clerics by the other hand are no math for any martial in their own game.

i admit that

but spellcasters aren't dropping foes in one round, or at least they shouldn't be.

the big problem with Martial DPR, is that everybody just stands there and full attacks, and whines when they can't get a full attack.

DPR becoming the sole measure of contribution tends to negate such things as Hit and Run builds (whom are viable in their own way in a non-minmaxed game), or such things as hybrids (like bards, rangers, and paladins)

Fighters, due to their bonus feats, can be quite well equipped for defense, damage, and a selection of combat maneuvers. That's how our Jade Regent fighter gets the best AC in the party, the most hit points, a great damage modifier at all times, and the ability to walk up to the enemy, roll a natural '2', and still disarm or trip or reposition any enemy whose CMD isn't through the freaking roof. This character is easily the core of our 4-man group and proof that good players who know how the classes are SUPPOSED to work don't care soley about DPR. So, let's pay more attention to ones like them and less to those who are treating this whole debate like a theory-crafting PVP discussion about an MMO. Pathfinder is a team game, you make your characters work well together or they die.

Oh, and because I'm sure it will come up, said fighter often does what I listed with minimal to no spell support.

if you can do it on a natural '2' or better, what is the point of rolling? it is basically autosuccess by then.


I would put my level fifteen barbarian against pretty much any caster and be pretty confident in the outcome


Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
Cerberus Seven wrote:
Stome wrote:

The thing people that don't see the problem fail to grasp is that damage is the least important part of the game. Even the least important part of combat. (unless you have no casters then its the only way to win. But removing casters is not a fix most would like.)

Even a low level example. A well placed glitter dust disables most of the enemies then the melees go in and finish it up.

Who won the battle? The caster or the clean up crew? Melees largely become nothing but janitors cleaning up whats left.

Except if you're fighting something with Blind-Fight, or that doesn't need eyes in the first place. Or whatever it is passes the not fantastically hard Will save initially or on any of the successive rounds because 2nd level spell. ARE people just assuming that the targets never make their saves and/or the caster always passes their check? Because it seems to be a thing in this thread.

Also, is it really polite to call the guy in armor hacking away at the venomous demon that came out of the shadows at him because he was up front in party formation and not your scrawny little wizard behind a 'janitor'? Unless this is the EVE universe, front-liners probably deserve more respect than being called lowly filth mopper-uppers. Heck, it's no more fair than calling the casters weak and lazy, when you get down to it.

the will save isn't excessively hard

unless you failed to account for Wis due to your excessive focus on your primary stat.

See, this is the problem I'm talking about. You won't be fighting each other, you'll be fighting goblins, gnolls, orcs, minotaurs, gargoyles, giants, morghs, vampires, oni, purple worms, displacer beasts, carnivorous plants, oozes, dire corbies, ropers, zombies, rust monsters, golems, hydras, dragons, demons, fallen angels, insane demigods, incorporeal flying life-draining oozes from outer space, and bears. So why in Cayden's name are we talking about some hypothetical low-Wisdom fighter instead of those cooler things?! If you DO fight a fighter, it's probably one of those things I just listed with class levels added on and suddenly what it's favored class bonus is or what bonus feats it gets or whether it has heavy armor proficiency really doesn't matter that much anymore, does it?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Stome wrote:

The thing people that don't see the problem fail to grasp is that damage is the least important part of the game. Even the least important part of combat. (unless you have no casters then its the only way to win. But removing casters is not a fix most would like.)

Even a low level example. A well placed glitter dust disables most of the enemies then the melees go in and finish it up.

Who won the battle? The caster or the clean up crew? Melees largely become nothing but janitors cleaning up whats left.

From what i have been reading the tug of war on this thread has been for the most part

Fighters and the damage they do is useful vs. Fighters and the damage they bring to the table isn't useful because the spell casters can totally hose everything

Now perhaps i am over simplifying things.

Stome, you put forth an example worth chewing on.

It shows the contribution a spell caster can make to an encounter, and the contribution a warrior type can bring to an encounter.

We are playing a cooperative game here.....everyone brings something important to the table.

The glitter dust spell is important because it can blind an opponent and prevent it from a) going invisiblie, and B) hiding.

