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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Initiator Balance Rule

    Hi there!

    So we all know there's a balance problem in PF/3.5. Casters get a lot of neat stuff while fighters and monks get... Well not much. While gish classes and initiators have helped to balance the scales for combat oriented characters, this doesn't do much to help the traditional classes left out in the cold. While running one of my campaigns last Sunday I noticed the Ranger with her two attacks of 2d6+2 was seriously lagging behind the rest of the party. Meanwhile the wizard was invisible, flying around, and playing pinball with a flaming sphere.

    So yesterday I developed an alternate rule system that added maneuvers and stances universally using already existing systems.

    Initiator Balance Rule (OneDrive)
    Initiator Balance Rule (Mediafire)
    Initiator Balance Rule (GITP)

    Having trouble? Try the forum version here.

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    v1.2.1
    10/17/2015
    • Created a new document with a more professional look. The content is unchanged.

    v1.2
    6/5/2015
    • Simplified the mechanics further.
    • Added a section on how to handle full initiator classes that cast spells.
    • Added an example section to demonstrate how the system works.

    v1.1
    6/4/2015
    • Subtracts full initiator levels for the purpose of determining adjusted BAB. This was considered a "given" before, but now it has an explicit mention.


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    How it works is that you earn feats based on your approximate combat ability (BAB) subtracted by your casting ability. In other words, the less powerful of a caster you are, the larger benefit you receive. Wizards and other full casters receive no benefit from this system, while 2/3 casters like Bards receive a modest benefit at later levels. I think it's a pretty elegant fix to a broken system, but I want to know what you think!

    Any suggestions on it would be terrific!

    Also thanks to the people at Dreamscarred Press for going above and beyond simply porting ToB into PF, and expanding on it and doing so well. You guys are great keep up the hard work!
    Last edited by Sacrieur; 2015-10-22 at 01:49 AM.
    [PF] HP Calculator - Fractional HP, now without math!
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    [PF] Initiator Balance Rule - A lightweight fix to balance casting and martial classes.

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    Default Re: Initiator Alternate Rule Balance Fix

    No time to read the whole thing now, but I just wanted to say that balancing around BAB minus highest spell level is a pretty cool idea. It approximates the tier system fairly well for such a broad brush.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Initiator Alternate Rule Balance Fix

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    No time to read the whole thing now, but I just wanted to say that balancing around BAB minus highest spell level is a pretty cool idea. It approximates the tier system fairly well for such a broad brush.
    Thanks!

    I tried to make it as simple as I could. I did have to explicitly define how initiators were handled by the rule. The way it works now is that any class that counts as full initiator levels (basically any class that gives you maneuvers) doesn't count towards this progression.

    The rule is pretty short and I hope it's clear and easily understood. The rest of the document is just links to the disciplines for convenience's sake. I houseruled this with people who had no experience with PoW so I created the document with that in mind.
    Last edited by Sacrieur; 2015-06-04 at 08:17 PM.
    [PF] HP Calculator - Fractional HP, now without math!
    [PF] Initiator NPC Templates - Quickly applied maneuvers for DMs.
    [PF] Initiator Balance Rule - A lightweight fix to balance casting and martial classes.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Initiator Alternate Rule Balance Fix

    Very cool rule. I really like it.

    Considering how simple the rule is, and how easy it would be to implement... it's one of the better "fixes" I've seen.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Initiator Alternate Rule Balance Fix

    I've reached a finalized version of the document now.

    I cleaned up, simplified and organized a few things.

    There are two new sections appended to the end, one explains how initiators who can cast spells are handled and the other lists examples for newer players.

    ---

    I'd like to mention that this rule does not modify any official rules, and instead works with them. Everything mentioned is already a rule in pathfinder and was only added for quick reference, even the section on arcane initiators. If you can subtract, you can use this system. It's really that simple.

    Also, even if you share the link in the OP it will always link to the latest version, no update required, should it ever become necessary.
    Last edited by Sacrieur; 2015-06-06 at 08:12 AM.
    [PF] HP Calculator - Fractional HP, now without math!
    [PF] Initiator NPC Templates - Quickly applied maneuvers for DMs.
    [PF] Initiator Balance Rule - A lightweight fix to balance casting and martial classes.

