Channel as swift action... Problems?


Advice


I've got a player in my group who very unselfishly chooses to be his party's healer every time. The trouble he's running into is that he often finds himself trapped in a state of having to drop a channel every round so he never has any time left over to contribute to combat in any other way, which makes combat for him atrociously boring.

I'm considering allowing him to use channeling as a swift action, which would limit its use to once per round, but not get in the way of him perhaps making another attack or casting a spell or any other potentially fun or interesting thing besides watching his turn pass by with but one immensely helpful yet immensely boring and flavorless option time after time after time.

Any potential drawbacks to this?


Drop an item that gives him that ability twice a day.


If he has to drop a channel every round, something has gone terribly wrong. Your encounters are either too hard or the cleric is working overtime. I'm betting the latter. It's not important for everyone to be tip top all the time. You should just tell your player that he should save healing for dire straights or outside of combat.


Have you took a look to Quick channel from ultimate magic?


We're in an adventure path where they were attacked by giant wasps. the wasps were hitting for d8+6 each round against 5th level characters whove been rolling badly for hit points each level. Some of them are considering spending some time to retrain their hit points which only delays the inevitable...

We've got
an orc sea reaver barbarian with an earthbreaker doing wonderfully
the tengu cleric of gozreh
the dwarven gunslinger
the elven ranger

The gunslinger multiclassed early so thats less than ideal and is doing middling damage...
The ranger is doing some middling damage as well...

Everyone gets hit hard quite often so at the moment if the cleric wants to make sure nobody dies, it seems like he's got to drop a channel each round or at least one person out of the 4 is going to drop.

Only 2 of the 4 party members are able to dish out significant damage and one of them is the cleric, who finds himself too busy channeling to do much else, so its a party of 4 with only 1 guy who's really effective at ending fights, so the fights are lasting longer than they should.

I'll admit I fell into temptation and added a 4th wasp in that encounter when there should have only been 3. It was thus a cr4 encounter for an apl5 party, but its a 'less than ideal' party build for fighting out in the open without any choke points.

I'm glad they havent meta'd. Playing what they want to play instead of trying to form a party thats ideally suited to the type of fights they're expecting to see. The fights are feeling very dynamic and exciting for everyone but the poor cleric who could get in on the action if it weren't for travelling with squishy's that can't manage to maintain their range.

Cleric is a smidge feat starved so quick channel might be alright...
Not sure if chopping his channels per day in half would leave them in a similar 'bad way'...
At least in the future I'll be resisting the temptation to throw in an extra baddie.
While eventually it'll probably be a bit less of a problem when they can start affording stuff to help them be less hittable, I do feel overall that the cleric being relegated to healing duty is kinda lame.

I've even been suggesting they might consider leadership at 7 to recruit some clerical minions but a swift channel would solve most of this... Everyone has really been enjoying the battles for being dynamic and exciting... The only thing thats not really working out well is that he's trapped in healybot mode so the one guy at the table who's interested in keeping the party alive is trapped in healybot mode and is having significantly less fun... A common problem for the party's noble healybots.

The reason I mention it is because its a mechanic that seems to play out not just in the campaign we're in now, but every campaign they're in. No matter what he's always the healer and no matter what he always finds himself keeping too many squishies alive too long and too consistantly to do much else.

I'm not opposed to the alternative of sending weaker enemies against them, but its an adventure path... They should be able to have fun running through it as written. My bad for the extra wasp changes things a little, but not much.

Swift channel would solve the one problem our table seems to have, but I'm curious if doing so would introduce 'unintended consequences'. Everyone loves the 'action'... the cleric just wants to be able to get in on it.


Maybe you give each of them a custom magic item that can store a certain amount of hit point damage for up to 5 minutes. Once the 5 minutes are up, or if the wearer removes/destroys it, the wearer takes double the damage stored in the item.

The wearer gets a very foreboding feeling if there is enough damage stored to kill him when it unleashes. A healer may treat the item as the wearer for purposes of healing, and may divide his or her healing among either.

This way they can soak up a little extra damage for a few rounds but it is still important they receive healing every 3-4 rounds if they are getting beat up on.

Scarab Sages

Have the party invested in cure wands, scrolls or potions?

Both the cleric and ranger can use wands and scrolls, with no chance of failure.
The others can use a potion, if separated from the casters.
And these can be used at your leisure between encounters.

