Fundemental Gameplay Issue with Tank Class - Poor Offense Needlessly Prolongs Encounters


Guardian Class Discussion

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I find that in general the concept of a tank needs a few solid items:
- Durability (lots of HP)
- Hard to hit (high AC but not so high that people ignore you because its impossible to hit)
- Soft Taunts (Incentives to hit you or penalties to hit others, but not removing agency)
- Hard Taunts (you must hit me, there are not other options)
- Damage Mitigation (you or for others)
- Ways to heal or heal over time (to keep you going/being unkillable)
- Good enough offensive capabilities to make 'ignoring you' too painful and to 'finish the fight' (i.e., avoid the 'wet noodle').

Right now the class is doing okay in these areas, but many could be improved:
- Durability -> D12 Hit Dice would be better.

- Hard to hit -> Accelerated AC progression balanced with bonuses to hit from taunt. However, the math is not centered a round this accelerated AC progression being prohibitively hard to hit (monsters hit champions all the time even on third strikes, so I'm not sure any bonus from taunt is needed.

- Soft Taunts (Taunt does this well, although as stated before the +2 is too punitive IMO).

- Hard Taunts (Obviously hampering sweeps is excellent at this, maybe even too strong because there is no save DC or action tax with a skill DC like escaping a grapple that probably could be used here; even if it was class DC + 2 to make it harder than normal?)

- Damage Mitigation (Not actually that great IMO. It would be better to be widely expansive and passive vs. attaching it to one specific type from armor specialization or questionable reactions. I think getting a scaling class feature that just gave you resistance to physical damage that can have elemental added would be better than the current implementation).

- Healing (effectively missing here, like lay on hands, wholeness of body, temp hp, fast healing, something is needed here at low levels to keep you up and healthy. Though this is something you can go out of class for).

- Offense (severely delayed progression and lack of in class features to improve DPR really make this class a wet noodle).

Okay so it sounds like an under-tuned 'tank' but what is the big deal? Well if people want to express concerns with the Commander leading to table conflict by the perception of others telling people what to do, I think we need to explore the issue with this class needlessly prolonging encounters (sucking the fun out of combat for the wider table) and ultimately actually putting the party at greater risk of harm (i.e., not achieving its purpose as a tank).

Premise 1: A combat that could have been completed in X rounds with a standard group of PCs is less fun than the same combat with a guardian that is completed in X + 1/2/3.../Y rounds.

Premise 2: A combat where enemies have more rounds to spend actions to harm the party because of a offensively weak tank PC (as opposed to a more offensive PC) is actually a more dangerous combat for the party because more spells, special abilities, recharge of breath weapons, etc. are allowed to take place (i.e., an offensively weak tank is counter productive to actually tanking).

General Solution: A proper tank needs to be offensively decisive so as to avoid actions to kill or time to kill becoming prolonged for the party.

Solution Examples::
- Proper martial progression for attacking needs to be applied so the class meets baseline martial DPR before any damage riders are applied (i.e., +2 to hit, rage, ranger edge, etc.). Being lower than that baseline makes you ignorable and more like a weak animal companion.

- Ferocious Vengeance as a threat technique removes agency from the player by only boosting damage to enemies that avoid hitting you. This needs to be inverted. Those creatures you taunt (who can hit and harm you better) are the ones you need the damage bonus against. That means you are offensively a great martial against a limited number of enemies at one time, exchanging your defense against them for offense against them. This is significantly better than the alternative where you may or may not get a damage boost based on what the GM does and puts you in the drivers seat/mitigates moments where you're a bad martial because you GM doesn't 'play ball'.

- The class needs a self damage for extra damage output optional feature. Think 'armor break' the feat, but just use your own hp and not a 1 time limited resource that then drops your AC.

If you look at some of the good tanks in the game they have a strong offensive capability (looking at you animal instinct barbarian with 1D12 reach antlers with AOO eventually, animal skin, and predator's pounce. Right now this class is under tuned significantly if you remove hampering sweeps. IMO it needs player agency to significantly improve its offense against specific enemies so you aren't stuck constantly flailing your wet noodle arms against monsters.

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Pretty much. Being more of a threat makes your job easier on both fronts. I'd say just mirror the champions offense/defense chassis and focus on fine tuning the core mechanics.


I agree, a tank with caster-equivalent weapon attacks is very easy to ignore. The Guardian is basically a non-entity on offense and enemies can easily choose to kill everyone else and save them for last. Guardian should have Expert at 5 and Master at 13 with weapons like most other martial classes.


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HeHateMe wrote:
I agree, a tank with caster-equivalent weapon attacks is very easy to ignore.

The really silly part is that because you have alchemist progression, you're 'caster weapons' ... but only sometimes?

There's some strange internal logic that says Taunt and Intercept are as good as full spellcasting at level 6 but then we're back to being martials again at level 7.

I don't even know how you can use that as a balancing mechanic when you're only worse at specific levels.


