Sound Striker - Wierd Words Ability questions


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While I am liking the direction they are going with it I have to agree that it will be very weak.

People that will take this archetype will be doing so because they want to be an offensive bard but NOT a melee or archer bard. That's pretty much the whole reason for it as far as I can tell. So it really needs to be able to fill that at least reasonably well.

Those saying to keep in mind what it replaces nee to realize that it has a cost beyond just the ability it replaces. While you technically still have IC one must chose one of the other per round for a long time. Yes there is a spell to help with this later on but it cost spell slots and actions.

These are just ideas and some of them are not new to the thread. Nor do I think ALL of the things I list should be done. If all of them are it would likely be too strong.

Change to sonic damage so DR does not make it unusable.

Lessen the performance round cost. Perhaps make its cost scale on par with the number of D8s? So when it scales up to 2D8 it cost 2 rounds and so on.

Improve the damage scaling. Maybe 2d6 rather then 1d8. So 2d4-4d6 and so on.

Someone touched on it up a couple post but perhaps give it specific wording to make it function with Arcane Strike. I find this one very appealing and interesting. Arcane Strike is a feat that I personally feel is very fitting to Bards. This would also allow some interesting (though not that powerful) Use of gloves of arcane striking. As in minor splash damage mostly. sounds fun to me anyway.

Well that's been my 2 copper.

-Edit- also just realized the Arcane strike idea would help at least get past the most common DR.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

so at 7th level you can spend 6 rounds of bardic performance (max), to hit 7 enemies, requiring 7 ranged touch attacks all at your highest bab, to do 1d8+Cha.

presumably point blank shot applies
they're not rays, so weapon focus (ray) doesn't apply.
the bard may be singing, so at 7th level , inspire courage +2 ( if they can virtuoso or something to maintain a performance and use weird words in the same round, more once they get Good Hope, possibly discordant voice. )

so you could be looking at a bit of an optimized bard at 7th level dealing 1d8+6 cha +1 pbs, +2 courage , +2 good hope, so 1d8+11+1d6 sonic to 7 enemies. its not bad , for wittling down foes. but taking away the ability to focus it on one enemy makes it a feeble option. and its subject to DR. a tweeked out aasimar at 7th level, performing as a 10th level bard just manages to be able to spend performances faster, for an extra 1d8.

you look at the thunder caller, doing 2 or 3d8 for 1 round of performance. possibly twice a round, in an area, with no DR, and you think man, wierd words sucks now.

how about something with an optional ability?
single target: 1d6 per round of performance spent. fort save half. so a 10th level bard does a standard action single ranged touch attack for up to 10d6.
area: number of targets up to bard level within 30 ft. of eachother. 1 round of performance per target. 1d6 damage / 2 bard levels. fort save half.
( no ranged touch )
its no longer an attack roll. so inspire courage, good hope, point blank shot no longer apply. but the bard has an option to effect a bunch of enemies, or spend a lot of his performances for a good single attack.

there should be a faster scale progression for damage , if you can only target someone once in the round, than 1d8 @6th, 2d8 @10th, 3d8 @14th, etc. Equate it to a spell. and look at standard spell practices for damage. it is an arcane damage effect. with a conjuration effect ( you're using DR so its a real force that has to be resisted. ). 1d6/level or 1d8/2 levels seems to be the standard there. so if you start out at 6th when you gain the ability, to do 3d8 damage to up to 6 targets with 6 ranged touch attacks, thats a nice ability. at 10th level you'll be doing 5d8,and at 14th level you'll be doing 7d8. it feels powerful, but you're expending one round per target. at that point though, its good enough to figure if there is a reason to keep the ranged touch attack, or make it a targetted spell effect with a saving throw instead. either you want to make it an attack, and let it be used with point blank shot, inspire courage, good hope, arcane strike, or you want to make it an effect, so give it a save DC based on the bard's level, and make it a sonic spell with a fort save. the equivalent to a mass ear piercing scream performance.


Unless something in the wording of the end result changes things you CAN NOT be using IC at the same time as this. Starting one performance stops any others. There is a spell to allow it use but you are spending performance rounds, spell slots, spells known, and actions to do this.

I don;t know where people get the idea that point blank shot works. Nowhere is it listed as a weapon or weapon like. A ranged attack roll does not = a ranged weapon unless there is specific wording to qualify it as such. Rays have such qualifiers but not all ranged touch attacks are rays.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

ranged attack roll == point blank shot applicable.
i've never seen conclusive proof that you can't combine Acid Splash and point blank shot to hit someone better.

only weapon focus requires proficiency / specifies that it can only be taken with Rays.
basing it off the 3.5 precident, any weapon - like attack with a spell will qualify for use with point blank shot. if its a ray, you can also apply weapon focus (ray) if you have it.

point blank shot's intent is: you're closer, you can strike more precisely and for more damage.
as long as the spell requires an attack roll, its a weapon-like spell. that debate can be held elsewhere. regardless: there's some tables where it will happen.

virtuoso performance


Seraphimpunk wrote:

ranged attack roll == point blank shot applicable.

i've never seen conclusive proof that you can't combine Acid Splash and point blank shot to hit someone better.

only weapon focus requires proficiency / specifies that it can only be taken with Rays.
basing it off the 3.5 precident, any weapon - like attack with a spell will qualify for use with point blank shot. if its a ray, you can also apply weapon focus (ray) if you have it.

point blank shot's intent is: you're closer, you can strike more precisely and for more damage.
as long as the spell requires an attack roll, its a weapon-like spell. that debate can be held elsewhere. regardless: there's some tables where it will happen.

virtuoso performance

"Point Blank Shot

Benefit: You get a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons at ranges of up to 30 feet."

Spells, Spelllike abilities, and SU are NOT weapons unless stated to be a weapon or weapon like. There is no ambiguity on what the system considers weapons. They are in weapon sections of the book and weapon tables.

There is no debate to be had and this thread is about rules. Not about things you let fly at your table that are clearly not RAW or even RAI.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

hey , i gave you a link for the vituoso performance that lets you get two performances up.

you're debating pointblank shot, i suggest you accept that it'll happen at some tables. and take it up with some other thread:

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2jvdp?Point-Blank-Shot#1
http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2mru2?Point-Blank-Shot-and-Rays#1
http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2ovku?Ranged-touch-attacks-and-Combat-Feats#1
http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2npc5?Ranged-touch-spells-considered-weapons#49

weapon-like spells are considered weapons.
you get a weapon-like spell by requiring an attack roll to hit.
that's all i'll say on it here, since it deviates from the current purpose of this thread: picking at the dev teams proposal to find flaws/benefits and judge whether there's room for improvement on the new proposed wording for wierd words.
MANY gms allow combat feats like Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot to work with ranged touch attacks.


