Lack of a Dedicated Spellcaster


Advice


So for my group's current campaign is coming to a close, so we've been looking forward about characters and concepts for our next one. It will be aquatic (homebrew), and we all have come up with some characters that we want to play-

Armiger Fighter
Paladin
Sandman Bard
Swashbuckler
Gunslinger (Me)

As you can see, all we have for spell casting is a bard, so healing is not a very common thing that we will have. Does anyone have any recommendations for how to mitigate this?

A note on the DM for this campaign, he isn't going to try and outright kill us or anything, but if we end up in a situation where we can die, he won't fudge numbers. He is also having us start at level one.

Silver Crusade

Looks like a fun group. You may struggle a bit. In TarkXt's class essay The Forge of Combat, where Sun Tzu to Pathfinder, this is a party of mostly Hammers with one Arm no Anvil. Lack of healing should not be a problem, but lack of Battlefield Control may easily become a huge problem.

For healing just make sure everyone carries a Wand of cure Light Wounds or three, and that several PCs take the Use magic Device skill. Condition removal will be slightly more of a problem. They'll often need to wait for bad conditions to wear off. Hopefully the GM won't add lots of time pressure, because this party will need to take its time.

I suggest the existing PCs do what they can to increase their combined Battlefield Control power, as that's the toughest part of Full Casting to replace. For example, martial PCs mostly project Battlefield Control through using reach weapons and reach tactics. If several PCs wield longspears then the combined groups' passive reach screen will provide significant battlefield control.

Are you set on playing a gunslinger? if not, consider instead something like a Monster Tactician Inquisitor. Still not a dedicated caster, and can be a very effective melee combatant, but Summon Monster provides terrific battlefield control.

Another defensive battlefield control option is for everyone to to have some way to see through fog or smoke (e.g. smog-sighted half-orc) and rely heavily on Obscuring Mist for defensive battlefield control. https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42s0q?Can-someone-explain-Obscuring-Mist-to-me #21Like this. For example, either your bard or another PC could take three levels in Flame Dancer bard and give the entire party fog vision.

Whatever your group does, considering your extreme lack of battlefield control, your group should discuss this situation and figure out a plan. if you walk into your next campaign without discussing or considering this issue then either the GM needs to tone things down else your group may struggle.


Magda Luckbender wrote:

Looks like a fun group. You may struggle a bit. In TarkXt's class essay The Forge of Combat, where Sun Tzu to Pathfinder, this is a party of mostly Hammers with one Arm no Anvil. Lack of healing should not be a problem, but lack of Battlefield Control may easily become a huge problem.

For healing just make sure everyone carries a Wand of cure Light Wounds or three, and that several PCs take the Use magic Device skill. Condition removal will be slightly more of a problem. They'll often need to wait for bad conditions to wear off. Hopefully the GM won't add lots of time pressure, because this party will need to take its time.

I suggest the existing PCs do what they can to increase their combined Battlefield Control power, as that's the toughest part of Full Casting to replace. For example, martial PCs mostly project Battlefield Control through using reach weapons and reach tactics. If several PCs wield longspears then the combined groups' passive reach screen will provide significant battlefield control.

Are you set on playing a gunslinger? if not, consider instead something like a Monster Tactician Inquisitor. Still not a dedicated caster, and can be a very effective melee combatant, but Summon Monster provides terrific battlefield control.

Another defensive battlefield control option is for everyone to to have some way to see through fog or smoke (e.g. smog-sighted half-orc) and rely heavily on Obscuring Mist for defensive battlefield control. https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42s0q?Can-someone-explain-Obscuring-Mist-to-me #21Like this. For example, either your bard or another PC could take three levels in...

Well, I was thinking about a third party race and class for that race that I would use for a grapple build, since I would be able to become larger sizes permanently, and get snatch to use the advanced reach. That doesn't replace battlefield control spells, but it could help.

Thank you for the Inquisitor idea, but I am playing the castiest of casters in my soon to end campaign (homebrewed mystic theruge with cleric and sorcerer), and want to take a break from casting. I many take that up if my current character dies later (much later).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Your party is perfectly workable against standard challenges (what you would find in an AP.) Yes, you would end up weaker then a more balanced tactically designed party, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing for game play. Of course individual levels of optimization matter too.

As Magda mentions, condition removal is an issue you will want to think about as a party. Some of that a Paladin can cover but for the rest the only real option is UMD, probably from the bard although if you went with a mysterious stranger gunslinger and got a trait for UMD you could handle this pretty well yourself, which might be nice since it appears your bard is already taking over the trap disabling role for the group and doesn't have versatile performance for more skills.

Of course almost any class can be built and played for any of the three main combat roles, but I would be surprised if a sandman bard was built primarily as a support character, I would expect battlefield control instead. They are a very 'casty' bard. Given that everyone except the Bard is full BaB, I would expect you do to ok without any support characters as long as you can heal up and remove conditions after fights.


I see no problem with that party. I do believe you should optimize for the setting to minimize the impact of lacking a caster.

For example, the Paladin could go Pearl Diver for archetype, and lose the need to use magic for breathing and underwater mobility.

Similarly, I think archetypes for Gunslinger like Scatter Gunner or Firebrand become more attractive if you lack an evoker.


I think you need to consider what to do with your Gunslinger long term. If you are going to stick with Gunslinger all the way, then plan out your deeds and feats. Then ask yourself how you'll deal with things such as invisibility, flying opponents, regeneration, and other commonly annoying opponents. Focus on getting items to help you overcome situations where you normally rely on casters. You also might look into the Item Mastery feats.

A lot of people multiclass after 5th level. Higher level deeds are interesting, but honestly other classes become more attractive after getting dex to damage. Depending on what second class you go into (or series of classes) you could gain a lot of interesting abilities.

