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Ashiel's page

RPG Superstar 8 Season Star Voter. 11,248 posts (11,251 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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GM 7thGate wrote:
Ashiel wrote:


I'll admit I don't really understand this. The majority of Pathfinder classes (including all the well designed ones) are more or less decent at combat with some really basic choices, so when someone says "My character was useless in combat but were for talking the party out of trouble", I get confused.

EDIT: To elaborate, most classes come pre-built with lots of useful things in combat. Most class features revolve around making them better in combat. So unless something really weird is going on, or you're dealing with a bad class like Fighter, then you're probably going to end up at least decent in combat even if you're speccing something noncombat related.

I could have easily ended up in this situation on my current Hell's Rebels character if I wasn't watching out for it. I'm playing a Negotiator Bard with dumped str and a low dex, and my initial build had almost no combat utility at all because I forgot about the +5 save bonus for Charm Person in most combat situations. I swapped Charm Person over for Sleep late in character construction precisely so I could do something other than spam Daze and intimidate demoralize attempts in combat, but I could see ending up with a character with almost no combat skills.

I'd blame Paizo for making bad archetypes on this one. The negotiator is pretty trappy. You trade away all your good / party support abilities to be a worse bard that doesn't really do anything worthwhile.

EDIT: Their geas thing is kinda cool, other than the whole HD limit thing.


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OS_Dirk wrote:

In the end it all boils down to how much thought the player is willing to put towards the character and towards the character actions later.

In my group, I'm playing about the least combat effective character that I possibly could. His role is to talk the party into and out of trouble. Sometimes he fights. A year or two ago (game time) he had a life and death struggle with a beach crab, and the crab very nearly came close to winning. (By the way, that was at level 6)

I'll admit I don't really understand this. The majority of Pathfinder classes (including all the well designed ones) are more or less decent at combat with some really basic choices, so when someone says "My character was useless in combat but were for talking the party out of trouble", I get confused.

EDIT: To elaborate, most classes come pre-built with lots of useful things in combat. Most class features revolve around making them better in combat. So unless something really weird is going on, or you're dealing with a bad class like Fighter, then you're probably going to end up at least decent in combat even if you're speccing something noncombat related.

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The rest of the table plays characters who don't think about what they're getting into and my little coward is often the one attempting to apply the brakes so we actually do some preparation before a battle. - It doesn't always work, but often enough.

You can have the most optimized character builds on the block, but if you're not willing to do basic common sense things like gear up with holy weapons before taking a fight to a group of demons, it doesn't matter all that much.

Agreed. I've seen a lot of people with "highly optimized characters" (often with specific fine tuned builds, some borderline exploits, grabbed from certain forums) that get dismantled by normal bestiary monsters and challenges that my group (who plays a very "modest" game in terms of character power) face and overcome regularly.

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In the end I tend to think of it is failure to optimize the situation, rather than failure to optimize the character.

Well said.


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Terquem wrote:

I have another sort of question, because I honestly do not get this

It seems to me that the only way to really "optimize" a character is to know exactly what adventure you are about to play, so yeah, we are doing RotRL, or IG, or module "x" or adventure path "y" which everybody knows so, sure optimize away if that is what you want to do.

But if you sit down at a table to make first level characters who are all residents of the coastal fishing community of Gloan, and the DM tells you

"Lightning splits the dark night sky but the thunder never comes. Far out at sea the fishing boats drift on the tide coming home from a long day of casting their nets into the ocean's bounty. You and your friends wait patiently at the long table of Minnick's Black Boot tavern for the nightwatchman to check in one last time before you set out for the city gate, and what lies beyond..."

And that's it. She tells you nothing else, no hints about what types of monsters you will encounter. She doesn't tell you if there is a sinister plot brewing in an old castle, or if there are dangerous kobolds in the forest, or if a mysterious cave is sprouting skeletons. Nothing.

How do you optimize for that?

Build your character to be well rounded and avoid choices that are far too niche. A well made D&D character doesn't really need to know what sorts of monsters they will encounter, just that they might encounter them. Notice in the example low-Int wizard, I mentioned packing some srolls of magic weapon incase the party came across a Shadow or something with DR/magic.

Imagine ways that you can work your way through various scenarios. Can you deal with invisible enemies? What about being in the dark? How do you deal with traps and obstacles? What happens if you're separated from your enemies (like a chasm with archers on the other side), how do you handle stuff.

If you're something like a ranger, choose broad favored enemy types (things like Undead, Evil Outsiders, Magical Beasts, etc). Carry a scroll or wand of instant enemy for when times are tough.

Simply make sure that your character is good at their intended purposes, not useless at everything else, and robust enough to survive. This is the strongest form of optimization I've discovered.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
The Guy With A Face wrote:
You should still at least have something.
I'm not really sure how you even roleplay the first scene without *some* idea about who your character is. Like if someone is aggressive towards you in a conversation, do you push back, deflect, laugh it off, start a fight, capitulate, what? If I don't have some idea about who the character is, I'm not sure I can roleplay anybody except myself.

I've found that often, the player has to "meet" their character in the game themselves. Many times, someone has an idea for the character but once they're actually in play, little aspects they hadn't considered pop up.

I've also seen TOZ's "no backstory" method work, allowing the player to improve their backstory as the game unfolds. I've done this myself in games where I was a bit rushed to create a character, and some of my most fun and (I think) interesting characters began with very little other than a vague archetypal concept and developed aspects of their background over the course of the game (and rarely is anyone the wiser since backstories don't usually come up until they're relevant, as even friends in real life don't meet each other and immediately recant their life's story).

Generally speaking, I do try to put together "useful" background information ahead of time. This might include 1-3 short paragraphs and a list of bullet points about the character and their acquaintances. Here's an example:

Hypothetical Backstory
Summary: Ren spent the majority of her life tending the library of the Arcaneum in *place*. A position that suited her just fine as her near chronic levels of awkwardness around people, mixed with her obsession with books and writing, made being a bookkeeper in the quiet library (with little private nooks everywhere) ideal. Her teacher, Zelthiel Lofthorin, pushed her into adventuring as her final trial in the academy hoping that it would force her to grow as a person, and she is tasked with returning to demonstrate her mastery of magic when she has created her first wondrous item and can demonstrate a Rank III incantation.

Other Notes

  • Ren has two brothers (one older, one younger) and an older sister who also attend or attended school at the Arcaneum. Her eldest brother was expelled for researching black magic and hasn't been seen in about a year. She is the "nerd" of her family.
  • Ren doesn't talk much to anyone except her familiar. She gets very shy and/or nervous around people she thinks are cooler than her (which she thinks is most of her class seniors, other adventurers, anyone with a bit of fame, or anyone she thinks is attractive).
  • Ren's spellbook is filled with doodles and fanfiction alongside or as part of her magical writings.
  • Ren is secretly a pervert. She also has a crush on her teacher Zelthiel and hopes that he will be very proud of her when she masters 3rd level spells.


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The Guy With A Face wrote:
Trying to twist rules and generally being disruptive/rude/mean defines a "munchkin", right? Or do I have that mixed up with a different term?

No, it's right. Just it has nothing to do with the strength of a character outside of whether or not the player is going to try to cheat to be stronger or not. It is apples to oranges.

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C'mon, no reason to make fun of me. I'm not that stupid. I'd decrease the health, AC, damage by a bit or fudge a role in their favor.

Cheating is cheating. I'll leave it at that.

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I wasn't clear in my original post, sorry. To me, "powergamer" and "munchkin" are bad, but not "optimizer." I used the term "disgustingly optimized" to describe what I perceive as waaay to much min/maxing. I also never said anything about playing your class better due to roleplaying...that doesn't make sense. Playing "the game" better in my opinion could involve roleplaying, but that's just my completely subjective definition of what makes "the game" more enjoyable.

You might not have but others have, and will continue to do so. I said years of this nonsense. And likely many years yet still. What you see as "optimize or we hate you", I strongly believe is the manifestation of a growing sense of satisfaction with the way that those who actually study the game and know how it works and discuss how it works and use how it works to make a better game are treated.

Want to reduce it? Here are some easy steps.

1. When discussing the validity of mechanics don't even bring up roleplaying.

2. When you say something is true mechanically, provide sources, explain your case, answer and address those who disagree - and don't bring up their ability to roleplay or tell stories.

3. If you think a class isn't getting a fair deal in the community, show why it's good. Show us. It doesn't require a specific build, just explain in fair terms what they have going for them that makes them worth having around and if asked break it down mechanically as well.

Then you'll speak our language and we'll have a real great conversation. However, if you rant at us, tell us we're wrong without providing a good argument as to why, or utter the word "roleplaying" as if that means something in a mechanical discussion outside of the mechanics facilitating that roleplaying, effect to feel that unique tension in the air.

Because we do.


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Derek Dalton wrote:
Int of 12 already screws you. Here's how you can until you can purchase a headband which might take longer then you expect you can only cast second level spells.

*facepalm* Wizards. Craft. Items. By the time you're 5th level, you either already have all the money required to make a crappy little +enhancement item or you have the means to go take the money yourself.

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Another problem Int +2 for skills which means you get three.

Given that the DCs of most skills don't scale with your level and only a couple of ranks here and there are needed to do lots of cool things, I can live with it and still not be gimped. Still better than sorcerers, woohoo.

And of course later on you can always make those headbands. They give you lots of skill ranks. You can even cheaply make different headbands for different purposes. And inherent modifiers are a thing too. And of course let's not forget magic items (which you can make) that provide bonuses to skills.

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You talk about headband let's assume you plan on making on there's one Spellcraft. Two points for whatever. Skills for a Wizard are part of their power.

Actually it's a part of Intelligence which just happens to synergize really damn well with certain types of wizard builds. And I could always decide to get +1 skill point / level if I didn't want +1 HP/level (but I might make the Fighter feel bad if I have more Hp than he does).

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Won't knock the race love Dwarves but you are playing a race that doesn't encourage wizardry.

What's your point? Aside from the fact that "doesn't encourage wizardry" is pointless and meaningless, dwarfs are pretty awesome racial choices for wizards. Wizards don't care much for charisma and have low hit points naturally, and the bonuses to saves and vs poison is pretty great on a class that has poor saves vs poison and such.

They're literally no worse than humans. Really you can make a good wizard with the damndest of things. They're quite versatile.

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Stat bump to Con very, stat bump to Wis saves and Perception. As a Wizard your will saves will start good getting better.

Better is better.

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There are races where Int gets the bump which is highly recommended if you are a Wizard.

It's optional. It's good for certain types of wizards, it's not required. You do not have to play a race without a +2 to your key stat to be functional.

I've already explained why.


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The Guy With A Face wrote:
The very first character one of my friends made was a monk. He didn't really know much about the system at all and we beat the campaign just fine (it was homebrew). We came close to death a few times, but not because the monk "sucked." It was due to bad luck with saves. The only one who actually died was the powergamer/sometimes munchkin with the disgustingly optimized character (who barely had any backstory/flavor at all). He proceeded to make another backstory-less pile of lame to replace the last one.

