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Ascalaphus's page

FullStarFullStar Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden. 7,399 posts (7,439 including aliases). 91 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 10 Pathfinder Society characters. 1 alias.


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Sovereign Court

At level 11+ (when they get Wind Walk)? Yes, enemies should be ready for airborne PCs.

Also, Teleport comes online at level 9, so enemies shouldn't be relying too heavily on catching PCs during overland travel anyway.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Kurald Galain wrote:
A recurring question about the Harm spell. Does the clause that it cannot reduce HP below one apply on a successful save only, or regardless of saving throw? The spell's wording can be read either way.

Huh?

Harm wrote:
Harm charges a subject with negative energy that deals 10 points of damage per caster level (to a maximum of 150 points at 15th level). If the creature successfully saves, harm deals half this amount. Harm cannot reduce the target's hit points to less than 1.

I don't see any ambiguity. Harm cannot reduce the target's hit points to less than 1. Ever.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
In the newly appproved Magic Tactics Toolbox player companion, the Questioner Investigator archetype exchanges alchemy (which normally doesn't risk arcane spell failure) for bard spellcasting. Is the questioner supposed to ignore arcane spell failure chance due to light armor, just like a bard?

So Magic Tactics Toolbox was discussed in the new edition of the Clarifications, but this wasn't.

Can we know if that was an intentional decision not to change it, or just an oversight? I'm firmly convinced that the Questioner's problem is an accident during writing, but it does rather undermine the archetype.

Spoiler:
Normally investigators have Alchemy and Light Armor Proficiency. Arcane Spell Failure is not an issue when using extracts.

The Questioner trades Alchemy for bardic spellcasting. Bards have a line in their armor proficiencies saying they don't get ASF in Light Armor. That line doesn't by RAW carry over to the Questioner.

I believe it should and that this is just an oversight;

1) Both classes have light armor proficiency and can normally cast in it.

2) The Questioner keeps light armor proficiency. This would make it the only example I know of a class that can't cast well in its regular armor.

3) The Questioner remains melee-focused (keeps Studied Combat, which only works in melee unless you have a long feat chain). The archetype isn't obviously meant to no longer fight.

4) The Questioner's new spell list no longer has Shield, and doesn't have Mage Armor. Again, I can't name any class that's got ASF and not got Mage Armor.

What I propose:

Quote:

Questioner: Questioner Investigators can cast spells in light armor without arcane spell failure chance. Unlike bards, they do not ignore spell failure chance for shields. Because investigators do not get shield proficiency.

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Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
This thread title was flagrant false advertising.

On the other hand, now we have a good code word if we want to talk about the weekend while parents are listening in.

"The genie's lamp turned out to contain a shaitan who totally petrified us."

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An alternative way to end petrification is with Break Enchantment. Unlike Stone to Flesh, there's no save needed to survive recarnification. (Although depending on how the caster level check goes, you may have to try a few times.)

If the person has been damaged, it may be wise to have a Regenerate spell on hand.

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The problem with Orator is that it only applies to Diplomacy to improve attitude, not to make requests;

Orator wrote:
Benefit: You can use a Linguistics check in place of a Bluff check to tell a falsehood or conceal information, in place of a Diplomacy check to change the attitude of a creature, or in place of an Intimidate check to force a creature to cooperate. You must deliver your attempt in a language the target understands.

And many PFS scenarios have you using Diplomacy to make requests.

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ChaosTicket wrote:

Multiple people have suggested Deadeye Bowman trait, but its a much weaker version of Improved Precise Shot.

Is there a way to actually swap it out for something useful when a character actually gets Improved Precise Shot so it doesnt become useless trait slot waste?

Only one way I know: if you originally got it from Additional Traits, retrain that into something else.

Though a trait that is "only" good for the first five levels can still be a decent investment. Even if it's not as good as IPS it's still very good.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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claudekennilol wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:

You've done all those things and have already been rewarded for it with GM credit.

What you're asking for is being rewarded again for running a scenario while you don't have to do all these things again. You don't have to put in quite as much work, so why should you get the same rewards?

So your counter to my argument is that my money/time is worth the reward that I received? If that's the case, then why GM at all because I'm getting the same reward as if I played?

