What is "The Elephant in the Room" as it pertains to Pathfinder?


Homebrew and House Rules

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Yep, what is it? Can someone explain it, because apparently I missed the talk about it.


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Its a quick and dirty set of houserules to consolidate some feats because feat taxes are the worst.

Link with the rules set.

Spheres of Might/Power hit on the same stuff intrinsically.

The Exchange

It’s a set of homebrew rules that drastically increases the power of martial characters.

Whether you think they are a good idea or not is directly proportional to how you feel about the “martials can’t have nice things” trope.


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It's not even a "martials can't have nice things" issue, so much as a "to get a single nice thing, you have to wait until level 10+ if it's any of these 5 or 6 specific things that are disproportionately affected by bad and totally unrelated to the desired feat, feat prerequisites".

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Belafon wrote:
It’s a set of homebrew rules that drastically increases the power of martial characters.

It’s a set of homebrew rules that drastically increases the damage of martial characters. Which, let's face it, is the one thing they don't need.

It's not a bad houserule but it's largely unnecessary if you use DSP, and it largely fails to address the issues it alludes to.


Kurald Galain wrote:
Belafon wrote:
It’s a set of homebrew rules that drastically increases the power of martial characters.
It’s a set of homebrew rules that drastically increases the damage of martial characters. Which, let's face it, is the one thing they don't need.

IMO, martial characters have been overshadowed by spellcasters for some time now...

I mean, if a 10th-level Wizard can chuck a 10d6 fireball, what's the equivalent for the Fighter?


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JiCi wrote:
Kurald Galain wrote:
Belafon wrote:
It’s a set of homebrew rules that drastically increases the power of martial characters.
It’s a set of homebrew rules that drastically increases the damage of martial characters. Which, let's face it, is the one thing they don't need.

IMO, martial characters have been overshadowed by spellcasters for some time now...

I mean, if a 10th-level Wizard can chuck a 10d6 fireball, what's the equivalent for the Fighter?

10d6 is 35 on average, 17 on a save, and at that point a lot of things are resistant or immune to fire.

Level 10 Fighter can dish out far more.


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Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:

10d6 is 35 on average, 17 on a save, and at that point a lot of things are resistant or immune to fire.

Level 10 Fighter can dish out far more.

Yup.

My 13th level Bloodrager deals over 150 damage on average on a full attack. He's a bit higher than 10th level, but he's spent most of his wealth/feats/etc on defensive items and abilities. That 10d6 fireball would have to hit 5-10 enemies to deal as much damage as me, and if I really wanted to I could use some spells/etc to buff my offensive capabilities and deal significantly more damage.


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I use a bit of the Elephant in the Room house rules to go along with some of my own tweaks. The weekly PF1 game I run uses Unchained Action Economy (again with some tweaks), Fractional BAB/Saves, Background Skills, and some of my own tweaks to spellcasting (with a focus on fixing multi classed spell caster issues).

Feats that only give a +1 to hit, or +2 in very specific circumstances, get improved or rolled into another feat. Rapid Shot is just an ability anyone can use with a bow. Point-blank shot doesn't exist (it is just Precise Shot now, though it has a Dex requirement now). Really, feats are special abilities that you've generally spent two levels working towards (less for Classes with bonus feats). They should be worth it.


Yeah, the one thing martial characters don't actually need help on is dealing out damage.

EiTR rules remove a lot of feats (turning them into options anyone can use) and removes/changes a lot of prerequisites for a lot of other feats.

And while I understand this is cool, it actually just means martial characters get their fighty bits more easily and with less hoops. It doesn't actually fix the problem that martial characters tend to only be good at martial things and miss out on other portions of the game.

In my opinion, it fails as a fix to the problem of martial characters.

A much better fix (IMO) is making Automatic Bonus Progression the default so that martial characters aren't completely reliant on magical weapons for their prowess (this is a narrative fix), tweaking skill points for martial classes, fixing what skills can actually accomplish compared to magic, and separate feats based on whether they make you better at combat or better at other stuff.

But all of that is a lot harder than simply changing feat access requirements for everyone's favorite combat feats which is really all EiTR does.

Martial character's problem isn't the amount of damage they can do compared to casters. That's the one area caster's generally lose at compared to martials.

It's all the other s%#@ that non-martials can do that martials can't that is a problem.

Why invest in stealth if you can turn invisible, teleport, and fly to reach whatever?


Claxon wrote:
Why invest in stealth if you can turn invisible, teleport, and fly to reach whatever?

Because a master of stealth is still a master of stealth all day long, while the magic user is really, really good for a short period of time each day. Had that reinforced last night during our Giantslayer game. Sneaking around is good until you pop your invisibility and need to get away from things that can throw big rocks really, REALLY far. And they have flying pets to send after you that move a LOT faster than you.


I fail to see how EitR increases "damage". None of the feats affected are damage feats, meaning at best you're getting the "damage feats" from now emptied feat slots, but those "damage feats" are largely feats already built into classes like Weapon Specialization for fighter, cleave/twf for ranger/rogue/slayer, etc. Maybe they have new ways to deal damage, but those aren't improving the ability of a full attack, just letting you "full attack" differently. Only real exception is ranged dps builds being able to get rapid shot/multishot (bow only) potentially earlier.

