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930 posts. Alias of Zach Klopfleisch.

Any suggestions for a side quest to allow a party of 4 to work off at least part of the cost of a Raise Dead before they get into The Skinsaw Murders?

My party just killed Nualia, but she killed the party ranger first. They found the Shadows and ran, left the rope bridge to the island hanging with an angry horse stuck up there, and built a raft to get back to land.

Now they've got Lyrie and Orik as prisoners and Sherriff Hemlock is commissioning the party to take them to Magnimar for trial. They're also planning on buying a Raise Dead for the ranger. They've got just enough money to pay for the raise, but they've missed a significant chunk of treasure and don't appear to want to head back to Thistletop any time soon.

I'd like to turn this into an opportunity to add some story: Either give the players the feeling that they've finally tied up the Lamashtu story line, or foreshadow some of the Skinsaw Murders arc, or perhaps give them a red herring so they think they know something about the world (maybe relating to Aldern Foxglove or Nualia) that really isn't true.

Some ideas I've had: A group of Swaithe Demons (Lamashtu's servants from Inner Sea Gods) have taken up residence somewhere outside Magnimar and are killing off farmers. Possibly tie them in with the Sandpoint Devil? That might misdirect them when they find out about outlying farms getting raided near Sandpoint.

Another possibility is to have them destroy the altars and deplete the Runewell in Thistletop and the Catacombs of Wrath. But I'm not sure how to make that anything other than a boring straightforward fight and give them the feeling that I'm railroading them into completing the sections of dungeons they've skipped.

Or, possibly have them clean out a goblin tribe?

Any other ideas?

This is PFS, so 20 point buy, no crafting, etc etc.

After GMing 6 levels of Emerald Spire for a marathon Extra-life session, I've got a shiny new 6th level character just waiting to be built. Always wanted to try a Harrower but my campaigns usually fell apart right before I could get into the class, and now it's legal for PFS.

So, I'm wondering mainly about saves and feats right now, here's the skeleton of what I have:

Human Diviner 5/Harrower 1 (Foresight or Scrying sub school, not sure which)
Opposition schools: Necromancy and What?

Str 7
Dex 14
Con 13 (Wondering if I should swap these)
Int 22 (19 base, +1 at 4th, +2 headband)
Wis 8 (First character I dumped Wis on, it's more of an RP thing)
Cha 14 (Again, RP thing. Who expects a Wizard face?)

HP 37

Initiative: +12 (+2 Dex, +2 level, +4 Improved Init, +4 Familiar)

Fort: 3, Ref: 4, Will: 5

Wiz 1: Spell Focus (Conjuration) (PFS thing, swap out Scribe Scroll for Spell Focus)
Level 1: Harrowed Summoning
Human Bonus: Harrowed
Level 3: Improved Initiative
Level 5: Iron Will? Greater Fortitude? Not sure what to take
Wiz 5: Disruptive? Dunno here, either

Irrepressable: Use Cha for saves against Charms and Compulsions (Leverage those RP choices mechanically!)
Disciple of the 7 Veils: Disguise as a class skill (Rethinking this, maybe better to get Sense Motive?)

Class Abilities:
Diviner: Always act in the Surprise round, +1/2 Wiz level to init
Arcane Bond: Rabbit (+4 Init)

Bluff +11, Diplomacy +6, Disguise +11, Fly +8, All Knowledges +10-14, Perform (Act) +10, Spellcraft +15, UMD +8

Equipment: 18k-ish to spend, no simgle item worth more than 8K
Headband Int +2
+1 Spell Storing Silken Ceremonial armor (Hold Person or Suggestion? Intensified/Empowered Shocking Grasp?)
Cloak of Resistance +1
Other stuff?

So, my questions are:
What Feats? I really need to shore up my saves, but Will or Fort?
What opposition schools? Normally I like Necromancy and Enchantment, but this guy has Enchantment written all over him. So Necromancy and what?
What's my combat role? Harrow casting seems to be offensive focused, even a little blasty. Then again, it's not available all that often. So should I go with the standard God Wizard tactics, or go more blasty?

RP Stuff:

The idea is to have a fast talking, morally relaxed guy just this side of being a scam artist. Normally he's just Fabulous! But he doesn't have any problem adapting to whatever the mark wants. If that means he goes in the back to get "Granny" to do the reading, popping a Disguise Self to become Granny and a Silent Image of himself to lead "her" back out, so be it. (Or his "sister." And might as well pop a Detect Thoughts while you're at it.)

He considers Harrow readings more performance art than divination, and the less likely someone is to realize it's performance art, the more likely they're going to have a time worth the money they spent. So he's not really scamming them, just providing a different service than they realize they're paying for.

This is pretty much his attitude with everything. Don't take anything too seriously, play it by ear, and as long as the mark thinks he's getting what he wants, it will all work out in the end.

