Why do Martials need better things?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I consider Martials to be non-casters, so Rogues, Swashbucklers, Ninjas and so forth.

It isn't perfect, just a thought...


kyrt-ryder wrote:
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.

My method results in something SLIGHTLY more powerful than what you describe, but it's only an issue if you (the GM) want it to be.

I don't think level 8 should be a hard cap, and in my mind, the King of a major kingdom SHOULD be a powerful (whatever class he is) because... reasons.

If he's level 4, and his elite super powerful wizard guard is level 8, then the PC party would be worshipped as GODS when they learn Teleport... which doesn't sit right with me.

Of course, my group regularly plays from 1 all the way to 20 in virtually every campaign we run, sometimes even higher (we played up to 40 in one of them, it was of the HOOOOOOOOK!)


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This is one particular reason why I've come to love E6 (E7 PF) as a whole game. 4th level Spells seems to be the start where magic takes a far stronger sense in the game but Martials (in this instance, any class with a full-BAB is considered so) still do significantly well because they're the only ones that have 2 attacks compared to the spellcasters.


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Diffan wrote:
This is one particular reason why I've come to love E6 (E7 PF) as a whole game. 4th level Spells seems to be the start where magic takes a far stronger sense in the game but Martials (in this instance, any class with a full-BAB is considered so) still do significantly well because they're the only ones that have 2 attacks compared to the spellcasters.

*cough*Druids*cough*


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Snowblind wrote:
Diffan wrote:
This is one particular reason why I've come to love E6 (E7 PF) as a whole game. 4th level Spells seems to be the start where magic takes a far stronger sense in the game but Martials (in this instance, any class with a full-BAB is considered so) still do significantly well because they're the only ones that have 2 attacks compared to the spellcasters.
*cough*Druids*cough*

Or any other spellcaster with access to Natural Attacks in some way, which are way better than iterative attacks. Why Full BAB + BAB-5 when you can Full BAB, Full BAB, Full BAB [Bite/Gore [or both if possible]+Claw+Claw? Haste improves things a little bit because the Two-Hander does get a bit better damage per hit, but it still benefits the Natural Weapon Caster [who can even provide his own Haste without assistance if his spell-list allows.]


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Snowblind wrote:
Diffan wrote:
This is one particular reason why I've come to love E6 (E7 PF) as a whole game. 4th level Spells seems to be the start where magic takes a far stronger sense in the game but Martials (in this instance, any class with a full-BAB is considered so) still do significantly well because they're the only ones that have 2 attacks compared to the spellcasters.
*cough*Druids*cough*
Or any other spellcaster with access to Natural Attacks in some way, which are way better than iterative attacks. Why Full BAB + BAB-5 when you can Full BAB, Full BAB, Full BAB [Bite/Gore [or both if possible]+Claw+Claw? Haste improves things a little bit because the Two-Hander does get a bit better damage per hit, but it still benefits the Natural Weapon Caster [who can even provide his own Haste without assistance if his spell-list allows.]

Or 8 attacks at -5 with the grab ability,..because why not? XD yay octopus!!!!


Or 8 attacks at -2 with Multiattack


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Or 8 attacks at -2 with Multiattack

lulz cuz why not right? Lol


Why not? Because it's a pain in the butt to actually qualify for it, but if the caster really cared I strongly suspect he could find a way.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
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.

Oops! Stupid illiteracy!

My point was that if you design a PC class so that it is an equal member of the PC party (-it contributes an average of 20-25% of whatever is needed for a given encounter) then differences in how it functions as a single monster encounter are not going to matter in the grand scheme of the CR system and game as a whole.

Designing a PC class to function as a solo monster encounter is in my opinion bad game design.
Designing a PC class to function as a member of an adventuring party is good game design.

A Wizard is almost always going to be a tougher encounter then a Fighter, because the Wizard is almost always a much more intelligent character, and should be played as such. There is nothing broken or wrong with that, it is just the nature of the ability score and class system. Smart foes being more challenging is not a flaw of the system.

A solo Bard or Cavalier is going to be a weaker encounter because the classes have features that are designed to work with teammates (inspire courage and tactician), but that isn't a problem, it is good design for a PC class.

If you want to see how martials and casters currently fit into the CR system, take a look at the Ancient Red Dragon. It is a CR 20 creature with the base attack of a 26th level fighter, and the casting of a 15th level sorcerer.

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smartness has nothing to do with it.

An Int 10 Sorceror or Cleric is also far more terrifying then a fighter of the same level.

It is class features and class abilities. Spellcasters have far more tools to magnify their current powers and prepare for enemies. Martials can only rely on their own strength and 'pay' for subordinates to fill the spaces that casters can do with their own powers or Summons.

It's a very wide discrepancy. The Red Dragon comparison was most apt.

==Aelryinth


Fergie wrote:
A Wizard is almost always going to be a tougher encounter then a Fighter, because the Wizard is almost always a much more intelligent character, and should be played as such. There is nothing broken or wrong with that, it is just the nature of the ability score and class system. Smart foes being more challenging is not a flaw of the system.

I would just like to contend that this isn't always the case. You could find a highly intelligent/conniving martial character as a villain just as readily as a mystical one.

What it does mean for PCs, however, is that those two classes are shoe-horned into single methods of play.
Oh. Wait. Only the fighter. The mage has all modes of play.
Carry on then.
EDIT: Ninja'd!

Fergie wrote:
If you want to see how martials and casters currently fit into the CR system, take a look at the Ancient Red Dragon. It is a CR 20 creature with the base attack of a 26th level fighter, and the casting of a 15th level sorcerer.

While an interesting observation, I'm not sure what to make of this. Are you saying that we should use the abilities of monsters to determine what character classes should look like? Or that, somehow, monster CRs are calculated off of what characters can actually do in combat? Just looking for clarity here :)

Also, try not to forget that most any full-caster can become said dragon :)


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Honestly if you want to see the Martial vs caster discrepancy outside of "wizard vs fighter" because "well its a cooperative game so they shouldny be all deathbattle and whatevs" then there is another SHINING example of it completely devoid of classes...

Summon Monster VS Summom Natures Ally....

