Martial / Caster disparity: What are you going to do about it?


Homebrew and House Rules

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I should also point out the power level we tend to shoot for is Somewhere around Zombie Action Movie meets David Eddings fantasy. Magic is known but not necessarily common and not every community has access to it. Main characters are badasses, but can and do die sometimes with shocking regularity due to poor planning or trying to handle more than they can. PC Plot armor is nonexistent and most intelligent enemies are far more optimized then in Paizo products. We had a PC wizard once offend a local ambassadorial functionary ended up having to deal with 20some level six <to his level 10> invisible assassins simultaneously coup d'death attacking him while he slept.


While we're discussing power level, my worlds are set at a very low power level in general [90% of all people are in NPC classes, only 20% of people reach the level beyond their current one. So if there are 100million people in the world, 80 million never get past level 1] but my stories scale from 'small town hero' to gods doing god things.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
While we're discussing power level, my worlds are set at a very low power level in general [90% of all people are in NPC classes, only 20% of people reach the level beyond their current one. So if there are 100million people in the world, 80 million never get past level 1] but my stories scale from 'small town hero' to gods doing god things.

I'm on the opposite end of this, while majority of the worlds population never goes past 5, people who go far beyond that are not unheard of. Mind you, my campaigns steer heavily away from "If the PCs don't stop X, the world will end/be dramatically changed", which prevents the PCs from going "Hey how we're the ones stuck handling X even though it would totally effect them?"


It's not that there aren't other high level people in my world, those numbers are in reference to generations moreso than the people that exist. As one rises in level in my own games their aging rate halves every tier.

Someone who reaches level 5 takes one two years to age one, someone who reaches level 9 takes four years to age one year, etc etc. Anybody who hits level 17 is a literal god with infinite lifespan.


I eliminate martials. Can't have a disparity if you don't have two sides. (Then switch everyone to Spheres of Power to keep the casters more level.)

Either that or switch to Fantasy Craft (14 page free preview, long/informative Let's Read thread) because it's designed so that rebalanced spells and magic items are cool extras rather than necessary components while filling the combat system with cool martial tricks that doesn't require long feat trees or special classes to gain.


Speaking of breaking Wealth By Level; I do this all the time but I do it in secret.

There's a product called Legendary Classes: Covenant Magic. There's a class in it but I don't use it. In fact I don't let players see the document at all. This is because there are these things in it called 'covenants' which are essentially feats that cost money as a prerequisite that are often magical in some way. They represent pacts made with supernatural creatures. I give martials access to these via plot for free-ish.

For example; The party goes through a dangerous dungeon in the mountains to find the Macguffin orb that does something. Eventually they find that it is in the treasure horde of a blue dragon. The dragon will give it to the party without a fight but he wants something in return. He want's the Fighter's strength for his hatchling. The Fighter loses 2 strength but later finds that he's tainted by the magical transfer. His hand becomes scaly and blue. His weapons now are all Shocking and he can cast Shocking Grasp 3 times a day.


Pretty cool Malwing [though it's basically the exact same mechanical tradeoff for the Fighter- if he was a Strength-based Fighter- as choosing between an extra +1 on his weapon or the shocking enhancement]

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
VargrBoartusk wrote:
I should also point out the power level we tend to shoot for is Somewhere around Zombie Action Movie meets David Eddings fantasy.

You mean Walking With Dead meets the Ultimate Party of Mary Sue and Gary Stu characters? You realize how stiff an incline you're looking to climb?

I've never had to worry about caster dominance and maybe it's a combo of the players and the few houserules I employ.

1. Race spells are race only. If the item to be created has a requirement that says Creater Must be an X. That "Must" is not something to be bypassed with a +5 to spellcraft DC.

2. I'm rigorously strict on all forms of magic. If I have to make a choice between two equal rulings, the one that's worse news for the caster is the way I go.

3. Prepared casters MUST either write down spell lists or use an electronic aid to prepare them.

4. To make a magic item, one must either invent, borrow, or steal a formula on how to do so.

5. The only way to know if a magic item is possible if a formula is not posessed, is to spend an appropriate amount of gold researching the question. The more powerful the item,,, the more gold must be spent to ask that question...... and only I know what the number is. Then more gold must be spent to research the formula.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I'm trying to think of any commonly-cited element of C/MDisp that's actually addressed by any of those things, but I'm coming up blank.


Jiggy wrote:
I'm trying to think of any commonly-cited element of C/MDisp that's actually addressed by any of those things, but I'm coming up blank.

You're not seeing the sheer severity of his strictness on magic. Based on prior discussions he's MUCH harsher on magic than his list implies. But it's not my rules so I could be mistaken.


Malwing wrote:
For example; The party goes through a dangerous dungeon in the mountains to find the Macguffin orb that does something. Eventually they find that it is in the treasure horde of a blue dragon. The dragon will give it to the party without a fight but he wants something in return. He want's the Fighter's strength for his hatchling. The Fighter loses 2 strength but later finds that he's tainted by the magical transfer. His hand becomes scaly and blue. His weapons now are all Shocking and he can cast Shocking Grasp 3 times a day.

I would just get rid of having to have the ability tied to an item and have it inherent to the character: eliminate mountains of gold, just award characters "points" they can spend on magic item effects, then they can use weapon effects with any weapon or use a "cloak of flying" with nothing on.

Let only martials do this (caster get items because, of course, the system needs them) and now martials have magic.


LazarX wrote:

You mean Walking With Dead meets the Ultimate Party of Mary Sue and Gary Stu characters? You realize how stiff an incline you're looking to climb?

No.. More like Z nation or the Feast movies.. Walking dead has way way to much plot armor. As for the Eddings.. What the hell are PCs if not the penultimate Mary Sues ? I found it fairly appropriate...


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Pretty cool Malwing [though it's basically the exact same mechanical tradeoff for the Fighter- if he was a Strength-based Fighter- as choosing between an extra +1 on his weapon or the shocking enhancement]

It was an example, not directly what would happen. Usually its 'get me something and I'll give you some super powers' kind of deal, with the something being a Macguffin or something. It appeals to the MMO crowd that are used to collecting 50 bear butts for treasure or something.

In fact I've had only one player that consistently predicts what I'm doing as a GM based on videogames. I start the campaign for a party of new players with a small zombie fight right off the bat, then later he asks if that was the first fight of a JRPG to teach you the menus and controls. He was right. If you find an ___ bane sword in a dungeon he knew good and well what creature type the big bad of the dungeon was.


Malwing wrote:
He was right. If you find an ___ bane sword in a dungeon he knew good and well what creature type the big bad of the dungeon was.

Clearly it's the mortal enemy of whatever creature the weapon is bane against.

If it's Bane:Giant the Big Bad's a dwarf.


SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Malwing wrote:
For example; The party goes through a dangerous dungeon in the mountains to find the Macguffin orb that does something. Eventually they find that it is in the treasure horde of a blue dragon. The dragon will give it to the party without a fight but he wants something in return. He want's the Fighter's strength for his hatchling. The Fighter loses 2 strength but later finds that he's tainted by the magical transfer. His hand becomes scaly and blue. His weapons now are all Shocking and he can cast Shocking Grasp 3 times a day.

I would just get rid of having to have the ability tied to an item and have it inherent to the character: eliminate mountains of gold, just award characters "points" they can spend on magic item effects, then they can use weapon effects with any weapon or use a "cloak of flying" with nothing on.

Let only martials do this (caster get items because, of course, the system needs them) and now martials have magic.

The issue is that it seems arbitrary and magical with no reason. Doing it via plot and tracking bonus class features makes them feel better as well as make them more likely to stay invested in the environment and keep items. One player was disappointed that when she got uncursed she lost her NPC boyfriend's spell despite it being a really terrible spell. It even got some use because it was the boyfriend's spell.


I think that discussing the flavor of your campaign makes a difference. Running a superhero-style, Xena: Warrior Princess campaign makes me comfortable giving Martials Mythic levels, as an example. It's a major source of mileage variance.

With that in mind, here are the general categories of changes in my game. The campaign expanded the books that our group uses, hence my mentioning of "adding classes". The general idea is to put a few limits on spellcasting based on what works in-genre, and increasing the options of martials via the combination of Signature Skills, Combat Stamina, and Mythic Tiers.

Spoiler:

The universe has a set of “quirks”. It has already been revealed that teleportation beyond a short range can be suicidal. Any world in which there are regular gates to Abyssal and Infernal realms has issues. As such, certain spells such as Dimension Door, Teleport, and the Summon spells operate differently, and the Summoner class does not exist in Tycon. On the other side, there are new, universe specific classes, such as the Cleric of Numbers, a divinely inspired engineer, and the Vigilante, an expansion of the universe-specific Urban Ranger.

Mundane characters are better at doing mundane things than magical characters. This is an outgrowth of the combination of using a “superhero” style of playing, in which Batman is presented as an equal to Superman and Wonder Woman, and of ideas presented in the Pathfinder Unchained book. These adjustments fall under three general areas: Mundane martial characters get more fighting options via Combat Stamina, mundane utility characters develop their skills to near superhuman levels through Signature Skills, and mundane classes that reach high levels gain Mythic Tiers. A number of classes from the Advanced Class Guide are brought in to expand these options, including the Slayer, Swashbucker, and Investigator.

Prepared Spellcasting is removed from the game. This greatly simplifies the magic system, and fits more in line with what is shown in modern mass market fantasy. Certain classes such as the Wizard and Druid are removed from the game, while others such as Ranger, Paladin, and Magus are modified to adjust or remove spellcasting. In addition, the Hunter and Kineticist classes are brought in to help cover all of the previous spellcasting roles.

On a class-by-class basis beyond this

Spoiler:

Core Classes

Removed Classes: Cleric (prepared spellcaster), Druid (prepared spellcaster), Wizard (prepared spellcaster)

Barbarian
It is considered an Arcane character for the purpose of classification
Has access to Bloodrager Rage powers.

Bard
Bards see no change.

Fighter
Fighters are now d12 Hit Die
Fighters get Combat Stamina as a Bonus Feat at Lvl 1.
Fighters get Extra Stamina as a Bonus Feat at Lvl 1, 7, and 13.
Gains Mythic Tiers at Lvl 8, 11, and 13-20.

Monk
Monks are now d10 Hit Die
Monks are now full Base Attack Bonus characters.
Monks get a Flurry of Blows as the Unchained Monk
Monks get Combat Stamina as a Bonus Feat at Lvl 1.
Gains Mythic Tiers at Lvl 8, 11, and 13-20.

Paladin
The Paladin class is heavily modified, removing alignment restrictions as a whole, losing spellcasting for a combination of Cleric Domains and Warpriest Blessings. See the above link for more details.

Ranger
The Ranger class loses spellcasting abilities, but gains Skirmisher combat skills and Trapper trap abilities.
The Ranger may purchase Combat Stamina as a standard feat at Lvl 3.
Gains Mythic Tiers at Lvl 8, 11, and 13-20.

Rogue
Rogues gain Weapon Finesse as a Bonus Feat at Lvl 1.
Rogues gain Rogue’s Edge skills of the Unchained Rogue at Lvl 3 and every three levels afterwards. The skill unlocks occur at 3/5/7/10 ranks, as opposed to the 3/7/10/14 rank standard Signature Skill progression.
Rogues may purchase Combat Stamina as a standard feat at Lvl 3.
Rogues gain the Debilitating Injury ability of the Unchained Rogue at Lvl 4.
Gains Mythic Tiers at Lvl 8, 11, and 13-20.

Sorcerer
The Sorcerer is virtually unchanged, but a new archetype, Creator, allows for more crafting-based Sorcerers.

Base/Alternate Classes

Removed Classes: Antipaladin (redundant to redefined Paladin; prepared spellcaster), Summoner (extradimensional rules inhibit the concept), Witch (prepared spellcaster)

Alchemist
The Alchemist class is heavily modified, removing the spellcasting system as well as the bomb ability as it originally worked and replacing it with the ability to create alchemical items on the fly.
Gains Mythic Tiers at Lvl 8, 11, and 13-20.

Cavalier
Cavaliers get Combat Stamina as a Bonus Feat at Lvl 1.
Gains Mythic Tiersat Lvl 8, 11, and 13-20.

Gunslinger
Gunslingers get Combat Stamina as a Bonus Feat at Lvl 1.
Gunslingers get Extra Grit as a Bonus Feat at Lvl 1, 8, and 15.
Gains Mythic Tiers at Lvl 8, 11, and 13-20.

Inquisitor
The Inquistor class sees no change

Magus
The Magus class is heavily modified, “baking” in the Eldritch Scion archetype to make all Magi into spontaneous spellcasters.

Ninja
Ninjas may purchase Combat Stamina as a standard feat at Lvl 3.
Gains Mythic Tiers at Lvl 8, 11, and 13-20. .

Oracle
The Oracle class sees no change.

Samurai
Samurai get Combat Stamina as a Bonus Feat at Lvl 1.
Samurai get Push The Limit as a Bonus Feat at Lvl 1.
Samurai get Extra Stamina as a Bonus Feat at Lvl 7.
Gains Mythic Tiers at Lvl 8, 11, and 13-20.

Hybrid Classes

Hunter
The Hunter class sees no change.

Investigator
Investigators no longer utilize Alchemy, with the Sleuth archetype “baked in” to the class.
The Investigator chooses a number of Skills known as Investigator’s Edge, which are performed to near superhuman ability as Signature Skills. The skill unlocks occur at 3/5/7/10 ranks, as opposed to the 3/7/10/14 ranks standard Signature Skill progression.
The Investigator may purchase Combat Stamina as a standard feat at Lvl 3.
Gains Mythic Tiers at Lvl 8, 11, and 13-20.

