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Devilkiller's page

2,641 posts (2,646 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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I like shrimp. Shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There's shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich.

I'm not as sure about PFS since I've only played it a couple of times. It didn't make me sick though. Shrimp makes my aunt sick, but sometimes she eats it anyhow.

Giving Wizards more and better low level powers to tempt them into extending the adventuring day seems like an interesting house rules experiment, but if Paizo were going to make a change here I'd guess that it would in fact be via feats (or perhaps archetypes) rather than a very late errata to the CRB.

Would a feat to increase the scaling to +1 per level be worthwhile? Would a feat to increase the damage to 1d6/level be worthwhile? If the second feat seems too strong perhaps the first feat could be a prereq for it. If the second feat seems too weak would adding uses per day or perhaps even making it at will make the power level satisfactory, or is even more damage needed?

I know many people will feel that making these powers effective shouldn't require a feat, but short of house rules that's probably pretty much how things are.

Once in a while I'll think about having some Sunder focused NPCs with Maul of the Titans to smash everybody's gear. Then I'll realize that sometimes I'm a jerk.

One AP I'm running has DC 14 Fort saves to avoid being sickened in one room and to avoid being nauseated in another. If you throw in a ghast the smell could get even worse. Perhaps there are some swarms of flies and or maggots too. If so they'd have their own low DC saves vs distraction. Add a foe who can make the PCs shaken and failing one of the various saves could lead to a domino effect.

A save vs disease for somebody who interacts with the filth or falls into it sounds good too.

I'd suggest making the Thorny a cohort since that way it can level up along with the PC. Otherwise a 24hp Thorny might soon end up dead if it comes on adventures (and kind of forgotten if it doesn't)

It is tough to know whether 150 damage is excessive without knowing the levels of the PCs.

If you're looking for house rules to encourage longer adventuring days I guess you could institute XP penalties for resting too often or XP bonuses for resting less often. A simple method might be that you have an "XP Multiplier" which starts out at 60% and increases by 10% every time the PCs complete an encounter. You could think about whether to cap that at 100% or allow "bonus XP" for completing more than 4 encounters in a day.

I guess it could also make sense to define "encounter" as defeating a certain CR worth of enemies (say CR = APL) so that the XP Multiplier wouldn't dictate your encounter design quite as much or make the players feel like you're being unfair if you throw in a giant encounter or two which might reasonably require them to expend more than 1/4 of their resources.

Yeah, Summon Nature's Ally generally isn't as good as Summon Monster when it comes to damaging Evil foes. The Tiger is a bit of a perk on the SNA IV list though. I recall augmented tigers being pretty effective. Later on you start to get some other stuff like various giants who are pretty good in melee. Big air elementals with Whirlwind are also great.

Hurtful and Arcane Strike don't play well together, but I'd guess that Hurtful will generate more damage overall, and it certainly seems better for getting in two attacks when you need to use a Move action.

I'd guess the Mount would be pretty effective, especially if you get into stuff like Paired Opportunist, which you could easily do if you drop Quick Draw etc. Of course you could focus on other stuff too. I'm a big fan of unarmed strikes and think Snake Style could be pretty cool for somebody with an Amulet of Mighty Fists and really high Str.

Maybe Nowhear is thinking of spells like Campfire Wall. Whether or not PCs can take a break and rest while exploring the dungeon is mostly up to the DM though, especially at lower levels where the PCs probably don't have stuff like Magnificent Mansion.

@UnArcaneElection - I was mostly being sarcastic though I’ve actually seen players who border on that headfirst into the blender style of play. You're pretty much going to have to heal at some point if you want to survive though, and if the DM has banned Cure wands there's a good chance you'll need to blow some spell slots on healing (sounds like a cruel move by the DM though there's usually some "story" reason for stuff like that - just because it is part of the story doesn't mean it couldn't be an irritating story to play through though...)

You could take Chess Pwn's idea to the extreme by never healing at all. Just plow along through the dungeon until your PC dies. Then make a new PC at the same level. Repeat every session or two. I'd imagine that there are some groups where this is the norm.

