Why do Martials need better things?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Do answer the original question, I don't think martials need better things, and I certainly don't want them put on an equivalent level with casters. Here are my reasons:

1. Having martials being able to perform equivalent acts as casters breaks verisimilitude for me. At that point the game feels less than a fantasy game and more of a medieval themed superhero game.

2. Generally speaking, this is a cooperative game. That being so, class balance frankly isn't that important.

3. There needs to be simple classes so players have a variety of choices when deciding what to play. I've been in many games where someone's chosen to play a plain old fighter because they didn't want to have to think their way through every combat; they just wanted to kill monsters.


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It's not the Fighter's job to be the 'plain old warrior.' That's the Warrior's job. Or a theoretical Juggernaut Adventuring class that actually gets the raw power required to be able to somewhat keep up at mid-levels and above without having special abilities.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
It's not the Fighter's job to be the 'plain old warrior.' That's the Warrior's job. Or a theoretical Juggernaut Adventuring class that actually gets the raw power required to be able to somewhat keep up at mid-levels and above without having special abilities.

I see. So there's a 'correct' way to play the fighter and wanting to shut your brain off and simply hit things with your weapons is wrong then?

Regardless, there's nothing anyone can say that's going to change my opinion on the matter, so there's really no point in debating it.


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Xexyz wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
It's not the Fighter's job to be the 'plain old warrior.' That's the Warrior's job. Or a theoretical Juggernaut Adventuring class that actually gets the raw power required to be able to somewhat keep up at mid-levels and above without having special abilities.

I see. So there's a 'correct' way to play the fighter and wanting to shut your brain off and simply hit things with your weapons is wrong then?

Regardless, there's nothing anyone can say that's going to change my opinion on the matter, so there's really no point in debating it.

Because the barbarian also doesnt just hit things... or rangers... or swashbucklers... or unchained rpgues... and honestly, fighters are much harder to really build than a barb... so teah.. that is a piss poor excuse...


Xexyz wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
It's not the Fighter's job to be the 'plain old warrior.' That's the Warrior's job. Or a theoretical Juggernaut Adventuring class that actually gets the raw power required to be able to somewhat keep up at mid-levels and above without having special abilities.

I see. So there's a 'correct' way to play the fighter and wanting to shut your brain off and simply hit things with your weapons is wrong then?

Regardless, there's nothing anyone can say that's going to change my opinion on the matter, so there's really no point in debating it.

Read the fighter's fluff.

Now read it again.

In what way does this come off as an unskilled non-tactical simple beatstick?


alexd1976 wrote:

I miss the older versions sometimes...

Back when Elf was a class... man that was sweet.

Reintroduce racial pre-requisites for classes and lock magus down to only elves.


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Xexyz wrote:
Regardless, there's nothing anyone can say that's going to change my opinion on the matter, so there's really no point in debating it.

This is something I can't understand -- regarding this matter or any other one. I'm ALWAYS open to changing my mind if better evidence is presented.

Is Pathfinder a religion for you, that you're required to believe, by blind faith, and refuse to consider any evidence to the contrary?


Xexyz wrote:
I certainly don't want them put on an equivalent level with casters.

In short, you prefer a game in which "CR" is a completely meaningless term?

Grand Lodge

Xexyz wrote:
I see. So there's a 'correct' way to play the fighter and wanting to shut your brain off and simply hit things with your weapons is wrong then?

We have the Warrior class for that.

But more importantly, this isn't a game you can shut your brain off for. There is simply too much going on and too many pieces to allow for that.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Xexyz wrote:
I see. So there's a 'correct' way to play the fighter and wanting to shut your brain off and simply hit things with your weapons is wrong then?

We have the Warrior class for that.

But more importantly, this isn't a game you can shut your brain off for. There is simply too much going on and too many pieces to allow for that.

It's actually possible to design a class that is simple enough and powerful enough to fill that role. One designed from the start to fill the opposite playstyle role of a Wizard with a turned off brain.

Needs very high saves not tied to an ability score like the Paladin does [perhaps either all good saves + 1/2 class level to saving throws or all poor saves +class level to saving throws. Perhaps as a Resistance Bonus so it doesn't stack with Cloaks of Resistance], good [and simple, not 'activate as a swift action x times per day' style] mobility, exceptionally good damage capability and a little fast healing.

