The BAB Mythology


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am late to the party, as it were, but something that has been highlighted of late with the release of Ultimate Wilderness has been the disproportionate weight that a 'full-BAB' class is given for that feature.

Why is it that full-BAB (which generally includes most martials) is considered a significant increase in character power?

Melee, in particular, cannot benefit 100 per cent of the time from a full BAB when iteratives kick in. ie, Movement kills full attack chances.

I am trying to learn why it has so much weight and is considered the equal of L9 spell-casting when classes are built, to try and make some sense about why full-BAB classes oft-times seem under-powered or even useless.


dot!

Silver Crusade

With the right build and/or group even a melee combatant will be able to full attack almost all of the time.

Pounce builds exist.

And various "taxi" builds exist.

Even in Core, I've played a Travel Domain cleric who essentially uses his action to let his teammates get full attacks at level 8. Somewhat limited in how often it can happen but its pretty reliable for the the boss fights.

Combine that with all the feats that have a minimum BAB requirement and full BAB is fairly powerful.

Of course, it isn't THAT powerful. We're all aware that the best melee bulids (non Core) are some 3/4 BAB class with lots and lots of class features (Alchemist, Magus, etc etc)


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Because Base Attack Bonus isn't just an Attack Bonus, it applies to other aspects of your character as well. It provides earlier access to certain feats like clustered shots, and faster progression on other feats like power attack and deadly aim. The power attack bonus in particular leads to a significant damage lead.


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


I am late to the party, as it were, but something that has been highlighted of late with the release of Ultimate Wilderness has been the disproportionate weight that a 'full-BAB' class is given for that feature.

Why is it that full-BAB (which generally includes most martials) is considered a significant increase in character power?

Melee, in particular, cannot benefit 100 per cent of the time from a full BAB when iteratives kick in. ie, Movement kills full attack chances.

I am trying to learn why it has so much weight and is considered the equal of L9 spell-casting when classes are built, to try and make some sense about why full-BAB classes oft-times seem under-powered or even useless.

Because unlimited-use abilities are overvalued in general, and DPR still impresses people.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

However, how does that match up against say, Fireball or Entangle?


Also most GM's don't go out of their way to deny full attacks. They will have melee focused monsters who will stand and trade with fighters or barbarians as an example.


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


I am late to the party, as it were, but something that has been highlighted of late with the release of Ultimate Wilderness has been the disproportionate weight that a 'full-BAB' class is given for that feature.

Why is it that full-BAB (which generally includes most martials) is considered a significant increase in character power?

Melee, in particular, cannot benefit 100 per cent of the time from a full BAB when iteratives kick in. ie, Movement kills full attack chances.

I am trying to learn why it has so much weight and is considered the equal of L9 spell-casting when classes are built, to try and make some sense about why full-BAB classes oft-times seem under-powered or even useless.

Look at the bolded part for a second. Then look at all the threads pointing out the Caster/Martial disparity of Pathfinder and 3.X. Needless to say, most nobody considers Full BAB to be equivalent to Full Spellcasting progression, no matter what spell list we're talking about, whether it's the overpowered Wizard spell list, or the meek/meager Druid or Witch spell list. Spellcasting is spellcasting, and it's the meta of Pathfinder and 3.X.

Instead, I've seen numerous threads and posters iterating that a mixture of the two worlds (3/4 BAB and 2/3 spellcasting) is the "sweet spot" of design. A lot of the strongest combat classes (Inquisitor, Magus, Hunter, etc.) fall under this design paradigm, and I've seen both Inquisitors and Magi in action, both of which put most full BAB classes to shame with their sheer amount of equivalent combat prowess without sacrifice of utility both in and out of combat.

So no, Full BAB is a blowhard that's overrated beyond all belief when most 3/4 BAB classes that want to melee have class features which give them effectively Full BAB without any of the drawbacks (which is usually lack of versatility and linear progression versus quadratic progression of other spellcasters, hence Caster/Martial Disparity).


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Because BAB is the caster level for martials. All of their stuff scales off of it (Power Attack, feat prereqs, etc.). And so clearly full BAB is worth the same as level 9 spellcasting.

