Post Core classes are much stronger ranged than melee


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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SuperBidi wrote:
aobst128 wrote:
I always forget about half elf. But that would only work at 12th unless free archetype. And then you'd miss out on suspect of opportunity. But we're getting off track. Melee vs ranged right? Melee is tougher because of the action cost and lack of extra damage aside from bonus from strength. With the right move like dual handed assault or spellstrike, melee is alright, otherwise a bow works better than your other options. That's my take.

Melee does more damage than ranged. You either get bigger dice, like your Dual-Handed Assault example, or extra damage options, like Spellstrike, or you get Strategic Strike damage all the time with a Greatsword.

So there's a clear advantage of melee over ranged.

The big thing with ranged is that you don't have to move and as such you can attack more. But the way Strategic Strike works means that you won't get any damage bonus on your subsequent attacks. So it's not really that interesting. In my opinion, ranged is mostly easier to play, not stronger than melee. Both options have their pros and cons.

It has to be built around to be better. Like the examples, through multiclassing. The greatsword investigator is gonna need medium or heavy armor through sentinel or champion eventually too. The comparison is for a typical investigator that's focused on intelligence and dex with agile/finesse weapons vs bows. In which case, I'm a fan of athletic strategist. That gives enough reason to be in melee to me.


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aobst128 wrote:
It has to be built around to be better. Like the examples, through multiclassing. The greatsword investigator is gonna need medium or heavy armor through sentinel or champion eventually too. The comparison is for a typical investigator that's focused on intelligence and dex with agile/finesse weapons vs bows. In which case, I'm a fan of athletic strategist. That gives enough reason to be in melee to me.

I dislike the word typical as it creates an artificial hierarchy. The Investigator is only easier to build as Dexterity-based because of the lack of Medium Armor Proficiency. And that's it. It's possible to build a Strength-based Investigator without multiclassing, getting back to light armor at high level when you'll have the proper Dexterity. Or just taking Sentinel at level 12 to grab the scaling proficiency.

You also have more freedom when building a Strength-based Investigator as you don't need to use Intelligence as an attack stat. You can start with 16 in Strength, Dexterity and Intelligence, for example. Or even increase Charisma or Wisdom, which are perfectly valid stats for an Investigator, high Intelligence-low Charisma builds only describe one type of Investigator.

The Dexterity-based Investigator is definitely a switch hitter. You can focus on archery but you'll lose a few advantages of melee, like the ability to get Flanking when your DaS is very close to the enemy AC, the fact that you don't trigger AoOs or the soft cover issue of ranged attacks.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

With respect, perhaps we could keep unique build discussions to a different thread?


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CaffeinatedNinja wrote:
With respect, perhaps we could keep unique build discussions to a different thread?

I hardly see how such a subject can't lead to build discussions.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Because the point of the thread was to discuss why the newer classes get less benefit from being melee compared to core classes. Arguing over the viability of a 2h greatsword investigator vs a rapier one is rather missing the point.


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CaffeinatedNinja wrote:
Because the point of the thread was to discuss why the newer classes get less benefit from being melee compared to core classes. Arguing over the viability of a 2h greatsword investigator vs a rapier one is rather missing the point.

I was comparing a Greatsword Investigator to an archer one. It seems definitely on point.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Greatsword investigator, with your 16-16-16 spread, is basically a really really bad fighter. It doesn’t make use of the main class feature, so it functions like a fighter with -3 to hit, -1 damage, -1 AC, and -4/5/6 hp per level. It might be as good as rapier investigator, but only because both are so bad.

That was kind of my whole point. Melee investigator is on the edge of flat out non-viable. Ranged is at least ok because it can leverage DAS.

And yes, I have played with 2 melee investigators so have seen them in action.

Investigator has a damage booster that works equally as well at ranged as melee, the ranged weapon has the same damage, and it makes it far easier to select an alternate target if DAS is bad. If you totally ignore the main feature, why be an investigator?

But regardless none of this addresses the main point that core classes benefit much more from melee attacks, as a percentage of damage, and have less action Econ issues.

To put it simply, with exaggerated number, if a fighter can do twice as much damage in melee as a fighter archer, why should a magus only deal 25% more in melee, despite being more fragile and having tricky action econ, things that already push it to range?


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CaffeinatedNinja wrote:
Greatsword investigator, with your 16-16-16 spread, is basically a really really bad fighter. It doesn’t make use of the main class feature, so it functions like a fighter with -3 to hit, -1 damage, -1 AC, and -4/5/6 hp per level. It might be as good as rapier investigator, but only because both are so bad.

