Martial characters should have nice things Part I: What should martial characters be able to do?


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Kolokotroni wrote:
again, please no mechanics, I want concepts here.

Did the explanation I gave work for you? Or want some/different explanation done?


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Less mechanics and more what they should be doing folks!

Things I think higher level martials should be able to do:


  • Disarm multiple opponents at once
  • Trip multiple opponents at once
  • Hamper an enemy by striking vulnerable spots (ie. str penalties, dex penalties, slowed movement, status effects)
  • Deflect/block ranged attacks
  • counter-attack a foe

I forget who described it as such, but the framework that I keep in mind when thinking of 3E and Pathfinder is levels 1 - 5 are gritty fantasy (LoTR, Conan, etc), 6 - 10 are Wuxia/Real-World Myths, 11 - 15 are super hero, and 16+ are demi-god. So I feel at levels 6+ fighters should start doing fantastic stuff.

When you have Wizards flying around shooting lightning bolts, summoning angels/demons, teleporting across continents, dominating people, transforming peasants into frogs, polymorphing, and a sundry of other things, what's so strange about a 10th level fighter leaping around the battle field or running across treetops? When a druid can turn into a living tempest or become an incarnate of flame while clerics can call down pillars of fire and literally raise the dead, why can't the fighter trip 3 guys at once and sap the strength of the ogre by cutting his arm or knocking the wind out of him?


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Thematic power.

The Wizard can teleport armies reliably, can bind demons and make worlds.

I want to do stuff like Wulfgar, holding open a portal through sheer strength, breaking through walls of ice, and such. I want to be able to raise an army through such inspiring leadership within days or hours.

The true mundanes should have super powerfully thematic abilities. The Fighter and Rogue should just be able to call on an auto success possibly. Like chucking a spear at the dragon from 600 feet away.

Pathfinder is high fantasy. There is no escaping that. I want my Fighters to be as high fantasy as my Wizards.


I don't know if the forums are still there but during the alpha playtest for the Pathfinder RPG there were several good threads discussing this topic. If you can find them they would be worth checking out.

Oh, martials should also be able to move and do what they are good at just like casters. It doesn't make any sense that a wizard can fly around and still cast reality altering spells yet the fighter can't run up and hit someone more than once.

Sovereign Court

In combat, high level martials should have multiple options for how to disable or defeat their foes. This mainly involves increasing the effectiveness of the existing combat maneuvers without requiring lots of resources (ie, spending 1/3 of your feats to master a single maneuver).

Martials should be able to be generalists (at maneuvers, weapons, etc.) without being significantly weaker than specialists (though specialists should have their glory at appropriate times).

Martials should have more flexibility in how they target an opponent. I know you should no mechanics, but as examples: Intimidate or diplomacy vs will saves, dirty trick vs reflex, rather than being limited to AC and CMD.

However, in general I think combat is decently balanced. The main thing martials need is more narrative power, and choices to provide that power that don't compete with choices that give mechanical combat power (ie +1s to hit). Some examples:
Spreading rumors
Suppressing rumors
Finding important people in an unfamiliar city
Becoming a leader of an organization (knights, thieves guild, etc)
Find magic items in the black market that would not generally be available
Intimidate/bluff/charm an entire army of low level people at once

Most of these things can be done by a flexible GM or can be achieved by spending resources that could otherwise go for combat (like taking the leadership feat, or certain rogue talents). I would like Martials to be able to choose these things (and have official mechanics like equivalent spells, not GM on-the-fly rulings) that they take from a separate pool than existing combat focused ones.


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While I’m not sure I fully agree with the ‘martials are far too weak in comparison to casters’ side of the debate, there are some things I’d like to see in the game which, currently, are absent.

