Tatics guide: My character has suboptimal AC! What now?


Advice

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I see a lot of people concerned about potentially making a character that has an AC that is lower than the expected Max AC of the game, and that their characters will end up dead as a result. With the "tightness" of the math, it is true that having a lower than expected AC can result in a character that will take more damage than a character that is focused on keeping AC as high as possible...
However, PF2 is a tactically rich game and there are many ways to mitigate having a low AC, and I thought this thread would be a great place for sharing your ideas for how a character can survive, even without focusing on increasing their AC with every choice their character makes. As the original poster, I am hoping to avoid the theoretical arguments about the necessity of Maxing AC, or tricks to boosting AC. Rather I am looking to create a list of tactics for characters to try in play that will help them survive, even with a lower AC. I tend to make long posts myself, but to keep this thread simple I will try to keep each suggestion to its own post and encourage others to do so as well.


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Movement:

With a Low AC, your character's biggest issue is that many creatures will be able to hit with their second and even third attacks, so using movement to reduce the number of attacks that you can take in a round is a viable strategy, especially if you are in a party that has strong ranged attacks. For example: Against solo boss monsters, a group of elves with speeds of 35 and long bows can create a big problem if they can spread out and force monsters to have to move multiple times a round to get attacks off.

The weakness of mobility alone as defense is that you can easily be overwhelmed by large numbers of lower level opposition so if your party decides to pursue mobility as a team tactic, be sure you keep you exit path clear and don't be afraid to pull the whole team back into a retreat when the numbers of enemies lead to getting around the sides of your position.


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"hide behind the mountain of dead bards": no seriously, if you are a small character, the ancestry feats for sneaking are exceptionally good and with a bit of mobility they easily allow one to hide even mid combat if he needs a breather.

Next one is concelment/dazzled: there are plenty of ways to gain some concealment or inflicting dazzled, and it's a flat 20% miss chance.

mobility class feats: Stuff like "strike and step/stride" and etc basically make enemies not wanting to pursue you simply because you keep denying them "actions".

Teach your frontline how to grapple: Grapple quite streamlines in this edition and it's more than worthwhile. Keeping the bad guys into place means kleeping them away from your backline as well.

and even if they break the grapple, the Escape action is an Attack action. So: escape, move, attack means that at most your backline suffers only 1 attack at -5.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Speed is king. If your speed is even 5ft higher than a melee enemy, they must sacrifice 2 actions to catch up to you retreating with 1. Hit and run works exceptionally well in PF2.


I'm mostly curious how they found this out less than a week after release. I'm all for brainstorming and such, but basing the whole thing around white vacuum rooms where you make out some niche scenario to fit the agenda? Nah.

Good on people doing the math and such, but to be fair, they cannot account for every playstyle and creative DM encounters.

As for how to survive. Max out unarmored proficiency and dexterity, because sooner or later you'll have to nap without armor and that's apparently a death sentence now.

I for one will be testing an eldritch knight with Spell Blending and seeing if I can cast a blend of maybe Blur+Mirror Image or Mirror Image+Invisibility. Maybe Haste+Enlarge?


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Party composition:

A squishy character that doesn't need to move a whole lot can be a great buddy for a paladin or redeemer champion. The idea of serving as bait can be unexciting but if you discuss it with the other players at the table during character creation, There are a number of builds that don't have to be afraid of taking the hits if it lets an ally or two do some mean retributive stuff. Just be sure that your party has multiple healing resources available and don't be the only one capable of healing others.


Surviving with low AC has always been a question of not being in the frontline. With my very low AC characters, I sometimes wait behind the rest of the party, like 30/60ft. away, or just at the corner of the wall.

Also, your AC is not written on your chest. Before being attacked, noone knows you have no AC. So, just avoid being attacked in the first place and you'll be fine. The only thing you really fear are archers, as they will immediately focus fire you if they realize you have no AC. But they are a rare encounter.