Yeah, I actually did a little math to come up with the 3*level DPR number for an NPC Warrior. I just didn't want to clean it up enough to post it.

The higher numbers for PCs are based off of what I recall seeing in play plus some spreadsheets my girlfriend uses to estimate DPR.

The animal companion can be a better combatant than a lot of PCs at 1st level, and the Druid isn't horrible relatively speaking since at 1st level BAB differences aren't pronounced yet and folks don't tend to have heavy armor yet. However, the OP seems kind of like he just wants people to waste time generating advice and arguments he can shoot down with his low level Killer DM doomsaying, so probably nothing anybody says will change his opinion.

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A Barbarian isn't going to kill anything in one hit with Greater Vital Strike unless you're using the Mythic rules and Mythic Greater Vital Strike. A Druid should have plenty of ways to remain relevant.

If you want combats to be tough use good tactics for the monsters and have some of them "go for the kill" if appropriate. In a homebrew game you can also customize the monsters a little if you want. With a few extra levels and feats a lot of monsters can become a deadly threat. Something as simple as giving the monster a level of Fighter, having it wear armor to boost AC, and giving it the Cleave feat so it can Bite two PCs per round can make a dramatic difference. My players pretty much freaked out over that, like, "His AC is so high!" (ironically the "high" AC was the same AC one of the PCs had) and "How did he Bite twice?" (that's Cleave)

There could still be stuff which "breaks the game", but it probably won't be a high stat unless that's due to it setting a high DC on an overpowered spell. I'd put Greater Forbid Action or any damaging area effect cast as a Dazing Spell onto that list since they don't offer a new save each round like Greater Command, which is a reasonably powerful spell even though it does.

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In one of the many recent "extend the adventuring day" threads lately I suggested upping the damage on these abilities to 1d6 plus 1 per level (like 1d6+10 at 10th level). This obviously wouldn't satisfy swoosh, who feels that 5d6+5 would be insufficient at 10th level, but I feel like it might provide a little more incentive to use your caster's built in crossbow substitute.

If you want these abilities to be bottom of the barrel stuff folks use when they want to conserve spells (which seems to be the original intent) I think 1d6 plus 1 per level would make them a little better than they currently are without changing game balance measurably. If you want these abilities to compete with low level attack spells and stand out as noticeable aspects of the PC's arsenal then you'd probably need to amp them up to 1d6/level.

I guess the power level would be somewhere around Ring of Wizardry II if you assume that the PC wanted the ring to cast more low level attack spells (possibly not a bad assumption if that PC is a blaster?) To me that seems like a power up casters probably don't need. I suppose it might make some casters more willing to participate in another fight before resting though.

I suspect that most other DMs, perhaps nearly all of them, use Grab the way it is written. This is a very powerful monster ability and doesn't need an upgrade. There are some monsters who can make the CMB check even with a -20, but even if there weren't I'd rather not power up every monster with Grab just to make a minor aspect of the ability seem more useful.

Grab gives you a +4 on CMB checks to grapple. That alone would make it pretty good. It also allows you to initiate a grapple without suffering an AoO, which is another decent ability. Monsters with Grab and Constrict can be absolutely terrifying against PCs who don't have Freedom of Movement.

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I feel that every competent PC can be fun if you love to roleplay. I enjoy it so much that sometimes I roleplay in board games. My PCs generally have a unique personality and some quirks. Even as a caster I don't always find that I need a wide variety of actions to take in combat to have some fun. One of my more infamous PCs relied almost exclusively on casting Fireball to deal with nearly every threat, and that was a fun part of his roleplaying. Against golems immune to Fireball he'd basically flip out, buff a little, and chop them up with an adamantine construct bane guisarme (which could also be used to trip)

The worst thing I've found about martials while playing 3 of them to 15th level concurrently in different campaigns is that having a low Will save too often means that you can't participate in the game or become a detriment to your party. Sure, DMs might be able to target low Fort svaes to kill arcane casters, but it seems like they rarely do, perhaps since "The Wizard is dead!" might seem less funny to DMs than, "The martial goes crazy and babbles/attacks himself/tries to kill the party/thinks he's a vampire named Count Sharkula again".

