MPL, you are absolutely correct. The issue is that the poster thinks that spellstrike alone without spell combat gives you 2 weapon attacks.
To the OP:
I don't know who explained spellstrike to you, but they are mistaken.
I'm going to explain slowly, please read for comprehension.
When you normally cast a touch spell, the casting includes a touch attack to deliver the spell as a free action. That free action is important to understanding spellstrike. Remember it.
Spellstrike modifies a touch spell so that instead of a touch attack, you get a single attack with a melee weapon as a free action. This replaces the touch attack you would normally get to deliver the spell.
You seem to be under the impression that Spellstrike adds a second free action to your spell, one to deliver the spell and another just for fun. This is incorrect. An example of the correct usage is below:
GM: Magus, your turn.
Does that clear up spellstrike?
Again, recall that spellstrike modifies a spell. It does NOT modify an attack.
With that in mind, noting that spell combat lets you take all of your attacks in a round and also cast a spell, you should deduce the error in assuming you could cast 2 spells in a round using the two abilities. If the above magus began his turn adjacent to the orc (because spell combat is a full-round action) the following would have been legal:
GM: Magus, your turn.
note This last bit about holding the charge is an assumption built around some unclear bits of the RAW. Some GMs may rule the spell is lost if a spellstrike misses, others may rule you may only attempt to deliver the held charge as a touch attack, not with your weapon. Still others may say it's not a standard action to deliver it, and it will automatically target the next creature struck by the weapon. Please consult your GM as to what happens when your spellstrike misses.
Thank you for reading carefully!
If you want Style Feats as a feral natural weapon focused Druid,
Feral Combat Training (Combat)
From Ultimate Combat.
Also, Planar Wild Shape is a good one for druids who want a little Energy Resist, SR, and DR.
So, I really liked the mirror towns, and decided to "guide" my players during character creation towards the end of having two of them actually be secretly from Waldsby. One (a middle aged human witch, failed apprentice) was a young mother of two baby girls when the Jadwiga came for her and took her from her family for retraining. She was found wanting by the winter witches and cast out, her mind shattered by the ordeal, banished.
Meanwhile her husband remarried years later, and the two girls were raised increasingly by an evil stepmother and her spoiled son. When the boy was accused of stealing from a travelling Winter Witch, the stepmother cut one of the daughter's hair and sent her to take his punishment. Luckily the house spirit intervened, giving her a chance to run for the forest. She ran for miles through snow, chased by ravens and was nearly caught by one of the guardian dolls before she was finally found on the edges of the Land of the Linnorm kings and taken as a thrall...
Flash forward many years, the insane failed witch has settled in the edge of the Border wood and her long lost daughter, now a knight of Taldor, has shed her Irriseni heritage and has dreams of becoming a member of the Ulfen Guard. The story begins when the daughter passes through Heldren and feels a strange connection to the small town...
So basically, Nazhena is the stepmother, Radosek is the step brother, Nadya is the daughter that stayed... and two of my PCs don't know they are mother and daughter. I think I may be more excited about this story arc than the actual plot...
The higher your level, the more tools you have: rods, scrolls, wands, staves... but you still only get 1 standard and 1 move action per turn! The best way to take advantage of all those wonderful magical tidbits is simple:
"Geeves, my staff of Necromancy!" *holds out hand as invisible servant spends its turn retrieving the staff and placing it in your waiting grasp.*
Other wonderful uses of the extra actions it can provide:
Picking up your fighter's disarmed weapon and bringing it back to him
and all of that for an HOUR per caster level. For most sorcerors and wizards I run games for these days, it's "I wake up, cast mage armor, false life, and unseen servant"
Of course if your group is less into cinema and more into rollin dice for big damages hur hur hur just take great cleave and power attack, maybe shield of swings so he can't one-hit you champs and will get a lot harder to hit even in flanking.
if you're worried about adjacency requirements for cleave, make him a dwarf (racial feat Orc Hewer (?) lets you ignore adjacency requirements vs medium enemies)
So, the bad guy wants to escape, doesn't have any of his gear or allies with him... this is easy. He shouldn't fight. Unless he's a mindless orc, his objective is NOT kill the heroes. It's ESCAPE THE PRISON. So... have him bull rush a weaker PC off a ledge or something while he makes a run for it, someone has to save the dangling halfling cleric while the armored fighter tries to chase down the big bad, who is running ahead, jamming doors shut, maybe stopping for a second on the other side to get a cheap shot in on a PC, but spends his move actions fleeing.
A good chase scene can be cinematic. Especially if there is some interesting terrain... a locked door to smash through, an overturned washtub spilling soapy water over a stairwell, a closing drawbridge to leap, maybe they even make it outside and have to quickly mount a horse and spur it (see ride skill) to catch the fleeing villain!
