A look at small bonus snowballing


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So the concept of these builds exists purely for the purpose of showing off the exponential effect of having a large pool of stacking bonuses available for use, but the result is still pretty absurd even though these builds really aren't that well optimized.

Halfling Sling Thrower:

This concept cheats slightly to incorporate the small bonuses from the halfling sling feats, instead of throwing sling bullets, it just throws the slings with Throw Anything.

Weapon Focus +1 Atk
Weapon Spec +1 Atk
Greater Focus +2 Dmg
Greater Spec +2 Dmg
Point Blank Shot +1 Atk & Dmg
Power Attack -5 Atk +10 Dmg
Martial Focus +1 Dmg
Halfling Slinger +1 Atk
Large Target +1 or more Dmg
Small +1 Atk
Weapon Training +5 Atk & Dmg
Trained Throw +7 Dmg
Focsed Weapon (2d6 base dmg)
Dueling Gloves +2 Atk & Dmg
Weapon +5 Atk & Dmg

+12 Atk, +44 dmg before we even get to stats

20 pt buy

Str 26 (+8)
Dex 30 (+10)
Con 14
Int 7
Wis 10
Cha 16

Str +2
Dex +2
Book of +5 Dex
Book of +5 Str
Belt of Str & Dex +6

+23 Atk, +53 Dmg, okay, that's pretty good, but we haven't finished yet, now on to buffs

Leadership (Bard 7 / wiz 1 / Cleric 10 /w Master & Grandmaster Performer)
Flagbearer + Banner of the Ancient Kings & Inspire Courage (+7 Atk & Dmg)
Weapon of Awe (+2 Dmg)
Haste (+1 Atk)
Share Spells Divine Power (/w MKnack Cleric & Fate's Favored on fighter) +5 Atk & Dmg

+36 Atk, +65 Dmg

Oh, I almost forgot, now add BAB for +56/+56/+51/+46/+41 throwing loaded slings at people with 2d6+65 to damage per hit

Tiny Tower Specialist:

this build is a Tower Shield Specialist, which vastly increases max dex for both armor and shield and removes penalties associated with tower shields.

Shield Focus +1 AC
Greater Shield Focus +1 AC
Dodge +1 AC
Armor Focus +1 AC
Combat Expertise +5 AC
Defender of the Society +1 AC
Gathlain +1 AC Small, +1 AC Natural
+5 Mithral Heavy Armor +14 AC
+5 Mithral Tower Shield +9 AC
Armor Specialization +5 AC
Ioun Stone +1 AC
Ring of Protection +5 AC

46 AC

20 pt buy

Str 16
Dex 26 (+8)
Con 12
Int 7
Wis 10
Cha 15

Belt of Dex +6
Dex +4

54 AC

Leadership (Dragon Herald 18 Master/Grandmaster Performer)

Haste +1 AC
Diplomatic Protection +11 AC
Shadowbard Dirge of Doom -2 to hit you
Share Spells Dance of a Hundred Cuts +5 AC

73 Effective AC

So those are just two examples of how pathfinder can become a game of layering stacking bonuses as much as possible. While these two builds aren't really playable, you can see the thought process that goes into creating any other character with an absurdly high stat in them. Other builds are far more practical, but those tiny bonuses are still there, adding up and up and up until suddenly you have an unhittable monster that deals hundreds of damage, or has a spell or crowd control ability save DC of 46.

I'm beginning to think this might be a serious problem lurking under the hood of the basic pathfinder game mechanics, and I'm curious if others feel the same way

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What is your complaint exactly?

How do you *THINK* it should be?

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So the concept of this study is purely for the purpose of showing off the exponential effect of drinking a lot of water.

The average human needs 8 glasses of water a day, BUT, and hear me out, if you only need 8 a day, imagine what you could do if you optimize it. You can drink a glass of water ever 26.2 seconds. Lets round to 30 for simplicity.

30 seconds for one glass
2 glasses per minute
2880 glasses per day

So that's just one example of how a human choice can become a game of layering a single thing to an absurd degree. While this "build" isn't really playable -- it'd kill you -- you can see the thought process that goes into some of the everyday decisions we make as humans to support our biology.

I'm beginning to think this might be a serious problem lurking under the hood of basic human biology, and I'm curious if others feel the same way.

