That is true, it's just that 'right now' on Golarion golem re-development is largely in its' infancy. It'll be generations yet before there are farmer-golems to till every field, if things get that far before someone decides to drop a big rock on the whole 'civilization' thing again.
I hate that magic is not used to do anything other than fireball monsters. That is ridiculous. Are the various races of Golarion too stupid to realize magic could make every aspect of their lives infinitely better? At the very least, use golems to build stuff, move stuff, and kill stuff rather than doing so yourself. I guess toiling away and/or risking death is something they enjoy on Golarion. Only using golems to guard forgotten dungeons for thousands of years makes much more sense.
Actually, there are places on Golarion where this has been tried. The problem is that, in the long run, large numbers of golems have this tendency to decide the weak fleshy things just have to go. The ways around this involve huge networks of magical runes orders of magnitude more expensive than the golems themselves, or sticking to only a very small number of golems per creator, and the rune network trick was largely lost with the fall of Thassilon.
Remember, Golarion's had a number of apocalypses, and civilization is still recovering from the most recent one. The reason a lot of things that magic can do aren't being exploited is that the knowledge to do so is in the process of being rediscovered.
Erm, if you meant me, because it's a way Golarion is different from the traditional D&D settings of the past. Anywhere else, 'slavery' is code for 'okay to blast with prejudice.' In Golarion and the Inner Sea, it's more complicated than that and a good way to highlight some of the setting's moral ambiguities.
As the others have already said, the Inner Sea region is, by itself, a very diverse place that could easily contain two dozen campaigns and never touch on the same themes twice.
One thing that hasn't been brought up is the common practice of slavery in the region. This isn't going to be remotely for every group, but if everyone's okay with it for a general 'all the Inner Sea' campaign I think it's a must-have myself. Slavery (and the people who oppose it, or who have more nuanced opinions) is behind much of the geopolitical tension in the region thanks to Andoran's zealous pursuit of slavers. And the potential roleplay from descending on a galley or a caravan, only to find half the slaves aren't going anywhere because their terms of indenture make staying a better bet can't be missed.
This isn't to say slavery isn't an evil in the setting, but the way things are tends to lend it to a credible 'good (or neutral) people doing the necessary evil things to get by in their society' scenario.
Likely answer, knowing Hero Lab's idiosyncracies: Rage Powers are most likely set up to check for straight up Barbarian levels for prerequisites. Hero Lab tends to have trouble with "Counts as" methods of meeting prereqs, usually requiring it to be specially coded into the individual feats/powers.
I've been thinking on this for the past few days, and I'm not convinced the Theme-Park model is, itself, dead. But I do think it's going to have to undergo an evolution to survive. The emerging 'A' games market, where successful Indie studios that refuse to be bought out tend to end up, is probably where we might see this come from.
These theme-parks will probably feature technology almost ten years behind the curve at release time. This is to enable content, particularly new content, to be deployed quickly and with a minimum of fuss. Beyond that details are somewhat sketchy in my mind....
To head things like this off in the future, explain to him the following:
PFS RULES ARE PERMISSIVE. Unlike much of the game rules, where the basic attitude is "If there's nothing saying you can't, ask the GM" in PFS the rules are assumed to outline what you're allowed to do. If it doesn't say "You can do this" somewhere, and say so explicitly, then you can't do it even if it could theoretically happen.
Kind of the nature of the Org-play beast.
Typically, these things a situational at best.
Dirge of Doom - this works well for a defensive/retreat situation, where the primary concern isn't doing damage but simply getting away. It's NOT an exit strategy by itself, it just helps along whatever the strategy is by automatically lowering chances to hit.
Inspire Greatness - Switch to this to save a party member's life at range, as a move/swift action. At least long enough for someone to get in there and do the job properly. Restart it if the temp HP get burned through before someone can do that. Switch back to Inspire Courage at earliest opportunity.
Inspire Heroics - Use this to get your friends into melee with the lich. Switch to Inspire Courage to take him down once you're there.
But really, it's not common to keep these up for very long. They're kind of a holdover from 3.0 when Bardic Performance was a standard action every round.
The story behind the closure of City of Heroes appears to be far more complicated than this, but can be boiled down to a few things.
1) The game was a notorious wreck in terms of the code base. To bring a new programmer on board and up to speed required almost a year of investment before they could actually do any work.