I mentioned that spell in my post. Not by name as I had forgotten its name. But your point is? There are spells that can enhance say weapon attacks. That does not mean it should be taken into much consideration when deciding is a weapon is too strong/weak.

I have read all those threads and MANY more. None of them change a thing. Rays can use many weapon feats. Ranged touch does not = Ray. Ranged touch DOES NOT EQUAL weapon-like. Weapon like has to be stated as weapon like or something similar in the wording.

Once again this is about rules. When balancing anything they should in no way take into account what can be done while cheating or making things up.

I can do 10000 damage with a stone if I just make things up. But that has no bearing on how the rules treat a stone when you actually use the rules.


MechE_ wrote:


Edit: Formatted to be more "focused" per Cheapy's suggestions.

Oh, I didn't write my post in response to yours. I was writing it while you were writing yours, and I got distracted. But more focused feedback is great!

(and I laughed at the pun)


Seraphimpunk wrote:
you're debating pointblank shot, i suggest you accept that it'll happen at some tables. and take it up with some other thread:

I would say that is correct. Some tables will allow and some will not, which is why I included both back at my super math post upthread.

Seraph, does that mean you would allow Arcane Strike to work with Weird Words as well, or good hope? (Deadly aim doesn't work, but that one is explicit since it has the "no touch attacks" clause in it)


TGMaxMaxer wrote:

Proposals to balance:

So, bringing it in line with most other abilities would be something like: (italics are things in the proposed rewrite, bolds are my suggestions)

I really like this, so I will attempt to clean it up as well as modify a few items:

Weird Words (Su): At 6th level, a sound striker can start a performance as a standard action, lashing out with up to 1 potent sound per two bard levels (maximum 10), each sound affecting a target within 30 feet. Each weird words fired consumes 1 round of bardic performance. A bard can choose to split his words between multiple targets in range, or may have all words strike the same target. The Sound Striker may split his words any way he chooses between those targets. Note: "Up to" means you can choose to fire fewer than the maximum number. (starts as a single-target ability; every 2 bard levels so it scales all the way to 20th level)

Each target struck by this ability is dealt 1d8 points of sonic damage per word directed at it, plus the bard's Charisma bonus. At 12th and 18th level, the damage per word increases by 1d8. (limits the +CHA damage to only once per target, makes damage sonic; no attack roll so it prevents the PBS problem)

Each target affected may make a Fort saving throw to halve this damage. (keeps fort save as mitigation, only 1 roll per target required, I feel this prevents single-target damage from being overpowering)

This performance replaces suggestion.

------

Although the above proposal still uses x rounds of performance per attack, do remember the bard will probably be spending another use of bardic performance every round on top to get Inspire Courage back up again as a move or swift, since starting Weird Words shuts it off.

Another option using the above proposal is to leave the ability to deal slashing/piercing/bludgeoning damage and then say DR is applied only once per target struck, after all damage is totaled up.


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Firstly, glad the Team has finally decided to take on this issue...

But holy cow, nerfing it into the ground isn't the way to go with it.

First and foremost what part of this is a "good" change for sound strikers? I'll breakdown the new lines:

Quote:
Weird Words (Su): At 6th level, a sound striker can start a performance as a standard action, lashing out with up to 1 potent sound per bard level (maximum 10), each sound affecting one target within 30 feet.

Um... no, cause I'm sure this was such a problem before >.>

Quote:
No target can be struck more than once.

Huge blow to the ability.

Quote:
Each potent sound expends 1 round of bardic performance.

Another huge nerf, people not only can't single target anymore they can't even make attacks to a group of people if they don't have enough performances.

Quote:
These are ranged touch attacks.

Not new, and as is currently being discussed, this isn't really new and continues the problem that it can't be weapon focused and other various issue.

Quote:
Each weird word deals 1d8 points of damage plus the bard's Charisma bonus. At 10th, 14th, and 18th level, the damage increases by 1d8.

Okay, so you get an additional die per hit as you level... but that means a measly average of 4.5 damage per 4 levels. Man, what spells damage go up by 1 damage die per 4 levels? This is still a huge nerf compared to hitting one target with all 10.

Now, removing the fort save is a small boon tho, or at least a less of a headache as a DM, I do have to acknowledge that.

Quote:
The bard chooses what type of damage each word deals (bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing).

And it's still subject to DR. Not a change.

Okay so all in all, I HATE the proposed changes. Perhaps that's a strong word but while change was needed, this feels like a knee jerk reaction to nerf it into oblivion. Or like bullying on Sound Strikers. The ability wasn't overpowered before and this makes it near useless.

However, not just provide vitriol, here is how I would write it:

Weird Words (Su): At 6th level, a sound striker can start a performance as a standard action, lashing out with up to 1 potent sound per 2 bard levels (maximum 10), each sound affecting one target within 30 feet.
Targets can be struck more than once. Each potent sound expends 1 round of bardic performance.
These are ranged touch attacks that count as weapons for the purposes of feats and other abilities relating to weapons.
Each weird word deals 1d8 points of damage plus the bard's Charisma bonus. At 10th, 14th, and 18th level, the damage die increases by one step(1d10 at 10th level, etc).
The bard chooses what type of damage each word deals (bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing)
This performance replaces suggestion.

My Reasoning:
-A soundstriker should be able to hit one target more than once, allowing them to effectively contribute in "boss" fights beyond buffing, even when they have DR.
-By scaling the number of words & their damage die by level will remove the abilty plateau concern that was addressed in the team's response. Also, this will help get over DR at later levels, but not enough to make the ability feel like it's overshadowing true blasters.
-Clarifying that weird words can be weapon focused and so on is sorta essential, and just helps keep the ability consistent.
-Keeping the cost of one performance per word makes sense if we're getting rid of the fort save & letting multiple words hit one person. This lets a Sound Striker "Nova" but not without decreasing his/her continued efficiency.

Course these are just my opinions, but that's how I'd do it.


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Darth Grall wrote:

These are ranged touch attacks that count as weapons for the purposes of feats and other abilities relating to weapons.

I think this will only end poorly. PBS+AS+Cha+good hope damage on each weird words would make it pretty insane. Also, sneak attack on top.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
CRobledo wrote:
Darth Grall wrote:

These are ranged touch attacks that count as weapons for the purposes of feats and other abilities relating to weapons.

I think this will only end poorly. PBS+AS+Cha+good hope damage on each weird words would make it pretty insane.

I don't like arcane strike on ranged touch attacks, I think Arcane Strike needs clarification that its with a physical weapon in your hands, or your hands themselves. I've never had to rule on it at a table.

