What's wrong with the fighter


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I mean, there are probably more people who more or less make random or flavor-only character building decisions and who just want to have a good time with friends pretending they're an elf barbarian or w/e than there are people who make characters optimized by considering every single rules interaction and every single bit of material ever printed for the game.

I would say an adequacy condition for "is this a saleable product" is probably not that far from "Can someone play a human fighter using only the core rules and what's in the AP books itself and still have a good time?"

I mean, for really knowledgeable and skilled optimizers, you can have fun in an AP by playing something that isn't especially powerful or naturally synergistic and making it work. That's definitely a much better option than asking new or casual players to "git gud" (which is frankly the sort of attitude that endangers the hobby.)


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I would say an adequacy condition for "is this a saleable product" is probably not that far from "Can someone play a human fighter using only the core rules and what's in the AP books itself and still have a good time?'

That's really where the lack of skills hurt. Being left out of a sizable chunk of the game isn't fun. With 4 base skill points and a better list, or just 6 base skill points you'd meet that condition.

And no, I don't think that would be unbalanced or make rogues redundant. Rogues will still be better at many skills especially if the fighter's wearing armor, and while the fighter has biggish combat numbers they hardly dominate the flow of combat to the point where it being their only thing is enough.


TOZ wrote:
BINGO!

I stand in awe of you, sir.

I have a thought exercise:

What would be the single best usage of combat feats, and at what level?

Combat Stamina at level one, if offered, would be high on the list.

Advanced Weapon Training at 6th level for all except weapon master, which would be at 4th and 6th.

Barroom Brawler at 4th simply has way too many potential uses, particularly if paired with Abundant Tactics and any of the Item Mastery feats.

Speaking of which, Telekinetic Mastery is Class Feature-worthy and can be taken as a Combat Feat at 10th.

What else would be the most powerful options if we were trying to squeeze out every class-feature-ness we can out of the Bonus Feats?


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avr wrote:
That's really where the lack of skills hurt. Being left out of a sizable chunk of the game isn't fun. With 4 base skill points and a better list, or just 6 base skill points you'd meet that condition.

I do find, however, that inexperienced players will oftentimes min-max much less aggressively than some veterans do, and indeed will choose things like "higher INT on a fighter" because they want skills.

Human fighter with 12 INT, putting their FCB into skills does 5/level, and while I agree 7/level would be a lot better, that's workable. Particularly if you're eschewing certain knowledge skills for RP reasons.

This is another reason why I think it's good that AP's go easy on people.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
avr wrote:
That's really where the lack of skills hurt. Being left out of a sizable chunk of the game isn't fun. With 4 base skill points and a better list, or just 6 base skill points you'd meet that condition.

I do find, however, that inexperienced players will oftentimes min-max much less aggressively than some veterans do, and indeed will choose things like "higher INT on a fighter" because they want skills.

Human fighter with 12 INT, putting their FCB into skills does 5/level, and while I agree 7/level would be a lot better, that's workable. Particularly if you're eschewing certain knowledge skills for RP reasons.

This is another reason why I think it's good that AP's go easy on people.

Yeah, I've seen someone without much experience put 13 on Str, 18 on Int with a human fighter because he wanted to play a tactical genius. This was before traits came out so even with this his characters skills weren't great, and of course the 18 Str drunken dwarven cleric was a far better fighter. 4 with a better skill list would be my preferred option.


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TOZ wrote:
BINGO!

I don't know where you've been but I hit bingo months ago...


Ryan Freire wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:

The more I hear about adventure path design, the more convinced I become I would be wasting my players' time and my own trying to run one for them. If decent AC and damage is all it takes to take one of those apart those things won't stand up to any class played by someone who knows what the class is good for. No wonder PFS got thrown off by something as simple as Crane Wing.

Outside of adventure paths, though, do watch out for incorporeals. They can reach through your armor, and the majority of them outright ignore your HP in favor of just strength/constitution damaging you to death or stacking up negative levels. Something every weapon-user needs to keep in mind, really, incorporeals are almost as bad as swarms for fighty-types.

EH, the thing you have to remember about adventure paths is that to sell, they need to be reasonable for a group of people whove never played the game to sit down, make their first characters ever, and not get simply overwhelmed by challenges put in for optimized or higher point buy characters.

Many tables run them with higher stats, or larger groups than they get tested with, and to run them unadjusted while the party optimizes is going to make them pretty easy, outside of pc's making decisions that screw them not based in game math.

Edit: Although that brings to mind the idea that AP's could probably have a rating system of "difficulty" based on the party its tested with. IE: This AP was tested for a 4 man party with 15 point buy. This AP was tested with a 6 man party and 25 point buy. To throw gms who don't want to alter paths a little guidance on how they should build a party for the modules.

Agreed, we're probably a bit more casual group than most, we all have jobs and we rotate GM's, none of us who GM would have time to create adventures on our own, so the Adventure Paths are a great substitute.

We are however an extremely experienced gaming group, most us having 25+ years of experience through a multitude of game systems.

Now, yeah, the AP's are written for 4 sub-optimal characters, for less experienced players, whereas we are 6, highly experienced players, who build highly optimal characters and take an optimal mix of classes. So the AP's should be less challenging to us as a whole. However, even with all that in consideration, the GM should not need to effectively DOUBLE the CR of an encounter just to challenge us.

After about 6 months of analysis and many nights of intense discussion, we determined that there are certain classes that are just over the top when it comes to the game.

Optimal Fighters deal way too much damage or are way to hard to hit for any equal CR challenge.

Certain other classes we have determined than when optimally build, just break the game as well, most notably, the Summoner, the Arcane Trickster, the Arcane Archer and a Cleric build which specializes in animating dead.

In our experience, any one of these at a semi optimal build can handle just a typical equal CR encounter by themselves, something which should take 4 characters.


Blackwaltzomega wrote:

The more I hear about adventure path design, the more convinced I become I would be wasting my players' time and my own trying to run one for them. If decent AC and damage is all it takes to take one of those apart those things won't stand up to any class played by someone who knows what the class is good for. No wonder PFS got thrown off by something as simple as Crane Wing.

