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Is anyone playtesting these guys at level 9-12? That seems like where the accuracy issues and immunities are going to start being a problem. It sounds like levels 1-5 are being thoroughly tested but I suspect those aren't where the problems that need to be addressed are.
My issue with them is mostly that, at best, you are getting the ability to save a spell slot from a previous day.
You say this like storing a spell slot from one day to the next isn't amazing. Sure, trading down Reverse Gravity for Fireball isn't the most economic deal, but if you haven't used that Reverse Gravity by the end of the day it's a better deal than letting it evaporate in the morning.
Drake Brimstone wrote:
I think part of the problem with this class is they are trying to make a hybrid class from a "base" class and a hybrid class. Remember, Ranger is essentially a hybrid of Fighter and Druid to start with. With archetypes already in existence that blur the line between Druid and Ranger there isn't much room for a whole new base class.
On top of that, the druid is already functionally a hybrid, with 3/4 BAB, medium armor, decent weapons and useful combat abilities. So the space is even narrower than you'd think.
I am extremely disappointed about the specification of living targets for Precise Strike. Didn't they fix that on the rogue precisely because it was no fun having a character whose main damage mechanic was neutralized by about half the monsters in the game?
My problem with this class is that, since it's supposedly a druid hybrid, comparing it to the druid is natural and inevitable. The Hunter only makes sense as a druid hybrid if you forget that druids already have 3/4 BAB and medium armor (with the option of heavy if they want it). I get that this is supposed to be a more combat-focused hybrid than the druid, but what makes it more combat focused? It has barely better proficiencies (longsword isn't really a step up from scimitar, longbow is nice I guess), an enhancement bonus a few times a day (which doesn't stack with items or the buffs that are already on the druid list), and bonus teamwork feats.
A druid who spends his feats on weapon combat will come out looking pretty much exactly the same as a hunter, except with better spellcasting and the option of wild shape if he feels like it. There's no significant boost to the combat ability of the hunter compared to a druid, even a druid who entirely ignores wild shape.
Why not both use scimitars? Say you're from the same part of the world; it can even give your characters a background connection, which GMs love. A magus and a cleric won't have the same "schtick" beyond that anyway.
People have mentioned sylphs, but nobody's mentioned the best part about them: Spontaneous Divination. The sylph-only wizard archetype lets you spontaneously trade out prepared spells for any divination in your spellbook of the same level or lower.
Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:
On the other side, you have something like the Storm Kindler, whose main ability is turning into a whirlwind or vortex. However, it is arguably worse at it than a Druid using wildshape to turn into an elemental, or even another caster using elemental body. It also loses versatility because of fewer spell levels and no advancement of abilities. A straight Druid (especially a Tempest Druid) can do more in general and be equal or better in the niche, and is thus a better kindler of storms overall. There is thus little reason to use the class, even if the concept interests you. I find this to a problem.
For what it's worth, a max level Storm Kindler can make a larger whirlwind than elemental body IV (or by extension wild shape) allows. The problem with Storm Kindler in my opinion is that it gets an unnecessary restriction on allowable size categories that the normal whirlwind ability doesn't; the regular Whirlwind is only restricted by "as many creatures trapped inside at one time as will fit inside the whirlwind’s volume", such that even a Small air elemental can pick up and trap Large creatures in whirlwind form. Since the 3.5 whirlwind ability did have a size restriction, I suspect that the Storm Kindler fell victim to a writer who was unfamiliar with the rules changes. If not for that, it would be a fairly credible PrC for storm-themed clerics and rangers.
Edit: This is what I get for relying on d20pfsrd. Checking the PRD, PF Whirlwind does indeed have a size category restriction on creatures affected by it. The Storm Kindler therefore does keep up with a vanilla (non-archetype) druid in terms of whirlwind effectiveness and exceeds the druid's maximum whirlwind effectiveness starting at PrC level 8 (character level 14, assuming earliest entry).
The Aldori prestige class has quite a few requirements, and the fluff is a bit too specific for my liking.
