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Taking 10 and Taking 20 is most valuable to Rogues, because it lets them do their job consistently and well. GMs who don't allow rogues to Take 10 and Take 20 are crippling the Rogue.
Also: take 10 on the check to create magic items. Perfectly legal and sensible, but it irks many GMs.
@Ilja: your dice progressions seems better than mine yeah.
Actually, I find I don't mind the wizard having one really heavy shot in the first round of combat. It's kind of like a spell you can re-prepare in between fights. It might actually give wizards a bit more endurance for extended dungeon crawls at level 1. And I also rather like the mental image of a wizard furiously rewinding a crossbow for two rounds while the zombies shuffle closer.
As for the posse: doesn't strike me as abusive. It might make henchmen and suchlike useful, and give commoner armies a fighting chance. Although you might want good rules for just how much an improved familiar can do for you. (Hmm. Small Earth Elemental familiar has 16 Str; he can rewind crossbows pretty fast.)
Maybe one way to handle oversized crossbows is to require them to be supported somehow - by prone shooting, or some tripod construction maybe. Which brings us to Warhammer style bolt throwers and eventually ballistas.
@Ilja: so how would you want to handle crossbows for Small creatures?
Also, how about crossbows for large creatures? It'd be weird to assume Str 10 as a baseline for giants.
I'm a little confused about 2WF right now. It seems that the current definition of bravo weapons -
Many bravo class features refer to bravo weapons, which are light and one-handed melee weapons in one hand.
- allows you to you use 2WF with both weapons counting as bravo weapons, but excludes 1-handed weapons wielded with 2 hands. Is that the intention?
(By the way, Opportune Attack and Improved Whip Mastery looks like a lot of fun.)
Lunge: I'm beginning to see the use of it. It's a bit niche, but it's an option you only pay for when you need it so that's okay. I think from all the Elan actions this would be the one you use most rarely.
What I don't really like is that you introduce two special standard actions to attack (Lunge and Compound Attack). This means yet another type of weird action that can't be combined with Spring Attack, Vital Strike or Cleave. Do you think this is wise? You're trying to make moving+fighting competitive with just trying to stand still and making full attacks.
Okay, my workup on Debilitating Attack:
I upgraded the ability damage to 2 because in PF, ability damage only does stuff when suffering an even amount. Since it is dealt to a random ability, you can't repeatedly try to damage the same ability to achieve actual effect. As a random effect, it's already uncertain just how much it'll do, but the effect is less than those conditions, so I didn't think a saving throw was required for the ability damage. Finally, I decided that stacking conditions might be on the powerful side so I let that do ability damage instead.
As a side note, the man with the hammer is a neat pick, but it doesn't look like a one-handed weapon to me...
Sending a dog into a minefield would be disrespectful. Not enough to lose powers overnight, but it all adds up.
But sending a dog that's got a good chance (because he's well-trained and the right animal for the job) to scout - that's fine.
Druids are commanding officers in nature's army. That means sometimes sending beasts into harm's way for the greater good. But with respect for the beast; if he's risking his hide he deserves respect. No suicide missions.
It's the Small Reinforced bows that vex me most. But I do think we're on the right track here. We're going to make the crossbow the shotgun to the longbow's SMG.
Side note. A friend told me tonight that historically, crossbowmen had civilian sidekicks that wound up their crossbows, so they could rotate through several bows at a time to keep up rate of fire.
I was probably wrong about the critical. But it looks like I didn't use the critical in DPR calculations anyway, so no biggie there.
I think (it's some time ago) that I used the Strong Jaw table to do the damage dice.
In the Strong Jaw table, advancing 1d4 by two sizes produces 1d8. So when advancing 2d4, I advanced it to 2d8.
Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
Yeah, I think that's a dumb design. Multiclassing should be roughly equally desirable for all classes.
We're talking about rules we find absurd, not saying we don't know why they exist :)
Feint: "The benefits of the feat applies apply only when he wields a bravo weapon.[/b]
Fighting Style: making additional AoOs is rather buried in the bottom of the text. Maybe this should be a separate ability, to call more attention to it?
