Classic Fantasy Builds that aren't Realizable in 2e


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kaid wrote:
Corwin Icewolf wrote:
What about a naked barbarian? That's a pretty common fantasy trope, Is it doable without going to a monastery for a while? Because it's doable in 5e. It's trickier in pf1 but it can be done. Actually I think pf1 might have an archetype for it, so maybe not so tricky.

Animal barbarian does this really well. When you are raging you basically have top end one handed damage weapon for free and some good options such as grapple which can make them some of the best grapplers in the game.

Also with animal skin it gives the best AC of any of the barbarians.

I saw this come up earlier somewhere and was curious. Did the Animal barbarian have a feature that changed rage, since the bonus damage from rage is halved on agile weapons, such as unarmed strikes?


I feel like if there is an actual "classic fantasy build" that PF2 doesn't support particularly well as of right now is a "massive army of skeletons" necromancer - yes, create undead exists, but it's an uncommon and not the most reliable ritual, and there isn't an undead equivalent to the various summon spells.

And even that one is more a matter of relative lack of content right now, rather than system-level limits on the concept.

I do feel like a lot of these gaps will likely be filled with the Advanced Player's Guide, though.


Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
I saw this come up earlier somewhere and was curious. Did the Animal barbarian have a feature that changed rage, since the bonus damage from rage is halved on agile weapons, such as unarmed strikes?

Unarmed strikes are only agile if they say they are. Dragon Tail attacks, for example are not agile. Ape fists, Frog/Shark Jaws, Snake Fangs etc. are not agile, but Cat claws are.


Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
kaid wrote:
Corwin Icewolf wrote:
What about a naked barbarian? That's a pretty common fantasy trope, Is it doable without going to a monastery for a while? Because it's doable in 5e. It's trickier in pf1 but it can be done. Actually I think pf1 might have an archetype for it, so maybe not so tricky.

Animal barbarian does this really well. When you are raging you basically have top end one handed damage weapon for free and some good options such as grapple which can make them some of the best grapplers in the game.

Also with animal skin it gives the best AC of any of the barbarians.

I saw this come up earlier somewhere and was curious. Did the Animal barbarian have a feature that changed rage, since the bonus damage from rage is halved on agile weapons, such as unarmed strikes?

Not all unarmed strikes are Agile; the animal choices with an agile weapon give it as a secondary attack with a non-agile 1d10, and most of them just have a single 1d10 attack with a combat maneuver property and no agile at all.

Edit: Oof, on the other side of the ninja this time.


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The hero who ends one profession to start another (usually due to finding some old mentor or discovers she is a jedi).

It is odd that I can't stop being a wizard if I want to.


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Lanathar wrote:


> sword and buckler men : this is a real world fighting style. Not often a classic idea . Indeed it is my understanding that both versions of pathfinder have misunderstood the real world purpose of a buckler

I know this is off topic but in case anyone is wondering, a buckler is more or less supposed to make up for a poor crossguard, or otherwise protect your hand or hands while striking with a weapon. your primary hand should more or less always be angled more toward your chest and you protect your grip by positioning the buckler toward the enemy as you strike in front of your guard.

hand strikes were a very deadly reality in medieval fighting as they could make you unable to grip your weapon.

they more or less are simple gauntlets in use, allowing you to catch push and guard your hand. they weren't really good at or used for interposing against enemy strikes but to protect you during your own.

oh and you could also kinda use it to hide thrust attacks and the like, having your buckler out away from your body as you prepared to attack basically using it to hide your blades positioning etc.

like so he's using a 1 handed sword but otherwise using it to better protect his grip.


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Kerobelis wrote:

The hero who ends one profession to start another (usually due to finding some old mentor or discovers she is a jedi).

It is odd that I can't stop being a wizard if I want to.

That's usually handled in background (I was a smuggler and criminal, but reformed and became a paladin), or by talking with the GM to swap around the base class.


RiverMesa wrote:

I feel like if there is an actual "classic fantasy build" that PF2 doesn't support particularly well as of right now is a "massive army of skeletons" necromancer - yes, create undead exists, but it's an uncommon and not the most reliable ritual, and there isn't an undead equivalent to the various summon spells.

And even that one is more a matter of relative lack of content right now, rather than system-level limits on the concept.

I do feel like a lot of these gaps will likely be filled with the Advanced Player's Guide, though.

Just leaving this here, from the playtest.

Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Not to give any indication as to where we are going with this...

