Unlimited Martial Fireballs, How the Pendulum Swung


Rules Discussion

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

This really seems like a discrepancy between spherical barbarian and wobbly caster.


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The entire discussion has kind of been amounting to “let’s assume a spherical Barbarian in a vacuum”.


Captain Morgan you were the one who said a barbarian would be in trouble facing 92 creatures per rd and that a caster would be safe due to certain spells. All I did was look at the likelihood of the barbarian actually being in danger and a few ways he could out run the caster if he was moderately serious.

Showing that the premise of "92 creatures per rd" is way below level appropriate just proves the point that the 9 isnt likely to be hurt. As such that comparison to casters having escape tools as an advantage fails; Especially when a barbarian can spend a feat to run just as far as magic in a couple of minutes and keep going, DD does still have the benefit of going through walls and not being bound by height.

Dark Archive

Kelseus wrote:

Let's take the Barbarian surrounded by 12 level 10 monsters. Ok you do 38 damage to every one of the 12 enemies. Great, but the average level 10 monster has 175 hp. So now its' their turn. With an average of +23 to hit, they probably hit on a 12? (10 + level 14 + 4 expert + 4 armor + 2 rune + 1 dex = 35 AC). They do an average of 2d8+10 damage per hit. So if each just take 3 actions to strike, you're looking at 36 attack rolls. That means there is guaranteed to be a 20 in there, maybe more than one.

First strike does 19 dmg x 12 strikes x .45 to hit = 102.5 damage.
Second strike 19 x 12 x .2 to hit = 45.6 damage
So in one round the Barb took 148 damage, that's assuming no crits, and they all still have a chance to move away.
Barb HP while raging maxes at 10 anc + (12 + 5 con x14 lvl) + 14 + 5 = 267, lets assume his resistance applies to all attacks so -8 per hit, that is still 54 and 24 damage for the first and second strikes respectively, meaning 78.
Barbarian can kill the 12 surrounding him in 5 rounds, but they kill him in 3 and a half. Assuming best case scenario for the Barb and the enemies having no resistances to the Barbs damage. Really less, because there is guaranteed to be one crit a round, and if they take their 3rd action to strike, probably 2 or 3.

So yes the barbarian can drop a fireball every round, but only for 3 because then he's dead.

Your math is a little off. I think you forgot that to use the feats to make this flawed fireball barbarian work requires rage and the titan mauler instinct ability, both of which decrease character AC. Therefore, I think it would be far more difficult for the barbarian to kill an enemy before succumbing to his wounds.


I mean, the OP says that a character of martial class that is all about damage, built and equipped for big AoE damage, does really well when they are in a situation with lots of enemies close to each other.
Yes, of course!


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Temperans wrote:

Captain Morgan you were the one who said a barbarian would be in trouble facing 92 creatures per rd and that a caster would be safe due to certain spells. All I did was look at the likelihood of the barbarian actually being in danger and a few ways he could out run the caster if he was moderately serious.

Showing that the premise of "92 creatures per rd" is way below level appropriate just proves the point that the 9 isnt likely to be hurt. As such that comparison to casters having escape tools as an advantage fails; Especially when a barbarian can spend a feat to run just as far as magic in a couple of minutes and keep going, DD does still have the benefit of going through walls and not being bound by height.

The likelihood of the character trying to solo fight 92 enemies is functionally 0 either way. The encounter design table isn't meant to use 1xp enemies. It is a bad example any way you slice it. Saying they would have to be X level is meaningless. One could just as easily argue that the scenario would only use enemies that were actually meant to be fought. Or that you aren't meant to take the army on at all but come up with some other plan. Nothing about this has any actual relevance, which is why I didn't bother counting how much damage Horrid Wilting could theoretically do.

If you wanted a relevant example of trying to perpetually whirlwind strike, it would wind up looking more like what Kelseus describes.

