Classes, as a whole, need an overhaul.


Classes


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I'm working on building my level 4 character for Doomsday Dawn, Part 2, having finished the first part, and have run across many issues. I was debating posting them separately, but the truth is, they all probably warrant discussion together, because, in my point of view, the entire class system needs an overhaul/full replacement. I've also looked at higher levels, but obviously have not actually built these characters yet.

Note: I don't mean the generic "You get 1 class feat every other level", that's totally fine. I'm speaking to the class feats themselves, access to them, archetypes, weapon and armor proficiencies... Everything beyond that.

Some of the issues:
1) Multiclass archetypes lock class abilities behind what is, in many cases, a useless feat. In particular, archetyping martial to martial is discouraged, as you have to waste a feat to get access to another set of combat abilities. Probably the entry feat for each class should give something interesting (note: Fighter might be okay with the proficiencies).
2) Combat styles are locked into classes, rather than being globally accessible, and based off weapon proficiency.
3) Weapon and armor proficiency progress at the same rates, meaning all this whiffing you do at level 1 is going to continue to level 20. At first level, when you need 1-2 hits to bring down an enemy, that might be okay. It's not at level 20 when you probably need 10 or so hits.
4) Classes *don't* feel the way they used to. Rangers are now much better with crossbows, and choosing bow feels like an inferior choice. Bards, which used to be the only Core 3/4BAB class that could cast in armor, now are the only caster class that don't get Magical Striker, the one thing you truly want as a Gish.
5) Feats per class are widely disparate, giving some classes much more "choice" than others. Sorcerers get 6, Fighters and Rogues get 11.
6) Skill rank progression doesn't seem to work. While I don't want to be "master of 10 skills", it'd be nice to be "master of 5", and that's *extremely* hard you in when you get exactly 9 skill boosts as a non-rogue after level 1 and can't start at anything but trained. Not to mention, classes feel like they start out with a ton of trained skills, in general, but basically never progress beyond.
7) Skill feats themselves are... bad. Skill abilities are all only locked to trained, and the higher level feats are rather mediocre. You don't get anything useful for unlocking the next skill rank, except the ability to later buy an okay skill feat.
8) Signature skills also feel stifling for character concept ideas.

Honestly, I feel like a lot of this needs to be scrapped/wholly replaced. The gameplay experience in 2e is awesome, I can testify to that, but building higher level characters is painful and extremely limiting, and while it might be fun to play the game once or twice, after that, there's not much to keep me coming back.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
tivadar27 wrote:
5) Feats per class are widely disparate, giving some classes much more "choice" than others. Sorcerers get 6, Fighters and Rogues get 11.

I mostly agree with your sentiment, but this isn't quite correct. Fighters and Rogues get 11 feats, Sorcerers get 6 feats, but Sorcerers also get access to bloodline abilities and spells. They have significantly more choice when creating a character, and those choices are also more impactful and interesting.


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Not really.

Bloodline Abilities are locked in by 1st level, meaning you can't choose between numerous bloodline options (which should be a thing, IMO). If I choose an Angelic bloodline, I will only ever get access to those bloodline spells and powers. There are no inherent choices in those, only in the kits themselves, which does not equate whatsoever.

Spells are a choice, but since they are building upon something that's existed since 1st level, and are nowhere near the quadratic scaling they are in PF1, they aren't really useful. Also, most "difficult choice" spells are locked behind a rarity barrier that you can't expect GMs to just "give you." I'm also unsure how you can get access to those things outside of GM FIAT, which means any build relying on some of those Uncommon (or heaven forbid Rare) Spells is illegal by general rule of permissions in games like these.

Seriously, I chose a Summon Monster spell just to choose it, since most every other spell they have sucks major nuts or is locked behind a Rarity barrier. Their spell selections (especially Divine spell list) is beyond horrible.


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How is there no inherent choice in those? You choose your spells on a case by case basis. Its not just "here's your list" and done. And pretending spells aren't useful is just...completely unsupported. As for uncommon/rare spells, the point is that you have to work for them. If you've built a build based on them, then your character should work toward them. Uncover them, research them, etc. Any decent GM would be upfront if they wouldn't give you access to a spell that is crucial to your build.

I just think you're way overblowing everything. But to your original points:

2) This is 1000% better than PF1. Martials actually matter and picking one over the other means something.

5) They haven't released everything they intend to, and aren't likely to. The point is to test key abilities and concepts, not to flood playtesters with tons of options akin to current PF1 levels.