Grand Lodge

Thanks for making my case, kyrt. You basically just said "you need to remove all the complex interactions from the game to be able to shut your brain off while you play".


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James Langley wrote:

This whole bow thing brings back memories.

Good times.
Good times.

It reminds me of the time when a certain grognard, in an attempt to "prove" that crossbows are not underpowered, seriously claimed that my archer Bard's Dex was too high. And by "too high", he meant over 14!

It was actually kind of amazing, really... XD


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Thanks for making my case, kyrt. You basically just said "you need to remove all the complex interactions from the game to be able to shut your brain off while you play".

I do feel there's a legitimate niche for such an option though. It's just that the Fighter is not intended to fill that role and does a piss-poor job of it.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Xexyz wrote:
Regardless, there's nothing anyone can say that's going to change my opinion on the matter, so there's really no point in debating it.

This is something I can't understand -- regarding this matter or any other one. I'm ALWAYS open to changing my mind if better evidence is presented.

Is Pathfinder a religion for you, that you're required to believe, by blind faith, and refuse to consider any evidence to the contrary?

I have to agree. There really isn't any reason to talk to people who aren't willing to change their opinion on things. I might as well go talk to a wall; it will serve about as much purpose.

Paizo Employee Design Manager

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kyrt-ryder wrote:

It's actually possible to design a class that is simple enough and powerful enough to fill that role. One designed from the start to fill the opposite playstyle role of a Wizard with a turned off brain.

Needs very high saves not tied to an ability score like the Paladin does [perhaps either all good saves + 1/2 class level to saving throws or all poor saves +class level to saving throws. Perhaps as a Resistance Bonus so it doesn't stack with Cloaks of Resistance], good [and simple, not 'activate as a swift action x times per day' style] mobility, exceptionally good damage capability and a little fast healing.

I've actually always thought the Paladin was one of the easier characters to build and play (barring GMs who think it's their duty to twist the paladin's code around and make the class impossible to play). You need 2 stats, the abilities are all pretty simple and straightforward, and the spellcasting you do get is fairly limited and doesn't kick in until late enough in the game that even a non-spellcaster will likely have a fair degree of moving parts to keep track of.

The original Fighter was pretty close to being an ideal combination of simple and powerful. Getting the best saves in the game allowed it to be that unstoppable juggernaut that just plows its way through a storm of beholder eye-beams so it could punch out the beholder's central eye. If the modern Fighter was actually designed to be able to deal with magical threats the same way the pre-3rd edition Fighters were, you'd probably see a lot fewer of these threads (or at least the Fighter wouldn't be the poster child for martial/caster disparity the way he currently is).


That is one of the issues with fighters. Their gameplay is often simple, but they're one of the more complicated classes to build because of all the feat chains and feat prerequisites you need to manage.

The 2E fighter was definitely a far better example of "simple but powerful."


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Xexyz wrote:

Do answer the original question, I don't think martials need better things, and I certainly don't want them put on an equivalent level with casters. Here are my reasons:

1. Having martials being able to perform equivalent acts as casters breaks verisimilitude for me. At that point the game feels less than a fantasy game and more of a medieval themed superhero game.

This is ALREADY a medieval themed superhero game. The PROBLEM is nobody got around to telling the people that don't have magical powers this, and so you get Fighty McGee trying to be a gritty realistic sword fighter while his roommate Wizard McSpellsalot is casually creating pocket dimensions and using the laws of physics as a yo-yo and his girlfriend Cleric McFaithful can easily restore the frigging dead to life by waving a hand and dropping some dough and command the arsenal of heaven to smite her enemies while she kicks back and creates gallons of water that she will then turn into wine and drink.

Generally speaking, pathfinder magic is VASTLY more powerful than magic in fantasy novels on top of being easier, more consistent, and completely safe to use than most forms of powerful magic. If you're thinking of a gritty-but-magical Joe Abercrombie's The First Law style story, you should probably use a system that's not PF to tell it; the awesome powerful wizards in The First Law have to nearly kill themselves to accomplish feats a 10th level wizard would find quaint in Pathfinder, and need to bargain with dark powers and break the laws of nature to consistently wield more power than a 5th-level or so spell grants.

