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PF2E Martials > Casters

AaronOfBarbaria

Adventurer
For future reference: you can edit your own posts.

I don't know any details, but I believe the Clay Golem is a PF2 monster with some sort of playability issue. It seems things went fine for your party, though.
It's a relatively minor issue if the GM isn't looking for the most punishing reading possible as the one to go with.

The basics: the wounds it inflicts are cursed so that if you fail the save against the curse you cannot be healed except by magic and healing spells have to contest with the counteract rules but as-written the golem's counteract level is untouchable except by significantly higher-level healers (it's a level 10 monster with a 10 counteract level so characters have to be able to cast 7th-level healing spells to possibly counteract that) - but use of healing potions and other magical healing that doesn't involve spell casting works, and the curse ends when the character is restored to maximum HP.
 

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CapnZapp

Legend
It's a relatively minor issue if the GM isn't looking for the most punishing reading possible as the one to go with.

The basics: the wounds it inflicts are cursed so that if you fail the save against the curse you cannot be healed except by magic and healing spells have to contest with the counteract rules but as-written the golem's counteract level is untouchable except by significantly higher-level healers (it's a level 10 monster with a 10 counteract level so characters have to be able to cast 7th-level healing spells to possibly counteract that) - but use of healing potions and other magical healing that doesn't involve spell casting works, and the curse ends when the character is restored to maximum HP.
Thank you.

Okay, so the controversy arises when someone inevitably points out that healing potions are magical (and thus doesn't work) :p
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
I know I can edit my posts. But since four hours had passed I thought I should perhaps just post again lest anyone miss that I had corrected it.

Anyway - here is the ability: Cursed Wound (divine, curse, necromancy) A creature hit by the clay golem’s fist must succeed at a DC 29 Fortitude save or be cursed until healed to its maximum HP. The cursed creature can’t regain HP except via magic, and anyone casting a spell to heal the creature must succeed at a DC 29 counteract check or the healing has no effect. The golem’s counteract level is equal to its creature level.

I think that technically means healing from magical potions and items would work as long as there is no spellcasting involved. But yeah, having to use ultra specific magic items or your character is basically dead is "save or die" they tried to take out of this edition.
 

AaronOfBarbaria

Adventurer
Thank you.

Okay, so the controversy arises when someone inevitably points out that healing potions are magical (and thus doesn't work) :p
You got it backwards. The controversy is when a GM tries to say potions don't work and are then upset at the designers "because there's no way to actually get rid of this curse it must be a typo or something"
 

GrahamWills

Adventurer
A Cleric is never gonna deal significant damage
So, I'm playing a warpriest cleric and have from level 1 upward. Our other main damage dealer is a damage-optimized barbarian. There's no doubt that he does the most damage, but the cleric is definitely "dealing significant damage". And this is a cleric with maxed out charisma (for the heals!), so not an optimal combat warpriest.

