Frustrated with Square Concepts and Round Rules


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Radiant Oath

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Lately I've been trying to come up with ideas for things to play in 2e and each time I ask how to build it in the Advice board, I've gotten similar responses: that the character concept I'm thinking of isn't doable with 2e's options unless I do something completely different and "reflavor" it, usually because it's either too MAD or requires too much multiclassing or because of how casters and martials are balanced in this edition, and it's making me very frustrated.

You can multiclass into a caster class as a martial, but your casting will be a joke. You can multiclass into a martial as a caster, but then you'll be so useless with your weapon it might as well be for show. If you want to melee as a Druid, you HAVE to Wild Shape, even if you have a cool sword you want to use instead. You can play a gunslinging mage, but forget being able to use those cool gunblades, the action economy allows air repeaters and bayonets only! The only way to be EFFECTIVE means to play your class in the most straightforward way possible, the same boring ways everyone else has already played them, or else have to ask your GM if you can "reflavor," and that just feels like cheating to me. Like my concept is "too good for the rules everyone else is using," sneer sneer, and if I was treating the rules SERIOUSLY I'd stick to concepts that are actually workable within them.

I want to like this edition, but every time I come up with a new concept I run into this problem: whatever I want to play is something the rules aren't balanced to support, unless I want to water down the concept to its most generic form, or be satisfied with the cognitive dissonance of playing with a square peg in a square hole and insisting it's round in spite of all observable rules. It's making it hard to enjoy the process of character creation at all, which in turn prevents me from, you know ACTUALLY PLAYING THE GAME. What do I do?


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You might want to try playing one of these concepts and seeing for yourself how it works rather than listening to people telling you that you can't or shouldn't do a particular combo. Effective is a pretty simple bar and you seem to be confusing it with optimized (which I would argue this edition does not require).

Can you be as good as a fighter at fighting and be as good as a caster at casting at the same time? No, not precisely, but the dirty secret is that while +1 or +2 matters a lot, it's also not the only thing that matters. Trained still does a lot of the work and puts you in the range where things are possible. And Expert is more than passable. But you do need to pick the thing you care about the most and start with that.

If you're trying to blend melee and magic, it's often easier to lean into a stronger melee + weaker spell DCs since a failed strike does nothing whereas a failed save at least does something. In either case you're still going to have combats where you effectively do both just like the fighter who fights really well is going to have some combats where they just roll low and can't succeed even with their edge in rolls.

Edit: Also consider that some of the concepts you're describing are things you'll need to grow into. Most power and action efficiency comes as you climb levels, so distilling down your concepts at level 1 isn't so much saying you can't do a thing, but rather that you're going to need to experience the character learning to do it.


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You realize that if your character concepts are unbalanced because you want to do everything at once, then you should try to play a balanced concept with its flaws ?

Or you settle for your suboptimal option.

My player in agents of edgewatch played a melee bard with marshall archetype. He was doing good, even though he hit for half of what the others did, he still had fun.

And when he wasn't washing up mooks with his bastard sword, he wrecked s%%$ with magic. Its playable, just don't expect to be as efficient as the f@*+ing broken abjurant champion/eldritch knight builds of 3.5/pf1e.

And yeah, in this edition you can't cast 17 spells at the beginning of the day to be better than the fighter at fightering, but I say good riddance to that kind of gameplay, it was tedious as hell and yeah, it did help me work on my excel skills, but I'm happy we don't have to anymore.


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Unfortunately for you, it sounds like the creative process that you're trying to use to make the character concept doesn't really fit the game. PF2 is a pretty tightly scoped game with specifically defined rules. It's got a lot more flexibility than some of the systems out there, but it's still very much a case of "Here are your options. They are the options you have. In six months we'll print another book, and you'll have a few more." Over time it'll loosen up a little, as we keep hitting those six-month ticks, but the underlying nature isn't going to change.

There are games where you can come up with a cool concept off the top of your head, and then sit down and build it. They tend to be point-buy and/or rules-light. PF2 is neither.

For me personally, I have problems with those kinds of games, because that's not how my creativity works. I much prefer the rules structure as a place to start from and riff off of. My own natural starting place is "Oh, hey - these widgets look cool, and look like they might fit together well. Let me see what I can build out of them." For that kind of character design process, PF2 works really well.

