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Devilkiller's page

1,402 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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I've always wondered how Black Tentacles knows which things in the area are creatures and which aren't. Regardless of the answer it seems that they can unfailingly "detect" any creatures in the area and attack them. I think this would apply even if the creatures were under some sort of non-detection effect. I suppose the easiest explanation is that the tentacles writhe around and grab anything they bump into.

Something which I've just begun to wonder about is whether you'd be able to know which square an invisible enemy is in if he is being grappled by Black Tentacles. In other words, would you be able to see that the tentacles are grappling "something"?

There's some good news - At least it isn't a Summoner bringing in Shadow Demons

I’d think that a ____ Shaman Druid might provide some clarity of theme and purpose, especially if it focused strongly on summoning. If the player is uncomfortable with having animals in combat I guess that might not work out though. Maybe the player wouldn’t feel so bad for dinosaurs and reptiles...tough to guess...

Evangelist Clerics seem pretty cool. They’re a little like the Bard but still have the Cleric/Oracle spell list the player is already comfortable with. Focusing on healing might be boring. Focusing on summoning might be great fun or annoying depending on the group. They’re just two things which seem like they’d usually be useful for somebody who wants to memorize the same list of spells every day.

@cnetarian - I’m aware of the post you referred to. After some investigation I felt that the extra d6s from Up Close and Deadly should probably only apply to one barrel of a double shot though some folks disagree. I wasn’t aware that flat bonuses to damage might not apply though. If so that would certainly bring the DPR back down from the clouds but also might make the standard action double shot at -4 to hit kind of a dud. That would be a shame since it seems like a fun option. I actually kind of like the idea of guns especially in regards to use by pirates. I just find the current implementation problematic. Honestly I've come to dislike touch attacks in general as they're too difficult to defend against without concealment, mirror images, etc (and even mirror images don't help much against somebody with 14 attacks per round)

Is using potions with SLWS legal? If so that seems like a nice trick.

I agree that a FAQ is needed to resolve the issue of drawing a "weapon-like" wand as a "weapon" while moving. I still think it seems like a pretty minor issue and hope that might make it easier to reach a decision on.

Drawing improvised weapons while moving (or as weapons in general) seems like a bigger and stranger issue which possibly deserves its own discussion.

Regarding the Magus vs the Fighter, based on my recent experiences attempting to play Fighters I'd say that the Magus is probably much more powerful not because he has high DPR but because he doesn't have a horrible Will save. If the DM is the sort who targets weak spots on the PCs the typical Fighter's path is a pretty tough one.

SKR's point regarding Spell Kenning is interesting. I wonder if there has been any additional developer input on that. The current rules for Spell Kenning say, "Once per day, a skald can cast any spell on the bard, cleric, or sorcerer/wizard spell list as if it were one of his skald spells known"

SKR had previously ruled that multiple spellcasters can cooperate to make magic items including scrolls and wands with one caster supplying the crafting feat and the other casting the requisite spell. You can also supply the spell via a magic item, possibly even using UMD, so it would seem odd to me if being able to cast the spell wouldn't meet the spell prerequisite for item creation. On the other hand, I'd consider a Magus trying to write a spell into a spellbook quite a different matter, especially if that spell wasn't on the class spell list.

@ElementalXX - I'm glad to see somebody admit that the double barreled weapons might be problematic or at least confusing. I think a simple ruling that the "double shot" can only be used as a standard action would be pretty helpful. The double shot would still be a useful trick for situations when you can't full attack, and having an extra barrel you can fire before reloading is a pretty nice feature to begin with.

It is true that the misfire chance doesn't go away until 13th level, but the highly vaunted Barbarian DPR boost from Come and Get Me doesn't come online until 12th level.

@wraithstrike - The OP's complaint was about a PC using multiple double barreled guns, so I think that including them in the discussion along with the Gunslinger class makes sense.

I'm not sure if the Frostbite damage on a spellstrike would count as being inflicted "with" a weapon. The Enforcer feat doesn't say that all of the damage you deal with the weapon needs to be nonlethal though.

Either way, if you're really into the idea of Enforcer + Cruel it seems like unarmed strikes or the Bludgeoner feat might be helpful. Of course you'd probably lose some crit range that way, but prolonging the fight isn't so bad for a debuffer. I think there's an archetype which could let you put Evil Eye on the enemy too.

On the other hand, I guess this is a thread about Magus being allegedly too good and ways to tone it down rather than ways to make it stronger.

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In some games I've seen the Wall placed along the lines on the battle map. In such games you can cause damage by placing the Wall diagonally or by placing it down the middle of creatures which take up more than one square. In other games (perhaps more) I've seen the Wall placed along a row of squares and affect anything which is in those squares. I'm really not sure which one is correct though letting the Wall occupy squares makes it a little more useful.