Magical PCs are already beyond the boundaries of epic fantasy in the sheer scope of power and versatility. I'm just asking for the game to be less afraid of the idea of someone who's not using magic to do something fantastical, too.

Quote:
2. Generally speaking, this is a cooperative game. That being so, class balance frankly isn't that important.

It's not really ideal cooperation when one group of classes bring "killing enemies" to the table and another group of classes bring "solves problems (enemies being alive is a problem)" to the table. After a while it becomes questionable why you need anyone from the first group at all except as a night watchman if your group hasn't figured out some exploit for unassailable resting places. And really, once the only way the GM has a reasonable chance o threatening the party is to put them on a treadmill and then bushwhack them while they're resting, you're already seeing where the game breaks down.

What's a better example of teamwork; the bard buffing the heck out of an inquisitor and then following her into battle, keeping up that Inspire Courage and sticking close so the Inquisitor can use her Solo Tactics with his assistance, or the cleric spending most of her time casting "remove this" and "delay that" on the fighter that keeps blowing his saves, meaning the fighter's sunk without one of his teammates dropping what they're doing to come lend him a hand and the cleric's too busy babysitting him to have fun herself?

Or for a different example, a bard, a wizard, and a druid are adventuring together. The bard uses various tricky powers and skills to know just about everything, open doors, make friends for the party with abundant charm (especially helpful as both his compatriots dumped their CHA) and sneaks around undetected thanks to his high stealth and access to invisibility to get information. In battle, the bard is in the fray with his rapier, performing to help his buddies out and casting the occasional buff or healing spell, or just softening enemies up for the wizard's casting. The wizard crafts magical items for the party, uses his abundantly versatile spell list to solve arcane problems, destroy magical traps, cover their transportation needs with teleports and fly spells or altering the landscape, and uses powerful spells to make enemies wish they'd never been born when it comes to fighting, leaving them weak and helpless. The Druid guides the party through natural environments, keeps animals from becoming hostile, contributes to altering the landscape or the weather, on top of some buffing and healing, and when it comes to a fight, turns into a tiger and is accompanied into battle by his tiger animal companion as they maul enemies to death with practiced ease. A fighter replacing any member of this group takes away that member's contribution to the group, in exchange for the ability to hit things. The group doesn't particularly need that; that's what the tiger and the druid shaped like one are for. What they WANTED was versatility.

It's a lot easier to form a group that cooperates if you're bringing something to the group besides "I can kill things." Every class can kill things. What ELSE are you bringing?

Quote:
3. There needs to be simple classes so players have a variety of choices when deciding what to play. I've been in many games where someone's chosen to play a plain old fighter because they didn't want to have to think their way through every combat; they just wanted to kill monsters.

Simplicity is an illusion in Pathfinder, from what I've experienced. Fighter's got nothing but feats, and feats aren't nearly as simple as picking something like a rage power or rogue talent, because they are a bloated and needlessly overcomplicated aspect of gameplay. You want to fight with a sword and a shield? Take a look at these twenty feats. You want to fight with two weapons? Take a look at this massive tree of 'em. Archery? Browse through this big ol' chain. Leveling up your fighter is a LOT of reading if you don't know what you want ahead of time, and it's a lot easier to get stuck with crappy feats than crappy spells, which can be aggravating as feats are a HUGE part of most martial builds so if you make a bad choice it's going to hurt you a lot more than picking a blast you don't end up using much for your wizard's spell book.

Also, this game's nicknamed Mathfinder for a reason sometimes. There are a lot of plusses and magical items you have to keep track of, and if you're going to be much good as a fighter, you're gonna want to get familiar with all of them because they are necessary for your defense and utility to not be a bad joke Third Edition played on the players. Your character is going to get complicated or they're going to die at fairly low levels unless your GM is taking it super-easy on you.