If they go into each encounter on full hp from wand/scroll/potion use, there should be less need to be using prepared cures, spontaneous cures, or channeling during the fight.

Other options include items of barkskin, shield of faith, false life, aid, etc. So the PCs aren't hit as often, and have a pool of temp hp that must be stripped away, before healing is needed.

Consider dropping some more of these items as treasure.
That way, you remain in control of the flow of the game, and the power level of the PCs.
It's much easier to ease off on the supply of wands/scrolls/potions found, as the PCs get more resilient, than to have to compensate for an ability to swift channel, that you later regret allowing.

Silver Crusade

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Don't make your players roll for hit points. It's the dumbest mechanic possible that could lead to a wizard having more HP than a barbarian.


I use the PFS average for hit points. It works out a better than rolling on average.


Vincent Takeda wrote:
Swift channel would solve the one problem our table seems to have, but I'm curious if doing so would introduce 'unintended consequences'. Everyone loves the 'action'... the cleric just wants to be able to get in on it.

I ran an AP and introduced a mechanic that let each character heal themselves a bit to alleviate the healer burden (which no one wanted to play at the time).

Heroic Recovery - full round action, AOOs apply - allows a character to rcover 25% of their hitpoints (round down), able to be performed 3+CHA times per day

The players liked it. It gave them a strategic action potential to use. It might work well for your group too.


get blast channel, then just use it for dire circumstances.

also they shouldn't be dying all that much.


Just give him the extra feat swift channel rather than make him "buy" it with a feat slot - especially if he is feat starved, as you said.

Maybe he's become so practiced at it, he can do it more swiftly now.


The cleric could use aid or defending bone before a battle starts. If they know it is coming, that is. Dame you do not take is damage you do not need to heal in combat.

And +1 to not rolling hp. I will not play another game of D&D/PF with rolled hp and will be very wary of other RPG games with rolled hp.


Gingerbreadman wrote:
And +1 to not rolling hp. I will not play another game of D&D/PF with rolled hp and will be very wary of other RPG games with rolled hp.

I've been doing the PFS method in my game and so far I really like it. It really sucks rolling a 1 or 2 on HP, especially if you're a d10 HD class. In another game I'm playing, the GM allows rerolls on HP, with a stacking -1 for each reroll. But really that tends to just amount to the PFS method, so I think I'll just stick to that.


you can retrain HP rolls...


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Vincent Takeda wrote:
I'm glad they havent meta'd. Playing what they want to play instead of trying to form a party thats ideally suited to the type of fights they're expecting to see.

But they did. The cleric meta'd that he'd be the healbot, and everyone else meta'd that there would be a healbot.

It's time to teach your players how to be self-sufficient instead of relying on this guy to save their butts every single combat round.

Job one as others said is don't roll HP! Or if you insist on it, be prepared to fix it when it inevitably breaks characters. Let them retcon their HP to average, which will probably boost their health by 150%, which will help a lot.

It's much, MUCH better to never take damage than it is to heal damage. What is preventing the ranged players from maintaining range? Is the ranger casting entangle ever? Does the cleric ever cast any buffs? Is the cleric ending the day with spells uncast (wasted)? If there is a spell the cleric can cast that mitigates potential damage, that is inherently better than casting a heal after the fact.

Read this: a player's guide to healing in TOZ's profile. And have your players read it.

If all else fails, buff the heck out of channel's heal. Double it, or give it 1d6 per level. Who cares. Your healer's probably been getting shafted for years. This will have a few effects. One, your cleric will wait until it's effect won't overheal too much, and will consequently be doing other things. Two, it's really underpowered anyway (channel specifically and healing in general). Three, the party will start to realize, as they sit there with falling health for a few rounds, that maybe there are things they could be doing to keep themselves alive until the huge heal comes.


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There are some magic items that might help, but they are pretty expensive:

Ring of protected life: Allows a swift channel once per day, increases the range of channel by 5 ft radius, and allows the cleric to select out one additional enemy.

Channeler's Aspergillum: Fill it with holy water 3 times a day to cast Mass Cure Light Wounds.

Insignia of Valor: (Also requires Smite Evil) Can channel as a swift action when you drop an evil foe.

Phylactery of the Shepherd: Gives you the Status spell, and lets you end the spell to affect one creature with a channel as a swift action.

