|mechaPoet RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32|
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I played an Avenger Vigilante in PFS from 1st through 5th levels, most of that in modules. I used a reach weapon and focused on tripping with Favored Maneuver.
The dual identity mechanic seems to be the core of the class, since it's the only thing in common between all specializations. That said, I largely ignored it and its abilities except for the social talent Social Grace (the one that gives skill boosts, and not the ability that ISN'T a talent of the same name). I had two well-enough developed personalities for each identity, both a little humorous (a member of polite society who wrote etiquette books and "The Salty Kraken," a foul mouthed avenger with a funny voice who called people nerds a lot), and switching between them was kind of fun for me. But it feels like you could implement a secret identity thing either as a non-mechanical choice, or by simply using the mechanics already in place for the Disguise skill. The one thing I can say for the ability is that it opened up the possibility of that idea to me, which I can't say I had considered before. Overall, renown ended up being flat-out useless in all the backwater towns with dark secrets and forgotten ruins that I explored on the Pathfinder Society's behalf. Perhaps in a more social scenario it could have been fun, but my 2-skill-points-per-level paladin also LOVED the social scenarios like Blakros Matrimony/Hellknight's Feast, and I think it might just be a matter of an individual's character and social roleplaying ability/interest. I can see renown being slightly more useful in a home campaign that stayed in a single area most of the time (I might consider one for the upcoming Hell's Rebels, for instance), but it feels strange that the core chassis of the class is only useful in very specific circumstances based on the campaign. For instance, sailor- and sea-themed archetypes are great for pirate or aquatic campaigns, and they feel like appropriate niche alternatives. But for a vanilla base class to feel limited, or like half its abilities just aren't going to come up, seems like a misstep?
The avenger specifically feels like either a fighter with different saves/skills/hit dice, or like a buffed up PC-level version of an NPC class aristocrat. So it's kind of a wash between the avenger and fighter, and the avenger has essentially all the same strengths and weaknesses that come with being a non-magical full BAB class, with the main different being the trade off between skill points and in-class buffs to accuracy and sheer combat ability. There are some neat talents, like Close the Gap and Vital Punishment, but it all feels like fighters feats but a little more efficient, or with an extra smidge of numerical bonuses. At first I thought that Favored Maneuver exempted the vigilante from taking Combat Expertise, but I was disappointed to find out that I had no easy way to bypass it or take it with more favorable requirements like the Brawler or Swashbuckler. As it stands, I might consider playing my vigilante further, but solely because I like the character I made for her personality/personalities.
Mechanically speaking, what I would like to see in the revisions of this class are 1) more avenger talents to choose from, 2) avenger talents that are more interesting than just scaling feats; more things along the lines of breaking some combat rules in interesting ways or giving new uses for feats like the Vital Punishment, and 3) just a less niche chassis for the class, that makes the social side worth taking in more types of campaigns? Or at least more social talents. As is, I HAVE to take Renown, which I literally never used, so I'd like to be able to get some use out of it (something that feels like an ability that I couldn't get just by talking to my GM and working out how well-known I am in my campaign's neighborhoods) or avoid it entirely. As an avenger, I also never felt like my Stealth was good enough to activate any of my abilities against "opponents that are unaware of you,"
and it encounters the problem that the entire party has to be sneaking all the time for the vigilante(s) to swoop down and do their cool stuff. I have no in-class ways of doing that well, and have to rely on the campaign being suitable for vigilantes hiding in the streets to go in for political assassinations and stuff--being a vigilante, basically. But what makes the vigilante class so special when it takes the law into its own hands when most adventurers either 1) already do that, or 2) are in a dungeon where the law of the land means nothing.
All of this said, the thing I like most about the vigilante is that it presented me with an idea of a character with a dual identity and a thirst for vengeance concealed by a respectable persona. I probably never would have realized or considered that I could do that with a character if I hadn't been presented with this option. But again, that said, that's more the sort of thing I would have probably liked to see just in the Ultimate Intrigue book as ideas and advice and subsystems for running that kind of campaign. Putting these things on a base class meshes well with the kind of campaigns this book provides support for, but otherwise the class acts as a way to try to shove that campaign style into any and every other campaign, which can make a lot of the main features of the class feel useless and/or silly.
I played a Warlock Vigilante from level 2 to level 7 in PFS. I also played around with several build concepts for the other specializations. I will only be commenting things that I have something to say beyond "it's fine" about. Here are my final thoughts:
Vigilante Class Skills:
Adding Intimidate as a class skill for the class itself rather than for some of the specializations was a good call. Otherwise I think that the class skills are pretty good.
Vigilante Skill Ranks per Level:
6 + Int mod seems good for every specialization EXCEPT the Warlock. My PFS Warlock is getting 11 skill points per level and he isn't even a human. If at any point you thought that an optimized Alchemist got a ridiculous amount of skill points then you will want to take a look at a Warlock. I will talk about a possible fix for this when I get to my thoughts on the Warlock.
I think it was a good call to make social talents to allow a player to more custom tool their vigilante. I feel like this class is filling the niche of a build your own class, so giving more options is a good call. There need to be more options though, because as is at level 1 you have two options.
This ability seems really cool, but because it becomes available at level 17, to me it sort of falls in to that dead zone of play, so it will likely never see any use. It also feels a little weak comparatively to what other 17th level characters can accomplish.
This needed to exist. Previously you were locked in to a longer change time for more levels, and wizards were controlling the weather and using limited wish when you were able to pull the Clark Kent in a phone booth.
As the specializations are now, Avenger and Stalker should be lumped together. I am excited to see the psychic specialization, and feel like some very cool and flavorful things can be done with it.
Some possible specializations that I feel can be done are some kind of gadget specialization, a pet specializations (either sidekick or animal companion), and a nature based casting specialization. Though after reading the Blood Kineticist in OA, these can probably be accomplished with archetypes that lock you in to a specialization.
