# Why do people act like BAB is what would separate Superman and Batman in a Pathfinder game?

### Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

This is a feat of Superman bench pressing the equivalent weight of the entire planet Earth for 5 days straight without breaking a sweat.

Earth is listed as weighing 5,972,000,000,000,000,000,000 METRIC tons, but that is useless for us, so let’s convert it to pounds, which gives us 13,166,006,300,000,000,000,000,000 pounds.

Alright, let’s convert that into the minimum strength score that would be a light load for Superman. He likely has a far higher strength score, but we won’t be able to irrefutably calculate it in Pathfinder like we can for the minimum possible strength score.

Table: Carrying Capacity:
20 133 lbs. or less 134–266 lbs. 267–400 lbs.
21 153 lbs. or less 154–306 lbs. 307–460 lbs.
22 173 lbs. or less 174–346 lbs. 347–520 lbs.
23 200 lbs. or less 201–400 lbs. 401–600 lbs.
24 233 lbs. or less 234–466 lbs. 467–700 lbs.
25 266 lbs. or less 267–533 lbs. 534–800 lbs.
26 306 lbs. or less 307–613 lbs. 614–920 lbs.
27 346 lbs. or less 347–693 lbs. 694–1,040 lbs.
28 400 lbs. or less 401–800 lbs. 801–1,200 lbs.
29 466 lbs. or less 467–933 lbs. 934–1,400 lbs.
+10 ×4 ×4 ×4

This is the carrying capacity table, at least the part that matters for our purposes.

A strength score of 402 gives us only a 13,071,510,424,583,177,951,510,528 pound limit for a light load, which is 94,495,875,416,822,048,489,472 pounds too little.

A strength score of 403 gives us a 15,111,572,745,182,864,683,827,200 pound limit for a light load, which is enough to include the weight of Earth as a light load.

There. The difference between Batman and Superman in Pathfinder is that Superman’s minimum race points, when just factoring in his strength score, is 18,910 RP, whereas Batman is just a human, thus only 10 RP if memory serves me.

Though I should also point out that Superman can take several hits from people of similar strength, thus giving him a similar con score, and can dodge hits from those people, thus also giving him a similar dex score, so his RP is actually even higher than that.

If you seriously think that what would separate them in Pathfinder is BAB, you clearly know next to nothing about either character.

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I'm going to regret this

Who acts like that?

blahpers wrote:

I'm going to regret this

Who acts like that?

I’ve seen people act like that here. One time it was on a thread I made, but I honestly don’t remember the name of it. I just remember that they tried to use it as an argument for why Batman cannot be a full bab class, because “he’d be as strong as Superman”.

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I don't think I've heard this either. Superman is obviously a monster with a bunch of monster HD and supernatural abilities. Probably an aberration given how unusual his physiology would need to be in order to account for his apparently biologically driven powers.

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

Obviously humans can be members of full BAB classes, so clearly that is not what separates Superman from them.

In fact, I am not sure that you can stat out Superman in Pathfinder at all -- the math just won't work.

Okay, I feel dumb. All I had to do was go to my page and search my posts to find the thread I made.

If Superman is a Paladin and Wonder woman is a Barbarian, then Batman's ability to give and take damage in a melee is significantly less than a wizards 1/2 BAB and 1d6 HP.

Or superman is just mythic with some "feat of strength" mythic ability

if you're comparing just on Carrying capacity, it's easy to get ridiculous numbers - I once built a PFS-legal build that had over 600,000lb carry capacity by ~level 6 or 8. that sort of build would significantly reduce the amount of RP superman would be. (granted, he's likely to still be a smidge over a regular race's RP, but hey :p )

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Right, he's talking about scale. Batman wouldn't be a player class if these other super heroes were player classes "significantly less than a wizards 1/2 BAB and 1d6 HP". And your post here is agreeing with him.

I'm pretty sure Batman is just a 20th level Vigilante with both the Stalker and Avenger specialization and all of the class talents.

Right, he's talking about scale. Batman wouldn't be a player class if these other super heroes were player classes "significantly less than a wizards 1/2 BAB and 1d6 HP". And your post here is agreeing with him.

How am I agreeing with him? I’m saying he’s wrong. In no way, shape, or form, does their class levels dictate the other’s class levels, because what separates them is their race, ie, Superman having a 403 strength score due to race.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
I'm pretty sure Batman is just a 20th level Vigilante with both the Stalker and Avenger specialization and all of the class talents.

I feel like, for fairness sake, any DC hero needs to be Tristalt to fully work out (a few could be Gestalt, which is also where a lot of Marvel lands). For Batman, I’d put him as Stalker Vigilante//Brawler//Investigator.

