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The Songbird of Doom: A Guide to a most unlikely tank and Mechanism of Mass Destruction (Warning: GMs will hate you)
I'm aware that I'm trying to shoehorn psuedo-lycanthrophic abilities into a point buy system not designed for it. It just seemed to be the best way to create the desired race with the Advanced Race Guide without inventing an altogether new ability and assigning it an ad hoc RP cost.
That being said, your suggestion is pretty much what I'd been aiming for, certainly simpler and does seem to be roughly balanced around 11-13 pts or so I'd say. Good suggestion.
As per the title, I'm looking to make a human character with the ability to change into a wolf; only those two shapes, no werewolf hybrid form. Does such a thing exist anywhere already?
Assuming it doesn't, I was looking at how I might do this using the Advanced Race Guide. I figured the easiest way to go about it would be to create a wolf and then simply add the lesser change shape ability to give it a human form. However, I find the point total rather high considering that all the canine bonuses aren't normally usable while in human form. Anyone have a better idea how that might affect the Race Point cost? Here's my preliminary writeup for the race. And suggestions are welcome. Thanks!
The Songbird of Doom: A Guide to a most unlikely tank and Mechanism of Mass Destruction (Warning: GMs will hate you)
This is my Bloodmarked Skinwalker build so far:
1st: Barbarian (urban) 1 [Bat Shape feat]
Are there any obvious flaws or issues I've overlooked?
The Songbird of Doom: A Guide to a most unlikely tank and Mechanism of Mass Destruction (Warning: GMs will hate you)
Initially, the Unchained Rogue looks to be tailor-made for this build but, upon trying to incorporate it, it becomes apparent that its abilities become largely redundant once you add in a level of Swashbuckler and the Amulet of Mighty Fists (Agile) that the build necessitates. A shame; it'd be nice to streamline the build a bit with the Unchained Rogue. Meh.
Even in the real world we're starting to discover a staggering amount of subterranean organisms which by some estimates may, pound for pound, actually outweigh our above-ground biosphere. It's not so hard to imagine that, with the preponderance of vast subterranean caverns and tunnels in most fantasy worlds, that much more elaborate and sustainable ecosystems may develop. Giant mushroom forests, subterranean rivers teaming with blind fish and fungus-scrounging herbivores aren't really all that outlandish. All of it together could form a tightly efficient and sustainable food chain.
As for dwarves, they serves as a bridge between the realms below and those above. Dwarves are often depicted as mining and smithing the deep earth's riches and then trading them to surface dwellers. Although dwarven merchants love money, what they're more likely to trade for is what their kinsman are in short supply of underground; grains (especially barley & hops!), vegetables, meat, leather, wood, etc. So their diet is likely a mix of what they can farm & fish below and what their traders bring down from above.
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
This is why I couldn't bring myself to play a pyrokineticist. You'd basically have to take expanded element just to have something to do should you come across something immune to fire.
Same here. Looking over the class, I figured I'd likely pick earth or to deal damage since it's not vulnerable to energy resistance. And that's what's frustrating; fire is intuitively the most dangerous/scary element yet it rarely is in game play.
I've read through the class and like what I see so far. I don't know if my points have been addressed in this thread. If so, I apologize.
I was a little dismayed to see that, like most other element-based classes I've seen since 2e, the kineticist is split so that each practitioner is largely limited to a single element. For many years I've been wanting to see a true elementalist; one who wields the power of all four elements. Seeing as how Avatar has popularized the idea, I hope there are plans to make this a viable PC option starting at level 1.
For those who focus on a single element such as fire though, are there plans to include a class ability that automatically reduces an opponent's energy resistance or immunity and that scales up as the PC increases in level? Such characters are attractive to play at a glance, but without such an ability tend to be paper tigers in my experience since energy resistance is so common. No one is afraid of a pyromaniac who fails to burn anything.
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
One could hypothesize that the walls of the extradimensional space have a constant temperature X, that is inferior to lava's temperature, which results in a constant heat flow from the lava to the wall of the space. If the extradimensional space is a perfectly closed system, like a perfect thermos, then yes one could keep ice or lava in there.
