Plot agency: for the martial character


Homebrew and House Rules

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RDM42 wrote:
I love how a martial who gets buffed, or drinks a potion or what have you is 'relying on a mage' yet a wizard who summons a fighty thing to melee for him isn't in essence 'relying on a martial

Martial buffing spell is provided by the wizard.

Martial's potion is provided by the wizard.
Summoned fighty thing is provided by the wizard.
In all three cases, the PC fighter himself provides... nothing.

Now, if all fighters had "free potions!" and "automatic buffing from nowehere!" as class features, your argument would make sense. WBL fails because the fighter has already spent all of his on his (magic) sword and (magic) armor and so on, and the wizard hasn't even touched his share yet.


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werewolf435 wrote:
Ventnor wrote:
The problem with that is that casters can also take the Leadership feat. A Cleric could have the weight of his congregation behind him, or the Wizard an Arcane Society that he founded. And if those aren't helpful for the situation at hand, both Cleric and Wizard have skills and magic to fall back upon.
Yes, but I'm not really trying to find ways for the martial class to out-do the wizard, but just have some tricks of their own so they don't feel terribly useless in social situations.

This is a good point. Too often, this issue is muddied by people turning it into a "competition". As if there's really a way for the fighter to be better than the wizard at narrative control. As if that's even the point.

The fighter just needs to be able to pull his weight. He doesn't need superior narrative control. He needs roughly even narrative control, so he doesn't end up the party's dead weight. It's acceptable if ultimately the wizard can pull off more versions of narrative control. Let's start by just giving the fighter some.

That said, numerous threads have been made (at least two, anyways) suggesting more creative and drastic solutions. Nobody has really set to work defining them into concrete house rules we can use. More's the pity.

Lemmy wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:
Agency: The ability to effect the plot using rules unique to your class.

I prefer my definition:

Agency: The ability to effect the plot.
Affect*

Thank you for effecting some grammatical improvement, Lemmy.

To be clear, here, there's no way to truly match the casters without accepting one of two methods:

1. "Wuxia". Modifying the genre to be flagrantly more bizarre. Fighters can fly by swinging their swords above their heads. Rogues can move so fast they leave illusory duplicates. Barbarians can chop up mountains to make instant avalanches.

2. "Magic". That's right—if you want to avoid the above genre, the only alternative is to give the martials some magic. Perhaps the rogue has befriended the fey, and they offer her numerous "favors". Perhaps the fighter's sword is developing magical properties from the sheer number of creatures he's killed with it, and it's got numerous special powers it can offer its wielder. Giving the martials bonus magic items (like items that naturally attune to them, independent of WBL) is another example, as is giving them minions or making "rituals" or "incantations" available.

Without accepting one of these two, we have to accept that the martials will never be truly even. They can't teleport. They can't fly. They can't jump across planes (unless the setting explicitly makes this an accessible prospect, such as via permanent gates). They can't move mountains to let them lead their army faster.

I encourage you all to examine the Creative threads on the Index, particularly "Martials who get OK things", "If we were to "fix" the system so martials do "get nice things", what would we do?", "What does a "non-wuxia" high-level fighter look like?" and "What spells should martials be able to do?".

This thread has been added to the list.


Insain Dragoon wrote:

@GM1990

For the dragon session I guess it would be broken down into four chances for agency

1. Gathering useful information about the upcoming Dragon fight: Sure everyone knows it's big and red, but only someone with a strong knowledge check can infer its age category and tell you whether this would be a deathtrap for the party.

2. Traveling to the Dragon fast enough to save lives: Several spells could do this, but you don't necessarily need someone to cast this. I would allow the party to convince a nearby researching wizard to teleport them, give them a scroll, or sell them a scroll depending on how well they rolled. In this situation the Fighter could have a chance for agency if they have a strong enough skill bonus.

3. Actually finding the location of the dragon's nest: In this challenge the goal would be to find the Dragon while it's nesting. Success would be determined by finding the location within X hours. Failure is seeing the Dragon leave its nest. From there the players have the option of chasing or setting ambush. Chasing makes the fight harder while setting the ambush will result in dead innocents. This one is more complex so I would say a player has agency in this situation if A. They could find the nest for the group quickly B. They could enable chase of the dragon C. If they could prepare for the ambush in a way that would significantly increase chance of success

4. Fighting the Dragon: Agency if they are capable of doing something that assists in making the Dragon unable to kill innocents again.

That's only a measure of whether agency is 0 or non-zero. We could argue about the magnitude of agency all day and that's subjective. I think it's mostly objective to determine whether actions had an effect on the narrative of "plan-travel-find-kill"

If I understand you correctly GM 1990 the fighter will have counted as having agency for
1. Wanting to kill the dragon
2. Coming up with the plan
3. Attempting the challenges, even if they failed

Which I disagree with because...

I'm going to compliment that you're staying pretty close to what you defined agency as last night (unique to your character), and thinking through your position. Thank you for engaging in the discussion...did you sleep?

Your initial note yesterday was singling out the fighter as having no agency or participation. Now that you've laid out what you meant by that, I agree with your point about the fighter - but believe your definition applied to the whole party may also remove agency from everyone including the caster.

By that definition he's no worse off than the rest of the players, except maybe the wizard who may be the only PC with 1 unique skill roll that nobody else can even attempt - the Arcana check (assuming nobody else put a skill rank in it). And if he fails (you're not going to hand wave it) then nobody had agency even the caster for the first couple hours of the session. We'd both agree everyone presumably had fun though?

That's the point I was trying to make, if the standard is so strict as to say the fighter isn't getting credit for agency or participation, then help me understand what that standard is and if anyone else gets credit for it. It seems that nobody has agency, or only technically has 1 opportunity to uniquely roll a mechanic check that nobody else can also do. That's different than singling out the fighter as a non-participant.

You feel that only successful skill checks are the marker of agency. So again, I can agree with you that if the fighter fails a skill check he didn't have agency or participation using your definition. But its not just the fighter, its the rest of the party, including the wizard now. Over time, you're going to do more than present challenges that just the caster has as a class skill - so won't everyone in the party fail and pass some skills unique to them as you provide for those in your adventures? Or even if its a skill everyone in the group has, if everyone passes they all get credit? So its different than making this just the fighter who has no influence or participation - what I was refuting.

For fighting the dragon. "Agency if they are capable of doing something that assists in making the Dragon unable to kill innocents again."

This is doing damage right, or subduing it - doing "something" offers a very wide array of options (I like that - gives players lots of ways to try things and enjoy the session).

So don't you agree the fighter has at least - comparable opportunity to meet this definition? That's what I was getting at too. Otherwise how do we decide how much damage is enough damage to be considered agency or doing something to participate?


kobold cleaver wrote:
The fighter just needs to be able to pull his weight. He doesn't need superior narrative control. He needs roughly even narrative control, so he doesn't end up the party's dead weight. It's acceptable if ultimately the wizard can pull off more versions of narrative control. Let's start by just giving the fighter some.

