Special Retributive Strike Testing - Alternatives:


Classes


3 people marked this as a favorite.

So today I tested a couple Ret Strike variants:

Setting:
The setting for these was the same. The combat takes place in a 5 square wide by 4 square tall room with doors at all 4 sides. No difficult terriain.

Party makeup:
The Quartet - Fighter, Cleric, Mage, Paladin. They are level 3. The Paladins were all identical - Longword and Heavy Steel Shield, Half-Plate - Human - Diety's Domain (Iomedae), Warded Touch, Fleet (through human feat) Stat Array - 18/12/10/10/12/16 - AC 18 / TAC 16 - 20/18 w/ Shield up. To remove Randomness the Paladin's initiative number was right in between enemies so half went before and half went after. Always.

Enemies: (3 waves)
Wave 1: 5 Goblin Commandos, CR1 - Set as melee enemies.
Wave 2: 2 Skeletal Champions, CR2
Wave 3: 3 Gnolls (CR1) and 1 Skeltal Champion (CR2)

Test 1:
Standard Ret Strike - Control Test

The Party acted in a proper standard manner. Highly mobile save for when facing the S. Champions who have AoO. Casters were instructed to move away from enemies that engaged them in melee. Enemies were set to stay mobile as well. So as to give Ret Strike the maximum possible advantage the enemies were set to not attack the Paladin unless struck by him and to not avoid the Paladin's threatened area. PCs and NPCs were set to not "set up" a Ret Strike for the Paladin intentionally and to play the encounter as they normally would.

Result:
AoO: 9 times
RS: 2 times

Test 2:
Ret Strike variant - The Paladin could take a step to close on any enemy who struck an ally within 10 feet as part of the Ret Strike.

Party behavior was consistent with Control Test.

Result:
AoO: 7 times
RS: 6 times

Ret strike showed a tremendously higher number of fires. Players liked being able to be more active. Combat "felt faster" to them.

Test 3:
Ret Strike variant - The Ret Strike was replaced with "Smite Evil" players could smite evil as outlined in my previous post.

Paladins were far more aggressive than in the control test.

Result: AoO 5 times
RS: Not applicable
Smite Evil was used 6 times.

Players liked Smite Evil. Feeling more "bursty and "heroic" combat was in general much faster.

-----

Ending notes:

Players generally felt apathetic toward standard Ret Strike. Generally saying it was OK but not great. They liked Ret Strike Variant 1 a lot and felt more active than in the control test. They liked Smite evil a lot as well, finding it more fun, combining it with Weapon Surge was very powerful. When asked which was the better variant - of ther 12 players:

Standard Ret Strike: 0
Variant 1: 7
Variant 2 (Smite Evil): 5


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Thanks for this, I to found Ret Strike far to passive an ability, especially given the lack of offensive options (excluding worship Iomadae and take a Domain for Weapon Surge), Paladins to me are anything but passive defenders, they are Divine Judgement and Wrath, and Smite made them feel like that.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I personally like the idea of Paladins as defenders of the meek instead of divine fury (save that for Warpriest), especially since "defender of the meek" is a role that at least gives some logic as to why Paladins must be LG.

But Retributive Strike is in a weird place where if it is working correctly you never use it.

I definitely think it needs a buff, and being able to step 10 feet and use it sounds amazing.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
MaxAstro wrote:

I personally like the idea of Paladins as defenders of the meek instead of divine fury (save that for Warpriest), especially since "defender of the meek" is a role that at least gives some logic as to why Paladins must be LG.

But Retributive Strike is in a weird place where if it is working correctly you never use it.

I definitely think it needs a buff, and being able to step 10 feet and use it sounds amazing.

Well in this test you could only move 5 ft, but still.

I don't mind them being defenders of the meek, I just wish that was an option instead of the requirement. It is, as it stands, impossible to be a wandering Paladin in PF2. They have to have constant allies to function.


First off, cool that you tried to do some statistical testing to examine the game-play.

HWalsh wrote:


Test 1:
Standard Ret Strike - Control Test

The Party acted in a proper standard manner. Highly mobile save for when facing the S. Champions who have AoO. Casters were instructed to move away from enemies that engaged them in melee. Enemies were set to stay mobile as well. So as to give Ret Strike the maximum possible advantage the enemies were set to not attack the Paladin unless struck by him and to not avoid the Paladin's threatened area. PCs and NPCs were set to not "set up" a Ret Strike for the Paladin intentionally and to play the encounter as they normally would.

Emphasis mine.