Slayer
The Slayer may purchase Combat Stamina as a standard feat at Lvl 3.
Gains Mythic Tiers at Lvl 8, 11, and 13-20.

Swashbuckler
Swashbucklers get Combat Stamina as a Bonus Feat at Lvl 1.
Swashbucklers get Extra Panache as a Bonus Feat at Lvl 1, 8, and 15.
Gains Mythic Tiers at Lvl 8, 11, and 13-20.

Occult Classes

Kineticist
The Kineticist class sees no change.

New Classes
Cleric of Numbers: An acolyte of the God of Numbers, the Cleric of Numbers utilizes vast intelligence for both combat purposes and to build solutions to her problems.

Vigilante: An outgrowth of the Tycon Urban Barbarian, a Vigilante gains a second identity. More than a mere mask, the identity is both an inspiration to the Vigilante, allowing her to push herself far beyond her abilities, but is effectively a different person for the purposes of detection. The Vigilante gains Mythic Tiers at Lvl 8, 11, and 13-20.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Malwing wrote:
He was right. If you find an ___ bane sword in a dungeon he knew good and well what creature type the big bad of the dungeon was.

Clearly it's the mortal enemy of whatever creature the weapon is bane against.

If it's Bane:Giant the Big Bad's a dwarf.

If that happens in my games you should expect for the next adventure to have giants all over the place. I'm horribly predictable if you know your tropes.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I've tried a few things to address it over the years. In general, my goals are:

1)- Ensure that martial characters are relevant at high levels.
2)- Ensure that mundane characters do not break laws of physics to achieve this.
3)- Try to buff places that seem annoying or are common complaints.

This means that while fighters have issues such as "not very skilled" and "mostly just fights", I consider those to be design features, not problems. This means that I never try to "raise the tier" of a character- I'm not trying to make a solo fighter be viable in a solo campaign, which I haven't run in years. Instead, I want martial characters to have roles they are good at, without having to design a really opti-monster.

The last game I ran ended a year ago. It was a 3.5 game with Pathfinder elements added to some of the classes, and some Pathfinder classes imported straight away.

Here's what I've tried, and how successful it has been:
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1)- I have buffed the "attack action". If your base attack bonus is +11 or higher, you may replace the regular attack action with two strikes, one at your normal bonus, and one at -10. If you are dual wielding, you may instead strike once with each weapon- one at your normal bonus, and one at -8.
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Intention: This makes kiting less effective and attractive. Essentially, you get half a full attack. There's still ways to get pounce-like options here and there, but this removes a lot of the disparity of the guy who has 4 attacks when he stands still and 1 attack when he does not. Dual wielders of course can feat crap like normal so that they get more attacks with a standard action.
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Results over a 20 level campaign: This doesn't kick in until 11th level. The players didn't remember it on their own until like 15th level. I would prompt players (the rule was announced before character generation) routinely. The second attack obviously didn't hit that much, but sometimes it did. Effective at reducing the value of creating a gap for a melee to close, but I can't say it was a smashing success because it was a lot of rule to remember for the players.
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2)- Board and general feat combination for martialists. Specifically, I unified Dodge and Mobility to one feat ("Dodge"), unified Power Attack and the 3.5 version of Cleave ("Power Attack"), unified Mounted Combat and Mounted Archery ("Mounted Combat"), unified Ride-by-Attack and Spirited Charge ("Ride-by-Attack"), and maybe a couple others (I can't get to my forum right now). I also merged Improved Two Weapon Fighting with Greater Two Weapon Fighting and Perfect Two Weapon fighting (an epic feat that allows a fourth attack at -15). Dual wield is already too many feats.
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Intention: Reduce the low level feat burden, allow martial characters to quickly differentiate themselves, allow room for more utility feats or faster access to build defining feats.
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Results over a 20 level campaign: This was a success. I will do more things like this. Unlike the base rule buff that only comes in at high levels, everyone remembers the feats they took, and wrote them down, and knew how to run them. The buff was more obvious to the martial players, and there was not much complexity resulting from well known feats being in the pool faster. I got a lot of mileage out of this.
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3)- General houserules. I give out generous starting stats, but the cap for building a single stat is similar to a base game. This isn't done to close the martial / caster gap, but does address it favorably. Saving throws begin a bit higher than normal, but DCs start out around the same place. The flipside of this is, I ban the stat boosting items. This means that several gear slots are available for use that would not normally be available, but it also means that, while items are available that will increase a caster's spell DC, they won't be getting a flat +3 just for buying their headband. I consider these items boring, mandatory, and somewhat undercosted for casters. I address the issue of casters not having items that buff them by allowing magical weapons to help them out, but the effect budget for that is a lot smaller than a +6 Int type bonus, and I won't go into it here. Rings of Protection cost a lot more, but also offer an equivalent resistance bonus to saves (the standard type ring is available as a "Ring of Deflection"- unsurprisingly unpopular). This allows characters to never have to forgo their resistance bonus to AC, and gives them their cloak item slot back. Because these rings are popular among NPCs, the players are all wearing them by 8th level, and by high level, are wearing very good ones (even ones with a small additional effect on them, such that the ring slot isn't entirely sacrificed for this effect).
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Intention: A fun game for all, and a game world that I want. By having a game type in mind that I am driving towards, and not ignoring certain items as "just crunch", I try to squish the metagame of item selection and action selection into the direction that I want.
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Results: Houserules generally customized to your type of game work great. I can't recommend my exact set here, obviously, but I have highlighted the ones that have worked for me.
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4)- Careful about splat materials. In general, I'm ok with powerful spells- I don't expect a group of martialists to be viable without some magical backup- but neither do I expect a martial character to be ignorable, eternally kiteable, or outclassed in terms of damage. I am careful about what I allow, and I don't allow players to simply assume that if it is printed, then it should be allowed in. Core has balance issues in 3.X and Pathfinder, but as the devil I know, I can work around this when creating items and feats.
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Intention: Allow splat material that is thematically appropriate. Allow splat material that increases play choice. Disallow splat material that requires an entire rewrite of the flavor or lore in order to fit in. Disallow splat material that has known exploitative combinations. Disallow splat material that narrows the play choice, or makes even the buffed versions of fighters or rogues a poor choice.
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Result: All DMs do this, and it is highly effective. Never let available splatbooks or player demands change your game world, as you will miss stuff, and you will become confused about what is and is not valid.
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5)- Access to immediate actions. Between feats, prestige class features, and magical items, I ensure martialists have some immediate actions that they can take at times. This does rely on the characters seeking out and using these things.
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Intention: Martialists can respond to spell casters some of the time.
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Result: Not amazing. Over the 20 level campaign, I still had more casters making use of this stuff than I did martial characters. Generally, the characters playing physical guys preferred to set up and unload resources (X/day use feats, etc.) instead of playing a reactive game. I don't know if I needed to make stuff more compelling, or if it just wasn't a playstyle they wanted in on.


