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RPG Superstar 2015 Star Voter. 10,573 posts (10,576 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.

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Here's a few instances of NPCs (all from the same campaign) that (more or less accidentally) also have "odd" sexualities, but those things are otherwise minor except as they pertain to the character's and their world and/or their personalities. Most of this information was only privvy to the PCs because they either spoke with them at length or asked OOC or found out more during the game.

Myriel; Sex female; Orientation strait to bisexual; Occupation inquisitor;
Outward Myriel is cold and calculating. She tends to be quiet, reserved, and constantly sizing up everyone around her. Initial interaction with her typically makes her seem aloof or somber and she never displays much emotion in any way. She was assigned to the party's paladin, Carrius, as an assistant during their investigation, fresh out of the chapel where she was training to be an inquisitor. However, Myriel has a dark secret that she shared with Klari (see below) and later with Carrius during a rough period when they were feuding. Myriel fell in love with a young man in the village near the cathedral she was training at, but during her interactions with him she discovered he was associated with the heretical branch of the religion the inquisitors were trained to ferret out and arrest. Yet for all her training she could find no fault in this man, merely earnest sincerity and goodness. When she discovered that there was going to be an inquisition on the village she went to warn him but accidentally led them directly to him. Realizing the situation they were in, the young man feigned an act of anger for her betrayal to make it look as if she had been investigating him rather than being friends with him. She kept silent as they took him away for fear of reprimand. She was made an inquisitor earlier than she would normally graduate due to her "impressive natural talent" and good senses for, to her horror, she found they had no idea that he should have been a suspect and their inquisition was to follow up on unrelated leads.

Myriel blames herself for his capture and silently curses her cowardice because she let him be dragged away in chains - even if it was his intention - when she had essentially betrayed her order. She is an inquisitor that lost her faith and has been promoted on a lie. She has a fair amount of personal demons thanks to this. It has made her exceptionally accepting of even things that their order considers evil, up to and including accepting a vampire into the party's care, noting "We're all monsters in our own ways, some just hide it better than others". An adage born out of both her personal guilt and ability to sense the emotions and thoughts of others which has led her to recognize that even the nicest of humans have some very unsocial thoughts.

Myriel's sexuality is mentally driven more than not (albeit there has been the suggestion that she finds mariliths and other multi-armed women attractive based on a comment by Klari when they were studying an enemy that they were going to be dealing with) as she entered into the realm of bisexuality when she became close to Klari and the two eventually became lovers having been growing close through silent conversations between their psychic bonds.

Myriel became a rival of Carrius the Paladin that she was assigned with when Carrius tried to woo Klari only to find her upset and confused when he extended a romantic word. Carrius then found out from Myriel that they were involved and had been for a while, and when Carrius got indignant about it, Myriel made him angry by remarking that the two had already slept together (albeit she later apologized for taunting him like that even if he was being headstrong). Myriel and Klari were probably the closest that Carrius ever came to having a Paladin-crisis as he seriously considered staying his hand if Myriel was in danger so that she would vanish from the picture. However, he rose above such base jealousy (see Victoria below).

Klari; Sex female; Orientation homosexual to bisexual; Occupation battle sorceress;
Klari is Carrius' childhood friend and best friend and has been since a young age. She was an orphan peasant that was taken in by the order and later determined to have a gift with mentalist magics and thus her studies shifted from squire to melting stuff with her will. She's brilliant, open minded, and delightfully dizzy. She's prone to acting the fool or light hearted when things are overly serious and sometimes comes off as a bit dense or foolish (but she is anything but and can be very serious sometimes). Klari had some very bad experiences in her youth as an orphan involving males, including one of her teachers that to the best of her knowledge went unpunished. Carrius, however, was always her besty despite it though he was pretty oblivious to her experiences as it took years before she told him about it (which she spit it out in the middle of an argument that ended with the two of them reducing a building to rubble in a sparring match). Being psychic as well as Myriel, the two quickly became friends after being assigned to the same mission as Carrius outside of their country and then became more.

Klari's loyal to the order for the most part but lacks the spiritual or religious fervor of Carrius and doesn't care enough to have the guilt that Myriel feels, which is part of what led to Myriel confiding in Klari during their travels. Klari has even came pretty close to giving the order the finger on occasion and walking away and her exceptional psychic power has been a subject of concern amongst the ranking members of the order simply out of fear that she could go rogue and pose a threat that the order would have trouble dealing with (she could literally level a city block or slaughter countless soldiers if she stopped holding back) even if they do have no reason to assume she is anything other than loyal. Klari is also loves a fight because it gives her a chance to unleash some of her fire. Klari can be prone to explosive shows of force with poor restraint when her friends are threatened.

Klari's life became more complicated when just after beginning a (thus far good relationship with Myriel) Carrius (who was unaware of the two's relationship and pretty naive about relations in general) confessed his feelings to Klari. The one guy she has ever been really close to and he decides to drop that one on her while they're out of the country, on a mission, and while she's in a relationship. The thing is, it wasn't a certain "No" and that was confusing to her too which was disorienting as she wasn't interested in men but she was interested in Carrius (chivalry bizzes). This led to an awkward love triangle between the three of them which eventually resulted in Klari asking Myriel to expand their relationship to include Carrius (one of Klari's mentors had two husbands so she figured it's unusual but not unheard of) and Myriel agreed. However, Carrius turned them down as he wasn't certain as to how he felt about an arrangement like that, which actually made Klari angry with him for being so selfish and led to the two having a case of frosty shoulders for a bit.

The two later worked their differences out when they dueled in the training room in the grand cathedral, reminiscing about old times when they were kids and then working their frustrations out going at each other with everything they had. The ensuing fight nealy collapsed a portion of the cathedral and caused a rather large scene as onlookers gathered to see what may as well have been two gods fighting before them until Klari pushed herself into unconsciousness and Carrius picked her back up.

The three of them have worked out their differences and are now closer than ever. Klari and Myriel are still a couple but Carrius is now just their friend. Carrius' new love interest is Miranda, a freed vampire that idolizes the Templar order, whom he took on as his squire against the wishes of the order. At first Klari was concerned but she's grown to like Miranda as well (because Miranda and her bat familiar Peggy are awesome-sauce).

...Ugg, I'll need to postpone the rest of this until tomorrow as I need to go to bed to get up in the morning. (-_-);

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Kalindlara wrote:
Just a note on "fights to the death": I don't have a quote right off the bat, but I believe it's been said that the reason was word count/page space. It's an easy entry for a GM to tweak, and it saves space for more flavorful info.

That's fair. I think that's also part of what makes certain things seem a bit forced. GMs could easily add such details to their games in either case, but in some cases these specific details with no relevancy or support make them feel more tacked on when it's not relevant at all.

A certain high ranking noble and her bodyguard? Their sexual attraction to one-another has an influence on the story (mostly in terms of facilitating loyalty and bonds). Random lad or lass whose's statblock could be summarized as "relevent stuff, also I'm gay" is not particularly helpful. It can even be kind of irritating as it goes a step beyond simple tokenism (at least I think so) in that making a note of it just goes to show that it makes them different somehow.

If someone walked up to you and was like, "This is my friend John, he plays the guitar. This is Kevin, he plays the drums. This is Frank, he's gay", it would seem pretty jarring right? It's like "wtf is that relevant"!? It also further paints them as the other unless you include that sort of information on most every NPC, since you didn't feel the need to note that John was heterosexual or that Kevin hasn't ever showed any interest in either sex.

I include all sorts of bizarre details in NPCs in my games that PCs probably will never know about unless they ask (including friends, family, romantic partners, moments that shaped their childhood, etc) but I don't put it on paper unless it's important to the game in some way.

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Cerberus Seven wrote:
Neo2151 wrote:

A Fighter's Unarmed Strike will damage a stone wall the same way a Wizard's Fireball will.

That's to say, it won't. Sorry.
The depressingly hilarious truth is that it actually would. There's nothing by RAW that specifically excludes such an effect from damaging a stone wall, just that since it's energy damage and not obviously something that works particularly well against stone, said damage is halved. So, an average damage fireball doing 35 damage would be halved to 17, reduced by 8 because of the stone's hardness, and actually get through to do 7 damage to the wall, or 20% of the spells initial effect. That's compared to 0% from the fighter's fist, since RAW specifically prevents him from doing anything of the sort.

This reminds me of a game I ran a long time ago that reached epic levels. This was 3.5 but without some of the cheesier elements and mostly unoptimized charcters. However, in this one scene in a tower, one of the party's wizards (it was a big party with mostly casters plus a barbarian) the guy who loved fireball type spells chucked a bigass fireball with some metamagics attached to it (maximize, admixtured to acid, etc) into a room full of baddies.

Well the baddies snuffed it...along with the floor, the ceiling, and the walls. There was just a big hole left where everything was supposed to be, because the damage so utterly rocked the walls and stuff that it just broke everything. In 3.5, acid and sonic damage were not halved before applying hardness as in Pathfinder, so he just dealt nearly 200 damage to the inanimate and unattended objects and environment (they don't get a save) and vaporized 'em.

The barbarian was like, "OMG, that was the most epic and cool thing! We don't even have to find the staircase down to the next level now!"

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
I find having a solid ruleset leaves me more time for cooperative roleplay as I don't have to spend time working around the rules instead of with them.

This may be the most wonderful sentence ever uttered.

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LazarX wrote:

No, they're symptomatic of a problem of being a game publisher. People expect perfection out of a company run by humans, and gamers have absurdly high standards evaluated by moving goal posts.

The criticism is not appropriate for the Vigilante Playtest because THE ENTIRE PURPOSE of releasing it was for players to pick it apart and FIND problems or issues that were missed or not conceived of. That's why it's called Playtest or Beta. No one was charged for downloading it, nor was anyone required to do so.

The playtests are a farse anyway though. I mean Paizo intentionally released a nerfed version of the kineticist class for the playtest instead of the actual version they were intending, rendering the whole thing moot. Similarly, in previous playtests for things like Ultimate Combat, I realized that Paizo's open playtests were just publicity gimmicks.

Whaizo. Just Whaizo.

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Landon Winkler wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
What I'm not seeing is why it matters that this giant is gay - what will the players notice or encounter that will make it an interesting or different experience compared to a heterosexual giant? That's...
If the Encounter plays out as a simple fight, then probably not much. But it might not. There's plenty of ways any encounter can play out.
Wow, you know, I never though of that. It will depend on the group. But let's also take a step back. The game is predicated on combat - much more of the rules are about hurting people than not. Typically, problems will be solved through violence. I've yet to see an AP where you talk your way through a dungeon. So the sex lives of those with limited life spans can be quite pointless. Even their personal motivations are so much window dressing when their tactics block states they will immediately attack intruders. Even if they are captured, their sexual orientation is likely to be the last things the PCs will ask about while questioning them.

I don't think my players have ever skipped an entire dungeon, but just last session in my Reign of Winter campaign, they talked their way through 7+ encounters. And, to support that play style, it's extremely important to know NPCs' motivations.

