The metamagic feat dazing spell. Applied to a damage over time spell like acid arrow, it forces saves over multiple rounds, any fail applying a multi-round daze, with saves refreshing the daze still ongoing, making a stun-lock equivelent effect. It can likewise be used on AoE spells to render groups of things impotent. While it doesn't kill things outright, it renders them so ineffectual for so long, it amounts to the same thing. It uses a higher level spell slot, but, considering all the means out there to change energy types otherwise manipulate spells, only a very few corner case encoutners can be challenging where it's available.
Patrick Renie wrote:
Another workaround to this, which doesn't make it full leadership for 3rd level, is to build the squire as a 1st level NPC class aristocrat or warrior, who then is rebuilt as a heroic class when the PC is 4th level.
Since NPC classes count at one power level less than PC classes(CR), that sorts out the math, and the transformation after getting some experience with the PC supports the concept of the squire being a knight in training.
Great FAQs No need for suggesting no AoO for reaching into a threatened square is unrealistic since it goes with the theory behind no AoO with cover. In one case a portion is blocked by cover so opportunity is limited, in the other opportunity is limited as most of the target is simply out of reach.
This all assumes that the game will let players build buildings, shops, and other content, maybe not as wide open as minecraft, but something like that
On the favoritism issue, the quests could be seeded around the world like other kind of quests are.
Maybe an avatar of a Golarion god appears at some obscure location, and gives the quest to the first inidivdual who happens upon it who meets some basic criteria, and then vanishes, Burning Bush style. So the quests are like an easter eggs, and they respawn periodically until the quest it fulfilled
- for example a low level quest could be to just build a shop, or something small like that, which is open to any character that finds the quest and has the power and resources to be able to do it. A high level quest could be to build a city, or a dungeon, and requires a guild head of a certain size guild to unlock it. A guild member might find the avatar-questgiver, contact their guild to get an officer out there to unlock and accept it, first come first serve. If they can't complete the quest in a given time, the quest respawns and that guild is locked out so some other guild can get a shot at it.
This way goblinworks can have a throttle on the game to guide what player content is built.
All they have to do is seed some quest givers around, provide a proper in-game incentive, and then sit back and watch the players do the rest. The game needs a market over here, drop a quest giver. The game could use a dungeon over there, drop a quest giver. Can work in reverse also - too much abandoned building clutter, drop the Green Way quest giver tasking players to demolish this or that and replace it with trees and such.
You can even take it a step further and use this as a means to guide PvP. For example if they gave a guild a periodic reward for keeping some item at a given location (like the temple they're quested to build in the bottom of the dungeon they're quested to build), and have the item be attractive to other players to get (could be a powerful piece of gear, for example) you can thereby set up a capture the flag kind of dynamic that's an analog to the McGuffin in the Dungeon adventure, but built and defended by players for players.
Not sure if this is an old idea or not -
Other sandbox games I've tried, the developer makes the sandbox but then pretty much leaves the players do the rest - hoping they build interesting & needed content, but not doing anything directly to make it happen - so taking the risk that they wont. Theme park games, total opposite, the devloper hires designers to build the content, giving them control to have professional quality content in their game, but at signifigant cost, and the players aren't involved.
The idea here is hybred the two approaches - Developer 'hires' players, via quest rewards, to create specific content.
Example: Developer contacts a guild and tasks them with building a city, specifying the location, structures, and facilities it should have. If they can do it within an allotted timeframe they get an in-game reward. Another example: Developer tasks a guild to build a quest, specifying that it has to involve a dungeon of given specifications, travel to several given locations, and other elements. If they do it, the guild gets and in-game reward.
In the flavor of the game, the developer could interact with the players in the guise of being the gods of Golerion. So, a guild leader might get a message from Gorum "Gorum wishes you to build a city and temple in his honor, [list of requirements], if you can raise it by december first, you will be granted 10 swords of power and an army of oursiders to defend it [or other appropriate in-game reward]"
The advantage for the developer is they can essentially hire design staff for free, granting them flexibilty to take an active hand in making the world more interesting and functional for the players, while giving players incentives to build content rather than focus on PvP.
Quantum Steve wrote:
yea, that's why I think the operative text is actually the "or otherwise at their mercy" text, not a bright line test - so it's a GM's call on a case by case basis when it applies.
The core book discuses how divine casters invent and research new spells just like wizards,
magic/divine spells wrote:
Independent Research: A divine spellcaster can also research a spell independently, much as an arcane spellcaster can. Only the creator of such a spell can prepare and cast it, unless she decides to share it with others.
