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The bolded portion was meant to imply that the players have not seen the location they are trying to reach.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
And teleport spells do not exist in LOTR. My point was that returns trips in fiction often get abbreviated, so it is perfectly ok narrative wise for the teleport spell to make the return trip faster.
Teleport as written in RAW cannot bypass a desert that the players have never crossed.
There were multiple question, scry and fry was one of them, but lets take your desert journey example...1. Has the party wizard seen anything on the other side of the desert? No.
2. Does anyone in the part know someone on the other side of the desert they can scry reliably? No.
3. Does the party have any was to view something on the other side of the desert? No
4. Under these conditions, can the party teleport across the desert? Nope.
This is my point. Your hypothetical party can only teleport across the desert if you do not enforce the restrictions already on the teleport spell. At best, teleport would allow for a quicker return trip, which line of with fiction. In LOTR, the trip to Mordor took 3 books, the return took like 2 chapters.
A. I would let my players create the exact same spell if they wanted to. It is a balanced spell, and if both the players and the villains have the spell how am I trying to "screw the caster"? DM fiat is when you only let the bad guys have all the fun toys.
B. I have already pointed out multiples ways to stop scry and fry by RAW. Apparently having a evil wizard with superhuman intelligence actually act like a person with superhuman intelligence is somehow trying to screw the players.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
So running a 5 minute session where players try to do stuff, and automatically succeed at everything they attempt, and thus easily defeat all villains in the world is fun?
If you are allowed to change genres with a "Nun is preganant" ploy, why can I not switch to the drama genre with a "No, she is faking it to cover up her torrid affair with the head nun".
You seem to be running under the assumption that challenging the players and giving them temporary set backs is somehow not fun or that what is fun for the players is the only consideration in play.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
The problem with that approach is when teleporting into Mordor is either A. not possible by the rules or B. a really bad idea because that is exactly was the villain is expecting.
If you are dealing with a smart opponent, then you have to assume that they have through of the easy and obvious things, and try the things they may not think of, like say sneaking into Mordor the back way through a deathtrap guarded by a giant demon spider.
I may not get to use my awesome Balrog voice, but the player telling me "Why don't we just fly into Mordor on eagles?" would get a response of "Roll a DC 10 wisdom check" followed by "Do you thing the master of Mordor has flying forces of his own, and don't you think you might be a tad bit obvious?"
Using the spell creation rules, you could make a spell that functions exactly like Hallow, but limited in that it only allows you to attach a spell to an area for a year(the other 3 effects of Hallow are removed). Since the spell is basically a weakened version of Hallow, that would put it at a level 4 spell. Combine with diminsional anchor, and you can ward an area for a year the cost of 2 4th level spells. A level 7 wizard could ward quite a large area in a month's time.
This all ignores that to teleport, you need to have viewed the area once. Lead sheeting blocks scrying, so if the area is shielded, then the only way you can teleport in is to have actually been there before.
All of that is RAW. One of the biggest problems with magic in Pathfinder is that DMs are not enforcing the limits on spells that are already in the game.
Well there is also the problem with adversarial DMs. A lot of players cannot tell the difference between a DM who uses good system mastery to challenge them and a DM who uses arbitrary rulings and unlimited resources to crush them. This is especially true in the middle of an encounter.
I make it very clear that anything I do can be done by the players. Usually once I explain the rules of why something doesn't work, my players realize they can do the same thing, and they are ok with it. Do this for a while, and you build up trust with your players.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
For a year. You could easily protect an entire castle with a half months worth of spells.
The bigger point is that a level 4 spell Dimensional Anchor is capable of defeating level 5 or higher spells like teleport.
By RAW, you can easily stop players from using scry and fry with just Unhallow, Dimensional Anchor and lead sheeting
Orfamay Quest wrote:
So what would you say about a level 6 spell like say Scrying can be defeated by a something that isn't even a spell.
Scrying: a scrying spell creates an invisible magical sensor that sends you information. Unless noted otherwise, the sensor has the same powers of sensory acuity that you possess. This level of acuity includes any spells or effects that target you, but not spells or effects that emanate from you. The sensor, however, is treated as a separate, independent sensory organ of yours, and thus functions normally even if you have been blinded or deafened, or otherwise suffered sensory impairment.
