How do you rate the classes in combat in PF2?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Salamileg wrote:
Cleric: A healing don't cleric can make just about any party composition work due to being able to effectively undo mistakes at the press of a button. The only cleric I've seen was a dedicated healbot, so I can't comment on other builds.

During my MMO days, my guild joked that my healer was the only standing between their ditziness and the rapid onset of consequence.

I have been glad to see that kind of playstyle enabled in PF2, as opposed to the "why are you healing that's just a wasted round" philosophy of 3.5 and PF1.

Liberty's Edge

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AnimatedPaper wrote:
Salamileg wrote:
Cleric: A healing don't cleric can make just about any party composition work due to being able to effectively undo mistakes at the press of a button. The only cleric I've seen was a dedicated healbot, so I can't comment on other builds.

During my MMO days, my guild joked that my healer was the only standing between their ditziness and the rapid onset of consequence.

I have been glad to see that kind of playstyle enabled in PF2, as opposed to the "why are you healing that's just a wasted round" philosophy of 3.5 and PF1.

For the record, this is actually really relevant to the ongoing 'value of defense' discussion I've been having with Zapp here, and I'm glad people started talking about it to inspire me to explain why.

Specifically, a dedicated healer Cleric can often provide enough survivability all on their own that offense becomes, relatively speaking, better than defense to a somewhat greater degree than it is normally.

That doesn't mean defense is bad, it means that every party needs damage mitigation strategies, and a Cleric dedicated to healing is often a sufficient one all on their own. Other strategies are also valid though, and focusing on defense is part of many of them.

Which is all to say, three martials focused on damage and a very healing focused Cleric to keep them up is a totally valid, and synergistic, party makeup and will do well, probably better than the same Cleric with three more defensive martials...but that doesn't mean defense is bad, it means being really defensive doesn't synergize as well with a healing focused Cleric. It's a result of specific party build, not defense being unworthy of investment.


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Tristan d'Ambrosius wrote:
Zapp's just going to respond with the canned response about playing Official Paizo Adventure Paths on the Default Difficulty Setting and how what they're talking about only corresponds to that. *yawn*

To be fair to him, if those are the games he's playing, then he needs to make the characters and the parties that work for him. The whole point of versatility isn't that you have 100 competitors for DPR, it's that you have 100 different metrics for what makes a good character. And if you need to kill stuff, then you want to bring high DPR characters.

I haven't played a 2E Adventure Path, but there are definitely PFS Scenarios where I as a GM am going to steer people towards maxed-DPR characters. On the flip side, there are definitely scenarios where I'd steer people away from maxed-DPR characters, because they're basically useless.

But whether the scenario calls for high-DPR characters or not, I definitely steer myself away from the players who assume there's a 1-dimensional scale of bad-to-good and that that scale is labeled DPR. Because those players are the worst, whether they bring a high-DPR character or not.


Pathfinder PF Special Edition, Starfinder Society Subscriber

If you're looking at this from a roll-play perspective, people are also undervaluing Recall Knowledge. If the Wizard/Witch/Druid/Cleric/Sorcerer recalls knowledge on the monster you're fighting and it has a weakness or a resistance that can be exploited the party is going to significantly increase their damage output.

I've seen parties wail on a creature immune to a physical damage type, and it didn't make lick of difference they were critting for 40% of the monsters health. I let them do it for two rounds before I figured it'd be unfun for them to die to the monster that should've been a moderate threat.

The rules are pretty explicit that you don't notice that your weapons are ineffective or even less effective. (See battlefield assessment feat). If your GM is giving you that information, they're fundamentally altering the nature of the game and some of its balance.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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Exton Land wrote:
The rules are pretty explicit that you don't notice that your weapons are ineffective or even less effective. (See battlefield assessment feat). If your GM is giving you that information, they're fundamentally altering the nature of the game and some of its balance.

I'm looking at the Battle Assessment feat, and I don't agree with you on this one. You use the feat to identify strengths and weaknesses of an opponent, but there's nothing to say that you can't find out that stuff in other ways.

If a PC swings an axe at a skeleton and doesn't snaps its bones or watches a fire giant walk through a wall of fire, I don't see any logical way that they wouldn't be able to figure out resistances when they see them in action. Likewise, if you hit a fey creature with a cold iron weapon, there's no way you shouldn't notice that it does more damage than normal.

IMO, Battle Assessment is for finding that information without needing trial and error to do it.

Liberty's Edge

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Exton Land wrote:
The rules are pretty explicit that you don't notice that your weapons are ineffective or even less effective. (See battlefield assessment feat). If your GM is giving you that information, they're fundamentally altering the nature of the game and some of its balance.

Huh? That makes no sense. Battle Assessment lets you know things like Immunities without triggering them first, and thus inevitably having wasted an action, and definitionally lets you know how to get through them.

Being able to tell whether your hits have done anything is basic logic and perception and denying it to your players is just awful. Resistance that you get through you might not notice, but Immunity? That makes zero sense not to notice. Now, you might not know how to get through said immunity, but you should know they have it.


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Caster Classes

Bard: Bard is the best support class in the game. Composition cantrips give the most bang for the buck of any cantrip across the widest range. The Occult list is very solid with a lot of useful spells. Being able to give the party a meaningful offense or defense buff while unleashing a spell puts them on the top of the overall caster pyramid. Inspire Heroics allows you to meaningfully improve offense or defense for a low resource cost.

They even have some good higher level AoE spells like phantasmal calamity or spirit blast that are real game changers.

Some of the best spells:
Synesthesia: This spell is one of the best spells on the Occult List and best debuff spells in the game. Even on a success 1 round of Synesthesia is powerful debuff.

True Target: Group true strike for first attack until start of your next turn.

Phantasmal Calamity: Powerful AoE damage with a useful rider on a critical fail.

Phantasmal Killer: Ok damage but highly useful rider even on a success with no incap trait.

Group Haste: Haste the entire group and start buffing them. They will be happy. Haste is also useful for casters as the free move helps casters position.

Druid: Druid is so versatile. A storm druid with an animal companion has many useful actions. Primal list is very good for AOE damage, healing, and movement. Druid is best if you are using all your tools over the course of rounds including a weapon of some kind. Their armor choices are solid making it easy to get to the default level of defense. Every one of their paths give you something useful to do, even Leaf if you want to be more of a healer.

Some of their best spells:
fireball: I was down on AoE early on. But I've found AOE to be quite good, but you can't be worried about the ups and downs of saves. You have to launch it when the good opportunities present themselves and not worry about the occasional round of good saves. Just keep on launching.

The more targets you can hit, the better. You normally should not use a fireball or AoE spell on less than 3 targets. 3 or more targets should be the cut off for value.

Once you see AoE hit with a few missed saves and a critical miss or two, you will start to respect AoE damage more. AoE spells should not be used for single target fights as that is a waste.

Do not forget about wands, scrolls, or staves with AoE spells on them. Don't hold back, just go off with your spells.

heal: You don't have as many, but heal works for you like it does for clerics. Keep a few on hand.

Enlarge: This can help a melee martial like a fighter or barbarian do a little more damage and get reach to take advantage of AoO attacks, swipe, or the like.

Cleric: The cleric is the best healer in the game because of Divine Font. The Divine spell is best if fighting fiends or undead. It does have some good buffing and defensive spells on the list. It's best build is keeping people alive. It can pretty much erase single target damage multiple times per day. They don't have great feats, but a few key feats can get you d10 on your heals or if you want to build for alphastrikes you can build a nasty channel smite build.

Best Spells:
Heal: Bread and butter of the class.