  • Multi-Effect Actions: Currently, actions and what you can do with them are fairly distinct. You can’t attack as part of a move action, for example, or activate any combat maneuvers besides sunder, disarm, or trip as part of a full attack. That isn’t really that fun or interesting. Give martial classes a way to use special actions (like feint) and advanced skill uses as part of other actions. For example, a charging barbarian gets a chance to knock prone anyone they strike. Or, a rogue who uses Acrobatics to tumble past an enemy can use Feint as part of the same action against that enemy. Suddenly, combat has an added degree of flavor and excitement rather than, “I move, I attack, I’m done, rawr”.
  • Aerial Combat: Outside of a bow or cross-bow, most classes like monks, rogues, and fighters are simply helpless against a flying opponent with ranged capabilities. Granted, this isn’t unexpected to a degree, but it’s boring and makes reliance on magic items/spells necessary in most cases. There should be a way for a character to leap and engage a powerful melee or ranged attack against an airborne opponent before coming back to earth. Maybe they hurt themselves a bit in the process, but then nothing ventured, nothing gained. Because of the way move actions work, this currently isn't possible. Imagine, the ninja gets a running start (or not, because they don't always need it), leaps in to the air off the back of the paladin’s pauldrons, and wraps a garrotes around a harpy’s neck, dragging them back to the ground while also strangling them. THAT is something a sufficiently high level agile assassin should really be able to do.
  • Precision Strikes: Ever played Fallout 3 with the Vault Assisted Targetting System, or V.A.T.S.? Pathfinder needs that, with both ranged or melee attacks. The Called Shot optional rules introduced in Ultimate Combat are a good start, but the feat requirement is intensive to make it all worth it. Also, there's no real point to any of those effects, especially at higher levels, unless you manage to critically hit the enemy. This system and the options some the gunslinger ‘Targetting’ deed combined and standardized would make for all sorts of interesting combinations in battle. Combine them with an option to enhance the effect and/or inflict it on multiple opponents a la Cleave and you have the recipe for a cunning combatant who focuses on disabling enemies rather than simply slaying them like a dumb brute.
  • Amazing Maneuvers: There’s nothing inherently interesting that happens if you beat your targets CMD by a great amount on a trip or disarm attempt. Sufficient success should reward you with more than just, "Ok, he is DEFINITELY now short one weapon” and the effects for should be universally awesome. Disarm or sunder multiple items, trip an opponent so they land sickened or staggered, grapple them quickly enough that you place them in a choke-hold. Nothing like these options currently exists without massive feat investment and magical or mythic enhancement. A level 5 unarmed fighter can fold a wizard into a knot but bending two demons into a pretzel 10 levels later is sadly not in the cards, not even if he specs for it. As it stands, cool options like these do not exist. The variety of effects you could inflict with a CMB check got a bit better with Dirty Trick, but it still requires too much of the GM saying "I'll only allow this much" to necessarily always be worth the trouble.
  • Better Healing/Defensive/Utility Options: As it stands, non-caster classes have no real way to heal themselves or actively protect themselves from unique, non-attack-roll related threats. Sure, there’s evasion, but that does nothing versus 2/3s of all other such threats. The only class with stalwart is the inquisitor, whose saves, if properly done with a Judgement, are potentially fantastic. Things like ninja tricks and Quinggong monk abilities are a good starting place to build into non-offensive related capabilities for martial classes. Your oracle doesn't know lesser restoration yet? Meditate for an hour in the morning and reduce the effective penalty for a few hours until natural healing removes it. Witch hexes ruining your day? Toss a smoke bomb on her that makes it hard to breath. Fireballs won't stop splashing down around your fighter? Break out the shield and gain a big buff to Reflex and negate some of the energy damage. It’s also worth noting that some existing options, like Wholeness of Body, are good in concept but terrible in actuality (who in their right mind would pop that in combat).
  • Day-To-Day Flexibility: The retraining options introduced in Ultimate Campaigns are a good thing, but sometimes you need something temporary a bit faster than that. For example, a ranger’s favored enemy, say they have it again Humanoid (goblinoid), but then they spend a couple fights against drow or evil elves. Giving them the ability to spend a few minutes focusing on their lessons learned fighting that day to retrain one of their favored enemies to Humanoid (elf) would make this class ability work MUCH better. Same thing with rogue talents or fighter combat feats, a small bit of training and exercise at the beginning of the day to temporarily swap these around would be immensely helpful. It would make optimal character building less of a hassle and improve overall PC, and therefore party, versatility and performance.
  • Improved Feats: This last one is a very broad category, but some feats are just boring. Look at Dodge, what does this do besides add a small number to a few stats on your character sheet? This should really do something similar to Guild Wars, where you move to the side and potentially, if you time it right, avoid an incoming blow at the cost of some of your actions next round. Give the ‘+2 to two skills’ and ‘+3 to one skill’ feats added bonuses, like rerolls a certain # of times per day, or the ability to take 20 with reduced/eliminated penalties. Long feats chains are fine, so long as the individual steps aren’t wasted time (looking at you, Dimensional Assault). Also, some feats should really be consolidated to make them cooler. Roll Mobility into Dodge, that’ll make it more attractive. Make Greater Weapon Specialization something that just happens at a certain BAB, same with the Vital Strike feats. Iron Will and the other two should get their improved versions automatically with extra uses. Improved Critical and Critical Focus really belong together. Many of these changes can and will improve more than just martial classes, they’ll help hybrids and casters too.

That's what I'd like to see.


Honesty you probably need to look at what superheroes do or Wuxia if you want an idea of what high level martials can do.

Even if you pick the 'human' superheroes, they do some pretty silly stuff.

Karate Kid in the LSH could spar with Superboy in a fair fight. Batman can always have an apt trick up his sleeve no matter the opposition. Captain America has pretty much just one very good 'magic item' but he can stay toe to toe in a fight with things way more powerful than he is.

Just ways to adapt and overcome are what is needed. How much these bend reality can be modified to taste.


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I'll steal a flag from Kirth here. Everyone should have the capability to have narrative defining powers of equivalent potency at equivalent levels.

Since we're now running into the requirement for definitions, I'll simplify by saying that martials, as a rule, lack -and need- some ability to alter or manipulate the campaign narrative.

I do not mean this as a caster vs martial post, but it is inevitiable that some of that comparison be made, so please bear with me.

At 3rd level, some casters get the ability to either derail the current adventure with a quick short-circuit, force the GM to take the ability into account, or take the adventure completely off the rails and go do something else entirely. The ability? The spell "Create Treasure Map". The untimely death of a single underling housed at Hidden Base #2 suddenly puts a great big X on the map...literally.

Are there similar narrative defining abilities available to non-casters at 3rd level?

At 5th level, a druid could take a vacation from adventuring and make sure that his kingdom of choice will have fewer food issues over the next year, possibly bringing a whole new level of prosperity or freeing up people from farming to do other things, or maybe even helping a war-torn country recover.

What's your 5th level non-druid doing that has that potential level of impact on a campaign world?

IMO, this is what's lacking from martial characters. They can fight. They can fight better than anyone (well, maybe rogues and monks excluded but I don't want to open th...oops). They need ways to twist the campaign around into a pretzel and make it beg for mercy, like a wizard or druid or cleric does just by virtue of existing.

A rogue should be able to make a 'get inside the GM's head' check and get a straight answer about something every now and then, using his extensive contacts to piece it together. A bard, maybe something similar with obscure knowledge.

A fighter could snap his fingers and rally all of the peons around him into a rousing song and turns them into brave little zealots (/~ No one hits like Gaston ..... ~/). A paladin (who is already darn good) should be able to make people want to be better just by being himself and presenting a good example.

I'm afraid gunslingers should still be verbally abused though. :) No help for those guys. :)


What would I want martials to do?
1st fight well
2nd Be able to fill the character concept without much hand waving

How well should the martial fight?
1st hit the intended target
2nd hurt the target
3nd have the shock and awe factor depicted in fiction

Martials should do other stuff

1st a skill set that can reflect actual training and tactics
2nd enough resources to learn the above tactics and perceive the world around them

How durable should a martial be?
In some movies the bad guy punishes the hero seemingly have a movie and then gets exacerbated and cries "Why won't you die?" I would like to see enemies fear a relentless assault by a martial.

