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Kyra

Chengar Qordath's page

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Weirdo wrote:
I find that "suck" covers the motivation to invest in saves just as well as "die" does. You don't even have to take actions away. No one wants to spend several rounds blinded because they tanked their Will save and ate a Glitterdust.

Inclined to agree with this. I've found plenty of ways to punish tanked saves without resorting to instant-killing them off. As I once jokingly told my players: "I don't want your characters to die. When they die I can't hurt them anymore."

That said, I do consider Save Or Die effects fairer game if the party has relatively easy access to ways to come back to life or otherwise reverse the effects. It's the same idea as not throwing Blindness/Deafness at the party unless they have some way to get Remove Blindness/Deafness cast on them afterwards.


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TarkXT wrote:
The Mortonator wrote:


  • You need to walk before you can run.

Let's slow down a second and assume I'm a new player. You want to teach me swift actions? I don't even know what an action is! Roleplaying a lawful good? What's lawful? What's good? What's detecting evil mean? Why can't I just bust that guy up over there?

Wait, what are all these features you are showing me? Spells? Uuuh, that's really daunting. Divine Bond? I don't understand what half these words are. Oh, and I still need feats? Um, what ones are good? I don't think I have enough feats to do what I wanted to do.

The first questions take a minute or two to explain the rest don't even come up until several weeks down the line when you reach level 4-5.

We expect college students to do more in less time when they pay for the privilege.

The roleplay challenge of lawful good is actually, well, fairly non-existent and only made harder by other people's prejudices.

Can you act the stereotypical fantasy hero? Can you not be a dick?

Congratulations, you can act the paladin. If you pull silly shenanigans on a new player due to your own prejudices against a class then chances are you weren't a suitable teacher regardless of what they played. If a new player decides to burn down an orphanage for some obscure and insane reason? Well, then they've learned their actions have consequences.

Yeah, I think suggesting a new player run a paladin comes with a very strongly implied "Don't be a dick to the new guy about the paladin code." That should go without saying, but...


blangel wrote:
Anyway, I will never understand why some player find it hard to learn the rules. I know that pathfinder have a lot of rules compared to some other RPG but I think it only take 1-2 session to master the basic of combat rules (action economy, rolls, stats, saves, AC, ect ...). Of course if you want to master your class and all it's possibilities or try to optimize your character it's a lot longer.

Some folks just seem to naturally "get it" faster than others. It probably helps if they have any relevant gaming experience: I probably did a lot better with D&D thanks to playing Baldur's Gate before I ever actually played a game of tabletop. For all that some folks like to malign video game RPGs, they can give new player familiarity with RPG concepts.

I think the other part of it is getting mixed in with the rules, which is part of why I had that whole spiel about how you don't want to do all the work for new players. Players are going to have a much harder time learning the rules if they never have to figure things out for themselves.

Last off, there's the issue of engagement. Some folks, for whatever reason, just aren't getting into the game. Maybe they expected Tabletop RPGs to be different, maybe it's a group issue, or maybe they were never all that interested to begin with and just got dragged into the campaign by another player. I had a player like that in one of my games: I couldn't go a session without wondering if she actually wanted to be there, playing the game. Needless to say, people aren't going to learn the rules as quickly if they're not enthusiastic about learning the rules.


Hugo Rune wrote:
Chengar Qordath wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:

I think sunder is an OK trick at low levels before the PCs get all sentimental about their gear.

Also, in 5E, where you don't get a ton of treasure.

:-D

Pathfinder, with all its gear-based escalating modifiers, is definitely not friendly to gear-loss at higher levels. Losing a cloak of resistance +1 at level 3 is irksome, but survivable. Losing your +5 cloak at level 15 is going to make saving throws substantially more dangerous.

Same goes for offense. The Barbarian level 3 losing his masterwork greatsword is just a slight decrease in accuracy. Take away a high-level Barbarian's +5 Keen Furious weapon and his average damage is going to plummet, especially against anything with DR his sword normally beats.

I suggest you never ever play Scourge of the Slavelords

Not sure what a 1st edition D&D module has to do with anything. 1E had a very, very different mechanical balance from Pathfinder.


HyperMissingno wrote:
I agree that mooks shouldn't cause much danger aside from the super early levels. Bosses however should have risk of PC death if they use poor tactics. Also there are nets in the form of hero points at some tables.

I think most reasonable players would be fine with dying in a boss fight where they made mistakes that could be pointed out and learned from. I certainly don't hesitate to make my players suffer the consequences of massive, obvious mistakes they should've known better than to make.

Most of the things I and other GMs seem wary of are player deaths that born purely from bad luck. One of the PC deaths I felt worst about was when I two-shotted the party's fighter in RotRL because one of the Ogres with a x3 crit Ogre Hook rolled two Power Attack Critical hits in a row.

That fighter got killed by a mook. Not because he did anything wrong, but because my dice rolled insanely well. Two natural 20s to threaten, and two rolls of 16+ to confirm. He didn't make a glaring error or have a bad build, he just got really unlucky. I wound up adding a random scroll of Resurrection to the loot pile to get him back to life ASAP.

Maezer wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:


Min/max =/= optimized

Min/max focuses on a single character aspect and sacrifices everything else in order to max it out.