There are some other options if the main goal is keeping everyone alive while the cleric gets to do something else:
Phylactery of Positive Channeling: Increases your channel dice by 2d6. (Takes the headband slot, though, which sucks for a cleric.)

Shawl of Life Keeping: Lets the wearer store 10 hit points in the shawl, and they transfer back to you if you drop to -1 hit points.

Aegis of Recovery: Automatically casts Cure Mod on the wearer if you drop below zero hit points (every barbarian should have one).

Lastly, our group has had excellent luck with the spell Symbol of Healing:
Our GM ruled that the Hellknight's shield was a large enough surface to carry a symbol, so my cleric casts this spell on the shield every day (unless it wasn't triggered the day before). Since you can set the trigger to activate the spell to as complicated a condition as the GM allows, we set it to "One of us steps into the area and says 'Ow! That really hurt!'"

It's an area effect cure mod that lasts 10 minutes per level and can cure a creature once per day. It lets the combatants control their own healing a lot more, so it frees up my cleric to do other stuff.

Side note:
A Reach metamagic rod and an Extend metamagic rod will help maximize your cleric's other spells, so that will let the cleric get a bigger "bang for the buck" on the rounds that they don't have to heal.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

One item I almost always drop fairly early in a campaign (usually one for every 2 players in the party) is the healing belt from 3.5 magic item compendium. Its renewable healing anyone can use, and yes, its probably under priced, and its probably too capable, the truthfully anything that makes the cleric not have to be the bandaid is a good thing. Let the other party members use THEIR actions to deal with the problem, so the cleric can on occassion get to do something cool.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

It sounds like he's fairly entrenched as a cleric, but is he aware of the Oradin option? If he likes it, maybe he could come in as whole new character?

The beauty of Oradins is that they can do in-combat healing while fighting. They don't have to channel in combat, they just keep the life links going on other party members and lay hands on themselves as a swift action when their hit points go too low.

Another great PFS legal item for healing is Boots of the Earth.

Hmm


Make it a story feat.

Quote:

Prerequisite: Channel energy to heal allies 100 times in the heat of battle.

Benefit: You may channel energy to heal allies as a swift action or a standard action.

Normal: Channeling energy is a standard action.

If that's too much, limit its daily usage or require the cleric to expend a prepared spell (though scaling on that one can be tricky).


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If he's that much into healing, have him take a look at the oracle of life. Lots of options to cure without loosing his own standard action.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Vincent Takeda wrote:
We're in an adventure path where they were attacked by giant wasps. the wasps were hitting for d8+6 each round against 5th level characters whove been rolling badly for hit points each level. .

This is your problem right here. I would strongly suggest you consider the default of giving them full hit points for their first hit dice and average hit points. i.e. half +1 thereafter.


4 CR 3 wasps is a CR 7 fight (you calculated it as cr4). This should be non-trivial for a APL 5 group. Although the CR system isn't perfect, you should study your CR maths.

I hope I did that math right otherwise I'll look a fool hehe.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Healing can be nice, but isn't a necessary role and I encourage every group to run a campaign without a heal-bot at least once, so they can learn that, and learn not to rely on the healer as a crutch.

Your group, along with being individually optimized, is also tactically optimized. You have 3 guys whose job it is to break stuff, and a cleric who could either be shaping the battle field, increasing the lethality of the everyone else or breaking stuff himself but he 1) can only do one of those things a round, and 2) isn't doing any of them since he is being a band-aid. That is a total waste of a useful character, and even if he was being used properly, he would still be spread too thin to cover all the jobs an effective group needs to cover in a fight, since the other 3 are all just covering one job.

Honestly, I wouldn't do anything at all to help in combat healing happen more efficiently. That will just encourage your players to rely on it more, leaving poor heal-bot forever stuck in that role. What I would do is

1) Fix the hit point problem. There are many ways you can make this happen, but bottom line is you characters all need to have at least average hit points for their class/con etc.

2) Encourage the cleric to create a new character that isn't going to be a combat healer. Since only the ranger has any magic, something with magic (and some cure spells on the spell list, and condition removal or good UMD is important), but he shouldn't be a primary healer. Drop plenty of cure potions and wands so they can heal out of combat.

3) Remind your players that keeping themselves alive and playing tactically smart is their own responsibility. Fighting defensive, using withdraw to get out of danger when they are low in hp, etc. Attacking without the thought of consequence because you have a heal-bot online isn't a good use of the party action resources.

