Investigator combat options feel lacking


Investigator Playtest

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I figure a lot of people are going to jump into this thread and immediately assert that the Investigator shouldn't be a combat focused class.

Okay. Fine. I'm not arguing they should be, but regardless combat is a big part of PF2 so I think it's relevant to talk about.

PF2 has done some cool stuff with action economy and it's given a lot of classes some really unique alternate attacks or abilities they can use in combat, either innately or via feats.

The Investigator has none of these and as a result their combat routine doesn't feel great. You study an opponent, then you hit them for sneak attack dice (better than sneak attack dice after level 9, but only by a bit).

I really think it would be thematic for the investigator to have some debuffs or battlefield control type abilities. As it stands right now it just kind of feels like... a budget rogue in combat.

It's not bad, just... a little bit boring and at least to me doesn't really make me feel like a clever combatant with an emphasis on studying my enemy and employing superior tactics. You just punch people hard sometimes.

Liberty's Edge

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I agree with this, but think these options should probably be Feats. The current chassis seems fine for a non-combat focused Investigator, but allowing some Class Feats for inflicting debuffs seems a very solid option.

A combatively focused Field also seems like a nice idea, one getting a 1st level Combat Feat of the sort suggested above, plus Medium Armor, plus the ability to Studied Strike with Simple Weapons...a Ruffian Rogue equivalent. I think this'd be fine as a 'Gumshoe' (Noir Protagonists tend to be a bit on the fightier end), personally.


Oh I definitely feel like they should be feats, yeah.

Like, Fighters, Rangers and Barbarians have a number of feats that give them new ways to attack enemies. I'm imagining stuff like that, only with an emphasis on support like battlefield control and debuffing instead of damage.

Like I said, as written the Investigator isn't bad at all, but at least for me being able to throw sneak attack dice on my next attack by making a Wisdom check doesn't make me feel all that studious or tactical. Raw damage isn't all that interesting and it ends up being really close to what Rogues do. I know Investigator was a Rogue hybrid in PF1 but I feel like there's just a lot more room to do more with it in this game.


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Here's an idea: make the Investigator legendary in class DC and give the class buff/debuff tools that scale off of that. That solves the Intelligence problem, too.


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One thing to consider is that Paizo already knows how to make and balance combat feats quite well and so could have left them out of the playtest on purpose since it's so short. It's already been noted by some that the Investigator feats we did get are a lot more open and narrative-based than most existing PF2 feats. Since they're so different from what they've already done they are most likely the ones Paizo wanted to focus on.


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Interestingly one thing I"m doing and looking at doing is Alchemist Dip for the bombs.

Investigators get far better profiencies (and weapons) than Alchemists anyway, and they get their own Elixir set up, so I can use most of that dip on bombs.

Bombs are martial weapons as well, and apply debuffs on hit. They are a ranged weapon. So they are valid for Studied STrike.

So. My Investigator (who is literally just my current Alchemist/Pathfinder agent, but seemingly far better) I'm building now will be better at using the Bombs. Will be able to apply the bomb debuff more reliably, the damage will keep up fairly well for direct hits via the Studied damage. Will likely use Shuriken with studied strike when not using a bomb. For a while anyway. Then I might look int oa different weapon (Aklys seem a lot of fun but profiency shenanagans)

Will have all the utility of an investigator, while having expert faster-and master (alch never gets). So feels like really best of both worlds. Only thing I'll miss will be Sticky bombs/pepetual bombs. Which is where most of my damage from my Alch comes from. Pepetual sticky lightning bombs/ice flasks. but shuriken's might hit fairly reliably and do decent damage with the boosts.

The second issue is the splash damage-I can't focus it like a bomber.. But functionally I can basically use my Lvx2 reagents on just the bombs. Which, will be lower level bombs so the splash damage won't hurt my allies that much. Who I can then heal after (or during) via Medicine Checks because I have a lot of skills I can use.

So unless I"m missing something, it seems like you could apply a fair few debuffs/damage through this method.