Moving out of WoF doesn't cause damage. In fact, a creature who starts their turn in WoF can move along its entire length without taking any additional damage, a fact that an old DM of mine used repeatedly in his successful bid to make me regret ever casting this spell.

This is a little off topic, but can you even share spells with your familiar using a scroll? I recall that wands don't work with share spells. Maybe scrolls are OK since they're spell completion rather than spell trigger. In conjunction with UMD that could open up a lot of options.

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When I saw players complaining about a Magus it wasn't due to DPR but the number of actions she was able to accomplish in a round along with some combat maneuver antics with True Strike.

Anyhow, I think damage can be overpowering, but this particular damage doesn't sound like more than a very typical Fighter or Barbarian with Haste could hand out around that level. In fact, when I look at 22 Str, Power Attack, and a +2 weapon either one of those classes comes out around 90 damage if we make the flawed assumption that all of the attacks will hit. It sounds like the Magus is making attacks on regular AC without the benefit of True Strike, so there should have a reasonable chance to miss at least against higher AC foes.

AC 29 is pretty good for 9th level though as somebody pointed out the familiar can't cast Shield on the Magus, so it should mostly be AC 25 unless the Magus knows combat is coming and has a chance to pre-buff. Mirror Image is a really strong defensive spell though. I'd expect that it alone might create a perception that the Magus is "invincible", especially since under pressure the Magus could always sacrifice some DPR to get Mirror Image back up with Spell Combat while still making some attacks.

The combat card sounds like a good idea. I wonder if a "Combat Rolodex" might help. Now I'm also imagining something similar as a DM tool for tracking monsters and initiative.

The Pistolero can be brutal, but if you're looking for the "smoking gun" which makes Gunslinger DPR go way up I think that gun is double-barreled. I think touch attacks in general are a game mechanic which could use a tweak, but it is probably the ability to get two attacks in the place of one which makes the Gunslinger seem completely nuts to me.

Since the -4 penalty for the "double shot" isn't likely to make touch attacks miss doubling the number of attacks seems pretty close to doubling DPR. If you restrict the "double shot" to a standard action most of the higher DPR Gunslinger builds would probably come back down to Earth (or Golarion as the case might be).

I'd hope that even those who don't feel the Gunslinger's DPR is problematic might wonder if it is really a good idea to have one gun which does twice as much damage as another. If the Barbarian had access to a "double-bladed greataxe" which can split each attack into two at -4 to hit I suspect that might become problematic too. Even AM Barbarian would probably do a lot more damage dual wielding "double lances". Game balance aside, doubling a PC's number of attacks can create more die rolls than some folks would like to see, especially if TWF is involved.

@wraithstrike - You can eventually reload as many barrels per round as you wish using alchemical cartridges. At lower levels this is expensive and will tend to make your gun misfire. At higher levels the cost is negligible, especially in the case we'd discussed where a PC pops into existence fully equipped. Even Paizo couldn't manage to slow down the Gunslinger's reload rate (they tried a free action FAQ, but it got rejected)

I agree that an Evangelist who summons stuff would be great. If you take the Animal domain and Boon Companion you can also get a nice melee pet who is always around. Eldritch Heritage (Arcane) could get you a valet familiar who helps you craft stuff and is good at delivering touch spells (like Cure Moderate Wounds, Heal, etc)

If you don't want pets or summons then it might be worth exploring what "support only" means to you. Would you be against using ranged weapons? How about offensive spells?

Regarding the tent and shower curtain I guess whether or not they block dragon breath depends on whether or not they'd count as a "solid barrier". I'd say that they probably shouldn't. They block line of sight, but perhaps they're too flimsy to block line of effect. I'm inclined to agree with Jiggy that perhaps they're just concealment. I wonder if the term "solid barrier" is defined anywhere in the rules or if it is just a judgement call for the DM.

As far as spells destroying barriers goes, I think it would be kind of fun if these two classic spells had a unique capability. I personally allow the 10' wide variant of Lighting Bolt and have convinced a few other DMs to do the same. Bouncing it off of things can also create some fun moments though I haven't seen that old rule used in many years.

@Jeremias - I can understand that you’re restricted to wealth by level. I wouldn’t think that the small price difference between a single and double barreled gun would make a big difference though unless maybe you need to enchant each barrel separately. If that’s the case it would make a pretty big difference at lower levels though a bit less so after 13th level when the misfire chance disappears.

