I was completely wrong about need for clerics and monsters in PF2 so far


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In other threads I noticed a lot of complaints about TPK's and the absolute need for clerics as healers. I didn't see the issues in the first published module as my players made it through with 2 players being knocked out but no deaths. So I figured to run a party through a low level campaign set in the Dragon Lance world. I had the party as evil aligned PC's but left the choice to channel positive as well as negative. I just didn't want the healing domain to skew results. My group came up with the following

Human monk strength based with dragon style and stunning fist
elven fighter AC19 finesse based with shortsword - feat power attack
human wizard (abjurer) with reach spell
dwarven cleric of Takhisis - channeling positive
elven druid of storms

The monk player really liked dragon style. He got hit around 45% but crushed low level threats like goblins and skeletons with dragon style. He did not use stunning fist as often as he thought and would probably retrain it out next level

The fighter hit often but did weak damage without power attack. Her strength was only +1 mod so many times weak monsters like goblins would still be standing after a hit. The agile did not make as much of an impact as we thought it would since it made her +2 to hit, +4 with flank and so second attacks missed often due to poor rolls and she ended up power attacking often.

The cleric and druid suffered from the identical problem of having to heal so often that it took up the majority of their time in combat. They really disliked having to spend so much time healing.

The wizard player didn't complain but stuck to electric spark so he could hit two creatures. He was not happy as even poor rolls of 5 or 6 by goblins making saves allowed them to avoid critical failures on his reflex save rolls. Burning hands was a joke as on average it did 3 points of damage since the goblins easily made saves most of the time


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Main takeaways from the campaign so far

1) No one except the monk felt truly heroic. Most felt like they were barely getting by as optimized characters instead of feeling like they should be dominating trash mobs like goblins

2) Not gaining a caster feat at first level really hurt casters, especially the cleric as he took emblem instead of healing hands. All casters chose to be human as lack of a class feat at first level felt too rough. The wizard probably could have skipped it but oh well

3) The monster math is very overpowered. Goblins hit too easily with a +6 and thanks to the new AOO rules they went for flanks every time creating a +8 to hit. Monster reflex saves were crazy with a +5 to save it virtually guaranteed that a monster could not crit fail a reflex save unless it rolled a 1. Very poor designs for both monster offense and defense.

4) The encounters had to be too easy. Normal and easy encounters were no challenge and the party felt bored. When the encounters were bumped up they became TOO challenging and the party became frustrated with heal bot action and getting hammered. There never seemed to be a just right feel for the combats.

5) Afterwards everyone commented that next time we should start at third level and that way we can avoid the 10 minute work day syndrome. Only the monk really seemed to enjoy his character. Everyone else was clearly unimpressed.

6) The poor healing and healbot is definitely an issue but I think this is a combo of poor spells and inflated monster stats for attack and defense. If the goblins were brought down to +3 to hit and +2 on reflex saves then the combats would have been much smoother and the heal bot mode would not be needed. I could not imagine what it would be in a party not allowed to channel positive energy. Ouch


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There's definitely a healing problem. Jason mentioned it on the Twitch stream on Friday but sounded to me like he was leaning towards healers healing more. That's not necessarily what I - as someone who loves playing healers - wants. I'd much rather have reliable out of combat healing available independent of class (my personal preference is one hour healing rituals but rests, better first aid, or item spam are functional) and more dynamic in combat healing options (more healing spells cast as reactions would help).


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Arrow 17 said wrote:
1) No one except the monk felt truly heroic. Most felt like they were barely getting by as optimized characters instead of feeling like they should be dominating trash mobs like goblins

They really don't sound like optimized characters. A fighter using a sword short and shield but build with dex just seems like a poor idea and only getting 12 str if you are melee (even with finesse) is just asking for low damage output. A druid of the storm probably shouldn't use his healing in combat instead of doing damage most of the time, and how much healing would he even have? I do think the monsters numbers are a bit high atm, but playing suboptimal builds is not going to help with that issue. I wouldn't mind seeing the numbers you are suggesting (as I don't see the need to make goblins on par with PC's)

The cleric should be able to heal enough of the party with just his channels leaving him free to use bless or something else in the first round of the combat (but he is pretty much a support char atm).


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Nettah wrote:
Arrow 17 said wrote:
1) No one except the monk felt truly heroic. Most felt like they were barely getting by as optimized characters instead of feeling like they should be dominating trash mobs like goblins

They really don't sound like optimized characters. A fighter using a sword short and shield but build with dex just seems like a poor idea and only getting 12 str if you are melee (even with finesse) is just asking for low damage output. A druid of the storm probably shouldn't use his healing in combat instead of doing damage most of the time, and how much healing would he even have? I do think the monsters numbers are a bit high atm, but playing suboptimal builds is not going to help with that issue. I wouldn't mind seeing the numbers you are suggesting (as I don't see the need to make goblins on par with PC's)

The cleric should be able to heal enough of the party with just his channels leaving him free to use bless or something else in the first round of the combat (but he is pretty much a support char atm).

This.

The Dex Fighter could have been a Rogue w/ a Fighter mentality.
That'd be like doing Power Attack w/ every Strike (and slightly better damage actually even before Sneak Attack!)
There's the Rogue Feat to gain +2 AC and/or they could take shield proficiency or Toughness w/ a Human Feat (to take a General Feat).

This makes me wonder if there should be a suggestions/advice page in the rulebook that helps newcomers with character generation.


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Castilliano wrote:
Nettah wrote:
Arrow 17 said wrote:
1) No one except the monk felt truly heroic. Most felt like they were barely getting by as optimized characters instead of feeling like they should be dominating trash mobs like goblins

They really don't sound like optimized characters. A fighter using a sword short and shield but build with dex just seems like a poor idea and only getting 12 str if you are melee (even with finesse) is just asking for low damage output. A druid of the storm probably shouldn't use his healing in combat instead of doing damage most of the time, and how much healing would he even have? I do think the monsters numbers are a bit high atm, but playing suboptimal builds is not going to help with that issue. I wouldn't mind seeing the numbers you are suggesting (as I don't see the need to make goblins on par with PC's)

The cleric should be able to heal enough of the party with just his channels leaving him free to use bless or something else in the first round of the combat (but he is pretty much a support char atm).

