What does a "non-wuxia" high-level fighter look like?


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Spellcasters are kind of supposed to be better at some things than the martials.

Yes, but I'd like to see martials just better at some things than the casters,

... and that's rather the point of this thread, to see if it can be done.


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Exactly. Hence "Put the martial on the same playing field".


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I would rather the martial get his own style, rather than just resorting to the fighter equivalent of "Psionic Sleep", "Psionic Fireball", etc. :P

That's an important thing to me. I like the different feel of the different classes (and have for an embarassingly long time. I don't like the different capacity. Lord knows there are times enough when only a wizard or only a cleric will do,.... I'd like to see times that only a rogue or a fighter will do.

The issue with giving fighters the ability to duplicate spells is that a) they're never be as good at spells as clerics and wizards are, and b) it just makes them play like half-assed wizards with the serial numbers filed off.

On the other hand, I have no idea with the expression that "the rogue is so sneaky that ...." followed by something really impressively sneaky that we'd expect only to see while we're listening to the Mission Impossible theme.


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Oftentimes, the response to the martial/caster disparity is that martials can do their thing an infinite number of times per day, while casters are limited by spells per day. Why not make that true? Is casters are really really versatile, martials should excel in their specialties to such a degree that they exceed the capabilities of magic.

High-level rogues should just flat-out be able to become invisible. You know what the difference is between a person who is so good at hiding that no one would be able to find them even if that person was standing right in front of them and a person who can actually become invisible? Semantics, that's what.

High-level fighters and barbarians should be able to attack multiple opponents at once with very little investment. Would it break the game that hard if a fighter or barbarian with a slashing weapon could attack in arc around them, or hit foes in a line with a piercing weapon, or... do something special with a bludgeoning weapon (admittedly, I haven't thought of a neat effect for those yet. Maybe a debuffing effect...)? What if they could do it an infinite number of times per day? Speaking of debuffing, marking mechanics are good. The fighter harries opponents so well that they either focus fire on him or let their attention slip and end up getting destroyed.


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To me, as a person who has no problem with wuxia/superheroics/reality breaking after enough levels and experience, I still hold to the idea that martial should be breaking the boundaries of the more humorous Natural 20 threads. Or more specifically, martial should be doing so in general physical endeavors, and sneakyslyclever stuff for rogues.

Overly simplustic, but there it is. Also, magic that attempts to so the same should only have the bare minimum of success - it does in a pinch, but a person who actually does things as their livelihood should in fact be better than magic. A conjured sword should certainly be awesome, but not as much so as one actually forged by an artisan in the smiting professoon. A spell should be able to open a lock, in theory, but a locksmith should be able to do so with less overall effort, and at a skill level that would leave one unable to believe it was ever messed with. I'm of a mind that magic should certainly emulate many things, but never be superior in the long haul.

And that's even with liking casters, in general, but tiring of the Caster Master Race bull.


Neurophage wrote:

Oftentimes, the response to the martial/caster disparity is that martials can do their thing an infinite number of times per day, while casters are limited by spells per day. Why not make that true? Is casters are really really versatile, martials should excel in their specialties to such a degree that they exceed the capabilities of magic.

High-level rogues should just flat-out be able to become invisible. You know what the difference is between a person who is so good at hiding that no one would be able to find them even if that person was standing right in front of them and a person who can actually become invisible? Semantics, that's what.

I'd rather they not actually be able to become invisible. Just hide as well as if they were invisible.

That way they can stack invisibility on top of that. :)


thejeff wrote:
Neurophage wrote:

Oftentimes, the response to the martial/caster disparity is that martials can do their thing an infinite number of times per day, while casters are limited by spells per day. Why not make that true? Is casters are really really versatile, martials should excel in their specialties to such a degree that they exceed the capabilities of magic.

High-level rogues should just flat-out be able to become invisible. You know what the difference is between a person who is so good at hiding that no one would be able to find them even if that person was standing right in front of them and a person who can actually become invisible? Semantics, that's what.

I'd rather they not actually be able to become invisible. Just hide as well as if they were invisible.

That way they can stack invisibility on top of that. :)

Why not both?

Sovereign Court

heh we could make the martials more powerful but heh...this still wouldn't change the game much. If bob the fighter can slash 20 ft away...Gazorpazor (Green Hag) fighter can do the same with spells on top of it.


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When you're a sufficiently high-level character, you no longer fight mortal men. You do battle with concepts, you drink the sea dry from your beer mug, you enter a footrace with the speed of thought, you play a game of chance with the moon to earn time itself, you stare death in the face and make him back down.

Why can only full casters do this?


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I would rather the martial get his own style, rather than just resorting to the fighter equivalent of "Psionic Sleep", "Psionic Fireball", etc. :P

I don't know of anyone who's actually suggested that in any of these threads, although perhaps I just didn't notice it :P

I totally agree with you on this point.

Quote:
The fact is, the wizard is the most flexible class in the game. Each day he can fill a different "wizard role" (which is worth multiple normal roles). We can't compete with that. Maybe the Martial Master should be able to, but the rest? Making every class as versatile as the wizard really will make every class the same.

When I said as flexible as casters, I meant in terms of the ability to adapt to changes on the battlefield. I really have no interest in any sort of 'change your feats every day' type of mechanic, even the Warpriest's martial flexibility strikes me a bit odd, but it's a compromise I am cool with.

Quote:
Martials should be worse at the wizard in some areas—just as the way we craft them should make them better than the wizard in others. If we aren't even willing to accept that, we've really lost sight of the whole point of a "balanced" system.

I'm totally willing to accept that, under the condition that Wizards be worse than Martials in just as many meaningful ways.

Quote:
EDIT: To put it another way, the goal of this thread shouldn't be "Make it so martials can replace casters just like casters replace martials." The goal should be, "Make it so nobody can replace anybody perfectly and they all fulfill their own roles."

