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Cayden Cailean

Darkholme's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Society Member. 1,123 posts (1,623 including aliases). 2 reviews. 2 lists. 1 wishlist. 14 aliases.


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As a GM, I would allow it, and have done so. I actually pointed it out to the player who was building a Lunar Oracle.

There are plenty of much more potent combinations, and I don't expect it would hog the spotlight in a well built party. Obviously an optimized character in an unoptimized party will outshine the rest. And also obviously, a well built Tier 2 character will outshine a poorly built Tier 4 character.

We had a mounted lance-wielding cavalier, who managed a charge almost every round (not a dungeon crawling campaign, so charging comes up more), and a Synthesist, and an Inquisitor, and a couple other charaters I don't recall at the moment (Party of 5). The one who hit hardest was by far the Cavalier. Admittedly, the game only went up to level 5 (that was when I got Edge of the Empire, and wanted to try running that instead)

I found the Cavalier a little frustrating (he could one-shot most opponents, and was raely in range to get hit back), but the Oracle Tiger wasn't that big of a deal.

Plus, Animal Companions start to lag after level 8-10 or so anyways, and you still cap out at a 15HD AC, you just do so earlier.

And RAW, it works (I don't play PFS, so I won't speak to that, but PFS has all sorts of limitations on top of RAW).



That's a good point Umbranus. Why exactly CAN it affect things it doesn't have line of effect to?

Liquids in containers should be protected, because of how bursts work...


Lunar Oracle also gets an Animal Companion.

Additionally, if you go Oracle, you can use favored class bonuses for Elf, Aasimar, Ifrit, and Sylph to advance said animal companion at 1.5x Level. This means at level 10 you have a level 15 animal companion.


As I realized a few hours ago, creatures are immune because the ability specifically mentions unattended liquids and items, and I originally misread it.
Additionally, your skin gives your internal liquids full cover against a burst, so you don't have line of effect, as was pointed out by Bob, Ecaterina, and Diego.


Hmm. I suppose that makes sense.

I could see your Party composition as one approach to a game without magic items, though I do think that a party of fullcasters with Animal Companions or Eidolons (or a Synthesist), or other buffcasters like bards, using Animal Ally & Boon Companion would do very well. The casters all provide support and fill the utility roles, while the pets all fill a tanking or damage combat role.


All very good points, Bob Bob Bob.

I came to the item conclusion as well.

I hadn't considered the burst/line of effect. I was actually thinking a burst went around corners and line of effect was irrelevant. That's good to remember for in the future.

If not for the item thing, you would dry out their eyes, give them cotton mouth, and possibly dry out their sinuses, as well as destroy any blood currently in an open wound.

Vs Water Elementals, also good points: vs a lage or bigger elemental, it wouldnt do much. ~1/30 of the water elemental would be destroyed. Of course, the water elemental is likely not a valid target, as a nonitem, which is likely attending to itself.


Zark wrote:

I think this tread is very interesting. Anyone interested in human behavior and RPG should read it.

This thread isn’t only about liking or not liking Pathfinder as it is. It is also about US and THEM. Calling out that you belong to team GOOD and pointing at TEAM EVIL. TEAM EVIL is just another word or label for those that complain. It doesn’t really matter if the complains are legit or not.

THE OP sets the tone when he basically says that anyone not enjoying the rogue is an optimizers [optimizer = EVIL] and anyone not liking Pathfinder can p*ss off.

He then leaves the torch and other posters pick it up and it goes on.


Is this kind of behavior good just because it is presented by TEAM GOOD? And are all opinions and questions raised by TEAM EVIL bad or evil just because they are raised by TEAM EVIL?


So can’t we drop the GOOD vs EVIL thing and instead just try to respect each other’s opinions without labeling and judging others?

Well said, Zark. In this scenario, I am definitely not in the camp the OP is implicitly defining as TEAM-GOOD. I actually to refuse to run Pathfinder without houserules (I'll play it as a player if houserules are not an option), and I am in the camp that would be very happy to see a "Pathfinder Core Rules 2015" wherein they make adjustments to fix the various problems with the stuff that exists now. Maybe even just do rules fixes in future printings of the same book, and offer the rules balance fixes up as errata to people who have the old printings - but I would pay more money for rules fixes that are built into the core system at this point.

Tels wrote:

A low magic Pathfinder game can work pretty easily, it just forces an entirely different play style.

Instead of the fighters and characters having tons of magical items, they must get those buffs and bonuses from casters who have to change their playstyle from throwing around reality shaping spells, to also preparing a host of buffs and to augment the fighting characters.

It turns the game into a much more guerrilla style game. You *need* to have a scout who identifies enemies ahead of time so the party can prepare for the enemies in following rooms. You also don't prepare short term buffs because that forces the party to move from room to room or waste them.

So something like Bull's Strength becomes a staple of the spell list, while something like Haste is only tossed on for really important fights.

In such a low-magic campaign, I would encourage casters to take a few feats like Craft Wand, to help supplement their more heavily used buffs, but most item crafting would be heavily restricted. Like Craft Wondrous would just not exist; or maybe it takes 1 week, or 1 month per 1,000 gp to craft an item instead of 1 day. This would mean it would take a really, really long time to craft something. It would also explain why crafting is almost entirely an NPC job as it would simply take too long for an adventurer to make items and adventure at the same time.

That's interesting, but it requires a party focused around that style of play, which is also dealt with if the party just doesn't build magic-item reliant characters. Why wouldn't the casters just continue to throw around reality altering spells and use pets, and expect the other players to build other characters that can pull their own weight? If there are no magic items, then spellcasters with pets are the obvious choice, followed by spellcasters without pets, followed by partial casters, and non-casters are just a no-go. I would expect such a game to consist primarily of different builds of Summoner, Druid, Cleric, Oracle, and Ranger, followed by Sorcerer and Witch.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
By the same reasoning a rust monster should also be able to kill any living creature because we all have iron in our blood. There is a big difference between containing liquid and being liquid. Besides liquid is a state of being not a substance. Water like any substance can and does exist in all three forms (Solid, Liquid, and Gas).

In the case of the rust monster, living creatures may have iron inside of them, but they cannot be said to be a "metal object" which the rust monster can "touch". The Blue Dragon, on the other hand "destroy an equal amount of liquid [to what they could create with create water] in a 10-foot burst. Unattended liquids are instantly reduced to sand. Liquid-based magic items (such as potions) and items in a creature's possession must succeed on a Will save or be destroyed."

Ah. I do see a reason creatures could be excluded, that I missed before. Internal Fluids are not unattended liquids, they are certainly attended. However, they are not items (I originally misread it as liquid based magic items and liquids in a creature's possession); and it doesn't call out attended liquids that are not items as a valid target. If that is the argument taken, then an attended swimming pool should also not be a valid target (a swimming pool is an object, but it is not an item).