Even when we're solving things with combat, relationships can be extremely relevant. Killing someone's employer will evoke a very different response than killing their spouse, after all.

Going back all the way to Burnt Offerings, there are relationships that can be used to remove opponents from combat. Sparing someone's romantic interest in this case is not just a roleplaying hook, but actually a superior tactical option.

In addition to the other benefits, including homoromantic relationships means players can't rule out that option immediately if you're fighting a group of all men or all women.


Though in the sake of fairness, it's hard to use that as a justification when the APs involve lots of suicidal NPCs who don't seem to care about anything in their lives.

If I had a time for every encounter that had "fights to the death" for some trivial reason I'd throw a pizza party. I mean, you need to have NPCs who act like people before you can use acting like people as a point, right?

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Rysky wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Moreover, as I said above, when Paizo did it the first time, I was totally down with it then too. But it has morphed over time and repetition into simply a bland assumption about a lack of prejudice, or indeed any view, positive or negative, at all.
And why, in a fantasy word where people go to in order to have fun and enjoy and be people they're not, or be the person the real world doesn't allow them to be, is this a bad thing?

My first guess is because that's how all sexuality is. I think we'd be lying to ourselves if we said that even heterosexual sex wasn't controversial. All sexuality is controversial. Some more than others but don't for a moment think that heterosexual sex in its myriad of circumstances isn't controversial as well.

Sexuality at its root is both a simple and a serious thing. Even the characters views on it can relate to you information about their personality and outlook. It can be completely irrelevant or a crux of a character's biography. When I rolled a hedonistic priestess of Urgathoa (of the arcanist class) a while back, her sexuality or more specifically her lust and willingness to indulge in her lusts even when they conflicted with societal expectations while she remained proud of her ways was an integral part of the character. However, if it wasn't for the fact that her lifestyle (including but not limited to her sexuality) wasn't openly embraced by those around here, it would have been entirely pointless.

If I'm playing in a game, if everyone just acts like everything is par for the course it really kills both the verisimilitude and the reason to even include it ("it" in this case being any aspect of your character, be it sexuality, height, weight, race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, religion, etc).

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Gohaken wrote:
That sounds awesome... I'd love to see it.

Back in 2012.


I apologized for being a cocky @ss when I read back my post today, but it was too late to edit it. Or I would have.

My personal issue is I default to cocky @ss, and have to work hard to reign that in. But hey, I'll admit it. And it doesn't make what I'm saying any less valid.

Don't quit on my account. I find it amusing.


And true. As Rynjin noted:

Rynjin wrote:

None of those characters has the utility and flexibility requisite of a Tier 3 character.

High Tier 4, perhaps.

I don't think overpowered is appropriate here. Certainly not my terminology.
I was confused by your statement here:
I get banned from playing monks at most tables cause people get upset at how unbalancing / effective they are.
We differ on this. I thoroughly enjoy PFS.

And you may.

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Rosita the Riveter wrote:
We had a pretty long thread about this a couple years ago, and much has happened in the LGBT+ world since then. So, I'd like to posit the question again.Do you portray these topics in your games?


If you do, how do you do so? Are you happy with the way Pathfinder Adventure Paths and Modules handle the subject?

Pretty indifferent. The only APs and modules I've read (far from all encompassing) either didn't make much of a deal of it or mentioned it and then forgot about it. I haven't seen one where it's actually something more than scenery.

Scenery is important though.

So, to me LGBT+ issues are part of the social fabric of the setting, and have a large role in urban culture and politics. What about you guys?

There is no all encompassing answer for my campaign because things like this vary from person to person, region to region, culture to culture, and subculture to subculture. General attitude could vary from street to street in a given city.

In the region that I've been running my campaign in lately, heterosexuality is the most common, with homosexuality being less frequent but at least mostly socially acceptable (though it can stir rumors of gossip and prejudices do exist). It's less acceptable within noble households because of certain traditions but more commonplace among those who don't have familial obligations to sire or bore heirs and the peasantry. It's relatively common to find it in companies of adventurers, mercenaries, sailors, pirates, or anyone else more or less responsible for themselves and aren't beholden to typical societal norms.

One example would be Klari and Myriel, a pair of Templar in the current campaign I've been running. They are close friends of the party's Paladin. Myriel is a Templar Inquisitor who uses psychic powers to hunt heretics, monsters, and criminals (that's the idea anyway), while Klari is a Templar Sorceress (who uses psychic powers to wreck stuff, she also has a sword and it's cool too). Both are members of a religious order of knights and priests, of which there is no problems with homosexuality among its members who are encouraged to be accepting and encouraging of love in all its forms (when they're not being bigots towards tieflings and heretics).

Transgendered characters are a bit rarer and are often met with confusion. There's a character, a vampire named Victoria that's physically male (until recently). Her disguise check was strong enough that she was pretty indistinguishable from a female to pretty much everyone. She lived as a woman, identifies as a woman, etc. Her actual sex didn't really come up much and she was prone to seducing unwary men in the nightclub that her lord governed. After royally whupping her in several fights over the course of the campaign, the party saved her from the vampire lord who was looming over her and one of the PCs got her, their "big sis" an elixir to make passing less necessary.

A lot of this varies though. For example, further north among the barbarian tribes homosexuality or more specifically bisexuality isn't even an open secret and is more or less an assumed given by a lot of their members, and their experimentation begins early in life. Further southwest, homosexuality is a taboo. Southeast, nobody gives a crap as long as you're educated and contributing to your undead utopia.

Speaking of romantic couplings, marriage varies greatly from people to people as well. In the bi-friendly barbarian tribes marriage is more for lineage and contracts so it's virtually always heterosexual as it's about heirs, though lifebonds are a similar tradition that they have and are not mutually exclusive with one-another (a man could, for example, have both a wife and mother of his heirs and his bonded male lover). In some areas it's pretty tit for tat with no restrictions at all. Some communities find it less odd than interspecies relationships (half-x races or couples aren't always met with the best mindsets), others find it a terrible and despicable thing.

Of course, it's like everything else: religion, polygamy, race, nationality, ethnicity, heritage, social class, wealth, etc. You can find someone who has a problem with it, someone who supports it, and a lot of people who don't give a damn either way.

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Gohaken wrote:

Man, you really should get out more.

Do you like, not dip anything with Barb or Fighter or something? Are your Monks and Rogues all pure classed?

Humorously the last time I posted a monk on here, it didn't look much like a monk and it caught a lot of flack from certain people on these boards about it being borderline cheating.

For the record, said monk was in fact a barbarian/fighter/monk wearing lots of heavy armor because the most effective thing I realized I could do with the monk class was to ignore all the flavor and fluff and ignore the armorless stuff entirely, generally fought with weaponry as opposed to unarmed strikes, etc.

I get banned from playing monks at most tables cause people get upset at how unbalancing / effective they are.

Congratulations. Please, teach us the ways, sensei.

FFS you're saying "Fighters are crap"... ummm, right. Lore Warden hits tier 3. Titan Fighter is just... interesting; I haven't fully tested it out, but it opens up some options.

It's so sad to see people talking about tiers when they don't even know what they mean. :(

Unchained Rogue is very, very good. Old Rogue? Doo doo. Black Market Connections doesn't do much good if you are dead, or couldn't get the wealth to spend in the first place. Core Rogue is way worse than Core Fighter -- try playing some PFS Core Only and see how it rolls out, it ain't pretty.

PFS doesn't really concern me as it's a mishmash of house rules and is not wholly compatible with even the core rulebook.

I'm also not very impressed with the unchained rogue.

Sword & Board Fighter, as loathed as it is, actually doesn't lose much being stuck with core since a lot of the shield feats are there. Core Rogue looses pretty much everything that attempts to fix that class.

Sword & board is my go-to melee style with most martials. I thought by this point that was public knowledge but I guess I've been away from the boards at the moment.

In any case, I really want to hear about these overpowered monks and fighters. We had another poster who often remarked about their awesomeness. I don't desire to return to those dark times but I am legitimately curious about these fabled things. Unfortunately there's more supporting evidence for Bigfoot than there is for overpowered core monks but I will continue to dream.

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Zhangar wrote:

One slight nitpick - only magic device traps actually count as wondrous items.

Otherwise, it's just an active spell that happens to make a magic trap.

Also, magic device traps that you can fondle for three rounds (gotta touch it to learn its properties!) without setting off are pretty rare =P

Keep in mind that you don't actually have to touch it to examine it, and if your examining it would set it off, it's a pretty good bet that the rogue can't disarm it either since it would require them to spend 2d4 rounds trying to disable it.

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Thanks. Here's a few other tricks to keep in mind that I use on my wizards and would do well in a full party of wizards.

  • When you can afford it, buy a scroll of animate dead with a decent enough material component associated with it to make a fairly tough bloody skeleton. Just pick a creature your party has killed that was strong or default to a beefy animal that you can purchase such as an ox or a tiger. Bloody skeletons keep recovering from their destruction unless slain with holy water or positive energy (both of which are pretty rare to see used, particularly by villains and monsters). This can give you some decent expendable meat shields and buff-targets.

    It can be an expensive investment but if your party pools their resources it can be super helpful, especially at early levels. Since it'll have fast healing, you can also let it heal up between fights.

  • Tiny hut is a good spell that you should consider keeping a scroll of around or even preparing. It takes 1 standard action, lasts 10 hours at the lowest level you can cast it, provides nice shelter vs the elements, and it provides total concealment to everyone within it without blocking their line of sight. It's a surprisingly versatile spell and I've found it very useful in combat for the non-illusory total concealment that you can fire through.
  • A Book of Harms is a relatively cheap spellbook but when you prepare some evocation spells from it you can get its boon. Once per day when casting an evocation spell you can take 1d4 x spell level damage when the spell goes off to maximize the spell on the fly. I've found this is a really potent trick to use with low level spells such as Magic Missile, Flaming Sphere/Scorching Ray, and Fireball/Lightningbolt. It's exceptionally potent if you all decide you really don't like some guy at the same time (virtually nothing level-appropriate is going to appreciate four mages dropping maximized spells on them in the same round).
  • If you've ever played Baldur's Gate for the PC, you'll know that using consumables like potions can be a big help. This is true in Pathfinder as well. What most people frequently forget is that you can buy and craft magic items at CLs higher than the minimum. I've had players in my games buy one or two potions of low level scaling spells at very high caster levels for emergencies. One great example was a PC that Aratrok was playing, who guzzled a caster level 20th potion of shield of faith when a battle with a vampire lord broke out. That sudden +5 to AC made a huge difference. Such buffs are also really hard to dispel.
  • There are a lot of spells that when chained by characters make them much scarier than usual. I used flaming sphere and magic missile as examples for the low-level game but the options broaden at higher levels. For example, when you reach 4th level spells, enervation is good but not crazy good. However, nobody wants to get plowed with 4d4 negative levels in one turn. Ever. Other ideal examples are stacking spells like waves of fatigue/exhaustion that when paired can auto-exhaust people even if they make their saves. Or comboing certain spells like cloudkill + wall of stone. This is also very strong when you chain debuffs followed by a nail spell (as in nail in the coffin). For example, having three mages who can chain the shaken condition into limited wish and finish with a flesh to stone is a stellar way of collecting tons of exotic lawn ornaments.
  • Pearls of power are useful for transforming yourself into a pseudo-spontaneous caster. Pre-pearls your wizard needs to guess how many spells of each kind that he will need. After pearls you can prepare all the spells you want and rely on the fact you have a floating spell-slot waiting for you to need it. For example if you have a 3rd level pearl of power, you can prepare Fireball, Stinking Cloud, Tiny Hut, and Wind Wall and know that you can re-cast any of those as the day goes on, which means that you don't need to worry so much if Tiny Hut won't see any need in the adventure or if you might run into undead immune to Stinking Cloud.

