More action economy? No thanks.


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Action economy is discussed on the boards all the time; you should be summoning monsters, quickening spells, and have a familiar using a wand to overwhelm your foes with the sheer quantity of standard actions you can take each turn. But when is it too much?

From a pure optimization standpoint, the answer is never. Always take more actions when possible. I'm playing an Occultist Arcanist (currently level 2) and have every opportunity to shatter the action economy. ...but I'm thinking I'd rather not. I'll take a regular familiar, for the nice initiative boost and other minor utility, but would rather keep it away from the battlefield. I'd like to summon an Auroch with Claws and a Bite attack from Evolved Summon Monster, but would rather stay away from Superior Summoning. I guess I have preference in potent actions over a lot of them, even though more actions is stronger.

I'm playing through the Crimson Throne with an unchained Ninja, Oracle and a Cleric. We have a GENEROUS point buy and optimized builds, so I feel I have plenty of margin to skip out on action economy; our party is strong enough for the challenge. But not everyone has such a generous hedge of power. How do you go about it in your games?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

As a player, I prioritize fun and flavor. All my characters are often intentionally undertuned, and I'm generally fine with this.

As a GM, I try to keep an eye on my players, but often reward flavor and roleplaying, rather than efficiency and "roll" playing. This has often been enough to keep most players focused on having fun.


Oh, and I'll be taking Leadership, but only to get a crafting Wizard for the pure money saving goodness for the party and also more spells for my spellbook. He won't be adventuring with us.

I don't want to deal with managing all these actions each turn. I don't want the other players waiting for me to finish my turn. I don't want to discourage our Ninja who's playing Pathfinder for the first time after 8 years of saying "No thanks" to our invitations.


I don't think anyone is saying make your build to get as many actions as possible. The message is that more actions are better than less actions. Most people also understand that taking more time than twice the other players to complete your turn can be annoying at many table.

PS: "Roll" playing does not exist. It is a myth.


The Chort wrote:

Oh, and I'll be taking Leadership, but only to get a crafting Wizard for the pure money saving goodness for the party and also more spells for my spellbook. He won't be adventuring with us.

Getting a crafting slave with Leadership is exactly what you do to optimize leadership. No one actually uses leadership for an NPC party member to join battles with.


Heretek wrote:
The Chort wrote:

Oh, and I'll be taking Leadership, but only to get a crafting Wizard for the pure money saving goodness for the party and also more spells for my spellbook. He won't be adventuring with us.

Getting a crafting slave with Leadership is exactly what you do to optimize leadership. No one actually uses leadership for an NPC party member to join battles with.

I dunno, if the only person specialized for melee is a bard while the crafting and healing situations are fine I think a melee cohort or two might be helpful. The skinwalker barbarian and the griffon riding cavalier have been huge helps in combat.


HyperMissingno wrote:
I dunno, if the only person specialized for melee is a bard while the crafting and healing situations are fine I think a melee cohort or two might be helpful. The skinwalker barbarian and the griffon riding cavalier have been huge helps in combat.

If the only melee DPS in the party is a bard then I simply must question your playgroups decision making abilities. Requiring leadership to fill in a critical missing party element is hardly advisable, nor optimized.


Saethori wrote:

As a player, I prioritize fun and flavor. All my characters are often intentionally undertuned, and I'm generally fine with this.

As a GM, I try to keep an eye on my players, but often reward flavor and roleplaying, rather than efficiency and "roll" playing. This has often been enough to keep most players focused on having fun.

During character construction, I pick a class and from there my optimization brain turns on and do the best I can to make my mechanics rock solid.

...but when I go to the table I prioritize fun. I try to monitor what the other players are doing and interacting with whoever seems disengaged. I perhaps overdo my character quirks. 8 wisdom isn't abysmally low, but I like to play my character as someone who speaks before thinking of the ramifications.


Heretek wrote:
HyperMissingno wrote:
I dunno, if the only person specialized for melee is a bard while the crafting and healing situations are fine I think a melee cohort or two might be helpful. The skinwalker barbarian and the griffon riding cavalier have been huge helps in combat.
If the only melee DPS in the party is a bard then I simply must question your playgroups decision making abilities. Requiring leadership to fill in a critical missing party element is hardly advisable, nor optimized.

