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Cayden Cailean

Darkholme's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Society Member. 1,228 posts (1,728 including aliases). 2 reviews. 2 lists. 1 wishlist. 14 aliases.


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People on these forums /ARE/ Highly vocal (and sometimes extreme about it) when they disagree with SKR.

Very interesting.

Sounds like a very worthwhile $50.


Berserk, IIRC is also a setting where there is no resurrection, but you run into people you saw die anyways; cloned with their memories up to a certain point re-implanted. So you could meet people who look, sound, and act like your old friend, but you know your old friend is still dead.

I have a friend who really likes it that talks about it all the time. He says the Manga is much better than the Anime.


Thanks guys, I've emailed Liz.


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Wow. This discussion quickly went from:

"This optional rule results in broken/useless characters until it is no longer being applied, and that is BAD" vs "AND We're okay with that." to an unusual discussion about whether wanting/trying to play a child character has horrible connotations for who you are as a person.

Very weird.

As for Ashiel's point; I agree. Someone can be easily unusual without being dangerous or immoral - I've dated some women over the years who would definitely fall into that category.



I can see how the extra +3.5 matters more at lower levels. I was thinking of level 10+ and thinking "That's really not that big of a deal, it's like adding on "Flaming" that doesn't bypass DR."

In my home games I've been using "increase max damage by 2 and avg damage by 1" as a universal pattern since we were playing 3.5 - partly so I don't have to look up the table, and partly because it just didn't make sense to me as written, but that's obv. a houserule.

IE: 2d6 >> d6+d8; 1d12 >> 1d14 or d6+d8.
d6+d8 is better than a d14; more reliable, higher minimum result, and slightly higher average result. Also, most people don't own d14s, d16s, or d18s.
2d12 (assuming you don't own d14s) would >> 2d8+1d10.

I forgot about those combat maneuvers that don't work on creatures larger than you; though. Good point.

Anyways; you made some good points. Even without reach, the damage boost is noteworthy at low levels, and you get some good resistance to CMBs.


thejeff wrote:
A note: I would be the only child there.
Yes, the young characters rules should be enforced. It makes zero sense for an 11 year old to be as capable and competent as an adult adventuring professional. Except in 90 percent of genre fiction with a child protagonist, of course.

Except in 90% of genre fiction with a child protagonist, they're not adventuring with other adult protagonists.

Or they're doing so as sidekicks and aren't as capable and competent as the adults.

I would just like to take this opportunity to point out, that in some of the best fiction (namely, Marvel Comics) has children keeping up with adults all the time. For instance: Molly Hayes is an 11 year old with super strength who knocked out the Punisher and Wolverine (not at the same time). For another example: Every new team of X-People seems to start out as a team of children, but those children don't do too bad a job keeping up with the adults and fighting adult adversaries.

Marcus Robert Hosler wrote:
I also don't feel that most realistic people ever progress passed level one. So the idea of a level 2 child class character makes no sense to me.

This claim is not very well supported in the rules. If that's the case; How would you justify such a world without changing the rules? Why do the PCs keep running into level-appropriate NPCs? Where are all the magic items that can't be made by level 1 characters coming from (they're pretty numerous)? Why is it so easy to find a craftsman to hire to do a job?

To me, the obvious answer, is that being level 1 is representative of having no real skills or abilities. Teenagers are level 1. Children might be level 0 (or simply have stat modifiers). Any adult over 30 is /VERY/ unlikely to be less than level 2; unless they are remarkably unremarkable, and has the same quality and breadth of life experiences as your average 17-18 year old thug/cutpurse.

I suppose the other explanation is that levels are a gamist concept that doesn't exist in the game world, and therefore you can be just as experienced at level 1 as at level 20, you're just arbitrarily more powerful for no discernable reason. I'm more inclined to go with "They've been mercenaries for the past 2 years, why wouldn't they be level 4 Fighters?"


Something I've done in the past is give some free skill points at level 1, and increased skill maximums, based on age; but only on fluff skills (Knowledges, Craft Skills, Linguistics, and Profession Skills).

It worked out okay; and didn't create a noticeable imbalance. The interval for additional free skill points went up each time (and the inrease did not go up each time); so elves weren't just getting +50 knowledge/profession/craft skill ranks.

Rynjin's explanation would also help if you just want to try to explain away the sillyness.


Ascalaphus wrote:

I've recently seen an Abyssal Bloodrager in action. At level 4, they can enlarge any time they go into rage. The guy had only AC 12 when raging, but he took less damage than my AC 23 paladin because enemies just couldn't come near him. With a polearm he had 20ft reach and he did enough damage to seriously punish anyone who moved inside his threatened area. Pretty much nobody survived a full attack from him.

The big advantage of being large is reach. The second one is higher weapon damage.

Reach is advantageous, to be sure. But in the ARG, being large doesn't give you reach.

As for the higher weapon damage, the average damage change from medium weapons ranges from 0.5 at the low end to +3.5 at the high end.It's not that big of an increase. 3.5 had the monkey grip feat that let you access it, and it was not a very good feat. Flavorful if you wanted to use oversized weapons, but statistically you were still notably better off taking power attack, and power attack is still better, now.

If have always thought that chart was odd. If you look at it for medium > small, the pattern is that average damage goes down by 1 (until you're looking at d2s and d3s, then it only goes down by 0.5). for medium>large, it follows that pattern until you're upgrading a d8, then it gets bigger and bigger. For some reason the difference between a medium and large rapier is much smaller than the difference between a medium and large greatsword.

I don't know. The idea that being large without reach was priced at more than 1RP seems somewhat absurd to me.


Large creatures get the numerical benefits/drawbacks of small creatures, but reversed (evens out), they get -4 stealth instead of +4 stealth, and they get (on average) +1 damage on hits. In addition to having to squeeze more often, and taking an additional -4 to hit & AC, and move at half speed.

Oh, and they are able to be circle beat by an additional 4 creatures (no idea what that would be worth)

Small creatures cost 0 RP. The numbers cancel out, and +4 stealth is close enough in value to -1 damage to say those roughly cancel out too.

Large creatures also numerically cancel out, but have the drawbacks of taking up additional squares. I'm having trouble seeing why you wouldn't get a points refund for being large, particularly being large without reach.



I was referring to the "common wisdom" that large creatures for base races is powerful, and Paizo pricing being large at 7RP, but looking at it, it's more already more drawback than benefit, and thats before even considering that the race builder version doesn't even get the reach.


Alright, with that out of the way, what is the reason why so many people frown on large races for player characters, and why is large size so expensive in the ARG?

I'm going to spell out all the numbers I can think of associated with being large:

-1 AC
-1 to Hit
+1 CMB
+1 CMD
-4 Stealth
+5 Reach
Large Space (Half Speed, -4 to Hit, -4 AC in most hallways/doors/places with low ceilings, so like, 1/4 the time (more in a dungeon focused game)).
Large Creature Weapon Damage (+0.5 Average Damage on a Dagger, up to +3.5 Damage on a Greatsword)

Is it the Reach or the Damage people take issue with? Neither one sound all that fantastic when you consider all of the downsides that come with them.

I guess I'm just not seeing what's so powerful about Large creatures (unless they just have powerful stats).


So; I've been pondering the effects of being a large creature, and I have one bit I'm still curious about (mostly because I saw someone mention it as an advantage, and I thought it would be a disadvantage).

(Assuming none of the other benefits or drawbacks of large size)
What are the pros and cons of taking up 4 squares?
+ You threaten an additional 4 squares.
- You can be attacked by an additional 4 squares.
- You have trouble with regular doors and 50% of hallways, and have to squeeze in all of those scenarios.
+ You're able to block off a double door.

This to me sounds much more negative than positive.

Am I missing something?


davrion wrote:
Have you tried the one on the Compatibility License page?

Yep. That would be the one I am referring to being too small and blurry for a printed copy.


So, I have been toying with the idea of taking a stab at making a Pathfinder 3pp for the past couple weeks (and working away at it a bit), and I went to mock up a cover.

I Couldn't find a copy of the logo in any sort of non-ugly resolution. (One that isn't so blurry)

Is there one readily available already?

I've started mocking one up in Photoshop, Basically tracing over the existing one using the fonts and stuff; but I don't know what font the subheader is.

Here's what it currently looks like.

If I could figure out what font was used in the subheader I can finish this myself, but I would also happily accept a link to a vector image or Ultra HD Png.


Pendagast wrote:

see I think a major issue with NPC classes is that too many module writers made the bad guys PC classes.

This SHOULD have been EXTREMELY Rare.

ESPECIALLY at lower levels… BUT one of the funnest things about the game is character building, an game designers want to have fun too.

There should be ALOT more bad guys that are adepts, experts, warriors, and even commoners.

A group of 4 PCs could have hard time with the gang of 3rd-7th level commoners, or the Evil 6th level aristocrat who's simultaneously taxing his town to their last dime while blaming his need to do so on needing to maintain his small personal army of 1st level warriors because of the marauding bad of goblins whom, he's actually paying with part of the taxes to maraud.

this just doesn't get done enough.

even when you see NPC classes for NPCs they are multi classed with PC classes…

Wow. I heavily disagree with all of that. That sounds terribly dull.

