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Atarlost's page

4,969 posts (4,970 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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The per diem paradigm is broken. It ruins pacing, creates perverse incentives, and forces a specific encounter schedule on the GM.

Until you somehow house rule all per diem abilities into continuously recharging or per encounter/scene abilities you'll have a problem.

If you can't fix the problem you should use no dungeon longer than the party should be able to get through. That's 4*APL total CR per dungeon for parties built like the iconics and probably not more than twice that for any but the most heavily optimized and efficiently played parties.

Or you can let them rest with impunity, or just ignore the concept of sleep and recharge everything every X*APL CR of encounters. It's ugly and metagamey but something like this is necessary.

CR is per encounter. It can't not be per encounter. That means to have a balanced game everything has to be per encounter. Per hour can be made to sort of work if you really despise per encounter mechanics, but only in as much as they approximate per encounter mechanics.

The problem with the bloodrager is that barbarians have a pungent theme that gets all over anything they're connected to and is really hard to clean up. The urban barbarian and serene barbarian manage to potentially avoid it, but even though the former is Paizo the bloodrager not only avoids such options but manages to be even more mindless berserker idiot than the base barbarian.

The problems with the magus is that it's a nova or nothing class and that BAB matters. There's no long day capability. The paladin has a lot of endurance and the fighter, ranger, and cavalier aren't shabby because they're still a functioning martial without expending resources. There's also the magus's inability to qualify for martial feats in a timely manner. Not having +1 BAB at level 1 often leaves someone attempting to be a martial with a dead feat; two if human. Not getting +6 BAB feats until level 9 or +11 BAB feats until level 16 really hurts.

A martial's job is to backstop the party when the hybrids have run out their pools and the full casters are down to their third tier of spells. No matter how many superlatives you use to describe the magus's nova capability it simply doesn't deliver.

Admixture doesn't play nicely with element specific metamagic. You need to prepare the metamagic on a spell with the right descriptor or damage type and admixture changes the element when you cast the spell. You can't admixture at preparation time to get around this.

You can apply rime at casting time if you have a way to spontaneously apply metamagic, but there aren't many of those apart from rods and those get expensive.

If you want to shift elements you may be better off as an elemental bloodline sorcerer (not crossblooded because you have few enough spells known as it is). Then you can shift into cold for free and apply rime at the time of casting and learn spells of other elements to get your options for handling cold resistant enemies.

Flint daggers are a stupid idea. They're less durable and -- when amortized over their expected lifetime -- more labor intensive than bronze daggers. And to be able to mine kobolds must at least have bronze. You can cast bronze over a regular fire. If you hit something too hard with a bronze dagger or pickaxe it bends and you can bend it back. For something thin like a dagger or sword you can straighten it by hand. If you hit something too hard with a flint knife you need to make a new one from scratch. If you manage to break a bronze weapon or tool you can melt it down and recycle it. If you break a flint weapon or tool you need to find more flint. Even unalloyed copper is better than flint, though I'm not sure it's up to making pickaxes.

Flint sucks and kobolds cannot do what they're famous for unless they're at least a bronze age civilization.

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Withdraw and stealth is rules legal, but certainly abusive because there is no practical counter. There are some high level spells that can simulate the effects of Agent Orange and high level parties might have aerial recon, but outside that this is the sort of tactic that armies and gendarmeries have trouble countering.

Using guerrilla tactics when you outnumber the players is abusive to a degree that cannot be described remotely adequately without tripping the profanity filter. Save it for a kingdom building game when the players have enough armies to actually respond with counter-insurgency tactics.

115. One word: Taxpayers.

Cyrad wrote:

The opportune parry and riposte deed uses an attack of opportunity to block an attack.

With your system, it's a bit awkward because you're losing an action on your turn to do an action on someone else's turn.

It should be noted that when you fight defensively, you're flavorwise spending that turn deflecting attacks.

The OP is not talking about opportune parry. His parry is modeled on the Duelist parry, which gives up attacks from the full attack action. AoOs are not involved in any way whatsoever.

Gaberlunzie wrote:
But in real life, a long spear in a tight tunnel would be perfect.

In real life a long spear in a tight tunnel would be the sort of idiocy only seen in slapstick sketches. A long spear is around nine feet long. Since small reach weapons still have 10' reach they aren't actually any shorter. Mine tunnels don't have ceilings higher than the people mining them can reach and kobolds are short. A kobold tunnel is probably 5' square at most and would have a diagonal of a bit less than 7'1". A kobold with a long spear in a tunnel mined by kobolds physically cannot change the direction his spear points without breaking his spear.