That is just some off the top of my head....I would really love to see tactics involved as a mechanical bonus of some kind.


Jiggy wrote:
Thread title wrote:
What should martial characters be able to do?
Take move actions?

As long as a full attack from a martial character effortlessly murders anyone but another martial character you won't see options to move at will and still full attack. In many was I think martial characters are a victim of their own success in that regard.

Laying aside the DPS race and all that baggage, I'd like to see a lot of the combat feats that are highly specialized folded into a a lesser investment than a feat so that martial characters have a little more flexibility in terms of things they can do in a given combat.

One common complaint I hear leveled against more martially inclined characters is that they lack flexibility – there are an extremely limited number of options a single martial character can exercise at any given time given that the strength of a martial character typically lies in specialization. This gives rise to high level fighters that may be great with a bow, but only ok with a blade or who may be able to execute a given combat maneuver exceptionally well but no others. That’s a complaint I can get behind. My solution is a reclassification of a number of feats into what I’ve dubbed ‘talents’. These are feats that don’t generally speaking provide large numerical bonuses to important statistics, and instead tend to provide additional options in combat. My hope is that by discounting them they become more feasible for martial characters to fit into their builds, even if they aren’t built around them – this may be especially true of fighters. My solution there calls for 'talents' to be bought two or three at a time for the cost of one feat.

The other side of the lack of flexibility argument deals with limitations that arise from how many things are priced in the game. Items that aren't even especially powerful (for instance a horn of valhalla) are incredibly overpriced to the point that I think they typically scare martial characters away. That's a damn shame in my opinion, because I think a lot of the issues people raise with martial characters can be resolved in part with access to more diverse gear. There would probably be a lot less griping about narrative power of a helm of teleportation or a horn of valhalla didn't cost 50,000 and were generally more available.

That was one thing I thought that Wizards of the Coast really started to get right at the end of the 3.5 design cycle with the Magic Item Compendium. While some of the options were way over the top (belt of battle anyone?) the inclusions of moderately priced options that any character have a few cards up their sleeve was very interesting to me.


In terms of noncombat, there are a couple things that I can think of to make martials have nice things:

-First of all, what I don't want to see are cohorts or henchmen. For some campaigns this works great. For others it doesn't. As such, this shouldn't be a class feature or such thing, but up to the DM. Same goes with establishing a stronghold, like in AD&D. If I want that, I'll play Kingmaker, but I generally only want that for special games, not every time.

-However, this still leaves a fair amount of good things that can be independent of campaign. It's hard to provide examples, as there ideally should be many different things to choose from, to suit the character, just as there are many spells, but as an example of what they should be like, in terms of power and such, I point you to "No One of Consequence (Ex)" and "Trap Taker (Ex)" from the Trickster mythic path, as examples of what a rogue should be capable of doing.


Keep in mind, I'm still thinking cinematically/narratively, not crunchily, but:


  • Inspire an army to fight as it has never fought before through sheer force of arms and rousing speeches.

  • Using raw ability and knowledge, slay creatures that no man should be able to slay without magic by finding those creatures' weak spots.

  • Advise great princes on matters of state.

  • Calmly face down hideous creatures that would make a less mortal shriek in fear.

  • Master esoteric techniques that turn a mere mortal into a mighty weapon. Not just monks with their styles, mind you, but imagine an elven fighter who meditated, motionless, for a century on a blade in flight.


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krevon wrote:


How durable should a martial be?
In some movies the bad guy punishes the hero seemingly have a movie and then gets exacerbated and cries "Why won't you die?"

I'm now thinking of Toad from the first Xmen movie.

"Don't you people ever die?"


- Have some range that works only against flying foes.

Eg. you got Level*5ft ranged vs flyers.
You just jump that high, use something in your surroundings to boost you up, get thrown by an strong ally or the like, just make it up and kill the harpy

- Shape the map

use your tremendous strength to break holes into walls as you charge the enemy behind it, level a small building by hitting the supporting pillars, kick a tree so it falls and bridges a river (or onto an enemy)

- You are the magic

The magic property is in you (or something small you wear, like armbands and the like

Every weapon you pick up get some magic properties.
Use a greatswords you founfd laying around to cut the cultists in half, switch to your trusted mace to finish the undead standing between you and the altar then pull out your knife to finish the high-priest while grappling him.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Marthkus wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
Buri wrote:
Be barbarian. Punch spells in the face. /thread
So be able to disrupt magic by attacking the caster?
Disruptive and spell breaker would be nice feats if disruptive wasn't a flat +4, which casters still start auto-passing that check anyways.

Of course if you're in the caster's face, you just ready an action to strike AS they are casting. If you connect, that makes the concentration check A LOT harder. Step Up can really ruin a caster's day.


Be able to learn about an opponent's style by watching him fight, and adjust their own to compensate.

The existing options for martial characters re-aligning their tactics are very spotty and unimpressive.

If my fighter wants to master, say, *glances at previous post* Step Up to prepare for his upcoming duel, he probably needs it by tomorrow at dawn (with rapiers, at the Old Green... etc). Waiting four more levels to retrain one feat is nigh useless in terms of practical flexibility.


LazarX wrote:
Marthkus wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
Buri wrote:
Be barbarian. Punch spells in the face. /thread
So be able to disrupt magic by attacking the caster?
Disruptive and spell breaker would be nice feats if disruptive wasn't a flat +4, which casters still start auto-passing that check anyways.
Of course if you're in the caster's face, you just ready an action to strike AS they are casting. If you connect, that makes the concentration check A LOT harder. Step Up can really ruin a caster's day.

Move action, take AOO, cast spell

That's assuming your martial can get near a caster AND that the caster is not buffed so much you can reliably hit them.


[blockquote]If my fighter wants to master, say, *glances at previous post* Step Up to prepare for his upcoming duel, he probably needs it by tomorrow at dawn (with rapiers, at the Old Green... etc). Waiting four more levels to retrain one feat is nigh useless in terms of practical flexibility.[/blockquote]

This is one of the reasons I like Green Ronin's Mutants & Masterminds 2nd edition (ported to fantasy setting as Warriors & Warlocks). If you want to have, say, temporary mastery of a feat, inhuman fortitude, or a magic walrus that lives in your pocket, you can build it with the effects-based point-buy system.