Drop Dead: Nice little spell to buy some time for some heals on a party member taking too many hits

Breath of Life: Bring them back from dead. Used on my bard at least once to prevent him from buying the farm when the AoE hits were landing.

Divine Aura: A powerful defensive spell with a blinding effect with no incap.

Divine Wrath: Can be good against fiends if you fight a group of them.

Sorcerer: The sorcerer with access to all magic lists has a lot of ways to build it. I built an Undead Sorcerer using the divine spell list. The sorcerer has quite a few focus spells worth getting. I found the advanced undead focus spell useful as it healed and did damage a the same time for 1 focus point. It works against Fortitude saves which is often the best save of most creatures, but you still do a little extra damage and hit point boosting even with a success.

Divine list isn't as good at damage as the other spell lists unless you're fighting fiends or undead a lot. It is best if you worship a good deity of some kind to ensure access to good damage.

I don't feel like I built the sorcerer very well as he did not feel as powerful as the bard or druid. I would build the class very differently now that I understand the PF2 rules better.

It was nice to be able to heal as I had to do it a few times, but that's not exactly what you want to do as a sorcerer.

Witch: This class doesn't do much damage, but has some interesting hexes and the Occult spell list is solid. Evil Eye hex, Needle of Vengeance, and Curse of Death are the hexes I've seen. Hex cantrips provide useful 1 action cantrips. I still haven't seen familiars put to much good use other than occasional out of combat activities. This seems to be the main class able to use sacrifice familiar well as their familiar returns the next day.

Wizard: Wizard so far has been an underwhelming class. Focus spells aren't particularly interesting or good. The best wizard focus spells are just ok. They don't have any advantage casting like the fighter has in accuracy. Their school gives them an extra slot and a focus spell, but no extra focus points or much else.

Wizard Arcane Thesis are ok. Nothing to jump up and down about.

Their defenses, saves, and hit points are weak.

Wizards cast a lot of spells. That's their advantage.

And some argue they are the best at Recall Knowledge, but that isn't really true in this game. Rather they can be good at Intel-based recall knowledge skills. Though this can be helpful, any class can use Recall Knowledge. The wizard class itself is not built as a Recall Knowledge specialist.

I want to try to build a better wizard now that I understand PF2 magic better as I think maybe I could do it. But so far we've had two attempts at a wizard in our campaigns, both of them were underwhelming. The druid has been more impressive as a caster mostly because she can actually use her Animal Companion, weapon, and Focus spell for good single target damage, while waiting patiently for AoE opportunities. While the wizard lives and dies on spells.

I believe the wizard is much more effective multiclassing. That is what I'm trying in the next campaign. The dedicated wizard is too underwhelming for my tastes even though Spell Blending mega-disintegrate at high level sounds fun.

Alchemist: Only seen a bomber in action. This class has been highly useful in our campaigns. Mist elixir causes a surprising number of attacks to miss when all the martials have it on. Cheetah Elxir adds mobility. Juggernaut Elixir can add a nice hit point buffer. Bomb damage tends to add up round after round. The alchemist adds some good riders to the bombs like flat-footed or slowing movement.

They do suffer hard against creatures with all damage like incorporeal or blnk casters or creatures with a few strong key resistances. But in general their aggregate damage adds up over time and they often can exploit energy weaknesses.

Alchemist is not a power class. If you like being useful in a lot of ways that are surprisingly useful, you may like this class.

I haven't seen an oracle in action, so can't speak on them.

___________

Some ideas for how to build casters and magic:

1. Weapons: At low level casters should not overlook using a weapon. As long as they build for one good physical stat, they won't have much less chance to hit than other martial classes. Everyone is trained from about lvl 1 to 5. That means a caster is only behind a fighter for proficiency on an attack roll.

I highly recommend even casters to use an ancestry feat or general feat to obtain a decent one-handed weapon, preferably ranged, to use as a 1 action option to enhance your damage along with cantrips. You will find this provides a nice boost.

2. Skills: Do not overlook skills. Using an intimidate and now a Bon Mot before casting a spell can be helpful. Even a -1 on an AC or save improves your chance of success.

3. Cantrips: This has been discussed endlessly, but if you can get electric arc do so. The designers did not balance cantrips well and electric arc is the highest value cantrip. You can use electric arc to hit someone for damage and fire a weapon with no MAP issues in the same round. Whereas firing an attack spell cantrip will cause MAP penalty will cause weapon attacks to become less valuable.

I think it was bad design on the part of the designers to make electric arc so much better than all other cantrips, but that's how it is. Adapt accordingly.

4. Reach Spell: Don't underestimate this feat. It's basically a move action without having to move. If your choice is to move closer to a battle or just use reach spell, it's better to use reach spell. If you have a slot you don't know what to do with or have access to Natural Ambition, Reach Spell is a solid value.

5. AoE Spells: AoE spells can do quite a lot of damage. You can have some dud rounds where the monsters all save and you roll low damage. But that should balance out where you have some rounds where they mostly fail or critically fail, which boosts your damage heavily.

AoE has some real basic rules:
A. Try not to use it on less than 3 targets. 3+ targets is the optimal way to use AoE. Gives more chance for failure and multiples the damage by 3 right from the beginning.

B. Make sure you don't waste it on resistant creatures. This might require a recall knowledge. You can make an educated guess, but don't toss an AOE on obviously resistant creatures.

C. Use AoE often and open with it before the party closes if you can. Or tell the party to wait until you drop the pain in if the situation sets up right. The party can delay for you to drop in a heavy AoE hit.

D. Do not sit on AoE spells for big boss battles. Just unleash them when the circumstances set up right. Use scrolls, wands, or staves to unleash AoE. Don't hold your precious spell slots like you did in PF1. Just unload on enemies when it sets up right. This will be difficult at low level, but easier as you get higher level.

Aoes combined with cantrips, weapon attacks, and focus spells should allow you to do very competitive damage.

5. Damage spells with riders are better against single targets: Spells that do a little damage and apply some debuff are better against single target monsters. When you are fighting a tough single target creature you can't exploit a weakness to get higher damage, your better path to victory is to enhance your party members or weaken the creature against your part members. Buff or debuff.

So mix it up and get those debuffs/buffs going, then you can apply a damage effect if the opportunity presents itself.

6. Do not overlook rituals: Rituals allow you to spend money gain in game to obtain a powerful minion with Create Undead or a Planar Ally spell. Do not overlook this option. While a martial may get a nice weapon, you can obtain a nice lich or Demilich as your "magic item."

7. Crafting: Read the crafting rules carefully. Crafting works regardless of the level of the settlement. Whereas anyone earning income has to find an appropriate earn income activity in a sufficiently high level settlement to earn as value as you can crafting.

Crafting also let's you put progressively better spells on scrolls and wands for a low price doubling the value of your gold without having to ask the DM for permission, traveling, or finding a suitable settlement level or magic item shop.

That's how I see things at this point.


Pathfinder PF Special Edition, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Charlie Brooks wrote:

I'm looking at the Battle Assessment feat, and I don't agree with you on this one. You use the feat to identify strengths and weaknesses of an opponent, but there's nothing to say that you can't find out that stuff in other ways.

If a PC swings an axe at a skeleton and doesn't snaps its bones or watches a fire giant walk through a wall of fire, I don't see any logical way that they wouldn't be able to figure out resistances when they see them in action. Likewise, if you hit a fey creature with a cold iron weapon, there's no way you shouldn't notice that it does more damage than normal.

IMO, Battle Assessment is for finding that information without needing trial and error to do it.

