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


Homebrew and House Rules

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Hmmm... Rereading the ability's text and revising some of the arguments presented here, I must say I've changed my mind. I think it's supposed to require thr character to move.

Still, I might consider allowing a player to use it while grappled... Well, if I didn't ban Arcanist almost every time anyway...


I personally don't like putting normally non-martial powers in the hands of non-casters that go over the top. Like the "cutting a hole in the dimensions" just because you swing your sword "just right".
To me, there's a loss of narrative consistency when you slap on these abilities, and it smacks of "sameness" when trying to balance things.

Personally, I prefer some things that are so outrageously magical in nature, remain magical.
It's ok for the magic user to occsasionally have a thing that only he can do. The wizard originally (and I'm talking previous editions) was the utility guy with his spells.

That being said, I don't think that ONLY the wizard should be doing some of the Big Important Stuff.

There's a couple Big Ones that should not be the sole purview of just the spellcasters, despite being so magically entrenched in idea. If the game screeches to the halt because you don't have a spelcaster to cast "that one spell you need", then it shouldn't be locked to just the spellcasters.
For this reason, I think these important effects should be moved to being Rituals, ones that can be performed by anyone doing the right things. With spellcasters maybe getting a slight leg up in that they can potentially pull off the ritual without needing the exact components if they burn their magical resource in doing it.
Maybe it will need a good skill check here or there, or finding the right spot, etc. It should be something even a Fighter can do if he can ask the right person for instructions.. "Klaatu... verata... n... Necktie. Nectar. Nickel. Noodle."

Here's a short list of Big Important Things that I feel work better as rituals:

1. Resurrection. Bringing someone back to life is incredibly important, especially end game.
Now, I can see resuscitating someone mid-combat with quick spell or heal skill application. However bringing back someone who's been dead for a while should require more than a handful of expensive dust and waiving your hands for a minute. I'd even go so far as to make it a god specific request, with perhaps an appropriate offering or perhaps a promised goal in exchange (or even a side quest to purgatory plane if the game allows for that kind of time).

2. Teleportation and Dimension travel. Finding entrance to the space between spaces can be done with proper knowledge about a subject (going to the Shadow plane? Need to find a place that's never seen light, don't use any of your own, and find just the right angle to step through).
Or writing down a circle (or holding hands that have been painted in ritual runes), and everyone concentrate on the same place as a vial of "mists from the astral plane" is crushed, releasing the cloud that carries them afar.

3. Change in medium (air, water, etc). If you are going to spend most of your adventuring time underwater, then it's time to find some alchemical grease and a chunk of Scrag Troll, carve the appropriate runes and down the hatch!

4. Summoning. Any long lasting summons, ones that last long enough for a dungeon crawl or more, should require a ritual to either negotiate (beseeching or bribing for aid) or will crushing control the summoned creature to your cause. There's no reason anyone can't just draw the circle of protection, place an offering keyed to the specific creature, and then call forth the entity.
Or rather, it shouldn't require *spell slots* to pull it off.

Any more that I'm missing? I'm tired and probably missed a couple.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kaisoku wrote:


1. Resurrection. Bringing someone back to life is incredibly important, especially end game.
Now, I can see resuscitating someone mid-combat with quick spell or heal skill application. However bringing back someone who's been dead for a while should require more than a handful of expensive dust and waiving your hands for a minute. I'd even go so far as to make it a god specific request, with perhaps an appropriate offering or perhaps a promised goal in exchange (or even a side quest to purgatory plane if the game allows for that kind of time).

2. Teleportation and Dimension travel. Finding entrance to the space between spaces can be done with proper knowledge about a subject (going to the Shadow plane? Need to find a place that's never seen light, don't use any of your own, and find just the right angle to step through).
Or writing down a circle (or holding hands that have been painted in ritual runes), and everyone concentrate on the same place as a vial of "mists from the astral plane" is crushed, releasing the cloud that carries them afar.

3. Change in medium (air, water, etc). If you are going to spend most of your adventuring time underwater, then it's time to find some alchemical grease and a chunk of Scrag Troll, carve the appropriate runes and down the hatch!

4. Summoning. Any long lasting summons, ones that last long enough for a dungeon crawl or more, should require a ritual to either negotiate (beseeching or bribing for aid) or will crushing control the summoned creature to your cause. There's no reason anyone can't just draw the circle of protection, place an offering keyed to the specific creature, and then call forth the entity.
Or rather, it shouldn't require *spell slots* to pull it off.

Any more that I'm missing? I'm tired and probably missed a couple.

In order..

1. You don't get the point of the spell. For one thing the Resurrection spells aren't named properly for their true purpose. Not bringing some character to life. it's Getting the player back from the bench and into the game. Maybe dragging out the idea might cater to your sense of GM fun.... but you're not doing any favors for the player by extending the time he has to cool his heels.

2..3. I changed my mind about addressing these... not interesting enough.

4. Summon spells have durations listed in rounds... minutes if you're a Summoner forgoing the use of his Eidolon. Anything more permanent than that involves expensive negotiation... or a 20th level conjurer. So I don't see the point in making changes.