This.

The Dex Fighter could have been a Rogue w/ a Fighter mentality.
That'd be like doing Power Attack w/ every Strike (and slightly better damage actually even before Sneak Attack!)
There's the Rogue Feat to gain +2 AC and/or they could take shield proficiency or Toughness w/ a Human Feat (to take a General Feat).

This makes me wonder if there should be a suggestions/advice page in the rulebook that helps newcomers with character generation.

So the only way to play a Dex fighter is to... play a completely different class.


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At what point does "you need to optimize and play just right or its not even fun" become a problem


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Suboptimal characters should still be able to take out a few goblins without too much trouble.

Grand Lodge

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I'm of the opinion that Monsters and skill DCs should be based on a character beginning with a 16 in the decisive ability and never assume magic is involved. Magic should make things easier, not be necessary to be competent.


Ohh I do agree that suboptimal characters should probably fare better than they do atm. It's just important to realize whether you are truly optimized or not when evaluating the data in the playtest.

MerlinCross said wrote:
So the only way to play a Dex fighter is to... play a completely different class.

Or go for ranged weapons, two weapons or perhaps do a single weapon with free-hand style. But if you go for 18 dex and 12 str, an agile weapon with shield and take power attack as a class feat, then you are kinda building the character in 3 different directions.

An agile weapon is likely better for double strike synergy or 3 attacks to actually get more than a +1 on the second attack. So are not really utilizing the agile trait if you have to spend an action to raise shield or often use Power Attack.
All melee damage with 12 str is going to suffer, so might as well try to engage with a ranged weapon and let the enemy come to you and then switch weapons instead.

I can imagine bulk being an issue with that build as well.

But I do think that in the final product suboptimal builds should be available without feeling incompetent. In the playtest is fine to test whether the more optimal builds can break the game.


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Nettah wrote:

Ohh I do agree that suboptimal characters should probably fare better than they do atm. It's just important to realize whether you are truly optimized or not when evaluating the data in the playtest.

MerlinCross said wrote:
So the only way to play a Dex fighter is to... play a completely different class.

Or go for ranged weapons, two weapons or perhaps do a single weapon with free-hand style. But if you go for 18 dex and 12 str, an agile weapon with shield and take power attack as a class feat, then you are kinda building the character in 3 different directions.

An agile weapon is likely better for double strike synergy or 3 attacks to actually get more than a +1 on the second attack. So are not really utilizing the agile trait if you have to spend an action to raise shield or often use Power Attack.
All melee damage with 12 str is going to suffer, so might as well try to engage with a ranged weapon and let the enemy come to you and then switch weapons instead.

I can imagine bulk being an issue with that build as well.

But I do think that in the final product suboptimal builds should be available without feeling incompetent. In the playtest is fine to test whether the more optimal builds can break the game.

K.

We're already trying to build to the point of "This is the one way to play a class/build. You are doing it wrong, build right".

In the playtest. Why do I even bother.


Why not try again, but with lowering the attack and defenses of the monsters ...see what difference it makes.


Goldenfoxx said wrote:
Why not try again, but with lowering the attack and defenses of the monsters ...see what difference it makes.

I think that might be done after the initial playtest is done and the data is interpreted.


I think the low number of class paths published so far makes a short sword + shield combo (Roman legionary before the spatha?) look weak right now. You can do it, fighter makes up for a bit and you might be able to do something with rogue dedication, but it's going to be worse than the currently supported paths.


MerlinCross wrote:
Nettah wrote:

Ohh I do agree that suboptimal characters should probably fare better than they do atm. It's just important to realize whether you are truly optimized or not when evaluating the data in the playtest.

MerlinCross said wrote:
So the only way to play a Dex fighter is to... play a completely different class.

Or go for ranged weapons, two weapons or perhaps do a single weapon with free-hand style. But if you go for 18 dex and 12 str, an agile weapon with shield and take power attack as a class feat, then you are kinda building the character in 3 different directions.

An agile weapon is likely better for double strike synergy or 3 attacks to actually get more than a +1 on the second attack. So are not really utilizing the agile trait if you have to spend an action to raise shield or often use Power Attack.
All melee damage with 12 str is going to suffer, so might as well try to engage with a ranged weapon and let the enemy come to you and then switch weapons instead.

I can imagine bulk being an issue with that build as well.

But I do think that in the final product suboptimal builds should be available without feeling incompetent. In the playtest is fine to test whether the more optimal builds can break the game.

K.

We're already trying to build to the point of "This is the one way to play a class/build. You are doing it wrong, build right".

In the playtest. Why do I even bother.

You were the poster who said the party was optimized though. So, of course, thinking they optimized made them feel weak when they weren't optimized.

Your Monk, on the other hand, sounded like he did mechanically spec for combat.

Recommendation:

Try a few more stable builds and remember that Goblins are high Reflex enemies.

For Fighter, suggest, if they want to go dex build to check out double strike. If they're more strength and want more defense to go longsword and shield with an 18 str and 16 dex with a Heavy Steel shield.

Potential 17 AC at level 1 with a 19 with raised shield. Hitting for 1d8+4 or 2d8+4 with a power attack and a +6 behind the swing or a shield raise is pretty slick!

For the Wizard, vs Goblins, drop a full action to hammer out a barrage of missiles. They don't miss and 3 bolts can half or more 3 goblins. A focus fire kills 1 for sure. 2 missiles and a Shield Cantrip work well also.


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HWalsh wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Nettah wrote:

Ohh I do agree that suboptimal characters should probably fare better than they do atm. It's just important to realize whether you are truly optimized or not when evaluating the data in the playtest.

MerlinCross said wrote:
So the only way to play a Dex fighter is to... play a completely different class.

