Article with Analysis on Casters vs Martials:


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Gaterie wrote:

Fun fact: the system doesn't allow that.

If the scout is stealthy, he won't see the trap. This is how exploration mode works: either you're stealthy, either you look at traps. Do you know how the rules work?

Well, you could enter encounter mode so the rogue can both stealth and search down the corridor of limited length.

Alternatively, the GM is allowed to improvise a new activity (page 498), and alternate Sneak and Seek. Search is already alternating Stride and Seek. All it means is you would move at 1/2 your normal search/sneak speeds, so 1/4 your base speed, and would not cause fatigue.

Edit: Which for a stealthy Elf with a base speed of 40 from Nimble Elf and Fleet, combined with a level 2 longstrider casting is faster than some characters in heavy armor searching.


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Mellored wrote:

I also forgot focus spells...

Ok, so level 5
2 targets (swipe+reach for barb)
+1 to the barb to assume flat-footed half the time.
And 4 force bolts (/2 targets = 2).

(...)

So casters deal more damage if there are only 15 rounds of combat in a day (and 4 rests). And will still have level 1 spells.

Compared to 30 for higher levels... Are low-level days shorter than high-level days?

Side discovery, spell slots scale faster than weapons, focus spells scale slower than weapons (maybe?)

Good findings!

The data we have so far indicate that the damage/hp-of-average-monster is higher at low levels them at higher levels by a reasonable amount, so it is expected that low-level fights end faster.

Since they also have fewer resources to expend, I believe most often the number of encounters that can face each day is also smaller, but I have no data to back it, outside of personal experience, and an overall look at the whole system.

(It is important to know that the designers explicitly said that no metric will exist and that encounters per day should vary as to what makes sense for a given campaign. They said that they will provide estimates on the Master Handbook, but that they are not guidelines or rules.)

Did you use 2 targets for Electric Arc? (There is no *2, but you might have multipled the hit chance.)

We can try to make numbers for level 13 to see scaling. There is many spells at higher levels that cause more them 2d6/spell level, so the scaling is above linear. I believe we will see even better numbers for casters at high levels.

Yet the numbers you presented shows that they are not unviable. Even if it still possible to argue that they are not the best. (Like you pointed, you still have all level 1 spells for utility there.)


Some people mentioned items that boost the caster dmg. What items are available? Haven't looked to much into the caster items and wanted to do some dpr analysis.


puksone wrote:
Some people mentioned items that boost the caster dmg. What items are available? Haven't looked to much into the caster items and wanted to do some dpr analysis.

I personally like dual-wielding wands of manifold missiles. 1 action cast for magic missile, but then you get a free 1 action casting of magic missile every turn after that for 1 minute as long as you are holding the wand. If you have two, you can activate both and get 2 sets of missiles per turn. Or I suppose you could use the full 3 action casting variant on turn 1, and the same on turn 2, but the efficiency falls off that way.

At 11th level, its pretty easy to afford 2 of those wands at the 3rd spell level, so that 4 magic missiles per turn after the first (14 average extra damage per round). Alternatively mix with 2 casting magic on the 1st and 2nd round. The more rounds they're active, the more efficient they are.

Staff of divination gets you potentially a whole bunch of extra castings of true strike for spells that require attack rolls.


Michael Alves wrote:
Did you use 2 targets for Electric Arc? (There is no *2, but you might have multipled the hit chance.)

I just calculated the damage against 1 creature, but it will be the same against the second.

So if you want total damage, just multiply the results by 2.

puksone wrote:
Some people mentioned items that boost the caster dmg. What items are available? Haven't looked to much into the caster items and wanted to do some dpr analysis.

I don't think there is one.

But there are wands that give you an "extra" spell slot. Which can be damage.


Tangential question.

Do higher level creatures have better save features? Like no half damage on a success.


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Michael Alves wrote:
You are underestimating the lower level spells. Like I said in the article even level 1 debuffing spells can be crippling for enemies, and you will have plenty of those at higher levels. (7+?)

The ones that are crippling have the Incapacitation trait, and therefore can't be used with lower-level spell slots. Furthermore, all of them fail vs high-level enemies.


Mellored wrote:

Tangential question.

Do higher level creatures have better save features? Like no half damage on a success.

I can remember a monster having evasion i will go search for it. But i am not sure it's normal...

Edit: Giant Eagle has the evasion ability and makes successes into critical success.

Liberty's Edge

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Mellored wrote:

Tangential question.

Do higher level creatures have better save features? Like no half damage on a success.

Not in the normal course of things like PCs. As oholoko notes, there are at least a few who do, but it's quite rare.


Strill wrote:
Michael Alves wrote:
You are underestimating the lower level spells. Like I said in the article even level 1 debuffing spells can be crippling for enemies, and you will have plenty of those at higher levels. (7+?)
The ones that are crippling have the Incapacitation trait, and therefore can't be used with lower-level spell slots. Furthermore, all of them fail vs high-level enemies.

Command and grease are still pretty solid at high levels.

But for the most part, level 1 spell is going to be true strike, longstrider, and jump. Maybe feather fall.


Gaterie wrote:
Michael Alves wrote:
Just let your best stealth guy go, see trap, back, everyone goes that, disarm, he goes, see trolls, back, everyone kil trolls, he goes, see dragon, back, everyone buff up.

Fun fact: the system doesn't allow that.

If the scout is stealthy, he won't see the trap. This is how exploration mode works: either you're stealthy, either you look at traps. Do you know how the rules work?

This is the same for save: RAW you don't know the weak save of a creature. You can usually see what's his strong save, but not his weak save. eg: why is the weak save of a bear Ref instead of Will? Why is the weakest save of a lich fort instead of Ref? Etc. Usually, to guess the strong save is easy (bears are strong, liches are wise), but you can't guess what's the lowest one.

