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This class seems way better with the changes. Even still, I don't think mental potency does anything. It scales up at just the right speed to make sure your spells with HD caps never quite work against opponents of an appropriate CR.
Tricks are really the big draw of the class for me, but even with the changes (which, don't get me wrong, are a huge improvement) it seems like the mesmerist will never have enough of them, or be able to have enough of them active simultaneously, given how situational and short-lasting the effects are. I like the effects, but knowing when to implant which trick in advance and in whom to most effectively implant it sounds nearly impossible since the effects are so situational. And most of the tricks have such short-lasting effects, implanting them in combat will rarely be able to compete with spells for reasonable usages of standard actions.
As written, these effects would be perfect if the mesmerist had at least twice as many daily usages (or better, they were just at will) and could have one active on each ally simultaneously right from level one. The effects would still be minor, but they'd have much better odds of ever being useful. Right now the mesmerist doesn't have the coverage or quantity to set up enough reasonable contingencies.
Are you trying to take a parent class' archetype on a hybrid class? Because that you absolutely cannot do. The hybrids are made of a combination of the parent classes, but do not count as their parent classes for any reason unless it specifically say so in this abilities (like how a Warpriest can use his Warpriest level as Fighter levels/BAB for his bonus feats, or how a Brawler can use his Brawler level as his Monk level for Unarmed Strike damage).
No, I'm not. I'm actually not trying to do anything with this except improve Hero Lab. Right now in Hero Lab ninjas don't count as rogues for feat prerequisites, samurai don't count as cavaliers, and antipaladins don't count as paladins. I thought that was wrong so I asked here in order to get citation to put in a bug report. I didn't even think to check the ACG because I know hybrid classes aren't alternate classes, but someone upthread quoted a passage from the ACG that says alternate classes are just a detailed type of archetype, and I'm trying to find the page number of that quote to include with my bug report.
The link I gave you is all there is, and it is sufficient. The text says bonus, so its a bonus, and therefore a type.
It does say bonus, but it doesn't say type. And type does not necessarily follow from bonus. I agree with your reading, but untyped bonuses do exist and the absence of the word "type" is fundamental to the difference of opinion you and I have with Lone Wolf.
I think this could use a FAQ entry. It's pretty unclear. My basic assumptions are more or less the same as yours, but when things are more complicated than a single Bestiary entry there's no definitive answer I can find. Take, for instance, a high level treant oracle that casts divine vessel (fiendish aspect), gaining two claw attacks. Do those overlap with the 2 slams that almost certainly were intended to be made with its arms, or does it now have four attacks? I would assume they overlap, but I'd like to know for sure.
Perhaps you can give an in-game example of how your interpretation differs from theirs? At the moment it seems to me more like an issue of semantics.
The example the Hero Lab developer gave was a bugbear with three levels of draconic sorcerer. Bugbears have a +3 natural armour bonus to AC. At 3rd level, a draconic sorcerer gets a +1 natural armour bonus to AC. The developer believes the bugbear sorcerer now has a "+4 untyped bonus to natural armour" and I believe it still has a +3 total natural armour bonus to AC.
This actually isn't the issue. I don't dispute that an effect that grants an "increase to natural armour" effectively stacks with natural armour. That's the only way I can even think to read that. I'm talking about actual natural armour bonuses. Here are some quotes from the developer in question:
"Almost all bonuses to natural armor that I can think of are untyped (and should be stacking already), with the exception of amulets of natural armor and the barkskin spell (both of which are enhancement bonuses and normally don't stack)."
"I'm not aware of any rules saying untyped natural armor bonuses don't stack with each other, could you give me a citation where you saw that?"
"I can't find a corresponding entry in the core rulebook that states natural armor is a bonus. I realize it is referred to as the "natural armor bonus" throughout, but I thought Natural armor was a secondary attribute (like the "initiative bonus"), because it can accrue bonuses of various types of its own. On a quick review I see things granting both enhancement bonuses to natural armor and racial bonuses, but there may be more. Under the interpretation you advance, we'd need to make a distinction between things which grant natural armor and things which improve it."
Could you list the two specific feats that increase natural armor bonus?