@Claxon, Automatic Bonus Progression by raw has a bit of a different problem for martials. Mainly, martials, especially melee martials get shafted in the enhancement bonus department because you are locked into a very slow armor/weapon enhancement bonus progression that also locks you out of having a bonus higher than +5 until level 19. On top of that, if you want any special abilities on your weapon/armor, you sack your enhancement bonus further.

@DeathlessOne, What was your class? Spontaneous caster should be able to just cast it again and escape. Wizard can divine bond. Magus can spell recall (but maybe not at your level).


AwesomenessDog wrote:
Spontaneous caster should be able to just cast it again and escape. Wizard can divine bond. Magus can spell recall (but maybe not at your level).

Spontaneous spellcasters can still run out of spell slots. Wizard can only use their bonded object to cast a spell once per day, and if they took a familiar it’s not even an option. Spell recall is great and all, but a magus is even more spell slot starved than a sorcerer, not to mention they can very easily run out of Arcane Pool points.

Arcane casters arn’t even the only ones who could be using invisibility…

Regardless of who cast the spell though. Deathless one is right, a master of stealth can always be a master of stealth while a Spellcaster can only be one for a few minutes each day. For a martial using stealth, they can sneak around engage in combat when they feel they need to or think they can safely thin numbers and then go back to sneaking around as many times as they need or want to. A Spellcaster has a hard limit on how many times they can lose their invisibility and how long they can sneak around before they must find a safe location. It can also sometimes be far easier to detect a Spellcaster walking around under invisibility than a martial character hiding and moving about stealthily.


AwesomenessDog wrote:
@Claxon, Automatic Bonus Progression by raw has a bit of a different problem for martials. Mainly, martials, especially melee martials get shafted in the enhancement bonus department because you are locked into a very slow armor/weapon enhancement bonus progression that also locks you out of having a bonus higher than +5 until level 19. On top of that, if you want any special abilities on your weapon/armor, you sack your enhancement bonus further.

I actually see that as an advantage for the game (as a gamemaster). Martials do plenty of damage and have plenty of AC (typically). Forcing hard choices on using your available enhancement bonus on numeric enhancers or special abilities is an advantage not a drawback (IMO). Again martial characters are good in the damage and AC departments.

I will however admit that the rules could be tweaked slightly for armor special abilities (because they're defensive in nature typically) that would actually bridge the gap between what martials and casters can do.


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EitR has two main issues, it's too front loaded, and it doesn't favor martials over magi-martials.

First the front loading, martials are already stronger than casters in the early levels. The casters have too few spells per day to cast all adventuring day, until around level 7 or 8. And most of the spells that break the game aren't available till around those levels either. Giving bonus feats isn't going to fix that.

Second for the "magi-martials", classes like the inquisitor and magus get as much benefit as the fighter and rogue, but the inquisitor and magus weren't really needing any advantages. EitR gives you free weapon finesse, making it easier to dump strength, which is even more important to the classes who are dependent on more stats. Similarly, getting rid of point blank shot makes it much easier for classes like the inquisitor to deliver even more damage per round very early in the game.

So, if you like the faster feat progression then fine, but don't pretend like it's some cure for caster vs martial issues.


I think the idea behind the EitR ruleset giving easier access to feats is that you now have room to spend feats on non-combat abilities. If your build requires 5 feats to get going (looking at you archery) then you're not really making any character-defining choices until level 7 or so. If you can get that done by level 5 then you can start fleshing out your character earlier than you otherwise would.

Now as to the Martial/Caster debate and how it pertains to the EitR ruleset - it doesn't, not directly anyway. But since the feats affected are mostly martial feats it's giving that extra choice to martials rather than casters. It's not increasing their numbers, but giving them options - which is exactly what Martials lack. And yeah it also gives these benefits to the gish-classes, but it's giving benefits to the martial side of them, not really their casting side.

Now is that going to solve all the problems you might have in a game? No.

Is it a problem that it doesn't solve everything? Only if you expected it to.


@Chell, sure, but normally you aren't scouting with low resources. You have low resources when you've already been fighting for a while, which is usually *well after* the scouting (either because you failed stealth or you got your information and went in). Sure, there's exceptions too, but it didn't seem like Deathless was at the end of a day, more scouting for the beginning of a day.

@Claxon, I still think that when the caster gets their most important thing (+6 mental stat) well before martials can get their weapon to even +5, it's still another case of martials getting shafted (martials also don't even get their +6 stat until a level after the casters). My bigger problem with the specific weapon and armor thing is that you not only pay for the special abilities, but you also then pay again to activate them; and waiting till level 17 to just get your +5, and then forced by design into losing +3 of that to speed (when you can easily afford the difference of 78k) if that's where you wanted to invest. But again, you already paid for effectively 36k of that 78k, or 42k if you just look at it as going from a +2 weapon to +5 (after already effectively paying 205k for all of level 17 ABP).

Melkiador wrote:
So, if you like the faster feat progression then fine, but don't pretend like it's some cure for caster vs martial issues.

