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I thought the general consensus was that Shield Master negated the TWF penalties only for the shield itself, not whatever other weapon you might be using (except maybe another shield). The +2 bonus to hit with the shield is still nice though, and getting your shield's shield enhancement as a bonus to attacks and damage could be great if you're generally able to buy or craft whatever you want (my 10th level hammer and shield Viking is stuck with a +2 shield maximum for now and therefore finds Shield Master slightly less interesting for his 11th level feat)

@Gregory Connolly - I am using Shield Slam and Vicious Stomp on separate PCs but think they would work well together. If I wanted them both on one PC I might consider multiclassing as a Monk or Brawler to get the prereq feats.

The Unchained combat trick for Shield Slam would help a lot with knocking foes prone. Topping everything off with Enforcer and Hurtful would debuff the enemy and potentially get you another free attack as a swift action. The Vicious Stomp + Enforcer + Hurtful combo has worked great for me though I've been triggering it with normal trip attacks rather than Shield Slam.

There's not a minimum percentage of combat required, but in a typical Pathfinder game such as one based on an Adventure Path there will probably be a lot of combat, and most of the XP the PCs earn will probably come from combat encounters.

I think it could be tough to make a good set of rules for adjudicating every aspect of roleplaying. Different groups like to play social encounters out in more or less detail. Some rarely bother with d20 rolls to determine the outcomes of conversations while others rarely bother conversing and just say stuff like "I use Diplomacy. I got a 32." Most of the ones I play with give the player a chance to make his or her speech and perhaps have an exchange with the NPC before calling for a d20 roll which the DM judges in a mostly arbitrary manner (often with special consideration for nat 1s and nat 20s even though the actual rules don't call for any)

I think a lot of groups get a little bored if roleplaying conversations go on for too long. This is probably at least partially due to the fact that most DMs can only effectively converse with 1 person at a time. In one of the best campaigns I ever played the party would usually split up into smaller groups in town and the players of the PCs in each group would talk to each other in character while the DM went around the table giving each group a turn to interact with NPCs. In the right group I think it could be interesting to have players take on the roles of certain NPCs during social interactions, perhaps giving the player a cheat sheet with enough info to play the NPC. At worst it could be something to do with talkative players who happen to be playing anti-social PCs.

Did the Forsaken Shell originally have the ability to make grappled foes take half of the damage inflicted on the monster? I thought I'd added that to the monster on my own. It would be fun to know if other folks think that's a good addition (or perhaps my memory got muddled)

I have a long running tanner/necromancer NPC who used to create a bunch of Forsaken Shells and Skin Kites. It is pretty easy to make creepy minis for these. Seeing the monsters on the boards makes me want to use my minis again...maybe the AP I'm running will have a sidequest in a few levels...

3 levels of Phalanx Fighter can let you carry a reach weapon in one hand. That can be useful for making AoOs on foes when they get pushed away and then try to move back in. If you're into mounted combat you could go for something similar without the Phalanx Fighter levels by using a lance in one hand. Oddly enough I think you'd still get the 1.5 Str mod to damage and increased Power Attack ratio with the lance even if you're also wielding a shield.

Paladins, Barbarians, and of course Cavaliers can all get pretty decent mounts. Even the watered down FAQ version of RAGELANCEPOUNCE could still do a lot of damage. Using Lunge you could potentially make a few lance attacks and then a shield attack to push the foe back and set up an AoO or another pounce. If you're riding a Wolf with Lunge I guess you could try to Trip the foe too.

The red D&D Basic book included a section on hopeless PCs. I think it mentioned a Dwarf (basically like a Fighter back then) with 5 Str who couldn't cause much damage in combat no matter how hard he tried. I haven't read that book in years, but I think the sentiment was that such characters could be fun once in a while.

I don't really mind having subpar PCs in the party. PCs who routinely get themselves in trouble with bad tactics and need others to take risks to save them can become a nuisance though. I can also be a little peevish about PCs who frequently refuse to act at all. I'm talking about those situations where somebody could flank, attack, use Aid Another, etc but doesn't bother, perhaps reasoning that "it won't help anyhow" or "I'll just roll low again".

There's a difference between roleplaying a character who feels depressed and useless (which can be funny) and actually making your PC act in a mechanically useless manner. Even something like moving into position to flank can make a big difference. A low Str, high Cha melee combatant who flanks and uses Aid Another could actually make a big difference in some fights. A halfling with the right feats could make a career out of stuff like this, and Fighters get lots of feats.

The Order of the Dragon increases your Aid Another bonus to +3 at 2nd level, +4 at 8th level, and +5 at 14th level. You could ask the DM if the increase from the Helpful trait for halflings would stack with this. The Honor Guard archetype for Cavaliers also gives you Bodyguard as a bonus feat. If you wanted even more AC boost the Cavalier's mount could take the Bodyguard archetype for mounts. If the Cavalier has Mounted Combat and uses it to defend the mount the entire team should be pretty tough to hit.

