OK I'm just going to say it. Barbarians are unbalanced.


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Alexandros Satorum wrote:

Just an example of a frail man I woudl go with

elf
Lore wander 5, ranger 2, master of many styles 2

str 11, con 10, dex 18, int 14, wis 14, cha 10

Feats: Improved unarmed strike, deflect arrow, weapon finesse, snake style, crane style, crane wings, power attack, skill focus (sense motive), combat expertise, improved disarm.

The guy knows he is frail, he can not resist physical dmage, so he specialize in avoid recieving damage.

That seems like a fun build.


Alexandros Satorum wrote:

Just an example of a frail man I woudl go with

elf
Lore wander 5, ranger 2, master of many styles 2

str 11, con 10, dex 18, int 14, wis 14, cha 10

Feats: Improved unarmed strike, deflect arrow, weapon finesse, snake style, crane style, crane wings, power attack, skill focus (sense motive), combat expertise, improved disarm.

The guy knows he is frail, he can not resist physical dmage, so he specialize in avoid recieving damage.

And here we have yet another character concept screwed over by misguided Errata.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Alexandros Satorum wrote:

Just an example of a frail man I woudl go with

elf
Lore wander 5, ranger 2, master of many styles 2

str 11, con 10, dex 18, int 14, wis 14, cha 10

Feats: Improved unarmed strike, deflect arrow, weapon finesse, snake style, crane style, crane wings, power attack, skill focus (sense motive), combat expertise, improved disarm.

The guy knows he is frail, he can not resist physical dmage, so he specialize in avoid recieving damage.

And here we have yet another character concept screwed over by misguided Errata.

I know what the errata say. Still, I have the AC bonus.

EDIT: I forget dervish dance in the build.


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Honestly, I've never had anyone try to cast a buff on me, or a healing spell for that matter, for me to care about the downside of superstition.

Every wizard I've met, pfs or homebrew, PEW PEW PEW. Not one person other than myself has built a cleric. No other bards. The oracle has never cast a buff spell on me.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Erick Wilson wrote:


But don't bring that crap to my table and think it's ok, or expect me to have to (rise/sink, depending on how you look at it) to your level with my builds. This is especially relevant with regards to organized play. If you bring some optimized monster to the table and crush all the encounters while I am trying to play my quirky, corner-concept, RP build, then you are ruining my fun and it is your fault, not mine.

EDIT: Why can I make this last statement with confidence? Because the system is not mute regarding how powerful characters are supposed to be. It tells you. It's called CR. An APL+1 CR encounter is supposed to be "challenging" to a group of four PCs. So there you go. If that's not true, you're optimizing too much. Now, that said, my major gripe with the system is that CR is set too low. It is way too easy...

Firstly, it's not a player's job to know about CR. It's not something he should even have to think about while he's building his character, that's why it isn't in the player sections of the book. It's a GM tool to help him understand where he should be setting the average difficulty of an encounter, and it's also set to a fairly low threshold, literally to the lowest common denominator. And CR+1 is not supposed to be something that can stop a party, it's supposed to use a larger portion of resources. The game is designed for the party to win. If the party is running a point buy higher than 15, or has more than 4 players, CRs are even more worthless.

Secondly, your statement that "If you bring some optimized monster to the table and crush all the encounters while I am trying to play my quirky, corner-concept, RP build, then you are ruining my fun and it is your fault, not mine" is crap. You are doing just as much to ruin his fun as he is doing to ruin yours in that scenario, because the GM has to play down to your character and can't challenge the guy or girl who showed up looking for a game where they could throw down and show off their skills. By saying that the fact that your fun is being ruined because their character is so much more powerful than yours is their fault, what you're really saying is "My way is the right way to play and since it's not fun for me you're playing it wrong". That's bull. The group should decide what kind of game they're playing and the players should show up ready to play that game. If both players knew what game they were playing and showed up ready to play that game and there's still a major imbalance, the fault lies with the system, not with the player.

What's really wrong with that scenario is that one player is showing up with the kind of holier-than-thou attitude that would lead them to believe that if their character isn't up to snuff it must be the fault of someone else at the table. That's the kind of crap I won't tolerate at my table. Yes, a good player plays the game the best they can to ensure that everyone has a good time. That means there are shared responsibilities; people who don't know the game very well should be paying attention and learning from the people that do, people who are more experienced veterans should be open to giving advice to less experienced players without telling them how to play their characters, and everyone should be doing their best to ensure that the whole group has their own chances to be in the spotlight. Sometimes it takes a while for everyone to get their, and that usually means you have a few games where someone at the group is out-performing someone else. The only time someone is "to blame" in that situation is if they're intentionally going against the stated goals of the game that everyone else is playing. As long as that's not the case, fault for imbalance lies in the nature of the system and a design structure that rewards a broader knowledge base and more thought out character design.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Thomas Long 175 wrote:

Honestly, I've never had anyone try to cast a buff on me, or a healing spell for that matter, for me to care about the downside of superstition.