But i feel there's a disparity in that it seems that you can use it with a Ray, if a ray is a "weapon". so what's the difference between a "Ray" and a "ranged touch". its an argument i've had w/ several RAW like grick and gauss probably, on the rules threads. I don't see there being a difference, and I rules-bleed 3.5 complete arcane into my games by allowing it, even though there's no pathfinder RAW reference or clarification.

I played at a table of Ruby Phoenix tournament just before gen con 2012, at a table with a weird words bard. Not only did i witness him dish out PBS + AS + Cha + good hope on enemies, but he had several pages of forum threads that he had to go over with the GM, so he could sort out what worked with his character with the current GM.

Spoiler:
i also got subject to 2 x 6 rays targeted at my character due to two confused bards that focused on me, as ruby phoenix is one of the few modules that features some weird word bards for the pc's to go up against.

I didn't have any problems with taking 12d8 damage. i had a problem with the game lagging as i had to make 12 fort saves for half damage, and likewise lagging when the party bard eventually did release his own wyrd words, and the gm had to sit and make 10 saves vs. 10d8+60 cha+20 good hope + 30 arcane strike + etc. at that point all i wanted was to see 1 roll to hit, and one fort save for the damage.

and yes , he discussed how every time he sits down with his bard, he has to go over whether arcane strike applies, and get the GM's ruling. this was also before we got the FAQ ruling on supernatural damage respecting DR resistances or SU bypassing DR. So there couldhave been more problems if we'd fought things with DR at the time. likewise he might have hit some pushback on point blank shot, but even the base 10d8+60ish is a lot on ranged touch attacks, but i'm not that player and i don't have a character that relies on point blank shot and touch attacks a lot.


Similar experience is basically why I went full archery with my bard. Since i was playing primarily PFS, the table variance and the arguments were not worth the trouble.

Then, in the tables I WAS allowed to target all the words on the same enemy, I found myself not wanting to use it because of all the dice I had to roll, and I could tell the GM didn't either.

I have seen another SS bard add some vivisectionist levels (before they were banned in society) and greater invis to also add sneak attack in there. And then a Cognatogen on top for more CHA...


That's why I made it sonic damage and not an attack, so it doesn't have the crazy adds that a focused bard could drop (arcane strike, PBS, good hope, Virtuoso Perf for +Inspire Courage on top to hit/damage, Discordant Voice).
That would be around, say at 10th level base, 1d8+Cha+9+1d6 X 10 if all hit (touch attacks at that level usually do) then fort half for all of them (which will be 75% success based on CR10 creatures), and then factoring DR in separate for each roll.

People are screaming about it being broken now for 2 reasons, the number of dice rolled being excessive (30 rolls for 10 words is pretty excessive), and they have bad experiences with letting people get away with weapon bonuses to it when they shouldn't apply to start with.

If the damage scales, and DR isn't an issue, the not adding Cha to damage more than once per target is still decent. If there aren't 10 hit rolls, and 10 damage rolls, and 10 saves, then you don't have a single turn taking 15 minutes. If it is moved away from the "weaponlike" effect, then you don't have the crazy stacking that people misperceive as overpowered. (The only people who argue that even the original version is ZOMG damage!@! are people who haven't seen a rage/pounce barbarian with a oversized greatsword anyways)

1 word per 2 levels, targeting one enemy or multiple enemies.
1d8+Cha, scaling 1d8/4 levels after 6th per word, Cha only once per target if multiple words hit.
One performance round per word used.
Sonic damage, no DR, fort save half.
No attack roll, no crazy addon damage. (kills my previous concept of an arcane trickster build with bard, but oh well. C'est la vie.)

Not counting all the ways to boost your rounds, (i consider those already balanced because you give up other things) you should have 22+cha rounds at level 10. With a normal point buy that means 5-6 nova shots if you don't plan to do anything else with them that day, or a reasonable contribution to mook killing other than buff/Inspire Courage, watch my friends kill everything.

At 10th level, you fire 5/standard action, doing 2d8+cha each to multiple targets, or 10d8+cha to a single. Fort save for half. It costs 5 rounds/use, and you have to spend extra to put Inspire courage back up. Sonic damage, which fits with the "Sound Striker" description, and simplifies the DR issue.

Balanced against similar abilities gotten by other classes at that level, still scales well when you get to higher levels, but doesn't overwhelm at lower levels.


See I don't think it should be Sonic Damage tho since it's really hard to come by good Sonic Attacks.

Plus the Sound Striker is totally evocative(for me anyways) of those Sitar Assassins from Kung Fu Hustle. Being able to deflect those attacks, have DR apply, adding point blank shot, and apply sneak attack damage to them makes sense to me as they all have cost. And if you're limiting the number of potent words to 1 per 2 bard levels, it's not that powerful. To get Sneak Attack and stuff, you'd have to multiclass or pick an archetype to let you do it which in turn you're trading a lot of the Bard away.

As for Arcane Strike on Touch attacks, I don't see the problem. You can already do that with Firearms, well outside of a mere 30 feet range.

Paizo Employee Official Rules Response

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The role of the sound striker archetype is a bard who can supplement his spellcasting, support, and weapon damage roles with a direct-damage use of his bardic performance currency (rounds of bardic performance). It is not intended to make the bard as ranged-effective as an archer. In other words, it is intended to augment the bard's melee abilities (just as its 3rd-level ability replaces inspire competence with a more martial use of performance rounds), but not replace them. If you're a bard who never uses inspire competence or suggestion, and at the end of the adventuring day you still have many rounds of performance left over, you could consider the sound striker archetype as an option that lets you use those "wasted" (meaning they went unused during the day) performance rounds to deal direct damage to opponents.

With that in mind, we'd like to hear more feedback.


Pathfinder Design Team wrote:

The role of the sound striker archetype is a bard who can supplement his spellcasting, support, and weapon damage roles with a direct-damage use of his bardic performance currency (rounds of bardic performance). It is not intended to make the bard as ranged-effective as an archer. In other words, it is intended to augment the bard's melee abilities (just as its 3rd-level ability replaces inspire competence with a more martial use of performance rounds), but not replace them. If you're a bard who never uses inspire competence or suggestion, and at the end of the adventuring day you still have many rounds of performance left over, you could consider the sound striker archetype as an option that lets you use those "wasted" (meaning they went unused during the day) performance rounds to deal direct damage to opponents.

With that in mind, we'd like to hear more feedback.

Alright.

First, let's lay this out.

Build Cost: Loses inspire competence and suggestion.
Opportunity cost: cannot be combined with almost any other bard archetype, so any opportunity there is lost.

Combat Cost: Standard action, ends other performances, and some amount of bardic music.

Next, let's look at the other ability tied to it.