... And this is the same for a lot of your points: yes, using houserules favoring the casters, and using a very specific wizard build as your definition of "casters" (how can a cleric prepare blast in his highest slot?), while discarding fighters "because they are outliers" and every martial build, and considering the blasts always hit every opponents, and... Then yes: at some point, you've created enough biases and casters = martial.

In actual play, casters < martials.

A rogue with the trapfinding class feat, or any character with the Legendary Sneak feat can do that.


Gaterie wrote:
How can a cleric prepare blast in his highest slot?

Let's check level (rolled a d20..) 3 this time.

I don't see any low level damage spells for cleric... Besides harm...
So 5 casts of magic weapon, and 1 of harm.
Giving the fighter 3 extra rounds, because he doesn't need to spend actions casting, Cleric get's some pre-buff battles, and harm at some point. (10 Cha, since he going with 18 Str).

Fighter 3, 2 attacks a d10 reach weapon.
50% chance to hit, 25% chance to crit + 45% chance to hit, 5% crit.
(.5 + .25*2)+(.45 + .05 *2) = 1.55
1d10+4 = 9.5 * 1.55
= 14.725

Cleric 3
50% chance to hit, 10% chance to crit + 30% chance to hit, 5% crit.
(.5 + .10*2)+(.30 + .05 *2) = 1.1
2d10+3 = 14 * 1.1
= 15.4
+45% chance to hit, 45% chance for half, 5% chance for double, 5% none.
(.45 + .45 * .5 + .05 * 2) = 0.775
2d8 * .775 = 5.425

So with 20 rounds of fighting (17 for cleric)
Fighter = 294.5
Cleric = 275.725

Fighter does 6% more damage.

Edit: Reduced clerics Str to 16, cause there is no way he could keep using weapons as a primary damage at higher level. Still useful for 1 action attack though.


There are some ways for Clerics to get blasts.

1) Sarenrae grants some fire blasts
2) Spiritual Weapon probably doesn't count, and Searing Light at 3 is single-target and meant for fiends/undead (but against them, it rocks!)
3) Gozreh grants Lightning Bolt, Nethys grants Magic Missile.

Those aren't that good, though, except Sarenrae gets a couple goodies to tide her clerics over until they get Divine Wrath and Holy Cascade at 4th spell level / cleric level 7. Then Flame Strike, then Vampiric Exsanguination.

So, they do get some blasts.


Fighter vs Barbairan (rolled d20) level 4.

Fighter
50% chance to hit, 25% chance to crit + 45% chance to hit, 5% crit.
(.5 + .25*2)+(.45 + .05 *2) = 1.55
2d12+4 = 17 * 1.55
=26.35

Barbarian
50% hit, 15% crit + 35% hit, 5% crit
(.5 + .15*2)+(.35 + .05 *2) = 1.25
2d12+4+4 = 21 * 1.25
= 26.25

Level 15.

Fighter
50% chance to hit, 25% chance to crit + 45% chance to hit, 5% crit.
(.5 + .25*2)+(.45 + .05 *2) = 1.55
3d12+5+8 = 32.5 * 1.55
=50.375

Dragon Barbarian
50% hit, 15% crit + 35% hit, 5% crit
(.5 + .15*2)+(.35 + .05 *2) = 1.25
3d12+5+16 = 40.5 * 1.25
= 50.625

So yea. That's about as balanced as you can get.


I doubt that a fighter 15 uses two normal attacks....


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Michael Alves wrote:

TRAP FINDER FEAT ROGUE 1

"Even if you aren’t Searching, you get a check to find traps
that normally require you to be Searching."

Also, do you know that you can: Avoid Notice, go ahead, see if there are enemies, go back if you find them, if a room is clear from enemies, your group comes with you, you change to Search, see if there are traps, if not, you again go to Avoid Notice and scout ahead again.

Do I really need to explain simple details like that?

lol

There are 12 classes, one of those classes is rogue. A standard game party contains 4 PC. So obviously, every party has a rogue with trapfinder - the same way every caster is a generalist wizard with Bond conservation.

Fun fact: most party don't have a rogue.

Fun fact: many rogues don't have trapfinder.

Quote:

Also, do you know that you can: Avoid Notice, go ahead, see if there are enemies, go back if you find them, if a room is clear from enemies, your group comes with you, you change to Search, see if there are traps, if not, you again go to Avoid Notice and scout ahead again.

Do I really need to explain simple details like that?

1/ you go ahead.

2/ you go back.
3/ you search for traps on the path you already took twice.
It makes perfect sense if you don't think about it!

Quote:
All the streams from Paizo developers playing include descriptions for monsters and their actions, and all of them can be used in-game for characters to take their choices of actions.

And again, what part of the description of a bear makes you think they have a better Willpower than Reflex? What part of the description of a lich makes it different from a zombi? Fort is the strongest save of zombis and the weakest save for a lich - and yet, they look exactly the same!

And anyway, who cares? In the Mellored's post which is, according to you, "a good example of what [you were] talking about", the wizard has only Ref spells memorized. Who cares if he knows a lich's weakness if fort, since he can't target Fort?

Quote:
I need to make arguments for each one of the classes now? Do some work yourself please?

lol.

Aren't you the one who want to get paid for a biased article about "casters vs martial" (while it's actually about "wizards vs martial with no class") ?

Pay me, and I'll do your work..


puksone wrote:
I doubt that a fighter 15 uses two normal attacks....

true, but the barb would not either.

I can't do every combo of feats and items.