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Red Griffyn wrote:
General Solution: A proper tank needs to be offensively decisive so as to avoid actions to kill or time to kill becoming prolonged for the party.

So you mean that a proper tank must be a proper offensive martial and as such either no more a tank or just an overpowered character.

I see a lot of people who likes Clerics and Champions in their party, so it seems that combat length is not so much of an issue.


While I disagree that the Guardian is weak at tanking (past the very early levels, they're tanky and, when Taunt hits properly, it's a significant enough debuff to incentivize enemies to focus you), I fully agree that the Guardian lacks any major ability to move fights forward. Even the Champion can deal decent damage and has plenty of feat support to be aggressive in combat, whereas the Guardian's Strikes are awful and their offensively-oriented class feats are few and far between. Because of this imbalance, the Guardian from my experience with them tends to just stall combat and make it less interesting overall.

This isn't about them needing to deal more Strike damage either; necessarily: if they were better at advancing combat through certain skill checks, like with Athletics, or dealt a bit of damage through those, then you could still have a Strike-less Guardian that would do more than just be a damage sponge. On the flipside, with better Strike progression and more feats that attached utility riders to Strikes, you could also have a Guardian who'd be encouraged to use damage-dealing moves for their utility. Currently, the Guardian rarely wants to Strike, which is particularly bad for feats like Shoulder Check that look really fun, but aren't that easy to use (and then we have Armor Break, a bad feat that will have you break your armor for a Strike that is more likely than most other martial Strikes to miss).


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I guess redeemers and liberators are problematic for the same reason? And only Paladins get to count? Redeemers can prolong combat against solo targets significantly.

Also, a lot of players like longer combats where battlefield control options get more bang for their buck. Assuming longer combats equals upsetting the table doesn’t track with my experience in play. At the same time, I agree that a party that has limited striking ability and adds a tanky martial can be a problem, but the idea that only martials can be true strikers can be disruptive at tables too.


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Ideally I would like the guardian be offensively in a similar space to the champion who also has strong defensive features. Basic martial accuracy without any damage extra (sneak attack, fighter accuracy, rage etc).

That might mean that the guardian needs defences in line with the champion rather than above but part of the thematics of the heavy armored knight is that there axe is sharp and there a good hand with it.

Adding any complexity to combat makes it longer but some complexity is fun. I am ok with longer encounters with more give and take.But preference is key.


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IMO unless you just Taunt and run basically doing nothing to contribute to damage the enemies I don't think that the Guardian lower hit progression and lack of extra damage when compared to other classes would make the encounter significantly longer.

Also I agree with SuperBidi combat length usually is not a thing that most players even put into the consideration if they get a good support. Otherwise everyone would end playing as casters only doing AoE damage to everything in the field in order to finish the encounter as soon as possible while hopes that the enemies doesn't kill them first due the lack of defense or heal.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm not sure that I buy it. An effective tank can reduce the number of defensive actions players are taking and reduce the number of times other team mates go down (~2-3 total player rounds of zero damage). I'd be very interested in a large data set before making the conclusion one way or another.


Quote:
Poor Offense Needlessly Prolongs Encounters

I demand we bring back rocket tag!


SuperBidi wrote:
Red Griffyn wrote:
General Solution: A proper tank needs to be offensively decisive so as to avoid actions to kill or time to kill becoming prolonged for the party.

So you mean that a proper tank must be a proper offensive martial and as such either no more a tank or just an overpowered character.

I see a lot of people who likes Clerics and Champions in their party, so it seems that combat length is not so much of an issue.

Champions have no issue with their attacking power though. Clerics are casters and healers, they can fight with weapons but they don't really do what a Guardian is supposed to do.


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HeHateMe wrote:
Champions have no issue with their attacking power though. Clerics are casters and healers, they can fight with weapons but they don't really do what a Guardian is supposed to do.

The way I read the Guardian, especially through its higher Armor Proficiency, it is supposed to be more tanky than the Champion. As such it's normal for it to be less offensive as otherwise it'd just be a superior Champion.

And considering how combats are violent in PF2, I think there's space for a more dedicated tank than the Champion. And it's not a problem by itself as a tank should definitely find a place in a PF2 party without being a liability.


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SuperBidi wrote:


And considering how combats are violent in PF2, I think there's space for a more dedicated tank than the Champion. And it's not a problem by itself as a tank should definitely find a place in a PF2 party without being a liability.

I don't agree. I think tanks need offensive capability to be a realistic threat to enemies, so as to concentrate their focus.

Also, even the most defensive/utility casters have offensive options... the Fireball of an utility Wizard usually hurts as much as an offensive one. The Heals of the support Cleric can bring down hordes of Undead.

Guardians should have their situational damage options too.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Does the presence of a guardian allow another party member to use riskier tactics and build their character with less regard for defense?


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Secret Wizard wrote:

I don't agree. I think tanks need offensive capability to be a realistic threat to enemies, so as to concentrate their focus.

