Classic Fantasy Builds that aren't Realizable in 2e


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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.

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1. A swashbuckling/dex-based fighter: This isn't possible because all of the single one-handed weapon feats provided to the fighter class are *significantly* better when you go the strenght route and simply wear heavy armor. The dexterity build simply doesn't compete.
Pathfinder 1e CRB: This was possible as a build, particularly when considering rapier, as it gave you the best critical range and could be finessed without a significant loss to damage.
D&D 5e PHB: Yep, you can definitely build a solid battlemaster fighter that runs entirely on Dexterity.

2. A Bard-barian (Skald): Nearly all of the bard boosting spells (inspire competence, courage, defense) have verbal components, which requires concentration. While it's *possible* to get this by spending an extra action to use moment of clarity every turn, that means spending 2/3 actions each turn, and that's not viable. Beyond this, these all require a focus pool, which Barbarians don't have.
Pathfinder 1e CRB: Yep, take 4 levels to get a basic performance or 8 levels for a slightly stronger one. Focus on buffing spells rather than in-combat spells. It's even better if you simply splash barbarian, but even ignoring that (it was far too splashable in 1e), it's totally doable.
D&D 5e PHB: Doable but harder here. Your inspiration works just fine, but any spell with concentration doesn't. However, it's still possible to build this and have it be effective.

3. A Fighter-bard (maestro): This is questionable given you might be able to get access to Maestro through Multifarious Muse, but that's an open rules question. Otherwise, pretty much any class that doesn't already have a focus pool can't be a multiclass maestro, because many/most of their notable abilities (lingering performance, inspire heroics) require a focus pool. Incidentally, this works *just fine* for paladins who get a Focus Pool by default.
Pathfinder 1e CRB: Once you started a performance, it just kept going, so this wasn't an issue.
D&D 5e PHB: Performance is just a fixed number of uses based on Charisma.

4. A Sword-and-Buckler build: Like any of them... The only thing the free hand gets you is the fighter feats, as mentioned above, and those all just work better with strength. Why get +1 AC when you can get +2 AC?
Pathfinder 1e CRB: Yes, though primarily due to the fact that rogues could use them without proficiency, which was a bit of a hack. Fighters were still better off using a heavy shield.
D&D 5e PHB: There are no bucklers, so not really, but kinda a moot point.

5. A monk who uses weapons: Weapons just aren't comparable to the unarmed fighting styles. Monk agile weapons go up to 1d6 damage, where agile unarmed goes up to 1d8. Non-agile weapons go up to 1d8, non-agile unarmed goes to 1d10. Not to mention there's no additonal weapon feats and the style feats all give something cooler.
Pathfinder 1e CRB: I didn't play a lot of monks, but my impression was that even in CRB, you could build with or without weapons and both builds worked.
D&D 5e PHB: Similar to pathfinder, I don't play a lot of monks, but get the impression that this generally works.

6. A monk who doesn't use a shield(?): This is a weird outlier, but monks are simply *better* when they're hefting around a heavy shield. Assuming bulk doesn't hurt, this is even true for dexterity-based monks. This... really breaks immersion for me.
Pathfinder 1e CRB: Monks don't use shields, it's in the rules.
D&D 5e PHB: Monks don't use shields, it's in the rules.

Note, these are all character concepts I had played around with, so they're not random things I'm coming up with, they're actually characters I was considering building and realized I effectively couldn't...


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tivadar27 wrote:
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".

My meaning of 'viable' is very different from this.

I consider a character 'viable' if it can be built to have the proper feel and if the player and the group will feel that the character is being reasonably effective in the gameplay.

Some of the critiques you have brought up of the various builds are simply that 'there is a better option available'. Which to me doesn't mean that the build that does represent the character is not viable. It just means that the character build isn't the best possible optimization for combat.

So:

1) rogue with fighter dedication.

2) That one I agree doesn't work yet. Hopefully we will get a skald archetype soon. I really want to build that angry dual axe wielding skittermander.

3) Fighter with bard dedication should work fine. Taking the multiclass feats that give the character performance spells will also give them a focus pool to cast them with.

4) Fighters with sword and buckler work just fine. May not be the most optimal choice for combat, but the character will pull their weight in battle well enough.

5) Monks can use weapons. Again may not be the most optimal - but it works.

6) From what I hear, monks already have one of the highest AC in the game. Playing one without a shield shouldn't hurt.

Liberty's Edge

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1. You just build this as a Rogue. I mean, they get Master in weapons and light armor, they're plenty martially inclined to reflect this concept, and make full use of high Dex.

5. I don't think this is as bad as you seem to. The Bo Staff has Reach as well as a lot of other very nice properties. It's raw damage is only 1d8, but Parry and Trip on top of Reach are very good indeed. Plus you can flurry with shuriken as well, which is very neat and a better ranged option than most other Monks. It is perhaps not quite optimal, but it's a pretty solid build with advantages as well as disadvantages.

6. Well, firstly, I think grabbing the Shield cantrip is probably better since it doesn't need to be improved with money and leaves both hands free. That's not available to everyone, though. Second...I just strongly disagree with this whole premise. You need to spend an action to use a shield. A Monk is almost always gonna be better served using that action to move away from their enemy, making them spend multiple actions to catch up or avoiding being attacked altogether.

I have no real help for #2, #3, or #4, though I'm not 100% sure I agree on the rules interpretation that makes #3 a problem, as I think it may be unintended.


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breithauptclan wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
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".

My meaning of 'viable' is very different from this.

I consider a character 'viable' if it can be built to have the proper feel and if the player and the group will feel that the character is being reasonably effective in the gameplay.

Some of the critiques you have brought up of the various builds are simply that 'there is a better option available'. Which to me doesn't mean that the build that does represent the character is not viable. It just means that the character build isn't the best possible optimization for combat.

And? It still means that it's a flaw in the game which should be rectified. Better game balance doesn't hurt anyone.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Assurance in acrobatics and anyone can act like a dex based character.

Bard/barbarian/ fighter should take lingering composition

Monk weapons being 1 damage behind isn’t a problem

I guess only people who didn’t know the acp of heavy shields can be 0 used bucklers. Assurance ignores penalties and can be a great with athletics as a 3rd attack.

Monks not using shields can use a move or shove action to reduce enemy actions


While I do have a build for a monk that uses a shield, it's pretty specifically because I want to use Dragon Stance, which is not finesse (so I need strength) and not agile (so extra attacks are less good). I don't think shields work as well with any of the other stances.


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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.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
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.

Barbarians are masters in unarmored defense, it holds up well if you keep your dexterity high.