So... honestly, my first suggestion would be to try to start character creation from the beginning in the way that actually works for the game. Poke through the classes/ancestries/archetypes/whatever, find two or three things that look like they would be pretty cool together, and let *that* be the seed of your character.

My second suggestion would be to go completely the other way, and have your character seed be entirely backstory/flavor stuff. Don't even get into the bits that are rules-adjacent at first, to the degree you can avoid it. Build your character initially with where they come from and what their family is like and who their god is and why they became an adventurer. Then stick that character in a world where, you know, there are specific valid paths to power, and they have to choose one. Let the character be the one to make those hard decisions (possibly from a more limited list). Don't put yourself in the position of wanting to be a druid who kills people with a spear. Let your character be the one who wants to be a magical warrior of the forest who kills people with a spear, and then figure out how they dealt with that conflict... and then figure out how their decision shaped them afterwards.

Perhaps one of those two paths can help you.


Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:

To be fair, at least some of these options are an issue because theres almost no way to be a full caster and have martial combat effectiveness. It's simply too strong to have both. Mind you, a couple fears gets you a list of utility spells as long as you don't try to match casters for combat effectiveness, and casters can actually keep up only a few points behind martials even without a dedication for the extra toys.

Right now the only example we have of a class which dips into both wells while leaving enough behind to keep its balance is Magus. The real issue for me is that Magus is arcane only, so you can't readily hammer your non-Arcane spellsword or magic warrior concepts into it, so I'm still eagerly awaiting class archetypes or the like which let you trade the Bard or Cleric's full casting for bounded casting and better martial skills and maybe a cute thematic trick.

There's a homebrew variant I saw that actually did just that. Pasted the bounded casting progression of magus on bard martial muse and cleric warpriest and voila !

Sounded pretty cool! Just needs DM approval, I'd approve it.

But you won't be a full caster and you're not gonna have legendary casting.


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To be fair, at least some of these options are an issue because theres almost no way to be a full caster and have martial combat effectiveness. It's simply too strong to have both. Mind you, a couple fears gets you a list of utility spells as long as you don't try to match casters for combat effectiveness, and casters can actually keep up only a few points behind martials even without a dedication for the extra toys.

Right now the only example we have of a class which dips into both wells while leaving enough behind to keep its balance is Magus. The real issue for me is that Magus is arcane only, so you can't readily hammer your non-Arcane spellsword or magic warrior concepts into it, so I'm still eagerly awaiting class archetypes or the like which let you trade the Bard or Cleric's full casting for bounded casting and better martial skills and maybe a cute thematic trick.


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Some suggestions:
- Play PF1. I'm finding that it can be a lot more satisfying to just go make something with a decade of archetypes and feats, stronger casting, and looser balance.

Don't get me wrong, PF2 supports plenty of other stuff - I can play a kobold tiefling with a lot more mechanical impact for the combination, and I can have a talking cat familiar at level 1 instead of "CG only at level 7". If I want "this class but with a handful of utility spells", that's covered easily.

But when I'm making someone who poisons himself as a combat technique, runs a large restaurant single-handly using numerous unseen servants with professional skills, or has an invisible swarm of ghost rats following him? That's PF1.

- Lean into what the system does well. Multiclassing into casting gets you decently high level spells, but weak DCs. Look at the types of spells that supports, and what sort of characters that implies. For me, that's an investigator with divination to support his work or a rogue with stage magic.

Ask about uncommon stuff that seems fun to use. Maybe casting feels too weak for your martial character, but what about the Ritualist archetype?

Work interesting ancestry/versatile heritage flavor into your character, rather than focusing on taking parts of two classes.

- Figure out how to accept part of the issue. Whether that means playing in lower-optimized groups (e.g. running players one level up in APs) where losing some efficiency doesn't sting so much, accepting that other party members will carry more weight in fights, or embracing the occasional reflavoring.

- Find folks running gestalt. It kinda sounds like that'd cover a lot of the concepts you want.

- Homebrew and third-party material. You're not the only one with these frustrations.