But I think I would much rather have a necromancer summon a horde of skeletons which works a lot more like a swarm (or troop as mentioned above), dealing damage to anyone they come into contact with, rather than rolling 20 times and hoping for a crit for them to have any effect at all.

I think summoning a bunch of undead is very iconic for the character concept... creating 1 skeleton might work as a bodyguard or something, but that is going to be some advanced skeletal knight or something.

Anyway.. just thought I would add my 2 cents.. carry on.


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Cyouni wrote:
Kerobelis wrote:

The hero who ends one profession to start another (usually due to finding some old mentor or discovers she is a jedi).

It is odd that I can't stop being a wizard if I want to.

That's usually handled in background (I was a smuggler and criminal, but reformed and became a paladin), or by talking with the GM to swap around the base class.

It could be in some cases, but not all. My main point is that this is one fantasy trope that cannot be replicated in PF 2E. A caster will keep getting more spells no matter what he does (aside from stop adventuring at all or breaking your faith/anathema).


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Just wanted to throw in my two cents into the replies to the initial concerns raised here.

tivadar27 wrote:

So I want to get into specifics here and talk about classic builds that aren't realizable under 2e. I'll try to explain why each of these isn't possible, as well as look at whether these builds are possible under 1e and AD&D 5e. Note that I consider "possible" to mean statistically competitive to the close alternatives. I won't discard something because I think a caster is better than a martial, but I also won't consider making a charisma based wizard that dumps intelligence "viable". I'm also going to ignore Alchemist from 2e and Warlock from 5e, as those aren't comparable across editions. I'm curious to hear thoughts/if there's things I missed.

Note that my point here isn't strictly to poo-poo 2e, I just want to a) figure out if I'm wrong about these builds not being realizable, and b) if they're not, hopefully raise awareness that this should be addressed either through errata (where it's odd rules combinations that are prohibitive) or through additional content....

1. A swashbuckling/dex-based fighter: Before giving some direction on how to do this using just the CRB I wanted to point out that a Swashbuckler class is coming in the Advanced Player's Guide and seems like it may fit exactly what you're aiming for here.

To build something similar to this using just the CRB you would likely be looking at a Free Hand Fighter. Possibly a MC into Monk or Rogue. You could also do a Rogue with the Thief Racket and a MC into Fighter but honestly that feels like it would leave you a bit behind when it comes to some of the high end Fighter Feats. The level 20 Reactive Capstone Feat feels like it would be GREAT on a free hand fighter.

Neither of these may be the "optimal" choice to play however they are all more than competent and seems like it would very much fit the trope for a swashbuckling hero.

2. A Bard-barian (Skald): I do hope that they come up with a class archetype for Skald or at least offer some extra support into Barbarian or Bard Class Feats to fit this trope. As of right now however it's not impossible to pull this off. Clarity and Lingering Composition can get the job mostly done. Again, while not completely optimal definitely workable.

3. A Fighter-bard (maestro): This is definitely something that you can accomplish through the use of the Bard MC feats though you may be better served starting as a Bard and then MC into Fighter depending on what it is you're trying to do. This might be a little less optimal than the previous two options but definitely something that could keep up with the group.

4. A Sword-and-Buckler build: Bucklers do offer a bit more for a character than a Heavy Shield and the difference of +1 AC isn't too much of a hurdle to get over depending on what exactly you're trying to do. I think this one seems like it's a little bit more niche of a character though and that will depend heavily on how you would intend to play it. With that said this is definitely something that could keep up with the other characters in a group.

5. A monk who uses weapons: Monks do have the ability to use weapons with their proficiency through a single class feat. It may not be the most optimal option for them when you factor in all of the style feats but it does free up your feats for a lot of the other nifty monk stuff. This is definitely something that is do-able as it is and when more books come out I can only imagine it getting better.

6. A monk who doesn't use a shield(?): I don't quite get this one so much.. Shields are definitely not a mandatory thing but they are very useful to adventurers that are trying to get as much defense as possible. Is your criticism that they don't have much of an incentive to go without a shield?


Kerobelis wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
Kerobelis wrote:

The hero who ends one profession to start another (usually due to finding some old mentor or discovers she is a jedi).

It is odd that I can't stop being a wizard if I want to.

That's usually handled in background (I was a smuggler and criminal, but reformed and became a paladin), or by talking with the GM to swap around the base class.

It could be in some cases, but not all. My main point is that this is one fantasy trope that cannot be replicated in PF 2E. A caster will keep getting more spells no matter what he does (aside from stop adventuring at all or breaking your faith/anathema).

