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DM Stephens Serpents Skull Campaign - Chp1:The Smugglers Shiv (Inactive)

Game Master terok

With the defeat of the dark Dryad and surviving many of the islands others challenges, the party is well on their way to becoming the Shiv's masters...only Ieana stands in their way...


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Cheliax

No longer matters Drow Lich Epic level Wizard/Cleric of considerable ability

Proposed changes to Nim:

Add a level in Druid (3rd)
HP = +8+5+5(d8) +3(Con) +3(FavClass) +5(Toughness) = new total of 29
+1 Ref Save
+1 BAB (CMD/CMD)
Gain (2) 2nd level spell slots (currently memorizing Bulls Strength and Aspect of the Bear)
Gain Trackless Step
Add feat: Power Attack
Add 6 skills points: Handle Animal +1, Knowledge (Geography)+1, Knowledge (Nature)+1, Perception +1, Spellcraft +1, Survival +1

Changes made to Wic (by Herolab):

Init +1
AC becomes 18/13/15 (+3 Dex, +5 Natural)
HP = 26 (adjusted for Toughness house rule)
+1 Reflex Save
Gained Ability: Evasion
Bite becomes +4 (1d6+3/x2)
Str +1
Dex +1
CMB +1
CMD +2
Swapped feat Step Up out (does not meet prereques according to Herolab) for Improved Natural Armor
Bonus trick: Guard
Skills: Climb +1

*most of the changes come via the increase to Str and Dex as well as the increase to Natural Armor

Corb to take the amulet and Aedalis to take the ring...

Cheliax

No longer matters Drow Lich Epic level Wizard/Cleric of considerable ability
Tragershen wrote:
Any advise on the choices for second level spells? I figured Bull's Strength would be a good buff no matter what we are fighting and Mirror Image is a good defensive spell that I can share with Aedalis and Corbius (when he gets second level spells). Do any of you feel the need for me to take something like See Invisibility or Glitterdust instead to cope with potentially invisible opponents? Any other suggestions?

Imho, I would think that Trag should focus less on buffs (since we have quite a bit of that already throughout the party) and focus more on adding (ranged) direct damage (acid arrow or burning arc?) or battlefield control (create pit or web?) or even debuffs (blindness/deafness or hideous laughter?).

Stone Call checks off both ranged damage (minor) and battlefield control.

I would never suggest you skimp on defensive spells like Mirror Image though. :)

And as I mentioned earlier, Nim will have access to Bull's Strength...

As far as Gliterdust (wicked good spell) or See Invisibility goes, Nim can swap out one Entangle and memorize Faerie Fire instead. Couple that with Wic's scent ability and we have some defence vs invisible foes.

Just my thoughts anyhow. :)

Cheers!

Cheliax

No longer matters Drow Lich Epic level Wizard/Cleric of considerable ability

Just because that last block was so lame :)

Updates to Wic:

+2 Natural Armor
Str +1
Dex +1
Bonus trick: Guard
Gained Ability: Evasion

Resulting in:

Init +1
AC becomes 18/13/15 (+3 Dex, +5* Natural)
+1 Reflex Save
Bite becomes +4 (1d6+3/x2)
CMB +1
CMD +2
Skills: Climb +1

Notes:
New HP total = 26 (adjusted for Toughness house rule)

*Swapped feat Step Up out (Wic does not meet prereques according to Herolab) for Improved Natural Armor


Lord oKOyA wrote:

Just my thoughts anyhow. :)

Cheers!

And I appreciate the great advice. I think I'll hold on to Mirror Image, and do some more reading (and see if anyone else has any recommendations) before finalizing his second choice.

Taldor

Male

I'll try to get my level up/catch up done soon. Running behind schedule and the monstrous amount of time Kingmaker took to update caught me off guard.

1:30AM here desperately trying to get PbP's done, but not quite managed it. Night all!

Cheliax

No longer matters Drow Lich Epic level Wizard/Cleric of considerable ability

G'nite! :)


NP Alex, I am pretty slammed at work and spent my extra time updating Kingmaker today :).
Hopefully you can provide your updates tomorrow and everyone else can complete theirs by then as well and we can pick back up in the PBP thread to complete any discussions around next actions Thursday.


Lord oKOyA wrote:
*Swapped feat Step Up out (Wic does not meet prereques according to Herolab) for Improved Natural Armor

I did some flipping through the books, and it looks like his Int is the problem. An animal companion with Int 3+ can take any feat that they are physically capable of using, while the rest are restricted to a specific list on pg. 53 of the CRB (and any that the GM approves from other sources).

markofbane wrote:
Lord oKOyA wrote:

Just my thoughts anyhow. :)

Cheers!

And I appreciate the great advice. I think I'll hold on to Mirror Image, and do some more reading (and see if anyone else has any recommendations) before finalizing his second choice.

Did you see my spoiler? :)

Cheliax

No longer matters Drow Lich Epic level Wizard/Cleric of considerable ability

Yeah that is what HeroLab is saying... I was just pointing out my reason for the swap. As HeroLab isn't infallible and I didn't feel like searching out the rule I thought I would explain why I was doing what I was doing. :)

I am glad you researched it though... and am happy HeroLab has the right of it. :)

As for Tragershen's spell selection? Not to put it bluntly... but... he needs to bring the hurt in combat more than we need a repair man. :)

We aren't planning on staying on this island forever... and sunder is a pretty rare occurrence. Usually. A spell like Make Whole is a luxury, best saved for purchased scrolls and such.

