Moving Forward


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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This is an odd topic, and the title may need some work. First and foremost, my thoughts are opinion, not fact. I cannot speak for a majority, only myself as someone who plays and enjoys not only this game but a great many. I will say now, I'm not expressing any of this to start an argument, to say X is better than Y, so if you're so greatly offended by my thoughts please, keep it to yourself. We're both adults, nothing I say can hurt you.

That out of the way, I have problems with Pathfinder and 3.X as a whole. I do still love these games, but as I've expanded my horizons it's difficult to justify many of the lingering flaws of a 15 year old game.

That's a charged statement. People love this game. I love this game. I love the worlds and the characters I've created over the years. At the same time, I've learned to love choice, freedom of expression, and imagination. Things which the more I move away from Pathfinder, the more the limitations of the game grate on me and drive me away.

The following are specific instances, which in my experience don't break Pathfinder as a game, and most are old carry overs from 3.X and I've seen beta tested games that keep these mechanics and it ruins them. I will also try to leave examples of other games that use alternative methods where available.

1: Move Actions. Move actions as their own thing are dated. Action speed is still used in many systems, including World of Darkness, however, as most of these systems have evolved, the act of moving has ceased to be an action. Even D&D 5e, has done away with the move action. Dashing, or moving outside of your typical speed yes, is an action, but moving up to your speed is just a thing. Moving as an action, and not being able to move outside of that makes a game feel more like chess and less like an immersive reality. An archer needing to move out from behind a wall and be stuck standing their like an idiot rather than ducking back behind the wall. A nimble thief running up, sinking his knife into an unsuspecting victim and needing to stand there and wait that target's turn befor escaping is counter-intuitive to how he should play. Pathfinder has two feats of course to remove those two instances I've explained, with a variety of prerequisites. Without changing anything but that, letting all characters move without action, they gain choices. If move is not an action a Fighter can full attack four different targets as he barrels though them. There are still concequences though. Opportunity attacks being one. It is a choice, with a downside, and one could still build feats like Mobility to reduce those concequences. The afforementioned thief would still provoke an attack as he slipped away, but it is a choice. Not having moving as an action frees up so many different opportunities for actions which looking at the game as it is as a whole, doesn't break anything obvious. It makes some things in the current bloat of the game redundant, but they were things to solve the base issue. No longer does an entire character's development need to be devoted to performing a basic action, and can be used to make a more fun and interesting character.

2: Defensive Actions, and Odd Opportunity Attacks. This is more with stacking penalties on things that don't need them. D&D 5e is the closest system for an example on this one, as opportunity attacks are a very D20 thing. Palladium had counters built into its attack sequence though I'm reluctant to call it good. To the point, the base nature of an Opportunity Attack is seizing an opportunity. He's moving past, try to get one last swipe in, he has to reload, jump on the chance, he's concentrating on someone else, etc. Two examples though that shouldn't have them. Casting melee spells, and ranged attacks against something right in front of you. To me, a spell such as Shocking Grasp, should not provoke to cast. Its intention is for use in melee, what purpose does it serve if using it is dangerous? I already generally have few hit points, no armor proficiencies (in many cases), require a free hand to do somatic components... Needing to get into the threat range, and out again (risking an opportunity attack of its own) is penalty enough. Defensive casting makes you risk losing the spell entirely 3/4 times, but is the only real way to use these spells in a stilted system. Ranged is another issue. Shooting someone engaged in melee with you is not innately more difficult, and your focus is still on the target at hand. D&D 5e changed it to ranged attacks against targets within 5ft had the penalty of disavantage, but they didn't get to punch you in the face for pointing your gun/bow/crossbow/etc at them. It kind of defies the purpose of an opportunity attack, where does shooting someone in the chest provoke opportunity? Feats are required to avoid that attack which goes back to necessary limiting choices for basic actions, but it feels the opposite should be true. A skilled monk may be able to bat away a too close ranged attacker for example.

3: Feats. My prior two statements touched on this. The feats system for Pathfinder I feel is it's largest selling point, and largest downfall. New books are advertised with 200+ new feats, and unfortunately they fall into three categories most of the time. Over-specific Niche: These feats generally apply to only a specific class, or circumstance introduced in the book it comes out in. For example, performance feats, which apply to performance combat, which was an optional rule introduced and then forgotten about after Ultimate Combat. They can generally not be used unless the GM makes the game around them. Impossible to Obtain/Useless Till Level X: The larger Pathfinder gets the more branching paths it offers. This isn't a bad thing, but look at a feat like Snap Shot. It is a very cool and probably one of the lesser offenders of it's type. However, to obtain it, you need so many prior feats that unless you're building the character just for that feat in the early levels, you will never obtain it. There are others with such prerequisites as to defeat their own purpose like Sword and Pistol, and others where the prerequisite feats offer nothing to the character, but are needed for taking what they need to function. This can result in characters who can't do much for wide level spans because they're building to when they'll "finally pop off at level 8", if they can live that long. Underwhelming: This lacks a need to explain too deeply. These are feats which lack realistic use. There are some who will make the arguement that bad options exist "because they build into something", however, simply putting a level or other prerequisite on the actual feat would be healthier. They can also say "because they could combo with another ability", this is true, but no feat on its own should feel like it has no function. That arguement, much like my final one is more suitable to board and card games like Magic the Gathering, with a fluctuating metagame, not a story-driven role playing game. And the third "because bad options need to exist so that players can use them as a learning tool". Again, better for a static game, rather than an open one. A game like Scion has knacks, and you get one with every epic ability. None of them feel worthless, they all have merit, even from a fluff aspect, and they can combo with other abilities. However with Pathfinder, each character has limited feats they will get over the course of their adventures, and needing to slough through thousands of them, to find you can't use most, and you need a good deal others for basic actions does not feel good. Building a good character is satisfying, finding an option or combo is satisfying. Not being able to contribute, or being "just a weapon" because all your options are devoted to being playable, does not feel good.

4: Needing Everything. You need str for attacks, dex for defense, con for health, int for skill points, wis for will saves, cha for social skills. You need an AC above X or everything will hit you. You need a magic weapon to bypass damage reduction after level X. The requisites for your feats need X above 19... I could go on. Again, it feels good to make a good character. It feels bad to make a character who can't do X because he doesn't have everything. Prerequisites, and expectancies aren't written in the book. Most people who have played the game for years know your primary stat should be at least a +4 modifier at character creation, or slow attribute growth will mean you will fall off the wagon. There are more and more classes coming out, or alitered by archtypes to bypass the needs for more than one or two major stats. Getting feat X without prerequisites has become a staple of new classes, though should point out to the base problem of needing everything. D&D 5e made a major change that Finesse weapons all use Dex for attacks and damage, and spellcasters spell attacks are all based on their casting modifier. World of Darkness uses Dex for attacks and Strength for damage, but bonus successes on Dex also add to damage, so it is not necessary to have both enormous to fight, and enemies are balanced to that regard. By comparison, to do even close to this in Pathfinder requires feats, which again, newer classes are giving free or without prerequisite because even the developers know it's required, and that ties back to allowing more feat and character diversity.

There are likely other things I could go on about. As I've said, these ones are mostly ones I've seen other games solve, and could likely integrate into a Pathfinder: Revised 2e, or something of the like. The first two anyway can be slipped in as house rules and they honestly make little difference, the later are pretty natural results of a growing and bloated system. I'm curious to hear other base issues that could be addressed.

3.X is over 15 years old, and Pathfinder is almost 9, still built on the foundation of it's predecessor as the world has continued around it. I still love it, but much like D&D, eventually it will need to evolve. I've yet to look at Starfinder, though cannot help but worry it will disappoint me, constructed from loved yet dated mechanics and not addressing Pathfinder's flaws. It's new, and will have it's own lifecycle to live, and I would have to see it torn down by Pathfinder needing to grow out of its own old ways.


I agree with this in its entirety.

Well said.


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(Insert boilerplate "blunt questions seem ruder in text, not intended to be rude" header here)

What are you hoping to accomplish with this post? Is it intended as feedback or to solicit other opinions? The latter will result in either an echo chamber effect or arguments (probably both). Especially in response to a post that states in 3 of its 4 points that "Pathfinder should be more like 5E".

"Moving forward" means a different things to different people. For me, "moving forward" means playing Pathfinder with new people and introducing them to a system I've come to know and love, warts and all. What does it mean for you?


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blahpers wrote:

(Insert boilerplate "blunt questions seem ruder in text, not intended to be rude" header here)

What are you hoping to accomplish with this post? Is it intended as feedback or to solicit other opinions? The latter will result in either an echo chamber effect or arguments (probably both). Especially in response to a post that states in 3 of its 4 points that "Pathfinder should be more like 5E".

"Moving forward" means a different things to different people. For me, "moving forward" means playing Pathfinder with new people and introducing them to a system I've come to know and love, warts and all. What does it mean for you?

Its the gamer death spiral. OP is burnt out on the game and posting to either have a shared gripe or hoping people will try to convince them its not that bad.

OP play some other stuff for a while, put your pathfinder away and get another hobby, it will still be there if you decide to trot it out again later.


blahpers wrote:

(Insert boilerplate "blunt questions seem ruder in text, not intended to be rude" header here)

What are you hoping to accomplish with this post? Is it intended as feedback or to solicit other opinions? The latter will result in either an echo chamber effect or arguments (probably both). Especially in response to a post that states in 3 of its 4 points that "Pathfinder should be more like 5E".

"Moving forward" means a different things to different people. For me, "moving forward" means playing Pathfinder with new people and introducing them to a system I've come to know and love, warts and all. What does it mean for you?

I intend for both actually. Feedback on flaws I've noticed in my many games, and to engage conversation and ideas on the matter. And again, I understand the charged aspect of using 5e as my example. I do not believe it a perfect game by any means, but it is the closest example in terms of play. It is why I attempted to use other game examples who had done those mechanics before 5e, to show it more as a sign that you can accept other systems' ideas if that makes sense? Forgive me if it came off with the wrong message.