I definitely have to echo cavernshark - build what you want in a way that you think is decent and work from there. Every game is different and people care about different things, so blanket build advice is less helpful than one would think. Just because someone like me cares about a certain degree of optimization - and therefore wouldn't touch combination weapons unless you put said weapon to his head - doesn't mean stuff won't work for you. Gunblade magus should be absolutely fine.

Combine that with the fact that 2e has both significantly more options and (more importantly) more options that actually work (i.e aren't either functionally useless or completely op) than essentially everything currently on the market and you should find something that fits what you want. Sure, it might not be the best build, but unless you are purposefully sabotaging yourself or build something unfit for the game you are playing, things should work out alright.

Liberty's Edge

I think you should go after your concept for a character, with the good advice provided above especially that no character is good at everything. But there are 2 caveats :

1. Classes and archetypes are mostly big bags of mechanics. Find the ones that support your concept without caring too much about the flavor.

2. Focus on what you want your character to be really good at in the later levels. And build them to that effect. PF2 multiclassing is not good at simulating a character's growth. It is extremely good at providing the right nuance to your character's build, knowing that the base chassis will always be your class, and that never changes.

Liberty's Edge

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This thread has great potential to turn toward toxicity, be warned OP and readers.

My only 2c here isn't exactly without some measure of toxins either though so I am no innocent bystander: You're trying to force optimization of multiple roles in a system that is intentionally designed to prevent it and you're either going to have to either get approval for Dual Class from your GM or give up on your dreams, it's that simple.


In my opinion, as long as the stats are aligned with your concept and you have a good idea of what your strategies are, it will work. Battle bard/ champion is a good example. It works without too much fussing. Some concepts are a lot more difficult though. Warpriest/ wizard would be very hard to make work. I think madness is the main thing hindering certain concepts.


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You’re starting with a character concept, then trying to make the rules fit them, then being upset those concepts don’t translate into optimized concepts. Think of it like the old cheap/fast/good idea with work - you can pick two, but not all three.

If your concern is a mechanical output (optimal DPS), then start with a mechanical character concept and go from there, wrapping it in narrative after. The things you describe in your post are niche concepts, or else trying to touch so many distinct roles and demanding to be equally good at all of them; PF2 can handle the former (albeit not always at the same play standard as, say, a Human Flickmace Fighter), but it’s never going to let you do the latter.

…I’ll admit, the title convinced me this was going to be about frustrations with grid-based play.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

A couple things:

Concepts are fun, but in any class based game, especially one with tighter math, you're always going to be better off looking at the mechanics first and making a decision then. Trying to come up with a concept first when a game only has a limited set of option is setting yourself up for failure.

But beyond that... how much of this has been play experience? I don't like PF2's proficiency rules either and I am disappointed with how much Paizo appears to dislike battlemage style characters and feel it's a little out of touch with modern gaming, but while there's a big optimization gap here, just because a build isn't great doesn't mean it isn't playable either.

Radiant Oath

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That's the thing: the vibe I've been getting has been "if it's not optimized, it's not worth your time or ours."

I'd be FINE with just "fine" instead of "perfect" but the responses I've gotten when I present my ideas is that those are the same thing. You have to be perfect in order to just be fine. You have to be optimized in order to just be effective, because if you're not and the rest of the party IS, then you're just dead weight.

Back in 1e I had a Warpriest who wasn't optimized very well in Iron Gods. It was okay...but I really felt useless compared to the melee cleric who was also part of the party, and I died like around level 1 or 2 because I'd dumped my CON to accommodate having a High STR, DEX, WIS and INT, and the GM had to finagle some resurrection to keep me in the game. I feel ashamed of that, like I was holding the party back because they had to baby me.

Squiggit wrote:
But beyond that... how much of this has been play experience? I don't like PF2's proficiency rules either and I am disappointed with how much Paizo appears to dislike battlemage style characters and feel it's a little out of touch with modern gaming, but while there's a big optimization gap here, just because a build isn't great doesn't mean it isn't playable either.

I only have one 2e character, and honestly he's not a good example of this problem for 2 reasons:

1) He was initially designed as a 1e character, so I wasn't starting from scratch. Plus, he's undergone some revisions recently due to a recent death and reincarnation (He started as human, now he's a dwarf).

