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I think the alignment DRs are very asymmetrical in importance. If it's DR/Evil, then you probably shouldn't be trying to kill that creature in the first place (assuming you're a paladin).
If it's DR/Chaotic, then there's a chance the matter can be settled without fighting if you take the time to understand the opponent, because he's probably very Lawful. (Also, there's a chance he'll just get replaced by another Inevitable until their reason for pursuing you ends.)
DR/Lawful can be a bit trickier, although it's fairly rare.
So DR/Good is really the majority of all alignment DRs that you really need to be fighting. That's one reason the Holy enchantment can be better than going from +3 to +5.
From my houserules:
I'm seriously considering making them Full BAB as well, because they're really almost there already with Flurry. Might as well make things simpler.
At the risk of sounding cynical... Trapfinding is often a trap.
When none of the PCs has it, GMs often don't put in all that many traps into their adventures. When a PC has Trapfinding, suddenly the GM feels a need to validate that choice by increasing the number of traps encountered.
If you still want Trapfinding, I'd go with the Archaeologist Bard. It's a solid archetype that does just fine even if no traps show up; it's still got spells, a very nice luck ability (especially with the Fortune's Favored trait), good skills and it's decent at combat.
I think the Seeker Sorcerer is too hindered by the low number of skill points, otherwise that'd be my recommendation as well.
I'm waiting for the official ACG before I use any of it; I just don't like being forced to rebuild if I use playtest stuff now. But then it'll certainly be worth looking into.
If Crane Wing hadn't been nerfed, MoMS would've been worthy I suppose. But, well.
Are we certain Power Attack is necessary? Lately I've been playing scenarios not using it at all because the AC of monsters has been on the high side. Against my paladin. :(
I've also been thinking. What if we took a step back from the Sohei and pick up a trait to gain UMD as a class skill. Then we get a wand of Mage Armor.
We become more MAD on Wisdom, but we save some money on armor. AC probably goes down a little bit, but we get access to all the other Monk archetypes.
What other archetypes have cool stuff to add? I'm having a surprisingly hard time finding any.
Yeah, I think fixing the summoner isn't going to be a neat clean operation like you're hoping for. But it'll be basically this:
- Clean up the spell list. Raise the level of spells that the summoner gets too early. Haste, I'm looking at you. It's fine that the summoner is on the fast track for summon spells, but not for general-purpose good spells that aren't actually about summoning. Making Haste a level 3 spell for summoners and likewise fixing a few other spells would help.
- The eidolon is too complicated and can be overpowered. It's complexity means that a lot of mistakes get make, often by overlooking obscure restrictions. This adds to the OP potential, but some of that OP is just RAW. The solution is to rebuild the eidolon rules like the AC rules. People manage to build ACs according to the rules all the time, and they're still powerful and flexible enough. The thing most likely to trip up new players with the AC is tricks, and that's not an issue with eidolons because they're more intelligent.
Second edition slimes really unnerve me. They'll drip down into someone's neck without anyone noticing really, numbing the skin and infiltrating the body. A couple of hours later one of your party members has turned into a slime creature and he's creeping up on you.
I have a "soft spot" (as in, am easily scared by) monsters that somehow "infiltrate" - like skin-burrowing parasites, or bugs that'll crawl in your nose and ears.
Well, I suppose given how hard it is to pin down the RAW on this, it's off the table for PFS. In a home game though, it's certainly worth asking the GM how he reads it. Maybe you'll get lucky.
Me, I'd say that levels in "real monk" don't count for Monastic Legacy, but that levels in other classes (like Iroran Paladin, or Ninja with the Unarmed Combat Master talent) are counted.
So the level 6 paladin/level 8 sohei would end up with the unarmed damage of a 6th level monk (6/2 + 6/2 = 6); the Sohei levels are "dead".
With the Ninja (who just uses Monk level = Ninja level -4), it's possible to use Monastic Legacy to eventually go faster than a normal monk. I don't think that's all that special nowadays; we have oracles using Favored Class Bonus to advance animal companions faster than a druid. And while the Boon Companion was probably written for multiclassing druids, in practice it's mostly a Ranger feat. Also, there's a Monk's Robe item that actually gives you a bonus on monk level for determining damage, allowing you to deal damage as a monk 5 levels higher IIRC. So getting dice ahead of character level isn't new. </digression>
I want to go over this again. It's like a scab that I can't stop myself from picking at :P
Paladin of Irori wrote:
Unarmed Strike: At 1st level, an Iroran paladin gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. In addition, he gains the unarmed strike monk ability, treating his monk level as half his paladin level (minimum 1) for calculating his unarmed strike damage.
