Do you play "under powered" classes?


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Goldenfrog wrote:

I think a lot of issues assume a high level of jerkatude in the game,who else would make a character just to make another character useless?

That's just it. You don't have to intentionally do so. Some classes are so pathetic, it just HAPPENS.


Shifty wrote:

That's cool.

FWIW I see a lot of people talk about role-play and talk about system mastery and insist it is two separate camps. IMO they are actually the two halves of the game; role-play without system mastery or system mastery without role-play just means you are stuck only playing half a game.

That said, if half a game is good enough for people then I'm certainly not going to tell them they are doing it wrong or judge.

Evenwhen they can't tank a trap because you have changed the rules, the Munchkin will just learn to adapt their particular cheese to suit your crackers. They will stop playing gouda and just start rolling camembert.

The part I bolded is what I'm complaining about. I should have been clearer.

The munchkins do end up playing the system in different ways. Since we award XP based on roleplaying goals and upon survival, we end up with the munchkins dedicated to staying on coming up with all kinds of interesting ways to try to get XP out of a scenario. Pretty much, that's how every single current player in the group started out.

As a result of this, we get solutions most people would not even attempt to try, and often which the DM never thought to account for. For example, within our recent campaign, a player has been working on a play to drown an enemy by setting up a trap where they fall in a bag of holding that gets flooded by a bottle of endless water. He plans to trap the enemy inside the bag, uncork the bottle, toss it inside the bag, close the bag, suspend it over a portable hole via rope, and leave the room. The enemy either drowns or gets a one-way trip to the astral plane.

Silver Crusade

Shifty wrote:
I'd happily play some of the NPC classes too if it was allowed. Personally i think it would be a hoot!

I have a battle oracle whose goal in life is to be an NPC warrior. If only he hadn't been cursed by devils! (or maybe it was Iomedae, but he's not entirely sure about that)

As for the original question, I have a Halfling Opportunist in Pathfinder Society. Everyone here keeps saying rogues are "under powered", but the opportunist class is an underpowered version of a rogue. I've only played him once since getting into the prestige class, so I may get bored with this character after playing him a couple more times, but I was already a little bored with him even before that.

I'd be willing to give the rogue class another chance in the future, playing more to the typical rogue strengths (sneak attacking skill monkey), instead of investing multiple feats and half my skill ranks into qualifying for a relatively useless prestige class.

So for core classes, I'd play any of them, not caring if they're underpowered. I have no interest in playing a monk, but that's because I have no interest in that type of character, not because they're supposedly underpowered.

But I do tend to avoid prestige classes in general, mostly because they seem like they're weaker than just sticking to the main class. Of my 14 PFS characters, the Halfling Opportunist is the only prestige class I've played.

And I keep saying I want to make a small sized cavalier with a medium mount for PFS, just to see what can be done with the class. I'm GMing a group including a human cavalier through Rise of the Runelords right now, and he hasn't gotten to use his mount in combat yet, at level 4. But he's a high strength character with heavy armor, a magic weapon, and power attack, so he's still great in combat at this level.

I also have a lore warden fighter that I've only played once so far in PFS (2nd level already on GM credits). I keep thinking I want to do a core, non-archetype fighter one day. The key is picking something outside of combat to make him good at, so he won't be boring. Fighters get so many extra feats that just picking a skill to invest a trait and feat in should make them effective at something non-combat related very easily.


MagusJanus wrote:
Shifty wrote:

That's cool.

FWIW I see a lot of people talk about role-play and talk about system mastery and insist it is two separate camps. IMO they are actually the two halves of the game; role-play without system mastery or system mastery without role-play just means you are stuck only playing half a game.

That said, if half a game is good enough for people then I'm certainly not going to tell them they are doing it wrong or judge.

Evenwhen they can't tank a trap because you have changed the rules, the Munchkin will just learn to adapt their particular cheese to suit your crackers. They will stop playing gouda and just start rolling camembert.

The part I bolded is what I'm complaining about. I should have been clearer.

The munchkins do end up playing the system in different ways. Since we award XP based on roleplaying goals and upon survival, we end up with the munchkins dedicated to staying on coming up with all kinds of interesting ways to try to get XP out of a scenario. Pretty much, that's how every single current player in the group started out.