Though am I missing something on Furious Sprint? Is there a way that it lets you move through enemy spaces? I could certainly see someone house ruling that a huge sized barbarian of such absurdly high level advantage could simply step over people, perhaps treating them as difficult terrain. But I'm pretty that isn't actually supported by the rules.


I was under the impression you could use tumble through as part of it and that AoOs are relatively uncommon (still not quite sure wether to plan for things having it or not). If it doesnt work, the general feats: Cloud Jump, Powerful Jump, and Raging Athlete would ensure you can jump over many obstacles.

Also, I feel like we are slowly building a character.

We started with the key damage action, then proceeded to an engage/disengage tool to get right in the middle of enemies, now adding some general/skill feats to make sure we cant be stopped. Just missing the ancestry and equipment.


Temperans wrote:
I was under the impression you could use tumble through as part of it and that AoOs are relatively uncommon (still not quite sure wether to plan for things having it or not).

Tumble through is a special action of its own, so they can't be combined.


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Temperans wrote:

I was under the impression you could use tumble through as part of it and that AoOs are relatively uncommon (still not quite sure wether to plan for things having it or not). If it doesnt work, the general feats: Cloud Jump, Powerful Jump, and Raging Athlete would ensure you can jump over many obstacles.

Also, I feel like we are slowly building a character.

We started with the key damage action, then proceeded to an engage/disengage tool to get right in the middle of enemies, now adding some general/skill feats to make sure we cant be stopped. Just missing the ancestry and equipment.

Well they started with a glaive in the OP but with the right feats you don't need the weapon itself to have reach. If we want to talk absurd ancestry though, why not go halfling with ceaseless shadows? Unlike Distracting Shadows it isn't limited by size. Just use Hide or Sneak every turn. Your huge sized barbarian vanishes like an angry fart on the wind every other round.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Well they started with a glaive in the OP but with the right feats you don't need the weapon itself to have reach. If we want to talk absurd ancestry though, why not go halfling with ceaseless shadows? Unlike Distracting Shadows it isn't limited by size. Just use Hide or Sneak every turn. Your huge sized barbarian vanishes like an angry fart on the wind every other round.

I like the way you think.


Although actually if I wanted to build an army razing barbarian with reliable survivability, I'd probably go dragon instinct. Better AC, an inherent flight speed, and a two action AoE instead of a 3 action seem much better for getting away with it. You could sneak into the middle of an army. Next turn, transform into a dragon and unleash your breath weapon, then fly away 100 feet away, then use your massive flight speed to outpace the army and hide for your rage to cycle. Rinse, lather, repeat.

Halfling Dragon Barbarians are top tier, plz ban for tournament play.


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Narxiso wrote:
Your math is a little off. I think you forgot that to use the feats to make this flawed fireball barbarian work requires rage and the titan mauler instinct ability, both of which decrease character AC. Therefore, I think it would be far more difficult for the barbarian to kill an enemy before succumbing to his wounds.

Thank you, I was doing this real quick looking for boosts to hp/AC, but I forgot to look for AC penalties.

With AC 2 less, even the mooks hit on a 10, meaning they can crit on the third attack. So even with damage reduction this increases damage from first strike to 72 and second to 53. Barbarian goes down in 2.1 rounds, really just 2 since only takes one crit to put them over the top in two rounds.


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But that is a pretty absurd scenario, as mentioned. Let's try one that is likely to me up in actual play, shall we? I think we have all seen this one at least once per campaign.

The city has been ransacked by a huge army of 40,000 level 0 bandits. Each of them has dragged a citizen into the 1000x1000 foot town square and is holding them at knife point while their leader addresses the populace. You know, that old staple of table top RPGs.

Our Halfling barbarian can eventually kill all the bandits, but not before they kill a lot of civilians. But the wizard can wipe out all 40,000 bandits in one go with zero casualties?

Now which of these scenarios do you see the most often? Did you say neither, because you never actually see such a contrived scenario in actual play? Very good!