Trying to apply real physics to magical effects is always fraught with peril. The interior of a Portable Hole is an extradimensional space with finite boundaries, but those boundaries aren't really "walls" in any conventional sense; they're planar boundaries. I'd say that heat can't dissipate out through those boundaries when the opening to the hole is closed for the same reason that PCs can't tunnel their way through them: there's simply nothing beyond them; nowhere for the heat to escape to.
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
I would argue against it for the very reason outlined here, as the item was probably not designed to be weaponized as such.
If you're looking for a way to limit what PCs can place within a hole, I'd propose looking at the nature of the item itself. A portable hole is essentially a circle of magical cloth 6-ft across. Even when placed upon a flat surface and the center of the cloth effectively disappears, some measure of it's cloth edges remain; characters need that edge so they can pull the hole away from a surface. Having that fabric edge where lava (or acid) can flow over it into the hole would seem to be a very bad idea. If the fabric suffers sufficient damage, the item will eventually be destroyed. Certainly there are workarounds that clever PCs can devise to get damaging substances in and out of the hole safely, but it's still a risky proposition; one which thrifty PCs may prefer to avoid for fear of loosing an expensive item. Just my 2¢.
It's a tricky matter and will depend largely on how your GM views Intelligence. Even the basest familiar starts with an intelligence of 6, which is several orders of magnitude smarter than even the best trained mundane animal; perhaps akin to a child of middling years. If dogs can be trained to understand voice commands, I think it's only fair to assume that an Int 6 familiar can understand far more of a master's intent. I'd say it's a given that familiars understand most of their master's plain spoken instructions (perhaps with a bit of pantomine thrown in for good measure) about as well as a six or seven year old might. "Go to that window over there to see if there's anyone there then come back to me. Be careful and try to stay hidden. Okay?" is well within even a dumb familiar's ability to understand. Keep in mind also that a familiar automatically shares a master's skill ranks so, if the master has learned languages through the Linguistics skill, so has the familiar; so the question of it being able to understand spoken language (even if it cannot yet speak them) becomes moot.
As for communicating back what it's seen, the animal can answer yes or no questions easily enough with a nod or shake of its head while numbers can be tapped out. It can recognize things familiar to it, remember details and then answer questions about them, again, about as well as a child could. Race, gender, clothing worn, weapons and armor, number of people, activities of those assembled are all within their ability to conceptualize; it just might take awhile to get the information out of them with a series of yes or no questions. If the familiar knows some languages through the Linguistics skill, then I suppose you could employ something like a Ouija board for it to spell out answers.
My 2¢. YMMV.
So many good uses for a portable hole. Too many people to teleport? Put a couple in the portable hole. Can put allies in it and sneak them into an area with you. It's only 10 mins of air for 1 person, but even so it's easily abusable.
This. A caster can scoop up the party and fly, dimension door or teleport into a hard to reach area with his whole party in tow. A stealthy scout can do the same at unleash his buffed and readied party on an unsuspecting target. If you need to keep your party, rescued NPCs or prisoners in the hole for more than a few minutes, have them enter suspended animation via readied Sepia Snake Sigil notes kept inside.
We also stole, er looted, the entire library out of Delvehaven the same way.
This. Adventures are chock full of grandiose room descriptions with fancy furnishing intended as mere window dressing. But with a portable hole you can lift those "rows of floor to ceiling bookshelves" every villain seems to have in their lair. Pick up armoires, four-poster beds, desks, statues and whatnot to furnish your own newly purchased house. One character I had collected the thrones of defeated BBEGs, stocking his dining room in gaudy majesty. :D
Thanks for the math breakdown. My problem had been that I hadn't known how to reconcile average damage with the reduced chance to hit; but I get it now. Following the model and running my own numbers, I see that my current cutoff point is indeed at AC 22; 23 and up is better without Power Aatack.
AC 22, 40% chance to hit with +9, of 10.5 dmg x 4 = 16.8 dmg.