3rd level ability: Word strike deals 1d4+blevel to object, and (1d4+blvl)/2 to creature. No range is listed (oversight). 1 round of performance and a standard action.

If we assume that the range is the standard 30feet, then this is not a strong ability. It is weaker than the near universally considered weak sorcerer level 1 powers in that it depletes a useful resource (performances) rather than the fixed 3+CHA. By the time the number of performances might not matter as much, the damage doesn't at all.

We can take this as part of the entry price for the second ability if desired. Otherwise this one should also be addressed. Dealing 2 damage at 3rd level, 4 damage at 6th, and 7 damage at 10th level is simply not on the radar for those levels.. even the lowest when hitting is harder to come by at times. Simply put, this ability is for flavor and for damaging objects. The fact that it can damage creatures is near irrelevant.

Now the ability itself, and my suggestion for it:

6th level ability: Weird Words. Here the flat 30ft is listed, making this well within close range (while close range spells are 40ft at 6th level). It is a standard action to use, and doesn't scale as other performances do. And it also ends other bardic performances.

You want something here that is essentially worthwhile to take and to do. Not only does the cost need to be reasonable, but also the use of the ability in combat must be worthwhile.

I suggest a single ranged touch attack dealing (bard level-4)d6+CHA sonic damage at the cost of one performance round.

Finally, a quick analysis of how it fits in with an example:

Now many things will depend on the CHA of the bard. The higher the CHA, the better this might be.. but then the less martial the bard could be elsewhere. And the bard would still need DEX and feats to augment the ranged touch attack. In the end this is mainly a wash.

Let us assume a 16CHA to start, 18CHA at 6th, and 20CHA at 10th. This would be a weapon finesse bard advancing DEX, and using a bow or this ability when feasible. Feats would be tight in that you'd need weapon finesse, PBS, and precise shot. Thus there wouldn't be much room for lingering performance, etc.

At 6th level, they'd have 17rounds of music. A good number of these would be earmarked for inspire courage.

At 6th, he could deal 2d6+4 damage (average 11) as a ranged touch attack. Possibly useful, but losing the bardsong would hurt for the others. If you have two other martial characters in the party, this could be felt, or even if you only had one big one. In the end, not really worth it except in near contrived situations or in parties with less martial power.

By 10th, you would deal 6d6+5 (average 26damage) which is still subpar for a 10th level character's action. At this point, he could also spend a move to start the bardsong up again. With 27 rounds of bardic performance, this is viable to do. But in all honesty, I'd burn through inspire greatness instead or pick up a masterpiece.

You might consider adding to this additional targets for additional bardic performances, but staggered by bard level. Either that or let it get quicker to use like other performances. I'd suggest the later.

-James


Pathfinder Design Team wrote:
It is not intended to make the bard as ranged-effective as an archer.

The problem here is that archery costs nothing while these powers cost performance rounds. If it's not stronger than archery, what reason would any bard have to use Weird Words over just pulling out a shortbow?

Pathfinder Design Team wrote:
In other words, it is intended to augment the bard's melee abilities (just as its 3rd-level ability replaces inspire competence with a more martial use of performance rounds), but not replace them. If you're a bard who never uses inspire competence or suggestion, and at the end of the adventuring day you still have many rounds of performance left over, you could consider the sound striker archetype as an option that lets you use those "wasted" (meaning they went unused during the day) performance rounds to deal direct damage to opponents.

But at 1d8+Cha (increasing by 1d8 every 4 levels), it's not enough damage to be worth the action cost never mind the bardic performance rounds.

Bards are proficient in the shortbow--if this is worse than a shortbow, it will go unused. Wordstrike is already totally worthless and nobody uses it--it's widely considered just the price of getting Weird Words, after all.


I really have to re-iterate how insanely expensive 1 round of performance per word is. Maybe I'm missing something, but even at mid and upper levels, bardic performance hardly feels like a bottomless pit of a resource. Spending like 10 rounds of it for low to mediocre damage split among separate targets is just never worth it. Ever. For a 10th level Bard with Cha 22 after items (which is pretty good charisma unless he's not bothering with physical attacking at all), those 10 rounds are more than one third of his 28 rounds of performance per day! That's CRAZY!


Also you can't enhance a Sound Striker's attacks. Let that sink in for a moment, if you're really comparing it to an Archer with an enhanced bow, you will be miles behind real archers as a Sound Striker in terms of damage, especially after dr.

Also how is it to augment thier melee ability? In melee you'd just eat a ton of AoO's for it... The only application for this ability would be AS an "Archer".

I stand by my suggestions for the ability thus far, or at least the 1 word per 2 bard levels and multiple words on a single target.


The idea is that if it's close to an archer in damage output, that's bad. Archery, while dead simple to do right, takes a lot of feats. Lots of resources. This one takes...almost none. It replaces a pretty situational ability, and is very cheap to activate. There should be a huge difference in damage capabilities.

And the augment melee comment was, I'm sure, meant to mean that it complements melee. Whereas a fighter may have a longbow in the situations where his sword won't work, the soundstriker has weird words to babble at his foes. Whereas the barbarian has a javelin or a throwing axe, the soundstriker shouts down his enemies. It's not meant to replace it as the primary means of combat. It's meant to shore up the weaknesses.

I have a rough draft of an ability I think would help meet the desire for this ability. I'm going to let it dance about in my head for a night before posting it. While it is slight scope creep, I think it'll help cement this ability as a support ability, rather than as the main attraction.


As a suggestion only, how about Weird Words costing 1 round of bardic performance per two words (round up) instead of one per word? So 1 round for 1-2 words, 2 rounds for 3-4 words, etc.


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Cheapy wrote:
The idea is that if it's close to an archer in damage output, that's bad. Archery, while dead simple to do right, takes a lot of feats. Lots of resources. This one takes...almost none. It replaces a pretty situational ability, and is very cheap to activate. There should be a huge difference in damage capabilities.

Of course, with zero focus, feat support, etc., Weird Words should not be as strong as archery with all resources expended towards being a great archer. But there's no reason at all that Weird Words can't be at least equal to a bow at equal levels of investment.

The point is to make an ability people will use. If it's worse than a bow, then it won't be used. That's why I think the easiest way to handle it is to just, essentially, make it a bow. Let it just be a ranged weapon in all respects, except the ammo is performance rounds instead of arrows.

Also, everyone should remember that the Thundercaller still exists in this same universe. Unless errata is coming for them, that is.

Which would you rather have?

1 round of bardic music for AoE, scaling d8s of sonic damage that can't miss and can't be reduced via save of any kind and that carries a scaling save or stun. Oh, and all of this can be done as a Move/Swift at higher bard levels, so you're really looking at two-three AoE stun blasts of this per turn, still for a very low price.

or

1 round of bardic music per target for scaling d8s of physical damage (which is subject to material DR, but that has no means to bypass said DR) that can miss and does absolutely nothing else beyond damage.