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Spellcasters:

You are very likely to be a few points behind your allies in AC and your biggest threat tactical issue change from previous versions of the game is that Tanks have to choose to be sticky, rather than it being a default position of melee characters. This means that, even with high mobility, you can get yourself into trouble if you let the enemy get between you and your tanks, because you will be stealing actions away from your allies if you have to fall back with two or more actions, and the enemy choses to chase you. If you go with spells that allow for extreme extra movement, you can zig-zag back and forth across your team's battle line, but this can easily result in you doing little more than moving in a round, which can be fine if your battle line can really punish the opposition for crossing it, but can result in an empty game of cat and mouse that can get pretty tedious.

Key take away: You don't play a character alone in PF2 (at least not usually). Good tactics in PF2 are probably good team tactics and making sure everyone is on the same page about how to handle different kinds of threats (solo monsters, mobs, ranged monsters, etc.) is going to be critical.


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Shields, anyone can have it for extra AC by using an action and if you get the shield block general feat that is at least 5 extra temporary HP every turn until it breaks.

Don't sleep on Shield Cantrip either, it's a good amount of temporary hit points that scales automatically as you level up.


Also, I think it's a worse idea to attack backliners in PF2 than in PF1 because:
- Backliners AC will be in line with frontliners AC. And because you move to reach backliners, you could use this move to get to flanking position on frontliners.
- Backliners have lower HP, but not that many, so they can be healed as easily as frontliners.
- AoO still exist. I would not take the risk to trigger it if I don't have much to gain.

The only case I would try to reach backliners is if I have AoO and reach or a decent movement. Then, I can really gain something as I'll force the backliner to step before doing anything.

And many frontline enemies are stupid monsters attacking whatever is in front of them anyway. So, it should not happen often.


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shroudb wrote:

"hide behind the mountain of dead bards": no seriously, if you are a small character, the ancestry feats for sneaking are exceptionally good and with a bit of mobility they easily allow one to hide even mid combat if he needs a breather.

Next one is concelment/dazzled: there are plenty of ways to gain some concealment or inflicting dazzled, and it's a flat 25% miss chance.

mobility class feats: Stuff like "strike and step/stride" and etc basically make enemies not wanting to pursue you simply because you keep denying them "actions".

Teach your frontline how to grapple: Grapple quite streamlines in this edition and it's more than worthwhile. Keeping the bad guys into place means kleeping them away from your backline as well.

and even if they break the grapple, the Escape action is an Attack action. So: escape, move, attack means that at most your backline suffers only 1 attack at -5.

Concealment is a 20% miss chance. It's a DC5 flat check.


Rycke wrote:
shroudb wrote:

"hide behind the mountain of dead bards": no seriously, if you are a small character, the ancestry feats for sneaking are exceptionally good and with a bit of mobility they easily allow one to hide even mid combat if he needs a breather.

Next one is concelment/dazzled: there are plenty of ways to gain some concealment or inflicting dazzled, and it's a flat 25% miss chance.

mobility class feats: Stuff like "strike and step/stride" and etc basically make enemies not wanting to pursue you simply because you keep denying them "actions".

Teach your frontline how to grapple: Grapple quite streamlines in this edition and it's more than worthwhile. Keeping the bad guys into place means kleeping them away from your backline as well.

and even if they break the grapple, the Escape action is an Attack action. So: escape, move, attack means that at most your backline suffers only 1 attack at -5.

Concealment is a 20% miss chance. It's a DC5 flat check.

oups, did a booboo ^^

fixed :D


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Sanctuary:

This is only for those with the divine casting list, but if you have ways to focus on buffing and healing your allies, the sanctuary spell is a first level spell that stays useful for many levels of game play in PF2 because it can easily lead to enemies having a 50% chance of wasting an action by deciding to attack you. It can even let you stay right up on the battle line and if you have the HP to take a hit or two it can be worth drawing the attack.


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Unicore wrote:

Party composition:

A squishy character that doesn't need to move a whole lot can be a great buddy for a paladin or redeemer champion. The idea of serving as bait can be unexciting but if you discuss it with the other players at the table during character creation, There are a number of builds that don't have to be afraid of taking the hits if it lets an ally or two do some mean retributive stuff. Just be sure that your party has multiple healing resources available and don't be the only one capable of healing others.