As a result of this, we get solutions most people would not even attempt to try, and often which the DM never thought to account for. For example, within our recent campaign, a player has been working on a play to drown an enemy by setting up a trap where they fall in a bag of holding that gets flooded by a bottle of endless water. He plans to trap the enemy inside the bag, uncork the bottle, toss it inside the bag, close the bag, suspend it over a portable hole via rope, and leave the room. The enemy either drowns or gets a one-way trip to the astral plane.

I'm sorry, I'm confused. Is this a bad thing? It sounds like your player found a very clever way to kill an enemy without actually engaging combat. Seems like good gaming to me.


Arachnofiend wrote:
MagusJanus wrote:
Shifty wrote:

That's cool.

FWIW I see a lot of people talk about role-play and talk about system mastery and insist it is two separate camps. IMO they are actually the two halves of the game; role-play without system mastery or system mastery without role-play just means you are stuck only playing half a game.

That said, if half a game is good enough for people then I'm certainly not going to tell them they are doing it wrong or judge.

Evenwhen they can't tank a trap because you have changed the rules, the Munchkin will just learn to adapt their particular cheese to suit your crackers. They will stop playing gouda and just start rolling camembert.

The part I bolded is what I'm complaining about. I should have been clearer.

The munchkins do end up playing the system in different ways. Since we award XP based on roleplaying goals and upon survival, we end up with the munchkins dedicated to staying on coming up with all kinds of interesting ways to try to get XP out of a scenario. Pretty much, that's how every single current player in the group started out.

As a result of this, we get solutions most people would not even attempt to try, and often which the DM never thought to account for. For example, within our recent campaign, a player has been working on a play to drown an enemy by setting up a trap where they fall in a bag of holding that gets flooded by a bottle of endless water. He plans to trap the enemy inside the bag, uncork the bottle, toss it inside the bag, close the bag, suspend it over a portable hole via rope, and leave the room. The enemy either drowns or gets a one-way trip to the astral plane.

I'm sorry, I'm confused. Is this a bad thing? It sounds like your player found a very clever way to kill an enemy without actually engaging combat. Seems like good gaming to me.

Nope. It's the kind of thinking we encourage ^.^

It's also the kind of thinking I consider to be true system mastery. You're not just looking at how much damage you can deal, but ways of using various bits of the rules to your advantage.


So how does that now link into your desire for role-play though? And why is it better to kill an enemy via bagofholdingdrowning vs hitting them with a broadsword?

If we decide to use military might (diplomacy by other means) why not just let stabbitymunchkin have at the bad guy and deal a ton of DPR. Same end result.


In order to get him into the bag without combat (he's six levels above them and surrounded by a personal army), they will need to use roleplaying skills to trick him. He wants something they have. They need to kill him before he finds a way to take it from them.

Plus, I did not say I was against combat; I said I don't view it as the only component of system mastery.


...or they could just let the Powermunchkin Summon a host of angels and be done with it.


If it were that simple, they would have killed the BBEG already :P

And that is an amusing video ;)


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Yes, all the time. In fact, the "underpowered" classes are generally my favorites. The characters I've most enjoyed playing have invariably been Fighter/Rogues.

Yes, I've played with much more "optimized" players. Yes, they tend to dominate in DPR and other factors I generally don't care about. So I find my niche, and enjoy it--maybe I'm the guy that takes out the henchman while the BBEG flings spells around. That's my job--to find opportunities to make myself relevant.

And I play with a GM who creates opportunities for me to find ways to make myself relevant. That's his job.

And in fact, my happy little unoptimized martial generally earns the XP award for best RP'ing our group votes on, based on his quick wit, his non-tactical gutsy charges into throngs of waiting enemies, and his open disdain for the cowardly (optimized) casters who hide behind spells.

To be fair, that disdain developed after one of said casters dropped a fireball on my PC and the monster I was engaging in hand-to-hand combat because, as he told me later, "I assumed you had fire resistance."

My fighter-rogue looked him dead in the eye and said, "I'm amazed that someone as intelligent as you must be can still say the dumbest thing I've ever heard. And I've traveled with goblins."