This works for me. Alternatively: "Make it so nobody can replicate anybody at their shtick, but ensure that a party of any composition is equally competent."

Orfamay Quest wrote:
On the other hand, I have no idea with the expression that "the rogue is so sneaky that ...." followed by something really impressively sneaky that we'd expect only to see while we're listening to the Mission Impossible theme.

With the possible exception of the Disguise Skill, this sets a really, really, really low bar.


Eltacolibre wrote:

heh we could make the martials more powerful but heh...this still wouldn't change the game much. If bob the fighter can slash 20 ft away...Gazorpazor (Green Hag) fighter can do the same with spells on top of it.

Making them class abilities like the Tome of Battle Maneuvers is a great fix for this.


Saw it coming:

Vas wrenched himself back into partial existence once the blasts has faded. His body was weaker for his unfortunate evasion, since he had been forced to temporarily abandon his body’s very state of being. Still though he crept onward. He was the only one on the team who could really See and more importantly could avoid being seen so he was the only who could truly get close to Nerex. Not that that alone would be much help. He spared a brief moment to ensure that everyone was alright before returning to his task.

Evaly and by extension Lesha were fine. No worse off than if Nerex had hurled offensive language at them. Orusk on the other hand, was for the most part dead. Covered in very obviously fatal wounds that stained his body crimson, Orusk was standing. His rage had gone from smouldering to raw flowing lava, the sheer wrath that possessed him was the only thing that kept him moving. Vas knew that Orusk would only remain mobile as long as his rage held, but that he would be at his strongest until it faltered and he fell.

Orusk roared his defiance of death to all who would listen and then he moved. Far faster, far more nimbly than someone his size should. He lashed out at everything nearby with great swings of heavy timber that slew enemies even before their broken bodies had hit the opposite wall. He plowed forward by simply reducing anything in range to smears as he approached and managed to open a wedge in the enemy's formation.

Evaly released Lesha and covered their advance, striking down any enemies who dared to test her defenses with a cackling flash of energy. The preparations at this point where sufficient. Enough enemies were dead and the party had moved near enough to Nerex that they could truly act. “Now Lesha.” Evaly said, her voice and her real orders reaching Vas over the crashing din that Orusk was making.

Lesha anointed her axes once more. The liquid that ran across them spilled sunlight onto the floor and carved radiance onto the blades themselves. Each half of Morning Glory shined brighter than any fire could could hope to. And then light itself filled the room. A blinding glare accompanied each axe as they whirled through the air spreading their harsh glow in their wake. Each time Morning Glory struck an opponent, they died as brilliant brightness shined outward from their very bodies. It was a wondrous spectacle that drew all eyes that could still see to it. Which was why Vas chose that moment to act, just as planned.

Having very little form at all he closed the gap between himself and Nerex swiftly, moving from flash of light to flash of light as he advanced at a speed uncharacteristic of the stealth with which he moved. His ephemeral self drifted behind Nerex in between the great luminous display provided by Lesha. Gliding like a wraith he closed the gap and then was upon the foe.

Nerex was likely to be nothing more than a projection of himself, but even so Vas knew where to strike. Even a mage’s projection required the mage’s soul and it was there Vas aimed. There were other defense’s Nerex might have, but this chance could not be missed.

His blade struck at Nerex’s soul and the moment it reach it, Vas became real. Completely real. There could be no margin of error for this. No chance that the blade that struck was an illusion. And so the blade struck… nothing. Despite having been there a moment before Nerex had vanished completely, his soul gone along with his projected body.

“It seems I failed to assess you as a threat. My apologies.” Nerex said calmly from much farther away than he had been a moment earlier. “Allow me to give you the attention you properly deserve.” With that said, he crafted a sinister spell drawing fully on the rod he carried. And Vas could See, really See that he could not avoid it. Like a malevolent serpent it uncoiled and lunged all in one nearly instantaneous motion, carrying with it death.

Vas saw the spell sink it’s fangs into his now very real body. He could See it course through his flesh and truly knew that he had not managed to resist it. And then agony tore through him, carrying with it an intense sense of nausea. His body strained against itself and could feel himself being torn apart. Suddenly, his mouth was filled with liquid. Something warm with a taste of iron. He heaved to clear the fluid and it splashed wetly to the floor. Doubled over with wracking pain, Vas noticed that the liquid was blood. A lot of blood. His blood.

Some corner of his mind worried about that fact. But why was that again? His brain felt sluggish and was unable to give any insight into that thought. Vas did note that he felt exhausted and that the room seemed much darker than it had a moment ago. There was something about that fact as well but his thoughts would not come.

That was ok though, Vas decided. Darkness may be something that frightened most people, but to him had always been an ally. A place to hide from those who wished to hurt him and a cover for his trade. And somehow he was sure that if he could hide in the darkness that steadily advanced across his vision, nothing would ever harm him again.

The world went black and Vas fell. It was not the kind of controlled fall he would normally make, but a heavy fall that dropped him flat upon the stone floor. And then he stopped in the truest sense of the word.

Scarab Sages

Cleave all the time! that is step one. Cleave cleave baked beans sausage and cleave. The fighters get cleave and greater cleave in addition to everything they have now.

Not to mention, as others have pointed out, spell resistance, damage resistance, better saves. There is no reason that shouldn't belong to more than just the barbarian at high levels.

Also multiple saves even if you normally get one. The fighter is constantly struggling against the spells and no one can hold him back for long.

Same goes for the ability to stay conscious at under 0 hit points. That should just be handed out like candy to martials over 10th level, instead of having to pick 2 feats.

Some sort of super amped up Heal (Ex) ability, for when you need to take a round to heal, break out the sewing kit and stitch yourself up. For really bad injuries some tape to wrap around your abdomen. Real fighters shrug off pain.

Even intimidate skills, something close to dazzling display. How many fighters in the movies use dazzling display? (Hopefully you are not the swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Arc.) Roars, other things, should be gotten more cheaply than having to use a feat or one of your few class choices.

