Why do Martials need better things?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Silver Crusade

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I have a 8th level sylph wizard with the air speciality. I am thoroughly enjoying the character. My theme for the character not surprisingly is wind, electrical damage, storms etc.....So I am having lots of fun with Aggressive Thunder Cloud, Lightning Bolt, Ball Lightning etc.....

Thursday night I went to a Pathfinder Society game at, Game Theory in Raleigh NC, I had signed up to play Darkest Vengeance. I arrived little early. I noticed there was another player with a wizard! We spent some time comparing spell lists and picking spells we wanted to share before the game. We also compared what we were planning to have our wizards prepare for the game.

We both decided to prepare a couple of Haste spells, so we would have 4 haste spells available for the adventure.

In our party we also had a player, a good friend, with a hyped up "gnoll" barbarian with a Falchion, a real heavy hitter. The character is actually some sort of tiefling that looks like a gnoll. My friend just likes gnolls and Lamasthu.

Anyways back to the spell selection....While looking at what I could do with a lightning bolt, I realized, with reflex saves, Evasion...etc....my 8d6 lighting bolt, was going to cause much less damage then the barbarian.....Haste+ Barbarian was my most effective combination for dealing damage.

Anyways, to me it seems the martial characters, Barbarian, fighter etc do far more damage a round consistently then the evocation magic my wizard wields. So why do martial's feel they don't have "nice things"?.

Thoughts?


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ElyasRavenwood wrote:

Anyways, to me it seems the martial characters, Barbarian, fighter etc do far more damage a round consistently then the evocation magic my wizard wields. So why do martial's feel they don't have "nice things"?.

Thoughts?

In broad terms, it's because "do[ing] far more damage a round" is a relatively limited niche.

Spellcasters have tremendous battlefield mobility advantages -- they can climb better, swim better, fly (at all), and teleport (at all) to get to where they need to be for strategic purposes.

Spellcasters have many more resources for defending the party. They can make the party invisible, immune to attack, out-of-reach, untouchably behind a wall, uncatchable, and so forth.

Spellcasters have many more options for dealing with the environment. They can open locks, disable traps, make or seal portals through the dungeon, create safe zones for rest and recovery,...

Spellcasters have many more options for dealing with bad guys. They can put the bad guys in a deep pit, on the other side of a wall, in a cloud of blinding mist, lying on the ground unable to move, or simply dazed, confused, and unable to fight. They can even take direct control of bad guys and turn them into good guys.

Oh and if none of those things work out, they can do direct damage, as a last and much poorer resort.

So, basically, the spellcaster's list of options ends where the martial's list begins.


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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.


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Because if the only mechanics-based decision I have to make during a session is who my character attacks next (because it's not like they even have the ability to be good at anything else without navigating some arcane maze of feat trees that are largely limited to individual weapons), I have no excuse not to write a bot that can make that decision for me and go on a snack run the moment combat starts.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
ElyasRavenwood wrote:

Anyways, to me it seems the martial characters, Barbarian, fighter etc do far more damage a round consistently then the evocation magic my wizard wields. So why do martial's feel they don't have "nice things"?.

Thoughts?

In broad terms, it's because "do[ing] far more damage a round" is a relatively limited niche.

Spellcasters have tremendous battlefield mobility advantages -- they can climb better, swim better, fly (at all), and teleport (at all) to get to where they need to be for strategic purposes.

Spellcasters have many more resources for defending the party. They can make the party invisible, immune to attack, out-of-reach, untouchably behind a wall, uncatchable, and so forth.

So, basically, the spellcaster's list of options ends where the martial's list begins.

I play support clerics. My primary role IS to help the martial types (and other casters) survive and thrive (do more damage). My game revolves around them with the notable exception of blasting undead. Everyone has a role. It is a team.


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Screw y'all my favorite classes are rogue (now Unchained rogue) and Slayer. Quite frankly I feel people think I'm pretty handy in combat, plus my crap load of skill ranks gives me plenty of helpful things to do out of combat, plus they actually make me feel like I can have a fleshed out character.