To be fair, it billed itself as a cure for slow progression for martials making them only be able to afford to invest in one, maybe 2 things first, and second that it helps martials over casters. It just so happens to help those hybrid martial/casters just as well as full martials, if not more. But again, the ranged inquisitor was going to pick up rapid shot and multishot anyway, they just reach the damage output earlier by getting the extra attack per round earlier (not even earlier in the case of multishot, because they are still bottlenecked by BAB).


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AwesomenessDog wrote:
@DeathlessOne, What was your class? Spontaneous caster should be able to just cast it again and escape. Wizard can divine bond. Magus can spell recall (but maybe not at your level).

Witch. Prepared caster. Limited options for invisibility-like effects. Other things going on that I can't really list for spoiler-ish reasons, but scouting was not the plan that day and I only had two spells prepped for emergency use. Let's just say that it was the character's moral outrage that prompted the scene, leaving little-to-no time to prepare. However, the character was passably decent at stealth to begin with, so getting away was still an option.

The point remains that spellcasters have a limited window of time in which they can meet or exceed the capabilities of their mundane counterparts. Like a saying I've heard before: A dragon in an antimagic field is still a dragon, while a wizard is just a snack.


MrCharisma wrote:
I think the idea behind the EitR ruleset giving easier access to feats is that you now have room to spend feats on non-combat abilities. If your build requires 5 feats to get going (looking at you archery) then you're not really making any character-defining choices until level 7 or so. If you can get that done by level 5 then you can start fleshing out your character earlier than you otherwise would.

Yes, but at the same time no. It gives you the opportunity to maybe not spend feats on combat stuff because you're getting some for free. Or it just allows you to get more combat feats. It doesn't force you to choose to non-combat feats, so it actually fails at that idea.

If it gave you extra feats that could only be spent on non-combat related things it would be a better step in the direction of giving non-combat power.

I also don't think much of "character defining choices" being made as feats. There are probably some feats that count, but I think a lot of the most popular ones are number enhancers.

Quote:

Now as to the Martial/Caster debate and how it pertains to the EitR ruleset - it doesn't, not directly anyway. But since the feats affected are mostly martial feats it's giving that extra choice to martials rather than casters. It's not increasing their numbers, but giving them options - which is exactly what Martials lack. And yeah it also gives these benefits to the gish-classes, but it's giving benefits to the martial side of them, not really their casting side.

Now is that going to solve all the problems you might have in a game? No.

Is it a problem that it doesn't solve everything? Only if you expected it to.

And this is probably my biggest problem, is classes that don't need the help like Inquisitor or Magus arguably benefit more than ones it's supposed to.


AwesomenessDog wrote:

@Claxon, I still think that when the caster gets their most important thing (+6 mental stat) well before martials can get their weapon to even +5, it's still another case of martials getting shafted (martials also don't even get their +6 stat until a level after the casters). My bigger problem with the specific weapon and armor thing is that you not only pay for the special abilities, but you also then pay again to activate them; and waiting till level 17 to just get your +5, and then forced by design into losing +3 of that to speed (when you can easily afford the difference of 78k) if that's where you wanted to invest. But again, you already paid for effectively 36k of that 78k, or 42k if you just look at it as going from a +2 weapon to +5 (after already effectively paying 205k for all of level 17 ABP).

For PF1 ABP, you get physical +6 one level after getting mental +6 and weapon +4 at the same level as mental +6. Level 15. You get your +5 weapon at level 17. I don't think it's a terribly bad gap.

And your example of adding speed to a weapon is one as GM that I like. Adding speed used to be a straight damage upgrade with whatever weapon you're wielding (but martials already do too much damage).

Martials don't need more toys for combat. Martials need abilities that let them be effective at things other than combat.

ABP actually nerfs characters, and I like it as a GM for that fact. It forces hard choices and you can't min max as hard.

Casters also are affected because a fair portion of things that are "free" like weapon enhancement and physical enhancement are things they wouldn't spend money on, but it still costs them half their WBL compared to standard rules. Meaning they have less money to spend on other stuff.


Claxon wrote:

Yes, but at the same time no. It gives you the opportunity to maybe not spend feats on combat stuff because you're getting some for free. Or it just allows you to get more combat feats.

I also don't think much of "character defining choices" being made as feats. There are probably some feats that count, but I think a lot of the most popular ones are number enhancers.

I'm not really sure what you expected then.

Martials generally don't Need more number enhancers. As has been pointed out above (by a few people) Martials already have the numbers in combat. What they lack is versatility and non-combat utility - a way to affect outcomes of non-combat scenarios.

If you have a character who's great at 1 thing but lacking in other aspects, and someone gives you a way to add more options to your character, and instead of spending those options on versatility you just add to your 1 Schtick, and then you get upset because it didn't solve the problem you were having ... I mean I really don't know what to say to that.

As to which classes get the most benefit: I think you're right that Inquisitor/Magus/etc probably didn't need the help, but even there it's not a bad idea. Most class tier lists have full casters first, then half-casters, then non-casters. Even if the Half-casters are benefiting it's still basically elevating everyone except the full-casters. So while the non-casters get elevated from bottom tier to the new bottom tier, they're still getting boosted when compared to the full casters.

