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2,400 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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In mechanical terms 4 levels of Paladin with Oath of Vengeance bolted onto a high Charisma Bard works really well. The fact that this particular PC had the Dirge Bard archetype, which grants fear based powers and necromantic spells, made the combination even stranger from a roleplaying perspective. The fact it was unusual and unexpected is part of what made it fun though. A man who is immune to fear but able to frighten even ghosts with his righteous fury was fun to play.

It seems pretty natural to me that a deity (or perhaps just some universal force of Good) could suddenly fill a PC with holy power. At least in this PC’s case the weapons and armor he used didn’t change any. He just devoted himself to “Stag God”, began declaring oaths of holy vengeance, and start smiting evil a lot. Folks might not expect a guitar playing Paladin who drinks, curses, and has a monkey familiar, but none of those things are actually against the Paladin’s Code of Conduct.

By the end of the campaign the PC had 4 levels of Paladin and 13 levels of Bard, but I think folks tend to remember him as a Paladin.

I don't think the Bodyguard + Paired Opportunist combo "should" work, but it seems like the sort of thing where developer input might be helpful especially since there's a lot of confusion and disagreement around the Bodyguard feat itself (adjacency, threatened areas, etc)

For the necromancer, I guess that a single classed WHW might get some mileage out of a Valet familiar with Paired Opportunist to get +4 on AoOs with the hair. That might help cover some of the BAB gap. I guess my strategy would be to stand back and cast spells on my turn but use the reach of the hair to make AoOs (Combat Reflexes might help)

Pulling enemies up next to you when you're a Witch might not always be a great idea, so exploring the Trip ability might make sense too. If only the WHW had better BAB there could be a lot of interesting options here.

@Derek Dalton - I disagree about the Brawler. Wanting to combine some martial arts action or even just plain old wrestling with a more typical armored fantasy warrior type seems like a common desire to me.

@Dragonchess Player - At this point that flying archer might be better off taking the Undersized Mount feat or taking a couple of levels in Eldritch Guardian for a magic bird (hawk and falcon seem close to me) which can grow to Medium size at will. I think that just underscores what's been said about how Pathfinder has made it easier to achieve your thematic goals though. Instead of waiting 10 levels to be a gnome who flies around on a bird you can do it in 1-2 levels now.

You can play the Bard more than one way. For instance, the Dirge Bard archetype might want to have high Charisma to use demoralization and high DC fear effects.

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I'm considering having my Viking take the "Divine Source" ability next time he gains a Mythic Tier. It might not be as powerful in game terms as being able to charge through allies or even just gaining another +2 Str, but the idea of my PC being a viable target of worship sort of amuses me since he's well known for bragging and would probably start telling people he's a god.

The fact that the party and their allies include multiple divine casters who would never consider converting to his worship (and in fact think he's kind of a bozo) would be extra roleplaying gravy. I'm not quite sure what his portfolio would be, perhaps demigod of drinking, boasting, and threatening?

I'm not sure if All Consuming Swing would work with Mythic Vital Strike, but it could be really painful if it did...

I like Hero Points. Some folks might feel that they make things too easy, but they can also allow things to be tougher since the DM doesn't need to worry so much about "accidental" deaths.

If you spend 2 Hero Points to avoid death you've generally got to make it through at least 1 level without a Hero Point before you can do that again. On the other hand, if your playing style is more like, "Valhalla, I am coming!" you can spend your Hero Points on stuff like re-rolling a crit confirmation against a mook just so you can gloat over your triple damage and then go die a glorious death. This can help players with disparate approaches to enjoy the same game.

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I think that sudden multiclassing without prior plans can be fun. When we discovered a shrine to Erastil in the wilderness my Bard converted on the spot and took his next 4 levels in Paladin. He didn't go to holy warrior school. He was just suddenly filled with righteous fury and swore an oath of vengeance on the enemies of the land and its people. This PC was a drunk who used to work for a Varisian circus and had a pet monkey, so it wasn't like he'd really been building towards it all along.

The "demihuman" level limits in AD&D generally came along with an ability to multiclass which humans lacked. Anyhow, those rules are long gone in Pathfinder, so now everybody has the options to enjoy multiclassing or choose to leave it alone.