Well, first, the Investigator is also a skill monkey, so I expect the Fighter to be better in pure combat.

Second, you forgot DaS in your explanation. DaS compensate, partly, the lack of to hit. If you Follow your Lead properly, it is sometimes even a free action, so it's not that bad.
About the fragility, I fully agree with you.

CaffeinatedNinja wrote:
Ranged is at least ok because it can leverage DAS.

If they don't DaS, the ranged Investigator loses nearly half of its damage output. On top of that, unless you don't focus fire, you will also be forced to attack a specific target pretty often, eliminating the advantage of choosing to ignore your target.

The Greatsword Investigator doesn't need to use DaS, it's an asset over the ranged Investigator. In my opinion, the Greatsword Investigator is the one who leverages DaS: for them it's a tool, when it's a ball and chain for the ranged Investigator.

CaffeinatedNinja wrote:
Melee investigator is on the edge of flat out non-viable.

I'm not that sure. Properly played, I'm pretty sure you compete with a ranged Investigator with a melee one. But I definitely agree that you don't compete with a Fighter (and anyway, that's not the point of this discussion).

CaffeinatedNinja wrote:
If you totally ignore the main feature, why be an investigator?

Is DaS or Strategic Strike the main feature of the Investigator? I personally think it's DaS. But we may disagree on that.

CaffeinatedNinja wrote:
And yes, I have played with 2 melee investigators so have seen them in action.

And what were their build?

CaffeinatedNinja wrote:
But regardless none of this addresses the main point that core classes benefit much more from melee attacks, as a percentage of damage, and have less action Econ issues.

Well, you say it's the main point, I didn't even intervene on that subject. I was speaking of Investigator's build with Aobst128 because there's no point in comparing melee to ranged if we have no valid builds for both.


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In terms of a combat niche, the greatsword investigator functions nearly identically to someone multiclassing into investigator to get DAS. Those other classes could add their own damage gimmicks too it as well. So you're just left with the rest of the tool kit which is mostly non combat stuff. In my opinion, known weakness combined with keen recollection and high int and wis is the better combat niche for investigator. It's never gonna compete with the fighter, that comparison is irrelevant. There's things that it does that aren't just damage. I think that's where the strength of investigator in combat is at.


When it comes down to it going into melee is dangerous you take more damage and can be vulnerable to fast or flying enemies.

To make going into melee worth it you need to have benefits to do so.

Most weapons based classes do substantially more damage in melee which makes it worth taking those risks.

But Magus doesn't as a substantial chunk of their damage is from spells so the damage difference between a ranged spell strike and melee can feel pretty small. Which when you consider the action economy means your likely be spell striking often in range and having an easier time with fitting in true strike means you do more damage in range than melee on average. Which is honestly pretty unique situation in the game.

When you add in the dangers of melee and the risk of attacks of opportunity hurting you and wasting all your actions for the turn maguses are just massively worse in melee.

Investigators don't seem to get enough out of melee for it to be worth the risk a lot of the time as they are likely to have Low strength (incentive to improve, dex, wis,int and con) and a single attack from a bow + precision is fairly identical to a single attack from rapier + precision.

Inventors do have damage benefits from going melee and do have good tools to survive in melee. Though as their damage modifiers boost their range equally to their melee damage which makes ranged look a little better on them.

Summoners ediolons melee options and damage are way better than ranged.

Swashbuckler best damage options are melee and you have more chance to benefit from your reactions in melee.

The only really igerious examples of the new classes favouring ranged are for the magus and the Investigator.


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aobst128 wrote:
In terms of a combat niche, the greatsword investigator functions nearly identically to someone multiclassing into investigator to get DAS.

At level 4-9, yes. Before level 4 you don't have DaS if multiclassed, and at level 10 you get Suspect of Opportunity which is definitely excellent on a melee Investigator as it gives a lot of free-action DaS.

aobst128 wrote:
So you're just left with the rest of the tool kit which is mostly non combat stuff.

Which means, at least, the skill monkeyness. The rest of the tool kit seems very interesting to me, but I agree it's not much combat focused.

siegfriedliner wrote:

To make going into melee worth it you need to have benefits to do so.

Most weapons based classes do substantially more damage in melee which makes it worth taking those risks.

As a reminder, d12 Dragon Barbarian vs Dual-Weapon Thrower Trident Dragon Barbarian, 2 attacks.

Graphs.
And I don't think anyone considers there's no point going melee with a Barbarian.
So having similar damage output at range and at melee range is not necessarily an issue per se.

siegfriedliner wrote:
The only really igerious examples of the new classes favouring ranged are for the magus and the Investigator.