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bookrat wrote:

A lot of folks talk about how wizards are gods. I've even heard that a fighter-wizard team could be better served by a wizard-wizard team.

I've also heard people claim that wizards are weak at low levels and have a difficult time surviving low levels, and this is often used as justification for why they're so powerful at high levels.

Regardless if any bof this is true, how would you build a four person wizard group capable of surviving and/or thriving through various adventure paths? This includes survivablity at low levels and the team should be capable of covering all the bases of group dynamics.

Let's assume a 15 point buy, and any Paizo material is allowed. No multiclassing.

I'm going to stick mostly to core to make this as universally true as possible.

The Intellectual Challenge - AKA - Wizards 4 Ever
So you want to tackle the world and its dangers as a party of gentlemen and scholars? The adventuring life is hard for anyone involved and one would think it triply so for a pack of posh bookworms with relationship problems. One would be wrong, however. If anything these lords and ladies are first in their class and have done all their homework. If anyone will make the grade it will be them and they'll do it with prismatic colors.

Wizards can fill a variety of roles and no individual wizard has to fully devote themselves to any given task. When building your party you have a lot of options overall due to prestige classes like Eldritch Knight allowing you martial specialization if desired. However, for the purposes of this guide, I'm going to stick to more traditional wizards prancing around in robes and using magic and strategy to solve problems.

However, even with no dedicated "martial" character, we will still benefit from roles. Each wizard should typically have a different specialization (such as abjurer, conjurer, etc) and purpose (such as removing protections or harmful effects, conjuring minions, buffing, etc). Everyone have have a general idea as to what they want to do during an encounter but remember still that flexibility and adaptability is key. You're not sorcerers stuck with one spell known an you shouldn't act like it.

Because wizards can master a variety of spells it should be common for your wizard buddies to also prepare some spells that are you specialization, and you theirs, so that you can share the burdens and react as needed to the shifting environment that is adventuring. The reason is simple. If your party's necromancer happens to get disabled by a mummy's fear aura, having your party's abjurer ready to cast command undead may be the difference between success and failure.

Wizards are Intelligence focused characters. As a result they are essentially guaranteed to have 5+ skill points per level and eventually 12+ skill points per level. As with encounter roles, having each wizard invest into particular specializations with a bit of overlap between each (and dropping a point or two into trained only skills so you can always attempt things) can be a big help.

Dealing with Traps: Wizards can be perfectly capable of investing maximum ranks in both Perception and Disable Device as needed. However, only those with Trapfinding can use Disable Device to disarm magical traps. Fortunately, wizards usually won't need it. Detect magic penetrates typical barriers and unless there's something thick protecting you from the trap (thus nullifying the trap) you are almost certain to find it with four wizards. After that, you can identify the trap (which is a wondrous item and a successful Spellcraft check gives you all the details about the trap), and then determine if you want to try to trigger it, bypass it, or take a different option.

Magical traps can be dispelled, disjoined, or suppressed like magic items can. This means that a dispel magic spell can suppress the trap's functionality for 1d4 rounds which can allow you to pass it unharmed without alerting anyone of your presence. By mid levels, you can have minions that have dispel magic at will following you around (such as demons, angels, or azata) which means you won't even need to devote your prepared dispels to dealing with such traps you can just have your fiend spam dispel magic until it suppresses the trap (which is functionally similar to a rogue taking 20).

In some cases you may opt to simply destroy the traps as well, since there are a number of methods that can be used to destroy them permanently. Off the top of my head a very strait forward method would be to dispel them (rendering them mundane for 1d4 rounds) and then casting shatter on them (or have a bruiser-minion break them).

Mechanical traps can be dealt with in the usual fashion as there is no requirement of Trapfinding to disable mechanical traps. That said, there are still plenty of ways to deal with mechanical traps if your skill isn't high enough. In fact, you can usually ruin them with a casting of fabricate or stone shape.

The Arcane Research Team
One of the biggest advantages of an all-wizard party is spells. You can cut down on the costs to fill out spellbooks by having each wizard learn two unique spells at each level and then sharing them between your books at only the scribing expenses. This means that all of you effectively get +8 spells known per level before traditional methods such as scrolls, research, or NPC fees.

Further, the DC to prepare a spell from a borrowed spellbook is only 15 + spell level and you should always be able to take 10 and succeed at the check (the DC rises by 1 every 2 levels and you should be improving your Spellcraft much faster than that) which means that you can keep a few spare spellbooks around that you can all prepare from while keeping your personal spellbooks safe and sound.

Similarly, if you research a new spell, share it with the rest of your party.

Ability Scores
No single spread will be true for all wizards but most non-knight mages will probably do well with low Strength and Charisma. Something like 7 Str, 14 Dex, 14 Con, 16 Int, 13 Wis, and 7 Cha before racial mods. You can tweak these to taste but in general these will serve you well as they pad your survivability. Encumbrance is less of an issue for your mages because they will not be wearing armor and in most cases you should be using pack animals, extradimensional space, and muleback cords to enhance your carrying capacities. Your biggest concern is a shadow (strength damaging attack) but by middle levels death ward effects will protect you and shadows are afraid of you too (because [Force] effect spells wreck them). You could optionally raise Strength a little higher and lower Wisdom slightly if it's a huge concern.

Resources and Consuming Them
One of the major things you need to learn while playing a wizard is to keep your eyes on the horizon but always remember that to get there you have to succeed right now. Consumables are your friends. You will buy, create, and use consumables frequently throughout your career. Don't worry about this because there are three truths that you must remember:

1) WBL is lower than treasure values to the point that about 15% of a typical PC's wealth can go towards consumables or general expenses without them dropping below WBL if the treasures vs encounters rules are being followed.

2) Every member of your party should be able to create a variety of magical items. Every single member should have Craft Wondrous item and if available a valet familiar, so the vast majority of your treasure will be converted into magic items that you want and need, so you shouldn't have issues funding your habits.

3) Cheap consumables are available almost anywhere. According to the rules for magic items and their availability, you can find magic items (including consumables) in communities based on their value vs the community GP limits. This means most scrolls, wands (with varying amounts of charges), elixirs, oils, potions, and so forth are available in the game. Even if you cannot find a caster personally willing to cast or teach you a spell, even a 9th level spell, you can assuredly find a scroll of it unless a bad house rule is in play.

In many cases we will use consumables to our advantage and frequently. Do not view consumables as wastes of money. Consumables are very competitively priced compared to continuous or at-will items (the base value of a charged item is 1/2 the price of an infinite item divided by the number of charges in the item). This means that consumables are not only fairly efficient but they are also available to parties (all parties, not just wizards) much earlier and more frequently than their more expensive cousins.

For example, a hamlet has community price limit of 200 GP. This means that you can find any magic item worth up to 200 gp there 75% of the time (average of about 3 items). Things that fall within that limit include 1st level scrolls up to 8th caster level, 2nd level scrolls up to 4th caster level, 1st level potions up to 8th caster level, most feather tokens, and wands of less than 200 gp value (too extensive to list but as a sample: a 2nd level wand with 2 charges, a 1st level wand with 13 charges, a 1st level wand at CL 12 with 1 charge, etc).

This can be a major tactical consideration for a party of wizards as your goal is to be prepared. Carrying some consumables at a higher caster level than your usual spells can be a good idea. Especially with spells that scale with level and/or don't have much in the way of save DCs (such as dispel magic or remove disease).

Low Level (1st - 4th) Strategy Guide
At 1st level your biggest disadvantage is that there's not a lot of difference between the classes yet aside from ability scores so you don't have a lot of cool spells yet. On the flip side, the fact there is not a lot of difference between the classes is an advantage because you haven't fallen into the pits of despair compared to the challenges that you will face.

General: Each of your wizards should have at least 8 HP (6 base, +2 Con). You have some options to get your starting HP higher (if you went with a toad familiar, favored class bonus, and the toughness feat you'd start with 15 HP). All wizards in the party will want to max out Perception and Stealth at every level when possible because these simple skills can allow you to leverage yourselves very well to avoid ambushes or to make your own (or to sneak past enemies). Your familiars are also good at Stealth and have Scent which means that you can create a mobile parameter around yourselves to prevent enemies from ambushing you (because your animals will sense when something is within a certain distance from them and with enough familiars you can create a very large area of observance). Don't forget that your familiars grant you the Alertness feat when nearby as well. Since you aren't wearing armor anyway, you don't have to worry about skill penalties from armor. Also remember that enemies take a -1 penalty to their Stealth checks per 10 ft. between you and them. This is true for you as well but if you have familiar scouts their scent quality will often foil stealth before you ever encounter your foes, which is exceptionally great for very mobile familiars that can make strafing scans. Remember that you cannot ready actions outside of combat so if an encounter starts this way the would be ambusher rolls initiative.).

Spread out your skills, designating certain wizards particular tasks such as the party's face, determine who will be an expert at which knowledge skills, pick different languages with Linguistics, etc, so that you can cover your bases for dealing with issues. Always ensure your Spellcraft skill is high enough to take 10 and learn all your spells and prepare from borrowed spellbooks.

Know Your Rights: Your armor class will frequently be poor, however you should be aware of defensive options available to you. According to the combat chapter, crouching provides a +2 vs ranged attacks but a -2 vs melee attacks. Likewise, being prone provides a +4 vs ranged attacks and a -4 vs melee attacks. Partial cover provides a +2 to your AC and +1 to reflex saves, cover +4 and +2, and soft cover (creatures) +4 and +0. Generally speaking you will need to fear ranged attackers the most as they are less troubled by summons and such. Usin these tactics can improve your survivability massively. There's also no penalties for casting spells while prone so if you need to drop prone and start spell-slinging go for it.

Using spells like obscuring mist, silent image, and even tiny hut to acquire concealment to get a miss % vs enemy attacks can be really good for survival at low and high levels.

A Bone to Light Pick With You: All your wizards should carry a light pick or similar x4 crit weapon. If you drop enemies with spells like sleep or colorspray, deliver your coup de graces with these weapons for maximum efficiency.

1st Level
First level will be the hardest because you start with meager gold for starting equipment but after your first encounter or two you should be able to afford getting some equipment.

