Comparing 9th level casters


Advice

151 to 200 of 275 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | next > last >>

The Witch spell list isn't the best for blasting, but it is the best for what it does: A mixed bag between several roles with a strong focus on debuffing, with out-of-the-box support for making Hexes more effective, and enough bad status removal that if you choose the Healing Patron and DON'T take an archetype that trades out some Patron spells, you can almost completely substitute for a basic Cleric in the spellcasting department.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

The Witch spell list isn't the best for blasting, but it is the best for what it does: A mixed bag between several roles with a strong focus on debuffing, with out-of-the-box support for making Hexes more effective, and enough bad status removal that if you choose the Healing Patron and DON'T take an archetype that trades out some Patron spells, you can almost completely substitute for a basic Cleric in the spellcasting department.

I would say that when no one in your party wants to play a cleric/oracle, then the witch's spell list (as you noted, with Healing patron) is terrific.

But my metric is: would she be stronger with the wizard list? I think so.

My general ranking of spell lists is something like:

Wizard/Sorcerer
Cleric/Oracle
Druid, Witch
Shaman

So I guess that bumps her up to a 7. I do think she's on par with a druid for casting.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Northern Spotted Owl wrote:
My general ranking of spell lists is something like:

Really? I would say,

Wizard/Sorcerer
Druid
Psychic
Witch
Cleric/Oracle
Shaman

Because druid is across the board very strong (including BFC, summons, healing, and party buffs), and except at very high level I keep finding the cleric list rather disappointing.


Kurald Galain wrote:
Northern Spotted Owl wrote:
My general ranking of spell lists is something like:

Really? I would say,

Wizard/Sorcerer
Druid
Psychic
Witch
Cleric/Oracle
Shaman

Because druid is across the board very strong (including BFC, summons, healing, and party buffs), and except at very high level I keep finding the cleric list rather disappointing.

That's really insightful. Just to be a noob, what's "BFC"?

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Northern Spotted Owl wrote:
That's really insightful. Just to be a noob, what's "BFC"?

BattleField Control, like the various wall and cloud spells, or the druid's Entangle and Spike Growth.


Kurald Galain wrote:
Northern Spotted Owl wrote:
That's really insightful. Just to be a noob, what's "BFC"?
BattleField Control, like the various wall and cloud spells, or the druid's Entangle and Spike Growth.

Of course. Thanks.


Kurald Galain wrote:
Northern Spotted Owl wrote:
My general ranking of spell lists is something like:

Really? I would say,

Wizard/Sorcerer
Druid
Psychic
Witch
Cleric/Oracle
Shaman

Because druid is across the board very strong (including BFC, summons, healing, and party buffs), and except at very high level I keep finding the cleric list rather disappointing.

Really?!?

I have Cleric at a clear #2 in terms of the core list!!

Druid is fine for 1-3 but then just falls off the cliff IMO.

But then hey, feel free to read my Cleric guide and tell me what you think!


Kurald Galain wrote:
Northern Spotted Owl wrote:
My general ranking of spell lists is something like:

Really? I would say,

Wizard/Sorcerer
Druid
Psychic
Witch
Cleric/Oracle
Shaman

Because druid is across the board very strong (including BFC, summons, healing, and party buffs), and except at very high level I keep finding the cleric list rather disappointing.

i would have the same, except bumping Druid down below Cleric. I mean, saying “Druid list matches nicely with my preferences/playstyle”, sure, but I’m curious what the case is to put it objectively better than Psychic, which is pretty much wizard minus some elemental blasting. Heck, shaman has a lot of the same BFC and buffs along with the same summons and better healing.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Arkham Joker wrote:
Druid is fine for 1-3 but then just falls off the cliff IMO.

Well that's a good topic for a thread like this :)

4th level Druid spells offer solid BFC (e.g. Slowing Mud, Obsidian Flow, Spike Stones), damage (Flamestrike), party support (such as Life Bubble, Grove of Respite, Reincarnate), and utility (Scry, Control Water, Warp Metal). As far as I see druid is ahead of cleric in these areas (at this spell level), although to be fair the two are tied for mobility spells (e.g. Freedom of Movement, Air Walk); and the cleric wins in terms of party buffs (notably Blessing of Fervor).

At the very least, this shows that druids don't "fall off the cliff" at this point (and I can attest their L5 and L6 spells are also solid). And perhaps you know some good L4 cleric spells that I've overlooked?


Kurald Galain wrote:

. And perhaps you know some good L4 cleric spells that I've overlooked?

Oh no good sir, that's not how I operate....!!

Now that I've invested a huge amount of my time constructing effectively a new Cleric guide (that IMO is unique in it's multi-layered, interacting approach), I don't get into drawn-out debates anymore.