The damage dealer with his sword is important, because he can quickly bring down the opponent. If the opponent is blind and stumbling about...so much the better.

Neither is more important then the other. Seriously do you really want the bard or wizard to poke the beastie to death with a dagger/ quarterstaff/ rapier?

I remember when watching (yes not very good movie) the D&D movie Wrath of the Dragon God....and they had an interview with Gary Gygax on the DVD.

He specifically mentioned that his game design intentionally gave the wizard a limited number of spells like "arrows in a quiver" which the wizard had to pick before hand based on what he thought he would have to face that day. this would balance him against the warrior who could fight all day.

I think the important point is this...the party worked together to bring down their foe...the spell caster using glitterdust, and the warrior using his well....earth breaker to beat on their foe.

Who won the battle? Well the party won the battle.


Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
if you can do it on a natural '2' or better, what is the point of rolling? it is basically autosuccess by then.

Because it's awesome? And because natural 1's happen. And because sometimes things like mirror image get in the way. And because it might have a CMD that's actually on par with the fighter's instead of most things not being that buff. I did exaggerate just a tiny bit, he has succeeded on a 2 before. Many times, in fact. In some cases, though, against other things trying to fight him that aren't bosses he's gonna need to roll 4-5 points higher.

In any case, this sets up the inquisitor and the arcane duelist to murder the hell out of the thing. Or frees them and the cleric from worrying about the nasty +3 keen scythe the baddy was swinging around taking their heads off. He's supporting and protecting his friends. He's doing his job, yet people on this thread want to say he sucks compared to some hyper-optimized wizard that should be the standard for player power. I'm sure by that token, the cleric who decided not to go offensive for the most part and instead opted to heal and support is also being done wrong, but who cares, we're having fun and we're winning anyways.


Bob of Westgate wrote:
I would put my level fifteen barbarian against pretty much any caster and be pretty confident in the outcome

As people have said, this isn't PvP. (That said, if a caster knows what your barbarian can do, then they can neutralize him easily).

There are two things that make casters better than non-casters.

1. They have VERY powerful spells that are just vastly more powerful than what a non-caster can do. They get plenty of these per day.

2. They have an immense amount of versatility. Full-casters especially have a wide array of spells. They can disable enemies using any save or even no save at all. They can summon meat shields that can dish out damage (and whom you don't need to cure). They can fly, teleport, have defenses that are just BETTER than AC will ever be. Etc, etc,. They are awesome in and out of combat.

It's also very helpful that if new spells come out, casters can use them without much trouble. If new material comes out for martial characters, well, you might need to roll up a new character, take a prestige class, or spend feats to use them effectively. Martials are just BAD at learning new skills, even ones thematically appropriate.

It doesn't have anything to do with the thematics of martial characters. They just have a relatively poor class design that has not been reworked sufficiently to make them more useful. Certainly by 10th level, if not well before, you'd be better served by having another full caster than any non-caster in the party. It's just a fact of the game mechanics. I don't like it, but that's how it is.

Martials, in the end, are one trick or two trick ponies. That's just not good compared to casters who have a couple dozen tricks at least.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I think it depends how you measure 'better'. I dont think it's obvious that flexibility is the appropriate scale, nor that endurance-of-action is the way to measure it (which seems to me to sum up the two opposing 'camps').

In some campaigns, it may be hard to get your spells back (for whatever reason) and then casters wont be as good as usual. Similarly, some campaigns may not require the flexibility that really makes casters shine (if the same trick works again and again, being able to do lots of different things isnt that great).

On the other hand, if you measure a class's value as being useful in a very wide variety of situations it's hard to disagree with the claim that a wizard will (eventually) trump a fighter.

I think evaluating a claim of 'better' is nonsensical without an understanding of what metric the claimer is using (and unhelpful if you insist on using your own).


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Steve Geddes wrote:

I think it depends how you measure 'better'. I dont think it's obvious that flexibility is the appropriate scale, nor that endurance-of-action is the way to measure it (which seems to me to sum up the two opposing 'camps').

In some campaigns, it may be hard to get your spells back (for whatever reason) and then casters wont be as good as usual. Similarly, some campaigns may not require the flexibility that really makes casters shine (if the same trick works again and again, being able to do lots of different things isnt that great).

