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


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Martials doing things..

But no seriously, that's a pretty good example of what martials should look like.


It's by the guy that did Dead Fantasy! Now I have something to watch for the rest of the week. Thank you very much.


VM mercenario wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
Anything that can be done by a RWBY character (except Weiss she's the only caster like one) should be something that a martial can accomplish by level 15 at the absolute latest. After the martial classes can do that we can work on nerfing some of the more overpowered spells and maybe see about splitting up the casters into classes more like the Beguiler/Dread Necromancer (but not the Warmage... that one needs work).
What's RWBY? I think I should know what it is, but the acronym is tripping me.

It's these anime shorts by the guy who does the CGI scenes for Red Vs Blue at Rooster Teeth.com.

They're pretty good.


There's nothing inherent to 3.XX/d20 that makes martials suck, it's just a total lack of love in 3.0-3.5 and insufficient steps were taken in PF to fix it. Fantasycraft doesn't hack the d20 system immensely and makes martial combatants among the best characters in a straight-up fight, without adding much in the way of 'weaboo fightan magic'. (I will try not to shill too hard. Mods can yell at me if this is too much shilling.)

The system does nerf mages pretty significantly; generalist mages start with cantrips at first level, and don't get 1st level spells until level 3, 2nd at level 5, etc. Specialists get full access to spells from their school at the Pathfinder levels, but no access to spells outside their school without taking feats. There are a few more nerfs; casters have less spells known, cast from spell points instead of per day, and refresh at the end of narrative 'scenes', putting refresh more in the GM's hands.

The Soldier (fighter-analogue) gets, IMO, only slightly better class abilities than the PF Fighter. He gets bonus feats every other level, 3 points of DR/- as he levels, an AC bonus up to +5 in armor, a choice of a few random abilities (the 'best' of these are +2 damage, 1 free attack per round, or free critical activations), up to 1/2 cover for him and all allies in 10 feet, and as a capstone (which hit at level 14 instead of 20) gets a free crit once per session. I think these abilities are only just above where the PF Fighter is.

What really makes FC martials shine are the feats. Most feats hover around strictly better than their 3.5/PF counterparts (Cleave is the only one I remember having the same power level), E.G. Power Attack gives +2 damage for each point of attack, up to -4/+8. Some of the best feats are the weapon chains, which come in sets of three. These feats tend to grant stances, which you enter as a half action and can only have one of at a time, and tricks, which enhance a standard attack, but only one can be applied to a given action.

For example, the Polearm chain is built for defence and battle control. The Polearm Basics feat makes you better at disarm with polearms and a gives a stance which grants DR vs ranged attack. Polearm Mastery grants a 1/round free attack at 1/2 damage against any opponent that moves adjacent to you, and a trick that lets you inflict weapon damage on a successful trip attack. Polearm Supremacy increases Wisdom by 1 and grants a trick which one-hits any mook NPC (doesn't work on bosses, PC's, etc.) with lower wisdom than you.

Skills are also slightly better, more general (climb and swim are just Athletics, jump balance and tumble are just Acrobatics) and fighters get 4+INT skills per level instead of 2. Also combat maneuvers are tied to skills and are easier to pull off (no AOOs and no feats required to make them useful).


MadGent wrote:
refresh at the end of narrative 'scenes', putting refresh more in the GM's hands.

Aaaaand you lost me.


Marthkus wrote:
MadGent wrote:
refresh at the end of narrative 'scenes', putting refresh more in the GM's hands.
Aaaaand you lost me.

Not super relevant to the discussion, but FC has normal time in rounds/minutes/hours etc. and 'narrative time' which follow's the story's needs, measured in Scenes and Adventures. I'll just make up a normal dungeon delve adventure as an example.

Scene 1: Roll into town, maybe have some sort of encounter in town, learn about the dungeon, maybe do a little research/rumor-hunting, find a treasure map, depart. A few hours to a couple days.

Scene 2: Travel to the dungeon, maybe with a random encounter/small sidequest. A few days/weeks.

Scene 3: Arrive, scout the dungeon entrance, fight a few guards, maybe solve a riddle or puzzle. A few hours.

Scene 4: Delve deeper into the dungeon, a few more encounters and a puzzle or two. A few hours.

Scene 5: Enter the deepest chamber of the dungeon, kill the boss monster, take its stuff.

It mostly means the party can't just camp out and regain full fighting strength after every few encounters.


Scavion wrote:
Kazandra wrote:

I don't really get where all this "martial characters aren't good enough" crap comes from.

To me spell-casters, especially arcane ones, aren't overly powerful until they reach somewhere around level 11 or 12. That's when they start getting into the really good spells imo.

Spell-casters have to wait until a specific situation presents itself to use their spells as well.

They have to work their way up in level before they really start to shine. A fighter, compared to wizards and sorcerers, shines from 1st level to high-mid level. After that, the wizard or sorcerer start to surpass the fighter in what they can do in certain situations, but they still never really outshine fighters in pure combat (aside from being able to cast a handful of high level spells...but then they have blown their wad).

To me, one thing a warrior class character can always do to a wizard or sorcerer is grapple them. Grappling a spell-caster is a sure-fire way to achieve victory. This is just one example of the weaknesses spell-casting classes have. They don't have the durability of warriors, can't fight in melee, suffer terribly from being grappled, etc.