Every wizard I've met, pfs or homebrew, PEW PEW PEW. Not one person other than myself has built a cleric. No other bards. The oracle has never cast a buff spell on me.

This has actually been my experience quite often as well. Stuff like Fly usually gets cast outside of combat, and most of the in-combat buffs aren't spells, they're stuff like Tactician or Inspire Courage because a Cleric who memorized combat buffs is usually casting them on himself. I think Haste is probably the only buff spell that I routinely see used in combat, and other than the extra attack the Superstitious Barbarian isn't missing much.

Similarly with healing, it's always special ability stuff in combat like Lay on Hands or Channel Energy since the casters are using their spell slots for things that are typically more important while fighting is still going on.

Doesn't mean there won't come a time when Superstition will screw a Barbarian over, it just hasn't happened in our group yet.


Thomas Long 175 wrote:

Honestly, I've never had anyone try to cast a buff on me, or a healing spell for that matter, for me to care about the downside of superstition.

Every wizard I've met, pfs or homebrew, PEW PEW PEW. Not one person other than myself has built a cleric. No other bards. The oracle has never cast a buff spell on me.

It's just the nature of the beast I suppose. I do however love playing clerics, and superstitious will make me just use my spells on someone else; my barbarian friend is sometimes sad because of that lol.


Ssalarn wrote:
Thomas Long 175 wrote:

Honestly, I've never had anyone try to cast a buff on me, or a healing spell for that matter, for me to care about the downside of superstition.

Every wizard I've met, pfs or homebrew, PEW PEW PEW. Not one person other than myself has built a cleric. No other bards. The oracle has never cast a buff spell on me.

This has actually been my experience quite often as well. Stuff like Fly usually gets cast outside of combat, and most of the in-combat buffs aren't spells, they're stuff like Tactician or Inspire Courage because a Cleric who memorized combat buffs is usually casting them on himself. I think Haste is probably the only buff spell that I routinely see used in combat, and other than the extra attack the Superstitious Barbarian isn't missing much.

Similarly with healing, it's always special ability stuff in combat like Lay on Hands or Channel Energy since the casters are using their spell slots for things that are typically more important while fighting is still going on.

Doesn't mean there won't come a time when Superstition will screw a Barbarian over, it just hasn't happened in our group yet.

Nobody uses blessing of fervor? I can think of all kinds of buffs I give out in combat.


Ssalarn wrote:
Erick Wilson wrote:


But don't bring that crap to my table and think it's ok, or expect me to have to (rise/sink, depending on how you look at it) to your level with my builds. This is especially relevant with regards to organized play. If you bring some optimized monster to the table and crush all the encounters while I am trying to play my quirky, corner-concept, RP build, then you are ruining my fun and it is your fault, not mine.

EDIT: Why can I make this last statement with confidence? Because the system is not mute regarding how powerful characters are supposed to be. It tells you. It's called CR. An APL+1 CR encounter is supposed to be "challenging" to a group of four PCs. So there you go. If that's not true, you're optimizing too much. Now, that said, my major gripe with the system is that CR is set too low. It is way too easy...

Firstly, it's not a player's job to know about CR. It's not something he should even have to think about while he's building his character, that's why it isn't in the player sections of the book. It's a GM tool to help him understand where he should be setting the average difficulty of an encounter, and it's also set to a fairly low threshold, literally to the lowest common denominator. And CR+1 is not supposed to be something that can stop a party, it's supposed to use a larger portion of resources. The game is designed for the party to win. If the party is running a point buy higher than 15, or has more than 4 players, CRs are even more worthless.

Secondly, your statement that "If you bring some optimized monster to the table and crush all the encounters while I am trying to play my quirky, corner-concept, RP build, then you are ruining my fun and it is your fault, not mine" is crap. You are doing just as much to ruin his fun as he is doing to ruin yours in that scenario, because the GM has to play down to your character and can't challenge the guy or girl who showed up looking for a game where they could throw down and show off their...

Best reply to that. EVER.


PFS scenarios don't give the GM much room to fudge things. (And by "much room" I mean "none").

The guy who comes in with the "I win combats in the surprise round" build is, in org play, likelier to be the source of a Less Than Fun session than the guy who comes in playing the Gnome Bard who always a speaks a in ze Italian Accent and does a ze standup comedy to inspire ze courage.

The First Rule of RPGs:

What Are You Doing To Make The Game More Fun For The Other Players? (This Includes The Poor Bastard Behind The GM Screen.)

I think the guy who's trying to get early entry into "Well all the combats are rocket-tag" style of play is falling down on that first rule there.

I recently played No Plunder, No Pay, which is an early vintage PFS scenario, back when encounters assumed 3.5 character competence, not Pathfinder levels of competence. It was written when the expected party was 4 players.

We showed up with 7.

I decided to make it challenging, at least in the first part. I tried to get that part of the mission done without killing anyone...because if it came to a fight, the NPCs were not only were going to die, they were going to die in a boringly futile way.