Hmm...tough choice...


mplindustries wrote:
Cheapy wrote:
The idea is that if it's close to an archer in damage output, that's bad. Archery, while dead simple to do right, takes a lot of feats. Lots of resources. This one takes...almost none. It replaces a pretty situational ability, and is very cheap to activate. There should be a huge difference in damage capabilities.

Of course, with zero focus, feat support, etc., Weird Words should not be as strong as archery with all resources expended towards being a great archer. But there's no reason at all that Weird Words can't be at least equal to a bow at equal levels of investment.

The point is to make an ability people will use. If it's worse than a bow, then it won't be used. That's why I think the easiest way to handle it is to just, essentially, make it a bow. Let it just be a ranged weapon in all respects, except the ammo is performance rounds instead of arrows.

Also, everyone should remember that the Thundercaller still exists in this same universe. Unless errata is coming for them, that is.

Which would you rather have?

1 round of bardic music for AoE, scaling d8s of sonic damage that can't miss and can't be reduced via save of any kind and that carries a scaling save or stun. Oh, and all of this can be done as a Move/Swift at higher bard levels, so you're really looking at two-three AoE stun blasts of this per turn, still for a very low price.

or

1 round of bardic music per target for scaling d8s of physical damage (which is subject to material DR, but that has no means to bypass said DR) that can miss and does absolutely nothing else beyond damage.

Hmm...tough choice...

Hey, thanks for bringing it to their attention!


mplindustries is right. It has to be better than a bow in the hands of a non-archery-focused bard, or it's useless. Likewise, it doesn't have to be as strong as the Thundercaller, but it should be in the same ballpark. Right now, they're barely on the same continent...


Overpowered should never be used as the justification for overpowered options, as that's not a sustainable philosophy. It leads to an arms race.


Cheapy wrote:
Overpowered should never be used as the justification for overpowered options, as that's not a sustainable philosophy. It leads to an arms race.

True but false options are worse than an arm race imo, and I certainly Don't want the sound striker to be one of those kind of options.


Alright so it should augment the bards dmg at range and be somewhat competitive with an archery focused bard. The archer bard is spending feats and wealth where the sound striker is spending performances... both using resources. And this should be an ability that is on a par with but not better than a thundercaller.

So... just design it as a single target ability. Lets face it, in all the stories about the ability people have been using it like this anyway and thundercaller already has a good area damage performance.

With all that in mind lets make it so that weird words fires 1 wierd word per level (max 10) with no attack roll and just one fort save for half. Each word adds 1d6 to the damage and the bard can add his charisma once.

Finally put the cost at 2 rounds of performance.... so maybe a 20th level sound striker could use this every round all day.. but even that is a stretch if he is using performance for anything else. At level ten with 12 rounds of combat per day a bard could get maybe 8 or 9 weird words off without killing hisn other performance uses.

10d6 plus charisma with a save for half is not a big deal at level ten considering the short range and succeptability to DR. Wizards are tossing that many dice at whole areas.


I'll not mince word. This version sucks. It has all sort of problems and no advantage whatsoever
1)is not sustainable. 10 rounds cost is roughly a third of you pool at level 10 (22+char).
2)The damage is pathetically low. At level 10 2d8+cha is on average 15 before DR. Rogue without sneak hits harder that that

Since this performance replace suggestion witch is a third level spell, his damage should be comparable to other third levels spells. So if you aim for area damage, your target should be an average of 35 per target, like a fireball or a lightning bolt.

My proposal is
1)1 ray per 2 level max 10 targets within 30 feet from each other
2)1d8 per 2 level (max 5) + char
This average at level 10 5d8+char, that is 22+char, a bit lower that the target 35 but with some extra advantage like touch attack and no friendly fire (but taking DR).

An additional note, i think new version should specify that this ability count as magic damage for DR or incorporeals.


Dekalinder wrote:

I'll not mince word. This version sucks. It has all sort of problems and no advantage whatsoever

I'm glad Paizo have taken the time to qualify what this ability really does. But wow, what a nerf. Have to agree with Dekalinder. The decision is easy for me and that is that this archetype is now one to avoid playing. Luckily, there are lots of other interesting and awesome archetypes out there to play.


Cheapy wrote:
Overpowered should never be used as the justification for overpowered options, as that's not a sustainable philosophy. It leads to an arms race.

I'm with Cheapy here. The fact that we're comparing this ability to a single other bardic performance ability is not justifications for keeping this ability overpowered, it's justification for the Thundercaller receiving errata too.

That said, I do agree that this version as written maybe a bit too weak, but (in my opinion) it's not nearly as weak as the original version was overpowered. I think it's a good starting point for the discussion and would just like to see it moved up in power slightly.


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How about a modular type of effect:

Weird Words (Su): At 6th level, a sound striker can start a performance as a standard action, lashing out with a potent sound in one of three ways:

Piercing words: the bard can strike a specific target withing 30 feet with harsh arcane words doing 3d8+CHA damage (Fort save for 1/2 damage), increasing this based damage by 1d8 at 10th level, 2d8 at 14th level, and 3d8 at 18th level.

Bludgeoning words: the bard can bludgeon all targets within 30' with harsh arcane words, doing 1d8+CHA damage to each target (Fort save for 1/2 damage), increasing this based damage by 1d8 at 10th level, 2d8 at 14th level, and 3d8 at 18th level.

Slashing words: the bard can cut all targets in a 30' cone with his vituperative words, doing 2d8+CHA damage to each target (Fort save for 1/2 damage), increasing this based damage by 1d8 at 10th level, 2d8 at 14th level, and 3d8 at 18th level.

This performance replaces suggestion.

Or similar flavor. So it's sonic, but minimizes rolls.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Pathfinder Design Team wrote:

Weird Words (Su): At 6th level, a sound striker can start a performance as a standard action, lashing out with up to 1 potent sound per bard level (maximum 10), each sound affecting one target within 30 feet. Note: "Up to" means you can choose to fire fewer than the maximum number.

No target can be struck more than once. Note: This makes the intent clear.
Each potent sound expends 1 round of bardic performance. Note: This is new, and keeps the cost from being trivial at higher levels for using the maximum number of sounds.
These are ranged touch attacks.
Each weird word deals 1d8 points of damage plus the bard's Charisma bonus. At 10th, 14th, and 18th level, the damage increases by 1d8. Note: Scaling damage is new. Fort saving throw removed.
The bard chooses what type of damage each word deals (bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing).
This performance replaces suggestion.

I'm happy with this change, it is very much in line with a good ability.