I think the character classes are balanced enough as it is. Taking away weaknesses will only lead to taking away weaknesses of other classes as well.

This is a myth. Casters from the getgo get an encounter ender in the form of Color Spray and Sleep. The DC at 1st level mind you can be as high as DC 18 with a good Charisma.

Grappling doesn't work if you can't touch them if they're flying/displaced/invisible/force bubbled/you're blocked by a wall of force. Grapple also doesn't work period when theres effects like Freedom of Movement that are auto success against it. Freedom of Movement is very common past 7th level.

You have to ask your Arcane Casters not to break your game open like the fragile egg it is. They're one of the few classes where any amount of clever building can smash open your game and let them take it...

Well, sleep and color spray are still non-lethal spells. It's not as if you are slain outright. A 1st level fighter can kill several CR1/2-CR1 creatures in one round, with one good attack. A wizard can put them to sleep. I fail to see how this is problematic for balance issues.

As far as "you can't grapple a creature as long as they are flying/displaced/force bubbled...etc" (ignoring the invisible status because it simply isn't true as long as the location is guessed), you are talking about specific situations where a martial character could not grab the spell-caster. The spell-caster would almost have to have some precognitive ability in order to stop a martial character from grappling him/her. If the martial character won initiative, then the status effects you describe would already have to be in place for the grapple to fail. I counter with the fact that unless the caster has one of these spells already in effect, the chances of him/her shaking a grapple from a martial character of the same level is very, very low.

Everyone has to remember that Pathfinder and D&D are rpgs where each character is supposed to play a specific role. Fighters and barbarians are melee tanks. That doesn't mean they should also be immune to magical attacks or suped-up to video game levels of power. It would be the same thing if you suddenly made rules to where a spell-caster could buy feats that gave him/her more HPs or higher attack bonuses and extra attacks, so they could perform melee combat better.

I'm sorry but I completely disagree that martial characters are underpowered.


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Unfortunately for your argument Pathfinder is not a MMORPG, and thus the role of "tank" is largely meaningless. There is no way to hold "hate" (other then Come and Get Me) or "control the battlefield (well casters can, martials... not so much...)

While yes, Sleep and Color Spray are non-lethal in the short term, in the long term they render foes very dead to even the most ill-coordinated commoner. And "long term here means.... within 12 seconds..."

Grappling a spellcaster... surely you aren't serious. Freedom of movement is a thing you know. So if "precognitive ability" means "casts a a spell that lasts 10 min/level and will be up the whole adventure" yes they need precognitive ability.

Don't worry though, developing system mastery takes time so it's understandable to miss a few of these things.


MadGent wrote:
Marthkus wrote:
MadGent wrote:
refresh at the end of narrative 'scenes', putting refresh more in the GM's hands.
Aaaaand you lost me.

Not super relevant to the discussion, but FC has normal time in rounds/minutes/hours etc. and 'narrative time' which follow's the story's needs, measured in Scenes and Adventures. I'll just make up a normal dungeon delve adventure as an example.

Scene 1: Roll into town, maybe have some sort of encounter in town, learn about the dungeon, maybe do a little research/rumor-hunting, find a treasure map, depart. A few hours to a couple days.

Scene 2: Travel to the dungeon, maybe with a random encounter/small sidequest. A few days/weeks.

Scene 3: Arrive, scout the dungeon entrance, fight a few guards, maybe solve a riddle or puzzle. A few hours.

Scene 4: Delve deeper into the dungeon, a few more encounters and a puzzle or two. A few hours.

Scene 5: Enter the deepest chamber of the dungeon, kill the boss monster, take its stuff.

It mostly means the party can't just camp out and regain full fighting strength after every few encounters.

It's too meta. Completely breaks immersion for me.

The caster can refresh spells at the end of scene? WTFBBQ?!?!? Are all the casters bards or something? It makes no G%% d!#n sense.


Anzyr wrote:

Unfortunately for your argument Pathfinder is not a MMORPG, and thus the role of "tank" is largely meaningless. There is no way to hold "hate" (other then Come and Get Me) or "control the battlefield (well casters can, martials... not so much...)

While yes, Sleep and Color Spray are non-lethal in the short term, in the long term they render foes very dead to even the most ill-coordinated commoner. And "long term here means.... within 12 seconds..."

Grappling a spellcaster... surely you aren't serious. Freedom of movement is a thing you know. So if "precognitive ability" means "casts a a spell that lasts 10 min/level and will be up the whole adventure" yes they need precognitive ability.

Don't worry though, developing system mastery takes time so it's understandable to miss a few of these things.

Exactly the point I was making. this isn't a MMORPG. People should not expect to play with a character like Zeus. This isn't a video game where everyone gets to unlock every ability they want.

How many people seriously use Freedom of Movement every time they get the chance, and speaking of which.... Has anyone even looked at Freedom of Movement in a while? It can't be used by wizards or sorcerers..... I don't think you have to worry too much about a wizard or a sorcerer using it unless they have a ring of freedom of movement.


Kazandra wrote:

Well, sleep and color spray are still non-lethal spells. It's not as if you are slain outright. A 1st level fighter can kill several CR1/2-CR1 creatures in one round, with one good attack. A wizard can put them to sleep. I fail to see how this is problematic for balance issues.