For me, moving forward is evolution, and avoiding stagnation. That is not to say I don't enjoy going back to AD&D and THAC0, or to enjoy a game of Rifts despite that I find the system more frustrating than any other. But, all games change. We can always play the old, but we want new, be it players, or in my case freedoms. I'm a bit of a devil's advocate for 4e D&D. I didn't like it overall, but it had aspects that I could appreciate. Upping wizards from a d4 to a d6 hit dice for example, something that Pathfinder also did.

Pathfinder right now, is at a point in my opinion where it needs to consider change. It will not go away, nor do I want it to. I like it, and will likely continue to play it for years to come. But it's starting to struggle with its own size. The shifter was the most recent example, trying to maintain a power curve becomes harder and harder the longer the game goes. The Unchained book offered new ways to avoid the stagnation, trying to introduce variant rules. There are still arguements and discussions over the power creep of casters versus martial characters, a oroblem that existed before the game's conception. Each new source needs new, and struggles within its own limits. To me, the best change is an alteration to the base rules, again domething Pathfinder did when it introduced the CMB and CMD. It was evolution over 3.5, and a revolt against what 4th had become. Staying familiar while still improving, refining. I want to see Paizo keep the reigns and refine further to truly make it the greatest game, rather than like D&D have a competitor realize the flaws and make an alternative.


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Many of us like it pretty much the way it is, though, and either do not want or cannot agree on changes to the base game. Even Unchained splits the base into warring factions if we get to talking about it.

Your perspective is reasonable, as we all have subjective ideas about what makes a game better, and your tone is respectful, but this comes off as yet another "we all know Pathfinder needs a 2.0" thread.


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You are wrong... We're not all adults here.


blahpers wrote:

Many of us like it pretty much the way it is, though, and either do not want or cannot agree on changes to the base game. Even Unchained splits the base into warring factions if we get to talking about it.

Your perspective is reasonable, as we all have subjective ideas about what makes a game better, and your tone is respectful, but this comes off as yet another "we all know Pathfinder needs a 2.0" thread.

And your replies are eloquent and respectful as well. Of which I am thankful. Change is not easily discussed, and I do like the game as it is as well, even if I disagree with it sometimes.

Perhaps you're right, and it comes off that way. In a base essence, it is partially what I am saying. Perhaps not specifically 2.0, just revision, and I know I'm far from the first to say it. Nor will I be the last. But in a non-attacking format, it can be food for thought. Perhaps someone will see this and try some as house rules? Refreshing the experience and letting them get a feel for other games or ideas.


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Pathfinder + House Rules = Better Game for Me.

All of your gripes can has solutions with House Rules. Quickly:

1: Moving is now a currency that may be "spent" throughout rounds
2: Borrow 5E rules for AoOs - use Feats to gate access to "special" AoOs
3: Consolidate, Expand, and Short-circuit CRB feats - Adjust the rest case-by-case
4: Borrow / Create rules like "ST or DX for Thrown" and "DX or WIS for Projectile"

For the record: I, too, am over 15 years old.


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I just have one question, what are you doing here? I get that you really like 3.X/Pathfinder, but I find these threads ridiculous (you know, the "my thoughts on Pathfinder," "why I'm leaving Pathfinder," etc). If you think there are better systems out there, play those, and hang out on their forums (or Reddit, GiTP, or something), this is the Pathfinder forum. It is for discussing things in Pathfinder, not Pathfinder is worse than 5e because X and Y and I wish they would fix Z.


Isaac Zephyr wrote:
blahpers wrote:

Many of us like it pretty much the way it is, though, and either do not want or cannot agree on changes to the base game. Even Unchained splits the base into warring factions if we get to talking about it.

Your perspective is reasonable, as we all have subjective ideas about what makes a game better, and your tone is respectful, but this comes off as yet another "we all know Pathfinder needs a 2.0" thread.

And your replies are eloquent and respectful as well. Of which I am thankful. Change is not easily discussed, and I do like the game as it is as well, even if I disagree with it sometimes.

Perhaps you're right, and it comes off that way. In a base essence, it is partially what I am saying. Perhaps not specifically 2.0, just revision, and I know I'm far from the first to say it. Nor will I be the last. But in a non-attacking format, it can be food for thought. Perhaps someone will see this and try some as house rules? Refreshing the experience and letting them get a feel for other games or ideas.

Definitely! I heartily recommend housing the snot out of Pathfinder to fit the game you're wanting to play. I certainly do. : ) (Though for our current campaign, as an exercise and for the sake of all the new players at the table, I'm limiting myself to situations where you pretty much have to. We're keeping alignment for this campaign, for example, which drives me batty.)


CactusUnicorn wrote:
I just have one question, what are you doing here? I get that you really like 3.X/Pathfinder, but I find these threads ridiculous (you know, the "my thoughts on Pathfinder," "why I'm leaving Pathfinder," etc). If you think there are better systems out there, play those, and hang out on their forums (or Reddit, GiTP, or something), this is the Pathfinder forum. It is for discussing things in Pathfinder, not Pathfinder is worse than 5e because X and Y and I wish they would fix Z.

Mostly, I ask questions concerning circumstance rulings here to be honest. In that, most threads tend to resort to arguement, which isn't constructive. The majority of questions I pose, I discovered fell into these four major categories. I felt it was best for me, to discuss these things in a singular place rather than in a dozen different threads. As is within my right, and it is within your right to comment and have your own view and opinion.

I do not mean to say, "Pathfinder is worse than game X". I can understand the ridicule of such things, and tried to take it from a constructive point. You can love something for its faults, or in spite of its faults. And especially in self reflection it is good to be able to see flaws. Ignoring that they exist would be to lie to oneself.

I do not believe there are "better" systems, but "different" systems. And even discussion about a game's flaws are still about things that are in it. The point I raise is to say that there are solutions to the flaws, without destroying the foundation of the game itself, and that perhaps as players our expectations may hold the game back from evolving away from its 3.75 identity.


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Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

I disagree with your point 4. It's GOOD to need everything (or almost everything). You need to make trade-offs. You might value one thing more than another while a different person values a third thing the most. Your characters will be different. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

The problem can come when some classes are SAD while others are MAD.

YMMV.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Let me ask the question a different way:

What to outcome do you expect to occur by posting this question?

New homebrew rules you can use in your game?
Consensus on a change that players can then force Paizo to make in their products?
Attention from Paizo staff for your unique ideas that you can't gain consensus around?

I don't see that this thread has any outcome other than to vent our unhappiness with the way things are without any other goal than to whine.


CrystalSeas wrote:

Let me ask the question a different way:

What to outcome do you expect to occur by posting this question?

New homebrew rules you can use in your game?
Consensus on a change that players can then force Paizo to make in their products?
Attention from Paizo staff for your unique ideas that you can't gain consensus around?

I don't see that this thread has any outcome other than to vent our unhappiness with the way things are without any other goal than to whine.

The outcome I seek is discussion. If I wanted to whine, I would whine. Venting can be good if done constructively, and if that is what others see this as, I cannot stop them. If others use it as an opportunity to vent, I cannot stop them.

It is unrealistic to expect change, and I don't want Paizo's attention. I simply aim to direct a conversation. Away from toxicity, and in an uncharged environment. Example, I asked not long ago why two-weapon fighting required a full attack action. I was looking for maybe a balance reason, or other such thing within the main core book. The result I got was outrage that if it were just a standard like other weapons, natural attacks were broken. Even though they applied by different rules, which I pointed out, it became agruement that any change was bad. Things are as they are and perfect. So I wanted to create a space where such a thing could be said, or discussed.

That is what I wanted by asking my questions, and making my statements. I found what I felt were flaws, and discussing them angered people. This was putting them in one place, problems without solutions within the confines of the game, and opening the floor to hear others and discuss them.


SlimGauge wrote:

I disagree with your point 4. It's GOOD to need everything (or almost everything). You need to make trade-offs. You might value one thing more than another while a different person values a third thing the most. Your characters will be different. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

The problem can come when some classes are SAD while others are MAD.

YMMV.

I'm sorry, I don't know your acronyms, but I do very much agree with your statement. It is good to have characters with weaknesses and making trade-offs. Some of my favorite characters were ones with such things.

The problem comes for me when you become dependent on things. I tried to play a low Str, high Dex character for example and opted out of Weapon Finesse level 1. To be clear, I also took Wis 7 on this character, so she had 2 significant pitfalls in her stats. The result was as a martial character, she contributed nothing to the party for 3 levels. This is bad. There's additional need from feats to make her functional, and due to the low Str, Wis, and average Int, she applies for next to no combat feats. She needs Con for a class ability, Dex to attack now, and Cha for other reasons.

I love to play her, but between things she needs, things she can't get, and limited feat chances, she's limited in her potential. To get all her needs, I determined she would need to be level 24, which doesn't consider her needs for things like specific magic equipment that works with fists, or ways to bypass the pitfalls of her own fighting style. There is also a need for her to take Double Slice for a prerequisite despite have no strength modifier (pre level 4 it's a penalty even). That is more what I'm getting at. I want to play X, so a third of my character needs to be building to it, and I need high in every stat to get there.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

SAD = Single Attribute Dependent
MAD = Multiple Attribute Dependent


SlimGauge wrote:

SAD = Single Attribute Dependent

MAD = Multiple Attribute Dependent

Ah. Then yes, I very much agree with you. I find the Monk to be a good "needs to much" example (needing pretty much everything but Cha). Or to spread the examples to other games, AD&D Bards.


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Pathfinder is a flawed game. Original Dungeons & Dragons made many simplifying assumptions, such as treating armor and dodge as adding to miss chance in the same way. Later, the game added more complexity, copying more features from reality, but kept the underlying simplified rules, so the game became more disconnected from reality rather than less. However, the disconnect allows the game designers to manipulate the rules so that the party will win against a level-appropriate challenge, so it is a feature rather than a bug.