Pendagast wrote:

the problem with all this is it has ruined the feel that 1st level PC classes are in anyway special.

so they feel mundane as a result, giving players the feeling "my character was born a 1st level fighter"
when it's simply not the case.

1st level PCs are not and should not be special. The player characters don't have some sort of mystical spark of heroism that makes them better than anyone else (unless you're using mythic rules), they're just competent, and at level 1, they aren't even skilled. If the characters (1st level) run into some soldiers from the kings army, not a single one will be less than a 4th level character with at least half of those in a PC Class, unless it's the guy they're giving a hard time, who is carrying their food. At level 1, the PCs are about equivalent in the world to four 17 year olds just finishing high school, who got good decent grades and will be starting college in the fall. This isn't exalted, where the PCs are demigods of some kind. They're regular people who are just getting into a dangerous line of work, but don't have any skills yet. Again, unless your players are starting with a Mythic Rank. Then they're special. They're not even all that special at level 10; otherwise it wouldn't be so easy to find higher level craftsmen to make things or cast spells for you.

By 20, you're special - olympic athlete, spetsnaz special. You're as good as you can get without mythic ranks.

Pendragon wrote:

Why does bob grow up to be a warrior while his brother tom is a fighter?

There is nothing rules wise preventing bob from being a fighter instead of a warrior.
No stat prereq's, not alignment entry etc.

Just "I chose to be substandard."

Bob was lazy, and couldn't be bothered to learn anything useful. He was too busy getting drunk/high and failing at hitting on the ladies to actually learn anything useful in in the last 17 years. Therefore he has levels in warrior.

Seriously though, If I'm GMing, I basically just dispense with the NPC classes altogether (occasionally an NPC may have a couple of levels of expert, and I may use levels of commoner to stat up someone who has had an easy life, learning nothing useful, and having no life experience). The NPCs have worse stats, lower wealth, and are less optimized. Thats makes them worse than PCs already. NPC Classes aren't good for anything, except to make an NPC even easier to defeat.

Pendragon wrote:

Ive always liked earlier rules sets of 0-level commoners.

The idea that all PC races start out with d6 his, and a plethora of everyman skills (like Profession)
So when a character becomes a 1st level character, he has the "common d6 hp" PLUS his 1st level-ness and a bunch of other skills that he might have had growing up as a a farmer, or a jail guard or whatever.
giving the characters more base and function as people, and allowing a starting point FOR a child character who has not yet developed.
So instead of wasting X levels of character development on NPC classes, he can simply start at 0-level as opposed to first level.

That would be a better way to handle it, I agree. Having 0 level characters cover building your typical person under the age of 16 isn't a bad idea.

master_marshmallow wrote:
I think what I have learned from this thread is that there needs to be more NPC classes that are generally weaker than the PC versions of their own classes, and said classes should be available to child characters.

I think most of the people in this thread would disagree with that, and would go the other way. NPC Classes were a bad idea from the start, with the possible exception of Expert. Hunter NPC? Trapper Ranger. Farmer? Expert. Barkeep? Some combination of Rogue, Expert, Bard, or Fighter.

I don't even use "NPC Classes" for my NPCs. No way am I going to try to force them on a player at my table.

As for Child characters, allow them or disallow them based on your personal tastes, but presenting the optional rule to your players and pretending it's not passive-aggressive or insulting and expecting them not to be annoyed with you is neither reasonable nor realistic. Just saying no would be better.

If you're running a "RAW" game (the only situation where making or using a ruling similar to this is not passive-aggressive player abuse - only way barring "I'm a new GM, I'm ignorant to how this game works, and I can't immediately see how unreasonable this is at a glance"), of course, the players should be informed of that you'e running everything RAW, so that they can max out leadership, and take advantage of the grapple rules to get from town to town at 200 MPH; or do whatever the pathfinder equivalent of building PunPun is. If you're only willing to use houserules to fix broken parts of the game when they are broken in favor of the players, now we're back to the passive-aggressive behaviour mentioned earlier.


Endzeitgeist wrote:

Oathbound 7 advanced the timeline. The setting's fluff is glorious and Eclipse is a superb setting book. Their bestiary is also great. HOWEVER: Oathbound's crunch is BROKEN and unbalanced - with regard to core-races: Understandable. However, balancing among oathbound races is just as horrid... And there are more issues.

And I hate being the bringer of bad news, but don't cross your fingers for more PFRPG-Oathbound. Epidemic Books unmistakenably posted that they'd stop supporting PFRPG on their Hp and would go with their own system...which was when I stopped looking, mainly since I have all the old stuff and don't want to get the stuff again and learn a new system for it.

Still, might have to bite the bullet sooner or later...Oathbound is such a cool setting...

Really? Wait. Why are they making a new system for it? Have they said they have something particularly innovative for it or something? Or are they just making their own system based on the assumption that the setting will sell it for them?

IMO, at this point, if you're not making something very different mechanically from what's currently offered (like WHFRP/EoTE did, introducing the advantage/drawback axis on results) - particularly for fantasy; I don't understand what you gain by not making your fantasy stuff compatible with Pathfinder (High Magic + Classes), 5e (Med Magic, Classes), or BRP (Med-Low Magic, Classless). I wouldn't want to set myself up as a competitor to D&D or Pathfinder, and BRP has an OGL License (MRQ1, OQ1, OQ2, AOS) that could be built into something custom if I want to do really low magic stuff.

I guess if they're convinced they can do it "Better" I'm willing to take a look, but I sortof doubt it.


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Cptexploderman wrote:
Every roleplaying group is different, in mine at least this wouldn't fly. If I were to try and rationalize to my players why a random group of brigands "clearly an intelligent enemy." Were to use tactics designed to exploit an adventuring parties dynamic. Unless this particular group of brigands specialize in nicking adventuring parties.. But as I said each rp group is different, use what works for the entertainment of your players. If I had to take part in a group where for wearing robes I was being hunted my every opponent we meet, I'd do what most of my arcane casters do anyway- not wear robes. I'd stick to my explores outfit.

Why are the brigands also not keeping their spellcasters in the back? Have they never encountered spellcasters before (and thus gauged that they are an unpredictable commodity that needs to be dealt with?).

NPC Brigand wrote:

If the spellcasters are easy to pick out, and/or they've been seen using magic, you can bet I'm going to try to shut them down first. The Fighter is predictable. The Barbarian, predictable. What is that wizard going to do? Summon a horde of demons? Encase me in stone? Transform the steel floor I'm standing on into a spike pit? No Thanks.

If we can get the drop on them, the attack will start with shooting him with an arrow that has been Silenced.

Geek the mage first.

And of course, if you can, wait to attack them until they're sleeping. The fighters might not have their armor on, and the mages might have used up their spells for the day.

Likewise, whatever group we're coming up against is going to come after OUR mages, so guard them, and be prepared for similar tactics.

mmsbhs wrote:

Doesn't that assume this random band of thugs/monsters has meta-gamed a bit, and has the same experience with class-based tactics as you/your party does? If your average encounter is an opposing group of adventurers, then sure. If it's cave-dwelling monsters or street ruffians, then why would they have anything like that?

So for some encounters, I'm sure it might make sense. But not for all, or even for a majority. Maybe 25-35% of the time.

It makes sense for other adventurers, trained soldiers, a monstrous horde fighting other competent groups, or those in a guild. It also makes sense for anyone with more than 3-4 class levels, unless they have never seen/studied how groups with class levels fight before.

In short, it makes sense for anyone who has ever fought against creatures in a mixed group, fought with creatures in a mixed group, watch creatures in a mixed group fight, or read about creatures in a mixed group fighting

"Geek The Mage" is a concept that's even prevalent in marvel comics. The X-Men actually design their various teams so that they have someone who can take on a telepath. Telepaths are the mage equivalent in X-Men, because there are so few mages, but telepaths fill a similar role. They're gods-damned dangerous.

One time I was running a campaign and the players were level 5 (no wizard), and I included a fight that was different from what the players had already faced. A CR Appropriate fight against Harpy Archers. The players just panicked and ran for cover. Apparently none of them thought to pick up ranged weapons for when they couldn't melee! Good times. lol


And no, it's not the GM's fault that some of the official rules are terrible. It IS his fault when RAW applies when it punishes the player but not when it applies in his favor. As I mentioned, if I am going to be a slave to RAW, I should tell the players that I'll be running the game RAW, and I should take the powerful with the weak; and when a player comes across a broken RAW combo thats in his favor, I shouldn't nerf it. That's fair (albeit somewhat silly).

But if I am going to shut down/fix the broken powerful options that work under RAW, I am being an A****** if I don't also shut down/fix the broken pathetic options that exist under RAW.


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The rogue monk concept can very likely be built using existing archetypes; it's also a more difficult fix than the child character (optional rule) which the GM could just not use (being that the rule for how to handle it is optional).

If he said "you'll be taking the stat penalties but you can still have actual character classes" it would still be crappy, but less of a slap in the face.

Were it me (and I were willing to allow a child character), I would see it and say: "Clearly we can't use the optional rule in Ultimate Campaign, they're broken, terrible, and retarded. The stat bonuses are crippling, and stopping you from having actual character classes is in no way reasonable. How about I just give you stat modifiers, and (like all of the other age categories) make the positives and negatives cancel out. I'll give you +2 dex, and -2 to one of str, con, or wis - which we can do at random (but before you assign your stats), and of course, you're a size category smaller".