On the other hand, if you measure a class's value as being useful in a very wide variety of situations it's hard to disagree with the claim that a wizard will (eventually) trump a fighter.

I think evaluating a claim of 'better' is nonsensical without an understanding of what metric the claimer is using (and unhelpful if you insist on using your own).

Flexibility is pretty much always useful. The only time it wouldn't be is if the enemies are not varied, you cannot use divination to get more information, there are no obstacles to avoid, etc, etc, etc. Basically the campaign has to be boring as heck. It matters because Martial "tricks" are extremely narrow (E.g. hit it with a sword or trip it...not much flexibility there, honestly).

Endurance is almost never an issue once you get to level 5 or so since there are plenty of spells. It matters less and less as one levels. If the DM gives no time for people to rest, let's remember that this hurts non-casters too as it limits healing -- it is unlikely he's going to let you stock up on wands of CLW if he isn't going to let you sleep at night. There just isn't enough combat even in an action-packed day to really stop casters if they take care with their spell use -- especially with some magical items to make things a bit easier. So sure, a Fighter can make 14,400 Full Attacks in a day theoretically, but he's not even going to need 30. So as a practical matter this does become moot.

That is why the Tier system is about raw power and flexibility. This inherently measures usefulness in a D&D campaign. The only real solution to this problem is to boost martial flexiblity (like the Tome of Battle did) and decrease caster power (Bards, the Magus, 3.5 casters like the Beguiler and Dread Necromancer are all examples). There also needs some redesign with how a number of spells work -- it's an immense undertaking to do all this, which is why it hasn't been done really. Well, there are some homebrew systems, of course.


Stome wrote:

Casters being SAD are able to dump all their coin and feats into things to pump DCs. The argument of failing saves is hyperbole and always has been. They can pour so much into DCs because they don't require the large amount of coins and feats that melee do just to function at all.

So is the So is "if the DM tailors the encounter to be strong against your favorite spell" argument. Any problem can be "fixed" using enough DM metagaming. More so the number of spells that can shut down most of an encounter is staggering. Glitterdust is just one early level example. It is by no means the only one.

You really need to decouple your personal preference and emotion from this. Arguing against facts with "us it polite to" and such won't get you anywhere. And pretending that there is not a imbalance won't do anything to help the melees you (and I) love.

Perhaps I'm missing something here but, where exactly are all these feats for extra bumps to their spell DC (which I assume is still affecting just one spell school / type at a time) coming from? The same pool they need for Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration, right? The same one needed for Meta-magic and Item Crafting feats, too? And Improved Initiative, Paragon Surge, other utility feats as well? So, how exactly do all casters manage to boost all their DCs that effectively without losing equally valuable options elsewhere? Seriously, please show me how my observation was hyperbole, I'd like to see all these cheap and easy feats and items. Because the GMs I've run with don't give us cake-walks and the things they make us fight pass their saves all the time without needing natural 20s.

I'm not arguing for "tailoring the encounter to negate effectiveness of favored spells", that's silly and not fun. I'm arguing for an approach where one spell doesn't mean the end of the encounter. Fireball can kill cultists, but the devils they bound to their service will laugh at you. Black Tentacles won't actually work that well against things with DR, though it will keep them still. Invisibility may end up getting you safely past guards, but traps and hazards are another matter. Stoneskin will keep you alive for a while longer against a lot of weaker enemies, but it just doesn't help that much against the one BIG ogre with class levels using two-handed power attack and a magic weapon. See what I mean? Again, this is all assuming, for some reason, that the spells cast by the PCs never ever fizzle, fail to beat SR, are saved against in any way, or are similarly rendered less effective than optimally intended.

Alas, I think you missed the point of my janitor joke. Namely, that EVE online is weird. Also, perhaps more importantly, without those so-called 'meat shields', the squishy wizards and their like would get torn to shreds after trying for a while to get anywhere in an adventure. Your wizard cannot take Thistletop solo at level 3, nor Xin Shalast at level 18, it just isn't in the cards. At least, not without help from someone willing to get their hands dirty while you sit back and warp reality to you and your friend's benefit. You only got the money to buy those nice Blessed Books, extra scrolls, staves & wands & rods, stat items, arch-magi robes, ETC because you had someone willing to get a little torn up in front of you while you waved your hands so suddenly 'CRASH-BOOM-BAM', magic win. Derisively referring to them as janitors means you're really missing just how much a caster relies on others to keep them safe. Because no matter how many defensive spells you prepare, it will never be enough to get you through a full day of combat solo against any even moderately creative sequence of fights from a decent GM.