The almost complete guide is up there, so have a read and let's take it from there..... or wait for the last 2 sections (Critters and Utility) before you get back to me.


But since I'm feeling generous, that even in L1-3, and factoring in the common spells they have, Cleric gets several superior spells that Druid doesn't get or gets them delayed...

SM >> SNA (much better applications across all levels)
Cure spells
The always amazing Prot Evil..... such a glaring hole in the Druid's list.
Strand of the Tangled Knot
Barbed Chains
Sanctuary
Shield of Faith
Bless/Bane
Ally Across Time
Aid
Boneshaker
Defending Bone
Hold Person (possibly the best SOS/SOD in the game from levels 1-3??)
Grace
Make Whole

I could go on...

Druid does have a very solid list from 1-3 though

But like I said..... read my guide and digest!!!

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Arkham Joker wrote:
Druid does have a very solid list from 1-3 though

Irrespective of what clerics do, I've shown in my previous post that druids also have a very solid list of level 4 spells. I can make a similar case for higher levels, in case people somehow haven't noticed that druids are a pretty good class overall :P


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Arkham Joker wrote:

Here's another..... feedback liked as always!

<...>

Implosion is a very interesting one - on the surface it seems very similar to Wail of the Banshee and could be seen as slightly worse due to the fact that is not an AOE spell, even though due to its long duration can affect many creatures over time. However, it is in fact better for several reasons - WOTB only affects living creatures, is both a Death and Sonic spell (by mid-high level many enemies will be immune or at the minimum have significant resistances) and although AOE, it can only affect any creature once. Implosion, can if the Cleric desires, continue to concentrate on one target and so potentially inflict a minimum 170-200 hp per round for the cost of only 1 spell.

I didn't know this until today, but the implosion spell cannot target the same creature multiple times with a single cast. From aonprd (emphasis mine),

Quote:
You can target a particular creature only once with each casting of the spell.

Blasting is interesting, since many of the best blasting spells are actually level six and under spells that have been made stronger through metamagic. For this reason, I'd say that the following is highly desirable for a blaster

1. spontaneous casting, ideally with a way to avoid the increased casting time
2. ways to have free metamagic, or otherwise reduce metamagic costs
3. bonus magic feats or class skills that emulate metamagic

Regarding the cleric class, I think a 9 is too generous, since an optimal crossblooded sorcerer (i.e. the benchmark for a 10) is just that much better at blasting in my opinion. But an evil cleric with spontaneous inflict wounds and hellfire ray is deserving of an 8 (i.e. "very good").

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Blackmill wrote:

1. spontaneous casting, ideally with a way to avoid the increased casting time

2. ways to have free metamagic, or otherwise reduce metamagic costs
3. bonus magic feats or class skills that emulate metamagic

4. damage bonuses!

Sorcerer is well ahead of anyone else in terms of blasting, because he can get up to +3 extra damage per die. Witch can get +1 per die, Wizard can get +half level. That's a pretty big difference!

Cleric has, well, none of the above; so in terms of blasting they're a 3 or a 4, as in they're pretty bad at it. Inflict Wounds has the additional disadvantage of being a melee touch spell.


Blackmill wrote:


Regarding the cleric class, I think a 9 is too generous, since an optimal crossblooded sorcerer (i.e. the benchmark for a 10) is just that much better at blasting in my opinion. But an evil cleric with spontaneous inflict wounds and hellfire ray is deserving of an 8 (i.e. "very good").

I think you need to go back and have another read at the document. In particular how I define 'Minimum' and 'Maximum' ratings, how all the class factors contribute and what makes a good blaster over the entire level ranges.

Where you see a ? or TBC that is referring to minimum levels. There were originally ratings there but since there is no current consensus on what defines a "Minimum" in a role, I took them out.

When its finished, I will get it uploaded as a separate document and a new Cleric guide and that will have the minimum values in that I define.

'Arkham's Guide to the Cleric - Putting the Puzzle Together.'

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Arkham Joker wrote:
I think you need to go back and have another read at the document.

Frankly, I think you're in the wrong thread here. This thread is about "comparing 9th level casters", not about your personal cleric handbook. You don't seem to be comparing the cleric to anything; and that's totally fine, it just looks odd in a thread about comparing classes.


Kurald Galain wrote:
Arkham Joker wrote:
I think you need to go back and have another read at the document.

Frankly, I think you're in the wrong thread here. This thread is about "comparing 9th level casters", not about your personal cleric handbook. You don't seem to be comparing the cleric to anything; and that's totally fine, it just looks odd in a thread about comparing classes.