Isaac Zephyr wrote:
1:Move Actions. Move actions as their own thing are dated. ... Without changing anything but that, letting all characters move without action, they gain choices.

I presume that Isaac Zephyr also intends partial movement followed by action followed by rest of movement, so that the archer can step out from behind a merlon of a crenellated castle, make a full attack with Rapid Shot and Manyshot through the embrasure, and step back behind the merlon, vulnerable only to a readied action. It worked for real castles, so it ought to work for Pathfinder, right? But readied attacks were much easier in reality and manyshot was much harder. And that would allow a full attack on a flyby attack, too. Real medieval life lacked man-sized and dragon-sized opponents that fly.

I don't see how that adds choices. Making one one option--move, full attack, move--much better than the other options makes the choice for the player.

And if we don't allow split moves, then non-action movement would essentially be its own special action, call it a move action, except we cannot use the move action for anything except movement. We could not even combine a move action with a standard action to create a full-round action, because all standard actions would already be promoted to full-round actions. That has fewer choices, too.

Isaac Zephyr wrote:
2: Defensive Actions, and Odd Opportunity Attacks. This is more with stacking penalties on things that don't need them. Two examples though that shouldn't have them [opportunity attacks]. Casting melee spells, and ranged attacks against something right in front of you. To me, a spell such as Shocking Grasp, should not provoke to cast. Its intention is for use in melee, what purpose does it serve if using it is dangerous? ... Shooting someone engaged in melee with you is not innately more difficult, and your focus is still on the target at hand.

An archer holds his bow at arm's length in front of him and his bow string as far behind him as a bent arm can manage. He cannot simply change his swing to hit someone close who dodges to the side like a swordsman coul. And if Pathfinder did not force everyone to stand at least 5 feet away from each other, the melee character could get closer than arm's length to the archer. Shooting someone engaged in melee with the archer [b]is[/i] innately more difficult. There should be some disadvantage to this. D&D 3rd edition and Pathfinder chose an opportunity attack, D&D 5e edition chose dice disadvantage, a future edition could chose that the archer cannot shoot anyone adjacent to him, same as reach weapons. A ranger or fighter archer has the armor and hit points to take an opportunity attack.

Wizards are designed squishy. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson based them on the artillery units of wargames. If a wizard willing runs into non-squishy territory such as melee, he is out of his designed niche. Bad guys could run to the wizard instead; hence, the wizard has close-range spells as a countermeasure. A low-level spell is easy to cast defensively.

My wife once played a melee sorcerer. Her character used touch attack spells, wore a chain shirt, and lived with the 20% arcane spell failure chance until she qualified for Arcane Armor Training. It was her choice, and removing obstacles to playing a melee sorcerer would reduce the impact of that choice.

Isaac Zephyr wrote:
3: Feats. My prior two statements touched on this. The feats system for Pathfinder I feel is it's largest selling point, and largest downfall. New books are advertised with 200+ new feats, and unfortunately they fall into three categories most of the time. Over-specific Niche ... Useless Till Level X ... Underwhelming

One strength of Pathfinder is customizing characters, such as creating a melee sorcerer. The niche feat Arcane Armor Training fits the niche build. Niche feats can be ignored whenever they don't fit the character.

Useless Till Level X also includes the feats at the end of a feat chain, which is very annoying whenever the chain contains a useless tax feat. But level 1 is different from level X, for sufficiently large X. Should a 1st-level fighter be allowed to take Weapon Specialization, when +2 to damage makes more difference? Having strong feats for higher-level characters is more fun. Some feats, such as Power Attack, scale with level. Other feats, such as the +1 to hit from Weapon Focus, are equally valuable at all levels. But a few feats are more innately powerful and reserving them to high levels balances the game.

That said, some of the methods of restricting abilities to higher levels are terribly designed. I looked at the Sword and Pistol feat that Isaac Zephyr mentioned. It requires Dex 13, Point-Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Snap Shot, Two-Weapon Fighting, and BAB +6. That is ridiculous. And Snap Shot makes it close to redundant. In comparison, I play a bloodrager and I ported the Savage Technologist aarchetype for barbarian over to bloodrager. My bloodrager gained a stripped-down version of Sword and Gun ability that lacks the Two-Weapon Fighting aspect. It works fine without Two-Weapon Fighting and is necessary for her to want to use a firearm when her melee attack is so effective. The Sword and Pistol feat is an overloaded design.

Underwhelming feats are also bad design.

We need better design principles for feats that than rebuilding the feat system from the ground up.

Isaac Zephyr wrote:
4: Needing Everything. You need str for attacks, dex for defense, con for health, int for skill points, wis for will saves, cha for social skills. You need an AC above X or everything will hit you. You need a magic weapon to bypass damage reduction after level X. ...

This entry is the main reason I responded. It is a fallacy.

The martial characters need Str for attack; the unarmored characters need Dex for defense, the vulnerable, including the vulnerability of standing in front as a meat shield, need Con for hit points; the 2+Int skill point classes need Int for skill points, the poor Will save classes nead Wis for Will saves, and the party face needs Cha for social skills. Why is someone trying to play a barely-armored meat-shield martial character that needs lots of skills in a 2+Int class while serving as the party face? That character needs everything because he is trying to be everything.

I have been explaining that to the newbie player in my current campaign. He plays a fighter with Int 14, who multiclassed to investigator, and took a 3rd-party feat (with my permission) that let him qualify for Craft Magic Arms and Armor. He has tried begging for more than his equal share of treasure because he thinks he needs more equipment. At the last game session, he made a very insightful suggestion for a precaution, no-one listened, and their victory after long battle was reversed because they failed to take that precaution. He complained that no-one ever listens to him. I explained that his character has been refusing to bond with the party. Instead, he stands off trying to be a one-man party.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party operates at two levels above their actual level, while underequipped with gear (they let the fighter have more than his share), because they use teamwork. They set up tactics so that they can use their strengths all the time and don't have to worry about their weaknesses.

Needing everything is bad tactics. Teamwork is good tactics. Having weaknesses encourages good teamwork.


Isaac Zephyr wrote:

The problem comes for me when you become dependent on things. I tried to play a low Str, high Dex character for example and opted out of Weapon Finesse level 1. To be clear, I also took Wis 7 on this character, so she had 2 significant pitfalls in her stats. The result was as a martial character, she contributed nothing to the party for 3 levels. This is bad. There's additional need from feats to make her functional, and due to the low Str, Wis, and average Int, she applies for next to no combat feats. She needs Con for a class ability, Dex to attack now, and Cha for other reasons.

I love to play her, but between things she needs, things she can't get, and limited feat chances, she's limited in her potential. To get all her needs, I determined she would need to be level 24, which doesn't consider her needs for things like specific magic equipment that works with fists, or ways to bypass the pitfalls of her own fighting style. There is also a need for her to take Double Slice for a prerequisite despite have no strength modifier (pre level 4 it's a penalty even). That is more what I'm getting at. I want to play X, so a third of my character needs to be building to it, and I need high in every stat to get there.

Ah, additional interesting discussion occurred while I wrote my wall of text.

I view this problem as trying to play a class or archetype that has not been published yet. blahpers suggestion is how I handle it: I use houserules to invent the archetype or feats now. I guess that is a form of Moving Forward.

For example, my homebrew bloodrager needed Sword and Gun to function as intended, as a saber-swinging buccaneer who occassionally pulls out her pistol, but the Sword and Pistol feat is definitely not what she needed. Instead, I stole an archetype. My wife's character was even more extreme. She wanted to play a technological gadgeteer in my Iron Gods campaign. But her system mastery is great. Her dwarf took the Experimental Gunsmith archetype for gunslinger, which allowed some mundane inventing (it's a gnome-only archetype, but I allowed it), invested in crafting skills early, and worked her way up to technological crafting with feats, one of which was homebrew. In the meanwhile, her high-Wis, high-Dex gunslinger took the trapfinding, device-disabling role in the party. Many levels later, her gunslinger is a low-damage battlefield controller, locksmith, and computer hacker. I am fascinated to see a viable non-magical battlefield controller and amused that the best gunslinger I have seen does not deal much damage.

Weapon Finesse is one of those Over-specific Niche feats that Isaac Zephyr complained about. It is for low Str, high Dex martial characters (and also high Dex magus characters, but the only reason that design is not niche is its power). Double Slice (Prerequisite: Dex 15, Two-Weapon Fighting. Benefit: Add your Strength bonus to damage rolls made with your off-hand weapon) is a very strange choice for a low-strength character.

I checked the feats that require Double Slice and found only Two Weapon Rend and the Dual Strike Weapon Trick. Two-Weapon Rend needs Dex 17, Two-Weapon Fighting (1st level choice), Double Slice (9th level), Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (7th due to BAB +6), and BAB +11, so that leaves the 3rd, 5th, and racial and class feats available for Weapon Finesse. Furthermore, Paizo designed Two-Weapon Grace as an alternative to satisfy a Double Slice prerequisite that better fits low-strength builds. So Paizo has taken one step toward creating the class Isaac Zephyr wants to play.


Weak, weak willed and oblivious character not particularly helpful in an adventuring lifestyle news at 11.


Mathmuse wrote:
Pathfinder is a flawed game. Original Dungeons & Dragons made many simplifying assumptions, such as treating armor and dodge as adding to miss chance in the same way. Later, the game added more complexity, copying more features from reality, but kept the underlying simplified rules, so the game became more disconnected from reality rather than less. However, the disconnect allows the game designers to manipulate the rules so that the party will win against a level-appropriate challenge, so it is a feature rather than a bug.

Having read your points, I acknowledge your view points. You are right in what you point out.