When it comes to dwarven bards and such I think that "playing against type" is a pretty common trope. Having a -2 or lacking a +2 in your class's prime requisite (to use an old AD&D term) probably won't doom you to failure, especially if you're not directly competing with another more optimized PC who is trying to steal your spotlight. I guess that can be one of those cases where multiclassing might help give your PC something a little different to make him or her stand out.

@Captain Yesterday - March Multiclassing Madness? Have you filled out your class leveling matrix?

@Saldiven - I’m playing a 13th level Viking in one current campaign and enjoying the Swift action demoralize. For other classes I’d think that Cornugon Smash or Enforcer would be better ways to get a quick demoralize than Viking levels.

Try to make sure that everybody coming to the horror themed mini-campaign is interested in playing a horror themed mini-campaign. If there's somebody who things horror is boring or too daunting that player might cause a lot of disruptions.

I agree that higher CR encounters can be good for a horror themed game. Ideally this should encourage the PCs to avoid conflicts when possible. Sneaking around and running away seem pretty appropriate for horror stories. I guess that hard to find villains/monsters can be helpful too whether that means high Stealth or just not being sure who the real bad guy is.

Unless the game is an unusual one you'll probably be at levels 1-18 a lot longer than you'll be at levels 19-20. I usually multiclass. I find that the first level or two of Monk are particularly packed with feats and abilities. Four levels of Paladin with Oath of Vengeance is also tough to beat unless you're in a campaign without Evil foes (or playing with a DM who will just change everything's alignment to cancel out your abilities)

I guess you could try using roleplaying to set up situations where you get to embarrass/mutilate/murder some of the more treasured NPCs though they'd probably just "poof" back to life miraculously. Perhaps just making fun of them would work better. Ridiculing the DM and his NPCs seems more direct to me than bringing a super powered character through a rules loophole to upset the DM and destroy the game.

@alexd1976 - It is funny that you mention getting the DM drunk since the DM we play with who has the most oppressive NPCs is also the DM who typically drinks a lot during the sessions. I kind of shrug it off, but my girlfriend finds it to be kind of a drag that every little town seems to have at least a few NPCs who outclass the PCs and tend to berate/lecture/threaten them.

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I sometimes make old PCs available as deities such as a drunken monk who invented pizza with psychedelic cheese and used his monk's spade as the pizza peel (that stick with a flat end you use to move pizza. Sorry, that's kind of all I have...

I'm currently playing a Viking PC in a game set on Mystara, where the typical Norse pantheon is active. I think that probably makes it a little easier to roleplay since I know more about Norse myths than say myths about Gorum.

I think that the dire warnings about being 2 levels behind borders on hyperbole. If you were too low level for Raise Dead then the gap in XP between levels is pretty small. Later on the gap between levels gets much larger, so you should soon find yourself just 1 level behind. Later on you will probably end up being the same level as the rest of the PCs much of the time, especially if some of them die too. For instance, there's 30,000xp between 9th and 10th level, so you'd have to be more than 30k behind to not "catch up" at least temporarily at some point while the XP leaders are 10th level. Meanwhile the gap between 4th and 6th level is only 14k.

There's not much good I can say about the situation with the young Fighter. I thought they were teaching the kids these days not to bully, but maybe he figures that is OK in a game. That probably isn't much fun if gaming is your form of escapism or perhaps just a way to relax and have some fun.

I might consider playing a Bard or Skald and using Mirror Images and a position towards the back of the party to stay a little safer in combat. Maybe the buffs would make the Fighter appreciate you more. If he likes your buffs maybe threatening to withhold them would get him to behave better (or make him flip out and ramp up the abuse - kind of a judgement call there I guess). Charming him and forcing him to do your bidding is way outside of the social norms I'd normally consider for PC to PC interactions, but it sounds like your group might already lack what I'd consider appropriate decorum.

I think I can, I think I can...I've also come up with what I think might be an amusing extra-planar ally, one who would really clash with our party and have kind of a salty attitude. I might skip it simply because the party is already chock full of cohorts, companions, and familiars to the point where adding a trumpet archon who plays the Blues might be excessive as well as silly.

@Majuba - I'm not sure if the Wizard levels should qualify you for item creation feats, but I've always wondered if your effective class level for a familiar obtained by a feat or VMC shouldn't allow you to meet the level requirements for Improved Familiar.