....so I don't assume new stuff is automatically avalable, just because divine casters pray for spells rather than have a spellbook. Instead, core book spells are "The Cannon" which everyone can get, while stuff from supplements may be available, maybe not, and maybe only by research, or by finding it in an adventure.
I don't know any reason why it shouldn't work the same for wizards, either - "all" cantrips means all core rulebook cantrips, i.e. All the common cantrips eveyrone knows - not necessarily every cantrip ever invented ever..
Seems to me the biggest distinction is that the undead creation are spells that use the body as a material compenent to make a monster (as opposed to reincarnation, which returns a PC to life in another body).
The undead thing might have some memory of it's past life as flavor, but mechanically it's a NPC, not a PC anymore at all.
(unless the GM decides to let the player run it as a monster PC, and if so, should apply all those rules and guidelines, just like if the player wanted to play a Naga or something)
Taking a step back to talk RAI for a minute - seems the point of coup is more a mechanic to allow quickly finishing off a creature where death is already a forgone conclusion (while still giving some chance to survive, for example if used on a PC). It's not meant to be combined with combat manuvers to create a melee death effect spell substitute to allow taking out a capable standing opponent fast at no cost.
Way I see it:
1) For the kind of action it is, I go with snobi - all this stuff is ported from 3.5 and where there's a hole it's often from cutting some text that maybe shouldn't have been cut. 3.5 has it "A Bluff check made to feint in combat or create a diversion to hide is a standard action." General rule is also default is standard action if you don't know, so that seems like enought support to say the bluff check is a standard action
2) Bluff is opposed by sense motive, so opposed roll.
3) The purpose of the Bluff is to cancel a factor preventing use of stealth - being under observation. So, if the bluff works, then you just remove 'being under observation' from the equasion for your next action, swapped out for a -10 penalty on Stealth.
4) Here is where I disagree with some people - Penalties stack, and while it says 'move fast', I don't read that as a requirement to change locations. I don't agree that an observer who falls for "What in the world could that be!?" would necessarily know the stealther was in that same square. The whole idea of stealth is to use cover or concealment on hand to be unobserved. When the guy turns his attention back to the stealther's square, and does't see him because he's hiding in the bush or darkness in that square, he could just as easly conclude he's left the square as guess he's still there but hiding (you see that in movies all the time).
5) So, I read the penalty as just another -10 laid on top of whatever else might factor into the stealth check. So if the stealther can hide where he is, it's -10 to the check and done (using a move action, similar to how sniping works). If he has to change locations, but can get there at half speed, then also -10 and done. BUT if he has to do a full move to get to cover or concealment, then the -5 penalty for moving full speed stacks on the -10 for -15 to the check.
Stubs McKenzie wrote:
By the RAW wording, pinned should = helpless (there is a thread floating around about that statement :P) ... the helpless condition requires a few specific states to be considered so, and bound is one of them... the pinned condition, is characterized as being tightly bound. If they didn't intend it to be that way, it was a pretty big oversight.
This is true and it's the problem with the "if it doesn't say it, it doesn't mean it" line of analysis which argues that because pinned doesn't say 'helpless', that's the end of it.
Since, by that reasoning, being hogtied doesn't make you helpless either, since no place in the rules does it say that, either. Same thing with the people adding in a qualification that if the bound person can't make the check to escape, they're helpless - rules don't say that.
All of that is from extrapolation of the meaning of descriptive language in the definition of 'helpless', no different than the argument that helpless = bound, pinned = tightly bound, therefore pinned = helpless.
In fact - the only place being tied-up is discussed defines it as a kind of pin - with the only difference being how the DC is determined.
There also is not FAQ clarification of this. There may have been some opinions from Paizo people on the boards, but it has not been FAQ'ed. That's not because it's obvious from the plain language of the text, because the plain language is ambiguous.
My take on all this is it comes down to this line in the definition of helpless:
"or otherwise completely at an opponent's mercy"
Which is to say, it's a DM's call on a case-by-case basis, and there's no mechanical bright line test. If the DM judges that the target is "completely at the opponent's mercy" then coup de gras is an option.
By that, I'd judge that not having the ability to break pin (whether the pin is from being hog-tied by a rope *or* by being restrained to the same degree manually or magically) would be a good rule of thumb to determine helplessness.
