What are the worst builds you've seen?


Advice


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What are the worst character builds you've seen in 2nd edition?

As we all know, Paizo really raised the floor with 2nd Edition, making it so almost any character--even one made by unsuspecting new players--can generally pull their own weight. You almost have to be deliberately trying to make a bad character to end up with one.

However, it does still happen. What are some horrible character builds that you've seen brought to the table, or brought yourself? I'm not looking for what's possible (this is not a theoretical worst build contest) but what you've actually seen or experienced. Perhaps the advice and discussion this topic generates can help other players avoid potential pitfalls.

I'll start: a fellow player made a champion with 16 Strength. Wanting to be an effective tank, he got the heaviest armor he could afford and a tower shield. He also got himself a bastard sword, a ranseur, and a composite longbow with loads of arrows. And that was just his combat gear! By the time he was done equipping his character, he was eating Encumbrance penalties to his AC, and could only make 5-foot Stride actions. Worst tank I've ever seen.

After I gave him a few pointers, he dropped to a medium armor, raised his strength, and switched to a large steel shield. This resulted in a higher AC, no movement or skill penalties, and higher attacks and damage. He also didn't have to worry about spending extra actions to Take Cover behind his shield. All in all a strict upgrade.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I really like this idea. It is good to see both ends in order to calibrate the measuring scale. I have seen several threads about 'the most interesting builds that still actually work'.

For my entry, I am not sure how big of a problem it is. But I suspect that it will eventually be a problem.

Halfling Witch with a 10 CON score. Characters started at level 6, so no lower level play to show how dangerous that is. The poor thing only has 42 HP. Her familiar has almost that many HP, but will get automatically revived the next day for free.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I am always amazed to see PCs with less than the max AC they can get. Especially when they play close to or in the frontlines. Fighter, Cloistered Cleric, Rogue, Barbarian, you name it.

Don't they realize how much the party suffers when they go down?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

While I would not call them bad or worst two players of our party of 5 came up with involuntarily less effective builds.

Our Universalist & Metamagical Experimentation Wizard who in between bad initial choices and bad spell selection struggled a lot keeping up the pace, having to resort to cantrips way longer than I imagined, especially during his early levels. While Drain Bonded item is slowly getting more and more use as spell levels start to increase I have rarely seem him make good use of the thesis yet (apart from the Reach Spell bonus feat), which may be an indication of less/weaker metamagics being present in the CRB.

Another less effective build is our battleaxe and board fighter, who while still excellent at tanking and whacking stuff is lacking much utility. No free hand usually results in no combat manoeuvres (no trip or grab) and no 'proper' melee weapon (class & traits) results in horribly ineffective critical specialization effects for a class that crits most reliably.


breithauptclan wrote:

I really like this idea. It is good to see both ends in order to calibrate the measuring scale. I have seen several threads about 'the most interesting builds that still actually work'.

For my entry, I am not sure how big of a problem it is. But I suspect that it will eventually be a problem.

Halfling Witch with a 10 CON score. Characters started at level 6, so no lower level play to show how dangerous that is. The poor thing only has 42 HP. Her familiar has almost that many HP, but will get automatically revived the next day for free.

I thought about building a heavy armor Wizard recently and the only way to do this at level 1 was to start with 8 con as an Ancient Elf with 11HP cause I needed 18 int 16 str 14 cha and 12 dex. Would start with 19 AC however.

Just starting at lvl 2 you could instead have 10 dex 10 con and full plate instead of scalemail as well as choose Orc Ancestry for a 10HP or 12HP start.

To stay on topic I haven't seen that many builds in action yet but our monk player chose monastic archery stance despite being the only tanky frontline. They're lvl 6 now and the monk stopped using his bow mostly even though I gave them an extra NPC tank.
Probably still gonna start being useful again soon though


While I wouldn't say that he was necessarily "bad", I made a Staff Acrobat Fighter who had exactly 1 turn order: Move to reach, Trip, Attack. While Trip was generally effective and helped the party out quite a bit, the character suffered from just having nothing else they could really do well. He was just a bucket of hit points that sat in the front line and tried his best to keep things on their backs. Maybe would have been better with more synergy with the rest of the party, but there was no rogue to take advantage of flat footed or anything like that. He was a level 5 character, so 2/3 of his class feats went to staff acrobat. Maybe with another few levels he would have expanded a bit to have a few more tricks, but up until that point it was all Trip, then 2d8+4.

