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Ascalaphus's page

FullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 5,034 posts. 25 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 8 Pathfinder Society characters.


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Sovereign Court

Maybe not. I guess it depends on what you consider "visible".

If we take it to mean the lines-from-corners-to-corners used for computing cover, this situation leaves you with exactly 50%, while you need 51%.

Sovereign Court

eah, I just ran into this problem.

Our VC has basically delegated the organizing one one store to me. I make sure sessions get scheduled and such, and people hand me stuff to report. But now I'd first have to get the VC to add the scenario to the event before I can report on it.

It basically limits an event owner's ability to truly delegate.

Sovereign Court

Since this thread's been necro'ed anyway, I'll use it to ask about some detail that popped up in my mind while reading it.

Suppose we're standing here:
.
.
E_
A_
_Y

With the characters denoting Enemy, Ally and You.

If you selected the top-left corner of your square to make a reach attack against the enemy, would he receive only partial soft cover, based on

PRD > CRB > Combat > Cover wrote:
Partial Cover: If a creature has cover, but more than half the creature is visible, its cover bonus is reduced to a +2 to AC and a +1 bonus on Reflex saving throws. This partial cover is subject to the GM's discretion.

?

Sovereign Court

StabbittyDoom wrote:

This is the really funny thing about the Combat Expertise tax to me. It means the only time I see people use these are when they get some (free) class ability that skips the AoO anyway, or when they're out of reach of the AoO. And even then it's only sometimes. Which basically means they're making people pay 2 feats for something that they will often choose not to do even if it was free.

Even without that first tax, I've never seen anyone take any of the Power Attack requiring ones either.

I've occasionally said "screw it, I'll just take the AoO" when maneuvering against lightly armed opponents. A wizard's dagger isn't going to stop me from grappling him. My alchemist held down a mystic theurge twice his level for long enough to tie him up.

I've also deliberately triggered AoOs with movement just so I could make a maneuver afterwards. Combat Reflexes is rare on non-Reach NPCs.

I use a lot of reach weapons for maneuvers. If someone is moving towards me and provokes from my longspear, I'll just trip him rather than try to damage. I'll do the damage on my turn, I just stopped that guy from moving and attacking me.

I've also used stuff like Litany of Sloth to clear the way for maneuvers.

I have to admit, I haven't actually taken Combat Expertise+Maneuver Feats yet. I probably will at some point, but I usually prefer broader feat choices.

Sovereign Court *

I'm intrigued by the alignment distribution for Scarab Sages. The majority is CN, LN or NG.

Sovereign Court

Or you could write down a "Standard Operating Procedure" document, in which you list the standard precautions your party is always taking unless specified otherwise. Research what the downsides of this are (reduced movement speed because you check for traps every X feet, listen for monsters every Y rounds etc.), and note those down too.

Then get your GM to sign off on that. Traps can be interesting. Playing "gotcha!" gets boring after a while.

Sovereign Court

In PFS, my standpoint would be:

Yes, it's a feat tax. But, if you're gonna play a character that really wants maneuvers, then it might just be worth paying. Swallow your medicine and get on with things.

Or, just live without Maneuver feats. Reach weapons, powers that deny AoOs - you don't absolutely need them.

In my home game I've houseruled it away.

Sovereign Court

At low levels, acid flasks and such will do just as much damage as your bombs. Most of the damage is coming from your Throw Anything bonus.

Sovereign Court *

To be fair, I felt that Library of the Lion was a relatively complex scenario to run. It had a LOT of subsystems.

Night March is relatively straightforward; there's a focused story with some clear encounters. It's important to prep it thoroughly, but the internal cohesion is very high.

Scars looked rather over-complicated to me as a player.

Sovereign Court *

One thing that can help reduce the number of things you have to pay attention to at the same time, is to delegate initiative tracking to a player. I do this myself quite a bit; one of my friends is far better at staying focused and keeping all the trains running on time.

Keeping track of initiative as a GM is fairly time-consuming, since you're also constantly adjudicating every player's actions. I find that I do a much better job at running combat if I don't have to split my attention quite as much.