Also, even the most defensive/utility casters have offensive options... the Fireball of an utility Wizard usually hurts as much as an offensive one. The Heals of the support Cleric can bring down hordes of Undead.

Guardians should have their situational damage options too.

I kinda do agree here. I have found the "ignore the wimpy ___" thing to happen somewhat often when I'm playing an Alchemist.

While the threat does not need to be damage per-se, it does need to be either "dangerous" or "disruptive". (I've got plenty of time spent trying to build/execute such things to help my Alchemists get more foe attention)

.

Disruptive means things that genuinely interfere with what foes attempt to do. Things like Trip, conditions that impose fail chances to actions (Dazzled and Deafened), and (the rare circumstances it can work) body-blocking, ect.

Dangerous is to try to imply you will be more of a danger if left alone. Prep spells, ect. For Alchemists, carrying multiple types of persistent damage is king there. It's amazing how much of a psychological swing it can be if the foe succeeds or fails to make those first/second persistent recovery checks. Applying persistent dmg faster than they can recover can appear *very* dangerous (in the rare times it looks like I can land a bomb per turn).

While your mileage may vary, even feeding potent elixirs like Numbing tonics does not seem to trigger the right psychology to attract GM-foe attention.

A Skinstitch Salve boosted Battle Medicine can do so decently often.

.

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For Guardian, I do like the "builds steam while being ignored" concept as a way to appear disproportionately dangerous without really being OP (or needing further Feat investment to "come online").

Make it a stance, and that fits both with the thematics of it and adds a serious opportunity cost.

Quote:

Bottle the Vengeance:

1-Action Stance

After a deep breath, you begin to collect your special moments of ire, muscles visibly swelling with each added slight against your purpose.

The first time each turn a taunted foe attempts a hostile action that excludes you, gain or increase this circumstance bonus to physical damage by 2.

Whenever a taunted foe attempts a hostile action against you, decrement this bonus by 1, to a minimum of 0.

If you inflict physical damage upon a taunted foe by means of an attack roll or skill check, you add this bonus to the damage, then reset the bonus to 0. If you end the stance, the bonus is lost. If the attack was indirect, such as by a ranged attack, only add half the bonus to damage, and reset to 0.

At 9th level, the incrementing increase changes from 2 to 3. At 16th level, from 3 to 4.

I'm not super solid on the scaling of it, but I did want to intentionally weigh the feat/feature to be somewhat disproportionately potent in the early game.

Only boosting once per creature turn is a way to keep it from stacking too unpredictably / quickly.

But yeah, the uncapped nature of the stockpile is scary, and that's the point. It's all about the threat of future.

The certainty of +2 to damage really could make foes hesitate about taking those MAP 2/3 swings at your allies. Maybe they'd rather just... raise their shield.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A guardian with an 18 STR, a shield, and ferocious vengeance, has a D8+6 attack to make against anyone that ignores you to attack your allies. That is not far off the bonus to damage from a fury barbarian. With your Shield raised your AC is the same as it was before you taunted and you have an effective damage mitigator with the shield block reaction. If they ignore you, you can certainly make them pay for it. There will be a couple of levels where your attack bonus slips behind (although the devs love playtesting those alternatives and then 'giving the players what they want' with proficiency scaling boost, so I don't know if that will last) but you also have level 1 feats to either do damage with an Athetics skill action or to take an attack that makes an enemy off guard to you as well, so I don't think the offensive weaknesses of the class are as bad as say a Dex-based Liberator Champion or many other martials in the game.

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Unicore wrote:
A guardian with an 18 STR, a shield, and ferocious vengeance, has a D8+6 attack to make against anyone that ignores you to attack your allies. That is not far off the bonus to damage from a fury barbarian. With your Shield raised your AC is the same as it was before you taunted and you have an effective damage mitigator with the shield block reaction. If they ignore you, you can certainly make them pay for it. There will be a couple of levels where your attack bonus slips behind (although the devs love playtesting those alternatives and then 'giving the players what they want' with proficiency scaling boost, so I don't know if that will last) but you also have level 1 feats to either do damage with an Athetics skill action or to take an attack that makes an enemy off guard to you as well, so I don't think the offensive weaknesses of the class are as bad as say a Dex-based Liberator Champion or many other martials in the game.

Not sure how you came to this assessment.

18 STR 1D8 weapon vs. 18 STR 1D12 weapon + rage progression and martial proficiency scaling.

The weapon dice size alone will be significant, the accuracy lags significant, the weapon specialization lags significant, and fury range scales from +2/+6/+12 (or if we pick a 'not bad instinct like dragon' we get +4/+8/+16). The throw in swipe or other action compression/damage boosting feats (sudden charge, reactive strike -> which doesn't compete with your main class' reaction,etc.)

These two martials are way apart from each other. I don't need the community DPR calculator to affirm that intuition.

