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@Rogue Eidolon - I wasn't asserting that I was the first person to suggest applying the AC bonus retroactively, just pointing out that I'd suggested that compromise soon after the errata. I'm sure multiple people probably had that idea independently. Unfortunately it never really seemed to catch on.
Some people might feel the feat would still be too weak that way. Others might view the errata as unjust and be unwilling to compromise. I'm not sure if anybody really thinks that making the AC bonus available retroactively would be too powerful, but Paizo might be reluctant to change Crane Wing again since that might stir up the embers of the big debate which happened after the errata and fan some new flames.
Maybe you can get some insight into the DM's mindset by asking questions. Since he is a player in another game maybe you could ask how the encounters in that game are and how he feels about that. You could also ask what his PC from the other game would have done in the encounters the DM is presenting you with.
@Argus the Slayer - The Adventure Path idea sounds good, but in practice it seems like most DMs find it very hard to resist amping up the encounters in Adventure Paths.
Ok, I wasn't aware that there was a special exception for bonded items. In that case Arcane Duelist seems absolutely great for PFS. I wonder if you can upgrade the AC boosting aspect of the shield as well as the weapon aspect. If so you seem like you're making a very fun choice.
A more unusual option which nets you the martial weapon proficiency along with some other benefits would be taking a level or two as a Sohei Monk and maybe going for the Crane Style feats. After all, if you're fighting with just a shield you probably have a hand free. Such a PC would face a really long path on the way to Shield Slam, but when you got there it would be pretty cool since enemies you push away would potentially just come back to attack you once but end up getting blocked and pushed away again.
Kadath in the Cold Wastes hath known them, but what man hath known Kadath? I’m not sure if Lovecraft's Dreamlands really count as a country, but they've always seemed like an interesting setting to me.
I’m surprised more people haven’t mentioned Cheliax. When I want to play a Lawful PC who may or may not be Evil and happens to sound a little like Vincent Price there’s only one country he can be from now. That’s great since being from Barovia might be tough to explain. I’m also a fan of Ustlav and Varisia since I like classic movie monsters and can’t stop thinking about gypsies.
Regarding Sigil, I really enjoyed the one Planescape game we played though my favorite parts weren’t so much the locations as the factions and their philosophies along with the chance to interact socially with creatures which are usually just “monsters”. I think that having a philsophy can help a lot with roleplay. Of course the Sensate tried the firewine from Gehenna!
Oddly enough you can make the attack in a Spring Attack from an ally's square. I can't recall if you have to take the penalty for squeezing or not, but it seems like a great way to take advantage of high AC front line PCs. I suppose this means that if you had Spring Attack you could attack the door though not just simply open it. Sometimes the rules are pretty odd.
I personally like having improved familiars and getting them to open the darned doors..saves a lot of worries and frees up your action in the surprise round...
I'd expect that a certain amount of prejudice against tielfings is to be expected in many games. It pretty much spells this out in the description of the race, saying that tieflings are often shunned and despised out of reactionary fear and that "most societies" view them as aberrations or curses. I doubt this means that all of the superstitious farmers in the campaign world are Evil because they're afraid of people descended from otherworldly fiends. Maybe Paladins should be wiser, but these days they're charismatic instead.
The racial description also says some stuff about tieflings being free to choose their own fate. Overcoming prejudice in a symbolic form without involving any sensitive real world issues might be very rewarding for some folks. Still, it doesn't seem outlandish that characters from a superstitious medieval society might have some doubts if they meet a girl with devil horns and she intentionally traps them in a cave in.
Anyhow, this does seem like a pretty good setup for your PC to leave the party and then return later as a terrifying enemy who knows their strengths and weaknesses. As long as the character is an NPC by then everybody would probably love it.
Yeah, I've considered such a build in the past, and Imbicatus is correct that you need a separate weapon proficiency to use a shield as a weapon. If you're willing to delay Arcane Strike until 3rd level and lose a point of AC that shouldn't be a problem. I'd also consider multiclassing into Fighter or Barbarian for a level or two save a feat and augment your abilities.
