Can we talk about how the Cavalier is just better than the Fighter?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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First, Cavaliers have a better skill list than the fighter while getting more skill points and bonuses on top of that to various skills. In addition, orders give you a couple more class skills.

Same saves? Well not really, a Human Cavalier gets a +7 bonus to fear, charm, and compulsions saves or you know most will saves.

Well surely fighters can duke it out better than Cavaliers? Well, not always. Plenty of orders give to-hit bonuses with the challenge and the challenge bonus to damage is so large that a Cavalier can use a shield, meaning their AC and Damage can outpace Fighters against the foes where that extra damage is needed and all of that is before the...

MOUNT! A silly horse is pretty useless at high levels, but for a couple of feats (monstrous mount), you can upgrade that to a pouncing griffon and most of your mounted features work with just about anything including wildshaping druids, summons, or even drakes you train. Your human charge bonus to-hit goes up to +11 and you do triple-quadruple damage with that attack.

In areas where large size creatures can roam, cavaliers can be highly mobile, flying damage bringers than can also give feats to allies and let them reroll saves once per day.

Even with all the new stuff fighter's have now, a comparable cavalier is just easier to build and does more in a fight to the enemy and to support allies than the fighter can.

It seems like fighter's only upsides is being more compact and tower shield prof.


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fighter's big draw/niche has always been the "all day" aspect. As long as he can swing he does the same on the first fight as the 20th fight of a day. Thus while challenge is a bigger buff, it's limited and by being limited it's not the point that the fighter is trying to reach. Limited abilities put you higher than the fighter, but the fighter should be lots better when you're not using those abilities.

Also with the new advanced weapon/armor training they can get good saves too.

Not denying that cavalier is a pretty solid base and better than the base fighter though.


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Chess Pwn wrote:

fighter's big draw/niche has always been the "all day" aspect. As long as he can swing he does the same on the first fight as the 20th fight of a day. Thus while challenge is a bigger buff, it's limited and by being limited it's not the point that the fighter is trying to reach. Limited abilities put you higher than the fighter, but the fighter should be lots better when you're not using those abilities.

Also with the new advanced weapon/armor training they can get good saves too.

Not denying that cavalier is a pretty solid base and better than the base fighter though.

Idk if the fighter even has the all-day advantage once the mount comes into play.

The cavalier is charging for triple damage on what is probably (but does not have to be) a one handed lance attack. Their griffon can pounce for pretty solid damage as well. And both of them get the banner bonus to-hit. Whatever mook they just wandered into is mince meat.

Where the fighter surpasses the cavalier is only if the cavalier is both not on their mount and not challenging the foe. And that is only in terms of damage, not skills or party support.

EDIT: I always thought the big draw of the Fighter was mundane man, but the cavalier just does that better.


Mounts require reasonable gear investment so that they don't die by the truckload. Movement in non-standard terrain is an issue, especially for Large quadruped mounts (hooved or otherwise). Until the cavalier invests in being able to pocket their ride, the mount is a drain on the group's resources.

Having said all of that ... it's a heck of a lot of fun to skewer something in the face with 15' of sharpened steel astride a thundering destrier ... although the Fighter can do that too, and better. They suffer from squishy mount syndrome, but then ... hrm ...


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Adept is better than fighter, so "better than fighter" is hardly a bad thing.


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The Mad Comrade wrote:

Mounts require reasonable gear investment so that they don't die by the truckload. Movement in non-standard terrain is an issue, especially for Large quadruped mounts (hooved or otherwise). Until the cavalier invests in being able to pocket their ride, the mount is a drain on the group's resources.

Having said all of that ... it's a heck of a lot of fun to skewer something in the face with 15' of sharpened steel astride a thundering destrier ... although the Fighter can do that too, and better. They suffer from squishy mount syndrome, but then ... hrm ...

Or it flies. Like with a griffon via monstrous mount.

As for AC.

Dex starts at 15 and increases by 6 from the table. Nat AC starts at +6 and increases by 12. Cavaliers mounts start with light armor prof.

With a +5 mithral chain shirt barding, +5 cloak, +5 mighty fist, and +6 str/con saddle that's 241k gold out of 880 to yield:

39 AC (9 base + 9 armor + 5 dex + 18 nat - 2 charge)

+34 to hit (12 str + 12 bab + 5 enh - 5 PA + 9 morale on pounce -1 size + 2 charge)

For three 1d6 + 27 (12 str + 12 PA + 5 ench) natural attacks.

The other 3/4ths of your gear go on the main character.


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Let's see, if we were dealing with a core fighter, I might be inclined to agree but about half the class features of a Cavalier can be approximated to varying degrees by archetypes and feats.

With Advanced Weapon and Armor Training, a fighter can conceivably rack up an approximation of all good saves or pad out their skills very nicely.

At level 10 the Cavalier gets limited use +10 to damage, and a +4 bonus that can be applied to a wide number of things depending on their Order (Attacks while on mount, ally's attacks, CMB, CMD, etc). At level 10 a Fighter with the feats and Weapon Training gets a +4 to attacks and +4 to damage. Strictly on damage, yes the Cavalier pulls ahead but only if you assume a short adventuring day and only on a single target and any GM worth their weight in salt and broken dreams will not allow the short adventuring day and will be throwing multiple threats at the party during boss fights to prevent the classic action economy beatdown.

As for armor... Hahaha, no. While the Cavalier is more mobile in armor while mounted, that assumes that he will have the freedom to use his mount to haul his heavy butt around. Once again, many GMs will find ways to make the mount unfeasible and a lot of APs take players places where a mount is not an option. Fighters get the most out their armor in terms of raw numbers.

Speaking of mounts, for a three feat investment, a fighter can have an animal companion and can be just as good with it if you pick the right archetype. Fighter is the only class that can afford to burn three feats on such things. Regardless, animal companions are not quite the resource people seem to assume and definitely don't scale well to high level play.

Tactician archetype helps itself to the teamwork abilities, as does Seasoned Commander. Seasoned Commander might even do it better as they get a version of Bardic Performance but I have not crunched the numbers.

There are some interesting abilities afforded by the Cavalier's Orders and you'd be hard-pressed to replicate all that the Cavalier does in a single Fighter. Then again, there are options open to a Fighter that you never really see in Cavaliers too.

