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Ashiel's page

RPG Superstar 2015 Star Voter. 9,851 posts (9,854 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.

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137ben wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Sorry that it's taken so long to reply. I've been pretty dead to the boards for the past week because
Bah, you've been dead to me ever since you admitted way back on page 1 that you liked Karnath more than the other Eberron nations!

No sweat. The main reason Karnath jumps to the forefront of my mind is because of some material I read about the pre-WotC Eberron, the Cult of Vol, and oddly enough the starter adventure in the back of the book (for some reason the "fine Karnathi paper" made things feel a little more alive with such a simple description).

It was my understanding that Keith Baker's original Cult of Vol was a little less evil than the WotC version and had some cool ideas. I also thought the country was really cool using undead as the majority of their armies (always a great idea) as opposed to enslaving sentient constructs (warforged) and elementals (golems / airships) which seemed like a bad idea.

That said, I really wanted to explore the country with the Inspired a lot more and Reidra but never really got the chance (save for one campaign which took place in Sharn, I got to GM precious little Eberron, and when I once wanted to play a Kalashtar in Reidra, the GM was like "That'd never work" and we did something else). I do remember thinking the big oval-shaped ziggurats in the art were cool.

I should probably run an Eberron game again sometime but lately I've been so busy that my own campaign is the only one I've had time to run. :o

because of pulling a lot of extra hours at work lately. ^~^;
Oh...that's a totally different story. Sorry about work, hope it payed off.

Yeah, short handed. On the plus side, I've got more overtime pay in the past few weeks than I did in the last year I think, so it's at least letting me put aside a little extra for a rainy day. I miss free time though. :P


So...let's talk about wilders, the often looked down upon psion's cousin. The issue I always run into when I am building a wilder is that I overspecialize, because you get so few powers that you have to be careful there is minimal redundancy. Of course that's true of psions and sorcerers as well, but with the much smaller number of powers known wilders have a lot less room for error.

Metapsionics, the Extra Power feat, and augmentation all help. Whenever I pick powers for a wilder, I always really carefully think about how each one benefits from metapsionics and especially augmentation. Below 6th level powers, I never pick non-augmentable powers. But, lately I've been wondering if that is too narrow a view to take. Sure, it would hurt if too many of your powers don't scale, especially given that augmentation is the main wilder class feature, but maybe there are some instances where one or two nonaugmentable powers are good choices, and I just haven't thought of them. So the actual question I am asking you is
Actual Question: Are there 1st to 5th level powers which cannot be augmented that would be worthwhile for (some) Wilders to take?

Well let's have a look. I'll be honest and say I'm a talent-whore, so I'm actually going to list quite a few talents as well. To my knowledge, you can trade 1 power known for 5 talents plus whatever you start with normally (1 for wilders). This is actually one of my favorite uses for the Extra Power Known feat (pick up 5 talents) and is one of my favorite things to do with a wilder at low levels since the talents let you do magic-y stuff when you're not poppin' real ones.


  • Conceal thoughts: This power is a +10 bonus to Bluff and +4 vs Mind-reading saves. Super amazing talent (probably should be nerfed a bit to +5 or something but I'm not complaining :P). Doesn't augment but it doesn't need to.
  • Detect psionics: It's detect magic. Of course you want this. It's technically augmentable (makes it identify, yay) but you won't augment it most of the time.
  • Empathy: Gives a +2 to most social checks. It's sustainable for when you need it and it's a nice roleplaying ability too if you want to be the guy/gal who's like, "Something's bothering you wanna talk about it?". It's augmentable but you rarely will even later on.
  • Energy splash: Allows you minor prestidigitation-like uses (like heating/cooling, lightning fires, etc) and can be a decent ray attack at low levels. Doesn't augment but it's mostly so you don't need matches.
  • Create sound: It's just fun.
  • Sense Poison: Never needs augmenting, always useful. :)
  • Far Hand: Short range mage-hand style telekinesis. Why not?
  • Unearthly Terror: Okay, I know you said powers that don't augment much but this one's too good to not mention. It's a simple 1 round save vs shaken for 0 PP as a talent. However you can augment it into fear style which makes it useful even mid-late game with surges.
  • My light: It's an easy light source that keeps your hands free.
  • Missive: One-way telepathic messages for 0 PP. Yes please.

    1st Level Powers

  • Inevitable stike: It's augmentable but generally inefficient to do so. Swift for +5 hit/ignore concealment is really nice on a wilder and you can surge it to get some more accuracy late on. Since wilders are built like clerics this is a good option.
  • Entangling ectoplasm: You could augment it but it's mostly like a cheap tanglefoot bag in most cases (ranged touch vs 5 rounds of entanglement). A solid debuff for medium-sized foes even if you never spend more than 1 PP on it ever.
  • Ectoplasmic sheen: One of my favorite powers. You can augment it but I rarely do as it's more fun to spam grease for 1 PP. Utterly wrecks giants and golems. I recommend greasing weapons regularly (basically save vs disarm, forces multiple saves to try to keep picking the weapon up). If you ever really need to, it's got an expensive augment that turns it into a powerful CC ability.
  • Prescience, Offensive: +2 damage for 10 rounds/level for 1 PP. Though it has some expensive augments it's forever useful even at 1 PP. Weapon specialization can eat poo and die! >:3
  • Synesthete: Easily one of the best non-augmentable powers in the game. Basically allows you to see without your eyes for 10 minutes/level and gives a +4 to Perception when you're not suffering any sensory loss. Still foiled by things like blur and invisibility but you can walk around in the dark like daredevil. :D
  • Locate secret doors: Spells like this suck ass. On a psionicist it's actually a really cool thing to have in your toolbox for a dungeon crawler game.

    2nd Level Powers

  • Concealing Amorpha: It's psionic blur. It's augmentable but you probably never will for most characters (its augment requires you to have a huddle-buddy to do anything).
  • Elfsight: Gives low-light vision/+2 perception for hours/level. Combos with my light for stupid-long vision range in the dark. Not a bad grab if you're a race without low-light vision (humans, dwarfs, etc).
  • Energy Adaptation, Specified: It's resist energy for yourself for 3 PP. Scales with caster level to resist 30. You can surge it to augment it to an immediate action if a dragon ambushes you or something.
  • Inflict pain: -2 untyped penalty to attacks, skills, and ability checks and a -4 on a failed save. Since it always inflicts a -2 at least it's a solid debuff forever even if you never augment it. If you DO augment it, you can debuff multiple enemies at once. Excellent support power.
  • Natural linguist: It's kind of like tongues and the augment is almost always useless but it's nice to have in a pinch if you've got spare powers known (unlikely barring very specific wilder builds) but you might consider carrying a power stone to assess in the rare cases you need to use it.
  • Share pain: No augments, doesn't need 'em. Split damage between yourself and a willing recipient. Grab a psicrystal, split damage with it, and share vigor and tank like a boss.