Granted this is basically using the INvestiagor as a chasis to build a combat style.. but it is a option anyway.
The Investigator feels like the Alchemist, its a great chasis f or building a multitutde of combat methods. Though Investigator feels 100% better at it, due to the variety of skills (and the unprofieincy skills/untrained trained attempts), and the higher profiencies.

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Basically I think while the chasis itself doesn't have any explicit thing to it, I think it makes a great foundation for many different ways.
Unless I"m missing something (it is midnight after all)


As above, with most of the feats of the Investigator being focused around exploration, if one wants to make a more "combat focused" Investigator, they could pick up the Alchemy field and multiclass into a martial class and spend their feats into more combat feats through there.

I would like debuffs on studied strike, but after thinking it a bit more, I think it would then very closely copy rogue Debilitations.

They already are very similar as classes, but I feel there is a clear distinction of rogue being better/having more options in combat, while the investigator being better/having more options in exploration.

Liberty's Edge

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Zwordsman wrote:
Interestingly one thing I"m doing and looking at doing is Alchemist Dip for the bombs.

This is fair enough, I suppose, though you never get above Trained in bombs. But multiclassing shouldn't be the only way an Investigator can focus on combat, y'know?

shroudb wrote:
As above, with most of the feats of the Investigator being focused around exploration, if one wants to make a more "combat focused" Investigator, they could pick up the Alchemy field and multiclass into a martial class and spend their feats into more combat feats through there.

Again, I really don't think multiclassing should be necessary to focus on combat as an Investigator.

shroudb wrote:
I would like debuffs on studied strike, but after thinking it a bit more, I think it would then very closely copy rogue Debilitations.

Yeah, that might be too close.

shroudb wrote:
They already are very similar as classes, but I feel there is a clear distinction of rogue being better/having more options in combat, while the investigator being better/having more options in exploration.

I don't disagree with that, but the respective chassis already do that even ignoring Feats, so comparable combat Feats would not effect this dichotomy. A Feat that let you count your Studied target as Flat Footed would neatly mirror Dread Striker, for example, and be a serious combat buff.

Spamotron wrote:
One thing to consider is that Paizo already knows how to make and balance combat feats quite well and so could have left them out of the playtest on purpose since it's so short. It's already been noted by some that the Investigator feats we did get are a lot more open and narrative-based than most existing PF2 feats. Since they're so different from what they've already done they are most likely the ones Paizo wanted to focus on.

That's totally fair. I'd be unsurprised if that were true. But that said, if we don't comment on it and they weren't already planning on it (or maybe even if they were...a complete lack of anyone noting this might be seen as nobody being interested in it), then we may not get such a thing.

Dark Archive

For my money, multiclassing to Ranger for Hunted Shot makes for a pretty good Shortbow build. On the turn you need to apply Hunt Target and Study Suspect you'll still have 2 attacks, and on following turns Hunted Shot basically pays for Study Suspect's action cost. Plus the bonus range and skill bonus are nice.


Squiggit wrote:
I figure a lot of people are going to jump into this thread and immediately assert that the Investigator shouldn't be a combat focused class....stuff

Based on just reading the class, I have the same intuition and think this is spot on.

Quote:
I really think it would be thematic for the investigator to have some debuffs or battlefield control type abilities. As it stands right now it just kind of feels like... a budget rogue in combat.

I completely agree with this. However, like the Ranger, I wanted these things to arise from the actual feats that were part of the class' narrative, rather than being forced to decide if I want combat viability or be able to do my thing as an Investigator.

As we talk about this, I feel like this is the hurdle for the class. I like that the class is not combat focused. I fear adding a Combat build option creates a bunch of problems and undermines the cohesion of the class. But, as you opine, Study Suspect does not seem satisfying when you consider STR and DEX are not primary stats and the class is dealing with simple weapons.

I'll keep repeating this: Give the class proficiency in a whip and at least you now have a lot of support options: trip, disarm, non-lethal damage.


Whips really aren’t very Investigator-ish weapons, nor do they make much sense to be doing precision damage with.

But, I’m fine with the idea that if you take an Investigator and decide to focus more on fighting, what you get is a Rogue.


I mean there are a lot of fantasy scifi tropes of investigators from the 80s-2000s who use whips.

