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I think one of the great assets of PFS is the uniformity of the rules. I've played in campaigns with a GM who knee-jerk banned a lot of things and I hated it. (He got better at this after he got some PFS experience himself.)
I love the way that in PFS you're fairly free of someone else's arbitrary likes or dislikes; as long as what you're doing is clearly by all the rules, you're good to go. Most of the time you don't have to negotiate the rules of the game before you can start playing.
There's an implicit meta argument at work here. As a level 3 wizard you're not likely to run into a CR 10 mindless undead.
There aren't that many mindless undead anyway; there are some zombie giants or suchlike, but they'll usually be side dishes, not the main enemy. The only places where you're likely to see powerful mindless undead are when the BBEG is a necromancer, or one of the PCs is a necromancer. In the case of the BBEG the undead should already be under his command, and you get the question of what happens if multiple people attempt to control the same monster.
In the case of PC necromancy it actually takes quite some fiddling for a PC to be both good at creating undead (usually involves being a cleric) and having Command Undead (a wizard spell). It's probably a dedicated necromancer build by then. That sort of thing already has wide-ranging campaign implications.
So, is CU too powerful because it works so well on mindless undead? I think not, because mindless undead just aren't that powerful.
Then, is CU too good because it also works on mindful undead? Will is a strong save for undead, so it's not guaranteed to work. If it does work you have an ally that requires careful handling. To start, the spell states the monster will not attack you; it might still have designs on the other PCs. That's probably one opposed Charisma check (no retries!) to start with. And another check to get it to do the things you want it to. Keep in mind that undead use Charisma for Con purposes and tend to have a high score in it. So you'd better pump your own Charisma too.
So, it's nice, but you have to really invest in it.
In my experience, someone playing a wizard to level 7 has been hindered by darkness before. Chances are he's got at least Darkvision from race or spell.
Casting Scry to locate a missing person when you have access to her dressing room (you know, full of hair brushes and personal effects) is also a logical step.
So if he just scried on her and she's in the sewers, he could see that. If the abductor continuously uses Deeper Darkness that might hinder, but given the title of DarkEST Abduction, chances are he's ready for that too. And I dunno how fair it is for the GM to decide that the BBEG is using Deeper Darkness all the time; he probably isn't, if he's disguising him(her?)self as the VC to impress the diva.
I've only played the scenario and we didn't have a wizard. I don't know what the sidebar says, haven't read the scenario yet. But this is an obvious PC tactic the scenario ought to account for. Does it?
In the CRB, the rule is that metamagic cares about spell slots, and ability scores care about spell levels. So there it's quite legal.
The FAQ changes the rule, it's in the PFS FAQ, not the CRB FAQ.
Keep in mind that PFS FAQs are not written by the PDT but by the campaign team. Their scope is only PFS.
Part of the art of playing a caster is knowing how to divvy up your spells in encounters. It's tightest at levels 1-2 but never really goes away; you'll always have to worry if you should really use all your highest level spells in a single encounter.
An important realization is that you don't have to cast a "real" spell every round. It's good to do something useful every round, but try to use spells only when it seems either like it's absolutely necessary (someone is in danger) or when it could make a big difference (one well-placed Create Pit can wreck the enemy team's tactics; a Color Spray can halve an encounter; Burning Hands to take down a swarm).
Focus on spells that provide an effect that's hard to replicate for a melee type; no need for you to do what they can do cheaper. Magic Missile is not a great spell at level 1. Color Spray is good for taking down dumb brutes, and Grease for restricting the mobility of big clumsy brutes.
So when you're not casting your Big Shot spells, what else can you do in a combat round?
It sounds like a very common misunderstanding combined with a bit of rules from maneuvers applied to everything else.
An attack of opportunity is triggered not by moving INTO, but by LEAVING a threatened square. In your example, you don't get an AoO for moving into the square adjacent to the giant, but for leaving the square a little farther off that he was also threatening with his big arms.
Taking a penalty on your to-hit check for damage from an AoO, only applies in once circumstance: maneuvers that you're not skilled at. You trigger an AoO if you try a maneuver that you don't have the Improved Something feat for.
So if you trigger an AoO for any other reason, that rule doesn't apply. If you move closer to the giant you trigger an AoO, but that one doesn't cause any penalties (just pain). Then when you next decide to grapple the giant, and don't have Improved Grapple, you trigger a second AoO, but only from the giant you're targeting. On this second one, if the giant hits you, you get a penalty.