Now once you've stopped laughing, realize that clearly some designer once believed that and we've been carrying it through multiple editions ever since. I mean, they've started getting better about stuff that uses BAB being useful (Smash From the Air) but then immediately undercut that with stuff like the Item Mastery feats (which are restricted by Fort saves, because clearly the Cleric needed more stuff).

So, legacy. Really can't come up with a better answer than that.


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It's not that I would consider "full BAB" to be the equal to "9 level casting". You can't compare class features pointwise like that; nobody in their right mind would pit Divine Grace vs. Woodland Stride as a meaningful comparison. It's that "characters I want to play" are generally more defined by "hitting things until they stop fighting back" than "eldritch power" in terms of "what they do in combat."

I play a lot of full BAB classes because "not casting spells, or not casting very many spells" is appealing to me when I play.

Nobody's saying the UnMonk is as effective as the Wizard, but people choose classes for a lot of reason that aren't "effectiveness." Narrating my fantasy kung fu appeals to me more than narrating my magic missile or w/e.


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
However, how does that match up against say, Fireball or Entangle?

Fireball damage is proportional to the number of targets you hit; it's not really a meaningful comparison. Against a single opponent, a basic fireball usually does less damage than a competent archer at a higher resource cost. (Level six Sorcerer: 21 damage fireball on average, possibly reduced by Reflex save or fire resistance. Slightly more than a level one Barbarian with a greatsword.)

And Entangle is really only good if you have someone else to do the damage - such as a full BAB character.

Full BAB is good for martial characters. It helps you hit more, and it gives you more attacks. If you have a level 6 Paladin and a level 6 Cleric both trying to be martials, the Paladin can attack twice in one round, and the Cleric only once. That means the Paladin's damage output is about twice as much as the Cleric's, if they're both able to full-attack. Doubled power is significant.

You can't always full-attack, of course, but you can do it a lot if you use archery, or pouncing, or have good reach (Enlarge Person + Lunge), or position yourself carefully.

And even when you can't full attack, you still hit more often with high BAB. Full BAB characters almost always get bonuses to hit and damage on top of that.

It's often the difference between "kill the enemies before they can kill you" and "hurt the enemies quite a lot before they kill you".

It's still not going to be as powerful as a high-system-mastery caster, but what is?


Matthew Downie wrote:
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
However, how does that match up against say, Fireball or Entangle?
Fireball damage is proportional to the number of targets you hit; it's not really a meaningful comparison. Against a single opponent, a basic fireball usually does less damage than a competent archer at a higher resource cost. (Level six Sorcerer: 21 damage fireball on average, possibly reduced by Reflex save or fire resistance. Slightly more than a level one Barbarian with a greatsword.)

You're comparing a bad blasting sorcerer to an optimized martial, which makes it...not a comparison at all.

If the sorcerer is similarly optimized, that damage is more along the lines of 9D6+18 (Orc Bloodline with Blood Havoc option), or an average of 49 damage, which is more than double the projected damage from prior calculations, and is about equivalent to an optimized archer of that level, across all targets in the area, with a save DC of 19 for half (which, even with good Saves, maximized attribute, and a Cloak, results in a little under 50% chance of failure). Even with just two targets, that's a lot of damage that would take just two archers to accomplish.

An Arcanist with a similar build can instead do 9D6+9, which is ~40 damage (slightly less), but also has the option to switch damage types via School Understanding (Admixture), meaning they're more likely to have most of their damage stick compared to a Sorcerer that will be easily resisted/immunized against, and have better ways to make sure enemies fail their saves through their Arcane Reservoir.

And this is even before we throw in the trait cheese for free Metamagic effects, like Empower.

Even with your statement, an Archer doesn't pull ahead until much later in the game, or in games with numerous combats before rest (think ~5 or 6+), and a Sorcerer can still compare with a spell like Delayed Blast Fireball, combined with Spell Perfection on both regular and Delayed Blast, and Quicken spells, you'll see that a truly optimized blaster can be comparable to Archer DPR at a minimum.


Well, I did only say a 'basic' fireball against a single opponent is weak, and a high-system-mastery caster is strong.