On the subject of Resurrection: What if the ritual was part of a long-term process that, when begun, brought the subject back as a ghost-like being? They would then be around for a short time (say a week, or a month) and the race would be on to get the *whatever* done and complete the ritual before their time is up.

While in ghost form, they might actually gain a version of the Ghost template, or they might be able to corporealize—just with some drawbacks. Or they're actually back in the flesh. All that matters is that the party be firmly motivated to complete the "spirit quest" or whatever in time.

This could give rise to a sort of sad possible outcome, too. Say the party needs their ally back, but they're in a hurry to beat a major boss. They might bring their ally back and go to fight the boss anyway, knowing full well that this delay will prevent the ritual quest from being completed and render their buddy dead forever.

This way, the player still gets to play and contribute with the character they signed on with, and even help out with the very spell that's returning them to life, but resurrection remains a major endeavor that can't be pulled off as-you-please.

LazarX wrote:
4. Summon spells have durations listed in rounds... minutes if you're a Summoner forgoing the use of his Eidolon. Anything more permanent than that involves expensive negotiation... or a 20th level conjurer. So I don't see the point in making changes.

Minutes per level is generally plenty of time to complete a dungeon with at higher levels. Sadly, making the "ritual" component summoner-only would kind of have the awkward consequence of making summoners arguably worse at summoning than wizards. Maybe let them choose between the rounds/level and ritual-requiring minutes/level varieties?


^I actually like the first part of this (and expand it so that it goes in several intermediate stages). Unfortunately, it doesn't do much about martial-caster disparity, unless you also add in some way of doing such things by ritual.


I did use "ritual" in the text. That said, aside from incantation-style stuff, I don't know that long-term death-defying should be a martial ability. Not everything has to be, after all (though the martial will be ideally needed during the quest). I'd much rather tackle stuff like martial-unfriendly terrains, teleportation, and that sort of thing.


One martial version of "resurrection" I've allowed was that when they die they don't get the petitioner template and then do stuff like fight their way out of hell.


The disadvantage with that, of course, is obvious: It's just the inverse of the original "quest for resurrection" problem. :P

What if the fighter could collaborate with his fellow partymembers in a simultaneous ritual to "trance" them into Hell with him? Perhaps force him to reach a "rift" for him to exploit first? I don't know. I'm tired.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:

The disadvantage with that, of course, is obvious: It's just the inverse of the original "quest for resurrection" problem. :P

What if the fighter could collaborate with his fellow partymembers in a simultaneous ritual to "trance" them into Hell with him? Perhaps force him to reach a "rift" for him to exploit first? I don't know. I'm tired.

Well, with most players it's pretty easy for the Good aligned fighter to find an outsider in his afterlife that'll planeshift him back to whichever plane his party was last on. A neutral or evil fighter may find it more difficult....


LazarX wrote:


1. You don't get the point of the spell. For one thing the Resurrection spells aren't named properly for their true purpose. Not bringing some character to life. it's Getting the player back from the bench and into the game. Maybe dragging out the idea might cater to your sense of GM fun.... but you're not doing any favors for the player by extending the time he has to cool his heels.

Did I say how long it would take? Why did you assume it had to take longer than the spell is now? I'm saying a fighter should be able to perform a ritual that gives a gift, or promises something in return and the resurrection occurs... not that it would take a long time.

Hence the "OR a side quest if your game allows for that kind of time"... the implication that the original idea was a short process.

Perhaps it was the reference to the Heal skill basically pulling a breath of life situation? That was just as an immediate response option (done right after they fall). A ritual would be for if they died last fight and you don't have a cleric to bring them back right away in a spell form. It's still meant to bring the guy back for the rest of the dungeon...

LazarX wrote:


4. Summon spells have durations listed in rounds... minutes if you're a Summoner forgoing the use of his Eidolon. Anything more permanent than that involves expensive negotiation... or a 20th level conjurer. So I don't see the point in making changes.

Can you summon *anything* without resorting to spell slots (or some purchased magic item)? My point was that minutes long summons should be a ritual that anyone can do. I'm talking about changing what's available in the game.

LazarX wrote:


2..3. I changed my mind about addressing these... not interesting enough.

This seems like a weird comment.. I mean, I'm not sure what you mean by "addressing these". Seems like a purposefully confrontational approach. Taking the Devil's Advocate approach to the discussion?

I'm sorry if these typically considered critical martial deficiencies were on the boring side. I was aiming for completeness.

Kobold Cleaver wrote:


On the subject of Resurrection: What if the ritual was part of a long-term process that, when begun, brought the subject back as a ghost-like being?

While I never played it, I believe Sean K Reynolds had a campaign setting that worked this way called Ghostwalk (link).

Rules for playing as a ghost after death, etc. Neat concept at least.
It was very plot/region specific though.

"Waiting to be saved" and "Fighting your way out" are definitely going to suffer from plot delay.. only really good for a Kingmaker game, or game that has the option for longer timelines or no fixed narrative (like an extensive dungeon crawl).

The other factor is that doing that over and over as death becomes more prevalent in the higher levels makes this a tired trope that will feel torturous pretty darn quick.