So, yeah. I play the character I want to play. I couldn't care less about "optimizing." I trust myself to find a role for myself, and trust my GM to ensure that they exist.


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Yeah I still play Rogues and Monks still.

It'd be nice if they were worthwhile out of the box but every system has it's faults.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I make characters with a purpose - if they are there to support the party they'll support the party. Healers heal, Wizards wizz etc...

It's a balancing act; I could put together some brutal power-gaming cheesy build but I don't need to hog the table.

I don't know what you mean by 'under-powered' the classes I have played are pretty balanced (back in 3.5 there were a couple of dud PRC's) not so much in PFS.

my PC's in society are; Rogue, Alchemist, Wizards, Summoners, Paladin, Druid...


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I think I can say pretty confidently that relative power estimates really haven't been an issue at the tables I play with. Nor have I noticed, from either side of the GM's screen, a significant inability for any particular class to be unable to contribute.

We've faced challenges when we've been weak in particular areas - like long range magic in the Skull and Shackles campaign - but we take steps to adjust to those weaknesses rather than slavishly stick to build plans. And if that means the summoner keeps his UMD high to widen his ability to use scrolls and wands, that's fine. He's got the skill on his class list for a reason and that's to compensate for a limited spell list.


Goldenfrog wrote:


Fighters are seen as very tough and fun characters while barbs dish out tons of damage but are hard to keep alive.

If you build for survivability I'm not sure I would put my money on the fighter. Depending on the party the barbarian can be VERY hard hard to kill.


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Shifty wrote:
I'd happily play some of the NPC classes too if it was allowed. Personally i think it would be a hoot!

Adepts are pretty fun.


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I've had bad experiences with my poor fighters. Never going to run the class again.

The 6/9 spell classes have been a sweet spot for me in terms of narrative power and combat prowess.


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Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Probably. I don't have the system mastery to be over "powered", resist the Build threads and roleplay like my life depended on it. I am sure there are DPR'ers that loathe me.

The funny thing is that many of us who believe certain classes are behind the curve, or consider themselves optimizers, don't really care about DPR. I know that I only want enough damage-dealing power to get the job done. Anything else is usually just wasteful in terms of resources invested.

Class #1: Offense = A-, Defense = D, Utility = F
Class #2: Offense = B+, Defense = A+, Utility = B
Class #3: Offense = A, Defense = B, Utility = B+

>_>


MagusJanus wrote:
Shifty wrote:
MagusJanus wrote:
The people I typically see having the least amount of fun are the people who "demonstrate system mastery," to use the lingo on here. In other words, the powergamers. Mainly because my group does a lot of noncombat roleplay.

Why would having non-combat role-play have any bearing on the fun of System mastery based players? I can build like a champ, indeed my whole group does, but we had stacks of fun in the DiploRP PFS missions. Why not be good at BOTH?

Notice I put the phrase in quotation marks.

I wasn't talking about people who actually adapt to a system and learn how to master it. I was talking about the people who pay attention to the discussions on these forums, form their thinking about the builds, and then don't bother to adapt to the group dynamics. Those are also the people who typically try to tank a trap at level 1, only to find out my group doesn't use the standard Pathfinder traps right before being handed a new character sheet.

They typically don't last long once they realize their heavily combat-oriented character is next to useless in most situations.

Tanking traps is a bad idea. PF traps are mean. A simple CR 1 mechanical trap with around 30 average damage with a DC 15 Perception / DC 15 disable, with a DC 20 Reflex save or +10 bonus to hit.

Grand Lodge

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Zhayne wrote:
Goldenfrog wrote:

I think a lot of issues assume a high level of jerkatude in the game,who else would make a character just to make another character useless?

That's just it. You don't have to intentionally do so. Some classes are so pathetic, it just HAPPENS.

Kind of ninja'd me on this one, but yeah . . .

For instance, in a recent game I ran we had a Half-Elf Barbarian, an Orc Fighter, and a Halfling Rogue. Nobody knew what anybody else was making and everybody based their concept around role-play instead of optimization. The Barbarian took ranks in Diplomacy for chrissakes!

