Do you actually care about Balance?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I think if you make an archetype specifically to be good at wielding a mop, you should be good at wielding a mop. This is similar to asking a crossbow archetype fighter to actually be better than a vanilla fighter at crossbow fighter, or an archer fighter being better than a vanilla fighter at archery.

That is a separate issue, where things do not do what they say


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I sort of get what you're saying, Morain, in the sense that I would never want to see balance achieved in a 3.5/PF system through a nerfing of most of the powerful effects (though some, like old-style Polymorph and current Planar Binding, can go as far as I'm concerned). Magic in Pathfinder is "balanced for awesome", and I want to keep the awesome.

To me, then, the real challenge is to buff the martial classes up to the point of relevance (not necessarily equality) while keeping them within the bounds of what might be called "PF realism" - that is, not simply turning them into airbenders. Not an easy task.


CWheezy wrote:
As a follow up, pathfinder has the worst balance of any game I have played, and it isn't even close really.

Oh my - D&D 2nd edition - after the players options came out (shudder).

Scarab Sages

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Master of Shadows wrote:
...yes, in theory a highlevel wizard can sing the "everything you can do, I can do better..." song but only if you assume he has completely free reign over his spell selection. If a campaign actually adheres strictly to the guidelines for how wizards learn new spells, its not as easy as you think. Especially if the GM limits the availability of Spell Scrolls and the campaign down time it takes to research new spells.

Wizards do have virtually free reign over spell selection, compared to earlier editions.

3rd Edition did away with many of the restrictions, such as max spells knowable per level (based on Int). Used to be, there was a hard cap, that many PCs found tough to adhere to. Do you learn that level 2 spell, knowing that it fills your final level 2 slot? That's it, that's your level 2 spell menu fixed, for the rest of your life. Do you want to risk it? What if something better comes along, and you've blown your chance to learn it?

3rd Ed also gave an explicit instructions that wizards learn 2 spells/level, of their choice. Difficult for a GM to limit that number, or restrict that choice, without appearing to be a miser.

3rd Ed set the Magic Mart rules as the default. Difficult for a GM to limit that, without appearing miserly.

3rd Ed also set official guidelines for PC wealth, that would make King Croesus green with envy. And worded them in such a way that many GMs believe that if their PCs blow the lot on consumables, they are obliged to increase future loot to keep WBL up to par (see the Arcanist playtest discussions I took part in). Therefore, in games with such GMs, all consumables (such as scrolls) are effectively free of charge.

PF decided wizards didn't have enough access to spells, so they made some of them castable infinity/day, and lifted the restriction on casting spells from opposition schools. Difficult to limit that, without appearing mean.

If a GM is limiting the availability of scrolls, and vetoing the Wizard PCs from copying each other's (or NPCs) spellbooks, or applying any other speedbumps on the road to 'all wizard PCs know every spell they want', then he isn't 'adhering strictly to the guidelines for how wizards learn new spells'.


Personally I hate balance.
In my first ride as a GM, I ask players to throw best of 3d6 for their character starting level.


Morain wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

So once again how is some thing that is broken for everyone good for the game?

Don't say "you" and try to put me in a category until you know more about me as a gamer. I was just trying to get you to clarify things like I am now.

I can't think of an example of such a thing off the top of my head right now, but yes I'll have to agree that something that is truly objectively broken is bad. Also I apologize for making assumptions about you.

Thanks.. :)

I cant think of anything either other than some of the theoretical characters in WoTC's old 3.5 forum. My point however was not so much asking for a specific example, but how such an idea if you could think of one, could be good.

I think you are saying to keep many of the things that some consider to be OP, which I agree with. If a group/GM does not like them they are free to not use them. I also think that since the game changes at various levels some groups are better off stopping the game at certain levels. Everything is not for everybody.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So I just listened to a recording of a gencon panel where some of the devs talked about the fatigue system of unchained. I really like what I'm hearing and I hope its as good as it sounds. In theory it could make feats a more flexible resource, maybe not akin to spells, but much more flexible. I'd really like to see that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I care about balance to the extent that if character A is better than character B 100% of the time we're playing, then I'm concerned.

So far I've never actually been concerned.

I work very hard to avoid the 15-minute adventuring day, so the spellcasters don't dominate. I have a tacit agreement with my players that as long as they don't try to break my game, I won't use GMing power or optimisation against them.

The bard is better at diplomacy than the paladin is better at fighting demons than the fighter is better at stealth than the wizard is better at magic than the bard.

In other words, if someone goes out of their way to clamber over the niche of another player's character, then they're not actually trying to play a cooperative game.


I think equivalence is good as long as it does not lead to sameness.

An example of giving a nice thing to the martials is 7 league leap. I would love for an ability like that to come online like around 9th. maybe a little later.

What about an ability that let someone hold their breath for min/hour/days instead of rounds?

What about leaps that take you to the 5th story of the building? Okay so some monks can pull this off.

What about giving knock to rouges?

Find the path to rangers?

Legend lore to investigators?

None of this has to work like the spell per say but a similar ability that works as well would be nice. And if that means that these feel to similar to wizard then maybe some of this should not be available as a spell.


Kolokotroni wrote:
So I just listened to a recording of a gencon panel where some of the devs talked about the fatigue system of unchained. I really like what I'm hearing and I hope its as good as it sounds. In theory it could make feats a more flexible resource, maybe not akin to spells, but much more flexible. I'd really like to see that.

Can you elaborate? I haven't been putting my ear to the ground but Unchained is what I'm looking forward to most from Paizo next year.