This is the part that I would have handled differently. RS is a new mechanic Like many mechanics in PF1, it took a while for the player base to becomes skilled in their use and exploitation. A perfect example is when players realized they could use Oracles to raise the HD on Color Spray or see through Obscuring Mist and thus spam the the battlefield with it.

I would recommend you run a battle where the PCs attempt to exploit RS. I would also have the NPCs react accordingly. The point is you want to see what type of impact RS has when it is used to its fullest capabilities and the NPCs try to react to it. RS is about more than just how often it hits but how it can shape the combat. It may take the community some amount of time to really zero in on how to exploit RS.

Regardless, I'm not advocating or supporting RS as the pivot for the Paladin, I'm just commenting on the testing parameters.


N N 959 wrote:

First off, cool that you tried to do some statistical testing to examine the game-play.

HWalsh wrote:


Test 1:
Standard Ret Strike - Control Test

The Party acted in a proper standard manner. Highly mobile save for when facing the S. Champions who have AoO. Casters were instructed to move away from enemies that engaged them in melee. Enemies were set to stay mobile as well. So as to give Ret Strike the maximum possible advantage the enemies were set to not attack the Paladin unless struck by him and to not avoid the Paladin's threatened area. PCs and NPCs were set to not "set up" a Ret Strike for the Paladin intentionally and to play the encounter as they normally would.

Emphasis mine.

This is the part that I would have handled differently. RS is a new mechanic Like many mechanics in PF1, it took a while for the player base to becomes skilled in their use and exploitation. A perfect example is when players realized they could use Oracles to raise the HD on Color Spray or see through Obscuring Mist and thus spam the the battlefield with it.

I would recommend you run a battle where the PCs attempt to exploit RS. I would also have the NPCs react accordingly. The point is you want to see what type of impact RS has when it is used to its fullest capabilities and the NPCs try to react to it. RS is about more than just how often it hits but how it can shape the combat. It may take the community some amount of time to really zero in on how to exploit RS.

Regardless, I'm not advocating or supporting RS as the pivot for the Paladin, I'm just commenting on the testing parameters.

I've done a test where enemies avoided the Paladin's threatened area. I reduced Ret Strike use to 0.

I have tried having players set it up. It doesn't work well.


HWalsh wrote:


I've done a test where enemies avoided the Paladin's threatened area. I reduced Ret Strike use to 0.

There are a lot situations where what would not be possible. For example in a hallway. Also, the type of creature. Lots of small mobile creatures are going to play differently than one large one.

So the circumstance you run the test will affect whether that's possible.

Quote:
I have tried having players set it up. It doesn't work well.

Same as above and it goes back to a mechanic that no one has experience with in PF1. Players aren't generally practiced at this.

In our PFS adventure, the Paladin had half a dozen opportunities to use RS and it accounted for about 20% of his total damage without anyone else trying to leverage it.. But the creatures we fought didn't really have a means to avoid it. So that tells me the circumstances have a dominant effect on this type of mechanic.

I'm of the opinion that if the DM has the NPCs running around actively trying to avoid getting hit by an RS, that makes them less effective. But of course that's not going to be universal. If a creature's best tactic is to hit and run, regardless of RS, then RS is certainly going to be harder to exploit.

Why not try the scenario out with some less mobile creatures. Have the party actively think about how to set themselves up to preclude creatures from attacking them outside of the Paladin's reach.

Again, none of this is my advocating for RS as a Paladin pivot. But I am interested in the mechanic on a general level and certainly how it compares to Sneak Attack, AoO, and Hunt Target.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
MaxAstro wrote:

I personally like the idea of Paladins as defenders of the meek instead of divine fury (save that for Warpriest), especially since "defender of the meek" is a role that at least gives some logic as to why Paladins must be LG.

But Retributive Strike is in a weird place where if it is working correctly you never use it.

I definitely think it needs a buff, and being able to step 10 feet and use it sounds amazing.

the fact they are LG is what makes them dogmatic wrath, no compromise punish the evil doers and damn the cost.... (and given the portrayal of Shalyns Paladins in Kingmaker, which I have to assume was an approved story line, engage in some flat abusive and controlling behaviours if the 'Chosen One' wont take up the mantle)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I saw Retributive Strike working very well, but only when Paladins had reach weapons.

This makes me wary of Paladins able to step AND have reach weapons... so maybe a limit to ‘enemy within 10ft’ as a valid target? And ‘if you need to move up to them, this action gains the Move trait’.

Even better would be ‘an enemy within range of your weapon Strikes, or 10ft if weilding a melee weapon’.
Yes, I’m going there.