Sometimes things go wrong, and combat healing has to be done to fix a broken situation, but that should be the exception not the rule. A character should be able to get through a challenging fight without being needed to be healed in the middle of it more often than not.


Alright I gotta chime in as the cleric in question. I didn't build the cleric as a healer, just ended up becoming what happened as the party would be dead a couple times otherwise.
The issues requiring a lot of heals comes down to several issues in our current party build out.

Issue 1. We are doing an AC as DR conversion. fights are too splatty so we are treating Armor (physical armor) as DR. This is extending fights quite a bit since a lot of our damage is being absorbed by the enemies. Unfortunately I am the only character currently utilizing this mechanic as the others have light armor classes that rely on Dex.

Issue 2. Low hit points, we haven't had a chance to retrain but that will most likely come soon.

Issue 3. The ranger doesn't have cure light as a spell for another two levels. So while we do have a cure light wand (made it myself) I am still the only one who can use it.

Issue 4. The gunslinger and the ranger have not done much to increase their damage capability. the slinger due to multiclassing and screwing the build over, the ranger due to the pet being too squishy and weak to beat the DR system. So really their damages haven't increased much over level 1 or 2. The barbarian is currently the majority of our DPS.

Last issue is that I wanted the storm and water kinda cleric powers so I took Gozreh. Most of the buffs I can offer are only to hit buffs for the party. Which being AC to DR is not an issue. So instead I need damage buffs but those are usually self or only other only. You are talking 2-3 rounds/spells to get the party going, by then its heal time.

Also as it may effect a little, this is a Skulls and Shackles campaign so money has been a bit short for magic/ upgrades. Think we are now going to have enough to get the ranger an adaptive bow.


Mirwalk wrote:

Alright I gotta chime in as the cleric in question. I didn't build the cleric as a healer, just ended up becoming what happened as the party would be dead a couple times otherwise.

The issues requiring a lot of heals comes down to several issues in our current party build out.

Issue 1. We are doing an AC as DR conversion. fights are too splatty so we are treating Armor (physical armor) as DR. This is extending fights quite a bit since a lot of our damage is being absorbed by the enemies. Unfortunately I am the only character currently utilizing this mechanic as the others have light armor classes that rely on Dex.

Issue 2. Low hit points, we haven't had a chance to retrain but that will most likely come soon.

Issue 3. The ranger doesn't have cure light as a spell for another two levels. So while we do have a cure light wand (made it myself) I am still the only one who can use it.

Issue 4. The gunslinger and the ranger have not done much to increase their damage capability. the slinger due to multiclassing and screwing the build over, the ranger due to the pet being too squishy and weak to beat the DR system. So really their damages haven't increased much over level 1 or 2. The barbarian is currently the majority of our DPS.

Last issue is that I wanted the storm and water kinda cleric powers so I took Gozreh. Most of the buffs I can offer are only to hit buffs for the party. Which being AC to DR is not an issue. So instead I need damage buffs but those are usually self or only other only. You are talking 2-3 rounds/spells to get the party going, by then its heal time.

Also as it may effect a little, this is a Skulls and Shackles campaign so money has been a bit short for magic/ upgrades. Think we are now going to have enough to get the ranger an adaptive bow.

then be a man, and tank one for the team. :P


Believe me already tanking with my face on this one. :P

We just added the barbarian and he's helping a lot. Pretty much could replace the ranger and gunslinger with just about anything else and notice an improvement.
With pretty much all attacks resolving against touch due to the DR change everyone has been hitting since the word go. the ranger and slinger haven't upped their damage at all since level 1 so it doesn't feel like they have improved much, so it definitely feels like a gaping hole. So I'd say 75% of my time is either buffing or healing the party. I get a few swings otherwise.

I appreciate Vincent looking for an answer so I can join in the combat fun. Otherwise my fun is mostly the out of combat craziness that comes with controlling waves and weather in a pirate campaign. Lots of fun, but not as common as the stabby stabby.


Well, this vastly changes things. The point people have made that their characters shouldn't rely on you so much is still true. But having DR for armor penalizes these people, if there's no way to boost your AC than they're easy to hit, and since they loose things if in heavier armor they can't get DR. But I think both of them can wear medium armor and be okay with their abilities, and it will be better since their Dex going to AC is kinda useless. Also, have someone go SUNDER, and cut off their armor. Then their DR is gone and they'll go down faster.