The really silly thing is that the wizard and the barbarian are actually both stronger for relying on each other. The barbarian can chop down hoards if they get surrounded, but the wizard can help get the barbarian into range with spells like haste or flight, and can soften up enemies from range so the barbarian can finish them.


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Captain Morgan wrote:

But that is a pretty absurd scenario, as mentioned. Let's try one that is likely to me up in actual play, shall we? I think we have all seen this one at least once per campaign.

The city has been ransacked by a huge army of 40,000 level 0 bandits. Each of them has dragged a citizen into the 1000x1000 foot town square and is holding them at knife point while their leader addresses the populace. You know, that old staple of table top RPGs.

Our Halfling barbarian can eventually kill all the bandits, but not before they kill a lot of civilians. But the wizard can wipe out all 40,000 bandits in one go with zero casualties?

Now which of these scenarios do you see the most often? Did you say neither, because you never actually see such a contrived scenario in actual play? Very good!

The really silly thing is that the wizard and the barbarian are actually both stronger for relying on each other. The barbarian can chop down hoards if they get surrounded, but the wizard can help get the barbarian into range with spells like haste or flight, and can soften up enemies from range so the barbarian can finish them.

I think part of the issue is a lot of spell casters don't want to be the guy buffing the people getting the kills. They just want to kill too

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, you can't be good at everything.


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Didn't PF1 already train people playing spellcasters that their actions and spell slots were probably better spent on things other than "doing damage"?


Martialmasters wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:

But that is a pretty absurd scenario, as mentioned. Let's try one that is likely to me up in actual play, shall we? I think we have all seen this one at least once per campaign.

The city has been ransacked by a huge army of 40,000 level 0 bandits. Each of them has dragged a citizen into the 1000x1000 foot town square and is holding them at knife point while their leader addresses the populace. You know, that old staple of table top RPGs.

Our Halfling barbarian can eventually kill all the bandits, but not before they kill a lot of civilians. But the wizard can wipe out all 40,000 bandits in one go with zero casualties?

Now which of these scenarios do you see the most often? Did you say neither, because you never actually see such a contrived scenario in actual play? Very good!

The really silly thing is that the wizard and the barbarian are actually both stronger for relying on each other. The barbarian can chop down hoards if they get surrounded, but the wizard can help get the barbarian into range with spells like haste or flight, and can soften up enemies from range so the barbarian can finish them.

I think part of the issue is a lot of spell casters don't want to be the guy buffing the people getting the kills. They just want to kill too

Yeah. I mean if you think about it the caster can teleport the wizard in the middle of the enemies, or haste him for walk in between his 'fireballs'.


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In fact, there's a lack of pure damage oriented spellcasters. In Diablo II, the sorceress was extremely popular. The concept of damage oriented caster is very appealing to a lot of people. And while in PF1, it was possible to deal a pretty decent amount of damage using Wizards and Sorcerers, it's no more possible in PF2, as casters are paying for their versatility with lowered damaging abilities (or harder, I should say, as a caster can deal the same amount of damage than a martial, but he needs specific conditions to do so).

Dataphiles

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I have a couple issues with this argument. While I have not personally played PF2 casters yet, I did play my fair share of PF1 casters and the flaws I see are general to the concept of how those are played in pen and paper games.

Issue #1: While fireball is an iconic arcane spell, it is rarely the best spell for the job and isn't even the best spell at its level generally.

Issue #3: Fireball can hit a whole bunch of targets at the same time. Got a bunch of enemy goons all clumped together? Fireball the lot of them. If you don't have a group of goons? Fireball is not worth it.

Issue #3: Fireball can be cast hundreds of feet from the targets meaning the Wizard avoids immediate retribution for this attack.

Issue #4: The barbarian has to be in the middle of the fray and can be hit repeatedly by enemies as well as possibly triggering special abilities of the monsters.

Issue #5: The wizard has spells other than fireball. The barbarian can only really cast the spell "hit it with a stick" and related "shoot it with a stick" or even "throw a stick at it" type spells. Yes, there are a bunch of cool skill feats now, but Wizards get those as well.