The PCs have 0 chance of dying to this tactic, so you can give him a little extra juice so you don't have to worry about "you lose initiative, you die" if they successfully catch him, hooray they feel great about the win, but if they don't, now they are responsible for freeing a new bad guy, and maybe feel guilty about it, compelling them to track him down while he rebuilds his (evil empire, crime family, gang of bank robbers, death cult) et cetera
I didn't have extreme problems with the poisons when I ran this adventure. Maybe my players were just luckier than yours on saves. Make sure you are using poison rules correctly. The biggest mistake I've seen made is the following:
PC is hit by poison dart, DC 16 fort save or take d2 con dmg/rd.
The correct mechanism for being exposed to multiple poisons is that each additional dose increases the save DC by 2 and the duration by 2 rounds (or minutes, or hours depending on the unit used in the poison)
This CAN make a poison very hard to fight off if multiple exposures increase the DC to a high level. HOWEVER, it also means that your cleric's Heal check, that emergency antitoxin, and your sorceror's Touch of Destiny all apply to the ONE ROLL needed to fight off the poison. I found most of the PCs focused on helping eachother recover from poison quickly enough that they rarely took ability damage more than twice from one poison.
As a long-time GM, I've seen hundreds upon thousands of magic items pass through my stories, some into the hands of adventurers and some left undiscovered in hidden rooms. To me, a SUPERSTAR item is one that the heroes would never buy from a shop like an extra pint of lantern oil, nor one that would be looted and sold for scrap. It should be an item that will be used time and again when the story most demands it, a dramatic tool in the storyteller's kit. When I read an entry, I imagine how I would narrate the effects to the heroes as either the targets of its power or as its controllers. I vote up the trinkets that I think would make for a story worth re-telling, and for items that would become a part of a character, not just part of an inventory.
Undead Lord Cleric is the only surefire way to start play at lvl 1 with an undead minion.
However, a necromancer wizard with a solid CHA or an Oracle of Bones, or ANY evil cleric with Command undead can get one in fairly short order using the Command Undead feat. As you level here are some tips:
As a non-evil necromancer, stick to mindless undead. Creating ghouls that actively want to feed on the living will not be easy for you to roleplay.
Command Undead (The spell not the feat) is an extremely long duration spell, and mindless undead get no save to resist it.
The size of a corpse and its hit dice are the most important things to consider when allocating the HD limit of your undead army. one skeletal dragon with 10 HD can be much more effective than 10 little 4 hp skeletons with d4 claws.
Undead are great against archers, but archers are great against necromancers. Invest in protection against ranged attacks and let the hordes shamble forth.
Liberating Command is a good low level spell for freeing yourself from grapples, but doesn't help you against being Re-Grappled
Freedom of Movement is a 10 min/lvl duration, lvl 4 cleric spell.
If you know your GM is just grappling you and it's ruining your fun, prepare it every day, cast it before you're going into hairy situations. 80 min is a long time in game.
You seem concerned with equity for players, and I respect that, so I feel instead of trying to clarify my beliefs, I can give an example:
The party rools poorly on some perception checks and is ambushed, a surprise round arrow happens to crit the healer (oracle of life) unconscious. I immediately see that this could be a very sad waste of a cool group if I don't do something. So, instead of taking their next turn to execute the healer, the ambushers burst from hiding, one grabs her and pulls a knife (using all his actions that round to do so, move to grab knife while getting to unconscious healer, standard to "grapple" or pick her up in one arm)
(and so far, all rules followed, have turned it into a hostage situation instead of a murder. I just want to start with this showing I always prefer to use rules first rather than breaking them...)
Now, unfortunately, my players are a bit too timid, and when they are commanded to drop all weapons and lie face down on the ground or the girl "gets it," none of them spring into action to save her THAT round when he couldn't have anything readied yet. Two of them comply and lie face down, yelling at the rogue to do the same. Now, the rogue is named Vi, and this is her first character ever. They are around level 7 at this point, and she is really worried her character will die... and to my great pleasure, decides to NOT give in to the ambushers' demands. She asks me if she can pull out a dagger without him noticing while she drops her rapier and then throw it into his throat.
According to the rules, this never would have worked.
a) she had never said she was concealing any daggers, so the rules state they are not concealed.
However... in that moment, I could not think of a COOLER way for this encounter to unfold for this group. So it happened. She rolled very well, knocked him to staggered in a single sneak attack, and the fight commenced, all very epic and fun times were had.
Does that mean that from then on I should allow sneak attacks in concealment or let this rogue walk around pulling and throwing concealed daggers in a single round at shadowy figures for sneak attack?
No. I still rely on the rules, I still go by the book, but in that moment the players trusted me as a GM to give them a good game, and it was my responsibility to understand exactly when my friends' enjoyment is more important then 100% RAW.
