Esoteric Antithesis damage.


Thaumaturge Class


In terms of a damage gimmick, how does it stack up to other classes that get bonus damage? Seems like it could vary a lot with weaknesses reaching pretty high numbers. Does it fit well with the thaumaturge's place in combat? Other thoughts and concerns? This thread might be redundant but I thought to have one to focus on this issue.


The Thaumaturge's damage bonuses are actually really damn good and consistently place it above several other martials, most notably the Ranger, it's closest counterpart.

Someone made a chart comparing it to a Fighter, Ranger, and Barb. Let me see if I can find it.


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It has been called "roll for Rage", but maybe it'd better be compared to "roll to Hunt Prey" (for a Precision Ranger) because it's single target and you need to reroll with every new opponent. It's also required to unlock some other abilities, i.e. the Amulet or Weapon Implement Reactions. IMO, that leaves a bitter taste rolling to gain extra damage & Reactions one needs just to compete with other martials who aren't rolling.

Success grows less and less consistent w/ crit fails becoming common by the highest levels, even if you've maxed all of your Recall Knowledge skills (and you can't keep them all at max). These leads to wasted actions from round one, with boss battles being the worst. Ouch.

The extra damage is competitive though, yet note that since it's in the form of a Weakness on them it doesn't multiply on a crit, another flaw. Also it won't work on Hazards, only creatures.

On the plus side, often whatever triggers their Weakness will often stop their Regeneration (if they have it).

On the wonky side, there are situations where you already trigger their Weakness w/ your normal gear.
If your EA is higher, you trigger both and can stack the damage. Yay.
If your EA is lower, you can't and get their normal Weakness, just like any other martial w/ the same gear except they'll still have their extra damage from Rage/Sneak Attack/Precision/etc. Boo.

So yeah, it's a bit of a wiggly mechanic, at least as it is now. I'd be surprised if it weren't streamlined or made more consistent, with who knows what effects that'll have on the final damage output.


Castilliano wrote:

It has been called "roll for Rage", but maybe it'd better be compared to "roll to Hunt Prey" (for a Precision Ranger) because it's single target and you need to reroll with every new opponent. It's also required to unlock some other abilities, i.e. the Amulet or Weapon Implement Reactions. IMO, that leaves a bitter taste rolling to gain extra damage & Reactions one needs just to compete with other martials who aren't rolling.

Success grows less and less consistent w/ crit fails becoming common by the highest levels, even if you've maxed all of your Recall Knowledge skills (and you can't keep them all at max). These leads to wasted actions from round one, with boss battles being the worst. Ouch.

The extra damage is competitive though, yet note that since it's in the form of a Weakness on them it doesn't multiply on a crit, another flaw. Also it won't work on Hazards, only creatures.

On the plus side, often whatever triggers their Weakness will often stop their Regeneration (if they have it).

On the wonky side, there are situations where you already trigger their Weakness w/ your normal gear.
If your EA is higher, you trigger both and can stack the damage. Yay.
If your EA is lower, you can't and get their normal Weakness, just like any other martial w/ the same gear except they'll still have their extra damage from Rage/Sneak Attack/Precision/etc. Boo.

So yeah, it's a bit of a wiggly mechanic, at least as it is now. I'd be surprised if it weren't streamlined or made more consistent, with who knows what effects that'll have on the final damage output.

I'm not seeing anything that would suggest weaknesses stack that way.


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I feel like it would be very neat if you could already target teh weakness. That you would add like 1/2 lv to the weakness damage.

Another analysis poster phrased it great. using a Dresden Files moment.
Anyone can use silver vs a werewolf. But a Thaumaturge should be able to know that silver inhereted from family. Or silver treated with the blood drawn on a new moon works so much better.

Something like that would be prettty neat as it rewards Player preperation and mechanical usefulness.


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aobst128 wrote:
Castilliano wrote:

It has been called "roll for Rage", but maybe it'd better be compared to "roll to Hunt Prey" (for a Precision Ranger) because it's single target and you need to reroll with every new opponent. It's also required to unlock some other abilities, i.e. the Amulet or Weapon Implement Reactions. IMO, that leaves a bitter taste rolling to gain extra damage & Reactions one needs just to compete with other martials who aren't rolling.