You GM because:

- You enjoy GMing. Seriously, this should be your #1 reason! It's fun in its own right.
- A second chance at credit for a scenario. This time without risks and you can make sure that if it has special boons or loot that it ends up on the right PC.
- For players you like and want to give a good time. When you have a table full of people having a good time because you made it possible, doesn't that count as a reward?

I like getting rewards for GMing too. But the second time I run a scenario I only have to do a fraction of the prep work, so why should I need the full rewards?

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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grandpoobah wrote:

Possibly unrelated to the original post, but I had a comment regarding Faction Journal Cards (GM Credit):

The current Faction Journal Cards (Season 6+7) require you to GM "for credit" and attach the appropriate sheet to the character. This is (in practice) very difficult for me to achieve, despite GMng regularly. Mostly this is because I am GMng for no credit, or GMng something in a different tier than the relevant PC.

This seems like a problem that affects long-time GMs (As a 4-star GM, I've GM'd most of Season 1-6 for credit at this point).

Can we modify the Faction Journal Cards (in Season 8+) to give an option to write "GM Faction Credit" on a chronicle - and the chronicle can be at any Tier or with or without credit (kind of like the expanded Narrative Boon)? Also, do we even need such documentation? I've seen no (enforceable) documentation requirement on the other Faction Journal Card boxes.

Hopefully someone more experienced than I am should be able to come up with an intelligent way to write that on a Faction Journal Card in 20 words or less.

** spoiler omitted **

I rather like this idea. I'm trying to complete various faction cards with impossible player goals (faction switch), but adding too much GM credit would level the PC out of playable stuff too fast.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Huh, that's interesting. And it might be the first inkling of Zarta's later troubles.

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Ascalaphus wrote:
By the way, anyone else think that incorporeal invisible poltergeists, followed by an incorporeal advanced wraith, followed by a naturally invisible will-'o-wisp (which you kind of need magic missile to hit, but you probably just used those on the wraith) is a bit much?

I was getting ready to run the Wisp as a bit standoffish combatant, willing to let the PCs go at first (and then follow them, feeding off all of the bloodshed the PCs will cause when they go up against the Lords of Rust) but the players managed to kill it. One good sneak attack hit by the unchained rogue with elven curve blade, and another lucky one after the wisp went invisible. They were sweating quite a bit though.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

I didn't take the admixture vial because I don't understand it. Do you have to keep the admixed extract in the vial or can you transfer it to a disposable bottle? Because you can't afford to keep the vial in your hands afterwards, and it's a glass bottle so you can't just drop it.

Phalanx Formation isn't strictly needed by the way. Combat Reflexes is however. I've gotten soooo many attacks from enemies trying to close in on you at the beginning of combat.

I'm considering getting a Fortuitous enchantment on the spear rather than Inspired - I didn't bother with Inspiration at all. I think it's a greatly overestimated class feature. It's nice but not as nice as Alchemy, Mutagen and (Quick) Studied Combat.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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The strength build for investigators is actually the simple one. The core idea is that strength gives you both to-hit and damage bonuses with any weapon you use. No need to specialize feats on one dex to damage option that may not always work. You can carry multiple weapons to handle any situation or DR, and shapechange to get lots of natural attacks.

Here's an example:

Str 18 (+2 human)
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 15 (+2 human)
Wis 11
Cha 7

Human dual-talented empiricist investigator

Feats
1 Combat Reflexes
3 Power Attack
5 Phalanx Formation
7 (Potion Glutton or something else if you don't want to go there)
9 Lunge? By this time you can do whatever you like with feats. The core build doesn't need lots of feats.

Talents
3 Mutagen
5 Quick Study
7 Combine Extracts
9 (whatever you like; Sickening Offensive for example)

Traits
- Armor Expert
- Student of Philosophy

Weapons
- Longspear, aiming for adamantine evil-outsider bane
- Mithral cestus/
- Sap
- Spiritbane spie
- We'll be using natural weapons as well

Armor
- Mithral breastplate. Because of Armor Expert we can skip the proficiency.