If I were to say one area where this really fails at addressing that imbalance it would be Clerics. Clerics are already one of the most versatile and powerful classes in the game, and one of the few things they lack is bonus feats. Giving them an easier feat-tree to their desired combat style is really going to help a Cleric a lot more than a Fighter (and not just Clerics, also Battle Oracles, etc). But again what makes a Cleric so powerful isn't really their combat prowess, it's their casting abilities, and those abilities don't get noticably buffed. You're still going to see this disproportionately affect the martial characters in your game, even if everyine gets a slight upgrade, and even if people miss the point and just add more combat modifiers.

In the end though, if you don't think character defining choices should be made with feats I don't know why you'd run the EitR ruleset at all.


It's not like there aren't full casters that can benefit from it either. There are a number of druid builds that benefit greatly from EitR. And there are mage builds built on touch and ranged touch attacks that benefit from easy access to Precise Shot. Summoners and Eidolons can also get a lot of mileage out of EitR. Meanwhile, EitR really doesn't do much for the regular sword and board fighter or the two-handed weapon fighter. They already had a ton of bonus feats, so free power attack isn't that great. Comparatively, ranged builds get benefit from both free finesse and quick Precise Shot. What kind of sensible buff would give greater benefit to ranged attacks over regular attacks? Archery is already super powerful, it doesn't really need any help.


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Melkiador wrote:
What kind of sensible buff would give greater benefit to ranged attacks over regular attacks? Archery is already super powerful, it doesn't really need any help.

Right, but it's only doing that if you put all your eggs in 1 basket.

If instead of buffing your 1 combat-style to the moon you were to diversify into 2 combat styles you'd suddenly see yourself having more options. Or (heavens forbid) spending your feats on Non Combat Options ... OoOh spOoky. Again, Matials don't Need help getting bigger numbers, they already have that. What they need is the ability to do other things.

The one class who seems to really lose out with the EitR rules is the Fighter - Fighters were the one class who already had enough feats to get everything, including those ridiculous feat-chains. Now everyone can afford all the feats they want so Fighters have lost their Niche. But once again that problem goes away if you actually use those savings to purchase something besides HIT MORE. Take a regular Fighter, then apply EitR to them. They should have 3 or 4 free feats now, so instead of spending those feats on making that 1 sword the king of all swords, grab something that might help you outside of combat - even the humble Skill Focus will give you more utility than you think.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Claxon wrote:

In my opinion, it fails as a fix to the problem of martial characters.

I mean, PF1 martial characters have more than just one problem. Builds that take an extraordinarily long amount of time to come online because of the comical number of feat prerequisites isn't the only one, but it's definitely one of them and the house rule does a decent job there.

It doesn't address the issue of how overpowered magic can be... but why would it? That's not what this houserule does.

Melkiador wrote:
It's not like there aren't full casters that can benefit from it either.

I mean, good for them I guess?


I agree with MrCharisma. Some builds are very feat starved and there is no room for anything else. For example, my bard Lini trips and disarms with a whip. EITH takes the 3 feats needed - Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, and Improved Disarm - and turns them into one feat needed - Deft Maneuvers. That lets me use her Rogue Talents (she's an archaeologist bard so gets some Rogue Talents) for languages instead of Combat Trick for a feat.


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I already said, if you like faster feat chains then fine. Just don't pretend like it's any kind of solution for martial vs caster issues.

But the real problem with feat chains is that the feats at the ends of those chains aren't good enough, not that it takes too long to get to them. In an RPG system, like this, there should be things to work towards. New things to unlock. Getting those things all at the start is just boring. Spells have that pacing baked in naturally.


MrCharisma wrote:
Claxon wrote:

Yes, but at the same time no. It gives you the opportunity to maybe not spend feats on combat stuff because you're getting some for free. Or it just allows you to get more combat feats.

I also don't think much of "character defining choices" being made as feats. There are probably some feats that count, but I think a lot of the most popular ones are number enhancers.

I'm not really sure what you expected then.

Martials generally don't Need more number enhancers. As has been pointed out above (by a few people) Martials already have the numbers in combat. What they lack is versatility and non-combat utility - a way to affect outcomes of non-combat scenarios.

If you have a character who's great at 1 thing but lacking in other aspects, and someone gives you a way to add more options to your character, and instead of spending those options on versatility you just add to your 1 Schtick, and then you get upset because it didn't solve the problem you were having ... I mean I really don't know what to say to that.

As to which classes get the most benefit: I think you're right that Inquisitor/Magus/etc probably didn't need the help, but even there it's not a bad idea. Most class tier lists have full casters first, then half-casters, then non-casters. Even if the Half-casters are benefiting it's still basically elevating everyone except the full-casters. So while the non-casters get elevated from bottom tier to the new bottom tier, they're still getting boosted when compared to the full casters.

If I were to say one area where this really fails at addressing that imbalance it would be Clerics. Clerics are already one of the most versatile and powerful classes in the game, and one of the few things they lack is bonus feats. Giving them an easier feat-tree to their desired combat style is really going to help a Cleric a lot more than a Fighter (and not just Clerics, also Battle Oracles, etc). But again what makes a Cleric so powerful isn't...

I think we're on the same page but you've misunderstood my position.