Also way more skills like climbing, jumping that are cheaper to purchase. So a high level martial still needs a rope (no running up the outside of the tower), but he CAN pull him self up one-handed.

Within the rules, I think a lot of this can be done by making choices cheaper to take, so you can have more. Of course how to balance that between the martials is then the next issue. If fighters get Combat Expertise free, why make a Brawler? etc.

So, in story mode: -------------------
The fighter approaches the tower, the sniper shoots a grappling hook up to the top. The fighter says "wait here I'll pull you up" and grabs the rope. He climbs the tower, walking up it while pulling himself up with the rope one handed. His other hand he uses to hold his zweihander, cleaving the flying monkeys assaulting him. There is a scary moment where his feet slip and he is hanging one handed on the rope, flopping around and banging against the outside of the tower, but he finally grabs the last flying monkey between his bicep and forearm and bites it so hard it screams and flys away. The fighter then swings his feet up so he is standing more-or-less perpendicular against the tower again, holding himself up by the rope. He begins slowly moving up the tower again.

When he reaches the top, he pulls up the party members 1-2 at a time. (let's not get crazy now).

Entering the tower, more minions assault the group. The fighter roars a challenge. Half the minions cower in fear, the other half roar back and charge. With a few mighty cleaves and chops he slices the minions into two or four pieces each. He even breaks a sweat since this took a few rounds, and his friends got some shots in. He walks past the rest of the stillcowering minions with a look of scorn as they all run off the top of the tower to their deaths (which will be quicker than what the evil wizard would do to them).

Entering the wizard's chamber, the wizard casts a spell of charm on the fighter. The fighter turns and fights his friends (who have mostly just been watching up until now). His friends are fully on defense and manage to barely ward off death, their weapons all but breaking as they block the blows from their charmed friend.

The rogue slaps the fighter in the face, screaming "Snap out of it!" this allows the fighter to get a new save.

He holds his head on both hands, yelling "get out of my head!" and the wizard reels from the force of the fighter's resistance.

The fighter and his friends see their opening and rush the wizard. The wizard casts a spell of repulsion at the fighter. They are slowed down, but slowly take one step ... then another step... and finally are able to push through the force beam when they make their save in the 3rd round.

That's when the wizard seems to disappear, unbeknownst to our heroes the wizard has cast time stop, then ran around behind them, and changed his form into a huge serpent.

Our fighter is so focused now he enters The Zone, where everything seems to move in slow motion. This is basically haste in game terms.

etc etc


Rogue or ranger power idea: An ability that mimics scrying, but takes about a day and is pulled from various intelligences—the rogue calls up her buddies, hunts around for information, and compiles a perfect picture of where the villain will be at a certain time within twenty-four hours. The only way to bypass this is a major intervention from something truly unpredictable, and since this rogue can conceivably have ways to get information about other planes, distant kingdoms and everything in between, that's basically a non-factor.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Rogue or ranger power idea: An ability that mimics scrying, but takes about a day and is pulled from various intelligences—the rogue calls up her buddies, hunts around for information, and compiles a perfect picture of where the villain will be at a certain time within twenty-four hours. The only way to bypass this is a major intervention from something truly unpredictable, and since this rogue can conceivably have ways to get information about other planes, distant kingdoms and everything in between, that's basically a non-factor.

That stretches plausibility and doesn't need to. The time requirement is implausibly short for a target not in the same city. Mimicking scrying provides implausibly little information. The rogue's also not going to have interplanar sources without a caster calling on them.

I would suggest requiring 1 day for a target in the same city, and the round trip mundane travel time* for any target accessible by such means. If your target is on another plane you have to go there and you must have spent a week in the inhabited regions of a plane developing contacts if you haven't previously developed contacts in the plane before you can make an in depth investigation. Same for targets on another planet.

And the rogue pretty much gets everything in the GM's notes about the character, places he may be found in, and his associates. His stats. His bodyguard's stats. What spells he knows. The maps of locations you might ambush him in. How many hobgoblins he employs and what their classes and levels are. Who supports him. Who opposes him. The in depth spy report a wizard can't produce because sigint has limits.

There'd probably be a diplomacy role since it's gather information excelsior. I'm not sure what the DC would be, maybe a flat 30, but the rogue certainly should be able to retry. And maybe the target should get a wisdom check against the rogue's level to learn that someone has been asking questions.

This doesn't sound very rangery. It sounds like an advanced rogue talent.

* permanent, publicly usable teleport circles or planar gates are acceptable, but the idea is that questions need to get from the rogue to someone in a position to have the information and the answers to come back carried by mundane messengers.


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Conceptually, I would say One Punch Man is a max level fighter that only possesses exaggerated human ability.

In practice, Guts from Berserk is what a high level PF fighter looks like. And Griffith is an equal level sorcerer.


Atarlost wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
*very powerful pseudomagic ability*

That stretches plausibility and doesn't need to.

*absurdly powerful pseudomagic ability, with a strong dose of metagaming and dissociated mechanics thrown in for good measure*

Pot, meet kettle.

I don't think scrying is a good way of modelling the idea KC is trying to create mechanics for, but your way is a lot worse. Pinning the target to the ground and magically extracting every ounce of information they have about themselves would give you less information on the target that that rogue ability.


Griffith was just some Swashbuckler who got his hands on an artifact.

Then he ascended to an even higher power after parrying an attack from an artifact sword wielded by an undead Paladin into a Kaiju.

Because Berserk is awesome.


DominusMegadeus wrote:

Griffith was just some Swashbuckler who got his hands on an artifact.

Then he ascended to an even higher power after parrying an attack from an artifact sword wielded by an undead Paladin into a Kaiju.

Because Berserk is awesome.

Griffith was a swashbuckler but then deleveled in the torture dungeon.

