Are People Just Not Reading the Vigilante?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Deadmanwalking wrote:


I mean, yeah, if all it had going for it was Dual Identity dipping would be the way to go, but it's really and profoundly not.

Its kind of like duct tape. It is actually pretty bad at taping ducts (since it doesn't hold up to moisture well) , but it does other things well. People expect to tape ducts with it though.

If you were in a hells rebels situation i suppose anyone would want to dip vigilante. Other than that your most effective/ non gimping mechanics involves not making what people see as a vigilantee.

Liberty's Edge

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Its kind of like duct tape. It is actually pretty bad at taping ducts (since it doesn't hold up to moisture well) , but it does other things well. People expect to tape ducts with it though.

But that's not true. To continue the analogy, Vigilante is in fact good at taping ducts, that's just not all it's good for. It's good at lots of other stuff too.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
If you were in a hells rebels situation i suppose anyone would want to dip vigilante. Other than that your most effective/ non gimping mechanics involves not making what people see as a vigilantee.

Not really. It depends heavily on the specific nature of the game in question, really, but generally you can make something that's pretty clearly a Vigilante and be quite effective.

You just don't have to if you don't want.

Paizo Employee Senior Designer

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Rysky wrote:
... you can let your friends hang out in your safehouse too.

Was going to note the same thing. You may not be able to protect them on the streets, but they're just as safe from detection in your safehouse as you are.

Also, one last note on the Punisher thing-
Look at it this way: Frank Castle was a vigilante long before he put on the giant skull. During his time in the military Frank lived two lifes; in one, he was a loving father and husband who everybody liked, and in the other he put on a uniform, hid his face behind camo paint, and went out and killed people for the greater good on the orders of his country. By the time his family was killed Frank was probably a 5th level vigilante who had never named that other identity beyond "soldier", but when he held his child's dying body in his arms, he found a name for it, "Punisher", and he decided that the Punisher didn't need to wait for orders from disconnected bureaucrats anymore. They'd taught him how to do the job, given him all the skills, and now he knew what he had to do with them.

Frank's skill set includes being a master of disguise (like when he disguises himself in The Punisher #1 "Marching Powder" to infiltrate a gang), an expert with all kinds of weapons and munitions, and a lot of people in areas where he spends much time tend to start to see him as a hero, a dark protector whose methods are harsh but appropriate when dealing with the people who've turned citizens into victims. So Frank hits all the markers to be a vigilante and uses Renown quite a bit to his advantage, even with a lot of people knowing both his real and secret identity. In a constant slog he's not afraid to be both at the same time, but when things cool down and he has the time he starts reestablishing himself, setting up a new safehouse, making new contacts, doing all the things that vigilantes do.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:


But that's not true. To continue the analogy, Vigilante is in fact good at taping ducts, that's just not all it's good for. It's good at lots of other stuff too.

It isn't.

The dual identity stuff is TERRRIBLE unless you're set in the same city. It consumes pretty much all of your class abilities just to keep it working. It's consuming 8th level resources to give level 1 bonuses.


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I am seeing that there are some wildly varying quibbles with the class.

In a game with social content approaching zero, it appears to be irritating not to be able to trade out all those wasted ability slots.

In a game with no consequences, the whole social dichotomy seems contrived and feels like a cheat.

In a game with no social structure, the class seems pointless and out of place.

None of these are really about how mechanically effective the class is.


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daw wrote:
None of these are really about how mechanically effective the class is.

They are. Because when you ask "how mechanically effective is the class" you have to finish it with "how mechanically effective is the class at ____________" and fill in the blank. That will make your answer vary wildly

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

If the vigilante can't shine in War for the Crown, it will have failed as a class.

Until then, it is entirely serviceable. (Mine is juggling three identities in PFS right now)

Liberty's Edge

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BigNorseWolf wrote:

It isn't.

The dual identity stuff is TERRRIBLE unless you're set in the same city. It consumes pretty much all of your class abilities just to keep it working. It's consuming 8th level resources to give level 1 bonuses.

Huh? I have no idea what you're even talking about now. It requires almost no resources to maintain a social identity. Okay, maybe a single Social Talent for Quick Change.

And if you're in the wilderness killing things with nobody but PCs around, almost definitionally nothing you do actually gives away your identity, so it again costs no resources at all.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:


Huh? I have no idea what you're even talking about now. It requires almost no resources to maintain a social identity. Okay, maybe a single Social Talent for Quick Change.

Most campaigns move around a lot. While you can maintain a social identity under those situations, a lot of reputation abilities for your vigilante identity require resource sinks to move around with you.

Quick change is kind of a big deal. It's a resource tax. It really should come built into the vigilantee. Its a lot of little things like that that make the vigilantee not work as intended for me (i think it does work. Just not as intended)

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Renown? The only resource sink to move is time. What are you talking about?

Not everybody needs a quick change. It's a nice-to-have.

Shadow Lodge

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Someone mentioned it in passing earlier, but for a social talent that ANYONE can get good use out of, Companion to the Lonely is great. Helps alleviate the feeling that the social side is a "waste", especially if you're just doing a 2 level dip.

Liberty's Edge

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Most campaigns move around a lot. While you can maintain a social identity under those situations, a lot of reputation abilities for your vigilante identity require resource sinks to move around with you.

You're equating Reputation and Dual Identity in a way the rules do not. They are not the same thing at all. Yes, Renown is primarily only useful in games that stay in one place...but it's only one Talent path out of many.

Dual Identity is integral to the Class's basic theme, and can't be ignored if using a Vigilante as intended (which is in no way required, but it's what we're discussing).

Renown? The Iconic Vigilante from the PFS pregens doesn't even have it. It's in no way required to do the Vigilante thing.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Quick change is kind of a big deal. It's a resource tax. It really should come built into the vigilantee. Its a lot of little things like that that make the vigilantee not work as intended for me (i think it does work. Just not as intended)

It's a one Social Talent tax. I agree it's not ideal, but it's not the end of the world either. Social Talents are nice, but honestly not mostly the core of the Vigilante's power.


