What Classes do better in a low Point-buy game(15)?


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Starting at first level in a campaign that will go to level 13 or so.

I'm spoiled with our group going for a point-buy on the 20-25 range. So what the heck am I supposed to do with a 15 point buy? What classes do well with that parameter?

Summoner and its variants are out. Most other stuff is in. Dedicated arcane or divine casters are a bonus as our group will probably need me to be one, but suggestions are welcome.

Otherwise one trait, Pathfinder published material ok.


An oracle with the Lunar Mystery can pick a revelation that lets them replace dex with cha for armor class and reflex save. Get the "noble scion: war" feat at level 1 and do the same for initiative.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Any class that gets some kind of companion is a strong pick for low point buy games, since the companion is unaffected by point buy. Even without the Summoner available (which is obviously the premier one) you have options like the Druid or Hunter which work just fine at low point buy.

Wizards, Witches, and Arcanists are pretty famous for only really needing Intelligence. Given that you're 13th level you really won't feel the downsides of 8's and 10's in your other ability scores and can just enjoy your raw power. Wisdom and Charisma-based primary casters can also work out in a similar fashion, but that usually locks you into 2+int skill points per level which is painful when you can't really afford to raise intelligence at all.


You'd probably get a lot of mileage out of a Druid, either one with wildshaping (as it boosts you physical stats while shifted) or perhaps a Nature Fang Druid. While it loses wildshape, the studied target ability boosts your attack bonus and the DCs of your spells against the target. That allows you to have ability scores that are not extremely high, but are still quite competitive in reality.

Specifically for the Nature Fang, the crocodile domain gets you a familiar (protector = major boost to effective HP) and scaling (if reduced) sneak attack dice, further enhancing your damage potential. The slayer talents you get (starting at level 4) help you specialize in a combat role (ranger fighting style) or help specialize in other skill areas. If you can use variant multiclassing, you can slip Barbarian in to help with combat at lower levels or pick another role to help out with.

Silver Crusade

There was a thread about this same topic a few years ago. Here's a link to a highly effective one (1) point dedicated divine caster in the midst of that thread. Use those other 14 points to take the character in whatever direction you want.

Low point buy favors casters over martials, which is a pity.


Wizard, Inquisitor, Druid, Oracle (Battle Oracle for instance DEFINITELY only needs 15 points), Ranger (Ilsurian Archer for the win), Warpriest, just off the top of my head.

Eldritch Archer Magus should also work pretty well since you somewhat avoid squishiness.

Silver Crusade

Low point buys favor SAD classes. Summoning and pets are more powerful, because the associated stats aren't affected.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

While I don't disagree that low point buy favors casters, 15 points is enough for just about any class (don't be a Monk).

The difference between 15 and 20 point buy is generally just a +1 in a primary or two secondary stat bonuses at most. Sure, nice to have those extra numbers, but hardly essential. Going to 13 also means 3 stat bumps, so odd numbered stats aren't a bad strategy.

So rather than play what would optimize best with a lower point buy, I suggest you play what you would enjoy playing. Also, I would suggest even if you go with a SAD class spread your stats out at least a little, as others have said SAD classes can really overshadow others in a low point buy game, and one character being better than the others (even if it is your character) rarely leads to a really fun game.


Choose a race that bumps two stats. Even if they are not the stats you are focusing on, it will help round out your character in a low point buy game.

I have a Tengu Rogue that started with a 15pt buy in. His stats are:
14,15,12,13,14,8

Level 4 stat bump goes to Dex, and the rest will go to Str... he is using a greatsword, after all.

He has made it to level 3, thusfar. And he has proven to be a well rounded character and a valuable member of the team.

PS. I am not, at all, saying that you should be a Rogue.


You could make a decent 6-level caster like a bard, inquisitor, or alchemist if you have a race that boosts your primary physical and mental stats using a 14, 14, 14, 12, 10, 8 array.


Pure casters do better in low point buys.