Or go for ranged weapons, two weapons or perhaps do a single weapon with free-hand style. But if you go for 18 dex and 12 str, an agile weapon with shield and take power attack as a class feat, then you are kinda building the character in 3 different directions.

An agile weapon is likely better for double strike synergy or 3 attacks to actually get more than a +1 on the second attack. So are not really utilizing the agile trait if you have to spend an action to raise shield or often use Power Attack.
All melee damage with 12 str is going to suffer, so might as well try to engage with a ranged weapon and let the enemy come to you and then switch weapons instead.

I can imagine bulk being an issue with that build as well.

But I do think that in the final product suboptimal builds should be available without feeling incompetent. In the playtest is fine to test whether the more optimal builds can break the game.

K.

We're already trying to build to the point of "This is the one way to play a class/build. You are doing it wrong, build right".

In the playtest. Why do I even bother.

You were the poster who said the party was optimized though. So, of course, thinking they optimized made them feel weak when they weren't optimized.

Your Monk, on the other hand, sounded like he did mechanically spec for combat.

In the playtest, this is how we players identify trap concepts. For example, the character creation process hints that putting an 18 into the Key Ability Score optimizes a 1st-level character.

Fighter class says, "Key Ability: Strength or Dexterity." That implies that a Dex fighter is feasible. I don't know much about Dexterity fighters in Pathfinder 1st Edition. I once built a Dervish Dance fighter(lore warden)/oracle, but Dervish Dance is a special case. But Pathfinder 2nd Edtion offers weapon finesses as a weapon trait rather than a feat, so my first impression is that a high-Dexterity fighter could work with a rapier or shortsword or maybe a dogslicer on a goblin character. In addition, two-handed weapons don't appear to gain 1.5-Strength bonus, so Strength is harder to exploit. All this hints that Dex melee fighters ought to work, but none of the early feats say outright, "Hey, this is for a Dex melee fighter!"

The PF2 Power Attack has the opposite purpose of the PF1 Power Attack. In PF1 Power Attack exchanged excessive to-hit values for more damage. In PF2, Power Attack avoids a 2nd-attack penalty by combining two Strikes into one roll with some loss of damage, good for low to-hit builds. It is the wrong feat to combine with agile weapons, as Nettah said. But this is subtle and most playtesters won't have the system mastery to recognize this.

PF2 Power Attack needs a new name that better informs new players what builds it fits. I can't make a suggestion until I figure out what Power Attack is good for, because it appears pretty weak to me.


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Mathmuse wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Nettah wrote:

Ohh I do agree that suboptimal characters should probably fare better than they do atm. It's just important to realize whether you are truly optimized or not when evaluating the data in the playtest.

MerlinCross said wrote:
So the only way to play a Dex fighter is to... play a completely different class.

Or go for ranged weapons, two weapons or perhaps do a single weapon with free-hand style. But if you go for 18 dex and 12 str, an agile weapon with shield and take power attack as a class feat, then you are kinda building the character in 3 different directions.

An agile weapon is likely better for double strike synergy or 3 attacks to actually get more than a +1 on the second attack. So are not really utilizing the agile trait if you have to spend an action to raise shield or often use Power Attack.
All melee damage with 12 str is going to suffer, so might as well try to engage with a ranged weapon and let the enemy come to you and then switch weapons instead.

I can imagine bulk being an issue with that build as well.

But I do think that in the final product suboptimal builds should be available without feeling incompetent. In the playtest is fine to test whether the more optimal builds can break the game.

K.

We're already trying to build to the point of "This is the one way to play a class/build. You are doing it wrong, build right".

In the playtest. Why do I even bother.

You were the poster who said the party was optimized though. So, of course, thinking they optimized made them feel weak when they weren't optimized.

Your Monk, on the other hand, sounded like he did mechanically spec for combat.

In the playtest, this is how we players identify trap concepts. For example, the character creation process hints that putting an 18 into the Key Ability Score optimizes a 1st-level character.

Fighter class says, "Key Ability: Strength or Dexterity." That implies that a Dex...

Here is a really good feat chain for a "Single Weapon Duelist" type:

1st: Power Attack
2nd: Dueling Parry
4th: Rogue Dedication
6th: Rogue Dedication: Sneak Attacker
8th: Dueling Reposte
10th: Agile Grace
12th: Dueling Dance
14th: Stance Savant
16th: Rogue Training: Quickdraw
18th: Savage Critical
20th: Weapon Supremacy

Yes, at level 1 it isn't super great (power attack helps with DR though, and your damage will likely be poor without decent strength) but as you gain level your AC is going to go up, and when enemies crit miss you you will get attacks on them. You'll eventually get so good and so fast that enemies will stand no chance of hurting you and you'll be able to sneak attack them for an extra D6 every time to help with the lower strength.

This is NOT the only build, but you can't call it a trap, it isn't as easy as other games to do a dex duelist but the main draw (for me) for PF2 is that it isn't as "simple" as certain other systems. My choices in PF2 matter and make my character.


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Dex is not for melee. If you want to make a melee character you have high str. Should the fighter be more clear and say it's dex based only for ranged? I thought it was pretty clear to me. Str based shield and short sword would probably be fine.


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MerlinCross wrote:
Nettah wrote:

Ohh I do agree that suboptimal characters should probably fare better than they do atm. It's just important to realize whether you are truly optimized or not when evaluating the data in the playtest.

MerlinCross said wrote:
So the only way to play a Dex fighter is to... play a completely different class.

Or go for ranged weapons, two weapons or perhaps do a single weapon with free-hand style. But if you go for 18 dex and 12 str, an agile weapon with shield and take power attack as a class feat, then you are kinda building the character in 3 different directions.

An agile weapon is likely better for double strike synergy or 3 attacks to actually get more than a +1 on the second attack. So are not really utilizing the agile trait if you have to spend an action to raise shield or often use Power Attack.
All melee damage with 12 str is going to suffer, so might as well try to engage with a ranged weapon and let the enemy come to you and then switch weapons instead.