I always thought it was 1 word per target and the attack AND save mechanic was unique (things either have attacks or saves and never both.)

But I would change it this way:
Drop the applying DR effect, make it sonic damage, drop the scaling damage.

The scaling just makes up for higher level DR (DR 15/evil, DR 10/adama) so dropping applying DR and not increasing the damage output is roughly the same. Change to Sonic as it is intuitive and can be used to negate all the damage at higher level.


Pathfinder Design Team wrote:


With that in mind, we'd like to hear more feedback.

Alright, here's my feedback.

I think that the 1 round per word is too steep a cost. While there's definitely something to be said for a cost greater than 1 round for all the attacks, a more gentle progression would be good so that this is still used. In my original rewrite of it for my homegames, I think I settled on 1 word per 3 levels, max 3 words. If each of these cost 1 round to use, you're not burning up rounds, but you're still contributing. From a 'dice rolling' aspect, I think limiting it to 3 or 4 words is a good idea. Thankfully with the Fortitude removed, that's a lot less dice rolled, but it's still a fairly large number. So I'll keep the limit of 3 in mind for the rest of this post.

At a max of 4d8+mCha against an enemy at the highest level, that's a fairly small amount of damage. Letting it all go against 1 enemy means it's a bit higher. 69 damage on average, given the very conservative 20 Cha, before DR and what not. That's about 6 rounds to solo a CR 20 creature, which a bit slow for an ability that's meant to not be the main method of attack. Compare this to the shortbow, and a bard who doesn't focus on it and just has it as the backup, and we're looking at something like 25/25/20/15 (16 dex, +4 shortbow, +4 inspire courage, haste). Last iterative is wasted. 2nd iterative can be mostly written off, and the first two have about a 50% chance to hit that CR 20 guy. So that's, what, 1d6 + 4 (IC) + 4 (enhancement) + 3 (16 Str) x2 = 2d6+22 or 29 damage. Well, I guess that settles the question of whether this is worth it as opposed to just using a bow.

So, given this lower damage, I think it should be OK to allow them to be focused fire. But then, it sort of runs into the Summoner Problem, where it's too easy to make it too good. In this case, as the comparison roughly shows above, with no investment done or clever system mastery, you have a decent attack option if you can focus fire. Something to keep in mind, but I'm sure that was already on your mind.

Another way to look at it, to keep in mind the replacing aspect of it, is to shift the focus of the ability.

Looking over the ability, it is about 75 words. Looking at the page it's on, there's not much wiggle room...but the proposed version above takes up 103 words, so I'll use that as a rough limit.

Quote:
Weird Words (Su): At 6th level, a sound striker can start a performance as a standard action, making 1 ranged touch attack per 3 bard levels (maximum 3), each sound affecting a different target within 30 feet. A successful attack deals 1d8 points of sonic damage plus the bard’s Charisma bonus. At 10th, 14th, and 18th level, this damage increases by 1d8. By spending additional rounds of bardic performance, the bard can apply the penalties from the Concussive Spell feat to the affected targets, with a duration equal to the number of additional rounds of bardic performance spent (maximum 9 rounds). This performance replaces suggestion.

This changes the ability to be a small attack and a debuff as well. The debuff costs extra rounds, and it ties thematically to the idea of the bard supporting his allies. By weakening his foes, the ability remains useful by making it a more targeted version of Dirge of Doom. One that actually would stack with that, penalty wise. The idea being that these words continue to reverberate throughout the creature, causing the penalties. Using Concussive Spell, a feat found in Ultimate Magic!, as the reference keeps word count short, and by spending additional rounds, you solve the issue of a metamagic feat being applied to a (Su), specifically the 'actual spell level' portion.

Changing the damage to be sonic also saves a number of words, and avoids the question of whether or not they are affected by DR/magic.

Another thing you could do is merge the 'focus fire' and my proposed version. This would allow you to focus fire you really needed/wanted to. But it has a built in incentive to 'spread the love around', in that you can hit more people with the penalties.

Side note: If Word Strike is sonic energy, then while you're revising the Weird Words, it may be worthwhile to say that it's not halved before applying hardness against objects. Unless the rather strange '+1 per level' as opposed to the common '+1 per 2 levels' bonus damage is meant to reflect this.


@: Cheapy . I really think focused fire is a bad idea since it can be abused. One of the more common Bard options is to play archer so investing in archer feats really isn’t a big deal.

I do like the other focus you suggested. I’ve been giving this some thought and I really like the idea of making then damage sound based. It solved the problem with the power being too low vs. creatures with DR and the same time as it can be too high vs. creatures without DR.
Making the damage sound based is also fitting flavor wise.

I like the Concussive Spell feat idea but 9 rounds is too much. I think 1 or 2 rounds is enough.

@mplindustries: On the topic of Thundercaller vs. Sound Striker.
A) Yes it is an AoE, but it is a very small area.
B) Since it is an AoE it targets any creature in that area, including your allies.
C) There is no hard proof that the DC scale.
D) Creatures that cannot hear are not stunned.


Zark wrote:
@: Cheapy . I really think focused fire is a bad idea since it can be abused. One of the more common Bard options is to play archer so investing in archer feats really isn’t a big deal.

I'd basically just like it to be an alternate shortbow. You'd still take most of the archery feats (not Manyshot, though), but the main difference would be touch attacks and sonic damage vs. Manyshot and magically enhanced bow/arrows.

Zark wrote:

@mplindustries: On the topic of Thundercaller vs. Sound Striker.

A) Yes it is an AoE, but it is a very small area.
B) Since it is an AoE it targets any creature in that area, including your allies.
C) There is no hard proof that the DC scale.
D) Creatures that cannot hear are not stunned.

I actually think A takes care of B. It's an area, so it's easy enough to target a small number of enemies, but it's a small enough area that it's also easy to avoid allies with it.

C is just absurd to me. All Bardic Music scales--the DC is 10+half bard level+Cha. The only argument against it is someone scared of how strong the ability is and deliberately misreading it by insisting the "same save" (i.e. a Fortitude save to negate the stun) could someone mean "unlike every other ability in the game, you use the spell save formula for this supernatural ability without explicit instructions to do so."

D seems like the sort of thing that will come up once a campaign, if that, so it's pretty much a non-issue.


If they would just make it sonic damage, and not a ranged attack, and keep the fortitude save, you would see a lot less complaints even with focused fire on a single target. No arcane strike, no good hope, no extra addon damages, even the Cha to each word is weak with the normal 75% success rate of the fort save on them.

even 10d8+10xCha, fort half, assuming someone who built for this explicitly with a 24 Cha at level 10, is around 65-75 points of damage at 10th level.

Not really all that much damage compared to other classes.

