Class Balance, how is it?


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How is the balance between classes?

Which ones are feel over/under powered?


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If I had to say which ones were "overpowered" I would say confidently Rogues and Fighters. Both have a lot going on for them that was specifically created to uphold their perceived niche.

The Fighter must be better at everything related to combat, yet doesn't have any flavor attached to it, which in turns makes everyone else be significantly weaker otherwise they will be stepping on the Fighters toes.
While Rogues received the Operative treatment. They are king of their niche as skill monkeys and now also are better at combat than before.

Honestly, I find it to be two very unhealthy niches to uphold for the game overall.

In short: They look really cool in what they're supposed to do and everyone else must be below them because its their domain.

But it's just my opinion.


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I obviously don't have extensive experience with every class from levels 1 to 20, but based on the experience I do have:

- On a class-by-class basis, Pathfinder 2e is in the conversation for best-balanced game of its general style and complexity level that I've played, and I've played a lot of them.
- While there's no *class* that's feels all-around underpowered, there's a few directions within individual classes that look appealing or like you're supposed to use them and in some cases have been supported in previous editions but which don't really hold up super well. Examples include focusing heavily on summoning, melee hulk mutagenist, and warpriests of deities with awkward or marginal weapons, such as Abadar. (Even Warpriest of Abadar can be okay-ish with the right ancestry feats and ignoring Abadar's preference for crossbows.) These options (and a few others) aren't utterly nonfunctional, but are probably a cut below in a game that's otherwise really well-balanced. I consider this generally acceptable; it's unrealistic to expect every niche within every class to perform up to par unless you seriously limit the number of those that there are.
- As long as a player doesn't get excessively "creative," (e.g., rejects major components of the mechanical premise of the class, like "my sorcerer isn't really into spellcasting"), the game has a reasonable floor on how much optimization is required to build a character that is successful at contributing to a standard adventure at a reasonable level by doing what you'd hope it'd be good at, with only a few exceptions (such as the things listed above.)
- If you run a bunch of spreadsheets, there are realistic differences in things like the damage outputs of various martial classes. However, these tend to be within what I consider a reasonable tolerance of each other.

I don't think that they're disasters, but if I had a free blessing to bestow on any class to give them just a little bit more juice, I'd probably choose the Ranger or Alchemist. I don't think that it's overpowered, but if I had to identify a class to be the "be careful about what we do with that one in the future, because it's already really good" class, I'd probably choose the Fighter.

Liberty's Edge

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I disagree that Rogues and Fighters are overpowered. Rogues are definitely queens of skills, but that's still less utility than spellcasting, and their combat suffers a tad compared to other martials to compensate. And Fighters are very good, but not better than Rangers or Barbarians.

They only seem overpowered compared to how bad they were in PF1.

IMO, class balance is fairly good (martials are better at raw single target DPR, casters are better at debuffs, utility, buffing, etc.), but Alchemist is a tad underpowered unless built just right (only Bomber seems on par with the other Classes right now, and even then only when they take just the right Feats).


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I'm no expert but.

I feeel its pretty good. The only bits would be
Rogues are surpremely overwhelmingly the skill guy, while also being really rather adept at combat too.

and Alchemists feel disjointed, they make for gap fillers but they can't really do it partiulcarly well. And feel like they are missing "specialties" that every other class has.
I'd be fine with making it full on gap filler or giving a specialty. But its kind of half way on each which makes it rather awkward.
(also a lot of small issues, bulk for instance, or having to start out buying a 5 gold item or they expresssly can't use a class ability. The other similar stuff are all a few silver at most).

(though I love alch)

So.. I feel like they all have a nice spot, with maybe a few over tuned or undertuned in specifci instances.


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I think that the class balance is fine, with only Mutagenist really having a glaring problem (gain nothing from the specialization right now).


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Generally I think each class can be built in fairly effective ways, but I do think there are certain options that stand out as kind of lacking.

Pretty much all of the various fighty-spellcaster options feel like they have some issues when it comes to functioning in combat. I'm lumping Alchemist in here too because they have weapon proficiencies like a caster.