Dαedαlus wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I'm pretty sure Batman is just a 20th level Vigilante with both the Stalker and Avenger specialization and all of the class talents.
I feel like, for fairness sake, any DC hero needs to be Tristalt to fully work out (a few could be Gestalt, which is also where a lot of Marvel lands). For Batman, I’d put him as Stalker Vigilante//Brawler//Investigator.

Yeah, I agree with Tristalt. It just makes sense. I also say though that a lot of them are actually epic level, like Superman. Yeah, he has a pretty high RP race making up most of his stuff, but you have to remember the crazy stuff, like one time DC stuck him, Wonder Woman, and the general Norse God Thor (so not Marvel’s version, for obvious reasons) in a thousand year long war again demons, and he survived, so he would have gained like trillions of xp.

Batman is another example of this. He simply trained under everyone, and somehow has an ability that makes him gain like 100x more xp than he actually gained, thus allowing him to master so much stuff.

I usually don't try to compare the stats of one character to another when making superheroes into Pathfinder characters. I just try to work the stats to suit the character I'm making.

The Hulk character I'm making has stats of 16 Str, 12 Dex, 16 Con, 14 Int, 12 Wis, 7 Cha at level one. Yes, the comic Hulk is strong to the point of not being able to calculate. But you can't do that with a Pathfinder character.

Yes, I imagine it's a case of assuming a situation where two people are playing characters inspired by Superman & Batman, the difference between the two should probably include a difference in fighting ability; Superman's a goon.

Lets face it, Pathfinder works best when you start in the setting and then come up with a character. It breaks down when you try to introduce characters from outside of Pathfinder, especially when they don't even belong to the same genre.

The best conversion of Superheroes to Pathfinder locks the converted characters into a level/CR, and most of them are best done as MONSTERS because they don't fit in nicely with character classes.

Superman should be some CR 30ish LG outsider(native) that has most gods worried. Wonder Woman...actually could be stated like a mythic character from level 1 to 20 plus 10 mythic levels. That character has been through the entire spectrum of power.

Batman is somewhere in the 12-18 range but definately not a playable character because of all the wealth, minions, allies, and other resources the character should have available to him that go beyond just stats. Mythic would be optional.

Aquaman is like the end-boss of an AP. CR 17-18. Probably mythic.

All of these characters work together because of the genre. Game designers have always had a rough time fitting them together in a game and having it make any sense. Because there isn't any balance. Just story holds the characters together from the source material, and games don't work on that premise. Games need balance and stats. If you stated out an honest Batman and an honest Superman and put them in a video game, very few people would select Batman unless they were looking for a challenge. Superman would just be easy mode. Trying to put them both on the same level just doesn't work.

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Pathfinder is a system for modeling sword-and-sorcery adventurers, and it starts to break down in subtle and obvious ways when your characters get too far from that. It's not a universal system because it isn't meant to be. Only people who never play tabletops outside of D&D/PF think it's an adequate system to model arbitrary superpowers.

"Is Batman a full-BAB or partial-BAB martial?" is not a coherent question, the same way "is sweetness yellow or green" is not a coherent question.

EDIT: The above comment talking about "honest Superman" and "honest Batman" has hit on the core of the issue. Comicbook superheroes don't have stats. If they had stats, the stories wouldn't work. Trying to give them stats or extrapolate an "honest" version of them that obeys harder rules is against the fast-and-loose conventions of the genre.

Once you give them numbers, it becomes a fundamentally different kind of story, and they become fundamentally different characters.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Reksew_Trebla wrote:

Okay, I feel dumb. All I had to do was go to my page and search my posts to find the thread I made.

If Superman is a Paladin and Wonder woman is a Barbarian, then Batman's ability to give and take damage in a melee is significantly less than a wizards 1/2 BAB and 1d6 HP.

The entire point of my post there was that that wasn't an appropriate scale, but if you were to insist that superman was a human paladin and was appropriately represented by that, then Batman being a human wizard isn't completely out of the question.

In any event, I take exception to being characterized as someone who "acts like BaB is what would separate superman and batman."

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I 100% agree if superman was just human yeah the only way to scale it would make the Batman lesser BAB.

And I also agree with the statement this thread agrees with it, since otherwise he must be a race with much (MUCH) more RP.

Superman is so far beyond the scope of numbers as to not bother with numbers. In fact all you've got is strength which while it gives the ability to lift something... didnt cover the con needed to do it for 5 straight days. Or the fact he could have kept going.