Even so, in combat the Barbarian ALWAYS outpaces the fighter unless he gets very lucky. Outside of combat, most of the rogue's time is spent healing herself from the brink of death, and when she fails at some RP-heavy aspect, the Barbarian can reliably step in for an assist. The fighter? Well . . . he got a couple of craft ranks so he can make armor. Whoopee.

Scarab Sages

In my current group, we did have one player retire a character because she felt she wasn't really contributing to the group. She was playing an archer paladin (divine hunter) in a group with an archer ranger and a two-hander paladin. She is now playing a fighter/rogue, and feels much better about her choice. Not optimal, definitely, but still a valuable party member. We have been playing RotR for over a year now though.

Grand Lodge

SpartanDude wrote:

Pretty much as title says.

Every now and then we see someone showing how class X is rubbish (rogues for example)and how other classes outpace them later on. But does this stop you guys from playing these classes which are considered to be under-powered?

Nope. I've played pretty much every class at one point or another, with a variety of different groups, and never had a problem with any of them.

The only problems I've had were with the occasional DM who had a personal dislike of a specific class (usually the Paladin) and actively hampered me for playing it. But that's not a problem with the class, that's a people problem.


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SpartanDude wrote:

Pretty much as title says.

Every now and then we see someone showing how class X is rubbish (rogues for example)and how other classes outpace them later on. But does this stop you guys from playing these classes which are considered to be under-powered?

Yes.

I too like to live dangerously.

I play rogues and monks. I have a blast. My monk is the strongest char in the party at present.

The rumours of certain classes being underpowered and/or useless are greatly exaggerated.


SpartanDude wrote:

Pretty much as title says.

Every now and then we see someone showing how class X is rubbish (rogues for example)and how other classes outpace them later on. But does this stop you guys from playing these classes which are considered to be under-powered?

First: the ''under-powered'' question is not universal. It depends a lot of the party you are in for a class (let say, monk or rogue) to shine less than the others. If your group is composed of many power-gamer/ optimizer, you may have a bad time with it, but if not, you may never really see your character lack in combat. Even in the skill department: sure the Bard and the Alchemist will be better than the Rogue, but from my experience the player will try to be complementary (specialising in different aspect of skill).

Second: no. I love to use some strange concept for my character a trying to make them work. For example: one of my current character is a Geisha/Mysterious Stranger, not the best archetype of those class. But I love it and I am one of the pillar of the party.

One of the way to help those class/ option to work is to talk with your DM. Sometime a minor change can make some bad archetype into something better (like givine Trophy Hunter Gunsmitting and a starting gun like the other gunner class, or increasing the duration of Tea Ceremony). But, you can't do that in PFS...


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I play to win.

That's prettymuch all there is to it.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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I've seen all 3 of the so called "weak" classes played all the way through several APs, and they were still able to contribute and be useful, sometimes even party MVP, in the 15th-17th level range. If a character is useful and survivable through the entire run of an AP, and the player is happy playing it, I'm not sure what other metrics matter.

When I played Runelords(original, not AE), we had a monk. He was pretty much the entire reason we didn't TPK on big X. Useful all the way through.

I'm running Runelords AE right now, and the group has two fighters. They kill things so efficiently that I've had to adjust prepared spellcaster's spell lists just to deal with it. (Presuming they get forewarning, I don't just hose PCs without an in game justification)

I played through Carrion Crown with a fighter, in fact a terribly unoptimized one, and the GM still felt that I should have toned it back a bit. (He was a sword and board fighter who took no shield feats at all)

I ran Serpent's Skull and one player's rogue is basically responsible for the group being able to defeat the end boss.

So yeah, my group and I will play these classes and we will have fun doing it.


My group usually ends up being 2/3 fighting types and we rotate. Last game's wizard would roll a ranger this time around etc. Except for one guy who will never not play a barbarian. There's 6 players so it's more of a time thing. Full attacks take a lot less decision making and drawing of boundaries than casters past 6th level.