The flavor/backstory bit is a not sequitur to how optimized the character was. Further, while I'll take your word that he was a "powergamer/sometimes munchkin", you haven't explained how and many titled with the term "powergamer" or even "optimizer" don't actually qualify for the title (if I had a dime for every player who thought they were playing Rogue the most OP class in the game I'd retire). Munchkin also generally suggests that the player is a cheater as well.

There's also the part where I wonder how and/or why that PC died. From personal (anecdotal) experience, I'd be inclined to think that one of the following things occurred.

A) The player was overconfident because he thinks himself a great powergamer and paid the price for it.

B) The player was trying to pick up the slack for someone else in a moment of danger and paid the price for it.

C) The player was overconfident because he considers himself a great powergamer and is actually completely wrong about it and paid the price for it (this is slightly different from A).

D) The player's PC actually was overpowered but got unlucky or dismantled anyway.

E) The player's PC's inflated statistics didn't help them in this case (such as when your 30 Strength Fighter is sealed inside a room with quickened cloudkill + wall of stone.

F) There were dice shenanigans going on (I've seen a lot of GMs intentionally gun for players for what they consider poor roleplaying or powergaming, whether real or imagined).

G) The player thinks powergaming is all about dealing more damage and was taken apart like a snowcone in Asmodaeous' court because offense isn't even half the battle.

Quote:

This is my view.

How about instead of whining about someone not min/maxing their character, people should bother to see how things go first? If problems occur - and they can be directly correlated to the character in question - then the DM could ask you to "fix" your character.

This is why I try to work with players ahead of time. It's better to nip a problem in the bud than try to cut back the kudzu.

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My group only does homebrew though. This seems like a problem that is limited to PFS only.

I don't play PFS and never have and likely never will.

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As a DM, I'd rather have a sucky character with a cool concept/backstory than a boring, pile of stats.

Or you could have both. Because as long as the concept can be represented mechanically it should be viable. If there's not anything mechanical to support it (or support it well), time for homebrew.

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I can adjust the difficulty of encounters beforehand or even mid-combat if necessary.

"Oop, yeah, about that, the basilisk has a heart attack..."

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Sorry if this sounded really ranty and aggressive, but I absolutely detest the "optimize or we will all hate you" mentality.

My theory is that the mentally is pushback for years, literal years, of fallacies concerning people who actually give a darn about the game's mechanics, the constant breaking of disbelief suspension because the party's supposed to be exploring the 9th layer of hell with Drogan the Thunderhammer, Velas the Sorceress, Katta the Apostle, and "Sir Smidgrel Vonderbuff the Fourth; son of Sarona the Deceiver; writer of the epic of Gilganus; half-brother to Lord Moldebutt the Unspeakable; Reciter of the Ancient Ways; Keeper of the Flame; and hater of Dwarves because he's an Elf and that's good roleplaying" the stooge.

Most of the supposed "optimize or we'll hate you" mentality is actually a misunderstanding of what the rage is about. It's not about disliking someone because they're not "optimizing". It's more like "stop simultaneously calling us powergaming optimizers in a derogative way, while also suggesting that you know more about how the game works, all the while suggesting that we're doing it wrong and aren't playing out classes to their potential, and that we'd do so much better at playing classes to their fullest mechanical strength if we'd learn to roleplay".

The backlash against THAT is what you are mistaking for "optimize or we'll hate you".


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This thread makes me think of once upon a time, when another poster told someone else they weren't playing a class - a monk in fact - correctly and that they were actually super great at a thing. That was a delightful little side conversation, embarrassing as it was at some points.

Ahh, sentimental memories. The joys of nostalgia.


The NPC wrote:

So, a number of folks here are active in their LGBTQ communities.

I was wondering in your communities what is the non pejorative slang for people who are not LGBTQ?

I ask because I am writing a script and I am looking to this for some inspiration.

Hetero! :D

Curiously though, why is there a need for slang for this sort of thing? Aren't most people trying to cut down on slang use for things like this? I mean, "Tranny" is a slang shortening of "transexual" or "transgendered" and lots of people lose their hats when you use the term (mind you, neither I nor anyone I hang out with does but I've seen people online freak out about it).

I kinda like this "cis-het" thing though. Makes cisgendered heterosexuals sound like Egyptian gods. :P


Another thing about that particular campaign that was different was that magic item creation feats weren't a thing. You could just do it with the right skills. Making magic items required you to be trained in Spellcraft but I standardized how creation in general worked (essentially the same mechanics for mundane and for magical). Further, you acquired synergies for having associated skills (for example, being trained in both making Jewelry and Spellcraft was better than just using one or the other when making magic rinks, amulets, etc).

This meant that unlike in most campaigns, martial characters weren't screwed by the inability to go buy better gear. If they wanted to invest some ranks into skills they could make them as well. Failing to make a magic item typically resulted less in a failed magic item and more in a magic item that had quirks or curses).


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Tormsskull wrote:
Terquem wrote:
I guess I don't get it. I'm probably missing something important so I'll stop offering my opinion.
You're not missing anything important - you simply play the game differently than the people that are disagreeing with you. For these kind of conversations, assume that there is no GM. Anything that the books say is possible, is possible.

For the record, I don't always play standard rules when I'm running Pathfinder. I'm very pro-homebrew and if I'm going for a specific set of themes when I'm going to run a game I let the players know ahead of time what that means exactly.

For example, I ran a game that was magical things were common but mastery over magical things wasn't. In this campaign, the party dealt with a lot of supernatural stuff (werewolves, ghosts, undead, demons, etc) and magic was frequently considered strange and weird to the uninitiated and spellcasters were infrequent. However, I included a homebrew system that allowed characters to create magical doodads through the arts of alchemy, spellcraft, and other skills and such using various materials that had magical value.

So while you couldn't go to a store and just buy magical items, creating them yourself was much easier and open. Your amulet of mighty fangs might literally be made from a werewolf's tooth or something, or you might find that the serial killer in the city is stealing people's organs to use as material components for creating magic trinkets.

Various skills could be used to acquire materials. For example, one of the NPC alchemists in the game (as in the alchemy skill) made magical potions, salves, elixirs, and the like out of herbs, roots, and other things collected from the nearby forest with her skills (she was an expert) and she was secretly doing experiments on dead animals trying to find a cure for death (and was hiding it from the townsfolk).

But I let all the players know about these changes to what Pathfinder expects beforehand. I didn't spring it on them and I told them exactly what these things meant in clear detail, rather than being vague or telling them magic is rare except for sometimes (which usually translates with GMs as "My npcs are going to have cool stuff but you can't sell or buy any of it").


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Now one of the reasons that God-wizards are very helpful to the overall success of a party and why wise players will share their wealth with the wizard is because the wizard enables them to achieve greater things, and is actually the sort of wizard that is least likely to upset anyone at the table for "stealing their thunder".

For example, I was writing the previous build outline with the assumption that we're in the typical 4-person party with an arcanist, a priest, a warrior, and a specialist. The actual class composition for these roles as well as whether these roles exist in the group at all can vary from group to group and your spell selection may change accordingly (for example, you might opt for reduce person instead of enlarge person if your team consists of a couple of druids and an archer.

However, it's hard to deny the sheer effectiveness of doing things like hasting the party, or dispelling buffs/debuffs, or casting stoneskin to give your party members DR 10/adamantine (which shuts down the threat of a lot of monsters outright), or casting greater invisibility on your party's rogue or pretty much anyone in your party (this spell is hax and contrary to what some might think, invisibility is a challenge to overcome even at high levels because see invisibility potions do not exist and true seeing is both rare and limited to 120 ft.), or casting black tentacles which ignores saves, ignores SR, makes a big area of "you can't be here", and while it's ineffectual at locking down giant brutes it's damn good at locking down most other things (especially enemy casters and hybrids).

Many party support spells like greater magic weapon, flame arrow, protection from arrows, mage armor, and magic circle against X have long durations. Being able to ensure that the Fighter's spare weapons are all sporting +X bonuses and all his arrows are flaming, or whatever is very strong. It can allow the martial to golf bag lots of different weapons of various material types and damages and keep their to-hit relevant without breaking their banks.

For example, a pearl of power III costs 9,000 gp or 4,500 gp to craft. It's actually more efficient for a party's martial to help you buy more pearls of power and have you cast greater magic weapon on most of his backup weapons each day than it is for him to try to field a variety of +3 weapons.

You have a large amount of problem solving opportunities outside of combat as well, and the ability to scribe scrolls of rarely used but "perfect for the job" spells is a boon to your party. You don't need to prepare knock all the time, but having a scroll or two of it for when your party comes across a barred door (not locked, barred, as in a wooden beam or something flipped down on the other side so nobody can open the lock it's just shut). Similarly, you won't prepare stuff like wind wall all the time but having a scroll or two incase your party ends up running through the Mines of Moria while a crapload of archers are shooting at your party as they make for the exit over a series of narrow stone bridges is just peachy.

In fact, it's a harder sell to say such a wizard wouldn't be an incredibly useful member of the party than to say they would. The fact the wizard can still use things like summon monster to add in extra firepower or meatshields to the party is icing on the cake. This is what it means to be a God wizard and not only is it one of the strongest forms of wizards in this game but it's likewise the most party friendly and the least reliant on a high Int score.


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Insain Dragoon wrote:
Terquem wrote:


There should be no guarantees. If there are, why play at all, since you already know you are going to win?

I guess I don't get it. I'm probably missing something important so I'll stop offering my opinion.

I think we're on the same page now. A lot of people are unhappy precisely because of this situation.

It's like playing a game with cheat codes. Sure it's fun for a while, but it gets boring having ultimate power.

The thing is you don't know you're going to win but you don't play to fail either. The complaints being lodged are akin to saying "Well you can't be sure that your Fighter can buy chainmail, even if it says it's an assumed thing in the book and says you can buy it at settlements of X size".

Basically, we're either talking about playing Pathfinder or we aren't. If we are, then certain things are true unless noted as house rules (such as being able to buy chainmail or find spellcasters in settlements of X size or larger). Unless something screwy is going on, a player can assume that they can go to a settlement of X size or larger and purchase a potion of cure light wounds because that's how the rules of the game work.

If we're not using the rules of the game when discussing the game then we're not talking about the game, we're talking about someone's "almost Pathfinder" game they're running and there input on anything Pathfinder related is useless.

"Rogues are freaking OP man"
"Why so?"
"Because they can dual-wield lightsabers which ignore armor and are light finesse weapons"
"Um, where did they get lightsabers?"
"They're available to buy on the planet Jelluko where the sorcerer knights make them,"
"I...there isn't really anything relevant I can say for your situation,"


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Terquem wrote:
I can't even imagine how that is actually supposed to work.

Okay, let's break it down.

