Magic Weapon Power Normalization


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The first thing I thought was really cool about the changes in PF2 was how magic weapons worked. A +1 sword does 2d8 instead 1d8+1?!?!? Heck yeah! That's awesome!

Now that I look through different character options though, the base die isn't cool for all weapons. For example:
* A +2 dagger doesn't do anymore damage than a non-magical great axe.
* A +3 hand axe does as much as a +1 two handed sword.

I'm thinking now a normalized magic base die addition would work better, like a standard d8 per plus. I guess you could do a scale like +1=d6, +2=2d8, +3=3d10, but it might be complex.

Has this been discussed? What are thoughts?

Liberty's Edge

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imo, PFPT is remarkably balanced in this respect (it's almost as if a spreadsheet spit this out). Weapon damage is absolutely decreased for weapons with less restrictions and/or greater utility/specials.

That dagger can be thrown (full Str bonus to damage), in melee with Str or Dex, has reduced multi-attack penalties, and is Piercing or Slashing. It's usable by almost anyone. it also does Bleed damage if you crit and you're really good at it (critical specialization).

That great axe requires 2 hands to use (no shield, no Arcane casting, no 'free hand' for feats and things), weighs as much as 20 daggers, is just Slashing, and is melee-only. Sweep is very situational (and clearly not as good as Agile), although the critical specialization effect is very good (on a 20, with training). It also requires Martial training. All this restriction for effectively +2 to damage (initial, and per plus).

The PFPT rule addresses one of the biggest problems pre-PFPT - that it didn't matter what base damage your weapon did, just the specials and modifier. The basic Magic Weapon bonus was also very weak for the expense, pretty much a tax to get a special effect...until you get to really high plusses for bypassing DR.

In my opinion.


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It has been discussed and at least a somewhat general consensus was that it's a bad idea because it absolutely screws over the weapons that give up traits for a bigger damage dice or are two-handed and thus more limiting to use for a bigger damage dice, because in later levels they get almost nothing for that tradeoff. PF1 had this problem to a degree where weapons with bigger dice were severely unoptimal compared to weapons with smaller dice but, say, a bigger crit range. I think this problem was part of why we got the dice system we did.

Let's take your flat 1d8 per + idea and apply it to a hypothetical example. Let's say Greatsword vs. Starknife.

Greatsword is 1d12 slashing and has the Versatile P trait. Starknife is 1d4 and also has the Versatile P trait, but in addition it has the Finesse trait making it Dex viable, the Agile trait making it better at iterative attacks, the deadly d6 trait for a damage boost on crits, and the thrown 20 trait for ranged combat. It is also one-handed, allowing for shield use or other various free-hand options.

At 1st level the Greatsword gets average 6.5 from its dice, the Starknife gets average 2.5. Of course you also have Str to damage (Dex for the starknife if Rogue), so depending on stats they start at 9.5-10.5 for Greatsword, 2.5-6.5 for Starknife. At the best for both it is about a 50% difference, I think that's pretty fair given the perks the Starknife gets, perhaps even favoring the Starknife all considered.

Now for comparisons I'm just gonna drop the flat modifier for damage for simplicity's sake save for occasional reference, just bear in mind it actually narrows the percentage gap of damage between the weapons, just not the flat number difference necessarily.

So normally the damage difference between the two (a 4 point difference to start) grows with every potency rune until an eventual figure of 39 from Greatsword vs. 15 from Starknife (6d12 vs. 6d4). With flat modifiers it's more like 43-46 vs. 19-22. Definitely a smaller gap, with Greatsword hanging at 2 to 2 1/2 times damage. It's a huge difference but personally I'm honestly fine with it. The Starknife gets a lot of perks that make it very suitable for certain builds, and frankly if you are aiming for raw damage then IMO a Starknife SHOULDN'T be your best choice.

But that aside, let's look at how it would be with a flat d8 per rune.

+0, 6.5 vs 2.5
+1, 11 vs. 7
+2, 15.5 vs. 11.5
+3, 20 vs. 16
+4, 24.5 vs. 20.5
+5, 29 vs. 25 (With modifiers here it's roughly 33-36 vs. 29-32)

So we have a MUCH smaller gap, ranging from less than 20% to a little over 10%. This, to me at least, is a major problem. Because to get that ~10-20% over Starknife, the Greatsword had to give up Dex usability, a bonus to iterative attacks, extra crit damage (Both of those in fact provide a slight DPR boost to Starknife, further closing the gap), a significant throwing range, AND it;s two handed, closing off a lot of options.

So that's an overview of my problem with the idea. This is the extreme of the issue on both sides, both showing the largest possible damage gap under the current system and the biggest problem with the proposed system, but to me it highlights things well. Under the current system certain weapons are much weaker for direct damage because they trade that damage for various handy perks that give more options or make the weapon better at certain things. I think it's understood when looking at one of these weapons that raw damage is NOT why you pick it. (And again this is the extreme. Starknife vs. Greatsword is a MUCH larger gap than, say Shortsword vs. Falchion) And I really like that, I love that we have a huge range of trait-damage options with different levels of tradeouts. I'd honestly hate to lose that. And a flat boost system just screws over the heavy two handed weapons and overpowers the high-trait one handed weapons comparatively.

And I just would raise a lot of eyebrow at a 6-inch blade doing almost as much damage as a 4-5 foot blade. Exception of course to things like Sneak Attack, the whole idea there is small blade to the vitals causing almost as much harm as big blade, that totally makes sense. XD I mean I know it's a fantasy game and magic and stuff but I feel like we need proper respect for the sacrifices the big bois make to wield their big boi weapons. I felt PF1 didn't do that enough but I think PF2 very much does. I wouldn't mind seeing weapon traits refined or expanded upon to be even more fun than they are now, and smaller weapons maybe given more love through that, but I wouldn't want to see the damage gap collapse.

I hope that conveys my thoughts accurately. I get why people think that a flat boost should be, and of course to each their own in their own games, but I strongly disagree for the above reasons.


Previloc wrote:

imo, PFPT is remarkably balanced in this respect (it's almost as if a spreadsheet spit this out). Weapon damage is absolutely decreased for weapons with less restrictions and/or greater utility/specials.

That dagger can be thrown (full Str bonus to damage), in melee with Str or Dex, has reduced multi-attack penalties, and is Piercing or Slashing. It's usable by almost anyone. it also does Bleed damage if you crit and you're really good at it (critical specialization).

That great axe requires 2 hands to use (no shield, no Arcane casting, no 'free hand' for feats and things), weighs as much as 20 daggers, is just Slashing, and is melee-only. Sweep is very situational (and clearly not as good as Agile), although the critical specialization effect is very good (on a 20, with training). It also requires Martial training. All this restriction for effectively +2 to damage (initial, and per plus).

The PFPT rule addresses one of the biggest problems pre-PFPT - that it didn't matter what base damage your weapon did, just the specials and modifier. The basic Magic Weapon bonus was also very weak for the expense, pretty much a tax to get a special effect...until you get to really high plusses for bypassing DR.

In my opinion.

