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Ascalaphus's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 3,717 posts. No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 5 Pathfinder Society characters.


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The Varisia booklet is a good read though.

Playing an Orthophrenologist might be amusing.

You're taking a set of the rules that most people already have a hard time understanding, and you're basically adding more detail.

Also, how well does this port to giant spiders, serpents, squids, bears and so forth, that use very different appendages to grab?

I think we're better off with the more generic current system.

Bishonen sounds about 3% more dignified than Twink, so...

Now that nagaji, wayang and kitsune are legal in PFS, maybe it's time to talk about race iconics?

Oh, and I have no objection to more good-looking menfolk.

I'll have to look into this. I like the challenge. Given the reduced number of spells remaining, I do think it might be better to go Oracle.

I rather like the lore warden. It's how I wish all fighter archetypes were: pick a theme and really deliver on the promise.

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brad2411 wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Taunty, Taunty, Taunt, Taunt...

That is all...

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Taunter

I am now waiting for a class titled "[REDACTED]"

It'll generate a lot of FAQ requests, along the line of "you released this class, but didn't actually tell us the name of most of its abilities... but one of my players insists that if you hold it up to the light just so, and read the blacked out text just right, it says [censored]. Please clarify, this is destroying my game!"


Have we discussed the Cave Druid/Carnivorous Ooze monstrosity yet?

Wow, that's pretty nice.

The rules didn't exactly stop you before, it was more like they looked menacingly at you. And told you that you wouldn't be getting any inappropriate ACs. (Well, apart from some really weird language on the beastrider.)

The problem is that Undersized Mount changed which mounts would be unsuitable, but those classes have the classic choices hard-coded in.

I would think that the intent was to free up medium mounts for cavaliers and such, but the language of the feat doesn't quite get there yet.

I've been studying the ACG, mostly to figure out the impact of Pummeling Style. I think this guide will need a bit of updating now.

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@Ross: interesting; you list some things I didn't really know or think about. The physical realities of publishing aren't something everyone knows about I guess.

That said, while there's some awesome in this book, it's also been the most eyebrow-raising thing yet for me. There's quite a few "what were they thinking" bits in it.

I understand that there was time pressure and all that, but on the other hand, by now Paizo isn't all that new anymore, and I do expect them to have a process ready for quality control. Basically, they should've been prepared for that time pressure. And I'm seeing things that make me wonder about that.

The encumbrance is a real problem, that's certainly true. Although you can work on that with muleback cords and suchlike.

That's good to know. But if what I'm talking about doesn't exist, that kinda surprises me. After all, the various wikis have categories devoted to PFS scenarios sorted by tier and location, so why not faction?

A big chunk of vital strike builds are with druids, who wildshape into a creature with a natural weapon with really large damage dice. The Arsinoitherium for example is basically aan ice-age rhinoceros with two tusks on his nose, so he makes one attack at double the normal damage dice. Then if you start adding vital strike to it, it really starts to look like something.

What the title said. Some scenarios are important to some factions, and have the "stuff in here contributes directly to the [Qadira] storyline" tag. Or perhaps they don't say it explicitly, but there happens to be a really shiny boon available if you're the right faction.

Is there a list somewhere to see what scenarios are "must-play" for your faction?

It'd be particularly nice if it was spoiler-free; just a "this mission has some special Cheliax stuff in it" would be enough.

A medium cavalier with the feat is allowed to ride a pony, but is he also allowed to select the pony as AC? Because the class ability lists only specific mounts. And not just because those are the only mountable animals; a druid can ride a roc, ankylosaurus, bear or tiger without problems.

4 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

Can a human cavalier or paladin with the Undersized Mount select a medium-sized mount as animal companion?

On the one hand, that seems to be what the feat is intended to do;

Undersized Mount feat, ACG wrote:

Undersized Mount (Combat)
You've learned techniques that allow you to ride beasts of
smaller sizes than normal.

Prerequisite: Ride 1 rank.
Benefit: You can ride creatures of your size category, although encumbrance or other factors might limit how you can use this ability.
Normal: Typically a mount suited for you is at least one size category larger than you.

On the other hand, both of those classes name specific creatures that you can pick as mount;

Paladin Divine Bond, CRB wrote:
The second type of bond allows a paladin to gain the service of an unusually intelligent, strong, and loyal steed to serve her in her crusade against evil. This mount is usually a heavy horse (for a Medium paladin) or a pony (for a Small paladin), although more exotic mounts, such as a boar, camel, or dog are also suitable. This mount functions as a druid's animal companion, using the paladin's level as her effective druid level. Bonded mounts have an Intelligence of at least 6.
Cavalier Mount, APG wrote:
Mount (Ex): A cavalier gains the service of a loyal and trusty steed to carry him into battle. This mount functions as a druid's animal companion, using the cavalier's level as his effective druid level. The creature must be one that he is capable of riding and is suitable as a mount. A Medium cavalier can select a camel or a horse. A Small cavalier can select a pony or wolf, but can also select a boar or a dog if he is at least 4th level. The GM might approve other animals as suitable mounts.