SM is far and away better than SNA. Why? Because the things you summon have SPELLS AND ABILITIES. SNA is good for a beatstick.... but that is about it. The Storm giant is a cool beat stick... but with SM you are getting a creature that can Mass Cure Crit and HEAL, has flight, has lots of magical abilities and resistances and.such (trumpet archon fyi). In General, the magical abilities of SM trump the abilities of SNA. Even with the Xlight Summons feats, they still pale in comparison to the abilities of the SM creatures.

Heck, the only reason the Firstworlder is any decent is becaus he adds creatures with magical abilities ot his available.SNA list (like unicorns)


That is a very good point, Pixie. Never thought of that one.

Grand Lodge

The Druid in my Academy of Secrets game this past week summoned a kami that could shot arrows that affected the target as breath of life. On top of having DR/Cold iron and being good aligned with three attacks.


Aelryinth wrote:

smartness has nothing to do with it.

An Int 10 Sorceror or Cleric is also far more terrifying then a fighter of the same level.

It is class features and class abilities. Spellcasters have far more tools to magnify their current powers and prepare for enemies. Martials can only rely on their own strength and 'pay' for subordinates to fill the spaces that casters can do with their own powers or Summons.

It's a very wide discrepancy. The Red Dragon comparison was most apt.

==Aelryinth

The intelligence stat absolutely has an impact on how a PC, and much more so an NPC will be played. (I say more for the NPC because a player is generally going to play a specific way regardless of if they have a 10 Int or a 24 Int, while a GM should make an effort to play differently). Wisdom is also important. Charisma is generally only important if it is a social encounter. Ideally a good villain will not lack any of these stats.

The reason I propose several methods to tone down casters is because they hit above their APL. Martial characters generally do fairly well for their APL in combat encounters, although they generally struggle in other types of encounters. I propose giving them more tools for out of combat utility, without drastically altering their combat abilities. This would put them where their APL indicates. How they function as single monster encounters is an afterthought in my opinion.


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Fergie wrote:


A Wizard is almost always going to be a tougher encounter then a Fighter, because the Wizard is almost always a much more intelligent character, and should be played as such. There is nothing broken or wrong with that, it is just the nature of the ability score and class system. Smart foes being more challenging is not a flaw of the system.

Irrelevant.

If a martial and wizard both had the same intelligent scores and played the exact way the wizard (or sorcerer) would still be the harder encounter due to having more, and much more crippling, options available.


James Langley wrote:
stuff

That is why I used the qualifier "almost". Nothing is stopping you from giving your fighters higher Int that your wizards except being one of those hated optimizers. (joke)

The mage does not have all modes of play. They can take the form of a dragon, but with 1/2 BAB, they are going to suck in melee combat, and there are not enough buffs to make up for it. Generally, turning into a dragon makes the mage much weaker in most ways not stronger. Most of the transmutation spells are powerful because of their options, not their raw power.

But really, why turn yourself into the BMX Bandit, when you are already the Angel Summoner.


TarkXT wrote:


Irrelevant.

If a martial and wizard both had the same intelligent scores and played the exact way the wizard (or sorcerer) would still be the harder encounter due to having more, and much more crippling, options available.

You'll notice I never said otherwise. That is why I propose altering casters current power levels to be inline with their APL.

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Intelligence has nothing to do with combat ability and experience.

By your measure, Einstein would have been a god on a battlefield. More likely, he'd just be meat.

It's experience and capabilities. The game does a VERY poor job of conveying this outside the capabilities of the players themselves. i.e. a 24 Int caster can be a complete idiot on the battlefield, because being smart doesn't make you a competent combatant.

A genius tactician with 16 Int can easily out-think a 26 Int caster on the battlefield. But that doesn't give him the capabilities of a high level caster, so he falls short simply due to lack of tools.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:

Intelligence has nothing to do with combat ability and experience.

By your measure, Einstein would have been a god on a battlefield. More likely, he'd just be meat.==Aelryinth

There is no "likely" about it. We have real history to look at, and can go by what really happened in real life. Einstein's contribution to the battlefield was getting the atomic bomb developed. I think the power of that speaks for itself.


Fergie wrote:


There is no "likely" about it. We have real history to look at, and can go by what really happened in real life. Einstein's contribution to the battlefield was getting the atomic bomb developed. I think the power of that speaks for itself.

And a long time ago some creative lad stuck his obsidian knife at the end of a pole which helped herald the rise of civilization and the death of untold billions including the extinction of a variety of large hairy mammals.

This doens't mean either are tactical geniuses.


I guess what that means is that intelligence can't honestly be defined by a flat score.

Paizo Employee Design Manager

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Here's my issue with the "it's okay for Fighter's to suck at everything except maybe combat because teamwork" argument-

The Fighter sucks at being part of a team. He shows up and says "You, with the world altering cosmic power - use it to move me around the battlefield so I can actually get to the enemies and hit them with my stick. You! Yeah you, the guy who creates miracles thanks to his direct connection with his god - use those miracles so I don't instantly die out on the battlefield." The PF Fighter is an assistant manager who got his job through longevity - there's a group of people who like him for no real reason, and the only reason he hasn't been fired is because a bunch of people who are more talented than he is have been picking up the slack.

What makes a better team- a cleric, an inquisitor, a paladin, and a wizard, or a cleric, fighter, inquisitor, and wizard?

The Paladin has AC defenses that are going to be very close to the Fighter's, substantially better saves, damage that is literally so similar it has no functional difference, gobs of non-AoO-provoking self-healing for both hit points and status effects, and the ability to spike his performance substantially higher with spells and smites under favorable conditions. Oh, he can also provide buffing auras that boost his allies saves and provide him with critical immunities against dangerous effects like fear, disease, charm effects, etc.

The Fighter has slightly better AC defenses (maybe), and potentially the option to use 2 more combat maneuvers that will be at least as situational as the paladin's smite.

You can replace Fighter with almost any other class, and you get an option that's close enough in combat performance that it makes no difference, but that also contributes other resources to the group and is more self-sufficient.

A Cavalier can outdamage the Fighter at most levels of play while mounted, brings an extra allied combatant to the field, gets free combat maneuvers on mounted charges, and gets Tactician, Banner, and their scaling improvements to boost the party.