I'm not worried about any particular feat or ability, nor am I worried about increases. This is just about the basic concept of whether "natural armour" is a type of bonus or an abstract component of AC.
That link doesn't seem to support your position or mine. It doesn't call natural armour a bonus, even though it explicitly calls out dodge, enhancement, etc. as bonuses. And then it just says "If your race has a tough hide, scales, or thick skin you receive a bonus to your AC" which actually seems to support Lone Wolf's abstract untyped bonus to AC stance. I suspect it's just imprecise writing, and I appreciate your finding it for me, but it doesn't seem to draw the conclusion that either you or I want it to.
Give us the specific example. Every time I disagree with their rulings I also tend to break it down and explain why. Rather than saying this overall ruling is wrong you might need to say why a specific combo in herolab is wrong.
There actually isn't a specific example in this case. I'm programming a class of my own design into Hero Lab and I asked if anyone had thoughts on how to break the system-wide rule of natural armour bonuses not stacking since the class has an ability that allows natural armour bonuses to stack with one another. I was told that Hero Lab already breaks that rule because natural armour bonuses already stack with one another. See the above quotes for the exact wording.
Sorry if I'm coming across as obstinate. (: The problem I have just isn't any more complicated than the question I posed in the OP. I can't find strong supporting evidence for or against my opinion in any books, so I've yet again come to the internet for help.
It sounds like you guys all agree with my understanding of the rules, but what I really need is citation from books about this (or a FAQ entry) so I can take it to the Hero Lab guys to get them to fix it. Where is any of this actually said in a book? I know about the chart in magic armour, but that isn't terribly explicit. Thanks, regardless!
Question: Do alternate classes count as their parent classes for archetypes and prerequisites?
In most cases it doesn't matter because there are few if any feats with specific prerequisites that you have levels in cavalier, paladin, or rogue, and most alternate classes are different enough from their parent classes that archetypes don't stack with them anyway. But there are a few rogue archetypes that could be applied to a ninja, there's equipment that cares about specific classes, and honestly it's just an interesting question to know the answer to. I always assumed they did count as their parent classes, but then is the reverse true? Could samurai archetypes be taken by cavaliers, etc.? Ultimate Combat's rules for alternate classes are silent on this issue.
Question: If a limb has multiple natural attacks associated with it, does it get to use each of those attacks during a full attack or does it have to choose between them?
Between templates, spells, traits, feats, etc., it's possible to get multiple natural attacks each associated with a single limb (for instance, two claws and two slams on a creature with two arms). There's some rules text in the Bestiary listing on natural weapons that says you can't use a claw attack if you're holding a weapon with that hand, which implies that you also wouldn't be able to double-dip claw and slam. What about gore and bite? Talon and hoof? Or is that rule unique to combining natural and manufactured weapons? After all, it's possible to attack more than once with a single manufactured weapon during a full-attack.
Question: Is natural armour its own type of bonus?
I ask because it always seemed to me that the answer was "yes", but recently I found that both a rules-knowledgeable friend and the developers of Hero Lab believe the answer is "no". The terminology is fairly inconsistent, with many texts stating "+X bonus to natural armour" and others stating "+X natural armour bonus to AC".
The Hero Lab developers and my friend both believe that natural armour is some sort of abstract component of a character's AC that is usually modified in the form of untyped bonuses, and sometimes enhancement bonuses. My own understanding was that enhancement bonuses are a weird type of bonus that sometimes modify other types of bonuses. Why this matters? Because if I'm wrong, then most natural armour bonuses stack with one another. That isn't likely to come up very often, but it seems worth knowing.
d20pfsrd.com is pretty clear in its glossary that natural armour is a type of bonus and that it doesn't stack with itself, but there's no citation in that glossary and I honestly haven't been able to find much to support either position in any rulebook, let alone the Core Rulebook. The only thing I found was on page 134 of Ultimate Magic where natural armour appears on the bonus types chart. Enhancement also appears on that chart, though, and enhancement bonuses are weird, so the chart in and of itself doesn't preclude natural armour also being weird, I guess.
You don't believe there's any value to providing parallel perspectives about two different playtest classes played at the same table together? I'm not sure I understand your complaint. I realize this thread is about the medium, which is why I linked to my account of the game rather than posting the kineticist data in the same thread.