If I were inclined to give mostly stat penalties, none of those penalties would be beyond a -1.

It's a 30-second fix, and I would walk away with something that reasonably approximates a child, and a happy player, then I can go deal with Mr. Class-Choices-That-WIll-Drag-Down-The-Other-Players' problem.


Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
So is the argument that the DM is wrong because the official rules are too weak? Would a DM be wrong to let a character play a rogue/monk multiclass? Should he just say no? Change the rules to make the combo more powerful?

The argument is that the (optional) game mechanics the GM is using make the character sufficiently terrible, that I would legitimately view it as an insult to have that be presented to me as though the GM thought it was actually reasonable, and I would expect the player to be very upset with me if I presented that to them as though it were reasonable in a game I was running. (again, unless everyone is playing as children with the same rules).

For the Rogue/Monk multiclass?
Honestly, I would warn the character that there is a high chance their character would be mechanically terrible if they did that; and if they weren't confident that they could optimize such a character well enough to keep up, I would try to work with them to help them cover the concept, possibly using other class options (the right combination of ranger/monk, ranger/fighter, bard/monk, bard/fighter, or something with magus might cover what they were trying for) - Failing that, I would look at available 3pp that might cover it - and failing THAT, I might make them a custom archetype/ranger fighting style (assuming they brought it to me a few weeks before the game and I had time to help them out). If they were unwilling to consider other builds for their concept, and the character they came up with was too terrible to meaningfully contribute, I would advise against it, but tell them they can play it if BOTH they and they other players are okay with its (in)ability to meaningfully contribute.


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Dark Immortal wrote:

So, when a player asks their gm if they can play a kid and the gm doesn't simply say 'no you can't' because that is what you would prefer, but instead says, 'you can but...' They are a douche or passive-aggressive?


I'd say it depends on what follows the "but...".

Dark Immortal wrote:
I guess that when I ran a while back and a player wanted to be a divine caster and I said, 'you can but...' I was being a douche because I did not say 'no?'

Was your condition "But you can't have player classes/I will be taking away 75% of your class features and putting nothing in their place?", or perhaps "I will be giving you significant statistical penalties as severe as all the bad stuff of TWO age categories, but with way less stats getting bonuses than penalties?", or both?

Dark Immortal wrote:
What if I didn't want divine characters/kids but wanted to give the player the option to play one but with whatever conditions I set? Does my choice to compromise reflect negatively on me?

Only if the restriction your placing on the character mechanically cripples them, making them drag down the rest of the group, and drastically increase their odds of dying. Sort of like if you said "You CAN play a fighter who specializes in greatswords, but you're only going to have access to broken greatswords of a size category smaller than you for the entire campaign, and I won't let you have a strength score higher than 12."

Dark Immortal wrote:
There is no winning when you guys make these kind of statements. You don't know my motivations or the GM's so why are you making judgements with so little evidence?

I think they are inferring your motivations based on the assumption that you can see what the obvious outcome of such a ruling is, and then decided to do it anyways. The only alternative possibilities are that you are ignorant to the repercussions of such a ruling, or that you're unable/unwilling to change ANY RAW, even if the result of RAW is unreasonable/unfair/broken. If you're a slave to RAW, then the players should know that, and you they are going to expect you to be okay with the times RAW is broken in favor of the players, as well.

For this ruling specifically:
1. Giving stat penalties for children makes sense, there's a young template, and this is a system that has age category modifiers. These penalties are on the high end already though. -2 to three stats, +2 to one stat, and you're a size category smaller and therefore have smaller gear and whatnot. Most of this hurts. quite a bit already; but they might be able to stomach it.

2. Saying "You can't have real character levels unless the campaign timeline advances enough that you go up an age category" is the same as saying "I'll let you play a child, but you can't actually be a character, you'll be playing as an ineffective NPC" and telling a player "you can have part of your concept, but I'm going to make sure to punish you for it the whole campaign" comes across as highly passive aggressive, somewhat abusive, and definitely douchey; and I can't imagine any player feeling anything but hostile after hearing this.

"You can only try for that concept if you agree to be crippled beyond unplayability" is the same as telling me I can't play the concept, unless I as a player agree to be repeatedly slapped in the face every session. This is much more offensive than saying no, because obviously I am not going to consent to play it once you attach those conditions. I would much rather hear you say "I don't think I'm comfortable with that, build something else." or "I don't think that fits the tone I'm going for." - at least those don't result in "I will punish you for this concept".

Usually I am the GM. I would never put this on a player; it's not a condition on their concept, it's saying no to their concept while insulting them.

As a player, I would not play the concept, (and if the GM wasn't ignorant or a RAW slave - maybe because PFS, maybe not) I would feel highly insulted, the GM would come across as petty, passive aggressive, and juvenile, and it would obviously injure my relationship with said GM. At which point I would likely stop trying to come up with "what would be a fun concept to play", and start coming up with "what's a concept the GM isn't going to cripple", and it would factor into me considering if I would leave the gaming group entirely and/or stop playing any time that guy is GMing.

Needless to say, I feel for the OP; even if I wouldn't want to play a child (unless we were doing an "all children") game of some kind.


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Darkholme wrote:
I'm somewhat inclined to stop running the dragons like Smaug, and start running them like the dragons isn Shadowrun instead.
Kimera757 wrote:
I don't like that idea. Those "smart" dragons come across as fiends. If I'm looking for that kind of intelligent schemer, I'll use a pit fiend.

Hmm, there is a precedent in D&D for dragons operating more like their Shadowrun counterparts. In Faerun, The world was originally filled with dragon kingdoms, metallic and chromatic. The elves used High Magic to put an end to that, but the Sarrukh rose up in place of the dragons for a while one the dragons weren't in charge any more. It's also not that uncommon for the shapeshifting dragons to live among demihumans.

But also, I think it would work out very differently if you used a Pit Fiend than if you used a Dragon.

For one the Pit Fiend's goal is going to align more with the goals of the hells, and his intention is going to be to rise through the ranks of the hells.

The dragon, on the other hand, isn't concerned with climbing a hierarchy. The dragon will have far-reaching plans and will want to kepp itself alive, but it's goals are still individual and hoard-based. The difference, being that instead of defining a hoard as "shiny things the dragon lays on" you define the hoard as "things of value that the dragon owns". As a result, the dragon's hoard will include valuable subordinates & allies, as well as things like Land, and Kingdoms, and Economies. This kind of goal will be somewhat universal amongst the dragons, and how they approach it would vary by dragon breed. A red dragon might have a horde of well-trained orcs, which he controls by demonstrating his strength, whereas a silver dragon might control a college of mages.

The more I describe this, the more I like it. Dragons live basically forever, and they're highly intelligent. You'd think they would put that intellect to use for more than hanging out in a dingy cave by themselves; and instead use it to surround themselves with not only things they found pleasant, but experiences they found pleasant. I think I will have to start including more things of value (Guilds, Factions, Cities, Colleges, Armies, Ships, Fleets, Heroes) which are under the control of various dragons.

Might give me a reason to make use of dragons with equipment, as well. It makes the dragons more active in the world, which means different kinds of dragons are more likely to end up butting heads. ;)


Fair enough. I'm glad that works for you and your group.

In our group, if one player's character is 50% as good as would be competitive for their role, that person usually starts feeling somewhat bummed out about it, and if they are the only one built to fill a certain role and are not doing an adequate job, the rest of the group starts getting frustrated about it.

That said, it's (mostly) not a highly optimized group, so if someone is at 50% effectiveness, they are actually quite bad, and the group will likely be struggling to overcome appropriate encounters because of it. I tend to have fairly optimized characters, and so does my girlfriend (she asks me to help her optimize her character before we start a campaign); but the other 5 players run the gamut in optimization.

And of course, it didn't used to be a group of 7, we started as a group of 4+GM. If someone isn't competitive in a role now, it's less important to the rest of the group, because we've usually got more than one person covering each party role.


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Bandw2 wrote:
how do you handle removing WBL? do you use a point system or roll for aqusition? and how is are the equipment gains RP'd?

It's a point system.

Basically (I have a bit of a system kicking around that details it more) what I do; I look at the WBL Values at each level, and pull out 75% of that (rounded to the nearest 1000 gold). The reason I picked 75% is I remember seeing that keeping up with the power curve typically takes 75% of your WBL.

That 75% at each level are then what I call Character Ability Points, or CAPs, and 1 CAP = 1 gold for purposes of how many points something costs). I grant CAPs at the end of each session, based on what level the PCs are at, + how close they are to their next level (so if they're 50% of the way to the next level, they will have CAPs for their level, plus 50% of the difference in CAPs from their current level to the next. Players are free to swap out 1/3 of their CAPs (or 1000, whichever is higher) at each levelup.