The point is... Don't discount a Fighter. I'll not say they're better than Cavalier but before Vigilante came out, they were one of the more modular classes and with the new material released, they can be real contenders.


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Rhedyn wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:

Mounts require reasonable gear investment so that they don't die by the truckload. Movement in non-standard terrain is an issue, especially for Large quadruped mounts (hooved or otherwise). Until the cavalier invests in being able to pocket their ride, the mount is a drain on the group's resources.

Having said all of that ... it's a heck of a lot of fun to skewer something in the face with 15' of sharpened steel astride a thundering destrier ... although the Fighter can do that too, and better. They suffer from squishy mount syndrome, but then ... hrm ...

Or it flies. Like with a griffon via monstrous mount.

Except in dungeons with 5' hallways

Also, AC 39 at level 20? I guess things will miss the mount on their last attack. Natural attacks will be an issue, though. CR 20 beasties like dragons will hit on a 4+.


Quantum Steve wrote:
Rhedyn wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:

Mounts require reasonable gear investment so that they don't die by the truckload. Movement in non-standard terrain is an issue, especially for Large quadruped mounts (hooved or otherwise). Until the cavalier invests in being able to pocket their ride, the mount is a drain on the group's resources.

Having said all of that ... it's a heck of a lot of fun to skewer something in the face with 15' of sharpened steel astride a thundering destrier ... although the Fighter can do that too, and better. They suffer from squishy mount syndrome, but then ... hrm ...

Or it flies. Like with a griffon via monstrous mount.

Except in dungeons with 5' hallways

Also, AC 39 at level 20? I guess things will miss the mount on their last attack. Natural attacks will be an issue, though. CR 20 beasties like dragons will hit on a 4+.

Those are the minimum stats you can expect to have. That doesn't account or buffs or taking heavy barding or other defensive feats.

I ran through a few APs and by the levels the fighter and fighter likes normally begin to lag, everything you fight is large size or bigger in size appropriate rooms.


Master Han Del of the Web wrote:

Let's see, if we were dealing with a core fighter, I might be inclined to agree but about half the class features of a Cavalier can be approximated to varying degrees by archetypes and feats.

With Advanced Weapon and Armor Training, a fighter can conceivably rack up an approximation of all good saves or pad out their skills very nicely.

At level 10 the Cavalier gets limited use +10 to damage, and a +4 bonus that can be applied to a wide number of things depending on their Order (Attacks while on mount, ally's attacks, CMB, CMD, etc). At level 10 a Fighter with the feats and Weapon Training gets a +4 to attacks and +4 to damage. Strictly on damage, yes the Cavalier pulls ahead but only if you assume a short adventuring day and only on a single target and any GM worth their weight in salt and broken dreams will not allow the short adventuring day and will be throwing multiple threats at the party during boss fights to prevent the classic action economy beatdown.

As for armor... Hahaha, no. While the Cavalier is more mobile in armor while mounted, that assumes that he will have the freedom to use his mount to haul his heavy butt around. Once again, many GMs will find ways to make the mount unfeasible and a lot of APs take players places where a mount is not an option. Fighters get the most out their armor in terms of raw numbers.

Speaking of mounts, for a three feat investment, a fighter can have an animal companion and can be just as good with it if you pick the right archetype. Fighter is the only class that can afford to burn three feats on such things. Regardless, animal companions are not quite the resource people seem to assume and definitely don't scale well to high level play.

Tactician archetype helps itself to the teamwork abilities, as does Seasoned Commander. Seasoned Commander might even do it better as they get a version of Bardic Performance but I have not crunched the numbers.

There are some interesting abilities afforded by the Cavalier's Orders and you'd be hard-pressed to replicate all that the Cavalier does in a single Fighter. Then again, there are options open to a Fighter that you never really see in Cavaliers too.

The point is... Don't discount a Fighter. I'll not say they're better than Cavalier but before Vigilante came out, they were one of the more modular classes and with the new material released, they can be real contenders.

I wouldn't assume core-fighter. I am talking about the post splat fighter.

Sure fighters CAN get things that let them keep up in some areas, but unless the Cavalier can't use his mount, the fighter is basically inferior. Even without the mount much of what a splat fighter gains, the cavalier can match or already has as a base ability.

Sure fighters can get mounts but they can't boost their mounts to-hit on pounces with the Cavalier's banner ability. Some fighter's can but then they loose out on what the Weapon and Armor handbooks are suppose to be giving them.

The fighter only gets 8 bonus feats over the cavalier and much of those are spent enhancing class features with the advance armor and weapon training options/feats

Then you have to take into account that a lot of what the Fighter is grabbing to catch up is things the cavalier gets earlier and for free.

As for mount limitations. You talk about the GM finding ways to take it away. Why would he do that unless the feature/combo was so strong that it was messing up his table? If the GM is having to take the same approach with you as he does casters then you have already out-paced any iteration of fighter.
As for cramped spaces, some Cavalier abilities actually improve in this situation. Teamwork feats tend to work better when the fighting is cramped and many order abilities are more usable when you aren't zipping around the battlefield leaving bloody mist in your wake.
Even still, most the APs I have played we have someone that is either Large size most of the time or has a large companion. Size constraints tend to be a low level problem where Full BAB and armor is all the class feature you need for non-challenge worthy foes.


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You gotta live long enough to get to 20th, which is a poor baseline of comparison.

Since your lance outreaches your mount, your mount's natural attacks are a non-issue. Granted, that's presuming one is capitalizing on the massive amounts of damage one can deal via lance using Supreme Charge.

The monstrous griffon mount's fly speed with a rider is all of ... 70' with haste, 40' without it regardless of encumbrance far as I can tell. Frankly, you're better off forgoing the 100,000 gp being blown on the amulet of mighty fists and strapping some awesome horseshoes onto a camel or horse.

Ah, no, that won't work, not at 20th level it won't. And your mount is still Large which won't go everywhere the Cavalier can. 5' passageways and portals, for example.

A 20th level anyone with a CL 14th phantom steed in-a-can (i.e. wand or wondrous item) has a much higher fly speed without haste at significantly less out-of-pocket expense. Super-cheap is a headband of vast intelligence +2 (Use Magic Device) for 4k and the wand at another 31,500 gp. Fly 100' (perfect) for 14 hours at a clip. The deluxe package is a slotless command word item (say, stirrups), those'd run about 151,200 gp. Now your flying mount isn't much for conversation, but it can't be permanently killed off, doesn't eat, doesn't poop in the tent and doesn't hog up 2 creatures' worth of teleportation capacity. Not so much an issue at 20th - but a significant issue at the mid-levels, which was part of the mobility point.