However, normally you only get one AoO atttempt per round. So maybe the giant already used it on you when you were getting closer, and now you actually have the opportunity to grapple him without him taking that AoO and hindering you.
Just be careful with monsters that look like they were made for taking advantage of AoOs. They often have the Combat Reflexes feat.
For a tengu the Inspired Blade duelist archetype with Fencing Grace does look like a very sweet dip. You can even use a shield, so between Dex and that, your AC could somewhat offset the loss of Con.
Alternatively, that one level dip in swashbuckler isn't your prime plan, which is archery; but you have a rapier if melee can't be avoided.
I was worried that Bicker was like an Antagonize feat but with no limit on usage...
a. Is it legal (w/ or w/o table variation)?
b. Is it ethical (anything wrong with it)?
Playing a 26 HP barbarian that turns into a nerdy wizard at level 2 is a bit gauche, but I wouldn't call it unethical.
c. would you do it?
I have and will likely do so again.
d. would you mind if others did?
Go ahead. Have a good time.
Some of the most annoying people to play with are total klutzes when it comes to character building. Their extreme ineptitude can be grating. And then they start shooting hostages because they're not sure how to deal with the possessing entity.
And some extreme powergamers are a delight to play with because they know how to share spotlight but also make sure everyone makes it back alive. You look at the iffy signups for a dangerous scenario, worry a bit and then spot their name and "Phew! Ward is playing up only one level, this is going to be fine".
@Nefreet: Your Q&A is looking good. Keep it up.
This could be clearer though. We have cases to distinguish:
A) I'm attaching this sheet to a GL PC
In case A, can I:
In case B, can I:
The answer to most of these is probably No, but it would be good to clear up. Personally I'd like the option (perhaps for non-newbie players) to choose at the beginning of the session to declare their pregen in a different faction so that they can earn faction boons and journal advancement.
Imagine that your table is levels 3, 6, 6, 6 and you're the L3 player; furthermore, you're playing a 3-7 adventure which is supposed to be relevant to your faction, say Dark Archive. Your APL is 5.25 so you'd be playing the low tier with a grossly overqualified party; but you don't have enough players to play the high tier. If you switched to a L7 pregen you'd have a table that was nicely in-tier and everyone has a much better time. But you lose out on a boon or the opportunity to complete a hard Faction Journal goal.
I suspect "are assumed to be GL" is a trick to speed up starting the game with newbies, so that you don't have to explain factions and make them choose at the beginning of the game.
I think a better rule would be "pregens are assumed to be GL unless you state otherwise at the beginning of the scenario" and "you can only earn faction-specific boons if you played your pregen as belonging to that faction AND you attach the chronicle to a character of that faction."
Joe Ducey wrote:
Yeah, there's like all of 3/4 of a page describing what the race is like, and about two pictures of wayangs. I would like more than that, wayangs could be awesome. I'm really enjoying playing mine as extremely skittish, scared of anything bigger than him, and lamenting the return of the sun to Golarion. Things were better when eagles couldn't spot you from up high.
We seriously need a clear rule on how to handle "the same thing" appearing in two books with different, sometimes updated mechanics.
Because although people naturally assume so, there is not any rule saying you should use the newest rules, that anyone's been able to quote to me.
And if you think about it, that would undermine half the point of Additional Resources: that you can show your GM an accurate version of the ability you're using, if you own the source.
If only the version of a thing from the most recent source is legal, the other source is not sufficient. For example, if I have an item from UE, but it gets a newer printing in say, Adventurer's Armory. Because I have UE I have the right to use the item. But the newest rules are in a book that's not in the PRD and which I might not own, nor the GM.
This is less problematic if the newest source is in the PRD, which is often the case because stuff tends to go from softcovers to reprinting in hardcovers.
What have you got against Valais?!
That aside, I very much prefer sharing initiative. Pay your Handle Animal skill rank tax, buy the training harness, take the standard tricks, and get on with things.
One reason for channeling/running from haunts is that the lack of clarity in the rules, and the lack of guidance for GMs, makes interacting with them a pain for the players, not just the characters.
If the GM doesn't really know how haunts work, or has it wrong, or is being cagey about the game mechanics for interacting with haunts in general, they as a player it gets less and less fun to actually make the effort.
Michael Eshleman wrote:
While it's true the monster knowledge rules don't apply, that doesn't mean haunts are totally unknowable.