Lastly, a personal note. You're correct, I am a little frustrated here. However, it's not for the reasons you think. This thread is treating the hypothetical 'martial vs caster' problem as a measure of the power of one type of class over the other when, really, it's not about which class is better individually, it's which classes can work better together. It's a team game. Yet, this discussion is giving me flashbacks of people complaining in forums and general chat that so-and-so game company needs to nerf this class or that class because in PvP they're too OP because <insert personal preference here> or <insert poor me anecdote here> or <hyper-arcane-theorycrafting theorem goes at this point>. Inevitably, the designers conceed, nerfs go out, and now a NEW round of complaining starts up. PvP sucks, and it's probably one of the wisest things that d20 table-top gaming continues to do in not creating that sort of competitive environment between the players. I just hope the trend continues that people look at how to synergize their character's capabilities against what the GM will make them fight rather than against each other in these little brawl fantasies.


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Drachasor wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

I think it depends how you measure 'better'. I dont think it's obvious that flexibility is the appropriate scale, nor that endurance-of-action is the way to measure it (which seems to me to sum up the two opposing 'camps').

In some campaigns, it may be hard to get your spells back (for whatever reason) and then casters wont be as good as usual. Similarly, some campaigns may not require the flexibility that really makes casters shine (if the same trick works again and again, being able to do lots of different things isnt that great).

On the other hand, if you measure a class's value as being useful in a very wide variety of situations it's hard to disagree with the claim that a wizard will (eventually) trump a fighter.

I think evaluating a claim of 'better' is nonsensical without an understanding of what metric the claimer is using (and unhelpful if you insist on using your own).

Flexibility is pretty much always useful. The only time it wouldn't be is if the enemies are not varied, you cannot use divination to get more information, there are no obstacles to avoid, etc, etc, etc. Basically the campaign has to be boring as heck. It matters because Martial "tricks" are extremely narrow (E.g. hit it with a sword or trip it...not much flexibility there, honestly).

You've been clear about what your measure is, but it isn't mine. FWIW, our campaigns are what you would probably call "boring as heck". However that wasn't really my main point. I can't stand complicated classes during combat (I don't mind spending time outside of combat making feat choices and so forth, but I don't like playing a class with lots of options during each round). Hence, by my measure, a fighter is clearly better than a wizard - it's just because I play different campaigns than you and enjoy different aspects of the game.

All I was saying is, that when I hear you say "wizards are better than fighters" I should hear "wizards are more flexible than fighters", not "wizards are simpler during combat than fighters".

Quote:
Endurance is almost never an issue once you get to level 5 or so since there are plenty of spells. It matters less and less as one levels. If the DM gives no time for people to rest, let's remember that this hurts non-casters too as it limits healing -- it is unlikely he's going to let you stock up on wands of CLW if he isn't going to let you sleep at night.

Reducing a martial character's healing isn't as bad as preventing a spell caster from regaining spells though. That's all it takes for my comment to be true. Fwiw, I wasnt meaning that rest might be difficult but was thinking about the old AD&D Queen of the Demonweb Pits module where clerics couldn't regain anything beyond 2nd level spells, since they were deep in the abyss. That sort of campaign isn't for everyone, obviously - but if your campaign does have those kind of restrictions, you will find martial types more useful than otherwise.

Quote:
There just isn't enough combat even in an action-packed day to really stop casters if they take care with their spell use -- especially with some magical items to make things a bit easier. So sure, a Fighter can make 14,400 Full Attacks in a day theoretically, but he's not even going to need 30. So as a practical matter this does become moot....

I don't know if its come up yet, but another factor in all this is player (or group) skill. I have no idea how to play a caster well (ie how to "take care with my spell use" or spell selection, for that matter). I don't want to speak for the OP but i know part of the reason our table doesn't find the martial-caster disparity a real thing is because we don't play casters very well.