In a less movement-restricted Pathfinder, it would change a lot. Rules applying to one party apply to the other. Were it a truly players vs GM experience, yes. Fly by dragon would be a nuisance. You are right though, the game is designed for the players to win. Doing a fly by would still provoke as it would for a player, and a crafty player could choose to down it with an opportunity attack, or magic/combat maveuver that coukd ground the beast? There are still downsides to options though. Move, full, move, still has itterative attacks. If you miss or fail, there would still be an opportunity attack for your leaving, and without feats that could be to a large detriment. Current "move speed" actions, such as drawing a weapon or going through your bag would not cease to exist. Whether they be full standard or swift action would vary though. Or perhaps they would remain "move" actions, and simply divorce the concept of movement speed from them. It is an un-refined hypothetical based on other systems, so there are likely flaws with it as well.

I like the sounds of your wife's character. It sounds fun. The suggestion of melee spells not provoking opportunity attacks though does not have influence on her AC, or spell failure. It is still an impactful choice. The failure aspect I refence is defensive casting having a 15+spell level concentration check, for a spell intended for use at that range, and in those circumstances. If something is intended for a use, it should not be a universally detrimental decision for that use.

And you are more than right. Needing everything is bad tactics, and teamwork is an amazing thing. See my above comment though about my one character who held no use for 3 levels because she needed more than she could have. She cannot apply for most features that would make her more fun, because they require things she is just incapable of getting. She is not a monk, and is therefor, a bad fist fighter if she lacks the stats of a monk, or her class offers a bypass to the stat or class requirements of a feat. I also meant defense more in the Reflex sense, as it is the most oft used save for offensive spells and traps. Armor or not, you aren't defended ftom such things without Dex.


Mathmuse wrote:
I checked the feats that require Double Slice and found only Two Weapon Rend and the Dual Strike Weapon Trick. Two-Weapon Rend needs Dex 17, Two-Weapon Fighting (1st level choice), Double Slice (9th level), Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (7th due to BAB +6), and BAB +11, so that leaves the 3rd, 5th, and racial and class feats available for Weapon Finesse. Furthermore, Paizo designed Two-Weapon Grace as an alternative to satisfy a Double Slice prerequisite that better fits low-strength builds. So Paizo has taken one step toward creating the class Isaac Zephyr wants to play.

Alas, the character in question does not qualify for Two-Weapon Grace. Dual Strike, Weapon Trick is the feat in question, however, fists are neither a slashing or piercing weapon. Though the reason for wanting such a thing is Boar Style, which allows you to slash with your fists (and is one of the few style feats not needing hih Int/Wis or Flurry of Blows) so perhaps that is a loophole?

A viable option, though it would still require 4 more feat slots than a 20th level Wildsoul Vigilante can achieve. At least with the other aspects of the character like Nightmare Fist and the afforementioned Boar Style. A Drow, Vigilante focusing on Intimidate and Unarmed. I refer yo her often as "bad spiderman" and quite love her.


Mathmuse wrote:
I checked the feats that require Double Slice and found only Two Weapon Rend and the Dual Strike Weapon Trick. Two-Weapon Rend needs Dex 17, Two-Weapon Fighting (1st level choice), Double Slice (9th level), Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (7th due to BAB +6), and BAB +11, so that leaves the 3rd, 5th, and racial and class feats available for Weapon Finesse. Furthermore, Paizo designed Two-Weapon Grace as an alternative to satisfy a Double Slice prerequisite that better fits low-strength builds. So Paizo has taken one step toward creating the class Isaac Zephyr wants to play.

And upon further inspection, it would further not work. Double Slice would still be the "better" option. The Lethal Grace Vigilante Talent, offers half level to damage of attacks that use Dex for attack rolls and Str for damage. By taking Slashing Grace, and Two-Weapon Grace, it would negate that bonus, so the character would lose half level to damage per attack for +4 to damage per attacks. It is an odd paradox.

Take a feat which offers nothing, only for a prerequisite, or take the feats which fit the character and negate the abilities you need them for.


If you see a problem (and you're GMing), fix it.

Last time I ran Pathfinder, I house-ruled that you could take a Standard Action at any point during your movement and continue moving after. (Provoking AoO as normal, so Spring Attack is still useful.) I didn't see any downside to this.


Isaac Zephyr wrote:
I like the sounds of your wife's character. It sounds fun. The suggestion of melee spells not provoking opportunity attacks though does not have influence on her AC, or spell failure. It is still an impactful choice. The failure aspect I refence is defensive casting having a 15+spell level concentration check, for a spell intended for use at that range, and in those circumstances. If something is intended for a use, it should not be a universally detrimental decision for that use.

Well, for one thing a character who puts enough into AC doesn't care about the Defensive Casting DC, because they can just cast, provoke the Attack of Opportunity, and laugh as the enemy fails to hit them. Doesn't work against every enemy, but with enough focus on AC it will work against a great many of them.

Even besides that though... once you get past the early levels Defensive Casting is not a hard check to make (even though you undersold the DC, it's 15 + double spell level). Let's look at a Wizard that just got third level spells. And I'll go super conservatively and say the Wizard threw logic to the wind and started with only 16 Intelligence. And for good measure I'll throw in ABP as a measure of scaling items because it's easier than going through and manually giving the Wizard items, while also providing a reasonable (if maybe a bit slow TBQH) benchmark. So the Wizard needs to hit a DC 21 to Defensively Cast his highest level spells. His Concentration modifier is 5 CL + 3 (17 Int thanks to level) Stat = +8. So he passes on a 13 or higher, a good 40% chance. If he used one of his 3 (possibly even 4 if he's human) feats on Combat Casting, that modifier is up to +12 for a 60% chance of success. And if he used a Trait on Concentration, it's either +13 for 65% or +14 for 70%, depending on which trait.

Now let's add a level to that same Wizard. Now the ABP actually kicks in and is useful, giving that Wizard +2 Int. So now his base Concentration is up to 6 CL + 4 (19 Int) = +10. The DC didn't change at all, so now he's got a 50% chance just by default. Add Combat Casting it's up to 70%, and with a trait it's either 75% or 80%.

And remember, for every spell level lower you decrease the DC by 2, which means increasing chance of success by 10%. So by level 6 it is fully possible for a Wizard that started with only 16 Int to have a 100% chance of Defensive Casting his level 1 spells, at the cost of 1 feat and a trait. And last I checked low-level Wizards don't tend to need a lot of feats anyways.

But hey, maybe you're not thinking Wizard. Maybe you're thinking more Magus. After all, they love their Touch-range spells, right? So let's look at a Magus at those same levels.... I still doubt even a Magus is going to want to start below 16 Int. At least, none I've ever seen has wanted to start below that. And at level 5 a Magus only has level 2 spells, meaning DC 19. Concentration DC is still CL 5 + Stat 3 (I'll say only 16 Int still, most Magi tend to put their first level into attack stat IME) for... that same +8 the Wizard had. So you have a 50/50 chance of Defensively Casting your highest level spells off the raw. That said, Magi tend to want more feats than Wizards do so I'll leave off Combat Casting. A trait's still a worthwhile cost though, but I'll leave it to one of the +1 Concentration and Initiative ones because those tend to help a lot. So now you're at +9, 55% chance with your highest levels, and 65% with the level 1s that are generally a low-level Magus's bread and butter.

Let's add that next level now. Level 6, Magus is still at level 2 spells. +2 Int from Mental Prowess, +1 CL, your base Concentration is up to CL 6 + 4 (18 Int) stat = +10, for those same DC 19 Concentration, 55% success chance. Add the trait, +11, 60% success rate. Level 1 spells, 70% success rate.

Oh, and let's not forget, if the Magus feels really confident in their accuracy... as part of Spell Combat you can take a penalty on attacks up to your Int mod to add that to your Concentration. So if you REALLY don't want to risk it... at level 5 that can bring you up to 80% success rate with your level 1s, 70% with level 2s, at the cost of -3 attack. At level 6 it's instead bringing you to 80% with level 2s, 90% with level 1s, though it costs you a slightly larger -4 to attacks. Which is basically the same as your BAB at these levels.

Now let's look at how these scale with time. For the Wizard... DCs scale at basically the exact same rate as CL (DC scales at +2 every other level, CL scales at +1/level, same rate) until it stops scaling after 17, and then the Wizard also gets an extra increase every time they gain additional Int (which, if we assume they're doing like most Wizards and putting level boosts into Int... will be at levels 8, 11, 15, and 16 beyond what's already shown, going by ABP. Possibly even more if they invest in Wish/Tome bonus.) For the Magus they have it even easier. Their DC only scales by 2 every 3rd level, until it stops scaling after level 16, while their CL still goes up by one per level. They will probably miss out on the levels 8 and 16 Int boosts (as I said, most Magi IME tend to favor boosting attack stat) but still.


Shinigami02 wrote:
Well, for one thing a character who puts enough into AC doesn't care about the Defensive Casting DC, because they can just cast, provoke the Attack of Opportunity, and laugh as the enemy fails to hit them.

Or, if you're a wizard, use Mirror Image / Invisibility to protect you from AoO.

Or move through their threatened area, provoke AoO, take the hit, and then cast the spell in safety.


Pathfinder isn't perfect, but changing it should be done with care. I liked Unchained's revised action economy and used a modified version of it in my first campaign. But it turned out that so many rules are tied to actions that you end up with numerous unexpected and unwanted side-effects. Hence I went back to the orignal action system on my second campaign - it's flawed but it works, and you can use the lessons learned there for other campaigns.

From my experience houserules work better if they are a) smaller and b) less connected to other rules.


Mathmuse wrote:
We need better design principles for feats that than rebuilding the feat system from the ground up.

The same could be said of class abilities, spells and many other game features.

The drawback of class/level based systems is that there don't tend to be any real formulae driving design. Instead when someone designs a new feat or what have you they simply compare it to existing feats and make a subjective decision. Sometimes it feels like a finger-in-the-air job!