Knowledge skill description, CRB wrote:
Notice that it covers more than just monsters; it's just that the rules for monsters are best-defined.
For haunts, you could either base the DC on the haunt's CR as if it were a monster, or you could say "it's a really tough question" and pick something between 20 and 30.
I think I'd use DC 15 for vague clues that nudge people in the right direction, and DC 20-30 for insights into what spells the haunt uses, what it's AoE is and similar game mechanics.
Gummy Bear wrote:
I quite agree with this. The comment I was responding to sounded more like people with companions were expected to be faster than most people, with or without companions.
Of course you should have stuff precalculated as much as possible, and of course you're thinking ahead what sort of things you might want to do next turn.
But after a few levels, a tactically interesting combat will have enough things changing from turn to turn that you can't quite now what the situation will be when your turn comes up next. A new enemy is summoned, an enemy unexpectedly survives a full attack and is now in position to return the favor, a PC has just gone down and needs immediate attention, a Wall of Fire suddenly separates you from your planned target, you just got Greater Dispelled, and so forth.
Okay, I totally agree with that. I misunderstood your previous post, I thought you were saying you know how to destroy any arbitrary haunt. But they all have different destruction requirements, so.
What does trip up people is that the haunt mechanics aren't widely understood, or perfectly clear for that matter.
- The knowledge check to know anything] about a haunt is problematic, because there's no directly applicable rule to determine DC, or give indication on what kind of questions you can ask. The nearest analog is knowledge checks for monsters.
I think this issue with knowledge of the rules hamstrings players in interacting with haunts, leading to reduced agency and irritation.
The Hao Jin tapestry has at least two independent city-states in it. I'd let the tapestry count.
"Checking one of this goal’s boxes does not prevent you from checking one box for a different goal." Doesn't say the other goal has to be on the same card.
I'd allow countersong, but not Calm Emotions. Countersong looks enough like a second save to me.
Unclear. The Knowledge check rules for haunts are vague. If the GM doesn't allow "how do we destroy it" as a question, try "how do we find out how to destroy it" for a lead?
The knowledge rules say that you can make a check to know something useful, and more if you exceed the DC by 5+. It doesn't give difficulties for haunts, but there's no reason you can't use knowledge on haunts otherwise. I recommend using the same DCs as for creatures, i.e. based on CR.
Just the +2 bonus, Versatile Performance doesn't replace skill ranks.
"Fulfill one of the goals above without revealing your faction affiliation to anyone other than a present or futuremember of the Sovereign Court."
I would say no, stuff on the other card is not above the goals on one.
I'd allow that.
And remember this:
Faction Cards How To Use wrote:
That's a very designer-centric way of looking at it. "This feature is hard to implement properly, so people shouldn't want it."
Boss fights are a staple of mythology. RPGs should be able to create satisfying fights of a party against a single monster. It's something I'm sure a lot of designers would like to invent.
And it's also a matter of degrees. Old crane wing made things significantly worse. Changing it didn't defeat the whole problem, but it's a step in the right direction.
And yeah, I think slumber is also badly designed and should also be changed.
While old Crane Wing resembles Deflect Arrow in terms of pure mechanics, it's not the same balance-wise.
Most monsters with a ranged attack have something else they can do, while many dumb melee monsters don't. Most ranged attacks will gain iteratives; monsters with natural weapons don't. And in my experience, I fight more things in melee than at range.
So old Crane Wing had a much wider scope of use than Deflect Arrow.
Many different kind of dungeons - no one answer that is always right.
You could characterize a dungeon by how the inhabitants are organized.
If you have an idea of the "ecosystem" of your dungeon, you can set up wandering encounters that "make sense". In fact, your players might figure out how the place works, and use that to figure out where they can rest.
For example, if the monsters are territorial gangs, upon defeating one gang there's a swath of territory the PCs can rest in for a while. After a couple of days, the other gangs notice the border isn't being watched anymore and start to scout, and eventually move in to claim the territory.
In another example, the dungeon is a big hobgoblin fortress. While the PCs have the element of surprise they get rooms with encounters they can handle. Some time after initial entry, patrols find trashed rooms and corpses and sound the alarm, and a coordinated search for the intruders starts. This is a "hard" dungeon for PCs because if they dally too long or make too much noise they could be trapped against waaaay more monsters that they're ready for.