...and then during the combat encounter, the druid shapeshifted into an Advanced Celestial Giant Octopus, smote evil and was dishing 10 attacks per round after pouncing. Combats that should've been challenging (underwater, against evil undead)? Were "OK, and then the giant octopus goes. If anything's left...no, what am I saying. Nothing's going to be left."


Justin Sane wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
How can you reasonably expect to play a FRAIL old man in an adventure game? There are very few settings where I can imagine him to be anything but a liability to the party. If he wanted to tag along with one of my characters they'd tell him to go back to the damned retirement home.
My point exactly.

Which perfectly illustrates exactly my point: There is an inherent conflict between optimization and the number of concepts you can play. Also note that even in my example character, the old man wasn't really frail, just straight up average.

It is very much possible to make an awesome fantasy tale where one of the protagonists is a frail old scholar forced to take up arms. Heck, one of the most famous fantasy stories in the world is about a fat halfling Commoner 1.

However, with a high optimization requirement such a character becomes more or less impossible to say.

And the point isn't "you should play mechanically weak characters" or even "you should be able to play mechanically weak characters"; the point is just a statement of fact; "there is an inherent conflict between being able to make any character concept that you want, and making a mechanically optimized character" and, further, the point is also that stating that fact is not "the stormwind fallacy", because the stormwind fallacy deals with individual players and characters, not discussions about system design.

Which is how this discussion got started to begin with.

SO, what I'm NOT saying is:
- I should be able to play a frail old man with any party.
- I shouldn't be mechanically weaker when playing a frail old man.

What I'm saying is:
- Not being able to play a frail old man is a limit to the RP freedom.
- That a limit is completely acceptable does not mean it isn't a limit.
- Stating that it is a limit is not "the stormwind fallacy".

Marthkus wrote:

@Oenar

You keep tieing flavor to mechanics. (like old people needing 10 str. WHAT!?)

No, not that "old people need 10 str". That this specific character I had in mind is perhaps not stronger than the average, due to being old, so that specific character would not fit with more than a 10 str. It is not a character that should flavorwise and mechanically be able to casually lift 200 pounds.

And flavor and mechanics are tied in the game we play. Why do you think the ability scores are named Strength and Intelligence, rather than StatA and StatD? If you've missed that, I don't really know what to say. Sure, you can houserule it away, but that doesn't make it less part of the game as it exists.


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The Fat Halfling Commoner 1 did it by having stealth out the wazoo and being in a narrative specifically catered towards his talents. Pathfinder doesn't give you that luxury. Your usefulness is determined by the math and by the dice roll, not because the writer decided that you should be important.


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Can someone tell me if this thread ever gets back on topic?


AM BARBARIAN HATE RAGE POWERS. ASIDE FROM BEAST TOTEM AND DR ALL SUCK COMPARED TO FEATS WHICH ALWAYS WORK.

THIS MAKE AM BARBARIAN MAD! AM BARBARIAN TRY TO LEARN FROM FIGHTER BUT FIGHTER REQUIRE TO MUCH THINKY THINKY AND GIVE AM BARBARIAN HEADACHE.

FORTUNATELY, CASTY AROUND TO USE AS PINATA!

EVERYONE HAPPY NOW! EXCEPT CASTY.


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I suppose it is fair to say that an optimized character doesn't fit well with a concept that is incapable of performing well at their chosen role. However, that strikes me as something of an edge-case; in my experience most people want to make their adventuring characters reasonably skilled adventurers, not the useless tagalong guy.


Thomas Long 175 wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:

I actually think an old man with a sword is a cool concept you could run with.

I just also think that the old with a sword should have the physical capabilities to adventure if he's gonna be, y'know. Adventuring.

My old man waddles on his sword cane at 10' per round but when he gets there he's gonna quick draw and get medieval on yo dragon! GET OFF MY TOWN WHIPPERSNAPPERS!

Sword Saint Archetyped Samurai and abusing the Iajiustu strike.


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My question is this. If you build a character who is remarkably average at combat, why are you made angry by the guy who is playing a hero? This is an adventure game. If I brought an old man character to the table with the intention of making him bookish and scholarly with only middling performance as a martial character, I would certainly not be angered by the guy who has decided to play a character with good combat capability and poor scholarly skills.

Really, the only thing that this frail old fighter argument has me saying is, "so what?". I mean, wasn't that was the whole point behind your frail old fighter was it not?


Trogdar wrote:
Really, the only thing that this frail old fighter argument has me saying is, "so what?". I mean, wasn't that was the whole point behind your frail old fighter was it not?

Some players may have an issue with having either more difficult fights (because the challenges are being handed out for X number of PC's when one is contributing more like a lower level hireling) OR reduced loot/exp (due to facing lower CR stuff to accommodate for the weaker player) OR don't feel they should be giving the 'wimpy tagalong' a fair share out of their rewards.