New character idea, a masochistic healer whose role is to provoke enemies for their champion while healing themself.


Kyrone wrote:

Shields, anyone can have it for extra AC by using an action and if you get the shield block general feat that is at least 5 extra temporary HP every turn until it breaks.

Don't sleep on Shield Cantrip either, it's a good amount of temporary hit points that scales automatically as you level up.

Yes, even those with low str should think about a buckler and a shield cantrip: use the cantrip until you have to use the damage reduction then use the buckler for AC until the cantrip can be used again. IMO, the shield block feat is nice, but not required.


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Unicore wrote:
I see a lot of people concerned about potentially making a character that has an AC that is lower than the expected Max AC of the game, and that their characters will end up dead as a result.

This is not really true; what we are concerned is that getting Armour Proficiency feats will result in a character with lower AC than if that character simply did not spend those feats. It's counterintuitive and silly.


graystone wrote:
Kyrone wrote:

Shields, anyone can have it for extra AC by using an action and if you get the shield block general feat that is at least 5 extra temporary HP every turn until it breaks.

Don't sleep on Shield Cantrip either, it's a good amount of temporary hit points that scales automatically as you level up.

Yes, even those with low str should think about a buckler and a shield cantrip: use the cantrip until you have to use the damage reduction then use the buckler for AC until the cantrip can be used again. IMO, the shield block feat is nice, but not required.

Can you use a buckler with a spiked gauntlet?

I wonder if we can pull of a Shield Hero. Arcane caster with shield seems handy as they can toss Mending during combat for clutch.


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Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Unicore wrote:

Party composition:

A squishy character that doesn't need to move a whole lot can be a great buddy for a paladin or redeemer champion. The idea of serving as bait can be unexciting but if you discuss it with the other players at the table during character creation, There are a number of builds that don't have to be afraid of taking the hits if it lets an ally or two do some mean retributive stuff. Just be sure that your party has multiple healing resources available and don't be the only one capable of healing others.

New character idea, a masochistic healer whose role is to provoke enemies for their champion while healing themself.

I think a dwarven storm druid is built for this.


NemoNoName wrote:
Unicore wrote:
I see a lot of people concerned about potentially making a character that has an AC that is lower than the expected Max AC of the game, and that their characters will end up dead as a result.
This is not really true; what we are concerned is that getting Armour Proficiency feats will result in a character with lower AC than if that character simply did not spend those feats. It's counterintuitive and silly.

I think your concern here is different from the point of this thread. THis thread is for people who might feel pressured to believe that trying to Maximize AC is the only way to build a character, by discussing ways for focusing on other tactics and mechanics that allow for fun and interesting characters that don't have to sink their resources into improving AC at every turn.


Corvo Spiritwind wrote:

Can you use a buckler with a spiked gauntlet?

I wonder if we can pull of a Shield Hero. Arcane caster with shield seems handy as they can toss Mending during combat for clutch.

I don't see why not: "It’s typically made of steel and strapped to your forearm. You can Raise a Shield with your buckler as long as you have that hand free or are holding a light object that’s not a weapon in that hand." As the spiked gauntlet has "Free-Hand: When you’re not wielding anything and not otherwise using the hand, you can use abilities that require you to have a hand free as well as those that require you to be wielding a weapon in that hand" you should be fine.


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Using difficult terrain and creating difficult terrain, the enemy having to spend more actions to reach on you by moving through the terrain or avoiding it means less actions attacking you or just making you a less interesting target. Spells that put effects on the field like Grease and Wall of Fire can accomplish the same effect.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
graystone wrote:
Kyrone wrote:

Shields, anyone can have it for extra AC by using an action and if you get the shield block general feat that is at least 5 extra temporary HP every turn until it breaks.

Don't sleep on Shield Cantrip either, it's a good amount of temporary hit points that scales automatically as you level up.

Yes, even those with low str should think about a buckler and a shield cantrip: use the cantrip until you have to use the damage reduction then use the buckler for AC until the cantrip can be used again. IMO, the shield block feat is nice, but not required.

Can you use a buckler with a spiked gauntlet?

