Playtest Data: Thoughts on the bloodrager


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Dark Archive

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I just did some combats with a 10th level bloodrager, and I have a few observations. First of all, I love the concept and I think the class is a great start. As the author of epic thread "Dear Paizo, please give us a gish base class!" I think I've demonstrated my love for the arcane warrior niche. I'm a big fan of the magus and have played many of them, but I've been super stoked to play a class that trades the magus's more learned and tactical style for something a little more primal and instinctive. Here's what I learned:

1) The spells feel sort of stapled onto a barbarian. The ability to cast while raging is awesome, and the bloodline powers are really cool and interesting, but the bloodrager gets so few spells and seems so focused on hitting things, that the spells get lost in the shuffle. I rarely had occasion to use them. This leads to the class playing almost exactly like a barbarian with way more limited rage powers that don't allow for rage-cycling. The magus gets Spell Combat and Spellstrike which allow it to combine its casting with its combat in a way that feels seamless. Those methods feel more tactical, though. I don't think a bloodrager should drink from that well, but it should have some way to blend casting with its fighting style that still rewards it being a combatant primarily, maybe akin to the following:

Example Ability wrote:
The bloodrager has a pool of points that begin at 0 each day. Whenever he confirms a critical hit or takes damage in excess of 1/2 of his hit points, he gains 1 point. The bloodrager can spend any number of points to cast a spell he knows of a level equal to or lower than the number of points he spent as a swift action.

2) They're really MAD. The magus can get away with being a little more MAD because it lowers its need for Intelligence by use Spellstrike to take advantage of touch spells that don't allow for saving throws. The bloodrager has no such benefit, leaving the need for good physical stats across the board and good Charisma.

3) The spell list is also a little awkward, though I understand why it was chosen. This leads into the first two points, but bloodragers just don't have the Charisma or the action economy to support this list, which was designed for a class with Spell Combat and Spellstrike. I don't know what the solution is here, though. I understand that a whole new spell list sucks from a perspective of backwards compatibility.

4) They don't necessarily need all the barbarian abilities they have. They desperately want some way to blend their casting with their combat better than they currently are, so I can see Uncanny Dodge (Improved or otherwise) or Fast Movement getting the boot to make space.

Those are my early observations, and I'll keep reporting as I keep playtesting.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have to agree with much of what you said. I saw similar issues in my playtests.

1. The player only cast spells when he knew about an encounter and had time to prepare. Otherwise it wasnt worth the actions. Something to blend casting and fighting would be a really good idea. As it stands the casting will go mostly unused, and with the magus list it doesnt have a whole lot of utility or non-combat spells that would make it useful in other situations.

2. This was also brought up by the player in character creation. Particularly because other then allow spellcasting, charisma does next to nothing for the blood rager. The best suggestion I'd seen is make rage rounds be based on charisma instead of con, but there must be other options as well.

3. Agreed, I'd prefer a custom spell list, even with the space that would be lost because of it. Especially for 4 level casters its a necessity (paladins and rangers both have custom lists).

4. Wouldnt mind this at all.

Grand Lodge

Agree on all points.


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I'll butt in with some ideas that I think can help.

For one thing, the spell list problem might have an elegant solution.
Introduced in the 3.5 splat-book, Complete Arcana, was both a class and a prestige class, the Spellthief, and the Suel Arcanamach, respectively. They two things in common. One, they were both blends of skillful characters and caster and, more importantly, their spell list was composed of handpicked schools from the sorcerer/wizard list.

This is a good idea, as it lets you expand the spell-lists of your splatbook classes with each new splatbook you put forth, without leading to a bloat of the spell list tables.

Grand Lodge

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The Dragon wrote:

I'll butt in with some ideas that I think can help.

For one thing, the spell list problem might have an elegant solution.
Introduced in the 3.5 splat-book, Complete Arcana, was both a class and a prestige class, the Spellthief, and the Suel Arcanamach, respectively. They two things in common. One, they were both blends of skillful characters and caster and, more importantly, their spell list was composed of handpicked schools from the sorcerer/wizard list.