Pathfinder jumped the shark for me with the release of Mythic Adventures and the Advanced Class Guide. I can no longer take sifting each book for options that shouldn't even be in the game. The scaling has been bad practically since the beginning, it keeps getting worse and worse with each new book. Come and Get Me, Greater Blood Elemental, Slayer, Swashbuckler, Arcanist, and new spells and feats superior to old spells and feats combined with no support to make encounters strong enough to deal with all the player options. Stale monsters built using the old method, while damage and saves keep on rising for the PCs making monsters into cottony speed bumps easily beaten. I can't take it any more.

I came over to Pathfinder when I didn't like 4E. Now I'm leaving Pathfinder because I can't stand the game any longer. I think it is empirically provable that the developers have allowed this game to reach a nightmarish level of difficulty for DMs to run for anyone other than neophyte players that don't know where to find all the options that put a character over the top. It doesn't take those players long to learn what to take to destroy any encounter a DM can run unless he goes way outside the normal rules to build encounters.

When you hand players options monsters can't begin to challenge, something is wrong with the game. Right now any player with even minor system mastery can stumble onto a character that can destroy encounters within a group dynamic, especially so at higher level. Seems every game goes this way if it is around long enough. I haven't seen a group of game developers yet that could keep a game from becoming an exercise in futility for the DM and game-breaking optimization for the PCs.

At least had a lot of fun with Pathfinder for years, but it's broken as far as what I desire for a gaming experience. I can't DM it any longer without having to review every option my players choose. Even with a review, the PCs can defeat every enemy with relative ease even when I go well beyond with CRs. Too much work for too little fun as a DM.


Also I like PF because its setting material is great. The APs a generally well done. I find the system easy to run. It is far more balanced then many other rules heavy system. RIFTs and GUPRs are not even worth a discussion of balance.

Shadowrun is imbalanced but is at least mostly balanced with niche. I can not see combat build that can out face the face or hacker that can do combat that a street sam.

In mage I can not thing an arcanum where a 4 in x is better the 5 in y.


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For me, the game rules exist as a framework for the shared experience.

Does it really matter that one character is objectively "better" or "more powerful" than others? Only if it matters to the players. But the role of "power" tells you an awful lot about the players' expectations and what the book implies about about the themes of the game.

Not all RPGs are power fantasies.

Yes, there is a type of RPG that is well-suited to power fantasies, and it sometimes attracts groups of players for whom equality of power is very important. This makes sense, because if what you're after is a power fantasy then there's no better way to ruin that than by being overshadowed by a more powerful ultra-powerful powerman.

I also play some games where power balance is skewed and I enjoy them. Why? Because they still give you knobs to twist. They still let you interface with the system. You can still be good or bad at them. You can still learn them over time. You can play a character that is objectively less powerful than the guy next to you, and enjoy the experience of playing a role.

Not every character is equal in fiction. If your motivation in RP is not to demonstrate your power or superiority, but simply to embody another life for a while, then you don't need to expend all that effort balancing the players' power totals against each other.

For people who mainly get off on the power fantasy in RPGs (and I do, some of the time!), it can be very difficult to relate to enjoying a sub-optimal character. You could think of it as choosing to play on a harder mode. Having to do more with less. Even this doesn't entirely capture the appeal though. Sometimes it's just about making the unreal real, and a rule-set can help to solidify things even if there's no balance in it. After all, there are rules in life, and life is decidedly imbalanced.

So YES, I do care about balance when my friends and I get together and play the game where we build a super-powered powerman by picking from lists of powers grouped by theme and then get to demonstrate our POWER! by killing monsters.

And NO, the best RP experiences of my life have very little to do with that. Almost entirely, my most fond memories have nothing to do with being powerful, often quite the opposite; triumph despite the odds.


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Mathius wrote:


Shadowrun is imbalanced but is at least mostly balanced with niche. I can not see combat build that can out face the face or hacker that can do combat that a street sam.

in SR 3rd mages can do what mundanes can plus do magic. Dont know 4th good enough to comment.


Umbranus wrote:
Mathius wrote:


Shadowrun is imbalanced but is at least mostly balanced with niche. I can not see combat build that can out face the face or hacker that can do combat that a street sam.

in SR 3rd mages can do what mundanes can plus do magic. Dont know 4th good enough to comment.

The balancing mechanic in SR3 was essence. You had a continuum with magic at one end and cyberware on the other, and the game let you play around and try to find the optimal balance.

That said, magic was powerful. VERY powerful.

But the main counter to all of that power is baked right into the lore of the game: "Magical superiority through faster firepower." And the preponderance of initiative enhancers come from cyber- and bio-ware. Mages did have options to increase initiative, but they also eat up effectiveness through sustained spells.

This is all IIRC. It's been a long time.

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Snorter wrote:

Wizards do have virtually free reign over spell selection, compared to earlier editions.

3rd Edition did away with many of the restrictions, such as max spells knowable per level (based on Int). Used to be, there was a hard cap, that many PCs found tough to adhere to. Do you learn that level 2 spell, knowing that it fills your final level 2 slot? That's it, that's your level 2 spell menu fixed, for the rest of your life. Do you want to risk it? What if something better comes along, and you've blown your chance to learn it?

3rd Ed also gave an explicit instructions that wizards learn 2 spells/level, of their choice. Difficult for a GM to limit that number, or restrict that choice, without appearing to be a miser.

3rd Ed set the Magic Mart rules as the default. Difficult for a GM to limit that, without appearing miserly.

3rd Ed also set official guidelines for PC wealth, that would make King Croesus green with envy. And worded them in such a way that many GMs believe that if their PCs blow the lot on consumables, they are obliged to increase future loot to keep WBL up to par (see the Arcanist playtest discussions I took part in). Therefore, in games with such GMs, all consumables (such as scrolls) are effectively free of charge.

PF decided wizards didn't have enough access to spells, so they made some of them castable infinity/day, and lifted the restriction on casting spells from opposition schools. Difficult to limit that, without appearing mean.