I have already given my point of view on the Starlit Span Magus, I don't want to say it here as it's not related to the discussion, but you know I quite agree. But about the Investigator, I disagree. I think there are pros and cons in going range or melee with an Investigator. Now, I will never say that the class is strong or whatever (so comparison with Fighter is a bit useless), but I don't think a melee Investigator has to be worse than a ranged one. It's just that you have to build it to its strength when the ranged Investigator kind of build itself on its own.


Here's another one, outlaws of alkenstar added the war blood mutagen that alchemical studies investigator can use. assuming access, it's the best item bonus to hit mutagen currently.


SuperBidi wrote:
Now, I will never say that the class is strong or whatever (so comparison with Fighter is a bit useless), but I don't think a melee Investigator has to be worse than a ranged one. It's just that you have to build it to its strength when the ranged Investigator kind of build itself on its own.

So how does a melee Investigator compare to a Rogue or even a Bard as a skill monkey? Do they pull their weight in combat compared to these two utility-focused classes? If they don't manage to be good skill monkeys and we already agree that they aren't good in combat then what does the Investigator do to avoid being an Alchemist tier failure of a class?


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I Ate Your Dice wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Now, I will never say that the class is strong or whatever (so comparison with Fighter is a bit useless), but I don't think a melee Investigator has to be worse than a ranged one. It's just that you have to build it to its strength when the ranged Investigator kind of build itself on its own.
So how does a melee Investigator compare to a Rogue or even a Bard as a skill monkey? Do they pull their weight in combat compared to these two utility-focused classes? If they don't manage to be good skill monkeys and we already agree that they aren't good in combat then what does the Investigator do to avoid being an Alchemist tier failure of a class?

Recall knowledge mainly. I think it's the best user of it with keen recollection and known weakness.

Liberty's Edge

That's Odd can be awesome depending on your GM.


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aobst128 wrote:
I Ate Your Dice wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Now, I will never say that the class is strong or whatever (so comparison with Fighter is a bit useless), but I don't think a melee Investigator has to be worse than a ranged one. It's just that you have to build it to its strength when the ranged Investigator kind of build itself on its own.
So how does a melee Investigator compare to a Rogue or even a Bard as a skill monkey? Do they pull their weight in combat compared to these two utility-focused classes? If they don't manage to be good skill monkeys and we already agree that they aren't good in combat then what does the Investigator do to avoid being an Alchemist tier failure of a class?
Recall knowledge mainly. I think it's the best user of it with keen recollection and known weakness.

That's really niche. That niche can even be niche as RK can be wildly different in importance from table to table.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
I Ate Your Dice wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Now, I will never say that the class is strong or whatever (so comparison with Fighter is a bit useless), but I don't think a melee Investigator has to be worse than a ranged one. It's just that you have to build it to its strength when the ranged Investigator kind of build itself on its own.
So how does a melee Investigator compare to a Rogue or even a Bard as a skill monkey? Do they pull their weight in combat compared to these two utility-focused classes? If they don't manage to be good skill monkeys and we already agree that they aren't good in combat then what does the Investigator do to avoid being an Alchemist tier failure of a class?

Equivalent to the rogue as a skill monkey. Far worse in melee.


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SuperBidi wrote:
The Greatsword Investigator doesn't need to use DaS, it's an asset over the ranged Investigator. In my opinion, the Greatsword Investigator is the one who leverages DaS: for them it's a tool, when it's a ball and chain for the ranged Investigator.

Yes we get that there are issues and limitations. But DAS is an important and strong class feature. Calling it a ball and chain is going too far.

Just because getting it as a free action if its one of your leads is really strong, doesn't mean its a problem to spend an action on. Melee has larger weapon die, but it has its problems too. Starting with the action cost of movement, the availability of a square within reach, as well as vulnerability to enemy attack.


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I Ate Your Dice wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Now, I will never say that the class is strong or whatever (so comparison with Fighter is a bit useless), but I don't think a melee Investigator has to be worse than a ranged one. It's just that you have to build it to its strength when the ranged Investigator kind of build itself on its own.
So how does a melee Investigator compare to a Rogue or even a Bard as a skill monkey? Do they pull their weight in combat compared to these two utility-focused classes? If they don't manage to be good skill monkeys and we already agree that they aren't good in combat then what does the Investigator do to avoid being an Alchemist tier failure of a class?

I've made these graphs to compare the damage output of melee Investigator's builds compared to melee Rogue's builds over 2 rounds: Graphs

I've considered that Rogues were having Sneak Attack 75% of the time, that Investigators were having free Devise a Stratagem 50% of the time and that they were able to switch target if DaS result was bad 50% of the time.