Since Bards get flat bonuses to damage from Inspire Courage Arcane Strike you could consider Two Weapon Fighting with a heavy shield and a light weapon. If you're not going to do that the Arcane Duelist archetype is a little less compelling since you won't need the feature where it can cast while holding the bonded weapon. In PFS you also wouldn't get the free crafting for the bonded weapon. This doesn't make the archetype bad, just less appealing than it might be in a home game or for a PC with TWF.
If you're using just the heavy shield remember that since it is a one-handed weapon you can wield it with two hands for extra Str damage and better Power Attack.
EDIT: I just recalled that the Skald is proficient with all martial weapons, so that could work too.
Ok, that seems pretty clear. Can you share a space with an unconscious ally though? If not then how about with an unconscious enemy? I ask since I'm not sure what should happen if you move into such a space and then the fallen friend or foe is restored to above 0hp. It would be odd if you got ejected. I guess maybe you'd just be squeezing until one of you had a turn and then you'd have to move out of the square (at least if you move at all)
@Virellius - You'd kind of left out the fact that you caved in the entrance and thereby trapped the rest of the PCs, dooming them to almost certain death. That seems like a pretty lame move really.
@Adahn_Cielo - While the PC's action seems cowardly I'm not sure if it would shift his alignment to Chaotic Evil if the intent was to save his own life and protect the community from rampaging monsters. Of course the Paladin probably wouldn't know about intent.
I don't know if anybody beyond the dev team thinks that applying the AC bonus retroactively would be too good. I suspect a lot of people think it still wouldn't be good enough. Perhaps it would be a step in the right direction. People probably want a leap rather than a step, but at this point it is likely a dead issue anyhow.
Not being hit by a nat 20 is still pretty awesome IMO. If the enemy hits you 0 times and you hit it 1 time you're probably winning. Of course this assumes that you can only be hit on a nat 20 or have some way of locking the enemy down to 1 attack (stereotypically because it is T-Rex or got hit with Frigid Touch). Of course you could also be hit with more than one nat 20 per round, but that's bad luck.
@Kudaku - Applying the bonus retroactively was the same fix I suggested when the errata first came out. It would make play smoother and enhance the value of the feat. For extra fun try using Crane Wing along with a shield (my feral gnasher just bites stuff, so he generally has a hand free)
If you're willing to settle for a horse you could take 4 levels of Cavalier for and the Horse Master feat so that your mount will level with you. I think you could actually still trade out the horse for "something awesome" like a Huge tiger or elephant around 10th level with the Mammoth Rider class Detect Magic mentioned. The good part of this is that you'd be free to take whatever other levels and archetypes you wanted for the rest of your career without reducing the power of your mount.
Fighter levels would be great for shooting a bow and mounted combat. This might be the way to go. Barbarian levels probably aren't a great match with archery unless you're an Urban Barbarian. Being a Monk with the Zen Archer or Sohei archetypes could really play up your archery or mounted combat ability along with reinforcing the "Asian" theme. I'd probably go with the Sohei since it can wear light armor (like a Mongol would) and gets some mount related abilities.
If you're really set on being a Barbarian that could work too. I just think the Cavalier/Fighter or Cavalier/Sohei might come together really nicely (especially if you plan on Mammoth Rider anyhow)
I wouldn't see a big problem with it if the biggest benefit were for Swashbucklers only. Weapon Specialization used to be a Fighter only thing, after all, and the bonus to damage probably isn't worlds apart for most PCs. If a Fighter has +6 Str and GWS for +4 that's +10 damage compared to the Slashing Grace user who probably has somewhere around +8 to +10 from Dex by that point. Unless I'm mistaken you can't multiclass Fighter with Swashbuckler since it is one of the base classes of the hybrid class.
There are probably a lot of cool tricks you can play with a Sun Blade. The biggest trick might be managing to get one though.