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Neurophage wrote:
Because if the only mechanics-based decision I have to make during a session is who my character attacks next (because it's not like they even have the ability to be good at anything else without navigating some arcane maze of feat trees that are largely limited to individual weapons), I have no excuse not to write a bot that can make that decision for me and go on a snack run the moment combat starts.

This is simply not true for most people. It seems like it on the boards but it doesn't hold true for everyone.

Often I find that the problems come in from GMs and players not using the skill system correctly. You shouldn't roll for everything. DCs should be appropriate to the scenario not to the level of the characters. You characters also know how to do a lot of things that are not, and should not be, covered by skills and feats.

I do agree that there are some inherent problems that non-magic using characters have to deal with that magic using ones won't. I just don't see them as debilitating. As a GM, I like to make sure that everyone has to deal with their weaknesses and their strengths.

Liberty's Edge

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The Disclaimer: My favorite classes are, in order, fighter, cleric, magus, and alchemist, so my opinion might be a bit all over the place here.

Snorb's Perceived Experience: Like I said, my favorite class is the plain old honest-to-Bahamut fighter. What can a fighter do? The fighter can beat the skeleton out of some poor guy's skin with a greatclub. He can effortlessly[1] cleave the head off a blue dragon with a kukri. He can take a bow and fire it through an orc's eye, sinking that arrow all the way up to the fletching. He can wear armor that weighs more than your average halfling, strap a shield about the size of my bedroom door onto his left forearm, and wade into battle.

He can not fire beams of energy from his sword that ride the ground like a bulette. He cannot stare down a dragon without flinching, unlike the paladin or his halfling friend[2]. He cannot touch the injured and soothe their wounds. He does not have an animal who accompanies him on his adventures and travels. He cannot throw unerring missiles of pure force[3] that bypass illusory effects. He cannot craft magical items to increase his or his companions' abilities. He cannot fly. He cannot bypass the effects of armor and shields as the wizard can.

What the fighter does get, however, are some very good things (plus Combat Expertise.) He gets Power Attack, yes. He can get Jabbing Style or Pummeling Style[4]. He can specialize in specific weapons. The problem here, however, is this: Most of the nice things a fighter can get don't dovetail with each other. He cannot use Pummeling Style and Jabbing Style at the same time, as Battletoads-esque as that would be. Even if he got all the "add this effect to a critical hit" feats, our fighter can only apply one[5] critical feat to his critical hit, and even then a critical hit isn't as reliable as the fighter would like it.

What Viewers Like You Could Do to Help: Make the fighter great! Create ways to make the fighter less magically-dependent! Make a fighter who can hurl a greatsword fifty feet and nail a stone giant through his helmet's eye slot! Make a fighter who can turn into a blood-soaked tornado of painful red death like some kind of gore-soaked Taz in plate mail!

[1]"Effortlessly" meaning "with at least a +1 on that thing."
[2]Let's face it, Bravery is unhelpful, compared to the paladin's fear immunity. (On the other hand, halfling fighter gets at least +4 vs. fear effects... this warrants further research at the table.)
[3]I'm all for thematically reflavoring spells. I had an arcanist whose Magic Missile spell resembled blue-glowing shuriken.
[4]Before it got clarified to unarmed attacks only, anyway.
[5]Two, actually; I'm considering Critical Mastery as one of those feats.


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noble peasant wrote:
Screw y'all my favorite classes are rogue

How typically rogue, peasant, and ignoble. :-)


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Damage is the thing that casters are not good at and its not where their strength comes from. Comparing damage dealing of martials and casters is like comparing the seating capacity of a mac truck and a mini van. Sure, their seating capacity is about the same, but the mack truck still hits a lot harder when its used properly.

For a caster you don't use damage. You use save or die/save or suck spells. That's the comparison where martials often fall short.


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If I'm a martial, the most optimal combat choice by far is to full attack every round. Even as a Swashbuckler. If I want a cool martial ability, I have to pick one or maybe two, and invest almost all my feats in being able to do those one or two schticks. A caster has neither problem. Plus, casters can typically outdo skill monkeys. Climb? Fly. Stealth? Invisibility. Linguistics? Know Language. Acrobatics? Dimension Door. Not to mention the ability to use save or suck spells that basically no sell characters.

