Sacred fist:Why is it worse then an unarmed warpriest?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Silver Crusade

So i came to the realization that unarmed warpriest is overall better then the sacred fist archtype for a few main reasons.

The first being how many more feats the base warpriest gets over sacred fist, making it a lot more flexible when it comes to builds.

Second is the fact that if you were worshiping irori you would get improved unarmed strike as a bonus feat anyway, making what you get from sacred fist redundant, in actuality all you're really doing is LOSING weapon focus

And the fact that it doesn't matter which one you take you aren't getting pummeling charge, which is basically the cornerstone of this class until level 12

So all the sacred fist really gets in return is an admittedly way better skill list. Standard monk AC bonus and Ki pool and the ability to brush off most fort saves, but I'm not convinced that it's worth what you lose in the long run

What do you think?


You lose weapon focus for monk unarmed damage progression, which is basically Scared Damage, but can multiclass with and works with Monk"s robes. You also get swift action buffing while getting flurry of blows.

His flurry seems weird, since the d20pfsrd text seems messed up. I think it says he doesn't get to use his class level as to hit like the monk does, which is a huge negative.

The style feats really hurt, since most style feat chains can be obtained before 11. The fortitude save evasion thing is nice, but the first one sucks. I honestly can't think of anything that does only reduced effect on a fortitude save.

Silver Crusade

SorrySleeping wrote:

You lose weapon focus for monk unarmed damage progression, which is basically Scared Damage, but can multiclass with and works with Monk"s robes. You also get swift action buffing while getting flurry of blows.

His flurry seems weird, since the d20pfsrd text seems messed up. I think it says he doesn't get to use his class level as to hit like the monk does, which is a huge negative.

The style feats really hurt, since most style feat chains can be obtained before 11. The fortitude save evasion thing is nice, but the first one sucks. I honestly can't think of anything that does only reduced effect on a fortitude save.

Like i said ultimately you just don't gain enough for what you lose.

You can just as easily get two weapon fighting, and the dedicated style feats just don't justify it since style feats are combat feats anyway. ironically making it so standard warpriests can master style chains much earlier if they really wanted to. Hell standard warpriest can get stunning fist without multiclassing where as sacred fist pretty much HAS to multiclass into monk to get that edge needed which is just obnoxious to say the least.

Basically i would think of an unarmed warpriest as a divine brawler, and brawlers are generally better then monks anyway.


Do note that a sacred fist basically has 3 free two weapon fighting feats thanks to flurry of blows. Their ability to get fort-save evasion is really neat, and you can theoretically get martial focus to allow for style mixing with that normally fighter only feat.

Wisdom to AC makes it a solid dip, and it does get Ki points so you can do some neat stuff with that.


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SorrySleeping wrote:
His flurry seems weird, since the d20pfsrd text seems messed up. I think it says he doesn't get to use his class level as to hit like the monk does, which is a huge negative.

This isn't a D20pfsrd bug, that is the actual rules for the WP. The dev officially clarified that it needs to say you use your level for bab for that to happen that as it is right now the WP doesn't get to use it's level for bab.

That's why the sacred fist went from awesome to bad.

Silver Crusade

Chess Pwn wrote:
SorrySleeping wrote:
His flurry seems weird, since the d20pfsrd text seems messed up. I think it says he doesn't get to use his class level as to hit like the monk does, which is a huge negative.

This isn't a D20pfsrd bug, that is the actual rules for the WP. The dev officially clarified that it needs to say you use your level for bab for that to happen that as it is right now the WP doesn't get to use it's level for bab.

That's why the sacred fist went from awesome to bad.

Where as the standard warpriest still gets to use its level as base attack bonus for its bonus feats letting it get things like weapon specialization at level 6

Either way no matter how you look at it sacred fist got so uber gimped that there's little point in using it when the standard warpriest and to an extent enlightened paladin does what it can do so much better.


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Welcome to Paizo's errata style?


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Like a lot of things in the Advanced Class Guide, it was overpowered (compared to the base Warpriest as well as to Monk, Brawler, etc) on release and hastily nerfed into the ground with the errata.

Liberty's Edge

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Not only that, while the Sacred Fist gets a Ki Pool, the regular Warpriest gets a much-needed attack boost via Sacred Weapon. Or, if attack is not your concern, Holy.

And this is before we even get to the Molthuni Arsenal Chaplain, which gets Weapon Training progression, and that gets disgusting with Two-Weapon Fighting.


Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
The first being how many more feats the base warpriest gets over sacred fist, making it a lot more flexible when it comes to builds.

A Sacred Fist effectively gets Two Weapon Fighting and Double Slice at level 1 (= 2 feats). They effectively get Improved Two Weapon Fighting at level 8. A War Priest gets Weapon Focus at level 1 (= 1 feat). They catch up at level 3 with another feat. War Priests fall behind again at level 8 and again at level 15, but have more feat options. Seems pretty close to me.