KC - what is your definition of narrative control?

Trying to understand how you define it, and then equate what "some" is?

How do you know when any character in a session has gone from none, to some, to roughly even amounts, and avoids being deadweight or accused of not pulling their weight regardless of class?


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That's the thing, the Fighter has equal opportunity to attempt just about all the challenges, but likely doesnt have the bonuses to accomplish anything. Especially if its a challenge that only one or two group members can volunteer for (do you really wanna send 4 dudes one after the other to talk an ornery wizard into teleporting you?)

Also some characters are just more likely to auto succeed than others.

A Druid can win a chase without making a roll of he can transform into a flyer. Heck transforming into a Roc and carrying some group members is a great idea.

A Druid can assassinate better than a Wizard if he has any ranks in stealth in a lot of terrains. Stone castle? Earth Elemental Earth Glide then coup de grace when they fall asleep.

A Hunter can scout better than many by assuming direct control of their animal companion, reducing their size, and using the right animal foci. If the companion dies the Hunter can res them later for free.

All these classes have more agency because they can go for, oftentimes more effeftive, spectacular options and when those are contraindicated can fall back on the laymans options.

Hence more agency.


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GM 1990 wrote:
I can tell you...if over the next few levels I had a fighter and we were always ending up in a lot of vertical chase scenes, I'd be investing in things to improve my chances of catching anyone. Same way the caster would ensure they always kept specific spells memorized for those circumstances...because neither get an innate ability to climb better. Spell slots are innate, having the right spell memorized isn't.

First of all, if we are still talking about a theoretical druid, they DO have innate climbing ability. In fact, wild shape allows you up to a 90 climb speed! Or, you could have a 90 fly speed (good) or 60' fly (perfect) which is generally more useful, especially since you can be an excellent flyer as a druid.

The fighter is limited to climb and acrobatics skills, which after AC check penalty are going to be fairly unimpressive. He can also spend money on potions, but he is going to get much less for his gp and actions then a caster would. The only advantage I can think is that the fighter might have a slightly higher attack bonus throwing a tanglefoot bag or something.

The second point is that you don't need to have "the right spell" memorized. It isn't like you either cast Stop Chase, or sit there twiddling your thumbs. There are dozens of spells that would effectively end a chase, such as blindness, slow, entangle, spike stones, wall of whatever, various summons, hold person, dimension door, etc. etc. And everyone of those spells has numerous other great uses in all kinds of situations. And if you don't think they will be useful that day, most casters can swap them out for totally different spells. And that doesn't even take all the scrolls, wands and other consumables you have access to! The fighter has his climb and acrobatics skills, and feats locked-in, even if he knows he won't be able to use them that day.

So, let's say that you did have a long campaign full of chase scenes ahead of you... Do you want to be the guy clanking along making skill checks with a nasty penalty, level after level, of do you want to have a dozen different great option at your fingertips...


Insain Dragoon wrote:

That's the thing, the Fighter has equal opportunity to attempt just about all the challenges, but likely doesnt have the bonuses to accomplish anything. Especially if its a challenge that only one or two group members can volunteer for (do you really wanna send 4 dudes one after the other to talk an ornery wizard into teleporting you?)

Also some characters are just more likely to auto succeed than others.

A Druid can win a chase without making a roll of he can transform into a flyer. Heck transforming into a Roc and carrying some group members is a great idea.

A Druid can assassinate better than a Wizard if he has any ranks in stealth in a lot of terrains. Stone castle? Earth Elemental Earth Glide then coup de grace when they fall asleep.

A Hunter can scout better than many by assuming direct control of their animal companion, reducing their size, and using the right animal foci. If the companion dies the Hunter can res them later for free.

All these classes have more agency because they can go for, oftentimes more effeftive, spectacular options and when those are contraindicated can fall back on the laymans options.

Hence more agency.

If you inserted those into the dragon scenario, during those small sections of play isn't every player just as left out as the fighter's? The wizard isn't using agency by casting a spell to shape-change, because more than one class has access to the same spell options - only druid can wild-shape.

So I agree by your definition, more in those situations that you'll insert in as the GM to give them an opportunity to do their unique class cool thing. In those cases, its more agency than everyone in the group...fighter, wizard, etc. Not just more than the fighter. And if they fail the rolls its still no agency.

But think about it like this. Since fighter's unique abilities (feats only they can take for example) come up nearly every combat, aren't we really seeing fighters actually end up with more agency in many more circumstances - like probably every game session, using your definition?


Up to this point, all martial characters in my games had agency mostly through their characters' backgrounds and skills. A fighter can be an exceptionally skilled blacksmith. Or be able to see details of a fight or a person's martial training even an investigator couldn't without a good roll. He might be the only one capable of wielding the only pointy thing that was made to kill that big bad evil monster that is about to eat everything alive. And these are just off the top of my head.

Now, I'm not saying the RAW are there to support much of this stuff, but it's never been an issue in my games.


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I'm gonna be honest with you GM 1990, I have no idea what you just said in that latest post. I don't know how I should reply to it.

I can reply to Fighter unique abilities though. Fighter unique feats only do more damage, so it's more like a Barbarian using rage or a Ranger using favored enemy. Also that's still only agency in one situation, combat. Combat is very important, but it's not the whole scenario. Some classes, like the Hunter, Ranger, Druid, Wizard, Paladin, Inquisitor, Bard, ect excel not just in combat but in other aspects of the game too.

In any situation that a Fighter could excel in a Ranger could excel just as well while also offering more to the party. They only get 1 or 2 less feats by level 10, which is most of the levels that matter in Pathfinder.

Sure a Fighter can contribute every single session by being a combat mongrel, but what's the point if your only agency is in combat?


RussianAlly wrote:

Up to this point, all martial characters in my games had agency mostly through their characters' backgrounds and skills. A fighter can be an exceptionally skilled blacksmith. Or be able to see details of a fight or a person's martial training even an investigator couldn't without a good roll. He might be the only one capable of wielding the only pointy thing that was made to kill that big bad evil monster that is about to eat everything alive. And these are just off the top of my head.

Now, I'm not saying the RAW are there to support much of this stuff, but it's never been an issue in my games.

That is 100% ok and I think that's great. Different groups are ok with different stuff at the table and at your table that works great to give additional agency to a class that needs more.

Thumbs up.

I don't disagree with you in how your method solves an agency gap at your table and you seem to understand that your method may not work at my table.


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GM 1990 wrote:
kobold cleaver wrote:
The fighter just needs to be able to pull his weight. He doesn't need superior narrative control. He needs roughly even narrative control, so he doesn't end up the party's dead weight. It's acceptable if ultimately the wizard can pull off more versions of narrative control. Let's start by just giving the fighter some.

KC - what is your definition of narrative control?