Besides, there aren't many things that we would be hosed by having them broken. Nim and Anton carry multiple weapons and freely switch between them. Corb's sword is now unbreakable as long as he doesn't run his pool out. The others aren't likely to be targeted and what could they lose really? Unless Stephen is a mean, vindictive type, the casters shouldn't have worry for their spell books, component pouches etc. ;)

But maybe that is just me. :)


It isn't just you, in more than one sense. Your argument makes sense -- and it's standard to use "not to <blank> but" to mean "I'm about to <blank>". ;)

Speaking seriously as a lover of language, that's actually a really great example of how "but" is a negater. Whenever I hear a sentence with "but" in it, I ask myself which part of the sentence the speaker is negating. It's a very useful habit and I highly recommend it -- especially during election season.

Cheliax

No longer matters Drow Lich Epic level Wizard/Cleric of considerable ability

Oh I am aware I was intending to speak bluntly. As for the sentence structure? I blame lack of sleep. :)

It should have been "To put it bluntly..." or "Not to put it too bluntly... but..." or some such thing. :)

zzzzz zzzzz zzzz Wait! What was I saying? (I should go to bed, nothing good ever comes out of writing when I am tired)

I try not to listen too much during election season if I can manage to. ;)

It is sound advice though...


Just need Aedalis and Mihai for leveling and then decide your next course of action.
BTW I know Mihai is out this week on vacation so it may be hard for him to make up a bigger post like leveling so we may be on a semi-hold until next week. Just a warning so I am not pushing you guy to move quickly until next week.


Male Human (Varisian) Cleric (Varisian Pilgrim archetype) 5

Mihai is indeed still on vacation for a while longer - and probably won't get a level-up update in my profile until I get home. However I hope you don't put everyone on hold for my sake.

Rough Level Up
Favored Class to HP: 15 +5 +1 = 21
Skills: Diplo, Heal, Perform Harrow, Sense Motive
Feat: Combat Casting
Domain Spell: Aid


Male Human 5th level Druid
Stats:
Init +1 Perception +11 AC 20 Tch 13 FF 19 HP 50 Fort+6(+7 vs disease) Ref+2 Will+7 Spd 20' CMB +8 CMD 21 Acro-2*Climb+6*Esc Art-2*Spellcraft+5 Stealth-2*Swim +6 ACP -2 (shield)

I am assuming I can go ahead and update Nim/Wic as above?


Male Halfling (Molthuni) Barbarian 1 Ranger (Trapper) 3

My profile is finally done! Whew. Anton is so complicated that I had to use some shorthand to make it readable, so here's the key:

ACP = Armor Check Penalty. Already included in the score.
FEB = Favored Enemy Bonus. Not included in the score.
FTB = Favored Terrain Bonus. Not included in the score.

When the Skills call out tools or kits by name (such as thieves' tools), they're already included in the score, and just listed for completeness. In most cases, some item or ability only gives a bonus in a specific situation, and I've done my best to describe each one. And then there's the unique case of the halfling alternate racial trait Swift as Shadows, which made Stealth ridiculously difficult to word clearly. Any questions? :)

Edit: I also updated the loot log on the Google site last night. Can I assume that Tragershen has Alizandru's bloody confession and delusional journal? (He was hired to take us here by a Pathfinder, not convinced by Ieana, the crazy guy.)


Male Halfling (Molthuni) Barbarian 1 Ranger (Trapper) 3

FC = Favored Class. Already included in the score.

@DM Stephen: Just to be totally clear, whenever Anton is in a jungle, his Initiative, Knowledge (geography), Perception, Stealth, and Survival are all +2 higher than listed. Since you always roll initiative, and sometimes determine some of the others for me. ;)


Do we have a relatively recent map of the island as we explored it to date? I'm curious as to:

How far off is the corrupted island?
How far off is the dryad's tree?
How much territory is completely unexplored by us?
Do we have a good idea (perhaps through Pezcock) where the Red Mountain Devil resides?

And since Nim will be taking the Bull's Strength route, I think I'll go with Glitterdust as Tragershen's second spell for leveling up, along with Mirror Image. I'll make sure his character sheet is updated.


Male Halfling (Molthuni) Barbarian 1 Ranger (Trapper) 3
Tragershen wrote:
And since Nim will be taking the Bull's Strength route, I think I'll go with Glitterdust as Tragershen's second spell for leveling up, along with Mirror Image. I'll make sure his character sheet is updated.

Nooooo!!! Nim's bull strength is just what he can cast. Yours would be what you, Aedalis, and Corbrius could cast. And that would make a really big difference to a small guy who thought he was going to be a scout, not a front-liner. ;)


Anton Green wrote:
Nooooo!!! Nim's bull strength is just what he can cast. Yours would be what you, Aedalis, and Corbrius could cast. And that would make a really big difference to a small guy who thought he was going to be a scout, not a front-liner. ;)

Nim will be able to cast it more than once, I believe. And it is only for this level; there is no telling what he'll take when he hits 4th level. :)


Male Halfling (Molthuni) Barbarian 1 Ranger (Trapper) 3

No complaints, I'll take what I can get. ;) Oh and for your questions, just working from memory:

1. We're at the south end of this east-bending crescent, and the grey islet is off of the northwest corner. So it's far.
2. Not far. Chupe was able to fly Anton there and back in a single night, in time to still have an argument before bed.
3. From the wood witch's hill, we were able to see where we hadn't been yet. So it's all at least at the "once" level.
4. We know somewhere on the Red Mountain (natch), which is similarly close, but so far we haven't been told any details.


