I've got to get him entered into the system here, but the character I would like to submit is a fighter, Rolf "the pacifist", who usually works as a caravan guard. Some "Rolfisms":
"When I call myself a pacifist people look at me funny and then point out the armor I'm wearing and all the weapons I'm carrying. They seem to think that I am lying to them. But nevertheless it is true. I don't like violence. I just happen to be good at it and it pays well."
"Violence usually doesn't solve anything. Unless you're good at it."
"Those who would want me to temporarily abandon my pacifism for mere filthy lucre had better have a lot of filthy lucre."
Rolf will usually use a spiked chain in combat because it gives him advantages when trying to disarm and trip people, thus potentially winning fights without having to kill people. When working as a guard on a caravan that has an established route and visits the same places on a regular basis, one doesn't want to go killing people in bar fights and other assorted minor altercations in towns and inns along the way. That leads to blood feuds and loss of business for the caravan that hired the guard. However, if the caravan gets jumped by raiders/bandits in the middle of nowhere then that's a different sort of problem. The best means of demonstrating the value of pacifism to caravan raiders may very well be to kill them all and let the Gods handle it. At the very least it demonstrates the problems involved with resorting to violence if you're not good at it
IMHO what Paizo should have done is to have increased the sneak attack damage die to d8's from d6's when they increased most other classes' hit die. Then they should have cut back on the number of other classes that got Trapfinding.
In terms of various rogue talents that could be taken, nobody has yet mentioned minor magic and major magic. Minor magic is not so great in and of itself (a cantrip as a spell like ability that can be used 3x per day), but major magic can be helpful (a 1st level wizard spell that can be used 2x per day as a spell like ability). Effective caster level for either is the rogue's level. Personally when I set up my rogues I have usually had the minor magic be "Mage Hand" and the major magic be "Shield". That really helps the problem with relatively low AC. If one wanted to focus more on damage output then "Magic Missile" might be a better choice for a first level spell that still retains some utility at higher levels. Good cases could also be made for "Expeditious Retreat", "Feather Fall", "Gravity Bow" and "Vanish".
Is that as much of a magic boost as some of the other classes get? No, but it is a boost that can help. It's also a magic boost that can be obtained simply by concentrating (standard action to activate spell like ability, no verbal, somatic or material component required, though one does have to continue concentrating to maintain Mage Hand) as long as the rogue is conscious.
One thing that I am not quite sure about is whether or not one could get a "sneak attack" with a spell. It seems to me that if that were the case something like "Acid Splash" or "Ray of Frost", which require ranged touch attacks to hit might then be a lot more useful as "minor magic" choices than I had originally thought.
And now that I got everybody all worked up over an elven ranger, I decided to punt that character concept and go for a warforged rogue. :-) Details will be forthcoming later today or tomorrow. Main reasons for change are that the rogue would be a better trap monkey and later on as his skill improves a good UMD monkey. Also, between the time that the Last War ended and the campaign begins the 'forged rogue would have been working under contract for House Deneith and could then have an excuse to be found anywhere on the continent. Finally, with only 4 characters it helps to have one who doesn't need to sleep and has decent perception to help out with watchstanding.
I think I can do what I need to do with the character just using a standard ranger. I do have a question though. Knowledge(Planes) is not normally considered to be a class skill for Rangers. However, it would make perfect sense for the character to have it as a class skill given what he's doing. Could I have this character drop Knowledge(Geography) as a class skill in order to pick up Knowledge(Planes) as a class skill? It would be appreciated and would help him out a little.
Also, what level would the characters be starting at?
I'm thinking about it. Character that I have in mind would be a Khorvaire Elf with standard elven ability score increases. He would be a former member of Her Majesty's Royal Cyran Counterintelligence Force. Other than that there's quite a few things I am still trying to figure out. He would be either a relatively standard Ranger, or possibly a Ranger/Rogue, or maybe an Inquisitor of the Sovereign Host. Regardless of which of those specific routes that I go with the character his primary long term goal is hunting Rakshasha. It would stand to reason that given the problems those things are causing on Eberron that the various nations/religions would likely have small groups dedicated to trying to eliminate them. He managed to "escape" the Mourning because he was pulling embassy duty in Sharn at the time.
Rolling dice for ability scores? Bah humbug :-) But it wouldn't hurt to check to see what might turn up.
2d6 + 6 ⇒ (3, 1) + 6 = 10
And with rolls like that I think I'll let other, hopefully luckier, people see what they can do.
The Shaman wrote:
... The "wood elf" archetype has somewhat fallen to the side - you can't tell me a tribe of pseudo-fey that spend millenia in the deep woods with little technology or formal education would have a penalty to constitution or a bonus to intelligence ;) ...
If you're smart enough you don't have to be tough. :-)
You are correct, changing a weapon from one hand to another, or switching one's grip on a two handed weapon so that you may merely hold it one hand is a free action.
However, there was a thread elsewhere on the board where Developer's Notes or some such thing was quoted to say that a two handed weapon merely being *held* in one hand was not being *wielded*, and therefore would not be able to be used as a bonded item for purposes of casting. So, if that is your intention you may be better served by going with a ring or an amulet as your bonded item.