You know what's a nice, simple sort of a martial? The fighter in 5th Edition, particularly the Champion. No big convoluted feat chains, you can just increase your stats. No fighting styles you sink a ton of feats into, just pick one, or a couple as you level. That's your thing now. Have fun with it. No attack, and then another attack at -5, and another attack at -10, but be sure to factor in your weapon training and did you move five feet this turn? You get a second attack after a couple levels, then a third and a fourth way later. You can get some hit points back and you can take an extra action and reroll a save every so often.

That's straightforward. The fighter in Pathfinder's just a warrior that has a lot of math and feats added on top of it; it looks perfect for Baby's First Class, but I'd agree with the sentiment it's way harder to mess up with a Paladin.


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
Xexyz wrote:
I certainly don't want them put on an equivalent level with casters.
In short, you prefer a game in which "CR" is a completely meaningless term?

I would say that putting martials up where casters are now would be throwing out the CR system. Bringing casters down would put everyone back into the CR system.

EDIT: Talking about higher level play, not low to mid level.


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Blackwaltzomega wrote:
...Lots of stuff...

One thing I would point out is that the game is expected to be played at a fairly low level of optimization. Look at the Adventure Paths, with the exception of a few boss fights in each set, they are generally fairly easy. If you look at the Iconics, they are not what most people would consider powerful characters. The game isn't intended to require just the right feats or items, it is supposed to be for flawed characters. This isn't inherently a bad thing. It becomes a bad thing when some of the players/classes stumble into the high powered options without a global understanding of the system. For example, if one player wants to make Zoro the dashing rapier wielding fighter, and the other wants to make Conan, the greatsword power attacking barbarian, they are not going to be remotely equal in a fight.

I'm in favor of a system that caters to unoptimized characters, but I feel that should be more hard coded into the system, rather then requiring a fairly elaborate, yet completely unspoken code of conduct. As it is, it is far to easy to stumble into over powered options, well before you have the experience to deal with the consequences.

Paizo Employee Design Manager

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Fergie wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Xexyz wrote:
I certainly don't want them put on an equivalent level with casters.
In short, you prefer a game in which "CR" is a completely meaningless term?

I would say that putting martials up where casters are now would be throwing out the CR system. Bringing casters down would put everyone back into the CR system.

EDIT: Talking about higher level play, not low to mid level.

Given the amount of magic available to most monsters, I think casters get closer to being accurately representative of their CR in the latter 1/2 of the game. Look at some of the higher level challenges, like a CR 14 crag linnorm. Even though it doesn't have actual spellcasting, it has a breath weapon, constant freedom of movement and true seeing, poison, four good melee attacks plus grab and constrict abilities, 100 foot fly speed and a 60 foot swim speed, and a death curse. Would you say a 15th level Fighter or a 15th level Wizard would be closest to the challenge that creature provides?

I think a revamped system that brought casters down a couple notches and rebalanced monsters would work, but I think you'd have to raise the general floor, not just lower the caster ceiling, to balance the classes in the current game.


Blackwaltzomega wrote:
It's a lot easier to form a group that cooperates if you're bringing something to the group besides "I can kill things." Every class can kill things. What ELSE are you bringing?

I think that ultimately is the point of the whole argument.

Every class can kill with the only variation being the optimization required to make it work and the efficiency in resources required.


Ssalarn wrote:
Given the amount of magic available to most monsters, I think casters get closer to being accurately representative of their CR in the latter 1/2 of the game. Look at some of the higher level challenges, like a CR 14 crag linnorm. Even though it doesn't have actual spellcasting, it has a breath weapon, constant freedom of movement and true seeing, poison, four good melee attacks plus grab and constrict abilities, 100 foot fly speed and a 60 foot swim speed, and a death curse. Would you say a 15th level Fighter or a 15th level Wizard would be closest to the challenge that creature provides?

It's funny, the default answer of wizard takes a big hit due to the true seeing. Since the wizard has no mirror image, no displacement, and nothing but a 20ish AC, I'm going to call it a draw. Without true seeing, obviously it would be the wizard.


20ish AC at level 15 for a Wizard???

10+4-7 Armor [Mage Armor or Enhanced Haramaki with or without an Armored Kilt] +4 Deflection + 4 Natural Armor + 4-6 Shield [Shield Spell, cast upon identifying a creature for whom illusion defenses are useless, or enhanced Mithril Buckler] = 26-32, before accounting for spells which might ramp that up further.

