View Full Version : [Pathfinder] Bolstering low tiers

2011-01-13, 01:49 PM
I am planning on running a game soon where I fully expect the party to pick characters from widely varying tiers (Cleric, Wizard, Fighter, Rogue). The game is Pathfinder material only, so no Tome of Battle or Factotum.

One thing I was considering was providing each character with a 'special item' of sorts which granted increased powers as they leveled up. (Think weapons of legacy, but without all the 'trade-in-this-for that-bonus' stuff.)

What are some things that would boost the fighter and rogue up a tier or two? (The cleric and wizard would get less effective (Trivial) benefits from their 'special item')

2011-01-13, 01:58 PM
The game is Pathfinder material only, so no Tome of Battle or Factotum.

Are you okay with some feat translations over from 3.5? It looks like no class translations, but some extra feat options could be greatly helpful to both classes. Same goes with equipment transfers (My fighters and I like Strongarm Bracers :smallbiggrin:) And there's your special item for that fighter.

Also as to the fighter this is good place to start looking at a solution assuming you have no problems with a little homebrew. http://dungeons.wikia.com/wiki/Fighter%2C_Tome_%283.5e_Class%29.
Not Pathfinder but cherry picking some of the features(especially the weapon training and the skill list) could help improve what the character can do in and out of combat.

Sorry I can't help much with the rogue. The marital side is what I know best

2011-01-13, 02:03 PM
I'm fairly certain that damage output isn't what keeps the fighter from getting into higher tiers. Since Pathfinder adds weapon training (bonus to hit and damage with certain class of weapons) to the fighter, they can get up to the point of doing lots of damage.

Where they suffer with respect to the higher tiers is that melee (or ranged, depending on build) damage is all they do. To help with that, you would need items that gave other abilities to the fighter (such as some sort of spellcasting item or something). It also depends on how your Wizard and Cleric play their characters. If your wizard plays blaster, it shouldn't be too hard to balance with your fighter, if he goes for batman it'll be a bit harder.

2011-01-13, 02:11 PM
One option for a legacy weapon type option would be to give them an intelligent item, perhaps. You could scale their abilities as necessary and give them spells they can use 3/day or similar if you feel that character is sorely lacking in an area.

The rules for doing so in Pathfinder is in the SRD if you haven't spotted it already:

2011-01-13, 02:14 PM
You may not need to do anything depending on the playstyle of your players. I'd just play as normal at first and only correct balance issues between the party if any occur. Otherwise, the players playing the "higher tier" characters might feel cheated that other players are getting special boosts and they are not.

In actual, non-optimized play, the difference in tiers is actually not a huge thing.

2011-01-13, 02:15 PM
The rogue doesn't actually need much. He benefits from the changes to the skill system (not as much as the wizard, but more than the fighter or cleric). He benefits from how few creatures in PF are immune to sneak attack. He benefits from the rogue talents. He may be tier 3 already.

What the fighter & the rogue both need is utility and flexibility. Flight. A ranged attack if they are meleers or vice versa. Let the fighter retrain his fighter feats at a vastly accelerated rate (maybe 1 feat per day). Some way to hurt things that are immune to damage due to high AC or DR. More skill points for both (especially the fighter).

What is the fighter going to be like, do you know? You could give him some social skills, or magic item crafting, or something else to be useful outside of combat, but what is his concept now?

2011-01-13, 08:45 PM
Their are a considerable amount of small tweaks in the pathfinder game. So the balance issue your thinking of might not be as bad as you think. I would play a few weeks, level up and see how it goes. You can always drop some magic items off latter on.

2011-01-13, 08:48 PM
Unless poorly optimized there is no need to bolster th low tiers in Pathfinder. it /may/ be an issue after level 10.

but a level 10 fighter for example can be a battlefield controling damage dealing monster. Throw in a smart player with cloak of resistance +3 boots of haste or teleportation or some other item that lets him Bipass obsticles and he can handily deal with alot of problems.

I think Rogues might be an issue but i think this also is a playstle issue in that provice challenges that need to be solved in combat that are not strictly damage rleated. like disarming a trap that will bisect the helpless maiden in half. the roge gts to be the hero to the maiden solves a problem for the event that /has/ to be solved and being a weaker combatant doesnt come up.

2011-01-13, 09:21 PM
Their are a considerable amount of small tweaks in the pathfinder game. So the balance issue your thinking of might not be as bad as you think. I would play a few weeks, level up and see how it goes. You can always drop some magic items off latter on.

In my experience the steps between tiers are not quite as large in Pathfinder as they are in 3.5. Fighters are still a fair ways below full spell casters. But there are several changes that raises them a tier above what they were in 3.5

The revamped skill system means that anyone can pick up enough skills to have "some" non-combat role. Cross class skills mean you are only 3 points behind the guy who has it as a class skill not 1/2. So at level 20 you have 20 or 23 points not 12 or 23. And the fact that once a class skill always a class skill, means that with a one level dip, a fighter can have any skill he wants as a class skill. If you allow Traits (which I recommend) you can get a lot of the skills as class skills, without even the dip. And the consolidated skill list makes most roles a bit affordable. Perception, Stealth and Survival are all you need for a scout. A fighter probably can't have more than one role, but at least they won't be useless out of combat.

And the fighter gains big time in the feat list. Especially with the Advanced Players Guide, the fighter can do more than just "full attack." They can get a bunch of feats that make combat maneuvers very effective. The Critical Focus tree allows them to apply a variety of conditions to their targets. Other feats like Stand Still, Step Up (and its tree), and Combat Patrol provide battlefield control. It's still not as flexible as the Wizard who can fly starting at level 5. Heck, it's not as flexible as Warblade. But I wouldn't write it off prior to play

2011-01-13, 09:37 PM
If you're concerned abbout lower tiers and you're the GM, why not include Tome of Battle and Dungeonscape?

Hida Reju
2011-01-14, 12:06 AM
Well in a high magic campaign I took a look at the Xanth Route of doing things.

The following campaign changes occurred.

1. Wizards did not exist
2. Sorcerers were uncommon but playable.
3. Every character class (Other than sorcerers) had a magical talent IE spell like ability useable lvl/2 times in a day. This ability was a lvl 1-2 spell that funtions like normal and scales according to character lvl.
4. Sorcerers get 1 spell per lvl added to known spell list

It was a fun way to go.