Malwing wrote:
The issue is that it seems arbitrary and magical with no reason.

Why? People in these games gain powers all the time because they collect XP and gain levels. Do those have a reason? Then use that reason: give the same reason they gain points as they gain XP, and the same reason they can spend those points on powers as they can spend XP to level up.


SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Malwing wrote:
The issue is that it seems arbitrary and magical with no reason.
Why? People in these games gain powers all the time because they collect XP and gain levels. Do those have a reason? Then use that reason: give the same reason they gain points as they gain XP, and the same reason they can spend those points on powers as they can spend XP to level up.

The cat is right on this one. There's nothing more arbitrary about it than gaining a level and all of a sudden your dragon/demon/devil/angel blood that nobody knew you had before awakens.

As for the plot and story? That's what the players are there for. If they want generic 'because I'm just that badass' I say let them. If they like the idea of something interesting but aren't sure what or how, help them. If they've got a great idea, give them room to make the magic happen.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Malwing wrote:

@Aelryinth, do you have any written down details of your house rules? Or just more details about the most impactful ones?

I've at least twice in this thread seen variant multiclass as free for fighters, how has that worked out?

The above is the gist of the major ones.

A lot of it is worldview/campaign view. People are not stupid, they know how the world works, and they work with the rules.

For the multiclassing rules, it's pretty simple.

1) The basis is gestalt.
2) Racial class is part of the gestalt.
3) Choose your primary class. You don't get to change it after level 3, so make sure it's the one you want long term.
4) Primary classes operate as norm. I've got the FIghter class statted out, and a bunch of techniques. Rogue I've got a rough outline, but nothing formal.
5) Secondary multiclass options: You don't get the level 1 automatic proficiencies of the class, you have to buy them. You can only spend the skill points on class skills. You can only spend the stat point from levels on the primary class stat (Str/Dex for Melee, Wis/Dex for monk, Int for Wizard, etc). Take the best of saves for concurrent levels. Take the best of BAB for concurrent levels. If you take a class with higher HD, add +1 HP per HD size it is larger then your largest other Hit Die (So a wizard taking Rogue levels would add +1 HP, Fighter +2).
Since spells share spell slots, caster levels for all spells are unchanged (Wiz/6 cleric/1 still can cast all spells at 6th level, stats permitting). You still need stats to advance in level (If you've Wis/13, you can't cast higher then CL 3 divine spells, for instance).

--The 'ceiling' rules of Racial/3, First Ceiling 6th, Second Ceiling 10th, and Final Ceiling 20th give clear indication of cutoff points of power, and you can easily play an EC 6, 10 or 11+ Campaign using them.
By allowing you to get half your levels +1 in other classes, you can always keep improving and adding new tricks, but you're never going to rival another class in what they can do.
You can even advance in NPC classes (Expert is common, Noble less so).

Masteries: Masteries are the 'feats you can buy'. They cost both time and gold. It's generally assumed you're going to buy 3 Mastery Advances /2 levels at a bare minimum. Masteries are tied to Skill Ranks, BAB or Caster level, and usually have a Feat Pre-Req. They let you pick up things like Favored Enemy fighting bonuses, extra metamagic feats, or bonuses to skills (Both +'s and extra deeds).

Down Time: Down time has a wide variety of things that are assumed to be automatically filled.

Casters' down time is spent researching the next bundle of spells they want to master. Many spells and Domains map to skill Ranks of various sorts. So Casters end up spending their skill Ranks on things to support their spellcasting.
For Arcane Casters, this is mostly Knowledge skills.
For Domains, this is often Craft/Profession skills.
For Minstrels, this is usually Perform skill variants. For Bards (the druidic version) this is more knowledge based - you are a performer or a recorder of tales, not both!

Reserve Casting and Crafting: A Caster must have full Valences (slots) to craft magic items. If even one slot is expended, he's out of balance and cannot Craft.
He can fill an expended slot back up with energy using Meditation, but cannot recast that slot without at least an eight hour delay, and his Moment of Renewal passing (typically midnight, dawn, dusk, or noon).
He can use Reserve casting out of that slot.

Reserve Casting comes about by Tyranny of Rep Counts, i.e. practice, practice, practice. Idle and random spellcasting has no impact on Reserve Casting...time must be scheduled and Valences expended precisely to advance REserve Casting. Therefore, you only need to track the numbers and days you actually want to spend to get better Reserve Casting.

I used the 3E Reserve Castings as guidelines for when you could access Reserve Casting, but added moderate improvements such as range to most of the attack spells. Reserve Casting is either full concentration or fire and forget battle magic, for the most part.

To access Reserve Casting, you must spend the time and money on the Mastery for the training, or blow a feat on it bypass this step.

To start Reserve Casting, you must cast suitable spells in the following array: 1000 spell levels for level 1, including 500 spells of the minimum qualifying level (which could easily add up to more then 1000 spell levels.). This allows you first level Reserve Casting, fire away all day! Cantrips do NOT count.
Second level takes 2000 spell levels, including at least 500 level 2 spells.
Third level requires 4000 appropriate spell levels, including at least 500 level 3 spells.
Fourth level requires 8000 appropriate spell levels, including at least 500 level 4 spells.
Fifth Level requires at least 16,0000 appropriate spell levels, including at least 500 level 5 spells.
Etc.

Thus, if you want to cast Fireball Reserve, which makes a 5's radius fireball at 30' + 5' per caster level away:
It's Reserve Requirement is Fire/3, meaning you need to have an uncast level 3 fire spell minimum in memory to use it. (advantage, sorcerors!)
You need to cast at least 500 level 3 Fire spells to satisfy the Power Requirement.
You need to cast at least 1000 spell levels of fire magic (which the above also satisfies).
and then you can cast a 1d6 fireball reserve all day.

To advance it, you need to cast another 2000 levels of fire magic, including at least 500 2nd level spells, and now your Reserve is 2d6.

To advance the Mastery, you must use the Reserve an equal amount of times to the spell level you are at. Thus, you must use Fire Reserve/0 at least 1000 times (about three hours doing nothing but) to advance it to Mastery/1, and actually getting your first viable Fireball Reserve.

If you blow a feat on a Reserve instead, you can bypass the Initial Power Buy, and Initial Practice (it is considered to be already done in Down Time), and you start with a level 1 Reserve.
If your Reserve is a Devoted Domain, you also bypass the Initial Power Buy and Initial Practice. So, a cleric with the Healing Domain, a level 2 Cure Spell slotted, who pays for the Mastery/1, can immediately start using Healing Reserve. However, she must still pay for ALL Rep Counts to advance it, unlike a Feat Spender (i.e. 3000 Cure spell levels, at least 500 2nd level spells, and cast Healing Reserve at least 3000 times).