IMO, poor phrasing results in things that can be read multiple ways, and often many of them don't match the intent of the text - which GMs can only guess at.


prototype00 wrote:
The rules tell you what you can do, not what you can't do.

You seem to be ignoring this. Everything else is fluff text, unless it says it does something mechanical. No damage or no save or die effect? It doesn't do these things.

RAW means taking the rules as written, not extrapolating some kind of "logical extreme" based on the flavor text.


Actually, the rules explicitly state that the PC's attended nonmagical liquids (bodily fluids are nonmagical liquid) make a save or are destroyed.

What they don't do is state what the effect of having no bodily fluids would have on a creature. If you want to argue that the lack of damage or explicitly stating death means those things can't happen, I suppose that's a possible (albeit weird) interpretation. But it does explicitly state save or fluid is destroyed. In that scenario, you would have a bunch of liquid-less creatures miraculously still functioning the same without bile or blood or spinal fluid or gastric fluid or brain fluids; but you are right, it doesn't say what the effect of having no liquids is on a creature - and if you take an absence of listed effects as meaning no effects, then under this ability, creatures who have had all of their internal liquids destroyed suffer no ill effects from that, but if someone checked them out medically, they would notice that they have no bodily fluids.

It's far from the only time they published an ability that was incomplete, or left open weird corner cases they just don't explain in detail. For instance, the Convincing Lie talent for the rogue, which RAW only does something if the person you lied to is informed about it and then chooses to cooperate (telling what you believe to be the truth does not involve Bluff Checks, and it says: "uses the rogue’s Bluff skill modifier to convince the questioner, rather than his own. If his Bluff skill modifier is better than the rogue’s, the individual can use his own modifier and gain a +2 bonus on any check to convince others of the lie." - they have to be intentionally bluffing for it to do anything; and there's not much reason he would ever do that unless you tell him you lied to him and then still manage to convince him to go spread that lie.). Do I think that is what the RAI was? not at all. Does the RAW even remotely accomplish what I think was the RAI? No it does not, it does something else entirely. Would I as a GM houserule it to make it work the way I think it was intended to, and allow the rogue to have his Bluff replace the target's Diplomacy mod to convince people of something they believe to be true? Sure. Would that be a houserule? Absolutely.

Pupsocket wrote:
Darkholme wrote:
Desert Thirst (Su) wrote:
A blue dragon can cast create water at will (CL equals its HD). Alternatively, it can destroy an equal amount of liquid in a 10-foot burst.
So, say a Blue Dragon uses his 10 foot burst against a wildshaped druid attacking him. What is the effect on the druid?
Not a g#& d%*n thing, because the Druid is a creature, not a liquid. Do you lie awake at night worrying about PCs Mage Handing the eyeballs out of your monsters?

The monster's eyeballs are most certainly attended, and therefore not a valid target, they are also, as part of a creature, arguably not under the category of "object". A large portion of the Druid is however various kinds of attended liquids, and the ability says nothing about not affecting creatures.

Ninjaxenomorph wrote:
He might have been referring to a druid wildshaped into a Water Elemental. In which case, this spell should do something.

I actually just meant wildshaped in general, to take equipment out of the picture.

@Ashram, yeah, that's what made me go look at the Pathfinde Blue Dragon. I was thinking: "No way does it actually do that" so I went and checked. It doesn't turn it "TO SAAAND" but it does explicitly say it destroys the liquids, which in turn prompted me to look and see if anyone had responded to it, or if said ability had been errata'ed to exclude creatures, or anything like that, only to find nothing of the sort.


Gnomezrule wrote:
Low magic is about presentation and storytelling far more than the proliferation of things that grant bonuses. Simple house rules like silver or holy water applied to blades bypasses DR handle the incorporeal problems.

Yes. That handles the Incorporeal problem that results from trying to run a low magic game. However:

The Problem with Low Magic Pathfinder
What about the fact that you rely on magical bonuses in order to keep up with CR appropriate encounters? Or how about the flashy, game-changing magics that become available to many classes as you level up: Scry, Teleport, Planeshift, and dozens of other magical spells and abilities that make things drastically different than early game? Even easy or continuous access to flight is a game changer.

How You Would Go About Low-Magic Pathfinder
The fact of the matter is, if you cut out magic items, you throw off all the number balance between characters and encounters, and you don't do so in a way that's consistent for each class - some classes don't rely as heavily on equipment or WBL as others do. And sure, you can remove the high level casters, but that has other side-effets, such as hindering access to healing and restorative magic, making those conditions much more powerful vs players, and the fact that the monsters are designed around the assumption that high level magic is available. Those monsters may well be much more powerful now. You could I suppose, combine innate enhancements with e8, with a banned list of spells (or a banned list of spells, lasses, and feats); sure. And then it could probably do low magic. At which point you've done some extensive houseruling, and contorted the system into something far different from Pathfinder Core.

Benefits & Drawbacks
Benefit: Compatibility
The benefit of Houseruling Pathfinder into a low magic or sword and sorcery game is compatibility with stuff you already own. You can use the Bestiaries you already have (so long as you're careful not to use effects your party cannot deal with), you can use race and class options the players are familiar with, and the players will already know how their class features work if they are Pathfinder Veterans.
Drawback: Houserules
The drawbacks are numerous, however. You'll have a large houserules document, that you can expect to be at least 30 pages, likely much longer. You'll have lots of alternate subsystems you'e using instead of the core pathfinder subsystems. As someone who often has a bunch of houserules myself, I can tell you it can be pretty frustrating when you get players that don't keep up with the houserules, or forget about them, and then show up either to the first game or after levelling, with their math wrong on their sheet, or a bunch of options they could not have taken. It happens frequently enough that I've taken a break from GMing d20 for a year because of it. I didn't want to run it RAW, and 1/3 of the players couldn't be bothered to read & remember (or check) the document that I spent a great deal of time organizing and making easy to reference, and constantly accessible in and out of game. The more houserules you have, the more frequent and frustrating this becomes.
Drawback: Time & Work
It takes lots of time to do rules design and adjustments (you'll have to do a lot of it yourself, there isn't an easy all in one package available that makes low-magic Pathfinder that is compatible with almost all of your pathfinder stuff), and you still have to actually plan your game after that. Additionally, you're going to have to comb through all of the player options and make a ban list, which you will have to keep updated as new stuff comes out, or your player will have to send you iteration after iteration of their character while you veto all the options you see that aren't compatible with the low-magic thing you're trying to do.
I'm just not sure it's worth the effort, unless you see yourself running low magic Pathfinder campaign after campaign after campaign, for years to come. If someone else had already done the work as an alternate corebook for Pathfinder and was maintaining an online banlist (or a constantly updating white list) on a website, would I consider it as a viable option? Sure - so long as their core book was solid & compatible with Pathfinder, and so long as they maintained an extensive blacklist/whitelist/compatibility list, from no less than every published Paizo hardcover book at any given point.