Overall I totally agree with this, very similar to my own thoughts, a couple notes though:

As of update 1.6 Somatic casting doesn't need a free hand, so most casting can be done with a 2-H weapon now. Material component spells can't though, and the other free-hand options are still restricted as you say.

Also 1d4 vs. 1d12 is actually a 4 point difference, 2.5 average vs. 6.5 average. Even with the stat modifier added it grows to be a huge gap with potency runes. However as referenced in my post I feel this is warranted, partly for the reasons you describe.


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I had did a little thought about it to, in terms of the reasons why Paizo decided to do something like this. 1st I thought it was just ease of uniformity, but then I noticed a bit of balancing in it as well.

For example, all of the simple weapons {which almost everyone gains access to} max out at 1d6 with the exception of the Spear which requires two hands. On the Martial weapons, lower damage weapons tend to also incorporate more abilities then higher ones. For example both a Longsword and a Shortsword have the Versatile property. However the Longsword as a higher damage at 1d8, while the Shortsword as the advantage of also being Finesse and Agile, though at a lower damage at 1d6 in trade.

Which I think leads to a big issue for allowing Property runes to increase the damage by a set amount, instead of being based on the weapon itself, as I think it was a way to balance certain mechanics. For example most Finesse weapons damage max out at 1d6 {with the exception of the Elven Curve blade, both an uncommon weapon, that requires two hands, and then only as 1d8.). If runes increased this damage by a set amount, at higher levels, the difference between a Finesse {based on Dex to hit} and a non-Finesse weapon {Based on Str to hit) for damage could be very small, which would encourage people to use Dex as there main attack stat {Something which Paizo saw as a problem that should be avoided, as they did not want to make a default 'dump' stat}

That being said, the average damage of a +3 Dagger is 10, while the average damage of a +3 Greatsword is 26, which is a huge difference that will only increase as the game goes on. But {as someone whom does tend to play more Dex based characters} I still think a Greatsword should outpace a Daggers damage by a fair bit. And PF2 seems to be a game of matching the challenge by level, so I think its fair as long as the +3 Dagger {a Level 12 item} is roughly as effective against Level 12 foes, as a regular Dagger is against Level 1. {keeping in mind increased resistances and such as well, and how these also affect the higher damaging weapons.)

---Big note, made this comment when there was only one post, so sorry if I repeated anything anyone said.-----


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Siro wrote:
---Big note, made this comment when there was only one post, so sorry if I repeated anything anyone said.-----

Lol, same thing kinda happened when I did my big comment, there was only the OP when I started and then there was another comment when I finished. I think we were all typing out our comments at like the same time Lol. XD

And we all had roughly the same opinion to boot! XD


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All fair comments, but I'll argue on behalf of the "common scenario."

Starknife v. Greatsword and all the factors:

Yes, I'm down with weapons having different features and capabilities, and I appreciate how that's working in PF2. I don't agree that it's on par with what magic runes do for you. It's not working fairly together. The starknife can be thrown, sure, but how is that advantageous if I can instead spend an action to move into melee and then do 2.5x damage per swing? The common scenario is combat in a room. Unless you're focused on ranged combat, you aren't going to compete with a small die weapon. There's no point trying to use a d4 range, so it's got to be factored out. In fact that scenario you pose as advantageous is exactly the problem scenario I was envisioning.

Why bother with a d4 weapon at all when it's so incredibly more effective to use a d12?

A pair of daggers in combat v. Greatsword, all magical:

Sure, my daggers are agile, but a multi-attack penalty of reduction of 1 is not on par with an extra d12. Sure they have range (which if we're honest reduced the thrown weapon's effectiveness even more, because unless it's Returning, you can't attack with it again). Even having a pair of magic daggers won't get you close to a greatsword. If you have a pair of +5 daggers (6-24), you only achieve as high a damage range as a +1 greatsword (2-24). Yes, +'s will give you a chance for more crits, but...

I just don't feel like the extra base die is a fair improvement of power even factoring in agile, handedness, crits, etc. It really discourages builds like the sword and dagger / thrown dagger, small weapon finesse person. PF1 worked around that by giving flat +'s to damage. I prefer the dice version of PF2 myself. However, there's no point to the small weapon builds anymore when you could be doing multiple d12's or even d8's.


Indeed, perhaps it does go too far the other way, I think there's merit to both arguments.

Though I will say Double Slice helps TWF DPS loads FWIW, getting two attacks at full accuracy is really ace.

I may not have the proper experience to judge on this. I have only seen 3 characters in all 7 chapters of DD use 2H weapons. A Barbarian with a +1 Greataxe in Part 2, a Cleric with a +3 Guisarme in Part 5, and a Sorcerer multiclassing Fighter with a Bastard Sword in Parts 1, 4, and 7 (But he never used it 2H until chapter 7, which we've only done some of, because 2H weapons were so prohibitive to casting before.)

So that's a 2d12 weapon in Part 2. It was really strong when it hit, though the Barbarian had some trouble closing with some enemies and actually used backup thrown weapons multiple times. In melee he and the Ranger with Double Slice and a +1 Shortsword and Main Gauche (He had Doubling Rings) matched blows pretty well compared to each other. The Double Slice accuracy balanced well against the Greatsword damage there.

Part 5, the Guisarme wasn't exactly the strongest 2H weapon, 4d10. There was a Fighter with a +3 Orc Necksplitter and a Paladin with a +3 Longsword also in that party, both 4d8. They were actually much better in combat due to better proficiency and martial features. Trip was really useful too. But the Cleric was definitely the weakest fighter of the three.

Part 7, well, I haven't gotten to see too much, he's only landed a couple hits as spells have been flying a lot instead. 5d12 is his damage dice. But the hits he has landed show him as roughly on par with the Rogue with a Filcher's Fork, 5d4.. That weapon is sweet, it has Returning so her combat range has been ace, and Backstabber and Deadly are nice boosts. Rogue Dex to damage helps too. The Rogue is a corner case here of course, but dang if Dex to damage and Sneak doesn't make that d4 weapon hit borderline as hard as the d12 weapon.

TL;DR, I haven't seen enough of the heavy 2H weapon vs. light 1H weapon to know how it really feels to have two side by side in the same party. The early level example I saw of d12 vs. TWF d6 had the two feel well matched against each other though. The Part 7 party feels well matched too but again, Sneak attack.

As a note though, I think the Whip is a better example of what I see as a good d4 weapon than the Starknife. Taking a Whip you don't expect massive damage. You expect shenanigans. Finesse is kind of a non factor, either o=you must have it or you have no use for it. Agile, I find it very useful. Reach, quite handy, worth noting no d12 weapons have that, only d10 and below. Also almost no 1H weapons have it. Trip and Disarm, these are more like it. The idea of taking this weapon is less for major damage and more for ways to better jack with your enemies. Admittedly Disarm really needs fixed but it could be a good trait if that happens and I can say from experience that Trip ROCKS. Monsters tend to have low Reflex, and tripping them is an AC debuff AND an action waster.

That's not to discount your points per se, more of a note of oh here's a weapon that embodies the idea of "I use this weapon for reasons other than raw damage".