I ended up shelving the character after a few sessions because it was just kinda boring to play. I lieu of him I played a 2 hand pick crit fishing fighter who specialized in Demoralize. While he also had 1 real turn order, he felt far more impactful and the extra damage he brought to the table was impressive.

Edit: Most of the issue I had with Gary (the staff acrobat) was having to decide if I wanted to be accurately attacking, or accurately tripping. I leaned towards tripping, as that helped the party more generally. This worked fine against mooks and mobs, but against single high level enemies was detrimental. Most of his damage came from AoO's from the opponent trying to stand.

He was neat in that he could trip anything up to and including Gargantuan creatures though. Just didn't get to a level where there were many of those around.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I played the first part of Plaguestone once. While my own build wasn't exactly optimized (Dwarven crossbow ranger), the rest of the party was terrible from an optimization standpoint.

The druid had 16 Wis and the leaf order before the goodberry errata. He was still the most viable.

The fighter was an elven dex-based two weapon fighter with 18 dex and 12 strength. Tried to use two weapons with double slice. Failed to deal any real damage and was rather squishy for a fighter (light armor, no shield, elven HP).

The third one was a bow-wielding gnome rogue. Didn't deal any damage either, as nobody in the party was able to make targets flat-footed.

The latter two were former 5e players, as you might have guessed.

My current party in a homebrew campaign has a mastermind rogue with witch dedication who more often than not spends his turns casting Telekinetic Projectile. And he didn't have Magical Trickster till level 6 (which we just got to). His spell attack is a whole 3 points behind his weapon attack and I think he's getting frustrated. Doesn't help that roll20 usually decides to roll VERY poorly for him on average, especially in combat.


Melee gishes with caster class as a foundation.
Most burning every feat they have to become mediocre, yet still fragile. Others allotting every spell they have to become temporarily mediocre.
None seeming to understand how they needed Con/h.p. as much or more than they needed plate armor.

Wouldn't be so bad if they'd thought like a skirmisher, but since they want to cast & Strike every round they set themselves up to die.

All of these were on the boards, sometimes with applause.
IRL, I've only seen an archer/gish, and it did well, though it took a lot of investment and naturally had to fall back to spells only when situations got dire.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Castilliano wrote:

Melee gishes with caster class as a foundation.

I've seen both Warpriests and Druids do this well. Enough hit points to be effective (especially when combined with their healing ability. Maxing out Wisdom for Medicine helps). Decent AC quite cheaply (both can even use a shield if they choose). One has good weapons out of the box, the other has to blow a general feat at some point.

They lag slightly behind martials, of course, but more than compensate with their spells, animal companions, etc.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My worst character is a shoony mutagen alchemist on his way to a dandy dedication. He has a 12 STR and 12 Dex. He mostly insults enemies until the get angry at him and spend actions chasing him around the battlefield.

He is a PFS character struggling to survive first level.


pauljathome wrote:
Castilliano wrote:

Melee gishes with caster class as a foundation.

I've seen both Warpriests and Druids do this well. Enough hit points to be effective (especially when combined with their healing ability. Maxing out Wisdom for Medicine helps). Decent AC quite cheaply (both can even use a shield if they choose). One has good weapons out of the box, the other has to blow a general feat at some point.

They lag slightly behind martials, of course, but more than compensate with their spells, animal companions, etc.

I have not seen such builds. I've seen ones others have called effective, yet I've disagreed in each case. I feel it takes too much stat investment to function in both capacities. (And by gish, I mean able to cast well offensively, not simply cast.)

