Guide RPG Veteran, Pathfinder Beginner: Journal #2
Sources of Overwhelming Damage
Hello again! If this is your first time reading one of my articles, I am a CRPG and tabletop RPG veteran with 20 years of experience in D&D and D&D CRPG’s, particularly the Baldur’s Gate series, who is trying to learn the Pathfinder system by playing Wrath of the Righteous. I am journaling my progress because its useful for me and, I hope, interesting to read. You can find my first journal entry here. If you are new to the game like me, you might find this series helpful. If you are an experienced player it may be funny to see me stumble my way through!
In this entry I want to primarily discuss efficient sources for dealing damage, both in general and for my wisdom build specifically. I also include some corrections to my first journal entry.
What I Am Focusing On in these Journals
I need to note at the outset that I am only really discussing what I call the tactical system design of Wrath of the Righteous. Basically this means combat and character building. I am of course interested in other aspects of RPGs, but this is the aspect I typically start with when I am learning games.
Corrections to Journal entry #1
Thanks to the helpful discussion I got from my first entry (you can read the discussion here), I learned that there were a few important details that I missed when I evaluated what I call charisma attribute builds. I won’t include everything that I missed, but I do want to discuss a few big ones.
First, I forgot to account for the Smite Evil feature that you get from Paladin. This feature adds your charisma bonus to AC and attack roles against a single target. It has limited casts per day which scale with your paladin levels. It also adds you Paladin level to the damage of your attacks. At Paladin 11 you can extend two casts to grant these bonuses to allies to.
And second, the cha to AC conversion from the Scaled Fist monk feature and Nature’s Whisper actually stack! This is because Nature’s Whisper allows you to replace dex with cha on your AC, while the monk feature adds cha to dex while you aren’t wearing armor.
My thanks to reddit users u/Ephemeral_Being and u/TheGoodyShop for drawing these to my attention!
I also learned from playing more that I was wrong about what level the wisdom builds animal companion will be. It will be full level (20) by the end of the game. And since we have to add a level of Scaled Fist to our charisma build, its animal companion will be one level lower (17). This means the wisdom builds has a three level stronger animal companion, and I suspect that will make a significant difference.
Now if we update our comparison chart to account for these changes we get this:
As before, the check with the asterisk denotes the once per day boost granted by Guarded Hearth. The check with prime denotes the limited used bonuses granted by Smite Evil. How limited those uses are will depend on how many levels of Paladin you have. In my build its only one.
Have these changes altered my opinion about wisdom being the strongest attribute build? Kind of. I would say now that these builds are roughly equal in power, but with different strengths. The charisma build is a stronger tank while the wisdom build is a stronger support (with Guarded Hearth). Note though that there are still a heap of factors I haven’t tested, so in journal #3 my evaluation will likely change again.
Now let’s turn to those Os on the chart: attribute modifier to damage conversion. Is it important to our damage output that we add high multipliers to the damage on our attacks? At the prompting of u/TheGoodyShop I decided to look into this, and that is what we will discuss in the rest of this entry.
Sources of Damage
Shortly after I posted my last journal, I completed Act 1 and unlocked my first round of Mythic Abilities, which, of course, sparked many hours of research and math. What I found is that there several ways to put out overwhelming DPR that has nothing to do with traditional methods of building damage like adding attribute modifiers to your rolls (although some of them do). I want to make an initial, likely incomplete list of some of those methods here. I will update it as I discover more about the game.
When I say “overwhelming damage” I actually want it to mean something specific. Overwhelming damage is what I call it when you are doing so much damage its practically redundant to add more. As an extreme example, if you are doing 10,000 damage per round, what use it to add 1,000 more? You are better off building for other things at that point because your DPR is already secured. Where the exact threshold is for overwhelming damage, I’m not sure. However, I am comfortable saying that some of these strategies below achieve it.
Elemental Barrage: Every time you deal energy damage to a creature, you apply an elemental mark to it. If during the next three rounds you deal energy damage to a marked target with a different type of energy, the target is dealt additional Divine damage. The damage is 1d6 per mythic rank of your character.