Optimization focuses on making the character better overall, and this includes being well rounded and having at least decent defenses against both physical and magical attacks.

Lol. This debate is so pointless. As we are arguing semantics. And the line between acceptable and annoying behavior is personal and going to vary widely from table to table. But I would define those terms very differently.

I see Min/Max as putting the minimum investment to get the maximum return.

I see Optimization as making improvements in order to be the best possible at doing whatever task you are optimizing for.

In character terms I see the min/max character being more balanced. He defines goals and invests the minimum possible to achieve that goal so he has the more resources to invest in the rest of his character.

The optimizer says I want to be absolute best at doing X task. He says things like... I want to be the strongest; or I want to be the fastest; or I want have the biggest damage per hit/round. And if something isn't improving your ability to do task X, then investing in it is optimizing for it.

And of course this ignores the person I least want to see at the table. The I don't want to be a Min/Max, Optimizing, munchkin... so I make all my choices totally at random without any rhyme or reason.

Min/Max is one of those terms whose meaning has shifted over time. It used to mean exactly what you said: either Minimum investment for Maximized gain, or Minimizing weakness and Maximizing strength.

Over time, Min/Max pretty much been stigmatized due to the exact same issues that cause people to go after the term optimization now. A combination of lots of people claiming they're optimizing when they're making one trick ponies, glass canons, or similarly flawed builds, plus the constant push from the folks who are irrationally enraged by any focus on the game's mechanical side to redefine the term in the most negative light possible.


ZZTRaider wrote:
Cavall wrote:
As for the feats argument, firstly that falls flat because many players will help a new player out. Or the GM. And secondly it allows a lot of choices so they can learn me about what they like in feats for other characters they make. They get a lot of choices so they get a lot of experience.

I really don't think it falls flat it all, precisely because it clearly needs help from the DM and/or other players to make it work out.

Suddenly, new player isn't really making decisions about their character any more -- everyone else is. Sure, it's ultimately up to the new player what they write down on their character sheet, but let's be honest: they're going to go with whatever the experienced players tells them is best, because they don't know and they know it.

I think it's really important -- especially for a new player -- to feel like it's truly their character, rather than someone else's character that they happen to be rolling for.

Going to second this firmly. I've seen more than one newbie player who seemed to lose interest pretty quickly when they didn't feel involved in designing or playing their characters. While there's nothing wrong with the more experienced players helping the newbie out, you don't want things to hit the point where the new player feels totally divorced from their character's mechanics.

Basically, it's a lot better for Bob the New Guy to see the Power Attack feat and and decide to use it himself than it is for Bob to just blindly pick it because that's what he's been told to do. New players need to learn to think about the mechanics and make their own informed choices, not just blindly follow suggestions.


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SmiloDan wrote:

I think sunder is an OK trick at low levels before the PCs get all sentimental about their gear.

Also, in 5E, where you don't get a ton of treasure.

:-D

Pathfinder, with all its gear-based escalating modifiers, is definitely not friendly to gear-loss at higher levels. Losing a cloak of resistance +1 at level 3 is irksome, but survivable. Losing your +5 cloak at level 15 is going to make saving throws substantially more dangerous.

Same goes for offense. The Barbarian level 3 losing his masterwork greatsword is just a slight decrease in accuracy. Take away a high-level Barbarian's +5 Keen Furious weapon and his average damage is going to plummet, especially against anything with DR his sword normally beats.


I miss a lot of the old "transformative" PrCs from 3.5; Dragon Disciple's the only one that seems to have survived, on account of legacy reasons. I really liked the Prestige classes that slowly transformed your character into something else, whether it's turning you into a half-dragon, a fiend, giving you lots of golem traits, or whatever.

Similarly, I liked a lot of the martial PrCs that gave an interesting thematic set of supernatural powers. Stuff like the Stonelord, Frostrager, or Disciple of Dispater. Those would at least partly break martial characters out of the "Martial = Mundane" box.


LuniasM wrote:
Summoning during combat, mostly because that takes a LOT of time to sort through and just makes turns longer.

Yeah, if anyone's summoning, they should have all the stats for whatever they're gonna summon close at hand, and generally should know how to manage the summons to avoid bogging things down.


Kudaku wrote:

Investigator is a really good example of a class that's incredibly fun to play... When it all comes together at ~level 4. Most investigators I see at my table actually take a level in a different class to make the early levels more manageable, then retrain the dip away later on. One level of Inspired Blade swashbuckler is especially popular.

I actually had a chance to play a half-orc archer investigator when I filled in an open slot at a friend's level 9 RotRL game. To be honest, if I'd have played in that campaign from level 1 I would have picked a different character concept - investigators have zero bonus feats and pay a two-feat tax in order to use Studied Combat with bows, so for me playing an investigator archer from level 1 would have been excruciating.

Investigator's a great example of dip-phobic class design. A lot of their vital class features get bumped back way too far, lest the class look too good for dipping.


Snowblind wrote:
Hugo Rune wrote:
Chengar Qordath wrote:
Tsukiyo wrote:
Also, I notice a lot of people are saying they avoid Save or Die spells, which is understandable. However, do you allow the PCs to use them? If the PC necromancer or witch is wailing like a banshee, shouldn't it be okay for the NPCs to do the same? Just curious how people are balancing that.