[couterpoints to the three examples]
Trouble with those counterpoints is they each presume different things. In 1 you assume the game's conceit that creatures have 360 awareness (don't have facing, can instantly react to things), but then drop it to get to a different result in C. Apples to apples, you or I might get hit with the baseball rather than insitincivly duck (we might also fail to notice the rogue run by, or not realise what that noise was until after the spell was cast), but that's because our rection time (our dex bonus) is crap and we got hit, not because we were unaware of the attack until after it occured so couldn't employ our reflexes at all.
Point is, same way the rogue can't take his hideness with him until after his move action's resolved, he can't do the same to get around the rule that he can't use stealth "while" attacking.
I agree with that. I don't know if it would make sneak attack too powerful to just take out the line "It's impossible to use Stealth while attacking" and replace it with something like the language in Bluff "You can use stealth to make a sneak attack under such and such conditions". They currently use flanking to serve that function, which could be why they wrote stealth to exclude it's use in attacks. Problem with flanking is you always need a flanker. What about the lone stealth assassin? Might be better if they buffed up stealth to what it should be, and got rid of the flanking option.
Hayato Ken wrote:
I agree it's commonly played like that, but that's not what the rules say (which is why Paizo toyed with the idea of changing the rules to make it play like a status condition, but they so far haven't)
See the above, and see the text of the skill - the rules actually don't make it a status condition like invisibility, and don't say it lasts until the end of your next action. Cover or concealment are requirements to make the roll in the first place, and the roll is made along with an action - usually a move action, never an attack action. Also, notice how, unlike skills like bluff, no place in stealth does it say the skill's purpose is to deny your target a dex bonus or render them flat footed, nor does it define a status condition. The rules on surprise echo this.
Then there's the explicit rule "It's impossible to use Stealth while attacking". (not 'you lose stealth after you attack')
As written, Stealth is defensive - a means to avoid being targeted - not offensive. Not a means to gain dex denial.
james maissen wrote:
Actually I think the question should be what's your rules reference for considering it a status condition. Stealth isn't listed in the list of status conditions, and it's not described elsewhere in the rules as that. It not currently being status condition was even cited in the playtest for revised stealth rules which included a new status condition called 'hidden' - in response to players playing stealth as though it was one, but isn't one by RAW.
There's also maybe a couple more possibilites:
3) Some skills presume you are always or ususally using them under some kind of stress, so they and their related feats don't specify when you can't take 10 normally, since it's natually unusual that you would be able to. For example, Childlike's bluff also long as you appear innnocent. Odds are there's a threat of some danger if the bluff fails any time this comes up, because that's why you'd be doing it. If so, they should say that.
and maybe a
4) If you're not supposed to know what you rolled, you can't take 10 (wondering about this one myself...)
That's not the problem. Consider these examples:
1) Fin leaves hiding and moves though Bob's threat range. Bob gets an AOO on Fin despite the fact that Fin was hidden a moment before, because Bob can react to the move. Fin's hiding doesn't travel with him until the end of his action.
2) Fin announces his presence by casting a defensive spell adjacent to Bob. Bob gets an AOO on Fin despite Bob being unaware of Fin a moment before because Bob can react to the casting. Fin doesn't stay hidden until after his action.
3) Fin attacks Bob. The same rules apply. Bob can react to the attack just as he could to the move or the casting. Since Bob can react, he gets his dex bonus.
See above post. That anaylsis breaks down during the attack action. Since stealth isn't a status condition like invisibilty and doesn't carry over from prior to subsiquent actions, and because you can't use stealth with an attack, in the resolution of an attack action, stealth is off the table. The Skill is unavailable for that action to help create or maintain that necessary unawareness.
You're right that stealth does indirectly help you get a sneak attack, but only by helping you attack before they've acted:
unaware combatants wrote:
Unaware combatants are flat-footed because they have not acted yet, so they lose any Dexterity bonus to AC.
Now understand, I agree how counter-intiative all that sounds, and it's only because of this discussion that I understand it all now myself, but looks like that is the way the rule's actually written. Seems the rules really don't want Steath Skill as a means to enable sneak attacks after the first round. Invisibility, yes, blindness, yes, stealth, not so much.
james maissen wrote:
Not as stealth is currently written. Stealth isn't a status condition like invisibility, which breaks after the resolution of an action which would break it. They toyed with the idea of making it a 'hidden' status condition, but haven't yet. Currently, stealth is still only the ability to decrease the liklyhood of an action being noticed. For example, moving unnoticed under cover of darkenss through threatened squares so avoiding attacks of opportunity. However, it's specifically not available for attacks (or running or charging).