I don't think that's an argument one way or the other - but I think considerations like that will also colour how one determines the relative value of different classes.


Bob of Westgate wrote:
I would put my level fifteen barbarian against pretty much any caster and be pretty confident in the outcome

Ok I have a diviner wizard with an otherworldy kimono.

I go first just because, then I maze you, and place all my simulacrums around where you were mazed, ok your turn


First: Casters work better together though. Two Casters working in coordination is far stronger than a Caster + Meatshield. No one is talking about PvP (although yes Caster are better at that to).

Second: Paragon Surge is a Spell.

Third: You only need one crafting feat - Craft Wondrous Item.

Fourth: Caster Feats for the most part only cost 1 feat. Martial feats got broken up into 2 or more. PF gave more feats than 3.5.

Fifth: The reason you've never seen it because of one of the following: No one at your table has the system mastery to play a caster to their full potential, people who show up to your table hold themselves back to not overshadow you, you are playing only at low level, or the people who could play this powerful of caster find it not fun. (It really isn't, god mode gets boring real quick.)

Also Bob Westgate I would love to take you up on that challenge, because it would be so incredibly easy. (I'd prefer 20, but hey the difference is negligible and the important thing is its high enough that my Half-Elf Juju Oracle would have access to both list... only 7th level spells though....)


Just a note, I have a couple treerazors around you, some pit fiends, thantotic titans, and what have you.

Treerazor is pretty cool, because you have to make a dc 32 fort save per round or he hits you for 20d10 damage + 1d8 str drain, he is a funny guy

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Hmmm I am thinking there was a reason there were only 3-5 wizards mentioned in Lord of the Rings... It's because all of the others were killed by Sauron's hordes of orcs. Well there may have been some other reason but you get the point. And yet.... Humans thrived with no casting ability...

I find the tone of Anzyr's posts particularly condescending and annoying. Perhaps he can rectify that for the future.

High Level casters are more powerful than combat oriented characters plain and simple. A caster who has access to 4th level spells and higher can easily unbalance the game if you are playing with someone who has a God complex. But there is no way you can sit there and tell me that a 1st level caster is infinitely more powerful than all martial classes. Because if you are then you are either a liar (which I don't believe) or you are playing with the most ignorant of people. I have played in games where the martials are unbalanced and I have played in games where the casters were unbalanced. It all depends on the players and how they play their characters. If I want to create a fighter or barbarian that can slap a caster around like a red-headed step-child I assure you I can create one to do it. But like creating the god caster it isn't really any fun. Although a magic-hating ranger does have some possibilities....


Steve Geddes wrote:
You've been clear about what your measure is, but it isn't mine. FWIW, our campaigns are what you would probably call "boring as heck". However that wasn't really my main point. I can't stand complicated classes during combat (I don't mind spending time outside of combat making feat choices and so forth, but I don't like playing a class with lots of options during each round). Hence, by my measure, a fighter is clearly better than a wizard - it's just because I play different campaigns than you and enjoy different aspects of the game.

A fighter might be more ENJOYABLE for you than the wizard, but that doesn't make them better as far as the game is concerned.

Steve Geddes wrote:
Reducing a martial character's healing isn't as bad as preventing a spell caster from regaining spells though. That's all it takes for my comment to be true. Fwiw, I wasnt meaning that rest might be difficult but was thinking about the old AD&D Queen of the Demonweb Pits module where clerics couldn't regain anything beyond 2nd level spells, since they were deep in the abyss. That sort of campaign isn't for everyone, obviously - but if your campaign does have those kind of restrictions, you will find martial types more useful than otherwise.

If you have to toss the rules out the window to even things out, then that just demonstrates how unbalanced it is.

And martials are useless if they have low hit points. Healing is more important to them since they're going to be taking more damage than anyone else. A caster? They can stand back and use summons and defensive magics to soak up damage and avoid getting hit. Worst case they can escape the local area/plane with magic. Stopping this requires ridiculous DM fiat.

Steve Geddes wrote:

don't know if its come up yet, but another factor in all this is player (or group) skill. I have no idea how to play a caster well (ie how to "take care with my spell use" or spell selection, for that matter). I don't want to speak for the OP but i know part of the reason our table doesn't find the martial-caster disparity a real thing is because we don't play casters very well.

