Has player agency taken a hit?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Full class retraining is better handled by different non standard rules imo, it is really quite rare for someone to drop a class entirely and thematically move on to another class.

Usually it was just dips in PF1e and horribly bad to do otherwise.

Maybe the GMG has defined rules? but I am happy just letting a GM set retraining times/costs attached to a full class redirection.


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Rysky wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
There's no debating this
The very existence of this thread disagrees with this.

Fine, there's no reasonable debate once rose-colored glasses are removed... Sorry, but one of the design goals for 2e was to reign in hyper-specialization, which is effectively what player agency is, the ability to change what your character specializes in to distinguish them in a large degree from another player or player of your clas who's not specialized in that thing...

Listen, I'm not arguing it's necessarily a bad thing. I personally think they went a bit too far in the narrowing of lanes, but I'd also agree something needed to be done. Yes, I'm being confrontational with my post, but I've seen far too many posts in the opposite direction, where people want to put on blinders regarding the weaknesses of the design goals, but are fully willing to play up the strengths...


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That's not what player agency is, though. Player agency is (broadly speaking) the ability to impact the story through game design or gameplay.

Now, games often allow player agency in different ways, so it's hard to nail down like one specific thing that defines it, but that's what we use in my line of work, and is usually the common definition.

You can still do that wholeheartedly in 2E - in just a different way. Games which don't let you customize at all still have player agency.

Player agency has nothing to do with hyper-specialization, customization, or anything like that.

Silver Crusade

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tivadar27 wrote:
Yes, I'm being confrontational with my post, but I've seen far too many posts in the opposite direction, where people want to put on blinders regarding the weaknesses of the design goals, but are fully willing to play up the strengths...

You mean you don't like that a bunch of people seem to be happy with the new system.


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@GameDesignerDM: You may be right about this. I had read the original poster's comments, where he had defined player agency differently. I was responding to that definition, which may actually have more to do with Character Diversity. Acknowledged though, the players have as much ability to impact the story as they did previously.

@Rysky: I'm sorry you don't like my opinions. I have no problem with players being happy with the system, I'm commenting on the design goals of the system and the fact that they limit "Character Diversity" (see my reply to GameDesignerDM). Now you're choosing to be directly antagonistic without actually debating any of my actual points... But sure. If you're arguing what GameDesignerDM is, I concede that point. I was addressing the original comment, where they likely used somewhat incorrect terms for what they were trying to express.

EDIT: Note: I don't care that a bunch of people are happy with the resulting system. On the whole, I think it made more positive changes than negative. I do take issue with those who refuse to admit there are things wrong with it/things it made "worse" or harder.


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tivadar27 wrote:

@GameDesignerDM: You may be right about this. I had read the original poster's comments, where he had defined player agency differently. I was responding to that definition, which may actually have more to do with Character Diversity. Acknowledged though, the players have as much ability to impact the story as they did previously.

@Rysky: I'm sorry you don't like my opinions. I have no problem with players being happy with the system, I'm commenting on the design goals of the system and the fact that they limit "Character Diversity" (see my reply to GameDesignerDM). Now you're choosing to be directly antagonistic without actually debating any of my actual points... But sure. If you're arguing what GameDesignerDM is, I concede that point. I was addressing the original comment, where they likely used somewhat incorrect terms for what they were trying to express.

It's no problem, really. Industry concepts and terms are really obfuscated from the general populace, and it's not often easy to find what one term means vs. another. You can find it, of course, but it requires a heavy interest in the nitty gritty of system design, and reading designer blogs and such.

Tabletops are actually some of the most player agency filled games - it's when we get to video games where that can become limited, because tech and such.

Something like 'character diversity' would be more accurate in this discussion, I think, and even then it's more of a subjective thing, since people view that differently.

The Exchange

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Rysky wrote:
That example, a Fighter with a few rounds of Inspire Courage, is better showcased with a Fighter that MCed into Bard than the other way around.

To be honest, that is one of the problems I have with 2nd edition, that I hope will be solved over time with additional archetypes.

Just recently I was trying to rebuild an NPC from an AP with 2nd edition rules. Aubrin the Green (from Ironfang Invasion) is, at the start of the campaign, a ranger 3/cleric of Cayden Caillean 3. From the background given, it is pretty clear that she started out as a ranger and only became a cleric later on. And assuming that this is the direction she will going for in the future, I would probably add cleric levels when leveling her up. So she could end up as a ranger 3/cleric 17 eventually.

And I can't as easily trace back that progress with a 2nd edition character and again would be much better off with starting out as cleric and adding in the ranger dedication at some later point of the character's life.

No problem if I prefer a mechanical view over a narrative view on that character. Only that this has never been the way I approached it. To me, the narrative shapes the character not the other way round. Here, narrative clashes with the mechanics.

This said, I really like 2nd ed. class design, so this is not a slight against the system. I'm just saying that, depending on your approach, there are limitations built in the system that you didn't have in PF 1 (Core Rules). And while I understand that those limitations might serve well to reach a better-balanced system and make the classes a bit more distinct, I still dislike having to change my narrative because if my character starts out as a ranger, even with multiclassing I'll never be able to play him like the character I was going for with Aubrin the Green. (better: "ending up" because like Yun E. Bears, I don't necessarily plan my characters' careers before I start playing them)

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tivadar27 wrote:
Now you're choosing to be directly antagonistic without actually debating any of my actual points.

You admit you're being confrontational and then claim that people are putting on blinders in regards to issues, and then before that stated there's no debating this [the topic]. You brought the antagonism. You could be making your concerns and complaints without any of that.


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tivadar27 wrote:
I'm commenting on the design goals of the system and the fact that they limit "Character Diversity" (see my reply to GameDesignerDM).

Aren't we we actually more open to diverse build now than before? Granted PF1 has much more content but that aside, PF2 has a more modular base, especially with archetypes and multiclassing. Before, a caster who wanted armor needed to hop through a lot more hoops, dealing with both proficiency, spell failure if arcane, and check penalties on already low skills. Now with a bit of STR, you can negate the penalties, no spell failure, and you can dip into other classes without losing your casting progression, while also entirely bypassing low content of said class.