If it were written as people assume it should be with respect to attacks, then you could likewise move from hiding and remain unnoticed until after the action was complete, moving through threatend squares without provoking attacks of opportunity without cover/concealment or having to make a new check at all.
It doesn't work that way for moves, likewise doesn't for attacks.
Hayato Ken wrote:
Point is you do it at the beginning of the action to cover the action, not after the action is resolved. Nothing in the rules say it's different for attack actions, so you don't get the benefit of last action's steath check to cover the an attack.
You can't roll steath to during an attack, and you don't get the benefit of steath from last action for the attack, so no stealth when you attack. SO, target isn't unaware due to stealth,
so no sneak attacks from stealth.
james maissen wrote:
Actually it's the opposite. See, if stealth carried over from the prior action to cover attacks, it would likewise carry over for a '5 step or move action. But it doesn't. The way the skill is written, stealth is rolled to cover the action it's used with, not after the action is resolved, and doesn't carry over from action to action. Each move action requires it's own stealth check to see if that action has the benefits it.
There is no exception for attack actions that they work differently in this regard, other than a specific exception that says the exact opposite - that stealth can't be used during an attack at all.
So, there's no sneak attacks from stealth (only from having not yet acted at the begining of combat, which stealth can help you get)
That goes contrary to common sense, so people (including me!) play it otherwise and try to read the rule to fit what it maybe *should* say, but that's actually what the rule says.
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
I think the idea is that cover totally obscures part of your body, while concealment partially obscures all of your body. Compare a guy peaking out from behind a rock with a shadowy figure in the fog.
I agree someone peeking out over a sheet of glass would have neither cover nor concealment with regard to hiding.
Hayato Ken wrote:
Didnt say something else. You are right about this.
But then you see, that means the rogue actually can't get the sneak attack.
Because to get the sneak attack from the sorcerer being unaware due to stealth, he would have to be able to use stealth with his attack. However, he can't use stealth during his attack.
Same way the roll from the prior move wouldn't carry over to a subsiquent move, the prior roll doesn't carry over his attack. Same way he'd have to roll stealth again to cover a new move action, he would have to roll stealth again to cover his attack. But he can't.
The sorcerer can react to his attack no different then any attack from anyone else. So, he gets his dex bonus for the rogue's attack action same as he would for anyone else, despite the fact that he was unaware of the rogue during the rogues last move action.
That means (after the surprise round) stealth skill is irrelevant to getting sneak attacks.
Hayato Ken wrote:
This bit is the important part though. By raw the rogue is NOT in stealth during the attack action, because per the rules on stealth:
stealth skill wrote:
It's impossible to use Stealth while attacking
While you can use stealth during a move, so if the rogue wanted to move out of a sorcerer's threatened square, he could make a stealth check to remain unnoticed, and avoid the AOO, BUT he can't gain the benefit of a stealth check while he attacks because you can't use stealth while attacking.
The point's relevant because that line in the stealth rules makes a lot of the other discussion moot.
This thought experiment might help:
Rogue wants to sneak through the shadows past a guard in the middle of a combat (so nobody is flat footed from not having acted yet).
In his previous action he moved nearby the guard, using the concealment of dim light to use stealth along with his move. Now his next action. It's a new move so requires a new check (This is key - He doesn't carry over the roll from last time to also cover his upcoming action, he makes a new check along with his new action). His new check is a botch. So the guard notices him and reacts, getting an attact of opportunity as the rogue passes.
Now just swap out the second move for an attack. Rather than a botch, he's now prevented from making a stealth check at all, because you can't make a stealth check with an attack action.
In exactly the same way the guard could react to the move action with a botched check, the guard can react to the attack action which no check.
The difference is this: Invis is broken as a result of a completed action (you haven't attacked until you have done so), Stealth is something you do concurrent with another action:
Action: Usually none. Normally, you make a Stealth check as part of movement. However, using Stealth immediately after a ranged attack (see Sniping, above) is a move action.
So you move and do the opposed check to see if you're noticed due to the movement, which stealth modifies. You can't do that with an attack ("It's impossible to use Stealth while attacking, running, or charging"). This is why the caveat with sniping - you can't use stealth during the bow attack, so you use it immediatly after.