Edit: in the end, the answer really is "your mileage may vary". Both classes have their strengths and weaknesses. Both are fun to play. *shrugs* :)


The Mad Comrade wrote:

You gotta live long enough to get to 20th, which is a poor baseline of comparison.

Since your lance outreaches your mount, your mount's natural attacks are a non-issue. Granted, that's presuming one is capitalizing on the massive amounts of damage one can deal via lance using Supreme Charge.

The monstrous griffon mount's fly speed with a rider is all of ... 70' with haste, 40' without it regardless of encumbrance far as I can tell. Frankly, you're better off forgoing the 100,000 gp being blown on the amulet of mighty fists and strapping some awesome horseshoes onto a camel or horse.

Ah, no, that won't work, not at 20th level it won't. And your mount is still Large which won't go everywhere the Cavalier can. 5' passageways and portals, for example.

A 20th level anyone with a CL 14th phantom steed in-a-can (i.e. wand or wondrous item) has a much higher fly speed without haste at significantly less out-of-pocket expense. Super-cheap is a headband of vast intelligence +2 (Use Magic Device) for 4k and the wand at another 31,500 gp. Fly 100' (perfect) for 14 hours at a clip. The deluxe package is a slotless command word item (say, stirrups), those'd run about 151,200 gp. Now your flying mount isn't much for conversation, but it can't be permanently killed off, doesn't eat, doesn't poop in the tent and doesn't hog up 2 creatures' worth of teleportation capacity. Not so much an issue at 20th - but a significant issue at the mid-levels, which was part of the mobility point.

I wouldn't say your lance attack negates pounce. Your mount is pouncing, you take the charge actions, you both hit at different times.

Even if that is considered wrong, you do have ride by attack and can still move after you attack, which still lets the mount finish it's charge.

The trickier question is if you can ride-by-lance and pounce then move away on the straight line.

And then their is mount skirmisher, which leads to the question if you can lance charge fullattack with that feat.

The mount is infinitely faster than the 0ft fly speed fighter and your mount can still have the fly spell cast on it, it just doesn't need it like the fighter does. The phantom steed is too squishy.


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Less cash cost has its own appeal. Combine wings of flying with a cloak of resistance is less expensive and gives infinite, slightly faster, more maneuverable flight than the griffon mount.

Pounce explicitly ends the mount's charge, although it would seem to combine with it's rider's spirited charge. If you want to keep moving after skewering, your mount does not get to pounce.

An interesting exercise to be sure.


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The problem is not necessarily that the build is too powerful so much as it is highly situational. Clever enemies will quite quickly see how to limit the effectiveness of a Cavalier and exploit that. You're not always going to be in situations where everything lines up for your specific build and Cavalier has less wiggle room because of how specialized it is and the need to ration their limited use abilities. It is easy to render half of the class features non-functional. Your declaration assumes all combat happens in the perfect plane of theorycrafting where two stat-blocks bash into each other without regard for tactics and other advantages.

The Cavalier build you're holding up as the ultimate replacement for Fighters has two niches: support combatant and mounted combat.
Fighter has a bunch of potential niches in combat depending on how you specialize or choose not to.

My stance is not that a Fighter can entirely replace a Cavalier point for point, but that they can fill many of the same roles and be more flexible to boot. While Fighters were often decried as being remarkably specialized for what was supposed to be the combat generalist class, they've only had their horizons expanded. I still maintain Fighter is not 'obsolete'.


Master Han Del of the Web wrote:

The problem is not necessarily that the build is too powerful so much as it is highly situational. Clever enemies will quite quickly see how to limit the effectiveness of a Cavalier and exploit that. You're not always going to be in situations where everything lines up for your specific build and Cavalier has less wiggle room because of how specialized it is and the need to ration their limited use abilities. It is easy to render half of the class features non-functional. Your declaration assumes all combat happens in the perfect plane of theorycrafting where two stat-blocks bash into each other without regard for tactics and other advantages.

The Cavalier build you're holding up as the ultimate replacement for Fighters has two niches: support combatant and mounted combat.
Fighter has a bunch of potential niches in combat depending on how you specialize or choose not to.

My stance is not that a Fighter can entirely replace a Cavalier point for point, but that they can fill many of the same roles and be more flexible to boot. While Fighters were often decried as being remarkably specialized for what was supposed to be the combat generalist class, they've only had their horizons expanded. I still maintain Fighter is not 'obsolete'.

I have yet to actually propose a build beyond baseline cavalier abilities. It depends on the order, but I see the cavalier as the effective tank (Order of the Shield). Which means, you attack me or I destroy you.

The more actions the enemy uses to delay or the negate the cavalier, the more the cavalier is winning.

Fighters sadly must be in full attack range to do good damage while the Cavalier must be in a cramp space and not in full attack range to do poor damage.

Also Fighter uses master armorer to enhance his armor the flying enchantment (flat cost) multiple times to have access to flight rather than relying on optional combination item rules. Let's dispel the fiction that I haven't been trying to make the fighter work. The Cavalier just does it better and easier across more levels than the fighter can manage AND provides unique bonuses to the team. Even downtime benefits like training party mounts or making his own battle beast. Expert Trainer is under appreciated.

The Exchange

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The Cavalier is so reliant on his mount it makes it a crutch that easily kicked from under him.

You can expect any where from 30% to 70% of any adventure path to occur indoors where a mount is useless.

That alone makes the fighter more playable in my opinion.

A cavalier will outshine a fighter occasionally. Just like many other classes.
The joy of the fighter is it's consistent usefulness.

Kingmaker, and maybe Wrath of the Righteous are exceptions in terms of ADventure Paths published by Paizo.

Edited out a statement about something I mis interpreted in a previous post

Liberty's Edge

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I would say the cavalier is a better mounted charger, but that's about all I'll give it. And even then, you can still make a really good mounted charger with a fighter. Fighter is still a better archer. Would still take a fighter for a reach build, or as a maneuver build.