The level of system mastery to make a Barbarian with high strength and power attack is a lot lower than the system mastery to make a Blood Havoc Sorcerer.

I imagine there are a few players out there who don't even own the book Orc Bloodline is from...


to be fair, I dont even know which book its from


Orcs of Golarion.


Yeah, I don't own that


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pauljathome wrote:
We're all aware that the best melee bulids (non Core) are some 3/4 BAB class with lots and lots of class features (Alchemist, Magus, etc etc)

AH.

HEM.

BARBARIAN CORDIALLY DISAGREE.


Full BAB is always active, no action required. Further it's untyped. Hence it stacks with any other DPR boost and you can combine it with any combat action that uses BAB somehow (full-attack, Vital Strike, Cleave, combat maneuver, aid another etc.).

Over the course of levels, full BAB has different benefits (partially reposting what others wrote already):

Level 1: You qualify for Power Attack and Cleave. 3/4 BAB classes don't.
Level 4: You gain the second damage increment of Power Attack / Deadly Aim.
Level 6: You gain your second attack earlier than a 3/4 BAB class and now qualify for a bazillion of additional feats (bazillion = very roughly 100).
Level 9: You now made it to an +3 AB advantage over 3/4 BAB classes.
Level 13 to 17: You can gain one (or even two) of these brutal critical hit feats.
Level 16+: You qualify for feats that can't be acquired by a 3/4 BAB class, assuming the campaign ends at level 16 to 20. Stunning Assault might be the standout here.

Now 3/4 BAB classes sometimes have ways around BAB restrictions (warpriest, monk bonus feats etc.), but that's rather the exception than the rule.


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
Why is it that full-BAB (which generally includes most martials) is considered a significant increase in character power?
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Nobody's saying the UnMonk is as effective as the Wizard, but people choose classes for a lot of reason that aren't "effectiveness." Narrating my fantasy kung fu appeals to me more than narrating my magic missile or w/e.

Full BAB is not enough to make a character class a powerful martial class, as the Unchained Monk illustrates. However, full BAB serves as a marker for a powerful martial class, since the designers gave a martial class full BAB in addition to the other combat abilities they gave it.


  • A barbarian has full BAB in addition to martial weapon proficiency, rage, rage powers, and damage reduction.
  • A fighter has full BAB in addition to martial weapon proficiency, heavy armor proficiency, armor training, weapon training, and bonus combat feats.
  • A paladin has full BAB in addition to martial weapon proficiency, heavy armor proficiency, Smite Evil, Lay on Hands, and 4-level divine spellcasting
  • A ranger has full BAB in addition to martial weapon proficiency, favored enemies, a combat style, hunter's companion, and 4-level spellcasting that includes Lead Blade, Gravity Bow, and Instant Enemy.
  • A cavalier has full BAB in addition to martial weapon proficiency, challenge, a special mount, and an order.
  • A gunslinger has full BAB in addition to martial weapon proficiency, firearm proficiency, nimbleness, a grit pool, and deeds.

In contrast, core 3/4 BAB classes imported from D&D had lackluster class abilities for non-spell combat.


  • A bard has 6-level arcane spellcasting and a bard song that buffed everybody in the party. Arcane spellcasting has its emphasis on combat via spells rather than weapons.
  • A cleric has 9-level divine spellcasting with good healing spells that provoke attacks of opportunity and good buff spells. Most buff spells could also be cast on martial characters for better results.
  • A core monk has Improved Unarmed Strike with damage progression, flurry of blows, and a substitute for armor. The -2 attack penalty to flurry of blows resulted in a flurry of misses, except when the monk focused exclusively on Strength.
  • A core rogue has sneak attack and rogue talents. Combined with Weapon Finesse and Two-Weapon Fighting, sneak attack could deal massive damage, but pulling that off took system expertise.

Paizo designed better combat support into the newer 3/4 BAB classes, such as Alchemist, Inquisitor, and Magus, but the core classes set the reputation for 3/4 BAB classes.


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SheepishEidolon wrote:

Full BAB is always active, no action required. Further it's untyped. Hence it stacks with any other DPR boost and you can combine it with any combat action that uses BAB somehow (full-attack, Vital Strike, Cleave, combat maneuver, aid another etc.).