I don't like EiTR because I don't think it does a damn thing to solve the issues some people purport it to help.

All EiTR does it give away free combat feats and reduce some combat related feat chains. It doesn't fix any real problem with martials unless they choose non-combat feats over combat feats...which doesn't happen in my experience unless you force it. Kind of how PF2 does by having a whole class of skill feats and a specific skill feat progression.


What I like about EITR:
--It offers martials more flexibility, you can now consider to chose non combat related feats.
--The Bloodrager I am running in EITR Way of the wicked does have some cool tricks. He can Bullrush, Overrun, and apply Sunder in a 15-35 foot AoO depening on what I currently use as a weapon. On Level 7. Its really fun to be a martial and have a combat routine that is more nuanced then "Smesh with weapon". Setup with an overrun charge, threaten AoOs, reposition using spring attack, I get to make a lot more tactical decisions which makes combat far more interesting.

What I dislike:
--It further strengthens Dex over STR builds (free weapon finesse, and the agile maneuvers are generally speaking more desireable then the STR ones)
--It is heavily front loaded.
--Mixed classes like inquisitors, magus, etc. benefit arguably more, I would further argue that the full martial in least need of a buff meaning ranged combatants, benefit quite massively.

I still like it more then not having it.


Claxon wrote:
MrCharisma wrote:
Claxon wrote:

Yes, but at the same time no. It gives you the opportunity to maybe not spend feats on combat stuff because you're getting some for free. Or it just allows you to get more combat feats.

I also don't think much of "character defining choices" being made as feats. There are probably some feats that count, but I think a lot of the most popular ones are number enhancers.

I'm not really sure what you expected then.

Martials generally don't Need more number enhancers. As has been pointed out above (by a few people) Martials already have the numbers in combat. What they lack is versatility and non-combat utility - a way to affect outcomes of non-combat scenarios.

If you have a character who's great at 1 thing but lacking in other aspects, and someone gives you a way to add more options to your character, and instead of spending those options on versatility you just add to your 1 Schtick, and then you get upset because it didn't solve the problem you were having ... I mean I really don't know what to say to that.

As to which classes get the most benefit: I think you're right that Inquisitor/Magus/etc probably didn't need the help, but even there it's not a bad idea. Most class tier lists have full casters first, then half-casters, then non-casters. Even if the Half-casters are benefiting it's still basically elevating everyone except the full-casters. So while the non-casters get elevated from bottom tier to the new bottom tier, they're still getting boosted when compared to the full casters.

If I were to say one area where this really fails at addressing that imbalance it would be Clerics. Clerics are already one of the most versatile and powerful classes in the game, and one of the few things they lack is bonus feats. Giving them an easier feat-tree to their desired combat style is really going to help a Cleric a lot more than a Fighter (and not just Clerics, also Battle Oracles, etc). But again what makes a

...

Nobody is purporting it to solve martial/caster disparity, it's only solving part of the annoyance of feat taxes that martials disproportionately suffer from. If you want to solve that, you need something way bigger and that impacts casters negatively over martials positively.


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AwesomenessDog wrote:
Nobody is purporting it to solve martial/caster disparity, it's only solving part of the annoyance of feat taxes that martials disproportionately suffer from. If you want to solve that, you need something way bigger and that impacts casters negatively over martials positively.

No one in this thread has said it in those terms, but someone in this thread nebulously described it as addressing the "martials can't have nice things" issue.

Which I don't think it does, more feats faster isn't beneficial for the game IMO and doesn't really do anything except make martial characters deal more damage by getting access to feat chains earlier and easier. While theoretically someone could select non-combat feats, it's unlikely in my experience.

It's nice for martial characters from the limited perspective of "let me do my thing better and earlier" but doesn't address other issues. And letting martials do their main thing better and earlier is actually bad for the game (IMO) because, outside of specific classes, martial classes already do plenty of damage and don't really need help.

EiTR basically helps with the one area that doesn't need help IMO.


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One main issue with martials imo is the idea that, because they do not use magic, everything they do has to be realistic.
So every time some ability is not realistic people run amoc.

Casters on the other hand can do what ever they can dream of because magic doesn't have to be realistic.


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Zandragal wrote:

One main issue with martials imo is the idea that, because they do not use magic, everything they do has to be realistic.

So every time some ability is not realistic people run amoc.

Casters on the other hand can do what ever they can dream of because magic doesn't have to be realistic.

Agreed, but it's a systemic issue that requires complex rules to overcome.

Free skill unlocks help a bit, because it can stretch the mundane into a place that isn't quite magic but can also be done all day every day unlike magic.

The solution to caster martial disparity is more systems like that, although going farther.

Honestly the best "fix" is removing classes without magical capabilities, even the 4th level spell classes tend to get a fair amount of versatility from their limited spell list + access to wands to reduce the disparity.

But it's also a s*+!ty solution.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Claxon wrote:
And letting martials do their main thing better and earlier is actually bad for the game (IMO)

Could not disagree more.

Having someone's character build not function properly until level 7 because someone at Paizo thought it made sense to split functionality over 3-4 (or sometimes even more) feats is genuinely awful.