Example: A human Sacred Fist gets TWF, Double Slice, Weapon Focus +1 more feat at level 1. A human War Priest gets TWF, Double Slice, and Weapon Focus at level 1. Sacred Fist starts ahead by 1 feat at level 1.

A Sacred Fist is better damage faster than a (non-archetype) War Priest. Weak AC is a headache. Thank goodness they can self heal.

A War Priest has far better defenses faster due to being able to wear armor. Requiring 15 (and later up to 19) DEX at level 1 is a headache.


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But the base WP can add in natural attacks too into it's full attack while the SF cannot add those with his flurry.


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Sacred Fist might be better if they got to use the Unchained Monk's flurry of blows rather than the Core Monk's flurry of blows.


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The Dandy Lion wrote:
And this is before we even get to the Molthuni Arsenal Chaplain, which gets Weapon Training progression, and that gets disgusting with Two-Weapon Fighting.

It's pretty disgusting with any kind of weapon fighting.


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Sacred Fist wielding a weapon in two hands can still be very, very effective. Being able to buff with Divine Favor/Power is already essentially a pseudo-BAB. When they had pseudo-BAB plus full Flurry plus major buffing, they were a bit ridiculous with two-handed weapon attack. As it is, something like a Sacred Fist of Gorum flurrying a greatsword with Destruction Blessing is still a reaping machine.

Sacred Fist is worse than Warpriest at unarmed because they took away Warpriest things that were great for unarmed, and exchanged them for unarmed that lacks good support features.

Silver Crusade

BadBird wrote:

Sacred Fist wielding a weapon in two hands can still be very, very effective. Being able to buff with Divine Favor/Power is already essentially a pseudo-BAB. When they had pseudo-BAB plus full Flurry plus major buffing, they were a bit ridiculous with two-handed weapon attack. As it is, something like a Sacred Fist of Gorum flurrying a greatsword with Destruction Blessing is still a reaping machine.

Sacred Fist is worse than Warpriest at unarmed because they took away Warpriest things that were great for unarmed, and exchanged them for unarmed that lacks good support features.

Doesn't that kind of defeat the entire point of playing one though?


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Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
BadBird wrote:

Sacred Fist wielding a weapon in two hands can still be very, very effective. Being able to buff with Divine Favor/Power is already essentially a pseudo-BAB. When they had pseudo-BAB plus full Flurry plus major buffing, they were a bit ridiculous with two-handed weapon attack. As it is, something like a Sacred Fist of Gorum flurrying a greatsword with Destruction Blessing is still a reaping machine.

Sacred Fist is worse than Warpriest at unarmed because they took away Warpriest things that were great for unarmed, and exchanged them for unarmed that lacks good support features.

Doesn't that kind of defeat the entire point of playing one though?

Depends on what the point of playing one is. Flurrying a deity's favored weapon as a holy Monk type character is a lot of fun, especially if you get creative with their abilities and spells. Sacred Fist of Shizuru with katana flurry and Glory Aura is incredibly thematic for a 'sword saint' character.

Silver Crusade

BadBird wrote:
Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
BadBird wrote:

Sacred Fist wielding a weapon in two hands can still be very, very effective. Being able to buff with Divine Favor/Power is already essentially a pseudo-BAB. When they had pseudo-BAB plus full Flurry plus major buffing, they were a bit ridiculous with two-handed weapon attack. As it is, something like a Sacred Fist of Gorum flurrying a greatsword with Destruction Blessing is still a reaping machine.

Sacred Fist is worse than Warpriest at unarmed because they took away Warpriest things that were great for unarmed, and exchanged them for unarmed that lacks good support features.

Doesn't that kind of defeat the entire point of playing one though?
Depends on what the point of playing one is. Flurrying a deity's favored weapon as a holy Monk type character is a lot of fun, especially if you get creative with their abilities and spells. Sacred Fist of Shizuru with katana flurry and Glory Aura is incredibly thematic for a 'sword saint' character.

Never thought of it quite like that, just always thought that someone using only their fists to fight was majestic, and that all that scaling unarmed damage would just go to waste otherwise...anyway I've been messing around and came up with 2 different feat paths up to level 13 for unarmed warpriest and sacred fist just to make a point

Unarmed Warpriest(Assumed Human)
Starting Stats
Str:12
Dex:16
Con:14
Int:10
Wis:14
Cha:8

Level 1
Improved Unarmed Strike
Weapon Focus(Unarmed Strike)
Weapon Finesse
Two Weapon Fighting

Level 3
Toughness
Bonus Feat:Weapon Versatility

Level 5
Deific Obedience

Level 6
Bonus Feat:Weapon Specialization

Level 7
Duel Enchantment

Level 9
Pummeling Style
Bonus Feat:Stunning Fist

Level 11
Quicken Blessing

Level 12
Bonus Feat:Pummeling Charge

Level 13
Divine Interference

Now Sacred Fist(also assuming Human)
Starting Stats
Str:14
Dex:12
Con:14
Int:10
Wis:16
Cha:8

Level 1
Improved Unarmed Strike
Weapon Finesse
Fast Learner

Level 3
Toughness

Level 5
Deific Obedience

Level 6
Bonus Style Feat:Pummeling Style

Level 7
Spell Focus(Conjuration)

Level 9
Ki Channel

Level 11
Quicken Blessing

Level 12
Bonus Style Feat:Pummeling Charge

Level 13
Augment Summoning

As you can see you just got a lot more to work with as a standard warpriest when it comes to feats and the like and would generally be stronger then the sacred fist up until towards the end but by that point the campaigns almost over.


Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
As you can see you just got a lot more to work with as a standard warpriest when it comes to feats and the like and would generally be stronger then the sacred fist up until towards the end but by that point the campaigns almost over.

You are spending feats on the Sacred Fist that aren't comparative to the feats you spent on the War Priest.

Examples: Weapon Finesse is not needed when you have a higher strength than dexterity. Fast Learner means you are making the Sacred Fist better at skills while just bumping the War Priests offense. Spell Focus: Conjuration and Augment Summoning should be taken on both or neither for the best comparison.

That gives you 4 additional feats, 2 of which are at level 1.

In your comparison, the War Priest only gets 1 attack ever with the offhand. It's better off using a two handed weapon eventually that way. At level 8, the War Priest gets 3 attacks while the Sacred Fist gets 4 to 5 attacks in a full attack routine. That's a major difference.

Example Sacred Fist

S: 15 D: 14 C: 14 I: 10 W: 14 Ch: 8 (20 pt human, +1 STR @ 4th)

Improved Unarmed Strike (WP 1)
Toughness (human)
??? (1st)
Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike (3rd)
Deific Obedience (5th)
Pummeling Style (WP 6)
Ki Channel (7th)
??? (9th)
Quicken Blessing (11th)
Pummeling Charge (WP 12)

Level 1: Using Strength Blessing
Sacred Fist: +1/+1 unarmed strike (1d6+2)
Your War Priest: +3/+3 unarmed strike (1d6+1 / 1d6)

Level 3: Fervor Divine Favor
Sacred Fist: +4/+4 unarmed strike (1d6+3)
Your War Priest: +5/+5 unarmed strike (1d6+2 / 1d6+1)

Level 5: Fervor Divine Favor + Fervor Bull's Strength / Sacred Weapon
Sacred Fist: +8/+8 unarmed strike (1d8+6)
Your War Priest: +7/+6 unarmed strike (1d8+3 / 1d8+1)

Neither are going to be super damage until around 8th for the Sacred Fist (using 5 attacks) and never for the War Priest (using unarmed strikes).


Chess Pwn wrote:
But the base WP can add in natural attacks too into it's full attack while the SF cannot add those with his flurry.

That is true IF the War Priest has them. Those -7 penalty to hit half strength secondary natural attacks add up a little with the War Priest's static bonuses.

Example: A half-orc with a bite attack can do an extra 1d4 damage at level 1 if he can hit with the -4 to hit attack (based on the OP's latest example War Priest). At level 3, it's much better at -1 to hit for 1d4+1 damage (assuming Divine Favor).

Granted, they aren't going to pierce DR via Pummeling Style, which was the plan.

Those secondary natural attacks can be saved somewhat by spending more feats to get Weapon Focus with each type. They will get scaling damage that way (and +1 more to hit). Multi Attack will boost their to hit later too. That will cause the War Priest to go into a feat deficit compared to the Sacred Fist though.

Silver Crusade

Rory wrote:
Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
As you can see you just got a lot more to work with as a standard warpriest when it comes to feats and the like and would generally be stronger then the sacred fist up until towards the end but by that point the campaigns almost over.

You are spending feats on the Sacred Fist that aren't comparative to the feats you spent on the War Priest.

Examples: Weapon Finesse is not needed when you have a higher strength than dexterity. Fast Learner means you are making the Sacred Fist better at skills while just bumping the War Priests offense. Spell Focus: Conjuration and Augment Summoning should be taken on both or neither for the best comparison.

That gives you 4 additional feats, 2 of which are at level 1.

In your comparison, the War Priest only gets 1 attack ever with the offhand. It's better off using a two handed weapon eventually that way. At level 8, the War Priest gets 3 attacks while the Sacred Fist gets 4 to 5 attacks in a full attack routine. That's a major difference.

Example Sacred Fist

S: 15 D: 14 C: 14 I: 10 W: 14 Ch: 8 (20 pt human, +1 STR @ 4th)

Improved Unarmed Strike (WP 1)
Toughness (human)
??? (1st)
Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike (3rd)
Deific Obedience (5th)
Pummeling Style (WP 6)
Ki Channel (7th)
??? (9th)
Quicken Blessing (11th)
Pummeling Charge (WP 12)

Level 1: Using Strength Blessing
Sacred Fist: +1/+1 unarmed strike (1d6+2)
Your War Priest: +3/+3 unarmed strike (1d6+1 / 1d6)

Level 3: Fervor Divine Favor
Sacred Fist: +4/+4 unarmed strike (1d6+3)
Your War Priest: +5/+5 unarmed strike (1d6+2 / 1d6+1)

Level 5: Fervor Divine Favor + Fervor Bull's Strength / Sacred Weapon
Sacred Fist: +8/+8 unarmed strike (1d8+6)
Your War Priest: +7/+6 unarmed strike (1d8+3 / 1d8+1)

Neither are going to be super damage until around 8th for the Sacred Fist (using 5 attacks) and never for the War Priest (using unarmed strikes).