Male Halfling (Molthuni) Barbarian 1 Ranger (Trapper) 3

@DM Stephen: Also, could we get the various rulings in this post and the next thirty or so added to the Campaign Info tab? (Number of PC hp per level, how an animal companion's hp advances, house rule on Toughness, etc.) Can anyone else think of any rulings to add?

This was triggered by my pointing out (in PM) that Wice's hp were too high; whereas the last time I was pointing out that they were too low. It would be nice if these things were easier to find, since not everyone has as much time as I do to go back and research details like that.


Male Human 5th level Druid
Stats:
Init +1 Perception +11 AC 20 Tch 13 FF 19 HP 50 Fort+6(+7 vs disease) Ref+2 Will+7 Spd 20' CMB +8 CMD 21 Acro-2*Climb+6*Esc Art-2*Spellcraft+5 Stealth-2*Swim +6 ACP -2 (shield)

In the interest of full disclosure so you can make your choice with all available information... Nim only has two 2nd level spell slots per day. Definitely not enough to spread around the bull's str. much even if he wants to... and is likely to only memorize one per day. Sorry. :(

As for spreading the spell around, Corb can't memorize it until he gains 2nd level spell slots and witches do not have it on their spell list at all I believe.


Male Halfling (Molthuni) Barbarian 1 Ranger (Trapper) 3

They can if they have the Strength patron! um.. but Aedalis has Time. Which is awesome, but you're right, and sad ranger is sad. :(


HP 39/30, AC- 11 (15 MA) T- 11 FF- 10 (14MA), CMD- 12, F +6, R +4, W +7, P +7, In +5

My familiar will have your buff needs covered provided you give him a wand. But only when I hit level 7 and Tilsini has a transformation.


Information has been added to the campaign info tab.

I am pretty busy at the moment so I am okay picking back up at full posting on Monday.

Alex, do you think you can have Aedalis updated by then? I will also review and approve the levels over the weekend.

Can't wait for Corbrius' sword to start telling you guys what to do!!!! lol


HP 39/30, AC- 11 (15 MA) T- 11 FF- 10 (14MA), CMD- 12, F +6, R +4, W +7, P +7, In +5

Level up is done in herolab ill update aedalis' profile when I get home (in lecture right now)


HP 39/30, AC- 11 (15 MA) T- 11 FF- 10 (14MA), CMD- 12, F +6, R +4, W +7, P +7, In +5

Ok, stats updated too.


Male Halfling (Molthuni) Barbarian 1 Ranger (Trapper) 3

My posting could be very limited for the next week. On Monday and Tuesday, I won't be on a computer until late in the evening Pacific time. On Wednesday through Saturday, I'll be lucky to get on a computer at all, since my sister and her husband will be in town from Virginia; we're very close, and only seeing her for a few days once a year means that we'll spend a lot of time together. I've PM'd DM Stephen with my plans, so hopefully things will go along smoothly, even if it gets hectic while I'm unavailable.


Mihai, when are you going to be back in action and available?
Would like to get the game started again, just gauging player availability. Thanks, Stephen


Male Human (Varisian) Cleric (Varisian Pilgrim archetype) 5

Tuesday 16th October is when I'll be back in KL and returning to more normal posting availability and frequency. As I put up earlier, I'd hope you'll kick things back off now and let me catch up when I return from holidays.

In all player honesty - I'd be comfortable with chasing either option. Mihai would probably lean towards trying to kill the Devil first... but would be easily over-ruled by group consensus.


Part of the issue is that you are not the only one out...I will move over to the PBP thread and try to push things along...


Male Human 5th level Druid
Stats:
Init +1 Perception +11 AC 20 Tch 13 FF 19 HP 50 Fort+6(+7 vs disease) Ref+2 Will+7 Spd 20' CMB +8 CMD 21 Acro-2*Climb+6*Esc Art-2*Spellcraft+5 Stealth-2*Swim +6 ACP -2 (shield)

I'm here...


I'm here as well.


Male Human Magus 4(Bladebound)
Attacks:
Asilande +9(1d6+4/18-20x2), Dagger +6 (1d4+2/19-20x2), Longbw +7 (1d6/20x3)
Spellcasting:
CL 4 +6 melee, +6 ranged, Conc +9
Stats:
Init+3, Perc+2,AC19/14/15 HP 37,Frt+5,Will+4,Ref+4,Spd 30',CMB+5,CMD 19,Str 14, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 10

Here


Male Halfling (Molthuni) Barbarian 1 Ranger (Trapper) 3

I apologize for the sudden change in direction. But we are, after all, talking about Mr. "New plan!" here. ;)


Male Human (Varisian) Cleric (Varisian Pilgrim archetype) 5

And I am now officially back in the metaphorical 'saddle' at home in KL. Thanks for bearing with me over the last couple of weeks and I'll aim to have the profile updated with Mihai's 3rd level choices within the day.


