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I don't want to take away from how nice the Strategy Guide will be for newer players, but I have to admit thinking how I'm going to give a gag copy to some of my long-time (since 1st Ed. through PF Beta to today) players: "hey bro, you need to step up your game... getting kind of rusty... just saying..."
As mentioned above, in general, you're going to want to cast your hr/level and 10 min/level buffs before you enter an area where you expect encounters.
Past 7th-8th level or so, you're going to add your 1 min/level buffs to that list, too, because you're going to use the extremely cost-effective lesser extend metamagic rods to extend those min/level buffs so they last for multiple encounters.
Round/level buffs are the ones you cast on the first round of combat or in the surprise round, or if you get a break where you can't do something else. Or you're going to cast them on your buddy, or have your buddy cast them on you. Prime example: haste. You're probably not going to bother extending these because until high levels, they're unlikely to last for more than a single encounter. Unless you are buffing the entire party, or you are combat ineffective against whatever you're fighting due to buffs not being up, don't burn a bunch of combat rounds getting your buffs spun up to fight. Bards are great for this past level 7-8 because they can a) cast extended good hope in advance, b) move action inspire courage, and c) haste to get massive group buffs up in basically 1 combat round.
If you summon, be sure to use rounds/level summon spells BEFORE you cast your rounds/level group buffs so the summoned critters can get the benefit, too.
The other two pieces of this are 1) that you must always strive to control when you have encounters. This is RPG tactics above the round-to-round level. Use divination magic, stealth (including invisibility, etc.), and scouting to make sure you know where the badguys are before they know where you are. Sometimes the bad guys are just going to get the drop on you, and that's part of adventuring--but do your part to make sure that's the exception rather than the rule.
And 2) stay on the offensive. Doing this lets you squeeze the most encounters into the few minutes every day covered by your min/level buffs. If possible, "blitz" entire dungeons/dungeon levels/encounter clusters while your min/level buffs are up. Loot the bodies later!
I'd just like to point out that at the very height of roleplaying's popularity (AD&D 1E), TSR mostly published adventures. There were only 8 rules supplements published during 1E's entire run.
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the height of roleplaying's popularity is right now. Until the last 3-4 years or so, never at any point in my life have I ever had to turn down games I would otherwise love to join. Anecdotal, sure, but I'm guessing hard numbers would tell the same story. I'd lay money that Paizo's sold more books than TSR ever did.
I think the OP's complaint does have some merit, but only if you consider that there are players on these forums who insist that if an option exists in the game, YOU MUST allow them to use it in YOUR game.
Because the antidote for bloat (heh, that rhymes) is house rules. Allow some things, don't allow others.
However, if you have a player who insists on their favorite option being allowed, and you as a GM don't want to allow it, you're probably feeling like things are bloated. The solution to this dilemma is yet another issue of group composition: reach an agreement or somebody needs to find a different group.
This dwarf-like creature glows with a pale blue radiance and appears to be wearing a large, dome-like, cobalt-speckled hat.
Dwarf Agaric CR 6
----- Defense -----
----- Offense -----
----- Statistics -----
----- Ecology -----
----- Special Abilities -----
Hive Mind (Su) A colony of dwarf agarics forms a rudimentary telepathic hive mind within a 100 foot radius. If one is aware of a particular danger, they all are aware. If one in the colony of dwarf agarics is not flat-footed, none of them are. No dwarf agaric in a colony is considered flanked unless all dwarf agarics in the colony are flanked.
Spore Swarm (Ex) Once per day as a standard action, a dwarf agaric can release a swarm of glowing spores, which it can control using its hive mind ability. The spore swarm has the same statistics as a cockroach swarm (Bestiary 2, p. 58) with the dwarf agaric’s hive mind and phosphorescence abilities and the plant type instead of the vermin type. Its swarm attack delivers the dwarf agaric’s disease and poison and limns affected creatures with its phosphorescence for 1d6 minutes.
Phosphorescence (Ex) A dwarf agaric glows with a pale blue phosphorescence equivalent to faerie fire.
Poison (Ex) Slam—injury; save Fort DC 18, frequency 1/round for 4 rounds, effect 1d4 Wis damage plus confused for 1 round, cure 1 save. Creatures that hit the dwarf agaric with natural attacks or unarmed strikes are exposed to its poison, a hallucinogenic mycotoxin. The confusion is a mind-affecting effect. The save DC is Constitution-based.