AC 23, 35% chance to hit with +9, of 10.5 dmg x 4 = 14.7 dmg.
Now that I know the math however I can see that, in my case at least, either Improved Natural Attack or Arcane Strike have a better return for damage on average than Power Attack. It'd probably be different if I were getting 150% Str on attacks. So I'll aim to get those two feats first and pick up Power Attack down the line.
Note that you can't take the large evolution until 8th level though.
Large sized is gained from enlarge person. At 8th level I'll be huge.
I am also playing a 5th level synthesist, 4 claws, 20 str.
I'd be curious to see more of your build at present.
Your synthesist build is going to focus on attack spam -- those secondary attacks are all going to be at 50% strength, and 50% of the normal power-attack bonuses, but you'll still make up for it through sheer numbers... mostly.
Claw attacks are all primary. For the sake of keeping it primary and for ease of boosting with spells and feats, I'm going to keep focusing on claws; so no secondary attacks ever.
Always Be Power Attacking
That seems to be the take-away from this. Is there a simple rule of thumb for when it's best to stop power attacking; say like when I'm missing on attack rolls equal to my full attack bonus +5 or +10?
Looking at comparable damage boosting feats, I'm just wondering if the added damage/lower to-hit of Power Attack (+4 dam. x 4 = 16; -2 to hit) outpaces the damage of say Arcane Strike (+2 dam. x 4 attacks = 8) or Improved Natural Attack (increase 1d8 die to 2d6 x 4 = 10) for this character.
Power Attack is one of those feats which I've read is a statistical must-have for melee builds but which I'm always hesitant to make use of since the penalty to hit makes me nervous. How do you properly gauge when to use it? People will say it depends largely on the AC of your target but, for a combat that lasts only 3-4 rounds, spending a round or two trying to determine the exact AC and then running some numbers to figure out whether you've reached a viable Power Attacking opportunity seems too time consuming to be worthwhile. Can someone to whom Power Attacking is second nature help me figure out how I should go about getting the most out of this feat?
For reference, I'm playing a 5th level Synthesist who is large, with 20 Str, and with four claw attacks; dealing approximately 1d8+5 per hit.
I'm currently playing what is essentially a half-elf summoner (synthesist). The character concept is that she's a dryad who's been bonded to a treant (her eidolon) after her original tree was destroyed. Since they now share a life, when the dryad is awake the treant slumbers and vice versa. So when the half-elf summons her eidolon the "dryad" merges into the treant and falls asleep while the "treant" wakes up. I play them as two different characters with seperate personalities.
I used the Race Point system to swap out a few of the half-elf's racial traits and abilities to make her a fey with a few dryad-like qualities while the eidolon has a Plant Appearance evolution (based off of the Undead Appearance evolution, but switching the two types).
The dryad handles most of the social interaction of the pair while the treant is the party's tank. It's a lot of fun. :)
Maybe not appropriate for you, but my sorcerer's favorite way to walk through walls was the Elemental Body I spell to gain an earth elemental's earth glide ability paired with invisibility and possibly silence.
In most dungeon settings as well as stone buildings it's ideal for scouting out terrain; using the walls, floors and ceiling surrounding rooms as your own personal secret passage while briefly peeking into adjoining chambers. Bypass traps and sentries, map out the whole dungeon, identify primary targets and then report back to the party to develop a strategy. Dimension door would then allow us to pop in on the unprepared BBEG. Taking out the BBEG first and then working our way back out of the dungeon become our defacto approach. Very effective.
Pretty much any character with extradimensional containers crammed with a wide array of mundane equipment can pull off this concept. Really, the only things holding you back is how much stuff you can carry, how much you're willing to spend to acquire all this stuff and how well you know the rules for each item you're carrying and how each might be exploited to maximum benefit. You have to be the type of player who, when presented with an obstacle, can mentally review his inventory and quickly conceptualize how that stuff might be used to overcome the obstacle. If you have trouble coming up with clever solutions in real life, you'll probably be disappointed in the character.