A summon focused evangelist cleric has quite a bit of arm and anvil. Not a lot of non-summon anvil, though.

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Polearms were invented by peasants who needed a way to kill cavaliers. I don't think they're that advanced a premise. :P

They're not. The simple/martial/exotic setup is extremely stupid and whoever wrote the 3.0 weapon list was ignorant even for a pre-internet amateur. We're stuck with it in official material for backwards compatibility reasons, but it shouldn't inform setting design.

Polearms come in lots of shapes, but they're only used in a few ways. They can have pointy ends, hooks, bits you swing at an enemy, and bits you make push or draw cuts with. They can be short or long, but the long kind doesn't get swung because the shafts aren't stiff enough to effectively deliver force.

A glaive, a scythe, a hewing spear, a naginata and a pudao aren't really used substantially differently and anyone proficient with one could pick up one of the others and pretty easily know what to do with it. They may have different traditional forms in the same way karate is different from boxing, but that doesn't mean that an Englishman's hands can't be used for karate or a Japanese person's hands can't form fists for boxing.

A glaive-guisarme is not its own weapon. It's a glaive with a guisarme on the back. A guisarme is just a hook. If you can use a glaive and a guisarme you can use a glaive-guisarme. Most of the fancy polearms are just combinations of simple polearms.

Then there are the different striking polearms. They're not actually different. It makes no difference to the user if he's striking with an axe head, a beak, a spike, or a hammer.

There are something like six "base proficiencies" for polearms. Staff, strike, thrust, hook, draw/push cut, and handle a longer pole. The martial arts for the late medieval polearm menagerie no more need to be invented individually than a 6'8" spear and a 6'9" spear need different martial arts.

Rynjin wrote:

Plane Shift, as written, requires you to have a tuning fork attuned to the plane in question as a component for casting the spell.

No fork, no shift.

Where's he getting the forks?

No value is listed for the component so an unspecified but sufficient number are included with every spell component pouch. Just like every other focus or component that doesn't have a listed price.

Samasboy1 wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

Average NPC warrior orc would have a Str of 15 (base 11 +4). Which means the average orc is equal to a heroic human fighter.

Well, no, probably not.

The average NPC Warrior orc uses the NPC array, as a monster with NPC class levels.

13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8

Given that it is an orc, you could pretty much use the array in that order, except possibly switch Dex with Con and Int with Wis.

So Str 17, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 7, Wis 8, Cha 6

Oh wait, that's exactly what it has in the Bestiary! /shock

And that's equal to a heroic human fighter on the high stat and inferior elsewhere.

Heroic array human fighter:
Str 17 Dex 13 Con 14 Int 10 Wis 12 Cha 8

Druids don't care about armor proficiency. Nonproficiency applies ACP to attack rolls and wild armor doesn't give ACP when wildshaped.

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Tryn wrote:

"The crusader" has a good point:

Kobolds live in narrow small tunnels and caves.
If you fight in a close enviroment you will not use weapons which need a lot of space to be used effectivly (like most bludgeoning or slashing weapons). Also ranged weapons loose their biggest benefit (the range) as most fights are close/melee combat.
You will also use a relative compact weapon so you don't get stuck if you run thru the tunnels.

Based on this the best weapon would be a relative small stabbing (piercing) weapon >> aka shortspear.

So the weapon choice is logical (and "world building")

Except it's not. Slings take more space to use than bows or crossbows and have a higher arc, meaning they'll be obstructed more by the ceiling in caves. Crossbows have the flattest arc of non-firearm weapons in the game and are the appropriate ranged weapon for cavern dwellers.

Axes, picks and maces are very short and take very little space to use. If picks took too much space to swing in a tunnel mining with them would be impossible. Swords tend to be longer for a given weight, but short swords are a thing. And short swords in PF are thrusting weapons. Spears have two big problems. First, they're long. Even if you stab when you fight with them you swing them around when carrying them. Second, they use wood. Kobolds are not known for their woodsmen. Wood should be either an expensive import or an expensive product of rare surface acclimated kobolds.

Imagine a game of Dwarf Fortress in which you aren't allowed to perform any tasks outside. There are giant mushrooms growing in the underdark you can use as fuel and for shoring up mine tunnels, but they're softer than surface growing softwoods and completely useless for spear shafts or bows. Any spears would need to have all metal shafts. Long metal poles are heavy and kobolds have a huge strength penalty. Axes would need all metal shafts too. Military picks and maces, often do have all metal shafts and short swords are metal. Crossbows are made with metal prods and could have metal stocks. Composite bows may also be possible (and composite construction can be used for crossbows instead of steel prods). Underdark giant fungus may have lousy material properties, but it's just a spacer between the bone back and sinew belly that are the real strength of the bow.

