What do we want Martial characters to be capable of?


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But martials are awesome.


Lausth wrote:
But martials are awesome.

exactly.


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I want martials that can be awesome without turning into cartoons.

I want Jack Reacher, Robert McCall (the equalizer), and John Wick but without the guns. I want Conan the Barbarian, the Dread Pirate Roberts, Arthur, and Lancelot.


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Would it be possible to accommodate both more realistic martials and more ridiculous martials if the way to be one or the either was to just pick different options at high level that are all powerful but vary wildly in flashiness?

Putting balance aside, consider if rangers had high level feats like the ability to shoot accurately over a few miles with a bit of time to focus, but at the same tier was something like an additional reduction to hunted targets (1,2, removed completely, something). The first option would be flashy and cool and could be used creatively to deliver messages or pick of officers in a battlefield. The second option is mechanically powerful and would lead to much higher damage output, and isn't anything even impossible, its just uncanny accuracy with consecutive shots.

I know these are't necessarily well designed feats, but I wanted to illustrate an example of at least an attempt to accommodate both playstyles.


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Snickersnax wrote:

I want martials that can be awesome without turning into cartoons.

I want Jack Reacher, Robert McCall (the equalizer), and John Wick but without the guns. I want Conan the Barbarian, the Dread Pirate Roberts, Arthur, and Lancelot.

But how do you handle Conan and Wesley hanging out with Dr. Strange? (There aren't really a lot of good non-comic book equivalents for high level PF casters. Some of the powerful channelers in the Wheel of Time maybe, though even they pale in many ways.)

You really need to either move beyond those martial examples past the midlevels or nerf casters seriously.

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Nerfing casters is a solution to making martials doing awesome things?

....

EDİT:People are saying that the original party is the fighter,rogue,wizard and the cleric. Half of that party are casters.
You know seeing that party will be very hard when players of the cleric and the wizard starts feeling like a mundane.


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Rob Godfrey wrote:
that then leaves casters playing a superhero game...while martials are a complete waste of a party slot. So we already HAVE a super hero game, just martial lclasses aren't allowed to play it.

Ah, the ongoing false choice of "martials power must be amped rather than casters power brought down" being presented as the only viable option.

It's like steering a ship with the mindset that the rudder will only allow you to turn to port. Depending on where you want to go, turning to starboard can be equally valid.

And while Pathfinder, D&D, etc. can be and almost certainly becomes a supers game at high level, almost none of those games or their inspirational source material advertise or position themselves as such. And the vast majority of evidence - modules published, forum posts, organized play, industry insider comments on sales - anecdotal or not, suggests more people want "exceptional mortals doing heroic things" more than "demigods rewriting reality". Every previous edition has had issues with high level play. Why? Some of it is mechanical, some of it is story-related. From a story perspective, it's probably why Kratos, Heracles, Beowulf, etc. are all solo protagonists. Trying to run challenging stories for 4-6 demigods gets tricky, if not outright ridiculous, pretty quickly.

For those who want a pure fantasy supers game or who push for magical martials rather than scaled-back casters (degree varies by personal preference), your issue is with the perceived destination of the game as much as the course taken to get there. While you may not want the "starboard path", ignoring or discounting it doesn't make it any less valid.


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Lausth wrote:

Many things you just said can be identified as a GM problem.

-Yes you can shoot that arrow. Why is this a question?

-You replace him or find someone or something that can fix that problem which a gm should put in his game.(demon king)

-There should be some magic items that can fix that survival issue and please stop acting like that every caster is ready for every situation there is. We prepare solutions to problems we expect to encounter.

-Story problems such as traveling to a different plane are gm problems. Gm is responsible with putting that solution to his/her game.

1) unless specialised archery is terrible, but ok.

2) fair enough, more difficult but fair enough

3) Casters usually are, Clerics and Druids especially, prepared for damn near anything, given a rest

4) Unless you are making the BBEG an idiot, having them move plane if that is practical, especially to a stronger position, is just playing smart, artificially making the villains stupid so character classes are still relevant? Not sure I like that idea, if the BBEG can make preparations and smart decisions they should.


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Lausth wrote:

Nerfing casters is a solution to making martials doing awesome things?

....

EDİT:People are saying that the original party is the fighter,rogue,wizard and the cleric. Half of that party are casters.
You know seeing that party will be very hard when players of the cleric and the wizard starts feeling like a mundane.

Only if you want to limit your martials to Conan and Arthur.


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I want martials to be able to do more things than : hit stuff harder as they level up.

Even in the most "mundane" iteration (no goku) a fighter should be able to do "simple" level 20 stuff like jumping 5 stories high, punching through walls, reading the battlefield in a way he can predict where people will move before they actually move, shrugging off most magical attacks through force of will/balls,etc.

2nd edition adnd at least had it right with fighters having way more than double the HP of casters, having the best saving throws bar none, etc.

A wizard had to work hard to make a fighter affected by his "tricks".

But the above is again, only combat wise.

Ooc, it would be reasonable for a fighter to actually have a keep of his own, granted by his abilities, or a Barbarian to lead a tribe.

Give Leadership to pure martials as an ability basically, so that they can affect the world.

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Rob Godfrey wrote:

1) unless specialised archery is terrible, but ok.

2) fair enough, more difficult but fair enough

3) Casters usually are, Clerics and Druids especially, prepared for damn near anything, given a rest

4) Unless you are making the BBEG an idiot, having them move plane if that is practical, especially to a stronger position, is just playing smart, artificially making the villains stupid so character classes are still relevant? Not sure I like that idea, if the BBEG can make preparations and smart decisions they should.

3-Yes casters usually prepared for almost anything when given the knowledge and the time to preapare for it but so is everyone else.