Am I reading too much in the paladin/cavalier abilities? Are they just naming examples of suitable mounts, or does Undersized Mount basically not work for them?

I'm not sure if I'm just being obtuse or if this deserves an FAQ; in that case the opening paragraph of my post should be a good concise question.

I too don't allow anything until I've reviewed it. I'll usually say yes, especially if it's also allowed in PFS or if it's from a decent 3PP. But I just don't want any powers at my table that I don't even know about. I think it's a GM's responsibility to understand the rules and abilities the players are using.

The prehensile tail has proven very useful for tiefling alchemists. It seems fair that other races can buy in at the price of a (fairly precious) discovery.

Yeah, I just noticed some traces here and there.

It's a bit frustrating. My friends ordered the hardcopy for my birthday, but it'll take a while to ship to the Netherlands. Now I've got a drawer full of PFS characters that I'm trying to keep just under 4XP, because I might want to use ACG archetypes on them.

Am I correctly reading that Grenadier and Inspired Chemist can be combined?

Maybe it'll help to ask him what kinds of RP he enjoys? Not all RP is the same after all; a mushy romantic scene is different from a nasty prisoner interrogation and that's different from a court case.

And there's also some places where RP and combat mix a lot. I'm currently prepping an adventure where the PCs need to do some show fighting. I expect some of the PCs will be focused on the fight, some on researching their opponents, others on manipulating the crowd, and some others on perhaps laying a few bets.

Hostage situations can also be interesting combat/RP combo challenges. How to distract bad guys so that you can snatch away the hostages before they get CdG'ed?

Try to think of combat situations that are more elaborate than "defeat all the bad guys"; maybe the point is to impress an NPC with your teamwork, to wade into a three-way battle and try to get one or more sides to join you, or to ensure that some enemies escape to tell tales of how awesome you were?

Hopefully that sort of thing will pique his interest.

Sounds like a good idea. Just copy the Prehensile Tail racial ability.

When I played this, it was like a zoo. We had a cavalier/paladin on a dog, a cavalier with a worg, I'd recently acquired a l1 horse but chose to leave that behind, and we had a shaman with a terrifying pig. All in all there were 6 PCs and three ACs. Because one player didn't have a character, he got the l7 Merisiel pregen (l4 looked like suicide), and we ended up playing the 6-7 tier with a party that averaged (apart from the pregen) somewhere between 5 and 6. So for my surprisingly fragile melee paladin, this looked rather scary.

However, this being the Year of the Demon, everyone was pretty much loaded with cold iron weapons. Actually most of us carry both CI, silver and adamantine weapons and two of us had Smites to boot; so we weren't that nervous about DR. We were also able to consistently identify enemies and determine what DR to penetrate.

The aforementioned shaman also dished out some pretty spectacular long-term buffing. I think I got a +8 AC altogether, which made a huge difference.

The encounter outside wasn't very challenging, although it was interesting. This was my first time playing at this tier in a normal PF game (as opposed to the umpteenth low magic home game), so I was wondering what kind of difficulty to expect.


The gargoyle statue animated as soon as we looked inside and I used Detect Evil. This fight was brutal; the other paladin was killed in two rounds, and we had a PC on the other side of the monster bleeding out, with no healer able to get to him. But with Litany of Sloth we were able to get around that and move close enough to attack without eating AoOs. The paladin used a Debt to Society and some ready cash to get back to us pretty soon, while we waited around a bit. We were lucky to have a lot of reach weaponry, too, what with all the cavaliering going around.

We did the optional encounter;


Although the darkness was a hindrance, it wasn't actually all that bad for us. We had such a zoo that even 3 babaus had little chance at serious area control. There were just too many of us. It was a tough fight, and they did do quite a bit of damage, but it wasn't anywhere nearly as bad as the gargoyle. I think about half of us had darkvision, so we weren't as nerfed by it. We used the gavel mostly because we figured it'd probably be demonbane.