If you don't invest in mobility there can also be some frustrating moments when a melee focused PC can't get into the action. Once you're in melee it can also be entertaining to have different options and active defenses like Body Shield which is hilarious for making enemies hit each other. I've also been having fun debuffing via intimidate, something which isn't strictly limited to martials but can often be mixed into your attack routine.

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I'm not sure if there's a formula which works well across all levels, but based on some quick calculations with a suboptimal but competent Warrior build (Power Attack + Weapon Focus + Furious Focus with greatsword) I'd say that even the NPC stand in should be able to inflict around 3*level Damage Per Round against an "average" AC (based on the "Monster Statistics by CR" table)

In games like APs with standard difficulty I'd expect that a PC who inflicts 5*level DPR will seem pretty decent and somebody who gets to 10*level DPR consistently will seem powerful. Of course this could vary by the group and game, and I'm not accounting for DR or incorporeal foes.

You generally don't get extra attacks for high BAB with natural weapons. You can get an extra attack with Haste though.

I'm personally a fan of allowing starting PCs (even 1st level ones) to craft their gear if they've got the skills/feats. It might make a Fighter who puts ranks into crafting armor and weapons a little stronger at 1st level, but that seems OK to me. It also helps out Wizards with Scribe Scroll and Alchemists or Witches who can brew potions.

probably not since Slow is a 3rd level spell like Haste (which you get at 6th level)

"Poof, you're a Sorcerer!" seems like one of the easiest multiclass choices to explain since you could just suddenly begin developing Sorcerer powers. Maybe your particular powers only begin to show once you're achieved a certain level of personal power (say 4th level)

Something like Fighter or Monk seems like it could be tougher to explain if there were no previous roleplaying of the PC training in those fighting styles. Presumably the PC was training all along or just suddenly realized he or she has a natural gift for martial arts though - it isn't like a single level changes your capabilities that dramatically anyhow...

@Cavall - Are you suggesting that if transported to Golarion Mike Tyson might develop powers as a Sorcerer or perhaps a Druid?

This kind of makes me want to build an Eldritch Guardian with a toad Mauler familiar and Improved Unarmed Strike to get a mansized kung-fu toad. Watch out for his jump kick!

I'd agree that damage bonuses wouldn't apply to the Str damage. Haste would double the number of attacks though, and somebody could pass crits to the shadow with Butterfly's Sting.

I haven't made any new PCs since VMC came out. I've used it on two cohorts designed for my own PCs, a cohort I designed for a PC in a game I DM, and various NPC builds (mostly potential bad guys)

Some of the VMCs like Druid are a lot better if the character will suddenly pop into existence at higher levels (like cohorts sometimes do). Having a full strength animal companion at 11th level is pretty great and gives the cohort a flying mount (Dire Bat). I'm not sure how those first 10 levels would have felt though.

The Wizard VMC is pretty nice since getting a familiar alone would normally cost you 2-3 feats. Diviner's Fortune is tough to beat for an NPC helper or buff/support character but the Admixture school of Evocation has some nice stuff to offer a Sorcerer (along with Mauler familiar as a mount from the same VMC)

I'd imagine that Fighters could add a lot of flavor with VMC and still have enough feats via bonus feats to support fairly complex builds.

I don't know about rules specifically detailing pricing for gaining feats through magic items. There are certainly some magic items which grant feats though, such as the Dark Blue Rhomboid Ioun Stone, which grants the Alertness feat or the Scarlet and Green Cabachon, which grants Endurance. Both of those are slotless items which cost 10,000gp, so we can infer that an item which grants one of those feats would cost about 5,000gp as a normal slotted item.

Of course DMs would be well advised to consider which feats should be made available via magic items and how they should be priced. Alertness and Endurance are pretty innocuous.

Downtime is usually the problem with crafting. Since it is often limited the most practical things to craft are generally low level wands or enchantments added to existing items at +50% for sharing the slot.

