Retributive strike timing


Rules Discussion


Hello there,

We are starting a P2E rpg campaign with friends.
We are all noobs to RPG, and P2E ( but I know most of P1E rules ).

I'm playing a 2 handed champion, a paladin with a 2 handed hammer. It's the closer to my favorite 2 handed hammer/sword divine smiter.

I really don't like the core feat, retributive strike but we will do with it. It would have been great to be able to use it on oneself to be like a sort of parry, because right now I have very low AC :(

I don't really understand the timing of this strike.

When my adjacent fighter tank ally is attacked, what is really happening (numbers for exemple):

- Mefit attacks, hits and does 6 slashing damage and 3 fire damage.
My fighter friend then gains 3 dmg reduction in fire and slashing for the next round.

or

- Mefit attacks, hits and does 6 slashing damage and 3 fire damage, but sustains only directly 3 slashing damage and 0 fire because it's instantly reduced.

Are the two effects of the strike required or not?
Can I reduce the damage taken by my ally even if I cannot strike back (very often)?

Can I strike back if this is the "map configuration" :

empty ally1 me
ennemy ally2 empty

If the ennemy strikes ally2, ally1 or 2 are blocking the tile I need to occupy to strike back.

Thank you ! :D


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I'm kinda curious as to why you say you have low AC. At first level, it might not be maxed since you can't afford a full plate armor yet, but it should be pretty decent, and it will quickly become very good (considering in Pathfinder 2E, the math is made so you can't make a character that is almost impossible to hit). What does your AC look like?

As for your actual question about Retributive Strike, let's take a look at that. The trigger states an enemy has to damage (so successfully attack) an ally of yours, and they both have to be within 15 feet of you. Even if the enemy isn't within your reach, so long as they are in range, you can use the reaction and protect your ally.

As for the timing, since it says they gain resistance to all damage "against the triggering damage", it means they are protected right away, against this specific attack.

Finally, the last sentence of the description says "If the foe is within reach, make a melee Strike against it", so unless you have a reach weapon or some other means of getting reach, you can't Strike the foe as part of that reaction if they are on the other side of your ally (for now. I'm pretty sure there are feats to allow it if you want).

So in the situation you are describing, with a mefit attacking your ally while you are 10 feet from the mefit, your ally would take only 3 slashing damage from that Strike (and full damage from further Strikes if they happen later before you get another reaction), but you could not attack the mefit with your hammer.


Thanks ^^

14 AC, basic 10 plus 4 from chain mail.
I just realized we forgot masteries in our AC calculations, then +3 at level 1?


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Yes, you do get +3 AC from your proficiency. Don't forget it increases at every level.

How much Strength and Dexterity does your character have? If you have a Dex bonus, you would have one more AC with Chain mail than your current calculation, since it has a max Dex bonus of +1. If you're waiting to get enough money for a full plate and don't have a Dex bonus, though, that is understandable. Also, depending on what you needed to buy at character creation, you may want to look into Splint Mail, which would give you one more AC. It is more expensive, but if you have the gold to spare and enough Strength, there are no drawbacks to having that instead of Chain.


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Also, Retributive Strike is one of the best Reactions in the game and Paladin's can take Ranged Reprisal to expand their attack zone by quite a bit. People pick up the Champion Dedication often to access it. So enemies either attack a nearby ally and you react/protect/strike, or they attack you, a Champion which is the class with the best defenses in the game, plus you can heal yourself in an emergency.
As Jackie noted, expect to get hit. That's normal for PF2, as is taking the time outside of combat to recover (usually with Medicine, though with Lay On Hands you could simply keep refreshing your Focus Point and do so).

Synergy with one's party and the battlefield matter too, something emphasized in PF2 more than most RPGs.


18 str 10 dex, no dex bonus ^^
I'm waiting for an heavier armor indeed :)

Took ranged reprisal indeed, to expand the usefullness to 1.5m reach :)

But still it's meh, I hoped for an active skill, not a reactive one. If the GM want to screw us the only thing he has to do is attacking me. I'm not the tank thefore I don't have the highest AC and Retributive is useless :/ But I will deal with it :)


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Joe Jinis wrote:

18 str 10 dex, no dex bonus ^^

I'm waiting for an heavier armor indeed :)

Took ranged reprisal indeed, to expand the usefullness to 1.5m reach :)

But still it's meh, I hoped for an active skill, not a reactive one. If the GM want to screw us the only thing he has to do is attacking me. I'm not the tank thefore I don't have the highest AC and Retributive is useless :/ But I will deal with it :)

Except Champions are designed to be one of the best (if not THE best) tank classes in the game. You need to get full plate armor as fast as you possibly can with your build as you need the highest AC you can get. Your party should sell all the loot they can find to help you get plate mail. I'd try to get full plate before you hit level 2, it is that important.