Also, if you're looking for the answer to pouncing with the mount, taking Lunge on the animal companion should do. It's the only answer that every GM was okay with while playing my PFS cavalier. Some still weren't happy about the mount pouncing along with the lance charge, but there's nothing technically wrong with it.


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Anyone competent with switch-hitting can bring the pain at any range. Fighter's class features are not necessary mode-restricted in the same way a cavalier's are.

Cavaliers have less flexibility in their capability than a typical Fighter. They are very, very good at what they do in trade.

Fighters use wings of flying to fly as fast or faster than the mastered griffon does, all day. For a modest upcharge they combine their cloak of resistance with wings of flying. Much cheaper and didn't take any feats whatsoever.


There's enough weird stuff in the cavalier orders to make a maneuver build doable. Order of the Penitent or the Hammer for example. The fighter does get more feats which has its uses, though that's usually better for getting stuff surrounding the maneuver being focused on rather than direct bonuses - there is a point of diminishing returns.


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The Fighter gets enough bonus feats (11 in the whole 1 - 20 progression) that switch-hitting not only with respect to damage-dealing mode but also with respect to combat maneuvers is at least worthy of consideration (I haven't yet done a detailed analysis, but it seems workable), and Weapon Training (especially) and Armor Training are sort of feat-equivalent (and even to a noticeable extent interchangeable with the feats, due to the Advanced Weapon Training and Advanced Armor Training feats). Cavalier only gets 3 bonus feats in the whole 1 - 20 progression.

That said, Cavalier does have a few options for working where Large mounts are a problem. The most obvious one is to be Small (alternatively, use Undersized Mount -- but do you really want to do that to your Mount?). Another option is an archetype that trades out Mount, like Huntmaster (gets you full-progression Bird and/or Dog Companion(s)) or Daring Champion (hybridizes you with a Swashbuckler, although it takes 3 levels to come fully online); I was also going to say Musketeer, but this archetype seems just incomplete (starts to do the Gunslinger equivalent of Daring Champion, but after trading out the Mount, forgets to trade out a bunch of Charge-related stuff).

Liberty's Edge

avr wrote:
There's enough weird stuff in the cavalier orders to make a maneuver build doable. Order of the Penitent or the Hammer for example. The fighter does get more feats which has its uses, though that's usually better for getting stuff surrounding the maneuver being focused on rather than direct bonuses - there is a point of diminishing returns.

Order of the hammer constable is about the only time I'd consider a cavalier for maneuvers.


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Rhedyn wrote:
First, Cavaliers have a better skill list than the fighter while getting more skill points and bonuses on top of that to various skills. In addition, orders give you a couple more class skills.

Barely. If skills are so important, get "Adaptable Training" and spend your FCB on skill ranks (which your cavalier can't, because:)

Rhedyn wrote:
Same saves? Well not really, a Human Cavalier gets a +7 bonus to fear, charm, and compulsions saves or you know most will saves.

By level 20... (and costs all your FCB) It's not even untill 14th level that you get the bonus to saves other than fear.

By the same logic, using "Armed Bravey", the fighter gets +5 to all will saves. The enormous feat advantage the fighter has also allows him to afford Iron Will, putting him at +7 to actually all will saves.

Rhedyn wrote:
Well surely fighters can duke it out better than Cavaliers? Well, not always. Plenty of orders give to-hit bonuses with the challenge and the challenge bonus to damage is so large that a Cavalier can use a shield, meaning their AC and Damage can outpace Fighters against the foes where that extra damage is needed and all of that is before the...

Shields are a joke. Without feat investment they're just a +2. Plenty of AAT or AWT grant an equal bonus without shields. The fighter can also gain DR.

The bonus damage from challenge would situationally compensate for the damage lost by using one-handed weapons.

Rhedyn wrote:
MOUNT! A silly horse is pretty useless at high levels, but for a couple of feats (monstrous mount), you can upgrade that to a pouncing griffon and most of your mounted features work with just about anything including wildshaping druids, summons, or even drakes you train. Your human charge bonus to-hit goes up to +11 and you do triple-quadruple damage with that attack.

Situational and also requires feat investment.

Rhedyn wrote:
can also give feats to allies and let them reroll saves once per day.

Which requires actions, which means that you drop in front-line capability.

Rhedyn wrote:
Even with all the new stuff fighter's have now, a comparable cavalier is just easier to build and does more in a fight to the enemy and to support allies than the fighter can.

Eh. The cavalier will be starved if he invests feats into his mount and shield. The fighter rains supreme.

Rhedyn wrote:
It seems like fighter's only upsides is being more compact and tower shield prof.

No, not really. Tower shields are probably the biggest joke of all the shields. The upside is (yet again) the supreme number of feats and the AAT and the AWT.


Wrath wrote:

The Cavalier is so reliant on his mount it makes it a crutch that easily kicked from under him.

You can expect any where from 30% to 70% of any adventure path to occur indoors where a mount is useless.

That alone makes the fighter more playable in my opinion.

A cavalier will outshine a fighter occasionally. Just like many other classes.
The joy of the fighter is it's consistent usefulness.

Kingmaker, and maybe Wrath of the Righteous are exceptions in terms of ADventure Paths published by Paizo.

Edited out a statement about something I mis interpreted in a previous post

1. I think Mount problems are being overstated or that the fact people spend most of their time at low levels is slipping in. I honestly feel that any class with full BAB and high strength is fine until about level 9. And by that level, things are big and shouldn't be in places they themselves could have never entered.

2. The cavalier off his Mount is being understated in effectiveness. Discussion will now veer to some more build specific lines since your big on the ground boost comes from your order. For example order of the shield can effectively double the DR from adamantine armor, can hold enemies in place with stem the tide, and can intercept foes with protect the meek. With tactics, he can provide escape roots to allies and boost saves with shake it off. And then his banner is still providing bonuses. It's a solid package already, but he also has his challenge for the tough opponents (who are also medium sized).


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Personally, and this is just me, but I'm lazy. A mount is just another character sheet I have to fill out, update, maintain, worry about. Forget dividing up my character's resources between the character's equipment and the mount's, just the personal energy and focus any kind of animal companion requires is more than I personally enjoy putting into the game as a player.

It's why when I play a paladin I take the weapon divine bond over the mount.


