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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Sorcerer Archetype- Battlemage

    I posted my Sorc Archetype idea on the Pathfinder Subreddit, but the people there mostly bitched about how crazy powerful Sorcs are, and how doing anything to them that I wanted was OP because they were perfectly balanced/OP as-is.

    So, I'm basically going to copy-paste what I had:
    So, I had a hard look at Sorcs, and decided they were underpowered. Not only do they gain access to each spell level a full level later, but their bonus feats are mostly awful (if you just use Paizo content). I'd say about 40-60% of the bonus feats per bloodline are Melee oriented, AND the powers are often Melee-esque.

    The trouble with this is that the non-Armor-Wearing, Half-Progression BAB, d6 Hit-Die Sorc CANNOT afford to be a Melee fighter like their powers suggest.

    To fix this, I am considering introducing a house-rule that makes all Sorcs have a d8 Hit Die, proficient in Light Armor, and gain Arcane Armor Training without the prerequisites at Level 1. Change their BAB to a Cleric BAB.
    My main concern is just that Sorcs really can't take advantage of their melee abilities, of which they have a lot. Most bloodlines have one or more Melee powers, and multiple feats. I'd like to see a viable way to make have Melee attacks. For this, I would trade in their Bloodline Spells.

    What do you guys think?

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Sorcerer Archetype- Battlemage

    Unfortunately i and everyone else is just going to repeat what you've allready been told. I recommend reading this for why.

    Now yes Sorcs compared to wizards, and clerics and druids are weaker, but they're still horribly broken OP. The balance point is around the bard.

    Also at least in core Sorcs have zero melee capability, nor should anything with access to to spells above 6th ever have serious personal melee capability.

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: Sorcerer Archetype- Battlemage

    I haven't actually played/DMed Pathfinder, though I am planning on using it for my next campaign. However, I think that the giving up the bloodline spells is not a big enough cost (seeing as the player could select those spells anyway) for an improved hit die, better base attack, and two bonus feats. Plus, I think that the bloodline spells are more important for flavor than the bloodline feats in some cases (e.g. fey bloodline).

    Why not just use Transformation to allow the sorcerer to fight in melee? It provides (effectively) full base attack, a hit die 2 steps improved (on average), and a +4 natural armor bonus. This does cost a round of preparation though. At levels prior to having access to this spell, I think various spells could compensate since the differences in base attack and hit points are smaller (Mage Armor, False Life, etc). You could also invent spells similar to Transformation or Divine Power for lower levels I suppose.

    If you're really set on the bonuses you mention for what I perceive to be a marginal cost, I think you should have it be unique to the specific bloodlines you feel are limited by the sorcerer's hit die and base attack. That way bloodlines for which the bloodline spells are more flavorful than the feats still know them by default.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Sorcerer Archetype- Battlemage

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    Unfortunately i and everyone else is just going to repeat what you've allready been told. I recommend reading this for why.

    Now yes Sorcs compared to wizards, and clerics and druids are weaker, but they're still horribly broken OP. The balance point is around the bard.

    Also at least in core Sorcs have zero melee capability, nor should anything with access to to spells above 6th ever have serious personal melee capability.
    IIRC, isn't the Tier system made for 3.5? I should also probably clarify that everyone in this party plays from Tier 1-Tier 3, and some of the reason I am doing this is that, as it is, no one in our group would ever play a Sorc. I should also probably specify that I am the DM, not a player asking the DM some BS. We have a Dwarven Crossbowmen whose hitting about 30's per shot with 3 shots and minor spellcasting (albeit with a weirdly good list), an Inquisitor whose probably our weakest member but whatevs (he's the exception to this, and I will be working with him to build himself up a few notches), a Lizardfolk (for flavor) Polearm wielding/Sunder-crazy/Vital-Striking/AoO-mad Fighter regularly hitting things with the equivalent of a 9-10th level Fireball, and a Witch getting the most mileage out of Slumber as possible and buffing the Crossbowmen and Lizardfolk. I may try to convince the Inquisitor to be a Sorc, as he is currently not contributing too much. He usually plays a Summoner, and I can tell he's strugglin' with the class not being as powerful as he's used to.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Sorcerer Archetype- Battlemage

    Quote Originally Posted by GGambrel View Post
    I haven't actually played/DMed Pathfinder, though I am planning on using it for my next campaign. However, I think that the giving up the bloodline spells is not a big enough cost (seeing as the player could select those spells anyway) for an improved hit die, better base attack, and two bonus feats. Plus, I think that the bloodline spells are more important for flavor than the bloodline feats in some cases (e.g. fey bloodline).