This is a good idea, as it lets you expand the spell-lists of your splatbook classes with each new splatbook you put forth, without leading to a bloat of the spell list tables.

I remember, yes it could work. Basically bloodragers would get access to spells from the Illusion, necromancy, and transmutation schools up to fourth level (just an example). A good compromise, I like it, which means everyone else will hate it.


At least it's better than the magus spell list. Although I supose if they do end up doing this the next disagreement will be on what scools the bloodrager should have access to.

Lantern Lodge

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I like the limited school idea as well. Although I think evocation maybe aught to be on the list instead of illusion. Sure, fireballs and lightning bolts aren't quite as tactically useful as a well-placed illusion, but it's a bit more thematic I think.

Perhaps the different bloodlines would have different school access? Dragons get transmutation and evocation; Fey get enchantment and illusion; abbyssal gets conjuration and evocation; etc. It gives a way to shore up weaker bloodlines (like fey), while while offering a backhanded penalty to the stronger bloodlines (give divination and enchantment to arcana).

Grand Lodge

Genuine wrote:

I like the limited school idea as well. Although I think evocation maybe aught to be on the list instead of illusion. Sure, fireballs and lightning bolts aren't quite as tactically useful as a well-placed illusion, but it's a bit more thematic I think.

Perhaps the different bloodlines would have different school access? Dragons get transmutation and evocation; Fey get enchantment and illusion; abbyssal gets conjuration and evocation; etc. It gives a way to shore up weaker bloodlines (like fey), while while offering a backhanded penalty to the stronger bloodlines (give divination and enchantment to arcana).

Another good idea. I like where this is going.


Building a Bloodrager, I didn't find that they needed a high charisma. Much of the spell list are buffs or abilities that require touch attacks, so you don't have to focus much on spell DC. In addition, since you only get up to level 4 spells, and you start getting them at level 4, you don't have to prioritize Charisma until then.

That said, while I don't mind the spells being more combat-focused, since that's what they seem to be going for with the bloodrage, it would be cool to see something similar to the Spell Combat and Spell Strike for the magus with this to better blend them together.

Grand Lodge

Odraude wrote:

Building a Bloodrager, I didn't find that they needed a high charisma. Much of the spell list are buffs or abilities that require touch attacks, so you don't have to focus much on spell DC. In addition, since you only get up to level 4 spells, and you start getting them at level 4, you don't have to prioritize Charisma until then.

That said, while I don't mind the spells being more combat-focused, since that's what they seem to be going for with the bloodrage, it would be cool to see something similar to the Spell Combat and Spell Strike for the magus with this to better blend them together.

I can't say I am fan of spell combat or spell strike, and I would like to see the class go a little more charisma based. We get 4 skill points per level (originally I didn't like this idea, but) if we have a secondary role as the party face by adding diplomacy and bluff to our skill selection we would have more reason to be charismatic. As for the magus spell list, well what can I say I just don't like it.


Maybe. Admittedly, I think it's in a good spot right now. Because of the inherent bonuses to Strength and Constitution that you get naturally as a part of the rage, and the lack of needing a high Charisma as a casting stat, I actually don't think the Bloodrager is all that MAD. Granted, I can understand not liking the magus spell list, but I find that it's a good focus of buffs and offensive spells, which would fit the theme of the rager that casts spells while raging. Granted, it is a little limited. I think since the spells are limited in scope, I could see something that helps out with the action economy between buffing yourself and attacking. I think that would help out the bloodrager a bit.

Edited since I realized you can cast outside of bloodrage.


Thanks for sharing your experience!

It feels, right now, like the class should either be fighting or casting, not both at the same time. It'd be nice to find some way to encourage that, since casting in rage is such a neat feature of the class.

Perhaps just something like, "If you score a critical hit while in bloodrage, you can cast a single target spell on that enemy as a swift action."