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tivadar27 wrote:
1) Multiclass archetypes lock class abilities behind what is, in many cases, a useless feat. In particular, archetyping martial to martial is discouraged, as you have to waste a feat to get access to another set of combat abilities. Probably the entry feat for each class should give something interesting (note: Fighter might be okay with the proficiencies).

Agreed. Archetypes seem expensive at lower levels. It makes it hard to justify taking them.

Quote:
2) Combat styles are locked into classes, rather than being globally accessible, and based off weapon proficiency.

Agreed. Weapon use seems far too unnecessarily different from class to class, when it doesn't seem that it should be. It also seems to explode the number of feats that you need to keep the classes balanced and equally interesting.

Quote:
3) Weapon and armor proficiency progress at the same rates, meaning all this whiffing you do at level 1 is going to continue to level 20. At first level, when you need 1-2 hits to bring down an enemy, that might be okay. It's not at level 20 when you probably need 10 or so hits.

Damage is actually significantly higher with magic weapons now because the number of damage dice go up (not so much with non-magic weapons, which has significant issues for how to go through stories and game play).

Quote:
4) Classes *don't* feel the way they used to. Rangers are now much better with crossbows, and choosing bow feels like an inferior choice. Bards, which used to be the only Core 3/4BAB class that could cast in armor, now are the only caster class that don't get Magical Striker, the one thing you truly want as a Gish.

I completely about ranger. Legolas in the Tolkien books, and Robin Hood seem like the real prototype rangers. Bows were their things. Now, Pathfinder 2 appears to be going away from that, which is weird. Maybe follow on books would give bow feat chains, but bows seem like they should be core more than crossbow or any other weapon specialization. I actually have hard time seeing an elven ranger using a crossbow, and elves seem like the most associated non-human race with the class. There are a lot of weapon types, like quarterstaff, that seem more associated prototypical ranger characters from fiction and folklore.

I don't mind so much that Bards don't have the lock on spellcxsting in armor. Gandalf and a number of archetypal wizards don't wear armor, but armor wearing spell casters do appear in fantasy, though such character usually also have degree of martial proficiency.

In some respects, I think that classes did become more of their fantasy and folklore core.

I like that alchemists have more of a pure and integrated alchemical crafting mechanic instead of separate bomb, mutagen, and elixir mechanics separate from still another mechanic for crafting other alchemical items.

I like that ranger lost the spell casting that really wasn't a part of most prototypical rangers in history, literature, fantasy, and folklore. Archetypes still give them a spell casting option for emulating the small number of fictional rangers that do.

I like that Wild Shape isn't a default part of druid characters, again because a lot of prototypical druid characters didn't have it, although for druids that do Wild Shape, I preferred how they did it before. It made more sense as a progression before.

Adding Combat Flexibility to the fighter class seems odd. I know that they did things that were similar in later rulebooks with non-core classes in 1st edition Pathfinder, but a simple fighter magically getting knowledge about how to fight out of nowhere at the beginning of the day breaks the concept and doesn't have any real world, fictional, or classic fantasy analog. It just seems like something randomly thrown on to an otherwise nice and clean class. There are a lot of other things that I'd rather see done with fighter if there's a need for added abilities for balance.


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Lady Beldaran wrote:


2) This is 1000% better than PF1. Martials actually matter and picking one over the other means something.

We clearly have *very* different opinions on this particular one. You might like that picking Fighter means I'll be using heavy armor, or that picking Rogue means you won't be two-weapon fighting, but I think that's a pretty terrible way to go, and much preferred the way 1e did this, as well as D&D5e, where classes meant something that didn't have to do with fighting style, and that was a separate choice.


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Alchemaic wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
5) Feats per class are widely disparate, giving some classes much more "choice" than others. Sorcerers get 6, Fighters and Rogues get 11.
I mostly agree with your sentiment, but this isn't quite correct. Fighters and Rogues get 11 feats, Sorcerers get 6 feats, but Sorcerers also get access to bloodline abilities and spells. They have significantly more choice when creating a character, and those choices are also more impactful and interesting.

Let me break this down for you. Here's how a Barbarian works:

Level 6 feat: pick one:

  • Animal Skin (Prerequisites animal totem)
  • Cleave
  • Dragon Breath (Prerequisites dragon totem)
  • Giant's Stature (Prerequisites giant totem)
  • Spirits' Interference (Prerequisites spirit totem)
  • Witch Hunter (Prerequisites superstition totem)

And here's how a sorcerer works:

Level 6: congrats you get your bloodline power!