By your own setting logic the appropriate weapons for kobolds are short swords and crossbows. Absolutely not spears or slings. Especially not slings. Slings are absolfreakinglutely useless in tunnels.

Sky druid isn't great so I wouldn't go cashing in that sylph boon. The stat mods aren't well suited to druidism so it would take a great archetype to make up for not being a human or dwarf.

Saurian Shaman is good if pterosaurs are classed as reptiles (they're not dinosaurs). You still kind of suck until level 6 or 7 because of the wildshape delay even if you get to immediately shape as beastshape III for most of the good forms (unless pterosaurs don't count as reptiles).

Lion Shamans lack huge wildshape forms, but get access to the nobility domain which has divine favor (use preferred spell to cast in non-domain slots or just prepare in higher domain slots) and magic vestment (cast once per day, possibly with an extend rod). Your wildshaping selection sucks, though. You only have two good forms

Storm is good. Their domain options are pretty good to spontaneously cast from and none of the swaps really hurt. They don't always play well with others with spontaneous fog spells that only they can see, through.

Menhir Savant is pretty much a straight upgrade to the base druid.

I wouldn't touch hunter or anything with a non-mount animal companion because of the trick limits and handle animal being charisma based. Maybe if AA had never been published, but that took a lot of things that had been part of existing tricks and made them separate without increasing the number of tricks an animal gets.

I wouldn't touch any shaman other than saurian or lion. Eagle has nobility as well, but no ground combat forms.

It's important when designing a class fix to remember the caster-mundane disparity.

Non-casters that aren't alchemists, investigators, or a fairly specific barbarian build suck. And from a design standpoint alchemists and investigators are casters.

If you're fixing a non-caster and use any non-caster other than the human or dwarven (with steel soul) spell sundering beast totem barbarian as a measuring stick the fix won't fix anything.

The other thing to remember is that if you have two abilities and can only use one you don't really have two abilities. In the context of the monk those would be the ability to purchase enhancement bonuses to natural armor and the ability to purchase enhancement bonuses to attack and damage and the ability to wear armor and the ability to be a monk. The monk is owed a freebie to either AC when fighting unarmed or to unarmed attack and damage. The monk AC bonus exists, but should also be a freebie. It's just replacing the basic defensive baseline that everyone who isn't a full arcane caster gets -- except the monk.

Take something like the paladin divine bond or magus arcane pool (but permanent and for unarmed strikes only) and the AC bonus and take those out of the balance calculus. Now compare to the ranger and paladin.

Is the non-ki stuff the monk gets as good as a mount/pet, smite/favored enemy, lay on hands/favored terrain, and grace or (improved) evasion, the paladin auras and immunities or the rangers skill points? No. Is the ki stuff as good as 4 level casting? Hell no. The pool is much shallower and the abilities aren't as strong and the ranger and paladin are divine prepared casters so they get to choose their powers anew every morning.

You could use AM BARBARIAN as your measuring stick instead, but then you're prone to wind up with the barbarian's vices, most notably limited build variety.

Multiplying lice or insects of Angband from Angband or its variants.

The worst were Hummerhorns in ToME 2. They multiplied quickly, hit to inflict confusion, and in some of the "dungeons" where they could appear the walls were trees they could fly over so you couldn't contain them with doors or choke points.

In Pathfinder terms they hit to confuse (fort save since it's described as a poison effect) and create another hummerhorn as an Ex ability probably on a 1d4 round cooldown like dragon breaths.

Have fun.

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78. A peon saved is a peon earned.

kestral287 wrote:

Frankly Atarlost, you're playing the wrong game.

Because if you carry out your plan... you still have all the same feat options so nothing is solved. You still have skill points. The only thing that you've 'fixed' that's listed in that post is dips, and those are easy. 90% of the time you just don't dip. The other 10% of the time you already know what you want, and it's a marginal gain that you can freely ignore anyway. The builds that require dips are not the builds that casual players play.

The point isn't that complexity is a bad thing. It's that Milo is straining at a gnat.

Cyrad wrote:

This is giving me way too many ideas. I'm now brainstorming a plot where an evil guy commits mass murder or assassinations by mind controlling cats and having them coup de grace their owners.

I mean, why not? I had a villain try to spread a plague by baleful polymorphing infected people into cats and giving them away as pets.