There is nothing in the rules for discovering this information except thru Recall knowledge and that feat. How do you know how the creatures are supposed to react? You're slashing and stabbing an ooze. Just what does it look like when an ooze takes damage?

Your character doesn't necessarily have an intuitive idea of how much damage he's doing just that he connected with his attack.

Heck there's an entire feat that deals with getting bonuses to recall knowledge on creatures you've previously IDd (thorough reports).

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Being able to tell whether your hits have done anything is basic logic and perception and denying it to your players is just awful. Resistance that you get through you might not notice, but Immunity? That makes zero sense not to notice. Now, you might not know how to get through said immunity, but you should know they have it.

Two questions. In a world of bizzare creatures, if you're not sure what you're dealing with how do you know that the blackened scales doesnt represent that you damaged said creature? The only way to know would be to have that skill. Second, where in the rules does the perception skill do what you say? Wouldn't it be a basic action like seek? It doesn't exist. GMs are free to run as if it does but with knowledge checks taking an action they should at least take one from you to notice and make it against the same DC of the feat.

Liberty's Edge

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Exton Land wrote:
Two questions. In a world of bizzare creatures, if you're not sure what you're dealing with how do you know that the blackened scales doesnt represent that you damaged said creature? The only way to know would be to have that skill.

Whether it reacts at all is a pretty good indicator, and gonna be the most common way to tell.

Exton Land wrote:
Second, where in the rules does the perception skill do what you say? Wouldn't it be a basic action like seek? It doesn't exist. GMs are free to run as if it does but with knowledge checks taking an action they should at least take one from you to notice and make it against the same DC of the feat.

By the rules, as listed on p. 451, being hit by something you are immune to explicitly does nothing. No blackened scales, no shifting or getting knocked down, nothing. Now, if the GM wants to describe any of those things happening, that's technically a house rule. That's certainly fine to do, but they're doing a disservice to their players and breaking the rules if they do so in a way that doesn't make clear that no damage was done.

Resistance is, as I said, more of a judgment call.


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Honestly, one of my favorite things about PF2 is how for martials defense is much more worth investing in for martials than in previous games in this family.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:

Alchemist: Only seen a bomber in action. This class has been highly useful in our campaigns. Mist elixir causes a surprising number of attacks to miss when all the martials have it on. Cheetah Elxir adds mobility. Juggernaut Elixir can add a nice hit point buffer. Bomb damage tends to add up round after round. The alchemist adds some good riders to the bombs like flat-footed or slowing movement.

They do suffer hard against creatures with all damage like incorporeal or blnk casters or creatures with a few strong key resistances.

1. Mistform elixirs are great because of one of the points brought up earlier - first attacks are all high-percentage attacks (natural 7s to hit, natural 17s to crit), and it's really hard to reduce that percentage by 20% by boosting AC.

2. Flat-footed is valuable, but most valuable in conjunction with your allies (which is one of the reasons that DPR is not a good metric to evaluate non-martials). If you have a rogue in your party, or you're in a tight dungeon, making a target flat-footed with a bottled lightning can be easier than setting up a flank. Even in cases where the initiative order doesn't work out correctly - the rogue goes just after the enemy, making it difficult to set up a flank because they move out of the way - being able to apply flat-footed can be huge.

3. In the APG, the ghost charge was introduced (positive damage bomb), so incorporeal creatures aren't as nasty.


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Concerning things that are good for casters:what do you guys think of the beastmaster archetype? We often talk in thid thread how druid with animal companion is very good but with beastmaster any caster can get an Animal companion with druid progression.

I have build but not used yet a cosmos oracle with bm archetype.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:

Caster Classes

Only seen a bomber in action. This class has been highly useful in our campaigns. Mist elixir causes a surprising number of attacks to miss when all the martials have it on. Cheetah Elxir adds mobility. Juggernaut Elixir can add a nice hit point buffer. Bomb damage tends to add up round after round. The alchemist adds some good riders to the bombs like flat-footed or slowing movement.

Just to second this and what Watery Soup said - Mist Elixir is a godsend in terms of defense. The amount of crits it saved us through-out AoA was enormous. Everyone's first action in harder fights was to drink a potion.

Other useful things about Alchemist was ability cheaply deal with swarms, getting your Striking weapons for free (so if you are finding them piecemeal like in Paizo campaigns, you need to find one less since you get yours when you level as opposed to everyone else that has to find/buy theirs) and even if perhaps not relevant for this thread, the ability to give +2 or more to most skills also very cheaply, something that is very hard otherwise.

In terms of monk, I think people undervalue mobility in relation to their action economy and how if affects damage. Ki Rush, Abundant Step and just the base movement meant that on a battle field with lots of difficult terrain or that is just hard to move around, I would always get my Flurry in. Most other martials struggled to get in more than 1 hit, even sometimes ever other round - that on top of maybe some bad rolls and they struggled. In these type of fights, Monk DPR was outstanding. Similarly if you are fighting a very mobile enemy using strafing or hit and run attacks. I think Monk have a cool niche here that fits well.


I think it should be important to note how harsh mutagens are. Those penalties can be deadly.


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I think it's worth thinking about what we even mean when we say "best combat class in the game", because there are a lot of ways to rate that. For example, "highest dpr" or "would win in a 1v1" could be ways to rate that even if I think a lot of people would agree neither of those metrics really reflect actual play.

For me "best combat class in the game" means "this class slots in well/excellently into the most party comps", as in imagine a hypothetical 3-party comp deciding which 4th class to choose - the good/best class choices in the most amount of scenarios would be the "best combat classes" for me. As an example, I rate Bard extremely favorably according to this metric - Bard is a great choice unless you either;
-Already have a bard in the party
-Have 0 martials

Anyway, here are my ratings for the core martial classes according to this metric:

(Small note, I separate "defenses" and "tanking". Tanking, in my mind, mostly references abilities such as AoO or champion's reactions; things that allow you to punish enemies who attack your allies. You could have a million AC by it doesn't matter a whit if the troll goes for the wizard instead)

Alchemist's great party comps:Alchemist isn't really a caster or a martial, but here he is anyway. Alchemist is a pure support class, and slots into a lot of parties very well... depending on how he's used. If the party is full of members who can use bombs to good effect, or benefit from mutagens, Alchemist can put in good work... though they may appear to be doing nothing at all when actually in a fight. A party with a lot of martials can use an alchemist really well in this way, though a Bard will likely be even better.

Barbarian's great party comps:The barbarian shines brightest when covered by support casters. Healing and defensive magic (like Blur) keeps her alive, and a big base damage increases the effect of number buffs, or debuffs to the enemy. When you hit like a truck, a +1 gains greater overall value. However, if the party needs a tank to cover a squishy backline, Barbarian is not great at that. Therefore, the number of parties a Barb can really shine in may end up somewhat narrow; as she thrives off support casters while not really being able to protect them.

Rogue's great party comps:In my opinion, Rogue is pretty binary in what she's good at. If your party is lacking in skill coverage, Rogue's got you covered. Rogues are also quite decent at debuffing enemies in various ways, which shouldn't be underestimated. Due to trash-tier defenses as a frontline character, as well as how sneak attack functions, Rouge ends up relying on the support of her party-mates a lot. A flanking buddy is great to have for any martial, but Rouge really needs hers.

Champion's great party comps:Champion is pretty straightforward. She has really good defenses, and she's the best at tanking in the game, by a long shot. Any party that can use a tank, can use a champion.

Ranger's great party comps:Ranger is, in my opinion, the most consistent class when it comes to delivering damage round after round without really caring about the rest of the party. Defenses are pretty solid overall, and the gimmick condition costs an action but otherwise has no requirements or defensive drawbacks. Furthermore, Ranger can get their own flanking buddy via an animal companion (this is more of less moot via the APG's beastmaster, though).