    Why not just use Transformation to allow the sorcerer to fight in melee? It provides (effectively) full base attack, a hit die 2 steps improved (on average), and a +4 natural armor bonus. This does cost a round of preparation though. At levels prior to having access to this spell, I think various spells could compensate since the differences in base attack and hit points are smaller (Mage Armor, False Life, etc). You could also invent spells similar to Transformation or Divine Power for lower levels I suppose.

    If you're really set on the bonuses you mention for what I perceive to be a marginal cost, I think you should have it be unique to the specific bloodlines you feel are limited by the sorcerer's hit die and base attack. That way bloodlines for which the bloodline spells are more flavorful than the feats still know them by default.
    I think I like the idea of it being bloodline specific more. Because some bloodlines (like Elemental) really don't need the buff. I may also have them cast fewer spells per day (maybe capping off at 4/day of any level) and reducing their number of Spells Known for each level by 1. My main concern has been the Abyssal and Draconic Bloodlines, which both seem REALLY melee focused.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Sorcerer Archetype- Battlemage

    Ahhh, you didn't specify PF, i assumed this bloodlines thing was some sorc variant, i can never remember them all. That said whilst i'm not intimately familiar with Pathfinder my understanding from discussions around here is that you can still rate them using that system, PF's changes just mean some have moved about. My understanding is that the full casters haven't really moved much, it's the mundanes that have risen a bit.

    I'm also really, really concerned by how you say it's a party of T3's to T1's, but then describe two character's who capabilities, (i'm assuming the main thing you've described are the only things they could be described as strong points, are strictly T4. Having a fighter who can regularly hit for a 10th to 11th level fireball is not T3, it's T4 isf all they can do is deal that kind of damage. And if they're reliant on AoO to do it their even more firmly in T4. How does he deal with things he can't melee, how does he deal with non-combat situations, how does he deal with things he can't sunder, how does he deal with very large numbers of targets. The way you describe the fighter he sounds like he's limited strictly to sundering stuff and combining normal attacks and AoO to get moderately decent damage. But can't really do much if sundering or large single target damage aren't the required things. The Dwarven Crossbowman sounds similar. The witch sounds like she may actually have acess to the power level your talking about, but lack the experience with the class to make it that.


    In fact I've just gone digging and whilst it was very cursory PF seems to calculate saving throws and spell DC's and still has many of the same utterly broken effects at high levels as 3.5. And the witch seems to have access to many of the same spells as the sorc. Although it's for 3.5 i'm going to quote a section from my link you may have missed, (it's buried in the FAQ and i forgot to mention it before), whilst by the nature of PF some of these options won't be available or work as well, some will and if you think hard you should be able to find spells that would do a similar effect.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Situation 1: A Black Dragon has been plaguing an area, and he lives in a trap filled cave. Deal with him.

    Situation 2: You have been tasked by a nearby country with making contact with the leader of the underground slave resistance of an evil tyranical city state, and get him to trust you.

    Situation 3: A huge army of Orcs is approaching the city, and should be here in a week or so. Help the city prepare for war.

    Okay, so, here we go.

    Tier 6: A Commoner. Situation 1: If he's REALLY optimized, he could be a threat to the dragon, but a single attack from the dragon could take him out too. He can't really offer help getting to said dragon. He could fill up the entire cave with chickens, but that's probably not a good idea. Really, he's dead weight unless his build was perfectly optimized for this situation (see my Commoner charger build for an example). Situation 2: Well, without any stealth abilities or diplomacy, he's not too handy here, again unless he's been exactly optimized for this precise thing (such as through Martial Study to get Diplomacy). Really, again his class isn't going to help much here. Situation 3: Again, no help from his class, though the chicken thing might be amusing if you're creative.

    Tier 5: A Fighter. Situation 1: If he's optimized for this sort of thing (a tripper might have trouble, though a charger would be handy if he could get off a clear shot, and an archer would likely work) he can be a threat during the main fight, but he's probably just about useless for sneaking down through the cave and avoiding any traps the dragon has set out without alerting said dragon. Most likely the party Rogue would want to hide him in a bag of holding or something. Once in the fight if he's optimized he'll be solid, but if not (if he's a traditional SAB build or a dual weilding monkey grip type) he's going to be a liability in the combat (though not as bad as the Commoner). Situation 2: As the commoner before, his class really won't help here. His class just doesn't provide any useful tools for the job. It's possible (but very unlikely) that he's optimized in a way that helps in this situation, just as with the Commoner. Situation 3: Again, his class doesn't help much, but at least he could be pretty useful during the main battle as a front line trooper of some sort. Hack up the enemy and rack up a body count.