Also, a two handed melee weapon merely being held in one hand could not then be used to make attacks of opportunity. Check with your GM to see if he would allow you another free action to switch your grip on the two handed weapon back to a standard two handed hold after you did whatever it was you were doing to need a one handed hold on it as part of your actions for a single turn.
I beg to differ on "stronger". Gnomes and Halflings both take a -2 to their strength, Elves do not. Also, as small creatures, Gnomes and Halflings can only carry 75% of the load in terms of weight that a medium sized creature can. All that being said, as the weight of a lot of things that Gnomes and Halflings have to carry gets dropped by 50% due to their small size they do come out slightly ahead in that regard. But I wouldn't say that makes them "stronger".
I would say that there is a niche for the "little people" on the battlefield. I think you're looking more at scouts/skirmishers in general than front line fighters. Even with them being able to use medium sized mounts and function in areas where "standard" sized cavalry (medium sized characters on large size mounts) can't go, there are still likely going to be situations where they have to go where the mount can't. The only real exception I see to that being summoner or multiclass summoner variants where the character is using the eidolon as a mount with all the sorts of nifty types of additional movement capabilities an eidolon can get. But then the character is still potentially sacrificing levels in whatever other class the player might want it to have in order to get that capability, or just going as a straight summoner which again isn't a true front line fighter build. So you're back to skirmishing again.
I am probably in a very small minority here, but I'll go ahead and have my say anyway. A one level dip into fighter does not make you a fighter when the rest of your levels are all in wizard. What it has the potential to make you is hamburger because you think you are a fighter when you're really not.
This is not to say that I have never done fighter/wizard multiclass characters, it's just that when I do them I keep the levels "balanced". Yep, keeping the fighter level within 1 level of the wizard level means that you aren't as effective as a wizard. But it also means that you won't be instantly turned into ground round if something nasty gets close to you and you find yourself without the armor class to bounce the damage, the hit points to absorb the damage and the BAB necessary to hit whatever it is with a melee weapon.
To my way of thinking the fighter/wizard balanced multiclass character is arguably neither a true fighter nor a true wizard. It is its own "class" and needs to be handled in such a way that you're getting a synergistic benefit out of what you're doing with your levels in both classes. Not as just a one level dip to get you into a "prestige" class later that may or may not be worth all the trouble compared to what the "balanced" multiclass could do if you just let it run it course.
That's my two copper pieces, your mileage may vary.
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
"Optimization" means different things to different people. However, I usually go for more "generalized" ability scores and builds then what I've seen being touted in some sections of this board. So I'll take a stab at it. IMHO the ideal races to look at would be either human, or half elf with the "Ancestral Arms" alternate racial trait from the Advanced Player's Guide. This converts the half elf's normal skill focus feat to an exotic weapons proficiency (or martial weapons proficiency depending on character class at 1st level). Regardless, one ends up with a character that can get three feats at first level. The build I'll put forward is based on a half elf.
STR 14 + 2(race) = 16 + 1 (level 4 increase) = 17
Nothing too outstanding, but nothing overly weak either. To those who might argue that DEX and INT are higher than what a fighter supposedly needs thus robbing him of STR, I would argue that the extra skills and feats that this makes possible are actually the core of a good general purpose build.
Now let's look at the feats:
Level 1 Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, EWP: Dwarven War Axe
Of course one could vary that and put Power Attack and Combat Expertise as the level one feats with the ranged weapon feats not coming until later. Depends on whether or not you want him to start out more as a skirmisher or more as a front line type. If you want him to use a thrown weapon as his preferred ranged weapon he's going to need to get the quickdraw feat, especially if he's going to be using a shield a lot of the time. Otherwise an appropriately crafted for STR bonus composite longbow would likely be the best choice.
All ability increases due to level advancement will go to STR. Thus there are some nifty ranged weapon feats down the road that he won't be able to get because his DEX won't be high enough. But then we're supposedly building a "general purpose" character here not a specialized skirmisher.
Note that by getting the power attack and deadly aim feats he can scale his damage output to his level with any melee or missile weapon that he is proficient with. By being able to get the combat expertise feat he can also increase his armor class any time he wants to. Granted he will take a minus to his attack rolls to do so, but then fighters literally have BAB to burn. He doesn't have any of the feats that would specialize him for shield work, but then he arguably doesn't need them just to get the advantage of a shield and hold his place in line.
I chose to get him the EWP, focus and specialization feats for the Dwarven War Axe so he would have a weapon that got 1d10 damage and could be used one handed while also using a shield. I chose the Dwarven War Axe over the Bastard Sword because the axe is a better "general purpose" weapon. I suppose that one might be able to chop their way through a door or a wooden wall or cut down a tree with a Bastard Sword, but it's the sort of thing that normally isn't done. On the other hand if the character has an axe that sort of thing can be easily accomplished.
I deliberately punted mounted combat because unless one is dealing with a scenario/campaign where there will be a lot of mounted combat, the fighter is going to spend the lion's share of his time as an infantry grunt. Though there would be no reason why he couldn't have the ride skill if the player thought it was needed.