Arkham has been pulling together a lengthy Cleric write-up that is within the structure of the Casters Compared metrics. (Which you may or may not have been keeping up with. Not trying to be anything other than useful if you have not.)

To the broader point here, I want to step back once we have rating for the 9th level casters (though I'm not holding my breath on the Psychic) and try to get a consensus on what really constitutes a 10 in each of the categories. Let's say that for Blaster it's the sorcerer. Then laying out what a (roughly) optimal blaster-sorcerer looks like, how do we want to "normalize" the other classes' scores?

Folks will disagree, and that's to be expected. But I'm hoping we can pull together reasonably useful information for players.

I also have some work to do, as Arkham points out, to lay out clearer descriptions for the metrics.

So, still needed:

- Descriptions of just what the metrics mean (Owl)
- Cleric ratings (well in progress: Arkham)
- Arcanist ratings (???)
- Oracle ratings (???)
- Psychic ratings (we'll see...)
- Ratings normalization

Cheers,
Owl


Kurald Galain wrote:

Frankly, I think you're in the wrong thread here. This thread is about "comparing 9th level casters", not about your personal cleric handbook. You don't seem to be comparing the cleric to anything; and that's totally fine, it just looks odd in a thread about comparing classes.

And may I politely suggest you wind your neck in and wake up!

My guide on the Cleric provides more useful information for the comparison of 9th level casters than everything else on there combined!!!

The whole point is that each class is dealt with as a separate entity and provided with ratings, so that then any reader can then step back and....."Compare the 9th level casters". It ain't rocket surgery!

Every class section is NOT supposed to explicitly make in-depth comparisons with all the other classes. That's the whole point of the ratings and the description of each separate class.

When you have made a contribution to the thread that is even 10% as impressive and generally amazing as mine, then you can start whining. :)))


Arkham Joker wrote:
Blackmill wrote:


Regarding the cleric class, I think a 9 is too generous, since an optimal crossblooded sorcerer (i.e. the benchmark for a 10) is just that much better at blasting in my opinion. But an evil cleric with spontaneous inflict wounds and hellfire ray is deserving of an 8 (i.e. "very good").

I think you need to go back and have another read at the document. In particular how I define 'Minimum' and 'Maximum' ratings, how all the class factors contribute and what makes a good blaster over the entire level ranges.

Where you see a ? or TBC that is referring to minimum levels. There were originally ratings there but since there is no current consensus on what defines a "Minimum" in a role, I took them out.

When its finished, I will get it uploaded as a separate document and a new Cleric guide and that will have the minimum values in that I define.

'Arkham's Guide to the Cleric - Putting the Puzzle Together.'

I did carefully read your writeup on blasting. You go into great detail about how to expand the cleric's blasting spells with race choices and explicitly give a recommendation for archetype and domain. You certainly succeeded at convincing me that a cleric can be a better blaster than I initially thought.

Perhaps I should expand on what I was saying in my previous reply. Forget about the cleric class for the moment. Just focusing on the sorcerer, I would say there's two degrees of separation between an optimal blasting sorcerer, and one that only makes modest efforts to be good at blasting (beyond taking the best blasting spells). I would still consider the latter to be a better blaster than the Samsaran Ecclesithuerge of Yamatsumi you've described.

Now, maybe you disagree that there are two degrees of separation between the best blasting sorcerer and an unoptimized blasting sorcerer, but then we really shouldn't be using a ten point scale in my opinion. And maybe that's at the heart of most disagreements in this thread. Is the scale linear? Does a 1 represent a non-caster or something else? Etc. The answers that one assumes will greatly impact the scores they give.


Blackmill wrote:
Now, maybe you disagree that there are two degrees of separation between the best blasting sorcerer and an unoptimized blasting sorcerer, but then we really shouldn't be using a ten point scale in my opinion. And maybe that's at the heart of most disagreements in this thread. Is the scale linear? Does a 1 represent a non-caster or something else? Etc. The answers that one assumes will greatly impact the scores they give.

That is a great question, and gets at the part of this comparison where I've fallen down by not writing it out clearly.

To my mind the comparison should 100% be focused on being useful to a player (or even DM) who's choosing among these classes. What are their comparative strengths & weaknesses?

To that end: 1. it should be linear because I'm pretty sure that's how most people think about a 10 point scale, and hence 2. in my opinion a 5 should represent a character who's roughly half as effective as a 10. I admit that half as effective is still pretty vague, but no one said this is a science. (Though you could pull together hard numbers for melee combat and blasting I suppose.)