Yea, they've toyed with the idea of making stealth give you an "hidden' status, kind of like invisibility, but they didn't do thay yet. Right now it's just a way to get a mod to the DC of you being noticed when you do something, but not while you attack.
In my mind, logically, "re-stealthing" should create the potential for "re-surprise attacking".
Yea, I agree. I think it's bad design to only have the possibility of surprise in the surprise round at the start of combat. I agree the right fix is for surprise to be possible in the middle of a fight too, with stealth as one of the means to accomplish it.
I agree, and personally I want a mechanic for surprise rounds *after* the begining of combat - since that's also needed for situations where new combatants enter an existing combat. Doesn't have to be a stealther; what if it's just some guards turning the corner unexpectedly? Seems both sides could be surprised by that, but the rules don't cover it. If it did, that could be two birds with one stone.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
I agree with what you said above, but @Setzer is also right by RAW. Check it:
combat: Unaware opponents wrote:
By RAW, you get the advantage because they're still flat footed, not because they are unaware of you, per se.
So yea, you make your one standard action and either use the short charge option allowed in the surprise round to close and get your sneak attack, or get them ranged if you're within 30 feet. If you moved up, and win initiative, you can then take you full round of sneak attacks, since they still haven't acted, but there's no guarantee.
Seems that's also the intent, since all this is also the only interpretation that does seem to explain everything stated in the rules without there being a contradiction. YOU can stealth, your attack can't. So, for example, sniping isn't about rendering your target dexless for future attacks, it's merely to remain untargettable yourself. They can see/hear the arrow flying toward them and duck or raise a shield, even if they have no idea who or what is shooting them or from where. You can dart up from behind and backstab as an initial attack, but after that, when they're now on guard for incoming attacks, they'll see/hear/sense the blow and can react before it lands, even if they weren't aware of you a moment before.
I think another manybe more actually applicable bit of pendantry is about "if the target can react" -
1) react to what, the steather or the attack?
2) The thing they want to react to is the attack
3) You can't stealth while attacking (see stealth skill)
Therefore 4) While stealth may allow *you* to be unobserved, it does't allow *your attack* to be unobserved - the second you attack, the jig is up. Stealth state is irrelevant to the incoming blow, or the incoming missile, which is they can react to just as they could if no steath was involved.
Therefore 5) No sneak attack after the surprise round
C.F. Invisibility - where the attack itself is invisible, unlike stealth, where by RAW, the *attack* cannot gain the benefit of stealth.
I really just don't understand how this was not obvious?
Common sense, sure, RAW not so much. There's lots of language that muddies the waters. Stuff like this:
combat;unaware combatants wrote:
Unaware combatants are flat-footed because they have not acted yet, so they lose any Dexterity bonus to AC.
This I believe is the only rule that specifically says what being an unaware combatant means, and says you lose your dex bonus for being unaware *because* you haven't acted yet, so are flat footed.
That implies that being unaware is more about not yet being on guard for a fight - not about simply not realizing there's a rogue in the darkness lining up a shot. As in the difference is whether you're 'on your toes' bobbling and weaving to present a moving target, as opposed to 'flat footed' standing relatively still, allowing one to line up a shot at a vital area.
Of course, this contradicts the concept behind the dex denial due to invisibility, but that at least is an explicit exception, some feats and the feint maneuver also explicitly render an opponent flat-footed.
Stealth, however, doesn't make this explicit statement. The OP makes a good argument that it implicitly does - but that could also just be referring to the combat rule, meaning it only comes into play in the context of the surprise round at the beginning of combat, not later on. The fact that surprise simply doesn't happen after the beginning of combat (or at least the the combat rules don't address it at all, and only speak of surprise at the start of combat) is a big crux of the problem, since when you're taking about stealth later on, you are talking about surprise attacks after combat is in progress.
... basically the rules are a bit of a mess on this issue, which is why there's always a million posts whenever it comes up.
Heck, if we want to get technical, the RAW is specific “It's impossible to use Stealth while attacking, running, or charging.”
Yea it's kind of a mess, because it then states you can snipe just a paragraph down from that.
All of what the OP talks about is fine in the context of the surprise round, though. Order of combat 1) roll init 2) check who notices whom. Stealth affects that determination. If the steather is unnoticed and noticed the target, they get a surprise round, with the target flat footed. Period. Easy peezy done. As long as they can cover the distance to target, they can use their special surprise round application of charge to just run right up there as a standard action and sneak attack. If they won initiative, then get the full round attack follow up of all sneak attacks, because the target hasn't acted yet.