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SuperBidi wrote:
Red Griffyn wrote:
General Solution: A proper tank needs to be offensively decisive so as to avoid actions to kill or time to kill becoming prolonged for the party.

So you mean that a proper tank must be a proper offensive martial and as such either no more a tank or just an overpowered character.

I see a lot of people who likes Clerics and Champions in their party, so it seems that combat length is not so much of an issue.

It isn't about being overpowered. Its about risk reward. You are easier to hit and hard to bring down and in return you can beat them up equally well. You won't be dropping people like flies. The intent is that you fight with more risk so you can get an opportunity that a more careful opponent wouldn't. I let you stab me so I close the distance and make you regret it.

No one thinks that having a offense heavy party composition is necessary. Clerics can pound the snot out of people with spells and champions can smite/use reactions that both mitigate damage and enable attacks. Each has a pathway to situational or permanent damage increases.

Your party needs a baseline offensive capability. Its one thing to say I'm going to play a PC that subtracts from that baseline because in return I have spells/utility/OOC capabilities/versatility. Its quite another to say I'm going to subtract from that baseline by effectively being a wet noodle with no special utility/OOC capabilities. This magical theoretical baseline party comp includes people above and below the baseline (like a cleric) but it comes with some benefit. What are these other benefits that this class is bringing because I don't see it.

Do you remember when the rules lawyer had their caster vs. martial event. The casters clearly won the first combat (very decisive) vs. how the martials progressed through. But they moved up like 10-15 ft per round while taking cover behind a tower shield blasting cantrips. They took so long to progress that the archer literally ran out of arrows and had to advance on them. That's what we're talking about. Some groups might really enjoy a 30 round combat but I bet you a significant portion of people wouldn't.

Extended combats because of interesting environmental/challenging layouts/hazards is fun. But taking 10+ rounds because wet noodle can't do more than 5 net damage after resistance every turn is not fun. Its an at the table issue when someone wants to play this grandoise tank class, but everyone else knows its going to make the campaign take 2-3 extra months over 1-2 years because every combat will take longer.

The class as it stands needs a risk reward way to increase their damage (in a way that they have player agency) so they aren't wet noodling. Doesn't mean you can't actively try to wet noodle or build sub optimal PCs, or have suboptimal party compositions. But the class design should enable you to avoid that and let players decide if they prefer the wet noodle aesthetic.

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Farien wrote:
Quote:
Poor Offense Needlessly Prolongs Encounters
I demand we bring back rocket tag!

Do we at least get a rocket launcher? We have a flamethrower and a backpack catapult. Clearly some design space here for quake style quad damage rockets and a new 'tag' subsystem for all the PF1e goblin adventures to come into PF2e.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I mean what you're fundamentally describing is that the utility the guardian brings doesn't compensate for its offensive deficiencies. Giving the class damage steroids is one way to solve that but not necessarily the only one.


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Squiggit wrote:
I mean what you're fundamentally describing is that the utility the guardian brings doesn't compensate for its offensive deficiencies. Giving the class damage steroids is one way to solve that but not necessarily the only one.

But give it so much defensive utility and you either (a) trivialize encounters, or (b) risk becoming unidimensional and useless in any situation that doesn't adapt to your specific niche (AC tanking).

Offensive power IS versatility.


First up, a disagreement on the premise; a combat that would have taken X rounds vs. one that takes X+Y rounds is not inherently more fun as the enjoyment of an encounter is not directly tied to its length. Things can both be fun until they wear on too long, and be fun that ends too soon.

Thus I would say the entire premise of trying to consider encounter enjoyment level by any metric of time, rather than of whether what the players are doing is actually fun in the first place, is a useless one.

Then getting to the meat of the matter I'd say that the difference in play a class provides is the fun factor. A defense-oriented class that can consolidate a lot of the need for enduring attacks and healing to a singular character frees up every other character's build to be less defense oriented, just like having a character in the party that is dedicated to healing can free up the rest of the party to not take their own healing options (and in both cases the inverse is true; a party can all spread around healing responsiblity and not need a dedicated healer as a result, just like a party can all be relatively defensible builds and it not really matter who is getting targeted by the enemies).

Beside that mechanical difference that can simply provide variety so that the same group playing together for years need not fall into playing the same dynamics all the time, there's the "I like the fantasy of [blank]" factor. Some players deeply enjoy the fantasy of being the stalwart protector of their allies, and things like not dealing as much damage do not even register as a factor to consider. Such there is no "but wouldn't you rather do more damage?" as long as the perceived cost for being able to do that is not getting as much of the stuff that enables the desired fantasy of throwing one's self between an ally and an enemy and taking the hits (and even dying) so that your ally does not.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I think an improved reactive strike would be better than a taunt, for this reason.


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Secret Wizard wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
I mean what you're fundamentally describing is that the utility the guardian brings doesn't compensate for its offensive deficiencies. Giving the class damage steroids is one way to solve that but not necessarily the only one.