So we get builds with 16 Str & 18 Wis...and now they're dead.
Or they sacrifice the casting stat, and now their class's major investment (spells) loses its punch. They make a great ability mediocre so they can also be mediocre in melee.
And I've considered (and keep considering) the Heal-based protector role, except the thought of meeting a boss with AoOs deters me. Can't dare need a Heal where you can't safely cast, and any slacking off in offensive casting means the boss will shrug it off.
And if they use their shield (which IMO they kind of need to) then they don't get the cast/Strike combo.

To clarify, I think a caster who's willing to focus on non-offensive spells might function well, but I wouldn't call that a gish (again because I'm thinking in terms of blasters like Melf or Keak).

In extreme battles where a martial struggles, I wouldn't want one of these gish pretending to be a frontliner, yet their casting may be too compromised as well.

I do think a semi-gish is possible with Magic Missiles since they're not stat-dependent. :) Maybe with a few (weak) AoOs for larger crowds because they're so susceptible.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Caster Gish works if you get your expectations right. I played melee witch with sentry dedication, expecting to cast mostly spells and occasionally go into melee, when the situation allows or calls for it. The build fell pretty flat, mostly due to the lack of melee party members. With the aforementioned rogue being more caster than melee, I found myself ob the Frontline much more often than not, not wanting to leave our fighter hanging as the only one near the enemies.

But honestly, I think most casters don't really need all that many class feats to function. So I don't mind spending them on archetypes. Getting some extra proficiencies to suck a bit less goes a long way. Just don't forget that you are playing a caster! If you want to hit stuff with heavy things and occasionally cast a a spell, take a martial base class.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Castilliano wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
Castilliano wrote:

Melee gishes with caster class as a foundation.

I've seen both Warpriests and Druids do this well. Enough hit points to be effective (especially when combined with their healing ability. Maxing out Wisdom for Medicine helps). Decent AC quite cheaply (both can even use a shield if they choose). One has good weapons out of the box, the other has to blow a general feat at some point.

They lag slightly behind martials, of course, but more than compensate with their spells, animal companions, etc.

I have not seen such builds. I've seen ones others have called effective, yet I've disagreed in each case. I feel it takes too much stat investment to function in both capacities. (And by gish, I mean able to cast well offensively, not simply cast.)

So we get builds with 16 Str & 18 Wis...and now they're dead.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

Str 16, Wis 18, Con 12, Cha 12 is a quite effective Warpriest. Or Con 14 and Int 8 or Cha 8 with the right ancestry.

But I was very definitely also including as Gish a character who did NOT use attack magic but rather used almost completely utility magic. So, casting stat at 12 or 14 which leaves more than enough room for other things.

It sounds like it also depends a lot on what you mean by "effective". If you mean "Capable of contributing its share at most PFS tables" then I definitely stand by my position. If you mean "Capable of handling some of the overtuned Paizo modules" then I agree. Paizo is still making many things too hard by ignoring their own encounter building guidelines and for far too many of their products you pretty much need a character that is totally optimized to within an inch of its life.

Paizo is quite often its own worst enemy :-). It constantly claims that one of the huge advantages of 2nd edition is that you don't need to optimize as much, don't need a dedicated healer, etc. And then publishes material that kills characters built by people who believed that rhetoric :-(

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

On the topic of gishes and totally opposite the OP topic, I am thinking the Investigator may be the class to build one of the best gishes with as long as you take the Witch or Wizard dedication.

They can get up to master proficiency while having their casting stat maxed out, they get up to master proficiency in all simple and martial weapons AND can use intelligence for attacks with agile/finesse weapons AND get that Strategic Strike damage which can match the damage from 2 successful strikes. On top of that you're doubling on skill increases and skill feats. It also helps that they can easily specialize in Recall Knowledge to find the weak saves to know just the right spell to cast to make up for your slightly weaker spellcasting. Finally, you get even more utility if you go with the Alchemical Sciences methodology.

It's all more "works in theory" than "works in practice" for me currently but on paper it is looking very good so far.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Castilliano wrote:
Melee gishes with caster class as a foundation.