Trying to understand how you define it, and then equate what "some" is?

How do you know when any character in a session has gone from none, to some, to roughly even amounts, and avoids being deadweight or power of not pulling their weight regardless of class?

The power to meaningfully change the narrative in a way someone completely ordinary—say, a high-level commoner—could not do.

And if you want me to define "meaningfully", I'd say: The narrative goes in a direction it would not have. An army's long and deadly journey to the gates of the enemy turns into a massive scry-and-fry battle.

So, sure, a fighter could use Diplomacy (despite having low skill ranks and likely mediocre Charisma), but so could a commoner. A fighter could use smart tactics (which comes down to the player's ability to think fast, rather than the fighter's own abilities), but so could a commoner. A fighter trapped far from home in a desolate wasteland could journey across the desert to return home in time to deliver a key warning, but so could a commoner. Or a wizard could just do these things instantly.

As an example, the party in a game I'm running has been traveling a lot lately. Recently, one of them (a summoner) acquired teleport. He has begun talking about forming a permanent base to take advantage of that spell—a place they can port back to after difficult quests and battles. He gets to adapt to new and exciting toys that can control how the entire group operates.

When the martial characters level up, they don't get to propose stuff like that. They get to propose things like "Okay we have more gold, let's go buy a new cloak so I can make some Will saves and not accidentally kill you guys." Same toys, different numbers.

The "commoner test" is a surprisingly enduring metric for PC viability on various fronts.


Fergie wrote:


First of all, if we are still talking about a theoretical druid, they DO have innate climbing ability. In fact, wild shape allows you up to

It was a real druid (well...you know what I mean right :-) ). 3d level so no innate climb.

One of the reasons I disagree with much of the positions presented on these topics is rarely do they actually use a real example from their game. Once you have all of that you can at least compare it to your groups dynamics if the same situation came up.

What I struggle with is why fighters presume to always fail their skill checks, and the caster always has the right spell memorized and the guy on the other end always fails their save. Have you seen it like that beyond the off night when regardless of class the whole groups rolling 1's?

I understand about the AC check pen - I was dealing with it as a druid too. The point I still see valid is none of that affected my level of enjoyment that night, none of it prevented me from taking action during the game to interface with the game world and the NPCs and my fellow players. Whether I had more or less plot relevance/agency/etc? My group doesn't have a scoreboard for it - I had some. Everyone at the table that night had some. Everyone in our games has some every night and there's no measurable way to say any player has more than another over several game sessions.

Spell use is more situational than a weapon in most game sessions.

You know what has all kinds of good uses in a situation that probably happens once in -every- session in many games? A 2-HD great sword and weapon specialization - only fighters get that feat right? So its unique to them, no other class, unlike lots of those spells which several caster classes get....and anyone can use a device for.
2HD Great sword - good for City, forest, caves, riding a griffon, in the rain, darkness, fog, under effects of blindness/deafness, anti-magic zones, underwater, almost every combat level 1 to 20 (ok..you don't get specialization until fighter level 4). Its probably 25-30% of even the most role-play heavy campaigns - significantly more in others.

I've never ran a session where the fighter said "I should have equipped my war-hammer (or skill X) today...too bad I have to rest 8 hours and study to switch to it." Never - and I'm sure nobody else ever has in their game. I have however, and I'm sure others have too, seen casters stuck with the wrong spells memorized for the type of encounter.

Sure...maybe some fights you have to go to the back-up bludgeoning weapon, or long-bow, of course as the game progresses you need to add special materials and enchantments, just like that color spray spell doesn't work anymore on the creatures the group faces, or how a fire-based spell just sits there using up a slot during a fight with a fire immune or resistant creature at even the highest levels.

I don't disagree any game session can see 1 player slightly more options than others based on that game sessions unique variables (very rarely would I say its even a noticeable amount more though). But that's the game, its not unique to any class.


Very few examples I gave ever presumed any specific spell memorized. Even then the option to go and buy a teleport was still available and had terms for high and low successes (getting the teleport for free as opposed to purchasing a scroll)

Also it's a fact that most classes will have higher bonuses to their skills than the Fighter would. An Inquisitor would have a much better sense motive and intimidate for example, A Hunter a better Survival and Perception, a Sorcerer a higher Diplomacy, ect

I think our biggest disconnect is that you see agency as the ability to do something, even if you have almost no chance on success while I consider a large part of agency to be success.

GM 1990 wrote:
One of the reasons I disagree with much of the positions presented on these topics is rarely do they actually use a real example from their game. Once you have all of that you can at least compare it to your groups dynamics if the same situation came up.

I gotta write an essay, but tomorrow I'd be happy to story time plenty of real game examples from Way of the Wicked.

Like when we completed almost the entirety of a difficult castle raid and bypassed a lot of difficulty by using Invisibility sphere.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:

The power to meaningfully change the narrative in a way someone completely ordinary—say, a high-level commoner—could not do.

And if you want me to define "meaningfully", I'd say: The narrative goes in a direction it would not have. An army's long and deadly journey to the gates of the enemy turns into a massive scry-and-fry battle.

But do you really limit it to that in your game? Players only get to do things to interact in the session and story telling if its something a commoner couldn't do?

I assume you let all your players role-play and make choices that take the game in a different direction than you had written in your notes right? You don't actually tell your players, what you just said you wanted to do isn't going to happen, because I'm not changing the plans for tonight. And you probably don't tell them, I'll let you do it, but understand this, its not meaningful and you as a player won't get enjoyoment out of it because its something any commoner could do. If you were playing a casting character and did the same thing (succeeded on a skill check, RP'd an encounter, or did damage to a monster) then it would be meaningful and you would get enjoyment from the game.
But that's a basic demonstration of how that definition ends up having to work out isn't it? Its only valid (or maybe even allowed?) narrative control if it is something a commoner game mechanic can't do, and then takes the game in a direction the GM didn't have planned. That's a very narrow definition of fun and puts more than just the fighter out of the game - including casters during some game sessions.

I relate all these "agency/narrative/participation/influence/plot interaction" terms to the players and GM working together in the shared story telling so everyone has fun. The rules are just a mechanical chassis to bring some shared understanding of the constraints and randomness to some of the outcomes.
Every persons idea of fun is different, but a game mechanic isn't a person, the PC doesn't have fun and interact with the group, the player does. Who interacts more? that's based on player personality and the variables of any nights scenario/encounters. More or less is a lot of grey space, but that's different than impling one player has none or is deadweight because the game mechanic they're proposing to try is something a commoner could try.

So is the rest of your group done with the game? Anyone ready to turn in their sheet because of 1 mechanical affect or because that player is the reason they might have an easy way to get back and forth from the base? After the first couple uses, do you really think it'll be looked at any different than how they get from point a to b now? Its new, its cool, which players aren't having fun because of it?