As far as "you can't grapple a creature as long as they are flying/displaced/force bubbled...etc" (ignoring the invisible status because it simply isn't true as long as the location is guessed), you are talking about specific situations where a martial character could not grab the spell-caster. The spell-caster would almost have to have some precognitive ability in order to stop a martial character from grappling him/her. If the martial character won initiative, then the status effects you describe would already have to be in place for the grapple to fail. I counter with the fact that unless the caster has one of these spells already in effect, the chances of him/her shaking a grapple from a martial character of the same level is very, very low.

Everyone has to remember that Pathfinder and D&D are rpgs where each character is supposed to play a specific role. Fighters and barbarians are melee tanks. That doesn't mean they should also be immune to magical attacks or suped-up to video game levels of power. It would be the same thing if you suddenly made rules to where a spell-caster could buy feats that gave him/her more HPs or higher attack bonuses and extra attacks, so they could perform melee combat better.

I'm sorry but I completely disagree that martial characters are underpowered.

Right, but sleeping/blinded/stunned enemies can't fight back in any effective manner and can be slaughtered more or less at the party's leisure. If either of those spells work on the monster or a good chunk of a group, the encounter is basically over. Sleep can easily knock out a whole encounter of goblins or other low-level monsters, and color spray has a good chance of crippling single monsters or good chunks of a mob. Even at 1st level, a wizard can basically end an encounter on his first initiative.

RE: grappling, it isn't unreasonable for a mage to cast flight or a major defensive spell on turn one. And even if the fighter wins initiative, there's a good chance he'll have to close the intervening distance before he can grapple the wizard, unless the fight is starting in really close quarters.


MadGent wrote:
Kazandra wrote:

Well, sleep and color spray are still non-lethal spells. It's not as if you are slain outright. A 1st level fighter can kill several CR1/2-CR1 creatures in one round, with one good attack. A wizard can put them to sleep. I fail to see how this is problematic for balance issues.

As far as "you can't grapple a creature as long as they are flying/displaced/force bubbled...etc" (ignoring the invisible status because it simply isn't true as long as the location is guessed), you are talking about specific situations where a martial character could not grab the spell-caster. The spell-caster would almost have to have some precognitive ability in order to stop a martial character from grappling him/her. If the martial character won initiative, then the status effects you describe would already have to be in place for the grapple to fail. I counter with the fact that unless the caster has one of these spells already in effect, the chances of him/her shaking a grapple from a martial character of the same level is very, very low.

Everyone has to remember that Pathfinder and D&D are rpgs where each character is supposed to play a specific role. Fighters and barbarians are melee tanks. That doesn't mean they should also be immune to magical attacks or suped-up to video game levels of power. It would be the same thing if you suddenly made rules to where a spell-caster could buy feats that gave him/her more HPs or higher attack bonuses and extra attacks, so they could perform melee combat better.

I'm sorry but I completely disagree that martial characters are underpowered.

Right, but sleeping/blinded/stunned enemies can't fight back in any effective manner and can be slaughtered more or less at the party's leisure. If either of those spells work on the monster or a good chunk of a group, the encounter is basically over. Sleep can easily knock out a whole encounter of goblins or other low-level monsters, and color spray has a good chance of crippling single monsters or good chunks of a...

A first level wizard can cast color spray or sleep three times per day, at most. Plus, they can't wear armor and can't use martial weapons without certain feats that would be ill-advised to purchase at 1st level.

Using sleep or color spray can be effective, but many of you are failing to see that this is basically one of the only things a wizard can do at first level in a combat encounter to be as effective as martial characters....


Marthkus wrote:

It's too meta. Completely breaks immersion for me.

The caster can refresh spells at the end of scene? WTFBBQ?!?!? Are all the casters bards or something? It makes no G$$ d*~n sense.

Fair enough. I can see how it could be one level of abstraction too many. It was only ancillary to my point that there's nothing keeping magic and martial from being balanced in d20 aside from inertia from 3.0 giving the mundane classes weak options.


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Its interesting, because while its claimed martials should expect to play some "super-powered up video game" character, casters seem more powerful in pathfinder than any computer RPG or action game i can think of. Much more so than the D&D based games' casters.


Ilja wrote:
Its interesting, because while its claimed martials should expect to play some "super-powered up video game" character, casters seem more powerful in pathfinder than any computer RPG or action game i can think of. Much more so than the D&D based games' casters.

I don't think so. In Pathfinder, you are limited by spells per day. You do not have a regenerating magicka bar that refills and allows you to cast your most powerful spells over and over again.


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Kazandra wrote:


I don't think so. In Pathfinder, you are limited by spells per day. You do not have a regenerating magicka bar that refills and allows you to cast your most powerful spells over and over again.

Martials are limited by hit points. You can prepare your most powerful spell multiple times (and often this is what people will do)


CWheezy wrote:
Kazandra wrote:


I don't think so. In Pathfinder, you are limited by spells per day. You do not have a regenerating magicka bar that refills and allows you to cast your most powerful spells over and over again.
Martials are limited by hit points. You can prepare your most powerful spell multiple times (and often this is what people will do)

But, everyone is limited by hit points. And as for preparing your most powerful spells multiple times, not too many people will prepare even 3 sleep or color spray spells in their 1st level slot. If you are talking about re-preparing your spells after you cast them already, you need 8 hours of sleep to do so.