CAPs are used to buy magical enhancements. Specifically, magical enhancements that improve your characters capabilities in combat, and are not consumable. So things like weapon enhancements, amor enhancements, rings of spell storing, rings of spell knowledge, pearls of power, new wizard spells (as though scribing them in your spellbook) etc - those things are fine; but things like magic carpets, immovable rods, wands, or potions, are not, and still take money (but I have been considering whether or not I should find a way to work them in and allow them, when they're used for this purpose). When you buy one of these things with CAPs, you're not getting an item, you're getting an ability (you also only pay for the magic effect, not the item itself). This ability is usable with whatever compatible items you happen to be holding, but if the item is not masterwork, you take a -1 to attack and damage while using your power with it, and IIRC, AC-1 if you use magic armor things on nonmasterwork amor. I have some further restrictions on which abilities you can have on your character for flavor reasons, with other ways you acquire them instead, but for game balance that's not at all necessary. So rather than get a flaming sword, the player buys flaming, and he can make whatever weapon he's using become flaming. As for how you RP the acquisition of such an ability, it could be something they just learn to do, or you could have them go through some sort of attunement ritual, or whatever you'd like.

Players still buy mundane gear and consumeables with cash. Theoretically, I should give the players 25% WBL for that stuff. And that's basically what I shoot for, but it's much less important if I am over or under than it would normally be. I still grant at least 100% WBL in gold up to level 4 or 5, sometimes I'm much more generous with gold at the beginning. In the early levels the players aren't buying magic gear, they're getting regular equipment, and barding for their mount, and whatnot, and if I only gave them 25% WBL for those levels they would have serious problems.

Sometimes, I will still hand out magical weapons and whatnot still, in the form of weapons. but these don't provide a boost in power, only a boost in versatility. To use the flaming sword you just found, you need to have the equivalent in natural abilities (+2 or more, to make it +1 flaming). If you only have a +1,then you can't activate its flaming property unless you find something of equivalent CAPs to disable so you can power your new weapon. As a result, the items I do give out tend to be more interesting; you'll never see me pass out a +2 sword, for instance. And these magic items an be sold for gold, as usual.

The end result/benefit of all of this is:

1. I don't have to worry about gold discrepency between characters seriously affecting character power.
2. I only have to worry about giving the players appropriate WBL until they have 5,000-10,000 gold (whatever it takes to cover all of the mundane gear they intend to use), after which point, it's not a huge deal. Money goes from something you need to replenish almost as fast as the players spend it (if not spent on equipment), to something you can (as GM) sortof forget about without any real consequences, so long as they're above that minimum threshold of being able to afford basic equipment.
I've also tried just giving the players 5k up front at character creation. Since they can't spend any of it on magical combat equipment, it didn't cause any many problems, and the players had whatever basic gear they wanted, including armor for the horse, and a cart, etc. It worked out pretty well, and everyone but the cavalier who had lots of equipment had a decent amount left over after covering their needs. Of course, you could make them wait for it until they hit level 4 or whatever, but I just didn't see any reason to.
3. I don't (and they don't) feel like I'm ruining their character if people start snatching/sundering their weapons in combat, or if they are captured and disarmed and they don't find all of their stuff conveniently outside their cell in a chest. They can kill some guards, take the guards' equipment, and they're almost as well off as with their own gear. Maybe it takes them a while to actually get all of their stuff back.
4. I can give players highly expensive things, like boats, or castles, or whatever, and they can't try to sell them for magical weapons to increase their character power. Also, if they get lucky and kill Smaug at level 8 and take a mountain full of gold, I can just let them have a mountain full of gold without seriously worrying about how them having a mountain full of gold will break all of the things. YAY!
5. Players can have a golf bag of weapons they carry around, and they aren't having to buy enhancements on all of them, or put up with a bunch of crappy weapons.
6. I'm not making the ranger spend twice as much on weapon enhancements to dual-wield weapons that together only end up matching the greatsword that the greatsword fighter only has to enchant one.

I hope some of that was useful. :)


boring7 wrote:
I'm gonna be honest, the treasure in most campaigns I play is woefully below WBL, and the vast majority of it is used against us first. Especially when you factor in most of it has to be resold at half value (we can only wear 4 suits of armor no matter what the enchantment).

Yeah, that happens a lot. It also tends to mean that if someone brings in a new character, they have a huge boost in powe over the preexisting characters, even if you only give them the average (under WBL) gold the other party members have, if only because they got to hand-pick equipment instead of having to take whatever crap they found. It also gives a serious edge to pet classes, and sumoners, and necromancers, and a not insignificant edge to casters, because while they're all affected by being under equipped, they aren't as effected as Joe Fighter who needs top tier equipment just to keep up. Not to mention, the wealth isn't always distributed evenly. Joe Fighter may get better or worse gear based on what's available, if the party isn't careful to divvy up the loot evenly. And even after that, what's the policy on resurrection costs? Divided evenly? I've played in groups where the policy was "We Divide Loot Evenly. If You Die, You Can Be Resurrected If You Have the Money. Otherwise, If You Agree In Advance, We Will Loan You The Money, But You Don't Get Any Loot Until It's Been Paid Back. So Don't Die."

My games have gotten much better since I stopped tying character power to money (This takes houserules). Not having to worry about players having unequal equipment access, or handing out gear that works for them, and not having to put as much effort into monster loot - has made my games much better. Now if someone is playing a greedy character, that doesn't make them more powerful, it only makes them more greedy (*Assuming they aren't using their money to hire an army for a day or something like that*).



Thats the rough idea behind how races are supposedly balanced in Rolemaster and Shadowrun 4.


And if you do what some of us do, and make the WBL chart and magic items in the book into a system for buying a variety of inherent character bonuses instead of money, then it doesn't matter so much if you give the PCs too much money (or if they have level 4 WBL at level 10, because all of the money bits that determine character balance have been (hopefully) rolled into character advancement instead. (And if I give you a castle or a ship, you're not going to try to sell it for a better sword).


Hmm. Good point, Ashiel. Moving the vast majority of the Wealth found in the dungeon in with the dragon would give you a much more believable hoard, without breaking WBL.

Still has nothing on Smaug's hoard though. I really think, if you manage to kill a colossal dragon with your 3 best buddies (or 13 dwarves) you should never be wanting for money again, and be able to afford whatever you want forever.

Of course, the power boost in WBL & magic items makes that not an option in a Pathfinder game without houserules to address such issues.

I'm somewhat inclined to stop running the dragons like Smaug, and start running them like the dragons isn Shadowrun instead.


Jeraa wrote:
An adult red dragon is huge sized. Its crush damage is 2d8+15, for an average of 24 damage. The average person has (Commoner 1) has 3-4 hit points, while the typical soldier has 6-7 (Warrior 1, 12-13 con). Horses have 15 hit points. Instant death. Of course, the PCs would survive. But they are PCs, who are supposed to be special.

Lots of people really don't run it that way. I would argue that wouldn't make that much sense. I mean, I am able to find an NPC of whatever level and class I need, who is also willing to do a job for me. (Assuming large enough city).

The way *I* see it, a level 1 NPC has next to no life experience. Even if experience only comes from combat, your typical farmer who has never had to do anything more dangerous than set some rat traps will go up a few levels. Sure they might be commoner levels, but by age 30-35 I'd expect him to at least have 5 or 6 of them.

That level 1 fighter? He has no life experience and just got out of basic military training. He's not a hero, and not a big deal.

The city guard who has been protecting everyone from orcs and goblins for the past 5 years? He's at least level 6, unless it's a really quiet place with few external threats.

The ex-soldier you run into, who has done a couple of tours against a foreign nation and survived? Somewhere between level 8 and 10.

If you somehow each 40 and are still level 1, well, you've never had to deal with ANY signifiant threat, and have lived a charmed life free of hardship, because if you've even gone so far as to set rat traps that kill 10 diseased rats (which are worth 135xp each), you're now level 2. Win at least 7 fist fights against unskilled teenagers over the course of your life? Level 2.

And that's assuming it doesn't make sense to award XP for things outside combat (which I think it does). So you'd have to have led a very charmed, lazy life, where you didn't have any real experiences, to be level 1 forever.

Jeraa wrote:
So bigger dragons can instantly crush a puny human. Its just that PCs aren't normal humans.

Of course, following my reasoning, the PCs aren't nearly as special as following your premise, but then, I don't think that they should be. Their "specialness" comes from their superior WBL, and optimized character choices, but level 10 NPCs are all over the place. Sure, they're less common than level 1 NPCs, but they're not at all hard to find.


Ravingdork wrote:

Over and over and over again I see players and GMs alike talking about how monsters are often weaker than classed characters. Supposedly this is because their options are more limited, whereas a classed character can be optimized with a plethora of items and options.


What is keeping the dragon from wearing armor, or the ogre from using a potion of enlarge person? Why aren't monsters using the same tricks and tactics that classed characters often use?

They have treasure values; why aren't the intelligent monsters making use of it? Why aren't they every bit as selective and discerning in their tools and tactics as the adventurers they so often fight?

How is it that such an imaginative and outgoing community fell into the mental rut of "monsters couldn't/shouldn't/wouldn't do that."

Please. Answer me that.

Great Red Wyrm (CR22) in full-plate. AC48 hahaha. And when the players kill it and take its stuff, it's a set of nonmagical, 48000 gold priced colossal nonhumanoid armor, that weighs 600 lbs. That sounds fantastic. When they go to bring it home, you can ask them how they're transporting something that size (it may not be that heavy, but it's still gigantic).


kestral287 wrote:
Mythic Permanency Shenanigans...