Male Human Magus 4(Bladebound)
Attacks:
Asilande +9(1d6+4/18-20x2), Dagger +6 (1d4+2/19-20x2), Longbw +7 (1d6/20x3)
Spellcasting:
CL 4 +6 melee, +6 ranged, Conc +9
Stats:
Init+3, Perc+2,AC19/14/15 HP 37,Frt+5,Will+4,Ref+4,Spd 30',CMB+5,CMD 19,Str 14, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 10

Apologies to all I have been slammed at work and seem to have caught the plague along with that. I am hoping to catch up in the next couple of days.


No problem, just try to gve us a quick heads up if you are going to be out of pocket for a couple of days...

Cheliax

No longer matters Drow Lich Epic level Wizard/Cleric of considerable ability

DM Stephen, more discussion regarding handle animal skill. The rest of you read only if you want to... you have been warned. :) :

Here is my issue with the rule that handle animal for a druid or ranger (when dealing with their bonded animal companions) is a "free" action and therefore restricted to use only on the your turn. If you declare that the action involved is not speech, then what is it? It certainly isn't telepathy. I'm not sure what that leaves other than possibly gestures? If it is gestures, do you need a free hand then? What is the range? Do you need line of sight? Line of effect? Does it require a perception check to notice the commands on the part of the animal? Are there distance penalties? What if it is dark out? If your hands are tied behind your back, do you lose the use of the skill? Can it be interrupted in other ways? etc etc. I am sure you get my point. None of this is indicated in the skill. In fact the skill is severely lacking in direction and definition with regards to what exactly the action required is, other than "free".

I think, therefore, it is entirely reasonable to assume that handle animal is primarily achieved via speech, with the possibility for non-verbal elements (ie gestures) mixed in. This is how animal trainers do it in the real world afterall.

So if it is speech, why would you allow certain speech to occur outside of your normal turn, while restricting handle animal speech to only on your turn? Nim is allowed to use free action speech to say "Corbious, protect Mihai and get into flank with that vegepygmy" but he cannot use the same free speech action to command Wic to "Stand down!"

Say what? :) That makes no sense.

I think it is important to keep in mind that when the handle animal skill was first written and published, the swift and immediate actions did not exist. Free action speech was a special exemption from the normal action rules, but has never been renamed as an immediate action, which it so clearly is. We even invoke the restriction to free speech that one cannot use it when flat-footed, just like immediate actions. But due to backwards compatibility and cut and paste rules we have things like this crop up. The actions free, swift and immediate are a mess if you ask me. :) Let me get this straight, by definition, free actions require the least amount of time and effort (outside of "not an action") as compared to the other actions (even allowing for multiple free actions to be taken per turn) but cannot be done on someone else's turn but immediate actions can?! It seems to me that a bunch of activities need to be resorted under the correct action. :)

Intelligence of the animal may be brought up, to which I say, the animal is capable of performing the tricks it knows. Period. Yes or no, there is no grey area. Whether the score is 1 or 2 it can perform, when commanded. What about when it achieves an Int of 3? It is now capable of understanding speech. Does this remove the need for handle animal checks? No it does not. Much like in my above example, Corb as a free thinking individual, can ignore my request. As can 3 Int Wic just like 2 Int Wic. So this means he is capable of understanding speech (heck even speak himself apparently), but is incapable of following commands unless it is Nim's turn?! Ummmm... :)

Intelligence is irrelevant.

If I can teach my dog to do many things by verbal and/or non-verbal command, then surely a mystical druid, divinely in tune with the natural world, and his bonded companion, a paragon of his species, can manage to do it. And do it in a co-ordinated way. ;)

All of this really begs the question... do you feel that the animal companion being commanded via free action speech, or as an immediate action, is really over-powered? Really? In what way exactly? Because I really don't see it. We are talking about a major class feature and a restriction that makes little sense in my opinion. The impact is more of needless complexity and annoyance than of actual restriction anyway if you ask me. :)

I will play it as you wish, you are the DM and this is your game, but I would hope you would consider what I have said. :)

I truly think it will become apparent that the restriction has little value in the long haul. The end result will be they both act on the same init, using readied actions and such to achieve virtually the same result.

Let me know what you think. :)


Animal Discussion:

It is defined clearly by the Core rules, I don't think it is vague at all.
I have played a Pathfinder Druid to 16th level with the same type of animal companion, I didn't find it vague at all.
It is a free action, which means by definition an action you can only take on your turn. Remember, speaking outside of your turn is an action I houseruled.
If you would prefer I can limit speaking to the PC's turn only and then the argument is mute?
The difference is you are initiating an action which occurs on your turn. You are commanding it to do something. If I allow your free action out of turn then should I allow others?
I think we should just work within the confines of the rules as written. Thanks, Stephen


Male Human (Varisian) Cleric (Varisian Pilgrim archetype) 5

Animal Discussion:
Woof, woof, baaaaa, quack-quack, honk, neigh!