The caster is proposing how they'll move between the base. Deciding to have a place to base out of, or where it is isn't that open to anyone? Aren't any of the other players worried that if he can teleport them in and out....somebody else could go there and steal all their gear? Maybe its not the best mode of movement from your base?

Sure - it affects you as a GM now because you have to factor that into your plot ideas (see the thread on Game Altering (or Game Breaking)Spells: Teleport for ideas from other GMs.


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At this point I think you're intentionally misinterpreting the arguments presented to you.


KC said "lets start by giving the fighter some (narrative control)". That seems to mean they have none now?

In my PF games (and my old 1E and 2E games) they have some, more during some sessions, less during others, but never none, and not a noticeable amount more or less over time. So I really can't understand how someone else playing the same game in the CRB as me, sees "none" or "little" happening in their games.

To me, when you engage the narrative, have plot significance, participate meaningfully (pick any of these nebulous terms used), its based on if you're interacting with the rest of the players and GMs as the story is told and using the mechanics when required to adjudicate skill checks, to hit, damage, saves, etc. Pass or fail, hit or miss, min or max damage is all participating and adds to the enjoyment of playing the game - the possibility of failure enhances the experience rather than takes away from it. Whether the sheet says "power attack" "fire-ball" "acrobatics" "Jump" all count towards the players opportunity to participate within the mechanical aspect (a small amount of game play really - how many dice rolls per hour?)

Its not a theory - its actually how I play and run my games. I think a lot of people play like that, and its possibly why people disagree so strongly when someone states as "fighters get none", but somehow -everyone else- at the table gets "enough" or equal amounts.

so I asked for his definition of narrative control, which demonstrates how fighters have none (his description of the game).

He gave his definition,

kobold cleaver wrote:
The power to meaningfully change the narrative in a way someone completely ordinary—say, a high-level commoner—could not do. And if you want me to define "meaningfully", I'd say: The narrative goes in a direction it would not have. An army's long and deadly journey to the gates of the enemy turns into a massive scry-and-fry battle.

If I apply that definition to a whole group of players, it leads to some different outcomes than just his statement that about fighters having none, and it doesn't look like any game I've seen or heard others say they play on the boards.

So I asked if that's really how he runs his game. Then proposed what it might look like if he applied his definition to his game.

How is that an intentional misrepresentation of the argument?

I'll admit it shows his definition is probably not an accurate representation of how his group plays or looks at the game. (wouldn't they all have to play casters to actually participate by that definition?)

KC - If it is how you guys game, I apologize and stand corrected, I should have waited for your response.

If its not do you see how that definition really shows how several character classes (basically every class without magic?) would have to be irrelevant to the story line in a game that used it?

Liberty's Edge

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The Sword wrote:
Enchanting the Kings guards is a spectacularly bad idea and in many cases the wizard (because Druids and clerics don't get these spells) won't have one of those memorised.

Depends. Is the king gonna be assassinated in 5 minutes? If so, he'll probably forgive you if you save him.

But it almost doesn't matter that it's a bad idea, it's an ability a Fighter doesn't even have.

And you're right, the Wizard might not have it prepped (though a Bonded Object would let him do it anyway), and a Cleric or Druid wouldn't. The Cleric or Druid, of course, would have other options. The Druid, for example, could turn into a mouse and sneak in.

But all that aside, the wizard might not have it prepared, y'know who doesn't have it prepared? The Fighter.

The Sword wrote:
What I'm saying is in the grand scheme of all choices a fighter can make outside of combat, the average wizard has 10% more. That is not a precise percentage.

That's a percentage that's an order of magnitude off. At least when it comes to effective decisions. Deciding to walk to another country when you have one day to get there and it's a week long journey is technically a decision, but I wouldn't count it since it can't succeed.

The Sword wrote:

For example... You have just finished the fight with the dragon and are badly wounded you can.

A - carry on
A1 - scout ahead to get an idea of what immediate challenges you face
B - head back to town (2 day journey)
C - rest for a short time
D - rest overnight
D1 - erect a barrier to fortify the room you are in and try and make the enemy come to you.
E - drink a healing potion
F - apply the heal skill
G - get out your sword and shield to make yourself harder to hit
H - drink a protection potion to make yourself harder to hit
I - use a wand to heal (UMD)
j - have the cleric use channelling or cast a spell
K - have the cleric / wizard cast a spell to protect you
L - have the wizard teleport you back to town

All these choices are available to a well rounded party of the appropriate level. A to I are usable by Martials with the right skills and equipment. J, K & L can only be done by specific casters (note wizards can do J and clerics can't do L) However JKL can still be achieved just not as efficiently.

Edit: added a few more options

Sure, if you count 'cast a spell' as one option while you count 'rest overnight' and 'rest for a short time' as different options. Casting Rope Trick and casting Invisibility Sphere and casting a buff spell like Good Hope are at least as different as the mundane options you list. And that's three spells out of dozens.


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Quote:
Its not a theory - its actually how I play and run my games. I think a lot of people play like that, and its possibly why people disagree so strongly when someone states as "fighters get none", but somehow -everyone else- at the table gets "enough" or equal amounts.

There is a difference between "Fighters get none" and the "PC who happens to be a fighter has none". Individual PC's can have narrative stuff from roleplaying and DM fiat. But when we are talking about the class, you are talking about what the class can do and since every class can do "roleplaying and DM fiat" just as well as or better than fighters, it doesn't count.

Narrative-wise, you may as well replace Fighter with the Warrior NPC class.... and if you can replace a PC class with an NPC class without affecting the narrative At All... then you have an issue with that classes design.


Milo v3 wrote:


There is a difference between "Fighters get none" and the "PC who happens to be a fighter has none". Individual PC's can have narrative stuff from roleplaying and DM fiat. But when we are talking about the class, you are talking about what the class can do and since every class can do "roleplaying and DM fiat" just as well as or better than fighters, it doesn't count.

Narrative-wise, you may as well replace Fighter with the Warrior NPC class.... and if you can replace a PC class with an NPC class without affecting the narrative At All... then you have an issue with that classes design.

So in your game, "narrative-wise" its only applicable towards whether someone participates, if its an action exclusive to their class (something only their class gets to do? we're holding the fighter to that definition right?)

By narrative participation, I mean is allowed to interact with the other players, GM's descriptions/npc/etc, and environment to interact with the story, moving in various directions or mechanically attempt an outcome when needed (skill check, combat action). Its only participating if its uniquely something only your character can do?

If that's the case what kind of relatively common game sessions result in -only- the players of fighters having had no narrative participation?

All I'm really asking someone who says "none" or "not enough" to do is explain how they came to that conclusion, and then apply those standards to the rest of the players across a game session and see where it takes you. Does it really come out to "none" for just the fighter class?