Lets throw a bone to all the fans (myself included) we want to fight like Drizzt Do'Urden


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A level 19 fighter should be able to kill a level 18 wizard at least as reliably and cheaply as a level 19 wizard can kill a level 18 fighter.

If wizards continue to have better multi-target options than the fighter the level 19 fighter should have it easier fighting a wizard one on one. and be victorious more often than not even when they're equal level and equally equipped.

That's what CR based on character level means.

Liberty's Edge

What I feel that the martial classes need, and to some extent the barbarian gets with their totems, is choice's and customizability. Think about it casters even partial casters get to pick and choose their class options which are namely spells. So why does say a fighter or a monk get to pick what class abilities they get to use. Now some will say archetypes correct this but why do i have to play a specialized fighter role as either an archer or a pole arm master? why cant i be both? why does every vanilla monk get purity of mind and ascend to becoming an outsider?

now i use 3pp that let me do this but i think that if when looking at how to make martials better these are not bad ideas at all.


I'm going to go through the list of where I think there are pronblems with Martials. Some are obvious and have been cover already but some I think are missed because they are problems caused by what fighters have been given in bad attempts to fix problems without adressing the actual problems (sort've like giving a poor driver a faster car to make up for their poor driving skill).

Martial characters need to be more resilient to Magic. A limited form of Anti-magic, Sundering spells ectre. All good ideas. Basic requirement is that the method can't be a auto kill of spells/spell. But it should give the Martial a fighting chance of not getting screwed.

Saves suck for fighters and feats to improve them are like sticking plasters on bleeding artery. Scaling of DC's to Saves is screwed.

More feats at higher level. There are plenty of options for Martials in the way of Feat chains but even the Fighter can generally only manage 2 Tricks at once. One Trick ponies are bad for the player and game. 3-4 Trick ponies are another case. But again the Tricks shouldn't be "I press the button and Win". Scaling of effectiveness is a problem.

AC inflation. Far to often I see AC spreads of over 20 in a party by lev 10+. If they need a 20 to hit me and a 2 to hit my buddy the system breaks. Scaling is a problem.

Damage inflation - Weapons have been reduced to "Crit Range and 1h or 2h". The percentage of damage done by the weapon dice is frequently so small as to be largely irrelevant as to what weapon you are actually using. And Damage inflation makes for huge variability. When one player does 10 pts from melee blow and another 90pts you have a problem.Damage per Round (DPR?) is all over the place with the effect that damage specialist tags you it's all over, but a non-pumped character can plink away for ages. In part this is linked to Hit points. Again, Scaling matters.

Skills - Martials as a rule have sod all skill points. Either change that or give them Skill focus feats for free, and have Skill Focus make the skill a class skill. Martials need to be able to do non-fighting things. A Martial should be able to learn languages, learn to craft weapons or wooden toys, climb, swim ectre. In RL Professional fighters often picked up various skills to jack of trade levels simply because there is a lot of down time and there's only so much time you can spend on Martial training before the mind dulls and the body gets damaged in bad ways.

If you are still reading you will have noticed I consider the problems of Scaling a big part of the Martial problems.
I think they need some sort of table that you input your to hit vs their AC and you get the number you need to roll to hit. So just because your AC is 20 higher than their To Hit doesn't mean they only hit on a 20. So when values are close then each point of difference is a point on the dice but beyond that every 2, then 3, then 4 = 1 pt on the dice.
Something similar on damage. So you don't get "he hit me once, I only lose 1/2 my hit points, if I'm lucky"
This also applies to Spell saves. A 15th level Caster shouldn't be casting spells or spell-like abilities that require 18's from 15th level characters, and yet that's all to commonly what Martials face.

Hope that's helpful/interesting


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I recently made a post related to this issues as it relates to the Skill System. One of issues with the Skill system is most uses are firmly in the mundane level range, which generally the 1-6 and maybe a few in the heroic range (6-10 or so). The skill system starts to fall behind with what is possible outside of these levels and this means that characters that depend on skills for non-combat participation in the game start to become marginalized.

So, looking at the skills situation and how it doesn't manage to keep up with the magical capabilities at higher levels I was wondering if any thought had been put to the following.

Have specific skill rank requirements for certain tasks, and keep these requirements separate from the DC's.

For example, using the heal skill, you might have Raise Dead as per the Raise Dead spell, but requiring 5,000 gp in exotic medical supplies per attempt, as a possible thing doable with the skill provided you have at least 12 skill ranks. The DC for this task can be whatever the designer wants, but they need to have at least 12 skill ranks to attempt it. You can fiddle with the number of skill ranks required, but you'd generally need to decide when you want the different more powerful skill uses to come on line and design around that.

Under this system, you can keep the skill system relevant at the higher levels, while preventing people from pumping their skill checks and being able to perform deeds at levels divergent from their intended target level.


More than being powerful, or hell, more than being relevant what I really wish martial characters had was more options and more meaningful choices. I would much rather have to think and contribute a little than not think and contribute a lot.

In my short time playing Pathfinder I've only played one full martial character and I'm already deadly tired of saying "I hit 'em with a two handed Power Attack". I'm trying to build this character with a lot of options (via stuff like Equipment Trick) but I sorely miss the amount of choices I had with the Magus.


I struggle to think of things that have all of the following properties:

1) Are clearly martial or nearly-martial (meaning that it's something that you can imagine a nonmagical character doing, perhaps with a bit of poetic license.)
2) Are thematically appropriate for a range of martial characters
3) Are interesting and adventuring-relevant
4) Are things that remain interesting and adventure-relevant in an ecosystem like high-level PF.