My favoritest elf ever is a handsome bastard by the name of Dashel or "dash."
15 point buy (because it was for an AP, not PFS)
Spirit of the Waves racial trait
Sooo... you can see where I'm going with this.
He was very fun.
The key concept in your complaint is the idea of random changes. If a change was really random without intent, then correcting it once for your GM should straighten things out. Sometimes, however, the story's continuity demands the GM exercise creative license. If you cannot stand house rules or GM discretion, then you need to play in a VERY specific kind of game and let your GM's know beforehand that you do not recognize their authority over the books'
I love GM license, I think that it allows tabletop RPGs to exceed the limitations of video games that are bound by the RAW.
So, while I memorize rules with the best of them, and respect the effort that goes into balancing and fine-tuning this game, When dice hit the table, the GM has to always be the final say. Tabletop is not a democracy, and if the game you like to play is about arguing, then it's not the tabletop I recognize and play.
It's hard to comment on another gamer's group, because each one is its own tiny culture with its own expectations.
I've been running games for years and years, and I have a few simple rules that keep my sessions free of as much lawyering as possible (right or wrong, the behavior is disrespectful)
1) On any ruling, you may correct the GM one time. He or She will be gracious and listen to your challenge.
2) If the GM chooses to ignore your correction or changes their mind later, you may not challenge again. It has become a house rule.
I don't want my players to feel unheard, but they need to trust that the rulings I make are for the betterment of everyone involved. Sometimes I need a magical fireball to start mundane fires, and sometimes I need it not to, I will take care of the players if they have faith in the story, and if you have a positive, trusting relationship with your players, you should be able to get them to behave on the same grounds.
When my crossbowman wanted this same functionality I made the following rules:
It's a move action to switch your hold on the crossbow to butt-smash in melee (and threaten in melee)
Catch Off Guard negates the -4 attack penalty for improvised
Crossbow Master makes it a swift action to switch between ranged and melee and allows Weapon Focus/Spec to work for smashes
(Since crossbow master usually lets them basically reload in melee anyway, it sort of negates any need for the butt-smash, so I added some glitz to it so he may still have fun smashing in skeleton skulls once in a while, it's not terribly powerful even with the bonuses it allows)
Weapon Mastery (close) affects improvised crossbow bludgeoning.
Word to the wise, there is nothing so terrifying to an alchemist as a Monk... you never know when one won't just have deflect arrows, but SNATCH arrows as well. Which allows them to return fire with an alchemist's own bomb.
A bomb which doesn't lose its potency until a round AFTER it leaves his/her hand.
Constitution has several obscure niches. One was alluded to in that "swallow whole" monsters benefit from high Con. Con is also the modifying stat for Poison DCs. This is why Purple Worm or Wyvern poison are so devastating, both have exceptional CON scores.
CON also modifies the DC to avoid breath weapons, so bear's endurance on a dragon is quite scary.
In Ultimate Combat, a tree of feats for half-orcs and orcs (The Deathless tree) is designed for use between 0 hp and DEAD. Within that window, such a character becomes extremely dangerous, with extra attack and damage bonuses. Such a character would really strongly benefit from a CON above 20, since the wider the range between 0 and DEAD, the more often, and more safely they can enter their Deathless state.
Also, I have observed a strange phenomenon... CON is how I see one of my grapplers kill people. Bear with me here... a very high con character (barb) has taken all of the grappling feats she could. Now, she knows that she almost always has as many or more HP than most enemies she faces, and takes great pleasure in grappling specifically to throw herself and the enemy into horrible environmental hazards. Off cliffs, into smashing block traps, boiling lava... trusting her party members to save her while the evil enemies would never do the same for eachother. They are middling to high level, so she does have greater rage, and her base con was a 17 at lvl 1, so I believe these days she's at 26 while raging, and that means nearly 180 hp or so. I would argue this counts as an "offensive" use of CON.
You are being extraordinarily generous.
In book 2, the group gets a intelligent blade that is made for killing Oni, the castle includes several caches of items such as evil outsider bane arrows, flaming arrows and the like. The trend continues in every edition of the adventure so far, filling the group's coffers with legendary named weapons that destroy Oni. If you plan on adding to that stockpile, I strongly recommend you rebalance basically every encounter in the game. IIRC, that chest should contain 9,000 gp worth of treasure total to be divided between the characters. The group should have found plenty of treasure so far without needing to increase that value. I believe the purpose of the chest is to make them feel destined, NOT to serve as a huge treasure pile.