Before if you dipped into say, level 1 fighter, you'd only get content for that one level. Now if you dip at say 12th, you can pick feats up to Fighter 6, entirely bypassing 1-5 feats. Since casters use their casting stat for their attacks, they are open to alternative stats besides Dex as well? As a foundation, I like the new class features better. If both me and you went say, bard 12 with 3 feats into fighter, we'd end up day and night depending on party roles and aesthetical preferences.


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Agency is about the ability to make decisions that have an impact. Class choice in this edition has a strong impact. It means something to play a fighter, monk, or a barbarian. The experience of playing one or the other will feel meaningfully different at the table. The sorts of decisions a monk makes at the table will be colored by active abilities they have that a fighter does not share.

Within each class there are a host of decisions that one can make that will impact the actual experience of play, particularly in classes like the Barbarian, Monk, and Champion. Even relatively simple choices like the Barbarian's Instinct have ripples that impact available choices down the road. A Giant Instinct Barbarian is fundamentally different from a Dragon Instinct Barbarian.

The skill system has also dramatically opened up. Any class can serve as the party's face. Any class can track, although a Ranger will be slightly better. The skill feat system also allows characters to specialize in ways that open up new options to them where even two characters who are good at Diplomacy can be good at it in different ways.

There are a number of concepts that were phenomenally difficult to implement in Pathfinder 1 that are phenomenally easy to manage in Pathfinder 2. Just yesterday I built a Barbarian who was meant to represent a refined bastard son of a noble family who falls prey to a foul temper because his father bathed him in the blood of a red dragon as a baby. He has nightmares where he hears the whispers of the dead dragon. I built him as a Skilled Human with the ancestry feat that grants two additional trained skills with the noble background. His class feat allows him to use Demoralize while raging.

16 Strength 14 Constitution 12 Dexterity 10 Wisdom 10 Intelligence 16 Charisma

Trained Skills: Diplomacy, Intimidate, Deception, Society, Athletics, Lore (Heraldry), Lore (Dragons), Arcana

This character is not far behind an optimized character in combat capability and incredibly skilled in social encounters. In combat he can make use of Demoralize and Feint far better too. There are opportunity costs. He does not have Sudden Charge and could have an additional class feat and general feat if I went that route, but I have a hard time imagining how I could create a character like this at first level in any other modern version of D&D.


Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
I'm commenting on the design goals of the system and the fact that they limit "Character Diversity" (see my reply to GameDesignerDM).

Aren't we we actually more open to diverse build now than before? Granted PF1 has much more content but that aside, PF2 has a more modular base, especially with archetypes and multiclassing. Before, a caster who wanted armor needed to hop through a lot more hoops, dealing with both proficiency, spell failure if arcane, and check penalties on already low skills. Now with a bit of STR, you can negate the penalties, no spell failure, and you can dip into other classes without losing your casting progression, while also entirely bypassing low content of said class.

Before if you dipped into say, level 1 fighter, you'd only get content for that one level. Now if you dip at say 12th, you can pick feats up to Fighter 6, entirely bypassing 1-5 feats. Since casters use their casting stat for their attacks, they are open to alternative stats besides Dex as well? As a foundation, I like the new class features better. If both me and you went say, bard 12 with 3 feats into fighter, we'd end up day and night depending on party roles and aesthetical preferences.

So this is actually a fair debate regarding what I'd stated previously. The problem with that is that if you dip in at level 12, then your level 12 feat is the dedication, your level 14 feat is a level 1 or 2 feat for fighter, and your level 16 feat can be a feat up to level 8 (effectively). Yes, you *could* do it, but it'd probably be *much much* worse than the alternatives. I'd argue it's effectively a false choice/trap choice.

There's an exception to this if you're being human and getting the MC feat for free... but that's a very specific racial feat. What do you think? Effectively you're sinking 6 "levels" (3 feats) into fighter to have one fighter feat above 2nd level. There are clearly specific cases where this is good, but higher level feats will, in general, be better.


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What we're really seeing here is "I do not have the tools to make the character I want". People want to play something that is a mix of thing A and B and find it overweighted to thing A or thing B. This is not an ideal situation, but the thing is - as more books are printed we're going to have more options for doing more things, and some of those things will enable characters which were not previously available.

If you find a Fighter MC Wizard isn't good enough at spells, and a Wizard MC Fighter isn't good enough at arms, well the Magus isn't in the first round of new classes but we're told it's "high on the list."

In the playtest a lot of people were thinking about how "archetypes and multiclassing can replace old classes" which while true in theory also suggests where the old classes need to pop back up. Apparently there's a desire for that balanced mixture of martial and caster, so we could slot like the Magus, Inquisitor, Occultist, and Hunter (?) in those four slots.

But trying to twist "I can't make the character I want" into a question about lack of player agency is bizarre.


tivadar27 wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
I'm commenting on the design goals of the system and the fact that they limit "Character Diversity" (see my reply to GameDesignerDM).

Aren't we we actually more open to diverse build now than before? Granted PF1 has much more content but that aside, PF2 has a more modular base, especially with archetypes and multiclassing. Before, a caster who wanted armor needed to hop through a lot more hoops, dealing with both proficiency, spell failure if arcane, and check penalties on already low skills. Now with a bit of STR, you can negate the penalties, no spell failure, and you can dip into other classes without losing your casting progression, while also entirely bypassing low content of said class.

Before if you dipped into say, level 1 fighter, you'd only get content for that one level. Now if you dip at say 12th, you can pick feats up to Fighter 6, entirely bypassing 1-5 feats. Since casters use their casting stat for their attacks, they are open to alternative stats besides Dex as well? As a foundation, I like the new class features better. If both me and you went say, bard 12 with 3 feats into fighter, we'd end up day and night depending on party roles and aesthetical preferences.

So this is actually a fair debate regarding what I'd stated previously. The problem with that is that if you dip in at level 12, then your level 12 feat is the dedication, your level 14 feat is a level 1 or 2 feat for fighter, and your level 16 feat can be a feat up to level 8 (effectively). Yes, you *could* do it, but it'd probably be *much much* worse than the alternatives. I'd argue it's effectively a false choice/trap choice.

There's an exception to this if you're being human and getting the MC feat for free... but that's a very specific racial feat. What do you think? Effectively you're sinking 6 "levels" (3 feats) into fighter to have one fighter feat above 2nd level. There are clearly specific cases where this is good, but higher level feats will, in...