Also, this is kind of a just me thing, bt I appreciate that even if it is much weaker than d12s, as long as you have at least a decent damage modifier the damage of a d4 weapon at least -feels- appreciable. 6d4+5 may not seem much compared to 6d12+5, but it does seem pretty solid taken in isolation IMO.

Also I appreciate that the big gaps don't occur until really high levels. Like right up until level 16 the biggest the gap possibly gets is 16 damage, or roughly 16 vs. 32. Still a big gap but a bit better than what you have with a +4 or +5 weapon.

Also it's worth mentioning damage runes. Early-ish levels these can add 1d6 each, later levels 2d6 each. These do in a way provide that flat damage boost, but optionally and at an investment cost. So if you really want your small weapon dealing big damage this is the way to do it, by investing in it.

Talking the top levels, a weapon with 3 Greater Elemental runes on it adds 6d6. on a d4 weapon this would actually make your damage equal or almost equal to a 6d12 weapon without these. Even if the 6d12 weapon took these as well, now the dice damage is 36 vs. 60 instead of 15 vs. 39 (Again, with modifiers narrowing the % gap, ending up with something like 41 vs. 65-ish). That is a much smaller gap, the large weapon dealing 150-166% the damage of the small instead of 200-250%.

Of course that's just a look at the top levels but I expect these damage runes would have a similar level of impact in the intervening levels.

Some might consider this limiting, that you "need" these runes to do "good" damage with certain weapons, but honestly I think it makes sense to need to go the extra mile to pump up a weapon in an area it wasn't designed to excel.

Bleh, sorry, got a bit rambly here. Comment was much shorter but then the idea of the property runes for flat damage dice hit me and I went off about it. See, despite what I said before about wanting heavy 2H weapons to be much stronger than light 1H, I have NO problem with a light weapon tricked out with specific runes having a smaller damage gap compared to a 2H weapon. To me that's investing in a specific customization to bring your weapon closer, not it getting closer just by staying on the general power track (i.e. potency runes).

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Not that I disagree with any of the above per se, but I do admit I wouldn't mind it if fighters, at least, had the ability to make d4 weapons d6s, much like they have an Advanced Weapon Training option in PF1 to use the Sacred Weapon progression on a favored weapon. It's a bit frustrating that clerics can get d6 daggers but fighters can't....


Is it all somatic casting that doesn't need a free hand? Or just clerics and paladins?


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I have to agree with the OP. Apart from dex bases builds, this rule will make most weapons very sub optimal. Each class will migrate towards the weapon with the biggest dice.

It is one of many parts of 2nd Ed which I think are going in the wrong direction. Hopefully it will change when the finished rules come out.


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Part of the problem is that TWF no longer gives extra attacks. A greatsword doing 2d6/strike was balanced against a longsword and a shortsword doing 1d8+1d6 together, but at a -2 penalty.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I guess I’m the opposition voice here..

My opinion is that the damage numbers for magic weapons are too high.
I propose a system where weapon quality provides the accuracy boost in the same progression as proficiency bonuses: -4, 0, 1, 2, 3 where -4 is for poor quality junk and +3 is for legendary quality weapons. Same progression for armor. In practice I doubt poor quality would actually be used...

Potency Runes would be completely removed from the game.

The value of the attack bonus would also be the number of property runes the weapon can have. You can add a d6 fire damage, or any of the other runes, as the weapon has space.

I’m trying to address two things here:
1) the numbers get really big and the difference between your d10ish weapons and d4ish weapons is huge by the end, which forces the hand into “use a big weapon or be irrelevant.” And there are other issues for people like me who get caught in the math of adding 6 dice each round... that is easily house rules around though.

2) due to the expense of magic weapons, you would have your one best weapon, but then you will run into resistances and weaknesses that make you want to draw a backup weapon. But you won’t have them all at best-magic-level... which means you are behind in both accuracy and damage. In my experience by the time you lag behind by 3+ you start to really lose out on to hit chance, Also if your nonmqgic or underleveled magic weapon does 20 less damage than your main weapon, and the weakness or resistance you are interacting with is 20, then by doing the thing the game wants... using the appropriate weapon... you are just losing out on accuracy by switching, paying an action cost to do so, and you are overall hurting yourself and your team.


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Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:
Is it all somatic casting that doesn't need a free hand? Or just clerics and paladins?

As of 1.6 Somatic casting in general no longer requires a free hand.


jdripley wrote:

2) due to the expense of magic weapons, you would have your one best weapon, but then you will run into resistances and weaknesses that make you want to draw a backup weapon. But you won’t have them all at best-magic-level... which means you are behind in both accuracy and damage. In my experience by the time you lag behind by 3+ you start to really lose out on to hit chance, Also if your nonmqgic or underleveled magic weapon does 20 less damage than your main weapon, and the weakness or resistance you are interacting with is 20, then by doing the thing the game wants... using the appropriate weapon... you are just losing out on accuracy by switching, paying an action cost to do so, and you are overall hurting yourself and your team.

FWIW It's pretty cheap to have a backup weapon or two at 1 less potency.

Like by the time you can get a +3 weapon, +2 weapons are really cheap, for example. And similar with the other runes.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Edge93 wrote:

FWIW It's pretty cheap to have a backup weapon or two at 1 less potency.

Like by the time you can get a +3 weapon, +2 weapons are really cheap, for example. And similar with the other runes.

That’s fair enough I guess... my thoughts are no doubt influenced more by my personal home group's fairly stingy approach to accessing magic weapons of any sort.

Though if I dare say it, my own desire would be for a game that does not require you to “keep up” with any particular progression of magic weapons. Monsters having huge HP pools requires you to be rolling many dice for damage, you know?

I do realize I’m bringing up another issue though ;)


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I'm right with you. Magic in my games is never on a shelf on demand. PF Society play really warps these discussions with its expectations of buying and upgrading. Most games are home games and aren't like that.


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The DM of wrote:
Most games are home games and aren't like that.

I can fully get behind most games being home games. I'm not so sure though that you can say most games don't treat magic items the PFS way. In my experience magic item shops are pretty much in any major city and sometimes even smaller towns.


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YMMV disclaimer...

All I can do is give my group's take on it. Yes, magic item shops exist commonly. No, they do not let you buy out of the book whatever you want. We don't play with that kind of magical economy. You never know what you might find, but simply upgrading your weapons or armour at a shop is almost unheard of. Commissioning something after roleplaying is another story, but it's a significant event.

This deserves another thread. DMs give out gear. Players occasionally buy gear or upgrade it. DMs challenge the players based on what they're capable of. To me the idea of a "Level 12 Challenge!" is unnecessary. I will always look at my mix of players, their gear, and their abilities and tailor a good game for them. You don't need a certain level of gear to be viable. To us that's ridiculous.

I'm not a fan of organized play dynamics, and I'll get around to posting why this month.


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RazarTuk wrote:
Part of the problem is that TWF no longer gives extra attacks. A greatsword doing 2d6/strike was balanced against a longsword and a shortsword doing 1d8+1d6 together, but at a -2 penalty.