  6. - Top - End - #6
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    Default Re: Initiator Balance Rule

    I like this idea. It's interesting to see a slight increase in versatility that is effectively open to all classes, and I'm already scheming up a whole bunch of interesting builds for it (Black Seraph Antipaladin here I come).

    Personally, I would like to see DSP implement this as official. It is a nice fix to the adaptation.
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Initiator Balance Rule

    So this is just a pile of direct buffs to non-initiator martials? I like that. Granting the style chain is cool, too, since those are interesting but players often don't have room for them in their builds.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Initiator Balance Rule

    Quote Originally Posted by Extra Anchovies View Post
    So this is just a pile of direct buffs to non-initiator martials? I like that. Granting the style chain is cool, too, since those are interesting but players often don't have room for them in their builds.
    To be more precise, it's a pile of direct buffs to non-initiator classes. Your usual +16BAB and 9th level spells gish will grab a couple of maneuvers out of this. Not the end of the world though
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    Default Re: Initiator Balance Rule

    I like it. Personally I might house rule things like "monks get +1 aBAB as a class ability" and "8th and 9th level spells cost double" but for a simple general rule, this is great.

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    Default Re: Initiator Balance Rule

    Quote Originally Posted by NomGarret View Post
    I like it. Personally I might house rule things like "monks get +1 aBAB as a class ability" and "8th and 9th level spells cost double" but for a simple general rule, this is great.
    Monks should get full BAB, period.
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    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Initiator Balance Rule

    Quote Originally Posted by atemu1234 View Post
    Monks should get full BAB, period.
    So, your a warrior who focuses on fighting bare handed to the point that you turn your body into a deadly weapon and can kill barehanded. Hows your combat accuracy?

    Eh, middling.

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    Default Re: Initiator Balance Rule

    Which, correspondingly, would put them in the top category of this system.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Initiator Balance Rule

    I slightly modified the first post. There are now two links, one links to my Mediafire and the other links to OneDrive. The original Mediafire link is still the original; however, the new OneDrive link features cleaner styling. The content is unchanged. This document can also be downloaded through Mediafire in the backup links collapse box.

    The reason I migrated to OneDrive is because Word Online renders docx documents better than Mediafire.

    ---

    In other news IBR really took off, it's coming up on nearly three thousand unique downloads and continues to climb higher every day. I'm glad so many people can benefit from it.
    Last edited by Sacrieur; 2015-10-20 at 11:15 AM.
    [PF] HP Calculator - Fractional HP, now without math!
    [PF] Initiator NPC Templates - Quickly applied maneuvers for DMs.
    [PF] Initiator Balance Rule - A lightweight fix to balance casting and martial classes.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Initiator Balance Rule

    The Unchained Monk does get full BAB, and the normal monk gets quasi-full BAB when flurrying.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Initiator Balance Rule

    I can't read the links. Wat do

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    Default Re: Initiator Balance Rule

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Adventurer View Post
    I can't read the links. Wat do
    They work fine for me as of posting. Try again, and if it still doesn't work, how is it failing? What browser are you using? Mobile or desktop?

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    Default Re: Initiator Balance Rule

    Why include the - highest spell level bit? Rangers and paladins needs just as much love as the other martials. What about classes like binder or warlock that don't specifically get spells, but get magical abilities? Seems like an easily exploitable addition that doesn't really help those who need it, and can be worked around by those who don't. I'd say just base it directly on bab. Sure gishes get a bit of a buff, but they're already overpowered in your mind, so it's like a drop in the bucket for them.

    And honestly, in your given example, that's just the case of the wizard being inefficient with his spells (2d6 damage reflex negates per round while wasting extra spells for staying hidden when good posititioning could have done the same). Him being invisible contributes much less to the fight then making the ranger invisible for example (unless it was normal invisibility and you weren't playing it correctly with the flaming sphere, which should have revealed him in that case).

    Personally, I would just say that initiator level = BAB, that encourages a dip into martial classes at some point, and picking up a feat or two when you want a particular maneuver.
    Last edited by Crake; 2015-10-21 at 09:17 AM.
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  18. - Top - End - #18
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: Initiator Balance Rule

    Meh. Paladins and rangers still get 7 out of the 9 feats, better than rogues.