Indian Jones is arguably an Investigator over a Rogue, he isn't very decietful (and when he tries he fails. badly). he identifies literally everything too. Has several degrees (or at least one I forget atm). His main weapon is a whip.

There are several castlvania characters who are just smart-not highly strong or durable, who use their brains but uses the family whips. Morris family members being one that occur semi frequently. (Belmonts tend to be strong first, smart after, not dumb though).

There were more than a few bad guys in some games, and anime, that use whips and are just cruel, but outplayed the "good guys" in various ways by figuring out who they are exactly.

There was also the bad guy from the 90's animated Highlander cartoon. Who was actually a whip wielding Investigator--but boy thats na obscure one no one but me will probably remember. Also he was a very bad investigator think he die falling off one of the super tanker vehicles..?

There are numerious cinema/games where the whip user is precise enoug hto take someone's ear or eye off, or to pull the weapon from the enemy's sheath before they have a chance to draw it-or hit a button on a console etc.

We're generally talking fantasy/scifi tropes.
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effectively what I"m going at is that Whips are in trope, to be precision weapons meant to do two things. Either be a torture weapon, or to combat things much scarier than you while maintaining your distances and providing you a reach advantage.
These fall in line pretty well with many tropes. and mechancially is probably one of the better weapon for dex baed melee Investigators
(and melee Alchemists actually-who I really do wish they got better weapon choices like investigators. but neither here nor there)
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combat investigator isn't really just a rogue, given the differences in their combat abiltiies (the extra damage dice and how they're used). I could see two in the same game without much combat narritive overlap.


Zwordsman wrote:


There are numerious cinema/games where the whip user is precise enoug hto take someone's ear or eye off, or to pull the weapon from the enemy's sheath before they have a chance to draw it-or hit a button on a console etc.

Yes, thank you. The whip is absolutely a precision weapon. The most important thing about it is that it provide utility in combat for a class that is never going to be a main damage dealer.


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QuidEst wrote:


But, I’m fine with the idea that if you take an Investigator and decide to focus more on fighting, what you get is a Rogue.

I'm really not. It just kind of adds to the notion some people have put forward as to whether or not the Investigator even deserves to be a class.

I know it started out as a rogue-alchemist mashup in 1e, but they did a decent job downplaying the alchemy component in 2e. I don't see why they couldn't do the same for the rogue component too.


Squiggit wrote:
I know it started out as a rogue-alchemist mashup in 1e, but they did a decent job downplaying the alchemy component in 2e. I don't see why they couldn't do the same for the rogue component too.

Narratively, I think the rogue component is far more complementary. One of the main challenges for the Inv is the same problem that plagued the Ranger: nerfbat.

The PF2 Ranger showed me that Paizo wanted these theme classes to have a LOT less agency and effectiveness. This is compounded by the tight math. There's like no breathing room with these theme-based classes. You have to pick one or two things you're going to do and that's it. Building legacy classes has more of a feeling of sacrifice than growth.

The PF2 INV feels far more cohesive to me than say the Ranger. Yes, I'm losing the entire branch of alchemy, but at least I really feel like I'm an investigator. The Ranger does not feel anything like a traditional or conceptual ranger, it's just as you say, a Fighter variant.

Grand Lodge

Great ideas here! Investigator should get more Feats that enhance the FLAIL weapongroup. :)

There should be at least one feat every 4 levels that can upgrade and/or alter your Studied Strike and Study Suspect.


Varun Creed wrote:

Great ideas here! Investigator should get more Feats that enhance the FLAIL weapongroup. :)

There should be at least one feat every 4 levels that can upgrade and/or alter your Studied Strike and Study Suspect.

That's too much imo.

You have a class chassis that excels in out of combat situations and is at least decent, but bland, in combat situations.

You even already have a unique combat action and can get a unique combat reaction pretty early on.

There's no need to turn the Investigator into a master of combat as well.

1-2 more options in the whole feat tree are more than enough imo, probably something leveraging his high knowledge like the ranger Monster Hunter feat line imo.