2) Related to the above, the game was pretty much nearing its' absolute expansion limits. Without something close to developing from scratch (A 'City of Heroes 1.5' if you will) there was only maybe two years of life left before it had to be forced into a 'maintenance' phase or old content completely removed from the game world to make room.
3) The parent company has only an interest in WoW-level successes. If they aren't running in the millions of players worldwide, the game is considered a flop, shut down, and written off regardless of profitability concerns.
While Paragon Studios (the developer) repeatedly tried to get either a sequel or a rewrite greenlit, the publisher pretty much refused on the grounds that the game wasn't successful outside the American market and repeatedly tried to close the game down over the years. The only thing stopping it was prior legal agreements that led to them getting it in the first place, but those seem to have finally expired or conditions were met through accounting shenanigans (Which is the subject of extensive rumor)
"Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards."
Short version: Non-casters get better at their job as they level relative to their challenges (so they "feel" more powerful) but never outstrip their relative target by much. With skills, items, and sheer ingenuity they can often 'fake' a different job, but they'll never be better than a shot in the dark at it.
Casters, on the other hand, once they hit a 'baseline' level of competence at their core job, tend to stay there but add more jobs they can do at that level of competency. Then they can also add the items and skills above to round out their repertoire as a backup. The end result is that casters end up being very powerful by virtue of having all the possible answers to problems that can be thrown at them.
This isn't a problem that can be solved by simple fiat, and is built into the game at a very deep level. Limiting caster levels just denies them the baseline power level needed to function, it doesn't even come close to addressing the core problem.
Robert A Matthews wrote:
Never buy adamantine ammunition. 100 GP for an adamantine weapon blanch gives you 10 pieces of ammunition, as opposed to 60 GP per missile.
Also, one thing to note is that Blanch only lets you bypass DR. To deal with Hardness or special defenses, you still need the real deal. (And yes, the distinction does come up.)
I think part of the problem is that there's a bizarrely narrow definition of what constitutes a PFS-specific question used to make the determination. Specifically, if the question is not about
1) The rules laid out in the Organized Play Guide or Additional Resources.
...then it's not PFS specific, regardless of context. Questions about RAW never qualify under these criteria.
If you are taking more than a 5-foot step more than once an encounter as a melee fighter (note the small 'f'), someone else isn't doing their job.
Question - is your VC on the list of official VC/VL's, or is it just the guy who functions as the event organizer? Because the term has changed meaning since I was last heavily active, it seems.
To be honest...in my ideal overhaul, to get Rogues back to where they should be, I would give them a free Skill Focus feat every other level. Then, I would bump a number of uncommon "rogu-ey" DCs by 5. (Acrobatics, Disable Device, UMD.) After that, I would probably increase the level of a number of common "bypass" spells. Knock at 4th level, Invisibility at 3rd, Greater Invis at 5th, not an exhaustive list by any stretch.
That way, members of other classes could get a good breadth of skills, and casters COULD bypass challenges, but Rogues would have the depth to really get it done when you're in a hurry or under the gun and you need everything you've got to survive the other challenges.
To add to what Sky said, the problem is that the Rogue isn't well-rounded. At all. It's ridiculously over-specialized on one thing, skills. Skills Skills Skills. This is supposed to be what Rogues shine at.
The problem is, the skill system (and many classes) moved on, while Rogues did not.
Nowadays, even two guys with Int+4 classes, both human and putting their Favored Class bonus into skills, can cover the Rogue's role with basically no investment just by being reasonably careful. Bards, who got a massive boost to their skills via Versatile Performance, actually make out better on raw ranks than Rogues do.
My own personal "fluff" for Summon Monster spells is that they're essentially a pre-fab bargain with the powers beyond. You put a bit of arcane power out in the ether for anyone who meets the requirements you specify to come out and grab if they'll agree to fight your enemies or do some other minor service. This energy provides either sustenance on their own plane for a few days, or it may function as some form of minor currency among the intelligent summons. So by calling up an Evil outsider, you're giving it something it can use in exchange for making your life easier, even if the cost to you is trivial.
The various summon feats let you 're-write' this bargain to make it a better deal for you and still get answers.
...not sure how close that is to canonical. We may need to wait for WotR (which supposedly has articles on cosmology coming) to find out.
On Clerics of "ideals": While I'm not fundamentally opposed to the concept, I've gotta say I rarely see it done as more than an excuse to take any two domains you want.