Fergie wrote:

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

Well, I wrote this informative bit of text, so that discussions about the topic can get beyond discussing if it exists, and hopefully come up with this some real solutions. See the list at the end for some basic suggestions.

** spoiler omitted **...

Pretty much this right here sums it up.

You did however miss adding some flexibility on the martial side, especially having enough skill points to actually use skills *cough*Fighter*cough*, and consolidating punishing feat chains into single scaling feats instead of permanently locking up several of a limited resource (feats) to do 1 thing effectively. Not to mention dropping a few feats that should just be automatic.

We don't need 1:1 parity between martials and casters, but the gap between them needs to be much less than it currently is.


Sounds like my version of pre petitioners and reapers.
Goth’s Freakshow..

As for your ritual ideas, most have been addressed by the ritual topic I started but you can by all means contribute the ones you want.
Go to Rituals.

I'm thinking of adding a ritual that creates a doorway into another environment, that adapts the subject, much like the mirror in the Equestria Girls movies that turns Twilly into a human when she trots through it. I feet a ritual's greater power is balanced by greater investments(in time, personnel, and resources) and risks. A failed doorway would lead right to the outer darkness where the worst aberrations and horrors were cast out to.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I did use "ritual" in the text. {. . .}

Sorry, saw the occurrence towards the end of your text, but not thte one in the first part, so I thought the second occurrence was not related to the first part. That's what I get for posting after 2 post-midnight stints at work . . .

Anyway --

Freesword wrote:

{. . .}

You did however miss adding some flexibility on the martial side, especially having enough skill points to actually use skills *cough*Fighter*cough*, and consolidating punishing feat chains into single scaling feats instead of permanently locking up several of a limited resource (feats) to do 1 thing effectively. Not to mention dropping a few feats that should just be automatic.
{. . .}

The Fighter having only 2 base skill ranks per level makes no sense -- I would say bump this up to 4 (except for the archetypes that already get 4 instead get 6). Also consider giving the Fighter a d12 hit die. After all, it isn't just martial-caster balance that you have to worry about, but intra-martial balance.


Honestly, I would say bump it up to 6 or even 8. Rogue's not king of skills anyways, and fighters deserve the chance to show off their superior training.


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Honestly, I would say bump it up to 6 or even 8. Rogue's not king of skills anyways, and fighters deserve the chance to show off their superior training.

Check out what happened to the Ranger:

3.0 -> 3.5 -> Pathfinder
HD: d10 -> d8 -> d10
Skills: 4 -> 6 (free wild empathy) -> 6 (free wild empathy and bonus to track)
Saves: 1 good -> 2 good -> 2 good
Abilities:
Track feat, spells, twf stuff, favored enemy, animal companion
->
track feat, spells, combat stuff, improved favored enemy, bunch of nice boosts (endurance feat, evasion, camouflage & hide in plain sight!), boosted animal companion
->
spells (more and sooner), combat stuff, improved favored enemy, favored terrain, bunch of boosts (similar), boost animal companion, hunter stuff (quarry/master hunter)

Soooo.. basically they gave it more and more stuff, and while the Hitpoints were reduced a bit, they were boosted again in the HD aligning that Pathfinder did.

What about the fighter?

HD: d10 -> d10 -> d10
Skills: 2 -> 2 -> 2
Saves: 1 good -> 1 good -> 1 good
Abilities: 11 feats -> 11 feats -> 11 feats, bravery, armor training, weapon training

I'm sorry but that's pathetic. Honestly, a d12, 6 skill points, & 2 good saves should be his baseline before even looking into his class abilities.

.

It's like the Fighter has a double-hit on the mundanity front. He's a non-caster, but even then, he doesn't have ANYTHING "super special" to narratively squeeze in something good.

Barbarians can get "really angry" so therefore they can see in the dark or literally explode with flames. Paladins have their god or divine imperative, and Rangers have their nature, so that apparently warrants all manner of magical powers and can explain anything (like being better than a rogue at his own job until very recently).

What does the Fighter get for being really good at... fighting. His super power is as dumb sounding as his name. I'm used to it now, but if you think about it without the decades of background.. "Fighter" sounds so juvenile. It's what we call our sports-related combatants. Boxers and MMA guys. Those are our Fighters.

The guys that go into the unknown, fear held in check, ready to take down anything that comes at them and accomplish whatever mission they have at all costs. We calls those soldiers. Or more specific names like Navy Seals or Special Air Service.
Every other game I've played that had a "combat guy" called it at least "Warrior", or something more specific.

"Fighter"... yeesh. It's no wonder it's been stuck in a rut.


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Kaisoku wrote:

Every other game I've played that had a "combat guy" called it at least "Warrior", or something more specific.

"Fighter"... yeesh. It's no wonder it's been stuck in a rut.

Warrior king, warrior monk, etc. That's really a much better name for a general combat hero that can be flavoured by his additional skills.

Stuff:

What a warrior should be able to do ?

Mundane (1-4):

Fight. Beat monsters to a pulp and cut bad guys who are not warriors like they are made out of paper. Inspire others by his example and make his enemies cower in fear.

