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I think that having a big constrictor is a good idea. Off the top of my head I can't think of a way to make it venomous, but you could also (or instead) pick up a Viper familiar with the Mauler archetype. It wouldn't have Grab unless you got an evolution for it, but at higher levels the Str score would get pretty decent. With Eldritch Guardian you could also give it lots of combat feats (and maybe pick up the animal companion via feats or multiclassing)
I've got a mini of a "snake oil salesman" which I've been thinking about touching up and using for a PC forever now.
As a DM I can verify that the Stunning Barrier spells are pretty effective sometimes. I'd guess that they'd be even better combined with debuffs to make the enemies more likely to fail the saving throws.
At least in the games I play in, the biggest threat is what happens in combat before you get a turn though. When you're flat footed and don't have any Mirror Images it can be easy to absorb a lot of damage before you get to act, especially if there's a surprise round (and DMs love surprise rounds)
Diviners can always act in the surprise round, which is a big deal. Since you're a Nercomancer I'm not sure if there's a way for you to pick up that ability short of something like multiclassing into a Sohei Monk or taking the Lookout feat with another PC. Anything which improves your initiative is good though. Carrying a weapon with the Dueling property would be worthwhile (spiked gauntlet doesn't get in the way and can be used to cut yourself out if you get swallowed whole)
Somebody already mentioned the Ring of Invisibility, and it could be a good option for reducing how often you're targeted when combat begins. Transition into Greater Invisibility on your first turn and many foes won't be able to find you at all.
There are a lot of good title suggestions already. Including at least a few redundant ones seems like a good idea, perhaps a "Operating Administrator of Administrative Operations" and a "Consulting Services Consultant" who work in the "Office of Redundancy Office".
I wonder if maybe there would be a HDIC, HMIC, etc "in charge" (perhaps the only Archdevil with a simple title or perhaps one with a title so ridiculously long that folks simply use a nickname whenever not directly addressing this ultimate Archduke)
I'd suggest having at least one devil who looks and sounds like Vincent Price whether that's a low level administrator who gives potentially misleading "jobs" to PCs to further Hell's goals and damn their souls or perhaps somebody much higher up the org chart who is mostly off screen like "Charlie" from Charlie's Angels (perhaps he's even an arch devil posing as a mortal or low level devil - who knows)
I suggest combining some of the options suggested by tonyz and Taenia to make a mounted Bodyguard who controls the area with a reach weapon (presumably a lance)
There are various archetypes for Cavaliers which could be useful here, such as the Honor Guard, who gets Bodyguard for free. You could take Order of the Dragon to increase the bonus you grant with Aid Another or Order of the Cockatrice to get better at demoralizing foes (effectively a +2 AC for you and your allies). You'll probably want to threaten both adjacent and with reach for this sort of build since the newest FAQ on Bodyguard requires you to both threaten the foe and be adjacent to the ally. Your mount can easily have Bodyguard too. If you have Mounted Combat as well the two of you can form quite an effective defensive unit.
Paladins can also be pretty great. Depending on the sort of areas you adventure in and what magic you have available you might find the Mammoth Rider prestige class helpful for blocking off larger areas or a hindrance due to it making your mount too big to fit into tight spaces (potentially not a problem with Narrow Frame and Reduce Animal)
If your DM is one who will try to keep Large mounts out of dungeons no matter what the rules are you could take Undersized Mount or even play a Small PC though then you might have to rely on the mount for some of your tripping (not too bad if you have Tandem Trip perhaps)
I'd probably keep the cohorts a lower level than the PC even if the Mythic Tiers should provide some separation. I like the idea of being able to have a pool of potentially helpful NPCs "back in town" though.
I've always hoped to see something which provides NPCs somewhere between a cohort and a follower to fill dangerous roles like helping a Viking Jarl sail his longship. With 1st and 2nd level followers on board they're likely to be killed by the first Fireball. Maybe some sort of swarm-like template (mob or troop) would be better than making all of those folks higher level, but when you're 17th level and have 4 Mythic tiers too any 1st or 2nd level NPCs who get close to you seem likely to get killed in the crossfire. I wonder if it would really hurt to have followers who were 6-8 levels behind instead of 15-16.