Startling Appearance, Frightening Appearance, and Vengeance Strike
These abilities do not function well for all of the specializations and I think that any class abilities that you get automatically should not be all but useless because of a choice you made at level 1. I found myself forgetting about Startling Appearance constantly while playing my Warlock, and I have a means to attack an opponent that is unaware of my presence thanks to Vanish.
I discussed this a bit with one of the players local to me who posted this thread that discussed some thoughts on these abilities.
If this specialization is going to remain separate from the Stalker specialization, it need to be given more to keep it from seeming like a crummy Fighter with weird saves.
The Avenger Vigilante gains Toughness as a bonus feat needs to be added to this to make up for the d8 hit die. It is a simple and clean fix to the problem of them having lower hit points than any other full BAB class.
I think Climb and Swim should be added to the skills that the Avenger doesn't apply armor check penalty to. Perhaps as part of the scaling portion, so they get it at level 8 along with moving full speed in medium armor.
Brawlers, Swashbucklers, and Warpriests all count their levels as Fighter levels for feats so I don't see the point in making the Avenger Vigilante treat half of their Vigilante levels as Fighter levels for feats other than to make the Vigilante a less desirable choice than a Fighter. Not only does it complicate things, but you also should not be using Fighter as a base line because it should have got a tune up in Unchained along with the Monk and Rogue.
16th level is a little late to be moving at full speed, by that point if a player cared about moving at full speed in heavy armor they will have already gotten mithral armor (making it count as medium and therefor move at full speed). Look at the Hellknight prestige class. They get the ability to move full speed in hellknight plate at level 2, so likely somewhere in the 7-9 range for most characters. Yes this is only for one type of heavy armor, but it is also arguably the best heavy armor. Using that to gauge a balance, I think this ability should come online at level 10.
Give them Weapon Specialization at 6th level instead of 8th.
Remove the requirement of dealing nonlethal damage from this. With that requirement the power is not great, but without it is okay. It still isn't great though because it requires the target to either be unaware of the Avenger (possible but unlikely) or think that the Avenger is their ally (again, possible but unlikely). Also, I am assuming that this damage was to be considered precision damage and would not be multiplied on a critical hit, but no text currently indicates this.
The changes made from version 1 to version 2 of the playtest were much needed ones. The following suggestions are made under the assumption that Avenger and Stalker will not be folded in to one another.
Case the Joint
This talent should either be made a social talent, or moved to a list of vigilante talents that can be selected by any specialization. I feel this change should be made even if Avenger and Stalker get lumped in to one specialization.
This talent should be moved to a list of talents that can be selected by any specialization, or added to the Avenger list as well.
Have this talent deal damage as appropriate. If the adjacent target is unaware of the Stalker Vigilante or otherwise qualifies for the d8 dice, let them use the d8.
Allow this ability to be selected at 2nd level.
At first I was actually one of the few people that was fine with having to take Arcane Training talents to get additional spells and access to higher levels spells. I have completely changed my mind after having played levels 4-7 and selecting Mystic Bolts at level 4 instead of Arcane Armor Training II. Additional spells and higher level spells need to be automatic, and there aren't really any changes that could be made to make this not be true. Additionally, the Warlock should be able to cast in their armor. Every other arcane casting class with armor proficiency can cast in the armor they a proficient in without arcane spell failure, and the Warlock should too without wasting a talent. I also think that the Warlock gets way too many skill points per level because it is an Int based class that gets 6 + Int skill ranks a level. I think their casting stat should be changed to either Wisdom or Charisma. This would also help the Warlock feel mechanically different from the Arcanist.
Arcane Training II - VI
All of these should be removed, I feel that these were only made to fill out the talents section for the casters.
Move the ability to add flaming, frost, shock, and thundering to your weapon to level 10 and add corrosive to the options that can be added. Add the ability to add corrosive burst at level 16.
Add the ability to access Quick Bombs using a vigilante talent after taking this talent and being at least level 8.
I liked the first version of this more than the revised version. It was more flavorful and had more mechanical uniqueness. Though it's narrow parameters that allow it to activate should probably grant DR magic equal to your Vigilante level rather than half your Vigilante level.
The nerf on this was incredibly overzealous. 1d6 + 1 for every Vigilante level might have been a little strong, 1d6 + 1/4 for every Vigilante level is incredibly weak. I can't speak from experience for levels beyond 7, but CR appropriate encounters basically shut down your ability to deal damage even with minor energy resists. The damage needs to be increased at least to 1d6 + 1/2 for every Vigilante level, or you need the ability to select the type of damage you do when using the bolt rather than being locked in to the choice when you select the ability. Possibly both.
This specialization went from the least interesting looking specialization to the most interesting looking specialization. Well done design team. As I said with the Warlock, their spells and spell levels should be gained automatically because the blank Training X talents are butt garbage and seem like they were only put there to fill up space. Overall the Zealot seems pretty solid.
Divine Power II - VI
Should be removed and replaced with regular spell casting included in the base Divine Power.
Perhaps add the option of smite chaos to Celestial and Infernal, and smite law to Abyssal and Fey. But make them choose which smite they get when selecting the ability. Or don't.
Universal Vigilante Talents:
As I briefly mentioned before, there should be a list of talents that are available to multiple or all Vigilante specializations. As I said, this will help work with the build your own class theme.
There should absolutely be Extra Social Talent and Extra Vigilante Talent feat. Most of them are no more powerful that abilities that can be accessed by other classes that get an Extra -blank- feat, and so they shouldn't be treated like they are so much more powerful.
In addition to the archetypes I mentioned earlier I think there should be an archetype that lets you cross specialize, maybe at the cost of halving your effective Vigilante level for the purpose of qualifying for vigilante talents. There should also be an archetype that gives up the social identity and all related abilities for some additional benefit for those who want to make a vigilante who doesn't have an alternate identity.
Those are my suggested changes and alterations to the Vigilante class. Overall I love the theme of the class and look forward to the full release, but it does still need a lot of work.