That said, I do think there are solutions. Path of War makes me very happy, and I just got Spheres of Power, which seems so far to be a much better way of handling casters. If I combine the two...

Dark Archive

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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.

Agreed, if you give the plebs what they want who knows what might happen. Sure, today they might just be asking for things to do in combat that are more interesting the finding the nearest target and full attacking but some day they might actually dare to ask for some narative control over the game! Think of the scandal!

Paizo Employee Design Manager

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Damage is often the least effective solution to combat, and it's the only option available to the Fighter. At the same time blasting spells, particularly evocation spells which typically both offer a save and are subject to spell resistance, are some of the worst options available to a caster.

At levels 1-5, the Fighter can dish out plenty of damage and does so reasonably well, though he's usually hit hardest by enemy spells due to his poor Reflex and Will saves. As levels rise, he has a harder and harder time keeping up. He needs to full attack to maintain competitive damage, though casters can still move and cast at full efficacy, and the Fighter starts finding that his options for delivering that damage rely more and more on having someone else facilitate it for him. When enemies start teleporting, flying, etc., the Fighter has a harder and harder time doing his schtick. Archers manage to hold up a little better since they don't have to move as much, but they also suffer from being more easily shut down by low level spells and abilities.

Long story short though, PFS scenarios primarily occur at levels where martial/caster disparity is still in its infancy, so things won't seem terribly disparate, particularly if the casters are using blasting spells. PFS also band crafting and whole swaths of materials that favor casters, which helps level the playing field. It's at the levels beyond 5 that disparity starts to become an issue, and even then, individual system mastery will generally have the greatest impact, as will player expectation. Players who expect to be told how to play the game and approach it like an old-school video game where you just show up and kill whatever is thrown at you won't care much about martial/caster disparity. Players who approach it from a more sandbox-y perspective and interact with the game with the assumption that bypassing, relocating, or even reinventing the encounter under their own conditions will find that casters allow them to take narrative control of the game in a way that just isn't possible for non-casters.


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Neurophage wrote:
Because if the only mechanics-based decision I have to make during a session is who my character attacks next (because it's not like they even have the ability to be good at anything else without navigating some arcane maze of feat trees that are largely limited to individual weapons), I have no excuse not to write a bot that can make that decision for me and go on a snack run the moment combat starts.

Sounds like poor encounter design to me.

Why are you not able to push over ruined collumes to crush or trap your enemies? Why can you not deflect a stream of lava onto them, or open the flood gates, washing them away? Why are you not dropping chandeliers on your enemy?

Why are you not having to choose between attacking one of the enemy and putting out the fire that threatens the orphanage? Why arn't you dashing to get the goblet of zaranna, before that goblin can grab it.

Are you going to engage the enemy at the elevated and effective but slippery choke point, or are you going to let them through onto the even ground and help the rogue get flanking?

Varied win condition and engaging encounter environments should mean that you can't just write a script to make your combat decisions.


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Most PC's do not get to choose the point of combat since they are likely invading enemy territory.

Also a caster could potentially put out the fire, and attack an enemy. Most martials can't do that.

At the end of the day the answer basically boils down to "different people have different requirements in order to be satisfied".


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Neurophage wrote:
Because if the only mechanics-based decision I have to make during a session is who my character attacks next (because it's not like they even have the ability to be good at anything else without navigating some arcane maze of feat trees that are largely limited to individual weapons), I have no excuse not to write a bot that can make that decision for me and go on a snack run the moment combat starts.
noble peasant wrote:
Screw y'all my favorite classes are rogue (now Unchained rogue) and Slayer. Quite frankly I feel people think I'm pretty handy in combat, plus my crap load of skill ranks gives me plenty of helpful things to do out of combat, plus they actually make me feel like I can have a fleshed out character.

It does seem to me that Slayers can do more than just pick someone to attack. Similarly, to me, Barbarians, Rangers, and Bloodragers are more than just sword-swinging machines. When people complain that martials can't have good things are they talking about all classes with full BAB or just fighters?

Paizo Employee Design Manager

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Gisher wrote:
It does seem to me that Slayers can do more than just pick someone to attack. Similarly, to me, Barbarians, Rangers, and Bloodragers are more than just sword-swinging machines. When people complain that martials can't have good things are they talking about all classes with full BAB or just fighters?