Keep in mind the Wizard doesn't need to blow money on a weapon so he can easily afford to feed his defenses.

Paizo Employee Design Manager

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Fergie wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
Given the amount of magic available to most monsters, I think casters get closer to being accurately representative of their CR in the latter 1/2 of the game. Look at some of the higher level challenges, like a CR 14 crag linnorm. Even though it doesn't have actual spellcasting, it has a breath weapon, constant freedom of movement and true seeing, poison, four good melee attacks plus grab and constrict abilities, 100 foot fly speed and a 60 foot swim speed, and a death curse. Would you say a 15th level Fighter or a 15th level Wizard would be closest to the challenge that creature provides?
It's funny, the default answer of wizard takes a big hit due to the true seeing. Since the wizard has no mirror image, no displacement, and nothing but a 20ish AC, I'm going to call it a draw. Without true seeing, obviously it would be the wizard.

I'm not saying "who beats the linnorm" (though I'd bet on the wizard by a substantial margin, even accounting for true seeing), I'm saying that a 15th level Wizard and a 15th level Fighter are both technically the same CR as the crag linnorm. Which is going to pose a challenge to the party most in line with the challenge presented by the linnorm - the Fighter, or the Wizard? My experience would say the Wizard. Both he and the linnorm can access extremely fast flight and other movement modes, have ways to counter magical effects, the ability to effectively target multiple defenses, can debuff and damage simultaneously, etc. If I were to run a game where the party is ambushed in a canyon by the crag linnorm, could I replace it with the Fighter and still have it be the same difficulty? If I were to sub in the Wizard instead, what then?

On the subject of who beats the crag linnorm, having recently run a comparison sim using the crag linnorm to compare two other classes, I can safely say the Fighter dies 3 rounds in without extraordinary luck, and the wizard just fills the room with summoned meatshields while whittling away at the linnorm, winning in about 6 rounds, assuming he doesn't have a spell that drastically shortens that assessment. The wizard's defenses, assuming a reasonably skilled player, may never even be a factor in the encounter.


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Fergie wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Xexyz wrote:
I certainly don't want them put on an equivalent level with casters.
In short, you prefer a game in which "CR" is a completely meaningless term?

I would say that putting martials up where casters are now would be throwing out the CR system. Bringing casters down would put everyone back into the CR system.

EDIT: Talking about higher level play, not low to mid level.

Maybe what you are missing in Kirth's statement is that in Pathfinder, a single-class level X character with PC wealth is supposed to be CR X. As long as a CR X wizard is a more challenging opponent than a CR X fighter, the CR system is broken, no matter where they are in comparison to the bestiary monsters.


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Or at the very least, the classes are.


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137ben wrote:
Maybe what you are missing in Kirth's statement is that in Pathfinder, a single-class level X character with PC wealth is supposed to be CR X. As long as a CR X wizard is a more challenging opponent than a CR X fighter, the CR system is broken, no matter where they are in comparison to the bestiary monsters.

How a level X Fighter compares to a level X Wizard as a single monster encounter is borderline irreverent. How a single creature alone faces a party of adventures only matters for monsters. It doesn't happen in real play. Same with PvP. You could have a fairly major imbalance, and it would have almost no effect on the CR system, and less on the game as a whole.

What matters is how a PC class functions as part of a 4-5 person party of diverse class types, adventuring, and facing a diverse set of challenges. This is what defines the play experience, and this is what class balance and power should be designed around.

As it currently stands, a well built mid-to-high level wizard can function well above his APL (average party level). This isn't good for the CR system. If we make it so fighters can do the same thing, we now have two problems for the CR system. If you make each class function according to its APL (by toning down casters a little) then there are no problems with the CR system. Balance may not be perfect, but there is parity between the PC classes.


Xexyz wrote:
2. Generally speaking, this is a cooperative game. That being so, class balance frankly isn't that important.

I think it's a big problem in a cooperative game if one of the members of the team does everything, while the other guy contributes little to the group. Pathfinder makes it far too easy to end up with Angel Summoner and the BMX Bandit as your team.