However, there’s a Witch in one game who recently took Forge Ring for the express purpose of making herself a Ring of Freedom of Movement. Now other PCs have begun commissioning them too as well as getting her to upgrade their other rings. That same Witch has CWI and Brew Potion, and out of combat healing in that game is generally accomplished by drinking her potions, which she’s able to brew quickly since the DM gave her a “Blackwick Cauldron” as a gift. That game happens to have a lot of downtime and relatively few options for buying magic items, so the DM encouraged us to craft.

I personally think there should be an option to brew potions in “big batches” of 50 or so. Wands would still have a place they don’t draw an AoO, have better action economy for repeat usage, and can hold both “Personal” and 4th level spells. Folks wouldn't have to stand around waiting for the wand jockey to heal them between combat using wands of CLW though, and those who didn't care to invest in UMD would have a little more magical autonomy.

@MageHunter - Using the Ring of Sustenance for extra crafting time is pretty controversial in some circles. I personally don’t see a problem with it, but some folks think the benefit is unintended.

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I'm not very into just obscuring things from the players, but I’ve often re-skinned monsters to get something which looked and worked the way I want with less work and a better chance of ending up balanced (at least compared to when I go overboard putting class levels on stuff).

Pretty frequently I’ll change a few mechanical aspects of the monster along with the appearance. Back in 3.5 I made a “Styx Serpent” by taking away a Dragon Turtle’s Claws, increasing its Bite damage (Str*1.5, improved Power Attack), changing the breath weapon to acid damage and adding some Int damage to it. I think my real inspiration here was the serpents from Robin Hobb’s liveship traders series.

I collect a lot of miniatures from other games (Mage Knight, Star Wars, Horror Clix, Dreamblade, etc) and often stat up monsters to go with them. A really simple one was re-skinning the Clockwork Leviathan into a Mechanical Crab (that’s a Star Wars crab droid mini, but I thought it looked like a pretty cool Construct). Just take away the Bite, change the Slams to Claws or Pincers, and maybe reflavor Grind to a regular Constrict. The Breath Weapon still fits since the crab droid mini has what look like a couple of guns on it. Clearly those are flamethrowers which spit a 60’ line of fire.

Another weird mini I had was a ”Bloodscale Wavecaller” WoW mini. I don’t play WoW, so I wasn’t too sure what the monster “should” be like, but since she’s a “wavecaller” I thought that Bard might work well. I picked an Aboleth for the “base creature”, changed the Tentacles to Claws,exchanged Slime for Rend. and ended up with the

Sea Mother. I went with Skald levels instead of Bard since I decided it might be fun to make her Ulat-Kini (aka Skum) allies Rage. Her Fiend Totem powers also seems like a good way to represent her spiky frills harming PCs who engage with her (while the Skum sort of turn into spiky pufferfish dudes)

I also had a weird D&D 3.5 mini which I wanted to use as a monster in the lab of a mad Vivisectionist. Since I knew around the CR I was aiming for I started out with a Glabrezu and ended up with The Big Mistake

I’ve been running APs lately and haven’t had the creative DMing mood for a while. Perhaps I'll try re-skinning something from the random list to see if I can spark some creativity...tomorrow though...or maybe Sunday. I'm done work now, and there's lots of gaming to do this weekend!

Who do you plan to Gang Up with? In my limited experience Gang Up works great if you're mounted since you and the mount can both threaten from the same square. Then you just need one other ally to get your bonus (possibly somebody with a reach weapon standing safely behind you)

@UnArcaneElection - I guess with my typo the Viking archetype would be even better since it could probably make the PC grow a big beard. Folks were joking that my Viking PC probably has illegitimate children throughout the realms and the boys grow big orange beards when they're just babies.

I wouldn't worry about the Bard too much since the Bloodrager seems pretty cool.

The Mount seems like a strong choice to me. It is an extra combatant, after all, and it might enhance your movement capabilities at least at some levels.

I like your plans to intimidate. Be sure to grab a Cruel weapon for you or perhaps even better your Mount. The Hurtful feat is also really great.