I can say yes to a thread for once :P

Yep just can't seem to read it.

Alongside the hunter, the Shaman and Skald I've simply never got round to reading them

Silver Crusade

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thistledown wrote:
Someone mentioned it in passing earlier, but for a social talent that ANYONE can get good use out of, Companion to the Lonely is great. Helps alleviate the feeling that the social side is a "waste", especially if you're just doing a 2 level dip.

It's my favourite Social Talent.


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thistledown wrote:
Someone mentioned it in passing earlier, but for a social talent that ANYONE can get good use out of, Companion to the Lonely is great. Helps alleviate the feeling that the social side is a "waste", especially if you're just doing a 2 level dip.

"Trust me baby, this will prevent me from being mind controlled!"

-Common vigilante pick up line


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Vigilantes are great. In fact, I believe that they make the best "noble" class in the game. I mean, look at this:

Class: Noble
Full BaB
1d8 HP, but 6 skill points (a fair trade from what a fighter would have)

Social Talents
Lvl 1: Social Grace (+4 intelligence, charisma, or wisdom based skill except for perception or use magic device. Get another +4 at lvl 5, 9, 13, and 17. So can end up with +4 Diplomacy, +4 Intimidate, +4 Bluff, +4 Sense Motive, +4 knowledge nobility).
Lvl 3: Safe House (You own a house!)
Lvl 5: Loyal Aid (You have people who guard/work in your house)
Lvl 7: Renown (You are a noble. Everyone knows you in your lands)
Lvl 9: Entrepreneur (Use one of your skills to make money. This is tax money from your lands)
Lvl 11: Celebrity Perks (These are your lands, and your subjects fall over themselves to take care of you)
Lvl 13: Great Renown (You are a noble lord, of course everyone knows you)
Lvl 15: Gossip Collector (You know how to work the intrigue at court)
Lvl 17: Incredible Renown (Everyone has heard of your illustrious family)
Lvl 19: Celebrity Discount (When you buy anything, craftsmen, jewelers and merchants alike fall over themselves to earn your patronage. They know how good for business it would be to have their items be seen in your possession)

Combat Feats
Lvl 2: Shield of Blades (It's power attack, only it gives an AC bonus too!)
Lvl 4: Signature Weapon (Weapon Focus and weapon specialization in one feat? Yes please.)
Lvl 6: Shadow's Speed (40ft movement, increases to 50ft movement at lvl10. Because you are a noble, and you fight with grace and style)
Lvl 8: Armor Skin (0 ACP and move without penalty in medium armor. Not only do you look good in your gilded armor, but you make it look easy)
Lvl 10: Shadows Sight (Low light vision and dark vision? Of course. It would just not do to have a man of your stature bumbling around in the dark)
Lvl 12: Unexpected Strike (Quick draw and can draw hidden weapons)
Lvl 14: Expose Weakness (As a man of culture, you know how to defeat any foe with panache. You make this look easy)
Lvl 16: Heavy Training (Heavy armor has 0ACP and doesn't slow you down)
Lvl 18: Vital Punishment (only one attack with an attack of opportunity? Might as well vital strike it)
Lvl 20: Instant Plan (You are a noble lord of unparalleled stature. When you speak, everyone can't help but listen. Give all allies bonuses by ordering them around)

----

And this of course leaves all of your level feats completely open. With all of the combat feats really needed to do well (sans furious focus when you get your second attack), you can use your level feats to further flesh out being a noble. The leadership feat would of course be mandatory.

Just fluff it so that you have the social identity of being a noble (start off as a young man who has not yet inherited anything and end as a noble lord) and the avenger identity of being a knight (start off as a squire, end up on the inner circle).

Completely ignore the function of having to 'hide who you are' because what do you care if others know of your family name? You are proud of your heritage. Though, if you must do anything that would besmirch your family honor, it is a good thing that you have the presence of mind to be able to disguise yourself, eh?

----

And to me, that is what is so great about the Vigilante. What other class can do this?

Sure, you could be a swashbuckler. But does a swashbuckler give you face skills? Does it give you a house? Does it give you followers to tend to your lands (especially important if leadership is banned)? Does it make you famous in your lands? No. Swashbuckler does not.

So pick up your heirloom family blade. Don a gilded breastplate. Amaze everyone around you with your unparalleled diplomatic skills. And be the only class in Pathfinder which truly allows you to be a noble.

Silver Crusade Contributor

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Rysky wrote:
thistledown wrote:
Someone mentioned it in passing earlier, but for a social talent that ANYONE can get good use out of, Companion to the Lonely is great. Helps alleviate the feeling that the social side is a "waste", especially if you're just doing a 2 level dip.
It's my favourite Social Talent.

We're all shocked by this, I'm sure.


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Kalindlara wrote:
Rysky wrote:
thistledown wrote:
Someone mentioned it in passing earlier, but for a social talent that ANYONE can get good use out of, Companion to the Lonely is great. Helps alleviate the feeling that the social side is a "waste", especially if you're just doing a 2 level dip.
It's my favourite Social Talent.
We're all shocked by this, I'm sure.

Yes.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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My big issue with the vigilante is that it doesn't make sense with dual identity in a party based game like Pathfinder. (Sure, it EVERYONE in the group is a vigilante it might, but that's far from typical.)

"Oh, hold on guys, I'm going to go away, but wait around for a few minutes ok? I have a feeling your ally the Vigilante might show up."

Also, the time to change is really weird, especially when you also factor in the time needed to don heavy armor. Essentially a vigilante can change identities faster than he can don heavy armor, and if their vigilante identity wears heavy armor, just hand wave that away. It's even worse if they wear full plate, since that requires someone to assist you donning it, which pretty much kills the dual identity secret right there.


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Joel has reminded me of an issue I have with class.

How the dual identity interacts with being in a party. I can't conceive of a flavor I feel is satisfying when the party in the early game when one might not want some relative strangers to know about the dual identity.