I'm thinking about shifting my skill investment from Disguise to Sense Motive: He has to be able to fake being other people, but a point or two in Disguise and the spell Disguise Self (or a Hat of Disguise) can handle that. But one of the key skills of being a fortune teller is being able to read other people, and Sense Motive is the key to that. Divination spells are handy, but you can't use them hour after hour. So I'm thinking about moving those 6 points from Disguise into Sense Motive and trading "Disciple of the 7 Veils" for something that improves my Sense Motive.)

So, I saw the Chivalry Inquisition in Magical Marketplace and just have to try it out: It grants you the Mount class feature, at 8th level it allows you to share one of your active judgments with your mount, and is available to followers of Erastil, Iomedae, Sarenrae and Torag. I've also got a boon to use an Axe Beak as a mount or animal companion, so that makes for a natural test bed of the concept. I'll start out at level 3 or 4.

It looks like Cleric would actually be a better fit for this than Inquisitor since they have more flexibility in their spells and won't be as dependent on the mount always being available.

I'm just not sure what race/deity/stat combo I should go with.

If I go Torag, I'll take the Archon subdomain for the aura ability at 8th level and be more of a support character. If I go Iomedae I'll take the Tactics subdomain and be a more offensive oriented battle Cleric.

Human Cleric:

LN Human Cleric (of Torag or Iomedae)

Init +0
Perception +2

AC 19, Touch 10, Flat Footed 19 (+7 armor, +2 shield)
HP: 27
Fort 5, Ref 1, Will 5

Speed: 20
Melee: Mwk Lance +6 (1d8+4 20/x3), Or Mwk Longsword +6 (1d8+3 19-20/x2)
Ranged: Sling +2 (1d4+3 20/x2)

Str: 16, Dex: 10, Con 14, Int: 10, Wis: 14, Cha 14

Special Abilities:
Channel 5/day 2d6 DC 13
Domain Abilities

Human Bonus: Martial Weapon Proficiency (Lance)
Level 1: Mounted Combat
Level 3: Power Attack

Beast Bond (Social): Handle Animal is class skill and +1 to HA and Ride checks
Fate's Favored (Religion): +1 to all Luck bonuses

Trained Skills: Diplomacy 1 rank, Handle Animal 3 ranks, Ride 3 ranks, Sense Motive 1 rank, Spellcraft 1 rank

Equipment: +1 Light Steel Shield, +1 Breastplate, Masterwork Lance, Masterwork Longsword, +1 Chain Shirt Barding for mount

The human would be a member of a knightly family of Brevoy that took their skills to Lastwall when their previous country was conquered in 4499AR. He's a professional officer with no illusions about the glory of war, focused on completing the mission with the fewest losses possible. He leads from the front and by example, not necessarily the best fighter in the group, but he certainly contributes his fair share while keeping track of everything else going on.

Dwarf Cleric:

LN Dwarf Cleric (of Torag or Iomedae)

Init +0
Perception +2

AC 19, Touch 10, Flat Footed 19 (+7 armor, +2 shield)
HP: 27
Fort 5, Ref 1, Will 5 (+2 verses poison and spells, another +2 verses Charms, Compulsions and Emotional descriptor spells)

Speed: 20
Melee: Mwk Warhammer +6 (1d8+3 20/x3)
Ranged: Sling +2 (1d4+3 20/x2)

Str: 16, Dex: 10, Con 14, Int: 10, Wis: 15, Cha 12

Special Abilities:
Channel 4/day 2d6 DC 13
Domain Abilities

Level 1: Mounted Combat
Level 3: Power Attack

Beast Bond (Social): Handle Animal is class skill and +1 to HA and Ride checks
Principled: -2 Bluff, +2 verses Charm, compulsion, emotion descriptor spells

Trained Skills: Handle Animal 3 ranks, Ride 3 ranks

Equipment: +1 Light Steel Shield, +1 Breastplate, Masterwork Warhammer, +1 Chain Shirt Barding for mount

The dwarf would be from Kraggodan, his ancestors fought in the Shining Crusade and have been fighting in Lastwall since then to make sure the job stayed done. He's a professional officer, completely practical and unromantic: He's seen too many shining knights run off in search of glory get themselves and their allies killed. His main focus is on keeping his team alive and functioning as efficiently as possible.

Mechanically, the Human is a bit stronger in combat and has significantly better skills, where the Dwarf has slightly better defenses and will likely be a little better as a spellcaster. The extra feat is really useful for the Human, allowing him to use a Lance right off the bat while the Dwarf either needs to wait until 5th, or put off Power Attack until 5th.

Deity-wise, I like Torag's fluff better. Iomedae's Tactics domain has excellent abilities at both 1st and 8th, but Torag's Archon domain is a little better for party support once 8th level hits.

Suggestions? Any way I can improve the builds? Do you have an Inquisitor build that would take more advantage of the mount?

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There's a new FAQ on how mounted charges work.

FAQ wrote:

Mounted Combat: When making a charge while mounted, which creature charges? The rider or the mount?

Both charge in unison, suffer the same penalty to AC, the gaining the same bonus to the attack rolls and following all other rules for the charge. The mounted combat rules are a little unclear on this. Replace the third paragraph under the "Combat while Mounted" section on page 202 with the following text. Note that a "mounted charge" is synonymous with a "charge while mounted."