4-Where did you get the idea that i am making the BBEG an idiot?
As a gm you have to give something to your players so they can move with the story if no one in the party cant cast planeshift. Because if you dont then game has to stop and nobody likes that and i just said giving them a way. That can be anything realy.


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I want martials to be as super humanly competent at skills (that they focus on) as they already are at combat. A lvl 20 fighter can dynasty warriors through an army of low level foes or herculeas through a hydra but sometimes (In PF1) they struggle to find something useful to do in out of combat situations. I think PF2 is making a big step in the right direction though personally I want more master and legendary skill feats to break physics. My playtest group is still chugging through chapter 2 so I don't have any practical high level PF2 play expericne though

Basically a skill specialist should always be supieror to a less than top tier spell (so a lvl 20 character should be 8th level spell good at skills). Spells still have the role of huge versitaliy being second best at everything while everyone (including spellcasters) gets a chance to be best at 2 or 3 things.


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Lausth wrote:

I dont get it. Why do you guys think that martials are useless?

EDİT:This is starting to feel like a both gm and a system mastery problem rather than a martials are useless problem.

Without the right magic items, they kind of are in most situations.

Melee fighter: Oh no, a dragon, and me without a potion of fly. *Burns to death.*

Fighter: oh no, wraiths, and me without a ghost touch weapon. *is drained to undeath*

Fighter: oh no, I fell into a big giant hole with high climb DC walls, and me without a potion of fly. *starves to death.*

Fighter: oh no, I got sucked down a whirlpool, and me without a potion of water breathing. *drowns to death.*

Basically, I think it's a dependency issue. Some of us like playing characters with a really strong independent streak, but that makes no sense if your character is heavily dependent on magic items.

With casters, they can have spells prepared for most situations, and magic items end up just feeling like an extension of what your character is already capable of, especially if your character can craft magic items. But with martials that magic sword is proof that some of your damage came from a wizard, and in 2e, thanks to the crazy magic item dice bonuses, it's proof that most of your damage comes from a wizard.


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shroudb wrote:
2nd edition adnd at least had it right with fighters having way more than double the HP of casters, having the best saving throws bar none, etc.

Yeah, Fighters being the best at saves is something I have wanted to return since 2000. Makes sense for the genre, the gritty warrior shrugging off magic/effects, not easily charmed, etc. What limitations magic/casting had in AD&D, were all but removed in 3rd Ed, at the same time the Fighter was made weaker, hence the problems with martial/caster disparity in 3rd Ed/PF1.


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Is anyone else annoyed at the use of 'martials' to mean 'mundanes'?
The P1 Magus is as martial as they come and is most definitely a spellcaster.

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Corwin Icewolf wrote:

Basically, I think it's a dependency issue. Some of us like playing characters with a really strong independent streak, but that makes no sense if your character is heavily dependent on magic items.

With casters, they can have spells prepared for most situations, and magic items end up just feeling like an extension of what your character is already capable of, especially if your character can craft magic items. But with martials that magic sword is proof that some of your damage came from a wizard, and in 2e, thanks to the crazy magic item dice bonuses, it's proof that most of your damage comes from a wizard.

I got to ask this. Do you think wizard or sorcerer is the source of all magic? What if fighter could forge magic weapons? Would that solve your issue? I am preaparing for mythic campaign as a gm. The issue that you pointed out is to be honest alien to me. I never had a player who had issues with magic items otherthan the WBL limiting those which is solveble. I am seeing a lot of people who dislikes magic items and i think this forum has a chance to effect my table. So at which point magic stops representing the wizard? Why is it so bad to need magic items in a high magic game where magic is everywhere otherthan the obvious WBL issue. Is it possiable to add magic to your martials in way that wont make you think the wizard? If it is possiable than how would you like it to be?

I am seeing a lot of people who dislikes magic items and they just say i want to do this x thing while some of them hate anime,some of them hate magic,some of them hate otherthings. You see there isnt exactly many things to go with here. Whatever you do you upset someone.

EDİT:I didnt use magic as synonym for magic items. I just meant anykind of magic. It could be in anyform.


Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:

Is anyone else annoyed at the use of 'martials' to mean 'mundanes'?

The P1 Magus is as martial as they come and is most definitely a spellcaster.

I admit, Martial is not the best, but I'm not too thrilled with having my character referred to as a "mundane".

The Magus is a funny one, what with the new action economy (see Unchained).

Grand Lodge

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Lausth wrote:
Corwin Icewolf wrote:

Basically, I think it's a dependency issue. Some of us like playing characters with a really strong independent streak, but that makes no sense if your character is heavily dependent on magic items.

With casters, they can have spells prepared for most situations, and magic items end up just feeling like an extension of what your character is already capable of, especially if your character can craft magic items. But with martials that magic sword is proof that some of your damage came from a wizard, and in 2e, thanks to the crazy magic item dice bonuses, it's proof that most of your damage comes from a wizard.

I got to ask this. Do you think wizard or sorcerer is the source of all magic? What if fighter could forge magic weapons? Would that solve your issue? I am preaparing for mythic campaign as a gm. The issue that you pointed out is to be honest alien to me. I never had a player who had issues with magic items otherthan the WBL limiting those which is solveble. I am seeing a lot of people who dislikes magic items and i think this forum has a chance to effect my table. So at which point magic stops representing the wizard? Why is it so bad to need magic items in a high magic game where magic is everywhere otherthan the obvious WBL issue. Is it possiable to add magic to your martials in way that wont make you think the wizard? If it is possiable than how would you like it to be?