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My girlfriend and I have just reached level 5 on out Vigilantes. I have been playing Stalker and she has been playing the Celestial Zealot. I'll go ahead a post the key points:
Stalker I have been playing the Up Close and Personal + Leave an Opening combo. I love this combo, but I honestly think Up Close and Personal is too powerful at level 4. You gain 3 attacks per round at level four with this ability with weapons. You do not need to use the full attack action to get them, so you are more mobile than someone with pounce. It's better than natural attacks, it's better than two weapon fighting, and it's better than vital strike. That said, it scales poorly, and other option will start to catch up at higher levels. I feel it should be an option, but it should be locked to 8th level at the earliest.
Because Up Close and Personal are so good, it makes the rest of very cool and thematic talents become less selected, because you are actively hurting yourself if you don't take it. I wanted to take evasion, mockingbird, strike the unseen, roof climber, and so on, but they didn't compare to the elephant in the room.
Zealot Beth was playing an Archery based Zealot. Zealot Smite was great, and Celestial Fire proved surprisingly useful as most of her archery feats applied to it as well. Levels two and three were painful, as there was no spell-casting increases. I like the idea of modular casting, but there needs to be an option to have your spells per day increase on levels when you don't take a Divine/Arcane talent. The level up power jump at 4th was jarring, as you went from one first level spell per day, to four 1st level spells and one second all at once. There needs to be a gradual increase in spells per day for the spell levels you have unlocked.
In PFS play these are almost never used. We unlocked the boon for an extra social grace skill which is good for day jobs, and renown in all of Absalom which is good for intimidate checks. Still, it's outside the scope of most PFS play. I think this will need the additional systems in the final book that we have not seen to be useful. Even then, I doubt those rules would be added to the campaign.
Final thoughts from what I have seen of the Vigilante throughout the playtest:
The Vigilante: the base chassis of the class needs some work and clarification, as written it currently looks like 4 archetypes roped together with Dual identity, the appearance line, and a Capstone which is probably the most thematic of the three tie-ins yet will rarely be used because of the level requirement.
How I would like to see this fixed: the base class becomes pretty apparent after thorough examination, but it would be best if it was outright stated by itself, and then add the additional flavor of each specialization, put the spells known under the base class(leaving the actual type and if you get them under the specialization), take the bonus spells out of the spell level training and attach them to the base "spells known" of the caster vigilante specializations. Take the appearance line out of the chassis and replace them with "general" talents at those levels, if possible split the capstone by individual rounds of use and spread it out down the levels as possible.
That would open up room for Vigilante general talents, which many of the current talents should become(specifically things like case the joint, although that one could easily make a good social talent as well), add a level one and level zero spell talent for the general pool, then allow each caster to take their specific spell trainings 2 at a time(they would still start with levels zero and one free), allow either type of spell training to unlock the other's next step. As I said earlier, put the appearance line in the general talent pool, as well as certain talents like Armor Skin/heavy training/educated defense(though like the casters certain portions should only unlock in the original specialization) and Signature Weapon.
Social Talents/DI: give the social side it's own specializations, leaving what is there(and adding more) to a general talent pool. The population restrictions on the renown's are too small, they just don't even do enough to justify 3 talents, or even one talent at their respective level, they are also limiting in uses and time requirements, either make the series as is a scaling talent(with options to take it more than once for larger population size/more simultaneous locations of use) or rethink it entirely.
Martial Specs: give them one more vigilante talent at level one(could be limited to general talent list) and a second general Vigilante talent taken at level 3+(possibly a second at a later level) if they trade out the newly added "spells known" on the base chassis(they cannot take any level of spell training beforehand, as if they did they could no longer cast). If they choose to take any spell training, allow them to start at level one or level zero, giving up 7-8 talents for such limited casting(as they would only have 6 spells per level trained at max) would definitely be a style choice, and not the best.
Avenger: it seems lacking in many ways, it's great for stealth but cannot capitalize on it until level 5's appearance line because most stealth talents are in the stalker's specialization, as well as hidden strike as an ability, it might be nice for them to get a gimped hidden strike(1d2 or 1d3 rather than 1d4, and 1d6 rather than 1d8) or just add the gimped hidden strike to general talents.
Stalker: The best Specialization at the moment, it could still use a little more oomph to many of the weaker talents
The Caster Specializations: 1/2 of the talents being taken up to not only add spell levels, but to also optimize current levels, is not a great way for a caster class to be unique, especially when that doesn't even take into account abilities to optimally use the spells(like casting in armor) is bad, that is why in the above I suggested reducing these requirements by almost half, and moving the extra spells per level from the training into these specializations.
The Warlock: Tattoo Chamber really needs to be given a talent chain(I hope the Tattoo character from Elektra can give you guys ideas for this kind of specialization ability) if not the ability to take it more than once or expand the size(imagine pulling a sword from a tattoo on your back), Mystic bolt needs a better way to scale as well(either talent chains or give the ability to "overlay" it on weapons, simultaneously damaging them but allowing the bolts to do more DPR against those with ER), as does "educated defense"
The Zealot: the new domains are great, but they don't add enough variation, they in fact limit the flavor of the class by making it in part a specific kind of paladin, allow the spell book choice with the specialization itself and change the smites to tie into the alignment of the character rather than of the quasi-domain.
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This has turned into a rather lengthy feedback, so my TLDR is “The Vigilante has a highly interesting concept and has lots of potential, but needs significant implementation changes.” I also realized that it was a little dry, so the subject headers are little tongue in cheek ;)
Right now Dual Identity suffers from conceptual and practical issues. From a conceptual standpoint, the idea seems to be that the vigilante is a modal class of two halves, with both parts trying to complement each other. However, there are very few features that actually utilize the “identity shift” and the attempts that do seem forced (they’re also some of my least favorite options available to the class.) For a modal class to work, both modes either need to have distinctly significant benefits or be relatively easy to switch between. The Vigilante is neither. In fact, with Social Grace there isn’t a compelling reason for a Vigilante to leave their Social Identity from a mechanics perspective.
