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Ascalaphus's page

FullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 5,050 posts. 25 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 8 Pathfinder Society characters.


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Sovereign Court

Devastation Bob wrote:
I'm being stinky and looking at the social traits that let you replace CHA with INT as the base for skills. Bruising Intellect, student of philosophy, etc. Which is probably the reason it looks like you're not allowed to double dip.

I share your dubious desires sometimes.

However, I don't think that's the cause of the rule; those traits all tend to be much newer than the "one per category" rule.

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Well, I didn't know this was a problem.

Since I didn't know people were using trained tigers and this was a thing, I don't mind it being stopped. But I do hope heavy warhorses remain always available.

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- Cover, as it relates to shooting into melee, reach weapons and not-provoking AoOs. Comes up a lot.
- Diagonal movement, especially across difficult terrain.
- How to determine Flanking, especially with odd-sized creatures and reach.
- Take 20 on searching takes only 1-2 minutes.
- Grappling: do you threaten AoOs? Do you have Dex to AC? do you Flank?

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There's a few language errors, but conceptually this is a very cool class.

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dot for later reading

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Cyrus Lanthier wrote:
Edit: Yes, Ascalaphus, there are rules for catching diseases (though they are a little vague in places). You can find them here . Note how under Onset it says that "Creatures that come in contact with an affliction with an onset time must make a saving throw immediately..."

I don't think that means what you think it does. That piece of text is very geared to understanding afflictions found in the statblocks of monsters. If a ghoul claws at you, you come into contact with Ghoul Fever.

I don't think that piece of text also means "and if you touch the ghoul with an unarmed strike, you also have to save against Ghoul Fever" - compare ghouls to festrogs for example.

So I think Pathfinder diseases don't have any given rules for spreading them through the population "the normal way".

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I had no idea that this was a problem. Is there really something bad going on?

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Are there any rules for non-Contagion diseases actually spreading? There's quite a few monsters carrying diseases, but do the diseases actually spread by themselves as well?

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Yeah, it looks like a bug. If the Greater spell referred to the "middle" spell, and the middle spell referred to the Lesser spell, it'd be fine. As is, it's just an error.

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It would be interesting if we could see the FAQ queue, sorted by # of requests.

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It looks to me like Unconventional Inspiration might be vestigial, referring to a time in the playtest when adding inspiration to another skill was worth a whole talent.

As is, inspiration eats up a lot of word count but it's not nearly at the top of the most important of the investigator's class abilities.

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As a side note: put some thought into figuring out what kind of terrain favors you, and what doesn't.

You really don't like having to take move actions to get to enemies. Even the other melee warriors don't take as much of a hit from it as you do; if they make only one attack, that's still an attack with a big weapon.

However, in a claustrophobic dungeon with lots of 5ft corridors, you're doing just fine. Just make sure you're at the front of the line. However, as you go up in level, these dungeons become less common, mainly to accomodate monsters that become bigger.

Range-denying battlefield control can also help you; fog and darkness can both force Reach-based enemies to close in, and hamper archers. It's good to know what kind of support you want to ask from the casters.

"Taxi" magic like Telekinetic Charge or Dimension Door, that can deposit you right near enemies in time for you to take full attacks before enemies can react, that's really nice.

Stealth and TWF do have some synergy; ideally, you start combat at very close range, and Stealth can make that happen. As it happens, you're probably playing a class with Stealth as a class skill and a desire for good Dex for prerequisites and other class abilities.

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The Slayer Pregen does a decent job at this actually.

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  • The Knee-Jerk - when you're talking excitedly about some new cool thing that was published, his first reaction is to ban it. Because it's "ridiculous", or because it's "unbalanced", or something like that.

    What to do - talk to the guy of course. It may help to point out what balancing drawbacks the new thing has. Sometimes it can help to emphasize the difference between something being big, loud and obvious, and something being too powerful. Often we get excited about big things that are still balanced, just very showy. Also, exercise some self-control, if you know you're dealing with this kind of GM; your extremely vocal enthusiasm may be what causes his knee-jerk reaction. If you can tone it down a little he might go easier.

  • The Realist - some GMs get so wrapped in realism that they ban all kinds of things, or institute all kinds of cumbersome rules. Often the attempt to make one power more realistic actually worsens it in game-balance terms, because some other thing remains untouched. Particularly if the guy is suddenly an expert in one nonmagical thing that your character uses, but completely unconcerned about dragons.