My DM used one once with a character he wanted to be a big mysterious enigma. It took my about 4 minutes to realize it was a Vigilante and then my Alchemist told the rest of the party.


That's why your party knows both identities. Magically diguised heavy armor is nice, and there's an archetype dealing with it.

Alternatively, your party knows the vigilante identity and doesn't interact with the social identity at first until trust is built.

Liberty's Edge

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JoelF847 wrote:

My big issue with the vigilante is that it doesn't make sense with dual identity in a party based game like Pathfinder. (Sure, it EVERYONE in the group is a vigilante it might, but that's far from typical.)

"Oh, hold on guys, I'm going to go away, but wait around for a few minutes ok? I have a feeling your ally the Vigilante might show up."

This assumes the other PCs don't know. Why? It's eminently possible to have a Dual Identity nobody except the PCs knows while having the PCs know exactly what's going on. Smart, too.

Heck, for a recent example of exactly how this should work from media, look at The Defenders. You have Daredevil in a group of people with no secret IDs. He maintains his Dual Identity fine vs. the enemy and everyone but the 'PC group' but reveals who he is to them very quickly. It works out nicely.

JoelF847 wrote:
Also, the time to change is really weird, especially when you also factor in the time needed to don heavy armor. Essentially a vigilante can change identities faster than he can don heavy armor, and if their vigilante identity wears heavy armor, just hand wave that away. It's even worse if they wear full plate, since that requires someone to assist you donning it, which pretty much kills the dual identity secret right there.

This assumes their social identity doesn't also wear full plate (or other armor). It also assumes a lack of magic. Neither are necessarily warranted assumptions.


Eh, every vigilante in the history of vigilantes had someone to confide with, whether it be Alfred, or his bartender.


Reminds me of the future-man tearing into Lois Lane:

"Are you the stupidest woman in the world?"

Puts on glasses.

"Look, Clark Kent!"

Takes off glasses.

"Look, Superman!"

Sorry, but sometimes you just have buy into the schtick. Really, how much are we already letting slide with Every Other Aspect of this Game.

Liberty's Edge

Dave Justus wrote:


In my opinion, any character class should be able to be 'a vigilante' and I would have much rather seen a feat or feat tree that any character could take to get some of the 'social identity' aspects of the vigilante than to have those mechanics baked into a single class (and a few archetypes for others).

Worth noting that Inner Sea Intrigue has rules in place for anyone to get a second identity as a Vigilante would ("Masked Personas"). Essentially, it just required gaining a full level while in the alternate persona. They would then have that identity qualify as a completely separate individual for the sake of scrying, detection, etc.

Grand Lodge

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Most campaigns move around a lot. While you can maintain a social identity under those situations, a lot of reputation abilities for your vigilante identity require resource sinks to move around with you.

I work just fine. Mwangi hordes not withstanding.

Designer

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Ssalarn wrote:
Dave Justus wrote:

[...]

Which leads my to my second dislike. I think in order for a vigilante to be played to it's potential and to its themes, pretty much an entire party has to be vigilantes. I don't disagree that a vigilante can be mechanically viable in a typical campaign, but to be what it was designed to be, it really does have to be a 'vigilante' campaign, and I think that limits it.
Having talked to Mark Seifter about the class at some length, I think the assertion that the vigilante was designed to "be" something specific is more a projection of expectations than a fair assessment of the classes design. Mark straight up told me that the dual identity was designed to be a tool you could use as much or as little as you wanted, running the gamut from a Scarlet Pimpernel, Batman, or Zorro type to the Punisher, or even just a soldier or other member of the military for whom assuming their vigilante identity involves putting on their uniform and adopting the mindset that goes with it. To pull some more modern examples, Odd Thomas from the Dean Koontz books (especially the later entries in the series like Deeply Odd), Vash the Stampede from Trigun, and Dominic Toretto from the Fast and Furious franchise are all characters that can be accurately emulated on the Vigilante chassis, and none of them are characters that wear actual physical masks.

I actually think graystone has latched onto the main answer to your question in his first post:

graystone wrote:
I think the reason some dislike the class is that they see a lot of dead space in the class for them. While you can work around the multiple identities and site based abilities, some dislike unused/useless/unneeded abilities sitting around on their sheet.

This is actually huge, as I have discovered more and more since UI (including during the Starfinder playtest): You are right and graystone is also right, even though they might seem mutually exclusive, and it's unfortunate. Why?

Consider a different martial class like the slayer. Let's suppose that we agree right now that the slayer is a useful and effective addition to your team (if you don't, pick your favorite instead, the name of the class doesn't matter here). Now let's pretend that the slayer also had all of the vigilante's social talents and dual identity, completely for free, on top of its entire current kit; I'm going to call that hypothetical class the slayer+. You would wind up with this same situation: People like you and DeadManWalking would provide deep and reasoned mathematical and game design analysis as to why the slayer+ was an extremely effective character, but there would still be a lot of people who thought it was weak or ineffective, more so than the regular slayer right now (remember, in this hypothetical world, the regular slayer doesn't exist for the easy apples-to-apples comparison) even though it's strictly more powerful. This is for the reason graystone identified: Most people don't want to have to go to the in-depth game design analysis to decide what is effective, so they'll take whatever the class grants, the full kit, at face value and assume that if you can keep all of those things relevant, that's what you need to be effective, thus meaning that every single thing they get that they think they'll never use is a strike against the class. That's why slayer+ would seem worse than slayer. Unfortunately, this particular form of gut analysis doesn't work out well with our design philosophy on that book of "Give the niche intrigue abilities as an extra and make sure it's solid even if you ignore them."

That's how, I think, graystone's answer goes a long way to explain the discrepancy between your thorough rules analysis and the opinions you've seen.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

Joel has reminded me of an issue I have with class.

How the dual identity interacts with being in a party. I can't conceive of a flavor I feel is satisfying when the party in the early game when one might not want some relative strangers to know about the dual identity.

My DM used one once with a character he wanted to be a big mysterious enigma. It took my about 4 minutes to realize it was a Vigilante and then my Alchemist told the rest of the party.