Text formatting: here and there around the picture, words get stretched up to an unsightly degree. Particularly "w e a r s" in the top-right corner of page 2. I don't know if you can do anything about it.
Lunge: I STILL don't understand the point of this. When would you use this? One quarter your speed isn't a great deal different from a 5ft step, and using a 5ft step doesn't cost elan and doesn't stop you from using Compound Attack. Could you describe what you're supposed to use this for? Also, isn't it awkward that this has the same name Lunge feat?
Rapid Adaptation: can you enter an AC-enhancing style to avoid an attack that would otherwise hit you? (Same language as Riposte?)
* everyone has to contribute SOMETHING. Tell the other players what you're going to contribute, to avoid redundancy/niche cramping.
* if you're not going to contribute the obvious with your class (non-healing cleric, non-debuffing witch), TELL the other players. Maybe one of them wants to pick up that slack, but he thought he'd be invading your niche.
* respect other people's niches but don't exaggerate.
* if a niche doesn't get filled, take notice as a group. Adapt group tactics.
* share with the team. Share plot hooks and clues. Often no individual PC gets all the clues needed. Not sharing plot hooks can grind the game to a halt.
* spend most of your time with the team. The occasional solo shenanigan is acceptable if it doesn't take too long, but spending time with the whole team together is much more fun for everyone.
* wait up on other people. If one PC is doing something elsewhere, don't go into battle or into places where you expect battle. Just say "we all wait for him to get back before going in". Because if you have a battle, he's sitting for hours not participating. Also, he could've helped.
* conform to the game/setting/player's cultural norms on party loyalty. Don't be the only backstabber. If everyone's a backstabber, don't be a wuss. Don't steal treasure if all other players are sharing fairly.
* have each other's backs. Back each others' plays, even if you don't understand what they're on about. Help each other out when in danger.
Humans are natural omnivores. Insisting on a strict herbivore diet is not natural. It's pretending to be something you're not.
Nature isn't nice. Druids should definitely not waste animals in battle, because that's disrespectful. But druids are the enforcers and generals of nature's army, leading troops (companions, summoned monsters) to protect nature. That sometimes means ordering troops into harm's way. But they shouldn't be squandering them. Waste not, want not.
I think the crucial question should be "WHY are we fighting X?" - does it do nature any good?
That said, it's not just a man vs. nature thing; not all druids want to exterminate humanoids. Druids mediate between mankind and nature, trying to find a place for both. They're maybe more on nature's side than on mankind, but they can prevent a lot of misery. By telling a king "I know you have population pressure, but you CAN'T chop down that forest, because then you'll cause trouble with monster habitats. Why don't we look for a better site elsewhere?" Of course, sometimes kings don't want to listen to fringe environmentalists. Which is when those environmentalists demonstrate what Earthquake does to the royal palace.
Okay, so summarizing some of the ideas suggested so far:
1) There is no more "light" or "heavy" crossbows; what you might think of as a heavy crossbow is just one that's got a high STR rating. This gets us away from needlessly specialized feats that require specializing in different crossbows. (The hand crossbow remains a separate special pocket-sized weapon that's used for delivering poison, not brute damage. Not relevant here.)
2) Reloading a crossbow is a Move action that provokes. If you have BAB +1 you may load as part of a move (just like drawing weapons). If you have Martial Weapon Proficiency (Crossbow) you may also load as a Swift action. Note that this does pretty much confines you to one shot per turn, with a possible one Snap Shot as AoO if you used both reload options.
3) Crossbows are fired with Standard Attack Actions (allowing Vital Strike) and the occasional Snap Shot.
4) Feats: Snap Shot doesn't require Rapid Shot to learn, but it can only be applied to crossbows (not bows) until you learn Rapid Shot. Yes, this actually accelerates this feat chain a bit. Focused Shot now uses the regular Attack Action instead of its own weird standard action attack; now it works with Vital Strike. If you have Shot on the Run/Parting Shot, you may also reload as part of the movement used in those feats.