Sorry - couldn't resist :P

Cheliax

No longer matters Drow Lich Epic level Wizard/Cleric of considerable ability

Animal Discussion:
I do not find it clearly defined at all, as written, outside of the restriction that it is a "free" action and therefore arbitrarily (imo) restricted to your own turn. I would ask again then, since it is not clear to me, what is actually physically or mentally required to handle my animal companion so that I may better understand the limitations of using the skill in the future. (the first part of my above post)

(I too have many years of experience DMing and it is my experience that the restriction is unnecessary. It becomes so much easier to adjudicate if the skill is speech dependant and as such follows the rules for free speech. Again imho.)

I would also like to point out that speaking out of turn is not a houserule. It has been in the rules since the inception of 3.0 and is in the Pathfinder Core rules currently under Free Actions: Speak. Removing the ability to speak on other people's turns would be a houserule. One that you are free to make as the DM if you so choose.

As you seem reluctant to engage in constructive discussion, and perhaps I am reading it wrong, but you seem a little hostile in your response :( I will cease discussing it. It was not my intention to disrupt the game or attempt to gain some gamest advantage, but rather to have a rules discussion with people I know and respect, as opposed to just throwing it out in the rules discussion forum. I hate that place. :)

Please accept my apologies for interrupting the game. We shall go as "raw" as you wish.

Cheliax

No longer matters Drow Lich Epic level Wizard/Cleric of considerable ability

Mihai:
*gasps in shock* Do you talk to your mother with that mouth?! :D


Animal Discussion:
Lord oKOyA wrote:
It was not my intention to disrupt the game or attempt to gain some gamest advantage, but rather to have a rules discussion with people I know and respect, as opposed to just throwing it out in the rules discussion forum. I hate that place. :)

Challenge Accepted

pg. 188 wrote:
You can take a swift action anytime you would normally be allowed a free action.
pg. 189 wrote:
However, unlike a swift action, an immediate action can be performed at any time -- even if it's not your turn.

I quoted those because I couldn't find where they just come out and say that free actions are on your turn. It adds up to the same thing.

pg. 188 wrote:
In general, speaking is a free action that you can perform even when it isn't your turn.
pg. 98 wrote:
Handling an animal is a move action, while "pushing" an animal is a full-round action.
pg. 52 wrote:
A druid can handle her animal companion as a free action, or push it as a move action, even if she doesn't have any ranks in the Handle Animal skill.

I quoted the one under Link (instead of the one under Handle Animal) because it applies to animal companions in general, not just druids and rangers.

RAW, free actions are only allowed on your turn unless specified otherwise. Handling an animal companion is reduced from a move action to a free action; but unlike speech, it doesn't specify that it can be done out of turn. And every other usage of Handle Animal to get an animal to perform a task or trick is a move action or worse -- including "pushing" an animal companion to do something that it hasn't been taught yet.

My conclusion is that there's no particular reason why getting an animal companion to perform a task or trick that it has been taught should be a singular exception to what is otherwise a solid and consistent rule. And I sympathize with your aversion to the Rules Questions forum; I developed my quote-heavy style as a way of keeping my sanity there, and now it's just a habit.

Ditto for my dry style. Some time ago, I figured out that in order for me to remain happy (and not be a jerk) while discussing rules on these boards, I need to keep it all very impersonal. I make a habit of it on purpose, so please don't read anything into it. :)

Cheliax

No longer matters Drow Lich Epic level Wizard/Cleric of considerable ability

Fredrik:

I am aware and fully understand what the rules say. :)

My reasoning is based more on the fact that the current Pathfinder rules surrounding free/swift/immediate actions are a mess as written. The reason for this is that two of those actions did not even exist when the original rules were written up. They did not exist in 3.0. They did not exist in 3.5 Core. They were added in later by supplemental books, ie splat books, the kind of book usually responsible for causing unforeseen issues, and interestingly the kind of book that people now routinely ban from games. (Sounds like the Ultimate books in Pathfinder) If those actions had been designed together from the onset, I truly believe that things that are now classified as free actions would instead be classified as other actions.

Speech is the most obvious example. It is closer to an immediate action by the definition. You can do it when it isn't currently your turn. There is a limitation as to how much you can say. The only difference is it doesn't keep you from performing another immediate or swift action in the same round.

Those two new action were added without fully comprehending the consequences, or someone new and didn't care to correct things because it was too difficult to deal with backwards compatibility. I mean who was going to buy all those re-issued books? :)

I mean look at the hierarchy of actions, in order, starting with the ones that require the LEAST amount of EFFORT and TIME (as defined in the rules themselves):


  • Not and action - so inconsequential they aren't even tracked in any way.

  • Free action - you are able to perform multiple free actions per round (limited only by the DM's discretion)

  • Swift & Immediate actions - virtually identical. Requires more time and effort than free actions as stated by the rules "...but represents a larger expenditure of effort and energy than a free action" and is limited to one per round.

  • Move action - on your turn, twice if needed.

  • Standard action - on your turn, once only.

  • Full Round action - you get the idea...

So how is it, given that, does one allow immediate actions to happen when it isn't your turn, but free actions, requiring less effort and time cannot?

It is because the rules evolved, rather than be designed as a cohesive system. They wanted a way to bend the action rules and they did, but didn't feel it was necessary to revisit the previous actions to check for inconsistencies.

Pathfinder merely cut and paste them into their rules, bringing along the same issues.