CF:

15PT Arcanist – S10 D12 C12 I15+2 W12 CH12

20PT Arcanist – S10 D12 C13 I16+2 W10 CH14

Not much difference between one or the other.

No dips needed to make work.

My personal advice? Halcyon Druid. Very versatile casters, can fill arcane or divine casting roles seamlessly, while skill monkeying. Medium armor to have some padding helps.

They don't need massive WIS to work either, so you can go with something similar to the first array (but swap WIS with INT).


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No classes do well with a 15 pt buy. 15 pt buys only exist for appeasing sadistic DMs who don't want their PC's to have any fun or happiness.


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Ryze Kuja wrote:
No classes do well with a 15 pt buy. 15 pt buys only exist for appeasing sadistic DMs who don't want their PC's to have any fun or happiness.

Interesting perspective, considering all (most of?) the adventure paths are written for characters designed with 15 point buy. Perhaps your experience is a little skewed from playing games at little bit above the assumed power curve? Or, are you just used to PFS play?


DeathlessOne wrote:
Ryze Kuja wrote:
No classes do well with a 15 pt buy. 15 pt buys only exist for appeasing sadistic DMs who don't want their PC's to have any fun or happiness.
Interesting perspective, considering all (most of?) the adventure paths are written for characters designed with 15 point buy. Perhaps your perspective is a little skewed from playing games at little bit above the assumed power curve?

Actually most adventure paths are build for 20 point buy they just thought it was suppose to be for 15 point buy due to a math error, they are balanced for 4d6 drop the lowest which equates to just under 20 point buy but well over the 15 point buy mark, so 20 point buy is the bare minimum for balance where as anything lower is horrid torture you put on your pcs and if you are running custom games you should at least be giving them 30 points if you opt for the point buy system.


doomman47 wrote:
Actually most adventure paths are build for 20 point buy they just thought it was suppose to be for 15 point buy due to a math error, they are balanced for 4d6 drop the lowest which equates to just under 20 point buy but well over the 15 point buy mark, so 20 point buy is the bare minimum for balance where as anything lower is horrid torture you put on your pcs and if you are running custom games you should at least be giving them 30 points if you opt for the point buy system.

You have a source for that claim? Sorry if I don't take your word for it.


DeathlessOne wrote:
doomman47 wrote:
Actually most adventure paths are build for 20 point buy they just thought it was suppose to be for 15 point buy due to a math error, they are balanced for 4d6 drop the lowest which equates to just under 20 point buy but well over the 15 point buy mark, so 20 point buy is the bare minimum for balance where as anything lower is horrid torture you put on your pcs and if you are running custom games you should at least be giving them 30 points if you opt for the point buy system.
You have a source for that claim? Sorry if I don't take your word for it.

The average results of 4d6 drop the lowest results in 19 points for the point buy scale This article shows the math the simplest and shows that the average array for 4d6 drop the lowest equates to 16,14,13,12,10 and 9 so 19 points on the point buy round up to 20 for simplicity sake.


doomman47 wrote:
The average results of 4d6 drop the lowest results in 19 points for the point buy scale This article shows the math the simplest and shows that the average array for 4d6 drop the lowest equates to 16,14,13,12,10 and 9 so 19 points on the point buy round up to 20 for simplicity sake.

Thats not what I asked for. I understand the math. The claim I am asking you to verify is that "they" made a math error and the adventure paths should have allowed 20 point buy instead. As far as I am aware, the official stance is AP = 15 point buy. However much you might disagree with it doesn't change anything.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

15 point buy is the balance, it equals the standard array of 15,14,13,12,10,8.


DeathlessOne wrote:
doomman47 wrote:
The average results of 4d6 drop the lowest results in 19 points for the point buy scale This article shows the math the simplest and shows that the average array for 4d6 drop the lowest equates to 16,14,13,12,10 and 9 so 19 points on the point buy round up to 20 for simplicity sake.
Thats not what I asked for. I understand the math. The claim I am asking you to verify is that "they" made a math error and the adventure paths should have allowed 20 point buy instead. As far as I am aware, the official stance is AP = 15 point buy. However much you might disagree with it doesn't change anything.