My suggestions for some level-appropriate gunslinger loot that makes them feel destined:
-A gold dragonscale powder horn with enchanted gunpowder from distant Tian Xia (enough to say, make 50 shots '+1' same value as a +1 weapon, and should give him magic ammo until they have time and money to permanently enchant the gun)
-If he's a long-range gunslinger, maybe some Eyes of the Eagle for sniping
-If he's in melee a lot, maybe some light Tien armor in the style of a bodyguard of house Amatatsu, make it +1 and mithril if he's extraordinarily dextrous.
-Consumables are fantastic, so Elixirs of Hiding, Vision, or the like could help a skill-based gunslinger, and finding a "utility belt" of potions and elixirs can make a one-trick pony feel much more useful.
The Improvised Weapon Mastery feat is just a must have for this little guy. I think it's what... +7 or +8 BAB required?
Also! If your big boss man will let you Weapon Focus into Improvised weapons, look into Shatter Defenses/Deadly Strike
That's the one that dous double damage and Con bleed when you hit someone flat-footed, right?
Because the Improvised weapon feat (Catch Off Guard) includes one AWESOME caveat: If you hit someone with an improvised weapon and they are unarmed, they count as flat-footed.
So basically, if you hit the evil wizard with a bench, he's gonna be a little surprised.
Improvised weapon fightering is fantastic. Just ask your GM if he could count "Catch Off-Guard" as the proficiency requirement for weapon focus and specialization and you'll be able to do just fine on damage.
If you're worried about bad guys with DR, just use your magic weapons as improvised ones for the flavor. Yes, hitting someone with a longsword by bonking them with the hilt and holding the pointy end will probably do 1d6 instead of 1d8 (club damage) but it lets you be creative with what type of damage (slash, bludg, pierc) and it's just very gobliny.
Make sure you check with your GM to see if using a magic weapon as an improvised one would still count as magic. Likewise... an adamantine fork? maybe d2 + STR, but it hurts golems!!!
Someone mentioned the need for Reach spell metamagic AND spectral hand. Spectral Hand turns your touch spells into Medium range. There is rarely a need for a Necromancer to ever use a Reach metamagic effect with Spectral Hand up.
Also, note that SPectral Hand adds +2 to touch attacks, so your Necromancer will have a higher chance to land that infestation.
I begin by saying I fully recognize and respect caution. It has a role to play in all things. However, in my experience, many more battles are lost and many opportunities squandered by meekness more than boldness. so...
There is no saving throw against confidence.
(In less quotable terms, this means that players should use declarative sentences instead of asking questions of the GM. If you have an awesome idea that requires a 30' wide chasm with a fallen tree across it, do not ask, "What do I see around me?" say "Esteban spins around, catching sight of an old oak leaning precariously over a muddy ravine. He runs up the sloping trunk, and his weight tears the last of its roots free, knocking it down over the chasm as he leaps and rolls to his feet on the far side. He turns as he draws his elven curveblade, smirking and beckoning the armored hellknights to follow.")
Your character cannot do anything you think it can't.
(never say what you can't do. The second you throw your hands in the air and say "I don't have any spells that will effect this demon!" or "I don't know how to use wands" you limit your character.)
Take control of the enemy's actions.
(You don't need dominate person to control an enemy. You just need to know what you want and what they want. Do you want them to walk through a door? Open a box? Call for the guards? Step onto a trap? Some basic creativity can turn bluff checks, minor illusions, ghost sounds, or just good battlefield positioning into a huge advantage. Every round you make the enemy do your job for you is a round in the right direction)
Know thine ally.
(Watch your friends. Pay attention on THEIR turns, not just yours. If you know their habits and strategies, you can choose your action with much greater care. If you know your druid is fond of fogging up the fights, then you know where to stand to either take advantage of or avoid the mist. If you know your rogue likes to use hes hat of disguise to impersonate enemies that split off from the group, lure one around a corner or through a door for her. Does your wizard like using summon spells? Give him some cover so he doesn't get hit while casting for a round. Barbarian with Great Cleave? Dimension Door her into a pack of enemies and watch a tear come to her eye.)
Terrain Mastery. It's not just for Horizon Walkers anymore.
(DR doesn't protect you from drowning. Spell resistance doesn't reduce falling damage. Even golems take a penalty for squeezing. Zombies can't use doorknobs. It can be hard at times, but try to remember that the world isn't actually made of blank 5' square grids. It's made of loose floorboards, chandeliers, fireplaces, steep hills, patches of poison ivy, loose boulders, apple carts, and the clouds of biting flies. Use the terrain to your advantage and to hinder your enemies at every juncture. stand on the bar to take high ground advantage while kicking a pewter stein into some mook's face. Move to the favorable places, force enemies into the bad ones. In conjuction with confidence, teamwork, and creativity, every fight can be epic.)