It's worth noting that because of the Multi-Attack Penalty, those two-weapon Rangers with their daggers are putting down lots of contact that the greatsword swinging Barbarians can't. Reducing MAP with agile weapons or a Ranger's class feats can lead to positive outcomes. It's not necessarily about what you do it one HIT, but one ROUND. Consider that two-weapon specialists can have a much higher hit chance on their 2nd and 3rd attacks in a round and that will have an effect on the final damage per round math.


I say normalize damage, but make it easier to sneak attack and crit with bigger die weapons. It's much easier to hit a vital spot with a bigger blade. You have much more force and can affect a bigger area if your target.


The DM of wrote:
I'm not a fan of organized play dynamics, and I'll get around to posting why this month.

That much is quite clear. And I don't disagree that some groups might play like you do. But I have no statistics as to how prevalent they are. And Organised Play has definitely determined how my group handles magic items. I suspect we are not alone in that regard.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
The DM of wrote:
I'm not a fan of organized play dynamics, and I'll get around to posting why this month.
That much is quite clear. And I don't disagree that some groups might play like you do. But I have no statistics as to how prevalent they are. And Organised Play has definitely determined how my group handles magic items. I suspect we are not alone in that regard.

I've never done organized play but in PF1 I tended to be pretty liberal with letting players buy anything they could afford, especially as we tended to do our buying in places like Almas (Capital of Andoran, big good aligned country), or a homebrew land's equivalent, where the finest shops would be available.

Exceptions are my mythic game where I request to approve any mythic items desired due to limited familiarity with the catalog, and my most recent campaign as I've settled to the standard guidelines for magic item purchase a bit more (Anything above 16,000 GP is by no means guaranteed in even the best shops in PF1), so certain things are not granted. That said the party is on great terms with the literal best magic shop owner in the country due to their government connections so...

In PF2 I expect I will go similarly, if they are in major cities items are pretty available, exceptions may apply but basically most things at or below the level of smith you could expect to find will be available. At higher levels they may have to hunt down legendary smiths or learn crafting themselves. PF2 crafting is SO much easier than PF1 and I LOVE it.

Liberty's Edge

Firmly on the 'extra die size', and think that some of the comparisons are, like polling statistics, misrepresentative because they don't take into account the versatility (it's there, whether you use it or not), and class distinctions (built into warrior classes).

Here's an approximation of the damage mechanic (+0 is the first 'plus): Martial is worth +1/plus. Two-Handed is worth +2/plus (+1Bulk). Finesse/Agile is worth -1/plus. Thrown/Reach is worth -1/plus. Versatile and other traits are worth fractions each.

Some weapons break this, and there are a few other rules in there. What PFPT compensates for is that, in PF1-: Finesse was a feat; two-handed got you 150% strength and better Power Attack; Reach didn't get adjacent; Ranged got you AoOs from anybody.

The DM of wrote:
...Why bother with a d4 weapon at all when it's so incredibly more effective to use a d12?...

For a Rogue, it's not. They don't get +4 (Dex) to damage/hit, nor sneak attack. Dex-based characters may want the to-hit. AC-based characters may want a shield. Casters may want to cast a M spell. Monks may want to gain thier abilities. Many characters also don't have "d12" - they may have up to d8 (LongSpear - also not agile/finesse, not throwable, not Versatile).

The DM of wrote:
...Sure they have range (which if we're honest reduced the thrown weapon's effectiveness even more...

An option can't be a detriment. Don't ever throw it if you don't want to - but for some, it's valuable, particularly at higher level when 'returning' is a wicked option. Like my previous mistake of looking at a Battle Axe for damage comparison (+2 vs GreatAxe +4), and misunderstanding that 1.6 somatic spell revision applied to Arcane casters, it's a typo thought.

The DM of wrote:
...discourages builds like the sword and dagger / thrown dagger, small weapon finesse person.

I disagree - that's a Rogue (with Sneak Attack). You want AC/Ref and Features, and to-hit, and Damage too? Those themes are still viable for Ranger or Bard, and even if you look at Fighter feats, most revolve around one one-handed weapon or having two weapons. They gain increasing melee control and other features, while two-handed just get the extra damage. I also firmly believe that Dex-based characters have had it all their way for too long - armor class, to hit, save, initiative, skills; and PFPT addresses only a little of that imbalance.

Thematically, large weapons where never scary at high levels before - Welcome to the Jungle (as Conan might say).


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Previloc wrote:
An option can't be a detriment.

You make plenty of true points, but most of it is irrelevant like the above statement. Yes, the weapons are balanced, and I agreed with that and even like it. No, options aren't detriments, but they can be irrelevant if there are other weapons more effective by several factors of power.

What happens when the weapons are magic and their damage scales at different rates? That's what I want to discuss. It's not whether a dagger should do d4 (which it should), and a great axe should do d12 (which it should). It's, "Are they balanced at +'s?"

I think it's questionable to say the weapons are balanced when magic. Having a d6 weapon with lots of abilities balances against a d10 with lower versatility is one thing when nonmagical. When they're +2 and one is doing 3d6 (10.5) and the other is doing 3d10 (16.5), it feels off.

Sure, I made a choice when it was 3.5 vs 5.5. That wasn't too big a deal. But now I'm sacrificing 6 points of damage for the same benefits I had when I was only sacrificing 2. The pros and cons don't scale, only the damage. That's where larger die magic weapons accelerate ahead.


Someone said wrote:

You make plenty of true points, but most of it is irrelevant like the above statement. Yes, the weapons are balanced, and I agreed with that and even like it. No, options aren't detriments, but they can be irrelevant if there are other weapons more effective by several factors of power.

What happens when the weapons are magic and their damage scales at different rates? That's what I want to discuss. It's not whether a dagger should do d4 (which it should), and a great axe should do d12 (which it should). It's, "Are they balanced at +'s?"

I think it's questionable to say the weapons are balanced when magic. Having a d6 weapon with lots of abilities balances against a d10 with lower versatility is one thing when nonmagical. When they're +2 and one is doing 3d6 (10.5) and the other is doing 3d10 (16.5), it feels off.

Sure, I made a choice when it was 3.5 vs 5.5. That wasn't too big a deal. But now I'm sacrificing 6 points of damage for the same benefits I had when I was only sacrificing 2. The pros and cons don't scale, only the damage. That's where larger die magic weapons accelerate ahead.

Well the damage between the weapon still scales the same % wise, but the flat number disparity does get bigger. To say the benefits doesn't stack isn't completely true since several traits does scale with weapon dice or quality, a trip attack is still meaningful at higher levels (even though you sacrifice more damage than previously) and agile is still as important with your higher damage attacks.

And sure d4 dagger vs d12 greatsword never goes in the favor of the dagger unless you are getting certain bonuses or has certain needs from it (being a rogue, or needing to hide it), but then again it's a 1 handed simple, light bulk weapon with several traits vs a 2 handed martial weapon with 2 bulk and fewer and poorer traits.