Granted, it's not the most optimal or perfect, there's a cost to it which adds weight imho. But those three...well at least two of the feats aren't that bad, and out from there you can pick and choose up to half the level. I'm sure smarter people than me will come up with some nice, potentially absurd comboes, but I at least, enjoy the choice I have of 3 class feats into fighter in place of just a level 3 fighter dip before. Save for a few archetypes, our dips into that class would be the same, while here you can go add to archery, or even just pick up some shield usage.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

What we're really seeing here is "I do not have the tools to make the character I want". People want to play something that is a mix of thing A and B and find it overweighted to thing A or thing B. This is not an ideal situation, but the thing is - as more books are printed we're going to have more options for doing more things, and some of those things will enable characters which were not previously available.

If you find a Fighter MC Wizard isn't good enough at spells, and a Wizard MC Fighter isn't good enough at arms, well the Magus isn't in the first round of new classes but we're told it's "high on the list."

In the playtest a lot of people were thinking about how "archetypes and multiclassing can replace old classes" which while true in theory also suggests where the old classes need to pop back up. Apparently there's a desire for that balanced mixture of martial and caster, so we could slot like the Magus, Inquisitor, Occultist, and Hunter (?) in those four slots.

But trying to twist "I can't make the character I want" into a question about lack of player agency is bizarre.

And if not a Magus class, a class archetype for the Wizard which increases weapon proficiencies and reduces spellcasting could be close enough for someone.

What I'd like is to see is multiple ways to reach concepts that are on a spectrum between classes A and B, with the one right in the middle is perhaps a new class, while Class archetypes, weapon/armor archetypes, and general feats fill out the different gradients in between.


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GameDesignerDM wrote:

That's not what player agency is, though. Player agency is (broadly speaking) the ability to impact the story through game design or gameplay.

Now, games often allow player agency in different ways, so it's hard to nail down like one specific thing that defines it, but that's what we use in my line of work, and is usually the common definition.

You can still do that wholeheartedly in 2E - in just a different way. Games which don't let you customize at all still have player agency.

Player agency has nothing to do with hyper-specialization, customization, or anything like that.

This is more just nitpicking over the OP's terminology than actually addressing what their issues are one way or the other though.

Agency is a sense of control and ability to influence things. How much flexibility and control a player does or does not have in realizing whatever character concept they're imagining is absolutely part of their agency.


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Squiggit wrote:
GameDesignerDM wrote:

That's not what player agency is, though. Player agency is (broadly speaking) the ability to impact the story through game design or gameplay.

Now, games often allow player agency in different ways, so it's hard to nail down like one specific thing that defines it, but that's what we use in my line of work, and is usually the common definition.

You can still do that wholeheartedly in 2E - in just a different way. Games which don't let you customize at all still have player agency.

Player agency has nothing to do with hyper-specialization, customization, or anything like that.

This is more just nitpicking over the OP's terminology than actually addressing what their issues are one way or the other though.

Agency is a sense of control and ability to influence things. How much flexibility and control a player does or does not have in realizing whatever character concept they're imagining is absolutely part of their agency.

Not when specifically talking about game design, no. Player agency is agnostic to character concept. It's directly relating to the impact the player has on the story/play through the game design or gameplay.

Uncharted, for example, offers no ability to realize a concept because everyone plays Nathan Drake, but it has loads of player agency.

The player can impact the story of a PF2E game in many different ways regardless of their concept, so it's not related.

Terminology is important when we're discussing concepts of design.

"Has the ability to realize your concept to the fullest extent taken a hit?" would be a better title for this thread.


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GameDesignerDM wrote:
Uncharted, for example, offers no ability to realize a concept because everyone plays Nathan Drake, but it has loads of player agency.

Uncharted is also a fundamentally different kind of game. The amount of and type of control I'd expect to have in an action game is fundamentally different than what I'd expect to have in a fighting game, a strategy game, a cardgame or a tabletop RPG (and compared to many of the latter Uncharted absolutely does not have very much player agency at all).

Quote:
Terminology is important when we're discussing concepts of design.

Okay fine, we're talking about [the agency the players have] rather than [player agency].

Again, this feels like a really pointless thing to quibble over.

Quote:
"Has the ability to realize your concept to the fullest extent taken a hit?" would be a better title for this thread.

Maybe, but it still feels kind of derail-y to try to turn this into the focus of the discussion.


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Squiggit wrote:

This is more just nitpicking over the OP's terminology than actually addressing what their issues are one way or the other though.

Agency is a sense of control and ability to influence things. How much flexibility and control a player does or does not have in realizing whatever character concept they're imagining is absolutely part of their agency.

I don't think it's nitpicking. In order to solve problems, one has to accurately understand them. Understanding the actual source of the player's concern is critical to finding the right solution.

Essentially, players have access to the same tools as before. The only difference is that there is more opportunity cost. If, for example, no player option in PF2 allowed the use of spells and shapechanging, then I would say this is a restriction on player agency. But saying you can cast spells or shape change, isn't a limit on player agency, it's a limit on the character's agency.

The questions is whether my distinction is more useful, because we could just lump it all under "player" agency? I think it does because it allows a designer to categorize more rigidly and reduce the problem. Using my definition, I can differentiate between the game having the same conduits of interaction versus the number of conduits that can be accessed at any one time. Put another way, PF2 offers the same number of facets but limits how many of those can be accessed simultaneously.

I'm sure there are other ways to frame the problem that others might find more helpful. So part of examining the problem is figuring out the most useful way to categorize it.


I don't feel a proper answer to the OP's question without a clear definition of what player agency is in the context of his question.

Neo2151 wrote:

We're seeing a lot of topics pop up with concerns about proficiency scaling issues for anyone trying to step even a little bit outside of what the class provides (Bards and Medium Armor, Wizards and a Martial Weapon, even things built into the class, such as a Dragon Sorcerer's prof with their claw attacks).

I've also noticed that since every class is so heavily tied to it's class feat options, you really can't adopt a playstyle that wasn't built specifically for the class. If you want to TWF as a Barbarian, for instance, you just can't as the feats that make it happen aren't available to you (yes, you can "technically" TWF with regular MAP attacks and two different weapons, but we aaaall know that's not what anyone means by TWF ;P ).