Short version, it's less about "balance" than it is about making the game fun for everyone around the table. Random arbitrary death hits PCs a lot harder than it does monsters.

When Expendable BadGuy Minion #427 gets save-or-died, the GM just shrugs and moves on to Minion #428. When Bob's PC gets save-or-died, Bob is locked out of the game until his character is resurrected or he makes a new one and the GM finds a reasonable hook to add them to the party.

If Bob's PC got save-or-died then Bob shouldn't have put his character in the position and hopefully will learn from his mistake. Next time Bob and the rest of the party might consider doing reconnaissance and research before blundering headlong into encounters. Unless of course the GM railroaded them into the encounter in which case the GM deserves a very sulky Bob.

Are all of your PCs ultra-optimized death machines with 20+ initiative who always butcher the opposing side before they ever get their turn? Because that's generally what's required to stop a creature from casting a SoD and potentially killing a PC with a bad roll or two.

Sure, clever play can mitigate the risk of SoDs, just like it can mitigate the risk of pretty much anything else, but the fact is that if you throw SoD capable creatures in situations where there is the slightest chance that they *might* be able to kill off a PC, then sooner or later a PC will die. If you make a habit of it, then it's going to be sooner, not later. Good tactics just pushes back the inevitable a little.

Exactly this. Save or Dies do not require lots of elaborate setup that can be eliminated by good tactics. Most of them are simple standard action spells/abilities. The only way to be safe from them is to keep your opponents from ever taking a turn, and if party is always winning encounters before the enemy even gets to act I'd say the encounters need rebalancing.

Sure, you could pump your character's saves up for protection against SoDs, but even with a +1000 save you can still roll a natural 1. Immunity to death effects is also harder to come by, since Pathfinder nerfed Death Ward down from immunity to death effects to just a +4 on saves vs. them.


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Milo v3 wrote:
I'd imagine many builds will be less optimal before the point were they come "online", yes.

Of course, most actual optimizers would say that a build needing a long time to come online is a sign that it's not quite optimal, or at least that it has a weakness one should consider carefully and try to find ways to address. Such as Kahel's example: a good optimizer would probably suggest putting more priority on power attack and weapon finesse if lagging damage is a major concern.

Simply put, someone only caring about how their build performs at level 20 with no consideration for performance at lower levels is usually a bad optimizer (Unless it's for something like a campaign that starts at level 20).


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Tsukiyo wrote:
Also, I notice a lot of people are saying they avoid Save or Die spells, which is understandable. However, do you allow the PCs to use them? If the PC necromancer or witch is wailing like a banshee, shouldn't it be okay for the NPCs to do the same? Just curious how people are balancing that.

Short version, it's less about "balance" than it is about making the game fun for everyone around the table. Random arbitrary death hits PCs a lot harder than it does monsters.

When Expendable BadGuy Minion #427 gets save-or-died, the GM just shrugs and moves on to Minion #428. When Bob's PC gets save-or-died, Bob is locked out of the game until his character is resurrected or he makes a new one and the GM finds a reasonable hook to add them to the party.


OS_Dirk wrote:
In the end I tend to think of it is failure to optimize the situation, rather than failure to optimize the character.

Yeah, how good the build is doesn't matter if the player has no idea how to effectively utilize the character's abilities. I once had a player who showed up with a wonderfully built Witch he probably came up with by going over guides and consulting with experienced players. He then proceeded to give his Witch a spear and try to use it as a melee character, almost never casting spells or using hexes despite his character being built as a standard high-Int strength-dumped caster.


HyperMissingno wrote:

If a bloodline or mystery gives a save or die spell as a bonus spell I'll replace that with something else unless I'm confident the PC will make the save with the amount of rerolls they're given. Save or suck spells however are fair game.

Another thing I intend to avoid are x3/x4 crit weapons and enemies. 18-20/x2 crits can be fine depending on the enemy.

Yeah, I had a near-TPK once while running Rise of the Runelords, because my dice were on fire and the Ogres were power attacking with x3 crit Ogre Hooks.

As a good general rule, when I GM I want to avoid leaving the party feeling completely powerless. Putting them in danger or threatening them is fine, but in my experience players get very annoyed when they can't do anything meaningful. Thus, my general distaste for anything that instantly takes out a PC with no chance for PC input, whether it's a Save-Or-Die spell or an X4 crit weapon that can knock a player from full HP to dead.

In my experience, nothing makes players more unhappy than feeling like they can't make meaningful choices. This reminds me of the worst session of Pathfinder I was ever a player in:

Spoiler:
The GM put us up against a blue dragon that used its burrowing to stay completely out sight, only poking it's nose out of the sand for half a second to use its breath weapon on us before immediately burrowing back underground.

The GM ruled that since only the snout was coming out, and only for half a second, the dragon got a huge circumstance bonus to stealth. Between that and the distance penalties, nobody in the party could spot the dragon's half-second emergence even on a natural 20 perception roll (and we all had max ranks in perception). The end result about two hours of "The dragon shoots lightning at you, and there's nothing you can do about it" as we tried everything we could think of, and none of it worked.