When combat occurs, you will want to evaluate your targets and deal with their weaknesses. You'll probably make heavy use of your arcane school abilities and cantrips at 1st level, mixed with spells like sleep, colorspray, and interestingly magic missile. Generally speaking you will want to pick an enemy, evaluate their threat, and then focus on the one your group feels needs to go down fastest by spamming certain powers (school powers or cantrips like acid splash that deal damage at them, or if they are too strong to reliably bring them down with 1d3-1d6 cantrips, have your whole party cast magic missile at the foe for 4d4+4 points of un-avoidable damage.

Everyone: Prep some good cantrips like detect poison, detect magic, and acid splash. Make sure that at least two people on your team have some sort of light-producing spells (light or dancing lights) if your party doesn't all have darkvision. Acid splash is the go-to offensive cantrip because few things are resistant to it at low levels and it ignores SR (which can occasionally crop up when fighting things like drow).

Abjurers: Your school power granting a deflection bonus in an AoE for your Int modifier in rounds will be your go-to action in most fights. Choosing fire resistance 5 will also immunize you to things like alchemist fire at this level and may allow you to play with your environment to your advantage (such as crossing or standing in fire to dissuade enemies from entering melee with you as 1d6-5 is a lot less frightening than 1d6). Prep some other spells to support your allies.

Conjurers: The summoner's school ability lets you call a monster for 2 rounds at 1st level. If you're a human with Spellfocus + Augment Summoning, consider summoning an eagle in melee range of your enemies. It gets its full turn as soon as it arrives and at 1st level, three attacks at +5 for 1d4+2 each is vicious. They're celestial or fiendish as well so let it smite for an extra +1 damage vs evil or good creatures as appropriate.

Diviners: You can get in on the action with true strike. Use a really high base damage weapon like greatsword or something. Even if you're not proficient with the weapon the +20 to hit and auto-win vs concealment means you're probably going to hit anything you want at low levels anyway. It takes a round to charge up but it can be a solid way to deliver some burst damage when needed (especially if you have a friend who pops a scroll of enlarge person beforehand).

Necromancers: You're not super useful right now. Keep a cause fear around for crowd control and prep an extra magic missile or something. Your time is coming.

Evokers: Magic missile is your go to school spell here because it's your safest spell in terms of range, accuracy, what it can affect and damage (burning hands has a save and requires you to be very close, and shocking grasp requires you to fondle your enemy and only both deal trivial damage at 1st level). If your friends also have magic missiles you can lead the charge.

Transmutors: At 1st level with no martials in the party you are going to have few good targets for things like enlarge person but you can combine with your familiar to make a super scout. Casting reduce person on your familiar can give them insane stealth modifiers for a quick go at scouting. Otherwise prepare some CC spells like sleep or colorspray.

Enchanters: Sleep is your bread and butter at this level. Charm person can also be very strong but unless you opted to raise your Charisma really hard you won't have good odds of ordering enemies to turn on their allies, meaning that at best they'll defend you or stop attacking. Combined with the +5 save bonus in combat charm can be riskier. It also only affects humanoids while sleep can knock out animals as well.

Illusionists: Silent image is your friend. Use it to create things like illusory walls and obstacles to provide concealment to your and your party. You can use it to create ambush points by devising a signal to let your party know that you're casting a figment illusion to grant them a +4 save to see through it. It can also be a great way to cover a retreat or approach against ranged fire since the archers aren't going to be interacting with the illusion to get a save which means total concealment for the folks on the other side.

On the Way to 3rd Level
Before you ever reach 2nd level you should amass some treasures. It's time to look into some of the things that you can do with treasures. Look into consumables like alchemist fire, antitoxins, holy water and caltrops which can be used to deal with issues. Buy potions of delay poison and lesser restoration (50 gp each thanks to it being a 1st level CL 1 spell on the ranger and paladin spell lists) for emergencies. Buy masterwork tools (such as cloaks, boots, etc) for things like Stealth and other skills (50 gp each, 1 lb.).

According to the magic chapter, you can pay NPC casters in towns 1/2 the cost of scribing a spell into your spellbook to learn their spells from them. This should be your #1 method for acquiring new spells for your party and then sharing them between one-another. Found scrolls should only be consumed to learn the spell if it's too high a level for your local hub or otherwise restricted somehow. This is especially true for scrolls of spells with costly material components.

Make use of your Scribe Scroll feats. Grab lots of utility spells and scribe them on the cheap. Keep a few extra scrolls around for emergencies for when you're low on spells. Focus on spells that have no save DCs like magic missile. At low levels, having a party of 4 mages slam you with magic missiles every round means you are going to fold and at a mere 12.5 gp per scroll, a party of wizards can carry a few around.

Also consider crafting scrolls (and later wands) at higher caster levels. You have to supply the required spell for such items but the caster level of the item is determined by you and your Spellcraft check. If you don't mind risking a caster level check, having a 9th level scroll of magic missile for emergencies can be really useful for low-level parties.

3rd Level
You have 2nd level spells and your 1st level spells are bigger, badder, and combat ready! The world is now your oyster! You also get to pick up Craft Wondrous Item on all of your wizards and the fun begins.

Everyone: Craft Wondrous item. Have your valet familiars (if available) start crafting as well. Any gear you need, make sure you craft it. With a party of 4 wizards and 4 valet familiars you can be pushing 16 people's worth of crafting per day (counting cooperative crafting via valets). Direct certain characters to work on certain projects, such as assigning characters to craft elixirs of hiding and seeing (+10 stealth or perception for 1 hour), have other wizards start crafting other things you need.

Most importantly, everyone should craft pearls of power. Lots of them. At a mere 500 gp / 1st level pearl, having an abundance of pearls will allow you to keep up your adventuring day without rest. At higher levels you will have tons of pearls of 1st-4th level spells.

Don't even bother trading items sometimes, just consume them as part of the materials to create magic items as the need arises. It's more fun to say you made your magic cloak clasps with the melted down ruby tiara you found anyway.

Spell Tactics: At this level you have enough versatility in spells and enough caster levels to start comboing spells together and making spell-spam practical. Good spells for most any wizard include things like invisibility + summon swarm which can end most low-level encounters with virtually no risk to the casters (invis lasts 30 rounds, summon swarm lasts for concentration, most melee foes like monsters have 0% offense or defense vs swarms). Similarly multiple wizards throwing out flaming sphere spells can scare the pants off of most enemies (even at reflex-negates, making 2-4 saves vs 3d6 fire damage every round is no joke for low-CR foes). Spectral hand combined with shocking grasp or chill touch are also good options at this level.

Abjurers: Resist energy and protection from arrows are your friends here. Otherwise keep up your pace.

Conjurers: Summon monster II, summon swarm, and web and glitterdust are the breadwinning spells at this level. Amusingly, I'm going to declare glitterdust more of a versatile utility spell as the temporary blindness it provides is likely to be less useful for a party of mages as anything but a stall tactic that could go wrong without a beatstick to mop them up quickly. Web is for ruining enemy casters most of all. Summon swarm combines with invisibility to ruin lots of encounters wonderfully.

Necromancers: Blindness/deafness is one of the most brutally punk-ass debuffs in the game and it's yours. If an enemy fails their save vs this and becomes blind the fight is effectively lost to them (50% miss vs everything, half speed, flat-footed vs everything, cannot run or charge, cannot effectively target anything, has to make Perception checks to find anyone, cannot use acrobatics effectively, pretty much just 105% screwed). Have someone make an Intimidate check prior to casting it to give them a -2 to their save. Against solo-enemies you basically just win.

Evokers: You have two great spells for dealing damage at this level. Flaming sphere and scorching ray. At this level, I prefer flaming sphere as it lasts multiple rounds and thus isn't wasted if you miss your target and you can even keep moving it around while casting more spells for added pressure (opening with flaming sphere and directing it as a move action while you cast more spells over subsequent turns can pressure fiercely).

Enchanters: This level sucks for you. None of your spells are good. Prep another charm person spell in your 2nd level bonus slot and use spells from other schools in your 2nd level slots.

Diviners: Make sure to always prep see invisibility to counter enemy mages and some monsters. Otherwise use your slots to focus on battlefield alterations or supporting another caster.

Illusionists: Good spells at this level. Invisibility is a very strong spell and you should make lots of scrolls of it when the money is good. Mirror image is a staple defensive spell now and later so picking it up is a good plan.

On the Way to 5th Level
Pearls of power. Say it with me. Pearls of power. A few magical goodies and lots of utility scrolls as well, but pearls of power for 1st level spells will give you a lot of casting potential between fights where you need to bring out your big guns. Also make sure to have plenty of scrolls of things like invisibility and knock.

5th Level
Congratulations. You win.

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About Taking the Ball
I wanted to discuss the prospect of taking the ball and leaving a bit more 'cause it's kind of an interesting bit to me and one I think that a lot of GMs never even consider but I've done a few times to the surprise of a number of players.

In my previous post I mentioned that when PCs are invading the lairs or hideouts of NPCs, an oft-mentioned tactic on the internet is to use things like rope trick and so forth to simply rest mid-adventure in a dangerous area with no major issues. However, in a game where the world continues to go on while the PCs are doing things this can lead to some really bad consequences for the PCs.

9 Hours: It takes nine whole hours to recover spells. No matter how much bling of sustenance you have, spells that have been cast in the last eight hours count towards your daily limits (same with PP with psionics) and it requires 1 hour to prep all of your spells or regain your PP or whatever which gives the locals 9 hours to prep or do other things with the knowledge there's a crazy band of narcoleptic super heroes somewhere in their base of operations.

Now one of the things I mentioned before was that villains can just take their stuff and move elsewhere. In many situations, the location of the villain's base is merely one of convenience for the enemy and GMs often have an idea that the villains may have an exit strategy to fight another day anyway. I pose the question "why wait"?

In most cases it comes down to how important the lair itself is to the masterminds' schemes. In most adventures it's a matter of convenience. It's just a place they are temporarily calling home or running their schemes from. It might just be a warehouse or an old fortress on the mountain that's nearby or it might just be some caves. The thing is, most of the time the where is not important. In the nine hours the party is resting, it's very reasonable that unless the villains are super comfortable just waiting around for the PCs to appear once more, they may just pack up all their stuff and go somewhere else. Hooray, the PCs accomplished...very little. The PCs awake from their slumber and leap out of their extradimensional space ready to throw down only to find an empty lair full of untriggered traps, no treasure, and most importantly no badguys. The badguys then return to harassing the local citizens or whatever once they've set up shop elsewhere (likely with more traps and the like).

And if the badguys are super douchebags (and they should be), they might even pull the lever next to the sign that says "Do not pull!" or push the big red button that says "Do not push!" on their way out. Nobody wants to exit their extra-dimensional space to find that the death star already exploded while they were gone. Finding yourself in a collapsed dungeon is hazardous to your health (generally speaking, being magically forced into solid objects shunts you to the nearest open space and deals a lot of damage if that's a big shunting) or may complicate things as you try to get out (the cave entrance has collapsed big time so now you need to find an alternate route out or start digging).