Grand Lodge

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That is why the games has multiple defense. I bet neither build likes chains of light, possession, dominate person much.

Also, you don't really prove much of a point when you use one of the most commonly band or nerfed feats in the game, leadership.

I have played pathfinder a fair bit and I have come to the conclusion problem players will create problem games inside or outside of the rules. It is the people that make the builds that will casue issues. That said builds like this are fine. I have seen these characters and their glaring weaknesses.

Scarab Sages

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The sling thrower build doesn't work for many reasons, but mainly because when you throw a sling it's an improvised weapon, and doesn't qualify for weapon focus or any feats that require slings, nor is it in any weapon group, so weapon training and trained throw and anything that requires weapon training shuts down too.

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You need to remember that what you consider a problem is considered the heights of the game for a great many of the denizens of these forums. Note the defensiveness and hostility inherent in the replies here. It is all preferences, they aren't any more right than you are, the trick is finding people who share your preferences.

Sovereign Court

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Couple of things for the first build:
Improvised weapon != Actual weapon, but that was already mentioned.
Weapon Spec +1 Atk and Greater Focus +2 Dmg are reversed
Power Attack -5 Atk +10 Dmg doesn't apply to thrown attacks
"Power attack" can be replaced with deadly aim so it's a wash. But it would be -6 attack and +12 damage; it starts at -1/+2 at 1 BAB, and increases at 4/8/12/16/20 (assuming this is a 20 build).
Your damage and attack seems good, going by the bench pressing guide. A lvl 20 average monster should have 370 hp and an AC around 36. As a "HP damage character" you should expect to have an EDV (estimated damage value, takes hit chance into account) of around 185.
However, this is not counting the contribution of other party members, their buffs on you are their contribution. So you were sitting at +42(subbing in correct value for deadly aim) and 2d6+55 damage. <Math> Your EDV is only 218.085 counting crit chance (you made no mention so I assumed no improved crit). So only about 18% above expected.
Also, do you have like a bunch of these slings to throw? Or did you take Ricochet Toss and didn't mention it... Frankly I see almost no point in throwing the slings, why not just throw daggers and save jumping through the hoops for something else.

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A level 18 character who stacks lots of little bonuses to do 350 damage a round is a (potential) problem. But that can be 'fixed' by adding more enemies, or making enemies harder to attack in the first place. A character with 76 AC is a problem, but not to monsters who target Will saves.

At the same time we're dealing with level 18 casters who can do practically anything you can imagine, and that's a lot harder to deal with.

Basically, game balance falls apart a bit in high-level play. If it bothers you, play at lower levels, or play something else.

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Alternately, you can agree, That for This Particular Game, you can forego designing the characters to such an exaggerated standard. It is all about preferences after all.

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

While the opening post here isn't a particularly compelling argument, there still are a couple of problems with excessive small bonuses:

  • If they're not "always on" they're a pain to consider and add each time. At 10th level +, you're always doing a pile of IF/THEN statements and math whenever you attack. For example, I can shoot a single arrow as a ranger with a base +15 to hit and +10 to damage, lets say. Now I have to consider and do the math for: Is it a favored enemy? Does point blank shot apply? I need to subtract for Rapid Shot? Lets add in Deadly Aim! Oh, I have haste, lets add that in! Also, bless, or did that drop off already? Did the bard activate inspire courage? Oh and I have good hope right now! etc etc... And the DM also has to consider the effect of debuffs on the enemy... are they sickened, did the unchained rogue debilitate them, did they charge last turn, etc. It all piles together to make characters very effective, but it can be a nightmare to keep track of!

  • There are a lot of printed options, and veteran players have found how to stack as many as possible. The disparity on DPR between a novice player and a veteran is mind boggling.

    Other systems have tried to simplify this down, to mixed success. If these problems are a dealbreaker for you, you can try those other systems.

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    The biggest problem I see with your builds is taking Leadership and building a companion to buff you in the best possible way.

    Drop those parts of the builds and your builds become pretty average again.

    Which again just demonstrates why...
    A) You shouldn't allow Leadership
    B) The GM should build the NPC if they do allow it (and none of the super-optimized perfectly built to support the player BS).

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