We can see that:
Finesse Investigator is at every level (but 9) the worst in damage. It compares unfavorably to the non-Thief Rogue.
The Greatsword Investigator does exactly Rogue damage with a variation depending on its main attribute bonus. At level 10-14 and 20, it does non-Thief Rogue damage, when at level 5-9 and 15-19 it does Thief Rogue damage. At level 1-4, it is between both Rogues.
We can also see that Finesse Investigator is vastly outdamaged by Greatsword Investigator, especially at level 1-8 where the Greatsword Investigator does 30-50% extra damage (they are the levels people play the most so I can understand the feeling that Finesse Investigator is close to non-playable as it is quite the case).

Rogues have feats like Gang Up and Opportune Backstab that are not counted in this comparison so I'd not say that an Investigator is as good in combat than a Rogue, but it is competitive.

In terms of out of combat utility, Rogues and Investigators have the same number of skill increases and skill feats. But the Investigator has Pursue a Lead (and the circumstance bonus from it) and Clue In. On top of that, many Investigator's feats are very interesting out of combat, That's Odd being a classic.

So I'd sum it up by saying that the Investigator is better for out of combat utility but worse in combat. But overall they are extremely close. I still consider Rogue to be better than Investigator, especially Thief/Ruffian Rogues (that are better than other Rogue Rackets).


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CaffeinatedNinja wrote:
To put it simply, with exaggerated number, if a fighter can do twice as much damage in melee as a fighter archer, why should a magus only deal 25% more in melee, despite being more fragile and having tricky action econ, things that already push it to range?

About the Investigator, we can see that the difference in damage between a melee and a ranged Investigator is actually higher than a Barbarian.

The Greatsword Dragon Barbarian does roughly 10-15% more damage than the Dual-Thrower Trident Dragon Barbarian, and it goes down to less than 10% if you remove the first 3 levels before grabbing Dual-Weapon Thrower.

The Greatsword Investigator does 40% more damage than the Shortbow Investigator at level 1-9 and it goes down to 10-25% at level 10+.

In terms of action economy, the Barbarian has to rage when the Investigator has to DaS. But at level 10 and Suspect of Opportunity, DaS becomes nearly a free action for the melee Investigator (being the target of a hostile action is nearly a given at melee range) when the ranged Investigator can't benefit from Suspect of Opportunity as often. So the melee Investigator has roughly the same action economy than the range Investigator at level 10+ when taking the need to move into account.

In terms of fragility, the Barbarian is super solid when the Investigator is really fragile.

So the melee Investigator is a high risk high gain character. Archer Investigators are easier to use but they are really worse in terms of efficiency.

The main issue of the Investigator is that the Finesse build is plain bad despite being an obvious build.


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SuperBidi wrote:
I've considered that ... Investigators were having free Devise a Stratagem 50% of the time and that they were able to switch target if DaS result was bad 50% of the time.

I'd hope that the target switching number would be higher that that. Its certainly would be the first option I would get sorted when building the Investigator- make sure you have another option.

For ranged the ability to switch target should be 100 % unless there is only one enemy so that is like 75% perhaps.
Then you need to consider that athletics checks like trip are an option, plus thing like multiclassing in Wizard for a cantrip etc... which works as a ranged option for a melee Investigator , or just as a reflex save instead of an attack if you only have one target. The cantrips aren't great but compared to an attack at -5 they are good.

In practice the complexity makes your analysis less useful.


Gortle wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
I've considered that ... Investigators were having free Devise a Stratagem 50% of the time and that they were able to switch target if DaS result was bad 50% of the time.

I'd hope that the target switching number would be higher that that. Its certainly would be the first option I would get sorted when building the Investigator- make sure you have another option.

For ranged the ability to switch target should be 100 % unless there is only one enemy so that is like 75% perhaps.
Then you need to consider that athletics checks like trip are an option, plus thing like multiclassing in Wizard for a cantrip etc... which works as a ranged option for a melee Investigator , or just as a reflex save instead of an attack if you only have one target. The cantrips aren't great but compared to an attack at -5 they are good.

In practice the complexity makes your analysis less useful.

That's why I've given the numbers behind my analysis, for everyone to understand precisely what I was measuring.

And I fully agree with you that in the case of the Investigator it is extremely hard to make a valid description of a "typical round".
I won't enter a discussion about the % of chance to get this or that as I hardly see how we can get such a number. Also, I can't fine tune Citricking's tool, that's why my numbers are always multiple of 25%.
So it's as good as I can get it. If you find that it's too far away from a valid simulation, then ignore it. I'd understand.
Also, it's always possible to make another simulation with other numbers if you want.