Success grows less and less consistent w/ crit fails becoming common by the highest levels, even if you've maxed all of your Recall Knowledge skills (and you can't keep them all at max). These leads to wasted actions from round one, with boss battles being the worst. Ouch.

The extra damage is competitive though, yet note that since it's in the form of a Weakness on them it doesn't multiply on a crit, another flaw. Also it won't work on Hazards, only creatures.

On the plus side, often whatever triggers their Weakness will often stop their Regeneration (if they have it).

On the wonky side, there are situations where you already trigger their Weakness w/ your normal gear.
If your EA is higher, you trigger both and can stack the damage. Yay.
If your EA is lower, you can't and get their normal Weakness, just like any other martial w/ the same gear except they'll still have their extra damage from Rage/Sneak Attack/Precision/etc. Boo.

So yeah, it's a bit of a wiggly mechanic, at least as it is now. I'd be surprised if it weren't streamlined or made more consistent, with who knows what effects that'll have on the final damage output.

I'm not seeing anything that would suggest weaknesses stack that way.

The Weaknesses aren't stacked, the damage is because two different Weaknesses are triggered. Or so I'd thought! You've now led me to double-check that and I (and other forum members) have been incorrect.

CRB: "If more than one weakness would apply to the same instance of damage, use only the highest applicable weakness value."

IMO that's good because having that damage spike really was too good when applicable. And Balors with their three Weaknesses would so easily be screwed.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The damage is great when it works, but...

Group situations suck, because the action economy is a bit heavy and you don't have action economy refunds like the Ranger does.

Bosses kind of suck, because high DCs means you're more likely to have to spend 2 actions or even have your ability CF and not work properly entirely. Doubly so if the bosses have special modifiers to their checks.

Swashbucklers kind of have the same problem about skill checks against bosses... but the Thaumaturge doesn't get to pick which skill they get to use (lots of increases you need to spend) and rarity modifiers are really brutal above and beyond.

The mechanic works best in the middle ground, when you're fighting a small group of slightly weak to slightly strong enemies.

It can be a little frustrating, especially contrasted with the core martials who generally just don't have to worry about their mechanics they just work.

Castilliano wrote:

IMO that's good because having that damage spike really was too good when applicable. And Balors with their three Weaknesses would so easily be screwed.

On the flip side, it feels weirdly unsatisfying if you're fighting an enemy with an easily exploitable weakness. Like if you're fighting an enemy weak to fire and you already have a flaming rune on your weapon you just kind of... don't have a mechanic that fight.


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Squiggit,

The playtest Swashbucklers received flak for their iffy damage bonus, but at least they could trigger Panache off of a minion and attack the boss. And they have feats (et al) to get Panache other ways, and a static bonus if they didn't want to blow their Panache and risk not recovering it.
FF/EA is going to need an overhaul and patches in much the same way.

--
Yeah, I mentioned how fighting an enemy w/ a Weakness you already trigger is kind of meh. I guess one should upgrade one's weapon to avoid that?
But that seems strange, a Thaumaturge avoiding silver weapons???
Seems counterintuitive.

As mentioned by others several times, this extends to when the party's facing some of a Thaumaturge's most notorious enemies like fiends, vampires, and werewolves. These are enemies that a Thaumaturge should excel against, right? But if every martial class knows to prep Good or Silver, they're getting the same bonus as the Thaumaturge plus their own class's normal damage bonus. Meaning the Thaumaturge is the weakest martial against their archenemies. :-/


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

It's definitely a bit weird.

The result is that the thaumaturge is actually better at fighting creatures the less prepared you are for them. If you know you're going to fight werewolves, Antithesis basically just saves you 6 GP on silversheen rather than being a real martial mechanic. If you encounter a werewolf randomly and no one has silver stuff ready, you get full value from their weakness.

... Vampires are weird because rather than being weak to silver, they're resistant to everything but silver. Which means Antithesis actually works normally against them, they don't have a traditional weakness but they still have resistances.

It is a little diagetically odd though because it means the Thaumaturge wants a silver weapon or EA to fight a werewolf but wants both to fight a vampire.