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Don't you actually have to play the game, you know, be involved in adventures, which might result in catastrophes, party loses which take wealth,

Yes. Which is why we're building to help deal with those issues and survive more effectively. That's actually one of the biggest arguments for not maxing Int on a Wizard since you may need other stats to find overall success.

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or maybe towns that charge fees that reduce your wealth when you roll into town with treasure.

Which doesn't actually exist in any meaningful way unless you're contriving some weird niche case. According to the core rules, taxes and such aren't very expensive. I'm not sure what other sorts of "fees" you're talking about.

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And how do you guarantee that you always find spell books, and people willing to share them? And what happens if your character dies, doesn't that take some wealth away.

The rules actually note that there are spellcasting services available in towns based on size in the equipment chapter. You could house rule this away but if we're playing Pathfinder, it's not hard to find other spellcasters. The Magic Chapter notes that they charge 50% of the cost to scribe the scroll into your book to allow you to copy from their books.

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And how does having this character even make it to this mean you win D&D?

Because you're a wizard on the "back-9" and this is your strong game. At this point you only get stronger and stronger and stronger and without house ruling or hand of god shenanigans you can do wonderful, horrific things, most of which don't require a high Int to do.

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You certainly wouldn't win in any of the games I am running if you had this character, unless you know, you actually rolled well and had the right spells ready at the right time.

Wizards don't usually have to roll, but the higher stats in other things mean that when they do they're better at it (better saves, better touch attacks, etc). As for right spells, sometimes you will have the perfect spell for the job, sometimes you won't, but by mid levels you will very rarely have no spells that aren't at least helpful or in the "good enough" category of situational opportunities.

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That whole description assumes you are both the player and the DM, or at least you're playing with a DM who has already decided that the adventure is secondary to your character's build progress win?

No, it just assumes that the rules of Pathfinder are being followed. It assumes nothing more and nothing less.

In fact, Pathfinder takes into account that a fair amount of your actual wealth will go to things like consumables and miscellaneous expenditures so WBL isn't a measure of how much a character makes over the course of their careers, it's a measure of how much they're expected to at least still have.

For Example
On the Medium experience track (standard), it takes 20 CR 1 encounters to go from 1st -> 2nd level. The treasure value of those encounters is expected to be 260 / encounter or 5,200 gp worth of loot.

Now that's 1300 gp / party member. WBL for 2nd level is 1000 gp. This means if you run the game as expected, players will amass 300 gp over their expected WBL. Giving them 300 gp for consumables, roleplaying, or whatever.

Similarly, each additional level requires 20 equivalent CR encounters to reach the next level, so going from 2nd->3rd level takes 20 CR 2 encounters. Each encounter awards an average of 550 gp or +2750 gp / party member. That's a total of 4,050 gp amassed by 3rd level. The WBL of a 3rd level character is 3,000 gp. That's 1050 gp over WBL you're expected to amass during adventures per party member.

While some encounters won't award treasure others reward lots, and these are noted as being the average treasure/encounter values of the adventure.


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An Example low Int Wizard Spell Build
I'm going to go with a Dwarf Wizard because they're awesome for making very good God-wizards. I'll be sticking to the Core Rulebook to show how practical this is in more or less any Pathfinder game and it only gets better outside of Core.

Pre-Game: We're given 15 PB to build our characters. I choose my base statistics to be Str 7, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 13*, Wis 14, and Cha 7. Dwarf racials bring it to Str 7, Dex 14, Con 18, Int 13*, Wis 16, and Cha 5.

*: On 15 PB, having Int be a 12 resulted in a floating 1 point (14/15 PB) with no other locations to drop the 1 point legally so it gets dropped into Int for a 13. It has the same modifier though and it means we get to be lazy and not worry about a headband of intellect until 6th level.

1st Level: My wizard is fresh off wizard Farm with 10 Hp (1d6+4), +4 Fort, +2 Ref, and +5 Will (as well as an additional +2 vs poisons and magical effects), darkvision 60 ft.; speed 20 ft.; and a weasel familiar (assuming I'm limited to core rulebook familiars) for another +2 Reflex (net saves at 1st level vs magic = Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +7). For my first level feat I take Toughness bringing my wizard to 13 Hp. I also choose Abjuration as my preferred magic school (because I decide I like the idea of a dwarven rune warder and there are tons of good [abjuration] spells) with Enchantment and Evocation as prohibited schools.

Spellbook:
My spellbook has the following spells in it: All cantrips + Enlarge Person, Mage Armor, Magic Weapon, and Shield. The intended purposes are pretty simple. Enlarge person is a great low-level buff for martials, magic weapon is too and allows a martial to pierce DR/magic before magic weapons are a thing, shield is my abjuration spell, and mage armor is for survival.

Out of my starting wealth I buy the following:

Adventuring Kit:
This kit includes basic adventuring
equipment that might be carried on your person. The kit includes
the following items (and their quantity): backpack (1), bell (4),
bedroll (1), winter blanket (1), candle (10), chalk (10), fish hook
(10), flint and steel (1), bullseye lantern (1), small steel mirror
(1), pint of oil (1), signal whistle (1), soap (1), torch (2),
waterskin (1), whetstone (1). Cost: 22 gp, 2 cp; Weight: 20 lb
(½ weight if designed for small characters).

With the other 47.98 gp, I scribe one scroll of magic weapon and one scroll of enlarge person, leaving me with 22.98 gp remaining. I don't buy any food initially because my character can take 10 on Survival checks and feed herself and another person.

I also take a walking stick (club) and pack several slings on my character. These are free and the latter is weightless.

Each day when I prepare spells, I pick an energy to be 5 points resistant to. I choose Fire, making my dwarf wizard all but immune to alchemist-fire spam or most low-level environmental hazards.

Prepared Spells:
I keep a single scroll of magic weapon and enlarge person around for emergencies (such as fighting a Shadow or Grick or something). Otherwise my loadout is usually:

0-detect magic, detect poison, acid splash.
1st-enlarge person, mage armor, shield.

At 1st level, offense isn't a concern. Supporting others is. Using her above-average Dexterity she'll take pot-shots at minor enemies with acid splash. If the party has a druid or something she'll happily cast mage armor on the animal companion instead of herself, and enlarge person turns the party's martial into a dangerous presence on a battlefield. Outside of battle she can search for traps and identify magical doodads with detect magic and detect poison.

2nd Level: Hp +8 (21), Will +1.

Not much changed here, Learned 2 new spells (protection from evil and reduce person). Makes a few scrolls of each. She now also keeps a 4th cantrip slot empty and fills it depending on where she is and what she's doing, and she has another 1st level spell slot which she keeps empty until after the party has done some stuff and other spells have been used (she then decides what spells need re-preparing).

3rd Level: Hp +8 (29), Fort +1, Ref +1.

She takes Craft Wondrous Item as a feat and learns protection from arrows and invisibility. She also spends some of her treasure to scribe a see invisibility from someone else's spellbook in a community large enough to have access to 2nd level spells (see arcane magical writings in the magic chapter).

She immediately converts wealth into creating a +1 cloak of resistance and a pearl of power I, giving her effectively +1 1st level spell and the ability to prepare a wider breadth of spells reliably.

She scribes a scroll of see invisibility for emergencies.

4th Level: Hp +7 (36), Will +1. +1 Int.
Not much changed here. We get to be lazy and putt off crafting a +Int item until 8th level though. She learns resist energy and false life for free.

5th Level: Hp +7 (43). +1 feat. +1 bonus feat.
Now we're cooking with gas. She learns haste and dispel magic, then seeks a community with 3rd level casting services and pays to scribe the following spells: heroism, wind wall*, invisibility sphere, fly, greater magic weapon, flame arrow, summon monster III, and magic circle against evil. Total cost = 1,080 gp. We'll then scribe a scroll of wind wall for less than 200 gp (we're penalized for preparing it but can cast it from a scroll in emergencies A-OK). Spell loadout depends entirely on the party and needs.

Feats & bonus feats are optional. Improved Initiative and Craft Magical Arms and Armor are good choices for a buff/support focused wizard.

6th Level: Hp +7 (50). +1 Fort, Ref, Will.
She adds phantom steed and explosive runes to her spells.

7th Level: Hp +7 (57). +1 Feat.
Adds stoneskin and any awesome 4th level spell that doesn't give a crap about her Intelligence. Great choices include black tentacles, greater invisibility, wall of fire, wall of ice, animate dead, mnemonic enhancer*, enervation, fire shield, solid fog, etc.

*: Mnemonic enhancer is recommended if you've decided to pick up Craft Wand because it's broke as ****.

Craft stuff. Whatever.

8th Level: Hp +7 (63). +1 Will. +1 Int.
Crap, gotta put off making that headband for another two levels. >_>

Pick some more spells, make some more stuff (especially pearls). Enjoy that your party adores you because you're just a bundle of party-enabling spells.

9th Level: Hp +7 (70). +1 Fort, +1 Ref. +1 Feat.
As before, we're gonna pick lots of spells that are awesome and don't care about saves/SR/Int. Break enchantment, private sanctum, overland flight, cloudkill, wall of stone, shadow evocation, waves of exhaustion, etc.

10th Level: Hp +7 (77). +1 Will.
Same deal. Finally, finally, we'll make a headband of intellect if we didn't already.

11th Level: Congratulations, you win D&D.

Other Notes: I was being lazy but with the sheer amount of wealth you've got in D&D over the course of these levels, combined with the ability to craft magic items (especially if you have a valet familiar), you should be a magical trinket god. Your Con and saves should always be maxed out. You should have a variety of situational and helpful trinkets for various occasions. You should have enough pearls of power to string together like Christmas tree ornaments.

Even your AC can be kept up to surprisingly degrees. Your party will be so happy to have you around that you should be able to get them to contribute to your "wizard support fund" for things like more pearls of power and to pay for mnemonic enhancer wands. You'll be rolling in spells/day, shwanky shwag, and your party will roflestop everything because they're running around with stuff like stoneskin, greater invisibility, haste, greater magic weapon, flame arrow, magic circle against evil, and you only know what else. Meanwhile you can shut down tons of enemies with no-save no-SR spells like black tentacles.

EDIT: Crap, I forgot to add in the .5 Hp / level average so our wizard is lowballed. By 11th level they should have an extra +5 Hp. I know it's not much of a difference but I wanted to note it.


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Derek Dalton wrote:
I said identical stats. It was just for comparison purposes. Half the groups I've seen use static numbers. The comparison was him choosing over having a higher stat elsewhere when he should be placing with the prime stat for his class.

I'm not sure what you mean by "static numbers" but I'll do my best to try and answer based on common ability score generation means.

Rolling Dice
Using any of the traditional methods (3d6, 4d6 drop lowest, 5d6 drop lowest two), you will generate 6 numbers between 3-18. With some nontraditional methods (such as 2d6+6) you will generate slightly different numbers but generally within the 8-18 range.

If we're talking about "identical stats", then it means we rolled the same numbers. Such as maybe 11, 16, 15, 12, 18, and 6. We then assign where those numbers go.