I sometimes take the time to stat up my PC's followers even if I know they probably won't be used during adventures. I just find it interesting to imagine what they might be like.
I think I'm at least borderline infamous for using Plants and Undead. I use Demons quite a lot too though. I probably run them a little more than Devils, especially since the Succubus is a Demon in Pathfinder (though I think she got moved to the Devil team in 4e, not sure about 5e)
A pretty typical monster for me might be a myconid grown in demon dung and transformed to Evil or a variant Yellow Musk Zombie which keeps its original class and abilities more like a Juju Zombie. Treants corrupted by Evil extra-planar fungus are popular too. Dr. Moreau style "manimals" and other hybrid creatures created by experiments show up too. If owlbears didn't already exist I'd probably create them. I also like to run adventures in and around water including lots of maritime stuff, so aquatic monsters feature strongly too.
I like Dragons, but I rarely use them in games I run. Perhaps keeping them rare makes them seem more special. They can certainly be tough foes relative to their CR, especially if you play them to their strengths and or the party lacks Resist Energy or similar spells. I like it when a campaign features dragons in remote areas who you hear about long before you'd ever encounter them. It is particularly cool if the dragon is on the map, perhaps as a red dragon on top of a mountain or with an arrow labeled with "Beyond to the lair of Dragotha, the undead dragon, where fabulous riches and hideous death await".
I think linking the NPC to the party's treasure would work better. Most PCs are more afraid of losing their stuff than their life.
More seriously though, having the NPC's health change for the worse and giving the PCs an ultimatum with an actual time limit as Fuzzy-Wuzzy suggested might work pretty well.
My suggestion, which I'm sure most folks will hate, is that "replacement" PCs should use NPC Wealth By Level instead of what PCs get. This way new PCs won't come into the game better equipped than the old ones. For 9th level PCs this would be just 10,050gp. If that seems too cruel I guess you could give them half of the normal PC WBL (23k in your case). Another time honored option is to simply have the new PCs start a level behind the existing PCs (which would give them 33k in this case)
If you're suffering TPKs another option which might be worth considering is using Hero Points. Since they're built up over levels they'll tend to help long term PCs more than new ones, but either way they could help you to avoid more TPKs and more PC turnover. I guess this might be especially important if you choose to punish replacement PCs in one of the manners I described above, but I'd recommend it even if you decide to let them have full levels and wealth. In that case you could bring make sure that the original PCs have more Hero Points than the new ones (1 to 0 or 2 to 1)
In the end you should be aware that the players saying that they "should" be able to purchase items up to the full 46k are basically right. By the rules as written, letting your PC die and get replaced is usually a pretty great strategy, especially if the DM allows the party to keep the gear from the fallen PCs too. Groups I play in generally have it disappear (maybe it goes to the PC's heirs)
I always suspected that Bashing is supposed to increase the damage for non-spiked shields. I also guessed that when the description for the Bashing property used the phrase "bashing weapon" it actually meant "bludgeoning weapon" - it isn't terribly clear
For Shield Master I'd assume that you get the higher enhancement bonus between the weapon and shield enchantments without any stacking. Something I'm less sure about is whether Bane weapon enchantments would stack with the shield enhancement bonus. I'd guess so since stuff like Flaming seems like it would clearly still work. Some clarification would certainly be appreciated though.