Skills to get are harder to pin down because in many respects it depends on what you want the character to do. Our half elf fighter is going to be able to have 4 trained skills [2(base) + 2(INT MOD)], 5 if you want to use his favored class bonus for skills as opposed to extra hit points. As I see it the three skills he needs that are almost mandatory are Climb, Swim and Survival. Beyond that it depends on what you want the character to be able to do.
So, that's my 2 copper pieces for whatever anybody thinks they're worth.
May I be so bold as to suggest the "Use Magic Device" skill? One of the things it permits a character to do is to emulate an alignment. When used in such a way the skill check only has to be made once per hour.
The downside is that the required DC is rather high, so it would take a lot of skill ranks in that skill to pull it off on a regular/routine basis. And it would only work for the character who had the skill. But a character that did have the requisite amount of skill wouldn't have to worry about using magic items or spells to appear as whatever alignment he wanted to.
Of course, the low level characters could always have a higher level contact who was willing to cast the needed spells on them to hide their alignment as part of the operation. Might be less of a problem to do it that way, and thematically that ties them to a certain location so they can get those spells renewed on a daily basis.
Personally I don't see this as much of a problem in Cheliax. Now if your characters were in Geb then it might be a different story.
Jack leaned against the bar watching all the various goings on. "Tea," he thought to himself, "What's this place coming to? At least they aren't breaking out the wine and cheese."
Jack turned to the bartender and said, "Another ale please." Paying the bartender when his beverage arrived he again turned to survey the room. Seeing one of the locals waving a spear around he said, "Watch it with that thing."
Finder's Keeper wrote:
Would you like me to go ahead and submit a detailed character sheet? Do you have a character sheet style/form that you prefer?
I would like to be considered for your group. I have played PbP games before, a few on a site called Macray's Keep and once or twice on the WOTC boards section devoted to PbP. I live in Washington state (Pacfic Time Zone) and should be able to check the boards and post at least once a day.
The way the group is shaping up right now it looks like the only serious meat shield is the barbarian. Not to be overly critical of barbarians, but just one of them might not be enough. So I'll put forward a more traditional battle axe and shield fighter who will be in at least medium armor and likes to thrown chakrams at bad guys when the tactical situation allows. While I will spoiler some of the details so as not to take up too much space, I do have a couple of silly questions.
1) I assume that you are using a standard point buy for ability score generation. If so, what is the number of points used?
2) Would I be correct in assuming that you are using the standard character wealth by level guidelines in Core Rulebook (page 399)?
1. Sergent Jack (or just "Jack") as he is known is a professional mercenary. He is in Chologadi because that is where his last contract took him. Unfortunately for Jack his employer's money ran out, and Jack much prefers hard cash to promises. He will state that he is a professional mercenary, not a professional volunteer.
2. Jack has brown hair, brown eyes, and those portions of his skin which are exposed outside his armor are tanned while the rest of him is not. Jack is 22 years old, stands 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs in at 175 pounds. It is rather obvious that the majority of that weight is muscle, though he moves more gracefully than somebody might think a heavily built fighter in all that armor could.
3. Jack is within limits a relatively easygoing guy. When on the job he takes his duties seriously enough but he isn't any more of a hardcase than he has to be. He is used to trying to make small unit tactics work with thrown together squads and while he doesn't enjoy it, it doesn't phase him much.
4. Why is Jack joining the expedition? The town leaders promised "great rewards". While Jack is slightly skeptical he nevertheless thinks that the town leaders will likely cough up enough to make the venture worth his while. Besides Jack knows that if any such expedition is going to succeed it's going to need decent front line infantry in at least medium armor who can keep bad guys at bay while the support troops do their job. That sort of thing has been Jack's bread and butter for the past several years.
5. Further character note: Jack normally uses a standard battleaxe, but he also has a Dwarven War Axe that he is practicing with. He [or rather I am planning for him :-) ] is looking to take the Exotic Weapon Proficiency for the Dwarven War Axe at 7th level. Also, while Jack just got there and is not too familiar with the Chologadi area, survival is one of the skills that he's been using his entire career.
It could be that I'm just old fashioned, senile and clueless, but I always thought that rogues made good anti-casters. Granted, using a rogue that way means that you're putting primary emphasis on sneaking into wherever the wizard is and starting the fight on your terms. But if a rogue can stealth during a fight (and the stereotypical caster usually isn't putting a lot of skill ranks in perception) you can still do a lot of good. Of course if you're going to be slanting a rogue this way then the Use Magic Device skill is your friend because it can potentially give you the use of just about any arcane or divine spell in the game. Just my two cents.
As a whole bunch of other people have already commented, the problem being discussed isn't level dipping so much as it is players who are being obnoxious. Quite a few people have already provided excellent advice on dealing with obnoxious players, so I'll just throw in my two cents on House Rules and multiclassing.
I think that if you're going to DM, you should generate House Rules for how your campaign is going to be run. This does not have to be some sort of exhaustive multi-volume compendium that covers every possible contingency. It need be little more than a one page sheet that merely lists the name of the campaign (if applicable), the rules set you will be using, and which of the books within that rules set will be considered canon. The other thing that needs to be laid out is that rule #1 (The DM is always the final arbiter of how things work within the game) is in full effect. If a player wants to use a resource that isn't in the list of canonical sources, the DM will listen to the request. But the default answer is "no" unless the player can present an exceptionally compelling argument and the DM can obtain his own copy of said resource at a minimal cost.