DR could definitely become significant though in James Risner's example with 1d8+18 damage you'd still be putting through about 12.5 damage per hit for 125-ish damage. Back in down in the realm of less optimized PCs without race specific buff spells I'd guess damage would be more like 1d8+13. That's based on +8 Charisma and +3 for Arcane Strike since I'd think based on SKR's comments that it could in fact work with Weird Words.
That's still somewhere around 75 damage if the foe fails the Fort saves. I'm also not sure how Arcane Strike interacts with DR other than overcoming DR/magic (if at all). You could also take 4 levels of Paladin and beat a lot of DR with Smite Evil though that's probably more practical outside of PFS.
It seems a little odd that the feat should mostly only benefit a specific class, but honestly there are lots of feats which can only be taken by a single class, and other classes can sneak into this one with Aldori Dueling swords. Maybe it was intentional.
Anyhow, the feat seems fine for Swashbucklers. If it was intentionally limited to one-handed weapons maybe the devs felt that while Dex to damage is OK combining it with TWF would be a bit much. This would match up with the existing Dervish Dance feat as well as the Swashbuckler's restrictions on using one weapon to get certain benefits.
I'm not sure if it is the sort of thing you're looking for, but the adventure "Shut In" from Dungeon #128 is a favorite of mine and might fit into a "mystery" themed campaign pretty well. It would certainly fit with PCs who work for the city guard. If nothing else the mansion might give you a nice location.
In the aftermath one or more NPCs might reasonably be committed to an insane asylum. I'd guess that some of the victims of the doppleganger might be there too, perhaps even the PC who got replaced. Of course the guy who runs the place is completely nuts and probably a Vivisectionist. I guess he could be working with the doppleganger on experiments including stuff like swapping brains between bodies.
Boar Style looks pretty good, but my Orc is too short on feats to consider it and sticks to Vicious Stomp + Enforcer instead.
@AndIMustMask - Mounted Combat can stop a lot of hits, but you still have to roll, and it can’t stop a nat 20. The usefulness is also sometimes limited by the fact animal companion and eidolon AC scales so well, but it is great against touch attacks.
@FireberdGNOME - It would be nice to deflect a bullet, but a high level Gunslinger will be shooting more than one. I think the Pistolero in my game was making 14 attacks per round when she first showed up.
If you could interrupt your move action with a standard action wouldn't everybody have Flyby Attack for free? I think you can interrupt your own actions with swift actions and maybe immediate actions though.
Regarding the door, is it actually illegal to share a space with your ally, or do you just have to squeeze? I think the latter is the case, and if so you could squeeze in, open the door, and ready an action to do something after your ally moves (or just go Total Defense to cover your -4 AC)
Some of the early stuff sounds more like etiquette advice than house rules. I think more people I know would rather ban the discussion of Game of Thrones and Fantasy Football than political or religious matters.
Anyhow, your house rules seem very long. A lot of them like the Charisma casting stuff previous posters criticized also seem like they might be kind of unnecessary. I generally like to see house rules limited to fixing stuff which seems like it doesn’t work. I also dislike your multiclassing rules. I really like multiclassing and often take just a level or two of some class to round out my character concept. Pathfinder already has a lot of incentives for class loyalty, so I’m not sure if DM oversight is necessary. That said, I could probably swallow a few house rules I don’t like if they weren’t accompanied by more house rules than I even want to read. Of course now that I’ve said your house rules are too long I’ll have to go write up the ones my groups use and see to make sure they haven’t become bloated as well. Maybe I’ll even post them so folks can criticize me too!
On the plus side, I like that you're giving a beatdown to replacement PCs. I usually dock people a level for switching PCs. I've also considered making them start with NPC wealth.
Ok, DC 29 is higher than I expected. That would just make cutting it down to 3 Words an even bigger nerf though.