Paizo Employee

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tivadar27 wrote:

1. A swashbuckling/dex-based fighter: This isn't possible because all of the single one-handed weapon feats provided to the fighter class are *significantly* better when you go the strenght route and simply wear heavy armor. The dexterity build simply doesn't compete.

Pathfinder 1e CRB: This was possible as a build, particularly when considering rapier, as it gave you the best critical range and could be finessed without a significant loss to damage.
D&D 5e PHB: Yep, you can definitely build a solid battlemaster fighter that runs entirely on Dexterity.

You get way more stat bumps than in previous editions, so there's very little difference in the outcome of Dex > Str or Str > Dex. Fighters scale all the armors you might want so defense isn't an issue, and for high Dex you get advantages in Reflexes and skills;

I think you're seriously underestimating what a one-handed fighter can do in PF2. For example, a 1st level human fighter with Snagging Strike and Exacting Strike will have really amazing accuracy; given the number of agile and finesse weapons that have the deadly or fatal properties this can be a lot more damage than you might expect, and the accuracy curve alone is carrying notable weight there. It's honestly massively better than playing a one-handed version of any class other than Swashbuckler in PF1, and that's before you start building out your combat style further.

At 2nd level, Snagging Strike > Exacting Strike > Combat Grab is an incredibly accurate attack routine that also applies multiple nasty debuffs to the target that also make them more vulnerable to your allies' attacks. At 4th level, Dueling Parry, Dual-Handed Assault, or Lunge are all good options. At 6th, Guardian's Deflection is a really solid option to expand what you can do with your reactions (unless you're planning on grabbing Dueling Riposte, in which case you might want Advantageous Assault or Revealing Stab). At 10th you've got Agile Grace which can boost your accuracy even further (thus increasing your damage both along likelihood to hit and likelihood to crit and trigger properties like deadly) or Combat Reflexes is also good if you want to be able to both use Attack of Opportunity and Dueling Riposte.

A Dex-focused, swashbucklery fighter is vastly more viable in PF2 than PF1, especially if "how does it compare to Str builds?" is your baseline.

Liberty's Edge

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.

It's definitively suboptimal at low levels but doable.

Going Dex 16 at 1st level and you're only 2 AC behind the people who wear armor. That drops to 1 behind at 5th when you raise Dex to 18, and you catch up at 15th when Dex hits 20.


1. Dexterity was nerfed, finally, the god stat no more, with dex you can get better reflex saves, strength gives damage, looks fair.

2. Inspire Courage with Lingering Composition, you gain focus points when you don't have one if you pick a focus spell. You can share your rage too.

3. Lingering Composition, you gain a focus pool when you get a focus spell.

4. Sword and Buckler, all the duelist feats while having a shield? Yummy.

5. Manages to get a reach weapon and other weapons property and you can use all the unarmed feats with these weapons.

6. Superior mobility avoids more damage than simply blocking with a shield, extra points by picking the jumping skill feats.


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The problem with the assesment of most of these builds is already well-covered, but a couple extra tidbits:

Sword and Buckler, "why get 1 AC when you can use a shield and get 2?" Because it keeps the hand free if you need it. Need to drink a potion in combat? You can do that. Sword and Board can't. Want to pull out and use a magic item or Alchemical bomb? Go ahead. Caster Multiclass and want to keep a hand free for material and foci, scrolls, etc? Yep. (And yes caster MC likely has the Shield Cantrip available but this lets you take other options and a Buckler is better for consistent Shield Block USA anyway)
Neither is straight better, both have upsides and downsides.

And compared to using Duelist's Parry instead of Buckler, Buckler can shield block and doesn't cost a feat. Neither is straight better, both have upsides and downsides.

On the Skald, I don't disagree it's hard to use, except via something you said in your PF1 comparison. You said for PF1 just focus on out of combat and buff spells. Can't you do this in PF2?
(I'm assuming that the missing bit here is that you could use Bardic Performance while raging in PF1 if in fact you could do that? And if so then fair point)

On the Dex Fighter, admittedly yeah the Fighter being able to get top AC without investing Dex makes it a little trickier to measure up to a 1h Str Duelist, but honestly it's not as bad as all that. Depending on how much Str you do take yeah, you might find your damage behind a bit. But your Dex contributes to other things as well, and the damage deficit isn't huge. If we say you make Str a tertiary (something you'd put one of your 4 free boosts in whenever you get them) then you start out 4 damage behind 1H Str (12 Str vs 18, 1d6 vs 1d8), or about half damage, which is notable, though you do have an extra trait or two on your weapon, some weapon picks might get you something interesting. If nothing else Agile is actually quite useful and makes up a little bit of the damage drop, and if you take Agile Grace at 10th it becomes GREAT. Come 20th you're behind 7 points (4d6 vs 4d8, 18 Str vs 24), which is actually a much smaller gap as it's average 26 vs 35, or 20% less. Smaller gap if Property Runes get involved. And honestly Agile Grace is making up a lot of that.

And again, in both early levels and later you boast much higher Dex and are also better with ranged attacks and Dex skills, which isn't a negligible effect.

So really, Dex Duelist Fighters are certainly not inviable, but Rogue with Fighter MC is probably better TBH.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
1. You just build this as a Rogue. I mean, they get Master in weapons and light armor, they're plenty martially inclined to reflect this concept, and make full use of high Dex.

I understand this, but I don't really consider this the same thing. Also, there really isn't a one-handed rogue without something in their off-hand build. Or are you suggesting that you build this as a rogue who MC's into fighter?

Deadmanwalking wrote:
5. I don't think this is as bad as you seem to. The Bo Staff has Reach as well as a lot of other very nice properties. It's raw damage is only 1d8, but Parry and Trip on top of Reach are very good indeed. Plus you can flurry with shuriken as well, which is very neat and a better ranged option than most other Monks. It is perhaps not quite optimal, but it's a pretty solid build with advantages as well as disadvantages.

Fair here! I hadn't considered bo-staff with reach or shuriken. However, they do feel like exceptions to the rule/niche builds. Dualing anything else still feels bad.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
6. Well, firstly, I think grabbing the Shield cantrip is probably better since it doesn't need to be improved with money and leaves both hands free. That's not available to everyone, though. Second...I just strongly disagree with this whole premise. You need to spend an action to use a shield. A Monk is almost always gonna be better served using that action to move away from their enemy, making them spend multiple actions to catch up or avoiding being attacked altogether.

Here I just straight-up disagree for a couple reasons. First, you still have an open hand when you have a shield monk, meaning you can use all the normal interacts. The shield cantrip gives 1 less AC than does and actual shield, and you can block at most once with it in any combat. Beyond this, dexterity based monks with shields are the *best* tanks in the game, bar-none (legendary proficiency, can get up to +7 from armor/dexterity, amazing saving throws made better by the spellguard shield assuming you can grab it at 6th level).