I am seeing a lot of people who dislikes magic items and they just say i want to do this x thing while some of them hate anime,some of them hate magic,some of them hate otherthings. You see there isnt exactly many things to go with here. Whatever you do you upset someone.

I would like my 14th level fighter to have some abilities inherent to his being that he/she could draw on even if stripped naked and thrown in demon's pit.

This is not the case. On the plus, he is at last not hopeless at skill checks, +14, yeah! But basically any caster will be better than him. A level 10 wizard or cleric or druid could easily exert more narrative impact.

Heck, the level 10 spellcaster could be a fine opponent for the level 14 fighter, provided they never tried to get in a direct fight, and why would they? They can make the fighter's life miserable without a problem.


thejeff wrote:
Snickersnax wrote:

I want martials that can be awesome without turning into cartoons.

I want Jack Reacher, Robert McCall (the equalizer), and John Wick but without the guns. I want Conan the Barbarian, the Dread Pirate Roberts, Arthur, and Lancelot.

But how do you handle Conan and Wesley hanging out with Dr. Strange? (There aren't really a lot of good non-comic book equivalents for high level PF casters. Some of the powerful channelers in the Wheel of Time maybe, though even they pale in many ways.)

You really need to either move beyond those martial examples past the midlevels or nerf casters seriously.

Conan is chopping the head off of Thulsa Doom not hanging out with Dr Strange.

And Wesley is getting raised by Miracle Max.


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Snickersnax wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Snickersnax wrote:

I want martials that can be awesome without turning into cartoons.

I want Jack Reacher, Robert McCall (the equalizer), and John Wick but without the guns. I want Conan the Barbarian, the Dread Pirate Roberts, Arthur, and Lancelot.

But how do you handle Conan and Wesley hanging out with Dr. Strange? (There aren't really a lot of good non-comic book equivalents for high level PF casters. Some of the powerful channelers in the Wheel of Time maybe, though even they pale in many ways.)

You really need to either move beyond those martial examples past the midlevels or nerf casters seriously.

Conan is chopping the head off of Thulsa Doom not hanging out with Dr Strange.

And Wesley is getting raised by Miracle Max.

Not in D&D/PF, it's a free-for-all (ultimate crossover).


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I would like martials to be more versatile in and out of combat, and for legendary skills to be able to rival spells (not just the lower level spells), or do things that even spells cannot replicate. Skill unlocks were a good concept from pathfinder 1, and I think that the proficiency system should utilize that. Heck, the heal skill unlock made mundane healing much more viable in pf1.

I would like also for high level martials to not have to be arbitrarily be grounded to realism, especially since they already weren't grounded in most aspects in pf1 in terms of damage output and other aspects, like surviving lava or extreme fall damage. If they can make jumping and movement speed scale with level without breaking the game, that would be grand, but that would be a difficult task. The jet dash feat from starfinder is a cool feet, and I wish they expanded on it a bit more.

I love deeds and grit, and I like how battlemaster worked in 5e with battle maneuvers. Something with the likes of those would be a good way to expand a martial's combat flexibility beyond "I full round action" in 2e.


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Lausth wrote:
Corwin Icewolf wrote:

Basically, I think it's a dependency issue. Some of us like playing characters with a really strong independent streak, but that makes no sense if your character is heavily dependent on magic items.

With casters, they can have spells prepared for most situations, and magic items end up just feeling like an extension of what your character is already capable of, especially if your character can craft magic items. But with martials that magic sword is proof that some of your damage came from a wizard, and in 2e, thanks to the crazy magic item dice bonuses, it's proof that most of your damage comes from a wizard.

I got to ask this. Do you think wizard or sorcerer is the source of all magic? What if fighter could forge magic weapons? Would that solve your issue? I am preaparing for mythic campaign as a gm. The issue that you pointed out is to be honest alien to me. I never had a player who had issues with magic items otherthan the WBL limiting those which is solveble. I am seeing a lot of people who dislikes magic items and i think this forum has a chance to effect my table. So at which point magic stops representing the wizard? Why is it so bad to need magic items in a high magic game where magic is everywhere otherthan the obvious WBL issue. Is it possiable to add magic to your martials in way that wont make you think the wizard? If it is possiable than how would you like it to be?

I am seeing a lot of people who dislikes magic items and they just say i want to do this x thing while some of them hate anime,some of them hate magic,some of them hate otherthings. You see there isnt exactly many things to go with here. Whatever you do you upset someone.

Magic is a caster's tool. If I'm a wizard I'm trained to use wands from my spell list. Magic isn't a fighter or monk's tool. To have the same feeling of independence you need stuff like the fighter being able to leap at flying opponents and smack them with his greatsword. Or the monk spending ki to make her fists ghost touch. Or the barbarian sprouting wings and flying out of the pit shcle got stuck in.

Tome of battle/path of war works, but the presentation of maneuvers as pseudo spells is weird and the fact that you basically prepare maneuvers like a wizard prepares spells is incredibly goofy.

Vic Ferrari wrote:

Not in D&D/PF, it's a free-for-all (ultimate crossover).

https://youtu.be/BIGqfnKgf80


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Vic Ferrari wrote:
Snickersnax wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Snickersnax wrote:

I want martials that can be awesome without turning into cartoons.

I want Jack Reacher, Robert McCall (the equalizer), and John Wick but without the guns. I want Conan the Barbarian, the Dread Pirate Roberts, Arthur, and Lancelot.

But how do you handle Conan and Wesley hanging out with Dr. Strange? (There aren't really a lot of good non-comic book equivalents for high level PF casters. Some of the powerful channelers in the Wheel of Time maybe, though even they pale in many ways.)

You really need to either move beyond those martial examples past the midlevels or nerf casters seriously.