My first game ever, right after the game came out, featured a Demonic Sorcerer who went all in on a Glutton's Jaw build. He was adamant about making the build work, but between having to boost both Strength and Charisma on an unarmored class, his AC and HP pool were both pretty terrible.

The character ended up performing so badly that he basically wrote off PF2 entirely.


Squiggit wrote:
Castilliano wrote:
Melee gishes with caster class as a foundation.

My first game ever, right after the game came out, featured a Demonic Sorcerer who went all in on a Glutton's Jaw build. He was adamant about making the build work, but between having to boost both Strength and Charisma on an unarmored class, his AC and HP pool were both pretty terrible.

The character ended up performing so badly that he basically wrote off PF2 entirely.

Yea, Glutton's Jaw is a trap. :*(

I've seen a few try to build it, yet they saw the flaws.
I think a martial could pick it up and do something with it, though even then it's a lateral move (which requires Charisma at that), not an improvement.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:

I am always amazed to see PCs with less than the max AC they can get. Especially when they play close to or in the frontlines. Fighter, Cloistered Cleric, Rogue, Barbarian, you name it.

Don't they realize how much the party suffers when they go down?

I second this one.

While on the one hand classes are forbidden from having top AC ( leaving apart proficiency ) if not by wearing heavy armors, on the other hand it's impossible for anybody ( talking about frontline characters, not casters and similar ) not to achieve 5 AC.

This leaving apart extra armor they could get depends the class:

+2 from shield
+1 from shield cantrip
+2 from dueling parry
+1 from parry weapon

and so on ( sometimes people think that betting on the third attack, talking about map -10, is better than a single AC point, and this leads to issues ).


I have a player who has struggled a bit with a Ranger with the Arcane archetype. It's not a horrible concept, but I think he's maybe spread too thin / trying to be great at too many things. He started with his highest stat being in Int at 16, but the rest of the stats were just too low. We are at 14th level in the AoA AP. He pulls off some useful things occasionally. However the dedicated fighter with a great ax seems to land a crit most rounds and is dealing 75 to 100 + in damage. The ranger is rarely getting a crit and is lucky to do half that damage. He will use spells as a back up, but his saves just aren't very threatening. He falls back on Frost Ray a lot. In addition, the bird companion is a bit underwhelming.


Gray wrote:
I have a player who has struggled a bit with a Ranger with the Arcane archetype. It's not a horrible concept, but I think he's maybe spread too thin / trying to be great at too many things. He started with his highest stat being in Int at 16, but the rest of the stats were just too low. We are at 14th level in the AoA AP. He pulls off some useful things occasionally. However the dedicated fighter with a great ax seems to land a crit most rounds and is dealing 75 to 100 + in damage. The ranger is rarely getting a crit and is lucky to do half that damage. He will use spells as a back up, but his saves just aren't very threatening. He falls back on Frost Ray a lot. In addition, the bird companion is a bit underwhelming.

Is there a chance the ranger missed the four free boosts at character creation, or the boost from their class? They should be able to get a 16 or 18 Dex along with 16 Int pretty easily.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:

I am always amazed to see PCs with less than the max AC they can get. Especially when they play close to or in the frontlines. Fighter, Cloistered Cleric, Rogue, Barbarian, you name it.

Don't they realize how much the party suffers when they go down?

It did suck at lower level. It isn't much of an issue past lvl 8 or so. As a Giant barbarian your brutal hits and reach allow you to mitigate the AC.

And casters often go with lower AC by default for their entire time and survive. It's not nearly as bad as you make it out.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

The worst build I ever played as an evoker wizard. Man, what a terrible experience. Low level spell DCs are easy to beat. Spells doing 2d6 AoE damage even at lvl 3 are a joke. Force Missile does less damage than a bow or melee weapon for 1 action with no focus point cost. The only advantage being it automatically hits 1 time per battle for some low damage.

You can buy proficiency in a bow or a reach weapon, spend some points on dexterity or strength and do more damage than force missile for the same action cost.