Myself personally? So long as the GM doesn't count him in CR calculations I don't mind having him along or sharing the loot, there's no mad rush to get to a certain level or get a certain amount of wealth (though the two should rise at roughly the same level, with wbl as a guideline.)

EDIT: one other thing, is some players may take issue with having a weakling along for character/personality reasons, and this one could hit me as well depending on the character I'm playing. Some characters will go out of their way to protect the weakling, and that's a huge hassle that I know I would rather not have to face on a regular basis.


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chaoseffect wrote:
Justin Sane wrote:
Alexandros Satorum wrote:
If there is nothing more beyond "he is a frail old man" then I do not see why I would have a problem with it.
So you're the DM, and you're starting up a game, about a group of NE mercenaries, only loyal to the highest bidder. Some of the players show up with the equivalent of SEAL Team 6, but one of them want to play as a frail old man with a sword. Would you let him, knowing he's probably toast by the 3rd session (if not by his enemies, probably because his "allies" see him as a liability)?
Perhaps I missed something, but "frail old man with a sword" isn't a class. Whose to say he's not a Bard, or any other class that can get by with 7s in Strength and Dex? Concept doesn't dictate mechanics necessarily.

Or a Magus..

You know what a magus can be? GANDALF. Staff Master Magus who occassionally runs around with a back up sword (maybe got Eldritch Heritage Arcane and got a bonded Sword).


Oh, and if you want to be a old man who used to be fit in his prime he would actually be running around as about a 13-15 str (seeing as you only get a -3 at VENERABLE age), assuming you had a 16 str in your prime


Justin Sane wrote:

As Marthkus said, Tolkien isn't really high-fantasy.

DrDeth wrote:
Justin Sane wrote:

DM: Okay guys, we're going for a high-fantasy adventure, with dragon-slaying, plane-hopping, the works. Have you picked your characters?

Player: Yeah, I'm going to play a frail old man with a sword.
Named Cohen.
Cohen is neither frail nor a protagonist :) (unless I'm missing a book, still haven't read them all)

And he's wrong. Per wiki "Quintessential works of high fantasy, such as The Lord of the Rings,..High fantasy is defined as fantasy fiction set in an alternative, entirely fictional ("secondary") world, rather than the real, or "primary" world. The secondary world is usually internally consistent, but its rules differ in some way(s) from those of the primary world."

Cohen the Barbarian is both. Read The Last Hero and others.


Thomas Long 175 wrote:

Honestly, I've never had anyone try to cast a buff on me, or a healing spell for that matter, for me to care about the downside of superstition.

Every wizard I've met, pfs or homebrew, PEW PEW PEW. Not one person other than myself has built a cleric. No other bards. The oracle has never cast a buff spell on me.

Wow, in our games and in JJ's games the opposite is true. You must play with very selfish players who don;t know the value of teamwork.


DrDeth wrote:
Thomas Long 175 wrote:

Honestly, I've never had anyone try to cast a buff on me, or a healing spell for that matter, for me to care about the downside of superstition.

Every wizard I've met, pfs or homebrew, PEW PEW PEW. Not one person other than myself has built a cleric. No other bards. The oracle has never cast a buff spell on me.

Wow, in our games and in JJ's games the opposite is true. You must play with very selfish players who don;t know the value of teamwork.

Or with players who recognise the value of in combat offence over wasting their time casting small buffs or trying to undo monster damage with in combat healing.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

DrDeth wrote:
Thomas Long 175 wrote:

Honestly, I've never had anyone try to cast a buff on me, or a healing spell for that matter, for me to care about the downside of superstition.

Every wizard I've met, pfs or homebrew, PEW PEW PEW. Not one person other than myself has built a cleric. No other bards. The oracle has never cast a buff spell on me.

Wow, in our games and in JJ's games the opposite is true. You must play with very selfish players who don;t know the value of teamwork.

Or their version of teamwork has more to do with tactical focus, battlefield positioning, and people using their abilities to greatest effect in combat rather than buffing. Don't make assumptions about people's games because they don't play like you do.


That REALLY depends on the buffs in question.

Haste, Greater Invisibility for a Rogue, or a fair number of other spells are pretty valuable tossed at the right target at the start of a fight.

(Granted, if you're up against a demon or devil or something else you expect compulsion effects from the mage HAS to lay down protection from Evil on the Fighter if they're stuck with one in the party [who lacks the ioun stone/wayfinder bypass], whereas that's one buff a Barbarian or Paladin can do without.)

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

I think Greater Invisibility is generally a pre-combat buff. In combat you're talking about wasting up to two rounds before that has any usefulness. Also, pretty irrelevant to the actual discussion about whether Superstition on a Barbarian is really any kind of hindrance. The Barbarian tends to have abilities that negate his need for a lot of the buffs that are more handy for mundanes like the Fighter and Rogue.


I find the duration of greater invis makes it too short to use as an out of combat buff to be honest. One round per level is very little time to use unless it is literally a "burst down the door, roll initiative" situation.