I know you also like the 2H weapon deal, but a shield can increase your AC by +2, which is huge. It also opens up the Shield Block reaction to stop even more damage (but you only get one reaction a turn, so keep that aspect in mind).

Champions are built to have access to the best AC in the game. Attack the Champion? Great, I have the best AC. Don't attack the Champion? Great, I have reactions that can punish that behavior.

Liberty's Edge

The other frontliners must help you get your reaction by staying close to you when they fight.

With Ranged Reprisal, I would go for using a shield and a trident with Returning from your Blade ally.

What is the rest of the party like ?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

If you ate playing with the expectation of a consistently adversarial GM and this is going to be an issue, no class in PF2 is going to let you beat that.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:

The other frontliners must help you get your reaction by staying close to you when they fight.

With Ranged Reprisal, I would go for using a shield and a trident with Returning from your Blade ally.

What is the rest of the party like ?

I wouldn't necessarily do that with zero Dex.


Joe Jinis wrote:

18 str 10 dex, no dex bonus ^^

I'm waiting for an heavier armor indeed :)

Took ranged reprisal indeed, to expand the usefullness to 1.5m reach :)

But still it's meh, I hoped for an active skill, not a reactive one. If the GM want to screw us the only thing he has to do is attacking me. I'm not the tank thefore I don't have the highest AC and Retributive is useless :/ But I will deal with it :)

1.5 feet ( 4,5m ).

Remember also that with a maul you don't have increased reach, and because so ranged reprisal will let you cover for just 10 feet out of 15.

A reach weapon, as a champion, would make the best use of the retributive strike, and help you with your action management too ( I suggest you to take a polearm or some other 1d8 two handed weapon with reach ).

Finally, consider that it's not the gm that would "screw you", but the enemies understanding that you protect others, but you also have a very nice armor class compared to the pleebs.

So the choice would be between targetting the high armor character or the lower one, but being countered by a reaction.

And same goes for the "tanking".
Consider that the dm is not "forced" to attack the character who wants to tank.


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Hello, friend!

I hope I do not come off as strong, because your feelings are very much valid, but I do think it is a good idea to put things a little into perspective.

In this game in particular, classes have much more of a tight role. It isn’t to say that they don’t have much leeway, because they do! But in this fashion, the Champion’s chassis is supposed to be one of a great tank. So, most of its abilities are either circumstancially ofensive, or generally defensive.

Champion is one of my favorite classes, and I think a lot of people would happily say that they’re the best class. This, of course, might not mean much, because everyone values different things, and that’s okay! But I think that most people would agree that the champion’s strength comes in the form of how much they can contribute to the party. Between Lay on Hands, high AC(that does take a little while to start coming ahead from other PC’s, that might be true) and its punishing reaction, the champion is meant to be a big giant nuisance in the battlefield for enemies; or to be struck all the time.

If the second starts happening, well… Even if you have high AC, you will not be some sort of impenetrable fortress, really. Your main strength is that, thanks to your armor class, you might not be critted as often against dangerous enemies, though, which is pretty powerful but not all-denying. Thankfully, just in the way that you help your allies, your allies can help you too.

A 2-handed “holy avenger-type” Champion is a completely usable concept! But because the chassis of the class pushes it to, well, get hit, the lack of a shield — which helps both with AC and damage reduction to your own self — you’re more diversifying than investing in its own natural strengths. Which, again, it’s completely doable.

If you want to capitalize in the big die, I’d recommend picking the Mauler dedication up. There’s plenty of cool feats that grant usable, active actions instead of reactions for you to pick up. Realistically, champion feats are kind of not the most flashy ones, so looking some dedications up is a good general idea as well. In the future, also consider going with a fighter yourself, and then picking the champion dedication up for a more undeniably offensive interpretation of the holy avenger fantasy trope.

Your observations about the class are all spot-on, but they are supposed to be its strengths rather than weaknesses. Also! Remember that Retributive Strike is a MAPless attack. It works great with reach weapons too, but that’s not a must. I hope you can find what you’re looking for in the Champion, and have a fun game!