I can imagine bulk being an issue with that build as well.

But I do think that in the final product suboptimal builds should be available without feeling incompetent. In the playtest is fine to test whether the more optimal builds can break the game.

K.

We're already trying to build to the point of "This is the one way to play a class/build. You are doing it wrong, build right".

In the playtest. Why do I even bother.

In the current state of the game, I'm convinced the game would be more enjoyable if the character creation was reduced to a bunch of pre-generated optimized characters (for every classes and level), and the first 200+ pages of the book was an optional rule for character generation. With a big sign "there's a high risk to create an underpowered character using this method".

This is not an exaggeration. Some games (like Descent or Imperial Assault) only give pre-generated characters with no other creation method and they are just fine. There's not point in proposing a lot of customization when the game's math is conceived to allow only One True Build. Give the One True build to the players who don't want to go into math details, and make customization an optional rule for those who like numbers. This way it would be obvious for everyone: "Dex-fighters are meant to be played by professionals, don't try this at home".


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This actually reminds me of the time I was playing AD&D and we rolled "evil" characters and went on adventures against good aligned creatures and the like.

What made it different was our GM did something different - he did not adjust the difficulty of the encounter but made our enemies work in co-operation and as a team.

Advancing into a dungeon dealing with well thought out ambushes traps, archers targeting spellcasters; and went we went out the dungeon to heal - they did likewise strengthing their own defences against raiding during the night so we could not rest for spells.

The good 'party' was 'sub optimal' as well; no casters only fighters & rogues and 1 captain with a magical weapon against our pary of a cleric, mage, fighter and a thief

-----

In much the same way I have noticed from watching a couple of playtests is they all struggled initially; but they become more efficient when they started to do things like raise shield+shield block flanking and using the terrain to their advantage they progressed much faster

It was no longer just 'I charge in with my sword raised and slice off a couple of heads' but - hold on... how can we work things to our advantage.


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I appreciate the feedback so far. I guess suboptimal means different things to different people. I did not think that the Dex fighter would have had such problems because the bonus to hit was the same and she had a very high ac and very good mobility at 30 feet. These things did not matter since the monsters had a very high to hit roll.

When I say optimal I mean that the characters had enough stats to effect to hit rolls. The druid never had a chance to use offensive spells because the healing was needed too much. The offensive spells were viewed (correctly IMHO) as being ineffective in taking the monsters down as their reflex saves were crazy good! (+5 for a level zero monster is unbelievably high!). The fighter had +6 to hit but did almost no damage outside of power attack making a finesse fighter a very bad option. The shield defense did not make up for the lack of offense because it could only absorb weak damage and was ruined after 2 hits. She wasn't strong enough to carry multiple shields without ruining her speed factor and that was the main reason she took an elf as our previous adventure in the pre-generated module really pointed to a high negative for the fighter in heavy armor.

I have to say it was very dissapointing all in all. It pointed out alot of flaws in PF2 to me. Mainly that you have to create totally optimized characters (Str fighters, not dex) and even then they work out with moderate, not great results. I was not a fan of first level characters in PF1 gaining a +15 to spot checks. I am also not in favor of optimal characters barely getting by and suboptimal characters greatly dragging down the group. There needs to be a middle ground somewhere and so far PF2 does not support that


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Boli32 wrote:

This actually reminds me of the time I was playing AD&D and we rolled "evil" characters and went on adventures against good aligned creatures and the like.

What made it different was our GM did something different - he did not adjust the difficulty of the encounter but made our enemies work in co-operation and as a team.

Advancing into a dungeon dealing with well thought out ambushes traps, archers targeting spellcasters; and went we went out the dungeon to heal - they did likewise strengthing their own defences against raiding during the night so we could not rest for spells.

The good 'party' was 'sub optimal' as well; no casters only fighters & rogues and 1 captain with a magical weapon against our pary of a cleric, mage, fighter and a thief

-----

In much the same way I have noticed from watching a couple of playtests is they all struggled initially; but they become more efficient when they started to do things like raise shield+shield block flanking and using the terrain to their advantage they progressed much faster

It was no longer just 'I charge in with my sword raised and slice off a couple of heads' but - hold on... how can we work things to our advantage.

The raise shield did not work. One hit seemed to go right through the shield and damage it. The second hit would have destroyed the shield and the character did not take a back up because she would have been too encumbered

The other factor was that without AOO's the monsters eaily ganged up on the PC's for flanks and there was not much that the PC's could do about it. Mobs are incredibly deadly as the globins rose to +8 to hit and therefore the second attack by them was feasable at +3.


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The Once and Future Kai wrote:
There's definitely a healing problem. Jason mentioned it on the Twitch stream on Friday but sounded to me like he was leaning towards healers healing more. That's not necessarily what I - as someone who loves playing healers - wants. I'd much rather have reliable out of combat healing available independent of class (my personal preference is one hour healing rituals but rests, better first aid, or item spam are functional) and more dynamic in combat healing options (more healing spells cast as reactions would help).

That was not the issue for my group. They were suffering such damage in combat that the cleric and druid were relegated to healing as often as possible. The druid didn't bother with his acid splash and burning hands spells were not effective against the goblins due to very high saves for a level zero mob.


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Yes, I am extremely dissapointed by the way that the game is balanced around optimized PCs to the extent that a Dex fighter becomes a major party flaw.


Power attack is really the only thing that was particularly sub-optimal about the fighter, it was working against the advantages of an agile weapon. Reactive shield would have been a fun and flavorful choice


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Shield Block is not perfect - but a heavy steel shield will reduce the amount damage taken by 10 until you repair it - but even without this blocking its it still -2 to be hit.

I suspect I will badger my GM only to have a shield be dented on a Critical strike or something; they are afterall designed to take blows.