Outside of adventure paths, though, do watch out for incorporeals. They can reach through your armor, and the majority of them outright ignore your HP in favor of just strength/constitution damaging you to death or stacking up negative levels. Something every weapon-user needs to keep in mind, really, incorporeals are almost as bad as swarms for fighty-types.

The more I think about it, yeah APs do seem to set on easy mode. The reason for that is most people don't play APs with the default 15-20 pt buy. My players hate that which is kind of ironic as I have state adding advanced templates to everything. So my players hit +2 better but everything has an AC +2 higher. It's all an illusion.

Shadow Lodge

TxSam88 wrote:
Now, yeah, the AP's are written for 4 sub-optimal characters, for less experienced players, whereas we are 6, highly experienced players, who build highly optimal characters and take an optimal mix of classes. So the AP's should be less challenging to us as a whole. However, even with all that in consideration, the GM should not need to effectively DOUBLE the CR of an encounter just to challenge us.

No, that is exactly what should be happening.


TOZ wrote:
TxSam88 wrote:
Now, yeah, the AP's are written for 4 sub-optimal characters, for less experienced players, whereas we are 6, highly experienced players, who build highly optimal characters and take an optimal mix of classes. So the AP's should be less challenging to us as a whole. However, even with all that in consideration, the GM should not need to effectively DOUBLE the CR of an encounter just to challenge us.
No, that is exactly what should be happening.

Yeah thats the thing, im pretty sure these are all designed for 4 players with 15 point buy. If you aren't doing that and don't adjust the modules, people are going to chew through any sort of dice based challenge like they were playing dynasty warriors on easy mode.


TOZ wrote:
TxSam88 wrote:
Now, yeah, the AP's are written for 4 sub-optimal characters, for less experienced players, whereas we are 6, highly experienced players, who build highly optimal characters and take an optimal mix of classes. So the AP's should be less challenging to us as a whole. However, even with all that in consideration, the GM should not need to effectively DOUBLE the CR of an encounter just to challenge us.
No, that is exactly what should be happening.

If you're not cleaving through CR20 boss encounters at level 7, you just aren't playing pathfinder right.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Ryan Freire wrote:
TOZ wrote:
TxSam88 wrote:
Now, yeah, the AP's are written for 4 sub-optimal characters, for less experienced players, whereas we are 6, highly experienced players, who build highly optimal characters and take an optimal mix of classes. So the AP's should be less challenging to us as a whole. However, even with all that in consideration, the GM should not need to effectively DOUBLE the CR of an encounter just to challenge us.
No, that is exactly what should be happening.
Yeah thats the thing, im pretty sure these are all designed for 4 players with 15 point buy. If you aren't doing that and don't adjust the modules, people are going to chew through any sort of dice based challenge like they were playing dynasty warriors on easy mode.

Also, they were designed with the assumption that DMs won't just be soft on all the dangerous bits (ie. will play enemy AI at an appropriate level to challenge the party, will not hesitate to have enemies use save or die abilities, will not fudge rolls). All too often I've heard players/DMs complain APs are too easy and then find out that their DM has enemies rush head-first into the party meatgrinder or that their group doesn't believe save or dies should be used on the party.

And then they max HP and give everything the advanced template so that when it rushes to the party more than 1 person can get their full-attack in before it dies... :/

TxSam88 wrote:
In our experience, any one of these at a semi optimal build can handle just a typical equal CR encounter by themselves, something which should take 4 characters

If you look at how CR is calculated, you'll see that ANY character should have a decent (50/50) chance of defeating an equal CR encounter alone, even if they aren't optimized. With a whole party of 4 players a CR=APL encounter is not intended to be challenging unless something goes terribly wrong (saving throw nat 1s) or there are extenuating circumstances.

Based on what you've written so far I think your expectations are not in line with the assumptions built into the Pathfinder CR system. Not every fight is intended to be tremendously challenging. Sometimes easy fights become unexpectedly difficult due to a twist of the terrain, bad player saves, great enemy saves, unusually good enemy tactics, unusually poor player tactics, etc. If every fight (or even most fights) were intended to be challenging without anything going wrong, when things DO go wrong you'd get a TPK every time. Maybe this is the way your group likes to play, but its not the assumption behind how APs and modules are designed.

On the topic of fighters, is there really a problem with optimized fighters doing too much damage and it being too hard to hit their AC? Their non-fortitude saves, touch AC, and ability to deal with unconventional challenges continues to be average at best, even after the AWT and AAT patches.
If a wizard can cast an AoE confusion and get a pack of brute-type enemies to fight each other to the death (by targeting their poor will save), surely the fighter can be allowed to wade into a similar pack of enemies that target only AC and laugh as they are unable to breach his defenses as he hacks away at them? Both strategies are still going to fall flat vs. the pack of ghosts that are immune to mind-affecting and target touch AC...


IME the strength or weakness of the fighter tends to hinge on the kinds of enemies you fight. Our gm usually has an "adventuring party" of class level having people with PC wealth as a BBEG which makes for a far more difficult confrontation than 1 high priest and a bunch of mooks.


Fighter is pretty great for Combat Maneuver hijinks as well; you can stack multiple types of maneuvers onto a single character, or cross maneuvers with other feat-intensive stuff. Like...

Lightning Strike
Lore Warden 11/ Medium 1
Human: 16/18STR, 15DEX, 12CON, 13INT, 10WIS, 7CHA
Traits: Auspicious Tattoo, Armor Expert

1LW. Two-Weapon Fighting / +Weapon Focus: Cestus / RETRAINED
2LW. (+Combat Expertise) / +Improved Dirty Trick
3LW. *+2CMB* / Outslug Style: Cestus
4LW. RETRAINED
5LW. *Weapon Training: Light Blades* / RETRAINED
6LW. +Lunge / RETRAINED: Outslug Weave / RETRAINED: Outslug Sprint / RETRAINED: Quick Dirty Trick
7Me. *Seance* / *Spirit Boon* / Greater Dirty Trick
8LW. *+4CMB*
9LW. Amateur Swashbuckler / +Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
10LW. *Weapon Training: Close Weapons*
11LW. Weapon Focus: Rapier / Improved Critical: Rapier
12LW. *+6CMB*

Since dirty tricks can be performed with a weapon when applicable...