I don't think that's an argument one way or the other - but I think considerations like that will also colour how one determines the relative value of different classes.

Well, anyone can make or play a class poorly. But casters can bounce back from bad play easier. If you play a fighter and are bad, then one day become good...your fighter is likely still bad because of all his feats. A caster might have bad feats, but they can still be played excellently just by changing their prepared spells and tactics (granted, Sorcerers not so much).


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I'm sorry you find it to be so, it is not intended to be, merely direct. Rest assured no one is claiming that any class is infinitely more powerful than any class at level 1, because 1st level is a game of rocket tag regardless what class you play. However, at high levels a Caster is functionally a deity. As you yourself agree once the game hits 4th level spells a Caster that uses their full power can easily unbalance the game. That's only 7th Level. As the spell levels get higher the idea of a martial character being a legitimate threat to caster become increasingly slim. (Also Lord of the Rings is kind of a bad example. Everyone in it is like level 5-6 tops, with the "wizards" being outsiders...)


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Drachasor wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
You've been clear about what your measure is, but it isn't mine. FWIW, our campaigns are what you would probably call "boring as heck". However that wasn't really my main point. I can't stand complicated classes during combat (I don't mind spending time outside of combat making feat choices and so forth, but I don't like playing a class with lots of options during each round). Hence, by my measure, a fighter is clearly better than a wizard - it's just because I play different campaigns than you and enjoy different aspects of the game.
A fighter might be more ENJOYABLE for you than the wizard, but that doesn't make them better as far as the game is concerned.

The game doesn't have an opinion about what's "better". That's my point.

You value certain things and people should judge your claim of "better" according to that implied scale. For me, the game is all about enjoyment and that means simplicity - when I declare one class "better", I mean simpler.

There isn't an objective scale ("better as far as the game is concerned" doesnt mean anything) because we all play the game differently and for different reasons.


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Drachasor wrote:
Quote:

i know part of the reason our table doesn't find the martial-caster disparity a real thing is because we don't play casters very well.

I don't think that's an argument one way or the other - but I think considerations like that will also colour how one determines the relative value of different classes.

Well, anyone can make or play a class poorly. But casters can bounce back from bad play easier. If you play a fighter and are bad, then one day become good...your fighter is likely still bad because of all his feats. A caster might have bad feats, but they can still be played excellently just by changing their prepared spells and tactics (granted, Sorcerers not so much).

Not if I remain bad (as seems likely). That's what I meant.


Shimesen wrote:
I keep seeing everyone talk about how casters are gods and martial classes suck. I just don't see how.

There are lots and lots of situations in which the martials have to depend on the casters to save the day but few situation in which the opposite is true.

I have experienced those examples multiple times. I'm still waiting for an encounter in wich the casters have to dwiddle their thumps and watch the martials work. I guess an antimagic field could do that. But I have yet to see one.

Example 1: Lowlevel party fighting incorporals. The martials without magic weapons sit around doing nothing meaningful while the casters kill the enemy.

Example 2: The party has to cross a river with all their gear. The fighter can swim but not good enough to do it in armor. The rogue shrugs and asks the ranger if he knows a bridge or ford. One of the casters casts fly on the strong fighter who carries everyone across. Could be a big wall or mountain instead.


Hiya.

I'm right there with you, OP. We've *never* found casters to "win", then then again, we play with an eye towards simulation and story...so core book only, no taking X unless you can show your character had a chance to actually learn/acquire X, etc.

Casters have usually been balanced with everyone else, or slightly weaker IME.

^_^

Paul L. Ming


Steve Geddes wrote:

The game doesn't have an opinion about what's "better". That's my point.

You value certain things and people should judge your claim of "better" according to that implied scale. For me, the game is all about enjoyment and that means simplicity - when I declare one class "better", I mean simpler.

There isn't an objective scale ("better as far as the game is concerned" doesnt mean anything) because we all play the game differently and for different reasons.

You're trying to make this a semantic argument, but the fact is the game DOES judge what is better or not.

Charging an Adamantine Golem when you have low AC, and wielding a steel non-magical dagger is objectively worse than doing the same with high AC and a magical adamantine sword.