The game being a social contract, the players should agree whether the dual identity is known to the party or are they aware of it as players, unaware as PCs. It really boils down to some collective agreement, which is easy to reach as long as nobody is being a jerk about it (and face it, you don't want such people at your table anyway).


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Why?...

As a note I first encountered a very similiar thought back in Treantmonk's Pathfinder druid guide written back in 2010.

Treantmonk wrote:

Here's a little thought exercise before we begin. Consider a new class that casts divine spells (knows the whole spell list). Here's their first level list:

Level 1:
Grease, Entangle, Lesser Restoration, Delay Poison, Silent Image, and Enlarge Person.

Wow - great spell list right?

Now consider a second class, also divine and knows their entire spell list.Here's their first level list:

Level 1:
Calm animals, Purify food and drink, Grease, Erase, Entangle, Magic Stone, Lesser Restoration, Shillelagh, Delay poison, Jump, Silent Image, Read Magic, Enlarge Person and Mending.

The second list, on casual observation, may strike you as a bit less shiny, of course this is a fairly obvious trick, since the second list has every spell on list one and more, so is at least as good, and probably superior (if you ever have use of those less spectacular spells). My point is that we often evaluate a spell list by taking the list and looking how the spells average out. However, a Druid gets every spell on their list, but is only memorizing a small amount, so when you evaluate a list, you should really be evaluating the best spells

Obviously that contains an apples to apples comparison, but is the same concept.

I'm super into the history of games and how problems are considered and solved (or not solved) in different games and systems etc.


I mostly agree Mark. I think see it slightly different though as I'd make the example a wizard that is required to learn/prepare the spell magic missile every day. Magic missile may be a fine spell and you can make a well working wizard that takes it but ignores it. Not every player/character is going to want/need the spell and it seems to take up space a spell that they want/need could fill.

Mark Seifter wrote:
"Give the niche intrigue abilities as an extra and make sure it's solid even if you ignore them."

For this it seems the niche is forced [IMO]. If dual identity had been an optional social ability instead of an automatic one, I think it would 'fit' better for many that are bothered by it now as the "ignore" is not picking the ability instead of just not using the automatic ability. That way people wouldn't be asking/thinking 'how did I get this ability on a single ID vigilante' and bothered by that. I'd have liked a class a bit more comfortable taking on different vigilante roles: not every vigilante 'hat' should automatically come with a mask...

Deadmanwalking/Ssalarn: I want you guys to understand that I get what you are saying: you can make vigilante characters that are fine mechanically. However understanding that and LIKING the class and how it plays/runs are different things. I'm bothered by abilities my character has no reason knowing/learning but I get them anyway. For me the class could have gone 'offroad', allowing you to take your vigilante any direction you wanted, but it got stuck on some 'rails' with enforcing dual ID type. You can't get around 'mask' training.


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Well, since there is a rogue archetype trading away an iconic class feature like sneak attack, maybe the game would profit from a vigilante archetype without dual identity. Given the already high power level of the class, balancing isn't trivial, but I am pretty sure there is demand for it. Nowadays some people pick up vigilante for the sandbox of strong powers and the generally strong chassis, taking dual identity and probably the entire social features only because they 'have to'.

While the idea of a social-combat hybrid is great and should get more incarnations, some people simply prefer a focus on combat. I am one of them.

Designer

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graystone wrote:

I mostly agree Mark. I think see it slightly different though as I'd make the example a wizard that is required to learn/prepare the spell magic missile every day. Magic missile may be a fine spell and you can make a well working wizard that takes it but ignores it. Not every player/character is going to want/need the spell and it seems to take up space a spell that they want/need could fill.

I agree and don't even think there's even a conflict between your example and mine. You're right that it's precisely like if wizard had a class feature that gave the wizard a free extra spell in the spellbook and prepared (beyond the wizard's normal spells) that had to be magic missile. It might even be more like if the wizard got an extra spell beyond the norm and it was something like disguise self that requires a certain situation to use that is less common than combat.

It's sort of like when I see a Humble Bundle that has one or two games I'm interested in (that more than make the bundle worth it) and then several games that are more meh to me. I have to take an extra step to move past the meh games, even though I know about this psychological phenomenon, compared to if the bundle just had fewer games and only the ones I wanted. It is freaky to be self-aware and observe this happening to myself.

Pirate Rob wrote:

Obviously that contains an apples to apples comparison, but is the same concept.

I'm super into the history of games and how problems are considered and solved (or not solved) in different games and systems etc.

Yes, it's exactly the same phenomenon at work. The other thing that can get tricky with spell lists is that initial design philosophy of a spell list can be enormously skewed by a few new powerful spells added for just the reason Treantmonk suggests (that the weight of the list comes in some of the most powerful options).

Paizo Employee Senior Designer

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Mark Seifter wrote:
graystone wrote:

I mostly agree Mark. I think see it slightly different though as I'd make the example a wizard that is required to learn/prepare the spell magic missile every day. Magic missile may be a fine spell and you can make a well working wizard that takes it but ignores it. Not every player/character is going to want/need the spell and it seems to take up space a spell that they want/need could fill.

I agree and don't even think there's even a conflict between your example and mine. You're right that it's precisely like if wizard had a class feature that gave the wizard a free extra spell in the spellbook and prepared (beyond the wizard's normal spells) that had to be magic missile. It might even be more like if the wizard got an extra spell beyond the norm and it was something like disguise self that requires a certain situation to use that is less common than combat.

I just want to emphasize, it is exactly like a wizard who gets everything he normally gets plus a free at-will disguise self. It's not like Dual Identity is taking up the slot that they would have given to a combat ability, because the class is already loaded up with those. An Avenger vigilante who grabs e.g. Cunning Feint and Signature Weapon and then nothing else besides Combat Skill has the equivalent of 4 feats above what the Fighter gets. If he decides to grab a maneuver with Favored Maneuver, he's also got an extra +2 bonus on his maneuvers. Any feat he grabs that's part of a talent other than Combat Skill will invariably be a better class feature than the feat the Fighter gets at the same level, because it's an actual class feature, with a feat plus some other benefit, possibly more feats. All of that alongside its social abilities, Rogue skill list, 6+Int skills, etc.