Maybe some debuff that has to do with hitting them in a soft spot after finding the weakness?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I like the idea of the investigator having something unique to do in combat. Some pros and cons of various proposals:

1. (Playtest): Add a static damage bonus to studied targets. CON: This seems pretty similar to Sneak Attack.
2. Add a debuff to studied targets. CON: This seems pretty similar to the Rogue’s Debilitating Strike.
3. Add both damage and debuffs. CON: This is even more similar to the Rogue’s Debilitating Strike.

It would be nice to have something which is more mechanically distinct.

4. One thought, suggested by Mellored in another thread, is to allow Investigators to spend multiple actions studying to “build up” Studied Strike effects over time. This might take the form of an increasing attack bonus, or an increasing damage bonus, or an increasing debuff (or increasing number of debuffs). Alternatively, one might allow investigators to get benefits from prolonged study by increasing the number of these effects (each round allows them to either add a damage bonus, or an attack bonus, or a debuff).
5. A different way to play off of the “Investigators get better as they spend more time studying a subject” idea is to use something like the PF1 Inquisitor or SF Solarian model. Perhaps each round of study increases the benefits the investigator gets against a given target for the rest of the fight. Or perhaps each successful attack lets the investigator learn more about the subject, and increases their bonuses against it.


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Porridge wrote:

I like the idea of the investigator having something unique to do in combat. Some pros and cons of various proposals:

1. (Playtest): Add a static damage bonus to studied targets. CON: This seems pretty similar to Sneak Attack.
2. Add a debuff to studied targets. CON: This seems pretty similar to the Rogue’s Debilitating Strike.
3. Add both damage and debuffs. CON: This is even more similar to the Rogue’s Debilitating Strike.

It would be nice to have something which is more mechanically distinct.

4. One thought, suggested by Mellored in another thread, is to allow Investigators to spend multiple actions studying to “build up” Studied Strike effects over time. This might take the form of an increasing attack bonus, or an increasing damage bonus, or an increasing debuff (or increasing number of debuffs). Alternatively, one might allow investigators to get benefits from prolonged study by increasing the number of these effects (each round allows them to either add a damage bonus, or an attack bonus, or a debuff).
5. A different way to play off of the “Investigators get better as they spend more time studying a subject” idea is to use something like the PF1 Inquisitor or SF Solarian model. Perhaps each round of study increases the benefits the investigator gets against a given target for the rest of the fight. Or perhaps each successful attack lets the investigator learn more about the subject, and increases their bonuses against it.

If we're to replace the whole Studied Target as it is in the playtest, maybe something like this would be interesting:

Studied Strike:
1 action: Attack, Flourish Tags
You study your target's reactions to your attacks, searching for weak spots. Make a Strike. If you hit and deal damage you gain +1 circumstance bonus to Strikes against the target for 1 minute. Increase this bonus by +1 (maximum to +3) for each additional succesful Studied strike.

Solved:
Free action. Trigger: You hit a target with studied strike but haven't rolled damage yet.
You decided to capitalize on your opponent's weak spot. Add 1d6 precision damage for each +1 circumstance bonus the attack had. Reset your circumstance bonus against the target to +0.

Then, instead of flatly adding damage at 4,9, 13, etc, make a list of "upgrades" for the Solved free action. Like
+1d6 precision damage if you had at least +2 circumstance bonus (can be picked as many times as you want)
5ft speed status penalty if you had at least +2 circumstance bonus (can be picked once)
Enfeebled 1 if you had at least +2 circumstance bonus (can be picked once)
Stupefied 1
etcetcetc


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Porridge wrote:


1. (Playtest): Add a static damage bonus to studied targets. CON: This seems pretty similar to Sneak Attack.
2. Add a debuff to studied targets. CON: This seems pretty similar to the Rogue’s Debilitating Strike.
3. Add both damage and debuffs. CON: This is even more similar to the Rogue’s Debilitating Strike.

well, i think it should be 2, except bigger and badder debuffs, with maybe effects even on a success, and no extra damage. this way he can still do things in combat that can change how it goes, while using int and not be a damage dealer.


Maybe you could even sacrifice damage for an even bigger debuff on studied targets? Would that be cool?


