How many different fighting styles can a Fighter be great at?


Advice


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A lot of class comparisons are ending up with, "you won't be as good as a Fighter, but that's their shtick so it's fine."

Is that a Fighter's shtick? To take a fighting style and just be better at it than anyone else with that fighting style?
That doesn't sound right to me.

A dedicated archer Ranger should be just as good as a Fighter at archery. Where the Fighter should stand out is they should shine regardless of what weapon (within some sort of limits, obv) you put in their hands.
Bow breaks it's string? That's fine, he's excellent with a sword and shield too. Shield is sundered? No worries, he makes great use of that newly free hand for maneuvers or 2-handing.

I haven't looked too closely at how the Fighter class feats break down, but I'm curious how many styles they will strongly support.


Neo2151 wrote:

A lot of class comparisons are ending up with, "you won't be as good as a Fighter, but that's their shtick so it's fine."

Is that a Fighter's shtick? To take a fighting style and just be better at it than anyone else with that fighting style?
That doesn't sound right to me.

A dedicated archer Ranger should be just as good as a Fighter at archery. Where the Fighter should stand out is they should shine regardless of what weapon (within some sort of limits, obv) you put in their hands.
Bow breaks it's string? That's fine, he's excellent with a sword and shield too. Shield is sundered? No worries, he makes great use of that newly free hand for maneuvers or 2-handing.

I haven't looked too closely at how the Fighter class feats break down, but I'm curious how many styles they will strongly support.

Well, the fighter is going to generally have +2 to hit over other martials with any weapon they pick up, so for a sword-and-board backup I'd focus mostly on the shield.

A human archer fighter who takes Point Blank Shot and Exacting Strike at level 1 will be able to use Exacting Strike in melee too (though it doesn't help until you get Reactive Shield, unless you just don't use the shield). Assisting shot is ok to skip, so you could take Reactive Shield at 2. 4th Double Shot, 6th Triple shot, 8th Quick Shield Block. Now you can raise your shield as a reaction, and then block as another reaction. Yes, they have different triggers. At 10th, Agile Grace (you are presumably using a finesse weapon in melee, most of which are agile). 12th, Paragon's Guard. 14th, go back and pick something lower level. (reflexive shield? One of the niche archery feats I skipped?). I think this build works well.

And that's before you count the free switchable class feat.


Archery Ranger and Fighter work different from each other.

Hunted Shot is one action, two shots.

Double Shot is two actions, two shots with the same accuracy.

Ranger try to make more attacks with the option of more damage in one of the shots or less MAP, Fighter attempts to remain accurate to take advantage of their superior proficiency.

And Fighter is good with a ton of weapons and they can change their feats at daily basis if they want, but at lvl 13 they can only reach legendary with only one weapon group before they reach legendary in all of them at lvl 19.


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I made a whiteroom comparison where a level 6 (triple shot minimum) Fighter and Ranger, both Archers shoot unimpeded assuming:

Both use a +1 striking composite shortbow.
Both have 18 DEX and 14 STR.
Fighter has Point Blank Shot, Double Shot and Triple Shot.
Ranger has Hunted Shot, Flurry Edge and Quick Draw.
Both target a AC 22 opponent.

1st Round:
Fighter: Point-Blank Shot, Double Shot = 18 avg. damage
Ranger: Hunt Prey, Quick Draw, Hunted Shot = 16 avg. damage

Following Rounds:
Fighter: Triple Shot = 21 avg. damage
Ranger: Hunted Shot, Strike, Strike = 20 avg. damage

I'd say damage wise its very similar. You would choose Fighter if you want more martial versatility or Ranger for overall exploration utility and mobility.


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I'm not sure what you mean by fighting style, but compared to PF1, all the classes have more versatility and reward less for having a narrow focus. Much of the damage in PF2 (though not the playtest) comes from proficiency/specialization of the PC rather than a single, overemphasized/overmagicked weapon so that frees up some economy for a diverse collection of weapons.
For example, a switch-hitter (bow + melee) can be just as good with one as anybody else while still competitive in the other (which you just couldn't do in PF1 w/o fooling yourself).

A Fighter's feats support lots of combat options and they have no need to Multiclass to master any though there are specific perks worth doing so on most builds (at the cost of not picking up magic item usage from a different Dedication!).
Through taking feats that let them combine actions, i.e. Sudden Charge, a Fighter can be quite mobile or efficient. Or they can impose conditions, shoot a bow, knock opponents around, shield block for allies, or whatnot. Many good options only take a feat or two so a Fighter can gain several styles in that sense and the mechanics don't force a specific superior option. So you're concept is golden.

But...
Fighters are the best with one weapon group. It can be any weapon group, but being ahead of the other martials in that one weapon group is their shtick. If you choose a weapon group, i.e. axes, which has throwing & melee, you could take full advantage of this. If you want to switch weapons often, then the other martials work well too (to different degrees depending on combo).