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Whenever I see mounted characters in actual play, they are pretty much always small characters on medium mounts. They fit indoors with very little trouble.

edit: or small characters on dire bats


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Rhedyn wrote:
First, Cavaliers have a better skill list than the fighter while getting more skill points and bonuses on top of that to various skills. In addition, orders give you a couple more class skills.

Check out Weapon Training and Armor Training. Fighter can get boatloads of skills.

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Same saves? Well not really, a Human Cavalier gets a +7 bonus to fear, charm, and compulsions saves or you know most will saves.

Speaking of Weapon Training, you should take a look at Armed Bravery

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Well surely fighters can duke it out better than Cavaliers? Well, not always. Plenty of orders give to-hit bonuses with the challenge and the challenge bonus to damage is so large that a Cavalier can use a shield, meaning their AC and Damage can outpace Fighters against the foes where that extra damage is needed and all of that is before the...

Once you get to the point you can reliably one-round a demon lord, extra DPR is wasted resources.

A high level fighter can reliably one-round a demon lord.

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MOUNT! A silly horse is pretty useless at high levels, but for a couple of feats (monstrous mount), you can upgrade that to a pouncing griffon and most of your mounted features work with just about anything including wildshaping druids, summons, or even drakes you train. Your human charge bonus to-hit goes up to +11 and you do triple-quadruple damage with that attack.

In areas where large size creatures can roam, cavaliers can be highly mobile, flying damage bringers than can also give feats to allies and let them reroll saves once per day.

Silly Cavalier, anyone can acquire a full level animal companion feats, and the fighter has feats to burn.

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Even with all the new stuff fighter's have now, a comparable cavalier is just easier to build and does more in a fight to the enemy and to support allies than the fighter can.

It seems like fighter's only upsides is being more compact and tower shield prof.

Cavaliers may be better for short durations at damage but they are, by no means, categorically better.


You need to keep track of just how many feats you are using. You just listed out at least a 10 feat build to do what the cavalier gets for far more levels.

5 feats for griffon Mount for the fighter while still not receiving banner charge bonuses or light armor barding.

3 feats for spirited charge

Power attack

At least 3 feats for extra skills from a narrow list.

1 feat for armed bravery.

So you can do basically nothing else for half your career to poorly emulate the cavalier with most of your abilities being delayed.

Not good.


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The cavalier is better at some forms of combat than the fighter, but the advantage of the fighter is he can be built to use any style of combat. The cavalier is better at mounted combat and fights against a single opponent. They are moderately better out of combat due to their extra skill points and expanded skill list.

The advantage of the fighter is that they are able to get feat intensive builds online significantly earlier than any other class. They are also able to complete feat chains a lot easier than other classes. Try making a cavalier using a feat intensive combat style like archer or two weapon fighting and it will be significantly less powerful than the fighter. Most people think the fighter is a simple class to build, but in reality it is one of the more complex to create. It is simpler to play, but more difficult to build due to having to know all the feats to make it work.

Comparing the two class’s combat ability is not all that useful. To get better idea you would need to compare specific builds. If the build you are comparing is one using the fighting style that favors the cavalier than of course they will be better at it then the fighter.

You are right about one thing though, it is easier to build a cavalier than a fighter. But being easier to build does not make it better, just different.


I would not say fighting styles are an important metric (unless someone claims the fighter can do specifically mounted combat better)

What's important is how much damage they do or the support they can bring.

The cavalier can either be a melee charger for lots of damage or a mounted Archer for lots of damage. Without a mount, they lose mobility.

For damage, the fighter's strength is switch hitting, which the cavalier won't do. Mainly because charging does enough damage and has enough range that they don't need their bow or their Mount keeps them out of melee range for Archery.

Fighters can build for maneuvers and dazzling display on top of a melee build damage build. But then the fighter can't afford all the armor and weapon training abilities he needs to keep up in terms of saves, damage mitigation, and skills. Meanwhile the cavalier still has his tactics, banner, and order abilities that add incomparables to the cavalier side in addition to boosting saves, damage, and damage mitigation.


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Forgot Cavalier imo. Sword Saint Samurai Archetype is the way to go. The core Samurai the jack of all trades master of really none. The Sword Saint gets rid of what I consider to be the not so good elements of the class while giving better replacements.

It's not to say Cavaliers are a bad class they are not. So many features are tied to the mount. Which cannot be taken everywhere. So a horse is not out of place in many places. A Boar or dinosaur will raise a few eyebrows and probably not allowed into many villiges or cities. I know their is a feat where a mount can squeeze into smaller spaces yet take a negative (-4 to hit I think) so one can take them into a dungeon. Though in terms of class features yeah the Cavalier has so many better and more interesting ones than a Fighter imo. Cavalier charge vs armor training at third level. What can I say I would be bored silly with a fighter. At least a Cavalier to me has a more interesting progression. One does not lose that much either. Less damage and feats vs better and more interesting abilites.


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We have a cavalier in our Ironfang party, they are 6th level

When the situation is right the cavalier level 6 is 'terrifingly effective' to behold.

Occassionally it is really a Warrior Level 6, and then 'not very effective' at all

I guess a fighter 6 can be 'effective' all day long


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The Schrodinger's Fighter is probably the best fighter, which illustrates the central distinction between the fighter and the cavalier. You can build a fighter to be able to deal out and take damage in more or less any situation, whether it's in complete darkness, while flying, in a tiny corridor, etc.

The Cavalier excels when it's able to do its thing, but is nowhere near as flexible as the fighter can be. Generally speaking, unless your games are fairly monotonous, it pays to be flexible.

I think something like 60% of the fights in games I'm in aren't really amenable to mounted combat, so the only Cavaliers I'd even consider trading are the Ghost Rider and anything that trades away Mount but YMMV.


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Rhedyn wrote:

5 feats for griffon Mount for the fighter while still not receiving banner charge bonuses or light armor barding.

3 feats for spirited charge

Power attack

At least 3 feats for extra skills from a narrow list.

1 feat for armed bravery.

So you can do basically nothing else for half your career to poorly emulate the cavalier with most of your abilities being delayed.

Not good.

Then the thread should be called "Cavaliers are better cavaliers than fighters" - and of course they are.

Cut the mount and we got 8 feats free.