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Debuffs are really pretty good in this edition. Having a character who is more focused on debuffs in combat whereas a rogue is more focused on damage sounds reasonable to me and fits the theme; an investigator would focus more on capturing people alive than outright sneak attacking them to death


Perhaps instead of directly boosting the investigator's damage, Study suspect could work as a support ability like inspire courage. If it granted the attack bonus to all of your allies next attack instead of just yourself it would be a pretty strong option. Something like, "you may grant this bonus to all of you allies by adding the auditory or visual trait as you single out that creatures weak points". This conflicts a little bit with Known Weaknesses which allows you to do that on a a critical success knowledge check, but if the bonus was just baseline it would setup investigator from the rogue as a more support oriented option.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah. I'm pretty okay with the combat chassis as it is, except I do think they need to lean a bit more into a supportive role. Buff allies, debuff enemies, I'm not sure what would work the best. But they currently feel completely underbuilt in combat to the point of feeling like a bystander while they wait for their friends to move the campaign along to skill checks instead.


I think I'd prefer Investigators to buff allies, studying and explaining is nice to me.
but part of me is because I want Alchemists to be the "debuff" class via the bombs.(though they have issues with that due to low to hit situation).


Debuffing is probably too broad a concept to be owned by a single class. All casters can debuff efficiently and I don’t see a problem with letting Investigators do it too.

Alchemists can both buff and debuff, their specialty is their ability to mass buff and debuff.


Henro wrote:

Debuffing is probably too broad a concept to be owned by a single class. All casters can debuff efficiently and I don’t see a problem with letting Investigators do it too.

Alchemists can both buff and debuff, their specialty is their ability to mass buff and debuff.

given that everything an alchemist does is single target, i wouldn't say "mass" buff/debuff is their specialty at all. Like, most casters are better at mass buff/debuff compared to an alchemist.

If one class was the true king of both mass and single target buff/debuff, that's the bard.


Henro wrote:
Maybe you could even sacrifice damage for an even bigger debuff on studied targets? Would that be cool?

I think giving the Inv some debuffing options is a great way to go. I think we might start a separate thread just on brainstorming it. However, the challenge is the PF2 paradigm is so exceedingly spartan when it comes to baked-in agency. This is even more true when you have a Methodology that has it's own sets of debuff potential. Still, of all the proposed combat ideas, I think this one has the most traction.


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So I think it's worth considering the inspiration for the whole class- Sherlock Holmes. There's actually a surprising amount of fisticuffs in Doyle's stories and what makes Holmes good at fighting? He's very good at reading his opponent so he both knows what they're going to do (so he can dodge it) and he knows right when and where he can hit you. He's not especially active (Holmes actively avoided expending energy unless he had to), but he knows where you'll be so as to not be there.

So I kind of like the "combat style" for an investigator being "spend multiple actions evaluating your opponent (during which time you're harder to hit) and then picking your spot and hitting them in an especially damaging way.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

So I think it's worth considering the inspiration for the whole class- Sherlock Holmes. There's actually a surprising amount of fisticuffs in Doyle's stories and what makes Holmes good at fighting? He's very good at reading his opponent so he both knows what they're going to do (so he can dodge it) and he knows right when and where he can hit you. He's not especially active (Holmes actively avoided expending energy unless he had to), but he knows where you'll be so as to not be there.

So I kind of like the "combat style" for an investigator being "spend multiple actions evaluating your opponent (during which time you're harder to hit) and then picking your spot and hitting them in an especially damaging way.

they have that reaction where the opponent has to attack vs your Perception DC instead of your AC, which is very much the flavor of what you're describing, defensively wise.


shroudb wrote:
they have that reaction where the opponent has to attack vs your Perception DC instead of your AC, which is very much the flavor of what you're describing, defensively wise.

Unfortunately that compounds the problem of "wisdom is more useful to investigators than intelligence" but a stance where you use an Int-based DC in place of AC as long as you have not moved would also work.


