You get a cursed item if you fail by more than 5, and you can artificially jack up the difficulty by increasing the item's caster level.
As for delivery, a summoned creature will also do the trick. Or an Unseen Servant.
The point is, many cursed items have completely disproportionate saving throw DCs if they even allow saving throws at all. They'd be totally unbalanced if you could make them on purpose. They don't have a listed market price, but if you could buy them you might, because they're really powerful. I'd say that assassins would want a Scarab of Death for example; slip it in someone's pocket and one minute later it eats his heart unless he makes a DC 25 reflex save. That's pretty rough.
I think it's a side effect of porting them over from 2nd edition; 2nd edition spells were also written as if only players were using them, never monsters against the players; and therefore they had ridiculously heavy-handed effects. Just the same, cursed items are written as if they're supposed to be used against PCs, never used by them.
Well, a +13 DC because the GM misunderstood a rule, and then rules that you can't possibly succeed - that's pretty relevant.
If the market will swallow random magic item crap dredged up from dungeons, it'll also swallow magic items specifically crafted to meet current demand - logically, an "adventurer" manufacturing magic items would actually match the market's demands much better than shaking down a random dungeon would.
So if you sell found magic items for full value, crafting should also be for full value to prevent magic money making. In which case the crafting feat's real value is in guaranteeing you access to the item you want, rather than the vagaries of what's currently available and within a settlement's purchase limits.
I think we're overlooking an interesting concept here. For those who've played Magic the Gathering, this should sound more familiar. Let's start with a basic formula for success:
[our # of actions] X [effectiveness of our actions] > [their # of actions] X [effectiveness of their actions]
Altering any of these variables in your favor will improve the overall result; not just increasing our own action count.
Now, the various Magic colors would each tend to fiddle with different variables in this equation;
* "Red" would be increasing your action count; Hasting the barbarian to attack more often.
But there's also the "unsportsmanlike" approach:
* "Black" debuffs enemies and makes them weaker with for example Enervation, reducing all of an enemy's attack rolls.
Since the topic of the thread is on action advantage, I'll focus on the Blue stratagem. Rather than focussing on adding more actions to your own, instead try to reduce their actions or making their actions less useful.
An example would be to try kiting; if your (mounted) archer moves fast enough to evade enemies with a single move, he could move and shoot every round while enemies rarely get to make an attack. This is quite different from the conventional strategy where the whole party engages in all-out assault; it may take ten times as many combat rounds, but at a lower risk and at a lower resource rate. The big issue with this stratagem is that all PCs and players need to be on board with it; a barbarian going full-frontal doesn't do this all that well. It might be a way for rogues to do much better though, if they can spend minutes or hours harrying an opponent, making surprise sneak attacks every time one of the opponents steps out of formation, after which the rogue hides again.
More conventionally, tripping is a good example; it'll break an opponent's full attack routine unless he's willing to stay on the ground. It'll certainly slow his speed.
@Orfamay: while I agree with most of your comments, I think you don't give Bull Rush enough credit. It's hard to know beforehand how you'll be using it, but in dungeons with pits, lava flows, narrow ledges, rope bridges and all that, or Create Pit, Stinking Cloud and Black Tentacle spells, it's got all sorts of ad-hoc applications. I think that Bull Rush is one of those maneuvers you're often wishing you had during the actual game, but when making a character you can't foresee those circumstances.
No, you quoted a passage about scrolls/wands/potions, which have a specific rule. But you should look at the general rules for crafting magic items, because those are the ones that apply to belts:
While item creation costs are handled in detail below, note that normally the two primary factors are the caster level of the creator and the level of the spell or spells put into the item. A creator can create an item at a lower caster level than her own, but never lower than the minimum level needed to cast the needed spell. Using metamagic feats, a caster can place spells in items at a higher level than normal.
At some point my druid was sitting on way-above WBL cash, and I was looking to see what I could make. It turns out that the spellcraft check is not always guaranteed for non-Intelligence casters making above-WBL stuff.
Anyway. By the time you get CWI, you'll have 3-5 ranks in Spellcraft, which is more theoretical skill than most people pick up during their lifetime. You've also gotten a feat invested, which suggests significant professional knowledge. So a crafter has a good idea of how good he is. He's also got some idea of how hard it is to do what he's trying to do, what prerequisites he's missing, a feeling of the CL he's going for and so forth.
In fact, CL being more or less up to the crafter, a crafter could say "... and finally, I'll put in as much spare power as I'm comfortable with", making it an even Take 10-able DC.
You have to be in a comfortable, calm area to Craft. In fact, the necessary conditions for Crafting are basically the conditions necessary to Take 10.
And this isn't the only one. Take a look at Sleight of Hand + Scarab of Death, or the Mace of Blood tied to a captured paladin, or the Robe of Powerlessness as a way of weakening prisoners (they all get to wear it for a minute, but that's enough to enfeeble nearly anyone).
Regarding cursed items. This is bad design and you would do well to just tear out those pages from your book and burn them.
So this is basically a nuke. On a successful save the victims are at least 4 rounds stunned. Don't care who you are, you're dead.