Conan is chopping the head off of Thulsa Doom not hanging out with Dr Strange.

And Wesley is getting raised by Miracle Max.

Not in D&D/PF, it's a free-for-all (ultimate crossover).

Exactly. If the high end martial is Conan and the high end caster is Dr. Strange, you've got a problem in a game where they're supposed to be in the same party.

If you want to nerf the high level casters down to the level of Miracle Max, that's a solution, but probably not one most are going to be happy with.


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thejeff wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Snickersnax wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Snickersnax wrote:

I want martials that can be awesome without turning into cartoons.

I want Jack Reacher, Robert McCall (the equalizer), and John Wick but without the guns. I want Conan the Barbarian, the Dread Pirate Roberts, Arthur, and Lancelot.

But how do you handle Conan and Wesley hanging out with Dr. Strange? (There aren't really a lot of good non-comic book equivalents for high level PF casters. Some of the powerful channelers in the Wheel of Time maybe, though even they pale in many ways.)

You really need to either move beyond those martial examples past the midlevels or nerf casters seriously.

Conan is chopping the head off of Thulsa Doom not hanging out with Dr Strange.

And Wesley is getting raised by Miracle Max.

Not in D&D/PF, it's a free-for-all (ultimate crossover).

Exactly. If the high end martial is Conan and the high end caster is Dr. Strange, you've got a problem in a game where they're supposed to be in the same party.

If you want to nerf the high level casters down to the level of Miracle Max, that's a solution, but probably not one most are going to be happy with.

Yeah, but a MLT is so perky, I love that.


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It depends on the martial.

A barbarian I think should eventually have supernatural strength derived from a sort of undirected emotional psychic magic, a blood line with unusual power, the blessing of a diety, and so on. There's no need to keep these guys all that mundane. If he needs to charge through some obstacles or lift a boulder, that should be okay. Look at the things giants get to do, and slap them onto the barbarian kit.

A fighter should be infinitely practical and adaptable. Sort of like the bard of martial skills. He should often get the best benefit from being magically enhanced due to his adaptive nature and should suffer less restrictions in using magic items. He wouldn't need to know why things worked, just how. Without assistance he should be in peak human condition, but his abilities with super natural support from magic items and casters should put him on a level above others with that same support.

A rogue should due things increasingly quickly and more reliably. His understanding of complex mechanisms and hidden spells aught to turn up the ability to use those sorts of things as well as anyone. Once you've disarmed a magical trap, what's stopping you from learning to rearm it or create it from scratch? A rogue's life of noticing and manipulating the tiniest of magical and physical forces should increase his senses to the point where his hearing is as accurate as his vision. His precision and skill should make healing as easy as harming and lead to a wide variety of anatomical knowledge regarding all creatures both real and hypothetical.

A monk... yeah just import anime stuff. These guys use some sort of spirit magic to strengthen their body and should probably get super weird at about level 8.

Rangers I feel aren't much different than a nature focused rogue or fighter, or a fighting focused druid. So mix in one of the above with nature stuff and call it good.


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What's interesting to me is that in PF2 a high level rogue can Mind Blank, turn invisible, and phase through doors or walls; and nobody seems to be complaining about that (most people seem to think the rogue is in a good place now).

It would be nice if other non-magic people got as dramatic, and thematic, effects with high level feats, honestly.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

What's interesting to me is that in PF2 a high level rogue can Mind Blank, turn invisible, and phase through doors or walls; and nobody seems to be complaining about that (most people seem to think the rogue is in a good place now).

It would be nice if other non-magic people got as dramatic, and thematic, effects with high level feats, honestly.

I wonder if part of that is due to the rogue having the option to not do unbelievable things. Going throw walls and whatnot is really cool to me, and I am for sure making a rogue that can do that eventually, but if somebody doesn't think that is appropriate, they can still grab the feat on the same level that lets them prevent enemies from using reactions.

and now that I think about it, barbarians can smash the earth around them, get big, grow wings and/or breath fire, and I don't see as many complaints about that.

Liberty's Edge

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I think a kind of "Univeral" Fighter aspect that is too often ignored it the idea that someone can be just as deadly (or moreso) with a tin-cup than they are with some CRAZY expensive fancy weapon.

Fighters could benefit from some Legendary Feats to treat any weapon they wield as though it had +X Potency and may choose to manifest Rune effects through sheer skill and mastery of a weapon. Treat is as though its entirely non-magical, who cares if it uses the same Rules, make a carveout if it matters THAT much that Fighters "shouldn't be magical."


Kazk wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

What's interesting to me is that in PF2 a high level rogue can Mind Blank, turn invisible, and phase through doors or walls; and nobody seems to be complaining about that (most people seem to think the rogue is in a good place now).

It would be nice if other non-magic people got as dramatic, and thematic, effects with high level feats, honestly.

I wonder if part of that is due to the rogue having the option to not do unbelievable things. Going throw walls and whatnot is really cool to me, and I am for sure making a rogue that can do that eventually, but if somebody doesn't think that is appropriate, they can still grab the feat on the same level that lets them prevent enemies from using reactions.

and now that I think about it, barbarians can smash the earth around them, get big, grow wings and/or breath fire, and I don't see as many complaints about that.

Yeah, martials are doing pretty good now. It would be nice if the ceiling went back up to where it had been so the martials can enjoy it too.


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Kazk wrote:
and now that I think about it, barbarians can smash the earth around them, get big, grow wings and/or breath fire, and I don't see as many complaints about that.

I think the monk (which should be on the gonzo end for martials) could use some flashy things at high level.