Honestly the idea that the game is somehow better for shutting down niche builds for half or more of a campaign somehow being a "good" thing is something I genuinely can't even really process. It's fundamentally one of the biggest failure of 3.5/PF feat and class design.

Quote:
martial classes already do plenty of damage and don't really need help.

Damage doesn't really have anything to do with it. Tweaking feat taxes makes it easier to tack maneuvers onto an existing build or bring together a feat chain faster. If you just want damage, it's trivial to do it regardless.

Liberty's Edge

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You are aware that full spellcaster are unable to cast a second spell until they reach level 9?
That 3/4 BAB classes get the second attack at level 8 and 1/2 BAB at level 11?

The game is about characters growing, not about "a few numbers getting better".

As Melkiador said, the end of a chain is a goal to which you strive. The problem is when the chain end is underwhelming instead of something to aim for.

The people with which I play aren't particularly happy when they get a +1 BAB and +1 to some save, while they are way more involved when they get a new ability, a feat to spend, a new tier of spells, and so on.

The Fighter has a problem as most of his advancement (bonus feat notwithstanding) is "increase in previous numbers".
The bonus feat from the class ameliorates that a bit, but a lot of them add simply numbers, not abilities.

Personally, I would like it if spellcasters had a few more feat chains and a few less "this feat can be taken by itself and is already a kind of end goal" feats.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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Squiggit wrote:
Having someone's character build not function properly until level 7 because someone at Paizo thought it made sense to split functionality over 3-4 (or sometimes even more) feats is genuinely awful.

Sure it is. But there aren't all that many actual examples of that. Almost all cases here are about characters that would like to have feat X or that function somewhat better with feat X, but not builds that require feat X.

People tend to vastly overstate what is required for a build to function.


Squiggit wrote:
Claxon wrote:
And letting martials do their main thing better and earlier is actually bad for the game (IMO)

Could not disagree more.

Having someone's character build not function properly until level 7 because someone at Paizo thought it made sense to split functionality over 3-4 (or sometimes even more) feats is genuinely awful.

Honestly the idea that the game is somehow better for shutting down niche builds for half or more of a campaign somehow being a "good" thing is something I genuinely can't even really process. It's fundamentally one of the biggest failure of 3.5/PF feat and class design.

Quote:
martial classes already do plenty of damage and don't really need help.

Damage doesn't really have anything to do with it. Tweaking feat taxes makes it easier to tack maneuvers onto an existing build or bring together a feat chain faster. If you just want damage, it's trivial to do it regardless.

As Kurald noted, very few builds are blocked by feat chains. It's usually a matter of making doing their thing easier. The biggest item I can think of is rogues with feat chains to make sneak attack more reliable. But you can totally sneak attack without it. It's just much harder to achieve without outside help.


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Diego Rossi wrote:

...

The Fighter has a problem as most of his advancement (bonus feat notwithstanding) is "increase in previous numbers".
The bonus feat from the class ameliorates that a bit, but a lot of them add simply numbers, not abilities.

...

this is why i adore feat chains like the one for spit venom (5 feats, make a search for 'spit venom' in the feat category, mind 'Venomous Spray' is not part of the chain), where each feat not only bring it's own ability and use to the chain but they combine well with the previous ones (and all can be activated using the same action)


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Zandragal wrote:

One main issue with martials imo is the idea that, because they do not use magic, everything they do has to be realistic.

So every time some ability is not realistic people run amoc.

Casters on the other hand can do what ever they can dream of because magic doesn't have to be realistic.

Not to hijack the thread but I've never understood this. Or at least, I haven't understood this since reading comics as a kid containing the villain Silver Samurai.

The idea of a person focusing their OWN personal power through a weapon for a variety of effects is not novel or groundbreaking. It also doesn't have to be a spell. You've got Monks and Ninjas using Ki, Swashbucklers with Panache, Gunslingers with Grit. Spending personal power to enhance attacks, increase speed or specific Move actions, self healing or invisibility and so on don't have to be the purview of spells or SLAs exclusively.

Unfortunately, fighters gotta fight, and rangers have to be "realistic" because they harken back to a time when that was the norm. I don't see any reason why spellcasters should have all the fun and I wish Feats could give the more "realistic" martials access to Ki or Panache like abilities so that they too could leap like Anime stars or dodge like Erol Flynn.

Liberty's Edge

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Not Grit, Ki or Panache, but there are Item Mastery and Conduit feats, and those allow, to cite a few examples, to:

- cast suggestion,
- cast invisibility,
- heal damage,
- dispel magic,
- fly,
- fire energy bolts from a holy symbol,
- cast dimension door.
- shroud yourself in fire (Blazing aura is a combat feat, BTW),
- death field that can deal with swarms,

Then there is Amateur Swashbuckler.

There are ways to do stuff if you decide to spend the resources.

Sadly, most people spend the resources to get more dakka.


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Diego Rossi wrote:

Not Grit, Ki or Panache, but there are Item Mastery and Conduit feats, and those allow, to cite a few examples, to:

- cast suggestion,
- cast invisibility,
- heal damage,
- dispel magic,
- fly,
- fire energy bolts from a holy symbol,
- cast dimension door.
- shroud yourself in fire (Blazing aura is a combat feat, BTW),
- death field that can deal with swarms,

Then there is Amateur Swashbuckler.