Alchemists in general feel like they have the most precise requirements to be good, while a lot of martials can legitimately be built to a functional degree just by picking an idea and running with it. You can pretty much do whatever you want with a Fighter and it will work. That's definitely a good thing though.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Rogues are definitely queens of skills

I wouldn't say overpowered, but it's frustrating that rogues have pretty much completely monopolized being good at skills when in PF1 core there were several classes that could make passable skill monkeys. The Ranger in particular feels like it lost a lot on this front in a way that doesn't necessarily feel like it serves game balance in equal measure. Especially since I'm not sure I particularly agree that rogues suffer all that much in combat.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

I disagree that Rogues and Fighters are overpowered. Rogues are definitely queens of skills, but that's still less utility than spellcasting, and their combat suffers a tad compared to other martials to compensate. And Fighters are very good, but not better than Rangers or Barbarians.

They only seem overpowered compared to how bad they were in PF1.

IMO, class balance is fairly good (martials are better at raw single target DPR, casters are better at debuffs, utility, buffing, etc.), but Alchemist is a tad underpowered unless built just right (only Bomber seems on par with the other Classes right now, and even then only when they take just the right Feats).

My point was less about calling them overpowered and more how their niche made them clearly stand out from other classes. They have a lot of strong and interesting options while also having two design niches that can't be breached and I think this paradigm ends up making other classes suffer as a byproduct.

It's more of an issue I have with the design philosophy around these classes rather than just being completely broken to the point of being called OP. But I still stand by what I said in other threads: Rogues gets way too much skills and it doesn't make sense beyond just empowering the class for no particular reason other than because they sucked before and now the devs are overcompensating.

What I'm trying to say is that having a class designed under the paradigm of "Must be the best numerically in battle" and "Must have twice as much skills for no reason other than Rogues are supposed to be cool" is very constricting for other classes and I rather have a different approach that leave some space for the others to equally shine in this territory.

Side Note: I was feeling that Rogues were the new Operative and now I've found the PF2e Envoys, the Alchemists. Similarly with Envoys, alchemists are feeling like a playtest class which how clunky it works it itself (Example: some Envoys abilities specifically call out other features to exclude synergy. Also, the class has no progression beyond 8th level).


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Squiggit wrote:

Generally I think each class can be built in fairly effective ways, but I do think there are certain options that stand out as kind of lacking.

Pretty much all of the various fighty-spellcaster options feel like they have some issues when it comes to functioning in combat. I'm lumping Alchemist in here too because they have weapon proficiencies like a caster.

Alchemists in general feel like they have the most precise requirements to be good, while a lot of martials can legitimately be built to a functional degree just by picking an idea and running with it. You can pretty much do whatever you want with a Fighter and it will work. That's definitely a good thing though.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Rogues are definitely queens of skills
I wouldn't say overpowered, but it's frustrating that rogues have pretty much completely monopolized being good at skills when in PF1 core there were several classes that could make passable skill monkeys. The Ranger in particular feels like it lost a lot on this front in a way that doesn't necessarily feel like it serves game balance in equal measure. Especially since I'm not sure I particularly agree that rogues suffer all that much in combat.

This is the exact the type of thing that all classes should allow: "You can pretty much do whatever you want with a Fighter and it will work. That's definitely a good thing though."

As someone else mentioned in another thread and I find myself noticing and readily agreeing was the fact that a lot of the choices the alchemists have are math fixers rather than new options. I mean... Why they even need to choose a feat to use their class DC on their crafted items is beyond me. This SHOULD, without a doubt, be baseline for the class.

Mutagenists should be able to either significantly benefit from the mutagens by keeping the penalties with insanely high bonuses in the current duration or could have way longer duration or cut back a lot on the penalties and slightly increase duration but keeping the bonuses as they are. This should be the class benefit, the ability to use mutagens like the specialists on it that they are.

Liberty's Edge

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Squiggit wrote:
I wouldn't say overpowered, but it's frustrating that rogues have pretty much completely monopolized being good at skills when in PF1 core there were several classes that could make passable skill monkeys. The Ranger in particular feels like it lost a lot on this front in a way that doesn't necessarily feel like it serves game balance in equal measure. Especially since I'm not sure I particularly agree that rogues suffer all that much in combat.

I actually think Bards have several ways to be good at skills (most notably, Versatile Performance is a real skill buff, as is getting Bardic Lore). It's just a very different kind of good at skills fro how Rogues do it. Ranger, I agree, has legitimately lost something in this area and that's pretty unfortunate.