Eh, I wouldn't go around accusing people of "doing it wrong." 1. Fun is king. 2. You don't know enough about their party to criticize their choices even from a crunch standpoint.

Our party isn't quite ideal either; our frontliners are a Life Oracle and a Ninja. (So actually a two-handed raging power attacking barbarian cohort would be quite nice.) But I think we can manage; my summons help with that.


wraithstrike wrote:

I don't think anyone is saying make your build to get as many actions as possible. The message is that more actions are better than less actions. Most people also understand that taking more time than twice the other players to complete your turn can be annoying at many table.

PS: "Roll" playing does not exist. It is a myth.

There are quite a few action economy evangels; to quote from another thread:

"Always, always take a familiar. Always. An exploit and a feat is a pittance for gaining an extra standard action every round. Particularly if you invest in UMD as you should and grab good wands."

It's solid advice, but not necessarily the character everyone wants to build. Whatever people choose, I hope most are respectful enough of their fellow players to keep their turns short.


I need to stop using absolutes when I mean "not everyone".


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
The Chort wrote:
Saethori wrote:

As a player, I prioritize fun and flavor. All my characters are often intentionally undertuned, and I'm generally fine with this.

As a GM, I try to keep an eye on my players, but often reward flavor and roleplaying, rather than efficiency and "roll" playing. This has often been enough to keep most players focused on having fun.

During character construction, I pick a class and from there my optimization brain turns on and do the best I can to make my mechanics rock solid.

...but when I go to the table I prioritize fun. I try to monitor what the other players are doing and interacting with whoever seems disengaged. I perhaps overdo my character quirks. 8 wisdom isn't abysmally low, but I like to play my character as someone who speaks before thinking of the ramifications.

I definitely agree with you here. I'm not without my degree of optimization, but generally it's like... optimizing a non-optimal idea. The end result isn't going to be a campaign-breaking wizard, but it's not going to be somebody who has to be carried by the rest of the party either. It balances out to be a fairly good party member that can hold their own... with quirks.


At my table, people have taken leadership just because they like an NPC. In Curse of the Crimson Throne, Trinia the bard eventually joined our party after we saved her from execution.

Personally, I feel like I want my turns to be as short as possible, so I took a summoner archetype that loses Summon Monster, as I didn't want to slow everything down as soon as I lost my eidolon. It's bad enough rolling full attacks with 6 natural weapons.

Next champaign I'm going for a nice, simple full caster.

Action economy is nice, but you have to remember that combat is long enough as it is.


Heretek wrote:
HyperMissingno wrote:
I dunno, if the only person specialized for melee is a bard while the crafting and healing situations are fine I think a melee cohort or two might be helpful. The skinwalker barbarian and the griffon riding cavalier have been huge helps in combat.
If the only melee DPS in the party is a bard then I simply must question your playgroups decision making abilities. Requiring leadership to fill in a critical missing party element is hardly advisable, nor optimized.

We had another barbarian player and a druid with a wolf who's players left the campaign for various reasons so we had plenty of melee before the cohorts. We already had the skinwalker at that point and our wizard took a liking to the cavalier once he saw her and quickly started putting the moves on her to get her into the party.

Side note, the skinwalker was not grabbed through leadership. She was grabbed through...well...let's just say we have a kitsune who is very good at persuasion.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Minor Serpent's Skull spoilers:

Spoiler:
In the second adventure it's possible to obtain a crew of 4 first level warriors to accompany the party. When I ran the AP, my player group managed to keep one of them alive all the way through adventure 2, then one PC took leadership and grabbed the survivor as a cohort. I bumped him up to a 5th level polearm master fighter and he was actually very useful all the way through the end of the campaign.


I expand out the numbers of lesser minions to match any force multipliers the party generates for combat (like summons, cohorts, and minions equipped with one-shot magic items to make them useful for a couple of rounds), kick up DCs if they go with a skill monkey or crafting bot for leadership, and they have personalities. The cohort also doesn't become just a second lower level PC that way. Plus the PC cohorts that are crafting bots will make contracts so they earn a piece of the pie when selling their hard crafted items. IE, the best way to treat cohorts and followers are as people with their own interest, not just NPC bots. If you want NPC bots, go play party based PC games.