@Abraham Spalding - In some other threads the majority folks seemed to hold the opinion that taking the VMC doesn't actually make you a member of the class and therefore wouldn't qualify you to use class specific magic items like the Cackling Hag's Blouse, which says, "If the wearer is a witch, she gains the cackle hex." I don't really have a firm opinion on it.

Sorry for the slight necro here, but would you actually qualify for True Name when it has a prerequisite of "You must be at least an 11th-level Wizard to select this discovery" and you're not actually a Wizard? The VMC ability says:
"Discovery: At 15th level, he gains an arcane discovery or wizard bonus feat, treating his character level as his effective wizard level."

I guess maybe the "effective" Wizard level counts for the purposes of the prerequisite though it is a little confusing since I've heard in other discussions that since you're not actually a member of the VMC class you don't qualify to use magic items which work only for a member of that class, take feats restricted to that class, etc.

Now that I read it more carefully I think I see the difference here, but I'd appreciate some feedback anyhow since I'm not really sure. Most of the Arcane Discoveries have Wizard level prerequisites, so the VMC qualifying you for them would make a pretty big difference.

I don’t think Bludgeoner would be worth it here. My PC has the Raging Grappler rage power, so by the time he has somebody pinned they're also prone (except I guess for stuff like snakes which can be grappled but can’t be prone). Add in the penalties for being Pinned and the CMB check should be pretty easy even with a -8 for Power Attack and nonlethal damage.

In any event, the PC will probably be taking a Barbarian level and therefore will only have 1 feat to choose. I’ll definitely have to consider Pinning KO since I haven’t seen a lot of other feats which look interesting on their own. Ability Focus (Terrifying Howl) might help cover some DC loss from multiclassing, but without a way to intimidate multiple foes per round it might be overinvesting in that particular tactic. I’m seriously considering just taking Extra Rage Power for +2 DR/-. At least I feel more confident that the Pinning KO route is legal now if that’s the way I choose to go though.

Cleave can be pretty nice if you're using a single natural weapon. That applies to monsters and animal companions more often than PCs but can make a big difference. I used a winter wolf with a few Fighter levels as a monster once, and the players seemed really impressed with his ability to move up and then bite and trip two PCs.

Do you find that you use advance scouts a lot in PFS scenarios? I guess an eidolon would be a great scout since if it gets caught alone and killed that's not a big deal. I wonder whether other players might find just hanging out while the class feature goes on an adventure a little dull though.

My girlfriend played an original Summoner with a couple of Barbarian levels, and her PC was able to stay pretty relevant in melee through the end of the campaign at 15th level.

I don't see any rules problem with sharing Reduce Person with the eidolon.

Regarding familiars and wands, in a regular game a raven could presumably use a wand since it can grasp objects and speak. I think only Improved Familiars can activate magic items in PFS though.

Maybe it would clarify things somehow to point out that I'm not actually making a Bite attack. I'm just using my maintain to inflict damage with a light weapon (the Bite). Anyhow, I think it sounds like you'd agree I should be able to take -4 on my CMB check while maintaining the grapple to do nonlethal Bite damage and then double that with Pinning Knockout. That's what I was originally hoping to determine, and I guess it looks like it works at least from a RAW perspective.

I've also thought of another related rules question which could come up whether I take Pinning Knockout or not. The Improved Lockjaw ability prevents you from gaining the grappled condition when you're controlling the grapple with Lockjaw. It doesn't explicitly say whether it prevents you from losing your Dex bonus while you're pinning a foe though. If not that could be kind of a showstopper since this PC has a +5 Dex bonus. Granted, the Pin would stop all attacks from the pinned foe, but taking a -5 AC against everybody else might be a bad decision.

I’m really looking for rules clarification/adjudication here rather than build advice. Even if I wanted and got great build advice it would be a little late since the PC is already 14th level. Regarding the rules, I can inflict damage with a light weapon (such as Bite) when I make the CMB check to maintain a grapple. I’m not sure whether I can inflict non-lethal damage by taking a -4 on that CMB check though. I think that’s the crux of the issue from a RAW perspective.

To add a little confusion, I think that depending on how you read the “Damage” option for maintaining the grapple there might not even be a -4 for dealing nonlethal damage with a grapple.

PRD(bold mine) wrote:
Damage: You can inflict damage to your target equal to your unarmed strike, a natural attack, or an attack made with armor spikes or a light or one-handed weapon. This damage can be either lethal or nonlethal.