Fluffwise, you could pretty trivially make it non-setting-specific by removing the EWP requirement, replacing all mentions of the Aldori dueling sword with the rapier, and renaming it "Daring Fencer" or something.
In the case of Arclord, I feel like a full-casting wizard PrC doesn't really need a capstone. You give up very little to become an Arclord and get a pile of utility abilities in return - it's not like there would be some huge boost that a straight wizard would be getting at 15.
(Well, technically there is, in the form of 8th-level spells, but the Arclord gets those too. Maybe you can think of those as the Arclord's capstone.)
Jason S wrote:
Childlike and Pass for Human, along with the aforementioned Water Skinned, I think are still better than the trifecta of Monkey Lunge, Prone Shooter, and Elephant Stomp. Feats like Childlike say up front what they do and they do it well enough. It may not be something worth spending a feat on, but if you want to make yourself better at disguising yourself as a human, Pass For Human does a really good job of it (effectively +12 on checks and take 10 freely). With Monkey Lunge, Prone Shooter, and Elephant Stomp they either don't do what they set out to do or it's not clear what they're supposed to be good for to begin with.
I don't know. To be worse than Prone Shooter, a feat has to be worse than no feat at all. By definition, this doesn't apply to any feat you can choose not to use - it is, at worst, as bad as Prone Shooter. By establishing that there is an incredibly niche and unlikely situation in which Monkey Lunge has a beneficial effect, it is established to be better than Prone Shooter, because you can choose not to use it when it has no beneficial effect and there is a situation in which you can benefit from it.
I can't think of a situation in which Elephant Stomp is better than no feat, but at worst that makes it as bad as Prone Shooter - you never have to use it, so it's just a dead feat.
Monkey Lunge can theoretically be used to get a benefit, albeit a small one. Aside from situations where you have extra standard actions somehow, consider a situation where you are ten feet away from an enemy who has readied an action to cast a spell requiring an attack roll on you as soon as you move - Scorching Ray, let's say, and you don't have many HP left. With your standard action, you use Monkey Lunge to extend your reach until the end of your turn. Now you threaten him when you move, and he must cast defensively or take an AoO. At the same time, you have avoided taking a -2 AC penalty in case the spell does go off, making it slightly less likely that he will hit you with the spell.
Not that it would ever happen, because seriously, who would take a feat that requires such a convoluted situation to be useful?
While it's not necessarily the case for all the incidents of it here, I feel the need to point out that sometimes it is legitimate to rate the same spell differently for different bloodlines when that spell has synergy or countersynergy with other spells and abilities of that bloodline.
For an arbitrary example, you might consider Burning Hands to be more valuable for the Orc bloodline than the Elemental bloodline on the grounds that Orc receives a bonus to its damage that makes it more powerful while Elemental receives a direct-damage bloodline power at first level that overlaps its function a little.
Likewise, both Kobold bloodline and Draconic bloodline receive Form Of The Dragon III, but you might rate it higher for Kobold because the benefits granted by the spell (resistance and breath weapon) overlap somewhat with the innate benefits of the Draconic bloodline, as well as Draconic bloodline getting the previous two Form Of The Dragons which makes any individual one of them a bit more redundant.
For some reason, ropers strike me as the kind of weird extremophilic life form that might inhabit a long-abandoned salt mine that can't support conventional life.
I'm not too keen on the spiders - one of the neat things about abandoned salt mines is how devoid they are of even the kind of rats and so on that you'd expect, because the salinity is too high to sustain a visible ecosystem. On the other hand, the idea of the hypersaline lake that's had salt leaching into it for centuries and concentrating makes me imagine some kind of undead carnivorous fish, killed but preserved by the extreme salinity.
I'm going to voice an opposite opinion that it would make no sense for some 5 or 6 foot thing to be knocking over dinosaurs. There being a finite amount of force even a 18 strength human can apply to anything. Those are the kind of cinematic...things...that I do not enjoy having in a game.
Have you ever tripped over a cat?
Tripping someone is not just about grabbing their leg and shoving. It can be about interfering with the motions needed for balance.