But I am hardly the owner if math. You can do whatever one you want.


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Mellored wrote:
puksone wrote:
I doubt that a fighter 15 uses two normal attacks....

true, but the barb would not either.

I can't do every combo of feats and items.

But I am hardly the owner if math. You can do whatever one you want.

The thing is, most of the high-level strikes are still not that far from a blank one.

People keep thinking that fighters at level 15 will have some incredible DPR increasing attack, when in fact they don't.

Most feats are situational and not simple DPR gains, and that is what people are not seen.

The biggest dpr gains I can see are from things like Certain Strike, which does some damage on a miss. Whirlwind, that is an AOE, Agile Grace + Two-Weapon Flurry, and etc...

And they don't stack, as they are mostly actions.

I am finishing a new article with a courtier archetype and some feats focused on social encounters, then I will take some time off to try to reach some optimized builds on some levels to make a better analysis.

So far, my problem with doing this is that we still have no community consensus of what are the best builds, feats or anything. So it is hard to call something optimized when we don't have anything to compare it to. But we need to start somewhere I think.


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Michael Alves wrote:
So far, my problem with doing this is that we still have no community consensus of what are the best builds, feats or anything. So it is hard to call something optimized when we don't have anything to compare it to. But we need to start somewhere I think.

It's almost as if they actually ran all the numbers before releasing the product.

Though it starting to seem to me like casters are worse than martials at low level, and better at high level. No where near as lopsided as previous edition, but still there.

For instance, if 2d6/spell level is equal to a fighter damage. But casters start with 15' cone, then a 20' burst, then a 60' cone, then 60' burst, then 4x40' burst. Equal damage, but hitting more people.
They also gain extra utility from their low level slots in addition to all the skills.
While the martials start by hitting one guy, then 2, and maybe a 10' burst. And they need to spend feats to do so.

So my current balance suggestion are..
Small boost to cantrip damage/effect to help casters at low level. (Ray of frost slowing 5 on a failure).
Maritals get +5/10(15?) speed at some level to help with the range increase casters get. I don't think anyone would find it off that a high level warrior could run faster than a low level one. Or a wizard.
Adjust skill boosts so marital get more.

Dark Archive

I think I might be playing a different game than most of the dissenters because I had a blast playing my bard. My initial idea was for a character who buffs and then runs into melee, but after realizing that telekinetic projectile does more damage without having to move, pull out a weapon, or decide if it was better to attack or raise my shield, I just started attacking from afar. Contrary to what I read on forums, the spell casting is great, even early levels. Up until the last fight, my priorities were: inspire courage, keep allies alive, attack, and defend, in that order (at least after the first couple of combats). Honestly, telekinetic projectile did so well, that I rarely used spell slots except to heal. And when I used them, they were for damage: grim tendrils and phantasmal pain, both of which have persistent damage effects on failed or critically failed saves and full damage on a success. Neither felt weak to me even when the boss (level +3) succeeded on my level 2 casting of phantasmal pain. Even with attacking not being a priority, my teammates praises that my damage were crucial to our success as well as the buffs and off-healing (we had a cleric). My only gripes were that I didn’t have a good reflex save damage spell nor any of the elemental damaging cantrips and that telekinetic projectile (according to fantasy grounds) uses dexterity instead of casting stat for attack rolls.

Anyways, great article, and I agree for the most part with your analysis considering my own experience.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

I removed a bunch of posts and replies.


Narxiso wrote:
My initial idea was for a character who buffs and then runs into melee, but after realizing that telekinetic projectile does more damage without having to move, pull out a weapon, or decide if it was better to attack or raise my shield, I just started attacking from afar.

My experience has been kinda similar to yours, but I'm not gonna lie this has frustrated the hell out of me. Feels like no matter how much I invest into weapons the best I really get is something that makes an okay third action after a two action spell, building a 'battlemage' type character is a really steep uphill battle right now.

Abandoning that and just playing a more traditional spellcaster has felt fine.


Gaterie wrote:
Michael Alves wrote:

TRAP FINDER FEAT ROGUE 1

"Even if you aren’t Searching, you get a check to find traps
that normally require you to be Searching."

Also, do you know that you can: Avoid Notice, go ahead, see if there are enemies, go back if you find them, if a room is clear from enemies, your group comes with you, you change to Search, see if there are traps, if not, you again go to Avoid Notice and scout ahead again.

Do I really need to explain simple details like that?

lol

There are 12 classes, one of those classes is rogue. A standard game party contains 4 PC. So obviously, every party has a rogue with trapfinder - the same way every caster is a generalist wizard with Bond conservation.

Fun fact: most party don't have a rogue.

Fun fact: many rogues don't have trapfinder.

Quote:

Also, do you know that you can: Avoid Notice, go ahead, see if there are enemies, go back if you find them, if a room is clear from enemies, your group comes with you, you change to Search, see if there are traps, if not, you again go to Avoid Notice and scout ahead again.

Do I really need to explain simple details like that?

1/ you go ahead.

2/ you go back.
3/ you search for traps on the path you already took twice.
It makes perfect sense if you don't think about it!

Quote:
All the streams from Paizo developers playing include descriptions for monsters and their actions, and all of them can be used in-game for characters to take their choices of actions.

And again, what part of the description of a bear makes you think they have a better Willpower than Reflex? What part of the description of a lich makes it different from a zombi? Fort is the strongest save of zombis and the weakest save for a lich - and yet, they look exactly the same!

And anyway, who cares? In the Mellored's post which is, according to you, "a good example of what [you were] talking about", the wizard has only Ref spells memorized. Who cares if he knows a lich's weakness if fort,...

