Can magic items be useful and martials still be awesome?


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The argument on potency runes is repeatedly rehashed, though it was dead for a time, it has recently resurfaced in a preview thread, a question asked and answered by the developers on potency runes going up to five. On players wanting magic items to be important.

The problem of course is that the more important magic items are, the more reliant upon them The fighters, monks and barbarians are. And rangers too now.

Alas, Dependency is not awesome. It in fact sucks. It is a horrible thing found in real life. It is why I love to take options like the void kineticists no breath. Like the legendary proficiency survival skill feat. To know that a character is capable of besting dependency on even basic needs is a beautiful and precious thing. To see the basic needs of sleep, hunger and thirst overcome by will and skill is incredibly, even if it is just a game.

As such it may not surprise you to know that I'd love the idea of a monk being able to punch a dragon out, not because he has magic handwraps that he's worthless without, not because he has power from some sun God but because his will is absolute and indomitable, and he trained and fought until he was a force capable of doing so. Because he is a monk and therefore awesome, and needs these magical trinkets that others find so important.

Yet a high magic item setting is golarion.

It's a complicated question then, how to make these items useful, without making fighters dumbnormal oafs that need magic swords to win fights.

Without making monks dumbnormal karate people that need fancy handwraps.

Without making barbarians dumbnormal drooling berserkers that need a magic edge.

I envy not these developers that must either balance on the razor edge of this conundrum, or choose to side with one end of it while alienating the other. Yet tis not a low magic setting I seek, but a high magic one where still a fighter can be more than some numbnuts with a magic sword. The current rules make the sword over shadow your skill. Magic weapons trounce the determinative power of the fighter's will. Magic handwraps render the monk's quest for physical perfection impotent. The barbarian's rage slams against the wall that is magic armor. The sword deals much damage. It equips you, so that you can have the honor of being it's wielder, you pathetic peasant. You have no right to want to have any strength of your own, for I am escalar, the Uber magic sword of +5ness.

I sadly and simply cannot see a compromise, a balance of any sort, is it possible to resolve this? To satisfy both requirements? I see no way, and find myself concluding unfortunately that pf2 will ultimately not be the game I sought.

Pf1 never was ideal to me, admittedly, just preferable to 5e with it's unpalatable skill system. Yet it turns out 5e made classes not be lame without the magic items. Therefore awesome. 5e with pf2's skill system. I wonder if it can be done... Musing...

At any rate, the main point of this post, is this at all resolvable? Or should I just be looking for some other rpg?

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber

Look at the system of intrinsic bonuses in Pathfinder Unchained.


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Automatic bonus progression, for one

But as a note on what martials can do, I think insane, logic-breaking feats that work only under the Rule of Cool are what high-level characters should be able to do.

Think of it this way. Magic Missile isn't actually all that impressive. At least in 1e, anyone with at least an 11 in a mental score could put in the slightest amount of effort, level into a casting class, and learn to shoot bullets of force that dissipate almost immediately. No, the actually impressive spell is Wall of Force. Take that same magic force and make an entire wall out of it that persists for minutes instead of seconds.

High level martial characters deserve things like being able to get a burrow speed by being such a good swimmer, because that's just as impressive and legendary to us as Wall of Force is in a world where anyone can cast Magic Missile.


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The answer, at least for me, is not that hard to see.

I've said this on other posts and those that have been following it may have seen as well, but nonetheless I think it's better for the game to follow this path than the one it currently is.

It can be summarized as these three keywords: Utility, Options and Wonder.

I was going too write "Coolness" but I think it was too clunky.

Basically, instead of swords and armor giving me more of what I already can do, like +5 items do, let them give me things I could previously not be able to. They can even grant abilities that mirror spells, feats and abilities that go beyond what a martial character can normally do.

There's already plenty of examples of these items in PF1, like the sword Flame Tongue, you can fire a Ray 1/day it's really awesome and it would remain being so in PF2e if it didn't have the +1 Longsword attached to it. Granted, I would rather have an activation that let me use it as a whip with long reach (20ft or so) than the ray ability, but that's just a matter of taste.

The great issue of this is that it will take a little bit of testing gauging the value of some effects and creating minor effects for lower levels... Or maybe just giving cool stuff early is what the game is supposed to be doing and high level we get Mjolnirr , Excalibur, Kusanagi, The Berserker Armor (from the manga Berserk, if you know what I mean you know how cool it would be to use a similar one in game) and plenty more insane stuff.

Liberty's Edge

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Overlapping (Non Stacking) Bonus Dice to Weapon attacks from training would bridge the gap here really well, allowing the powerful Magic Weapons stay as-is, but it would also let most characters use anything they have appropriate Training in to not automatically fall WAY behind if they lose, do not get, or Break an Level Appropriate Magic Weapon.

Expert +1 Die
Master +2 Dice
Legendary +3 Dice

You can STILL enforce the Quality Requirements for this system as well if that balance is a concern.

A few tweaks to when and HOW a PC gets their Weapon Training should allow any Martial Character to keep up, and it would also allow them to apply more Runes for their "WBL" than they normally would as they need not invest as heavily in Potency Runes anymore. It would result in a MUCH more diverse range of Weapon Enhancements than currently possible.


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Indeed, if an item is necessary and required to ‘keep up’ then it’s not meaningful.

Now, I can accept a situation where one out of six items is necessary and you get the choice (such as the game expecting me to have a +1d6 damage on my weapon property after a certain level, but leaving me the choice of which), but not ‘everyone has this item because they have to’.

That goes for weapon potency, skill items, and even armour potency - why do we ‘need’ a +5 to saves if it’s assumed we have it? I’d much rather have class saves being more distinguished with proficiency benefits.


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So I'm not sure why "magic items are desirable" and "martials are awesome" are mutually incompatible. Magic items are just technology, and people are going to want the technology that makes them better at doing whatever it is they want to do and this isn't specific to a fantasy setting. Like in a modern realistic setting if a character's job is "shooting things that are a long way away" they will want a powerful rifle that is accurate and a scope with considerable zoom. If you took that away and gave them an old .22 their acumen at marksmanship won't go away, but they will be less effective. Someone whose job is transporting people from one place to another is likely going to do a worse job in a tuk-tuk than say, a luxury SUV.


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Corwin Icewolf wrote:

The argument on potency runes is repeatedly rehashed, though it was dead for a time, it has recently resurfaced in a preview thread, a question asked and answered by the developers on potency runes going up to five. On players wanting magic items to be important.

The problem of course is that the more important magic items are, the more reliant upon them The fighters, monks and barbarians are. And rangers too now.

Alas, Dependency is not awesome. It in fact sucks. It is a horrible thing found in real life. It is why I love to take options like the void kineticists no breath. Like the legendary proficiency survival skill feat. To know that a character is capable of besting dependency on even basic needs is a beautiful and precious thing. To see the basic needs of sleep, hunger and thirst overcome by will and skill is incredibly, even if it is just a game.