Ilja wrote:
Its interesting, because while its claimed martials should expect to play some "super-powered up video game" character, casters seem more powerful in pathfinder than any computer RPG or action game I can think of. Much more so than the D&D based games' casters.

There's a reason why some people call Pathfinder the Caster Edition.


Icyshadow wrote:
Ilja wrote:
Its interesting, because while its claimed martials should expect to play some "super-powered up video game" character, casters seem more powerful in pathfinder than any computer RPG or action game I can think of. Much more so than the D&D based games' casters.
There's a reason why some people call Pathfinder the Caster Edition.

The reason is that they haven't played D&D 3rd edition.

List of fighter abilities in D&D3:

Weapon Specialization.

Bonus martial feats.

Pathfinder made martial characters MUCH more powerful than they once were.


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Kazandra, name one video game where your casters can create permanent planes of existance as a game mechanic (as opposed to plot happening) and they are NOT gods/demigods etc. I can't think of any.

Video game casters may be able to cast a lot of spells, but it's rare to see video games with spells more powerful than pathfinders 4th level spells in terms of narrative power. For D&D-based games they basically strip out every narrative spell (teleport, fly, greater invisibility turns into a pure combat buff, dominate person into a pure debuff etc). Of the spells that even let characters fly freely the only one I can think of off-hand is Morrowind and that's about as powerful as it gets.

A few games have casters with power similar to high-level pathfinder casters, but all I can think of have you play demigods or gods (populous, dominions).

Meanwhile, martials are stuck playing pretty much Gimli for the whole game - they don't even get to be Kratos.

In terms of narrative power:
Martials progress from Gimli to Gimli.
Casters progress from Willow to Sauron... And then continue to progress for 7 more levels.

And then people come along and say martials shouldn't expect to have video game levels of power and not expect to be able to do stuff like zeus? Huh?
Pretty much everything Zeus is famous for doing, a mid to high level caster can do just fine.


And yeah, I agree Pathfinder is better than 3.5 from this perspective (though I think the non-CRB power creep for casters has been huge and unneeded) but the primary issues with "Kim with the sword" going on adventures with "Kalazan the shaper of reality" hasn't really been adressed in most cases. Barbarians got a lot nicer outside of CRB, rangers and paladins got a little bit here and there. But other than that it's still in a pretty bad shape.


Good points Ilja, but still...

I see it as Martials progress from Gimli to Gimli in terms of what kind of attacks they can do, but eventually they get the ability to hit Balrog and overcome his damage reduction, and lop off 8 surrounding orcs heads in a single strike.

Gimli also never had a vorpal sword.

The "high magic" in Pathfinder is also utilized by martial characters in the gear they use, weapons they hold and armor they wear.


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Kazandra wrote:
Icyshadow wrote:
Ilja wrote:
Its interesting, because while its claimed martials should expect to play some "super-powered up video game" character, casters seem more powerful in pathfinder than any computer RPG or action game I can think of. Much more so than the D&D based games' casters.
There's a reason why some people call Pathfinder the Caster Edition.

The reason is that they haven't played D&D 3rd edition.

List of fighter abilities in D&D3:

Weapon Specialization.

Bonus martial feats.

Pathfinder made martial characters MUCH more powerful than they once were.

Power Attack and Combat Maneuver Feats got nerfed. I wouldn't say that martials got more powerful.

As an example, Improved Trip gave +4 to Trip attempts as well as a Free Action melee attack back in 3.5e, you know.


Icyshadow wrote:
Kazandra wrote:
Icyshadow wrote:
Ilja wrote:
Its interesting, because while its claimed martials should expect to play some "super-powered up video game" character, casters seem more powerful in pathfinder than any computer RPG or action game I can think of. Much more so than the D&D based games' casters.
There's a reason why some people call Pathfinder the Caster Edition.

The reason is that they haven't played D&D 3rd edition.

List of fighter abilities in D&D3:

Weapon Specialization.

Bonus martial feats.

Pathfinder made martial characters MUCH more powerful than they once were.

Power Attack and Combat Maneuver Feats got nerfed. I wouldn't say that martials got more powerful.

As an example, Improved Trip gave +4 to Trip attempts as well as a Free Action melee attack back in 3.5e, you know.

Weapon and armor mastery don't make up for that?

Also, you have to take into account that even though power attacks got nerfed slightly, so did damage reduction ratings of many of the more powerful creatures. Not to mention there are many more options/feats available to martial classes now than there were in D&D3. Granted, it's a compilation of many supplemental books from D&D3, but you don't have to buy sixteen 40 dollar books or download multiple PDFs to see them.


Kazandra wrote:


The reason is that they haven't played D&D 3rd edition.

List of fighter abilities in D&D3:

Weapon Specialization.

Bonus martial feats.

Pathfinder made martial characters MUCH more powerful than they once were.

The PF crew definitely did a good job giving the fighter more love, they were just too timid with it. Honestly his class abilities are good. Bravery is nice, though I think it would be both fitting and flavorful to scrap it and give the fighter a good Will save instead. Armor Training is nice, though the increase to max dex bonus tends to run into the limit of the fighter's own dex. Weapon Training is nice and fine as-is. Armor Mastery is very nice, but would be better split across more levels, so the fighter gets it earlier (maybe roll it into Armor Training). The capstone is acceptable. All in all his actual abilities need at most a slight adjustment.