A creature can notice the sensor by making a Perception check with a DC 20 + the spell level. The sensor can be dispelled as if it were an active spell.
Lead sheeting or magical protection blocks a scrying spell, and you sense that the spell is blocked.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Unhallow with an attached Dimensional Anchor says hi.
1. Abilities that act as if you are X sizes larger do not stack with each other. This is because if you are medium, having 2 abilities that act as if you are 1 size larger would both make you act as if you are large, but since they do not actually make you large, they cannot stack because they are both operating on your actual size.
2. Abilities that change your size do not stack with each other. I believe that all of these abilities are polymorphs which explicitly to not stack.
But abilities that actually change your size will stack with abilities that makes you act as if you are larger.
My point was that if you can bypass magical restrictions on your actual race, then getting around hard to pronounce words should be easier.
So all the dex fighter needs is the twf feat tree, three feats for dex to damage, and three ranged feats... This doesn't seem like a lot of feats to anyone else? I mean, this is completely nonviable on anything other than a fighter unless you want to have it play out at super high level when, incidentally, the martial classes become more and more marginalized by the games changing nature.
TWF only requires 2 feats: TWF, and Improved TWF(at level 6). Greater TWF is optional as it is a minor increase in DPR.
Dex to damage only requires 1 feat: Weapon finesse. The other feats are just ways to allow you to use weapon finesse with other weapons.
You can make a dex based TWF paladin work just fine with just these 3 feats and agile weapons. Having a dex to damage feat just eliminates the need for agile weapons, and thus lets me start closing the damage gap with a str character sooner.
Pick up Piranha strike, and I am solid in melee, and now I have to option to either...
Pick up more feats to becomes better at melee(IE weapon focus, two weapon defense, etc.)
Pick up a few archer feats to become a better rounded character(point blank shot, rapid shot, deadly aim)
If I go the second route, I will be a better archer than any str character could ever hope to be.
The problem with this is the dex requirements on TWF feats. A Str based TWF will eventually need a 19 dexterity if they want to get all of the TWF feats. A Dex based TWF will already have a 19 dex and then some. This is why I like to compare the Dex TWF to a Str Two-hander.
Chengar Qordath wrote:
How about4) More complicated than all of that. I have mostly been pointing out the advantages of dex builds, since the str advantages have been pretty well covered.
With the current RAW
By the time the dex builds start to catch up to the str builds in damage, the str builds have the opportunity to catch up in AC, init, and reflex saves via feats and equipment. This happens around level 6-8.
At level 10, things are pretty balanced, but dex builds have a clear advantage in init and reflex, and there are no feats left for the str build to take to close the gap. The str build maintains a damage advantage, but only in the absence of party buffs. From this point on, the dex build stays on par in damage(especially in a group setting), and gets increasingly better init and reflex.
By level 15, the dex build is usually on top, but most campaigns are over or winding down at this point, and the advantage isn't huge. Also, this is comparing highly optimized built from scratch builds, which is not how campaigns generally play out.
TLDR: Dex builds are currently 2-5 levels of suck damage with high defense to be all around stronger at higher levels.
Chengar Qordath wrote:
FYI, Weapon Focus and Pirahna Strike are a wash since a two-hander will be getting weapon focus and power attack as well. Exotic Weapon Prof. and slashing grace are not a requirement for TWF, because Kukri's get the job done just fine. The only feat tax on TWFing is TWF, Imp TWF, Greater IWF. Also, note that Greater TWF is considered optional because it is a minimal DPS gain. The only feat tax on dex to damage is currently weapon finesse. That is only 3 feats, 4 if you created a general dex to damage feat. The real hit to the dex TWFer right now is having to enchant 2 agile weapons. -1 to hit and damage on both weapons hurts quite a bit, and you don't get those weapons until around level 6-8, which oddly enough is about the time when strength fighters are getting access to all that nifty armor that helps them make up for the difference in AC.
There are plenty of other ways to get around DR in a group setting: Golf bag approach, Penetrating strike, Weapon Blanches, and spells like align weapon. If DR is slowing you down significantly, you are probably doing it wrong.