It would be much easier (and just as effective) to use a system that does a better job handling low magic from the beginning; such as 5e (or maybe Song of Ice and Fire RPG, or Barbarians of Lemuria, or ZeFRS, or Legends of Steel: ZeFRS-which is a complete game, rather than just a setting-, or Lamentations of the Flame Princess, or Broadsword, or On Mighty Thiews, or Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, or one of the various BRP rulesets - Magic World, RuneQuest 6, Legend, Pendragon; with some of them being more or less magic-focused), or maybe even Trollbabe -which works well if you ignore the trollbabe premise, and just look at the underlying system-, or if your heart is set on d20, you could hunt down a copy of Conan 2e or Conan Atlantean Edition, both are quite good, if a bit hard to find. There are lots of Fantasy RPGs out there, and most of them are innately lower magic than Pathfinder is.

Of the alternatives I listed above, for Low Magic/Sword and Sorcery, I would likely narrow it down to AS&SH, LotFP, BoL, ZeFRS, OMT, and *Maybe* 5e. I like the BRP rules, but I don't think RQ/Legend is low magic enough for me for low magic, and I'm not familiar enough with the others. If I really wanted to Use some of my Pathfinder stuff with it, I'd run d20 Conan 2e, and selectively import/convert a handful of Pathfinder things I wanted to use - most likely Races, Monsters, and nonmagial Equipment.

And of course, to tie it back in with the topic of the thread: Pathfinder as it is can not do low magic well at all.


@VRMH: I would say bodily fluids are obviously attended and in possession of the creatures to whom they belong, and I see no reason to think they would not be a valid attended nonmagical liquid target.(From what the rules say - as a DM I definitely think the effect is too powerful as an at will ability on a CR 5.)

@prototype00: This is for real in that I do see this as taking RAW without filters. As a Player I would be pissed if a GM actually used said ability RAW, and as a GM I would probably remove the ability entirely and give the blue dragon something else, or would simly not use the blue dragon.

Do I think the broad consequences of this ability are fun? I'm sure players would enjoy having such an ability, but I doubt they would enjoy being subject to it.

1. Characters are not themselves liquids, but most are largely comprised of liquids, and most of them could not live without their liquids.
2. Yep, it destroys potions, and cripples alchemists by destroying their mutagens and bombs. I am familiar with that.

I am certain that players would not be fond of being on the receiving end of this. That doesn't mean than I see any reason it wouldn't work RAW, only that I as a GM would avoid using such an ability against the players; I also don't use the massive damage rule (and didn't even pre-Pathfinder, before it was optional), and I try to avoid using enemies that have save or die effects (or attacks powerful to 1-hit kill - incapacitate is fine, kill not so much), unless the party is capable of resurrecting their friends easily (like if one of them has blood money and a means of resurrection/negative level removal on their list somehow, arranged so that they don't expend any permanent resources to cast such expensive spells).


Desert Thirst (Su) wrote:
A blue dragon can cast create water at will (CL equals its HD). Alternatively, it can destroy an equal amount of liquid in a 10-foot burst. Unattended liquids are instantly reduced to sand. Liquid-based magic items (such as potions) and items in a creature's possession must succeed on a Will save or be destroyed. The save DC is Charisma-based.

So, say a Blue Dragon uses his 10 foot burst against a wildshaped druid attacking him. What is the effect on the druid?

Nothing in there says it doesn't effect creatures; however it doesn't spell out the mechanical effect that happens to creatures, but it reads as a save or die effect for most creatures. RAW, I am reading that a creature has a Will or all of the fluids in his body are destroyed. Is that correct?

Am I missing an errata or something, or is that actually how that works? Because Save or die effects aren't usually AoEs, and they usually don't also force saves or destroy a ton of the character's magic items as well.


K177Y C47 wrote:
I think the issue is when alignments plays a solid mechanical aspect of the game for no apparent reason. For instance, all undead are defaulted to evil (before you someone says something about Golarian and whatever, I am going to simply point out that EVERY undead template except for ghost has the line Alignment:Any Evil). Despite the fact that Mindless Undead (being mindless) should have no alignment at all (mindless things are not capable of thought, therefore are neutral in all things). Or how Infernal Healing is evil, no matter what it is used for, but the mind compulsion spells are perfectly fine.

I find it ridiculous that raising skeletons (negative energy) is evil, while enslaving elementals and binding them to golems is AOK! I'm not a fan of the alignment rules in D&D having any mechanical effect. IMO they the effects of alignment shouldn't go any further than character creation and personality design.

*PERHAPS* old style detect alignment spells. You can see if a character is currently planning to make someone suffer or die, or if they are in the middle of channeling power from an evil deity.

I once made use of some non-evil, non-necromancy undead, that were created specifically to throw people off. Confused the crap out of the players and the cleric. Good times with Animate Object.


The degree to which magic items are requied to not screw up game balance is kindof annoying, and it would have been nice if the game shipped with an alternate mechanic to replace it rather than needing to be something I houserule out.

5e is much better for low magic, and I suspect that will be the scenario where I start making regular use of it.


I made a thread about this a while back (here).

Here were my original targets:
> Capable of Unarmed &/or Improvised (Jackie Chan Style) Combat.
> Can Fight.
> Mobile? (Would be Nice)
> Option of being good at Combat Maneuvers? (Would be Nice)
> Some sort of mystical abilities? (SU, SLA, Spells) (Would be Nice).

I am interested in hearing about any optimized (ideally tier 3) options people have to approach this. I'm not necessarily against going all or mostly Monk, but I don't consider it to be important to the goal.

Here are the options that I know of:
Warpriest (Sacred Fist)
Unarmed Strike Magus
Enlightened Paladin
Fighter (Brawler), maybe (Cad, for Maneuver Focus)

Did I miss any other avenues?

Which ones are mechanically good?


My advice would be to do something along the lines of chaoseffect's suggestion:

Have one play an Always-On Synthesist.
Have the other play a Master Summoner. Let him keep his half-strength Eidolon as usual.

Then I would fluff it as the Master Summoner having found a way to permanently tether an Eidolon to the material plane, and to have unbound it at least enough that it continues to live if he dies. Meanwhile, the master summoner can summon up a lesser eidolon as well.


It made a nice change to attack progressions, and was the first D&D/D&D variant to have integrated multiclass spellcasting (5e does it also).

IIRC they also shortened feat chains.

They made tweaks to classes, but it's all based on 3.5, and I've never tried using the TB classes in PF.