Like, take jumping really far. I'm pretty comfortable calling that a mostly-martial trick. It's appropriate for a range of martial characters; it doesn't require a specific story about what the character is like, just that they're athletic. It's sort of interesting, and occasionally adventure-relevant. But is it still that way at level fifteen, outside of atypical campaigns? At the risk of turning this into an "OMG anticaster spellcaster haters i see you're agenda you just hate wizersd" thread, it's tough to carve out a niche for awesome out-of-combat things for non-magic types to do in a system that makes spellcasters stronger than most fictional spellcasters starting at very low levels and ramps up hard from there.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Marthkus wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Marthkus wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
Buri wrote:
Be barbarian. Punch spells in the face. /thread
So be able to disrupt magic by attacking the caster?
Disruptive and spell breaker would be nice feats if disruptive wasn't a flat +4, which casters still start auto-passing that check anyways.
Of course if you're in the caster's face, you just ready an action to strike AS they are casting. If you connect, that makes the concentration check A LOT harder. Step Up can really ruin a caster's day.

Move action, take AOO, cast spell

That's assuming your martial can get near a caster AND that the caster is not buffed so much you can reliably hit them.

It would be cast spell with a fighter hitting you as an interrupt. A fighter has a pretty good chance at hitting a caster when striking at full BAB. The damage you take +10+ 2x your spell level is the DC you have to deal with as far as getting the spell successfully off.


LazarX wrote:
Marthkus wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Marthkus wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
Buri wrote:
Be barbarian. Punch spells in the face. /thread
So be able to disrupt magic by attacking the caster?
Disruptive and spell breaker would be nice feats if disruptive wasn't a flat +4, which casters still start auto-passing that check anyways.
Of course if you're in the caster's face, you just ready an action to strike AS they are casting. If you connect, that makes the concentration check A LOT harder. Step Up can really ruin a caster's day.

Move action, take AOO, cast spell

That's assuming your martial can get near a caster AND that the caster is not buffed so much you can reliably hit them.

It would be cast spell with a fighter hitting you as an interrupt. A fighter has a pretty good chance at hitting a caster when striking at full BAB. The damage you take +10+ 2x your spell level is the DC you have to deal with as far as getting the spell successfully off.

If the caster just walks away from the fighter, their is little they do about it. Assuming they have fly up, the fighter couldn't even trip them.

Once away from the fighter, caster can cast whatever spells they want.

So no, the fighter would need a bow to do anything relevant and have to pray that the caster cannot walk behind cover.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Marthkus wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Marthkus wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Marthkus wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
Buri wrote:
Be barbarian. Punch spells in the face. /thread
So be able to disrupt magic by attacking the caster?
Disruptive and spell breaker would be nice feats if disruptive wasn't a flat +4, which casters still start auto-passing that check anyways.
Of course if you're in the caster's face, you just ready an action to strike AS they are casting. If you connect, that makes the concentration check A LOT harder. Step Up can really ruin a caster's day.

Move action, take AOO, cast spell

That's assuming your martial can get near a caster AND that the caster is not buffed so much you can reliably hit them.

It would be cast spell with a fighter hitting you as an interrupt. A fighter has a pretty good chance at hitting a caster when striking at full BAB. The damage you take +10+ 2x your spell level is the DC you have to deal with as far as getting the spell successfully off.

If the caster just walks away from the fighter, their is little they do about it. Assuming they have fly up, the fighter couldn't even trip them.

Once away from the fighter, caster can cast whatever spells they want.

So no, the fighter would need a bow to do anything relevant and have to pray that the caster cannot walk behind cover.

My martials all pack bows. If your caster takes more than a 5 foot step up and casts, he's provoking during his move up unless he does nothing for that round but withdraw, which means my fighter has a move action free to draw his bow. Even my mid BAB folks have str adjusted composites if practical. And if your caster cowers behind cover, than he does not have line of effect to cast.


LazarX wrote:
My martials all pack bows. If your caster takes more than a 5 foot step up and casts, he's provoking during his move up unless he does nothing for that round but withdraw, which means my fighter has a move action free to draw his bow. Even my mid BAB folks have str adjusted composites if practical. And if your caster cowers behind cover, than he does not have line of effect to cast.

You can ready a standard action. You may move like 5-15ft with the step-up chain. The caster can walk 30ft.

SO. Your fighter would have to pull out a bow and ready one standard attack trained on the caster to perform your tactic. And God forbid the GM require you to make a spellcraft or perception check to tell that they are casting.


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Ilja wrote:
Honestly, i feel at some poibt during mid levels, the concept of"mundane" class simply stops functioning. Feeling "more manga and less lotr"

The humorous part is that manga heroes are closer to literary ones than LotR is.

Look at Irish hero CuChulainn
-Went to war at age 7
-Defeated an enemy army at age 17
-Has a mega-rage power that can wipe out armies
-Body heated up so much from rage that it caused his bathtub to explode
-Was so ridiculously good looking that kings feared he'd steal their wives
-Able to leap over a house in a single bound
-When badguys threw spears at him, he leapt on top of their spears midflight like stepping stones and killed them
-Fought a guy who piledrived him into the ground so hard he was buried up to his armpits
-Has a super special secret spear technique only taught by the master warrior woman to the only student who could survive her super lethal training, uses his super secret sure-kill spear technique to defeat his rival/childhood friend in fated battle.

If I didn't say he was a 1,000+ year old Irish legend, people would assume I was describing a shonen manga/anime.

Levels 1-6 is ok for Lord of the Rings or Conan, but anything above that is the realm of mythology & manga.

Webstore Gninja Minion

Removed some posts and their replies. Not everybody plays the same way—agree to disagree.

Dark Archive

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The game has an assortment of Conditions, some 'meh' (like Dazzled) and some pretty awesome (like Stunned or Nauseated or Blinded).

I would like for a way for martials to apply a wide range of these conditions without necessarily having to attempt a Dirty Trick maneuver or pray for a Critical Hit at high level.

Damage *plus* condition, not merely damage *or* condition.

Morningstar to the junk? Damage plus sickened for a round, and if a Fort save is failed, nauseated for a round.

