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Ascalaphus's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 3,753 posts. No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 6 Pathfinder Society characters.


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The way you did it in the previous version would work for the Awesome Blow included in the class, and for Vital Strike. (Which would be a decent feat choice for a Brute, I think, by the way.)

The way I proposed should be a bit more general; not limited to the "default" "attack action" that actually sees fairly little use.

I'm interested in your thinking on how the class should interact with dipping other classes, such as sneak-attackers and ragers, since this one has quite a few complementary class features. Once I know what you want it to do, it'll be easier to assist in making sure that's what actually happens.

In a way, you picked a good moment to work on this. Now that the ACG is public we can make sure it interacts with the new feats in it in the right way. We should be looking at interaction and overlap with the Brawler as well. Although the Brawler looks a lot "techier" than the Brute, so I think there's a clear niche for both.

I think I'll use a low-level Brute as one of the opponents in next monday's game, to see what it's like to fight against.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:


Weapon proficiencies
As for earth breaker, I am sticking to crb ONLY. For the other two, they kind of fit but I'm not digging the chains and that they have special qualities.

Come to think of it, I do think spiked chains make a pretty brutish weapon.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

I agree that more bad asses should be able to fist fight. No one wants to spend a feat on it I guess. I kept the progression slow in case too many things all thrown in ended up going overboard on the power level. Well see how things look later.

Fair enough. I suppose it's okay that unarmed strike doesn't go entirely overboard; it's more a backup weapon, after hammers and improvised weapons. But given the tendency to accidentally smash your own weapons, it's good to have.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

Thrill of a fight
How things fit on the page is something I will fix when things are looking more complete. For now, while they are changing in size, and I still don't have an intro written out, I will have to hold off.
I did have a way to use intimidate to regain thrill, but it was starting to look to easy to regain so I scrapped it. There is an investigator archetype that lets the point be regained with a natural 20 on certain skills. I thought about stealing that.
You're I right that this temp hp shield could potentially be lost really fast. It's been a hole in things for a while, and I still don't have a great solution without resorting to something that basically looks like a re flavored rage.

Natural 20 seems okay. I do expect a lot of Brutes to pick up the Enforcer feat, but they were probably going to do that anyway. Since the Sap is a decent weapon.

Re: the temp HP shield. I think it looks rather clunky. Gaining temp HP in response to hitting or being hit sounds to me like it's very error-prone. And it's very close to just being DR, too.

What I like about my proposal, about stackable temp HP, is that it motivates you to constantly be in combat. If you've had a couple of good rounds and built up spare temp HP, you really don't want to spend a round not attacking or getting attacked. The mechanic motivates you to seek melee combat with the enemy urgently.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

Brute force
I can cut back to no TP use. That was an after thought. When this was originally written in 08, combat maneuvers were strength checks, so this was a very juicy ability. I'm going to leave grappling out of the features because it would be very easy to grab a feat for it.

This looks good now.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

I basically wanted the brute to have a unique use for intimidate. Don't really care what it is. This one can be cut too. What you see is probably my third attempt.

Looks good.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

Dirty fighting
I still want to look at this one, see if I can shorten it up.

This is indeed still a little bit clunky. As I read it right now, if I attack in the surprise round and score a hit against a flat-footed enemy, I get to use DF in round 1. Then if I hit again in round 1, I can use DF in round 2 as well. And then if I hit again in round 2, I get to DF again in round 3.

That's actually a pretty cool mechanic, because it looks like a brute hammering away at an enemy. It's also useful for boss fights, because those are supposedly the only creatures that can continue surviving this for more than a couple of rounds. I think the Thrill option could be insane with sneak attackers or Bravos though. This power in general has crazy teamwork potential.

I think this power might be strong enough to merit breaking it up a bit; the continuation clause might need to be moved to a higher level perhaps. Depending on what happens to other class features of course.

aside on writing style:

I think there's the opportunity to write these abilities in a neat format: a class ability followed by a Thrill, a sort of kicker that amps up the ability. The idea being that the Brute enjoys using his class features and that enables him to kick his fighting into overdrive. Example:

Dirty Fighting (Ex):
A brute excels in an unfair fight and presses his advantage. Beginning a 3rd level, he gains a +2 bonus to attack rolls and his CMB against enemies denied their Dexterity bonus to AC and against those that are shaken, frightened, or panicked. At 6th level and every six levels thereafter, this bonus increases by 1.