    3rd Level Powers

  • Concussive onslaught: You can augment it but it's a great fire and forget area denial power without augmenting. It's fairly easy to make an enmormous area off-limits for most folks.
  • Dispel psionics: Dispel magic spam. You can augment it later but you'll frequently not. Useful forever with augmenting so good for wilders.
  • Energy retort: Augment increases the duration by a minor bit. Power is a good power for punishing people for attacking you.
  • Energy wall: Solid CC ability and the closest thing to wind-wall that psionicists have (sonic wall ignores hardness of objects passing through it so you can just destroy arrows being fired at you). Scales with caster level not augmenting.
  • Telekinetic force: It's decent without augmenting in the ways telekinesis is.
  • Time hop: This power is fun. Just read it. Augmenting optional.
  • Touchsight: This power is one of my favorites. You get touchsight 60 ft. without augments. Super awesome for dealing with close-range illusions, ferreting out stealthed foes, and avoiding getting meleed to death from improved invisible enemies.

To be Continued...
Gotta run do some stuff but I'll get back ASAP. I'd also recommend checking out some of the other power lists for Expanded Knowledge fodder. For example, Psionic Minor Creation is really cool. :D

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Nimoot wrote:
Well they play with 7 people, so if someone quits, I jump in and I'd be the 7th... I Wanted to play a Psion, but everyone in the group thinks that a Psion VS anyone else gets beaten hands down... And I don't know of any way to convince them since if the DM says something, no one questions it.

Honestly, if a GM says something like that, it's usually a major red flag. Like, when I see a GM that bans psionics for being overpowered, said GM might as well have "I know nothing about this game" tattooed on his/her forehead as it would deliver the same message at roughly the same speed.

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Natan Linggod 327 wrote:

I mean, there's a 30% cost reduction for limiting something to an alignment or class.

Given how expensive and time consuming magic item creation is, and how its limited to actual craftsmen and can't be mass produced, surely the majority of magic item creators tailor their items to a specific customer?

It's cheaper to produce and safer for the customer too. If your shiny new magic sword can only be used by members of your particular knightly order, why would anyone try to steal it?
If that Magnifying Glass of Searing Light can only be used by Good aligned beings, surely that alleviates some of the worry that it could be stolen and used by your enemies?

Weapons and armour especially, if I was commissioning some for my round table knights, I would make sure they couldn't be used by my opponents.

Thinking I may introduce this as a thing in my games. And introduce a ritual spell or something that lets someone transfer "ownership" of an item over to them. For a cost, like identify or something.

Un-rechargeable consumable items will be exempt I think. Potions end the such.


Though it's debatable as to how much this holds true in Pathfinder but in 3.x, the price reductions were not part of the standard rules. They were included in the SRD but they were not a standard part of the item creation rules. They were found in a "Behind the Screen" section of the DMG discussing item creation, and earlier in the book it notes that everything found in the "Behind the Screen" windows are not part of the rules.

It discussed that such price adjustments were to aid in making themed items (such as holy avengers or robes of the archmagi, some musical instruments, etc). They weren't ever intended to be applied to just any ol' thing, and serve as an explanation for why some magic items are cheaper than their apparent benefits would suggest due to their various drawbacks.

This is a shame as well because people tend to ignore this and their ignoring this has been one of the major sources of hatred for the magic item creation system since 3.5. You can probably still find Artificer guides that recommend using the cost reductions alongside feats and features that reduce cost to create magic items at rock-bottom prices (like 10% of the item's cost or less kind of low), but such builds are technically illegal by 3.5 rules.

It's harder to defend the system in Pathfinder however as it seems they included it in the main ruleset. At which point it comes down to simply whether or not your GM will allow your new magic item as designed or if the GM will ask for revisions. Despite being a big proponent of magic item creation, you'd almost assuredly get your submission rejected if you were casually using such reductions.

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Nimoot wrote:
I basically found out my DM doesn't do 3rd Party Content, so I've unfortunately scrapped the idea :-(...

A bit funny given that the entirety of Pathfinder is essentially 3rd party content.

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It looks like my vampire template sans a shorthand note version is on my other PC (which currently refuses to boot up and I haven't had time to work on it) so I'm probably going to have to re-write the alternative vampire template I was using for my vampire vitalist (it'll take about an hour so I'll try to do it when I get home from work).

In the meantime I thought I'd share another simple mod-race that we used to represent another undead PC of mine, Anera ("Ani"), a failed lich. We dubbed it a "lichling" but "false lich" would work too. It's a modified version of the bloody skeleton template that is treated as a race itself.

* Undead Type
* No Constitution, +2 Int, +2 Cha
* Darkvision 60 ft.
* 2 Claw attacks (1d4)
* +2 natural armor
* Fast Healing (1 per 2 HD, minimum 1)
* Channel Resistance +4
* Deathless (Su) A lichling is destroyed when reduced to 0 hit points, but it returns to unlife 1 hour later at 1 hit point, allowing its fast healing thereafter to resume healing it. A lichling can be permanently destroyed if it is destroyed by positive energy, if it is reduced to 0 hit points in the area of a bless or hallow spell, or if its remains are sprinkled with a vial of holy water.

For those who care, here is a link to the journal of her apprentice who attempted to transform her into a lich because of his devotion. The process failed because he was much too low a level to be trying to do it, which resulted in her rebirth as a 1st level lichling. Her mind was wiped in the process which lead to her adventuring to find out more about her past which she can't remember (she was actually quite evil before she became undead but after her life experiences were wiped away she took a different route).

Jalund's Journal.

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Legowaffles wrote:
The Undead type by itself is extremely powerful after all. Slap the Undead type on a player character and call it a Vampire. Even without the additional benefits/weaknesses of the actual template (or anything you'd expect for a Vampire), it will still be vastly more powerful than before.

As someone who has extensive experience GMing for and playing as undead characters, their overall power is greatly exaggerated as many of their flaws are often overlooked.

Undead characters have the following disadvantages based on type.

* No Constitution / no negative HP threshold. Being undead is very frightening at low levels because you lack the negative HP buffer that most PCs have. If you're not some sort of regenerating undead, you very likely won't make it to 4th level.