I don't have an opinion on kinetic cover yet. I've only playtested one session so far where I had access to it. But during that session there wasn't a single time I believed it was the best use of my standard action. That could be the scenario's fault. I have played plenty of games where abilities I know to be awesome never came up. Since I don't know yet for this ability, I just thought it bore mentioning.
I will be playing through two more levels of Emerald Spire on the 15th, and I'll post playtests for each of those afterward. Preliminarily, I'm excited for feel the burn, so I can hit a little more reliably. I also pick up two-weapon fighting at this level so I can dual-wield rocks and rapier for an extra chance to hit when I get in close. At 5th level, I pick up butterfly's sting and the build really gets going.
And here's the write-up for level 2!
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 2ND - EMERALD SPIRE: THE TOWER RUINS
I spent my 1 burn at the beginning of the day to up my DR/adamantine to 2. After that, our first combat was roughly the entirety of the dungeon because our medium spent the entire time running between rooms opening doors while combats were happening. We fought a bunch of goblins, some of whom had ranger levels and goblin dogs, and one of whom had cleric levels. We also fought a damaged emerald automaton. This level didn't make for very good playtesting and is included here only for completeness. There was a light effect that prevented people from seeing more than 5 feet away from any light effect unless they had darkvision, which I didn't. I also believed my kinetic blade cost 1 burn more than it did, so I spent a lot of time fumbling around in the darkness and shooting and/or hitting things at a 50% miss chance, since I believed I needed two hands free to hit with my kinetic blade in close combat and couldn't see anything at range. I honestly used my rapier more often than my class abilities.
This combat was against a bugbear ranger who died really quickly to being swarmed by the party.
See you at 3rd level!
Mark Seifter wrote:
Kinetic blade takes only 1 burn :)
I'm obviously determined to find something wrong with this already well-balanced ability. I don't know why you can't just play along. (: For real, though, my reading comprehension is normally not this bad. I could have sworn this said it cost 2 burn.
I had a PFS character number that had been run through We Be Goblins and Silverhex Chronicles with pregens and was a single xp away from 2nd level. I decided to put together an earth kineticist with an eye toward melee combat, and with the ultimate goal of using butterfly's sting and two-weapon fighting to pass crits from a keen rapier to my kinetic blade. Here's my build at 1st level:
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 2ND - 1-48 // THE DEVIL WE KNOW, PART IV: THE RULES OF THE SWIFT
Our first combat was against two first-level druids, their dire rat animal companions, and two other dire rats. Our medium sent one or two dancing lights creatures around the corner and the dire rats attacked, while the rest of us readied actions to do various ranged attacks or cast spells against enemies when they entered our various ranges. The rats came around the corner, followed by the druids. I missed with my blast, but on the two subsequent turns I proceeded to use a move action to lessen my burn, five-foot step into melee range, spend a burn to use kinetic blade, and then successfully hit with my rock sword. I am at +3 to hit here, which is pretty abysmal but we were up against AC 13 or 14 across the board, and being bad at hitting is a 1st level tradition. I could have hit more reliably for less damage with my rapier and saved myself the hit points, but I really wanted to hit them hard. With rocks. Up close. In their faces.
Before our second combat, I scouted ahead since I had a pretty decent Stealth modifier. Unfortunately, it wasn't decent enough and a small earth elemental put me down with a single crit. Luckily for me, I had a 19 Con and didn't outright die from the 22 damage. I spent the rest of the fight trying to stabilize while ruing the bitter irony of being a geokineticist bested by an earth elemental.
Our third combat was against a ghast, bottlenecked in a hallway. I had no way to get into melee range, so I spent every round of the fight trying to shoot into melee through cover. It's hard to hit AC 18 with a -5 to hit. This combat was really boring, but ranged combat is my back-up and I don't have any of the go-to ranged feats like Point-Blank Shot or Precise Shot which is my own fault.
Our final combat was against a derro and two mites. This was basically over before it began as one of our occultists had a derro-bane longbow. I didn't contribute meaningfully.
See you at 2nd level!