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Also, just to point this out:
Level 15 fireball: Spell level 8 (not 7)
As an Elemental Sorcerer, that's:
16d6 + 8 (blood magic) + 8 (dangerous sorcery) = 72 damage average.
Even if you're considering level 7, that's still 63 damage average.

Comparison doesn't really seem fair when you're optimizing the barbarian but not the sorcerer. Nevermind what everyone else has been pointing out. Turns out blasters still do blast pretty well. Now martial damage compares to that, but for groups of enemies, you'll still do better with a blaster.

Note: Higher level spells help a little bit, but not as much as you'd think... There's a standard for damage that sits somewhere around 2d6/1d12 per spell level, and some spells exceed this by a little (cone of cold by +2d6 flat, chain lightning by +2d12 flat), you don't get *huge* jumps, it's kinda interesting. The biggest outlier that's not 9th level I could find is Spirit blast, which is 2d6/spell level +4d6.


Captain Morgan wrote:

Although actually if I wanted to build an army razing barbarian with reliable survivability, I'd probably go dragon instinct. Better AC, an inherent flight speed, and a two action AoE instead of a 3 action seem much better for getting away with it. You could sneak into the middle of an army. Next turn, transform into a dragon and unleash your breath weapon, then fly away 100 feet away, then use your massive flight speed to outpace the army and hide for your rage to cycle. Rinse, lather, repeat.

Halfling Dragon Barbarians are top tier, plz ban for tournament play.

I agree that dragon instinct are the best barbarian. Because they dont have the disadvatages of the giant instinct. But that only makes them comparable to fighters.

Definitely cute for this scenario.

Archery sucks badly, but not badly enough for this tactic to be viable.


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The DM of wrote:

This is not another casters got nerfed rant. I still think casters can be cool. I think martials have more options to be interesting in more spheres of capability than ever before and that that is a good thing. I do want to shine the light on one of those capabilities I've been dwelling on:

Unlimited martial fireballs. It can be done by either Barbarians or Fighters at L14 by taking the L14 feat Whirlwind Strike, and you max its range out with Giant Instinct and the L6 Barb feat Giant's Stature to get 5' extra reach. Let's imagine we're using a d10 glaive with 5' reach. Barbarians can get another 5' reach with L12 feat Titan's Stature for a total of 20' vs. 15' for fighters.

These sort of powers seem appropriate for high level martial characters. They have to be special and legendary at this sort of level.

But I do take your point, the caster using a high level spell should be doing more damage than this. Hit points have inflated again in this edition but spell damage has not. Magic needs to be awesome.


Gorbacz wrote:
Martials are DPS, casters are debuffers/buffers, working as intended.

Not really true.


Quote:

These sort of powers seem appropriate for high level martial characters. They have to be special and legendary at this sort of level.

But I do take your point, the caster using a high level spell should be doing more damage than this. Hit points have inflated again in this edition but spell damage has not. Magic needs to be awesome.

But one could argue, that while the individual spell damage might appear to be lower for higher level spells, it is also way easier to cast multiple spells, bringing the tally back up on a DPR basis?


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Didn't PF1 already train people playing spellcasters that their actions and spell slots were probably better spent on things other than "doing damage"?

It did, but what "things other than damage" meant was a lot broader.

Create pit wasn't exactly a damage spell, it was a save or lose that still had a chance of screwing the enemy over if they avoided falling in immediately. Even if you jumped to the side, it was likely the party fighter would bull rush you in or something, I had that happen a few times.

Basically even without dealing damage it was fairly easy to incapacitate most enemies completely.

Now being told "do things other than damage" sounds like "be the sidekick and throw weak debuffs so the martials can kill things better." Which I don't think is quite how it is, because a level 5 wizard is still going to annihilate a level 2 enemy, it just feels like it coming in from pf1 where 1 shotting boss enemies was often fairly easy to do, even for martials.

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