    You have a point about non-standard casters. Personally, I would treat classes like binders, warlocks, or the PF kineticist as if they had 6th level spell casting.

    Psionics ports over directly. Incarnum/Akasha is trickier. Do you use chakra binds?
    Last edited by NomGarret; 2015-10-21 at 11:56 AM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Initiator Balance Rule

    Quote Originally Posted by twas_Brillig View Post
    They work fine for me as of posting. Try again, and if it still doesn't work, how is it failing? What browser are you using? Mobile or desktop?
    Chrome mobile. Cannot load page/permission denied.

    Is there a reason it can't be pasted to the thread?

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Initiator Balance Rule

    Quote Originally Posted by Crake View Post
    Why include the - highest spell level bit? Rangers and paladins needs just as much love as the other martials.
    Rangers and Paladins are 1/2 casters, but have full BAB. This means they receive a bonus feat at 5th level, 8th, 11th, 14th, 16th, 18th, and 20th. This is a total of 7 bonus feats.

    The reason is simple; it's because they're casters so they have some amount of versatility other more mundane classes lack. That's what adding spells does. The goal isn't to balance every class and put it into the right tier, the goal is to make combat more fun, improve balance, and do it easily. It's unnecessary and complicated to add exceptions for classes. How a DM wants to implement this rule is up to him, and if he wants to change it to suit his needs, that's plenty acceptable. It highlights one of the key strengths of the rule.

    There are a number of reasons why its current form is best. First, it's easily scaled across many classes, whether homebrew or ones from Paizo I've never heard about. Second, it creates an excellent framework that can be used by a DM in a variety of ways. And third, it serves as an interface for classes to interact.

    Thus, I believe exceptions aren't necessary to the rule and just serve as deadweight that limits its adoption.


    What about classes like binder or warlock that don't specifically get spells, but get magical abilities?
    The problem with the Binder isn't that it's an exception to the rule, but that it's an exception to D&D. It has nearly one hundred pages of content dedicated to it. Should the DM permit something like this, it is up to him to determine how to apply the rule and to what extent. One choice for the binder is equating the maximum vestige level with spell level. This demonstrates the rule's strength: using a simple paradigm permits other classes to adapt to it.

    Psionics were included because they are directly translatable and DSP content. It effortlessly interfaces with the rule and, unlike pact magic, is inseparable from DSP's initiator system: two disciplines use Autohypnosis as their relevant skill.

    Ultimately, a class which is an exception should be adapted to the rule, rather than the rule be adapted to the class.


    Seems like an easily exploitable addition that doesn't really help those who need it, and can be worked around by those who don't. I'd say just base it directly on bab.
    Let me start by pointing out that this is for Pathfinder, so D&D 3.5 classes really don't apply here. But you bring up good points so let's break it down. First, there are several base classes which behave strangely to the rule. I'll go in depth with each of these.

    Alchemist
    The alchemist is strange because it doesn't actually cast spells; it uses extracts. A player could argue semantically that extracts are not spells. It is perhaps the most unclear Paizo base class that exists. I would argue that because extracts duplicate spells and the rules explicitly equate them, extracts are counted as spells. This is the principle of "adapting to the rule" in practice.

    Oracle/Divine Casters
    Oracles have a d8 HD and thus a 3/4 BAB, but are given full spontaneous casting. It does receive a bonus feat at 15th level, after obtaining the necessary aBAB of 4, as well as a second at 20th. Effectively this means an Oracle could qualify for Distorted Clock Stance at level 20, which can be a pretty useful benefit. It's probably not enough to boost it out of its second tier, so I'd overlook the fact this class receives a some fighting benefits later on. This could make the Oracle slightly better at higher levels.

    Clerics and Shamans are also examples.

    Whether or not all full casters should be banned from qualifying for bonus feats is something I'll leave to the DM to decide. Clerics, while powerful, are considered more of a low tier 1, so permitting them a few combat options later isn't game-breaking.


    Summoner
    The Summoner is so hilariously broken that it defies the rule and obtains bonus feats, although not as many as it may first appear. Its Summon Monster ability is a spell you can cast (even if it's a spell-like ability). Since you get this spell in the same progression as a Wizard could, the Summoner is considered a full prepared caster for the purposes of IBR. The class has an aBAB of 4 at 16th level and 6 at 20th.