Here are some of the ways that cleric remain a significant source of pure hit damage:
  • At low levels, before Striking runes are available, the cleric casts magic weapon. The barbarian is then doing d12 + 8 on attacks, while the cleric is doing 2d12 + 3. Their to-hits are pretty similar as neither has expert weapon attacks yet
  • True strike is fantastic. As a cleric I can even get it as a focus spell, so it renews for most encounters. Combining with the above (buff weapon before going in, then move to attack + true strike) is very strong, especially against level+2 opposition as iterative attacks are less useful. Against weaker foes I'll often keep the true strike until the second round, when engaged, so I can attack and make a true strike second attack with great to-hit chances)
  • Obviously, against groups, any burst attacks are going to be significant sources of damage. I've found sound burst actually to be the best (maybe its the number of fire-resistant creatures we've been going up against ...) but you have a wide variety of options.
  • Once everyone has striking runes, fighters also have expert weapon training and so are going to be +3 better on attack. Against single targets, they re generally much better -- enough so that I usual drop back into support role. However there are plenty of situations where the cleric is significantly better:
    • Flying creatures: Obviously, if you have to use ranged attacks, the melee fighter is pretty much hosed. Even the cantrips are pretty useful in this situation
    • Starting 300+' away. Closing that sort of distance is a real pain. Casters can get to attack range much more easily (500' fireball range is awesome!). Since my cleric is heavy-plate dog slow, I've been using summoned creatures with dim door to get attacks.
    • Fighting undead and fiends gives a lot of strong cleric spell options.
    • Maybe surprisingly, I've got a lot of use from Detect Invisible. Being able to see your enemy helps a lot
  • One strong mitigator is heroism -- especially the +2 boost from the heightened version. All attacks and saves at that bonus brings you very close to the fighter's attack.
  • Enlarge is also fun. Huge + 15' reach is great fun! Plus the bonus damage of course.
In terms of absolute total damage potential against a single target, I have yet to see a better single round attack than heightened searing light after true strike. Against an undead, at level 11 (my current level) it does 22d6 of damage, or 44d6 on a critical. And it's 120' range so you can cast it while the fighter spent his turn just moving. I cast it last fight for 92 points of damage, which I think is the most we have seen for a single attack. I didn't get the critical successes, which is a shame.

So, the statement "a Cleric is never gonna deal significant damage" is not true in my experience. If you build a cleric to do damage, they definitely can. And if the situation is not just a stand-up fight in a small room, you have a ton more versatility. The pure melee builds definitely do the most damage, but clerics (and druids) in my experience get pretty close, and situationally do better.
 
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GrahamWills

Adventurer
One interesting observation we had recently is that our alchemist, who generally does pretty poorly in damage output, does very well when hasted against a group of high-AC enemies. Throw four attacks against a group of three; assume they all miss. So you use do 4 sets of 3 sets of 8 points of splash damage -- that's 96 points of damage. From missing.

Even unhasted, 72 points is pretty nice. That's happened a few times in combat now and is surprisingly useful.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I'm afraid all I see is the argument "a buffed character does better than an unbuffed one".

The interesting comparison would instead be; what if you brought along a second barbarian instead of the alchemist? Or, what if you buffed the group's fighter instead of yourself?
 

MichaelSomething

Adventurer
I can’t get into game balance. I have a fixation that magic should be dangerous and very feared by players and the world. With an omg that man delves into magic. And the system should be complex and take considerable time for a player to learn because it is so esoteric and complex. Not insulting anyone who doesn’t like that style of play. But that’s what turns me on with magic in an rpg.
You sound like a person who would enjoy the Dungeon Crawl Classic RPG system
 

GrahamWills

Adventurer
The interesting comparison would instead be; what if you brought along a second barbarian instead of the alchemist? Or, what if you buffed the group's fighter instead of yourself?
Party dynamics are hard to work out; trying to work out "who does the most damage" is then pretty tricky. If the fighter does 90 points fo damage on the critical, do you credit them with 45 points, and split the rest between the bard and the cleric who buffed them? I probably could do that sort of analysis, but it should be pretty clear that the people doing the buffing are going to get a lot from this. The alchemist will too, giving CA pretty regularly. So I've stuck with the simpler analysis, which clearly favors the barbarian, so as not to inflate the "pro-cleric" numbers.

Barbarians are great for single melee opponents; having two would be overkill. Swapping a cleric out would be terrible, as we need the in-combat healing and the barbarian needs at least 2x as much as anyone else. Alchemist is probably the weakest class in the game, so swapping anything out for it would make a "more efficient party". But a wizard would be better than another barbarian. We've had most difficulty with opponents at range or teleporting at will, or flying, so no real reason for a second "solo guy in a small room" specialist.

I've just multiclassed champion with my cleric, which adds some nice damage mitigation and melee reacts. Probably a full champion would be the best current addition to our group.

My cleric also can summon choir angels, which is another excellent source of damage for parties without a bard. One action a round to have the angel increase party damage by 10% (and also have a small chance of doing minor damage) is pretty nice.