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I often *Play* Pathfinder as it is; I'm not the biggest fan of Pathfinder as it is, and I therefore never run Pathfinder as it is.

But, I have yet to play an RPG that doesn't have at least a few things that I think the designers seriously dropped the ball on. 3.5 had a bunch of stuff; Pathfinder fixed some of it, ignored some of it, and added a few new crappy areas of its own.

And Pathfinder has more supporting material than any other extant RPG system, let alone other fantasy RPG systems. It's also still a good and very serviceable RPG system, even if it does have problems I would like to see corrected, and make efforts to correct them myself if I am the GM (or if my prospective GM would make use of my houserules).


The WBL Part isn't something I'm concerned about. When I run games, I use an alternate system that turns most magic items into innate enhancements which are bought as part of character advancement using points. The PCs get points to spend on it automatically as they gain exp, based on the WBL they should have at that time.

The idea is that they still get WBL, and I don't have to put much effort into tracking party loot, or awarding a particular amount of wealth/items; and I can use NPCs who sunder or steal PC equipment without going out of my way to make up for it later (replacing a masterwork greatsword isn't teribly difficult, for instance).

That said, you're right about it being much faster to slap templates on monsters than it is to build NPCs. Building NPCs takes forever. I often run campaigns focused on factions and guilds though, so NPCs come up much more often than monsters.

More Info:
Since I go through NPCs quite frequently, I am playing with fleshing out the monster creation rules/guidelines a little bit more (and taking the idea of monster/NPC roles from 4e to give them stat packages of a sort), and then using that to build my NPCs, rather than building them like I would build a PC. IE: Grab appropriate Monster Stats for the CR, then slap on whatever interesting race features, class features, spells and equipment that I like, to make it an NPC.

A while back I found a google docs pathfinder bestiary with statistics someone made (can't recall the original source at the moment), and I've been expanding it to find additional statistics and whatnot to tell me average DR for a given level, etc.

I'm currently between ongoing campaigns, so right now I am just playing with game mechanics a bit. I figured it might be something worth sharing later on, but right now I don't have anything fully fleshed out or usable.

So, I guess now that should give you enough information to see why it is that I am interested in how NPCs and PCs stand up against the monster stat guidelines.


@wraithstrike: Then if I run a game with mostly NPCs with class levels, does that make things much more difficult than if I were using monsters, or does the lower cash value on NPCs put them about on par with monsters?

And if I use some NPCs that are built as per Player Characters, how much of a power discrepancy would there be between them and the NPCs built using NPC rules or monsters? How much would their CR likely be off by?

(I am aware that the PCs shouldn't be able to loot more than WBL per level and I would have to compensate for that or the PC power will get out of hand.)


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Well SKR, while Pathfinder is an improvement over 3.5, I do believe the system could be significantly better if some things were changed. Some of the other versions of the system (trailblazer, 4e, and 5e) have some things that would be a significant improvement over the current rules.

1. 4e's monster and encounter design system is significantly easier on a GM.
2. Trailblazer and 5e both introduce multiclass spell progressions as well as standardized BAB, wherein all attacks happen at the same BAB, which speeds up combat nicely.
3. 5e lets people move around more, fixing the tediousness that is stand and full attack.

And the Angry DM has a blog about Boss Monster design that makes bosses more entertaining.

I'm sure 3.SKR will address things you don't like about the d20 system's current iteration, and hopefully it will address the things I don't like about it as well.



I want to see what are some reasonable PC builds, and what are some heavily optimized PC builds, so that they can be compared to the baselines in the bestiary. I'm interested in seeing just how closely creature CRs and player levels match up.


No responses? I am quite curious about how the monster guidelines match up to player character.


edross wrote:
Darkholme, I pretty much +1 your entire list. However rather than rules for quick-generating minions, I'd prefer a full array of pre-generated monsters for every level. One of the things that bugs me about pathfinder is how often they present tools for the GM to build his own version of something that almost ever GM wants, instead of just building it for him. Town stats and townsfolk for example.

They only have so much space for Monsters and NPCs. I get that. But if the structure for NPCs and Monsters was an easily scaled condensed statblock, they could give us the monsters at 1, 5, 10, 15, and 20, and we could quickly scale up or down from those with minimal effort. We could add in new abilities/attacks and know what hit chances and damages are okay, etc.

@ Sean K Reynolds: That sounds quite interesting. If it's easily compatible, and addresses many of my primary concerns I listed above, it just might supplant a bunch of my pathfinder stuff. Ideally it would be mostly compatible with pathfinder classes and races and whatnot, so that if a player wants to play a tengu witch (to choose some uncommon choices) and you dont have the witch or tengu, they can use the PF version with a small amount of work. I dont know the details of your project though, or just how far it will go from Pathfinder, but I will definitely check it out.


Ross Byers wrote:
I keep a list of things that I would change, given the chance.

That is a pretty good list.

Cyrad wrote:

Have you heard of Sean K. Reynolds's Project Pentagon? It's going to get kickstarted in September.

As for me, I'll have to post when I can access my "Radfinder" list. I'm currently playtesting fixes to firearms I developed.

Personally I just disallow gunslingers and use the firearms from a 3pp 3.5 product I have. IMO it's too much of a mess. Were I to try to fix PF firearms and the Gunslinger, about the only thing that would be left is a fighter variant that uses (completely different) firearms, and has a grit pool which let you do things (likely not the same things, mind you). Typically people just use the guns in another class, and I don't make them exotic, so if the ranger gets a rifle, he can use it instead of his bow.

Project Pentagon sounds interesting. I will be much more interested in it if it's designed to be compatible with the pathfinder APs and bestiaries than if it's a standalone thing, but I will likely still check it out.


Hmm. Some of these are good points; I've been of the opinion that Pathfinder could use a facelift for a couple of years. Most of the things I take issue with are things that (IMO) should have been done at the outset, though a few are things that have been introduced gradually as well, particularly the glut of trap options.

Pathfinder unchained may give some good new options that deal with some of these problems. However, unless the changes become the default, that only really helps the people who are playing in the games *I* run. When I go to a table running pathfinder, if I want to see the rules fixes as a player rather than playing without them, what are my options? Nag the GM? Advertise a "looking for group that uses rules fixes presented in PF Unchained?"

My experience has been that other GMs typically don't use the "alternate rules". Most of them don't have any houserules to speak of either, let alone ones that are supposed to address problems with the system.

As a result, yeah, I'd like to see the default rules get updated. Maybe then I could play in someone else's game as a non-caster and not find the experience frustrating, and as mentioned, I would love to not have to sort through a pile of crippling bear traps to find a screwdriver when I am building a character.