That's a pretty amusing solution.

Assuming GM Cooperation wrt Permanency, you could always get Form of the Dragon (various) on yourself via scrolls and UMD. 1-dip Pathfinder Savant so you can take 10 on UMD, Skill Focus, Masterwork UMD Tool, Magical Aptitude, Dangerously Curious all make you better at UMD (and DC gives it as a class skill.

If I were GMing and willing to allow it (I would have to look at the numbers - Which I might, if it took what I considered to be a reasonable amount of their WBL), I would allow a PC to go in and get "Treated" with this; but I also allow Monks to have their unarmed attacks turned masterwork via spell after which point they an have it enchanted like any other weapon.

I might even allow discounted prices on the various alternate forms, since the player can only have one active at a time. But I'm a pretty Nice GM.

I could also see something using the custom magic item rules, having a necklace or something which gives you access to various "Form of the Dragon" effects, a limited number of times per day. It would be an expensive item though.

Amulet of Form of the Dragon 1 3/day
80,190 Gold
(Basically all your money at level 11)

Amulet of Form of the Dragon 2 3/day
110,565 Gold
(A bit more than all your money at L12)

Amulet of Form of the Dragon 3 3/day
145,800 Gold
(A bit more than all your money at L13)

lol. Form of the Dragon is a pretty hefty buff spell though.


Fair Enough.

I'm not bad at optimizing, but 4/5 times I play some kind of caster class not directly focused on dealing damage (lots of battlefield control, open-ended utility spells, etc); so knowing what numbers are reasonable for a beatstick isn't my forté.


Devil's Advocate wrote:
Darkholme wrote:
Barbarian and Bloodrager and the Mutation Warrior things all show that you can do a Melee type who has a variety of combat buffs without breaking the game. But there just isn't currently an option like that that has dragon-themed buffs.

Pathfinder does have a straight martial with dragon-themed buffs.

The draconic bloodrager is literally a martial who (partially or completely) transforms in a dragon for short periods of time. Depending on his level and the spell he chooses to activate upon entering a bloodrage, he gains some combination of a bite, claws, wings, a breath weapon, resistances, DR, fear effects, and/or Large size. If you take the crossblooded rager archetype to mix in the arcane bloodline, you can even turn into multiple different types of dragons at sufficiently high level.

You may not like that implementation of your concept, but you cannot, in good faith say, that the concept itself doesn't exist in Pathfinder.

Hmm. Okay, I missed the draconic part of the bloodrager. That covers some of the concept better than the other things mentioned; but still doesn't actually cover "Martial Character Who Transforms into a Variety of Dragon-Like Creatures at Larger Sizes and Gains Various Pre-Compiled Sets of Iconic Dragon Abilities For Short Periods of Time".

It covers: Martial Character; Draconic Abilities (most of which are on all the time, not only while bloodraging/transformed; And the ability to turn into a single kind of dragon for short periods of time at high levels.
It does not cover: "Draconic Abilities which are only available once you transform/buff effect"; and it does not cover "Variety of Dragon Shapes".

It covers the concept almost as well as the Synthesist using Evolution Surge spells.

boring7 wrote:
Strong beats fast in the real world. It is why we have weight classes, it is why the little guy is almost always dominated in any MMA fight thing, it is why the legendary "tiny, speedy warrior who's a total badass" is so special and so often underestimated in fiction. Everyone KNOWS strength wins fights, except this one dude is so exceptionally fast he wins anyway. "The real world" is a blind alley you don't want to go down when talking about any fantasy power-build, because reality includes "drowned in a nosebleed after getting drunk" or "was shot with a single arrow and died of sepsis." Also, a good PF fighter doesn't soak dex, they just don't specialize in it, just sayin'.

Strong beats fast in *UNARMED* fighting, sure. I dont think I would agree with you when it comes to swords, knives, guns, or bows. Reach matters (size) but Brute Strength, not so much. In a duel between two guys with one-handed swords (lets say of the same kind, for simplicity), I'd bet on the tall-thin-long-armed-fast guy over the average-height-guy-who-may-be-on-steroids. I'm not suggesting pathfinder does (or should) perfectly emulate real life; I'm saying the argument that "Being Fast Shouldn't Make You Good With Swords Because It Is Unrealistic" is a load of horse-crap.

boring7 wrote:

Duelist Build...

Is that what you wanted?

Wow. Yep, that's the sort of thing I was looking for. Good job. As you mentioned, it's not going to be in the same power category as a well built spellcaster, but that is totally playable, and hits basically all the targets. I do think it largely relies on the Agile weapon property a great deal (which I haven't seen before). Looking at your second set of numbers, I think the damage would come up short without "Agile" weapons (taking 35 as the target damage before you considering weapon enhancements). I am definitely convinced that it's at least "Any Kind of Effective" once you add in Agile Weapons.


I agree with you regarding setting material, and spells.

As for the rest of it; sure, it CAN be used; however, 3.5e Classes, Monsters, and NPCs are almost always underwhelming in Pathfinder, due to the higher power curve (and in the case of classes, due to all the dead levels of boringness).

As for monsters/NPCs, yes, you can run them in Pathfinder without much trouble, but they typically don't pack the punch that Pathfinder Monsters/NPCs of the same CR would. Which is to say, if I were running a 3.X monster in Pathfinder, I would either want to increase its numbers, or determine how much to lower the CR of the monster (because they ARE easier).


boring7 wrote:
The initial topic set a rule of "Paizo only" and assumes player-made characters. Grey Mouser is easy. "Effective Grey Mouser" is a True Scotsman, and there ain't NO system you can make will do that character concept unless you wanted it to.

Every time I've heard you call something a True Scotsman, I thought what you were referring to was a "Specific Concept" and saying that having any kind of requirement to consider a concept met made it to speific. Therefore this comment confused the hell out of me. So I looked it up. What you're actually referring to is "No True Scotsman", am I correct? as in continually saying: "No True Scotsman would do X, so that must not be a True Scotsman?" That doesn't apply to any of the concepts I've mentioned, any more than saying a Fighter doesn't fit any reasonable criteria for "Playing as a conjuration specialist Wizard". When I present a concept, does it need to meet any specific criteria? Yes. Are those criteria going to involve ever-moving goalposts that can never be satisfied? No. Can they be very clearly defined if necessary? Sure.

boring7 wrote:
Also there's a slight issue with the delusion that "dex-based fighters are always better in the real world." This is nonsense, the only way you could believe it is if you mistook training (mechanically levels of experience) for natural agility, but more importantly it is also irrelevant.

"Uncoordinated (Low Dex) and Musclebound (High Strength)" is not how I would describe a skilled swordsman (Maybe a guy who only uses greatswords - but I would probably not describe suh a guy as a skilled swordsman). That *IS* how I would describe most skilled swordsmen in Pathfinder based on the abilities and stats they have. "Dex Based Fighters" would indeed be better in the real world, in that you would be using said dexterity for more accuracy (as well as being better at avoiding getting hit by the opponent), because being able to hit harder does not make you more accurate in real life - if it did, then being a weightlifter would help you be morer accurate with swordfighting, and after a while, being able to "hit harder" with a sword really isn't that helpful (maybe if you're trying to cut someone in half or something). If you can hit hard enough to go through the armor, the sword is sharp; it will do the rest of the work. "Oh Man You Stabbed That Guy Through and Through Harder Than Steve Stabbed That Other Guy Through And Through" isn't a thing - Stabbing them Harder really doesn't make much of a difference. Either you stabbed them or you didn't. Having more better accuracy (Dexterity) and more speed/maneuverability (Agility) IS a thing, and IS helpful. And yes, obviously, Training is also useful.

boring7 wrote:
Fantasy or reality, the issue always remains that "an effective Grey Mouser" has to be a large number of contradictory things at the same time. Things like, "best at everything/not special or unbalanced" or "is very impressive and special in that he keeps up with strength via speed/is perfectly normal and anyone can make a PC just like him."

The "Agile Fighter" wouldn't have to be any of those contradictory things. You're just putting words in my mouth now - but apparently you've been doing that every time you use the "No True Scotsman" argument in a way that it was not apparent what the in the hells you were talking about with it.

Let me define "effective" for you so it's no longer confusing to you; this is the minimum effectiveness I would consider "reasonable". For "General Character Effectiveness", I would say: "Able to contribute in and out of combat no less than a well-built sword-and-board fighter." For "Effective Martial", I'd expect that to be as effective with Melee Weapons as a Ranger, Barbarian, or Paladin, typically with some situation where that performance is increased (FE, Rage, Buff Spells). The fact is: the Fighter is one of the less effective classes in the game. It has good damage output, but that's about all it can do. It has crap for skills, and has next to nothing in the way of class features outside of the category of "nonmagical combat with chosen weapon". Nobody wants to be the NPC Warrior class; or the NPC Expert.