5) Damage: a crossbow does 2d4 damage (1d6 if small) with no Strength requirement. You may make it Reinforced, increasing the Strength required to use it. The first reinforcement (R1) requires a Strength modifier of +1 to use correctly. R2 requires +2, and so on. A crossbow with R5 must be Large. A crossbow with R9 must be Huge. (At some point these things become ballistas, after all.)
For each insufficient modifier to your Strength, the number of actions required to load the crossbow increases by 1. If you're under-strength, you cannot use Swift actions to load; they must all be Move actions.
Reinforced crossbows are also heavier. You take the difference between the crossbow's strength and yours as a penalty to hit (if you're too weak) because it's hard to properly hold and aim the crossbow, unless you can rest the crossbow on something (a parapet, or maybe you're prone).
The benefit of reinforcement is additional weapon damage dice: +1d4 per reinforcement level. So a R3 crossbow (requiring Strength 16 to load properly) does 5d4 damage (1d6+3d4 if small). This is weapon damage and therefore subject to the bonus from Vital Strike.
I like the general idea, but there are some things I'm not happy about yet:
- That is a LOT of damage at level 1. If a wizard starts combat with a heavily reinforced crossbow loaded...
- Size categories and reinforcement are awkward. Particularly, what to do with small and smaller creatures.
- Not sure how to deal with provoking while reloading.
What I do like:
- Much more freedom to move about. If you don't have Improved Precise Shot yet, you'll be motivated to circle around, to try to get at the enemy from an angle where he doesn't have cover.
- We should definitely have bayonets and reinforced frames (using it as a club). I would very much like a cross-bayonet!
Ah, I hadn't noticed you put up a new PDF.
* Feint: you gain it as a bonus feat only when using bravo weapons. Does that allow you to qualify for follow-up feats? I expect that was your intent. But I'm not sure that "you have this feat while wielding X" allows you to take follow-up feats. Maybe you should look at the language for ranger combat styles;
Ranger combat style, PRD wrote:
It may seem nitpicky but it's safer to be precise I think. So if you say that you gain Improved Feint as a bonus feat, but lose access if you're not using a bravo weapon, you should be good. That should allow you to buy other feint feats. (I noticed you did use this language for the bonus feats.)
* Fighting Style:
When using a fighting style the bravo gains a +2 competence bonus to AC, attacks with bravo weapons, and the benefit listed in the fighting style. An exception is Silveri, whose specific benefit is a bonus to base speed.
Does this mean Silveri don't gain a bonus to hit and AC?
He also gains the bonus to the skills listed in the fighting style, but not specific to one enemy.
I can't find any other mention of fighting style working only against a single enemy. Is this a leftover from a previous version?
* Engaging feint: noticed a missing word.
a creature under the effect of a bravo's feint
Also, clarify "makes an attack that doesn't involve the Bravo"; if I make a full attack and one iterative attack targets the bravo, and the other one targets some else, does that trigger the engaging feint?
* Lunge: I'm still not sure what the point of this ability is. What does it let you do that charging doesn't?
I assume you can use this ability after the attack roll result was announced, but before you reveal if it hits? That should probably be said explitly.
* Ripose: probably should say that use of this ability is a free action. Because sometimes these abilities are Immediate.
* Debilitating Attack refers to the fighting style you're using, but neither it nor Engaging Feint necessitates you currently being in a fighting style. Can you still use this ability if you've already spent all your rounds of fighting style? Also, what happens if (using Master of Five Styles) you're in more than one style while using this ability?
* Compound Attack - I like the idea, but there are some tricky bits here.
1) Do you do the attack with multiple dice rolls as an Attack Action (this opening it up to Vital Strike), or as a special attack that happens to cost a standard action (like Cleave)? Strictly by how you've written it, it seems to be the latter.
2) Right now you can't combine Lunge and Compound Attack because they're both separate special standard actions. If you rewrote Lunge to say "as a standard action, you may move (X) and then take an attack action", and Compound Attack to say "when you use the attack action", they'd work together, and be pretty nice.