Advancing Reserves is done very much like Crafting. You must have no expended slots, you must prepare the slots for casting, and then you expend them one after another. The Rep Counts of the Reserve itself also need to be done in chains, with no actual spellcasting interrupting them.

Crafting: Crafting requires an expenditure of the actual spell(s) used in the item everyday as part of the process (no getting around it if you are a Caster). Furthermore, if making a charged item, you must expend spell levels that add up to the total number of spell levels in the item, with a minimum spell level equal to the highest level spell. Extra power from higher spell levels is 'wasted' if expended this way (i.e. spending a 4th level spell to charge up a CSW wand).

Thus, you can't expend a CLW and six hours and suddenly have 50 charges of Cure Light Wounds. You actually have to expend 50 spell levels to fully charge up the wand, giving an advantage to higher level Casters.
Every Crafting attempt takes a minimum of 1 hour. So, if you can't fully charge something, it still takes a minimum of an hour to build up, imbue, and temporarily seal the item.
There is no partial charging. Fixed items have fixed points at which they can be sealed. Before then, they are incomplete and unusable. Likewise, restoring charges to a partially used item is difficult...it is a permanent item until the last charge is gone and its matrix totally collapses, at which point the whole either collapses to dust, or is available to re-enchant from scratch.

==Aelryinth

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I'll expound a bit more on the things that 5e does that results in a smaller C/MDisp than Pathfinder has:

The primary (mechanical) way of interacting with the setting/narrative outside of combat is skills, not spells. Pathfinder has 1,001 low-level spells that are designed to bypass a specific (or sometimes not so specific) obstacle. So many spells either boost a skill (find traps, jump), obviate the need for a skill (spider climb, invisibility), or even do something that skills can't even do at all (endure elements, feather fall). Past very low levels, it becomes trivial for casters to have some of the most common such spells at the ready, and the more situational ones on scrolls. But in 5e, most of those spells either don't exist or have increased opportunity cost in some way.

And unlike Pathfinder, 5e's skills actually work. Much of this is because they're less codified, so you can (for instance) roll a single Stealth check for the part when it matters, instead of rolling 2-3 times per six seconds and only needing one low roll to fail. 5e's flattened math ("bounded accuracy") also means that DCs don't reach a point where you auto-fail if you're not maxed out, and skill bonuses don't reach a point where you auto-succeed if the DC is set to include the rest of the party.

So, the summary of all that is that in 5e, skills are how you interact with the environment outside of combat. Related to that, in 5e everyone who isn't a skill monkey (bard, rogue) has comparable numbers of skills that they're proficient in, and it's enough to be meaningful. But again, even if you're not proficient, bounded accuracy means you still get to play. (This is especially true since 5e doesn't have "trained-only" skills.)

The icing on the roleplay cake is that 5e gives every character a "background" which (among other things) usually comes with some neat little special ability that has nothing to do with combat. For instance, if you used to be a sailor, you can call in a favor from your old shipmates to get passage across the sea if you need it. Or if you're a folk hero of a given town, the people in that town will shelter and aid you if you get into trouble (like if you need to lie low for a while). If you're a noble, commoners tend to assume you have a right to be wherever you are, and you can secure an audience with other nobles if need be. All these neat little ways to engage the narrative.

And everyone gets equal access to it, therefore not contributing to a disparity.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
VargrBoartusk wrote:
LazarX wrote:

You mean Walking With Dead meets the Ultimate Party of Mary Sue and Gary Stu characters? You realize how stiff an incline you're looking to climb?

No.. More like Z nation or the Feast movies.. Walking dead has way way to much plot armor. As for the Eddings.. What the hell are PCs if not the penultimate Mary Sues ? I found it fairly appropriate...

The only time I've ever seen a PC approach the Mary/Gary levels of any of the characters in the Belgeriad/Mallorean books, we were running full bore Mythic.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Malwing wrote:
The issue is that it seems arbitrary and magical with no reason.
Why? People in these games gain powers all the time because they collect XP and gain levels. Do those have a reason? Then use that reason: give the same reason they gain points as they gain XP, and the same reason they can spend those points on powers as they can spend XP to level up.

The cat is right on this one. There's nothing more arbitrary about it than gaining a level and all of a sudden your dragon/demon/devil/angel blood that nobody knew you had before awakens.

As for the plot and story? That's what the players are there for. If they want generic 'because I'm just that badass' I say let them. If they like the idea of something interesting but aren't sure what or how, help them. If they've got a great idea, give them room to make the magic happen.

I know Silvercat is right, logically. Buuuuuut I get less complaints when I give a 'reason'. Basically at points where someone is drastically weaker than others I sometimes give them buffs via story as a means to control the game and balance the same way I get my cat to take pills. I sneak it in and nobody bats an eyelash. I give fighters magic without a 'reason' and everyone loses their minds. Because I'm lazy and don't want to deal with your flavor is one reason why I started making the sigil rules I posted earlier. On a separate document I'm formulating 'Heroic Tales' sigils where you gain the powers of legends from sigils.


Malwing wrote:
I know Silvercat is right, logically. Buuuuuut I get less complaints when I give a 'reason'. Basically at points where someone is drastically weaker than others I sometimes give them buffs via story as a means to control the game and balance the same way I get my cat to take pills. I sneak it in and nobody bats an eyelash. I give fighters magic without a 'reason' and everyone loses their minds.

I'm not really against reasons. (Okay, yes, I am, but I'm being civil so we can all live peacefully.)

My system works out exactly the same as yours if you give out the effects rather than points to buy them. Mine just takes the easy way out and uses an already-existing system that doesn't require figuring out how to balance a penalty into the mix.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

The above crafting/Reserve rules mean:

If you want to practice crafting/reserve, you need to declare it at the beginning of the day, or simply not cast spells that day, or you can't do either.

Show what Casters do in Down Time: They putter with spells and Reserve Casting trying to raise their caster levels, and they putter with spells in Ritual Format to turn them into actual Spells Known they can cast quickly, and they Craft if they can find the time to be uninterrupted and sacrifice the Valences needed to do so. Since spells cast make later Crafting and Reserves impossible, and don't count towards counts, no need to keep track of them while adventuring.

All SPells are base Ritual Spells. Spells Known are spells the Caster has managed to personally decipher and compress down into a personal pattern usable in combat, a great test of intellect and understanding of magic. As he grows in both Intellect and Power, his mind expands, allowing new Engrams and Patterns to be interpreted and understood. But just being smart doesn't mean he has unlimited Spells Known. He's also got to carve these compressed spells into his body and soul, align his casting matrix to handle the flood of power rapidly instead of ceremonially, and so forth. It takes time, effort, Karma and levels, in addition to smarts.