2) When I did design him, I was literally TRYING to make a boring character, a basic farmboy paladin, for a primarily dungeon-crawly campaign. Most of the other characters I'm trying to create are for APs where I'm trying to fit them to the themes and narrative of the story.


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There’s a world of difference between “perfect” and “I wanted to have a high rating in four out of six ability scores.” Have you considered playing less rigid games than Pathfinder? The constraints of the design don’t seem to be doing you any favors, and more narrative games often have great freedom for high-concept characters.


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Sounds like you're burnt out on the advice forums. Trying out concepts in game is probably the better bet since you haven't played much of the system yet. The forums can only get you so far with understanding.

Silver Crusade

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:


I'd be FINE with just "fine" instead of "perfect" but the responses I've gotten when I present my ideas is that those are the same thing. You have to be perfect in order to just be fine

Those responses are just wrong, at least for most groups.

You mention martial/caster multiclasses in your original post.

What exactly do you see the problems with a sorcerer/fighter, a fighter/sorcerer, or a magus? All of those are fine with them all having a different emphasis on spells and blades.

What is wrong with a druid with a sword? He won't be doing quite as well as a shapeshifting druid in terms of melee damage but to counter that he can still cast spells and NOT lose 2 actions and a focus point to shapechange. A character throwing tempest surge or electric arc while hitting with his pointy stick is doing fine for damage and that is using absolutely NO resources at all. And the character isn't even that MAD since he only needs 4 stats

Now, if you want a character who simultaneously does only slightly less damage than a fighter, is only slightly less robust than a paladin, and only has a little less magic available then a wizard then you are right, you can NOT make that character in 2e. That is by design and most of us playing 2E think it a very, very good thing.


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Druids are actually the easiest casting class to do weapons with since you get medium armor, shield block and wisdom as a key so strength is less problematic.


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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:

You can multiclass into a caster class as a martial, but your casting will be a joke. You can multiclass into a martial as a caster, but then you'll be so useless with your weapon it might as well be for show.

... What do I do?

1) The Magus is closest to what you are asking for. If you want it in a different tradition ask your GM to home brew something.

2) Ask to play with the Dual Class variant rule.

3) Try other magic rather than direct offensive magic, buffing, healing, illusions, difficult terrain, walls all can work quite well even if you haven't maxed out your spell casting skill, or if you are just a multiclass caster.

Don't forget you can use a full range of wands and scrolls. You can have more magic than you might think.

Grand Archive

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This seems like an issue with roots in expectations.

So...

What are your expectations of 2e?


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The build advice you are likely to get on the Advice forums is optimization advice. How to build a character that is optimal at its concept. And as has been mentioned already, the core classes are the easiest to optimize and your primary class choice determines what your character is optimized for.

However, there is a difference between optimized and viable. Viable is still fun to play and able to be effective in an actual game.

Currently I am playing a Witch with an ancestry feat that gives me trained proficiency in martial weapons. So I use a bow as a 3rd action when I have nothing better to do. I also have Rogue archetype to pick up a bit of light martial survivability feats like Nimble Dodge and Mobility. If I put that build onto the Advice forum, it would get ripped to shreds. But I am having a blast with the character. And the rest of the party is not complaining that I am failing at pulling my weight in either combat or out of combat play.


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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:


Back in 1e I had a Warpriest who wasn't optimized very well in Iron Gods. It was okay...but I really felt useless compared to the melee cleric who was also part of the party, and I died like around level 1 or 2 because I'd dumped my CON to accommodate having a High STR, DEX, WIS and INT, and the GM had to finagle some resurrection to keep me in the game. I feel ashamed of that, like I was holding the party back because they had to baby me.

This is really a 1e problem. In PF2, you can nearly play whatever you want as long as you have a main class and use its main features.

I must admit I'd like to know what concepts you want to make, to get an idea of what is causing issues. Because there's a lot of leeway to play a gish character if you don't have unrealistic expectations.

Liberty's Edge

Check the threads created recently by the OP (through their profile). IIRC the builds they mentioned are there.

One of them (Wizard with a gun) is still active these days on the Advice forum IIRC.

Liberty's Edge

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:

That's the thing: the vibe I've been getting has been "if it's not optimized, it's not worth your time or ours."