So called because of its appearance, a dwarf agaric resembles a crude dwarf-like creature with pallid flesh, dark spots for eyes, and beard-like tendrils under a bulbous nose. The blue-speckled appendage atop its head, often mistaken for a hat, is actually a mushroom cap, complete with gills. A dwarf agaric stands about four feet tall and weighs roughly 150 pounds.
Dwarf agarics are a rare, highly-evolved, and semi-sentient variety of cytillesh fungus found only in remote reaches of Nar-Voth. Like cytillesh, dwarf agarics glow with a pale blue bioluminescence and possess hallucinogenic and latent psychic properties. They lack any civilization or sophistication and do not use tools. Derro consider them a delicacy when properly cooked, but find them nearly impossible to cultivate due to their relative intelligence and the fungal infection their spores carry.
Crook of Unseen Forces
unseen servant (1 charge)
The spiritual weapon or weapon wielded by a spiritual ally takes the shape of the crook of unseen forces itself and gains the crook's enhancement bonus to attack and damage. Moreover, any spiritual weapon or spiritual ally created by the crook is invisible as if by greater invisibility, gaining the usual benefits when attacking creatures unable to see it. The invisible stalker summoned by the crook is an unliving construct rather than a true outsider.
In addition, by spending 1 charge as a standard action, the crook’s wielder can create an invisible force in a 30 foot line. The wielder can make a drag, reposition, or trip combat maneuver against any one creature in this line. Each additional creature affected costs 1 additional charge. This special combat maneuver check does not provoke attacks of opportunity and uses the wielder’s caster level plus Wisdom modifier in place of his Combat Maneuver Bonus. The wielder can choose to use the staff’s caster level instead of his own.
The All Seeing Eye wrote:
@thejeff - I have never been a fan of the 4 senators from the Dakotas having the same say as the senators of California and Texas two of the larges AND most populous states. The system poorly reflects the constituent needs on that level and the house is ABSOLUTELY unwieldly.
Working as intended. That's the very reason we have a bicameral legislature. The House represents individuals, the Senate represents States.
"Let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He's a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do, I swear for His own amusement, his own private, cosmic gag reel, He sets the rules in opposition. It's the goof of all time. Look but don't touch. Touch, but don't taste. Taste, don't swallow. Ahaha. And while you're jumpin' from one foot to the next, what is he doing? He's laughin' His sick, f&%$in' ass off! He's a tight-ass! He's a SADIST! He's an absentee landlord! Worship that? NEVER!"
"In spite of all his imperfections, I'M A FAN OF MAN! I'm a humanist. Maybe the last humanist."
Lots of great villain quotes in that one!
Hannibal Lecter: "Quid pro quo. I tell you things, you tell me things. Not about this case, though. About yourself. Quid pro quo. Yes or no?"
ibid.: "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."
ibid.: "I do wish we could chat longer, but... I'm having an old friend for dinner."
Another Roy classic: "You wouldn't believe the things I've seen with your eyes."
The Emperor: Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design.
Ozymandias: Do you seriously think I'd explain my master-stroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago.
Goldfinger: No, Mr Bond! I expect you to die!
Belloq: Dr. Jones. Again we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away.
Professor Moriarty: Let's not waste any more of one another's time. We both know how this ends.
There aren't really types of gamers I don't like, but there are types of gamers with whom I prefer not to game. Seriously, it's nothing personal, but sometimes gaming styles just don't mesh well. Doesn't mean we can't be friends, it just means I prefer to game with other people who share my tastes. As it happens, I have the luxury of being able to do so where I live.
For instance, reading the lists another poster in this thread (whom I won't call out by name), it sounds like we would have some very different and incompatible approaches to the game. Doesn't mean he's a bad person or isdoinitwrong. I'd happily game with him at a con, or at a PFS game day, but the differences in our playstyles probably wouldn't work out in a long-term home game.
OTOH, I can tell from Jaelithe's posts that he or she would probably fit in my home group quite well.
You know, I never noticed until this thread that the languages listed for Ustalav were Common, Varisian, and Skald. Common (Taldane) and Varisian both make sense, since most civilized Ustalavs are ethnically Varisian and there is a sizeable ethnic Taldan population left over from the Shining Crusade.
You'd think instead of Skald it would be Hallit. There isn't anything in Ustalav's history that would lead you to believe that it was ever settled by Ulfen, but its original natives before the Varisian migration were Kellids, some of whom survive in Ustalav's backwaters. I wonder if Skald for Hallit is an error in ISWG.
Any other tips on an archer bard? :I need to catch up to those number-crunching pro builders.
Get a lesser rod of extend metamagic and keep heroism up on yourself; replace with good hope when it becomes available. Inspire courage most of the time (you should have plenty of rounds available). Haste when it really matters.
Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Arcane Strike, Deadly Aim, in roughly that order. Manyshot and Improved Precise Shot when you can qualify for them (i.e., later on). Rapid Shot and Manyshot are key because the extra attacks let you effectively multiply the extra damage from inspire courage and good hope. Don't underestimate the value of Weapon Focus and Improved Critical, if you find yourself with a feat slot you're not sure how to fill.
Wear the best belt of incredible dexterity you can afford.
Buy durable arrows in silver, cold iron, and adamantine and be sure to recover them after every fight. Keep some blanched with ghost salt for incorporeals. Also keep an oil of bless weapon and an oil of align weapon on hand.
Semi-ninja'd by Louis IX. The holy avenger is actually way underpriced for what it does.
+5 holy = +7 equivalent, 98000 gp for starters. But there's a 30% price reduction if only usable by a particular class. So how do we break that out?
Now is the hard part. We know the SR and greater dispel magic powers combined are worth 47000 gp (120630 gp - 73630 gp). If all we want to do is reverse engineer the price, we can stop here. But let's compare and see how those abilities might be priced according to the magic item pricing guidelines.
There is a price listed for SR in the magic item gp value table. It's 10000 gp per point over SR 12. The holy avenger gives us SR based on its wielder's level +5, however, so we can't figure it exactly. Just to give ourselves an entry argument, let's assume the wielder's level is the CL of the holy avenger: 18. That would grant SR 23. That means the SR price would be (23-12 = 11 x 10000 = 110000 gp. However, the holy avenger also grants the same SR to anyone adjacent to the paladin. That's a bigger benefit, so it should cost more, but we don't have any guidelines on how to price that, so let's ignore it for now. There's also the 30% paladin-only discount, bringing that down to 77000 gp.
Greater dispel magic is a command word activated unlimited use power. Spell level 6 x CL 18 x 1800 gp = 194400. But, you can only use the area dispel. Let's be very generous and say that only costs 1/3 as much, since that's only 1 of 3 things you can do with greater dispel magic. That makes it 64800 gp, 45360 gp with the 30% paladin only discount added in.
So that would come out to 73630 + 77000 + 45360 = 195990 gp if we were pricing it out by the magic item pricing guidelines. That makes the holy avenger quite a steal at a mere 120k and change.
Unlike anticipate peril, the initiative bonus isn't CL-based. So for 2 PA, you can get a wand that will give you +2 to Perception and Knowledge and +4 on your next initiative check within 10 minutes. On most spell lists. So good.
Driver 325 yards wrote:
If you are looking for hard rules, here's the deal. The rules don't tell you what you can't do, they tell you what you can do. There's no rule that says a first-level character can't destroy pantheons with nuclear weapons he pulls out of his nose. That doesn't mean you can do it.
There aren't rules for giving NPCs experience. So unless you make something up, aka house rule it, it's not in the rules.
The rules for advancing NPCs, other than animal companions/mounts/familiars/eidolons/etc. and cohorts, are:
Neither of which mention XP.
I, for one, think the difficulty level of PFS play is calibrated just about right. I would guess that most players agree.
For those players who want a harder game, they can choose not to use their rerolls. Most games I do not use mine.
If you think rerolls are game-breaking because your save-or-die casters can't kill as many PCs, I'm not sympathetic to that. It is a characteristic of PFS play that GMs have much less leeway to tweak difficulty. That's a feature, not a bug. Our role as GMs is to foster a fun experience; challenge is only part of the equation.
Staple level 3 spells: dispel magic, invisibility purge, magic circle, magic vestment, meld into stone, prayer, communal resist energy, speak with dead, stone shape, wind wall. Seriously you could do a lot worse than spamming magic circle on everyone in the party.
Staple level 7 spells: holy word and its ilk, destruction, repulsion, greater restoration, greater scrying, waves of ecstasy. The summon monster VII list is also really good.
An AP built around the countdown clocks, with the Dominion of the Black as primary villains. Early chapters revolve around piecing together the mystery of the countdown clocks. Last chapter takes place on Aucturn itself. Possible twist of having to work with Carsai the King, as in "Enemies of My Enemy" from STAP.
The redemption of Arazni. Adventures throughout Golarion to assemble the canopic jars, pitting the PCs against agents of Geb. Fifth chapter, PCs must enlist the aid of the Arclords of Nex for a large-scale attack on Geb. The last chapter involves an invasion of Geb by a combined force of Nex and the Knights of Ozem, which provides cover for the PCs to confront Arazni and her graveknights and finally redeem her... or destroy her forever.