Let's say a nature fang or goliath druid with a solid animal companion is our 10 for combat. Then sure, a wizard is a 1. A combat witch (white haired witch I guess) is maybe a 2 or 3. A fey blooded sorcerer with an animal companion might push what? 6? And so forth. A combat-focused oracle or cleric gets us into the 7-9 range maybe. (N.B. those numbers are off the top of my head, without looking back at the guide. I'm trying to get at how I think about things rather than nail down the build details of each class optimally.)

Cheers,
Owl


Northern Spotted Owl wrote:

To my mind the comparison should 100% be focused on being useful to a player (or even DM) who's choosing among these classes. What are their comparative strengths & weaknesses?

In mind of this, I'll make a small suggestion. Rather than have one table, which includes ranges of values (e.g. a druid is 8-10 in combat), have one table for each category plus a final table for the "balanced" build.

Using the debuffing category as an example, the table's rows and columns would be the same as what you currently have, but the scores would assume each class was optimized for debuffing at the expense of other categories.

Currently, a reader could not see what a druid loses by being as best it can at combat. This approach could fix that. It's more more work to do this, maybe too much work, but I think having one table with ranges muddies the waters.


Here's a brief overview of some aspects of sorcerer blasting. I'm not an expert, but I think this is all correct.

A crossblooded (arcane / orc) sorcerer can achieve (spells = damaging evocation spells)

+2 damage per die rolled with all spells
+3 damage per die rolled with all fire spells *
+4 damage per die rolled with a single fire spell *
+4 damage per die rolled with all fire spells, for 8 rounds per day *
+6 damage per die rolled with a single fire spell, for 8 rounds per day *

The relevant feats are blood havoc, flumefire rage, raging blood (see furious spell), and spell perfection. Swapping the arcane bloodline for a draconic one, a sorcerer could add a further +1 damage per die rolled with all spells of a particular energy descriptor. Other (non-multiclassed **) builds can benefit from a fraction of these bonuses and generally don't come close in terms of raw damage.

To further increase damage, a sorcerer can use blood intensity. I won't list all the ways to increase CL, but see this thread for ideas. Also, battering blast benefits immensely from this ability.

I hope it's becoming clear that the blasting potential of a sorcerer compared to other classes just isn't close. When needed, a sorcerer will easily be doing double the usual damage with their blasting spells. Without using day-limited resources, the sorcerer is still doing 30-40% more damage. A class that has all the spells of a sorcerer, but deals regular amounts of damage, would likely be a 6-7 if that means being 60-70% as effective (i.e. dealing 60-70% as much damage with blasting spells). It wouldn't be crazy for only the sorcerer and (blood) arcanist to score above a 7 in blasting.

* It's worth noting that flumefire rage only cares about the damage type, not the energy descriptor. Using the elemental spell metamagic feat, flumefire rage can benefit a spell such as cone of cold.

** It's rather cheap, but technically you can take one level as a crossblooded sorcerer.


Blackmill wrote:

Here's a brief overview of some aspects of sorcerer blasting. I'm not an expert, but I think this is all correct.

..

Cheers some good insight (but I haven't checked it out all yet for accuracy).... the bonuses to each die seem pretty high though?

I will have to add in some of this info to my Cleric guide as bits of it are useable.

With Furious Spell:

'A furious spell that deals hit point damage adds twice the spell’s original level to the amount of damage dealt by the spell.'

So for Fireball, this will only ever be able to add +6 damage. It wouldn't be affected by Spell Perfection (which you can only get at 15th level BTW) as the numerical bonus offered isn't set, its variable.

RE: 'Blasting' - one thing that always has to be remembered is that elemental resistances or immunities becomes increasingly common as you level up with fire being by far the most common. If you've invested all your resources in elemental blasting, you will become increasingly ineffective as you level up.

Also you have to keep track of your effective MM level. There is only limited access to MM reduction.

To really shine you need to have the versatility to be able to deal high non-elemental damage.


Arkham Joker wrote:


...
With Furious Spell:

'A furious spell that deals hit point damage adds twice the spell’s original level to the amount of damage dealt by the spell.'

So for Fireball, this will only ever be able to add +6 damage. It wouldn't be affected by Spell Perfection (which you can only get at 15th level BTW) as the numerical bonus offered isn't set, its variable.
...

idk, it's set for the spells of each level. it's not like you roll a die or depend on things like caster level that changes.

if you have deadly aim and cast the stone discus spell (ranged attack. no touch) with spell perfection i think most gm would let you double the deadly aim damage


zza ni wrote:


idk, it's set for the spells of each level. it's not like you roll a die or depend on things like caster level that changes.

if you have deadly aim and cast the stone discus spell (ranged attack. no touch) with spell perfection i think most gm would let you double the deadly aim damage

Sadly no

By its very definition, with Furious Spell its a variable..... its effect varies depending on which spell level its applied to.