I couldn't find whatever arguments led to kinetic blade being limited to one attack per round, but I hope you'll reconsider. I'm very definitely a melee guy, and was super excited about the kineticist kinetic blade build I've been working on, but now I'm a little perplexed.
It seemed to me before that the point of the ability was to trade range and mobility for an increase in damage by allowing multiple blasts on a full attack. What exactly is the point of allowing it to work with a full attack if it takes up a hand but doesn't allow multiple attacks? Two-weapon fighting? That seems to be the only way to utilize it with the current errata, which is a huge feat tax for an infusion that is mostly downside on paper and comes with a burn cost. Especially, since that burn cost is harder to mitigate when you need to get to a creature and then spend full-round actions to damage it.
If the concern is that two or three melee attacks at full blast damage is too high, I'm sure some sort of compromise can be made for full attacks. Maybe each attack per round does half the damage of the previous one or something? I just think allowing this power only once per round with full attacks doesn't make any sense.
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
I would say that yes, the shadow dancers summoned shadow would also prevent a phantom from manifesting or cause it to retreat back into the summoner's consciousness, and I will make a note to add that later drafts.
Just a note on this before you commit, but shadowdancers' shadows aren't dismissable in the same way summoners' eidolons are. Dismissing them risks a negative level and leaves them gone for at least 30 days, so they're effectively an "always on" class feature. Adding them into this text means that three levels in a particular prestige class will effectively shut off the main ability of this base class. That doesn't seem ideal. You could honestly delete that entire paragraph from the class if you just made the spiritualist an alternate class of summoner instead of a base class (which is what it feels like anyway).
You, 100%, cannot ever learn any spell for your spell list (divine or arcane) before you are capable of casting that spell. Full stop.
That's not entirely true. If you find a wizard's spellbook and decide to copy spells from it, even though some of them might be too high level for you to cast you can still copy them into your book (so they're there when you CAN cast them). I agree 100% that the OP is misreading the sentence in question. The free spells you write in your spellbook when you level up must be of a level you can cast (presumably because higher level spells are too complex for you to think of on your own until you get more experience), but as far as I can tell you can copy spells from other sources with no issue.
Oh, and eventually the dip you're going to want for a magus is crossblooded draconic/orc sorcerer, for +2 damage per dice to your shocking grasps (and a few extra 1st level buff spells per day if you can get your Charisma to 11 or higher with an ioun stone or something... shield perhaps?). Actually, on that note, don't forget that as a Str magus, you can always open combat by doing Spell Combat while casting shield on yourself. Having high Strength will mean you'll be doing plenty of damage without a spell, and shield makes up for the lost Dex to your AC except against touch attacks.
Are you set on being a Dex magus? If it were me, I'd focus on Strength instead. You'll be more fragile at low levels, but you'll free up the two feat slots you're wasting on making your Dex pretend to be Strength, so you can take Power Attack and significantly up your damage. Magus is my favourite class. I'm playing two of them in home games right now, and have three in PFS. I always have more fun with the Str-based ones. The best armour class is a dead monster.
In the Advanced Class Guide, the Extra Hex feat has been updated to have the following wording (emphasis mine):
Extra Hex wrote:
You gain one additional hex. You must meet the prerequisites for this hex. If you are a shaman, it must be a hex granted by your spirit rather than one from a wandering spirit.
By RAW, that would rule out taking one of the non-spirit-specific hexes available to all shamans, but it reads like it's only meant to rule out hexes from wandering spirits. FAQ?
I too had noticed this. And while we're on the subject of additional resource updates, I'd love to see the owners of catfolk, ratfolk, and samsaran boons have official access to their chapters from the ARG. John Compton previously noted that they were likely to get access to everything from those chapters, but since that comment there has been an update to the additional resources without any progress on this.
I have a samsaran character all ready to go, and I can't play it until I'm sure it's legal.
Right, my clearly poorly delivered point being that this 12 year old may need a little more guidance from local leadership than what is being provided. I'd be kind of a shame for a youngster to get discouraged.
Sorry! I should have used quote tags. I wasn't responding to you, and I agree with you completely. I was responding to someone up-thread who said the existence of the added monster alone was grounds for a TPK reversal. I just wanted to note that no player has explicitly stated that there was an extra monster. And having run the game myself, most of their other complaints (with a few noteable, but minor, exceptions) seem baseless.