A Bard with UMD should be able to grab a wand of Scorching Ray and pump out 70+ touch attack damage while still buffing the party with performances. A ring of Spell Knowledge could work too if you're worried about SR. I'm personally not sure this a great thing for game balance either, but 70 damage is at least a lot less than 220 I suppose.
Touch attacks are just too easy to hit with.
I'd probably go with Craft Wands over Craft Magic Arms and Armor. Another feat which seems worthy of mention is Craft Rods. You might want to clarify with the DM whether you can craft metamagic rods without having the metamagic feat in question. As far as I know it is legal, but I could imagine some DMs saying "no way". If the DM says it is OK this can be a very powerful choice.
The Shield spell is nice, but I'd probably rather cast Mirror Image unless I knew trouble was coming and got Shield up before combat. Regarding table variation on the quick draw shield, at the very least you could carry a quick draw shield around to help keep your AC up if you get ambushed and then put the shield away as a free action when you want to use Spell Combat.
I thought about using a quick draw shield with free actions to keep a PC's AC up while he was using a bow. I then realized that I could potentially do the same thing to use my one-handed melee weapon two handed while attacking. It all seemed a little cheesy though, so I skipped it rather than outraging the DM.
I think you can use a scroll or wand as a "seed" item to get a new wand started. This would be like cooperating with another caster to craft the wand except you'd just supply the spell yourself via UMD. The rules say: "In addition, you cannot create potions, spell-trigger, or spell-completion magic items without meeting their spell prerequisites."
Actually knowing the spell isn't mentioned, so hopefully just being able to cast it would suffice. Wands can be very efficient for low level spells you plan to cast a lot but can't learn or don't want to use a spell known on.
The feat probably needs a rewrite or FAQ to clarify issues. I personally wouldn't mind that much if they changed stunned to dazed though really the only problem I see with stunned is stuff like the Merciless Butchery feat somebody mentioned a while back which would let you get a swift action Coup de Grace.
Honestly that's not so much different or more powerful than Stunning Fist plus Merciless Butchery though unless you've got an entire party of Slayers rushing in behind your Kool-Aid Man. In our home games we house ruled away the Fort save from CdG, so I think the feat would be A-OK as is for us.
I try not to subscribe too much to the "A is overpowered, so B should be overpowered too" philosophy, but if Fear and Greater Forbid Action had their duration lowered to 1.5 rounds or offered a new save each round I'd think they were a lot better balanced than they are now. For Fear I'd probably just have it reduce panicked to shaken (still a very nice debuff, just not cowering and being killed for 7+ rounds). Those spells can be fired off pretty much any time. The feat is situational, targets a traditionally stronger save, has a more reasonable duration, and seems a lot more fun.
At the risk of being considered an optimization loser I'll admit that the Magus looks pretty cool to me. In fact, when my girlfriend played one a while back half the other players were kind of outraged at all the cool stuff she could do (how did she attack and cast a spell? how did she get a +20 to trip the BBEG with her whip? how can her Shocking Grasp do so much damage?)
Deadly Aim doesn’t work on touch attacks except with firearms. I think Vital Strike probably can't be combined with Weird Words since it has its own specific standard action.
@James Risner - That’s a good catch on Clustered Shots. It wouldn’t have mattered much to my Sound Striker since he had 4 levels of Paladin and lots of Smite Evil. He also didn’t have Clustered Shots since he was very melee focused.
I’d think the damage from the Bard you played would only end up being around 120-130 after the target made Fort saves, but even cutting damage down by 50-60 might be pretty significant. Anyhow, my point was mostly just that if the 3 Weird Word PC wouldn’t do well in the competition then it probably isn’t terribly overpowered. 70 damage with touch attacks seems pretty strong to me, but there are a lot of ways to do 70 damage with touch attacks already.
A single classed bard can probably afford to go with a "decent" Charisma. The Paladin 4/Bard X should get Charisma as high as possible though since it makes the Paladin abilities work. You don't need a great Int since you will get a decent number of skill points, and Wis can be dumped since the Paladin levels will give you Cha to saves.