Have you checked to see how many Core feats/skills/spells actually use immediate and swift action? I have. Let me tell you it is very very few of the former and a few more of the later. (Interestingly enough, and to me highly indicative of what I have been saying, most of the swift and immediate actions present in Pathfinder were added into the classes and feats sections, the two areas to receive the most drastic and comprehensive changes/rewrites of the entire rules.)

THAT is my issue. The actions no longer accurately reflect the effort and time. Many free actions should be changed to swift and immediate actions IMO.

Regardless of all that, many of my points in my first post are still awaiting explanation. I'll bold them so they don't get lost in the wall of text. :)

Please define for me how handle animal is actually achieved, setting aside the "free action" bit. Bonus points if you can quote/link rules. :)

Please define for me how this interaction is influenced by other rules? Bonus here as well for quotes. :)

Does an animal with 3 Int still need to be commanded via handle animal? If not, why not? If so, why so? Bonus points if you can quote/link rules here as well. :) His higher intelligence has granted him the ability to understand speech (and perhaps even speak himself), to what benefit is his new found ability? I can converse with him in the common tongue, but cannot ask him to perform his tricks unless I am speaking on my turn? Why? And once again Bonus points are up for grabs. :)

To my knowledge there are no rules to answer these questions. Hence why I bring this up.

And finally, I have yet to hear an explanation as to how allowing handle animal as a immediate action (for animal companions) "breaks the game".

I have been playing it as an immediate action in my games and have had no issues. Even when compared to limiting it to the RAW.

It is my honest belief that the RAI is completely at odds with RAW in this instance. If swift and immediate actions existed when the skills were written up, and the bit in the handle animal section read "immediate" action instead of "free" would you really be arguing to have it changed to restrict it to your own turn as a free action?

In the end, as I have stated previously, I will play as DM Stephen wishes, I always was going to. I will show, however, that the "restriction" placed upon Wic will be far less than imagined, meaning the added complexity and annoyance at double posting will be for naught. :)

I look forward to your response. :)


Butting in:
Quote:
Does an animal with 3 Int still need to be commanded via handle animal? If not, why not? If so, why so?

By RAW, no creature with an Int score of 3 of higher can be an animal, so no, Handle Animal doesn't even apply. You'd have to use Diplomacy rolls or something to persuade it to do something. :)

Honestly, I think mundane-animal-related rules are a mess. Witches can get Feral Speech and bards can learn speak with animals, but neither one get wild empathy so they can speak to animals but can't alter their starting attitudes or make requests, by RAW. So what good is speaking with them if you can't ask them for anything?

Cheliax

No longer matters Drow Lich Epic level Wizard/Cleric of considerable ability

You are always welcome Joana. :) :

I am only spoilering these so that those that don't want to read , or have huge walls of text clogging up their screens, can ignore my gibberish. ;)

Ok, so raising its intelligence to 3 means it no longer qualifies as an animal (or more accurately is dis-qualified as he already was an animal) but what then does it become? Does my wolf become a magical beast? If so, then it must gain d10 HD and fast BAB progression, no? Once again, I am not aware of rules to back this up. I would think something important like this should be covered in the animal companion section of the rules. :)

Seems like everyone should take that int point then. :)

Understands speech. Fast BAB. D10 vs d8 HP. More options for skills. Vastly more options for feats. No longer restricted to a finite number of tricks. Pushing becomes irrelevant. Can be commanded automatically with free speech. Anything else I have missed? :)

Side question: If a handle animal check is no longer required to get him to carry out my request, what does determine his receptiveness? Opposed Charisma checks? Wisdom? Intelligence? If I ask him to attack a target that is extremely dangerous, how does he know it is? And will he tell me to buzz off? Can I retry next round? He does only have a 3 Int, it should be a simple matter to trick him yes? Bluff vs Sense Motive? ;)

So, the handle animal restriction, that it is a free action, is a factor only until level 4 and I can stop "wasting" skill points into handle animal? Do the low level animals and handlers need more restrictions? Because it has been my experience that the animal companion is most effective in the lower levels and its contribution tails off the higher level it becomes. To the point that most high level druids I have experienced don't even bother to adventure with them as they become more of a nuisance/resource drain than they are worth in the end. Of course someone else's experiences might be different, Depends largely on the campaign style/setting I would guess.

To be honest, a lot of games I have played in have hand waived handle animal checks entirely with regards to animal companions, to no discernible effect, so the brew ha ha that has erupted over this is shocking me. :)

All this over a measly action! My word! :)

Edited a few times. :)


Animal Discussion:
Thank you for explaining where swift/immediate came from. I kind of skipped over 3.x, going straight from AD&D to Pathfinder. I think that you would have a more persuasive argument tackling the rules in general than the specific case, but first:

* How Handle Animal is achieved is undefined, which allows you to use it while silenced and bound. It's totally up to DM fiat, as it should be. In real life, people who think that they're controlling their animals by their words -- or even not controlling them at all -- are often actually giving subconscious cues in their vocal tones, facial expressions, and body language. Why do dog owners think that dogs are such great judges of character? Because they confirm their master's beliefs, and anyone who agrees with us must be smart.

* I can't think of many ways that handling an animal is influenced by other rules. Aside from rule 0 and Aid Another, of course.