Arrow17 wrote:

In other threads I noticed a lot of complaints about TPK's and the absolute need for clerics as healers. I didn't see the issues in the first published module as my players made it through with 2 players being knocked out but no deaths. So I figured to run a party through a low level campaign set in the Dragon Lance world. I had the party as evil aligned PC's but left the choice to channel positive as well as negative. I just didn't want the healing domain to skew results. My group came up with the following

Human monk strength based with dragon style and stunning fist
elven fighter AC19 finesse based with shortsword - feat power attack
human wizard (abjurer) with reach spell
dwarven cleric of Takhisis - channeling positive
elven druid of storms

The monk player really liked dragon style. He got hit around 45% but crushed low level threats like goblins and skeletons with dragon style. He did not use stunning fist as often as he thought and would probably retrain it out next level

The fighter hit often but did weak damage without power attack. Her strength was only +1 mod so many times weak monsters like goblins would still be standing after a hit. The agile did not make as much of an impact as we thought it would since it made her +2 to hit, +4 with flank and so second attacks missed often due to poor rolls and she ended up power attacking often.

The cleric and druid suffered from the identical problem of having to heal so often that it took up the majority of their time in combat. They really disliked having to spend so much time healing.

The wizard player didn't complain but stuck to electric spark so he could hit two creatures. He was not happy as even poor rolls of 5 or 6 by goblins making saves allowed them to avoid critical failures on his reflex save rolls. Burning hands was a joke as on average it did 3 points of damage since the goblins easily made saves most of the time

I would say all this stands and falls with the example of the easy mobs being goblins. Goblins have changed a lot and are now more threatening than before. Why is that?

1. No more small weapons
2. Lots of PF1 ranged combat feats are "autogranted"
3. Bows are now very good against low armor

However their AC has dropped and they are easier to hit as well.
Their initiative bonus has been cut by 5.

Lets look at orcs for comparisson:

1. Their base damage has been cut in half
2. Fewer critical hits against decently armored PC's (AC 15+)
3. Same AC, same HP

I would argue that players with raised HP, damage reducing shields and a more flexible weapon choice with reduced feat taxes should be quite reasonably able to deal with this all. But goblins have changed and that is something to keep in mind for DM's as well as for players. In general it should be considered (at the moment) while creating characters that level 0 monsters have +6 to hit.


Boli32 wrote:

Shield Block is not perfect - but a heavy steel shield will reduce the amount damage taken by 10 until you repair it - but even without this blocking its it still -2 to be hit.

I suspect I will badger my GM only to have a shield be dented on a Critical strike or something; they are afterall designed to take blows.

I like that, on a crit the shield takes 1 dent.


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Vic Ferrari wrote:
Boli32 wrote:

Shield Block is not perfect - but a heavy steel shield will reduce the amount damage taken by 10 until you repair it - but even without this blocking its it still -2 to be hit.

I suspect I will badger my GM only to have a shield be dented on a Critical strike or something; they are afterall designed to take blows.

I like that, on a crit the shield takes 1 dent.

That would make shields practically indestructible (under current rules) if the wearer decides to preserve it as you shield block after damage has been rolled.


I'm wondering if the casters should have maybe targeted the goblin's Will or Fort rather than their Reflex.

Dex melee fighter is a trap in 2e I agree, but it was a trap in 1e too wasn't it?

There are quite a few Will targeting spells I think


vestris wrote:
I would say all this stands and falls with the example of the easy mobs being goblins. Goblins have changed a lot and are now more threatening than before. Why is that?

Good attack bonus. Can make full attacks. Can flank easily with little risk of provoking AoO.


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Azih wrote:

I'm wondering if the casters should have maybe targeted the goblin's Will or Fort rather than their Reflex.

Dex melee fighter is a trap in 2e I agree, but it was a trap in 1e too wasn't it?

There are quite a few Will targeting spells I think

I would not say it's a trap.

A trap requires something to look good or enticing. Dex melee on a Fighter chassis does not look good.

I would think that fully reading the Fighter makes it plain that the key Ability is variable for the melee versus ranged builds.

The Fighter makes no secret of its predisposition to melee strength builds, because it gets increased proficiency with heavy armors but not light armors.

There is only one class in the 2e that has good dex based melee combat, and that is a Rogue.


Matthew Downie wrote:
vestris wrote:
I would say all this stands and falls with the example of the easy mobs being goblins. Goblins have changed a lot and are now more threatening than before. Why is that?
Good attack bonus. Can make full attacks. Can flank easily with little risk of provoking AoO.

That is true for all monsters and players though which I did not refer to it. Goblin scuttle helps with flanking though.


HWalsh wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Nettah wrote:

Ohh I do agree that suboptimal characters should probably fare better than they do atm. It's just important to realize whether you are truly optimized or not when evaluating the data in the playtest.

MerlinCross said wrote:
So the only way to play a Dex fighter is to... play a completely different class.

Or go for ranged weapons, two weapons or perhaps do a single weapon with free-hand style. But if you go for 18 dex and 12 str, an agile weapon with shield and take power attack as a class feat, then you are kinda building the character in 3 different directions.

An agile weapon is likely better for double strike synergy or 3 attacks to actually get more than a +1 on the second attack. So are not really utilizing the agile trait if you have to spend an action to raise shield or often use Power Attack.
All melee damage with 12 str is going to suffer, so might as well try to engage with a ranged weapon and let the enemy come to you and then switch weapons instead.

I can imagine bulk being an issue with that build as well.

But I do think that in the final product suboptimal builds should be available without feeling incompetent. In the playtest is fine to test whether the more optimal builds can break the game.

K.

We're already trying to build to the point of "This is the one way to play a class/build. You are doing it wrong, build right".

In the playtest. Why do I even bother.

You were the poster who said the party was optimized though. So, of course, thinking they optimized made them feel weak when they weren't optimized.

Your Monk, on the other hand, sounded like he did mechanically spec for combat.

Recommendation:

Try a few more stable builds and remember that Goblins are high Reflex enemies.

For Fighter, suggest, if they want to go dex build to check out double strike. If they're more strength and want more defense to go longsword and shield with an 18 str and 16 dex with a Heavy Steel
...