Important extracts
1 Shield
1 Longarm
1 Enlarge Person
2 Barkskin
2 Alchemical Allocation (for whatever high caster level potions you may be able to find)
2 See Invisibility
2 Resist Energy
2 Invisibility
2 Alter Self (sasquatch for speed and scent, troglodyte for natural weapons)
3 Heroism
3 Monstrous Physique (gargoyle for claw/claw/bite/gore and flight)
3 Combined Extracts (shield and longarm)
3 Displacement
4 Improved Invisibility
4 Monstrous Physique (Vouivre)

How it works: either use the longspear and 2H damage (against DR) or use the gargoyle form for lots of attacks. The cestus protects you against disarming or when you don't have room to maneuver.

You get high AC due to mutagen, barskin, shield and mithral breastplate. Your to-hit is built on high strength, heroism, studied combat, mutagen (strength). Also, profit from 4 primary natural attacks on the gargoyle. You can afford the Power Attack.

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Carnithia wrote:
I haven't had a GM say it doesn't work. I will be coupling it with Spirit Boost at 7th level. I don't think it is optimal, but I like the gist of it.

I'm fairly sure you can't combine those on the same effect since spirit boost says it triggers when your healing spells help someone.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

claudekennilol wrote:
Drogon wrote:

I'm not interested in seeing things change so that GM credit is out of alignment with player credit.

If a GM wishes to not run an adventure more than once due to lack of credit, despite all the other incentives, then that is their right. Saying that they are being *punished* for having to prep an adventure and only get to run it once is a bit over the top. I see the fact that it's already prepped as one of the incentives, but if credit is stopping you from offering that game again, so be it. Let someone else run it who will have more interest in it (whether it's because they'll actually get credit or merely because they truly enjoy GMing is a moot point).

But this circular argument is just as bad as the unlimited player credit argument and reeks of entitlement. There is no need to act this way.

I've spent money printing maps. I've spent money buying maps. I've spent money buying the scenario. I've spent my time prepping the scenario and getting any extras I want in place and/or creating terrain specifically for this scenario to provide an awesome experience. The very least that could be done is to let me get credit again for everything I've expended and put my time/expertise back into play for this scenario.

You've done all those things and have already been rewarded for it with GM credit.

What you're asking for is being rewarded again for running a scenario while you don't have to do all these things again. You don't have to put in quite as much work, so why should you get the same rewards?

Sovereign Court

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Melee and diplomacy are not contradictory. Ask any paladin, melee inquisitor, invesigator or bard.

In PFS, you're almost never called upon to use any Charisma skill other than Diplomacy, so even if you dump Cha you can get by just by investing more in Cha or using a trait (Clever Wordplay, Student of Philosophy) to change the stat used.

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Beacon of Hope
Source Inner Sea Gods pg. 207 (Amazon)
Your hope inspires allies in their struggles.

Prerequisites: Channel energy 3d6, worshiper of Milani.

Benefit: When you channel positive energy to heal living creatures, those you heal gain a +2 morale bonus on saving throws, attack rolls, ability checks, and skill checks for a number of rounds equal to your Charisma bonus (minimum 1 round).

Would allies (and enemies that I didn't exclude with Selective Channel) that weren't injured but that were hit by my channel gain the buffs?

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It's right there in the combat chapter under critical hits;

CRB > Combat wrote:
Critical Hits: When you make an attack roll and get a natural 20 (the d20 shows 20), you hit regardless of your target's Armor Class, and you have scored a "threat," meaning the hit might be a critical hit (or "crit"). To find out if it's a critical hit, you immediately make an attempt to "confirm" the critical hit—another attack roll with all the same modifiers as the attack roll you just made. If the confirmation roll also results in a hit against the target's AC, your original hit is a critical hit. (The critical roll just needs to hit to give you a crit, it doesn't need to come up 20 again.) If the confirmation roll is a miss, then your hit is just a regular hit.

Sovereign Court

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I think if you try to build to be "diplomat and that's all", you'll end up disappointed. Most scenarios have some diplomacy in it, but it's not the majority of the content. So you should have something fun to do the rest of the time. Particularly in combat, which tends to take most of the time. (Everyone should be able to participate with the part of the scenario that takes the longest.)

Also, there's the difficulty of PFS diplomacy to consider. 97% of the time, a PC with a decent Charisma modifier, Diplomacy class skill and maxed ranks can reliably make the DCs, especially with some Aid Another. For those scenarios, devoting many more resources is pure overkill. Resources you could have gotten more fun out of by being good at multiple things.