I wonder if we can pull of a Shield Hero. Arcane caster with shield seems handy as they can toss Mending during combat for clutch.

You would try to spend 100 rounds casting mending in the middle of a fight?

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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My playtest monk, Kobra, had intentionally abysmal AC. Like, "level 12 and he's still got a 12 DEX and even the minions are critting" low AC. To keep him alive in fights, I made sure I always knew what the terrain around me looked like, and I took skill feats like Combat Climber, Powerful Leap, Quick Climb, Quick Jump, and Rapid Mantel to be able to take full advantage of the terrain and my mobility.

In a boss fight for Shattered Star, we fought a primarily melee boss who could really devastate me with its attacks, so I'd flurry, Leap and Climb, Flying Kick back into combat, and basically just keep darting in and out of combat leveling heavy strikes while our tanked and made it impossible for the enemies to pin me down. Because I'd pretty much ignored DEX, my STR and WIS were pumped up pretty high so my attacks and ki powers were both pretty potent and I could lay out some devastating double-crit flurries, and because my movement speed was twice a normal characters, if anything did try to chase me down it was almost always a really bad trade for it since it might get in one hit before I obliterated it. Coordinating with my teammates for optimal positioning and tactics made Kobra a really infuriating enemy to have to deal with, since he could attack with relative impunity but was extremely difficult to pin down.
For ranged opponents I'd typically flip the script and just get right up in their face with flurries and grapples.


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It really looks like mobility is now one of the best defense. It's nice, as in PF1 positioning was important but not much mobility.


Unicore wrote:

Spellcasters:

You are very likely to be a few points behind your allies in AC and your biggest threat tactical issue change from previous versions of the game is that Tanks have to choose to be sticky, rather than it being a default position of melee characters. This means that, even with high mobility, you can get yourself into trouble if you let the enemy get between you and your tanks, because you will be stealing actions away from your allies if you have to fall back with two or more actions, and the enemy choses to chase you. If you go with spells that allow for extreme extra movement, you can zig-zag back and forth across your team's battle line, but this can easily result in you doing little more than moving in a round, which can be fine if your battle line can really punish the opposition for crossing it, but can result in an empty game of cat and mouse that can get pretty tedious.

Key take away: You don't play a character alone in PF2 (at least not usually). Good tactics in PF2 are probably good team tactics and making sure everyone is on the same page about how to handle different kinds of threats (solo monsters, mobs, ranged monsters, etc.) is going to be critical.

One thing for spellcasters to remember is while your own tanky type folks are less sticky than they used to be unless they spec for that the same goes for enemies as well. There are a lot less AOO in general and typically you get one per round so in general it is a lot safer to just run away out of combat than it used to be.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I just made a fun Cleric character last night and realized that while I was in a good place to be a primary caster and secondary striker if needed that my AC itself was straight garbage due to no focus on DEX *and* not having Armor Prof. I think I might spend my general feats on Armor Proficiency as I level :P


Michael Sayre wrote:

My playtest monk, Kobra, had intentionally abysmal AC. Like, "level 12 and he's still got a 12 DEX and even the minions are critting" low AC. To keep him alive in fights, I made sure I always knew what the terrain around me looked like, and I took skill feats like Combat Climber, Powerful Leap, Quick Climb, Quick Jump, and Rapid Mantel to be able to take full advantage of the terrain and my mobility.

In a boss fight for Shattered Star, we fought a primarily melee boss who could really devastate me with its attacks, so I'd flurry, Leap and Climb, Flying Kick back into combat, and basically just keep darting in and out of combat leveling heavy strikes while our tanked and made it impossible for the enemies to pin me down. Because I'd pretty much ignored DEX, my STR and WIS were pumped up pretty high so my attacks and ki powers were both pretty potent and I could lay out some devastating double-crit flurries, and because my movement speed was twice a normal characters, if anything did try to chase me down it was almost always a really bad trade for it since it might get in one hit before I obliterated it. Coordinating with my teammates for optimal positioning and tactics made Kobra a really infuriating enemy to have to deal with, since he could attack with relative impunity but was extremely difficult to pin down.
For ranged opponents I'd typically flip the script and just get right up in their face with flurries and grapples.