Primarily the Fighter. Bloodragers and Rangers have spells, so not really part of the discussion that way. Rogues and the core Monk have similar issues to the Fighter, but they at least have additional ways to interact with the game.

The biggest issue tends to be that as the game scales, trivializing skill checks or dominating encounters on an anime-esque level is totally achievable and doable by casters, but non-casters are still spinning their wheels, doing the same stuff they did at 1st level, just with different numbers. Magic > realism, but non-magical abilities are tethered to things that seem arbitrarily selected as being "reasonable" to real world expectations. A wizard can create his own planes of existence, but a Fighter still struggles to jump 6 feet up in the air without magical assistance.


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wraithstrike wrote:
Most PC's do not get to choose the point of combat since they are likely invading enemy territory.

But the GM does get to choose that, and probably aught to be providing varied ways to interact with the encounter.

wraithstrike wrote:


Also a caster could potentially put out the fire, and attack an enemy. Most martials can't do that.

By using a limited resource and the action that they are supposedly using to be god? Oh, and you know, the fact that they cannot possible memories all possible spells.

A martial certainly can put out fires. They have ability scores and skills, they have environmental features, they have equipment. It just takes a modicum of inventiveness to realised that breaking open the cistern full of water, or beating the flames with a wet blanket is a valid action in a combat.

wraithstrike wrote:


At the end of the day the answer basically boils down to "different people have different requirements in order to be satisfied".

And?

In my ideal world, every combat in a pathfinder game would have the risk of serious long term injuries, and would feel a little like the corridor fight form old boy. I am not out there campaigning for the game to be changed to be that. One day, I'll figure a way to house rule it to get that feel, but in the mean time, knowing how to use the game as it is written to get close to the feel I want is a useful skill.

You want martials to matter, there are ways to play the game that makes them matter, and there are ways to make them not matter. Your choice, but I am fairly certain the a change to play style is a more practical way of getting what you want than sitting around complaining about how broken the game is. (A situtation where, if you are successful, you potentially upset all the people who are perfectly happy with the system as it is.)


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BlackOuroboros 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.
Agreed, if you give the plebs what they want who knows what might happen. Sure, today they might just be asking for things to do in combat that are more interesting the finding the nearest target and full attacking but some day they might actually dare to ask for some narative control over the game! Think of the scandal!

How about this for a better discussion: don't attack players whose play style is different than yours. If you enjoy games where casters shine, excellent. If someone else prefers games where non casters shine, excellent. If others prefer a game where everyone can shine, excellent. After running games in different systems for several decades, I've come to the conclusion that the GM has the opportunity to make sure everyone has fun and if another player is unhappy with that then said player can find a group more to their liking.


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Hey, can we please try looking to see if a thread or twelve already exist on this subject before spamming the forums with our own?

Thanks.


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Cubed wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
ElyasRavenwood wrote:

Anyways, to me it seems the martial characters, Barbarian, fighter etc do far more damage a round consistently then the evocation magic my wizard wields. So why do martial's feel they don't have "nice things"?.

Thoughts?

In broad terms, it's because "do[ing] far more damage a round" is a relatively limited niche.

Spellcasters have tremendous battlefield mobility advantages -- they can climb better, swim better, fly (at all), and teleport (at all) to get to where they need to be for strategic purposes.

Spellcasters have many more resources for defending the party. They can make the party invisible, immune to attack, out-of-reach, untouchably behind a wall, uncatchable, and so forth.

So, basically, the spellcaster's list of options ends where the martial's list begins.

I play support clerics. My primary role IS to help the martial types (and other casters) survive and thrive (do more damage). My game revolves around them with the notable exception of blasting undead. Everyone has a role. It is a team.

Don't confuse "role" with "options," please. There are lots of ways to help martial types survive and thrive. A trip specialized-fighter with a reach weapon, for example, is a very effective support character. Until he runs into a flying opponent, and finds that her specialty trick doesn't work at all, and she's not got much in the way of Plan B.