A similar thought is to have a villain that was baleful polymorphed into a cat but made the will save. Imagine a Psion/Telepath cat as the ultimate antagonist of a political intrigue game. A good mouser is welcome -- and ignored -- everywhere. A telepathic mouser can not only rule a kingdom from behind the throne but rule every faction in the capitol from behind whatever their nominal leaders rest their rumps on. And if the PCs eventually catch on he's a mind controlling caster that can go places a kobold couldn't follow. It looks like it would start working at level 8 when you get get the second discipline ability and can have 4th level powers so Vizier Cat could work as a "big" bad for a 5 level campaign.

Milo v3 wrote:
Atarlost wrote:

Only because leveling up is already very, very complex, and if multiclassing weren't fundamentally broken an awful lot of archetypes could be deprecated which might actually make things easier.

What it is is in need of tuning.

I'd say more because of how classes work. Not because leveling up is complex. It isn't, especially not if your using fractions rather than totals for saves and BAB.

Maybe if you play core only. Otherwise there are too many badly organized character options to decipher to call it anything less than ridiculously complicated. Do I dip another class? Is this the level to do so? What feat do I want? Can I actually take it this level? What feat that I don't want do I need to take before I take the feat I do want? Do I still want that feat? What spells should I learn? What spells known should I retrain? Do I have any slack in my skill plan? What skills are worth scattering points in that won't become useless if not maxed?

Compared to that a little math is the very platonic form of simplicity.

Yeah, best solution is to get rid of level 1 human or near-human adults and teenagers. An awful lot of classes don't do what they say on the tin until level 2 anyways.

chbgraphicarts wrote:

If you DM allows for Scion of Humanity Aasimar, there is absolutely no reason at all to play a Human.

For the "price" of a Racial Bonus Feat (you don't get one as an Aasimar), you get to play a Human-Plus: elemental resistance, ability bonuses, etc.

You get access to all the Human Favored Class Bonuses, all the Human Racial Class Archetypes, all the abilities which require you to be a Human, etc. etc.

tl;dr: Play a Scion of Humanity Aasimar.

Most racial bonuses go away when polymorphed so Aasimar isn't offering much. The racial bonus feat is probably better and if not dual talented is better. I think all aasimar heritages waste one of the stat bumps on charisma and charisma is a dump stat for druids.

strayshift wrote:

Reactive = Situational = Exactly what you need at the time = a Proactive use of your abilities.

Over a whole adventure I've yet to see a prepared caster predict everything and be prepared for it (and I've seen a lot played by many different people). You can worry about being 'reactive' but when a sorcerer needs to repeatedly cast dispel magic or fly or invisibility or fireball or whatever on the entire party or to kill an army they often can. If that is reactive then I'm happy with that proactive reactiveness. And metamagics give them even more options than you give credit for (e.g. heightening your fireball to bypass defences or even a simple light spell to counter darkness) to achieve that. And to keep this on thread I'll repeat the point that a cross-blooded sorcerer suffers because of fewer spells known.

Reactive and proactive are by definition exclusive. The same action cannot be both.

When a sorcerer needs to repeatedly cast dispel magic he's paid for that with delayed spell access and pitifully limited spells known compared to a wizard.

When a sorcerer needs to repeatedly cast empowered fireball he pays again in action economy. Since he knew he would be empowering any fireballs he cast not just in the morning but back when he decided empower spell metamagic was worth a feat just like the equivalent wizard he gains no flexibility. He still has the flexibility he had without metamagic, but the increased action cost doesn't get him anything. The sorcerer pays more for all metamagic other than quicken but gets the same effect. In any situation where metamagic use is planned (and if you don't have a plan you shouldn't have wasted the feat unless on an insurance metamagic like silent or still spell) the sorcerer only gets the flexibility he already paid for with delayed spell access and limited spells known.

You're overselling options. A hyperfocused single spell build might want to use heighten to get around protective magic, but a hyperfocused prepared casting build will have preferred spell if it has heighten. A generalist build, especially a spontaneous casting generalist, is better off just casting a higher level spell. Heighten gets you no versatility you didn't have without it. Spontaneously heightening a light spell is for those who aren't prepared. Wizards -- and sorcerers who for some reason took heighten and can get a page of spell knowledge -- heighten eternal flame on at least one wearable nonmagic object per party member at least a day before they go adventuring.

LazarX wrote:
If you as a GM feel that way, then ELIMINATE THE TRAIT. If you feel like tossing extra gold at your players, keep the trait eliminated and simply do so.

You're completely missing the point. The short term advantage (getting more starting gold) can be offset by a short term disadvantage (not getting your real trait until that gold is no longer relevant).

Being able to start out better geared is an advantage at level 1 and remains relevant at level 2. Just giving extra gold screws over anyone who doesn't want to use that background.