Didn't this character end up dying?


Mistform Elixirs are life. Thanks, Alchemist buddy.

Sovereign Court

* Punish mooks who run past the frontline with Athletics-Assurance-Trip. Won't work on bosses but it works on mooks.
* Position so that going to you puts enemies in flank from the frontliners the enemy bypassed.
* Tell your frontliners that even though not all monsters have AoOs anymore, they're still amazingly good for PCs to have.
* Raise your movement speed and use the three action economy for spring attacking.


Arachnofiend wrote:
Michael Sayre wrote:

My playtest monk, Kobra, had intentionally abysmal AC. Like, "level 12 and he's still got a 12 DEX and even the minions are critting" low AC. To keep him alive in fights, I made sure I always knew what the terrain around me looked like, and I took skill feats like Combat Climber, Powerful Leap, Quick Climb, Quick Jump, and Rapid Mantel to be able to take full advantage of the terrain and my mobility.

In a boss fight for Shattered Star, we fought a primarily melee boss who could really devastate me with its attacks, so I'd flurry, Leap and Climb, Flying Kick back into combat, and basically just keep darting in and out of combat leveling heavy strikes while our tanked and made it impossible for the enemies to pin me down. Because I'd pretty much ignored DEX, my STR and WIS were pumped up pretty high so my attacks and ki powers were both pretty potent and I could lay out some devastating double-crit flurries, and because my movement speed was twice a normal characters, if anything did try to chase me down it was almost always a really bad trade for it since it might get in one hit before I obliterated it. Coordinating with my teammates for optimal positioning and tactics made Kobra a really infuriating enemy to have to deal with, since he could attack with relative impunity but was extremely difficult to pin down.
For ranged opponents I'd typically flip the script and just get right up in their face with flurries and grapples.

Didn't this character end up dying?

Even if it did, that's still a pretty impressive character concept to make work at all.

Thematically, I could totally picture what Michael Sayre is saying here and a character that operates like that but PF1 had absolutely no support.

It does seem very glass cannon, but hey, if that's what you're going for.


(PF1 finally added great support for spring attack last 2 years, kind of sad really. I'm glad its works better with 2e core.)

Paizo Employee Designer

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Arachnofiend wrote:
Michael Sayre wrote:

My playtest monk, Kobra, had intentionally abysmal AC. Like, "level 12 and he's still got a 12 DEX and even the minions are critting" low AC. To keep him alive in fights, I made sure I always knew what the terrain around me looked like, and I took skill feats like Combat Climber, Powerful Leap, Quick Climb, Quick Jump, and Rapid Mantel to be able to take full advantage of the terrain and my mobility.

In a boss fight for Shattered Star, we fought a primarily melee boss who could really devastate me with its attacks, so I'd flurry, Leap and Climb, Flying Kick back into combat, and basically just keep darting in and out of combat leveling heavy strikes while our tanked and made it impossible for the enemies to pin me down. Because I'd pretty much ignored DEX, my STR and WIS were pumped up pretty high so my attacks and ki powers were both pretty potent and I could lay out some devastating double-crit flurries, and because my movement speed was twice a normal characters, if anything did try to chase me down it was almost always a really bad trade for it since it might get in one hit before I obliterated it. Coordinating with my teammates for optimal positioning and tactics made Kobra a really infuriating enemy to have to deal with, since he could attack with relative impunity but was extremely difficult to pin down.
For ranged opponents I'd typically flip the script and just get right up in their face with flurries and grapples.

Didn't this character end up dying?

Nope! The fighter (the word missing from the phrase "while our <missingfighterhere> tanked and made it impossible for the enemies to pin me down") was the one who died in an extreme encounter resulting from combining two encounters while the barbarian wasn't there that day. And Luis replaced deceased Randyll with a tankier, control-based fighter even more suited to tag-teaming with Kobra, and they started really humiliating their foes!


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HammerJack wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
graystone wrote:
Kyrone wrote:

Shields, anyone can have it for extra AC by using an action and if you get the shield block general feat that is at least 5 extra temporary HP every turn until it breaks.

