Pathfinder 1E The Interesting Case of the Quadratic Fighter


I am playing in a game that is 16th level, but through a crazy set of circumstances basically turned into a monty haul style game. Each player has gotten access to millions of gold in equipment, more equipment than I have ever dreamed of as a player....and so of course the power scale has been through the roof.

But what's been most interesting is the effect its had on the Fighter vs Wizard balance. Normally at this level you expect for spellcasters to be a lot of the stars, with their game altering spells. However, what we have been seeing is the fighter and paladin are the stars of combat.

Our items combined with a bard that loves big inspire courage, has made us gods. There is no AC we cannot hit, and our damage is obscene. Most creatures we are plastering in 1-2 rounds. The fighter is the undisputed king of offense, and while my paladin is no slouch, all of my saving throws at 30+ (and with a ring of evasion and the ability to reroll 1s 3/day) means monsters just can't really hurt me. I don't think I've failed a save in the last 10 adventures.

Meanwhile our poor spellcasters still have to deal with extremely high monster saves and spell resistances.... and what's interesting is while there is tons of equipment and bard powers to boost attack rolls....there isn't all that much to bump spell dcs and SR. Don't get me wrong, compared to normal parties their saves are incredibly high.....but not compared to the CR class of monster we are now fighting (often CR 21+). Further, our access to equipment has given the fighters lots of counters to traditional magical gotchas....everyone has true seeing, fly items, teleport items, freedom of movement items, etc etc. So in general what we are seeing is that while the martials are always cutting monsters to pieces, the casters are often having spells fizzle to SR or high saves, and even when they are getting in a good effect....the control is not stacking up to the fact that we can just ginsu the creature in a single round anyway.

Now obviously the game was not balanced for our amount of loot (the amount is truly obscene), but its been interesting to see how much equipment (and the bard power) has tipped the scale in favor of martials even at this level.

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When my group played iron gods, the game master retooled the final encounter to try to ensure the boss would survive more than one round.

He considered the fact that the two magus players in the party could do bladed dash with spell storing keen scimitars that held empowered shocking grasp. He considered the fact that my brawler had the lunge feat and a ridiculous magic hat that looked like a frog that could let me move 30 ft as a swift action. He considered the fact that I pretty much grappled at will with any attack, thanks to the combination of hamatula strike and snake style, which let my fists deal piercing damage.

What he did not take into account was that our Oracle could cast dimension door. So even though the main boss stayed way out of range of us, and got off one spell, the Oracle just teleported the rest of us into his face, and we turned him into mechanical goo.

High level combat is really hard to balance. The action economy of third edition going into Pathfinder was not thought through that well.


everyone has true seeing, fly items, teleport items, freedom of movement items, etc etc.
What sources are you using for purchasing or crafting your items? Just stuff out of the books or are there custom items?

I remember at high levels in 3.5/PF 1e the choices of what to use for certain slots like rings and amulets became significant. When I was playing my 17th level eldritch knight who was often solo I forewent an amulet of natural armor to get a hand of glory to have three rings (deflection, freedom of movement, and evasion) to be broadly defensively covered rather than max out AC.

Care to share your list of items for your character?


Care to share your list of items for your character?
Hehe you have opened the flood gate! Just remember I did say the money we had was "truly obscene". Most of this is standard, with just a tweak here and there. Its mainly around the weapons and armor that are all custom, and its mainly just picking various abilities from the list, nothing that is "off book unique".

This is for my 16th level Paladin:
  • +5 books all stats (I think wis and dex were +4s because of even stats)
  • Lesser and regular Quicken Rod
  • Lesser and regular Extend rod
  • Hat of Resistance +5
  • Headband of Mental Superiority +6
  • Goggles of True Seeing
  • Wings of the Gargoyle
  • Scarab of Protection
  • Unfettered Shirt
  • Robe of Infinite Twine
  • Belt of Physical Superiority +6
  • Fate Woven Braid of the Nords
  • Gloves of the Shortened Path
  • Boots of Teleportation
  • Ring of Protection +5 (with a +1 insight to AC thrown in)
  • Ring of Evasion
  • Stone of Good Luck
  • 3 Portable Holes
  • Pearls of Power (two each at 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th)
  • Pearl of the Sirins
  • Flawed Pale Green Ioun Stone
  • Dusty Rose Prism Ioun Stone
  • Bottle of Air
Weapon: +5 (Horaculum) Spell Storing, Impervious, Nullyfing, Called Longsword
R. Weapon: +5 Siccate Impervious, Called, Distance, Brilliant Energy Composite Longbow (strength +8)
Backup Weapon: +5 Cryptstone Undead Bane, Disruption Mace
Armor: +5 Energy Resistance 10 (All types, even sonic), Comfort, Hosteling Full Plate
Shield: +5 Negative Energy Resistance 10, Heavy Fort, Determination Quickdraw Light Shield (special 1/day "Shield of Loyalty" spell added in)

and now.... my Paladin Steed

Armor: +5 Mithral Fire Resistance 30, Mind-buttressing, Advancing Kikko
  • Cloak Resistance +5
  • Saddle of Physical Superiority +6
  • Horseshoes of Crushing Blows (+6 Adamantine)
  • Goggles of Night
  • Corset of the Vishkanya
  • Lord's Banner (Hallow -> Death Ward)



Here was the last entry for my 16th level 3.5 ranger wizard eldritch knight (he had lost some choice crafted items and then gained some loot from a defeated warlock at the time, thus the charisma and not int item)

Robe of the Archmagi white
Mithral Buckler +1 Soulfire 10 acid r
Boots of Flying
Sword (bastard) +3 blessing
Badge of the Svirfneblin
Ring of Deflection +5
Ring of freedom of movement
Gloves of Arrow Snaring
Cloak of Cha +6
Boccob’s Blessed Book
Returning Dagger +1 spell storing
Hat of Disguise
Monk’s Belt
Ring of Evasion
Heward’s Handy Haversack
Hand of Glory
Cold Iron Mongol War Dirk +1
Battle Dragon
Bag of Tricks
Wand of Cure Light Wounds
Wand of Knock

In a separate Pathfinder campaign, the same character as a 15th level pathfinder 1e Eldritch knight:

Equipment 140,000

22,810 gp
Belt of physical Perfection +4 (32,000) (64)
Ring of Protection +4 (16,000) (32)
Amulet of Mighty Fists Holy (10,000) (20)
Mithral Chain Shirt +4 (9,000) (17)
Resistance 10 fire, cold (18,00) 36
Mithral Buckler +4 (9,000) (17)
Cloak of Resistance +4 (8,000) (16)
Blessed Book (6,250) (12.5)
Adamantine Scimitar (3,000)
Pearl of Power 2nd level (2,000) (4)
Scroll of Magic Fang level 20 (1,500) used.
Handy Haversack (1,000) (2)
Hat of Disguise (900) (1.8)
Cure Light Wounds Wand x2 (1,500)
Silver Dragon Statuette 1 use call dragon strike on city +10,000 gp mithril

Permanency spells:

Greater Magic Fang (7,500)
See Invisible (5,000)
Dark Vision (5,000)
Detect Magic (2,500)
Enlarge Person (2,500)

Permanent Image: ethereal phase spider

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