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

A lot of the paladin's offensive power shines through against specific foes. Ghost touch makes a huge difference when fighting ghosts. Disrupting is a d6 positive damage which can also trigger weakness on certain undead. When neither is relevant, shifting may be helpful to let you switch between reach weapons and bigger dice or use a different damage type against weakness and resistance.

And soon you'll start getting options to inflict good damage. The amounts look modest, until you realize every fiend has a weakness wnd takes extra damage. So your damage will vary based on your campaign, but usually fiends and undead are some of the most common things you'll fight.

So your damage may look lower than the barbarians, but keep in mind it is often going to be 3-20 points higher against favored foes.

Liberty's Edge

Captain Morgan wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

The other frontliners must help you get your reaction by staying close to you when they fight.

With Ranged Reprisal, I would go for using a shield and a trident with Returning from your Blade ally.

What is the rest of the party like ?

I wouldn't necessarily do that with zero Dex.

If you are within melee range, you strike with STR. If not, at least you can attempt to Strike at range. Nothing lost at all, just more possibilities to use your free attack.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

The other frontliners must help you get your reaction by staying close to you when they fight.

With Ranged Reprisal, I would go for using a shield and a trident with Returning from your Blade ally.

What is the rest of the party like ?

I wouldn't necessarily do that with zero Dex.
If you are within melee range, you strike with STR. If not, at least you can attempt to Strike at range. Nothing lost at all, just more possibilities to use your free attack.

True, I would just rather have the extra damage option with the bastard sword or the reach of the flickmace if I feel like cheesing.


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I have one of these Paladins in a game of Age of Ashes I am running. He's an absolute beast. From the GM chair, it really is a case of damned if I do, damned if I don't.

When I try to hit others, the Paladin is so much of a beatstick that one extra attack a round at full MAP just brings stuff down so fast. Additionally, the damage reduction effect of his ability has kept players alive by just expanding their HP pools so many times now.

When I try to hit him, his AC and HP are so high that I can't burn him down in time to win fights. I *could* spend all my actions to have the baddies blow him up, but like... they'd just get eaten up by the other characters right quick.

What I would recommend doing, tho, is set aside some misconceptions of PF2e from what you know of PF1e. It's a totally different creature now. +2 AC over someone else is HUGE. Same with +2 to hit. It's massive. Having the highest AC in the game will absolutely keep you alive and make you effective in combat.

Liberty's Edge

Captain Morgan wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

The other frontliners must help you get your reaction by staying close to you when they fight.

With Ranged Reprisal, I would go for using a shield and a trident with Returning from your Blade ally.

What is the rest of the party like ?

I wouldn't necessarily do that with zero Dex.
If you are within melee range, you strike with STR. If not, at least you can attempt to Strike at range. Nothing lost at all, just more possibilities to use your free attack.
True, I would just rather have the extra damage option with the bastard sword or the reach of the flickmace if I feel like cheesing.

As soon as my Paladin could pay for Returning on his +1 trident, I used Shifting for my blade ally.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Joe Jinis wrote:

Thanks ^^

14 AC, basic 10 plus 4 from chain mail.
I just realized we forgot masteries in our AC calculations, then +3 at level 1?

If you want more AC before you can afford plate, attach an armored skirt to the chainmail. It will up the AC to 5


Joe Jinis wrote:

Thanks ^^

14 AC, basic 10 plus 4 from chain mail.
I just realized we forgot masteries in our AC calculations, then +3 at level 1?

As a Champion, you have Expert Armor Proficiency at Level 1, so your AC should be 10 + Level 1 + 4 (Expert) + 4 (armor) for a total of 19 AC.

Scarab Sages

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Champions are Trained in armor at level 1. They get Expert at 7.


Oh, shoot, you're right. Why did I think they were Expert?

I must have thought "Oh, Fighters are Expert weapons at level 1, and Champions are expert weapons at level 1." Sorry. Ignore previous comment.

Sovereign Court Director of Community

Moved thread from General to Rules Discussion.


Thanks for the details :)
What is "MAP" ? Something linked to malus on multiple attacks?
We did a lot of mistakes, we even forget to use our fighter shield block :s

Our group is :
-A fighter tank shield + longsword ( plan for a bastard sword to use it 2 handed if the shield is down ).
-A cleric of Sarenrae for healing and fire damage.
-A ranger with pet and bow.
-Me, hammering things :p


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Joe Jinis wrote:
What is "MAP" ? Something linked to malus on multiple attacks?

Yes. Multiple Attack Penalty. Often abbreviated as MAP on these forums.

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