Deadmanwalking wrote:
I have no real help for #2, #3, or #4, though I'm not 100% sure I agree on the rules interpretation that makes #3 a problem, as I think it may be unintended.

Regarding #3, yeah, I don't know with the rules there. I mentioned it as a possible misprint/mistake in that thread, and curious what feedback will be (outside of one person who has taken it upon themselves to simply disagree with me no matter what...).

Thanks so much for all this feedback. I may try to re-imagine my swashbuckler as a rogue, though I *was* really hoping to go fighter... more feedback regarding that build would be appreciated.


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.

Unarmored Barbarians actually have the best AC of any Barbarian if you're doing it through Animal Instinct. Otherwise it's pretty much the same so long as you invest in dexterity (if you fill out the dex cap then unarmored, light, and medium all give identical AC bonuses).


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Edge93 wrote:

Sword and Buckler, "why get 1 AC when you can use a shield and get 2?" Because it keeps the hand free if you need it. Need to drink a potion in combat? You can do that. Sword and Board can't. Want to pull out and use a magic item or Alchemical bomb? Go ahead. Caster Multiclass and want to keep a hand free for material and foci, scrolls, etc? Yep. (And yes caster MC likely has the Shield Cantrip available but this lets you take other options and a Buckler is better for consistent Shield Block USA anyway)

Neither is straight better, both have upsides and downsides.

And compared to using Duelist's Parry instead of Buckler, Buckler can shield block and doesn't cost a feat. Neither is straight better, both have upsides and downsides.

So good point on the free hand for pulling out potions and the like... That's a valid critique. I don't understand what you mean about buckler can shield block without costing a feat though... Also, the bonus from Dueling Parry doesn't stack with the bonus from the buckler, they're both circumstance bonuses...

Edge93 wrote:

On the Skald, I don't disagree it's hard to use, except via something you said in your PF1 comparison. You said for PF1 just focus on out of combat and buff spells. Can't you do this in PF2?

(I'm assuming that the missing bit here is that you could use Bardic Performance while raging in PF1 if in fact you could do that? And if so then fair point)

Yeah, performances aren't usable during a rage. Also, buff spells in general have been nerfed quite a bit especially in the duration department, so it's *harder* to pull off. If you want to just do buffing though, then you're going to go Occult Sorcerer rather than bard, because of the whole performance problem.

Edge93 wrote:
On the Dex Fighter, admittedly yeah the Fighter being able to get top AC without investing Dex makes it a little trickier to measure up to a 1h Str Duelist, but honestly it's not as bad as all that. Depending on how much Str you do take yeah, you might find your damage behind a bit. But your Dex contributes to other things as well, and the damage deficit isn't huge. If we say you make Str a tertiary (something you'd put one of your 4 free boosts in whenever you get them) then you start out 4 damage behind 1H Str (12 Str vs 18, 1d6 vs 1d8), or about half damage, which is notable, though you do have an extra trait or two on your weapon, some weapon picks might get you something interesting. If nothing else Agile is actually quite useful and makes up a little bit of the damage drop, and if you take Agile...

Agile helps a bit, but honestly, sweep effectively does the same thing as agile (though doesn't stack with flank...) for your second attack. If you're making 3x attacks, which is likely rare, then agile is going to be better, but with a free-hand fighter, you're probably not doing that much given you want to use dueling parry.

Liberty's Edge

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tivadar27 wrote:
I understand this, but I don't really consider this the same thing. Also, there really isn't a one-handed rogue without something in their off-hand build. Or are you suggesting that you build this as a rogue who MC's into fighter?

Both are viable. Rogues do have a one-handed Feat in 'Sabotage' at level 4, which is actually quite good, but multiclassing Fighter is also quite reasonable.

tivadar27 wrote:
Fair here! I hadn't considered bo-staff with reach or shuriken. However, they do feel like exceptions to the rule/niche builds. Dualing anything else still feels bad.

Monk dual weapon users need some additional help, yeah.

tivadar27 wrote:
Here I just straight-up disagree for a couple reasons. First, you still have an open hand when you have a shield monk, meaning you can use all the normal interacts. The shield cantrip gives 1 less AC than does and actual shield, and you can block at most once with it in any combat. Beyond this, dexterity based monks with shields are the *best* tanks in the game, bar-none (legendary proficiency, can get up to +7 from armor/dexterity, amazing saving throws made better by the spellguard shield assuming you can grab it at 6th level).

Let's say you're right about the shield/cantrip thing. That was a side issue from my main point, which was that you're usually better off just moving away. None of this addresses that point.

Also, everyone maxes out at +5 AC from Dex+Armor these days because Bracers of Armor, like Explorer's Clothing, have a +5 Dex Cap, and you need one of those two things to get the 'magic item' +3 AC/+3 to all Saves. Monks still have the highest AC in the game, even considering that, but having the highest AC, IMO, makes shields less necessary and useful for them rather than more in many ways.

tivadar27 wrote:
Regarding #3, yeah, I don't know with the rules there. I mentioned it as a possible misprint/mistake in that thread, and curious what feedback will be (outside of one person who has taken it upon themselves to simply disagree with me no matter what...).

Yeah, I'd need to go over the wording on that one. Maybe I'll go have a look.

tivadar27 wrote:
Thanks so much for all this feedback. I may try to re-imagine my swashbuckler as a rogue, though I *was* really hoping to go fighter... more feedback regarding that build would be appreciated.

No problem, and see above for more feedback. Though, if you're willing to wait, the playtest for the PF2 APG, which includes the PF2 Swashbuckler, will be out in October. That may be more what you're looking for.


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tivadar27 wrote:


1. A swashbuckling/dex-based fighter: This isn't possible because all of the single one-handed weapon feats provided to the fighter class are *significantly* better when you go the strenght route and simply wear heavy armor. The dexterity build simply doesn't compete.
Pathfinder 1e CRB: This was possible as a build, particularly when considering rapier, as it gave you the best critical range and could be finessed without a significant loss to damage.

You move the goal posts massively between your initial requirement and what can actually be done.

A PF1 Rogue is in no way more swashbuckly than a PF2 Rogue. There are no "single one-handed weapon feats" in PF1 Core that you complain the Rogue in PF2 is lacking.

The rest of your examples are equally hypocritical.

And you apparently never bothered reading the Focus rules.


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tivadar27 wrote:
Agile helps a bit, but honestly, sweep effectively does the same thing as agile (though doesn't stack with flank...) for your second attack. If you're making 3x attacks, which is likely rare, then agile is going to be better, but with a free-hand fighter, you're probably not doing that much given you want to use dueling parry.