There is certainly a lot of new and interesting things with the new edition that are improvements over the old, but I'm getting the feeling that Classes specifically are essentially so rigid that you either play the way the rulebook tells you or you struggle to keep up, by design.

That seems anathema to D&D-esque gameplay.

How do others feel?

seems to be asking whether or not class structure forces you to play a certain way or else be penalized for ultimately not using bonuses that should be available to them.

I would say yes or no, depending on whether you think Multiclassing breaks class structure.

however, I don't think this is any less so from PF1e, a Wizard could basically simply not wear heavy armor without incurring heavy penalties(to, what a wizard normally does, casting spells). now it's an option even if expensive. however, a Wizard will still always require intelligence to be as effective as designed.

A barbarian can Two-weapon fight, as In my opinion there are 2 ways to do so, getting fighter dedication or using a normal weapon and an agile weapon as their off-hand, you can make your first attack hit harder and all subsequent attacks hit easier for less damage. the 2nd is less effective and so if you want to be as good as a fighter at TWFing you *need* to get fighter dedication.

some think this is a hit to "player agency"(in the context of this question) while others do not.

there's even less certainty that this makes a worse or better game.

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Be sure that you are discussing and debating ideas, not attacking people or people's opinions. Do not pick fights with each other over your preferences.

While there are bound to be things about different editions and different games that you either love or do not care for, please remember that these are all subjective points. There is a vast spectrum of ways and reasons people enjoy Pathfinder. No one is objectively wrong for wanting to enjoy Pathfinder in a particular style. Remember when someone likes or doesn't like a part that you do, it doesn't mean your opinion is suddenly invalid, it just means your preferences for what you want Pathfinder to be or do might not align with theirs.

We're all here because we love tabletop RPGs, and that is going to take as many different forms and be as variable as there are people playing these games. Don't yuck someone else's yum, allow for other people to have their own preferences and styles of play they enjoy. This doesn't mean you can't offer up critiques of a game system or edition, or that you can't express dissatisfaction over something, it just means that on our forums, you need to give other people the grace to have different opinions.


So if the central issue is "classes are overly rigid" but the counterpoint is "some people like that" why isn't the option to appease everybody- "print more classes."

Sure, we have to wait for those classes to be printed, but we have to wait for a lot of things (you can't play an Aasimar yet, for example.)


N N 959 wrote:
Squiggit wrote:

This is more just nitpicking over the OP's terminology than actually addressing what their issues are one way or the other though.

Agency is a sense of control and ability to influence things. How much flexibility and control a player does or does not have in realizing whatever character concept they're imagining is absolutely part of their agency.

I don't think it's nitpicking. In order to solve problems, one has to accurately understand them. Understanding the actual source of the player's concern is critical to finding the right solution.

Essentially, players have access to the same tools as before. The only difference is that there is more opportunity cost. If, for example, no player option in PF2 allowed the use of spells and shapechanging, then I would say this is a restriction on player agency. But saying you can cast spells or shape change, isn't a limit on player agency, it's a limit on the character's agency.

The questions is whether my distinction is more useful, because we could just lump it all under "player" agency? I think it does because it allows a designer to categorize more rigidly and reduce the problem. Using my definition, I can differentiate between the game having the same conduits of interaction versus the number of conduits that can be accessed at any one time. Put another way, PF2 offers the same number of facets but limits how many of those can be accessed simultaneously.

I'm sure there are other ways to frame the problem that others might find more helpful. So part of examining the problem is figuring out the most useful way to categorize it.

Exactly.

One of the biggest hurdles as a game designer - whether it be video games, board games, or tabletop games - is trying to parse out feedback from players. Often times, it's super broad and general and hard to get to the meat of the issue, so designers will correct for one thing when the players actually meant something else.

Being as specific as possible and trying to really widdle down to the root of the issue is way more helpful. It's why playtests will often go "Okay, in this round, we're only testing spells" or "We want to see how this one change works with everything else".

Specificity breeds better innovation, and its helpful for us as players to do that, too.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
So if the central issue is "classes are overly rigid" but the counterpoint is "some people like that" why isn't the option to appease everybody- "print more classes."

Printing more classes helps and so will class archetypes, presumably, but there's still some narrowness even there.

Beyond that though I think the issue is less that classes are too rigid, because PF2 is very modular and flexible in a lot of ways*, and more that the flexibility that exists is limited by your feat progression. The concern then is that if Paizo releases a feat down the line that fixes some hole in whatever I'm imagining, I'm still going to have to figure out how to fit that into my build.

*There are some weird exceptions, like not being able to advance unarmed at all out of class or needing to become a paladin to advance armor.


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I just feel like for our own sake, it's best to focus on the things that are currently possible to play rather than those things which are not. While it's potentially useful to point out for the designers "hey, here's a thing I want to do but can't", it's interesting to me that there are many more threads about classes in this space than ancestries or backgrounds. Moreover it's probably more useful to talk about "characters we would actually like to play which are not covered" than just broad generalizations about "a wizard cannot do this" or "a fighter cannot do this".

Since most probably the tools we get to resolve the "I want to be an arcane spellcaster in medium armor who uses a polearm effectively" dilemmas are not maximally general solutions.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I just feel like for our own sake, it's best to focus on the things that are currently possible to play rather than those things which are not. While it's potentially useful to point out for the designers "hey, here's a thing I want to do but can't", it's interesting to me that there are many more threads about classes in this space than ancestries or backgrounds. Moreover it's probably more useful to talk about "characters we would actually like to play which are not covered" than just broad generalizations about "a wizard cannot do this" or "a fighter cannot do this".

Since most probably the tools we get to resolve the "I want to be an arcane spellcaster in medium armor who uses a polearm effectively" dilemmas are not maximally general solutions.

I think part of the issue is that with this specific situation, the issue could have easily and quickly been fixed. Then a specific archetype for this situation wouldn't be needed. I personally like the idea of having more options in the core book so that more unique options can be presented later.