A bow does 1d8+1 with a 14 strength. It is only limited by arrows. You can build it up so that it does more damage than a Force missile even at lvl 9. Lvl 9 force missile does 5d4+5 for one action for an average of 18. If you build out an even Greater Striking Bow with a few energy runes, you can do 24 damage with an arrow hit for 1 action with the possibility of critting.

Evoker wizard was an incredibly underwhelming build at doing what an evoker is supposed to do. I'm sure it would have gotten better blasting the way all casters get better. But I could have still built a sorcerer with dangerous sorcery to blast better with better focus spells.

The other most underwhelming builds have been martial warpriests and nearly any kind of wizard. Martial warpriests don't build up their attack bonus high enough fast enough to be really viable. Wizards are pretty much relegated to blasting and some wall control to be effective. Summoning spells are terrible. Shapechange spells are not great. There is pretty much blasting and phantasmal killer.

The best crowd control spell calm emotions is on the divine and occult list.

The best debuff spell synesthesia is on the occult list.

The arcane list doesn't have a lot going for it. Intelligence is one of the weaker statistics in the game. Charisma is strong. Strength and Dexterity are good. Constitution and Wisdom are key stats for saving throws. Intelligence doesn't have as much going for it. They should probably add some Intelligence based skills that do stuff like Intimidate or Bon Mot.

Yeah. Weakest builds I've seen coming from an overall perspective:

1. Wizards in general. Wizards need too much time and massive investments in spells just to occasionally have the right spell for the right situation which it takes them time to figure out, when you can just have a bard or rogue with skills handle most of the time.

2. Martial warpriest builds. Weak proficiency advancement and a lack of spells to create equality with martials. They have a one trick channel smite build that if it works for a hit here and there, it looks great. But that becomes less and less interesting as martials get more powerful and hit better with channel smite like damage all the time.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Gray wrote:
but I think he's maybe spread too thin / trying to be great at too many things.

Being spread too thin is something I see happen a lot, especially with players who are used to high point buy PF1 where you can get away with being pretty good at a ton of things by using a wide stat spread and extra modifiers. They get thrown off by PF2's emphasis on siloing your stats.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Deriven Firelion wrote:
And casters often go with lower AC by default for their entire time and survive. It's not nearly as bad as you make it out.

It's only bad when you end your turn next to an enemy. I've had a sorcerer (dedicated wizard) with low AC and hit points for at least six level. Only been dropped once in my entire career. Only even been hurt...maybe two or three times?

The key is keeping one's distance in the first place, especially with longer range spells like magic missile and ray of frost. Those short-range 30-foot spells will put you in a bind if your allies aren't there to shield you.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I'd prefer to see more self-deprecation like this:

Unicore wrote:

My worst character is a shoony mutagen alchemist on his way to a dandy dedication. He has a 12 STR and 12 Dex. He mostly insults enemies until the get angry at him and spend actions chasing him around the battlefield.

He is a PFS character struggling to survive first level.

And less high horse criticisms of other peoples' builds.

IMO, this thread is rather mean spirited if you're saying things about other peoples' builds that you haven't worked out with them / laughed about with them.

---

My PFS sorcerer started with 10 STR, 14 DEX (was going to do 10 but chickened out), and 10 CON, and only Daze in terms of offensive spells.

Noble background, of course. Who else would have the undeserved confidence to charge into the world half-armed and not expect to get murdered in their first adventure? :D

Level 6 and counting!

---

I tried to make a deaf witch who used telepathy to hear through his duck familiar.

Spent so many feats getting the duck thing to work that he got murdered in his first adventure.

---

I had to rush to pull together a character and couldn't be bothered with GP and Bulk restrictions so I made a naked goblin monk who gave all his money to the poor.

The build actually worked for a bit (combat-wise it worked great), but started falling way behind because of lack of any sort of item bonuses. I guess I could have taken a small flavor hit and gotten handwraps, but the schtick was wearing thin anyway.

---

I just created a pacifist barbarian with 18 CON who refuses to rage. Instead, he heals through Spirit Link.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

By all means avoid the mean spiritedness! It wouldn't really improve the thread discussion anyways.