Issue 1. We are doing an AC as DR conversion. fights are too splatty so we are treating Armor (physical armor) as DR. This is extending fights quite a bit since a lot of our damage is being absorbed by the enemies. Unfortunately I am the only character currently utilizing this mechanic as the others have light armor classes that rely on Dex.

This may be the problem!!!

Silver Crusade

This problem, and how to solve it, is clearly spelled out in The Forge of Combat. As Dave Justus said just above, this party is stuck in a dysfunctional dynamic: they rely on a healbot. Bad idea, and very non-optimal. Also as said above, they did metagame, but they meta-gamed for the sub-optimal 'we need a healbot' approach. That group would be far more effective with the cleric in another role, but it sounds like the play style of the others will not currently permit it. They are addicted to having a healbot, and have adjusted their play style to the expectation that they have one.

Basic Forge of Combat style analysis of this party:
Hammer = deals HP damage
Anvil = Battlefield Control
Arm = Support

barbarian -> Hammer
cleric -> Arm
gunslinger -> Hammer
ranger -> Hammer

This party has three Hammers and one Arm. This party completely lacks an Anvil. This sounds like how the OP describes their fights:

The Forge of Combat wrote:


Groups without Anvils: Groups without anvils typically end up having an overabundance of hammers with one or two members playing the part of arms. These groups typically have fast, furious fights where the group takes a lot of damage. In these situations the arms often take on a reactive role providing healing and buffs as able while the hammers frantically try to end the encounter quickly. Depending on the nature of the hammers this often drains the arms very quickly of resources or forces the hammers into more and more defensive roles draining overall resources more as the group is not ending encounters efficiently enough.

With three Hammers and one Arm, but no Anvil, of course that's how their fights will be!

The solution is not to amp up the healbot's healing power. The solution is for the players to learn better group tactics. There are probably lots of tactical things they could do to improve their situation, which they are unlikely to try so long as they have that healbot net to save them. Once they learn better group tactics they should not need a healbot. Since healing fails to scale with level, their situation will only get worse as they level up. Here are some examples of ways the players can improve the situation.

If the poor Healbot player creates a new character, one specialized in Battlefield Control, the group will take way less damage and will not need a dedicated healbot. The existing cleric might even be able to do the job by changing tactics. Does the poor healbot cleric ever get to cast Summon Monster spells, which are a great form of battlefield control? Would the other players know to tactically exploit summoned monsters?

Do any of the PCs provide a protective screen with a reach weapon? That's a cheap and easy form a battlefield control available to most classes. For example, that barbarian with the earthbreaker could easily provide such a screen: also carry a polearm. That will either keep foes at a distance, away from the missile PCs, else it will increase the Barbarian's total damage done, via free AoOs. Draw the earthbreaker, which is a fine weapon but lacks reach, once foes are already close. The Quick Draw feat even makes this a free action. This tactic would reduce overall damage the party takes, and would help compensate for their lack of an Anvil. This particular tactic probably would have worked very well versus those wasps, since wasps are too stupid to not give up free AoOs. If the Cleric and and the Barbarian both do this, which they both can, it will work even better.

Let's carry that further, and combine the above approaches.

The Barbarian player wrote:
'I know the Cleric's incoming Summon Monster will tie down the big baddie over there, so I'm free to defend the others from mooks. I ready an action to 5' step and attack the first foe to move within 15'. This also positions me to get an AoO if the foe survives the first hit and keeps coming.'

A foe that gets past the Barbarian may also take an AoO from the cleric. With this much protection the two missile combatants will probably be left alone to lay down a hail of fire. Since the Barbarian is not instantly rushing the toughest foe, the Barbarian will take fewer full attacks and less total damage. Thus, much less need for a healbot.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mirwalk wrote:
Issue 3. The ranger doesn't have cure light as a spell for another two levels. So while we do have a cure light wand (made it myself) I am still the only one who can use it.

Incorrect.

Core Rule Book, pg 458 wrote:
Spell Trigger: Spell trigger activation is similar to spell completion, but it’s even simpler. No gestures or spell finishing is needed, just a special knowledge of spellcasting that an appropriate character would know, and a single word that must be spoken. Spell trigger items can be used by anyone whose class can cast the corresponding spell. This is the case even for a character who can’t actually cast spells, such as a 3rd-level paladin. The user must still determine what spell is stored in the item before she can activate it. Activating a spell trigger item is a standard action and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Bolding added.