I definitely agree with your 4th point. There are some abilities that can be traded out to allow for better combat casting.

Cheers!
Landon


Landon Winkler wrote:

Thanks for sharing your experience!

It feels, right now, like the class should either be fighting or casting, not both at the same time. It'd be nice to find some way to encourage that, since casting in rage is such a neat feature of the class.

Perhaps just something like, "If you score a critical hit while in bloodrage, you can cast a single target spell on that enemy as a swift action."

I definitely agree with your 4th point. There are some abilities that can be traded out to allow for better combat casting.

Cheers!
Landon

That is a cool idea though it'd put alot emphasis on having a high crit weapon.


Scavion wrote:
That is a cool idea though it'd put alot emphasis on having a high crit weapon.

That it would. It fits in pretty well with some of the bloodline powers, though.

I guess if you wanted to be crazy, you could set the maximum level on the swift spell to be the critical multiplier of the weapon. Fits in nicely with the 4-level progression.

Cheers!
Landon


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It sounds like your results regarding casting are about the same as what a Paladin or Ranger experiences. Mostly pre or after combat stuff, or if absolutely necessary, a quick spell.

That sounds about right, tbh.


Cheapy wrote:

It sounds like your results regarding casting are about the same as what a Paladin or Ranger experiences. Mostly pre or after combat stuff, or if absolutely necessary, a quick spell.

That sounds about right, tbh.

Yeah, now that I realize that you can cast outside of rage, I think this is good enough. Paladin and Ranger does well enough with it.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

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Cheapy wrote:

It sounds like your results regarding casting are about the same as what a Paladin or Ranger experiences. Mostly pre or after combat stuff, or if absolutely necessary, a quick spell.

That sounds about right, tbh.

Although, Paladins also have the advantage of the Litany spells (swift action casts), which allows them some measure of easy-to-use spellcasting during combat.


I was going to make that clarification too, ubiquitous. And the rangers and their Instant Enemy.

Maybe the ACG will have some swift action magus spells?

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Speaking of spells - I haven't scoured the Bloodrager thread to see if anyone has brought this up yet - but if you dipped a single level in Magus couldn't you Spell Combat, considering that the Bloodrager uses the Magus spell list?

EDIT: Relevant quote

PRD wrote:
As a full-round action, he can make all of his attacks with his melee weapon at a –2 penalty and can also cast any spell from the magus spell list with a casting time of 1 standard action (any attack roll made as part of this spell also takes this penalty).


ubiquitous wrote:
Speaking of spells - I haven't scoured the Bloodrager thread to see if anyone has brought this up yet - but if you dipped a single level in Magus couldn't you Spell Combat, considering that the Bloodrager uses the Magus spell list?

Ooooo that is a good question.


Yes, a very good question!

Dark Archive

Hitting on the fact that the Bloodrager dont really get a chance to cast a worth while spell in combat? What if more of the blood lines were like the arcane blood line? Each blood line could have a few spells that activate by entering a bloodrage?

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Cheapy wrote:
Yes, a very good question!

I guess a Bloodrager has "Bloodrager spell slots" even though they use the Magus spell list, which kills that. Also, props on the quick recall of that FAQ link, Cheapy.

It seems like the Bloodrager could use something like Spell Combat which lets them cast and fight. Without Spellstrike it means that they don't become too "Magus-like" and hunting for touch spell crits with their high-crit range weapon. Additionally, their small spell pool and lack of Spell Recall means that even if they acquire Spellstrike, they're still far too inferior to the Magus to try be a "Magus with Rage"


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I rather like the "free spell upon entering bloodrage" option that some of the bloodlines (arcane gets two spell effects, actually!) get. Perhaps the ability to cast a spell (likely a buff spell) upon entering the rage?

Shadow Lodge

I'd say just give them spellstrike. That way the trade-off is between a Full-Attack, and a single attack with shocking grasp greataxe. They won't be able to do it more than a few times per day, but it would help make up for the lack of rage powers.