Over the course of levels, full BAB has different benefits (partially reposting what others wrote already):

Level 1: You qualify for Power Attack and Cleave. 3/4 BAB classes don't.
Level 4: You gain the second damage increment of Power Attack / Deadly Aim.
Level 6: You gain your second attack earlier than a 3/4 BAB class and now qualify for a bazillion of additional feats (bazillion = very roughly 100).
Level 9: You now made it to an +3 AB advantage over 3/4 BAB classes.
Level 13 to 17: You can gain one (or even two) of these brutal critical hit feats.
Level 16+: You qualify for feats that can't be acquired by a 3/4 BAB class, assuming the campaign ends at level 16 to 20. Stunning Assault might be the standout here.

Now 3/4 BAB classes sometimes have ways around BAB restrictions (warpriest, monk bonus feats etc.), but that's rather the exception than the rule.

It's a staggered +5 to hit that 3/4 BAB classes beat due to their personal buff spells/abilities.

Power Attack/Deadly Aim is not required at 1st level, there are better 1st level feats to take than those two, meaning it can be pushed back to 3rd, or even 5th with some builds, and still maintain effectiveness.

Not getting a 2nd attack at 6th level is pointless when their secondary attack is likely to miss an enemy with high AC, even with optimized to-hit. Even then, a lot of builds get multiple attacks regardless of BAB, so that's a moot point as well.

The +3 advantage is a lie. 3/4 BAB classes have more to-hit than any full BAB class by themselves, and their buffs usually do more than grant a to-hit benefit as well.

Critical Hit feats aren't really special due to bad Save DC scaling against a saving throw that everything is good against. A DC 30 by 20th level is a joke for an enemy to face, whether it's their bad save or not. Also, properly optimized PCs will kill the bad guy before the critical feat' s effects even matter, so it's likewise a waste in that respect as well.

By 16th level, Rocket Tag starts to take effect, and anything more than one round is a waste of time unless you're the one who initiates combat with preparation. The reason why things like Pounce, Archery, and other free Full Attack abilities are so great is because they fall into the Rocket Tag paradigm much better than most any other option in the game.

Really, AM BARBARIAN is the exception for 3/4 BAB classes being weaker than full BAB classes, and that's only because of Rage Powers being stupidly awesome, a factor far independent from being full BAB.


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Design wise, full BAB is overvalued by the game's designers.


The advantage of full bab I see is that they they don't need the buff round that lots of 3/4ths need before they are ready to fight. Clerics need their divine favor/power and bards start up inspire courage and eventually lay down another buff as examples. So fighting isn't happening round 1 at least. So sure, they can deal damage after their buff, but it's not really happening R1.
Also that second attack isn't all that likely to miss for most targets.
at lv6/7 AC is around 19/20 for enemies. Bab 7, str 5, magic sword 2, (fighter's weapon training and weapon focus or barbs rage) +2 puts us at +16/+11. This is a basic unbuffed full bab guy who is more likely to hit with his second attack than not. So sure, it's not a complete x2 to damage, but with it's likelihood of hitting it's still at least a x1.5 to DPR. Throw in flanking, maybe a buff like haste and you're looking at 2 hits that are quite likely to hit and putting us to our original state when fighting a boss (cr+3), with our second attack still having a good chance of hitting increasing damage by 1.5 on average.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Fighters and Wizards are not supposed to be balanced in the legacy design of this game.

They each set the basis for comparison for other classes that belong to the same type (ie martials for the Fighter and casters for the Wizard)

And the third type is the skill-user that uses the Rogue as its basis for internal balance


SheepishEidolon wrote:
Level 9: You now made it to an +3 AB advantage over 3/4 BAB classes.
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The +3 advantage is a lie. 3/4 BAB classes have more to-hit than any full BAB class by themselves, and their buffs usually do more than grant a to-hit benefit as well.

For example, a 9th-level cleric with +6 BAB can cast Divine Favor for +3 to hit and to weapon damage as a swift action, use a move action to put away his Lesser Metamagic Rod of Quicken, and still have a standard action available to buff the entire party with a 5th-level spell. In our Rise of the Runelords campaign, the battle oracle was the combat powerhouse via those tactics and her combat-oriented revelations.