I also don't think Rogue will continue being the only one with Skill stuff of the type they get, but I admit that's cold comfort if what you really want is it to vary more between Classes

And they don't suffer in combat, but they do lag a bit. Firstly, Rogues have only 8 HP per level, but no better AC than anyone else (and worse than Fighters or Champions), so they're significantly more fragile. They do better offensively, but Fighters have better Proficiency on attacks, Barbarians have huge bonus damage with their d12 weapons, and Rangers get reduced MAP, while Monks and Champions have defensive advantages. Yes, Rogues get Sneak Attack, but that's both slightly more conditional and, frankly, partly just makes up for having to make somewhat sub par weapon choices in terms of damage.


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Rogues are equal to fighters and barbarians at the tops of the damage charts when everyone is attacking a flat footed target.

Casters are weaker than martials at low levels, but I think they catch up at level 7 and it's hard to say at high levels because they are so different.

Martials and casters are pretty well balanced within their groups, but the 4 slot casters (sorcerer and wizard) are weaker at low levels.

Alchemists are definitely behind, especially at low levels, but bombers might be fine levels 7+, I haven't analysed them too closely yet.

Liberty's Edge

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citricking wrote:
Rogues are equal to fighters and barbarians at the tops of the damage charts when everyone is attacking a flat footed target.

Damage wise, that seems reasonable, yeah. That's somewhat conditional and their HP remain notably lower, however.


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Overall I'd say that all Alchemists are quite a bit worse than every other class, with Mutagenist in particular being even lower than that. Even the only "viable" build is just doing what everyone else is doing but for (more) limited times per day...

But apart from that glaring difference, I'd say pretty good.

Monks and Rogues seems just slightly "better" but only on sideways upgrades (so, the things they can do is not more powerful, just more)


Another question is, are there still issues with class feature overlap - aka in the playtest some class features would conflict and thus party composition had to be careful not to pick class features or spells that would provide the same bonus types.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Emn1ty wrote:
Another question is, are there still issues with class feature overlap - aka in the playtest some class features would conflict and thus party composition had to be careful not to pick class features or spells that would provide the same bonus types.

I have only really played on a low level so take this with a grain of salt. It is not so much on an individual class level, but it looks like the best groups will want to build synergies into their individual builds. The classes are all very flexible and there are a lot of group synergies you can build, but it is also very easy to come up with a party that all provide the frightened debuff or are all very defensive. I largely view this is a positive thing, but you are going to want to coordinate to be as effective as possible.


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Mellored wrote:
How is the balance between classes?

I think it is probably little early to say. Remember how in the very early days of 3e, there was a concensus that the Monk was overpowered...and that turned out to be slightly off.

_
glass.

Liberty's Edge

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shroudb wrote:
Overall I'd say that all Alchemists are quite a bit worse than every other class, with Mutagenist in particular being even lower than that. Even the only "viable" build is just doing what everyone else is doing but for (more) limited times per day...

Bomber Alchemists have legitimately more utility than martials and similar damage for long enough each day that it's fine. I agree that Alchemist is less impressive than it might be, but I still feel you're exaggerating the degree quite a bit.

Emn1ty wrote:
Another question is, are there still issues with class feature overlap - aka in the playtest some class features would conflict and thus party composition had to be careful not to pick class features or spells that would provide the same bonus types.

All spells, and Bard stuff (since that's also spells), are Status bonuses. Magic Weapon is the only real exception and rapidly overtaken by having magic weapons. Debuffs are mostly the same in that the penalties don't stack, although you can apply penalties to different things, of course.

Alchemist buffs are Item bonuses, and so best used on things that currently lack an Item bonus, though their bonus is one higher than the highest possible permanent item.

Non-spell Class bonuses (like a Barbarian's Rage) are non-typed and thus not a concern in this regard.

So it's less that Classes don't stack, and more that almost nothing stacks, so be careful not to try. More than one dedicated buffing character is probably overkill for exactly this reason, though multiple people being able to layer Haste and Heroism on the Fighter or Barbarian quickly is pretty nasty.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Overall I'd say that all Alchemists are quite a bit worse than every other class, with Mutagenist in particular being even lower than that. Even the only "viable" build is just doing what everyone else is doing but for (more) limited times per day...