The same would hold for a ranger. A wand is a spell trigger device, so the Ranger could use the wand of Cure Light Wounds.


BretI wrote:
Mirwalk wrote:
Issue 3. The ranger doesn't have cure light as a spell for another two levels. So while we do have a cure light wand (made it myself) I am still the only one who can use it.

Incorrect.

Core Rule Book, pg 458 wrote:
Spell Trigger: Spell trigger activation is similar to spell completion, but it’s even simpler. No gestures or spell finishing is needed, just a special knowledge of spellcasting that an appropriate character would know, and a single word that must be spoken. Spell trigger items can be used by anyone whose class can cast the corresponding spell. This is the case even for a character who can’t actually cast spells, such as a 3rd-level paladin. The user must still determine what spell is stored in the item before she can activate it. Activating a spell trigger item is a standard action and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Bolding added.

The same would hold for a ranger. A wand is a spell trigger device, so the Ranger could use the wand of Cure Light Wounds.

Thank you for that correction.

Silver Crusade

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GM Tribute wrote:

Issue 1. We are doing an AC as DR conversion. fights are too splatty so we are treating Armor (physical armor) as DR. This is extending fights quite a bit since a lot of our damage is being absorbed by the enemies. Unfortunately I am the only character currently utilizing this mechanic as the others have light armor classes that rely on Dex.

This may be the problem!!!

Indeed. The Barbarian mostly ignores this house rule, because of massive damage with a two handed weapon. However, this house rule neutralizes both the archer ranger and the gunslinger, as both their combat styles depend upon many small hits.

Basic mathematics dictate that, in a game with this quirky house rule, the key to being effective in combat is to infrequently hit really hard. Combat styles based upon many small attacks, like archery and gunfire, suffer disproportionately from this house rule. This house rule greatly encourages strong, heavily armored characters wielding two-handed weapons, and greatly penalizes any other combat style. That's fine, but players and GM need to recognize this.

Were I playing in a game with this rule I'd completely avoid a combat style based on 'death by a thousand cuts', like archery and gunfire. Did the GM who implemented this house rule, and the players who built characters in this environment, understand the ramifications?

This house rule drastically influences the Cleric's choice of summoned monster, too. Usually eagles are the best Summon Monster I option, but this house rule means that an eagle's 3 attacks for 1d4 HP will never inflict any damage. Instead, choose monsters with a single big attack.

As long as this house rule dominates the combat system, which it will, the two missile-oriented PCs should retire. They'll never be effective. This house rule negates their basic combat style.

This house rule provides even more incentive for the Barbarian to also carry a polearm. Those extra AoOs will be of the massive damage type that penetrates DR. Using polearm tactics and getting the Combat Reflexes feat should roughly double the Barbarian's already large damage output. This tactic has the side effect of greatly reducing total party damage taken, thus reducing need for a dedicated healer.

Sorry I didn't notice this earlier. Everything I wrote above still applies.


Or you could give them access to Clustered Shots or Penetrating Strike or something to help them overcome the DR. Clustered Shots is really what they'll need for this campaign if they want to be useful.


There are ways around the many cuts as pointed out by chess pwn. Also there are ways to boost the damage but its all slightly later level. So its a painful hump to get through.
Sorry for hijacking this thread. Its more of the original question of how the system breaks if channel becomes a swift action.


My GM uses a 'roll 2 die and choose' for hit points. And if you don't like either, you can roll a third time but have to take that 3rd roll. Apparently it ends up a little above average, and it has seemed to so far.

A swift channel would be very powerful, but if it works for your game then go for it. You could houserule the quick channel feat to be a swift, or maybe only take a single charge as a move action, or give him the choice. Give it to him for free if the group doesn't mind.

It sounds like your encounters may be a little hard. Definitely heal up with wands between combats if they can, that's very useful. It's good that you're enjoying your game (making an actual 'random' assortment of characters can be fun). It sounds like your players may not be very experienced though. Between that and the non-optimized party makeup, you as the GM might need to tone down the combats a little. An easy way to adjust the CR is with templates. I don't know if there's a 'reverse' advanced template (young, maybe?), but that might help. It's basically a -2 to all checks and would help your players survive longer by taking less damage, but also getting hit less (important).

