Fighters/Rangers/Rogues - why use them...

1 month ago

I found Sneak Attack to be fairly handy - my rogue had pretty good damage output compared to everyone else except my wizard. And in principle, the rogue makes a good party face because of Expertise - but this game isn't really doing a lot with social skills at the moment, so that's less important.

In theory you could also get Expertise in thieve's tools - I wound up taking the Lock Breaker feat to try to do that, only to not have it work, so yay.

So there's like, *almost* a place for the Rogue. I did notice how much Athletics seems to matter, so maybe Expertise could help with that? But yeah, in general, Ranger seems like it covers most of those roles already.

TomReneth
Level 9
1 month ago

My experience and party composition is pretty much exactly what Scott said - Paladin/Cleric/Ranger/Wizard, with the Ranger bringing lockpicks, archery (I went Colossus Slayer rather than Horde Breaker), and free food to the table. Very dependable with very little resource management required. And she can throw a Cure Wounds if things get desperate. Wizard is Shock Arcanist because that subclass perk is just too good compared to pass up, IMO. I thought about the spell-casting fighter, but it seems to me you get a slightly better spell list and group support out of Paladin than the EK. The Light Clerics is really good, and I bet the Battle and Fire Clerics would be really good as well. The Rogue... I’m not sold on. I feel like if I brought a Rogue it’d just take the Ranger spot and I’d have to work out another way to ignore rations, which I am loathe to do. The winter patch definitely seemed to make rations more freely available but the weight of rations is crazy oppressive given that the game nerfs carrying capacity.

The Ranger is strong in the current level range, but it begins to fall behind other classes after level 5. This is the case even with the expanded spell lists in D&D 5e and will likely be the case in Solasta too, seeing how limited our spell selection is comparatively. Rogues, however, continue to scale their combat damage all the way up to 19 with Sneak Attack, on top of getting a selection of really good abilities like Expertise, Uncanny Dodge, Reliable Talent and so on. The Rogue's abilities also transition between ranged and melee better than Rangers, seeing as they don't rely on concentration.

In Solasta, I would say only Shadowcaster seems like a solid Rogue archetype though, because Thief is definitely more of a tabletop thing and Darkweavers are... slightly more combat oriented thieves? Hard to justify using such a situational subclass instead of getting arcane spells and a variant of Misty Step on short rest. Ranger seem to be similar; only Hunter seems worthwhile with the current selection. The level 3 ability for Marksman looks like it should've been replaced with something less situational and the Shadow Tamer suffers from the same problem Rangers have had since 2nd Ediition; they're reliant on fighting specific types of enemies to get their class bonuses. 

I think Shadow Tamer bonus damage is effective against Soraks, Wights, Broods and (maybe) Vampires, which luckily makes up a decent portion of the current enemy roster, but seeing as it is just adding proficiency to damage, we're talking +2 to +6 (+3x2 at level 5 due to proficiency increase and multiattack) against some enemies, instead of +1d8 (or average ~4.5 on average) against all enemies from Colossus Slayer. In short, the Shadow Tamer is a neat idea, but seems like a much less useful subclass focusing on Soraks than Oath of Tirmar Paladin. Which is just the Rangers lot in life, it seems, because the question "why not just play a Paladin instead?" has been a legitimate one since at least 2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. The answer used to be "because I want to be an elf" or "because I want to multi- or dual-class with Cleric", but those restrictions disappeared in 3E.


Battle and Elemental (Fire) Domain Clerics are bonkers powerful, especially Battle. They get Magic Missile, Flaming Sphere, Acid Arrow, Fireball and Haste from the wizard list, on top of a chance to stun with their Channel Divinity when landing a weapon attack. And lots of temp. HP. And automatically buff adjacent allies at level 6. Elemental Domain isn't quite as combat oriented, but get a number of useful support spells, like Misty Step and Levitate. Their subclass abilities are less impressive though. 

If you just want a Cleric casting cantrips against AC, I'd say Oblivion Domain is stronger. Chill Touch is d8 necrotic, prevents healing and imposes disadvantage on undead who try to attack you. On top of preventing being surprised (outside of the scripted combat where it happens), advantage on death saving throws, AoE poison with Channel Divinity and +1d6 necrotic damage once per turn from level 6, which I think applies to both spells and weapon attacks.

Of course, once the Potent Cantrip feat starts working, cantrips targetting AC will be entirely redundant. Changing cantrips that target a saving throw to "save for half" instead of "save to negate" on the damage is absolutely insane. Even Spellblades and Shadowcasters will probably pick that one up eventually, because guaranteed damage without expending any resources is bonkers. A vampire constantly conjuring darkness to give your party permanent disadvantage? No problem, you've got Sacred Flame, Shadow Dagger, Acid Splash and Poison Spray. That's potentially 4 instances of guaranteed damage per turn, for free. Maybe more, I don't remember all the cantrips.The Shadowcaster can't get in a position to trigger Sneak Attack this turn? Shadow Dagger! Spellblade can't overcome that AC? Acid Splash (maybe... I don't remember what cantrips they get)!