And if you want something specific, I was building a wizard who takes rogue dedication at 2nd level. I like the idea of the character wearing leather (light armor.) This is for no other reason than looks. I think it looks cooler and it makes me happy. The rogue dedication gives me this, which is awesome. But then I noticed at level 13, I get expert in robes and not my leather armor I was so happy to wear.

As some have said, I can just wear the leather anyways because I want to. But knowing that I have expert in unarmored will bother me. As a player, I want to be the best I can be (within role-play concept) I can for the party. I want to help as much as possible so that hopefully we stop what ever terrible evil is coming. I'd like to do that in the leather armor, but I'll always know I would be a little more helpful in robes. Which, if life and death is on the line, matters for my character.

I guess for some people, getting expert in light armor is a big deal and requires more investment for my character. For others it seems like a small issue that is easily fixed by letting everything your are trained in gain expert when your class proficiencies already do.

Fo me, I was happy in leather armor from levels 2 - 12. And now I'm slightly less happy, either knowing I could be more helpful or using robes I don't really care for. It feels like the game is pushing me back to what everyone presupposes a wizard to wear as appose to letting me pick what I wear.


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Jedi Maester wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I just feel like for our own sake, it's best to focus on the things that are currently possible to play rather than those things which are not. While it's potentially useful to point out for the designers "hey, here's a thing I want to do but can't", it's interesting to me that there are many more threads about classes in this space than ancestries or backgrounds. Moreover it's probably more useful to talk about "characters we would actually like to play which are not covered" than just broad generalizations about "a wizard cannot do this" or "a fighter cannot do this".

Since most probably the tools we get to resolve the "I want to be an arcane spellcaster in medium armor who uses a polearm effectively" dilemmas are not maximally general solutions.

I think part of the issue is that with this specific situation, the issue could have easily and quickly been fixed. Then a specific archetype for this situation wouldn't be needed. I personally like the idea of having more options in the core book so that more unique options can be presented later.

And if you want something specific, I was building a wizard who takes rogue dedication at 2nd level. I like the idea of the character wearing leather (light armor.) This is for no other reason than looks. I think it looks cooler and it makes me happy. The rogue dedication gives me this, which is awesome. But then I noticed at level 13, I get expert in robes and not my leather armor I was so happy to wear.

As some have said, I can just wear the leather anyways because I want to. But knowing that I have expert in unarmored will bother me. As a player, I want to be the best I can be (within role-play concept) I can for the party. I want to help as much as possible so that hopefully we stop what ever terrible evil is coming. I'd like to do that in the leather armor, but I'll always know I would be a little more helpful in robes. Which, if life and death is on the line, matters for my character.

I guess for some people,...

Isn't that gonna happen with a lot of classes and weapons and armors though? Said wizard also has expert in crossbows, but are you actively using them, if not, aren't you wasting them in the same manner as unarmored proficiency while in light armor?

Said leather armor gives +1AC and +2AC from Trained, capping out at 18Dex for a maximum total of +7AC.
In contrast, the unarmored proficiency caps out at 20Dex, and will give you up to +9AC total, if you can meet that high 20 dex.

You're +2AC behind indeed, but now you have the option to use exotic materials on your leather armor, such as dragonhide, or use specific armors. Getting that dex from 18 to 20 means you lose up to 4 stat points elsewhere up to 18, such as con or cha or str for utility. The only time the proficiency actually seems to matter is if you keep dex at 18-20 and it infact limits your options in the long run. Unless my numbers are off.

The only thing you might be "pushed" into is having to pay a stat tax to keep said proficiency relevant and at the same time, depriving yourself of specific magic armors or special materials.


tivadar27 wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
I'm commenting on the design goals of the system and the fact that they limit "Character Diversity" (see my reply to GameDesignerDM).

Aren't we we actually more open to diverse build now than before? Granted PF1 has much more content but that aside, PF2 has a more modular base, especially with archetypes and multiclassing. Before, a caster who wanted armor needed to hop through a lot more hoops, dealing with both proficiency, spell failure if arcane, and check penalties on already low skills. Now with a bit of STR, you can negate the penalties, no spell failure, and you can dip into other classes without losing your casting progression, while also entirely bypassing low content of said class.

Before if you dipped into say, level 1 fighter, you'd only get content for that one level. Now if you dip at say 12th, you can pick feats up to Fighter 6, entirely bypassing 1-5 feats. Since casters use their casting stat for their attacks, they are open to alternative stats besides Dex as well? As a foundation, I like the new class features better. If both me and you went say, bard 12 with 3 feats into fighter, we'd end up day and night depending on party roles and aesthetical preferences.

So this is actually a fair debate regarding what I'd stated previously. The problem with that is that if you dip in at level 12, then your level 12 feat is the dedication, your level 14 feat is a level 1 or 2 feat for fighter, and your level 16 feat can be a feat up to level 8 (effectively). Yes, you *could* do it, but it'd probably be *much much* worse than the alternatives. I'd argue it's effectively a false choice/trap choice.

There's an exception to this if you're being human and getting the MC feat for free... but that's a very specific racial feat. What do you think? Effectively you're sinking 6 "levels" (3 feats) into fighter to have one fighter feat above 2nd level. There are clearly specific cases where this is good, but higher level feats will, in...

I'm having difficulty understanding why you would do it that way. Ideally assuming you did not need it to meet prerequisites you would probably retrain another 2nd level feat for the dedication. I think we are also getting caught up in the old paradigm where things like feats were mostly lateral power increases. Especially for most martial PCs class feats are generally active abilities with a cost in the action economy and compete with the abilities you already have. A whole host of higher level feats are very powerful when they come up, but highly specialized. Stuff like Furious Sprint, Sudden Leap, Felling Strike and the like are all great when the circumstances they shine in come up. They won't help you smash the face of that enemy right in front of you.

It's pretty much like building a deck in Magic. You only have so many things you can do in a turn and you build your deck anticipating what you think will come up. You have to consider things like how many reactions, 1 action abilities, 2 action abilities, and 3 action abilities you want to build in and how often different circumstances are going to come up. You can also change out elements in the deck at any time you have an appropriate amount of downtime. Obviously we need to establish what's happening in the fiction when this occurs especially for something like multi-classing, but feats can come from any level that is at least as strong as the one we want to pick up.