I too think that an Step in the retributive strike could do all the difference


Most of the paladins I've seen used Reach weapons and they could exploit RS quite a bit.

Not as much as AoO, but it IS stronger than AoO, so that's normal if it's not as frequent.


shroudb wrote:

Most of the paladins I've seen used Reach weapons and they could exploit RS quite a bit.

Not as much as AoO, but it IS stronger than AoO, so that's normal if it's not as frequent.

That's great for reach - Non-reach gets 100% left out


HWalsh wrote:
shroudb wrote:

Most of the paladins I've seen used Reach weapons and they could exploit RS quite a bit.

Not as much as AoO, but it IS stronger than AoO, so that's normal if it's not as frequent.

That's great for reach - Non-reach gets 100% left out

I'm not arguing that. I know that non reach have issues.

But since +5ft reach worked fairly decent, maybe a feat that allows you to 5ft step before taking the RS is enough to let the ability shine.


shroudb wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
shroudb wrote:

Most of the paladins I've seen used Reach weapons and they could exploit RS quite a bit.

Not as much as AoO, but it IS stronger than AoO, so that's normal if it's not as frequent.

That's great for reach - Non-reach gets 100% left out

I'm not arguing that. I know that non reach have issues.

But since +5ft reach worked fairly decent, maybe a feat that allows you to 5ft step before taking the RS is enough to let the ability shine.

Yes - That was Alternative 1 - That was tested.


HWalsh wrote:
shroudb wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
shroudb wrote:

Most of the paladins I've seen used Reach weapons and they could exploit RS quite a bit.

Not as much as AoO, but it IS stronger than AoO, so that's normal if it's not as frequent.

That's great for reach - Non-reach gets 100% left out

I'm not arguing that. I know that non reach have issues.

But since +5ft reach worked fairly decent, maybe a feat that allows you to 5ft step before taking the RS is enough to let the ability shine.

Yes - That was Alternative 1 - That was tested.

i know, i read the thread.

i'm agreeing with the proposed change, that's all.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
MaxAstro wrote:

I personally like the idea of Paladins as defenders of the meek instead of divine fury (save that for Warpriest), especially since "defender of the meek" is a role that at least gives some logic as to why Paladins must be LG.

But Retributive Strike is in a weird place where if it is working correctly you never use it.

I definitely think it needs a buff, and being able to step 10 feet and use it sounds amazing.

War Priest didn't feel like fury (and imho should not) they are a subclass of cleric, sho trained for war, not thd Blessed And Anointed Fist of heaven (or hell), the reasons Paladin has that theme for me iz that their abilities aren't spells, they are blessings or direct divine intervention, which feeds directly into the Mortal Sword/ Shield Anvil split of the Malazan Book of the Dead series, which clarified my thinking on what a high fantasy setting is, I know kind of obscure, but that imagery is now a major part of how I look at fantasy (along with Mark Lawrence's work)


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

It reminds me a lot of the swordmage problem in 4e for me. You can be an assault sword mage who gets to do teleport next to an enemy who _hits_ an ally and strike them. Or be a defending one, who gets to teleport next to an ally whose been struck and soak some of the damage. But to make either work it felt like you had to actively run away from your allies so that they'd be hit.


Being able to take a step for retributive strike sounds like it would make a good (splatbook?) feat to me. Would be great if it was baseline of course.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm pushing hard for making Retributive Strike optional and either adding Smite as an option or baseline. I'm very much in the camp of paladins not being primarily defenders. Some are, some aren't, but don't push the defender vision on me.


Blade of Justice is the old Smite, more or less. It has been moved to an higher level and made optional.
That said, I would welcome more basic options for every class (like the old archetypes did); the Paizo staff has said that something like that is not hard to design, and may come sooner or later.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Megistone wrote:

Blade of Justice is the old Smite, more or less. It has been moved to an higher level and made optional.

That said, I would welcome more basic options for every class (like the old archetypes did); the Paizo staff has said that something like that is not hard to design, and may come sooner or later.

Blade of Justice is NOT old Smite. It is impossibly weak by comparison and requires higher level to get for a measly 1-2 damage on average.


I really like this idea, because it makes Retributive Strike feel a lot more tactical. There could be a push/pull of who you'd want to step next to, and you could also try to step to gain flanking, negating the -2 penalty.


HWalsh wrote:
Megistone wrote:

Blade of Justice is the old Smite, more or less. It has been moved to an higher level and made optional.

That said, I would welcome more basic options for every class (like the old archetypes did); the Paizo staff has said that something like that is not hard to design, and may come sooner or later.
Blade of Justice is NOT old Smite. It is impossibly weak by comparison and requires higher level to get for a measly 1-2 damage on average.