However, a 9th-level paladin can also cast Divine Favor, so one full-BAB class can use the cleric/oracle tactics, too. The paladin, though, is limited to only 3 spells per day, not counting bonus spells for high Charisma, compared to the cleric's 19 spells per day.


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Mathmuse wrote:
SheepishEidolon wrote:
Level 9: You now made it to an +3 AB advantage over 3/4 BAB classes.
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The +3 advantage is a lie. 3/4 BAB classes have more to-hit than any full BAB class by themselves, and their buffs usually do more than grant a to-hit benefit as well.

For example, a 9th-level cleric with +6 BAB can cast Divine Favor for +3 to hit and to weapon damage as a swift action, use a move action to put away his Lesser Metamagic Rod of Quicken, and still have a standard action available to buff the entire party with a 5th-level spell. In our Rise of the Runelords campaign, the battle oracle was the combat powerhouse via those tactics and her combat-oriented revelations.

However, a 9th-level paladin can also cast Divine Favor, so one full-BAB class can use the cleric/oracle tactics, too. The paladin, though, is limited to only 3 spells per day, not counting bonus spells for high Charisma, compared to the cleric's 19 spells per day.

Though the quicken spell is done at most 5 times by an oracle and likely only prepared once or twice for a cleric. meaning that this super combat ready stuff that waits till lv9 is only for 1 or 2 fights.

Fighters have weapon training and weapon specialization and greater focus for at least +3 to accuracy and +4 to damage over a warrior (maybe +1 more accuracy if WF isn't taken by the comparison character)
Barbs have rage for +2 to accuracy and +3 to damage and reckless abandon for +3 at lv9
paladins have spells too but also may have divine bond on weapon for +2 to attack and damage, and that's before smites +4 attack +9 damage.
rangers are close to instant enemy as much as the cleric is swift buffing for +6 to attack and damage to anything.
These all are ready for a fight on round 1 and likely better than the cleric using 2 of their highest spells to self buff.

Full babs have lots of buffs too to their combat on top of the full bab. Yes personal buffs can help bridge that, and that 3/4ths are capable of doing the damage needed. But full babs will have the bigger numbers faster for a fight.
Also full bab is free toughness compared to a 3/4 bab classes. Along with maybe a 1 or 2 damage boost from having a martial weapon that is better than what the 3/4th has access to.


From my point of view, full BAB is more fun to make. A good wizard build is a bit cookie cutter, and their variety comes from spells, which just isn't that appealing to me. On the other hand, martial classes have much more possibilities. Combat maneuvers? Weird weapon choices? A bit of minigame in finding all the fun features?


Chess Pwn wrote:

Though the quicken spell is done at most 5 times by an oracle and likely only prepared once or twice for a cleric. meaning that this super combat ready stuff that waits till lv9 is only for 1 or 2 fights.

Fighters have weapon training and weapon specialization and greater focus for at least +3 to accuracy and +4 to damage over a warrior (maybe +1 more accuracy if WF isn't taken by the comparison character)
Barbs have rage for +2 to accuracy and +3 to damage and reckless abandon for +3 at lv9
paladins have spells too but also may have divine bond on weapon for +2 to attack and damage, and that's before smites +4 attack +9 damage.
rangers are close to instant enemy as much as the cleric is swift buffing for +6 to attack and damage to anything.
These all are ready for a fight on round 1 and likely better than the cleric using 2 of their highest spells to self buff.

Full babs have lots of buffs too to their combat on top of the full bab. Yes personal buffs can help bridge that, and that 3/4ths are capable of doing the damage needed. But full babs will have the bigger numbers faster for a fight.
Also full bab is free toughness compared to a 3/4 bab classes. Along with maybe a 1 or 2 damage boost from having a martial weapon that is better than what the 3/4th has access to.