The Benevolent armor enchantment can boost the AC bonuses for Aid Another even higher. There's probably some danger of overdoing all this, so you might want to discuss such plans with the DM to work out any house rules or limitations in advance (or even just get a thumbs up)

@Scott Wilhelm - I'm still curious to see how the FAQ blog for grappling rules on maintaining the grapple in the round when you initiate it.

One person's view of what would cause PvP action could vary wildly from another's, so ultimately you'll still have to talk things out a bit. Some people will shave off your eyebrows while you're passed out. Other people find that very annoying. If you shoot somebody for shaving off your eyebrows most of your peers will likely think you've overreacted though, and the police certainly won't be amused. What is funny, tolerable, or a complete outrage will vary from table to table and player to player.

Flipping out and using poor tactics is the sort of thing which likely should make PCs mad at other PCs. Whether players should get mad at other players too might depend on the frequency and degree of the transgressions. We have one game with a guy who pretty much always charges wildly into battle while my slower melee PC in heavy armor can't even get there and participate, much less buff and wait for the enemy to come to him (as he'd prefer). The player is so enthusiastic about the PC's ability to jump that the DM sometimes puts in cliffs or ledges with monsters on them since the PC will almost certainly leap up onto them before anybody else can get there. We don't get mad as players. We just also don't put our PCs into a lot of extra danger to bail him out. He ended up unconscious almost every session until around 10th level, leaving us with just two PCs to handle the rest of the enemies. At this point he seems like nearly an unstoppable powerhouse, but I figure he'll rush into a bad situation and get squashed again soon enough.

The books in the library attacking and killing the PCs before they could escape sounds more like a bad trap/encounter than a bad move by the PC, but if there were dire warnings in the game maybe it makes sense that the other players got annoyed.

I think the idea that feats by their very existence prevent PCs from doing stuff is a little off base. If the basic rules don't have a mechanic for diverting attacks away from your allies that isn't necessarily because Archon Style stole that option and took it away. Maybe there just wasn't any option specifically like that in the basic rules. I guess you could use Aid Another to boost the ally's AC or jump in front of the ally to grant soft cover though (I forget if there's a rule for an attack accidentally hitting the soft cover)

I guess the DM could just decide what does or doesn't seem "reasonable". Maybe you think anybody with at least Dex 15 or even anybody at all should be able to fight with two weapons and only take a -2 penalty. If so maybe giving out TWF as a universal bonus feat makes sense (with or without the Dex 15 prereq to be able to actually use the feat). You could do the same for Power Attack or maybe even the various Improved maneuver feats.

What sorts of actions do you want to encourage or liberate PCs to perform? Since people are always griping about martial vs caster disparity I'd probably start out giving mostly Combat feats as bonus feats.

I think that having a basic "No PvP" rule can solve most of these problems, especially if it extends to not performing actions which would almost certainly result in PvP action. I don't think that a game of, "You slit my old PC's throat so now my new PC is dominating you and forcing you to eat yourself piece by piece" would make for a fun campaign. I guess if your entire group feels like dealing with that maybe that's great for you, but honestly if even one person is uncomfortable with such situations it might not be worth it.

Getting upset because somebody murdered or mutilated your character in a game might seem "immature" to some people, but it happens. Then you could have sour feelings around the table, and I don't think the freedom to play one's PC without boundaries is worth making people upset and angry.

kestral287 wrote:
I don't think most rational players are going to propose abandoning all characterization in the name of efficiency.

A fair number of players I know abandon most characterization for no particular reason at all.

As a few folks have pointed out, Drogon isn't a great fit for a Pathfinder "dragon" . Still, if I had to convert him to Pathfinder as a "dragon" and wanted minimal hassle I guess I'd make him a Young Red Dragon since this would be the youngest age category which makes him large enough for Daenerys to ride. Using some sort of custom monster might work out better from a simulation standpoint.

If Drogon is a Young Red in Pathfinder terms then the Sons of the Harpy have pretty sharp aim in Pathfinder terms. Of course nothing in HBO's show was being done in Pathfinder terms, and if you ratchet up the SotH's levels to let them hit Drogon consistently then you'd have to question why a SotH is so easy to kill with a single stab. Then I guess you'd have to make Drogon wimpier so low level SotH could hit him or explore some other options like the 4e "minion" system or the wounds and vitality system from the older Star Wars d20 game where only PCs and major NPCs had vitality and mooks always got hit directly in their Con.