Regardless of background he should have some tactical knowledge/abilities and know his way around weapons and armor. Not only how to fight with them but also being able to determine their quality and at least some rudimentary ability to repair them.

Heroic (5-10):

Warrior should be able to take on a couple of squads of rank and file enemies and rout them without sustaining critical damage. But he also must be able to fight monsters - flying, borrowing, invisible and magical. Because if he can't he is not a proper warrior. He must be able to use ranged and melee weapons effectively even if he is better with some of them (not by much).

Be a leader. Even warriors who are not really keen on becoming officers or lords should be able to lead people in time of war. Ideally some tactical and strategic bonuses for everyone under his command. (In current PF they must at least be able to bestow Teamwork feats on others with 1-2 days of practice)

Secondary abilities depending on role. Those who want to become kings and lords can rule the lands and play political games. Monster hunters, duelists and similar combatants become proficient in their trade being able to learn of weak spots in enemy defenses even if they fight this type of opponent for the first time. And monks train in their arts not only with unarmed strikes but with weapons too.

Legendary (11+):

All bets are off. On this level warrior must be able to stand against a small army and win. Or go against monsters like demons or dragons and still win. Without magic items or other similar things. Maybe even using only improvised weapons and without armor. Though in such a case it should be a really hard battle. As such he should be able to fight against flying and invisible enemies while also protecting himself.

Fighting a warrior on this level should either call for a load of tricks from his opponents or for really epic monsters who can squash towns by themselves. Or another warrior in employment of Dark Overlord.

If some wizard wants to beat a warrior he should not be able to do it in open combat without a solid plan. And even then this plan should have a lot of failsafes. That's not counting resources that warrior can arrange for a fight himself.

Depending on background warrior by this level should either command a small kingdom or some other organization and be able to pull resources and help from it or have some other aces up his sleeve. Monster hunters will have machines, specialised weapons and alchemical items (that can be created without magic) while also being stealthy enough to be able to sneak up on monsters. Warrior monks will have their Ki and its abilities (preferably better than unchained monk).

And all that before taking feats!

In current Pathfinder paradigm that's really hard.


Kaisoku wrote:
Honestly, a d12, 6 skill points, & 2 good saves should be his baseline before even looking into his class abilities.

*slow clap* *nods approval*


Freesword wrote:

Pretty much this right here sums it up.

You did however miss adding some flexibility on the martial side, especially having enough skill points to actually use skills *cough*Fighter*cough*, and consolidating punishing feat chains into single scaling feats instead of permanently locking up several of a limited resource (feats) to do 1 thing effectively. Not to mention dropping a few feats that should just be automatic.

We don't need 1:1 parity between martials and casters, but the gap between them needs to be much less than it currently is.

WOW! Thanks for the words of support and favorites everyone! I was expecting the "you wouldn't know class balance if it swallowed your ass whole" response that I usually get when I post this stuff.

I was originally going to post this as a new thread, but I feel like the message boards had reached a saturation level of caster/martial threads, and that it was creating a toxic environment. If people think posting this as a new thread would actually help the situation, (and if I get permission from Kobold Cleaver), I will start a new thread. If anyone has ideas for a better location for this, please let me know. Also, I'm working on some editing and formatting changes to make the layout a little better.

In response to your specific points Freesword, I think added skill points and class skills (specifically diplomacy) would be a step in the right direction for the fighter. However, even the rogues skills are not on par with what magic can accomplish. The caster is still using dominate person and such, and often can make better use of skills anyway. It is complex because skills need to be better later in the game, but for that to help balance, martials need to be better at skills then casters, which is not the current situation.

Feats present a similar issue to skills. If you consolidate feat chains, that makes it easier for non martial classes like druids to get access to them, so while related to class balance, it isn't a clear win for martial characters, unless the feats are fighter only or limited to martials in some way.

EDIT: Also, if anyone has any other information that should be included when describing what the caster martial disparity entails, please post. At this point, I'm trying to focus on the topic in the most generic ways possible, rather then class by class. Also, I think there are several threads with suggested fixes, so I would like to focus on defining the issue.
If anyone would like to view the latest version, look at my profile and click on the caster/martial spoiler.


So for fighters only...
1-4 +1 to hit and damage with all weapons. Though magical, only a dead magic area will affect this, only with ranged weapons. Additional combat oriented feat and a prerequisite feat.
5-8 +2 to hit and damage, and another free feat.
9-12 +3 to hit and damage, and another free feat.
13-16 +4 to hit and damage, and another free feat.
17-20 +5 to hit and damage, and another free feat.
21 up +6 to hit and damage, and an epic feat.

GM fiat can give this to monks as well. Otherwise, a monk must take a fighter dip to get the +1 to all weapons, including fists and feet.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

For the d12, 6 starting skill points, and 2 good saves;

Remember that it's not just how many skill points you get, but how good you are with those skills. That means not only should magic not marginalize them (like invisibility does), but that unless your character is GOOD at those skills, it doesn't matter how many you have if the party never has need for your rolls (Knowledge rolls? Oh, the bard does those...I don't have to take Knowledge skills.)

Secondly, baseline combat has to be changed to allow more movement options for melee, particularly at higher levels. Especially flight or pseudo forms of it.