I agree about Goodberry, it is a very easy fix to an annoying mechanic (even though it isn't nearly as bad anymore), but I often have a Greenmage to handle that. Shock Arcanist is strong, but I find Greenmage to be both fun and very useful. Light armor, archery style and almost all Ranger spells on top of the core Wizard progression is a solid addition. Later on it will likely be less of an issue, because I think they said they'd introduce standard encumberance as an option.


Typos happen. More so on the phone.

Kam
Level 2
1 month ago (edited)

Rogues are amazing, they have easy access to advantage by hiding with bonus action mid-combat, plus sneak attack is fairly easy to obtain(attack enemy in melee with ally, attack from shadows etc etc) and does awesome damage. Essentialy, with advantage, you get almost 10% chance of deleting a foe with a critical hit from a sneak attack, and thats always hilarious. 

Summing it up, you hit more often(because of advantage) and you hit hard(because of sneak attack), with almost 10% chance of nuking the target(rolling a 20 in any of the two d20).

Sure, if you cant get advantage because of whatever reason, the rogue becomes lackluster thus positioning and planning is key. Playing a ranged rogue makes this much easier.

Fighters can be great too, especially after lvl 5, when you can attack 2 times and can use action surge to make a 4 attack turn once per short rest when needed. Well, except if you play champion and the critical hit gods dont smile on you, then it can feel very frustrating. 

Rangers I cant say, I never played or had a party member playing one for long enough, but I feel their utility can be great outside of combat(talking to animals and plants, making travelling and camping easy, tracking etc).

Skryia
Level 8
1 month ago

If they shift to standard encumbrance rules, and let us get to level 10-12, rogue likely pulls ahead of ranger as more sneak attack dice come online. Green Mage just doesn’t appeal to me because of Shock Arcanist, why waste time on archery when fire bolt or chill touch is so strong? I could also see forgoing a rogue altogether for a Lowlife Shock Arcanist. Sellsword Shock Arcanist is also pretty good - Wizard in half-plate! If we get to where we don’t need Goodberry because rations are available relatively freely without bogging down the party, I’d probably run Paladin (any), Wizard (lowlife Shock Arcanist as sort of a rogue-enough plus blasting), Cleric (war), Cleric (light or fire). I also want to try an eldritch knight style fighter and maybe an arcane trickster style rogue if they do that. Ranger I think could have a future if they adapt the Tasha’s additions to Rangers (in some form that doesn’t give them legal issues). But even if they add nothing else to the game, I feel like I’ve gotten $40 of entertainment out of it, so I hope they can get it out there and be successful and expand on classes (multiclasses!), races, and add more adventures! I’ll give them some DLC cash without complaining. 😀

TomReneth
Level 9
1 month ago (edited)

If they shift to standard encumbrance rules, and let us get to level 10-12, rogue likely pulls ahead of ranger as more sneak attack dice come online. Green Mage just doesn’t appeal to me because of Shock Arcanist, why waste time on archery when fire bolt or chill touch is so strong? I could also see forgoing a rogue altogether for a Lowlife Shock Arcanist. Sellsword Shock Arcanist is also pretty good - Wizard in half-plate! If we get to where we don’t need Goodberry because rations are available relatively freely without bogging down the party, I’d probably run Paladin (any), Wizard (lowlife Shock Arcanist as sort of a rogue-enough plus blasting), Cleric (war), Cleric (light or fire). I also want to try an eldritch knight style fighter and maybe an arcane trickster style rogue if they do that. Ranger I think could have a future if they adapt the Tasha’s additions to Rangers (in some form that doesn’t give them legal issues). But even if they add nothing else to the game, I feel like I’ve gotten $40 of entertainment out of it, so I hope they can get it out there and be successful and expand on classes (multiclasses!), races, and add more adventures! I’ll give them some DLC cash without complaining. 😀

Shock Arcanist doesn't get improved cantrips, just evocation spells. Which is powerful, but not the end all of wizard builds. Greenmages have the best early game of wizards due to the +2 accuracy with bows from archery style and dex modifier to damage on bows which makes it a lot more consistent than cantrips prior to level 5, while getting a number of useful support spells from Ranger. A Greenmage with 16 dex has the same accuracy with a bow as a cantrip from a wizard with 20 int. Really useful early on, due to the bounded progression of 5e.