An Anger Inquisitor can dish out nearly as much damage as a Fighter, but also gets 3x the skills, skill boosting class features, 2/3 divine casting, and his Solo Tactics ability so that he gets even better at combat the more allies he has on the field.

A Ranger deals out nearly as much damage as the Fighter, but also gets 3x the skills, skill boosting class features, an animal companion who shares his Favored class features or an aura to share some of his Favored Enemy bonuses with the group, 1/3 casting, and an attack/damage booster that pushes him way past the Fighter's performance against certain enemies (and which he can dedicate some of his spellcasting to so that it can be used against literally any enemy).

The Barbarian comes closest to being as selfish a class and as bad at being a part of the team as the Fighter, but- he gets twice as many skills, Trap Sense and the Will bonus from Rage which make him less likely to fail at critical moments or turn against the party (not to mention which allow him to pick up the slack if the skill-monkey is absent or separated), DR and d12 hit dice to stretch out the length of time he can go without needing healing from his allies, the option to pick up totems that give him flight and energy resistance or AC defense on par with the Fighter and Pounce, and Indomitable Will.

The team game defense just doesn't work, because the Fighter is quite literally the worst team player in the game. He's the most likely to be turned against the party, the least capable individually, and he takes from everyone without giving anything back.


Cavalier and Bard are actually pretty fun together lol


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I just noticed... a Cavalier with Bard VMC actuallt qualifies for Battle herald by itself. Hm... almost tempted...


Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:
I just noticed... a Cavalier with Bard VMC actuallt qualifies for Battle herald by itself. Hm... almost tempted...

*adds to notes*


Ssalarn wrote:

Here's my issue with the "it's okay for Fighter's to suck at everything because teamwork" argument-

The Fighter sucks at being part of a team. He shows up and says "You, with the world altering cosmic power - use it to move me around the battlefield so I can actually get to the enemies and hit them with my stick. You! Yeah you, the guy who creates miracles thanks to his direct connection with his god - use those miracles so I don't instantly die out on the battlefield." The PF Fighter is an assistant manager who got his job through longevity - there's a group of people who like him for no real reason, and the only reason he hasn't been fired is because a bunch of people who are more talented than he is have been picking up the slack.

What makes a better team- a cleric, an inquisitor, a paladin, and a wizard, or a cleric, fighter, inquisitor, and wizard?

The paladin has AC defenses that are going to be very close to the Fighter's, substantially better saves, damage that is literally so similar it has no functional difference, gobs of non-AoO-provoking self-healing for both hit points and status effects, and the ability to spike his performance substantially higher with spells and smites under favorable conditions. Oh, he can also provide buffing auras that boost his allies saves and provide him with critical immunities against dangerous effects like fear, disease, charm effects, etc.

The Fighter has slightly better AC defenses (maybe), and potentially the option to use 2 more combat maneuvers that will be at least as situational as the paladin's smite.

You can replace Fighter with almost any other class, and you get an option that's close enough in combat performance that it makes no difference, but that also contributes other resources to the group and is more self-sufficient.

A cavalier can outdamage the Fighter at most levels of play while mounted, brings an extra allied combatant to the field, gets free combat maneuvers on mounted charges, and gets Tactician, Banner, and their scaling...

That's a pretty masterful summary, Ssalarn.

Although, on the Barbarian matter, I do feel the need to point out the crew will probably be pretty glad to have him around when he starts to really come into his own, like when the casty BBEG summons something HUGE and he can go "I GOT THIS, YOU TAKE HIM DOWN", or when Come And Get Me actually draws enemy fire off of the less indestructible party members, and most of all, when the Barbarian frigging sunders the maze or negative spell effect that was bedeviling the party before.

Barbarian's all right by me. Eh smashes enemies AND plot obstacles and doesn't afraid of anything.


The ability to Sunder magic is actually a HUGE boon to the party since that means he can sunder the spells the enemy caster has up to limit your own casters.


A few things;

One of the main reasons for the classes being different is to create class interdependence. Fighters kill things and are buff. Wizards can do anything but will die at the drop of a hat.

How much would it help if ALL full casters were shut down to 1/2 BAB, d6 HD and had no good fort save? How much would it help if Wizards had a d4 hit die? What if fighters self healed?

Broader question, Is all this the caster's fault for being too strong or the martial's fault for being too weak? We are saying that Wizards don't need nobody for help so wouldn't the logical thing to do be to nerf spells and nerf them hard? For example, what if you could only keep one duration on a spell at a time? Like if you cast a spell that has a duration you can't cast another unless the previous duration expires or you ac a 'C' to way more spells?

Paizo Employee Design Manager

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Malwing wrote:

A few things;

One of the main reasons for the classes being different is to create class interdependence. Fighters kill things and are buff. Wizards can do anything but will die at the drop of a hat.

How much would it help if ALL full casters were shut down to 1/2 BAB, d6 HD and had no good fort save? How much would it help if Wizards had a d4 hit die? What if fighters self healed?

Broader question, Is all this the caster's fault for being too strong or the martial's fault for being too weak? We are saying that Wizards don't need nobody for help so wouldn't the logical thing to do be to nerf spells and nerf them hard? For example, what if you could only keep one duration on a spell at a time? Like if you cast a spell that has a duration you can't cast another unless the previous duration expires or you ac a 'C' to way more spells?

I mentioned it a bit earlier, but the issue is that the 1-20 game is balanced around the capabilities of casters, not Fighters. When you start looking at the CR 11+ monsters, they're balanced to the assumption that they're going to be competing against parties with 1 or more 9th level casters. You can't lower the caster ceiling without also raising the general floor.

In Pathfinder 2.0, whenever it happens, I'd be all about a retooled system that drops the ceiling in the game, but I think the best you can do under the current framework is equalize the playing field as much as possible, probably by adding some utility and mobility to classes like the Fighter, and nerfing or excising more problematic spells from the 9 level spell list as you discover them.

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Fergie wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

Intelligence has nothing to do with combat ability and experience.