Not that I think they're in the wrong to be upset. Unless you have a very specific party make-up, the scenario is written to be intentionally confusing, and incredibly lethal for 1st-level characters. I'd be mad about playing it too. It just doesn't sound like it was (entirely) the GM's fault.
Given that nobody has explicitly said that the kid added an additional monster into the first combat, it doesn't sound to me like there's grounds for a death reversal. The original poster sort of implied it, but the other player who chimed in made it sound like it was run with the correct number of monsters. And the memories of the two distinct players from this game aren't 100% consistent with each other, so who knows what actually happened? From both player accounts so far, it seems to me like the kid did a great job for someone his age, demonstrating rules knowledge that exceeds many adults I've played with. It definitely sounds like he made some bad calls, and the "vulnerability" issue from the spoiler above is something I was going to mention as a particularly big "oops," but all GMs make mistakes. Most of what he did, and most of what it sounds like the players had problems with, sounds run as-written.
All right, with the clarification, it does sound like some bad calls were made. On the other hand, you absolutely can charge on a surprise round, you just only get to move single speed. It's often called a partial charge, and you can do it anytime you're denied a full-round action but can still take a standard.
It sounds like most people commenting in this thread either haven't run this or don't understand the nuances of the monster in the final fight. I have run this, and it actually sounds like your GM ran it pretty much to the letter and did an admirable job. There were a lot of hard-to-grasp and hard-to-remember aspects to that scenario. For a twelve year old to have gotten them all (or even mostly) right is commendable. The truth is that is just an extremely killer scenario at 1st level.
Jeff covered most of this, but it bears reiteration.
1) The beginning of the scenario is meant to be confusing. You're told you're doing a practice dungeon crawl as a training mission, and when you get there bandits have already sprung most of the paint traps and accidentally activated a bunch of legitimately dangerous robots.
2) The robot you encountered is unbelievably hard at low levels. Its tactics explicitly say it Power Attacks if anyone closes to melee range, which means it hits at a +6 (+8 after round three) for 1d8+10 damage and crits on a 19-20. It also has hardness 5, which is hard for 1st level PCs to deal with. Jeff is right that there should only have been one robot at low tier, but there's also a really annoying electro-dart trap that hits two people per round and can stagger them. However, even at low tier it frees itself and can move after round three.
3) From that point on the dungeon is a blur of weird technology that your party can't identify without an obscure and brand new feat, so it's almost always going to be confusing. It's supposed to feel very alien.
4) The scarecrow has a gaze attack. Gaze attacks are very, very often misunderstood and they're insanely powerful. Gaze attacks happen automatically at the beginning of a creature's turn against every creature within range (in this case 30 ft.) who isn't averting his or her eyes. A creature with a gaze can also focus their attack as a standard action to get a second attempt against one specific creature. Scarecrows' gazes also explicitly say that their approach doesn't break fascination, so you're fascinated until it attacks you. If it can take you down in a turn you're pretty much out of luck.
I would say it sounds like legit TPK, which is probably the likely outcome of playing this scenario with all 1st level PCs.
I started this thread over a year ago, so it's funny to see it pop back up now. I did work with a number of players to help them ease into character legality, buying a source at a time, and I'm happy to announce the transition went relatively smoothly. On the "encouraging physical sales" front, I also bought lockers for the store that people can rent to store their books and minis.
I sort of resent the "unless you're just all about selling books" comment. I try hard to support games I believe in, often at little return for the store, but at the end of the day I'm paying rent on my gaming space and I just can't shell out that sort of money to support players who aren't willing to support me.
I run PFS because episodic, structured campaigns are the only way a store can truly offer RPG events with open enrollment, but I have always been fine with people organizing their own games at my store. And I give people plenty of options for things to buy. I've been to stores that sell only the hardcover rulebooks but wonder why PFS isn't generating sales. I carry all the paperback books, a full complement of dice, all the flip-mats and map packs, other game mats, the fiction line, dice bags, tons and tons of minis (both new and used), and gaming aids like the Litko products and Pathfinder cards.