Spell focus, Spell penetration, Weapon focus (Ray)... etc all have effects that do NOT vary, they are constants, and thus why they fit the description...

"In addition, if you have other feats which allow you to apply a set numerical bonus to any aspect of this spell (such as Spell Focus, Spell Penetration, Weapon Focus [ray], and so on."

Its not a coincedence!


Arkham Joker wrote:
zza ni wrote:


idk, it's set for the spells of each level. it's not like you roll a die or depend on things like caster level that changes.

if you have deadly aim and cast the stone discus spell (ranged attack. no touch) with spell perfection i think most gm would let you double the deadly aim damage

Sadly no

By its very definition, with Furious Spell its a variable..... its effect varies depending on which spell level its applied to.

Spell focus, Spell penetration, Weapon focus (Ray)... etc all have effects that do NOT vary, they are constants, and thus why they fit the description...

"In addition, if you have other feats which allow you to apply a set numerical bonus to any aspect of this spell (such as Spell Focus, Spell Penetration, Weapon Focus [ray], and so on."

Its not a coincedence!

You are right, Furious Spell does not benefit from Spell Perfection. I mentioned Furious Spell because it allows a sorcerer to use Raging Blood (or the Rage spell) and still cast spells. And while raging, the benefit from Flumefire Rage increases by 1 (to total of +2). That said, Spell Perfection does benefit Flumefire Rage (for up to a +4 bonus).

If one doesn't want to spend a feat on Raging Blood, they can always use the Rage spell, provided it's known. I don't know why this last fact passed by my earlier. It means that non-bloodline classes can benefit fully from Flumefire Rage without paying a three feat tax. So maybe the gap between an optimized sorcerer and the field is less than I thought, but I think they still have a sizable advantage.


Blackmill wrote:

{. . .}

urrently, a reader could not see what a druid loses by being as best it can at combat. This approach could fix that. It's more more work to do this, maybe too much work, but I think having one table with ranges muddies the waters.

Basically, how much do you hose yourself by concentrating on one thing to get ahead of everybody else (as you say above, and in the Cross-Blooded Sorcerer examples), or by concentrating on one thing to catch up to what you should have used another class for (Muscle Wizard builds in general and the Sword Sage archetype in particular come to mind).

Sometimes it's better to get 90% of the performance for 10% of the cost, thereby saving you something to spend on something else.

In the lower levels of each ranking (especially at the lower levels of character career), being above the bottom just means you need to be able to do something useful without great cost. For instance, comparing 9/9 Combat, Wizard comes out the worst for having not even Simple Weapon Proficiency (with NO Reach weapons) and no Scimitar-class weapons or Wildshape ability to compensate (unlike Druid). The Wizard does have a pretty good set of defensive self-buffs to keep from getting hit, but not many spell slots to cast them with, so worse than Sorcerer defensively, and then they can't help much. Witch gets full Simple Weapon Proficiency, so can do more offensively, but can't get most of the defensive buff spells. Arcanist and Sorcerer get both, but the Sorcerer has more spell slots to cast the defensive buff spells. A Sorcerer won't be great in combat without a lot of investment, but just to be able to do something without much investment? Good to go -- you might well want all of those defensive self-buffs anyway, and you can handle a Longspear for no more than the cost of the weapon itself, and you don't actually have to hit anything to be useful. Just carry the Longspear while you do your Sorcery, and threaten an area with it, and provide a flank for your Rogue/Ninja/Slayer/Vivisectionist ally, and sometimes hand out an Aid Another when you have a spare action. Of course, ALL of the divine casters will be head and shoulders above you unless they dumped their combat ability and/or you have something weird like the Ghoul Bloodline that actually gives some good combat ability, but you can still contribute at little cost, at least at the low levels.


I added this description/context for the ratings ranges at the top of the document. I base this on what I think is most useful to a readership. But I'm of course just making my best guess at what metrics truly are useful.

"In each category we will choose at least one class as our most effective representative and score them as a 10, then comparing other classes with these top class(es) and rating them commensurately.

The scores listed for each class will be a range, with the particular choices (race, class feature choices, archetype, etc) that push a class into the upper range detailed below.

The low end of the range doesn’t represent how badly you could possibly design such a character, instead it’s the value for a generic character. Well then what’s a “generic character”? Consider a generally well-built druid with an animal companion, wild shape, and an unfocused assortment of good feats, traits, spells, and so forth. She might have 1 or 2 combat feats, another for summoning, another for her animal companion. How good is she at combat, compared with our other 9th level spell casters? As of now, we have her at an 8. But another druid that chose the Nature Fang or Goliath Druid archetype and actively built out a melee combat focused character would be about the best possible in that role, among 9th level spell casters. She’s our 10 out of 10 example. So a druid rates 8-10 for melee combat.