Yeah, resistances aren't able to be mitigated with EA. I wonder if they'll do something to address that. Possibly instead of simply triggering the weakness, EA could change your damage type and/or metal property to get around resistance. Not sure if that's needed though.


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Changing your actual damage type could also help with action economy if it lasts for a while with enemies of the same type.


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aobst128 wrote:
Changing your actual damage type could also help with action economy if it lasts for a while with enemies of the same type.

Yes, I'd appreciate it more if were a change to the weapon (which aids the Item-Class theme) rather than this odd synergy with another life force that disappears once they die. That would help w/ the action economy & randomness of FF/EA.

Something like 1 minute.

It would change some other class mechanics like the Amulet or Weapon, but I'd approve of making those pertinent to more than a single enemy.


Castilliano wrote:
aobst128 wrote:
Changing your actual damage type could also help with action economy if it lasts for a while with enemies of the same type.

Yes, I'd appreciate it more if were a change to the weapon (which aids the Item-Class theme) rather than this odd synergy with another life force that disappears once they die. That would help w/ the action economy & randomness of FF/EA.

Something like 1 minute.

It would change some other class mechanics like the Amulet or Weapon, but I'd approve of making those pertinent to more than a single enemy.

Perhaps that could be tied to implements empowerment. The bonus damage is of the type decided with EA.


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Thaumaturge really likes to have a rune for something like force or sonic, rather than fire. Something resisted very rarely, since your class features provide weaknesses as needed.


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aobst128 wrote:
... Other thoughts and concerns? ...

In relation to this specific ability, yeah.

I think Find Flaws/Esoteric Antithesis is about as subtle as a bazooka, and about as explosive. Even if the flavor is cool it almost certainly takes up a big portion of the power budget, then you add Implement's Empowerment and the class is adding a hefty amount of bonus damage to attacks. It's pretty much Roll for Rage, and it leans the class towards feeling like a monster hunter. It's also ultimately just a big boring flat damage boost, though nothing else in the playtest class actually interacts with FF/EA in any way, so it's not like you're getting extra attacks against the target of your FF/EA, or you're extra good at hitting it, or you're able to demoralize it when you hit it, or anything. Just math.

Some musings:
It reminds me of Venture Bros., Jefferson Twilight, who is the third part of The Triad which consists of a powerful necromancer, Dr. Orpheus, another powerful magic user, The Alchemist, and then Jefferson Twilight. Who hunts vampires. But only one very specific type of vampire. All of his powers are related to hunting that one specific type of vampire, but he's otherwise nonmagical, and the magical threats that The Triad faces he's pretty much useless against.

Except here, for a "monster hunter," the Thaumaturge doesn't have anything that helps them against the target of their "hunt." They're explicitly non-magical, so they're left with combat feats like a Fighter or Barbarian and combat actions, which are also pretty much nonexistant. To stop a demon from teleporting away they need to take feats to actually be able to use a scroll to prevent it, much like any other martial could by taking a caster dedication. They're unlikely to have many points to spend to pump up their perception, or skill points to take Survival, so they have to hope that they stumble into their quarry or it doesn't try to evade them.

They also have martial progression but a mental key ability score, which nothing else but FF/EA in their entire class keys off of (except the Wand implement) and which means they're behind even the Investigator in hitting for half of the campaign. This means that they desperately have to pump up either Str or Dex right after Cha in order to have a chance of unloading their FF/EA into something. But they can't sacrifice any Cha, really, or else it makes it that much harder to get the monumental damage boost that their class seems balanced around, which leaves precious little remaining for other stats. They aren't good at using bows with FF/EA and get no advantage with them anyways, and so unless they took the Wand when they had the opportunity their ability to fight things that are flying or far away is pretty much a dexterous Bard with a crossbow, except the Bard would probably just use telekinetic projectile or cast a spell while buffing the party.

Outside of combat, again, the Thaumaturge is spread thin on stats. They're pretty limited, because they don't have much leftover to boost up Int. A Fighter can go 100% Str, put a point into Dex, and then use all of their remaining ability boosts for whatever they please. A Magus might need to pump up Str/Dex and Int, but what do they get from Int? Casting! Or, if they choose not to go with Int, they can buff themselves and just ditch the +X to their cantrip Spellstrikes, but they still have everything. Thaumaturge can't ditch Cha, because otherwise they can't actually FF/EA because their RK check is based off Cha. So being skillful and useful outside of combat that way is rocky.

