No 18 Constitution at 1st Level?


Creating a Character

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Okay as my first P2E Playtest character I was trying to make a tank-style fighter that uses high AC an a lot of HP to be good at taking hits. However it seems like it is impossible to make a 1st level character with an 18 Constitution using the playtest rules.

Here is a quick summary of how to generate your ability scores. Please let me know if I am missing something.
1. You start with a 10 in all abilities.
2. You apply ability boosts to increase an ability by 2 (when less than 18)
3. You gain ability boosts from 4 sources, being 1st level, your Ancestry, your Background, and your Class.
4. When you gain multiple boosts at the same time (i.e. from the same source) each must be applied to a different ability.

So to get an 18 in any ability you must make the appropriate choices that allow you to apply 4 boosts, one from each source, to a single ability.

The problem comes in when choosing your class. The ability boost from your class must be applied to (one of) the class' Key Abilities. However, none of the playtest classes have Constitution as a Key Ability. This makes it impossible to get an 18 constitution at 1st level.

Am I missing something? If not, is this an oversight or a deliberate design choice? It seems like an oversight as all other abilities can be 18 at first level. Also given their martial nature, barbarians, fighters and rangers should be able to have an 18 Con at first level.


This does seem to be true. I'm not sure it's so much of an oversight as just Con not being as important as before because you get static HP leveling up instead of rolling. Not many classes other than the Barbarian NEED Con so even having it as 16 at lvl 1 is very good. As by the time you would be able to raise Con to 18, at lvl 5, you're only missing out on 4 HP and 1 temporary HP from Raging as the Barbarian.

Although you are missing out on having a +1 to Fort saves and DCs which is much more important than the HP.


Yeah, true. Mind you, having Con higher than Str on a heavily-armoured fighter in PF1 was generally a failure as a tank - due to not posing a sufficient threat relative to the difficulty in doing serious damage to such a character, at least vs. well-informed enemies. PF2 may well be the same and the system might be protecting you from yourself.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I think Class should provide a free choice like Ancestry and Background do. It would make all the ABC bits work the same, allow for more build options and buff first level characters a little bit.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I suspect that we will have characters starting out with 18 Con whenever they get around to converting the Kineticist to PF2.


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Currently the class bonus effectively determines the only ability score you can possibly have an 18 in. If that's not the ability you want your 18 in, you're SOL. This creates a weird discrepancy with the rolling method, which does allow you to put your highest stat where-ever you choose.

Shadow Lodge

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Barbarians, whose class ability makes it easier to be crit (!), should have their key ability read "Strength or Constitution"

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Malk_Content wrote:
I think Class should provide a free choice like Ancestry and Background do. It would make all the ABC bits work the same, allow for more build options and buff first level characters a little bit.

This, for sure. I'm deeply frustrated by paladins not having access to 18 Charisma.


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I like the idea of having a free ability bonus from your class, even if it wrecks the 18/16/14/12/10/8 array. I'm just not sure how we succinctly express "your key ability is the one you picked" in cases when you're making more than one choice.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I like the idea of having a free ability bonus from your class, even if it wrecks the 18/16/14/12/10/8 array. I'm just not sure how we succinctly express "your key ability is the one you picked" in cases when you're making more than one choice.

"Your class's key ability is the highest of...." and list or or two. Sure, the fighter could select Con as their class boost (taking it to 18), but they'd still have to use STR or DEX as their key ability.


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Draco18s wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I like the idea of having a free ability bonus from your class, even if it wrecks the 18/16/14/12/10/8 array. I'm just not sure how we succinctly express "your key ability is the one you picked" in cases when you're making more than one choice.
"Your class's key ability is the highest of...." and list or or two. Sure, the fighter could select Con as their class boost (taking it to 18), but they'd still have to use STR or DEX as their key ability.

Why, though? If a fighter wants to boost their Constitution super high and become the tankiest tank that ever tanked, then why not make their key ability Constitution?


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Another good reason to have a free boost per class is the wildshape druid. Their wildshape functions #/day off STR and with a magic item you can keep your own stats so STR is important there for keeping your attack bonus and damage up. Despite STR clearly being that archetype's defining stat you can never have greater than a 16 in it at level 1.

Heck a ton of the old PF1 archetypes played off alternate stats like gish bards, morphing alchemist, charisma paladin, ect. Why mess up fun alternative class styles by predetermining stats?