From a practical standpoint, in the playtest the Vigilante players spent a vast majority of their time in one identity. The time it would take to change between identities was deemed too prohibitive to be caught in combat in the “wrong” identity and I’ve nearly had players miss out on entire encounters because of it. All the two identities really lead to was a kind of inside joke and confusion from players that didn’t really get what was going on. I imagine after a Vigilante was around long enough they’d have a conversation like “Barry, everyone knows that you’re really The Murder Hobo. Can you just put your mask on *before* coming to the Venture Captain’s briefing so we don’t have to wait around for you? You really left us hanging the last time we were ambushed and you just ran off.”
I believe that the Vigilante class would be significantly better off if Dual Identity and Seamless Guise were Social Talent options. As much as Dual Identity is supposed to be the core “identity” for the class, it ultimately fails in this regard.
Finally, I have concerns about Dual Identity as a level one ability: the alignment and scry protection is odd. I can just see the abuse of “Yeah, that demon that’s bathing in virgin’s blood? He’s actually in his Social Identity of a Yoga Instructor. Your Smite Evil / Holy Weapon combo does nothing.”
Another area that could use a fair amount of work is the Social Talents. As it stands (without seeing what juicy abilities the full book might have), the Social Talents have a number of False Choices; you’re forced to take Renown, which I really wish was its own system and not a class feature. I personally don’t like how Renown and Loyal Aid are so location-centric. They work well for a city-based game where the players operate out of a fixed locale, but these types of games tend to be the exception rather than the rule. Its fine as an option, but it would be much more inclusive to have it be based on, say, a Ranger’s Favored Terrain type, rather a population that was half of the size of my High School graduating class. At low levels renown also requires a week to gain for a new area, which is prohibitive for many campaigns. In general, I don’t like how a large number of Vigilante abilities are heavily GM / campaign dependent.
Social Grace is the standout Social Talent: +4 to a large number of abilities is impressive (if a bit boring) at level 1. There are a number of Vigilante Talents that really feel like they’d have a better home as a Social Talent. They would also give more options for a character that doesn’t really care about disguise (which a lot of Social Talents are geared to.)
The Vigilante Class requires having a mix of decent physical and mental / social stats. The Warlock really has it the worst; it needs a physical attack stat, a decent Int, a moderate Charisma… I would really prefer if Warlock’s casting was based off Charisma instead of Intellect to reduce how spread out it felt. IMO that would also feel a bit more thematic (power from sheer personality rather than book learning.)
Even more so than a Multiple Attribute Dependency though, the Vigilante has Multiple Skill Dependency. To pull off a Vigilante requires a mix of Disguise, Intimidate, Stealth, Acrobatics, Bluff, Sense Motive, and Knowledge: Engineering, depending on what talents you take. Something akin to the Bard’s “Versatile Performance” allowing Disguise modifier in place of Bluff would be welcome.
From my experience, the Vigilante really picks up around level 4-6 when some of the Stand Out abilities start coming online. Giving it something appealing at low levels would go a long way, though.
Vigilante specializations: This ended a bit more rough than I’d like due to time reasons. I tried to hit the high points of what I experienced and call out a few Talents that I liked or didn’t like.
I wish that there were abilities that capitalized on the increased mobility that the Avenger can have. Close the Gap is a Stand Out ability and there could be an interesting sub-theme of abilities that trigger if the Avenger moves at least 10’.
A number of talents are flavorful but lackluster, especially Environment Weapon and Nothing Can Stop Me; those could use some tweaks. This specialization really caps out at level 6-12 when the scaling talents come online and Mad Rush is an option. I think a majority of Avengers will play to level 8 and then multiclass to something else.
A bit of feedback on Hidden Strike: it scales a bit oddly. At low levels it is very difficult to get d8s and next to impossible to get more than once per combat. This becomes less of a problem as Up Close and Personal or Hide in Plain Sight come online, but without those the Stalker rolls d4s for a number of levels and feels slightly weaker than a rogue in combat.
Case the Joint: Could use rules limitations and clarifications. What defines a “Location”? Does the Stalker have to have visually seen a locked drawer to know there was a trap there? Also, it is implied but not explicitly stated that the vigilante must be in their Vigilante Identity to use the rerolls.
Rogue Talent: Does taking the “Rogue Talent” option open up the Extra Rogue Talent feat?
Silent Dispatch: As designed, this talent does little. First off, it doesn’t do much unless the vigilante is the only one in the combat, the marginal benefit only lasts a round, and it doesn’t impact the current combat. A change that would greatly improve it would be making any opponent that is unaware of the target unaware until the end of the turn or until they take damage from the Vigilante.
Mockingbird: Could use to be a (Su) ability and clarification on how to use it. Should the CL be treated as the Vigilante’s level? It could also really make a sweet Social Talent.
Mystic Bolts currently is a trap: The damage isn’t high enough to build around and at higher levels resistances will greatly reduce the damage. It’ll be interesting to see if the ability can be balanced enough to make use of.
Standout: Tattoo Chamber is the standout Talent here. It’s a fun and flavorful build around; it almost makes me wish the Warlock had more options to specialize on spell completion items as opposed to spell casting.
The Zealot in general really needs some standout abilities; right now Zealot Smite is the only really interesting ability at low levels.
One direction it would be interesting to see is a 20-level “Oradin” (Life Oracle- Paladin multiclass.) The Zealot is almost there with a few of the damage prevention abilities.
And that’s a wrap! Thanks again to the various Vigilantes I GMed for throughout the playtest and the Developers that provided feedback. I greatly appreciated the insight into the class design it provided.
I am only going to write about the Zealot Vigilante, simply since that is what I played. I did have other players playing a Stalker and Avenger, but I know one of them has posted elsewhere in this thread. Also all my Zealot play testing has been done in PFS.