Shock Weapon wrote:
a shock weapon is sheathed in crackling electricity

You perform blind or shaken dirty tricks by striking the flat of your crackling Shock rapier blade on eyes or other sensitive spots of enemies.

Dirty Trick CMB at level 12 with a +2 Shock rapier is 35, to which you can add a 1d6 Spirit Surge roll if necessary.

In combat, you can use a Swordmaster's Flair clutched in your cestus hand to grant both rapier and cestus an extra 5 foot reach, which combined with Lunge means a 10ft. reach bonus with both weapons. Outslug Sprint means a 10ft. step, so you can full attack targets that are at least 25ft. away from your starting location (or 30ft. if large), and you only need to get within 15ft. of them to do it.

With TWF and Quick Dirty Trick you can sacrifice your first rapier attack to blind a target (or maybe shaken for a fear-combo), while still carrying out the rest of your attacks at that target or anything else within your reach. With bonuses from Weapon Training, Outslug, and Champion Spirit, damage is very nasty even if giving up the first strike.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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An archetype from a 7 year old, highly criticized, out of print splat book as a fighter justification? Seems right.


I do wonder why more fighter archetypes weren't modeled after the lore warden though.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I do wonder why more fighter archetypes weren't modeled after the lore warden though.

So the core fighter isn't overshadowed?


Ventnor wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I do wonder why more fighter archetypes weren't modeled after the lore warden though.
So the core fighter isn't overshadowed?

Given how sorry the core fighter is I don't know why that'd be a concern.

I mean if cMonk archetypes are intentiontally overtuned, why not fighter archetypes too?

Honestly I feel like a lot of the "what's wrong with the fighter" questions get answered just by looking at how sorry the class' archetypes are.

Because even when an archetype makes a relatively beneficial trade it's pretty cringeworthy to then compare the end results to other classes.


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I think Swoosh has got a point. Nearly every Monk archetype was a lot better than the core monk, which is fair because the core monk was not very well-designed and everyone knew it.

If you have a base version of the class that isn't considered very good by a lot of people, and all future tweaks to said class can't have an end result better than the lackluster starting point, the class won't ever be anything but wasted wordcount to people that didn't already like the base version.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I do wonder why more fighter archetypes weren't modeled after the lore warden though.

Technically speaking, the Lore Warden is a "bad" archetype. It does all the things you're not supposed to do in design- trades defensive features for offensive features, is distinctly and unrepentantly better than the core class, etc.

It's actually legitimately bad, not just technically bad, in some ways too- it's 19th level ability directly overlaps with the fighter capstone without acknowledging or modifying to account for the overlap. It's either a wasted ability, or an active encouragement to go take a 1 level dip in a class that will give you back everything the class traded away.

The issue of course is with the Fighter chassis itself- any archetype that is legitimately "good" when compared to the other class options out there is going to be better than the core Fighter, so as long as the trend is to pretend the Fighter is fine as is, you're not going to get as many archetype like the Lore Warden. There's, what, the Two-Handed Fighter, the Lore Warden, and the Sensate that are strictly better than the core Fighter? Two of those commit the design sin of trading defensive options for offensive options (which is why they're considered good), and one of those isn't compatible with any of the other Fighter fixes, true of most other archetypes that are considered situational upgrades for the Fighter, like the Two-Weapon Warrior, Weapon Master, etc.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Ssalarn wrote:
An archetype from a 7 year old, highly criticized...splat book...

Highly criticized?


Ssalarn wrote:
An archetype from a 7 year old, highly criticized, out of print splat book as a fighter justification? Seems right.

Oh ffs. So don't use a Lore Warden then. It's nice to have, but it isn't in any way fundamental. I mean really; take Mutation Warrior to the bank, and drop/postpone Amateur Swashbuckler (you can even still use Blue Scarves once per day at 2,5k each if you want). Or just go plain Fighter with more focus on maneuver, and have 'good' instead of 'WTF' CMB - the dirty trick is still only sacrificing one attack on a 'pounce' by level 6/7 build that hits hard. This stuff isn't that difficult.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
An archetype from a 7 year old, highly criticized...splat book...
Highly criticized?

As far as I recall, the only criticism the Lore Warden got was from the PDT itself, since they felt like the archetype was a straight upgrade of the core fighter.

BadBird wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
An archetype from a 7 year old, highly criticized, out of print splat book as a fighter justification? Seems right.
Oh ffs. So don't use a Lore Warden then. It's nice to have, but it isn't in any way fundamental. I mean really; take Mutation Warrior to the bank, and drop/postpone Amateur Swashbuckler (you can even still use Blue Scarves once per day at 2,5k each if you want). Or just go plain Fighter with more focus on maneuver, and have 'good' instead of 'WTF' CMB - the dirty trick is still only sacrificing one attack on a 'pounce' by level 6/7 build that hits hard. This stuff isn't that difficult.

Problem is, sans Lore Warden's high CMB bonuses the Fighter doesn't bring much to make it better at maneuvers than any other class, other than having an easier time affording the feat taxes.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
An archetype from a 7 year old, highly criticized...splat book...
Highly criticized?

Literally everything about this game is highly criticized somewhere.

That said nothing in that book bumped the power level over what core has available to it so....*shrug*

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
An archetype from a 7 year old, highly criticized...splat book...
Highly criticized?

Yeah, the reviews are, on average, not great, and the design team themselves have been fairly critical of some of its content, like the Lore Warden. A three star average review is the equivalent of a giant "don't buy me" sticker on a TTRPG product.