I'd rather play a strong class in PFS because there are new players in my area playing some pretty weak fighters and rogues. If I brought my own silly rogue we might TPK. I'd rather someone make the decision to shelve a poor character on their own terms rather than be ruthlessly punished because the group doesn't have the tools.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ryric wrote:

I've seen all 3 of the so called "weak" classes played all the way through several APs, and they were still able to contribute and be useful, sometimes even party MVP, in the 15th-17th level range. If a character is useful and survivable through the entire run of an AP, and the player is happy playing it, I'm not sure what other metrics matter.

When I played Runelords(original, not AE), we had a monk. He was pretty much the entire reason we didn't TPK on big X. Useful all the way through.

I'm running Runelords AE right now, and the group has two fighters. They kill things so efficiently that I've had to adjust prepared spellcaster's spell lists just to deal with it. (Presuming they get forewarning, I don't just hose PCs without an in game justification)

I played through Carrion Crown with a fighter, in fact a terribly unoptimized one, and the GM still felt that I should have toned it back a bit. (He was a sword and board fighter who took no shield feats at all)

I ran Serpent's Skull and one player's rogue is basically responsible for the group being able to defeat the end boss.

So yeah, my group and I will play these classes and we will have fun doing it.

I dont think anyone says its impossible to contribute or be successful as the weaker classes. Ofcourse you can. And different tables will have different 'average levels of power' making everyones experience differ. But that doesnt mean that the potential of each class doesnt vary dramatically.

If each class is played to its full potential, there is literally no comparison between the weakest and strongest classes. If everyone either does not do so, or willfully chooses not to do so (to make their game more fun for everyone) then obviously you wont have the same impact on the game.

I would also say that the weaker classes, in particular the fighter, dont lack power. High AC and High damage output is powerful. The issue is the kind of power they have. Fighters, monks, rogues, have the power to act within the situation they are presented with. They use their damage, their AC and their skills to oppose the challenge the gm present them with.

Magical characters dont have that kind of power. I mean to a degree they do, particularly wildshaping druids, and summoners, or summoning wizards/clerics. The have that sort of power. But they also have the power to change the situation. They get to be in the driving seat to one degree or another. If you are in a long trap filled hallway, where every step might trigger a death trap, and enemies at the far hall are shooting at you. A rogues acrobatics, or a fighters toughness is power. They can dodge the traps, or power through them shrugging off hits.

A wizard glitterdusting or fog clouding to blind enemies or block their line of sight, and then flying over the hallway without setting off any of the traps is narrative power. The wizard hasnt beaten the challenge, he's changed it to his liking. Turinging a death hallway into a leisurely stroll. He still needs the fighters help to kill the guys at the end of the hall. Often his best options are to aid his allies. But that doesnt change the fact that the wizard's place in the combat is more like an anti gm, changing the world to better suit the party, as opposed to directly opposing challenges.

Obviously not everyone plays casters this way. I myself have a love of blasty casters, which in general are not going to cause issues in a game because the fighter will always out damage me. But that doesnt change the fact that when I want to (such as a witch I am playing in a current campaign) I can really screw with the dms plans most of the time.

Scarab Sages

I play underpowered classes all the time, but I have enough system mastery to make them a threat despite their power level.

I love Monks, Fighters, and Rogues, despite the fact that hey are severely disadvantaged compared to other classes. Archetypes do help, as does relying on FCB bonuses and/or other tricks.

I have also played Adepts in (3.5) home games, and I would play one in PFS if allowed.


Umbranus wrote:
Goldenfrog wrote:


Fighters are seen as very tough and fun characters while barbs dish out tons of damage but are hard to keep alive.
If you build for survivability I'm not sure I would put my money on the fighter. Depending on the party the barbarian can be VERY hard hard to kill.

Our Party Barb walks around with nothing on but soft leather pants,fur boots and a long red cloak. The guy makes fun of anyone in armor and has the lowest ac in the history of our games. Frankly the Wizard looks down on his AC from a lofty height.

Now he does have a HUGE DR and does so much damage that its stupid,really really stupid. I have seen him one shot a APL+4 boss kind of stupid.

He also face plants more than anyone else.

His attitude is great as well. YOU CAN'T TOUCH THIS! one round,eating dirt the next,followed by a heal and suddenly he pops back up"You can't touch this!"