Fighter/barbarian/paladin/ranger can do more than that a round, (some in a single attack) all day.

Sorc/Wiz/Magus can do this easily for as many fights as the bard can, because of all the other uses of performance that should be burned.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
TGMaxMaxer wrote:

If they would just make it sonic damage, and not a ranged attack, and keep the fortitude save, you would see a lot less complaints even with focused fire on a single target. No arcane strike, no good hope, no extra addon damages, even the Cha to each word is weak with the normal 75% success rate of the fort save on them.

even 10d8+10xCha, fort half, assuming someone who built for this explicitly with a 24 Cha at level 10, is around 65-75 points of damage at 10th level.

Not really all that much damage compared to other classes.

Fighter/barbarian/paladin/ranger can do more than that a round, (some in a single attack) all day.

Sorc/Wiz/Magus can do this easily for as many fights as the bard can, because of all the other uses of performance that should be burned.

This assumption of a "normal 75% success rate of the fort save on them" is valid if the save DC is based on the ability it replace, suggestion. An ability that has a static DC of 10+2 (the level of the suggestion spell it mimic)+cha bonus of the bard, 19 in your example (Note that a charisma of 24 at 10th level is noting special for a bard, you will get it with a starting ability of 18 after the racial modifiers, the two ability increments at level 4 and 8 and a +4 item or the Eagle splendor spell).

As a typical CR 10 monster will have a good St of +13 and a poor one of +9 it will succeed 75% and 55% of the time for an average damage of 62 and 83.

But if, as it is more probable, the DC is 10+1/2 the bard level +bard cha bonus, the DC would be 22 and the success ratio of the saves would drop to 60% and 40% and the average damage 80.5 and 92.

As the typical CR 10 monster has 130 hp, with two focused attacks the bard will kill it or bring it to s single digit number of hit point by himself even in the worst hypothesis. With the best he would have removed 2/3 of the beast hit points with a single use of his ability.

Not so bad.

- * -

To the PDT: it is a FAQ request in another thread, but the DC of the bard abilities is a problem. Several abilities say that they work "a spell X" and seem to imply a static DC for the ability, others (like the original version of Weird word) don't specify it at all. It would be useful to have a generic rule for the bard abilities save DC or to specify what is the save Dc of all the abilities lacking one.


I believe the critical element to consider is "usefulness" ...in other words, would you use this ability if you were a bard???

AS proposed, i would not use such an ability (or almost never) because it cost a lot (1 bardic performance round/sound)for something that will deal an average of 12.5 hp/target (assuming a very good stat bonus of +8).

This ability would be usefull if surrounded by lots of very low level creatures. The problem is, it doesn't happen a lot, and if so, you can normally deal with that.

10 rounds would be very balanced if you could target the same creature with all words. So for a level 10-12th character who has around 30 rounds of bardic performance, you could do it about 3 times a day.

Other suggestion to balance even more could be:

1) use the fortitude save as proposed by TGMaxMaxer, but leave the damage to d6 instead of d8. so a 10th level would do 10d6 +80 (assuming stat bonus of +8) for average of 115 or57.5 if saved. As normally, a 10th level bard would face a creature with a CR above that, then they probably have good fortitude save, unless targeted on a caster.

2) Accept the proposed changes, but add a dazing or stunning effect to it.

Now, I would personnaly choose the second one. Don't forget, Bards are not really good at doing damage, that is not their role. They get good damaging spell only when they get their 5th level spells.Bards are good at giving conditions (daze, stun, prone, blind, etc). So 1 round of bardic performance per sound doing each 1d8 + CHA + a condition (daze would be a good one, stun even better) with a save of 10+ ½ bard level +CHA.

Silver Crusade

I'm confused as to what the debate is here, but I guess that's what I get from not reading this whole thread in one sitting. So, a few questions to get me straightened out:

1. Do people think Weird Words costs a round of bardic performance per word, or do they think it should be changed to that?

2. Do people think that if Weird Words cost 1 round of bardic performance for "bard level of words" it is overpowered?

3. Does anybody realize that Weird Words is on a short list of spells and abilities that require an attack roll AND allows for a save?

4. At 6th level, a bard with 16 Dex and 20 Cha (not outside the realm of possibility at all) is only doing average damage of approximately 36 with the chance for a save factored in. Does that seem out of line? At level 10 this goes up to approximately 77 (assuming 18 Dex, 24 Cha). Again, out of line or not?


Bigdaddyjug , the debate is about the official response from the Pathfinder Developmeent Team that has proposed a change to the ability(you need to go back in threads and see their proposal)


Yeah, at this point we're all weighing the pros and cons of the teams and other's proposals at this point. I think, and I could be wrong, we've reached 2 separate consensuses thus far.

The first is that A Sound Striker should be able to multi-target one individual at the cost of one word because it's an absurdly steep cost in performances and represents a significant portion of their resources per day.

The other is that if he can't hit do the above, then he should be able to hit multiple targets for the cost of one performance to bring him in line with other blaster type archetypes like the Thunder Caller.

Silver Crusade

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Cuttler wrote:
Bigdaddyjug , the debate is about the official response from the Pathfinder Developmeent Team that has proposed a change to the ability(you need to go back in threads and see their proposal)

I must have completely missed the proposed change to the ability. I'll search the thread and see if I can find it.

Ok, now that I've found it, I'll comment on it:

Pathfinder Development Team said wrote:

Here is the proposed new wording, parsed over several lines for easier reading:

Weird Words (Su): At 6th level, a sound striker can start a performance as a standard action, lashing out with up to 1 potent sound per bard level (maximum 10), each sound affecting one target within 30 feet. Note: "Up to" means you can choose to fire fewer than the maximum number.
No target can be struck more than once. Note: This makes the intent clear.
Each potent sound expends 1 round of bardic performance. Note: This is new, and keeps the cost from being trivial at higher levels for using the maximum number of sounds.
These are ranged touch attacks.
Each weird word deals 1d8 points of damage plus the bard's Charisma bonus. At 10th, 14th, and 18th level, the damage increases by 1d8. Note: Scaling damage is new. Fort saving throw removed.
The bard chooses what type of damage each word deals (bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing).
This performance replaces suggestion.

This would be an overall terrible nerf to this ability. I have a Sound Striker bard currently in development for PFS, and if thic change went live I would immediately re-optimize it as I only have 2 scenarios worth of experience on him. If I had already played at level 2 and this change went live, I would run my character sheet through a shredder and then submit myself to electroshock therapy in an attempt to forget everything about the character. That's how terrible this change would be. The absolute worst part is requiring a round of Bardic Performance for each word. That's like saying you're going to charge a wizard a 2nd level spell slot for each ray he fires off with scorching ray. The scaling damage is nice, but is 4d8 + Cha (maybe 10 max) at level 18 really an unbalanced amount of damage to do to a single creature? That's average damage of 28.