I said that it's not hard to build a competent wizard by prioritizing minimum necessary Intelligence. In fact, you could very easily produce a very competent wizard by assigning those numbers as: Str 11, Dex 16, Con 18, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 6. Our hypothetical wizard would be very playable for all the reasons I mentioned before.

Arrays
If we're talking about Arrays, you're picking from a static set of numbers. The ability score array that the d20 system was designed around is the "Elite Array", which I might add includes a 15 as the highest base statistic.

The Elite Array is 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8. As before, prioritizing our wizard's statistics into something like Str 10, Dex 14, Con 15, Int 12, Wis 13, and Cha 8 will not gimp our wizard. In this case I'd probably flip the Int and Wisdom just so I could put off raising my Int for another 2 levels.

If we're talking about a collection of arrays, I'm going to use the 20 Point Buy Arrays from geekindustrialcomplex.com to avoid having to make a bunch, even though they're 20 PB and 15 PB is what I personally prefer.

Arrays:
No Dump Stats:
18, 13, 10, 10, 10, 10 = 5 net
17, 14, 12, 10, 10, 10 = 6 net
16, 14, 14, 10, 10, 10 = 7 net
16, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12 = 8 net
15, 14, 12, 12, 12, 12 = 8 net
14, 14, 14, 14, 10, 10 = 8 net

One Dump Stat:
18, 13, 12, 12, 10, 7 = 7 net
18, 12, 12, 12, 11, 7 = 7 net
17, 12, 12, 12, 12, 9 = 7 net
16, 14, 12, 12, 12, 7 = 9 net
16, 15, 14, 12, 10, 7 = 8 net
15, 14, 14, 14, 12, 7 = 9 net
14, 14, 14, 14, 12, 8 = 9 net

Two Dump Stats:
18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 7 = 6 net
17, 14, 14, 14, 7, 7 = 7 net
17, 16, 14, 10, 7, 7 = 6 net
16, 16, 14, 13, 7, 7 = 6 net
16, 14, 14, 14, 9, 7 = 6 net

Three Dump Stats:
18, 17, 12, 7, 7, 7 = 4 net
18, 17, 10, 8, 7, 7 = 4 net
18, 16, 14, 7, 7, 7 = 5 net
18, 15, 14, 9, 7, 7 = 5 net
17, 16, 14, 8, 8, 7 = 6 net
16, 16, 16, 8, 7, 7 = 6 net

Just as with rolling, if we're choosing our arrays then it's all about our prioritization. Stats don't exist in a vacuum. You don't "pick" your stats in most cases. Putting a high stat in one score means not having that high stat in another, so it's virtually never about "choosing to be the same but with a lower stat" unless something very, very strange is going on.

Using examples from the arrays, if I opted for 16, 14, 12, 12, 12, and 7, I could make a very competent wizard by spreading those into Str 12, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 7. If I was building a Save or Die specialist or a dedicated AoE blaster or something then I might opt for one of the arrays such as 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 7 in order of Str 8, Dex 12, Con 15, Int 18, Wis 10, and Cha 7; possibly adding some nice racial modifiers (a dwarf would look really, really good here).

Point Buy
Same deal with rolling and arrays. You get some numbers and you prioritize those numbers. What you are prioritizing and why is what matters. I already went into higher stats = more costs previously so I don't feel the need to do so again. It just comes back to what you're prioritizing based on what you want to play.


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Derek Dalton wrote:
Let's look at it from this perspective. Two Wizards identical stats save for Int. Yours is twelve mine is sixteen.

Immediately your argument is flawed. Having a 12 Int rather than a 16 Int means that you've got 8 additional points to spend (it takes 2 points to reach Int 12, and 10 points to reach Int 16), which means that the two wizards will not have identical stats.

Quote:
Now at first level I will have more starting spells in my spellbook. Now at third level which is the earliest level you can create a magic item I will not have an extra spell per day to cast while you will not.

Yeah, duh. It just depends on how much you value that +1 bonus spell. It's not that hard to live without it if you're playing a God-wizard.

Quote:
We both create a +6 Headband you hit 18 still can't cast ninth level spells I hit 22.

In case you forgot, you get a +1 at 4th and 8th level.

Quote:
I now can and my spells per day jumped. Now with level progression stat bump you hit 22 finally now you can cast ninth level spells. I hit 26.

You can cast 9th level spells at Int 19, which is really low. At top end you're looking at a 15% difference in save-DCs. Even the bonus spells aren't much different since 12 (base) + 5 (levels) + 6 (enhancement) + 5 (inherents) = Int 28. You'd at best hit 34 if you began with a 20 instead, which actually doesn't grant any more 9th level spells than Int 28. In fact, bonus spells in general are - as I said - note nearly as impactful as things like pearls of power or mnemonic enhancer.

Quote:
My point your Wizard even at first level is inferior to mine. At third my character becomes even better getting a bonus second level spell.

The problem is you're arguing that they're otherwise equal. They aren't. One is going to have higher statistics elsewhere, and the margin of difference in their casting ability is minor.

Quote:
This is assuming my stat is only 16. Depending on how stats are generated I could easily hit 20. At 20 I am superior to you in every way and only continue to be more and more powerful to you.

And you're wrong. You're different and there are some things you're better at but there will also be things the lower Int wizard is better at, such as having better Hp, AC, and saves, as well as better +hit with rays and such.

Quote:
Taking a low stat for your primary stat for your class isn't about role playing it's harming yourself and the party.

I never said it was about roleplaying. I said that the statement that a 12 Int wizard is somehow useless or gimped is a joke. Anyone who really knows how to wizard isn't going to be phased by it in the least and quite frankly they will still be more powerful and more versatile than most of the party combined.

Quote:
Magic helps never said it didn't but magic only goes so far. A fighter with a 12 str has only a plus one to hit before feats and his CMB and CMD are going to suck.

Notice I never said anything about Fighters. Fighters suck. Fighters have sucked since 3.x. A high Strength score isn't going to fix that. But martial characters typically rely on those stats to do anything meaningful at all. Their options are "hit it" or "don't hit it".

Casters tend to have a significantly wider breadth of options, which in turn, means that they can more or less ignore the numerical disadvantages of having fewer +1s here and there, because a wizard can perform their job and bend reality over their knee without ever asking for a saving throw.

Quote:
Now he gets a belt of +6 he is now only catching up to a fighter who already put his highest stat into str. Magic improves him even further and again exceeding the 12 stst fighter.

The problem is you're comparing apples to steam engines. Fighters are stuck on a linear path of "is my modifier high enough to hit it?" and that is the extent of their options. Many, many, many spells - most of the best spells in the game in fact - don't really care what the wizard's Int score is as long as it's high enough for them to simply cast it. Because of this, having a higher Int score is nice but it's by no means required.

Quote:
Regarding the Monk. All first level characters suck in some ways. Even a fighter at first level sucks.

Fighters suck at all levels.

Quote:
His Will save is crappy and doesn't get much better. At third a fighter will be better then most classes for combat.

Not really. In fact he's outpaced by the core martials. Barbarians start off stronger than Fighters and stay stronger than Fighters, and by 3rd level Barbarians and Paladins and Rangers are all just better than Fighters (Fighters have no bonuses to hit and damage aside from perhaps Weapon Focus until 4th level at the earliest and that's if they burn their feat on weapon specialization - a great trap; whereas by that time Barbarians are laughing because they've been doing that since 1st level and have way better goodies, Paladins make you look like a frail origami piece, and Rangers just got another body on the field).

Quote:
That doesn't mean a Monk sucks. I've played a Monk that actually had a better AC then the fighter and hit about the same.

This isn't really anything to write home about. With a lot of magic items a monk can - eventually - reach decent ACs. Martial and even hybrid characters can as well. As for hitting as well as the Fighter, well, maybe if the Fighter sucks or something (Fighters do tend to suck). Mathematically, however, monks cannot actually keep pace with real martials. They have no means of raising their attack & damage rolls outside of "MORE STRENGTH" and they're already behind the curve by 25%.

Quote:
It's about what you do with him. Now in your case you probably are giving his prime stats the lowest numbers you have instead of your highest. Any character with low stats are going to suck as well.

I'll be sure to take your timeless wisdom into consideration, good sir. Perhaps you can enthrall us ignorant newbies with tales of your daring success, so that we may aspire to understand these weird, esoteric, mechanical things. :3


Diminuendo wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Diminuendo wrote:
I love hearing about how Monks suck when, in my opinion, Sohei Monk is a better Fighter than the fighter.

How far do you have to stray from being a monk before you're a monk in name only?

"Are you a monk?"
"No, I'm a sohei."
"Oh, cool then."

I dont understand your point.

Well, they say if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck. But what if it looks like a tiger, swims like a fish, and screeches like a monkey?

How far from functioning like a class does someone have to go before it's not really representative of the class anymore?


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Coffee Demon wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Malice from ignorance is definitely a thing. You can screw over other players without realizing that's what you're doing, and if they get upset then you (generic "you", not calling out anyone in particular here) should be willing to listen to what they're saying and consider changing what you're doing.
I'd argue that the DM would be screwing over other players by failing to recognize the abilities of the group. The DM would also be screwing over the suboptimal PC by failing to recognize what that player found enjoyable.

GM: "Gee, it's really pretty crap that I can't use enemies like mummies, basilisks, classed NPCs, the vast majority of outsiders, and a number of natural hazards and traps because Timmy is a gimp and wants to be."

GM: "Am I being too lenient at shoveling 150% more wealth at the party just so they can pay for Timmy's continued existence so he doesn't whine about being dead for the 13th time (in 6 sessions)? I mean, the Jane, Ed, and David might have their verisimilitude a little crushed by finding yet another abandoned dragon's horde."

GM: "Man, Ed's been a bit bummed 'cause they never find any good items on their enemies and wishes they were fighting stuff like evil knights on dragons, but if I use enemies that aren't using clubs and loincloths Timmy can't hit them and dies faster."

GM: "Guys, I know it's metagaming now but maybe there's an in character reason your characters would keep resurrecting Timmy and bringing him on your adventures. I can't think of one right now but if we all put our heads together!"

GM: "Yes Timmy, it's entirely fair for enemies to be capable of flying. Timmy, you're 15th level, you shouldn't be landbound. You spent 130% of your WBL on raise dead and restoration fees and feel it's my fault? I'm just saying that maybe you shouldn't have picked a fight with that CR 8 creature, yeah?"

GM: "Timmy, we've decided to play Guilty Gear instead of our RPG today. Everyone else wants to play in games where the characters do heroic, valor-filled things like fight dragons and evil mages and demons and stuff and they're kind of tired of being stuck fighting kobolds and orcs at 11th level because you can't hit the broad side of a gelatinous cube and your backstory about how you were raised by a sewer rat with your other three brothers isn't really helping that at all."


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Derek Dalton wrote:
My character was interesting because of his background materials.

Which has nothing to with your criticisms of a wizard who doesn't spec Int-Prime.

