Thaumaturge Strikes


Thaumaturge Class


Just a quick thread for one of the important details of a martial class - how hard do your strikes hit?

Since the key stat is not STR or DEX, you're basically behind .5 on average to hit compared to other martials (-1 at 1-4, 10-14, and 20).

You get two forms of damage bonus for your standard martial boosts. First, we have the custom weakness of Esoteric Antithesis, which needs 1-2 actions to turn on against an enemy, and functions sort of like Hunt Prey. It applies to all of our strikes though, and is either the natural weakness of the creature or 2+half your level. The trick here is how much ahead this gets of what other martials can do to apply weakness (well, I won't count alchemist as easy weakness targeting is one of their advantages).

Second, Implement's Empowerment gives a flat 2 damage if we have a free hand (or it's holding an implement we aren't striking with). This scales to 8 by 20.

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With the actual benefits listed out, my opinions:
I think the accuracy drop may or may not work out, pending testing. I think it would be worth considering +1 status to hit against an enemy you've used Antithesis on (the level 6 feat then increasing it to 2?), but I'm not sure this is a major issue for the class. There's some good flat footed options, etc, and you get various easily reusable effects (hello Chalice sips)

I'm not sure about Antithesis overall. Mainly, it comes down to how easily other martials hit existing weaknesses at later levels. I view this as most comparable to precision ranger. It can take another action to turn on sometimes, but it applies to every hit you make. And it doesn't always equal added damage other classes can't get (a lot of level 20 enemies have more than 12 on their highest weakness already). Possibly this should increase more, to allow forgoing Empowerment for a shield or be ahead of most weaknesses at higher levels?

Empowerment though I'm really wary on. Not having a shield is a potential issue without any other AC boosts available in close quarters. Technically a buckler may work. But... with 8 HP/level... I worry this is going to be difficult to take advantage of. I'd suggest a "Raise a Talisman" feat or something as a shield alternative, but some of the talismans do provide survival benefits... of course I don't think them stacking with a 1/2 circumstance would really be a problem.

Overall, I think that the expected damage of a Thaumaturge should end up fine at first glance, but I'm concerned about the drawbacks and that at late game Antithesis isn't actually going to be boosting damage much compared to other martials.

Design Manager

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Thanks, let's test at higher levels and see what happens. Your analysis that it looks good but that we will need to see real situations to know for sure seems pretty accurate to me, and I'm happy to make the tweaks we need based on the results!


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Quote:
Implement's Empowerment gives a flat 2 damage if we have a free hand (or it's holding an implement we aren't striking with). This scales to 8 by 20.

Not sure I would striclty count this as extra damage. It basically turns your one handed d8 wepaon into a d12 weapon so you don't lose a shield without the usual benefits of a two-handed weaopon (i.e. more damage).

I think using a d6 agile weapon is probably the most optimal way. Implement's Empowerment effectively turns that into a d10 agile weapon. That has to be good. And it might just make up for the accuracy drop.

Quote:
Mainly, it comes down to how easily other martials hit existing weaknesses at later levels.

Antithesis potentially not doing that much at higher levels is a good point I hadn't considered. Any martial with a flaming, frost, holy weapon made of cold iron or silver will most likely already trigger plenty of weaknesses.

Maybe add the ability to reduce resistance by Thaumateurge's level? Or half of it? Your attack can trigger a weakness but still have its base damage reduced by damage resistance of the target, after all.


Oh, good point on Empowerment. Yes, that's functionally just bumping it to a 2h weapon. So another round of short sword being king I guess... (there's other options, but it's just hard to beat that combination of traits). I still have some concerns about AC - while it should be easy to get your base AC capped with medium armor, having an option to have what amounts to a shield's bonus would be nice.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'm partway into a playtest of the class and I'm finding Esoteric Antithesis kind of awkward.