As for Ranger vs. Fighter in archery, I expect this to launch a few contentious threads.
Naked of other abilities, the Fighter is best with the bow due to getting a higher proficiency (+2) which also increases Weapon Specialization damage later.
(+3 represents about +50% in damage vs. enemies subject to crits, so this +2 w/ some extra damage too is similar and significant.)

The Ranger adds Hunt Prey which sets up their Hunter's Edge which gives them precision damage to catch up somewhat on that first shot (only, until very late game, so this is more a crossbow thing). Or more likely the Ranger lowers their Multiple Attack Penalty w/ Flurry and really catches up through many later shots.
Notice though that the Ranger is playing catch up, does need an action to set this up w/ every new enemy, but also can use Hunter's Edge on other weapons where they don't have to play catch-up to the Fighter.

Then there are the feats:
The Fighter has some good archery feats, though in crafting my archer ideas, I often ignore most for Dedications for breadth. Point Blank Shot is quite good, but then your Fighter is now the one taking an action to set up (which is fine since it replaces a third shot).
The Ranger has that 1st level feat to fire two shots in one action...but only with Hunt Prey which took that action to begin with.
A Fighter that comes over and takes Hunt Prey (and then that feat) doesn't gain Hunter's Edge and a Ranger that dips Fighter doesn't gain a higher proficiency, so don't assume MCing is mandatory. Point Blank Shot may be worth it, but the Dedication feat itself gives so little.

And again, overemphasizing archery doesn't give as much a payoff as it did in PF1, so I wouldn't recommend MCing other than for breadth, not power.

On later rounds, the Ranger's lower MAP helps a lot when able to fire for several actions (especially against lower ACs) as does the ability to move/shoot twice/move, that is when the enemy has survived and the Ranger doesn't have to Hunt Prey again. That naturally screws with the numbers and easy calculations & comparisons.

Hope that helps,
Cheers.

Edit to Add: And Haste at later levels favors the Ranger's lower MAP on shots 4 or even 5, so there's that.


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Define what "great" is.

If you ask me, the fighter is great at 1 fighting style. Maybe. Maybe 0.

But he can be better than mediocre in basically every fighting style at the same time.

Sovereign Court

My feeling is that the real factor is how you use Doubling Rings.

Doubling Rings push the fundamental runes of your main hand onto the weapon on your off-hand. They don't suppress any property runes on the off-hand.

So the game would be like this. You have one main weapon that you keep fairly highly enchanted with fundamental runes. And you have a whole golf bag of other weapons that do a variety of different damage types (piercing/slashing/bludgeoning, and property runes for energy damages etc.)

When you encounter a monster with a weakness to something particular, you start mostly using your secondary hand and a weapon that exploits that weakness, but empowered through the doubling rings with the fundamental runes of your main-hand weapon.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sfyn wrote:

I made a whiteroom comparison where a level 6 (triple shot minimum) Fighter and Ranger, both Archers shoot unimpeded assuming:

Both use a +1 striking composite shortbow.
Both have 18 DEX and 14 STR.
Fighter has Point Blank Shot, Double Shot and Triple Shot.
Ranger has Hunted Shot, Flurry Edge and Quick Draw.
Both target a AC 22 opponent.

1st Round:
Fighter: Point-Blank Shot, Double Shot = 18 avg. damage
Ranger: Hunt Prey, Quick Draw, Hunted Shot = 16 avg. damage

Following Rounds:
Fighter: Triple Shot = 21 avg. damage
Ranger: Hunted Shot, Strike, Strike = 20 avg. damage

I'd say damage wise its very similar. You would choose Fighter if you want more martial versatility or Ranger for overall exploration utility and mobility.

I feel like you're missing some stuff in your analysis. If your Fighter is going to get away without spending an action to draw their weapon I'm not sure why your Ranger needs to use Quick Draw for it. That said, if the ranger is using Quick Draw they should have an extra attack on the 1st round. Also, if the Fighter is going to invest in Point-Blank Shot how do things change if they use a Longbow? How does this all change if you're outside of Point-Blank Shot range?


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I did comparisons for all levels here

The Archer ranger looks better off to me.


rooneg wrote:
I feel like you're missing some stuff in your analysis. If your Fighter is going to get away without spending an action to draw their weapon I'm not sure why your Ranger needs to use Quick Draw for it. That said, if the ranger is using Quick Draw they should have an extra attack on the 1st round. Also, if the Fighter is going to invest in Point-Blank Shot how do things change if they use a Longbow? How does this all change if you're outside of Point-Blank Shot range?

Thanks for pointing it out, I really forgot to draw a weapon as Fighter, my bad.

Well, everytime we add extra variables the simple comparison starts to break apart. It felt useful to see Ranger is not far behind Fighter, and we can even argue its ahead (sans Multishot Stance at 16, requiring you to stay still) on damage.

citricking wrote:

I did comparisons for all levels here

The Archer ranger looks better off to me.