One thing I don't think should work is getting +5(shield)/+4 defending(weapon) on the shield and then sacrificing the +4 weapon enhancement for +4 AC while still using +5 to attacks and damage based on the shield bonus. I think the spirit of the Defending weapon FAQ is that you need to give up attack and damage bonuses to get the AC bonus (notably attack and damage bonuses you're actually using that round)
More for RP reasons than anything else my Paladin/Bard took Ultimate Mercy. It actually got used a couple of times, but I’m not sure if saving the party 10,000gp would have been worth a feat without the RP element. Another PC I played a while back was a Witch/Shadowdancer. The prereq feats for Shadowdancer aren’t the most useful for a Witch, and losing 3 caster levels left me more reliant on rods, scrolls, wands, and pets (which actually all combined pretty nicely)
Double Slice doesn’t seem like the best feat choice, especially not when the PC with that one also ended up with the entire feat chain for Mythic Vital Strike, something which would work way better with a two-handed weapon than TWF. Another current PC has a 5 Charisma and levels in Bloodrager. That actually kind of makes sense due to alignment restrictions and RP reasons. He'll never be able to cast spells though he's pretty good at UMD and doesn't need to roll for anything on the Bloodrager list.
The pregnant were-dolphin stuff also reminds me of a few things, namely the Demon Mother’s Mask and the Mark of Evil feat. Those can be roleplaying gold, but they’re pretty much useless in mechanical terms.
Speaking as somebody who has played some shield using PCs, giving up the extra 1/2 Str mod and increased Power Attack damage can hurt pretty bad. That's not to say it can't work, but if you want reach and a shield you could also consider playing a mounted PC with a lance. The lance can be wielding with one hand while you're mounted, but it still counts as a two-handed weapon for Str bonus and Power Attack.
Feats like Tandem Trip and Paired Opportunists could make the PC and mount quite a dynamic duo in combat. Whether mounted or not you could also consider the Lunge feat once it is available since it could let you hit enemies from far enough away that they'll still suffer AoOs if they move up to attack you in return.
Clerics and Oracles get all the Summon Monster spells. Clerics can potentially use Sacred Summons to get them out faster. The Evangelist archetype could probably make this even better by buffing the summoned monsters and the party as well. You could potentially use every turn after the 1st round healing and still get to move your summons around, make attacks, etc.
As a similar option, if you go with the Animal domain or certain Oracle mysteries you could have an animal companion who does the fighting while you do the healing (possibly while mounted on said companion)
Those two options could also be combined. I know a lot of people are leery of pets, but if you want to spend your standard (and maybe move) actions healing it could be nice to have something else to do too.
Mauler Hawk familiar seems like a decent level 3+ option for Small PCs.
A Sylvan Sorcerer could also select a Roc companion for 1st level flying fun. Weird class dips like Dragoon Fighter 1 (lance, Mounted Combat, Skill Focus Ride) might make this guy more combat viable than folks would expect. Using Share Spells for True Strike could make the mount hit very consistently, and 1st level wands are pretty cheap. I guess the Giant Vulture might be better for that since it only has 1 natural attack (therefore more damage per hit).
If you could figure out a way to earn an AoO then Paired Opportunists could work really well and allow even a low to mid BAB PC to get in some hits (Broken Wing Gambit seems like the obvious method I guess)
A Huntmaster Cavalier with Undersized Mount might have some flying options at fairly low levels using a Bird familiar and Undersized Mount. Bodyguard and Mounted Combat could mutually boost your defenses. The Takedown ability could get pretty interesting, especially with Dirty Trick Master.
The Sin Eater archetype for Inquisitor gets some healing when you eat an enemy’s body - seems OK if not great, maybe it could be combined with Death Knell or the Enemy's Heart spell for some thematic fun.
The Bloody Fist and Feast of Blood rage powers allow you to rip out an enemy's internal organs and eat them. That sound pretty cool, but the mechanics don’t look very effective to me.
The Cornugon Smash + Hurtful feat combo gives you kind of a mini-pounce at 7th level (move up, hit once, use CS to demoralize and Hurtful to attack again as a swift action). That doesn't require spending any rage powers, and both attacks are at your full BAB.
You could get up to two attacks per round at 4th level by using Intimidating Glare, but that probably isn't worth it unless you want to become a Terrifying Howler (which can actually be pretty effective given the high DC)
The drawback is that undead and some other things can't be intimidated. Greater Trip and Vicious Stomp can be another way to turn a standard action into 2-3 attacks, but that requires a lot more investment.