Anyone ever played Baldur's Gate? Remember the mine that gets flooded? Yeah, that's a thing too. Everyone totally loved those aquatic sonic the hedgehog stages so they'll really love it when they get to play in the mindflayer's warren after he decides to flood the thing. What, you didn't prepare water breathing prior to leaving your rope trick? I hope you make your Concentration check to cast underwater because your party is going to need another rope trick right now.

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Artemis Moonstar wrote:
Darakhul: it's pretty nifty. Basically they're "greater ghouls" a rank above Ghasts, with pretty sinister minds. They basically keep their minds instead of, say, losing them to insatiable hunger for raw meat.

Ah, I just use ghouls & ghasts for that as they're both highly intelligent and have no forced mechanics to be ravenous lunatics. In fact, one of the iconic characters in my campaign is a ghast.


PC Survival: Good response! But I wasn't clear enough on my post. While I agree with what you said, I was more referring to what some call "Player Entitlement" vs the "Old School Lethal DM Style".

To rephrase... Where do you stand on the whole "PCs should just be happy they're alive" versus "PCs are Big Damn Heroes and, like movies, shouldn't have anything too horrible happen to them" kind of thing. Perhaps 'PCs' should be replaced with 'Players', since it's very much a player state of mind.

I'm a bit more on the old-styled FATALITY side myself. Ever since the game started getting skewed towards "balance", which isn't really balanced if it's entirely within the PC's favor IMO, it's just been too... Easy. There's just no sense of accomplishment anymore. Yeah rolling dice is fun and all, but at the end of a game I'm usually sitting there with the feeling that this party of unoptimized special snowflakes just meandered through a somewhat halfway decent novel full of villains that are more like mooks than Dragons or BBEGs. With more magical gear than the entirety of any Magical Girl/Boy (Magical Boys DO exist now!) anime's universe EVER.

It just feels like it's handed to players now in a "let's go along for the ride" sort of way.

I think a lot of it comes down primarily to the GM and how they use the toolbox. I'm a proponent of game balance and player rights and I'm not particularly fond of how a lot of bad things worked in older editions (such as poison just outright killing you on a failed save if you got a save at all). However, when I describe how I run my games, I've gotten the sense that some people think they sound borderline tyrannical. This can be over things as simple as having NPCs make use of the resources that are assumed available to them (such as treasure).

Now, I grew up on Nintendo Hard. I was an avid gamer from the age of 2 years old. Dino Riki was one of my favorite games even before I ventured to Kindergarten (along with Mario Bros, Donkey Kong & Donkey Kong Jr., etc). I feel challenge is very important, though I believe in fair challenges (when I was modding Baldur's Gate, one of my favorite games, I was actually super pissed to find asshat levels of cheatery spread throughout the NPCs in the game).

But like everything, careful moderation can be important. Difficulty can set the pace and feel of a game and it can be a defining feature of a game or a crippling flaw depending on its use and scale. Let me give a quick example here of what I mean.

Why Pathfinder isn't Fair - OR - Why CR Favors PCs: One of the reasons that the game is slanted in the PC's favor in terms of building encounters is that even "fair" encounters will typically lead to a very short campaign. Now, when I say "fair", I mean more or less equal with everyone playing by the same rules. However, that's not how it works in Pathfinder.

Pathfinder defines an average encounter as a party of 4 PCs vs a CR equal to the average party level (take note). It defines an epic encounter as Average Party Level +3 with the warning that it's very likely that one or more PCs will die and it can turn into a TPK with a little bad luck. The thing is, none of that is fair. It's all slanted in the favor of the PCs. To see this, we just have to look at the party's challenge rating and it becomes clear.

A heroic classed character with PC WBL (e.g. player characters) has a CR equal to their level. So a 5th level wizard w/ PC WBL is CR 5. Two CR 5 creatures equate to a CR 7 encounter. Four of them equate to a CR 9 encounter. This means even in an "epic encounter" where the CR of the enemies is APL(5)+3, the encounter is CR 8 or still 1 CR lower than the CR of the collective PCs. That doesn't seem fair, right? :o

Well, to understand why this is, we need to understand why fair fights are bad for the game. In a fair fight, you've probably got roughly a 50% chance for it to go either way. With a 50% chance to lose the fight, unless there is some sort of mechanic in place to allow easy escapes when things turn bad, roughly every other encounter is going to require PCs to re-roll characters or even an entirely new party. It would take 5 encounters to gain 1 level in a "fair" fight but you're statistically likely to never make it past 4, and you absolutely must rest between fights.

Most of us could agree that seems like a huge hassle for both PCs and GMs and would probably become very unfun very quickly for the style of game that Pathfinder is catered towards.

Exceptionally Lethal Can Be Fun: With the above said, some games thrive because of this sort of danger. If the average encounter was a truly fair fight, it generally means one of two things. PCs will learn to avoid combat at all costs unless they can force a severe disparity between them and their enemies or they are optimized to the hilt so they are functioning much higher than typical for their CR (and I don't mean optimization solely in numbers but also through tactics that are extremely hard for most NPCs to deal with).

Some RPGs have thrived on the idea that any combat could easily be your last. Some people all but wank off to critical-hit charts that cause a random goblin to decapitate mighty dragon slayers and stuff. However this sort of thing is neither conductive to heroic fantasy and caters to a very niche style of play.

Edit: I miss stuff like the Resurrection and Polymorph shock charts. Where's the bad guys attacking the PC's mounts/companions/spellbooks/GEAR? Why is it so damn easy to remove such crippling problems as, say, DEATH!? WHY can PCs get away with resting in between every fight or two?!

As far as polymorph shock charts and such, I think a lot of that has been filtered out because it can bog down the game and most feel it didn't add a whole lot to the game. It's not entirely gone though. You have to make a Fortitude save to avoid dying when someone casts stone to flesh on you when you're petrified. The DC seems fairly low and easy (DC 15) until you realize you're doing it without the benefits of your gear (your gear is nothing but a rock right now so no nice enhancement bonuses and stuff for you) and you've always got a 5% chance to randomly die unless you've got Improved Great Fortitude or something.

As to bad guys doing things like attacking allies and breaking stuff, that's 100% a GMing thing and something I do myself. When I play I carry spare spellbooks, several components pouches, spare weapons, etc. In some cases I may even wear two sets of armor (they don't stack but if one breaks you've got an extra layor, but your carrying capacity needs to be kickass to do this with heavier armors). As a GM, I will regularly target animal companions as it is practical to do so. You may recall that in my demon-encounter writeup I've copy/pasted around the boards as an example piece the succubi in the encounter have a specific tactic of attempting to repeatedly charm monster cohorts and animal companions to turn them on the PCs (and people think Devotion is a meaningless ability :P).

Wizard-lax used Rest: Finally, the resting between every fight thing is borderline mythical. I say borderline mythical because PCs can reasonably attempt to do so with things like rope trick and eventually certainly can with things like plane shift and magnificent mansion, but there are downsides to doing so. Even with the ability to forgo rest, all casting classes count any spells cast within the last 8 hours against their available spells which means you're taking at minimum an 8 hour break every time you need to recover resources (this is true for psionicists too).

Now, if you play in a static game, this is a strong tactic. However, if you are playing in a game where you're dealing with nonstatic NPCs, you may find that during those eight hours the NPCs get wise to danger and take extra steps to fortify their positions or in some cases may actually just take their ball and go home (by ball I mean treasure and by home I mean elsewhere). You can pack up a lot of stuff in eight hours with a bunch of NPCs and just strait up leave a lair that has been impregnated by a party of narcoleptic super heroes.

PCs frequently lose their element of surprise (if any) when doing so. Enemy NPCs can now set traps (not necessarily actual traps aside from simple things like deadfalls but I mean traps such as ambush points and stuff), re-equip themselves, or equip themselves (if there were NPCs in the area that weren't armed to the teeth because they weren't just chillin' in all their combat gear, they are now). NPCs might become more cautious (less likely to get a sentry to wander away from post or check out a sound or something without alerting backup first, or they might not easily be fooled into walking into a dangerous situation, etc).

Random encounters can be useful in these scenarios (but I only use them as it would make sense for the creatures in the area as I usually build challenges with finite numbers of enemies unless there is reason that more would be available). However, as far as finite enemies are concerned, it's very possible at higher levels where resting mid-raid is easier that your enemies can also do the same and that can be bad for you.

For example, say you've got some big bad diabolists. You raid their lair and then activate your daily "15 minute adventuring day" power. The badguys, now aware that you are here decide to blow their loads on getting backup, so they each vomit up as many planar ally and planar binding spells as they can muster and then rest as well. So when you encounter them, they've got additional summons and stuff at the ready and they don't even add to the XP gained from the encounters because they were conjured from the class features of your enemies in response to your actions and their resting was a tactical decision just like yours.

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Artemis Moonstar wrote:
Have you had a chance to check out the Darakhul pc race from Kobold Press? I'm so totally jonesing on playing one right now, but I'm going to be running Carrion Crown for the miss, so... I'll have to be her catfolk-turned-darakhul arcanist/monk butler some other time. (I always run gestalt when there's less than 3 people playing)

I surely haven't. I honestly haven't been paying much attention to races outside of the ones in my campaign and/or that my players are currently interested in. :o

Also, where do you stand on the fence that PCs should have to WORK for survival and making it to later levels, rather than having it handed to them?

I view progressing into the higher tiers as a sort of learning experience. Dropping someone off into high levels easily is often more detrimental than not, as it almost ensures their demise when they encounter enemies that fight in ways they aren't prepared to handle (because they lack the experience from mastering their lower-level abilities).

For example, at high levels many staple buffs and wards have entered into the realm of trash-resources. As in, a 4th level spell like death ward is a pretty trivial thing for even a 15th level spellcaster who has spells twice that level. However, death ward will immunize you to things like energy drain, enervation spam, and lots of even worse things (any and all negative energy effects like waves of exhaustion).

I've seen players either make high-level PCs or be fast-tracked to high levels in a kind of Monte Haul sort of situation and in all cases I've seen it end with the PCs finding themselves unable to handle what awaits them. They don't fully realize the purpose and potential of their abilities or how to use them effectively and as a result can be torn apart by the dangers of high level play (where creatures can literally rip your soul out as a souvenir of your meeting).

Now not only do I feel like reaching a higher level should be earned at least a little, I believe the process of earning it (that is, mastering your game) is in fact more beneficial to the player than the GM because of how much more likely you are to survive when you know how to handle yourself.

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Artemis Moonstar wrote:
You wouldn't happen to be aware of any mythos with a deity of Endurance and/or Determination, would you?

Son Goku.

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LazarX wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
So no, it's not false. You can just run the game as normal. If your PCs have references to the powers that they know and/or will be using, you can run the game off bullet-point knowledge. It's that smooth..

Assuming the players are themselves all of the following.

1. Fully knowledgeable of the psionics system.

Define fully knowledgeable? All the player needs to do is have their class mechanics, the same bullet point list the GM has, and references to any powers that they intend to use (which are read and resolved like spells).

2. Fully honest about using it, and the important bit, actually willing to police themselves about such important things as manifestor limits, special rules restricting powers etc...

Hence what the bullet points thing is for. You can cover the dos and don'ts such as the manifestor limits.