In interesting side effect is that this friend used to get annoyed because I sometimes get distracted, and then the combat gets a bit unfocused. By giving him the initiative board, he can pull me back in too when he feels I'm wandering.

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So is it me or are there no maps given for the Rageweed and Swarm encounters?

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Frozen Fingers is a pretty cool scenario, but it's aged rather badly; it was difficulty-scaled for 4 CORE PCs, not 6 all-everything PCs.

I really like the scenario, but in a run-as-written environment I'd only be interested in doing it as a CORE scenario.

Sovereign Court *

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'd be willing to pay for slightly higher useability through editing;

  • Ensure that all the stats for an encounter fit on the same two-page spread, at least per tier. Flipping back and forth is really annoying.
  • More use of techniques like bullet points or making words bold or somesuch to highlight the key clues in pieces of description. In general, make it easier to find essential passages.
  • All templates fully applied to monster stats. Applying templates on the fly is annoying, and a GM who hasn't done so may also make monsters tougher than they need to be.

    Of particular note is the young template. There's two different ways to apply it (the quick vs. the rebuild method) which produce very different changes in monster power on smallish and ranged/finesse monsters. The full rebuild tends to make those monsters far more accurate so it's really not a power-down. If the stat block came with the template applied, we'd run into fewer of these shenanigans.

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Yeah, PF is set up to make it quite hard to stun-lock or trip-lock someone.

Also, against people 8 levels up from you, I wouldn't bet on this tactic. A level 9 fighter with normal gear has enough AC and HP that he doesn't worry about your AoOs. All he needs to do is crawl 5ft (provoking), then make an attack that at -4 is still likely to auto-hit and drop you.

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The thing is, this thing is actually the Iroran Paladin. D20PFSRD.org changes the name for copyright reasons.

And yeah, it's kinda odd that the Iroran Paladin archetype can't get into the Champion of Irori prestige class. That said, it's got a few features speaking for it. Subtly but certainly importantly, you get to write your own individual paladin code.

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Keep mind that you don't need Trapfinding to find traps, not even magical traps. You only need it to disable magical traps.

PF trap-class-feature rules are different from those of 3.5, generally to the advantage of players.

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If it's at all doable, do try to get in Siege of the Diamond City somewhere near the beginning. It's not my favorite scenario per se, but it does set in motion several of the later season 5 scenarios.

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

For a small detour on the subject, I'd like to go into RP vs. tactical play again.

As I've said before, I enjoy both. There's often some entertaining RP to be had in PFS scenarios, and you can definitely have a character with style and personality. But let's be honest: PFS isn't the best forum for deep character development. If that's truly your main goal, you're better off in a home campaign, with more storyline continuity and less "because the scenario says so".

I really like it when a scenario has a decent story to it. Just like action movies, all the explosions and violence are even better if there's a narrative. PFS is not deep literature, it's blockbuster action. In at least two high-tier scenarios my paladin has ousted supernatural tyrants - there's definitely story there, but more of the Die Hard variety than the Downton Abbey kind.

Regime Change:
Rats of Round Mountain II and also The Valley of Veiled Flame

On the other hand, PFS offers something that home campaigns can't: comparability. If you talk to other people who played the same scenario, with a different group, you can compare how the adventure went for both of you. Which may include bragging about how you did a better run, or bemoaning that your idiot GM gave you such a hard time, or learning from another party's totally out of the box tactics.

This is the part of PFS that really makes use of the "run as written" part. Comparing your experiences to other peoples' only makes sense if they're playing at least somewhat the same scenario as you are. It creates a sort of shared misery/friendly competition that I rather like.

Edit: The comparing isn't just about numbers and DPR, either. It's also like hearing a familiar story told by someone else, and finding it to be different.

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Exguardi wrote:
....and takes Eastern Mysteries to offset his low INT for when he really wants his spells to land.

Nitpick:

This trait didn't make it to GtOP 6.0

I guess it was just a bit too good to remain true.

Sovereign Court

It can feel pretty good for a party to at some point decide "you know, this massive orc invasion all the commoners are griping about.. the five of us, let's just destroy them".