Because they did the math wrong and came up with 15 point buy is equivalent to 4d6 drop the lowest which it is not.


I have also seen that "we did the math wrong, we were trying to approximate 4d6 drop low" anecdote before.

I'm generally of the opinion that better stats is more fun, as you can always add more or tougher opponents so things aren't *too* easy but the alternative is harder.


doomman47 wrote:
Because they did the math wrong and came up with 15 point buy is equivalent to 4d6 drop the lowest which it is not.

"They did the math wrong because they did the math wrong" does not work as a citation of intent. They intended the AP to be 15 point buy and they said as much. Pathfinder defaults to point buy to generate stats and rolling is an optional alternative. Rolling is not the standard.

As was stated earlier, 15 point buy is the standard array 15,14,13,12,10,8


DeathlessOne, the person who realized the math was wrong is now a Designer for Paizo :P

Mark Seifter wrote about it back when he was Rogue Eidolon.

Here's a note: http://www.encountertable.com/2014/08/interview-mark-seifter.html


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I'm generally of the opinion that better stats is more fun, as you can always add more or tougher opponents so things aren't *too* easy but the alternative is harder.

As long as it's used to round out characters, I think I'd agree. If the extra points are just used to hyper-specialize, then I'm not sure I'd entirely agree.

Fewer, weaker opponents also has the benefit of making combats run more quickly then more numerous, stronger opponents.


Secret Wizard wrote:

DeathlessOne, the person who realized the math was wrong is now a Designer for Paizo :P

Mark Seifter wrote about it back when he was Rogue Eidolon.

Here's a note: http://www.encountertable.com/2014/08/interview-mark-seifter.html

Thank you I knew there was a quote somewhere from one of the devs acknowledging the mistake but I couldn't find it.


Back to the topic at hand, druid, summoner(especially sythesist summoner), cleric, wizard, sorcerer, oracle, hunter, witch or shaman can all do well with low point buys pretty much if its a 9th level spell caster or has access to a beat stick of a pet it will do well bonus points if it does both. Classes to avoid would be rogue, fighter, paladin, monk, brawler, investigator, swashbuckler, warpriest, I would also personally avoid barbarian and bloodrager with low point buy as well.


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As long as your build isn't completely minmaxed (i.e., more than one dump stat), the difference between 25pt and 20pt and 15pt buy is that one of your 16s (pre-racial) is either a 14 or a 10. --That's it.

Let's extrapolate the bonus-dense 15,15,14,14,10,7 20pt starting array up and down by +/- 5pts:

16,15,15,14,10,7 ...25pt
15,15,14,14,10,7* ...20pt
15,15,14,10,10,7 ...15pt

(*Some will prefer a 15,14,14,14,12,7 base 20pt array over 15,15,14,14,10,7; difference is a +1 bonus to a 10>12 tertiary attribute over the life of the character versus gaining a +1 bonus at 8th via its second-most important stat starting as a 15 and being raised, as opposed to starting as a never-will-be-raised 14.)

So it's easily possible to build a quite competent character with one or two (depending on race) 17s as starting attributes.

Quote:
What classes do well with that parameter?

Given the arrays above, any of them. Even at 15pt-buy, you'll have a 20 in one stat after racial bump and a belt at 4th, and still have another big odd secondary stat (to raise at 8th) as well as a 14.

Since starting with, and then raising, odd numbers is efficient in point-but, I don't make my most important stat an even number. With the arrays above, my 25pt dwarf fighter is +1 fort-save and +1HP/level over the 15pt-buy (because I have a 16 as opposed to a 14 in Cona) and is +2 to his Reflex save )because there's a 14 instead of a 10 in Dex).


Secret Wizard wrote:

DeathlessOne, the person who realized the math was wrong is now a Designer for Paizo :P

Mark Seifter wrote about it back when he was Rogue Eidolon.