A mounted charge is a charge made by you and your mount. During a mounted charge, you deal double damage with your first melee attack made with a lance or with any weapon if you have Spirited Charge (or a similar effect), or you deal triple damage with a lance and Spirited Charge.

This change will be reflected in future printings of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook

Note that this means you cannot Vital Strike on a mounted charge. Your mount charging does not preclude you from doing something other than charging, though: You can have your mount charge and cast a spell, full attack with a bow, etc. But if you don't charge with your mount, you don't get the benefit of charging: No +2 to attack, no double damage from Spirited Charge.

I know there's a lot of confusion out there, I've shied away from playing Cavaliers since the previous ruling, and the whole can you Vital Strike or can't you has been a table variation thing. I wanted to get this out there for people who don't follow the rules forums much.

So, I just ran across the Chivalry Inquisition in Magical Marketplace and since I love Cavaliers, Clerics and Inquisitors, I just gotta do it.

Chivalry Inquisition wrote:

Deities Erastil, Iomedae, Sarenrae, Torag.

Granted Powers: You embrace the spirit of chivalry, guarding your honor and training a noble mount.

Mount (Ex): This ability acts as the cavalier ability of the same name.

Faithful Steed (Su): At 8th level, when you use your judgment ability, your mount gains the benefit of one of your selected judgments. At 16th level, your mount gains the benefits of two of your selected judgments.

This will be for Pathfinder Society since I've got a GM credit schrodinger's character sitting at level 3 with a boon allowing an Axe Beak mount. So keep that in mind, mainly that level 11 is most likely as high as he will get.

I'm thinking of a Knight of Ozem type PC from Lastwall, probably a worshiper of Torag who will act like a military officer who takes command in battle. (I've been wanting to make desert dervish member of the cult of Sarenrae, but I'm just not feeling it at the moment.)

So, what exact type of character would be good?

Battle Cleric: Maxed out offensive character starting with 18 Str who might drop a buff or two before battle, channel if it means keeping someone from dying, but mostly kick more ass than anyone else in the party. 18 Str, 14 Con, 14 Wis-ish, Mounted Combat, Lance Proficiency, Power Attack by third level.

Commander: A cleric that isn't hopeless in combat, especially if he can get a charge in. But is mainly focused on making other PCs more effective. The Axe Beak might end up being the majority of his offense while he focuses on doing other things. 16 Str, 14 Con, 14 Wis, 14 Cha, Mounted Combat, Power Attack, Selective Channel or Toughness by 3rd level.

Mounted Terror: Maxed out offense, flexible enough to fight on foot if necessary but with the goal to make combat over before it begins if he's mounted and clear to charge. 17 Str, 13 Dex, 14 Con, 14 Wis, Mounted Combat, Lance Prof, Power Attack by 3rd level.

No, I don't think you will... Dwarf Spellbreaker Inquisitor with the Glory of Old trait and Steel Soul feat for saves, Toughness for HP and a shield to be a complete rock: High saves, HP and AC. Then buff the mount to do damage, and he still has Bane, spells and Judgments for offense, so he's tough as nails but dangerous enough that enemies can't ignore him. 16 Str, 14 Dex, 16 Con, 14 Wis, 8 Cha, Mounted Combat and Power Attack by 3rd level.

The down side of going Inquisitor is that Bane doesn't synergize as well with mounted combat as Challenge or Smite does (though Bane is powerful enough on its own.) But Clerics lose a domain, which is really tough.

I'm leaning towards Cleric right now mainly because, no matter how he works out in combat, he's still going to be a full divine spellcaster, and that brings a lot to the table.

Has anyone else thought about this?


We're looking to run a special game day this weekend for the folks who just can't wait to try out the new classes. What's a good, challenging tier 1 or 1-2 scenario to see just what these new classes can do?

I was thinking Darkest Vengeance or The Dalsine Affair: Scenarios with a reputation as being killer. But these get their reputation mainly from abusing Darkness (or Deeper Darkness), don't they?

How is Tide of Morning? Or how about The Hydra's Fang Incident, or Severing Ties? Maybe The Cyphermage Dilemma?

Any suggestions? Thanks much.


I'm running a scenario at Paradox this Saturday, beginning at 4:00, if anyone is interested in trying out Pathfinder Society. We had a good showing at their monthly tabletop night on the 1st, so hopefully we'll be able to get a consistent group going.

If you're interested, please sign up at the Red River RPGers Meetup site:

Hope to see you there!


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I'm starting up PFS in a new area, my first gameday was a success with two tables. Some of the players were experienced, but quite a few were completely new to Pathfinder. Because of that, I'm going to be hanging out down at the LGS tomorrow helping people build characters.

Does anyone have a smooth process to explain character creation to new players? I sat down and tried to come up with something that I could print out and hand out to people, but after a flow chart, 20 pages of explanations of the core classes, and a two page "basic" guide, I think it's more complicated than it might be.