Casters, in general, are both better at fulfilling many different roles and better at fulfilling the same role in many different ways. A 10th level fighter, for example, has ten different feats that she can't change from adventure to adventure without extensive downtime. A 10th level cleric has roughly 30 spells that she can change on a daily basis or swap into healing, plus half the feats that a fighter has. This makes a cleric much more flexible at any role than the fighter.

Let's just look at the role of "help the martial types survive." A cleric can remove conditions, cure hit point damage, summon support monsters, raise barriers to block opponents moving effectively, enhance rolls (whether attack rolls, damage rolls, or saving throws), compel opponent behavior, prevent opponents from hitting, provide advance warning in time to enable appropriate behavior, provide limitless ammunition, or debuff opponents... and those are all using only first-level spells.


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To those mentioning the whole "schrodingers wizard" thing, i counter with the Arcanist....

Or the exploiter wizard. .. either or.

Oh amd scrolls

And wands

And beads...

And bonded.items....

And enchanted Staffs...


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

To answer the OP's question - I don't really feel that they do. Sure, the fighter is disadvantaged compared to the wizard, but there are people who simply want to play a simple, brutish class that can be plug-and-played without too much trouble, and it's totally okay to offer the option to these people.

Snowbluff's principle applies here, in my opinion. As long as there are varied martials with options available in the game (like Magus and Inquisitor - and some of the more well-known 3pp classes), and as long as the people who want to play awesome fighters with cool tricks are able to do so by means of a Tier 3/4 class, then all is right with the Pathfinder world.

Does this make me a double-traitor =p?

Paizo Employee Design Manager

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PIXIE DUST wrote:

To those mentioning the whole "schrodingers wizard" thing, i counter with the Arcanist....

Or the exploiter wizard. .. either or.

Oh amd scrolls

And wands

And beads...

And bonded.items....

And enchanted Staffs...

I remember a thread where someone was saying something to the effect of "sure wizards can fly, turn invisible, summon monsters, debuff enemies, buff allies, and cast battlefield control spells, but they have to pick one or two, they're not doing all of them" and then someone else responded showing a wizard who could do all of those things and hadn't even used 1/2 of his spells yet, let alone any crafted items. You know, I might even be able to find that with Kobold Cleaver's handy new index.

But yeah, I learned how to play the wizard everyone accuses of being "Schroedinger's Wizard" back in the Neverwinter Nights days when I hated having to rest all the time and always had scrolls and wands of all my low level buff and utility spells so I could reserve my spell slots for my custom "tool for any task" spells. And that was in a format where I had maybe 1/2 of the options as a caster that are available in a Pathfinder game. Fighters were about the same.


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'Nice things' is of course in the eye of the beholder (well, it was before the darn thing got removed from the game due to copyright.)

Probably the most common thing though that people who play martials want, is the ability to effect the ebb and flow of battle beyond merely dealing damage (something that magic excels at.) There are of course some abilities like this, but they are usually both feat intensive and unreliable. Trip is fairly good battlefield control, but a good number of things are simply immune to it, as an example.

So for many people, they want to have 'nice things' the ability to do more than just break someone.


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Dave Justus wrote:

'Nice things' is of course in the eye of the beholder (well, it was before the darn thing got removed from the game due to copyright.)

Probably the most common thing though that people who play martials want, is the ability to effect the ebb and flow of battle beyond merely dealing damage (something that magic excels at.) There are of course some abilities like this, but they are usually both feat intensive and unreliable. Trip is fairly good battlefield control, but a good number of things are simply immune to it, as an example.

So for many people, they want to have 'nice things' the ability to do more than just break someone.

One of my touchstones for "nice things" is the ability to prevent or bypass an encounter. Think, for example, of Obi-wan waving his hands at the stormtrooper and saying "these aren't the droids you're looking for," and everyone gets into Mos Eisley without a second thought. (For that matter, think of Obi-wan waving his hands at the stormtrooper, who says "what was that?" and turns his back, allowing Obi-wan to sneak into the tractor beam housing.)