The session came to an abrupt end when the players finally told the GM just how un-fun things were, and it felt like there was nothing we could do. The GM promptly melted down, screaming about how gaming wasn't supposed to be fun and storming out. Needless to say, he didn't GM or play for the group again after that.

I'd also agree with previous statements about avoiding permanent debilitation. Any sort of disease/poison/ability damage/drain is fine in the short term, but unless it's a major plot point there ought to be some way to fix it. Having an enemy wizard cast blindness/deafness to blind the party fighter is fine. Doing that when the party has no way to restore fighter's sight, whether from their own casters, a potion/scroll, or a friendly NPC cleric in town, thus leaving the character permanently blind is ... not okay.


Imbicatus wrote:
Chengar Qordath wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
Quote:

And prioritizing Wis over Con hurts your HP and Fort save.

And prioritizing Wis over Dex hurts your AC, Reflex save, Initiative, and possibly number of AoO if you have Combat Reflexes.

Prioritizing WIS over CON on a Bard does that. For a Monk, you have 1d10HD and a good Fort save, so your HP and Fort are fine with an okay investment.

Last I checked, constitution gives monks the same bonuses it does any other class. It's a bit odd to argue they gain no benefit from having higher Con.

Now, I imagine what you were actually trying to say is that they need Con less than a D8 HD class with low fort saves. Which I think there's plenty of room to argue over, given that the UnMonk is a frontliner class that's expected to trade attack with big hard-hitting enemies. Every other D10 HD Good Fort class still wants a decent Con score, after all.

They can have a 12 minimum where core monk needed a 14 minimum though. My umonk has a 14 CON, but you can make due with a 12. Personally, my ideal monk set up on 20 pt buy is a dwarf with a 16/14/14/12/16/5 post racial adjustment.

Personally, I would never be happy with a frontline melee character who only had 12 Con. Yeah, the Core Monk needs Con even more to make up for a lower hit dice, but i certainly wouldn't make a frontline fighter, barbarian, ranger, etc. with only 12 Con, if I had any choice, so I wouldn't do that for a Monk either. Frontline melee just involves taking too much HP damage and making too many fort saves.

The only frontline melee class I'd consider running with less than 14 Con is a Paladin, thanks to their swift-action self-heals.


Secret Wizard wrote:
Quote:

And prioritizing Wis over Con hurts your HP and Fort save.

And prioritizing Wis over Dex hurts your AC, Reflex save, Initiative, and possibly number of AoO if you have Combat Reflexes.

Prioritizing WIS over CON on a Bard does that. For a Monk, you have 1d10HD and a good Fort save, so your HP and Fort are fine with an okay investment.

Last I checked, constitution gives monks the same bonuses it does any other class. It's a bit odd to argue they gain no benefit from having higher Con.

Now, I imagine what you were actually trying to say is that they need Con less than a D8 HD class with low fort saves. Which I think there's plenty of room to argue over, given that the UnMonk is a frontliner class that's expected to trade attack with big hard-hitting enemies. Every other D10 HD Good Fort class still wants a decent Con score, after all.


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Part of the problem with just expanding he scope of purely mundane solutions is that there's nothing stopping the casters from pursuing mundane power on top of magical. Boosting up skills isn't a perfect solution when SAD Int-based casters will usually wind up with the most skill points of any character in the game. Bards and Investigators are two of the best skill-monkey classes in Pathfinder, plus they both get 6-level casting.

Unless you create artificial barriers, there's nothing stopping the casters from flying AND using minions to build a bridge. Or from using divination AND being able to play the political game.


Dreamscarred Press's 3pp seems to be the most well-known in my admittedly small experience and low sample size. Though I think a lot of that is due to most of my gaming friends being 3.5 veterans who liked Psionics and/or Tome of Battle, and thus took an interest in the company converting those systems to Pathfinder.


WormysQueue wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Thus my point that the largest issue standing in the way of paizo fixing it is the community.
Yeah, and I think it won't change too much in the near future. Personally, I think most of those arguments presented in the bingo sheet have come from trying to explain why someone likes the game as is. And it doesn't matter if the logic behind those arguments are flawed because it's just personal opinions. Add to that the fear that any modifications to the status quo could change the game in directions the respective player doesn't like and you have an explanation why rational discourse doesn't seem to be effective.

Truth. It never hurts to remember that Paizo developed Pathfinder specifically to appeal to the mass of reactionary gamers who hated all the changes made in 4th edition and wanted to go back to 3.5. That's going to make them wary of making any major changes themselves.


One can acknowledge that a gaming system is imperfect while still enjoying it. Personally, I've had plenty of fun with 3.5 and Pathfinder despite being fully aware of the disparity. In fact, I'd say it probably makes the game more fun for me, because I know what to expect when I pick my character. It means I don't expect my Cavalier, Monk, or Barbarian to have as many options as the wizard; I knew that would be the case when I made the character, and I've accepted that.

All that said, I've certainly also enjoyed playing other systems where the game balance works out differently, including ones with no/reduced disparity. I also quite liked playing with 3pp stuff in Pathfinder that similarly cut down on the disparity.


Secret Wizard wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
That's more of an issue with the human fcb on superstitious which never should have been in the game in the first place. Racial FCBs were a mistake.