If a brute succeeds on an attack or combat maneuver against an enemy while using this bonus, he continues to gain the bonus to attacks or combat maneuvers made against the enemy until his next turn is finished, even if the enemy is no longer denied it's Dexterity bonus to AC, shaken, frightened, or panicked.

Thrill: The brute can spend a thrill point as a swift action. If he does so, he chooses an enemy he gains this bonus against. If he succeeds on an attack or combat maneuver he makes against that enemy before the end of his turn, the enemy becomes loses it's Dexterity bonus to AC for 1 round.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

Imp bully

I'd rephrase it a teensy bit to:

Improved Bully (Ex): Beginning at 5th level, a Brute can use the Intimidate skill to demoralize an enemy as a move action.

When a Brute uses Intimidate to demoralize an enemy with at least 4 hit dice less than his own, he can also cause the Shaken condition to aggravate to Frightened.

Thrill: spend 1 TP to ignore the +4DC penalty for trying to demoralize an enemy that's bigger than you.

I moved intimidating weaker enemies to a separate paragraph so that you can also do that when demoralizing as something other than a move action, such as a Gang Fighting, Standard Action demoralize, Dazzling Display or Enforcer feat.

I wouldn't allow demoralizing enemies with too many HD, because the skill check isn't really all that hard, and scaring away the BBEG on an average skill roll.. shouldn't happen. However, being able to make a giant nervous is perfectly okay.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

Mighty blow
I'll think about it. I've become leery of abilities that apply to all charges because of stupid cheesy pounce. I can either keep it short and sweet or stat to complicate it. I prefer short and sweet, and this class is mostly not.
Design note: one of the things I have been implementing into classes as of late is that when the character would get a BAB of 6 or 11 and sometimes 16, he also gains new new ways to bridge the gap between full attacks and standard action attack. There is no across the board design, but I think a warrior that takes one attack when he could take two or more should get a bonus of some kind.

Pounce is indeed not intended, but there'll probably be more and more ways of doing it as books get released. Pummeling Style is something that's just going to happen to people that play this class, it's a perfect fit.

I guess this class ability is more like original Vital Strike: intended as a consolation prize for situations where you have to move before attacking, but don't want to (or can't) Charge. Especially since ToaF looks like it'll reward being constantly in combat, this is important. You might run out of adjacent enemies after all.

I do think it might need careful wording so that it can be combined with other abilities like Awesome Blow. Referring to the "attack action" can cause some trouble (see Vital Strike). Maybe it's better to use:

Mighty Blow (Ex): Beginning at 6th level, when a Brute makes a single attack after using a Move action to move, he adds 1/2 his Brute level as a bonus to the damage roll.

I think that'll still let you use various odd abilities that make a single attack without using the standard attack action.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

Blunt heavy object
I like all of your thoughts on. One thing though, is that with the number of abilities you suggest moving down in level, I'm not going to know where to squeeze them in, or what to get rid of.

I like the new level 3 Blunt Heavy Objects. Although it should probably add that picking up those objects does/doesn't provoke AoOs.

The new Improved version is terrifying. Some notes:
- Does the damage to the object bypass its hardness? Probably shouldn't. Must check if that'll break the object fast enough howeverl.
- Spending Thrill to negate Dex to AC as a Swift means you can't both pick up a weapon and negate Dex in the same round. That might be a fair compromise however.
- I think the dazing option is too good. If you use a lot of fragile objects, that's a lot of dazing threats. Compared to other feats that can cause dazing, I think it's too good.

I do think giving it that enhancement bonus is a good move, although it should probably get an explicit note that this enhancement bonus can bypass DR. The idea of bashing a werewolf's head in with a Ming vase appeals to me. Maybe it should be possible to raise the enhancement bonus as a Thrill, rather than bypassing Dex to AC, since you can already do that with Dirty Fighting and Catch Off-Guard.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

Impr/gear thrill of a fight
What if effects like the ones I describe are instead downgraded by a step? Fear effect have three levels, and eventually even panicked is reduced to mere shaken. You mention the paladin, and her ability to ignore all fear. Well, that is a special paladin ability, and I'm ok with other warriors still being afraid.

Yeah, I'm not saying the Brute should be immune to fear outright, just that being immune to Frightened isn't quite awesome enough for a level 17 ability, considering how easy it is for the Paladin.