137ben wrote:
Fergie wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Xexyz wrote:
I certainly don't want them put on an equivalent level with casters.
In short, you prefer a game in which "CR" is a completely meaningless term?

I would say that putting martials up where casters are now would be throwing out the CR system. Bringing casters down would put everyone back into the CR system.

EDIT: Talking about higher level play, not low to mid level.

Maybe what you are missing in Kirth's statement is that in Pathfinder, a single-class level X character with PC wealth is supposed to be CR X. As long as a CR X wizard is a more challenging opponent than a CR X fighter, the CR system is broken, no matter where they are in comparison to the bestiary monsters.

Preferring a game where casters and martials are not equivalent doesn't mean preferring "a game in which "CR" is a completely meaningless term" though, it just means preferring a game in which a level 15 wizard is not CR15 (or a level 15 fighter isn't).


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Fergie wrote:
137ben wrote:
Maybe what you are missing in Kirth's statement is that in Pathfinder, a single-class level X character with PC wealth is supposed to be CR X. As long as a CR X wizard is a more challenging opponent than a CR X fighter, the CR system is broken, no matter where they are in comparison to the bestiary monsters.

How a level X Fighter compares to a level X Wizard as a single monster encounter is borderline irreverent. How a single creature alone faces a party of adventures only matters for monsters. It doesn't happen in real play. Same with PvP. You could have a fairly major imbalance, and it would have almost no effect on the CR system, and less on the game as a whole.

You mean other then the fact that PC face opponents with class levels multiple times in many APs. Seriously, the final boss of Rise of the Runelords is literally a straight level 20 Wizard. So the difference in power despite being the same CR is very relevant.


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Things would make much more sense if the martials were actually realistic.

Given what's natural and realistic, there's no reason fighters shouldn't be burrowing through stone under their own power while regenerating their lost heads, monks would be flying and using breath weapons through their fists, and thieves would be teleporting like blink-dogs to flank with themselves by 10th level or so.

Because Umber Hulks, Dragons, Blink-Dogs, and regenerating limbs are normal, realistic things as far as golarion's concerned.

Paizo Employee Design Manager

Anzyr wrote:
Fergie wrote:
137ben wrote:
Maybe what you are missing in Kirth's statement is that in Pathfinder, a single-class level X character with PC wealth is supposed to be CR X. As long as a CR X wizard is a more challenging opponent than a CR X fighter, the CR system is broken, no matter where they are in comparison to the bestiary monsters.

How a level X Fighter compares to a level X Wizard as a single monster encounter is borderline irreverent. How a single creature alone faces a party of adventures only matters for monsters. It doesn't happen in real play. Same with PvP. You could have a fairly major imbalance, and it would have almost no effect on the CR system, and less on the game as a whole.

You mean other then the fact that PC face opponents with class levels multiple times in many APs. Seriously, the final boss of Rise of the Runelords is literally a straight level 20 Wizard. So the difference in power despite being the same CR is very relevant.

Flicking through a few APs and PFS scenarios, I actually see more humanoid NPCs with class levels as villains than I do monsters. Sooooo..... Yeah. Relevant. The game says a level X character is CR Y, and unless the assertion is that Paizo doesn't know how to create adventures for their own games, NPCs with class levels are definitely an expected norm. It's pretty standard storytelling for the BBEG to be a single powerful humanoid with class levels as well, whether that happens to be an evil necromancer, a wicked antipaladin, a violent warlord, or what have you.


Even worse than humanoid with class levels when it comes to gauging whether the CR is accurate... Monsters with class levels as BBEGs.. They're amazingly common in my experience despite the annoyance involved in figuring out if they are actually the right CR.


I mostly stopped using CR when I design custom encounters.


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I stopped to calculate EXP at all, I just judge when it's a good point to let the characters level up.


So, back on track to the topic here:

Would it hurt to give martial characters limited access to Path of War stuff starting at around 5th level?

Like lvl 5 gets 1st techniques, 7 gets 2nd, 9 gets 3rd, 11 gets 4th, 13 gets 5th.
Stop there and just improve numbers.
Allow "free" retraining the same way sorcerers get.
Give each martial class certain paths only they can take from, etc.