That might just mean that you’re not required to inflict lethal damage when using an unarmed strike to cause damage this way, but that doesn’t really need to be stated, and the way the sentences are structured makes it sound like the option to deal nonlethal damage might extend to armor spikes along with light and one-handed weapons. All of these things can be used to deal nonlethal damage even without grappling, but maybe while you’re grappling there’s not a -4 to deal nonlethal damage? Then again, maybe the rules are just unclear or I perceive what I want to believe.

Another way to achieve similar ends with fewer questions might be to wear a Cruel and Merciful Amulet of Mighty Fists, which would have some comedic value as well. I don’t tend to Pin foes very often with this PC since I can already make them prone and shaken and should soon be making them sickened too. I also do have some ways to take advantage of AoOs while grappling such as maintaining the grapple as a Move action and using my Standard for Total Defense with Crane Riposte. Combined with Body Shield this sort of stuff makes some great slapstick moments.

I play a Feral Gnasher who is going to get a feat next level. I was considering Pinning Knockout since he has the prerequisites. It seems clear that he could maintain the grapple and inflict double his unarmed strike damage. I think he'd also get to apply Constrict damage from his Belt of Anaconda's Coils. What I'm not sure about is whether he could take a -4 on his CMB check to inflict non-lethal damage with his Bite, which is a light weapon, and then double that.

If so that would be really impressive damage though explaining how it looks in roleplaying terms might be a little tricky (maybe he beats you against the floor or something). Anyhow, before deciding if this is a good idea I'd like to verify whether it is a legal one.

Using Allfood to eat his way through doors, walls, etc would please my Feral Gnasher a lot. Maybe I could find a wand or some scrolls and get the Ninja to use UMD for me.

I wouldn't say that Rope Trick is useless. It gives you shelter and would keep you safe from a lot of threats. Most animals and many less intelligent melee threats can't or won't climb the rope.

Some of these are pretty amusing. I wish I’d seen them before we started our Goblin Game so I could have incorporated some. Our goblins don’t really have many superstitions besides the basic ones like not reading or writing. My PC does have some odd religious beliefs though

- Animal headed humanoids like gnolls are sacred creatures of Lamashtu, so it is very holy and righteous to create new animal headed creatures and humanoid headed animals by using Demon Mother’s Mask. Pig-Man and Man-Pig give glory to Lamashtu (plus they’re delicious!)

- Venkelvore likes to eat, and she likes it when goblins eat. This is why Feral Gnashers bite their foes and try to eat them alive. Fights should be Eating Contests to see which foe can eat the other first.
Getting swallowed whole and then eating your way back out gives glory to Venkelvore

- Gogunta stole the frog headed boggards from the rightful worship of Lamashtu. Goblins must conquer the swamp and bring boggards back to unholy path of Lamashtu

- Froghemoths are sacred monsters of Gogunta, so killing them in an Eating Contest gives great glory to Venkelvore and Lamashtu

- Chief Sharky is best goblin ever (probably only my PC believes that one)

This feat has been through several errata. It now says "melee attack", and I believe it can be used to deflect touch attacks.

Regarding bucklers I think the tougher question is whether you'd lose the buckler's shield bonus to AC. RAW I don't think that would be a problem though I wouldn't be surprised to see some DMs take it away.

My Crane Wing PC solves this problem by using a buckler in one hand and nothing in the other. He mostly just Bites people.

Fighters could benefit from a better Will save or perhaps even better some nerfs to many of the not very fun spells and abilities which force Will saves. I think that the Background Skills option from Unchained is nice for Fighters since it lets them become more well rounded from a roleplaying perspective without eating up their limited skill ranks.

Spellcut makes me kind of sad that neither of my PCs with lots of Fighter levels have Weapon Training. The bonus isn’t that much higher than what I could get with a +5 cloak and Iron Will (which has the same feat cost), but Spellcut would also work for Reflex saves, so it seems like kind of a two for one. One of my PCs is in a party with no Resist Energy or Protection from Energy and has almost been killed by failing Reflex saves a couple of times within the past level.

Advanced Weapon Training makes me even more sad that I don't have Weapon Training. Trading it in on Rage with my Viking seemed like an OK option at the time, but if building the PC now I might take another path. At least Terrifying Howl finally worked really well last session...