* Can't be raised. Combined with the above, undead have a lot more reason to fear dying. Even at low levels, most parties can chip in to raise a character. You're expected to be able to find someone to raise you in any large city and it'll cost a little over 6000 gp for the raise dead + restoration. Undead characters need resurrection (which can often remove the fun aspect of their character - their undeath).

* Undead Type. The undead type itself is a pretty big weakness for most PCs because undead are immune to staple buffs that PCs use. Undead cannot benefit from morale/mind-affecting effects like heroism, Inspire Courage, etc, which are staple spells. They are also immune to things like Enlarge Person / Reduce Person. Further, the type comes with its own basket full of really awful weaknesses. There are many anti-undead effects in the game (command undead, halt undead, hide from undead, disrupting weapon, etc) and most are worse than the effects of those that target their living counterparts (halt undead doesn't provide a save each round like hold person/monster). Further, there is virtually no way to protect yourself against these spells save for spell immunity. Many neutral and/or evil clerics may also be able to command you on a bad save. You also happen to be a member of the largest creature type in the game. While encountering enemies with +1 elf-bane weapons probably doesn't happen much, +1 undead-bane or disruption weapons are so practical as for it to be commonplace.

If you happen to be a barbarian, being undead nerfs you superbad because your Rage bonuses are morale bonuses which you cannot benefit from anymore. While a number of rage powers will still function, your primary class feature just got destroyed (superstition doesn't even work anymore).

This isn't to say that undead don't have advantages. Their greatest advantage is their blanket immunity to non-object-affecting Fortitude-targeting effects as it prevents them from getting turned into a lawn ornament with things like flesh to stone and can immunize them to a few other irksome effects. The majority of their immunities mean the most at low levels where such effects are harder to come by (at higher levels, long term immunity to poison is trivial, mind blank lasts 24 hours, death ward is an every-encounter buff, etc).

This creates a humorous paradigm in which their immunities are super awesome at low levels when undead have to fear the almighty HP-damage, while at high levels when they're less likely to get gibbed quickly due to HP damage but their immunities also don't make them stand out much either next to normal races, while you have a plethora of special weaknesses unique to your type.

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Artemis Moonstar wrote:

Hopefully without derailing the thread...

Did you get physically ill too when you heard that 50 Shades of Grey got turned into an actual, big-budget film marketed for Valentines Day of all things!?

I just found out about it. and I need to go lay down. I feel like I'm going to vomit.

Now I haven't experienced much of 50 shades beyond what a friend of mine shared with me (nor do I particularly want to), but based on what I recall and what has been shared with me, it seems running it as a "love story" is taking some serious liberties with the story. :P

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Tacticslion wrote:
What breaks immersion to you fits naturally into the world to me. That small ooze-bane nunchaku in the land of the elves? Well, no elf is likely to want to buy it, so I might describe Mort the salesman as pulling it out of a box coated in dust, talking about how it's been in this shop since his grandfather ran it, seven hundred fifty years ago, waiting for the time when it would be needed.

I totally visualized this in my mind while reading it and I found it awesome. I'm also glad to see I'm not the only one who likes spicing up a trip the the merchants now and then. (^_^)

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Scythia wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

Vampires who kill their prey in Pathfinder are incredibly evil, mostly because it's wholly unnecessary.

Wanna know why you don't hear about all those people killed by neutral and good vampires? It's not because they don't exist, it's because they didn't kill anyone. >_>

1d4 con damage comes back in at most 4 days of natural healing. A vampire can feed on a human once per week and the human never have any serious harm come to them. The same vampire could feed on a different human every night and achieve the same result.

It's even less morally reprehensible than satyrs (who will use their pipes on you and then butt**** you and your children).

Or be a real pal, and put that boosted Charisma to use: carry a wand of Lesser Restoration.

One of the PCs using my revised vampire template (a tiefling vampire specifically) has been feeding on one of the other PCs regularly. Said PC has the psionic equivalent of lesser restoration so she (the non-vampire) takes one for her teammate each day or so during their downtime or traveling. During an adventure, the vampire usually has a buffet line trying to kill her party so it's less needed in those cases.

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Icehawk wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
gnomewizard wrote:
I have a third level Gnome Necromancy. He wants to become vampire/ undead, but I don't want to play him as Evil. How do I do that?

Become a sentient undead and decide to be a good guy. It's that simple. Well, and make sure your GM is cool with monstrous races and whatever you plan to become.

I'm personally fond of ghouls/ghasts with civilized ghoulishness, however I wrote an alternative vampire template that's friendlier for PCs and NPCs of all levels which makes PC vampires easier to handle.

You've referenced this reworked vampire template a few times now. Have you posted it up before somewhere?

Nope, but I'll dig it up after I wake up today (about to hit the sack).

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gustavo iglesias wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Paladin potions are cheaper. By the rules that makes them more frequently available.

No, that's not true. By the rules, that makes them more desirable, which is different. Paladins have an aligment restriction, and little incentive to take Brew Potion, while Alchemists get it for free, so the number of available paladin potion makers is way lower than the rest of potion makers combined, by far.

Paladin made potions *exist*. That doesn't mean they are *common*

I meant that by the rules they are more common because you can find them in more places. For example, you can find 50 gp potions in pretty much any settlement. Now as to the why they are so frequent is something we must seek the answer for. Perhaps it is because it is easier to become a Paladin than a Cleric (it takes less years of practice and being Lawful Good isn't difficult), perhaps Paladins are apt to hand out their spells (they don't even need the feat, they can just donate the spells during their downtime). Perhaps orders of Paladins spend their downtime doing this very thing because they can (and providing affordable weapons against evil and medicines for the sick is very Paladin-y).

Who knows? What we do know is that they're within the GP limits of pretty much every settlement which makes them available in most every settlement, and if they aren't, they likely are when it restocks.

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Responded to in Tacticslion's thread.

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Aelryinth wrote:

You'd first have to tell me what was inconsistent about it.

LR Potions made by paladins are 50 gp.
LR potions made by most other casters are 300 gp.
Not all LR Potions are 50 gp.
In fact, the vast majority of them probably are not 50 gp, for (Reasons followed).


Paladin potions are cheaper. By the rules that makes them more frequently available. That's just the way the world works. It might be due to their being more paladins than clerics (since paladins are an intuitive class and require less overall training than clerics, based on the age rules), or it might be that Paladins are plenty happy with providing people the spell slots to make 'em cheaper.

Who knows? What we have are the rules and the rules are clear. House rule as you like, but as is, you can find potions of lesser restoration in thorpes. Not like that's really a problem.