Chengar Qordath wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
An archetype from a 7 year old, highly criticized...splat book...
Highly criticized?
As far as I recall, the only criticism the Lore Warden got was from the PDT itself, since they felt like the archetype was a straight upgrade of the core fighter.

I was referring to the book as a whole. Most of the content in there was available for free in the PFS downloads, and the rest of the material was "meh" at best. As noted, even the Lore Warden, despite being an improvement for the base fighter class, is relatively bad design, breaking all of the rules Paizo has established for good design in venues like their RPG Superstar contest, and containing overlapping class features.

Quote:


BadBird wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
An archetype from a 7 year old, highly criticized, out of print splat book as a fighter justification? Seems right.
Oh ffs. So don't use a Lore Warden then. It's nice to have, but it isn't in any way fundamental. I mean really; take Mutation Warrior to the bank, and drop/postpone Amateur Swashbuckler (you can even still use Blue Scarves once per day at 2,5k each if you want). Or just go plain Fighter with more focus on maneuver, and have 'good' instead of 'WTF' CMB - the dirty trick is still only sacrificing one attack on a 'pounce' by level 6/7 build that hits hard. This stuff isn't that difficult.
Problem is, sans Lore Warden's high CMB bonuses the Fighter doesn't bring much to make it better at maneuvers than any other class, other than having an easier time affording the feat taxes.

Exactly this. The Fighter potentially has a slim lead over some classes on weapon-based maneuvers thanks to Weapon Training (although Rangers, Barbarians, and other classes can all spike significantly higher), but his only advantage otherwise is that he can potentially perform a larger number of maneuvers on average since he has more feats to throw at them. That's not necessarily that much of an advantage though, when compared to what the class features of other classes open up. Druids, Hunters, and Rangers can perform on equal footing in combat with AoE options and all the other goodies that come with spellcasting (Hunters focused on combat maneuvers can actually perform significantly better at using them than fighters despite being 3/4 BAB, with their pets and the right teamwork feats), Barbarians who want to use maneuvers can amplify them significantly with options like Strength Surge/Strength Stance, etc.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Ryan Freire wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
An archetype from a 7 year old, highly criticized...splat book...
Highly criticized?

Literally everything about this game is highly criticized somewhere.

That said nothing in that book bumped the power level over what core has available to it so....*shrug*

Lore Warden is a strict improvement over Fighter, so.... You're wrong, I guess? Unless you're one of those "hur dee dur, it's not a wizard so there can't possibly be anything wrong with it, hyuk yuk yuk" types. More to the point though, it's a spectacularly mediocre out of print book, and the Lore Warden is a poorly written archetype, but here we are 6 years later and it's still pretty much the best Fighter archetype out there. If that's not an indictment of the Fighter, I'm not sure what is.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Ssalarn wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
An archetype from a 7 year old, highly criticized...splat book...
Highly criticized?

Yeah, the reviews are, on average, not great, and the design team themselves have been fairly critical of some of its content, like the Lore Warden. A three star average review is the equivalent of a giant "don't buy me" sticker on a TTRPG product.

You and I have very different standards. And the criticism seems to be very little about the actual content and more about the PFS requirement that is no longer in play.


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Ssalarn wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
An archetype from a 7 year old, highly criticized...splat book...
Highly criticized?

Literally everything about this game is highly criticized somewhere.

That said nothing in that book bumped the power level over what core has available to it so....*shrug*

Lore Warden is a strict improvement over Fighter, so.... You're wrong, I guess? Unless you're one of those "hur dee dur, it's not a wizard so there can't possibly be anything wrong with it, hyuk yuk yuk" types. More to the point though, it's a spectacularly mediocre out of print book, and the Lore Warden is a poorly written archetype, but here we are 6 years later and it's still pretty much the best Fighter archetype out there. If that's not an indictment of the Fighter, I'm not sure what is.

No I'm a "game balance is found between the extremes of the bell curve, not amongst ensuring that every archetype a core rulebook class has keeps that class no more powerful than core." hyuk hyuk hyuk type. Archetypes are one of the best ways they have to address balance issues post publication.

Complaining a class is weak then pointing out a thing that it gets that makes it less weak is bad and shouldn't be done is just flat out insane to me.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
An archetype from a 7 year old, highly criticized...splat book...
Highly criticized?

Yeah, the reviews are, on average, not great, and the design team themselves have been fairly critical of some of its content, like the Lore Warden. A three star average review is the equivalent of a giant "don't buy me" sticker on a TTRPG product.

You and I have very different standards. And the criticism seems to be very little about the actual content and more about the PFS requirement that is no longer in play.

It may be a little different for Paizo, but for 3pp products an average 3 star review means you've probably lost money on the book. In any customer service position I've ever had any insight into, 3 star customer ratings are cause for manager reviews and potentially write-ups if it's not your first such rating. In any competitive industry, 3 stars is failing. If you've given 3 star ratings thinking you were saying "yeah, this is acceptable but not mind-blowing" that's not the message that's generally conveyed.

Ryan Freire wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
An archetype from a 7 year old, highly criticized...splat book...
Highly criticized?

Literally everything about this game is highly criticized somewhere.

That said nothing in that book bumped the power level over what core has available to it so....*shrug*

Lore Warden is a strict improvement over Fighter, so.... You're wrong, I guess? Unless you're one of those "hur dee dur, it's not a wizard so there can't possibly be anything wrong with it, hyuk yuk yuk" types. More to the point though, it's a spectacularly mediocre out of print book, and the Lore Warden is a poorly written archetype, but here we are 6 years later and it's still pretty much the best Fighter archetype out there. If that's not an indictment of the Fighter, I'm not sure what is.

No I'm a "game balance is found between the extremes of the bell curve, not amongst ensuring that every archetype a core rulebook class has keeps that class no more powerful than core." hyuk hyuk hyuk type. Archetypes are one of the best ways they have to address balance issues post publication.

Complaining a class is weak then pointing out a thing that it gets that makes it less weak is bad and shouldn't be done is just flat out insane to me.