When a game focuses on overcoming challenges, then it inherently judges the capabilities of the players and their characters. Now maybe you'd suck at a Wizard, but that doesn't make the Wizard a worse class. You being bad at something doesn't make that thing worse objectively. It just makes it a bad choice for your skillset. So an otherwise superior option can become inferior due to your particular capabilities or incapabilities. Again, that does not make the superior option worse in general.


pming wrote:

Hiya.

I'm right there with you, OP. We've *never* found casters to "win", then then again, we play with an eye towards simulation and story...so core book only, no taking X unless you can show your character had a chance to actually learn/acquire X, etc.

Casters have usually been balanced with everyone else, or slightly weaker IME.

Do wizards have to justify the two spells they learn per level? How do you have people justify feats in general? Bonus Feats for fighters/wizards? Item creation feats? Metamagic feats? Do you not allow them to buy spells in towns?

What do druids have to do to justify Natural Spell?

That said, if Druids and Clerics at least aren't dominating, then I suspect they just aren't being played to remotely maximize their inherent capabilities. There's no reason why a focus on simulationism would hurt casters more than anyone else.

Of course, it might depend on what you call "simulationism" as I have heard people use the term in very different ways.


Marthkus wrote:
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
by wasting a 3rd level slot as a standard action or a 7th level slot as a swift action, you can cast any spell you please on the next round.

That one is kind'of a big.

I'll stick to my human fav class bonus + PoSK and be just fine.

I will grab racial heritage half elf and do all 3


You can have fun playing a martial character. In a party that works together, martials are fun at all levels. If you're not worried about what your party members can do in comparison to you, then you'll be fine with any class. They are all capable of contributing to a party's success. Rarely are encounters designed to require everyone be optimized.

If you are comparing, then casters reign supreme. An optimized caster can often render martials obsolete. They can do things a martial can't touch. If you're playing in a campaign with a selfish player playing a caster with a DM that is getting steam-rolled by the selfish player, then it can be no fun at all.


....
Things like this are the reason i don't like my job as GM anymore.
There's one player who is inveribly better then the rest, always plays a caster, distroys everything without much effort, and he isn't even optimized to a high degree.

The other, non-caster players, however, see these things as a challange, only to have that Druid in the party just sweep them aside.


You can ask him to play a bad caster if you want.

You could do what I do, which is ban some spells and give tier 1/2 classes (Full and spontaneous casters) a lesser point buy.

To be honest I am ok with spells being good, but I am not ok with the spells being brokenly good.

Wall of force and forcecage are ok examples, because either you have disintegrate handy or you just lose, I dunno of a monster that can get through that much hardness and hp in a reasonable amount of time


andreww wrote:
Marthkus wrote:
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
by wasting a 3rd level slot as a standard action or a 7th level slot as a swift action, you can cast any spell you please on the next round.

That one is kind'of a big.

I'll stick to my human fav class bonus + PoSK and be just fine.

I will grab racial heritage half elf and do all 3

I considered that before but it made me kinda feel dirty.


chaoseffect wrote:
I considered that before but it made me kinda feel dirty.

Totally. The whole Paragon Surge/Expanded Arcana/Eldritch Heritage thing is completely dirty pool and yet it seems Paizo is fine with it. It was raised in one of the Ask threads over a year ago with no real response.


Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:


i will admit that much, but the game wasn't built around minmaxed 20-25 point...

with levels fighters have 20 str by level 10. No one has thrown up a starting 20 str fighter


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To those saying that martials do ~90% of the out-of-combat stuff:
Even just using orizons/cantrips casters can hog the spotlight in a lot of situations.
For example some survival stuff can be done with spells. Create water, purify food and drink, know direction, spark. Other cantrips can be used a lot for other out of combat situations. No need to carry tons of torches when your party has light. No need to repair minor equipment damage when you have mending.

Just by using my cantrips I can contribute more than 10% out of combat. Without using up spells per day.

And even if we use a long work day my witch always has some utility spells prepared, using pearls of power to get additional uses of often needed combat spells. Comprehend languages and diagnose disease remain prepared most of the time, among others. After all, I can always use hexes to contribute after using some strong spells each combat.