Honestly it really came down to me literally being unable to think of anything like you couldn't for the 1st and 9th levels.

Also i kind of assume the dm is kind of a jerk and makes you use a 15 point buy


I recently went from a generalized WarPriest of Korada to a WarPriest of the same God, and I found it slightly easier to "create a divine Monk" with the Sacred Fist. Some of it is that a full, direct translation does eat away at a number of feats: The three TWF, Double Slice, AND Dual Enhancement (two weapon fighting needs two weapons; nothing says you can't just use the same fist with a flurry).

The way I analyzed it is that feats were "frontloaded" in the SF. Since I didn't have to spend a feat on TWF, I got another feat at 1st level... which the regular isn't getting until 3rd, and must be a combat feat. The same thing occurs at level 8 with ITWF.

Also, if you're looking at getting Style feats, you have a lower number of options, but the fact that SF's levels count as monk levels for the purposes of the feat makes a difference. If you actually want to get Pummelling Style, you can straight out get it at any point before level 6. I'm planning to do a one level dip into brawler, but the combination lets me pick up the full Crane style chain by 7th level.

If you are talking general combat, I'm with you. If you are making what is commonly thought of as a "divine monk", SF is SLIGHTLY better.

I'm also playing with a 15 point buy in my analysis. :)


Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
Honestly it really came down to me literally being unable to think of anything like you couldn't for the 1st and 9th levels.

I purposefully left the feat slots open to example flexibility while maintaining the style you desired. Here are some feats to fill in any gaps. There are others.

- Fey Foundling (1st level only)
- Power Attack
- Dodge


Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
Also i kind of assume the dm is kind of a jerk and makes you use a 15 point buy

Why would the DM be being a jerk by using the PB the CRB defines as "Standard"?


dysartes wrote:
Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
Also i kind of assume the dm is kind of a jerk and makes you use a 15 point buy
Why would the DM be being a jerk by using the PB the CRB defines as "Standard"?

It's a matter of perspective. Some players like/expect that their stats are better than the NPC's: They want to play the hero's/protagonists of the story. Others don't mind being on even footing with NPC's and being 'one of the crowd'.

I myself try to play high or epic as I find any lower is detrimental MAD builds: You can play a fine oracle in low fantasy but a monk is going to be pretty sad looking.

Silver Crusade

graystone wrote:
dysartes wrote:
Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
Also i kind of assume the dm is kind of a jerk and makes you use a 15 point buy
Why would the DM be being a jerk by using the PB the CRB defines as "Standard"?

It's a matter of perspective. Some players like/expect that their stats are better than the NPC's: They want to play the hero's/protagonists of the story. Others don't mind being on even footing with NPC's and being 'one of the crowd'.

I myself try to play high or epic as I find any lower is detrimental MAD builds: You can play a fine oracle in low fantasy but a monk is going to be pretty sad looking.

Pretty much that a monk built with anything less then a 20 point buy is....pretty useless imo


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It's worth remembering that ability score modifiers in a d20 system are marginal. A one-point difference on a d20 will be relevant for 1 in 20 rolls, on average. This certainly adds up to a difference overall, but the idea that 14STR instead of 16STR or whatever is the difference between capable and hopeless is more mental than real.


i personally go sacred fist for a 3 level dip for the fort save evasion and the wis to ac, then i go scaled fist unchained monk for 2 levels for normal evasion and cha to ac one is usually starting out at a +4-5 bonus and the other will be a +3 minimum so its basically full plate but it also goes to touch ac


BadBird wrote:
This certainly adds up to a difference overall, but the idea that 14STR instead of 16STR or whatever is the difference between capable and hopeless is more mental than real.

That's if it's a differnce between 14 and 16 in a single stat needed. Monks need 4 minimum stats so it's multiplied by 4. For me, it feels like being the sidekick instead of the hero. The fighter can pick up plate and shield to survive, the rogue can use just his dex and chain, and the monk wanders in with a mighty 14 AC. The other melee can manage an 18 stat with a 15 point build while the monks looking at 14's.

So useless might not be right but you're seeing your 'main stat' 4 points less than the single stat classes. It hurts mentally and mechanically.

Lady-J: You're adding in a 5th stat you need? What stats do you have to make it viable? From your numbers, it looks like 14 dex/wis and a 16 cha so what are your Str and Con?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

No, it sounded like a 18-20 Wis and 16 Cha, which I don't see working without making it impossible to deal damage.

Then I remember that Lady-J rolls stats different from the norm, so it's probably 18s and 16s all the way across.


