Fun Choices


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


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Seems recently with all the shuffling around of people checking out Pathfinder there has been an uptick in discussion on what things (feats, ancestries, abilities, etc.) are worth take and aren't worth taking. Usually these decisions are based around the math of bonuses and how trained you may get to in a certain class. While I do not disagree with anyones findings as it pertains to pure numbers I just wanted to interject that fleshing out a character concept that you think is fun and interesting is just as valid. Want to focus your play around a set of skills, weapons, spells that aren't 'optimized', Go for it! It isn't a race or a test, it's a game to kick back and build stores you will tell your friends about years down the road. It is so easy with the internet to find pre-planed builds, and the way to the make the 'best' this or that. Just remember that when making and growing your own character all that really matters is what /you/ think is fun, exciting, and entertaining. Happy gamming and I hope everyone makes some great table top memories this year!


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I would also point out that the difference between a fully optimized build that is meticulously researched and designed, and a build that is picked simply because things sounded cool - is not very large. An optimized build character and a lore chosen character can play at the same table without too much problems.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

One other thing to bring up regarding "optimization" in PF2: Optimizing a character "in a vacuum" is usually less "powerful" than optimizing a character as part of a team of two or more. After the basic min-maxing of making the character "on par" (16 or 18 in their "most important" ability score, avoiding the [few] "trap"/weakest options), choices that emphasize teamwork and helping others in the party with a third action tend to be more applicable and/or more effective than choices that try to self-boost a character. Also, unlike PF1, there is a distinct lack of long-term, stackable bonuses that could allow a character to solo typical encounters; "optimization" in PF2 is mostly giving yourself a few reasonably effective options to choose from to match the specific encounter situation each round, rather than "cranking the volume up to 11" on a single option used over and over.


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Darksyde wrote:
Seems recently with all the shuffling around of people checking out Pathfinder there has been an uptick in discussion on what things (feats, ancestries, abilities, etc.) are worth take and aren't worth taking. Usually these decisions are based around the math of bonuses and how trained you may get to in a certain class. While I do not disagree with anyones findings as it pertains to pure numbers I just wanted to interject that fleshing out a character concept that you think is fun and interesting is just as valid. ...

Actually, fun is more valid than optimizing bonuses and training. I am writing a teamwork tactics guide, tenatively titled, "Make Lemonade: Mathmuse's Tactical Teamwork Handbook," because teamwork is much more vital for victory in PF2 than it had been in PF1. Here is the first principle.

Mathmuse's Tactical Teamwork Handbook wrote:

Principle 1. To Thine Own Self Be True

Title source: Hamlet by William Shakespeare

The best way to manage the many sides of a well-rounded character is to want to play all those sides. Therefore, build a character that you want to play, a character you find fun to play. If later the character needs to change to adapt to new circumstances, which sometimes happens, then find a change that you want to play, too.

A key element to have fun in teamwork roleplaying is the character wants to be adventuring with the other player characters. A lone-wolf character or a argumentative character or a chaotic-impulsive character is not a person who likes working in a party. They don't want to be in the party, so the best thing to do with those characters is never put them into a party. A player character ought to fit into the team naturally.

Typically, constructing a character starts with how the player expects to have fun playing the character. I call that the character concept. A concept is not a mechanical build nor a literary backstory, though developing the concept could start that way. For example, when the PF1 Advanced Players Guide introduced the Alchemist class, my initial idea was to simply try out the new class. I would have fun by seeing how well alchemy worked. I filled out the concept based on trying out alchemy. My character had trained in this exciting brand new profession and wanted to prove that alchemy was as good as wizardry. His teamwork style ended up as throwing bombs in combat and passing out alchemical potions to other PCs before combat so that they could buff or heal themselves when they wanted. Watching the melee fighter fly into combat against opponents up on a wall due to my Potion of Flying felt like success.
...


This thread has had no activity after my post. I hope I did not kill it. A dicussion of how fun builds are absolutely viable would be quite enlightening, and would highlight differences between Pathfinder 2nd Edition and Dungeons & Drqagons 5th Edition.

breithauptclan wrote:
I would also point out that the difference between a fully optimized build that is meticulously researched and designed, and a build that is picked simply because things sounded cool - is not very large. An optimized build character and a lore chosen character can play at the same table without too much problems.

Okay, let me throw together a character who sounds cool. Inventor class screams for character based on a historic Earth inventor, so let me create Thomas Edison as a Golarion adventurer, simply named Thomas.