So the Zealot does indeed feel like an inquisitor archetype. At least while playing it with the Celestial variant. That said I ran into the issue that I was playing it as a very caster centered Zealot, and the way you are stuck with slower spell casting for several levels *really* hurts.
I decided against going the more melee or archery style Vigilante mostly since I have already played a more melee heavy inquisitor and playing that again would have certainly felt like a retread.
I did enjoy the swapping between foppish Chelish opera singer and a spell casting abolitionist. I was actually even useful in one scenario when one NPC latched onto my character, and he was able to shake them off by swapping to his secret identity.
One bit of oddness is that no matter what it does create a bit of weird IC and OOC irony as no matter what your other players know out of character you are a vigilante. Which is not a problem really, but it does make things odd at times, especially since you have a new person show up in the middle of a scenario and flashing their PC card can be a mite jarring.
Also it really feels like there should be a pool of generic "Vigilante" talents that all the vigilantes can tap, since a few of the Avenger or Stalker talents would compliment some of the things a more martially inclined Zealot or Warlock can pull off.
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I was going to write a big long nicely-formatted post on the Vigilante and then I went and got a concussion and we got all of this other really excellent feedback. Hey, this turned into a really long post anyway! Sorry about the formatting.
Wolfspirit's post in particular is especially close to my own analysis and experience.
The Vigilante Class
I feel like the strength of the Vigilante class during the playtest was in its modular build, especially v2, but we were not provided with enough options (or framework) to actually playtest the class as it would play in practice. There was very little synergy between the talents, meaning that nearly every vigilante we built was going to be less effective than an equivalent "production" class.
Synergy between the base class and the specializations was also very weak. The warlock and zealot specializations, as playtested, do not derive any particular benefit from being vigilantes until relatively late in their adventuring careers.
The skill taxes are absurd. All of this is true:
Even more so than a Multiple Attribute Dependency though, the Vigilante has Multiple Skill Dependency. To pull off a Vigilante requires a mix of Disguise, Intimidate, Stealth, Acrobatics, Bluff, Sense Motive, and Knowledge: Engineering, depending on what talents you take.
However, I think it forgets that you may also--depending on your concept--want a Profession skill, other Knowledge skills (like Arcana or Religion), perhaps Spellcraft... Disable Device, Use Magic Device... not all of them, of course, but if you invest heavily in your Int, you might get one of them. (Unless you're a Warlock.) The class is really crying out for a solution, which may or may not be 8 skill ranks per level.
Renown and Social Interactions
I firmly believe that you should have built the new social subsystems before you built the class that would use those social subsystems. Renown and potentially Social Grace could and should probably not be class abilities, but rather bonuses to an existing social subsystem outlined in Ultimate Intrigue.
Having a Secret Identity
The problems this class is trying to solve exist moreso in in modern society than they do in the strange fantastic setting that is Golarion (or most fantasy tabletop, for that matter). Great heroes roam about the lands slaughtering all who stand in their way while retaining a Good alignment so long as the people they killed attacked them first. That there are few, if any, consequences to PC actions suggests that the secret identity mechanic is colossally out of place in most Pathfinder campaigns.
Removing the "the social identity loses all vigilante powers" rule did fix a lot of silliness, and I appreciate it, but there's not yet any compelling reason to switch between social and vigilante identity. Consciously building in more mechanisms that promote this alternating-identity style of play, like the "Case the Joint" talent, would really help with this.
I tried playing as a secret identity, but to be honest, it's hard to justify using it. My compatriots, some of whom were lawful good (lawful good!) did the exact same things I did without fear of repercussion, and yet I had to slink back to an alley or secluded bathroom and change identities in order to maintain whatever minor status my pathetic level 1 skill checks afforded me. It consistently wrecked my suspension of disbelief. Also...
That +20 to Disguise...
... really needs to be to Disguise and Bluff, and maybe shouldn't be a flat bonus at all. The flat, huge bonus puts the Vigilante in a weird position where at low levels, he can wander around mute but can't say anything in his social identity because his bluff isn't high enough. Most vigilantes I've seen didn't invest anything in Disguise because it's hard to improve a +20 modifier at all. However, at higher levels, they're eventually going to start running into NPCs with high Sense Motive or Perception checks who can consistently see through their disguises at which point the class should probably start putting some ranks into Disguise, which makes the whole skill tax problem worse.
I tried playing a Vigilante without Bluff and it made the social identity not work as a secret identity at all. I couldn't say anything without being found out and anyone with even a moderately good wisdom had a good chance to see through my bluff even when I invested points in it.
Vigilante Talents in General
The Vigilante class seems to have been used as a reason to get a bunch of awesome designers around a table and think about what sorts of awesome things superheroes can do that a Vigilante should be able to do. That's awesome! But don't forget that nearly every Pathfinder character is thought of as a hero or superhero in some way. There's no reason that only an Avenger can bust down doors while chasing people down but a Barbarian or Fighter can't, or that a Stalker can leap out of the shadows, grab someone, and pull them out of view--but a rogue or slayer cannot. I beg you, take these awesome ideas that are really nothing but fun new combat maneuvers, and make them available to everyone in some way! I think feats would work the best within the existing design space (that way a Vigilante could take a talent that let them ignore the prerequisites, thus still having an advantage in their use) but there are a lot of ways of making that work.
The Avenger Specialization
I did not play an avenger. I tried to build an avenger I would like to play, but levels 1-4 just looked miserably underpowered with nearly every build I tried. Level 1 in particular looked awful.
The problem with Avenger seems to be, at least to me, that it is literally a bad fighter with some stealth capabilities and a skill tax until level 8, at which point a bunch of talents-that-are-better-than-feats start paying off. I'm not sure that a talent at 1st solves the problem entirely, because you have set yourself up for two very different power curves. I worry that the power curve for the Avenger is too low early, and by the time it's clearly better than a fighter, it's already going to be significantly outclassed by six-level casters and the full casting classes especially. That suggests there isn't going to be a spot at all where the avenger won't get outshone by an existing martial class.
