Comparing 9th level casters


Advice

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Alrighty folks.

I'll call this version of the spreadsheet & document provisionally complete, excepting the psychic of course.

Casters Compared spreadsheet

Casters Compared write-up

No comparison, certainly not this one, is definitive. Too much subjectivity goes into all of these rating and comparisons. But I think this is a solid baseline that most reasonable folks can reference. I hope it's of use to folks.

My last task is the note of thanks I'm adding now.

However ... if you see something I've missed or botched please let me know.

Boundless thanks,
Owl


Northern Spotted Owl wrote:

I fixed “right off the bad”.

And, just to be clear, are you advocating for a utility 10 for the arcanist’s upper range?

Thanks again

If we're keeping things in the 1 - 10 scale, yes. Looks like Arcanists are already there in both the spreadsheet (at least first page -- didn't check exhaustively to see if the other pages said something else) and in the write-up document.


Looking at where we landed, and in particular which classes merit one or more 10's, does this look right? Acknowledging that the 10's are often mutually incompatible, where a build that justifies a 10 in one category might preclude a 10 in another category.

Arcanist: buff (brown fur), control (counter-spell), utility (quick study)
Cleric: none (???)
Druid: combat, allies
Oracle: healing
Shaman: healing, utility
Sorcerer: blasting
Witch: debuff
Wizard: utility

And then looking at who merits a 9 or better we have:

Arcanist: same
Cleric: heal, buff, allies
Druid: same
Oracle: same
Shaman: same
Sorcerer: buff, control, allies, blaster
Witch: same
Wizard: buff, debuff, control, allies, blaster, utility

That is, the cleric, sorcerer & wizard are very capable (with the right build) in quite a few areas.


Did we cover how good the heavens Oracle is at control? You have to grab the metamagics for all the things that are immune to mind effecting, but what field of focus doesn’t eat up a lot of feats.


Melkiador wrote:
Did we cover how good the heavens Oracle is at control? You have to grab the metamagics for all the things that are immune to mind effecting, but what field of focus doesn’t eat up a lot of feats.

I had missed that. Looking through the revelations, I'm guessing you mean:

Quote:
Each creature affected by your illusion (pattern) spells is treated as if its total number of Hit Dice were equal to its number of Hit Dice minus your Charisma modifier (if positive).

Where an 18 or even 18 charisma leaves Color Spray relevant through 8-9 HD opponents. And then boosts Hypnotic Pattern, Rainbow Pattern, and Prismatic Spray as well.

Do you think that pushes the Heavens Oracle up to:

9: wizard or sorcerer -- pits, walls, enchantments, the whole kitchen sink

10: arcanist -- the above, along with the counterspell exploit

Cheers


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Not sure how high, but I'd say at least a 9. And that 18 charisma is what you'd expect minimum at level 1. By level 8, you'd have 2 level boosts and at least a +4 headband. So, that puts you at at least 24 charisma, for a +7 modifier. Now, no level 1 spell is meant to be that meaningful by level 8, but the heavens oracle does pretty well at it.

And of course, at level 8, you have hypnotic pattern, which will lock you down in concentration, but is a pretty strong control too.

Edit: on reflection I’d put it at a very high 8 or a regular 9. It’s incredibly powerful for a very long time. Almost game breaking until fairly late level. It can shut down many whole encounters before they even get started. But it does lack in versatility of which saves it can go after.

The list doesn’t really account for this, but if it can’t control something it still has great options of damage or healing.


The list of who gets 10s looks about as right as we can get without the Psychic turning something up to 11 (I don't know what that would be, so saying just in case).

So Cleric doesn't get any 10s, but on the other hand isn't condemned to be bad in any one area (except Skills) unless you're specializing in one area and have to sacrifice something elsewhere.


Melkiador wrote:
Did we cover how good the heavens Oracle is at control? You have to grab the metamagics for all the things that are immune to mind effecting, but what field of focus doesn’t eat up a lot of feats.

Per our group's earlier discussion of control vs debuffing, I categorized this under debuffing since it affects targets when cast rather than as an ongoing effect (e.g. grease, silence, pits, walls, sleet storm).

I did add it to the Oracle write-up there, and bumped her upper range from 7 to 8 accordingly.

Thanks again.


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Oh look. Iluzry added ratings for the Psychic. I read through the class & archetypes, and then added a few notes.

How does this look?

The document

The spreadsheet


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I doubt there would ever be 100% agreement on such a list, but you've clearly put a lot of work into it and it looks good.


Wow, looks like Psychcs end up really hurting on stuff other than Debuff/Control. But now I should go look for Iluzry's Psychic guide . . . .


Melkiador wrote:
I doubt there would ever be 100% agreement on such a list, but you've clearly put a lot of work into it and it looks good.

Thanks Melkiador.

This is when I wish we had a few long-time psychic players to jump in and advocate for the virtues of some combination of disciplines, amplifications and archetypes. "Now that's how you build a psychic blaster..."

Here's the guide I used:

The Guide

So my insights are largely limited to theirs.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

Wow, looks like Psychcs end up really hurting on stuff other than Debuff/Control. But now I should go look for Iluzry's Psychic guide . . . .

My thoughts on the psychic are:

You're decidedly weak on control & blasting (until laser blast comes online at 11th level: spontaneous blasting which ignores SR). You have decent spells for buffing & allies, but no additional abilities around them. But after you accept those weak spots, you're pretty golden.

The Faith discipline is amazing. Spontaneous cure spells like a cleric, and you replenish your pool by casting these cure spells. Your discipline spell list is a solid off-list selection from the cleric's, ending with miracle. However, you don't have condition removal spells, except remove fear.