How shall we make this? Let's take an incompetent CWI wizard, and ask him to make Dust of Tracelessness (he doesn't have the Pass Without Trace spell so +5 DC). Just to make it worse we'll keep him drunk most of the time to further lower his Intelligence and make sure he fails the Spellcraft check. We'll ask him to give it caster level 20 just to make sure he fails the Spellcraft check at more than 5 even if he Takes 10.
So now we've spent 125 gold to make this allegedly "cursed" weapon and we're ready to commit war crimes.
I'm not saying the current magic item system is exciting; it isn't. But please don't be fooled into the whole cursed items part, because that's far worse.
Magic items are meant to be created off-screen; it's not exciting, it's just shopping. It should be routine, shouldn't go wrong, and we should be getting on with the real adventure as soon as possible.
I think some of you are way overstating how much people will realize their feelings weren't natural.
People tend to believe they're in control of themselves. That they're not total dupes, easily influenced by everyone. That while they may be following orders, their bosses haven't broken their mind.
People will go quite for to rationalize why they did what they did, and that they were in control doing it. That's the basis of a lot of unhealthy relationships ("No, I'm really not unhappy, he's just having a hard time, he's not abusing me") and lots of confidence games.
And in fact, do you personally know people who tend to believe that their desires are not under their control? Probably you think they're not very healthy - addicts, paranoids and religious nutcases. Because it's pretty hard to live a normal life if you're not firmly convinced that you have some form of self-control.
If this guard suddenly pipes up "but he mind-controlled me!", how many times is that going to happen before the warden decides he's had it with people who blame everything on mind control and hires actual responsible people?
Mind control is revolting precisely because it shakes people's fundamental assumptions about themselves. People go far to deny they've been duped, but if faced with indisputable proof, they feel violated.
Also, people often feel ashamed. Not being in control makes you weak and undependable. People often don't report being conned because they're ashamed.
So, with good Bluff and Diplomacy, you might be able to convince people that what they were doing was really their own idea. Yes, you need to come up with a convincing lie about what you were doing with the weird gestures, but after that if you don't do too weird stuff, people will often put up with it.
Finding out that someone was subject of mind control would actually take serious interrogation and investigation work.
CRB FAQ wrote:
So why didn't the witch? Anyone who's going to spend thousands of GP on a magic item should be playing it safe.
Then, the DC of the item: 5 (base) + 3 (minimum CL) + 15 (three missing prerequisites) = DC 23.
Let's say a level 5 Witch (assuming normal Leadership score for a level 7 character) with Intelligence 16, and Spellcraft 5: 3 (int) + 3 (class) + 5 (ranks) = +11. So Take 10 isn't going to cut it. Although when Taking 10 she's guaranteed never to create a cursed item, either.
But we're talking about someone seriously trained in this job (having Spellcraft 5 and CWI would qualify is a trained professional) so they'd know that this isn't something they can do through routine. So the witch should have piped up that she needs a bit of help. She needs to get a +2 from somewhere.
She could hire another spellcaster to cast the spell once per day, since the item creation rules permit this.
Note that all items have prerequisites in their descriptions. These prerequisites must be met for the item to be created. Most of the time, they take the form of spells that must be known by the item's creator (although access through another magic item or spellcaster is allowed).
Now she's got the DC down to 18 and with Take 10, success is guaranteed.
Yeah, you screwed your player. His cohort was "unable", under false rule assumptions to make the item. And you knew that, and concealed it from a player, punishing him for having less rules knowledge.
Regarding cursed items: they're a vestigial, antiquated remnant from the distant past. Most of them are horribly broken. I strongly feel that players should not even be able to make them, because most of them are the equivalent of a tactical nuke; inflicting horrible conditions with no saving throw. If you've got an incompetent cohort you might force him to botch regular items just to mine for cursed items. This is bizarrely abusable.
I think Criik's advice is actually among the best. I've seen a lot of times that mediocre melee fighters will hog the flanking positions (leaving no spot for the rogue to get SA), block the charging lanes (delaying the fighter from joining the melee for another round) and place themselves so that the wizard's AoE spell would hit them.
When you're talking about getting action advantage, I think that avoiding such mistakes is a crucial step.
Coaching people to understand how Delay and Ready work is crucial. I've seen people get all panicky at the thought of lowering their initiative order, because they think it's a huge disadvantage. Understanding that you're giving up just a little bit of speed to maybe get a much better position, let other people get out of the way, or to receive a buff, is really worth waiting for.
Getting more actions through haste is obvious. Getting it through teamwork is trickier but more important; you can profit from it 4 levels sooner!
Yeah, I think you have that mixed up--since this is a bad advice thread, the bad advice is that Vital Strike is ever worth taking for anyone that isn't able to take the form of creature with a huge natural attack, like a T-Rex or that weird megafauna rhino thing whose damage is probably a typo.
It's not a typo, it's the normal damage but doubled, because it's got two horns.
I'd classify ignoring faux plot hooks that the GM is hoping you won't bite on as good metagaming - they're there to add color, but please don't lose sight of the current plot, pleeeeaaase...
Also: making a new character that will fit in nicely with the existing group; that's a good example of good metagame.
