Making Every Class MAD


General Discussion


It would be nice if every class had reasons to care about every ability score. This would allow there to be meaningful trade offs when building a character, not just putting your highest number in your most important score. Currently some classes have more of a need for multiple high ability scores than others, a Rogue just needs Dexterity while a Cleric, Paladin, or Monk need a lot more. Making all classes have important uses for multiple/every ability score would balance this out.

The current ability score generation system is too stingy at low levels and too generous at high levels. This makes it too hard to make a character that depends on multiple ability scores at low levels, and the tradeoffs being too small at high levels. I like my system, but other systems would work too as long as possible differences between ability scores remain consistent.

I propose adding Archetypes that can be taken by any class at level 1, that give uses for each mental score to martial classes, and adding class features dependent on other mental scores to the spellcasting classes.

Archetypes:
Spell Points should be generalized to Power Points, giving martial characters access to a daily pool of resources. This should not stack with spell points, to make a character not gain too much from investing in one ability score. This pool should be based off a mental ability score, to give martial characters like Barbarians, Fighters, Rangers, and Rogues uses for mental ability scores.

Medic:
Gives access to a Wisdom based Power Point pool.
Can use that pool for healing abilities. Things like Battle Medic, but stronger and using a daily resource. Has feats that grant additional ways to use that pool, or other medic themed abilities.

Sensate:
Gives access to a Wisdom based Power Point pool.
Can use that pool for perception related abilities. Things like sensing invisible creatures, or a Strike with the effects of True Strike. Has feats that grant additional ways to use that pool, or other perception themed abilities like Blindfighting or Scent.

Skilled fighter/Lore Warden:
Gives access to a Intelligence based Power Point pool.
Can use that pool for maneuver related abilities. Things like a Strike that trips, analyzing a target for weaknesses, learning abilities and getting a bonus to their next attack/defense, or a feint that causes the target to lose their reaction. Has abilities related to maneuvers like trip, reposition, disarm, or feint.

Trapper:
Gives access to a Intelligence based Power Point pool.
Can use that pool for abilities related to snares and traps.

Commander:
Gives access to a Charisma based Power Point pool.
Can use that pool for abilities like granting an ally temp HP when you strike a target. Can also have other leader themed abilities like letting allies use a reaction to move, or gain another Strike.

Dashing:
Gives access to a Charisma based Power Point pool.
Can use that for abilities related to feinting and deception in combat. Can also have things like the current Rogue’s Scoundrels Feint, or other similar/swashbuckling themed abilities.

Dread:
Gives access to a Charisma based Power Point pool.
Can use that pool for intimidation/fear related abilities. Also can get things currently tied to classes like Intimidating Strike and You’re Next.

Non-multiclass magic options:
Gives access to a Wisdom/Intelligence/Charisma based Power Point pool.
Use that pool for Arcane/Divine/Occult/Primal powers.

Class Features:
Also each class can have more use for other ability scores through their class features, not just their key ability score. Sorcerer and Wizards should get stronger low level features and lose the extra spell each spell level, to better balance them with other classes.

Alchemist:
Unsure what to do.

Barbarian:
Can take one of the Archetypes, also could have some Totems rely on Charisma, Intelligence or Wisdom. A class feat that requires high Con, and gives an armor bonus with a low max Dex bonus, so they can go unarmored with low Dex.

Bard:
Lore Bards should definitely get more class features tied to Intelligence. Polymath and Maestro shouldn't have any ties to another mental ability score, but they could add a spiritual order (Dirge Bard?) the also uses Wisdom.

Cleric:
Cloistered Cleric/Archivist as class feat or feature, or as an option instead of Channel Energy or Armor. Gains an Int based pool of uses that it could use for special domain related abilities, or maybe as extra spell slots for domain spells?