Don't sleep on Shield Cantrip either, it's a good amount of temporary hit points that scales automatically as you level up.

Yes, even those with low str should think about a buckler and a shield cantrip: use the cantrip until you have to use the damage reduction then use the buckler for AC until the cantrip can be used again. IMO, the shield block feat is nice, but not required.

Can you use a buckler with a spiked gauntlet?

I wonder if we can pull of a Shield Hero. Arcane caster with shield seems handy as they can toss Mending during combat for clutch.

You would try to spend 100 rounds casting mending in the middle of a fight?

Y...yes. And I'm not saying that because I didn't read cast time and I'm stubborn. It's a legit tactic and no one can change my mind.

Graystone wrote:
I don't see why not: "It’s typically made of steel and strapped to your forearm. You can Raise a Shield with your buckler as long as you have that hand free or are holding a light object that’s not a weapon in that hand." As the spiked gauntlet has "Free-Hand: When you’re not wielding anything and not otherwise using the hand, you can use abilities that require you to have a hand free as well as those that require you to be wielding a weapon in that hand" you should be fine.

Vagrant Story gauntlets, here I come! Just gotta get them in matching style!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Arachnofiend wrote:
Michael Sayre wrote:

My playtest monk, Kobra, had intentionally abysmal AC. Like, "level 12 and he's still got a 12 DEX and even the minions are critting" low AC. To keep him alive in fights, I made sure I always knew what the terrain around me looked like, and I took skill feats like Combat Climber, Powerful Leap, Quick Climb, Quick Jump, and Rapid Mantel to be able to take full advantage of the terrain and my mobility.

In a boss fight for Shattered Star, we fought a primarily melee boss who could really devastate me with its attacks, so I'd flurry, Leap and Climb, Flying Kick back into combat, and basically just keep darting in and out of combat leveling heavy strikes while our tanked and made it impossible for the enemies to pin me down. Because I'd pretty much ignored DEX, my STR and WIS were pumped up pretty high so my attacks and ki powers were both pretty potent and I could lay out some devastating double-crit flurries, and because my movement speed was twice a normal characters, if anything did try to chase me down it was almost always a really bad trade for it since it might get in one hit before I obliterated it. Coordinating with my teammates for optimal positioning and tactics made Kobra a really infuriating enemy to have to deal with, since he could attack with relative impunity but was extremely difficult to pin down.
For ranged opponents I'd typically flip the script and just get right up in their face with flurries and grapples.

Didn't this character end up dying?

He did not! Kobra stayed alive and well, though a "faux-Kobra" Mark used for an encounter I couldn't make got swarmed by redcaps and stomped pretty hard (not to death, but pretty bad.)

My leshy luchador, on the other hand, died pretty famously during Return of the Runelords, but his build overall was a lot less intentionally skewed than Kobra's (and he was a PF1 character).

Paizo Employee Designer

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Michael Sayre wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Michael Sayre wrote:

My playtest monk, Kobra, had intentionally abysmal AC. Like, "level 12 and he's still got a 12 DEX and even the minions are critting" low AC. To keep him alive in fights, I made sure I always knew what the terrain around me looked like, and I took skill feats like Combat Climber, Powerful Leap, Quick Climb, Quick Jump, and Rapid Mantel to be able to take full advantage of the terrain and my mobility.

In a boss fight for Shattered Star, we fought a primarily melee boss who could really devastate me with its attacks, so I'd flurry, Leap and Climb, Flying Kick back into combat, and basically just keep darting in and out of combat leveling heavy strikes while our tanked and made it impossible for the enemies to pin me down. Because I'd pretty much ignored DEX, my STR and WIS were pumped up pretty high so my attacks and ki powers were both pretty potent and I could lay out some devastating double-crit flurries, and because my movement speed was twice a normal characters, if anything did try to chase me down it was almost always a really bad trade for it since it might get in one hit before I obliterated it. Coordinating with my teammates for optimal positioning and tactics made Kobra a really infuriating enemy to have to deal with, since he could attack with relative impunity but was extremely difficult to pin down.
For ranged opponents I'd typically flip the script and just get right up in their face with flurries and grapples.