But give it so much defensive utility and you either (a) trivialize encounters, or (b) risk becoming unidimensional and useless in any situation that doesn't adapt to your specific niche (AC tanking).

Offensive power IS versatility.

But the Guardian has offensive power. Compared to a Champion, you deal precisely 12.7% less damage averaged on your whole career. That's way less than the Champion/Fighter difference and I've never seen anyone complaining about the Champion because of that.


I don't think the Guardian's offensive capabilities should be focused on damage.

Tanks often don't have high damage in most games, what they have instead is hard CC (crowd control), that allows them to be proactive but supportive of their team at the same time. Taunt itself is a type of hard CC in some games, forcing enemies to stay in place to be attacked by teammates.

I think the Guardian's feats and class features should have more Stuns, mobility debuffs, stupefy, more trips and powerful shove abilities.

If I were to suggest a good example of an offensive tank that I think a Guardian should be is Leona from League of Legends. Lots of CC, high defenses, damage passives that depend on the team and mobility only when engaging the enemy.

Another avenue that could be explored is in breaching the enemies' defenses (reducing enemy DR, breaking spell resistance at higher levels, and so on).

With this in mind, I think the Guardian would approach offense and proactive gameplay (a complaint a lot of playtesters have) from an entirely different angle compared to the Champion and Warpriest, making it more distinct.


Lightning Raven wrote:
If I were to suggest a good example of an offensive tank that I think a Guardian should be is Leona from League of Legends. Lots of CC, high defenses, damage passives that depend on the team and mobility only when engaging the enemy.

Leona's passive is literally more damage, no questions asked:

Sunlight: This passive skill lets Leona's abilities mark enemy units hit with Sunlight for 1.5 seconds, and subsequent applications of Sunlight refresh its duration. Damage inflicted to marked enemy units by allied champions will consume Sunlight, dealing 25 to 144 bonus magic damage.

I think your suggestions are good – I don't necessarily feel like "more damage" is the only solution...

...but when you look into Leona's design, there's clearly an element in there to pack more offensive potential.

SuperBidi wrote:
But the Guardian has offensive power. Compared to a Champion, you deal precisely 12.7% less damage averaged on your whole career. That's way less than the Champion/Fighter difference and I've never seen anyone complaining about the Champion because of that.

Anything is less than the X/Fighter difference.

The Champion is the worst of the martials in terms of damage, so being below them isn't good.

And I'm sure you are probably (a) not comparing for the scaling, (b) probably not including the big damage boosts in the kit like Litany of Righteousness, Radiant Blade Ally, and ofc Divine Smite.

Quote:
I think an improved reactive strike would be better than a taunt, for this reason.

More reactive strikes on different situations is great. You need to:

(a) deal more damage/disrupt enemies somehow when not focused,
(b) have tools to do something when focused that is different from (a) but still fun, so it doesn't feel like your class only works when they are hitting your allies

Reactive Strikes can be a good, fun tool for both cases.


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Secret Wizard wrote:
The Champion is the worst of the martials in terms of damage, so being below them isn't good.

Far from it. Most Dex-based martials are worse. Str-based Champions are solid damage dealers.

Secret Wizard wrote:
And I'm sure you are probably (a) not comparing for the scaling

I'm comparing proficiency + Weapon Specialization only. I obviously haven't considered a Dex-based Champion.

Secret Wizard wrote:
probably not including the big damage boosts in the kit like Litany of Righteousness, Radiant Blade Ally, and ofc Divine Smite.

These are not damage boosts, these are conditional feats. It's not part of being a Champion and many Champions won't have them. Also, you can grab feats as a Guardian, too. And I won't test each and every combinations to check what is the maximum both can reach as I find that pointless.

Overall, the damage difference between a Guardian and a Champion is low. Not negligible, but low. So there's no issue with the offensive capacity of the Guardian, it will deal a ton of damage like every martial.

People very often disregard how PF2 is balanced. They are all "Fighter does much more damage than other martials" when the difference is very often lower than 10%.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

But if you're supposed to be drawing enemy attacks, why would they target you when you're so tough, but also not outputting a lot of damage? Why wouldn't they save you for last?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Has anyone made a chart to compare classes?
I was thinking number of levels in each proficiency would be a good comparison,
Differences kinda standout to me looking at it this way. I threw in warpriest at the end because they're another class with an odd progression that Guardian is only slightly better than, but guardian doesnt get full casting in exchange.

Guardian Weapon Proficiency
Trained 6
Expert 10
Master 4
Legendary 0

Champion Weapon Proficiency
Trained 4
Expert 8
Master 8
Legendary 0

Fighter Weapon Proficiency
Trained 0
Expert 4
Master 8
Legendary 8

Warpriest Weapon Proficiency
Trained 6
Expert 12
Master 2
Legendary 0


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Armor Proficiency

Guardian
Armor Proficiency
4
6
4
6

Fighter
Armor Proficiency
10
6
4
0

Champion
Armor Proficiency
6
7
5
4

Warpriest
Armor Proficiency
12
8
0
0


RJGrady wrote:
But if you're supposed to be drawing enemy attacks, why would they target you when you're so tough, but also not outputting a lot of damage? Why wouldn't they save you for last?