Shadow Lodge

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It sounds like you're trying to fix house rules with more house rules and it is sprialling out of control.

- The ranger can use a wand for spells on his list, even if he can't cast them yet normally.
- Fix HP according to PFS standards
- Allow characters to do retraining, according to Ultimate Campaign's retraining rules, this will fix your gunslinger's problem (don't fix the HP problem with these retraining rules, though)

Mirwalk will still need to channel to keep the party alive sometimes, but it shouldn't become painfully unbalanced combat.

After that, either there are other problems that need to be sorted out, or the party tactics need work. It sounds like the cleric is the only one doing it right.


Thanks for pointing out the miscalculation on the cr. I was indeed reading the cr entry of the beastie and not of the 'encounter' which was originally classified a 6 and I bumped to a 7.

7 for an apl5 party is a fair trouncing. Shouldnt have added the extra wasp for sure.

That alone may be the difference in getting the problem solved. A cr+2 encounter might just demand more focus on in combat heals, but this time around it was more my fault it happened than the party's.

The gunslinger is digging into the books quite a bit and going 'wow I need to do something different' so there will probably be some retraining. All of them are considering retraining the hit points, and of course if gunslinger trains out his level dips he'll hit level 5 and then come into his own a bit more.

I was very particular about researching AC to DR and its effects on the gunslinger before I made the decision to go that route... Several gunslinger builds on these threads convinced me that a gunslinger has all the potential in the world to be devastating even in this scenario, so I'm not too worried about that in particular, as long as he knows what he's doing building it.

The ranger is a young player so we're really careful to simply advise him of some options for his character while still allowing him the freedom to explore some options himself. I'd like him to have the freedom to explore some less than ideal builds... Great way to learn the system. Now I just need to stop jacking up the cr of the encounters by mistake so these guys can get a little breathing room.

The idea that ranged characters can thrive in an AC to DR game is something I feel I've researched enough to be very comfortable about...

On the other hand I need to take my own advice more and not make what seem to me to be little inconsequential bumps to combat without thinking about it. As more of a 2e gm I think of adding a single baddie to the encounter as no big deal, but in pathfinder that extra baddie is quite a big deal... At the moment I made the decision to add the extra wasp, it was 'wasps are 2 cr below the party and they have an ogre now... only 3 wasps? what the hey... everybody gets one wasp. 4 instead of 3... whats the worst that could happen...

Which jacked the party from an apl+1 to an apl+2 on what in the end was a poorly thought out whim. If I want to prove the AC to DR is a viable option I need to make sure I allow the encounters to play out as they're written and not go fiddlin with stuff. Knowing now that I tossed an apl+2 at the party, of course it worked out the way it did. Particularly knowing they're 'well below wbl' in the loot department since book 1 of the adventure path "counts the ship value as part of the party's wealth" and thus the party's ability to buy the sturm and drang of combat gear purchases hasn't been an option...

Poorly geared party in an apl+2... Kinda worked out exactly how it should have.

Looking at why this has been a problem for as long as it has, I notice that its only come up once before in our campaign when the party was only the gunslinger ranger and cleric against the young moray... no barbarian in the party yet was essentially a cr 4 against a party who's apl calculates to 3 and had only one real heavy hitter who was tied up with the channels... Now they've got the orc they're better in that department both in damage output and in not being one apl down from the missing party member...

As for all the campaigns that have come before that 'seem to set a precedent', our gm in those games was always a bit of a 'things must be challenging' kinda guy and it would be no trouble to presume encounters were being built a little tougher than published, which would have put our would be healer in the same kind of bind in previous campaigns... In his case the manipulations were intentional where mine was more of a whim, but the end results are the same... He was always an 'every fight should feel like a boss fight' kinda guy and now he's our gunslinger.

Must be more careful of such whims in the future. Now that they're past book 1 they should finally be able to get some cash and gear... Seems this healing trap action economy problem should only be a problem when the party is in over their heads, and in this case the fact they were in over their heads was entirely my fault. This particular system is very sensitive to an extra enemy on the field. Adjustments to action economy have a much larger effect on how things play out than they used to back in my old 2e grognard days. 'Just one more beastie couldn't hurt' is probably not a good philosophy in this particular system even when the cr of the one extra beastie is below the party's apl.

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