Now, if the players have some idea of what they're facing, they can start making plans, like "we have to get the MacGuffin and get back out again before they get organized", or "we need to focus on clearing out one gang completely so that we can use their territory as a base camp". They can make decisions on when to go nova or when they need to count out each spell carefully because they need to do more before it's safe to rest.
Played this last weekend on low tier. We had a party that only barely didn't qualify for high tier, so of course we had a relatively easy time.
Interesting point was when I used my folio reroll on Diplomacy with the Shoanti informant to turn a 2 into a 19. Getting the warning about Galdran coming at us with fire meant that we all had Fire Resistance 20 up at the final fight. I felt so very vindicated in spending my reroll on Diplomacy instead of saving it for a crucial saving throw.
Also interesting was the Aspis fight: our wizard Dim-Doored Zeva out of the fight, and the summmoner got a Satyr to Suggest everyone leave the place. So when the haunt triggered there was nobody (neither Aspis nor us) in the market. My inquisitor was one of the few people not failing against the Suggestion and standing just outside the door; she was just looking over her shoulder and going "whaa... guys...?"
x4 crits in low-level adventures seem to be a thing of the dark times of season 0-1, when writers had yet to realize how enormously bad an idea that was in terms of writing a fun adventure. Even though it makes perfect sense as a favored weapon for the god of sudden accidental death. Fun > Flavor.
Grading scenarios by difficulty is, well, difficult. Reading reviews can help, but not every reviewer is equally representative. It's easier to know if a review would apply to your group if the review mentions what kind of party had that easy/hard time. ("They had four barbarians and thought the enemies went down easy.")
What annoys me most is when an author manipulates the CR grading system to produce encounters that are technically within the limits of the tier, but are really much harder. A level 2 barbarian is supposedly only a CR 1 encounter, and two of them a CR 3. But their to-hit and damage output can easily kill a L1 character with a lucky roll.
Likewise you have shenanigans like adding a Young template to a monster with weapon finesse or that relies on ranged attacks. Supposed downscaling increases its to-hit by +3.
Terrain that really favours enemies is supposed to be worth +1 EL, but that's often ignored. Like everyone having to squeeze into a room where they then get fireballed and fast-bombed by an optimized alchemist.
I'm fine with the challenge, but let's be honest about how hard it is, instead of pretending it's easy because that's what blind faith in normal CR counting rules tells you.
For season 0-3, if nobody's in the high tier, you don't have to play up. That rule doesn't apply to newer scenarios however.
In the 4,4,5,5,5 case, I'd propose that they may want to use a couple of pregens to either reduce APL, or get more ready for the high tier.
EDIT: or of course take a look at their character folders, maybe someone has an alternative PC they can play that would shift the tier.
I do try to spot this before it happens and discuss it with players if they're heading into a weird tier.
You can be specific or generic in what you pick as a condition. "If he does something magical" is just as valid a choice as "if he casts a spell", but it'll also catch a cleric channeling negative energy. Not that you can interrupt that, but at least you didn't waste a round waiting for a spell that never came.
Nobody's proposing fifteen separate triggers here. Nobody's proposing ignoring the rules like you keep saying.
There's a risk of course. If you ready an action in such a way that a 5ft step itself triggers it ("he does anything other than surrendering"), you get your chance to strike before the wizard starts casting, not during. So you won't interrupt his spell. It does come close to guaranteeing that you'll some of what you want no matter what he does, but you're not as certain that you'll get everything that you want.
@Letric: there is a way to 5ft-step during a readied action, but you can only do that if you didn't move during your turn.
CRB, Combat, Ready wrote:
You can take a 5-foot step as part of your readied action, but only if you don't otherwise move any distance during the round.
I think the condition should be clear enough, and objective enough. Any external observer should be able to quickly and easily adjudicate whether the event matches the trigger or not.
"Unless he does what I just told him to" is broad but clear and objective. The wizard either complies, doesn't, or bluffs the fighter into thinking he complied. All of these can be judged by an external observer (GM, bystander), assisted by some Bluff/Sense Motive checks maybe.
"If he does something I don't like" is not clear and objective enough. It can't be fairly judged by anyone else than the fighter and that makes it an invalid condition in my eyes.
"If he does one of the following 20 things" is too complicated, too. Lists aren't okay. Broad categories are. "If he casts a spell or channels or uses a supernatural ability or activates an item..." is too much I think. "If he does anything magical" is a fine and clear condition.