Or is it possible the real issue is some kind of subconscious magic bias. If its magic, its seems more fun or relevant (even if you do the exact same thing mechanically/interactively) in the game because any one of us could pick up a sword, but none of us can actually use magic. Maybe when we're playing this make believe game, we subjectively project less "value" on playing a role that while vastly superior to our real life, still isn't actually beyond something that exists in the real world.

So we find ourselves feeling like the player who leaps a gap has less "affect on the world" than the player who flys across it, because all of us have leapt - none have floated. Even though the in and out of game outcomes are the same - some would argue the leap (and chance of failure) is actually more enjoyable to play than describing floating across? But only the fighters are selected as the class who's "not participating in the narrative", regardless of if only 1 player in the entire group can cast fly, and even if the fighter does it with a potion, he's not participating because he didn't make the potion?

Then the game reaches a level where the novelty of camping out under the stars "in game" and getting attacked by goblins is below the group. And now a player can say, "I cast teleport" and the GM describes the new surroundings, and its cool. Most of use have driven, flown, or rode a horse, but none have teleported. So it seems like this participation altering (and enjoyment?) thing only a caster can do thus making other classes non-participants.

Even though, we're really not getting much game enjoyment out of getting from A to B anymore as a group of players so this 1 sentence mechanic is a means to an end. But its only the fighters held to the standard of "not participating" again, rather then anyone who can't cast the spell without using a device.

Pick a definition, apply it to everyone over a whole game session and then over a few sessions.

I don't see a possible way to provide a logical definition that demonstrates how only players of fighters either "don't participate" or even "participate noticeable less".

It only works if you isolate a sliver of the game in a segment of a session. If you go beyond that it quickly engulfs every player at the table as a "non-participant" casters included, yet the consensus theory is that its an obvious and undeniable reality of the system. If so, then it should be easy to define and demonstrate over just a couple average game session story arcs?


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GM 1990 wrote:


So in your game, "narrative-wise" its only applicable towards whether someone participates, if its an action exclusive to their class?

Stop right there and reread what you are responding to, as it appears you have misinterpreted me to a large extent.

Quote:
There is a difference between "Fighters get none" and the "PC who happens to be a fighter has none". Individual PC's can have narrative stuff from roleplaying and DM fiat. But when we are talking about the class, you are talking about what the class can do and since every class can do "roleplaying and DM fiat" just as well as or better than fighters, it doesn't count.


Milo v3 wrote:
GM 1990 wrote:


So in your game, "narrative-wise" its only applicable towards whether someone participates, if its an action exclusive to their class?

Stop right there and reread what you are responding to, as it appears you have misinterpreted me to a large extent.

Quote:
There is a difference between "Fighters get none" and the "PC who happens to be a fighter has none". Individual PC's can have narrative stuff from roleplaying and DM fiat. But when we are talking about the class, you are talking about what the class can do and since every class can do "roleplaying and DM fiat" just as well as or better than fighters, it doesn't count.

I'll assume I did misunderstand, you're the one who knows what you meant.

So what did you mean? How do you define this narrative interaction and decide what counts?


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I think I realized where another disconnect is.

So let me say this as clear as possible.

Nobody is arguing that "The players in your game are unable to contribute or have agency"

We are saying that "The class Fighter does not have any class features that give your players additional agency above what is in the base rules for the game such as skills or roleplaying"

For example:
Fighter man is a devout disciple to Goddess A and prays to her for guidance daily before heading out to adventure. He makes connections with the NPCs of the church and wears glistening armor dedicated to his goddess as he adventures. He's capable of calling upon his allies in the church when needed to do things he cannot, such as arrange meetings with important people. Also he can hit people really hard and is tough to kill. He has potions of various buffs and healing.

Warrior Man is a devout disciple to Goddess A and prays to her for guidance daily before heading out to adventure. He makes connections with the NPCs of the church and wears glistening armor dedicated to his goddess as he adventures. He's capable of calling upon his allies in the church when needed to do things he cannot, such as arrange meetings with important people. Also he can hit people almost as hard as fighter man and is almost as tough to kill. He has potions of various buffs and healing.

Cleric man is a devout disciple to Goddess A and prays to her for guidance daily before heading out to adventure. He makes connections with the NPCs of the church and wears glistening armor dedicated to his goddess as he adventures. He's capable of calling upon his allies in the church when needed to do things he cannot, such as arrange meetings with important people. Also he can hit people really hard and is tough to kill. He has potions of various buffs and healing. In addition, when in doubt Cleric man can cast commune to actually receive yes/no answers when he asks his goddess for advice. He can blast the invisibility away from unknown assailants with but a word. If need be he could supply food for the starving children of the orphanage of a war torn town or prevent his enemies from teleporting or plane shifting away from his advances.

See how Cleric Man has all the agency of fighter man+everything in italics? That's what we mean by the fighter adds no agency.


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GM 1990 wrote:
So what did you mean? How do you define this narrative interaction and decide what counts?

Narrative interaction is anything that lets you interact with the narrative, but in this discussion we are talking about the narrative interaction present in the Fighter class. Now, a PC who happens to be a fighter can interact with the narrative through fiat and roleplaying, but anyone can do that and other classes have mechanics that enable them to interact with the narrative beyond simply roleplaying and fiat. We aren't even just meaning "casters" we mean, any other class in the game.

Rangers have more skills, can track, and get bonuses when it comes to certain types of creatures in regards to getting information or decieving them or sneaking past them.

Fighters.... none of their class features or number of skills allow them to interact with the narrative beyond the level present in the Warrior NPC class.

You can replace a fighter with a warrior and it will not change the narrative, he'll be a bit less effective in combat. But narrative-wise, he can do everything the fighter can do. Cavalier can also do everything narrative-wise that the fighter can do + extra narrative power from things like Banner/Expert Trainer/Order abilities/Additional Skills.


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GM 1990 wrote:

So in your game, "narrative-wise" its only applicable towards whether someone participates, if its an action exclusive to their class (something only their class gets to do? we're holding the fighter to that definition right?)

You are completely missing the point of the argument. So lets try having you answer a different question to help make it clearer:

What does the actual Fighter class add to help a player influence a narrative?

Because I'm going to assume that you know that players can shape the narrative by simply participating in it. The issue is not that a person who is playing Fighter cannot affect the narrative. They can. The issue is that the Fighter class gives less tools to do so then any other class.

Jack wants to talk to the guards? He's better off being virtually any other class. If he was, he'd be more effective at changing the narrative in this manner.

Jen wants to rally an army to fight against the encroaching orc horde? Again, the fighter class has nothing to contribute to this.

Mike wants to slip into a guarded place unnoticed? He's better off being virtually any other class since they have actual tools to help him do that.

Kelly wants to declare that someone who was dead isn't anymore? Better not pick the Fighter class, since there are other classes that will actually help her do this.

David wants to locate a criminal mastermind whose behind a string of murders? Again, the best choice for this is not going to be a Fighter.

Annie wants to tell the laws of physics to sit down and shut up while the adults are talking? Again... she's better off not being a Fighter.