Edison was known for running the Menlo Park industrial research lab, a non-adventurer job, so I will base my Thomas on young Thomas Edison, who at age 13 had sold snacks and newspapers on a train, at age 15 trained as a telegraph operator, and at both ages tinkered on experiments in his spare time.

We will make Thomas a human, to be more like Edison. The Courier background fits his early jobs and the Tinker background fits his home experiments. Courier would require a city for Lore and Thomas represents before Edison settled down at Menlo Park, so I favor with Tinker. His human heritage will be Skilled for training in Society like Courier would give.

We can set Thomas's ability scores to Str +1, Dex +3, Con +0, Int +4, Wis +0, Cha +1. Investing in Intelligence for a martial character is suboptimal, despite Overdrive, but Edison was a genius. Besides, 1st-level inventors cannot get higher than a +3 in Strength or Dexterity anyways.

Edison invented quadruplex telegraph, the phonograph, motion pictures, and the first commercially practical light bulb. None of those suggest whether he would have a armor, construct, or weapon innovation. Going for construct innovation because a companion is more fun. Thomas's prototype construct will resemble a railroad locomotive, so I will give it the Accelerated Mobility initial construct modification and name it Engine. To keep Engine running, Thomas's 1st-level human feat is General Training to gain Quick Repair.

But wait! The Specialty Crafting feat from Tinker background works only with the Craft action. Thomas will seldom Craft relative to using Crafting skill other ways. His Crafting will mostly repair Engine and make checks for Inventor abilities. Thus, let me fudge his background a little and switch it from Tinker to Gunsmith or Mechanic. Both boost Intelligence, both provide training in Crafting and Engineering Lore, but both provide Quick Repair rather than Specialty Crafting. They do not fit Edison's biography, but we can view them as a variant on Tinker. That frees up Thomas's 1st-level human feat to take Natural Ambition instead for a 1st-level inventor feat. My goal is still about repairing Engine, so I pick Haphazard Repair.

Thomas
LN Medium male human inventor 1
Perception +3
Languages Common, Dwarven, Elven, Gnomish, Sylvan, Undercommon
Skills Acrobatics +6, Arcana +7, Athletics +4, Crafting +7, Diplomacy +4, Engineering Lore +7, Medicine +3, Occultism +7, Society +7, Stealth +6, Thievery +6
Items Longbow (30 arrows), Bladed Scarf, Shortsword, Studded Leather Armor, Repair Tools, Healer's Tools, Thief's Tools, Rations
Sill Feats Inventor, Quick Repair
Class Feats Haphazard Repair
Shield Block
Construct Companion Engine

AC 18; Fort +5, Ref +6, [b]Will +5
HP 16

Speed 25 feet
Melee [One Action] bladed scarf +6 (Disarm, Finesse, Reach, Sweep, Trip, Uncommon) Damage 1d6+1 slashing
Melee [One Action] shortsword +6 (Agile, Finesse, Versatile S) Damage 1d6+1 piercing
Ranged [One Action] longbow +6 (Deadly d10, Volley 30 ft.) Damage 1d8 piercing

Overdrive [One Action] DC 15 Craft check. On regular success +2 damage for both Thomas and Engine for 1 minute.

Engine
LN Medium construct minion 1
Perception +4
Skills Acrobatics +6, Athletics +6
Str +3, Dex +3, Con +2, Int –4, Wis +1, Cha +0
Initial Construct Modification Accelerated Mobility

AC 16; Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +4
HP 18; Immune bleed, death effects, disease, doomed, drained, fatigued, healing, necromancy, nonlethal attacks, paralyzed, poison, sickened, and unconscious; Cannot be healed like a living creature; instead, Repair to restore Hit Points, Craft DC 15 (given Thomas's Crafting +7, that is a natural 8 or higher, 65% chance. Nat 1 deals 2d6 damage).
Unstable actions require stability and have a DC 17 flat check afterwards to maintain stability. Restoring lost stability requires 10 minutes with no Crafting check.

Speed 40 feet
Melee [One Action] cowcatcher +6 Damage 1d8+3 bludgeoning
Melee [One Action] gears +6 (agile, finesse) Damage 1d6+3 slashing

Explode [Two Actions] (Fire, Inventor, Manipulate, Unstable) 5-foot emanation of 2d6 fire damage with basic Reflex save DC 17.

