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3E/3.5 (Coming from 3.5) Are casters still the most powerful in PF?

Mallus

Hero
Why yes, yes they are. Unless your particular campaign strays from the several of the system's basic assumptions.

Non-casters do get more toys in Pathfinder, but they're still outclassed by the sheer number of decisive options (readily) available to casters.
 

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LexStarwalker

First Post
In my opinion, Pathfinder improved upon 3.5 a great deal while keeping the things I liked about 3.5. The balance of powers is still similar (as it has been for a long time in D&D), but I think it is better balanced in Pathfinder than 3.5.

If you're talking high level, then the most powerful classes are still the straight casters--cleric and wizard (and some of the other optional straight caster classes are pretty powerful too). If you're talking earlier levels of the game, then your fighter types are still more powerful.

Personally, I don't have a problem with this as players get to choose whether they want power right away, knowing that down the road they may be outshined by the casters, or if they want power down the road, knowing that in the beginning they'll be outshined by the fighter types.

That said, I don't think the spread is as wide as it was before. Casters get some help at the early levels so they're not completely useless. E.g. wizards have a low-powered magical attack that they can use in addition to spells. The fighter types get some love at higher levels as well.

One thing that is different in Pathfinder is the game gives incentives to play a single class. You can still multiclass and pick up prestige classes, but there are good reasons to stay with one class. You get bonuses every time you level your favored class (which you get to pick when making the character). The classes are all more attractive as well. Pretty much all of them have been fleshed out with additional special abilities so every time you level you feel like you get something. Dead levels have for the most part been eliminated.

If you're going to play a D20 system, I'd definitely go with Pathfinder. As you said in your post, there are many ways you as the GM can keep things balanced between the players so everyone's having a good time.
 


Psion

Adventurer
In PF, martial characters are veritable damage machines.

Further, many of the "niche stealing" effects have been removed, and many of the all-too-convenient spells that wormed around the weaknesses of casters in 3.5 are not present in PF (e.g., no spell resistance conjuration effects that are just as damaging as evocation effects).

There are still some problem spells (charm monster is essentially unchanged and potentially annoying niche-theft if campaign style permits), and if the utility of teleport aggravates you, it's essentially unchanged (but that's a DM campaign management issue, not a player glory issue; AFAIAC the fighter shouldn't be upset if the mage has to play "public transport system" for the party.) But make no mistakes, the situation in PF is much more manageable than if you play "Core + most expansions" 3.5.
 

timASW

First Post
Pathfinder made a huge change in the relative power levels in combat. I've found my groups casters who are all experienced players to be regularly outshined in combat by our fighter and barbarian. Which is just fine, thats how it should be.

They can still be the dreaded batman wizard but since thats not really a problem I dont care. For a while back in 3X a had a caster try to steal the rogues schtick, then i made 5 or 6 locked doors in most closed areas and he decided he would rather let the rogue handle that then blow all his 2nd level spells on knock.

The stealth thing was never an issue because invisibility and silence are both also 2nd level. If they got cast at all it was on the rogue to make sure he's uber sneaky for a vital bit of scouting or sneak attack.

Casters still have fly and teleport which may or may not be a problem depending on your DM style. But I've never heard a player complain that the caster was going to teleport or fly them straight to the goal so this is also not a problem when it comes to campaign balance.
 


Evenglare

Adventurer
Again, limit what spells you allow PCs to access. If it's a particularly powerful spell, make it part of a quest to get. I don't understand why people think it's fine to limit what races and classes and items etc you give out , but not spells. I have found that this literally clears up 99% of all "caster is too powerful" problems.
 

Psion

Adventurer
Again, limit what spells you allow PCs to access. If it's a particularly powerful spell, make it part of a quest to get. I don't understand why people think it's fine to limit what races and classes and items etc you give out , but not spells. I have found that this literally clears up 99% of all "caster is too powerful" problems.

I don't think it's matter or "letting". I think it's a matter of the way the mechanic works. Spells are design so their use is more limited, but characters are much more free to add new spells as they progress. This makes the task of the DM playing "goalie" a bit more daunting.

But certainly. Giving players carte blanche access to spells in 3.5 (especially outside of the core) was always a dangerous way to go. Doubly so once the Spell Compendium came out.
 

adembroski

First Post
Independent of the balance discussions (which I generally abhor as it's so dependent on style as to be a pointless question. The cows in my campaign are cube shaped), the switch to PF is an upgrade overall. I actually initially reacted negatively to PF, but after running it for 5 months now, I'm thoroughly converted and I don't think I'd go back.
 

airwalkrr

Adventurer
Right now I am planning to limit spell selection to the core rulebook only. If players want to learn another spell, they will have to research it, old-school style. I think that will keep casters within some reasonable boundaries. Right now, in 3.5 I limit casters to player's handbook only and require approval of other spells on a case-by-case basis. That seems to work fairly well. Since I am not as familiar with PF, I think having a little more limitation will be reasonable.
 


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