    The solution - have a talk, and explain the difference between "realistic" and "cinematically appropriate". We can see all kinds of unrealistic stuff in a movie without going "no way!", because there's internal consistency. We don't complain that a basilisk's gaze is unrealistic, but we would revolt if it used it through a wall of iron. I think a great example of this is in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The fantasy-ness of the near-flying moves starts out somewhat low key at the beginning of the movie, and gradually increases. And so it gradually extends our suspension of disbelief.

  • The Family Hunter - if your character has relatives, a place of bussiness, any one he likes, those will be targeted relentlessly. Nothing you try to build stays upright because the GM can't resist using it as a plot hook. After a while you try to actually avoid having any attachments because they're always liabilities. So then you get a generation of PCs with families pre-killed by orcs in their backstory, just as a precaution.

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    One tricky thing that does show up in a lot of older generally simpler adventures is Darkness rules. It takes only a few words to add Darkness to an encounter, but it makes it a much more complex encounter.

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    Professor X wrote:
    Ascalaphus wrote:
    I'm intrigued by the alignment distribution for Scarab Sages. The majority is CN, LN or NG.
    The alignment distributions for all of the factions are pretty fascinating. Even the fact that the Grand Lodge is so similar to the alignment distribution of the Society as a whole is very interesting.

    Well, it's no surprise to see a lot of Good people in the Silver Crusade for example. But in the case of the Scarab Sages, I think this indicates that people are not fully clear on what the Sages are about, alignment-wise. I think the alignment of many of the other factions is less opaque.

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    Maybe not. I guess it depends on what you consider "visible".

    If we take it to mean the lines-from-corners-to-corners used for computing cover, this situation leaves you with exactly 50%, while you need 51%.

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    eah, I just ran into this problem.

    Our VC has basically delegated the organizing one one store to me. I make sure sessions get scheduled and such, and people hand me stuff to report. But now I'd first have to get the VC to add the scenario to the event before I can report on it.

    It basically limits an event owner's ability to truly delegate.

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    Since this thread's been necro'ed anyway, I'll use it to ask about some detail that popped up in my mind while reading it.

    Suppose we're standing here:

    With the characters denoting Enemy, Ally and You.

    If you selected the top-left corner of your square to make a reach attack against the enemy, would he receive only partial soft cover, based on

    PRD > CRB > Combat > Cover wrote:
    Partial Cover: If a creature has cover, but more than half the creature is visible, its cover bonus is reduced to a +2 to AC and a +1 bonus on Reflex saving throws. This partial cover is subject to the GM's discretion.


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    StabbittyDoom wrote:

    This is the really funny thing about the Combat Expertise tax to me. It means the only time I see people use these are when they get some (free) class ability that skips the AoO anyway, or when they're out of reach of the AoO. And even then it's only sometimes. Which basically means they're making people pay 2 feats for something that they will often choose not to do even if it was free.

    Even without that first tax, I've never seen anyone take any of the Power Attack requiring ones either.

    I've occasionally said "screw it, I'll just take the AoO" when maneuvering against lightly armed opponents. A wizard's dagger isn't going to stop me from grappling him. My alchemist held down a mystic theurge twice his level for long enough to tie him up.

    I've also deliberately triggered AoOs with movement just so I could make a maneuver afterwards. Combat Reflexes is rare on non-Reach NPCs.

    I use a lot of reach weapons for maneuvers. If someone is moving towards me and provokes from my longspear, I'll just trip him rather than try to damage. I'll do the damage on my turn, I just stopped that guy from moving and attacking me.

    I've also used stuff like Litany of Sloth to clear the way for maneuvers.

    I have to admit, I haven't actually taken Combat Expertise+Maneuver Feats yet. I probably will at some point, but I usually prefer broader feat choices.

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    I'm intrigued by the alignment distribution for Scarab Sages. The majority is CN, LN or NG.

    Sovereign Court

    Or you could write down a "Standard Operating Procedure" document, in which you list the standard precautions your party is always taking unless specified otherwise. Research what the downsides of this are (reduced movement speed because you check for traps every X feet, listen for monsters every Y rounds etc.), and note those down too.

    Then get your GM to sign off on that. Traps can be interesting. Playing "gotcha!" gets boring after a while.

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    In PFS, my standpoint would be:

    Yes, it's a feat tax. But, if you're gonna play a character that really wants maneuvers, then it might just be worth paying. Swallow your medicine and get on with things.

    Or, just live without Maneuver feats. Reach weapons, powers that deny AoOs - you don't absolutely need them.

    In my home game I've houseruled it away.