Where playtests are concerned:
Sorry, it was Ultimate Combat I was referring to, not the APG.
UC: The parts that were "not part of the playtest" were the problem. Firearms don't make sense (you can dodge but armor doesn't help you), are mechanically terrible weapons, and cost a fortune (in addition to taking feats to use). As a result, the gunslinger is designed in this terrible way where rather than having interesting class features that could theoretically work with other weapons, they have class features to buff guns to the point of usability. I still think its a mess. Gunslingers are banned at my table, and it has nothing to do with a dislike of firearms. I include firearms, I just don't include Paizo's firearms.
ARG: They had us playtest the Race building section. We pointed out where things were priced poorly, and explained why (basically, things were inconsistent, you could get things for 1 point that could also be built for 4 or 6 points using other included options. We asked for them to make things priced consistently and rationally in relation to eachother) When the book was released, the system was almost identical to that of the playtest, and all of the problems that were pointed out were still present.

Maybe some of the other playtests went differently. My experience was the feeling that the playtests were theoretically to find and fix design problems, but in practice completely ignored the design problems that were found. It felt like the playtests are not taken seriously, and I wish that was not the case.


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I saw a recent locked thread (didn't end up participating) and the premise made me decide to make this thread:

I don't want an Edition War here, nor a Flame War. I'm hoping for a constructive discussion.

Personally I would love to see a new Pathfinder, but only if it were done well. First off, I would want the new edition of pathfinder to be like the new edition of most RPGs, not like D&D. For instance, if I pick up a setting designed for RuneQuest 4th ed, and try to run it in RQ6, It will still work fine without me having to redesign monsters or encounters or anything. It should still be obviously the same game, just revised.

The way I see it, the various adventure paths and stuff they've published thus far is all stuff people are going to want to continue to use (and APs are the biggest sell of PF, from my understanding - which makes sense as all of the ones I have read have been excellent), so it should be built to still support their existing stuff, even if the existing stuff doesn't perfectly match an updated design paradigm.

Here are some of the big things I wish were different:
WBL/XMas Tree: If the game's balance is reliant on this, make it crystal clear that a DM monkeying with it will mess things up, or come up with an alternative that makes players just as good as WBL/Magic Items without expecting the DM to do anything, and then if the DM does give out magic items, make them not stack with the player character's innate things, and instead provide alternate effects. I would suggest building it into character advancement, though perhaps more frequently than at level up. You could have innate bonuses for a low magic setting, and you could allow people to take other effects like flaming in a higher magic setting.
Stand Still or Suck: Standing still to full attack is not fun. Just give people the ability to combine a full move with a full attack, interspersed however people want, or the equivalent. For your mobile type classes, make them actually fight better on turns they move than on turns they stay still. For non-mobile classes, make them fight better when they stay still, but to the severity it is now.
Too Hard to Combat Maneuver: These things make combat less tedious. If martials could all intersperse the CMBs in with their attacks, and CMBs only provoked an AoO on a failure, and martials were able to be passable on a CMB without specializing in it, combat would be less repetitive, and that would make it more interesting and fun.
Trap Options: Paizo has printed lots of these. Any time I have a friend looking to get into the game, I have to point them at the character creation guides, so that they don't accidentally shoot themselves in the foot, and not be able to keep up with the other (NOT optimized) player characters. When I go to build a character not using one of the guides, I have to skim through many options that would be shooting myself in the foot to find the usable options, and as a result it takes me much longer to build a character. I wish the Paizo people took the time to either cut these entirely, or upgrade them so they weren't so terrible, rather than printing them. Often it makes me feel particularly bad to see them, because I think: "I'm never going to get a chance to see this idea implemented in a way that's actually usable now that this has seen print."
Monster/NPC Design: This is the thing that WotC did best for 4e. Their encounter/monster design system saved the GM a great deal of time. The roles may not have been perfectly implemented, and I'm not at all suggesting locking PCs into roles, but for monsters/NPCs, they were a great idea. Building monsters for Pathfinder, and particularly building NPCs for Pathfinder, takes much too long. I read an article on multi-stage boss-monster design for 4e, doing something similar for Pathfinder would make boss fights more fun as well; and while Minions are not for everyone, they would be a nice option to have for those who want them.
Illogical Rules: I believe I remember a thread where someone showed that it is easier in PF to get out of a pin than a grapple, and that doesn't make much sense. Bullets are slow enough that they can be dodged, but armor doesn't help you (if anything that's the opposite of how that should work). Alchemist bombs and extracts stop working when you stop touching them if a teammate wants to use them, but don't stop working when you stop touching them to throw them at an enemy. I wish things that make this little sense that are this obvious would be changed before being published.
Playtests:I used to be heavily invested in these, and I remember participating as much as possible in the APG playtest and again in the ARG playtest. The first time I was very disappointed, the second time I was so disappointed that I gave up on the process entirely. I felt we were all trying hard to find the problems so they could be fixed, but when the books came out, most of the major problems that people pointed out had been left in. I wish these were handled differently, as in the past it has seemed like the playtests are not taken very seriously by the devs.
Misc:I would also like to see spellcasting synergize with multiclassing, such as Trailblazer and now 5e seem to do, and I would like to see a better BAB progression (Again I will reference Trailblazer, they had some really good ideas). Finally, I'd like to see the base versions of the weaker classes see an increase in power to at least where the mid-high powered classes base versions are.

At this point, my home games all have many houserules that significantly change the game, many of which are designed to address common problems with the system that come up again and again. I would like to see many of these things fixed in an updated Core Rules.

So that's me. If they were to make a replacement Pathfinder Core (and update the design philosophy of the game in new books), what would you wish to have done differently?


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I would very much like to see a codified "this is a universal rule for how to adapt spells that are from a different list."

Ideally it would be something as simple as a universal: When you learn a new spell, you may take a spell from another spell list. It counts as one spell-level higher.



@Eltacolibre: I think I will in fact be basing them on those guidelines, though I will probably try to codify something a bit more specific.

@Bardarok: That is a good idea as well.



If I am building a character, and I keep up with the numbers in the bestiary, how would I measure up to other player characters?

Let's say, for the sake of discussion; An optimized Summoner, an Unoptimized Summoner, a Run of the Mill Archery Ranger, an unoptimized bard, and an Unoptimized Monk.

I imagine I would be behind the two summoners, but beyone that I have no idea.

Has anyone already run the numbers for these things?


If you want to drop the XMas tree effect and WBL without breaking everything, I would recommend you do something like this Which I came up with based on Kelso's Alternative to Magic Items system, but expanded a bit.

Though to be honest, if I were to want to run this game, I would just grab Shadowrun. If you just use your own setting rather than the shadowrun setting, it does basically everything you're wanting right out of the box.



I've played in lots of games like you describe, in the past. It's only been the last couple years we started really tracking WBL and giving people free access to magic gear, after reading some posts Sean K Reynolds made about WBL.