But in the opposite scenario with a static scaling from magic damage quite quickly the greatsword would have no real advantage over the dagger ever and two-weapon fighting rogues would put to shame the two-handed weapon fighting fighter.

And it's fine that a fighter does more damage with his magical greatsword than he would do with a magical dagger, overall a fighter shouldn't really bother with simple weapons when he can use martial unless for a specific reason. And the sacrifices he makes by wielding a two-handed weapon instead of a sword and shield also increases as the magical weapons go up (each hit avoided saves larger amount of HP).

So the only real question is whether the gap between the weapons are currently too big and there are several weapons leagues better than others. I don't really think so, like 80% at least of the weaponry has a reasonable spot in my mind.


Nettah wrote:

To say the benefits doesn't stack isn't completely true since several traits does scale with weapon dice or quality...

<SNIP>
So the only real question is whether the gap between the weapons are currently too big and there are several weapons leagues better than others. I don't really think so, like 80% at least of the weaponry has a reasonable spot in my mind.

Which weapon traits stack?

No, the question of this thread, not "the only real question," is whether the damage gap between weapons gets too big when extra dice are applied when weapons are magical. Or should magic weapon dice be normalized to some extent?

Paizo Forums pro life tip: Read the original post and thread title before posting. If you just want to shoot the sheet, post your own thread.


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Someone said wrote:


Which weapon traits stack?

No, the question of this thread, not "the only real question," is whether the damage gap between weapons gets too big when extra dice are applied when weapons are magical. Or should magic weapon dice be normalized to some extent?

Paizo Forums pro life tip: Read the original post and thread title before posting. If you just want to shoot the sheet, post your own thread.

Scale not stack (that's a typo on my part), but backstabber, charge, forceful, twin and to some degree fatal all scale with weapons getting more dice.

I have read the tread, and as I said the only thing to discuss (at least in my opinion) is how big the gap needs to be between the weapons. I didn't say that was limited to them being non-magical. So yes it could be argued that the gap past a certain point of potency runes is too big thus limiting any "real choice" in terms of weapon selection. I don't think so, but if the issue is that say +9 combined damage would be too big a detriment for a lot of weapons to see play something would likely needed to be done. I do feel strongly that equal + from potency runes is a non-starter as I mentioned since quickly every two-handed weapon will be "worse" than every one-handed weapon and agile will be king.


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Personally, I am more in favour of boosting traits / adding more traits to weak weapons than I would ever be in favour of nerfing high damage weapons.


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Good points. I'm not sure what the solution is or even if there's a problem. I don't want to see everyone using the same weapon, because it's the min/max only viable choice. I would like to see more scaling of capabilities, not just more damage which increases the power gap over magical +'s.

Liberty's Edge

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The PFPT approach retains the damage ratios of weapons throughout the magical enhancement of the weapon. This means that your relative damage expectation, in comparison to other weapons, stays stable.

Citing absolute difference growth as damage increases ignores the proportional increase of opponent damage capacity, i.e., the meaning of damage as a % of overcoming a creature. With +5 weapons, should a dagger do a larger proportion of damage against the dragon compared to a GreatAxe, than the two did ages ago to a cow when nonmagical? If you normalize enhancement damage, the weapon balance is substantially upset, and features that make advantage lower damage weapons make them the obvious choice for all characters.

The features of weapons are magnified by the enhancement, absolutely. A higher chance to hit generates greater proportional damage. Tripping or Shoving an opponent scales, as that tactical move affects equally powerful opponents. For example, Shove/Trip causing an opponent to lose thier 3rd attack or other action each round, due to a necessity to move - and the Trip may generate AoOs.

The DM of wrote:

… the question of this thread … is whether the damage gap between weapons gets too big when extra dice are applied when weapons are magical. Or should magic weapon dice be normalized to some extent?

My opinion is no, because the PFPT approach maintains stability in the damage growth ratios. In addition, there are many factors to consider.

If all characters have identical Strength/Dexterity, use the same weapon list, can't use formations, don't use stacking class abilities (Monk, Rogue) or tactics (Shove, Trip), and don't get to attack at range, and monster hit points don't increase as characters level, then yes, there's no reason for most of the weapons to exist (at least, in asymmetrically increasing damage with enchantment).

The point of these 'off topic' comments is that sometimes, d4 is better than a d12, when that d12 can't hit. The analysis would have to include hit probability, multiple attacks, and criticals at least, if not other factors.

If you need to roll a 16 to hit with a GreatAxe (25%x6.5x+), and a 12 to hit with a Rapier (45%x3.5x+) due to an 18 Dex and 10 Str, that's 1.625 expected from the GreatAxe, and 1.575 from the Rapier, multiplied by one more than the plus of the respective weapon. Using that statistic disparity, the expected damage unit value for the GreatAxe/Rapier when the GreatAxe needs a 6 through 19 to hit, goes from expected damage of 4.875/3.325 through .65/1.05. With +5 weapons, that's from 29.25/19.95 through 3.9/6.3. This doesn't account for multiple attacks or criticals (just flat %'s).

When accounting for multiple attacks in a round, the Rapier pulls forward a little because the to-hit increases. E.g. that GreatAxe needing 8, then 13, then 18 (and Rapier 4 less), for +5 weapons, is a sum of 46.8/37.8, a ratio of 123% in favor of the GreatAxe instead of 142% for the single hit at 8 to hit.

Eventually you have to start accounting for Criticals...which favors the Rapier from rolling 10+ the DC for the low to-hits when the GreatAxe is slightly outperforming the Rapier (for that 8 to hit, the GreatAxe has a 15% chance to crit for double damage (adding .15x6.5x+, +5.85 at +5), while the Rapier has a 40% chance (adding 8.4 at +5). Keeping the 5% for a 20, that adds 9.76 to the +5 sum for the Greataxe and 12.6 for the rapier, updating the ratios to 56.55/50.4, 112% in favor of the GreatAxe.

But, remember that with a Rapier, the character has a hand free for a shield, secondary weapon, class feats, climbing, or to cast spells.
With Reach, a character in the 2nd rank does damage, and none with a GreatAxe.

The DM of wrote:
Paizo Forums pro life tip: Read the original post and thread title before posting. If you just want to shoot the sheet, post your own thread. z

LOL...sigh, as I've asserted, I believe that other factors are significant to the comparison of damage of weapons (magical or not). Some of the other contributors to this thread are, as well, not simply looking at the damage dice rolled, but the effectivness of those dice.


I'd be fine with the magic weapon system if the potency rune cost was based on the damage die of a weapon. Any way you slice it, a greatsword gets a bigger benefit than a dagger from the +x runes. But, the character overall might still benefit if the dagger is cheaper than the shortsword, longsword, etc, because they can have more magical weapons for emergencies (more on-par ones) or use the wealth they save on something else entirely. Maybe group weapons based on damage die to determine potency bonus (d6 and d8 are the same, d10 and d12 are the same, d4 is cheapest perhaps) to avoid cases where a character has [absurd number] lances because they are cheaper than a glaive.

Yeah, this staggering of potency levels is a bit awkward and doesn't quite fit the simpler design rules, but it also keeps the damage die per +1 method blended together with some incentive to use a dagger for non-rogues.