My favorite tool for extending those fights that I felt needed more drama was in the World of Warcraft tabletop RPG rules. The template for "Elite" in that system was like a modification of "Advanced." Instead of a +4 on all stats and a +2 to natural armor, it modified as follows:
I still sometimes do this for fights I find exciting. It doesn't increase offensive potecy at all, which I find useful. When you just increase ALL of a monster's stats, you run the risk of actually SHORTENING fights by making every round a HUGE damage fest.
In one game where I got to be a PC, the GM had allowed 25 point buy and gave everyone an EXTRA 20,000 gp on top of starting wealth by level... everyone was out of control powerful. To compensate, the GM just started giving monsters extra class levels. By increasing firepower on both sides, we came to a mutually assured destruction scenario in almost every fight. The barbarian had such amazing weaponry and strength that he could probably 2-hit kill a boss, but he was only lvl 5, so the CR 9 boss could easily 2 hit kill him as well.
My character died in that game at lvl 5 because the cleric in a group of 6 evil kobolds happened to be lvl 9 with access to flamestrike.
SO I guess, in the end, mechanically I support the idea of a template that DOESN'T increase offense, and instead heavily increases defense. That way, your party is still encountering level-appropriate spells, save DCs, and attack/damage rolls, but you get a chance to use all your monster's cool abilities, strategies, and of course, BANTER!
Pathfinder RPG has really raised the floor of Save or Die mechanics. I think completely removing them from a game takes a key fantasy element out of play. The ultimate goal of mastery over life and death becomes surreal instead of attainable.
I have never actually had a player fail a save or die roll in any game of mine. (They have always been few and far between, and usually the players have some sense of the impending danger and have prepared.) But I have included them in the stories I make because the existence of life-stealing magics and the feeling of danger keep high level adventurers interested in the game. When HP damage is the only way to die, groups grow complacent.
Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:
Stack that and the Samurai's Order of the Warrior and you've got a fairly nifty bodyguard (who isn't as dependent on his horse as most cavaliers).
Love the Cavalier bodyguard, but I was thinking Order of the Dragon... my reasoning is that Bodyguard allows you to use Attacks of Opportunity to "Aid another" to increase your AC, and the Order of the Dragon cavalier's aid another bonus grows as he levels, meaning WHEN you get the bodyguard, his aid another to AC is a +4, and will increase (albeit slowly) as you progress.
Really, this bodyguard would peak at lvl 8 (so when you hit lvl 10) at which point he:
-Grants you a +1 dodge bonus to AC 3/day for basically a whole fight
-Can increase your AC by 5 with an untyped bonus 1+(dex mod) times a round
-Can spend his standard action to either move you out of harms way or increase your AC once per BATTLE
-Gives a +3 bonus to attacks on targets of its challenge whom he threatens (so, anyone in melee with you he challenges and your allies can destroy them)
Mount dependency isn't a terrible thing, either... if you take a Halfling cavalier (+2 dex means more bodyguarding!) then the mount can easily accompany you in narrow corridors, etc. Plus, if you throw a point into its INT (qualifying it for the general feat list) you could give the MOUNT bodyguard and In Harm's Way as well, doubling the meat shielding.
Dwarf tankbarian is a fantastic survivor class. Your only problem will be too MANY good feat options. Extra rage power for rolling dodge or "just a flesh wound," or ironhide, or steel soul, or ironguts, or dodge, endurance, diehard...
Your fortitude saves will be unbeatable, the dwarven wisdom plus raging bonuses will make your will save quite impressive, and Reflex saves are usually traps or spells... so Hardiness + Superstition + trap sense means you shouldn't have too much trouble with them.
And lets not all forget the best thing ever about dwarven tankbarians.... 30' move speed in medium armor! (+10 base for fast movement, not slowed by armor for dwarfiness)
Okay, so that's a 20 point array, I can more reasonably see Battle Oracle with a high powered game like that. I hope your first session went well, I really like Jade Regent.
If your GM does let you switch to lame, I should point out that you still go from 20' to 15' in medium/heavy armor until you get to lvl 10. The real reason it's so common for Battle oracles is they get Ride/Handle Animal, and horses aren't too expensive :) At higher levels
I also see it a lot with Rage Prophets (of course, fatigue immune rage omnom) and Oracles of Nature (Because of the intelligent mount revelation)
Best of luck, and don't listen to anything OmegaZ says, he's a witch!!!
hehehe... Haunted fire oracle... hehehe.
Happy to elaborate. I suppose first you should clear with your GM whether or not weapons count as "stored items in your gear." When I GM, I made it clear that they do, and so our haunted battle oracle in Carrion Crown (Hat Hat Johnson)has a nasty habit of finding his sheathed sword on the wrong hip, or his morningstar getting tangled in the 50' of rope hanging from his backpack.