Without any spells or magical abilities they're pretty limited in how they overcome obstacles without skills. Even the Alchemist can brew up some mutagens or elixirs on the fly (and target specific weaknesses as well or better than the Thaumaturge!) and since they like Int anyways they've got a bunch of skill points. You could make a magic circle and interrogate something that let you make a magic circle around it for a minute. I guess. Or cast a 1st-level illusion once per day and host parties eternally. YMMV.

Ultimately the class seems to revolve around FF/EA giving them a big boost to damage, similarly to how Barbarian revolves around Rage. If not explicitly, it's hard to ignore. It seems like a lot of what's going on is balanced with FF/EA looming in the background. Problem is, nothing seems to work with it, and as a whole everything starts to feel pretty superficial to me. My concern is that FF/EA and the cool flavorful idea underpinning it isn't a great fit--in this particular iteration--with Occultist 2e. It's wrapped up in a lot of mechanical baggage with other systems (Recall Knowledge, resistances, targeting weakness normally, stat arrays, etc.). While the idea of using odd items to shellack a monster is cool and in theory matches up with implements of power, the way it plays out is you just... Get a bonus to damage. There's nothing else "monster hunter" about the class. A big turbo-boost to damage just turns on, or it doesn't, and there's nothing else next to it, and there's no actual interplay with the implements or any features (such as they are) in any way.


I wonder if investigator should be the precedent for martials with a mental key. I hate to make it too similar, but FF/EA would work a lot better if it worked like devise a strategem. Once a turn, get to attack with your KAS and add bonus damage. Recall knowledge wouldn't be necessary for it to work, but it would add a bonus of some kind of it succeeds. Would free up some power budget for the implements and make the class less mad. I wonder if there's another solution besides just scrapping FF/EA or making it a weird investigator.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I mean, scrapping EA probably isn't going to happen. I don't think it's really a realisitc suggestion. It's one of their conceptual lynchpins.

Making some quality of life improvements? Great. Trashing it? Hard pass.


Squiggit wrote:

I mean, scrapping EA probably isn't going to happen. I don't think it's really a realisitc suggestion. It's one of their conceptual lynchpins.

Making some quality of life improvements? Great. Trashing it? Hard pass.

I agree. It should be reworked. I'd be sad to see it gone. Hopefully they'll come up with a decent fix that doesn't make it as much as a focus for the class, or justify it more with good synergy.


I think it could pretty easily be moved away from a raw, nuclear bonus to damage. I think that actually ends up limiting it pretty severely in the long run.

For example, it could be something that you spend an action to initiate (I've mentioned the Thaumaturge finding something that "resonates" with the target) that gives you a bonus on recall knowledge, baseline, plus some other effect governed by your implements, which also have their own abilities that you can take advantage of against everything, not just your target. It's very Rangery, but right now it also kind of is anyways, and an action to "prime" a target I think can offer some interesting dynamics.

Your Weapon implement could by default offer some free-ish rune effects to target weaknesses and resistances, then get AoO when you prime the target. Wand could be a fair ranged attack at all times, but when it's near a target that it "resonates" with it also offers a bunch of ranged combat tricks like pushing or tripping or disabling magic auras. Maybe even focus spell-like effects that need time to recharge? Who can say...

The Bag of Weakness Stuff could be its own implement that gives you X free talismans every day and offers the nice weakness damage boost when you FF a target. A feat could let you put a magic circle around your FF target once per day to trap it, forcing it to make a will save to attack. Another could banish an outsider in a way completely divorced from traditional magic, shunting it into the nether by whacking it with an object that is somehow irresistable anathema.

I think that's infinitely more engaging than "bigass damage boost," and can still retain a lot of the flavor while interacting more closely and more meaningfully with the particular implement you've chosen. So no, I don't think the idea needs to disappear, but I don't think this current iteration is very interesting or dynamic. It's just a dumb strong damage boost and warps things around it cuz you gotta get that dpr.