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Tacticslion wrote:
Guys. Potions. Other thread. Follow my link from earlier.

I'm in your link, postin' for your flags! Better get over here! We got magic traps and evilness and cookies and stuff! ;)

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kestral287 wrote:
That's nasty. The Frigid Touch + Hold Portal combination is particular dirty.

Some traps are really heinous in adventures. I once had a dungeon which had areas that used inflict spells on creatures walking around on them. Naturally the dungeon was populated with undead (a similar trap was present in a game I was running a while back, wherein a vampire lord's room was trapped with negative energy, and he was intended to flee into the room for his final stand, but he didn't make it there because the party got him cornered and used a sunray item that one of the PCs created to vaporize him). In the lord's mansion was also a hallway that locked the doors down and the floor turned into needles like a spike growth spell, while his vampire fledglings happily zipped about on the walls pestering the party.

I don't know why my players have been so destraught that I've had so little time for GMing lately (short handed at my dayjob means I'm working a lot more right now). I guess they're just masochistic. :P

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kestral287 wrote:

Monsters that aren't fun for their CR: Ashiel's Angry Shopkeeper.

That's nasty. The Frigid Touch + Hold Portal combination is particular dirty.

I'm curious Ashiel, because you're probably better at running these kinds of numbers than I am: how long would it take Valerie to afford each of those traps?

Depends on how many magic items she sold and how quickly. The entirety of the traps could be constructed on 13,625 gp, or about 3 +2 stat items and a few elixirs.

She probably didn't create them all at the same time, and it's possible to upgrade magic items by expending the difference in their costs, so when she was just a little shopkeeper with nothing very noteworthy other than some elixirs, feather tokens, and similar things (stuff worth less than most armor) her defenses could be less impressive (lower caster levels, less accurate sensory options, etc).

The above security systems assume that Valerie has been trading magic items for quite a while and creates high profile items (she can craft up to most CL 17th wondrous items assuming she has to ignore a requirement by taking 10).

It would take her roughly 14 days to create the traps from scratch though.

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Yeah, like God in Dogma. :P
EDIT: The writer of Dogma apparently forgot that angels purportedly porked a bunch of sexy human ladies and that's how we got aasimars giants.

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Vampires who kill their prey in Pathfinder are incredibly evil, mostly because it's wholly unnecessary.

Wanna know why you don't hear about all those people killed by neutral and good vampires? It's not because they don't exist, it's because they didn't kill anyone. >_>

1d4 con damage comes back in at most 4 days of natural healing. A vampire can feed on a human once per week and the human never have any serious harm come to them. The same vampire could feed on a different human every night and achieve the same result.

It's even less morally reprehensible than satyrs (who will use their pipes on you and then butt**** you and your children).

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From this old post.


G.I.N.A. (CR 3, DC 27 Perception, DC 27 Disable Device, Cost: 8125gp): "Gina" stands for General Incident Neutralizing Agent, and is Valerie's basic security system inside her shop. Gina is a female personality sentient magic item resetting trap with a true seeing visual trigger. Gina is capable of responding to unwelcome intruders verbally and can take verbal orders from Valerie or Siggy. G.I.N.A has a +30 Perception modifier and her 120 ft. radius sensors can detect the entire shop. If the system detects a thief or threat to the security or safety of Valerie, Siggy, the shop, or its legitimate patrons it neutralizes the threat without mercy or prejudice.

Gina has a resetting magic missile spell at 9th caster level that is used against any intruder or thief until they are neutralized. If Gina detects that the magic missile spell is of no use due to either the shield spell or spell resistance, Gina will instead switch to stone call every round which bypasses spell resistance and damage reductions and makes the area difficult terrain (but specifically ignores non-creatures, thus not risking the damaging of merchandise or the shop). Gina also comes equipped with a create water sprinkler system in case of a fire.

F.A.S.S. (CR 3, DC 27 Perception, DC 27 Disable Device, Cost: 4,000 gp): "Fass" stands for Floor Attack and Subdue System. Fass works in tandem with Gina to protect the shop from burglars, robbers, or hostile intruders. Fass is actually the very floor of the shop and is a resetting intelligent male personality trap. He can detect anything within 60 ft. of the floor through sight and sound (which includes more or less the entire shop). Hiding from Fass is nearly impossible (there is virtually no way to find cover or concealment vs the floor). If a threat is detected, Fass strikes the intruder with repeated frigid touch spells (+10 melee touch to hit). Frass can only target one intruder at a time, but is merciless in his usage of frigid touch until the culprit surrenders or stops moving.

Fass, like Gina, responds to the verbal commands of Valerie or Siggy.

A.L.D.A (CR 2, DC 26 Perception, DC 26 Disable Device, Cost: 1,500 gp): "Alda" stands for Automatic Lock Down Assistant. Alda is a security measure to ensure that would be thieves or vandals do not escape the ravages of the security system. Alda is a female personality intelligent resetting trap with a 120 ft. sight and sound range of sensors. If either Gina or Fass become active, or upon request of Valerie or Siggy, Alda proceeds to cast hold portal every round on each exit to lock the doors and windows and add +5 to the break or unstuck DC. Since she casts it each round, it makes it very difficult for a would be lockpicker to get out, as the thief must spend his entire round picking the lock and then opening the door, resulting in the trap shutting and locking the door again immediately.

Alda, like Fass and Gina respond to the verbal commands of Valerie or Siggy.

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Kthulhu wrote:
kestral287 wrote:
That's gotta be the best defended place in town. Traps are cheap and the guy running it has a lot of time to do nothing but lay traps.
This is pathfinder. Traps may be cheap, but they're also worthless.

I must disagree sir. A lot of really cheap traps are really irritating, especially the resetting magical sort. I use traps in my games a lot (especially in combat encounters).

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
As I recall, it was because you could smack the enemy with your main hand, then bash them out of reach of you to force them to lose their chance to full attack in return. Also, bash them into environmental hazards.

I would like the feat if it gave you the option of when to use it. If you tried to make a sword & board ranger in a setting without GM-specific house rules (like Pathfinder Society) you'd be shooting yourself in the foot as every time you shield bashed as part of your TWF you risked throwing your enemy away from all your iterative attacks (because shield slam doesn't allow you to choose when it's used, it just procs on each bash).

Snickersimba wrote:
Since crossbow mastery is on the archery list, what would be a better feat to replace it.

If you felt the need (it's not really that important since it's got lots of other good feats competing with it) you could replace it with clustered shots.

Also, I have added the skirmisher archetype to my half orc ranger grol.


He will not have an animal companion either. He would just eat it.