TriOmegaZero wrote:

No, it sounded like a 18-20 Wis and 16 Cha, which I don't see working without making it impossible to deal damage.

Then I remember that Lady-J rolls stats different from the norm, so it's probably 18s and 16s all the way across.

AH, rolled stats. Ok, that makes sense then.


graystone wrote:
That's if it's a differnce between 14 and 16 in a single stat needed. Monks need 4 minimum stats so it's multiplied by 4.

A five point reduction to point-buy typically means that the highest stat drops by 2, or that the two highest drop by 1 each - 16/18 becomes 14/16, or 15/17 and 16 becomes 14/16 and 15, or whatever. In the long run, the overall effect is usually going to amount to one point of modifier loss, regardless of the character type. The only way it's going to hurt more than that is if someone was already spreading ability score really thin, which isn't typically advisable anyhow.


BadBird wrote:
A five point reduction to point-buy typically means that the highest stat drops by 2, or that the two highest drop by 1 each

This isn't what I normally see. In SAD classes, I see people with an 18 even when the base points is 10. Fighters, rogues, casters, ect can be fine with that single 18. I can't argue 'typical', but from my experience, that highest drop is only for MAD characters.

I think the reason why people like myself and Malik Gyan Daumantas like to see higher points and avoid lower ones is because we don't see that reduction in highest stat.


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graystone wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:

No, it sounded like a 18-20 Wis and 16 Cha, which I don't see working without making it impossible to deal damage.

Then I remember that Lady-J rolls stats different from the norm, so it's probably 18s and 16s all the way across.

AH, rolled stats. Ok, that makes sense then.

It's not just rolled stats, it's super buffed rolled stats.

what Lady=J's games are like:

Lady-J wrote:
18 in your main stat pre racials and a 14-18 in your secondary stat with a 14-16 in your 3rd most used stat 9-14 on all others nothing below a 9(or 10 ideally) pre racials that way your good at what you do and aren't honorably crippled in the areas you aren't specialized in
Lady-J wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
and how is it that you roll Lady-J?
4d6 re roll 1,2 drop lowest if no 18 is rolled highest roll is an 18 this way every one is has a chance to be good at what they want to do and wont cripple themselves in areas they aren't necessarily going to be using in case they do actually need to use more than what they are good at
Lady-J wrote:
full hp every level also higher base stats leaves less discrepancy between mad and sad classes as well as slightly alleviating some of the caster martial discrepancy and full hp makes the game significantly less glass cannon overall as its both the enemies and the party that get max hp
Lady-J wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
How do you equip a level 6 fighter to get +18 to hit?

+6 from bab +6 from str=12 +3 from weapon training and +1 from weapon focus will get a fighter +16 at level 6 add in +2 from the weapon and you have +18 and thats just a flat fighter nothing else added onto it other than a +2 str belt a +2 weapon and gloves of dueling so no nothing special about it if it where i would of added in atleast another +5-8 somewhere

crafting gear reduces cost by 50% so the gloves are 7500 the belt is 2000 the weapon is around 4000 for a total of 13500 and you have money left for some defense items

Lady-J plays a very different high powered game than most people, where templates and monsters as PCs are fully approved. So their advice about stuff is great, up until numbers get involved, then their advice is basically useless as it doesn't translate at all to most games.


dysartes wrote:
Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
Also i kind of assume the dm is kind of a jerk and makes you use a 15 point buy
Why would the DM be being a jerk by using the PB the CRB defines as "Standard"?

Part of it is that the Dev's have come out and stated that the 15 pt buy was a mistake, that 20 pt buy was actually what they wanted, but they had messed up their math and came out with 15. That's why most games play 20 or higher, and with PFS being 20 pt buy and lots of people that play that ask for help on the boards it's kinds the default pt buy for people, so 15 seems low, and as graystone is staying, makes the top classes feel no difference (the barbs and fighters can still have high str and do frontline, and wizards and sorcerers can still have a 20 casting stat fairly easily) so it makes those classes shine more and the classes that need lots of stats will look worse comparatively. Coupled with the fact that most time pt buy of 15 is thought to try to make PC's weaker all it does is make the worse PCs that were already having a hard time do worse and makes casters more attractive.


Lady-J's game: Oh my. That makes even the MADest characters plausible...

Chess Pwn: *thumbs up* Thanks for saying it better than I did! ;)

Silver Crusade

Chess Pwn wrote:
dysartes wrote:
Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
Also i kind of assume the dm is kind of a jerk and makes you use a 15 point buy
Why would the DM be being a jerk by using the PB the CRB defines as "Standard"?
Part of it is that the Dev's have come out and stated that the 15 pt buy was a mistake, that 20 pt buy was actually what they wanted, but they had messed up their math and came out with 15. That's why most games play 20 or higher, and with PFS being 20 pt buy and lots of people that play that ask for help on the boards it's kinds the default pt buy for people, so 15 seems low, and as graystone is staying, makes the top classes feel no difference (the barbs and fighters can still have high str and do frontline, and wizards and sorcerers can still have a 20 casting stat fairly easily) so it makes those classes shine more and the classes that need lots of stats will look worse comparatively. Coupled with the fact that most time pt buy of 15 is thought to try to make PC's weaker all it does is make the worse PCs that were already having a hard time do worse and makes casters more attractive.