By your own standards the cavalier is actually not the best class; the best class would be paladin. Their mount is superior to that of the cavalier due to starting with a 6 INT, and gain the celestial template. Smite evil is also superior to challenge because in addition to giving a bonus to hit and damage it by passes ALL damage resistance, and works with both melee and ranged combat. The paladin has much better saves and multiple immunities. He also gives large saving throw bonuses to the party vs fear and charm. He can also grant his smite evil to all allies within 10 feet. And on top of that are his magical abilities like lay on hand and spells. The paladin can pick the same mounted combat feats that the cavalier does.

Keep one thing in mind about mounted combat is that it is useless in a dungeon crawl. Bringing a horse into a dungeon does not work especially if you need to climb somewhere. While a cavalier is not completely dependent on his mount it is a large part of the class. Without his mount the cavalier losses a lot of power.

The fighter is really designed to allow you to create an unusual combat style. The whole idea is to use seldom used feats to create something unique and different. If you are only using the core rule book this is difficult, but with archetypes and all the other books there is enough material to allow for some unusual builds. Other than rogues trying to use one class to do what another class does is usually a poor choice.


Paladin good? Sure, but their code of conduct is literally unplayable. Sure your GM may be nice, but I'm not comfortable with that and it isn't the point of the thread.

Most dungeons I've been to are large enough for a mount or at least large enough for it to squeeze through to the bigger rooms. This is an overstated problem and the cavalier is still out pacing the fighter against important foes even without a mount.

Unusual fighting styles tend to be worthless. Sure fighter excels their, but so what? It has to be useful.


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I would say that the cavalier is more user friendly, but a skilled optimizer can make monster fighter builds.

Challenge as a mechanic is pretty annoying since it only works on one opponent at a time. Charge is also dependent on tactical maneuvering which can get tricky sometimes.

I find fighters to be more enjoyable personally. It allows for more variety in what you play. It also can afford a lot of gimmicky feats you wouldn't otherwise get.


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I honestly think you're missing the fact that fighters gain a ton more feats than cavaliers. This means a lot, especially with AAT and AWT. Some builds are not doable with other classes than fighter due to the feat intensity (and we're not talking unusual, worthless fighting styles).

The only thing I can see the cavalier being strictly better at are mounted builds (and they should be the best in that area).


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Griffons live in temperate hills. Fighters don't have to worry about replacing the inevitable slain griffons. They will die, and probably a bunch more than once, especially in the later chapters of typical APs. So what's the cavalier's back-up plan for when his quarter-million gee-pee investment inevitably up and dies on him?

There's no guarantee the other characters are going to be able to resurrect the creature - and the GM has ultimate decision power on it. If you've been mercilessly shoving it down hallways half its size, exposing it to eldritch horrors and getting it repeatedly incinerated, the griffon may decide that enough's enough and it isn't taking it any more. Go get a new one and spend lots of time training it after the mandatory cooling off period.

Fighters can be played successfully in every AP ever published. This is not true for any mount-dependent character. Early-to-mid-game logistics problems are considerable, ones that are apparently being conveniently glossed over.

Griffons aren't happening at all in 2nd Darkness, Legacy of Fire, Serpent's Skull, Jade Regent, Reign of Winter, Mummy's Mask and Strange Aeons. The terrain within significant distances simply doesn't have any available whatsoever. You're not going to have the in-game time available to buy an egg, hatch it and rear it to a useful age in any of these.

Large mounts are impractical until the late-game of Skull and Shackles - not to mention being very out-of-theme for a piracy on the high seas campaign.

Large mounts are more trouble than they're worth in Council of Thieves, Shattered Star and Hell's Rebels. Too many smaller spaces to deal with, not enough roomy spaces with accommodating ceiling heights and wide corridors for most of the campaign. Urban campaigns and flying Large mounts just don't "Vibe" right IMO.

(I can't speak to Hell's Vengeance, Iron Gods and Ironfang Invasion, as I don't have those.)

They're a pain in the tucas to replace in the late-game of Rise of the Runelords. Animal companions will die in there, rest assured.

This leaves Curse of the Crimson Throne, Carrion Crown, Kingmaker, Wrath of the Righteous and especially/specifically Giantslayer as the APs in which Large mounts are viable, flying or otherwise, for the entire campaign. No idea just yet on the shiny new Ruins of Azlant, in which the mounts are almost certainly going to be amphibious rather than flying.

Which is a decent ratio. Of the ones I'm familiar with, 6 out of 18 APs a mount-focused character is easily a viable character, with the understanding in certain ones that you will have considerable expense incurred for adapting yourself twice to lethal environmental conditions instead of once.


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You keep saying that mid-to-end game enemies are all large or larger. I beg to differ, at least in the two times I have played mid-to-end game games. Most of the time the enemies were humanoids with class levels, and heck in one of the games we were in a couple of late-game dungeon crawl. Both were just barely big enough we could get our large Companion in after the GM doubled the size of the map, and only three enemies we fought were large or larger (all in the earlier dungeon): A dragon that flew into an open courtyard, a ghost that doesn't care about how big the corridors are, and an aquatic monster in an underground lake. In another even later dungeon crawl in that same game literally every enemy we fought was either leveled human or a medium outsider. Now granted the boss fight rooms were always large enough to fit our companion, he might have even been able to be mounted, but there were plenty of fights in corridors, or small rooms, or other places where the companion could barely fit let alone charge.

Also you seem to be implying in an earlier post that Advanced Weapon/Armor Trainings are going to cost a feat. I disagree, especially with the Weapon Trainings, because few fighters I have ever seen care for more than one weapon group, so just using Weapon Training 2+ should be enough.


The Mad Comrade wrote:

Griffons live in temperate hills. Fighters don't have to worry about replacing the inevitable slain griffons. They will die, and probably a bunch more than once, especially in the later chapters of typical APs. So what's the cavalier's back-up plan for when his quarter-million gee-pee investment inevitably up and dies on him?

There's no guarantee the other characters are going to be able to resurrect the creature - and the GM has ultimate decision power on it. If you've been mercilessly shoving it down hallways half its size, exposing it to eldritch horrors and getting it repeatedly incinerated, the griffon may decide that enough's enough and it isn't taking it any more. Go get a new one and spend lots of time training it after the mandatory cooling off period.

Fighters can be played successfully in every AP ever published. This is not true for any mount-dependent character. Early-to-mid-game logistics problems are considerable, ones that are apparently being conveniently glossed over.