The other possible hiccup is if your GM is not receptive to the idea. Those who don't appreciate offbeat ways of dealing with obstacles might not support your character concept. Some GMs prefer to have their obstacles be insurmountable as a means of keeping the PCs on a linear path that they've plotted out beforehand. Proposing ways of knocking down those obstacles can push that sort of GM into a panic and they'll instinctively shut down your clever plans as a way to maintain the plot. Of course not all GMs are like this, but it's something to keep in mind.
There are a few feats, traits, class abilities and racial abilities peppered throughout game that somehow incorporate the use of mundane equipment. I imagine most are too focused on a specific piece of equipment to be generally useful for the sort of know-it-all character you're aiming for however. Maybe I'm wrong on that count though.
As I said, pretty much any character can be a gadget master if he's got enough equipment on hand, but a few races and classes seem better geared (heh heh) to embody the concept. Dwarves and Gnomes seem best suited to be gadgeteers. Classwise, I'd say the Investigator has "MacGyver" written all over it, with the Sleuth archetype further bolstering the improvisation angle nicely.
AFAIK, there's no penalty for attacking him assuming you have sufficient reach or range with your weapons. He does receive a +1 on melee attack rolls against those on the ground floor however; again, assuming he has sufficient reach with his weapon(s).
Depending on positioning of attackers and defenders and the construction of the balcony, it's conceivable that the NPC and attackers might receive a +4 bonus to their AC because of cover provided by the balcony itself.
I know I'm late to the party, but I just picked up this supplement and am looking forward to making a bat-kin character for an upcoming game. I was just wondering if someone could clarify the intention behind the bat shape feat.
Bats are normally diminutive. Do you become a tiny bat or do you become a diminutive bat, but use the tiny animal ability modifiers from beast shape 2? Does the feat contain a typo, and it should read beast shape 3, which does allow diminutive animals?
Wow. A lot of heated debate on this issue. I'm glad to read people's take on it though, so keep it coming.
In assessing power vs cost, I think the most straightforward approach is to compare it to a permanent enlarge person spell which is 2500 gp. Power-wise, the benefits (and penalties) are in effect every combat, which is the only time it matters power-wise and seems to be the main concern of those who propose an increased cost for the item.
Each option has pros and cons on its side. On the good side, the permanency spell requires no actions to activate, takes up no body slots and can't be stolen. On the downside, there's the added hassle of not being able to end the effect when it would be helpful to do so and there's the risk of having a high level opponent dispel the effect permanently. As for an equivalent item the main benefits are that the effect can be ended when desired and it can't be permanently dispelled. On the downside, it costs more, takes up a body slot and the item can be taken from you.
In my mind, the difference between the two isn't so great and consequently the prices for each should be fairly close to each other. I'd say increasing the price for the item by 1500 over the cost of the permanent spell and adding in the body slot requirement easily makes up for the added benefit of being able to discontinue the effect when desired. If the price we're much higher than the 4,000 that the guidelines propose, I'd probably just opt for the permanency effect and use reduce person spells as needed to get around obstacles. Thoughts?
I'm looking to have created a crown which allows the wearer to grow in size as if under the effect of an enlarge person spell at will and to remain so as long as the crown is worn. I'd just like confirm the price for such an item. Since it's "Use-activated or continuous" item the cost would be Spell level x caster level x 2,000 gp x 2 since the duration of the spell is normally 1 minute/level. So a 1st level spell x 1st level caster x 2,000 x 2 = 4,000 gp. Is this correct?
It would seem not based on this clarification from the Skull & Shackles Player's Guide:
Skull & Shackles Player's Guide wrote:
Because ships are constantly in motion, the caster of spells of the teleportation subschool must have line of sight to teleport onto a ship. Otherwise, a caster must scry upon a particular ship first, then immediately teleport to the scryed destination. Any delay in casting means the ship has moved from its scryed location and the spell fails.
It seems familiarity only works for those places that are in fixed locations. At best the tent and it's interior could count as being 'studied carefully' if the caster spent some time in the latest location of the tent or 'seen once' if it was erected hastily and abandoned. My 2¢.