3) You get Improved Feint at level 1, which makes feinting a move action. But Compound Attack implies that to get the multi-target Bluff you need to spend a standard action, which means you can't attack. This is rather unattractive. Did you mean to say "when you use the feint action, you may use a single bluff check to feint up to X opponents"? That way you could bluff as a Move action, see who's been affected, and make a multi-dice Compound Attack against one of those schmucks.
4) Are you sure that a single Bluff check against all those enemies is ideal? Feinting is opposed by a static DC, not an opposed check. So if you roll well on Bluff, you'll probably bluff all targets, and if you roll poorly, none of them. It might be better to make separate checks against all of them, to spread your chances a bit.
* Rapid Adaptation: adopting a style increases your AC. Can you then activate a style as immediate action to increase AC to evade an attack that would otherwise hit you?
This may seem like a lot of criticism, but I'm doing it because I really like the idea of the bravo. As I've said before I have a soft spot for lightweight warriors, and this is one of the best designs I've seen. So I want it to be perfect :)
On that note. Feinting is really what this class is about, but there are some notable limits on what can be feinted;
PRD, Feint wrote:
When feinting against a nonhumanoid you take a -4 penalty. Against a creature of animal Intelligence (1 or 2), you take a -8 penalty. Against a creature lacking an Intelligence score, it's impossible. Feinting in combat does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
I don't completely agree with these modifiers. Even mindless creatures react to their environment, so it should be possible to divert them. Anyone who's played computer games and figured out how to get the AI to go where you wanted has seen this in action. You should be able to feint golems and oozes. Animals are tricky but they too should be feintable, as hunters, snake charmers and circus people should be able to attest.
Proposal: one or two feats to allow feinting mindless and "wild" creatures. Offsetting some of the penalties (maybe tied to Handle Animal) and allowing feinting "bots".
In the case of the ranger I'm pretty sure the bonus applies whether you know it's [insert enemy here] or not. That's just how the FE ability is worded; it just happens.
Fluffwise, maybe you've just incorporated those techniques into your general fighting style. You might notice that things are easy and realize that your tactics seem to match the enemy - and so identify the enemy.
Set people on fire. If they burn nicely, they must be witches.
In the case of the bard, it's definitely a good question.
I added a Feat to slings to allow them to add Dex instead of Str to damage. That seems, to me, to be fun, as logical as Dervish Dance, make Halflings actually really good slingers, relatively balanced (given the need for said Feat and getting reloading them to be a Free Action somehow) and probably fixes the problem.
Hmm. I might make that a feat that requires you to be Small maybe. Just for the David/Goliath theme that halflings and gnomes seem to have going, and to keep the elves from stealing it.
I like that slings use Strength. Theoretically that makes them viable for many warrior types. But for halflings, with a double-dip of small weapons and strength penalty, I see the use of dex-for-damage.
(I'm normally fervently against dex-to-damage and consider Dervish Dance a naughty feat, rewarding one of the already-best weapons.)
I'd rather not take snap shot away from bows. I don't really see any reason why it wouldn't be possible with a drawn bow either.
I like the idea of reloading as you move. That's actually pretty trivial to implement - start by saying that reloading the light crossbow is like drawing a weapon; it can be done for free as part of a move at BAB +1.
We should be brewing more mobile mundane fighting styles anyway. Might as well make this one of them.
So let's focus this whole style on making one standard action shot count for a lot, and don't tempt people with full attack shooting shenanigans.
Also, let's roll the enhancer-feats into one. No separate Rapid Reload for every crossbow type. If you're a crossbow expert you're an expert in all of them.
I'd say that Rapid Crossbow Reload should make reloading a light crossbow into a Swift/Move (user's choice) and a heavy crossbow into a Move action. Combined with the ruling that you can do the reload as part of a move that lets you be mobile with a heavy crossbow while actually enjoying a lot of flexibility in action economy with the light crossbow.