Especially if you plan on going sword and board with a heavy shield of some kind, you will eventually want to be able to drop a weapon to pull a potion/scroll/rope/bag of magic beans from your backpack. That moment is the worst day of your life as a haunted Oracle. I'm sure we've all been at low health and thanked the gods for five-foot step, drop sword, draw potion, drink.
The "your item flies 10 feet in a random direction" is bad enough when it's a wand, scroll, or healing potion. But when it's your +2 adamantine flail of dragonsmiting... and you're on a bridge/ship/treetop/back of a flying dragon... It's a huge risk for not much reward.
Also, don't forget even a huge CMD and careful planning won't guarantee you never drop an item. Stunned, Panicked, and even falling unconscious all make you drop whatever you're carrying.
Haunted is great for caster Oracles. Ones that solve problems with magic usually have time to get what they need out of melee, or, even better, just walk around with that wand in their hand, just in case.
All that said, those are silly rule-based reasons. If you have a cool Haunted backstory, you go for it! Ruleswise, your most comfortable curses as Battle are usually Wasting or Lame. Lame makes that super-heavy armor a breeze, and Wasting helps you wade through those pesky noxious clouds, stench monsters, and can even turn your next rancid garbage chute into a slip 'n slide!
Tongues is neat, but since most GMs suck at enforcing "no talking in Common in combat" at the table, it's usually not really all that roleplayed so it makes me sad to see it used as a "not a curse" curse.
Also, I love Toughness at lvl 1 :) Glad you're taking some physicals as primary stats. I assume you're STR > CON > CHA > DEX > INT > WIS? Who needs a super high CHA as a buffer/basher anyway, right?
Congratulations on the decision. One last mention, playing a melee battle oracle with a 2hander is going to be very squishy at times, be cautious with your poor d8 hit die. If you plan on a high STR for CMBs, a 13 int for imp trip or disarm, and a decent CHA, chances are your CON won't be super high, so try to remember you're a primary caster :) I've seen too many battle oracles die in blazes of glory.
Also, if you haven't picked your curse yet, don't take haunted. I love the curse, but for a melee oracle, it's a death wish.
Have you considered a Paladin? I believe you are right to note that you don't have a primary healer, but your summoner can heal his eidolon, and even himself if he's into the infernal healing jazz from Cheliax. At level one and two, your Druid is not a terrible healer. Goodberry (imo) is better than cure light at extremely low levels. And once your paladin gets lay on hands at level 2, your group now has 3 off-healers, two of whom can use wands of cure light.
Channel energy is important, but not NECESSARY unless you're facing lots of fireballs or AoE traps, which shouldn't happen until lvl 5 or soe, when a paladin has access to channelling anyway. Check Ultimate Magic for some feats that really put paladin healers on pace with clerics.
It is important to remember that the duration of shaken from Intimidate is 1 round +1 for every 5 by which you beat the DC. Dazzling Display will rarely cause a well-matched foe to be shaken for more than a round, but if you're a level 10 bard facing a mob of torch-wielding peasants, that shiny rapier dancing through the air is going to leave them pretty nervous for the next 5-6 rounds.
Magicdealer is correct, however. The ultimate goal of Dazzlng Display in game is usually to set up for action which require a shaken foe, like SHatter Defenses+Deadly Stroke or, (my most favorite) the rage power Terrifying Howl, which causes all Shaken foes withing 30 feet to become Panicked.
If your Linnorm Kings Barbarian chief doesn't have a Savage Skald cohort howling terrifying chants and banging his axe, he's missing out. A barbarian's howl scattering foes that have been unnerved by a Dazzling Display is a beautiful thing.
I don't think you need a new feat, unlimited use per day AoE shaken is a great ability.
Also see the Thug rogue archetype for a way to send your foes running the other way when you flash steel.
I'm confused as to your player's complaints. What about the Necromancer does he find underwhelming? Is he just concerned with damage dealing? The Command Undead feat is fairly potent, and the spell can stand in for when he hits his HD cap. Halt Undead is another massively powerful Necro spell for fighting the undead, since it is essentially AoE Hold Person.
At lvl 7, he SHOULD have some undead minions, am I correct? If he does not, maybe that is where he should focus his energies. Necromancers are an expendable pet class. He can't think of his zombies like a druid's companion or an eidolon, they exist to be slaughtered for him. Make use of aid another actions and 6 human zombies rather quickly can grapple and devour most medium threats as long as you're okay with half those zombies being cut to ribbons.
Now that he has Animate Dead (and is able to cast spells with the Evil descriptor?) one thing you, as a GM can do, it put them against a large or Huge sized foe in the 12-14 HD range. That puts it at a level which he can animate, and size matters a lot to Necromancers. A Stone Giant zombie or skeleton can be a lot of fun for a Necromancer as both a bodyguard and as a nice mode of transportation for his tired little wizard legs.