Deriven Firelion wrote:
Intelligence doesn't have as much going for it. They should probably add some Intelligence based skills that do stuff like Intimidate or Bon Mot.

Yes I get that not all GMs use Society that much though they could.

Recall knowledge is a one off. You are not always facing unknown opponents.

They could do more Investigator style "anlayse a weakness" type skill check for some sort of one off bonus.


Gortle wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Intelligence doesn't have as much going for it. They should probably add some Intelligence based skills that do stuff like Intimidate or Bon Mot.

Yes I get that not all GMs use Society that much though they could.

Recall knowledge is a one off. You are not always facing unknown opponents.

They could do more Investigator style "anlayse a weakness" type skill check for some sort of one off bonus.

Yeah. I was happy they made Charisma such a high value stat. It used to be a throwaway statistic for classes that didn't use it like paladins and bards. Now it has a lot of strong abilities.

Intelligence affected number of skills and languages in a meaningful fashion in PF1. It still gets extra languages. But players get so many skills now, it's not as meaningful for skills.

They should work in some skills that maybe allow you to do things with intelligence like cause fear or provide a hit bonus or something. Something that simulates highly intelligent strategizing in real time. Something that simulates high intelligence like you see in characters like Doctor Doom or Iron Man, where there intelligence allows them to outthink an opponent.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Society can and should be played up as an incredibly valuable skill. When I design social encounters it is almost always as valuable as diplomacy in discovery as well as often influence checks. I also almost have useful information to delivery when recalling knowledge in combat, unless the creature is mindless or completely without a social structure. It is low key one of the most important skills in the game for sure. It is like PF1s knowledge local, except it is not supposed to be localized in any way.

My wizard gets an incredible amount of utility out of summoning spells, scouting, setting off traps and wasting enemy actions regularly. Summons are only bad at winning challenging combat encounters by themselves. Maybe if you only have 2 or three slots a level it is difficult to justify having one in a slot but when you have 4 spells a level you can have 3 or 4 summons memorized without feeling like you are wasting slots and they can be useful in and out of combat. Conjurer’s level 1 focus power is underwhelming in implementation, but their level 8 one is pretty useful and a summoning build really doesn’t need an 18 INT to be that good.

My worst wizard was the goblin wizard Me Jack Miss All, who only memorized the spell magic missile and had an INT of 10. I didn’t play him up too many levels but he wasn’t terrible, having a 16 dex and constitution and 10 ancestral HP, he was pretty tough and cast a lot of magic missiles. He spent a lot of money on scrolls.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Salamileg wrote:
Is there a chance the ranger missed the four free boosts at character creation, or the boost from their class? They should be able to get a 16 or 18 Dex along with 16 Int pretty easily.

Unfortunately, no. I double checked everyone's sheets in the beginning (and still do), since I am most familiar with the rules. He just really wanted to be good at a lot of things. At the time I had a hunch that wouldn't work well, but didn't have enough experience with the new rules. I ended up mentioning that I didn't think it would work that well, but thought why not give it a go.

Keep in mind the PC doesn't stink. It's more that expectations didn't really get met.


Unicore wrote:

Society can and should be played up as an incredibly valuable skill. When I design social encounters it is almost always as valuable as diplomacy in discovery as well as often influence checks. I also almost have useful information to delivery when recalling knowledge in combat, unless the creature is mindless or completely without a social structure. It is low key one of the most important skills in the game for sure. It is like PF1s knowledge local, except it is not supposed to be localized in any way.

My wizard gets an incredible amount of utility out of summoning spells, scouting, setting off traps and wasting enemy actions regularly. Summons are only bad at winning challenging combat encounters by themselves. Maybe if you only have 2 or three slots a level it is difficult to justify having one in a slot but when you have 4 spells a level you can have 3 or 4 summons memorized without feeling like you are wasting slots and they can be useful in and out of combat. Conjurer’s level 1 focus power is underwhelming in implementation, but their level 8 one is pretty useful and a summoning build really doesn’t need an 18 INT to be that good.