Draco18s wrote:
Alchemaic wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
5) Feats per class are widely disparate, giving some classes much more "choice" than others. Sorcerers get 6, Fighters and Rogues get 11.
I mostly agree with your sentiment, but this isn't quite correct. Fighters and Rogues get 11 feats, Sorcerers get 6 feats, but Sorcerers also get access to bloodline abilities and spells. They have significantly more choice when creating a character, and those choices are also more impactful and interesting.

Let me break this down for you. Here's how a Barbarian works:

Level 6 feat: pick one:

  • Animal Skin (Prerequisites animal totem)
  • Cleave
  • Dragon Breath (Prerequisites dragon totem)
  • Giant's Stature (Prerequisites giant totem)
  • Spirits' Interference (Prerequisites spirit totem)
  • Witch Hunter (Prerequisites superstition totem)

And here's how a sorcerer works:

Level 6: congrats you get your bloodline power!

*tips hat* Fair point. Though you could at least argue that a final version of Barbarian will get more options. Plus, you can take an archetype feat with that as a Barbarian. You can't as a sorcerer... Also, other classes have a *lot* more options at that level I believe.


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Seems to me like the feat options for most classes at many varying levels are atrocious.


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tivadar27 wrote:
Though you could at least argue that a final version of Barbarian will get more options.

The thing is...I don't have to. Barbarians get a choice of 2 at level 6: their totem-feat or Cleave. That's already more choice than the sorcerer gets.

Final version slash splatbook expansion just makes the problem worse.


Draco18s wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
Though you could at least argue that a final version of Barbarian will get more options.

The thing is...I don't have to. Barbarians get a choice of 2 at level 6: their totem-feat or Cleave. That's already more choice than the sorcerer gets.

Final version slash splatbook expansion just makes the problem worse.

Sorry, but I'm trying to figure out if we're "forcefully agreeing" here... I'm saying even if the Barbarian gets 2, it's actually *really* more than 2, and either way it's still a choice where the sorcerer gets none...


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I mostly agree with the original post.

So far I generally like the way the action system plays out, but character generation is almost completely unappealing. As a player, I'm not excited about any of the characters I've made except for the Wizard. I don't want to go 10 years playing only Wizards. I'd rather play a game where I liked my characters.

Having now filled out the Player Survey, I don't see how Paizo is going to collect this feedback. The questions were more narrowly focused. Isn't this the time to be asking me about big issues? They only seem to be interested in tuning how far a party can go in a day before they run out of charges or die. Perhaps that's unfair, but I have to think that if they looked at my survey they would be puzzled. There are 20 questions were I tell them it played reasonably well, and then 1 star for the overall rating. Nothing in the survey would let them tease out my dissatisfaction.


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Chance Wyvernspur wrote:

I mostly agree with the original post.

So far I generally like the way the action system plays out, but character generation is almost completely unappealing. As a player, I'm not excited about any of the characters I've made except for the Wizard. I don't want to go 10 years playing only Wizards. I'd rather play a game where I liked my characters.

I'll point out the existence of a (relatively) new character creation board.


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I kinda hate that Sorcerers are the worst at multiclassing.


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I want to see level gating changed to basic and advanced like most classes in PF1, they can otherwise gate them with prerequisites. Level gating is bad, and it shows when you compare the feats. It also shows off how weak some of the classes early feats are compared to others. I also do not like the new feat chains, they typically consume half your feats and sometimes more. It kinda negates the choices, the sorcerer is the worst offender.

Honestly, I'd prefer a short list of abilities that scaled over a large list of mandatory little buffs that I need in order to get the good feat at level 18. It's rough. I miss deciding which order to take my feats in.


Lady Beldaran wrote:

How is there no inherent choice in those? You choose your spells on a case by case basis. Its not just "here's your list" and done. And pretending spells aren't useful is just...completely unsupported. As for uncommon/rare spells, the point is that you have to work for them. If you've built a build based on them, then your character should work toward them. Uncover them, research them, etc. Any decent GM would be upfront if they wouldn't give you access to a spell that is crucial to your build.

I just think you're way overblowing everything. But to your original points:

2) This is 1000% better than PF1. Martials actually matter and picking one over the other means something.