Relentless Casting gives the psychic a real advantage over other casters once SR becomes an issue.

The Psychic Marauder's aura will just win encounters over & over.

The Rebirth discipline gives you 1 spell known from any spell list, changeable daily. And the Esoteric Starseeker has varying discipline spells from 12 or so "constellations". Between those (or the Faith discipline) you have a decent number of off-list spells you can pull in.


Psychic is one of the few classes I’ve never even seen in actual play. At the same time, nothing in the class entices me enough to want try it myself. Any class fantasy I’d want out of it, I think I could do better with the mesmerist.


^Come to think of it, I also haven't seen any of the Occult Adventurers classes other than Kineticist in play (PbP) either. The one Kineticist I saw was seriously overpowered (one-shotted a Dragon that Ironfang Adventures put up as a main opponent in the middle levels), but that's not a 9/9 caster anyway.


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I mean, I have personal experience with all of the other full casters, and I've played beside most of them too. But I think psychic magic is just really unpopular. And the psychic's spell list just feels very blah, while not having strong class features to make up for it. Like, the witch spell list is pretty blah too, but you have those amazing hexes, so it doesn't really matter.

It doesn't help that psychic seems to be more based on binary save or suck spells while the class wants you to be reliant on a non casting stat of wisdom or charisma. The whole thing just feels really bad to me. And judging by the lack of representation, it must feel bad to a lot of people.


Melkiador wrote:

I mean, I have personal experience with all of the other full casters, and I've played beside most of them too. But I think psychic magic is just really unpopular. And the psychic's spell list just feels very blah, while not having strong class features to make up for it. Like, the witch spell list is pretty blah too, but you have those amazing hexes, so it doesn't really matter.

It doesn't help that psychic seems to be more based on binary save or suck spells while the class wants you to be reliant on a non casting stat of wisdom or charisma. The whole thing just feels really bad to me. And judging by the lack of representation, it must feel bad to a lot of people.

Unless/until someone jumps in to disagree I suppose the ratings we have for the Psychic will be sufficient.

And thank you Iluzry for that!

And I generally agree with your assessment. The abilities you get from those disciplines & amplifications just aren't enough to pull me in. Except maybe for the Psychic Marauder and her Aura of Insanity.


Melkiador wrote:

I mean, I have personal experience with all of the other full casters, and I've played beside most of them too. But I think psychic magic is just really unpopular. And the psychic's spell list just feels very blah, while not having strong class features to make up for it. Like, the witch spell list is pretty blah too, but you have those amazing hexes, so it doesn't really matter.

It doesn't help that psychic seems to be more based on binary save or suck spells while the class wants you to be reliant on a non casting stat of wisdom or charisma. The whole thing just feels really bad to me. And judging by the lack of representation, it must feel bad to a lot of people.

I agree, except that I would rate the Witch spell list higher -- depending on which Patron you choose, a Witch can actually be a decent stand-in for a Cleric or (with the addition of the right Metamagic feats) a decent battlefield controlling blaster. Having a decent subset of the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list AND a decent subset of the Cleric/Oracle spell list (with a few other debuffing spells sprinkled in) is not terrible -- not great, but I would rank it above the Psychic spell list (although admittedly I have been disinclined to study the latter exhaustively, due to the high complexity to reward ratio of the Psychic's other class features, in contrast to, for instance, Kineticist, which is high complexity but evidently also high reward).


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

CockroachTeaParty's Psychic guide didn't include anything from Psychic Anthology. Debilitating Pain and it's mass version are near broken, having played an abomination psychic from level 4 to level 20. I felt dirty the few times I cast Glimpse of the Akashic. Reflective Barrier proved useful at high levels.

It also doesn't include the Magaambyan Telepath archetype which lets you mind control plants and replaces your discipline spells with a Druidic spell per spell level.


The Purity of Violence wrote:

CockroachTeaParty's Psychic guide didn't include anything from Psychic Anthology. Debilitating Pain and it's mass version are near broken, having played an abomination psychic from level 4 to level 20. I felt dirty the few times I cast Glimpse of the Akashic. Reflective Barrier proved useful at high levels.

It also doesn't include the Magaambyan Telepath archetype which lets you mind control plants and replaces your discipline spells with a Druidic spell per spell level.

Debilitating Pain is on the Debuff tab of the spreadsheet for that reason. In fact, the fact that you call out that & Glimpse of the Akashic reinforces my (current) understanding of the Psychic as a strong debuff & utility class.


Northern Spotted Owl-

I have looked at your guide and spreadsheet. There is little if anything I would say is wrong, but some things I think that could be added.

Going by class on which I have something to say.

Oracle

Oracles can be completely different depending on the mystery selected.

The Ju-ju Oracle, the one that gets the Spirit Vessels revelation, is one of the best necromancers in the game by dint of that mystery alone and gets some other good stuff as well.

The 3rd party Snakes Mystery gets to be a powerful summoner by taking one
revelation Snake Summoner. The other revelations are good too making this a fine choice if allowed.

Druid

I think the Saurian Shaman archetype deserves to be called out as powerful and flexible.

The totemic summons gives great power and flexibility to your SNA. You can add feats to make SNA better still and get hold of a Rod of Giant Summoning asap.

A sly trick is to take the Destruction domain and when eventually you can summon Cylopes you have a deadly combination that costs not a lot to set up.

Finally, the bonus feats you eventually get while wild shaped promise added combat power. Your wild shape lacks the flexibility of many other druids but you can't have everything.

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