Amusingly enough,


By the time we'd gotten to the end scene, only I and the guy playing a halfling sorcerer hadn't clued in about the halfling assassin. In fact, he was talking about adopting the poor girl. And we were the only ones not down there in the pit fighting the yeth hounds. So when "she" turned on the halfling sorcerer, the player was thoroughly shocked and outraged. :P

Although the assassin started strong, he failed his save against the sorcerer's Lipstitch and then got leap-grappled by the shaman's pig-monster; so much for levitation. Stitched, pinned and grounded, Merisiel made the kill just before I could offer terms of surrender.

I think we were well enough prepared that the optional encounter was quite doable, although I do agree that Darkvision seems to be exceedingly powerful.

David Bowles wrote:

There's nothing to stop a cleric from selecting out PCs they don't like from channels in the middle of a fight. At least, not mechanically.

Doesn't that lean towards the "No bullying" rule?

N. Jolly wrote:

Geez, looks like the ACG is up on the SRD too. Seems I've got a new guide to write, and probably with a theme no one will get (probably gonna go Dangan Ronpa, maybe Ace Attorney).

Huh? Where are you seeing that?

Da'ath wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
I think DM Beckett's point is important.

Beckett's point was made in his first paragraph, which is where his post should have ended. "You suck, but ignore me if I'm wrong" is rarely ignored by those on the receiving end (as you can see from the following post by the OP).

It was indeed needlessly rude, which is why I felt it necessary to treat the subject in a more neutral tone.

Da'ath wrote:

Ascalaphus wrote:
Try to see it from the player POV: would you really be excited by monsters that use the same trick against you for 20 levels

I agree with you in spirit. I think, these days, we try to see things far too often from the player's point of view, and not from the broader perspective of the game as a whole. The game encourages players and GMs alike to use the same tricks for 20+ levels.

So Globetrotter wants fewer absolutes. Spellcasters might have to roll and possibly fail (if applied globally) - like everyone else in the game. I'm not seeing the problem.

If a Darkness spell can sometimes persist against a higher-level Light spell, shouldn't it work the other way around as well? Meaning that a normal Light spell could work against a normal Darkness spell, if the caster rolled well?

MrLycan wrote:
Can prehensile tails/tongues/hair be used to cast spells using semantic components when your hands are full?

I think semantic components need to be spoken aloud, or perhaps written down...

I think DM Beckett's point is important.

Darkness is fairly annoying as a player. If you score a hit and it gets nullified because of miss chance, that's much more annoying than not hitting in the first place due to higher AC.

It's even more annoying because usually all the players can see the battle mat with the minis; it's just the PCs that suffer a 50% miss chance because they can't see what all the players can see. The players aren't all that "immersed" in an exciting fight in the dark against unseen foes, because they can see the foes right there as players.

Now, it's okay to annoy players now and then, because when they eventually win, the victory tastes sweeter. But you can't do that too often, because then it just becomes a drag.

There's also the arms race thing going on; monsters have a tactic, players adapt. At that point the monsters should be coming up with a different tactic, not trying to strongarm the same tactic into working.

Try to see it from the player POV: would you really be excited by monsters that use the same trick against you for 20 levels?

So what I'd suggest is actually letting the players get away with it, most of the time; monsters use Darkness, it doesn't work, and players feel like their PCs are getting better at fighting demons as they go up levels. Stuff that stumped them at low levels isn't a problem anymore now. Good! However, you've also given the demons some other new edge, to keep up the difficulty in a different way. You just stop factoring Darkness into their CR, because at this point it doesn't make the monsters more challenging.

And then rarely, the players run into a demon that actually has a higher-level darkness power. Because the abbyss is infinite and varied like that. This darkness isn't just regular darkness with a higher level; it's an exotic darkness spell that also does other things, like perhaps cold damage or something like that. (Otherwise it'd look like a cheesy move.) And that makes this demon a Special monster that makes the players really nervous.

Ooze licker wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
EvilPaladin wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
Honestly, MoMS NEEDs to be nerfed. Giving access to a level 3 style feat that is designed for 8-12 level at level 2 is not in theme for the archetype and is ridiculously easy to abuse. Style feats are not the problem, MoMS is.
What I'd like to see is them not being able to get the 2nd feat in a chain as a bonus feat until level 6. Maybe give them 3rd at that level too. Honestly, I think its kinda sad that most people only dip into MoMS for 1 style and then pretty much forget about the really cool Fuse Style ability there.
The problem is that the MoMS itself is a terrible archetype and has no purpose other than to allow other classes to rob the Monk of his class features. The way I do it in my home game is that the MoMS is out of the game entirely, Fuse Style is a base Monk feature, and any Monk can take a style feat as a bonus feat as long as they meet any Monk level requirements.
I like.

Me too. This seems like a good solution.