This also cuts down the Cleric absolute access to all cleric spells. Sure, many of them can be used in Ritual format in down time, and don't need to be learned.
============================
My Fighter Techniques are closer to 5e feats, and particularly synergize with class abilities.

I'm not concerned with most classes getting 'good feats'...because they do, or they have spells.

Fighters get access to most Martial Masteries as part of their Down Time - they train for Masteries the way Casters train for spells. They spend nominal amounts of money for them the way Casters accumulate spells.

Full Casters are 1/2 BAB, including clerics. Full BAB are 1/2 casters for purposes of Rituals, if they have no caster levels. 3/4 are 3/4.

This was deliberate because of multi-classing. A Cleric who wants to fight better can multiclass some fighter levels. Six levels of Fighter + Ten of Cleric means his BAB is now +8, which is perfectly fine for a 10th level character, and represents a major investment of time to get his martial ability up for when his magic isn't going to cut it.

==Aelryinth


In my own games I don't actually have full caster clerics or druids.

Clerics and Druids under the present paradigm are dabblers, who split their power between 6/9 magic and either Faith or Nature.

You want full casting you don't get 3/4ths BAB.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

kyrt-ryder wrote:

It's not that there aren't other high level people in my world, those numbers are in reference to generations moreso than the people that exist. As one rises in level in my own games their aging rate halves every tier.

Someone who reaches level 5 takes one two years to age one, someone who reaches level 9 takes four years to age one year, etc etc. Anybody who hits level 17 is a literal god with infinite lifespan.

I grant +10 years to primary years per level, once they reach 7th. If they step into level 21, they are Eternal. +200 years should be enough for anyone to reach 21 if they really want it.

This can have the effect of a greying 50 year old suddenly seeming to lose near 30 years of age as his soul passes the First Ceiling.

Indeed, if they reach level 7, they can marry, settle down, have kids, watch their grandkids grow up, and THEN go off adventuring knowing their obligations as parents are done. Which is generally what happens. It's the 'go adventuring a 2nd time' part that is hardest to do, since they'll be embroiled in society by then, and foils a lot of them.

==Aelryinth


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I apologize beforehand for the opinion that I am about to express.

First, I do believe in the martial-caster parity. There's no way for me to espouse any equivalence between a class with as much versatility as the wizard with anything else.

Second, I am a believer of the Snowbluff principle (from GitP), wherein imbalances in a system is not necessarily a bug - sometimes, it's a feature to give flavor and uniqueness to the system in question. I typically use Exalted 2.0 as an example - even without mentioning the unintended silliness like Sidereal Martial Arts, by design, there is absolutely no equivalence between the different exalt types. Lunars are flatly supposed to be weaker than solars; Sidereals weaker than both when not using intrigue, and DB at the bottom of the barrel. It is nonetheless possible to run a fun game with a potpourri mix of all the different kinds of Exalts without giving extra XP to anyone.

Third, Pathfinder is not Pathfinder for me anymore without the Omni-casters. Rather than trying to achieve some form of "balance" with the system, I would rather just play something like D&D 5e when I actually want balance, and play Pathfinder for the same reason that I originally got into it - because it is the closest and most popular system that plays significantly like the D&D 3.5e that got me into Tabletops in the first place.

Any "fix" that I make to Pathfinder is always going to be with the aim of bringing martials to T3 or high T4 instead of trying to achieve some form of total balance (or at least give options for players that wish to do so). Systems like the Unchained Action Economy is a bit too drastic of a change as well, and I am not really willing to implement too many of them into the game.

Thus:

  • Allow all of Path of War, and most of Path of War:Expanded. Encourage martial players to use PoW classes if at all possible.
  • Allow Psionics in its entirety.
  • Allow most of Kobold Press's really cool classes.
  • Allow other third party and homebrew, though only after an extensive audit.
  • Include Background Skills (Unchained) and Stamina System in full for non-caster classes. Initiators and Four-Level Casters/Manifesters can use a trait to get Stamina.
  • Make sure players understand the tier system, and push players toward higher tier classes. If a player wants to play a fighter, suggest Barbarian or Warlord instead. If a player wants to play monk, suggest Unarmed Stalker.
  • If a player expresses concern about falling behind, work with that player to possibly rebuild their character into something stronger while maintaining flavor.
  • Conditional ban on some of the very strong spells, like Magic Jar and Simulacrum. Restrictions on others, like Blood Money to spells Level 6 or less.

It doesn't even come close to resolving the disparity, but I really don't mind, since doing any more than that would make Pathfinder...well, not 3.5e Pathfinder anymore for me.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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I let the gunslinger commission a galleon, hire a crew, and become captain of the finest vessel of the Inner Sea.

The monk is a kung-fu princess rebuilt as an unchained monk.

Because what truly matters is that your players are having fun. You don't need to completely rework the game to accomplish that.


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Jiggy wrote:


And unlike Pathfinder, 5e's skills actually work. Much of this is because they're less codified, so you can (for instance) roll a single Stealth check for the part when it matters, instead of rolling 2-3 times per six seconds and only needing one low roll to fail. 5e's flattened math ("bounded accuracy") also means that DCs don't reach a point where you auto-fail if you're not maxed out, and skill bonuses don't reach a point where you auto-succeed if the DC is set to include the rest of the party.

Some of us are less inclined to describe the GM determines what skills do and how they work fairly arbitrarily because we barely bothered to write a system thing or a binary proficiency level as 'working' but as always YMMV


I've suggested a couple things before.

1) couple saves to magic. Completely mundane classes always have all good saves. Full arcane casters always have no good saves. Other classes fall in between. Possibly something like controlled SR (may choose not to resist) for any character who has no spells or supernatural or spell-like abilities.

2) decouple spell level from saves. Instead of saves being spell level +stat they're 10+CL/2+stat+N where N is a modifier based on how nasty the spell is (SoP>SoL>SoS>decent blast>crappy blast) if it also has to make a touch or ranged touch attack, and possibly how hard it is to fix.(Hold person may get you CDGed, but it'll end before the next encounter; deafness is forever until you get to a 5th level cleric, 6th level oracle who happens to know the right spell, someone who can cast heal, or someone who can cast limited wish.)


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Cyrad wrote:

I let the gunslinger commission a galleon, hire a crew, and become captain of the finest vessel of the Inner Sea.

The monk is a kung-fu princess rebuilt as an unchained monk.

Because what truly matters is that your players are having fun. You don't need to completely rework the game to accomplish that.

That party automatically loses to a Pit Fiend. That's the issue.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Malwing wrote:


What have you done in your games that mitigate or lessen martial/caster disparity?

So, I've tried a few things. As a direct Fighter fix, I wrote The Genius Guide to Bravery Feats. In my home games, I tend to strip out the "Improved X" prereqs from the various feats because I have a group with higher system mastery and I prefer allowing the Fighter quicker access to effective combat options. This was a really big hit amongst the people I play with, and it's gotten some great reviews, so I consider it a success, even if it is limited to the Fighter.