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So what reason would someone have for using a dagger as a primary weapon? Either it's because they are a devout pharasman (in which case the Champion and Cleric classes have options to bump it to a d6) or they are stuck with simple weapons and you need a finesse one.

I think it's fine that martial weapons are just better than simple weapons, and that exotic weapons have additional traits compared to martial weapons. Otherwise there's no point in having those be three different types of proficiency in a hierarchy.

So just looking at the simple weapons, it looks pretty clear that the basic 1 handed simple weapon does d6 damage -Club, Spear, Mace, and Morningstar all fit here. All of those have a single trait. All of the d4 single-hand weapons have at least two traits with the exception of the staff which has the ability to be wielded two-handed as a d8 weapon comparable to the 2h simple d8 longspear.

So I guess the question is "Is a trait worth a die size?" I figure the answer is "sometimes yes, sometimes no" which is what you'd want it to be. A Halberd is a die less than a Greatsword but it has reach. A rapier is a die less than a longsword but it has finesse. All of the d4 martial weapons are either things which should not be a primary weapon (e.g. a shield boss), something with a damage die increaser (the fatal d8 light pick) or something with a huge pile of traits (the main-gauche, starknife, sai, and whip all have five).

But "harder to use weapons are better" and "raw power versus versatility" both seem to me like natural tradeoffs for weapons.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

So what reason would someone have for using a dagger as a primary weapon? Either it's because they are a devout pharasman (in which case the Champion and Cleric classes have options to bump it to a d6) or they are stuck with simple weapons and you need a finesse one.

I think it's fine that martial weapons are just better than simple weapons, and that exotic weapons have additional traits compared to martial weapons. Otherwise there's no point in having those be three different types of proficiency in a hierarchy.

So just looking at the simple weapons, it looks pretty clear that the basic 1 handed simple weapon does d6 damage -Club, Spear, Mace, and Morningstar all fit here. All of those have a single trait. All of the d4 single-hand weapons have at least two traits with the exception of the staff which has the ability to be wielded two-handed as a d8 weapon comparable to the 2h simple d8 longspear.

So I guess the question is "Is a trait worth a die size?" I figure the answer is "sometimes yes, sometimes no" which is what you'd want it to be. A Halberd is a die less than a Greatsword but it has reach. A rapier is a die less than a longsword but it has finesse. All of the d4 martial weapons are either things which should not be a primary weapon (e.g. a shield boss), something with a damage die increaser (the fatal d8 light pick) or something with a huge pile of traits (the main-gauche, starknife, sai, and whip all have five).

But "harder to use weapons are better" and "raw power versus versatility" both seem to me like natural tradeoffs for weapons.

An addition here, martial one handed weapons actually get 2 traits per die size drop. For the most part it is d8 with 1 trait (Longsword with Versatile P), d6 with 3 traits (Shortsword with Versatile P, Finesse, Agile), or d4 with freaking 5 traits (Starknife with Versatile P, Finesse, Agile, Thrown 20, and Deadly d6).

As an aside the Whip is conceptually my favorite d4 weapon, having Reach, Trip, Disarm, Finesse, and Agile. It is just good at SO many things EXCEPT dealing straight damage, but it is servicable for damage when needed.

And if Disarm gets fixed and ESPECIALLY if we get the ability to use Dex instead of Str for maneuver Athletics checks with a weapon (And if reach is useable with the maneuvers, not sure if it is or not now) then we will have an EXCELLENT showcase of how traits can make a weapon awesome and viable without having it be particularly good at actually doing HP damage. Because if you are picking a weapon to do a lot of HP damage then why the frick are you using a whip? You use whips to screw with people, don't you know? XD

Martial 2H weapons do keep to 1 trait per die drop though, d12 with 1 trai, d10 with 2, or d8 with 3.


Edge93 said wrote:

As an aside the Whip is conceptually my favorite d4 weapon, having Reach, Trip, Disarm, Finesse, and Agile. It is just good at SO many things EXCEPT dealing straight damage, but it is servicable for damage when needed.

And if Disarm gets fixed and ESPECIALLY if we get the ability to use Dex instead of Str for maneuver Athletics checks with a weapon (And if reach is useable with the maneuvers, not sure if it is or not now) then we will have an EXCELLENT showcase of how traits can make a weapon awesome and viable without having it be particularly good at actually doing HP damage. Because if you are picking a weapon to do a lot of HP damage then why the frick are you using a whip? You use whips to screw with people, don't you know? XD

Reach counts with maneuvers (it's stated under the traits that they use the weapons reach if different from your own).

An argument could be made for finesse actually applying dex instead of str to the athletics checks as well (You can use your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier when making attack rolls with this melee weapon.). And since the maneuvers have the attack traits it might be fair to be called an attack roll (since standard attacks are normally called strikes), but I think it's at best unclear in terms of RAW and likely not RAI.

But I do agree that Disarm needs to be better for it to be impactful, and I think it will get some more support or be changed in the final version.

Edge93 said wrote:
Martial 2H weapons do keep to 1 trait per die drop though, d12 with 1 trai, d10 with 2, or d8 with 3.

Some doesn't even get more traits, just different ones like the greatpick. But all traits aren't created equal so that seems fair. (I think reach, forceful and fatal are top tier).


Nettah wrote:
Edge93 said wrote:

As an aside the Whip is conceptually my favorite d4 weapon, having Reach, Trip, Disarm, Finesse, and Agile. It is just good at SO many things EXCEPT dealing straight damage, but it is servicable for damage when needed.

And if Disarm gets fixed and ESPECIALLY if we get the ability to use Dex instead of Str for maneuver Athletics checks with a weapon (And if reach is useable with the maneuvers, not sure if it is or not now) then we will have an EXCELLENT showcase of how traits can make a weapon awesome and viable without having it be particularly good at actually doing HP damage. Because if you are picking a weapon to do a lot of HP damage then why the frick are you using a whip? You use whips to screw with people, don't you know? XD

Reach counts with maneuvers (it's stated under the traits that they use the weapons reach if different from your own).

An argument could be made for finesse actually applying dex instead of str to the athletics checks as well (You can use your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier when making attack rolls with this melee weapon.). And since the maneuvers have the attack traits it might be fair to be called an attack roll (since standard attacks are normally called strikes), but I think it's at best unclear in terms of RAW and likely not RAI.

But I do agree that Disarm needs to be better for it to be impactful, and I think it will get some more support or be changed in the final version.

Edge93 said wrote:
Martial 2H weapons do keep to 1 trait per die drop though, d12 with 1 trai, d10 with 2, or d8 with 3.
Some doesn't even get more traits, just different ones like the greatpick. But all traits aren't created equal so that seems fair. (I think reach, forceful and fatal are top tier).

The RAI is that you can use dexterity for combat maneuvers. It isn't spelled out very clearly but Stephen posted that is how it works on the facebook page of the playtest.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'd be ok with the idea of potency runes potentially having a die size. They would add dice of up to that die size, based on the weapon. If you do the un-optimal and put a +2 d4 rune on a greatsword, I'd be ok with it doing extra 1d12+2d4, while if you put a +1 d12 rune on a dagger it might only do 2d4 damage.