Thing is if you get really creative a 15 point buy can work. For example I'm currently running a human Magus in a carrion crown campaign that a 14 in everything but wisdom and charisma (with those being 10 and 8 respectively) And the Clever wordplay Trait to make him half way decent at diplomacy. And I'm much more confident in that as opposed to me running the standard dex based glass cannon build.

Then there's the bard who can get away with something like a 12 in all physical stats a 14 in intelligence, 9 in wisdom and a 16 in charisma. The problem is that both those characters can cast spells to make up their...average stats.

And that's where the problem pretty much lies. The only way you can make a 15 point buy work is if you either only need to focus on one specific area, or can balance out more average stats with spell-casting and creative item buys. So the barbarian is gonna have a grand ole time cause all he needs is Strength and Con and thats kind of it. The Rogue only needs Dex,Con,Int and maybe a tinny bit of wisdom for their horrible will saves. Monk needs like 4 or 5 stats to be relevant and they don't even have magic to ease the burden.

So yeah it is a dick move, because it pretty much limits what kind of character you can make.


graystone wrote:
BadBird wrote:
This certainly adds up to a difference overall, but the idea that 14STR instead of 16STR or whatever is the difference between capable and hopeless is more mental than real.

That's if it's a differnce between 14 and 16 in a single stat needed. Monks need 4 minimum stats so it's multiplied by 4. For me, it feels like being the sidekick instead of the hero. The fighter can pick up plate and shield to survive, the rogue can use just his dex and chain, and the monk wanders in with a mighty 14 AC. The other melee can manage an 18 stat with a 15 point build while the monks looking at 14's.

So useless might not be right but you're seeing your 'main stat' 4 points less than the single stat classes. It hurts mentally and mechanically.

Lady-J: You're adding in a 5th stat you need? What stats do you have to make it viable? From your numbers, it looks like 14 dex/wis and a 16 cha so what are your Str and Con?

average stat array for us is 18, 16, 14, 14, 12, 10 so for a non templated character i would probably go for a more support type character with 14str, 12dex, 16 con 10 int, 14 wis, 18 cha and after getting the 1 level in both monk and warpriest i would go 1 in vitalist and then mostly go enlightened paladin for double dipping cha to ac(it works as one is an un-typed bonus and one is a dex bonus) and focus more on healing/buffing allies while still kinda being able to hold their own in melee combat and then work towards more levels in monk and warpriest after i get enough paladin levels under the belt if i use one of my characters were i actually used this build its a striker i would go 18str, 14 dex, 10 con, 12 int, 14 wis, 16 cha now they can get away with having a 10 in con because they are also a vampire so the 10 becomes a -

i agree on how the current point buy is a huge mistake and how it makes things pretty much unplayable for certain classes it should be 35,40,45 and 50 point buy with the current calculation system or change the calculations to be 1 stat bump = 1 point so an 18 is 8 points and a 12 is 2 points


We've sure come a long way from what people once generally accepted as functional ability scores. 3.5 didn't hand out racial +2's like candy on Halloween.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Maybe not in Core, but outside it, there were a slew of races that gave excellent bonuses, if you could convince your GM to allow them.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Maybe not in Core, but outside it, there were a slew of races that gave excellent bonuses, if you could convince your GM to allow them.

Yep, there were plenty of might fine races floating around in 3.5. Base/no level adjustment races could have up to +/-6 to stats. So as far as "3.5 didn't hand out racial +2's like candy on Halloween", they got a LOT more candy in the old days than we do in these pathfinder times. ;)


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I guess I never saw the worst of it. I was used to people viewing a starting 18+ as a fairly exceptional thing, and nobody despairing over stats that weren't ideal and maybe involved some hard choices. Though that was a long time ago, and among people who weren't addicted to candy even if a bit power-gamey.

I wouldn't choose to go 15 point buy, but when I see people talk about how it ruins builds I'll admit that I don't really get all the fierce grief. To me it's just 'oh well, make do, there's lower expectations all round'. I remember recently commenting to someone on how there was no requirement to go Weapon Finesse on an Elf just because of their racials, and being met with what looked like total incomprehension.


BadBird wrote:
I was used to people viewing a starting 18+ as a fairly exceptional thing

For me it was exceptional to not see at least one 18 on a sheet. If we weren't rolling, we'd take a spread of 18/17/16/15/14/13

BadBird wrote:
nobody despairing over stats that weren't ideal and maybe involved some hard choices.

Less than ideal stats where usually cause for a reroll.

BadBird wrote:
Though that was a long time ago, and among people who weren't addicted to candy even if a bit power-gamey.

It was more like wanting to feel like a hero/protagonist and not a sidekick.

BadBird wrote:
I wouldn't choose to go 15 point buy, but when I see people talk about how it ruins builds I'll admit that I don't really get all the fierce grief.