@Rhedyn - I agree that the touch attack mechanic is not a great one. I have various ideas about ways to improve or eliminate it. They probably belong in some other thread though.

@Rosc - The Viking referenced above fights with a heavy shield and light hammer. I think a shortsword or kukri would be more effective in general due to the improved crit range, but the hammer is a roleplaying thing. Shield Slam is great fun, but only Mythic Power Attack prevents my damage from kind of sucking. I'd probably do just as much damage at a lower feat cost if I used just the shield, but once again RP concerns trumped mechanical effectiveness.

If you don't want to be a Paladin you could consider 4 levels of Cavalier and the Horse Master feat to get a fully leveled Mount even if you multiclass. Beyond that you could use any class you'd like depending on what other abilities you want to have. I wouldn't count out at least some levels of Fighter since archery uses lots of feats and I think Outriders tend to use a lot of ranged attacks (if you want to be a mounted slinger that's probably just masochism, but you could make it work and even carry a shield for higher AC)

As I recall, in 3.5 you weren't able to Bull Rush multiple creatures at the same time, so an enemy with a halfling behind him couldn't be moved no matter how high you rolled on whatever check we used back before CMB vs CMD (my 3.5 memories are rusting...)

I find it pretty odd that the old 3e/3.5 size restrictions on grappling didn't seem to get carried over to Pathfinder except as regards the Grab ability. I wonder if that might be addressed in some future FAQ, but for now I generally house rule it even though I'm the one with the grappling PC.

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If discussing potential shortcomings in RPG products is considered "disrespectful" it seems like that might make it tough for the folks writing them to get honest and potentially useful feedback.

Anyhow, the Misfortune hex affects one enemy, allows a saving throw. Unlike Evil Eye it doesn't do anything if the enemy makes the save, and even if they fail you'd have to spend a Move action each round to extend the duration with Cackle. Unless I'm mistaken the 3pp Combat Precognition ability affects everybody attacking you, allows no saving throw, and lasts for multiple rounds (at least if you have a Wisdom bonus) without any further actions on your part. I think that the 3pp ability sounds better than Misfortune in terms of defending attacks on AC.

I feel like Mirror Image might be a more fitting example. Usually it costs a standard action to deploy, but the Magus can pop it out quickly with Spell Combat. Of course that means that the Magus isn't casting some other spell, but if you're focused on defense then Mirror Image can be pretty powerful (especially if you already have a high AC)

I'm not sure if there are specific rules on how long a crab has to be in water to "recharge" for another 12 hours. I'd think that even a brief immersion should work fine since presumably the crab just needs some fresh water on its "lungs" (sort of feathery looking organs we always called "devil lungs" when we pulled them out of blue crabs)

I'm not sure if the AoO for Bodyguard should really trigger Paired Oppurtunists. Sure, it is an AoO, but I don't know if it is considered an AoO against the attacker. It might be significant that you always attack AC 10 rather than the attacker's AC. The boost to your AC form Bodyguard could be significant though, especially if you put Benevolent padded or leather armor on the crab (if people think that's silly they could consider it a little padding so your crab is less likely to get cracked). You'd get the +4 bonus from Paired Opportunist in any event though, and that's a pretty big bonus.

I can respect not wanting a big Mauler for RP reasons though I still can't help thinking it might be a grappler's best friend.

I think it would have been pretty funny if the bloody skeletons came back an hour later like usual though an exploding anitmatter drive is probably an area effect rather than a touch attack, so we're even further off topic than before (though I think the OP's question has long since been answered)

@Skylander4 - I don't think that adding shield bonuses to the list of things which count for touch AC would really be a significant increase in complexity. Getting rid of touch attacks would reduce complexity though it would also recommend moving a lot of spells like Scorching Ray from using touch attacks to allowing your caster level to count as your BAB (like some other spells already do). That's probably too much change though, especially since most people are used to the complexity and many feel that it is a good simulation of how things should work in the game world. Touch attacks aside, the Armor Class system in general seems a little weird, but it is a Tradition, and we're all pretty used to it by now.

@alex1976 - I'm glad to see that what I was saying makes sense to somebody. I figured that the laser should remove the idea of magical auras a bit.