The other comment with regards to House Rules is that the more the DM's campaign varies from what the default assumptions of the rules set are, the more time the DM should put into his House Rules to make sure that the players can understand what is going on with his variant. For example, if somebody just wants to run standard Pathfinder set in Golarion with minimal variations then the House Rules can be minimal. If the DM is running his own custom home brew setting then he should put more time and effort into his House Rules.
Lastly, multiclassing in general. After thinking about it for a while I decided on, "No player character can have levels in more than three classes including prestige classes." One of the things that we have lost sight of is that in the time periods generally modeled by fantasy role playing games one's "class" was not one's "job". One's "class" was in effect their entire way of life. Also, the fact that social mobility tended to be a lot more limited also played a part in that as well. If you were the son of a peasant farmer you probably weren't going to be able to get the equivalent of several year's economic output from the farm to go buy heavy armor to practice being a fighter in, to say nothing of all the weapons that you'd have to get training in to become proficient with them. That's assuming that the laws of the land would even allow a peasant to possess such weapons to begin with.
However, to partly counterbalance that and to make things easier for all concerned given that some players will want to multiclass, and that some multiclass combinations can yield some lovely synergies (as well as to reduce "suspension of disbelief" problems for how so and so just picked up such wildly different skills and abilities from what he had been doing before) I make the "ultimate" sacrifice. :-)
Quite simply I have player characters start out at 2nd level, with 1,000 gp worth of gear, no more than 500 gp of which can be spent on any one item. That way somebody who wants to run a multiclass character can start with a multiclass character. Thus nobody has to wonder why the fighter can now cast arcane spells when he takes his heavy armor off (or why the fighter was always running around in light armor to begin with). If that particular character were simply progressing from Fighter 1 to Fighter 2, then one doesn't have to wonder how/why his skills and abilities increased, he was practicing that stuff all along. If he were to go from Fighter 1 to Fighter 1/Wizard 1, that's the sort of thing that can't be easily explained away in the course of an adventure. But if all characters start at level 2, then the guy with the multiclass character has nothing that needs to be "explained". The character was that way all along.
So, that's my rather extended two copper pieces on it in the hopes that somebody may have found that to be helpful.
Alas, there are sections in the rules which state that in order to get one's full rate of fire with thrown weapons one has to have the quick draw feat. This is as opposed to other rules sections which effectively say that pulling an arrow out of a quiver, nocking it, then pulling the bow back to maximum draw can all be done with one free action. Shuriken are another exception to the "have to have a move action to draw them" rule as well. But if you're talking about daggers, darts, throwing axes, chakrams, whatever, then you have to have quick draw to throw more than one of them per round.
With a rogue I'm not as interested in maximum possible rate of fire with thrown weapons simply because you can only get one sneak attack per round, and a rogue's BAB bonuses for 2nd and 3rd attacks per round are relatively wimpy. But being able to seamlessly transition back and forth between using melee weapons and using thrown weapons is vital.
Here's the general scenario for discussion. A rogue who does not have the quick draw feat has just finished a successful melee combat with one of the party's opponents. The rogue's next round comes up. He had been holding his morningstar in a two handed grip, but now decides he would like to throw something at somebody. In order to accomplish this he is going to have to do three things. The first is to change his grip on his morningstar from a two handed grip to a one handed grip with his off hand simply holding his morningstar. As he is not using the morningstar to attack anything I don't think that there should be any penalty associated with what he does next. The second thing that the rogue has to do is to draw one of his throwing weapons. We know from the rules that requires a move action. To then actually throw the weapon that was just drawn requires a standard action.
So, to shift the grip on a melee weapon, then draw a throwing weapon and actually throw the throwing weapon will take at least one full round (move action + standard action for the last two parts). But what type of action would be changing the grip on the melee weapon? If it's either a free action or a swift action then there is no problem, the rogue can do everything he needs to do in one round. But if it's a move action then the rogue is going to have to take longer than one round to do that.
My personal bias is that changing one's grip on a weapon would likely be a toss up between either a free action or a swift action. However I would be interested to see what other people have to say on this. It is one of the frustrations of working with the DnD combat system and 6 second rounds that "real life" examples and experimentation don't always work that well, otherwise I'd just say it's a free action and be done with it.
A *long* time ago I was playing in an DnD 2nd Ed game where the DM let me create my own god for my character to be a cleric to. So, my character became the cleric to the "God of Jesters". In the course of adventuring my character did some things that while they weren't technically one liners, were nevertheless things that I thought was funny. Our characters were all rather low level.
1) The party was in a city when a large beast of burden lost it and just started running around berserk. It was a high enough level animal that it was a threat to the party, as well as to the innocent people who just happened to be in the area at the time. The fighter tried to hit it with his battleaxe and missed. My character walked up to it and hit it with the touch spell, "Feign Death". The beast collapsed. My character said, "See, that's how it's done."
2) While traveling through the countryside we stopped at an inn. The serving girl comes up to my character and asks if I would like to order anything. My character replies, "No thanks, I brought my own." He then went on to create enough food and drink to feed several people.