Class abilities to affect the metagame need to be baked in that cannot be duplicated just via magic, and should be useful and enviable, EVEN IF YOU DON"T USE THEM. (Like, getting improved Leadership abilities).

===Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:

Especially flight or pseudo forms of it.

Technically speaking you don't need flight. You need to be able to attack flying enemies effectively or remove their ability to fly.

If any fighter was able to use bows or thrown weapons without a ton of feats (as with any fighting style) somewhat effectively flying enemies would not be such a pain.

Or if weapons like harpoon really worked so that you could tie a chain to it and catch some flying dragons.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

You need flight as a form of terrain movement (or jump good/swim good) as well. Just being able to fight fliers is a stop gap measure, but which requires melees to either a) change to a less-favored weapon or b) go animish with having windblades and stuff.

So, flight mode(s). If you can run superfast, race up the sides of mountains, and jump between peaks...yeah, okay, you can reach the fliers even if they don't want you to, and cover long distances quickly.

It's a trope. High level characters are not shut down by travel distance. Of any stripe. This goes from Batman to being able to reach outer space if need be with a rocket, having a batplane and bat sub and batmobile to get where he's needed quickly, to Superman and Green Lantern being able to relocate to a planet or dimension that's required, on demand.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:

You need flight as a form of terrain movement (or jump good/swim good) as well. Just being able to fight fliers is a stop gap measure, but which requires melees to either a) change to a less-favored weapon or b) go animish with having windblades and stuff.

So, flight mode(s). If you can run superfast, race up the sides of mountains, and jump between peaks...yeah, okay, you can reach the fliers even if they don't want you to, and cover long distances quickly.

It's a trope. High level characters are not shut down by travel distance. Of any stripe. This goes from Batman to being able to reach outer space if need be with a rocket, having a batplane and bat sub and batmobile to get where he's needed quickly, to Superman and Green Lantern being able to relocate to a planet or dimension that's required, on demand.

==Aelryinth

Less-favored is okay. Almost worthless is not. Currently you need what 3-5 feats to be passable at shooting ? And that's only bows or some other type of ranged weapon.

But yes being able to move through any terrain is a trope and a mandatory ability for high levels. As a minimum characters must be able to do jump/climb checks as part of the movement action ignoring any obstacles in case of successful checks.

Example:

Character wants to make a double move to a more favourable position. He has a base speed of 50 ft. Distance to his new position is 80 ft. There is also some patches of difficult terrain (10 ft. wide) and a wall 10 ft. high.

Character moves and makes 2 Acrobatics checks with DC 10 and a Climb DC 25 check (though it seems somewhat high) or a DC 40 Acrobatics check (8 if using Unchained variant with additional DC 15 climb check).

If all checks are successful character arrives at his destination in 1 turn. (Parkour / Freerunning)


Zoolimar wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:
You need flight as a form of terrain movement (or jump good/swim good) as well. Just being able to fight fliers is a stop gap measure, but which requires melees to either a) change to a less-favored weapon or b) go animish with having windblades and stuff.
Less-favored is okay.

Respectfully disagree.

A martial character has one of three approaches here [without extending into weird supernatural stuff.]

A: Generalist who is equally awesome with all weapons and has no favored weapons.

B: Ranged Specialist

C: Melee Specialist with some reasonable means of reaching flying opponents [a flying mount, sky dancing, Jump Good, whatever.]

C2: Going into the supernatural stuff, something that can force a flier to come to you is a good alternative for a Melee Specialist

EDIT For Clarity: less-favored weapon is a fine alternative for a Melee Specialist at low levels, but by level 9 that's no longer appropriate In My Opinion.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
EDIT For Clarity: less-favored weapon is a fine alternative for a Melee Specialist at low levels, but by level 9 that's no longer appropriate In My Opinion.

Hmm, agree and retract previous statement with a caveat that even fighters who didn't invest anything specifically into ranged attacks still must have at least 60-70% of attack effectiveness maybe with some sacrifices in defense.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

At high levels a fighter can use a bow in melee and a melee weapon in ranged combat. He might have an edge in one mode or the other depending on weapon, but he can use his best weapon.

Otherwise, he's just freaking useless.

This is not a problem for spellcasters, who can also cast at range and in close without appreciable problem, and literally don't give a (*&(& if the opponent is flying most of the time...and that's if they cannot just fly themselves.

Being able to take away the power of flight is a Nice Idea. If you're making an anti-magic character, it should be a core power, just like shutting down dimensional conniptions.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:
Being able to take away the power of flight is a Nice Idea. If you're making an anti-magic character, it should be a core power, just like shutting down dimensional conniptions.

Harpoons, harpoons everywhere. Chuck one at the enemy and then climb up the chain until you can reach him with your sword. Or attach to something heavy and then pull your enemy from the skies (if he won't do it himself when he tries to fly out of chain length).


I have a kludge for feat chains to suggest.

At every even level every character gets a feat for which they qualify which has improved or greater in the name and does not improve their own casting. Fighters two such feats every even level and one every odd level.