Going pure PF, he died traded his artifact and friends to secure himself a pitfiend form while retaining his mind.

Calling him an equal level sorcerer was just poking fun at the caster martial disparity.


I need to make an alias called "Kettle Cleaver". Before Captain Yesterday does.


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Atarlost represents something I will never understand. Kobold Cleaver proposed a simple, straight forward ability to predict the location of a target - one of the most common movie tropes for rogues or bounty hunters I can think of. This guy will be in X place at Y time and we can plan around it. Narrow application but something useful.

The alternate suggestion is more complicated, but amounts to roleplaying a scenario with the GM tracking down a target using multiple skills and a lot of time to avoid using magic for lesser result... then wants it all to come down to a single high DC skill roll. That's not an advanced rogue talent, that's not even a class ability. You just described a few sessions of playing the game normally with a GM making a poor decision to measure the success of the efforts.

Then again, I'm pretty sure there is a lot of European folklore that would be called Wuxia by a frightening large portion of the players.


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One example of a non-magical ability that I wrote for a Slayer archetype I wrote for a 3PP is

"The iron clad slayer adds 1/2 his class level (minimum 1) to Knowledge (local) checks to locate an individual. The location should be given as a building, street, or geographical location such as a mountain."

Later they get an ability to make this check even if they don't know the name or are even close to their general location in exchange for raising the Knowledge local DC (which is set into the ability, that way a GM can't handwave your abilities using a ridiculous DC.)

EX: Party gets ambushed in town. Iron Clad Slayer says to GM "Someone must have sent these goons and I will find them!" rolls a successful Knowledge Local check and says in character " I don't know who sent these thugs, but we should find our answers at Old Julian's bar."

EX: Party is dealing with a huge Undead Uprising. Slayer says " I don't like this one bit, I bet someone is causing all this!" after thinking to himself for a bit (Knowledge Local check) he exclaims "I got it! The source must be hiding in Saint Mocianne's great graveyard! That's where we should go next."

The ability is limited and stronger than Scry in some ways, yet also weaker in other ways.

Also the Battle Lord class is a great example of a non-wuxia martial.


I have a non-wuxia homebrew of a "Hero" fighter that instead of armor training and most of the weapon training has bonded weapons and armor powered by the esoteric nature of magic and the power people give to their hero. Same for bravery being replaced with a trademark symbol of the hero giving the hero bonuses to saves and ability scores.

I have a homebrew thread that has been going for a while for a shape-shifting full BAB class. At high levels it can be anything from just really good at fighting in different forms to giving itself eidolin evolutions. Magical, absolutely... but not anime or wuxia.

I just started another thread for an explorer where favored terrain turns into discovering trans-dimensional pathways between locations they can hike through with the party. Having a guide traveling through surreal environments to mimic teleport or plane shift is again magical, but nothing about it is outside traditional folklore for a guide or wandering hermit.

Then again, "fighters" in historical fiction or folklore did impossible feats without knowing or using magic all the damn time. I'm not even sure where the artificial limitation on martial classes become something people desired because it makes some kind of sense.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think it would just be cool to do the kool aid man "Oh yeaah" through the wall as fighter or barbarian :P


CorvusMask wrote:
I think it would just be cool to do the kool aid man "Oh yeaah" through the wall as fighter or barbarian :P

Then it's your lucky day! Better as a barbarian because the Strength checks just to break stuff are super high and you need Strength Surge.


I love that feat, I have had way too many bad guys with that feat.


I claim this thread's premise was false from the very beginning because D&D and Pathfinder with it have ALWAYS been superhero games with fantasy paint.

Putting that aside, consider this: technology.
It is the obvious way martials, that is mundane people, can power up. Consider 40k RPGs. Psyker goes from weak Psyker to a strong Psyker. Gets bigger and more amazing "spells" basically. What do the "martials" of 40k get? Big goddamn guns and cyborg parts.

Tech avoids the anime/wux problem completely.


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Pathfinder already sorta does the "Tech" thing. Martial's rely on their gear at high levels to function and be effective. Problem is that's the only thing that's keeping them somewhat relevant a lot of the time. It's pretty shitty if your superhero is only as good as the magical pants he's wearing and the stick he's wielding.

Something really isn't part of your identity if anyone can pick up the magic item and gain the same powers, or at least having something like that as part of your identity is less fulfilling (in my opinion).


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Envall wrote:
I claim this thread's premise was false from the very beginning because D&D and Pathfinder with it have ALWAYS been superhero games with fantasy paint.

Actually, no. They started out as tabletop wargames with fantasy paint, and the superhero genre didn't exist for nearly a decade.

Originally, martial/caster disparity happened because magic-users were artillery as opposed to the more typical infantry and cavalry of the mundanes. The disparity was addressed because a single high-level fighter would be as or more powerful than a whole company of scrubs. This even persisted into first edition AD&D -- a fighter could make one attack per round per level against low-enough level opponents, so Conan literally could carve his way through dozens if not hundreds of goblins.

3.5 and Pathfinder removed this solution with the more generalized move+standard action economy; it's very difficult for a fighter to be able to move and get five attacks off per round.

Interestingly, I don't recall seeing many people on this thread suggesting that fighters should get a better action economy than wizards, although it's an obvious storytelling trope -- "waving his blade around like a veritable wall of steel, Conan cut through three frog-men, stepped forward, and left his dirk in the throat of a fourth."


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Firewarrior44 wrote:

Pathfinder already sorta does the "Tech" thing. Martial's rely on their gear at high levels to function and be effective. Problem is that's the only thing that's keeping them somewhat relevant a lot of the time. It's pretty s@#!ty if your superhero is only as good as the magical pants he's wearing and the stick he's wielding.

Something really isn't part of your identity if anyone can pick up the magic item and gain the same powers, or at least having something like that as part of your identity is less fulfilling (in my opinion).