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Mathmuse wrote:

Pathfinder is a flawed game. Original Dungeons & Dragons made many simplifying assumptions, such as treating armor and dodge as adding to miss chance in the same way. Later, the game added more complexity, copying more features from reality, but kept the underlying simplified rules, so the game became more disconnected from reality rather than less. However, the disconnect allows the game designers to manipulate the rules so that the party will win against a level-appropriate challenge, so it is a feature rather than a bug.

Isaac Zephyr wrote:
1:Move Actions. Move actions as their own thing are dated. ... Without changing anything but that, letting all characters move without action, they gain choices.

I presume that Isaac Zephyr also intends partial movement followed by action followed by rest of movement, so that the archer can step out from behind a merlon of a crenellated castle, make a full attack with Rapid Shot and Manyshot through the embrasure, and step back behind the merlon, vulnerable only to a readied action. It worked for real castles, so it ought to work for Pathfinder, right? But readied attacks were much easier in reality and manyshot was much harder. And that would allow a full attack on a flyby attack, too. Real medieval life lacked man-sized and dragon-sized opponents that fly.

I don't see how that adds choices. Making one one option--move, full attack, move--much better than the other options makes the choice for the player.

And if we don't allow split moves, then non-action movement would essentially be its own special action, call it a move action, except we cannot use the move action for anything except movement. We could not even combine a move action with a standard action to create a full-round action, because all standard actions would already be promoted to full-round actions. That has fewer choices, too.

Isaac Zephyr wrote:
2: Defensive Actions, and Odd Opportunity Attacks. This is more with stacking penalties on things that don't need them.
...

They are ALL flawed games - they just have different flaws, and creating a flawless game would be impossible - eliminating some flaws would create others.


There is certainly room for improvement for the OPs 4 listed issues. However, I disagree in suggested implementations. 4E switched to pump primary and secondary stat and dump the rest. It was my least favorite change of the system. One in which 5E walked back. Id like to see all classes MAD.

5E movement makes for quicker combat and easier tactical decisions. Feats are more like packages now and require less planning. The result is a system that takes decisions down a notch to allow quicker play. Feats allow a larger jump in player agency at the cost of complexity and specialization. I understand the appeal, but these design decisions make the game too general and simple for my taste.

I am not going to fall into the modern game design is innovative and elegant trap. Experience brings improvement and evolution. What I believe is being discussed here is changing playstyle of the system. I get that different folks have different strokes, however, I hope Paizo goes against many of the suggested changes and keeps a more complex character creation and tactical combat system. After all, trying to out WOTC 5E would be giving up on differentiation that Paizo has as an advantage, IMHO.


RDM42 wrote:
They are ALL flawed games - they just have different flaws, and creating a flawless game would be impossible - eliminating some flaws would create others.

Oh I agree entirely. I think one of my other replies I said there aren't "better" games, just "different" ones. This is just opinions of mine comparing some more "free feeling" games in again, my opinion. Things I noticed when comparing my Vigilante to my Wizard. My Vigilante felt restrictive and like I needed more than she could ever get to do things I felt basic, where my Wizard can fly by the seat of her pants, and can adapt to the campaign much better. It's a different feeling.


Planpanther wrote:

5E movement makes for quicker combat and easier tactical decisions. Feats are more like packages now and require less planning. The result is a system that takes decisions down a notch to allow quicker play. Feats allow a larger jump in player agency at the cost of complexity and specialization. I understand the appeal, but these design decisions make the game too general and simple for my taste.

I am not going to fall into the modern game design is innovative and elegant trap. Experience brings improvement and evolution. What I believe is being discussed here is changing playstyle of the system. I get that different folks have different strokes, however, I hope Paizo goes against many of the suggested changes and keeps a more complex character creation and tactical combat system. After all, trying to out WOTC 5E would be giving up on differentiation that Paizo has as an advantage, IMHO.

Oh I completely agree. I like the quick tactics and variety of choice. A 5e Rogue can Dash, Disengage, etc. as a minor action which makes them feel mobile and more fun. However I do find 5e's feats to be powerful, but overall uninteresting. I like Pathfinder's feat system better, being able to add small options more often makes characters more diverse. My "gripe" if you were is what I feel is things you /need/.

All Dex builds /need/ Weapon Finesse, which is obvious enough even to Paizo that classes like the Swashbuckler and others recieve it free at character gen. I think little things like that are why Fighters are currently so in need of a rework. They're supposed to be whatever the player wants to play, but lose all that freedom on needs which other classes are handed. Why take a fighter and their combat feats, when Vigilante talents A: Have a combat feat option, B: Some grant multiple grouped feats, with some cases offering additional benefits, and C: You also get the social aspects of the Vigilante character?


CrystalSeas wrote:

Let me ask the question a different way:

What to outcome do you expect to occur by posting this question?

New homebrew rules you can use in your game?
Consensus on a change that players can then force Paizo to make in their products?
Attention from Paizo staff for your unique ideas that you can't gain consensus around?

I don't see that this thread has any outcome other than to vent our unhappiness with the way things are without any other goal than to whine.

Well, when you put it like that...it is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you don't want to discuss the subject. Stop discussing the subject.


Isaac Zephyr wrote:
Things I noticed when comparing my Vigilante to my Wizard. My Vigilante felt restrictive and like I needed more than she could ever get to do things I felt basic, where my Wizard can fly by the seat of her pants, and can adapt to the campaign much better. It's a different feeling.

One important premise of D&D is that it's a cooperative game, where you have to work together to survive and achieve your goals. So your vigilante might be fine (dunno whether the expectations or the build is off), while your wizard with his ability to "adapt to the campaign much better" can actually impair the fun of your fellow players.

I know some players don't want to rely on the rest of the party, and put a lot of effort into becoming as independent as possible. But the more they do it, the more I'd question whether D&D is a good fit for them at all. There are many video games (and maybe a few tabletops) tailored towards being the only hero.


SheepishEidolon wrote:
Isaac Zephyr wrote:
Things I noticed when comparing my Vigilante to my Wizard. My Vigilante felt restrictive and like I needed more than she could ever get to do things I felt basic, where my Wizard can fly by the seat of her pants, and can adapt to the campaign much better. It's a different feeling.

One important premise of D&D is that it's a cooperative game, where you have to work together to survive and achieve your goals. So your vigilante might be fine (dunno whether the expectations or the build is off), while your wizard with his ability to "adapt to the campaign much better" can actually impair the fun of your fellow players.

I know some players don't want to rely on the rest of the party, and put a lot of effort into becoming as independent as possible. But the more they do it, the more I'd question whether D&D is a good fit for them at all. There are many video games (and maybe a few tabletops) tailored towards being the only hero.

Definitely. It's actually the opposite though. My wizard type is Divination, so by adapting means I end up taking spells with good team synergy. Ricochet Shot for our Gunslinger, Brow Gasher for our Fighter, and Draconic Resevoir to synergize well with our Alchemist.

My Vigilante is a Drow, going off of a Nightmare Fist build, and between needing to try and make her Deeper Darkness not hindering to the other players, being able to contribute to a fight, and getting the tools she needs to actually fulfill her role and purpose in the party, she would need to be something like 25th level or higher. Plus she had "dead levels" where she was little more than comedy relief, due to some of the prereqs for her functionality.


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My current understanding is that Isaac Zephyr built a Wildsoul Vigilante with the arachnid natural course. This sub-archetype is based on the Marvel superhero Spider-Man. Isaac Zephyr wants the character to eventually, at a level equal in power to Spider-Man, move and fight like Spider-Man, hitting with unarmed strikes and dodging away before the foe can retaliate. Pathfinder treats unarmed strikes as weak, except for monk and brawler, and has a movement system that encourages standing still. Its assumptions fight against acting like Spider-Man.

System mastery is the skill of making Pathfinder's cumbersome rules create the character we want. I decided to see whether my system mastery was up to Isaac Zephyr's goals. Then my project shifted focus, because I realized that the character I was creating, Silkrose, could fill a plot-relevant NPC role in my next session of my Iron Gods campaign. Still, Spider-Man was the starting point.

The first design challenge is that Spider-Man is both super-strong and super-agile. The Pathfinder point-buy system does not allow both extremely high Strength and extremely high Dexterity at 1st level, so Isaac Zephyr chose Dexterity. In my opinion, Spider-Man is about as powerful as a 12th-level character, so the attribute increases at 4th, 8th, and 12th levels could bump up attributes 3 times. A +6 Belt of Giant Strength costs 36,000 gp, which is exactly one third the expected wealth of a 12th-level character. Thus, the character could start with a Str 10 and Dex 17 at 1st level for 13 build points, and improve it to Str 18 and Dex 18 with level increases and a belt. That is strong and agile, but not as strong and agile as Spider-Man.

Starting at Str 14 and Dex 15 for 12 build points would allow Str 20 and Dex 20 at 12th level with a 40,000gp +4 Belt of Physical Might. Still not as strong and agile as Spider-Man, but closer.

Isaac Zephyr's character relies on unarmed strikes, so she took either Improved Unarmed Strike or the Fist of the Avenger vigilante talent. Fist of the Avenger is better, scaling up to +5 to damage, but it would lock her into the avenger specialization. This is because avenger-like superheroes, such as Captain America and Superman, fight with their fists, while stalker-type superheroes, such as Daredevil and Batman, er, also fight with their fists. Never mind, I can't justify it. Silkrose will be a stalker, for reasons from the next paragraph.