Compare to Amateur Gunslinger. If made obsolete through multiclassing it gets automatically replaced with a different feat that is still useful.

There's one colossal weakness to that gestalt: it's not a caster.

I wouldn't gestalt bloodrager. You can't cast spells from other classes in a bloodrage and none of the non-casting classes fit with it.

I wouldn't normally gestalt barbarian for much the same reason. Rage doesn't generally play nicely with other class abilities.

Skald's completely ignore the action limitation from their own raging song so Skald is the best rage class for gestalt. They already have the most important saves so anything full BAB is a good second half, though slayer, brawler, or paladin are probably best.

Melkiador wrote:
Atarlost wrote:
Those traits have nothing to do with archetypes at all. Nothing on that page ever actually describes an archetype. The page is completely sodding useless.
What do you think an archetype is?

Archae Type. The original type. The established form a character fits into. Are you a tragic hero in the style of Jason or Oedipus or are you an epic hero in the style of Beuwolf? Or maybe you're one of those usually religious figures that follows the monomyth. I don't recommend the last for gaming, though.

Milo v3 wrote:
That sounds very very very complex...

Only because leveling up is already very, very complex, and if multiclassing weren't fundamentally broken an awful lot of archetypes could be deprecated which might actually make things easier.

What it is is in need of tuning.

kestral287 wrote:
We already have rules for how you add class levels to monsters?

Yes. Yes, we do. Monsters have key and non-key classes. Key classes add fully to CR. Non-key classes add half until there are as many class levels as either racial hit dice or the monster's base CR, I forget which.

I'm suggesting something like that for multiclassing

So for instance if your largest level total is wizard there are no key classes for wizard because nothing stacks with it. Any levels of anything else would count half for APL or CR and you get two per XP threshold until you have more of that class than wizard. On the other hand fighter and barbarian do stack pretty well and would reasonably both count fully to APL or CR and come with no XP discount like they do now.

The two to one ratio used form non-key classes on monsters is certainly not the right ratio to use for multiclassing because a non-key medium BAB class would give better than full BAB and there probably needs to be three ratios rather than two for classes where some stuff works together and other stuff doesn't. Or possibly half the levels of the lesser class could be treated as gestalt with the primary class to keep BAB and HD from going over 20.

Multiclassing needs a proper fix and it needs to acknowledge like the monster class rules that some classes stack and others don't.

strayshift wrote:
Sorcerers OWN metamagic even with the increase in casting time (not got me killed yet) as they can use precisely the spell/metamagic they need at the time.

That's only an advantage for reactive metamagics. It's great for still spell (except on the armored builds that get around ASF by stilling every spell with a somatic component) and for silent spell and maybe elemental and merciful spell, but if you're planning to use metamagic proactively there is no flexibility. You decided way back when you chose the feat that there were certain spells you intended to use for which the metamagic effect was worth the slot increase.

One Trick wizards almost always have some means to cast one spell spontaneously, often preferred spell, which doesn't raise casting time. They're not the only wizards who plan their metamagic, though. If you're a save or something caster who decides persistent spell is worth taking it's because you've concluded that the reroll is more important than the -2 to save DC and the benefits of a higher level spell and you're going to use it pretty much all the time. You will cast most of your spells that offer saves with it because if you didn't think it was worth it you wouldn't have taken the feat. The alleged flexibility of the sorcerer is that the spell with and without the metamagic are like different spells known, but if you don't intend to use the spell without the metamagic they're not. The sorcerer is trashing his action economy for no more benefit than the wizard gets.

Dekalinder wrote:
Atarlost wrote:
kestral287 wrote:

The OP specifically went on to define his version of hero "as the trope". That would be this.

His analysis of what that trope means and TVTropes' analysis of what that trope means are two wildly different things, mind. Hence my giganto-post.

That's a bunch of description, but completely lacks definition. If I say "I want to play the hero," I'm not talking about a guy who wears blue or red and is the primary love interest of the group's token female character. I don't think anyone is. The actual heroic archetypes are less superficial.
I think you lack understanding on the definition of tropes. In any case,, The Hero is commonly accepted as one specific archetype of hero, with his primary definition not being about what he can do, but how important he is for the story as a whole. He is the centerpiece that makes the story go forward. In that page you find out listed many ways in witch such importance can be emphasized by the autor. A generic character respecting this trope does not have to adhere to all of them.

Those traits have nothing to do with archetypes at all. Nothing on that page ever actually describes an archetype. The page is completely sodding useless.

kestral287 wrote:

The OP specifically went on to define his version of hero "as the trope". That would be this.