* Hi, Joana! Nice seeing you here. But since Lord oKOyA appears to be taking it seriously, I'm going to have to call B.S. on your humorous quibble with the animal definition. Emphasis added: "An animal possesses the following traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature's entry)." I think that we can exercise enough common sense here to extend "a creature's entry" to include modifications made by a class feature. (I can't believe that I just had to argue that an animal companion is necessarily an animal.)

* Well now, how it "breaks the game" is a completely different question. I wouldn't know. But as long as we're going so far afield, what's the point? Why do it?

So anyway, back to the top. I've come to accept that the action rules are a mess. You can't use a move action to perform a swift action -- let alone an immediate action! -- even though a move action takes longer, because removing that once-per-round limit on swift/immediate would destroy game balance at higher levels. (Someone explained it to me in a thread once, with examples that somehow involved Quicken Spell and some other things that I don't remember.) However!

What about going the other direction? I think that a much stronger case could be made for houseruling that you can use an immediate action to perform a free action, than for using Handle Animal as a free action outside of your turn. (If you see the distinction.) If I had to rule on it myself, I would be totally cool with allowing you to use up a precious action resource like that. But then again, I don't have any experience at the higher levels of 3.x/Pathfinder, and don't know all (or really any) of the possible consequences. (But I suspect that if anything, you'd only have more other things that you'd rather do with that 1/turn.)

Also edited a few times. ;)

Cheliax

No longer matters Drow Lich Epic level Wizard/Cleric of considerable ability

Fredrik (Fair warning: Serious Wall of Text!! :) :

Ok now I have to use quotes to keep up. :)

Fredrik wrote:
How Handle Animal is achieved is undefined, which allows you to use it while silenced and bound.

So you are saying it is telepathy? I can handle my animal when blind, deaf, mute, paralysed and at any range with no penalty? And yet I cannot do it unless it is on my turn? :P

Fredrik wrote:
It's totally up to DM fiat, as it should be.

Everything is DM fiat. Everything. I am not sure what relevance this has, (More on this in a second)

Fredrik wrote:
In real life, people who think that they're controlling their animals by their words -- or even not controlling them at all -- are often actually giving subconscious cues in their vocal tones, facial expressions, and body language. Why do dog owners think that dogs are such great judges of character? Because they confirm their master's beliefs, and anyone who agrees with us must be smart.

Interesting. People in the real world can control their animal companions with a combination of speech and body language, even subconsciously. Sounds like it is easy to do and requires minimal time. Something that is so minor that they would not even be considered free actions. They literally don’t take any time at all to do and are considered an inherent part of doing something else. ;)

Real world people can manage to do it... but the mystical druid cannot. I mean, it doesn't take my dog 6 seconds to process a verbal command to fetch a ball I am in the act of throwing. :P

Fredrik wrote:
I can't think of many ways that handling an animal is influenced by other rules. Aside from rule 0 and Aid Another, of course.

Emphasis mine. Getting back to DM fiat and rule 0 then, I feel that any rules discussion that degenerates into claims of Rule 0 without explanation is a cop out. I, as a player, am asking exactly how a major class feature is being adjudicated. Not for a highly specific or ultra rare occurrence, but in a "I use it every round" kind of usage. And the best answer that can be given on how it functions is... DM fiat? That would be totally unacceptable at the tables I usually play at. While the DM is final arbiter of the rules, blatant refusal to provide reasoning and logic to decisions would result in no players at my table. There has to be some continuity with reality, suspension of belief can only get you so far. And before you you respond with "it is the game rules" let us look at Rule 0 more closely:

"The rules in this book are here to help you breathe life into
your characters and the world they explore. While they are
designed to make your game easy and exciting, you might
find that some of them do not suit the style of play that your
gaming group enjoys. Remember that these rules are yours.
You can change them to fit your needs. Most Game Masters
have a number of “house rules” that they use in their games.
The Game Master and players should always discuss any
rules changes to make sure that everyone understands how
the game will be played. Although the Game Master is the
final arbiter of the rules, the Pathfinder RPG is a shared
experience, and all of the players should contribute their
thoughts when the rules are in doubt.
"

Again, emphasis mine. I am following rule 0 by questioning the application of the rules. I find the handle animal unnecessarily complicating. When asking for a explanation, I would hope to get more than "the rule book says so" and/or it works by DM fiat. If I don't get at least a somewhat reasonable explanation, I am not going to quit, but, I will be at least slightly disappointed. :)

Fredrik wrote:
"An animal possesses the following traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature's entry)." I think that we can exercise enough common sense here to extend "a creature's entry" to include modifications made by a class feature.

I would be careful about throwing around the term "common sense" in this discussion. You know what they say about it... :) And this is where some would respond with, "the specific rule trumps the general"... but I won't. ;)

So anyway, Wic is still an animal at 3 Int. So he understands speech, and we have established that one can use speech to talk out of turn but I still cannot give him a command because...? I don't know why actually. :/

And just curious, but when exactly does an animal switch from plain old animal to magical beast? Not to try and drag Alex into this but... Tilsini is listed as "Tiny Magical Beast ((animal))" Does he need to use handle animal checks to command him? Is he going to require his own init and separate posts? Why or why not? (I am really sorry Alex) :P

Fredrik wrote:
Well now, how it "breaks the game" is a completely different question. I wouldn't know. But as long as we're going so far afield, what's the point? Why do it?