Positioning, giving cover, Taunting, and Intercepting the Strike if they still ignore you.


RJGrady wrote:
But if you're supposed to be drawing enemy attacks, why would they target you when you're so tough, but also not outputting a lot of damage? Why wouldn't they save you for last?

As Megistone answered, the Guardian doesn't attract attacks through sheer damage output, they attract attacks through mechanics (Taunt and Intercepting Strike). So it's fine if they do less damage than their Barbarian buddy, they will take hits somehow.


Megistone wrote:
RJGrady wrote:
But if you're supposed to be drawing enemy attacks, why would they target you when you're so tough, but also not outputting a lot of damage? Why wouldn't they save you for last?
Positioning, giving cover, Taunting, and Intercepting the Strike if they still ignore you.

Also, when are enemies learning the Guardian isn't outputting a lot of damage? In a world where prowess (a.k.a. level) is a huge determiner of one's damage output, how did the (typically ignorant) enemies determine the relative prowess of the Guardian to their party peers? The Guardian could as easily be a cheap hireling as "that guy/gal who will guide all of us home". How many rounds, hits, misses, would it take and how obvious are the numbers, flat vs. random damage, etc?

Most likely the enemies would have to judge by weapon wielded & armor worn (and perhaps who's Demoralizing best). Yet savvy veteran enemies would know those hardly matter in a world with Rogues, Monks, and more. Meanwhile, brutes might chew on soft targets simply because they don't like eating metal.

Which is all to say, the narrative in which the enemy determines the Guardian inflicts less damage takes longer IMO to play out than the time allowed in most combats. (And heck, a Guardian might prefer being ignored later one as defending their peers takes its toll.)


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Castilliano wrote:
Positioning, giving cover, Taunting, and Intercepting the Strike if they still ignore you.

Why would they attack you just because you Taunt them?

Quote:


Also, when are enemies learning the Guardian isn't outputting a lot of damage?

When the wizard in the fancy bathrobe fireballs them.


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SuperBidi wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
I mean what you're fundamentally describing is that the utility the guardian brings doesn't compensate for its offensive deficiencies. Giving the class damage steroids is one way to solve that but not necessarily the only one.

But give it so much defensive utility and you either (a) trivialize encounters, or (b) risk becoming unidimensional and useless in any situation that doesn't adapt to your specific niche (AC tanking).

Offensive power IS versatility.

But the Guardian has offensive power. Compared to a Champion, you deal precisely 12.7% less damage averaged on your whole career. That's way less than the Champion/Fighter difference and I've never seen anyone complaining about the Champion because of that.

A Guardian is a martial, and there's no way they should have attack proficiency equal to a Warpriest. Especially since the Warpriest is also a tremendous healer and has the versatility of being a full caster. The Guardian meanwhile, has no such versatility. It's my opinion that Guardian should have the same attack proficiency as Champion. Also, Weapon Specialization needs to be a class ability at 7th level rather than 11.

That's basically just making them equal to other martials, right now they're behind, without any out of combat versatility to make up for that gap.


RJGrady wrote:
Castilliano wrote:
Positioning, giving cover, Taunting, and Intercepting the Strike if they still ignore you.

Why would they attack you just because you Taunt them?

Quote:


Also, when are enemies learning the Guardian isn't outputting a lot of damage?
When the wizard in the fancy bathrobe fireballs them.

Note the first portion quotes Megistone.

Depends on how well the Fireball does, doesn't it? In PF2, warriors crank out the damage too, and the Guardian's going to appear as fierce as any until key rounds have passed.

That said, I typically agree that flashy casters, especially unarmored ones w/ AoEs, should draw immediate attention from all enemies. That harkens back to First Ed. DnD under DM advice.
I have yet to see a Wizard that looks like a wizard before that though, rather more like travelers or scribes. And hopefully they know to fire from a point where enemies can't converge.


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Red Griffyn wrote:
Fundemental Gameplay Issue with Tank Class - Poor Offense Needlessly Prolongs Encounters

That is a terrible generalisation.

There are 23 to 27 classes in the game. Only one so far is a dedicated defender. There is room for a second.
Yes a party of majority defenders is probably not a flexible or efficient plan, but if people want to do it let them. Most parties are going to have just 1 defender anyway. It is a good idea if they can add resilience.


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RJGrady wrote:
Megistone wrote:
Positioning, giving cover, Taunting, and Intercepting the Strike if they still ignore you.

Why would they attack you just because you Taunt them?

Because they have a bonus against you, and a penalty against anyone else.


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Castilliano wrote:
Also, when are enemies learning the Guardian isn't outputting a lot of damage?