@Patrick C - I don't completely disagree with your assessment, but I also don't see why Chaos being basically bad and Law being basically good was a particularly bad system compared to 9 shades of alignment which it seems people can rarely agree on. However, I was mostly just commemorating the influence of the Stormbringer stories since I've been reading them lately.
As lemeres mentioned, buying more powerful animals out of the book might be something some DMs object to for game balance reasons.
Getting an animal companion via feats could be a good choice. If it is just a pet rather than a mount it might be cheaper to pick up a Mauler familiar. Either way, your raging songs should help increase the creature's combat effectiveness.
Depending on how your DM feels about summoned animals you might be able to get a lot of use out of Handle Animal and possibly even Ride with your Summon Monster spells. This starts out kind of weak, but some of the higher level summons could be great allies or mounts, especially with raging song.
I think it would be cool if high level PCs could grant temporary HP to their mounts, perhaps with something based on your Handle Animal and or Ride skills. That way even somebody who hasn't played a special class or taken 3 feats could still participate in mounted combat at higher levels without having their horse shot out from under them almost immediately. I guess being able to use Mounted Combat to substitute a Ride check for the mount's Reflex save might help too. Of course anybody with that feat likely has a class feature mount too.
I'd tend to see a guy who decides by flipping a coin or rolling a die as an embodiment of Chaos. One of the other players in today's campaign (unfortunately out for this session) extracted the d20 "answer die" from a magic 8-Ball and uses it to make many decisions for his CN Barbarian. My CN Viking PC's personal theme song is "Snake Eyes" by Amon Amarth, and I often roll dice to decide which hallway we'll explore and make other choices.
I think Chaos is a fine path for the essentially heroic killer who sometimes makes tragically bad decisions or lets emotion, revenge, etc cause him to perform acts most would call Evil. Which side of CN/CE you end up on is probably up to the DM.
Some martials can already gain saving throw based abilities. One game I run has a greatsword Paladin who threatens on 17-20 and has some critical hit feats. A couple of my own PCs have Terrifying Howl, which can potentially affect multiple foes with a pretty high DC fear effect.
If you really want to develop area effect attacks maybe you could consider having them do half damage on a failed saving throw and no damage on a successful one. It would probably be good enough for wiping out waves of mooks without replacing regular attacks against tougher foes.
If you really want to be an alchemist on a bat you could consider the Winged Marauder archetype for goblins. Sure, it loses Mutagen, but if you're focused on bombs that might not be so bad, especially with good mobility and a melee pet you can buff.
A mount with Bodyguard and perhaps some Benevolent barding can be pretty helpful. I've also always liked the idea of a mounted Sylvan Sorcerer who uses Share Spells for True Strike a lot. The Paired Opportunists feat plus Broken Wing Gambit and maybe a little multi-classing could make even the Sorcerer somewhat of a melee threat in the right circumstances.
Paired Opportunists would also be a strong choice with Come and Get Me or Taunting Stance. Any Large mount should probably at least consider the Narrow Frame feat.
I guess that "get more players" might not be the advice you're looking for. A Wizard in a one player party might as well "go nuts" with stuff like familiars and cohorts though. It would be kind of cool if he were actually a 1 PC party in technical terms.
Anyhow, it looks like there are plenty more "1 on 1" adventures by the same publisher. Check this link. One of them is even called "The Pleasure Prison of the B'thuvian Demon Whore". Whether that's a good or bad thing is up to you!
Regardless of which adventures you play some things you could consider are:
We once had a Barbarian archer. She had a high Charisma and was somewhat focused on intimidation such as using Dazzling Display and then Terrifying Howl to send enemies running and then shoot them as they fled.
If you want a reason to play as a certain race I suggest looking at the various racial archetypes and favored class bonuses. I have an Orc Dirty Fighter who is a master of Dirty Tricks and a Goblin Feral Gnasher who defeats enemies by eating them. Playing a goblin who runs around talking kind of like Beavis, setting stuff on fire, and eating people alive has been a lot of fun. The fact that he's a 16th level martial PC who rarely uses the full attack action also makes him unusual mechanically.