Dave is correct that if we are saying Superman is human RP level, the only way to scale back would be BAB.

How much can a neutronium golem lift ? (large size, 503 str)

Cavall wrote:
And I also agree with the statement this thread agrees with it,

Already countered this. I clearly am not agreeing with it.

Yqatuba wrote:
How much can a neutronium golem lift ? (large size, 503 str)

I’m assuming it’s bipedal, so, in pounds (if you want it in US tons, which is what Pathfinder uses, then you need to divide by 2,000):

Lift:
”A character can lift as much as double his maximum load off the ground, but he or she can only stagger around with it. While overloaded in this way, the character loses any Dexterity bonus to AC and can move only 5 feet per round (as a full-round action).“
95,073,795,017,117,205,112,252,740,403,201- 190,147,590,034,234,410,224,505,480,806,400

Yqatuba wrote:
How much can a neutronium golem lift ? (large size, 503 str)

In more readable notation (and without typos), 23 Str has a light load of 200 pounds, 480 more than that means multiply 200 pounds by 4, 48 times.

i.e. 503 Str has a light load of 200*4^48 pounds, or about 8 octillion tons. About 4 times the mass of the Sun so finding a mass that size and a good place to put your feet to shift it could be a challenge.

InvisiblePink wrote:

EDIT: The above comment talking about "honest Superman" and "honest Batman" has hit on the core of the issue. Comicbook superheroes don't have stats. If they had stats, the stories wouldn't work. Trying to give them stats or extrapolate an "honest" version of them that obeys harder rules is against the fast-and-loose conventions of the genre.

Once you give them numbers, it becomes a fundamentally different kind of story, and they become fundamentally different characters.

On those issues, I'm going to disagree. No comic publisher has any kind of precise statistics on their characters - but Marvel, at least, has some general guidelines, particularly with regard to strength. Having a general idea of how much Spider-Man can lift, or Iron Man, or Beast - and how they differ in comparison - can be useful when writing their stories and maintaining continuity.

But even with more precise stats, as the superheroes might be expressed in a role-playing game like Mutants and Masterminds, doesn't make them fundamentally different characters. The stats might constrain the fast-and-looseness of the genre a bit, but that doesn't necessarily mean the characters are fundamentally different - just that some of the more outlandish or outlier-ish stories are harder to tell with the game.

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I have to disagree with the idea that superman would have a high BAB especially compared to batman. BAB represents how skilled you are at combat. Batman is a master at several martial arts and is an incredibly skilled at combat among other things. Superman on the other hand is not skilled at combat he is simply stronger than anything else. All his combat ability is based on his stats not his skills. If anyone would have a low BAB it would be superman. Look at how they fight. Batman will hit a person multiple times to take them down, because he does not do as much damage. Superman usually takes most things down with a single hit. Which one sounds like they have a higher BAB?

This just only proves something I have said before that STATS are often more important than class. This is especially true at lower level. Take the example of an elf wizard with a 20 STR vs a fighter with a 10 STR. Who is better at using the sword? The elf wizard gets +5 to hit and damage simply because of STR. The fighter is at best +2 to hit and no damage bonus. The elf wizard is better at the sword than the fighter despite the low BAB. Superman has a lot higher STR than 20 which is where he gets his combat ability from not BAB.

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Bill Dunn wrote:

On those issues, I'm going to disagree. No comic publisher has any kind of precise statistics on their characters - but Marvel, at least, has some general guidelines, particularly with regard to strength. Having a general idea of how much Spider-Man can lift, or Iron Man, or Beast - and how they differ in comparison - can be useful when writing their stories and maintaining continuity.

But even with more precise stats, as the superheroes might be expressed in a role-playing game like Mutants and Masterminds, doesn't make them fundamentally different characters. The stats might constrain the fast-and-looseness of the genre a bit, but that doesn't necessarily mean the characters are fundamentally different - just that some of the more outlandish or outlier-ish stories are harder to tell with the game.

I realize this is departing from the topic a bit, but this is a topic I find really interesting, so I hope you'll bear with me!

My perspective is that stories told by dice are fundamentally different from stories told by humans. In stories told by humans, narrative comes first and the random events work out however they have to in order to make the narrative work; Han Solo's million-to-one chance was never going to kill him, because that'd be a terrible ending.

In stories told by dice (without fudging), the random events come first, and then we create a narrative around them. In some ways this is more realistic and certainly less predictable, but it also limits our storytelling. 999,999,999 times to 1, Han Solo doesn't make the million-to-one chance, because that's how odds work. Maybe he's got a high enough Piloting skill modifier that it's really only a tense 50/50, but that doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?