If a GM is limiting the availability of scrolls, and vetoing the...

Comparatively wizards do have it much easier, but a GM can limit things within the rules to make it tougher than you suggest.

Enforce magic item availability in towns. 75% chance to have a particular scroll under the base value. No reason to make every NPC wizard friendly and allow spellbook copying. Count the wizards spellbook against their WBL. (If you buy a consumable and turn it into a permanent thing it should count against WBL as long as you have that permanent thing.)

If the wizard takes the spellbook adventuring, be willing to put it at risk. I'm not saying target it like a homing missile, but if the player never worries about their spellbook at all and takes it for granted, you're ignoring a built-in weakness of the class. I've never understood why, if wizards are so OP, that attacking their biggest weakness is out of bounds.


Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:
Pathfinder jumped the shark for me with the release of Mythic Adventures and the Advanced Class Guide. I can no longer take sifting each book for options that shouldn't even be in the game. The scaling has been bad practically since the beginning, it keeps getting worse and worse with each new book. Come and Get Me, Greater Blood Elemental, Slayer, Swashbuckler, Arcanist, and new spells and feats superior to old spells and feats combined with no support to make encounters strong enough to deal with all the player options. Stale monsters built using the old method, while damage and saves keep on rising for the PCs making monsters into cottony speed bumps easily beaten. I can't take it any more.

The odd thing here is that none of the things you listed are better than a core-only wizard.


ryric wrote:

Comparatively wizards do have it much easier, but a GM can limit things within the rules to make it tougher than you suggest.

Enforce magic item availability in towns. 75% chance to have a particular scroll under the base value. No reason to make every NPC wizard friendly and allow spellbook copying. Count the wizards spellbook against their WBL. (If you buy a consumable and turn it into a permanent thing it should count against WBL as long as you have that permanent thing.)

If the wizard takes the spellbook adventuring, be willing to put it at risk. I'm not saying target it like a homing missile, but if the player never worries about their spellbook at all and takes it for granted, you're ignoring a built-in weakness of the class. I've never understood why, if wizards are so OP, that attacking their biggest weakness is out of bounds.

Because it's such a binary thing: they're awesome with their spellbook, completely worthless without it. A fighter doesn't need much to contribute if he's disarmed, just unsheath your backup masterwork or +1 weapon and continue fighting. Plus, weapons tend to drop as loot off enemies. The same cannot be said for the customized spell-book that often reflects the feat and trait choices of a prepared arcane caster character. Destroy that spellbook and they're out potentially thousands of gold and weeks worth of effort to rebuild it. It's an effective tactic, just not a very fun one for the players.

Now, targeting foci and spell-component pouches, THAT is completely kosher in my book.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:
Pathfinder jumped the shark for me with the release of Mythic Adventures and the Advanced Class Guide.

To be fair, Mythic Adventures was never really intended to be a part of every core game like the Ultimate books were. It was specifically meant for the kind of game where the characters are playing Beowulf, Hercules, Achilles, etc. where they're pretty much demigods even at low levels. They were kind of supposed to be crazy OP.

Advanced Class Guide is actually pretty solid. There's few things that are really OP (I think the Pummeling tree toes that line because of somewhat ambiguous wording; the feat for divine casters to add their CHA to saves is more annoying than OP), and lots of really solid material. The ACG's problem isn't overpowered options (there's more underpowered materials than anything), it's horrific editing and somewhat questionable development in the archetypes. From a balance perspective, it's actually a better balanced block of material than the CRB, with only two full casters, one of whom has a fairly limited spell list and the other with fewer spells per day at most levels than any of his peers combined with multiple class features that all want to feed on one limited resource pool.


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chaoseffect wrote:


Going back to the ridiculous example of the mop wielding fighter, yeah, if there was a specific weapon entry for "mop" I don't think asking for it to be something more than "every weapon but worse" would be asking too much.

Ha, Is the mop analogy the succesor of waterballons?


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Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:

Pathfinder jumped the shark for me with the release of Mythic Adventures and the Advanced Class Guide. I can no longer take sifting each book for options that shouldn't even be in the game. The scaling has been bad practically since the beginning, it keeps getting worse and worse with each new book. Come and Get Me, Greater Blood Elemental, Slayer, Swashbuckler, Arcanist, and new spells and feats superior to old spells and feats combined with no support to make encounters strong enough to deal with all the player options. Stale monsters built using the old method, while damage and saves keep on rising for the PCs making monsters into cottony speed bumps easily beaten. I can't take it any more.

I came over to Pathfinder when I didn't like 4E. Now I'm leaving Pathfinder because I can't stand the game any longer. I think it is empirically provable that the developers have allowed this game to reach a nightmarish level of difficulty for DMs to run for anyone other than neophyte players that don't know where to find all the options that put a character over the top. It doesn't take those players long to learn what to take to destroy any encounter a DM can run unless he goes way outside the normal rules to build encounters.

I still enjoy Pathfinder, but I totally agree with your criticisms of designing encounters as a GM. The monsters in the bestiaries and NPCs in modules, are too often woefully under CRd at this point. Its to the point where whenever I go to start designing an encounter, the first questions I ask are:

1. What monsters fit the environment/encounter I want to run
2. How much work will I need to put in to make them actual threats to soak up party resources.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Squirrel_Dude wrote:

I still enjoy Pathfinder, but I totally agree with your criticisms of designing encounters as a GM. The monsters in the bestiaries and NPCs in modules, are too often woefully under CRd at this point. Its to the point where whenever I go to start designing an encounter, the first questions I ask are:

1. What monsters fit the environment/encounter I want to run
2. How much work will I need to put in to make them actual threats to soak up party resources.