The real issue is what happens after the surprise round, when the stealther tries to make the now observant target *again* unaware of them (either through sniping, or a bluff check, or whatever other means the DM may allow). There are no rules for a mid-combat surprise round, or being caught flat footed by being unaware, outside the context of the begining of combat.
It is ok. I don't mind the sniper discussion.
Seems to me the real problem isn't whether an unaware target is a sitting duck (no dex bonus), allowing a vital spot to be targetted (sneak attack).
The problem is more that the combat rules only imagine being unaware as happening in the beginning of the combat, during the surprise round. There's no rules for becoming unaware after that. And the rules that are there, further confuse things by tying things to whether something "has acted yet".
The closest thing they give is imply ... something... in the sniping application of the stealth skill, and the bluff skill option to allow a stealth check after becoming observed. But the rules don't tell you exactly what you get for it - it specifically fails to say you get a do-over of the surprise round or your enemies remain flat footed to you despite having acted in the round. Niether does it say you get to be treated as per invisible ....because you're not. Invisibility is it's own state, limited to only not being seen (as opposed to not heard or smelled or detected with other senses) - it gives you sme advantages you'd think you'd have if you were unnoticed, but does not make you unnoticed, rather it gives you a bonus to use stealth to be unnoticed (which is not the same thing).
What I'm saying is, the problem isn't whether an unnoticed attacker can sneak attack a target, and it's not about whether stealth can help you be unnoticed by your target so they can be caught unaware. The problem isn't even with the stealth rules, per se, at all....
The real problem is with the combat rules, that there are no clear rules for unawareness *after* the surprise round.
Here's a couple of relatvily cheap countermeasures:
1) Lead lining behind the masonry. It's primary purpose would be to prevent scrying and seal against water (same way medieval builders would use lead sheeting as roofing material), but it also stops earth glide.
2) Tunneling is a historic problem with fortifications - Sappers would burrow under castle walls, same with busting down doors. Best any wall can do is slow an enemy down in time for defenders to respond. So, make sure there's defenders who can respond, as others have suggested.
The idea being they lose the biggest advantage to tunneling - avoiding encoutners. Make it so if they mess with the walls, rather than avoid encoutners, they bleed them together, and/or get additional ones.
I haven't tried this yet myself, but you could try a Summon Monster Trap; touch trigger set to go off if anyone messes with the lead barrier, automatic reset. Set the summon monster as a Higher CR than common for encouters you want them to face. So, every time they mess with a wall, they fight a tough monster. They can't stone shape through the lead barrier, and if they lay into it with an adamantine axe, yea they cut it like butter, but they summon a giant elemental that spawns right on top of them too.
It's a good question - I know the whole idea was to give a penalty equivelent to losing levels, but without all the character rebulding that would have to go into actually losing levels.
I think you're right, the idea is she'd not be able to cast her 3rd level spells, but wouldn't lose them either - such that if she got a restoration immediatly, she could cast them again immediatly, she wouldn't have to rest to refresh the slots.
Likewise the other stuff would go down.
For ranged weapons the penalty for firing into melee would apply, but just like you can do that without a chance to hit an ally, same for two grapplers. They're each even easier to hit because of the grappled condition.
Totally missed it.
So easy to run right to figuing out some high level spell/magic overblown solution, and miss the obvious mundain solution right there, even when smart people like you post it!
I love the flavor on that too, gives an explanation for a wizard's tower, they they want a high observatory to have the best chance to scry without a lead lined wall getting in the way. Or druid's outdoor garden scrying pool in natural surroundings, maybe up on a mountain, same thing.
You know what? Missing the most obvious and cheap non-magical solution - Lead. Blocks all scrying.
It would come across as a GM nerf, but lead *was* used historically for everything from pipes (plumer = latin for lead) to roofing. It's dirt cheap (a by-product of silver mining, even) and easy to work with, so much that it's believable that even orcs would use the stuff to prevent water penetration, never mind spying scrying sensors.
You can just decide that stone buildings and dungeon mansonry is often sheathed with a layer of lead sheeting same as modern buildings use insulation and tar paper, and any fortified structure would incorporate it specificially to protect from scrying.
So, it's really only ever likly to scry people outdoors, or maybe in a room with large windows facing the right direction. That effectivly protects anything in a castle or dungeon.