DrDeth wrote:
Justin Sane wrote:

As Marthkus said, Tolkien isn't really high-fantasy.

DrDeth wrote:
Justin Sane wrote:

DM: Okay guys, we're going for a high-fantasy adventure, with dragon-slaying, plane-hopping, the works. Have you picked your characters?

Player: Yeah, I'm going to play a frail old man with a sword.
Named Cohen.
Cohen is neither frail nor a protagonist :) (unless I'm missing a book, still haven't read them all)

And he's wrong. Per wiki "Quintessential works of high fantasy, such as The Lord of the Rings,..High fantasy is defined as fantasy fiction set in an alternative, entirely fictional ("secondary") world, rather than the real, or "primary" world. The secondary world is usually internally consistent, but its rules differ in some way(s) from those of the primary world."

Cohen the Barbarian is both. Read The Last Hero and others.

LotR is right around level 5... with a 15 point buy... Not that "high magic" if you ask me...


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Marthkus wrote:


Why is the old man frail?

Why is the old man not the paladin?

Flavor has nothing to do with mechanics. Anytime you try to tie mechanics to RPing you're wrong.

The is no RP element that has a fixed mechanic.

"But what if I want to play a wizard/rogue/fighter who specializes in enchantments?" That's not RPing. That's wanting to play with particular mechanics instead of playing a bard.

Okay. Couple things. First, yes, Tolkein is High Fantasy. The genre is practically defined by him. That there might be a few elements in his work from other sub genres does not mean his work is not still, all things considered, definitively high fantasy. But I don't even want to discuss that anymore and derail the conversation entirely. I rely upon the good judgement of our readers to decide it for themselves at this point.

Now as far as, "anytime you tie mechanics to RP, you're wrong" goes... While true in the broadest, most general sense, this still must be taken as utter hyperbole, as there are clearly more dimensions to the issue than that, and more exceptions than even a reasonable rule of thumb permits. But again, I rely upon the good sense of our readers and would like to leave that, too, aside.

One of the things we continue to have a problem with is the difference between RP and aesthetics/style. What I, Oenar and others have been talking about is really more the latter. The trouble is that the two ideas are related in a way that is very difficult to define. But basically, I would say to Markthus and others, as I have already suggested though it was ignored, that we can abandon talk of "RP" if you like, but we will still be left with this issue of aesthetics and style. I.e. sometimes you play the Wizard/Rogue/Fighter rather than the Bard, because for whatever reason the concept/build is just cooler that way, even if it is perhaps less effective. I for one would far rather be cool than be excessively useful.

You should not make blatantly sub-optimal choices when fulfilling your concept. But you should not choose what concept you want to play based on what is most optimal, and you should be as fussy as you need to be about which choices do or don't faithfully represent the aesthetics of the concept you want to play assuming you are effective enough to deal with CR.

I'm going to give an example now, and please let's not get bogged down talking about the specifics of that example. Just take my assertions about the example as given please, for the purpose of argument. In other words, impugn the argument all you want, but not the example on which it is based, which is being given purely for illustrative purposes in order to facilitate discussion.

I am currently playing a character based on Deedlit from Record of Lodoss War. Her current build is Bard 1/Ninja 5. For a variety of reasons, this wound up being the best build for representing the array of abilities I wanted the character to have in order to simulate the way she operates in the show. This is obviously, however, not "optimal." Right off the bat, she uses a single sword rather than TWF. You can tell me until you're blue in the face that I'd get more DPS from TWF, and I will not care. Deedlit fights with a single blade, so that's what I'm doing. Now, obviously I have taken Dervish Dance, and in this regard I have "optimized." I suppose I probably would not play the concept if I had no way to do even a slightly respectable amount of damage when not flanking. That probably would be irresponsible. But I do not consider it irresponsible to have chosen to stick to my guns and use a single blade rather than choosing to use two, when the latter does not aesthetically fit the concept I want to play.

I once played in a 15th level game in a group of mega optimizers during the bad old 3.5 days. It was very instructive. Some examples from the trenches of optimization madness:

1. In their group, one simply did not play a grappler. No matter how high you got your check and your damage, you didn't do it. They had done the math, and the toll inflicted on you in terms of action economy was too steep.

2. There effectively was no Spring Attack feat. You were being irresponsible if you took it, since it was always more optimal to just pick up a fly speed somewhere and then get Fly by Attack. Nevermind that this then left you with a character that could fly, which you might not want. They did not understand such thinking.

3. Everyone was a caster. If you weren't playing a caster (or a Warblade or Crusader, the only exceptions), then the group was at worst angry at and at best bemused by you. I barely managed to get away with a Swordsage 7/Lurk 8 who, as a standard action, could do an 18d6+34 damage melee attack that ignored concealment, incorporeality and most forms of DR. He also had 15 or more skills at +20 or better, and a decent suite of psychic powers and martial maneuvers for utility. He was noticeably the weakest link.