There are ways to do stuff if you decide to spend the resources.

Sadly, most people spend the resources to get more dakka.

I knew about the Item Mastery and again... that's "magic". You're casting invisibility b/c you know how to use a magic item really well, not because your ninja clan taught you to use a "technique". Now yes, some ninja abilities are SLA's and such, but that's kind of my point; with a feat you can cast a spell through an item b/c item. Yes, you have the "Item Mastery"... but you're still dependent on that item.

In other words, if your Fighter took Item Mastery to cast Invisibility, how is that any different from the PC building around Cha as well as Str, Taking a Trait to gain Use Magic Device as a Class Skill with a +1 bonus, Taking one of their feats for Skill Focus: UMD, and then buying a wand of Invisibility?

That power doesn't come from inside the fighter, it comes from the wand... or the item mastered.

This is why I cite Ki, Panache, Grit, Rogue Talents, Ninja Tricks, Smite Evil, Lay on Hands or Mercies for Paladins, and so on. These are inherent class abilities inside those PCs that don't depend on having one kind of item.

How about a feat that, regardless of any item in your hands, lets you jump as per the Jump spell some number of times per day? The feat ability doesn't depend on anything other than either how skilled you are or what your class or character level is. Now you have an out-of-combat utility that, while simulating a spell is not a spell and sets your "realistic" martial apart from others of their class. Flavor with some kind of supernatural looking power aura or boinging noise and poof, your PC is an Anime character.

Edit: also, I'm sorry, re-reading this I sound like a giant jerk or something. I'm really not trying to but it seems that way so I apologize if I'm cheesing people off here. I'm really just trying to say that it'd be cool to have feats make "realistic" martials feel more "supernatural" without making said martials have to rely on one specific external source for it. That's all. Again, sorry.


Diego Rossi wrote:

Not Grit, Ki or Panache, but there are Item Mastery and Conduit feats, and those allow, to cite a few examples, to:

- cast suggestion,
- cast invisibility,
- heal damage,
- dispel magic,
- fly,
- fire energy bolts from a holy symbol,
- cast dimension door.
- shroud yourself in fire (Blazing aura is a combat feat, BTW),
- death field that can deal with swarms,

Then there is Amateur Swashbuckler.

There are ways to do stuff if you decide to spend the resources.

Sadly, most people spend the resources to get more dakka.

Narratively I'm not big on the item mastery feats because it's "hey let me trick this magic item into doing something else". The conduit feats are okay.

But realistically martial characters should just be able to take a feat that lets them jump higher than is reasonable or walk up walls a few times per day without having to use a magic item. Basically, martial characters should get to be anime protagonists.

Edit. Minus the unreasonably godly levels of damage they tend to end up doing. We should aim for something like the end of Dragon Ball or the first arc of Dragon Ball Z where they fight Raditz, but not later levels where they can destroy planets casually and rip apart the fabric of the universe by accident.


Blazing aura is unfortunately completely garbage. It last until the end of your turn, and is purely defensive, and costs your standard. Essentially, the only way to deal any damage with it is to run around like a chicken and try to provoke AoOs.

Symbolic Mastery does a bit more then a cantrip, it should be upscaled to be equivalent to a level 1 spell at least.

The issue with death field is that a) Swarms are less of a massive threat at level 3 then at level 1 and b) it is a feat that you may very well use about 2 times on a campaign.

The mobility ones are all decent to excellent and see some play.

I was not aware of Weapon evoker mastery, that is actually possibly strong, it should give +d4 for each type of elemantal damage your weapon deals.
Unfortunately it needs to come from a weapon special ability, and not from say, brazen flame alternate racial trait of Ifrit.

The way I would rework these:
--1: Group them appropriately
--2: Each Rest, the fighter/martial with the grouped feat picks one of these feats as active for his/her adventuring day.
--3: Fix the obviously not minimally viable blazing aura.
--4: Make some scale off modified Fort saves/Skill ranks perhaps.
--5: Have them be bonus combat feats and bonus rouge talents


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I enjoy EITR, but it's not a fix for the martial/caster disparity. What I like about it is it gives everyone some added versatility.

Want to be able to push or pull someone on the battlefield? Or even just push them or run over them? Cool, you can do just that little bit extra, but you're still no good at grappling.

Want to use the wicked cool longsword, but your character specialized in bastard swords over 9 levels and you don't want to waste all that training? Go for it. If it's an axe though, sorry, still a different beast.

Want your character who is not great at melee to be able to sacrifice what little accuracy they have in exchange for hitting a little harder? So long as you have +1 BAB, you can try it. You're probably going to miss, but if the sorcerer is heroically standing over their ally's unconscious body with only a club and determination, you might want to swing for the fences.

The biggest downside for me is the urge to re-write the feat choices for every pre-gen monster and npc I use to even things out with the players. :P


Tbh, I've never really thought that martials needed a lot of help in combat-- even at the later levels when full casters really start to shine, martials still put out the hurty hurt as long as they're built well-- and herein lies the rub, because in order to be "built well", they have to pick up 1000 feat taxes to get to the neat stuff.