Liberty's Edge

@Goldenfrog:

Sure, and that's not a rare build...but you can build a high AC Barbarian pretty readily, too. And that version is one of the more durable things in the game. Certainly more than the Fighter, given the DR and extra HP. And vastly better Saves.


I would happily play a rogue or monk, but I play with a casual group and nobody is interested in power-gaming.

If I was in a group of min/maxers I may avoid playing a monk or rogue just to not have to hear the complaints about the classes.

Truthfully most RPG games I've played (tabletop or electronic) always seem to have an 'underwhelming' option. Perhaps they are there for people who want a challenge or are intended for non-traditional play styles.


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icehawk333 wrote:

I play to win.

That's prettymuch all there is to it.

Winning in a Role-Playing Game = Invited to play with that group again.

Unconditional Winning = Having the group hunt you down to say: "We want to start a new game and hope you will join us."


I totally play classes like PF rogues, monks, and fighters -- when I'm invited to a game that's being played by relatively inexperienced players, and/or people who are using low levels of optimization. That's why I rolled up a monk for houstonderek's early "Newbs Welcome!" home game, and a rogue for psychicmachninery's extremely fun kobold king game.

But if I'm invited to a campaign being billed as "extremely challenging" and "for very experienced players only," I'm much more likely to bring an optimized cleric or something, because my playing a rogue, while fun, would presumably be antithetical to what I've been invited to do.


My tabletop group consists of the following:

A rogue/fighter
A fighter/rogue/aristocrat
A cleric/fighter
A straight fighter with a LA+1 race (so a level behind)
A psionic warrior that I don't understand the rules for
Me: A bard/witch with a level of ranger

I play the group's strategist and supporter. I'm the only one who regularly acts to improve everyone else's effectiveness instead of my own, and the only one who ever casts battlefield control spells.

I suppose we'd be called underpowered by PF standards, but we are having fun. That's all that matters.

ETA: We also had two cleric/wizards in the group, but they both were killed; one to a gibbering mouther, one to a dracolisk.

Liberty's Edge

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pachristian wrote:
icehawk333 wrote:

I play to win.

That's prettymuch all there is to it.

Winning in a Role-Playing Game = Invited to play with that group again.

Unconditional Winning = Having the group hunt you down to say: "We want to start a new game and hope you will join us."

Huh. I've officially unconditionally won at gaming by that definition. Cool.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
pachristian wrote:
icehawk333 wrote:

I play to win.

That's prettymuch all there is to it.

Winning in a Role-Playing Game = Invited to play with that group again.

Unconditional Winning = Having the group hunt you down to say: "We want to start a new game and hope you will join us."

Huh. I've officially unconditionally won at gaming by that definition. Cool.

And it's the only kind of winning that matters :D

Liberty's Edge

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Wrong John Silver wrote:
I suppose we'd be called underpowered by PF standards, but we are having fun. That's all that matters.

This is totally legitimate, and I'm sure it's lots of fun. It's just...you almost need to be playing in a group where everyone is this unoptimized for a straight Fighter or Rogue who's not mechanically optimized to the gills to not feel out of place...and even the optimal ones only work in groups at a lower optimization level. And that's unfortunate.

Other people have mentioned not caring about being effective in combat, and that's fine too...but if you don't care why not play something that does it better and make things easier on your fellow players? Thematics are great, and generally more important than mechanics IMO (though thematics without mechanics to support them often fall flat)...but you don't need to have 'Rogue' under class on your sheet to have Rogue thematics. Ditto Fighter.


What class do you recommend thematically for someone who doesn't cast spells?

The Exchange

Sure! I play all sorts of classes*. I see no sense in having eleven toys and setting three of them on the shelf forever based on something I read on the Internet.

*I will admit to running a lot of multiclassed fighter/rogues, so I'm either "cheating" or "doubly guilty", from a certain point of view.


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Wrong John Silver wrote:
I suppose we'd be called underpowered by PF standards, but we are having fun. That's all that matters.

As long as you're all on the same page -- every one of the group -- then you're absolutely right. But if one person wants to play a wizard and really pull out all the stops, he can't do that, or the rest of you will quickly be relegated to spectators and will stop having fun.