Anyone passing a save against magic jar automatically succeeds at all future saves against your spell.
Quite right; my mistake. Still, I would expect only a small fraction of an army's rank-and-file soldiers to succeed on the initial save. You'd have try and get the survivor on a second go around later with a follow up casting of the spell.
Without special feats, magic jar also possesses people more or less randomly, so assassinating key people via possession-suicide is right out. (Though you could possess someone else, then attempt to sabotage the enemy or assassinate one of their ranking officials in the traditional sense; then try, try again if you fail.)
The spell does allow you to differentiate between targets with 4 or more levels difference between them. Also, your familiar should be sufficiently intelligent by the time you're casting Magic Jar to identify leader-types and bring your soul gem within range of them. That should be sufficient to target the leaders if that's your goal. If you succeed in possessing the leader(s), then you can outiright usurp control of the army; which might be worthwhile for awhile depending on your short term goals. But if you're aiming to outright break the army then you're probably better off skirting around the leaders (who are more likely to make their saves, figure out what's happening and take steps to stop you) and simply target the rank-and-file soldiers; they're the real backbone of the army after all and relatively vulnerable one-on-one.
this spell is an insanely powerful way to take down an army.
Yup. I find it amusing when GMs specify "core material only" for their campaigns. Truth is that the craziest make-the-DM cry sort of stuff can be found in the Core rules. :)
Use magic jar and get the army to destroy itself.
Magic Jar is an army breaking spell if used cleverly. It lasts for hours, can be used to repeatedly assault & supplant the souls of enemies with little way for them to defend themselves or retaliate against it. Although it could be used to some extent in the heat of battle to sow confusion and chaos amongst the ranks, it works best against entrenched armies at rest. Simply hide your body in a safe place, cast the spell at dusk and entrust the gem to your tiny, stealthy familiar. The familiar then sneaks through the encamped army under cover of darkness; surreptitiously bringing the gem within range (though not necessarily within line-of-sight) of slumbering soldiers. Possess one, quietly commit suicide, rinse and repeat. The few soldiers who succeed on the saving throw are hard-pressed to identify the source of the attack and can be assaulted repeatedly until they fail their saving throw. Since the spell lasts for hours this tactic can be attempted every few rounds for an entire evening. Come morning the bulk of the army lies dead or is fleeing for the lives.
This spell is almost biblical in scope; it turns you into an invisible and nigh unstoppable angel of death drifting through enemy ranks, reaping souls as you pass by unseen. I tried this tactic once to break an army of giants in the Rise of the Runelords AP which our party would have been hard-pressed to assault conventionally in the light of day.
Our group just picked up this trinket in the Reign of Winter AP. Just looking to clarify its function.
"Once per day, if used as the focus or divine focus for a summon monster or summon nature’s ally spell, the cauldron automatically conjures 1d3 additional creatures of the same kind from the next lower level list. For example, if a user casts summon monster III to summon 1d3 wolves, he could also summon 1d3 additional wolves (or other creatures from the 2nd-level list)."
Since it only grant "additional creatures of the same kind from the next lower level list" it seems that what's implied, but not outright stated, is that the cauldron has no effect when summoning creatures of the same-level list as that of the spell or when casting the 1st level version of either spell (since there's no lower level list to choose 1d3 creatures from).
I'm also wondering whether the cauldron would work in conjunction with a summoner's Summon Monster spell-like ability seeing as it doesn't require a focus though since, according to the general description of spell-like abilities, it "functions just like a spell. Further, would the Cauldron function in conjunction with appropriate spell-completion or spell-trigger items such as scrolls and wands?
I don't think there's any official ruling on this item, so conjecture is welcome.
Chess Pwn wrote:
yeah, claws are in pairs. this is when you swap in and out something, like rake. odd attacks have rake, even have claws with no rake.
Rake is only good for Quadrupeds though.
At that point you want to get the Rend evolution which will take care of that left over natural attack and you get pretty good return on it.