So opposition is based upon what exactly? Dogmatic adherence to the rules, even when they are unclear and counter-intuitive? As for why I am questioning it? That is easy, I already have long posts based upon the fact that I am running, essentially, two characters. One of which requires constant handle animal checks to direct his actions. The increased complexity resultant from me having to post repeatedly separate turns, compromising of repeated delaying and readied actions for no significant negative effect upon the eventual outcome in my opinion. That is why.

Simplified comparative examples using the RAW (if achieving flank is the goal):

  • Wic wins init over Nim. Wic's turn arrives. Wic delays until directed by Nim on his turn. Nim's init turn comes up. Nim moves into position, readies his attack for when Wic is in flank and uses a free action to command Wic to attack. Wic comes off of delay, moves into position and triggers Nim's readied action. Nim attacks benefiting from flank. Wic's turn continues (readied actions interrupt) and he attacks also benefiting from flank. They are now on the same init score. Next round rinse and repeat. Nim 1st then Wic.

  • Or, Nim wins init over Wic. Nim's init turn comes up. Nim moves into position, readies his attack for when Wic is in flank and uses a free action to command Wic to attack. Wic's turn arrives. Wic moves into position and triggers Nim's readied action. Nim attacks benefiting from flank. Wic's turn continues (readied actions interrupt) and he attacks also benefiting from flank. They are now on the same init score. Next round rinse and repeat. Nim 1st then Wic.

This method actually gives me more options, but at the expense of more time and effort for me to post (a minimum of one extra post in the first round), and for the increased probability that I will delay the PBP should Nim and Wic start far apart in the init order. (It may seem like I am always on the forum, but it is not actually true) :)

It is essentially requiring me to post at double the rate of any other player (sorry Stephen, but that is the cost of being the DM) and at potentially two very different times of the day, or hold things up.

Fredrik wrote:
So anyway, back to the top. I've come to accept that the action rules are a mess. You can't use a move action to perform a swift action -- let alone an immediate action! -- even though a move action takes longer, because removing that once-per-round limit on swift/immediate would destroy game balance at higher levels. (Someone explained it to me in a thread once, with examples that somehow involved Quicken Spell and some other things that I don't remember.) However!

This is the kind of thing that started this whole mess. :D

Fredrik wrote:
What about going the other direction? I think that a much stronger case could be made for houseruling that you can use an immediate action to perform a free action, than for using Handle Animal as a free action outside of your turn. (If you see the distinction.) If I had to rule on it myself, I would be totally cool with allowing you to use up a precious action resource like that. But then again, I don't have any experience at the higher levels of 3.x/Pathfinder, and don't know all (or really any) of the possible consequences. (But I suspect that if anything, you'd only have more other things that you'd rather do with that 1/turn.)

This is the essence of what I have been saying all along. :)

Are we having fun yet?! :D

I am going to resist rereading and editing this... it will take too long. ;)


Lord oKOyA:
Lord oKOyA wrote:
So you are saying it is telepathy?

No. I'm saying that as far as I can tell, the rules say that you're only restricted by DM adjudication. And yeah, only on your turn.

Lord oKOyA wrote:
Everything is DM fiat. Everything. I am not sure what relevance this has

DM fiat is relevant when you're asking for a houserule.

Lord oKOyA wrote:
Sounds like it is easy to do and requires minimal time. Something that is so minor that they would not even be considered free actions.

Sure does! However, the rules for a roleplaying game must accommodate both roleplay and gameplay. So that isn't enough by itself.

Lord oKOyA wrote:
Getting back to DM fiat and rule 0 then, I feel that any rules discussion that degenerates into claims of Rule 0 without explanation is a cop out.

Again, it isn't a cop out when the RAW is clear and you're asking for a houserule.

Lord oKOyA wrote:
I would be careful about throwing around the term "common sense" in this discussion.

Yes, I'm very careful about throwing around the term "common sense" since it's so often an oxymoron. After debating with myself, I decided to make an exception to my rule of thumb, all things considered. I'm glad that I was right.

Lord oKOyA wrote:
So opposition is based upon what exactly? Dogmatic adherence to the rules, even when they are unclear and counter-intuitive?

What you perceive as "opposition" is just me answering the question(s) as asked. No more, no less. I explained why a few posts above: "Some time ago, I figured out that in order for me to remain happy (and not be a jerk) while discussing rules on these boards, I need to keep it all very impersonal." I'm playing a ranger. I'll be getting an animal companion soon. I recently pointed out to the DM that there was a critical threat against my character, just to be fair, because of course I would point it out if he missed an advantage of mine. That's quite a few things to put together for a complete picture of me, and I frankly doubt that anyone can do it.

So here's a fact: I am not a nice person. Whenever I discuss the game rules, it takes an extraordinary amount of effort for me to avoid violating the primary board rule of "Don't be a jerk." I feel kind of bad about replying to your wall of text with a wedge of Swiss cheese; but I'm kind of an ass, and if I really let myself go, this would not be a fun conversation at all. Not even for me. That's also why I go by the RAW as much as possible, and am honest even when it hurts my character: I have to reinforce those habits in order to improve my odds of not being an absolute douche. So there you go.

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