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Grumbaki wrote:

Vigilantes are great. In fact, I believe that they make the best "noble" class in the game. I mean, look at this:

...

In my homebrew game, I have a noble archetype based off of the vigilante that swapped out dual identity, vigilante specializations and talents for other, more non-combat abilities to create sort of an aristocrat+. about a third of my nobles are this, representing those who don't travel or adventure, but can still hold their own if necessary.

Liberty's Edge

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Well, I can't speak to everyone's feelings on the vigilante, but most of my concerns from the vigilante come from actual build comparisons. I spent a solid week when I first got the book trying to make various vigilante (especially the avenger) builds and comparing them against various other full BAB classes that perform similarly. I usually compare at level 11, as that's a point where most builds are really hitting their stride, though for some builds, like vigilantes using Mad Rush, it was pushed to 12. Typically the vigilante would be about 20-30% short of most other classes in DPR (if memory serves), though the avenger and brawler ended up pretty close, but that doesn't really factor in the brawlers ability to adapt to almost any situation, and it was also before dual wielding waveblades was a thing for brawlers. Saves were mostly a wash, basically trading places on good saves, except for swashbucklers and paladins, who were worse and better respectively. Typically the vigilante had 1, possibly 2 more skills than the other classes, but lower HP totals. Now that 1 skill point is a feat away, it's a bit of a wash, though a vigilante who wants to focus on skills will likely come out ahead, while other full BAB classes focused on HP will likely come out ahead.

When trying to figure out what the difference was, it became apparent that accuracy was an issue. Things like Cunning Feint and Surprise Strikes were nice, but typically didn't overcome the loss of forgoing an attack at your highest BAB. Compared against CR 11 creatures in Bestiary 1, the flat footed condition decreases AC on average by 3, though by median 1. So you could get lucky, like I said, fighting air elementals who lose 12 AC, though only a couple points was more common. Add in the surprise strike bonus and you've basically got around a +4 bonus to hit, which is similar, or maybe one point higher than most other Full BAB classes who receive in class accuracy boosts that don't require sacrificing an attack.

Similarly, a lot of the options looked good, but didn't create stellar numbers, like Shield of Fury for str build two weapon fighting. Shields typically don't make great weapons, even building to shield master and using 2 shields didn't create good numbers. Fist of the avenger could have been good, except gauntlets seems to be stuck in limbo where it's not a weapon so it can't be enchanted, but also maybe not an unarmed strike, so Amulet of mighty fists won't apply. Lethal Grace is pretty good for boosting damage on dex based two weapon fighting, but with low accuracy it runs into similar problems to the monk, where the low accuracy of two weapon fighting starts affecting expected hits per round. Favored maneuver could be useful for skipping pre-reqs, but it doesn't provide a way of gaining the greater feats, and the +2 to attempts when the enemy is unaware of your presence isn't nearly as useful as the (nearly) always on bonuses other classes are going to be getting.

Now, I want to make it clear that I'm not trying to be overly critical on the vigilante talents. Some of them I like quite a bit, like combining Vital Punishment with a reach trip build for a way to trigger vital striking AoO on your turn. Just wanted to state that in a number of comparisons vigilantes with their better than feats options were still not coming out ahead.

So, if the vigilante was performing less well as a damage dealer, that left the comparison for what are the trade offs you're getting in return. Like I mentioned earlier, usually a couple skill points, and social talents. So that's why I feel like the examination of social talents is important, if you're not getting much use out of them, I don't know why you wouldn't play another class with similar DPR with class options you will use. Most 3/4 BAB classes operate in similar damage/accuracy space as the vigilante, but have 6 level casting instead of social talents.

I do want to clarify that I don't think the vigilante is bad, just that there are so many great classes that side by side I'm not won over. With 37(?) different classes in the game it's almost never going to be my first choice. I'm not going to say that there aren't interesting abilities that people might want to try, and even with the lower numbers I was seeing, it was nowhere near a weak class. I do tend to have the opposite experience of Ssalarn, where I see a lot of love for the class, and I just feel lukewarm towards it. And I definitely don't feel like these feeling are because I haven't given it an in depth look.


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SheepishEidolon wrote:
Well, since there is a rogue archetype trading away an iconic class feature like sneak attack, maybe the game would profit from a vigilante archetype without dual identity.

It shouldn't be too difficult. Here is a quick try.

Maskless vigilante
Swap Dual Identity for:
Single minded: a maskless vigilantes single-mindedness makes it harder to scry them. If the ability to scry allows a save, they may roll twice and take the best one. If it doesn't allow a save, they gain one [will dc = 15 + ability level + enemies cha].

Misinformation: The maskless vigilante actively puts out incorrect rumours about himself. Add his level to the DC of Knowledge checks that would reveal information about him.

Maskless: The maskless vigilante counts as whichever identity [social/vigilante] is most beneficial to the vigilante.

This gives the same kind of benefits while making them unique and removes multiple ID's/disguise. [the actual dual ID's seems a wash from a requirement/benefit POV]

Ssalarn wrote:
I just want to emphasize, it is exactly like a wizard who gets everything he normally gets plus a free at-will disguise self. It's not like Dual Identity is taking up the slot that they would have given to a combat ability, because the class is already loaded up with those.

And for me, it's exactly like taking away one of my spell slots... You know because the wizard class is "already loaded up with " spells, it seems spot on. As a class and not an archetype, it's very hard to come in and say something is an extra vs a normal class feature. You see it as an extra and I see it as a feature taken away with an unusable ability. How do you prove me wrong and you right?

Mark: As I pointed out to Ssalarn, the slight difference in our POV is seeing the ability as a freebie or an integral built in part of the class. I may be all semantics/POV, but it's a clear point of contention. Looking at it one way makes it a whole lot easier to stomach ignoring it.

Silver Crusade Contributor

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graystone wrote:
How do you prove me wrong and you right?