How far does Thomas, built for fun, fall below an optimized character? Viewed solely as a martial character, he lacks an 18 in his martial ability score, but that is true of all low-level inventors, so I presume his inventor features make up for the deficiency.

The most unoptimized part of Thomas's build is the Int 18. Int 14 would have been good enough for an inventor, and the other two skill boosts could have gone to Strength or Constitution so that Thomas would be better in melee. Instead, Thomas is mainly a ranged combatant, dealing 1d8+2 damage with a overdrived longbow, while Engine engages in melee to keep foes away from Thomas. Engine soaks up some damage that Thomas can repair, saving healing resources for living party members.

In compensation, Thoma's Int 18 gives him two more trained skills. I continued that trend through the Skilled human heritage. Thus, Thomas is a skill monkey, a role often taken by the Rogue and Investigator classes. If the party lacks another skill monkey, then Thomas's suboptimal build will be more valuable to the party than a character fully optimized for martial combat. If the party has a better skill monkey, then Thomas can focus his level advancement on becoming a better martial.

We have the fun of roleplaying Thomas as if he had the same ambitions as young Thomas Edison, taking any job while looking for the clever invention that would make his fortune. But what about fun in combat? The player can indulge in both ranged and melee Strikes. The player can explode Engine to take down minions. Thomas can get Engine back in prime condition with Quick Repair faster than Treat Wounds can mend the party members. However, letting Engine soak up damage is risky, because letting Engine's hit points drop below 9 risks dying-based broken condition from a critical failure on repair. Some players thrive on risk. Combat has good potential for fun.

The one deficit in fun is that Thomas does not feel enough like Thomas Edison. Edison worked on a train and operated the telegraph for a railroad, but history does not associate him with a locomotive engine. We can handle that at 2nd level, where Thomas can multiclass to Wizard to gain the cantrips Electric Arc and Light. That will feel more like the man nicknamed the Wizard of Menlo Park.

And that is the key advantage of Pathfinder: customization for fun can work in playing the game, too.


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Not stating Edison as LE :p

For real though, I've usually found the more casual players and more RP focused players actually have mechanically more powerful characters than the mechanics junkies because, outside of some basic stuff; like keeping your key attributes high and focusing your skill profiencies and the like; there's not many ways you can finagle the math into brokenness. The mechanics focused players I've dealt with tend to want and hyperfocus one ability, and/or only build for whiteroom theorycraft stuff, and once they hit the reality of actual play being very cooperative, tend to stuggle since there's not really a reliable spam button in pf2e.

Meanwhile, to the more casual players; they tend to want to focus on teamwork anyways in a very "yay, I'm having fun with my friends!" kinda way, while the RP focused players, by nature, make their picks based on the world they are in. It's a big reason why I tend to laugh when people say pf 2e is crunchier/not good for RP as 5e; the game's mechanics naturally support such play a lot better, provided you aren't trying to run pf 2e like 1e


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A character I am very excited to play is Magico the Magnificent, sorcerer extraordinaire. What is fun about Magico is that he is a gnome that dressed like a wizard, carries a staff, has a pet mole rat, and is actually a monk, not a wizard or sorcerer. He has mastered one “spell,” which is that , if you squint really hard, you can see him transform his posterior into that of a dragon, which he can use to make devastating dragon tail attacks. He will give a convincing lecture about how most dragon sorcerers focus on transforming from the wrong end, and thus don’t learn to harness the full power of the dragon as effectively. Talking to my GM, I am hoping to qualify for the dragon disciple archetype, and thus have a character who is magically dragon sorcerer like, without being an actual dragon sorcerer.

I love how PF2 often presents feats that can just inspire an entire character concept that can be narratively and mechanically fun to work with.


One of my characters atm is a kobolt "shaman".
He grew up hearing all of his favorite exploration stories and the wide travels of teh bronze dragon that resides in his tribe, and picked up all the wrong info from those stories, which is how a shapeshifted dragon was smashing his enemies in it.

He's thoroughly convinced that he is the best apprentice, after all, when he knocked unconcious all the other apprentices, he was the only "winner" of the practice!
He's also convinced that when the elder kicked him out it was in order for him to expand his knowledge about the outside world in order to become an even better shaman.

His shamanistic abilities atm are:
Using the amulet he stole from his elder when he got kicked out to ward evil (amulet implement)
Using the knowledge he hoarded from the dragon tales to have a wide knowledge about everything, especially how to beat enemies (esoteric lore)
And sometimes, using the spirits to conjure weaknesses out of his ass for his enemies (fueled purely by his belief that it's the spirits that actually form the supernatural bond to whack enemies harder)

And ofc, using the (self-proclamed) traditional shamanistic way of fighting, which is biting the opponents, or kicking them, both work.