I do think it should be more clear what ignoring a condition means. If you're ignoring the Shaken condition, can it still be upgraded to Frightened? Or can you only be affected by things that move you from normal to Frightened directly.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

Shrug it off
I like this one thematically, but of my original 2008 abilities, this is the one I am the least attached to. Especially it TOAF gets sorted out.

I noticed it's not currently in the PDF.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

Gang fighting
This was inspired by Excaliburproxy's mention of Fezzig from princess bride.

I think the ability is perfect as it is right now.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

Rock throwing
The damage on rock throwing is based on the giant ability, and what damage they normally inflict. If the brute is eventually able to pick up larger improvised weapons, I guess he should eventually be picking up larger rocks. Note that rock throwing works with mighty blow to increase damage.

I think it's a bit better now, although the language needs polishing.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

Bludgeoning resistance
Yeah, its lame. Its a recent ability, not very inspired.

We'll look at that later, once ToaF is sorted out.

Re: Greater Blunt Heavy Objects: looks nice. But we still need an ability to wield creatures as weapons. Probably needs interaction with grapple rules if you want to use non-helpless creatures. That's fine; even using unconscious creatures should be quite fun.

Note that NPC brutes using unconscious PCs as weapons will still damage them, thus this is a really nasty attack form.

Re: Awesome Blow: copied from the Brawler? I see it's had language added so that it works with Mighty Blow.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

Bludgeoning mastery
I thought of that same thing ages ago and didn't use it. I guess I could work it into the blunt heavy objects chain. Its funny to me that you are wanting blunt heavy objects to go back to its 2008 form!

On second thought, this might need more work. See, Improvized Weapon Mastery also expands the crit range of improvized weapons, and wouldn't stack with this one.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

The capstone does not exist yet. It has to feel right.

Coming up with capstones is hard.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

I also would like the brute to be able to strangle dragons. Maybe an improved brawler ability allows him to initiate a grapple as a free action when he crits with an unarmed strike?

Perhaps. You'd also need to get Improved Grapple then. I think it's probably best to add an option for using helpless creatures as improvised weapons, and then add language on also using pinned creatures. Of course, since this is grappling, writing clear rules will take some concentration. Since so many things are already done in-class, I think you can afford Grapple feats if you want them.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

Yes, TOAF stacks with rage. This is not desired, and it is a loophole that appeared between he 2008 version and the PF revamp. Your concept of gaining temps each round is pretty much in line with the next fix I have been kicking around in my head. Except in my version the temps don't stack. I want the temps to be a shield, but not make him immune to injury.

As I wrote above, I like the idea of actually building up a thrill. But since they dissipate quickly if you aren't constantly fighting, it makes you very aggressive in combat.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

We can put awesome blow at a higher level when some of those abilities are lowered in level.

I'm sure I missed some stuff. Sorry. I will get to writing in a few hours.

Hey, these things take several revisions to get right. The Bravo turned out quite nicely after about 8 of them :)

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Okay, you can't stop people from WANTING to play them. It's something people just need to get out of their system.

That can be in your game, or in someone else's game.

Apart from many suggestions given by other players, allow me to propose something different:

Change your game. Temporarily. Set up a mini-campaign actively focused on them playing weird races. Rather than trying to keep your campaign "normal" and "sane", run with the craziness. No standard races allowed, not for PCs, not for NPCs. Let your players run wild, but in a wild world of your own. Instead of playing Hamlet, play Looney Tunes for a change.

Just tell the players that they all get to use the same amount of race points. If they all agree on 25bp, fine; that's what you'll use for NPC races as well. If they want to start at level 5, fine; you'll start with CR 5+ encounters.

Just make it clear from the outside that this is something you haven't done before, that you're not sure how long you'll enjoy it. But that you're willing to give it a try for say, six sessions. After that, you'll evaluate how well you like it, and might go back to "normality". But for those six sessions, you'll go with the flow and see if you can't enjoy it.

You really need to suspend your sense of normality for this. Otherwise you won't enjoy it. But that goes both ways; if your players use this opportunity to shamelessly powergame, making races that are just power stats with no actual cool style or background, it's going to be just six sessions. But if they blow you away with aforementioned creativity, this could be a lot of fun.

I've made extensive changes to PF for my home game, but in PFS, I enjoy the certainty that the game will be played according to predictable rules.

There's lots of things in PF that could be improved; some of them I think are structural defects, others are matters of taste. But that doesn't mean I think PF is a bad game; it's a very strong framework on which to build. Most of it hangs together well, which makes it possible to identify the parts that are less functional.