The sorcerer is still an issue.

So is the fact that a paladin can comfortably afford 12 Wis and 20 Cha by level 8 and have a +12 will save without a feat, trait, or even a cloak of resistance. If the paladin does spend the same resources as Secret Wizard's UnMonk, they get +17.

This on a class that Secret Wizard rightly recommends for "superior damage," and that's not all it has going for it.

Paladin cannot afford a 12 Wisdom score. They actually have to dump it to 7 unless they dump INT and screw themselves out of combat.

Depends on the build, but personally I'd almost never dump Wisdom. Will saves and the skills Wisdom is tied to are just too important. Plus Paladins generally don't need too much Dex and Con, since they use heavy armor and have Lay on Hands to keep their HP up in combat.


Weirdo wrote:

My issue with the will save and lost poison immunity is... why? It's not like leaving them alone would make the UnMonk overpowered compared to the paladin or barbarian, even with the very necessary boosts to the Core Monk's offensive ability.

The monk, conceptually, is supposed to be very mentally and physically balanced, so assuming they should take Iron Will in order to make up for a poor base will save doesn't sit right with me.

Since poison immunity would be a ki power, making it available to monks that aim to have that kind of control over their body doesn't mean that you can't still have monks that are vulnerable to poison.

Yeah, for me it's less that the changes ruin the class or make it unplayable, and more that I'm morbidly fascinated by the question of why someone felt the changes were a good idea in the first place. The Ki Power system already solved the issue of not all monks in fiction being immune to poison, after all. What prompted a professional game designer to say "You know what the real problem with Monks is? That they can gain the ability to be immune to poison!"


I do miss the way 3.5's prestige classes opened up some fun oddball and esoteric options that would be hard to reflect in the archetype system. Want your wizard to skin a demon and run around wearing his skin as a suit? Sure thing. How about a sorcerer who eats enough metal to turn himself into a golem? Also doable. Turn into a dragon or take on draconic aspects? There are a dozen PrC's for that! And so on...


Unchained Monk did take a couple hits with the nerf bat, though some of them were a bit oddly placed. I am a bit baffled about why someone though Diamond Body was too powerful and needed the substantial nerfing it got in Unchained.

Diamond Soul is a bit of an odd case: having it as an activated ability is definitely more convenient for friendly spellcasting, but needing to activate it on your turn means it can leave you vulnerable. not to mention that it eats up two ki points, and generally only lasts long enough for one encounter.
(Granted, my experience with SR is a bit atypical, since my main gaming group house-ruled that you could just chose to fail SR rather than requiring a standard action to lower it).


One thing to remember in the spells vs. skills debate: casters get skills too. Heck, the wizard or witch usually ends up with the most skill points of any character in the party thanks to how much they pump up their intelligence. My Sorcerer can have a better diplomacy score than the rogue, and have access to charm and dominate on top of that.


Saldiven wrote:
DungeonmasterCal wrote:
I've always tried to have a Session 0 with my players, but with most of them going back nearly 30 years in some cases it's hardly a necessity. Only on the rarest of occasions when someone new joins the group do I have hold a "get to know the setting" session with them.

This is a good point. With my regular group of players, our "session zero" is actually usually just the first hour or two of one of our 6-8 hour Sunday sessions.

However, last fall I started running RotRL with a group of brand new role players who had zero Pathfinder experience. That "session zero" was a solid four hours long, and went a couple of hours into the next session.

The amount of time commitment required will vary depending upon the experience level of the players and the mutual familiarity of the play group.

This is very true. Session Zero is a must when you play with a relatively new group, while if it's a bunch of old gaming buddies starting up their seventh Pathfinder campaign together you can probably get away with just telling everyone the general campaign premise and to have their characters ready to play when they show up.


One thing I'll on the casting time debate, if we're saying limited wish doesn't actually cast the spell but just allows it to be cast with it's normal casting time, then using it to duplicate 99% of spells in the game would require two standard actions. After all, if Gaes/Quest still requires additional actions to fill out its casting time after being duplicated with Wish, then so does every other spell in the game.

Wish-duplicating most spells requiring two standard actions doesn't strike me as RAW or RAI.

Now, I think a house rule that duplicating a spell with a casting time longer than a standard action increases the casting time of Limited Wish to that spell's casting time isn't unreasonable, but that's a house rule.


Secret Wizard wrote:

That's a whole other thing, honestly - it has more usage of ki points, problems with large-sized creatures and dungeons, etc. etc.

There's also a couple errata-prone decisions there -

Personally, I think that the Mounted Skirmisher fast track seems like an errata magnet (can't understand how it survived the UC reprint, it's so very damn janky and against the logic of most of the Monk features).

I also don't think it's likely that Fate's Favored will remain that way - the Sacred Tattoo should be a racial bonus like Halfling Luck.

I know I used Ascetic Style which is on the PFS ban list, but I used it in the lowest power incarnation possible as the designer wanted :P

Anyway, there's a build you can do like that for Unchained Monk, but it relies on Pummeling Charge which you need to get at level 9 so it cannot compete with yours. But it does pick up Ki Mount as a ki power!

Still, I think my build is much closer to what the OP wanted.