Is Greenmage stronger than Arcanist? Probably not. Arcanist seems like overkill as far as evocation wizards go, at least with Sellsword*, but i would still recommend trying Greenmage. Any wizard is going to be strong because it is a wizard, after all. The expanded spell list comes on handy too. Besides, a Sellsword High Elf Greenmage will have medium armor, longbows, archery style and Ranger spells.

Having Goodberry on your Wizard opens a slot for trying other characters than a ranger too. 😀 

*Sellsword seems generally inbalanced, all in all. Really pushes Wizards and Rogues up a notch, which is weird, seeing as they are already strong classes. It'll probably be really strong on Sorcerer too, when that is added.


Shadowcaster is a strong variant on the Arcane Trickster and I would say competitive with even in the current level range. Misty Step on short rest is good, while getting Shield, Protection from Evil and Good, False Life and Color Spray is great. Protection in particular gives a strong line of defense against much of the current enemy selection, giving undead permanent disadvantage against a target of your choice.

The cantrips are decent too, with Shadow Armor, Shadow Dagger, Chill Touch and True Strike. Unlike normal dnd, True Strike behaves like a Guiding Bolt without damage that can't miss and doesn't use spellslots. 

It's really good for setting up Sneak Attacks with your off hand attack, all in a single turn due to off hand attacks being independent of main hand attacks. Once we get to level 7 and get 2nd level spells, i imagine they'll be insane. Shadow Dagger with Potent Cantrip for guaranteed damage will be strong too when that feat is fixed. A feat worth taking at level 8 or 10, I'm thinking, and an automatic level 4 pick for Clerics and Wizards.


Typos happen. More so on the phone.

Skryia
Level 8
1 month ago

I’m from the “just fireball”(tm) school of wizardry, so it’s hard to not take SA. 🔥😎

But lowlife green mage as a lower hit point archery Ranger (and lockpicker) with a much better spell selection has some appeal and I’ll have to try it at some point, for sure. 

Skryia
Level 8
1 month ago

And yeah, I’d agree sellsword is a strong background for wizards (probably not so much sorcerers as they naturally get medium armor along the way, no?). I think it’s a shame the devs don’t have sourcebook licenses as I think the published works have the benefit of more research/thought/balance than what they are doing via homebrew, which is not at all an uncommon problem for homebrew D&D, so I don’t really fault them for that and am happy enough to abuse their ‘brew. 😈

TomReneth
Level 9
1 month ago

I’m from the “just fireball”(tm) school of wizardry, so it’s hard to not take SA. 🔥😎

But lowlife green mage as a lower hit point archery Ranger (and lockpicker) with a much better spell selection has some appeal and I’ll have to try it at some point, for sure. 

Seeing how Fireball is overtuned from the get-go, SA is overkill, no? =P

In all seriousness, even Loremaster is among the top tier classes in the game because Wizards are so strong baseline. 


And yeah, I’d agree sellsword is a strong background for wizards (probably not so much sorcerers as they naturally get medium armor along the way, no?). I think it’s a shame the devs don’t have sourcebook licenses as I think the published works have the benefit of more research/thought/balance than what they are doing via homebrew, which is not at all an uncommon problem for homebrew D&D, so I don’t really fault them for that and am happy enough to abuse their ‘brew. 😈

Draconic Sorcerers get 13 base armor rating, but i don't think any of them get medium or light armor proficiency. Maybe the unique Solasta variants do.

I agree that archetypes seem a bit imbalanced in Solasta. SA seems overtuned, while Darkweaver and Shadow Tamer and Marksman seem undertuned.

And, as I've pointed out in this thread, i think Greenmage largely makes Ranger irrelevant. Why be a Ranger when you can have a Ranger with Fireball? 


Typos happen. More so on the phone.

Heldred
Level 7
1 month ago

I’d probably run Paladin (any), Wizard (lowlife Shock Arcanist as sort of a rogue-enough plus blasting), Cleric (war), Cleric (light or fire). I also want to try an eldritch knight style fighter and maybe an arcane trickster style rogue if they do that.  ...I feel like I’ve gotten $40 of entertainment... I’ll give them some DLC cash without complaining. 😀


On my wish list, I hope they buff pure Fighter, and Ranger to a lesser degree (not much of a reason to take them, especially when we hit levels 6+).  If they don't have time, optimal parties (for me) will continue to be caster heavy, wearing medium and heavy armor, while wielding good melee/ranged weapons (hello elves). While we are at it, with darkvision remaining a nice advantage, coupled with races offering access to cantrips and/or good weapons, they really should throw a bone to humans.

BTW, you nailed the exact party composition of my last play-through with the Winter Patch (Pali, Wiz/Shock, Cler/War, Cler/Fire).  Terrifyingly efficient. 