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    At low levels, acid flasks and such will do just as much damage as your bombs. Most of the damage is coming from your Throw Anything bonus.

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    To be fair, I felt that Library of the Lion was a relatively complex scenario to run. It had a LOT of subsystems.

    Night March is relatively straightforward; there's a focused story with some clear encounters. It's important to prep it thoroughly, but the internal cohesion is very high.

    Scars looked rather over-complicated to me as a player.

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    One thing that can help reduce the number of things you have to pay attention to at the same time, is to delegate initiative tracking to a player. I do this myself quite a bit; one of my friends is far better at staying focused and keeping all the trains running on time.

    Keeping track of initiative as a GM is fairly time-consuming, since you're also constantly adjudicating every player's actions. I find that I do a much better job at running combat if I don't have to split my attention quite as much.

    In interesting side effect is that this friend used to get annoyed because I sometimes get distracted, and then the combat gets a bit unfocused. By giving him the initiative board, he can pull me back in too when he feels I'm wandering.

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    So is it me or are there no maps given for the Rageweed and Swarm encounters?

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    Frozen Fingers is a pretty cool scenario, but it's aged rather badly; it was difficulty-scaled for 4 CORE PCs, not 6 all-everything PCs.

    I really like the scenario, but in a run-as-written environment I'd only be interested in doing it as a CORE scenario.

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    I'd be willing to pay for slightly higher useability through editing;

    • Ensure that all the stats for an encounter fit on the same two-page spread, at least per tier. Flipping back and forth is really annoying.
    • More use of techniques like bullet points or making words bold or somesuch to highlight the key clues in pieces of description. In general, make it easier to find essential passages.
    • All templates fully applied to monster stats. Applying templates on the fly is annoying, and a GM who hasn't done so may also make monsters tougher than they need to be.

      Of particular note is the young template. There's two different ways to apply it (the quick vs. the rebuild method) which produce very different changes in monster power on smallish and ranged/finesse monsters. The full rebuild tends to make those monsters far more accurate so it's really not a power-down. If the stat block came with the template applied, we'd run into fewer of these shenanigans.

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    Yeah, PF is set up to make it quite hard to stun-lock or trip-lock someone.

    Also, against people 8 levels up from you, I wouldn't bet on this tactic. A level 9 fighter with normal gear has enough AC and HP that he doesn't worry about your AoOs. All he needs to do is crawl 5ft (provoking), then make an attack that at -4 is still likely to auto-hit and drop you.

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    The thing is, this thing is actually the Iroran Paladin. changes the name for copyright reasons.

    And yeah, it's kinda odd that the Iroran Paladin archetype can't get into the Champion of Irori prestige class. That said, it's got a few features speaking for it. Subtly but certainly importantly, you get to write your own individual paladin code.

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    Keep mind that you don't need Trapfinding to find traps, not even magical traps. You only need it to disable magical traps.

    PF trap-class-feature rules are different from those of 3.5, generally to the advantage of players.

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    If it's at all doable, do try to get in Siege of the Diamond City somewhere near the beginning. It's not my favorite scenario per se, but it does set in motion several of the later season 5 scenarios.

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    For a small detour on the subject, I'd like to go into RP vs. tactical play again.

    As I've said before, I enjoy both. There's often some entertaining RP to be had in PFS scenarios, and you can definitely have a character with style and personality. But let's be honest: PFS isn't the best forum for deep character development. If that's truly your main goal, you're better off in a home campaign, with more storyline continuity and less "because the scenario says so".

    I really like it when a scenario has a decent story to it. Just like action movies, all the explosions and violence are even better if there's a narrative. PFS is not deep literature, it's blockbuster action. In at least two high-tier scenarios my paladin has ousted supernatural tyrants - there's definitely story there, but more of the Die Hard variety than the Downton Abbey kind.

    Regime Change:
    Rats of Round Mountain II and also The Valley of Veiled Flame

    On the other hand, PFS offers something that home campaigns can't: comparability. If you talk to other people who played the same scenario, with a different group, you can compare how the adventure went for both of you. Which may include bragging about how you did a better run, or bemoaning that your idiot GM gave you such a hard time, or learning from another party's totally out of the box tactics.

    This is the part of PFS that really makes use of the "run as written" part. Comparing your experiences to other peoples' only makes sense if they're playing at least somewhat the same scenario as you are. It creates a sort of shared misery/friendly competition that I rather like.

    Edit: The comparing isn't just about numbers and DPR, either. It's also like hearing a familiar story told by someone else, and finding it to be different.