Fighter's great party comps:Fighter ends up being kind of an all-rounder. They can do a pretty good job in a large number of martial roles, such as dealing damage, tanking, or providing debuffs via the athletics skill. However, I think his main strength comes from being able to switch roles on the fly in certain parties or situations. The unparalleled access to weapon proficiency as well as the flexibility feats makes him more ready than any other martial to shift gears if the situation calls for it. If the party needs to fight flying enemies, the fighter can swap out some feats and easily use a longbow that day. If the GM is fond of giving the party strange loot in the form of advanced weapons, the fighter can use those as well. Fighters will do well in pretty much any party comp, though he doesn't have a lot of comps where they are the best option imo.

Monk's great party comps:Monk is another all-rounder. He has amazing defenses equal or better to that of Champion, though he is not nearly as good in the role of a tank. The monk can tank (and will probably do pretty well in the role of secondary tank), but he needs to grab a feat (stand still) before they can do it at all. And even then, the high mobility of the monk make it less attractive to stand in one location to protect party members. Monk also has a ton of ways to debilitate the enemy at a very cheap action cost. Brawling Focus and Stunning Strike are both incredible for this.


Northman77 wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

Caster Classes

Only seen a bomber in action. This class has been highly useful in our campaigns. Mist elixir causes a surprising number of attacks to miss when all the martials have it on. Cheetah Elxir adds mobility. Juggernaut Elixir can add a nice hit point buffer. Bomb damage tends to add up round after round. The alchemist adds some good riders to the bombs like flat-footed or slowing movement.

Just to second this and what Watery Soup said - Mist Elixir is a godsend in terms of defense. The amount of crits it saved us through-out AoA was enormous. Everyone's first action in harder fights was to drink a potion.

Other useful things about Alchemist was ability cheaply deal with swarms, getting your Striking weapons for free (so if you are finding them piecemeal like in Paizo campaigns, you need to find one less since you get yours when you level as opposed to everyone else that has to find/buy theirs) and even if perhaps not relevant for this thread, the ability to give +2 or more to most skills also very cheaply, something that is very hard otherwise.

In terms of monk, I think people undervalue mobility in relation to their action economy and how if affects damage. Ki Rush, Abundant Step and just the base movement meant that on a battle field with lots of difficult terrain or that is just hard to move around, I would always get my Flurry in. Most other martials struggled to get in more than 1 hit, even sometimes ever other round - that on top of maybe some bad rolls and they struggled. In these type of fights, Monk DPR was outstanding. Similarly if you are fighting a very mobile enemy using strafing or hit and run attacks. I think Monk have a cool niche here that fits well.

What other martials did you have in your campaign? I can see a fighter being slowed, but barbarian's have sudden charge, dragon can get flight, and they focus heavily on athletics and can leap over difficult terrain as you level up.

If you were playing AoA, I don't recall many open areas that couldn't quickly be covered by a barbarian.

Now I have seen slow moving fighters or champions bogged down in heavy plate.

Rogues are usually pretty fast too as are rangers. Archers don't have to close the distance. Their arrows are their mobility.

And if the flurry damage isn't sufficient to match the other martial hits, hard to justify. In my experience when a Power Attacking fighter with a great weapon is getting 129 point crits, my 40 or 50 point crits don't match up very well.


As short as i can put them:

Barbarian: 8/10
Fighter: 9/10
Rogue: 10/10
Ranger: 9/10
Monk: 8/10
Champion: 9/10
Bard: 10/10
Wizard: 8/10
Witch: 8/10 (less powerful than Wiz, but much more flexible from what i've seen)
Sorc: 7/10
Cleric: 9/10
Investigator: (limited experience seing him): 8/10
Alchemist: 5/10 (bomber 7/10)
Swash: -
Druid: (surprisingly seen less than even witches even if he's 1yo class): -
Oracle: -


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Deriven said wrote:


What other martials did you have in your campaign? I can see a fighter being slowed, but barbarian's have sudden charge, dragon can get flight, and they focus heavily on athletics and can leap over difficult terrain as you level up.

If you were playing AoA, I don't recall many open areas that couldn't quickly be covered by a barbarian.

Now I have seen slow moving fighters or champions bogged down in heavy plate.

Rogues are usually pretty fast too as are rangers. Archers don't have to close the distance. Their arrows are their mobility.

And if the flurry damage isn't sufficient to match the other martial hits, hard to justify. In my experience when a Power Attacking fighter with a great weapon is getting 129 point crits, my 40 or 50 point crits don't match up very well.

For a single action a dragon monk still has the highest damage. And in round one that is generally the most you get. Barbarian uses rage and sudden charge, ranger uses hunt prey and moves, fighter might need two actions to get close, SB aquires panache and uses finisher, rogue has to get into flanking and probably really doesnt want to stay in melee.

Now in the following rounds i assume two actions of attacking. 1 action either spent getting into flanking, using a defensive action, having to approach a different enemy or in case of ranger having to hunt prey a different target (here monk has the avantage having to only get into stance once). Even an archer probably wants to move to make sure the enemy doesnt have lesser cover from other creatures or to get out of volley range. For two actions monk falls behind in damage, but honestly not that much. But at that point probably only by 1 point of average damage behind a two weapon flurry ranger.

If you spend all 3 actions attacking a monk really falls behind. But if you can spend all three actions attacking your dm either plays monsters pretty dumb or the fighr is pretty desperate or you are winning the fight easily anyways.

I think monks damage problems could be fixed by having a damage stance better than dragon stance. I would really like to see a d12 damage stance at some point. A monk would also profit offensively from a one action ability that isnr MAP dependent. They can go the defensive way and raise a shield but we want damage.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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Exton Land wrote:
There is nothing in the rules for discovering this information except thru Recall knowledge and that feat. How do you know how the creatures are supposed to react? You're slashing and stabbing an ooze. Just what does it look like when an ooze takes damage?

IMO, there doesn't need to be a check for basic perception (the Seek action is to find things you wouldn't normally see). If I punch a brick wall, I know whether I did damage. I also see the difference between punching the wall and hitting it with a sledgehammer.

Using the ooze example, if you take hit points off a creature, it gets closer to death/destruction. Therefore, I would reason that it's noticeable when an attack does nothing, versus when one significantly injures the creature.

A nice thing about 2e is its broader emphasis on GM interpretation rather than strict rulings, so your approach is valid if everyone is having fun. On my end, I'm sure my sessions would end with a lot of angry feelings if the PCs found out midway through battle that none of their crits did anything and I didn't tell them.


Charlie Brooks wrote:

In my experience, what is and is not worth it in combat depends highly on the opponents.

What about swashbucklers? Between Goading feint and +2 AC bucklers boosting defense directly results in higher DPR through ripostes.

If you are only making one finisher attack a round, attempting to generate panache, and raising a buckler (at lower levels before the stance comes online) with the fencing style you are essentially swinging 4 point difference against a first attack, with even better results if enemies crit fail that goading feint. That setup lends itself to MAP-less reaction attacks especially if an enemy attacks you with penalties.


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Henro wrote:
I think it's worth thinking about what we even mean when we say "best combat class in the game", because there are a lot of ways to rate that.

I think it's worth thinking about a LOT.

Use the sports analogies. Before personal computers, people focused a lot on easy-to-tabulate metrics: runs scored, touchdowns caught, goals scored. Since the advent of computing power, more complex - and better representative measures of a player's value have come up. People knew how to measure flashy "frontliners" like quarterbacks and wide receivers; they had zero idea how to measure right tackles.