At 20th level you get permanent haste (for moving) or superhuman defense, and these are good options, but at level 16 (when the rogue can mind blank or Mislead) the monk chooses from "no actions to switch styles", "boost allies will saves", "smash stuff real good", and the classic "five finger death punch."

Monk's been casting spells for 15 levels by the time they can take quivering palm, so something as cool as what the rogue gets at 16-20 would be nice.

Liberty's Edge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Kazk wrote:
and now that I think about it, barbarians can smash the earth around them, get big, grow wings and/or breath fire, and I don't see as many complaints about that.

I think the monk (which should be on the gonzo end for martials) could use some flashy things at high level.

At 20th level you get permanent haste (for moving) or superhuman defense, and these are good options, but at level 16 (when the rogue can mind blank or Mislead) the monk chooses from "no actions to switch styles", "boost allies will saves", "smash stuff real good", and the classic "five finger death punch."

Monk's been casting spells for 15 levels by the time they can take quivering palm, so something as cool as what the rogue gets at 16-20 would be nice.

I for one am hoping for an Astral Projection style Monk Feat that lets the PC stay safe at home meditating while his Soul runs around beating up bad guys.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Shaheer-El-Khatib wrote:
thejeff wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
that then leaves casters playing a superhero game...while martials are a complete waste of a party slot. So we already HAVE a super hero game, just martial casters aren't allowed to play it.
Which is why it makes more sense to bring martials up, rather than casters down.

Or perhaps both.

Since another common complaint is how hard it is to play or run the game at high levels. Cranking up the power another notch by bringing martials up to caster craziness is just going to make that aspect worse.

Right.

Bringing martial up to casters would be "Hey folks, remember how you can totally break the game with some classes ? You can do it with all classes now"

Which would be... Well... "interresting" I guess.
Until the GM suicide.

Close loopholes, make the monsters tougher. I think everybody should be awesome at high levels, but not at everything at the same time.


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I think it depends on the character's level. In my head, there's three distinct 'phases' of an adventurer's life and power level.

Rural Rookies (Level 1-7): Characters in this phase are still fairly mundane. Sure, the warrior can fight well, but he'd have a tough time handling a troll or a couple of street thugs. He can't bend steel with his bare hands or throw a horse at you, but he can punch your average person out with one good swing. The spellcaster has access to magic, but at this level it's stuff that's comparable to mundane activities. Magic can fix small problems, make some things easier, but that's about it. It's convenient, and it's situationally powerful, but it's also quite limited in quantity and scope at this point.

Local Legends (Level 8-13): Characters in this phase are clearly better than 'normal' people. The warrior can fight half a dozen thugs and walk away; he sees a troll and cracks his knuckles. He can bend steel, kick an iron door down, and catch up to a speeding cart. The spellcaster's repetoire now includes problem solving magic that exceeds the mundane; teleportating, scrying, raising the dead. Casters are still limited by time, and slots, and their classes' repertoire, but when facing a challenge they have the right spells for, they can overcome it with sheer arcane power.

Cosmic Champions (Level 14+): Characters in this phase are far above and beyond the mundane. The warrior can hold a pass against an army or beat a giant in an arm-wrestling match. He can leap great distances, make enemies quake with a stare, and drink pure poison without so much as wincing. The spellcaster has mastered their craft, now able to perform feats like stopping time, travelling to other planes, or slaying lesser foes instantly with blasts of deadly fire and frost. The challenges such characters fight are great, and lesser foes (while dangerous to many) are easily dispatched by such heroes.

Ideally, in all three of these phases the martial character has as many interesting powers and options as the mystical one. That's very hard to pull off but I'm hoping that Pathfinder 2.0 can do it. As a side note, in my 2.0 homebrew I already group Feats into level 1-6, 8-12, and 14+ so players get more options and don't feel forced to pick something they don't like because everything else at that level or below was worse.

Shadow Lodge

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A few things I wold like martials to be able to do:

Improvised Shield

As a free action, you may wield an improvised weapon as an improvised shield for a round. When wielded as an improvised shield, the weapon’s damage die is decreased by 2 sizes, and the weapon grants a shield bonus: light weapons grant +1 shield bonus, one-handed weapons grant a +2 shield bonus, and two-handed weapons grant a +4 shield bonus. Just as with all shields, you lose this shield bonus to AC if you use the improvised shield to attack, unless you possess the ability to make shield bashes without sacrificing shield bonus.

Whenever you are wielding a shield with the fragile special feature and a target scores a critical hit against you, you may give your shield the broken condition to change the critical hit into a normal hit.

Shatter Earth

You may attack the ground around you with a savage blow. You may make a brutal strike against the corner of a square within your reach as a full-round action. You may reduce this to a standard action by expending martial focus. This attack automatically hits and deals damage normally. If you manage to deal more damage than the floor’s hardness, you cause a 5 ft. radius, 10 ft. cone, or 15 ft. line (your choice) to become difficult terrain. Radius’ increase by 5 ft. per 10 base attack bonus, cones by 5 ft. per 5 base attack bonus, and lines by 10 ft. per 5 base attack bonus. A square can be cleared as a standard action (provoking an attack of opportunity)to no longer be difficult terrain.

Defensive Whirl

Whenever you use an attack action and successfully strike a single creature with both your main-hand and off-hand weapons, that creature takes a -1 penalty to all attack rolls against you for 1 round. For every 5 points of base attack bonus you possess, this penalty increases by an additional -1.

This one is a bit more gonzo

Limb Ripper

Prerequisites: base attack bonus +10.

When you successfully maintain a grapple against a creature you have already pinned, you may as an immediate action attempt to remove a limb from them; the creature must make a successful Fortitude save or have one of its limbs removed by you (arms, legs, tentacles, or wings), ending the grapple.