Probably, yeah. My wolf-riding Sohei is pretty far from a tradition monk build. I like to think he's a very good "Shirtless Half Orc riding a giant wolf and stabbing things with a huge katana" build, though, and since that's what I'd been aiming for when I built him...

I'll grant that early access to Mounted Skirmisher and Fate's Favored might get erratad some day. If I was an errata-er I'd probably shift Sacred Tattoo to a racial bonus, and add Mounter Skirmisher to the monk's level 10+ Bonus Feat list for the Sohei (puts it in line with when Barbarians get pounce). Then again, if I was writing Sohei errata, I'd also make it Unchained Monk compatible.


Matthew Downie wrote:
By RAI, just Air, Earth, Fire and Water elementals.

I don't see any issues with any of the other bestiary elementals, since the ones called out by size in a way to make them valid summon targets are all at the same CR as the original 4. While the PDT obviously didn't know all the details of new elementals in unreleased books when the put out the CRB, it does seem like they've tried to keep elementals that are divided into small/medium/large/huge/greater/elder tiers reasonably balanced with each other, possibly on the assumption that Summon Monster applies (it certainly does by RAW).

Granted, the Aether Elemental in Bestiary 5 might be a bit under-CRed. Permanent unremovable Greater Invisibility can be real nasty to any opponent who doesn't have a hard counter for it.


Hard to say for sure, since it all ties into the infamous "Metaphorical Hands of Effort" FAQ.


Not a perfect comparison, since the sacred tatoo/fate's favored combo is boosting up the saves quite a bit, but I had this half-orc sohei already made. Though I had to tweak it a bit; it was made on a more generous point buy (20 pb is not fun for monks), and there were one or two house rules that helped it out.

Spoiler:
Male Half-Orc (Sacred Tatoo)
Monk 8 Archetypes Qinggong Monk (Wholeness of Body), Sohei,
LN Medium humanoid (human, orc)
Init +8, Senses Perception +11
=================================================
DEFENSE
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AC 23 (27), touch 20, flat-footed 15 (18) (+1 deflection, +2 Dex, +2 class, +3 Wis, +1 dodge, +1 insight, +3 barkskin) Pearl of Power used to by Mage Armor from party wizard.

HP 64 (8+(7d8)+24)

Fort +12, Ref +12, Will +13, +2 vs. enchantment spells and effects

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OFFENSE
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Regular Hit nodachi +2 +14 (1d10+8/18-20)
Melee Flurry nodachi +2 +14/+14/+9/+9 (1d10+8/18-20)
Power Attack Flurry: +11/+11/+6/+6 (1d10+17, 18-20)

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STATISTICS
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Str 20, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 9, Wis 16, Cha 7,
Base Atk +6; CMB +13; CMD 30

Feats Power Attack, Nature Soul, Animal Ally, Boon Companion, Improved Unarmed Strike, Mounted Skirmisher, Dodge, Mounted Combat.

Skills: Handle Animal 8 ranks, Riding 8 ranks, Perception 8 ranks

Traits: Reactionary, Fate's Favored

Gear: Cracked Pale Green Ioun Stone, Dusty Rose Ioun Stone, Lv. 1 Pearl of Power, Nodachi +2, Cloak or Resistance +2, Str Belt +2, Wis Headband +2, Ring of Protection +1, <1k gp

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Animal Companion:
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Large Wolf
Speed: 50
Str 24, Dex 15, Con 19, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6,

Attack: Bite: +13 (2d6+10 Plus Trip)
AC 21 (+2 Dex, +6 Natural Armor, +3 Monastic Mount)
Feats: Dodge, Toughness, Improved Natural Attack, Weapon Focus
HP: 60 (7d8+28) +16 Temp HP via Monastic Mount

The animal companion/mount was a big part of the build's success. Mounted Skirmisher gave a good form of pseudo-pounce, plus the trip quality on my wolf's bite could be a big DPR booster. Though as I recall the party also had a buffing bard, which might be why I remember the character hitting a lot more often than his raw numbers would suggest. Heroism + Inspire Courage is a very nice combo.

Admittedly, this build did work a lot better with a better point buy, a GM who allowed the wolf via the 3pp Signature Mount Feat (making it less feat-starved) and let the wolf take improved and greater trip because we both felt it made sense regardless of prereqs.


Secret Wizard wrote:
Chengar Qordath wrote:
Question, Secret Wizard. What kind of point buy are you using for these builds? Can't tell for sure, but it's definitely more than 20 points unless I'm missing something.

It's 20pt. buy, but I'm using the Dual Talent racial trait of humans for +2 to two stats. It trades the Bonus Feat and the extra skill rank both.

For Monks, It's a must. You live and die by raw attributes.

I also like it for Magus, Occultist and any class who wants +STR/DEX/CON and +INT.

Bah, you posted the answer while I was editing that I figured it out on my own.

Working on adapting a pre-existing Sohei build I had lying around. Not sure how well it'll measure up on raw stats, but I had fun with it.


Question, Secret Wizard. What kind of point buy are you using for these builds? Can't tell for sure, but it's definitely more than 20 points unless I'm missing something.