Keep in mind, same CR fights are supposed to be things the PCs can handily win with a minimum expenditure of resources, and it's not until you hit APL+3 that you're actually looking at the point where the game is intended to really pose any kind of significant challenge to the party. And even within that framework, the side with the most action economy will always have a powerful advantage.

I think the real flaw in CR is that it pretends a 13th level Fighter BBEG should be equally as challenging as a 13th level Wizard or Cleric, which just simply isn't the case. That flaw, of course, underlies the whole system, not just CR, and is the reason threads like this exist.


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Squirrel_Dude wrote:
Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:

Pathfinder jumped the shark for me with the release of Mythic Adventures and the Advanced Class Guide. I can no longer take sifting each book for options that shouldn't even be in the game. The scaling has been bad practically since the beginning, it keeps getting worse and worse with each new book. Come and Get Me, Greater Blood Elemental, Slayer, Swashbuckler, Arcanist, and new spells and feats superior to old spells and feats combined with no support to make encounters strong enough to deal with all the player options. Stale monsters built using the old method, while damage and saves keep on rising for the PCs making monsters into cottony speed bumps easily beaten. I can't take it any more.

I came over to Pathfinder when I didn't like 4E. Now I'm leaving Pathfinder because I can't stand the game any longer. I think it is empirically provable that the developers have allowed this game to reach a nightmarish level of difficulty for DMs to run for anyone other than neophyte players that don't know where to find all the options that put a character over the top. It doesn't take those players long to learn what to take to destroy any encounter a DM can run unless he goes way outside the normal rules to build encounters.

I still enjoy Pathfinder, but I totally agree with your criticisms of designing encounters as a GM. The monsters in the bestiaries and NPCs in modules, are too often woefully under CRd at this point. Its to the point where whenever I go to start designing an encounter, the first questions I ask are:

1. What monsters fit the environment/encounter I want to run
2. How much work will I need to put in to make them actual threats to soak up party resources.

Honestly, I dont find any difference between the work i have to do now and the work I had to do when I ran council of thieves when the game first started. I wonder if its more increased system mastery over time in your group as opposed to the actual options getting stronger.

In my mind, pathfinder became 'complete' with the advanced class guide. If you take the core rulebook+advanced class guide as your baseline of ability, no book since has represented a signficant disparity from that in terms of the spectrum of power.

What I mean by that is ofcourse some options will be better then others, since not all options are equal, but the spread of powerful vs weak options, is relatively similar.

My experience has basically been, in each major release, there have been a couple options that are poblematic, a significant number that kind of suck, and then everything else being somewhere in between.

In general if the scale is non-optimized rogue to tricked out summoner or druid, then I dont know of anything that moves outside that except possibly the arcanist. Are there specific options in the game that are an issue? Yea, but there were aspects of the corebook I houseruled when it first came out, so the idea of not allowing a few specific options to maintain the integrity of my table isnt foreign to me or my group.

But as a rule of thumb with paizo aps. If your group has a habit of walking over most encounters, whatever is there in the encounter, double it. Just put two of everything. Paizo aps and the CR system are pretty much designed for a baseline of 15point buy non-optimized characters. Chances are as your group has gotten comfortable with pathfinder at least one of those things isnt the case anymore (probably both). It certainly is in my group. So I adjust for it in that one very simple way.


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Kolokotroni wrote:

What I cant easily account for is that a for a party of a druid, wizard, summoner and cleric, a 50ft gap is effectively an irrelavent challenge at a certain level. For a fighter, ranger, rogue, paladin party its impassable.

This is what I mean by balance. That the impact the character makes on the story without my direct intervention as dm, is similar. Not the same, but similar.

I agree. This is where it's really needed.

I keep looking down into the can of worms, because I never learn:
I think one big problem in Pathfinder (the entire martial/caster disparity. Please note that I don't know much about general consensus or regular arguments and standpoints on this topic, I just hear about it a lot) is that casters gains access to some game-changing powers quite early, while most martials can't get it at all (in class).
Again with the 50ft gap example: I think it's to early to pass it with ease at level 6 (when full casters can cast Fly) and waaay to much 'never' for martials to ever be able to do it.
But again, it wouldn't be solved if every martial could cast fly at level 6 either (as no one suggested ever, just an example).

Now I'm sticking my finger into the can... eeew
Level 20 caster can do all sorts of things; call on angels to battle, create new worlds, preform miracles and the list goes on. My problem with this isn't that a caster can do this, otherwise it would be missing form the game.
My problem is that a martial never reaches this hight (and again, I hope this changes with Unchained).

A level 20 fighter just learns to hit his enemies very good, auto confirming crits and up-ing the crit multiplier...
This is where a fighter should be able to wear and wield anything without any problems. This is where a fighter should be able to penetrate a meer wind wall and shoot the caster long before he gets into range to cast his fireball.

That not too much to ask for at level 20, while his party wizard creats new worlds.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Kolokotroni covered that very nicely. All I would add is to reiterate a point I touched on earlier, which is that the Arcanist is basically wildly overrated and nowhere near as powerful as some posters with more alarmist tendencies have made out. A well-optimized CRB Wizard has and continues to mark the upmost levels of power in the game at pretty much any level of play (with Summoner, Druid, and Cleric crowded close behind), while an unoptimized Rogue still marks the bottom. There hasn't really been anything introduced (with maybe a few weird splatbook options like Sacred Geometry) that steps outside the demarcations of power established in the CRB, just more things fleshing out the middle.

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Cerberus Seven wrote:

Because it's such a binary thing: they're awesome with their spellbook, completely worthless without it. A fighter doesn't need much to contribute if he's disarmed, just unsheath your backup masterwork or +1 weapon and continue fighting. Plus, weapons tend to drop as loot off enemies. The same cannot be said for the customized spell-book that often reflects the feat and trait choices of a prepared arcane caster character. Destroy that spellbook and they're out potentially thousands of gold and weeks worth of effort to rebuild it. It's an effective tactic, just not a very fun one for the players.