If you'd like to be a tough halfling who acts like Joe Pesci I suggest using the name Harold Balzano.
A while back I thought about limiting the number of buffs PCs can have just to avoid math delays, but there actually seems to be a weird sort of fun which forms around trying to remember all the bonuses in play and squeeze out that last plus which turns a miss into a hit.
Even if you don't decide to limit the number of buffs a PC can have in play I guess you could consider limiting the duration of more of them to a round per level so that the value of the buff has to be weighed against the cost in action economy. This could particularly cut into the effectiveness of spells like Communal Resist Energy, especially if smart monsters would be likely to know that the resistance won't last long.
I’ve been running a few sessions for level 15-16 PCs lately, and I don't find their buffs nearly as bothersome as the debuffs some of them apply to the monsters. It is really tough tracking the math for Str damage. Since all 3 of my current PCs use debuffs too I probably deserve it though.
I'm kind of neutral on psionics in a thematic sense. There have been balance problems with some of the latter day psionic stuff as well though. Of course there are balance problems with magic and other stuff too, but since psionics isn't used as much often all people see of it is the unbalanced thing "that one guy" did one time. For instance, we had a guy in 3.5 who would summon an Astral Construct as a Swift action <insert most gripe threads about the APG Summoner>
What makes it memorable is that first time he summoned one somebody handed him a cow mini, and it was dubbed "The Astral Cow" (even though in game terms the creature was probably more humanoid). Years later people still laugh out loud and complain bitterly about the psionic PC and his Astral Cows. Ever since the player moved away nobody I play with has tried psionics as a PC again though DMs throw in psionic monsters from time to time.
If Todd asks to use Perception to look for traps and you insist on rolling the d20 for him that sounds a little oppressive, but I don't see how it would reduce DM and player interaction. I mean, Todd is asking, and you're rolling and giving him a result. That's interaction, right?
I guess if at other times you're secretly rolling d20 Perception checks for the PCs without the players asking that could reduce interaction, but it seems like you could simply ask a player to roll a d20 without telling him or her what it is for. After they roll low you look thoughtful, say, "Hmm" or "ahh", and nod a little, perhaps while tapping something in your notes with your index finger.
It is my belief that DMs should roll all of their dice out upon the open table for all the world to fear. If you're worried about meta-gaming I'd suggest some humorous chiding rather than taking away people's dice.
I've always thought it was odd that it is easier to end the influence of Dominate Person than Charm Person.
Dominating Vampire: Kill your wife and eat her flesh!
Charming Bard: Kill your wife and eat her flesh!
Do folks who take the Star Stone Challenge but fail die? If so then I guess the bets could start to get pretty risky after a while.
#19. Calistria's Kiss - Let's take turns injecting doses of giant wasp poison until one of us is immobilized!
Since a character with a Dex of 0 is immobile but not unconscious this could lead to hilarity and or horror.
At least one DM we play with seems to "make treasure special again" by making big treasures less common. We still get some coins and basic magic gear off enemies, but once in a while we'll find out about a quest which leads to some really big treasure or reward, and most of our WBL tends to come from those. This makes my PC and at least one of the others willing to do risky stuff and work with questionable NPCs in the hope of scoring another big treasure.
@Bandw2 - I've seen suggestions like mojo before. I think a system like that would be most interesting if the DM made an effort to keep actual gold based WBL low. That way it would be tough to buy enough magic items to use up all your mojo, and the PCs might end up relatively broke sometimes so that getting more gold or magic items would be a good inspiration to go adventure even if the amounts of wealth involved aren't constantly skyrocketing.
On the other hand, I also kind of like the idea of PCs being able to invest some resource (maybe mojo instead of gold) to gain permanent bonuses not dependent on equipment. This would be kind of like buying slotless items which can't be lost, and while expensive it might be fun for a PC who doesn't want to be laden down with lots of magic trinkets - say an esoteric warrior-monk or a sorcerer whose power "comes from within".