The big things holding the fighter back are the general weakness of combat feats and maneuvers. The easiest way to fix maneuvers would be to remove the AOO for using them untrained, and probably condense the two feats for each maneuver into one. I would also buff feats considerably. Some feats could easily be rolled together (like cleave and the mostly useless cleaving finish), others could have their requirements reduced, like the critical feats.


Power Attack didn't really get nerfed - it got changed a lot which changed who it worked for.
It got nerfed for specific splat-reliant super-optimized 3.5 builds. It got a major boost for most casual players and those looking towards making a concept that didn't involve 4 different classes minimum.


Kazandra wrote:
Weapon and armor mastery don't make up for that?

Not really. It made characters better at what they were already good at without fixing any problems. CMD is also working against you, as is the growing number of immunities and the fact they split the maneuver feats in two(or even 3) making them harder to invest into. That tends to... not help. Of course those abilities are also boring, which has always been the real killer for me.

Kazandra wrote:
Not to mention there are many more options/feats available to martial classes now than there were in D&D3.

That's a joke... right?

Anyways, shortest way to say for what I think martials should be able to do is handle what's thrown at them and most of all, be fun to play.


Doomed Hero wrote:
Stephen Ede wrote:
Doomed Hero wrote:

Here's how I've let Martials have Nice Things in my games:

Wow! Really nice.

My only quibble is that I would spread the effectively bonus feats over the 1st 3-4 levels to avoid 1 level Dips Maybe with Fighters getting them 1 level sooner than other Martial's. But that's something that awkward in a house rule but relatively easy to do in an actual rewrite/errata.

That isn't actually necessary. Since it's all mostly a function of Base Attack Bonus, even wizards get the hang of Power Attack and Combat Expertise after 3rd level.

If you think bonus feats should be spaced out, go for it. I'd love to hear your play test on the idea. I've found it's a really good idea just to tie it to BaB and call it good though. That way, none of these house rules are actually "martial only" (except the one about 1-handing spears) Martials just get access to them sooner.

Unless I missed something. Are you referring to something specific?

Oh, I was thinking that it was for the MArtial's only. :-)

Unfortunately my 2 groups are running through Kingmaker (and will be for the forseeable future) and I'm not changing significantly part way through or I would take your rules. And been I allow monster PC's there is much less Caster to good compared that you normally see. So not worth the trouble of introducing it now.

But my comments were in reference to the concept of Pathfinder taking on those ideas (yeah, wishful thinking I know). For that purpose I would recommend only counting BAB from Strong BAB classes. Basically Strong BAB is by definition getting a more comprehensive martial training and therefore gets the fancy stuff as standard in addition to basic training everyone gets.


How about gunslingers?


Stephen Ede wrote:
my comments were in reference to the concept of Pathfinder taking on those ideas (yeah, wishful thinking I know). For that purpose I would recommend only counting BAB from Strong BAB classes. Basically Strong BAB is by definition getting a more comprehensive martial training and therefore gets the fancy stuff as standard in addition to basic training everyone gets.

I tend to think of BaB as the baseline martial skill of a character.

A third level wizard is as good with a spear as a first level fighter, for example.

So, tying options to BaB means that in a pinch a bard or cleric could try to take someone off their feet, and they shouldn't have to risk getting slapped around for trying.

All the AoO for combat maneuvers thing does is make no one ever use combat maneuver unless they have sunk a bunch of feats into them. That means it's only ever fighters, who can afford the feats, and even then it's only ever one maneuver (done over and over). That creates the same problem as the whole "full attack button" phenomenon.

That's sad.


Kazandra wrote:
I don't think you have to worry too much about a wizard or a sorcerer using it unless they have a ring of freedom of movement.

So only the single most common magic ring at mid to high levels if you are a caster, or frankly, anyone else given how monster CMB outpaces most peoples CMD. Pretty much just Teleport Specialists and certain Clerics dont need it.


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Kazandra wrote:
The "high magic" in Pathfinder is also utilized by martial characters in the gear they use, weapons they hold and armor they wear.

Where are these magic items that allow you to stop time, assume thouands of different forms, summon angels to fight for you or apply virtually unbeatable DC control abilities to entire encounters?

Because they would be great choices so I am surprised everyone isnt using them.


Kazandra wrote:
I don't think so. In Pathfinder, you are limited by spells per day. You do not have a regenerating magicka bar that refills and allows you to cast your most powerful spells over and over again.

Have you ever actually looked at how many spell slots a mid to high level spellcaster actually has per day. Or considered the cheap cost of crafting scrolls or Pearls of Power. Or the availability of wands. Your martial character is running out of HP because he is too often a stupid beatstick trading full attacks with enemies well before any caster of level 7+ is running out of useful spell slots.

Also from level 9 onwards it is much easier for the group to set that pace of adventure with abilities like Rope Trick, Teleport and Divinations making it follish to continue in the unlikely event that your casters run low on spells. Yes you can pressure that with things like time limited events but that will get obvious after a while.