I think characters are defined not only by who they are, but also by what they do, and the outcomes of what they do. If your favorite cool character appears in a new series and they try to do all their old tricks, but are humiliated and shown as incompetent at every turn, you wouldn't feel that that's a faithful representation. If Han Solo can't roll the million-to-one-chance with devil-may-care ease, he's not a faithful Han Solo.

This is a secondary point because a tabletop game could solve it, but I don't often see ones that have: (most) comic books have innate niche protection, and tabletop games have none. As soon as you give the Hulk stats, you'll notice that someone just a little more optimizeed, or a little higher-leveled, could be stronger than he is in every way.

Comic books generally don't do that. The Hulk is strong because Being Strong is his identity. If a problem needs solving with brute strength, he's going to solve it even if "the numbers" say he shouldn't be the best-suited for it- not as a matter of patronization, like the Wizard letting the Rogue sneak instead of casting Invisibility on himself, but because that's implicitly how things work. If the Hulk loses an arm-wrestling match, it's not because someone else had better numbers, it's because the plot needed him to.

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Reksew_Trebla wrote:

Okay, I feel dumb. All I had to do was go to my page and search my posts to find the thread I made.

If Superman is a Paladin and Wonder woman is a Barbarian, then Batman's ability to give and take damage in a melee is significantly less than a wizards 1/2 BAB and 1d6 HP.

I really feel like you're taking the post out of context with this thread.

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@InvisiblePink: there are games which try to handle this - FATE and various games based off it, or Amber Diceless for example. Having a strong aspect or coming first in the strength auction means that yes you really are strong in ways that you aren't in PF. Those are games built more around creating a narrative than trying to be a convincing simulation, and they make some players break out in hives though.

Claxon wrote:
Reksew_Trebla wrote:

Okay, I feel dumb. All I had to do was go to my page and search my posts to find the thread I made.

If Superman is a Paladin and Wonder woman is a Barbarian, then Batman's ability to give and take damage in a melee is significantly less than a wizards 1/2 BAB and 1d6 HP.
I really feel like you're taking the post out of context with this thread.

Except I’m not. He clearly used BAB to define the difference between Superman and Batman. My thread is about why that is wrong.

Mysterious Stranger wrote:

I have to disagree with the idea that superman would have a high BAB especially compared to batman. BAB represents how skilled you are at combat. Batman is a master at several martial arts and is an incredibly skilled at combat among other things. Superman on the other hand is not skilled at combat he is simply stronger than anything else. All his combat ability is based on his stats not his skills. If anyone would have a low BAB it would be superman. Look at how they fight. Batman will hit a person multiple times to take them down, because he does not do as much damage. Superman usually takes most things down with a single hit. Which one sounds like they have a higher BAB?

Superman has way more BAB.

He just has greater greater greater greater greater greater greater greater greater vital strike.

Greater greater.

In all seriousness superman has combat training.

From Wonder Woman.

Mongol.

Wildcat

Mastered 2 different kryptonian martial arts

And... what a shocker... the Batman.

Hes hardly a slouch. Just when all you need to do is punch most things once you hardly need to "spend the swift action".

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Reksew_Trebla wrote:
He clearly used BAB to define the difference between Superman and Batman.

The full quote:

Quote:

If Superman is a Paladin and Wonder woman is a Barbarian, then Batman's ability to give and take damage in a melee is significantly less than a wizards 1/2 BAB and 1d6 HP.

Frame of reference is key.

When someone says 'The want to be Batman' the key is to zero in what that means to them. If it turns out they want to play someone who can figure things out, has abilities that can provide solutions for nearly every problem and counts on being prepared rather than just physical might, then wizard is a pretty good option.

So, he's trying to deal with the (largely impossible) question 'What are the best classes to choose if we want to make a PC group within the normal rules of Pathfinder that is analogous to the Justice League?'

And what then said was that BAB cannot define the difference between Superman and Batman, because the difference in damage output and resilience of Superman versus Batman is far greater than the difference in damage output and resilience of a Paladin against a Wizard.

And then he goes on to point out that the question needs clarifying, because what aspects of Batman and Superman are we trying to simulate? Dude with human limitations versus dude without human limitations? Dude who has to use his brain against dude who can solve most problems with his fists and unbreakable skin?

So what point-buy is required for 403 strength? (Assume a +2 racial bonus, so starting bought strength is 401 -- gotta start with the odd numbers for maximum point-buy efficiency!).