I find it very sad when a game is structured so that one person's fun and another person's are mutually-contradictory. I'd rather the baselines were similar, so that we could all play together.

Liberty's Edge

Wrong John Silver wrote:
What class do you recommend thematically for someone who doesn't cast spells?

From books that are already out?

Skirmisher Ranger (and possibly a few other Archetypes), Barbarian, Cavalier (I think this class is better than many do), Gunslinger (very specific niche, I admit), and many archetypes of Monk (especially Martial Artist). Depending on how far you're willing to stretch 'not casting spells' Alchemist might also qualify, though I admit that that's pushing it.

If willing to include the ACG (and playtest thereof), I can't recommend Slayer strongly enough. You can do the Rogue thing with full BAB, or the Fighter thing (including a bonus Feat every two levels for most of your career, if you want) with 6 + Int mod skill points and Sneak Attack to boot. It's the class I'd use to make Conan (the book version) and is beautiful. Swashbuckler is also excellent looking, though a bit more of a specific niche.

The ACG also includes Brawler and (on the same basis as Alchemist ie a very shaky one) Investigator, but I'm waiting for the final version to see how viable Brawler looks and Investigator is, as mentioned, shaky on being 'spell-less'.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Wrong John Silver wrote:
I suppose we'd be called underpowered by PF standards, but we are having fun. That's all that matters.

As long as you're all on the same page -- every one of the group -- then you're absolutely right. But if one person wants to play a wizard and really pull out all the stops, he can't do that, or the rest of you will quickly be relegated to spectators and will stop having fun.

I find it very sad when a game is structured so that one person's fun and another person's are mutually-contradictory. I'd rather the baselines were similar, so that we could all play together.

Agreed, it's better when everyone can feel properly balanced. I'd say that in our case, the economy is designed such that a full-on wizard would find themselves limited as well--not enough spells, not enough downtime or money for magic item crafting, stuff like that. I don't think either wizard PC our group had ever used Scribe Scroll, and not because of some pact not to craft. They just didn't think of doing it.

But yes, I agree that as RAW, certain styles of play dominate over others in effectiveness, and that's sad.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Kirth Gersen wrote:


I find it very sad when a game is structured so that one person's fun and another person's are mutually-contradictory. I'd rather the baselines were similar, so that we could all play together.

Even if the baselines were identical, you'd still have people whose game styles were incompatible. So I don't see it as a problem because baselines differ, rather, I think it's because some people have incompatible ideas of a good time.

Liberty's Edge

Bill Dunn wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:


I find it very sad when a game is structured so that one person's fun and another person's are mutually-contradictory. I'd rather the baselines were similar, so that we could all play together.
Even if the baselines were identical, you'd still have people whose game styles were incompatible. So I don't see it as a problem because baselines differ, rather, I think it's because some people have incompatible ideas of a good time.

There's some truth in this. But more people's game styles would be compatible with better class balance.


MagusJanus wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
MagusJanus wrote:
As a result of this, we get solutions most people would not even attempt to try, and often which the DM never thought to account for. For example, within our recent campaign, a player has been working on a play to drown an enemy by setting up a trap where they fall in a bag of holding that gets flooded by a bottle of endless water. He plans to trap the enemy inside the bag, uncork the bottle, toss it inside the bag, close the bag, suspend it over a portable hole via rope, and leave the room. The enemy either drowns or gets a one-way trip to the astral plane.
I'm sorry, I'm confused. Is this a bad thing? It sounds like your player found a very clever way to kill an enemy without actually engaging combat. Seems like good gaming to me.

Nope. It's the kind of thinking we encourage ^.^

It's also the kind of thinking I consider to be true system mastery.

That's not system mastery. It's GM mastery. You're relying entirely on the liberality of your GM to get away with that plan both to follow legacy interactions when they allow abuse and to roleplay the villain as implausibly stupid and gullible to voluntarily allow himself to be placed in a bag. If your GM will allow that then bully for you. I wouldn't. I suspect most wouldn't unless plied with alcohol and many would retcon it when they sobered up. The system has nothing to do with it, only your your real world ability to manipulate GM as a person.