You know, I really like the idea of adding int to AC, instead of Dex. Just don't allow it for MC. That's totally something I would support


shroudb wrote:
(Studied Strike Overhaul)

I really like this idea. It's far more reminiscent of how the Investigator fought in PF1 with Timed Strike.


shroudb wrote:
(Studied Strike Overhaul)

Nanja'd! I had very similar thoughts, and was just scrolling through the thread to see if anyone had made such a post. I think that shroudb's changes to studied strike massively improve the ability because:

1.) It makes studied strike feel remarkably more like its own ability rather than being "the investigator's sneak attack".
2.) It is much more interesting as a damage ability because of gauging how close your enemy is to defeat. i.e. against a foe with infinite hp you would always solve at +3, but hmmm, that guy's looking a bit wobbly and I'm only at +1...
3.) "Solved" is a freaking fantastic name.

I have concerns about bloating the list of class feats, but I would like some of the additional effects at 5th, 9th etc. to be specific to one's methodology. For example, the empiricist can calculate at their current bonus whether they kill the target with an average damage "solved", the alchemist can strike the right spot with a poisoned weapon to penalize the target's save, and the forensicist can either apply bleed or obfuscate the cause of death. e.g. you killed the target with a "solved" attack with a rapier, but someone who sees the body falsely concludes they were killed by a vampire!


Hm. Would it be worth 1 action (consider it an "upkeep" or sustain effect) to keep a Study going, which gives you AC/To hit (circ bonus I imaigne). so it would be a standing bonuses, at the cost of an action. That way the bonuses could be more solid/useful as the cost is consistent.

I realize that more or less would just alter it simliar to Hunt Target though.

Grand Lodge

shroudb wrote:
Varun Creed wrote:

Great ideas here! Investigator should get more Feats that enhance the FLAIL weapongroup. :)

There should be at least one feat every 4 levels that can upgrade and/or alter your Studied Strike and Study Suspect.

That's too much imo.

You have a class chassis that excels in out of combat situations and is at least decent, but bland, in combat situations.

You even already have a unique combat action and can get a unique combat reaction pretty early on.

There's no need to turn the Investigator into a master of combat as well.

I'm not saying master of combat, but some variation. :)

Sovereign Court

I'm not so happy with the current feat setup because most of the investigator feats seem geared around out of combat things. I don't think that's a healthy design, because it sets people up to be lackluster in combat, and that means that a substantial part of most game sessions someone is going to be lackluster (either the investigator, or the combat-focused characters if the session is mostly noncombat). So what I'm saying is, class feats are mostly used for action scenes/combat, while out of combat stuff is more served by skill feats. But the investigator tramples that paradigm.

While I reveled in the brutal power of the PF1 investigator, I don't know if we need that back. I would like investigators to have a useful, but unconventional approach to combat. Some ideas:
- Whips, but with several feats to let you grasp objects, swing from the ceiling beams, interfere with people doing stuff in reach and so forth.
- Capture oriented tactics over killing
- Strongly focused on analyzing enemies and exploiting the information. Maybe the ability to on the fly add traits to weapons that work on enemy weaknesses/circumvent resistances.
- Maybe even an ability to "infer weakness", giving a damage boost against a monster for a weakness that you just "deduced", that isn't necessarily already in the statblock.
- High mobility: while the fighter is duking it out in melee, the investigator is running around and freeing the prisoners.
- Running mind games against enemies
- Predicting enemy plans


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Ascalaphus wrote:
I'm not so happy with the current feat setup because most of the investigator feats seem geared around out of combat things.

Funny, I love this aspect of the class and it is exactly what I think they should have done with the other theme-based classes. I don't want to have to chose between being an Investigator and being able to contribute in a fight. This is what totally undermines the Ranger, imo.

But then there is a problem...

Quote:
I don't think that's a healthy design, because it sets people up to be lackluster in combat, and that means that a substantial part of most game sessions someone is going to be lackluster (either the investigator, or the combat-focused characters if the session is mostly noncombat).

I definitely agree that there is this potential problem. I think it's actually more manifest in the need to boost INT/WIS leaves one with little left over for combat.

As I see it, this is an inherent problem with PF2's approach. The class "features" no longer contains the tools to fulfill the narrative functionally and you're having to use class feats. This was sold to us as "customization."