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Corvo Spiritwind wrote:

Isn't that gonna happen with a lot of classes and weapons and armors though? Said wizard also has expert in crossbows, but are you actively using them, if not, aren't you wasting them in the same manner as unarmored proficiency while in light armor?

I don't understand this argument. :/ If the crossbow was better than my preference, then yes, this would bother me. It's a wasted bonus if I could be using it and I'm not. Because all my class weapons are the same, the expert bonus applies equally to all. I'm not losing that +2, I'm just applying it to the other weapon, like a dagger. Because light armor isn't a class armor, I'm not using that +2 expert bonus. Which, with critical hits, could be a key difference.

And maybe the math works out and what I get from having a DEX cap to distribute to other stats balances out using unarmored. But I'm not an optimizer so it's hard for me to know. I'd be open to seeing if it balances out.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

So if the central issue is "classes are overly rigid" but the counterpoint is "some people like that" why isn't the option to appease everybody- "print more classes."

Sure, we have to wait for those classes to be printed, but we have to wait for a lot of things (you can't play an Aasimar yet, for example.)

Fair point, but one of the criticisms of Pathfinder was that it did Fighter/Wizard poorly (and Eldritch Knight for that matter), which is what caused them to *need* to make a Magus class... I think a lot of us hoped the CRB for 2e would solve this with a more elegant MC'ing.

I don't disagree that printing more classes is a viable solution, it's just one that's going to be hard to maintain, because then instead of 10 classes that MC well that lead to about 50 pairwise combinations, you're talking about them having to make 50 classes... Granted, I don't imagine it will be *that* bad, but hopefully you understand my point.


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Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
I'm commenting on the design goals of the system and the fact that they limit "Character Diversity" (see my reply to GameDesignerDM).

Aren't we we actually more open to diverse build now than before? Granted PF1 has much more content but that aside, PF2 has a more modular base, especially with archetypes and multiclassing. Before, a caster who wanted armor needed to hop through a lot more hoops, dealing with both proficiency, spell failure if arcane, and check penalties on already low skills. Now with a bit of STR, you can negate the penalties, no spell failure, and you can dip into other classes without losing your casting progression, while also entirely bypassing low content of said class.

Before if you dipped into say, level 1 fighter, you'd only get content for that one level. Now if you dip at say 12th, you can pick feats up to Fighter 6, entirely bypassing 1-5 feats. Since casters use their casting stat for their attacks, they are open to alternative stats besides Dex as well? As a foundation, I like the new class features better. If both me and you went say, bard 12 with 3 feats into fighter, we'd end up day and night depending on party roles and aesthetical preferences.

So this is actually a fair debate regarding what I'd stated previously. The problem with that is that if you dip in at level 12, then your level 12 feat is the dedication, your level 14 feat is a level 1 or 2 feat for fighter, and your level 16 feat can be a feat up to level 8 (effectively). Yes, you *could* do it, but it'd probably be *much much* worse than the alternatives. I'd argue it's effectively a false choice/trap choice.

There's an exception to this if you're being human and getting the MC feat for free... but that's a very specific racial feat. What do you think? Effectively you're sinking 6 "levels" (3 feats) into fighter to have one fighter feat above 2nd level. There are clearly specific cases where this is good, but

...

Honestly, if the dedication feat wasn't a dead feat and simply gave you a level 1 (or maybe 1 or 2) class feat, I'd be totally okay with it. Paying 3 feats (roughly 30% of your class feats) to get a single feat from another class you want (that's not level 1 or 2) feels really steep/prohibitive to me... If those are your early feats, it hurts less. When it's later feats, I don't think it's really that viable of a build anymore in most cases.


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There is also the aspect that a lot of people dont want new class "because it messes with X's niche." I repeat, I saw a lot of that with the swashbuckler thread, where people just kept saying: "that's just a fighter", "build a fighter", "that messes with the fighter", "just give panache to the fighter".

And the recent revelation that casters lose out when multiclassing into martial, while the reverse is kind of optimal, just makes it feel that much worse.


There is also the aspect that a lot of people dont want new class "because it messes with X's niche." I repeat, I saw a lot of that with the swashbuckler thread, where people just kept saying: "that's just a fighter", "build a fighter", "that messes with the fighter", "just give panache to the fighter".

And the recent revelation that casters lose out when multiclassing into martial, while the reverse is kind of optimal, just makes it feel that much worse.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
tivadar27 wrote:

]

Fair point, but one of the criticisms of Pathfinder was that it did Fighter/Wizard poorly (and Eldritch Knight for that matter), which is what caused them to *need* to make a Magus class... I think a lot of us hoped the CRB for 2e would solve this with a more elegant MC'ing.

The CRB does solve this problem with two solutions. You can have an excellent martial combatant with okay casting or an excellent caster with okay martial prowess. A magus would presumably be balanced at good but not excellent in both, serving as a third answer to that character concept.

But the two solutions we have ARE an improvement over PF1 pre magus offering which was "be a sh*t martial and sh*t caster"


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Jedi Maester wrote:
I think part of the issue is that with this specific situation, the issue could have easily and quickly been fixed. Then a specific archetype for this situation wouldn't be needed. I personally like the idea of having more options in the core book so that more unique options can be presented later.

I think one of the reasons we want to be careful about general solutions at this point in the game's life, is if that we made it relatively simple to give a wizard expert in light armor and martial weapons (for example) we are cutting off space for a potential Magus class, the form of which we don't know yet. Since a Magus is certainly "less adept at casting spells than a wizard", that would mean we'd need to make sure the magus gets better than expert in weapons and armor. Quite possibly they would anyway, but the class hasn't been designed or playtested yet so it's wise to avoid painting ourselves into corners.

For now, stuff like "a wizard in platemail which is not a champion does not work well" is stuff we can fix by saying "hey, I'd like to do something like this" and then playing something that works better instead. We haven't had a single book yet that added an ancestry, class, archetype, or feat (I believe Fall of Plaguestone and Hellknight Hill has backgrounds and items though) so we should start letting these trickle out and seeing how that changes things before we make broad sweeping changes.


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Jedi Maester wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:

Isn't that gonna happen with a lot of classes and weapons and armors though? Said wizard also has expert in crossbows, but are you actively using them, if not, aren't you wasting them in the same manner as unarmored proficiency while in light armor?