My feeling is that wounds and vitality with defense bonuses and armor as DR might work a little better from a simulationist standpoint but most tables aren't really that worried about simulation and don't want to fiddle with the rules that much (or would just find a different game if they felt it was that important)

@Doomed Hero - The log carry doesn't involve lifting the log off the ground (like the tire deadlift or regular deadlift) or putting it over your head (like the loglift). I focused on the events which I felt best fit the descriptions given in the rules for Carrying Capacity, which specify how much you can lift off the ground and how much you can lift over your head. I'd rate the squat exercise as somewhere between those since you aren't really lifting the weight off the ground or over your head and you're able to isolate the effort more to your legs and trunk. Anyhow, pegging Mr. Bjornsson's Str at around 20 would play nicely into the idea that 20 is the "maximum" Str for a normal human without a bunch of heroic class levels. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the rules for what a Str 20 character can lift off the ground (which I'd call a dead lift) or overhead seem to be roughly on par with established world records.

I think the fact that we have people rating the Strength of a real world person with measured statistic from 20 all the way up to 26 in Pathfinder terms seems to implies that coming to an agreement about less defined (and completely fictional) stuff like classes and levels would be very difficult. Nobody in the real world or Game of Thrones has any class levels.

Acid Splash is a good choice for your attack cantrip since it doesn't allow SR. Color Spray is a great spell at low levels and still useful in some situations later on (against stuff with low Will saves)

Summoned monsters can also be good for springing traps, opening doors, etc. Bringing them in and directing them to attack enemies also doesn't break Invisibility effects.

The combination of an Improved Familiar and Craft Wands can be pretty nice. I rarely use my familiars to make attacks as I feel that encourages the monsters to kill them, but an invisible buffer/healer will rarely get targeted in most games.

@Scott Wilhelm - My Kingmaker PC had an item which functioned as a Hat of Disguise along with a high enough Charisma that even 1 rank in Disguise made it almost impossible for "normal" NPCs to make the Perception check. He was a Paladin/Bard rather than a Rogue, but he used to do undercover missions as well as just travel around the kingdom observing stuff with various alter egos like a traveling performer or a farmer selling moon radishes.

Based on the rules for Carrying Capacity and data from The World's Strongest Man I'd say that the guy who plays the Mountain probably has a Str in the 20 - 22 range. His overhead "loglift" was 424 lbs. Str 20 allows you to lift 400 lbs over your head. Str 21 allows 460. His "tire deadlift" was 994 lbs. That matches Str 22's maximum "lift off the ground" limit of 1020 lbs better than Str 21's limit of 920 lbs, but the lift was performed with wrist straps, which I'd guess might be a tool which grants a +1 or even +2 in Pathfinder terms.

Of course the actor and the character aren't the same, but Str 20 seems like a pretty good starting point for a Pathfinder version of the Mountain (starting at 1st level and building from there)

I was under the assumption that you can accept the Skald's song even if you're already raging and get to use both your own Rage Powers and those the Skald grants you. Since somebody mentioned a new Rage FAQ I checked and found that's probably not the case though. This makes having a Skald cohort in a party with a Barbarian pretty disappointing and has me thinking that maybe my Viking PC shouldn't bother to take any Rage Powers of his own.

"Skalds, we make Fighters more like Barbarians and help Vikings savor their already painful sacrifice of Weapon Training."

A Dex that low seems likely to get you killed. A Witch is also probably better at the coup de grace trick.

Arcane Trickster is a pretty tough gig. You might want to ask yourself just how much you like the Evasion ability. If the answer is that you really love it then maybe taking 2 extra levels of Rogue to qualify for AT isn't so bad. If the answer is you think it is OK maybe you could consider a single level of Rogue to nab the class skills followed by all Sorcerer levels. You might be a little weaker than a single classed Sorcerer, but you'd be a little better at sneaking around, disarming traps, and some other stuff which might seem fun even if it is not essential in most games (plus wandering off alone to scout and getting killed of course!)

Summoned Monsters can help you steal stuff. They can also potentially help out with your pathetic melee abilities. If you're thinking of making direct attacks on foes I'd consider making them with touch attack spells. All of this will work better with more Sorcerer levels rather than less. Since damage spells tend to gain d6s as you level it could also take a while for your increased sneak attack damage to exceed what you would have gotten from caster levels. There's a trait which increases your caster level by up to +2 when you multiclass. It isn't Core, but it would make an Arcane Trickster a little less of a tough choice.

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I doubt that Sansa or Theon would be well represented as Barbarians. If she were even a 1st level Sorcerer they could have used Feather Fall though. It could be useful for the Wall up at Castle Black too, but despite fighting like a Wizard poor Sam has no spells - at least not yet...