4. One did not under any circumstances invest in skills or abilities to find or disarm traps, since it was always more efficient to use magic to do these things, or just summon creatures to set the traps off.

And so on and so on. I could go on all day. This is the kind of play that optimization reduces us to, when it is allowed free reign.


Do you mind if I address the examples pulled 'from the trenches of optimization' you provided?


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Do you mind if I address the examples pulled 'from the trenches of optimization' you provided?

Sure, I only meant not to address the specific example in terms of the character, because I didn't want this to become the "analysis of Deedlit in Record of Lodoss War" thread.


Erick Wilson wrote:
Okay. Couple things. First, yes, Tolkien is High Fantasy.

Sorry, I can't take you seriously with statements like this. Pfff Tolkien high fantasy. Maybe outside of LotR and the Hobit books/movies.

Harry potter, the chronicles of narnia, the chronicles of amber, the Belgariad. Especially the the Belgariad are high fantasy. In comparison LotR is gritty realism like WWZ.


Marthkus wrote:
Erick Wilson wrote:
Okay. Couple things. First, yes, Tolkien is High Fantasy.

Sorry, I can't take you seriously with statements like this. Pfff Tolkien high fantasy. Maybe outside of LotR and the Hobit books/movies.

Harry potter, the chronicles of narnia, the chronicles of amber, the Belgariad. Especially the the Belgariad are high fantasy.

I can't take you seriously when you say that you can't take me seriously for saying this. The second sentence in the Wikipedia entry for high fantasy begins "Quintessential works of high fantasy, such as The Lord of the Rings..." So if you have a problem with this, maybe you should go edit the page and argue with, you know, the general consensus of the world on this issue.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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There might be a bit of a mix-up between "high fantasy" and "high magic", with some people considering them synonymous when they aren't necessarily. Tolkein is considered high fantasy, but in the context of modern fantasy and rpg's certainly wouldn't qualify as high magic.
Pathfinder's definition of high fantasy is much closer to the definition of high magic, and has little in common with the wikipedia definition of high fantasy. Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Gandalf were all lower tier characters with abilities most often seen prior to 10th level in Pathfinder. Gandalf's nastiest spell in the Hobbit was essentially pyrotechnics a 2nd level Wizard spell. The main protagonists of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings were at best 3rd-5th level halfling Rogues. Consider the fact that goblins were a reasonable threat pretty consistently throughout all the stories.

A Pathfinder Barbarian would probably start looking very out of place in a Tolkien-based setting by 5th level.


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1. In their group, one simply did not play a grappler. No matter how high you got your check and your damage, you didn't do it. They had done the math, and the toll inflicted on you in terms of action economy was too steep.

This was actually less true in 3.5 (where one could make as many grapple damage checks as they got unarmed attacks. For a martial character tricked out for the role (as I recall there was at least one prestige class that made it somewhat viable) grappling wasn't too bad. Sure it wasn't being a full caster, or even an Ubercharger, but if there was one main baddy and you could pin him down and keep him from acting, you could be fairly effective.

The one problem was the number of enemies virtually immune to grapple at higher levels, due either to magic or anatomy (including the retarded restriction on which size of creatures one can grapple.)

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2. There effectively was no Spring Attack feat. You were being irresponsible if you took it, since it was always more optimal to just pick up a fly speed somewhere and then get Fly by Attack. Nevermind that this then left you with a character that could fly, which you might not want. They did not understand such thinking.

This is a problem with the system (taxing Spring Attack with garbage prerequisites while leaving monster feats just fine) rather than a problem with optimization.

Granted, Fly by attack is a little busted regardless, due to allowing standard actions (including spells)rather than a single attack or attack-like-action (such as a breath weapon)

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3. Everyone was a caster. If you weren't playing a caster (or a Warblade or Crusader, the only exceptions), then the group was at worst angry at and at best bemused by you. I barely managed to get away with a Swordsage 7/Lurk 8 who, as a standard action, could do an 18d6+34 damage melee attack that ignored concealment, incorporeality and most forms of DR. He also had 15 or more skills at +20 or better, and a decent suite of psychic powers and martial maneuvers for utility. He was noticeably the weakest link.

I... never ran into this. Yes casters were common, and dominated higher level play, but non-casters who could manage to continue to contribute in some way were never shunned out of the group.

Speaking personally, I'd have been pretty satisfied with your roguish character.

Granted, in order to need a characater that powerful it seems to me the GM must have REALLY been driving the power level of the opposition into the stratosphere, which is an ok way to play but not the kind of game I'd have an interest in playing- optimized or not.

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4. One did not under any circumstances invest in skills or abilities to find or disarm traps, since it was always more efficient to use magic to do these things, or just summon creatures to set the traps off.

No argument here. I'm not a big fan of traps, I'd usually rather throw gold or spell slots at it than build a character around it.