Your build's stats after removing gear bonuses:
Str 19, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 18, Cha 7

I'll assume the level up points went into strength, since it's the highest stat. Which would but the level 1 at:
Str 17, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 18, Cha 7

I'll credit the racial bonus to wisdom, since that'd be the smartest way to build it. So for point buy it'd be:
Str 17, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 7

That's a 26 point buy.

Edit: Though the math does work if you made a dual talent human, so is that what you did?


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Atarlost wrote:
They'll never get all the remove and restore spells in a timely fashion even if you offset the delayed spell access spontaneous casters get. [
I wouldn't call a 1 level delay causing "not a timely fashion" -- yes, in an edge case it could cause a problem, but a little push either way and BOTH the Cleric and Oracle don't have these spells in time, or BOTH have them in time.

To be fair, there can be more than a 1-level delay to getting ALL the condition removal spells. Remove Blindness/Deafness, Remove Curse, and Remove Disease are all Level 3 spells, after all. The Oracle doesn't get three level 3 spells known until Level 9. Not to mention that those would be terrible picks for an Oracle, since they're all very niche spells that wouldn't see a lot of use.

The cleric (and prepared casters in general) have an advantage when it comes to spells that are only useful in corner cases, especially if it's a spell where caster level matters. That's just part of the paradigm.

I don't think this makes the Oracle less useful overall, though. It's just a case of each class having some advantages and disadvantages.


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I think a lot of the reason why some groups don't have a Session 0 is down to groups with limited gaming time and the proliferation on online resources. Back in Ye Good Olde Days you pretty much had to have a session 0, since not everyone had a copy of the books, you had to roll stats in front of the GM, etc. Now, you can pretty much do all the character creation on your own.

However, I will note that the lack of a session 0 doesn't mean parties won't be coordinated. I've run a couple games where everyone talked over their ideas on Facebook and basically did all the session 0 stuff online.

As for limited gaming time, it's definitely a factor. Most of the gaming groups I've been in that broke did so because players had work, family, or other issues that made making a weekly game difficult. That makes people really want to make the most of their gaming time, so folks want to get straight to playing. I can certainly understand why players who have to go to a lot of effort to actually make it to a weekly game don't want to spend 15 minutes watching Bob try to decide which feat he should take.


i expect most reasonable GMs in a home game would be willing to work on some sort of way to improve the carpet's speed in exchange for additional cost/WBL.


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The ten-minute casting time is usually a really big issue, unless you use with limited Wish/Miracle trick to bypass that casting time. Means you can't cast the spell on someone who isn't thoroughly restrained or immobilized. Sure, it's no-save, but if you have someone tied up enough to hit them with a ten-minute casting spell, you could just spam Dominate or Charm on them until they failed a save.

In my experience, it's not too much worse than any of the other mind-control spells. Geas/Quest is harder to detect with Sense Motive than Domination and can't be broken once it's cast, but you can only give orders when the spell is cast, and the people under control know they're being controlled and will try to play the loophole game with any orders the party gives them. Same general niche, just different pros and cons.

I've found that can lead to some problems similar to the way Wish can; sessions bogging down as the party tries to close ALL the loopholes and the GM tries to find something they missed. Granted, some groups probably enjoy trying to out-lawyer each other. Personally, I'd suggest not playing the loophole game too hard on either side, so long as the party isn't Geas-ing everything they meet.


nicholas storm wrote:
I don't see the point in taking musket master as a dip. To me the best dip for an oracle is 1 level of mysterious stranger.

Paladin 2 is also pretty tasty, especially now that Divine Protection's been nerfed.

Though honestly I've never had a problem being combat-effective with a divine caster. The Cleric/Oracle spell list has plenty of good buffs, summons, Save-or-Sucks, battlefield control, and even a little blasting.


Aelryinth wrote:
And I'll note that taking money to kill an innocent or serve as an assassin probably makes you straight off evil, not neutral.

Assassin work can fall into a bit of a grey area depending on who the target is and how you define the term. After all, it's not exactly a rare adventure hook for the party to be offered a substantial cash reward by the local authorities in exchange for killing some Big Bad Evil Guy.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
So a Neutral PC can absolutely be on a crusade to save the world purely out of altruistic intent. They just might do some questionable things along the way. Nothing evil, of course—just enough to keep them from being Good.

So basically, Renegade Shepard? Perfectly willing to bust some heads and make a few necessary sacrifices if it means the day is saved. I can work with that.


Yeah, as a general rule it's highly problematic to have one player/character try to act like an authority figure/the leader of the group without discussing it with the other members first. If someone tries to take charge and hand down orders, some players will just dig in their heels and do the opposite on general principle of "You're not the boss of me!"


Kobold Cleaver wrote:

I've played multiple TN characters. It's an incredibly easy alignment to play. You just aren't particularly high-minded, bent on a code, irritated by rules, or wicked. You can still have major goals! You can still be highly motivated to be a good adventurer, or to make your parents proud, or to get enough money to get married, or to end a war so your village will be safe. Maybe you even have incredibly noble Good goals, but are willing to, as Boomerang put it, "draw your sword a little too often".

Neutral can be a Good person with fewer standards, or a self-motivated person who tries not to hurt others in their pursuits.