Then there's the occasional scenario with a really high DC. The highest I've seen so far are 29 in an 8-9 subtier and 34 in a 10-11 subtier. Those are very much intended in a "you're expected to fight this, but some people can talk their way out of it". Those situations are very rare.

There's also sometimes high DCs because you're supposed to gather modifiers before the check, by doing stuff to impress your target or allay his fears and suspicions. In those cases, uber-high Diplomacy lets you brute-force your way through the scenario instead of RPing your way through it - but is that really the aim of making a diplomat PC?

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I just bought a mithal klar, which is automatically masterwork. I'm not claiming a to-hit bonus until I get my Shield Mastery or have the sharp bit weapon-enchanted though.

Sovereign Court

SheepishEidolon wrote:

I tend to no, assuming a druid gets their power from a deity:

Ultimate Magic, page 41 wrote:
While a cleric or other domain-using class can select an inquisition in place of a domain (if appropriate to the character’s deity)
Inquisitions are not that powerful, so usually it wouldn't be an issue to allow it. But we are talking about druids here - which are powerhouses from level 1 to 20. So I'd be quite reluctant to grant them an inquisition of their choice.

There's no rule obstacle in sight, especially with the Conversion inquisition which appears to be universally available.

As for balance, druids make a significant sacrifice by taking an inquisition (no domain spell slots, no animal companion). Viewed alongside clerics, who can take an inquisition and a domain and still keep those slots, I don't think druids are doing anything sickeningly OP by taking an inquisition.

Sovereign Court

Heimdall666 wrote:

Our best GM who supported Illusions took this tack on them: If you dont disbelieve them, they are real. The character fills in the reality in their own minds to accommodate the illusion into their reality. Example: two braziers with fires lit, side by side, one illusory, one not. Both are generating light, heat, smoke, and smell. If the PC puts his hand into either, he gets burned. Why? He knows the nature of fire in his mind, and even though putting his hand in the illusory fire did not actually burn his hand, his mind accepts that as true, and he acts accordingly. He would imagine the burns, treat the hand as if burned (hitpoint damage) and until he accepts the fact that was an illusion (medic checks him out and says, "Dude, I cant see any burns") He might still accept the fire damage as real, again, imagining it as a close call. Remember, hit points are an abstract, and you could rule the damage was lethal, nonlethal, or maybe even a third type, mental. So, an image of a dragon breathing fire might seem real, and if it killed someone, our GM would have them make a save vs Death Magic (1st ed D&D) or they believed it to the point it gave them a heart attack and they died.

Illusions are an area of effect mind spell, and unless there is some wise or smart person to point out the inconsistencies in the illusion, all would be affected similarly. The illusion class sadly needs someone creating the rules system to love the class, its been the forgotten puppy of the game since first edition D&D.

In Pathfinder, this depends on the type of illusion. Illusion [phantasm] is exactly like that, it's in your mind. Illusion [figment] is not in your mind, it's like a hologram. They're real sensory impressions, but there's no real object causing them. Your mind is not affected, there's really the appearance of fire there.

Something giving a Will save doesn't mean it's in your mind. Glitterdust also has a Will save to avoid getting blinded by glitter for example. And creatures immune to mind-affecting abilities aren't immune to that either.

Sovereign Court

Mithral breastplate, as always?

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Jessex wrote:
Int is so vital to investigators that I would argue that every investigator should start as an empiricist by default and only switch to some other archetype if there is some other very good reason to do so. Getting things like perception as an int skill is incredible.

I'd like to nuance this. Yes, intelligence is important, but depending on your focus a 16 (with level 4 ability bump) is enough to work with. Especially if you focus more on combat like I did, having high strength and/or dex is the priority.

With Int 16 you still get enough (inspiration) bonuses and skill points to be a fully qualified skill monkey by PFS benchmarks. You won't be in the top 1% but you'll be in the top 10%. Meanwhile you can also be in the top 15% of combat builds. Anyone who tries to tell you investigators are nothing special in combat doesn't know what he's talking about. I can keep up with hardline barbarians of the same level.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

"Joe gives the PCs an X. In the high subtier, instead he gives them an Y."