His analysis of what that trope means and TVTropes' analysis of what that trope means are two wildly different things, mind. Hence my giganto-post.

That's a bunch of description, but completely lacks definition. If I say "I want to play the hero," I'm not talking about a guy who wears blue or red and is the primary love interest of the group's token female character. I don't think anyone is. The actual heroic archetypes are less superficial.

What was really needed was something like the rules for how adding class levels effects the CR of monsters with racial hit dice. Probably with a special case for stacking casting of same source magic like wizard and magus or druid, hunter, and ranger.

Remember, XP used to be tracked separately. A fighter 10 magic user 10 needed as much XP as the sum of his levels, not as much XP as a level 20 character. Or I think with demihuman multiclassing you split your XP in half and the levels wouldn't line up, but until some class capped out the sum of the XP for each class would still be your total XP.

In 3.x a fighter 10 wizard 10 requires far more XP than the sum of his classes. The change that's needed is to fix that or at least remediate it as much as practicable if there's no way to truly fix it without being too complicated for the average GM to audit at the table.

There are two or three reasons to not just say "we need an arm."

First, it doesn't address noncombat roles. Unless those are all filled you'll say "we need an arm cleric" because there's really no other way to get non-HP healing on the schedule expected by the CR system or "we need a hammer that's also a face."

Second, if you have some a role but not enough you don't want more of the same. If you have a druid hammer who can summon in a pinch but no dedicated anvil maybe the anvil you want isn't focused on summoning. If your hammer is a cleric maybe you don't want your arm to also be a cleric or oracle because a bard or wizard or sorcerer would have less overlap. Damage is damage and always stacks, but even so you might wind up asking for a sustained hammer to go with a magus or warpriest or a ranged hammer to go with a barbarian or even an AoE hammer if you know your GM is fond of large combats.

It's also possible to have a party built around a nontraditional hammer. A SoD caster is also a hammer and he needs a different kind of arm: one focused on penalizing saves and forcing rerolls rather than the usual attack and damage roll boosting. I think this special case only applies to arm requests, though.

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Given I have heard in this one thread that magus is the best VMC and one of the worst, I think it's safe to say that in total, we haven't had these to play with for long enough to come up with a conclusive judgment. One thing that takes a little while to kick in (for instance in the case of the magus, which I agree is a very powerful one) is the ability to look past one ability that is less useful for that many characters (spellstrike) and toward the abilities that are worth an extreme amount more than a feat but only sub out one feat (arcane pool) or just generally more than a feat, if not by an extreme amount (arcana). The same is true for wizard, another of the ones I've seen said to be both quite strong (I agree with that side) and weak, the latter judgments due to fixation on the 11th level ability being not as useful.

Even if every ability for every class were better than a feat (they're not) the system would be bad because there's no flexibility.

To take your magus example, the soul of the magus is the spell combat spellstrike combo. If you were using magus with normal multiclassing that would be the important thing. The VMC magus gets some peripheral stuff that isn't really important. Arcane Pool is a BAB compensator and not a very good one. It's not enough to make a wizard-magus work and it's redundant for a bard-magus or bloodrager-magus. The arcana is still not what makes a magus a magus. At level 11 the magus VMC finally gets one of the things the multiclasser actually wants from magus, but it's the one that doesn't work alone because it's only useful in melee, but it's not the one that lets you safely cast in melee. It doesn't matter how great you think arcane pool or arcana are. That's not doing the job.

In general the actual abilities people might want from a multiclass are too frequently delayed until level 11 in a game where the reality is that most campaigns fall apart before level 10. That does not a useful system make.

It's the old monk problem. A fixed schedule of abilities is worth less than the sum of its parts.

Mystically Inclined wrote:

Or, just dip a single level of Goliath Druid with Growth Domain and go back to fighter. I have a Dwarven Martial Master Cleave Fighter. After reading this thread, I did a test build. A single level dip gives me the ability to Enlarge as a swift action for 5 rounds, and I get 1 use of enlarge person (cast like normal) plus 2 other druid spells which can be spontaneously turn into Enlarge Person (self only). So not only do I get enough enlarge persons to last through 3 fights (and another 1-2 fights using swift actions) but I can keep two of those enlarge person castings as Faerie Fire and Longstrider, just in case. Should I decide to invest a second level in Druid, I'd get +1 to Fort and Will, and another level 1 spell.

That is a LOT of value for a 1-2 level dip. I'm quite pleased. Thank you, thread. :-D

But you only get to large that way. That will let you do nonadjacent cleaving to most evil outsiders, but you need more druid to get the big giants and most full grown dragons.