Archetypes as band-aids is just bad design. I mean, that's all there is to it. Particularly when those band-aids interfere with the other band-aids or simply throw numbers at the issue hoping that's enough of a fix. Rogue was an under-performing class, so they fixed it. Monk struggled to participate in combat, so they made a monk that could fight. Barbarian didn't even have any problems but they thought it was too complicated for a base class, so they fixed it. Fighter just keeps getting band-aids piled on so it either breaks laterally without changing vertically, or requires a ton of work and dumpster diving just to bring to par. None of that is a positive thing. Requiring an archetype from a book you can't buy in print anymore is bad; so is requiring 6 books to make one decent character.


Ssalarn wrote:
Problem is, sans Lore Warden's high CMB bonuses the Fighter doesn't bring much to make it better at maneuvers than any other class, other than having an easier time affording the feat taxes.

...So it brings a bit of a CMB edge (even without using an archetype) and can afford to do a lot more with feats than just take the required maneuver feats. Which was exactly the point:

(A)You're very good at combat maneuvers, since you've got Weapon Training/ GoD, and potentially Greater Weapon Focus, and potentially Spirit Warrior, and potentially Mutation Warrior if so inclined.

(B)You can afford Improved Dirty Trick, Greater Dirty Trick and Quick Dirty trick for maneuver purposes, plus Two-Weapon Fighting to minimize the cost of Quick Dirty Trick, exploit static bonuses, and exploit Swordmaster's Flair reach, plus the six feats for Outslug Style to bump up attack, defense, reach, and full-attack mobility.

I don't know why it's so hard to see the forest for the trees.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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BadBird wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
Problem is, sans Lore Warden's high CMB bonuses the Fighter doesn't bring much to make it better at maneuvers than any other class, other than having an easier time affording the feat taxes.

...So it brings a bit of a CMB edge (even without using an archetype) and can afford to do a lot more with feats than just take the required maneuver feats. Which was exactly the point:

(A)You're very good at combat maneuvers, since you've got Weapon Training/ GoD, and potentially Greater Weapon Focus, and potentially Spirit Warrior, and potentially Mutation Warrior if so inclined.

(B)You can afford Improved Dirty Trick, Greater Dirty Trick and Quick Dirty trick for maneuver purposes, plus Two-Weapon Fighting to minimize the cost of Quick Dirty Trick, exploit static bonuses, and exploit Swordmaster's Flair reach, plus the six feats for Outslug Style to bump up attack, defense, reach, and full-attack mobility.

I don't know why it's so hard to see the forest for the trees.

I know you're doing it as a douchey rhetorical device that you probably think is clever, but please don't misquote me. All it does is bring your reading skills into question.

As I said in the text that you misquoted and apparently didn't read, the Fighters only native advantages are with weapon-based maneuvers and being able to potentially have more; he has the same mathematical limits as everyone else, and will generally swing under the curve since classes like the Barbarian and Ranger don't have to pay feat taxes to break away from a single weapon or apply their bonuses to non-weapon-based checks (not to mention that their bonuses usually scale higher and cheaper).

More than that, being able to dump over half your class features into being able to do one trick with the same or lower chance of success as another class isn't a selling point, it's an indictment. If you backed up from the tree a bit and looked at the forest, you might see that.


Ssalarn wrote:
Archetypes as band-aids is just bad design. I mean, that's all there is to it. Particularly when those band-aids interfere with the other band-aids or simply throw numbers at the issue hoping that's enough of a fix. Rogue was an under-performing class, so they fixed it. Monk struggled to participate in combat, so they made a monk that could fight. Barbarian didn't even have any problems but they thought it was too complicated for a base class, so they fixed it. Fighter just keeps getting band-aids piled on so it either breaks laterally without changing vertically, or requires a ton of work and dumpster diving just to bring to par. None of that is a positive thing. Requiring an archetype from a book you can't buy in print anymore is bad; so is requiring 6 books to make one decent character.

The alternative of course being to release a new core book, pissing off everyone who already owned one, at the largest possible expense to the company, with no guarantee of return on investment and a significant possibility of alienating current fans for economic reasons.

The core fighter is weak at anything but DPS and once you get into the mid levels not even great at that compared to other classes. I profoundly disagree that archetype fixes are a bad design. Archetype and splatbook fixes are a far cheaper, far more easily targeted option when compared to another 60 dollar core expenditure

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Ryan Freire wrote:

The alternative of course being to release a new core book, pissing off everyone who already owned one, at the largest possible expense to the company, with no guarantee of return on investment and a significant possibility of alienating current fans for economic reasons.

The core fighter is weak at anything but DPS and once you get into the mid levels not even great at that compared to other classes. I profoundly disagree that archetype fixes are a bad design. Archetype and splatbook fixes are a far cheaper, far more easily targeted option when compared to another 60 dollar core expenditure

Or, you know, doing a book like Unchained (which they did) or running errata on the core class (there's like 50 pages of errata for the CRB already).

Archetypes aren't universally available nor universally balanced, and you have to know they exist to use them. The fact that they're not consistently balanced also means you may not know which ones are allowed at a given table, since while you and I may think the Fighter is horribly under par, there are many people out there (several of them in this very thread) who think the class is OP and definitely won't be allowing any archetypes that raise that bar into their games. Core issues should be addressed in core, or at least a hardcover specifically marketed as fixing the issues, like Pathfinder Unchained, not poorly bandaged across multiple books people may never know exist.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
Archetypes as band-aids is just bad design. I mean, that's all there is to it. Particularly when those band-aids interfere with the other band-aids or simply throw numbers at the issue hoping that's enough of a fix. Rogue was an under-performing class, so they fixed it. Monk struggled to participate in combat, so they made a monk that could fight. Barbarian didn't even have any problems but they thought it was too complicated for a base class, so they fixed it. Fighter just keeps getting band-aids piled on so it either breaks laterally without changing vertically, or requires a ton of work and dumpster diving just to bring to par. None of that is a positive thing. Requiring an archetype from a book you can't buy in print anymore is bad; so is requiring 6 books to make one decent character.