And what about at level 1-3 when no one has magic weapons or armor?
At level 1, you have 100-200 gold.
Once you hit level 5 or so, you have enough WBL to start getting the exact equipment you want, but starting out, Dex characters have a significant wealth advantage. This is another places where YMMV. Level 1 is the only time you have complete control over your character's gear. Once the game starts, the campaign and pacing may dictate what gear is available to you.
Having to enchant a second weapon is one of the few reasons why TWF damage lags behind a two-hander, but depending on party composition, you may not need to enchant a second weapon(Greater Magic Weapon).
Secret Wizard wrote:
So basically, you have to be a level 7 fighter who doesn't swap out armor training, a dwarf(with an inherent 20 foot move), burn a feat, or burn resources. Heavy armor is still more expensive. I would say that dex characters still have a massive advantage here.
Dual wielding light weapons is one of the best dex based options, but if you absolutely need power attack, a 2 level dip in ranger gets you power attack without needing to have a 13 strength. Otherwise, piranha strike will get the job done.
STR fighter may get bigger crits, but the TWF will give you more frequent smaller crits. Big crits also give you more overkill, which is a loss in damage dealt. I am more than willing to call it a wash.
Also, in addition to bards, look at a TWF paladin or a normal TWF fighter's damage when a paladin uses their group smite.
Actually, I think that the balance is in a good place with the current RAW(IE no general dex to damage feat). I can use agile weapons, feats like dervish dance, or certain class abilities to gain dex to damage, but I generally take a hit to my damage output in doing so that balances out my character not needing strength.
Some things that seem to have been overlooked thus far
Right now, I feel that the balance is in a good place, dex characters have better defenses, but they do slightly less damage.
I would add that one of their justifications for being selfish or petty is, "I am been a good boy lately, I can't be nice all the time." They do good, but like the bad things it is a lot of little things that don't really add up to much.
One thing that I did not see specifically mentioned would be what I have seen referred to as the innocent alignment. That are similar to animals in they do not have the capacity to understand moral choices. Unlike animals, they simply have not developed the capacity yet.
They may a concept of right and wrong in that they can register that you did something wrong to me, but they are not yet capable of understanding altruism or malice because they haven't internalized the concept of others having thoughts and feelings like themselves. Basically children, a man raised by wild animals.
I was DMing a campaign, and we had a sequence where the party was trying to save a group of clerics from a pair of assassins. The assassins had infiltrated the clerics and were taking them out, and the party was getting frustrated. It was a tense cat and mouse game that evenutually blew up into an all out battle. The results of the battle were a draw. 2 clerics and the party druid dead in exchange for one of the assassins. The other twist, the assassins used a potion that caused people killed while under its influence to have spell resistance against resurrections, so the party druid was looking to be dead for good. We were about level 14, and the druid was an integral member of the party, so his loss would be keenly felt.
The assassins were paid lawful evil mercenaries, but they were not going to keep the contract to the death. They were also twin sisters. So, the living assassin really wanted her sister back, so she met the party and offered a trade, her sister's body intact for the antidote to the anti-ress poison. I take the body, and you never see me again. Mind you, the assassins had racked up a pretty impressive body count of clerics at this point, so the thought of just letting them walk was a hard thing to stomach.
So basically, save your friend to let a cold blooded killer live again.
Landon Winkler wrote:
I would go a step further. The fact that clerics "Cast" spells at all really kills it for me. Gods are powerful beings with goals, and the divine magic system takes the power away from the god and basically makes them into the clerics little magic genie. To make matter worse, you have Wands of Cure light wounds. "Yeah, I just stored my god's divine power right here in this wand for anyone to use...."
This especially make sense when you look at all the stats and realize that the physical and mental stats mirror each other.
Wisdom = Mental Constitution
Strength is about getting the physical world to do your bidding.
Something else is item commissioning. People are used to I going to Wal-mart, and if they don't have it, they don't have it.
Even today, a lot of special or rare items are comissioned. IE, I find a craftsman, I pay him 20-30% upfront, then I come back a month later, pay him the balance, and collect the item.