I run my store to support gamers. I don't appreciate the implication that wanting them to support me in return is somehow money-grubbing or wrong.
Twitter hashtags are hard to read and often intentionally silly, so I don't believe anyone is suggesting that exact implementation.
On the other hand, "well-rounded" is a sort of character some players like to build but many others do not. It's absolutely possible to build a character who wields his or her words as a well as a sword (and vice versa), but it's not always the character everyone wants to play. Personally, I find that well-rounded characters end up feeling too similar to each other. I prefer my characters to have pronounced strengths and weaknesses so they all feel distinct.
Regardless of player preference, we all work for the Pathfinder Society. Thus, the PFS might have some sort of preference for well-rounded agents, but they clearly accept that sometimes you need the right tool for the job or else they wouldn't have hired a lot of the PCs running around (many of my own included). Many of their agents must have been hired on for very specific reasons. That may not be the vision everyone has for the PFS, but that is the reality of this campaign.
There have been a number of times I've sat down at a table and received my mission briefing only to have my character's first question for the VC be "why, out of every agent available, did you choose me for this mission?" Not every agent fits every mission. For instance, my Sczarni kneecap-breaker, on loan to the society to help bash skulls, doesn't make any sense for diplomatic missions. It's not what he knows, it's not what he's good at, and there's no reasonable VC in the society that would send him on any such mission.
But they do. Why?
I realize a lot of PFS communities are small and don't have the luxury of being able to pick and choose missions in a way that's sensible. But for bigger communities, we do, and some sort of tag system would help us do it. I don't want spoiler tags. I don't want to be warned about the things the in-story VCs didn't anticipate when choosing their agents. Those things are fun as surprises, and exciting when done well. But what could be the harm in tagging scenarios with information presented in the briefing? Anything a VC knows when selecting his or her agents is information that players could use to screen which scenarios their characters would likely be chosen to take on.
For people with well-rounded characters, this idea likely doesn't do much for you, but it isn't intended for you either. For those of us who like to build diplomats who can't fight, fighters who can't sneak, and sneakers who can't diplomacize, this would go a long way toward making the in-story VCs seem more competent at their jobs.
Is it really in dispute that the Society has specialists and that their commanding officers would be careful about which missions to send them on?
Something else definitely needs to have changed for this to be okay. That effective full BAB was the only thing making the warpriest's MADness tolerable. 3/4 BAB and 14 Str isn't going to cut it unless something else changed to compensate. Fervor doesn't have nearly enough uses as-written to pick up the slack.
I picked up this project again, and these are the stats I've come up with. Critiques? Corrections? Again, I'm no gun-expert. Given that Paizo already has rules for automatic weapons--awful though they may be--I'm going to use them, just for simplicity and consistency's sake. That said, how do my numbers look?
Bazooka: two-handed weapon, 6d6 fire, x2 crit, 150 ft. range increment, 10 lbs. loaded, 6 lbs. unloaded
When a bazooka hits, it explodes in 30-foot-radius burst from its point of impact. A creature hit directly takes 6d6 points of fire damage and must succeed at a DC 25 Reflex save or catch fire, taking an additional 2d6 points of damage each round until the flames are extinguished. A burning creature can attempt a new save as a full-round action, and dropping and rolling on the ground grants a +2 bonus on this save. Other creatures caught in the burst also take 6d6 points of fire damage, but may attempt a DC 25 Reflex saving throw to take half damage. A bazooka can be targeted at a grid intersection like a splash weapon. Likewise, a bazooka scatters on a miss exactly like a splash weapon. A bazooka’s rockets are loaded as a full-round action.
Double-Barreled Shotgun: one-handed weapon, 1d10 bludgeoning and piercing, x2 crit, 60 ft. range increment, misfire 1-2, capacity 2, scatter, 10 lbs.
Flamethrower: as WWI flamethrower from Reign of Winter
Handgun: one-handed weapon, 1d10 bludgeoning and piercing, x4 crit, 80 ft. range increment, misfire 1, capacity 15, 4 lbs.
Sniper Rifle: two-handed weapon, 1d10 bludgeoning and piercing, 18-20/x4 crit, 400 ft. range increment, misfire 1, capacity 5, fired as full-round action, 12 lbs.