A laser would be a touch attack too, and it still seems to me that getting hit with a laser should hurt more than blocking a laser with your shield (assuming your shield was made of something which might be able to block a laser - say adamantine)

@Arachnofiend - It seems like it would be a simple matter to distinguish between items worn and those merely held. I'd also find it kind of odd if somebody touching your weapon (staff, katana, musket) should hurt you though based on previous posts it sounds like that's the case "by the rules".

One sort of flight which can present problems is that of dragons since they tend to fly at a speed of 200'. Besides allowing long strafing runs this often means that the dragon gets to decide when and if combat is engaged. My girlfriend came up with a pretty effective solution to that by using Dimension Door to move our melee characters right next to a dragon who tried to run away. We totally slaughtered it. My PC was flying at the time because he was riding her animal companion, which had Overland Flight on it.

Another problem I sometimes see with flight is that it can lead to adjudication questions. For instance, when I use Dirty Trick Master to make a flying foe Pinned we're not quite sure what should happen...
#1 - It falls right away
#2 - It falls at the beginning of its next turn
#3 - It falls if it fails to move before the end of its next turn

Can it make a Fly check while pinned? Similar questions come up once in a while with grappling along with the question of whether a grappled creature can choose whether or not to stop flying and potentially drag the grappler down. The idea of carrying other creatures around while flying leads to questions about what creatures weigh. None of those are a big deal, but I think people already tend to ignore the rules for flight because they're a little complicated.

I’m not sure if the Tea Ceremony trick should really work, but if that spoils your “magical tea party” you could consider the Duettist archetype for Bards. It would be kind of amusing if the performing familiar were a man-sized Mauler, but communicating with the party might be a problem since Maulers don’t talk.

I guess that an Unchained Summoner could also do a lot of adventure by proxy stuff. That would work best when the Summoner was within 100 feet, but with Life Link you could use your HP pool to keep the eidolon in play even with lower HP. Even just 1 or 2 levels of Summoner could give you an essentially unkillable remote control wand jockey (it would always come back the next day) while taking all or most levels in Summoner could probably produce a reasonably effective melee character.

An Alchemist could send in a familiar with lots of infusions for the other PCs to drink though that makes me think of a St. Bernard dog with a magic barrel around his neck. It also occurs to me that with a little planning you could probably construct an entire remote control party of “RCs” instead of PCs. The animals, eidolons, and familiars would go into the dungeon while the PCs relax back in camp. I guess the trick would be making such a party effective enough to defeat level appropriate challenges. This might be easier if the PCs lacked any scruples which precluded the use of undead servants. Constructs could work too though I suspect they'd be too expensive.

I understand that sending in a team of NPCs to clear the dungeon on the party’s behalf probably seems like the very antithesis of fun, but it might be a fun party for “theorycrafting”, and maybe it could be amusing to actually play for the right group of masterminds.

The Channel Energy stuff is kind of nifty. The loss of Inspire Courage is pretty significant, but you might be able to do a lot of interesting stuff with those extra feats. For instance, you could become a pretty competent archer or have a Boon Companion for an animal or familiar who could probably help out enough to cover most of the "gap" from not having Inspire Courage. If Unchained is in play it also might be interesting to look at VMC options. I guess a Herald Caller with the Bard VMC would be almost like a summoning focused Evangelist with -1 off Inspire Courage but the addition of Bardic Knowledge. If you're Evil and channel some negative energy the extra damage might easily outperform that lost +1.

I wish the archetype granted Sacred Summons instead of Superior Summoning though since having too many summoned creatures out can be a nuisance. If I were looking to create a flood of monsters I guess an Evil Herald Caller with some Extra Channel could support an army of undead buddies who help out his big summons with Aid Another and similar tactics. This would have to be for the right game though, probably one with very few players and a relaxed attitude since your turns might take a while.

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I'd normally think of the SoL effects as the "head shots" since they're a one hit win while stuff like damage slowly wears you down. DM Blake makes a good case for that reversed analogy though. Sometimes my own PCs end up focusing on defense so much that the DM or other players might accuse them of being boring (like Floyd Mayweather some might say)

When playing a Fighter I sometimes feel like Will saves are low blows though. Sure, I can take steps to mitigate the risk like wearing a cup and a +5 cloak of resistance, but when I get hit by a SoL I sometimes have to take a rest whether I want it or not, and it is often more than 5 minutes. If the party isn't well prepared with spells like Protection from Evil those sorts of issues can go on for hours. I think debuffs are better "body blows" for both the PCs and the DM, and I tend to focus on those a lot especially as a PC since I think they're not only more fun than "rocket tag" but also perhaps a little more reliable in the long run.