So I'm looking for feedback and to see if anyone else has tried to do this in an organized manner. I want to only use the Core Rulebook and Traits web supplement, so keep that in mind.

For the outline of how to create a character, I have:

1)Come up with an idea. It can be a character from a movie/book/history, it can be a schtick, it can be a combat technique or skill you want to focus on, it can be a personality. As long as you think it’s interesting, go for it. The rest of these steps do not necessarily need to be done in order, and your idea may dictate some of your choices. This is just meant to give you a structure to work with and make sure you don’t forget anything.

2)Decide what your character does. Pick one thing that is your character’s primary focus, either in combat or outside of combat. Then, pick a secondary focus that’s for the opposite situation. I.e. if your primary focus is hitting things with a Dire Flail, pick an out of combat focus as secondary.
-a)What do you do in combat? There are three basic roles you can take in combat. These categories aren’t exclusive, one character might do two or all three things at times, but they should generally focus on one.
--i)Damage Dealer: You do physical damage, either in melee or from range.
--ii)Caster: You cast spells, either to blast the enemy or control the battlefield.
--iii)Support: You support your teammates, either through buffing them, debuffing the enemy, or controlling the battlefield with combat maneuvers.
-b)What do you do out of combat? Pathfinder Society scenarios are written to take advantage of characters’ out of combat abilities as well as their fighting abilities. Effective and creative use of skills, noncombat spells and class features can make the scenario go much more smoothly or even be required for success. There are three basic non-combat roles. (Not all skills will be listed, just examples to get you thinking.) Perception helps with everything.
--i)Interact with NPCs. Usually this is diplomacy, sometimes you can use bluff or intimidate, and sense motive can be helpful. But diplomacy often gets you farther than intimidate.
--ii)Information. The knowledge skills and heal, appraise, sense motive on occasion provide the party with vital information, helping them solve puzzles and prepare themselves for what is to come.
---iii)Overcome obstacles. Climb and swim occasionally come in handy, but they can usually be used untrained. Survival for tracking, stealth, disable device and sleight of hand are more commonly useful in overcoming things that brute force or diplomacy might not.

3)Pick a class. Now that you know what your character does in and out of combat, pick a class that will allow you to do it. See the Character Creation Flowchart to narrow down the classes that do the combat roles you’re interested in and the Class Basics entries for the classes that look like candidates to find out how they do what they do in combat and what they’re good at out of combat. Once you have chosen a class, read the entire class entry from Chapter 3 of the core rulebook.

4)Pick stats. Pathfinder Society uses a 20 point buy method of assigning stats. (See page 16 in the Core Rulebook for how this works.) I would suggest working backwards: Write down the stats you would like to have, based on the priorities listed in the Class Basics sheet for your build and the skills you want to use, then tinker around to get the buy to 20 points. Keep in mind that your race will have bonuses and maybe penalties to stats.

5)Pick a race. See chapter 2 of the Core Rulebook, your race will have an impact on what stats you end up with and will give you special abilities. You can choose a race for mechanical benefit, because you like the concept, because you like what they look like, whatever you want. There are no wrong choices.

6)Pick a faction. Descriptions of the 8 factions begin on page 13 of the Pathfinder Society Guide to Organized Play. You will need to choose one, you can choose it because it reflects your character’s ideals of home nation, because you like the description, because it offers traits that are useful to your character, whatever reason you want. Again, there are no wrong choices.
-a)The guide can be downloaded for free at
-b)Descriptions are also available online at

7)Pick traits. Every PFS character gets two traits. These are available in a web supplement. These traits reflect aspects of your character’s background, and you can only pick one from any category (combat, faith, magic, social, campaign, race.) The campaign traits on the web supplement are not legal for play, nor are the Rich Parents or Natural Born Leader traits. Pathfinder Society’s campaign traits are the traits available from your character’s faction, listed in the Pathfinder Society Guide to Organized Play beginning on page 13. You can pick traits because they reflect your character’s background, provide mechanical benefit, sound interesting or fun, or any reason. There is no wrong answer.
-a)The web supplement is available at <still have to find this>

8)Put on the finishing touches. These can be as detailed or vague as you want.
-a)Give your character a name.
-b)Choose an alignment. Pick an alignment that fits the personality you want your character to have, but make sure you don’t violate any restrictions your class has. A Pathfinder Society character cannot be evil.
--i)Ultimate Campaign has the best description of the different alignments: nt.html
-c)Give your character a background. You can come up with something yourself or use Ultimate Campaign’s system: l
-d)Buy equipment. You will need weapons and armor, extra adventuring gear like rope and iron spikes and torches. Every PFS character gets 150gp to start with, so keep track of your expenditures and keep track of the weight of what you buy. Check the table on page 171 of the Core Rulebook to determine if you are encumbered.