I've heard players rebuking other players for reminding DM's of things that they forgotten that were mandatory to apply.

Which is true for everything else in this game. Also, if your players are going to attempt to cheat or rebuke other players for being honest, you should really get new players because no matter what rules you use, cheaters are cheaters.

And to be honest, you run your games with more than a casual knowledge of psionics, given how much you champion it on the forum.

Yeah, which is why I know that all the important stuff could be bullet pointed.

A GM who is going to run a campaign with psionic players is pretty much giving them the house if he's not conversant with either the system and the occasional monkey wrench such as psionic predators to throw at them.

No, not at all. For the record, I've never once used the optional psionic maladies because I think they're not conductive to good gameplay (there are already normal diseases and such that irritate both casters and manifesters). Likewise, the only time I've ever used "psionic predators" was actually in a game that had no psionic characters at all.

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Cranky Bastard wrote:

Amusingly, one of my projects is a very non-G-rated adventure on a world where an aboleth fry is going about the process of building up its first amphibious slave army - it already has enslaved a town of merfolk, and is doing horrible psionic things to mutate and extract their eggs, while funneling the results to coastal doomsday cults for sale to unsuspecting lonely sailors, the end result being more or less gillmen...that become superpowered monstrosities if the donor parent had any hints of magic in the bloodline due to volatile interactions.

The current protagonist is a mermaid who, for "undetermined reasons", was not affected as expected by the psionic circuitry that was supposed to force her eggs from her body - instead, her body responded to the alien energies by manifestation of a suit made from said energies about her, enabling her to fight back against her enslaved kin and escape. She has seen what has been done with her people, and seeks to stop it in its tracks, but she is needing allies, and attempting to get rid of the monstrous freaks that are resulting from the misuse of her people's eggs.

TL;DR mermaid Samus whose growing Aegis powers are fluffed around bodily response to psionics. Many of the cultists have had their own psionic abilities awakened by the aboleth or its underlings. She's less 'MegaMan-ing" her way to victory, more "Parasite Eve, though the major fights that provide excellent XP for leveling up are more akin to finding the upgrades in Metroid. Given my take on psionics in the Shun Thread, the intended to is for the nature of the powers of magic and psionics to be very different, but with comparable end results, and as soon as Occult Adventures is out adding more nuance and detail to the effects of blending the two.

Of course, I will admit that some would see that as mutant powers a la X-Men, but I approach from the perspective that psionics are currently rare, but exposure will result in psionic players as a sort of triggered 'antibody' response to such an ancient...

Behold the power of mutable fluff. :3

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Aranna wrote:
I am perplexed by all this lack of understanding... unless maybe it's my GMing style? If I am running a game for 5 players then there is one main plot line that guides the overall campaign BUT I always build a series of subplots into the campaign as well one for each character's back story and one for each major group that is involved...

With you so far. This is basically a description of my main campaign.

in the case of psionic characters there will be one subplot centered on each character many of which involve psionics in some way typically and a subplot for the psionic elements that are involved through the various characters back stories as well. Also I would adjust my treasure drops to have psionic treasures rather than magical ones.

And now you lost me. I don't see what psionic magic items have to do with plot. When I was playing my psion, I would have been wholly indifferent to finding psionic items and stuff because my characters story doesn't, hasn't, and won't be about stuff like that. Instead I'd rather get side plots that were actually...I dunno...plots? Like interacting wit the other witches of Irrisen, rebuilding her family's good status, the advancements of her friendships and her growth from being a hermit hedgewitch to a leader of men.

In the same way, I couldn't care less if I was a Paladin and you were like "Oooh, subplot, the +4 cloak of Charisma". I'd be like "Um, that's cool but can we please get back to something that matters? I can craft my own holy avenger but I want to visit the refugees".

Taking this into consideration if I used Ashiel's 5 minutes to drop a psionic PC into a non psionic game suggestion this character would have NO subplots to shine in,

In my friend's Reign of Winter game, my character had probably the most detailed ongoing subplot in the campaign with 0% of the campaign having to do with whether or not she used magic points or spell bullets.

they would have NO psionic treasures to enhance their character,

Which matters why? I could craft my own crap if I wanted to and I did. The majority of the stuff I crafted was in fact magic items because they do just as much (and often more) than psionic items do. You do not need psionic items to enhance your character anymore than you need mundane items to enhance your Fighter. All the usual stuff still applies.

It's not rocket science. It's not even kindergarten science.

and there would be NO psionic encounters to really showcase the system.

I don't want a technical demo. I want to play the game. It is as irrelevant as insisting that you must have encounters with Paladins to play a Paladin or encounters with Gunslingers to play Gunslingers or encounters with Monks to play Monks.

Meanwhile, psionic creatures are typically undiscernable from creatures with SLAs from the player's side of the screen.

If I were that player I would feel I was having less fun than my friends who are involved in various magical subplots which may totally showcase their character as the main lead such as a witch dealing with a magical coven or a wizard handling the mage's guild.

So are fighters and barbarians and paladins and rangers and monks all banned from your games too?

It would frustrate me to see only magic treasures dropping forcing me to deal with a magic shop at their usual markup if I want psionic gear.

Again, magic gear improves psionic characters as well and item creation is a thing. Again, however, how does this not also apply to every class that isn't also a spellcaster?

Also as I have stated before it is total BS that psionics are less powerful than magic. Each can do stuff the other can't mechanically making each one shine strongly in different ways.

Hahahaha. Yeah, that's cute. No, magic is definitely stronger. Psionics has the edge of being weaker for longer but pound for pound magic is far more powerful and capable of doing far more.

Shapeshifting = Magic > Psionics (the equivalent to alter self (lizardfolk) costs 9 PP and isn't even as good because the stat buffs don't stack with items).
Blasting = Magic > Psionics (but psionic blasting is easier without heavy crunching)
Necromancy = Magic > Psionics (practically non existant)
Summoning = Magic > Psionics (summoned monsters are often roughly as strong physically and also have powerful SLAs and racial abilities)
Battle Control = Magic > Psionics (psionics has a few battlefield control effects but nothing comparable to things like create pit, stinking cloud, black tentacles, etc).
Buffing = Magic > Psionics (haste and heroism. Enough said).
Binding = Magic > Psionics (practically non existant)
Divination = Psionics > Magic (psionics has cooler stuff here though seers are not as mechanically strong as diviners)
Mind ****er = Psionics > Magic (mostly because telepaths can hide their displays and benefit from being able to use low-level charms repeatedly)
Healing = Psionics > Magic (post-Vitalist, Dreamscarred press gave us a healing-oriented class that is not only actually good but a ton of fun to play, though if not for the vitalist, magic would win here too because not only is healing generally easier with magic but there are lots of extra ways to leverage magic into healing such as summoning and binding).
Illusions = Magic > Psionics (the closest thing psionics has are mind-affecting hallucinations)
I Win Cards = Magic > Psionics (psionics cannot come close to the power of things like gating in 100% controlled solars pit fiends and solars, simulacrum, time stop, metamagic rods, fickle winds, aroden's spellbane, etc. I'm also not complaining about this).

THAT means they are equally powerful or very nearly so depending on the situation.

They can both fill the role.


Let's look at a couple psionic classes to debunk this myth that ONLY psionics can support certain concepts.

Psychic Warrior: This is a self buffing melee fighter concept. There ARE numerous Gish builds that do the same thing with magic. Flavor can be refluffed to whatever the player wants. I see no need to have the extra hassle as a GM at trying to balance the two systems constantly all game when the player can just use spell mechanics and get the same concept.

Can't do it from 1st level, often comes with extra baggage, needs lots of multiclassing or being a magus which comes with a lot of extra mechanics that are unnecessary or unwanted. Still doesn't play like a psychic warrior.

Psion: A full caster concept. As I pointed out earlier a sorcerer or wizard can easily be refluffed as a psion. In many ways the sorcerer class is already set up for refluffing in such a way.

I dare you to make my witch.

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The last gurgles of a dying monster have had me a bit on edge the past couple of days. It causes the bigots to be more vocal which in turn make me want to be more violent. However, two wrongs do not make a right so peace will prevail and their bigotry will wither and rot and die off.

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Aranna wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Forcing them to play with mechanics they are disinterested in
Ahhh here is the REAL argument. Player A wants to use a certain set of mechanics... NOT fluff, NOT concept... mechanics.

Yes. Mechanics. We were talking. About. Mechanics. Remember all that "two systems" stuff? It didn't just jump out of no where. I pointed out, repeatedly, that the versatility of the psionics system has for creating a lot of different types of characters because of lack of forced fluff was a big deal.

This is a game and the mechanics of a game are fun. It's 100% of the reason we have things like the Swashbuckler, Magus, Alchemist, and so forth when literally all of those things could theoretically be made conceptually using core classes, but each of those classes play completely differently.

Be honest here. You knew we were talking about mechanics because you were talking about mechanics.

But when NOTHING engages your character, nothing challenges his field, or nothing rewards his field... then I say absolutely in my case this make the game LESS fun than simply using the system everyone else is using.

You're going to have to explain this line of reasoning. I frequently never include NPCs that are the same classes as my PCs, especially since I tend to stick to core for simplicity when building encounters and stuff (because NPC classes and bestiary monsters are my friends). Exactly how does someone playing a psionic-based character make them impossible to challenge or reward? Anything that challenges casters also challenges a psion. During my entire run with my "witch" (a psion) she got just as much out of magic items as anyone else in the party (she even crafted more magic items than anything else because she was the party's artisan). What sorts of junk did she want? Headband of Intellect, Muleback Cords, Cloak of Resistance, Amulet of Natural Armor, Quickrunner's Shirt, Ring of Feather Falling...stop me when this stuff starts sounding too psionic.

You can probably do almost exactly the same concept with either system, so this boils down to certain players feeling they can get an edge by using different mechanics than the rest.

No, it's not. Which implies that you actually do not know anything about psionics vs magic balance. In virtually all cases, magic is just strait up stronger. If I wanted to snap the game over my knee I'd play a wizard. That wasn't my bag. I enjoy playing psionic characters because I find them to be more fun than vancian casting even though I know that vancian spellcasting is the stronger of the two.

And no, you cannot do the same things. When I was playing in Reign of Winter, the concept that I had mixed elements of druids and witches. Specifically I wanted a character who was very witch-y that transformed into animals and later eldritch horrors, whose mentor's soul was bound to her in a magical ritual, who conjured phantom spirits with her dark witchy powers.

What I ended up with was a Psion (Egoist/Shaper). Right from the start I could assume alternative forms (but no where near the power of beast shape or even alter self) using minor metamorphosis and summon "phantom spirits" using astral construct and had lots of cool room to flavor up all my powers that I used. It was noted during the game that one of the best parts of Agatha (my "witch") was how freakishly awesome the descriptions of her magic were and how witch-y she was thematically.

I could have done none of this effectively with core casting and couldn't have actually begun to get the basics down until 3rd-5th level at the earliest which would have been most of the first book before the character started feeling like the character.