When playing high tier, cross off the X because it was never there to be found in the first place.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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I play an empiricist as well. Quick Study is amazing. The combination of one of the best spell lists for self-buffing with mutagen and quick study means investigators can perform as a primary combat class while also being a full-on skill monkey.

---

Poison is mostly useless for PCs. Because:


  • Most poisons do some ability damage over time, which is annoying if it happens to your PC because you'll be suffering the penalties the rest of the day. NPC enemies tend to only feature during a single encounter, so long-term debuffs aren't that valuable to inflict.
  • Saving throws for poisons don't scale with level. Most enemies you confront in melee will have good Fortitude saves. Investigators are lackluster at ranged combat.

So there are some exceptions of course. Con poisons with high DCs can be impressive, especially if delivered at range against wizards. But that's not something investigators are especially good at. Studied combat doesn't work on ranged attacks by default and you get only so-so ranged weapon proficiencies. It'll cost a lot to get good at it.

The other class of poisons worthy of note are the ones that cause unconsciousness. Again, more likely to work on squishy enemies that are trying to avoid melee.

So while poison can work, it'll take a lot of effort. Compared to other tactics, they're not good. It's a clear case of asymmetry where an option that's annoying against PCs is less impressive in their own hands.

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kevin_video wrote:

Back in 3.5, everyone got a set amount of XP based on their level. If you were lower, you got more. If you were higher, you got less. I don't see such rules in Pathfinder. I know a friend of mine has said that his group has a +10%/-10% per level difference, but is that an official rule? I can't find it if it is.

What is the official ruling? It can't be that one doesn't exist. That'd be stupid if you missed a bunch of sessions for whatever reason, and you ended up being forever 2-3 levels lower than everyone else with no possible hope of making up the difference.

One completely different solution is to dispense with XP altogether, everyone levels up at the same time when it's time.. Many adventure paths facilitate this; they have a section saying stuff like "by the time the PCs get to area X they should be level Y". So when you're running a campaign, don't track XP. Tell the players to level up when you feel the time is right.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

I'm moving towards a separate spell list for "ancient dungeon" where you expect a lot of undead and (mind/magic immune) constructs. I've been stymied too often. (illusionist blues)

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Nefreet wrote:
If we had a short blurb on each of the VCs, including pronunciation and RP, developed into some sort of document, it would probably go a long way to lessen table variation on how VCs are portrayed.

Something like say, 3 paragraphs of the NPC talking about something random, like a mission briefing to another team and responding to their questions, just to get an idea of the NPC's "voice"?

You can do a lot in three paragraphs.

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YIDM wrote:

For what it's worth, this very similar instance occurs in a PFS Scenario, and you cannot locate the invisible spellcaster (casting silent spells).

See final combat scenario in: Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–98: Serpents Rise

I'm looking at it. The person you're talking about doesn't actually have any Silent spells at his disposal. He has the feat, but hasn't used it on any of his prepared spells.

YIDM wrote:


Spellcasting only creates visible effects when the spell itself has a visible effect (burning hands, bead from a fireball, etc.). A spellcaster casting a silent, stilled, confusion (or a spell-like ability of confusion) creates no such effect. The caster, would, however be looking intently at the target, and a Sense Motive check should be able to determine the intent, and that he's using magic (as the target feels the tingle or hair stand up on the back of his neck - associated with making a saving throw (per PF Core Rules).

Contradicted by the FAQ we've been talking about.

YIDM wrote:


As the rules stand, I'm not aware of a visible effect from an invisible spellcaster from just any old spell. It would largely defeat the purpose of greater invisibility.

GI lets you move around and cast spells without provoking and cast rays against people denied their Dex to AC. It's hardly pointless.

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Daw wrote:
Do you even want a couple of low level spells or a clever feat to totally trivialize nearly every encounter?

I don't. That would be too much.

I think some spells really should be possible to cast subtly - especially illusion and charm spells are really meant for subtle use on unsuspecting marks, not as a blunt instrument against aware and unwilling enemies.

I think spells such as Charm Person were written with the idea that they'd be useful out of the box, without first having to get multiple feats before they can be used. However, this was not clearly implemented at first, and then as time went on Paizo never really clarified how obvious spellcasting was anyway.