Andreww, while its certainly easier at level 9 than level 1, mostly due to rope trick, most other options for setting the pace at that level are very risky or limited. For teleport, youd have to spend three of yoir highest-level slots; one for each direction plus an extra for all the times you end up wrong, as well as keep a scroll or two around for when you end up wrobg more than once in a row. Divinations are useful but easy to decieve, plane shift has the same issues as teleport. Rope tricks are easily found so you risk an ambush when you leave it.

Now, at levels 13+ things start to get easier but its not like you can reliably teleport aroubd willy nilly at level 9.

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I've often considered giving fighters and barbarians the ability to ignore hardness equal to their level when dealing damage to objects, allowing them to bypass certain kinds of terrain obstacles in a fantastical, but not necessarily DBZ, sort of way. Bashing down doors with unreliable Strength checks is all well and dandy, but how awesome would it be if the martials could actually make their own doors? Such limited control in the environment might help martials be better able to contribute to out-of-combat challenges.

Personally, I think that martial characters should dominate combat if that is the focus of their class (which, let's face it, it kind of is...). A spellcaster can be super diverse and have all sorts of neat tricks like rope trick, freedom of movement, billions of other spells, etc. so long as they're not outdoing the martials at combat. That, sadly, is not the case, and instead of bringing the casters down, we have no recourse by to bring the martials up.

Full-attacks as they are right now certainly hurt mobility, which is obviously very problematic (especially for so-called "scout" classes like the rogue and monk, whose damage output is largely predicated on multiple attacks).

Reducing MAD for monks by allowing their Fort saves and bonus hp per monk level to be Wisdom modifier based would be both helpful and, I believe, fitting (in a mind over body sort of way).

Honestly, I would consider doubling bonus damage from Weapon Specialization feats and weapon training for fighters. Make them the kings and queens of damage output.

The spell bladed dash and its greater version makes me wonder why martial characters can't normally perform such exploits.

I recall Eric Morton had an idea for monks during the Beta playtest, I believe, in which they would get to deal their unarmed strike damage when performing a successful combat maneuver, unarmed of course. Snap wrist = disarm, snap ankle = trip, and so forth...

Major changes to the power level of the martials should be the result of leveling, however, and shouldn't be front-loaded. If it's an issue of linear vs. quadratic, then the changes must be implemented along the entirety of the curve instead of just a small handful of places.


Kazandra wrote:

A first level wizard can cast color spray or sleep three times per day, at most. Plus, they can't wear armor and can't use martial weapons without certain feats that would be ill-advised to purchase at 1st level.

Using sleep or color spray can be effective, but many of you are failing to see that this is basically one of the only things a wizard can do at first level in a combat encounter to be as effective as martial characters....

Daze at will has been a staple of low level caster backup for every Pathfinder caster I've played at very low levels. It makes a fine and reasonably potent at-will spellcasting action for when you run out of your first level spell of choice (or when they save against your hex).

Sometimes you'll run into an immune monster, yeah, but not every monster at these levels goes down to a sword swing either.


voska66 wrote:


Wizards are one of the most magic item dependent classes out there. Try playing a Wizard with stingy GM. I've done it and it spells death for the Wizard. Clerics on the other do just fine with few magic items. I found I ran out of spells too quick with no magic items, my saves sucked. Really missed that cloak of resistance. AC sucked as I was limited to what mage armor and shield could provide. Really missed the scrolls and wands though.

Perhaps wizards are one of the most item dependant caster classes, but they sure as hell are less item dependant than the martial classes.


People have already broached the combat stuff, but I here's something noone seems to have mentioned:
Skills should scale better.
A skill focused character should be able to do things that are borderline magic or straight up supernatural.
Examples:
With a Stealth check high enough, you should be considered inisible for a round. Like when someone blinks and Batman is just gone.
With Disable Device you should be able to do like Fonzie and just rap your knucles on a door and it opens.
High enough Acrobatics should allow youtodouble jump, parkour on top of buildings or swing from tree to tree Tarzan style. Even higher should allow you to run on water, the top leafs of trees or the heads of a crowd without getting wet, bending a branch or hurting people.
Sleight of Hand should allow you to steal the clothes that people are wearing, without them even noticing if you have good stealth too.
Escape Artist could allow, as long as noone is watching you, to Dimension Door from a closed container or room into a nearby open space. Do like Houdini, everyone is watching the burlap sack you're suposed to be tied in and then you show up in the back of the crowd asking what are they looking at.
Climb could outright give youa Climb speed, or if you already have that (or gain through magic) you can stand horizontaly on the wall or upside down on the ceiling by holing on the smallest supports with just your toes.
These are all from the top of my head, based on what fictional rogues and martial artists are supposed to be able to do. A designer could probably come up with a few for every skill.

Shadow Lodge

Kthulhu wrote:
TheSideKick wrote:

i feel that any class that doesn't have a option for having a supernatural/spellcasting class feature/ability qualifies as a mundane class, or martial if thats the preferred term on these boards.

fighters, rogues, cavalier, gunslingers, barbarians, and the new ACG classes qualify as such (brawler, i think the other 2 are slayer and archivist?).

Cockatrice Strike - The fighter can punch an enemy so hard it turns to stone.

It's also a long enough feat chain where fighters are really the only class that can do it without that being the absolute core concept of the character.

hate to break this to you, while a bonus feat is a class feature, Cockatrice Strike is not. im talking specifically about a SU or SLA class feature.

and i should have been more specific i meant a core barbarian.