Once you get past the basics, a lot of shops simply cannot afford to keep rare goods in stock. A holy avenger +5 is worth more than most medium sized towns, no shop is going to keep that in stock just incase a wealthy paladin wanders by.
An attack roll represents your attempt to strike your opponent on your turn in a round. When you make an attack roll, you roll a d20 and add your attack bonus. (Other modifiers may also apply to this roll.) If your result equals or beats the target's Armor Class, you hit and deal damage.
Automatic Misses and Hits
A natural 1 (the d20 comes up 1) on an attack roll is always a miss. A natural 20 (the d20 comes up 20) is always a hit. A natural 20 is also a threat—a possible critical hit (see the attack action).
The parry is clearly listed as being an attack roll. Attack rolls are subject to the rule of 20 which mean that a 20 is an automatic hit. In this case a hit would be interpreted as a successful parry. The rules would be bloated if they listed every place the rule of 20 comes into play, and how it works in that particular instance. Hence why we have a general for the rule of 20.
The problem is that there are 2 interpretations of what a 20 means on the attack roll
The problem with interpretation 1 is that it is already well established that a 20 on a hit roll can be negated by concealment. How is a successful parry roll negating a 20 to hit any different than concealment negating a 20 to hit?
DPS, Ranger/Alchemist by Charender — DPR — Haste = DPR, +1 Attack =, +1 hit = DPR, +1 dmg = . DPR — Errors: Ignored = 715 gp over; Brew Potion/Craft Magic Arms & Armor useless feats; Need attack break out since Dervish Dance only helps the Scimitar attacks so -1 STR mode for all natural attacks has strange interaction with Power Attack
The wealth by level can be fixed by going to +3 Mithril Breastplate.
Not going to repost for multiple reasons
That said, it is a nifty trick to use 2 levels of ranger to get power attack and full martial weapon profiency in a pure dex build.
Marty the Master Summoner
Hit Points: 73 HP
Feats & Traits: Arcane Strike, Armor Proficiency (Light), Augment Summoning, Combat Expertise +/-2, Dodge, Extend Spell, Great Fortitude, Simple Weapon Proficiency - All, Superior Summoning, Focused Mind, Reactionary
Special Abilities: Summoning Mastery V (11/day) (Sp), Aspect (Su), Eidolon Link (Ex), Hero Points (1), Lesser Eidolon, Life Link (Su), Maker's Call/Transposition (2/day) (Su), Share Spells with Eidolon (Ex)
+1 Longspear (+5/+0, 1d8 damage, crit 20/x3)
Spells: Barkskin (2), Bull's Strength, Mass (4), Detect Magic (0), Dimension Door (3), Enlarge Person (1), Glitterdust (2), Guidance (0), Haste (2), Heroism (3), Invisibility (2), Light (0), Mage Armor (1), Mage Hand (0), Magic Fang, Greater (3), Message (0), Overland Flight (4), Read Magic (0), Rejuvenate Eidolon, Lesser (1), See Invisibility (2), Shield (1), Unfetter (1), Wall of Ice (3)
Male True Neutral Serpentine
Hit Points: 28 HP
Feats & Traits: Weapon Finesse
Special Abilities: Darkvision (60 feet), Scent (Ex), Damage Resistance, Fire (10), Climbing (20 feet), Flight (20 feet, Good), Tail (Ex), Evasion (Ex)
•Bite (Bite) (+13, 1d4+2 damage, crit 20/x2)
Augmented Summoned Lion
Male True Neutral Lion
Hit Points: 42 HP
Feats & Traits: Improved Initiative, Run, Skill Focus: Perception
Special Abilities: Low-Light Vision, Scent (Ex), +4 Stealth in undergrowth (Ex), Grab (Medium) (Ex), Pounce (Ex)
•Bite (Lion) (+9, 1d8+7 damage, crit 20/x2)
Note, I am hedging the rules here. 11 summons per day at 10 minutes per summoning means that the summoner can have 1d3+1 lions following them around for 110 minutes per day which is longer than the duration of a 10 min/level spell, so I am working on the assumption for this scenario that the summoner has 3 lions following them when the fight starts.