3) We spent the night at the inn. During the night the party was attacked by rats. It wasn't a serious encounter and we bested the rats easily. But it was an annoying encounter of the sort the party felt they shouldn't have had to deal with. Come the morning the party went downstairs to berate the innkeeper and demand their money back because of the rats they had to kill. The dead rats were brought along as proof of our complaint. The Innkeeper refused to pay us back and obviously didn't intend to budge on the issue.
My character said, "Ok, I'll bring the rats back to life then." My character then lays the rats out on a table and starts making weird mystical signs on the table using a piece of chalk. The DM says to me, "Your character can't resurrect the dead." My out of character response to the DM was, "You know that, I know that, but the Innkeeper doesn't know that." The party got its money back.
4) Last one, I swear. :-) The party had stopped for the night at another inn, and my character had got royally drunk. Come the morning he was abysmally hung over. And the rooster in the barnyard started crowing. My character's response was to get up, stagger to the window, cast "silence" on the rooster and then collapse back into bed. The DM then did an impression of the rooster trying to do his morning crowing routine without making any noise and getting confused. The entire table cracked up.
Oh boy, everybody failed. :-)
Nobody mentioned "Kingdoms of Kalamar". Granted, it was put out by a different company (Kenzer and Company) but I thought they did an excellent job with the setting. I especially liked some (but not all) of the things that they did with languages and thought that their breaking up "Elven" into two different languages made sense.
High Elven - only used by adult "pure blood" elves, because nobody else is going to want to/be able to spend 40 plus years just getting all the appropriate verb conjugations and tenses down.
Low Elven - a "baby talk"/pidgin version of High Elven. This is taught to Elven children first and is the only Elven that half-elves and others who learn "Elven" speak. Used as a trade language by those who wish to do business with Elves for obvious reasons.
As for other settings, there were things that I like about Eberron, though it was a setting that took a while to grow on me.
Golarion is ok. I'll largely end up playing in it simply because it is the Pathfinder setting, but beyond that it doesn't float my boat that well.
I'm working on my own homebrew, but whether or not that will end up getting anywhere remains to be seen.
How much time does it take to clear a weapon that misfired?
1) Modern weapon using metallic cartridges = piece of cake. Just wait long enough before you begin the process (about 7 seconds should do) to make sure you're not dealing with a hangfire as opposed to a misfire. The next step(s) in the process can take less than a second to perform but do vary slightly depending on the action of the weapon in question.
2) Muzzle loading firearms of the type the game is attempting to portray. These can be a hemorrhoid. Assuming you're using something like a matchlock or a flintlock you can try priming the piece again to see if she'll fire on the next attempt. If that does not work then you're looking at disassembling the weapon, separating the barrel from the action so that you can thoroughly clean the various pieces/parts out before you then reassemble it and attempt to load and fire it again. Getting the ball back out could potentially entail using a long specially designed rod with a screw like attachment on the end which you force thread into the ball and then use to pull/push the ball out of the barrel (depending on whether or not you have the barrel detached when you're doing that part of it).
This is NOT something that you could do in reasonable amount of time during combat. If this happens during combat your firearm just became either a club or a short spear depending on whether or not you have a bayonet for it. Actual amount of time this would take with a real weapon in the real world would be a guess on my part, but probably something like a minimum of a half hour or so assuming you had all the tools you needed, the proper cleaning kit/solvents available and knew what you were doing.
As I see it this should end up being a case by case basis sort of thing. Is the rogue using cover to hide from the wizard? If yes, then he should be able to hide from the arcane sight spell. If, however, the rogue is able to hide because of lighting conditions or due to other factors that effectively render him "not noticed" as opposed to being behind something then I would think that the arcane sight spell would pick up on his gear.
For those rogues who are truly paranoid about this sort of thing I would suggest the sniper archetype. Works especially well for half orcs (or dwarves) with deepsight.
I could actually see this going either way. The way I had written this post initially I had actually taken the other side. However, under more careful consideration given that the "lead blades" spell applies to the *weapon* and not the manner in which it is used to attack then I think that it should work. The chakram is not the only weapon in the game that can do double duty as both a melee weapon and a ranged weapon by virtue of having a range increment and being able to be thrown easily.
The alternative would be to try to use the "gravity bow" spell, and that as written only applies to bows and crossbows and imparts the damage increase to the ammunition, not the weapon itself.
My take on it for those who may be at least slightly interested. Human Rogue based on a 20 point buy:
Rogue trained skills = 8 + 2(INT MOD) + 1(Race) + 1(favored class) = 12
* Granted that's not a class skill for rogues, but do you really want to put somebody on point if there's a pretty good chance they could get lost? Besides, if you're using the character traits from the APG (pages 326-333) there are a couple of them that will let him add survival as a class skill.
Suggested feat progression for the first several levels:
1 Point Blank Shot, Rapid Reload light crossbow
I realize that because I just generated a character that wasn't a drooling idiot with no personal hygiene and or social skills that some people will be turned off because his STR or DEX was somehow "suboptimal". That may be, but this is a character that doesn't have any real glaring weaknesses and can handle all of the traditional thief duties reasonably well.