If you don't have a rogue in your group but you find you need more trap finding ability it would be pretty simple for one of them to pick up the rogue archetype and then at level 4 grab trapfinding. If your party doesn't care to find traps then yes they are going to be slower and less efficient about it. But even then you could have one ally doing the group stealth check and one doing trapfinding so they would gain the benefit of group stealth while still hunting for traps you would just need to coordinate a bit.

oops edit for the last bit I forgot the quiet allies requires everybody to be following the expert.


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Narxiso wrote:

I think I might be playing a different game than most of the dissenters because I had a blast playing my bard. My initial idea was for a character who buffs and then runs into melee, but after realizing that telekinetic projectile does more damage without having to move, pull out a weapon, or decide if it was better to attack or raise my shield, I just started attacking from afar. Contrary to what I read on forums, the spell casting is great, even early levels. Up until the last fight, my priorities were: inspire courage, keep allies alive, attack, and defend, in that order (at least after the first couple of combats). Honestly, telekinetic projectile did so well, that I rarely used spell slots except to heal. And when I used them, they were for damage: grim tendrils and phantasmal pain, both of which have persistent damage effects on failed or critically failed saves and full damage on a success. Neither felt weak to me even when the boss (level +3) succeeded on my level 2 casting of phantasmal pain. Even with attacking not being a priority, my teammates praises that my damage were crucial to our success as well as the buffs and off-healing (we had a cleric). My only gripes were that I didn’t have a good reflex save damage spell nor any of the elemental damaging cantrips and that telekinetic projectile (according to fantasy grounds) uses dexterity instead of casting stat for attack rolls.

Anyways, great article, and I agree for the most part with your analysis considering my own experience.

Cantrips are really nice and reasonable backup things to use but using weapons is still useful. Attacking twice and using one action to use one of the composition cantrips increases your chance of doing some damage on a turn. So going in to melee or using a bow or a sling staff are all perfectly viable for a bard. It is just that if all you want to do is play your bagpipe and do bard magic that is now a perfectly viable option this edition.


Michael Alves wrote:
Mellored wrote:
puksone wrote:
I doubt that a fighter 15 uses two normal attacks....

true, but the barb would not either.

I can't do every combo of feats and items.

But I am hardly the owner if math. You can do whatever one you want.

The thing is, most of the high-level strikes are still not that far from a blank one.

People keep thinking that fighters at level 15 will have some incredible DPR increasing attack, when in fact they don't.

Most feats are situational and not simple DPR gains, and that is what people are not seen.

The biggest dpr gains I can see are from things like Certain Strike, which does some damage on a miss. Whirlwind, that is an AOE, Agile Grace + Two-Weapon Flurry, and etc...

And they don't stack, as they are mostly actions.

Well there are some attack routines like Double Slice, Exacting Strike, and Two-Weapon Flurry (granted by Desperate Finisher) +sneak attack +rage. It does obviously more damage then 3 attacks from a normal fighter.


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Mellored wrote:
Michael Alves wrote:
So far, my problem with doing this is that we still have no community consensus of what are the best builds, feats or anything. So it is hard to call something optimized when we don't have anything to compare it to. But we need to start somewhere I think.

It's almost as if they actually ran all the numbers before releasing the product.

Though it starting to seem to me like casters are worse than martials at low level, and better at high level. No where near as lopsided as previous edition, but still there.

For instance, if 2d6/spell level is equal to a fighter damage. But casters start with 15' cone, then a 20' burst, then a 60' cone, then 60' burst, then 4x40' burst. Equal damage, but hitting more people.
They also gain extra utility from their low level slots in addition to all the skills.
While the martials start by hitting one guy, then 2, and maybe a 10' burst. And they need to spend feats to do so.

Martials start out with feats that give two actions for the price of one, or negate MAP. Later they outright get extra reactions, extra actions per turn, and all manner of passive bonuses that all stack with one another. Caster feats don't provide anywhere close to the synergy or power of Martial feats.


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Strill wrote:
Martials start out with feats that give two actions for the price of one, or negate MAP. Later they outright get extra reactions, extra actions per turn, and all manner of passive bonuses that all stack with one another. Caster feats don't provide anywhere close to the synergy or power of Martial feats.

I have yet to play high levels, and certainly haven't got though all classes, so don't have a full sense of the system, so maybe marital feats > caster feats. But I don't think so. As Michael said, they generally don't stack and most of those extras are pretty conditional.

So, until I find new evidence (like expected rounds per day, resistances, evasion, ect...), I stand by my initial analysis. Casters start of a bit weaker, and grow a bit stronger. If I am wrong, please show me how so I can learn.

But given this was intentionally the case in early D&D, so it's not surprising to see it remain. I tentatively agree with citricking that level 7 (to 14?) seems to be the "sweet spot". Not sure if the devs intentionally included it, or it was just an artifact of sticking to the tradition, but I'm leaning toward the later.

Still, overall, I would say pf2 is the best balanced D&D game. Better than 5e or 4e (though 4e was was not unbalanced martial/caster, warlords and psionics where too strong).


Puksone wrote:
Well there are some attack routines like Double Slice, Exacting Strike, and Two-Weapon Flurry (granted by Desperate Finisher) +sneak attack +rage. It does obviously more damage then 3 attacks from a normal fighter.

Lets see, how would a maximum DPR build that could do that go?