Now, targeting foci and spell-component pouches, THAT is completely kosher in my book.

It doesn't have to be so binary. Simply letting your players know that the book is not out-of-bounds encourages them to take reasonable precautions. There are many ways to mitigate danger to your spell collection, but they require forethought and effort.

-watertight containers (at higher levels, extradimensional ones)
-backup spellbooks
-alternate materials (spells inscribed on adamantium leaf, etc.)
If your wizard players are assured that the book is safe in all circumstances then you are handing power for free to what is widely considered the most powerful class. If your entire livelihood and in fact your very life depended on that book you would take steps to keep it safe. One might even say that you could get obsessive about it. Wizards are meant to spend resources and attention to keep their phenomenal power. Spell Mastery is not meant to be a worthless feat.

Again, the idea is not to be a jerk about it. Monsters aren't spending rounds rifling through the wizards stuff to grab the book and run off laughing. Well maybe gremlins. But if a wizard goes for an unexpected swim, my next question is "So, where do you keep your spellbook?" And if the answer is "in my (normal)backpack," that's a ruined book. Losing the book is a crippling handicap, but it's one that's built into the class. You know that when you pick it.

The last wizard in a game I ran ended up keeping two copies of all his books, one at home in his personal library and one in a portable hole used just for that purpose.


To add tiered power to things other then spells we could add skill exploits and BAB effects into feats.

If you have X ranks in acrobatics then instead check getting you the roll in feat you jump check-10 squares. This is same at 12 but 14 now gives you 20 feet and 16 gives you 30.

If you have 10 ranks in perception you can close you and use blindsight. All perception checks while doing so are made -20.

If you have 17 ranks in diplomacy you can spend an hour with some one to use dominate monster on them. Check -50 will save to negate.

BAB +17 power attack.
Split mountain: Make an attack roll against a natural feature. X DC feature is split into to similar features. Any thing on the feature is subject to the earthquake spell.

Do we really have problem a 17th level fighter killing the entire orc tribe with one swing of his axe that cleaves a mountain in two?

So that one might be to big an area but why something similar It might take him 30 swings to get through a mountain but so what.


Mathius wrote:

To add tiered power to things other then spells we could add skill exploits and BAB effects into feats.

If you have X ranks in acrobatics then instead check getting you the roll in feat you jump check-10 squares. This is same at 12 but 14 now gives you 20 feet and 16 gives you 30.

If you have 10 ranks in perception you can close you and use blindsight. All perception checks while doing so are made -20.

If you have 17 ranks in diplomacy you can spend an hour with some one to use dominate monster on them. Check -50 will save to negate.

Oh, great. Just what the bard needs. MORE abilities that he derives from his 6+Int skill points per level. That will make sure that he's not overpowered and overshadowed by the monk.

Remember that anything based on skill points or feats will be a powerup to every character, not just tier 4 characters.


How bad would it be to limit casters to spells of level X. Highten spell is a free feat and those higher level slots can be used for metamagic.

To many it feels like a fighter is a wizard limited to 1st level spells and metamagic despite having 9th level slots.

Paizo Glitterati Robot

Removed some sniping posts. Guys, we're kinda side-eyeing this thread. We'd rather not have a thread derail into a mass of back and forth accusations about how flawed other posters are, how their play style is "bad", or bringing up previous posts/dragging out other post histories. Everyone games differently, not everything works for every group, and we're OK with facilitating different views on paizo.com. Please be cool to each other and stick to discussing the topic, and not posting baiting dissertations about how "wrong" the other person is (or to ignore their posts), which not only derails discussions, but can be hurtful to others.


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Cerberus Seven wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
So I just listened to a recording of a gencon panel where some of the devs talked about the fatigue system of unchained. I really like what I'm hearing and I hope its as good as it sounds. In theory it could make feats a more flexible resource, maybe not akin to spells, but much more flexible. I'd really like to see that.
Can you elaborate? I haven't been putting my ear to the ground but Unchained is what I'm looking forward to most from Paizo next year.

The basics of it is that martials gain a "stamina pool" that is used to fuel awesome abilities, like flexible combat feats (think brawler). I can't remember the exact description, but essentially it favours martial characters over spellcasters (so even if a spellcaster has the pool, it is focussed on combat ability). I can't wait to see how it works.


Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:
Pathfinder jumped the shark for me with the release of Mythic Adventures and the Advanced Class Guide. I can no longer take sifting each book for options that shouldn't even be in the game. The scaling has been bad practically since the beginning, it keeps getting worse and worse with each new book.

You know, you dont have to allow every new book that comes out. In fact, I highly suggest you dont.


Chemlak wrote:
Cerberus Seven wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
So I just listened to a recording of a gencon panel where some of the devs talked about the fatigue system of unchained. I really like what I'm hearing and I hope its as good as it sounds. In theory it could make feats a more flexible resource, maybe not akin to spells, but much more flexible. I'd really like to see that.
Can you elaborate? I haven't been putting my ear to the ground but Unchained is what I'm looking forward to most from Paizo next year.
The basics of it is that martials gain a "stamina pool" that is used to fuel awesome abilities, like flexible combat feats (think brawler). I can't remember the exact description, but essentially it favours martial characters over spellcasters (so even if a spellcaster has the pool, it is focussed on combat ability). I can't wait to see how it works.

I like that idea. If nothing else, the ability to make an additional attack as per haste would be very helpful in solving the "full attack or suck" issue that plagues martials.