    Sovereign Court *

    Exguardi wrote:
    ....and takes Eastern Mysteries to offset his low INT for when he really wants his spells to land.


    This trait didn't make it to GtOP 6.0

    I guess it was just a bit too good to remain true.

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    It can feel pretty good for a party to at some point decide "you know, this massive orc invasion all the commoners are griping about.. the five of us, let's just destroy them".

    Taking on entire armies with a small band is one of those things being high level is all about.

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    I'm with the "outgrow it" crowd. At level 10 you just shouldn't be concerned about common goblins anymore. If you encounter some of them, the GM can just summarize the encounter with "you efficiently butcher all of them". The monsters haven't vanished from the world, but they don't get as much screen time.

    Occasionally they'll do something interesting though. Ordinary goblins aren't interesting to L10s, but a talented war chief gathering a horde might be of importance. Sure, the PCs aren't really threatened by it, but that horde is quite scary to local villages, and so the PCs get dragged in to do something about it.

    You can also work on this in advance; if you seed some rumors during the L1-3 period about celebrity goblins, it'll actually be an Event when the PCs run into those specific class-leveled goblins.

    I still think back to the time when we beat one of the orc generals around level 6; we'd been hearing about them since level 2. Common orcs weren't all that scary anymore, but this guy was tough, and he had a lot of troopers with him.

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    1) Yes, you can do that, although it's probably overkilll. The bonus from Blade Lash will often be enough on its own.

    2) Well, you're still spending actions on casting/delivering Blade Lash and on casting True Strike instead of some touch attack or self-buff spell. So I wouldn't call it "getting all your attacks".

    Also, remember that you can't trip someone who is already prone. The AoO you get against someone standing up comes before the guy has fully stood up, so you can't keep him on the ground. But you can trip him again afterwards, of course.

    Also, I notice you're really looking forward to using this; please also remember that Blade Lash doesn't remove the size limits on tripping. Don't make this your only tactic.

    3) Blade Lash extends your weapon to 20ft, not plus 20ft. Arguably, if your weapon was already longer than 20ft, it'd shrink.


    Blade Lash is an awesome spell. Personally I think it's way better than True Strike, because it's so much faster.

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    Draw weapons. Might not take much of an action, but it's very important to get it done.

    Reach weapons are particularly nice, because there's a chance you'll be able to frustrate enemies trying to close in on the party while other PCs are flat-footed. Also, enemies are still far enough that they pretty much have to provoke.

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    Aasimar have an alternate racial trait that provides some resistance to it.

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    Yeah, ghouls are at the far top end of CR 1 scariness. And what most people don't realize: they have Int 13, they're smarter than most PCs. So they can totally use tactics too!

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    I like deep RP games, and I like tactical challenge games. I don't think they always fit together in the same 4 hours.

    In my experience, higher-tier games don't really have better or even very different RP than lower tier. Sometimes you get to play high-stakes negotiators/ambassadors, but that's about it.

    However, the combats are quite different. The big draw of high tier (for me) is epic tactical challenges.

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    Side note: I find that Con 14 is just as necessary at low level, if not even more. Those few extra negative HP before death can be really important.

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    My take on it is that your DC would be 1+the gap size, so that you land on the other side of the gap. From then on you can finish moving into that square by spending normal movement. Since you can't jump beyond your actual movement rate per turn, that should always work.

    Example: a 15ft pit. You need to jump 16 feet to actually get to the other side, and you need to have 20ft movement available in total so that you can finish the move into the square on the other side of the pit.

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    I think Bob's got it, for these two spells. Still, I suspect there exists another spell in some book that violates this logic.

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    I think the free overrun/bullrush comment is interesting.

    Consider a 15ft corridor, a huge giant, three martial PCs standing side by side and a squishy mage hiding 30ft back behind them.

    To get to the mage, the giant would probably have to make separate Overrung attacks against each PC to get through, but he just doesn't have that many actions per round, especially since you can't substitute overruns for iterative attacks.

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    I think the current "face" classes are already good enough at it, that making a dedicated Face class would just be overkill. The DCs are already not that high.

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    I never noticed this before. It's really screwed up wording.

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    I'm afraid that if you search thoroughly, you'll probably find that there's no consistent rule to apply here that will be correct in all cases.

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    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I'd like to emphasize again: the Zen Archer is a very powerful and efficient archetype. It leaves you with a lot of spare feats and skill points that you don't need to be on par for your level.

    So you have quite a bit of resources left to express a character concept. You can be a guy who does all kinds of interesting things, and just happens to be great at archery as well.

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