This is the best of several similar abilities that do 1d6 divine damage per mythic rank. Your mythic ranks will climb up to 10 by the end of the game, granting you up to 10d6 per proc. I’ve been informed that divine damage is not resisted either. But what really makes your damage balloon with this ability is that you can proc it by stacking multiple elemental damage boosts on your weapon attacks. There are several ways to do this, but the easiest is to use 4 casts of the 5th level spell Geniekind, which will proc Elemental Barrage. Even though it goes against what is said in the ability description, I’ve been assured that this proc on every hit. So, with 4 casts of Geniekind and level 10 mythic rank you will do a bonus 30d6 divine damage PER HIT… that is on top of your normal damage. I haven’t reached this level yet, but I have to believe this is overwhelming damage.
If that is not enough for you, you can combine this with the Expose Vulnerabilites Mythic Ability. It makes it so every third hit with a ranged weapon against the same enemy deals additional 1d6 per two mythic ranks divine damage. Adding even more divine damage per hit.
Charge: This is the one I have done the least research/testing on, but it seems that you could get insane damage from a combination of three features.
The first is Pounce, which you can get from the Greater Beast Totem Rage Power. This allows you to make a full attack at the end of a charge.
The second is Mythic Charge, which is another divine damage scaling Mythic. It adds 1d6 divine damage per mythic level to attacks made on a charge, which, with pounce, is a full attack amount of attacks.
The last is Spirited Charge, a feat that requires you to have the Order of the Sword pledge from the Cavalier class. This feat doubles all damage done on a charge. I haven’t tested whether this doubles the damage from Mythic Charge yet. Either way, these three together on a decent martial build will do overwhelming damage.
Vital Strike: the Vital Strike line of feats with the Mythic Vital Strike feat allows you to multiply flat bonuses to your vital strike several times. The math on this build chain is extremely interesting, but I can’t go into now due to matters of space. Suffice to say, with enough flat damage boosts, you will do overwhelming damage with Vital Strike. The youtuber BolshyPlays was how I learned about this option. Check out this video for a more in-depth explanation.
Cave Fangs: The 5th level spell Cave Fangs is broken… They really should have fixed this back in Kingmaker, but they just made it worse with the new Enduring Spell mythic ability. Here is how it works:
When you cast this spell you get the ability create a magical trap in an area. The magical trap is triggered whenever an enemy creature is in the area. You can place these traps anywhere within close range as free action the duration of the spell (10 min/level); the trap's radius is 5 feet. Each time you place a trap, the spell's duration is reduced by 10 minutes.
Because it is a free action you can spam all of your traps on a target in a single turn. Normally you would get basically 1 trap per spell level, but now with the Enduring Spell Mythic Ability you get, if my math is right, 144 on a fresh cast. Each trap does 3d8 damage (half on a save), ignoring magic resistance. Apparently, this damage is affected by a Paladin’s Mark of Justice, so that it adds Paladin level AND bypasses any DR the enemy has.
If we assume that our opponent makes every single save against the spell and our Paladin is the minimum possible level to get Mark of Justice (11) you will still do on average 2556 damage in a single turn and with a single cast of the spell.
The youtuber cRPG Bro was how I learned about this option. Check out this video for a more in depth explanation and a demonstration of how it works in both RTwP and Turn based modes.
As a final note, I’ve been told by u/TheGoodyShop that a crit + Trickster path build would also be good enough to make this list, but since I don’t know anything about the Trickster path yet, and I don’t want to spoil it, I’m leaving it off the list until later.
Damage Source for our Wisdom Build
Let’s finish this entry by answering the question we asked earlier: is it important to our wisdom build’s damage output that we add high multipliers to the damage on our attacks? Absolutely not! The wisdom build will get access to Geniekind, meaning they can easily proc Elemental Barrage on every attack. They also get a lot of attacks! With Flurry of Blows, Divine Power, and Ki Point Attacks they are adding three full BAB attacks per round to what they normally get from standard BAB progression (I believe its 7 attacks total). They should be hitting most, if not all, of these attacks when fully buffed and with Guarded Hearth. That means with both Expose Vulnerability and Elemental Barrage they can expect to proc the divine damage around 23.333 times per round. That is overwhelming damage!
If you want to discuss or argue this with me and others you can do so on my subreddit. The link is here.