First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! I hope your heroesfeasts were as good as ours. Of course, the after-effects of such prodigious meals include fatigue, indigestion, and temporary immunity to fear. That’s all well and good as a sometime food, but if your parties are anything like mine, the hits just keep on coming. There you are at the dungeon entrance, stuffed to the gills already, when in comes the dessert tray with such tempting offerings as haste pie or a delectable blackberry and bless cobbler. You’ve run out of notches on your belt of giant strength, but you just keep cramming it in. How could you say no when everything looks so good? 

Allow me to bring this tortured metaphor to a close by saying simply this: When it comes to buffing, it’s easy to go overboard.

Take my Pathfinder 1e occultist/magus. I loved the crap out of that character for his versatility, but by level 15 the self-enhancement was getting out of hand. Everything was groovy if the party was getting ambushed. I could simply rely on my all-day buffs in those scenarios, laying down a couple of quick round one spells before wading into melee. When you’re high level though, access to divination magic and disposable scouting minions is easy. More often than not, that party knew when danger was coming. And when we knew a fight lay behind the next door, I felt obliged to do the following:

  • Activate legacy weapon
  • Activate arcane pool 
  • Pop out a couple of necromantic servants
  • Change my soulbound puppet’s archetype to protector
  • Turn on sudden speed
  • Drink a tasty bear’s endurance beverage
  • Thank my pal the arcanist for haste and enlarge person
  • Crank up my winged boots
  • Cast anticipate peril
  • Cast lead blades
  • Cast mirror image
  • Throw a battlemind link on me and the party brawler

It was like roleplaying a preflight checklist. I half expected my GM to wave me towards the combat with a pair of flash batons. And even when combat actually started, I still felt obliged to keep an eye on potential dangers so that I could react with situational immediate action buffs. All of this takes time and math, and if you let it get away from you then combat can drag to a crawl. That’s doubly true when other party members share in the general buffery.

Automatic character sheets like Hero Lab can be a big help here. However, I think this is more of a playstyle issue than a mechanical one. There comes a point when preparation is more trouble than it’s worth, and when kicking open the door and following in Leeroy’s footsteps is the only play left to make. Suffice it to say that I began to limit myself to three buffs per combat, and that my occultist felt much better for the self-imposed restriction.

So how about it, guys? Are you guilty of over-buffing? Or is there no such thing as “too prepared?” Let’s hear your tales of potion-pounding and heroes’ feasting in the comments!


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