You want to fix the ability? Give it to Sound Strikers at level 3 and get rid of that other gimp ability they get before Weird Words. Start the damage off at 1d6 per word, scaling by 1 die increment every 3 levels (1d8 at 6, 2d6 at 9, 3d6 at 12, 4d6 at 15, 6d6 at 18 or however the scaling goes). Then, allow up to 2 words to strike each target and each target struck by a word requires a round of Bardic Performance. This would put it at an average of 42 damage at level 18 on a single target. That still feels kind of low, but it's way better than 28. (For comparison's sake, a wizard can drop a fireball with no metamagic that will do on average 35 damage to every target in the blast radius. They can easily be built to add metamagics cheaply to get that up to an automatic 90 damage per target.)


Would it be totally off base to make weird words function like a weapon replacement? What I mean is, if you could spend a round of bardic performance to produce one potent word for every iterative attack the bard possesses equal to 1d8+ charisma. The damage dice could scale at intervals that would be appropriate (+1D8 per 4 levels or something).

I think what people loved about the idea of weird words was the opportunity to be a magical blaster with a pretty big resource to work with.

To that end, it may make more sense to replace inspire courage instead of suggestion so that, if nothing else, people are not bending over backwards to try and make the two class features work together.

I think I would make weird words function as a sonic attack that requires touch without a fort save.

Something that might be interesting is to add riders to the ability for more performance rounds at appropriate levels and simply replace some of the features that the archetype already does. I kind of like the idea that Cheapy mentioned with debuffs.

So a sound striker could use weird words right away to do sonic attacks equivalent of a long sword. At level three or six the sound striker could add debuff riders onto his weird words through the expenditure of additional rounds of performance.

At the very least, that is the kind of imagery that the sound striker invokes for me.

Edit: I realize after writing this that its just a can of worms issue and you would like to just change the difficult or ambiguous ability to suit. I just get this feeling that the sound striker concept was a missed opportunity for something really interesting.


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I like the removal of the Fort save since it should cut down the number of mostly useless d20 rolls to confirm that most enemies will make the save on most Words. I'm not sure if I like the 1 Word per target limit. Stacking up 10 Words on one target was probably excessive, but it seems like limiting the number of Words might be better than making the Bard split up the Words between multiple enemies who may or may not be there in a particular combat. That seems more like an AoE ability to me, which is more like what the Thunder Caller does.

Like Trogdar and mplindustries, I was thinking of basing the number of words on BAB. I'd want to carefully spell out that Weird Words doesn't work with Haste, Rapid Shot, or especially TWF though. I also suspect that GMs might really hate it when somebody took 6 levels of Bard "just to get iterative touch attacks". Maybe it would be better to just allow one Weird Word per 4 levels, capped at 3. That way you'd get your Words at about the same speed as Scorching Rays, which are already a known quantity in terms of power level and interactions with various buffs.

I'd say that a 12th level Bard blasting somebody for about 3d8+24 is pretty big damage, but I don't think it is crazy, game breaking damage. I can imagine various ways to increase that, but most of them would apply to other touch attack powers too.


I would say that the added dice should function off bard levels. That way you could dip and grab a touch attack, but it would never get the damage buffs of later levels.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Cuttler wrote:


2) Accept the proposed changes, but add a dazing or stunning effect to it.

Now, I would personnaly choose the second one. Don't forget, Bards are not really good at doing damage, that is not their role. They get good damaging spell only when they get their 5th level spells.Bards are good at giving conditions (daze, stun, prone, blind, etc). So 1 round of bardic performance per sound doing each 1d8 + CHA + a condition (daze would be a good one, stun even better) with a save of 10+ ½ bard level +CHA.

PRD wrote:

Stunning Finale

School enchantment (compulsion) [mind-affecting]; Level bard 5

Casting Time 1 standard action

Components V, S

Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)

Targets up to 3 creatures, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart

Duration 1 round

Saving Throw Fortitude partial; see text; Spell Resistance yes

You must have a bardic performance in effect to cast this spell. With a flourish, you immediately end your bardic performance, assaulting the senses of the targets with your finale. Each target is stunned for 1 round. On a successful saving throw, a target is staggered for 1 round.

So using 10 rounds of bardic performance should be equivalent to casting 3 5th level spells in one round.

No, it don't seem balanced.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Devilkiller wrote:

I like the removal of the Fort save since it should cut down the number of mostly useless d20 rolls to confirm that most enemies will make the save on most Words. I'm not sure if I like the 1 Word per target limit. Stacking up 10 Words on one target was probably excessive, but it seems like limiting the number of Words might be better than making the Bard split up the Words between multiple enemies who may or may not be there in a particular combat. That seems more like an AoE ability to me, which is more like what the Thunder Caller does.

Like Trogdar and mplindustries, I was thinking of basing the number of words on BAB. I'd want to carefully spell out that Weird Words doesn't work with Haste, Rapid Shot, or especially TWF though. I also suspect that GMs might really hate it when somebody took 6 levels of Bard "just to get iterative touch attacks". Maybe it would be better to just allow one Weird Word per 4 levels, capped at 3. That way you'd get your Words at about the same speed as Scorching Rays, which are already a known quantity in terms of power level and interactions with various buffs.

I'd say that a 12th level Bard blasting somebody for about 3d8+24 is pretty big damage, but I don't think it is crazy, game breaking damage. I can imagine various ways to increase that, but most of them would apply to other touch attack powers too.

Not bad. Actually it is a good suggestion. It seem reasonably balanced as a substitute for suggestion and worth having.

When trying to find a balance for the power, we should remember what it substitute. Suggestion is useful but nothing exceptional.


Diego Rossi wrote:

When trying to find a balance for the power, we should remember what it substitute. Suggestion is useful but nothing exceptional.

It substitutes the ability to take any other Bard archetype for starters.

It substitutes having inspire courage or greatness active at the cost of a standard action.

And it also replaces both inspire competence and suggestion.

If you narrow down just on suggestion, then you are treating this as if it were just an option to swap out suggestion. It's not, as there are other costs associated to it.

You want this archetype to feel like it has something worth taking over other archetypes. If you err too much on caution, then you are better served simply removing the archetype entirely. Having trap options is something that I thought that Paizo didn't consider as a design goal (unlike say 3e). Meanwhile you don't want all the choices bland and linear (i.e. 4e).

It makes it more daunting.

So far we have the goal of the archetype is to have a magical and martial focus options as secondary backups for a martially oriented bard.

This archetype will need to compete against the more martial bard archetypes as a result.

-James

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