(somewhere in my imagination)
Sam: "I'm a 1st level Magic-User with no spells, thanks, George..."
GRRM: "We gave you a cute wildling!"
Sam: "And a kid to support!"
GRRM: "A guy as fat as us with a girl as cute as that should stop complaining."
Sam: "Ok, I want a Fireball by Season 7 though - Fire-fricking-ball! And don't go killing Gillie!"
GRRM: "Really? You expect that guarantee from ME?"

Does “PFS CORE” mean that you want to make a build for PFS using the Core Rules only? If so I wonder why. It limits your options quite a bit though.

Anyhow, if you plan to avoid spells which allow saving throws then having a very high Charisma isn't necessary. Since Bards don’t wear heavy armor I’d try to improve your Dex to at least 14 though. I’m also very partial to the Shield Slam feat, and Bards are reasonably well suited to two weapon fighting since the damage bonuses from their songs and Arcane Strike apply to both weapons.

If you're interested in such things I could post a build. If not I'll just advise you that Extra Perform is a feat you might regret taking after a few levels.

In my limited Skald experience so far the most useful and differentiating aspect of the class is the ability to share rage powers. Making allies rage sounds exciting, but the bonuses to attack and damage aren’t any better than those a Bard would typically grant, and they don’t help PCs with their own Rage to hit or hurt things. The rage powers can be very nice though. Even simple stuff like giving everybody +2 AC or making another PC’s mammoth companion grow claws can be fun and helpful, and there are certainly Rage Powers better than those. Rage Powers can open up new options in combat, and stuff like making everybody grow horns could have a roleplaying impact too (Like, "Accept Hell's Fury, my friends!")

I’ve spent a lot of time playing PCs and cohorts with Bard as their primary or only class in the past, and I find it interesting that you value jack-of-all-trades when I couldn’t even remember what it does without looking it up. I haven’t used Fascinate or Suggestion much either. They could have been helpful in certain games, unfortunately those just generally weren’t the games I was playing a Bard in. Combat, on the other hand, is important in almost every Pathfinder game, so having combat focused powers seems like a little less of a gamble to me.

The reduced skill points were kind of painful at first, but since the group with the Skald cohort started using Background Skills that relieved the pressure quite a bit. The same group also has a Bard PC, and while it seems like they’d overlap a bit I don’t think you can really have too many folks casting Saving Finale or Gallant Inspiration. Both have saved PC lives multiple times in that campaign.

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I could see a place for low, mid, and high level builds depending on the role the character is meant to play in a particular campaign. Maybe a 15th level version of Bronn who could kill all of Ramsay Bolton's dogs while dressed in his underwear and wielding a ball peen hammer as an improvised weapon really wouldn't be a great fit for the books or the HBO show, but a 6th level version of the Mountain who just barely scares the PCs when they're low level might not be a great fit for "scariest swordsman in the kingdom" in a lot of campaigns either, especially if the DM has some sort of climactic faceoff against the Mountain planned for levels 10+

As an aside, I guess 6th level is probably about the highest level where jumping off a cliff or jumping out of an airplane would be more likely than not to kill a raging Unchained Barbarian. By 10th level most martial PCs would probably survive such a jump and a lot of them literally couldn't be killed by it without DM fiat or the rarely used "massive damage" rule (which would probably create a 5% chance of dying). I'm not sure whether this could be better used as an argument that 6th level represents the upper bounds of reality or that the falling rules are a little silly.

We used to have a great pamphlet with alternate rules for lava. It had a page or two of fluff and then a rules section which said something like, "If you fall into lava you're dead." I'd expect those alternate rules might likely apply in a game system seeking to closely emulate ASOIF, but the base Pathfinder rules aren't such a system.

@Grey_Mage - You can talk as a free action even when it isn't your turn. Whether you can choose to talk at a specific time which interrupts other actions or use that speech to trigger readied actions could be a matter of some debate though.

A Paladin using Lay on Hands on himself is normally a swift action while using it on somebody else is normally a standard action. I'm not sure if it is intended that a Paladin should be able to use LoH on himself twice in one round. I'm also not sure if it isn't. Id' expect a lot of DMs to deny such a tactic though.

I've wondered sometimes about self triggered readied actions like your PC readying an action to cast Fireball when he (or another PC) says, "Burn!" Since talking is a free action you can perform outside of your turn it seems like that could potentially work (like "everybody on 3!")

My orc Fighter is an Evil genius. He had Int 14 to start since 13+ Int and Combat Expertise were a prereq for kicking people in the nuts or spitting hot peppers in their eyes with Greater Dirty Trick. After finding a headband his Int is 16.