If his problem is with save DCs being too low and his enemies saving against his spells, help him to make better use of his touch of the grave. With spectral hand, he should be able to afflict his foes with Shaken regularly with a duration of 3 rounds. That gives him several spells while they're at a -2 on saves. If he picks up stinking cloud or sickening ray, he can raise that to a -4. Once your foe is at a -4 on all checks, your Save based spells become amazing.
I absolutely love it when players step outside the prescribed rules and give you a chance to think on your feet like this as a GM. Some things that pop to mind regarding stat permanency:
The only person willing to try this "experimental procedure" is completely mad, does all sorts of human testing. Maybe is responsible for the creation of Owlbears or something equally horrible. The experiment involves the acquisition of living specimens or rare items. Then, at the end of the quest-portion, have him roll some dice (players love this more than I can understand, but adding some randomness to their outcomes seems to thrill them. I'd recommend something like 1d6-2, so he can't get more than the optimum (the spell took, huzzah) but he also risks expending all his money for no benefit or even a possible -1.
Another choice, go legendary. Fluff-wise it can have that Ponce De Leon flavor, maybe a long boat trip to Hermea to unlock his "hidden potential" or a search through the Mwangi for a tribe of true Azlanti still living in a lost city. Maybe at the heart of the Eye of Abendego, the top of Gallowspire, or kept in a music box in the vaults of Erebus is the secret to this transformation he seeks... but in the end just give him the ability to essentially use an alchemist mutagen without the natural armor. +4 dex -2 int as a standard, either by drinking a secret elixir, rubbing a magic gem, invoking a True Name, calling on his spirit animal, what have you.
This is advice for your standard level 1-2 wizard looking to make the most of his Scribe scroll.
Do not underestimate the power of cantrips.
Keeping a small library of cantrip scrolls on hand really frees you up to prepare bread and butter cantrips for your dailies (detect magic, light, an offensive one, and maybe prestidigitation)
Even at middle levels, before your spellcraft is high enough to reliably hit 25 DCs, having a handful of Read Magics on a scroll just enhances your ability to make use of scrolls immediately in the field.
Open/Close and Mage Hand are fantastic on scrolls for getting to hard-to reach places.
Scrolls of Resistance can be a nice combat cantrip
And of course, Arcane Mark... because no one would ever waste a slot to prepare you, you poor, poor spell.
The point is, a lvl 0 spell costs 6.25 gp to scribe, so have fun with them! They're even cheap enough to start with a half dozen or so off of starting wealth.
I would congratulate your player on finding a use for obscuring mist and fog cloud. Mist and fog are great elements to add to encounters to spice them up (as long as you don't expect to have an out-and-out melee in them, then the miss chance becomes tedious).
I don't see how this druid is using the ability to effectively up his CR. Maybe I'm missing part of the story... is he using a longspear, or did he spend a feat on a decent polearm? Is he very high strength? I assume you're worried about his melee power if you mentioned the Lunge feat.
While a ranged enemy may need a perception check to find him... any melee enemies should still be able to fight effectively. He has successfully used a powerful magic spell to even his odds in a fight against combat characters, well done for him!
To explain... fog clouds are not that big, and you can see adjacent squares (albeit with concealment) which means any melee characters can just spend their movement wandering about (maybe provoking some very scary attacks of opportunity) to find the druid. In fact, if he takes that attack of opportunity, they basically know which direction to step to get into melee and take their one swing a round.
**EDIT** Quandary already mentioned this, sorry!
I like the character. I actually have a similar character in my game that is having a lot of fun with it. She is a dual class Oracle of Waves/Ninja named Misty.
Revelation: Water sight (sees through fog and mist at ANY distance)
Any way you build a fog-based character includes some windup time to get your fog and positioning, but they certainly add some panache to your narration as shuriken, shards of magical ice, or even a longspear come whizzing out of the mist to transfix your baddies. Have faith in his limited spells per day and the group's desire for a compelling story. Most players are good people if you give them the chance, and they don't ACTUALLY want to shoot fish in a barrel, they just want to feel like they could.
As mentioned, Death Ward is crazy expensive as far as party resources go. I am more concerned about my Pharasmin Inquisitor with the Repose domain. He's about to hit level 8, and while Broken Moon shouldn't see him needing his "Ward against Death" aura, by the time the group is once again menaced by powerful undead and evil clerics... negative energy and level drain are going to be extremely trivial threats.
Toadkiller Dog wrote:
Sorry to be 'that guy,' but Dhampir are alive. They are Humanoids with a subtype, not Undead. The reason they are vulnerable to positive energy doesn't come from their type, it comes from their Special Quality: Negative Energy Affinity.