Bomber Alchemists have legitimately more utility than martials and similar damage for long enough each day that it's fine. I agree that Alchemist is less impressive than it might be, but I still feel you're exaggerating the degree quite a bit.

problem is, all those math fixers even a bomber has to take to reach that point, a Martial can take actual useful feats that add as much to his utility or combat prowess.

Even outside obvious "mutagenist has no level 1 class feature", "chirurgeon's 1st level feature is basically useless after level 3, and he has no Perpetual alchemy worth talking about" issues, you have to keep in mind that it's the only class that can't attack with its primary stat. The only class that only reaches Expert on all of its forms of attack. The only class that need mandatory feat taxes just to have (some) of his base abilities even work. The only class that has abilities with static and not scaling DCs outside of picking feats to fix that. Etc

I mean, compare a rogue to an alchemist, rogue sneak attack is way higher damage, debilitations are equal or even better debuffs most of the time, and then you compare the rest elixirs with having double skill feats and double legendary skills which, again, is not even a "clear win" for the alchemist, utility wise.

But i've stated my opinion an Alchemists pretty clearly so far, imo 2 archetypes are in an unplayable state, and the 3rd is in "bad but playable" state compared to every other class in the game.

I respect that some of you think that's ok, so no need to argue more on this subject. LEt's not derail the thread to how bad alchemist is once again.

For my tastes, i'm pretty sure that since (imo) it needs almost a complete redesign, I'll have to wait for Unchained Alchemist in like 3-5 years, since Errata can only cover so much.


While I can't say exactly how bad an alchemist is, I will definitely be able to tell you later today after I play my first 2E character.

I played the PFS pregen. It seemed on par with all the pregens, which is to say decidedly mediocre. I think players will be able to capitalize on the dual prepared-spontaneous nature a little better over time and people will see how good the alchemist can be.

If not, my alchemist will charge headlong into battle with a bandolier full of alchemist's fire and hug a minotaur, and my -2002 will be a rogue.


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My experience so far with class balance and design has been pretty similar to a lot of people here. Basically summing up as "everyone's fine, except for Alchemist". We only played until level 4, so this could change in the late game, but I highly doubt it since I can only see more problems with the class later on (like being the only class who has to take class feat taxes to make some of their stuff scale properly).

I had one player who tried to play a Mutagenist and basically gave up and asked me to respec to bomber after seeing how many issues this style has and would have at higher levels, and I have another player in my second game that's playing a chirurgeon. He's doing mostly fine, but his combat options are extremely limited and mostly bad, and it's hard to see something he can do that a Cleric couldn't do equal or better. In a general sense, my feeling (and what I got as feedback from my players) is that the Alchemist pressures the player into filling too many roles at once and not being very good at any of them.

That's my biggest issue in general though, I really love how the other 11 classes read and my players are loving how the ones they picked play out. There are still some smaller issues with janky proficiency scaling and corner cases here and there, but as a whole I'm really loving the classes and can't wait to actually be a player some day (a man can dream).


Mellored wrote:

How is the balance between classes?

Which ones are feel over/under powered?

The game's only been out for a month. It's still too early to tell how the meta will shake out.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

My group of 6 is Thief Rogue, Earth Elemental Sorcerer, Maestro Bard, Crossbow Ranger, Tiger Monk, and Dragon Barbarian.

Overall the Ranger has been performing the worst in combat, but the crossbow build is kinda crap IMO.

The monk has been doing the best in combat. Flurry + Stunning Fist really makes the monk a great Front-liner.

Between those two is everyone else.

The balance feels good overall.


Crodge wrote:
Overall the Ranger has been performing the worst in combat, but the crossbow build is kinda crap IMO.

Is this player rolling poorly, or not utilizing the mobile style, or did they not choose the precision edge?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Crodge wrote:

My group of 6 is Thief Rogue, Earth Elemental Sorcerer, Maestro Bard, Crossbow Ranger, Tiger Monk, and Dragon Barbarian.

Overall the Ranger has been performing the worst in combat, but the crossbow build is kinda crap IMO.

The monk has been doing the best in combat. Flurry + Stunning Fist really makes the monk a great Front-liner.

Between those two is everyone else.

The balance feels good overall.

Is the Ranger running Crossbow Ace + precision edge? With a Heavy Crossbow they should be hitting hard. 1d12+2 +1d8


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I love that this thread is 24 posts long and we haven't yet had anyone suggest a casting class is overpowered.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
I love that this thread is 24 posts long and we haven't yet had anyone suggest a casting class is overpowered.