Making the optimistic assumption that point-buy cost increases steadily beyond the given table (ie, STR 18 costs 17, STR 19 costs 21, STR 20 costs 25, STR 21 costs 29, etc) that would cost 1549 points or so.
You'd probably want to spend about the same on DEX and CON to get superspeed and nigh invulnerability. I guess you'd have to find the points by dumping Wisdom or something...

Matthew Downie wrote:
Making the optimistic assumption that point-buy cost increases steadily beyond the given table (ie, STR 18 costs 17, STR 19 costs 21, STR 20 costs 25, STR 21 costs 29, etc) that would cost 1549 points or so.
It'll be more than that, because extrapolation beyond 19 assumes a continued geometric increase in cost at each even level (11>12=1pt, 13>14=2pts, 15>16=3pts, 17>18=4pts, so 19>20 should be 5pts, 21>22=6pts, etc).
Quote:
You'd probably want to spend about the same on DEX and CON to get superspeed and nigh invulnerability. I guess you'd have to find the points by dumping Wisdom or something...

Yup. Supes is a notorious sucker, so we can pick up 4 points by dumping it to 7! (Of course he's a 20th-level paladin, so Divine Grace helps out his Will save a bit.)

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Reksew_Trebla wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Reksew_Trebla wrote:

Okay, I feel dumb. All I had to do was go to my page and search my posts to find the thread I made.

If Superman is a Paladin and Wonder woman is a Barbarian, then Batman's ability to give and take damage in a melee is significantly less than a wizards 1/2 BAB and 1d6 HP.
I really feel like you're taking the post out of context with this thread.
Except I’m not. He clearly used BAB to define the difference between Superman and Batman. My thread is about why that is wrong.

Except as Matthew Donnie pointed out, you really really are.

He wasn't advocating that BAB is the key difference, he was pointing out why pigeonholing superheroes to classes is not really a useful way to compare things.

I feel like you're willfully ignoring the entirety of the post, and its greater context within it's original thread.

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Slim Jim wrote:
It'll be more than that, because extrapolation beyond 19 assumes a continued geometric increase in cost at each even level (11>12=1pt, 13>14=2pts, 15>16=3pts, 17>18=4pts, so 19>20 should be 5pts, 21>22=6pts, etc).

So, assuming differential between steps = (stat - 10) / 2 rounded down, increasing your strength from 400 to 401 will cost another 195 on what you already spent. (Which seems expensive, considering that ability modifiers don't even increase on odd numbered stats; poor optimization, Supes!)

We're looking to sum the series:
1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3... 193, 193, 194, 194, 195, 195
I notice that 1+1+195+195 is 392, and 2+2+194+194 is also 392, and so on. This is a repeating pattern that we can use to simply the calculation.
In the middle we will have ..97, 97, 98, 98, 99, 99...
Where 97+97+99+99 is also 392. We will have to make a special case for 98+98 and the 196 at the end.
So the answer is 392 * (194/2) + 98 + 98
I make it 38,220 points.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Appreciate all those who helped clarify my point from that old thread.

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It's a scary thing that this stewed for a day under a year exactly, only to be misquoted out of context.

Don't forget Charisma! Superman is supposed to be charming, so he'll need at least a bit of a bonus on his Cha score. Of course, Batman would need a high Cha too.

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Superman lost a boxing match with Muhammad Ali.

Nifty.

Reksew_Trebla wrote:
Except I’m not. He clearly used BAB to define the difference between Superman and Batman. My thread is about why that is wrong.

You don't seem to understand how a logical argument works.

"If X, then Y" --we are not arguing about X. X is not up for debate. The argumeny asks us to assume that X, in the hypothetical situation we are discussing, is fact.
Y is the element that is being debated in this statement. Y is the variable we're trying to prove or disprove under the assumption with X.

"If all barbarians have the rage class feature, then this character with the rage class feature must be a barbarian." --this argument isn't trying to debate whether or not barbarians have rage. That is assumed as fact for the sake of argument.

"If Superman is a paladin, then Batman must be a wizard."
--*IF* we assume that Superman is a paladin, *THEN* Batman must be a wizard, because of the huge gap in their physical ability. You could make the same point with an even more absurd argument, like:

"If Superman is a level 1 commoner with 10 Strength, Batman would have 0.00000000001 hp, -500,000 AC and a strength score less than that of an amoeba."
--again, no one making this statement is claiming that Superman is a level 1 commoner with 10 Strength. They're saying that *IF* he was, then Batman's stats would have to be appropriately low to keep the crazy-huge gap between them.

I suggest philosophy 101.