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Bill Dunn wrote:
Even if the baselines were identical, you'd still have people whose game styles were incompatible. So I don't see it as a problem because baselines differ, rather, I think it's because some people have incompatible ideas of a good time.

If we have two potential problems, one systemic and one social, it makes sense to me to address the systemic on in the rules, and the social one at the table -- rather than use the second to obscure the first.


I play whatever class I find interesting. If they happen to be underpowered, so be it. I can find ways around their "weaknesses" to help support the party meaningfully.

I have a Cleric of Shelyn 9/Bard 5 that can't do damage to save her life, but she has a +36 to Diplomacy!


Atarlost wrote:
MagusJanus wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
MagusJanus wrote:
As a result of this, we get solutions most people would not even attempt to try, and often which the DM never thought to account for. For example, within our recent campaign, a player has been working on a play to drown an enemy by setting up a trap where they fall in a bag of holding that gets flooded by a bottle of endless water. He plans to trap the enemy inside the bag, uncork the bottle, toss it inside the bag, close the bag, suspend it over a portable hole via rope, and leave the room. The enemy either drowns or gets a one-way trip to the astral plane.
I'm sorry, I'm confused. Is this a bad thing? It sounds like your player found a very clever way to kill an enemy without actually engaging combat. Seems like good gaming to me.

Nope. It's the kind of thinking we encourage ^.^

It's also the kind of thinking I consider to be true system mastery.

That's not system mastery. It's GM mastery. You're relying entirely on the liberality of your GM to get away with that plan both to follow legacy interactions when they allow abuse and to roleplay the villain as implausibly stupid and gullible to voluntarily allow himself to be placed in a bag. If your GM will allow that then bully for you. I wouldn't. I suspect most wouldn't unless plied with alcohol and many would retcon it when they sobered up. The system has nothing to do with it, only your your real world ability to manipulate GM as a person.

All of that is true even with the standard builds on these forums, and even more true when you start taking a look at the APs that Paizo publishes.

In general, playing the game at all requires that the villains be played at least a bit idiotically; if they were not, the players would never be able to defeat them because the players would quickly find everything they do countered as soon as they managed to get their first minute victory against the villain. I've played those villains before, pointed out the IC-only logic, and every single time the party has been thoroughly defeated before they even hit level 5; the villain being a bit of a idiot is pretty much required for the players to have any chance of success at all, as there is no reason why an intelligent 20th-level villain shouldn't be able to identify them as a problem and eliminate them before they can ever be a threat.

Also, not relying on the GM playing them as stupid as you think. The PCs only have a shot at all because they have leverage; otherwise, they would not even survive the meeting. If they fail to be good enough at manipulating the villain, they will still die. They only have a shot because the villain is greedy and they plan to use that against him.

Liberty's Edge

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MagusJanus wrote:
In general, playing the game at all requires that the villains be played at least a bit idiotically; if they were not, the players would never be able to defeat them because the players would quickly find everything they do countered as soon as they managed to get their first minute victory against the villain. I've played those villains before, pointed out the IC-only logic, and every single time the party has been thoroughly defeated before they even hit level 5; the villain being a bit of a idiot is pretty much required for the players to have any chance of success at all, as there is no reason why an intelligent 20th-level villain shouldn't be able to identify them as a problem and eliminate them before they can ever be a threat.

This isn't true at all. It assumes that 'smart' equates to both 'omniscient' and 'has good judgement'. The first is basically never the case, and the second is rare among villains, since as a rule doing the things necessary for true villainy really isn't the best idea in the world.

The main villain doesn't kill the PCs when they're 3rd level because at that point he's likely to not even know they exist. It'd need to go through a whole chain of subordinates to get to him and he's likely too busy to be bothered with every little setback (and 2nd or 3rd level PCs pretty much can't inflict major setbacks on a high level villain). Those happen all the time (anything 2nd or 3rd level PCs can stop isn't that hard to stop and is likely just one of a dozen similar things being managed by random people he doesn't trust much...who cares if half of them fail?)

There are exceptions to the pattern I mention above, but there are also lots of other reasons for the villain not to swat them like bugs immediately, too, many of them quite logical.

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