Skull and Shackles - Which three character party is more balanced?


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game General Discussion


Hey folks,

So, I am almost finished with the RotR with Seelah, Lini, and Ezren, and I am now thinking about Skull and Shackles and potential parties. Well, I actually have two parties picked out already, but I don't know which one to use. The parties are Jirelle, Feyia, and Oloch or Jirelle, Feyia, and Damiel.

I know, I know the two teams are wildly different. I just wasn't sure who'd complement Jirelle and Feyia better. I also don't want characters stepping on one another's toes and fighting for the same loot. So which of the two teams is better balanced?

Oh, I forgot to mention I am keeping the party size at three. I found that three is the number that works best for me.

Thanks a bunch,

Grabnar

P.S.

It was really hard making a decision for a team of three. Damiel is one of my favorites due to his class being an Alchemist, and Oloch is one of my favorites as half-orcs are my favorite race to RP.


Anyone?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I would like to re-iterate again that PACG is not so hard a game that you need to perfectly compose your parties in order to beat every scenario - and some of the game can come with unusual party combinations regardless. Play whoever feels or looks more interesting to play as, first and foremost.

I do rather feel like I keep repeating myself amidst these threads.

For the sake of argument, however, I would generally consider Damiel one of the strongest characters in the set, whilst Oloch is almost certainly not. Plus, Damiel can make unique use of a wide variety of items custom made for Alchemists in the set, which makes him my recommendation.

Neither Oloch nor Damiel are great holders for most of the Loot of the set. There are other members of the team better suited for the Loot Allies, Oloch has few Item slots to use and Damiel doesn't really want non-alchemical Items which narrows out most of the Loot options. They may find an occasional weapon or item amidst the Loot cards to use, but nothing particularly strong, from memory.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

In my experience, Oloch is really only providing you a decent combat check and divine spellcasting. I don't remember off the top of my head if Feiya has divine in S&S, but if she does, Oloch is going to be mostly redundant, since combat doesn't get hard until the later adventures, and by then he'll likely be surpassed in that aspect by Feiya.

Damiel, on the other hand, is an absolute jack-of-all-trades, and will be very useful versus the myriad non-combat checks that will be the bane of early adventures.

This conclusion is almost entirely based on the set. In RotR or WotR, Oloch would probably be fantastic. However, similar to Selytiel, he's a combat character in a non-combat adventure, and greatly suffers for it.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Agreed.

A longer analysis of Oloch's strengths and weaknesses:
The greatest merit for Oloch is his ability, later in the game, to provide +8 to +12 static bonuses to a single other player's check every round of turns, by displaying a hand full of weapons and blessings (then recovering them at the start of his turn). Especially in a 2 player game, where it can be done on every one of the other player's turns, this can be a godsend to allow characters to pass checks they'd normally have no chance of doing so.

Wisdom-only monsters, Ship checks, closing checks - Oloch can allow another player (from Seltyiel to Lem to Ranzak) to basically forcibly pass all kinds of checks that the party may otherwise be poorly suited to.

However, Oloch doesn't do much of anything besides that. Despite his 1d12 Strength, his combat is merely 'okay' (Jirelle's rerolls, Alahazra or Feiya's spells or Seltyiel and Valeros' powers will all promise higher combat checks and consistency on average), his spellcasting power is weak, he's middling against ships and is so slow to explore with due to his lack of allies. He has numerous armor slots - in S&S, almost objectively the weakest card type - and a healing power that can be easily outmatched by Alahazra just re-drawing a Cure every turn from her own power. On top of all that, his role options aren't very good.

Once again, the only thing he really is good at as a character that can't be done better by another character in S&S is providing large support to specific checks. Ranzak + Oloch is, in fact, my favorite 2-character S&S party. But Oloch is weak in virtually every other aspect, whilst Damiel is one of the strongest characters in the set by virtually every measure; promising incredible exploration powers, incredible healing and incredible support with the right potions.


isaic16 wrote:

In my experience, Oloch is really only providing you a decent combat check and divine spellcasting. I don't remember off the top of my head if Feiya has divine in S&S, but if she does, Oloch is going to be mostly redundant, since combat doesn't get hard until the later adventures, and by then he'll likely be surpassed in that aspect by Feiya.