I can't speak to the specifics of your cast of characters/players, but every online play by email game I have been in has dragged enormously compared to what one can usually do with a group of people sitting around a table top. My suggestion would be to establish a hard deadline for them, and let them know that if there are too many "no shows" that you'll simply cancel the campaign.
And here I was going to suggest "Blue Cheese". :-)
Personally I don't think that 1 level dips are worth it, but if you really must then I suppose it would probably come down to a choice between fighter or barbarian depending on whether you wanted the extra feat or the extra 10 feet worth of movement. I can't see just one level worth of Barbarian rage making that much difference at high levels, but an extra 10 feet of movement can be nice tactically.
The examples given of differences in character abilities based on using dice to roll said ability scores are why I have come to prefer point buy systems for generating characters. Granted point buy systems have their own potential problems too, but if one is obnoxious enough as a DM then those can be kept to a dull roar. Two methods present themselves:
(1) "Either accept no starting ability score below 8 or find another game to play in."
(2) Getting real creative about making the character suffer for the low ability scores that he took. I mean sure, Stephen Hawking is an incredibly intelligent person but he's not representative of the sort of ability scores I'd look for in a playable wizard character. And if somebody comes forward with a wizard character whose ability scores resemble that, then make him pay for it.
However, sometimes the system itself can get cheesy. As an example of this I offer the "Crossbow Mastery" feat on page 157 of the Advanced Player's Guide.
"Benefit: The time required for you to reload any type of crossbow is reduced to a free action, regardless of the type of crossbow used. You can fire a crossbow as many times in a full attack action as you could attack if you were using a bow. Reloading a crossbow for the type of crossbow you chose when you took Rapid Reload no longer provokes attacks of opportunity."
Thus, a character with this feat could take a standard heavy crossbow (1 shot only, normally takes a full round to load, rapid reload feat for this crossbow reduces that to a move action) and fire it as many times during a full attack action as a regular bow. IMHO that's cheese. And it's pure RAW with no "misinterpretation".
If I were to do a "non-cheesy" version of that feat it would look something like:
"Benefit: The time required for you to reload crossbows is reduced. Hand crossbows and light crossbows can be reloaded as a free action. Heavy crossbows can be reloaded as a move action. Repeating crossbows can be reloaded with 5 round bolt cases as a move action." [Thus if you get this version of the feat you effectively get "rapid reload" for all types of crossbows, but not in such a manner as to "break" the basic game mechanics.] "Reloading a crossbow for the type of crossbow you chose when you took Rapid Reload no longer provokes attacks of opportunity."
My work schedule and then my holiday schedule were such that I did not have the time I needed to reply to this thread when I wanted to. Regardless, I hope that everybody was able to have a Happy Thanksgiving with friends and family. Now that the holiday is behind us we can get back to throwing rocks at one another. :-)
To recap, I had questioned the build of the original poster's cleric of Desna because the character was not carrying a starknife, Desna's favored weapon. Neither has the character ever been listed as carrying Desna's Holy Symbol. So I guess the character is only planning on casting those spells which do not have a Divine Focus requirement.
The response to my raising the lack of a starknife as a potentially important issue could be boiled down to "the cry of the munchkin". In other words, "How dare that role playing fluff get in the way of all my crunchy cheese!?"
People will have to forgive my ignorance. I had thought that Pathfinder was a *role* playing game. At least that's what the core rulebook says on its cover. I've only been doing this sort of thing off and on since the mid-1970's, so it's possible that there might have been some nuances that I have missed.
Another point that was raised was that the starknife is a "silly" weapon. From the point of view of a middle aged combat veteran sitting behind a computer in the 21st century whose personal weapons collection contains several fine modern firearms I would have to agree. The starknife appears to be the sort of thing that was created by a person who was immersed in fantasy and had minimal connection to reality.
But the point of view of a character living on Golarion who has chosen to be a cleric/champion of Desna should be different than that. Also, as I see it, part of the challenge of playing a role playing game is occasionally taking situations where the rules have given you lemons and then opening up a lemonade stand. So, as opposed to continuing to throw rocks at one another, let's see what we can do to get some cleric and or 1 level dip Fighter/Cleric builds that would be viable and fun to play using a starknife.
Build 1 Human Cleric
The 4th level ability increase would raise CHA to 12. The remaining ability increases would all go to WIS, topping out with WIS 20 at 20th level. The character would have 6 skill points per level. For purposes of this discussion how they get spent is irrelevant.
The character's feats at first level would be Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot. Remaining feats at higher levels go to clerical spell casting abilities, though at 11th level one may want to choose Improved Critical (Starknife).
The character normally starts out with his starknife as his ready weapon. Once combat begins and the bad guys close in he throws the starknife at one of them. Thus he has done his duty to Desna by using her favored weapon in combat. That duty having been fulfilled, he then transitions to his "secondary" melee weapon, likely either a morningstar or a mace. Hopefully things will go well and he can recover the starknife he threw after the combat is over.
Build number two keeps the same ability scores, but starts off with one level of fighter before going on for 19 levels of cleric. The first two feats that the character gets at first level are the same as the previous character, Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot. Only now with a level of fighter we can get an additional feat and will go with Deadly Aim. The character uses the same general tactics as discussed previously, though now he has a much larger selection of "secondary" weapons to choose from.