The fact that my "witch" (psion, again) partied with a barbarian, druid, bard, paladin, antipaladin, soul knife, and fighter over the course of that campaign and fit right along with all of them is the reason I love psionics. It just works.

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Aranna wrote:
What is the point in including Psionic characters if you are not going to be using psionic encounters/treasure/challenges?


Sure it can be done but everyone will have a much better time in this case if you have that psionic player instead take a spell based class and refluff it as psionics.

Someone who wants to play a Paladin wants to play a Paladin. Someone who wants to play a Psion wants to play a Psion. Forcing them to play with mechanics they are disinterested in is as foolish as forcing the Paladin to play a Barbarian because you aren't using Paladin NPCs.

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There's also the fact that the majority of differences between psionics and vancian magic are also the differences between SLAs and vancian magic.

  • They don't use components.
  • They aren't slot based.
  • They have effects that are similar to existing spells mechanically but are a little different.
  • You can affect them as spells with things like dispel magic, detect magic, arcane sight, etc.
  • They are both subject to effects based on spell level such as globe of invulnerability.

The biggest difference between the two is psionics has a standardized method for casting, doesn't freely get better with your caster level, and has standard mechanics for the things they do.

And again, psionics is better balanced. You can get lots of +caster level effects just like with vancian casting, except psionic characters do not get free-scaling powers, which means that a higher caster level doesn't mean stronger powers. It means they can pierce SR more easily and the range/durations of their powers gets better but they still have to pay for stronger spells. Vancian casters, however, just get stronger spells as a gimme when their caster level rises (so a cleric who gets +5 CL automatically heals an extra +50 HP when they cast heal, automatically controls stronger monsters when they cast gate, automatically deals more damage with flamestrike, automatically gets stronger options with create undead spells, automaticcally kills off stronger enemies with holy word, automatically...).

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Aranna wrote:

SLA's being the exception none of that is enough to call it a whole new system. And SLA's really aren't a comprehensive class based system... they are a sort of bolt on mechanic to explain some monster powers.

And yet they are also used as class features by a fairly large number of classes.

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Aranna wrote:
And yes Blakemane they are TWO systems. When you break down the spell slot system it matters very little which fluff you use arcane or divine. Much the same as there is little mechanical difference in a Telepath vs a Kineticist. And while spontaneous slots ARE a little different they in effect only break one little rule of slots and follow the system too closely to be considered something like a whole different system they are merely a variant of spell slots.

Well, except when it comes to things like arcane spell failure % (which doesn't even affect all arcane spells, requiring you to track which spells can and cannot be effectively cast in armor), preparation times based on classes (such as how clerics do not have to rest before preparing their spells), different rules for how spells interact with things like scrolls even when they appear cross-spell lists (requiring you to keep track of things like whether or not a scroll of greater magic weapon or resist energy is an arcane or divine scroll), then you have the entire category of "not spells" spell-like abilities which mimic the way spells work but aren't spells and have their own set of rules.

EDIT: SLAs likewise don't even use spell slots. They have a number of times you can use them based on a given time period. Some SLAs are usable at-will, others x/day, some x/week, some x/year, and could use entirely different cooldowns (binders in 3.5 for example had SLAs that were usable once every 5 rounds). They likewise ignore components, have different rules for handling them, and use entirely different feats to modify and/or improve them.

In essence, someone who bars psionics based on it being different from spell-slot magic is a hypocrite if they also use SLA mechanics in their games.

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The Alkenstarian wrote:

I'm not sure if my hard-line stance on this issue is the right one. I'm at least not sure if it's the right one for me. However, I just can't seem to bend my head around the idea of psionics in a fantasy setting without getting a headache and feeling like someone's trying to insert a large, round peg in a small, triangular hole.

So I'm going to throw the ball up in the air here, and ask what all of you have to add to the topic. I'm simply hoping for input that'll help jog my ongoing, mental gymnastics-routine on this issue. I'm not saying I'll change or I'll stay with how things are now. But I'm hoping to hear people's honest opinions, pro and con, when it comes to psionics.

Thank you.

A few things.

If you're interested in real-world traditions as a backdrop, there is functionally little difference between magic and psionics beyond methodology.

If you're interested purely based on past fantasy materials, psionics does a better job of representing a rawer or more primal form of magic and does a wonderful job of representing mana-based ideas of magic where characters have a finite resource of energy that is manipulated by their will and higher understanding, whereas D&D magic is more like loading a revolver with spell-bullets.

Psionics (the system) are gloriously refluffable because all the bells and whistles are not required by the system to be good. This means that you can make a psionic character and flavor them more or less however you please. I made a psion (egoist/shaper) who was functionally and flavorfully a mixture between a druid and a witch. By all world accounts she was using a sort of magic.

Because the psionics system is so refluffable, in my monk rewrite the monk uses psionics as the foundation for their system rather than ki-points (they serve the same function but psionics is more elegant).

Psionics are better balanced than core magic as well, with the ceiling being lower and the bottom being higher. It's harder to completely screw up a psion beyond hope (like you might with a sorcerer) but you also won't see psions doing things like gating in solars to be their b**** minions (which core clerics can totally do by the way).

Psionics, the system, is very much like sorcerers done right. Like most things in this game, with so little forced fluff you can take the mechanics and give them almost any flavor that you want.

There's also the fact that there's nothing wrong with mixing traditional fantasy with stuff that is often considered science fiction. Psi is often just a stand in for magic in sci-fi settings because they don't want to say magic for the same reasons you don't want to say psi. However, you can find examples of both all over the place and mixtures if you look around.

If you can stomach playing in Golarion with their space-elves, there's no valid reason not to include psionics.

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Tels wrote:
I really hate this dual identity bit as that used to be an aspect of roleplaying but they've given it mechancis and rules and now it's rollplaying instead. ಠ_ಠ

I want to take the time to say that this is the best use of Roleplay vs Rollplay I've ever seen and agree 103%. I pretty much have the same feelings that you, Aratrok, and Kryzbyn have on it.

It's a bad mechanic in a badly designed class that shows a fundamental misunderstanding both of the game's mechanics and standards based on level advancement. It is something that I would be embarrassed of as an amateur writer and ashamed of as a paid professional.

If that sounds harsh, maybe it's because I'm more critical of myself than other people are and I frequently evaluate things based on how proud or shamed I would be if I had a hand in its creation.

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Artemis Moonstar wrote:
... Does Pathfinder need more sexy man art?

Everything needs more sexy man art. That said, I strongly support an increase in sexy art overall. Because I like sexy. But it's no secret that the ratio of sexy man art vs sexy lady art is really slanted. I'm also inclined to think it's not a sexist thing either (as I've noticed that even among my peers who are sexually interested in hot mans, they are also super interested in sexy lady art, because sexy). Regardless of the reason, we need more dude-lovin' when it comes to expressing our love for sexy.

So in a roundabout way I'd say that we need to buff the man art, keep the lady art, get more sexy other art (aberrations and monstrous humanoids are sadly under represented, especially when compared to animals).

If I win the lottery, I'll commission a wall-sized poster of not one but three sexy men (a barbarian, brawler, and sorcerer) riding atop the back of a sexy lamia, as they do battle with a sexy golem, while dodging the dazing black tentacles brought about by the cultists of sexy-thulu. Art by Ganassa. I will then donate it to Paizo to be the inspiration for their next adventure path.

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What's in the box? wrote:

Mmmmmmmm... Calistria...

Mmmmmmmm... Sexy elf boys...
Mmmmmmmm... Stabbing...

One of these things seems like a good thing. Hmmm... :P

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xavier c wrote:
Are you excited for fallout 4?


Are you excited for mass effect andromeda?

I only recently started Mass Effect #1. ^.^"

What do you think of Matthew vines?


Why do you dislike Pharasma?

I dislike Pharasma's entire concept as an omniscient judge that knows everything before it happens just just casually waits to pass judgments. I also see her as highly hypocritical as she supposedly is anti-undead because it overcomes the inevitability of death and her judgment, yet you never hear about Pharasmites going around murdering wizards and druids and alchemists who can all live forever. I also see her as kind of a putz because Urgathoa was literally in the bone yard, Pharasma's domain, during the time when she was still supposedly an all seeing goddess of prophecy and stuff and yet Urgathoa just casually takes a different option. Either Pharasma is a colossal failure as a deity making her unworthy for her position or she is in fact to blame for everything that Urgathoa is and her persecution of undead and her followers is incredibly hypocritical and malevolent (because who really allows a thing to be created just so they can go kill it and still qualifies as anything but an insane monster?).

Logical problems aside, I also find her portfolio and followers to be boring and I really don't see why people would worship her. Her entire existence as a deity is sending people to other planes and when she's not killing whippoorwills and making people bleed under their fingers because she's a passive aggressive *****, she apparently is content to do a whole lot of nothing since she doesn't care what your morality is and doesn't care what you do to yourself or others or to the world and just sits around in a chair waiting to tell you where you're going after the fact. Since in her super-duper-impartiality (except when she's murdering small animals and passing out grave-dirt chewing gum) worshiping her doesn't get you any special perks in the afterlife and she likewise has nothing worth providing for actually living your life, I just feel like you should probably be able to count the number of her followers on the left hand of an accident-prone butcher.

What do you think of Calistria?

I think she's kind of odd. She strikes me as the patron god of mean girls. Overall I think she's kind of boring. I think there are far more interesting gods surrounding sex, and her inability to build a bridge and get over slights is more a mark of an immature child rather than someone you'd like to worship. I imagine the sacred brothels bring a lot of converts though.

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Tels wrote:
Got any tips for gaming over Skype? Last night my cousin wanted me to try Skyping into his game. I feel luck that I'm playing more of a support Witch than some sort of martial, because I very much so found myself not being as 'tactically' aware of the battlefield as I would be in person. Normally, I often step into the role of 'general' directing players around the battlefield or giving them advice. This time, I found myself having a harder time seeing the battlefield (especially trying to tell unpainted minis apart over a webcam).

Well, I've never combined tabletop + online gaming before in the same session, though I have used virtual tabletops in person (see below about that). I'm not sure how practical it is for your cousin but using a system like MapTools or Roll20 or something might help to include you as everything would be virtual allowing you a more acute view of the game.

If this game with my cousin continues, got any tips for running playing a neutral evil character interested in the study and manipulation of the energies of life and death? Eventually (after discussing a method with my GM/cousin) she'll be capturing the souls of her slain foes as soul gems (create soul gem a 3rd level witch spell) and then modifying the gem so she can tattoo the energy of the soul onto her body (sacrificing a feat for this).

Well that's an interesting ability. :o

It would be kind of interesting if you could use the soul gems to power something like animated objects (golems already do this in their lore). Alternatively, since the soul gems have value according to the soul chart, you could use them in the creation of magical items Elder Scrolls style. :)

I've played NE NPCs in the past, but since they were all on the short term, it was easy to play them off. But playing NE over a longer term will be more difficult, I think.