Now, baseball has Wins Above Replacement; basketball has Player Efficiency Rating; hockey has Corsi, etc. These things are harder to calculate, but answer more relevant questions. Instead of asking, "how many points will this player score?" (an individual question), they ask, "how many more points will the team score with this player?" (a team question).

Circling back to Pathfinder, it's really worth asking, "What is haste worth?" If a support caster just cast haste on a martial, and then fled the combat, what is the increase to the team's DPR? Instead of calculating a rogue's DPR in isolation, calculate a rogue's DPR with and without a second frontliner, or with and without a an alchemist. A cloistered cleric can be measured by DPR the way that DeadManWalking used earlier - by measuring how long they can keep a frontliner afloat (and by extension, that change in Damage Per Day becomes the cleric's).

In Society, because the groups aren't set, the party composition changes every session. As a result, hyper-focused, mono-skilled characters drop precipitiously in value (would you prefer a high-DPR barbarian or a low-DPR champion if you didn't know if there would be a dedicated healer?).

If you ask irrelevant questions, you'll get irrelevant answers. It's really time to stop asking questions that begin with, "Assume someone stands in melee range and Strikes three times ..." because the answer (whatever it is) is going to mislead more often than it leads.

Grand Archive

I tend to measure healers by, how much damage has x, y, or z character done since they had taken damage equal to their HP max. Essentially, at that point, x, y, or z character should be down, not dealing anymore damage, but they are up and still going. I think this method is one of the more accurate ways to represent the contribution of a healer. It also is very telling if the healer is uneeded. Because if x, y, or z never take enough damage to equal their HP, mechanically, the healer is unecessary.

Also, it should be noted the enjoyment value added by a healer in keeping a player still able to play.

Now, I will acknowledge the flaw in this metric. It is true that if the healer were instead to do damage, the enemies would go down quicker, thus (as per the stated metric) cause the healer to be potentially uneeded. Without the healer dealing damage they are potentially causing a need for their own contribution. That said, this flaw is only relevant if the combat would be ended before the need for heals arises, which is definitely not the case for many level++ encounters.


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Watery Soup wrote:
I think it's worth thinking about it (how to rate classes) a lot.

Okay, let's think about it. To be honest, I think the only way to analyse this is a way to gets really comprehensive starts with identifying which combat party roles actually exist within 2E. From there, you could rate classes based on how well they perform in these roles.

Some martial combat roles I think are well established to exist in 2E party comps;
-Support: this is a pretty broad role, but when talking about martials specifically I don't think it needs to be split. For casters, splitting this role into multiples such as "healing", battlefield control", "debuffer" etc may be a good idea. Rouge is probably the martial best suited for this role due to their debuff capabilities, but all martials can support to an extent, either via athletics or just being a flanker.
-Tank: The ability to tank rests on two things, great defenses as well as tanking reactions.
-DPR/Striker: For reasons I will explain below, I think it's fruitful to separate this role into two when talking about martials. Regardless, this role is more or less concerned with dealing damage.

I think "Striker" is really 2 separate roles in 2E, "Dependent Striker" and "Independent Striker"
-Dependent Striker: A dependent striker needs support from the rest of the party to function at peak efficiency. Examples of this include Rogue and Barbarian. If they get the right support, they can be absolutely incredible.
-Independent Striker: An independent striker, such as Ranger or Monk, are far less reliant on the rest of the party to do their thing. Even when left to their own devices, they can chug along for a while, making them ideal flanking buddies that rack up damage over time even if some of the casters get incapacitated or need to shift focus away from support.

With these four martial roles in mind, it would be a lot easier to rate a class. I'll go ahead and use two classes I've had a bit of play experience with, the rogue and monk.

Rouge
Support[3/5]
Tank[1/5]
Dependent Striker[4/5]
Independent Striker[2/5]

Monk
Support[2/5]
Tank[4/5]
Dependent Striker[2/5]
Independent Striker[5/5]

Do keep in mind that I'm pretty much entirely discounting the out-of-combat utility you get from a skillmonkey - which goes a way to explain the comparatively "bad" rogue rating. Rouges are still fantastic to slot into parties due to their skillmonkey rating, and can hold their own as both support and DPS in combat.


Candlejake wrote:

Concerning things that are good for casters:what do you guys think of the beastmaster archetype? We often talk in thid thread how druid with animal companion is very good but with beastmaster any caster can get an Animal companion with druid progression.

I have build but not used yet a cosmos oracle with bm archetype.

Yeah, BM is too good, imo. Letting anyone get druid progression animal companion really takes away something from the druid. Any caster who's wondering what to do with a third action can just have his wolf attack and knockdown (or stride + attack, or 2 attacks, if less than level 8).

Witch MC looks decent for Wizard, but are some more low level slots better than a full animal companion? Maybe...

Actually, you could get both, with human (or half-elf) multi-talented. You still get spell penetration, and choice of breadth or level 16 feat (or less). Not a bad option. Loads of spells, full animal companion, use spell blending to turn your extra low level slots into higher level slots while still keeping a normal amount of low level slots (assuming you took breadth).

Losing: most wizard feats, but you get spell penetration, and a level 16 or lower feat, if you don't want breadth (I'd pick scroll savant, for even more spells per day, but maybe quicken, or effortless concentration, if you like to summon).

Maybe go divine witch, to open up some healing possibilities, and you can always sweep unwanted witch slots under the spell blending rug.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm quite surprised people don't seem to see more value in monks.

I played a 10 Con monk with 50-foot speed, I could Stride in, flurry, and stride out to total cover. Only enemies I ever had to worry about were ones with ranged attacks and/or reactions. There were plenty of fights where I took no damage at all, unlike our our fighters who insisted on standing next to the enemy and trading blows all the time, forcing the cleric to waste lots of resources. My monk did get knocked out from time to time, and ultimately did die, but that only happened when I broke from my core defensive strategy and ended my turn next to an active foe.

There were several fights in which the whole team would be down and it was up to me to either kite the enemy to death, or carry bodies far afield for healing in relative safety.

Monks totally rock.


Candlejake wrote:
Deriven said wrote:


What other martials did you have in your campaign? I can see a fighter being slowed, but barbarian's have sudden charge, dragon can get flight, and they focus heavily on athletics and can leap over difficult terrain as you level up.

If you were playing AoA, I don't recall many open areas that couldn't quickly be covered by a barbarian.

Now I have seen slow moving fighters or champions bogged down in heavy plate.

Rogues are usually pretty fast too as are rangers. Archers don't have to close the distance. Their arrows are their mobility.

And if the flurry damage isn't sufficient to match the other martial hits, hard to justify. In my experience when a Power Attacking fighter with a great weapon is getting 129 point crits, my 40 or 50 point crits don't match up very well.

For a single action a dragon monk still has the highest damage. And in round one that is generally the most you get. Barbarian uses rage and sudden charge, ranger uses hunt prey and moves, fighter might need two actions to get close, SB aquires panache and uses finisher, rogue has to get into flanking and probably really doesnt want to stay in melee.

Now in the following rounds i assume two actions of attacking. 1 action either spent getting into flanking, using a defensive action, having to approach a different enemy or in case of ranger having to hunt prey a different target (here monk has the avantage having to only get into stance once). Even an archer probably wants to move to make sure the enemy doesnt have lesser cover from other creatures or to get out of volley range. For two actions monk falls behind in damage, but honestly not that much. But at that point probably only by 1 point of average damage behind a two weapon flurry ranger.