If you remove a wing, the target loses a wing natural attack if it had any and cannot fly (creatures with 3 or more wings who lose a wing have their flight maneuverability reduced to clumsy and have their flight speed reduced by 1/2 for each wing which they are missing). If you remove a tentacle, the creature loses all attacks and abilities related to that tentacle. If you remove an arm or leg, the target suffers a series of penalties listed below.

Creatures with more than 2 legs do not suffer the penalties listed below, but instead lose 10 ft. from their movement speed and lose the benefits of being a quadruped if they had them. In addition, the target suffers 1d6 points of bleed damage from the wound, +1d6 for every 4 points of base attack bonus you possess.

A severed limb counts as an object one size category smaller than the creature it came from if using it as an independent object or improvised weapon.

A character who has lost an arm incurs the following penalties:

-10 penalty on Climb, Craft, Disable Device, Sleight of Hand, and Use Magic Device skill checks;
-8 penalty on grapple checks;
Must make a caster level check at a -5 penalty to cast spells with somatic components;
Unable to wield weapons two-handed or make two-weapon attacks, and may not wear a shield on the affected arm.
Carrying capacity is not reduced. However, the maximum weight a character can lift over head or off the ground is halved.

A character who has lost a leg incurs the following penalties:

-10 penalty on Acrobatics, Climb, Ride, Stealth, and certain Perform skill checks (GM’s discretion).
Cannot run or charge.
Cannot bull rush or overrun and takes a -12 penalty to resist these combat maneuvers.
Speed is reduced to 5 ft., and can no longer make a 5-ft step.
Carrying capacity is reduced by two thirds and the maximum weight a character can lift over head or off the ground is halved when sitting, impossible when standing.

These penalties do not stack with other penalties for losing limbs. A character who has lost both arms cannot use any of the listed skills, make attacks, or use objects, without the aid of prosthetics or magic. A character who has lost both legs is always considered flat-footed and prone, and can only move 5 ft as a full round action, without the aid of prosthetics or magic.


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thflame wrote:

What I'd like to see is what kinds of characters in fiction (or real life) that we would give as an example of a level 20 fighter/ranger/barbarian/etc.

Is a level 20 fighter Alexander the Great? Hawkeye? Captain America? Hercules? Kratos? Cloud?

Level 20 fighters: Lancelot, Julie d'Aubigny, Batman, Captain America, Bruce Lee, River from Serenity

Level 20 ranger: Robin Hood
Level 20 barbarian: Conan, Ghengis Khan

thflame wrote:
Do these level 20 fighters have magic-like abilities (anime/wuxia)or are they capped at plausible real world physics (and if the latter, how do we reconcile that with powerful casters)?

We should have both clean non-magic/low magic classes to represent fighters, cavaliers, rangers, barbarians, swashbucklers, assassins, martial artists and melee and ranged weapon focused and martail arts classes with some magical abilities like wuxia characters and shape shifting berserkers.

thflame wrote:
Do we want high level martials to be reliant on magic items or do we want them to stand on their own.

Martial classes and others classes should be able to stand on their own without magic items. Most magic should be able to be countered in some mundane ways like deflection, parrying, or blocking with weapons, shields or other items, shrugging effects off with strength, fortitude, or will, or use of materials like cold iron or herbs allowing ways to escape effects without significant damage, if done effectively.


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What do we want Martial characters to be capable of?: I want them to start an 'anime' and get better from there. I could care less what is realistic. What I want is what would look awesome in a movie/show I was watching. 'move, swing sword, swing sword' isn't exactly nail biting, edge of your seat excitement. Now let me grab a goblin by the neck and beat another goblin to death with the still struggling first goblin and that's something I'd want to watch.

Grand Lodge

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graystone wrote:
What do we want Martial characters to be capable of?: I want them to start an 'anime' and get better from there. I could care less what is realistic. What I want is what would look awesome in a movie/show I was watching. 'move, swing sword, swing sword' isn't exactly nail biting, edge of your seat excitement. Now let me grab a goblin by the neck and beat another goblin to death with the still struggling first goblin and that's something I'd want to watch.

Yes, please. More of this.

I want to kick a door open not just as a means of entry but also a surprise ranged attack on something inside the room that I might not have even known was there until I kicked the door.

I want to sleep with my hand on my sword and bound to my feet in a flurry of attacks if an enemy comes near before they even notice I've spotted them.

I want to suddenly stop in the middle of a tunnel and crouch down, shield raising and my eyes set on a blank spot in space. I can hear it breathing/feel its energy/notice the ripple in the air/whatever.

I want to grab a portal that's disgorging demons and try to brute force it shut. A wizard or cleric is likely a better call for the job, but I'm there, and I'm doing it. It may take ten times the effort and three times as long, but I'm doing it, because I'm a badass martial who will win by his own hands.

Why can't we embrace this?


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David Silver - Ponyfinder wrote:


I want to grab a portal that's disgorging demons and try to brute force it shut. A wizard or cleric is likely a better call for the job, but I'm there, and I'm doing it. It may take ten times the effort and three times as long, but I'm doing it, because I'm a badass martial who will win by his own hands.

Why can't we embrace this?

Because it's not realistic of course. *Carries on backstroking through molten lava and suplexing rhinos*


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
David Silver - Ponyfinder wrote:


I want to grab a portal that's disgorging demons and try to brute force it shut. A wizard or cleric is likely a better call for the job, but I'm there, and I'm doing it. It may take ten times the effort and three times as long, but I'm doing it, because I'm a badass martial who will win by his own hands.

Why can't we embrace this?