By your measure, Einstein would have been a god on a battlefield. More likely, he'd just be meat.==Aelryinth

There is no "likely" about it. We have real history to look at, and can go by what really happened in real life. Einstein's contribution to the battlefield was getting the atomic bomb developed. I think the power of that speaks for itself.

This is akin to saying the guy who developed the sword is the god of the battlefield, let alone the spear.

Research and theory does not make you a combatant, and while better tech defeats lower tech, 10,000 smiths and no warriors means you are dead in a fight.

Einstein was the smith of a new kind of weapon. No more, no less.

==Aelryinth

Shadow Lodge

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Einstein's greatest contribution to the creation of the atomic bomb was the fact that he sent a letter to Roosevelt urging that it should be buillt. His actual practical work on the project was extremely minimal, in no small part due to the fact that Vannevar Bush, the man coordinating the scientific research, didn't trust him to keep confidential material confidential.


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Malwing wrote:

Broader question, Is all this the caster's fault for being too strong or the martial's fault for being too weak?

"Yes".

We can fix it in either direction, or even both.

Malwing wrote:


We are saying that Wizards don't need nobody for help so wouldn't the logical thing to do be to nerf spells and nerf them hard? For example, what if you could only keep one duration on a spell at a time? Like if you cast a spell that has a duration you can't cast another unless the previous duration expires or you ac a 'C' to way more spells?

I think that's pretty much what D&D 5th ed did.


Ssalarn wrote:
Malwing wrote:

A few things;

One of the main reasons for the classes being different is to create class interdependence. Fighters kill things and are buff. Wizards can do anything but will die at the drop of a hat.

How much would it help if ALL full casters were shut down to 1/2 BAB, d6 HD and had no good fort save? How much would it help if Wizards had a d4 hit die? What if fighters self healed?

Broader question, Is all this the caster's fault for being too strong or the martial's fault for being too weak? We are saying that Wizards don't need nobody for help so wouldn't the logical thing to do be to nerf spells and nerf them hard? For example, what if you could only keep one duration on a spell at a time? Like if you cast a spell that has a duration you can't cast another unless the previous duration expires or you ac a 'C' to way more spells?

I mentioned it a bit earlier, but the issue is that the 1-20 game is balanced around the capabilities of casters, not Fighters. When you start looking at the CR 11+ monsters, they're balanced to the assumption that they're going to be competing against parties with 1 or more 9th level casters. You can't lower the caster ceiling without also raising the general floor.

In Pathfinder 2.0, whenever it happens, I'd be all about a retooled system that drops the ceiling in the game, but I think the best you can do under the current framework is equalize the playing field as much as possible, probably by adding some utility and mobility to classes like the Fighter, and nerfing or excising more problematic spells from the 9 level spell list as you discover them.

I think it's more an issue of casters getting multiple spells essentially allowing multiple types of maneuvers while martials(even fighters) cannot compete with the sheer amount of combat utility(much less optimize many at once) alone, as well as losing to any other action because of the lesser skills training...


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Don't forget AoE: those better maneuvers being cast can often also affect multiple hostiles at once.

Just try tripping everything in a 10ft radius somewhere within 25+5ft/level of you in just one action as a fighter. Even at 20th level!

OR you could Mass Hold-Monster for a far more powerful effect in a far larger 30ft radius within 100+10ft/lv (that's TWENTY SEVEN TIMES the affected volume)!

OR you could Cloudkill!

OR you could laugh at the silly little cleave maneuver and lower yourself to a measly regiment-annihilating Meteor Swarm!

Or any other number of options, each and every single one of which is better in every way!

Now sure it was different back when the per-day limits actually meant something, but we've had more spells of our two highest levels per day than we do encounters per rest (and we can make DAMN sure of that if we have to with some low level spells) since 3.0.


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Well, it's sorta on a couple fronts.

First, spells vs feats is messed up, a lot. Feats are acquired and costed as though they were significantly more powerful options for a character than spells, when usually the exact opposite is true. No investment is required to learn spells like there is for feats; you need to have a high intelligence and four feats invested in how to dodge and move around the battlefield to gain the power to spin attack through feats despite that making no g@~$~$n sense at all but a spell caster can learn how to throw fireballs without so much as the Spark cantrip among their spells known. If you want to learn a feat, you damn well better read up on its prerequisites and work out how you wanna go about paying those taxes to get it in a timely manner. If you want a spell, level up, pick that spell, ta-da! You have that spell. Or if you're a wizard, pay a small amount of gold, sit down for a while, and ta-da! You have that spell.

Then there's the AoE thing, where nonmagical abilities that damage more than a single target are unbelievably rare but there is an entire subtype of enemies that can't be hurt in any other way. Apparently Excaliblast the Adamantine +5 Holy Heartseeker Dispelling Keen bastard sword and Bastion, the armor against which dragons' teeth break, doing jack squat to stop your level 20 fighter from being killed by a swarm of bees is the game working as intended while one 1st-level spell kills the entire swarm in a single round. That's BULLCRAP, especially since the reversal with golems is nowhere near as severe a situation; "It's immune to magic–oh, wait, did you prepare conjuration spells today?" "Everyone prepares conjuration spells every day. The school's too useful not to." "Oh. You're fine, then." Fighty McGee has to either turn to consumable grenades or beg the wizard for help to beat a frigging swarm of rats without a specific magical item, while it's STILL usually a better idea to use magic to beat golems because they're close combat monsters but have few defenses against being dropped into a pit and acided to death (and at the levels you're fighting golems a lot, there's a spell that does BOTH OF THOSE AT ONCE.).

Then there's just the narrative power thing for when you're not talking about combat. I've pontificated about this at length before, but it's taken for granted around tenth level or so that the casters have ways to make the party fly, transport them long distances instantaneously, consult the GM–I'm sorry, "the gods/future"- for hints and information, revive teammates who have died, figure out where something is and what's going to be there when you get there, and dispel curses and junk like that.

It's taken for granted the tenth-level fighter is in the hands of the kind of player that's content to be getting a bonus feat and a +3 to saves against fear (the thing Paladins are flat-out immune to at level 3) and the GM was generous enough to let the fighter find or buy some magic items that make him feel like he's able to do something besides clonk a guy with his sword twice.