He's a Thaumaturge with archetype monk.


I am trying very hard to build a full time cat animal form druid but it is pretty hard.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Alchemic_Genius wrote:
I've usually found the more casual players and more RP focused players actually have mechanically more powerful characters than the mechanics junkies because, outside of some basic stuff; like keeping your key attributes high and focusing your skill profiencies and the like; there's not many ways you can finagle the math into brokenness. The mechanics focused players I've dealt with tend to want and hyperfocus one ability, and/or only build for whiteroom theorycraft stuff, and once they hit the reality of actual play being very cooperative, tend to stuggle since there's not really a reliable spam button in pf2e.

Player A: Hahahaha! Marvel at my 1st-level monk with Rain of Embers Stance, tower shield, and drakeheart mutagen! Together they net him a whopping 26 AC! He is unstoppable!!!

10 Base
4 circumstance (raise shield/take cover)
4 item (drakeheart mutagen)
1 status (Rain of Embers Stance)
5 proficiency (Expert)
2 dex (likely lowered due to mutagen)
26 total

Player B: But you have to spend two of your three actions every round to do that; three on the first two rounds.

GM: Yeah. Seeing you cower behind your cumbersome door shield, the enemy decides to go around you to get at your allies. Also, I don't recall you checking with me about taking Uncommon options such as that Stance of yours.

Player C: Some help you are.


Dargath wrote:
I am trying very hard to build a full time cat animal form druid but it is pretty hard.

There was a thread about something similar to this.

My favorites are Hunter Automaton, Quadruped Poppet, or Sprite with a custom Cat Sith heritage that just gives the shape mechanically.

Then you can resort to Animal Form to change your stats for when combat breaks out like any other druid.

Grand Archive

Quadruped poppets are AWESOME!


breithauptclan wrote:
Dargath wrote:
I am trying very hard to build a full time cat animal form druid but it is pretty hard.

There was a thread about something similar to this.

My favorites are Hunter Automaton, Quadruped Poppet, or Sprite with a custom Cat Sith heritage that just gives the shape mechanically.

Then you can resort to Animal Form to change your stats for when combat breaks out like any other druid.

It may have been my thread actually. I should be clearer: I want to remain a medium sized cat and martial user primarily who scales to end game without having to grow in size or take different animal form feats. I've looked at Fighter dedicating into Druid and it's pretty good, but it's just difficult to maintain defenses and other stats if you "downcast" (assuming its even legal) to take only the medium sized version of animal form.

It also doesn't get the concept going until around 4th level or 6th level depending. I'm fine with very minor spellcasting and support, 1 or 2 spell slots for a Heal, or Remove Curse/Disease or a dispel magic or some other utility flex spell, but I just want to be a cat and melee stuff similar to a feral druid main from WoW. They CAN become bears, and Orcas, and Birds and they CAN heal a little but they run out of mana fast and its weak, and they CAN entangle and remove curse, but 99.9% of the time they are in cat form in combat doing melee DPS.


Dargath wrote:
It may have been my thread actually.

Burning curiosity made me go and find it. The one I was thinking of was WatersLethe wanting to be a dog.


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I've made a habit of just focusing on the fun with Pathfinder. My first character was my transplanted 12th Level Wizard (the GM wanted to try 2nd Edition, so we indulged him.)

The second character I played is an Alchemist Bomber, currently 10th level (almost 11th). I started playing him *purely* for fun; everyone online kept saying how lousy Alchemists were and I just couldn't see it, so I decided to try for myself. And he has been *so* much fun. Best decision I ever made, gaming wise.

Then I decided to try a Mutagenist, since folks said how they were even worse than Bombers... Yeah, still fun. So much fun. Especially now that he has a Martyr's Shield; *that* is frickin hilarious. (He's 8th level now.)

A guy I met through online PFS started an Extinction Curse online campaign. Almost took in another Alchemist, but we needed a healer (and Chirurgeon hadn't been fixed yet.) So I took in a Warpriest. He's 17th level now. Love playing him.

Find a concept you like. Find a Class that can pull it off. Go for it. You're probably going to be just fine, and the main point is to have fun anyways.