Because it's not realistic of course. *Carries on backstroking through molten lava and suplexing rhinos*

LOL I'm raise you a 'jump off a 10,000' tall cliff into lava while suplexing a t-rex while also being bitten by a dozen black mamba's...'.


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graystone wrote:
What do we want Martial characters to be capable of?: I want them to start an 'anime' and get better from there. I could care less what is realistic. What I want is what would look awesome in a movie/show I was watching. 'move, swing sword, swing sword' isn't exactly nail biting, edge of your seat excitement. Now let me grab a goblin by the neck and beat another goblin to death with the still struggling first goblin and that's something I'd want to watch.

I swear like 95% of what you say makes me want to argue with you. I don't think your realize how many times I just have to pass it over for my own sanity.


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Madame Endor wrote:
thflame wrote:

What I'd like to see is what kinds of characters in fiction (or real life) that we would give as an example of a level 20 fighter/ranger/barbarian/etc.

Is a level 20 fighter Alexander the Great? Hawkeye? Captain America? Hercules? Kratos? Cloud?

Level 20 fighters: Lancelot, Julie d'Aubigny, Batman, Captain America, Bruce Lee, River from Serenity

Level 20 ranger: Robin Hood
Level 20 barbarian: Conan, Ghengis Khan

Wow, that's a low bar. And imbalanced as hell if you put Batman or Cap against RL people.


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Look I just want to be able to punch the thing in the face and have a decent shot at punching the thing in the face really hard.

Maybe Suplex them. Maybe pick up a Skeleton Ogre the Necromancer animated and start beating them upside the head with their own minion.

Maybe actually try to catch that giant baslita bolt or rock being chucked at my team and then used as a battery ram/shield to block the smaller arrows that follow.

I don't think I want to go overly anime or video gamey. But I mean, as a stupid kid playing DnD with friends and playing VERY fast and loose with the rules...

I jumped in a dragon's mouth, tanked it's fireblast point blank, ripped a tooth out and then used it to stab the dragon, while STILL inside the mouth.

I'd be totally fine if Martials could hover around that level.


MerlinCross wrote:

Look I just want to be able to punch the thing in the face and have a decent shot at punching the thing in the face really hard.

Maybe Suplex them. Maybe pick up a Skeleton Ogre the Necromancer animated and start beating them upside the head with their own minion.

Maybe actually try to catch that giant baslita bolt or rock being chucked at my team and then used as a battery ram/shield to block the smaller arrows that follow.

I don't think I want to go overly anime or video gamey. But I mean, as a stupid kid playing DnD with friends and playing VERY fast and loose with the rules...

I jumped in a dragon's mouth, tanked it's fireblast point blank, ripped a tooth out and then used it to stab the dragon, while STILL inside the mouth.

I'd be totally fine if Martials could hover around that level.

Yes! That sounds perfect!

Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
Madame Endor wrote:
thflame wrote:

What I'd like to see is what kinds of characters in fiction (or real life) that we would give as an example of a level 20 fighter/ranger/barbarian/etc.

Is a level 20 fighter Alexander the Great? Hawkeye? Captain America? Hercules? Kratos? Cloud?

Level 20 fighters: Lancelot, Julie d'Aubigny, Batman, Captain America, Bruce Lee, River from Serenity

Level 20 ranger: Robin Hood
Level 20 barbarian: Conan, Ghengis Khan
Wow, that's a low bar. And imbalanced as hell if you put Batman or Cap against RL people.

I mean, assuming what is meant is how those RL people are idealized by people, it could actually be pretty even. I've heard some pretty insane claims about Bruce Lee and he's recent, much less someone heavily mythologized and possibly actually more than one person like Robin Hood.

But then what would that make Chuck Norris?


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Lausth wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:

1) unless specialised archery is terrible, but ok.

2) fair enough, more difficult but fair enough

3) Casters usually are, Clerics and Druids especially, prepared for damn near anything, given a rest

4) Unless you are making the BBEG an idiot, having them move plane if that is practical, especially to a stronger position, is just playing smart, artificially making the villains stupid so character classes are still relevant? Not sure I like that idea, if the BBEG can make preparations and smart decisions they should.

3-Yes casters usually prepared for almost anything when given the knowledge and the time to preapare for it but so is everyone else.

4-Where did you get the idea that i am making the BBEG an idiot?
As a gm you have to give something to your players so they can move with the story if no one in the party cant cast planeshift. Because if you dont then game has to stop and nobody likes that and i just said giving them a way. That can be anything realy.

3) No martials explicitly aren't and cannot prepare for most situations, that is the problem.

4) the way is 'be a high level caster' if people deliberately crippled themselves by playing martial classes as written...then it's the games fault for having pre-crippled classes, especially now, with the mutilating plague that is resonance destroying the only counter martials had:the big 6, huge piles of wands and UMD, borderline maliciously making them suck as hard as possible at anything that isn't hitting things, and making hitting things an even worse option than it used to be, with monsters buffed hugely vs it (for instance the 'super specialist hyper buffed experts should fail at least half the time paradigm, making crit fishing basically impossible and crits far less deadly than they used to be) but characters cannot have equal defences apparently, so monsters hit and crit players at a higher rate than players crit and hit them...oh and those potions you now have to burn huge piles of cash on? Better not use many, they are nuking what little resonance you have, the only resource you now have to do anything but hulk smash...and wands also now suck.


Rob Godfrey wrote:
Lausth wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:

1) unless specialised archery is terrible, but ok.

2) fair enough, more difficult but fair enough

3) Casters usually are, Clerics and Druids especially, prepared for damn near anything, given a rest

4) Unless you are making the BBEG an idiot, having them move plane if that is practical, especially to a stronger position, is just playing smart, artificially making the villains stupid so character classes are still relevant? Not sure I like that idea, if the BBEG can make preparations and smart decisions they should.