Vital Strike: should definitely be desirable. Since Strength-crossbows just use your strength to wind the thing, not to fire (sophistry!), it could be argued (and ruled!) that the Strength bonus on a made-for-it crossbow DOES work with Vital Strike. If that's a bit too sophistic, instead create high-strength crossbows that actually increase in dice rather than adding static damagage. So a STR-14 light crossbow might do 1d8->1d10->2d6 damage (two steps dice increase, IIRC) and Vital Strike for a nice 4d6 damage.
I didn't know that existed. It's kind of obscure (web supplement and an AP PG). But it does provide a decent set of rules. Just paint it over and call it a Halfling War Sling. That way halflings use their racial weapon familiarity to treat it as Martial. Everyone who's not proficient just uses it as a regular sling.
Yeah. And now just give it for free to anyone with complete martial weapon proficiency?
Eh. I'd rather give crossbows something different than normal bows, rather than trying to get rid of the reload times altogether. I'm fine with crossbows having some reload issues if the bang you get for that buck is worth it. I'm not sure what that bang should be though.
Incidentally, the woes of the crossbow almost pale compared to those of the sling. Halflings are supposed to prefer slings to bows, but they're just awful weapons. Again, simple weapon malady.
There are (almost) no ways to bolster slings with feats or suchlike. In 3.5 (I haven't checked in PF) ranger spells talk about boosting bows, not ranged attacks in general, forcing all ranged rangers to use bows.
This is a problem. Ranged characters are being driven to all use the same ranged weapons (bows, guns; shuriken for ninjas). I'd like many more different viable ranged weapons, each with its own peculiarities. But all of them viable.
Right now, crossbows for wizards are exactly where they should be. For people who only understand simple weapons the rules are fine.
It breaks down for characters that can also use martial weapons. They're moving to bows en-masse. I think therein lies the seed of a solution.
We have a precedent with (among others) the Bastard Sword:
A bastard sword is about 4 feet in length, making it too large to use in one hand without special training; thus, it is an exotic weapon. You can use a bastard sword two-handed as a martial weapon.
Here's an interesting rule trick: anyone can use the crossbow as a simple weapon. But if you can use it as a martial weapon, you should gain some additional options. Just like an exotic-trained wielder of the bastard sword has more options than the merely martial-trained wielder.
The nice thing about this is that it allows us to shorten the feat chains surrounding shortbows because someone has already "paid" for martial weapon proficiency.
Incidentally, the same thing can be homebrewed for the "war sling", which is a sling used with martial weapon proficiency.
If you turn into an elemental, your gear melds into your body. You have no choice in that. (As a side effect, your gear is safe from Sunder and theft.)
However, since you have some control over the specific form you take, and most elementals can take humanoid form, you can turn into a humanoid elemental (of some size) and then wear humanoid armor. But you'll have to don it after your transformation.
You attach a foreign body part to a living creature. This can be used to equip the creature with replacements for severed appendages or even to add additional limbs. The creature's skeletal structure will adapt to additional limbs in 1d6 days.
The effects of the new limb are largely up to the GM but can include gaining new natural weapons, increasing in size category and gaining a variery of new abilities based on the graft's physical capabilities.
Saving throws must always be attempted. The GM rolls the saving throw in secret and rolls 1d6 to determine the number of days before success is known. During each of those days the subject takes 1d4 constitution damage. At the end of this time, if the subject succeeded at the saving throw the graft is rejected and detaches from the body, spoiled. If the body part wasn't fresh to begin with, there's a +4 bonus to the saving throw.
If the subject rolled a natural 1 on its saving throw its type changes to Aberration. Aberrations are allowed to voluntarily fail their saving throws against grafting.
I find it absurd that the heavy plate armors are more encumbering than the medium chain armors. It's annoyingly unrealistic. They're a bit heavier, but much better supported. Plate is like a backpack, chain like a sack slung over your shoulder. You can comfortably carry much more in the backpack.
As for noisiness, I think clinking chain and clanking plate isn't that far off each other. It's probably easier to muffle plate actually.
I understand the game balance consideration - medium armor needs to be useful too. But that's the problem you get when you mix armors from different historical periods - some of these were just advanced technology compared to each other.