5) They haven't released everything they intend to, and aren't likely to. The point is to test key abilities and concepts, not to flood playtesters with tons of options akin to current PF1 levels.

You're forgetting that Sorcerers, being Spontaneous spellcasters, choose their spells permanently. I have no reason to select Create Water if I'm only expecting to use it for one or two days out of my adventuring career; I'd be better just getting my Waterskin filled in-town or using Survival to get what I need. Heal, on the other hand, has powerful/important combat implications, and crazy amounts of scaling; I'd be stupid not to choose it for my spells known.

If I want different spells, I have to retrain them (which only costs downtime, but that's downtime I could have spent doing something else if I was simply a prepared spellcaster, such as crafting, or acquiring uncommon/rare spells!), and if those spells I want to retrain are bloodline spells, then it's not even possible to do so; I'm stuck with those spells permanently, whether I want them or not. We aren't prepared spellcasters who can choose their spells on a day-by-day basis. (We can "choose" our Spontaneous Heightening, but those almost never change since, like our spell selections, they're mostly static by design.)

There's also no information as to how one works towards unlocking Uncommon or Rare options (most likely because what work is needed varies on what option you want). Do I roll skill checks, asking around for information? Do I simply forage for the pieces I need? It's hard to say, and most of these options do absolutely nothing to tell you how getting certain options are done. They're open-ended, or in other words, it's purely GM FIAT. A GM can simply say "No, I want to run a gritty campaign, there are no Uncommon/Rare/Unique options available," and I either put up with my reduced options, or I leave and find a table who will accept it; and around here, I'm basically at the only table in the entire state, so the latter half of that option is practically non-existent.

The factor that the biggest draw to my character's potential (Spellcasting) is extremely limited by whether a GM is permissive or not just means anyone who builds around Uncommon options is just asking to get screwed by the GM. It's the Wish debacle of PF1 all over again; players work so hard to get the power that is the Wish spell, and then the GM (not to mention the rules themselves) decide to screw the player for ascertaining such Deus Ex Machina options.

Martial choices have mattered in PF1. You were either Barbarian or Paladin. Any other martial choice was practically worthless or banned (*cough*Synthesist*cough*) and you might as well should have just played Commoner.

And there's no way they could match current PF1 options even with the full release. Even after two or three hardcovers, they will not even come close to the customization that lies dormant in PF1. It's just not gonna happen. They'd need at least 5 years before they come close, and even then a lot of options from PF1 required "bending" rules to create options, such as the Advanced Weapon and Armor Training for Fighters.

Liberty's Edge

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Martial choices have mattered in PF1. You were either Barbarian or Paladin. Any other martial choice was practically worthless or banned (*cough*Synthesist*cough*) and you might as well should have just played Commoner.

You played a VERY different Pathfinder than I ever did.


Draco18s wrote:
The thing is...I don't have to. Barbarians get a choice of 2 at level 6: their totem-feat or Cleave. That's already more choice than the sorcerer gets.

Or they can chose a lower-level feat, or a dedication feat. That's a lot more than sorcerers.


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master_marshmallow wrote:

I want to see level gating changed to basic and advanced like most classes in PF1, they can otherwise gate them with prerequisites. Level gating is bad, and it shows when you compare the feats. It also shows off how weak some of the classes early feats are compared to others. I also do not like the new feat chains, they typically consume half your feats and sometimes more. It kinda negates the choices, the sorcerer is the worst offender.

Honestly, I'd prefer a short list of abilities that scaled over a large list of mandatory little buffs that I need in order to get the good feat at level 18. It's rough. I miss deciding which order to take my feats in.

For God's sake THIS. Absolutely this

Level gating everything was one of the things I hated when 4E came out and seeing it again in PF2 is a real deal breaker for me.


I agree with the OP, character building/options feel limited and lackluster.

The offenses are hard to enumerate because they're present throughout in small doses. So in ancestries, skill feats, class feats, multi-classing its a constant struggle running into choices that seem one dimensional or weak.

Class feats have the strongest options, but it feels like you only get a very precious few. For some classes I feel like more of these feats should be baseline, or we should be able to pick more then 1 at a given level. Or they should be moved to general feats so they can be picked up more easily.

Specifically, building my Paladin has been a limiting experience in comparison to PF1 or 5e. Even with some solid choices I can't help but miss the other things at that level which used to be baseline in other editions.

Also, the oaths are bad. =/

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