For me, it's mean that the point buy is the determining factor in my build. No Mad characters for me.

BadBird wrote:
To me it's just 'oh well, make do, there's lower expectations all round'.

There is a limit to how low you can lower your expectations. When you're sporting 14's and 12's and some players/NPC's are rocking 18-20's it's a notable difference.

BadBird wrote:
I remember recently commenting to someone on how there was no requirement to go Weapon Finesse on an Elf just because of their racials, and being met with what looked like total incomprehension.

LOL I'd be giving the look too. You're playing against your strengths and tossing away points you don't need to. A halfling doesn't have to take Weapon Finesse for melee either but I'd never suggest they do it either.


14s and 12s vs. 18-20's? So a character spending 10 to 17 points on their high stat on a 15 point buy, vs. a character not even able to reach 15 with racial bonus with 15 points? I'm not buying that...

As far as Elves go, they're in the same boat as any character without a racial for strength if they don't use finesse. Not using finesse opens up many more build options and saves a feat, and they still gain all the other benefits of a higher DEX - everything from prerequisites to AC to initiative and etc. An Elf starting with 16 STR and Weapon Focus has the same attack as one starting with Weapon Finesse and 18DEX, and faces none of the issues of a DEX build. So the idea that they're slaves to their racials is a bit silly - that they're good with DEX builds doesn't mean they're bad with other builds, or that DEX is always the right choice.


BadBird wrote:
14s and 12s vs. 18-20's? So a character spending 10 to 17 points on their high stat on a 15 point buy, vs. a character not even able to reach 15 with racial bonus with 15 points? I'm not buying that...

That's monk vs fighter or rogue. I've seen a human monk with a st 14, dex 14, con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8 and a Aasimar rogue with a ST 10, Dex 18, Con 14, int 10, Wis 14, cha 8. It's SUPER, SUPER simple to find that much of a difference in stats at 15 points: REMEMBER monks NEED 4 STATS!!! 4. repeat, 4. VS 1. repeat, 1. Then throw on orcs with a +4 strength... The elite orc NPC can have a 19 str at level 1.

BadBird wrote:
As far as Elves go, they're in the same boat as any character without a racial for strength if they don't use finesse.

Yep. That's why it's advisable for people that melee to have a str bonus or some way to use another stat for to hit.

BadBird wrote:
Not using finesse opens up many more build options and saves a feat, and they still gain all the other benefits of a higher DEX - everything from prerequisites to AC to initiative and etc.

All great unless the plan is to hit in melee.

BadBird wrote:
An Elf starting with 16 STR and Weapon Focus has the same attack as one starting with Weapon Finesse and 18 DEX, and faces none of the issues of a DEX build.

They are, however, one less hit and damage behind a race that HAS a bonus, making them objectively worse melee characters. An dex elf fighter can take BOTH finesse and weapons focus at 1st to get +1 hit over the strength elf. SO it's true you don't have to follow your bonus stats, however you'll be forced to play a character that underperforms in it's role because of it.

BadBird wrote:
So the idea that they're slaves to their racials is a bit silly - that they're good with DEX builds doesn't mean they're bad with other builds, or that DEX is always the right choice.

It's just math. Pure math. No plus to strength means that you are worse at strength classes than ones with a bonus. So it's a good idea if really want to be less powerful than you should be...

EDIT: if you regularly ignore what bonus stats your PC's race has, I can understand why you've seen such low numbers for max stats...


graystone wrote:
BadBird wrote:
An Elf starting with 16 STR and Weapon Focus has the same attack as one starting with Weapon Finesse and 18 DEX, and faces none of the issues of a DEX build.
They are, however, one less hit and damage behind a race that HAS a bonus, making them objectively worse melee characters. An dex elf fighter can take BOTH finesse and weapons focus at 1st to get +1 hit over the strength elf. SO it's true you don't have to follow your bonus stats, however you'll be forced to play a character that underperforms in it's role because of it.

actually they are +2 behind because the person with the bonus will likely have a 20 in the stat as opposed to the 16


not going finesse doesn't save any feats or bonuses because of all the catch-up you'd need to do on your primary job.

Like lets look at a greatsword breastplate ranger elf and half-elf on 15 pt buy without caring about stats.

14/14/14/10/12/8 will be the starting point for our ranger.

elf ends up
14/16/12/12/12/8

half-elf ends up
16/14/14/10/12/8

elf is -1 hp per level, -1 fort save, +1 ac, +1 reflex saves, -1 attack and damage, so to match the elf needs toughness and weapon focus to still be 1 damage down. half-elf needs dodge to match the elf.