Simple stuff like intimidation can take offense down a notch. If the DM uses ability damage, ability drain, negative levels, lots of poison, etc that can drain the party's coffers kind of like buying saving throw boosts. If it is clear that the PCs are going to get hit with this stuff fairly consistently they'll often start buying the counters. Going back to the original topic of the thread for a moment I'll nominate True Strike as a great spell to use against players from time to time, especially if the attack it boosts carries a nasty effect like negative levels, a powerful Poison, etc.

Back to the low blows analogy, I didn't mean to say powers which remove a player's control should never be used. Some boxers like Bernard Hopkins would probably consider low blows to be "part of boxing" and something that can be used from time to time to gain an advantage, kind of like holding. If you keep fouling repeatedly in boxing the ref might step in and take a point or even eventually disqualify you though, sort of like if you keep on taking away the player's control he might eventually complain or give up.

I'd like to second ceilings as a way to put a cap on flying PCs.

@Bob Bob Bob - It sounds like your Magus might want to get stealthier or make sure he has solid defenses. Of course he could also fly and or become invisible if he wanted to.

Why not fire demonic pigs?

My grappling PC isn't in PFS and does use the Stamina Pool from Unchained, so perhaps part of our disagreement stems from the fact that we're playing in different situations. My DMs also generally ask me how Grapple works, not the other way around.

Anyhow, we should probably get back to the original topic. Is your crab familiar taking an archetype? It strikes me that a Mauler might be nice, especially if you could afford a couple of levels of Eldritch Guardian to grant all your Combat feats to the familiar and therefore create a second grappler with the same BAB. Since the crab could then help Pin a foe you might be able to tie stuff up around as fast as with the Cavalier dip while doing a bit more damage. On the other hand, if the whole theme of the PC is to be the very best at tying things up maybe Expert Captor is too thematic to sacrifice. Perhaps something like this could work.

1 - UM1 - *IUS, *StFist, *ImpGrapple, h-Power Attack, Cleave
2 - UM1/WHW1
3 - UM1/WHW1/EG1 - Combat Reflexes
4 - UM1/WHW1/EG2
5 - UM1/WHW1/EG1/CAV1 - (team)Broken Wing Gambit, Mauler's Endurance
6 - UM1/WHW1/EG2/CAV2 -
7 - UM2/WHW1/CAV2/EG2/ALC1 - *Greater Grapple, Paired Opportunist

Having a 2nd level Mount from Cavalier 2 seems like a drag, especially since I think you can only bring 1 pet on a PFS adventure. Maybe being a Musketeer would be slightly more fun at least for RP purposes. I guess Standard Bearer could work too. Anyhow, I figure with BWG and Paired Opp whenever somebody attacks the Witch or crab they both strike back with a +4.

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I'm somewhat eagerly awaiting the long awaited blog on Grapple. I'm also not sure if there was ever a clear answer about whether you can fight defensively while using spell combat.

As a DM I can usually find a way to saddle the players with some overland or more often maritime travel if I want to. Passengers and or cargo in excess of what could be moved with Teleport can work well here. If the PCs were Teleporting away from fights a lot I might ask myself if the fights are too difficult.

When I'm usually disappointed by Teleport is as a player. Some of my PCs do crafting, and long journeys can provide some time to craft stuff. Other PCs like traveling in ships, wagons, etc for roleplaying reasons. Teleport can have a tendency to eliminate both of those elements of the game.

Yes, I was referring to Unchained, but the way it refers to still not being able to maintain the grapple until the round after you establish it strongly implies to me that is a restriction which already exists without the Unchained rules. You're free to disagree and obviously do. Mark's previous post on the matter was pretty inconclusive (and he could have been in error either way)

I keep posting about it not so much to change your opinion (which seems unlikely) as to keep some discussion going in the hopes that it might prompt an official response. Perhaps I'd be as well off posting "I want grapple FAQ! I want grapple FAQ!" You might not agree that there's any need for grapple FAQ though the fact Mark said he's writing grapple FAQ gave me the impression that Paizo thinks it would be a good idea - if perhaps not a matter of pressing importance.