Pretty much all of this. I've never understood why people think the only possible motivation someone might have for doing something is based on alignment.

To cite a couple examples of my own True Neutral Characters.

- A True Neutral Wizard whose goal was just to learn everything he could about magic. Magical research is expensive, ergo he went on adventures to get more money. Plus there were plenty of opportunities to recover lost spells/artifacts while delving in ancient ruins or taking on hostile mages.

- A True Neutral Fighter whose goal was to be the greatest swordsman in the land. He went adventuring because he thought the best way to hone his skills than to constantly test himself against stronger, more dangerous opponents.

- A True Neutral Druid who initially went adventuring because his home town got attacked and destroyed. After he and his companions hunted down the ones responsible, he stuck with group because he he'd become friends with them and didn't really have a compelling reason to go elsewhere.

- A True Neutral Investigator who i played as an almost pure mercenary. He was into adventuring because it brought him fame and fortune, and he liked those things.


Zhangar wrote:
Rise of the Runelords - generally not bad, though I could see fights in Book 3 being incredibly swingy because power attacking ogres.

Really, it's a common issue whenever lots of giants show up. They hit hard at baseline due to high strength, usually carry two-handed weapons, and most of them have power attack. If you run into one like a Frost Giant who swings an x3 critical weapon, a crit could drop even a level-appropriate frontliner. For reference, a CR 9 Power Attacking Frost Giant does 9d6+66 damage (avg 97.5 damage) on a crit.


RDM42 wrote:
But why would their champions have the same power suite as a paladin?

CBDunkerson's setup sounds pretty good to me, if you want to open the class up to multiple alignments. Then again, I'm a sucker for classes that give you big lists of class features to pick from, whether its packages like the Sorcerer Bloodlines and Mysteries or a la carte like Rage Powers or Alchemist discoveries.


Dragonchess Player wrote:
Mostly, it will depend on the party composition, player skill/system mastery, and character generation method. Even then, it can depend on how well the characters' abilities stack up against the challenges: The AP can be easier (such as a party with a cleric (positive energy), inquisitor, and paladin in Carrion Crown) or harder (several characters with weak Will saves in Reign of Winter); it can also vary from encounter to encounter within an AP.

Quite so. Just to bring up one example, when I GMed book three of Rise of the Runelords it was devastating to my party, because my dice were rolling very high while they fought lots of high-strength Ogres with x3 crit weapons, and folks were boosting other defenses over HP.


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knightnday wrote:
A neutral "paladin" might not be the best word for what people are thinking of; that said, why wouldn't a neutral deity have some sort of champion? Why wouldn't any of the alignments? I mean, one can see the merits given what is going on with Lawful Good. Do we think that the others just say "Aw shucks!" and go mope in the corner?

Quite so. I like the Lawful Good Paladin just fine for the role he occupies, but it seems a bit odd to me that no other alignment has some sort of divinely empowered martial champion. The idea that deities like Cayden Calien don't want to empower people to kick ass and smite their enemies just seems off to me.

And yes, Warpriest, Cleric, and Inquisitor exist, but none of those are martial classes. They're 3/4 BAB casters that can make up the difference and do decently at melee with enough buffs. That's not the same thing as a martial.

If folks want an alignment-neutral term like Zealot or Champion for divinely empowered martials while reserving the term Paladin for LG only, then whatever. It's only a label.


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Shifty wrote:
HWalsh wrote:


However to be more politically correct, I can say it like this:

"People want the mechanical benefits of the Paladin without the mechanical penalties of the Paladin."

Pretty much sums it up.

All the perks, none of the costs.

Yes. Remember, anyone who disagrees with HWalsh is inherently evil! How dare someone have a different opinion from him! What scum! I wish someone was brave enough to execute all of them, so that we could live in a pure state of goodrightfun as the Divine HWalsh dictates!


RDM42 wrote:
Still doesn't answer the question of if you are giving it almost entirely new mechanics and a new name even, why is there this need to still call it a paladin? If you are going through that much effirt to retweak paladin, why not just make a new class with about the same effort that fits it perfectly?

Honestly, I don't care if the name gets changed and/or it's a new class. The only reason to call it a True Neutral Paladin is to sum up the basic mechanical concept in a simple, easy to convey manner. Even a lot of RPG buffs have no idea what a Paramander is, and calling it "A True Neutral Full-BAB character class with four levels of charisma-based prepared divine spellcasting, proficiency with martial weapons and heavy armor, two skill points per level, and and number of additional supernatural and spell like abilities with a generally self or group-buffing divine+martial flavor" takes up way too much space.


Aelryinth wrote:
Having a TN character who simply ignores alignment and is engaged in material/mortal pursuits is fairly standard. Merchants are the poster boy of this, with pursuit of wealth, and irreligious nobles totally concerned with furthering the status and power of their clan would be the same.

Does seem like we keep going over this point in a constant circle.

"TN Characters generally have goals that aren't centered on morals/alignment."

"But what do they take a moral stand on?"

"They don't. TN Characters don't care about the grand struggle of good an evil, they have other goals."

"But what do they believe in?"

"They don't believe in things, they just want to pursue their goals."

"But what are their moral drives?"

"They don't have moral drives. That's why they're True Neutral!"

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