Yes, that's my point, that if you're basically a retired wizard that isn't trying to wizard anymore, it's much more effective to talk with the GM, and swap over to say, fighter with wizard dedication at an appropriate point.


Most instances of "I was one thing, now I'm this different thing" from popular media would contextualize that first thing more as a background (moisture farmer, scavenger, etc.) than a class.

Most of the time I have seen "I was one thing, now I want to cast that wholly aside and be something else" was people in roleplaying games trying to justify their dips; a thing which is no longer necessary.

If it's something dramatic like "you are the cleric of a god who dies during the course of the campaign" then the GM should let you retrain your class or you should retire the character.


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Cyouni wrote:
Kerobelis wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
Kerobelis wrote:

The hero who ends one profession to start another (usually due to finding some old mentor or discovers she is a jedi).

It is odd that I can't stop being a wizard if I want to.

That's usually handled in background (I was a smuggler and criminal, but reformed and became a paladin), or by talking with the GM to swap around the base class.

It could be in some cases, but not all. My main point is that this is one fantasy trope that cannot be replicated in PF 2E. A caster will keep getting more spells no matter what he does (aside from stop adventuring at all or breaking your faith/anathema).

Yes, that's my point, that if you're basically a retired wizard that isn't trying to wizard anymore, it's much more effective to talk with the GM, and swap over to say, fighter with wizard dedication at an appropriate point.

I agree with Cyouni here. This is something that I would totally let someone do between major parts of a story.

If the downtime was significant enough I would probably also let them retrain everything down to first level. If they do then with enough time let them work their way up to being another class with a Multiclass of their original.


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And lets not pretend pf1 was any better for discarding a past life. If it actually was for roleplaying you would just end up with a bad character. At least in pf2 a character rebuilt to swap the main and dedicated paths will be functional.


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I am just stating a fact, I am not crapping on PF2e. PF2e doesn't support abandoning a class well, while PF1 does. And it can do it effectively (i.e. the dipping problem of 1e) and it can be garbage (F10/W10).

PF2e is great at making a multiclassed caster compared to 1e (although people are still angry, see all the proficiency threads). Each edition has it strengths and weaknesses.


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Kerobelis wrote:

I am just stating a fact, I am not crapping on PF2e. PF2e doesn't support abandoning a class well, while PF1 does. And it can do it effectively (i.e. the dipping problem of 1e) and it can be garbage (F10/W10).

PF2e is great at making a multiclassed caster compared to 1e (although people are still angry, see all the proficiency threads). Each edition has it strengths and weaknesses.

Honestly, while it can be seen as a "feature" of being able to abandon a class.. it can also be seen as a flaw of not continuing the basic progression of your main class.

I think that PF2e could manage class retraining more gracefully.


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Kerobelis wrote:
PF2e doesn't support abandoning a class well, while PF1 does.

'Well'? PF1? Not really. Abandoning a class midway through progression was often really devastating, especially if a casting class was involved.


Squiggit wrote:
'Well'? PF1? Not really. Abandoning a class midway through progression was often really devastating, especially if a casting class was involved.

It mostly wasn't devastating for all those Inspired Blade Swashbucklers who immediately gave up the lifeastyle to go into business as a PI, and similar dips.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
'Well'? PF1? Not really. Abandoning a class midway through progression was often really devastating, especially if a casting class was involved.
It mostly wasn't devastating for all those Inspired Blade Swashbucklers who immediately gave up the lifeastyle to go into business as a PI, and similar dips.

Yeah, but small dips are fundamentally different than the "abandoning your previous profession midway through" being talked about.


Squiggit wrote:
Yeah, but small dips are fundamentally different than the "abandoning your previous profession midway through" being talked about.

I am pretty sure I never saw a PF1 character who abandoned a class which wasn't one of:

- Got all I needed from that one.
- I have a parachute available in an "ex-class" archetype.
- I'm just going to pick a different deity or w/e.


You didn't, which is why the claim that PF1 handled the concept well seems misleading to me.


Rysky wrote:
*snip*
You also grip it by the handle like you would other shields, in fantasy it just straps to your arm.

Yeah, the fantasy (or at least DnD and Pathfinder) version of a "Buckler" is actually a Targe, I guess they got confused by assuming a Buckler would probably be the one to involve a buckle.