As I read this, the Unarmed Strike Monk Ability (USMA) is a sort of function that takes you monk level and size, and calculates a damage dice value.
Significantly, it doesn't say it stacks with actual levels in monk! Apparently you can have a real monk level and a paladin-monk level at the same time. This looks like a writer's mistake to me. On the other hand, if they do stack, weird stuff happens between the paladin's increasing damage and the sohei's non-increasing damage.
Monastic Legacy wrote:
Benefit: Add half the levels you have in classes other than monk to your monk level to determine your effective monk level for your base unarmed strike damage. This feat does not make levels in classes other than monk count toward any other monk class features.
This feat is adding stuff to your Monk Level for purposes of USMA, and the paladin does have a monk level, even without actual levels in the Monk class. If you somehow got Still Mind without monk levels, you could take this feat and it'd probably apply.
Yeah, more generous skill points and class skills would be nice.
Bloodline spells as soon as you could cast them. Your iconic spells should be the first ones you get access to.
If you get something like claws as a bloodline ability, maybe you should get an accompanying BAB boost - "act at full BAB when using these claws" perhaps. At least do something about those abilities that feel like "this would be useful if only I was playing a totally different class".
If you have two enemies fighting each other and they have a hard time damaging each other, interesting things can happen;
- They resort to more maneuvers, even if not skilled in them (since the AoO isn't quite so scary anyway). If you tie up an opponent you can use Coup de Grace attacks...
- They become interested in recruiting a third party (read: the PCs) who are better equipped for this sort of fight.
- They start trying to use their more circumstantial SLAs and such to seek an advantage.
I'd say remove the "cheat death" uses - any option that's so good that you dare never use any of the other options is essentially killing the soul of your game mechanics.
What you're not talking about, but what I think is important, is go also give a balancing reason why not to always take the evil mission. Perhaps sometimes the evil mission damages your reputation, because people find out what a scumbag you are. Doors close in your face. Don't do this too often or in plot-killing ways, just enough to illustrate the point.
Broadly speaking, there are various reasons why normal people don't "go evil" -
Corruption isn't quite as exciting if all of the PCs immediately take all of the evil missions. They're not being corrupted, they already were evil. It's more interesting if they're tempted but also have reservations.
So if a PC is afraid of getting caught, what if he's offered an opportunity to do bad stuff and get away with it? And maybe then he's blackmailed into doing it again...
I've seen lots of different things done.
* Some people just put the map on the table. It's easy, but it's hard not to metagame if you see a significant-looking room.
* Some people draw the map beforehand, then cover it with some newspapers. As the party explores the dungeon, the GM peels away some of the covering. I prefer this one, because you don't have to do mental gymnastics as a player to not metagame.
* Some people draw everything in real-time. If you're running an improvized dungeon, you have little choice. Not a lot of metagaming (except where the edge of the map is going to be). However, it's time-consuming. If the GM has to spend five minutes drawing a room and positioning enemies, that does take away some of the fast pace of combat.
* I've seen someone use flipover paper with 1-inch gridding. He had a stack of maps of encounter locations. He could just put them on the table whenever a planned encounter happened. This helps speed up the setup of combat; you could even draw small numbers where (visible) monsters start. This is really helpful if the dungeon won't fit on a single dry-erase map anyway, or if you're having encounters outside the dungeon.
As a bonus, I've also had GMs who had people roll up initiative at the start of the game session, and after every combat. So that when the next combat starts, he only needs roll monster initiative and drop down miniatures.
Some dungeons are huge, and don't fit on a single map. In that case though, it might be more useful to draw a graph to demonstrate the connections between specific zones of the dungeon. A circle indicates a notable region, perhaps with a grid map and encounters. The lines indicate corridors, caves, roads, or even interdimensional portals, connecting the zones.
What are some of the best designed Feats, Traits, Spells, etc. and what makes them so well designed?
The stalwart defender is a bit of a mixed bag. The abilities are okay, and Uncanny Dodge is something this Dodge-dependent build REALLY needs. But the Defensive Stance is a bit annoying, because you're not allowed to move. I suppose wearing a Cord of Stubborn Resolve would get around that though.
Even if you don't go into the Champion, the Chevalier is good on its own.
The Champion is pretty cool in general, but particularly if the GM likes to throw mobs of monsters at you; it has a large number of powers that require you to be facing multiple monsters at once (Sweeping Smite, Valiant Stand, Whirlwind Smite, and using Ki Pool to get additional Smite uses).