Sweep only applies when you are attacking two separate target and whereas agile works for iterative attacks against the same target as well (in addition to stacking with flanking, I suppose). Agile is really the strictly better quality.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

i feel like you have a weird definition of classic, a lot of these are pretty modern aside from the monk without a shield.

1) have you ever just considered having dex and strength? I know in earlier editions that's really weird, but it's fairly doable in 2e.

2) I really think this is a stretch to be a classic, but yeah, we'll need to wait for archetypes probably.

3) fighter bard or bard fighter probably work fine, depending on which aspect you want too focus on more. i'm pretty sure anytime you gain a focus spell but have no focus pool you gain 1 focus pool.

4) 1 less AC for a free hand, looking over the rules you need a free hand to drink a potion, so that's nice. you can also still raise the shield if you're holding something as long as it's L bulk or lower and not a weapon.


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Strill wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:


I consider a character 'viable' if it can be built to have the proper feel and if the player and the group will feel that the character is being reasonably effective in the gameplay.

Some of the critiques you have brought up of the various builds are simply that 'there is a better option available'. Which to me doesn't mean that the build that does represent the character is not viable. It just means that the character build isn't the best possible optimization for combat.

And? It still means that it's a flaw in the game which should be rectified. Better game balance doesn't hurt anyone.

Perfect balance in an asymmetric game system is effectively impossible. Good balance is what we currently have with PF2 - where less optimal choices and builds are still reasonable, effective, and fun.

So to answer your 'And?': If (for example) a finesse weapon fighter build is less damage per round than a two-handed weapon fighter, that isn't necessarily a flaw in the game. It certainly doesn't mean that fighters should be rules-bound forbidden from using finesse weapons. I definitely don't think that it means that a player who shows up to the table with a finesse weapon fighter should be criticized for choosing that build for their character. And I don't think it warrants someone complaining that the game is lacking or broken or that finesse weapons or the fighter class needs improvement just because the finesse weapon fighter isn't doing quite as much damage as possible.

I don't see the game as a competition between the players on who can do the most damage, kill the most NPC/monster sheets, and defeat the GM the fastest. So to me, sub-optimal is still viable, and the game is not broken as a result of printing things that are less advantageous than others.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
Here I just straight-up disagree for a couple reasons. First, you still have an open hand when you have a shield monk, meaning you can use all the normal interacts. The shield cantrip gives 1 less AC than does and actual shield, and you can block at most once with it in any combat. Beyond this, dexterity based monks with shields are the *best* tanks in the game, bar-none (legendary proficiency, can get up to +7 from armor/dexterity, amazing saving throws made better by the spellguard shield assuming you can grab it at 6th level).

Let's say you're right about the shield/cantrip thing. That was a side issue from my main point, which was that you're usually better off just moving away. None of this addresses that point.

Also, everyone maxes out at +5 AC from Dex+Armor these days because Bracers of Armor, like Explorer's Clothing, have a +5 Dex Cap, and you need one of those two things to get the 'magic item' +3 AC/+3 to all Saves. Monks still have the highest AC in the game, even considering that, but having the highest AC, IMO, makes shields less necessary and useful for them rather than more in many ways.

Oh wow, I missed the max AC for Bracers of Armor, my bad there. I still don't see why the argument is that moving away is better... Regarding their AC (which, after what you've said, actually, Paladins are better...), the enemy is going to go after someone, and I'd argue if you're the monk with the best AC, it's better for you to stick around. Granted, the Barbarian does have resistance, and fighters and paladins are probably fine, but you're at least comparable with those 3 in terms of tanking, and probably better than all the rest.

If everyone moves away, sure, it means 2 attacks instead of 3, but the last attack is at a pretty hefty penalty and very likely to miss... what's the argument against that?

EDIT: I'm really curious what the strategies in combat will be in 2e, but don't imagine we'll know for sure until everyone gets more play under their belt. It could be everyone being constantly mobile is better, as you're seeming to suggest. My assumption was that those who can tank effectively, should, however. Granted, I'm arguing Monks can tank effectively, which is open to debate as well.


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breithauptclan wrote:
Strill wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:


I consider a character 'viable' if it can be built to have the proper feel and if the player and the group will feel that the character is being reasonably effective in the gameplay.

Some of the critiques you have brought up of the various builds are simply that 'there is a better option available'. Which to me doesn't mean that the build that does represent the character is not viable. It just means that the character build isn't the best possible optimization for combat.

And? It still means that it's a flaw in the game which should be rectified. Better game balance doesn't hurt anyone.

Perfect balance in an asymmetric game system is effectively impossible. Good balance is what we currently have with PF2 - where less optimal choices and builds are still reasonable, effective, and fun.

So to answer your 'And?': If (for example) a finesse weapon fighter build is less damage per round than a two-handed weapon fighter, that isn't necessarily a flaw in the game. It certainly doesn't mean that fighters should be rules-bound forbidden from using finesse weapons. I definitely don't think that it means that a player who shows up to the table with a finesse weapon fighter should be criticized for choosing that build for their character. And I don't think it warrants someone complaining that the game is lacking or broken or that finesse weapons or the fighter class needs improvement just because the finesse weapon fighter isn't doing quite as much damage as possible.

I don't see the game as a competition between the players on who can do the most damage, kill the most NPC/monster sheets, and defeat the GM the fastest. So to me, sub-optimal is still viable, and the game is not broken as a result of printing things that are less advantageous than others.

So I don't have a dog in this particular fight, but in general, I agree with you. I think sub-optimal *can* still be viable. There are, of course, limits. If we both show up to the table with martials of the same level and under the best circumstances your martial does 2x the damage of mine, then that, I'm guessing, is *not* viable. If that number is 90%, then that largely gets lost in the noise.

I believe someone ran the numbers of a strength one-handed fighter vs dexterity one-handed fighter and suggested it was 50% the damage (see Edge93's post). That, to me, would indicate a design flaw...

I don't see it as a competition between players either, but it would be nice to be able to realize characters who are *effective* given a particular style relative to other characters.


Edge93 wrote:


On the Dex Fighter, admittedly yeah the Fighter being able to get top AC without investing Dex makes it a little trickier to measure up to a 1h Str Duelist, but honestly it's not as bad as all that. Depending on how much Str you do take yeah, you might find your damage behind a bit. But your Dex contributes to other things as well, and the damage deficit isn't huge. If we say you make Str a tertiary (something you'd put one of your 4 free boosts in whenever you get them) then you start out 4 damage behind 1H Str (12 Str vs 18, 1d6 vs 1d8), or about half damage, which is notable, though you do have an extra trait or two on your weapon, some weapon picks might get you something interesting. If nothing else Agile is actually quite useful and makes up a little bit of the damage drop, and if you take Agile...