This is my main problem with the scaling; spell levels 1-3 are your basic magical tricks that you see in fantasy novels and stuff, but once you get to 4th level spells and beyond you start seeing some seriously epic power come into play. Meanwhile, martial arts are basically indistinguishable from what they looked like at level 1 except that there's a few extra attacks if you don't move around too much and the criticals hurt a lot more. I know people consider Path of War/Book of Nine Swords maneuvers and initiating "too anime", but I for one like the idea that martial arts in an inherently high-magic setting like Pathfinder's would scale up the way spell casting does.


Bob_Loblaw wrote:
Martials already have nice things, for those who like those things. Others want more. Unfortunately there are some who think that if the class doesn't do what they want then it universally sucks. Some classes are more fun for others to play. There's nothing wrong with it. Enjoy playing your characters. Let others enjoy playing theirs. As long as everyone is having fun, that's what matters.

This.

My barbarians tend to be off the beaten path, High charisma,

I had an half elf barbarian everyone thought was a cavalier, I didnt do the foaming at the mouth thing. Treated my horse well, But I was actually an urban barbarian who didnt have a super high non rage str and didnt have enough dex to use twf unless I was raging.

So for normal battles I sword and boarded it, for intense moments I went big willie style twf.

People would ask me why I dont TWF all the time, "Personal preference, each fighting style has it's own advantages"

My fighters tend to have almost as much wisdom and intelligence as they do str.

The problem comes with a min max character build.
if you are building with 20 points, a min max wizard can do a great many things.
A min max martial can only do exactly what he is built to do... hulk smash.
Most games have very few moments of hulk smash available, meaning the character is a bore the rest of the time.

a 20 point martial for me is going to have a 14 str, not an 18... if I take 13 int I can get one more skill point per level, and a 13 or 14 wis means I dont become a liability for the party at mid levels.
also at 13 int I can take combat expertise.

If I need str there are simple pots for that, and casters usually have a simple bulls str.

the reason why barbarians as a class are so effective is because the need for high str and hit points in a typically playing session is typically low.

If there were long drawn out battles every playing session, casters and barbs would be weak because they would peak , and then run out of resources... where as a run of the mill fighter would begin to shine.

MOST pre gen adventures and playing sessions dont have long running battles.
It's not actually the "point" of the game; merely obstacles to the point...which is exploration, discovery and advancement of plot/story.

so burst characters are effective.

Martials that are min maxed become single faceted quickly.


Except, even with all that. You've argued nothing.

Well except characters that burn resources to accomplish things are effective.

High point buys benefit the martials more than casters.

Long running battles just mean conservative play. Again, not really benefiting those with no real resources to begin with.

Having a non-min-maxed character is, again. Meaningless since the non-min-maxed wizard is still doing pretty great. Spell use and selection afterall are often matter of tactical choice not character build.


TarkXT wrote:

Except, even with all that. You've argued nothing.

Well except characters that burn resources to accomplish things are effective.

there is nothing to argue...

If you put all your points into one thing, you will do one thing.

20 point builds hamper martials and barely effect casters.

thats a fact, not an argument.


Pendagast wrote:
TarkXT wrote:

Except, even with all that. You've argued nothing.

Well except characters that burn resources to accomplish things are effective.

there is nothing to argue...

If you put all your points into one thing, you will do one thing.

20 point builds hamper martials and barely effect casters.

thats a fact, not an argument.

So how do they hamper martials.

Give me the facts.

Not the anecdotes.

Paizo Employee Design Manager

7 people marked this as a favorite.

@Pendagast

You may not realize it, but your post, while well stated, is both ignorant and insulting. You start with this broad assumption that everyone who experiences issues with certain classes is min/maxing them. This comes off as extremely condescending, because you're basically saying "if only you were as good a player as me, you wouldn't have these issues". That's also where the ignorance comes in.

I can build a Fighter with high INT and WIS, but what this leads to is a character who's mediocre at everything. I've sacrificed my ability to do my primary shtick well, in exchange for still not being as good as anyone else at everything else. I, personally, still do it from time to time when I want to handicap myself in a group of new players, but that doesn't mean the math underlying the system changed.

I could play a Ranger and be rewarded for my high Wisdom, and I wouldn't need to pump INT at all because I already have the skill points of a Fighter with 16 INT, plus I have class features that give me big bonuses to numerous class skills, making the Ranger simultaneously better at combat and "exploration, discovery and advancement of plot/story".

And that's just another primarily martial character. Full casters and 2/3 casters almost universally are rewarded in both combat and non-combat fields for pumping their mental stats.

Maybe your GM plays down to the group and makes sure they only live in a world where the threats that arise are tailored to their strengths. Maybe your Fighter never notices his deficiencis because the other players are content picking up the slack. I don't know. What I do know is that the casual condescension in your post and others like it is why threads like this frequently become so hostile and divisive. It's not a min/max problem (I, personally, almost never dump stats). The fact that I've seen PFS scenarios where parties lacking a caster were completely annihilated leads me to believe the issue isn't that some people aren't playing the game as intended, and that's further emphasized by all of the Paizo APs I've run. I've talked earlier in this thread about how even monsters after a certain level are balanced against casters, not martials. I know from experience that you can easily play a party of all casters from 1-20 with no problem, regardless of the challenges, but a party of all martials would need the GM to go to great lengths to cater to them and avoid situations where they simply lack the tools to continue.

It's great if martial/caster disparity isn't a problem for you, but understand that sweeping statements like those made above don't elucidate anything, they just make you and others who make the same arguments come off as ignorant and condescending. In the future, please stick to stating what your experiences have been and what your playstyle is, and avoid incorrect assumptions about what other people's problems are. Thank you.


TarkXT wrote:
Pendagast wrote:
TarkXT wrote:

Except, even with all that. You've argued nothing.

Well except characters that burn resources to accomplish things are effective.

there is nothing to argue...

If you put all your points into one thing, you will do one thing.

20 point builds hamper martials and barely effect casters.

thats a fact, not an argument.

So how do they hamper martials.

Give me the facts.

Not the anecdotes.