Dark Archive

Spellstrike and Spell Combat are the signature stunts of the magus, though, and both feel like highly practiced techniques. They feel like they should take training and honing. The bloodrager should be able to blend casting and combat in a way that feels like an explosion of anger and arcane fury. It should feel like they got so mad that spells started subconsciously springing from their rage. I like the arcane bloodline a lot (and that's what I playtested), but I can see the designers wanting to reserve that particular effect for that bloodline.

As for rangers and paladins, they have verrrrry different spell lists from the magus. They have swift action spells for use in combat and many of their spells are out-of-combat-oriented. The magus spell list is full of standard action combat spells, most of which have a saving throw or require a touch attack, neither of which work well with this class as-written.


I've noticed 1 little problem with the bloodrager: at 3rd level, the table states that they get a bloodline power, when according to the text(for the class feature and under all of the bloodlines), they don't get a bloodline power until 4th level. Were they supposed to get something else at 3rd, possibly a bloodline feat, or is it just a dead level?

Dark Archive

Currently it's a dead level. I addressed it in the minor fixes thread and Jason corrected it in the bloodrager updates thread.

Dark Archive

Something just occurred to me. Rather than rounds of rage being based on Charisma, as Kolokotroni suggested, what if spellcasting was based on Constitution? Your spell DCs would be good without exacerbating MAD problems, and they'd be even better while raging, which would make the choice between casting and hitting a guy while raging a lot more interesting.


I suggested in another thread replacing Improved uncanny dodge for the ability to apply a metamagic feat as a Swift action once per rage. obviously that seeks strong in thought but I'm not convinced it would be that overpowered.


especially since as-is the bloodrager cant ragecyle to get around the limitation.


I don't understand why they didn't use the skald base for the bloodrager and the bloodrager base for the skald. They hybrid of a barb/bard is a 3/4 bab 6th level spell caster while the hybrid of a barb/sorc is a full bab 4th level spell caster?

Dark Archive

That's likely more about filling particular design space. We really were due for an arcane caster with a ranger's frame and the bloodrager makes for a more interesting take on that, I think. On the other hand, there's really no reason in the world for another 3/4 BAB secondary caster. I would much rather have had another full BAB class with no spellcasting, or even another 3/4 BAB class with no spellcasting.

The Exchange

Hmm, most of you seem to be comparing the Bloodrager to the Magus and focusing on the casting. Instead, this is more of an arcane version of the Paladin/Ranger.

You're a full BAB fighter that has a smattering of utility abilities. In this case your bloodrage adds combat options, while the spells are for buffing or out of combat utility. Like the Paladin and Ranger, the spells are not meant to be a combat focus, just allows more useful options.

On that note, I think more time needs to go into testing all the bloodlines to see what's too strong or too weak.

I'm going to be statting up an Arcane and a Fey to see how they stack up. The Arcane bloodline looks to have half awesome abilities and the other half completely useless. While the Fey seems to just have useful powers at far too late a level and then a few complete losers to start out with.


true, after a shower i do sort of see it as the arcane answer to the paladin, but i note a few things:
-paladins have lots of nifty buffs and swift-action spells so they can still cast in melee if needed, which the bloodrager lacks (true, he gets mage armor/shield, but mos of the stat-increasing buffs dont stack with your belt/headbands. you're rather short on swifts, and there is no chance anywhere for quickens--you'll be too full of greatsword to have a hand free for a MM (lesser) quicken rod).
-the paladin's saves and other defenses blow the bloodrager's straight out of the water. absolutely NO contest. especially since the paladin can self-heal disgustingly easily and effectively, further increasing survivability.
-in terms of raw damage, the two--similarly built--will match up pretty evenly--until the paladin starts smiting.

-one advantage the bloodrager has: polymorph-type spells (albeit only low-end ones since he's got a lobotomized version of the magus' list)

-only real con the paladin has is the fact that he WILL fall eventually--DMs are too stupid to leave him alone, and soon enough he'll be a weaker fighter-knock off because he was forced by a demon to kick a puppy.

this said, the ranger might stack up a bit more evenly.