Damiel, on the other hand, is an absolute jack-of-all-trades, and will be very useful versus the myriad non-combat checks that will be the bane of early adventures.

This conclusion is almost entirely based on the set. In RotR or WotR, Oloch would probably be fantastic. However, similar to Selytiel, he's a combat character in a non-combat adventure, and greatly suffers for it.

Thank you so much for this. So, in the Jirelle, Feyia, and Damiel team who'd do the healing and such? Or should I replace Feyia with a divine caster?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Master_Grabnar wrote:
Thank you so much for this. So, in the Jirelle, Feyia, and Damiel team who'd do the healing and such? Or should I replace Feyia with a divine caster?

Damiel is basically a pure healer. He can recharge Potions of Healing to heal people (including himself, therefore shuffling his deck and allowing him to redraw them easily), he can search them out with other cards (like Tot Flask) and he has spell slots and the Arcane/Divine skills equal to Craft but can't use Attack spells, leaving him best suited to carrying spells like Cure anyway.

In fact, Damiel is one of the most powerful healers in the game. I just kept him with, like, 3 Potions of Healing and he was constantly expending his full hand and then healing himself to full turn after turn, since - as I mentioned - he basically shuffles them back into his deck to heal himself, then redraws them again with ease.


Yewstance wrote:
Master_Grabnar wrote:
Thank you so much for this. So, in the Jirelle, Feyia, and Damiel team who'd do the healing and such? Or should I replace Feyia with a divine caster?

Damiel is basically a pure healer. He can recharge Potions of Healing to heal people (including himself, therefore shuffling his deck and allowing him to redraw them easily), he can search them out with other cards (like Tot Flask) and he has spell slots and the Arcane/Divine skills equal to Craft but can't use Attack spells, leaving him best suited to carrying spells like Cure anyway.

In fact, Damiel is one of the most powerful healers in the game. I just kept him with, like, 3 Potions of Healing and he was constantly expending his full hand and then healing himself to full turn after turn, since - as I mentioned - he basically shuffles them back into his deck to heal himself, then redraws them again with ease.

That's kind of what I thought. I apologize for asking that question. I'm currently in the hospital and didn't have my cards and stuff with me. Well, I am quite confident in this team.

What roles would you recommend for each of them? Pirate Queen, Sea Witch, and Grenadier, or something else?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Master_Grabnar wrote:

That's kind of what I thought. I apologize for asking that question. I'm currently in the hospital and didn't have my cards and stuff with me. Well, I am quite confident in this team.

What roles would you recommend for each of them? Pirate Queen, Sea Witch, and Grenadier, or something else?

Not a problem! If you're set on the party, I'd recommend playing them through up to the end of Adventure 3. Once you get some adventures under your belt, you should better be able to determine how you're playing them and which of their role powers look more appealing.


Yewstance wrote:
Not a problem! If you're set on the party, I'd recommend playing them through up to the end of Adventure 3. Once you get some adventures under your belt, you should better be able to determine how you're playing them and which of their role powers look more appealing.

I agree with Yewstance, play them out first. Both rolecards for Jirelle and Feyia are really good. Depends what compliments your playstyle. I feel like Damiel is the only one that has a role (grenadier) that is far superior to the other.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Slacker2010 wrote:
[...] I feel like Damiel is the only one that has a role (grenadier) that is far superior to the other.

Whilst I understand the sentiment, I don't actually necessarily agree.

Another analysis, as an aside:
I played Damiel in a 6 player party and he was incredibly good, just constantly flowing through re-used healing potions and burning potions to let his team move, explore, pass checks. I never felt I needed more combat bonuses, and I honestly wasn't actively exploring as much as I was enabling other players to explore.