Insain Dragoon wrote:
A good argument...

Dang it - you're going to make me feel guilty about your paper.

That's probably the most clearly laid out, and logical rundown anyone has proposed for what they're saying the mean by no agency. I wish you could turn it in and get the prof to give you extra credit for engaging in critical thinking?

Looking at the italics its boiling down to things each class gets that are magical or super natural just due to their class (not counting devices or enchantments you have to pay for if your class).

Its a valid point - the fighter doesn't get anything like that to use in the game mechanics just by being a fighter (they do have things only their class gets like the weapons/armor training, some feats, but nothing that's supernatural just for their class).

When you lay out those unique supernatural/innate magical over several game sessions, if its the only measurement, then no argument - fighter is the only class that did nothing additional in that way.

I think with that analysis, the slice of the game we're measuring is so small on any game session (a couple additional rolls of the dice over a few hours?) that how does anyone actually notice?

For me that small slice never presented problems at the table. Maybe it was always accounted for in the rest of the player, GM, and game interaction.


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That's all a matter of table variation and I think part of it comes from the most memorable campaigns I've been a player in. A pre-written adventure like Way of the Wicked is supposedly completely possible without clerical or arcane intervention, but the difficulty would be significantly higher.

I 100% believe that you and your players have fun in your campaign world and that all the players have agency. If they're having fun playing a fighter I believe it's a positive testament to their role playing chops and imagination. I don't know how they would react to a game like Way of the Wicked and it's very possible they'd look at it and say "this isn't the Pathfinder we like" and that's perfectly fine.

At your table that may be a 10% slice, but at my table it fluctuates between 30 and 50%.


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GM 1990 wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:
A good argument...

Dang it - you're going to make me feel guilty about your paper.

That's probably the most clearly laid out, and logical rundown anyone has proposed for what they're saying the mean by no agency. I wish you could turn it in and get the prof to give you extra credit for engaging in critical thinking?

Looking at the italics its boiling down to things each class gets that are magical or super natural just due to their class (not counting devices or enchantments you have to pay for if your class).

Its a valid point - the fighter doesn't get anything like that to use in the game mechanics just by being a fighter (they do have things only their class gets like the weapons/armor training, some feats, but nothing that's supernatural just for their class).

When you lay out those unique supernatural/innate magical over several game sessions, if its the only measurement, then no argument - fighter is the only class that did nothing additional in that way.

I think with that analysis, the slice of the game we're measuring is so small on any game session (a couple additional rolls of the dice over a few hours?) that how does anyone actually notice?

For me that small slice never presented problems at the table. Maybe it was always accounted for in the rest of the player, GM, and game interaction.

My Rogue's entire investment into stealth was invalidated at the last game session because I discovered that there isn't a perception DC for an alarm spell. If I was playing a skillmonkey with casting, like a Psychic Detective Investigator, then I would have detect magic and would have been able to avoid the trap. That experience soured the entire session for me because I couldn't believe 8 levels of maxing out stealth had been entirely invalidated by a level 1 spell.

So yeah, this absolutely does come up in-game.


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Arachnofiend I know it comes up in games like the ones you and I run, but it likely isn't something that comes up in games within that group. After talking with GM 1990 over the past few pages I think it's pretty obvious that table variation is a significant player in our different experiences here.

At this point I think we've reached something close to a conclusion to this part of the conversation because he now understands why we have our viewpoints and I think we can understand why he has his viewpoints.

One of the really great things about people is that we can empathize with anyone once we get their world view explained to us. At his table it's very possible that we would be the odd player out who disrupts the game while at our table he's the odd one out that disrupts our game.

Liberty's Edge

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Arachnofiend wrote:

My Rogue's entire investment into stealth was invalidated at the last game session because I discovered that there isn't a perception DC for an alarm spell. If I was playing a skillmonkey with casting, like a Psychic Detective Investigator, then I would have detect magic and would have been able to avoid the trap. That experience soured the entire session for me because I couldn't believe 8 levels of maxing out stealth had been entirely invalidated by a level 1 spell.

So yeah, this absolutely does come up in-game.

Yeah, there's a reason my House Rules specify that all pre-set spells count as traps for Trapfinding.


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Insain Dragoon wrote:

That's all a matter of table variation and I think part of it comes from the most memorable campaigns I've been a player in. A pre-written adventure like Way of the Wicked is supposedly completely possible without clerical or arcane intervention, but the difficulty would be significantly higher.

I 100% believe that you and your players have fun in your campaign world and that all the players have agency. If they're having fun playing a fighter I believe it's a positive testament to their role playing chops and imagination. I don't know how they would react to a game like Way of the Wicked and it's very possible they'd look at it and say "this isn't the Pathfinder we like" and that's perfectly fine.

Thanks - and I think we demonstrated some good point, counter analysis over the last 48, without spiraling into unprofessionalism. Everyone scoring at home - see...it can be done.

I never thought of it the way you laid it out, I appreciate the time you took to get to where you went with your position.

I can't imagine playing in or running a campaign that didn't have a good mix of classes. Everyone the same or archtype? (fighters, wizard, druids, or god forbid paladins) -that- would be hard to feel unique in any way, I think I'd get bored fast even GMing it - hard to mix things up as much as you can with a mix of classes.

My son and I both run homebrew, I think its easier to not feel like you "screwed it up" if you missed something in the reading. Sandbox can be scary, but fun to GM as well...you never really know where the story is -actually- going any given session.

I have a couple 1E modules and a few boxes of Dungeon magazine, but only use them to get a little inspiration.

Go write that paper.


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Poophead 19Fartface wrote:
Thanks - and I think we demonstrated some good point, counter analysis over the last 48, without spiraling into unprofessionalism. Everyone scoring at home - see...it can be done.

yes I agree


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:

My Rogue's entire investment into stealth was invalidated at the last game session because I discovered that there isn't a perception DC for an alarm spell. If I was playing a skillmonkey with casting, like a Psychic Detective Investigator, then I would have detect magic and would have been able to avoid the trap. That experience soured the entire session for me because I couldn't believe 8 levels of maxing out stealth had been entirely invalidated by a level 1 spell.

So yeah, this absolutely does come up in-game.

Yeah, there's a reason my House Rules specify that all pre-set spells count as traps for Trapfinding.

That little nuance is almost enough for me to toss Alarm in the "Game Altering (or Game Breaking) thread. To capture DMW's house rule.

I concur - I wouldn't want my wife's rogue to have that happen and run a good sneak mission.

Of course...there are lots of reasons I tread softly when putting challenges in play for my wife's character....as you can imagine. ;-)


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:

My Rogue's entire investment into stealth was invalidated at the last game session because I discovered that there isn't a perception DC for an alarm spell. If I was playing a skillmonkey with casting, like a Psychic Detective Investigator, then I would have detect magic and would have been able to avoid the trap. That experience soured the entire session for me because I couldn't believe 8 levels of maxing out stealth had been entirely invalidated by a level 1 spell.