Allow the property runes such as Flaming to be outside this, allowing the dagger to do an extra +d6, which would be the same plus in fire damage as the greataxe would get.

However, with the added complexity, I'm sure it would have the popularity of heavy armor runes having a higher cost than light/medium armor runes. But if the view that the smaller/simpler weapons have less benefit from magic runes, potentially making them a bit cheaper would be a relevant option.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Nettah wrote:
Edge93 said wrote:

As an aside the Whip is conceptually my favorite d4 weapon, having Reach, Trip, Disarm, Finesse, and Agile. It is just good at SO many things EXCEPT dealing straight damage, but it is servicable for damage when needed.

And if Disarm gets fixed and ESPECIALLY if we get the ability to use Dex instead of Str for maneuver Athletics checks with a weapon (And if reach is useable with the maneuvers, not sure if it is or not now) then we will have an EXCELLENT showcase of how traits can make a weapon awesome and viable without having it be particularly good at actually doing HP damage. Because if you are picking a weapon to do a lot of HP damage then why the frick are you using a whip? You use whips to screw with people, don't you know? XD

Reach counts with maneuvers (it's stated under the traits that they use the weapons reach if different from your own).

An argument could be made for finesse actually applying dex instead of str to the athletics checks as well (You can use your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier when making attack rolls with this melee weapon.). And since the maneuvers have the attack traits it might be fair to be called an attack roll (since standard attacks are normally called strikes), but I think it's at best unclear in terms of RAW and likely not RAI.

But I do agree that Disarm needs to be better for it to be impactful, and I think it will get some more support or be changed in the final version.

Edge93 said wrote:
Martial 2H weapons do keep to 1 trait per die drop though, d12 with 1 trai, d10 with 2, or d8 with 3.
Some doesn't even get more traits, just different ones like the greatpick. But all traits aren't created equal so that seems fair. (I think reach, forceful and fatal are top tier).
The RAI is that you can use dexterity for combat maneuvers. It isn't spelled out very clearly but Stephen posted that is how it works on the facebook page of the playtest.

Oh, that's awesome! Do you know if that is the intent for non-weapon combat maneuvers as well?


Not sure. It was specifically in regards to things like the Disarm or Trip trait, which fists don't have. I'm inclined to say no, since only the aforementioned traits have text about using the weapon's reach and item bonus, and because while dex disarming with a rapier or dex tripping with a whip makes sense intuitively, using your dex barehanded to grapple someone or shove them around does not.

On the other hand, your barehands are finesse weapons and combat maneuvers ARE an attack roll. I think if I had to rule on it I'd maybe allow it for the stuff that targets reflex DCs but not fortitude DCs.


A bit of a side comment:
But as to the whip and it having so many abilities: IMHO a lot of these abilities should have some type of skill and or level requirements to be able to be used and or used effectively.

Or in reality; there is a very valid reason why army's did not equip their troops with whips and go to war in the past as well as today.
Often it is the exception example that seems to provide the community with the idea that everyone can do it. The best example of this I have seen in real life is the person who shoots arrows very fast and thus people think everyone should be able to do that or that it just takes a little time to learn the skill.
Note: I also think there is a bit of a carve out in that there has been examples of new ideas that come along that dramatically improve the way people use tools that for what ever reason people just did not know about or attempt before some showed them.

MDC


Mark Carlson 255 wrote:

A bit of a side comment:

But as to the whip and it having so many abilities: IMHO a lot of these abilities should have some type of skill and or level requirements to be able to be used and or used effectively.

Or in reality; there is a very valid reason why army's did not equip their troops with whips and go to war in the past as well as today.
Often it is the exception example that seems to provide the community with the idea that everyone can do it. The best example of this I have seen in real life is the person who shoots arrows very fast and thus people think everyone should be able to do that or that it just takes a little time to learn the skill.
Note: I also think there is a bit of a carve out in that there has been examples of new ideas that come along that dramatically improve the way people use tools that for what ever reason people just did not know about or attempt before some showed them.

MDC

I mean, I'd say the reason armies didn't use whips was d4 vs. d8-12 damage. XD Large blocks of people needed to kill things fast, not finesse on them. XD

IDK, for me the weapon proficiency category does it for me as far as training requirements. A lot of people don't use those weapons because they don't feel the use in a more technical style over the much higher attack power, rather than because it requires additional work just to make a damage for abilities trade off.

Though the idea reminds me of an idea I had, which was to give Fighters an ability to temporarily add traits to their weapons somehow, like maybe rebalancing or grinding a weapon to make it Agile or Finesse, or altering something to make its heft work for tripping, etc.

Liberty's Edge

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I am a big fan of weapon features, but also of access restriction to those features, as it adds opportunities for growth.

Mark Carlson 255 wrote:
A bit of a side comment: But as to the whip and it having so many abilities: IMHO a lot of these abilities should have some type of skill and or level requirements …

I would like a general rule to apply in this case - getting features depends on proficiency, and some features require a feat or class feature. For example, I'd rather everyone start with Nonlethal proficiency, that Simple Weapons not provide any other features, Martial provides 'n' (good place for Intelligence Modifier), and specific weapon proficiencies (e.g. Cleric Domain) provide proficiency in one feature (such as Glaive granting Reach, Deadly, or forceful). This would be an opportunity for Skill Feats (Disarm, Finesse, etc.) and a use for Intelligence.

Mark Carlson 255 wrote:
Or in reality; there is a very valid reason why army's did not equip their troops with whips and go to war in the past as well as today.

Agree - some weapons should require certain ability level for use, Flail group weapons being notorious for being dangerous to use without a lot of study. The whip could use an actual range, but be unusable with any cover (not just a modifier). I could easily see weapon Group proficiencies being very cool in this game, with 'number of proficiencies spent' being important (use of a Bow should require several). Again, a great use of Skill Featsand Intelligence.

Mark Carlson 255 wrote:

Often it is the exception example that seems to provide the community with the idea that everyone can do it. The best example of this I have seen in real life is the person who shoots arrows very fast and thus people think everyone should be able to do that or that it just takes a little time to learn the skill.

Hear Hear. In many cases, this is 'saw it in fiction (movie/video)', as very few people today have seen these weapons used in actual combat conditions, much less as a sporting event. It's okay to indulge fantasy (as that's the hobby we're playing), but the occasional nod to reality can improve the experience.


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Mark Carlson 255 wrote:

A bit of a side comment:

But as to the whip and it having so many abilities: IMHO a lot of these abilities should have some type of skill and or level requirements to be able to be used and or used effectively.

There is a skill requirement. It's literally called "trained in whips."

Quote:
Or in reality; there is a very valid reason why army's did not equip their troops with whips and go to war in the past as well as today.

There's a reason they don't do that in Pathfinder as well. It's called "whips have horrible damage dice." On top of that, disarm is terrible as written, and trip isn't even great when you consider multiple attack penalties and how many other ways you can inflict flat-footed.