In considering what I really thought a martial character should be, I wrote the Battlelord for Liber Influxus Communis from Amora Games. It's an Int-based, full BAB class that has a variety of customization options loosely based on military MOS' called "Specialties" that include things like Scout, Medic, and Soldier. The Battlelord's main schtick is using an aura-based mechanic called a Drill to coordinate his allies and provide a variety of buffs based on the drills you choose. This class was written in no small part because I felt like it was really hard to create characters like Dujek Onearm, Sergeant Whiskeyjack, Bruenor Battlehammer, Faramir, or even Roy from OoTS, where they had a combination of martial and leadership skills that they could utilize effectively in-game. There's a line in the class description of the Fighter that says "[Fighters are] Far more than mere thugs, these skilled warriors reveal the true deadliness of their weapons, turning hunks of metal into arms capable of taming kingdoms, slaughtering monsters, and rousing the hearts of armies". I feel like the Fighter really fails to deliver on that promise, so I wrote a class who I think does.

When Path of War came out, I liked a ton of what was in it, but I felt like one of the big issues with it was that it didn't do a good job of making martials in general better, it just introduced better martials. I also really wanted more GM tools, different ways to introduce and utilize the idea of maneuvers and stances into a game world, and integrate them in such a way that they can really be just as ubiquitous as magic. To that end, I've got a homebrew system I created called Spark of Battle that gives you all kinds of ways to integrate the Path of War system into your game, up to and including making it a general use system that any class can access (with varying degrees of success; the formulas I used are designed to automatically limit spellcasters and shut them out completely as higher level spells come online). It's designed to give you fun and dynamic combat, and it's geared more towards GMs than players.


No mention of the Daevic?


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VargrBoartusk wrote:
Jiggy wrote:


And unlike Pathfinder, 5e's skills actually work. Much of this is because they're less codified, so you can (for instance) roll a single Stealth check for the part when it matters, instead of rolling 2-3 times per six seconds and only needing one low roll to fail. 5e's flattened math ("bounded accuracy") also means that DCs don't reach a point where you auto-fail if you're not maxed out, and skill bonuses don't reach a point where you auto-succeed if the DC is set to include the rest of the party.
Some of us are less inclined to describe the GM determines what skills do and how they work fairly arbitrarily because we barely bothered to write a system thing or a binary proficiency level as 'working' but as always YMMV

It's both 5e's strength and downside. 5e has good guidelines but few objective, explicit rules. 5e cheated it's way to good balance and game design, but it does leave the design space open for "Pathfinder 5e, plays like 5e but with objective explicit rules YMMY"

Some prefer the subjectiveness. I've seen normally awful GMs create very immersive roleplay heavy sessions with 5e when their PF game was garbage. The 5e DMG is something everyone should read regardless of system.

I always get too distracted by the mechanics in PF. It takes far too much of my mental energy just to recall every rule and facet my character needs to move around.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Insain Dragoon wrote:
No mention of the Daevic?

The Daevic is definitely a martial in the "full BAB, martial weapon proficiency, d10 hit die, wrecks face with weapons or natural attacks" kind of way, but I figured that given the amount of innate magic it has it may not be the best fit for this discussion. It does fit right in with the Akashic caster class, the Vizier, without any disparity issues, so I suppose from a "here's an example of a martial that is balanced to the caster options within her system" perspective, it has some discussion relevant merits.

The big thing with the Daevic, like all the Akashic classes, is that it functionally gets to pick a set of built in magic items to cover its needs, with some reasonable day to day flexibility. If you're traveling, you can grab your Horselord's Greaves for easy access to a mount or phantom steed. If you're headed into the sewers, you can grab Gorget of the Wyrm for an AoE option to deal with rat and cockroach swarms. Just ready access to a suite of tools that keep him relevant, which is something more martials should have.


Full BAB and a d10 or higher hit die is actually how I define martials.... so yeah I'd say Daevic counts as much as Paladin does.

The most important thing is that it achieves variability in build, rewards foresight, and does its job well without resorting to spells or SLA.


Insain Dragoon wrote:
The most important thing is that it... rewards foresight

Is this really something important?

I don't know about you but I'm kind of tired of the whole foresight thing. Of planning and plotting for what's ahead as opposed to a gaming environment where you just plunge in head first and have fun with what you've got.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:
The most important thing is that it... rewards foresight

Is this really something important?

I don't know about you but I'm kind of tired of the whole foresight thing. Of planning and plotting for what's ahead as opposed to a gaming environment where you just plunge in head first and have fun with what you've got.

That's fun and all, but some people like to be able to react to situations or prepare for situations.

Small scale and simplistic example

Party finds out they have to go to abandoned castle X for maguffin

Daevic player decides to do some basic information gathering since he's the party face and asks around a nearby town.

Hears various rumors about Castle X, like many people dying and the castle getting abandoned after renovating the old basement, lots of mosquitoes hanging around near the castle, and even rumors that the castle is heavy with sin and sinks slowiy into the underworld.

Daevic player puts some dots together and realizes that under the castle is probably some sort of underwater sink hole/cave that potential is full of monsters.

The Daevic player now selects and binds some veils that allow him to fight well underwater and better provide for his party.

In this situation the player gets the opportunity to feel clever and not only that, get rewarded for it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Before you can solve the problem you have to define it.

1. What is caster/martial disparity? 2. Is parity even a desired goal? or a definable one?

You need to set first your standards. Part of the problem is the temptation for the GM to focus on the magical parts of his world and short change the other aspects. Casters cast spells. What is it about the non-casting parts of your world that make it worth telling a story about?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I don't know if it counts as being within the spirit of the thread, but it seems to me that a common and effective method of dealing with the disparity is to build higher powered classes less carefully than lower powered classes. At our table, we're not terribly good at character design especially when it comes to casters and if your wizards are all focussed on doing damage, it seems to me that the actual disparity is reduced, despite the potential disparity remaining unchanged. Even if your table is quite good at character-building, it might be possible to address the issue via 'gentleman's agreement'.

It's always seemed to me that another obvious approach would be to increase the rate at which mundane characters attain levels (so the fighter's actual level is 1.25xlevel as determined from their experience points or something) - although that doesn't address the lack of narrative power, it might be a solution for those who focus primarily on combat. Having said that, it probably wouldn't work terribly well for those who pay even passing attention to WBL.


Depending on the group I think underplaying a caster can be pretty effective, especially if a GM underplays a lot of his casters. Well maybe one or two crazy ones to give PCs a challenge sometimes :p

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Insain Dragoon wrote:
Depending on the group I think underplaying a caster can be pretty effective, especially if a GM underplays a lot of his casters. Well maybe one or two crazy ones to give PCs a challenge sometimes :p

This is going to sound a little conceited, but I am literally so much better at building characters than most average players that unless I go out of my way to actively sabotage myself, I often still end up outshining the rest of the group. Honestly, I suspect that that's true of many people who regularly frequent these forums.