So then you get some spells written clearly with the assumption that they can be cast surreptitiously - like a lot of Diplomacy enhancers. I think most decision-makers when they see someone casting a spell that will make them better able to sway your decision, would not be happy. If you actually see someone spiking your drink, the chances of you going home with them should go down :P

Occult Adventures makes a few offhand comments about how psychic casters are less noticeable and so you can have a "hidden war" kind of game where the PCs and their enemies both hide in sheep's clothing in civil society, battling over the souls of the ordinary unsuspecting people. Cool. But if psychics can really cast without anyone being the wiser, isn't that too abusive?

Then comes Heroes of the Streets with a mechanic for hidden casting. Now there's a mechanic for hiding casting, which implies that without it, it's not hidden. At that point I started agitating for Paizo to clarify it's position. They did, shortly before releasing UI, which also has another feat to hide casting - probably some crossed wires between developers of two books.

I think UI takes the best approach, by firmly capping just how high your bonus to conceal casting can go (bluff RANKS, not BONUS, which could easily be 10 higher).

I'm not a fan of the Deceitful prerequisite though, because it doesn't apply to the Concealed Casting roll because it's a bonus to Bluff. Feels like Combat Expertise all over again.

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Franz Lunzer wrote:
Give me an example of an art-piece of the manifestation shedding light.

Occult Adventures, front cover - I'm assuming that's some kind of psychic blast spell.

OA, p. 142, from what the flavour text says seems like a Telepathic Bond.
OA, p. 192 - can't quite figure out what spell it is, but the flavour text specifically calls out the glowing purple runes. And the blue stuff is probably some kind of domination.

All of them glowing.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

RealAlchemy wrote:
As a number of scenarios say that you're leaving "As soon as possible" these characters should have a default spell list for when there isn't time to customise for the mission.

That's a good idea in general actually, just to have the table ready to play faster. Filling up a 20-slot spell selection can be time consuming if you start from scratch every time.

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I find myself agreeing with Buri on some points; there definitely IS a disconnect between the game as understood by reading (the most recent edition of) the book, and the more esoteric concepts such as "hands of effort" which we can only infer the existence of through FAQs.

And that's not a good thing. While I can see the usefulness of "hands of effort", as a piece of rules writing, it's very badly explained and promulgated.

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Ravingdork wrote:
Wow. This is the first time I've seen people on this board saying spells are visible even while you are invisible. Up to now, it's always been posters supporting the opposite notion (that if you are invisible, your spellcasting manifestations are too).

I've talked about it before in the discussions leading up to and after the FAQ. Not everyone likes it. The FAQ leaves enough wiggle room to rule either without being wrong, so it's really a matter of taste.

Franz Lunzer wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

...

As a side note about invisibility obscuring spells;

Invisibility wrote:
Light, however, never becomes invisible, although a source of light can become so (thus, the effect is that of a light with no visible source).
As a GM it's up to you whether that will or won't frustrate hiding spellcasting.
That is even more open-ended: Nowhere does it say whether those spell-manifestations are glowing/a source of light.

Well, as the FAQ states,

Quote:
Although this isn’t directly stated in the Core Rulebook, many elements of the game system work assuming that all spells have their own manifestations, regardless of whether or not they also produce an obvious visual effect, like fireball. You can see some examples to give you ideas of how to describe a spell’s manifestation in various pieces of art from Pathfinder products, but ultimately, the choice is up to your group, or perhaps even to the aesthetics of an individual spellcaster, to decide the exact details.

If you start looking for pictures of spellcasting, you'll often see stuff like glowing runes in the air. It's art feeding into rules, if you want it to.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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I'd like to start with saying that I enjoy Sheila, Aram and Dreng as NPCs, even though many of my PCs dislike them. Love to hate is good, if it isn't used for every NPC.

  • Dreng - I liked the peek behind the facade in Wounded Wisp. It would be nice to see him really demonstrate that he takes advantage of people underestimating him. Imagine a confrontation where the party is on the streets fighting off feel foes and a fleeing "beggar" pushes a powerful weapon into their hands. Or Dreng after being "rescued" having overheard a lot of prize intel, and then remarking on how much it had been to ensure he got captured by exactly those people at the right time. Take a look at how agent Romanov in the first Avengers movie is introduced.
  • Sheila's really crossed a moral horizon in Race for the Runecarved Key - we never really got a good explanation why this particular relic was so much more important than any of the other magical WMDs we recover from time to time. "It was especially shiny" doesn't really justify the unusually shady jobs given.