When I was a kid I ran a game for a group of friends. Their PCs were trekking across the wilderness and decided to investigate some ruins they spotted. Soon after they entered the kobolds guarding the entrance from a side room ran out and slammed the doors shut. That's when it became clear that none of the PCs had bothered to buy a light source, and with the massive doors closed the windowless room was completely dark.
With no way to see the PCs were easily defeated, stripped of their possessions, and taken in chains before the kobold leader, who had servants stoking a big bonfire. There was definitely an implication that the PCs might end up getting cooked on the bonfire, but I figured that it at least gave them light so they could see and try to stage an escape. One of my friends announced that his PC committed suicide though, bashing his brains out against the wall or whatever. I learned that maybe the thrill (to a 10 year old) of a clever, "Aha, you forgot torches and lanterns!" wasn't worth the acrimony of the resulting battle in darkness and its aftermath. At worst maybe I could have let a little light stream in and rule there was a 20% miss chance, but I didn't know about such rules at the time.
It has been many years since I was in a game which tracked rations. In the last one the party ended up knocking on farmhouse doors begging for food and my PC went off chasing a sheep with his falchion.
I've seen people play various alignments including Lawful Good in a "The DM didn't let me be Evil, but I'm doing it anyhow" manner.
One of my current PCs started out as CG but over time "slipped" to CN partially due to the influence of an Evil magic item. He still performs a lot of heroic acts, but he's greedy, boastful, and prone to fits of rage. He's got an ongoing struggle between being a hero or giving in to the temptation of the daemonic powers which have been offered to him. Some see a villain where others see a hero. He's saved towns from terrible monsters, but he's also sacrificed foes to Evil magic for a thrill while in the throes of rage. The same campaign has another CN character who acts more like CG most of the time since he usually agrees to help folks out, rarely asks about rewards, and seems to chafe at dealing with Evil NPCs.
I guess I'm just offering some examples contrary to the usual reputation of CN. Anyhow, I seem to remember a time before all the complications of Good and Evil, back when Chaos was just Chaos - "Blood and souls for Lord Arioch!!!"
I like the idea of letting enemies come to the party, potentially suffering AoOs and generally getting in just single melee attacks before PCs get full attacks on them. There's almost always another PC who wants to charge in and attack though. Not infrequently that PC has a low AC and ends up needing some healing to stay alive. I'm told that's what "fun" is.
I'm not a fan of PVP but notice that a fair number of DMs like using stuff like Confusion and Dominate Person to encourage the PCs to fight each other. This can be a tough situation since a lot of PCs focus heavily on offense, and suffering an unexpected attack from them can be deadly.
In one game my girlfriend and I have often discussed how to survive an attack from the greatly invisible, swift feinting, claw pouncing Ninja with a Will save of +6. It is the sort of situation which can come up pretty easily if the DM wants.
For the purposes of the Raging Throw feat would a Skald count as having the rage class feature? Could he spend a round of raging song for inspired rage instead of a round of rage to activate the feat's ability? I know Skalds can't share rage powers which require spending rounds of rage, but Raging Throw is a feat rather than a rage power and wouldn't be shared.
I think that by RAW it looks like this probably wouldn't work, but I'm not sure if some rulings might have been made about Skalds and rage which might let it work after all.
@taks - You're the one who said my comment made no sense, prompting my further response to explain it. I've never claimed that you aren't entitled to your opinion, just that enforcing the rule doesn't require any rationalization and creating the rule doesn't seem to either. It sounds like you agree with the first point, so I'll apologize for any misunderstanding about that part.
@Orfamay Quest - I think that going from "You need a hand free to use Spell Combat, so I'm ruling that Spell Combat uses that hand" to "You can't wear metal armor, so I'm ruling that leather armor is made of metal" is a pretty big leap.
I guess technically the requirement to threaten an enemy when you want to improve your ally's AC against that enemy wouldn't apply to increasing your ally's saving throw against a spell. I mean, being in position to attack an enemy clearly doesn't apply to using Aid Another to boost an ally's skill check, which is probably the most common use of Aid Another in many games.