Hah. :P

Also, why hasn't paizo made a feat that gives you a second ranger style?

Probably because the feat would be a no brainer and make Fighters cry in their cereal even more than they already do. Expend 1 feat to gain 5 other feats without prereqs? I'd have archery, sword & shield, two-weapon style, and mounted combat on every ranger ever. :P

That said, a feat to allow you to grab another feat off your combat style, or to get access to a second combat style (or both) would be really cool. One feat to expand your combat style options and a feat to select another from your pool that you qualify for via your styles.

What is your opinion on the monk styles?

If you mean the style feats like crane, snake, kirin, etc.

Crane was cool. It's now a waste of space, get snake style instead.

Snake is awesome, much love for it I have.

The first feat of Boar Style is really nice, but the second is mostly underwhelming, while the third is a mechanical failure (it doesn't understand how bleed damage works and does nothing).

Kirin style is nice for psions, wizards, and bards. I was planning on picking these feats up for my psion a while back. It doesn't stop you from making a knowledge check normally, so it nets you 2 attempts at ID'ing a creature. +2 on saves vs a creature you ID is pretty sweet.

Dragon style is awesome for anyone who wants to wreck with unarmed attacks.

Mantis style is kind of trappy IMHO, because stunning fist is kinda meh, and the 2nd tier of the style is weird (allows you to remove the effects of stunning fists that you yourself did, which will come up basically never).

Monkey Style 1 & 2 are really cool defensively and the second gives you a climb and crawl speed (sweet!). The 3rd is of questionable value.

Panther style isn't bad for punishing AoOs. It's usefulness is a bit limited however since it never really graduates past punishing AoOs.

Pummeling Style is goofy good. It's clustered shots for your fists and the 3rd feat gives you pseudo-pounce. Has the potential for crazy burst criticals.

Snapping turtle is a waste of space.

I want to like tiger style but I just can't.

Same with wolf style.

Most any style revolving around elemental fist can suck a coconut.

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Oh yeah, Happy Valentine's Day, Eidaloids. :3

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gamer-printer wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
1. The firearm mechanics are stupid.

Strangely, I have found most previous edition D&D versions of gun rules stupid, and find the Pathfinder firearms rules less stupid. Not great by an means, but less stupid just the same.

Ashiel wrote:
2. The prices for them exasperate the stupid.

I am in slight agreement regarding firearm costs, but as stated in my previous post, I generally don't allow firearms in my games, unless built for a specific setting such as for pirates of the Age of Sail, or for an Old West setting. And those settings would have firearms as being fairly common, thus not accrue the expense that earlier periods would have them.

There needs to be some mechanic or explanation why guns are rare in older period settings, and great cost is one way to do it - so its not the most stupid way to handle that. Its almost reasonable.

Ashiel wrote:
3. A lot of the gunslinger's class features revolve around making this overly expensive piece of **** weapon slightly less ****, rather than doing cool stuff.

Eh, I've never run a gunslinger, nor played a game where one was included, so I have no real opinion on this. Shooting locks and batting a hat around on the ground doesn't seem especially cool, and those are a gunslingers mid to upper level class features.

Ashiel wrote:
4. Touch AC is dumb.
Again, compared to exploding dice rules of 2e for guns, I find Touch AC in the first range increment a fine alternative way to mechanically handle firearms. I'm actually quite fine with a gunslingers touch AC capability. It actually makes more sense to me.

On the subject of touch AC, plate mail actually was tested against firearms regularly upon creation because plate mail and firearms existed at the same time. It was bullet proof.

The expense of firearms combos with the horrendous nature of them. Paizo gave me rules for guns that will never be suitable for any campaign I could conceive of running. If I wanted to have a campaign that didn't actively exist to punish characters for using firearms (and shatter verisimilitude to do so) I would need to use some other system.

I cannot reasonably use the firearm rules with any non-gunslinger character period. If you use a gun, you are a gun slinger. Needing an archetype (that changes lots of crap) to allow another character to use a gun? No. Just no. The costs of them are so prohibitively expensive that I can't do anything cool like make a game with pirates dashing around with cutlasses in one hand and pistols in the other. Even if it didn't make treasure values walk the plank, I'd have to ask myself: "Why the hell would these guys use these instead of slings?"

Because slings aren't great, but for all but gunslingers they're a superior investment. They cost nothing, deal comparable damage (especially if you've got a good Strength bonus like the sword & firearm sorts would), and they don't randomly explode in your face.

The Paizo gunslinger rules fail at virtually every level to me. Which is why I don't use them. It has nothing to do with my thinking the class itself is broken, and it has nothing to do with my dislike of guns in fantasy. It has everything to do with the clunky and horrible system in which the gunslinger is anchored to that has no business even being in the same room with any campaign I will ever run. :P

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Zhangar wrote:
They make great beds for dragons.

Yes, yes they do! It's one of my favorite uses for copper. A really old dragon is likely going to have a pile of loot that looks awful similar to Hobbit-style piles of coin (it's just made mostly of copper & silver), but those are the two most common forms of coins so when dragons demand tribute from peasants or rob travelers or whatever, they tend to get a lot of them. :D

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gnomewizard wrote:
I have a third level Gnome Necromancy. He wants to become vampire/ undead, but I don't want to play him as Evil. How do I do that?

Become a sentient undead and decide to be a good guy. It's that simple. Well, and make sure your GM is cool with monstrous races and whatever you plan to become.

I'm personally fond of ghouls/ghasts with civilized ghoulishness, however I wrote an alternative vampire template that's friendlier for PCs and NPCs of all levels which makes PC vampires easier to handle.

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People used to have copper coins back then y'know.

Oh they're still around now. Heheh...

Evil-GM grin

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I kind of liked how summons in Neverwinter Nights worked, where you summoned a single creature and it was with you for a very long time; essentially allowing you to summon a cohort. No matter what level you were it was pretty cool/useful (unlike 1st level summoning spells where you cast, your critter takes one set of actions, then the spell is over) and you didn't really get the flood-spamming of summons.

Not saying this is necessarily how it should be by default. I kind of like the flood-spamming at higher levels (at high levels, sweeping adds with spells like holy word and banishment are a staple tactic). It'd be a pretty cool variant or optional thing though.

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Honestly at this point, I think a lot of whether a creature seems unfun or not depends heavily on whether the party is competent (and I don't mean statistically but just good at working as a team and problem solving) or the GM makes good encounters.

Except Witchfires. They need to die in a freezer. :P

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BigNorseWolf wrote:

"Why is the android Eidolon "Fully Functional" ?"