I'd be FINE with just "fine" instead of "perfect" but the responses I've gotten when I present my ideas is that those are the same thing. You have to be perfect in order to just be fine. You have to be optimized in order to just be effective, because if you're not and the rest of the party IS, then you're just dead weight.

Back in 1e I had a Warpriest who wasn't optimized very well in Iron Gods. It was okay...but I really felt useless compared to the melee cleric who was also part of the party, and I died like around level 1 or 2 because I'd dumped my CON to accommodate having a High STR, DEX, WIS and INT, and the GM had to finagle some resurrection to keep me in the game. I feel ashamed of that, like I was holding the party back because they had to baby me.

OK. I think I get it.

Yes, the advice given on builds usually aims for the most optimized. But not optimized can be quite viable and fun in PF2, as opposed to PF1.

In PF1 (and 3.5 before), a non-optimized build, especially in a party of well-optimized PCs, was what you described above.

In PF2, this is really unlikely to happen.

In fact, from my experience and what I read on the boards, people really have more fun in PF2 when building and playing the character they enjoy, rather than a bland optimized build they took from the Advice forum or guides.

Really, the concept could be a story, an image of the character or a purely mechanical point, but, as long as you give them high attack stat (16 is ok) and DEX that fits their armor, you will be fine. And even the latter you can do without if you are far enough from the frontline.

I think I had the most fun for the moment with my first PF2 PFS character who was inspired by my idea of a guy with the heaviest armor running and jumping and climbing all around the battlefield (elven Paladin of Torag is how I built him).

My later builds, though more optimized, feel a bit blander.

Another big principle of PF2 that likely plays a big role in what I described is that building is at most 50% of winning fights in PF2. The tactics you will use in play, acting together with your fellow PCs for collective efficiency, are really important. Keep this and you concept in mind while building your PC and you won't go wrong.

And if, then, your PC feels inadequate in play, you can come back to the advice forum with a clear idea of what is lacking, and that is when the advice will bring you the best value to get what you want.


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The Raven Black wrote:

Check the threads created recently by the OP (through their profile). IIRC the builds they mentioned are there.

One of them (Wizard with a gun) is still active these days on the Advice forum IIRC.

My group is going to be doing Outlaws of Alkenstar so of course that character idea has already come up. I was asked to questions "can firearms be used with Starlit Span" and "can I start with 1 piece of Uncommon equipment?" That seems all that is needed to make a viable character work at lvl 1. Not optimal, but we are playing a AP with a group of friends, optimal is not required.


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On the topic of casters with guns, gunslinger dedication and risky reload is all you need to make it work. The proficiency issue won't be relevant until 11th level. I think I might actually prefer doing a wizard/gunslinger rather than a magus with a gun just to not worry about the action economy of loading and recharging as a magus. Risky reload alone makes guns a lot more accessible to a lot of classes if you can spend the feats. Works best with free archetype of course.


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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:

Lately I've been trying to come up with ideas for things to play in 2e and each time I ask how to build it in the Advice board, I've gotten similar responses: that the character concept I'm thinking of isn't doable with 2e's options unless I do something completely different and "reflavor" it, usually because it's either too MAD or requires too much multiclassing or because of how casters and martials are balanced in this edition, and it's making me very frustrated.

You can multiclass into a caster class as a martial, but your casting will be a joke. You can multiclass into a martial as a caster, but then you'll be so useless with your weapon it might as well be for show. If you want to melee as a Druid, you HAVE to Wild Shape, even if you have a cool sword you want to use instead. You can play a gunslinging mage, but forget being able to use those cool gunblades, the action economy allows air repeaters and bayonets only! The only way to be EFFECTIVE means to play your class in the most straightforward way possible, the same boring ways everyone else has already played them, or else have to ask your GM if you can "reflavor," and that just feels like cheating to me. Like my concept is "too good for the rules everyone else is using," sneer sneer, and if I was treating the rules SERIOUSLY I'd stick to concepts that are actually workable within them.

I want to like this edition, but every time I come up with a new concept I run into this problem: whatever I want to play is something the rules aren't balanced to support, unless I want to water down the concept to its most generic form, or be satisfied with the cognitive dissonance of playing with a square peg in a square hole and insisting it's round in spite of all observable rules. It's making it hard to enjoy the process of character creation at all, which in turn prevents me from, you know ACTUALLY PLAYING THE GAME. What do I do?