Griffons aren't happening at all in 2nd Darkness, Legacy of Fire, Serpent's Skull, Jade Regent, Reign of Winter, Mummy's Mask and Strange Aeons. The terrain within significant distances simply doesn't have any available whatsoever. You're not going to have the in-game time available to buy an egg, hatch it and rear it to a useful age in any of these.

Large mounts are impractical until the late-game of Skull and Shackles - not to mention being very out-of-theme for a piracy on the high seas campaign.

Large mounts are more trouble than they're worth in Council of Thieves, Shattered Star and Hell's Rebels. Too many smaller spaces to deal with, not enough roomy spaces with accommodating ceiling heights and wide corridors for most of the campaign. Urban campaigns and flying Large mounts just don't "Vibe" right IMO.

(I can't speak to Hell's Vengeance, Iron Gods and Ironfang Invasion, as I don't have those.)

They're a pain in the tucas to replace in the late-game of Rise of the Runelords. Animal companions will die in there, rest assured.

This leaves Curse of the Crimson Throne, Carrion Crown, Kingmaker, Wrath of the Righteous and especially/specifically Giantslayer as the APs in which Large mounts are viable, flying or otherwise, for the entire campaign. No idea just yet on the shiny new Ruins of Azlant, in which the mounts are almost certainly going to be amphibious rather than flying.

Which is a decent ratio. Of the ones I'm familiar with, 6 out of 18 APs a mount-focused character is easily a viable character, with the understanding in certain ones that you will have considerable expense incurred for adapting yourself twice to lethal environmental conditions instead of once.

Per ultimate equipment, you can buy a fully trained griffon for 8K while eggs are 3.5K. It is purchasable in any city barring house-rules. I do not see why it would die more than other PCs or even "unique fighting style" fighters.

Many of the APs you have mentioned, I have not gotten far into. But I have played through Rise of the Runelord. You know, the AP about killing Giants? Your assertion that large mount are unworkable in places where huge creatures live is laughable and the druid in our party kept her dinosaur alive pretty easily. It throws into question your statements on any other AP.


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*builds archer fighter*

*shoots cavaliers mount out from under them in one round*

*shoots cavalier to death as they clunk forward in their heavy armor next*

Sovereign Court

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Rub-Eta wrote:
Rhedyn wrote:

5 feats for griffon Mount for the fighter while still not receiving banner charge bonuses or light armor barding.

3 feats for spirited charge

Power attack

At least 3 feats for extra skills from a narrow list.

1 feat for armed bravery.

So you can do basically nothing else for half your career to poorly emulate the cavalier with most of your abilities being delayed.

Not good.

Then the thread should be called "Cavaliers are better cavaliers than fighters" - and of course they are.

Cut the mount and we got 8 feats free.

Not to mention that 10 feats for a Human only uses up his feats to level 8.


Ryan Freire wrote:

*builds archer fighter*

*shoots cavaliers mount out from under them in one round*

*shoots cavalier to death as they clunk forward in their heavy armor next*

*Cavalier goes first*

*Kills fighter in one round*

Not that PvP relates terribly well to being a part of a team.


Tim Statler wrote:
Rub-Eta wrote:
Rhedyn wrote:

5 feats for griffon Mount for the fighter while still not receiving banner charge bonuses or light armor barding.

3 feats for spirited charge

Power attack

At least 3 feats for extra skills from a narrow list.

1 feat for armed bravery.

So you can do basically nothing else for half your career to poorly emulate the cavalier with most of your abilities being delayed.

Not good.

Then the thread should be called "Cavaliers are better cavaliers than fighters" - and of course they are.

Cut the mount and we got 8 feats free.

Not to mention that 10 feats for a Human only uses up his feats to level 8.

"You need to keep track of just how many feats you are using. You just listed out at least a 10 feat build to do what the cavalier gets for far more levels."

To the claim that someone said fighters can cavalier better than cavalier. The response is obviously that they can't.

But removing context and redirecting conversation to a hallucinated straw-man to mislead others is part and parcel for online discourse.


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Rhedyn wrote:

Per ultimate equipment, you can buy a fully trained griffon for 8K while eggs are 3.5K. It is purchasable in any city barring house-rules. I do not see why it would die more than other PCs or even "unique fighting style" fighters.

Many of the APs you have mentioned, I have not gotten far into. But I have played through Rise of the Runelord. You know, the AP about killing Giants? Your assertion that large mount are unworkable in places where huge creatures live is laughable and the druid in our party kept her dinosaur alive pretty easily. It throws into question your statements on any other AP.

Griffons are purchasable if the GM says they are. A horse-eating monster is not something most cities are going to want having around on the casual waiting for a buyer. Just because they're on the equipment list is no guarantee of availability when you factor in the other considerations that matter in cities. Kaer Maga, maybe, has 1 or 2, maybe.

Rise of the Runelords is about a heck of a lot more than killing giants, doing so is a secondary theme, not the primary one. Giantslayer is about killing giants. The Spires of Xin-Shalast are an immense distance away from any major city. At the level PCs are going in teleporting or similarly *bamf'ing* in and out is not often an issue for most groups.

Druids have spells with which to heal their companions, cavaliers don't. Cavaliers are almost entirely dependent on the good-will of the rest of the group to keep their buddy alive. Druids, paladins and rangers are not as they can attend to curing, removing conditions and returning their slain buddies of their own accord within varying restrictions.

Note that you didn't say you played a cavalier through Rise of the Runelords, which calls into question your experience playing cavaliers in multiple campaigns to test out your theory. Especially campaigns that do not cater to them.


The Mad Comrade wrote:
Rhedyn wrote:

Per ultimate equipment, you can buy a fully trained griffon for 8K while eggs are 3.5K. It is purchasable in any city barring house-rules. I do not see why it would die more than other PCs or even "unique fighting style" fighters.

Many of the APs you have mentioned, I have not gotten far into. But I have played through Rise of the Runelord. You know, the AP about killing Giants? Your assertion that large mount are unworkable in places where huge creatures live is laughable and the druid in our party kept her dinosaur alive pretty easily. It throws into question your statements on any other AP.

Griffons are purchasable if the GM says they are. A horse-eating monster is not something most cities are going to want having around on the casual waiting for a buyer. Just because they're on the equipment list is no guarantee of availability when you factor in the other considerations that matter in cities. Kaer Maga, maybe, has 1 or 2, maybe.