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Rameth wrote:
This does seem to be true. I'm not sure it's so much of an oversight as just Con not being as important as before because you get static HP leveling up instead of rolling. Not many classes other than the Barbarian NEED Con so even having it as 16 at lvl 1 is very good. As by the time you would be able to raise Con to 18, at lvl 5, you're only missing out on 4 HP and 1 temporary HP from Raging as the Barbarian.

In my simulations, Con is a trap for barbarian; a barb with Dex 12 Con 16 dies faster than a barb with Dex 16 Con 12. It's true at first level and it gets increasingly worse as he goes up in level.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think constitution generally is a trap attribute, especially if you are trading away a +2 in a primary attack attribute for your class to get it. Fortitude is nice, HP is nice, but they don't compare with keeping your attack high in a game with such tight math. This seems like an example of the developers attempting to stop you from making an inferior character from the start. Higher than a 14 in Con for anyone except maybe the barbarian is probably sacrificing your attack or AC in a manner that will make your character feel suboptimal.


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For every other ability score there is at least one class where you can put everything in that score and have a viable character.

strength: barbarian
dexterity: rogue
intelligence: wizard
wisdom: cleric
charisma: sorcerer

Why is there no class for constitution? It's not just that it's never a key ability score. You simply can't build around it the way a rogue can build around dexterity. There aren't any benefits that normally balance out the fact that you neglected some stats.

If you want to make the smasher, who specializes in dealing powerful, smashing blows, there is an easy path to do so, and it will be a solid character.

If you want to make the sneaker, who specializes in deftly avoiding danger, there is an easy path to do so, and it will be a solid character.

If you want to make the tough guy, who specializes in outlasting everyone else on the battlefield, you have to make tons of twists and turns and it still won't be that good.

Why?


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Con has never done anything. There isn't any Con skills, there isn't any Con class ability. Con has always just been a toll: if you don't pay the toll, you won't be allowed to play for long. It doesn't make any sense since the toll is paid in game units (so the game gives you some character creation points, and then demand some of those points back), but that's what Con is.

In Path 2 it's just more apparent than before, since Con has a very marginal effect on HPs - not paying the toll has no effect until you encounter a monster with an SoL ability requiring a Fort save.

Even in the conceptual space, in term of archetype there's no difference between the "smasher" and the "tough guy". In all the fictions I know, I can't remember 5 "tough guys" who aren't "smashers" at the same time. Even among the monsters of Path 1, Str and Con are strongly correlated, because there's no real conceptual space for "strong but fragile" or "tough but weak" monsters. The only Path 1 creature with uncorrelated Str and Con are PCs - it seems every wizard in Path is "tough but weak" for some reason.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

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Yay, the forums are back up at a time I can access them!

Glad to see that I am not going crazy and there actually is not a way to make a 1st level character with an 18 Con currently.

Arguments to the effect of "an high Con isn't very good anyway" are missing my point. There SHOULD be a way to make a character with an 18 con at first level - and it should exist in the core book. Otherwise the game is effectively incomplete.

In order to accomplish this under the current setup there needs to be a class (preferably more than one) that has or can choose Con as its Key Ability.

A separate, but related topic is that there should be more class features/feats/abilities/whatever tied to Con in order to make having it as your key ability a viable choice at a comparable level to Str, Dex or any of the other abilities.

Thoughts?


Rusty Ironpants wrote:
Thoughts?

Con should be removed (and its effects included in Str). The game isn't D&D, they can kill as many sacred cows as they want.

If they absolutely need 3 physical attributes, the third one should answer the two questions:
1/ we're in a fight, it's my turn, I'm awesome at XXX. What can I do?
2/ there's a non-combat obstacle, I'm awesome at XXX. How can I contribute/overcome the obstacle?

The problem with Con is the ability is useful only during opponent's turn, when the opponent does something to you. When you imagine an use of "active Con", usually it's actually Str-based - eg Bull Rush could be active Con, you move ignoring whatever is on your path, but it's Str instead. The overlap with Str is so big, even some passive ability that should be Con are Str instead - like "how much stuff can I carry the whole day with no fatigue?"


Gaterie wrote:
Even in the conceptual space, in term of archetype there's no difference between the "smasher" and the "tough guy". In all the fictions I know, I can't remember 5 "tough guys" who aren't "smashers" at the same time.

Hard Luck Hank.

Despite being bulletproof (and well, more or less damage-proof) he ends up in the hospital like four times in each book. Not that the doctors can do anything for him (his skin is too thick to jab needles through, slice open with a knife, etc). They just hook him up to a feeding tube and let his (super)natural regeneration do the work.