UZI: one-handed weapon, 2d6 bludgeoning and piercing, x4 crit, 100 ft. range increment, misfire 1, capacity 50, automatic, 8 lbs.
Hello everyone! I am the aforementioned shop owner from Pennsylvania, famed for my knock-down drag-out defence of replay. In a curious bit of irony, Skaldi the Tallest is actually a player at my store, and mentioned this discussion to me yesterday, (correctly) believing I had been referenced in the discussion.
Drogon, it's not that I can't stand you, it's that I think your arguments too often fall into the trap of "A is true and B is true, so there must be some causal relationship between A and B", not to mention you often come across as believing your store is living proof of the one true way to make everything right with the gaming industry. That said, I have been presently surprised by your open-mindedness to other ways of handling PFS while skimming this thread, even if I still believe the causal conclusions you're drawing are wrong, and despite you continuing to dodge people's points by insisting your (sometimes) false conclusions must be real since the situations they're based on really happened.
So, let me start with some premises:
1) Unfettered replay-for-credit would be bad for Pathfinder Society today.
In 2010 when there were around 50 scenarios, and APs and modules had yet to be sanctioned for play, replay-for-credit was a necessary system. There simply weren't enough scenarios back then. That said, I was new to organizing roleplaying games at the time, and my ignorance had worsened my problems. It simply never occurred to me to publish a schedule ahead of time or to offer advance sign-ups, and once you get people used to just showing up, it's tough to retrain them. When replay ended, PFS ended in the city of Philadelphia, the combined result of my short-sighted scheduling and the premature ending of a policy that could have been phased out as scenario supply strengthened. After a year of running a homebrew replacement for PFS, we decided to give PFS another shot, this time with a better organizational system and we've been doing well with it ever since.
However, even Warhorn isn't a perfect solution. Sometimes people sign up early and forget to drop themselves when they realize they have a scheduling conflict. Sometimes new customers show up out of the blue because somebody told them when we play PFS but failed to tell them they needed to sign-up in advance. Normally the scheduled tables go off without a hitch regardless, but sometimes things need to be switched around at the last minute to accommodate everyone. It's just the nature of the beast. Even when the schedule works out as expected, I know there are people who wanted to play and had the time, but didn't sign up because there wasn't anything on the schedule they hadn't already played. I try to let my customers know that they can request scenarios for the schedule and if they give me at least a week's notice I can add to the schedule to try to accommodate them, but scheduling math is actually really messy when you want to keep everyone happy.
Drogon, it sounds to me like you don't suffer from these problems because you've created a false scarcity in available seats by not having a big enough play area to meet the demand in your area. You're leaving money on the table because every customer you disappoint is that much more likely to vote elsewhere with his or her dollars. You're probably right that the new customer is likely to spend more, but which customer spends more is irrelevant. Why aren't you ensuring that you can seat them all? Nothing is more infuriating to me than selling out an event. It means I wasn't prepared for my customers' needs. You're solving scheduling problems by ignoring the bigger problem of not having enough space. I think you'll find that scheduling is messier when you have the space to meet demand, and that the concerns of people with more seats than bodies aren't going to be solved by "running a tight ship". You're inevitably going to be sending people home, or at the very least pointing them elsewhere, which is still disappointing when they have their hearts set on PFS (even if they end up enjoying whatever other activity you steer them toward).
None of this is an argument for replay-for-credit, but it's definitely a plea for options. 99% of the time I'm able to switch people to different tables, or switch one of the scenarios being run, to make sure that everyone can play. But every now and then someone offers to replay for no credit and it ends up being the best solution. Until last night I thought that was fine since the guide appeared to say so, and I'm a little disheartened to hear that it isn't. It's never anybody's first choice of solution. Everybody would rather play something they've never played before, and they'd rather get credit for playing, but sometimes the choice comes down to 1) somebody hurriedly reading through a scenario they weren't prepared to run, or 2) somebody replaying for no credit. For all the risk that somebody replaying might ruin a game for everyone else, it's almost guaranteed to be a bad game when the GM just rushed through a reading without doing real prep. This situation is rare, but it happens, and it should be facilitated.