My two cents' worth: If you look under Sense Motive, you'll see that a DC 25 Sense Motive check lets you discern when somebody is being influenced by an enchantment effect. If someone you've previously influenced with Suggestion is given cause to question the actions you suggested ("You sold the ring for how much?"), let them roll that Sense Motive check against their own past actions. If they make it, they suspect they were influenced; if not, they've got nothing better than "it seemed like a good idea at the time".
There are a couple of races that I think don't jump out as much but are quiet powerhouses in their own ways, particularly with certain race/class combinations. For example:
Kitsune: The kitsune sorcerer favored class bonus combined with kitsune magic and their racial Charisma bonus makes them beasts against anything that isn't immune to mind-affecting. A fey bloodline kitsune sorcerer has absolutely terrifying save DCs. Just make sure to pick up some spells that'll work against mindless enemies too.
Gillmen: Their water dependency is potentially harsh, but if you can live with it (or with the fire vulnerability from taking Riverfolk) they have an incredible sorcerer favored-class bonus (the same extra spells as humans) with Con and Cha bonuses even aside from their amphibious bonuses.
Samsaran: Mystic Past Life can be build-defining. There are threads about it.
Sylph: They weren't popular before the ARG, but they have good wizard stats combined with a fantastic wizard archetype - the Spontaneous Divination ability alone is extremely good. Getting a permanent fly speed for two feats is just gravy.
There's a lot of potential for things to get a little too powerful there, but I like the idea.
Also, the player should be encouraged to name each of his tonics. Sure, you could call those "agility tonic", "might tonic", and "endurance tonic", but Professor Salid's Spring-Heel Leg Tonic, Dr. Whorveston's "Sure-Fire" Vigorous Embiggener, and Dr. Fang's Guaranteed Body-Health Tonic all sound like things I'd sure love to swill down! :D
One thing I like with detective types is to pick up scent one way or another - half-orcs have a feat for it, and I think some of the weirder races in the ARG have ways to grab scent too. It gives you a nice extra angle on investigations, and it can make tracking easier in urban areas where you'll be dealing with hard floors and cobble streets.
Mark Hoover wrote:
For me I like the idea, the pathos and the imagery of a classic familiar. And the story I always tell is of the cartoon I saw as a kid where the wizard and his familiar cat became so close that over time the thing morphed into a puss-n-boots type and after his master died he stayed a cat-man with a brain, so he kept his master's tower. The cat honestly felt he OWED his master that, after all the kindly wizard had done for him.
To me, that's exactly what Improved Familiar is (and for most of the other players I know.) I always pick an improved familiar that either looks like or has an alternate form as the creature I originally picked as my familiar - my cat becomes a celestial cat and then a silvanshee, or my bird becomes a psychopomp or cassissian, or whatever. Even with odder base animals, GMs are usually pretty flexible about letting an imp have "ferret" instead of "rat" for its alternate form.
The point is, as my character is becoming more magical, the familiar is also becoming more magical. Within the narrative, my Improved Familiar doesn't mean I'm dismissing my old pet and summoning a new one, but rather that it's developing powers of its own.
I don't see any difference between Orcs and Half-Orcs in terms of being intimidating, either. An Orc might be "more orky" in that sense, but it doesn't mean they're necessarily less scary-looking.
The thing is, I don't think a half-orc's Intimidating just means "how scary she looks". The idea is that half-orcs are people who are outcast from human society but still have to live in it, and so they've learned the best way to use the assets they do have (their scariness) to get what they want/need. If you look at half-orc alternate racial traits, the ones that replace Intimidating all reflect having found some other basic survival methodology.
Intimidate isn't inherently about a show of force, but about manipulating people into wanting to avoid a show of force and thus doing what you want - being actually stronger and thus rationally scarier doesn't make you necessarily better at Intimidate. You can scare people and bully them around without Intimidate; if you chop someone in half and say "someone bring me dinner or I'll do this guy next", it's not Intimidate, it's people responding rationally to threats. That sort of blatant show of force has the same relationship to Intimidate that "I'll give you 500 GP to let us through" has to Diplomacy.