Bleeding cut to the temple? Damage plus dazzled for a round, and if Fort save is failed, blinded for a round by blood getting in the targets eyes.

The various Critical feats, IMO, just lock away even the more minor of these effects to high level, and only a small percentage of attacks, while a 1st level spellcaster is blasting right past sickened and shaken and other *perfectly good conditions for that level range,* and inflicting unconsciousness and stunned with color spray, or frightened with cause fear, etc.

It's a two sided coin, I think, with low level spells getting to dish out far too effective conditions (like unconsciousness and frightened) and high level martials not even getting to apply the *weaker* conditions like dazzled or sickened, without A) high level feats, B) critical hits and / or C) sacrificing an attack for a Dirty Trick maneuver. Approaching it from just one side, by giving martials easier access to condition-imposing attacks, is probably *still* going to seem like a patch on a leaky boat, when 1st level spellcasters should be instead imposing lower level conditions like sickened and shaken with their lower level spells, and saving the awesome 'save or lose' conditions for more impressive spells at higher levels.

Other than that, I'd prefer more versatility. More weapon options that are competitive, and less that are 'always bad.' More options for wearing armor *or not wearing armor, and still being functional,* to accommodate arctic or desert themed warriors. Not just feats, that require a 'desert warrior' to expend a resource to *not use his class armor proficiencies*, double-taxing him just to be 'on-theme,' and not a rough-patch Archetype that comes with a bunch of other garbage that might not be relevant to every single fighter / ranger / cavalier / paladin / etc. who happens to come from a climate that doesn't lend itself to heavy armor.

Certain lower level feats, IMO, shouldn't even be feats, for the Fighter, but options baked into the class itself. Anyone who survived Fighter 101 should be able to juggle numbers around situationally, to give them the benefits of Combat Expertise (-atk, +AC) or Power Attack (-atk, +dam) or other options, such as 'Reckless Attack' (-AC, +atk) or 'Precise Attack' (-dam, +atk), with the feats remaining in-game only for classes that don't get them as part of martial combat training (such as a battle cleric who wants Power Attack or a blaster wizard who wants Combat Expertise).

I do not think that martials without some sort of inherent supernatural ability (whether that be a mystical ki power or rage totem power) should be able to fly or otherwise 'do magic,' but should, just like a cleric or rogue, drink a darn potion like everyone else who doesn't have fly on their spell list.

Every class doesn't necessarily have to be able to do everything, or shine in every situation. If more encounters occurred in silence fields or anti-magic fields or in areas where everyone was taking continuing damage / being thrown about and forced to make difficult CR appropriate concentration checks every round to cast spells, if more spell component pouches got targeted, etc. instead of encounters being focused on making life harder for martials (hanging from ropes, attacked on a boat that is capsized, flying foes) I think there'd be less of an issue with this, but, in my experience, encounter design seems to be *far* more likely to hinder melees (even through such means as difficult terrain) than casters, and that, IMO, is something that can be 'hot-fixed' by the GM (if the adventure writer didn't bother).


This was a neat idea that Evil Lincoln came up with a while ago: Brutal Maneuvers.

The idea is that every attack is essentially an attack + combat maneuver. If your attack was good enough to hit but not beat their CMD then you just damage them. If your attack was good enough to hit them and beat their CMD then you do damage and inflict the maneuver. A neat idea.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber

Please forgive my devolution into the 4th iteration of the game that must not be named on the boards.

That game added the idea of Power Source and I originally really liked it because it combined certain classes together with a underlying idea, creating interesting options (like what is a divine dps or arcane tank) but also providing some connections that were fun thematically.

Unfortunately thats all they did and they could have done so much more.

One problem is that combat and noncombat abilities should be separate, and all characters should be able to access them equally but by different means.

Take a challenge the party must descend to the bottom of a lake to retrieve an artifact from an ancient pirate ship. Currently, the martial character have to either rely on 1. the casters, or 2. spending money the caster don't for a solution. Instead it should look something like this.

Arcane character performs a 1 minute ritual allowing him to breathe water and increase his swimming skill.

Divine Charater prays for a 1 minute to call upon the blessing of his deity who sends a intermediary to buff the character.

Nature based character concentrate on calling the spirit of a water animal or elemental and shapechanges into an appropriate form.

Martial character spends one minute searching through a sack of stuff he collected throughout his career adventuring in the wilds of a magical world and pulls out the tongue of dragon turtle and holding his notes pulls off a small bite and eats it quickly, gaining the ability to breathe water from the inherent magic left in the creature.

Now are all these the same? No they all look different and may have different effects but they all get the job done and can all be made to cost the same if that is desired.


Aaron Whitley wrote:

This was a neat idea that Evil Lincoln came up with a while ago: Brutal Maneuvers.

The idea is that every attack is essentially an attack + combat maneuver. If your attack was good enough to hit but not beat their CMD then you just damage them. If your attack was good enough to hit them and beat their CMD then you do damage and inflict the maneuver. A neat idea.

Stealing this idea (probably in a lesser form than on every attack) and name!


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Coriat wrote:
Aaron Whitley wrote:

This was a neat idea that Evil Lincoln came up with a while ago: Brutal Maneuvers.

The idea is that every attack is essentially an attack + combat maneuver. If your attack was good enough to hit but not beat their CMD then you just damage them. If your attack was good enough to hit them and beat their CMD then you do damage and inflict the maneuver. A neat idea.

Stealing this idea (probably in a lesser form than on every attack) and name!

If "on every attack" is a problem... How about letting it only occurring on the first successful attack of each round?

- I'd like to see martials being able to actually intercept opponents who go around them and try to attack their friends.
- I'd like to see skills upgraded to do wuxia stuff at high levels.
- I'd like to see martials deflecting beams, rays and even lightning with their swords.
- I'd like to see martials felling a hole lot of minions with 1 swing of their blade
- I'd like to see martials getting new/improved senses. Like a Ranger getting Low-Light Vision, Darkvision and/or Scent.
- I'd like to see martials inspiring awe and fear in combat. And have actual benefits from it. At high levels, they should be able to intimidate even mindless creatures.
- I'd like to martials using the battlefield and surrounding objects in their favor in ways others than flanking.
- I'd liek to see martials being able to somehow, use melee weapons to make (effective) ranged attacks.
- I'd like to see martials able to easily withstand harsh enviromental conditions. Like the warrior who walks in the front to protect his friends from the blizzard.
- I'd like to see martials not losing 90% of effectiveness because they moved 10ft or lost their magic sword.