Ilja wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

That's why you're seeing a comparison with casters. To make something more powerful, but still limit it AND make it work 'forever' is a delicate balancing act.

I'm all for limiting their power. Now, ToB deals mostly in combat options and I think martials are already "okay" in combat - my main gripe with martials is their lack of power over plot and world. But still. There are other ways to limit them.

Looking at the warblade right now, they're pretty much vancian fighters. They have a number of prepared special moves and expend them, then they rest to reprepare them (though only for five minutes). I mean, what they do isn't too magical for me, not at all, but the whole system of consciously preparing, then "spending" the moves - IMO, that fits for a caster, alchemist or similar character. Having "initiator levels" that match caster levels, and separating the maneuvers into 9 maneuver levels further reinforces the mechanical similarities. One can say that that's just mechanics and it's the fluff that determines whether they're martial or not, and to some degree I agree, but mechanics and thematics must go together or many players will feel some dissonance.

You need to reread the class:

Warblades refresh one maneuver as a swift action when spending a standard action to attack or do nothing.

They refresh all after 5 minutes as well.


Starbuck_II wrote:
Ilja wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

That's why you're seeing a comparison with casters. To make something more powerful, but still limit it AND make it work 'forever' is a delicate balancing act.

I'm all for limiting their power. Now, ToB deals mostly in combat options and I think martials are already "okay" in combat - my main gripe with martials is their lack of power over plot and world. But still. There are other ways to limit them.

Looking at the warblade right now, they're pretty much vancian fighters. They have a number of prepared special moves and expend them, then they rest to reprepare them (though only for five minutes). I mean, what they do isn't too magical for me, not at all, but the whole system of consciously preparing, then "spending" the moves - IMO, that fits for a caster, alchemist or similar character. Having "initiator levels" that match caster levels, and separating the maneuvers into 9 maneuver levels further reinforces the mechanical similarities. One can say that that's just mechanics and it's the fluff that determines whether they're martial or not, and to some degree I agree, but mechanics and thematics must go together or many players will feel some dissonance.

You need to reread the class:

Warblades refresh one maneuver as a swift action when spending a standard action to attack or do nothing.

They refresh all after 5 minutes as well.

That was my major concern with the power level introduced in the Book of Nine Swords. A giant list of encounters powers that are, in some cases, just as strong as actual spells distorts the power curve against the physically weaker casters who have an 'X spells / day' limit. Yes, casters get a lot more spells each day, but at higher levels it's quite reasonable to expect a LOT of encounters in a big dungeon. The system is good overall, it just needs some tweaking vis-a-vis certain maneuvers, like White Raven Tactics or the Burning/Searing/Inferno blade line.


andreww wrote:
Kazandra wrote:
I don't think you have to worry too much about a wizard or a sorcerer using it unless they have a ring of freedom of movement.
So only the single most common magic ring at mid to high levels if you are a caster, or frankly, anyone else given how monster CMB outpaces most peoples CMD. Pretty much just Teleport Specialists and certain Clerics dont need it.

If your DM allows a 40,000 gp ring to be a common item, then he or she isn't doing a good job of keeping things balanced.

You guys are painting a picture like a wizard or sorcerer can just do anything they want with no fear of failure or repercussion. And let's not forget how long it actually takes a wizard or sorcerer to reach the level where they can perform the kind of amazing feats people are mentioning.

Seriously, out of all the combat encounters I've run, wizards and sorcerers have indeed shined at high level, but kind of stand there twiddling their thumbs at low level after they cast a couple of spells.

Think about your own combat encounters, when your party ran into a group of enemies with an obvious spell-caster among them... Your party's archer ALWAYS (if they are smart) readies an attack on the spell-caster for when "he attempts to cast a spell". Spells are not always automatic in combat encounters unless there is a contingency or you cast them in advance of the combat encounter, and even then the more potent spells only last for a number of rounds, not minutes or hours, so they would fizzle out before a potential combat encounter began.

I just haven't had the same experience where a wizard or sorcerer dominates every combat encounter as people here are suggesting. It simply doesn't happen until your PCs reach high levels in your campaign, and even then I fail to see how other character classes would feel left out in their roles. If that's the case, the DM is designing the encounters poorly.


Marthkus wrote:

I just want my martials to be more like Gutz and less like Piccolo.

You can already play as Guts in Pathfinder/D&D, he is a frenzied berserker* that hits things with his giant sword for massive damage. Guts is not a high level character concept.

On the other hand look at his buddy the Skull Knight, who...
-Seems to not have a flesh n' blood body at all
-Seems to be immortal
-Can fly (his horse basically flies)
-Can destroy magical barriers by hitting them
-Can teleport with his dimension-slicing sword
-Can planar travel with his dimension-slicing sword
-Can utterly destroy things with his dimension-slicing sword
-Can forge a dimension-slicing sword made from the essence of demons and then store it in his mouth

Skull Knight is a higher level concept than Guts, Guts is even wearing Skull Knight's old armor so it could be implied that Skull Knight is a potential evolution of Guts (though storywise, unlikely).