Quote:
He himself was designed to kill demons and he did. Demons often failed against his magic and I blew through any resistances easily.

Okay...but Int has nothing to do with resistances. So it really only matters how much you care about saving throws (and top-end your difference is about 15% so like 20% vs 35% save-rate, not a huge difference).

Quote:
A feta and mythic tier ability and I rolled twice to overcome resistances taking the better number. Most of my spells and abilities were designed to maim or kill a demon and I did that.

None of which has anything to do with Intelligence.

Quote:
His acting like a dwarf was about his background and roleplaying it.

Which has nothing to do with what we were talking about. I can roleplay anything.

Quote:
My character was never useless unlike some characters designed just to roleplay skipping out on making basic common sense choices.

This seems bizarrely hostile somehow, yet you still haven't made a point about common sense choices. You haven't actually even given any example of a well designed character.

Quote:
Leadership was given to us because of a weird thing in one module.

So it's 100% meaningless. Gotcha. Thanks. So what's this about the 12 Int wizard?

Quote:
Monks are not weak. They are the Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee or Steven Segal of Pathfinder. Or even wrestlers. I have played the old Monks and they sucked and were very weak. Pathfinder made them very interesting and powerful.

Call me skeptical.

Quote:
Have played a few and have never had a problem competing with a fighter or rogue in damage output.

Skepticism confirmed.

Quote:
At low levels a well built Monk is about comparable to a rogue as far as defense and offense.

Translation = Monks suck.

Quote:
A wise player plays them smarter then a standard rush into combat armored fighter. Mid level they start to become better.

... >_>

*opens Core rulebook, reads monk*
<_< ...

If you say so dude.

Quote:
At higher levels thy can kick out more damage then a fighter and have comparable ACs. I'd take a Monk over other classes in a second.

Tell me about how you spin straw into gold too. :D


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Diminuendo wrote:
I love hearing about how Monks suck when, in my opinion, Sohei Monk is a better Fighter than the fighter.

How far do you have to stray from being a monk before you're a monk in name only?

"Are you a monk?"
"No, I'm a sohei."
"Oh, cool then."


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Derek Dalton wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:
12 int meeans you can only cast 2nd level and lower spells. A 12 int wizard cant cast haste....

Well, a Headband fixes that, and if you're going with Fighter 1/Wizard 5/Eldritch Knight X you might well have the money for a +2 headband by the time you have 3rd level spells. And can certainly have used a level up point for Int 13 by then. From there, upgrading the headband takes care of it.

Personally, that seems really low even for a Wizard who doesn't give a damn about Save DCs but it works in theory.

Been reading this for awhile. An Int 12 Wizard is like an Wis 12 Cleric or a Str12 fighter. My point is unless that is your highest stat you are already crippling yourself.

That's debatable and entirely subject to what your options are. For example, if you have access to Deadly Agility (Path of War) then making a Dex-focused Melee warrior isn't off the table.

Quote:
Yes I understand the point is to improve and it seems like you expect your GM to provide the magic and opportunity to do so. Now consider this a Wizard starting at twelve without magic with the standard stat progression will hit 17 that's assuming he puts every point into his Int. He now can cast seventh level spells. He is still losing out badly, no eighth or nineth level spells. This is a badly designed character not cute or interesting.

Wizards are designed to craft magic items. There is literally nothing stopping you from making a +2 or better headband of intellect to get your 9th level spells with. Clerics and every other caster can as well. It has nothing to do with your GM providing "the magic opportunity".

It's also entirely subject to your design intentions. Again, if your goal is to play a traditional "God Wizard", then having a high Intelligence isn't even necessary since your role is almost entirely about tilting the game in the favor of your team through the use of spells like summon monster, haste, various buff spells, support spells like wind wall, dispel magic, and lots of "no-save just-suck" spells like waves of fatigue.

Unless you're building a wizard that plans to make save DCs a big focus, such as in the case of a Save or Die wizard, you're not really gimping yourself in the slightest, and if you choose to build this way it's probably because you have weighed your options and decided that since you don't plan to cast a lot of save-or spells it would be a waste to invest so much into Intelligence for so little gain when you could invest those points into areas like Constitution so your HP rival's the party's barbarian.

Quote:
To give an example of a well designed and interesting character let me introduce a character I was using for wrath of the Rightious. Race was an elf, class Wizard nothing new most people choose and elf or human for wizard.

Tieflings and dwarfs make really solid choices for wizards as well. Especially dwarves. Holy crap are they great choices for wizards.

Quote:
He took a background Trait that said his parents are presumed dead making him something of an orphan. I rolled randomly in Ultimate Campaign for some background details. My character ended up being raised by a Dwarf Jeweler who had befriended my parents before their demise. Now he's where he got interesting because he was pretty much raised by the dwarf he thought and acted more like a dwarf and I role played that. Everyone including the GM went huh? Yet it turned out to be really fun and was interesting.

Nothing about this sounds particularly designed or seems to be well designed. It's just a couple of fluff bits tacked on seemingly because of a random die-roll. Um, okay, but if you're criticizing someone for not having high stats in an iconic ability score why talk about this?

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Later when he was able to get Leadership for free I ended up creating a half elf half brother.

Leadership for free?

Quote:
Elves in older editions have said they often have affairs with others usually going back to their spouses. The half elf was a result of that affair. He was a cohort but now he was family with a reason to be joining me. My GM loved it. Now in and out of combat my character was useful and fun to play never being the weak link in the party.

What does any of that have to do with anything? You begin by talking about the mechanical viability of your character as an example of a "well designed character" and your example is "I was an elf wizard, also here's some fluffage that is entirely irrelevant to both the point being made and everyone else's characters".

Could you...elaborate on what you're talking about?


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Insain Dragoon wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:

The Way of the Wicked campaign I was a part of had a lot of problems due to character choices of questionable optimization. We had a Bard who's only useful ability was singing and occasionally casting a buff spell because he specialized in being a crossbowman.

One player selected Anti-Paladin and we all thought it was a great idea, till we realized Anti-Paladins are really bad compared to Paladins. By the time the campaign ended the player had more fun doing game stuff with his cohort instead of PC.

In a campaign that expects more out of you it's not possible to get through with poor choices like that.

...

This is all true, but the Anti-paladin didn't synergize well with the party. We were a Hunter, Beatstick Cleric, Necromancy Wizard, and Crossbowman Bard. DM didn't like us having large numbers of minions, so preference kept bloody skeletons out. Our Necromancy Wizard basically was allowed to keep one undead minion with as high hit-die as we could find around.

By the end of the day he wanted to player a Bloodrager, Warpriest, Magus, or something.

Yeah, it's one of those classes that really thrives on teamwork. To my chagrin, when I was playing in Reign of Winter, one of our party was playing an antipaladin. An antipaladin who had the potential to be grossly good (he was undead and had Charisma prime with Strength secondary) and he was the reason that I took the psionic equivalent of phantasmal killer (because his aura + intimidate pushed my DCs into the auto-kill territories) but in virtually every encounter he never used Intimidate, slowly marched towards enemies and never did anything except attempt to hit them with his axe (rather than crush foes with the despair of bestow curse on touch of corruption touch attacks).

The end result is he always felt like a slow weenie and my psion never actually manifested her phantasmal killer equivalent because he never actually debuffed anything (which debuffing is what the antipaladin is king at).

Ahh that must have been frustrating!

Oh it was. Psions have a very limited set of powers known so having picked up phantasmal killer specifically to synergize with his antipaladin was a fairly significant investment and meant I didn't get something else in its place.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
I assume Ashiel intends to start with 12 Int, and raise that to keep pace with spellcasting requirements. Just the "only enough to cast your spells" that you often times see with divine casters going martial.

Yeah exactly. I prefer to start with a 13 in most cases (gives a nice 6 level window before you need to raise your stats with magic items and lets you hit 19 with just your enhancement item).

Now, I won't say that you couldn't still contribute better than most characters with a sub-19 Int at high levels. RAW, you don't have any issues casting metamagic versions of lower level spells (because it uses a higher level slot but doesn't change the spell level for any other effect) so a high level wizard with a 13-15 Int could load up on Metamagic feats and just use their 6th-9th level slots to metamagic the hell out of low-level spells (you still get your higher level slots even if you can't cast higher level spells).

Which means your loadout would be 1st-5th level spells, then lots of 1st-5th level spells loaded up with metamagic feats like quickened, intensified, echoing, rime, empowered, and maximized.


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Insain Dragoon wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:

The Way of the Wicked campaign I was a part of had a lot of problems due to character choices of questionable optimization. We had a Bard who's only useful ability was singing and occasionally casting a buff spell because he specialized in being a crossbowman.

One player selected Anti-Paladin and we all thought it was a great idea, till we realized Anti-Paladins are really bad compared to Paladins. By the time the campaign ended the player had more fun doing game stuff with his cohort instead of PC.

In a campaign that expects more out of you it's not possible to get through with poor choices like that.

The best advice I have for those who want to play an antipaladin is to synergize with your allies and don't play like a Paladin, play like an enabler. An antipaladin can give a net -6 to saves vs Fear effects (have them open a fight with a foe with an Intimidate check and then get them in Aura range) and let your caster's drop a phantasmal killer or something on the foe.

They're considerably worse at tanking than Paladins and their spell list sucks, but with a retinue of bloody skeletons (they get animate dead on their spell list so a scroll or something is helpful) and perhaps the Ability Focus feat, they can destroy high-profile targets while clogging up enemy lines nicely.

This is all true, but the Anti-paladin didn't synergize well with the party. We were a Hunter, Beatstick Cleric, Necromancy Wizard, and Crossbowman Bard. DM didn't like us having large numbers of minions, so preference kept bloody skeletons out. Our Necromancy Wizard basically was allowed to keep one undead minion with as high hit-die as we could find around.

By the end of the day he wanted to player a Bloodrager, Warpriest, Magus, or something.

Yeah, it's one of those classes that really thrives on teamwork. To my chagrin, when I was playing in Reign of Winter, one of our party was playing an antipaladin. An antipaladin who had the potential to be grossly good (he was undead and had Charisma prime with Strength secondary) and he was the reason that I took the psionic equivalent of phantasmal killer (because his aura + intimidate pushed my DCs into the auto-kill territories) but in virtually every encounter he never used Intimidate, slowly marched towards enemies and never did anything except attempt to hit them with his axe (rather than crush foes with the despair of bestow curse on touch of corruption touch attacks).

The end result is he always felt like a slow weenie and my psion never actually manifested her phantasmal killer equivalent because he never actually debuffed anything (which debuffing is what the antipaladin is king at).


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Terminalmancer wrote:
...a serious attempt at a functional 12-Int wizard build is an interesting case. It seems like something where yeah, you could build it, but wouldn't it be easier to use another class?

Depends on what your intentions were. For example, it might be a very practical build for someone intending to go down the Eldritch Knight or Arcane Archer routes and wanting more Strength and Constitution. Or if you're intending to be a focused blaster, raising Dexterity may be more helpful to hitting with Rays and such than Intelligence would be.