People posting here have different arguments. SheepishEidolon said full BAB is powerful in and of itself. Darksol the Painbringer said that 3/4 BAB classes have abilities that correct the difference in BAB. I claimed, well, to quote Chess Pwn, "Full babs have lots of buffs too to their combat on top of the full bab." I overlooked bigger hit dice in my first posting. Thanks for the reminder, Chess Pwn. They are another benefit given to full-BAB classes in addition to full BAB.

The battle oracle joined the RotR campaign at 7th level and saw that beginning-of-combat buffing was slowing her down. Thus, she acquired the Lesser Metamagic Rod of Quicken at 9th level. She could use it only three times a day, but in lesser battles she was willing to take the time for standard-action spellcasting.

Let's use the characters in my current Iron Gods party as examples. They are a weird party where everyone has martial weapon proficiency and engages in melee combat. From best DPR to worst:


  • +11 BAB Magus 15. He's the strongest DPR in the party due to the massive damage from a critical-hit spellstrike with an empowered spell.
  • +14 BAB Fighter 11/Investigator 4. Reliable heavy damage every round makes him the second best combatant.
  • +15 BAB Bloodrager 15. Splitting her stats and feats for both ranged and melee kept her from optimizing either, and a preference for non-combat feats did not help. She hits very well, but lacks heavy damage.
  • +11 BAB Skald. Though she swings an impressive lucerne hammer, the skald focuses on buffing the party.
  • +14 BAB Gunslinger 13/Unchained Rogue 2. This character was built for battlefield control rather than damage. Her Experimental Gunsmith archetype traded out dex to damage.

We have two 3/4 BAB characters, two full-BAB characters willing to interrupt their BAB progression to multiclass, and one full-BAB character who stuck to her class. If BAB were all-important, the bloodrager would be ahead of everyone else, even with her weak choices. But those weak choices mattered more than full BAB. (I can criticize the bloodrager because she is my GMPC and those weak choices were deliberate.)


Mathmuse: You may want to add warpriest into the mix. A Molthuni Arsenal Chaplain adds the same 'buffs' as fighters to weapons AND gets quick action spells.


MageHunter wrote:

A good wizard build is a bit cookie cutter

martial classes have much more possibilities

More possible ways to Apply Iron To Badman. And Martial builds are as cookie-cutter as all hell. Some of them even pigeonhole you into using just one type of weapon.

One of my gripes about the Wizard is that they have too many possibilities. Not only do they have access to an enormous variety of abilities, but they are actually encouraged to avoid redundant abilities. Spontaneous casters have it much worse in that department. The end result is that a good D&D/PF caster may specialize in one thing like Summoning, but is otherwise a generic pile of wildly different and totally unrelated spells.

And yes, I've tried Spheres of Power. It's a good concept but frankly I don't like the way it was implemented.


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I'm sort of confused about the topic of the thread now. Is the question "Why do people value full-BAB?" or "Why is full-BAB valuable"? Since the former is a question of perception and the latter is a question of math.


3/4ths you have tiers of combat focus for how quickly and easily they reach top damage.
the WP is the best and fastest
then there's the inquisitor that has some nice shortcuts to power but prefers a full round to buff
then the cleric, which is basically reliant on a full round of buff.

Higher bab does translate to quicker and easier high damage. Now you can waste that potential of course, but there's a reason that the barb and fighter are the benchmarks for doing well in combat for a reason.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I'm sort of confused about the topic of the thread now. Is the question "Why do people value full-BAB?" or "Why is full-BAB valuable"? Since the former is a question of perception and the latter is a question of math.

Wei Ji the Learner's original question, "Why is it that full-BAB (which generally includes most martials) is considered a significant increase in character power?", was about perception. One answer to his question is, "Because it is a significant increase in character power!", which some of us are attempting to refute.

As for the math, a 9th-level character with a +3 Strength bonus and +6 BAB has a 40% chance of hitting against an enemy with AC 22. A 9th-level character with a +3 Strength bonus and +9 BAB has a 55% chance of hitting against an enemy with AC 22. 55/40 = 1.375, so that is a significant 37.5% improvement.

However, the 3/4 BAB character gained abilities in exchange for a lower BAB than full. Some of those abilities, such as a cleric's healing and rogue's skills, don't help much in combat. Other of those abilities, such as an alchemist's bombs and a magus's spellstrike, help a lot in combat. The combat-oriented extra ability often helps more than 37.5%.