In my home campaign, I allow it but I require the player to come up with something coherent. Usually, it's a list of 5-8 tenets to get an idea of what the character actually believes, plus an alignment and a minimum of three associated domains (and a maximum of five). Usually, I'll take this and see if an actual cult can be organized around the idea. If so, it will be dropped into the setting somewhere (possibly far from the play area), and if not I'll need to consider their idea more closely.
Not every GM will accept this, of course, but if you do enough work to make your philosophy 'real' at least some normal hard-liners might take a look.
I'm going to be kind of blunt here - PBP applications, especially in a large community like this one, are demanding as heck. GMs will have as many as 60 applications to consider (And I've seen it go even higher than that, though not by much.) Even after you cut everything with an obvious red-flag, you've still got to consider how the players will work together, create a decent party, and even then it's something of a crap shoot if the game can/will take off.
This is obviously a very different environment from what you're used to. Applications are highly competitive in nature, and you need to avoid shortcuts at any cost. Further, you need to not be too attached to a particular application. Personally, I have character ideas ready to work on for every Paizo AP. Other than the high percentage of bards (and I really don't know why I keep landing on the class), every one of them brings something different to the table. I'm even working on my character for Wrath of the Righteous (an AP where we won't even have the player's guide or the base rules for four months.)
Here's where I don't see any way to be gentle - against the background of people who will willingly spend months working on unique character backgrounds, your approach is automatically going to come off as lazy at best. The use of a name lifted directly from another source will cause GMs who may not be up to full due-diligence to slide you into the reject pile without even a look. That you've admitted to lifting more than the name tells me that anyone familiar with the source material is just going to assume you're not what they're looking for.
For Kingmaker...if you want into this campaign, and this campaign alone, you are probably going to have to start from scratch anyway. If you just want a Play-By-Post, I'd say broaden your base, practice making diverse characters (including writing backgrounds - that's important.) If it's your first PBP, I'd go so far as to say ignore the APs for modules or PFS Scenarios your first time out - these are shorter, and will let you get used to the format without a multi-year commitment.
And I do sincerely wish you luck and hope to be playing with you some time soon.
I think you're not giving mass summoning nearly enough credit here. Frankly, it's amazing when a sorcerer makes the feat investment to do summoning well and starts to nova on it. Picking your summons well, you can really dominate the battlefield in a few turns, mixing a bunch of utility, walls of HP, and attacks that just keeps getting stronger until the first summon finally wears out.
The thing is, the Master Summoner doesn't actually wear out. At 1 min/level, his summons will stay for the entire combat and possibly into the next. At the same time, the SLA doesn't have the tempo issue of regular summoning - you enter combat right away and you're good to go. Buffs are just icing on the many-layered cake.
Easy way to conceptualize the new rule is that Uarmed Strike is one weapon. Flurry of Blows is a class ability that lets you use it as a double weapon - the same way it works with any other weapon with the "Monk" quality. (This isn't complete, but it gets the point across.)
BNW summed it up pretty well, although 7 might be a bit above that. Prone to getting confused, very little 'head for facts and figures', anything more complicated than "Those are the bad guys" is going to take him some time and a lot of small words to get across in a way he'll actually understand. But, this doesn't mean he's unobservant (That's the purview of wisdom) and there's nothing very wrong with his personal memory. As an adventurer, he's likely to simply latch on to party members with better reasoning skills as he notes that when he follows their advice things tend to work out for the best. He's also not dumb enough that he can't learn things, so if he has an area of particular interest he might actually be quite knowledgeable - it's just not going to occur to him to apply it outside his little hobby. At an extreme, if he likes swords, knows all about them, what you can make them out of, the various melting points, all about the alloys, weight and balance...it's STILL not going to occur to him that the chains holding up the drawbridge are a really cheap iron with low melting point and there's plenty of coal to make a hot fire with right next to them.
Spell Combat requires specifically a weapon associated with a hand.
An improvised weapon does, in fact, count as a weapon. However, using the rod as one incurs the usual penalties to the use of improvised weapons, so it's far from a great option. VERY feat and dip intensive to really make it work.
Also, just to add to things, I'm just going to point out that a Linnorm King (like the ruler of Kalsgrad) is, by definition, a man who has faced an adult-dragon level physical threat in one-on-one combat and survived not only that, but a powerful 'death curse' designed to take him out after the fact as well. Yes, some faked it, but not only is Kaldgrad's ruler not one of them, but he took down one of the most powerful. And he's noted as being fairly attentive to his kingdom, so Kimandatsu is going to be fairly limited in terms of making sudden moves, lest she find herself with an angry dragonslayer looking to add oni to the list of things he's dispatched.