    If the Summoner isn't already outright banned, then he should be disqualified from IBR, potentially by reducing its BAB to 1/2 instead of 3/4 (and lowering its HD to a d6) or by banning all full casters from IBR. I'd like to note that the problem with the Summoner is with the Summoner itself and not IBR.

    ---

    The case is it's a general rule applied broadly which can't be perfect for every case it encounters, but performs adequately and well in a large majority of applications. If it does have a serious problem working with a class, it's far more likely that the class is poorly designed to begin with and breaks from good practices.


    Sure gishes get a bit of a buff, but they're already overpowered in your mind, so it's like a drop in the bucket for them.
    Most gishes are already in a respectable tier and don't require a buff. They get one anyway.

    I'm not sure where you got the idea where I think gishes were overpowered rather than adequately powered, especially when the rule I created gives them a mild buff. If you'd like I can point you to a post I made a few days ago where I specifically stated the Magus was the best designed PF class.


    And honestly, in your given example, that's just the case of the wizard being inefficient with his spells (2d6 damage reflex negates per round while wasting extra spells for staying hidden when good posititioning could have done the same). Him being invisible contributes much less to the fight then making the ranger invisible for example (unless it was normal invisibility and you weren't playing it correctly with the flaming sphere, which should have revealed him in that case).
    So your argument for why the ranger isn't performing as well is that the Wizard wasn't being powerful enough?


    Personally, I would just say that initiator level = BAB, that encourages a dip into martial classes at some point, and picking up a feat or two when you want a particular maneuver.
    First, the martial training feats already include a way of calculating your initiator level which scales with your current level. It was never my intention to overwrite this mechanism or any of the functionality of the feats or initiator system.

    Second, all class levels count as half a level for the purposes of determining the initiator level, so all full initiator classes are already multiclass friendly.

    ---

    I apologize if this post is riddled with errors. I'm rather tired at the moment.
    Last edited by Sacrieur; 2015-10-22 at 09:38 AM.
    [PF] HP Calculator - Fractional HP, now without math!
    [PF] Initiator NPC Templates - Quickly applied maneuvers for DMs.
    [PF] Initiator Balance Rule - A lightweight fix to balance casting and martial classes.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Initiator Balance Rule

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Adventurer View Post
    Chrome mobile. Cannot load page/permission denied.

    Is there a reason it can't be pasted to the thread?
    That's weird.

    Here is a pastebin of it. I'll start formatting the content to a GITP forum post so it can be accessible to everyone.

    ---

    Alright so I finished formatting. You can find the post here. If you have any further problems be sure to let me know.
    Last edited by Sacrieur; 2015-10-22 at 01:51 AM.
    [PF] HP Calculator - Fractional HP, now without math!
    [PF] Initiator NPC Templates - Quickly applied maneuvers for DMs.
    [PF] Initiator Balance Rule - A lightweight fix to balance casting and martial classes.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Initiator Balance Rule

    Quote Originally Posted by Sacrieur View Post
    Most gishes are already in a respectable tier and don't require a buff. They get one anyway.

    I'm not sure where you got the idea where I think gishes were overpowered rather than adequately powered, especially when the rule I created gives them a mild buff. If you'd like I can point you to a post I made a few days ago where I specifically stated the Magus was the best designed PF class.
    Oh, i was more referring to full caster gishes builds, not gish classes like the magus or duskblade. Things like the 9th level spells 16 bab sorcadin.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kazyan View Post
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    Default Re: Initiator Balance Rule

    I like this idea, but can you explain how extra Feats really helps? I was under the assumption (based on other threads here) that having ALL Feats still wasn't going to move a Tier 5 past Tier 3.
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    Default Re: Initiator Balance Rule

    Quote Originally Posted by Barstro View Post
    I like this idea, but can you explain how extra Feats really helps? I was under the assumption (based on other threads here) that having ALL Feats still wasn't going to move a Tier 5 past Tier 3.
    Because these feats specifically, if chosen correctly, can grant, among other things: teleportation, healing, save replacers, flight and invisibility, and it does so without otherwise disrupting character builds.
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