Detect Magic will end if the PC casts another spell. That's likely to happen when the PC gets into combat. Traps which go off during combat have a chance to actually become a dangerous challenge, especially if the trap is one which creates a disadvantage for the PCs and or advantage for the enemies (in addition to any damage it might cause). Undead or Constructs with tremorsense, blindsight, or just Blind Fighting might think poison gas is pretty fun.

The groups I play with use the Crit deck for any traps which make attack rolls. A scything blade trap is a little scarier if it might Decapitate you for "double damage and death". We also use Hero Points, but getting somebody to spend those to avoid getting killed or crippled by a trap is the sort of thing our DMs find fun. I guess some of us feel that laughing at PCs for almost dying is often more fun than them actually dying.

An animal companion at low levels and whirlwinds and or grappling at mid levels has served me well in the past. I took a level of Monk at 9th level since IUS and Improved Grapple as bonus feats made it easy to get into Greater Grapple. Wild Armor is probably better than Wis bonus to AC in most ways, but the 0gp cost and higher touch AC can be nice if you have a friendly caster to keep Mage Armor on you.

That PC ended up at around Monk 1 / Druid 18 and found Augment Summoning pretty nice despite being a level behind in casting. I guess if you weren't trying to cover both grappling and summoning then the bonus feats from Monk might not be quite as appealing.

For something a little different, an Ankylosaurus companion could be fun, especially if you decide to get into using intimidate or other sorts of debuffs. At level 9+ it would be able to make 2-3 Stun attempts per round with a decent DC (say 23 with Ability Focus)

You could call the gun Remington, Winchester, "my boomstick", etc

@ngc7293 - Winona shoots ping pong balls

If you can find a way to mix in nonlethal damage then Enforcer becomes a very nice way to intimidate. The Skulking Slayer archetype for Rogues can do some Dirty Trick stuff.

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Magic raps? Word up, DM MC!
Wherever our party gonna go
I cast Detect Magic don’t ya know!
Traps and tricks can’t fool us now
We find yo treasure anyhow

If you really a “hater” when it come to Detect Magic and think it ruin all yo magic raps you can just kick it back up to a 1st level spell and watch people not use it much til they get a cheap wand later on. Then I guess you can ban the wands and stuff. The game still got Green Slime, and it still ain’t magic.

Penalties to an ability score work like damage to that ability score except that they can't lower the score below 1. Damage to an ability score doesn't actually lower the score the way drain does, so you still have a 13 Int, you just have a -1 on Int based rolls compared to what you'd usually have. At least that's the way I understand it, and I looked into this pretty closely back when I had a Druid with wildshape and Improved Grapple. A more typical example would be if you have an 18 Str and get shot with Ray of Enfeeblement for a -6 Str penalty you can still use Power Attack.

I'm not 100% sure if a penalty which persists for 24 hours would actually affect the ability score the way a bonus which persists for 24 hours does, but that wouldn't really come up here with a duration of 10 minutes per level.

@James Risner - I think a FAQ could be in order since:
- Druids can wildshape into lots of forms
- other casters can polymorph with spells
- tengu, kitsune, etc
- Eldritch Guardians can share various Style feats with their familiars

Fighter could work well for feats though it could be tough to pull off Blades Above and Below. I mean, a Small master with a Medium familiar could use it on Small and Medium foes, but as you level up Large ones would become more common (and Huge were already a problem). If you're willing to flank "for real" I guess that wouldn't be an issue though you'd want to be sure you're mobile enough to get into position consistently.

@DM Livgin - Ironically the answer is probably "no". I guess a crane might not have a "hand" either.

When tripping works it is absolutely fantastic though since it debuffs both enemy AC and attacks. If you just want an extra attack then I'd guess more foes are vulnerable to demoralize (and therefore Hurtful) than are vulnerable to trip though, especially at higher levels where a lot of things fly. Obviously that could vary by campaign though.

A penalty doesn't generally cause you to lose the prereq for a feat. For instance, wildshaping into something with -2 Dex wouldn't stop you from using feats with Dex 13 as a prereq.