There are lots of ways that a wizard can bypass an encounter. She can use suggestion to make them think "these aren't the droids I'm looking for." She can use silent image to hide everyone behind a snowbank or a spinney of bushes. She can use spider climb to walk up the side of the castle and enter the evil Duke's sanctum from the top. She can seal the bad guys behind a wall of stone, or walk invisibly past the gates. She can use ethereal jaunt to walk, literally, through the walls and floor of the stronghold. She can use alter self to walk among troglodytes as one of them.

It's hard for a fighter to accomplish any of those. Yes, Disguise (the skill) is a thing, but few fighters have that many skill points available. A skilled diplomancer can persuade the guards to let you pass, but again, that takes skill points that are in short supply. And walking through walls is right out without an expensive magic item, when the fighter is already spending so much of his money just to keep weapons and armor combat-relevant.


PIXIE DUST wrote:

To those mentioning the whole "schrodingers wizard" thing, i counter with the Arcanist....

Or the exploiter wizard. .. either or.

I'm not really up to date with the classes or the archetype. It is quite possible it always has the exact spell it needs, but honestly the archanist is from the Advanced Class Guide, so for much of the life of pathfinder to date it has not been around, and honestly the fact that creep happens is practically a law of nature when it comes to the expansion of complex game systems. As such I am more than willing to ignore it.

PIXIE DUST wrote:


Oh amd scrolls

And wands

And beads...

And bonded items....

And enchanted Staffs...

Bonded item is once per day.

All the other items here represent use of wealth by level, not class features. Martials can also use wealth by level to "get nice things"

And even then, having the right spell for the right situation is no sure thing, especially if the magic item creation rules are obeyed and any reasonable amount of care is taken in treating the acquisition of new spells via copying as a challenging activity.


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Zombieneighbours wrote:
All the other items here represent use of wealth by level, not class features. Martials can also use wealth by level to "get nice things"

A: A Martial would be lucky to have 1/2 as much disposable WBL as a Wizard for such things, 15-20% as much being far more likely.

B: It's very much out of theme for a martial to be using magic to accomplish things.

C: It costs skill points to even try to use that junk, while the casters get to use it for free.


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Zombieneighbours wrote:


All the other items here represent use of wealth by level, not class features. Martials can also use wealth by level to "get nice things"

Yes,... and no. Mostly no.

Martials can use their wealth by level to get nice things, but only after they've bought the de-facto mandatory weapon and armor upgrades. ("If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?")

Casters, by contrast, seem to exist largely on pudding. The wizard, for example, literally can't wear armor, and his first level mage armor spell is essentially 16,000 gp of wealth-by-level physical protection that he gets FOR FREE. He has no need of magical weapons, or indeed of most mundane ones.

The wizard also only has one stat-boosting item to buy, as he has little need for either charisma or wisdom. The fighter needs a belt of every-stat-in-the-damn-book. And the wizard gets free feats that he can use to craft himself any needed items at half price, and a skill that applies, literally, to every crafting technique out there. Fighters get free feats that don't include Master Craftsman, so they're ironically more feat-starved than the wizard, and the fighters also have to spend skill points specific to every type of item out there. ("What, you want a magic bow AND a magic sword?")


kyrt-ryder wrote:


B: It's very much out of theme for a martial to be using magic to accomplish things.

Damn, I guess Theseus never got the memo ;)

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Casters, by contrast, seem to exist largely on pudding. The wizard, for example, literally can't wear armor, and his first level mage armor spell is essentially 16,000 gp of wealth-by-level physical protection that he gets FOR FREE. He has no need of magical weapons, or indeed of most mundane ones.

You must really shop horribly for mundane chain shirts if they cost you that much. Mage armor is a +4 armor bonus... that lasts a whole hour at first level or from a standard wand.

Community Manager

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Removed some unhelpful posts and responses. Be civil, please.


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LazarX wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Casters, by contrast, seem to exist largely on pudding. The wizard, for example, literally can't wear armor, and his first level mage armor spell is essentially 16,000 gp of wealth-by-level physical protection that he gets FOR FREE. He has no need of magical weapons, or indeed of most mundane ones.
You must really shop horribly for mundane chain shirts if they cost you that much. Mage armor is a +4 armor bonus... that lasts a whole hour at first level or from a standard wand.

Or maybe 1 grand for mithral with no armor check penalty.