I think you're mistaking me with someone else.


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vestris wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
vestris wrote:
I would say all this stands and falls with the example of the easy mobs being goblins. Goblins have changed a lot and are now more threatening than before. Why is that?
Good attack bonus. Can make full attacks. Can flank easily with little risk of provoking AoO.
That is true for all monsters...

Yes. That means there's now virtually no such thing as a non-threatening monster for a level 1 PC.


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Syndrous wrote:
Azih wrote:

I'm wondering if the casters should have maybe targeted the goblin's Will or Fort rather than their Reflex.

Dex melee fighter is a trap in 2e I agree, but it was a trap in 1e too wasn't it?

There are quite a few Will targeting spells I think

I would not say it's a trap.

A trap requires something to look good or enticing. Dex melee on a Fighter chassis does not look good.

I would think that fully reading the Fighter makes it plain that the key Ability is variable for the melee versus ranged builds.

The Fighter makes no secret of its predisposition to melee strength builds, because it gets increased proficiency with heavy armors but not light armors.

There is only one class in the 2e that has good dex based melee combat, and that is a Rogue.

A Dexterity-based martial class greatly benefits from having a source of damage besides Strength, such as a rogue's Sneak Attack, a ranger's Favored Enemy bonus, or a magus's Spellstrike. It is possible with just a feat, such as Dervish Dance. Of these, only the rogue's Sneak Attack exists in Pathfinder 2nd Edition, so Syndrous is right.

I have also seen dex-based Fighter Lore Wardens who opt for combat maneuvers rather than damage, but combat maneuvers are Athletics-based in PF2.

I suspect that the fighter player in Arrow17's original post thought that the double damage from Power Attack would serve an a source of damage besides Strength. Power Attack in Pathfinder 1st Edition can work that way, though poorly at low levels. It looks stronger at 1st level in Pathfinder 2nd Edition, offering almost double damage. However, divided by the two actions it requires, it is not more damage per action. That is the trap.

Action economy is more important in Pathfinder 2nd Edition.

Syndrous's "fully reading the Fighter" is reading between the lines via mastery of the new system. I have no problem with requiring system mastery for building powerful characters, but I think the fighter class needs more clues for the beginners to avoid weak characters. Maybe it should have dedicated lines like the bard's muses or the druid's orders. Or maybe ranger should be the obvious dex-based martial and figher should drop Dexterity from its key abilities.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Yes. That means there's now virtually no such thing as a non-threatening monster for a level 1 PC.

Since a monster has to be -2 levels for an equal number of monsters to be a Hard encounter, there should be plenty of monsters that don't hit very well. The problem is, there is no -2 level monsters for level 1 characters.

I think Paizo should add 2 levels to all monsters without changing their statistics or xp values. That would manage expectations - a PC that is now compared to a same level monster would in this variant be fighting a monster 2 levels above. Suddenly the level of challenge makes sense.

Incidentally, this would also allow 1st level characters to fight level -3 opposition - the new level zero monsters, two levels under the current level zero monsters.


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Starfox wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Yes. That means there's now virtually no such thing as a non-threatening monster for a level 1 PC.

Since a monster has to be -2 levels for an equal number of monsters to be a Hard encounter, there should be plenty of monsters that don't hit very well. The problem is, there is no -2 level monsters for level 1 characters.

I think Paizo should add 2 levels to all monsters without changing their statistics or xp values. That would manage expectations - a PC that is now compared to a same level monster would in this variant be fighting a monster 2 levels above. Suddenly the level of challenge makes sense.

Incidentally, this would also allow 1st level characters to fight level -3 opposition - the new level zero monsters, two levels under the current level zero monsters.

These mortals, they shun the glorious power of the negative.

Leave the monster levels unshifted, but have monsters of level 0 that are 71% as strong as 1st-level monsters, monsters of level -1 that are 50% as strong as 1st-level monsters, and monsters of level -2 that are 35% as strong as 1st-level monsters. That works fine with the experience point values on table 3, Hazard Experience, on page 13 of the Playtest Bestiary. A non-guard dog could be a level -2 hazard, half as dangerous as a level 0 guard dog, and earn 15 xp for a party that has to deal with it ("Give it a steak and pet it." "All I have are dried rations.")


I do not understand how power attack is a poor feat choice at level 1. If the dex fighter swings twice, her attack is +6/+2. Against a goblin she needs to roll a 10/12 respectively for 1D6+1 damager per hit. With power attack she only needed one roll at +10 for 2D6+1. Her strength is so low that the second attack is practically meaningless at this level and she can crit on 18-20 with the power attack attack for 4D6+1. Where as the second attack can only crit on a natural 20. I still think power attack is a valid choice for this build at level 1. It may need to be retrained later but that is much further down the road


Arrow17 wrote:
I do not understand how power attack is a poor feat choice at level 1. If the dex fighter swings twice, her attack is +6/+2. Against a goblin she needs to roll a 10/12 respectively for 1D6+1 damager per hit. With power attack she only needed one roll at +10 for 2D6+1. Her strength is so low that the second attack is practically meaningless at this level and she can crit on 18-20 with the power attack attack for 4D6+1. Where as the second attack can only crit on a natural 20. I still think power attack is a valid choice for this build at level 1. It may need to be retrained later but that is much further down the road

Power Attack is an improvement, a 9.4% increase in damage per turn against AC 14. But it is a weak improvement that does not make up for the low strength. The extra damage is less than adding +0.5 to her weapon damage dice, assuming half damages accumulated.

The elf fighter would do better with Double Slice and two shortswords. She would lose the option of blocking with a shield in her other hand, but she could use her third action for a third attack, which would average 1.35 damage per swing. I looked at whether Double Strike with shortsword and shield spikes would be an option, but since shield spikes are not a finesse weapon, that option was bad.