And he's not that strong, either. I mean, stronger than a normal guy, but not strong for his weight. In the third, maybe fourth, book he gets rides on a forklift because he's grown so massive with scar tissue that he can barely walk. Most of his "punch people in the face" strength comes more from the fact that his fist weighs 300 pounds, but people generally don't let him do it (and instead crash cars into him at 40 miles an hour).

He's good at his job (being a negotiator) because things that would kill normal people don't phase him. Early scene in the first book someone drops a cargo container on him in an attempt to get what they want and he pulls himself out and complains, "Hey, those were brand new pants! I liked those pants. Now then, let me figure this out..."

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber

I think Gaterie is right. Having played and played with a number of High Hp vs. High AC characters AC > Hp for survival. In this Crit heavier environment AC will become more important. Hit points look good as a high number til you take that first kobold pick crit and are dealt 3d8-2 instead of a 1d4-1. You will find you wish you had just that one or two points of AC.

Keep in mind also that with the way stat boosting works you will have an 18 Con by level 5 if you start with a 16 or at 10th if you start with a 14. If you really need to up your hit point game look at Dwarf, plus toughness.

Keep in mind that a single point of AC can change your damage intake. If they need a 10 to hit you then you will be hit 55% of the time. An increase to needing an 11 makes you hit only 50% of the time. If you look at incoming damage however you have just dropped your incoming damage by roughly 10%. Increasing your AC further decreasing your amount of incoming damage. Now based on the system currently we are not going to see the very high AC characters we did in Pathfinder 1, they are deliberately removing the stacking bonuses. Instead we will see a combination of good AC, higher hp and more in combat healing to cover how the game is played.


Draco18s wrote:
Gaterie wrote:
Even in the conceptual space, in term of archetype there's no difference between the "smasher" and the "tough guy". In all the fictions I know, I can't remember 5 "tough guys" who aren't "smashers" at the same time.

Hard Luck Hank.

Despite being bulletproof (and well, more or less damage-proof) he ends up in the hospital like four times in each book. Not that the doctors can do anything for him (his skin is too thick to jab needles through, slice open with a knife, etc). They just hook him up to a feeding tube and let his (super)natural regeneration do the work.

And he's not that strong, either.

[...]

Maybe I should have precised "non-invincible tough guy". Anyway, I'm not sure I know 5 "invincible guys" in fiction who haven't superman's strength at the same time.

The point is, you're right, when "tough guy" is so tough, he's actually invincible, his toughness becomes an active power. He can jump into lava, handle a nuclear plant core bare handed: he can do awesome stuff no one else can. If he's smart, he can bring any fight to a place where anyone else than him is insta-killed. etc. Straight invincibility as a power is enough to get interesting stories without any other power.

... But we all know D&D/Path doesn't work like this; the "tough guy" will always be quickly dispatched by level-appropriate opposition if he doesn't do anything, if he simply endure his punishment. This isn't the game where you'll say "I'm awesome in Con, I can jump into the dragon's mouth and block his fire breath" or "I'm awesome in Con, I can walk ahead of the party to trigger every trap without harm". At D&D/Path's level of toughness, strength and toughness are highly correlated (in fiction as well as in the game's bestiaries).


Taenia wrote:

I think Gaterie is right. Having played and played with a number of High Hp vs. High AC characters AC > Hp for survival. In this Crit heavier environment AC will become more important. Hit points look good as a high number til you take that first kobold pick crit and are dealt 3d8-2 instead of a 1d4-1. You will find you wish you had just that one or two points of AC.

Keep in mind also that with the way stat boosting works you will have an 18 Con by level 5 if you start with a 16 or at 10th if you start with a 14. If you really need to up your hit point game look at Dwarf, plus toughness.

Keep in mind that a single point of AC can change your damage intake. If they need a 10 to hit you then you will be hit 55% of the time. An increase to needing an 11 makes you hit only 50% of the time. If you look at incoming damage however you have just dropped your incoming damage by roughly 10%. Increasing your AC further decreasing your amount of incoming damage. Now based on the system currently we are not going to see the very high AC characters we did in Pathfinder 1, they are deliberately removing the stacking bonuses. Instead we will see a combination of good AC, higher hp and more in combat healing to cover how the game is played.

In D&D 3/Path 1, a +2 Con meant often more than +10% HP. At the same time, a +2 Dex meant ~-10% incoming damages against a worthy opponent (if your opponent has 50% chance to hit, a +2 Dex reduce the incoming damages by 10%). So the "base defensive effect" of Dex and Con was more or less the same (then there was a lot of other stuff to take into account in the Con vs Dex, but the basis was balanced).