The single classed Bard can be great too. I just like to make things more complicated.
@Ser Clay - I've used In Harm's Way before, and it isn't a free deflection. Your animal companion or eidolon has to take the hit for you. That's great when the hit would disable your PC or an ally and not bad when you dump some damage into the companion and then spend your turn healing it. It isn't a "free" deflection like OCW though.
That said, stealing the DM's hit with Mounted Combat is one of the great joys of the Ride skill (though that's often not an auto success either)
Would the bonus to grapple checks apply even if the grapple attempt isn't being made with an unarmed strike? For instance, if a Feral Gnasher who has Grab on his Bite attack hits with it and attempts to start a grapple does he get that +2 bonus?
I'll probably stay away from this with my Feral Gnasher since it seems like otherwise I'm likely to get FAQ'd.
The Witch can cover a lot of the same ground as a divine caster. They don't get Restoration unless they take the Healing patron, but you can probably get that as a scroll.
The Bard is a classic buff/debuff PC. If you want to make it a little tougher in melee you could consider taking 4 levels of Paladin with Oath of Vengeance. I played a PC like that, and it was a blast. He had super high Diplomacy and good Knowledge skills even though he was kind of dumb. The Dirge Bard archetype is fun and gives you some interesting spell choices though some might find a Paladin who dabbles in necromancy to be kind of a weird guy.
Another choice which would fit the "frontliner" role very well would be Summoner. They have high Charisma, and your eidolon could help out with skills if needed. You'd get Haste as a 2nd level spell along with some other nice buffs plus some Pits and such for battlefield control. You might want to take some traits to get Diplomacy and or Sense Motive as class skills though (or maybe a level of Monk combined with a trip into the Bodyguard feat chain...)
@Athaleon - I agree with your assessment that the player might get slapped in the head by the DM for playing that Oracle.
As I recall, enchanted haramaki is a little cheaper than bracers of armor. It also qualifies for some "armor only" enchantments the bracers don't.
I'd expect that some DMs might not allow you to put away a quick draw shield, use spell combat, and then pull out the quick draw shield again. If you wanted to be a real oddball you could take Improved Shield Bash and use a mithral shield as your weapon though.
@Will.Spencer - That's a really big change.
@MEL - I used to play with a DM who made all iterative attacks at the same bonus. It sped things up slightly for those who were bad at math, but full attacks were absolutely devastating. Dropping iterative attacks altogether seems like a better option in some ways, but it might require some work to balance manufactured weapons and natural attacks (which would allow way more attacks per round at that point)
5th level might be a little early for stunning multiple foes, but I think comparing this ability to Stunning Assault and Stunning Critical is a little tough. The Fear spell becomes available at 7th level and seems more powerful to me. Fear is a 30' cone which can be widened with a rod, has a higher DC, and lasts 7 rounds instead of 1.5. Terrifying Howl is available at 8th level and lasts 1d4+1 rounds. Sure, Terrifying Howl requires some set up, but maybe you can have the Bard play Dirge of Doom while the Rogue opens the door (per many threads he wasn’t going to do anything useful anyhow). Greater Command and Greater Forbid Action come online at 9th level (granted, I think GFA needs to be nerfed to offer a save per round like GC does)
@sowhereaminow - As I'd said before, accidentally stunning yourself when breaking through a wall might kind of make sense, but making yourself shaken if you don't end up stunned just seems silly to me.
Golf certainly fits some of the time periods represented in the Golarion setting. I'm not sure if there's "officially" golf in Golarion though.
This work out better in a home game with a DM who can be convinced that you should be allowed to enchant your golf clubs. You could have a bag full of them with one made of each special material and various enchantments. For PFS I recall that at higher levels a Monk of the Empty Hand can enchant improvised weapons.
I wonder if a Confused creature which babbles incoherently or does nothing would still bother to make a Fly check.
Being Slowed would probably make it tougher to fly around doing bad things to the party.