Taking on entire armies with a small band is one of those things being high level is all about.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm with the "outgrow it" crowd. At level 10 you just shouldn't be concerned about common goblins anymore. If you encounter some of them, the GM can just summarize the encounter with "you efficiently butcher all of them". The monsters haven't vanished from the world, but they don't get as much screen time.

Occasionally they'll do something interesting though. Ordinary goblins aren't interesting to L10s, but a talented war chief gathering a horde might be of importance. Sure, the PCs aren't really threatened by it, but that horde is quite scary to local villages, and so the PCs get dragged in to do something about it.

You can also work on this in advance; if you seed some rumors during the L1-3 period about celebrity goblins, it'll actually be an Event when the PCs run into those specific class-leveled goblins.

I still think back to the time when we beat one of the orc generals around level 6; we'd been hearing about them since level 2. Common orcs weren't all that scary anymore, but this guy was tough, and he had a lot of troopers with him.

Sovereign Court

1) Yes, you can do that, although it's probably overkilll. The bonus from Blade Lash will often be enough on its own.

2) Well, you're still spending actions on casting/delivering Blade Lash and on casting True Strike instead of some touch attack or self-buff spell. So I wouldn't call it "getting all your attacks".

Also, remember that you can't trip someone who is already prone. The AoO you get against someone standing up comes before the guy has fully stood up, so you can't keep him on the ground. But you can trip him again afterwards, of course.

Also, I notice you're really looking forward to using this; please also remember that Blade Lash doesn't remove the size limits on tripping. Don't make this your only tactic.

3) Blade Lash extends your weapon to 20ft, not plus 20ft. Arguably, if your weapon was already longer than 20ft, it'd shrink.

---

Blade Lash is an awesome spell. Personally I think it's way better than True Strike, because it's so much faster.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Draw weapons. Might not take much of an action, but it's very important to get it done.

Reach weapons are particularly nice, because there's a chance you'll be able to frustrate enemies trying to close in on the party while other PCs are flat-footed. Also, enemies are still far enough that they pretty much have to provoke.

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Aasimar have an alternate racial trait that provides some resistance to it.

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Yeah, ghouls are at the far top end of CR 1 scariness. And what most people don't realize: they have Int 13, they're smarter than most PCs. So they can totally use tactics too!

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I like deep RP games, and I like tactical challenge games. I don't think they always fit together in the same 4 hours.

In my experience, higher-tier games don't really have better or even very different RP than lower tier. Sometimes you get to play high-stakes negotiators/ambassadors, but that's about it.

However, the combats are quite different. The big draw of high tier (for me) is epic tactical challenges.

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

Side note: I find that Con 14 is just as necessary at low level, if not even more. Those few extra negative HP before death can be really important.

Sovereign Court

My take on it is that your DC would be 1+the gap size, so that you land on the other side of the gap. From then on you can finish moving into that square by spending normal movement. Since you can't jump beyond your actual movement rate per turn, that should always work.

Example: a 15ft pit. You need to jump 16 feet to actually get to the other side, and you need to have 20ft movement available in total so that you can finish the move into the square on the other side of the pit.

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I think Bob's got it, for these two spells. Still, I suspect there exists another spell in some book that violates this logic.

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I think the free overrun/bullrush comment is interesting.

Consider a 15ft corridor, a huge giant, three martial PCs standing side by side and a squishy mage hiding 30ft back behind them.

To get to the mage, the giant would probably have to make separate Overrung attacks against each PC to get through, but he just doesn't have that many actions per round, especially since you can't substitute overruns for iterative attacks.

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I think the current "face" classes are already good enough at it, that making a dedicated Face class would just be overkill. The DCs are already not that high.

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I never noticed this before. It's really screwed up wording.

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I'm afraid that if you search thoroughly, you'll probably find that there's no consistent rule to apply here that will be correct in all cases.

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'd like to emphasize again: the Zen Archer is a very powerful and efficient archetype. It leaves you with a lot of spare feats and skill points that you don't need to be on par for your level.