    Tier 4: The Rogue. Situation 1: Well he can certainly help get the party to the dragon, even if he's not totally optimized for it. His stealth and detection abilities will come in handy here, and if he puts the less stealthy people in portable holes and the like he's good to go. During the combat he's likely not that helpful (it's hard to sneak attack a dragon) but if he had a lot of prep time he might have been able to snag a scroll or wand of Shivering Touch, in which case he could be extremely helpful... he just has to be really prepared and on the ball, and the resources have to be available in advance. He's quite squishy though, and that dragon is a serious threat. Situation 2: With his stealth and diplomacy, he's all over this. Maybe not 100% perfect, but still pretty darn solid. An individual build might not have all the necessary skills, but most should be able to make do. Situation 3: Perhaps he can use Gather Information and such to gain strategic advantages before the battle... that would be handy. There's a few he's pretty likely to be able to pull off. He might even be able to use Diplomacy to buff the army a bit and at least get them into a good morale situation pre battle. Or, if he's a different set up, he could perhaps go out and assassinate a few of the orc commanders before the fight, which could be handy. And then during the fight he could do the same. It's not incredible, but it's something.

    Tier 3: The Beguiler. Situation 1: Again, getting through the cave is easy, perhaps easier with spell support. And again, if he's really prepared in advance, Shivering Touch via UMD is a possibility. But he's also got spells that could be quite useful here depending on the situation, and if he's optimized heavily, this is going to be pretty easy... Shadowcraft Mage, perhaps? Or Earth Dreamer? Either way, he's got a lot of available options, though like the Rogue he's somewhat squishy (and that Dragon won't fall for many illusions with his Blindsense) so he still needs that party support. Situation 2: Again, with his skills he's all over this one, plus the added ability to cast spells like charm makes this one much easier, allowing him to make contacts in the city quickly while he figures out where this guy is. Situation 3: Like the Rogue, he can get strategic advantages and be all over the Diplomacy. He's not quite as good at assassinating people if he takes that route (though sneaking up invisible and then using a coup de gras with a scythe is pretty darn effective), but using illusions during the fight will create some serious chaos in his favor. A single illusion of a wall of fire can really disrupt enemy formations, for example.

    Tier 2: The Sorcerer. Situation 1: It really depends on the Sorcerer's spell load out. If he's got Greater Floating Disk, Spectral Hand, and Shivering Touch, this one's going to be easy as pie, since he can just float down (and carry his party in the process) to avoid many traps, then nail the dragon in one shot from a distance. If he doesn't he'd need scrolls with the same issues that the UMD Rogue and Beguiler would need. If he's got Explosive Runes he could create a bomb that would take out the Dragon in one shot. If he's got Polymorph he could turn the party melee into a Hydra for extra damage. If he's got Alter Self he could turn himself into a Skulk to get down there sneakily. Certainly, it's possible that the Sorcerer could own this scenario... if he has the right spells known. That's always the hard part for a Sorcerer. Situation 2: Again, depends on the spell. Does he have divinations that will help him know who's part of the resistance and who's actually an evil spy for the Tyranical Govenerment? Does he have charm? Alter Self would help a ton here too for disguise purposes if he has it. Once again, the options exist that could totally make this easy, but he might not have those options. Runestaffs would help a bit, but not that much. Scrolls would help too, but that requires access to them and good long term preparation. Situation 3: Again, does he have Wall of Iron or Wall of Stone to make fortifications? Does he have Wall of Fire to disrupt the battlefield? How about Mind Rape and Love's Pain to kill off the enemy commanders without any ability to stop him? Does he have Blinding Glory on his spell list, or Shapechange, or Gate? Well, maybe. He's got the power, but if his spells known don't apply here he can't do much. So, maybe he dominates this one, maybe not.

    Tier 1: The Wizard. Situation 1: Memorize Greater Floating Disk, Shivering Touch, and Spectral Hand. Maybe Alter Self too for stealth reasons. Kill dragon. Memorize Animate Dead too, because Dragons make great minions (seriously, there's special rules for using that spell on dragons). Sweet, you have a new horsie! Or, you know, maybe you Mind Rape/Love's Pain and kill the dragon before he even knows you exist, then float down and check it out. Or maybe you create a horde of the dead and send them in, triggering the traps with their bodies. Or do the haunt shift trick and waltz in with a hardness of around 80 and giggle. Perhaps you cast Genesis to create a flowing time plane and then sit and think about what to do for a year while only a day passes on the outside... and cast Explosive Runes every day during that year. I'm sure you can come up with something. It's really your call. Situation 2: Check your spell list. Alter Self and Disguise Self can make you look like whoever you need to look like. Locate Creature has obvious utility. Heck, Contact Other Plane could be a total cheating method of finding the guy you're trying to find. Clairvoyance is also handy. It's all there. Situation 3: Oh no, enemy army! Well, if you've optimized for it, there's always the locate city bomb (just be careful not to blow up the friendly guys too). But if not, Love's Pain could assassinate the leaders. Wall of Iron/Stone could create fortifications, or be combined with Fabricate to armour up some of the troops. Or you could just cast Blinding Glory and now the entire enemy army is blind with no save for caster level hours. Maybe you could Planar Bind an appropriate outsider to help train the troops before the battle. Push comes to shove, Gate in a Solar, who can cast Miracle (which actually does have a "I win the battle" option)... or just Shapechange into one, if you prefer.