Spider-Man almost never lands next to his opponent, preferring to strike during mid-leap. Comic book artists love to show Spider-Man dodging his opponent's counterstrike as he does so, so Spider-Man's leap does provoke an attack of opportunity. That resembles the monster feat Flyby Attack, except that Spider-Man is swinging or leaping rather than flying. As a GM, I could invent a Leap-by Attack feat, but that is GM fiat rather than system mastery. Instead, I searched through the list of feats and found the following approximations:
1) Flyby Attack. Buy Winged Boots or several Potions of Flight and learn Flyby Attack. This option better fits a falconine wildsoul.
2) Spring Attack. This is the classic feat that allows move, attack, and move. But it lacks Spider-Man's smooth motion.
3) Street Style. Instead of Silkrose moving after the attack, the bull rush from Street Style knocks the opponent away from her. Unfortunately, Street Style has a hard restriction, "You can enter the style stance for street style only while in urban terrain."
4) Stick Together. This teamwork feat would let Silkrose move as an immediate action if an adjacent ally with the same feat moved. To use it every time, she could multiclass to Hunter and take a bat animal companion. At 3rd-level hunter the bat copies the hunter's teamwork feats. First, Silkrose moves to an enemy and attacks. Second, the bat moves adjacent to Silkrose and moves again. Silkrose uses Stick Together to follow. To be honest, three levels of hunter is too cheesy.
5) Up Close and Personal. This is not a feat; rather, it is a stalker vigilante talent. If Silkrose moves through an enemy's square via Acrobatics, she can attack once as a swift action. That is the closest we get to Spider-Man's acrobatic style and it deals extra damage, so I choose it. That forces stalker specialization.

Ultimate Intrigue, Vigilante, Vigilante Talents wrote:
Up Close and Personal (Ex): When the vigilante attempts an Acrobatics check to move through an opponent’s space during a move action, he can attempt a single melee attack against that opponent as a swift action. If the Acrobatics check succeeds, this attack applies the vigilante’s hidden strike damage as if the foe were unaware of the vigilante. Otherwise, the vigilante applies the hidden strike damage he would deal if the target were denied its Dexterity bonus to AC. Only a stalker vigilante of at least 4th level can select this talent.

To support Up Close and Personal, which will be Silkrose's 4th-level vigilante talent, we need bonuses to move through an enemy's square. Skill Focus(Acrobatics) gives +3 and later +6. Crowd Dodger trait gives a +2 trait bonus. Daredevil Softpaws Boots, price 1400gp, give a +5 competence bonus. Disorienting Maneuver aids the attack, but not the Acrobatics check. Acrobatics is a vigilante class skill, she could put 4 ranks into the skill, and Dex 16 would give +3. Thus, Silkrose could have +20 tumbling at 4th level.

The Sliding Dash feat allows moving through the target's square as part of a charge, without the half speed requirement. However, Up Close and Personal specifically says, "during a move action," so it won't work with Sliding Dash. Vigilante talents do not play well with feats. I am disappointed.

Tumbling via Acrobatics requires half speed. 15 feet of movement is not enough to stay away from the target both before and after the tumble. That means double movement for the Close Up and Personal, until Silkrose gets her 8th-level vigilante talent (arachnid wildsoul traded out the 6th-level one). That talent can be either Shadow's Speed for extra speed or Sure-Footed for full speed while tumbling.

Silkrose at 12th level would be much less powerful than Spider-Man. When Paizo adapted Dungeons & Dragons' tumble skill to Pathfinder acrobatics, they seriously nerfed tumble by increasing the DC for moving through an opponent from 25 to 5+CMD. At 12th level, many monsters have CMD 39, so the move-through DC would be 44. Silkrose's own CMD at 12th level would be 29, for a move-through DC 34. Making tumble work against high DCs consumed much of Silkrose's resources, and unarmed strikes are a weak attack, so she is weaker than most 12th-level characters.

10th level better suits an NPC in my campaign, so here she is at 10th level.

Silkrose
Human Vigilante(arachnid wildsoul) 10
CN Medium humanoid (human)
Init +4; Senses Perception +10

DEFENSE
AC 21, touch 15, flat-footed 16 (+6 armor, +4 Dex, +1 dodge)
hp 79 (10d8+20 plus 10 from FCB)
Fort +8, Ref +14, Will +10
Defensive Abilities: Dodge, Mobility (+4 dodge against AoO from moving into threatened spaces)

OFFENSE
Speed 50 ft. Sure-footed(full speed for stealth, acrobatics, and difficult terrain)
Melee unarmed strike +11 (1d4+3)
Ranged chakram +11 (1d8+3, range 30 ft)
Special attack: Hidden strike (5d8 unaware, 5d4 denied dex), Shoot Webs (5/day, tanglefoot, Reflex DC 17, range 30 ft.), Bullied (+1 to unarmed strike AoO)

TACTICS
Silkrose's key move is to tumble through an opponent's square and use Up Close and Personal to attack unarmed as a swift action for 1d4+5+6d8 unaware hidden strike damage. She can take 10 for the tumble check due to Skill Familiarity. She prefers to start and end at least 20 feet from the opponent. If an opponent closes in on her, then she starts with a standard attack and then tumbles through the opponent for another Up Close and Personal attack.

Against a creature with CMD 35 or higher, she will switch to activating her wand of invisibility, a guaranteed Use Magic Device due to Skill Familiarity. Or she will tumble away if the target is not worth a 90gp wand charge. She needs only one hand to attack, so she often carries her wand into combat.

STATISTICS
Str 17, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 14
(Attributes boosted by belt and headband. 1st level was Str 13, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 12.)
Base Atk +7; CMB +10; CMD 24
Traits: Bullied, Crowd Dodger
Feats: Dodge, Improved Feint, Improved Unarmed Strike, Mobility, Skill Focus(Acrobatics), Weapon Focus(unarmed strike)
Skills: Acrobatics +24 (10 ranks + 3 class + 5 dex + 6 feat)(+31 tumble due to boots and trait, +34 jumping due to ring), Bluff +8, Climb +9, Diplomacy +15, Disable Device +9, Intimidate +7, Knowledge(local) +8, Knowledge(nobility) +8, Perception +10, Sense Motive +10, Stealth +13, Survival +5, Swim +7, Use Magic Device +10
SQ Social talents (ancestral enlightenment, entrepreneur<diplomacy>, gossip collector, skill familiarity<acrobatics, climb, stealth, use magic device>, social grace<bluff, knowledge local, sense motive>), Vigilante talents (shadow's speed, stalker sense, sure-footed, up close and personal)
Gear: +3 studded leather armor, chakram (4), dagger, +2 belt of physical might, +2 headband of alluring charisma, cloak of resistance +3, daredevil softpaws boots, wand of invisibility (2, one with only 20 charges), potions of cure light wounds (3), smokesticks (3)

DESCRIPTION
Hetty Reckless (I steal names from historic people) was a spy-for-hire in Brevoy under the pseudonym Briar Rose. A Brevoyan noble hired her to investigate the excess income of a rival. She was captured and sold into slavery to the Sunder Horn barbarians in eastern Numeria. After months of slavery, she escaped, rescuing some fellow slaves, too. Exposure to radioactive Numerian fluids during their trek to the city of Chesed gave her Web Shooting powers. In Chesed, she learned that her replacement in Brevoy had cracked her case and shut down the rival's slave trade, so she lost her reputation. Out for justice, revenge, and wealth, she robbed Numerians involved in the slave trade under the new guise of Silkrose. She became too notorious and the Numerian Technic League ambushed her with a myrmidon robot. The Technic League sent her to Silver Mount. She refused to volunteer for the experiments of Silver Mount's overlord Unity, so she was assigned to carry food to the slaves in the tunnels. Unity's gearsman battleguards and the annihilator robot at the entrance prevented her escape.

The stat block above shows how she would be with proper gear. When the party encounters her in Silver Mount, she will have no gear. Her speed and unarmed strikes have served her well in avoiding abuse from other slaves.


Mathmuse wrote:
My current understanding is that Isaac Zephyr built a Wildsoul Vigilante with the arachnid natural course. This sub-archetype is based on the Marvel superhero Spider-Man. Isaac Zephyr wants the character to eventually, at a level equal in power to Spider-Man, move and fight like Spider-Man, hitting with unarmed strikes and dodging away before the foe can retaliate. Pathfinder treats unarmed strikes as weak, except for monk and brawler, and has a movement system that encourages standing still. Its assumptions fight against acting like Spider-Man.

I read all of that post and loved it. Silkrose sounds fun, and it's unfortunate that all of her feats and choices need to contribute to her fighting style. You missed a key feature though. She's a /Drow/ Spider-Man, this adds new (somewhat fun) restrictions. She is also the skills character of her party, needing to Disable Device among other things (her party members are an Aasimar Cleric, Kitsune Sorcerer specializing in Enchanment, Strength-Based Composite Longbow Ranger, and a Half-Giant Barbarian). I also wanted to develop the social identity for the character as well.

So "Rovagurl" (terrible pun name based on the demon Rovagug), is denied the human feat level 1, and has a starting 20 point buy stat block of Str 9, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 7, Cha 16. She needs Con for Wildsoul ability uses, Charisma for the Intimidate features of the Vigilante, and Dex as the choice between Dex and Str for fighting (as Drow get a +2). She was a character in desperate need of Weapon Finesse at level 1, but instead due to lack of Trapfinding I went with Drow Nobility for the Detect Magic, and Feather Fall/Levitate to save myself when I fail a climb, or to do "20 ft vertical jumps".

This made her attack at level 1, with tonfas, 0 to hit, 1d6-1 damage. She could not fight. Level 2 gives her her first Wildsoul talent, but little else. Level 3 she finally get's Weapon Finesse, so the attack roll jumps to +7 to hit. At this level she also gains Renown on the social side granting a +4 to intimidate in her area of renown.

Level 4, she takes Fist of the Avenger and a +1 to Str in order to negate her damage penalties. This jumps her from 1d6-1 to 1d3+2 (unarmed strike is a d3 and she now gets half level max +5).

Level 5, she takes the next requisite for her fighting style, Two-Weapon Fighting. This is the first of three major aspects to her fighting style (and unfortunately, because TWF at all is a full round action, locks her down).

Level 6 is unimportant, being the Wildsoul second ability. Level 7 however, we get into the second aspect of her fighting style. The only style feat a character with her Wis and Int qualifies for, Boar Style. Adding a 2d6 rend to any target she hits twice with her two-weapon fighting.