Personally, I think that the numbers are not completely invalid, despite the crude simulation. The Rogue/Investigator comparison is not incredible as the gameplay between both classes is very different (I think the Investigator looks better than it should). But I think the Greatsword/Finesse Investigator comparison is good, both gameplays being very similar. And even if I agree that the ranged and the Finesse Investigator have different gameplays, I'm not sure you'll get that much out of a ranged build, especially once Suspect of Opportunity kicks in and helps melee action economy more than ranged one.


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Gortle wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
The Greatsword Investigator doesn't need to use DaS, it's an asset over the ranged Investigator. In my opinion, the Greatsword Investigator is the one who leverages DaS: for them it's a tool, when it's a ball and chain for the ranged Investigator.
Yes we get that there are issues and limitations. But DAS is an important and strong class feature. Calling it a ball and chain is going too far.

You made me thought about it, but I keep my words of ball and chain.

The Dexterity-based Investigator doesn't have the choice of not using DaS. You'll use it every round as without DaS your damage output is ridiculous. And every time your DaS is low, your round has great chances to be subpar. For me, the term ball and chain is on point to describe how the Dexterity-based Investigator is tied to this mechanic (and the action cost of DaS that is taxing if you don't have a Lead in the fight).


50% for free action DAS might be too generous. As described in Pursue a lead, it only designates one creature at a time typically.


aobst128 wrote:
50% for free action DAS might be too generous. As described in Pursue a lead, it only designates one creature at a time typically.

I agree before level 10. Once you get Suspect of Opportunity, on the other hand, I think it becomes way more common.

I've thought about cutting the graphs in 2 to take that into account, but it's super hard and there are lots of other things I could do to improve it. Ultimately, it's just a simulation. It gives an idea, but is far from perfect.

I also think it depends heavily on the campaign, the GM and the player. Getting Leads during combat is in my opinion an important part of the Investigator gameplay. A party who loves divination, scouting and intel should get it quite often if the campaign allows them. On the other hand, if the campaign is not one that rewards investigation, you may end up having it never. So it's hard to assess precisely.

As a side note, you can have 2 Leads at a time, so you can have it against up to 2 enemies per combat.


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I don't know if the question should be "is one configuration of this class better than the other configurations" so much as "is every reasonable configuration of the class good enough?".


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I don't know if the question should be "is one configuration of this class better than the other configurations" so much as "is every reasonable configuration of the class good enough?".

While I agree the second one is a better approach, it is really hard to define what is "good enough".

Back to melee Investigator vs Rogue, Investigator can't just move to flank, attack and fall back unless he has free DaS while Rogue's can. Having to expend an action that is not a move action all the turns is tough for melee characters. On the other hand, Investigator fights way better with ranged weapons than a Rogue.

The thing to me is, which one feels more shoehorned, Investigator as a ranged or Rogue as a melee?

Personally I would prefer playing a Ranged Rogue over trying again a full melee investigator, but I believe this will vary a lot depending on who you are asking.

So back to the original point, yes, I believe Magus, Investigator and Inventor work better when they fight at range (same can be said about Thaumaturge unless they change a lot how they work), but I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing. Fighter, Barbarian and Rogue already work better as melee characters, it isn't a new thing and if anything, it is just evening out the scales a bit. The problem is if their counterparts are pulling their weight and in most cases with post CRB classes, they are dangerously close to the line between enjoyable and tedious, at least to me.


Ehhh, I know it very subjective but I kind of feel like the Magus class fantasy is way stronger rooted in melee than in ranged combat.

With the inventor and investigator I can't really call it. We don't complain about the barb being strongest at (and heavily designed around) melee. So I guess one could apply that same logic for other classes.

I just don't happen to think any of the post CRB classes scream 'ranged focused' to the point of making it a blantantly better choice.

But I'm biased; I dislike ranged combat as an aesthetic in fantasy.
I would really like for both options to be equally viable though, at least if they are presented as such through feats, class features etc. That's honestly my biggest gripe: reading the investigator leads one to believe that a finesse build is not only viable but strong, and then it turns out to be wildly disappointing in actual play.

Although it's nowhere near as bad, it kind of reminds me off the 5e ranger and TWF. The system suggested that it was a viable build for rangers. And in actuality it blew chunks compared to litteraly any other fightstyle/build.


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Lollerabe wrote:

Ehhh, I know it very subjective but I kind of feel like the Magus class fantasy is way stronger rooted in melee than in ranged combat.

With the inventor and investigator I can't really call it. We don't complain about the barb being strongest at (and heavily designed around) melee. So I guess one could apply that same logic for other classes.