As such it may not surprise you to know that I'd love the idea of a monk being able to punch a dragon out, not because he has magic handwraps that he's worthless without, not because he has power from some sun God but because his will is absolute and indomitable, and he trained and fought until he was a force capable of doing so. Because he is a monk and therefore awesome, and needs these magical trinkets that others find so important.

Yet a high magic item setting is golarion.

It's a complicated question then, how to make these items useful, without making fighters dumbnormal oafs that need magic swords to win fights.

Without making monks dumbnormal karate people that need fancy handwraps.

Without making barbarians dumbnormal drooling berserkers that need a magic edge.

I envy not these developers that must either balance on the razor edge of this conundrum, or choose to side with one end of it while alienating the other. Yet tis not a low magic setting I seek, but a high magic one where still a fighter can be more than some numbnuts with a magic sword. The current rules make the sword over shadow your skill. Magic weapons trounce...

I'm not trying to sound condescending when I say this, but I want to ask you an honest and serious question: Do you think that a lot of the most powerful and iconic fantasy heroes that people are attracted to are somehow not reliant on magic, items, or some other object to succeed and overcome the challenges that lie before them? Or more accurately, shouldn't be reliant on these things?

I'm not kidding. Look at Drizz't. Look at Batman. Fantasy settings like Dragonlance. The list goes on. Each of these heroes (or anti-heroes) and settings have items that explicitly give these characters the tools they need to succeed and to carry on their story. Yes, Batman came into money based on his history, but the rest of his storyline, technology, and skills he has was something he's acquired and developed throughout his lifespan, and wasn't something that was natural to him; he worked for it, and used items to defeat enemies like Twoface, Joker, etc. Drizz't wasn't some awesome Drow character that showed up out of nowhere and owned stuff "because Drizz't." They aren't stupid or already so powerful that they don't need those tools, and they struggle and work their way to get them to accomplish their goals they set out to do, because, much to your and others' dismay, those characters, as cool and awesome as you apparently view them, are equally as dependent on those items. Yes, characters like Superman who don't use "items" exist, but remember that even those kinds of characters are still reliant on things (most notably, the UV Rays of the Yellow Sun). Get rid of those, and what are you left with? Someone who is probably not much stronger than you or me.

The point here isn't necessarily that "Magic Items (or other factors in Superman's case) are mandatory for these games," more that there are countless fantasy heroes (both medieval and modern in description) whom are depicted as acquiring or possessing items (or abilities) which are required for them to succeed, not unlike the Martial characters we've seen in both PF2 and PF1, don't forget, and people do not express any issue with those characters at all. Do you see people complain about Wolverine solving everything with his Adamantium Claws? No. I have not seen or heard a soul seriously make this remark.

In fact, you could even extend this argument well to the origins of D&D, big man Gary Gygax himself (may he rest in peace) especially when you take into consideration that acquiring and using magic items is one of the biggest draws to playing these fantasy games. So do we really want to go down this rabbit hole of "I hate how I need to have magic items!"? Because not only is it counter-intuitive to one of the game's main goals, it also draws into question the reason you play such a game to begin with, since it's become quite clear you do not view acquiring magic items as something fun.


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There’s a dofference between Batman’s grappling hook (which allows him to be awesome) and Eva 01 (which is the only thing that allows Shinji to fight at all).

Take Batman’s tools away and he’ll struggle, creating an interesting storyline.
Take Shinji out of the Eva and he’ll...?


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How often in the course of your Pathfinder games are the PCs denied access to their magic gewgaws, and this isn't an extremely temporary condition or related to a context where they simply would not need them.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

I'm not trying to sound condescending when I say this, but I want to ask you an honest and serious question: Do you think that a lot of the most powerful and iconic fantasy heroes that people are attracted to are somehow not reliant on magic, items, or some other object to succeed and overcome the challenges that lie before them? Or more accurately, shouldn't be reliant on these things?

I'm not kidding. Look at Drizz't. Look at Batman. Fantasy settings like Dragonlance.

Preface: The only one of those examples I'm super familiar with is Batman (I've read some Dragonlance but that was long ago and I barely remember much about it). That said, it is interesting you bring up Batman, because let's look at some other comic book examples.

- Superman: Sure as you mentioned he does need the external stimulus of the sun, but shy of a pretty dang dramatic shift in setting or bringing his very specific weakness to bear, it might as well be inherent ability.

- The Flash (at least the CW version, the one I'm most familiar with): Also could technically be marked up as 'external stimulus' from the speed force... but that would be about like saying a Sorcerer's Bloodline is an external stimulus. Again, essentially inherent. For that matter, pretty sure other Metas are even more inherent, since Speedsters are just different.

- Wonder Woman: Probably the closest to the proposed compromise here, because while yes she has some super iconic gear, if you stripped that away she's still got power that could arguably give a Kryptonian a run for their money.

- Mutants a la X-Men: Some isolated cases have amplifying gear, but 99.9% or so (I believe) are completely inherent ability.

- Thor (Circa Ragnarok movie, Caution: Spoilers for Ragnarok): Stripped of his magic gear, he discovers the true power was within him all along, and the gear was actually a limiter on said power.

- Batman and Iron Man (yes, I'm going there): Yes, they use the gear a lot. Because their gifts aren't physical, but mental. I think Tony Stark phrased it best in Avengers: "Strip away [the suit] and what are you?" "Genius Billionaire Playboy Philanthropist." Okay I don't actually know Batman super well, but I know Iron Man at least personally built every piece of tech he uses, putting his relationship with his gear into a light more like the Playtest Alchemist and their Items than a Fighter and their Magic Sword.

- The Hulk: Once you get past that triggering event, it's completely inherent too, or at least as inherent as a Barbarian's Rage.

Are there cases where the externally-generated gear makes the hero? Sure. Off the top of my head there's Green Lantern, who's entire thing is based around the ring that he received. But there's plenty of cases in comics of characters where the power is nearly or entirely on the hero. And heck, we can even go beyond comics:

- Lord of the Rings: Of the three named weapons I can think of off the top of my head, one's only enchant was being an early-warning device, one I don't know if it actually had any inherent ability given it was wielded by a Wizard anyways, and one was just a badge of office rather than being a magic weapon. There were a handful of minor items that did come in handy sometimes (those elven cloaks come to mind), but those were more along the lines of what a lot of us are asking for, items that give you cool tricks/abilities rather than a flat numeric boost.

- To be quite frank, most of the fantasy novels I've ever read, if the hero even used a weapon it was typically mundane. The magic weapons are few, far between, and quite often come closer to Artifact than +X. And yes this includes some rather high-magic settings, high-magic novels IME tend to focus more on what the characters can do than what their equipment can do, unless the equipment is a major focus of the story.