The Stalker Specialization
The stalker specialization got significantly better with the additional talents Mark introduced, but I couldn't playtest those in PFS. It clearly has the best synergy with the base class and really seems like the "basic" vigilante. I personally think every vigilante specialization should get access to the stalker talents since the class is basically about being a stalker with a grab bag of awesome abilities.
The Warlock Specialization
The modular spellcasting implementation does not allow for functional spellcasters at low levels. It is incredibly painful. So you could play a useless full caster with two spells for four levels, or you could play something else. Mostly, I think people will play something else.
The Zealot Specialization
The modular spellcasting implementation still sucks. However, at least this specialization has the Fey divine power, which is awesome, mostly because allows for combinations you can't make anywhere else. The invisibility is really nice. Combat effectiveness is still exceptionally limited at low levels.
With the addition of smite, I don't think the comparison is the inquisitor anymore, it's the paladin. A paladin would probably not trade its base attack bonus, high HP, armor proficiency, lay on hands, mercies, mount/weapon bond, and its ability to boost its smite for a limited-use invisibility, two spells per day, and the ability to pick up a few more spells or...not do much else of note except stealth a little bit. There's some alignment flexibility which makes the Zealot a better fit for Hell's Rebels but in a more freeform campaign I'd rather play a Paladin nearly every time.
I do think this class has promise and if anyone can make it work, you can. I'm really going to be looking forward to the Vigilante class when it is released. That said, it's got a fair number of issues that need to be sorted out. It is not terribly playable in any conventional way right now.
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I've playtested one Vigilante to third level within Pathfinder Society, and I've toyed with creating a couple of others.
The problem is that the Vigilante sells itself on being a superhero, a man... or woman of mystery. and it's clear source is of the comic books, but it's execution places it more close to the non-supered costume heroes of the 30's serials.
And that's the problem... Whether it's the serials like the Man of Bronze, or even the barely qualifying the Spirit. Costumed Heroes are a cut above the ordinary.
But the ordinary that the Vigilante has to be compared to... is that of the typical Fantasy adventurer. And to them, his abilities are nothing particularly special. He has easier access to the tropes such as the Secret Hideway, an the quick disguise, but with that package comes the forced cleavage between the Social and Vigilante identities.
The more problematic aspect of this is that He's not really super... He's no better at weapon play than the fighter or other martial classes and his Warlock spellcasting is nothing to write home about. So he's not even the equivalent of a 30's noir caped man of mystery when compared to his adventuring comrades.
In Pathfinder society, I can give the credit for my adventures to my Vigilante's social identity.... but concealing a secret from a party of non-Vigilantes adventurers who are as much a cut above the ordinary as the Vigilante is... becomes increasingly clumsy and in may aspects such as the far flung explorations that Pathfinders go to... downright impossible.
That said, I think there are campaigns where the class can find a good home... such as Legends of the Shining Jewel, which is mostly camp compared to more serious campaigns, but I strongly doubt that I'll ever dust off my PFS vigilante again.
The concept needs to be seriously thought out in this context. If this is to be used in PFS, we need an option that gives Vigilante angles to existing classes instead of trying to create a new class in and of itself. And the model for this class in that setting isn't Superman, Spiderman, or even Batman... it's more Will Eisner's The Spirit, or to use a Golarion context... the Red Raven of Galt.
|Wei Ji the Learner|
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I didn't have the massive amount of time or game-mastery to be able to play more than one intense speed-run of the Confirmation with my Zealot.
A lot of the commentary here has been spot-on.
In addition, if this class IS going to be a legal PFS character beyond the playtest, there needs to be some sort of indication/provision/consideration built into either Society play or the character itself FOR Society play...
Or, as my GM put it...
"So who shows up to collect the
And then of course, another thing came to mind.
If characters have specific proprietary mission-critical equipment on one character, then it shreds any sense of disbelief and should impart a HUGE negative modifier to Bluff and Disguise checks.
"Oh, um, I'm sorry Gold Agent Saranwrap, I must have left my badge in the office somewhere. Let me go get it." ie, the alternate identity got the item in question, but now...
Yeah, that's not going to fly in an rp setting. Especially without skill support to back up that sort of bold-faced lie.
I like the class, it has promise, it needs more testing and refinement.
so friend convinced me to post my feed back on the vigilante. Given this I have not actually played one just gmed several PFS scenarios several of which with the vigilantly including the Avenger and Warlock.
so with the update halfway through the playtest that reduced the changing time for personas was the first time that I have actually seen multiple identity's in the same scenario. Maybe include a feat that further reduces the time for changing... like a portable phone booth.
the Avenger could really use a free toughness, as the one playing in our area got squished in two attacks (no crit) by a wolverine at lvl 4.
also for the warlock subtype I feel like the 6 skill points for a int based caster puts the skill points into overdrive I think the resident warlock player was getting around 11 skillpoints per lvl with minimal investment and more during later lvls.
I feel like the warlock got a pretty hard nerf when the change came around while full lvl is really powerful 1/4 kinda crippled the warlock. (and I had to hear about it every time the warlock player used the blade)
I am sure their is more but that is my experience with the class.
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This is still open?
A lot of very interesting ideas in this thread.
I played both an Avenger and a Warlock and in both cases I had another player play a similar class for comparisons sake. Low levels 5-7.
The Avenger really lacked anything to make him a more attractive class than the warrior (NPC). Low HP, and I was forced to spend my talents on being able to wear my armor and sneak around. His only damage boosting option, Fist of the Avenger, is a terrible joke in the face of a class like the Brawler.
The Warlock does indeed suffer an identity crisis. I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing when playing him. I had such little spellcasting that I couldn't treat myself as a primary caster, but I couldn't do any damage with my Mystic Bolts. Had I just ran around with a weapon then the class would feel stupid since there are no ways to improve accuracy/damage like Arcane Accuracy or Inspire Courage from the classes better versions. This class is very talent taxed just to get its class features to work, let alone any idea of actually getting to come up with a unique build.