"Erm. Well.. I ahh uhm.....

For accuracy of course! :D

EDIT: And let's be real here. If you're going to create what amounts to a fully functional nervous system and you didn't give the android the option of utilize it in a pleasurable way, you'd be kind of a jerk creator.

Adventurer: "You know, you're awfully cranky,"
Frustrated Android Adventurer: "You would be too,"
Adventurer: "Hey, look, I don't think less of you for not being a real human, and you shouldn't either,"
Frustrated Android Adventurer: "...It doesn't matter. I just want to find a genie and get my wish granted,"
Adventurer: "But you don't have to! You don't have to wish to be human!"
Frustrated Android Adventurer: "I don't want to be human you idiot, I want a functioning G-spot!"
Adventurer: "," Ponders for a moment "Okay, well let's get going. Our quests clearly align in motivation!"
Frustrated Android Adventurer: (o_O) "How could our quests clearly align in motivation?"
Adventurer: "I was going to wish to find a hot babe adventuring companion, but now I think I'll just need to wish for the stamina to keep up with an android,"
Frustrated Android Adventurer: "You--what!? Who ever said--" (O//O)

EDIT 2: Androids are sexy. (^.^)

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Zourin wrote:

The fine art of conversation is a lost one to many it seems. When given a choice between a business/estate and a magi-*STAB*ROB*RUN*

"I swear he was a vampire."
"I dunno, he only had 5GP on him."
"Did you check his shoes?"
"I cast detect magic on him."

And so ends the life of an old NPC in a rocking chair willing to give the party the time of day, just because he sat in the shade.

AD&D Full plate cost anywhere from 4,000-10,000gp! 30,000gp for a +1

... :|

I...they...what? (O_o)

I never want to hear anyone on this board ever imply that my group or I am too focused on the combat/loot aspects of this game ever again. (o_o)

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Trimalchio wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
What are you even talking about?

Now I'm confused, are you trying to troll?

Trolling is beneath me. I was mostly questioning because pretty much 100% of everything that you said was false, or seemed to be. Like, what does it have to do with WBL or NPC WBL? Why does being able to buy common items commonly break immersion? It actually is supported by RAW (the contrary is not). I don't really see why this would suddenly cause PCs to suddenly combine together and transform into the MegaMurderHoboZorde and start attacking villages if they wouldn't have already (Ryric pointed out that it's not just magic items but mundane items which are even sillier in some cases, so I mean if they're not burning towns for full plate they probably aren't doing it for a scroll of knock).

Plus all the bitterness. Why so bitter? We're all friends here. Have a cookie. :)

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Thinking about it, I feel this is somehow comparable to my psion hooking up with her psicrystal (who was also her aunt). To be fair though, the psicrystal started it.

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snickersimba wrote:

Well, technically, they aren't slavers, they are simply keeping you here to atone for barfing on the high priestesses robes, defeaceating in the paladins helmet, peeing on the holy symbols and then claiming to be deskaris son.

They also need to make sure that you are simply human, not actually posessed by demons.

Detect magic->detect evil

"Nah, it's a dumb drunk". :P

What are your opinions on ALL of the ranger styles?

Archery: Archery is the style of choice for switch-hitting rangers and for archery rangers (naturally). For switch hitters it allows you to get really good archery feats without bothering to qualify for them which can make you lethal at a distance while you devote your actual feats to other purposes. For archers, it allows you to get a jumpstart on archery feats and even laugh at Fighters since you get amazing feats before they can even dream of them.

2nd: Precise Shot or Rapid Shot
6th: Improved Precise Shot (11th minimum non-rangers), Manyshot (grab IPS if you have Point Blank and grabbed Rapid Shot earlier and take this at 7th instead), or Point Blank Master.
10th: Take some of the 6th level feats instead.

Crossbow: This style isn't worth discussing. Moving on.

Mounted Combat: Mounted combat is actually a really attractive style since a ranger gets an animal companion at 4th level which will stay relevant forever. Whether using melee or archery, mounted combat can be a big winner. Recommending for small-sized characters who can ride around on medium sized mounts without problems. Ranged characters on mounts are insanely good as they can move up to their mount's speed and full-attack with no penalties, and with mounted archery take minor penalties for zipping all over the place.

2nd: Mounted Archery (most recommended) or Trick Riding
6th: Spirited Charge
10th: Mounted Skirmisher

Nautral Weapons: Like crossbows, this combat style is not worth mentioning. It's only attractive if you're already a creature with a lot of natural attacks, but the feats that it offers are either terrible for a natural attacking ranger (vital strike) or are redundant (if natural attacks are your thing, you're going to craft an Amulet of Mighty Fists anyway making Eldritch Claws a moot point). The 10th level feat Multiattack doesn't even do anything for you unless, again, you already have a ton of natural attacks.

Throwing: It has some decent feats at 1st level and Close Quarter's Thrower is good at 6th, but it's all downhill from there and there's not really a lot of good feats in the 1st-6th levels to spend your higher level ones on. You'd probably be better off getting feats with the Archery or Two Weapon Fighting styles and dropping a few standard feats to fill in some gaps.

Two-Handed Weapon: Not a horrible style but far from my favorite. One of the problems with this style compared to others is it is trivially easy to make 2 handed weaponry useful. All you need is a good Strength score and maybe power attack. Further, the feats you can get with this are generally either very bad or are trivial to invest in without it.

2nd: Power Attack (everything else sucks).
6th: Furious Focus (everything else sucks).
10th: Everything sucks (dreadful carnage is useful in some niche cases but isn't anything to write home about).

Two-Weapon: Though not as generally useful as archery or mounted, two-weapon fighting style is actually really good for a focused melee bruiser. It's the key behind the "STR-RANGER" build in that you don't need a lot of Dexterity but pick up great dual-wielding feats like the Two-Weapon Fighting line, Double Slice, and Two-Weapon Rend while capitalizing on your great Strength Score.

Grab a few quickrunner's shirts and by high levels you'll move up and blend high profile targets (alternatively, dropping 3 feats into Mounted Combat->Trick Riding->Mounted Skirmisher gives you sort-of-pounce while on your animal companion).

Another thing I like about this style is it also has improved shield bash as a feat so you don't have to sacrifice survivability (shields are sweeeeeet). My recommended build for this is Improved Shield Bash with a normal feat, TWF at 2nd, Double Slice at 6th, Improved TWF and 10th, Greater TWF at 14th, and whatever else you want at 18th. The reason for this is because you won't have all your class features that boost your accuracy really high until later, so Improved and Greater aren't as reliable as soon as possible.