I thought this was pretty obvious, but so that there is no more confusion, I will spell out the what "Agile and Effective Swordsman" means, in highly specific terms, so that you can't claim confusion or "No True Scotsman" if/when it can't be met. "Agile (Minimum Dex 14) Non-Strength Focused (Maximum Strength 14), Martial (No More than Level 4 Spells by 20, Minimum 3 Attacks by 20, Minimum Unenhanced (Pre-Buffed/Equipped/Power-Attacking) To-Hit-Bonus on attacks of +25/+20/+15 (With Weapon Focus), Average Unenhanced (Pre-Buffed/Magic-Itemed/Power-Attacking) Damage if All Attacks Hit of 35, One-handed-stabbing-blade-wielding(rapier, shortsword, longsword, etc - but not Falchion or other things which you hack at someone with) Character". Ideally, such a character (being less effective at killing stuff than the sword and board fighter [Low to-hit/damage than a fighter, less or equal attacks per round than a fighter]) should have some other kinds of abilities of some kind. A minimum of 4+int/level skills would help, as would some manner of non-stabbing class features. And if we're going for the Grey Mouser specifically, then I'd add some quantity of sneak attack damage to the list, and have him wielding a dagger in his off-hand, and have him using Two-Weapon Fighting (at some penalties). Each thing on that list can be measured, and you can yes/no on whether each one was met. These are not even close to what I would consider "Good" or "Optimized" numbers, but they would be passable.

DrDeth wrote:
<sigh> Grey Mouser can be played within D&D, I know that as I briefly played with Fritz Leiber, who was playing the Grey Mouser. If *HE* thought he could play his own creation effectively, then indeed, it can be played effectively.

Did you play Pathfinder with Fritz Leiber? Because I have already stated that such a concept can be built in other games, but that doing so in Pathfinder while being "any kind of effectiveness" (see above) is another matter.

Voadam wrote:

Did he do any dueling in the game?

I recall the Mouser doing both the backstab thing (the signature ability of AD&D thieves) when he meets Fafhrd but also being a master duelist (which I would not expect an AD&D thief to replicate).

Likely not.


boring7 wrote:
On flight, I posit you are vastly over-valuing a specific ability and indeed, [c]cherry-picking[/i] specific abilities in order to create a perception bias. The anime/jrpg sword-wizard can cut through a steel wall in one swing with the power of narrative and his mighty warrior's heart at the midpoint of the power-growth/campaign arc.

I would agree with you about anime. I see JRPGs (particularly the older ones) as being very different from what routinely shows up in anime. There are not many (if any) examples of things like that in any of the classic JRPGs I recall playing, and I would have found such "power of narrative" effects jarring and an annoying sign of crappy writing and game design (unless they make a thing out of it where I am able to spot weak spots in walls and knock them down with an ability, or something).

You seem to be taking Classic JRPG Concept = Anime Concept, and I consider the two to be quite different - particularly in power level - largely because Anime Power levels don't work well in a game; and I would continue to argue with you that the character power level in (most) classic JRPGs caps out significantly lower than it does in Pathfinder. Breath of fire goes Epic (or Level 20+Mythic, if you prefer), but that happens after the game ends, in narrative (and basically the entire game takes place at a much lower power level than that). I've seen some 3.5 campaigns end with PCs taking spots in pantheons as gods,

boring7 wrote:
A PF character is unlikely to do that even at level 20 reliably. There are a LOT of examples of the power levels of anime-style characters being bananas overpowered. That's part of the genre's charm.

It's also a different genre than I am interested in drawing concepts from for pathfinder, or for that matter, playing a tabletop (and in most cases even video) game based on.

boring7 wrote:
And it's in MOST Final Fantasy games, basically every one since FF3 (Japanese) had summons out the wazoo and booms spells of ultra-destruction.

I'd argue the most potent of those destruction spells is about equivalent to a meteor storm, not world destroying magic. As for JRPG summons, those are just MP heavy, effective, large-templated AOE Spells. Sure, you're conjuring some aspect of Bahamut. But does he stick around and help you fight the army of baddies? No. You get a single attack. Or in the case of some of the New FF Games, you and your party are all transformed into Bahamut, and you either have access to Bahamut or your party, but never both.

boring7 wrote:
The powers also only showed up in combat, or very specific railroad-plot-driven scenes, because it was a railroad plot from the beginning.

Sometimes they had powers that worked outside combat, but they are largely in-combat, and the JRPGs tend to be railroad plots with lots of exploration.

boring7 wrote:
The FIRST point of all this meandering, of course, is that turning into a dragon that can burn the world for a few combat rounds is no big deal in JRPGs because that's the kind of power level they roll. It makes sense in context, and being a dragon isn't necessarily going to make you that much more powerful than a little green guy carrying a big knife and a lantern.

Turning into a dragon that can burn the world is a powerful epic level ability. Turning into a dragon that just has iconic dragon abilities (at level appropriate numerical values) is very different, and not of the power level you keep describing.

boring7 wrote:
The SECOND point, is that if it's a different Genre, you have to accept certain shifts and changes when you translate your idea. Magic Macgyver isn't going to be facing the kind of contrived situations 80s Macgyver did, PF Batman won't be flying the magitech Batwing through space until epic levels, and PF Tenchi will be mythic tier 7 (?) before he can travel through space at the speed of light through the magic of his alien superpowers.

The disconnect I see here is that you're placing classic JRPGs in the same genre as ridiculous over-the-top DBZ style anime, and, and that premise is one I fundamentally disagree with. If you look at the things player characters (and most NPCS) are capable of in a game like Secret/Legend of Mana, Tales of Phantasia, Breath of Fire, or Even Final Fantasy 6 - (other than that JRPGs don't have falling damage) they aren't all that different in power from what characters are capable of in Pathfinder (with the exception of the tech in FF6, but there are 3PP Pathfinder settings with comparable tech), and even D&D2e had Spelljammer (and in a spelljammer game, such equipment is easy enough to come by at the beginning of the campaign), which is much better equipment than an Airship.

boring7 wrote:
In my defense, the physical and game-mechanics abilities are the only thing you have listed as "stuff I want for my hypothetical character" that you keep dismissing as "not good enough."

Ah. You keep moving your claims around here. You made claims of stacking a CR20 worth of abilities onto Martial Class Abilities, and I said that was not at all what I was describing, and that I was not trying to have various complete Bestiary Dragon stat blocks stacks on top of a martial. The things I have been mentioning as not being covered, are the dragon-themed abilities. Breath Weapons, DR, Dragon Immunities, Flight, Fear Aura, and SR. And I have been saying what you would need (to pull off the concept) are a variety of short-term buff effects that would give you various collections of those things (or things similar to them). You kept making assertions of power creep, which didn't describe what I was calling out as being part of the concept at all, and you kept describing "Stacking High CR Monsters on Top of Character Levels from level 1", which was also not at all what I was suggesting, so I kept trying to respond to those claims and make it clear that was not what I was describing at all. As of this most recent post you seem to finally understand the premise of the concept, though you now seem to think that the original concept is what I was saying I am not trying to match.

"Martial Character Who Transforms into a Variety of Dragon-Like Creatures at Larger Sizes and Gains Various Pre-Compiled Sets of Iconic Dragon Abilities For Short Periods of Time" is the character concept, and has been, from the beginning. Is it Specific? Sure. Is it a unique snowflake concept that only exists in a single place? Not really; I've also seen fiction with Panwere characters (Characters who are not useless on their own, and have the ability to take on several hybrid animal-human forms). Some kind of Not-Spellcasting Themed Wildshaper would be almost the same niche.

I would disagree about such a concept necessarily being more powerful than the existing character classes, however. It actually sounds LESS powerful than your typical Synthesist Summoner or Wildshaping Druid, or Wizard. And (depending on how it was done) could be equivalent in power to a Mutation Warrior, Barbarian, Ranger, or Paladin - which (from my understanding) would make it NOT Power Creep (new options of a higher power level than the existing options in the game).

boring7 wrote:
The Dragon Shaman Druid actually gets Form of the Dragon as their wildshape, it's 3/4 attack progression but sacrifices get made for combat.

Dragon Shaman gets limited access to some dragon abilities when not wildshaped, and has the ability to wildshape into a lizard. It doesn't even cover it as a Caster instead of a Martial.

boring7 wrote:
You can make a dex fighter. He'll be "any kind of effectiveness." When you say or imply "but he's not as good as (insert build here)" brings us back to the "I don't care about abilities"/"I am a munchkin who wants MORE POWER" dichotomy. Grey Mouser's superior training, skill, and continued success could be reflected by better starting stats, being higher level, a railroad plot that make his "alternative" style more effective than everyone else, or simply being really lucky with the dice. But none of these things are necessarily going to be offered to you in comparison to other PCs however, because this is not a narrative.

You're dancing around my (and other people's) point here. In Pathfinder, a Dex-Based Melee-Martial is nowhere near as effective as a Strength one, regardless of build. Pathfinder just kindof hates on Dex-Fighters. That's not a reflection on reality (Dexterity and Agility are arguably *MORE* important than just Strength in most forms of melee combat, particularly for weapons like staves, one-handed-swords, knives, etc); and it's basically a problem unique to 3.X. You can build it and be effective in 4e & 5e, there are effective builds of it in 2e. I don't think it should be something that REQUIRES crazy lucky rolls (and I don't think the character is ever described as "mostly just lucky") or narrative tweaks; I think it should be a pretty viable concept. It's rather common in fiction, and it's not even a massive departure from reality.