Unfortunately his Wisdom and Charisma are low, very low, so low that it if I were very serious about roleplaying the PC "properly" I might not know quite what to do. Instead I go for fun and roleplay him as extremely abrasive (low Cha) and moderately insane (low Wis) though also quite knowledgeable in certain narrow fields of study. It seems like the PC should be smart enough to know how the world works and act accordingly, but I choose to play him as moderately insane, out of touch with reality, and unable to participate effectively in social situations except via threats and insults (the Intimidate skill).

The fact that the DM is resistant to using Background Skills also keeps the PC's areas of expertise relatively few though his skill in those areas is often quite high. On the other hand, he put a rank or two into Sleight of Hand early on because he thought learning stage magic would help him learn arcane magic. Whether that was an appropriate misconception for somebody with 14 Int but 5 Wis is not something I'd claim to be sure about, but it seemed amusing to me at the time. Eventually the PC realized that so called "stage magic" wouldn't help him in his quest for magical power, and that realization plus the vague sense that others thought he was a fool became another nail in his coffin of bitterness and Evil - soon they'll all see, soon they'll all pay...

I think that in a Pathfinder campaign based on GoT the martial characters could be 6th level PC classes fighting low CR foes, or they could be 13th level PC classes fighting mid CR foes. I don't think it really matters much which way you prefer to see it. Either way the d20 hit point and AC system seems likely to cause some weirdness when comparing real life or stories aiming for realism to in game rules.

I'd been thinking of Thoros bringing back the dead when I mentioned 9th level casting earlier, but honestly somebody could ask if in game terms the Ultimate Mercy feat wouldn't be a better fit. That's available earlier though I suppose you'd still need something like Restoration if you hoped to use it on the same victim multiple times. I guess it could be argued that pegs GoT at about 7th level, but once again GoT is not Pathfinder and doesn't follow the Pathfinder rules, so trying to pin Pathfinder levels on it based on which magic is being used or even which enemies seem like they could be defeated is probably somewhat of an exercise in futility. I think even comparing real life combat or hunting to the Pathfinder rules would likely cause some dissonance.

That's not to say that you couldn't have a Pathfinder game set in Westeros or that making it a P6 style game might not help your group preserve what you feel is the proper mood for such a game, just that I think a non-P6 Westeros themed Pathfinder could be successful too, especially if steps were taken to limit casters at least early on. Maybe you'd even solve the often bemoaned martial vs caster disparity - at least for a while...

Oddman80 wrote:
Even if using a standard to remove nauseated IS allowed, doing so should result in them still having the underlying sickened condition still in effect, no?

The more serious condition imposed by using Dirty Trick Master "replaces" the one from the original dirty trick, so a single standard action would get rid of the condition entirely.

In addition to advancing sickened to nauseated you can advance dazzled (which is otherwise a pretty pathetic condition to inflict) to dazed, a condition which affects most monsters and is actually worse than nauseated since you can't perform any action. I'm not sure if the RAW for Dirty Trick Master matches the RAI. The feat author's input in a previous thread implied to me that he intended you to still be able to remove the aggravated conditions. For PFS I guess official rules apply though (and I doubt there's been any FAQ on this)

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Unless your DM is some kind of magical trap pervert you shouldn't really need a Rogue or other PC with the Trapfinding ability. That said, I agree with those who have said you can FIND magical traps just fine using Perception. Many people have a misconception that you need Trapfinding to find magical traps, but it is actually just required to disable them.

Using summoned monsters to set off traps can work well, but it can be tough to get low level monsters who can understand a language to take commands such as "Open that door". The mite from SNA I can work well for this, and the fact that they're Evil and annoying little buggers makes ordering them to go get blown up a little more fun.

If a little Evil doesn't bother you then you could have a crew of undead "doormen" (perhaps with fancy uniforms) to not only set off traps but enhance the party's action economy. Bloody skeletons can set off traps, get blown up, and then return to service in about an hour. Unlike many low level summoned monsters, they can also obey simple verbal commands.

Dirty Trick requires a lot of investment, but it can inflict so many different conditions that few foes are likely to be completely immune to it. The same can't be said for most other combat maneuvers. Even the very powerful Grapple maneuver can be countered completely by Freedom of Movement.

As a side note, groups with players who plan to take Dirty Trick Master should probably have a discussion regarding whether foes nauseated by dirty tricks can still use a standard action to remove the condition even though nauseated characters usually can't use standard actions (I'd recommend making the answer "yes")

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I can't quite understand the situation you're describing. If you want a cohort who will stay in the background I think that a Bard would be ideal, but if you really need the cohort at 3rd level I guess that won't work.

That being the case you could consider a "bodyguard" cohort with the Bodyguard feat. A halfling with the Helpful trait could be very good at this. There are also some feats which allow halflings to share other AC bonuses with allies.

I'd be surprised if there aren't some threads around here for customized NPCs and monsters. Does anybody know where such things are supposed to be posted? Would it be in the Homebrew section, or is there somewhere better?