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I think one guiding principle would be that anything mundane that can be accomplished by a 1st or 2nd level spell should be within reach of a high-level martial character. Like, a 10th level fighter could maybe use True Strike non-magically, because she's just that awesome. A rogue ought to be able to jump as well as the Jump spell, or open a locked vault as a standard action. Advanced Stealth should be nigh-invisibility, like Batman level. A martial brawler can defeat DR /magic with his muscles and his scary grin. Mid level feats should let you double your carrying capacity, or shrug off fatigue a few times a day.


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experienced fighters should be able to

shrug off conditions like they were nothing, swim the styx unphased, swim the ocean for 9 weeks without rest, fighting 29 sea serpents on the 8th, control their metabolisms to the point they require less food and heal faster, faking regeneration, do the crouching tiger hidden dragon air walking thing, be able to move and full attack, not have penalties on their iteratives, soak hits from a dragon, kaiju or giant like a boss, slice the air to produce air pressure based attacks, slice ghosts as if they were solid, sunder the spell effects themselves and damage whom they effect, reflect a mind control spell back at the caster by flexing their awesomeness and defeat fallout style deathclaws or even the terrasque in solo melee combat

and they should personally possess these powers of their own accord, not depend on items that can be removed from their person to bestow them. go full wuxia and anime. go full eastern fantasy, where the badass warrior is more badass than the badass wizard because martial training allows one to bypass the limits of powers bestowed by magic, some magical abilities might be useable at will by spellcasters in exchange and deal similar damage. but make sure a mage actually has a reason to pee herself when she sees a big beefy shirtless shoeless man in a kilt.

Sovereign Court

RJGrady wrote:
I think one guiding principle would be that anything mundane that can be accomplished by a 1st or 2nd level spell should be within reach of a high-level martial character. Like, a 10th level fighter could maybe use True Strike non-magically, because she's just that awesome. A rogue ought to be able to jump as well as the Jump spell, or open a locked vault as a standard action. Advanced Stealth should be nigh-invisibility, like Batman level. A martial brawler can defeat DR /magic with his muscles and his scary grin. Mid level feats should let you double your carrying capacity, or shrug off fatigue a few times a day.

That all sounds really good.

Umbriere Moonwhisper wrote:

experienced fighters should be able to

shrug off conditions like they were nothing, swim the styx unphased, swim the ocean for 9 weeks without rest, fighting 29 sea serpents on the 8th, control their metabolisms to the point they require less food and heal faster, faking regeneration, do the crouching tiger hidden dragon air walking thing, be able to move and full attack, not have penalties on their iteratives, soak hits from a dragon, kaiju or giant like a boss, slice the air to produce air pressure based attacks, slice ghosts as if they were solid, sunder the spell effects themselves and damage whom they effect, reflect a mind control spell back at the caster by flexing their awesomeness and defeat fallout style deathclaws or even the terrasque in solo melee combat

and they should personally possess these powers of their own accord, not depend on items that can be removed from their person to bestow them. go full wuxia and anime. go full eastern fantasy, where the badass warrior is more badass than the badass wizard because martial training allows one to bypass the limits of powers bestowed by magic, some magical abilities might be useable at will by spellcasters in exchange and deal similar damage. but make sure a mage actually has a reason to pee herself when she sees a big beefy shirtless shoeless man in a kilt.

Yeah maybe in the epic book.


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So... you mean the book that covers level 11 to 15 right Pan?


Martials don't have innate magical power. The wuxia fightan powers ideal just doesn't fit the concept.

Why I like the idea of the magic item fix is that it steals the caster's thunder like how spells stole the martial's thunder.

We could also use these new magical items to expand combat maneuver options.

Many of the best (high level) martials in lore are defined by their artifact weapon. King Arthur, He-man, that one guy from thunder cats, Thor, Perseus, Achilles flesh was enchanted.

The only real great examples of non-geared high level martials that I can think of are Gilgamesh and Gutz from Berserk (up until he gets the black armor).

Gutz though is basically an epic level PF martial barbarian/fighter mix without gear.


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8th level and higher fighters and other martial classes basically should be more like Gilgamesh and Gutz and less like King Arthur and Iron Man.


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I think the other problem with balancing martials is that when they do anything outside their humdrum 1-6 just like reality, people immediately peg it as epic. You shouldn't need more then 20 levels to do the stuff Gutz does... 10 maybe, sure. After all, after 6-10, you've already moved past heroic fantasy. 11-16 is it's own game and Gilgamesh and Gutz would be very at home there.


Marthkus wrote:

Martials don't have innate magical power. The wuxia fightan powers ideal just doesn't fit the concept.

Why I like the idea of the magic item fix is that it steals the caster's thunder like how spells stole the martial's thunder.

We could also use these new magical items to expand combat maneuver options.

Many of the best (high level) martials in lore are defined by their artifact weapon. King Arthur, He-man, that one guy from thunder cats, Thor, Perseus, Achilles flesh was enchanted.

The only real great examples of non-geared high level martials that I can think of are Gilgamesh and Gutz from Berserk (up until he gets the black armor).

Gutz though is basically an epic level PF martial barbarian/fighter mix without gear.

Gilgamesh too. Although Samson remains the obvious counter-example.

The passage in question:

Epic of Gilgamesh wrote:
He went to the forge and said, 'I will give orders to the armourers; they shall cast us our weapons while we watch them.' So they gave orders to the armourers and the craftsmen sat down in conference. They went into the groves of the plain and cut willow and box-wood; they cast for them axes of nine score pounds, and great swords they cast with blades of six score pounds each one, with pommels and hilts of thirty pounds. They cast for Gilgamesh the axe 'Might of Heroes' and the bow of Anshan; and Gilgamesh was armed and Enkidu; and the weight of the arms they carried was thirty score pounds.