Druid:
Make the order powers available to other orders with a class feat, change the Leaf and Storm orders to grant a pool of uses based on Int or Cha.
Animal: Probably fine as is, Cha based pool for something?
Leaf: Cha based pool, you can use it to cast either a regeneration heal over time spell/power, or a single target entangle attack. The regeneration seems fitting, worried about forcing Leaf druids to be healers. Maybe one as default, and class feats for more options. Could be like the Wild order, in that you could take four feats to gain an extra use.
Storm: Int based pool, you can use a point to cast an improved version of a storm order power. For example, sluggish 2 on failed save for Tempest Surge.
Wild: Fine as is.

Fighter:
Take one of the Archetypes.

Monk:
A class feat that requires high Con, and gives an armor bonus with a low max Dex bonus, so they can go unarmored with low Dex.

Paladin:
Fine.

Ranger:
Add Wis based powers.

Rogue:
Take one of the Archetypes.

Sorcerer:
Give a reason for Sorcerers to have secondary ability scores other than Dex. The following options should make Dex, Con, Wis, and Int secondary Sorcerers interesting options.
Arcane and Occult should get something for investing in Intelligence, same for Divine and Primal with Wisdom. Also give a Feat that makes Con more important.
Arcane Evolution: Chose one spell from an Arcane scroll each day, you can cast that a number of times equal to your Int modifier.
Occult Evolution: Chose one Mental Occult spell each day, you can cast that a number of times equal to your Int modifier.
Divine Evolution: Chose one Healing Divine spell each day, you can cast that a number of times equal to your Wis modifier.
Primal Evolution: You can cast Summon Nature’s ally a number of times equal to your Wis modifier.
Also Should be separate for each bloodline instead of each casting tradition.
Change dangerous sorcery to be better for Con based builds.
Dangerous Sorcery: When you cast a spell you can put extra power into it, with a risk. You can add a Material Casting action to gain a ..... bonus to .... If you add this action make a DC X flat check. If the check fails you gain the Drained Condition, or increase your Drained value by 1 if you are already Drained.

Wizard:
Have the choice of the following class features as an alternative to Drain Arcane Focus:
Wis based pool: spend 1 point to cast any power or spend 2 points to cast a spell you have prepared today at your highest level.
Cha based pool: spend a point to get +2 to a spells attack rolls and save DCs on a spell as a free action when you cast that spell.


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I'm not sure of the specifics but I like the general idea. I always like having a good reason to play a high intelligence or high wisdom fighter without having to resort to magic.


I think part of the problem is that the Six Stats are a sacred cow at this point. Originally, as in looking back to AD&D, there wasn't any motivation to make most stats useful to any given class, because Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Wisdom were basically defined as Fighterness, Rogueness, Wizardness, and Clericness. It's only since the d20 system that there's been a massive push to make them all relevant.

For example, if I were defining physical stats from the ground up, I'd make two. Body and Agility. Body is most of Strength and all of Constitution, while Agility is Dexterity and the to-hit part of Strength. Suddenly, neither stat can be dumped on most builds, because you have one for hitting things and avoiding being hit, and another for dealing damage and soaking up damage. Similarly, I would make two mental scores. Mind and Spirit. Mind is all of Intelligence and the awareness parts of Wisdom. Spirit is Charisma and the Will save parts of Wisdom. (I'd also split Will into two saves, like how Indomitable Will only adds Cha to mind-affecting things, making one save per ability score)

It's hard to prevent at least one thing from being a dump stat, because some things like Intelligence and Wisdom were only even split to begin with to make separate stats for Wizardness and Clericness. Or Strength and Constitution, because they wanted a generic Endurance score for everyone separate from the fighter's Fighterness score.


If classes can just pick favored bonuses then at what point do we just open all feats to each class but maybe at a different level (Like Dark Heresy).

I’m in no way saying that would be bad just wondering if you think it should be limited to just stats or if you think things should move towards a sytem where classes just decide your starting options and not limit you after or if you don’t want to see this kind of freedom go any further thsn stats at character creation.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Strongly agree that making all classes more MAD is a good direction to go, with the caveat that classes should still contribute even if they suck at certain stats, AND no class should be SAD.