    That said, I think it's good for the campaign to have a few rotten apples in the VC corps. It provides contrast for nicer VCs, especially if writers are willing to occasionally have other society bigwigs admit that they don't always agree with Sheila's tactics.

  • Aram is indeed rather toxic, but stuff like Aram Zey's focus reveals another side of him. Maybe part of him doesn't like getting emotionally invested in people likely to die. And he's just the guy who doesn't like to do social stuff, would rather be "doing real work". I think he's valuable for embodying the gruff wizard archetype and making Shaine look nice.

In summary, I think it's good to have flawed VCs, although it's best if all of them have and occasionally get to show redeeming features, to make them plausible as leaders.

In addition, I think modern scenarios have been making strides forward in making the VCs look professional. For example, you don't get gotcha'd anymore by heat/cold/altitude risks that the VC refused to warn you about even if you asked. Briefings tend to contain enough of the Why that you can form reasoned guesses about unexpected turns (which helps with figuring out what would help or harm secondary success). And the occasional care package of actually useful items like in Infernal Inheritance also buys our goodwill :P

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I treated it as regular control undead channel.

I did soup up the encounter a lot by explicitly combining the rust-risen and marrow encounters, using both the rust-risen and the zombies as a screen for Marrow. That was a tough fight for the party particularly since the rust-risen are just fine with Marrow's lightning bolts. I very much don't believe in cult leaders just waiting in their rooms for people to come slaughter them.

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Druid could be a good fit for you. It's a versatile and powerful class, but it adds complexity step by step. You don't have to figure it all out at first level, and can change your mind about a lot of things along the way.

The only "mistake" you can make at first level is choosing an ability array that doesn't suit your desired role. I.e. if you want to fight, you should have good physical stats. If you just want to cast, don't skimp on wisdom.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Because you can only travel for 8 hours before fatigue sets in, I think in most cases parties have enough "off-work" time to do even 3 hours of prep every day.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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I don't think archetypes should affect synergy because it'll create a LOT more work maintaining that down the road as new archetypes for every class get published.

I'm going to work on a detailed proposal for retraining in PFS later today.

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I wouldn't use XP or money to try to balance it with the other players, because unless the players also agree to distribute those unevenly in the future, the effect will fade. Meanwhile, being naturally Large means you can actually go Huge with Enlarge Person style effects, and the Strength and weapon damage dice bonuses will stay good forever as well.

In my experience the game is VERY centered around an expectation of small/medium sized PCs. Many monsters derive their scariness from size and reach. A Large PC, especially when well-built for reach, will thoroughly unhinge that. I've seen both Abyssal Bloodragers, Living Monoliths and Mammoth Riders with Dire Collars in action. There's nothing like escaping a Purple Wurm's attempts to swallow whole because your mammoth becomes just as big as it.

Which is not to say that you mustn't do it, but that you should be ready for the consequences.

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Franz Lunzer wrote:
In my games, if someone is invisible, the spell-manifestations they talk about in the FAQ are invisible as well.

Obviously you have to choose what works for your game. The FAQ is quite open-ended, and intentionally so.

Just for context, let's look at the PDT's reasoning though.

Spellcraft wrote:
but you must be able to clearly see the spell as it is being cast

This is where it all started. Apparently you can see spells. That's why getting rid of visible and audible components (or using SLAs or psychic magic) doesn't stop people from noticing your casting; the spell itself is visible.

That line is the cornerstone upon which the FAQ rests. They could have chosen to change it or interpret it differently, but they liked the implication (that casters can't get away with everything).

As a side note about invisibility obscuring spells;

Invisibility wrote:
Light, however, never becomes invisible, although a source of light can become so (thus, the effect is that of a light with no visible source).

As a GM it's up to you whether that will or won't frustrate hiding spellcasting.

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I favour an outwards -> inwards order.

1) Check to see if you got hit at all / dove aside (Reflex saves).