Does that help fix the "martials can't have nice things" thing, or is it swinging too far?
For those that don't think martials have any trouble right now, is this too much of a break from what you deem fantasy? Or is it perfectly in line?


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James Langley wrote:

So, back on track to the topic here:

Would it hurt to give martial characters limited access to Path of War stuff starting at around 5th level?

Like lvl 5 gets 1st techniques, 7 gets 2nd, 9 gets 3rd, 11 gets 4th, 13 gets 5th.
Stop there and just improve numbers.
Allow "free" retraining the same way sorcerers get.
Give each martial class certain paths only they can take from, etc.

Does that help fix the "martials can't have nice things" thing, or is it swinging too far?
For those that don't think martials have any trouble right now, is this too much of a break from what you deem fantasy? Or is it perfectly in line?

Well there are combat feats that give access to Path of War stuff and Sslarn put out a homebrew document for giving martials Path of War stuff via stamina.

I myself allow three combat feats that can be retrained as a new combat feat on a daily basis or an hour of retraining.

I also make retraining almost manditory as I won't allow access to all the third party feat products I own and it's entirely possible to find a 'scroll of combat feat' in a dojo or library or something. I generally reserve this for broken feats so Its fairly relevant.

I also use a stamina based maneuver system that's similar to Path of War.

At my tables Martials are pretty much fixed so I guess the answer is 'yes'.


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Fergie wrote:
How a level X Fighter compares to a level X Wizard as a single monster encounter is borderline irreverent.

If this is correct as written, I agree, except I'd remove the word "borderline."

However, if you meant to say "irrelevant" rather than "irreverent," I totally disagree.


Malwing wrote:

Well there are combat feats that give access to Path of War stuff and Sslarn put out a homebrew document for giving martials Path of War stuff via stamina.

Can you provide a link to that? Thanks.

Paizo Employee Design Manager

Metal Sonic wrote:
Malwing wrote:

Well there are combat feats that give access to Path of War stuff and Sslarn put out a homebrew document for giving martials Path of War stuff via stamina.

Can you provide a link to that? Thanks.

Here you go!


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Holy bat s&!& that's some swift service Ssalarn.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
Preferring a game where casters and martials are not equivalent doesn't mean preferring "a game in which "CR" is a completely meaningless term" though, it just means preferring a game in which a level 15 wizard is not CR15 (or a level 15 fighter isn't).

Yeah, I'd OK with things if "fighter" was specifically called out as an NPC class, so that a 15th level fighter with NPC gear is considered a CR 8 or so encounter, rather than a CR 14 one as is currently supposedly the case. (That leaves plenty of room for a martial PC class that actually is equal to the wizard, that could be used as an equally effective villain, and that people could actually play and feel like equal contributors to the party. If for some reason you want martials to always be inferior, you could just not use that new class.)

But pretending that a 15th level fighter and a 15th level wizard are either:
(a) encounters of equivalent difficulty, as bad guys; or
(b) equal contributors to the party, as PCs
Is a matter of willfully wearing blinders.

Paizo Employee Design Manager

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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Holy bat s~#~ that's some swift service Ssalarn.

Just coincidence that I saw the post when I did, really.

Although I had to fight not to also link in the "Everybody gets one" Spider-Man skit from Family Guy.


20 levels is the original sin.
Pick a power level and design the game around it, not 4 vastly different power levels that are inconsistently build and designed around.

Just look at this: NPC Gallery
Look how certain levels are just thrown around at willy nilly?
Sure, these are not rules and required to follow, but they give an image how it was meant to work.
And they definitely do not work.

Because the world and adventure exist in two different planes. The world will always be scaled to 20 levels in case the players decide to try to kill some random priest, who is supposedly lvl 9. But still they can start at lvl 1 and you have to build a narrative that makes it more than just killing dire rats in basements. Orcs attack the city, only thing that can save it is the 4 player party of lvl 1 people and not the town chock full of lvl 3 warrior guards?

The level system is totally busted from day 0.


The level system works ok in a homebrew setting where the world is deliberately NOT high level in general.