The alternative of course being to release a new core book, pissing off everyone who already owned one, at the largest possible expense to the company, with no guarantee of return on investment and a significant possibility of alienating current fans for economic reasons.

The core fighter is weak at anything but DPS and once you get into the mid levels not even great at that compared to other classes. I profoundly disagree that archetype fixes are a bad design. Archetype and splatbook fixes are a far cheaper, far more easily targeted option when compared to another 60 dollar core expenditure

I think when it comes to archtype fixes, there is a bit of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" involved. Obviously a full rewrite of the class to fix its problems is ideal, but a couple archetypes that address the issue is better than nothing.

The problem, as Ssalarn brings up, is that all the different fixes don't tend play well with each other. Fixing problem A locks you out of fixing Problem B. Lore Warden makes you better at skills and maneuvers, but you miss out on Advanced Armor Training and the expanded bravery options.


I think though that when you have a class with weaknesses A,B,C,D and you've ruled out a revision to the core rules or a whole new edition to just completely redo the class, so you're left to using archetypes as patches (like was done with the monk before Unchained), you're not going to roll out an archetype that fixes all of these weaknesses at once.

You're better off with an archetype that fixes A and B, an archetype that fixes C and D, an archetype that fixes A and C, etc. That way people can at least pick which version of the class in terms of strengths and weaknesses they were going to have. Which is why I was curious why there weren't complementary archetypes comparable to the Lore Warden. Sure, they would have completely invalidated the vanilla version of the class, but didn't we survive the same with the chained monk? After Ultimate Magic, nobody who knew what they were doing every played a monk with fewer than two archetypes.

Now that we've made things like Armor Training and Bravery are actually potentially useful, the way you finish fixing the fighter (unless you just want to unchain it) is by rolling out archetypes that would previously be considered strict upgrades, except they trade away some class features that are no longer trash.

I mean, now that weapon training is really, really good (the best thing the fighter gets, really) the sensate really isn't an upgrade anymore (particularly after the errata).


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I think though that when you have a class with weaknesses A,B,C,D and you've ruled out a revision to the core rules or a whole new edition to just completely redo the class, so you're left to using archetypes as patches (like was done with the monk before Unchained), you're not going to roll out an archetype that fixes all of these weaknesses at once.

You're better off with an archetype that fixes A and B, an archetype that fixes C and D, an archetype that fixes A and C, etc. That way people can at least pick which version of the class in terms of strengths and weaknesses they were going to have. Which is why I was curious why there weren't complementary archetypes comparable to the Lore Warden. Sure, they would have completely invalidated the vanilla version of the class, but didn't we survive the same with the chained monk? After Ultimate Magic, nobody who knew what they were doing every played a monk with fewer than two archetypes.

Now that we've made things like Armor Training and Bravery are actually potentially useful, the way you finish fixing the fighter (unless you just want to unchain it) is by rolling out archetypes that would previously be considered strict upgrades, except they trade away some class features that are no longer trash.

I mean, now that weapon training is really, really good (the best thing the fighter gets, really) the sensate really isn't an upgrade anymore (particularly after the errata).

Thats the big one, and frankly, spread out over multiple books and knowing they exist really only matters if you're allergic to using the pfsrd. Even then it tells you what book to get. I'm simply not convinced that the subset of players who are that concerned about power levels PLUS unaware of the internet resources for the game is that large a chunk of the playerbase.


Ryan Freire wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I think though that when you have a class with weaknesses A,B,C,D and you've ruled out a revision to the core rules or a whole new edition to just completely redo the class, so you're left to using archetypes as patches (like was done with the monk before Unchained), you're not going to roll out an archetype that fixes all of these weaknesses at once.

You're better off with an archetype that fixes A and B, an archetype that fixes C and D, an archetype that fixes A and C, etc. That way people can at least pick which version of the class in terms of strengths and weaknesses they were going to have. Which is why I was curious why there weren't complementary archetypes comparable to the Lore Warden. Sure, they would have completely invalidated the vanilla version of the class, but didn't we survive the same with the chained monk? After Ultimate Magic, nobody who knew what they were doing every played a monk with fewer than two archetypes.

Now that we've made things like Armor Training and Bravery are actually potentially useful, the way you finish fixing the fighter (unless you just want to unchain it) is by rolling out archetypes that would previously be considered strict upgrades, except they trade away some class features that are no longer trash.

I mean, now that weapon training is really, really good (the best thing the fighter gets, really) the sensate really isn't an upgrade anymore (particularly after the errata).

Thats the big one, and frankly, spread out over multiple books and knowing they exist really only matters if you're allergic to using the pfsrd. Even then it tells you what book to get. I'm simply not convinced that the subset of players who are that concerned about power levels PLUS unaware of the internet resources for the game is that large a chunk of the playerbase.

Yeah, multiple sources has never really been an issue for my games: even GMs and players who own the books often use pfsrd just because an online search is faster and easier, and linking the spell's page is a lot easier than saying "It's on page 237 of Ultimate Magic."

My only objection is the previously cited clunky rules patch nature of the fixes. It's better than nothing, but in a perfect world we'd get a proper revamp that tied all the fixes together smoothly.


Ssalarn wrote:
As I said in the text that you misquoted and apparently didn't read, the Fighters only native advantages are with weapon-based maneuvers and being able to potentially have more; he has the same mathematical limits as everyone else, and will generally swing under the curve since classes like the Barbarian and Ranger don't have to pay feat taxes to break away from a single weapon or apply their bonuses to non-weapon-based checks (not to mention that their bonuses usually scale higher and cheaper).

So, they're only good at trip, drag, reposition, disarm, sunder, and dirty trick where applicable. I'm not sure how that's a stinging deficit for using combat maneuvers in general, especially since weapon-based maneuvers are preferable for all classes, due to weapon bonuses. They'll 'swing under the curve' and 'have the same mathematical limit as everyone else' on one of the 5-6 weapon maneuvers that they can throw all their features behind because... why exactly? Because they won't be using their specialized weapon-type?