- Fricken PF1e: Look at the Cleric, the Druid, the Sorcerer, the Psychic, or the Oracle. Leave them item-less, buck-naked in the woods, and what are they? A 9th-level caster that just has to be slightly more picky in their spell choice. Same goes for any 6th-level caster except, like, the Magus (and with some archetypes even then), just adjusting 9th to 6th. Leave a Kineticist buck naked in the woods (especially a Hydrokineticist) and they're still at pretty much full effectiveness. Even a spell-book (or familiar) prepping caster can still have a large part of their functionality depending on when they got stripped. It's pretty much only the weapon-oriented characters, the Occultist, and the couple of Alchemical casters that got stripped of their main thing when stripped of their items, and even the martials of yester-edition were arguably better off picking up a random mundane weapon than their Playtest counterparts.


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I think that there is one detail that should be considered though: This is a game, and it is a game in which you can buy and craft magic items, and that makes the situation even worse. In a system where you can only find magic items as loot, the only thing that happens if one characters find a really powerful magic items and others don't is "the party is unbalanced", which I consider a problem in itself but is temporary at least. The problem is: combining damage AND accuracy that scales with magic weapons with being able to buy and craft said magic items makes so that you are almost obligated to buy level-appropriate magic weapons just to keep up.

"Oh, but what if my Fighter wants to buy a magic item with a cool effect instead?"

Well, you can, but you will be a Fighter that sucks at being a Fighter in comparison to his level.

Even if it is just one or two more dice or a +2 to hit, you will be very suboptimal at your main thing by getting litteraly anything else that is not Weapon Potency. You need to have those two things before even thinking about getting that cool worn item, trinket or Property Rune you liked, for example. Unless the GM gives out those items for free as "convenient loot", but then what's the point?

Of course I'm not suggesting to remove buying and selling magic items, this is one of the things that I dislike the most about 5e. Also, I don't disagree that this makes sense in the world, and that there are a lot of examples of this in fiction, its just that me and probably a lot of people that want this to go away just find it really unfun to have mandatory items, and would much rather have magic weapons with cool properties that make the wielder feel special instead.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
How often in the course of your Pathfinder games are the PCs denied access to their magic gewgaws, and this isn't an extremely temporary condition or related to a context where they simply would not need them.

I have to point out the circularity of this reasoning.

The reason that these kind of stories don't show up in Pathfinder is because the mechanics don't support it. If a GM tried to tell a story where the high level PCs were denied access to their magic gewgaws and then expected to continue adventuring normally, that GM would be hated. The players would feel very powerless. Either they would be encountering enemies that were noticeably easier to defeat, or else the PCs would end up running for their lives more often than not.

So if the mechanics of the game system supported awesome PCs with little or no super equipment, then those stories would start showing up.

But with the mechanics not supporting unequipped PCs, there are no stories available where this happens.


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@DarksolthePainbringer So in response to the the magic items = technology argument. I'm going to address monks specifically first. I have never heard of any monk(-like character...) in real life or in fiction use a fallout style power fist or something. Monks eschew technology in favor of developing themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. They prefer not to rely on it excessively at the very least. If magic items are equivalent to technology shouldn't they have the same feeling toward magic items? I never liked my pfs monk because of this, his need for an amulet of mighty fists always made him feel like a crappy monk to me.

As to whether other characters are dependent on magic items, some are and some aren't. Sure the guy with magic items is a common trope, so is the guy who sees them as a crutch and eschews them because he doesn't wish to grow dependent on them. Plenty of people in real life do things like avoiding using calculators to do math. More rare is the person who wrestles a grizzly bear naked to become stronger, but they exist, if but in reality then definitely in fantasy. The guy that trains and overcomes all his limits and gets stronger and stronger I guess is just cooler to me.

Like Goku I suppose. He outgrew the nimbus and power pole towards the end of dragon Ball. In z he's strong because he's trained forever and constantly overcomes his previous limits, not because of any tech or magic. And sure being a Saiyan helps him, but he can't sit on his butt in the sun and get power like superman. Nor are there any magic swords he can just pick up and suddenly kill a dragon that could easily defeat him before.

Or like Chase young from xiaolin with his dismissing the Shen Gong Wu as trinkets. Even the main four eventually pretty much outgrew all but the most powerful Shen Gong Wu.

Anyway, I think part of my point in writing this was because I wondered if I might be expecting too much. So I genuinely was asking if it's even possible to both have magic items be useful and have fighters be strong and awesome without them.

Also the question of what is Batman without his suit and grappling hook? The answer is Batman without his suit and grappling hook. That is all.

You ask why do I play Pathfinder? Because there's other things about it that I do find appealing I suppose. As I said I prefer it's skill system over 5e's. There's also the fact that I don't know of an RPG that really perfectly fits what I'm looking for. And even if I did there's no guarantee I'd find a group that was interested.


Shinigami02 wrote:
-snip-

It's not like Pathfinder doesn't have dramatic shifts in setting available. Plane Shift to a Plane of Ice? Probably doesn't have the same sun Golarion does, if any at all. I wouldn't expect to win an argument with Superman, but I will say that other similar characters (such as this season of CW's Supergirl) have been in situations where, without macguffinsitems, they would have failed.

CW's The Flash had to use technological advancements to surpass the enemies he faces in the previous seasons (Season 2 and 3 in particular). Even if he has his inherent gifts, that's not the point. The point is that even with that, the Flash still needed those items to succeed, otherwise he would have failed, Speed Force or not. But he's still regarded as a very strong character even without it.

Not too familiar with Wonder Woman, but I'd have to liken her to our current 20th level Fighters of either edition, since we know even without magical equipment, Fighters can do some crazy stuff similar to her (such as wrestling T-Rexs to the ground and beating them to death with their bare hands). However, the point here is that Wonder Woman similarly needed items to defeat some of her strongest opponents, but nobody looks at her and says "Wow, I just realized she needed items to win, she's a lame superhero!"

In most X-Men cases, they are more inhibitors since their powers aren't easily controlled (think Cyclops, Professor X, Rogue, etc). However, it doesn't change the factor that in-universe, there are characters whom wouldn't succeed without items, and if we want to view the inhibitors as something that reduces (obvious) weaknesses, then it would make perfect sense here.

The Thor point is true, but in most "canon" depictions, this sort of thing didn't happen. Then again, I'm not a big Thor comic nut, so I wouldn't be surprised if I'm wrong, though he does explain in that movie that his hammer did have perks he doesn't have (such as using it to fly around), so he still does suffer somewhat by not having it. It's just the power he gains from not requiring a conduit is worth the sacrifice. **EDIT** In hindsight, this is actually a point for keeping mandatory magic items, since Thor decided, as a character, that the +X of his inherent powers is more valuable than the "cool perk" of flight.

Yes, Batman and Iron Man are insane geniuses, easily having intelligence scores equal to or beyond 20th level Wizards, but they are still characters whom are largely dependent on their gear to succeed. They can handle some things that are fairly trivial for most any other superhero without their gear via brainpower, but if we want to consider appropriate level foes (as we would in Pathfinder), then realistically them not using their items would result in an immediate death sentence given how strong of characters they are.