The other problem with gear is that while martials rely on it to function, casters don't, but they get just as much.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Envall wrote:
I claim this thread's premise was false from the very beginning because D&D and Pathfinder with it have ALWAYS been superhero games with fantasy paint.

Actually, no. They started out as tabletop wargames with fantasy paint, and the superhero genre didn't exist for nearly a decade.

Originally, martial/caster disparity happened because magic-users were artillery as opposed to the more typical infantry and cavalry of the mundanes. The disparity was addressed because a single high-level fighter would be as or more powerful than a whole company of scrubs. This even persisted into first edition AD&D -- a fighter could make one attack per round per level against low-enough level opponents, so Conan literally could carve his way through dozens if not hundreds of goblins.

3.5 and Pathfinder removed this solution with the more generalized move+standard action economy; it's very difficult for a fighter to be able to move and get five attacks off per round.

Interestingly, I don't recall seeing many people on this thread suggesting that fighters should get a better action economy than wizards, although it's an obvious storytelling trope -- "waving his blade around like a veritable wall of steel, Conan cut through three frog-men, stepped forward, and left his dirk in the throat of a fourth."

I'm not so sure about the first point. The superhero genre certainly existed in the 70s. Bigger than today in many ways. Superhero roleplaying games followed after D&D certainly and D&D's roots were certainly in war games.

But a lot of the things that make people call PF a "superhero game" really were there from the start. It's certainly gotten moreso, but the one guy carving his way through dozens or hundreds is definitely in the superpowers direction.


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thejeff wrote:
I'm not so sure about the first point. The superhero genre certainly existed in the 70s. Bigger than today in many ways. Superhero roleplaying games followed after D&D certainly and D&D's roots were certainly in war games.

Sorry, I wasn't clear. Superhero, as a genre of games, did not exist until late 70s. We're basically on the same page here.

Quote:


But a lot of the things that make people call PF a "superhero game" really were there from the start. It's certainly gotten moreso, but the one guy carving his way through dozens or hundreds is definitely in the superpowers direction.

Not really. One guy carving his way through dozens or hundreds is unrealistic, but not particularly associated with guys in spandex -- in fact, guys in spandex (comics code and all) actively avoid taking out hundreds of mooks, but instead tend to do one-on-one (or few-on-few) fights with equally superpowered villains.

One guy carving his way through dozens or hundreds is much more a pulp trope, typified by the same "weird tales" (whether from that specific magazine or not) that gave us so many other D&D clichés -- John Carter of Mars, Conan the Cimmerian, or Soloman Kane. And of course, before that, it was literally a "classic" trope, whether we're talking about Samson slaying a thousand with the jawbone of an ass, Horatio at the bridge, King Arthur at Badon Hill, or Roland against the Saracens.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
thejeff wrote:
I'm not so sure about the first point. The superhero genre certainly existed in the 70s. Bigger than today in many ways. Superhero roleplaying games followed after D&D certainly and D&D's roots were certainly in war games.

Sorry, I wasn't clear. Superhero, as a genre of games, did not exist until late 70s. We're basically on the same page here.

Quote:


But a lot of the things that make people call PF a "superhero game" really were there from the start. It's certainly gotten moreso, but the one guy carving his way through dozens or hundreds is definitely in the superpowers direction.

Not really. One guy carving his way through dozens or hundreds is unrealistic, but not particularly associated with guys in spandex -- in fact, guys in spandex (comics code and all) actively avoid taking out hundreds of mooks, but instead tend to do one-on-one (or few-on-few) fights with equally superpowered villains.

One guy carving his way through dozens or hundreds is much more a pulp trope, typified by the same "weird tales" (whether from that specific magazine or not) that gave us so many other D&D clichés -- John Carter of Mars, Conan the Cimmerian, or Soloman Kane. And of course, before that, it was literally a "classic" trope, whether we're talking about Samson slaying a thousand with the jawbone of an ass, Horatio at the bridge, King Arthur at Badon Hill, or Roland against the Saracens.

Superheroes fairly commonly wade through large numbers of mooks, they just don't kill them. That may have been more common back in the early comic book days, but groups like Hydra and AIM are still a thing. Or the master villain with his gang of henchmen for the more street level characters.

In addition to fighting the more equal groups or Boss villains, of course.

Comics code didn't keep the heroes from beating up hordes of mooks, it just kept it, often implausibly, non-lethal.


Snowblind wrote:
Atarlost wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
*very powerful pseudomagic ability*

That stretches plausibility and doesn't need to.

*absurdly powerful pseudomagic ability, with a strong dose of metagaming and dissociated mechanics thrown in for good measure*

Pot, meet kettle.

I don't think scrying is a good way of modelling the idea KC is trying to create mechanics for, but your way is a lot worse. Pinning the target to the ground and magically extracting every ounce of information they have about themselves would give you less information on the target that that rogue ability.

Not sure why you think it's pseudo-magical or dissasociated.

When you make a gather information check on a person you get a complete intelligence brief. You can gather information at a distance with a time delay equal to the round trip travel time. You need to spend some time on the same plane/planet as the target developing contacts before making an enhanced gather information check unless there are permanent, public portals.

It's all an expansion of the basic gather information mechanic to provide a unique but not implausible level of information. The only metagaming is not demanding the GM hand over information he hasn't created because when a spymaster asks for an in depth report on someone they're going to get things like the names of everyone who's done maintenance work on his property and blackmail handles for most of them and which servants have gambling debts or families to threaten.

Paizo Employee Design Manager

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Insain Dragoon wrote:

***

Also the Battle Lord class is a great example of a non-wuxia martial.

Always sweet to see one of my favorite creations mentioned :)

The Battle Lord was actually written in response to some frustration I had about how poorly characters like Dujek Onearm or Sergeant Whiskeyjack from the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, Roberto Del Aglios from the Ascendants of Estorea, Croaker from the Chronicles of the Black Company, Rodel Ituralde from The Wheel of Time Series, and numerous other characters are modeled in Pathfinder. There's a real lack of the "master tactician" trope in Pathfinder, and it's definitely an area where martials could be expanded to help fill gaps and mitigate martial / caster diaparity issues.