As for the dichotomy you describe, I *ABSOLUTELY* Care about abilities that match the concept and being able to keep up with the rest of the party, and I *Don't* want a munchkin build with *MORE* power than all of the other players. I really don't see whee you're getting either of those two ideas from (both are incorrect if you're applying them to me). For a concept to be viable, you need mechanics that can match up with the concept (or at least closely approximate it), while being competitive in power with the other types of builds which will be seeing play in the game. If I want to play a minotaur, and the GM Proposes Half-Orc Stats, that's very clearly not a minotaur, being half the height, 1/4 the size, and 1/8 the weight, and not having horns. I'm not saying a Pathfinder Minotaur build has to have all the exact stats from the bestiary, but it does to have the iconic abilities (Horns, Large Size, Direction Sense). Likewise, Drow need to be resistant to magic and have the ability to create darkness, and Dragons need wings and breath weapons, and some kid of frightful presence, toughness, and magic resistance would sure help.

boring7 wrote:

I mean if you want your build to be perfect you can no-true-scotsman all day. I'm here for the entertaining challenge of coming up with an approximation of an interesting character within the rules because I find that mental exercise interesting. If you REALLY WANT to say "x can't be done" then yes, you win, it can't be done. All our efforts are in vain and woe betide anyone who tries.

But I find that discussion kind of boring, and more importantly that discussion is already over.

So...which discussion are we having?

Well, the OP wanted examples of concepts which we didn't think could be reasonably portrayed under the existing rules (he seemed to be arguing that homebrew served no purpose, and that we don't need more game options than already exist in order to adequately cover all concepts), so I posted a concept I didn't think could be done, to see if anyone else could come up with a way to do it, and/or show the OP a reason why homebrew and new game materials still have a place.

Thus far, there's not been a build mentioned that can actually cover it without playing as a doppelganger (so, not really) or one of a couple types of wizard (and thus not a Martial).

I am interested in seeing new and interesting ways to build concepts, so long as they are actually able to approximate the concept. In this case, there doesn't seem to be one.


Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

Never heard of Age of Shadow, but I'll be checking it out!!! Lotsa free stuff!!!

What is BRP - before Ral Partha? ;)

Basic RolePlaying. (like d20). Used in many contexts as not just the Chaosium releases - it also describes the other systems that spun off of the Chaosium Stuff, much of it by other publishers. People conventionally think RuneQuest (which is in 6th edition right now, and has free basic rules); OpenQuest is a streamlined and improved OGL RuneQuest 4 Spinoff that has 2nd edition out (also has free basic rules) - Age of Shadows is a free LOTR Inspired Spinoff of OQ; Mongoose is still publishing things for RuneQuest 5 (Under the name Legend, ever since they lost the RuneQuest License); Mongoose WAS producing Elric Content, but have stopped doing so.

Of course, it also includes the Chaosium Stuff; Call of Cthulhu (Free Quickstart Rules, Free Old Quickstart Rules), Basic Roleplaying [url]Free Quikstart Rules[/url], and Magic World (which is an update/reprint of Chaosium's pulpy Elric variant of RuneQuest - Stormbringer, but without the Michael Moorcock stuff - also free basic rules). You can use stuff from one game in the others, or across editions, very easily; like using 3.0 monsters or classes in 3.5, or using 3.5 stuff in Pathfinder.

It somewhat describes older editions of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay as well, and bits of it are still present in the Warhammer 40k Line.

I would advise checking out Age of Shadows, OpenQuest, RQ6, and Magic World. Legend is also pretty good (PDF of the core book is $1), but I would recommend RQ6 over RQ5. It's a big improvement.



WHat makes you think you could get dragon shaping at low level anyway?

The Form of the Dragon spells are all top level spells... and dragons are well known for being some of the most powerful creatures in the game...

Sauce987654321 wrote:
The lowest level you can be to cast form of the dragon, off the top of my head, is a level 9 wizard using a hero point to cast a spell higher than their max by 1.
That or level 10 as an oracle I think (if you are a race to ramp up your revelation) if you are not using hero points

That's the earliest I can see getting the dragonshape spells/abilities, too. And that is not on a martial character. (I'll have to look into that Master Chymist build suggested, but at best that would give a melee build which only covers the concept when you're outside the range of levels (16, it looks like) I have ever seen people actually play in.) and the others are clearly caster classes, not martial.

My point was only that it is a character concept that you cannot really build in Pathfinder. Not because it would be broken - Barbarian and Bloodrager and the Mutation Warrior things all show that you can do a Melee type who has a variety of combat buffs without breaking the game. But there just isn't currently an option like that that has dragon-themed buffs. That shapeshifter class you pointed out I think comes the losest, but its much more shape-shifter-y.


TheBlackPlague wrote:
So I've been carefully eying this topic, and I'm intrigued. Are you interested in 3pp settings that are compatible officially with 3.0 but easily convertible to Pathfinder? Sword and Sorcery Studios "Scarred Lands" is pretty amazing, and their Creature Collections and Relics and Rituals supplements are some of the best 3pp stuff I've had the privilege of using.

Hmm. I'll at least look at them. I heard they're making a PF Version. I find most 3.5 stuff isn't as useful with Pathfinder as people claim though. The classes end up being underwhelming and undepowered, or simply boring because they have a bunch of dead levels etc, and the numbers are usually off significantly - the "Spine" of Pathfinder is different than the "Spine of 3.5", to borrow a term from Bad Axe Games / Trailblazer / Wulf Ratbane.

TheBlackPlague wrote:
Does Oathbound 7 by chance have a dead tree version? I can't seem to find one, and I hate getting PDFs.

I haven't seen one available, but the PDF comes with a regular & printer friendly version. If I knew I wanted a hard copy, I would probably print that out in B&W. The normal people approach would probably be to print it coilbound or put it in a binder, and do the cover up in color; but I think I would want to print it on 11x17 paper so I could do up 4 page thick (16 page count) sections, and take a stab at making something by hand that looks like a Print on Demand title. But - that would require significant efforts in bookbinding, as well as the ability to print on 11x17 paper.


Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
In contrast to thejeff, I found ALL of the MERP books to be excellent, especially the Far Harad and other books that extended the IP - I felt ICE's homage to be seamless.

Hmm. That's interesting to hear.

I don't suppose you happen to know of a good Arda/Middle Earth Guide that is not an RPG Supplement, do you? I figure if you've done LotR gaming, you might be more inclined to know of such things.

Out of curiosity, what do you think of Age of Shadows? The project started with a guy who wanted to run a BRP Silmarillion game set in the first age, playing as characters whom history forgot.


Yeah, I looked into the Witcher RPG a while back. They never translated it; and from what I have heard from polish gamers, the system wasn't particularly good.

Yeah, you could also do alright running these settings using GURPS, or Savage Worlds, or FATE, or MERP, or RoleMaster, or White Wolf's Classic World of Darkness (they have medieval supplements and mortal sorcery supplements and demon supplements - they're just not the main books), or even Trollbabe.
But again, I'm inclined to go BRP/Magic World/RuneQuest6/OpenQuest/Age of Shadow, and am looking for good sources of collected setting information, not a system to use to run it.

Thanks limsk. I will definitely need to track down some of those Elric sourcebooks.

Conan GURPS is available in PDF Form if you want it. I'm presently undecided if I want GURPS Conan or if Mongoose conan will be good enough.


That's an information page. I didn't see a download link (Maybe its there and I just cannot find it) (Nevermind, I found it reuploaded in a random corner of the internet via googling)


Your first claim missed my point:
Airships ≠ Personal Flight.
Sure it's flight, but it is not routine access to personal flight; given that it's a big chunk of equipment that an individual character can't bust out whenever they need it, wherever they are, at a moment's notice. You are either on the airship (which is the size of a building, so you're not taking it into a dungeon or castle, or (usually) even landing it in a forest) or you don't get to fly.

The next few; I can't think of any examples of from any games *I* Played growing up where those are true; so if they happened, it would be news to me.

As for what kinds of monsters they fight, sure, you can fight a Robot or a Giant T-Rex early on in some JRPGs. That Robot or Giant T-Rex often also has stats comparable to a typical guard around the same point in the game. JRPGs are just typically very fuzzy on the concept of having the scarier monsters only around at the higher levels.

Once again, I am not talking about a dragon's physical abilities stacked with a martial character. I am talking about buff effects stacked with a martial character. A variety of buff effects already exist, and there are some martial classes (Barbarian) built around a buff effect.

Mutation Warrior: How is this Mutation Warrior getting the sorcerer spells required to fake the other abilities? I'm pretty sure it would take significantly more than a dip to cover the magical abilities, you'd have access to them while not transformed, I'm not so sure you'd manage to be much of a martial by the time you were done either.

Beastmorph + Master Chymist: could sort-of do it for the dragon shaping, but I'm not sure how well it would work as a Martial - I don't think it would cover all the bases, but it might.

As for Cross-Genre Power-Creep; Well, a non-spellcasting themed shapeshifter (perhaps a Panwere) is hardly a cross-genre idea in a high-magic fantasy game; and as others have pointed out, we've already got several martial characters with buffing options (bloodrager, barbarian, mutation warrior, some varieties of monk, etc) - having a few with a variety of dragon-themed buffs even at the lower levels would hardly be power creep.