I think claudekennilol was asking whether grabbing and releasing an opponent multiple times is "supposed" to be legal, not whether DMs should play animals as tactically savvy enough to employ it.

I could be wrong. I usually am.

If the Internal Warrior was a caster it would need some spells to make it delicious, kind of like Beguiling Gift with yourself as the object (a snack)

The linked comic reminded me of an old debate involving grappling and Fire Shield though. Intuitively it seems like grabbing a guy covered in magic flames should be a bad idea, but some folks insist that the RAW says otherwise.

It seems like a shame that you can probably create more powerful undead servants with Animate Dead than you can get from the feat. Maybe monstrous cohorts are better later on when they can afford more class levels to help them survive long enough for their supposed advantages to come into play.

How can the DM roleplay an undead monster, aberration, a clever dragon, or an alien with a psychology very different from that of a human? I guess the answer is by using imagination and doing the best we can. If the player of the super smart PC isn't opposed to it maybe other players in the group could also offer ideas and advice.

I personally prefer riddles and puzzles to be problems for the players. I wouldn’t necessarily be against the idea of giving hints to a PC who rolls well on some kind of Int check though. I could even imagine that certain DMs might like to present tough riddles and puzzles to entertain the players but then use super smart PCs figuring the problem out without the players doing so as kind of a failsafe. Like maybe the DM decides that if the group can’t solve something after thinking about it for a certain amount of real time they should break out the dice. Figuring the problem out early would still be helpful since it would eliminate the chance for failure due to unlucky rolls. Just an idea...

The Pathfinder rules would probably be a poor simulation of GoT anyhow, I don't see why characters based on impressions of those from GoT should have to be locked into low or high levels though perhaps a wounds and vitality system might work better than traditional hit points. That said, I've seen some stuff on GoT which would usually require a 9th level caster despite the fact that the GoT world seems rather "low magic" at this point (though magic seems to be trending up). On the other hand, as evidence for lower levels I'll admit that taking a -4 penalty for using his off hand seems to really give Jamie a lot of trouble.

Regarding poison, GoT seems to work on the assumption that poison usually works while in Pathfinder you literally roll a d20 and see what happens.

@eakratz - Bronn doesn't sing during combat, so maybe he's just in a game which uses the Background Skills variant from Unchained. Some people say that such skills don't help the Fighter, but singing is a nice skill to have if you're going to court a Dornishman's wife (or daughter)

I've found that including water in encounters can add places for monsters to hide as well as creating a hazard for PCs. Keeping track of any light sources the party is using can be helpful too. Monsters can spot PCs carrying a light from a long way off in darkness. They can also steal, sunder, swallow, or otherwise disable a light source.

Ability damage can be debilitating indeed though at higher levels it tends to get healed pretty quickly. Negative levels can have even more impact though the DM should be careful not to set loose too many sources of negative levels at once. When using spectres, for instance, it might be better to mix one or two in with lesser monsters than to use a large group which can easily drain a PC to death. Hit and run tactics can be effective here but run the risk of demoralizing the players if taken too far.

I'm glad to see that folks like Yellow Musk Creepers. I'm also a big fan of an old Japanese movie called "Matango", and every year when the local Mushroom Festival rolls around I get the urge to run a fungal themed adventure. The idea of a fungal infection which rots or warps flesh and slowly turns you into a monster can be a lot of fun, as can stuff like insects controlled by parasitic fungus.

Another thing which I think can be fun in limited doses is making it so that attacking the monsters hurts the PCs. An example is the Cloaker's Engulf ability, which causes the PC being grappled to take half the damage that is inflicted upon the Cloaker. I give a similar ability to undead "skin" monsters based on the Skin Kite and Forsaken Husk from 3.5. If something like this goes for a Pin the party could be hard pressed to save their friend except by using positive energy.

Thanks for pointing out the Tactical Reposition feat. Investing 3-4 feats in the hope that the DM will throw you some hazardous terrain once in a while seems pretty risky, but it might be fun for a team with an AoE caster and a "pusher" who puts people back into the affected area.

I just need to remember that Wall of Fire never, ever works out as planned. Maybe Sirocco could be fun though.

I think we'd all like to believe that the effects of the song last until your next turn. That's not quite what the rules say though, so I figured it would be good to check.

For what it's worth I'm currently playing my Skald cohort as if raging song lasts the entire round. If it turns out that's wrong then Beast Totem could end up being a pretty disappointing Rage Power though the rage disappearing at the end of the round would leave my Viking with the same AC outside his turn either way (no -2 vs getting both a -2 and a +2)

Considered that way this just barely makes a difference for my PC, but I'd like to know the answer either way.