You might intend to be making a very survival focused wizard, so you have way more Dex, Con, and Wisdom than your typical wizard.

You might be intending to with conjuration/necromancy/abjurations as a primary focus and really don't care about most of the other things. If you're not intending to charm/dominate/polymorph enemies, many CC spells that manipulate terrain either have no saving throws or don't really care if you make them (wind wall, wall of fire, wall of stone, etc).

Spells like haste, summon monster, animate dead, and virtually all buff spells (including illusions like greater invisibility, mirror image, blur/displacement, and stoneskin don't have save DCs) don't care about your saving throw DCs in the least.

It's not much different from making low-Wisdom clerics which is something I do all the time (clerics have less incentive to have high Wisdoms than Wizards do to have high Int).


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Insain Dragoon wrote:

The Way of the Wicked campaign I was a part of had a lot of problems due to character choices of questionable optimization. We had a Bard who's only useful ability was singing and occasionally casting a buff spell because he specialized in being a crossbowman.

One player selected Anti-Paladin and we all thought it was a great idea, till we realized Anti-Paladins are really bad compared to Paladins. By the time the campaign ended the player had more fun doing game stuff with his cohort instead of PC.

In a campaign that expects more out of you it's not possible to get through with poor choices like that.

The best advice I have for those who want to play an antipaladin is to synergize with your allies and don't play like a Paladin, play like an enabler. An antipaladin can give a net -6 to saves vs Fear effects (have them open a fight with a foe with an Intimidate check and then get them in Aura range) and let your caster's drop a phantasmal killer or something on the foe.

They're considerably worse at tanking than Paladins and their spell list sucks, but with a retinue of bloody skeletons (they get animate dead on their spell list so a scroll or something is helpful) and perhaps the Ability Focus feat, they can destroy high-profile targets while clogging up enemy lines nicely.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Malice from ignorance is definitely a thing. You can screw over other players without realizing that's what you're doing, and if they get upset then you (generic "you", not calling out anyone in particular here) should be willing to listen to what they're saying and consider changing what you're doing.

Absolutely. Like, there's lots of traps in the game. Which is part of the reason I'm so willing to work with players to make concepts work without getting left in the dust by normal gameplay.

However, in some cases I've met players who seem to get off on the fact they're making bad characters and even if the option is essentially "the same but better" they're very resistant to it (such as an effect that gives a +1 but getting it made into a +2 or something), it becomes obvious that they're trying to be disruptive and it's not their concept it's the sheer fact that they suck and want to suck for reasons.

If you go that route, expect no sympathy if the rest of the party do what is reasonable, such as not splitting the enemy's loot with you, or outright leaving you at an Inn somewhere to go on about their adventure without the character who never contributes to the party in any form or fashion other than bumbling and alerting all the goblins in the tunnels to come try to murder you - which they then proceed to be unable to help you deal with.


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QuidEst wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
That's high enough to cast planar binding and grant an Efreeti to bring you to 19+, allowing you access to all the spells you'll ever need to cast.
Or craft the relevant bonus Tome of Intelligence to avoid all the fuss that Planar Binding for Wish generally entails.

Those things are super overpriced though. It costs you the full material component for the ability to cast wish but you're limited to a very specific subset of options that wish allows. There's almost always a better way of going about it, even if it involves forcing an efreeti to give you an uncorrupted wish through abusive combinations of geas and mind control. >_>


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Crimson172 wrote:
I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this matter. A friend and I were discussing the playability of a monk. I know it's not a very good class but I really enjoy playing the class. Always have. I understand there are better options. I say it's my character I'll play it how I want. His argument is that other players shouldn't have to suffer because someone wants to play an un-optimized character. I assume he means in combat. So here's the question...

I'll put it like this. If you insist on playing a bad character who should really just be left on the side of the road rather than brought along and given an equal share of treasures on adventures, and people in your party die because you couldn't pull your weight, you owe them an apology.

Quote:
Lets say someone in a game you were DMing is playing a truly terribly built character that they enjoyed. Would let it be? Tell them to make a better one or version of that character? What would you do.

"But I enjoy sucking" is not an appropriate answer, so I would work with them to do something that wasn't a huge drain on the party. If they insisted on using the stuff that was "the same but worse", I'd tell them that they should probably pick a different concept or not get upset when the party treats them like a cohort rather than a team member.

Because I have only one fundamental unbreakable rule when it comes to making characters for my games. Your character has to be able to work with others. Now this rule generally reads as "No antisocial loner psychopathic racists or theo-nazis" but it can just as well be interpreted as "Stop making characters who cannot contribute to the party but exist only to suck up treasure and experience points from the people who are doing all the work".


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voska66 wrote:
I don't think this is about terribly built characters. Those are characters that just don't work. You know like wizard with 12 int. Sure you can do it but it's terrible. Playing a monk is not terrible. It's harder optimize but not impossible. You can make monk that just doesn't work though just like you can any other class.

The funny thing is, you can play a wizard with 12 Int just fine. You just don't play like a traditional wizard, using fewer save-DC spells. Instead you focus on spells that have always-working effects, dispels, buffs, and things that don't require saving throws.

At 12 base Int, you can craft (and upgrade) your +Int item over the course of the game to bring you to 18 Int without ever investing any level-up points into it. That's high enough to cast planar binding and grant an Efreeti to bring you to 19+, allowing you access to all the spells you'll ever need to cast.

The only thing you're really losing out on is your save-DCs aren't ever going to be good and you might lose a couple of bonus spell slots over the course of your career, but the bonus spell slots take a backseat to things like school spells, mnemonic enhancer, pearls of power, and so forth.


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Starbuck_II wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

Mind you, if you want "Dracula", you should probably do what I did and write your own template. Most of the "Dracula" story is pretty poorly done with the Pathfinder vampire template.

I wrote my own template because I liked the fluff of the vampire but I didn't want every vampire to be so strong. I wanted a vampire template that scaled better with level and allowed for weaker vampires who could eventually turn into old and really scary vampires in time, and I didn't think that the vampire spawn in Pathfinder did that well at all.

That reminds me, I haven't made yet, but I was thinking of reworking WoD vampire clans powers as choices for 1st level vampires.

The starting clan forces your innate power, but you get 1 per character level. Each would also get starting powers innate to vampires (stat buffs), fast heal, blood drain, etc.
But negative levels aren't because Dracula never did that (but you an choose it).

I'd rate Dracula as 5th easily. (no longer are vampire spawn a race, they are just weaker vampires).

Sunlight, burns vampires, but you can get a power that reduces tat in exchange for weakening you.

One thing I've been wanting to do for an upcoming campaign I promised to run my friend Raital was to create a subsystem for using the Con damage inflicting by vampires as a sort of fuel source for using vampire powers. I understand VtM does something like this with blood points.

I've not begun on it yet 'cause I'm working on the core rules we'll be using as #1 priority right now.


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Tectorman wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Yeah a funny fact concerning this is that if you're Neutral aligned, all the celestial and fiendish creatures you summon with summon monster spells are also neutral. They're neutral-aligned celestials and fiends. This amusingly means that things like protection from evil and protection from good do diddly squat against celestial and fiendish creatures summoned by a Neutral aligned caster.
That's odd. I thought all this time that all those celestial and fiendish creatures being summoned were at least still having the Evil- or Good-Subtypes added to them. You know, due to being extraplanar beings. Meaning they would at least still interact with "Protection from -" spells on that basis, independent of their summoner-matching alignment.

The celestial and fiendish creature templates don't add the Good/Evil subtype.

Celestial Template wrote:
Rebuild Rules: Senses gains darkvision 60 ft.; Defensive Abilities gains DR and energy resistance as noted on the table; SR gains SR equal to new CR +5; Special Attacks smite evil 1/day as a swift action (adds Cha bonus to attack rolls and damage bonus equal to HD against evil foes; smite persists until target is dead or the celestial creature rests).
Fiendish Template wrote:
Rebuild Rules: Senses gains darkvision 60 ft.; Defensive Abilities gains DR and energy resistance as noted on the table; SR gains SR equal to new CR +5; Special Attacks smite good 1/day as a swift action (adds Cha bonus to attack rolls and damage bonus equal to HD against good foes; smite persists until target is dead or the fiendish creature rests).

And while creatures from evil planes usually have the [Evil] subtype, it's not an automatic or certain thing like the [Extraplanar] subtype is.

"Evil Subtype wrote:
Evil Subtype: This subtype is usually applied to outsiders native to the evil-aligned outer planes. Evil outsiders are also called fiends. Most creatures that have this subtype also have evil alignments; however, if their alignments change, they still retain the subtype. Any effect that depends on alignment affects a creature with this subtype as if the creature has an evil alignment, no matter what its alignment actually is. The creature also suffers effects according to its actual alignment. A creature with the evil subtype overcomes damage reduction as if its natural weapons and any weapons it wields are evil-aligned (see Damage Reduction).

However, as written, celestial and fiendish creatures don't have it (making them the exception to the "usually" part I guess). It also means their attacks aren't aligned as per the subtypes either.

So yeah, Neutral caster summons Neutral fiendish creatures.


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Milo v3 wrote:
knightnday wrote:
No real solution, really, just looking to break the mood up a bit and see if we've come up with something more than slapping back and forth. The last few pages have been a little growly. Which, I guess, was the point of what I was saying: While I appreciate all the verbiage, is it going somewhere?
And here I thought me and Berinor were being rather civil :p

I'd like to think that I'm pretty civil when people aren't constantly misrepresenting what I'm saying. Though it's only an unconfirmed theory. :P

As to what we've determined from the thread:

1. Undead, even those like vampires, aren't required to be evil. This is supported by the Bestiary explanation for creature types and alignments as well as (and most importantly) the core rules on alignment.

2. Undead whose alignment is changed by a template have no special feature or ability that creates an exception to the alignment rules, so they will shift to whatever alignment best describes their moral attitudes (Neutral for mindless creatures) because they are still subject to the core alignment rules. How long this takes is dependent on the GM, but the GM is required to be consistent with it.

3. Alignment doesn't control your actions outside of the very specific helm of opposite alignment, thus being turned evil by a template or magic item doesn't prevent you from returning to being non-evil or even stop you from acting good. Your alignment will shift back at a pace determined by the GM, but the GM is required to be consistent with it.

4. Atonement can be used to change alignment and restore class features rapidly. It is likewise done at no extra cost if the change was involuntary, meaning undead Paladins such as those turned into vampires can quickly recover their features and alignment and go play Vampire Hunter D now.

5. Clerics (and only clerics) have issues with negative energy and alignment descriptor spells based on their alignments. Every other class (including Paladins) have no restrictions on the types of spells they are allowed to cast. This prevents the cleric argument from being used to signify definitive correlation to things like negative energy or alignment subtyped spells being only usable by particular alignments.