I believe that Rend by itself is a special ability, not an attack. It has no attack roll of its own; it happens automatically if you hit with 2 other claw attacks, so it shouldn't count towards your maximum number of attacks per round. Correct me if I'm wrong.
David knott 242 wrote:
Alternatively, you can get a Slam attack for one pair of arms if you are under 6th level.
That's true, though what does being under 6th level have to do with it?
I searched but couldn't find an answer. The claws evolution states: "An eidolon has a pair of vicious claws at the end of its limbs, giving it two claw attacks." No problem there; spend a point and you get two claws. But what if you've reached a level where your eidolon is allowed an odd number of attacks and you'd rather add an extra claw rather than say a bite, slam, tentacle or what-have-you? You're free to buy as many pairs of limbs as you can afford, but can you spend 1 evolution point to add claws to one of those limbs or, alternatively, add claws to both limbs but only use one of them in battle to make your odd number of attacks?
Silent image would do it. Just modify the image like a police sketch artist would.
This. Though, since the image of the parents doesn't have to be full-size or need to be realistic enough to fool anyone, I'd say that a simple prestidigitation cantrip should be sufficient to creat a miniature ghostly image that the artist can study. This is the kind of simple magical effect Prestidigitation is designed for.
I've listening to this age old debate about players trying to ride their floating disks for over twenty years. It's nice to see that some ideas never die. The notion invariably ends in disappointment once others chime in and rain on the O.P.'s great idea. Perhaps the mythic version allows this trick, but the base spell, alas, never has without a generous GM's say so.
One amusing idea I've heard of to make it possible is to affix a contraption atop the floating disk with a 5-ft. boom sticking off the front with a seat for the caster on its end. While moving forward, the caster hops up into the seat and so ends up coasting along as the floating disk both follows and propels him forward. Of course, you're stuck going in the same direction unless you engineer some sort of mechanism which allows for the caster to swing the boom around; usually involving a counterweight, a vertical axle, some pulleys and guide ropes. Other approaches include rigging a vertical mast and using a sail to steer around.
This is the point at which physicists usually chime in to point out that this kind of push/pull system can't realistically work and that air friction would invariably slow down and stop the disk and caster even if it did. The counter argument is that the contraption is based on magic rather than physics and so would work because it follows the RAW.
I am not trying to spoil anything, but modern firearms will fit just fine in Reign of Winter.
We players are aware that this unique character is an itinerant WW 1 Russian soldier armed with his stock rifle who's been indadvertedly ported to the Forgotten Realms. Thing is, he'll be starting off as such at 1st level. That's about all we know however, so no more AP spoilers please.
Jamie Charlan wrote:
advanced firearms have a cost not entirely unlike low grade magical weapons. This is worth noting both for 'when it should be available' but also for 'what you're paying for the weapon's abilities'. That advanced firearm is a significant chunk of your WBL at very low levels. You'll have a mundane shotgun, the fighter'll have his +2 weapon, and everyone could be happy.
That might matter if the character were to pay for the rifle, but he'll be receiving it for free in lieu of the gunslinger's usual firearm. He'll be keeping pace treasure-wise with the other PCs as they level, so when others have +2 weapons, he'll likely have enhanced his modern rifle to +2 as well.
Jamie Charlan wrote:
Reason is that Rapid Reload and Alchemical Cartridges are incompatible with advanced firearms. This means you will ALWAYS require a move action to reload your gun, rather than being able to get it down to a free action. The advanced firearms have no real support from archetypes either.
From what I can see, Rapid Reload isn't so much incompatible as it is redundant; reloading a modern rifle is automatically faster than the feat can manage; a move action I believe. When combined with a 5 cartridge capacity firearm, seems to me that the character will be able to pull off full attacks most of the time, only needing to slow down to a single shot every 3rd round or so once he has sufficient iterative attacks.
Is there really no spell, feat, item enhancement or class ability that can further improve a modern firearm's reloading speed from a move to a free action? I'm just trying to get a view of the big picture.