One final note on these ranges is that the best character build for a given category should still be playable. This should be a character that you could drop into at least ⅓ or more of the campaigns you might ever play and have an enjoyable run. While it absolutely makes sense to choose your oracle build specifically because you know the upcoming campaign is almost entirely against various undead, we wouldn’t want to rate the oracle overall based on how effective she might be at control vs undead specifically."


Northern Spotted Owl wrote:


The low end of the range doesn’t represent how badly you could possibly design such a character, instead it’s the value for a generic character. Well then what’s a “generic character”? Consider a generally well-built druid with an animal companion, wild shape, and an unfocused assortment of good feats, traits, spells, and so forth.

Your definition for the minimum end of the scale is far too subjective and vague IMO.

Simplicity is the best approach:

Basic spell list + HD + BAB + FCB + human as race + feat/trait entitlement + available items = Minimum

Notice how there is almost zero subjectivity here


Arkham Joker wrote:
Northern Spotted Owl wrote:


The low end of the range doesn’t represent how badly you could possibly design such a character, instead it’s the value for a generic character. Well then what’s a “generic character”? Consider a generally well-built druid with an animal companion, wild shape, and an unfocused assortment of good feats, traits, spells, and so forth.

Your definition for the minimum end of the scale is far too subjective and vague IMO.

Simplicity is the best approach:

Basic spell list + HD + BAB + FCB + human as race + feat/trait entitlement + available items = Minimum

Notice how there is almost zero subjectivity here

It's concrete & objective, which is attractive. But I fear that it shortchanges some classes too much. E.g. a wizard without arcane exploits is still pretty great, while a witch without hexes is severely diminished.


Northern Spotted Owl wrote:


It's concrete & objective, which is attractive. But I fear that it shortchanges some classes too much. E.g. a wizard without arcane exploits is still pretty great, while a witch without hexes is severely diminished.

But its a level playing field, so everyone loses out to a greater or lesser degree.

And you've identified the precise, key point with this discussion on 'Minimums' - the classes that have the fewest inherent class features and largest spell lists tend to be able to adjust the easiest to different roles.

Wizards and Clerics historically can be built to fulfil highly variable caster roles. Hence why they are both classed as easy Tier 1.

Why?

Because their basic core chassis is inherently versatile!!!

You WOULD ABSOLUTELY expect the minimum scores for Wiz and Cleric to be relatively high in comparison to other casters. That's just how it is.

You just don't get it do you?!?


Arkham Joker wrote:
Northern Spotted Owl wrote:


It's concrete & objective, which is attractive. But I fear that it shortchanges some classes too much. E.g. a wizard without arcane exploits is still pretty great, while a witch without hexes is severely diminished.

But its a level playing field, so everyone loses out to a greater or lesser degree.

And you've identified the precise, key point with this discussion on 'Minimums' - the classes that have the fewest inherent class features and largest spell lists tend to be able to adjust the easiest to different roles.

Wizards and Clerics historically can be built to fulfil highly variable caster roles. Hence why they are both classed as easy Tier 1.

Why?

Because their basic core chassis is inherently versatile!!!

You WOULD ABSOLUTELY expect the minimum scores for Wiz and Cleric to be relatively high in comparison to other casters. That's just how it is.

You just don't get it do you?!?

I get what you're saying. I really do. But if the goal is to create as useful an overview as we can then I don't think it helps to ignore class abilities.

Considering an Oracle without her mystery/curse, a Sorcerer without her bloodline, a Druid without her wildshape & animal companion, or a Witch without her hexes gives a highly skewed evaluation of these classes. And I don't think that is in line with being as useful to a given reader as possible.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Northern Spotted Owl wrote:
But if the goal is to create as useful an overview as we can then I don't think it helps to ignore class abilities.

I agree. Since nobody would ever play an oracle without a mystery, or a sorcerer without a bloodline (and so forth), it has no practical value to write a guide based on an oracle without a mystery.

Picking, say, evocation school for a blaster wizard is as obvious as taking power attack on a barbarian. We're not talking theory op combos here, these are obvious standout choices. It makes far more sense to use schools and bloodlines to point out that (in terms of blasting) sorcerer > wizard > cleric, than to just write that they can all cast Fireball so they're probably about the same.


Ah i've come back and this seems to have spiraled. What was the original point again?


IluzryMage wrote:
Ah i've come back and this seems to have spiraled. What was the original point again?

Hey Iluzry. The question is: What should the low score for a given class represent?