Also, I just enjoy tinkering with game systems. I've tried (but failed; it was just too hard) to write revised hacking mechanics for Shadowrun, and written most of a cleaned-up ruleset for Old World of Darkness Vampire. I've also written a streamlined merger of 2.5 and 3.0 D&D.

What I've learned is that game design is an iterative process; you notice a problem, you try a fix, and then you need to change your fix again because it still doesn't work right. All the while other players are getting annoying because they feel you're not listening enough to their input or because they're just getting tired of the constant changes.

Now imagine how that must be like for Paizo.

Well, if you merge Dodge/Mobility, then Spring Attack becomes attractive for rogues as a way to move around enemies. I don't think that's all that bad for the game though.

Whirlwind becomes a bit more accessible, but it's not like that feat is so powerful that it really needs that many prerequisites to balance it. Whirlwind's main balance is that focusing your fire on one opponent is often better tactics.

I've developed a new appreciation for Point-Blank Shot after playing an alchemist. As an archer I hate it though for getting in the way to Precise Shot.

Just decoupling them should be enough; it's okay for PBS to exist as long as it's not a prerequisite.

It needs some way of fighting bosses, because that's a fairly common thing in the game. Lots of adventures end with a boss fight, and no class should feel that they're actually bad at the climax of the adventure.

But it's perfectly fine if you need to use different tactics/abilities in a boss fight than against mooks.

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Some ideas:


Systems for catching escaping monsters, that the PCs might trigger by accident (Trap); if that happens they need to make it to the control center to release their compatriot.

In the control center, if they misunderstand the control panel, the risk of releasing all the monsters held in stasis.

Research notes in your best Aperture Science style. Maybe even a helpful (yet somewhat disturbing...) Construct that tries to assist the PCs.

Experimentation rooms with nasty equipment that might activate by accident.

A fight with monsters in an experimentation room, that suddenly activates, making this room very dangerous to both PCs and monsters. Tactical possibilities for the players to use the room against the monsters.

A really nasty monster that's escaped, but the PCs can use the facility's devices to recapture it.

Notes on which parts of the monsters have arcane uses if harvested (loot).

The unquiet spirits of monsters/people/test subjects that died here. The spirits might be persuaded to help the PCs if the PCs will help them find rest. On the other hand, they might trigger all kinds of nasty things if angered (see above).

Also: the class needs support for using the bodies of helpless creatures as improvised weapons. At later levels, maybe even creatures that aren't helpless. You should be able to do this.

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A thing to consider is that people want to play the concept of a rogue: a sneaky character who lies, steals, cheats and fights dirty. Who doesn't have to answer to a higher authority.

You don't really need the actual rogue class for that. It can do that, but so can a lot of other classes. A barbarian with a trait to gain Stealth as a class skill can do that. An urban ranger does it well. Monks are good at it. Dipping into the Shadowdancer prestige class means that just about anyone can do it well.

The rogue class has a name that suggests that it should be the rogue. Just like the fighter's class name suggests that it should be the the class that fights. Or the "magic-user" be the one to cast spells.

I view Rogue as a role in the party, just like Healer, Tank, Artillery and so forth. That role can be fulfilled by many classes.

And now we have the Slayer, who's really very well-suited to it. The old rogue class is no longer needed.


The rogue class does have one use however: for a player who wants to play on "Hard Mode".

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Thormind wrote:

Just for fun i created a lvl 13 Slayer to compare with my lvl 13 Rogue. I used same base stat, same gear and same combat style (Dex two weapon fighting)

The Slayer is just superior in combat. Full BAB gives him more attacks per round with higher hit chances. He lose some dice of sneak dammage but it is largely compensated by the hit/dmg bonuses he gets from studied target. He also has better saving throws and they are boosted again by studied target.

Skillwise he loses trapfinding but he has access to it from a talent. He has a little bit less skill points and different class skills but again this is compensated by studied target.

He has access to almost all good rogue talents and he gets new ones.

Like if that was not enough the Stygian Slayer archetype was added:

-Invisibility more than once per day for a single talent: no talent better than that anyway.
-The ability to use wand and staff to cast some extremely useful spells as a caster: you lose some small bonuses to a few skills.
-The ability to cast BOTH gaseous form and fog cloud on yourself for 7 minutes per day for a single talent: no talent better than that anyway...
-You lose medium and heavy armor but if you are dex based, most of the time you do not use these to keep your dex bonus.