Human ancestry
Human 1 Exacting Strike
Fighter 1 Double Slice
Fighter 2 Rogue Dedication
Fighter 4 Rogue: Sneak Attacker
Fighter 6 Advanced Weapon Training swords (to get Sawtooth saber)
Fighter 8 (optional)
Fighter Combat Flexibility: (optional)
Ancestry feat 9 Multitalented: Barbarian
Fighter 10 Barbarian: Instinct Ability
Fighter 12 Agile Grace
Fighter 14 Two-weapon Flurry
Fighter 15 Combat Flexibility:Desperate Finisher

That is at a minimum level 15 looks like to me. It also really, really focused on damage. Not so much on mobility, ranged or other fancy maneuvers.

Stats would probably something like:
1st Str 18/Dex 12/Con 16/Int 10/Wis 12/Cha 10
15th Str 21/Dex 18/Con 20/Int 10/Wis 18/Cha 10
Fort: +28/Ref: +27/Will: +25

+2 Greater Striking Sawtooth Saber with Flaming and Shock Runes
Attack Sawtooth Sabers: +15+8+5+2=+30, 2d6+1d6F+1d6E+5 Str+8 G spec+2 Dragon Instinct + (2 if 2nd attack) + (1d6 if flat footed)

Or ignoring resistances, 4d6+15 (29)
Flat footed, 5d6+15 (32.5)
2nd attack or later add +2

Lets compare this against level 17 solo boss fights (i.e. level+2 chart) just to get a feel for how easy this is to pull off.

Options on Archive of Nethys list:
Ancient Copper Dragon
Ancient Green Dragon
Banshee
Ice Linnorm
Keketar
Marilith (Pride Demon)
Wendigo

Copper and Green dragons have no particular resistances, although against Green you'll want blind fight. Copper can be nasty with the slow, preventing the combo about half the time. Twisting tail can force the fighter to use 2 move actions to engage in melee, also preventing the combo. There's also the fact that these dragons fly extremely fast. If they don't want to engage in melee, it may be tough to pin them down in the open while they use spells or breath weapons. If the GM customizes their prepared spell list with haste, it can get really ugly.

Banshee has resistance 12 if you don't have ghost touch. Since we've gone for maximum damage, so damage is going to typically be 2d6+1 or 2d6+2. Double slice will mitigate some of that, along with crits, but overall damage output is way down.

Ice Linnorm is weak 15 to the flaming portion + fire dragon instinct, and so takes a lot of damage from this attack routine. However its breath weapon can inflict immoblize, and its pretty fast with a fly speed of 100, so depending on circumstances, engaging in melee may be difficult. Not to mention reach plus AoO.

Keketar has resist precision 10, plus a shifting 25 energy resistance. That drops damage down to 3d6+15 or so. Also fast healing combined with prismatic sphere might cause some problems for melee. Popping in and out of the sphere to cast spells or even blindly striking out of the sphere with reach might make it difficult to melee with this full combo every round.

Marilith seems the most accommodating to simply go up and fight round after round. Although a Marilith can also push her AC up to 44 with defensive strike (still attacking twice). Which means your double slice hits on a 14 or higher, and then your exacting strike hits on a 20, same for the twin flurry.

Wendigos are vulnerable to fire, so melee damage output will be very high. Unfortunately, they're very fast fliers and seem to be designed for hit and grab, and afflicting the party with Wendigo torment in their dreams. Finding them before you go crazy literally might be the hardest part.

So in summary, making this a tiny bit more real, I'm not sure how often you'll be able to use that full combo at level 15 and higher. Certainly against the majority of those bosses I see some potential difficulties reaching the optimal setup.

But just for fun, assuming you do pull it off against an Ancient Green Dragon, and you happen to have a flanking partner or someone else to make the target flat footed (because it doesn't happen naturally in the attack routine):
0.50*(32.5+34.5) + 0.1*2*(32.5+34.5) + 0.25*(34.5+34.5+34.5) + 0.05*2*(34.5+34.5+34.5) = 83.225

Looking at Citricking's tables, for 3 action level+2 flat footed, that is roughly 20% more than the 3 action reach fighter perhaps?

On the other hand, with no build choice other than max spell casting stat (+5) and having the arcane spell list, against that same Ancient Green Dragon, you might be looking at a True Target (7th) and a Polar Ray (8th). Lets give the wizard the benefit of the doubt and somebody made the Dragon flat footed (snagging strike or the like) for them.

So the polar ray with true target against flat footed is 0.4125*45+0.0975*2*45+0.51*34 (drain 2) = 44.67 damage

But also giving the other 3 or more allies a true strike boost on their next first attack which for a fighter is like 30% of their first strike - so we add about 3 * 8-10 = 24-30 more damage. Putting it in the 68-75 damage range. Admittedly only works out to 60 feet. You have to switch over to normal true strike if you want to hit out to 120 feet, which drops damage to 44.67.

For a longer range alternative that also doesn't rely on anyone else, out to 120 feet, a 1 action use of wand of manifold missiles (5th) plus a reflex blast spell like an 8th level fireball. 0.35*56+0.65*28=37.8 for the fireball. If the fight goes to round 4, then single action for the wand is worth 42 damage over the fight. Total expected damage from one turn of actions is 79.8, although only 48.3 is immediate. Of course, I'm not sure what the fighter is doing to get a 120 foot move speed to pull off their damage in the same situation.

If you're trying to hit out to 500 feet, then the wizard is only doing about 37.8 that turn. On the other hand, the previously mentioned fighter build is either doing move,move,move or put sword away, put sword away, draw bow.

Doesn't look terribly unbalanced to me at that level at least.

Fighter damage is going to drop a fair bit if they can't get in position with 1 action. Of course, if the wizard is buffing with haste and debuffing with other spells, the Ancient Green dragon might not actually be flying 100 feet straight up after their breath weapon attack, making that fighter combo more likely to happen.