A rule saying you can't normally maintain the grapple in the round when you initiate it exists, but it is in a non-Core source. Meanwhile the Core rules don't really address the issue. Mark Seifter posted something in another thread which seemed pretty ambiguous to me. I wouldn't call the matter of how it is supposed to work officially settled yet, but even if it were settled it seems that lately Paizo has been relatively willing to go back and change things via FAQ or errata.

Touching the arm holding the shield might be the same in game terms as touching the shield, but in purely descriptive terms it seems rather different to me. Anyhow, blocking attacks is what shields are for. As I recall there's even a feat which allows you to block rays with your shield even though the shield usually counts for nothing against rays. Once again I find it odd that hitting somebody's shield with Scorching Ray would hurt them just as badly as a direct hit (sure, you can say the spell heats up the shield and hurts them through it - with Admonishing Ray I guess the shield could jostle the wielder - there's always a way to explain why it should work though it mostly seems counter intuitive to me)

To me saying that the shield is too slow and clumsy to block touch attacks just seems like another excuse to make the RAW seem more sensible. I mean, is the touch attack of a feeble Wizard with 10 Str and 12 Dex that much quicker and harder to block than the skillful daggers of a high level Rogue with 24 Dex?

Like you folks say though, the game has rules, and they have to boil down to numbers. I know what the rules are, but I think they could be better in this case. Obviously we deeply disagree on "flavor" here, and that's a matter of taste which we're unlikely to resolve except by each preferring our own version (granted that the official rules support your way of envisioning it). I also happen to feel that letting shields count against touch AC might be better from a game mechanics standpoint since it can be pretty tough to defend touch AC, but I'd expect even less agreement there (and less than none isn't much at all!)

I think Obbu’s system looks pretty reasonable though it doesn’t seem to directly address the question of how much AC is “too much”. That’s probably a tough question to answer though, especially since you'd have to think about whether to take buffs and debuffs into account. In some games I play in we frequently debuff an enemy's attack rolls by -8 (Evil Eye -4, shaken -2, sickened -2) all the way up to -14 (prone -4, entangled -2). In one game initially powerful melee opponents often find themselves writhing on the ground getting beat to death by a Witch.

@snowlilly - Touch AC being so difficult to defend is one thing I don’t like about touch attacks. Luckily a lot of the stuff which makes touch or incorporeal touch attacks is Evil, so Smite Evil helped me a lot there. Fighting defensively can work well too since a lot of touchers have mediocre to low AC.

@Sissyl - That's a really high AC. Sacrificing a point or two of AC to buy items like Deliquescent Gloves and a Bane Baldric might have helped boost damage a bit. Power Attack probably would have been worthwhile too.

Shocking somebody by touching their sword with Shocking Grasp seems kind of cool to me. Sucking out their vital energy through their sword doesn't. Maybe it does to other people.

I'd consider a shield or certainly a sword to be "held" more than "worn", so I wouldn't see a problem with allowing a shield to block Vampiric Touch but not allowing a burqa to do so. Obviously that would be a house rule though, and probably few people besides me would have much interest in it.

@Ascaphalus - Your attack bonus looked a little low for 12th level, but when I check my archived character sheets for 12th level I see that only my Mythic Viking was much higher (and that mostly because he’s a Mythic)

@Snowlilly - I think that 4 levels of Paladin with Oath of Vengeance can make pretty much any Cha based PC a defensive superstar (at least in games where the DM will still run Evil foes)

@Obbu - I'm not sure if I understand what you're trying to say, so let me paraphrase it as a question. Would you say that AC 31 is "decent" for 12th level, AC 21 "sucks", and AC 41 is "great"? Would you consider aiming for AC = Level+20 to be very reasonable? Does AC = Level+30 seem unreasonable to you or just very focused on defending attacks on AC? As you mentioned, buffs and debuffs can affect this stuff a lot. I have PC who had AC 32 at 12th level but was considered nearly unhittable since he intimidates and sickens most foes, trips any who are susceptible to it, and often uses dirty tricks like entangle.

@pennywit - If you take the Rough and Ready trait you could get a +1 to hit while killing werewolves with waffle irons. The trouble usually starts of you start asking the DM about enchanting improvised weapons (though a Magus or certain archetypes could presumably enchant them on the fly)

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