2nd: Two-Weapon Fighting, Double Slice, Improved Shield Bash, Quick Draw
6th: Improved Two Weapon Fighting (grab double slice first)
10th: Greater Two Weapon Fighting (grab ITWF first)

Weapon and Shield: I love this style as I feel it's gloriously offensive and has a lot of resilience to boot. This style has a lot of overlap with the Two-Weapon style and is outright better for the purposes I'd like to use it for. At high levels your shield bashing becomes brutal.

My build recommendation: 1st level, get improved shield bash; 2nd level, two weapon fighting; 3rd level, shield focus; 5th level, double slice (having increased your Dex from 14 to 15 at 4th level); 6th level, shield mastery; 7th level, craft wondrous item; 9th level, craft magic arms and armor; 10th level, bashing finish; 11th level, improved two-weapon fighting; 14th level, greater shield focus; anything else is gravy (Improved Critical is nice).

At low levels you are very tanky with a good AC and you can deal some decent burst damage by dual-wielding your shield and main-hand weapon. At 6th level your shield's enhancement bonus on attacks and damage and ignore the penalties for two-weapon fighting with your shield. Bashing finish is where you go nuts since each critical you confirm with your main hand results in a free shield bash (use a scimitar). Rangers get Quarry which allows them to auto-confirm criticals vs their target (and gives massive bonuses). As a result you can very easily end up bursting down enemies who you begin full attacking with. Taking Improved Critical (heavy shield) can lead to some very potent surprise burst damage (since you can proc bashing finish with a shield bash).

Your shield of choice will be a +5 bashing spiked shield (which has a base damage of 2d6+5) with a few weapon enhancements on it. Each time you threaten and confirm a critical, you bash with this shield at the same bonus. When you auto-confirm hits (either with quarry or via bless weapon oils vs evil creatures) you will begin tearing them apart in short order.

Whatever you do, do not take Shield Slam. The feat makes it so every shield bash you use has a chance to push your opponent away from you. WHY WOULD YOU EVER WANT TO DO THIS!!?

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Zourin wrote:
Pathfinder is really, really liberal about the availability of magic items. DM's are also really, really lazy when it comes to getting bowled over by Walmart players who won't do anything until they get their +1 fiery icy freezing weapon that acid upgrade.

I don't really see how "We want to look for a wand of cure light wounds or a scroll of secure shelter" is getting bowled over as a GM. :|

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Trimalchio wrote:
There is no raw support for 75% check for every item of every caster level of every charge, it's just a couple over zealous fans trying to dictate how they play is the right way to play. It destroys any semblance of wbl by NPC level, destoys any attempt at immersion and will lead to overly wealthy players who turn evil and raise the first thorp they find. I would completely ignore the hogwash being bandied about in this thread, it is really kind of shameful in my opinion.

What are you even talking about?

Ian Bell wrote:
The monetary value is exactly the point. One village knocked over and an entire gang is set for life. This isn't "robbing a gun store" in the middle of a metropolis - that probably still won't happen - it's a world where the bandits and samurai from Seven Samurai team up to loot the village, because all the bags of rice in the province aren't going to offset the kind of wealth that's sitting around in every little settlement.

In most settings bandits are 1 HD warriors, experts, and adepts. You don't screw with town centers in D&D because they screw with you back. As TarkXT and others have noted, the inhabitants of that community can fight back, and even a thorpe of 20 people is probably going to have a few adepts and such in it.

If anything, it's actually reason why D&D towns are relatively safe locations to be compared to out in the wild. Anyone, or anything, that plans to attack a community center has to deal with the fact that they have potion, scrolls, alchemist fires, and so forth on hand. That's a good incentive for most things to stay the hell away from them, instead of just looking at them as a nest of food (human beings are not very high on the food chain in D&D).

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snickersimba wrote:
Well, theres always the worst punishment of all, being forced to work in an orcish brothel next to the chili house.

Some orcs are sexay. :3

Also, what do you think of the new familiars?

Do you mean the ones from the new familiar book by Paizo?

What would you do if you woke up one morning and found yourself in a temple of iomeade after accidentally claiming to be a demonic cultist during a drunken stupor?

Tell them I've never been drunk prior and it caught me off guard. Ask them why Iomedae bothered to invade Ustalav when Tar Baphon wasn't really doing anything after bringing order to the counties and controlling the orc hordes in the area. Ask that they just use some divination spells to check that I was innocent and let me go. Leave an offering on the way out.

Possibly piss on a statue of Pharasma fifteen minutes later.

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
This is why I try to remind people that it's not a binary thing. Acts can been neither good nor evil. So you don't have to say "this is Good!" When you are just trying to say it is non-evil.

Well said. ^_^

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snickersimba wrote:

Well, I have a gargantuan headache so excuse my lack of common sense.

pretty much, criminals fighting to the death for the towns amusement is totally not evil and is more or less an effective way to place prisoners to good use.

Punishment isn't evil persay, but you are hurting, oppressing, and killing as a form of entertainment. Just because you're doing it to someone that also was bad doesn't make it not evil, it just makes it justifiable evil.

forcing two random children to fight to the death because you can is not good.

Which is pretty much the same, just without the justifiable aspect or the law aspects in it.

A truly good way of dealing with criminals would likely be through reformation and redemption. A more neutral manner would be to prevent them from posing a danger to those around them (such as exile, incarceration, or humane execution). A more evil manner would be things that torture, harm, or degrade them as human beings (such as throwing them into a pit and having them fight like game cocks for the entertainment of others).

That said, it's important to remember that the real world has a lot of middle area. A lot of good people often do evil things every day, and vice versa. And cultures and religions can play a big role into what is or isn't acceptable, but not what is or is not evil.

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Akari Sayuri "Tiger Lily" wrote:

So what happens if you have a female Kitsune or Catfolk as a party member, they're in heat, and the Eidolon has the Scent evolution - does the Eidolon get a will save to avoid ravishing your party members, or does it just happen?

Whee, managed to link yet another questionable thread into this one!

The save DC is just too damn high.

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LazarX wrote:
Mikaze wrote:

That brings me to my next question: Does any of this justify the rogue player drinking the GM's milk?

For that, you shall be sent to your room to await a through spanking.

Promise? :D

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Again, this is only a problem if you have a problem with common items being commons. Wands, potions, and scrolls aren't supposed to be rare. Technically speaking, one could even say that anything under 16,001 gp isn't truly rare in the most literal of senses.