With you so far. The Slayer is just plain better than the rogue. It's not better than other classes though; just the rogue. Because the rogue is weak.

Thormind wrote:

Conclusion: This class should have been given 3/4 BAB like the rogue

Disagree. The rogue is not the yardstick for a balanced class.

Conclusion: Just ask your GM if you can retroactively convert all your rogue levels to Slayer levels.

I like the idea of picking up furniture to use as weaponry, smashing it over people's heads; and then having Improved Unarmed Strike so that you don't accidentally stop being armed. That's good synergy between class features.

Also, I've fought against a giant zombie with rock throwing last week. That was pretty scary. Rock throwing is a cool ability if it's done right.

Another idea: if this class gets good at doing structural damage to buildings (at higher levels), you should never be stuck without improvised weapons to pick up. Doors, ceiling support beams and so forth should be available to you.

Am I right in assuming that the idea is that this class is completely nonmagical? While it's somewhat similar to barbarians, those tend to get all kinds of magical rage powers. Not the Brute. He does at some point start to hit things unbelievably, but that's because at some point he goes into high (level) fantasy mode, not because he gets supernatural powers.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency
Should this maybe also include the light and heavy flail and the earthbreaker?

Kudos on making a brute that can actually fist-fight. It always annoys me to have a supposedly cool warrior that can't really fight unarmed. I do wonder if the unarmed damage progression shouldn't go faster. Maybe on the Monk schedule.

I think the proficiency with improvised weapons should be moved to a separate ability, maybe something like Fight With Anything, to remind us of the alchemist ability. I think it's a sufficiently important part of the class to deserve a full treatment.

Thrill of a Fight
First off, it's important that this ability ends up on a single page, not spread across two of them, because it'll probably be the one you refer to most often while playing.

I like the things that let you regain Thrill Points, but maybe there's something missing still. You get a LOT of TP when you're bashing down mooks, but against a single boss enemy it gets a lot harder. Crits with improvised and unarmed strikes aren't all that frequent.

Spending TP as an immediate action when you're damaged is problematic. You'd lose those TP again right away, and also your Swift on the next round, so it'd be hard to keep the Thrill active. Also, getting a boost to AC while you're being damaged feels like it's just too late. Since you can only gain these temp HP 1x/hour, and they're not all that many, you'd probably immediately lose them again and then you'd also lose all the rider effects. And since your class encourages low armor, getting hit won't be rare.

Spending TP as an immediate action to keep the Thrill going isn't a solution, because you've just spent your immediate action already.

Brute Force
I think this ability would look neater if you cut the TP option. I'm not really sure why I'd use the TP option; in the odd case when I only have a Move, not a Standard?

On the other hand, I think this ability could be expanded with some Grappling options. Maybe as additional damage when you maintain a grapple and choose to inflict unarmed strike damage. (And shouldn't this class get Improved Grapple at some point too?)

Changing how Conditions work is not a good idea I think. The whole point of Conditions is to standardize them for convenience during play. I'd say that a TP should let you Demoralize as a Swift, because normally you want to spend your Standard actions hitting stuff. On the other hand, you can also pick up the Enforcer feat, since you have everything to use it already.

Also, maybe this should just give you the benefits of the Intimidating Prowess. I'm sure players will want to play this class with low Charisma because they don't actually want to be good at Diplomacy and stuff; they only want Intimidation.

Dirty Fighting
Looks nice.

Improved Bully
Looks good, although I wonder if it should also do something with the penalty that you have when trying to intimidate enemies bigger than you.

Mighty Blow
This should also apply to the Charge action.

Blunt Heavy Objects


When a brute deals damage with an

improvised weapon, the improvised weapon takes damage
equal to his level + his Strength modifier (or 1-1/2 times his
Strength bonus if wielded two-handed).


Anyway, I'm wondering if level 7 isn't way too late for this ability. Since you want to avoid making people use feats like Catch Off-Guard, I think you should grant this ability at level 1-2 instead. It's not like improvised weapons do all that much damage.

Also, I think improvised weapons already do 1.5 damage if used two-handed, since they basically use stats derived from the weapon they most resemble.

Instead, by level 7, this should start doing fantastical things. You're not bashing someone's head in with a chair, you're using huge ming vases, full beer kegs and so forth. At higher levels you'll be uprooting trees to use as clubs. I think we need to study the Titan Mauler debacle and learn from that.