I knwo I'll probably get flamed for this, but here goes anyway. Maybe i may be stating the obvious, but it seems to me that there is a power creep that goes on when new books are introduced, and, IMHO, that directly affects game balance.
I realize Paizo is a business, and therefore needs to put out more resources to make money. But it seems that after 30 years of gaming, more books= less balance.
I can remember going through this with the past iterations of D&D, except for 1st ed. 2nd edition came out, was good, then the 'Complete" series came out. 3.5 I enjoyed, until there were a ton of books to look through.
I enjoyed 4th edition when only the Core rulebook was out, and I remember thinking "Jeez I really think this is good, I hope they don't ruin it with more books". Flush.
I enjoy PF, mostly because my group hadnt been using any of the other books until recently, and I'm noticing the power creep.
I just got the D&D 5e PH, and I realy, really like the setup of it, and I'm hoping they just add archtypes and backgrounds with each book, because hoping that they're not going to make more books is a pipe dream.
Don't get me wrong, I think resource books are great for Campaigns and fluff/ background. but I think when they start introducing new feats that are used by classes that maybe they didnt intend or think about when coming up with said feat(s), and it made some class builds rediculous.

Again, just my opinion. Go easy and leave the torches and pitchforks where they are. :)


lorenlord wrote:

I knwo I'll probably get flamed for this, but here goes anyway. Maybe i may be stating the obvious, but it seems to me that there is a power creep that goes on when new books are introduced, and, IMHO, that directly affects game balance.

I realize Paizo is a business, and therefore needs to put out more resources to make money. But it seems that after 30 years of gaming, more books= less balance.
I can remember going through this with the past iterations of D&D, except for 1st ed. 2nd edition came out, was good, then the 'Complete" series came out. 3.5 I enjoyed, until there were a ton of books to look through.
I enjoyed 4th edition when only the Core rulebook was out, and I remember thinking "Jeez I really think this is good, I hope they don't ruin it with more books". Flush.
I enjoy PF, mostly because my group hadnt been using any of the other books until recently, and I'm noticing the power creep.
I just got the D&D 5e PH, and I realy, really like the setup of it, and I'm hoping they just add archtypes and backgrounds with each book, because hoping that they're not going to make more books is a pipe dream.
Don't get me wrong, I think resource books are great for Campaigns and fluff/ background. but I think when they start introducing new feats that are used by classes that maybe they didnt intend or think about when coming up with said feat(s), and it made some class builds rediculous.

Again, just my opinion. Go easy and leave the torches and pitchforks where they are. :)

Too Late


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Balance, heh heh heh. I suppose so, from a gamist or player's point of view. Like has been said, nobody wants to feel useless or watch some other player have all the fun. That being said...

Why should somebody who has spent their whole life mastering martial arts be as good in any situation as somebody who spent all their time kissing up to gods for favors? Why should they be as flexible as someone who took the time to learn how to make physical and metaphysical laws sit down and do as they're told? One person can cast mighty magics to create a new dimension to their liking. Is it really unjust that a mere-sword swinger feels less powerful? They are less powerful.

It's just... nobody wants to play that game. And so they shouldn't - it's meant to be fun after all. But unless you're playing a wuxia campaign, or something with very blurry lines between martial arts and magic, martials are always going to feel second rate before too long. That's because, in a world as posited by many fantasy RPGs, they are. Pathfinder operates under the assumption that you'll have a certain amount of gear at a given level. What type of gear? Magical. So hey, the martials can't even do their basic jobs without help from the people who paid attention in class.

Play a balanced campaign, with whatever rules are necessary to get that feel for you. Nothing at all wrong or bad in that. It's just, well, as someone who worked hard in school to get ahead in my life, I don't at all feel bad when some of the jocks and ne'er-do-wells that I went to school with aren't lords of the manor now that school is over. I wasn't the strongest, or the biggest, or the wealthiest, and I caught the same troubles that many "weird" kids caught in school. But I've been rewarded for my perseverance. That's the wizard right there.

Here, now, there are fabulous martial artists and athletes who can do amazing things with their bodies. They've worked hard, and that work has paid off. I admire them, and I mean no disrespect in any way. There are, sadly, no archmagi. That being said, If there were incantations coupled with bat dung that let people throw huge explosive blasts, or inflict absolute paralysis from afar, or, I don't know, open interdimensional portals and command strange alien beings to paint my house, I know which one I'd spend my time studying. High kick, or alter physics? Five-point exploding palm, or alter physics for my personal benefit? Greatest swordsman in the world, or ALTER PHYSICS to get anything I might desire? Hmmm, tough choice.

So, to sum up: game balance? Sure. Go for it. Love it. Everyone wants to have fun. Is it logical, or internally consistent? Not really. But so what - do what is fun.


Kolokotroni wrote:
Squirrel Dude wrote:

I still enjoy Pathfinder, but I totally agree with your criticisms of designing encounters as a GM. The monsters in the bestiaries and NPCs in modules, are too often woefully under CRd at this point. Its to the point where whenever I go to start designing an encounter, the first questions I ask are:

1. What monsters fit the environment/encounter I want to run
2. How much work will I need to put in to make them actual threats to soak up party resources.

Honestly, I dont find any difference between the work i have to do now and the work I had to do when I ran council of thieves when the game first started. I wonder if its more increased system mastery over time in your group as...

I'll try to respond to what both you and Ssalarn have said about this in one post for time constraint reasons. While I agree that the top power mechanics and bottom tier mechanics haven't changed (wizards rule, rogues drool), the knowledge of players about the game has. Lower tier characters have more powerful options available to them, and better feats than what was available in the Core Rulebook. Unfortunately, the monsters in the bestiary haven't been afforded that same option, so I feel obligated to try and update them when possible.