Knowing this 2e is balance oriented, at the expense of hybrid stuff in terms of powercreep, why do you force yourself with this 2e to begin with?

I mean, given the huge amount of systems out there, there's anything you actually like within this 2e that makes it worth it to push towards this specific system?


The Raven Black wrote:
Another big principle of PF2 that likely plays a big role in what I described is that building is at most 50% of winning fights in PF2. The tactics you will use in play, acting together with your fellow PCs for collective efficiency, are really important. Keep this and you concept in mind while building your PC and you won't go wrong.

My general rule of thumb breaks down party success in combat as: 30% character build, 20% party tactics and synergy, 50% enemy CR rating.

Which can be another shock to people coming from PF1 - even optimized characters don't fare well against CR +3 enemies and unoptimized viable characters can ROFLStomp CR -3 enemies.


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breithauptclan wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Another big principle of PF2 that likely plays a big role in what I described is that building is at most 50% of winning fights in PF2. The tactics you will use in play, acting together with your fellow PCs for collective efficiency, are really important. Keep this and you concept in mind while building your PC and you won't go wrong.

My general rule of thumb breaks down party success in combat as: 30% character build, 20% party tactics and synergy, 50% enemy CR rating.

Which can be another shock to people coming from PF1 - even optimized characters don't fare well against CR +3 enemies and unoptimized viable characters can ROFLStomp CR -3 enemies.

As an example: I spent 2 weaks tweaking my inventor elf build to perfection, agonizing over weapon choice, feat choice, stat array, to get the best performing character I could.

First round first fight of first session I roll low on initiative, get lucky critted by a level+1 enemy, and go down to dying on the first blow.

S&$# happens.


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So, yeah. You do need the optimization basics. That basically consists of...

Step 1: Pick a class.
Step 2: Figure out which stat is going to be your primary attack stat. Arrange to have an 18 in that stat if you can, or a 16 if you cannot (for example, you're an alchemist or an inventor and your class simply doesn't offer a boost to your chosen attack stat).

There is no step 3. There's lots of other stuff that you can do that will help, but none of it's mandatory, and at least half of it will come from just picking stuff that makes sense or looks cool or seems to fit.

Grand Archive

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I'd posit that step 3 is getting item bonus plus dex mod close to 5. AC does matter in this edition.

Silver Crusade

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Sanityfaerie wrote:

So, yeah. You do need the optimization basics. That basically consists of...

Step 1: Pick a class.
Step 2: Figure out which stat is going to be your primary attack stat. Arrange to have an 18 in that stat if you can, or a 16 if you cannot (for example, you're an alchemist or an inventor and your class simply doesn't offer a boost to your chosen attack stat).

There is no step 3. There's lots of other stuff that you can do that will help, but none of it's mandatory, and at least half of it will come from just picking stuff that makes sense or looks cool or seems to fit.

That will bring you to the lowish end of viable. But if you want to be "fine" there is a little more to it than that :-). Largely class specific stuff like

if you're playing a rogue make sure you have a plan to reliably get sneak attack and the abilities to enact that plan. Note that may be as simple as making sure you have melee flank buddies who are willing to set up flanks for you

If you're a melee martial make absolutely sure your speed is at least 20 feet a round and have a plan for getting it up soonish (although access to sudden charge or something similar reduces the need for this movement is still important)

Do NOT dump either Con or Wis. Do NOT dump Dex unless Plate Mail is an option.

Have a plan for how you're going to contribute in combat. A plan that
1) recognizes that you'll often have to move
2) hopefully makes better use of your third action than swinging looking for a 20

Have a plan for how you're going to contribute out of combat.

Recognize that the plans above will NOT always work and, to the extent possible, be prepared with alternatives so you can at least do SOMETHING. At the very least be mentally ready to change but hopefully be able to do SOMETHING at melee range AND at range regardless of your character. Even wizards will sometimes wade into melee with Produce Flame :-).


pauljathome wrote:
Even wizards will sometimes wade into melee with Produce Flame :-).