By pointing to the class's designer, a couple posts up, describing it that way? :P

Mark Seifter wrote:
You're right that it's precisely like if wizard had a class feature that gave the wizard a free extra spell in the spellbook and prepared (beyond the wizard's normal spells) that had to be magic missile. It might even be more like if the wizard got an extra spell beyond the norm and it was something like disguise self that requires a certain situation to use that is less common than combat.

Designer

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It is an extra. But that doesn't mean it feels that way when you first look at it.

To go back to the wizard example, we know because of how we created the example that we're adding this new freebie slot, but I think what graystone is saying is that to an observer who didn't know about the previous wizard a priori without designer commentary, they can't tell if a wizard with 4 first level slots + disguise self was derived from 4 slots + a freebie or from 5 slots with a restriction on one of the slots.

Paizo Employee Senior Designer

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graystone wrote:


Ssalarn wrote:
I just want to emphasize, it is exactly like a wizard who gets everything he normally gets plus a free at-will disguise self. It's not like Dual Identity is taking up the slot that they would have given to a combat ability, because the class is already loaded up with those.

And for me, it's exactly like taking away one of my spell slots... You know because the wizard class is "already loaded up with " spells, it seems spot on. As a class and not an archetype, it's very hard to come in and say something is an extra vs a normal class feature. You see it as an extra and I see it as a feature taken away with an unusable ability. How do you prove me wrong and you right?

Uhm, ridiculously easily? Like, there's the guy who helped write it specifically noting that it's a free hook for the character on top of a full class load, akin to a Slayer who gets everything a slayer normally gets plus an extra ability. Or you can compare the chassis to another core chassis and note the scaling and flow which makes it clear that Dual Identity isn't "eating up" a class feature. It's a fluffy vehicle for the classes social abilities, as class analysis and developer input make perfectly clear. So no, it's not eating up one of your "spell slots" it's giving you an additional SLA on top of all your "normal" options, a hook to let you move between different situations more fluidly and with more options.

As an example, compare a 1st level Vigilante with a 1st level Rogue-

Rogue gets:
1 good save
8+Int skills
1d6 sneak attack
trapfinding

Vigilante gets:
2 good saves
6+Int skills
A social talent (which includes the option of a significant skill booster)
A vigilante specialization (either hidden strike or BAB boost to full)
Dual Identity
Seamless Guise

Or a vigilante and a fighter-
Fighter gets:
Full BAB
1 good save
2+Int skills
Heavy Armor proficiency
Bonus Feat

Vigilante gets:
2 good saves
6+Int skills
A social talent (which includes the option of a significant skill booster)
A vigilante specialization (either hidden strike or BAB boost to full)
Dual Identity
Seamless Guise

We could even do the slayer, who gets:
Full BAB
2 Good saves
6+Int skills
Studied Target
Track

So, there's class analysis that shows us the Vigilante is getting Dual Identity and Seamless Guise as icing, developer input that clarifies that Dual Identity and Seamless Guise are icing, what more does it take?

Silver Crusade Contributor

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Mark Seifter wrote:

It is explicitly an extra. But that doesn't mean it feels that way when you first look at it.

To go back to the wizard example, we know because of how we created the example that we're adding this new freebie slot, but I think what graystone is saying is that to an observer who didn't know about the previous wizard a priori without designer commentary, they can't tell if a wizard with 4 first level slots + disguise self was derived from 4 slots + a freebie or from 5 slots with a restriction on one of the slots.

I know. I was just amused by that in this specific context. ^_^


As I have said before, irony wasted, it is about feelings and misperceptions. No matter what the numbers say, it is very hard for some not to feel that they are being forced to take something that they don't want. Since zero-sum thinking is altogether too common, this means that you must have taken something away to give these things.

That the extra benefits are there to balance out extra challenges endemic to the role will have less weight to someone who considers the role irrelevant.


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Honestly, since I don't like working out longer feat chains, and I generally like my characters having at least some social capability, it's pretty much my go-to for martial and martial hybrid characters.

Quote:


A vigilante specialization (either hidden strike or BAB boost to full)

Or Spellcasting in one of three flavors, for that matter.


Answer- yes. Yes I am avoiding reading it.

It is too modular for me to really get interested. I like options, but I prefer if there is a central element that catches my attention- barbarians have tons of rage powers, but they have 'I get really angry and strong' as a core concept that helps me conceptualize what I can do.

Other classes:
-cavaliers- they can switch things around with orders, but they keep 'gets +damage/lvl on hit' mechanic.
-even kineticists have 'you pick an element, which has its advanages/disadvantages'. Also, one big hit.
-summoners- sure, eidolons ahve tons of options, but I can think 'big beefy monster plus its pet buffer'.
-wizards have tons of spells, but you can focus on individual schools for better results. So I can think 'I summon, but I also have some spell slots used for utility stuff'.

Vigilante is just too modular, so I just think 'what is this, core rogue with better social options? Or full BAB with social options?'. I am sure it has its tricks and builds... but it does really have a powerful core concept for what I actually... do.

Sure, 'its a super hero' or whatever. But that doesn't mean much. I wouldn't speak ill against it... I honestly don't care enough to determine if it is good or not. I just see 'I don't see what is good, but I am sure it has something that excites some other people'.


Deighton Thrane wrote:

[Lots of interesting stuff, including the following:]

So, if the vigilante was performing less well as a damage dealer, that left the comparison for what are the trade offs you're getting in return. Like I mentioned earlier, usually a couple skill points, and social talents. So that's why I feel like the examination of social talents is important, if you're not getting much use out of them, I don't know why you wouldn't play another class with similar DPR with class options you will use. Most 3/4 BAB classes operate in similar damage/accuracy space as the vigilante, but have 6 level casting instead of social talents.