Round 1: cast mass's bull's strength, all the lions pounce
The character is primarily a group support character who can dish out some decent damage. The damage is pretty good, but if you look at the spell list, this character is also a huge asset to the other party members. With 28 AC, and 73 hp, a summoner isn't exactly squishy either, they can hang out near the melee, and give flanking bonuses.
Given a round or 2, the summoner can easily summon more lions and their damage multiplies accordingly. This build multiplies it's damage for every round you have to prepare. If given unlimited rounds to prepare, the damage caps out at around 577.4 DPR(11 summons of 3 creatures each with 2 castings of mass bull's strength to buff 20 of them).
Since the damage is based on multiple creatures with lots of attacks, inspire courage really boosts the damage. With a level 10 bard in the picture, the DPR goes up to 93.8 per 3 lions.
Great action economy. Since all of the damage comes from summoned creatures, there is no opportunity cost if the summoner want to UMD a cure critical from a wand on the fighter in round 3. After buffing the summons, the summoner is free to sit back and do whatever the group needs them to.
In a party situation, it would probably be better to cast haste over mass bull's strength on round 1, but that is a loss in the summoner's DPR.
The summoner never attacks enemies directly, so you can do everything in combat with normal invisibility up.
Addendum: All lions have the potential to be celestial, so they could possibly Smite Evil on round 1 for an extra +5 damage on their first attack, and the numbers do not account for the 5% crit chance the lions have.
Edit note: reposting with the magic weapon dropped as the +1 spear is not part of the DPR calculations. Broke out the details of stat allocation.
How do you make it clear to players that an encounter is too strong to fight, and they have to be clever?
Of course, sometimes there is the opposite. I was running a fearless barbarians type character with a newish DM. The campaign was set against the backdrop of a large war. We were low level, and 3 or 4 times in a row, we were force to retreat against the massive army of evil. It all felt very railroady. After we had put of a few levels, I just finally hit a point of eff it. I knew the DM wanted to and expected me to retreat, but my character was a warrior, and I was sick of running away. The DM was not good at winging it, and mass chaos ensued.
Another thing to remember, is that sometimes these people are playing their characters well, and their character will not back down even when you clearly communicate to the player that they should.
How do you make it clear to players that an encounter is too strong to fight, and they have to be clever?
I go with a combination of
2. Encourage knowledge checks, and use foreshadowing. Give the players tools to know when they are facing a really tough foe.
Between those 2 things, I have never had problems when players die due to hard fights, and the times they have survived have become the stuff of legends.
Someone that familiar would likely have ranks in the appropiate knowledge skill right? If they have enough ranks to make the check, then they have the knowledge. That is how knowledge skills work. If they haven't invested any ranks in knowledge skills, then I feel that, as a DM, I have plenty of ground to question their devoutness.
Player - I am a super devout follower of X.
To look at is another way...
Either way, my point is that just because it is in a Bestiary somewhere does not mean the PC automatically knows about it. Even if there are bits of Bokrug in every spelcasting materials shop in Golaron does not mean that a player's character has any idea what that is or why it is useful.
Another thing that kills the druid thing(aside from the Beast Shap limits)
Any stickler DM won't just let you polymorph into just any animal, it has to be something you have some familiarity with(as decided by the DM). Just because you have read about it in a rulebook doesn't mean that you character has any clue what it is. I would never let a player whose character has no knowledge of sea creatures polymorph into a dire shark.
This effectively limits your polymorph options based on your Knowledge(Nature) skill. As a general rule of thumb, if you can't make the knowledge check to identify it and you have never seen it in person, you can't polymorph into one.
On a similar note, I have a house rule for taking 15. It has the same requirements as taking 20(you will be considered to roll a 1 first, then roll a 15), but only take 3 times longer than normal instead of 20. It comes from the fact that if you roll a d20 3 times and take the highest, the average result is a 15. It gives players a middle ground between taking 10 and taking 20.
Generally speaking, in the situations we are talking about, one member of the party failing is functionally equivalent to the entire party failing.