Seeker of skybreak wrote:
I suggested in another thread replacing Improved uncanny dodge for the ability to apply a metamagic feat as a Swift action once per rage. obviously that seeks strong in thought but I'm not convinced it would be that overpowered.
Benn Roe wrote:
Something just occurred to me. Rather than rounds of rage being based on Charisma, as Kolokotroni suggested, what if spellcasting was based on Constitution? Your spell DCs would be good without exacerbating MAD problems, and they'd be even better while raging, which would make the choice between casting and hitting a guy while raging a lot more interesting.

Made both of these suggestions as well. Just quoting for emphasis.

Grand Lodge

Not to be counter productive, but I just don't like the idea of a Con based spellcaster. It would be the first time pathfinder used a physical ability score to represent magic (that I am aware of), and it takes us farther away from the sorcerer (one of our parent classes).

If people are concerned about hit points, perhaps changing the class to d12's would fix that. While it breaks some of paizo's design standards, the barbarian already does. And besides the barbarian is one of our parent classes. A 12 Con and the +1 HP bonus from favored class would give you 14 Hps at first level, pretty good for a warrior/wizard hybrid. Why concentrate on con.


Zombie Ninja wrote:

Not to be counter productive, but I just don't like the idea of a Con based spellcaster. It would be the first time pathfinder used a physical ability score to represent magic (that I am aware of), and it takes us farther away from the sorcerer (one of our parent classes).

If people are concerned about hit points, perhaps changing the class to d12's would fix that. While it breaks some of paizo's design standards, the barbarian already does. And besides the barbarian is one of our parent classes. A 12 Con and the +1 HP bonus from favored class would give you 14 Hps at first level, pretty good for a warrior/wizard hybrid. Why concentrate on con.

Scarred Witch Doctor uses Con (Witch Archetype). So there is precedence. I don't have a strong opinion on it yet, my playtesting won't begin properly til Saturday night, just thought I'd point out that it has been done.


AndIMustMask wrote:
especially since as-is the bloodrager cant ragecyle to get around the limitation.

I wouldn't take this into consideration honestly. Rage cycling is not something that's well known outside of the forums, so most people who play a barb won't be rage cycling. And it's more of lovely unintended consequence than anything else. :)

It sounds like we're delving into discussion, rather than asking about the bloodrager here.


I found the Blood Rage worked really well. I found the spell list of the Magus works quite well. I made 12 level Shoanti of the spire clan Celestial blood rager.

Stat 20 pt buy:
S 16 +2 Human: 18
D 13
C 14
I 9
W 12
C 11 +3 lever 4,8,12: 14

This class suffers the lack of AC that Barbarian but spells more than compensate for the that as does bloodline powers activated during a bloodrage. Extra Rage is required, you burn through rage faster I found that with a Barbarian but that was more due to requiring my wings of heaven.

As attributes. I went with 20 point build.

In the end I found this class about on par with ranger. It fills the Melee role very well but doesn't out shine the fighter. The fighter still dished out more and have a better over AC than I did. I could keep up and even exceed the fighter with the right buffs in place but was never able to get all those spell in place before the fight.

I really like this class, fun to play and lots of flavor.


voska66 wrote:
Extra Rage is required, you burn through rage faster I found that with a Barbarian but that was more due to requiring my wings of heaven.

That's an interesting point. Some of the bloodrage powers do provide quite good utility.

voska66 wrote:
In the end I found this class about on par with ranger. It fills the Melee role very well but doesn't out shine the fighter. The fighter still dished out more and have a better over AC than I did. I could keep up and even exceed the fighter with the right buffs in place but was never able to get all those spell in place before the fight.

Did you find you were running out of spells-per-day or just didn't have enough time to prepare?

voska66 wrote:
I really like this class, fun to play and lots of flavor.

Thanks for the report, Voska!