Here's a note: http://www.encountertable.com/2014/08/interview-mark-seifter.html

See? That is an example of a citation. However, after reviewing it, the only mention I saw was about a flame war about 3.5's 25 point buy and pathfinder's 15 point buy, and IF it was designed to mimic the 4d6 rolling method. The important bit seemed to be "it’s not—it’s the result of a 3.0 edition math error from taking the point buy of the average stat roll and multiplying it by 6, which doesn’t factor in the nonlinear component". No mention of the "intent" of the adventure paths being designed (or not) for 15 PB.

So, thanks for the citation. It clears things up. Nothing has changed. Either way, I'm done derailing the thread.


DeathlessOne wrote:
Ryze Kuja wrote:
No classes do well with a 15 pt buy. 15 pt buys only exist for appeasing sadistic DMs who don't want their PC's to have any fun or happiness.
Interesting perspective, considering all (most of?) the adventure paths are written for characters designed with 15 point buy. Perhaps your experience is a little skewed from playing games at little bit above the assumed power curve? Or, are you just used to PFS play?

It was mostly a joke, but I have played only one 15pt buy game and to say that I disliked it would be a modest statement. Personally, I like playing 20pt buy or higher.

As a DM, I homebrew everything and the campaigns are usually 9mos-2yrs. I'm currently DMing a 2yr campaign and we're about 6 months into it already, and I went with a 25pt buy (with stat dumps). The campaign before this was a 1yr campaign and a 32 pt buy (with no stat dumps below 10).

The reason I do this is because I'm a DM that likes the liberty to attack attribute scores, and I don't want to feel bad or sorry if a PC dies or falls unconscious when they get hit with the first or second spell/poison/disease they come across. With 15 pt buys, I as the DM feel bad when I want to crank up the heat on attribute score attacks because they can fall unconscious in only a couple spells. At least with a 20+ pt buy, I don't feel bad when someone drops ;)


Based on my extensive experience having never played gunslinger, I can confidently declare they are fine in a low point buy situation.

Generally ranged people can be okay (e.g., casters). Constitution is less important if no one hits you.


Thanks for the suggestions and especially for suggesting what works least well in the 15 point buy.

Keep the posts coming as we won't start until a few weeks. BUT please note, the thread is not geared to investigate if stingy or generous point buys are best; it's what works better/best when one is used to higher point buys and the situation changes.

Every one who stayed on topic taught me something, and vice versa. :)


Divine fighting technique (Desna's shooting star) makes Cha-based spellcasters whether 6-level or 9-level more workable under a low point buy.


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If you're going Cha-based in a 15 pt buy, get Scion of War as your lvl1 feat and sacrifice some Dex. Your Initiative will scale nicely throughout your entire game, and as a spellcaster, you ALWAYS want to go first, or at least close to first.


AVR/Ryze Kuja... a Bardacle with Scion of War, Desna's Divine Fighting Technique, Startoss Shower, and the Charisma to Armor revelation can survive in a low point buy environment very well. Desna's Prestige Class works with this if you really want to play with the theme.

Or...

Still take Scion of War and Desna's Divine Fighting Technique, pursuing Startoss Shower...

Take 2 levels of Divine Hunter Paladin for Precise Shot and Divine Grace.

Then Oracle... Desna's Prestige Class still works well with this, if you want to go that route.


VoodistMonk wrote:

AVR/Ryze Kuja... a Bardacle with Scion of War, Desna's Divine Fighting Technique, Startoss Shower, and the Charisma to Armor revelation can survive in a low point buy environment very well. Desna's Prestige Class works with this if you really want to play with the theme.

Or...

Still take Scion of War and Desna's Divine Fighting Technique, pursuing Startoss Shower...

Take 2 levels of Divine Hunter Paladin for Precise Shot and Divine Grace.

Then Oracle... Desna's Prestige Class still works well with this, if you want to go that route.