So you have quite a bit of resources left to express a character concept. You can be a guy who does all kinds of interesting things, and just happens to be great at archery as well.

Sovereign Court

I think some of the kaiju from Bestiary 4 can attack all creatures standing together in an area. That might be appropriate for giants as well; if there's PCs adjacent to each other, they might be squashed by a hit from the same gargantuan-sized club.

It'd require some rules R&D of course, but basically, with weapons that big, you're making a kind of area attack. It means that to fight giants you really want to spread out. That could be the tactical change of pace you're looking for.

By the way, Awesome Blow is pretty neat on a monster with significant Reach. And you might make an Improved Awesome Blow feat that could be used multiple times per round (on AoOs, even!)

Of course, by the time that kind of feat comes into play, the PCs will probably have some pretty vicious anti-giant ordnance as well.

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A decent PFS zen archer isn't very different from the generic zen archer builds floating around on the forum. Given the bonus feats available, the build almost writes itself. In short:

Races: Human and Dwarf are very good choices, Half-Orc is also good.

Wisdom >> Strength = Constitution = Dexterity > Intelligence >> Charisma.

Level 1: Precise Shot as bonus feat.
Level 2: Point-Blank Shot as bonus feat.
Level 3: Deadly Aim as your third-level feat.
Level 6: Improved Precise Shot as bonus feat.

Skills should include Perception and Acrobatics (at least 3 ranks in the latter, max out the former).

Weapon should be a composite longbow with strength adjustment.

As for the rest: it's easy to optimize more. On the other hand, you don't really have to, you're already effective enough for PFS. Feel free to diversify instead.

Sovereign Court *

Lots of things get told to you. I was sure that the big new aggressive mining company was gonna turn out to be an Aspis front.

You're also told not to create a power vacuum among the kobolds, but you go in and slaughter a lot of them including some higher-level ones, and everyone is quite happy about that afterwards. As a player, it's not always easy to fish out the detail in the mission briefing that you're supposed to follow, as opposed to the one you're supposed to do the exact opposite of.

Sovereign Court *

Andrew Christian wrote:
So the RP you do with the Praetor at the beginning, where he specifically asks you what you are going to do to resolve his situation with the Kobolds, and that he wants it done quickly and all that really doesn't give the PCs the sense that Fort Bandu wants this taken care of quickly?

Not the way it happened to us, no. The RP part was a bit weird; we weren't rolling all that well, but somehow we seemed to pass anyway. I can only guess the DCs weren't all that high?

Anyway, as I understand the information we were given, Sharrowsmith messed things up, but that was a long time ago. Sure, they want things cleared up sooner rather than later, but there was no hint that there was a current emergency that you're racing towards. Nobody in town knows that this camp was attacked. That the camp Sharrowsmith was using months ago has been attacked right around the time the PCs arrive is an amazing (typical, convenient) coincidence.

So I'd say it'd be fairer design to "start the clock" when the PCs arrive at the camp, not when they depart Fort Bandu.

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@FatR:

I'm not saying gods can't be killed. I've played in a campaign where we crashed Heaven down from its volcano mountaintop onto the capital city of the gods' empire, and scorched the place thoroughly with the thrusters of their own starship. That was a fun campaign. So please don't take me to be some kind of purist who thinks divinity should be the same in every campaign.

However, part of why gods work as a plot device is that there is a certain air of mystery surrounding them. They aren't nearly as impressive (to me, and to quite a few other people) if you knew their stats.

That doesn't mean you can't handle viewing them; but I'd be disappointed. Some people don't mind finding out Santa isn't real, others do.

Or compare it to a magic trick; for most people it just isn't as magical if you know how it's really done.

So I support Paizo's choice; for me it'd be a letdown to see those stats.

Sovereign Court

With a slayer you can use the Ranger styles to grab the 2WF feats without meeting the very high Dexterity requirements. This leaves you free to make Strength your primary stat instead.

This is in fact what the Pregen Slayer (Zadim) does, with kukris, and it works quite well. He's got a Strength of 20 at level 4 and he's got no problems hitting AC.

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

You could also point out that the place is pretty smokey, and that this makes companions unhappy.