Another graph compared fighters vs spell damage

Updated the tool to include spells

Dark Archive

kaid wrote:


Cantrips are really nice and reasonable backup things to use but using weapons is still useful. Attacking twice and using one action to use one of the composition cantrips increases your chance of doing some damage on a turn. So going in to melee or using a bow or a sling staff are all perfectly viable for a bard. It is just that if all you want to do is play your bagpipe and do bard magic that is now a perfectly viable option this edition.

They’re a great back up and main source of damage at low levels, especially before striking weapons. I think I was doing higher damage with my telekinetic projectile than I would have with a bow though:

Spoiler:

Against a enemy needing a 10 to hit at level 1:
TP (3.5+5)*.5+(3.5+5)*2*.05=5.1 damage/round
Bow (3.5+1)*.5+ (3.5+1)*2*.05+(5.5)*.05+ (3.5+1)*.25+ (3.5+1)*2*.05+(5.5)*.05=4.825 damage/round
Bow w/lingering performance (3.5+1)*(.5+ 2*.05)+(5.5)*.05+ (3.5+1)*(.25+2*.05)+(5.5)*.05+ (3.5+1)*2*.05+(5.5)*.05=5.55 damage/round

Against an enemy where TP needs a 10 and a +1 striking bow needs a 9 to hit at level 4
TP (7+5)*.5+(7+5)*.1 =7.2
Bow (7+1)*(.5+ 2*.1)+(5.5)*.1+ (7+1)*(.3+2*.05)+(5.5)*.05= 9.625
Bow w/ lingering performance (7+1)*(.5+ 2*.1)+(5.5)*.1+ (7+1)*(.3+2*.05)+(5.5)*.05+(7+1)*(.05*2+.05)+(5.5)*.05=11.1

Bow would look the best after getting the runes, but it doesn’t do so much more damage that I think it’s worth the investment since I used a shield, had multiple damage types with telekinetic projectile, and spent most of my gold on healing potions. Also, damage increases again at level 5. The short bow does have greater range though.


citricking wrote:

Another graph compared fighters vs spell damage

Updated the tool to include spells

Is that 1 target?

Looks like 1 target.


Mellored wrote:
citricking wrote:

Another graph compared fighters vs spell damage

Updated the tool to include spells

Is that 1 target?

Looks like 1 target.

1 target always.

Hilarious thing, electric arc does more expected damage to one target than other cantrips (except telekinetic projectile). And it gets to target two targets…

Casters are fine at low levels because of how overpowered electric arc is. It should really be nerfed.


Hiruma Kai wrote:
Puksone wrote:
Well there are some attack routines like Double Slice, Exacting Strike, and Two-Weapon Flurry (granted by Desperate Finisher) +sneak attack +rage. It does obviously more damage then 3 attacks from a normal fighter.

Lets see, how would a maximum DPR build that could do that go?

Human ancestry
Human 1 Exacting Strike
Fighter 1 Double Slice
Fighter 2 Rogue Dedication
Fighter 4 Rogue: Sneak Attacker
Fighter 6 Advanced Weapon Training swords (to get Sawtooth saber)
Fighter 8 (optional)
Fighter Combat Flexibility: (optional)
Ancestry feat 9 Multitalented: Barbarian
Fighter 10 Barbarian: Instinct Ability
Fighter 12 Agile Grace
Fighter 14 Two-weapon Flurry
Fighter 15 Combat Flexibility:Desperate Finisher

That is at a minimum level 15 looks like to me. It also really, really focused on damage. Not so much on mobility, ranged or other fancy maneuvers.

Stats would probably something like:
1st Str 18/Dex 12/Con 16/Int 10/Wis 12/Cha 10
15th Str 21/Dex 18/Con 20/Int 10/Wis 18/Cha 10
Fort: +28/Ref: +27/Will: +25

+2 Greater Striking Sawtooth Saber with Flaming and Shock Runes
Attack Sawtooth Sabers: +15+8+5+2=+30, 2d6+1d6F+1d6E+5 Str+8 G spec+2 Dragon Instinct + (2 if 2nd attack) + (1d6 if flat footed)

Or ignoring resistances, 4d6+15 (29)
Flat footed, 5d6+15 (32.5)
2nd attack or later add +2

Lets compare this against level 17 solo boss fights (i.e. level+2 chart) just to get a feel for how easy this is to pull off.

Options on Archive of Nethys list:
Ancient Copper Dragon
Ancient Green Dragon
Banshee
Ice Linnorm
Keketar
Marilith (Pride Demon)
Wendigo

Copper and Green dragons have no particular resistances, although against Green you'll want blind fight. Copper can be nasty with the slow, preventing the combo about half the time. Twisting tail can force the fighter to use 2 move actions to engage in melee, also preventing the combo. There's also the fact that these dragons fly extremely fast. If they don't want to engage in melee, it may be...

Good analysis thanks.

In my post I just wanted to give an example that a fighter most likely doesn't use normal attacks and has some dedications.


Experience > Theorycrafting.

Your article is nonetheless appreciated, at least as a quantitative comparison of classes. I think it somewhat misses the point of why casters feel tepid, especially compared to almost every other game in the genre. But many more articulate posters have outlined the problem, which isn't dpr or even save or sucks. Utility and control spells have been removed or badly nerfed. The return of the healbot is just another nail on the coffin.

I've found that I have the most success playing casters like martials, with a few big spells and some support stuff. I haven't played a ton of high level play, however, so I can't speak for this.

But, for what it's worth, experience leads me to say PF2e is a lot of fun. It's just a lower magic system, and that's okay. If you want to play a real wizard play 5e or PF1e.

"There's lies, damn lies, and statstics".


Artofregicide wrote:

Experience > Theorycrafting.