One of the reasons I like the balance in PF2 is because it really does feel that most classes pull their weight and are needed regularly. Alchemist, in my experience, though, might be the exception. It only really shines for groups of high-AC characters.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
The barbarian really takes a beating in PF2. His AC is not great. Hopefully this becomes better as the barbarian gets higher level. The barbarian deals a lot of damage, but he takes a lot of hits too with medium armor, dex-dependent, and -1 AC when raging.
 



CapnZapp

Legend
At least when you're running the first two installments of the official Adventure Path Extinction Curse (levels 1-8), the Wizard feels entirely superfluous, while strong martials rule the day. There are few to no mass combats requiring area spells, and no instances where magic specifically makes a difference.

That is, I see zero reason why not have a second Barbarian (or Fighter etc) if your group finds them dealing impressive DPS.

The idea a second character of the same class will be excessive or overkill somehow just isn't true. Easily 90% of the challenge in this AP is killing monsters; if you do that well, you have a place in the AP.

Besides, there are a lot of variety in how you kill monsters even within a single class. And other aspects, like who masters Medicine and who takes on Thievery, is not very class-dependant.

Tl;Dr: I see no reason why a party of three Barbarians and one battle medic (a Cleric perhaps) couldn't do just as well as a party with more varied martials.

Sure, them Barbarians might not want to be the group's face, but the Cleric can easily assume this role without sacrificing in-combat healing and affliction-removal outside of it. Speccing the Cleric as a warpriest is certainly not worthwhile; casters simply deal way less damage than martials anyhow.
 
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Celtavian

Dragon Lord
At least when you're running the first two installments of the official Adventure Path Extinction Curse (levels 1-8), the Wizard feels entirely superfluous, while strong martials rule the day. There are few to no mass combats requiring area spells, and no instances where magic specifically makes a difference.

That is, I see zero reason why not have a second Barbarian (or Fighter etc) if your group finds them dealing impressive DPS.

The idea a second character of the same class will be excessive or overkill somehow just isn't true. Easily 90% of the challenge in this AP is killing monsters; if you do that well, you have a place in the AP.

Besides, there are a lot of variety in how you kill monsters even within a single class. And other aspects, like who masters Medicine and who takes on Thievery, is not very class-dependant.

Tl;Dr: I see no reason why a party of three Barbarians and one battle medic (a Cleric perhaps) couldn't do just as well as a party with more varied martials.

Sure, them Barbarians might not want to be the group's face, but the Cleric can easily assume this role without sacrificing in-combat healing and affliction-removal outside of it. Speccing the Cleric as a warpriest is certainly not worthwhile; casters simply deal way less damage than martials anyhow.
Why am I having a such a bad time with my barbarian? He gets hit so often with the -1 AC and medium armor. What are the barbarians in your group doing differently? Did they go more Dex and Con focus than Str? Are the barbarians in your campaign tearing it up? The champion seems much more durable. And the Ranger archer dealing damage from range seems to do better a lot of the time. Maybe it is unlucky rolls.
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
I definitely prefer to cast heroism on our barbarian rather my myself. He is both our damage dealer and prime damage soaker. I could wish I could prepare true strike. Calistria was a great roleplaying choice for my elven bow cleric but all of her mechanical options have been useless so far.

I think if I were to play another archer I would make sure I did not have to be the cleric, go with fighter, and pick up Mobile Shot Stance at 8 so I could, as Zapp has noted before, be another warm body on the front lines soaking damage.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Why am I having a such a bad time with my barbarian? He gets hit so often with the -1 AC and medium armor. What are the barbarians in your group doing differently? Did they go more Dex and Con focus than Str? Are the barbarians in your campaign tearing it up? The champion seems much more durable. And the Ranger archer dealing damage from range seems to do better a lot of the time. Maybe it is unlucky rolls.
If you have a martial that stays at range, that just means the monsters are that much more likely to target you instead.

And it's a natural instinct for many GMs to play the monsters "smart" which in this case means "avoiding the hard target", the Champion.

If so, your party might be imbalanced in the area of sharing incoming damage.