Therefore, if a cleric channels and chooses to affect the living, they target the Dhampir. A cleric channeling to effect the undead does not effect Dhampir. This is true regardless of the type of energy you channel, negative or positive. When checking for targets, Dhampir are bundled with the living.
The confusion comes from people thinking "I channel to heal" vs "I channel to harm." When in fact the actual decision is "I channel to effect the living," vs "I channel to effect the dead."
I hope this is helpful.
PS: Yes, this means if you are a negative-energy channeller and you "Channel to effect the living" you can damage all the bad guys AND heal all the dhampir at once. Sounds like fun until you're trying to stay interested in a party full of Dhampir after the thrid session...
My favorite mini-rules withing Pathfinder are the "games within games." By this I mean the plethora of instances during the adventures wherein the brave heroes play games with or against the NPCs or each other. Mayhaps this is not within the purview of your assigned task, but some examples would be:
From "Curse of the Crimson Throne,"
From "Second Darkness,"
From "Council of Thieves,"
And... gosh, I'm sure so many more that I can't remember right now. But I assume your job is more along the lines of...
Well, that killed the 20 minutes I needed it to. Victory is mine. How much XP is 20 minutes worth? CR 2?
The most horrific thing I ever threw at a group (in a homebrew post-apoc biohazard setting) was a pregnant nurse in a morgue that got locked in an infection zone. She developed many "hag" features, strength, claws, nat armor... but the creep factor was writhing umbilical cords coming from her belly button (You are all forbidden from pointing out biological inaccuracy in this monster... I wanted to creep people out, not make them leave the table)
The umbilical cords were able to act independent of the host monster, and crept around the morgue, attaching to dead flesh and pumping it full of magical pseudoscience (in this world, a parasite) that animated the corpse.
What you end up with is a network of these fleshy cords leading from the "guard zombies" back to the hostess.
Set it in Karrnath, and have the Whispering Way be a cult connected to the Lords of Dust, and cast Tar-Baphon as one of the khyber-bound fiends from the Age of Monsters. That should just about get ya. I too have been considering the same thing.
If you're using Karrnath mid-Last War, then shouldn't we be using the Blood of Vol as the Whispering Way? Maybe rewrite Eberron a bit to have Vol in a torpid state beneath Atur or something. If you use the Lords of Dust as the Whispering Way, then you have 2 different cults that worship undeath. Gets a bit crowded...
Also, Platinum Eye conspiratory dudes could totally be agents of the Chamber.
My thoughts on this dilemma, and a way to add a bit more creepiness/urgency:
When the letters get wiped away, the dupe (Gibs or whomever) has to rewrite them (plus 1 more letter) the next night in blood as Splatter Man grows in power. This means the dupe needs more blood. If he only needs to write 1 letter, he kills a rat. If he needs to write 2-3 letters, maybe a cat or small dog. 4-5 letters? Sheep or goat. 6-7 letters, he kills a horse or a cow, maybe if it gets to 8-9 letters, he kills a whole local family for the blood. This method I feel will help accelerate the plot for slow PCs, and help to spur the heroes to immediate action when the timer is running out.
Well, as far as weapons, armor and shields are concerned, they do get tougher as they are enchanted. A good deal tougher, actually:
"Each +1 of enhancement bonus adds 2 to the hardness of armor, a weapon, or a shield, and +10 to the item's hit points."
from the corebook Equipment chapter, under Damaging Objects. Still combing through for non-enhancement bonus based items...
You assume incorrectly. The ability reduces their effective HD for the purposes of being effected by the pattern. It does not decrease their actual HD so saving throws are not effected.
As a note to people wondering how to get 16 save DCs at level 1, you take advantage of the gnome racial. +1 to DCs of illusion spells that stacks with spell focus at level 1 means you can start with a 16 save DC without even min-maxing your stats. throw a 14 or 15 in to CHA, let the gnome blood crank it to a +3 and you have a pretty little light show that the whole family can enjoy.
With the release of the APG, I think everyone should quickly realize a very specific ability that turns color spray into a massive powerhouse lvl 1 spell.
Oracles of the Heavens Mystery may select (without level requirement) the revelation "Phantasmagoric Display (Su)"
This ability causes all creatures affected by your illusion (pattern) spells to be treated as if their total HD is equal to heir HD minus your Charisma modifier.
And guess what spell they get at level 2... Color Spray.
In my game, there is a level 4 Gnome Oracle (standard array for stats, mind you, no min-maxing) with an 18 charisma, and a color spray that can knock 7 HD creatures Unconscious for 2d4 rounds if they fail a DC 17 Will save... (spell focus illusion)
Madcap Storm King wrote:
Point of order, neither shaken nor sickened reduce AC. Entangled does, though. I have a ranger/cleric who just loves his Exotic weapon proficiency (net) for just that reason. It's one of the only conditions that reduces attacks AND AC.