So yeah, this absolutely does come up in-game.

Yeah, there's a reason my House Rules specify that all pre-set spells count as traps for Trapfinding.

I was stunned when I found out that isn't how it works. Even though we slammed the ensuing combat and were able to move on without serious repercussions it was a pretty serious defeat for me personally because before that I had prided myself in how successful this character was both in and out of combat; I had made a Rogue work! And then I didn't, and it was for no more reason than a hobgoblin inquisitor burning a level 1 spell that I could do nothing about.


Insain Dragoon wrote:

Arachnofiend I know it comes up in games like the ones you and I run, but it likely isn't something that comes up in games within that group. After talking with GM 1990 over the past few pages I think it's pretty obvious that table variation is a significant player in our different experiences here.

At this point I think we've reached something close to a conclusion to this part of the conversation because he now understands why we have our viewpoints and I think we can understand why he has his viewpoints.

One of the really great things about people is that we can empathize with anyone once we get their world view explained to us. At his table it's very possible that we would be the odd player out who disrupts the game while at our table he's the odd one out that disrupts our game.

ok ok...+1 all that.

*hug or handshake* ?

Have you ever played around a 4 and 6 year old trying to grab your dice and roll damage for your animal companion ("because Iska Wootis is my best friend too dad"), or start a tantrum because the dice you let them toss for the BBEG was a crit miss? How disruptive could you possible be???


Arachnofiend wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:

My Rogue's entire investment into stealth was invalidated at the last game session because I discovered that there isn't a perception DC for an alarm spell. If I was playing a skillmonkey with casting, like a Psychic Detective Investigator, then I would have detect magic and would have been able to avoid the trap. That experience soured the entire session for me because I couldn't believe 8 levels of maxing out stealth had been entirely invalidated by a level 1 spell.

So yeah, this absolutely does come up in-game.

Yeah, there's a reason my House Rules specify that all pre-set spells count as traps for Trapfinding.
I was stunned when I found out that isn't how it works. Even though we slammed the ensuing combat and were able to move on without serious repercussions it was a pretty serious defeat for me personally because before that I had prided myself in how successful this character was both in and out of combat; I had made a Rogue work! And then I didn't, and it was for no more reason than a hobgoblin inquisitor burning a level 1 spell that I could do nothing about.

..my wife's rogue (her first character ever) has kind of built a reputation for "finding" all the traps the hard way in the early game. Because the group has one, I like to toss in "roguish type challenges"...its to the point if there is a chest, everyone moves as far away as possible when she declares "its trap free" and gets out her MWK picks. funny stuff.

At the same time, she's come through with a -clutch- nat-20 checks during 2 different chase scenes. Pretty awesome.


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In said Way of the Wicked campaign I ran a Hunter and almost disrupted the game even in my group. There isn't much NPCS can do in combat vs an enemy with obnoxious AC that would make a smiting shield wielding paladin envious, damage that make Barbarian's scratch their head, saves that kept me and wolfie safe from everything that tried to stop us, speed that kept no enemy out of my reach, and powerful defensive buffs like Fickle Winds and Life Bubble.

Dug out the character sheet at level 9 me and wolfie both had 33 AC and strangely enough both had 85 HP. My Fort was (me/wolf) 13/15, reflex 9/12, will (10+situational stuff/8+4 for most spells). I used Pack Flanking+Precise Strike+Outflank+paired opportunist+Broken Wing Gambit combo while riding my wolf into battle.

Outside of combat I was almost as effective too and had to intentionally find other stuff to preoccupy my character with in order to give other people a chance to spotlight.

After that it's very unlikely I'll ever play a base class Hunter again since I didn't like hogging that much spotlight.

I understand that fullcasters are broken, but a Hunter can be more disruptive in more conventional and obvious ways, at least up until 9th level.

As for my essay, 2 more paragraphs.


Insain Dragoon wrote:


I understand that fullcasters are broken, but a Hunter can be more disruptive in more conventional and obvious ways, at least up until 9th level.

As for my essay, 2 more paragraphs.

I think I can see my wife's paladin (in my son's campaign) being like that, maybe not to that degree - but of our characters she's already demonstrated the big stick when it comes to damage blows.

I helped her "optimize" it as mounted build, and with spirited charge and smite kicking the other night she tore up the monk I couldn't catch during the roof top chase. Two hits -done-, included a crit in there for like 48 on max damage roll and all the bells and whistles, I was looking over "you sure you did the math right??".

As I've told her - in some terrain, not as lethal but any open space is going to be her show to own. That's important to know the campaign in advance though - horrid to find out you built that and its going to be lots of deep forest/dungeon crawling.


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The Sword wrote:
Incidentally most adventures I have read, or written have NPCs capable of assisting you overcome the challenges you face (providing potions or spell casting). Interacting and making decisions about what resources is a source of plot hooks or player agency.

An almost perfect example of how, in practice, it's people with/providing magic that matter. Your instinctive example of how NPCs could be helpful was that they'd have helpful magic. Bravo.

The Sword wrote:
Fergie. It is certainly true that a wizard can sneak better if she casts invisibility on herself, or climb better with spider climb, or persuade better with the friends spell. However if the DCs are set appropriately then the wizard doesn't need to waste precious spell resources doing that.

And we wouldn't want the wizard to have to use something important like a spell to achieve something unimportant like sneaking around, would we.


NPCs selling magic items are there to provide an alternate method of solving problems. That increases the amount of agency the party has by giving them additional choices. Magic items and spells and an intrinsic part of the game, they aren't solely the province of wizards. They can be bought from a range of non-magical NPCs along with swords, armour and tanglefoot bags etc. The fact that there has to be a source for these items somewhere doesn't matter a jot to the guy buying them.

The wizard doesn't need to dedicate resources to invisibility if there is someone who can already doing it.

Incidentally I see the summoner teleporting to the base 500 miles away as very little difference in practical terms from retreating to a base the fighter has prepared 10 miles away. That can be reached in 3 hours. The actually game benefit of a secure base is the same it just sounds better if its on a different continent. The advantage teleport has is getting you out of the middle of the dungeon instantly. However the party could still retreat without it (bar a door, cause a cave in, pour oil on the floor and set it on fire). Teleport does not remove agency from fighters it just gives more options - the same mundane options are there. Only if the DM requires things to be done instantly or says there is no safe place for a base near here is agency removed - then it is because the DM has taken it away.

I agree that this is a good conversation to have and I think purely comes down to different perspectives than me thinking the other side of the debate is wrong.


It might be helpful if an in game situation is described where the martial character has no agency so we can discuss real applications.