Also: being just a bit more accommodating to the random stranger that's now travelling with your group (the new PC), rather than distrusting him and excluding him from all important conversation for the next five sessions.
Well, that's a strong point. Maybe this should be answered by an FAQ? Changing a fundamental assumption of how caster classes work deserves an explicit comment, I'd say.
And indeed, the consequences are significant; while people here in the thread are trying to prove that it's a slow process, what does that matter to elven (or even *shudder* dwarven) sorcerers?
I wouldn't allow separate bonuses to the attachments. That's going into way too many sub-levels of equipment enhancement. But the tassel of a +1 sword would do better than the tassel of an ordinary sword, yeah.
I suppose I just have a soft spot for vaguely functional but mostly showy martial arts weapons.
Hmm. I like it actually; it'll give sorcerers a nice little boost. I mean, the idea was always that they'd have fewer spells but more casting per day; but they have a hard time accelerating past the spells-per-day of a specialist wizard because wizards gain new spells a level earlier.
So instead of shifting the sorcerer spells-per-day, they've loosened up the spells-known. Interesting.
Suddenly sorcerers actually have a real reason to attend magic academies or to have students. And they can make progress if they have a long time to refine their arts. That's a significant change. Very interesting.
It's certainly not cheap, but I think you should evaluate it in the context of your whole party, to figure out what it's worth. Don't just look at what you can do to an enemy for your own next attack, see what it's worth to others.
If you've got a rogue in the party, he'll appreciate the blinding. And the (ranged) touch caster will also appreciate that because blind touch AC tends to be 10...
I focus on the blinded condition because that's really one of the nastiest conditions below helpless. A blind wizard isn't targeting many spells.
It's worth keeping in mind that Dirty Trick is one of the few maneuvers that almost no monster has complete immunity to. You may have to think up weird tricks to play on weird monsters, but unlike trip or disarm, there aren't any categorically immune monsters.
I saw it used for the first time last week by our high-mobility Rogue3/Fighter4 to blind an enemy battle wizard, using the Greater trick. The huge penalties of blindness, and basically having no line of effect, meant he quickly got curbstomped, especially when the earth elementals teamed up to sandwich the guy.
So, first impressions in actual play: positive.
Martiln: it might not be strictly realistic, but as I understand, the rules just check the cost of moving into a square, regardless of the square you came from. Every mention of difficult terrain that really tells you what to do, says that the cost to move in is increased; it says nothing about the cost to move out.
And 5ft step only works if you're actually paying only 5ft of movement to do it.
The line from the CRB saying sorcerers NEVER gain more spells was already outdated by the time they published the Expanded Arcana feat;
book 1: "You can never...."book 2: "Except ..."
Go watch a show like Leverage, then think of all the possibilities if a key person likes you for the next 1-5 hours. It can be great for questioning, getting a private tour of the facility, a guard letting you escape...
I do say though, Charm Person is harder to use well than a typical combat spell. It's more a Heist kind of spell.
Historically, flat sheet glass is a fairly recent invention. Be that as it may;
I don't really think this should work. There's a limit to how much you can destroy and reforge a critter before the spell doesn't take anymore, and I think it was reached when the monk decomposed into sand, and if not, then melting the sand and turning it into glass would certainly do it.
Otherwise you're basically throwing out all the limits. Why take the critter's skin if you can make a dough out of it's meat or bone? Say hello to the Meatball Map.
I like the idea, but the execution needs serious work.
Turning your other two saves into "Reflex Negates" smells OP. Also because the party wizard could just spam low-DC spells to move the rogue around by casting spells the rogue could easily save against.
Step Aside When the rogue is targeted by or included in the target area of a ranged spell, spell-like ability or supernatural power, he may roll a Reflex save at the DC set by the power. If he succeeds he may as an immediate action move up to his speed. This movement provokes as normal. Determine if/how the power affects him based only on his new position. (The rogue may have obtained cover or concealment, moved out of Line of Effect or have moved beyond the power's range.) The rogue can take either a 5ft step or a single normal move. This movement is borrowed from his next turn.
It's still powerful, but it makes rogues really really like fighting in cover-rich areas.
Robert A Matthews wrote:
There would be no reason to keep 2 separate lists. Every spell you know should be in your spellbook. I can't think of any reason you would want to know a spell without copying it into your spellbook.
Because it's already in a looted spellbook.
So you beat the BBEG wizard and took his book. But you can't prepare those spells because you can only prepare spells from a spellbook if you've written that spell yourself at some point. So you're stuck copying the spellbook instead of recycling it.
I suppose it's a source of backup spellbooks though.
@gourry: there's a difference between "knowing about" and "knowing how it's done".
I can look at someone doing Kung Fu and go "I just know he's doing martial arts there", but without some instruction I can't truthfully say "now I know Kung Fu".
Knowing about spells, recognizing them, is somewhat split between Spellcraft/Knowledge Arcana. Everyone can learn that with skill points.
Knowing a spell to cast it requires class levels, access to the spell's source text and so forth.
There's (weirdly) no bonus to recognizing someone casting a spell just because you can also do that spell.