What about making something like a Warcraft skill that ties a lot of situational martial abilities together? Full bab classes could get ranks equal to their class level to avoid a skill tax, and at certain rank thresholds you would be able to do crazier stuff. I totally haven't thought it through in detail, but the concept of being able to consolidate certain basics into one skill might make martials more variable characters.

I think you would have to gate ranks by bab or something to make it more desirable and effective for full martials. You could also give fighters virtual ranks akin to bardic knowledge which would be cool.


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I use Fighter Nuances so switching up feats became a fighter exclusive thing. I used to have feats that did that but they haven't seen much use lately so I ditched them. I have a lot of feat bloat.

On the subject of skills, what can be patched on skills to make them more worthwhile? Right now I'm using the consolidated skill list and some third party 'extra uses for skills' books which has made skill checks more abundant but I haven't had to do too much because despite skills being very codified whenever a situation arises that isn't covered by the skill descriptions my table just makes up what sounds reasonable so skills do way more.


Malwing wrote:
On the subject of skills, what can be patched on skills to make them more worthwhile?

Not much. Unless you want to gut some spells and trample all over rogues skill stunts (with extreme prejudice). Though if you want to do that...

A good idea would be to have abilities tied to skills which can be chosen at ranks (2/4/6/8/etc.)


Zoolimar wrote:
Malwing wrote:
On the subject of skills, what can be patched on skills to make them more worthwhile?

Not much. Unless you want to gut some spells and trample all over rogues skill stunts (with extreme prejudice). Though if you want to do that...

A good idea would be to have abilities tied to skills which can be chosen at ranks (2/4/6/8/etc.)

Well a lot of Rogue Talents that are skill based are kind of bad jokes for being limited to once a day or something like that and I have plenty of third party replacements for rogue talents so I wouldn't mind picking through spells to add to skills or skill unlocks. Skill unlocks would probably be better since its easier to restrict access so only the classes that need them get them.


Malwing wrote:
Well a lot of Rogue Talents that are skill based are kind of bad jokes for being limited to once a day or something like that and I have plenty of third party replacements for rogue talents so I wouldn't mind picking through spells to add to skills or skill unlocks. Skill unlocks would probably be better since its easier to restrict access so only the classes that need them get them.

I don't think you really need to restrict them. What some wizard will do with his acrobatics skill that he can't accomplish with a fly spell or levitation ?

If he wants to drop enough points into skill to get ability to jump longer or higher let him. It's not like it will suddenly make him so much more effective at his spellcastery thing.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Spellcasters should be hugely restricted in skills they can access, or what they can access off skills.

Practicing skills is a time suck. Practicing spells is a time suck. You shouldn't get to have your cake and eat it, too.

Spellcasters should be able to use very, very few skills well. It should be a straight tradeoff, just like BAB and caster level/spell list is. Spells are simply that powerful.

You don't practice Stealth to the point of Hide in Plain Sight when you can just cast invisibility and improved Invis. It simply makes no sense whatsoever.

--Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:

Spellcasters should be hugely restricted in skills they can access, or what they can access off skills.

Practicing skills is a time suck. Practicing spells is a time suck. You shouldn't get to have your cake and eat it, too.

Spellcasters should be able to use very, very few skills well. It should be a straight tradeoff, just like BAB and caster level/spell list is. Spells are simply that powerful.

You don't practice Stealth to the point of Hide in Plain Sight when you can just cast invisibility and improved Invis. It simply makes no sense whatsoever.

--Aelryinth

Feat chain five feats long for spellcasters ?


Goth Guru wrote:

So for fighters only...

1-4 +1 to hit and damage with all weapons. Though magical, only a dead magic area will affect this, only with ranged weapons. Additional combat oriented feat and a prerequisite feat.
5-8 +2 to hit and damage. Additional combat oriented feat and a prerequisite feat.
9-12 +3 to hit and damage. Additional combat oriented feat and a prerequisite feat.
13-16 +4 to hit and damage. Additional combat oriented feat and a prerequisite feat.
17-20 +5 to hit and damage. Additional combat oriented feat and a prerequisite feat.
21 up +6 to hit and damage. and an epic feat.

GM fiat can give this to monks as well. Otherwise, a monk must take a fighter dip to get the +1 to all weapons, including fists and feet.

Adding 2D6+con bonus hit points per level. Can use strength in place of wisdom for will saves. (Have you tried to scare a professional wrestler?)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Heh.

I would simply bar them from developing advanced skills without appropriate class levels cutting into their spellcasting ability.

"What do you mean I can't get skill unlocks for Intelligence-based skills?"
"You can make magic items."

"Oh...right. Never mind."

===Aelryinth


What I mean by restricting access is that its easier to help lagging classes if I can just hand out access to specific classes. That way weird overlap doesn't happen. For example; times where you have to be careful about what you add to the game that helps monks because it could instead make druids broken. If I add in spell-like abilities in skills then casters with a lot of skill ranks from INT can just take those and use the discounted spell slots for something better.

Granted I stopped using Int for skill ranks so my options are more open.

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

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Malwing wrote:
On the subject of skills, what can be patched on skills to make them more worthwhile?