Didn't this character end up dying?

He did not! Kobra stayed alive and well, though a "faux-Kobra" Mark used for an encounter I couldn't make got swarmed by redcaps and stomped pretty hard (not to death, but pretty bad.)

My leshy luchador, on the other hand, died pretty famously during Return of the Runelords, but his build overall was a lot less intentionally skewed than Kobra's.

Do not doubt the power of "Fauxbra!" He actually did pretty excellently against those redcaps given they were expecting being up on a balcony to mean the PCs wouldn't just flying kick up there immediately. The bard threw tentacles into the back of that party and Fauxbra feasted upon their screams; he actually managed to take much less damage than you think because of the tentacles.


Xenocrat wrote:
Mistform Elixirs are life. Thanks, Alchemist buddy.

Smokesticks work too in a pinch. Not as good generally, but they also let you hide, conceal allies, and are cheaper and lower level.


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I love PF2 tactics, as there are many more viable options, but that applies to the villains too. Like Kobra above, your PC needs variety so you can tackle variety.

Mobility: While you can scale your mobility well against other humanoids, many monsters will outpace you and/or grab you unless you invest heavily (which you probably should!). Many venues won't allow you to contribute from a safe position or give you a safe position in the first place, so have resources and options (generally to go into the air or up a wall). Essentially by running too much or too far, you might be putting a negative "condition" on your PC called "unhelpful" and letting the enemies focus fire on your allies (when maybe they wouldn't have done so due to stupidity). Unlike PF1, it's harder for a few people to carry the party in combat.

(I'm reminded of a 3.0 group that in the first combat realized they were all skirmishers, so they were constantly ducking behind each other. It was painful and hilarious, yet they all survived.)

And I don't know why somebody suggested archers were rare. The playtest saw plenty of ranged attacks (and several TPKs in those encounters!). Remember, Paizo gave the Tarrasque a ranged attack because they know the value!

Also, in PF1, making somebody move stripped them of their full attack, so veterans may fall prey to thinking the villain won't want to move as it lessens their offense. (I saw this often in the playtest.) Given that most 3rd attacks are at -8 or -10, the villains lose little by coming to you. This made it really rough for casters with all those 2-action, 30' spells. So have some long range options too and find out which Focus spells are 1-action so you can hit and run with one of those when vulnerable or go nova by hitting an enemy with 2 spells in a round.

Hit points: AC (or pure offense) was king for defense in PF1. PF2 monsters hit more consistently, but for less % of your total. And many brutes have physical AoE attacks, which do even less, but will hit y'all. Having h.p. isn't a tactic per se (though do), but Heal can be as it's been so upgraded. Other healing and temp h.p. are a lot more common, i.e. low-AC Barb w/ Renewed Vigor (8th) practically has 8+ Fast Healing.

Sanctuary: As mentioned, good for buffers/healers. Also could be cast on a frontliner right after they attack yet before many attack them or on a scout you expect to get ambushed.

Shield: After the playtest, I feel obliged to gain access to this spell for PC builds that have a free hand. I'd even built a playtest Dwarf Paladin w/ a Dwarven Axe so he could keep his Reaction while letting go with one hand. Attack/Attack/let-go for Shield, cast Shield/regrip/Attack, repeat. (And that was a PC w/ great AC & self-healing!)
And don't burn the Shield on an early block, as that AC bonus is quite useful on its own.

Unmobility: So rather than running around a lot, keep where your party can destroy anybody that comes to you (and heal you too). Many thug villains have low enough ACs that if they give your warrior three swings, two will hit (or maybe your warrior will knock them prone or give them a condition that'll help your defense). Also, you'll be able to use your full offense by not moving, like say a 3-action Magic Missile for those villains with great ACs (and therefore fewer h.p.).
The two martial classes with the best heavy armor (Champions & Fighters), are also the two with innate Reactions, so don't go too far.

Anyway, I'm nerd-rambling at this point and distracting from my main point: Have as many different options as you can so you can account for monsters & dramatic environments, not just PC-type villains in flat rooms.