MAD.

weapons dont go up in power much with level.
Offensive spells do.

Gear is for the most part static.

(This is ALL old stuff you know well, and has been long ago discussed to death on this site, so im curious why you asking about things you already know from being on this board posting for years?)

Spells increase by level...the stat is only needed to access it.
Spells cant be interrupted as easily as they were in say 1st or 2nd edition.

Most casting classes (arguably the most powerful ones) are SAD classes.

So I can make a first level wizard with a 16 int on a 15 point build... by 8th level I have my 18 int and my character is not hampered by anything.

to stay remotely relevant by 8th level the marital needs that dex str con.

this limits their ability to have things like wis cha and int.
the out of combat stats...because at the high mid, to high levels it gets too frustrating without the extra damage and extra attack points to even hit anything and do any relevant damage.

wizards excess stats are str, con and dex of which they dont need much if any.

Once they are higher levels they can either create devices or cast spells that aid that kind of thing.

the martial doesnt have the choices and relies on casters to get any of that.

Personally I prefer the well rounded martials over min maxed ones, but its obviously harder to do the lower the point build is.

at 25 point build, a wizard is just throwing around points just to spent them, the character doesnt need all those points.

Ive often though of using a point build system "by class" with rogue and fighters having the hgihest....but Ive never spent any time bothering to check balance.


Pendagast wrote:
TarkXT wrote:
Pendagast wrote:
TarkXT wrote:

Except, even with all that. You've argued nothing.

Well except characters that burn resources to accomplish things are effective.

there is nothing to argue...

If you put all your points into one thing, you will do one thing.

20 point builds hamper martials and barely effect casters.

thats a fact, not an argument.

So how do they hamper martials.

Give me the facts.

Not the anecdotes.

Stuff that makes the post too long for me.

Okay now we're seeing the actual shape of the argument.

Which is. Higher point buys do benefit martials but also do not help them since casters are getting the exact same amount they can put into ancillary attribiutes, correct?

Paizo Employee Design Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.

High point buy softens the utility gap at low levels, it doesn't solve underlying system problems. No amount of INT will allow a single-classed Fighter to deal with swarms, or opponents with multiple alternate movement modes, or opponents capable of planar transitions. While there is an amount of DEX and WIS that can close the gap of having two bad saves and no spells to shore them up, it's extremely costly, and generally that same expenditure on another chassis will yield far superior results.


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pendagast wrote:
Bob_Loblaw wrote:
Martials already have nice things, for those who like those things. Others want more. Unfortunately there are some who think that if the class doesn't do what they want then it universally sucks. Some classes are more fun for others to play. There's nothing wrong with it. Enjoy playing your characters. Let others enjoy playing theirs. As long as everyone is having fun, that's what matters.

This.

My barbarians tend to be off the beaten path, High charisma,

I had an half elf barbarian everyone thought was a cavalier, I didnt do the foaming at the mouth thing. Treated my horse well, But I was actually an urban barbarian who didnt have a super high non rage str and didnt have enough dex to use twf unless I was raging.

So for normal battles I sword and boarded it, for intense moments I went big willie style twf.

People would ask me why I dont TWF all the time, "Personal preference, each fighting style has it's own advantages"

My fighters tend to have almost as much wisdom and intelligence as they do str.

The problem comes with a min max character build.
if you are building with 20 points, a min max wizard can do a great many things.
A min max martial can only do exactly what he is built to do... hulk smash.
Most games have very few moments of hulk smash available, meaning the character is a bore the rest of the time.

a 20 point martial for me is going to have a 14 str, not an 18... if I take 13 int I can get one more skill point per level, and a 13 or 14 wis means I dont become a liability for the party at mid levels.
also at 13 int I can take combat expertise.

If I need str there are simple pots for that, and casters usually have a simple bulls str.

the reason why barbarians as a class are so effective is because the need for high str and hit points in a typically playing session is typically low.

If there were long drawn out battles every playing session, casters and barbs would be weak because they would peak , and then run out of...

Well, there's a couple objections I have to raise here.

For one, the fighter having high intelligence is of very little real benefit to him with most builds; the only fighter built around being intelligent is the Lore Warden, although admittedly the Eldritch Guardian becomes a good candidate for a thinking man's fighter if you take Pragmatic Activator. The fighter's skill list is, simply put, one of the worst in the entire game. You kinda NEED Lore Warden or some very well-picked traits to make a fighter that has good out-of-combat skills, because the game's baseline assumption seems to be that you'll just put your base two per level into Intimidate and Knowledge (Dungeoneering) and divvy up any others between Climb and Swim.

Fighters don't get Acrobatics, when they are explicitly the martial class best at moving around in armor? Fighters don't get PERCEPTION? Frigging BARDS get Perception as a class skill! It really seems like without Lore Warden and Eldritch Guardian, one an archetype Paizo openly regrets making and one that only came out recently, building a skillful fighter requires a significant stat and trait investment to still be worse off than fairly dumb rangers, slayers, and barbarians half the time.

Then of course there's the whole "well you're lacking versatility because you're focusing your stats too much", and I'm gonna have to stop you right there. Frontlining, especially the way a fighter does it, takes a lot of stats.

You need strength. You need a lot of it, because hitting things is what you signed up for when you rolled a fighter and this is your hitting-things stat.

You need constitution. Everyone needs constitution, but YOU, my friend, need it more, because you're going to be taking a lot more damage when you keep blowing those reflex saves than your pal the ranger and unlike the paladin you aren't able to heal yourself.

You need dexterity, because you want to go first, you REALLY want to make reflex saves despite somehow having worse reflexes than a man who sings for his supper, and you REALLY REALLY want to dodge that Wizard's ranged touch attacks, and otherwise your Armor Training is frankly a waste of a class feature. This one can slide if you traded out armor training for something.

You need wisdom, because as you've pointed out, a fighter with low wisdom is usually better referred to as "TARGET PRACTICE."

So yeah, point-buy fighters are going to spread themselves pretty thin to cover all of their bases, and that's JUST TO KEEP UP ON THE FIGHTING SIDE OF THINGS. If you want skills you have to spread your points even THINNER.