Build number three gets funky and runs into problems with multiple attribute dependency, but it does enable one to wring more use out of the starknife. Again we are dealing with a human character starting off with 1 level of fighter.
The 4th level ability increase should probably either go to DEX or INT, as a cleric can always buff STR. Remaining ability increases go to WIS, again topping out at WIS 20 at level 20.
The three feats that the character will pick up as a first level human fighter will be Two Weapon Fighting, Two Weapon Defense and Point Blank Shot. It would probably be a good idea to add Precise Shot sometime later.
The character will start out with at least two starknives, one of which is always his ready weapon. That will be the one that he throws at the bad guys as they close at the start of the combat. In melee combat he will use his remaining starknife as his "off hand" weapon while he uses a heavier weapon in his primary hand. Again, he is fulfilling his duty to Desna by using her favored weapon in combat, while remaining viable in melee by also using other weapons.
Personally if I were to run one of these characters I'd probably take the first build and go as a pure cleric. I don't think that a 1 level dip in another class is worth it, but I also realize that other people's mileage varies. If I were to multiclass a cleric I'd probably go with something that would end up as a fighter 10/cleric 10, but that's another discussion.
Ahem. If you're a cleric of Desna, where's your starknife? While I can see an argument being made that clerics need not be limited to only the favored weapon of their deity, it would seem strange to me for a cleric to totally ignore the favored weapon of their deity.
Pathfinder RAW doesn't go into the details I'd like to see in that regard, but their iconic cleric of Sarenrae is always portrayed as being armed solely with a scimitar, Sarenrae's favored weapon. Clerics of Desna get the starknife. Possibly other weapons as well if the DM is feeling generous, but a cleric of Desna without a starknife would be effectively dissing their deity.
I must be atypical because I almost always go for the extra skill points. :-) At any rate, another way to go that might not make people's heads explode with math would be to just increase the dice rolled for cures to D12's. That ought to keep even the barbarians happy and do wonders for the supporting cast characters limping along using d6's and d8's for hit die.
It seems to me that there is a potential quick and dirty solution to the "problem". With the advent of Pathfinder a lot of classes had their hit die increased to the next larger die. However, the die used to determine how many hit points were restored with a cure spell remained the same. IMHO all one arguably needs to do is to alter the cure spells such that instead of using d8's to determine how many hit points they are curing they use d10's. That can be done with a simple house rule. I don't personally see the need to redesign the healing mechanics of the entire system because some people aren't happy with it. Some people will always be unhappy about darn near everything and it is axiomatic that you can't please everybody.
I'll second daggers and morningstars. For those characters that have the proficiency for them, I also like handaxes. I don't like throwing axes as much as there are better things to throw, such as chakram.
Good old fashioned lamp oil can also come in handy as well. Cheaper than alchemist's fire and has more than one use. Don;t have to worry as much about the vials breaking in your pack ;-).
I do not claim to be a rules expert, but my guess would be to treat it like a bipedal creature as far as carrying capacity is concerned. The reasoning for that is simply if they wanted to make a special distinction as far as carrying capacity for snake like creatures is concerned, they would have said so somewhere in the rules. As they have not (at least I don't think they have, and I was looking for this for the same reason you are) the default would then be "bipedal" as that defines the base carrying capacity.
Unfortunately serpentine eidolons have relatively low strength and using bipedal carrying capacity they would likely be at medium encumbrance carrying a gnome + reasonable starting gear. Also remember that even though the eidolon you have chosen has a climb speed, it still has to have ranks in the climb skill in order to make full use of climbing abilities.
Best bet for a mount is to go for a quadruped, and you can still get a climb speed for it with 1 evolution point.
As long as we're talking about specially designed spears:
The collapsible spear can function either as a standard spear or as a long spear depending on whether or not its shaft is in the "closed" or "extended" position. This is made possible by having a main shaft with a metal extension that slides back and forth over the main shaft and locks into position when set properly. Changing the position of the metal shaft and locking it into place properly is a swift action. Due to the weapon's increased weight and different balance when compared to a normal spear, this weapon can not be used as a "thrown" weapon.
Two handed simple melee weapon, cost 10 gp, Dmg(S)1d6, Dmg(M) 1d8, Critical x3, weight 10 lbs, type P, Special: When the shaft is "extended" the weapon has the brace and reach qualities, when the shaft is "closed" the weapon has only the brace quality. This weapon cannot be used as a standard "thrown" weapon.
GMTA [Great Minds Think Alike] :-)
I was working on something similar for my campaign. While there are overlaps, there are also differences, so I'll go ahead and post it.
General Purpose Explorer's Kit:
1 Backpack (2 lbs), Bedroll (5 lbs), whetstone (1 lb), single use healer's kit (*), flint and steel, 1 waterskin (4 lbs), 7 days' trail rations (7 lbs), common lamp (1 lb), 8 x 1 pint flasks of oil (8 lbs)
Total weight of all items: 28 lbs
(*) Single Use Healer's Kit: Exactly what it says. Provides enough gear to get a +2 bonus on one use of the heal skill. Cost: 5 gold, weight, negligible.