Really, the balancing mechanic ought to be that heavy armor is just really really expensive. But that doesn't work because WBL provides for even more expensive magic items than that.
I'm unhappy but don't have a good solution handy.
I have my doubts about Perception as a class skill for fighters - it's useful for everyone, but I think straight bonuses like Class Skill should be reserved for scout/sneak classes like the Rogue and Ranger.
That said, what about an "Ambushfinding" level-scaling bonus to Perception (and maybe Initiative) related to avoiding/exploiting surprise?
I'd switch bravery for a choice between either Will or Reflex as a second good save. Decide for your individual fighter what to focus on, rather than a blanket rule for all fighters everywhere.
And the 4 skill points thing.
And feat chains need to be shorter for everyone, so everyone can have a combat gimmick and fighters can have five gimmicks.
I've had a couple of long discussions about this with a friend while trying to hammer out the balance between Disable Device and common sense-engineering.
There are two basic approaches to traps. One is the Old School method (OS), the other the Find/Remove Traps (FRT) method.
OS dates from a time when there was no Perception ability. Players asked questions and the DM described the environment. Players had to be perceptive and probably should bring some 10ft poles to probe for traps. When a trap was discovered you'd fiddle around trying to engineer some way to disable or bypass the trap. You might need to make some skill rolls for this. Essentially though, the burden lay on the GM to actually understand how the trap worked and the players to figure it out and deal with it.
The FRT-method existed in 2nd ed but became prominent with 3.x with Perception and Disable Device. No longer does the player need to detect the trap from the GM's description and careful probing; now the burden is on the PC to detect it with Perception. And disabling uses a Disable Device check, rather than the player coming up with engineering ideas.
Both methods have pros and cons;
In any group of people playing either system, there's likely to be at least one person yearning they'd use the other system.
In regards to the OP's question: you just don't really know how you do it. Your character knows things you don't. That's why you have a mystery box with unspeakable trapfinding tools.
The game system doesn't require a rogue's player to understand how his PC disables traps. Likewise, it doesn't require a wizard's player to be deeply schooled in metaphysics or a cleric's player to have a solid grounding in theology. So it's not really an unfair advantage.
I wouldn't call it homophobia. I'm a gay male and if this item happened to one of my characters I too might be upset too.
It's not necessarily that the girdle interferes with the player's own gender identity - although that's certainly possible! - but it's also a severe change to the PC.
Many people identify closely with their PC. The rest of the game world may be a savage, dark place, subject to the caprice of the GM, but we cherish our characters. If something suddenly inflicts a lasting deformity on a character - varying from actual maiming to things like being turned into a different race or sex - that can cause the player to feel like the PC has been violated. It hits pretty close to home.
Not that this happens every time with everyone. But the Girdle is treading in dangerous territory. One player may laugh, another may cry.
I think this deserves a small house rule module. As I'm thinking about it, the problem isn't really restricted to overseas dependencies. Historically, nobles often owned non-contiguous estates (hexes) scattered through a region. This was considered a normal situation, not an impending crisis.
Of course, if you have scattered lands, traveling between them is important. If the ruler in the middle is hostile to you, you have a problem. I'm thinking, if travel is obstructed you start suffering the penalties for unconnected sections of the kingdom. If travel is safe (which may require periodic punitive expeditions against monsters and bandits) then we move to System B.
In System B, you can have noncontiguous territories without massive penalties, but there is some overhead. Say that any disconnected territory is considered 10% bigger for upkeep cost purposes. If the territory also lacks a settlement (to coordinate local government) this penalty increases to 20%. If the territory is exceedingly distant there's another 10% penalty.
Colonies meanwhile, are separate kingdoms that acknowledge you as superior. They pay you 10% tribute regardless of distance. Ideally, a remote colony is more efficient than a remote territory, and functions better when isolation happens. On the other hand, a territory gives you more control.
For shorter distances though, you would prefer to connect noncontiguous territories.
Just make sure that despite being a loner, you're also a team player.
It's fine to look like a loner, and play up the trope a bit. But don't let it get in the way of also being a good member of the party.