When I play evil characters, I try to think of them as people first and evil second. It helps a lot. :D

About Tabletop w/ Virtual Tabletops
A while back when I was running a tabletop, we made tokens of everyone's characters via tokentool and then I used the TV in my room (connected to my computer) to display MapTools to everyone, so the table was for all of our stuff (dice, food, beverages, etc) while all the tactical movement and such was handled on screen and I just moved them around as desired. At least two of the other players had laptops so they also just connected to the game with those maptops and would aid in moving stuff around.

It can be pretty cool and can save a lot of space. It's also pretty sweet for quickly switching between maps or dynamically increasing the size of a map (since maptools doesn't run out of paper space, the map just keeps getting bigger as RAM allows).

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What's in the box? wrote:

I am making a new character for our Final Fantasy campaign and one this I noticed as I was building her is that she gets LOTS of benefits from targeting flat footed enemies.

She already has an INSANE initiative score so going first is probably going to be her thing from the get go.
I don't have access to invisibility (sadly- or rather I HAVE access to it, but it is expensive and not my go to)

Do you guys know of any other way that we can deny dex to my enemies?

Pretty much all of the advice that Tels, Tacticslion, and TriOmegaZero gave is good stuff.

Since I'm also assuming you mean denied-Dex as opposed to completely flat-footed (which is something that is hard to cause more than once), I think this might be a great time to get some teamwork going, especially during the early levels.

When you are invisible to your foe, you not only deny them Dex to AC but you get a +2 bonus to hit them. Because of this, making your opponents unable to see you is a big deal and is one of the primary reasons to create situations where you can use your Stealth skill in combat (it also lets you make AoOs against withdrawing foes).

The spell blur grants you concealment for 10 rounds / level, so even at low levels, if you have you wizard buddy cast this on you, you can stealth around like the Predator with a stealth suite. Once you have concealment, Stealth is used as part of movement, so just attempt to hide every time you move at all. This makes your enemies retaliating difficult and it also makes it harder to defend against you. It might even be worth it for you to fund the wizard for some extra 2nd level pearls of power for this purpose (honestly, the whole party should consider funding their wizards and clerics for buffs that save them money, such as blur, greater magic weapon, magic vestment, resist energy, etc).

If you're stuck without a caster to blur you, at high levels you might seek a lesser cloak of displacement which gives 20% concealment 24/7. Alternatively, Hellcat Stealth is borderline broken for Stealth based characters (the skill focus prerequisite makes it only an effective -7 and later -4 penalty compared to raw ranks) and isn't a magical ability which makes it near impossible to counter via magical means other that hitting you with glitterdust. Meanwhile, an elixir of hiding grants a +10 bonus to Stealth for 1 hour, for only 250 gp. :)

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Jessica Price wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:


I thought kyonin was populated with elven supremacists myself. Not as bad as the Eldreth Veluuthra, but still.

Like I said above, there are certainly areas where people are prejudiced against various types of human/non-human marriages.

But to say the mechanics support such marriages while the setting doesn't is inaccurate. The default for Golarion (of which various areas may differ) is to not have an issue with it. (With the exception of some defaults-to-violent-enemies-of-humankind races, like orcs -- pretty much anywhere you go, most people are probably going to think you're a bit touched if you marry an orc. But as far as elves, etc. the default isn't to have any significant prejudice against such marriages.)

In all fairness, the orc is probably the weirder of the two in such a couple.

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Lilith wrote:
I'd like to think that Pharasma's view of destiny and fate is not tied into one's physical appearance in the slightest. I can see some Pharasmins taking that tact, though.

It's perhaps unfortunate that gods are often associated with the imperfections of their followers.

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LazarX wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Your past is an important part of who you are. Even when the past is hard or imperfect.
Especially when the past is hard or imperfect.

So very true.

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Celestial Healer wrote:
Crystal is getting some press. This article is awesome!

On an unrelated observation, Crystal is always so pretty in every picture I've ever seen her in. A lot of people would be envious of being half as photogenic. :)

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However, a classes' ability to leverage wealth into their advantage is in fact part of the class. For example, it is a massive point in the favor of paladins and rangers that they can casually use wands of staple healing spells that can be purchased in most settlements, and it is likewise a massive point in their favor that they can use pearls of power. What sort of gearing opportunities that you have is without a doubt a matter of class advantage.

A Paladin has the option of taking Item Creation feats to overcome the usual limits of what you can purchase, and also has the benefit of being able to have items like the holy avenger which is useless to other classes.

Similarly, being unable to successfully make use of gear is also a mark against the class. For example, having fewer proficiencies is a weakness because it means that your opportunities for gearing are poorer or require you to build against your weaknesses (someone with Heavy Armor proficiency needs less Dex to achieve a solid AC for example).

On the Subject of Item Availability

Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Yes - "If". As I've pointed out a couple of times now - just because an item exists doesn't inherently mean that someone is currently around who can make it. Magic items don't 'wear off' - so there's no reason that the +1 sword you just bought might not be a couple of thousand years old, made in an age when such magic users were common. Heck - it's not an uncommon trope - that's basically the fluff behind most magic items in The Lord of the Rings.
Aelriynth wrote:
What does 'check back in a week' mean? New stuff coming up for sale. People are MAKING STUFF.

Or it means there is trade going on. The old items are gone, new items are here. It doesn't add +XdY items to the pool, it shuffles the items around.

Again, the issue that throwing wads of dosh at crafters doesn't mean anything because there's no great incentive to craft higher level gear instead of lots of lower level gear. There is clearly a market for low level gear and they make the same profits regardless of how valuable the item is so unless you want to negotiate some sort of overpay, there's no incentive for making your +5 sword over 25 days as there is for making a few +2 swords which are easier and have the exact same value to the artisan.

In every case I've ever seen, commissioning items falls under the questing side of getting gear because it means you gotta get someone to want to help you with this. Someone who probably already has a mile long backlog of requests. Someone who probably needs some favors...

If you can find them at all.

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Tels wrote:

My initial exposure to the Forgotten Realms was via Neverwinter Nights. I spent 2 months staying with my best friend over the summer and I got to play his Neverwrinter game and I had a blast. Then, I went home and later that year, I found a book in my collection that mentioned Menzoberanzzen and Drow and I thought, "This is totally stealing from Neverwrinter Nights!"

So I read the book, and enjoyed it immensely and that's how I discovered who Drizzt was (the book was Homeland).

Homeland is the only book in the Drizzt line I've read but I read it in a single night without putting it down and loved it. :D

I like Golarion, as a setting and it's lore, though some things bug me. So it really is like nails on a chalkboard when someone criticizes the setting for a problem other settings they play in have as well.

It's pretty natural if they criticize those other settings for the same things though. I've heard a lot of people who are fans of and play in Faerun but criticize the archmage thing. :o


It's especially frustrating to criticize any sort of setting for having powerful players in the field who aren't solving the worlds problems.

Stop and look at most story settings in the world and you'll find they all have this exact issue. Every setting usually has some ultra powerful beings that are capable of solving the problems at hand... and yet don't. Especially if you're a fan of Anime. How many times has an anime had some "Master" who made his disciple solve his own problems? Even if those problems threaten the world or the lives of people around him, the Master doesn't step in and handle it.

I think it's mostly because at some point it becomes an issue of verisimilitude. It stops being very believable even in the context that it's being sold in. Harry Potter, for example, isn't beyond people noticing a lot of the logical flaws that pop up throughout the series. Especially by the fans of Harry Potter because they've read it enough to notice them. :)

Super Hero comic books are no better. I mentioned Superman before as a guy who has all the power in the world but never solves the worlds problems. But you've also got Thor, who is the protector of Earth and yet there's an awful lot of things going on that Thor never stops even if he's in the universe.

That's part of the reason that super powerful characters didn't usually appeal to me. I much preferred the sort that had a few super powers that gave them a way to do stuff but were still vulnerable to catching a cold and being late for class. :P

But they also tend to be very boring settings as well.

Well, you mentioned game of thrones and the walking dead and I must say I'm no expert on either (having only seen the first few episodes of each series) but they didn't seem particularly boring (especially game of thrones). I'm now a bit concerned as to what to expect when I do finally get around to watching deeper into the series.


If you want to play a hero or an adventurer in a setting with dragons and magic and spells and demons and wizards, you're just going to have to accept that the problems you face can't be solved by someone doing it for you. What makes your character the hero is that you saved the day, not because you sent up a red flare and Elminster came over and closed the portal to the 9 levels of Hell in your stead.

You don't get to be the hero without doing heroic things.

Yeah, but you need to have reasons to feel like you're being a hero other than just because you're playing a game. Still, in Reign of Winter, we'd all have much rather stayed in Irrisen and just whittled away her power structure and eventually stop her ourselves (much better than a goofy fetch quest mixed with going to get a bigger fish), but even going around and gathering allies to help aid against a super threat while fending off the queen's assassins and agents would have been pretty awesome.

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Aelryinth wrote:
Now, now, name calling and insults mean you've lost the argument.

I don't think that means what you think it means.


The rules assume you can go into a town and buy what you like up to the GP purchase limits.

The per-item limit is what is available NOW. That's why its there.

It's not an arbitrary limit saying you can't buy anything above that figure. That's not how it's defined. That's what the "CITY LIMIT" is. The only reason the city limit exists is to let people know that their custom +10 doohickey of wonder is not immediately available, they have to commission it, and even then they can only commission so much.

This is also the problem with Black Market Connections. Just because your wealth limit popped up a notch doesn't mean the item is available. When you look at Shifty Sam and say "I want a +1 Holy Axiomatic Thundering Merciful Guarding Defender Greyflame Returning Shortspear, give!" the DM is perfectly within his rights to say not only has nothing like that been stolen in the past 50 years (what, what do you think Black Market Connections actually means?), but probably nothing like that has ever been made, ever!

You might want to read the rules. GM fiat aside, if it falls below the GP limit, there is a 75% you can find what you're looking for in the community.

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting on a citation for your claim. It seems like, again, you are grasping at straws and describing a game that is not the one we're talking about.

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thejeff wrote:
It looks to me like OSRIC gives out more than AD&D did and even that, as Atatrok showed is roughly on par with PF.

Actually he showed that it's far higher than Pathfinder.

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So what you're saying is, follow the rules and you get lots of dosh. Do not follow the rules and you have the magic items are rare grindfest where you spend a few months playing to reach level 3 and get your +1 sword.

Just. Like. Today.

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And just for fun, there actually are rules for wizards wandering into a town and paying for other wizards to let them copy their spellbooks. There is nothing however for commissioning magic items, and if it were such a common certainty that was a standard part of the rules I'm pretty sure it would be in the core rulebook. It isn't.

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Aelryinth wrote:
Well, since you're already house-ruling that people won't make items for you, it's hardly a stretch to house rule that specific magic item X isn't available, despite the purchase limit being so high. There simply aren't any...if there were, you could sure buy it!

Citation needed. There is no rule that says people will. This is something that falls under category of story questing and such. If you want to go try to find someone willing that's fine, but there is no way of counting on that unless it's just the fiat of your GM. There is no house ruling that away because it wasn't there to begin with.

You keep basing your argument on a lie. Some of us are just calling you on it.

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