I strongly believe every martial must take on the very essential task of: soaking (or negating*) damage.
*) it's almost impossible to build a character that doesn't take damage. The monsters are simply too dangerous.

If the fourth character is a squishie I can definitely understand your pain - not only do you compare your defense with the best defender of the game, you don't get much help in the most important task either: causing damage. After all, when all monsters are dead, you don't need a high AC...


Champions and ranged fighters have both considerably lower DPS than you do. Your allies need to, at a minimum, realize it is in their interest to keep you standing to output your impressive DPS even though it means inconveniencing themselves.

In contrast, the five-man party I'm GMing feature one barbarian, one fighter, one ranger - all melee warriors. The barbarian might take a bit more damage than the other two, but is also doing huge amounts of damage herself. If she's at risk of going down, she can rely on two allies to step up.

And of course, the impressive healing power of the Cleric. (Only the fifth character, a Wizard, feels like it is playing in junior league)

My suggestion would be to have the archer character understand the necessity to stay close to enemies and divert some of the damage you're currently soaking onto his or her own body.

After all, in a game with "free" healing, taking damage is not a problem. Only taking too much damage in too short time is.

Bottom line is: it might not be entirely your fault your character is taking so much damage...!

Regards
 
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FrozenNorth

Adventurer
In contrast, the five-man party I'm GMing feature one barbarian, one fighter, one ranger - all melee warriors. The barbarian might take a bit more damage than the other two, but is also doing huge amounts of damage herself. If she's at risk of going down, she can rely on two allies to step up.

And of course, the impressive healing power of the Cleric. (Only the fifth character, a Wizard, feels like it is playing in junior league)
Thanks for the play-by-play. It really seems that group composition and tendency to work together is a massive factor in PF2.

By contrast, our frontline is made up of a Champion (OK, besides the fact that she never uses her reaction) and a Mutagen Alchemist.

Mid-line is the melee-rogue and the Dex-based archer who fights with a 2-handed sword in melee.

Backline is Undead Sorcerer and Illusionist Wizard (Warped Terrain is exceptionally useless).

I’m pretty sure our DM is both not optimising monster tactics and fudging rolls to keep us alive.
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
This probably sounds crazy but when you say your wizard is playing in junior league I kinda want to play one to see for myself, :D .

If you are that one hobgoblin who is like, "Screw those other guys," and becomes a wizard I suppose you might have the most solid base for a wizard with +2 Dex, +2 Con, +2 Int, -2 Wis and the Hobgoblin Weapon Familiarity feat, use a bow and Bespell Weapon. So you always have an offensive third action and can take a hit or two due to reasonable hp.
 
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FrozenNorth

Adventurer
If you are that one hobgoblin who is like, "Screw those other guys," and becomes a wizard I suppose you might have the most solid base for a wizard with +2 Dex, +2 Con, +2 Int, -2 Wis and the Hobgoblin Weapon Familiarity feat, use a bow and Bespell Weapon. So you always have an offensive third action and can take a hit or two due to reasonable hp.
MIght be doable, but it still sucks somewhat when your concept is “fey trickster” and the obvious use of your third action is “let me grab a bow and skewer a b*****”.
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
We just hit level 9 in the campaign I am in so I might do it like this. Despite being evoker I might try to focus mostly only my bonus spells on direct damage dealing.

The Hobgoblin Heretic
male elfbane hobgoblin tinker spell substitution evoker wizard 9, neutral
str 10 dex 18 con 16 int 19 wis 12 cha 10
feats
ancestral - alchemical scholar, hobgoblin weapon discipline, hobgoblin lore
background - specialty crafting/bookmaking
class - reach spell, widen spell, bespell weapon, spell penetration, advanced school spell
skill - alchemical crafting, magical shorthand, magical crafting, impeccable crafter
general - toughness, improved initiative
skills
trained - athletics, engineering lore, hobgoblin lore, intimidate, medicine, nature, occultism, religion, society, stealth
expert -
master - arcana, crafting
 

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