Mathmuse wrote:

Actually, fun is more valid than optimizing bonuses and training. I am writing a teamwork tactics guide, tenatively titled, "Make Lemonade: Mathmuse's Tactical Teamwork Handbook," because teamwork is much more vital for victory in PF2 than it had been in PF1. Here is the first principle.

Mathmuse's Tactical Teamwork Handbook wrote:

Principle 1. To Thine Own Self Be True

Title source: Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Excellent I'd love to read it. I've got an optimisation guide mostly written as well. Some of it is teamwork tactics. But I'm chewing on it a bit before releasing it to see if I can get it better.


Jinglemane wrote:
Quadruped poppets are AWESOME!

Yeah I have had a lot of fun playing one. I took the form of a toy soldier on a horse, and made a lot of bad Napoleon quips.


I want to be a chirugeon alchemist who rides a barbarian around and infuses him with chemicals to make him stronger and tougher while healing him. Is this a playable character?

Liberty's Edge

Yes, but it's going to be very action intensive for the both of you. Both the barbarian and the Tiny alchemist riding on his back lose an action every turn, leaving only two actions for things like moving, attacking, getting items out, etc.


Dargath wrote:
I want to be a chirugeon alchemist who rides a barbarian around and infuses him with chemicals to make him stronger and tougher while healing him. Is this a playable character?

I have a similar concept, but to avoid action economy issues; it's a summoner mcd alchemist, and the "barbarian" is my eidolon


Alchemic_Genius wrote:
Dargath wrote:
I want to be a chirugeon alchemist who rides a barbarian around and infuses him with chemicals to make him stronger and tougher while healing him. Is this a playable character?
I have a similar concept, but to avoid action economy issues; it's a summoner mcd alchemist, and the "barbarian" is my eidolon

That is a pretty genius work around honestly. I was always inspired by the Goblin Alchemist from Warcraft 3 who rides around on an Ogre. He has a poison bomb for damage, a healing spray to heal himself and others and a berserk injection to make the Ogre deal lots of damage. His ultimate is he turns people into gold which is more for an RTS where gold is a valuable resource for building armies, I doubt there's any spell or effect, but I like the core abilities: bombs and poison for damage, healing for support and damage buffs to make your allies better.

Fixleby is his name. Because he fixes things.


I fix things,mostly fights...

I love the "master-blaster" type of character in general, and a controller feeding combat juice to a rideable brute in particular.
Unfortunately, I believe a Summoner will suffer the side effects of a Mutagen along with his mount.
This is not really the outcome I want.

I wish feeding your Companion an Alchemical item was explicitly allowed.


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The Ronyon wrote:
Unfortunately, I believe a Summoner will suffer the side effects of a Mutagen along with his mount.

A summoner and eidolon only share what is explicitly shared. HP, item bonuses from permanent invested items, and actions.

Mutagen side effects aren't on the list. It is possible that a particular mutagen (or elixir or other item) would have an effect that is shared - such as a change in the number of actions, or a change in HP.


That's great!
Can a eidolon definitely use Alchemical Items?
Last time I asked about what items Familiars, Companions and Edilons can use, the answer was unclear at best.


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You could feed an eidolon a potion or elixir. It can't do it itself though.


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Yeah, it is a bit questionable on various points. And you will likely get different answers from different GMs.

One place - the Summoner 'Gear and your Eidolon' says that the Eidolon can't use Magical items unless they have the Eidolon trait. Another place or maybe two - the Eidolon trait and the Key Terms sidebar for Summoner - say that the Eidolon can't use items unless they have the Eidolon trait.

And most of the time by 'use' that means Activate - such as by drinking a potion, or casting a spell from a scroll, or activating an ability from a held item. But other people interpret that to mean 'benefit from' as well, so even if you feed the potion to them it still won't take effect.


breithauptclan wrote:
And most of the time by 'use' that means Activate

Basic wielding uses "use": "You're wielding an item any time you're holding it in the number of hands needed to use it effectively. When wielding an item, you're not just carrying it around—you're ready to use it." This means any item you wield equals to one you use. IMO, this means and argument that use equates Activate is a non-starter.

Liberty's Edge

Back to the OP, the character I have the greatest fun playing is the very first I created for PFS2. The idea was to create a fully armored character who could move quickly across the battlefield.

I ended up creating a cavern Elf adopted by dwarves, who became a Champion of Torag MC Barbarian (Giant). Lots of fun to RP, extremely efficient in battle and indeed really fast even while wearing the heaviest armor.

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