I just don't happen to think any of the post CRB classes scream 'ranged focused' to the point of making it a blantantly better choice.

I tend to agree. Barbarian is clearly designed as a melee class. You can kind of make it a short ranged class (throwing distance is a heck of a lot shorter than bow range) but still.

Investigator's class fantasy is absolutely a rapier or melee weapon, even the iconic is. Yet melee investigator is so bad as to be nearly unplayable.

Magus is absolutely a sword/martial fantasy primarily. And yet using a bow is far superior.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I don't know if the question should be "is one configuration of this class better than the other configurations" so much as "is every reasonable configuration of the class good enough?".

I'm sorry but I don't think "good enough" is a metric that makes much sense in the context of online discussions. For someone who only plays easy PFS modules, a 14 Str 16 Cha 16 Int Flurry Ranger with a Club might be good enough. For someone who plays extremely hard games, anything but the most optimal options won't be good enough. It's something that only makes sense to discuss inside a given table. What we can try to assess is which things are weaker, and by how much. If some options are considerably weaker, and these options are supposed to be viable in-fantasy (I mean, the iconic Investigator is melee, and the scene that inspired Devise a Stratagem was hand-to-hand combat), that's a problem.


roquepo wrote:
Personally I would prefer playing a Ranged Rogue over trying again a full melee investigator, but I believe this will vary a lot depending on who you are asking.

I prefer a ranged investigator than ranged rogue due the difficult to do precision strikes with a ranged rogue (Feint actions are melee only, ruffians can't Demoralize twice the same target and masterminds also has the Recall Knowledge's restrictions). At same time that melee investigator does't have some similar restrictions but DaS can trigger some eventual AoO due it Concentrate trait but it's quite rare face an opponent able to do AoO against action with concentrate trait.

So for me rogue is more for builds focused in melee and investigator for builds focused in range.

roquepo wrote:
So back to the original point, yes, I believe Magus, Investigator and Inventor work better when they fight at range (same can be said about Thaumaturge unless they change a lot how they work), but I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing. Fighter, Barbarian and Rogue already work better as melee characters, it isn't a new thing and if anything, it is just evening out the scales a bit. The problem is if their counterparts are pulling their weight and in most cases with post CRB classes, they are dangerously close to the line between enjoyable and tedious, at least to me.

I greatly agree with you. But I have to note that fighters are also fabulous with bows due many feats that improves the bow usage and due it increased critical rate are "Mortal" with bows!

Is impressive how good and versatile the fighters are in this game.

Lollerabe wrote:
Ehhh, I know it very subjective but I kind of feel like the Magus class fantasy is way stronger rooted in melee than in ranged combat.

You aren't wrong. It's just see that spellstrike is melee by default. The main problem is just how strongly the AoO can disable a Magus. Including that's why some GMs allows that Magus' spellstrike to not trigger AoO.


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YuriP wrote:
You aren't wrong. It's just see that spellstrike is melee by default. The main problem is just how strongly the AoO can disable a Magus.

I don't agree that a magus is 'disabled' against enemies with AoOs. Yes, it means adjusting your strategy, but they are still a martial class with a variety of bonuses from Arcane Cascade. Players can absolutely plan contingencies for dealing with it.


The thing that the magus in particular is good at is buffing itself. Because of the martial chassis, their self buffs go further than other casters that want to do melee.

Liberty's Edge

I feel the Magus is good at going Nova, and alternately at hitting weaknesses. This requires them not to have their Spellstrike disrupted by a critically succeeding AoO . TBH, this should not happen that often AND there are ways to trigger an AoO before using the Spellstrike.


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I think Magus dealing with AoO is similar to a melee Fighter dealing with a ranged enemy. Uncommon, but can absolutely make you useless if you aren't prepared to change uo tactics.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Salamileg wrote:
I think Magus dealing with AoO is similar to a melee Fighter dealing with a ranged enemy. Uncommon, but can absolutely make you useless if you aren't prepared to change uo tactics.

Worse, really. A magus can choose to strike normally, cast spells, or even just take the aoo if they really must all without making any assumptions about their kit.

A strength fighter or Barbarian meanwhile is almost entirely helpless if an enemy is one square out of their reach and they can't walk closer.


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I can't help but feel that 'Aoo on melee spellstrike' debate gets sort of sidetracked when it becomes a debate on how to not trigger said AoO.

Isn't the main question just: is it fun ? Is it needed ?

It clearly isn't a balance thing. Starlit don't got the issue, and is (as far as I am aware) not considered broken by anyone.