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But they really don't. Because you can't get the exact one that you want and you pay for what you get. It's like if I wanted to go to town and find a sword to fight demons. I check if there's a +1 evil-bane sword. 75% chance, oops, there wasn't. How about a a +1 evil-bane mace morning star? Oh, now we're talkin'.

Same deal. Do they have a wand with only 7 charges? No? Crud. How about this thing that's really similar? Okay, that'll do. *gives gold appropriate to the CL/charges being bought*

You're not circumventing the availability rules anymore than you are by choosing a different weapon or slightly different enhancement.

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ryric wrote:
I will also point out that the idea of all mundane items always being available no matter how small the settlement is potentially more problematic than magic items - a Thorpe of six buildings at a landlocked crossroads has mithril barding for the paladin's winged celestial war hippo. It also apparently has sailing ships.

Hahaha, that's a good observation. XD

Well noted sir. :3

EDIT: Although to be fair, the magic item purchase rules also note that they can be used for expensive mundane items, so let's not make fun of it toooo much.

It does make me giggle imagining a character hawking off a sailing ship. "Special discount sailing ship, but you gotta move it to the ocean". :P

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Tacticslion wrote:
An excellent compromise, if it works for you and your table! :D

Indeed. It could be a fine house rule (barring the problem mentioned in my last post). However, one thing that I think Ryric and others are missing is that you're paying for those charges.

If they don't have the wand you want, you're either going to pay more or less for it depending. In some cases you simply won't be able to at all (if they don't have a 1 charge wand of fireball in a village, they don't have it at all). But no matter what kind of wand you're getting (be it a CL 5 wand of fireball with 4 charges or a CL 8 wand with 1) you're still paying the appropriate amount of GP / charge at market value, so you're not getting any sort of special discount or anything. >_>

And since NPCs just get whatever feels nice and is within their (albeit small) WBL, that seems pretty fair.

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Ian Bell wrote:

NPCs floating around with partially charged items isn't what I'm talking about. I agree that it's possible to buy partially charged items; when I do my 75% checks for wands, for example, I determine the number of charges they each have randomly.

Where this argument loses me is that I should be doing that same check for each and every possible charge level/caster level individually - that there should be an average of 3 wands of fireball at every charge level, rather than an average of 3 wands of fireball, which have various charge levels. I don't think the rules support that in particular.

I think that's a fair house rule, but keep in mind that it can further the martial/caster disparity because it quickly reinforces the idea that you need full casters in your party, and it breaks the way the system works.

For example, you simply cannot find a wand of fireball with full charges in anything except a metropolis without it being random a random generation item, but you can find a near burnt out old wand of fireball in most settlements. But you'd never even get to the random charge check if you started with treating all wands of fireball as the same item (because they'd never be within the gp limit of the towns when you check their base price).

It would create an even greater debacle when it came to caster levels. Do you determine the caster level randomly as well? This seems like a lot of unnecessary work and additional rules to answer a "problem" that isn't actually a problem and only breaks down from a theoretical perspective (if you consider a town having lots of cheap consumables a "breaking down").

a lot

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Ian Bell wrote:
I'd still like to see some really solid rules justification for the idea that you have to treat consumables with the same name but differing numbers of charges or even different caster levels as separate items for purposes of the 75% check. I don't think the fact that they have different values is very convincing, and I think there's at least circumstantial evidence that it isn't what the designers intended.

Depends. Are the multitude of NPCs floating around with partially charged goodies circumstantial evidence that they did? It's not like we don't have pretty much the exact same norms in reality when it comes to trading, well, anything.

"Here's a used car. It's cheaper but it's already amassed X miles on it,"
"We've got fifty copies of this comic book, but this one is in mint condition."
"This gun's model number means it was an early version, and it's a little more prone to breaking,"

If anything, I'd like to see some solid rules justification to the contrary, because all that we have currently is where the rules show us this is how it works and examples of items that have charges being devalued with loss of charges but still having purchase prices (such as luck blades, wish rings, etc), along with a standard rule for determining the market value of magic items with limited charges (which applies for things like wands and rings of the ram).

It seems there is a lot of evidence that indeed you can buy partially charged goodies just like other magic items, and little to suggest the contrary (since you'd really need something that explicitly says you cannot since the general rule is that you can).

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On a side note, you find a loooot of partially charged wands and scrolls (yes scrolls, they can have more than 1 spell on them) on NPCs throughout the typical game. NPC gear has an allotment for limited use items and you will frequently find things like partially charged wands on these lists.

For example, your typical 5th level heroic NPC is expected to have about 450 gp worth of limited use items on hand, and in the case of a spellcaster, their weaponry also can be in the form of wands and staffs (1,400 gp).

In such a case, you might encounter such an NPC with the following items in their loadouts.

Wand of knock (2 charges, 180 gp)
Wand of tiny hut (1 charges, 225 gp)
Wand of lightning bolt (6 charges, 1350 gp)

Naturally, if you clobber this villainous NPC, you'll collect the loot. If it doesn't interest you, you'll sell it off. Of course it's assumed that you the PCs are not the only people in the process of doing this sort of thing since the PCs are a few in millions if not billions of sentient creatures that traverse the world and trade treasures.

Generally speaking, I bet a lot of those NPCs got those wands secondhand. Either that or ol' boy fried a lot of do-gooders with lightning prior to encountering the PCs (but then, wouldn't he probably be higher than 5th level?).

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Generally speaking, I find the hurt/oppress/kill definition of evil to be just so darn efficient. You can quickly and efficiently parse the differences between evil and gross, which also allows you to unhook it from religious and cultural morality (a big requirement in actually coming to a conclusion).

It cuts through all of the cultural BS and gets down to the basics. For example, slavery, forced sex with children, and forced gladiatorial combats were considered moral enough by certain cultures but in D&D they're pretty strictly on the evil side of the alignment see-saw.

Evil done by Chelaxians doesn't suddenly become good within the borders of Cheliax, merely socially acceptable (and for many, many people, there is no meaningful difference between learned morality and morality).

The inverse also works as well. In many cases someone might do something that seems suspect but you can determine if they actually did a good thing by looking at if they were acting altruistically, protecting life, etc.

So when a Paladin strikes down a villain to protect someone else, the Paladin isn't actively doing evil. If the Paladin strikes down a villain to take their stuff, the Paladin is going to need to find a priest to atone him.

Though speaking of atonement, what's hilarious is that a Paladin can be atoned by an evil priest. No joke. A chaotic evil cleric can absolve a Paladin of their sins. Even funnier, a Paladin with UMD and staff if atonement can atone themselves. Paladins can also be atoned by druids.

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