To those saying that we always asume enemies to fail saves: There are enough spells that are save AND suck, working well no matter what the enemy rolls. I often use rimed frost falls to entangle foes. Same with rimed ice storm. Or vs some monsters with low touch AC ray of exhaustion. The foe is at least fatigued. At higher levels there are things like suffocation. In the least the enemy is staggered for three rounds.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

And here's another disparity - statuses. Fatigue and Exhaustion severely hurt mundanes / martials. Casters? Not so much. Is there a status that hurts casters with the same disparity versus its effects on martials?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Deafened?


Jess Door wrote:
And here's another disparity - statuses. Fatigue and Exhaustion severely hurt mundanes / martials. Casters? Not so much. Is there a status that hurts casters with the same disparity versus its effects on martials?

Feeblemind, level drain?


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Drachasor wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

The game doesn't have an opinion about what's "better". That's my point.

You value certain things and people should judge your claim of "better" according to that implied scale. For me, the game is all about enjoyment and that means simplicity - when I declare one class "better", I mean simpler.

There isn't an objective scale ("better as far as the game is concerned" doesnt mean anything) because we all play the game differently and for different reasons.

You're trying to make this a semantic argument

Well "better" means something, so yes, I guess. What other kind of argument is there?

Quote:

but the fact is the game DOES judge what is better or not.

Charging an Adamantine Golem when you have low AC, and wielding a steel non-magical dagger is objectively worse than doing the same with high AC and a magical adamantine sword.

No. It will result in doing less damage and in the charger dying more easily. The game has no opinion about whether that's a desirable thing.

Quote:
When a game focuses on overcoming challenges, then it inherently judges the capabilities of the players and their characters.

The way we play it that's not the focus. Having fun is the focus. (Sometimes that involves overcoming challenges).

I play a very different game from you. To suggest there is some objectively "best" approach in any situation is to suggest there's a correct way to play.


Steve Geddes your definitions are all well and good, but they are also unhelpful to achieving balance here's how your argument reads to us:

"In the context of Super Smash Bros. Melee there is no 'better character' any character is a good pick, because my goal is not to succeed at combat part of the game, thus there are no balance issues."

Now, if you play at a table where you don't care that most of the characters in SSBM are not very good in combat that's great. But please understand that when we're talking balancing we are kind of talking about things like being able to not die and hit AC's.


CWheezy wrote:
Bob of Westgate wrote:
I would put my level fifteen barbarian against pretty much any caster and be pretty confident in the outcome

Ok I have a diviner wizard with an otherworldy kimono.

I go first just because, then I maze you, and place all my simulacrums around where you were mazed, ok your turn

Spell sunder?


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The problem is a certain interpretation of how a fantasy setting should work. Everything in our world is governed by laws of physics. The core concept of fantasy is to allow things impossible in reality, thus a fantasy world is governed by the laws of magic. Magic is just a replacement of the laws of physics.

The D&D implementation of a fantasy world assumes that everyone who casts spells should be subject to the laws of magic and everyone who doesn't should still be subject to our world's laws of physics. This is silly and unfun. A swordsman subject to our physical laws is by definition not a fantasy character. This is why several people, including myself, are trying to modify the system to remove this absurd little assumption. To clarify, this does not mean noncasters should lose their martial flavor. Players just need to come to terms with barbarians playing like the Hulk rather than a local weightlifter.


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Anzyr wrote:

Steve Geddes your definitions are all well and good, but they are also unhelpful to achieving balance here's how your argument reads to us:

"In the context of Super Smash Bros. Melee there is no 'better character' any character is a good pick, because my goal is not to succeed at combat part of the game, thus there are no balance issues."

Now, if you play at a table where you don't care that most of the characters in SSBM are not very good in combat that's great. But please understand that when we're talking balancing we are kind of talking about things like being able to not die and hit AC's.

I'm actually arguing in support of your position just as much as against it. I'm certainly not trying to "achieve balance".

The OP doesn't understand why casters are said to be better. My contention is that he's not evaluating the claim you're actually making (that casters are more versatile/powerful). He thinks being able to do your main thing over and over is as important as how powerful that thing is and is using "better" to mean something else.

I think clarity of language would be useful in explaining the contrary view to those of us who don't see a caster-martial disparity of any great significance.

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