9)Try your character out. Play a game or two with him. Don’t let uncertainty gridlock your decision making. Get a character put together and play it. The good thing about PFS is that you can rebuild a character any time before you play it at level 2, so you can try things out to see if they work. Did you take Cleave but not get to use it at all in your first two sessions? Maybe retrain it to something else. Did you want to make a brooding thief, but just couldn’t find the character’s voice to roleplay? Work on something else. Explore, Report, Cooperate. And have fun!

So, what am I missing, what can I do better, is there a better way to structure this? I'm not entirely enamored of the combat and non combat roles, but that's sort of how I classify things when I think about them or try to explain them to new players. Maybe non-combat roles could be changed to Social, Mental and Physical roles?

Any feedback would be appreciated. I'll get all the documents up onto a google drive and link them all when my PC stops hating me. That could be a while.

I'm looking into making a CN gnome evangelist cleric of the Lantern King with the Madness domain and using the alternate channeling ability. I'll focus on debuffing/confusing/controlling enemies while simultaneously buffing my party in combat, but I'm not sure how well it will work out, especially when using save or lose enchantments. Here's my build:

PFS legal, 20 point buy
Evangelist Cleric
STR: 05 (-3) (Egads! How can I avoid this?)
DEX: 10 (+0)
CON: 15 (+2)
INT: 13 (+1)
WIS: 17 (+3)
CHA: 16 (+3)

Racial Traits:
Gift of Tongues: +1 to Bluff and Diplomacy, get 2 languages for every rank of Linguistics, Replaces Hatred and Defensive Training
Magical Linguist: +1 to Save DC of spells with "Language Dependant" descriptor or that create symbols, writing, etc. +2 on saves verses those spells, replaces Gnome Magic spell list. Replaces Gnome Magic and Illusion Resistance.
(Maybe)Darkvision: Replaces Low Light vision with Darkvision. Replaces Keen senses and Low Light Vision. I'm not sure that darkvision is worth 2 Perception.

Dangerously Curious: UMD as a class skill.
(Maybe)Charming: +1 to save DCs on Language Dependant spell saves if the target could be attracted to me. (Not sure how much table variation I would get on this.)
(Maybe)Sacred Conduit: +1 to Channel Energy DCs.

Level 1: Spell Focus: Enchantment
Level 3: Selective Channeling
Level 5: Improved Channel
Level 7: Greater Spell Focus: Enchantment?

Class Features:
Madness Domain:Touch attack without save that grants half my level as a bonus to Attack Rolls, Saves, or Skill Checks, and grants the same as a penalty to the other two. Evangelist only gets 1 domain.
Alternate Channeling: Madness Domain When I channel to harm, creatures must make a will save or suffer the effect of the Confusion spell for 1 round. I only harm or heal 1/2 as much as I would if I channeled normally. Evangelists don't get channeling until level 3, hence selective channeling then instead of at level 1.
Sermonic Performance: Evangelists gain bardic performances that they can use with Perform: Oratory. They get countersong, fascinate, and inspire courage at 1st level; inspire greatness at 9th level; and inspire heroics at 15th level.
Spontaneous Casting:Evangelists don't spontaneously cast heals, instead they get: Command (1), Enthrall (2), Tongues (3), Suggestion (4), Greater Command (5), etc.

Skills: 3 points/level
Diplomacy: 7 at level 1
Perform (Oratory): 7 at level 1
Use Magic Device: 8 at level 1
Linguistics: 2 at level 1 (Using my favored class bonus this time to get as many languages as possible for my language dependant spells.)

Save DCs:
General Spells: 10 + 3 + Level
Enchantment Spells: 10 + 3 + 1 + Level
Enchantment Spells with Language Components: 10 + 3 + 1 + 1 + Level = 16 for Command, Probably 21 for Suggestion at level 7
(Enchantment Spells with Language Components against people attracted to me: 10 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 1 + Level)
Channel: 10 + 3 + 1/2 level (+1 with the trait) (+ 2 after level 5) = 13/14 @ level 1, probably 19/20 at level 5


So, my questions are:

1.) How are my spell DCs? Good enough? A little on the low side? Higher than necessary? I've never played a caster who targeted saves, so I don't know how to judge them.
2.) What can I do about my stat array? The 5 strength thing really worries me, but I want that extra skill point, but even Ant Haul will not give me much carrying capacity. I was thinking about UMDing a wand of Truestrike to help land Touch of Madness, but that eats up two rounds. I can keep Con at 14 and Int at 12 and get a 6 Str, but the only difference there is that I have 1 more point of damage I can take from a shadow before dying. Another array I thought of was Str 8, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 16 but that doesn't scale as well with level and puts my saves 2 behind people who start out with a 20 in their casting stat. I really, really want a 17 Wis (for save DCs) and 16 Cha though.
3.) How are my feats? Do I need something like Lingering Performance? Is 7 rounds +2/level enough? What about the feats to increase my save DCs, are they worth it? Should I be taking different feats, like metamagic feats or Quick Channel or bardic performance related things?
4.) How are my traits? Are there others that are better than the "maybes" I have listed? I have a boon that lets me add a third trait, is this a good character to apply that to?
5.) Channeling? Do I need to channel negative energy to make my channel's "harm" effect affect living creatures? In other words, if I channel to harm, do I have to actually harm the creature in order for the secondary effect to take place?
6.) What am I missing? Any other advice?