Oooooh, that's pretty slick taking 2 levels in Divine Hunter, you also get Cha to Saves <3


Level in scaled fist monk, would be better than the cha instead of dex revelations, since you cant stack cha to dex twice then as long as you get channel energy you can crusaders flurry with the star knife.


I do not think an oracle can qualify for crusader's flurry without multiclassing in cleric or something, since the life revelation is "Channel(Su)" and Crusader's Flurry has as a prereq "Channel Energy class feature."

Plus, the reason Lore or Lunar are great mysteries for a low point buy game is that what you don't have to spare is "stat points" so being able to largely replace Dex with your primary stat, so you can drop it to 7 and have more points to invest in other stats. Armor is probably going to net you more AC than getting to add dex and cha to your AC in a low PB game.

Like with noble scion, lore/lunar, and Desna's shooting star you can spend all your points on Cha, Wis, and Con with just enough Str to carry your gear. I would consider this approach so efficient you might get sideyed for it.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I do not think an oracle can qualify for crusader's flurry without multiclassing in cleric or something, since the life revelation is "Channel(Su)" and Crusader's Flurry has as a prereq "Channel Energy class feature."

Plus, the reason Lore or Lunar are great mysteries for a low point buy game is that what you don't have to spare is "stat points" so being able to largely replace Dex with your primary stat, so you can drop it to 7 and have more points to invest in other stats. Armor is probably going to net you more AC than getting to add dex and cha to your AC in a low PB game.

Like with noble scion, lore/lunar, and Desna's shooting star you can spend all your points on Cha, Wis, and Con with just enough Str to carry your gear. I would consider this approach so efficient you might get sideyed for it.

2 more levels of paladin gets you channel energy.


doomman47 wrote:
2 more levels of paladin gets you channel energy.

Which you would most likely need to lose in order to qualify for Desna's Shooting Star (Desna, being *chaotic* good) as the divine fighting technique requires you to match the deity's alignment exactly and ex-Paladins lose all class features.

A CG Desnan Vindictive Bastard would work, but that archetype trades away Channel Energy (and Divine Grace.)


PossibleCabbage wrote:
doomman47 wrote:
2 more levels of paladin gets you channel energy.

Which you would most likely need to lose in order to qualify for Desna's Shooting Star (Desna, being *chaotic* good) as the divine fighting technique requires you to match the deity's alignment exactly and ex-Paladins lose all class features.

A CG Desnan Vindictive Bastard would work, but that archetype trades away Channel Energy (and Divine Grace.)

That really depends on how you do it, there are ways to cheat yourself around that restriction either threw game mechanics or a good dm.


Game rules are pretty clear:
-Paladins are lawful good, Paladins who cease being lawful good lose all class features.
-Divine fighting technique requires you to match your deity's alignment.
-Desna is CG.

So you can have an Oracle/Paladin who adds their Cha to their saves and their AC, or you can have a Oracle who uses Desna's Shooting Star. Can't have everything.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

Game rules are pretty clear:

-Paladins are lawful good, Paladins who cease being lawful good lose all class features.
-Divine fighting technique requires you to match your deity's alignment.
-Desna is CG.

So you can have an Oracle/Paladin who adds their Cha to their saves and their AC, or you can have a Oracle who uses Desna's Shooting Star. Can't have everything.

Game rules also allow you to bypass alignment restrictions threw varied means.


doomman47 wrote:
Game rules also allow you to bypass alignment restrictions threw varied means.

Only one I'm aware of is "Beyond Morality" which requires mythic.

If you're in a mythic game the answer to "what works well with lower point buy" is "anything, mythic will fix whatever your problem is."


PossibleCabbage wrote:
doomman47 wrote:
Game rules also allow you to bypass alignment restrictions threw varied means.

Only one I'm aware of is "Beyond Morality" which requires mythic.

If you're in a mythic game the answer to "what works well with lower point buy" is "anything, mythic will fix whatever your problem is."

There is that yes but you are forgetting the most important rule.


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doomman47 wrote:
There is that yes but you are forgetting the most important rule.