Your article is nonetheless appreciated, at least as a quantitative comparison of classes. I think it somewhat misses the point of why casters feel tepid, especially compared to almost every other game in the genre. But many more articulate posters have outlined the problem, which isn't dpr or even save or sucks. Utility and control spells have been removed or badly nerfed. The return of the healbot is just another nail on the coffin.

I've found that I have the most success playing casters like martials, with a few big spells and some support stuff. I haven't played a ton of high level play, however, so I can't speak for this.

But, for what it's worth, experience leads me to say PF2e is a lot of fun. It's just a lower magic system, and that's okay. If you want to play a real wizard play 5e or PF1e.

"There's lies, damn lies, and statstics".

With this i can agree. Casters tend to be more support, control and damage is a bit nerfed even if it is quite useful.

Thought in my groups casters tend to be a bit more appreciated for being able to do something outside the norm while the non casters do things in the norm.


How easy is it for caster to target a low save?

Seems like it is tough at low levels, since you just don't have enough spells, but what about higher levels?


Mellored wrote:

How easy is it for caster to target a low save?

Seems like it is tough at low levels, since you just don't have enough spells, but what about higher levels?

In my tables is easy enough. I mean ogre? Target ref. Eagle fort due to brittle bones... There's some hard ones like a few demons but mostly you can guess what is the best even without a knowledge check.


oholoko wrote:
Mellored wrote:

How easy is it for caster to target a low save?

Seems like it is tough at low levels, since you just don't have enough spells, but what about higher levels?

In my tables is easy enough. I mean ogre? Target ref. Eagle fort due to brittle bones... There's some hard ones like a few demons but mostly you can guess what is the best even without a knowledge check.

But do you have enough variety of spells to take advantage of it?


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Maybe we should do a quick practice exam?

Let me pick some random enemies and give the answers in a spoiler:

Duergar Bombardier
"An angry, grey-skinned dwarf with a white beard lights the fuse on a bomb and prepares to throw it at you"

Arbiter
"What looks like a tiny spherical automaton approaches you, it has a mean looking sickle for an arm and flies on tiny metallic wings."

Mummy Guardian
"With an unwholesome groan, a humanoid figure lurches toward you, its outstretched arms covered in tattered, linen bandages"

Pegasus
"A beautiful white winged horse rears as you approach, whinnying and kicking with its forelegs in warning."

Triceratops
"A huge dinosaur crashes through the underbrush as it charges at you, two great horns atop its stout, beaked head."

Young Gold Dragon
"A large, gleaming golden dragon sits calmly as you approach, rings of smoke playfully puffing from its snout"

Medusa
"The humanoid figure stands facing away from you, her hair a writhing mass of snakes. She has a bow at the ready."

Anadi
"This humanoid spider is covered in colorful and distinctive markings, it mumbles to itself as it reads from a scroll as you approach"

I'm 6 out of 8 for correctly guessing worst save. I didn't guess the strongest save on the other two.

Answers:

Duergar Bombardier: Fort +7, Ref +8, Will +4

Arbiter: Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +7

Mummy Guardian: Fort +14, Ref +10, Will +16

Pegasus: Fort +9, Ref +11, Will +7

Triceratops: Fort +18, Ref +12, Will +14

Young Gold Dragon: Fort +22, Ref +20, Will +22

Medusa: Fort +15, Ref +16, Will +14

Anadi Elder: Fort +10, Ref +14, Will +16


Got 5 out of 8. So, yeah, not so hard to guess.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
WatersLethe wrote:


Triceratops
"A huge dinosaur crashes through the underbrush as it charges at you, two great horns atop its stout, beaked head."

look at this dummy


Mellored wrote:
oholoko wrote:
Mellored wrote:

How easy is it for caster to target a low save?

Seems like it is tough at low levels, since you just don't have enough spells, but what about higher levels?

In my tables is easy enough. I mean ogre? Target ref. Eagle fort due to brittle bones... There's some hard ones like a few demons but mostly you can guess what is the best even without a knowledge check.
But do you have enough variety of spells to take advantage of it?

Well there's only a wizard in the table, it seems to be more a problem for him that the sorcerer. With heightenen the sorcerer has like 6 options for the 3 level spell compared to the wizard even if heightening tends to be weaker.

The wizard tends to use a staff to complement with an AOE(REF) spell and prepare a will spell. He normally lacks fort spells.


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oholoko wrote:
Mellored wrote:
oholoko wrote:
Mellored wrote:

How easy is it for caster to target a low save?

Seems like it is tough at low levels, since you just don't have enough spells, but what about higher levels?

In my tables is easy enough. I mean ogre? Target ref. Eagle fort due to brittle bones... There's some hard ones like a few demons but mostly you can guess what is the best even without a knowledge check.
But do you have enough variety of spells to take advantage of it?

Well there's only a wizard in the table, it seems to be more a problem for him that the sorcerer. With heightenen the sorcerer has like 6 options for the 3 level spell compared to the wizard even if heightening tends to be weaker.

The wizard tends to use a staff to complement with an AOE(REF) spell and prepare a will spell. He normally lacks fort spells.

Hmm.... well if you have 2/3, that would probably be enough to consider it +1 on average.

Considering I gave +1 I gave melee for their semi-easy flat-footed, seems like we should add that in for casters as well.

Though, that still won't change the overall fact that balance was 15 rounds at low level and 30 rounds at high level. Might shift it to 20/40, but it would still be a scaling difference.


SuperBidi wrote:
Got 5 out of 8. So, yeah, not so hard to guess.

I hit exactly 5/8 as well, and it was always the middle save that I answered. Funnily enough, I flubbed Triceratops, and that's a pretty easy one.