Level 8 is her proper "pop off" when she takes Lethal Grace for a Vigilante Talent, retraining her Weapon Finesse into Impoved Drow Nobility, doubling her daily spell uses and adding half her Vigilante level again to her damage. With the Avenger BAB progression, she now attacks with +10/+10/+5, for 1d3+8 per punch (as both her damage abilities apply full to the off hand), plus 2d6 if she can hit you twice. I would love for her two attacks to be one standard but alas, the rules gimp her a little. The double-hit plus mobility is what the character wants, but cannot get.

At level 9 we add the final part to her combination. With multiple casts per day of Deeper Darkness, and a +6 renown boost to Intimidate, we go Nightmare Fist, adding +2-4 to each strike's damage in her magical darkness. By 9th level, she has the basis of her fighting style.

10th, she takes Strike the Unseen for her Vigilante talent, since Improved Drow Nobility takes away her standard darkness, giving her a need for Blind-Fight to be able to ignore her own concealment in the magical darkness she creates.

11th, Frightening Appearance from bring a Vigilante comes in, letting her start an encounter with intimidation, and her Incredible Renown bumps the intimidate to +8, and she takes Greater Drow Nobility, making her Deeper Darkness at-will for Nightmare Fist.

By the proposed 12th level, she gains the third arachnid Wildsoul power, letting her finally climb walls and web sling. Her previous 2 stat points have been poured into Con to get her to a 16 and grant her an additional use of her web abilities. With her at-will feather fall, her preferred method of stealth to get in it to drop from the ceiling, then envelop the battlefield in darkness, then tear into opponents.

She started as a bad Spider-Man and developed into her own thing. Almost Batman, Black Panther and Spider-Man combined. Her equipment will be playing off her other Drow feature: Poison Use, however much like the heroes she is modelled after, she is against killing. Her poisons for Dust Knuckles is the Blue Whimmis, as a Drow she gains Hand Crossbiw proficiency so using that she can weild Wrist Launchers with Drow Poison for stealth infiltration or Blue Whimmis for combat (it also means she has wrist mounted shooters. Another callback to Spider-Man's web shooters), and in her social identity, she has Poison Lipstick with Oil of Taggit. Her social identity F'aune Misraria has Social Grace of Dancing (as that is her career, she is a famous dancer), and at level 5 Alchemy, giving her a boost and letting her craft Rovagurl's poisons in her downtime. She also does Rovagurl's shopping with Celebrity Perks. Then level 9 social grace of Diplomacy to let her gather information.

Later levels see the feats Boar Ferocity for a free intimidate on rend, Antagonize, just for additional Intimidate and Diplomacy functions, Persuasive to boost her Intimidate and Diplomacy, and Dazzling Display (or Nightmare Weaver, my GM seems keen on letting me use it despite the Darkness/Deeper Darkness problem). Vigilante talents include Shadow Speed, as she has the Acrobatic trait as her one trait, this would let her fast-climb at 50ft, Signature Weapon for Focus and Specialization in Unarmed Strikes, and Sure Footed to keep her mobility up in dicey situations.

The downside is with her tri-focused fighting style around Intimidate and Nightmare Fist, she really doesn't have room for the 2 other TWF feats to make her full attacks worthwhile (plus I would prefer her last two stat boosts both go to Cha to take it to 18 and further boost her Diplo/Intim, meaning she would lack the requisite 19 Dex), nor does she have the room for 3 tax feats to take Weapon Trick: Dual Strike. Vital Strike and Improved Vital Strike would double/triple the 1d3 of her unarmed, but as a standard action would take away her 2d6 rend+Intim, and can't be used with Dual Strike anyway, so they are useless. Then Double Slice, since she has no strength modifier gives her no bonus. Subbing Double Slice with Two-Weapon Grace is even worse for her, as it would be two feat slots, one for Slashing Grace (Boar Style makes her unarmed into slashing damage, which would make it the only of the three options for TWG she applies for) and the second for Two-Weapon Grace, however, as mentioned, Vigilante talents don't like Feats. Slashing Grace adding Dex to damage would actually negate Lethal Grace's half Vigilante level damage bonus (which is also not halved on off-hand), which requires attacks using Dex for attacks and Str for damage. So you would sub a +20 at max level for a +8. At the first level I take Lethal Grace, the combined damage bonus is already +8.

Now things to note. As an Avenger Vigilante, Sure Footed and Shadow Speed could both be subbed for the Vigilante talent Combat Skill to give her bonus combat feats instead, or Vital Punishment to get the first (still pretty useless, but getting it as an AoO where you can't strike with 2 anyway would be semi-nice) Vital Strike. Antagonize as a feat could also be squeezed out in favor of one of the requisite feats, and even Persuasive could. However this funnels out the mobility of the character, and/or the fun social aspects of her in favor of making her purely a weapon. It would also mean all 20 levels devoted purely to hitting the point of her fighting sytle /really/ working, which gives her more dead levels where she's taking essentially nothing in order to get prerequisites for things multiple levels later.

Also to note, the GM is not allowing multiclassing. Not that I mind, this character gains more from staying in the Vigilante class than she would get in a dip to Brawler for a greater unarmed die and/or some extra bonus feats (which as the Avenger I could be choosing anyhow).


Am I reading this correctly? You're disappointed in Pathfinder because it is difficult to model Spider-Man as a PC?


blahpers wrote:
Am I reading this correctly? You're disappointed in Pathfinder because it is difficult to model Spider-Man as a PC?

XD No, no, no.

Bad Drow Spider-Man was just a martial character I struggled with due to limiting mobility rules. As can be read above, she has a number of abilities that would benefit more feats to fix what feel more like game flaws. It could be fixed with two of my OP issues. Movement or feats.

The two-weapon fighting taxes also stretch over to my Divination Wizard game where there are two TWF characters who are basically always at half effectiveness because of mobility. And then my Wizard needs to sit back and potentially take 2-3 opportunity attacks for just using a touch spell if she's approached.

And a third issue with the weird AoO stuff was with a Gunslinger, who wanted to coup de grace a conscious yet helpless person, but because "reasons" to try would get her hand cut off by her target. Because "reasons". That and there were just feats that were plain unatainable within 20 levels for the Gunslinger. Everything needed expert planning and she had a bunch of "dead levels" getting prerequisites for feats.

Those three things are my most recent reasons for disappointment in Pathfinder.


blahpers wrote:
Am I reading this correctly? You're disappointed in Pathfinder because it is difficult to model Spider-Man as a PC?

I don't know whether you are asking me or Isaac Zephyr. Either way, it is a good time to quote RDM42.

RDM42 wrote:
They are ALL flawed games - they just have different flaws, and creating a flawless game would be impossible - eliminating some flaws would create others.

In creating an arachnid wildblood character who fought like Spider-Man, I found some triumphs and some disappointments.

Triumphs:
1) Pathfinder has some options for a fighting style that keeps out of reach of one's opponent.
2) The character I created is worth including in my game as an NPC.

Disappointments:
1) An archetype designed to mimic Spider-Man does not fight like Spider-Man.
2) I was reminded that tumbling is no longer worth using compared to D&D 3rd Edition.
3) Vigilante talents do not play well with feats. For an example that I did not mention, I considered the Cunning Feint vigilante talent. It acts like Improved Feint and more, but it does not serve as a prerequisite for the Feint feat chains.
4) Fist of the Avenger vigilante talent is avenger only. I cannot justify why, but I can imagine an unjustified reason why. Avenger specialization is based on the fighter, who gets static bonus, and stalker specialization is based on the rogue, who gets extra damage dice. I fear that this model became an implicit restriction on the specializations.

Sovereign Court

How would you build spider viligilante in 5E? Or an alchemist and gunslinger?


Pan wrote:
How would you build spider vigilante in 5E?

By talking to the GM. "I was thinking a Monk framework. Here are the abilities I need for my concept: A climb speed. The ability to restrain enemies at range, if I can hit them - similar to a Web spell. The ability to swing a finite number of times per day, using Acrobatics rolls to give me quick movement across the battlefield, as long as there's something high up to grip on to, maybe a bonus to damage if I swing into an enemy. And I'd like Advantage on Reflex saves or something like that to represent my arachno-senses. What would I have to trade away for that? I could lose Deflect Missiles, Stunning Strike, increased walking speed, Flurry of Blows...?"

Then I'd get dice thrown at me by all the other players for trying to bring a modern superhero to a high fantasy setting.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Pan wrote:
How would you build spider vigilante in 5E?

By talking to the GM. "I was thinking a Monk framework. Here are the abilities I need for my concept: A climb speed. The ability to restrain enemies at range, if I can hit them - similar to a Web spell. The ability to swing a finite number of times per day, using Acrobatics rolls to give me quick movement across the battlefield, as long as there's something high up to grip on to, maybe a bonus to damage if I swing into an enemy. And I'd like Advantage on Reflex saves or something like that to represent my arachno-senses. What would I have to trade away for that? I could lose Deflect Missiles, Stunning Strike, increased walking speed, Flurry of Blows...?"

Then I'd get dice thrown at me by all the other players for trying to bring a modern superhero to a high fantasy setting.

But you could ‘get it’ in pathfinder through the same method of talking to the right GM .

.


Pan wrote:
How would you build spider viligilante in 5E? Or an alchemist and gunslinger?

Pistols are in the DMG, so Gunslinger is as easy as building a Battle Master Fighter with the Archery style. Superiority dice mimic grit, and Gunslungers are pretty Fighter variant anyway.

Alchemist's were released in Unearthed Arcana already as a type of Artificer. Twice actually, one as a base class, the other as a Wizard subtype.

And the above answered spider Vigilante. Working with the GM and making new options. 5e is still young and growing, so I will admit it lacks all the choices of Pathfinder which is one of the draws I have to Pathfinder. However, even a few books ago in Pathfinder, the spider Vigilante was not a thing either.