I'm surprised there's not a clause preventing the shaken condition from Final Embrace Horror from stacking.

Regarding the Froghemoth, one surprised our goblin party and swallowed my PC, but on his turn he ate his way out and killed it. Swallow Whole can do a lot of damage, but it is often a bad idea tactically speaking. Folks I play with sometimes joke about an archetype like "Internal Warrior" which focuses on getting swallowed and then attacking from inside (maybe with some resist acid and DR abilities)

The idea with Paladin was mostly to have high AC which works well with debuffing and some sort of helper with a Cruel weapon to amplify the debuff from demoralize. Obviously other classes could achieve those goals such as the Cavalier with Horse Master.

If you're worried about having a swift action free very round to use with Hurtful you might want to verify that using intimidate on an already demoralized foe will trigger Hurtful and whether you'll take the +5 penalty on the DC for each subsequent attempt. I think that's how it works, but I'm not sure if that's official.

To be fair, deciding to play Sir Humpsalot might be in bad taste doesn't prevent the other players from deciding to play Gimli-Clone, Legolas-Clone, Buck Rogers, and Half-Orc Musashi the way that deciding to go take everybody to Old Country Buffet for a sit down dinner might be considered in bad taste but also prevents them from getting Indian food. Claims that the group can't enjoy take out Indian food because you picked up a burrito from Chipotle instead would be considered fallacious, but if beans make you fart a lot that might ruin people's meal anyhow even though farting is "perfectly natural".

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Excluding situations involving small children, I'm not entirely sure why character concepts which offend people's sense of social justice or perhaps are simply too racy or cruel should certainly be excluded but those which offend people's "sense of seriousness" or "sense of theme" certainly shouldn't be. Obviously there's a matter of degrees there, but to claim one type of preference is completely sacrosanct while others are to be summarily dismissed seems a little inconsiderate to me.

I think that the most important factor in determining what sorts of PCs and equipment are appropriate is the preferences of the group you're playing with. Since the DM is generally making a significant investment of effort and possibly money to run the game his or her preferences should be very important too. The individual player's preference matters, but I don't feel that it should trump other concerns, especially at the expense of making other players unhappy or uncomfortable. If you want to play a purple space bunny named Sir Humpsalot that might be fun for some groups and too silly for others. A few might say it would be fine if you rename him to Sir Hopsalot. If the renamed PC starts going up to female NPCs and saying, "Hey baby, wanna hop?" some players might find it funny while some might find it exasperating or perhaps even offensive (I've never met such easily offended folks, but maybe you're playing with little kids or somebody very sensitive)

Meanwhile some other groups would have no problem with an animated object sex toy as a PC's familiar but might not like it if another PC is a Witch who wants to torture and eat children (though that's not at all inconsistent with the rules material for the class). I can understand how violently homophobic PCs might not be fun to have around for most groups, but whether or not a Viking calling a male spellcaster "girly man" (like Hanz and Franz) is over the top offensive might be a matter of taste (and the fact that the PC in question is portrayed as being kind of an idiot may or may not be a sufficient mitigating factor)

Stuff like this can extend to the DM's side of the table as well. Certainly there were rapists in history, and presumably there are rapists in Golarion, but some tables might be uncomfortable with rape. If you're playing with a traumatized recent rape victim then having an NPC try to rape his or her PC probably wouldn't be a great move. At another table a male PC getting raped to death by monkeys (actually bar i'gura) is a treasured comedic memory though.

I'm not sure why you want to switch over from Enforcer to Cornugon Smash. Do you expect that you'll meet a lot of foes which are immune to non-lethal damage but not intimidate? The demoralize effect from Enforcer is likely to last longer, and if you crit the foe is also frightened for a round. Is there something I'm missing here? if not then I'd think Enforcer would work great with a falchion or scimitar, Blade of Mercy, and Improved Crit.

If you don't mind being human and the Focused Study option for humans is legal in PFS you might want to consider Skill Focus (Intimidate) as a bonus feat at 1st level instead of taking Intimidating Prowess. I suppose whether that's smart might depend on which classes you choose though. The Unchained version of Intimidating Glare gives you Str instead of Cha on intimidate while you're raging and qualifies you for Terrifying Howl. just some Barbarian ideas there...

On the other hand, an intimidating Paladin might be sort of amusing if you can count on PFS scenarios to have a fair number of Evil foes. They don't have Intimidate as a class skill, but there are traits for that, and honestly the lack of a +3 isn't likely to stop you from hitting the DC to demoralize most foes anyhow. Getting a Cruel amulet (or horseshoe?) for your mount might seem a little out of character for a paragon of lawful goodness, but my Oath of Vengeance PC's favorite weapon was called the Cruel Sword of Justice, and I don't think there's a rule against Paladins using that enchantment.