Well, if the X-Men and the opening scene to Infinity Wars (or even that whole movie) is any indication, it's not really something he controls, which doesn't really make it any more viable than super-situational bonuses in terms of relevance to players, or their excitement. It's actually almost as disappointing as the current rage rules, truth be told. But I will say that a class feature as undependable and inconsistent as the Hulk's would be just as upsetting if not more upsetting than the current Magic Item situation. We already have a comparison: Just take a look at the Brute Vigilante class.

Strangely, I didn't read or watch Lord of the Rings, or the Hobbit(s). (Yes, I know, burn the heretic, blah blah blah.) From what I've heard, however, there wasn't really much magic to begin with, making it a low magic setting more likely than not. So the odds of finding +X items is practically non-existent. I'm not really sure that this is an appropriate comparison, especially since there isn't much difference between the magical and the mundane to warrant the amount of complaints being presented on the forums. Honestly, just the idea that one is magical and the other isn't seems to be fair enough for people to not be up in arms about it, it's just the magnitude of magic that seems to be the issue.

One of my brothers whose read all of the Tolkien novels has stated several magic items that have done some crazy things that would be along the lines of artifacts. In fact, an item like the Dragonlance would be one such magic item as well in the appropriate universe, based on Wikia entries. To say that popular fantasy doesn't involve magic items which create major disparities between those that don't just sounds disingenuous based on this evidence.

This sounds mostly like a complaint of the Caster/Martial Disparity, which is largely gone in PF2, so I'm not seeing the point here. Yes, spellcasters can still fly, go invisible, and so on, but martials do have better tools to work with now to counteract this stuff. Fighters can use weapons (magical or not) to stamp fliers back to the ground, reveal invisible locations, and other similarly crazy things. Any other "broken" thing spellcasters could do before? Now relegated to rituals or nerfed into trash, most notably spells like Summon Monster, Simulacrum, etc. Casters having their own niche while Martials have theirs is probably the best compromise between the two class types we'll ever get, since it's been clear that one being superior than the other (such as the Caster/Martial Disparity) didn't work out to the players' benefit.


I think it's that the gear-dependant classes start the game with straight inferior WBL total, since their required mandatory tools eat up quite a chunk out of the initial total.


dmerceless wrote:

I think that there is one detail that should be considered though: This is a game, and it is a game in which you can buy and craft magic items, and that makes the situation even worse. In a system where you can only find magic items as loot, the only thing that happens if one characters find a really powerful magic items and others don't is "the party is unbalanced", which I consider a problem in itself but is temporary at least. The problem is: combining damage AND accuracy that scales with magic weapons with being able to buy and craft said magic items makes so that you are almost obligated to buy level-appropriate magic weapons just to keep up.

"Oh, but what if my Fighter wants to buy a magic item with a cool effect instead?"

Well, you can, but you will be a Fighter that sucks at being a Fighter in comparison to his level.

Even if it is just one or two more dice or a +2 to hit, you will be very suboptimal at your main thing by getting litteraly anything else that is not Weapon Potency. You need to have those two things before even thinking about getting that cool worn item, trinket or Property Rune you liked, for example. Unless the GM gives out those items for free as "convenient loot", but then what's the point?

Of course I'm not suggesting to remove buying and selling magic items, this is one of the things that I dislike the most about 5e. Also, I don't disagree that this makes sense in the world, and that there are a lot of examples of this in fiction, its just that me and probably a lot of people that want this to go away just find it really unfun to have mandatory items, and would much rather have magic weapons with cool properties that make the wielder feel special instead.

Well, crafting in this game is both a joke and a waste of time, if we want to put all the cards on the table here. It's all GM FIAT, and there's no one way to craft a given item, nor is it really accessible or practical to do so for items that players might truly want. You're more likely to badger the GM enough times to just have it randomly come as treasure from a dragon's hoard than you are to be able to craft it, especially since it takes valuable character resources to do. On top of that, it's a bunch of unnecessary rules to remember for something that no sane person would want or care to do other than to test your patience or adhoc'ing as a GM, and quite frankly I do enough of that without player influence as it is.

With that rant out of the way, if we remove +X items from the game, can we really expect players to have the motivation or drive to acquire special weapons (or property runes, to be more frank,) compared to other items? Probably not. As a power gaming player, if +X items went poof, I would only have the basic items and that's it. I wouldn't have any motivation outside of my character's machinations (whatever they might be) to adventure, since I'm of the opinion that I do not (and cannot) get any cooler or stronger than what I'm at. Acid damage? Pfff, 20% of monsters are resistant/immune, making it worthless those amounts of times, compared to the +X properties which worked 100% on every creature I faced. Get the Greater effect? How is that much better than +X benefits when all it does is also give flat damage boosts? Sure, there are properties like Keen (or let's go the Invisibility route for armor), but they aren't properties that make me feel like I got super strong or cool based on their very limited (and uninspiring) purview, and this has been an issue with most every item property since PF1 (though not so much for Keen for obvious reasons).

You'd also severely diminish the important aspects of item quality being a factor. Some crude piece of trash in a goblin heap shouldn't be equally as effective as a weapon forged by a being of the divine, but if we went under this system, it'd be true. Now Goblins and Demigods are of equal smithing capabilities! Only in some Bizarro Golarion universe would that make any sort of sense. More seriously, it can throw that balancing point way out of whack, and elements like the +X are still inherent to more than just magic, meaning you'd have to handle those things too, and it is something that I'm certain player types such as yourselves would not foresee to resolve before the problem changes from "I need +X" to "I need Expert/Master/Legendary Items," being left with the handbag to try and cover up the mess.

And then if we decide to remove that, we are then left with deciding "What "cool" powers are the best to have? Do I want the option to go invisible, or the option to fly?" You'd then still have "cool" options which are never chosen simply because they are bad compared to the other options. All removing mandatory magic items is doing is changing the "meta" at which the gamers (the power ones, specifically) operate. Now, instead of +X items being all the rage, it's Invisibility and Flight items. You're then going to have players complain about those choices to be removed because they aren't "cool" and the game expects you to have or counter these options, and we're back to square one.

In short, it's all a vicious cycle that will repeat until the game goes splat. There are ways to houserule this stuff, and I imagine Paizo, much like a lot of their unclarified rules in PF1, will leave it up to the players and GMs to decide how that stuff runs for their games.


Corwin Icewolf wrote:

@DarksolthePainbringer So in response to the the magic items = technology argument. I'm going to address monks specifically first. I have never heard of any monk(-like character...) in real life or in fiction use a fallout style power fist or something. Monks eschew technology in favor of developing themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. They prefer not to rely on it excessively at the very least. If magic items are equivalent to technology shouldn't they have the same feeling toward magic items? I never liked my pfs monk because of this, his need for an amulet of mighty fists always made him feel like a crappy monk to me.

As to whether other characters are dependent on magic items, some are and some aren't. Sure the guy with magic items is a common trope, so is the guy who sees them as a crutch and eschews them because he doesn't wish to grow dependent on them. Plenty of people in real life do things like avoiding using calculators to do math. More rare is the person who wrestles a grizzly bear naked to become stronger, but they exist, if but in reality then definitely in fantasy. The guy that trains and overcomes all his limits and gets stronger and stronger I guess is just cooler to me.