Even if more people are just playing tier 3 or 4 characters (more magi, psychic warriors, or stalkers), it still changes the game's dynamic significantly because you now have 4 characters you should expect will have some way to contribute in a fight or defeat an encounter. More to the point, I have 4 characters who are harder to shut down. Of course I'm happy about this. I would rather have players who can contribute during a session and aren't trying to find something to do because their character's can't do anything. Nonetheless, this increases the preparation I need to do as a GM because I now have more relevant abilities to try and anticipate when designing a series of encounters.

Of course, wizards and clerics can already break tons of encounters, but when there are fewer characters able to contribute or solve a situation for themselves, the cleric and wizard have to expend more of their own resources to cover for them.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Chemlak wrote:
Cerberus Seven wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
So I just listened to a recording of a gencon panel where some of the devs talked about the fatigue system of unchained. I really like what I'm hearing and I hope its as good as it sounds. In theory it could make feats a more flexible resource, maybe not akin to spells, but much more flexible. I'd really like to see that.
Can you elaborate? I haven't been putting my ear to the ground but Unchained is what I'm looking forward to most from Paizo next year.
The basics of it is that martials gain a "stamina pool" that is used to fuel awesome abilities, like flexible combat feats (think brawler). I can't remember the exact description, but essentially it favours martial characters over spellcasters (so even if a spellcaster has the pool, it is focussed on combat ability). I can't wait to see how it works.

From what I heard, basically its an addon. Everyone can get stamina, which is based off constitution I believe. And there will be specific effects that you can use your stamina to create based on specific feats, of which the majority will be combat feats. The example they gave was if you have power attack, you would be able to REALLY power attack. I certainly hope that applies to other things, like say combat maneuver feats, and some of the other less 'do damagy' combat feats. But there is alot of potential there. Since there wont be a playtest of unchained (the playtest will be of the new psychic magic classes from occult adventures), we will just have to wait and see.


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ryric wrote:


Comparatively wizards do have it much easier, but a GM can limit things within the rules to make it tougher than you suggest.

Enforce magic item availability in towns. 75% chance to have a particular scroll under the base value.

Gratz. You have mildly inconvenienced the Wizard, and absolutely crippled the martial characters.


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ElCrabofAnger wrote:


But unless you're playing a wuxia campaign, or something with very blurry lines between martial arts and magic, martials are always going to feel second rate before too long. That's because, in a world as posited by many fantasy RPGs, they are. Pathfinder operates under the assumption that you'll have a certain amount of gear at a given level. What type of gear? Magical. So hey, the martials can't even do their basic jobs without help from the people who paid attention in class.

Except why should "realism" have to apply only to martial characters?

There are lots of cinematic examples where there's no magic at all, but where the heroes get to do awesome stuff because they're heroes and that's what the adventure demands. This can be as mundane as the sixguns that shoot seven or eight shots or the car that manages to drive from Jersey City to the Brooklyn Bridge in thirty seconds, through the slightly more noticeable doctor who can diagnose diseases over the phone and the hacker who can break into the bank's computer in thirty seconds using only a touch-tone phone, up to Indiana Jones hiding in a lead-lined refrigerator to avoid being killed in a nuclear test.

None of those are in any way magical. They're just cool, and they make for a better story.

A magus can charge through a gauntlet of mooks, disabling every one of them, without them getting a chance to react. (It's a spell, Bladed Dash, Greater.) But Chuck Norris can do the same thing any time the director wants him to, and he's not a spell-casters.


Orfamay Quest wrote:


Except why should "realism" have to apply only to martial characters?

Double standards.

Particularly I wonder why so few things affects concentration checks?
The mid to high level wizard can be shaken, sickened, exhausted, blinded and he can basically still auto-succed on his concentration checks.


To be fair, if he's Blinded he can't really cast spells anyway.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Squirrel_Dude wrote:

I'll try to respond to what both you and Ssalarn have said about this in one post for time constraint reasons. While I agree that the top power mechanics and bottom tier mechanics haven't changed (wizards rule, rogues drool), the knowledge of players about the game has. Lower tier characters have more powerful options available to them, and better feats than what was available in the Core Rulebook. Unfortunately, the monsters in the bestiary haven't been afforded that same option, so I feel obligated to try and update them when possible.

Even if more people are just playing tier 3 or 4 characters (more magi, psychic warriors, or stalkers), it still changes the game's dynamic significantly because you now have 4 characters you should expect will have some way to contribute in a fight or defeat an encounter. More to the point, I have 4 characters who are harder to shut down. Of course I'm happy about this. I would rather have players who can contribute during a session and aren't trying to find something to do because their character's can't do anything. Nonetheless, this increases the preparation I need to do as a GM because I now have more relevant abilities to try and anticipate when designing a series of encounters.

Of course, wizards and clerics can already break tons of encounters, but when there are fewer characters able to contribute or solve a situation for themselves, the cleric and wizard have to expend more of their own resources to cover for them.

But this isnt an actual balance issue. This is a player knowledge issue. A core rules only party made up of an optimized druid, wizard, bard and paladin isnt really less work to prep for then 99% of what can be put together using the entirety of the rules today. This goes down to like 99.9% if you include the APG in your base assumption.

Just because your players werent using it to its fullest at the start of the game and they are now doesnt mean power creep is going on. It just means your players are learning the things that work and that they like. But the game itself is balanced exactly where it was at the start of its existence.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

DD's quote:
DrDeth wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:


He was playing the actual "Crossbowman" archetype, under the assumption that if there's an entire archetype for a weapon, it must make it worthwhile. If there was an archetype called "Club Specialist", most players would assume that something about said archetype makes wielding a club worthwhile. If it doesn't, that just feeds back into the issue at hand of some classes just being subpar. He didn't have to-hit boosting feats because he had to feed the monstrous feat construct that led up to his vital striking double crossbow with Dex and 2xInt to damage cannon. Real classy calling my friend stupid by the way, that definitely helps your argument.