As an aside, I always found it odd that the Aid Another action seemed to imply you could help boost an ally's saving throw against a spell (perhaps helping to break the effect of Hold Person, Dominate Person, etc?) but didn't offer any details on how that boost worked. I mean, even for Vanguard Style, do you make an attack roll against AC 10 to boost your ally's Reflex save, or do you make a Reflex save against DC 10? I'd guess the latter, but it doesn't seem clear. I've yet to find a DM who would allow Aid Another for saving throws anyhow, but maybe if I could explain how it works somebody be more likely to allow it.
I wonder if a "happy medium" might have been achieved by a ruling that no matter what happens you can't get more than a +4 total boost on anything from Aid Another no matter how many allies help you or how great their Aid Another abilities are. I'm not sure if only 2 allies being able to assist on a skill check is a house rule or a real rule, but I've seen it as a general assumption at a lot of tables (maybe it is a relic of 3.5?)
Yeah, you "should" be able to get Blinkback Belt on a Belt of Dex for 2500gp more. I guess some DMs might not allow combining enchantments, but I don't think banning it is common practice. Maybe I'd be surprised...
Anyhow, paying 7500gp to basically get Ricochet Toss without spending a feat while bypassing the Martial Focus prerequisite doesn't seem like a bad deal to me.
A Core Monk actually wouldn't be able to pick up Ricochet Toss until 9th level due to the BAB requirement. I'm not sure if Far Strike Monk works with Unchained Monk or not.
That Rhino Charge feat looks pretty great. The fact it requires the sometimes less than useful Improved Bull Rush feat means you're paying a pretty good price for it though. I suspect you also might encounter table variation regarding whether DMs will let you blatantly use it as a way to get around charging restrictions
Player: I circle around the enemy and ready an action to charge him from behind as soon as anybody else does anything at all! (or for caster suppression maybe "if he tries to cast")
Player: I circle around the enemy and ready an action to charge him from behind as soon as anybody else does anything at all!
If a rationalization is a lot like an excuse or cover up I don't see how a DM enforcing the actual rule is a rationalization. I guess you're saying that Paizo making the rule was a rationalization though. It sounds to me more like it was just a ruling you don't like.
I think "rationalization" often carries a negative connotation of illegitimacy, delusion, or dishonesty whereas Paizo's ruling here seems legitimate and fairly reasonable at least to me. I mean, if you need a hand free to use Spell Combat and Paizo rules that means Spell Combat uses that hand I don't see why that's illogical or requires a defense mechanism.
I think that having meaningful differences between races, classes, and other sorts of options is a good thing. I also think DMs should be more open to allowing mounts on adventures. Most dungeons I've seen are big enough for Large mounts if you follow the rules, especially with the Narrow Frame feat.
When it comes to other people's builds I'm not really tired of any builds in particular though I think it would be nice if level 10+ Ninjas had something to do other than turn invisible all the time. I guess there also is a certain "sameness" about many Barbarians. We honestly have been involved in two campaigns in a row (with different groups) which had a Barbarian named Butcher who had Superstition and 300+ HP. The second one doesn't have Beast Totem like the first one, but he's Mythic and has 60+ speed and an ability which allows him to move and still full attack (basically superior to Pounce)
For my own PCs I tend to make the craziest most complicated builds I can, so I never really get bored. For the next campaign cycle I might have to make at least one PC with low AC though since I've probably been relying too much on AC as my primary defense.
I think that the cat kicking Barbarian should really be a Bloodrager with a cat bloodline familiar, perhaps a Figment who he regularly kicks to death each day before it reappears the next day.
The fact you can't ready actions even when you're pretty sure combat will start soon has been a source of frustration and amusement in many games. Sometimes you "just know" that the pile of bones will turn into a skeleton or the statue will attack you when you get near. Somehow that damned statue still gets the drop on you though. It is the same with the animated rugs...alas...