Like Goku I suppose. He outgrew the nimbus and power pole towards the end of dragon Ball. In z he's strong because he's trained forever and constantly overcomes his previous limits, not because of any tech or magic. And sure being a Saiyan helps him, but he can't sit on his butt in the sun and get power like superman. Nor are there any magic swords he can just pick up and suddenly kill a dragon that could easily defeat him before.

Or like Chase young from xiaolin with his dismissing the Shen Gong Wu as trinkets. Even the main four eventually pretty much outgrew all but the most powerful Shen Gong Wu.

Anyway, I think part of my point in writing this was because I wondered if I might be expecting too much. So I genuinely was asking if it's even possible to both have magic items be useful and have...

Monks, no. Other kinds of hand-to-hand combatants, such as boxers, pugilists, and back-alley fighters? They use hand/arm equipment constantly. But I wouldn't take a typical trope and apply it as blanket fact. Even Sajan, the iconic Monk in PF, still has items he relies and uses. Not all Monks are assumed to take Vows of Poverty.

I would actually argue that Goku being a Saiyan is probably the only reason he has defeated numerous enemies in his storylines, and in some cases he still loses, despite his inherent advantages, such as in Z against Cell, or in the Dragon Ball Super movie, against Beerus.

I don't think it's possible, and I've explained above why that is. Changing the meta doesn't solve the issue, it moves the issue elsewhere until there's nowhere left to move it, where it lingers until circumstances change or the game is over. You're more than welcome to take your pick on what to choose, just know that choosing the former will just reinstate the meta back in a different place again.


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Darksol. Just stop it. These are very weak arguments. There's no benefit at all to have a system that requires magic items being bought just so you function properly. You're basically under the illusion that buying that boring +5 Greatsword is actually increasing your power. Here's the news for your... IT'S NOT. You're buying this new +5 weapon to offset the new +5 AC all the monsters you'll be facing got because the system is accounting for your item. Are you really not seeing this? The only reason it seemed like you were gaining more power was because high-level PF went out of whack, but the system still accounted for your +X statboosts, weapons, armor, amulets, bracers, cloaks and rings.

Let me try to illustrate a combat between 100% equal two fighters, one using a +5 greatsword and one that might be using one of the dream swords that could be created under this new system.

Imagine that the fighter(+5) is dealing 6d8 with this sword, that's A LOT of damage, specially because in this particular situation the other fighter has a Sword of Windslash which is +0, hence it's only 1d8, but here's the catch, this new sword allows your character to slash the air for one minute and you're effectively getting +40 reach (it's that high because it's a legendary weapon after all), so the Windslash fighter will just dance around the +5 fighter while dealing his damage from afar.

This is a VERY arbitrary circumstance to showcase what I'm trying to say. +X items only give you the ability to do what you've been doing for 20 levels, but interesting items will open up a new swath of options for your character, you can aim for that fancy weapon with legendary abilities, effects so powerful that they're like spells on your tools, you don't need these effects to be a legendary fighter, but these effects will allow you to do something that you otherwise wouldn't. With focus of the developers shifting from how to not introducing something that will break the balance, they instead will focus on cool abilities that can give martials new possibilities. That goes for casters as well. Forget mandatory items, now you get options.


Oh, I do see it. But buying the +4 better offsets having Greater Acid on my weapon, simply because even doing +4D4, with +4 to hit, is much better damage and accuracy than a flat 2D6 (with the potential weakness bonuses) on a successful hit. You can remove the bonuses being mandatory all you like. The fact of the matter is that +X weapons are still massively superior in terms of power, and the effects of properties like Acid are trash, and they always have been since PF1. A better comparison would be PF1's Keen to PF1's +X bonuses, where certain characters would actually value Keen over +X. But since +X and properties aren't mutually exclusive, people ended up having the best of both worlds at the end of the day. You don't need some sort of threshold curve to demonstrate that.

Heaven forbid we get to the Armor portion of these arguments...


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So just to throw in my 2 cents on how I would fix it.

Max potency runs to +3 dice

You get the other 2 dice igther just from level or you could add class abilities that add the extra +2 broken up at certain levels

alternatively and this might be my favorite give everyone a passive +1 per level bonus to damage. You could basically have BAB give +1 to hit and damage. If you wanted I guess Prof could give damage bonus as well. it ends up being 20 extra damage which might be to high since were exchanging it for +2 dice which at most is 24 damage but on average is closer to 10-13 so maybe half level instead?

A few extra dice of damage is good however it keeps the die roll important instead of it being overshadowed by static bonuses. I.E. 1d8+34 the d8 is hardly important at all that way.

4d8+20 is a bit more dice friendly.


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Max potency = +0
Characters get everything they get to keep up with attack and damage from their level.

There's still room for interesting magic items, way more interesting I think, for Drizzt instead of 2 +5 swords and anklets of +2 Dex he could have:

A sword that adds a small amount of cold damage and gives immunity to fire.
A sword that gives an extra reaction that can be used to parry an incoming melee attack.
Anklets that allows a step as a free action.


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citricking wrote:

Max potency = +0

Characters get everything they get to keep up with attack and damage from their level.

There's still room for interesting magic items, way more interesting I think, for Drizzt instead of 2 +5 swords and anklets of +2 Dex he could have:

A sword that adds a small amount of cold damage and gives immunity to fire.
A sword that gives an extra reaction that can be used to parry an incoming melee attack.
Anklets that allows a step as a free action.

Exactly. Magic items that do things, or that invest the person wielding with the ability to do things, are interesting and feel magical. "Doing things" can be a new passive ability, it can be an actual activated ability, it can be all kinds of stuff.

Items that simply raise a numeric trait are not interesting in the g&! d@&ned least and should be expunged from the game.


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Just read over the Unchained, great stuff. The Playtest would be so much easier apply these changes over 1e, since they simplified and condensed many of these bonuses... The level gate helps simplify it immensely as well.
Here's a quick overview of what characters could get naturally (with the appropriate quality of gear to channel their innate power) that I can pick up on the spot...
Level 3- +1 Light and Medium Armour
Level 4- +1 Heavy Armour and Bracers, +1 Weapon
Level 7- +2 Armour
Level 8- +2 Weapon, +2 Bracers
Level 11- +3 Armour
Level 12- +3 Weapon, +3 Bracers
Level 14- Stat Boost to one stat
Level 15- +4 Armour
Level 16- +4 Weapon, +4 Bracers
Level 19- +5 Armour
Level 20- +5 Weapon, +5 Bracers
Of course, there are questions about multiple weapons and what not. But the attunement bonuses from Unchained are a great starting point. I would love to see this implemented.


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breithauptclan wrote:
The reason that these kind of stories don't show up in Pathfinder is because the mechanics don't support it.

Yes. But since these stories do not show up, there's no problem. At least, not for the players. It's only a problem for adventure writers who want to forcibly strip the PCs of all items and then make them continue adventuring, but can't, because it breaks the game balance. And those sort of adventures sound annoyingly railroady anyway.