Not sure that can be considered a positive. Was that the goal of this edition? "Let's make sure nobody will think casters are OP again?", because there's a lot of ways to go about it. They definitely picked... a few of them.


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A few spell nerfs might be an understatement to some.

What is kind of interesting is that the only casting class that was actually compared was the bard, and it was mostly a comparison of how skilled it is compared to rogues.


ChibiNyan wrote:
Not sure that can be considered a positive.

It can be a positive or a negative.

If you think they’ve gone too far, maybe make a thread for the worst class?


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ChibiNyan wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
I love that this thread is 24 posts long and we haven't yet had anyone suggest a casting class is overpowered.
Not sure that can be considered a positive. Was that the goal of this edition? "Let's make sure nobody will think casters are OP again?", because there's a lot of ways to go about it. They definitely picked... a few of them.

Nobody's said that casters are underpowered either - at most there've been some remarks that they take a few levels to get going. Though I imagine you disagree with that assertion.

And yeah, making sure that wizards, clerics, and druids didn't completely invalidate every other class in the core rulebook was one of the goals of the new edition. I'd say they did a good job of it!


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I agree with the hot opinion that the sorcerer is the second-worst class in the game (it does not compare favorably to, say, the bard), while the alchemist is the worst. However, the degree to which the sorcerer is behind the other spellcasters is nowhere as much as the degree to which the alchemist is behind genuine spellcasters; the sorcerer is only a smidge behind the curve.

The sorcerer does get markedly better at 6th, and again at 10th, when they can replace their ofttimes-mediocre (diabolic edict, elemental toss, and maybe, maybe, jealous hex are probably the best of the lot) focus spells with much better standby focus spells.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
Not sure that can be considered a positive.

It can be a positive or a negative.

If you think they’ve gone too far, maybe make a thread for the worst class?

Possibly casters need more experience at hight level play than what we have atm


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I definitely think that's possible.


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Colette Brunel wrote:

I agree with the hot opinion that the sorcerer is the second-worst class in the game (it does not compare favorably to, say, the bard), while the alchemist is the worst. However, the degree to which the sorcerer is behind the other spellcasters is nowhere as much as the degree to which the alchemist is behind genuine spellcasters; the sorcerer is only a smidge behind the curve.

The sorcerer does get markedly better at 6th, and again at 10th, when they can replace their ofttimes-mediocre (diabolic edict, elemental toss, and maybe, maybe, jealous hex are probably the best of the lot) focus spells with much better standby focus spells.

What “hot opinion” are you referring to?

Sorcerers were not referred to as second worst in this thread. Is that somewhere else?


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dmerceless wrote:
My experience so far with class balance and design has been pretty similar to a lot of people here. Basically summing up as "everyone's fine, except for Alchemist". We only played until level 4, so this could change in the late game, but I highly doubt it since I can only see more problems with the class later on (like being the only class who has to take class feat taxes to make some of their stuff scale properly).

The Alchemist feels a lot like a PF1 class - they need to make very specific choices with their class feats in order to match the expected math, while other classes get the math stuff as part of the class's "skeleton" and can instead pick feats that let them do specific awesome stuff. For example, bombers pretty much have to pick Calculated Splash to increase their splash damage to be equal to their Intelligence modifier. Cool story bro, my primal sorcerer's electric arc already adds Charisma to damage, hits two targets, and has a basic save instead of an attack roll (so it basically deals half damage on a miss).

I think the class basically suffers from two issues:

1. Big re-design after the playtest. In the playtest they were heavily connected to the Resonance system, which was nuked and instead they needed something different. The result was a little rushed.

2. Conservative design. Since the alchemist is doing something entirely new, I feel the designers probably low-balled its power level because they were unsure how it would shake out, and didn't want to risk having it unbalance the game. This is similar to how the Sorcerer worked out in D&D 3e.


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Lanathar wrote:

What “hot opinion” are you referring to?

Sorcerers were not referred to as second worst in this thread. Is that somewhere else?

I have seen some anti-sorcerer sentiment elsewhere. I thought to echo it, though I do not think a sorcerer is that much worse-off than the other spellcasters.