At one point in time, it was an assumption of the game that Fighters would gain keeps and vassals, and Rogues/Thieves would gain control of the resources of an entire thieve's guild. Baked into these resources was a very real amount of narrative power and story influence that was, in its own way, a potent equivalent to much of a spellcaster's power. Fighters had armies, blacksmiths, and engineers (potentially) to call on, Rogues could easily obtain items, information, or the name of the best hitman in the region so they could order an assassination. Combined with a few other things that have changed in the time since (like Rogues having niche protection in the form of being the only ones who could do certain things like picking locks or disarming traps, or Fighters having pretty much the best saves in the game) you had a game that was arguably much closer to balanced than it has been since 3.X (the "caster" editions) came about.

Some of those changes are acceptable (I really don't want a game where Rogues are the only ones who can pick locks or disarm traps), but that loss of abilities that allowed martials to transition into the new playstyle higher levels present is definitely not something I'm a fan of. Now, Leadership does exist and in many ways it represents some of the narrative influence that the Fighter's keep and the Rogue's guild once provided, but it's not specific to martials, and it's often seen as a fairly controversial feat since it's more powerful than basically any other feat you can take and it basically shoves up to potentially hundreds of NPCs into the game world. But what if we just step back and look at the tools it grants and boil those down into more simplistic mechanics? What if Rogues gained a network of informants that are more effective than most scrying spells? A wizard may not be able to magically pierce the protective walls of a lead-lined vault, but the Rogue's informant might have information on the sister of a guard whose brother was entrusted with the combination. The scenario is plausible, and the mechanics are ultimately simple enough that they don't need a huge array of specific details attached to them, just a framework that says "a Rogue can call X favors Y times a day/week/month to achieve Z result". Similarly, a Fighter doesn't need to have a specific keep and army at his command, but he could easily gain a reputation that allows him to drum up mercenaries and lieutenants on short notice, or call for level appropriate cavalry (horses, griffins, whatever) to help him get where he needs to be.

There are lots of ways to allow martials similar narrative impact to casters without making them "wuxia", though you do have to accept that most of these methods are going to bake some assumptions into the game about what's happening in the world around the party.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Interestingly, I don't recall seeing many people on this thread suggesting that fighters should get a better action economy than wizards, although it's an obvious storytelling trope -- "waving his blade around like a veritable wall of steel, Conan cut through three frog-men, stepped forward, and left his dirk in the throat of a fourth."

I'm pretty sure the core combat rules are frequently brought up as a major problem in Pathfinder, and a large part of the problem in the C/MD discussion. Casters break the action economy constantly, and the devs are cool with that. Martials occasionally find an action economy exploit and then boom FAQ'd or errata'd.

Personally, I would scrap the whole Combat section of the CRB and start over.


Expanding what bab actually does seems to be the best way to improve capabilities in combat. Removing the Swift action and replacing it with a more generally applicable immediate action that scales from bab is a good start. General tactics like power attack functioning solely from bab is another way to help martials pair down must have feats.

I kind of like destiny or luck based mechanics as well.

Over all, I don't think this thread has been fruitless.


There is always the new action economy of Unchained.


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The unchained action economy doesn't do enough, but it is improved. Casters still get to break it in ways martials can never hope for.

For example, in every edition of D&D except 3 & 4 martials break the action economy and casters don't. Most recently, fighters get action surge and 5 attacks while rogues get to perform several actions as bonus actions. A sorcerer can get quickened metamagic, but it is more restrictive on what qualifies and has a harder cap. Wizards and Sorcerers get time stop, but it is more restrictive and they can only cast it once per day. Both metamagic and 9th level spells obviously coming far, far later than martial abilities.

That's not to say that C/MD doesn't exist, it's just pointing out that when Pathfinder martials operate on a full-round action each round and casters operate on swift and standard actions there is going to be a huge gap in combat - the area where the martials should have the upper hand.


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Honestly I've never understood the whole 'I can only swing more than once if I stand still' thing. Especially in melee combat you're moving while you swing rather than taking one step left and flailing your sword around a bunch. I'm experimenting with just let everyone get their full allotment of attacks at any point along their movement as a full round action. Since charging actually gets you a double move and 1 attack there's still a reason to do it and letting vital strike and such function on charges helps it a bit.


VargrBoartusk wrote:
Honestly I've never understood the whole 'I can only swing more than once if I stand still' thing. Especially in melee combat you're moving while you swing rather than taking one step left and flailing your sword around a bunch. I'm experimenting with just let everyone get their full allotment of attacks at any point along their movement as a full round action. Since charging actually gets you a double move and 1 attack there's still a reason to do it and letting vital strike and such function on charges helps it a bit.

This.

And I've heard that before 3rd Edition, it was spellcasting that had serious problems with moving around during in action... Why did they remove THAT particular balancing factor is still a mystery to me.


I know it started sooner but I mostly blame the 3rd Ed Miniatures handbook for a large portion of the more irksome positioning and movement problems...

Liberty's Edge

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Okay, to return to this thread's original purpose for a moment, here's my attempt at the challenge in the first post. It's a bit more mechanical than descriptive in some ways, but it should be useful:

So, the Rogue and Ranger pretty casually do some investigation and find out just about everything about the wizard in question. They discover who he is, where he lives, what he likes with his tea in the morning, what alliances he'd like to make, what spells he uses. Y'know, all of it. They do this without being noticed, because he can't scry on everyone, and even if he did they can't be scryed on since they're too sneaky for that.