Even if we took away "Fighter needs a magic weapon and magic armor to be effective" we'd probably still have "Fighter needs a weapon and armor to be effective". Either way, you're gear-dependent.

Any way you handle magic items has advantages and disadvantages. I think I slightly prefer 5e's "magic items make you more powerful than average for your level" to Pathfinder's "magic items are needed to make you average for your level". But then in a 5e game, the GM can't let the players acquire magic items on a regular basis, or they break the difficulty curve. This can be frustrating for the players. You win a battle, you find nothing. You win another battle, you find nothing. You win a third battle, you find some gold, but there aren't any magic items for sale anywhere, so you have no use for it...


If I got things right, the reason fighters need to keep buying top gear for fear to become useless is because these equipment are directly connected to the class archetype.

Having this in mind, I believe an argument could be done in favor of removing such bonuses. If magic itens could only be indirectly connected to these outcomes, fighters would be reliant on then. Chance to hit and damage per round wouldn't be derived from equipment, but from conditional, circunstancial, proficiency bonus or class features.

Another argument could be made in favor of reducing the difficult fighters have to be good at what they are set to do. This could be done by reducing the AC and HP of creatures or items in general (for NPCs purposes).

Both arguments focus on the fighter class or archetype, but I believe the idea could be used for others classes or archetypes. They are not mutually exclusive and could work together to improve gameplay and immersion.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:
The reason that these kind of stories don't show up in Pathfinder is because the mechanics don't support it.
Yes. But since these stories do not show up, there's no problem. At least, not for the players. It's only a problem for adventure writers who want to forcibly strip the PCs of all items and then make them continue adventuring, but can't, because it breaks the game balance. And those sort of adventures sound annoyingly railroady anyway.

It's not really about being able to actually tell that kind of story for me though. It's more about being able to make a self reliant character. A monk that can break a diamond block because he's that good is cooler than a monk that can break a diamond block because he has magic diamond breaking handwraps. That's just how I feel about it. It's the fantasy of being independent in a way that's not possible in real life. Kineticists is one of my favorite pf1 classes for this reason, as was stated earlier they're almost as effective naked as they are fully geared.


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Lightning Raven wrote:
Let me try to illustrate a combat between 100% equal two fighters, one using a +5 greatsword and one that might be using one of the dream swords that could be created under this new system.

I did the math once. For a well-built level 9 2e fighter facing off against a level-appropriate enemy, about 2/3 of his expected damage output is attributable to magic. Normally, that wouldn't sound so bad. A magic item that triples your damage output? Except it doesn't. That tripled damage is what the system expects him to do, and without his magic sword, he's fighting far below his actual level.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
citricking wrote:

Max potency = +0

Characters get everything they get to keep up with attack and damage from their level.

There's still room for interesting magic items, way more interesting I think, for Drizzt instead of 2 +5 swords and anklets of +2 Dex he could have:

A sword that adds a small amount of cold damage and gives immunity to fire.
A sword that gives an extra reaction that can be used to parry an incoming melee attack.
Anklets that allows a step as a free action.

Let's actually map this out can we?

Should martials gain these attack and damage from level faster than casters? If so it unbalances the game largely and makes caster hybrids useless. If not then the system makes no sense in universe because the skinny Wizard is gaining new damage dice with weapons at the same rate as a beefy Fighter. This would be one of the most immersion breaking things in the game for me if it was implemented.

Also at what level are these damage dice given? Because again that level suddenly hits a huge break point. Where if we do go the unbalanced way and let martials gain damage dice faster then the party becomes hugely unbalanced at that level. If we go the balanced way and have everyone gain damage dice then that level is a huge party power spike. Meaning it will be very hard to balance encounters around those levels since the party damage almost doubles at that exact level up.

Look, I don't like the fact martials are reliant on magic items either, but it was the same crap in 1e too. Your AC is largely made up from magic items. Without them you'd not win fights. And honestly how many times have your high level characters in any pathfinder game lost all their items? That's not happened to me once, and if it did I'd probably be pretty annoyed at my DM.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Here's a spitball...

Remember when the Fighter naturally acquired a keep and followers at, like, level 9 in D&D 1e?

What if acquiring a weapon was hard coded into weapon dependent classes, independent of WBL? So at the right level the story assumes you get your weapon of choice. It wouldn't solve the issue of Fighters requiring weapons to be effective, but would give them the luxury of using their money on something besides a weapon upgrade.


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Dire Ursus wrote:
Also at what level are these damage dice given? Because again that level suddenly hits a huge break point. Where if we do go the unbalanced way and let martials gain damage dice faster then the party becomes hugely unbalanced at that level. If we go the balanced way and have everyone gain damage dice then that level is a huge party power spike. Meaning it will be very hard to balance encounters around those levels since the party damage almost doubles at that exact level up.

Why is this a new concern? Whether the additional damage dice come because the weapon users in the party spent their gold on the level-expected-game-math-meeting "+X"s or they come automatically to all weapon damage rolls by virtue of level, proficiency, or some combination that lets Fighters and Barbarians get there first but eventually everyone else, the damage still spikes in either case. Casters with damage cantrips already get free damage boosts to their damage cantrips (and to all of them all at once, as opposed to "pick one to keep level-appropriate, and the rest fall behind"). The game already has spiked damage output at arbitrarily determined levels.


If they would keep this system, than just give the extra damage dice to every class every four levels. You already get level to everything, it makes sense in world "higher level characters are stronger". If the wizard doesn't have a high ability score they won't hit anyways.

Though they'll probably and should move away from this system, two handed is overpowered compared to duel wielding and single hand. They can fix that with feats, but I feel it would be a better system if that wasn't necessary.


Dire Ursus wrote:
citricking wrote:

Max potency = +0

Characters get everything they get to keep up with attack and damage from their level.

There's still room for interesting magic items, way more interesting I think, for Drizzt instead of 2 +5 swords and anklets of +2 Dex he could have:

A sword that adds a small amount of cold damage and gives immunity to fire.
A sword that gives an extra reaction that can be used to parry an incoming melee attack.
Anklets that allows a step as a free action.

Let's actually map this out can we?

Should martials gain these attack and damage from level faster than casters? If so it unbalances the game largely and makes caster hybrids useless. If not then the system makes no sense in universe because the skinny Wizard is gaining new damage dice with weapons at the same rate as a beefy Fighter. This would be one of the most immersion breaking things in the game for me if it was implemented.

Also at what level are these damage dice given? Because again that level suddenly hits a huge break point. Where if we do go the unbalanced way and let martials gain damage dice faster then the party becomes hugely unbalanced at that level. If we go the balanced way and have everyone gain damage dice then that level is a huge party power spike. Meaning it will be very hard to balance encounters around those levels since the party damage almost doubles at that exact level up.

Look, I don't like the fact martials are reliant on magic items either, but it was the same crap in 1e too. Your AC is largely made up from magic items. Without them you'd not win fights. And honestly how many times have your high level characters in any pathfinder game lost all their items? That's not happened to me once, and if it did I'd probably be pretty annoyed at my DM.