I do want to clarify that I don't think the vigilante is bad, just that there are so many great classes that side by side I'm not won over. With 37(?) different classes in the game it's almost never going to be my first choice. I'm not going to say that there aren't interesting abilities that people might want to try, and even with the lower numbers I was seeing, it was nowhere near a weak class. I do tend to have the opposite experience of Ssalarn, where I see a lot of love for the class, and I just feel lukewarm towards it. And I definitely don't feel like these feeling are because I haven't given it an in depth look.

I can’t speak to the numbers I left out from the abbreviated quotation, but this last bit is why I haven’t rolled up a vigilante yet. I’m one of those people who only like playing spellcasting classes, and, probably due to a blind spot, I just haven’t seen what concepts the spellcasting vigilante archetypes generate that other classes might not handle more or less just as well, particularly because I’m not hugely enthused by the dual identity aspect of the vigilante.

I know I could just ignore one persona, or think of it as my character getting into the right mindset when the gloves come off (shocking! unsporting!), but I have a few characters that compartmentalize already without that mechanic, and what if I want my vigilante character to just be “always on?” (In the performer sense: “When you’re on, be on, and when you’re off, get off.”) My imagination just gets stuck around the dual identity for some reason.

Otherwise, I just haven’t been brave enough to take the plunge yet and see what the cabalist, warlock, or zealot can do that some form of magus, inquisitor, or warpriest couldn’t, assuming I wouldn’t be using the dual identity bit much. I’m more comfortable with the dual identity for the magical child (I guess I would have to be!), but I’m not sure how many games would easily accommodate one, or how to fit one in to a campaign set in Golarion. :)


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Mark Seifter wrote:

It is an extra. But that doesn't mean it feels that way when you first look at it.

To go back to the wizard example, we know because of how we created the example that we're adding this new freebie slot, but I think what graystone is saying is that to an observer who didn't know about the previous wizard a priori without designer commentary, they can't tell if a wizard with 4 first level slots + disguise self was derived from 4 slots + a freebie or from 5 slots with a restriction on one of the slots.

Yep, you got what I mean.

Ssalarn: It being added as an extra in the background doesn't mean much when looking at the class as it stands: looking at the class in the PRD, online sources, deadwood book, ect are missing said designer commentary. We are talking about the question "ARE PEOPLE JUST NOT READING THE VIGILANTE?" and not 'are people not reading the designer commentary in a random thread'...

Most of us aren't going through a detailed comparison of each and every ability a class has to figure out which might be a bonus/extra feature and what might be an integral part of the class. They also aren't likely to know every comment from Mark either. And at this point, they most likely wouldn't change their mind if they did.

Even if they do all the above, that doesn't mean it FEELS like a bonus/freebie. You where the person that wondered why people don't like the class: for most it's not a point by point comparison of the class vs other classes that makes them dislike it. If you're going to ignore how people feel about the class into the equation, you'll never understand why some aren't thrilled with the class.


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Daw wrote:

As I have said before, irony wasted, it is about feelings and misperceptions. No matter what the numbers say, it is very hard for some not to feel that they are being forced to take something that they don't want. Since zero-sum thinking is altogether too common, this means that you must have taken something away to give these things.

That the extra benefits are there to balance out extra challenges endemic to the role will have less weight to someone who considers the role irrelevant.

Those "extra benefits" are from a design/background POV. When you look at the class it isn't apparent. For instance, if someone came in and said a rangers tracking was an extra: in the end what does it matter? Does that mean we shouldn't have things trade out tracking for a different ability? Does that mean every ranger should have some version of tracking? Does it being extra exclude it from being traded out/altered/removed?

Bottom line, the vigilante has a set of abilities and some people don't like that some of those abilities seem permanently attached to the class with no option for an ability that fits better into how they play the game and/or their character concept.

PS: and as I've said before, I don't hate the class: I hate that dual identity is impossible to pry off it and the dissonance that creates in characters with only 1 ID. it's like giving a monk heavy armor proficiency but no ability to use it's class abilities while wearing said armor. How/why the heck was it learned?...

Liberty's Edge

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Deighton Thrane wrote:
Well, I can't speak to everyone's feelings on the vigilante, but most of my concerns from the vigilante come from actual build comparisons. I spent a solid week when I first got the book trying to make various vigilante (especially the avenger) builds and comparing them against various other full BAB classes that perform similarly. I usually compare at level 11, as that's a point where most builds are really hitting their stride, though for some builds, like vigilantes using Mad Rush, it was pushed to 12. Typically the vigilante would be about 20-30% short of most other classes in DPR (if memory serves), though the avenger and brawler ended up pretty close, but that doesn't really factor in the brawlers ability to adapt to almost any situation, and it was also before dual wielding waveblades was a thing for brawlers. Saves were mostly a wash, basically trading places on good saves, except for swashbucklers and paladins, who were worse and better respectively. Typically the vigilante had 1, possibly 2 more skills than the other classes, but lower HP totals. Now that 1 skill point is a feat away, it's a bit of a wash, though a vigilante who wants to focus on skills will likely come out ahead, while other full BAB classes focused on HP will likely come out ahead.

Vigilante has gotten notably better in a few ways since this analysis. Also, and equally relevant, IMO, even then the Vigilante had distinct advantages over those other Classes even in combat, they just weren't usually DPR. AC for a Shield of Blades character leaps immediately to mind, for example.

Deighton Thrane wrote:
When trying to figure out what the difference was, it became apparent that accuracy was an issue. Things like Cunning Feint and Surprise Strikes were nice, but typically didn't overcome the loss of forgoing an attack at your highest BAB. Compared against CR 11 creatures in Bestiary 1, the flat footed condition decreases AC on average by 3, though by median 1. So you could get lucky, like I said, fighting air elementals who lose 12 AC, though only a couple points was more common. Add in the surprise strike bonus and you've basically got around a +4 bonus to hit, which is similar, or maybe one point higher than most other Full BAB classes who receive in class accuracy boosts that don't require sacrificing an attack.

This ignores the party-buffing element. That -3 (or whatever) applies to the whole party vs. that target, and as any party that's ever had a Bard can tell you, everyone getting +3 to hit is pretty amazing.