Great game, worth the price of admission.  Look forward to final product, DLC, and hopefully community mods.


Rokahn
Level 2
1 month ago (edited)

While I agree with your point that spellcasters tend to be more powerful than powerful than melee archetypes (not to mention more fun to play), I don't agree it is as black and white as you make it out to be. When you compare a spellcaster using a spell, it is more powerful than what a melee character can do. However, when a spellcaster uses a cantrip, he deals roughly half as much damage as what a melee character can do.

Which brings me to my point: how strong/weak spellcasters are is determined by how often they can take a long rest. According to the DM's guide, the game is balanced around having 6 encounters per long rest. Not all of these need to be combat, some can be social, puzzles, ...

So let's say you have 3 combats per long rest. That means your spellcaster can cast 2 spells per combat at 3rd level and 3 spells per combat at 5th level. Given that most combats last 5-10 rounds, that still leaves your spellcaster with roughly 4 rounds where they are inferior to the melee. 

So in my opinion, the problem is that, despite rations, resting is still too easy and too frequent.


As for specific classes:

- Fighters are bland, boring and have nothing that makes them stand out. Rangers and Paladins are both clearly superior

- I think Rangers are not that bad if you take into account you can cast Hunter's Mark every combat. With 2 attacks that deal roughly D8+5+D6 damage, they have quite a bit of damage output. With a good choice of favored enemy and some subclass features, that goes up further.

- I played a Rogue in my first playthrough and it was surprisingly powerful. In combat, you can typically keep the Rogue stealthed permanently. With advantage on all attacks, this gives you a very reliable and high amount of single target damage.

TomReneth
Level 9
1 month ago

While I agree with your point that spellcasters tend to be more powerful than powerful than melee archetypes (not to mention more fun to play), I don't agree it is as black and white as you make it out to be. When you compare a spellcaster using a spell, it is more powerful than what a melee character can do. However, when a spellcaster uses a cantrip, he deals roughly half as much damage as what a melee character can do.

Which brings me to my point: how strong/weak spellcasters are is determined by how often they can take a long rest. According to the DM's guide, the game is balanced around having 6 encounters per long rest. Not all of these need to be combat, some can be social, puzzles, ...

So let's say you have 3 combats per long rest. That means your spellcaster can cast 2 spells per combat at 3rd level and 3 spells per combat at 5th level. Given that most combats last 5-10 rounds, that still leaves your spellcaster with roughly 4 rounds where they are inferior to the melee. 

So in my opinion, the problem is that, despite rations, resting is still too easy and too frequent.


As for specific classes:

- Fighters are bland, boring and have nothing that makes them stand out. Rangers and Paladins are both clearly superior

- I think Rangers are not that bad if you take into account you can cast Hunter's Mark every combat. With 2 attacks that deal roughly D8+5+D6 damage, they have quite a bit of damage output. With a good choice of favored enemy and some subclass features, that goes up further.

- I played a Rogue in my first playthrough and it was surprisingly powerful. In combat, you can typically keep the Rogue stealthed permanently. With advantage on all attacks, this gives you a very reliable and high amount of single target damage.

I mostly agree. Part of the problem with Solasta's martial/caster balance is how common long rests are. You can expect to have most of your resources for any of the major fights currently available.

Rangers can be very good early, but they don't really improve much beyond level 5. Add in that Solasta doesn't have access to the expanded spell list Rangers got in tabletop and it is definitely a class that will struggle for relevance once the level cap increases. It doesn't help that Paladins have both a better innate spell list and get additional spells from their Oaths, have a separate resource for their healing abilities and can go nuclear with smites. The ease with which we can long rest certainly doesn't play to the Ranger's favor either.

For overall utlity, they are also hampered by Greenmages being a thing. Getting almost all Ranger spells on a Wizard makes the non-combat abilities of the Ranger a lot less unique as well.

Rogues in 5e is probably the martial class with the best overal design to remain relevant next to casters into higher levels. Because of Sneak Attack, Cunning Action, their defensive abilities like Uncanny Dodge and good skills, they will almost always find a way to be relevant in and out of combat. It helps that they are arguably the martial class least dependent on feats to stay relevant, meaning that the lack of good martial feats in Solasta doesn't really bother them. They are also one of the direct competitors for the Ranger in many ways, which does not favor the Ranger.

Really, the only negative thing I can say about Rogues in Solasta is that Thief and Darkweaver overlap too much with one another and that they seem a lot less useful than Shadowcaster. It's kinda nuts to have a Rogue with access to both Shield and Protection from Evil and Good. When they can reach level 7 to unlock their 2nd level spells, they'll be even better.


Typos happen. More so on the phone.