Rise of the Runelords is about a heck of a lot more than killing giants, doing so is a secondary theme, not the primary one. Giantslayer is about killing giants. The Spires of Xin-Shalast are an immense distance away from any major city. At the level PCs are going in teleporting or similarly *bamf'ing* in and out is not often an issue for most groups.

Druids have spells with which to heal their companions, cavaliers don't. Cavaliers are almost entirely dependent on the good-will of the rest of the group to keep their buddy alive. Druids, paladins and rangers are not as they can attend to curing, removing conditions and returning their slain buddies of their own accord within varying restrictions.

Note that you didn't say you played a cavalier through Rise of the Runelords, which calls into question your experience playing cavaliers in multiple campaigns to test out your theory. Especially campaigns that do not cater to them.

It's not a magic item so it is available outside of house-rules. If the GM is houseruling against you, you are better than the fighter.

Dungeons are pretty big and you need to buy your griffon once.

The fighter does not have heal, therefore he is alive on the party's good graces (What?)


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Rhedyn wrote:

It's not a magic item so it is available outside of house-rules. If the GM is houseruling against you, you are better than the fighter.

Dungeons are pretty big and you need to buy your griffon once.

The fighter does not have heal, therefore he is alive on the party's good graces (What?)

So your contention is that carnivorous animals that fly are simply available in a city full of tasty morsels? This isn't house ruling, it's paying attention to what the thing is that you seek. Highly unusual creatures are well-documented in the setting as not being simply "available if you have the coin". The the same concern applies when people were looking to by dire wolves, tyrannosauruses, spinosauruses and so on. Monstrous carnivores that generally are going to view people as self-propelled meat snacks are not going to just be casually available to purchase for a few sacks of gold coin and a day trip.

The animal handlers that wrangle such creatures up for sale don't usually grow them in a nursery. Someone lets them know they want (x critter), the wrangler goes out and gets (x critter), spends (y time) domesticating and training it not to eat everyone, then delivers (x critter) to (Z client).

Mechanically, sure it's [select feats] *pouf* instant griffon. I disagree with stuff just *poufing* into existence.


The Mad Comrade wrote:
Rhedyn wrote:

It's not a magic item so it is available outside of house-rules. If the GM is houseruling against you, you are better than the fighter.

Dungeons are pretty big and you need to buy your griffon once.

The fighter does not have heal, therefore he is alive on the party's good graces (What?)

So your contention is that carnivorous animals that fly are simply available in a city full of tasty morsels? This isn't house ruling, it's paying attention to what the thing is that you seek. Highly unusual creatures are well-documented in the setting as not being simply "available if you have the coin". The the same concern applies when people were looking to by dire wolves, tyrannosauruses, spinosauruses and so on. Monstrous carnivores that generally are going to view people as self-propelled meat snacks are not going to just be casually available to purchase for a few sacks of gold coin and a day trip.

The animal handlers that wrangle such creatures up for sale don't usually grow them in a nursery. Someone lets them know they want (x critter), the wrangler goes out and gets (x critter), spends (y time) domesticating and training it not to eat everyone, then delivers (x critter) to (Z client).

Mechanically, sure it's [select feats] *pouf* instant griffon. I disagree with stuff just *poufing* into existence. No one is saying the feats poof something into existance. Just using the listed rules

The rules are clear on the issue. Your world should conform to them and if it doesn't you should compensate the cavalier for your narrative houserules that contradict game design.

IMHO wizards are more scary to have just walking around than griffons, but every world does not have Dragon Age Templars walking their slave magi around.


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Nothing here proved that one class is 'objectively' better than the other. That terminology starts a defensive reaction from fighter fans, and then we don't really get anywhere. The amount of damage a class can do is much more dependent on how the character is built and optimized than the actual class features.

Liberty's Edge

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I can't really attest to playing a cavalier in any APs, I've only ever played one in PFS. So while it may not carry for every single play experience, my experience with the cavalier has been that though they have certain strengths, namely riding down a single target and dispatching them, they also have a number of issues they need to deal with.

First of all is access. I played as a small sized cavalier because like most people mention, a large sized mount is usually an issue. Not only are there a lot of 5 foot corridors that can get in your way, it also makes positioning in smaller maps much harder. There's also the issue of bringing your horse into the mayor's mansion, or needing to climb to get where you need to go. Since you're not a caster, you're likely going to need Hosteling armor, a 7500 charge, so not likely to happen early in the career. Carry Companion is another option, but unless you're putting ranks into UMD, you better have someone in the party who can cast it.

Second issue is actually being able to attack the enemies. On flat ground with no cover, the cavalier has very few problems. But anything that blocks charge lanes (like say, teammates), or flying enemies and the cavalier is significantly less useful (provided no flying mount, which doesn't usually happen till later, and takes 2 feats through monstrous mount). Wheeling charge is usually considered a standard mounted charging feat. Phalanx Formation as well. That still leave flying enemies, which you either hope you took a flying mount, deal poor damage with a ranged weapon, or go with either air walk which you can't cast but at least has a rule for how a mount can use it, or fly, which does not. Also talk with your GM about whether you can even give your mount a potion, because that seems like either a trick, or push territory to me, and most GMs I played with.

Third is that the companion is splitting your resources. Not only do you need to spend gold on things likely hosteling, or carry companion, and on extra healing because area effect spells affect both of you, but you still need to outfit the mount. Animal companions also have the problem with survivability in higher levels. Their HP and saves tend to sag, and unlike most companion classes, you don't have spells to help them. You do have mounted combat, but that's a once a turn ability, so less useful in higher levels. There's also indomitable mount, but that another feat you need to take, and quicken spell laughs at your once a round save. So unless you're very lucky, chances are you're paying for a raise companion at some point, more likely than a teammate, at least it's cheaper than raising a teammate or cohort.

There's more than these 3 things, but I find these are kind of the big things that do tend to come up often. So there's investment (both monetary and feat-wise) the cavalier has to make, and significant challenges they have to have contingencies for in order to perform well. A fighter usually doesn't have to worry about these all or any of these things and can spend the resources needed to address these elsewhere. Don't get me wrong, I do think that some of the cavalier class features are pretty good (otherwise I wouldn't have played one), but I don't think they make them in every way better than a fighter.

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