I don't understand this argument. :/ If the crossbow was better than my preference, then yes, this would bother me. It's a wasted bonus if I could be using it and I'm not. Because all my class weapons are the same, the expert bonus applies equally to all. I'm not losing that +2, I'm just applying it to the other weapon, like a dagger. Because light armor isn't a class armor, I'm not using that +2 expert bonus. Which, with critical hits, could be a key difference.

And maybe the math works out and what I get from having a DEX cap to distribute to other stats balances out using unarmored. But I'm not an optimizer so it's hard for me to know. I'd be open to seeing if it balances out.

Just seems like it's a bit selective. Like the argument people had that a character gets better in weapons he's not actively using. The thing with armor is that you need to build for it though. If you were settled on a dex character, then armor is bad for you. If you don't want to build dex, then you want to eat that ac hit and use armor that opens up other stats for you it seems. A personal choice and a trade-off. If we get say, expert all armor, and you built dex for unarmored, then that expert bonus from heavy armor will be useless to your character.

It's not like unarmored expert snuck up on us. It's an important choice to make early into the game and build either for armor, or for unarmored. If you build one, then the other will generally be worse for you.


Here's the thing about auto scaling Armor Proficiency. For the vast majority of the leveling experience spell casters have the exact same level of armor proficiency as martial characters who are not monks and champions. Some reach Mastery at 17. Some like the Rogue, Ranger, and Barbarian do not get Master proficiency until level 19. The rogue finally reaches Expert in leather armor at 13. Armor proficiency is also a really big deal for some casters. A war priest trades away spell casting potency in part for access to medium armor and a favorable weapon proficiency schedule. It's also a big part of the conceptual identity for Bards.

When it comes to weapons those are also a big part of class identity for a number of casters. It's part of the space that separates Bards and Clerics from the other casters. It creates a middle ground between more martially inclined casters and less martially inclined casters. When it comes to unarmed combat the monk is supposed to be the undisputed master. and they reach master at level 13 and do not get any better.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber
Temperans wrote:

There is also the aspect that a lot of people dont want new class "because it messes with X's niche." I repeat, I saw a lot of that with the swashbuckler thread, where people just kept saying: "that's just a fighter", "build a fighter", "Thait messes with the fighter", "just give panache to the fighter".

And the recent revelation that casters lose out when multiclassing into martial, while the reverse is kind of optimal, just makes it feel that much worse.

I have the nagging feeling that a Wizard will wipe the magical floor with a Fighter/Wizard any day.


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Campbell wrote:
Here's the thing about auto scaling Armor Proficiency. For the vast majority of the leveling experience spell casters have the exact same level of armor proficiency as martial characters who are not monks and champions. Some reach Mastery at 17. Some like the Rogue, Ranger, and Barbarian do not get Master proficiency until level 19. The rogue finally reaches Expert in leather armor at 13. Armor proficiency is also a really big deal for some casters. A war priest trades away spell casting potency in part for access to medium armor and a favorable weapon proficiency schedule. It's also a big part of the conceptual identity for Bards.

It is pretty interesting to me that in PF1, dedicated spellcasters almost never had an AC in the neighborhood of someone who expects to do business on the front lines.

But at level 15, a wizard in explorer's clothes with 20 dex (achievable if you started at 16) will have the exact same AC as a rogue, alchemist, ranger, or barbarian until 19th level; and the exact same AC as a Bard, Druid, or Cleric forever (assuming everybody optimizes their armor class and uses the same runes).

Leaving your dex at 18 puts you one behind, and you're one behind the heavy armor people at equal proficiency. It feels like a mistake to look at only "level 20 numbers" since a Wizard with a high dex (which is useful on its own) is going to be within a few points of everybody else in terms of AC most of the time.

I feel like "this puts pressure on wizards (and cloistered clerics) to invest in dex" is potentially an issue, but lots of classes have to invest in multiple stats.


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The Raven Black wrote:
Temperans wrote:

There is also the aspect that a lot of people dont want new class "because it messes with X's niche." I repeat, I saw a lot of that with the swashbuckler thread, where people just kept saying: "that's just a fighter", "build a fighter", "Thait messes with the fighter", "just give panache to the fighter".

And the recent revelation that casters lose out when multiclassing into martial, while the reverse is kind of optimal, just makes it feel that much worse.

I have the nagging feeling that a Wizard will wipe the magical floor with a Fighter/Wizard any day.

With how much weaker spells are in general the wizard is already grasping at straws to stay relevant. If it were a 1v1, The Fighter/Wizard using only 4 class feats: Master in all armor, Legend in all weapons, Master in spellcasting, Master Foritude and Reflex, 8th lv casting, AoO and +8 damage from weapon specialization.

The Wizard/Fighter get using 4 class feats and 3 general feats: Expert in Unarmored AC, Trained in all armors, Expert in all weapons, Legend in spellcasting, Master in Will, and a 1st lv fighter feat, a 1/2 lv fighter feat, +4 damage from weapon specialization and a single 10th lv spell.

The fighter/wizard has better saves, better armor, much better weapons, and comparable spells (given how weak spell are now).


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Temperans wrote:


The fighter/wizard has better saves, better armor, much better weapons, and comparable spells (given how weak spell are now).

I think you're the only person who would ever argue that 4/4/4/4/4/4/4/4/4/1, plus focus spells, is remotely comparable to 2/2/2/2/2/2/1/1.

You know, as though that 10th level slot, the four 9th level spells, and the three extra 8th and 7th level slots mean nothing.


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I was comparing proficiency which determines how likely things are to work.

Even then spells in this edition are incredibly weak to the point more spell =/= better just less useless.


Temperans wrote:

I was comparing proficiency which determines how likely things are to work.

Even then spells in this edition are incredibly weak to the point more spell =/= better just less useless.

okay, well, if that's your opinion why did wizard or wizard MC ever come into the picture for you?

to me spells just nerfed to around martial damage and utility spells got knocked back a few levels. (although a lot of the broken spells are nerfed into the dirt)


I dont get the question? Are you asking, why would I play it, why would I compare it, or something else?