Also, an AP, by nature, can't account for every possible thing the PCs do. My group ran through most of the encounters in one "session" without rest, then finished up against the majors the next day. Presumably, the reinforcements are not morons and will take precautions based on how the PCs ran their assault.
Walter Sheppard wrote:
Well, no, you're basically completely wrong on which is easier to fake at this point.
On the one hand, while it's true the algorithm can be manipulated, in most cases at this point the 'seed' used to generate the starting number is no longer taken from time, but from variations in the power source at start-up time. This is extremely difficult to control, and can be defeated by asking the person to start the program in front of you.
On the other hand, a dedicated cheater rolling dice? No. You are not going to be able to detect them just by watching. You have too much to do while running the game, and there are entire books written on this topic, along with expensive classes and ample practice opportunity. The reason why this would be so well understood is simple - gambling. People wanting to cheat the casinos at dice need to be able to fool someone whose sole job is to watch them roll dice from every conceivable angle, over and over again. Probably on replay. The methods will, obviously, be geared for d6s as a result, but it wouldn't take much to re-work for d20s.
If a player is new to pathfinder but has played 3.5 for 10 years, and the magus is what caught their eye?
I'll agree if they are brand new to d20 system in general it's not the best for them to play, but then neither is anything that casts spells.
if a player is brand new to d20, you should hand them a ranger with point blank, and precise shot.
In my experience the most difficult things for new players to learn are.
the 4 CRB Iconics. 1 relies on flanking (but it's a rogue, so that happens), two cast spells, and the 4th relies on TWF for a full attack.
my least favorite thing in GMing for new players is trying to tell them why they can't attack with both of their swords when they move. Stupid Valeros.
Thank you. I've been trying to articulate this for days. I'd disagree on spellcasting being innately bad, but prepared casting is decidedly non-intuitive if you don't have any D&D/D20 experience.
For Iconics I'd have picked Oracle, Sorcerer, Bard, and Barbarian (or Paladin) truthfully - of all of them these are the most straightforward-looking to build and explain.
Michael Brock wrote:
This is the best answer. It isn't a huge overstep in authority.
What I'm getting is that the VC in question didn't just ban the player from their venue, he was essentially told that he was not permitted to run or play in any events in that geographical area.
Monk (Sensei) is probably the closest to what you're looking for. Trade-off of Flurry of Blows for Inspire Courage, Competence, and Heroics (I think on the latter). Going to need Extra and/or Lingering Performance in this case - the Sensei's rounds-per-day is lower than the Bard's. With the use of Wisdom to-hit, you're set up perfectly to create a maneuver-specialist who can work things like battlefield positioning and flanking, set up status conditions, and the like. At higher levels you can even use your self-only ki powers on others at increased cost.
What's not going to be great here is direct bonuses - Inspire Courage is only one part of the bard's menu, without their spell selection it's not nearly as good as usual. But there's still a fair bit of support and the potential for some damage (which is always helpful.)
Technically, no - the Shadow Demon doesn't have access to the Magic Jar for purposes of Summoning. Thematically, Summon Monster is kind of a "pre-fab" binding contract. You quickly put out a notice for a short-term service on the appropriate plane and give up a portion of your spell energy (represented as the spell slot) and get services from the relevant creature for a very short duration. The monster gets the energy (and probably the improvements from your Augment Summoning feat for a period of time after returning to its' home plane) in exchange. You haven't 'paid for' the use of that magic jar, so the Shadow Demon has no obligation or desire to use it on your behalf, especially since he gets to go home with no strings attached in a few minutes at most.
If you want summoned critters to use spells on your behalf, you're going to need to look at Planar Ally and Planar Binding. Which, depending on the spell, may be more or less expensive in GP than just getting a wizard or cleric to do it for you.
Aura of <Alignment> is fundamentally a disadvantage of the most minor sort - it just means you show up on detection spells looking for that alignment regardless of your actual alignment.
There are two Dervish-based bard archetypes. One is the "Dervish Dancer" and that really shouldn't fall under copyright. The one you're thinking of is the "Dawnflower Dervish."
To be honest, I'm not really a fan since the Alchemist and Magus do the "selfish caster" thing better, IMO.