In general, enemies will base themselves on the current state of combat. So if the Barbarian never hits they'll conclude that the Guardian is outputing more damage than them. But on average, the Barbarian should very quickly attract more attention than the Guardian.

HeHateMe wrote:
A Guardian is a martial, and there's no way they should have attack proficiency equal to a Warpriest. Especially since the Warpriest is also a tremendous healer and has the versatility of being a full caster. The Guardian meanwhile, has no such versatility. It's my opinion that Guardian should have the same attack proficiency as Champion. Also, Weapon Specialization needs to be a class ability at 7th level rather than 11.

You are conflating 2 distinct things. If Guardian is not on par with other classes then it should be buffed. And it doesn't have to do with weapon proficiencies, it can be around something else.

I really don't get why people get all messed up about its lower weapon proficiencies. It doesn't look like it's mechanical (as mechanically the difference is very low) but purely symbolic.


Megistone wrote:
RJGrady wrote:
Megistone wrote:
Positioning, giving cover, Taunting, and Intercepting the Strike if they still ignore you.

Why would they attack you just because you Taunt them?

Because they have a bonus against you, and a penalty against anyone else.

Not exactly. It's common the guardian AC is so high (like a lvl 5 and higher guardian with a shield risen) or your ally AC is too lower (like a unarmed caster) this bonus and penalty aren't enough to justify the target change. In such cases the GM may want to attack the guardian only due roleplay reason of being taunted but mechanically still better to attack the creature with lower AC including if you want to damage the guardian is better to do this to damage it indirectly throught Intercept Strike because your hit rate and critical chance is better doing this and usually the Intercept Strike resistance is lower than Shield Block hardness.


YuriP wrote:
Megistone wrote:
RJGrady wrote:
Megistone wrote:
Positioning, giving cover, Taunting, and Intercepting the Strike if they still ignore you.

Why would they attack you just because you Taunt them?

Because they have a bonus against you, and a penalty against anyone else.
Not exactly. It's common the guardian AC is so high (like a lvl 5 and higher guardian with a shield risen) or your ally AC is too lower (like a unarmed caster) this bonus and penalty aren't enough to justify the target change. In such cases the GM may want to attack the guardian only due roleplay reason of being taunted but mechanically still better to attack the creature with lower AC including if you want to damage the guardian is better to do this to damage it indirectly throught Intercept Strike because your hit rate and critical chance is better doing this and usually the Intercept Strike resistance is lower than Shield Block hardness.

In that case, Taunt still gave a penalty to the attacker going after the squishy, a quite rare penalty at that stacking with existing common status penalties. Not only that, but it also possibly activated the guardian's extra damage against said enemy for the next turn, making the "unruly" enemy fall easier. And finally, you still have the option to Intercept to give a bit nope to that enemy regardless of his intentions and regardless of all the penalties he already suffered due to his decision.


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I don't think there's anything wrong with the Guardian getting delayed weapon proficiencies in principle. It's just right now they sacrifice their offense to not even be tankier than the Champion.

Even during the four total levels that a Guardian's armor proficiency is higher than a Champion's I still doubt they're tankier due to the lack of innate self-healing in their kit.


shroudb wrote:
YuriP wrote:
Megistone wrote:
RJGrady wrote:
Megistone wrote:
Positioning, giving cover, Taunting, and Intercepting the Strike if they still ignore you.

Why would they attack you just because you Taunt them?

Because they have a bonus against you, and a penalty against anyone else.
Not exactly. It's common the guardian AC is so high (like a lvl 5 and higher guardian with a shield risen) or your ally AC is too lower (like a unarmed caster) this bonus and penalty aren't enough to justify the target change. In such cases the GM may want to attack the guardian only due roleplay reason of being taunted but mechanically still better to attack the creature with lower AC including if you want to damage the guardian is better to do this to damage it indirectly throught Intercept Strike because your hit rate and critical chance is better doing this and usually the Intercept Strike resistance is lower than Shield Block hardness.
In that case, Taunt still gave a penalty to the attacker going after the squishy, a quite rare penalty at that stacking with existing common status penalties. Not only that, but it also possibly activated the guardian's extra damage against said enemy for the next turn, making the "unruly" enemy fall easier. And finally, you still have the option to Intercept to give a bit nope to that enemy regardless of his intentions and regardless of all the penalties he already suffered due to his decision.

Yes it will act like a debuff stackable with Enfeebled, Clumsy or Stupefied (depending from what attribute the enemy uses to attack) due these are status penalties but not with Prone due this being a circumstance penalty (what's makes the circunstance attack penalty not so rare due how frequently players try to Trip enemies) and allows the guardian to get Ferocious Vengeance additional damage what is not bad and could be a reason to a GM to focus into guardian but as I said before if you know that the guardian will priorize to defend its allies why an specially evil creature will lose the chance to indirectly damage it more attacking his allies knowing that this will make it to try to Intercept the Strike and being damage anyway or will force him to abandon his friend! (muah-ah-ah-ah!) (sometimes is fun being a sadist GM :P)


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Why does Guardian needs a normal proficiency progression? Because missing is not fun. In combat they do only two things, protect allies and hit things. They don't have the spellcasting versatility of the Warpriest, or the alchemy of the Alchemist. All they have is "I take damage, I am tough, and I hit things" And they are mediocre at being tough and hitting things. That does not sound like fun to play.