And this is ONLY if you're a martial class. I am getting sick and tired of people offering the unhelpful insight of "well, if you cut back your most important stat, and probably your second most important stat, to focus on your forth and fifth most important stats a little more, you'd be more versatile!" You know who tells the Wizard "well, you'd be able to contribute more if you stopped dumping strength, charisma, and wisdom to boost your intelligence into the stratosphere while maintaining decent dexterity and constitution?"

NOBODY.

A 9th-level caster can dump stats as they damn well please because the only stats that matter for most of them is the not-dying stat, the going-first stat, and the casting stat. Everything else is fair game to dump like hell and just make up for with spells and magic items. Fighters have to get worse at their primary job of fighting to be allowed to participate when the group isn't swinging swords, but the 90-pound weakling wizard with no charisma is still going to be running rings around them in versatility and now the "well-rounded" fighter has to deal with the very real concern that the druid is getting better at fighting than he is while wild shaped. When the fighter with 14 strength starts to find he's having difficulty outdoing Summon Monster minions, it's probably time to reroll.

Ah, but there is another point. Summon Monster will run out eventually. Spell slots can be depleted! But the ability to be mediocre with a sword is eternal. "Ah, the wizard is out of spells, the healer needs a long rest, and the barbarian's rage is on its last few seconds. Even the Monk's tiny ki pool is at last fully depleted, and the Paladin can Lay on Hands no more. Now is the time for me, the humble fighter/rogue, to step up and do everything by myself!"

SAID NO ONE, EVER.

When the healer's done for the day, EVERYONE'S done for the day. Being able to do your fairly unimpressive thing fifty combats in a row is not useful if you're going to try to solo those last 45 combats with no one able to come save you when you get overwhelmed, run out of HP, or fail a save and die. As people are so keen to point out when justifying why fighters aren't allowed to gain epic superpowers like magic-users do, this is a team game. Your team runs on limited resources. When they're done, YOU'RE done. You're better served keeping watch while they rest up than trying to carry the day on your own and get slaughtered by encounters balanced for a four-person party.

And you can avoid minmaxing as much as you want. You can role-play all you want. You can have fun with any class, but that doesn't change the base assumption of the game that is my primary criticism of it;

The game assumes magic will talk to gods, shape the world, break the laws of physics, and take you anywhere you want to go. The game assumes someone without magic will be content watching someone else do all that until it's time for them to fight again.


Pendagast wrote:

...

My fighters tend to have almost as much wisdom and intelligence as they do str.

The problem comes with a min max character build.
if you are building with 20 points, a min max wizard can do a great many things.
A min max martial can only do exactly what he is built to do... hulk smash.
Most games have very few moments of hulk smash available, meaning the character is a bore the rest of the time.

a 20 point martial for me is going to have a 14 str, not an 18... if I take 13 int I can get one more skill point per level, and a 13 or 14 wis means I dont become a liability for the party at mid levels.
also at 13 int I can take combat expertise.

If I need str there are simple pots for that, and casters usually have a simple bulls str.

The issue is that your martial is going to be much worse at their primary job, but they aren't going to get much out of it. Disagree? Fun fact - At level 5, a +1 greatsword power attacking fighter with weapon focus, weapon spec, furious focus and weapon training loses about 25% of their damage output by only having 14 instead of 18 strength(against equal CR opponent). +1 Greatsword and Power attack and furious focus on a Ranger and you end up losing about 30%. The less investment in the form of feats and class abilities you put in, the more it hurts. Ranger with only Power attack and a MW greatsword (typical for a switch-hitter) - 35%. Not very good. You are heading towards being worth about half of a character. Demanding buffs or chugging potions is a bad joke. Potions cost a lot of money (300gp at level 5 is painful, and that's a single use), and casters have better things to do than waste 2nd level slots making you suck less, especially since slots are tight at level 5. Double especially since they have to blow more resources because you aren't very good. Plus they no longer have the option of buffing you to make you a monster of a combatant for a tough encounter. It only makes you passably competent instead.

On top of that, a problem a lot of martials run in to is that Int and Cha does so little. If it wasn't for combat expertise, int would be generally a bad choice for martials. To be decent at a skill that has high or scaling DCs you need to have two out of three of: close to max ranks,have it as a class skill, or a pretty high corresponding ability score (minimum 14, and it needs to keep going up with level). If you want to be good you need all three. Fighters have terrible class skills, and they lack skill points. So long as you start off with high int and keep increasing it, you can be ok at a couple of int or wis based skills. Maybe a couple of Cha based skills if you don't mind either being a liability when charms get tossed around, or if you are literally hindering the party with your presence due to sucking up treasure that you don't use because of your atrocious physical stats. If you want a generalist, go play a 3/4 BAB caster. Inquisitors and Bards can be pretty OK all day, and they can have skills on top, and they can either be pretty monstrous or make other party members monstrous when they feel like it. Trying to do the same on a fighter is a waste of time. So naturally, you get a lot of min-maxing, because fighters and similar classes are woefully bad at everything that doesn't encourage dump-stats.

Pendagast wrote:


the reason why barbarians as a class are so effective is because the need for high str and hit points in a typically playing session is typically low.
If there were long drawn out battles every playing session, casters and barbs would be weak because they would peak , and then run out of resources... where as a run of the mill fighter would begin to shine.

MOST pre gen adventures and playing sessions dont have long running battles.
It's not actually the "point" of the game; merely obstacles to the point...which is exploration, discovery and advancement of plot/story.

so burst characters are effective.

Martials that are min maxed become single faceted quickly.

This is actually really flawed thinking for a subtle reason.

Let me put it this way. Do you think that a party of 4 classes with no expendable resources can actually handle CR appropriate encounters(lets handwave HP away with wands for the moment). Can a party of something like 4 level 7 fighters deal with something that is incorporeal, can spam fear effects and possess party members. What about if it's backed up with another creature that flies, spams dominates and charms and can turn ethereal. Like, say, a Succubus and a Shadow Demon. That's an APL+2 fight. It should be challenging but definitely beatable. If it can't be reliably beaten without extreme amounts of optimization then a party without burst classes can't survive.