The wizard used a longbow (because she was an elf).

That's not a bad Archetype. But really, no PB shot, no Precise Shot, no Weapon Focus? PB shot is near a requirement.

And with that archetype, he'd want a 18 Dex, he didnt have that? It gets fairly dangerous @ 3rd level with a high Dex.

In any case, I dont understand why he didnt have a high Dex or Con. What did his spend his ability points on? How did the Elf end up with a higher DEX? (yes, the elf gets +2 but a Human can put +2 in Dex also).

Why was the Elf's Con higher than the Fighters? It would have to be to have the Wiz "(her Fort was a bit lower,)", since her base save is 3 less. So somehow the Elf had a High Int, a High Dex and a High Con, and the Fighter had lower DEX and CON. Odd, given the fact that elves get a -2 to CON.

With a 20 pt buy, how did the elf put enuf points in CON (as well as Int, Dex, and even STR since a dumped STR would give a minus to damage) to be higher in CON as well as DEX?

In other words, the numbers you gave make no sense at all given any sort of vaguely optimized build for the Fighter. A fighter who is going for the CB archetype can easily have a 18 in DEX and a 14 in CON, and still leave enuf points for a couple of 12's in STR and WIS. In order for the ELF to have a 16 CON she'd have to start with a 18. Or perhaps she only put a 16 there, down to 14, but the Fighter only put a 10???? I can't see any point combo where the elf wizard has a higher CON, and the only build that makes math sense has a lower CON. (Which means, a fort save a LOT lower than "a bit"). And the DEX should be the same, at the very least, but a higher DEX is the best optimized build for the Fighter.

It's about the same amount of time to buff 4 as it is to buff 1, if you're not counting time. But yes, few DM's allow casters to spam a cantrip every minute all day long, casting it 1000 times a day or so. So, if the elf was casting Resistance every minute just on her, that's rather selfish in a TEAM game.

Not to mention what with having Mage armor up all day (only a hour per level)and Gravity Bow for every combat, that doesn't leave many spell slots. In fact- there's not enuf slots. Five is Max (unless along with her 18 CON and 16-18 DEX she also had a 20 INT??), and with four combats that leaves one for mage armor.

So, either you numbers are off, or the Elf Wizard had higher abilities (maybe you guys roll?) and she optimized but he didn't. I would like to see the numbers. Please.

And if you have one player optimizing and another not, then a comparo is meaningless.

Response:

The Fighter's stats were: STR 14 DEX 16 CON 10 INT 16 WIS 10 CHA 8

He needed INT for Kirin Strike to get his big damage boosts (Crossbowman doesn't get full DEX to damage until 11th level, so adding INT gave him better damage, something to do with his swift action, and a reason to dip monk in a few levels to boost his saves), and so that he could contribute outside of combat, enough strength to lug around the monster of a double crossbow he was building to use, a (heavy I think?) crossbow that he could fire more reliably when reloading as a move action was infeasible, and moderate facility in basic Fighter skills and with a back-up melee weapon.

The Wizard's stats were: STR 10 DEX 16 (14+2) CON 12 INT 18 (16+2) WIS 12 CHA 8

So yes, the numbers all add up, my Fighter player wasn't an idiot like you've been trying to imply and was actually doing a commendable job of making a well-rounded and competent character, and to make sure we haven't forgotten the point of all this, this is just one of many examples that "things are balanced at low levels because casters are weak there", just isn't true. Casters start out competent with the freedom to devote their resources where they will since they only require one stat actually be leaned on. The wizard had better saves, comparable AC when it mattered, nearly the same to-hit with the ability to spike her damage higher, self-made scrolls for stretching out the benefits of spellcasting (scrolls essentially being spell slots limited only by wealth and action economy), and gobs of other utility options that the Fighter just didn't have, despite being far more competent and well-rounded than most Fighters. At the brief, shining moment when the Fighter finally got to bring his build and got the nice save boost from dipping monk, the wizard learned how to fly and had been able to turn invisible for two levels.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Orfamay Quest wrote:
ElCrabofAnger wrote:


But unless you're playing a wuxia campaign, or something with very blurry lines between martial arts and magic, martials are always going to feel second rate before too long. That's because, in a world as posited by many fantasy RPGs, they are. Pathfinder operates under the assumption that you'll have a certain amount of gear at a given level. What type of gear? Magical. So hey, the martials can't even do their basic jobs without help from the people who paid attention in class.

Except why should "realism" have to apply only to martial characters?

There are lots of cinematic examples where there's no magic at all, but where the heroes get to do awesome stuff because they're heroes and that's what the adventure demands. This can be as mundane as the sixguns that shoot seven or eight shots or the car that manages to drive from Jersey City to the Brooklyn Bridge in thirty seconds, through the slightly more noticeable doctor who can diagnose diseases over the phone and the hacker who can break into the bank's computer in thirty seconds using only a touch-tone phone, up to Indiana Jones hiding in a lead-lined refrigerator to avoid being killed in a nuclear test.

None of those are in any way magical. They're just cool, and they make for a better story.

A magus can charge through a gauntlet of mooks, disabling every one of them, without them getting a chance to react. (It's a spell, Bladed Dash, Greater.) But Chuck Norris can do the same thing any time the director wants him to, and he's not a spell-casters.

You dont even have to go to these kinds of extremes. You dont even need to go outside the fantasy genre. Example, a mid level rogue-ish character has a network of spies that tell him everything of note going on in the city/region/whatever. Theres two guys like that in game of thrones, no magic required. Then theres guys who have a significant army at their beck and call, enhancing their presense in social situations, and representing a significant bit of power they can wield in a fight. Thats like 1/2 the prominent charactes from game of thrones. Again, no magic required, and completely realistic.

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