Quote:

While I reveled in the brutal power of the PF1 investigator, I don't know if we need that back. I would like investigators to have a useful, but unconventional approach to combat. Some ideas:

- Whips, but with several feats to let you grasp objects, swing from the ceiling beams, interfere with people doing stuff in reach and so forth.
- Capture oriented tactics over killing
- Strongly focused on analyzing enemies and exploiting the information. Maybe the ability to on the fly add traits to weapons that work on enemy weaknesses/circumvent resistances.
- Maybe even an ability to "infer weakness", giving a damage boost against a monster for a weakness that you just "deduced", that isn't necessarily already in the statblock.
- High mobility: while the fighter is duking it out in melee, the investigator is running around and freeing the prisoners.
- Running mind games against enemies
- Predicting enemy plans

Yes, I like many of these suggestions. I fear that there is no way these will come for free and we will have to be give up thematic functionality to get combat functionality.


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Investigator does exactly what I want- hands me a “good enough” combat chassis and spends most of its design space on investigative abilities.


QuidEst wrote:
Investigator does exactly what I want- hands me a “good enough” combat chassis and spends most of its design space on investigative abilities.

For me my main complaints aren't really whether it's good enough or not (although I'm not really convinced that sneak attacking once per round on a class with a lagging attack stat actually is much to write home about).

It's just that what we get right now doesn't feel very exciting. In play the combat routine ends up feeling kind of stale and inflexible which doesn't feel super investigator-y and I think there's a lot of opportunity to allow them to do more interesting things in a fight instead.

At the very least this weird stapled together mix of rogue and ranger combat features doesn't do a lot to help the Investigator stand out as a unique class.

I guess you don't throw away all of your offensive capabilities like an Outwit ranger does at least.


Squiggit wrote:
For me my main complaints aren't really whether it's good enough or not (although I'm not really convinced that sneak attacking once per round on a class with a lagging attack stat actually is much to write home about).

You know, up until now I was basically agreeing with this. But then I took another look at Study Subject and Study Strike, and now I think I get it.

The thing with Study Subject and Strike is that it's got a high beta. In other words, it could be useful not only every round, but every attack on every round.

If I am reading Studied Strike correctly, if you crit succeed, then your'e getting 1d6 precision on both subsequent attacks.

hmm....I don't think anyone in this thread has taken a serious look at the damage potential with SS and SS, including myself.

This may explain whey WIS is not a key stat. Paizo doesn't want us to max WIS. That might make Study+Strike, more effective than they want. This may also explain why Study Strike does not proc off of INT. It might simply be too good. A class that can stay out of melee and hit for a potential 4d6 at 1st level from range against mooks is not trivial in combat.


We could always boost "use Int-to-perception" to a higher level where that kind of damage is more reasonable. Like give it to the empiricist at level 8 or something.


The crit effect is definitely nice, but even maxing out Wis skill crits aren't super reliable. Even if you do crit, for a large chunk of the campaign that's just sneak attack.

Like I said though, main concern has less to do with power and more to do with whether it's a mechanic that feels cool and unique and I don't think it really does.


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Squiggit wrote:
The crit effect is definitely nice, but even maxing out Wis skill crits aren't super reliable.

No, it's not and now I can see why. It's deliberate, or rather, we know it's deliberate, but it's probably being done to deliberately limit how useful it is.

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Even if you do crit, for a large chunk of the campaign that's just sneak attack.

I don't think that's an accurate or useful assessment. It'd be like calling Precision for a Ranger, sneak attack.

Sneak Attack only works when a creature is flat footed. That's a very different mechanic and requires a bunch of specific build choices/playstyles to really leverage.

Subject + Strike works on anyone that SA works on, but it doesn't require the commitment to play-style or build choices. Yes, you need some WIS and DEX to get max benefit, but you're potentially getting the benefit every round.

Any Investigator build can sit at 60' with a shortbow and potentially pump out 4d6 damage in a round 1st level. Granted, the probability is low, but it can happen. If we add double crits, you're getting 6d6 against the same target a Rogue might Sneak Attack.

Honestly, that may end up being a lot more fun than it seems. Or rather, it might happen enough that it is fun.