Then, that information in hand, they set a trap. The Brawler and Rogue, as the resident masters of social skills, do a bit of social engineering at two or three removes (the Rogue doing the stuff that might get picked up by scrying due to her immunity to that), and arrange for the Wizard to get a fake message that compels him to come meet them someplace personally. They can't get rid of his guards or keep him from showing up ready for battle, but they can ensure he's really there rather than sending a simulacrum or illusion. Perhaps by having this meeting supposedly be a discussion of alliance with someone powerful who'd be offended by that sort of thing.

Meanwhile, the Fighter scouts out a good location for the meeting/trap, using a keen tactical sense to find a location that minimizes the Wizard's advantages (somewhere large, but with low ceilings and only two ways in or out, for example). Once found, the Ranger sets up some traps he can trigger at will, both conventional, and more importantly ones using mundane forms of anti-magic. Now, mundane anti-magic has been around in this game as long as Trapfinding, and so this isn't a thematic departure from anything that's gone before. What is it? I tend to imagine it as salt, lead, cold iron, and maybe some symbols known to interfere with magic...but how you envision it is almost immaterial, it's been around for a while already. Only this version is weaponized. The Rogue could probably do the trap thing, too, but is busy with social engineering.

So, with the meeting set, we get to the actual confrontation. The Wizard shows up with two lieutenants, we'll say a Magus and a Cleric of 15th level each (his bodyguard and his lover...which is which is kinda irrelevant). Both are prepared for conflict, as is the Wizard. He also shows up with two summoned and bound fiends, a Nalfeshnee and a Handmaiden Devil. Playing the percentages, they also have 3 Erinyes with them. And then there's the horde of undead. They're just high HD bloody skeletons since this guy's a Diviner and can't really control the scarier stuff.

The Fighter is waiting, disguised (probably by the Rogue) as the person that the Wizard is here to see. Nobody sees through it, obviously, since the Rogue is just that good. The rest are hiding behind false-paneling set up by the Ranger, and are also unnoticed due to his skill. The Wizard walks in ready for a conversation or for this to be a trap (he's not stupid, the bait was just too tempting), but is probably still surprised by all the Ranger's traps going off at once, and the door closing, and sealing itself with anti-magic countermeasures (it'll need to be broken open mundanely). He and his minions take some damage, but more importantly about half their buffs (which is probably determined much like Greater Dispel Magic) are gone, and most importantly, none can teleport until they get this stuff off them. Any stored symbols are also gone or useless, as is his Handy Haversack (and other extradimensional spaces, though likely not other magic items) temporarily. Then we go to initiative.

Being a Diviner, the Wizard is one of the first people to go, but so are the Rogue and the Fighter. This works out to the initiatives being basically Rogue, Wizard, Fighter, Ranger, Magus, Brawler, fiends, Cleric, undead.

So, the Rogue goes, and steps out of stealth. Having some experience with fights vs. spell-casters, and knowing that the Wizard getting healed is very bad, she heads for the Cleric, and unleashes a volley of sneak attacks. With more than half her buffs gone and suffering a surprise attack from a Rogue, she goes down to a combination of raw damage, the attacks stripping yet more buffs, and some nasty poisons.

Then the Wizard goes. He casts Time Stop, and when he comes out of it, a lot of his buffs are back, a Glabreezu has joined the fun, and a Dazing Delayed Blast Fireball goes off under the Fighter (doing one on the Rogue is pointless). The Fighter saves, but takes some damage anyway. All the Wizard's minions are now between him and our heroes. He also drops a Quickened Cloudkill on the Rogue, who fails her save and promptly takes Con damage.

It's then the Fighter's turn and the undead all die as the Fighter casually walks through them destroying them (they won'tr get back up either, things he kills stay dead), he hits the Glabrezu and uses up most of his actual attacks (he was using Whirlwind Attack, Great Cleave, or the equivalent on the minions) killing it, but has the movement left to get to the Magus and make one last attack. He uses it to get rid of one of the Magus's buffs (more weaponized anti-magic).

It's now the Ranger's turn, and he unleashes a wave of arrows on the Handmaiden Devil, slaying her. The erinyes flicker out when she dies. He also spares an attack to pin the Nalfeshnee to a wall with an arrow, limiting its options.

The Magus goes now. He'd like to do something about getting out of here with his boss...but he can't leave melee with the Fighter, and trying is a good way to wind up dead. He full attacks vs. touch AC, including a Shocking Grasp, and criticals on the shocking grasp. The Fighter parries, negating the critical hit and most of the damage from that one attack. His other attacks get through, though, and the Fighter's looking kinda beat up at this point.

So, now the Brawler goes. With all the minions dead, she has a clear line to the Wizard, and leaps upon him attempting to grapple. Her peerless blind-fighting (acquired just for this fight) allows her to ignore the miss chance/mirror image set of defensive buffs and she succeeds. He is now grappled, and unable to teleport. This is a very bad situation for him.

The Nalfeshnee is the last of the minions left, and tries feeblemind on the Brawler, while using a move action to free itself. The Brawler saves pretty easily.

On the Cleric's turn, her contingency Heal goes off. Scrolls and UMD are fun. She's still in trouble vs. the Rogue, but knows her priorities and manages a Freedom of Movement on her boss, which slips him out of the grapple.

It's a new round and the Rogue reassesses priorities and heads out of the Cloudkill and towards the Wizard, to flank him with the Brawler, launching a flurry of sneak attacks. These strip most of his buffs (including Freedom of Movement) and hurt him a bit, especially the poison, but don't take him out (his buffs managed to prevent some attacks from connecting on the way out).

It's the Wizard's turn again and he flies upward as high as he can, then tries Mass Suffocation. Everyone but the Rogue makes their Save. The Rogue begins to Suffocate, but is still up for the moment. The Ranger and Brawler are staggered. The Fighter is fine, since he has an Evasion equivalent for Fort Saves. He follows up with a Cold Ice Strike on the Fighter, hoping to take him out and free up the Magus. The Fighter saves, but is still in the negatives at this point.