A prerequisite is a prerequisite. I would like to see their reasoning though since a specific class feature is called out.
The reasoning in favor of allowing non-adepts with familiar class features to qualify is derived from this post, wherein SKR clarifies that the Life oracle's "channel" feature, the paladin's "channel positive energy" feature, and the cleric's "channel energy" feature all count as the same feature for purposes of prerequisites despite having different names, because they all use the same mechanics and point to the same source for the rules on how they work.
Since the adept's "summon familiar" feature points to the wizard's "arcane bond" feature and uses the same mechanics as the familiar function of arcane bond, it seems consistent with this earlier ruling to say that the two abilities (and any other ability that points to the arcane bond's familiar function and uses the same mechanics) are considered the same feature for purposes of prerequisites, just as the three different channels are.
Among full-casting classes, the oracle is not especially powerful. If you include the other dozen or so classes in your "grand scheme of things", the oracle actually is pretty powerful. :)
Also, the AoE version is ally-unfriendly. Antipaladins may be unrepentant puppykickers, but killing your allies/underlings can be counterproductive and undesirable. Neutral melee clerics who channel negative energy might find it useful for much the same reason.
The only templated undead which are explicitly able to be created by Animate Dead are fast zombies, plague zombies, bloody skeletons, and burning skeletons. These four all note in their bestiary and PRD entries that they can be created this way. (Fast zombies also require Haste or Remove Paralysis to be cast during their creation, and plague zombies require Contagion.) The other zombie and skeleton templates do not have such notes and as such cannot be created with Animate Dead by default; for the most part, it is up to an individual DM to determine how they are created.
The only nonevil way I know of to create undead is via an oracle with the Juju mystery. Developers have stated that they are not keen on nonevil undead at all and recommend against it being allowed to players, but have not issued an errata or clarification against it either.
It might be fun to play in a campaign where everyone gets a certain amount of RP to build their own race. I think I would even enjoy setting that number pretty high, so long as the GM could run it right.
I'm in a game that just started that's doing that, actually, using a race creation system from a third party book. It is indeed pretty fun having each player build their own overpowered race, as long as everyone's on more or less the same page - I am quite pleased with my giant crab tetori monk. :)
My recommendation for the Stormborn blaster is to also act as a controller. The big advantage that Stormborn gets that other sorcerers don't is the ninth-level upgrade to Stormchild, so be ready to use it. I mentioned Solid Fog and Sleet Storm in the other thread, but Stinking Cloud is another spell that plays well with Stormchild - all the fogs and clouds do, and they're top-notch battlefield control, so hybrid controller/blaster seems like the way to go. Open with a control cloud, then light up the clouds with flashes of lightning - it's like your enemies are getting a firsthand tour of a thunderstorm. :)
edit: At first level that's probably not going to be happening, though, so yeah. :) Every first-level sorcerer runs into this kind of problem, pretty much - you have one attack spell and maybe Grease or something, and when it runs out you pull out a crossbow or your cruddy first-level bloodline power. (Or an attack cantrip if you have too much Magyckal Pride to resort to a crossbow - the Paizo blog ran an electric version of Acid Splash/Ray of Frost at one point, so you could go with that.)
Cledwyn the Steadfast wrote:
See, the thing is that the stuff you're talking about (Improved Trip and Improved Disarm) is just fine and is interesting, but also has nothing to do with Combat Expertise and Combat Expertise itself contributes little to nothing of interest to play. You can have exciting, fun characters with Combat Expertise, but all that Combat Expertise is doing is serving as a speed bump in front of the exciting, fun combat styles you actually were building the character towards.
On the other hand, there's a decent chance that the common knowledge of red dragons won't be more useful than "huge, dangerous, fire everywhere, run for your life".
Feeblemind has no expensive component and prevents spellcasting. It lasts indefinitely and can be reversed reliably, without lasting harm and without expensive components by casting Heal. Feeblemind the prisoner and keep him in a comfortable locked room; Heal him if you need to interrogate or ransom him. This does require a moderately high-level spellcaster on staff, but it's not like the more baroque methods being suggested are exactly cheap.