The build you're considering seems more into tripping and natural attacks than I might have expected. I'm a big fan of Vicious Stomp, but I'll suggest that it goes really well with Enforcer, and those two combined go really well with Hurtful.

I'm not sure if you'd consider it worthwhile taking 2 levels of Brawler to bulk up your feats, but Enforcer+Hurtful has helped one of my PCs achieve kind of a "mini-Pounce" with two attacks after a Move (or on a Charge) since low levels. The fact Vicious Stomp triggers Enforcer and Hurtful makes this work even better if the foe can be tripped.

I think a minotaur should have a Gore attack. Whether the DM is willing to let you have that as a trait (like a half-orc's racial Bite attack but with a Gore instead) or makes you take Lesser Fiend Totem you should be able to Gore by 6th level.

The best charging power is Greater Beast Totem, which gives you Pounce. The AC boost from Beast Totem isn't bad either. The Claws would actually detract some damage from any Gore attack the Minotaur might gain though (though it wouldn't matter much when used along with weapons). I guess if the DM is super flexible maybe you could modify Beast Totem into Bull Totem and get a Gore instead of Claws from Lesser "Bull" Totem. If the PC has a "racial" Gore maybe this could just up the damage to something respectable (half-orc Bite doesn't do much)

The desire for attacks of opportunity makes me think you'd be interested in Come and Get Me (or Taunting Stance if the DM would prefer Unchained)

With Cuup's Variant Multiclassing idea you'd get the Liberation power without giving up any Barbarian levels. You'd just have to give up half your feats. If you feel like you need feats really baldy you could consider a Viking archetype Fighter, but that would delay Come and Get Me from level 12 until 16. Here's an idea for a minotaur Barbarian / VMC Cleric with a bardiche, which is basically a really big axe with reach. If anybody got inside the reach he could simply Gore them (you could use any reach weapon - the bardiche just fits the "axe" theme)

1-Combat Reflexes 3-VMC 5-Power Attack 7-VMC 9-Cornugon Smash 11-VMC 13-Hurtful

If Cornugon Smash for debuffs and an extra attack doesn't appeal to you then I guess you could get Lunge or some other feats entirely. Threatening AoOs on both adjacent squares and 10' away should be great for Come and Get Me. I guess the drawback might be that you couldn't use your Gore along with your bardiche on Pounce. Lunge would potentially fix that, but it would also let you stop 15 feet away from a Medium foe, full attack, and then get an AoO if the enemy tries to close for melee.

I wonder if a Primalist Bloodrager who can grow to Large size might not work really well for this sort of PC. Move freely and prevent others from doing so...hmm...

Ok, AoOs with the 10' reach Bite could be pretty nice. I guess you could consider exchanging the Dragon Wings from your bloodline for "Come and Get Me" and some other Rage Power via Primalist though it would reduce your maneuverability in Dragon Form (something which most groups I've played with almost completely ignore though YMMV)

Regarding the Bard, the reason for 4 levels of Paladin is that Oath of Vengeance allows you to spend Lay on Hands to use Smite Evil. If you buy the magic items to buff both you'll be Smiting Evil as an 8th level Paladin probably 10+ times per day. I didn't find a 4 level dip to be too painful, but I wasn't aware that your Bard was going into Dragon Disciple too.

I'm also a fan of debuffs. Bards can make a big impact with Blistering Invective, and anybody can use Cornugon Smash. With Intimidating Prowess or Intimidating Glare your 50 Str could make for pretty impressive results there.

If you’re able to share your Rage Powers and therefore Claws with the Fox I’d consider taking the Trip evolution instead of the Claws evolution. I’m guessing you have some way to do this since you have the Rage Powers listed under the Fox.

Blades Above and Below is pretty cool though Huge foes will be a drag. Coordinated Charge would be great if you had Pounce. Without it I might prefer Outflank, especially since the immediate action for CC could interfere with the Swift action for Snapping Flank.