If you spend all 3 actions attacking a monk really falls behind. But if you can spend all three actions attacking your dm either plays monsters pretty dumb or the fighr is pretty desperate or you are winning the fight easily anyways.

I think monks...

I think you could fix it making ki strike a 1 minute buff they cast once and call it done. Then it works in every stance, scales well enough, and gives them a sufficient damage boost to keep up. Then they can use other ki points for other ki abilities and not feel like they have to hold them for ki strikes.

I'll probably house rule this so someone plays monks. It's a fun, well-designed class. Main decision I think was a bad idea was making ki strike only last for 1 flurry for a focus point. It's too limiting in group play.


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Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:

I tend to measure healers by, how much damage has x, y, or z character done since they had taken damage equal to their HP max. Essentially, at that point, x, y, or z character should be down, not dealing anymore damage, but they are up and still going. I think this method is one of the more accurate ways to represent the contribution of a healer. It also is very telling if the healer is uneeded. Because if x, y, or z never take enough damage to equal their HP, mechanically, the healer is unecessary.

Also, it should be noted the enjoyment value added by a healer in keeping a player still able to play.

Now, I will acknowledge the flaw in this metric. It is true that if the healer were instead to do damage, the enemies would go down quicker, thus (as per the stated metric) cause the healer to be potentially uneeded. Without the healer dealing damage they are potentially causing a need for their own contribution. That said, this flaw is only relevant if the combat would be ended before the need for heals arises, which is definitely not the case for many level++ encounters.

I do find a healer balanced with offense like a druid seems to work better in a group than a dedicated healer cleric like PF1. It's more fun to play too.

Even better is having a few casters with heal capability. In our group with a Occult Witch, Storm Druid, Giant Barbarian, Wit Swashbuckler, and Precision Ranger archer, the witch and druid both occasionally heal. It seems to work fine. The druid is primary healer, but the witch definitely drops soothe. Then both engage in various offensive actions that accelerate killing enemies and works great.

I highly recommend people build healers with some offense that they use when not healing. Having no offense in PF2 not a great idea even if building a good healer.


Bast L. wrote:
Candlejake wrote:

Concerning things that are good for casters:what do you guys think of the beastmaster archetype? We often talk in thid thread how druid with animal companion is very good but with beastmaster any caster can get an Animal companion with druid progression.

I have build but not used yet a cosmos oracle with bm archetype.

Yeah, BM is too good, imo. Letting anyone get druid progression animal companion really takes away something from the druid. Any caster who's wondering what to do with a third action can just have his wolf attack and knockdown (or stride + attack, or 2 attacks, if less than level 8).

Witch MC looks decent for Wizard, but are some more low level slots better than a full animal companion? Maybe...

Actually, you could get both, with human (or half-elf) multi-talented. You still get spell penetration, and choice of breadth or level 16 feat (or less). Not a bad option. Loads of spells, full animal companion, use spell blending to turn your extra low level slots into higher level slots while still keeping a normal amount of low level slots (assuming you took breadth).

Losing: most wizard feats, but you get spell penetration, and a level 16 or lower feat, if you don't want breadth (I'd pick scroll savant, for even more spells per day, but maybe quicken, or effortless concentration, if you like to summon).

Maybe go divine witch, to open up some healing possibilities, and you can always sweep unwanted witch slots under the spell blending rug.

I'm actually making a Wizard with Witch Divine MC. It does look interesting.


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Ravingdork wrote:

I'm quite surprised people don't seem to see more value in monks.

I played a 10 Con monk with 50-foot speed, I could Stride in, flurry, and stride out to total cover. Only enemies I ever had to worry about were ones with ranged attacks and/or reactions. There were plenty of fights where I took no damage at all, unlike our our fighters who insisted on standing next to the enemy and trading blows all the time, forcing the cleric to waste lots of resources. My monk did get knocked out from time to time, and ultimately did die, but that only happened when I broke from my core defensive strategy and ended my turn next to an active foe.

There were several fights in which the whole team would be down and it was up to me to either kite the enemy to death, or carry bodies far afield for healing in relative safety.

Monks totally rock.

I don't understand this style of play. If you have a group of 4 or 5 characters with one ranged martial, one melee martial, a healer, and a battle/support caster, then your monk needs to stand in battle and take hits.

This means he needs to do enough damage to attract the attention of the creature he is fighting by doing competitive damage and be able to take hits. If he runs in and out of battle, he may be protecting himself but he's not helping the party much. IF he is not doing competitive damage to attract the attention of the enemies, then they just focus fire to destroy the more dangerous enemy while leaving the monk to kill later.

Let's say you played a monk the above way in our current group with a barbarian and precision ranger archer with you replacing the swashbuckler. You run into battle, do your flurry, run out. You're protected. The barbarian is standing in battle and now takes all the hits. So they focus fire all their attacks on the barbarian possibly taking him down. Then you have enemies that can now pick another slower enemy to focus fire and destroy. Maybe they move to one of the casters or the archer and you have no room for a long kiting fight in a dungeon room or tight knit forest. They run down the next caster and kill him. You run in and out doing your damage. They keep doing what they're doing moving to the next weakest target and focus firing until you're alone.

Then what? How did you help the group? You didn't help share damage. You didn't deal great damage running in and out, especially if they have DR like we faced fighting golems. You didn't protect the casters. So what did the monk running in and out of battle do for the party? Not much as I can see it.

Not sure why this would be considered a good play-style unless you were solely focused on personal survival and outcomes rather than group success. Given my group plays focused on power across the group, this play-style is not useful and will often lead to the DM focusing all offense on the character in melee who might be alone.

Maybe a monk played like this could fulfill the ranged attacker role using their mobility. But archers have other tools that increase accuracy, damage, or number of shots they can use to apply to a fight often from up to a 100 feet away without moving. But if a monk could match archer damage by using mobility in and out, I imagine they could replace a ranged character. But they would need flight as archers are very good against flying or mobile creatures themselves without having to move into combat.

I imagine it depends on group dynamics. I feel like a monk champion MC would be more effective than a monk building for offense. I have some really good ideas for a monk champion MC I think will be very cool.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Monk have plenty of tools to help protect allies. Take stunning fist, for example. It combines well with skirmish tactics and removes actions the enemy could be using to hurt your allies. Even a monk without stunning fist could trip the enemy up before moving out of the way for the martials' beat down. The high mobility also extends to things like climbing, jumping, or swimming as well. This allows the monk to reach enemies that might be difficult for other characters to access. My monk scaled a castle wall then pushed the enemy sniper that had been hurrying the part off it, to their waiting clutches below.

The monk has plenty of value.

Also, flurry of blows helps against DR.


Monks with the Jalmeri Heavenseeker archetype do really good damage too.

Monks are my favorite PF2 class by a wide margin.


Ravingdork wrote:

Monk have plenty of tools to help protect allies. Take stunning fist, for example. It combines well with skirmish tactics and removes actions the enemy could be using to hurt your allies. Even a monk without stunning fist could trip the enemy up before moving out of the way for the martials' beat down. The high mobility also extends to things like climbing, jumping, or swimming as well. This allows the monk to reach enemies that might be difficult for other characters to access. My monk scaled a castle wall then pushed the enemy sniper that had been hurrying the part off it, to their waiting clutches below.

The monk has plenty of value.

Also, flurry of blows helps against DR.

Most creatures seem to have saves, at least one save, on par with their AC. Which means attack maneuvers that use MAP penalty suffer as much as strikes against AC. If you are fighting a creature with a low enough Fort or Reflex that you can hit it with Assurance Athletics, then you can probably pull this off. But you spend actions finding out if this is the case.