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Bear in mind that High Fantasy in a literary sense does not necessarily mean lots of overt magic. It means fantasy set in a fictional world, albeit one which might possess its own internal consistency.

On the magic scale the third age of middle earth is actually fairly gritty if you compare it to something like the Malazan books or Midkemia.


Erick Wilson wrote:
Marthkus wrote:
Erick Wilson wrote:
Okay. Couple things. First, yes, Tolkien is High Fantasy.

Sorry, I can't take you seriously with statements like this. Pfff Tolkien high fantasy. Maybe outside of LotR and the Hobit books/movies.

Harry potter, the chronicles of narnia, the chronicles of amber, the Belgariad. Especially the the Belgariad are high fantasy.

I can't take you seriously when you say that you can't take me seriously for saying this. The second sentence in the Wikipedia entry for high fantasy begins "Quintessential works of high fantasy, such as The Lord of the Rings..." So if you have a problem with this, maybe you should go edit the page and argue with, you know, the general consensus of the world on this issue.

In the context of pathfinder point buy (you know the relevant one) LotR and hobbit are not high fantasy APs.

*Also Wikipedia is a terrible resource when trying to back up a common misconception.


kyrt-ryder wrote:

2. There effectively was no Spring Attack feat. You were being irresponsible if you took it, since it was always more optimal to just pick up a fly speed somewhere and then get Fly by Attack. Nevermind that this then left you with a character that could fly, which you might not want. They did not understand such thinking.

This is a problem with the system (taxing Spring Attack with garbage prerequisites while leaving monster feats just fine) rather than a problem with optimization.

Granted, Fly by attack is a little busted regardless, due to allowing standard actions (including spells)rather than a single attack or attack-like-action (such as a breath weapon)

Can you not take a step back and get enough perspective to see the trouble with this thinking? The thing that Spring Attack does is something that we want characters to be able to do. Spring Attack is clearly the mechanism by which they are intended to be able to do it. When we encounter something like this, where some other mechanism clearly not intended for the purpose does the job better than the thing you're obviously supposed to be using, our reaction should be to avoid that thing and bring it to the attention of the devs so that it can be errata'd. Our reaction should not be to use that thing and then blame the system for giving it to us, so that people who take the responsible option now feel like dupes.

On the other side of this coin, the devs have to live up to their end and start to errata the crap out of everything that causes these situations, like, well, most of the spells and casting classes in general. They refuse to do this, and so in that regard I suppose it is indeed the system that is at fault. But that means you should be pressuring them for way, way more nerfs and errata, rather than doing the opposite and asking for everything to be made more powerful, as seems to be the usual case.


Except that it is fairly pointless to do so. They have made it very clear that they do not intend to change the balance between the classes in the CRB. That pretty much guarantees that casters will continue to get powerful options like Dazing Spell while half way useful martial things like crane wing get nerfed. Just have a look at the new options in the advanced class guide. The Shaman adds another class which can access every wizard spell in the game. The arcanist is potentially a supper powered sorcerer. The brawler and swashbuckler? Lucky if they operate at the level of a basic fighter.


Marthkus wrote:

In the context of pathfinder point buy (you know the relevant one) LotR and hobbit are not high fantasy APs.

*Also Wikipedia is a terrible resource when trying to back up a common misconception.

The consensus is the definition for something like this. That makes Wikipedia the perfect resource. There is no "misconception." Grittiness has nothing to do with something being high fantasy or not. High fantasy features (1)larger than life characters (2)doing heroic things on an epic scale (3)in a world not our own wherein (4)good vs evil is at play as a major theme. That's it. You can also distinguish High Fantasy from Sword and Sorcery in that the heroes of the former are more likely to be called to action out of necessity rather than called to adventure out of boredom. You're just making all the rest up because it appeals to some personal sense you have of...I'm not even sure what. And I have no idea what you're talking about with regard to point buy.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Erick Wilson wrote:


On the other side of this coin, the devs have to live up to their end and start to errata the crap out of everything that causes these situations, like, well, most of the spells and casting classes in general. They refuse to do this, and so in that regard I suppose it is indeed the system that is at fault. But that means you should be pressuring them for way, way more nerfs and errata, rather than doing the opposite and asking for everything to be made more powerful, as seems to be the usual case.

Nerfing spells is harder to do, because generally, individual spells are fairly consistent and well-balanced (with a few obvious exceptions which can't be easily addressed, like Wish). The problem is that individual spells constitute only the tiniest part of a total casters capability. A caster isn't powerful because he can teleport, or turn invisible, or throw fireballs, he's powerful because he can do all three. It's much easier to ask that martial characters be allowed a performance baseline that's closer to casters than to ask that the literally hundreds, if not thousands, of pages covering spells and spell-casting be re-evaluated and re-written to make them more in line with martial characters, particularly since the real solution there would be to re-work the entire casting system. Generally, people aren't asking for casters to be made more powerful; they're asking for martial classes to be able to match some of the narrative capability that casters enjoy, or at least be allowed some supremacy in the areas they're theoretically supposed to excel in.


andreww wrote:
Except that it is fairly pointless to do so. They have made it very clear that they do not intend to change the balance between the classes in the CRB. That pretty much guarantees that casters will continue to get powerful options like Dazing Spell while half way useful martial things like crane wing get nerfed. Just have a look at the new options in the advanced class guide. The Shaman adds another class which can access every wizard spell in the game. The arcanist is potentially a supper powered sorcerer. The brawler and swashbuckler? Lucky if they operate at the level of a basic fighter.