When it comes down to the majority of choices a warrior or commoner would have, yes, they can have agency, in that they can decide to go and fight the dragon/defeat the bandits/rescue the princess. The difference is that they will die because something will kill them, because the DM is setting party appropriate challenges. It's the same reason it is a bad idea to adventure for long with one player several levels lower.

However in being able to make choices about what they do in the game world yes they have agency - they just won't last very long.

I think it is reasonable to park the combat side of the discussion because most people agree that combat is where Martials excel. However we can't pretend combat doesn't still exist just because we aren't debating it.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:

To be clear, here, there's no way to truly match the casters without accepting one of two methods:

1. "Wuxia". Modifying the genre to be flagrantly more bizarre. Fighters can fly by swinging their swords above their heads. Rogues can move so fast they leave illusory duplicates. Barbarians can chop up mountains to make instant avalanches.

2. "Magic". That's right—if you want to avoid the above genre, the only alternative is to give the martials some magic. Perhaps the rogue has befriended the fey, and they offer her numerous "favors". Perhaps the fighter's sword is developing magical properties from the sheer number of creatures he's killed with it, and it's got numerous special powers it can offer its wielder. Giving the martials bonus magic items (like items that naturally attune to them, independent of WBL) is another example, as is giving them minions or making "rituals" or "incantations" available.

Without accepting one of these two, we have to accept that the martials will never be truly even.

There are probably other ways. For example, it's been suggested you could give martials super-social abilities that casters don't have access to. Only a fighter can lead an army, because soldiers would never respect a wizard. Only the rogue can find the information, because the cleric doesn't know 'the streets'. The power to win friends and redeem enemies might give caster-level class agency.

Obviously, the Pathfinder rules don't do much to support this kind of thing.

Another option would be to reduce caster narrative power, although players who want that are probably already playing something else.


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GM 1990 wrote:

KC - what is your definition of narrative control?

Trying to understand how you define it, and then equate what "some" is?

How do you know when any character in a session has gone from none, to some, to roughly even amounts, and avoids being deadweight or accused of not pulling their weight regardless of class?

In another game I play, there's a class with an ability called 'biggest fan' or something similar.

The player of that character has the ability, once per session, to point to an npc and say 'hey, GM, that guy is one of my fans'.

Now the GM is forced, by player agency, to respond to the change in story.

Players of casters in pathfinder have that capability. 'Hey GM, I cast aqueous orb...that half of the room is underwater and the orb provides cover from everyone except these guys.' 'Hey GM, I charm him.' 'Hey GM, I cast pull out a couple of teleport scrolls that I made a week ago.'

Players of fighters/rogues say 'oh, I get behind cover and shoot them'. 'I try to make a diplomacy roll...does a 23 do anything?' 'Is there a level 9 wizard in the area with teleport?'

Any caster has vast potential to force the to GM respond. Martials have less of that potential.

After all, which is easier to plan for? If you put a wall in front of a fighter, he has basically 6 options...go left, go right, climb up, dig down, go through, or go back. If you put the same wall in front of a caster, he has the same six options, except that any of his potential answers involves more potential sub responses. 'Go through' could be shapeshift into big thing and punch through, could be passwall, stone to mud, earth glide, teleport, and probably 3 dozen more things that I don't know or remember.

Which is easier to plan for? Which is easier to deal with?

The one that's harder has more narrative agency.


Zilvar2k11 wrote:


In another game I play, there's a class with an ability called 'biggest fan' or something similar.

The player of that character has the ability, once per session, to point to an npc and say 'hey, GM, that guy is one of my fans'.

That's interesting and creates some potential RPing too.

In my campaign, the day after my group had raided a goblin camp and brought back 15 prisoner, I had the inn they were staying at swarmed with local villagers etc wanting to talk with them, hear about their success, buy them drinks etc. Groupies. Was also funny that the rogue kept trying to get farther and farther in the shadows as she thought this whole idea of getting to know you was not good for long term.


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GM 1990 wrote:
Zilvar2k11 wrote:


In another game I play, there's a class with an ability called 'biggest fan' or something similar.

The player of that character has the ability, once per session, to point to an npc and say 'hey, GM, that guy is one of my fans'.

That's interesting and creates some potential RPing too.

In my campaign, the day after my group had raided a goblin camp and brought back 15 prisoner, I had the inn they were staying at swarmed with local villagers etc wanting to talk with them, hear about their success, buy them drinks etc. Groupies. Was also funny that the rogue kept trying to get farther and farther in the shadows as she thought this whole idea of getting to know you was not good for long term.

The entire game is built on the idea that the players have just as much narrative agency as the GM does. I'm pretty sure that every class has some ability, or at least access to some ability, that rewrites the rules or the narrative. In some cases drastically.

'This shot will add damage equal to how tough the creature I shoot is'
'This attack ignores all defenses'
'Hey, GM, I'm using my ability to just FIND something storyline related that's relevant'.
'He's my BIGGEST FAN'
'That guy and I start a duel, nobody else will interfere'

and so on. And if class abilities aren't enough, the resolution system explicitly gives narrative control of rolled effects to the person performing the action. Got a great roll? Sure, you get a bonus to your roll. Tell me why and that's part of the narrative now. I have never personally encountered another system that makes it so absolutely clear that it's not the GM's story. It's everyone's story. And everyone should have a part to play.


The Sword wrote:

Fergie. It is certainly true that a wizard can sneak better if she casts invisibility on herself,

I can't count how many times casters have found out the hardway that Invisibility is a poor substitute for trained stealth, when things like See Invisibility or True Seeing come into play.


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I dont get why a wizard, with his zillion skill points, wouldn't have ranks in stealth. Most of them have decent dex too.


Insain Dragoon wrote:
I dont get why a wizard, with his zillion skill points, wouldn't have ranks in stealth. Most of them have decent dex too.

Because many of them throw their points into more "wizardy" things such knowledges, spellcraft, and craft skills, trusting Invisibility's modifiers to eliminate the need.

My wizard would rather cast the spell on his rogue cohort, than do such scouting himself.


My Wizard would rather have ranks in stealth and cast invis on his familiar, a familiar who is better at stealth than most classes.

Arctic Hare is a good choice
+fast
+huge racial and size bonus to stealth
+gives me +4 initiative
-land bound


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:
I dont get why a wizard, with his zillion skill points, wouldn't have ranks in stealth. Most of them have decent dex too.

Because many of them throw their points into more "wizardy" things such knowledges, spellcraft, and craft skills, trusting Invisibility's modifiers to eliminate the need.

My wizard would rather cast the spell on his rogue cohort, than do such scouting himself.

Why would anyone ever put ranks in craft skills? Spellcraft is all you need to make magic items...

Also, they can simply add "Stealth" as the granted skill ranks in their Headband of Vast Intelligence.

Wizards have more than enough skill points to get Spellcraft, a variety of Knowledge skills, Fly and Stealth.


Depending on the party makeup I often split knowledge skills with other characters and double up with them on common enemy types.

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