As other people have pointed out, BAB costs no extra actions and uses no resources. The extra abilities usually cost actions and use a sharply limited resource. The full BAB has an advantage in the first round of combat and has staying power to last through the sixth encounter of the day. It has its niche.

But I believe the perception of the value of full BAB is because full BAB comes packaged with other combat-oriented abilities. Some 3/4 BAB classes are for combat and others are for support. Even combat 3/4 BAB classes have moments when support is better; for example, once my alchemist handed his Infusion of Fly to the fighter so that the fighter could eliminate archers on a rooftop. Full BAB lacks the ambiguity: it is for combat. (Ignore that my bloodrager thinks she is a crafter. She's silly.)


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Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
AM BARBARIAN wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
We're all aware that the best melee bulids (non Core) are some 3/4 BAB class with lots and lots of class features (Alchemist, Magus, etc etc)

AH.

HEM.

BARBARIAN CORDIALLY DISAGREE.

Does AM BARBARIAN really do anything cordially?


I think one of the main reasons people were excited about the Shifter being a full BAB class is that they hadn't added a wholly new "designed from the ground up to be full BAB" class since the ACG three years ago.

Considering the improvements to the fighter that have come in the WMG and the AMG, how subsequent fighter archetypes have been designed not to give up now-valuable abilities like Bravery and Weapon/Armor training, and how a lot of people think that the "fightery" version of the Vigilante did bonus feats right, it was intriguing to see what Paizo had learned in terms of the value of full BAB without spellcasting to back it up. I think that's why the Shifter got so much attention.

Plus, I mean, any kind of new class is at least a little exciting.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Full-BAB is what gives it some uniqueness compared to the other classes that can shapeshift. As time progresses, I'm sure we'll see more and more aspects, too.

I'm not a fan of shapeshifting in general (never have been), but I will not be surprised if one of my group picks the class for our Ironfang Invasion campaign. It is thematically appropriate, and interesting enough that we'll all have fun with it (I'm the GM). Of course, every time he shifts into a cat, "mrowwr!" ;)


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taks wrote:
AM BARBARIAN wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
We're all aware that the best melee bulids (non Core) are some 3/4 BAB class with lots and lots of class features (Alchemist, Magus, etc etc)

AH.

HEM.

BARBARIAN CORDIALLY DISAGREE.

Does AM BARBARIAN really do anything cordially?

I think I've seen him rip a face off with his pinky raised once. But maybe that was just because the goblin's head wasn't big enough to fully fit in his hand.

Anyway- why is BAB treated as a boost to damage? ...because reach weapons plus lunge were a thing since core.

It isn't hard to get SOMETHING that eases the use of full attacks. Pounce, great reach, outlug's "10 ft step", some extra action thing. Whatever. Also, there are lockdown builds that makes it hard for enemies to escape you. So there are ways to take advantage of your iteratives. Also, having higher BAB means you have a greater chance to hit the lesser iteratives too.


Mathmuse wrote:
A cleric has 9-level divine spellcasting with good healing spells that provoke attacks of opportunity and good buff spells.

I appreciate the point you've made, but I really must object to this statement. Most healing spells until Heal were and are incredibly lackluster, especially the ones for combat situations where attacks of opportunity would be relevant instead of the ones that are almost solely used outside of combat.


Full BAB is good for martial multiclassing if your GM isn't using the fractional BAB system. You can make a Fighter-Slayer-Barbarian-Swashbuckler with no significant penalties.

Trying to make a Ninja-Inquisitor-Magus doesn't work nearly as well.


Buffs kill your action economy. Any strategy that involves "...and when I am buffed, I..." is entirely dependent on the GM to be useful. Full BAB characters don't have this problem.


Full BAB is great but needs to be combined with something else and is essentially worthless without other class features to make use of it. Hence why Shifter is just a worse version of Feral Hunter. Hunter has 5 fewer BAB but more than makes up for that in its access to better wildshape forms alone, even before any buffing is taken into consideration.

Sovereign Court

A large part of the argument comes from 2 things, it seems to me.