That the dragon example, while the dragon is asleep, the dragon takes a +10 to the DC of ALL perception checks. One person wakes up the dragon. Now, the dragon was asleep and taking 10 + perception with a +10 +distance/10 to all perception DCs, but now that they are awake, the dragon is taking 1 move to look for the rest of the party at d20 + perception + disance/10, the other move action is used to close in on the party's location at 30-60 feet per round. It is only a matter of time before the PCs break stealth and start running, start a fight, or the dragon finds them. Worse, a smart dragon will pretend to not see the PCs until they are close enough to pounce.
In the bluff example, questioning another party member and having them fail their bluff check could be enough to make the questioner suspicious enough that they hold the PCs to see if the story checks out(and it won't) instead of just letting them walk away.
Actually, if you go by strict RAW. A natural 20 makes the attack a hit irregardless of the actual number needed to hit. It does not means the attack will succeed no matter what(see concealment, mirror images, ethereal, etc). Another example would be that rolling a 20 on a trip attempt still will not let me trip a flying creature(immune to trip).
Person A attacks with a +100 to hit, they roll a 10, and it is a hit. Person B parrying with a +0 to hit rolls a 20, the parry is an attack roll, thus the parry automatically succeeds even though it does not beat the attackers roll. The results of a successful parry is that the hit is changed into a miss.
If you change person A's attack roll to a 20, it does not change anything, they still scored a hit. Parry negates a hit if it succeeds, and a natural 20 causes the parry roll to succeed irregardless of the actual target number they need to beat.
That is actually the way I have always played it. If you can get the bonus temporarily you can take a feat, but you can't use it unless you are currently qualifying. Also, you cannot make use of any feats that rely on that feat, so no power attack, and also not improved bull rush or greater bull rush. If you are relying on temp bonuses to qualify for a key feat, then you are only 1 dispel magic away from losing it.
A similar example would be druid's and multiattack. A druid doesn't not qualify for multiattack unless they are wildshaped, which is a temporary ability.
It has been a while, but I remember seeing a FAQ about this a long time ago (maybe back to 3.5 days) that talked about how losing the bonus somehow(dispel magic, antimagic field, etc) would cause you to temporarily lose access to the feat.
Example, if I have a 12 strength with a belt of strength +2 I can take power attack, but if I walk into an antimagic field, I will not be able to use power attack.
Edit: Found a link to a 3.5 question on this issues that includes a reference and link to the official 3.5 FAQ here
That is why I said it is debatable. You can read it your way, but I do not think that is the correct way to interpret it for the reason I already mentioned. At that point we are in a RAI debate that neither of us is qualified to say for certain.
The other thing that gets lost in any discussion about taking a 10 on a stealth(and similar checks) check.... What about the rest of the party?
Taking a 10 is probably good enough for the party rogue to sneak past a dragon, but it will not cut it for the paladin in full plate. In some cases, a skill check is only needed by a single member. If anyone passes a perception check, they can communicate with the rest of the party, but with stealth, bluff and similar skills, you can bring the whole party in play.
An example of defeating taking a 10 on bluffing. Party bard is busy bluffing the captain of the guard with spells up, and a +insane amount to bluff. The NPC being a wise person who is experienced in law enforcement, asks another party member for their input, and thus forces them to also make a bluff check at a much lower skill rating. Side note: This is why the police take suspects, and question them separately. Suddenly, the bard just taking 10 won't cut it, and the party's ability to bluff their way out of a situation now relies on Dan the Dolt making a bluff check, not Benny the silver tongued Bard.
In the second case, it is very likely that the guards are taking 20 to find you, so taking 10 will probably not work and there is a time limit to getting out of the area in which case you can be considered to be rushed.
Oh, and to add to the teleport trap angle.
Teleport trap shunts them into a solid stone room with a single iron door. Inside this room is a trap that is triggered by a detect magic spell. The trap results in an antimagic field going off that covers the whole room. After peaking into the room, you have the option of filling it with burning oil or some other unpleasantness.
Bill Dunn wrote:
The whole point of take 20 is to allow you as the DM to quickly handwave someone putting 20 times the normal effort into something.
So you could force your players to..
Player 1: I take a 20 on my disguise check.
In most cases, best perception skill in group >= best disguise skill in group so why waste time?