I just wanted to mention that with dual-handed assault, you *really* want to be comparing to the Bastard Sword. Your first attack with the bastard sword at higher levels will do 4d12+4+(other bonuses)...


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I'll post mine: big sword using monk.

A temple sword is just too small, there's no benefit to two handing it. In pf1 the benefits from +half strength and 3 for power attack made it more believable, but it still wasn't the best solution.

Completely viable in pillars of eternity.


citricking wrote:

I'll post mine: big sword using monk.

A temple sword is just too small, there's no benefit to two handing it. In pf1 the benefits from +half strength and 3 for power attack made it more believable, but it still wasn't the best solution.

Completely viable in pillars of eternity.

There are a few feats (fighter mostly I believe) that do have some benefits for using a weapon with two hands, but in general, I'd agree... Also, your previous post gets a like simply for mentioning Pillars of Eternity :-P.


tivadar27 wrote:

So I don't have a dog in this particular fight, but in general, I agree with you. I think sub-optimal *can* still be viable. There are, of course, limits. If we both show up to the table with martials of the same level and under the best circumstances your martial does 2x the damage of mine, then that, I'm guessing, is *not* viable. If that number is 90%, then that largely gets lost in the noise.

I believe someone ran the numbers of a strength one-handed fighter vs dexterity one-handed fighter and suggested it was 50% the damage (see Edge93's post). That, to me, would indicate a design flaw...

There are certainly limits to the amount of sub-optimal that people are willing to take or see at their table. I think it is different for different people and playstyles.

I don't like putting a number to it though. Especially not a number based on how much damage can be done. It makes it feel like the game is nothing more than a combat simulator. Surely there is more fun to be had than tallying up damage counts?

So continuing the DEX based fighter example...

If my reasoning for building a DEX fighter instead of a STR fighter was because I wanted to play a gnome and wanted to boost INT for skills and CHA for natural magic, so I couldn't boost STR high enough to outpace DEX since I need it for AC also. So yeah, doing 50% of the damage of the STR fighter sounds about right mathematically.

But in compensation, there are plenty of things that my gnome fighter can do that don't involve dealing damage. Some more skills to play with - maybe even a CHA based skill. A utility cantrip or two.

I still think it would be a fun and interesting character to play even if it is doing 50% of the damage that I could be doing if I focused only on how much damage I could dish out.

But that is just my attitude towards the game...


tivadar27 wrote:
I believe someone ran the numbers of a strength one-handed fighter vs dexterity one-handed fighter and suggested it was 50% the damage (see Edge93's post). That, to me, would indicate a design flaw...

To be fair, this is only very early levels (during which 1d6+1 is honestly adequate. And this is, again, assuming Str 12). Once you hit level 4 Striking comes along and you're at 2 dice, the gap narrows because the dice comprise more of your damage and the gap between finesse and non is smaller. Again whenever Weapon Specialization comes online. And again you still have other Dex benefits.

And it is easy and even understandable to say this is a design flaw, but I really don't think there's a simple fix for this that doesn't unbalance things elsewhere. Balance is a seriously delicate act at times...


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tivadar27 wrote:
I don't understand what you mean about buckler can shield block without costing a feat though... Also, the bonus from Dueling Parry doesn't stack with the bonus from the buckler, they're both circumstance bonuses...

The statement was made in my comparing Buckler vs. Dueling Parry. I was saying that while it provides less AC it can be used to Shield Block (Parry can't) and doesn't cost a feat to use (Parry does). Sorry if I wasn't clear.


I mean, a big difference between dex fighters in PF2 versus PF1 is that a dex fighter can easily hit a respectable strength because stats go up 4 at a time.

If dex without strength were damage competitive (on non-rogues) with strength, then "dex and strength" might get out of hand.


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tivadar27 wrote:

So I want to get into specifics here and talk about classic builds that aren't realizable under 2e.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
1. A swashbuckling/dex-based fighter:

Pathfinder 1e CRB: This was possible as a build, particularly when considering rapier, as it gave you the best critical range and could be finessed without a significant loss to damage.

A dex-based Fighter in PF 1 had TERRIBLE damage compared to a 2-Handed Powerattacking strength-based Fighter who likely used Reach and Combat Reflexes.

At least with the CRB only. Stuff like Dervish Dance, Slashing/Fencing/Starry Grace (=> Feats to enable "Dex-to-Damage", Piranha Strike, Trained Grace AWT) are all later additions; and furthermore cost many resources.

In PF1, even with all the options, a FIGHTER was much better when using a 2-Handed Strength-Based Style.

A Swashbuckler, Unchained Rogue, Magus or Dawnflower Dervish Bard was a good dex-based combatant, but all of those had extra damage via class features:

Swashbuckler via Precise Strike
Rogue via Sneak Attack
Magus via Spellstrike & Spellcombat
Dawnflower Dervish via Battle Dance

Comparing Dex-Based and Str-Based Fighters in PF2, I think the gap is significantly smaller than in PF1 (even including all available options far beyond the PF1 CRB).
--------------------------------------------------------------

I might edit this post to analyze further comparisons and I have no experience with DND 5E, so I can't comment on that.


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I also wonder if they slow played stuff for the dex-based fighter because they knew the Swashbuckler was coming soon down the line, and they did want to do some niche protection.

I mean, problems that can be fixed by printing more things are just temporary problems.


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Are we comparing PF1 Core to PF2 Core <or> PF2 core to PF1+10 years of products. One of these options is very unfair comparison and will 100% leave people unhappy.

For Swashbuckling, you get weapon finesse same as before, actually don't even need to spend a feat on it, just pick up a finesse weapon. Unarmed strikes are also finesse and don't provoke AoO so arguably a level 1 fighter can pick up a rapier and be able to grab or punch better than ever. Not to mention that the Fighter, especially the Fighter, gets a lot of moves and strikes that need a free offhand or increases to AC or ripostes.


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I don’t want to come across as dismissive but there are some major flaws in the entire title / premise of this thread :

- as pointed out “classic fantasy builds” is the title and concept but then the list really isn’t made up of classics at all.

> I have never seen “Bard-barian” in any classic fantasy . Ever . And Skald as the name used in PF1 does not mean Skalds are a missing trope. Skalds are Norse poets and so largely covered by bards. Unless we have a very different idea of “classic” which seems likely

> 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

- there is the whole realisable / viable part thrown in which then has qualifiers attached to it seemed purely to try and discount the obvious counter that all of these builds are “realisable” in PF2 because they can all be made . So that part of the title is misleading even if it then changed in the into blurb

- as has already been addressed many of these work perfectly fine if not better under PF2 than PF1 unless significant mental gymnastics are performed or the goalposts changes mid discussion

All this really points to a very biased premise where hard work has gone into trying to find holes/deficiencies in the system that do not really exist .