Some friends are going to their first PFS game tomorrow. They don't know anything about the game but I'll be GMing so I can help them out, and I think there will be at least 1 highly experienced player at the table as well.

But they asked for a quick teaching scenario/encounter, so I've worked up the following idea (Keep in mind there will be 3 PCs; an inquisitor with a longsword, a glaive wielding fighter and a sorcerer who wants to blast):

Drendle Dreng wakes them up at midnight to go shake down a Zyphus cell and get a piece of loot.
-- Give them a chance to ask questions and use knowledge skills.
-- I'll explain that the 5 Ws (where, what, when, why and how) can be applied to Pathfinder, and some ways to apply them like "What are we facing" as well as some other questions like "Do we need to worry about the watch?"

They show up at a plain building in a run down neighborhood. Call it the Puddles. Only 1 entrance and it's unlocked. (Actually, say the PFS scout stole a key they can use.) 60' square building, boarded windows.

Front room, 30'x60'. Full of junk. Two skeletons come from opposite sides of the room.
-- Explain the value of knowledge rolls and what questions to ask. (Special attacks? Special Defenses?)
-- Demonstrate DR/bludgeoning. The Inquisitor has a backup morning star, not sure if the fighter grabbed a bludgeoning backup or not.
-- Demonstrate mindless/unintelligent enemies.
-- Any other suggestions? Maybe add a zombie or trade a skeleton for one?

Two doors out, one blocked from the inside the other is ajar. The door that's ajar is trapped, a chamber pot will fall on the square in front of it if someone opens it requiring a save against Filth Fever. (Perception and disable DC 20, Fort DC 12)
-- Demonstrate traps.
-- If they search, the Inquisitor is sure to find it. I can explain taking 10 or 20 on the search.
-- Nobody has disable device, so they have to figure out how to bypass it (like rope to the door handle) or use "Barbarian Disable Device."

The room behind that door has a bound prisoner and two level 1 goblin ninjas hiding in ambush. (Wakizashi +4 (1d4+1+1d6 sneak), AC 17, 10hp, weapon finesse) The goblins take 10 stealth checks are higher than the inquisitor's take 10 perception, so they should get an ambush in.
-- Teach them about ambushes you can't always catch. (Or maybe you do if you roll.)
-- Intelligent enemies that use tactics like flanking and readied actions.
-- (PFS) The scenario goal isn't always the "good" thing to do. Rescuing the prisoner has no bearing on the outcome.

Finally, you have an unlocked door to the last room. It contains a level 3 cleric of Zyphus (Heavy Pick +4 (1d6+1, 4x crit) AC 15, 26 HP, channels then casts cause fear, channel smite, death knell if someone's unconscious, hold person + coup de grace if the cleric is under 5 (10?) hp)
-- Demonstrate how casters work. The inquisitor has step up, so she should see 5' step then cast in action and how she can spoil it.
-- Use lethal tactics to let them know that they have to be careful, bad things can happen and their characters can die.
-- AoOs to prevent a CdG
-- When to use PC resources like judgment and spells.

So, any tactics I should demonstrate but missed that new players would benefit from? (Nets, tanglefoot bags? Running away? Nonlethal damage?)

Also, are the encounters too tough, too easy, or decent? The skeletons should just be a speedbump and 2 rogues against 3 PCs shouldn't be too dangerous (unless they get flanks), but I'm not sure about the cleric. It could go bad fast with a channel and a fear, or it could go bad fast for the cleric with a couple melee hits to the face. They've got a CLW wand since one of the players has some experience and already has a chronicle on her character, so HP damage shouldn't be an issue going into encounters.

So, after somebody mentioned the First Edition spells like Tenser's Transformation, Black Blade, Stoneskin, etc. that would let you play your magic user like a fighter, I got to thinking. I can't really do the fake-warrior-through-spells thing anymore, but I could still make a surprisingly crunchy caster with d6 HP: d6, 16 con, Toughness and favored class bonus give me 9hp per level, 13 at first level, which is up there with fighters and barbarians.

The question is, what class?

--Can get good AC with Mage Armor + Shield to go with the HP pool (13hp and 18+AC at level 1? I'll just taunt martials, at least until I have to actually DO something,) and things like Mirror Image and Blur later.
--Gets a tremendous selection of spells, and an unparalleled range to choose from.
--I've always wanted to play a diviner who just knows everything, even the future.

--What do I do outside of staying alive? My int will probably be 18 so my DCs won't be top notch.
--Early on, I won't have many spells available, and those I do have will go into making me survive.
--Very limited weapon proficiencies, not as useful to provide a flank for the martials.