From my game I’m DMing the party is at level 14 and consists of a Paladin mc’d to fighter, an imperial sorcerer, a druid mc’d to fighter for AoO and an oracle (basically an angelic sorcerer having different bloodline powers and spells)

From what I’ve seen here the druid is likely the most powerful. We had rolled stats back in PF1 before converting so both him and the Paladin started with 18 str. (This narrowing the prof gap by one between the two) Anyway between all the utility and air damage the primal spells bring along with what wild shape brings the player seems very powerful.

The key thing is how hard he hits in wild shape in comparison to the Paladin here. The wording on wild shape and getting that +2 to hit is really strong. 20 str along with 14 level, 4 prof and a +2 handwraps gives a 25 to hit. 7th level elemental earth form gets you a +27 to hit on 4d10 bludgeoning. (And we’re not applying any dice from the handwraps to elemental form. I’ve seen several different ways of doing this but none seemed balanced. Like adding two dice and making it 6d10 would be obscene. Capping it at the enchant level 3dx also seemed wrong since it would not help earth form but would help air/fire instead)

Anyway the Paladin at the same level. Has the same hit since same math but 2 higher from master in weapons cancels with the 2 from wild shape. However he’s only hitting at 3d12 and not 4d10. He does have more weapon tricks and such but the damage right now is at best a push and he can’t fall back on 7th level spells like the druid.

The sorcs are both fine but don’t have the nasty melee options the druid has. So yeah for me druid is the most powerful so far in my game.


Staffan Johansson wrote:

The Alchemist feels a lot like a PF1 class - they need to make very specific choices with their class feats in order to match the expected math, while other classes get the math stuff as part of the class's "skeleton" and can instead pick feats that let them do specific awesome stuff. For example, bombers pretty much have to pick Calculated Splash to increase their splash damage to be equal to their Intelligence modifier. Cool story bro, my primal sorcerer's electric arc already adds Charisma to damage, hits two targets, and has a basic save instead of an attack roll (so it basically deals half damage on a miss).

I think the class basically suffers from two issues:

1. Big re-design after the playtest. In the playtest they were heavily connected to the Resonance system, which was nuked and instead they needed something different. The result was a little rushed.

2. Conservative design. Since the alchemist is doing something entirely new, I feel the designers probably low-balled its power level because they were unsure how it would shake out, and didn't want to risk having it unbalance the game. This is similar to how the Sorcerer worked out in D&D 3e.

I'm sorry to break it to you but that's not the PF1 design, needing specific feats is part of the d20 model. The only difference between PF1 and PF2 in this regard, is that PF2 did away with most feats that only increased numbers. But, the need to choose things feats accordingly is still very much there.

One other thing is that the Alchemist (from the point of view of coming from PF1) lost a lot of its versatility because of how PF2 classes are structured. Alchemist used to follow the talent model (feats of lvs and talents even lvs), but in the process of conversion they combined both pools and kept the number of choices at 10. Effectively halving their options, this combined with keeping obvious math fixes is what makes it seem so bad compared to the rest.


Arakasius wrote:

From my game I’m DMing the party is at level 14 and consists of a Paladin mc’d to fighter, an imperial sorcerer, a druid mc’d to fighter for AoO and an oracle (basically an angelic sorcerer having different bloodline powers and spells)

From what I’ve seen here the druid is likely the most powerful. We had rolled stats back in PF1 before converting so both him and the Paladin started with 18 str. (This narrowing the prof gap by one between the two) Anyway between all the utility and air damage the primal spells bring along with what wild shape brings the player seems very powerful.

The key thing is how hard he hits in wild shape in comparison to the Paladin here. The wording on wild shape and getting that +2 to hit is really strong. 20 str along with 14 level, 4 prof and a +2 handwraps gives a 25 to hit. 7th level elemental earth form gets you a +27 to hit on 4d10 bludgeoning. (And we’re not applying any dice from the handwraps to elemental form. I’ve seen several different ways of doing this but none seemed balanced. Like adding two dice and making it 6d10 would be obscene. Capping it at the enchant level 3dx also seemed wrong since it would not help earth form but would help air/fire instead)

Anyway the Paladin at the same level. Has the same hit since same math but 2 higher from master in weapons cancels with the 2 from wild shape. However he’s only hitting at 3d12 and not 4d10. He does have more weapon tricks and such but the damage right now is at best a push and he can’t fall back on 7th level spells like the druid.