A less effective but more budget-conscious and lower-level solution, particularly if you expect to have high prisoner turnover, is a set of manacles enchanted to inflict silence on their wearer. It won't stop a sorcerer with both Still and Silent metamagic, but it'll effectively shut down the majority of spellcasters.
That's... not really comparable. Plant companions make as much sense for druids of any race as they do for elves, as opposed to giving one class an unrelated class's primary features. If it was something like the unique elven hounds long bred and kept secret within elven houses that'd be one thing, but a mini-treant companion is appropriate and flavorful for any race of druid and I can hardly fault a GM who'd open up the option.
I was mulling over the old Sandshaper from 3.5's Sandstorm sourcebook a while back and considering how it might fit into Pathfinder. The end result is something completely different, although the signature ability is still there (and no longer completely useless). Thus, the Desert mystery.
Class Skills: An oracle with the Desert mystery adds Survival, Knowledge (Nature), Perception and Stealth to her list of class skills.
Bonus Spells: endure elements (2nd), heat metal (4th), heatstroke (6th), grove of respite (8th), stoneskin (10th), dust form (12th), scouring winds (14th), horrid wilting (16th), summon elder worm (18th)
Sand Sculptor (Su): As a full-round action, you can sculpt ordinary sand into nonmagical objects of your choice. If you have access to a sufficient quantity of sand, dust or gravel (equal to the volume of the object to be created, you can magically sculpt it into an object up to the size of a cart or a large tent. Creating a functioning tool, armor or weapon, or another object requiring fine detail or moving parts, requires a caster level check against a DC equal to the crafting DC of the object to be created. You may only create solid objects in this manner, and while they take on many of the material properties of the objects they resemble (a sand-sculpted bedroll will be soft and comfortable while a sand-sculpted torch will burn and shed light) they are visibly made of sand and cannot duplicate the effects of special materials. You must be at least level 7 to create alchemical items via sand sculpting, and must make a caster level check against their crafting DC as with other complex items. You cannot create living creatures or edible food via sand sculpting. You can return any object you have sculpted to ordinary sand as a standard action.
Sand-Shaped Servants (Su): You can shape ordinary sand into various useful lifelike constructs. To use this ability, you must have access to an amount of sand, dust or gravel equal to the volume of the creature to be shaped, and spend one minute sculpting it into the desired form. You may shape it into any creature which is normally eligible to be a familiar, a common dog, or a light horse or camel (appropriately fitted for either riding or pack use, but without barding). Other forms may be sculpted, using the same statistics as one of the listed creatures; at the GM's discretion, other animals of similar power may be available. Other than having the construct type, with the immunities and changes the type implies, these creatures are physically and mentally identical to the base creature, although they are visibly constructs made of sand rather than actual living things. They will understand your commands as well as possible given their intelligence and will serve you to the best of their ability much as a summoned creature would. You may also create a small, roughly humanoid shape known as a sand servitor, which has AC 10, 1 HP, base saves equal to your own, and capabilities otherwise identical to an unseen servant.
Desert Trance (Sp): Once per day, by drinking a brew of desert spices in solitude, you can see the infinite unfolding pathways of your decisions before you. These visions last for ten minutes, during which time you can take no other actions. At the end of this time, you retain a glimpse of the future's shape. At first level, this acts as an augury spell with 80% effectiveness. At 5th level, it becomes a divination with 90% effectiveness. At 8th level, this power is equivalent to commune.
Favor Of The Wastes (Su): You are permanently treated as being under the effects of endure elements. You also gain the favored terrain class feature as a ranger of your oracle level; you must choose desert as your favored terrain and do not gain new favored terrains as you gain levels, although your bonus increases at the levels that it normally would. In addition, you do not treat loose sand or gravel as difficult terrain.