--I could be a gnome, pick up the right arcana to get a goat familiar, then cast reduce person on myself and Ride Around The Battlefield On A Friggin Goat! How cool (and annoying!) is that?
--Just as wide a range of spells to select from as a wizard?
--More spells per day than a wizard?
--Proficient in all simple weapons. Cloth caster with a morning star =)

--Far, far more restricted list of spells known.
--I really don't know much about sorcerers, honestly.

--Can add to my spells known just as easily as a wizard.
--Hexes give me something to do outside of casting spells.
--Access to healing spells on my spell list, allowing me to play a support role instead of primarily a blaster or controller, if I so choose.
--Same spell progression as a wizard.
--Proficient with all simple weapons also.

--Really dependent on mind affecting spells and abilities. I'd have to be careful with my build or I'll be twiddling my thumbs whenever we run into undead or mindless creatures.
--Everything targets fort or will saves, which seem to be pretty strong on a lot of monsters.
--The most restricted spell list of the three.
--really, Really dependent on my familiar.

So, which class would you suggest for a cloth wearing tank? I was initially thinking wizard, but the more I look at witch, the cooler I think it is. I'm pretty sure that the wizard would be sturdier, they get a ton of defensive spells, But the tradeoff is that, at least at lower levels, it wouldn't be able to do much to contribute to combat since all of its spells will be used defending itself. The witch would provide more utility, but is much squishier without shield, mirror image, or pretty much anything other than Mage Armor it seems. In fact, about the only "non-squishy" thing about the Witch is that it would have good HP.

I'm starting a cavalier and want to get my rules straight. Either my reading comprehension is bad or my search-fu is bad, but I still can't find answers that are clear to me:

Ride By Attack: "When you are mounted and use the charge action, you may move and attack as if with a standard charge and then move again (continuing the straight line of the charge). Your total movement for the round can't exceed double your mounted speed. You and your mount do not provoke an attack of opportunity from the opponent that you attack."

*This means that if I'm directly in front of my target, I can charge, get my lance attack while 10 feet away, and then my mount can move another five feet and get its charge attack in. Ride By Attack doesn't let me carry through the opponent's square, does it?

*Alternatively, if my charge path doesn't take me THROUGH an opponent's square, I can get my lance attack in when I'm a knight's move away, then keep on truckin' right past the target but my pony doesn't get to make an attack?

*Can I move through an ally's square AFTER I've made my charge attack? I expect that follow through movement still follows the rule of a charge, but am not sure.

Overrun with Ride By Attack
*If my charge path takes me through the opponent's square, can I make my charge attack, the move up to the enemy and my pony make an overrun attempt? If successful, can he keep on moving up to a total of twice his move speed? The rules state "As a standard action, taken during your move or as part of a charge, you can attempt to overrun your target, moving through its square," but don't say you can continue your charge as far as you want. And if the pony fails the overrun attempt, we stop directly in front of the target.

Attacks of Opportunity
*Against an opponent with reach, a normal charge provokes an AoO when you move out of a threatened square, but Ride By Attack explicitly states "You and your mount do not provoke an attack of opportunity from the opponent that you attack." Does this apply to opponents with reach as well?

*Secondly, until my mount gets Improved Overrun, he will provoke an AoO when he tries to overrun the opponent. I assume Ride By Attack does not eliminate that AoO, but I can use my ride skill to try to avoid the attack? Does the opponent need to make the AoO on my mount or can he take it against me? I'm thinking it has to be the mount.

General mounted combat stuff
*I can use a lance one handed or two handed while mounted, but if I use it one handed I don't get the 1.5x strength bonus, right?

*If I hold the reigns, I don't need to take a free action to guide my mount, the way I would if I were using my knees, right?

So I could gain a free action and AC by wielding a light shield and holding the reigns, at the expense of 1.5 str and Power Attack damage. But I couldn't do that with a heavy shield?

*My mount is considered combat trained, does that mean all six of his base tricks known are taken by the "combat trained" package, so I can only teach him the 1 bonus trick he gets as an animal companion? And do I need to train him in Attack a second time to get him to attack anything beyond the basics, per the Animal Handling skill description?

*Also, carrying capacity. Is the animal companion pony's light load 100 pounds per the bestiary entry, or 75 pounds per the 13 str quadruped rules in the CRB?

Grand Lodge

I just hit level 3, have 3600 gp burning a hole in my pocket, and am not sure exactly what to do with it. This is a PFS character with 12 fame, so I can't purchase anything over 1500gp unless it's on a chronicle sheet.

What I already have:
+1 composite longbow (+3 str rating)
Backup melee weapon, spiked gauntlet
Wand of CLW, potion of CLW, acid Flasks, tanglefoot bag

What I'm pretty sure I'm going to get:
Cloak of resistance +1
Better armor (Mine is leather lamellar, +2AC and no penalties)

What should I get?
Armor: Should I go with medium armor and keep my movement speed now that I have armor training, or should I go up to heavy armor and not have to worry about keeping my encumbrance down.

Ring or protection/Amulet of natural armor?

Masterwork backup weapons?

Handy Haversack? (I have access to that)

Other utility stuff/potions/etc?