There's already an answer for the WHEN award the new dice, it's already in the game. Every level the system adapts for a new weapon and stat boosts, instead of players getting the illusion of choice, they gain a feature giving them this improvement.

The issue between martial and casters can also be change, just tune down all full caster's weapons, but at the same time give the option of keeping up with pure martials with investment, after all, you're getting the best of both worlds, so it stands to reason that you need to invest a little to get it. When in the future there's a Magus, he'll gain a feature that allows him to use magic and weapons with another draw back. and his progression will have many levers of power to be balanced, for example, weapons can be restricted, number of magic, schools of magic, he can get new damage dice a level later (the gap will not be that huge, after all, he's rolling magic dice on his attacks as well).

Everyone against getting rid of magical items is just assuming that they will be removed and the game will remain as its. It will not. The characters will have to be changed to support this system. The wealth by level as well and specially the magical items will have to be changed as a whole. Getting rid of all those +X bonuses.


RazarTuk wrote:
For a well-built level 9 2e fighter facing off against a level-appropriate enemy, about 2/3 of his expected damage output is attributable to magic. Normally, that wouldn't sound so bad. A magic item that triples your damage output? Except it doesn't.

Yes it does.

But his damage output without magic equipment is incredibly low compared to a typical level 9 enemy, because NPCs get automatic bonus progression and PCs don't.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
RazarTuk wrote:
For a well-built level 9 2e fighter facing off against a level-appropriate enemy, about 2/3 of his expected damage output is attributable to magic. Normally, that wouldn't sound so bad. A magic item that triples your damage output? Except it doesn't.

Yes it does.

But his damage output without magic equipment is incredibly low compared to a typical level 9 enemy, because NPCs get automatic bonus progression and PCs don't.

That's what I was trying to get at. It doesn't triple your damage output in that it's probably more accurate to say your damage output is cut to a third without magic items, since your damage output with magic items is the expected number.


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DireUrsus wrote:


Look, I don't like the fact martials are reliant on magic items either, but it was the same crap in 1e too. Your AC is largely made up from magic items. Without them you'd not win fights. And honestly how many times have your high level characters in any pathfinder game lost all their items? That's not happened to me once, and if it did I'd probably be pretty annoyed at my DM.

Honestly I've never had it happen. It's not really about how often it happens, though.

Lightning Raven wrote:

There's already an answer for the WHEN award the new dice, it's already in the game. Every level the system adapts for a new weapon and stat boosts, instead of players getting the illusion of choice, they gain a feature giving them this improvement.

The issue between martial and casters can also be change, just tune down all full caster's weapons, but at the same time give the option of keeping up with pure martials with investment, after all, you're getting the best of both worlds, so it stands to reason that you need to invest a little to get it.

How do you mean, exactly? Like, delay the weapon damage progression for casters and add feats to boost it to normal? Or something else?

Quote:
Everyone against getting rid of magical items is just assuming that they will be removed and the game will remain as its. It will not. The characters will have to be changed to support this system. The wealth by level as well and specially the magical items will have to be changed as a whole. Getting rid of all those +X bonuses.

I wouldn't go that far, myself.

It's weird, I almost get the feeling some of them just don't want a character who's independent and effective in their area of expertise. But that's crazy. :p

Of course, I'm not for getting rid of magic items completely, myself.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I just don't want caster hybrids to get the shaft here. I feel like they are in such a good place right now. Sorcerer into fighter multiclass was one of the more fun characters i've seen played so far and if we make martials gain weapon damage dice faster there's just no incentive to go sorcerer. And if we bring it the other way and have them all gain weapon dice at the same time I just can't find a way to accept it in universe. It just wouldn't make any sense.

And all for an edge case that probably will never come up where martial characters lose all of their magic weapons at a higher level.


Corwin Icewolf wrote:
Lightning Raven wrote:

There's already an answer for the WHEN award the new dice, it's already in the game. Every level the system adapts for a new weapon and stat boosts, instead of players getting the illusion of choice, they gain a feature giving them this improvement.

The issue between martial and casters can also be change, just tune down all full caster's weapons, but at the same time give the option of keeping up with pure martials with investment, after all, you're getting the best of both worlds, so it stands to reason that you need to invest a little to get it.

How do you mean, exactly? Like, delay the weapon damage progression for casters and add feats to boost it to normal? Or something else?

By that I mean if the system of damage progression is tied to the character, not the weapons, there's plenty of opportunities to control when they gain their bonuses, so characters that are a mix of Wizard/Fighters will, obviously, not be as good as both sides on their thing, but they'll offer new options and power to cover that. Magi type of character could have slower progression on their damage to offset their ability to use magic with their attacks, instead of having them behave exactly a fighter with spell on top of it. But, if somehow this doesn't put the class into a desired state, there's options to give it a boost or a nerf. You can slowdown/speed up damage progress, you can restrict which types of weapons it can use its features, you can also grant things that bridge the gap between a fighter and a wizard, it can be either by granting the class an inherent feature to put them in the desired state or even allowing them the option of picking something to increase even more their prowess with weapons.

In short, Full Casters will not have the same inherent damage progression as martials. Period. But they can make the effort to become better at it by investing in this particular path.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lightning Raven wrote:
Corwin Icewolf wrote:
Lightning Raven wrote:

There's already an answer for the WHEN award the new dice, it's already in the game. Every level the system adapts for a new weapon and stat boosts, instead of players getting the illusion of choice, they gain a feature giving them this improvement.

The issue between martial and casters can also be change, just tune down all full caster's weapons, but at the same time give the option of keeping up with pure martials with investment, after all, you're getting the best of both worlds, so it stands to reason that you need to invest a little to get it.

How do you mean, exactly? Like, delay the weapon damage progression for casters and add feats to boost it to normal? Or something else?

By that I mean if the system of damage progression is tied to the character, not the weapons, there's plenty of opportunities to control when they gain their bonuses, so characters that are a mix of Wizard/Fighters will, obviously, not be as good as both sides on their thing, but they'll offer new options and power to cover that. Magi type of character could have slower progression on their damage to offset their ability to use magic with their attacks, instead of having them behave exactly a fighter with spell on top of it. But, if somehow this doesn't put the class into a desired state, there's options to give it a boost or a nerf. You can slowdown/speed up damage progress, you can restrict which types of weapons it can use its features, you can also grant things that bridge the gap between a fighter and a wizard, it can be either by granting the class an inherent feature to put them in the desired state or even allowing them the option of picking something to increase even more their prowess with weapons.

In short, Full Casters will not have the same inherent damage progression as martials. Period. But they can make the effort to become better at it by investing in this particular path.

I just don't think that's at all worth covering a small corner case where high level martials that somehow lose their weapons they do way less damage... You're literally completely rebalancing how damage works, and how every single class gains damage. They won't go that path.