Having tried it both ways, giving people access to the magic items they want and the money it takes to get them according to the guidelines in the book does a great deal to shore up some of the gap between tier 3 and 4 types and tier 1 and 2 types. Or, putting it another way, Ignoring the WBL and Item Assumptions the system makes significantly increases the gap between top tier classes like the druid and oracle and sorcerer and wizard and lower tier classes like the fighter and rogue and monk.

But as a GM Myself, I understand that keeping up with WBL and giving them access to a magic mart is a pain. You have to put up with them spending a session shopping rather than doing anything interesting, it detracts from how engrossed everyone is in the plot, and it takes real effort to keep track of where everyone is at for WBL, because the players aren't directly tracking it on their character sheets in a way thats easy to glance at and evaluate.

That's why I'm a fan of Kelso's idea, and why I tweaked/expanded on it a bit Here. It keeps the game balance almost the same as using WBL, except now my job as GM is easier. Players dont start unevenly lagging behind in their ability to handle encounters, and now it's just part of levelup. Once they hit level 3 and I've given them 6K Gold, they've got all the basic equipment they will need for the rest of the campaign. And I can freely Sunder o Steal the player's equipment without them getting very upset that I'm crippling them long term. Worst case scenario, they can get their gear fixed or replaced for cheap next time they go to town, and they're not permanently set back by ~20k gold for the rest of the campaign or anything like that.

Next time I go to run Pathfinder, I'll be expanding the section I put together further, probably with an actual list of effects you can get with CAPs and how much they cost.


silvermage wrote:
It's Rise of the Runelords, not a homebrew. I guess I wasn't very clear on that. But yeah, ultimately I think you're right. He has the right to do whatever he wants...we just have to deal with it for, forever. Especially me since he's my BF. He's the only person we know who can GM in the same schedule as everyone else, and also hates being a PC. We're already talking about doing Skulls an Shackles after RotR. //deep sigh.

I would not be too pleased with this GM. I am often the GM in our games (used to be all the time), and over the years I have come to the conclusion that I get very upset with a GM who adds houserules in secret or after the fact. I am sorry your situation is more complicated since he is your Boyfriend.

Either they should be public and up front, and you can build your character knowing they are there, or they need to be made known before the session. If the GM is houseruling something about a class spell or ability, it needs to be before the character is built, or he needs to allow the player to respec/build a whole new character at the same power level.

The most common offender of this is removing the WBL balance or changing magic item accessibility for instance. If that's something you want to do (it's a bad idea IMO) fine, but I need to know that before I build a character, because I want to know in advance that you'll be nerfing fighters, rogues, barbarians, etc, when I am choosing what class to play (so I know that at your table I only play Tier 1 spellcasters, because I won't have any fun playing anything Tier 3 or lower and constantly getting screwed over by the lack of equipment).

I've had this kind of complaint with a few GM's I gamed with in the past. IMO yes he can change the rules of the game; But you should be allowed to know the rules of the game in advance.

I should say, I don't necessarily disagree with your GM making resurrections be more costly; I've run games where that spell didn't exist before. However, as others have mentioned, Pathfinder is supposed to be fun, and these kinds of unpleasant surprises seriously get in the way of that. Hopefully he's willing to be more open and communicative about the houserules he wants to run with in advance, so this sort of thing doesn't happen with you in the future. I imagine you're not the only one frustrated by this.

I do remember being a new GM though, figuring out what works and what doesn't can take a bit, particularly if your first experience gaming is as the GM. My first players abandoned their quest as heroes to run a crime syndicate they started using funds they made from drug trafficking and rigging the D&D equivalent of dog-fights.


This is a question-thread, more than anything else.

It's been a while since I looked, and I've been out of the pathfinder scene for about a year (trying other games, doing less GMing, and gaming less regularly than I used to).

Are there any digital tools to automate the creation/advancement of a monster, or NPC?

How about ways to speed up combat?

Part 2 of my question is somewhat houserules or 3rd party publisher-y.
Has anyone done anything with more condensed NPC statblocks, or a tool for quickly building an NP from nothing at a given CR, to fill a certain role, without having to go through the process of building a character?

I've been pondering a new PFRPG campaign, but I would like to cut down on the prep-time, and make combat run faster, if I can.


Hmm. LordofMuck.

Someone else made another post that warranted most ofthis text, so you might come across it elsewhere, but hopefully this is helpful to you.

I would seriously recommend against messing with or removing access to WBL and the ability to spend it on whatever item you want.

This isn't because I feel entitled to crazy awesome gear, or because I dislike settings with lower magic item availability or low magic settings. I really like Conan, for instance.

Unfortunately, Pathfinder doesn't handle it well when you mess with WBL and item accessibility. Mundane Classes get screwed even more, widening the gap between them and the classes that don't rely on much equipment. Yes, you're also hurting wizards, but all of the other spellcasters do pretty well without gear, and Druids and Summoners are even more awesome, since they largely rely on pets who usually don't have any gear anyways, and the pets' stats from gear are baked-into the pet itself.

If you ARE going to remove WBL as a major thing, I would strongly suggest replacing them with something so as to maintain the game balance that exists, such as some variant of Kelso's Alternative System to Replace Magic Items. I've tried it, it worked out alright.

If I were to go into a game not knowing WBL was being discarded and a DM sprung it on me I would be very upset with the DM, as I would feel he secretly house-ruled away the game balance of many classes, particularly the weaker classes, making them much worse. If I knew about it in advance, The only classes I would build would be Druids, Summoners, or perhaps another full spellcaster that is not wizard. WBL is a big deal in the game balance of this RPG, and throwing it or the magic mart by the wayside does bad things to the system.

In my last campaign, I didnt want to deal with so many magic items, so I used a variant of Kelso's system, as I mentioned: I expanded it to include basically any magic effect you could get via WBL that increased character power (but explicitly not utility items), and it worked out quite well. They had no more trouble keeping up with CRs, and it no longer mattered how much money I gave them. You'll want to give them the same WBL up to about level 3 or so though, since that money mostly gets spent on non-magical gear; after which you can drop it off to whatever you want, or give them enough money to buy a ship or a castle, and there's a good chance they'll actually get a ship or a castle.

Here's the variant I used with my players in my last campaign, which went well. I gave them WBL up to level 3, and 75% WBL in CAPs, after which point they always got 75%WBL in CAPs, but had no guarantees for money. The reason I went with 75% is I remember reading somewhere that that's about how much WBL focused on character power it takes a fighter to keep up with CRs. I awarded it every session (I dont give exp from encounters, either, I do it like shadowrun) but you could just give it on levelup, or give half the increase when they get half way to levelup or something like that.