There's a really small niche of characters that want to use a whip right now, IMO. Like... a rogue multiclassing into fighter, maybe. Until we see random town guards being outfitted with whips instead of pikes this seems like a non-issue.

Quote:
Often it is the exception example that seems to provide the community with the idea that everyone can do it. The best example of this I have seen in real life is the person who shoots arrows very fast and thus people think everyone should be able to do that or that it just takes a little time to learn the skill.

We already have something that represents this: proficiency. If it was easy to use a bow, every class would be trained in it out the box. Being trained obviously represents an appropriate amount of training.

If you're trained with a sword, it means you can safely swing it around. If you aren't trained, you spend too much energy just trying to avoid cutting yourself and take a -4 penalty to hit.

If you're trained in a bow, you can rapidly knock arrows while still maintaining accuracy. If you aren't, you're sucking a huge penalty and will most likely miss.

If you bothered to train with a whip, you probably did it to focus on fancy tricks like disarm or trip, given the damage is too paltry compared to other martial weapons to be worth the time otherwise.

Pathfinder 1 had lots of additional feats you needed to take to make ranged combat or whips viable beyond simple proficiency. It was terrible and I hated it because it meant you didn't have any real choices for a build, just a locked in feat path to make you competent at your one thing.

Liberty's Edge

By the way, from my perspective, Normalization is an analytical manipulation process to highlight significance (such as normalizing rainfall data to historical averages to show widespread increase/decrease in rainfall - removing distracting biases). In my opinion, Normalization is exactly what PFPT accomplished - enhancement bonus was normalized to retain the distinctions of the weapon chart (and class features/traits). Adding a static value (+1 or d8 per +) adds a bias to the weapon chart (although it does have a normalizing effect on weapons to thier gold piece expense).

Magical enhancement cost normalization (so a +1 GreatAxe at 2d12 costs significantly more than a +1 Dagger at 2d4, to retain the gold piece cost ratio of the nonmagical weapons), could work in a game exclusively of Fighters. Once you add in class features, the enhancement bonus to damage doesn't really keep up with the power of backstab (etc.) and damaging spells. If you remember that spellcasters get a lot of spells for free (while warriors pay for thier equipment), the extra cost for effective warrior weapons may seem unfair (Rogues don't pay for Sneak Attack either).

Some may want other features to be the most significant - such as Enhancement Bonus for a 'very high fantasy' campaign. There's nothing wrong with this, and if you want a +1 Dagger to be better than a normal GreatAxe (for example, based on theme or the out-of-scale-to-damage gold piece cost), just add d20 (or d12) to the damage for every + instead of weapon damage dice; and adjust opponent's damage accordingly. This will highlight Dexterity-based characters, rogues and monks in particular.


It's sort of a bummer that Deadly Simplicity (and the analogous champion class ability) only applies to simple weapons, since Calistrians increasing the whip damage die to 1d6 would be handy.


PossibleCabbage said wrote:


It's sort of a bummer that Deadly Simplicity (and the analogous champion class ability) only applies to simple weapons, since Calistrians increasing the whip damage die to 1d6 would be handy.

Well +1 (to +6 with a +5 whip) of average damage isn't that big a deal and shouldn't be a dealbreaker for any builds with a whip. If you want damage you could also wield another weapon of the d8 variety, and if you are using a whip with a shield you are likely focusing more on controlling the opponent and helping your team deal more damage than actually whipping people for damage yourself.


I keep changing my mind on this. It was kind of silly how in PF1 damage die didn't really matter very much, and it was all about the pluses. But on the other hand, this way makes the damage die become even more important with magic, being a multiplier instead of an adder. I'd like some kind of middle ground, where the bigger weapons still do better damage, but don't completely overshadow the others. Having one standard magic die for all weapons is a possibility, but seems to be going a bit too much back to the PF1 way of magic overshadowing weapon type.

One idea I've seen that I think has merit is to give bonus magic dice based on the handedness. For example, one handed weapons always get D6 dice from magic and two-handed always get D10s. So a +5 dagger would be 1d4 + 5d6, while a +5 Greataxe would be 1d12 + 5d10. That gives averages of 20 for the dagger and 34
for the greataxe instead of 15 and 39. This would make the axe do 1.7 times the damage of the dagger instead of 2.6. Smaller gap, but still significant.

Another option would be to give the magic dice based on if it's Simple, Martial or Exotic. For example 1d6 for simple, 1d8 for martial and 1d10 for exotic. Or combine it with handedness so you get something like 1d4 for one-handed simple, 1d6 for two-handed simple, 1d8 for one-handed martial, 1d10 for two-handed martial, 1d10 for one handed exotic and 1d12 for two-handed exotic. These particular dice types aren't of course set in stone, just off the top of my head.

Or a third option, the die you get from magic can be based on a trait of that individual weapon. Kind of like Deadly and Fatal playing with critical dice.

Or the damage die can be based on class, and increase with level, much like proficiency does. So while a wizard might start with d4s for magic weapon dice, and might never improve, a fighter might start with d8s and move up to d12 at high level. This could of course also be combined with the above ideas of handedness or simple, martial or exotic.

I do also like the idea of at least some of the damage being based on the user's skill in addition to magic. Magic still should provide extra damage, but maybe it gives less and some comes from proficiency instead. Or proficiency gives you a potency equivalent, and you use the better. So a legendary swordsman can pick up a standard sword and still do significant damage.

I'm just kind of brainstorming here. I'm not certain of what's the best way to go, but I would like some kind of middle ground between die type being insignificant and being all-important.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Pathfinder 1 had lots of additional feats you needed to take to make ranged combat or whips viable beyond simple proficiency. It was terrible and I hated it because it meant you didn't have any real choices for a build, just a locked in feat path to make you competent at your one thing.

Very much this. This is what I think to every time I see someone complain that PF2 has a lack of choice for whatever reason. I find PF2 to provide far more actual choices, and a large part of this is from combat styles and the game in general being tweaked so that styles draw less from feats for required functionality and tend more towards getting cool tricks than adding bonuses or negating penalties.


I'm fairly certain the biggest problem is potency scaling to +5, which creates a great amount of information entropy which is what caused so many fights to drag on, because monsters can't have reliably defined HP pools to accommodate for the variability, and in practice the game leans to the bigger dice being more important than most abilities, save for something like finesse which changes a major function of how the weapon is used 100% of the time, rather than smaller traits which only affect niche scenarios.

Imo, d4 and d12 weapons shouldn't even exist if the potency damage scales as high as it does, otherwise the design end of things becomes too difficult to balance on the DM's side of the screen. I'd feel forced to arbitrarily adjust enemy HP based on the weapons used to accommodate for pacing issues caused by the discrepancy. My own playtest left me with a sour taste for the system as it is written because I relied on crits to match average damage of those using d12 weapons. Felt like a bug in the design, not a feature.


Wow, the last dozen threads have a lot of awesome ideas. I'm really enjoying the discussion and hearing how things balance out or not or price out properly or not. These are all things I've been wondering.

Btw, whips are nonlethal if you didn't notice.

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