Deighton Thrane wrote:
Similarly, a lot of the options looked good, but didn't create stellar numbers, like Shield of Fury for str build two weapon fighting. Shields typically don't make great weapons, even building to shield master and using 2 shields didn't create good numbers. Fist of the avenger could have been good, except gauntlets seems to be stuck in limbo where it's not a weapon so it can't be enchanted, but also maybe not an unarmed strike, so Amulet of mighty fists won't apply. Lethal Grace is pretty good for boosting damage on dex based two weapon fighting, but with low accuracy it runs into similar problems to the monk, where the low accuracy of two weapon fighting starts affecting expected hits per round. Favored maneuver could be useful for skipping pre-reqs, but it doesn't provide a way of gaining the greater feats, and the +2 to attempts when the enemy is unaware of your presence isn't nearly as useful as the (nearly) always on bonuses other classes are going to be getting.

I honestly think there are several good builds with high accuracy that ignore several of the problems you list. Fist of the Avenger works perfectly well on unarmed attacks (and thus with an AoMF) for example.

There's also definitely some Stalker stuff like Leave An Opening that's just getting left out. Leave An Opening is often a free inescapable AoO...which is a huge DPR boost.

Deighton Thrane wrote:
Now, I want to make it clear that I'm not trying to be overly critical on the vigilante talents. Some of them I like quite a bit, like combining Vital Punishment with a reach trip build for a way to trigger vital striking AoO on your turn. Just wanted to state that in a number of comparisons vigilantes with their better than feats options were still not coming out ahead.

Not in DPR anyway, no. Or at least not for Avenger at the time. I'd strongly argue their other advantages in combat could equal things out, but this is true enough.

Deighton Thrane wrote:
So, if the vigilante was performing less well as a damage dealer, that left the comparison for what are the trade offs you're getting in return. Like I mentioned earlier, usually a couple skill points, and social talents. So that's why I feel like the examination of social talents is important, if you're not getting much use out of them, I don't know why you wouldn't play another class with similar DPR with class options you will use. Most 3/4 BAB classes operate in similar damage/accuracy space as the vigilante, but have 6 level casting instead of social talents.

This is fair enough, and by far the biggest objective downside of a Vigilante. Casters are better than martial characters in Pathfinder and you'll almost always be able to do a variety of things better as one.

Yes, some Vigilante Archetypes can cast...but they tend to give up enough Vigilante Talents to significantly reduce the possible advantages of going Vigilante over some other 6-level caster.

Deighton Thrane wrote:
I do want to clarify that I don't think the vigilante is bad, just that there are so many great classes that side by side I'm not won over. With 37(?) different classes in the game it's almost never going to be my first choice. I'm not going to say that there aren't interesting abilities that people might want to try, and even with the lower numbers I was seeing, it was nowhere near a weak class. I do tend to have the opposite experience of Ssalarn, where I see a lot of love for the class, and I just feel lukewarm towards it. And I definitely don't feel like these feeling are because I haven't given it an in depth look.

And here I can't argue at all. Vigilante is a good class, IMO...but I usually run games rather than play them, and in the one game of Pathfinder I've played since Vigilante came out, I didn't play one. I played an Investigator. Heck, Avenger isn't even my favorite class. It's certainly my favorite martial class (Barbarian is a close second, for various reasons)...but that does still leave several 6-level casters (Bard, Inquisitor and Investigator, for the record) as more favored. I do probably prefer it to Oracle (my favorite 9th level caster), though.


Graystone,

I do understand your point, but I can't really agree with it. The Dual Identity is the "Flaw" that is balanced out by all those socials that are based off of it. This is weakened because they chose not to spell out and emphasize the bad things that should happen when the identity is exposed to the bad guys.

There are some reasons for the light touch, one serious screw-up and your vigilante is potentially crippled forever.

How did he learn them? Point is that if he didn't learn them, he wouldn't be a vigilante. Vigilantes are those few that did learn to keep all those juggling balls up in the air. Those that failed are object lessons in why you don't mess with the bad guys.

That added tension, knowing that your failure will also harm your support network; your family, your info sources, your favorite crafters, et al, is an integral part of the class. I can see this being a bit much.


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Daw wrote:

Graystone,

I do understand your point, but I can't really agree with it. The Dual Identity is the "Flaw" that is balanced out by all those socials that are based off of it. This is weakened because they chose not to spell out and emphasize the bad things that should happen when the identity is exposed to the bad guys.

There are some reasons for the light touch, one serious screw-up and your vigilante is potentially crippled forever.

How did he learn them? Point is that if he didn't learn them, he wouldn't be a vigilante. Vigilantes are those few that did learn to keep all those juggling balls up in the air. Those that failed are object lessons in why you don't mess with the bad guys.

That added tension, knowing that your failure will also harm your support network; your family, your info sources, your favorite crafters, et al, is an integral part of the class. I can see this being a bit much.

I see it as "The Dread Pirate Roberts" from the Princess bride when played through without really bothering with the second identity... are you using the second identity? sometimes. Are there consequences for being found out? a few, but the character isn't too worried, because worst-case he just needs his replacement to seriously step it up while he creates a new life with his loot.

In a sense Dual identity in such campaigns should be treated like a paladins code everyone agrees the DM shouldn't f#~~ with


Grandlounge wrote:

While these are ok options they don't come together as well as one might want.

There are 2 strong weapons for versatile training bows and polearms. Most of the other have skill that is much less valuable than the other. Adaptable training has 2 decent skills knowledge engineering and intimdate, which you may pick up from versatile training anyway.

You don't get any new class skills, you don't have the ability scores to support the rolls. You lack any static bonus class features like inspiration, trap finding or bardic knowldge to boost the skills.

But the worst part is that when you take these you put off getting good advanced training options like abundant tactics, armed bravery (must have imo), fighter tactics, focused weapon.

Versatile training makes them class skills so you get that bonus. Every group can choose bluff or intimidate. Also there are like five weapon groups that dont offer one of either perception, sense motive, or diplomacy, and you can reassign any points youd already spent in the skill prior to taking versatile training.

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