    So yeah, as you move up the Tiers you go from weak, unadaptable, and predictable (that Commoner's got very few useful options) to strong, adaptable, and unpredictable (who knows what that Wizard is going to do?). A Wizard can always apply a great deal of strength very efficiently, whether it's Shivering Touch on the Dragon or Blinding Glory on an enemy army. The Sorcerer has the power, but he may not have power that he can actually apply to the situation. The Beguiler has even less raw power and may have to use UMD to pull it off. The Rogue is even further along that line. And the Fighter has power in very specific areas which are less likely to be useful in a given situation.

    That's really what the Tiers are about. How much does this class enable you to achieve what you want in a given situation? The more versitile your power, the more likely that the answer to that question is "a lot." If you've got tons of power and limited versitility (that's you, Sorcerers and charging Barbarians) then sometimes the answer is a lot, but sometimes it's not much. If you've got tons of versitility but limited power (hi, Rogue!) then it's often "a decent amount." If you've got little of both (Commoner!) then yeah, it's often "it doesn't."

    And of course reversing that and applying it to DMs, you get "how many effective options does this class give for solving whatever encounters I throw at them?" For Commoners, the answer may be none. For Fighters, it's sometimes none, sometimes 1, maybe 2, but you generally know in advance what it will be (if he's got Improved Trip and a Spiked Chain and all that, he's probably going to be tripping stuff, just a hint). For Wizards, it's tons, and they're all really potent, and you have no idea how he's going to do it. Does he blind the enemy army or assassinate all its leaders or turn into a Solar and just arbitrarily win the battle? There's no way to know until he memorizes his spells for the day (and even then you might not see it coming).



    I like to somtimes boil them down to:

    T1: Is never threatened, (by threatened i man danger of failure, failure doesn't always have to be lethal, a diplomacy situation isn't necessarily lethal if you fail it, but it could have other really bad consequences for the campaign) by any form of CR appropriate encounter so long as the player does nothing IQ Zero level of stupid.

    T2: So long as it's built for the encounter in question it's the same as T1 otherwise equivalent to a T3 or T4 depending.

    T3: Genuinely threatened by any CR appropriate encounter, but capable of putting up a solid performance in most if not all circumstances, barring player stupidity.

    T4: If built for the encounter, as per T3, otherwise as per T5 or T6 depending.

    T5: Seriously threatened by any encounter, if the player plays a perfect encounter and has some luck they can get by, but it's dicey.

    T6: Totally helpless in any CR appropriate encounter, even a healthy dose of luck and perfect play won't save you from being almost entirely useless.

    My big concern tbh here is that it's more a case of your players not playing their classes to high levels of optimization than the sorc being weak. A sorc absolutly has the right spells in PF based on my hasty research to be T2, so seemingly does the witch. Where's a fighter without a lot more out of combat utility than base PF gives them and the ability to do moe than hit things on the head with a sword in a fight is pretty much T4 or T5 depending on weather he has a specialized build, (like the Sunder + AoO build you mentioned).

    That said i am having to work off impressions of a system i'm much less familiar with, so the above may be well off base or there may be things you haven't mentioned. Honestly it would help if you went back and edited your title with the Pathfinder tag, (i can screenshot how for you if you can't figure it out.)


    Also hope i haven't come off harsh or overly negative.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Orc in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Sorcerer Archetype- Battlemage

    If you were truly looking at Wizard/Cleric/Druid levels of balance, then it's something that I'd definitely give the Sorcerer as a nice little thing, even without any drawbacks. From your description, though, I can't help but think that the Magus (built for this sort of thing), would give up his spell channeling in an instant for 9th level spells. You'd be better off looking at the Magus, and trading in some of the spell pool things for a Sorcerer bloodline (You can do bard-like Charisma casting too, if you really wanted), than going to the Sorcerer and building up.

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