I'm not saying it's equal, but it's the feat that replaces it, at least until something more similar gets printed.

You will never see +Cha to hit and AC, on top of normal proficiency, in PF2.
Blade of Justice is good if the opponent has weakness, in other cases I agree that it's rather weak.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Megistone wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
Megistone wrote:

Blade of Justice is the old Smite, more or less. It has been moved to an higher level and made optional.

That said, I would welcome more basic options for every class (like the old archetypes did); the Paizo staff has said that something like that is not hard to design, and may come sooner or later.
Blade of Justice is NOT old Smite. It is impossibly weak by comparison and requires higher level to get for a measly 1-2 damage on average.

I'm not saying it's equal, but it's the feat that replaces it, at least until something more similar gets printed.

You will never see +Cha to hit and AC, on top of normal proficiency, in PF2.
Blade of Justice is good if the opponent has weakness, in other cases I agree that it's rather weak.

it follows the issue I see for most classes: characters cannot have powerful and effective abilities, and anything that does work will be removed and replaced with an 'improved' version that patently doesn't.


Just popping in to say, once again, that you probably won't get anything resembling Smite for the PF2 Paladin. Smite was a bit of an ugly duckling design-wise in PF1. "Do the most damage, but only against certain enemies" breaks down when "certain enemies" is most genre-appropriate antagonists. No Smite you'll see in PF2 will be nearly as big a damage boost, because Smite was too big a boost before. The glory days of the alpha strike murderhobo Paladin are over.

Weighed against the math of the playtest, RS is extremely good when it goes off. Adding a Step makes it go off regularly. You won't get an ability that does more damage than RS, I don't think.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'd still rather have a smite evil.

too many reaction moves

I dont even like the Divine grace as a Reaction move


Pandora's wrote:

Just popping in to say, once again, that you probably won't get anything resembling Smite for the PF2 Paladin. Smite was a bit of an ugly duckling design-wise in PF1. "Do the most damage, but only against certain enemies" breaks down when "certain enemies" is most genre-appropriate antagonists. No Smite you'll see in PF2 will be nearly as big a damage boost, because Smite was too big a boost before. The glory days of the alpha strike murderhobo Paladin are over.

Weighed against the math of the playtest, RS is extremely good when it goes off. Adding a Step makes it go off regularly. You won't get an ability that does more damage than RS, I don't think.

You do realize that Blade of Justice, aka the New Smite, is less powerful than Power Attack. Something Fighters can get at 1st level. It is actually less powerful than Weapon Surge which Paladins can get at first. It is less powerful than Aura of Faith which comes slightly later, works all the time, affects your allies, does almost the same damage, and doesn't cost you an action.


HWalsh wrote:
Pandora's wrote:

Just popping in to say, once again, that you probably won't get anything resembling Smite for the PF2 Paladin. Smite was a bit of an ugly duckling design-wise in PF1. "Do the most damage, but only against certain enemies" breaks down when "certain enemies" is most genre-appropriate antagonists. No Smite you'll see in PF2 will be nearly as big a damage boost, because Smite was too big a boost before. The glory days of the alpha strike murderhobo Paladin are over.

Weighed against the math of the playtest, RS is extremely good when it goes off. Adding a Step makes it go off regularly. You won't get an ability that does more damage than RS, I don't think.

You do realize that Blade of Justice, aka the New Smite, is less powerful than Power Attack. Something Fighters can get at 1st level. It is actually less powerful than Weapon Surge which Paladins can get at first. It is less powerful than Aura of Faith which comes slightly later, works all the time, affects your allies, does almost the same damage, and doesn't cost you an action.

Aura of Faith does considerably less damage (flat 1 rather than 1 per weapon die), more than makes up for the lower damage by helping allies as well as not costing an action but also comes online significantly later at twice the level. It also doesn't have righteous blade as a prereq.

Anyhow, I like Retributive Strike conceptually, as an optional Class Feat. I absolutely despise how Paladins don't get any actively offensive ability that would be useful in a duel with an Antipaladin as part of their core set.

Retributive strike also has the fairly bad structure that it's a feature that is only really of use if the rest of the party builds around it. It's not going to see use ever, in a party with otherwise composed of non-melee types. Not unless something has gone wrong and the casters and ranged-attackers are being swiped at in close range, in which case the Paladin is likely too far away to be able to use retributive strike.

Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Playtest / Player Rules / Classes / Special Retributive Strike Testing - Alternatives: All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.