You might find the right balance by thinking though the assumptions. The boss fight is balanced assuming the PC did the rest of the adventure encounter after encoutner. You can let the players know that metagame balace doesn't hold when they're trying to scry & fry. The Boss moves around and people come and go. Since they can't see beyond 10' of the target they really have no way of knowing what they'll port into. Even if he's asleep, they can't assume his guards are a balanced encounter for them. Just tell them, if they want to port in blind, that you'll make a random roll of how many of the other encoutners will be automatically bled into that final boss fight. Might be none, might be several, maybe some will only be nearby and not be warned or arrive in time, maybe multiple encoutners will be all bled together all right there armed and ready, and if that means the encounter's unbeatable and they're porting into certain death, then that's the risk their running to finish the adventure in a decapitation strike rather than a conventional fight. Let them decide - then roll the dice.
The Elusive Jackalope wrote:
This defense is predicated on spells with the "teleportation" descriptor rearranging the position of your body as well as transporting it to a different point in space which it doesn't say it does and with spells we generally have to assume the unless a spell states that it does something, it doesn't. A ogre standing normally should be able to fit into a space of half its size, but wouldn't fit into a space smaller than that without some awkward positioning of his limbs and some constriction.
Ok I see! - Confusion was, I'd consider it a matter of chance if the oger happened to be occupying a smaller space than his normal size - could be he's maybe he's all curled up about to lunge, but even standing with arms to his sides he's already taller than a square, and if he has his arms extended in an en garde position he's be filling at lease some of his whole space with some of his body. So when you were talking about half space, that'd already imply the magic might put the oger in an appropriate position in the desination area. So I thought that's want you had in mind. There's an argument for this - Same way teleportation spells like dimension door shunt the whole body to an available space, the magic could push an extended limb in so it doesn't appear in the nearby wall.
But I like the displacement resolution better, though! It's even easier since then you realy should have the cage be the creatures size, and not fiddle with squeezing at all. Just shunt the creature if the cage is smaller, per dimention door, and the general rule on accidentally ending up in an illegal space.
Just to clarify, the spell (Baleful Transposition) is in the 3.5 Miniature Handbook. I think having the creature arrive at the nearest space makes a lot of sense. The spell would have to be more powerful to be able to force a creature into a space smaller than it would normally occupy.
Enlarge person is a 1st level spell meant to be used in just that way. You could just port that rule to this case, since it's pretty analiogus, and on point:
enlarge person wrote:
If insufficient room is available for the desired growth, the creature attains the maximum possible size and may make a Strength check (using its increased Strength) to burst any enclosures in the process. If it fails, it is constrained without harm by the materials enclosing it—the spell cannot be used to crush a creature by increasing its size.
So, if he can physically fit at all, give the troll his stength check to burst the cage. I'd just dissallow the spell, though.
The Elusive Jackalope wrote:
Under the squeezing rules it says that if you try to fit into a space that is smaller than half your size you must make a DC 30 Escape Artist check for fitting into a tight space, if I'm not mistaken. Your space is how large of a space you need to fight effectively (without penalty). However smaller than half of that an you have an extremely hard time even fitting, hence the check. While I'm all for best judgement there does seem to be an indication that the room that your character actually takes up is roughly half of your space needed to fight.
That point actually proves mine, there. If the space you actually take up was half your size, you couldn't have the option of squeezing smaller at all, as you'd have reached your limit. You get a check to fit a smaller space because you can fit a smaller space. The check itself is also about voluntary movement and not getting stuck. That's limited by flexibility and skill. That's different than getting involuntarily crammed in to a box. That's just limited by physical volume. For worming though an opening using escape artist, that's limited by the size of your skull. Escape artist doesn't say what the limit is for a whole body crammed in a small space. You just have to eyeball it.
Also, while it's true Pathfinder is meant to be compatable with 3.5, there's a lot of not very balanced or well written stuff in 3.5 that's not good to try to port to Pathfinder. Pathfinder is it's own game, and 3.5 stuff should be considered equivelent to 3rd party Pathfinder compatable stuff. Not official, use at your own risk.
What do the players want? Some players just want to kill things and don't like a challenge. Some players like the perception of a challenge, but don't really want a real risk of loss. Some players like the thrill of true risk. I tend to lump A&B together, and push them with a little C, but you also have to read your table and give the people what they want.