There is a 1 point evolution for eidolons available called "Mount", which lets eidolons be used as combat mounts. I think that makes perfect sense, but if one is going to open up the possibility of using eidolons like normal "animals" (at least in some respects) then I think that there is another 1 point evolution that should be available:
Draft Animal: The eidolon is properly formed and skilled to be used as a draft animal for pulling plows, carts, wagons, etc.. While this evolution does not provide the harnesses and other gear that are needed to actually hitch the eidolon up to something, it is formed so that it can make use of the standard equipment that would normally be used for a draft animal of its size.
I have several comments to make. The first is that if you are able to get a rules set which accurately/realistically models what firearms can actually do, then it is arguably not suitable for a role playing game. You'll end up going through characters too fast.
To the extent that is apparently NOT a problem here as I haven't seen anybody complaining about it yet, then you've nerfed firearms to the point where the only reason for using them is the "flavor" aspect. And as many people have pointed out, that's not a "flavor" they want in their "fantasy". Now, if you're dealing with a home group then it's not that big a problem because the GM can house rule the offending character classes and equipment out of existence in his campaign.
The problem then becomes what happens with organized play where you're trying to keep things consistent between groups playing the game literally all over the world. Personally, I don't mind the rules for firearms using character classes and the rules for their equipment existing as it permits the people who want that to add that. But with the organized play aspect if you add it for one, then you add it for *everybody*, including the people who don't like it/think it's silly. If nothing else, what happens to somebody carrying a whole bunch of ammo for his firearms (or alchemist's bombs) when he gets hit with a heat/flame attack?
If the results are as bad as they arguably should be then you've just taken away the reason for playing with those classes/that equipment as the advantages they get from nerfed weapons don't match the disadvantages they have to deal with. If the answer is that nothing much out of the "ordinary" happens, then why were the classes introduced in the first place other than for a "flavor" reason that a significant chunk of people don't think needs to be in a "fantasy" at all? And are now forced to play with as those classes/equipment once admitted to organized play are going to have to be accommodated when they appear or you've just torn organized play apart.
So at this point it looks like a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario. I don't mind Paizo introducing "optional" rules that GMs (and their groups) can adopt or ignore at their pleasure. But to make them all part of the cannon (pun intended) and tell everybody to take them or else could have repercussions in terms of the people who don't like it leaving.
My two cent suggestion is simple. As a gaming company, Paizo must be constantly publishing new material for people to buy or Paizo will perish. Any book is going to eventually hit market saturation and then the company is going to have to have something new to offer. Other companies have tried to get around this by constantly publishing new/different *rules* updates so that you arguably need the entire set to be current. From the point of view of the customer this gets real old real fast as budgets for what is an entertainment expense are very tight and getting more so. Carried to an extreme this results in customers simply walking away from the entire product line in disgust.
My alleged solution to this problem is that as opposed to focusing on coming out with ever more *rules*, Paizo instead try to focus on coming out with ever more *settings*. Granted, there may need to be some rules updates for certain settings, but then if the material is properly marked as being setting specific then customers will be better placed to decide if they want to buy it or wait for something new in one of the settings that they're interested in. Done properly, this can keep both sides of the "want firearms in fantasy/hate firearms in fantasy" debate happy as well as opening up the doors to all kinds of new gaming experiences. Which will hopefully keep customers satisfied and aid in Paizo's maintaining their ever important bottom line in the middle of an economy that is busy emulating the Titanic.
After a quick check I have to concede your point. Regardless, I'm NOT the one pushing the arcane trickster build. I'd argue that either a rogue 20 with maxed out UMD or a rogue 10/wizard 10 would be better overall.
However, after much going back and forth with the rules and not a little hemming and hawing, I think that I'd have to give the "Impromptu Sneak Attack" the nod over uncanny dodge. To save everybody a long dissertation I'll just say that it came down to a very detailed reading of the rules sections in question, along with the understanding that interpreting things the other way would result in a character that was seriously gimped going up against rogues, which would be one of the things one would arguably want an arcane trickster build for. Besides, even with a decision in the arcane trickster's favor, it's still a stunt he can pull only twice a day.
One thing that is not clear to me from going through the Core Rulebook is how the Arcane Trickster's "Impromptu Sneak Attack" stacks up against the rogue class features of "Uncanny Dodge" and "Improved Uncanny Dodge". Especially given that while Arcane Trickster levels add to sneak attack damage, they do not count as "rogue" levels for purposes of determining whether or not a character with improved uncanny dodge can be flanked. If I had to rule on this sort of thing I'd be tempted to rule in favor of the character that had more rogue levels, but then I'm slightly biased against prestige classes anyway. Other people's mileage may vary, and I'm not sure what the "official" position would be.
As far as the arcane trickster's "surprise spells" ability is concerned, obviously that won't work within an anti-magic field. The arcane trickster could still be invisible within an anti-magic field that he cast, as the "Invisible Thief" ability is a supernatural ability. But he couldn't cast spells out through the anti-magic effect. He would have to close to melee or use missile weapons. I will note in passing though that characters/beings with blindsight would be able to see right through the invisibility effect. Wizard (Necromancers) get a blindsight effect at level 8 which is a supernatural ability that would not be shut down by an antimagic field.