6. Oracles make really good candidates for being Good and also marching around with a small army of undead. They have methods of calling up undead as a supernatural ability that has no alignment subtype and eventually get to cast animate dead as an SLA without expending material components. They can likewise pick up animate dead as a 3rd level spell and cast it while being Good aligned.

7. Neutral is the superior alignment because rules are hard for Paizo.

8. Vampires can easily feed and sate their hungers without ever putting people at risk of dying. This fans the flames of evil when a vampire does serious harm or slays people by feeding as it's a bullet point denoting just how evil they are.

9. Ghouls are actually pretty cool and most want to be left alone and prefer eating rotten corpses.

10. Cannibalism isn't in and of itself evil. Murdering people is.

11. Mindless undead don't have souls nor trap souls. This is confirmed in the cosmological rules, the rules for the dead condition, the rules for magic jar, etc.

12. Blood drain actually causes Con damage rather than drain.

13. Commoners are the other white meat.

14. I put too much thought into NPCs and their behavior. I am unapologetic for this habit.

The quest for truth continues! @_@


Milo v3 wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Maybe I'll find something. Otherwise we'll probably just need to turn to homebrew/house rules. It's what I did. I still use alignment in my games but it's heavily modified, and as a result clerics and stuff choose what type of energy they are most suited for channeling regardless of alignment (mostly based on whether the individual cleric views, since warrior priests are likely to use their channeling as a weapon).
I use subjective morality rather than standard alignment rules.

Maybe we should swap notes sometime. :)


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137ben wrote:
The Sword wrote:
I prefer my vampires along the Strahd von Zarovich / Dracula lines.

Ah, so you prefer vampires that can survive indefinitely in sunlight? After all, Dracula could. You'd also have to throw out a lot of the Pathfinder vampire template (which I assume you're comfortable doing as you've already thrown out the alignment rules).

The Sword wrote:
Then again I'm a traditionalist.

Apparently not. If you were really a traditionalist, you'd despise how Stoker ignored and completely reshaped centuries of traditional stories about vampires. And you'd dislike the authors of Ravenloft even more for basing Strahd Von Zarovich off of Hollywood-Dracula and ignoring the traditional sources.

If you are going to rant about your personal preferences, please be honest about them and don't hide behind a faux sense of "tradition" when it's readily clear you don't care about tradition at all.

Honestly, I've been strongly considering revising my own vampires to make them capable of existing in sunlight but in a weakened state. Especially after reading The Anatomy of Failed Design: Vampire The Masquerade. Specifically this part...

AoFD:VtM wrote:

Vampires in Vampire have a big problem with sunlight and fire. That's defensible from a folklore standpoint, but it's obviously problematic. Very notably, Dracula wasn't unable to handle sunlight, he was just weaker during the day. If he had been literally unable to take a blast of sunlight to the face, he wouldn't have gotten anywhere with his evil schemes. In a modern setting, this works at all, but only just. A lot of s+** only happens when the sun is up, and while you can do things with electric lights, it's very limited indeed. But if you scale things back to any kind of past at all, things don't work at all. You can't interact with people as anything but a whispered voice from under the bed if there isn't any light, and before 1880, literally all of the light was generated by fire or the sun. All of it. So you can't have any vampire counts or vampires in posh clothes having their portraits taken or any of that s%~!.

Remember, Toreador are supposed to hang out with artists doing art wanky salon s$*@. Ventrue are supposed to have evil business meetings. Vampires need to hang out where people are doing people things. They can do it at night (or at least, mostly at night), but people have to f#%&ing be around. And if vampires have to spend all their time hermetically sealed from all light sources, they can't do that. Because humans do all their interactions except f#~~ing in the light. Even when they do things at night they still bring light with them. To add insult to retardedness, the vampires in Masquerade don't even have any special ability to navigate in darkness. So they are not only incapable of hanging out with historical figures, their history is one of stumbling around in the dark like a radio comedy.

What this means is that the limitations on vampires are way too big, and it ends up requiring a whole lot of mind caulk to keep the setting moving at all. Sunlight actually setting vampires on fire is a cool device, but it doesn't work. If you're going to have a cooperative storytelling setting with the vampires as anything other than cave dwelling beasts, they need to be able to stand fire and sunlight. They can find it distasteful or even uncomfortable, but they have to be able to be in its f#~%ing presence.


Milo v3 wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Well you can actually take the feat as a cleric if you can get a familiar as a class feature. In which case you gain a new set of channeling. This does mean that if you're a neutral cleric you could choose to make the new channeling feature the opposing energy type.
For some reason I don't think the priests of 90% of the religions of my setting should have familiars :P

Neither do I. :(

Maybe I'll find something. Otherwise we'll probably just need to turn to homebrew/house rules. It's what I did. I still use alignment in my games but it's heavily modified, and as a result clerics and stuff choose what type of energy they are most suited for channeling regardless of alignment (mostly based on whether the individual cleric views, since warrior priests are likely to use their channeling as a weapon).


Milo v3 wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

Amusingly, said clerics do in fact channel associated by alignment regardless of type. More humorously, undead Paladins can heal themselves with Lay on Hands and burn other undead with it. As for actually getting channel energy without the alignment stuff, necromancer wizards and bone oracles can get a restricted channel that's only for commanding undead.

If you've got both the familiar class feature and are a divine spellcaster of 4th CL or higher and a 13+ Cha, you can take Adept Channel from Orcs of Golarion (intended for allowing adepts the channel energy class feature).

It says you channel energy as a cleric, however, so it might be restricted based on alignment.

Dunno beyond that.

Unfortunately I meant for clerics doing channeling, since I don't see much link between most gods and a form of energy in most settings I've played in and have been disappointed that I have to houserule stuff to get it to work in the past.

Well you can actually take the feat as a cleric if you can get a familiar as a class feature. In which case you gain a new set of channeling. This does mean that if you're a neutral cleric you could choose to make the new channeling feature the opposing energy type.

EDIT: So if you're a multiclassed cleric or get a familiar from an archetype or something, you can pick the feat up and being Neutral you can 100% certainly choose whether your new channel energy channels positive or negative energy.

I just meant that the choice might still be restricted by alignment since it says "otherwise functions as the cleric's channel energy class feature".


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In a similar fashion, it bugs me that there are no chaos/law/evil equivalents of bless weapon. Or that the antipaladin's spell list sucks because the actual Paladin's spell list is loaded with great spells and the antipaladin's list is meh, partially because there are no equivalencies in terms of spells.

It would have actually been less lazy and more effectual to have taken the antipaladin's spell list and included a note saying "The antipaladin shares the Paladin's spell list with these few exceptions: *insert exceptions*. Further, any spell that affects good or evil creatures (such as bestow grace or bless weapon) has all instances of Good replaced with Evil and all instances of Evil replaced with Good".

As it is right now, your typical anti-Paladin is actually just going to get face-rolled by a real Paladin because the real Paladin will pop bestow grace and bless weapon, so not only will the antipaladin never manage to land one of their status ailments on the Paladin, the Paladin will also auto-confirm every critical threat against the anti-paladin and blow him to pieces with multiplied smite damage.


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On the subject of celestial/fiendish creatures and summoning, it's one of the reasons that being a Neutral-aligned caster is also the strongest sort of caster (which bothers me, because there shouldn't be a "best" alignment for being powerful IMHO). Neutral aligned casters can bypass all the protection from spells when summoning celestial/fiendish creatures and can likewise ignore them when casting charm and dominate spells because while Paizo removed the ability to protect against all attempts from those spells, they didn't add in a protection from neutrality spell or anything.

So as is, neutral-aligned casters can wreck you with mind-affecting and summons even if you're saturated in protection from spells. They likewise take 1/2 damage from all anti-alignment spells automatically (1/4th on a successful save), aren't subject to things like bless weapon, and ignore the kicker effects on spells like holy smite and unholy blight.

The more I've become familiar with Pathfinder, the more I keep finding them making the game actually worse in fundamental ways over 3.x. Now 3.x was a cluster**** of bad splat material, poorly balanced core books, bad class design and so forth. However, I keep noticing that for every issue fixed in the core, Paizo failed to fix or broke two other things. >_>


Berinor wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Yeah a funny fact concerning this is that if you're Neutral aligned, all the celestial and fiendish creatures you summon with summon monster spells are also neutral. They're neutral-aligned celestials and fiends. This amusingly means that things like protection from evil and protection from good do diddly squat against celestial and fiendish creatures summoned by a Neutral aligned caster.

Huh. I never realized that. That's goofy and I really appreciate you pointing it out.

On the other point, you and I have not disagreed on alignment change based on action (other than the details - I say acting good and meaning it is an indicator you were good all along, but the difference here is academic), only what the implications of changing alignment are. But I'll leave that side conversation alone if you will. :-)

Sure thing. :P


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Amusingly, said clerics do in fact channel associated by alignment regardless of type. More humorously, undead Paladins can heal themselves with Lay on Hands and burn other undead with it. As for actually getting channel energy without the alignment stuff, necromancer wizards and bone oracles can get a restricted channel that's only for commanding undead.

If you've got both the familiar class feature and are a divine spellcaster of 4th CL or higher and a 13+ Cha, you can take Adept Channel from Orcs of Golarion (intended for allowing adepts the channel energy class feature).

It says you channel energy as a cleric, however, so it might be restricted based on alignment.

Dunno beyond that.


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Berinor wrote:
You know, this raises a good question. Your question, Milo, is why undead have to be evil in the RPG line. I don't believe that's a rule. It's true that nearly every statted undead in Bestiaries is evil, but I don't believe the rules take a stance on it.

That's correct. Which is why I've been saying that without a specific rule or mechanic forcing their alignments to remain a certain thing, after the template is applied the normal rules for alignment come into play. So after a time (however long is normal for the GM to change alignment based on the norms set by the alignment rules) the mindless creatures will turn Neutral and the non-mindless creatures will turn to whatever is their individual norms (or new norms if their transformation impacts their worldview, such as power going to the head of what was otherwise just a man).

Quote:
As for why undead creation spells are evil, it's because they make creatures that strongly tend to be evil. Just like summoning spells to summon demons. The undead creation spells have specific lists of creatures they make and those creatures are listed as evil in the Bestiary.

Yeah a funny fact concerning this is that if you're Neutral aligned, all the celestial and fiendish creatures you summon with summon monster spells are also neutral. They're neutral-aligned celestials and fiends. This amusingly means that things like protection from evil and protection from good do diddly squat against celestial and fiendish creatures summoned by a Neutral aligned caster.


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Hitdice wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Ian Bell wrote:
BLloyd607502 wrote:
Ian Bell wrote:
Stuff like "but neutral nature clerics can memorize animate dead" is not really a productive line of argument. I think they've said that in a perfect world they'd give a separate spell list to every kind of cleric, it's just outside the scope of what they can fit in the books.

Siabrae would like to have a word with you, being literally undead druids who still have full druid powers.