If you can meet those two requirements, then having classes be MAD is objectively better for the game because it increases customization. I want a high-Charisma low-Wisdom Cleric to play different from a low-Charisma high-Wisdom Cleric, and I want them to both be viable characters.


On that monk idea, I've thought about a monk stance that gives you ersatz armor equivalent to heavy armor inheriting whatever potency rune you have on your bracers or whatever mage armor spell you are rocking. Give it a d8 attack that is otherwise nothing special, and have it turn off Incredible Movement.

I think doing this as a stance (since frankly there aren't a lot of reasons to take the stance switching stuff right now) is workable.

Exo-Guardians

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I think one way you could do it for monk is also give them Paths in manner akin to the Rogue. Something like A more Strength focused Path. Let's call it way of the Earth for now, it focuses on the physical aspects and much like a Bardic Muse grants access to feats that play off Strength, Dexterity or Constitution.
A second one could be more of a mystical path, let's call it Path of Heaven or something, and have it be more about Wisdom and other mental stats as well as more Ki Focused. Then throw in a Path of Balance that takes a bit of the Ki stuff and a bit of the Physical stuff and plays more like a normal monk.

It's horribly rough, but it's an idea that came to mind and I thought it would be worth sharing as a way to improve one of my favorite classes.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm not sure paths are strictly speaking the way to go, because paths just shuffle around which kind of SAD you are. I would prefer more cases like Cleric, where one character will have multiple ability scores competing for their attention and have to decide what to focus on.

Exo-Guardians

That's fair, it's why I'd like to see some stuff that interacts with more attributes for each class.


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I like the way Pillars of Eternity did it.

Every stat contributed to most things.

You had Might, which scales the damage/healing of all your effects.

Dexterity increased recovery time between any attack.

Intelligence increased durations and aoes.

Mind you that system would not translate well to tabletop due to its percentage nature, but the core design is interesting.


I find that this is only an issue on classes that main/secondary Wisdom and because Int is so terrible that there's literally 0 reasons to want it apart if you're forced by your class (Wizards and Alchemist).

On average you want to always raise Con and Wis. They are just that good as stats.

On average you never want to raise Int. It's just that useless.

And then you have:
Str or Dex based on the armor you use.
Your main (for casters) or secondary (for martials) stat.

When that main/secondary is Wisdom, a stat that you either way want to raise as much as Con, then you're into much better position.

The obvious (imo) solution is 2 parter:
A) to weaken wisdom and buff Int so that it's more than a nonbrainer to dump int and boost wis on every single character.

B) to buff Heavy armor to not have light/medium being by far the king of armors so that you can more easily go full strength.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

On that monk idea, I've thought about a monk stance that gives you ersatz armor equivalent to heavy armor inheriting whatever potency rune you have on your bracers or whatever mage armor spell you are rocking. Give it a d8 attack that is otherwise nothing special, and have it turn off Incredible Movement.

I think doing this as a stance (since frankly there aren't a lot of reasons to take the stance switching stuff right now) is workable.

That really help stance switching. If you take that stance you're probably relying on it for AC, and so you never want to leave it. If you aren't relying on it for AC why would you take it.

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You don't choose your ability scores the same way you choose your feats. Not every ability score needs to be equally powerful as the others for every character.


Theoretically speaking, the new system seems setup for hybrid classes without having to make full-on hybrid classes.

I imagine we could have a “sub-archetypal” dedication feat that requires to be a class or currently have a dedication and an appropriate ability score or skill. For example, 16 int and 16 cha (alternatively, maybe a wizard class/dedication with 16 cha or sorcerer class/dedication with 16 int) that gives some arcanist options. Or a dedication feat for someone who is either a rogue/hunter class/dedication with int gains some investigator features. Picking these up could count towards a feat in that archetype dedication also.