In Path 2, a +2 Con is never a +10% HP (except maybe for a high-level wizard?), while a +2 Dex reduce the incoming damages by... 15%? 20%? I dunno exactly, but it's huge. I did some comparison of two level 4 Barbarian, one with Dex 12 Con 16 and the other Dex 16 Con 12, against... a monster they are supposed to fight in In pale mountain's shadow (no spoil I guess?), and:

  • The difference in HP isn't than big (67 vs 57, counting the temp HP from rage). For a +4 Con, and with a class that get another HP bonus.
  • After one full-attack from the monster, the Con Barb had lost 8-10 more HP than the Dex Barb. So every HP he got thank to his Con was lost at first round.

Spoiler:
Note: I assumed an array of 16-12 to allow in Dex and Con, because I assumed Str 18 and it's not possible to get a 18-16-14 array in the physical stats - the best you can get is 18-16-12 with a human, a dwarf or a goblin. You could use a 16-16-14 array, except the Barb has pitiful damages thanks to his pitiful accuracy, he absolutely needs that Str 18. I'm not actually sure what the Barb is supposed to do, since a Fighter combines higher damages with better survivability.

Then you can factor every other effect each of those abilities grant:

  • Dex: 1 Save, several skills, better ranged attacks when needed (and, as already said, higher survivability in melee).
  • Con: 1 Save, (slightly) better survivability against HP damages who bypass AC (and don't allow a Ref save. Fireball isn't here, Horrid wilting is). The end.


Gaterie wrote:
Rusty Ironpants wrote:
Thoughts?
Con should be removed (and its effects included in Str). The game isn't D&D, they can kill as many sacred cows as they want.

If they do remove Con, then what will we use to determine if one can resist a disease or poison? Or how long you can run before getting tired. Or how long you can hold your breath or resist the effects of a hot environment. None of those make any sense being handled by Str.

A high Str does not necessarily equate to someone possessing great endurance. Just because you may be able to lift 300 lbs. in weight does not mean you can run for 2 hours non-stop, and vice-versa.


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modus0 wrote:
Gaterie wrote:
Rusty Ironpants wrote:
Thoughts?
Con should be removed (and its effects included in Str). The game isn't D&D, they can kill as many sacred cows as they want.

If they do remove Con, then what will we use to determine if one can resist a disease or poison? Or how long you can run before getting tired. Or how long you can hold your breath or resist the effects of a hot environment. None of those make any sense being handled by Str.

A high Str does not necessarily equate to someone possessing great endurance. Just because you may be able to lift 300 lbs. in weight does not mean you can run for 2 hours non-stop, and vice-versa.

Your bulk is determined by your Str, not your Con. It doesn't make any sense (the charge I can carry all day long without fatigue is determined by my ability to break doors instead of my endurance? dafuk?), and yet everyone is OK with that because the game says so.

Manual dexterity (the ability I use to pickpocket) happens to be exactly the same as corporal flexibility (the ability I use to squeeze, dodge or move silently), that doesn't make any sense, and yet everyone is OK because the game says so. And this is the same ability I use to make a ranged attack, it still doesn't make any sense (using a bow isn't the same as pickpocking, it doesn't uses the same corporal qualities).

I don't even know what ability I should use for musical virtuosity (or pro gaming, since it's more or less the same thing: small finger moves with high impact). Cha, because musical virtuosity is under Perform? That doesn't make any sense, and yet everyone is OK because the game says so. Nor does it make sense that pro gaming uses the same ability as archery (or diplomacy, if it's under Performance?).

Medicine is tied to instinct instead of knowledge, that doesn't make any sense, and yet everyone is OK because the game says so.

etc.

And now "strong guy is tough" in "OMG unrealistic?"

...

Rules are abstractions, their purpose is to handle archetypes, not to be realist.

In term of archetype, "music guy" is charming, maybe a bit liar, able to convince people. And all of this is tied to the same ability. Medicine is the archetypal role of "empathy guy", not "scholar guy" (Dr House is the exception), so medicine is tied to perception and sense motive. "Nimble guy" is able to pickpocket, squeeze, balance, dodge...

And in term of archetype, "strong guy" is tough. Nobody will blink if the game says so.

The game doesn't make a perfect job at handling every archetype; and it is limited by several balance considerations: eg "nimble guy" already does too much, so the designers don't want him to deal precise deadly blows (no Dex to damages) (except for rogues).