My solution to that is that I stopped playing characters who are individually awesome, and instead I mostly play group-centric characters unless I know that the rest of table is at or very near my level of system mastery. I spend a lot of time playing Cavaliers, Bards, Warlords, Battlelords, Tacticians, etc. No one tends to feel upstaged if your awesomeness primarily involves making them more awesome as well.

Also, I hate the idea of gentleman's agreements as a balancing factor. First, it requires everyone at the table to actually know and understand both the issue and the accepted solution. This is a big deal in and of itself, because in my experience many people who are upstaging others at the table aren't aware they're even doing it, and it's not like there's some universally accepted definition of "cheese", especially when the most broken things in the game are often working exactly as intended or written. Secondly, gentleman's agreements often don't account for new material. How do you just accept that no one is going to use something like Sacred Geometry when half or more of the group may not frequent the forums and know that it's a poorly designed and overpowered feat? In addition, something that's a problem for person A may be something that person B actually really likes about the game. Several people have stated that ridiculously overpowered casters are their favorite thing about the game, and others have staunchly defended the Fighter's right to be a hot worthless pile of crap at high levels, because not only do they not want to have to think while playing one, they want to make sure that nobody else has the option to think while playing one either. How do you reconcile these differences?
They also imply fault by the perceived offender. "You, intentionally or not, violated my understanding of our unwritten rules, therefore you are not a gentleman." I'd much rather make whatever adjustments are necessary to present a set of options that allow for characters to exist and belong in the same worlds together, without the threat of unspecified consequences for violating unwritten rules. It's better for relationships and friendships that way.


Well i agree that the "issue" is there , but to me it isnt an issue at all.

I just accept that each class is different and that is it , i personally dont apply changes to them , the players should pick what they want to play and that is it.

If someone thinks the fighter,rogue... are bad classes and they dont like those , that is fine , play something else , this game got quite the amount of classes now, even if we dont allow any 3pp.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Ssalarn wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:
Depending on the group I think underplaying a caster can be pretty effective, especially if a GM underplays a lot of his casters. Well maybe one or two crazy ones to give PCs a challenge sometimes :p

This is going to sound a little conceited, but I am literally so much better at building characters than most average players that unless I go out of my way to actively sabotage myself, I often still end up outshining the rest of the group. Honestly, I suspect that that's true of many people who regularly frequent these forums.

My solution to that is that I stopped playing characters who are individually awesome, and instead I mostly play group-centric characters unless I know that the rest of table is at or very near my level of system mastery. I spend a lot of time playing Cavaliers, Bards, Warlords, Battlelords, Tacticians, etc. No one tends to feel upstaged if your awesomeness primarily involves making them more awesome as well.

Also, I hate the idea of gentleman's agreements as a balancing factor. First, it requires everyone at the table to actually know and understand both the issue and the accepted solution. This is a big deal in and of itself, because in my experience many people who are upstaging others at the table aren't aware they're even doing it, and it's not like there's some universally accepted definition of "cheese", especially when the most broken things in the game are often working exactly as intended or written. Secondly, gentleman's agreements often don't account for new material. How do you just accept that no one is going to use something like Sacred Geometry when half or more of the group may not frequent the forums and know that it's a poorly designed and overpowered feat? In addition, something that's a problem for person A may be something that person B actually really likes about the game. Several people have stated that ridiculously overpowered casters are their favorite thing about the game, and others have staunchly defended the...

I definitely wasnt suggesting these agreements be unwritten, nor punishable offences. If your table doesnt have clear understandings and similar schools of thought in this regard then you're going to have a problem no matter what, in my opinion. If the group is generally on the same page though, it appears to work for many. It definitely works for us, although that's not a conscious choice.

The kind of thing I was referring to was exactly what you alluded too in the first part of your post - you find it easy to outshine the other PCs with a caster, so you voluntarily restrict yourself to pushing the rules of the game in a way that makes everyone else better, rather than making them irrelevant.


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Nox Aeterna wrote:

Well i agree that the "issue" is there , but to me it isnt an issue at all.

I just accept that each class is different and that is it , i personally dont apply changes to them , the players should pick what they want to play and that is it.

If someone thinks the fighter,rogue... are bad classes and they dont like those , that is fine , play something else , this game got quite the amount of classes now, even if we dont allow any 3pp.

Some people could also read the OP. The question is "how do you fix martial/caster disparity" not "what sweet nothings do you say to yourself to ignore the issue."

There are plenty of other threads for defining or denying the issue.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Nox Aeterna wrote:
Well i agree that the "issue" is there , but to me it isnt an issue at all.

Wait, what? How do you even internally justify such a nonsense statement? It's like saying "I agree that the sun is yellow, but really I think it's blue". I think John Kerry himself would struggle to use so many words to say so little.

Quote:


I just accept that each class is different and that is it , i personally dont apply changes to them , the players should pick what they want to play and that is it.

Uhm, cool, but why come into a thread titled "Martial/Caster Disparity: What are you going to do about it?" Just to say "I acknowledge there's a problem, but actually I don't think there's a problem, so I'm not going to do anything"? At that point you're just "talking" to listen to your own voice.

Quote:


If someone thinks the fighter,rogue... are bad classes and they dont like those , that is fine , play something else , this game got quite the amount of classes now, even if we dont allow any 3pp.

Ah yes, the classic misunderstanding. Here's the thing- if people didn't like the Fighter, Rogue, or whatever, they wouldn't be discussing ways to fix them. They would ignore them and play something else. It is because people like the Fighter/Rogue/whatever that they attempt to find ways to fix them and propose solutions so that others who also like those classes and find themselves stymied by their design flaws can spend more time enjoying them. Pathfinder itself is just the end result of a group of people attempting to address and improve upon the materials from D&D 3.5. If Lisa Stevens, Erik Mona, Jason Buhlman, and others had listened to such terrible advice as you've attempted to give here, there wouldn't even be a Pathfinder for people to discuss.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Had a moment tonight where the party monk made a 40 foot long jump with an Acrobatics check that was exactly the same as an earlier jump check he'd attempted that failed to give him enough height to grab the railing of a 2nd floor balcony. Has anyone played with just cutting the DC of high jumps in half to help improve martial mobility? Correct me if I'm wrong, but since Acrobatics are generally completed as part of another action, this could at least make 20-30 foot leaping charges directly at aerial opponents reasonably feasible. Ignore the silliness with Vital Strikes not working with charges and allow them to work whenever you make only a single attack in a round, and you're actually approaching martial options that are reasonably effective without making particularly large changes. As near as I can tell, you wouldn't even need to change the charge rules at all, just the High Jump DCs and ignoring the Vital Strike FAQ.

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