Here are my houserules which remedy to a lot of your concerns. I am sorry if I make mistakes English is not my mother tongue and some of my material is used in French (like the core book or APG).

- If you are doing only one action (one strike or one spell) you can do it during your movement and resume your movement after. For full attack however you can’t.

- I am using automatic bonus progression for the magic items. Other magic items are rare and powerful. I also sometimes give « Story Feats » which work like custom feats and are on par with strong magic items.

- Scrolls & Wands work like a staff and use your abilities. However they are rarer, and players can’t craft them. Use Magic Items is a feat and not a skill (requires 14 in two mental stats) and if you have the feat and the item there is no roll to do. This works well because Skill Monkeys and full casters really pile up scrolls and a wand of cure light wound is like a real nice treasure. It give me the possibility to offer consumables as a meaningful reward.

- If there is an Unchained version of a class, you use this one. Unless you go Monk you have the choice.

- Consolidated Skills and true hit points (or stress point I don’t remember the name in English) from Unchained.

- Power Attack and Combat Expertise are Attack options, not feats. Precise Shot is the new mandatory feat for range combat. Finesse is a weapon quality. You can add dex to dammage but only with a finesseable weapon in one hand and nothing in the other hand. If you want finesse on a Longsword it’s Slashing Grace. With TWF it’s Double Finesse or Unchained Rogue or the Agile property. I use weapon groups from Ultimate Combat for the feat with a specific weapon. And if a nice useful feat requires you to take a few bad ones, you can ignore the bad ones (case by case basis and only with GM agrement).

- Maneuvers don’t provock attack of opportunity. And there are no exceptions about terrain or environnement. Bull rush on a bridge can be lethal very quickly.

- Always 25 creation points. There is no come back to life mechanics. Only and very very rarely with RP special interactions or quests. You got one round to cast breath of life, after that it’s perma death.

- No more than two classes and archetypes allowed by character. And they have to have a good fluff and RP behind them. Only exceptions is for PrC requirements.

With all of that you have:
- More mobility and options in combat. Martials are stronger, and people tend to try things they are not build for more often because a good Grapple or Bull Rush above lava can really turn the fight around.

- A more « realistic » way to deal with health and injuries.

- More builds options because of the 25 points, finesse weapon and the free feats. But at the same time no stupid Octopus Grapple Monkodruid or real munchkins builds.

- Stronger character but death is death.

- Real reward. And I mean it. Automatic Bonus Progression and all the scrolls working like staff is by far the most favorite house rule I have at my table. My players are really digging the fact that they don’t have to buy a Cloack of Resistance, that a Scroll of Immobilize Personn is a real good loot and that they have custom magic items/story feat with real benefits. And it is the same for my NPCs of course.

A few examples of custom made magic items/story feat:
- A +2 Great Axe that create a fantomatic heavy shield which takes no hand. You can once by week loose the shield and launch it at a maximum of 20ft to create a Wall of Force like the spell.
- Elven boots which allows you to teleport at a maximum of 30ft any time during your full attack session as an Immediate Action, and then you come back at your point of origin.
- A player of mine used a lot the spell that allows you to spy on people from a picture of you. He wanted to become mayor, so his face was everywhere. I created the story feat « Watchfull Eye » and gave him free divination spells at the beginning of each game session, representing the fact that he was spending a good part of each day to spy random location and people.

Alright long post but I hope it helps. I agree with all of what you said. But I think Pathfinder is still the best game around (and I like dnd 5) but you have to make it your own. Otherwise you will have a lot of issues with the game. Theses rules are the result of more than 15 years of 3.X, inspiration from other players works and personal feeling as a DM and player. It works very well for my group and I.

We don’t need Pathfinder 2.0. We don’t even need anything at this point of the game. We could’use however more Unchained options, classes, and we can always add more archetypes and new classes. And yes please Spell Compendiums. We need Spell Compendiums.


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Isaac Zephyr wrote:
And a third issue with the weird AoO stuff was with a Gunslinger, who wanted to coup de grace a conscious yet helpless person, but because "reasons" to try would get her hand cut off by her target. Because "reasons".

Just gonna say, this... should not be a thing. If the target is Helpless as you say, which they have to be for a Coup anyways... they shouldn't be able to make an Attack of Opportunity. By definition... "A helpless character is paralyzed, held, bound, sleeping, unconscious, or otherwise completely at an opponent’s mercy." As such, if they are physically capable of fighting back (like making that AoO) they by definition shouldn't count as Helpless.


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I've never understood #4 in the OP. Now I may take umbrage with Move actions to physically propel my PC up to their speed, or corner case defensive actions and feats, but this idea of "needing everything" to make a "good character" to me just seems silly.

Before I go any further, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I don't want to or mean to disparage how people play or how they enjoy this game. I merely wanted to point out how I feel about the #4 statement above.

So the reason I think this statement is a tad frustrating is the numbers of the game. What I consider a "good character" is one capable of hitting benchmarks proving their effectiveness in their role. A level one fighter for example needs to be able to reliably (IMO, greater than 50% of the time) be able to hit the avg AC of monsters, deal 1/4 or more of a CR 1's monster and survive a CR 1 monster's attack in the process.

A level 1 human fighter with a 16 Str and a 12 Con and the average starting GP could begin with a 14 AC, 12 HP and a melee attack of greatsword +3 before Feats hits my criteria. You see the average CR 1 monster has a 12 AC meaning this Fighter hits approximately 60% of the time, deals an average of 10 damage, a minimum of 5 damage, and is only hit 45% of the time by said monster taking an average of 7 damage which the Fighter can withstand.

In short, monsters are already geared to fail more than succeed in battle against the heroes, based on a 15 point buy in the Core rules. Higher point builds just make that gulf wider.

But looking beyond that, the Core rules assume CRs based on a 4 member party. Four members. No single character is expected to be able to do everything so well that they can overcome any obstacle on their own.

So with the fighter I mention above, if the odds turn sour and he rolls badly while the CR 1 monster rolls well, he might fall unconscious and be on the verge of death. That is why there is a Cleric to heal the fallen; a Wizard to put the monster to sleep and a Rogue to destroy the creature while it slumbers.

Pathfinder and 3X have always been games about making decisions. Not just the right feats to take or spells to memorize, but as players making decisions like what kind of character you want. This game reinforces the idea that you can't be everything and anything, you'll have to focus on something. But as players we can come to the table and say we want to be good at a thing, work out what we're giving up to be that, and then look to our fellows to have the thing that we lack.

Finally, and I can't stress this enough, it's also a game of GMs. If they set a 15 Point Buy and use Core rules, its up the GM to see the decisions their players have made adjust accordingly. I'm not saying that the GM has to give their players a "win" button but if no one in the party is capable of disabling a trap it would just be cruel to make their APL +2 encounter for the session be a poisoned swinging scythe deathtrap that can't be circumvented.

Rather than lamenting what our PCs cannot do, let's celebrate what they're good at. Lets trust our GMs to build a fun game around us as the heroes. And lets, as GMs, not be punitive but praising when our players find their successes.


Shinigami02 wrote:
Isaac Zephyr wrote:
And a third issue with the weird AoO stuff was with a Gunslinger, who wanted to coup de grace a conscious yet helpless person, but because "reasons" to try would get her hand cut off by her target. Because "reasons".
Just gonna say, this... should not be a thing. If the target is Helpless as you say, which they have to be for a Coup anyways... they shouldn't be able to make an Attack of Opportunity. By definition... "A helpless character is paralyzed, held, bound, sleeping, unconscious, or otherwise completely at an opponent’s mercy." As such, if they are physically capable of fighting back (like making that AoO) they by definition shouldn't count as Helpless.

It was mostly to do with the target's build. It was another player (who was stealing from the party and threatening other players, lots of anti-player behaviour that needed curbing and I wasn't the GM to say "stop it", so I needed an in-character way of dealing with it).

Drow Noble (from Bestiary, not from ARG), without level adjustment, Rogue. Uncanny means couldn't be flat footed, more skills than you could count because b&$~+&*~ rolled stats, trance so aware while sleeping so there was basically no window of opportunity.

Essentially had to get them while distracted. So when I caught him sleight of handing more magic gear with his permanent detect magic, I pressed the gun to his head and called action, he does anything, coup de grace. Out of combat so weapon not ready, and before that moment I'm an ally, so there's no reason to suspect it. I didn't want to just shoot, I wanted to give him the option to explain himself, maybe curb the behaviour, but to talk means actions, and once he gets one, combat technically starts and despite still being the same situation...

If he acts, called action goes off, however due to his abilities, my called action is still a ranged attack so he gets AoO. His own action and Uncanny Dodge means that he's not flat-footed and can take the attack with his nonsense. Once he acts, no longer helpless and cannot coup de grace. Because I wanted to be reasonable and talk.

It was a long arguement. Long story short, neither of us are playing thise characters anymore. Him because the party was tired of his BS, me because when he had to change he threw a hissy fit about me playing a Lawful Evil character willing to cap him for the behaviour.


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Mark Hoover 330 wrote:

What I consider a "good character" is one capable of hitting benchmarks proving their effectiveness in their role. A level one fighter for example needs to be able to reliably (IMO, greater than 50% of the time) be able to hit the avg AC of monsters, deal 1/4 or more of a CR 1's monster and survive a CR 1 monster's attack in the process.

A level 1 human fighter with a 16 Str and a 12 Con and the average starting GP could begin with a 14 AC, 12 HP and a melee attack of greatsword +3 before Feats hits my criteria. You see the average CR 1 monster has a 12 AC meaning this Fighter hits approximately 60% of the time, deals an average of 10 damage, a minimum of 5 damage, and is only hit 45% of the time by said monster taking an average of 7 damage which the Fighter can withstand.

In my experience, such a Fighter will fall behind the curve later on (unless he has excellent party support). Sure, he can take on the CR1s, but by level 5 he's not doing a lot more damage, while the enemies now have 65 HP.

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