They are really not too far apart by your analysis. Down to personal preference I'd say.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Saying a fighter should be a master of switching weapons is all well and good, but it's important that fighters be good in ways that actually match the way most people play the game.

If ranger is just as good at specializing as fighter, then anyone who wants to play a specialist - which is most people - will play a ranger.

I feel like that was 1e fighter's issue.


What I see a fighter's niche being is the martial 'good, bordering on great' in any circumstance.

My best weapons aren't available - no problem. Backup weapons, weapons I find, or even improvised weapons will do fine. I may even take the enemies weapons if needed.

Had to leave my armor behind - no problem. Lighter armor or unarmored will work serviceably. Definitely not ideal, but not a deal breaker either.

Swarms of mooks - no problem. That's what I train for.

Someone trying to get past me to the support characters - no problem. Here, have some attack of opportunity for your trouble.

Someone targeting me - no problem. That's why I carry this shield around.

Big powerful enemy that we have to take down - no problem. I also train for this.

Enemies attacking from large range - no problem. Ranged weapons work well enough.

---------

I can't think of any other class that can be that good at every scenario all at the same time. Any particular scenario can be exceeded by a particular class or two, but the fighter can easily be good at all of them.


I see someone here mentioning doubling rings.

Apparently, doubling rings do not, in fact, bypass special material limitations. As per page 580, "If you transfer a potency rune, you might end up with property runes on an item that can’t benefit from them. These property runes go dormant until transferred to an item with the necessary potency rune or until you etch the appropriate potency rune on the item bearing them." This means that doubling rings still call for those dauntingly expensive special materials for weapons, which can break the bank a fair bit.

Fortunately, silversheen exists for 6 gp, but there is no luck for cold iron.

Sovereign Court

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Colette Brunel wrote:

I see someone here mentioning doubling rings.

Apparently, doubling rings do not, in fact, bypass special material limitations. As per page 580, "If you transfer a potency rune, you might end up with property runes on an item that can’t benefit from them. These property runes go dormant until transferred to an item with the necessary potency rune or until you etch the appropriate potency rune on the item bearing them." This means that doubling rings still call for those dauntingly expensive special materials for weapons, which can break the bank a fair bit.

Fortunately, silversheen exists for 6 gp, but there is no luck for cold iron.

I'm not sure what you're on about with special materials. That section is talking about what happens if you remove so many potency runes from a weapon that it can't support its property runes. For example if you had a +2 potency weapon, it can support to property runes. If you transfer that +2 potency rune to a different weapon and put a +1 potency rune in place, the sword can now support only one property rune, and the second property rune goes dormant.

But that's talking about permanently moving a potency rune from one item to another. Doubling runes don't remove the potency rune from the original item, they just make the second item behave as if it also had that potency.

So the idea would be for example that you have a +2 greater striking longsword (versatile P!) and in your bag there's a +1 flaming light mace in case you run into critters vulnerable to bludgeoning or fire, and a +1 cold iron corrosive dagger in case you run into critters vulnerable to cold iron, acid or slashing/piercing. With doubling rings, both the light mace and dagger behave like +2 striking versions along with their original property runes.

If the enemy is particularly vulnerable, you might even decide not to use your main weapon, but rely entirely on the augmented second weapon.

It's the solution to the classic problem: I want to have a golfbag with weapons appropriate to each monster's classic weaknesses, but I don't want to dilute my money among all of those weapons, I want to put it together to buy the big plus weapon.


It is actually the opposite of what the OP wants: fighters are the only class whose highest proficiency is tied to a single weapon group. Though the champion's divine Ally does encourage them to go all in on one weapon or shield and barbarians are geared pretty heavily towards a non-agile melee approach as well.

Meanwhile the ranger makes for the best switch hitter in the game. Their edges apply to all weapons and they only really need one feat to make any given weapon shine. Hunted Shot for archers, Twin Takedown for dual wielding, Disrupt Prey for reach. Crossbows might want a little bit more investment but not by much. Often the later feats are cool but not really necessary to do great at your role. And Quick Draw just lets you switch between weapons so seemlessly. This also means the ranger has some more breathing room to afford feats that don't relate to weapons like a pet, stealth, or snare feats.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
MaxAstro wrote:

Saying a fighter should be a master of switching weapons is all well and good, but it's important that fighters be good in ways that actually match the way most people play the game.

If ranger is just as good at specializing as fighter, then anyone who wants to play a specialist - which is most people - will play a ranger.

I feel like that was 1e fighter's issue.

fighters probably better in a group like mine where buying magic specific items is rare but i give out random weapons and armor all the time.


Keep in mind that Fighters are only ahead in a specific weapon group later in their career, after 5th (and before 19th). For the first 4 levels there's no downside to switch-hitting, and a lot of players probably spend a lot of time in 1-4.

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