Ssalarn wrote:
More than that, being able to dump over half your class features into being able to do one trick with the same or lower chance of success as another class isn't a selling point, it's an indictment. If you backed up from the tree a bit and looked at the forest, you might see that.

Except that the Fighter is spending none of their class features to do that 'one trick' if they use their normal feat progression to do it, which is what the 'other class' would typically have to do. The fact that they can spend some of their bonus feats to do so is arguably an asset.

Anyhow, I don't see how spending some bonus feats on a combat maneuver chain would qualify as "dumping over half your class features" into it. The 'Training' features on a Fighter - especially Weapon Training and Advanced Weapon Training - are obviously major class assets.

Even for a simple combat base-line with Core Fighter, by level 9 they can add +3 to attack and +4 to damage with just training and two exclusive feats. Core Barbarian Rage hits +3 attack and +3-5 damage by 11.


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BadBird wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
As I said in the text that you misquoted and apparently didn't read, the Fighters only native advantages are with weapon-based maneuvers and being able to potentially have more; he has the same mathematical limits as everyone else, and will generally swing under the curve since classes like the Barbarian and Ranger don't have to pay feat taxes to break away from a single weapon or apply their bonuses to non-weapon-based checks (not to mention that their bonuses usually scale higher and cheaper).
So, they're only good at trip, drag, reposition, disarm, sunder, and dirty trick where applicable. I'm not sure how that's a stinging deficit for using combat maneuvers in general, especially since weapon-based maneuvers are preferable for all classes, due to weapon bonuses. They'll 'swing under the curve' and 'have the same mathematical limit as everyone else' on one of the 5-6 weapon maneuvers that they can throw all their features behind because... why exactly? Because they won't be using their specialized weapon-type?

That's the thing. Baseline fighters get bonuses to their attack (and thus combat maneuver) bonuses, but so does every other martial class. Even if those limits don't come up all that often they're still limits on the maneuver. Limits that things like studied target, favored enemy, and strength surge don't have to deal with. And all those abilities put out equal or better numbers compared to weapon training.

BadBird wrote:
Even for a simple combat base-line with Core Fighter, by level 9 they can add +3 to attack and +4 to damage with just training and two exclusive feats. Core Barbarian Rage hits +3 attack and +3-5 damage by 11.

Holy shifting goalposts, Batman!

I don't think a +1 to attack and +2 damage advantage for two levels is much to brag about. Certainly not enough to offset the massive utility of the rage powers the Barbarian's getting instead of bonus feats going into small numerical bonuses. Pounce at level 10 laughs at the fighter's puny +1 advantage.


I'd say that Brawlers are the best class at combat maneuvers because they can choose to have the combat maneuver feats in those combats where they'll be most helpful.


Ventnor wrote:
I'd say that Brawlers are the best class at combat maneuvers because they can choose to have the combat maneuver feats in those combats where they'll be most helpful.

The big thing about lore warden is their ability to net a CMB of BAB + STR + weapon to hit mods + 12 on combat maneuver checks. Very few other classes get to have that kind of guarantee on success.


Ryan Freire wrote:
Ventnor wrote:
I'd say that Brawlers are the best class at combat maneuvers because they can choose to have the combat maneuver feats in those combats where they'll be most helpful.
The big thing about lore warden is their ability to net a CMB of BAB + STR + weapon to hit mods + 12 on combat maneuver checks. Very few other classes get to have that kind of guarantee on success.

Yeah, there's only two ways I can think of to get numbers better than that, and both of them have limits/require spending resources.

A ranger against a maxed favored enemy who's their quarry can hit +14 (+10 for favored enemy, +4 for Improved Quarry). But that requires either going up against your one big FE or spending a spell slot, and Quarry has lots of restrictions.

Barbarians have Strength Surge, which tops out at +20 since it's barb level to CMB. However, that's a 1/rage ability so you get limited use out of it until you can rage cycle.


Truthfully if you go two handed weapon/power attack fighting style lore warden also has plenty of feats to spend on multiple maneuver types too. Realistically its the kicker from Greater<maneuver> you want anyway.


In all fairness, it's not exactly difficult to rage cycle...

Especially if you have Heart of the Fields, and can shrug off the first exhaustion effect that day. Take two, sleep for eight hours, you're ready the next morning.


With how CMD scales on higher level monsters, you legitimately do need something like the Lore Warden's scaling bonus to CMB on top of every single feat and other mod you can stack. This is a basic system problem (CMD scales too fast) but if you want Maneuvers to be viable, you need something *like* the Lore Warden to exist.

There should be a fighter archetype that's really good at combat maneuvers; the fact that the vanilla fighter is generally pretty poor at combat maneuvers is frankly kinda absurd.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

With how CMD scales on higher level monsters, you legitimately do need something like the Lore Warden's scaling bonus to CMB on top of every single feat and other mod you can stack. This is a basic system problem (CMD scales too fast) but if you want Maneuvers to be viable, you need something *like* the Lore Warden to exist.

There should be a fighter archetype that's really good at combat maneuvers; the fact that the vanilla fighter is generally pretty poor at combat maneuvers is frankly kinda absurd.

I would definitely be happier if any potential rework of it made that the focus of the class.


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Having come across this a few years back, I still find it prevalent today. Even thought it talks specifically about the 3.5 Fighter, it's just as relevant to Pathfinder's version. Enjoy

3.5 Fighter Analysis

Dark Archive

Blackwaltzomega wrote:
The more I hear about adventure path design,

Well, okay okay okaaaay, gotta reply to this part in particular, thats just sounds like confirmation bias to me :D Ya know, the thing where you have particular opinion and believe opinions that support that opinion

I mean, at least read through one of them before commenting on AP design please xD

That being said, yeah like it was said before, they are designed for 4 point buy 15 unoptimized parties. I think its common sense that any optimized party needs to have campaign customized them, optimized pathfinder's math breaks hard so designing for it is ridicolous. I mean, the way system works, challenge ratings means nothing for optimized parties. Thats why my group prefers to do it more casually than optimizing much. I mean, they do somewhat plan ahead and such, but as far as I know, they just don't bother with effort that optimization needs. They might also just avoid optimized choices on purpose to keep difficulty right, but I think its just case that not everyone wants to do tons of calculating and planning in their hobbies.