Generally, a wizard can at least step-then-spell, right? I mean, not if they're utterly surrounded, but even then you can just use your ranged attack in melee. You'll potentially soak an opportunity attack for it, but Produce Flame has a somatic component too, so....


Look if I'm going into melee, I'm using gouging claw!


AlastarOG wrote:
Look if I'm going into melee, I'm using gouging claw!

Gouging claw also has a somatic component.

Grand Archive

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I find the paranoia around aoo's a little unfounded. Their frequency is under 50% of the time. AND with the options available to either not provoke or preventing a creature from aoo'ing, it is nearly a non problem.


Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
I find the paranoia around aoo's a little unfounded. Their frequency is under 50% of the time. AND with the options available to either not provoke or preventing a creature from aoo'ing, it is nearly a non problem.

My point was more that "melee cantrip that has a somatic component" doesn't have any real fundamental advantages over "ranged cantrip used point-blank".


Sanityfaerie wrote:
Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
I find the paranoia around aoo's a little unfounded. Their frequency is under 50% of the time. AND with the options available to either not provoke or preventing a creature from aoo'ing, it is nearly a non problem.
My point was more that "melee cantrip that has a somatic component" doesn't have any real fundamental advantages over "ranged cantrip used point-blank".

Other than damage anyways. The melee version of produce flame is pretty redundant though. Gouging claw technically has the most potential damage for a cantrip.


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aobst128 wrote:
Other than damage anyways. The melee version of produce flame is pretty redundant though. Gouging claw technically has the most potential damage for a cantrip.

Technically, perhaps... though TK projectile has the same damage on everything but a crit, and can also shoot at range. I suppose it has value for the Magus.

Regardless, not my point. My point was more that while "make sure you have something you can do if the enemy is out of reach" is potentially important. "Make sure you have something you can do if the enemy is in your face" is less so, as point-blank shots basically do work.

Silver Crusade

AlastarOG wrote:
Look if I'm going into melee, I'm using gouging claw!

If I'm planning on going into melee them I absolutely agree.

But having produce flame gives me the option of going into melee while still mostly letting me be a ranged character. Its a very low cost choice that gives me options (obviously, its my THIRD choice AFTER Electric Arc and Ray of Frost :-) :-))

As to why I want to melee - Those flank bonuses are nice. Or sometimes the rogue really needs a flank buddy.


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That's a fair point, it's also why I go into melee.

At level 5 a flanking true strikes gouging claw can hit like a truck !


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So one of the things is that there's always going to be people who would prefer to be able to design their own ancestry, class, etc. from scratch. There are plenty of TTRPGs that do this sort of thing, even some in the D20 family of games like Mutants & Masterminds. But Pathfinder decided early on in 2e that they're not going to do that sort of thing.

Being able to say you're a Human Fighter or an Elf Wizard is sort of part and parcel to what they're doing in this game, and ideally those capitalized terms mean something which is based on mechanics. So you get into niche protection, where the fighter is supposed to be better at "fighter stuff" than anybody else and the wizard is supposed to be better at "wizard stuff" than anybody else.

Where this gets a little muddy is when you're trying to mix niches via archetyping. A lot of different styles of multiclassing have been tried in this family of games, each of them with their tradeoffs. What the archetype multiclassing system in PF2 is supposed to address is "in the previous edition if you made a Fighter 5/Bard 5 that character is bad at both Fighter stuff and Bard stuff." So you're never ever going to be less than capable at "what your class does" unless you deliberately self-sabotage.

But the OP is right in that the "Fighter with the Wizard archetype" and the "Wizard with the Fighter archetype" do not provide an even mix of the two classes, which is why the Magus exists- it's deliberately designed to split the difference and be a class that is competent at both fighting and offensive magic.

I think overall the problem of "weapon and armor proficiencies" is more of a problem when trying to mix disparate concepts than "low modifiers for spells and fewer slots". You can, after all, just pick spells that don't involve rolling for anything and PF2 isn't a game where you're supposed to be casting non-cantrips every round anyway.


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Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
I find the paranoia around aoo's a little unfounded. Their frequency is under 50% of the time. AND with the options available to either not provoke or preventing a creature from aoo'ing, it is nearly a non problem.

The actual number is somewhere around 15%. Worrying about AoO is hangover thinking from other game systems.