Grenadier can provide an increase to Damiel's combat bonuses (and combat assistance) and can sometimes draw extra items if he can get into position to make Craft checks.

Furthermore, Grenadier has become a lot better in the last couple of months since a very recent FAQ changed the rules so that "Gaining X skill equal to Y skill" gains Y skills' traits. In other words, if you make an Arcane/Divine recharge check with Damiel you're making a Craft check as well now.

That said, if Damiel isn't actively exploring (such as if he's mostly burning Potions of Flight to let other people explore, and focusing on healing) and/or if the party never has issue with combat, then grenadier may not offer much. Arguably only the "Draw the top of your deck if you pass Craft" may remain significant in a support-driven playstyle for a team that doesn't fail combat normally.

Chirurgeon can provide small +1d4s to checks with Damiel, which gives him an edge against barriers, closing checks and checks against ships in particular. If he's full of healing items and/or in a large party where card conservation doesn't matter, he can also use it's final power to build up enormous turns. If one of his turns ends up short (perhaps he moves to a closed location to heal someone, or closes a location on his first or second exploration), he can discard pretty much every non-healing card in his hand and then start the next turn with 13 or so cards in hand, heal himself back easily by expending a couple of cards and then have a giant hand next turn to throw around to support the team or explore a bunch himself.

I quite like Chirurgeon's final power a lot, honestly, and I think that there's a good argument for both roles... admittedly, Chirurgeon is clearly better in larger teams.


Guess it depends on your perspective. But I don't think the same.

At that point in the game I don't think have the basic bard power for self only checks being restricted by Alchemical trait cards doesn't appeal to me the same way.

While the discard to draw larger hands is cool. Those are still cards you didn't use this turn to push them ahead. There is still an opportunity cost associated with it.

While Damiel can definitely load up on Pots of Fly, its not as easy for him to generate explores as his blessings and Allies pool is smaller than most characters. He will be the only healing in this proposed group so I know he needs to keep that in mind. I found him at his greatest when he was able to assist on any check. I have seen him pass a check for people that got caught without a weapon or spell and ended up in combat.

Really for me the increased drawing and upgrade of the 1d6 to 1d12 on discard are the highlights of the role.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

More of an aside on Damiel's roles:
Chirurgeon also loves acquiring or being handed cards that anyone else in the team would consider unhelpful. Those pistols or rapiers or leather armors you pick up can be dumped at the end-of-turn to start your next turn with massed cards. I also didn't like exploiting Potions of Flying on Damiel rather than using them on his teammates, because Damiel has difficulty dealing with numerous monsters without burning cards from his hand, in a way that others on my team (like Jirelle and Seltyiel) never had to.

In fact, I often ended up discarding any unused armors or weapons or even spells to the effect (note that these cards you can't really push ahead with, not in the same way that his item selection empowers him). His self-healing with 2-3 Potions of Healing + Tot Flask renders the cost virtually nil, but it ensures that he maximizes his item draws on a turn-by-turn basis, which are far more valuable to him (whether for combat, noncombat, healing or drawing) than any other card type, most of the time.

The increased drawing is the highlight of the Grenadier Role to me (for reasons similar to why I like Chirurgeons' ability to trade off junk for mega-hands). The d6->d12 is objectively strong, but our 6 player party relatively rarely made use of that power in the first place so it wasn't a power feat I was ever going to take. We just didn't have an issue with the combat checks S&S threw at us; the most common things that tripped us up were certain barriers and ships (hence why I valued the +1d4 on rare occasion). A 1d4 when you need it is still an average of +2.5.

Either way, whichever role you take, Damiel should be looking to maximize his hand size and methods of drawing cards, IMO, because he's already incredibly proficient at expending cards for bonuses, and just wants to have the right alchemical card at the right time to perform at his best.


There you go Master_Grabnar, two completely different experiences with Damiel in play.

I'm starting to see Yewstance party dynamic better. He played with 6 people while both the campaigns we had Damiel had 3 people. Either way, I think you will be fine, see what appeals more to you after the first 3 sets.

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