If you can remove the restriction entirely, and still have a slightly below the curve class - then why have the restriction in the first class. I just don't see what it adds.
It's not balance, not fun, nor interesting imo


Not to mention starlit span is kinda boring...


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Adapting your and your party’s tactics to the reality of a combat is most of the fun of a tactical game like PF2. Doing the same Spellstrike every single round is incredibly boring.

Liberty's Edge

Lollerabe wrote:

I can't help but feel that 'Aoo on melee spellstrike' debate gets sort of sidetracked when it becomes a debate on how to not trigger said AoO.

Isn't the main question just: is it fun ? Is it needed ?

It clearly isn't a balance thing. Starlit don't got the issue, and is (as far as I am aware) not considered broken by anyone.

If you can remove the restriction entirely, and still have a slightly below the curve class - then why have the restriction in the first class. I just don't see what it adds.
It's not balance, not fun, nor interesting imo

There is a thread around here where SuperBidi made calculations that showed that a Starlit Span Magus can be one of the biggest damage dealer in the game, on par with Fighter and Barbarian. Which is also in addition to casting Arcane spells and having far more Trained skills.


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There is a thread around here where SuperBidi made calculations that showed that a Starlit Span Magus can be one of the biggest damage dealer in the game, on par with Fighter and Barbarian. Which is also in addition to casting Arcane spells and having far more Trained skills.

Fair, I stand somewhat corrected. But that hardly explains the need for melee SS getting disrupted by Aoo.

Starlits damage is high due to better action Econ. Removing the Aoo from melee SS still wouldn't put it on par with starlit anyway, if I understand the issues correctly.

So that brings me back to my previous point: what purpose does the restriction serve ?


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"Can deal a lot of damage" Yeah, 2 times a day, maybe 4. But no more than that.

Compared to fighter getting it all the time, or barbarian getting it every other minute.

Liberty's Edge

Consistency with how casting works, as well as other points mentioned above.


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The Raven Black wrote:
Consistency with how casting works, as well as other points mentioned above.

I am saying that its 4 times a day, and if you do you lose your "arcane magic". So you cannot say that it has "high damage and arcane casting" when it has one or the other for 2-4 rounds and no more.


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The Raven Black wrote:
Consistency with how casting works, as well as other points mentioned above.

What other points ? They still suffer/benefit from the standard melee combat tactics.

So if you could remove the feature, and the class wouldnt be better than most other melee DPR classes, and not even better than other options within the same class. I would consider that strong evidence in favour of the restriction being needless.

Maybe I'm just not seeing it, but consistency with how casting works seems to be a strange hill to die on. Spellstrike has a pretty substantial amount of text that explains why it differs from standard casting.
I doubt anyone would've batted an eye if it didn't provoke aoO's by RAW.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Temperans wrote:

"Can deal a lot of damage" Yeah, 2 times a day, maybe 4. But no more than that.

Compared to fighter getting it all the time, or barbarian getting it every other minute.

IIRC the build in question used damage dealing focus spells from an archetype, so it ends up having a lot more uptime.

Though that kind of puts it in the same boat as the discussion on greatsword investigators too. Does some niche build that relies on specific options and eschews several normal assumptions about the class being really strong excuse or diminish the problem of more straight forward builds having significant issues?

IMO it feels like a design failing to have to do that, but some people clearly think otherwise.


Squiggit wrote:
Temperans wrote:

"Can deal a lot of damage" Yeah, 2 times a day, maybe 4. But no more than that.

Compared to fighter getting it all the time, or barbarian getting it every other minute.

IIRC the build in question used damage dealing focus spells from an archetype, so it ends up having a lot more uptime.

Though that kind of puts it in the same boat as the discussion on greatsword investigators too. Does some niche build that relies on specific options and eschews several normal assumptions about the class being really strong excuse or diminish the problem of more straight forward builds having significant issues?

IMO it feels like a design failing to have to do that, but some people clearly think otherwise.

If it requires a specific archetype than it's not the magus that is making it good, it's that archetype. By the same logic a fighter could take the same archetype and take only buffs to become much better than the magus. The fighter having better and more consistent damage, means that they can leave many more spells for out of combat.


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Magus has a lot more than 4 spells a day when you consider it's other powers, cantrips, innate spells, staves, wands, scrolls, archetype feats and such.

Not to mention that just spellstrike cantrip is powerful enough in its own right. Then with melee magus you add higher damage dice on weapons, reduce MAD a bit, add control ok the field by putting another body forward. Flanking options make you more accurate as well. Not to mention having your own AoO (which will have runic impression and arcane cascade a lot of the time) once in a while. Even the humble targe magus provides great battlefield control with its shield block tankiness(being able to block spells but also added saves) and the ability to blind ennemies on a shield block. It's also a great candidate for juking out AoO from ennemies which allows caster to get away or cast freely, or even gives you tactical options like pushing an ennemy down a cliff without the possibility of grabbing an edge because it used its reaction on its AoO.