I'm not sure that's even the direction to go with the Skills issue. Rather than boost skills up to compete with magic for setting/narrative engagement, I think the better idea is to remove/rewrite all the spells that obsolete various skills. Then, if you find yourself left with an obstacle or narrative device that required one of the removed spells, you either boost the inherent capabilities of the skill to match that element, or else you remove that element from the narrative entirely. (Because let's be honest: if the only way to advance past a given obstacle or engage a given piece of setting was to cast a certain spell, then that obstacle/setpiece was nothing more than a "spell checkbox" and wasn't contributing anything meaningful to the narrative in the first place.)


As a DM I have found that the more you target casters, the more resources they must put into defence and the less safe a caster feels the fewer offensive options they will take.

Make them the number one target wherever feasible and possible and have your tactics worked out. I also find that weapons like nets and harpoons, as well as 'anti-caster' specialists like silenced rogues and monks, make casters less inclined to venture too near a combat. Archery of course should discourage flight - especially if fort saves are thrown in. Also be prepared to sunder things like holy symbols, arcane bonds, component pouches and so forth. Familiars are fair game too.

I also don't allow a lot of items that benefit casters too (metamagics rods, pages of spell knowledge, pearls of power, etc) this makes spell slots, feats and level bonuses more valuable to them.

I control the time between adventures strictly as well. This means far less time for crafting consumables (again this means that spell slots are more valuable). Purchasing magic items is obviously subject to 'local context' with organisations and powerful individuals demanding services and favours for access to these. Anti-magical 'counter-measures' are also relatively available.

Finally other casters are often rivals and often view the player caters as a threat. This means the number of powerful casters who will freely work with the pcs is relatively small and these are generally good aligned with a particular agenda.

I could add more, but generally the strategy is to pressure the casters spell-slots and reduce their offensive ability.


Jiggy wrote:
Malwing wrote:
On the subject of skills, what can be patched on skills to make them more worthwhile?
I'm not sure that's even the direction to go with the Skills issue. Rather than boost skills up to compete with magic for setting/narrative engagement, I think the better idea is to remove/rewrite all the spells that obsolete various skills. Then, if you find yourself left with an obstacle or narrative device that required one of the removed spells, you either boost the inherent capabilities of the skill to match that element, or else you remove that element from the narrative entirely. (Because let's be honest: if the only way to advance past a given obstacle or engage a given piece of setting was to cast a certain spell, then that obstacle/setpiece was nothing more than a "spell checkbox" and wasn't contributing anything meaningful to the narrative in the first place.)

to do this I'd have to form a list of skill-like spells, which is too tedious for me to want to attempt. (Disregarding third party spells because I rarely see that quality in third party spells)


strayshift wrote:

As a DM I have found that the more you target casters, the more resources they must put into defence and the less safe a caster feels the fewer offensive options they will take.

Make them the number one target wherever feasible and possible and have your tactics worked out. I also find that weapons like nets and harpoons, as well as 'anti-caster' specialists like silenced rogues and monks, make casters less inclined to venture too near a combat. Archery of course should discourage flight - especially if fort saves are thrown in. Also be prepared to sunder things like holy symbols, arcane bonds, component pouches and so forth. Familiars are fair game too.

I also don't allow a lot of items that benefit casters too (metamagics rods, pages of spell knowledge, pearls of power, etc) this makes spell slots, feats and level bonuses more valuable to them.

I control the time between adventures strictly as well. This means far less time for crafting consumables (again this means that spell slots are more valuable). Purchasing magic items is obviously subject to 'local context' with organisations and powerful individuals demanding services and favours for access to these. Anti-magical 'counter-measures' are also relatively available.

Finally other casters are often rivals and often view the player caters as a threat. This means the number of powerful casters who will freely work with the pcs is relatively small and these are generally good aligned with a particular agenda.

I could add more, but generally the strategy is to pressure the casters spell-slots and reduce their offensive ability.

That went dark. Keoland, nobody wants to play in your no magic magic kingdom pitch black. Are you going to sneak up behind anyone who wants to play a battle mage and whack them with a 4th edition rulebook on the back of the head? I'm hiding the topic and I hope it gets locked. The mods might want to delete any post that mentions targeting familiars.


Malwing wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Malwing wrote:
On the subject of skills, what can be patched on skills to make them more worthwhile?
I'm not sure that's even the direction to go with the Skills issue. Rather than boost skills up to compete with magic for setting/narrative engagement, I think the better idea is to remove/rewrite all the spells that obsolete various skills. Then, if you find yourself left with an obstacle or narrative device that required one of the removed spells, you either boost the inherent capabilities of the skill to match that element, or else you remove that element from the narrative entirely. (Because let's be honest: if the only way to advance past a given obstacle or engage a given piece of setting was to cast a certain spell, then that obstacle/setpiece was nothing more than a "spell checkbox" and wasn't contributing anything meaningful to the narrative in the first place.)
to do this I'd have to form a list of skill-like spells, which is too tedious for me to want to attempt. (Disregarding third party spells because I rarely see that quality in third party spells)

Also I think there is a valid argument for keeping many of those spells.

Take Comprehend languages for example.