Mellored wrote:


oholoko wrote:


Well there's only a wizard in the table, it seems to be more a problem for him that the sorcerer. With heightenen the sorcerer has like 6 options for the 3 level spell compared to the wizard even if heightening tends to be weaker.
The wizard tends to use a staff to complement with an AOE(REF) spell and prepare a will spell. He normally lacks fort spells.

Hmm.... well if you have 2/3, that would probably be enough to consider it +1 on average.

Considering I gave +1 I gave melee for their semi-easy flat-footed, seems like we should add that in for casters as well.

Though, that still won't change the overall fact that balance was 15 rounds at low level and 30 rounds at high level. Might shift it to 20/40, but it would still be a scaling difference.

I would say it can get better with time. My table is level 5 or so, with time they will get more spells what should make it pretty easy to get more offensive spells as their 6 top slots, or at least debuffs that target different things.

With things like fly and other spells taking lower level slots ^^

Edit: Also just to mention it's so weird to talk about sorcerers being better than wizards at something. In pf1 i always found them worse at everything haha.


Mellored wrote:

Hmm.... well if you have 2/3, that would probably be enough to consider it +1 on average.

Considering I gave +1 I gave melee for their semi-easy flat-footed, seems like we should add that in for casters as well.

Though, that still won't change the overall fact that balance was 15 rounds at low level and 30 rounds at high level. Might shift it to 20/40, but it would still be a scaling difference.

The Flat-Footed argument is kind of flawed, as you also have more covers and concealment if you're martial (many spells go around these 2 statuses).

Also, you didn't take Damage Reduction into account. Casters can vary their energy, martials hardly can.
And to finish, if the best defense the enemy has is AC, martials are doomed. Being able to switch between multiple saves and AC is a blessing.


SuperBidi wrote:
The Flat-Footed argument is kind of flawed, as you also have more covers and concealment if you're martial (many spells go around these 2 statuses).

I haven't seen much concealment or cover for melee attackers. But I'm still at low levels so maybe that increases. Ranged ones, sure. But I didn't evaluate ranged attacks.

Mobility is a fairly big part of the game, but it's hard to put a number on range 100'.

Quote:

Also, you didn't take Damage Reduction into account. Casters can vary their energy, martials hardly can.

And to finish, if the best defense the enemy has is AC, martials are doomed. Being able to switch between multiple saves and AC is a blessing.

Yet another reason for casters to scale faster....

Going to add the +5 speed at level 6 for martial characters. And +10 at level 14.

And I'm trying to figure out a good way to boost low level casters, without boosting them at higher level...


Mellored wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
The Flat-Footed argument is kind of flawed, as you also have more covers and concealment if you're martial (many spells go around these 2 statuses).

I haven't seen much concealment or cover for melee attackers. But I'm still at low levels so maybe that increases. Ranged ones, sure. But I didn't evaluate ranged attacks.

Mobility is a fairly big part of the game, but it's hard to put a number on range 100'.

Quote:

Also, you didn't take Damage Reduction into account. Casters can vary their energy, martials hardly can.

And to finish, if the best defense the enemy has is AC, martials are doomed. Being able to switch between multiple saves and AC is a blessing.

Yet another reason for casters to scale faster....

Going to add the +5 speed at level 6 for martial characters. And +10 at level 14.

And I'm trying to figure out a good way to boost low level casters, without boosting them at higher level...

I tend to compare casters to ranged martials, as it's very hard to take the difference in range into account.

Another important thing is that casters are immune to most conditions. Dazzled? Who cares. You can even circumvent Blinded by healing whoever goes next to you and asks for it. If you get Frightened/Stupefied you can just focus on buff/healing spells. Stun 1 and Slowed 1 doesn't affect you much unless you're badly positioned. Martials on the other hand are affected by nearly all conditions but Stupefied and Deafened.


SuperBidi wrote:
I tend to compare casters to ranged martials, as it's very hard to take the difference in range into account.

Yea, it is. But, for the moment, I am treating it as a range as defense , not offense. For now (IMO/gain of salt/etc), Martials extra HP/reactions = casters extra range.

Quote:
Another important thing is that casters are immune to most conditions. Dazzled? Who cares. You can even circumvent Blinded by healing whoever goes next to you and asks for it. If you get Frightened/Stupefied you can just focus on buff/healing spells. Stun 1 and Slowed 1 doesn't affect you much unless you're badly positioned. Martials on the other hand are affected by nearly all conditions but Stupefied and Deafened.

Hence why I suggest martials getting +5/+10 speed.

Though, looking a bit more, it seem like martials have a fair number of feats to (effectively) give extra move actions. The most blatant being rangers Skirmish Strike, but flurry of blows as literally an extra action. But lots of others let you make 2 attacks in 1 action, effectively giving you an extra move action.

But, I think this bears repeating. PF2, better balanced than 4e or 5e (and obviously, more than 3e/pf1). Any complaints I got here are very minor compared to other editions.

Tangent 2: I think the biggest issue with 4e was they needed a 1/round limit as a basic rule. 3/4 of their errata's was adding 1/round to powers. Also, all the "utility" powers where actually "defense" powers. Would have been really nice if they where true utility. Was still a pretty fun game to play overall.
I also think 5e is boring, too watered down, and an overreaction to 4e. Very nice for some kinds of players, but nothing I could stand for long.
PF2 is easily the best "D&D" game that I've played, so far.
/Tangent.


SuperBidi wrote:
Another important thing is that casters are immune to most conditions. Dazzled? Who cares.

Dazzled does in fact affect spellcasting. If you use ANY targeted spell, you have to roll the flat check. Even Magic Missile.

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