And I don’t see how that is helpful as a discussion piece given it is set up solely bash the system. This is shown by the definitive statement “i effectively couldn’t” and no invitation from others to show how you can do these things (although that is of course implied and was such responses received anyway).

There are some gaps and potential errors in the proficiency system that point to some flaws in the system. But not being able to achieve these “classic” fantasy builds (when you can and they are not) is not one of the flaws - the topic of this thread


Corvo Spiritwind wrote:

Are we comparing PF1 Core to PF2 Core <or> PF2 core to PF1+10 years of products. One of these options is very unfair comparison and will 100% leave people unhappy.

For Swashbuckling, you get weapon finesse same as before, actually don't even need to spend a feat on it, just pick up a finesse weapon. Unarmed strikes are also finesse and don't provoke AoO so arguably a level 1 fighter can pick up a rapier and be able to grab or punch better than ever. Not to mention that the Fighter, especially the Fighter, gets a lot of moves and strikes that need a free offhand or increases to AC or ripostes.

It looks like CRB vs CRB but some of the analysis is way off. The rapier threat range is given significant weight over and above :

- free weapon finesse
- ability to move far more easily - including effectively free spring attack
- far more support for duellist builds with fighter feats that simply didn’t exist in CRB
- wearing light armour was riskier in 1E because being caught flat footed or losing Dex to AC meant a much bigger drop

That is just on the swashbuckling fighter which is the most egregious analysis (apart from the monk without a shield which of course can be done and incredibly easily )

Monk with weapons are potentially the only valid point but CRB monks were awful especially if the argument is that they go high strength with flurry. Accuracy and AC lagged behind. They now have the best AC.

Now weapons have different abilities that not all unarmed strikes will.

Are handwraps the same costs as a weapon in terms of magic bonuses ? (Because in 1E it used to be more expensive to get magical enhancements to unarmed)

Liberty's Edge

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Lanathar wrote:
Are handwraps the same costs as a weapon in terms of magic bonuses ? (Because in 1E it used to be more expensive to get magical enhancements to unarmed)

The prices are identical in PF2.


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Strill wrote:
And? It still means that it's a flaw in the game which should be rectified. Better game balance doesn't hurt anyone.

I'm a huge proponent of better game balance and the idea that players shouldn't be punished for trying to build toward certain concepts, but the title of the thread is "builds that aren't realizable" not "builds that are kinda weak compared to more optimal choices".

Your standard also seems kind of flexible here. You say empty handed dex based fighter with a sword is too weak in PF2, but you only mention that it's possible to build one in PF1.
A PF1 fighter with a rapier and nothing else, especially if we're only talking the CRB, is not what I'd exactly call a power option.


Lanathar wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:

Are we comparing PF1 Core to PF2 Core <or> PF2 core to PF1+10 years of products. One of these options is very unfair comparison and will 100% leave people unhappy.

For Swashbuckling, you get weapon finesse same as before, actually don't even need to spend a feat on it, just pick up a finesse weapon. Unarmed strikes are also finesse and don't provoke AoO so arguably a level 1 fighter can pick up a rapier and be able to grab or punch better than ever. Not to mention that the Fighter, especially the Fighter, gets a lot of moves and strikes that need a free offhand or increases to AC or ripostes.

It looks like CRB vs CRB but some of the analysis is way off. The rapier threat range is given significant weight over and above :

- free weapon finesse
- ability to move far more easily - including effectively free spring attack
- far more support for duellist builds with fighter feats that simply didn’t exist in CRB
- wearing light armour was riskier in 1E because being caught flat footed or losing Dex to AC meant a much bigger drop

That is just on the swashbuckling fighter which is the most egregious analysis (apart from the monk without a shield which of course can be done and incredibly easily )

Monk with weapons are potentially the only valid point but CRB monks were awful especially if the argument is that they go high strength with flurry. Accuracy and AC lagged behind. They now have the best AC.

Now weapons have different abilities that not all unarmed strikes will.

Are handwraps the same costs as a weapon in terms of magic bonuses ? (Because in 1E it used to be more expensive to get magical enhancements to unarmed)

You also pointed out something important that made me scratch my head.

How is a shielded monk or raging bard "Classic Fantasy". Duelist I get, but as mentioned, the fighter can build a really nice duelist, a lot of his class feats actually specialize in having a free hand. Snagging strike alone is really fun because it flat-foots an enemy as long as he stays around you, and you can use it on on multiple enemies. Personally I'm grabbing a few of these duelist feats for my spiked gauntlet rogue.

I don't know bout weapon monk yet, they can at least start with it at level 1 and it scales:

Monastic Weaponry wrote:

You have trained with the traditional weaponry of your monastery or school. You gain access to uncommon weapons that have the monk trait and become trained in simple and martial monk weapons. When your proficiency rank for unarmed attacks increases to expert or master, your proficiency rank for these weapons increases to expert or master as well.

You can use melee monk weapons with any of your monk feats or monk abilities that normally require unarmed attacks, though not if the feat or ability requires you to use a single specific type of attack, such as Crane Stance.

Upside to monk weapons is that they come with a variety of traits, giving a weapon monk variety. At least now we can move runes over so changing isn't as painful, and ring of doubling can assist with dual wielding.


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Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:

Are we comparing PF1 Core to PF2 Core <or> PF2 core to PF1+10 years of products. One of these options is very unfair comparison and will 100% leave people unhappy.

For Swashbuckling, you get weapon finesse same as before, actually don't even need to spend a feat on it, just pick up a finesse weapon. Unarmed strikes are also finesse and don't provoke AoO so arguably a level 1 fighter can pick up a rapier and be able to grab or punch better than ever. Not to mention that the Fighter, especially the Fighter, gets a lot of moves and strikes that need a free offhand or increases to AC or ripostes.

It looks like CRB vs CRB but some of the analysis is way off. The rapier threat range is given significant weight over and above :

- free weapon finesse
- ability to move far more easily - including effectively free spring attack
- far more support for duellist builds with fighter feats that simply didn’t exist in CRB
- wearing light armour was riskier in 1E because being caught flat footed or losing Dex to AC meant a much bigger drop

That is just on the swashbuckling fighter which is the most egregious analysis (apart from the monk without a shield which of course can be done and incredibly easily )

Monk with weapons are potentially the only valid point but CRB monks were awful especially if the argument is that they go high strength with flurry. Accuracy and AC lagged behind. They now have the best AC.

Now weapons have different abilities that not all unarmed strikes will.

Are handwraps the same costs as a weapon in terms of magic bonuses ? (Because in 1E it used to be more expensive to get magical enhancements to unarmed)

You also pointed out something important that made me scratch my head.