The Phantasmagorian is an expert in illusion. Let wizards putter around with their limited, feeble and inflexible prepared illusion spells. The Phantasmagorian weaves glamors, phantasms and shadows like a virtuoso. Depending on the needs of the situation, his powers reach into others' minds, weave external illusions to fool crowds and mindless monsters, or use shadow to inflict some real damage. In addition, he gets a decent load of social and knowledge skills so that he knows what to make the illusion look like, and how to sell it to people.

This class comes accompanied by a 1-2 page essay explaining the illusion rules, including when a disbelief roll is and isn't called for, so that players and GMs will be on the same page about it.

The Seer is an expert in divination. She can activate unusual senses, find clues, traps and secret doors, and query outsider forces for advice on how to proceed. In combat, she uses limited foresight to cleverly evade enemies' attacks and penetrate their defences. Using telepathy, she can also guide her party.

Also, an essay for GMs on how to write plots that doesn't get destroyed by these and already-existing divination spells/abilities from other classes.

The Warder specializes in Abjuration (and probably needs a better name). He can use magical energy to parry attacks and deflect spells, push creatures away and banish outsiders. The class doesn't just protect the party (although it does so quite well!), but can use abjuration offensively to limit the freedom of action of enemies, by hedging them in with magical traps and barriers.

The Charmer focuses on mind-control magic. Like the Phantasmagorian he's good at inconspicuous spellcasting. His specialty is charms, suggestions and dominations. At higher levels he can sway the mind of any creature that has a mind, even if it's normally quite immune; it just takes more specialized powers. The powers of this class increase as the combat goes on, so that it doesn't normally one-shot BBEGs on the first round of combat like the Slumber Hex. Even so, it'll definitely force the GM to adapt to it, because you can make many monsters your biatch. Hence the class also has a tendency to have a charmed monster in tow as a pet.


If you hadn't noticed, I think that apart from the Summoner, all the other wizard schools could also be spun off into viable classes of their own.

A giant porcupine mount? Wouldn't that be fairly uncomfortable?

A giant spider mount is badass though.

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How about the Biomancer? A sort of druid/wizard/alchemist/summoner hybrid. Cut all the summoning and outsider stuff, instead you're more like a Dr. Frankenstein building your own animal/plant/aberration pet in a laboratory, and injecting yourself and your pet monsters with alchemical doping.

From the alchemist, take mutagen and infusions. From the summoner take evolutions. From the druid take animal/plant base AC chassis. From the wizard take a bit more mad scientist flavor to round out the alchemist side.

Why does blindsight block stealth, even if you have cover/concealment?

I mean, I understand how blindsight helps against concealment by darkness or fog. But suppose you're hiding behind a shrubbery that grants concealment?

Erik Mona wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
Erik Mona wrote:
It sounds pretty exciting. A question though, if I may? When it was said they'd be more like Penny Dreadful than Prof X, did you mean the pulp genre or the signature character from Mage the Ascension? Because the latter would (also) be extremely awesome, and quite appropriate.
I meant the recent Showtime television series.

Thanks :)

I just watched a couple of episodes. Well, I wanna see where this is going...

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If you take a decently-built magus, and play a normal AP with it. And then ask the rest of the group if he was pulling his weight.

I'm guessing the answer will be either "yes" or "yes and then some".

Just because the magus is not as OP as <insert fashionable thing of the month> doesn't mean it's underpowered.

A class is only truly underpowered if it isn't capable of functioning under "normal difficulty", as demonstrated by the APs.

I have a feeling though, that some people's standards of normal difficulty have been warped as a side effect of an arms race between PC optimization and the GM bringing in higher average CR vs. APL to compensate.

Frank Daniels wrote:

The rules only state that Total Defense is a standard action. Can you...

* use Total Defense when being shot at from long range (ranged attack, but not melee)?

Yes, there's nothing in the rules stopping you.

Frank Daniels wrote:

* use Total Defense while you're not under attack? E.g., you anticipate that you might be under attack at some point. Alternatively, maybe you just want to walk around with Total Defense "on".

This is a bit tricky in practice. The issue is that you don't get Dodge bonuses to AC (like total defence) when you don't get Dex to AC. There are two common causes for this:

1) An enemy you didn't know was there. Stealth, Darkness, Invisibility etc; if you don't see them coming, no AC bonus.

2) Flat-footed at the beginning of combat. Until you've taken an action in combat, you're flat-footed and don't gain Dex to AC.

#2 is the tricky one, because many GMs will not let you get the jump on a combat by always being in full defence, always having a readied action, or even always having your weapons already drawn. The pros and cons of that are varied, but basically: expect table variation.