The sorcs are both fine but don’t have the nasty melee options the druid has. So yeah for me druid is the most powerful so far in my game.

Do Handwraps work in wild shape form? Magic items never used to so I would assume that is the same. If that the case that is -2 to hit

Paladin has scope to do the damage twice - once as a reaction. Which in certain circumstances would mean nearly double damage. Triple with divine reflexes giving an extra reaction for the Champion

Also Earth elemental is pure bludgeoning whereas Paladin can add good damage which in lots of circumstances will be very useful

So in a raw numbers it looks good for an earth elemental druid - but only really if you are talking about a straight stand up knock down toe to toe fight. Which I would have thought shouldn't be too common at level 14


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One nice thing is that it is easy to house rule where you perceive a problem if you aren't happy with stuff. There's a lot of little tweaks you could make to the alchemist for example, such as giving them some class feats for free, letting them make 4 item batches with advanced alchemy, or increasing the item bonus on a mutagenist by 1.


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I mean, I also think Sorcerer is a bit worse off than the other casters, specially at low levels. The main culprit here is their level 1 focus power, of which there is several really bad ones (Lol melee combat) and with which you are stuck with for a good while. This class supposed to be the one to depend on their focus powers the most, but they have the least flexibility on choosing them.


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Lanathar wrote:

Do Handwraps work in wild shape form? Magic items never used to so I would assume that is the same. If that the case that is -2 to hit

Paladin has scope to do the damage twice - once as a reaction. Which in certain circumstances would mean nearly double damage. Triple with divine reflexes giving an extra...

I’m fairly sure it does. I think so because Polymorph says this. “Your gear is absorbed into you; the constant abilities of your gear still functions but you can’t activate any items.” Handwraps give a bonus to unarmed attacks and that is what elementals smack you with.

I’m not sure however how the damage boost from striking runes work. The threads I’ve read here are fairly inconclusive. So far I’ve seen these.

1. They don’t give a bonus (what I’ve gone with)
2. They do give a bonus (so 7th level earth elemental would do 6d10 with a +2 weapon)
3. They allow your form bonus to go up to what your weapon caps at (so if your form did 2d10 and you could do 3dx outside your form would do 3d10. Ive rejected this because it then has a magic item that would not work consistently across options in the same form)

I have allowed the elemental ones to work when wild shaped as well since that to me also seems a “constant” ability.

The champion (technically a redeemer) doesn’t get that much of a damage boost from his reaction. The persistent good is fine and on some enemies it’s been brutal but a lot of the time it’s just 4 damage a round. The enfeebled/stupefied is pretty powerful defensively. Even if he was a Paladin it likely wouldn’t come up every round that the ally would get hit and be in range. I think part of it is the champion isn’t quite sure on what melee options that will give the most damage. I think he’s still trying to find the right balance of feats (blade of justice, power attack, etc) to use to lay the smack down. But right now the druid hits just as hard, has 15 foot reach and can shift back to normal and lay down massive air damage.

Edit: To respond to the later part of the post the forms attacks are magic and yeah in a non straight out knock down fight one is a melee combatant and the other is a full caster with a full primal list. Rather easy to see that druids are still extremely powerful in this edition. (And he’s used most of his feats for his companion)


It is odd that the Druid is still as powerful as that as I thought fixing CoDzilla was a big aim of Pathfinder / this edition

From what you are saying they have removed the C from that term but not the D...

Tough to say in isolation. Have you played up from 1-14? Because a lot of things are very strong but it requires surviving and getting there first. This was more true in 1E of course


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Lanathar wrote:

It is odd that the Druid is still as powerful as that as I thought fixing CoDzilla was a big aim of Pathfinder / this edition

From what you are saying they have removed the C from that term but not the D...

Tough to say in isolation. Have you played up from 1-14? Because a lot of things are very strong but it requires surviving and getting there first. This was more true in 1E of course

if we're not talking about the wildshape but just the spells, wizards can get in on the "being a giant elemental is good now" train as well.


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Arakasius wrote:

We had rolled stats back in PF1 before converting so both him and the Paladin started with 18 str.

The bonus from wild shape is there to compensate the fact that the druid can't start at 18 strength. I think it's the reason of him being too good compared to your champion, maths in PF2 are far more tight than in PF1, a +1 can be a huge bonus.