The idea of weapons getting destroyed by this does intrigue me. Suppose you grant basically the whole text of Catch Off-Guard at level 2, and at 7 you do the following:

Beginning at 7th level, a brute can pick up an improvised weapon a swift action.

The Brute doesn't care that he's destroying the object he's holding, and gladly sacrifices it to batter through his enemy's defences. When the Brute chooses to use this ability, he receives a +2 to hit and damage with the object he's holding. This bonus increases by 1 every three levels after 7th. Regardless of whether the attack hits or misses however, the Brute also rolls damage against the object. If the item becomes Broken, those penalties do not affect the Brute's attacks with it. When it's destroyed however it can no longer be used as improvised weapon.

It needs some polishing. Maybe it would be best to just provide a small table with damage categories for items depending on size/shape/material, as well as typical HP and hardness. But the general idea is that you're constantly picking up new stuff to smash over people's heads because smashing stuff over people's heads also breaks the stuff.

Improved Thrill of a Fight
We'll need to look at this again as ToaF gets revisited. But in general this looks fine.

Shrug It Off
I don't think this'll really work. You want to use it on stuff that really hits very hard, but in that case you're not likely to succeed at the saving throw.

As is, it's going to be useful when you're fighting mooks, because they don't do a lot of damage and you earn a lot of TP for bashing their brains in. But against a big boss monster you'll have trouble meeting the DC and can't afford the TP anyway.

Gang Fighting
I like this.

Rock Throwing
The ability is really cool, but maybe it should come online a few levels earlier. Then, as you get more levels, you can throw increasingly bigger things, and at bigger distances. As it is, you could already throw javelins at level 1 for 1d6 damage with a better range increment. I think this needs to hit harder to be impressive.

Bludgeoning Resistance
I like the idea, but I think it needs to happen much earlier. This class isn't supposed to wear heavy armor, so it needs other ways to stay alive. I think general DR like the Invulnerable Rager barbarian might be in order, with heightened DR against Bludgeoning perhaps. Maybe even some always-on elemental resistances even, even and perhaps especially against Sonic (like anyone cares).

Smash on the Run
Nice ability. But I think it'd be okay at level 10 or so. By level 15 we're already moving beyond High Fantasy into the realm of the totally ludicrously powerful. At this point I expect to be running through stone walls.

I do think this ability has the seed of greatness. It should be expanded to the point where you can just smash through armies of lesser creatures, scenery and some walls, to make charge attacks at main enemies. At level 15 you should be a terrifying juggernaut, that doesn't really pay much attention to "rules" that you can't charge if there are obstacles. If you can smash through those obstacles, you should be able to charge as you like. Note that there's some overlap with Overrun here.

Greater Thrill of a Fight
Ignoring Nauseated is pretty cool. Ignoring Frightened is a bit late by now; paladins were already immune at level 3.

Improved Shrug It Off
In keeping with Improved Evasion, I feel that if you fail the save you should take only half damage. You did spend points after all.

Being able to arbitrarily decide that a successful attack will do half damage at best, that's the kind of brutal power we should have at level 17.

Also, if an attack does no damage, then any rider effects should also not trigger. (I believe this is a general game rule, but reminder text might be in order.)

Bludgeoning Mastery
I like it. But perhaps a similar ability should be applied to improvised weapons some levels earlier, stackable with this one.

Great Brute
Is this text accidentally missing? Or are you still looking for a capstone?


I know this looks like a lot of criticism. But I really like the soul of the class. I think however that at the higher levels you've fallen into the "non-magical = realistic" trap. Realism should be restricted to levels 1-5. Have you perhaps read this article?

At higher levels, I think a brute should be able to rip apart city walls with his bare hands, wield oversized (bludgeoning) weapons, and strangle dragons.

Regarding Thrill. The ability's name is good. I'm not so sure if your attempt to get around Rage rounds works so well though. Especially with new feats like Recovered Rage, rage is already a renewable resource.

Recovered Rage:
Recovered Rage

You regain rounds of rage or raging performance when
you drop a foe.

Prerequisite: Rage or raging songt class feature.
Benefit: Whenever you reduce a foe to 0 or fewer hit points while you are raging or using raging song, you regain 1 round of rage or raging song (your choice if you have both abilities), as long as the number of Hit Dice that foe possesses are equal to or greater than 1/2 your character level. You cannot use this feat to regain more rounds of rage or raging song than your daily maximum number of rounds.