Additionally, they could certainly use some help with out-of-combat stuff, like having bonus skill points. You could just take out the Feat Taxes like Combat Expertise, Quick Draw, Power Attack, Combat Reflexes, Dodge/Mobility, etc., and that's a huge boost, because martials are usually feat-starved and can't afford to take neat out-of-combat stuff like crafting feats and social feats.

So, just come up with a Feat called "Martial Expertise" and have it give you: Quick Draw, Weapon Finesse, Power Attack, and Piranha Strike. Martial Expertise would also qualify you as if having all of the feat taxes for the purpose of pre-requisites (Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Dodge/Mobility, etc.-- you can still select these feats normally if you actually want them, but this feat would qualify you for higher level feats as if you did have these feats), and then make it a prerequisite that they're minimum 3rd-level in a 4/4 BAB class in order to select it.

And then increase any 4/4 BAB class that has 2 skill points per level to 4 per level, and increase any 4/4 BAB class that has 4 skill points to 6 points per level.

Liberty's Edge

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Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
How about a feat that, regardless of any item in your hands, lets you jump as per the Jump spell some number of times per day? The feat ability doesn't depend on anything other than either how skilled you are or what your class or character level is. Now you have an out-of-combat utility that, while simulating a spell is not a spell and sets your "realistic" martial apart from others of their class. Flavor with some kind of supernatural looking power aura or boinging noise and poof, your PC is an Anime character.

I get the sentiment we even have ways to do that, the problem is that it seems mundane in play as we don't describe it as something Xianxia-style.

A "normal" 5th level guy in full plate armor, maximized Acrobatic and Str 16 can make a long jump of 17' with a roll of 10, 27' with a roll of 20. While moving on uneven ground and carrying up to 150 lbs of weight. And after doing that he can make an attack.
The longest jump is 29 ft 5+3⁄4 in, with favorable wind and optimal conditions.

A 5th level Fighter in medium armor can make a 21' jump with a 10 and a 31' jump with a 20. Xianxia, but in-game it is simply "I jumped x feet".

Firing 7 arrows in 6 seconds? Again Xanxia, but normal in-game.

Going for something more useful, an option (especially for the Fighter) is using Combat Stamina and giving it to the Fighter as a bonus feat.
That gives you a pool of points to spend to get better mileage from several feats and gives you the feeling of doing something special that using them normally lacs.

The limit is that it is mostly "more dakka" again, but at least it gives you the feeling of doing something special when you use it.

Tl, dr:
"Mundane" martial do things that are very Xanxia while playing, but they are accepted as the "game normal", so they don't feel at all special.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Ryze Kuja wrote:
You could just take out the Feat Taxes like Combat Expertise, Quick Draw, Power Attack, Combat Reflexes, Dodge/Mobility, etc.,

Since when are Quick Draw and Combat Reflexes feat taxes now? I've never seen them referred to as such (and EITR doesn't mention them).

Given that high dex already gets you free boosts to initiative and reflex and armor class (and high str does not), it's really not good design to give dex-based characters everything else for free as well.


Kurald Galain wrote:
Ryze Kuja wrote:
You could just take out the Feat Taxes like Combat Expertise, Quick Draw, Power Attack, Combat Reflexes, Dodge/Mobility, etc.,
Since when are Quick Draw and Combat Reflexes feat taxes now? I've never seen them referred to as such (and EITR doesn't mention them).
    There's two meanings of the term "feat taxes". EitR actually addresses feats from both types.
    1) A feat that you never use and only have because it's a prereq, e.g. Combat Expertise. Also includes feats that you use because you already have them, but wouldn't have selected if it weren't for the prereqs, e.g. Quick Draw for Ricochet Toss.
    1) A feat that you have to pick to make a playstyle viable. This ranges from feat that your character doesn't work at all without (2A), e.g. Weapon Finesse on a dex-based melee, to feats that you don't technically need but that are de facto required to keep up with the expected numbers (2B). Power Attack is an example, as the attack roll bonus of a full BAB martial usually rises faster than monster AC, but the average damage rises slower than monster HP, and you need the feat to fix that, resulting in using the supposedly optional feat every round.

Quick Draw is a type B1 for throwing builds, or as mentioned type A with Ricochet Toss. Combat Reflexes can be seen as a type B2 for reach builds.

Diego Rossi wrote:
Firing 7 arrows in 6 seconds? Again Xanxia, but normal in-game.

Nah, that's legit.


Derklord wrote:
Combat expertize

It is a surprisingly useful thing as a freebie, but I would invest a feat into unless I have to because prereqs. Which incidentally is the case for many feats.

If its a freebie, there is the threatening defender trait which reduces the AB penalty by 1, making it free +AC from a trait. Can recommend.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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Derklord wrote:
There's two meanings of the term "feat taxes". EitR actually addresses feats from both types.

There's three meanings, and EITR is largely about the third: abilities that (according to somebody on the internet) "everybody" should be able to do without "training".

And the point that you're missing is that a playstyle has clear benefits over others, then it should cost something to compensate. It is entirely fair for dex-based melee to cost feats (as opposed to str-based melee), because going dex-based gives you big bonuses to initiative, reflex, and armor class.

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