There's Perseus and Bilbo Baggins, a couple of martial dudes with a ton of magic items and special gear. So that's a route, too.


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Marthkus wrote:
Martials don't have innate magical power.

A level 6 Fighter is

-tougher than a grizzly bear
-can jump down a 60ft chasm without fear of dying.
-Wrestle tigers to death (if he took the right feats)
-Deflect a tyrannosaurus's bite

That's what leveling up does, it makes you stronger. Level up high enough and you are a human who can wrestle a tyrannosaurus to death.

Quote:
The wuxia fightan powers ideal just doesn't fit the concept.

There are alternatives to Die Hard's John McClane for examples of what a Fighter hero can do. Heck, even Conan learned and used magic before. When Gary Gygax gave him stats in D&D it was straight 18's and he had psychic powers. Why not look at actual mythology of great warriors?

Zhang Fei could let out a war-shout that froze an advancing army in its place
Guan Yu (and every other great warrior in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, really) could just fight an entire army by himself.

Yoshitsune could double-jump like a Castlevania character.

Umbriere Moonwhisper wrote:
go full wuxia and anime. go full eastern fantasy, where the badass warrior is more badass than the badass wizard because martial training allows one to bypass the limits of powers bestowed by magic

You don't even need to look to East Asia, there's superhumans of European mythology too:

Cu Chulainn was fighting wars as a kid and destroying armies as a teenager.
-leap over houses in a single bound to hit a house-sized monster in the head
-jump off of a spear thrown at him in mid flight and kill the guy who threw it, before the spear touches the ground
-Rage and turn into a super saiyan: "The hair of his head twisted like the tange of a red thornbush stuck in a gap; if a royal apple tree with all its kingly fruit were shaken above him, scarce an apple would reach the ground but each would be spiked on a bristle of his hair as it stood up on his scalp with rage"
-Knew a super special secret sure-kill finishing move that his martial arts master taught him and only him, using it to kill his once-friend-now-rival-trained-by-the-same-master in the fated battle of destiny.

Beowulf could...
-Tear off the arms of a man-eating troll
-Hold his breath for hours while fighting the troll's mom

Wayland the Smith doesn't fight, but he is a mortal smith that creates stuff like
-+X swords
-Magic ring (I don't remember what it did though... but it was magic!)
-Wings that let him fly

Roland, the Paladin of Charlemagne
-Could pick up a cow in each hand and throw them (he was really angry that the Chinese princess dumped him for an African, his friends had to take a fire-chariot to the moon to find his sanity and bring it back to earth)
-Swung his sword so hard it smashed a giant hole in a real-world cliff:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Br%C3%A8che_de_Roland
-Blew a horn so hard that it caused his head to explode (12th century legends are pretty weird)

If you want fighters to be Conan and Aragorn, also keep in mind that Conan and LotR wizards can't do 99% of what D&D/Pathfinder wizards do.


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I really like what ToB allowed. I understand some did not like a pseudo spell system but the ability to do more than stab things was very nice. As for the "anime" argument the barbarian can fly with certain rage powers, and monks can ignore adamantine items DR. What is more anime than flying and punching through a wall made of the toughest material on the planet? O_o

edit: I don't see these as anime, but for those that use the anime argument I am pointing out that what some would equate to anime is already in the game.


Levels 1-6: Ordinary Person

A martial should be a competent combatant. Holding her own against a single foe, or perhaps at the upper end of this tier, 2-3 slightly weaker foes. No fancy tricks to speak of, she pretty much defines the martial as people know her now, the gal who walks up to things and hits them with her sword.

Levels 7-14: Superhuman Person

This is where a few more exciting things should come into play. Fighting multiple enemies at once should no longer be an issue for her, and she should be able to do so in style. Performing impressive feats of either agility (such as dodging attacks by leaping over people and landing on their head to disable them briefly) or strength (grabbing an opponent's attack with her hand and then assaulting them with her other).

Levels 15-20: Holy s!&$ please don't hurt me.

The martial can now simply stand there and get shot out without so much as flinching. Physical and magical assaults alike are brushed aside as she stares you down. When she bothers to unsheathe her weapon, expect her to kill multiple opponents in one swing, shatter the earth as she walks, fight things ten times her size without breaking a sweat. She should move at speeds that the normal eye can't follow, with strength that appears to have no limit. By level 20, she should be able to fight the Terasque into a stalemate, even if it's impossible for her to actually deal a killing blow.


Aaron Whitley wrote:

This was a neat idea that Evil Lincoln came up with a while ago: Brutal Maneuvers.

The idea is that every attack is essentially an attack + combat maneuver. If your attack was good enough to hit but not beat their CMD then you just damage them. If your attack was good enough to hit them and beat their CMD then you do damage and inflict the maneuver. A neat idea.

I rather like this idea as well. At higher levels, the blows from a martials weapon should be at least powerful enough for a free bull rush if they swing from the right angle. Against a sufficiently light or weak opponent, you should be able to golf swing that guy a few dozen yards.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Marthkus wrote:
LazarX wrote:
My martials all pack bows. If your caster takes more than a 5 foot step up and casts, he's provoking during his move up unless he does nothing for that round but withdraw, which means my fighter has a move action free to draw his bow. Even my mid BAB folks have str adjusted composites if practical. And if your caster cowers behind cover, than he does not have line of effect to cast.

You can ready a standard action. You may move like 5-15ft with the step-up chain. The caster can walk 30ft.

SO. Your fighter would have to pull out a bow and ready one standard attack trained on the caster to perform your tactic. And God forbid the GM require you to make a spellcraft or perception check to tell that they are casting.

If the caster does ANYTHING, but state a double move withdrawal in his turn, he provokes if he moves more than 5 feet. If he does the proper withdrawl, he's DONE for that turn.

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