Sovereign Court

5 people marked this as a favorite.
FatR wrote:
Paizo writers do not want PCs to be able to participate in standard high fantasy plots, because that might actually involve changing the status quo and making the adventure meaningful, and we cannot have that. So anyone with actual importance to the multiverse gets no stats, and anyone with token importance gets stats clearly telling that the writers do not want you to be able to win.

To put a different spin on this:

It's well-known among gamers that "if you give it stats, people will figure out a way to kill it". If Paizo published stats for gods, people would find a rules-legal way to kill them.

That doesn't mean Paizo doesn't want you to do meaningful things, but they want to leave that to the GM. If they published stats for gods, that would reduce the GM's freedom to decide just how all-powerful he wants gods to be. Because you'd always have players talking about "yeah, but you made them more/less powerful than the RAW".

Sovereign Court

1) Gaze Attacks affect everyone in range, once per round, unless they have their eyes closed (etc.). So the attacker, but also anyone else coming within 30 feet, is taking damage. The monster can switch his gaze attack on or off. If it's on, maintaining it is automatic, so a paranoid monster might leave it always-on.

2) Normal Invisibility lasts a minute per level. Greater Invisibility lasts only a round per level. Which, at CL 13, is still fierce.

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No. The previous sentence provides the necessary context to interpret the bolded sentence.

Normally constructs are immune to compulsions. However, for an impossible sorcerer, they can be affected with compulsions that can affect living creatures. Compulsions that only work on undead (if any such exist) wouldn't work on them.

Sovereign Court

I like the giant gecko for style, though I'm not wowed by the gecko's stats.

My current idea is based around Ki Throw. Unlike Overrun, Ki Throw actually lets you put an enemy in a space of your choosing (within reach). The idea is to actually move an enemy into a place where the whole party can get at him, enabling flanks, sneak attack and full attacks for everyone.

At somewhat higher levels (when more space becomes available), add to this a dip into cleric for a Growth subdomain Swift-Action Enlarge Person. That'll give you more reach and let you trip bigger enemies.

Sovereign Court *

One of the problems with the "must hurry" part of the scenario is that when you set out into the jungle, you're following a months-old trail to Sharrowsmith's last known location, so you don't know IC that there's any reason to hurry.

I mean, sure, there have been attacks on miners. But you don't know that the place you're heading towards is a mining camp.

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

The slayer's skill list is rather thuggish. But it's solidly mid-tier as skill-oriented characters go, which means it's relatively skillful for a full-BAB class.

But yeah, the slayer is a straightforward and effective class, while the investigator is complex and finicky. In the end the investigator may be more powerful than a slayer, if you really know what you're doing. And in that case the slayer may seem a bit too simple. But for a beginner the slayer is a godsend: a dirty-fighting class that works.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

There are already classes that have "Face" written all over them;

* Bard
* Inquisitor
* Investigator

I don't think you can give a class much more face-powers than those without getting into "PCs steamroll everything by social/mind control" complaints.

And if you wanted to make another class more face-y than those, you'd also (for balance/fairness) need to make it worse at other stuff, at which point you'd get a frightfully overspecialized kind of class.

The classes I mentioned do a good job of combining social skill with combat skill and "smart" and "sneaky" skill. They get to participate in just about every part of the game.

A class fully specialized at being Face would mean that the player is quite useless during combat, and combat tends to eat up a lot of realworld game time. I don't think that's a desirable result.

Sovereign Court

Also, at some point, enemies may have sufficiently complex statblocks that just because the monster has a weakness, doesn't mean the PCs have the odd weird thing necessary to exploit it.

Far too often, the solution to fancy DR is just "hit harder".

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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
CWheezy wrote:

.most swarms are mindless

The vermin ones - yes. Many others (rats/bats/monkeys) are not.

Edit: Versus vermin swarms - just use Silent Image to trap them in a 'box' with a hole in the top just big enough to drop torches through. Patterns don't work on the mindless creatures - but figments do.

I like the idea of Silent Image vs. swarm, but both spiders and centipedes have tremorsense, so I don't know it it'll really work all that well.

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