The sad truth is that the 1st-level fighter class feats don't offer anything good for a Dexterity-based melee fighter. One interesting rule variant would be if the elf fighter could take Weapon Familiarity (Elf) as her fighter class feat. That would allow her to use an elven curve blade for better damage than Power Attack with a shortsword. Or she can switch to a rapier, not quite as good as an elven curve blade, but it does not need a feat to beat Power Attack with a shortsword.

Home Training Imaginary Feat 1
Fighter
Requirements Your ancestry has a 1st-level Weapon Familiarity feat for which you qualify.
You learned fighting among your people. You gain the 1st-level Weapon Familiarity feat for your ancestry.

My calculations

Two Strikes with Shortsword
(50%+40%)(1d6+1) + (15%+5%)(2d6+2) = (1.3)(1d6+1) = 5.85 damage

Power Attack with Shortsword
(50%)(2d6+1) + (15%)(4d6+2) = (0.8)(2d6+1) = 6.4 damage

Double Strike with Two Shortswords
(50%+50%)(1d6+1) + (15%+15%)(2d6+2) = 7.2 damage

Double Strike with Shortsword and Main-Gauche
(50%)(1d6+1) + (15%)(2d6+2) + (50%)(1d4+1) + (15%)(2d4+2) = 6.4 damage

Double Strike with Shortsword and Heavy Shield Boss
(50%)(1d6+1) + (15%)(2d6+2) + (45%)(1d6+1) + (5%)(2d6+2) = (1.35)(1d6+1) = 6.075 damage

Two Strikes with Elven Curve Blade
(50%+35%)(1d8+1) + (15%+5%)(2d8+2) = (1.25)(1d8+1) = 6.875 damage

Two Strikes with Rapier
(50%+35%)(1d6+1) + (15%+5%)(2d6+2+1d8) = (1.25)(1d6+1) + (0.2)(1d8) = 6.525 damage

Power Attack with Rapier
(50%)(2d6+1) + (15%)(4d6+2+1d8) = (0.8)(2d6+1) + (0.15)(1d8) = 7.075 damage

Third Strike with Shortsword
(20%)(1d6+1) + (5%)(2d6+2) = 1.35 damage


Arrow17 said wrote:
I do not understand how power attack is a poor feat choice at level 1. If the dex fighter swings twice, her attack is +6/+2. Against a goblin she needs to roll a 10/12 respectively for 1D6+1 damager per hit. With power attack she only needed one roll at +10 for 2D6+1. Her strength is so low that the second attack is practically meaningless at this level and she can crit on 18-20 with the power attack attack for 4D6+1. Where as the second attack can only crit on a natural 20. I still think power attack is a valid choice for this build at level 1. It may need to be retrained later but that is much further down the road

Power Attack is a great level 1 feat. The attack however doesn't scale as well with a low damage die weapons, like all agile weapons are. And by using power attack and raise shield the agile trait doesn't ever have any impact.

Dark Archive

A D6+1 looks always underwhelming if someone else deals D12+3 or D12+4 damage per attack.
But you truly do not need to be optimized for the Playtest - because if you really optimize, everything becomes a cake walk (I played 7 times, with groups of semi-optimized or optimized characters, and the optimized runs were quite boring.)


Arrow17 wrote:
If the dex fighter swings twice, her attack is +6/+2. Against a goblin she needs to roll a 10/12 respectively for 1D6+1 damager per hit. With power attack she only needed one roll at +10 for 2D6+1.

Shouldn't that be:

If the dex fighter swings twice and her attack is +6/+2, against a goblin with AC 14 she needs to roll an 8/12 respectively for 1D6+1 damage per hit. With power attack she only needed one roll at +6 for 2D6+1.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Mathmuse wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Nettah wrote:

Ohh I do agree that suboptimal characters should probably fare better than they do atm. It's just important to realize whether you are truly optimized or not when evaluating the data in the playtest.

MerlinCross said wrote:
So the only way to play a Dex fighter is to... play a completely different class.

Or go for ranged weapons, two weapons or perhaps do a single weapon with free-hand style. But if you go for 18 dex and 12 str, an agile weapon with shield and take power attack as a class feat, then you are kinda building the character in 3 different directions.

An agile weapon is likely better for double strike synergy or 3 attacks to actually get more than a +1 on the second attack. So are not really utilizing the agile trait if you have to spend an action to raise shield or often use Power Attack.
All melee damage with 12 str is going to suffer, so might as well try to engage with a ranged weapon and let the enemy come to you and then switch weapons instead.

I can imagine bulk being an issue with that build as well.

But I do think that in the final product suboptimal builds should be available without feeling incompetent. In the playtest is fine to test whether the more optimal builds can break the game.

K.

We're already trying to build to the point of "This is the one way to play a class/build. You are doing it wrong, build right".

In the playtest. Why do I even bother.

You were the poster who said the party was optimized though. So, of course, thinking they optimized made them feel weak when they weren't optimized.

Your Monk, on the other hand, sounded like he did mechanically spec for combat.

In the playtest, this is how we players identify trap concepts. For example, the character creation process hints that putting an 18 into the Key Ability Score optimizes a 1st-level character.

Fighter class says, "Key Ability: Strength or Dexterity." That implies that a Dex...

Power Attack is very situational, and best served with a high damage dice weapon, it is the inverse of what it used to be, you now want it against high AC targets were the follow on attacks are marginal, or the target has DR, either via shield blocking or some other method. It's PF1e Vital Strike basically. Betting the farm on one roll e (and for high strength characters, or someone with a magic weapon it becomes obsolete fairly fast)

Scarab Sages

Those of you saying that the monsters are to powerful, do me a favor and go play the level 7 and higher adventures, try out Somber Hall, 4 level 7 characters mopped the floor with the monsters when we played it. Our Paladin was hitting with a Nat 4 and only getting hit with a Nat 19 for most of the fighting. the immense power of that party really surprised me.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Boli32 wrote:

This actually reminds me of the time I was playing AD&D and we rolled "evil" characters and went on adventures against good aligned creatures and the like.