It's far from perfect, in that most of the proposed approaches either don't actually cover the "dragon shapeshifting" (access to several single action activated abilities that gives you a collection of monster-themed buffs/abilities for a short period of time), or don't cover the martial character concept. As for how one would homebrew such a thing, yeah that might do it. But my point was that the concept isn't actually doable by RAW - (I would have to look closer at the master Chymist - it may allow you to play the concept so long as you start the game at a sufficiently highlevel - but short of that; which *MIGHT* do it, maybe, sortof), it fills the OP's request of "Concept you wanted to build that can't be built under existing rules."

I'm not so sure I follow your logic regarding the Grey Mouser as a concept requiring author fiat, nor do I see a connection between any difficulty representing IT in pathfinder and representing Sherlock Holmes. If RuneQuest, AD&D, and D&D5 can support this type of character, I don't see why it needs to be unplayable in pathfinder.

So far as I see it you could be saying one of four things.

1. If you're claiming any kind of effectiveness requires author fiat; many kinds of effectiveness don't *require* author fiat, or always rolling 20s. Particularly combat effectiveness, which Pathfinder has a great deal of mechanics regarding. Wizards can be effective in combat without author fiat, and there are literary examples of wizards as well. Fighters can be effective in combat, and there are fictional examples of them as well.

2. If you were saying you think it's unrealistic for a swordsman to use traits besides raw strength to be effective, I don't agree with your reasoning. Even in real life, a swordsman can be good for reasons of precision, speed, agility, rather than just more and more brute strength.

3 & 4. If instead, you meant that emulating any character concept found in a medium other than a game requires author fiat, or that anyone who wants to use a character concept from a book or film expects to never fail, well, then I think you're just being deliberately obtuse for the sake of trying to annoy people.

And there are several games where Sherlock Holmes could be an effective character concept (games where the character can influence the events and plot to be what the character wants them to be, rather than having to deal with the situation as is, through the character). Pathfinder just doesn't happen to be one of those games - what with it not being a narrativist mystery game.


ElyasRavenwood wrote:
Nerophage. Thank you. I see you are talking allot about computer role playing games it seems. I have only a passing familiarity to the final fantasy series, and thats just well because i know it exists. Again thank you.

Ah. yeah; I grew up playing many of those japanese videogames, and they had a certain atmosphere to them that is hard to come by in English Tabletop RPGs, and I think Pathfinder would be a relatively good fit for the genre, with a few alterations.

I'm still chipping away at this, btw. Working on some setting and thematic things at the moment, figuring out what the basic races and politics of the setting will be like; then I am thinking I will do up some kind of Gazeteer Thing.


Can you give a link to that Oathbound Player's guide? I can't find it on your site.

Also; WRT your current Lore of the Gods Project: What exactly does it cover? Is it just new Pantheons? Are there any new player options? or new GM Bestiary Options?


Ooh. Neat.

So: Legacies of Oathbound and Oathbound Domains of the Forge. IS that stuff reprinted in Oathbound 7?

Wildwood looks really good, and Arena doesn't look too bad either.


boring7 wrote:
Strongly disagree. JRPG videogames have magic items and spells that blow up planets, Pathfinder gets really impressive if it blows up half a city. Hell, you want to be a middling-sized DRAGON, a critter that starts around effective character power-level of 20, and then start stacking on class levels. JRPG that's no big deal, Pathfinder that's crazy epic level stuff.

World Destroying magics are not PC Acessible in JRPGs. Hell, I don't think I've ever even seen PC Accessible City Destroying Magics. They're like World Destroying Magics in D&D; IE: A Plot Device/Railroady way give your PCs reason to work together and follow the main plot. What Fantasy JRPGs don't have is offensive Polymorph Effects that last forever, Characters creating their own demiplanes and manipulating reality and time there, summoning demons or angels to aid them on quests for long periods of time, players raising platoons of demons or undead (using class abilities, not GM plot), or "City Nuke" shenanigans. Even routine access to personal flight is usually quite limited (you see hover effects fairly often). From the player's capabilities in a JRPG, other than the numbers (which allow RPG characters to eventually take on creatures that in D&D are up to CR20); they don't get effects beyond 4th level wizard spells, and don't even get full access to spells up to 4th.

An Actual Large-Size Green Dragon is only CR 8; which is a far cry from CR 20; though actual dragon stats are not particularly relevant. What I'm Describing isn't "Dragon Statblock + Martial Stuff". What I'm describing is Martial Character + "Miscellaneous Variety of Short-Term Dragon-Themed Metamorphosis Buff Effects (Immunities, Fear Aura, DR, Claws, Wings, Breath Weapons/Elemental Attacks)" + Also Counting as a Dragon for Activating Magic Items or being the target of spells. Rage (with a variety of different dragon shapes to choose from when you rage) would be a good custom basis for it; but the buffs from raging/bloodraging are not even close to the concept out of the box.

Darkholme wrote:
None of those options really fit the "Martial who turns into a variety of kinds of dragons" schtick...
boring7 wrote:
Caster vs. Martial is largely how you play it. Just, you know, don't cast much besides your buff spells and your after-action heal spells. Different types of dragons are easy with different evolution-buffs to an eidolon or different transformations with your Oracle (if you CAN transform as an oracle? I wasn't clear on that one). As for "can't do it 'till later levels," well that brings us back to the point of power creep and JRPGs. Even in BoF, getting reliable draconic transformations was mid- to late-game material.

A Synthesist could do some of it. The non Synthesized Summoner is not even close to a competent martial combatant. Medium BAB, Crappy Weapon Proficiencies, Class Features that don't work if you put on the armor required to be a martial. The summoner spell list helps make up for the medium BAB, but Armor gets in the way of actually using them. To actually work, the synthesist is going to end up being a dragon all the time (Summon Eidolon as a spell just isn't reliable). It also can't really be a martial unless it accepts that it has spells, but will be unable to cast them due to the armor it's going to have to wear to not die.

I Suppose Evolution Surge could be used to acquire some of the various special qualities; Summon eidolon could be used to change for short times (though most of the time you will *JUST* be a dragon anyways) and the Synthesist could make regular use of Blood Money+Transmogrify so they can have actually different forms (at the expense of an hour between forms - so you can't take on the dragon shape you want at any given time, and with the unnecessary capacity to change EVERYTHING each time).

LazarX wrote:
To answer this question.. sure while you can make ANYTHING with the Pathfinder set, a lot of it simply will not either work well, or fail to preserve the flavor of the original.

Sure. Though as people have pointed out, there's no reason why a simple concept such as the Grey Mouser should continuously be mechanically awful in Pathfinder; it's a very good fit thematically; but for some arbitrary reason it isn't supported in Pathfinder. Once you give him the strength score and abilities required for him to actually be the effective swordsman he is supposed to be, he's no longer the nimble rogue-y type you were aiming for.



Taskshaper looks much closer than the other things mentioned. How often/how long does it get to change shape? Class doesn't specify.

Not sure if 3pp meets the OP's criteria though; However, I would probably allow it.


@TheJeff: Hmm. I don't mind the addition of fabricated stuff, so long as the new stuff fits and doesn't break/contradict the stuff that's not fabricated. Good to Know Regarding the MERP stuff though.

TOR's setting stuff seems to be focused on a tiny region.
How good is Decipher's Setting stuff?



Breath of Fire:
@Boring7: I would consider most of the Fantasy JRPG Videogames to be very close in genre to D&D/Pathfinder; the main difference being that Pathfinder goes to an even Higher Power Level. I was thinking more BoF 4 than 3; Because as you mention, 3 works okay with Synthesist Summoner (other than how difficult it is to change in combat, and the requirement of blood magic to make regularly changing forms be a viable option; and the inability to choose the form you want to take mid-combat and then take that form.

@Pixie Dust: The bloodrager doesn't really cover it. Rather than make an extra big transforming bruiser, the goal is to make a melee type who transforms and gains magical dragon-like capabilities (breath weapons, or some blasting/elemental abilities, or whatever).

Dark Tapestry Oracle is probably the closest - though it's a full caster, not a martial, but you don't get the ability to do dragon shapes until you hit 15; which means that it doesn't cover the concept at all until your many Forms is at 15 (which, as you pointed out, you can do at level 10).

But yeah; none of those options really fit the "Martial who turns into a variety of kinds of dragons" schtick. Some of them cover martials turning into big brutes without dragon-like abilities of any kind (but not multiple kinds) and some of them cover other parts of the concept but are casters instead of martials.

Conan is in a lower powered genre - he is badass within that genre, but he can't compete with D&D characters. That was my point there. People keep asking to be able to do Conan "A Fighter who can keep up without regular use of magic" with Pathfinder, but it just doesn't do low-magic fantasy (Sword and Sorcery, Dark Fantasy, Pulp Fantasy, etc). If that is the genre you want to play, you're in the wrong game, and should be looking at something designed to do that instead - Pathfinder is designed around abundant and high powered magic, gear-focused adventure fantasy - it's a good fit for itself/D&D3/4 settings, as well as Warcraft, High Magic Fantasy JRPGs, Forgotten Realms, and the like. 4e is equally high magic, but also miniatues gaming focused.

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