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The answer is probably no. You're missing something and VMC sucks. You're missing an actual post with content in it, but I'm not seeing much to like in VMC. It's too rigid and most classes don't give an ability worth a feat until level 7, which is rather late. Many don't even give a worthwhile ability until level 11. Some are never worthwhile.

The existence of a handful of VMCs that are sometimes worth using doesn't make the system as a whole not suck.

Xah Doom wrote:
Illeist wrote:
If you're not married to a given class, the abyssal bloodrager bloodline eventually enlarges when you rage, and the bear spirit for the medium makes you large and eventually huge (at least, the playtest version does; we'll have to wait a few months to see the release version).

A couple other options,

Goliath Druid archetype

Nah. You want a standard druid. Animals are generally better for standard action attacks than humanoids and the goliath druid doesn't get any animals that aren't dinosaurs or megafauna. The behemoth hippopotamus, which is the apex of standard action attack power, is not actually a megafaunus. He also gets no flying forms because pterosaurs aren't dinosaurs.

Druid really is the best class for the build. It's probably the class that best takes advantage of the dwarven stat array and the disadvantage of being slow goes away when you wildshape. Bloodrager might work, but you'd be a charisma casting class on a race with a charisma penalty and that really doesn't work out well.

thejeff wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
Rub-Eta wrote:
Fourleaf wrote:
Also, would you let your players do this to their party? (I corrected this for you)

I would. I'm not going to tell a player "No, you can't do this" when it's totaly legal, rules wise. [

So when a player sez his pC murders all the other PC's in their sleep and takes their stuff- and keep doing this time after time, so that no one but him gets to play more than a day- - well, that's "totaly legal, rules wise

"? And it's not by the way.

Of course it's very easy to tell a player not to do this since you are the DM and you can say "Hey, this is a No Evils campaign, that was evil, that PC is now my NPC."

It's even easier to say: "Don't be a dick or don't bother showing up next week."

Metagame problems are best solved out of game.

But imagine how hard it would have been to get an NPC trusted by the party enough that his betrayal would sting without the players being upset at the GM for the twist. If you let the jerk betray the party and then declare his character an NPC after he does so you get the sort of personal antagonist you could never get otherwise in a normal gaming group.

It might even be worth giving him warnings to string the misbehavior along to get an even more hated antagonist out of the deal.

Dave Justus wrote:

I personally don't like the two character solution. If you are focused on the game as tactical combat, it is workable, but if you want much role playing and character development it is pretty hard to do with a player controlling two characters.

Gestalt can be a good option to allow characters to cover everything. Adding to magic would be a definite help, but action economy doesn't change with Gestalt, so the game still requires some adjusting.

If you decide you must have more characters in the party, I'd suggest giving the two main PCs a free leadership feat and having them control each others cohorts. This lets the main characters be the players focus and lets them role play the relationship with their cohorts as well.

Gestalts may not have any action economy advantage, but done right they're a lot harder to kill. The CR system is designed to avoid TPKs so there's slack in it in case someone succumbs to a save or lose or save or puppet at the start of the fight. Gestalts don't tend to fail saves very much. Gestalts also tend to be at least one step larger hit die except on full martials. The smaller party will also have better magic items because the same amount of loot is being sold but it's split into fewer shares. The same happens for XP and even if you normally do ad hoc leveling you should total up the XP you would be giving out and divide it by the smaller party size to see how often they level up.

Cap. Darling wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Cap. Darling wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Cap. Darling wrote:

In Real life there are no numbers and things like training, confidence, and a shower can do wonders for your personal magnetisme.

Actually, the training and confidence are a large part of what makes up the stat.

You have a low Str? Hit the gym and lift some weights. Low Cha? Take a few elocution classes and buy a better wardrobe. Low Dex? Grab a few exercise balls, or learn to play the guitar.

But that is not how stats work in PF. Stat gains are not a few classes away.

Actually, they are. But most characters have already taken the classes they're interested in.

But how do you then reward a character that "Hit the gym and lift some weights.","Take a few elocution classes and buy a better wardrobe.","Grab a few exercise balls, or learn to play the guitar."? To use your own words.

That's the fundamental flaw of level based systems. Levels are a very disassociated mechanic.

Level-less systems tend to have a hard time putting enough of a gap between heroes and mooks to be good epic fantasy simulators, though, and you usually don't get to build a character.

I would consider the delayed spell access ruinous. Filling the slots with metamagic is no substitute because sorcerers are bad at planned metamagic. They get the most out of still and silent and quicken (outside the still everything armored wizard builds) but if you know what you plan to do with your metamagic then wizard has better action economy.