Scapegoat (Sp): Once per week, you may perform an hour-long ritual in which negative energies and evil forces are transferred from up to six individuals into a living domesticated animal. The animal is then released into the desert as an offering to the gods and spirits that dwell there; when they consume the offering, the unwanted energies are destroyed with it. All participants receive the benefits of remove curse or remove disease, as you choose. If you are at least level 10, you may choose to instead have the ritual act as atonement or break enchantment. If you are affected by an effect that would impair your ability to perform the ritual and it is an effect which would be potentially terminated by the ritual's effects (such as a curse causing your actions to have a 50% chance of failure), you may perform the ritual as if unimpaired by the effect as long as you are capable of taking physical actions at all.
Desiccating Touch (Su): As a standard action, you can perform a melee touch attack that dries your enemy's flesh like the desert sun, dealing 1d6 points of nonlethal damage + 1 point for every two oracle levels you possess and causing the target to become fatigued. Creatures immune to nonlethal damage and creatures with no significant water content in their body (such as fire elementals) take 1d6 points of damage, while creatures with the aquatic, amphibian, or water subtypes take double damage. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier. At 11th level, any weapon you wield deals an extra 1d6 nonlethal damage.
Aestivation (Su): When you are buried in the earth of the wasteland, you can draw upon its power. You do not risk suffocation from being buried in sand, gravel or other desert terrain. When you are buried in sand, you can enter a torpor in which the desert spirits flow into you. You may bury yourself to enter this state, or someone else can bury you, as long as you are completely covered by natural sand, gravel, or other desert soil for the duration of your aestivation. You do not suffer the negative effects of starvation or dehydration while in this state, although you will still feel pangs of hunger and thirst. The effects of poison and disease do not progress while you are in a state of aestivation. For every 24 hours you spend in this state, you recover twice the usual amount of hit point and ability damage (four times your character level in hit points and four points of ability damage). As you gain oracle levels, the healing power of your aestivation increases. At 8th level, you also recover from one temporary negative level for every 24 hours you spend in aestivation without the need for a saving throw, or one permanent negative level for every week. Your aestivation is also capable of purging poisons and disease from your system at this level, reducing the save DC of any such affliction by 1 for every 24 hours spent in aestivation and removing it entirely when the DC is reduced below 10. At 11th level, 24 hours of aestivation will cure any condition which would be removed by a heal spell other than damage, poison, or disease, and you no longer age while aestivating. At 15th level, one week of aestivation will restore lost limbs and body parts as if regenerate had been cast. Furthermore, at 15th level, if you die and your body is buried in the natural sand of the desert for a full month undisturbed, you are affected as by resurrection.
Haboob (Sp): As a standard action, you can invoke a devastating storm of sands and wind in a 30-foot radius centered on yourself. Any creature within the area of the haboob other than yourself is subject to 3d6 points of piercing damage each round it remains in the area, and all vision is blocked; you are able to determine the location of any creature within the haboob that you would normally be able to see, but it is treated as having total concealment from you. Furthermore, windstorm conditions prevail within the haboob, although you personally are not subject to being checked or blown away. The haboob remains centered on you for its duration. You may maintain the haboob for up to one round per oracle level per day, divided up as you see fit, although beginning the haboob requires a standard action each time. In a desert area, the haboob's radius is doubled. You must be at least level 15 to select this revelation.
Desert Speaker (Su): You gain the wild empathy ability as a ranger of your oracle level. Your wild empathy only affects creatures that dwell natively in deserts or other arid wastelands. At level 5 you may speak with plants a number of times per day equal to your charisma modifier, but only to communicate with plants native to the desert. At level 11 you may instead use this ability to gain the benefits of stone tell, but only to communicate with sand, gravel, and other desert terrain.
Written In Sand (Sp): You can write a short message in the sand and speak the name of the message's intended recipient. The message is then blown away by the wind, re-forming in a cloud of sand or dust at the recipient's location and acting for all purposes as a sending spell. The recipient may speak a response aloud, and her voice will be carried to you as a faint but clear echo on the desert wind. You can use this ability once per day, plus an extra time per day at fourth level and every four levels thereafter.
Final Revelation: Golden Path