Well, you mentioned mechanics. "Ask the GM to change or ignore the rules" is not a mechanic.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
the divine fighting technique requires you to match the deity's alignment exactly

Nope, not the version from Divine Anthology - there, the only prereq is "Must worship a single patron deity that has an established divine fighting technique"

Since Desna has a portfolio that's a surprisingly perfect fit for Paladins, and Paladins unlike Clerics and Warpriests don't have any "must worship a deity within one step" rule, nothing in the rules or flavor clash with a Paladin using Desna's Shooting Star.
Such a character would not gain the charisma bonus to attack rolls form smite, as it wouldn't stack with DSS, though. Wielding a 1d4 nonreach light weapon doesn't exactly help our damage, either, so it's not exactly the most overpowered build in existence.

It's also possible to flurry with a starknife via Ascetic Form and Versatile Design, but that's a bit feat hungry (four feats since we need Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Modified Starknife)) and doesn't combine with Startoss Style.


EpicFail wrote:

Dedicated arcane or divine casters are a bonus as our group will probably need me to be one, but suggestions are welcome.

Otherwise one trait, Pathfinder published material ok.

I would definitely recommend an Elf Conjurer or Sloth mage if your GM allows you to be a Thassilonian mage. Elf with Illustrious Urbanite just trades away Keen Senses for Spell Focus Conjuration, Illusion or Transmutation (trade of the century I'd say). I'd recommend a 19 INT at level 1, meaning DC 16 Greases, DC 17 Glitterdusts, and DC 20 Stinking Clouds (because of COURSE you took Greater Spell Focus between level 1 and 5). As a conjurer you also get a minor bump to the duration of summoning spells, so that's another option for you (although Occultist Arcanist is I believe a better summoner, I don't have any experience with them).


A kineticist can function with mediocre con and dex. Your burn would get a bit rougher when you start hitting double digits, but just space your stuff out. Some of them have auto hitting abilities, if you focus on those, your damage would be reduced, but at least you could dump dex and go all con.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

15 point buy isn't low, it's normal. Yes, 4d6 drop lowest averages more than 15, but you sacrifice precise control by rolling, so in terms of effectiveness they're about equal. (I mean, you could roll 13x3 and 14x3, which is 24 point buy, but very few players would be super excited about playing that stat array) 10 point buy would be low IMO. PFS uses 20 because you're going to be placed with random groups so you can't make a party that consistently uses teamwork; you get a little beefing up to compensate.

I can't think of any class that's rendered ineffective by 15 PB. I've seen a chained monk do just fine at that PB amount. It's simply more important to synergize your party when you have fewer points. Teamwork is a huge force multiplier.


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JiaYou wrote:
EpicFail wrote:

Dedicated arcane or divine casters are a bonus as our group will probably need me to be one, but suggestions are welcome.

Otherwise one trait, Pathfinder published material ok.

I would definitely recommend an Elf Conjurer or Sloth mage if your GM allows you to be a Thassilonian mage. Elf with Illustrious Urbanite just trades away Keen Senses for Spell Focus Conjuration, Illusion or Transmutation (trade of the century I'd say). I'd recommend a 19 INT at level 1, meaning DC 16 Greases, DC 17 Glitterdusts, and DC 20 Stinking Clouds (because of COURSE you took Greater Spell Focus between level 1 and 5). As a conjurer you also get a minor bump to the duration of summoning spells, so that's another option for you (although Occultist Arcanist is I believe a better summoner, I don't have any experience with them).

1.Great minds think alike! I'm probably going with just that selection. Although the Evangelist Cleric build suggested early on is a close second.

2.I guess I should have been clearer and more emphatic. I'm also thinking of future people searching threads like this one. Please oh please don't tell me how great or how awful a 15 point buy is. Don't tell me how characters are better or worse off with stat arrays EXCEPT how it directly involves picking a class that works well within the parameters set (a 15 buy when one is used to 20 plus as standard).

3. Thanks Evilserran. Kineticist is a class I've never played before so I'll have to look into that.

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