I don't want unfettered replay, as I agree that part of what contributed to LFR's downfall was how bored everybody got with playing the same scenarios over and over again, but I don't think having the tools necessary to make all of my customers happy is too much to ask. Mike, if Paizo doesn't believe higher scenario output is possible (Drogon is right here, by the way, three per month is the magic number), please at least give us the tools to solve scheduling issues. Ever so occasionally, somebody replaying for no credit really is the best option. My store seats over 100, and we've run over 700 tables of PFS, so I hope my data can be taken as seriously as Drogon's.
This weapon is really easy to understand as long as you're not trying to bring any understanding of actually fighting with a weapon like this to the table. Rules don't always need to simulate realism. Sometimes keeping things simple or balanced is worth being less realistic. The stats for this weapon allow you to do all the things you could do with a kusarigama in real life PLUS a bunch of crap you couldn't, because making the weapon more specific and realistic would a) make it terrible, and b) make it stupidly complicated.
How does the naga aspirant druid archetype's naga shape "work like and replace wild shape", exactly?
I understand how stacking bonuses works, and I think your smite evil analogy is apples and oranges for that very reason. If a paladin took a feat (or piece of equipment, etc.) that granted smite evil, I think it's pretty clear that smite evil wouldn't stack with smite evil because it's an ability that grants a fixed bonus. Hell, if it did stack, you wouldn't even need another source to grant the ability, paladins at high levels get multiple uses per day, and they would just use them all against the big evil end boss for absurd bonuses. I would say that a piece of equipment (or feat, etc.) that granted smite evil would probably add to the number of times per day the paladin could smite, so in that sense it would "stack".
Constrict, on the other hand, provides an "always on" effect that says every time you succeed at a grapple check you deal extra damage. First of all plain old bludgeoning damage has never had any problem stacking with more bludgeoning damage (otherwise constrict wouldn't work at all), and second of all I know of no such rule that says two copies of the same ability are redundant, or overlap. I'm not saying they aren't, or don't. I'm just saying it's neither intuitive nor given that that's the case.
A better analogy would be another "always on" bonusless ability like fast healing. I've heard people say that two instances of fast healing don't stack, but I've never seen it cited. I could see it either way. If I have fast healing 5 from my race and fast healing 10 from a template, I know of no rule that says they don't both trigger every turn to heal me for 15 points. It's not that I'm unwilling to believe they overlap, I'd just like to see a valid rules citation so I'm sure of both the rules and the reason for the rules. I just don't like spreading erroneous rulings I've heard and assumed to be true.
And if there is no such ruling, maybe there should be one. It does seem awfully strong for constrict or fast healing abilities to be stackable.
How does the naga aspirant druid archetype's naga shape "work like and replace wild shape", exactly?
How is that "replacing" wild shape in any way then? I'm happy for that to be true, and I don't think it's overpowered because the naga form is weaker than a lot of the other forms available, but it seems out of phase with archetype design philosophy just to give you something for free without replacing anything. Not to mention, it's a hard reading to even arrive at since the ability itself says (in however an ambiguous way) that it replaces wild shape. Perhaps since all the powers you can choose that augment your naga form replace other "always on" druid abilities, the trade-off is considered baked in?
Hero Lab certainly agrees with your interpretation, anyway. Thanks for your insight!
How does the naga aspirant druid archetype's naga shape "work like and replace wild shape", exactly?
How does the naga shape ability granted by the naga aspirant druid archetype (pg.196 of the Advanced Race Guide) "work like and replace wild shape", given that it says wild shape is "gained at 4th level, as normal"?
The only reading I can arrive at that seems like a fair trade in power level without completely gimping the ability is that naga shape replaces the forms a druid would normally have available through wild shape from 6th level onward, but continues to progress the duration and number of times per day the druid can change form. Is that correct?
Advanced Race Guide wrote:
I think that's a reasonable reading, and it sounds like that's what my GM is going to use. I wonder if there's been any insight on this anywhere from the design team or the hexcrafter's author. If you don't treat the curses as touch spells, and don't grant them the free touch, they're really bad with spellstrike... Nevermind that many curses seem to have casting times of a round or longer.