@wraithstrike - The crazy go nuts DPR of the Pistolero I saw in play was certainly exacerbated by the fact she was a replacement PC who popped into play at 15th level with no concerns for how she got there and enough WBL to be fully tricked out with whatever crazy equipment the player wanted. I’ve considered limiting future replacement PCs to an NPC’s WBL. I don’t think anybody likes it when the “new guy” shows up with a bunch of material from newer books and glaringly outperforms the long time veterans. Even worse, it creates an incentive for old PCs to commit suicide by monster. Most folks I play with avoid that, but way back a DM did have to institute a house rule that when you die all your equipment disappears (Yes, there was actually a guy who seemed to be equipment farming…)

@Blakmane - FYI - The Soundstriker Bard got hit hard with the Nerf bat. Per a ruling by the Paizo Design Team you can no longer use more than one Weird Word on the same target. Having played with those rules for about 6 levels I can tell you that it makes the archetype pretty uninspiring.

I was wondering if Spell Kenning allows the Skald to write scrolls of the spells he casts with it. The rules for item creation say:
"Note that all items have prerequisites in their descriptions. These prerequisites must be met for the item to be created. Most of the time, they take the form of spells that must be known by the item's creator (although access through another magic item or spellcaster is allowed). The DC to create a magic item increases by +5 for each prerequisite the caster does not meet. The only exception to this is the requisite item creation feat, which is mandatory. In addition, you cannot create potions, spell-trigger, or spell-completion magic items without meeting their spell prerequisites."

Scrolls are spell completion items, so you have to meet the spell prerequisite. The rules say you can meet the prerequisite via a magic item or another spellcaster. It sounds like casting the spell from a scroll would work fine for that since a scroll would fall under "another magic item". I'm not sure if a Skald casting the spell via Spell Kenning would count though since it isn't clear if it is the spellcaster casting the spell which meets the prerequisite or the spellcaster knowing the spell (though he or she would still need to cast it too)

If casting a spell via scroll without knowing it works then maybe casting a spell via Spell Kenning without knowing it would work too. On the other hand, maybe it wouldn't since Spell Kenning isn't a "magic item"...not sure...

I'm a little confused about how the Skald's Inspired Rage song works for allies. In particular, I'm concerned that by RAW the allies might lose the benefits of the song in between turns. The rules say:
"If a raging song affects allies, when the skald begins a raging song and at the start of each ally's turn in which they can hear the raging song, the skald's allies must decide whether to accept or refuse its effects. This is not an action. Unconscious allies automatically accept the song. If accepted, the raging song's effects last for that ally's turn or until the song ends, whichever comes first."

It seems like this might mean an ally drops out of rage when his turn ends. That would be kind of disappointing since you wouldn't get bonuses on AoOs. It could also be dangerous if the bonus hit points suddenly disappear. Even worse, it would make a lot of the Rage Powers a Skald could grant to allies kind of useless. For instance, Beast Totem's natural armor bonus would be a nice buff, but it wouldn't help much if it only applies during the ally's turn, not outside of his turn when enemies are actually attacking him.

Am I reading this rule too strictly RAW and missing the RAI, or is this stuff all intentional? Have there been any rulings or developer comments on this? I tried a few searches, but I couldn't come up with anything.

Why isn't the Musket Master using a double-barreled musket? I'd expect that doing so would raise his DPR to around 125. I'd expect that a Pistolero might be able to boost that significantly with Up Close and Deadly.

What's not viable about the Gunslinger you listed, AC27? Ammo cost? It looks like WBL problems could be a little tight at 11th level. Things would be better after 13th level when misfires disappear. In the meantime I'd think that getting a slightly cheaper belt might free up some gold.

There are several archetypes which can completely avoid misfires at higher levels. I guess when I saw a Pistolero cut loose with 14 attacks in a single round for over 500 damage maybe it just gave me a bad impression of the class.

Either way I feel like touch attacks in general are a troublesome aspect of the game. I don't think that making it a little tougher to hit high AC monsters with them would really disenfranchise casters since they have a lot of other powerful options anyhow. Presumably the high BAB Gunslinger would still be able to score hits pretty easily unless you were taking a lot of attack penalties to overload your damage output.

@wraithstrike - Using a shield in both hands wouldn’t match up with my goal of being a “typical” (or perhaps stereotypical) Viking. That said, there could be some confusion between Makarion’s PC and mine here. My Viking uses a heavy shield in his primary hand and a light hammer in his off hand. The TWF penalty for that is only -2.

I actually just rolled up a cohort using the 3d6 method which appears to have under 10 point buy. After some racial adjustments the final scores look like Str7 Dex13 Con15 Int9 Wis7 Cha15. This might still make a serviceable Bard though I worry a little about whether such a character will be able to survive the rigors of a game with Mythic PCs. Having a cohort at all is some very powerful frosting on my already Mythic cake, but I'm still hoping the DM will let me use 4d6 instead.