Now lets move on a bit and buy a str belt, half elf now gets another +1 to damage that is unmatched by the elf due to getting 1.5 off of an even number. so now the elf is down weapon specialization as well. And the thing is, nothing is stopping the other from taking the "correction" feat of dodge and weapon focus. So both do, now the elf is -1 attack again and -2 damage and the half-elf is -1 ac. the 1 ac is going to be far cheaper to get than the missing attack and damage for the elf.

now lets compare the elf that isn't caring vs a half-elf that is caring that they do their main role well.

elf still ends up
14/16/12/12/12/8

half-elf ends up
18/14/14/7/13/7

this is 2 accuracy and 3 damage and 1 hp per level for 1 AC. Now turn the ranger half-elf into a fighter and at lv3 their AC is +2 over the elf ranger while being more accurate with more HP.

So we can see that the ranger can quickly and easily start feeling less useful than the fighter.

Dark Archive

Hey if you want your character to not suck thats dirty minmaxing. How dare you?!?


Lady-J wrote:
graystone wrote:
BadBird wrote:
An Elf starting with 16 STR and Weapon Focus has the same attack as one starting with Weapon Finesse and 18 DEX, and faces none of the issues of a DEX build.
They are, however, one less hit and damage behind a race that HAS a bonus, making them objectively worse melee characters. An dex elf fighter can take BOTH finesse and weapons focus at 1st to get +1 hit over the strength elf. SO it's true you don't have to follow your bonus stats, however you'll be forced to play a character that underperforms in it's role because of it.
actually they are +2 behind because the person with the bonus will likely have a 20 in the stat as opposed to the 16

I went with fairly balanced builds that allowed for secondary stats to get +2's. That way, there shouldn't be cries of 'min/max' or 'extreme' specialization. It's why I didn't post the orc barbarian in the group that started with a 22...

Halek wrote:
Hey if you want your character to not suck thats dirty minmaxing. How dare you?!?

LOL This guy gets it, ;)

Chess Pwn: For me, if someone goes finesse then they have a plan for damage that doesn't involve pure weapon damage or finesse is a built in feature of the class. Sneak attacks, kinetic blade/kinetic fist, magus spell combat, Mystic Bolts, ect: Classes that need to hit to activate class features shine with finesse.

It's rarely a good idea to finesse to try to keep up with a strength class vs a race with a Str bonus. As you pointed out, it just gets worse as time progresses. It's an uphill battle, much like using a race that doesn't get a bonus, or has a minus, in the prime/main stat of the class you pick.


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graystone wrote:
BadBird wrote:
As far as Elves go, they're in the same boat as any character without a racial for strength if they don't use finesse.

Yep. That's why it's advisable for people that melee to have a str bonus or some way to use another stat for to hit.

BadBird wrote:
Not using finesse opens up many more build options and saves a feat, and they still gain all the other benefits of a higher DEX - everything from prerequisites to AC to initiative and etc.
All great unless the plan is to hit in melee.

This is exactly the kind of false all-or-nothing obsessiveness that I just don't get. We're talking about a one point attack bonus difference. One point. The difference between taking Weapon Focus or not. The difference between a +1 weapon property or another point of enhancement. The idea that that's the difference between whether you can hit in melee effectively or not is totally absurd. It's also tragic when it means that people will severely restrict the kinds of character concepts they're willing to play.

Compare a STR-based +2DEX character with a STR-based +2STR character using otherwise the same build. STR guy has roughly +1 to hit and damage. DEX guy has +1 to AC, Initiative and Reflex saves, possibly +1 AoO's, and easier DEX feat qualifications if that matters. That's it. That's the total difference. Again, the idea that this is some kind of disaster for not using a STR bonus race is absurd; it's a small statistical difference that's somewhat counterbalanced by other small benefits.

This is actually also irrelevant in the context of the question of whether an Elf needs to use finesse - in other words, a player already wants to use the concept of a melee Elf (obviously a terrible sin, I know), and has to choose between finesse or not.

Well anyhow, I should know better than to suggest around these parts that minor statistical differences are minor. Now I'm even being accused of bashing the idea of character optimization because I dared say that you don't have to choose race/build based on a racial +2, which is just hilariously stupid.


BadBird: It DOESN'T stop at that -1 though, which is the point. Look at Chess Pwn's post for a better explanation than I did: That -1 quickly turns into a -2 accuracy, -3 damage, -1 hp/level and +1 AC compared to a race that's ACTUALLY build for melee.

Weapon focus/+1 weapon property or another point of enhancement: This is meaningless in the equation as both parties can take it.

Again, the idea that this is some kind of disaster for not using a STR bonus race is absurd: Never said that. What I said was an elf is clearly inferior to a strength race when building for a strength class, it's just math. it's much the same way Elves are superior to a strength race in dex classes, again cuz math...

"minor statistical differences are minor": By your estimation, that minor difference is the equivalent of a feat. People flock to human because of the extra feat. Do YOU find an extra feat minor, because that's what all your posts boil down to. For me, needing extra feat to get up to par doesn't seem minor...

EDIT: "in other words, a player already wants to use the concept of a melee Elf (obviously a terrible sin, I know), and has to choose between finesse or not.": For me, the player has already made the choice to play a dex based/finesse build by playing an elf. Again, a player can play a strength based halfling character, but they do so knowing they are clearly inferior to a strength race by doing so.

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