If that is the case, then when those burst classes run out the fighter is going to die along with the rest of the party, because they are actually worse off than in the example above. Unless the burst classes are better than the fighter even without expending resources. Druids come to mind, because wildshape is amazing like that(can last all day pretty quickly). A lot of martial caster builds won't be up to par but won't be far behind either. Unless you are constantly fighting encounters that are all sitting *just* at the right point where depleted resource based classes aren't up to par but fighters are (if that point even exists), then either the majority of classes can get by without expending resources (other than hours/level stuff) or fighters and their "all day" friends don't do their share and actually require the other classes to blow resources even more resources to make up for them.


Blackwaltzomega wrote:
Pendagast wrote:
Bob_Loblaw wrote:
Martials already have nice things, for those who like those things. Others want more. Unfortunately there are some who think that if the class doesn't do what they want then it universally sucks. Some classes are more fun for others to play. There's nothing wrong with it. Enjoy playing your characters. Let others enjoy playing theirs. As long as everyone is having fun, that's what matters.

This.

My barbarians tend to be off the beaten path, High charisma,

I had an half elf barbarian everyone thought was a cavalier, I didnt do the foaming at the mouth thing. Treated my horse well, But I was actually an urban barbarian who didnt have a super high non rage str and didnt have enough dex to use twf unless I was raging.

So for normal battles I sword and boarded it, for intense moments I went big willie style twf.

People would ask me why I dont TWF all the time, "Personal preference, each fighting style has it's own advantages"

My fighters tend to have almost as much wisdom and intelligence as they do str.

The problem comes with a min max character build.
if you are building with 20 points, a min max wizard can do a great many things.
A min max martial can only do exactly what he is built to do... hulk smash.
Most games have very few moments of hulk smash available, meaning the character is a bore the rest of the time.

a 20 point martial for me is going to have a 14 str, not an 18... if I take 13 int I can get one more skill point per level, and a 13 or 14 wis means I dont become a liability for the party at mid levels.
also at 13 int I can take combat expertise.

If I need str there are simple pots for that, and casters usually have a simple bulls str.

the reason why barbarians as a class are so effective is because the need for high str and hit points in a typically playing session is typically low.

If there were long drawn out battles every playing session, casters and barbs would be weak because they would peak ,

...

Youre pretty much making all my points FOR me.

Im not arguing,

Im simply stating when I build a martial character its not usually the min max type.

If casters need that from me, then they will buff me.

Ive never even played a lore warden.

When beta was a thing back in 07-08, I was one of the few to actually play test the fighter at all levels.

if anyone from that era is around they will remember the many 'fixes' to the fighter that Beta afforded.
The fighter specifically has eroded into obscurity again.

I give my fighter a 13 int BECAUSE I need more skill points AND I can get access to certain feats.

I dont give him much in the way of dex BECAUSE at low level im assuming heavy armor anyway, and at higher level I can boost it magically.

Its a common tactic for me to get rich parents so I can afford half plate and a heavy shield at level 1.
a 20 AC is a hard thing to hit for the first three levels.

youre right, there should be something better in the way of feats for martials to deal with swarms and masses of chump targets, without going all wuxia nystic.

whirlwind attack should be easier to access and earlier (imo)

a fighter on my sheet looks different than a fighter on other peoples sheets.

s 14 d 12 c 14 i 13 wis 12 ch 12 or something similar.

str will be 16 by level 8. maybe 18 if I can get guantlets of ogre power.

a belt or ring for con and a helm or circlet for wis and I can usually stay relevant but not dominate.

although I have never typically played at the 15 minute adventuring table, and when caster do run out of spells it's not always the plan to just stop and rest.
Its not always the best tactical choice, and sometimes one has to be on the run or go a few more encounters to get to defensible position.

also its FREQUENT for casters to just not have the right spells.

a lot of arm chairing theory craft goes into the thought process that "casters can do this, caster can do that".... you would need three wizards with different spells memorized to carry a game session with all the crap the theory crafters come up with.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

You can't assume that people who think casters are strong don't actually play and see the problem.

That's the condescension, right there. That last line is exactly what Sslarn was talking about.


Pendagast wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
Pendagast wrote:
Bob_Loblaw wrote:
Martials already have nice things, for those who like those things. Others want more. Unfortunately there are some who think that if the class doesn't do what they want then it universally sucks. Some classes are more fun for others to play. There's nothing wrong with it. Enjoy playing your characters. Let others enjoy playing theirs. As long as everyone is having fun, that's what matters.

This.

My barbarians tend to be off the beaten path, High charisma,

I had an half elf barbarian everyone thought was a cavalier, I didnt do the foaming at the mouth thing. Treated my horse well, But I was actually an urban barbarian who didnt have a super high non rage str and didnt have enough dex to use twf unless I was raging.

So for normal battles I sword and boarded it, for intense moments I went big willie style twf.

People would ask me why I dont TWF all the time, "Personal preference, each fighting style has it's own advantages"

My fighters tend to have almost as much wisdom and intelligence as they do str.

The problem comes with a min max character build.
if you are building with 20 points, a min max wizard can do a great many things.
A min max martial can only do exactly what he is built to do... hulk smash.
Most games have very few moments of hulk smash available, meaning the character is a bore the rest of the time.

a 20 point martial for me is going to have a 14 str, not an 18... if I take 13 int I can get one more skill point per level, and a 13 or 14 wis means I dont become a liability for the party at mid levels.
also at 13 int I can take combat expertise.

If I need str there are simple pots for that, and casters usually have a simple bulls str.

the reason why barbarians as a class are so effective is because the need for high str and hit points in a typically playing session is typically low.

If there were long drawn out battles every playing session, casters and barbs would be

...

youve clearly never BEEN in a party WITH a dominated combat monster martial PC.

someone who puts all their stats into str and con who youve already buffed and has that awesome 8 wis.

then he eats through your precious resources much faster in a single encounter than buffing him for the day and covering his weaknesses every would.

And as you mentioned at 5th level with precious few spells, martials are still clearly carrying the party, and the difference between an 18 and a 14 str havent really set in yet.

its at 12th level where it becomes a major issue, and above... and casters dont know what to do with their 2nd level spells by then anyway.

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