The overall class, meaning the Social Talents, is not very strong either. There are plenty of skill taxes that the class needs in order to survive the metagame slaughter that comes with playing a character that all the other players know the secret identity of but not their characters. Most of the social talents require Renown to take, and the rest of them aren't that good. I really like the idea presented about Versatile Performance but instead applying the disguise skill. There was also a lot of posts relating this class to the master spy base class idea. I really like that.
Ehh, that ship has long since sailed (Slayer Talents, Investigator Talents), though I agree the name should be changed to something else so as not to exacerbate the issue.
I'm partial to something more like a Vigilante *Opens up Thesaurus, as the Dev team should really do some time to avoid using the same name repeatedly* Gimmick, Stratagem, Knack, or Art.
Gimmick is probably the most fitting. It fits both the flavor (most costumed superheroes rely on one or more gimmick to distinguish themselves from the similar ones), and the mechanics (since all the Talents currently are are marginally useful, but interesting in concept abilities in many cases).
Mostly played Stalker levels 1-5. LOVED IT, but PFS has been weird. Basically two "people" interchanging themselves on a mission, it's hard to slip in.
The alignment thing should mask the true alignment rather than be an actual additional alignment IMO.
I like all of the options, especially the flavorful stalker talents. I loved how "build it yourself" it was! Make a combined pool and tons of options so we can build a bunch of super heroes and duplicitous villains!
The Appearance abilities really only suit specific builds, perhaps turn them into social talents.
Definitely define "unaware". Plz plz plz plz
Thanks for the opportunity to try it out. I've had a wild ride and so can't wait to see the book :D
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Since apparently we can still post, here's a thought:
Don't make the specific Alternate Identity something you get at lv1. No other class starts you off at "master of X" status; "master of X" is something you have to WORK for.
Right now, you're building the pyramid upside-down - give the Vigilante a generalized Bluff/Disguise ability that increases its capability to disguise itself (pretty much the Everyman Ability at 1st Level) and then LATER let it get major bonuses when in 1 specific alternate persona.
Just like Rangers have Favored Terrains and Favored Enemies, it would make sense that the Vigilante would have a Favored Persona (think Batman having Matches Malone); if, at lv5, the Vigilante chooses a specific persona from a specific walk of life (i.e. Warrior, Expert, Noble, or Commoner), and gets a noticeable bonus to Bluff and Disguise Checks when in that Persona, & then at lv10, 15, and 20 they choose ANOTHER persona to get similar bonuses to, THEN the class would not only fulfill the "dual identities" thing you've been pressing, but also make mechanical sense AND would be a reason to take this class for more than just 1 level.
My thoughts were "eh, is this even appropriate" for the vigilante class. yeah, it sounded kind of nifty. But I'm not sure if a Zorro or Lone Ranger style character fits as a player character in an adventuring party. Especially not for PFS play.
To expand on this, in PFS play the venture captain assigning a task goes up to Eric the Tanner. The Pathfinders have no reason to suspect that Eric the Tanner is a vigilante. If they did, then this breaks a core mechanic for the class. So why are they asking a local tanner to go into this far off city, or just the local underworld, and accomplish a potentially dangerous mission?
Even if Eric the Tanner IS a member of the pathfinder society, it wouldn't be in a combat role. Instead he'd probably be the one providing the Society's armorer with leather to make new jerkins. He'd be very careful to keep his civilian identity as far removed from his masked identity as Korbat the Swift Avenger. So again, why is he being given this mission?
For non-PFS groups a vigilante seems like they would be limited to very small areas for their adventurers to be set in. Zorro doesn't often leave the town he fights injustice in after all. Conversely a Lone Ranger style vigilante who travels to where needed would either never use the secret identity mechanics by choice, or would be unable to due to not being in a given area for long.
From my earlier example I can easily see the following exchange being quite regular.
"Who's the nut?"
"Donno, calls himself Korbat the Swift Avenger."
"Never heard of him."
Kind of hard to establish a rep via the mechanics in the playtest if you're always on the go.
|Tels the Avenger|
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Rynjin wrote:I'm paraphrasing someone's paraphrasing from the content of a podcast, from a thread I can't recall the name of. Sorry.And Tels swoops in - no wait, hold on....
Tels wrote:So, was the Vigilante salvageable?From what Jason said at Dragoncon I believe it was (they combined the melee/rogue versions into the main thing from which to take talents from and made the Warlock and Zealot archetypes).
Please ignore the other Tels. He's totally not my civilian identity and you should pay no attention to him.
|Mark Seifter Designer|
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I think it's fine that Dragoncon-goers came back and told everyone about it. Honestly, I try not to be the one spreading new information, but I'm usually happy to repeat anything I heard someone else announce at a seminar (not counting the NDA workshops). Another cool thing? A heavy majority of my potential stalker talents are going in! Add to that the fact of the hybrid, and that means any vigilante, even with archetypes, can use a bunch of them.
EDIT: Oh, this is the final thoughts thread. Whoops! In case other people saw this in a feed and didn't know where we are, this is supposed to have only one post per person with final thoughts. Please split off conversations about new reveals to a new thread. I'll have to delete posts made after this point that don't follow that, now that I realize it.
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Admittedly I haven't been watching this to the very end, but my main thought about the Vigilante was not about its practical rules, but about alignment. It seems to me like a whole lot of our cultures iconic vigilantes would simply not be doable with the 1 step alignment difference limit between alter egos. Most I can think of require two - CG Zorro playing vs a lawful noble, LE Sith Lord Palpatine vs "ooh i care so much for your wellbeing" LG senator Palpatine..
The zorro example hurts me most though. The class seems just made about Zorro and at the same time - it bars him out.
I'd hate to say this but is my honest opinion.
The vigilante just should not be a class.
I see where you are going with it, but the four different options are two different to belong all to the same class. I like flexibility but the vigilante is doing it wrong.
You have to choose one and then you are locked in to a particular path with little more than a BAB/Saves table in common. It just doesn't work.