Dark Archive

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Martials (read: mostly the Fighter) needs better things because damage is not only the easiest thing to be good at in PF, it's also the least useful solution in the game. Even in a 100% combat game, there are spells and class features that allow you to not need to do a single point of actual HP damage. And the martials don't have any easy access to any of that.

That said, the blaster spellcaster is what Pathfinder spellcasters are designed around, balance-wise, but it turns out there are plenty of non-damage spells for spellcasters which are faaaaaar more powerful and effective. And that's why there's a problem. If the Wizard didn't have access to Summon Monster, Color Spray, Glitterdust and the like (and were pretty much limited to blasting and utility spells) they'd STILL be more powerful than the Fighter, but at least they wouldn't make him effectively obsolete.


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Things a fighter can do in combat:
Attack HP via attack vs full AC
Debuff via CMB vs CMD
Debuff via intimidate vs HD
Debuff via bluff vs sense motive
Debuff via fort save after also making an attack vs full AC

Things a wizard can do in combat:
Attack HP via attack vs touch AC
Debuff via attack vs touch AC
Debuff via fort save
Debuff via will save
Debuff with no save at all
Attack HP via reflex save
Attack HP via reflex save and still do half damage on a miss
Debuff via reflex save
Debuff and attack HP at the same time via relfex save and still do half damage on a miss
Kill via fortitude save
Puppet via will save
Debuff via intelligence + CL vs CMD
Buff all sorts of things
Make terrain impassable
Make terrain stop being impassable
Remove himself and his allies from combat
Debuff via intimidate vs HD

Nothing else should really need to be said.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Larkspire wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Casters, by contrast, seem to exist largely on pudding. The wizard, for example, literally can't wear armor, and his first level mage armor spell is essentially 16,000 gp of wealth-by-level physical protection that he gets FOR FREE. He has no need of magical weapons, or indeed of most mundane ones.
You must really shop horribly for mundane chain shirts if they cost you that much. Mage armor is a +4 armor bonus... that lasts a whole hour at first level or from a standard wand.

Or maybe 1 grand for mithral with no armor check penalty.

Which is 250 over a wand of mage armor. Either way, it's somewhat less than the 16 grand figure Lark quoted.


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Seranov wrote:
That said, the blaster spellcaster is what Pathfinder spellcasters are designed around, balance-wise, but it turns out there are plenty of non-damage spells for spellcasters which are faaaaaar more powerful and effective. And that's why there's a problem. If the Wizard didn't have access to Summon Monster, Color Spray, Glitterdust and the like (and were pretty much limited to blasting and utility spells) they'd STILL be more powerful than the Fighter, but at least they wouldn't make him effectively obsolete.

I feel compelled to point out that blaster spellcasting can be very devastating if you optimize for it. Granted, part of a good blaster's scariness usually comes from combining their damage with control-based metamagic like Dazing Spell. Fireball gets way scarier when a failed save = no actions for three rounds.

Though that does bring up the point that the OP is comparing a barbarian to a blaster wizard who has put zero effort into being good at blasting.

Dark Archive

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Right, Chengar. That is exactly the point.

The difference is that unless he has spent lots of character resources and wealth on trying to mimic a spellcaster, the barbarian can't really do terribly much more than beat folks up. The Barbarian suffers less in this regard than most martials (4+Int skill points and a solid skill list, with rage powers on top of that) but he'll never keep up with a even decently played wizard in sheer versatility and breadth of problem solving options.

Paizo Employee Design Manager

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Seranov wrote:
*** The Barbarian suffers less in this regard than most martials (4+Int skill points and a solid skill list, with rage powers on top of that) but he'll never keep up with a even decently played wizard in sheer versatility and breadth of problem solving options.

The Barbarian still makes a good guidepost though. Twice the base skill points of the fighter, options for big bonuses to relevant checks, options for moving and attacking at full strength, or built in flight, the ability to grab spell sunder and other effects that give him a toe-hold when dealing with magical effects, attack and damage bonuses that aren't tied to a specific weapon group but apply equally, ways to effectively improve all saves with a built-in Will booster that applies universally, etc. There's a reason you rarely here people complaining about their Barbarian being too boring or underpowered; he at least has the tools to interact with a magical world and enough skills and skill points to participate in other areas effectively.