The Fighter goes now, and makes a full attack. He's not slowed down by something like being nearly dead. He kills the Magus dead, and spends his Swift action getting a second wind and healing a bit of damage. That's sadly his whole turn.

The Ranger unleashes a full attack on the Cleric, killing her pretty thoroughly since she's had no time to buff since the thing with the Rogue. Yes, he's staggered, but that doesn't prevent a full attack, just stops him from doing anything else.

The Nalfeshnee heads for the Ranger to engage in melee, and manages an attack, hurting him.

Then it's the Brawler's turn and she leaps up and grapples the Wizard again. With his minions down and him stuck in a grapple, the fight's basically over now. It might take a round or two, but he's done.

The Rogue chokes and hopefully makes her Save, and doses herself with anti-magic to get rid of the spell on her. Assuming she does, things are good, since the Ranger and Fighter finish off the Nalreshnee this turn and the Brawler keeps squeezing. If she fails, she falls unconscious and one of the others needs to rush over to her to prevent her death, but even then, things are probably fine.

So...yeah, that's how I'd do that.

The key elements are pretty much the weaponized anti-magic, plus some selective spell immunities (mind blank for high level Rogues and the like), and somewhat improved action economy.

I don't think it's very anime-esque at all.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
The key elements are pretty much the weaponized anti-magic

That's the part I don't care for. The martials remain totally mundane dumb hit-things-with-sticks guys. The wizards remain a million times more awesome, except when the DM screws them over in the players' favor and basically says, "No, they're wearing purple, so your spells don't work today."

Liberty's Edge

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
The key elements are pretty much the weaponized anti-magic
That's the part I don't care for. The martials remain totally mundane dumb hit-things-with-sticks guys. The wizards remain a million times more awesome, except when the DM screws them over in the players' favor and basically says, "No, they're wearing purple, so your spells don't work today."

No, see, I'd have weaponized anti-magic be a core part of how the setting works. And, hell, how martial classes work. That plus some pseudo-magical tricks at higher levels and vastly improved action economy. It'd work much like Dispel Magic, too, in terms of requiring checks so it's not like anybody who's not at least in your general league can counter your magic.

The idea is that 'Magic is really awesome...as long as there's nobody around to do anything about it.' It makes magic powerful, but fragile, which is much more accurate to how it's portrayed in most fiction. And that makes me happy.

I'd also vastly expand what skills can do, at least for martials. The party above? The Ranger (or fighter, or somebody) will have everyone back to full health in a few hours (or by tomorrow at the worst) with the equivalent of a Heal skill unlock (only better). Part of my class design would definitely involve martial Classes getting skill unlocks and jacking up what those are capable of. But that's outside a fight, and the OP asked for the fighting stuff.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
The key elements are pretty much the weaponized anti-magic
That's the part I don't care for. The martials remain totally mundane dumb hit-things-with-sticks guys. The wizards remain a million times more awesome, except when the DM screws them over in the players' favor and basically says, "No, they're wearing purple, so your spells don't work today."

No, see, I'd have weaponized ant-magic be a core part of how the setting works. And, hell, how martial classes work. That plus some pseudo-magical tricks at higher levels and vastly improved action economy. It'd work much like Dispel Magic, too, in terms of requiring checks so it's not like anybody who's not at least in your general league can counter your magic.

The idea is that 'Magic is really awesome...as long as there's nobody around to do anything about it.' It makes magic powerful, but fragile, which is much more accurate to how it's portrayed in most fiction. And that makes me happy.

I'd also vastly expand what skills can do, at least for martials. The party above? The Ranger (or fighter, or somebody) will have everyone back to full health in a few hours (or by tomorrow at the worst) with the equivalent of a Heal skill unlock (only better). Part of my class design would definitely involve martial Classes getting skill unlocks and jacking up what those are capable of. But that's outside a fight, and the OP asked for the fighting stuff.

I'd be interested in seeing more on this.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
No, see, I'd have weaponized ant-magic be a core part of how the setting works.

*Stares at the Formians*

...This isn't gonna end well, is it?

Liberty's Edge

GM Rednal wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
No, see, I'd have weaponized ant-magic be a core part of how the setting works.

*Stares at the Formians*

...This isn't gonna end well, is it?

What are you talking about? I don't see anything.

damn ants sneaking into my posts, damn ninjas mentioning it before I can fix it


knightnday wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
The key elements are pretty much the weaponized anti-magic
That's the part I don't care for. The martials remain totally mundane dumb hit-things-with-sticks guys. The wizards remain a million times more awesome, except when the DM screws them over in the players' favor and basically says, "No, they're wearing purple, so your spells don't work today."

No, see, I'd have weaponized ant-magic be a core part of how the setting works. And, hell, how martial classes work. That plus some pseudo-magical tricks at higher levels and vastly improved action economy. It'd work much like Dispel Magic, too, in terms of requiring checks so it's not like anybody who's not at least in your general league can counter your magic.

The idea is that 'Magic is really awesome...as long as there's nobody around to do anything about it.' It makes magic powerful, but fragile, which is much more accurate to how it's portrayed in most fiction. And that makes me happy.

I'd also vastly expand what skills can do, at least for martials. The party above? The Ranger (or fighter, or somebody) will have everyone back to full health in a few hours (or by tomorrow at the worst) with the equivalent of a Heal skill unlock (only better). Part of my class design would definitely involve martial Classes getting skill unlocks and jacking up what those are capable of. But that's outside a fight, and the OP asked for the fighting stuff.

I'd be interested in seeing more on this.

If people aren't aware Kirth has written an extensive set of house rules (totally a fan) that kinda deal with a lot of this (including psudo magical abilities, changed action economy and massively empowerd skills)... unsure if posting a link if allowed.

But yea just in general more fantastical innate abilities in martial classes would be fantastic. That and the ability to move more than 5 feet and full attack.. that'd be nice too.

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