I should note that I *DID* give out magic items, but they didn't stack with CAPs, it was an either or. If you have a flaming sword, you need have a sufficiently high magic bonus to make use of its flaming property (+2), in which case you can trade a +1 for flaming, since they're the same price, and similar type.

It could be fleshed out even further, but this worked well when I tried it.


I realize that you may not actually care about the side-effects, but I would seriously recommend against messing with or removing access to WBL and the ability to spend it on whatever item you want.

This isn't because I feel entitled to crazy awesome gear, or because I dislike settings with lower magic item availability or low magic settings. I really like Conan, for instance.

Unfortunately, Pathfinder doesn't handle it well when you mess with WBL and item accessibility. Mundane Classes get screwed even more, widening the gap between them and the classes that don't rely on much equipment. Yes, you're also hurting wizards, but all of the other spellcasters do pretty well without gear, and Druids and Summoners are even more awesome, since they largely rely on pets who usually don't have any gear anyways, and the pets' stats from gear are baked-into the pet itself.

If you ARE going to remove WBL as a major thing, I would strongly suggest replacing them with something so as to maintain the game balance that exists, such as some variant of Kelso's Alternative System to Replace Magic Items.

If I were to go into a game not knowing this and a DM sprung it on me I would be very upset with the DM, as I would feel he secretly house-ruled away the game balance of many classes, particularly the weaker classes, making them much worse. If I knew about it in advance, The only classes I would build would be Druids, Summoners, or perhaps another full spellcaster that is not wizard. WBL is a big deal in the game balance of this RPG, and throwing it or the magic mart by the wayside does bad things to the system.


So, some of you know me, I spend more time on the Paizo boards than anywhere else on the internet, but I don't post as often as some others do.

Anyways, I had an idea for something that could be helpful in my own games, and I thought I would try to gauge interest in making such a thing for others as well.

I wanted an option comparable to D&D's Dungeon tiles in terms of how it looks, but something that's less time consuming to set up. My basic premise was Dungeon Geomorphs for use in tactical combat. So I made a few, at 300 DPI. Since my current game is in the style of Kingmaker, the examples are hex tiles, and they're forest tiles.

So I thought I would come and ask some of my favorite gamers what their opinions on the idea were.

If you could swing by my new Blog and drop me some comments/answer the poll with a couple clicks, it would be a huge help.

Here's the Blog Post.


The Beard wrote:

Well, I can go ahead and tell you that there are ways to completely negate the penalty for rough terrain. In fact, you ever heard of featherstep slippers? That's an inexpensive item that allows you to literally just ignore rough terrain, and it is possible to set up a mount to wear those. Wheeling charge will also allow the cavalier to make charging attacks at formerly impossible angles, so if you really want to shut down his damage, you'll probably need flying enemies; terrain and obstacles won't cut it anymore.

However, I will also say something else: Don't punish him because he built his character well. That is in no way deserving of you go out of your way to render him ineffective any more than you'd do it to the other party members. Simply provide groups of enemies, or if not fair sized groups, then a handful of reasonably powerful enemies should suffice. Try not to look at it as "balanced" DPR; that line of thinking is why people that enjoy optimized characters get ostracized so much already.

If the other characters weren't also supposed to be "Optimized" for combat and yet are unable to keep up it wouldnt be a concern. The rest of the group consists of an a tactician fighter (as optimized as he could manage with spears of various types (I allow weapon focus with groups, not just individual weapons), an optimized archer ranger, a fairly optimized bard, and a non-optimized blaster/utility sorcerer. (Yes, they have no healer, and no rogue). If it was just the blaster/utility sorcerer who wasn't keeping up in damage I wouldn't be concerned, but the Cavalier is doing more than double the damage of the other two combat characters.

If this was a campaign where I could just say "well, he only gets it when he is outside and able to ride his horse, and they spend half their time in a dungeon" then it would not be a concern at all. Thats not the case in this campaign.

The player has actually apologized to me that he built a character that wrecks face so much, and asked me if I needed to reign him in a bit, or if anything else needed to be done.

Anyways. Seeing what sorts of numbers are pretty reasonable for a damage-based fighter at this level show me how much above the curve he is, and I will have to mitigate it somehow. Perhaps some non-hp based encounters, or some archers on a cliff/in trees, or some flying opponents. The ranged encounters will help the Ranger feel pretty awesome, which will be good. For the non-HP encounters, maybe some monsters, that (if not killed with energy damage) split into more monsters, ala Slimes?


The reason the cavalier is doing so much is the triple damage on a charge, and due to the kind of campaign we're in, he can charge very very often. Rideby attack makes it so he's typically far enough away after the charge that the lowered AC isn't such a big deal to him.

Once he hits 6th, he'll do damage equivalent to a ranger wielding two longswords with the first TWF feat, if said ranger took no penalties to hit for any of that.

It's the "triple damage, no penalties" that puts him so far ahead of the curve.

I'm going to see how much I can curb that due to circumstances, without it seeming overly contrived. I've talked to the player and he realizes he does much more damage than normal for his level though. If that doesn't work, he's understanding if I nerf the ability (by giving it a cooldown) to put him around what an optimized fighter of his level could do, and gradually removing the cooldown so he keeps up with an optimized fighter as he levels up.

It's basically Improved Vital Strike plus, at level 4, which can be combined with powerattack and charge freely, so long as he's on a horse.


There are some good pointers here for making his "situational" ability be more situational.


theshoveller wrote:
It's not often you see someone worried about the power of the Cavalier. It warms my heart.

It's the nature of the campaign that makes the Cavalier so beefy. Lots of wilderness exploration, very little dungeon crawling.

Dabbler wrote:
Cavelier damage is situational to him riding, and he will not always be riding. Let him enjoy his time in the sun.

Because of the type of campaign though, he'll be riding & able to charge most of the time (and almost all of the time if he ever gets a flying mount).

Dabbler wrote:
If you want to get an idea of the DPR, take his stats and work them as a fighter (with favourite weapon like a falcata or falchion), barbarian (raging), paladin (smiting), or ranger (archery, fighting favoured enemy). Doesn't look so bad now, does it?

Actually, his DPR is almost triple what the fighter would get.

DPR Olympics wrote:

The damage formula is h(d+s)+tchd.

h = Chance to hit, expressed as a percentage
d = Damage per hit. Average damage is assumed.
s = Precision damage per hit (or other damage that isn't multiplied on a crit). Average damage is again assumed.
t = Chance to roll a critical threat, expressed as a percentage.
c = Critical hit bonus damage. x2 = 1, x3 = 2, x4 = 3.

Based on an enemy AC of 19.