Note that Smite Chaos gives you "gains an additional use of his paladin's smite evil ability." - not sure if that would give you more Smites if you got them from Chevalier.
I noticed that you advocate only two levels of Champion - why exactly? For the Ki Pool ability (which is amazing - getting additional Smites - if it works)?
It's a good dip for bards and perhaps magi; classes that can cast in light armor without fuss. Better for bards because of the shared love for Charisma.
I think you're right about Mounted Combat; probably not worth it. But since the Sohei has this conspicuous ability, I think it deserves a comment, even if just to warn against it.
How does Monastic Legacy interact with the Unarmed Strike Damage progression? Is it any use?
Bah, I think Perception should be split in two. The part that governs Surprise is just too important for a skill, and should be made something like Concentration. The "Search" part is still nice to have, but no longer so important that every class is coming up with justifications why this class deserves Perception as a class skill.
Everyone NEEDS it. I think too many classes (alchemist!) get it. It should only be the stealthy/nervous classes like ranger, ninja/rogue, monk and maybe gunslinger who get it. Classes that go above and beyond the normal training.
As a side note, you can also use these archetypes with a Whip, and take the Whip Mastery feat line. You won't be doing quite as much insane amounts of damage, but you get to do funny stuff like True Strike->Spell Combat->Whip Trip/Disarm.
Yes, a whip can be a Black Blade. It's a one-handed slashing weapon. Even allows for Weapon Finesse. Kensai gets you the Exotic Weapon Proficiency. And in that case the Black Blade is more justified; what are the odds of finding neat magical whips (compared to mainstream swords)? Flavorwise it's easy - devil's whips make convincing black blades.
@Cazin: The problem is that you can't usually add a stat to itself. So you can't replace Dex with Cha, then add Cha to Cha. (Also, you're adding Cha to Dex, which you're no longer using anymore.) It uses some pretty ambiguous rules and is probably not legal. Different GMs are very likely to interpret it differently.
In other words, not recommended for PFS.
What are some of the best designed Feats, Traits, Spells, etc. and what makes them so well designed?
It has no Armor Check Penalty, but it still applies penalties for weapons used in that hand.
It's not just feasible, it's one of the most common magus build played. Probably more common than a baseline magus.
You usually see them take:
Spell: Shocking Grasp. It's been ruled in the FAQ that a melee weapon used to deliver the spell does get the
Trait: Magical Lineage (Shocking Grasp). Reduce metamagic costs by 1.
Intensify Spell, used to increase the maximum damage from Shocking Grasp to 10d6 rather than 5d6.
Then, a weapon is chosen: the Scimitar. It has a big Crit range which can be further extended with Arcane Pool to make it Keen. This ties in neatly with the Kensai's 4th level Perfect Strike ability; if the Kensai crits (30% chance of threat) the crit multiplier can be increased by one. The critical damage includes the damage from the Shocking Grasp! Making them 33d6 critical hits at level 10!
Finally, why Scimitar instead of another good crit-range weapon like the Rapier? Dervish Dance. This magus doesn't need Strength after level 3. Combined with the Kensai's Canny Defence ability, the monster-PC gets a huge AC and huge damage output.
Frankly, I think the Bladebound archetype is quite superfluous, even holding the character back a bit by decreasing Arcane Pool. However, getting a guaranteed magic weapon of your choice can be important if the GM is being difficult about the availability of sufficient loot to sell or magic weapons to craft/buy.
Seems I misread the variant size Monk unarmed strike table. I guess re-sizing isn't so wonderful after all. Though more natural reach is nice of course.
I think the guide should have an aside on whether or not mounted combat could be worth it. After all, the Sohei has very easy access to those feats and possibly the Monastic Mount. Is it worth using any of those options?
I think it might be interesting for the halfling; using the Sohei bonus feats you can pick up Ride By and Spirited Charge, considerably increasing damage. (And of course small creatures riding medium mounts have an easier time in dungeons.)
Another option worth considering is Improved Grapple. Whether it's worth is will depend on whether you're the only warrior in your group (if so, probably not). And it won't always be useful; some monsters aren't good for grappling.
However, qualification is easy and it's there as a monk bonus feat if you want it. And against some opponents, it completely breaks their strategy (like casters, cavalry/ride-by, or archers that don't provoke).
Again for the halfling, I think this gives you a way to "gain their attention". Against Large+ opponents you have Risky Striker, against medium opponents Grapple is workable.