Cheers!
Landon

Dark Archive

voska66 wrote:
I could keep up and even exceed the fighter with the right buffs in place but was never able to get all those spell in place before the fight.

This is the big thing I found too. The bloodrager doesn't have the action economy to use the spells it has effectively. I really think this class would be close to perfect if it lost improved uncanny dodge and picked up a mechanic for increasing its action economy.


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How about something that lets him metamagic with rage rounds?

Like divine metamagic, except... raging.

Also the opposite, the ability to sacrifice spell slots for more rage rounds.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Thank you for your playtest feedback, Benn! We're looking forward to what else you come up with. :)


I just finished a couple of encounters with a 12th level bloodrager, and I can honestly say that I felt a bit overpowered. I pretty much took down a purple worm by myself. (I was averaging 25 points of damage per strike, with 4 strikes per turn. First turn I dealt 116 damage to it, my DM's jaw pretty much hit the floor at that moment.)
However, the low number of spells per day means that this overpowered feeling can only last for maybe one or two encounters. After that, you are kind of sub-par as a barbarian. while it is true that some of those bloodline powers are pretty powerful, you get far fewer of them then a normal barbarian gets rage powers.
Also, the spell list doesn't completely fit the class, with some spell definitely being far more useful then others.
Its a cool concept, but you can break it quite easily, and is definitely rough around the edges.


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Hrothgar DeVaitos wrote:

I just finished a couple of encounters with a 12th level bloodrager, and I can honestly say that I felt a bit overpowered. I pretty much took down a purple worm by myself. (I was averaging 25 points of damage per strike, with 4 strikes per turn. First turn I dealt 116 damage to it, my DM's jaw pretty much hit the floor at that moment.)

However, the low number of spells per day means that this overpowered feeling can only last for maybe one or two encounters. After that, you are kind of sub-par as a barbarian. while it is true that some of those bloodline powers are pretty powerful, you get far fewer of them then a normal barbarian gets rage powers.
Also, the spell list doesn't completely fit the class, with some spell definitely being far more useful then others.
Its a cool concept, but you can break it quite easily, and is definitely rough around the edges.

The level 6 Barbarian in my Skulls and Shackles party deals an average of 25 points per attack. Your damage seeems oddly low

Power attack at level 12 is 12 damage when two handing and you should have 18-20 str base and a str belt, so assuming the lowest you have 20 str before rage, 26 while raging. 26 str is a +8 modifier, so 12 when two handing,

You should be doing at least Dice+24 damage man. Higher if you have a magic weapon (which you should by level 12)With a +2 great sword you should be

2D6+26 per strike.


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Yeah that does seem low. I've just stopped playing a barbarian level 12, his damage was 3d8+34/15+*2

Each round he averages 200 and another 200 in out of turn cagm AoO's..

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The level 6 fighter / champion 2 in my home game routinely deals out 25-30 damage per attack. 25 is kinda low for a level 12 primary melee. Was he using a low damage weapon?

Dark Archive

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Hrothgar DeVaitos wrote:

I just finished a couple of encounters with a 12th level bloodrager, and I can honestly say that I felt a bit overpowered. I pretty much took down a purple worm by myself. (I was averaging 25 points of damage per strike, with 4 strikes per turn. First turn I dealt 116 damage to it, my DM's jaw pretty much hit the floor at that moment.)

However, the low number of spells per day means that this overpowered feeling can only last for maybe one or two encounters. After that, you are kind of sub-par as a barbarian. while it is true that some of those bloodline powers are pretty powerful, you get far fewer of them then a normal barbarian gets rage powers.
Also, the spell list doesn't completely fit the class, with some spell definitely being far more useful then others.
Its a cool concept, but you can break it quite easily, and is definitely rough around the edges.

25 DAMAGE A HIT IS KINDA MEH FOR A 12TH LEVEL FRONTLINER


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

barbarians do a TON of damage, in a game I play the level 4 barbarian was averaging like 23 damage a strike (2d6=7+9str+6powerattack)

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