Dragon Form! One Transmutation spell I am very much looking forward. Now just to find a campaign where I can play it...


Overall folks, the view looks very good from here!


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Arakasius wrote:
I’m fairly sure it does. I think so because Polymorph says this. “Your gear is absorbed into you; the constant abilities of your gear still functions but you can’t activate any items.” Handwraps give a bonus to unarmed attacks and that is what elementals smack you with.

It doesn't work because Polymorph also says this: "If you take on a battle form with a polymorph spell, the special statistics can be adjusted only by circumstance bonuses, status bonuses, and penalties."

Weapon potency runes give an item bonus, which is not one of the listed types you are allowed to increase your bonus with.


Arakasius, I'm pretty sure Striking Runes on Handwraps do not stack with any battle transformations because of this (from the Polymorph trait):

If you take on a battle form with a polymorph spell, the special statistics can be adjusted only by circumstance bonuses, status bonuses, and penalties.

Since the Striking Rune would be altering the statistics (by changing the damage die of the attacks) and they are not a circumstance or a status bonus, my interpretation is that they do not work in that case. Also, from a game design perspective, it would be very odd to have damage die that scale with both the level you cast the form itself AND Striking Runes. For every unarmed attack in the game that's supposed to stack with Striking Runes, it only has one damage die like a weapon (1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d10 or 1d12) and scales with the runes. If any other damage bonuses are added in those cases, they're added via numeric increases, not dice increases.


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Temperans wrote:
I'm sorry to break it to you but that's not the PF1 design, needing specific feats is part of the d20 model. The only difference between PF1 and PF2 in this regard, is that PF2 did away with most feats that only increased numbers. But, the need to choose things feats accordingly is still very much there.

I don't know. I'm playing a sorcerer, and as I'm looking at feats to consider what to choose at higher levels I'm not really seeing any must-take feats. For example, at 2nd level I might take either Dangerous Sorcery for plain damage, Reach Spell because some of my spells have sucky range, or Widen Spell do do bigger AOEs. I could take Counterspell as well, but it seems quite situational. Either of those would be a valid choice, and neither would commit me to a particular path.

But the alchemist pretty much has to take Quick Bomber, or possibly Far Lobber. Same at 4th level, he's pretty much locked into Calculated Splash. And so on.

Back in PF1, if you wanted to play an archer fighter, you pretty much had to take Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Weapon Focus (longbow), Weapon Specialization (longbow), and so on, just to keep up. The PF2 fighter doesn't need that, and can focus on taking some things that give them cool moves with their bow, and quite possibly some that branch out into other fighting styles. The alchemist does not at all feel like they're in the same situation.


Staffan Johansson wrote:
Temperans wrote:
I'm sorry to break it to you but that's not the PF1 design, needing specific feats is part of the d20 model. The only difference between PF1 and PF2 in this regard, is that PF2 did away with most feats that only increased numbers. But, the need to choose things feats accordingly is still very much there.

I don't know. I'm playing a sorcerer, and as I'm looking at feats to consider what to choose at higher levels I'm not really seeing any must-take feats. For example, at 2nd level I might take either Dangerous Sorcery for plain damage, Reach Spell because some of my spells have sucky range, or Widen Spell do do bigger AOEs. I could take Counterspell as well, but it seems quite situational. Either of those would be a valid choice, and neither would commit me to a particular path.

But the alchemist pretty much has to take Quick Bomber, or possibly Far Lobber. Same at 4th level, he's pretty much locked into Calculated Splash. And so on.

Back in PF1, if you wanted to play an archer fighter, you pretty much had to take Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Weapon Focus (longbow), Weapon Specialization (longbow), and so on, just to keep up. The PF2 fighter doesn't need that, and can focus on taking some things that give them cool moves with their bow, and quite possibly some that branch out into other fighting styles. The alchemist does not at all feel like they're in the same situation.

While Calculated Splash is very good, it's not required. By level 20, assuming max Int, it's a 3 point damage increase. When you can get it, it's a 2 point increase on your highest level bombs, and stays that way up until level 20, with it being a 3 point increase on the Perpetual ones.

Is it good for a bomber alchemist? Definitely, in the same way a one-handed fighter wants Dueling Parry. Is it required? I'd say no.

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