And are lead by the single most powerful druid in Golarion at the moment.
Siabrae are neither clerics nor non-evil so I'm not sure what your point is.
The implications can get a bit weird, though. According to the druidic faith, being undead is more natural than metal armor? ("Zombies? Well, sure, they're still walking around with all the rotting flesh and everything, but it's not like they're blacksmiths.")

There's also the obvious implication that it has nothing to do with good/evil but entirely to do with clerics. Good oracles can know and cast any spell without issues at all. In fact, the Bones oracle has a supernatural ability to call undead servants without it being an evil ability.

Paladins, Rangers, Druids, Oracles, Sorcerers, Wizards, Magi, and pretty much everyone else can cast animate dead even if they're Good. Clerics are not the standard they are the exception.
*snip*

Maybe it's one of those situations where divine power is pretty accessible, but the approval of any one individual god is, like, unknowable and mysterious?

Yeah it's kinda funny. It only matters for clerics and only if their own alignment or their deity's alignment is explicitly opposed to the spell descriptor. It's wholly an issue of spell granting in this particularly form, as a neutral deity can happily hand out any spell in the book to their clerics but only 2/3 of their clerics will be able to receive those spells. So a Lawful Good cleric of a Neutral Good god can't cast protection from law, even though that's a spell the deity has 0% problems handing out.

Meanwhile, oracle mysteries are also said to be able to stem from deities but a Good oracle of a Good deity can still learn and cast animate dead or even use undead-related mystery powers 100% fine.

Similarly, lawful evil sorcerers and wizards can casually cast protection from evil or magic circle against law with no issues.

Paladins aren't restricted from casting spells with descriptors opposed to their alignments, so unless you're house ruling, a Paladin can totally use Unsanctioned Knowledge to pick up infernal healing off the cleric/oracle list and use it to heal people. Humorously, said Paladin probably has one of the most awesome supplies of freshly squeezed devil juice to fuel it. I mean, that pit fiend he just killed is just loaded with devil blood.


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Blackvial wrote:
I view "Dracula" as the Mythic Vampire template

Which is kind of a joke because Dracula wasn't that strong. Dracula would actually be a fairly minor vampire in Pathfinder, unless he was rewritten to be waaaaay more uber than he was in the original story.

Which wouldn't be anything new of course. It's actually super common to find super-powered Draculas in stuff like anime and video games.


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Hitdice wrote:
Ian Bell wrote:
BLloyd607502 wrote:
Ian Bell wrote:
Stuff like "but neutral nature clerics can memorize animate dead" is not really a productive line of argument. I think they've said that in a perfect world they'd give a separate spell list to every kind of cleric, it's just outside the scope of what they can fit in the books.

Siabrae would like to have a word with you, being literally undead druids who still have full druid powers.

And are lead by the single most powerful druid in Golarion at the moment.
Siabrae are neither clerics nor non-evil so I'm not sure what your point is.
The implications can get a bit weird, though. According to the druidic faith, being undead is more natural than metal armor? ("Zombies? Well, sure, they're still walking around with all the rotting flesh and everything, but it's not like they're blacksmiths.")

There's also the obvious implication that it has nothing to do with good/evil but entirely to do with clerics. Good oracles can know and cast any spell without issues at all. In fact, the Bones oracle has a supernatural ability to call undead servants without it being an evil ability.

Paladins, Rangers, Druids, Oracles, Sorcerers, Wizards, Magi, and pretty much everyone else can cast animate dead even if they're Good. Clerics are not the standard they are the exception.

Oracle - Bones Mystery wrote:

Bones

Class Skills: An oracle with a bones mystery adds Bluff, Disguise, Intimidate, and Stealth to her list of class skills.

Bonus Spells: cause fear (2nd), false life (4th), animate dead (6th), fear (8th), slay living (10th), circle of death (12th), control undead (14th), horrid wilting (16th), wail of the banshee (18th).

Revelations: An oracle with the bones mystery can choose from any of the following revelations.

Armor of Bones (Su): You can conjure armor made of bones that grants you a +4 armor bonus. At 7th level, and every four levels thereafter, this bonus increases by +2. At 13th level, this armor grants you DR 5/bludgeoning. You can use this armor for 1 hour per day per oracle level. This duration does not need to be consecutive, but it must be spent in 1-hour increments.

Bleeding Wounds (Su): Whenever a creature takes damage from one of your spells or effects that causes negative energy damage (such as inflict light wounds or the death's touch revelation), it begins to bleed, taking 1 point of damage each round. At 5th level, and every five levels thereafter, this damage increases by 1. The bleeding can be stopped by a DC 15 Heal check or any effect that heals damage.

Death's Touch (Su): You can cause terrible wounds to appear on a creature with a melee touch attack. This attack deals 1d6 points of negative energy damage +1 point for every two oracle levels you possess. If used against an undead creature, it heals damage and grants a +2 channel resistance for 1 minute. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier.

Near Death (Su): You gain a +2 insight bonus on saves against diseases, mind-affecting effects, and poisons. At 7th level, this bonus also applies on saves against death effects, sleep effects, and stunning. At 11th level, the bonus increases to +4.

Raise the Dead (Su): As a standard action, you can summon a single skeleton or zombie to serve you. The undead creature has a number of Hit Dice equal to your oracle level. It remains for a number of rounds equal to your Charisma modifier. At 7th level, you can summon a bloody skeleton or fast zombie. At 15th level, you can summon an advanced skeleton or zombie. You can use this ability once per day plus one additional time per day at 10th level.
(Not an evil ability.)

Resist Life (Su): You are treated as an undead creature when you are targeted by positive or negative energy. You are not subject to Turn Undead or Command Undead (or any other effect that specifically targets undead), unless you are actually an undead creature. At 7th level, you receive channel resistance +2. This bonus increases by +2 at 11th and 15th level.

Soul Siphon (Su): As a ranged touch attack, you can unleash a ray that causes a target to gain one negative level. The ray has a range of 30 feet. This negative level lasts for a number of minutes equal to your Charisma modifier. Whenever this ability gives a target a negative level, you heal a number of hit points equal to your oracle level. You can use this ability once per day, plus one additional time at 11th level and every four levels thereafter. You must be at least 7th level to select this revelation.

Spirit Walk (Su): As a standard action, you can become incorporeal and invisible. While in this form, you can move in any direction and through any object (except for those made of force). You can take no action other than to move while in this form. You remain in this form for a number of rounds equal to your oracle level, but you can end this effect prematurely with a standard action. You can use this ability once per day at 11th level, and twice per day at 15th level. You must be at least 11th level to select this revelation.

Undead Servitude (Su): You gain Command Undead as a bonus feat. You can channel negative energy a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier, but only to use Command Undead. You can take other feats to add to this ability, such as Improved Channeling, but not feats that alter this ability, such as Alignment Channel.

(The oracle can do this in addition to being good and channeling positive energy if that's the route they took.)

Voice of the Grave (Su): You can speak with dead, as per the spell, for a number of rounds per day equal to your oracle level. These rounds do not need to be consecutive. At 5th level, and every five levels thereafter, the dead creature takes a cumulative –2 penalty on its Will save to resist this effect.

Final Revelation: Upon reaching 20th level, you become a master of death. Once per round, you can cast bleed or stabilize as a free action. If you are brought to below 0 hit points, you automatically stabilize. You can cast animate dead at will without paying a material component cost (although you are still subject to the usual Hit Die control limit). Once per day, you can cast power word kill, but the spell can target a creature with 150 hit points or less.

Bolded for emphasis. Italicized notes mine.


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Mind you, if you want "Dracula", you should probably do what I did and write your own template. Most of the "Dracula" story is pretty poorly done with the Pathfinder vampire template.

I wrote my own template because I liked the fluff of the vampire but I didn't want every vampire to be so strong. I wanted a vampire template that scaled better with level and allowed for weaker vampires who could eventually turn into old and really scary vampires in time, and I didn't think that the vampire spawn in Pathfinder did that well at all.


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The Sword wrote:
Nevertheless it is 1d4 con for every six seconds of feeding. I think vampires aren't exactly famed for their self restraint and temperateness.

Hence why those vampires are evil. It's already been noting that simply using your blood drain attack on someone counts as a feeding and staves off the hunger. If you're drinking enough blood to seriously hurt somebody, you're (most likely) doing so purely for evil reasons.

Quote:
However, these should be exceptions to the general rule. When you are immortal, incredibly powerful and most normal humans fear and loath you it isn't hard to see why in literature and film most vampires look at the humans they feed on as cattle.

I've said as much in this thread. However, that's again being evil for being evil, not for being undead or even for being a vampire. It just means that given immortality and an enjoyment of blood, the new vampire decides to be evil because there's seemingly no repercussions.

This is akin to someone who would totally love to go on a killing spree but doesn't for fear of retribution, but absolutely would if they became an unstoppable super villain. Normal commoners and most normal soldiers and such have little hope of actually effectively harming, let alone defeating a vampire. So it's not hard to see this happening.

It's a consideration for adventurers too. Even the 3.5 DMG mentioned that high level characters may lose any respect they have for society's rules simply because they expect there to be no way for society to enforce those rules (and it's not wrong).

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Regarding the point about the damage not meaning anything because it can be healed. A sword stroke to the side or a broken leg can be healed, it doesn't mean it isn't a traumatic/painful experience.

Given that it is actually impossible to kill someone using it unless they've already suffered damage, and it doesn't in itself actually cause damage, it's questionable as to how painful it actually is. Likewise, how traumatic it is would also depend on the circumstances surrounding the situation. Willing donors (even if those donors were simply charmed) wouldn't likely be traumatized at all, for example.

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I don't think 1d4 con drain is negligible

It's not Con drain, and it actually is pretty negligible if you're not out adventuring all over the place or suffering from some other malady.

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and level drain is certainly not going to be pleasant.

Level drain strait up kills people. However, the vampire's energy damage is applied on their natural attacks and isn't involved with their blood drain ability. Which means that vampires using abilities like dominate to get commoners to lower their guard so they can feed on them, or simply grappling them (knowing there's nothing a commoner can do to bypass your DR and fast healing), means never energy draining them.

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I don't think you should trivialise vampire encounters by saying - not to worry the damage can be healed. That is not good storycraft or roleplaying.

I don't really care about your opinions on story telling or lectures on roleplaying. I'm talking about the facts and since you know nothing about my story telling (and seem to ignore anything I've said about actual vampires in my games) I doubt I will anytime in the future either.


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The most likely sources are...

A) The name, because the ability has the word "drain" in it, though it means drain in the traditional sense.

B) It was written as drain in 3.5, probably due to the writer of the template was again making a mistake due to the name.


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I mean, that's kinda the point though. Vampires are supposed to be able to hide among the populace and be a sort of urban count castle dwelling superbad. Even the art for the sample vampire looks very much like a noblewoman or someone attending a ball (it's not hiking gear, that's for sure :P).

If you were just leaving a trail of corpses in your wake, it wouldn't be particularly helpful.

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