Example: the wizard who works well with others, but insists on some me-time now and then to unwind. Such as trying to prepare spells alone in a room every day if at all possible.
Ross Byers wrote:
I like this!
This is really exciting!
Hmm. I must have overlooked that.
Still, doesn't that create an awkward situation, if the island is situated quite a few hexes from the coast? For example the distance between Norway and the Faroe islands? (Historically That's 420 miles, or 35 hexes iirc; a huge strain on your kingdom. But it's not like you're doing a whole lot with those hexes.
And it gets worse if you have two kingdoms with sea routes to islands that cross each other; can they share a crossing hex?
It's a cursed item for a couple of reasons.
1) Majority names: for the vast majority of people, suddenly changing sex would be a curse. In an RPG, this number will probably be even higher, because most players will set out to create a PC that's happy with his/her sex. I suspect that there are no accidental tran* PCs; if someone rolled one up, that was the player's intention.
2) It inflicts a powerful effect without a saving throw upon an unwilling character. This is almost never seen outside of cursed items. In PF terms, "cursed item" actually means "so powerful you don't get a saving throw". There are quite a few cursed items that are actually quite useful because of this: the Amulet of inescapable location is a nice tracking bug, the Helm of opposite alignment is extremely useful if ethically questionable, the Robe of powerlessness makes controlling prisoners super-easy, Dust of Sneezing and Choking can stun everyone within 20ft for 5d4 rounds - that's basically a PF nuclear weapon. Necklace of strangulation combined with a Beguiling Gift spell, Sleight of Hand or just presenting it as a gift makes for a powerful assassination weapon. Spreading around Crystal hypnosis balls can be a way to spread the influence of your lich overlord. And just reverse-pickpocket a Scarab of Death into someone's purse to kill him.
3) It can be devastating to a player's fun. People tend to identify with their PC; put work in it, have a mental image they cherish. Brutally changing that with a cursed item can be a big shock to the player. Not all players will react like this, but some players will feel deeply violated. This item should be handled with care.
Writing as a gay person living in the Netherlands;
"Homosexual", "Homo" and "Gay" are perfectly acceptable, also "Lesbian". Likewise "Hetero" and "Heterosexual". These are pretty neutral terms to use, safe with strangers.
"Lesbo" and "Nicht" (Dutch for "F@!") are more sensitive; among friends they may be acceptable but not so much among strangers.
The big thing though is how you say it. If you're just saying it to call something what it is - "this club caters to a gay crowd" - it's fine. However, "that's so gay" can be offensive if someone is describing something they think is weak/unmanly etc.
However, gay people say that as well. And when my friends do it, I'm not offended. Because I know they don't mean to offend me, it's just an expression (unfortunate though it may be) but without the intent to be hurtful.
The trick is that I know they don't mean it in a hurtful way. That's why it's okay in the company of people you know well enough, but not among strangers or casual acquaintances.
A special case is people you know, that don't know you're gay. If they're making jokes about gay people, it's confusing. I mean, I joke about my own sexual orientation as well (as well as about straight people). But since they don't know I'm gay, I'm not sure if there's malice behind their jokes, and it makes me uncomfortable. I don't like to be the guy that makes things awkward by coming out right then and questioning their sense of humour at the same time, but the situation puts be in a bit of a bind. On the other hand, if they knew you were gay maybe they'd be a bit more tasteful, to your face at least. But you're just not sure how they'd react. This is not a pleasant situation to be in.
I hope this was informative.
Just like many other cursed items, it will in rare instances be useful. Many cursed items don't allow saving throws against their hefty effects; that's pretty powerful if you weaponize it.
But they're cursed because often you don't know about this in advance, and it's a rude surprise.
Is it offensive? That's a matter of taste. I can see where this thing originated in the 70s-80s as something that one sexually insecure, maladjusted nerd inflicted on another similar specimen, also living in his parent's basement. So yeah, it didn't start out as a sterling example of maturity.
But immaturity doesn't have to be all that offensive. Personally I think it's just crude humour, but then I'm not easily offended.