Silver Crusade

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Shinigami02 wrote:
Rysky wrote:
You also grip it by the handle like you would other shields, in fantasy it just straps to your arm.
Yeah, the fantasy (or at least DnD and Pathfinder) version of a "Buckler" is actually a Targe, I guess they got confused by assuming a Buckler would probably be the one to involve a buckle.

Huh, that would make sense.

Liberty's Edge

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Squiggit wrote:
You didn't, which is why the claim that PF1 handled the concept well seems misleading to me.

In PF1 you could start as a Wizard and later stop taking levels in Wizard. You started play able to cast spells at level 1 and at one point stopped progressing as a caster.

This is just not possible in PF2.

In PF2 the resulting character is best represented as say a Fighter with MC Wizard. But then you could not start with the ability to cast spells at level 1.


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The Raven Black wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
You didn't, which is why the claim that PF1 handled the concept well seems misleading to me.

In PF1 you could start as a Wizard and later stop taking levels in Wizard. You started play able to cast spells at level 1 and at one point stopped progressing as a caster.

This is just not possible in PF2.

In PF2 the resulting character is best represented as say a Fighter with MC Wizard. But then you could not start with the ability to cast spells at level 1.

Sure, you could do that, but the character would suck by any metric approaching standard assumptions and encounter expectations. PF2 has tried very hard to make it difficult to make a character that sucks.

I agree that Fighter/Wizards should be Fighter/Wizards at level one, but this is just an identical problem to PF1, where you either weren't proficient in martial weapons or didn't have any spells.

Liberty's Edge

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Arachnofiend wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
You didn't, which is why the claim that PF1 handled the concept well seems misleading to me.

In PF1 you could start as a Wizard and later stop taking levels in Wizard. You started play able to cast spells at level 1 and at one point stopped progressing as a caster.

This is just not possible in PF2.

In PF2 the resulting character is best represented as say a Fighter with MC Wizard. But then you could not start with the ability to cast spells at level 1.

Sure, you could do that, but the character would suck by any metric approaching standard assumptions and encounter expectations. PF2 has tried very hard to make it difficult to make a character that sucks.

I agree that Fighter/Wizards should be Fighter/Wizards at level one, but this is just an identical problem to PF1, where you either weren't proficient in martial weapons or didn't have any spells.

My take on PF2 MC is that it is concept-based and not at all chronology-based as PF1 was.

So PF2 is excellent at designing a concept that mixes two classes without losing viability, except for the 50/50 hybrid but that is another topic. But it really fails at supporting a character whose concept evolves over time.

PF1 was the other way around completely.


The Raven Black wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
You didn't, which is why the claim that PF1 handled the concept well seems misleading to me.

In PF1 you could start as a Wizard and later stop taking levels in Wizard. You started play able to cast spells at level 1 and at one point stopped progressing as a caster.

This is just not possible in PF2.

In PF2 the resulting character is best represented as say a Fighter with MC Wizard. But then you could not start with the ability to cast spells at level 1.

Sure, you could do that, but the character would suck by any metric approaching standard assumptions and encounter expectations. PF2 has tried very hard to make it difficult to make a character that sucks.

I agree that Fighter/Wizards should be Fighter/Wizards at level one, but this is just an identical problem to PF1, where you either weren't proficient in martial weapons or didn't have any spells.

My take on PF2 MC is that it is concept-based and not at all chronology-based as PF1 was.

So PF2 is excellent at designing a concept that mixes two classes without losing viability, except for the 50/50 hybrid but that is another topic. But it really fails at supporting a character whose concept evolves over time.

PF1 was the other way around completely.

It supports a character whose concept evolves over time through dedications . It doesn’t support abandoning of the original concept which is the difference. In some cases it is more subtle than others

I believe the mechanical intent (not having severely under par characters ) has been mentioned

The thematic intent seems to be that anyone who has placed enough time and dedication to become a PC adventurer in a certain class is not going to willingly abandon it as abandoning perhaps reflects abandoning adventuring

Aside from background where someone was an acolyte of a faith and abandoned it to pursue a career as a travelling singer or someone who was a soldier who decided to become a priest down the line

The cases like the ironfang character are supposed to be NPCs I believe

I know it is not satisfying in every circumstance but the above is what i believe the intent was . I guess they found examples of people who changed livelihoods mid adventuring career rare - presumably only based on anecdotal evidence . And perhaps some variant rules will come later

(Some examples like wizard are strange because if you stop studying to focus on more martial dedications then it doesn’t quite track that you get more powerful spells as you advance. But most of the other casters can be rationalised)

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