Hell, you could expand the mechanic with class feats to things like thievery checks to disable traps or unlock doors. "Ahh, this spring is made of Iobarian steel made from ore mined by [particular group of people]. Hang on, I should have something that can crack it..." Or even expand to situations, like a ratty old piece of oilcloth that happened to be worn by a famous general during a difficult campaign where it rained almost every day to resist elements or get a swim speed (maybe a feat like Summoner's eidolon evolution ability).


Castilliano wrote:
aobst128 wrote:
Castilliano wrote:

It has been called "roll for Rage", but maybe it'd better be compared to "roll to Hunt Prey" (for a Precision Ranger) because it's single target and you need to reroll with every new opponent. It's also required to unlock some other abilities, i.e. the Amulet or Weapon Implement Reactions. IMO, that leaves a bitter taste rolling to gain extra damage & Reactions one needs just to compete with other martials who aren't rolling.

Success grows less and less consistent w/ crit fails becoming common by the highest levels, even if you've maxed all of your Recall Knowledge skills (and you can't keep them all at max). These leads to wasted actions from round one, with boss battles being the worst. Ouch.

The extra damage is competitive though, yet note that since it's in the form of a Weakness on them it doesn't multiply on a crit, another flaw. Also it won't work on Hazards, only creatures.

On the plus side, often whatever triggers their Weakness will often stop their Regeneration (if they have it).

On the wonky side, there are situations where you already trigger their Weakness w/ your normal gear.
If your EA is higher, you trigger both and can stack the damage. Yay.
If your EA is lower, you can't and get their normal Weakness, just like any other martial w/ the same gear except they'll still have their extra damage from Rage/Sneak Attack/Precision/etc. Boo.

So yeah, it's a bit of a wiggly mechanic, at least as it is now. I'd be surprised if it weren't streamlined or made more consistent, with who knows what effects that'll have on the final damage output.

I'm not seeing anything that would suggest weaknesses stack that way.

The Weaknesses aren't stacked, the damage is because two different Weaknesses are triggered. Or so I'd thought! You've now led me to double-check that and I (and other forum members) have been incorrect.

CRB: "If more than one weakness would apply to the same instance of damage, use only the highest applicable...

i was under the same impression for a long time about weaknesses and resistances due to that phrase, but i have been corrected that for the vast majority of attacks, each different element is a different source of damage.

that phrase (both for weaknesses and resistances) apply only to very specific things, like hitting with a silver longsword a creature weak to silver and weak to slashing, since the instance of damage in this case is indeed singular (there is no "silver damage" only slashing damage dealt that happens to be from a silver weapon).

but if you hit with a flaming longsword a creature weak to fire and weak to slashing, you will trigger both weaknesses since the fire damage instance and the slashing damage instance are different.

the opposite is also true, if you hit a creature resistant 5 to slashing and fire with a flaming longsword and deal 8 slashing and 4 fire damage, you will only deal 3 damage total (fire and physical being 2 different instances of damage).


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Thanks, shroudb, that nagged at me because the follow up does say that a special material + weapon damage type are about the only examples, when otherwise it'd be pretty easy to find examples.
I still dislike the idea of a minor cold iron weapon that say does 1 point of cold and 1 point of Good would devastate a Balor. :-/

---
As for EA, I'd really like to see something that says "exploiting a weakness" without necessarily relying on a Weakness (plain numbers).

Sickened for example, would be an interesting condition reflecting that the Thaumaturge is presenting something anathema to their enemy. And there are many other Conditions that would work too. This fits well with the Thaumaturge setting the enemy up for the party to kill (which fits media).

Persistent damage would be another example, and it fits the theme that a Thaumaturge is extra good against creatures w/ a Weakness (rather than worse than a different martial who's prepared and has a different source of extra damage too.)

Lessening Resistances would be cool IMO, and I mean for the sake of others, not simply themselves (which could simply be more damage).

Kind of surprised there isn't a way to banish or lock an enemy in place (though the circles do touch on this theme).

Mainly I want the ability streamlined mechanically!
It's kind of silly to be surrounded by a pack of creatures and have to reroll for each individually. Just key in one's weapon and go.

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