Realistically, an optimized wizard may be a bit too powerful for a cooperative play setting, so that may not be the best place to put the bar.


Ssalarn wrote:
Realistically, an optimized wizard may be a bit too powerful for a cooperative play setting, so that may not be the best place to put the bar.

Are we talking optimized to a practical level or abusing Simulacrums and Planar Binding and such?


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Felyndiira wrote:
To answer the OP's question - I don't really feel that they do. Sure, the fighter is disadvantaged compared to the wizard, but there are people who simply want to play a simple, brutish class that can be plug-and-played without too much trouble, and it's totally okay to offer the option to these people.

So, why do you think they want to play a "simple, brutish class" anyway? It sounds from the description like someone who doesn't want to think too hard after a long day/week at work, but simply go in and smack some things around. That seems a sensible reason, yes?

Now, why is the PF approach bad for that? Grease, Charm Person, Colour Spray, and there's a lot more as levels go up. Now the skills and saving throws the Fighter has are nowhere near good enough for them to reliably bypass these and get to the smacking things around but that they enjoy. How very frustrating for them.


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Bluenose wrote:
Felyndiira wrote:
To answer the OP's question - I don't really feel that they do. Sure, the fighter is disadvantaged compared to the wizard, but there are people who simply want to play a simple, brutish class that can be plug-and-played without too much trouble, and it's totally okay to offer the option to these people.

So, why do you think they want to play a "simple, brutish class" anyway? It sounds from the description like someone who doesn't want to think too hard after a long day/week at work, but simply go in and smack some things around. That seems a sensible reason, yes?

Now, why is the PF approach bad for that? Grease, Charm Person, Colour Spray, and there's a lot more as levels go up. Now the skills and saving throws the Fighter has are nowhere near good enough for them to reliably bypass these and get to the smacking things around but that they enjoy. How very frustrating for them.

Indeed, if someone wants a super simple class to play a brute type, Pathfinder's Fighter Class is NOT it. Far too complicated and- at higher levels- FAR too reliant on piecing together the right suite of magical bling.

Dark Archive

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I suppose, Ssalarn. I love Barbarians, but they're really just an example of the BARE MINIMUM of what mundane martials should be able to do.

I really just won't be happy until everybody is T3.


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Seranov wrote:

I suppose, Ssalarn. I love Barbarians, but they're really just an example of the BARE MINIMUM of what mundane martials should be able to do.

I really just won't be happy until everybody is T3.

I rather enjoy running a campaign where everybody is T2 myself.


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I think more than anything the martials need some built in class features that grant social or circumstantial advantage. Not as a trade off either...like can call in noble favors, but gives up combat effectiveness.
They need a more diverse range of non-combat abilities that are in addition to their normal prowess.
Fighters getting automatic followers, lands and titles etc.. not just GM fiat either...in class options.

Dark Archive

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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Seranov wrote:

I suppose, Ssalarn. I love Barbarians, but they're really just an example of the BARE MINIMUM of what mundane martials should be able to do.

I really just won't be happy until everybody is T3.

I rather enjoy running a campaign where everybody is T2 myself.

Which is fine, but that's not going to change my opinion. ;)


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@ Larkspire: That does tie back in to the Fighter's heritage in older editions [as I've been told by the Elders of the Paizo boards in various threads] but it doesn't really relate to the Fighter's current identity from 3.0 onwards.

It might seem more prudent to make that an inexpensive trade-off [perhaps a single feat] and concentrate on making the Fighter far more potent/flexible/survivable under his own power as a combatant so he doesn't need to dump nearly as many feats into combat.

Seranov wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Seranov wrote:

I suppose, Ssalarn. I love Barbarians, but they're really just an example of the BARE MINIMUM of what mundane martials should be able to do.

I really just won't be happy until everybody is T3.

I rather enjoy running a campaign where everybody is T2 myself.
Which is fine, but that's not going to change my opinion. ;)

Naturally, everybody's got their own preferences for the game.


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As for the OP's question..... Because it could be fun. New things to toy around with are always fun and I myself never saw it having the chance of hurting anyone.

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