What made it different was our GM did something different - he did not adjust the difficulty of the encounter but made our enemies work in co-operation and as a team.

Advancing into a dungeon dealing with well thought out ambushes traps, archers targeting spellcasters; and went we went out the dungeon to heal - they did likewise strengthing their own defences against raiding during the night so we could not rest for spells.

The good 'party' was 'sub optimal' as well; no casters only fighters & rogues and 1 captain with a magical weapon against our pary of a cleric, mage, fighter and a thief

-----

In much the same way I have noticed from watching a couple of playtests is they all struggled initially; but they become more efficient when they started to do things like raise shield+shield block flanking and using the terrain to their advantage they progressed much faster

It was no longer just 'I charge in with my sword raised and slice off a couple of heads' but - hold on... how can we work things to our advantage.

why was intelligent monsters acting intelligently novel? Team work, ambushes, traps, deception etc should be standard, Evil is not stupid.


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Rob Godfrey wrote:
Boli32 wrote:

This actually reminds me of the time I was playing AD&D and we rolled "evil" characters and went on adventures against good aligned creatures and the like.

What made it different was our GM did something different - he did not adjust the difficulty of the encounter but made our enemies work in co-operation and as a team.

Advancing into a dungeon dealing with well thought out ambushes traps, archers targeting spellcasters; and went we went out the dungeon to heal - they did likewise strengthing their own defences against raiding during the night so we could not rest for spells.

The good 'party' was 'sub optimal' as well; no casters only fighters & rogues and 1 captain with a magical weapon against our pary of a cleric, mage, fighter and a thief

-----

In much the same way I have noticed from watching a couple of playtests is they all struggled initially; but they become more efficient when they started to do things like raise shield+shield block flanking and using the terrain to their advantage they progressed much faster

It was no longer just 'I charge in with my sword raised and slice off a couple of heads' but - hold on... how can we work things to our advantage.

why was intelligent monsters acting intelligently novel? Team work, ambushes, traps, deception etc should be standard, Evil is not stupid.

Evil isn't necessarily stupid, but they also don't work and play well with others. An evil character is not going to truly put themselves at risk to save an ally. Evil is not the opposition team in a game.

Evil tends to be opportunistic and antagonistic to each other as well. So if there is a big bad in charge of two baddies, as is often the case, and baddie one is going to flank the enemy as part of his brilliant plan, baddie number two has a lot of things to consider.

If baddie one succeeds then he'll look better in the eyes of the big bad. That means that baddie two will have less power and prestige. If, however, baddie one's plan fails and baddie two salvages the day then baddie two advances. Even better, baddie one might die, which would be better for baddie two. Take out the competition.

Baddie one though is aware that baddie two is looking for an opportunity to make him look bad, or get him killed, so is scheming against baddie two. They are likely only working together because they see mutual benefit. The second one of them isn't useful to the other they're going to get dumped like a sack of potatoes.


Luceon wrote:
Those of you saying that the monsters are to powerful, do me a favor and go play the level 7 and higher adventures, try out Somber Hall, 4 level 7 characters mopped the floor with the monsters when we played it. Our Paladin was hitting with a Nat 4 and only getting hit with a Nat 19 for most of the fighting. the immense power of that party really surprised me.

I have not run that chapter yet, but reading Doomsday Dawn, I see that most of the enemies are creature level 3, 4, and 5. That chapter is a test of what happens against large numbers of lower-level enemies.

My mathematics has been telling me that the power increase per level is too high, so that four creatures 3 levels below the party level (level 4 vs. a 7th-level party) are not a challenge. Thank you for the information about Affair at Sombrefall Hall; it confirms my math.

This has no effect on The Lost Star or Arrow17's Dragon Lance encounter, since the creatures are mostly at the same level as the party.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Whatever the math, if a tabletop RPG punishes combat suboptimal characters because they decided to invest points in Role Play abilities/skills/feats rather than combat, this is not a tabletop RPG anymore. It's a stupid videogame. IMHO.

The whole PF2 idea is to lower the exponential progression of characters so that supposedly suboptimal characters can matter in combat anyway.
Let's make it happen.


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Frencois wrote:
Whatever the math, if a tabletop RPG punishes combat suboptimal characters because they decided to invest points in Role Play abilities/skills/feats rather than combat, this is not a tabletop RPG anymore. It's a stupid videogame. IMHO.

The definition of "suboptimal" is that it fights worse than optimal. Being punished in combat is inevitable. The difference is whether the believeable suboptimal character is a little worse in combat (10% less effective) or a lot worse in combat (50% less effective). If only the one true build for a class can pull its weight in combat, then the system fails at customizing characters of that class.

Some of my most recent Pathfinder characters have been a high-Dex fighter/oracle, a wilderness-survival gnome barbarian, and a gunslinging bloodrager. These are not optimal builds. But they were effective builds. For exampe, the wilderness-survival barbarian was in a trapped-in-the-wilderness campaign and she could use her Raging Leap and Raging Climbing abilities in combat, too, to get around terrain obstacles for better tactics. When an enemy cast Black Tentacles on the more vulnerable party members, she was able to leap in and lift those characters out of the trap. My suboptimal characters were also well imagined as people and fun for roleplaying.

However, as I pointed out in my Sunday, Sept 16, comment, a high-Dex fighter is not necessarily suboptimal in Pathfinder 1st Edition, and the Pathfider Playtest material gave no warning (short of system mastery) that it is suboptimal in Pathfinder 2nd Edition.

Frencois wrote:

The whole PF2 idea is to lower the exponential progression of characters so that supposedly suboptimal characters can matter in combat anyway.

Let's make it happen.

I love to talk about exponential progression (see The Mind-Boggling Math of Exponential Leveling). That progression mattered in Luceon's 7th-level adventure, but I don't see its relevance in Arrow17's 1st-level adventure. First level means no progression yet, exponential or otherwise. Could you please elaborate? If the elaboration would be out of place here, perhaps we can discuss it in the Mind-Boggling thread.

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