A big chunk of the class' flavor is about exploiting monster weaknesses, but because you have Antithesis you don't actually care about weaknesses since you can just 'treat as'. It sort of undermines the 'right tool for the job' flavor of the class when your regular sword just always happens to trigger those weaknesses anyways. You can manage it with good roleplaying but it still feels weird.

It's also weird because it the Thaumaturge is worse at dealing with enemies who have highly exploitable weaknesses to begin with.

We're fighting a Gibbering Mouther and because it has weakness bludgeoning 5 and I have a warhammer, Esoteric Antitheis is worth 0 damage in this fight... but the feature was brutally effective against a couple of goblins we fought earlier because they had no weaknesses to begin with.

Again, it feels like it undermines the 'monster hunter' flavor slightly when I get more mileage out of inventing weaknesses to bully a generic bandit than I do out of exploiting a lycanthrope's natural weakness to silver.

Empowerment is... fine, tbh, but the combination of mechanics makes the class feel weirdly hostile to weapon variety. All your implements need to be held, which rules out two handed weapons, two-weapon fighting and sword and board right out of the gate.

And then the Weapon Implement is incompatible with unarmed combat too so you kind of soft-push people away from that too.

Does the class really need to be as weapon specialized as the Swashbuckler is? It feels a little unncessary to me. Two-handed weapons already kinda suck in Pathfinder 2.


If you are going for a fully martial build to whack people on the head, i think you will always pick up Rule of Three though.

It comes relatively early and offers substantial bonuses from round 2 and onwards.

Round 2 you basically have equal/better attack bonus than martials, round 3 you skyrocket.

This is very hard to white room though, both due to the round it comes online (not round 1), due to the fact that it works off similarly to hunt prey (you spend actions for each creature you switch later on), and lastly, due to the action cost itself.

It is an amazing "3rd action" though.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

It's a neat mechanic, but you're looking at 2 rounds for any tangible benefits and 3 rounds for it to kick in fully... a lot of enemies will be dead before you can really leverage the whole thing.

It's also a status bonus, so it doesn't play well with most kinds of attack buffs.


Squiggit wrote:

It's a neat mechanic, but you're looking at 2 rounds for any tangible benefits and 3 rounds for it to kick in fully... a lot of enemies will be dead before you can really leverage the whole thing.

It's also a status bonus, so it doesn't play well with most kinds of attack buffs.

that's why i said it will be very difficult to white room it, it does have limitations.

that said, it does need limitations because it would be broken without those i think.

but from the general principle, against something tough enough to not die in 1 round, i can see something like 1st round find weakness, move, strike, into 2nd round 2nd stage, strike, strike.

the fact that in the vast majority of cases you straight up bypass the 1st stage and go directly on the second basically acts like a sort of "build up" mechanic alongside your find weakness stuff. "damage/ attack and damage/ flat footed, even more attack, damage".

that's why i said that it looks like a very good "3rd action".


Edit: Missed something, nevermind

I think Rule of Three is basically only useful as a boss killer. But when you're fighting a boss it's pretty nice (assuming there's no bard around, that hurts it a bit).

At full power it's a 4-point swing on attack rolls though, even if the flat-footed can be gotten other ways. But making an enemy permanently flat-footed to you is really strong.

But again, the time for it to warm up basically means you only use it on bosses. For other fights I wouldn't even bother.


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Maybe a good way to deal with the weirdness of creatures that already have weaknesses would be to change the bonus damage from Antithesis to be +CHA + 1/2 level for no-/low-weaknesses creatures, and +CHA for creatures with existing weaknesses. That also gives a native use for CHA to help it feel like something you want to invest in.

EDIT: Cleaner way to do it would probably be making Antithesis set a minimum weakness of 1/2 level, and cause your strikes to deal CHA mod damage of the relevant type.


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More native uses of Key Ability are good. You really want to feel like your CHA investment is a core part of your class you are rewarded for. We saw similar feedback in the Investigator playtest, albeit a very different situation.

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