If you went for a Mysterious Stranger Gunslinger, you could do Oracle or Sorcerer for a second class have have decent stats for both. Or you could stick with the vanilla Gunslinger and have good stats for a cleric, or monk. Fighter and any other full BAB classes would be a natural as well. A rather strange idea would be to head into Kinetisist to add energy damage to your gun. That means picking up a channeling enchantment for your gun.

If you like the Item Mastery feats you could do a very strange build where you dip into a bunch of full BAB classes that have fortitude as one of their good saves. If you don't mind being Lawful Good you could be a Mysterious Stranger 5/Paladin 2 that would get amazing saves from your charisma. Then add in more 1 level dips with the goal of getting a base +12 Fortitude save so you're Item Mastery feats are fully powered. If you choose mostly classes that give you 2 good saves you could have an excellent reflex or will save as well.


If by aquatic you mean underwater, any ranged character will have problems. Likewise, breathing underwater will also be an issue. Lastly, 3D combat can get complicated.

Your Paladin can get condition removal. Including Lesser Restoration as a 1st level spell. The Bard can handle the wands of CLW you buy to heal up between fights. The Bard can also do some control by Facinating some enemies, but that may not be effective enough. One or more PCs should invest in UMD, and everyone should have at least one rank. Tanglefoot bags are great debuffs (entangle), and can even pin a target. Invest in magic items. The Specialized Healer's Satchel can really aid poison/disease saving throws, and even restore ability drain. A Page of Spell Knowledge is cheap and expands the spell list. Good for both bards and paladins. Multiclassing can also pay off: one level of Sorcerer or Oracle gets a bunch of low level spells, and no need for UMD on either arcane or divine spell wands. [Although, the bard and paladin have a fair coverage already.]

/cevah


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Having played in one campaign the only spellcaster better than 4-levels, when I was also the only player whose character was willing to spend money on consumable items, I can say that the bard's player may be stressed a bit at times. Possibly to the point of pulling their hair out. Help them out with the necessary consumables, won't you?

Grand Lodge

avr wrote:
Having played in one campaign the only spellcaster better than 4-levels, when I was also the only player whose character was willing to spend money on consumable items, I can say that the bard's player may be stressed a bit at times. Possibly to the point of pulling their hair out. Help them out with the necessary consumables, won't you?

If the other players are unwilling to pay for consumables, it's on them, not the GM.

The combat against what the players want to play, and what the party needs ... As it stands, they will have a hard time dealing with any setup forcing them to adventure or fight with a disadvantage.


Damn, that looks like a dream party for a bard that does not trade Inspire Courage. Anyway, most fun I had GMing is for parties that lack some aspect (like lacking a healer made them rely on heal skill and long-therm care).

Bard with CLW wand should be enough to heal party up between encounters, I am thinking how you gonna deal with creatures with regeneration like trolls (wand of Produce Flame works for finishing them off if you would rather just outdamage the regeneration, but that will need UMD)

The Exchange

DarkPhoenixx wrote:

Damn, that looks like a dream party for a bard that does not trade Inspire Courage. Anyway, most fun I had GMing is for parties that lack some aspect (like lacking a healer made them rely on heal skill and long-therm care).

Bard with CLW wand should be enough to heal party up between encounters, I am thinking how you gonna deal with creatures with regeneration like trolls (wand of Produce Flame works for finishing them off if you would rather just outdamage the regeneration, but that will need UMD)

Dragons breath rounds for the Gunslinger... Alchemist Fires/Flasks of Acid for everyone else... Though Blistering Invective from the Bard would be cool, and boiling blood or cauterizing weapon would be kind of funny...


Fire Dancer wrote:
DarkPhoenixx wrote:

Damn, that looks like a dream party for a bard that does not trade Inspire Courage. Anyway, most fun I had GMing is for parties that lack some aspect (like lacking a healer made them rely on heal skill and long-therm care).

Bard with CLW wand should be enough to heal party up between encounters, I am thinking how you gonna deal with creatures with regeneration like trolls (wand of Produce Flame works for finishing them off if you would rather just outdamage the regeneration, but that will need UMD)

Dragons breath rounds for the Gunslinger... Alchemist Fires/Flasks of Acid for everyone else... Though Blistering Invective from the Bard would be cool, and boiling blood or cauterizing weapon would be kind of funny...

Hmm, didn't realise bard have such a nice selection of spells, tho Blistering Invective only works if you talk their language (but i guess since most of those creatures are trolls one can learn Giant)

The Exchange

DarkPhoenixx wrote:
Fire Dancer wrote:
DarkPhoenixx wrote:

Damn, that looks like a dream party for a bard that does not trade Inspire Courage. Anyway, most fun I had GMing is for parties that lack some aspect (like lacking a healer made them rely on heal skill and long-therm care).

Bard with CLW wand should be enough to heal party up between encounters, I am thinking how you gonna deal with creatures with regeneration like trolls (wand of Produce Flame works for finishing them off if you would rather just outdamage the regeneration, but that will need UMD)

Dragons breath rounds for the Gunslinger... Alchemist Fires/Flasks of Acid for everyone else... Though Blistering Invective from the Bard would be cool, and boiling blood or cauterizing weapon would be kind of funny...
Hmm, didn't realise bard have such a nice selection of spells, tho Blistering Invective only works if you talk their language (but i guess since most of those creatures are trolls one can learn Giant)

LOL! most of my bards actually take tongues, or at least carry a scroll of it. And I could easily see the bard in this group carrying a scroll of cauterizing weapon. This would let the Martial Types really shine while still putting the troll down.

I don't know the Sandman Archetype, though several of my Bards are Flame Dancers (as Fire Dancer is), so at higher levels they get several Fire spells (burning hands, flaming sphere, fireball) as bard spells.

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