It renders the linguistics skill completely irrelevant. Particularly when paired with tongues.

However without these spells many groups would be left floundering completely unable to progress because one person or another does not have the appropriate language to communicate, or fails the check to identify and translate the language on the ancient door.

Having these spells give flat skill bonuses doesn't necessarily help as does having you choose what languages you comprehend or speak since you have to identify that which you're trying to do.

Ultimately, I've come to the conclusion that the only real way to get casters down to the appropriate point I want without necessarily changing the game to a point where groups will feel unnecessarily stifled by things of that nature is to reduce the amount of resources they get altogether. That way the real value of such spells becomes far greater forcing casters to be conservative on how they handle such resources and likewise increasing the value of such skills. It's generally a lot cleaner to shrink the toolbox than alter all of the tools.


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Tark might be onto something there. Casters aren't nearly as likely to prepare skill-breaking spells if they a) know there's already a skiller in the party, and b) really need that spell slot for something else.

That said—and I think I'm gonna have to stick my head in a vat of battery acid for saying this—I think the truth on this lies somewhere in the middle.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Meh, DM metagame tactics against casters are no worse then what we'd use in the real world, although not allowing some caster-specific magic items could be taken wrong...

Limiting raw quantity is a hard game to play, unless you actively remove the ability to create potions and scrolls and wands like PFS does.

==Aelryinth

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

For Comprehend Languages and Tongues, the downside is the temporary nature of the spell, until you get magic items or Permanency, of course.

It should also be obvious you don't really know the language to anyone who is listening to you, which should be either a penalty on communication checks, or a bonus to people who are actually fluent in a language.

Communication and translation problems can derail an adventure FAST, however. In pure play, the best thing would be to have language skills spread around the party, and translation spells as backup. For instance, allegories and slang in a language might not translate correctly, which could easily cause difficulties (as any translator of Chinese to English can tell you). For instance, "A night with Baron Samehedi" doesn't tell you anything, but knowing the language means you know its a euphemism for 'kill them all.'

But, you'd have to have a DM willing to cause difficulties for a party who didn't invest in 'real world' thinking about languages.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:

Meh, DM metagame tactics against casters are no worse then what we'd use in the real world, although not allowing some caster-specific magic items could be taken wrong...

Limiting raw quantity is a hard game to play, unless you actively remove the ability to create potions and scrolls and wands like PFS does.

==Aelryinth

Their temporary nature doesn't really effect anything, it simply requires decent time management. And if you have multiple castings of that spell, which is quite likely if you're anticipating a problem, than the time issue becomes merely a resource issue.

Keep in mind that's just one example of the problem. Other examples include spider climb, fly, stone and wood shape, a variety of detection and tracking spells. And we're not even getting into the more subtle problem solvers such as summoning spells. The list is quite huge. By the time a caster has access to 5th level spells they've solved every mundane problem you can come across.

But getting on to the quoted post:

Which logically leads us to the question of WBL and consumables.

We know the twin problems of either a hardline approach where once consumables are gone they're gone. Or the fluid approach of replenishing WBL to account for consumables.

So we have to solve that problem as well.

Consumables have to stay. That's a given.

The question is whether we need to change the nature of consumables or the nature of WBL.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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WBL has the additional problem of casters being able to supply their own gear via spells.

Ergo, they can get magic arms and armor and protection without needing arms and armor and amulets and rings. They can just cast the spells.

So, class abilities that shrink the cost of getting such things should be part of non-caster classes.

I'm reminded of the critique I sent in for the soulknife, where I pointed out that the ability to make your own +10 weapon, customizable by day, was, in effect, also a +200k expansion of your WBL, which meant they could get a crapload of other gear where a standard class still needed to buy a magic weapon, and what were they doing to counterbalance it?

In the end, nothing.

==Aelryinth

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

TarkXT wrote:

Take Comprehend languages for example.

It renders the linguistics skill completely irrelevant. Particularly when paired with tongues.

However without these spells many groups would be left floundering completely unable to progress because one person or another does not have the appropriate language to communicate, or fails the check to identify and translate the language on the ancient door.

This is why I said this:

Earlier, I wrote:
Then, if you find yourself left with an obstacle or narrative device that required one of the removed spells, you either boost the inherent capabilities of the skill to match that element, or else you remove that element from the narrative entirely.

So to use your example, you would follow up the removal of those spells by:

1) Allowing investment in Linguistics to make you good at trying to pantomime or otherwise communicate across a language barrier.
2) Allowing the possibility of discovering a language barrier in advance so they can hire a translator (who then also has to be protected, adding depth to the gameplay).
3) Maybe reducing the very large number of languages in your setting, or at least narrowing down the field of what languages would be good to pick when you're pitching the campaign.
4) Not making language barriers a major thing in the campaign.

There's a reason I didn't stop at "Just rip out the offending spells" and specified the need for some follow-up.


Rather than makking big nerfs to casters' abilities or other major changes that are likely to go too far the other way, I would recommend nerfing specific spells that cause problems, usually by level-bumping them upwards (so that casters still get them eventually, but non-casters have a chance to keep up as their own abilities improve. Of course, this would push some spells up into Epic territory.

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