*Who also has a large gun that fires fist sized metal balls installed in place of his missing forearm. That kind of thing is outside the scope of regular D&D (What would it take to gain one, if it's not feat or class dependent then any fighter can get himself a medieval cyborg cannon arm)


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Starbuck_II wrote:
They refresh all after 5 minutes as well.

A lot of martial adepts would grab Adaptive Style though. It refreshed maneuvers that came back.

Cerberus Seven wrote:
A giant list of encounters powers that are, in some cases, just as strong as actual spells distorts the power curve against the physically weaker casters who have an 'X spells / day' limit.

They tend to be much weaker than spells though(white raven tactics being exceptional). Very few had the power to affect the world(though I loved stone hammer), and only certain disciplines could hit more than one foe and usually at diminished damage and without good aim, they didn't scale with you, and they didn't have nearly as awful debilitating effects.(That said, I think in a dream world casters would more like martial adepts to be easier to balance around and I think it would be more fun if they were able to spam some. That might just be me though.)

Kazandra wrote:
If your DM allows a 40,000 gp ring to be a common item, then he or she isn't doing a good job of keeping things balanced.

I don't think its common in that it rains from the sky so much as this is something many people grab if they have the chance. Its a core option, and a very good one.


MrSin wrote:
I don't think its common in that it rains from the sky so much as this is something many people grab if they have the chance. Its a core option, and a very good one.

Exactly that, and at mid to high level (13+) really very affordable.

Prior to that all casters need some answer to grapple. Teleportation Wizards ignore it, some clerics use a Domain or cast the spell, Druids turn into huge and probably ungrappleable creatures and most others carry around a back up Potion of Gaseous Form in the unlikely event they are grappled despite the availability of magical defences, invisibility and flight.


MrSin wrote:
Cerberus Seven wrote:
A giant list of encounters powers that are, in some cases, just as strong as actual spells distorts the power curve against the physically weaker casters who have an 'X spells / day' limit.
They tend to be much weaker than spells though(white raven tactics being exceptional). Very few had the power to affect the world(though I loved stone hammer), and only certain disciplines could hit more than one foe and usually at diminished damage and without good aim, they didn't scale with you, and they didn't have nearly as awful debilitating effects.(That said, I think in a dream world casters would more like martial adepts to be easier to balance around and I think it would be more fun if they were able to spam some. That might just be me though.)

And they should be weaker, that's why they can use them (theoretically) an infinite number of times per day. Hell, in some cases, per encounter. Fourth edition followed that same logic and, while there's a lot it didn't do right, that sense of scaling power which inversely correlated to the amount of times per day something could happen was a good thing. You don't expect cantrips and orisons to be as good as 1st or 2nd level spells, do you?

As far as 'changing the world' goes, you don't expect to summon a hurricane, commune with a god, or rip open a portal to Hell simply because you used a technique to slice off a guys lets. Exceptional martial skill vs exception caster skill should look and function differently. In the case of the latter, it's using magic to impose your will upon the laws of nature in order to make reality to do the impossible. In the case of the former, it's about forcing your body go beyond the normal physical, mental, and spiritual limits to do things that are amazing and beyond the ken of most mortals. If you make the effect and intensity of each area too similar, you run the risk of 4E's system where a spell vs. a physical attack was more a degree of flavor than anything else. The two are different and it works best when they look and function differently.

Some of the maneuvers definitely could be better, it's true. Better ranged, multi-target, and energy-based capabilities should be on the list. As far as I can remember, they scaled off your normal combat capability, so boosts to that would work out well for maneuvers. overall, the list is a great place to start and buffing a number of them isn't a bad idea. For things like Perfect Strike or Time Stands Still, though...those are potentially a little too good.


That's a reasonable argument although the counterpoint if we are talking balance is that many of the existing spells really shouldn't be able to be cast in 6 seconds with little to no actual risk.


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Martials need better Will saves period. Options?:
1 - 3.5's Steadfast Determination feat where you use your Con Bonus and not Wisdom for Will Saves...required Endurance as a prerequite I believe...going from memory here
2 - Maybe a feat chain that gives you Spell resistance...Lesser and Greater Spell resistance, Level +5 or +10 SR
3 - Maybe iron Will Scales with level?...+2, then +4 at level 10
4- Feats that allow use of 1st level spells a number of times per day, have a BAB prereq, example BAB +6 one 1st 3/Day, BAB 11 - one 2nd 3/Day, BAB 16 one 3rd 3/day

just my 2 cents


andreww wrote:
That's a reasonable argument although the counterpoint if we are talking balance is that many of the existing spells really shouldn't be able to be cast in 6 seconds with little to no actual risk.

Which ones, out of curiosity?


Unklbuck wrote:

Martials need better Will saves period. Options?:

1 - 3.5's Steadfast Determination feat where you use your Con Bonus and not Wisdom for Will Saves...required Endurance as a prerequite I believe...going from memory here
2 - Maybe a feat chain that gives you Spell resistance...Lesser and Greater Spell resistance, Level +5 or +10 SR
3 - Maybe iron Will Scales with level?...+2, then +4 at level 10
4- Feats that allow use of 1st level spells a number of times per day, have a BAB prereq, example BAB +6 one 1st 3/Day, BAB 11 - one 2nd 3/Day, BAB 16 one 3rd 3/day

just my 2 cents

Spell Resistance is such an utter pain to deal with as a PC, no thank you. The other ones are good, though.

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