Personally speaking, in my own campaigns the top ranking of the top ranking of the general populace [war heroes and legendary smiths and such] are around level 5, while the vast bulk of the populace is level 1-2 in an NPC class.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:

The level system works ok in a homebrew setting where the world is deliberately NOT high level in general.

Personally speaking, in my own campaigns the top ranking of the top ranking of the general populace [war heroes and legendary smiths and such] are around level 5, while the vast bulk of the populace is level 1-2 in an NPC class.

I just use the rule of half... in any given population, the bottom tier is level one. Half as many people as that are level 2, half as many of that are level 3 and so on...

Bigger settlements have higher level heroes, like so:

Settlement size-1023

Levels-number of people

10-1
9-2
8-4
7-8
6-16
5-32
4-64
3-128
2-256
1-512

Is is 'realistic' that this 'small town' has a level 10 person in it? Sure. Maybe it's a disguised silver dragon, or a retired fighter who owns the local tavern. They are probably WHY the town is still alive.

Why do level 1 new characters get work? Because the tavern owner isn't going to close up his business to go take out a roving band of thugs unless he has to, and he doesn't have to, the people sitting at his table drinking his beer have just TOLD him they are looking for adventure.

The town guards are there to guard the town, not go traipsing about the countryside looking for trouble, that's what travelling ADVENTURERS are for. :D These local boys are just fine with transient 'non-townies' going out to face the dangerous threats.

Been doing it this way for decades, we just treat it almost as a game mechanic now (knowing the settlement size gives us a very good idea of what level of challenge it can present).

Hasn't caused one problem for us.


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Envall wrote:

20 levels is the original sin.

Pick a power level and design the game around it, not 4 vastly different power levels that are inconsistently build and designed around.

Yeah, one of the few things I did like about 4th edition was that their core rulebook explicitly divided the game up into level tiers to let people know that a level 5 party was going to have radically different capabilities compared to a level 15 one.


alexd1976 wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:

The level system works ok in a homebrew setting where the world is deliberately NOT high level in general.

Personally speaking, in my own campaigns the top ranking of the top ranking of the general populace [war heroes and legendary smiths and such] are around level 5, while the vast bulk of the populace is level 1-2 in an NPC class.

I just use the rule of half... in any given population, the bottom tier is level one. Half as many people as that are level 2, half as many of that are level 3 and so on...

Bigger settlements have higher level heroes, like so:

Settlement size-1023

Levels-number of people

10-1
9-2
8-4
7-8
6-16
5-32
4-64
3-128
2-256
1-512

Is is 'realistic' that this 'small town' has a level 10 person in it? Sure. Maybe it's a disguised silver dragon, or a retired fighter who owns the local tavern. They are probably WHY the town is still alive.

Why do level 1 new characters get work? Because the tavern owner isn't going to close up his business to go take out a roving band of thugs unless he has to, and he doesn't have to, the people sitting at his table drinking his beer have just TOLD him they are looking for adventure.

The town guards are there to guard the town, not go traipsing about the countryside looking for trouble, that's what travelling ADVENTURERS are for. :D These local boys are just fine with transient 'non-townies' going out to face the dangerous threats.

Been doing it this way for decades, we just treat it almost as a game mechanic now (knowing the settlement size gives us a very good idea of what level of challenge it can present).

Hasn't caused one problem for us.

I could see a system like that working pretty well, honestly, as it sidesteps the question of "what's going to trouble the PCs if they start getting towards mid level and decide they're in charge of the next city", and provides a handy safety net that there are NPCs on hand that would be able to stop a shadow or two from slaughtering the entire settlement.


As I said, been using it for decades.

I also just hand-wave CR and make encounters suited to the group... but that's really off topic.

I'm debating trying something in my next game, and I've mentioned this before but its really stuck in my brain:

Why not just double up on levels for martials? Level 9 party with a Wizard casting 5th level spells? Fighter gets to be level 18! Sure, he doesn't have the 'narrative power' the wizard does, but dammit he can trip people, and is tough as hell.

I would totally play that.


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To each his own of course. Myself I like a world where normal people never pass level 4 and heroes 'never' pass level 8. It actually fits very well into the PF powerscale when you look closely at the spells at respective spell levels.

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