Like, just example of what unoptimized but not "bad"(as in unable to play the AP at all due to getting far enough that they can't keep up with high level monsters) party is about like:

putting it in spoiler tag to not distract too much from thread:
half-elf fighter/ranger still has most kills in the campaign, but by now at high levels they will need the cleric's healing to keep fighter up since while he does the usual fighter's thing of hitting hard and having a lot of ac, 37 ac won't help when monsters start having +30 to attacks, cleric also is the major buffer of the party and fighter benefits from the buffs a lot, druid's job, besides additional buffing, is mostly area control and sorcerer/dragon disciple is just scary, when enemies don't happen to be immune to fire and cold since he happened to pick most common energy resistances for his spells and breath. Also the sorcerer buffs the party as well with spell resistance spell. So yeah, the party is basically about buffing the fighter while druid & sorcerer are capable of doing massive damage or area control as well, cleric is mostly support who doesn't do much of damage but helps them go multiple encounters per day.

...Yeah, this party tends to finish dungeons during one go because they don't want to go back to rest until they ''have'' to <_< They've never had full resources in boss battles, they do save resources specifically for them though.

That being said, Iron Gods is apparently hardcore enough that unoptimized 6 players party with rolled stats ranging from point buy 15 to 23 have had plenty of challenging time : D


Chengar Qordath wrote:
BadBird wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
As I said in the text that you misquoted and apparently didn't read, the Fighters only native advantages are with weapon-based maneuvers and being able to potentially have more; he has the same mathematical limits as everyone else, and will generally swing under the curve since classes like the Barbarian and Ranger don't have to pay feat taxes to break away from a single weapon or apply their bonuses to non-weapon-based checks (not to mention that their bonuses usually scale higher and cheaper).
So, they're only good at trip, drag, reposition, disarm, sunder, and dirty trick where applicable. I'm not sure how that's a stinging deficit for using combat maneuvers in general, especially since weapon-based maneuvers are preferable for all classes, due to weapon bonuses. They'll 'swing under the curve' and 'have the same mathematical limit as everyone else' on one of the 5-6 weapon maneuvers that they can throw all their features behind because... why exactly? Because they won't be using their specialized weapon-type?
That's the thing. Baseline fighters get bonuses to their attack (and thus combat maneuver) bonuses, but so does every other martial class. Even if those limits don't come up all that often they're still limits on the maneuver. Limits that things like studied target, favored enemy, and strength surge don't have to deal with. And all those abilities put out equal or better numbers compared to weapon training.

So for combat maneuvers, it's better to be a Slayer and get a Studied Target bonus of +3 at level 10... and that's it? It isn't better to be a Fighter at level 10 with +4 from Weapon Training and GoD, +1 from Greater Focus and then maybe +2 from Spirit Warrior Bane and/or +2 from Mutation Warrior? Or it's better to be a Ranger who can put out a +6 at level 10 if they use Instant Enemy, compared to a Fighter who's putting out +4+1 and then maybe another +2/+2 depending on options?

And all of this after the best CMB Fighter archetype option is off-limits because {reasons}, but the single-best-option abilities of other classes keep coming up over and over again?

Chengar Qordath wrote:

Holy shifting goalposts, Batman!

I don't think a +1 to attack and +2 damage advantage for two levels is much to brag about. Certainly not enough to offset the massive utility of the rage powers the Barbarian's getting instead of bonus feats going into small numerical bonuses. Pounce at level 10 laughs at the fighter's puny +1 advantage.

Except that I was simply talking about Core characters and a baseline for easy combat bonuses, nothing more. The point was in the context of "hey, the Fighter's bonus feats aren't their only combat bonus, and when you stack it all up Fighters can really fight!"

Anyways, is every martial character's existence to be judged against ragepounce? And if so, does the fact that a Fighter can pick up the Outslug chain with bonus feats by the same point somehow not count? With all of the feat options out there, and all the varied martial classes, is 6 bonus feats by level 10 plus major combat buffs and interesting abilities not somehow a worthy option as well?

...

I think the problem with combat maneuvers, from a design perspective, is "How easy should it be to trip/blind/disarm/whatever the CR+2 boss-monster by sacrificing a single attack?"

Assume that the build I posted isn't a Lore Warden, but is just a plain Fighter 12 with a couple more points of CMB from somewhat better optimization (not including Spirit Warrior or Mutation Warrior); they've still got the ability to full attack a target 25ft. away without getting close to it, and sacrifice a single attack out of many to drop a +31+1d6 CMB blind. A CR14 Adult Red Dragon is very likely to get blinded. Go even farther and say it's just a pure Fighter with no spirit surge ability; they're still going blind a 39CMB Dragon quite often - and again, for nothing more than a single sacrificed attack.

I'm not saying that there shouldn't ever be better CMB, but from a GM perspective, getting a major boss f'd up repeatedly at the cost of a Quick maneuver feat is pretty substantial as it is.


The other day I was trying to think of a bunch of cool things to gift to Fighters at higher levels. I'm going to spit ball these ideas and let me know what you think of the result:

- What if you made the Fighter automatically proficient with every single exotic weapon at say, level 9?
- Allow the fighter to retrain Proficiency feats from level 1, maybe they don't want tower shields and heavy armour, let them retrain them to 2 other feats.
- Have more fighter specific feats for lower levels
- Have weapon focus and weapon specialization apply to weapon groups, not just single weapons.
- Make Bravery more interesting (?) Maybe have it apply to some skills like intimidate or diplomacy in the middle of battle. (Is there a feat already for this maybe?)

I kicked around a few ideas but I found that they really turned the Fighter into a '1 level dip' class and nothing else.

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