Basing Thrill off of temporary hit points is a bit clunky. How about instead something like:

To activate Thrill of a Fight, spend 1 TP as a free action. ToaF lasts 1 round. If you make an attack or are attacked, the duration is extended to the next round. And if you fight in that round as well, the duration continues to extend, etc. If ToaF would end at the end of a round because no attacks were attempted, you may spend a TP to extend it for 1 round. If you lose consciousness, ToaF ends immediately.

Each round ToaF is active, you gain temporary HP equal to your Constitution modifier + half your Brute level. These stack with each other, but disappear when ToaF ends. So if you got a lot of temp HP, you may want to spend TP to keep ToaF going rather than restarting the next round. Note that the temp HP also fill in for some of your lacking defences. Perhaps as an alternative to DR.

While ToaF is active, you gain a +2 morale bonus to Natural AC and saving throws. This bonus increases by 1 at level 6 and every 6 levels thereafter.

As it stands, ToaF doesn't increase Strength nor does it leave you fatigued afterwards. In fact, it stacks very neatly with barbarian Rage. Is that intentional?

I do think it has the advantage of simplicity; no recalculating your combat stats when you activate it, just keep counting temporary HP.

Getting hit isn't so bad, because you're losing a lot of temporary HP. That might make the class very strong at low levels when daily resources are a thing. In big dungeons with lots of small critters, attrition games basically, this class would be extremely potent.

Against big bosses however you'd be in a bit more trouble. If ToaF keeps going as long as attacks are exchanged it does give you some staying power, but you'll need to invest more in to-hit and damage than a barbarian.


Also, some feats I want you to think about: Awesome Blow and Penetrating Strike. They look appropriate for this class, but have difficult prerequisites.

When you wanna make constructs, the cleric spell list is really quite good. Wizards lack some of the key spells like Animate Object. Not insurmountable, but it does give the clerics an edge. Also, clerics knowing all the spells on their list also helps them with creating items.

Obviously wizard magic is powerful and should radically change society. I just think clerical magic would change it even more. It's hard to ignore people who can raise you from the dead and who have insider knowledge about the ultimate fate of your soul. Take the power that the Church had in our history and multiply that because they can easily prove what they're preaching.

What LazarX said; most of the setting is trying very hard to pretend all this magic isn't really happening. Society is mostly medieval, curiously so in fact; Golarion's been stuck in medieval stasis for thousands of years. I mean, a very generous historian will give you the European middle ages as lasting about 300-1800; Golarion's been there for about five thousand years.

I think divine magic might actually have a much higher impact on society. Healing magic has a huge impact on the lives of ordinary people. Resurrecting magic has enormous implications for politics, such as royal succession.

So... I like the feel of the class. There's some real gold in the class abilities.

But I think the mechanics, at this stage anyway, are still rather clunky. Thrill of a Fight is spread over two pages and has dash- and bulletpoint lists. Right now this class has the curious property of having rather extensive rules to make it do something very simple: beating stuff up.

When I started reading the class I immediately thought about about this scene from Ong Bak. Especially the Turkish-looking guy, who's using all kinds of improvized weapons. Notice how those actually give Tony Jaa the hardest time; his refined fighting style has quite some difficulty with those unconventional attacks.

Now, improvized weapons are normally not something you do in PF if it isn't needed, because they tend to really suck compared to real weapons. They do less damage, have bad to hit, and don't carry enchantments.

However as that scene shows, they can be really cool. They do however need game mechanics to make them good enough to use. I'm thinking in the direction of denying opponents Dex to damage by constantly picking up new stuff to hit them with, so that opponents don't get to time to figure out how to defend against the thing you're currently wielding.

Woops. I must've missed that. Found it.

This works best if you're not making your weapon look like a different weapon that already has published stats. For example, if you used Greatsword stats to simulate a Falchion, that'd be confusing.

The half-orc bard who's proficient with falchions but not greatswords wouldn't be allowed to use your "sword", but I bet the player would be unpleasantly surprised about that.

I think spider sense is a good way to understand forewarned. You just KNOW that combat has started. He doesn't know anything else though, so if he wins initiative, he needs to do something very smart.

He can Delay, but that still leaves him flat-footed because he hasn't acted. It's better to Ready a spell to intercept the bad guy when he decides to reveal himself.

Honestly, Forewarned is a really good power. Divination School has about the best school powers, but the bonus spells per day aren't awesome, so that balances it out a bit.