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Like I said though, main concern has less to do with power and more to do with whether it's a mechanic that feels cool and unique and I don't think it really does.

While I completely agree that non DPS options would be more fun, to me. I am not convinced that this Subject + Strike is not going to be fun.

My initial opinion of that was based on the Inv doing exceedingly weak damage because of low STR/DEX. However, a reexamination of Subject + Strike and the luck factor forces me to reconsider. This class is going to have its "moments" and the question is balancing the amplitude and the frequency.


I think you're overestimating how difficult it is to apply the flat footed condition. It's one of the most common ones in the game.

You also, enemy dependent, have a nontrivial chance to fail the check and get nothing.

A level 1 Investigator with +8 to their perception check crits on a 16 or higher against a standard Orc Warrior, but they also miss and get nothing on a roll of 5 or lower.

Totally unrelated, but while I don't want to see Investigators become too martially inclined. I think it might be neat to see them get some minor support for some oddball weapons too. Stuff like the whip or hand crossbow seem like they'd be fitting things to leverage for them.


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Given how much of an emphasis that the game, just structurally, has on combat it's imperative that every class has something to do in combat that makes them feel useful. "I am amazing out of combat, and aren't very useful in combat" is not really a good concept for a class.


Squiggit wrote:
I think you're overestimating how difficult it is to apply the flat footed condition. It's one of the most common ones in the game.

No, because this isn't about Strike vs SA. I'm saying that Subject + Strike isn't SA. Mechanically/in terms of game-play it's way different, even if it is conceptually similar.

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You also, enemy dependent, have a nontrivial chance to fail the check and get nothing.

Which provides a bigger psychological payoff or rather, which do you think is more "fun" for the average person.. Gambling, and probably losing $5 but with the potential to win $100. Or, putting your money in a bank and getting back $10?

If we're talking about the "fun" factor, then rolling a die for a potential big win is going to be perceived as more fun than not rolling a die. That may be one reason why they went to a +10 model for crits and added crit failures, to make the game feel more dynamic.

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A level 1 Investigator with +8 to their perception check crits on a 16 or higher against a standard Orc Warrior, but they also miss and get nothing on a roll of 5 or lower.

Sure, but what is more memorable. Five times of getting nothing or two times of crit success? If we're talking about "fun to play," we have to actually play the character and see if the success rate moves the needle, don't we?

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Totally unrelated, but while I don't want to see Investigators become too martially inclined. I think it might be neat to see them get some minor support for some oddball weapons too. Stuff like the whip or hand crossbow seem like they'd be fitting things to leverage for them.

I would totally agree. Let these characters leverage more of the margins. Paizo has dramatically reduced the burden on using Maneuvers, why not leverage that by giving these types of weapons out as Proficiencies?


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Given how much of an emphasis that the game, just structurally, has on combat it's imperative that every class has something to do in combat that makes them feel useful. "I am amazing out of combat, and aren't very useful in combat" is not really a good concept for a class.

With the way the skill system works every class is useful out of combat unless you specifically choose not to be. A Fighter can be your party's main patch-up healer if he wants to be, and Rogues honestly aren't any better at any specific skill, their advantage is wide coverage.

The design goal is for everyone to be useful both in and out of combat. If the Rogue gets to be useful with her daggers then the Investigator should be useful with his sword cane.

Liberty's Edge

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Arachnofiend wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Given how much of an emphasis that the game, just structurally, has on combat it's imperative that every class has something to do in combat that makes them feel useful. "I am amazing out of combat, and aren't very useful in combat" is not really a good concept for a class.

With the way the skill system works every class is useful out of combat unless you specifically choose not to be. A Fighter can be your party's main patch-up healer if he wants to be, and Rogues honestly aren't any better at any specific skill, their advantage is wide coverage.

The design goal is for everyone to be useful both in and out of combat. If the Rogue gets to be useful with her daggers then the Investigator should be useful with his sword cane.

Yep. This. And, given that the usefulness of the Rogue and Investigator out of combat is very close indeed, so should their usefulness in combat. Whether or not that's DPR is another matter, but in a pure combat game, those two classes should be equally useful or viable (or very very close anyway).

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