Or, it could just be the same feat in different dedications that has different requirements. The whole modular feat setup looks like it has a strong foundation for future development.


Cyrad wrote:
You don't choose your ability scores the same way you choose your feats. Not every ability score needs to be equally powerful as the others for every character.

Of course not for every character, but you should be able to build a class in multiple ways in terms of ability scores. Currently things like a wizard maxing Dex and Int is a completely clear choice, there's no trade-off.

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citricking wrote:
Cyrad wrote:
You don't choose your ability scores the same way you choose your feats. Not every ability score needs to be equally powerful as the others for every character.
Of course not for every character, but you should be able to build a class in multiple ways in terms of ability scores. Currently things like a wizard maxing Dex and Int is a completely clear choice, there's no trade-off.

Maxing both Dex and Int is only optimal if you deliberately choose to play a wizard that just sits in the back of the fight and does nothing except throw the occasional spell. You can easily build a wizard that can fight with weapons and still have a maxed out Intelligence score. Or put boosts in Charisma or Wisdom to get the most out of your skills. There's lots of different ways you can play classes now.


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citricking wrote:
Cyrad wrote:
You don't choose your ability scores the same way you choose your feats. Not every ability score needs to be equally powerful as the others for every character.
Of course not for every character, but you should be able to build a class in multiple ways in terms of ability scores. Currently things like a wizard maxing Dex and Int is a completely clear choice, there's no trade-off.

My latest wizard has a 12 int and will not increase it. So Int is not even required for all wizards.


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thorin001 said wrote:
My latest wizard has a 12 int and will not increase it. So Int is not even required for all wizards.

That does limit the Wizard quite a bit, though which is fair tradeoff (low class DC, spell dc, bad for certain skills). I'm assuming it's some sort of warrior wizard you are building then.

But int should do some more to be a more useful stat overall for all the classes.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I think it's less about making fewer stats required and more about making more stats valuable.

i.e. instead of "make wizards dumping Int viable" I'm more saying "give Fighters more reason to want Int".

Liberty's Edge

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MaxAstro wrote:
I think it's less about making fewer stats required and more about making more stats valuable...

Bravo.

Resonance Points are a reason for Cha, though I'd like to see characters have more uses for them without magic items. Similarly, I'd like to "what your character can carry" called something (like "Might"), and also have a use beyond simply carrying capacity (when you don't carry at capacity). Intelligence is a natural choice to modify personal net worth ($ starting and at level), or again as points for "my character would know better" actions to remedy mistakes. Wisdom would be great for uses of the non-death options of Hero Points.

On the flip side, I think the Rogue ability to add DexMod to damage should be limited at least to being "precision", instead of negating the value of StrMod. I didn't like the Alchemist using Int instead of Cha for Resonnance, either.

Once all the stats are generally useful to any PC, then work on bringing value to each class from each ability (possibly something beyond the scope of a playtest). Archetypes are a wonderful idea for this.


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I once used a houserule (years ago when playing 3.5 before Pathfinder) that every PC got "Luck" points (LP) that could be used somewhat like PF2 Hero Points (rerolling dice, avoiding death, etc.).

Your total LP was calculated by adding up the bonuses of your FOUR ability scores that are not the primary two for whatever class/build you created. For example, for most wizards, that meant adding the bonuses for STR, CON, WIS, and CHA.

Each day you got that many LP to use with none carried over to the next day.

Characters that had low dump stats had few LP. Characters who didn't "dump" stats had more LP. Of course, this also meant they usually had lower primary stats so I tried to make using LP worth it - LP had to be valuable enough that it was a viable option to deliberately avoid min-maxing the primary stats to have more LP.

It worked out pretty good.

I wouldn't mind seeing Paizo implement a system like this to make more Hero Points available. Combined with making the cost of mundane uses for Hero Points lower (e.g. re-rolling ONE die should not cost twice as much as coming back from death's door), this could make Hero Points useful AND make non-essential ability scores useful too.

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