My worst wizard was the goblin wizard Me Jack Miss All, who only memorized the spell magic missile and had an INT of 10. I didn’t play him up too many levels but he wasn’t terrible, having a 16 dex and constitution and 10 ancestral HP, he was pretty tough and cast a lot of magic missiles. He spent a lot of money on scrolls.

Non-combat can be solved in many different ways and will never be used to end a campaign unless the DM is literally willing to go, "No one picked society, game's over. No way to advance the campaign."

That is why I stick to purely combat for measuring stat and skill effectiveness. Recall knowledge can be useful. A variety of skills can be used for recall knowledge depending on the creature that are not intel-based. I don't consider Society any more valuable than religion or occultism for Recall Knowledge checks.

I want an intel skill like say Strategy where it gives a mechanical combat advantage similar to Bon Mot for Diplomacy or Demoralize with Intimidate. That would be nice.

There are too many ways to accomplish the same thing as a summon using skills for me to waste slots on them. Their duration is too short for a good scouting mission. It would be better to use a cheap ritual summon for extended scouting. 1 minute duration summon spells are for combat and only the highest level slots have any hope even against weak creatures. It's mostly better to use a high level slot AoE or attack spell.

You don't need a rogue to use Thievery to disarm traps any longer. Just a dex-based character and some picks with decent perception.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Gray wrote:
Salamileg wrote:
Is there a chance the ranger missed the four free boosts at character creation, or the boost from their class? They should be able to get a 16 or 18 Dex along with 16 Int pretty easily.

Unfortunately, no. I double checked everyone's sheets in the beginning (and still do), since I am most familiar with the rules. He just really wanted to be good at a lot of things. At the time I had a hunch that wouldn't work well, but didn't have enough experience with the new rules. I ended up mentioning that I didn't think it would work that well, but thought why not give it a go.

Keep in mind the PC doesn't stink. It's more that expectations didn't really get met.

I think that last bit is a really important distinction of PF2. A lot of “terrible” builds in PF2 are really just “have to be extra crafty about getting your accuracy bonuses from other places/be creative about what you do instead of trying to attack as often as possible.” I have seen 2 pretty well optimized Barbarians struggle, respec, and eventually die because they they did enough damage to draw the wrath of the enemy in every combat and were prone to reckless sudden charges that took them well out of range of cleric support. They have enough troubles with accuracy but do so much damage that a lot of players feel compelled to attack twice every round, even after moving next to a large solo monster that is going to wail on them. One of the dead barbarians was even a hell knight archetype carrying a shield, in a party with a cleric and still managed to get themselves killed. I wouldn’t say the “build was bad,” at least not in the sense of my characters above, built to be playful, But even characters trying to specialize in certain things like durability are likely to meet their ends if they expect specialization to overcome the game system and allow the character to play every encounter the same way.

Dataphiles

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Before the APG came out, I made a hand of the apprentice wizard. Half-elf, required an absolutely massive amount of retraining to make it work (because i wanted to actually hurl a good weapon not a staff, but had to take fighter ded at level 6).

Also made some questionable spell choices (like prepping enlarge then getting into a dungeon crawl where i couldn’t even cast the spell). But luckily i had spell sub

Now of course, I’d done the math to show how amazing HotA was as a focus power by level 10 or so when i got a runed out maul

Now you might guess the next part... where I was playing an AP and... became the GM of that AP at level 6 because the current one didn’t want to continue. All that theorycrafting for nothing.

But in general I’m not trying to make bad builds in a co-operative game, because i don’t want to let the rest of the team down.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It is perfectly ok for different tables to have different expectations for levels of optimization.

Build optimization is probably about 40% of what optimization in PF2 is though, with tactics being 60%, and GMs can very easily adapt their game to make sure that the difficulty of encounters match what the party brings to the table in both regards. The game does not require both build optimization and tactical optimization for most parties to be able to play most adventures and have a really great time.