Grand Archive

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Sanityfaerie wrote:
Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
I find the paranoia around aoo's a little unfounded. Their frequency is under 50% of the time. AND with the options available to either not provoke or preventing a creature from aoo'ing, it is nearly a non problem.
My point was more that "melee cantrip that has a somatic component" doesn't have any real fundamental advantages over "ranged cantrip used point-blank".

A solid point. (assuming TKP of course)

All of that aside...

It sounds like the OP was mislead. I would instead advise anyone looking to make a character to look up the options themselves. The forums are not a reliable enough resource to attaining system mastery.

Silver Crusade

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Gortle wrote:
Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
I find the paranoia around aoo's a little unfounded. Their frequency is under 50% of the time. AND with the options available to either not provoke or preventing a creature from aoo'ing, it is nearly a non problem.
The actual number is somewhere around 15%.

I find that, in practice, it varies a lot by level. By the time you get to level 15+ its a LOT higher than 15% in the published adventures I've played in.

Quote:


Worrying about AoO is hangover thinking from other game systems.

I mostly agree with this. Its something to take into consideration but its not something to obsess about.

But we just had a TPK at level 20 where one significant element (NOT the only one, but definitely a contributing factor) was the Marilith Demon with her essentially infinite number of AoOs. They CAN matter. A lot.

Grand Archive

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pauljathome wrote:


But we just had a TPK at level 20 where one significant element (NOT the only one, but definitely a contributing factor) was the Marilith Demon with her essentially infinite number of AoOs. They CAN matter. A lot.

And it can, somewhat easily be shut down with a 2nd level hideous laughter. (Note: you can prevent an enemy from using aoo's with this spell even if they succeed at the saving throw.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

AoO’s becomes increasingly common as you level. And they tend to be on the big boss type monsters.

Yes they can be mitigated. But nothing is free. If you are taking actions and using resources to mitigate AoO for your magus you are doing it instead of what you might otherwise be doing.

And it can be incredibly frustrating to see the core class already doing more than you, then you get punished trying to keep up.

Silver Crusade

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Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
pauljathome wrote:


But we just had a TPK at level 20 where one significant element (NOT the only one, but definitely a contributing factor) was the Marilith Demon with her essentially infinite number of AoOs. They CAN matter. A lot.
And it can, somewhat easily be shut down with a 2nd level hideous laughter. (Note: you can prevent an enemy from using aoo's with this spell even if they succeed at the saving throw.

Not when your spellcasters are in range of the Marilith and she crits you it can't :-(. Which she is quite likely to do against a caster. Another of the factors in the fight was that we had very little room to manuever.

And the Marilith was one of the mooks in the encounter :-(. Suggesting that we spend a PCs action to try and reduce the effectiveness of one of the mooks AoOs is kinda making my point that AoO's still very definitely matter


Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
I find the paranoia around aoo's a little unfounded. Their frequency is under 50% of the time. AND with the options available to either not provoke or preventing a creature from aoo'ing, it is nearly a non problem.
My point was more that "melee cantrip that has a somatic component" doesn't have any real fundamental advantages over "ranged cantrip used point-blank".
A solid point. (assuming TKP of course)

But this can be easily fixable by Paizo if they want or any GM can homebrew one. Just need to create a new cantrip melee only without somatic/material components. Maybe a sound cantrip (vocal) that do some sonic damage in a adjacent square that does 1d4+spellcasting modifier against fort + deafened for 1 round in case of critical failure.

This is one of that things that can be fixed improved by any new book just adding some new spells.

Grand Archive

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CaffeinatedNinja wrote:

AoO’s becomes increasingly common as you level. And they tend to be on the big boss type monsters.

Yes they can be mitigated. But nothing is free. If you are taking actions and using resources to mitigate AoO for your magus you are doing it instead of what you might otherwise be doing.

And it can be incredibly frustrating to see the core class already doing more than you, then you get punished trying to keep up.

I find this perspective incredibly confusing. Yes, your class has a weakness because you are both a martial and a spellcaster. Casting spells in melee provokes. If you don't want to provoke, don't cast a spell. Fun fact, you haven't stopped being a martial. Attacking hasn't somehow stopped being effective.

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