I did a trip and Stand Still build, but found out the hard way a high reflex save is as hard to hit lower than Legendary. And a second trip attempt is as hard as a second attack. So while I was doing Trip Attempts for no damage, the other martials were doing damage which ultimately killed the creature faster.

PF2 puts a heavy premium on doing damage fast because the creatures do so much damage without much of a way to defend against it. The faster you kill them, the faster you win. Any attacks like Trip that don't have a much higher chance of working over an attack are not as valuable as an attack.

Flurry of Maneuvers can help against DR just like Hunted Shot or Twin Takedown. It's hard to hit with two attacks the higher the AC is. I've found that a barbarian or two-hander Power Attack fighter smash through DR better.

Until I see a monk perform as well as other martials, I'm skeptical they can. I plan to house rule ki strike to a 1 minute buff if I don't see this value in the next monk someone makes. Monk is very interesting class and all they really need is that little damage bump to be good to go.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

Monks with the Jalmeri Heavenseeker archetype do really good damage too.

Monks are my favorite PF2 class by a wide margin.

Wow. New Agents of Edgewatch archetype. That is badass.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

Monks with the Jalmeri Heavenseeker archetype do really good damage too.

Monks are my favorite PF2 class by a wide margin.

Missed that one. An action for + level damage to your strikes. A reaction attak to drop a flyer to the ground - MAP is going to get in the way of that but still good. A negate all invisibility power.

Very nice.


Supposedly it's getting fixed, because it's beyond broken. Monks might not even be the best class for it, but either way, level to damage for 2 rounds is pretty wild.

(someone heard somewhere that someone else said it was on their "to fix" list, for the eventual errata, which may be coming someday)

I've disallowed it in my games so far, because of the supposed incoming fix. Same with mountain stance + drakeheart elixir.


Bast L. wrote:

Supposedly it's getting fixed, because it's beyond broken. Monks might not even be the best class for it, but either way, level to damage for 2 rounds is pretty wild.

(someone heard somewhere that someone else said it was on their "to fix" list, for the eventual errata, which may be coming someday)

I've disallowed it in my games so far, because of the supposed incoming fix. Same with mountain stance + drakeheart elixir.

Something insane always gets by in a game this big.


Bast L. wrote:

Supposedly it's getting fixed, because it's beyond broken. Monks might not even be the best class for it, but either way, level to damage for 2 rounds is pretty wild.

(someone heard somewhere that someone else said it was on their "to fix" list, for the eventual errata, which may be coming someday)

I've disallowed it in my games so far, because of the supposed incoming fix. Same with mountain stance + drakeheart elixir.

Holy s@$% im just reading through it and its really good. But supposedly we reduce the damage by half so you only deal half your damage its still pretty much exactly what a monk wants for DPS. An extra single action that doesnt increase MAP but increases damage. SO monk can stay at their prefered way of fighting with only using FoB to attack.

Hope it gets errata'd soon so we can use it. Were did you hear that its gonna get fixed?


Well, it's half your level for both sonic and electricity damage. It outstrips giant instinct barbarian at many levels (11-14, and at 20).

Some responses at the bottom of this post say it's on the to-fix list: post


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For the record @Ravingdork, I think Monk is one of the best martials in the game, as I believe it fits extremely well into a multitude of parties and plays rather well in two solid roles.

-------------------------------------------------------

With the roles I established in mind, here are my ratings for all of the core + APG marital classes. I have less experience with some of them, however I've seen at least a little play by all. Additionally, it's not impossible I'm missing an important combat role, or that one of the roles would benefit from splitting into smaller ones.

Keep in mind some classes greatly benefit from being able to combine two roles, or switching between roles depending on the situation. In fact, I think most characters ends up playing at least two roles at the same time in practice. A Champion isn't only tanking, but also playing independent striker and healing on the side. Additionally, after considering this list again, I feel like "ranged combat" probably needs its own role in one way or another, as range can greatly impact party composition.

Ratings;
1: among the least suited to this role
2: not well suited to this role
3: decently suited to this role, but less so than specialized classes
4: well suited to this role
5: among the best suited to this role
*: feat support which may improve this rating after taking several feats, or class special paths

Alchemist
Support[5/5]
Tank[1/5]
Dependent Striker[2/5]
Independent Striker[2*/5]

Barbarian
Support[1/5]
Tank[2/5]
Dependent Striker[5/5]
Independent Striker[3/5]

Champion
Support[2*/5]
Tank[5/5]
Dependent Striker[2/5]
Independent Striker[3*/5]

Fighter
Support[2/5]
Tank[4/5]
Dependent Striker[3/5]
Independent Striker[4/5]

Investigator
Support[3/5]
Tank[1/5]
Dependent Striker[3/5]
Independent Striker[3/5]

Monk
Support[2/5]
Tank[4/5]
Dependent Striker[2/5]
Independent Striker[5/5]

Ranger
Support[2/5]
Tank[3/5]
Dependent Striker[3/5]
Independent Striker[5/5]

Rouge
Support[3/5]
Tank[1/5]
Dependent Striker[4/5]
Independent Striker[2/5]

Swashbuckler
Support[2/5]
Tank[2/5]
Dependent Striker[4/5]
Independent Striker[4/5]


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Why do you rate the barbarian as low tanking? Because his AC is lower?

1. Barbarians can easily get AoOs.

2. Barbarians do so much damage that ignoring them is very hard to do.

3. Mobility is always solid with Sudden Charge.

4. Renewed Vigor is like a shield block every round for 1 action.

5. Lots of hit points.

6. Amazing fortitude saves for avoiding grabs.

7. Increasing size with Giant Instinct can make it very hard for creatures to swallow while increasing reach making it harder to bypass you.

8. Damage resistance against quite a few creatures combined with temporary hit points a pretty nice defense.

I thought the barbarian would be a bad party tank at first, but they have turned out to be a very powerful tank. They control aggro very well. Probably the second most effective tank I've seen behind a champion due to being so good at holding aggro. The barbarian is usually the strongest round to round threat in a group and can't easily be bypassed or ignored.

I think the barbarian should be a much higher rated tank. You can build a really tough tanking barbarian.


Not really a tank imo.

-3 ac compared to a champ is too much ( hp doesn't matter, as well as resistances, since they might not work ) because how critical hits work.

Also, he has nothing to help or prevent damage to allies if compared to a champ

- lay on hands
- reaction
- shield feats
- divine reflexes
- some useful aura

It's just a big simpleton who delivers devastating blows.


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HumbleGamer wrote:

Not really a tank imo.

-3 ac compared to a champ is too much ( hp doesn't matter, as well as resistances, since they might not work ) because how critical hits work.

Also, he has nothing to help or prevent damage to allies if compared to a champ

- lay on hands
- reaction
- shield feats
- divine reflexes
- some useful aura

It's just a big simpleton who delivers devastating blows.

Champion is the best tank.

But to say the barbarian is a big simpleton who delivers devastating blows is seriously underestimating the barbarian.

I already listed abilities like Renewed Vigor which is literally like a free shield block every round. It is a very good 3rd action ability.

You can also do a grapple build to control creatures and keep them from moving as freely.

A champion requires everyone be close to them and moves slower than a barbarian.

A barbarian has superior mobility to a champion, superior maneuver use, and does a lot of damage, enough to offset what the champion deflects as in things will die a lot faster with a barbarian than a champion, which prevents damage by itself.

You seriously underestimate barbarian tanking. Maybe you will change your mind at some point if someone builds a barbarian tank.