But now Con has a marginal impact on HP, and its only real impact is 1 reactive save. All of this would be a nice bonus to Str ("not has good as Dex for survivability, but it helps - especially against some nasty SoL").

If they want a third physical ability, they should answer the questions I've written (basically "I'm awesome at XXX, how do I make an active use of it?"), and make "XXX guy" different from "strong guy", "nimble guy", "scholar guy", "empathy/instinct guy" and "charming guy". Con does none of those two points - in the bestiary, strong monsters are tough as well.

(note: right now, Int is even less useful than Con. But "scholar guy" and "empathy/instinct guy" are largely different archetypes, and there's a conceptual space for Int that is quite distinct from the conceptual space of Wis - even if the the frontier between the two is sometime blurred. So I'd rather buff Int to make it actually useful than remove it. But Con is useless in term of actual effect and in term of conceptual space, just remove it)


That's what I've been saying, it's all sorts of weird. Combine strength and dex, give constitution carrying capacity and athletics, move jumping to acrobatics, reduce ACP and armor move decrease by con mod, give ranged attacks to wisdom, make pick locks and disable device part of crafting, move the rest of thievery to stealth, and call it a night.


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Making constitution as important as strength would be the best thing to ever happen in pathfinder. If they made tanking a viable character build, even if they merged strength and constitution, I would forgive everything else about pathfinder 2. Come on, paizo. Do it for me.


Gaterie wrote:
Your bulk is determined by your Str, not your Con. It doesn't make any sense (the charge I can carry all day long without fatigue is determined by my ability to break doors instead of my endurance? dafuk?), and yet everyone is OK with that because the game says so.

Except carrying over your Bulk doesn't inflict Fatigue, but the Encumbered condition, which lowers your ability to move. So it's OK because Encumbrance is determined by your ability to lift great weight/large objects, not how long you can run.

Quote:
Manual dexterity (the ability I use to pickpocket) happens to be exactly the same as corporal flexibility (the ability I use to squeeze, dodge or move silently), that doesn't make any sense, and yet everyone is OK because the game says so. And this is the same ability I use to make a ranged attack, it still doesn't make any sense (using a bow isn't the same as pickpocking, it doesn't uses the same corporal qualities).

While I do agree that Manual Dexterity ≠ Agility, there is the consideration of how far from its D&D roots the devs are willing to have Pathfinder stray in regards to that. Mutants & Masterminds 3E splits the two, but that system took pains to deviate from the more d20-focused M&M 2E.

As for ranged attacks using Dexterity, I imagine it was intended so that Str wasn't the be-all-end-all of non-magical characters, allowing Elven archers to be effective without needing to pack on the muscles.

Quote:

I don't even know what ability I should use for musical virtuosity (or pro gaming, since it's more or less the same thing: small finger moves with high impact). Cha, because musical virtuosity is under Perform? That doesn't make any sense, and yet everyone is OK because the game says so. Nor does it make sense that pro gaming uses the same ability as archery (or diplomacy, if it's under Performance?).

Medicine is tied to instinct instead of knowledge, that doesn't make any sense, and yet everyone is OK because the game says so.

etc.

And now "strong guy is tough" in "OMG unrealistic?"

...

Rules are abstractions, their...

Yes, rules are abstractions. And when playing a game designed by others, one must accept their abstractions, either because the game's overall theme is what is wanted, or because making things too realistic is likely to dramatically reduce fun.

And what about the Pathfinder 2E Playtest idea that your sense of self directly influences your ability to use magical items? Wouldn't tying Resonance to Con make more sense than Cha? Have your magic-limit be tied to how much your body can handle instead of how self-confident/attractive you are.


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I feel like this family of games hasn't ever really supported a "I can shrug off damage because I am so tough" type character very well even though it's a common power fantasy, and the closest I got in PF1 was with an aether/earth kinetic knight that combined high AC, DR, and an ablative regenerating temp HP pool and we're a long way away from having something like that in PF2, unfortunately (the Barbarian kind of does some of this but the resistance option is pretty poor for most of the interesting totems).


modus0 wrote:
And what about the Pathfinder 2E Playtest idea that your sense of self directly influences your ability to use magical items?

It also influences your ability to drink alchemical elixirs and throw bomb, although the designers have stated alchemy is totally not magic. And the Alchemist has a bonus to Resonance, as a non-magical class.

Designers themselves don't know what Resonance is. How could I possibly have any idea why it is tied to Cha?

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