First - Power creep. New classes tend to (but not always) end up more powerful than previous ones. (Notice almost all of those examples people are giving of why full BAB is beaten by 2/3rd BAB classes cite splatbook classes.)

Second - The 15 minute adventuring day. Casters were originally expected to be saving their spells for emergencies, NOT be tossing off a spell every round all the time.

I'll address the cleric separately:

The cleric was designed as overly powerful, to get people to play the group healer. However, as the game has gone on, the fact that the cleric was meant to be the class that heals people after after every fight was lost, without the consummate down powering that should have followed.


Coidzor wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
A cleric has 9-level divine spellcasting with good healing spells that provoke attacks of opportunity and good buff spells.
I appreciate the point you've made, but I really must object to this statement. Most healing spells until Heal were and are incredibly lackluster, especially the ones for combat situations where attacks of opportunity would be relevant instead of the ones that are almost solely used outside of combat.

I think they might be useful, but only in highly specific situations. Like remove blindness/deafness, which helps to salvage a party member that was crippled and get them back into the fight.

Typically though, the healing spells are out of combat stuff. Like raise dead. Important, but certainly not something you can use when the enemies are next to you.


The King In Yellow wrote:

A large part of the argument comes from 2 things, it seems to me.

First - Power creep. New classes tend to (but not always) end up more powerful than previous ones. (Notice almost all of those examples people are giving of why full BAB is beaten by 2/3rd BAB classes cite splatbook classes.)

I don't see how this relates to full BAB. Comparing the old core classes to the newer classes, I see similar ratios of full BAB to 3/4 BAB to 1/2 BAB. 1/2 BAB is rarer among new classes; understandable because they are hard to design. The occult classes have no full BAB classes, but they are themed as classes that rely on special abilities, which does not fit well with full BAB. And 60% of the core 3/4 BAB classes--Bard, Cleric, and Druid--are strong even by today's standards.

Core Classes
Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Wizard
Four full BAB, five 3/4 BAB, two 1/2 BAB

Base Classes
Alchemist, Cavalier, Gunslinger, Inquisitor, Magus, Oracle, Summoner, Vigilante(Avenger), Vigilante(Stalker), Witch
Three full BAB, six 3/4 BAB, one 1/2 BAB

Alternate and Unchained Classes
Antipaladin, Ninja, Samurai, Unchained Barbarian, Unchained Monk, Unchained Rogue, Unchained Summoner
Four full BAB, three 3/4 BAB, zero 1/2 BAB

Hybrid Classes
Arcanist, Bloodrager, Brawler, Hunter, Investigator, Shaman, Skald, Slayer, Swashbuckler, Warpriest
Four full BAB, five 3/4 BAB, one 1/2 BAB

Occult Classes
Kineticist, Medium, Mesmerist, Occultist, Psychic, Spiritualist
Zero full BAB, five 3/4 BAB, one 1/2 BAB

The King In Yellow wrote:

Second - The 15 minute adventuring day. Casters were originally expected to be saving their spells for emergencies, NOT be tossing off a spell every round all the time.

I'll address the cleric separately:

The cleric was designed as overly powerful, to get people to play the group healer. However, as the game has gone on, the fact that the cleric was meant to be the class that heals people after after every fight was lost, without the consummate down powering that should have followed.

Yes, one of the strengths of full BAB is that it does not run out like spells do. But wouldn't the 15-minute workday give the impression that full BAB classes are weak?

I used to play clerics in D&D 3.5. At 4th level my clerics often threw up their hands and said, "Enough with saving my spells to heal you after combat. I am summoning animals to guard your flank so that you take less damage." They did not feel overpowered compared to the sorcerer or barbarian or paladin. The rogue got the short end of the stick with inability to sneak attack undead, so she multiclassed to barbarian.


Quote:
Quote:
level one Barbarian with a greatsword.
an optimized martial

Ha, ha, ha! What!?


Knight who says Meh wrote:
Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
level one Barbarian with a greatsword.
an optimized martial
Ha, ha, ha! What!?

Agreed. Optimised barbarians normally use stacks of natural attacks with pounce to deal damage.

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