How is a shielded monk or raging bard "Classic Fantasy". Duelist I get, but as mentioned, the fighter can build a really nice duelist, a lot of his class feats actually specialize in having a free hand. Snagging strike alone is really fun...

My reading of the OP was that they thought Monk with no shield was “no realisable” because having a shield is free and better . Which is why they said it was weird .

So of course unshielded monk is classic but the analysis that is is not realisable or “viable” is absurd

*

As an aside what racket is your spiked gauntlet rogue that you mention a lot ?

Silver Crusade

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

I also wonder if they slow played stuff for the dex-based fighter because they knew the Swashbuckler was coming soon down the line, and they did want to do some niche protection.

I mean, problems that can be fixed by printing more things are just temporary problems.

Yep, we are getting the Playtest for it in less than 2 months at this point.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Lanathar wrote:
Indeed it is my understanding that both versions of pathfinder have misunderstood the real world purpose of a buckler

Not so much misunderstood as they just went with how bucklers have been portrayed and used in other fantasy media since pretty much forever.


Rysky wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
Indeed it is my understanding that both versions of pathfinder have misunderstood the real world purpose of a buckler
Not so much misunderstood as they just went with how bucklers have been portrayed and used in other fantasy media since pretty much forever.

Gonna expose my ignorance for a moment here. What's the real-world purpose of a buckler?


Perpdepog wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
Indeed it is my understanding that both versions of pathfinder have misunderstood the real world purpose of a buckler
Not so much misunderstood as they just went with how bucklers have been portrayed and used in other fantasy media since pretty much forever.
Gonna expose my ignorance for a moment here. What's the real-world purpose of a buckler?

I don’t claim to be an expert but I have heard people say that is was actually more often used as an offensive bludgeoning weapon

I assume there was also a deflection purpose as well

I said “my understanding” based off vague memories of reading things

But I gathered “improved defense” wasn’t really the main aim. This of course could be completely wrong


Lanathar wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:

Are we comparing PF1 Core to PF2 Core <or> PF2 core to PF1+10 years of products. One of these options is very unfair comparison and will 100% leave people unhappy.

For Swashbuckling, you get weapon finesse same as before, actually don't even need to spend a feat on it, just pick up a finesse weapon. Unarmed strikes are also finesse and don't provoke AoO so arguably a level 1 fighter can pick up a rapier and be able to grab or punch better than ever. Not to mention that the Fighter, especially the Fighter, gets a lot of moves and strikes that need a free offhand or increases to AC or ripostes.

It looks like CRB vs CRB but some of the analysis is way off. The rapier threat range is given significant weight over and above :

- free weapon finesse
- ability to move far more easily - including effectively free spring attack
- far more support for duellist builds with fighter feats that simply didn’t exist in CRB
- wearing light armour was riskier in 1E because being caught flat footed or losing Dex to AC meant a much bigger drop

That is just on the swashbuckling fighter which is the most egregious analysis (apart from the monk without a shield which of course can be done and incredibly easily )

Monk with weapons are potentially the only valid point but CRB monks were awful especially if the argument is that they go high strength with flurry. Accuracy and AC lagged behind. They now have the best AC.

Now weapons have different abilities that not all unarmed strikes will.

Are handwraps the same costs as a weapon in terms of magic bonuses ? (Because in 1E it used to be more expensive to get magical enhancements to unarmed)

You also pointed out something important that made me scratch my head.

How is a shielded monk or raging bard "Classic Fantasy". Duelist I get, but as mentioned, the fighter can build a really nice duelist, a lot of his class feats actually specialize in having a free hand.
...

Likely to go with Ruffian, the only benefit for me would be the armor, and with a breastplate, I'd have a pretty nice aesthetic that matches the gauntlets. I considered Scoundrel but since feint is 1-action and melee range, I'm better off with Snagging Strike from fighter or keeping to the rogue feats which provide flat-footed. If spiked gauntlets became finesse, that'd tilt the choice towards Thief I think. All three are interesting which is nice, I'm locking myself by taking the gauntlets I suppose, but it's fun making a somewhat eh weapon turn viable.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Lanathar wrote:
Perpdepog wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
Indeed it is my understanding that both versions of pathfinder have misunderstood the real world purpose of a buckler
Not so much misunderstood as they just went with how bucklers have been portrayed and used in other fantasy media since pretty much forever.
Gonna expose my ignorance for a moment here. What's the real-world purpose of a buckler?

I don’t claim to be an expert but I have heard people say that is was actually more often used as an offensive bludgeoning weapon

I assume there was also a deflection purpose as well

I said “my understanding” based off vague memories of reading things

But I gathered “improved defense” wasn’t really the main aim. This of course could be completely wrong

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


Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:

Are we comparing PF1 Core to PF2 Core <or> PF2 core to PF1+10 years of products. One of these options is very unfair comparison and will 100% leave people unhappy.

For Swashbuckling, you get weapon finesse same as before, actually don't even need to spend a feat on it, just pick up a finesse weapon. Unarmed strikes are also finesse and don't provoke AoO so arguably a level 1 fighter can pick up a rapier and be able to grab or punch better than ever. Not to mention that the Fighter, especially the Fighter, gets a lot of moves and strikes that need a free offhand or increases to AC or ripostes.

It looks like CRB vs CRB but some of the analysis is way off. The rapier threat range is given significant weight over and above :

- free weapon finesse
- ability to move far more easily - including effectively free spring attack
- far more support for duellist builds with fighter feats that simply didn’t exist in CRB
- wearing light armour was riskier in 1E because being caught flat footed or losing Dex to AC meant a much bigger drop

That is just on the swashbuckling fighter which is the most egregious analysis (apart from the monk without a shield which of course can be done and incredibly easily )

Monk with weapons are potentially the only valid point but CRB monks were awful especially if the argument is that they go high strength with flurry. Accuracy and AC lagged behind. They now have the best AC.

Now weapons have different abilities that not all unarmed strikes will.

Are handwraps the same costs as a weapon in terms of magic bonuses ? (Because in 1E it used to be more expensive to get magical enhancements to unarmed)

You also pointed out something important that made me scratch my head.

How is a shielded monk or raging bard "Classic Fantasy". Duelist I get, but as mentioned, the fighter can build a really nice duelist, a lot of his class feats actually specialize
...

How does snagging strike work in a way superior to the scoundrel feint. I ask because I want to make on of my old characters and scoundrel seems the way to go thematically (when I say seems I mean - definitely is)


Lanathar wrote:

I don’t want to come across as dismissive but there are some major flaws in the entire title / premise of this thread :

- as pointed out “classic fantasy builds” is the title and concept but then the list really isn’t made up of classics at all.