3-Yes casters usually prepared for almost anything when given the knowledge and the time to preapare for it but so is everyone else.

4-Where did you get the idea that i am making the BBEG an idiot?
As a gm you have to give something to your players so they can move with the story if no one in the party cant cast planeshift. Because if you dont then game has to stop and nobody likes that and i just said giving them a way. That can be anything realy.

3) No martials explicitly aren't and cannot prepare for most situations, that is the problem.

4) the way is 'be a high level caster' if people deliberately crippled themselves by playing martial classes as written...then it's the games fault for having pre-crippled classes, especially now, with the mutilating plague that is resonance destroying the only counter martials had:the big 6, huge piles of wands and UMD, borderline maliciously making them suck as hard as possible at anything that isn't hitting things,

3) Sure they can. Purchasing gear. Keeping it on hand. That is how Martials prepare.

4) No AP has ever required the PCs to cast a spell to win. There should (and is) always another way. Magical item, npc spellcaster for hire, friendly extraplanar outsider etc


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
HWalsh wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
Lausth wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:

1) unless specialised archery is terrible, but ok.

2) fair enough, more difficult but fair enough

3) Casters usually are, Clerics and Druids especially, prepared for damn near anything, given a rest

4) Unless you are making the BBEG an idiot, having them move plane if that is practical, especially to a stronger position, is just playing smart, artificially making the villains stupid so character classes are still relevant? Not sure I like that idea, if the BBEG can make preparations and smart decisions they should.

3-Yes casters usually prepared for almost anything when given the knowledge and the time to preapare for it but so is everyone else.

4-Where did you get the idea that i am making the BBEG an idiot?
As a gm you have to give something to your players so they can move with the story if no one in the party cant cast planeshift. Because if you dont then game has to stop and nobody likes that and i just said giving them a way. That can be anything realy.

3) No martials explicitly aren't and cannot prepare for most situations, that is the problem.

4) the way is 'be a high level caster' if people deliberately crippled themselves by playing martial classes as written...then it's the games fault for having pre-crippled classes, especially now, with the mutilating plague that is resonance destroying the only counter martials had:the big 6, huge piles of wands and UMD, borderline maliciously making them suck as hard as possible at anything that isn't hitting things,

3) Sure they can. Purchasing gear. Keeping it on hand. That is how Martials prepare.

4) No AP has ever required the PCs to cast a spell to win. There should (and is) always another way. Magical item, npc spellcaster for hire, friendly extraplanar outsider etc

3) except resonance is explicitly aimed at stopping them doing that, you cannot use the wands you need to remain versatile anymore, as a design goal to destroy martial viability (either deliberately or as collateral damage).

4)the APs make the villains stupid, which is a massive fault with the APs.


Rob Godfrey wrote:

3) except resonance is explicitly aimed at stopping them doing that, you cannot use the wands you need to remain versatile anymore, as a design goal to destroy martial viability (either deliberately or as collateral damage).

4)the APs make the villains stupid, which is a massive fault with the APs.

3) Not so. Resonance limits use. You dont need to use all of those trinkets all the time. Resonance also, by the by, serves to make Charisma something other than a dump stat.

A level 6 PC with a 14 charisma has 8 resonance.

More than enough for weapon, armor, 2 misc items and 4 charges/potions/etc as needed.

4) Come on, they are not.


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@OP: hey kid, see the mythology over there? *celtic/norse/arthurian/greek/japanese heroes wave in the distance* yeah, those ones. you can do that (eventually).

skill unlocks, buffed legendary skills, and so on are a means to accomplish a good deal of that if tuned upward.

as an entirely alternate idea, perhaps non-casters gain access to a pool of "stamina" or somesuch, that they can spend to attempt extreme feats of strength or agility, such as:

  • smashing themselves or an enemy through walls (general trope)
  • leaping extreme distances or other extreme acrobatic maneuvers (cu chulainn, general trope)
  • attacking at extreme ranges (general trope)
  • grappling impossible things, such as very large or strong (giants)/intangible (ghosts)/spell effects (pulling portals shut, riding a tornado, headbutting prismatic walls). (general trope)
  • tearing an enemy into pieces or bodily attacking with other enemies/bodyparts (beowulf, theseus, general trope)
  • throwing or catching/defending against impossibly large things, like boulders/small islands (finn mac cumhaill, hector)
  • rapidly healing or ignoring damage (siegfried, achilles, king arthur, gawain)
  • changing appearances or transforming completely (cu chulainn's "rhiastrahd", lancelot's perfect disguises)
  • moving at extreme speeds (galahad)
  • melee-attacking at a distance (general trope)
  • splitting boulders/hills/mountains (fergus mac roich, general trope)
  • fighting past death (cu chulainn, pretty much any hero from greek mythology)

are a tiny fraction of possible examples.

they don't need to be made immediately available, but should be made available at about the time the wizard gets equally world-bending h@)%*@&#(.

there's such a wealth of Cool and Narratively Impactful things to draw from for martials aside from "i swing my weapon really hard", and it's a crying shame that they never see any use for the pursuit of "realism", while inherently magical things' shenanigans are acceptable because "they're magic". when the entire world they live in is magic.

currently for martials, the words of tony stark ring true: "everything special about you came out of a bottle."
much of what a non-caster can accomplish is directly or indirectly supplied by a spellcaster (either from buffs or from magical equipment)--very little of their achievements are because of the weilder's own merits (aside from their wallet).

EDIT: for some reason the "list" formatting feature is broken--it shows in post preview, but doesn't in the actual final post.


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The trap of thread is in the title.

There is no real collective "we" in this.

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