Because the reason I looked at Wizard and any other class is because I like taking a set of abilities or concepts and designing the class around it. I built a flying satellite sniper sylph using only martial classes and a bare minimum into Arcane Archer (for the free weapon buffs) no magic items except for the basics; And, just like I took Arcanist's Armored Mask and tried (stopped because another idea popped up) to make a functioning melee full caster that didnt resort to Polymorph.

For me the ultimate goal is being able to make any character, using the same amount of effort, and not having to feel like the character is playing catch up at the basics, while another is getting a free pass on almost everything.


The fighter wizard almost certainly has one to two terrible saving throws. The wizard with an 18 Int has good chance of getting some nasty spells off against the fighter wizard, which can change the course of the battle pretty easily.


Temperans wrote:

I dont get the question? Are you asking, why would I play it, why would I compare it, or something else?

Because the reason I looked at Wizard and any other class is because I like taking a set of abilities or concepts and designing the class around it. I built a flying satellite sniper sylph using only martial classes and a bare minimum into Arcane Archer (for the free weapon buffs) no magic items except for the basics; And, just like I took Arcanist's Armored Mask and tried (stopped because another idea popped up) to make a functioning melee full caster that didnt resort to Polymorph.

For me the ultimate goal is being able to make any character, using the same amount of effort, and not having to feel like the character is playing catch up at the basics, while another is getting a free pass on almost everything.

basically, having more spells and earlier is a benefit, the fighter is going to be playing catch up having spells at significantly lower spell levels and thus doing less with them.

ultimately playing catch up on magic.

if gaining more spells and earlier is just more of useless, then already a fighter who took wizard dedication is that farther behind a straight fighter, of course, none of us really believe that and so should stop pretending.

a 9th level wizard has 2 5th level spell slots, and a fighter-wizard only has a single 3rd.

if this is worth nothing to you, then of course, this isn't a conversation worth having for either of us. The wizard can cast heightened 10d6 fireball twice and the fighter-wizard 6d6 fireball once.

increase this to 11th level, the wizard now has 2 6th level slots and the fighter-wizard is unchanged. the fighter wizard can cast 6d6 worth of fire damage in fireball. the Wizard-fighter can cast 96d6 worth of fireball, if they put all their slots into fireball.

if you want to focus on using magic, you should definitely start as a wizard.


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A Fighter with all his Legendary skills in combat doesn't even need to grab combat spells, which frees him up to grab the utility spells that people claim is a casters bread and butter.

Yeah it's a couple of levels behind, can you imagine if fighters MC Wizard also got the spells at the same time as a single class Wizard, while the Wizard MC Fighter still has to wait until level 12 to get expert in martial weapons and nothing else?

And yes I do see spells as kind of worthless in the grand scheme of things. After all for 1 class feat you can get 1 proficiency increase to armor or weapon up to expert and nothing else or 1 proficiency increase to spellcasting up to master, 2-3 new lv appropriate spell levels with 1 spell slot each, and 2 spells known of your highest spell lv for every new spell lv.

And there lies the problem, no one can increase martial proficiency because it infringes on the martial, but anyone can infringe on the casters because why not.

*************
AoE evocation spells are valid at best if the GM let's you hit 2-3+ creatures. Otherwise you are spending 2-3 actions and 1 of your highest spell slots to deal less damage then the Fighter. And if the GM is throwing 2-3+ creatures at the party it's more than likely the Fighter can take care of them without any problem or expending any resource.


You're fighting a large creature in a doorway or a 10x10 corridor. Are 4 fighters going to do more damage than 2 fighters and 2 wizards?

A pirate ship attacks and there are a few rounds at range before the ships connect. Is a fighter still going to do more damage than a wizard?

The enemy flies and has a ranged attack. Is a fighter still better? (This one may have a different answer at high levels when the fighter can fly.)

Underwater? The fighter is probably better at swimming, but is he still just as much better at damage?

In conclusion: how much does a max-strength fighter's damage decrease when using a ranged weapon? Does he still do more damage than a wizard?


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Fighters, specislly reach fighters, almost always do more damage, other martial can sometimes pass them if heavily focused and under the right conditions (aka it can be situational).

As for your question, I'm assuming they are 4 different fighters.

answers:

1) Yes fighters do more damage than 2 fighters + 2 wizards.

2) Assuming its moving at 10 knots, the ship is moving at 100 ft/rd (rounded down). So if it's a few rounds they be at no more than 500 ft. An archer fighter and evocation wizard will do about the same, unless the GM rules fireball can cause a fire; At which point wizards become a light weight artillery at sea for a couple of rounds per day. Other fighters and wizards will have to use secondary weapons/cantrips, and then the Fighter will win again when they board.

3) The enemy is flying therefore any Archer Fighter wins. Wizard wins only if he happen to have prepared anti flyer spells, which most likely just knock it to the ground for the fighter.

4) underwater affects the wizard just as much as the fighter.

5) So a fighter maxed out for melee using a ranged weapon is the standard by how good a damage optimized wizard can be?


Temperans wrote:

Fighters, specislly reach fighters, almost always do more damage, other martial can sometimes pass them if heavily focused and under the right conditions (aka it can be situational).

As for your question, I'm assuming they are 4 different fighters.
** spoiler omitted **

From my reading the questions were assuming the same fighter every time and the final part was not a question but clarifying the one fighter in question was a max strength fighter with melee feats NOT the archer fighter you used in the reply

Doesn’t take away from an archer succeeding in all those things and I don’t know why a melee fighter was picked for the 4 scenarios.

My guess is that this is a team game not a measuring contest between two classes to see which is better and there is more likely to be a melee fighter with the wizard to split part roles .

Wasn’t my hypothetical though

But it seems the point was made somewhere that fighters were better than wizards in all cases and the examples were meant to suggest that this is not true for ALL fighters. Perhaps it is for archers - I haven’t really looked into it

Incidentally - does fireball not set things on fire anymore ?
I think setting ships on fire could be reasonable and lots of those naval rules were added later in 1E. But I can see why it is excluded from discussion


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I'm not sure whether they can set things on fire, still haven't read that part.

If the scenario was "a melee fighter can't" then the equivalent for wizard is "an utility wizard can't".

Aka I wouldn't expect all members of 1 class to always be better at everything. But that doesn't remove the fact that becoming more martial is simply harder than becoming more magical.

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