Liberty's Edge

Deriven Firelion wrote:
Gortle wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Intelligence doesn't have as much going for it. They should probably add some Intelligence based skills that do stuff like Intimidate or Bon Mot.

Yes I get that not all GMs use Society that much though they could.

Recall knowledge is a one off. You are not always facing unknown opponents.

They could do more Investigator style "anlayse a weakness" type skill check for some sort of one off bonus.

Yeah. I was happy they made Charisma such a high value stat. It used to be a throwaway statistic for classes that didn't use it like paladins and bards. Now it has a lot of strong abilities.

Bon Mot is definitely what made CHA shine in the Guides and Advice posts. Before that, CHA was considered a so-so stat not really worth investing in unless you had a whole CHA-focused build.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

? it was always there as a good tactic with Intimidation. Bon Mot is just one of several options.
There is a lot more support in the APG now.

Liberty's Edge

TBH I do not remember people praising CHA, or at least not as much, when it was Intimidation only. But now that Bon Mot is available too, CHA is often mentioned as a very good stat to build around.


The Raven Black wrote:
TBH I do not remember people praising CHA, or at least not as much, when it was Intimidation only. But now that Bon Mot is available too, CHA is often mentioned as a very good stat to build around.

It's definitely in a better place for non-cha casters than it was in PF1. Intimidate alone is worth investment in a lot of cases, and going up to Scare to Death is pretty good for a martial. As someone that loves to throw debuffs, Cha is the stat for that if you aren't a caster.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Nothing quite like a successful Bon Mot followed up by Scare to Death.


There's nothing that isn't improved by a preceding Bon Mot.

Doubly so if Bon Mot has no mechanical effect.

Bon Mot -> Fireball
Bon Mot -> Power Attack


Bon mot > create a diversion > make a request


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Anything Alchemist.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Watery Soup wrote:

There's nothing that isn't improved by a preceding Bon Mot.

Doubly so if Bon Mot has no mechanical effect.

Bon Mot -> Fireball
Bon Mot -> Power Attack

Bon Mot -> run the hell away

Is my personal favorite


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The least optimized build I've seen was probably the warpriest of Gorum from my Age of Ashes game. He started with 16 Str and I think only 14 Wis - 16 at the highest. And he played like he was a barbarian. Charged into every fight head first, screaming "Gorum!" at the top of his lungs. Basically never prepared any spells except True Strike and Enlarge. Got dropped to dying twice in the first session (one of which was the first fight), once in the second session, and I think three times in the third session.

The party started a betting pool on how long he would live.

Ironically, he never died once all the way to 20th level and the build kind of actually started working once he got a few levels under him. It turns out that when you prepare true strike enough times to use it on basically every attack, you can make up for a multitude of other sins. :)

(I'm not kidding, by 20th level he had true strike prepared eighteen times any given day)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
MaxAstro wrote:

The least optimized build I've seen was probably the warpriest of Gorum from my Age of Ashes game. He started with 16 Str and I think only 14 Wis - 16 at the highest. And he played like he was a barbarian. Charged into every fight head first, screaming "Gorum!" at the top of his lungs. Basically never prepared any spells except True Strike and Enlarge. Got dropped to dying twice in the first session (one of which was the first fight), once in the second session, and I think three times in the third session.

The party started a betting pool on how long he would live.

Ironically, he never died once all the way to 20th level and the build kind of actually started working once he got a few levels under him. It turns out that when you prepare true strike enough times to use it on basically every attack, you can make up for a multitude of other sins. :)

(I'm not kidding, by 20th level he had true strike prepared eighteen times any given day)

The dude had all his spell slots up to 6ths level dedicated to true strike.

That dedication to a theme.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
siegfriedliner wrote:

The dude had all his spell slots up to 6ths level dedicated to true strike.

That dedication to a theme.

I'm actually counting a few preparations of True Target at 7th level as well, which I let him have access to because of his dedication. He used his 6th level slots for Enlarge.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Second Edition / Advice / What are the worst builds you've seen? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Advice
Class Comparison Chart