Even today one of the little perks of a Giant Instinct Barbarian helped. We were fighting a T-rex and the thing grabbed the barbarian. Surprisingly a T-rex can only swallow up to medium creatures, so the barbarian did Giant Stature so he couldn't be swallowed. Nice little perk as the Champion often gets swallowed as he can't boost his size.


Falco271 wrote:
HumbleGamer wrote:


- You can. Your offhand has to be agile, while the main hand can be anything.

- Why wouldn't you be able to do so? Also, you will simply use Twin Takedown as second third action.

- You will be using it everytime you can. If you can't, you will stick with twin takedown ( Until lvl 14 if you are a fighter ) + strike

I really doubt we will ever find something better than double slice to be honest.

As ranger, you'd do 3 actions with DS, TT @0,0,-4,-4. This is using two agile weapons. If you go for agile/non-ag, you get 0,0,-4,-6 using DS, TT.

Second sting is a separate action, can't be combined with DS, TT. You need to use TT, SS, SS. Average damage for TT, SS, SS is higher then DS, TT on lvl 12-17. The more difficult the enemy, the bigger the difference (you'll be missing a lot).

I see your point. I just don't see that I am standing all 3 actions in front of the BBEG doing DS,TT every round. Normally the other action is doing something else like moving or hunt prey. I also found I was starved for actions as a ranger. Probably because my party always focus fires, and monsters just go down quick.


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Gortle wrote:
Falco271 wrote:
HumbleGamer wrote:


- You can. Your offhand has to be agile, while the main hand can be anything.

- Why wouldn't you be able to do so? Also, you will simply use Twin Takedown as second third action.

- You will be using it everytime you can. If you can't, you will stick with twin takedown ( Until lvl 14 if you are a fighter ) + strike

I really doubt we will ever find something better than double slice to be honest.

As ranger, you'd do 3 actions with DS, TT @0,0,-4,-4. This is using two agile weapons. If you go for agile/non-ag, you get 0,0,-4,-6 using DS, TT.

Second sting is a separate action, can't be combined with DS, TT. You need to use TT, SS, SS. Average damage for TT, SS, SS is higher then DS, TT on lvl 12-17. The more difficult the enemy, the bigger the difference (you'll be missing a lot).

I see your point. I just don't see that I am standing all 3 actions in front of the BBEG doing DS,TT every round. Normally the other action is doing something else like moving or hunt prey. I also found I was starved for actions as a ranger. Probably because my party always focus fires, and monsters just go down quick.

I don't like using all my actions on attack every round. I've found a ranger with animal companion is extremely good at moving to take out smaller targets alone. I took out small minion devils one at time as a flurry ranger with a wolf while the fighter tanked the main devil leader to stop them from unloading attacks on us from range while we fought the BBEG.

Moving from target to target and positioning with the AC requires some flexibility. Once he was set up, he hammered through the enemy's hit points. I find it is often overkill for a high damage ranger who can work with an AC to focus on a single enemy unless it's the main BBEG without minion help.


Zapp wrote:

Now then, defense!

I think you are broadly right here. A party of 4 mostly built for defense will do significantly worse than a party of four built for offense.

Yes I think you are right to buff offense before defense. Cover the basics with defence, but in combat buff it second.

It changes a bit if you can't focus fire, or if it is an unusual opponent and you need to work out what are the right tactics to use against it.

If the GM doesn't focus fire its pretty easy.

Personally I think it works better when you have a dedicated point man who does look at his defense - a shield fighter or a champion. Then the rest of the party is offensive. But in any case every character needs a moderately good attack option even if that is not their primary role. That applies to the tank but also to any healer/buffer/controller.

The idea being that the point man takes a large share of the attacks and provides some defense to the rest of the party, just by being in the way. Lesser cover bonus, AoA, Champions Reaction etc.

However you are making an assumption that the party has a dedicated healer. It is perfectly reasonable to have a couple of part time healers. Primal casters make excellent healers but still have very effective offense. They keep one high level spell slot in heal for when its really needed in combat, but the bulk of the healing is done with focus spells, potions, or treat wounds.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
Why do you rate the barbarian as low tanking? Because his AC is lower?

My rationale looks something like this;

-Champion has great defenses, and instant access to the best tanking abilities in the game; therefore they are a 5.
-Fighter has solid defenses, and instant access to a highly usable tanking ability; therefore, 4.
-Monk has great defenses, and eventual access to a highly usable tanking ability (stand still); therefore they are also a 4.
-Ranger has solid defenses, and eventual access to a reasonably usable tanking ability (disrupt prey); therefore they are a 3 or a 2.
-Barbarian has defenses that are below par for a martial, and eventual access to a highly usable tanking ability; therefore they are either a 2 or a 3. Felt closest to a 2 for me, but I think I could justify either.

However, I think there's a lot of truth to what you write. Barbarians are, imo, one of the classes that can vary their roles the most based on build, and some Barbarian builds can absolutely give fighters a run for their money in terms of tanking (that is, they can plausibly go up to a 4, though it requires a more specialized build). It would probably be more fair to give Barbs a 2* or 3* in tanking instead. And on that note, Barbs should probably have a * for all ratings other than support really. They really are the druids of martials in this edition.


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Henro wrote:


However, I think there's a lot of truth to what you write. Barbarians are, imo, one of the classes that can vary their roles the most based on build, and some Barbarian builds can absolutely give fighters a run for their money in terms of tanking (that is, they can plausibly go up to a 4, though it requires a more specialized build). It would probably be more fair to give Barbs a 2* or 3* in tanking instead. And on that note, Barbs should probably have a * for all ratings other than support really. They really are the druids of martials in this edition.

Animal barbarian with shield and Bastion dedication has a super mobilty, high defense, and can still do quite some damage. Can also combine with monk for flurry. Will probably try that sometime.


Gortle wrote:


I see your point. I just don't see that I am standing all 3 actions in front of the BBEG doing DS,TT every round. Normally the other action is doing something else like moving or hunt prey. I also found I was starved for actions as a ranger. Probably because my party always focus fires, and monsters just go down quick.

Just to be clear, i don't like the DS/TT, I go for the TT + attacks. Waste of a feat for a ranger.

As for attacks: depends. We had a nice 4 against 4 brawl in an arena some days ago, with part of ranger, champ, witch and bard vs main bbeg (barb), another barb, priest and archer. Ranger and barb where slugging away at eachother, mostly supported by the others. Super tanking from the shield champ, preventing lots of damage on the ranger. Due to lots of healing, fight lasted 7 rounds. Lots of attacks made, almost all the rounds 6 rolls by ranger (and rolling terrible, for very few hits....). Persistent damage won the day, bleeding (bird AC), enervation.

Not a normal fight, but fun, and the heroes won, of course....


Falco271 wrote:
Animal barbarian with shield and Bastion dedication has a super mobilty, high defense, and can still do quite some damage. Can also combine with monk for flurry. Will probably try that sometime.

According to my rating, this would be an "independent striker" role. Another Barbarian rating that really ought to have a * - as I said, Barbarian roles vary by build to a much greater degree than for other martials. (though to be fair, when archetypes come into the picture that is true for almost every class to an extent)

Wayfinders

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Does Friendly Toss add to the tanking potential by yeeting allies out of the front lines as-needed? I have no experience of this in play; I'm just curious and it sounds greatly amusing. Especially if there's a low-hp enemy you can chuck your rogue at to get them out of danger while still being useful.

In fact, this sounds like a fun idea for my eventual Medic Barbarian. I'll save you the wiki-walk; none of it has the concentration trait. I know, right?? Neither does Quick Alchemy, somehow.

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