A few weeks ago this came up as well, and I did some number crunching back then. In short, the result is that keeping the best of 2d20 doesn't raise your average roll all that much (from 10.5 to 13), but low results become much more uncommon because the probability curve is a different (more bell-like, but leaning right) shape.

So it's extremely good if rolling about a 8 is enough for you to hit; in that case you become far more reliable. But if you need an 18 the benefits are much smaller. Still better than nothing, but not all that huge.


Are you starting a separate Brute thread then?

Ah. Well, I rather dig the Brute. Did you want to discuss the Brute in this thread or would it be less confusing to use two separate threads?

Okay... you say there's a common design concept between those classes. I'm not seeing it right away; could you elaborate a bit on that?

Good to see that you're writing again. I'll take a more thorough look at it tomorrow.

Occultist is looking very viable to me. At low levels, the point cost of summons is relatively low, and your summon monster progression uses the wizard schedule of going up every odd level. So that's SM2 at level 3, and you don't get L2 spells until L4. I think that makes the Occultist strong in comparison with other Arcanists.

Summoning as a standard action makes it much easier to summon safely into combat, while minute-length duration means you can also use them for more scouting/utility jobs.

I'm not sure how well it'll work at higher levels, but at low levels I think this is a pretty strong class. By level 3 you can send Augmented Earth Elementals into battle. 3+ minute duration means you can summon them, explain in Terran what you want them to do, then send them through walls to attack enemies from behind.

To use terrain effectively, you need to know the relevant rules. If you have to look them up in the middle of the combat it takes the zest out of it. So make it easy on yourself: select the battlefield beforehand, and select 1-3 types of terrain features, like trees, difficult terrain, or lots of hard corners/walls.

Make sure you know those rules back and forth, and don't worry about the rest of the environment chapter; focus on what you're going to use today. It can be handy to print those specific rules on a reference card that you can lay down next to the battle mat, so that everyone can reference the rules easily.

Generate some plausible-looking terrain, position enemies and PCs, and then try to do whatever seems smart from the enemy point of view.

I use Finesse-without-Feat like some other people do; I've considered instituting a feat to also get Dex to damage. I don't want to render Strength obsolete entirely though.

I was thinking that I might cap the maximum damage added to damage by the max Dex to AC, as determined by armor and load. Since low Strength means a low light load, that would discourage excessive Strength dumping unless you don't plan to carry a lot of gear.

I thought the appeal for really big non-dinosaur animals was a good example; useful for druids who want alternatives for their top-end wildshape, and perhaps an opportunity to sneak in a more impressive bear AC (that actually grows Large at some point). But that's hardly the sort of thing to win a contest with. Even so, I too hope they'll make it into B5.

I'm interested in these experiences too, because I'm trying to determine what kind of dex to damage feat/option would be fun and balanced. I'm intrigued by the observation that a broad (finesseable)access as opposed to the scimitar-only access doesn't affect balance all that much, just the diversity of weapons used. That's encouraging.

I see a lot of things in the Bestiary 5 thread that I'd like to see in the next volume myself. But just because it'd be a useful or nice fit, doesn't yet make it a contest-winning spectacular one. I still have a lot of thread to read.

And is it me, or is there a handful of people that really dominates the postcount in that thread?

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It's a pretty long thread. Most likely someone else suggested something you can get excited about statting up :)

Isn't cruelty always evil? There might be degrees, making a difference between cruelty to animals, very cute animals, goblins, and humans, but cruelty is still evil, right?

Hmm, may have to check out that movie now.

If you don't like the summoner, think it's a clunky or OP class, or don't like how it steals the conjurer's thunder too much, but also envy it's summoning - then I think this is a very good compromise.

Standard action summoning is pretty powerful, and the minute duration adds a lot of options. Interestingly, you get access to new summon SLAs faster than you get access to regular spells of the same level.

I'm looking forward to playing this. I think it's fairly powerful but not entirely overboard.

I think we really need some more artwork for some of the new PFS races. I'm better the number of "official" pictures of wayang can be counted on one hand.

I'm also a fan of Golden Legion's Stayed Blade.

The merciful weapon property is decent.

The Varisia booklet is a good read though.

Playing an Orthophrenologist might be amusing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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brad2411 wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Taunty, Taunty, Taunt, Taunt...

That is all...

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Taunter

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

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


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

Wow, that's pretty nice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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