Here's the thing I always say about bards - unless you work for it, they're not impressive on the surface.
They won't have the feats to get off that "Make heads explode" hit you see from the paladins, barbarians, and even fighters under their ideal circumstances.
They don't have the flashy control spells that render +4 CR encounters trivial with a few unlucky die rolls.
They can't drop heals all day and keep a party that's taking a beating up like a cleric or life oracle.
Even as a skill-monkey, they're really only on par with the rogue, not massively surpassing them without some serious building for it.
What the Bard class, especially Core, excels at is "the pebble that starts the avalanche." Inspire Courage is a perfect example of how this works - at first level, it's +1 to hit, +1 to damage, and +1 to a couple of circumstantial saves. But, +1 to damage is hard to come by at first level, and HP is measured in single digits on many encounters, so it's not nothing. And it will apply to (almost) every attack made, plus it makes Power Attacking from the heavy hitters a wash (so another +2 damage for their rolls). That's your damage, even though you're not the guy rolling the dice. In a six-man party with two martial-primary characters (not unreasonable), for one round of action investment you've probably dealt somewhere between 10-20 points of damage over a five round combat. A wizard can do better with Sleep or Color Spray, if the saving throw dice go their way, but it's still pretty impressive for something you can do out of the gate.
And then you've still got an excellent array of buffs (and potentially debuffs) to go before you wade in, probably no later than round three, to start adding damage directly.
That's the trick. None of these abilities is going to set the world on fire or make people sit up and take notice. But they're always there, always working in the background to make everything and everyone around you better.
One thing I should point out is that "A more subtle and competent Irovetti" isn't incompatible with the original plot point that he's working for Nyrissa. What I would suggest, though, is that advancing Nyrissa's plan (and keeping the favor of the nymph-queen) serves to advance political goals elsewhere.
I would say, he's really turning his attention to Mivon. Instability in Brevoy is intended to distract Mivon into weakening their defenses on the Pitax border, while the sudden creation of a wasteland where the Stolen Lands used to be creates a buffer between Brevoy and any Mivon forces that might strike from the rear while Pitax is vulnerable. Meanwhile, Daggermark will also be too distacted by the massive change in geography, along with spies disrupting things as usual, of course, to make a move before Pitax has taken and holds a good chunk of Mivon.
My point in needing the Blue Rose order is that the Sakabatou really isn't a proper merciful weapon. In the hands of an amateur it would be just as dangerous as a real sword - it's stated that it's only because Kenshin is already highly skilled that he can control his strikes well enough to not beat people to death with it.
That said, it's probably better as a dip in mid-levels for the extra +2 damage during your rare challenges than as the base.
You're going to want some levels of Samurai (Sword Saint) with the Order of the Blue Rose for both the quick-draw-strike and the ability to freely use any weapon to deal non-lethal damage. Also, bear in mind that Kenshin's real advantage is keen insight into his opponent's motivations, so ranks in Sense Motive, Bluff, and Diplomacy are going to be a must (although it took Kenshin a very long time to properly apply these traits, so getting high scores through ranks and maybe a few feat or two is acceptable.)
From a rules perspective, this is simple enough. All characters have a single weapon called an "unarmed strike." The Flurry of Blows monk ability simply lets you use one weapon with Two-Weapon Fighting (with restrictions.) Any unarmed strike can be used with any part of the body, not just a monk.
Remember, the combat system is abstract. You never make just one attack in a six second round, no matter how many rolls you're allowed to make. The number of attack rolls simply reflects the number of effective attacks possible. A more skilled character lands more hits in the same time period while making the same number of attacks. They don't mysteriously get faster.
The idea of two Iaidoka rushing across a field at each other and striking in a flash is a matter of cinematic flair, not reality.
Thank you, that was basically the point I was trying to make earlier. Some people are going to want that for their games, and a system that arrives there is pretty much going to ignore aspects of reality in favor of...well, you said it, cinematic storytelling.
3.5 had something similar didn't it? Iajutsu is just the art of drawing your blade and striking at the same time if I remember right. Its cool, but its not exactly effective. Turning it into a full combat thing was wierd I think.
Iaijutsu dueling is almost entirely narrative contrivance - any mechanic around it is going to violate rules of common sense in favor of playing to the trope.
My personal method goes something like this:
Duel: A Duel is a full-round action that does not provoke an Attack of Opportunity. You and your target must stand no further apart than your movement speed, and both parties must willingly participate.