True I think a lot of this just comes down to sharing the spotlight. For instance I find using action economy to say buff teammates makes for everyone having more fun, than say using action economy to summon 5 creatures, haste them all and thrash the encounter by yourself.

not really action economy but I noticed in a campaign I am playing an occultist in that my damage output was huge compared to the other PC's (who were not very optimized) instead of remaking my build, I just started putting buffs on the other people instead of myself. Instead of using legacy weapon to put bane on my weapon, I put it on the other melee guy... Still nets the same amount of damage (still adds +2 and +2d6 damage whether its on me or not) and the other martial feels a lot better about his character since the damage is more equalized (same with enlarge person etc..)


I don't think I've ever seen Action economy munchkin optimizing put forward as best for fun, as opposed to best for survival/dps/options.


stormcrow27 wrote:
I expand out the numbers of lesser minions to match any force multipliers the party generates for combat (like summons, cohorts, and minions equipped with one-shot magic items to make them useful for a couple of rounds), kick up DCs if they go with a skill monkey or crafting bot for leadership, and they have personalities. The cohort also doesn't become just a second lower level PC that way. Plus the PC cohorts that are crafting bots will make contracts so they earn a piece of the pie when selling their hard crafted items. IE, the best way to treat cohorts and followers are as people with their own interest, not just NPC bots. If you want NPC bots, go play party based PC games.

Thank you for the advice not to play your game.

If your players are happy with it that's awesome but when I play its to play with a GM who doesn't change things because of the party.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
If your players are happy with it that's awesome but when I play its to play with a GM who doesn't change things because of the party.

Any DM worth a damn is going tailor content to fit the group.

But hey, I understand. Some people get their kicks steamrolling DM's that are either incompetent or bound by PFS rules.


There's a middle ground between "never tailor content" and "actively modify encounters down to the finest details based on player actions".

You can design to match your party's general competency without actively modifying encounters to be bigger based on specific powerups the group has taken.


Snowlilly wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
If your players are happy with it that's awesome but when I play its to play with a GM who doesn't change things because of the party.

Any DM worth a damn is going tailor content to fit the group.

But hey, I understand. Some people get their kicks steamrolling DM's that are either incompetent or bound by PFS rules.

It would seem that I'm a GM (dm doesn't really work for me since I don't like the dungeon foformatwho isn't woth a damn, since I feel like I should create and operate the world without regard for the players choices.


"It would seem that I'm a GM (dm doesn't really work for me since I don't like the dungeon foformatwho isn't woth a damn, since I feel like I should create and operate the world without regard for the players choices."

I don't know if I quite agree with that...(not to say your doing it wrong because there is no wrong way to play pathfinder if everyone atr the table is having fun) I mean tailoring everything all time isn't great but the occasional tailoring can help make the game more fun. Every now and then you gotta throw in those things to let them use those niche class abilities. Like tossing in an animal for the ranger to use wild empathy with, or a magical trap for the rogue to be able to disarm, or a important piece of information that can be gleaned from a knowledge nobility check that some PC invested into because it fit her backstory.

Or there is opposite things. Everyone and a while if I notice a party has a glaring weakness it can be fun to throw an encounter that exploits that weakness a bit to keep the PC's on their toes and make them think outside the box, usually makes for memorable encounter as long as you dont do it too much.


Okay so apparently Melee cohorts have trouble staying alive during mythic trials because our barbarian kicked it in the middle of our second mythic trial. Thankfully she got back up after breath of life.


HyperMissingno wrote:
Okay so apparently Melee cohorts have trouble staying alive during mythic trials because our barbarian kicked it in the middle of our second mythic trial. Thankfully she got back up after breath of life.

Melee is a bad choice for cohorts. Melee characters are the most gear and level dependent.

Ideal choices for cohorts are classes that can provide buffs and debuffs from afar and focus on surviving. Clerics, wizards, bards, etc.

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