> I have never seen “Bard-barian” in any classic fantasy . Ever . And Skald as the name used in PF1 does not mean Skalds are a missing trope. Skalds are Norse poets and so largely covered by bards. Unless we have a very different idea of “classic” which seems likely

> 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

- there is the whole realisable / viable part thrown in which then has qualifiers attached to it seemed purely to try and discount the obvious counter that all of these builds are “realisable” in PF2 because they can all be made . So that part of the title is misleading even if it then changed in the into blurb

- as has already been addressed many of these work perfectly fine if not better under PF2 than PF1 unless significant mental gymnastics are performed or the goalposts changes mid discussion

All this really points to a very biased premise where hard work has gone into trying to find holes/deficiencies in the system that do not really exist .

And I don’t see how that is helpful as a discussion piece given it is set up solely bash the system. This is shown by the definitive statement “i effectively couldn’t” and no invitation from others to show how you can do these things (although that is of course implied and was such responses received anyway).

There are some gaps and potential errors in the proficiency system that point to some flaws in the system. But not being able to achieve these “classic” fantasy builds (when you can and they are not) is not one of the flaws - the topic of this thread

I have, in general, provided evidence as to why they're not viable in PF2 but either are or are not in other systems. If you'd like to refute some of that evidence, go ahead. If you're just going to make vague accusations and say "I don't mean to be offensive" but then go on and be offensive, I don't find this of much value.

Regarding some of your points, "Singing viking barbarians" are, at least in my mind, a classic fantasy build, and something that's been talked about enough online. Your argument that a sword and buckler build isn't "classic fantasy" is... odd. Sword and buckler fighting (or "small shield" style, really) is amazingly common, particularly in the pirate genre.

One note regarding builds, I do think the finesse fighter in 1e CRB (others have made this point) isn't really viable relative to other builds, so I'll admit I was wrong there, though in 5e, it still works completely fine.

Note: I have specifically defined what I mean by "realizable" in the opening paragraphs of my post. If you're going to ignore that and then claim that "any of these can be built", that's not really a valid criticism.

Also note: You say that that there's no invitation for others to show how this can be done, please note from my original post: "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."


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Perpdepog wrote:
Gonna expose my ignorance for a moment here. What's the real-world purpose of a buckler?

For example, in the beginning of the 16th century, the Spanish used Rodeleros, aka sword and buckler men, in their pike and shot formations, to break up the dreaded push of pike, when formations became locked with each other. They were supposed to bypass the pikes and attack the enemy directly. Others used halberdiers or the like for the same effect. It only lasted a relatively short time, though, as the Rodeleros were quite vulnerable on the battlefield.

The buckler is usually gripped in the hand, not strapped to the arm (so no potion chugging with that hand). One could protect the sword hand, shield it from view (quite important to prepare an attack), deflect blades (as it is much more mobile than a heavier shield) or even trap them, and of course punch people with it.

EDIT: For what it is worth, a Skald was one of my few 2nd Edition AD&D characters; I think I wanted to go with dual-classing, but the campaign petered out too soon. That was in the 90s, so while I do not know if that is a classic fantasy build, it was around.


Lanathar wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:

Are we comparing PF1 Core to PF2 Core <or> PF2 core to PF1+10 years of products. One of these options is very unfair comparison and will 100% leave people unhappy.

For Swashbuckling, you get weapon finesse same as before, actually don't even need to spend a feat on it, just pick up a finesse weapon. Unarmed strikes are also finesse and don't provoke AoO so arguably a level 1 fighter can pick up a rapier and be able to grab or punch better than ever. Not to mention that the Fighter, especially the Fighter, gets a lot of moves and strikes that need a free offhand or increases to AC or ripostes.

It looks like CRB vs CRB but some of the analysis is way off. The rapier threat range is given significant weight over and above :

- free weapon finesse
- ability to move far more easily - including effectively free spring attack
- far more support for duellist builds with fighter feats that simply didn’t exist in CRB
- wearing light armour was riskier in 1E because being caught flat footed or losing Dex to AC meant a much bigger drop

That is just on the swashbuckling fighter which is the most egregious analysis (apart from the monk without a shield which of course can be done and incredibly easily )

Monk with weapons are potentially the only valid point but CRB monks were awful especially if the argument is that they go high strength with flurry. Accuracy and AC lagged behind. They now have the best AC.

Now weapons have different abilities that not all unarmed strikes will.

Are handwraps the same costs as a weapon in terms of magic bonuses ? (Because in 1E it used to be more expensive to get magical enhancements to unarmed)

You also pointed out something important that made me scratch my head.

How is a shielded monk or raging bard "Classic Fantasy". Duelist I get, but as mentioned, the fighter can build a really nice duelist, a lot of
...

Take this with a bit of salt, I tend to get a vague concept/aesthetic then try to make it work. In this case, Snagging Strike is a one action strike that requires a free hand, which works very well with dual Spiked Gauntlets. The upside to this is that if this strike hits, the enemy is flat-footed until the start of my next turn or until they leave. The key here being that you strike then flat-foot, where the Scoundrel uses an action to just flat-foot them.

They're both nice but.
Snagging uses 1 action to Strike and if you hit, they are flat-footed until your next turn or they leave.
Feint uses 1 action, and flat-foots them to you until the end of your turn, which is nice cuz it's basically like getting a critical success in that it lasts the whole turn. And they're flat-footed if they leave melee range. Downside is that it can backfire and leave you flat-footed. Scoundrel has a unique bonus of leaving them flat-footed to everyone.

It's a tricky choice. One is a strike and flat-footed to everyone, but only if they stay near you.
The other targets Perception DC which is likely lower than AC, but can backfire and doesn't include a Strike.


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.


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Rysky wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
Perpdepog wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
Indeed it is my understanding that both versions of pathfinder have misunderstood the real world purpose of a buckler
Not so much misunderstood as they just went with how bucklers have been portrayed and used in other fantasy media since pretty much forever.
Gonna expose my ignorance for a moment here. What's the real-world purpose of a buckler?

I don’t claim to be an expert but I have heard people say that is was actually more often used as an offensive bludgeoning weapon

I assume there was also a deflection purpose as well

I said “my understanding” based off vague memories of reading things

But I gathered “improved defense” wasn’t really the main aim. This of course could be completely wrong

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

In reality almost all early shields were boss gripped aka you had a handle and you would hold them out in front of you not strapped to your arm. It was a very active blocking style. It had advantages of you could swat away an attack farther away from your body but was more tiring to use.

Bucklers were just a very small boss gripped shield useful for parrying melee weapons with and in duels and fights. They were ineffective vs missile weapons though which is why you see bucklers mostly in duels and for personal civilian defense. Plus side about bucklers is you could hang them on your belt and walk around normally rather than having a big honking shield strapped to your arm or back.

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