Especially if you have some other damage boosts like Smite Evil I might consider using a shield since having a high AC would pair nicely with debuffs.

I think that having more ways to take advantage of environmental hazards would help make the game more dynamic. Maybe Paizo figured that if you could Reposition people off a cliff/balcony/tower or into a furnace/circular saw/set of grinding gears then the various Bull Rush feats would lose some of their already limited charm though.

@Fruian - Yeah, 3 rays with full buffs can start to get pretty strong. I wish touch attacks were a little easier to defend against, but at least a lot of monsters have SR. If you want to go completely over the top bring in 1d4+1 Lantern Archons. We did that a couple of times, and I felt kind of guilty afterwards.

I wasn't really planning to add Divine Protection as a bonus feat, just kicking the idea around. I find it interesting that people would see it as a move against Fighters though. Some people say Fighters need to dump while others rail against dumping. I think that Fighters tend to get stuck with low Will saves and no way to counter the effects that failing them inflict (many casters can at least go, "Uh oh, it is a Will save monster, time for Protection from X")

My obsession with Fighters and low Will comes from the fact that one of my current PCs is only borderline playable due to this issue. Obviously I could have changed my point buy and feat selection to make his Will save better, but being a longtime veteran of APs who frequently got criticized for his PCs being too well rounded and "invincible" I lowered my guard and got stuck as the worthless bozo PC this time. I'll take Iron Will when I get the chance, but then I'll just fail Will saves 70% of the time instead of 80%.

I sometimes think that the game might work better if bad saves weren't quite so bad. It would certainly put a bit of a damper on certain caster shenanigans.

Based on the rules as written you're probably right, but I think there's a lot of table variation.

Chief Sharky say Feral Gnasher is most fun. Once Witch get eaten by dogs try Feral Gnasher and eat dogs before they eat you. Be sure to get Greater Grapple and Body Shield so you can do 3 Stooges act with enemies. Raging Grappler rage power is nice too.

I'm not sure how buffing the other PCs could make them feel useless. The kind of buffs you're offering shouldn't blow through encounters so quickly that some players never even get a turn. People who need to have their PC nearly get dropped every session to have fun can still charge ahead in Leeroy Jenkins mode if they'd like.

Double bards are awesome. Archivist is great, but so is Inspire Courage plus Dirge of Doom. The Cruel weapon enchantment makes it even better.

@Fruian - Are wands with higher caster levels available in PFS? If so Scorching or Admonishing Rays can become very powerful indeed though the OP is actually worried about being too powerful rather than not powerful enough.

Another thing which is never made clear in the rules is whether using Grab successfully ends your full attack. I've played at many tables where that's the case. I've played at tables where:
- after each hit with an attack which has Grab you decide whether or not to Grab, and if you succeed the full attack ends (could be right though the rules never say so)
- all the attacks are made and then you check for Grab as many times as you scored hits with an attack which has Grab (clearly wrong IMO)
- all the attacks are made and if any with Grab hit you make one and only one grapple check to Grab the foe (probably wrong but a convenient compromise)

Based on the current rules as written it appears that "catch and release" would work, but I haven't seen it in use at a gaming table so far and kind of hope that I won't. I suspect that for creatures without Grab there's supposed to be a limit of one grapple against a particular opponent in the round (or maybe turn) when you establish the hold. I'm basing this on some previous discussions and the combat trick for Greater Grapple in Unchained. Whether such a limitation actually exists and whether it should apply to creatures with Grab seem like points likely to be detailed in the upcoming grapple FAQ blog (which is apparently behind several other such blogs in the queue)

I like the Game of Thrones show on HBO. I think they could probably ease of the rape a little though it doesn't really bother me other than the fact that it almost transitions from pathos to bathos with a sense of "Who gets raped tonight?" (to the tune of "Which Ragu tonight?") There's actually been quite a lot of sexual violence against men in GoT as well, and while I find some of it pretty icky I accept it too as an unpleasant part of the story.

Anyhow, I think there are a few slightly different ideas at work with the various assertions that people should avoid using the "historical accuracy fallacy":
#1 - Stand up and take full responsibility for any unpleasant or limiting element you include in your campaign world, story, character, etc
#1a - As #1 so I can guilt trip you into allowing what I want since there's no "real" non-fallacy reason not to (at least beyond your own "greedy" whims)
#1b - As #1 so I can launch a blistering counterattack on why you shouldn't have made it that way (and or why you're a bad person)

Considering that #1 requires taking on more blame than using a possibly fallacious excuse I can imagine that many folks would be reluctant to submit to it and expose themselves to the dangers of options 1a and 1b. Should more people do so? Maybe they should. When will they do so? Probably not soon...

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