Putting the Menacing enchantment on the Fox's amulet of mighty fists would bump your flanking bonus by +2 (+1 to hit and -1 damage for the Fox, +2 to hit for the master). Combined with Outflank that would be a really big bonus (especially nice if you decide to try the Trip angle)

@Mulgar - I've run into encounters with Rust Monsters and Grey Oozes in several published adventures. One of them destroyed a weapon which was part of my PC's backstory, and another destroyed an exotic weapon which the DM gloated might be tough to replace in the mega-dungeon we were stuck in (though he broke down and let me find another one in a level or so)

I'm not really a big proponent of targeting equipment. I was just musing about spreading the suffering around a little. One DM did recently spring some Anti-Magic Zones on us, and I guess those might have been even worse for a caster than they were for my Fighter (the amount of math you need to do to get rid of all your magic gear, buffs, etc is nearly as bad as the loss of power)

I think the component pouch shenanigans sound kind of silly. On the other hand, if you play as a Fighter there's a Rust Monster and a Grey Ooze to destroy your armor and weapon, usually resulting in mirthful schadenfreude for the rest of the group. Maybe subjecting Wizards to the same sorts of pranks and hazing wouldn't be all bad.

Humans work well with Skill Focus due to the Focused Study racial trait, which forces you to use your 1st level human bonus feat for Skill Focus but gives you two more free Skill Focus feats at levels 8 and 16.

In my experience 4 levels of Paladin with Oath of Vengeance was extremely powerful on a Bard. I used a light shield for higher AC with Bane Baldric and Deliquescent Glove to help me inflict meaningful damage against non-Evil foes (against Evil you'd be smiting practically everything you see)

What's the Combat Reflexes on the Bloodrager for, AoO with a lance or something?

To ride or not to ride, that is the question. If you're going to ride the familiar then your human bonus feat would lose much of its value since you'd need Undersized Mount. I guess the extra skill point might still be nice since Fighters aren't the best at skills.

Anyhow, Mounted Combat is pretty solid and especially helps you prevent the mount from getting hit by touch attacks. I'd also consider Bodyguard since the familiar would get it too and Benevolent armor could eventually make the AC boost really good. I had a PC with Mounted Combat who rode an eidolon with Bodyguard, and we were often called "unhittable" (that wasn't really true, but adding a bonus to stop a hit is a little more impressive than just being missed)

If you don't want to Ride then you might want to flank. Outflank becomes an obvious feat choice in that case. Greater Trip (perhaps along with Tandem Trip) can be extremely effective against the right foes, and a +4 flanking bonus would help you hit the CMD. I'm also a big fan of Vicious Stomp + Enforcer + Hurtful. Since you'd essentially be doubling up on this stuff the number of attacks generated could be impressive. This wouldn't be as good for the mounted build since you wouldn't have the flanking bonus.

I think Eldritch Guardian is also compatible with Mutation Warrior, and that has some very nice things to offer.

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I hold the extremely unpopular opinion that your gear melds into your new form partially because the designers don't really want you to use it on top of whatever bonuses you gain from being in the new form. The high price of Wild armor helps convince me that this is likely true. The Polymoprhic Pouch Imbicatus mentioned also seems like a magic item specifically for bypassing such limitations.

I think it would be interesting to get some feedback from the developers like, "Yep, we figure the bonuses from X Shape are pretty much good enough on their own" or "Devilkiller has it all wrong. Wildshaping and then donning your equipment is 100% A-OK. We just don't want people to have the flexibility of shifting in between forms during combat and still being fully equipped"

I suppose that you "should" be able to drop the gear, polymorph, and then pick it up again in PFS since I don't see any RAW prohibiting it. I wouldn't be shocked if you ran into table variation, but in general it should probably work.

If the player makes more powerful PCs than everybody else he might conclude that he's better at the game than everybody else. If he feels that he's the smartest and most capable person present then people refusing to listen to his "good advice" might frustrate him, especially if it seems likely to get the PC he put so much effort into killed in a foolish way.

I guess the answer might come down to getting the player to have more respect for his peers. Perhaps you could explain that while going forward ill prepared might seem stupid to him going back seems boring to everybody else and they'd rather take a bigger risk of getting killed in the game than of being bored to death in real life.

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