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Dire Ursus wrote:
I just don't think that's at all worth covering a small corner case where high level martials that somehow lose their weapons they do way less damage... You're literally completely rebalancing how damage works, and how every single class gains damage. They won't go that path.

It isn't "just to cover a small corner case" though. The issue here for most people that would like this being changed (me included of course) isn't that a Fighter, Barbarian, etc. is going to be less powerful if he loses his magic weapon for some weird reason, it is that the Fighter NEEDS to have this magic weapon to begin with if he wants to be good at the thing the entire class is about being good. Imagine if casters classes needed to have +X magic focuses or else their spells would not deal full damage and have their full effects, would that be fun? Not for me...


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Dire Ursus wrote:

I just don't want caster hybrids to get the shaft here. I feel like they are in such a good place right now. Sorcerer into fighter multiclass was one of the more fun characters i've seen played so far and if we make martials gain weapon damage dice faster there's just no incentive to go sorcerer. And if we bring it the other way and have them all gain weapon dice at the same time I just can't find a way to accept it in universe. It just wouldn't make any sense.

And all for an edge case that probably will never come up where martial characters lose all of their magic weapons at a higher level.

How do you accept in-universe all casters' cantrips going up? Okay, apply that here, as well.

Martial weapon damage dice go up because training/physical fitness/what-have-you. Caster cantrip damage goes up because "increased magical oomph". Caster weapon damage dice is them applying that increased magical oomph to their use of weapons instead. And half-martial/half-casters get half the physical fitness and half the increased magic oomph, which for the sake of the game math just ever-so-coincidentally matches what the other two got.

Contrived? Probably. But no more so than needing +Xs in the first place. And at least this way, a low-level martial who was using a variety of weapons and maintaining expected damage values can still use multiple weapons at higher levels and have them all still meet expected damage values.


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dmerceless wrote:
Imagine if casters classes needed to have +X magic focuses or else their spells would not deal full damage and have their full effects, would that be fun? Not for me...

It wouldn't be especially fun, but it wouldn't bother me much either. "Cool, I upgraded my wand to level 11! Now all my spells will have a caster level of 11!"

I'd be more gear dependant, but caster gear dependence is pretty common in D&D games. Spellbook, bonded object, component pouch, holy symbol...


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I mean. If the game ends up like this in the final release, then my go to strategy will be disarm/sunder characters. Just take that away. Even better if you fight those nasty monsters that love destroying weapons. There goes all your power, don't forget that you money go as well. Before the counter argument of it being this way in PF1e, here's the answer: This is exactly the problem and it SHOULD be addressed by PF2e.

As is, all martial characters are just glorified thugs with fancy weapons. They got lucky and now are being carried by their weapons. In PF1e they still were very good fighters even if they weren't 100% optimized for their level, they still had options to use backup weapons, bows, javelins, they were dealing subpar damage but it was still very close to what they were dealing.

In PF2e if you don't get to use your main weapon you might as well leave the fight because the difference will be twice as bad. From +0 to +1 is twice as much damage, that's a huge difference, while before it was +1 hit and damage, not such a big deal even if not the best case scenario.

It's not very hard to see that being obligated to buy items is not a good state to have your game, neither is a good choice in design. The only answer would be having a WBL that allowed all the required items to be bought then having money on top of it to buy what is actually a choice, which is VERY clearly not the case, the money is very tight, you barely manage to buy your requirements, imagine expending extra money on very situational and weak trinkets.

I'm sorry, but in my opinion, the PROS of bonuses being inherent to characters HEAVILY outweigh any possible CONs.


Lightning Raven wrote:
If the game ends up like this in the final release, then my go to strategy will be disarm/sunder characters.

Why?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A thug that finds a +5 magic weapon SHOULD be powerful and able to do a lot of damage. But compare that to a level 20 with a +5 magic weapon the Thug swinging wildly would never hit them.

So the actual DAMAGE comes from the magic weapon sure. Because these are magically sharpened and destructive items. But you still need to be the one to swing it. The bulk of your attack bonus comes from your own abilities.


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It feels like the only thing that doesn't come sufficiently from "inherent prowess" is damage, since your accuracy and defenses and skills are all proficiency based so you get to add your level to it. Magic stuff can make you more accurate or have better defenses, but the bulk of it is still coming from the person with the stuff.

I mean, I suspect a level 20 fighter armed with a sturdy tree branch and equipped with nightclothes could fight off a level 1 fighter who has +5 weapons and armor pretty easily.

But the main issue is that "not being able to deal very much damage makes combat take forever", so denying a character their magic sword for a fight serves to punish the *player* (which is bad) since they are now forced to endure a significantly more tedious fight.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Lightning Raven wrote:
If the game ends up like this in the final release, then my go to strategy will be disarm/sunder characters.
Why?

Because it's a completely valid reason for people in a world where magical weapons are the main source of threat coming from a fighter. Just take his main weapon away and he's basically nothing. The rest of the fight is just an after thought.


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But as the GM your job is not to "run the antagonists as though they have perfect knowledge of game mechanics, and are trying to win at all costs." After all, the monsters are supposed to lose so logic like having sunder be unattractive for the monsters for the same reason it is for the players (i.e. less loot) is totally valid. I mean, there are not currently rules for sunder at all, from what I can tell.

Plus, disarming is really hard now- you need to critically succeed against reflex DC to actually separate someone from their weapon. I'm not sure I mind someone spending actions trying to do this instead of hurting me. Plus, per the disarm rules if I am separated from my weapon, it lands in my space, so I can pick it up again- all this costs me is an action (and possibly an AoO, since I think grab provokes.)


Matthew Downie wrote:
Lightning Raven wrote:
If the game ends up like this in the final release, then my go to strategy will be disarm/sunder characters.
Why?

At least if the character's built as a PC, it will potentially drop their damage output to a third of what it'd normally be, if not less.

For an optimized level 9 fighter with a greatsword, about 66% of damage is attributable to magic. This includes both extra magic-based damage on hits they'd already have gotten and full damage from hits they're now getting because of magic. For contrast, a similarly optimized character in 1e only has about 40% of expected damage output attributable to magic.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

But as the GM your job is not to "run the antagonists as though they have perfect knowledge of game mechanics, and are trying to win at all costs." After all, the monsters are supposed to lose so logic like having sunder be unattractive for the monsters for the same reason it is for the players (i.e. less loot) is totally valid.

Plus, disarming is really hard now- you need to critically succeed against reflex DC to actually separate someone from their weapon.

That's why my argument had nothing to do with mechanics. If intelligent creatures in the world know that a magical weapon is the major source of threat, then it stands to reason that they'll try to get hid of the biggest threat. Take away the strongest weapon of your enemy, now you deal with a severely weakened threat. Even if it's harder in PF2e, the nature of the world itself lends a good reason for sunder and disarm focused combat style. Let alone spells that can make combat maneuvers from afar.

I like to play the enemies as they would behave within the world, even if it's not the best course of action from a mechanical stand point. It's cause and effect. The increased value placed upon magical gizmos directly increases the need for measures.

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