As a cross-blooded sorcerer you know you'll be taking some few metamagic feats and applying one to all of your top level slots. At that point you may as well dip sorcerer on a wizard, get your spells at the normal sorcerer schedule, have more spells known than a normal sorcerer, and have your move actions.

It's best to remove one or even two of the mental stats. There are too many mental stats for the breadth of mental variation they purport to represent. Cyrad may be right that wisdom is the one to get rid of, but there are too many mental stats. There are one martial stat, three caster stats, and two everyone stats, but apart from arcanist each caster only uses one of the three caster stats. There's just not enough mental stuff to make all the caster stats at all useful to a non-caster even if casters were made to use all of them.

The three mental stats between them do more than strength so it's probably best to remove just one, but if you also juggle physical stuff to make strength more generally valuable you can remove two and not have it overshadow the physical stats for non-casters.

First, the loss of a dump stat means point buys should be raised by 4. After reshuffling almost everyone will lose a dump stat. If you're one of those people who rolls stats roll an extra stat and discard the lowest unless you still do roll in order. If you remove two mental stats that messes with class balance more because eg. alchemists lost one dump stat while condensing two they were investing in, but monks lost two dump stats. In almost all cases stat prerequisites for feats should go to the greater of the remaining mental stats, though if wisdom is removed monk feats may be an exception.

To remove Charisma move all charisma based class abilities to wisdom unless they're from an arcane class and all racials to int unless they're from tiefling or aasimar. Diplomacy and bluff join sense motive under wisdom. UMD and perform go to int because UMD should have always been int and performance tends to rely on memory, which is the one thing that int unambiguously covers in the normal game. Intimidate goes to strength because it was stupid to ever put it under any other stat in the first place.

To remove wisdom move perception and the class abilities of all casting classes that use wisdom to int and all other wisdom based abilities to charisma. Monk feat prerequisites can go to just charisma.

To remove int move all int skills to wisdom and everything else to charisma.

Unless your GM is using the Unchained item bonus substitute system or one a system previously houseruled for the same purpose you should find another GM. The game's math breaks down if the players can't convert found money and vendor trash into the bonuses they actually need by purchasing or crafting items.

Or point him at one of the many threads about the magic item treadmill or big six and why you can't remove them without engineering a compensatory system and see if he can manage to wrap his ego around the way the game was actually designed. Then if he still won't let you shop freely or use one of the much more complicated than actually buying items alternate systems people have come up with; find another GM.

Just a Mort wrote:
Id ask the players to run animal companion classes. I don't see the problem with a sylvan sorcerer and an evangelist cleric with animal domain not being able to do what a regular party can, except for skill checks. Cleric can be a cleric of erastil and be a full fledged archer.

Demanding your players pick such highly constrained builds is not generally a good way to keep the few players you have.

If you think the gunslinger's player is the source of the problem and the others would be reasonable if he weren't there tell him him his character died in his sleep and he's no longer welcome at the table.

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Gestalt is another common solution to small parties as it tends to make PCs less likely to die and allows them to fill more roles.

The real problem is the guy who isn't always there. He can't fill any critical role or the party is incomplete when he's absent and there isn't room for a fifth wheel in a three person party.

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Using a single attack roll increases variance and variance is the enemy.

High variance turns fights that are supposed to be important into walkovers and fights that are supposed to be gimmes into party wipes. You, as a GM, want to maximize the number of dice rolled and minimize the importance of each individual die in order to keep the results mostly on track with what you expected.

Pseudos wrote:

Hey, being DM and having to play a character in the background, there's something I know how to do! Going back to what I suggested a few days back, be the warpriest. Since you're DM, just don't put any traps in; boom, rogue needs eliminated.

You can be as vanilla and boring as you want as a warpriest, and still accomplish your group's needs. Being either an investigator or an alchemist you're likely to draw attention to yourself. Only join them if they need help; show up for the encounter somehow, get introduced, and stay as long as you're needed. If your group does well not needing you, you can use the 'church' excuse and leave.

Cleric is far better than warpriest for this. The whole reason you need a healer is that some things are really bad and need to be removed. If you use a warpriest instead of a healer you have to wait an extra two levels to use diseases, curses, and blindness/deafness; three levels to use ability drain, negative levels, or poisons that are actually dangerous; and four levels for death to be reversible. Warpriests are basically useless for filling party roles. They get cleric spells too slowly to be healers and don't have the endurance of a proper martial.

Cleric is also a simpler class to build and run. You have more spell slots to prepare, but you're going to want to leave as many as possible open for mid-day prep that, other than obvious condition restoration stuff, should generally be done at the prompting of one of the actual players.

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