You might be able to catch some flying creatures with a net. They'd be Entangled and unable to move beyond the length of the attached rope.
It isn't a status effect, but a Wall of Stone could create a roof to protect you. I guess Tiny Hut might at least give you concealment.
I'm not trying to say that the feat "shouldn't" function except in a surprise round. I'm just wondering how it is supposed to work. The parenthetical "if there is one" makes it seem like maybe the feat is supposed to work even if there isn't a surprise round. That would be nice since PCs who like to break down doors aren't always great at Stealth.
It seems like folks want each class to have a unique role, but there are too many classes for that at this point. Warpriest is supposed to be a hybrid class anyhow.
The one Duskblade I saw in play didn't seem especially weak or powerful, but I he got retired around 9th level. The Hexblade, on the other hand, seemed kind of lame.
Other than the obvious RAW problems with making yourself stunned or shaken my big question about this feat is whether it does anything at all if there isn’t a surprise round. It says that “all characters within 20 feet of your entry point must succeed at a Fortitude saving throw (DC = 10 + your base attack bonus) or be stunned instead of acting in the surprise round (if there is one) plus 1 round thereafter”. If it just said “in the surprise round plus 1 round thereafter” it would seem clear to me that this feat only works in a surprise round. The parenthetical statement “(if there is one)” kind of makes me wonder though.
I happen to be playing a mythic Viking with a pretty high Stealth, so if this is available in that game and I can manage to fit it into his feat plan it might be a fun addition. He’s already known for his propensity to leap out from hiding and scare people with intimidate. Bashing through a door or wall with his adamantine shield and stunning folks would be great.
Douglas Muir wrote:
Or there's the piercing that gives you a permanent +5 on Intimidate checks for 3,700 gp.
What’s that called? I can think of a couple PCs who need it. Do you see a mechanical problem with this, or do you just not care for the flavor? +5 skill items are usually 2,500gp, so you’re actually paying 50% extra here. That’s still a 25% discount off the expected price if the item is slotless. Otherwise it is kind of expensive.
@Ser Clay - I wouldn’t put money on getting FAQ or errata for something fringe like this. Honestly I could almost imagine forcing the Kool-Aid Man to make a save vs being stunned since he just smashed through a wall. It is being shaken if you fail the save which is obviously flat out wrong to me. “Oh no! I’m scared of my own strength!”
Now that the stigma of "overpowered" is somewhat diminished I was actually thinking of taking the new Crane Wing with two of my 3 current PCs. I'll grant that the Crane Wing feat itself is only OK for most PCs, but a lot of feats are only OK. Crane Style seems nice though, much more efficient than Combat Expertise. Crane Riposte improves that efficiency and adds an AoO, so it seems nice too. I'm sure there will be Crane Riposte detractors too, but if you plan to fight defensively most of the time the +1 to hit is pretty similar to Weapon Focus, so the AoO is really just a bonus.
An OK feat sandwiched between two pretty good ones doesn't seem so bad to me. I know I won't change the opinions of the dedicated errata haters, but maybe people with less strongly held opinions read these boards sometimes. If so perhaps they'll give Crane Wing a chance.
I don't find that Combat Expertise has been a very exciting feat for my Dirty Fighter. Improved and Greater Trip and Dirty Trick were essential to the character I wanted to play though, so prereqs were the price I had to pay. The 13 Int prereq for Combat Expertise is a real killer for an Orc. I'd rather complain about that than Crane Wing. Defensive minded PCs with Monk levels are likely to be taking Dodge anyhow.
@Lormyr - I'm not the one who nerfed Crane Wing, so I can't explain why other powerful feats and abilities were left untouched. Maybe the squeakiest wheel got the oil. Anyhow, out of the feats you mentioned the one which really stands to me out is Dazing Spell. I'm a little ashamed to say that I've used it in the past. The DM was very sad, and for all future games I've suggested a house rule that targets get a new save each round to break the dazed effect. Even with that nobody has gone back and used the feat again yet.