Here is my suggestion:
Make the four vigilante options prestige classes. (remember those?)
I think these would really work better that way. Characters take them in align to their existing abilities and gain the secret identity and extra social options and some other abilities to complement the abilities of their old class or classes. For example, a kind old wizard, a plucky rogue with a heart-of-gold, a humble village priest, and brave fighter in the castle guard all adopt secret identities as Professor Warlock, Stalker Man, Super Zealot, and Captain Avenger to fight against the corrupt sheriff and his minions.
This is very late, but have only been able to play vigilante occasionally and only recently a rather decent amount in PFS.
I played the vigilante avenger up to level 5 so far. Been having tons of fun SPECIFICALLY because I made the social identity just as viable of a character when dealing with the party and Pathfinder Society situations.
Jak Leroung, of the scholarly Leroung noble family of Cheliax, who decided to pursue his academia in Law (and Order: Pathfinder Intent). He's earned the Extraordinary Renown boon from the Ultimate Intrigue Chronicle Sheet, so he gets an extra Renown area encompassing a whole city. Of course he's picked Absalom, where he's based his home law office and where the Pathfinder Society Grand Lodge has him on retainer for any legal services. In fact, Renown is so awesome (city wide Charm Person effect? Hell yea!) I play the vigilante character in social mode in almost every chance I get when there's an Absalom scenario in my level range when it pops up in the local PFS schedule.
All the GMs I've played with have been cool with me sending a "non-Pathfinder" PC to keep the rest of the team out of legal trouble and or dealing with social situations a lot of characters aren't as equipped to handle. He's had Social Grace set to Diplomacy since level 1 and has been rocking social situations whenever I ain't Gm'ing or playing the Vigilante identity.
To increase my fun, I play him up as rather obnoxious, "I'm Jak Leroung. You've heard of me," due to his Renown in Absalom; and as any Chelish nobleman lawyer or the rest of polite society might view Pathfinders, he views them as murder-hobo grave robbers = Repeat Clients to be defended in local and international courts of law. For example, in Murder on the Throaty Mermaid, Jak put himself between inquisitive ship crew and non-sociable Pathfinder agents accused of murder as they did whatever faction mission, task, or investigations they set out doing in the most unsubtle way possible, while at the same time saying he'll defend the Pathfinders, but he personally thinks they did commit murder they're accused of. To add in the noble flair, bought a carriage (that's loaded up with cheap and expensive wine for different guests/clientele, folding table and chairs and pavilion tent, and cot for camping, and a locked treasure chest to hold vigilante gear), two light horses, and a Squire vanity follower to drive it.
Jak's overall +28 bonus to Disguise appear as a proper member of polite society has proven useful when needing to pass off as a non-Pathfinder, typically in PFS scenarios where players are undercover. In The Disappeared while undercover in the Chelish Embassy, he simply went around telling everyone his name, "I'm Jak Leroung. You've heard of me," and that was enough to pass off as not a Pathfinder since what was needed was someone that blended in amongst a party consisting of Chelish nobles and ambassadors.
The Crimson Falcon is Jak's vigilante identity he developed after escaping slavery when he got shipwrecked in Tian Xia, then trained in the Dragon Temple in Quain. Later when he got back to the Inner Sea he secretly enlisted with the Eagle Knights and Twilight Talons under the identity of Jon Shrike and then joined up with the Pathfinders. I'm thinking of having "Jon Shrike" as one of the Many Guises identities. Appearance-wise he wears crimson Eagle Knight clothing with feathered fringe on the sleeves of the jacket, and a visored helmet (like the ones from SOLDIER in FFVII). Occasionally refers to himself in third person, the Crimson Falcon is direct in dealing with threats and objectives. He specializes in unarmed combat and using a greatsword.
So against humanoid opponents, trip them (and benefit from +2 bonus to unarmed attacks from brawling armor to the CMB for overall +4 when stacking with the Improved Trip feat), trigger an AoO with Greater Trip and activate Power Attack with greatsword for 4d6 + 1.5xStr damage with Vital Strike. Once they hit the ground prone, Vicious Stomp's AoO gets triggered and 1d3+12 or so unarmed damage. And when they stand up and trigger another greatsword attack for 2d6 + 1.5 x Str.
Actual Final Thoughts
This is the first time I've ever been able to build something like that before thanks to the vigilante class, so I'm excited. Seriously, an actual awesome use of Vital Strike? Wow! I hope that whatever version of "Avenger Vigilante" ends up in the finalized Ultimate Intrigue book, I get to keep the full BAB and avenger talents at least at their current strength (would be nicer if better but will get into that later). Even as the social identity, he makes use of Power Attack with his darkwood walking cane (club) and has saved the party in combat repeatedly. Any instances of needing to fight unarmed or tripping he passes that off as stumbling into enemies. He definitely fights in a manner than would be hard to do with only average BAB such as with the stalker.
Actual in-combat use with the vigilante, I found the avenger to be a more versatile but more frail fighter and a slightly less effective brawler but with more weapons and skills options.
For the social talents, I'm gonna be honest and say that while I like the renown talent it's not all that strong on its own and the later ones that require it as prereq aren't either and some of them can probably be merged into being auto benefits when a vigilante character with renown gets to a certain level. Like automatically get safehouse at 5 and loyal aid at 3.
I've found in most cases I have to read over the intro for a scenario and ask a GM which identity would be more useful the scenario. (Essentially 2 characters to choose from since the Vigilante identity is less sociable than the Social identity, but significanty better armed). There hasn't been many situations where I've found I can swap identities in a natural manner, but had to stick with one for the whole scenario: Stuck on a ship at sea (social). Going undercover in Cheliax (vigilante). Sneaking through a Chelish Embassy (social), Bonekeep (vigilante). Even if I do pick up Quick Change at level 7, would be awkward changing characters mid-scenario that wouldn't have already been doable with the normal time; such as prepping up during the day in order to have an evening encounter.