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Broken Khree wrote:
Why does Guardian needs a normal proficiency progression? Because missing is not fun. In combat they do only two things, protect allies and hit things. They don't have the spellcasting versatility of the Warpriest, or the alchemy of the Alchemist. All they have is "I take damage, I am tough, and I hit things" And they are mediocre at being tough and hitting things. That does not sound like fun to play.

Couldn't agree more. In the end, this class is part of a game, which is meant to be fun. All the actual playtest posts I've seen have agreed on one thing: Guardian isn't fun to play.


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Guardian not being as accurate as Mental Stat Martials at certain levels such as Inventors, Thaumaturges, and Commanders is pretty much insane. You’re telling me a g@+ d$~n inventor is more consistently proficient than weapons as a heavily armored melee warrior?

Meanwhile the Warpriest laughs with it’s full sweet of spells and relatively high defenses, access to heavy armor , and a defensive mechanic known as “Heal”. This allows them to be more versatile and more generally effective than a Guardian. Once enemies know he can heal they focus on him drawing aggro. And they use Shield Block and other abilities to keep himself safe.

The fiction doesn’t make sense. And right now the Guardian not only needs to stand our from the Champion, but to the Warpriest, and the Fighters who take Hampering Sweeps.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Lyra Amary wrote:
I don't think there's anything wrong with the Guardian getting delayed weapon proficiencies in principle.

Fundamentally disagree. Using alchemist progression is really problematic because it's so inconsistent.

It's hard to even factor into their power budget properly because it's only mechanically relevant at handful of levels.

Especially given that the current model of the guardian is going to be making strikes, occasionally swinging your weapon like a wizard is really awkward.

Keep their damage buffs to a minimum, but their proficiency should be normal. There's nothing in their kit that makes being kinda bad at hitting at level 5 and 6 but not 7 and 8 make sense.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

if you think of the class as front line support character and not a true martial does it do that well? We are all trying to place the class in a role and if its not a martial then maybe its frontline support.
Not thinking of Guardian as a martial and instead thinking of it as support it actually goes up against Warpriest. In that comparison G has much stronger defenses in both proficiency and higher HP but vastly less utility in supporting allies. With armor proficiency outclassing warpriest at level 5 on.
Str as Key stat means 1 better hit and damage than warpriest. Weapon Proficiency wise G is only slightly better at some levels getting expert and master 2 levels earlier.

Guardian takes damage for other characters and needs outside healing support, Warpriest erases it and can heal itself.

Warpriest has less defenses and has to pay a feat to get heavy armor but a whole suite of divine magic to cast. Warpriest also has access to focus spells. There are limits to this, with only 2 levels at master and spending 10 levels at trained spell proficiency warpriest although a full caster is not a legendary caster so lets not compare as if they were.

Warpriest has close to the same weapon proficiency being behind 2 levels for expert and master, has less hit and does less damage outright not having str as key stat, but has some feat support to increase damage or hardness like emblazoned armaments and emblazoned energy. And a lot more if considering the unholy /holy stuff.

Fort and will are flipped between the two but Guardian gets expert reflex much sooner.

Edit: Reaction economy is something to talk about now since Guardians can get so many of them. does this compare to full spell casting? Or the quality of reactions available to each class?

I think looking at all of this guardian is still in need of a bit more somewhere. They are harder to hit but warpriest with all their healing just have more possible hp at their disposal. Getting D12 Hp will help there but I also think some damage support against those they use intercept to stop will address the rest of the difference. Taunt can just lose the -2 AC/DC and rename it, its not a taunt as is anyway. Its fine as a ranged debuff that can be action condensed with shield block.


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Broken Khree wrote:
Why does Guardian needs a normal proficiency progression? Because missing is not fun. In combat they do only two things, protect allies and hit things. They don't have the spellcasting versatility of the Warpriest, or the alchemy of the Alchemist. All they have is "I take damage, I am tough, and I hit things" And they are mediocre at being tough and hitting things. That does not sound like fun to play.

While I haven't gotten to playtest one yet, this right here is why I'm a bit gunshy of the guardian as-is. Missing isn't fun. Honestly I wouldn't mind if the guardian delayed their WS/GWS a few levels but kept their actual proficiency bumps the same. That'd sell the idea that this is a defensively-minded warrior to me, someone less concerned with doing damage, but who still has martial training that they hone over time. Granted, you'd need some tricks to fill in those gaps, but still.

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