A creature's space is the space they need to fight effectively, not the actual space they take up. Squeeze rules, same thing - it's the space they can still fight at a penalty, not the space they physically occupy (unless it's a specific exception, like they mention, a gelatinous cube for example). Smaller than that, it'd be like you'd think - the thing is so constrained that it's more like they're bound up. In this case, you got to read the height and weight info they give in the monster description and just make a best judgment if they can actually fit in the cage or not.
That doesn't really impact your problem though, since the guy can just get a number of cages of whatever appropriate size you end up saying it is. Isn't Baleful Transposition some 3.5 thing from the miniatures handbook or something? Is it even in Pathfinder? (If not, I think you just found out why) I also read the 3.5 spell you need to be connected by something and have other restrictions.
That all sounds great on the non-combat side. On the combat side of things, consider giving them an overpowered foe - say a total of CR5 or 6 or more over APL, counting minions. BUT, tell them that beforehand, give them the stat blocks for the minions and give them *half* the stat block for the Boss. Give them a deadline with a time frame long enough to let them craft or buy specific items, but not long enough to level up.
Then leave it to them to figure it out.
Since they're experience players, they'll know that such a high CR is unbeatable with the standard buff & rush approach, but at such high level they'll have the resources to
A) Divinate & Research to find out the information in the second half of boss's the statblock.
B) Scry and divinate to find out the terrain of the encoutner area
C) Develop an approach tailored to that specific encoutner to make it beatable, by negating the Boss's resistantces and advantages, while creating weaknesses and exploiting weakensses.
They may balk at first, being so used to buff&rush, but I think if you stand firm and press them, they'll start putting their heads together, start getting engaged in the problem soving aspect of it, and in the end be really proud of themselves when they put it all together and beat an encoutner that's supposed to be unbeatable.
I wrote this up for a player's guide in a previous campaign, which I wrote in the format of a fragment of a tome on the subject, which their characters got in the beginning of the campaign - Hope you like it:
On the Source of Magic wrote:
Have you tried multiple waves within a given encoutner, as opposed to multiple successive encoutners?
It's all one fight, but fought in stages, mitigating their AOE by separating the enemy by time rather than by area distance. Likewise denying them the action economy of healing during breaks between encoutners, and adding to the complexity of the spell economy problem for the more advanced players, while at the same time giving more of a role to the less dominent players. If they use their spell tricks, they'll not have them for second wave of which appears on the 3rd round, or the 3rd which appears on the 5th. If they hold back, the other PCs have the spotlight while they do.
People have suggested more mooks/minions. Imagine a rush of goblins, for example. That appears to be the whole encounter, until the barghest sends in the next wave - specifically trying to draw out their most powerful spells before having to reveal himself. Outdoors and unintelligent opponents, this can be the young preditors attacking before the old Alpha emerges.
After a few of these, the PCs should start to question every encounter, and should start holding back 'the big guns' even when it's not actually necessary, relying on the other PCs to shoulder the burden, thereby giving them the spotlight.
For the RP issues. Have you considered forcing the party to separate? Have time issues that demand two RP challenges be handeled at once. The Oracle can handle his with no trouble, do that first, leaving the spotlight with the rogue while he accomplishes his.
If you already have a party of 6 I wouldn't take leadership at all.
It'd unbalance things too much, which itself can lead to the NPCs dying a lot - to rebalance the GM has to up the CR value of encounters, putting the lower level NPCs even farther behind the curve, and/or GM will go after them as monster bait being the soft target of the over powered group.
I wouldn't take leadership, or even have a pet, unless you needed it to bring the party up to 5 individuals total, 6 max.
Theos Imarion wrote:
Better writing style and format for the purpose of teaching someone new. It also gives you some game-aids that don't come with the core rules, pawns, some short starting adventures (with the set and free download). The core book was written more as a reference work for people who already know how, the beginnger's box was written to teach people how. It focuses on the fundemental concepts, kind of like the core rules of the core rules. So, the core book has more advanced content the basic set doesn't have, but there's nothing in the basic rules that isn't also in the core book (though some of it is explained better in the basic set than in the core rulebook).
Given the ability to prepare, the Cleric should have Align Weaponx4 memorised, if not on hand in consumable items. Channel mitigates ~14 per round to everyone if they don't bring reach weapons. The party size also being essentially almost two 7th level parties put together (1 plus 3/4th of a party), without any terrain surprises especially advantaging the devil, and barring bad luck, or poor planning, I agree with deiol and Alex the Rogue that it could well be a surprisingly anti-climactic 2-3 round fight.