I thought there was a way to start grappling people as an AoO, but I can't seem to find it. The best I can find is to use Imp. Trip -> Ki Throw -> Binding Throw, but that's a bit longer a feat chain than I like.
On the whole I like that this archetype doesn't have a big long mandatory feat chain attached.
Also, since Nagaji are going to be PFS-legal soon, I think they deserve a mention as a race; they have the right stat adjustments after all. Not as godly as Aasimar, but more available.
You're welcome :) I might give this a try soon enough, to grandfather in an aasimar.
You're right about the meteor hammer, I saw that wrong. Unfortunately, since it's a good option.
The Double-Chained Kama might be interesting too. While the damage isn't great, it looks like its Trip ability is pretty good. If you have to drop one of the ends to prevent a counter-trip, you can just pull on the other end. That text is a little bit ambiguous though.
I suppose the reach/flurry build could try to first trip someone at reach, then 5ft step in to continue the flurry. But I agree that the damage of the monk reach weapons is not so great.
I read your guide with interest. Some ideas to consider.
I get your point against halflings. In this however my motive is a bit different than yours; I already play a human paladin that just hits stuff. I was thinking about a character that's unusually strong on defence and yet fast.
However, doing enough damage to remain a relevant target is indeed valuable, perhaps even necessary. That Risky Striker feat is pretty cool actually, because unlike Power Attack it doesn't sacrifice hitting accuracy. I'm thinking this character might catch people by surprise by not seeming to be an important target in combat, then suddenly being exactly where he needs to be and going to town.
Angelblooded Aasimar is pretty nice, I think it's probably the strongest choice if you care about offence. The halfling would be the best defensive choice with some underdog fun with Risky Striker. The human is of course not bad (humans never are), but not as extreme.
I definitely don't like having to drop a weapon if I'm going to switch to another. For one, we might have to run away. But it's also possible that we need to chase someone, or just plain move around on the battlefield. I don't want enemies picking up my discarded weapons and using them against me. And I might also want to switch back and use the old weapon again. Dropping it makes picking it up harder than drawing it would've been.
If I'm not mistaken, the classical Wu Xing elements don't include air, but do include fire. Based on the "insulting" cycle, I might go with:
Fire - Fire. "Fire evaporates water."
All in all, I'm least impressed with the assignment of Sonic. I'm most surprised by cold/electric; I'd have expected that metal would conduct electricity and water would cool stuff. But I suppose this systems pre-dates modern knowledge about electrical wiring.
I recently noticed that the Sarenrae-Ranger combat style allows you to go to Whirlwind without all those silly prerequisites. But I haven't yet found a neat way to combine that with Pounce.
I think the thing with Whirlwind is, it's occasionally good, for example if you happen to be adjacent to 2-3 enemies that your iteratives aren't super-likely to hit anyway. That's probably 80% of the feat's use.
That's nice, but not worth the huge feat tree. Now if you can get Whirlwind at a discount, then it's nice as an option just for when it's good, rather than it being your complete strategy.
(By the way: kudos to Paizo for finally, if sneakily, enabling a truly whirling dervish.)
Consider the [url=http://www.d20pfsrd.com/races/other-races/featured-races/arg-tiefling]variant heritages]:
Demon-spawn: +2 Str, +2 Cha, -2 Int. Thematic and you're essentially up 2 Cha from a human, but the Str bonus isn't all that useful and the Int penalty possibly painful. +2 Perception is nice.
Div-spawn: +2 Dex, +2 Cha, -2 Int. Dex is good, -Int is bad, and thematically it's a bit weird. It's legal to take a Demon or Devil lineage though, though the GM might frown.
Kyton-spawn: +2 Con, +2 Cha, -2 Wis. Con bonus is pretty sweet. Wis penalty might be less painful than the Int penalty on the above options. Getting Web at level 1 is pretty sweet.
Rakshasa-spawn: +2 Dex, +2 Cha, -2 Wis. Disguise bonus could be handy to hide your race. Detect Thoughts SLA is nice too.
Note that you could use the cross-blooded sorcerer trick to go Demon/Devil+[Div/Kyton/Rakshasa], to glue the theme together a bit.
Wow. This looks pretty neat actually. I'd been pondering a paladin/monk PFS character for extreme peril adventures, but I couldn't crack the armor/wisdom issue.
I wonder what races would be best choices? Aasimar could work of course, as could halfling. Halfling's a bit annoying in the damage output department but pretty great in the defence department.