So if you know this is wrong then what's the right thing to do? Give in and accept their refusal to acknowledge that? Or keep stepping up the pressure in the hopes that maybe it will at least get sorted out in the next edition?


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Erick Wilson wrote:
Marthkus wrote:

In the context of pathfinder point buy (you know the relevant one) LotR and hobbit are not high fantasy APs.

*Also Wikipedia is a terrible resource when trying to back up a common misconception.

The consensus is the definition for something like this. That makes Wikipedia the perfect resource. There is no "misconception." Grittiness has nothing to do with something being high fantasy or not. High fantasy features (1)larger than life characters (2)doing heroic things on an epic scale (3)in a world not our own wherein (4)good vs evil is at play as a major theme. That's it. You can also distinguish High Fantasy from Sword and Sorcery in that the heroes of the former are more likely to be called to action out of necessity rather than called to adventure out of boredom. You're just making all the rest up because it appeals to some personal sense you have of...I'm not even sure what. And I have no idea what you're talking about with regard to point buy.

25 point buy is labeled for high fantasy. Less points for other kinds of play.

So in the context of pathfinder, the height of the fantasy in question is directly related to the relative power expected of the protagonists.

In this sense LotR does not come close in the slightest.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Erick Wilson wrote:
Marthkus wrote:

In the context of pathfinder point buy (you know the relevant one) LotR and hobbit are not high fantasy APs.

*Also Wikipedia is a terrible resource when trying to back up a common misconception.

The consensus is the definition for something like this. That makes Wikipedia the perfect resource. There is no "misconception."

Ummm.... No. Pathfinder has its own definition of high fantasy, which does not conform to the Wikipedia definition. I promise you that Frodo and Samwise were not built on a 25 point buy, and in fact not one of the hobbits ever really reached a point where they could reliably be expected to deal with a single orc/goblin. The bounds of all the Tolkein characters in the well known books were fairly low when compared to Pathfinder. The Wikipedia definition of high fantasy is absolutely not the same as the Pathfinder definition.


Erick Wilson wrote:
So if you know this is wrong then what's the right thing to do? Give in and accept their refusal to acknowledge that? Or keep stepping up the pressure in the hopes that maybe it will at least get sorted out in the next edition?

Honestly I am not really sure and when you read some of the comments from some of the designers I suspect we will see no substantial change even with a PF 2.0.

Shadow Lodge

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So, have we decided about whether or not Barbarians are unbalanced yet?


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I for one am pretty sure they aren't except when they overindulge in alcohol and fall over in a dark alley where a rogue fails to mug him because he has concealment while a Paladin watches on doing nothing which causes him to immediately fall.


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Ssalarn wrote:


Nerfing spells is harder to do, because generally, individual spells are fairly consistent and well-balanced (with a few obvious exceptions which can't be easily addressed, like Wish). The problem is that individual spells constitute only the tiniest part of a total casters capability. A caster isn't powerful because he can teleport, or turn invisible, or throw fireballs, he's powerful because he can do all three. It's much easier to ask that martial characters be allowed a performance baseline that's closer to casters than to ask that the literally hundreds, if not thousands, of pages covering spells and spell-casting be re-evaluated and re-written to make them more in line with martial characters, particularly since the real solution there would be to re-work the entire casting system. Generally, people aren't asking for casters to be made more powerful; they're asking for martial classes to be able to match some of the narrative capability that casters enjoy, or at least be allowed some supremacy in the areas they're theoretically supposed to excel in.

But here's the problem. The bar set by the current magic system is too high. There is simply no way to bring martials up to it without making the game totally WoW-like. And I think that many of us do not really want it to become that.

No argument, btw, with your assessment of the reason behind the casters' power being what it is. That's the reason that magic missile, for instance is too powerful. But say something like that and you receive massive scorn, because the spell doesn't seem, on it's own, to cause any problems, and because many people don't have the insight that you do about why casters are such a serious issue.

At the same time, I don't disagree that martials need more flexibility and options. I would love to see more systems like the talents and ki options that are available to ninjas and the tricks available to the skirmisher Ranger archetype (though both of these, especially the latter, are examples of the devs still not going far enough with this kind of stuff).


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EvilPaladin wrote:
So, have we decided about whether or not Barbarians are unbalanced yet?

A conclusion from a forum thread? Are you daft?

The time spent here is never that productive.


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All we've decided is forum goers are unbalanced

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