Something else? Should I wait for an adventure until I have 13+ fame and can buy anything worth 3000gp or less? I'm saving up for Bracers of Aspect of the Falcon as soon as I have the 18 fame to have access to them, so I don't necessarily want to blow all my gold now.

As far as armor goes, should I stick with medium armor and keep moving full speed until I get armor training 2? Even with 16 strength, keeping my encumbrance low is getting tough with all the stuff I want to carry and medium armor. Are a couple more points of AC really worth it for an archer? I'm sticking with Japanese flavored armor, so medium would be a Do Maru for AC 19 and heavy would probably be Tatami Do for 21 AC, that isn't really a big difference for a non melee character, isn't it?


Do you need to have enough fame to purchase the entire weapon, fully enchanted when you add an enchant with a flat GP cost, or do you just need enough fame to buy the enchant.

For example, the Adaptable enchant costs 1,000gp. If I want to put it on a mighty composite longbow +3, will I need 9 fame for the 1,000gp enchant or 18 fame for the 3,600gp total value? (300 for the bow; 300 for Masterwork; 2,000 for +1; 1,000 for adaptive)

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So I just made my first ever archer, a human fighter (no archetype) with Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot and Rapid Shot at first level. I played up a tier in my first PFS game with him, and did pretty well. But there were a few bad fights where I just couldn't hit the broad side of a barn and one of the other players commented that I shouldn't be rapid shotting so much since the enemies had cover. (It was actually due to the fact they they had cover and I couldn't roll higher than about a 9 to save my life. My dice are another story.)

But that got me thinking: When should I be using rapid shot and when should I just take a single shot? That's realtively easy to figure out, but I've also got other questions. But first, Rapid Shot:

So I created a spreadsheet to give myself a handy chart of when the expected damage of a Rapid Shot would be higher than taking a single shot. Turns out they are even when Rapid Shot forces you to roll a 19+ to hit and taking one shot is unambiguously better when you could hit on an 18+ or Rapid Shot on a 20. So, the vast majority of the time, rapid shot is a big winner.

The spreadsheet is here. It's a pretty simple chart, but suggested improvements are welcome. I intended to use it as a reference in games, but really, there are only very limited situations when Rapid Shot is worse than taking a single shot, so I haven't actually used it yet.


Out of curiosity, I calculated the probability of hitting at least 1 arrow with a Rapid Shot based on the probability of 1 arrow hitting. Again, Rapid Shot has a higher probability of hitting 1 arrow until you need to roll exactly 20 with Rapid Shot but 18+ without it.

Deadly Aim is more complicated, its value depends on how much damage you will do without it. The lower your damage before Deadly Aim, the more valuable the feat becomes. Copy the spreadsheet and add your own values to find the ratio. Then multiply your expected damage by that ratio to find the difference between a regular shot, a shot with Deadly Aim, a Rapid Shot, and a Rapid Shot with Deadly Aim. Aren't I glad I didn't challenge my fifth grade math teacher with "when am I ever going to use this?"

So, my other questions about how to play an archer are:

* What order should I get my feats? I already have Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot and Rapid Shot (yay human fighter.) Should I get Weapon Focus first, or Deadly Aim? I'm tempted to go for the latter since I'm doing as well as the level 3 PCs on damage when they aren't standing in front of me giving the bad guys cover, and weapon focus isn't enough to negate that. But I'm not sure.

* Should I hold off on buying a magic bow until I can afford to go with something like a mighty composite bow (+6 strength rating) and put Adaptive on it when I enchant it to +1? That will give me a lot more flexibility, but the way the Pathfinder Society rules go, I won't have enough fame to get that until some time during my 4th level. Is the extra point of damage for a couple levels worth the loss of flexibility down the road? (The adaptive enchant allows you to use a composite bow at any strength rating up to its max at no penalty. I think it only lets you go down, not up, though, so if I have 16 str and a +3 bow then get bull's strength I get no benefit, but if I have a +6 adaptive bow and get Bull's Strength I go up from +3 to +5 damage.)

* How valuable is the Snapshot line of feats? I can count the number of times I've seen GM run monsters eat an AoO. Admittedly I haven't been playing long, and I would probably be able to get an initial AoO off since nobody expects an archer to make AoOs. Or is this more about limiting the other side's options than getting in extra attacks? Are there other feats more useful than these?

* Any suggestions on avoiding LOS/cover issues? Most Pathfinder Society scenarios I've seen have focused on indoor combat and restricted spaces. Do I just grin and bear it until 5th level when I can get Point Blank Master? (And remind people to "please not stand in front of the guy with the bow! He would totally make a called shot on your bum if it weren't for the rules against pvp." Seriously, I've had people go "I can't get all the way there, so I'll just move forward, then over 1 space... right in front of the archer, so another meleer can... not make it all the way to the bad guys either.)

* Arrows: Blunt arrows do bludgeoning damage just as if they were normal arrows? That sounds too good to be true. And should I just be buying cold iron arrows and weapon blanches for max flexibility?

What other tricks of the trade do I not realize I'm missing?

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