Cavalier LV4 with a Lance in 2 hands and Spirited Charge and PA

+11 to hit. 34.5 damage 20/x3 crit = 23.805 DPR (No PA)
+10 to hit. 43.5 damage 20/x3 crit = 27.5175 DPR (PA at -1)
+9 to hit. 52.5 damage 20/x3 crit = 30.1875 DPR (PA at -2)

vs Cheapy's LV4 Fighter
+9 to hit. 21 damage 19-20/x2 = 12.6 DPR (PA at -2)


Wow. that would be a very challenging fight. I like it.


mswbear wrote:
Chengar Qordath wrote:
mswbear wrote:
It takes me about 20 minutes to make a character and about 40 to design one from 1 to 10ish. I don't consider that long to be honest. Maybe I'm in the minority
Having solid system mastery helps a ton when it comes to speeding up character design, since a lot of the time eaten up in character creation goes to looking through all the sourcebooks and going over your options. If you already know what most of your options are and which ones fit your character concept and mechanical needs, creation goes a lot faster. A new player can easily spend hours going over the lists of feats, skills, and class abilities, trying to decide what to pick.
This is extremely fair to say.... I guess it has been such a long time since I was a new player that how long it used to take me kind of slipped my mind when I originally commented.

I've been playing since 3.0, so I'm not *new* to the system by any stretch, and when I see a crappy option I can tell almost immediately, but there are still a ton of options when I go to build NPCs, from a ton of different sources. And since they're NPCs, and I might actually TAKE some of those sub-par options for them, they usually take me longer to build than PC Characters.



Sounds intriguing.

Immediately made me think "She's implemented Final Fantasy Tactics' CT System into Pathfinder, but without "Speed Scores" to give players additional turns if they're outright faster."


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At a glance this doesn't seem problematic.

Though I will note I think it might be easier to make it a magus archetype with channel energy and a couple other healing spells added to the list.

Possibly base it on the 3.X Warmage or Duskblade (the 3.X versions of the Magus.


Claxon wrote:

You're house rule essentially gives pounce to everyone. That's a huge change to the game.

Monster with several natural attacks will benefit greatly from this as they will pretty much always be able to full attack. At the same time your characters will do they same. Be aware that melee characters can throw up huge damage numbers when they're getting full attacks every round. You will probably need to increase the CR of enemies/buff them in order to provide a challenge and avoid using enemies with a single big attack.

Yeah, it means everyone is getting their ideal number of attacks every round.

I was thinking of only giving you half-move if you wanted all your attacks, and full move if you only took half of them. I ended up saying we'd try out full move + full attack when other people said they were using that rule and hadn't had any major issues with it.

It hasn't proven to be a problem yet, but I will make adjustments if it becomes one.


Whisperknives wrote:
1. Offense will always beat defense in D&D/Pathfinder.

Yep. That's true.

Whisperknives wrote:

2. Know your power levels of your characters: certain classes or builds are just plain not as powerful or useful as some others. Make sure that everyone gets a little spotlight once an arc.

Ex. My group that I play with is always full of well made and well built characters who will have very few weaknesses. We had two very well made archers and a blaster specialist sorcerer, the last character was a healing and tanking based Paladin. With the Paladin's very poor skills, crappy offense outside of a smiting situation and generally the team almost never getting hurt die to good tactics and powerful builds 90% of the time the Paladin sat around bored.

That was until the giant hoard of undead showed up, then the Paladin got a moment to shine throwing around damaging channel positive energy abilities and offensive and defensive lay on hands.

Share the spotlight.

This one is always solid advice for GMing.

Whisperknives wrote:

3. Be brutally honest.

As I said, not every build is useful, let people know what they are getting into.

Ex. If you have a well made Healing Oracle, a Fighter who is both a monster on offense and defense, a skillful and well rounded Ranger, and versatile Wizard with good feat selection, you might want to inform the guy who wants to play a low charisma, strength based, Gnome, Bard with a dagger that he might want to rethink a few things.

I do this one. I also advice against the Paladin character in the CN Mercenary party, and Rogues and Monks in pretty much every game (unless I'm really confident that the player knows what he's doing when he builds a character).

Whisperknives wrote:

4. The most important thing of all though, plan a good story ahead of time.

Get your plot set and monster or NPC cheat sheets ready ahead of time, nobody likes sitting around while you look up a spell or a monster ability. Think your plot out like a TV show, each game is an episode, and each story arc is a season. Progress plot with cliff hangers and reveals in mind

This definitely makes a difference.

Werebat wrote:
GM's Guide to Creating Challenging Encounters

That looks fantastic! I will have to examine it more thoroughly.

Werebat wrote:
Be aware that a small horde of relatively low-CR monsters will end up being terrain more than anything else, as they won't actually be able to hit most of the PCs.

Yeah, in some cases it might be better to use Jason Bulmahn's minion rules instead of low CR NPCs, or use said minion rules to figure out what to do for to-hit bonuses and whatnot.

Whisperknives wrote:

Your house rules are rather unbalanced.

Battlefield positioning and tactics are less important when everyone can just move around the battlefield and full attack or throwing combat maneuvers around like candy because if built correctly they will only fail on a 1.

Its possible I went too far in the other direction. I've always felt the baseline rules penalize mobility and variety too much, and I have always disliked it. As for the combat maneuvers, I like combat maneuvers, but they come up so rarely. The goal was to make it so making a combat maneuver is a viable alternative to attacking, and not just for combat maneuver specialists, but for everyone. Ideally, there's a bit of movement from most characters every round, and someone attempts a combat maneuver every combat (in a party with no combat maneuver specialists). I thought the mobility would help clear up martial-caster disparity a bit at the higher levels, and I had hoped more combat maneuvers would help martials out with options a bit more as well. I don't really want the scenario where they only fail on a 1, but I also don't want the scenario where "you only trip a guy if your character's schtick is tripping people."


Sarcasmancer wrote:

Hm. This is purely blue-skying but:

1) You take the average HP for a monster of CR = level
2) You assume a combat should last four rounds, so divide by four
3) You assume that there are four PCs contributing, so divide by four again; that would be your baseline
4) You figure out your PC's average damage per round, taking into account number of attacks, miss chance, average damage, etc. (against a monster of CR = level, using average monster AC from the same table)
5) A frontline fighter should probably be able to do up to 2 times the baseline with a standard attack?

This isn't airtight but maybe gives you a framework to start from. Feel free to amend my assumptions if you think they're unrealistic.

Not a bad place to start.

That doesn't factor in miss chance, or damage reduction; but yeah, that looks like where to start. I was just hoping someone had already done the heavy lifting for me. :P


Even if you know what you're doing, if you're GMing, and need to make a couple NPCs per session, it takes a long while (longer than I'd like).


I think it's not usually done that way for reasons of simplicity.

It would be a lot more to keep track of if done that way.

If you'd like it done that way, I would probably suggest you break rounds up into passes, much like in shadowrun.

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