Cheers


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Quote:

Shield: After the playtest, I feel obliged to gain access to this spell for PC builds that have a free hand. I'd even built a playtest Dwarf Paladin w/ a Dwarven Axe so he could keep his Reaction while letting go with one hand. Attack/Attack/let-go for Shield, cast Shield/regrip/Attack, repeat. (And that was a PC w/ great AC & self-healing!)

And don't burn the Shield on an early block, as that AC bonus is quite useful on its own.

You don't need the free hand to cast shield anymkre. Not sure you did before (I thought it was verbal in playtest) but you definitely don't now.


Castilliano wrote:
...

shield is verbal only.

you don't need free hands.

just saying^^


Hmm...
That's great Shield is verbal. Now I'm thinking "Wow", and low AC PCs should have Dedication at 2nd if they don't already have it (i.e. Primal Sorcerers).

I'm not sure about in the playtest oh so long ago, but the Dwarf was the main healer (Cleric Dedication & huge Focus pool for Heals), so I had to switch up to cast Heal anyway.

*shrug*


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Taking cover:

In addition to getting a +2 bonus to AC from general cover, you can spend one action to take cover and gain a +4 to your AC and reflex saves, this can be pretty brutal against those ranged attackers.


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So with all you Folks discussing the merits of mobility and how to play second line characters, doesn't that leave the barbarian (i.e. the front liner with poor AC) in a bit of a bind?

Sure I could go around and be creative and have my barbarian Jumping up walls and hiding in nooks and crannies, but that doesn't seem overly barabric to me. And if I'm playing a giant instinct barbarian a GM might actually come to the conclusion, that such behaviour is actually not conform to my anathema.

The only strategy that comes to my mind is to use a reach weapon, but until Level 6 and AoO that won't actually disuade enemy movement.


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Alex Mack wrote:

So with all you Folks discussing the merits of mobility and how to play second line characters, doesn't that leave the barbarian (i.e. the front liner with poor AC) in a bit of a bind?

Sure I could go around and be creative and have my barbarian Jumping up walls and hiding in nooks and crannies, but that doesn't seem overly barabric to me. And if I'm playing a giant instinct barbarian a GM might actually come to the conclusion, that such behaviour is actually not conform to my anathema.

The only strategy that comes to my mind is to use a reach weapon, but until Level 6 and AoO that won't actually disuade enemy movement.

Yeah, maybe they should have given him some high HP and temporary HP to compensate. Ah, well, maybe in PF3.

Silver Crusade

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

Rage only gives a -1 to AC.


I think if you want to be a giant Barbarian, and not invest in Dex, I'd recommend teaming up with a Champion to bring the divine retribution, or atleast make sure your healer is ready to help you out a lot.


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Barbarian have 12hp per level and temporary HP from rage, they just absorb the damage with their ABS.


The Alchemist is good at helping party aurvivability, especially the Mutagenecist. Juggernaut mutagens offer an excellent bump in survivability, as do Mistform Elixers and Smokesticks.

They also have a lot of options for debuffing the enemy's offense (Debilitating Bombs) or Speed (Debilitating, Frost, and Tanglefoot bombs).


Kyrone wrote:
Barbarian have 12hp per level and temporary HP from rage, they just absorb the damage with their ABS.

Sure, but you also absorb way more critcal hits which come with nasty debuffs (unless critcal specilization is strictly a PC Thing?).

And looking at the feat support and build incentives the AC of your average Barbarian is prolly gonna be 2-4 Points behind your average fighter.


Alex Mack wrote:
Kyrone wrote:
Barbarian have 12hp per level and temporary HP from rage, they just absorb the damage with their ABS.

Sure, but you also absorb way more critcal hits which come with nasty debuffs (unless critcal specilization is strictly a PC Thing?).

And looking at the feat support and build incentives the AC of your average Barbarian is prolly gonna be 2-4 Points behind your average fighter.

There might be a few monsters with crit spec, but since PCs don't get it by default either, I don't think there's many.


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Barbarians also get that one action "gain TempHp equal to ConMod + .5*Level" at 8th level, which is handy for restoring your ablative HP and is probably a better choice than a third attack a lot of the time.

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