Frank Daniels wrote:

Also, same question for "Fighting Defensively".

You can only fight defensively if you actually attack something.

Scarletrose wrote:

I love Scoundrel-ish Paladins.
They give a human dimension to something that many people play in such a clean and precise way that feels kinda unpersonal.

I agree with this very much. It does require a bit of maturity from the GM and the player both. When I started my paladin in PFS I was a bit hesitant about that, because I had no clue what kind of people I'd be playing with. So far though, they're been cool people, so in retrospect I could've made my paladin a bit more easygoing.

I'm okay with the consensual, honest-about-intentions sex in general. The "temperate" part of the Iomedaean code could be a bit tricky, but not a total showstopper. If you do the trysting strictly in your after-office hours and it doesn't reduce your readiness for service (heh), then I don't think that's intemperate.

But it can still get a bit "interesting", and I don't think that's unfair the player, if an NPC isn't quite as ready the day after to just forget the whole thing. I mean, you told the lady it's just for tonight, and she said OK to that. But you're also highly attractive (Charisma!) so the next day she might still try to talk you out of getting on your way.

You're not obligated to stay of course, but just how you handle the awkward situation does matter a bit. Not immediate trouble, but there are more and less gentlemanlike ways of acting in these situations. It could be an interesting scene.

Undone wrote:
is this feat PFS legal?

It's not. If you check the Additional Resources, you'll see that there are things in Occult Mysteries that are legal, but this feat isn't one of them.

MMCJawa wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
Erik Mona wrote:
It sounds pretty exciting. A question though, if I may? When it was said they'd be more like Penny Dreadful than Prof X, did you mean the pulp genre or the signature character from Mage the Ascension? Because the latter would (also) be extremely awesome, and quite appropriate.
I assume it's neither, and more a reference to the Showtime series. Especially since the series features quite a bit of 19th century spiritualism.

Interesting. I was due for a new series anyway. Thanks! :)

Oh, god, the MoMS. That thing is sick. I'm still convinced the crane wing nerf wouldn't have been necessary if there hadn't been this trick to get those feats ahead of schedule.

I'd better go see about adding MoMS to the Iroran Paladin build...

Erik Mona wrote:

It sounds pretty exciting. A question though, if I may? When it was said they'd be more like Penny Dreadful than Prof X, did you mean the pulp genre or the signature character from Mage the Ascension? Because the latter would (also) be extremely awesome, and quite appropriate.

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Actually, Vital Strike is not a unique action. It insists on the most standard normal attack. Which happens to be somewhat rare, oddly enough.

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Did they give any example what psychic magic might "look" like?

I dunno. Spending a feat to achieve what you can use a Cord of Stubborn Resolve for?

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I'd go for Combat Expertise, because at least Power Attack does something nice. CE is just a tax on the way to feats you actually want.

Dot. Will comment later.

This is actually one of the reasons playing tabletop is so nice: you can actually make choices here, instead of carrying out a programmed script. Players and monsters both get to try to trick each other, too.

In the beginning of course, monsters and players alike will tend to go off on stereotypes. That heavily armored dude at the front? Probably a fighter with good AC. That funny-smelling thin dude in robes? Probably a wizard with so-so AC but devastating spellcasting potential.

Likewise, players will tend to think "big monster = probably dumb and slow, poor Reflex".

But then you get to do more. A wizard's player might dress him up in fake armor, or a monk might dress in wizard robes to try to trick enemies.

Also, if the players know something about their enemies, they might try taunting; ranging from Yo Mama taunts to actually knowing just what to say to get the enemy to focus on their PC, instead of the squishy wizard.

This is where roleplay creeps into combat. Neat, huh?


It's hard to give a general rule on who to target. I can only give a few points to consider every time:

1) Always think about what the PCs look like. Ask the players to describe them when in doubt.

2) Think about just how smart the monster is. A moderate-intellect monster does different things than a brilliant one. (This one sometimes trips up GMs, who play every monster as a brilliant tactician. Players resent this as GM metagaming. In addition, it's harder to convey that THIS monster actually really is more brilliant than the others before it...)

3) Think about what the monster is trying to accomplish. Is it's goal to defend a lair, to scare off intruders? Or is it actually hunting the PCs? Does it carry a grudge? Does it hate particular races? Is it just trying to get away alive?

4) Clue the players in to the reasons for your decisions. "Well, the dragon looks you over and his eyes focus on the tasty-looking halfling." "After that missile barrage, the orcs look like they're going to go after your Zen Archer." This stuff is interesting and entertaining for the players!

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