Look if the possibility of taking an AoO once in a while is making you s&!$ your pants then yeah, don't play a melee magus.

It doesn't make the class flawed or problematic, it's a playstyle limitation. Great power at the cost of great risk.

In our EC game I play a two handed fighter and the damage of the twisted tree magus vs mine is definitely NOT comparable. I've switched my build around to enable him to do more damage (hammer+crushing rune I make people prone and clumsy a lot) because hey, I don't mind sharing the glory.

By comparison the few times I've seen starlit span in action it seemed underwhelming and monotonous. "Roll a die ... Hope you hit... If you do you deal some good damage ! ... Then the other 5 mooks in the fight can swarm you and you're stuck running around not spellstriking..."


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AlastarOG wrote:

Magus has a lot more than 4 spells a day when you consider it's other powers, cantrips, innate spells, staves, wands, scrolls, archetype feats and such.

Not to mention that just spellstrike cantrip is powerful enough in its own right. Then with melee magus you add higher damage dice on weapons, reduce MAD a bit, add control ok the field by putting another body forward. Flanking options make you more accurate as well. Not to mention having your own AoO (which will have runic impression and arcane cascade a lot of the time) once in a while. Even the humble targe magus provides great battlefield control with its shield block tankiness(being able to block spells but also added saves) and the ability to blind ennemies on a shield block. It's also a great candidate for juking out AoO from ennemies which allows caster to get away or cast freely, or even gives you tactical options like pushing an ennemy down a cliff without the possibility of grabbing an edge because it used its reaction on its AoO.

Look if the possibility of taking an AoO once in a while is making you s$%# your pants then yeah, don't play a melee magus.

It doesn't make the class flawed or problematic, it's a playstyle limitation. Great power at the cost of great risk.

In our EC game I play a two handed fighter and the damage of the twisted tree magus vs mine is definitely NOT comparable. I've switched my build around to enable him to do more damage (hammer+crushing rune I make people prone and clumsy a lot) because hey, I don't mind sharing the glory.

By comparison the few times I've seen starlit span in action it seemed underwhelming and monotonous. "Roll a die ... Hope you hit... If you do you deal some good damage ! ... Then the other 5 mooks in the fight can swarm you and you're stuck running around not spellstriking..."

I'm confused. The numbers don't support that melee Magus deals more damage than their ranged counterpart, so them having a bigger weapon die is a moot point right ? 'cause 'big die go boom' simply dosent apply here.

So it's not; 'great power at great risk'
it's; 'decent to below avarage power at above avarage risk'.

And I still fail to see how any of the things you are mentioning justifies the 'eat a Aoo and risk losing your SS' part of the class.

You've mentioned that Starlit is boring (I agree) but if it's easier to execute AND deals more damage, then why is the melee Magus paying such a steep price in its gameplay by comparison?
I can't imagine it was to offset the funfactor
Edit: how do you figure melee Magus is less mad ?


1: It has less damage increase for going melee relative to its total damage potential.

A level 7 Greatsword Magus (to represent the risk, you can build inexorable iron with glaive, or twisted tree but then there's much less risk) deals:

2d12+4(STR)+2 (weapon spec)+2(arcane cascade)+Gouging Claw(4d6+4)= 39 average damage on a spellstrike. Glaive magus would be at 37, Twisted tree at 35.

A starlit span deals:

2d8+1(STR)+2(weapon spec)+Gouging Claw (4d6+4)= 30.

While the damage difference isn't THAT wide, it is still substantial! I'd kill for an option for +9 average damage per power attack on a fighter or Barb, even if that meant I took an AoO. And averages are swingy, your higher rolls are much higher on 2d12 vs 2d8.

So I really don't see the ''the numbers don't support that melee magus deals more damage than their ranged counterpart'' angle.

You can say they have to move and trigger arcane cascade, yes, but starlit span also has to move to get out of volley limiter and avoid melee enemies. Not to mention melee magus get AoO triggers and flanking which gives them more damage potential. I'd say these balance out each other.

2: The melee magus is less mad because it can take one class feat at 11+ or one general feat at 1+ to invalidate its need for reflex. Or just cap out its dex at 12.

A starlit span needs: STR, DEX, CON, INT

A melee magus needs: STR, CON, INT and thus can spec out in another stat like wisdom for good initiative/will saves or charisma for intimidate if it wants to.

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