- The worst you can build it (no one likes this option)
- Only the fixed items that don't involve choices (Arkham likes this because it is objective, which is a virtue)
- A general-purpose build without any particular focus (Owl likes this because he thinks it's what a reader will want/expect)


Hmmmm

I would say how EASY it is to be good at something or how much support the class has for it inherently, based on the base chassis. So no feats, only class features, or archetypes (which might have me re review stuff)

So for a cleric that means including any one of its domains. or for an arcanist thats its exploits.

FCBs are weird because they are class and race based but i would also consider them a choice I suppose. Nothing else about races should be considered.

So a wizard is like a 2 at melee combat because none of its schools or class features make it good at melee combat.

Thats how Id think about it anyway.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

IluzryMage wrote:
FCBs are weird because they are class and race based but i would also consider them a choice I suppose. Nothing else about races should be considered.

FCBs are also generally minor things that should be irrelevant to this whole discussion... except for the FCBs that add spells known to a spontaneous caster.


Iluzry -- I think you're right that ignoring feats & traits is simpler than considering them for all casters. Except for class features such as a wizard's "bonus feats". And certainly excluding any archetypes.

Kurald -- Agreed on FCBs. They're a generally a wash, and hence not worth considering apart from spontaneous casters and the shaman (where she expands her list with cleric spells).


Kurald Galain wrote:


FCBs are also generally minor things that should be irrelevant to this whole discussion... except for the FCBs that add spells known to a spontaneous caster.

Complete gibberish


Northern Spotted Owl wrote:

{. . .}

It's concrete & objective, which is attractive. But I fear that it shortchanges some classes too much. E.g. a wizard without arcane exploits is still pretty great, while a witch without hexes is severely diminished.

Most Wizards don't have Arcane Exploits, since most of them are not Exploiter Wizards. Maybe you meant Arcane Discoveries, or maybe even Wizard Bonus Feats?

* * * * * * * *

Pssst . . . IluzryMage -- did you see the Private Messages I sent reading over some of your latest guides? I put them there due to inability to find corresponding discussion threads.

* * * * * * * *

Edit: Here are my thoughts on what lowest rating should represent: Not the worst you can do on purpose or by accident, but what the performance of the class would default to if you don't optimize this area because you are optimizing something else. To hearken back to the Combat category, a Wizard normally wouldn't be investing in this because they would be investing in spells and things that make their spellcasting and skills (especially of the Knowledge family) better, so they end up with a 1, since their base combat ability is objectively worse than everyone else's. As explained above, the other arcane casters get Simple Weapon Proficiency for free, so even with no investment they end up better than 1.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Northern Spotted Owl wrote:

{. . .}

It's concrete & objective, which is attractive. But I fear that it shortchanges some classes too much. E.g. a wizard without arcane exploits is still pretty great, while a witch without hexes is severely diminished.

Most Wizards don't have Arcane Exploits, since most of them are not Exploiter Wizards. Maybe you meant Arcane Discoveries, or maybe even Wizard Bonus Feats?

Yes, I meant Arcane Discoveries and the wizard's bonus feats more broadly. Good catch.

UnArcaneElection wrote:

Edit: Here are my thoughts on what lowest rating should represent: Not the worst you can do on purpose or by accident, but what the performance of the class would default to if you don't optimize this area because you are optimizing something else. To hearken back to the Combat category, a Wizard normally wouldn't be investing in this because they would be investing in spells and things that make their spellcasting and skills (especially of the Knowledge family) better, so they end up with a 1, since their base combat ability is objectively worse than everyone else's. As explained above, the other arcane casters get Simple Weapon Proficiency for free, so even with no investment they end up better than 1.

I like this, in that it simplifies a lot of the questions about how to think about traits, feats, etc. All of that distraction/noise.

My only concern is that I think it could under-rate class features where there is significant choice.

Just thinking about the witch, since I know her best, a player could take no hexes that debuff nor any spells. In short, you could easily create a basic witch that had no ability to debuff whatsoever. But I don't think it's helpful to readers to rate the witch from 1-10 on debuffing. That's her bag. Unless you avoid debuffing you're going to be somewhere from thoroughly solid to amazing, particularly at mid-to-higher levels when SR comes into play.

And looking at the scores that folks have submitted as they've made their varying contributions it looks like that's generally what we've seen -- a range of scores from "default/unfocused" to "optimized". But of course that's a post hoc guess on my part, since I never clearly wrote up what the scores ought to indicate until a couple days ago.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

Here are my thoughts on what lowest rating should represent: Not the worst you can do on purpose or by accident, but what the performance of the class would default to if you don't optimize this area because you are optimizing something else.

DING! DING! DING!..... We have a winner, finally someone with a grasp of logic!

The 'minimum' is the default ability of the class.