Make a Bluff or Intimidate check, a Sense Motive check, and all of your attack rolls and record the results of the latter. On any round in which your Sense Motive check exceeds your opponent's Bluff or Intimidate check, you learn the results of their attacks, but do not apply the damage at this time.
After this, you can choose to end the duel. Both characters roll an initiative check, and immediately move to meet in the mid-point of their current location, This special, out-of-turn movement never provokes an AoO. Whoever wins initiative deals their damage first. If this is enough to kill the opponent, they don't recieve the damage dealt.
(This could probably stand to be tweaked further.)
Another thing is that saying "It's just the setting" is rather callous at the best. Just a few off-the-cuff examples from the WoD:
1) Human "investigators" who slowly become aware of the supernatural world around them (the PCs will likely run across the aftermath of some triggery stuff, but for many people that's fine as long as they aren't the victims.)
2) Werewolves involved in intra-tribal politics to determine a successor (Probably no more violent than your average D&D session at worst, with the settings' "big bads" kept to minimal involvement.)
3) Almost any Mage game (With the power over their character's personal worlds Mage players wield, excluding 'mature themes' without excluding maturity is, and please forgive the anaolgy, child's play.)
In short, player comfort trumps the rules in cases like this, and it also trumps any one person's opinions about "the setting." Establish that this stuff might happen in advance, give players a chance to back out, and if the majority of your players don't want to touch this stuff, don't do it.
As I've come to understand it, the question is basically nonsense (in Golarion). Aasimars are not "half-anything." An Aasimar is what happens when some poor sap with a trace of celestial blood has the good/poor fortune to be born as a throwback to their ancestor, but without the proper environment to be a 'proper' member of their race. The result is always the same from the perspective of whether the character is more like their base race or their ancestor - there's no recognizable trace of either immediate parent left, except possibly for some minor cosmetic or cultural leftovers.
Honestly, I strongly think, based on the posts linked, that the intent is 100% that these characters are that different. They're not just the guy with a little hint of outsider in their family tree, they're the equivalent to the one-in-a-billion genetic throwbacks that have the occasional dolphin born with legs, or humans with a non-vestigal tail. Tieflings, Aasimars, and the rest are not humanoids and just don't behave as such.
If you want a character who only has a little touch of these inheritances, either restrict it to roleplay or grab the Eldritch Heritage feat line (Or a level of sorcerer, of course) for a slightly bigger boost.
Jeff Wilder wrote:
Adventure Paths are all, to a greater or lesser extent, based on notional XP. Players are rewarded for time played and survival, not just "overcoming the challenge." From what I can tell, this is mostly a result of production schedules and space requirements - a particular adventure just might not have enough "challenge" going on in its' pages to get from the point where the author of this volume picks up to where the next author has been told to start. This particularly affects "The Hungry Storm," I suspect, because it's built almost entirely out of random encounters with two fairly short setpieces and a couple of staged encounters along the way. Thus it's hard to guarantee that any particular group will get all the XP, so "freebies" are seeded to make sure that the book, RAW, will get players who may have missed things in "Night of Frozen Shadows" to where they can survive "Forest of Spirits."
Sleet Storm wrote:
Paizo APs often include "shortcuts" at unreasonably high knowledge checks. The expectation is not that every party, or even most parties, will consistently hit these results. It's that, if a character has invested heavily in the appropriate skill and gets lucky, that deserves an occasional reward.
More importantly, there is always some alternative to making these checks to get the relevant information or making the check just gives you fun, but not particularly useful, background info.
You can not use trip on an enemy that is standing up from prone. This is because your AoO is interrupting and goes before the enemy has stood up. You can't trip an enemy that is already prone.
Not quite true from what I understand. The actual sequence of events is as follows:
1) Enemy uses action to stand, stop. At this time, their action hasn't resolved, but anything that triggers off of it happens now. Hence, AoO.
2) You perform your AoO to trip. This is mostly important because there are a number of things that can come as a result of a successful trip (Ki Throw, for instance, lets you get a free Reposition.)
3) After all AoOs, including additional trip attempts (and their extras) resolve, the attempt to stand finishes if they're still alive.
You've got this backwards - Bardic Knowledge is "You've studied (history through ancient lore) so extensively that you can figure out other facts through it." If you want the ability, take a class or archetype that grants it. Knowledge (History) alone is basically just facts and figures.