2) Check to see if it got through your forcefield.

3) Check to see if it got through your exoskeleton/dermal plating/whatever that gives you hardness/resistance/DR.

4) Check to see if your delicate flesh or wiring has vulnerability to any damage that got through all your outer defences.

It's quite unfavourable to tech weapons, indeed. I don't really like their design. But this interpretation does make the most sense to me.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

CigarPete wrote:
Sigh - I'm running this 4 times at Gencon and just read through and went to grab the map pack and of course it's out of print and $75 on amazon. Guess I'll print off the maps...

Amazon map prices can be crazy. As printing goes these were easy to do, just by copying the picture out of the PDF into GIMP.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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I found that noting the number of the chronicle in the checkbox helps me figure out if my bookkeeping is up to date.

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The thing about Grendel (who, mythologically speaking, is a unique individual) is that he's far beyond the normal curve of physical power for his size. And polymorph spells rely on that size-power convention for part of their balancing.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

I had a moment of uncertainty about "use true strike", but I suppose the item takes care of all the details, no concentration/gestures required.

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So, legs are limbs. If you require limbs for armor spikes, legs should suffice. Likewise for boot blades. I don't think anyone's really going to argue you need to be holding those in hand. And I don't think we should clutch too tightly to limbs even, because that makes the dwarven boulder helmet very weird.

Mark and Jason have basically walked back their original opinion to "we're not so sure". So we have to use our own good sense.

I think the main thing to understand really is that we need to keep separate the concept of actual hands and metaphorical hands of effort. 2H weapon attacks require both metaphorical hands on the weapon to get the extra damage, and 2WF requires you to distribute them to gain the extra attacks.

All of that has a lot of bearing on how you do your full attack, and pretty much nothing on whether you can make attacks of opportunity, because the amount of actions you're getting there isn't in question. The only questions is:

Can you attack the threatened space, with whatever weapons you have available right now?

Since you can kick someone with your boot blade, headbut them with your boulder helmet, bite them with your bite attack, hipster them with your barbazu beard, or stab them with your 80s power (metal) shoulders, all without taking your hands off your longspear, yes, you can.

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Things that make resting into a tactical/strategic decision:


  • Daily uses are daily. Resting more than once per day doesn't give them back faster. Most divine abilities are regained at a set daily moment, arcane abilities after 8 hours of rest (which doesn't have to be totally consecutive). In either case, anything cast in the last 8 hours counts against today's limit, not yesterday. ("Recent casting limit", Magic chapter).

  • You can only travel overland for 8 hours before fatigue rears its head. Likewise, item crafting and library research are only fruitful for 8 hours per day tops.

  • If your camp is in a dangerous area, you may face dangers. Sleeping in light armor is an option of course. A watch schedule is a good idea. Since your "workday" is more or less capped at 8 hours anyway, there's no loss in resting for say 12 hours. That allows a 6-person party to have two people on watch all the time. (Remember that animals and familiars, especially with scent or darkvision, are fine just for detecting enemies.)

  • The world continues to move. If you take a day of rest after every encounter, all your enemies have LOTS of time to enact their schemes.

  • When the party initially enters a "dungeon" area, enemies are maybe not on alert for the PCs. If the PCs pull back and rest, that gives enemies time to regroup and perhaps start a search for the intruders. What was at first multiple level-appropriate encounters can then combine into much harder, more prepared enemy groups.

  • Enemies that survive the PCs initial assault or come across the remains of other enemies may decide to pack up and leave with any MacGuffins.

Resting can't always be avoided, but I find that the above items keep the party from overdoing it. They'll generally try to make it to a "milestone" before breaking, where the local area or objective is secured.

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... Bard?

Forget about music. Perform Oratory is where it's at. Battlefield speeches that inspire all who hear them. Inspire Competence to exhort your councilors to do their job well when discussing kingdom business. The spell list is fine too; it covers dramatic entrances, saying no with a straight face, making orders stick, checking the bona fides of your councilors, being known as "the just", putting your face on the coinage, making it through dinner, going incognito to see how people really talk about you, detecting manipulation, not getting held up, getting in and out unseen, escaping to rule another day, researching your family history, rule a far-flung realm, check up on your subjects, and The Charge of the Dark Brigade

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