Further example:

For a 'Critters' optimised Wizard, its Minimum score in that role is going to be based on what the Wizard could do even if it was specialising (hypothetically) in something else (eg Blaster, Healing... etc).
And since if they were specialising in something else, you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT factor in anything but the basic class chassis when considering the minimum, since anything that can be traded out would by definition be used in trying to optimise its ability as a 'Critter' Wizard.

Which is exactly why 'Minimum' = BAB + HD + FCB + saves + Spell list


I mean...but in that case the minimum for a wizard would be 0 because you can totally just...not get a summoning spell. Like clerics get them by default because they get their entire lists but you don't...and you don't have any other abilities that would boost them.

Which like is okay, but i think is important to mention because you can just have 0 summoning capacity whereas like...

A druid doesn't have great summoning spells BUT they have a class feature that they get for free that lets them trade spells for summons...which most people don't have and is agreed to be super good.


When someone wonders, "How good is a wizard at summoning, compared to other 9/9 casters?" My best sense is that a baseline score should represent a general-purpose build that takes Summon Monster because it's a good spell, but hasn't necessarily dedicated feats to summoning. Mind you that's a pretty easy case because there aren't really any decisions to make other than learning Summon Monster.

A harder case is the witch and debuffing. Here I feel like a modest investment looks like Evil Eye & Slumber. That together with access to most of the best debuffing spells from the wizard list makes her pretty solid without any particular optimization (e.g. Invoker with Curiosity & Bridge, add in an improved familiar with a wand of Ill Omen).

And admittedly that is pretty subjective. While that makes it less of a concrete metric, I do think it is the most useful answer to the question, "How good is a witch at debuffing?"

At least that's my sense of what a reader would want to get from a comparison like this.


I mean but hear me out...summon monster isnt the only summoning spell. Nor is summon nature's ally. They are the BEST ones though.

I think when we take spell lists into account in this way, thats important because you are still making choices. A witch doesnt HAVE to pick up debuffing spells, but they have aCCESS to really good ones.

So are we measuring their ACCESS to good options or their baseline capablities at all times (like saves/HD/BAB).

I think this is an important difference between casters because arcane casters in general have to be selective about their spells. So if we are talking a minimum potential summoner, thats having like...mount. Unless we come up with an agreement with which spells or abilities we are specifically allowing for each category.

so if we are going minimum possible, I would say 0 because it is entirely possible for an arcane caster to build in a way that does not support summoning even slightly, whereas a divine caster will naturally have a bunch of different summoning spells that they can pick up any day whenever.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'd say that arguing that a wizard without summon spells can't summon is about as useful as arguing that a cleric with a wisdom of 7 can't summon either.

In order for the minimum rating to be meaningful, we should at least assume that the characters have access to the standard spells (of that category, up to the limit of their spells known) from the core rulebook, and the ability to actually cast them.


Be careful that your rating is not only precise, but also easy to understand. Most of your future readers will never read this thread, and if there are multiple paragraphs of explanations just covering the rating, some might stop reading the guide.

In case no satisfying rating system comes up, you can still downgrade to just ordering the classes. For example "Summoning: Druid > cleric = wizard > psychic" (totally made up) might already offer the information many readers want.


So no I think all of your points are important to consider. I'm saying that we then need a idea of what is standard for each category, like what is our baseline for choices. We can't just say "if you don't specifically choose for it" because arcane casters have to make choices, and I think the point about being a cleric makes sense.

So are we saying that you picked up all of the best summoning spells? Just summon monster? Have the worst spells?

To jokers point that is aBSOLUTELY true. If everyu class chose the minimum it would be that absurd! So what is our ACTUAL REALISTIC base for this that we are all agreeing on? Are we assuming maximum casting stats? Are we assuming best armor?

What assumptions are we all agreeing about for said minimum that is allowable? I think thats very important to the nature of the discussion because if we just say "minimum without optimizing" i feel like thats way too vague for that level of comparison.


Arkham Joker wrote:
IluzryMage wrote:
I mean...but in that case the minimum for a wizard would be 0 because you can totally just...not get a summoning spell. .

Now you're just being either an annoying pedant or deliberately obtuse... either way stop it or leave the thread. I've no time for childish nonsense.

Yes, yes... every class should have a minimum score of 0 as they could "choose" to pick the worst spells, have no armour, no weapons, pick the worst feats, have no items and give all their money away to the donkey shelter.

Grow up.

Also in this case, if a wizard lets say, had a score of 11 and so did a druid, a wizard COULDNT choose a summoning spell, whereas the druid still has summon monster class feature...which is a meaningful difference!

151 to 200 of 275 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Comparing 9th level casters All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.