@Pendagast - Besides helping to provide the healing often needed by PCs in oppressive campaigns the Evangelist could preach Inspire Courage to the pets and summons to give them an edge in combat. With Animal Domain and Boon Companion it could also provide a nice melee pet.

@thorin001 - Without some heavy investment it seems like the Fighter fails all Will saves anyhow

If you want to be powerful and help the party succeed in what might be a very challenging campaign then Summoner would be great, especially if you can get somebody to play a Cleric. Making that Cleric an Evangelist with the Animal domain might help a bit. I think a Druid could be nice too since you'd have a pet and potentially some summons to do the fighting and you'd get some great mobility and immunity from the elemental wildshapes.

If you'd rather just fit in and go along with whatever the DM has in mind that's cool too, but you could find yourself on an unpleasant railroad ride. Watch out for the dreaded DMPC, especially if it controls healing or other magic for the party.

We once had a DM who started a campaign by turning on his TV and showing us part of a movie where a ship was being battered by a storm. It really helped set the mood for the shipwreck which stranded the PCs on a tropical island without any equipment. As it turned out the far end of the island was a base for some folks using slaves to harvest coconuts.

The PCs eventually managed to sneak about one of the slaver ships, kill some of the crew, and press the rest into service to help them sail away and escape. Unfortunately they later ran into a naval ship from the closest port, and its captain arrested the PCs for piracy. This resulted in the PCs going to jail and being graphically tortured. It was kind of an odd campaign in some ways.

As a fun house rule I think that if you have an ability which allows you to use improvised weapons without penalty you should be able to draw just about any item as a weapon (including wands, rods, waffle irons, etc)

@Makarion - My Viking's TWF is done with a heavy shield lacking any spikes. Sneak attacking can be a tough assignment. Depending on your party composition Gang Up can be a pretty effective way of getting sneak attack damage though. It works out especially well if somebody in the party has a mount or perhaps a bird companion which can threaten the same foe as they do.

Deciding what spells to memorize is tough. Deciding how and when to use them can be tough too. The Fighter's default action of "hit it with a sharp thing" is useful against almost all foes. I think this is why folks tend to recommend Fighters to beginners. There are probably better choices since melee tactics can be complicated. Even just building a Fighter or Ranger based on ranged attacks might help since those sorts of PCs can safely react to most situations with "I full attack with my bow!"

The Cartomancer really does look pretty cool since you get Deadly Dealer and Arcane Strike for free. Getting the Returning property on your harrow cards is also nice though it would be a lot nicer if you could enchant those harrow cards as weapons. I'm not sure about that one way or the other.

Pathfinder Wiki says, "The Harrow is a method of divination widely used by many Varisian fortune-tellers". I'm guessing that they got that information from some Paizo source and that Paizo included material like this to help cover popular tropes from fantasy and horror rather than to offend anybody.

@Undone - Are you referring to the Summoner when you say "a class so broken that it has to be rewritten nerfed from scratch in unchained"? If so do you consider the Gunslinger (or at least some archetypes of it) broken too? If not is it because you believe the Gunslinger's DPR will be significantly lower or because the Summoner has such a wide variety of other spells and powers?

I think a gnome Bard sounds like a lot of fun. You might want to take a look through the various archetypes which are available as they can help customize your PC quite a bit. My favorite is probably the Dirge Bard.

@Mysterious Stranger - I don't disagree with you in a general sense, but you should try to understand that a lot of people feel there's an important difference between portrayals of advantaged vs disadvantaged groups. There was once a lot of prejudice and oppression against Italian-Americans, but now they're part of the mainstream, and potentially negative stereotypes in stuff like Goodfellas and The Sopranos don't tend to bother them so much. Some other groups don’t have as much social progress to take heart from or still suffer from more direct and present danger to their rights. I think that can make people more sensitive to stereotypes and other potentially negative ideas about those groups.

I think speech works fine for awakened animals, just not for folks transformed by polymorph effects. This is one reason why I was looking specifically at awakened animals.

Gypsy is indeed considered an offensive term by some people. This is one reason why I mentioned the term Romani and pointed out that the analogous race in the game would be Varisians. Maybe I could have done a better job by not using the potentially offensive term to introduce the others. On the other hand, there's a band called the Gipsy Kings, and Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello has referred to their music as "Gypsy Punk".

Speaking of Gogol Bordello and music in general, here are links to a couple of songs. The first is more traditional. The second one touches on the oppression of the Romani which has persisted even into modern times and the idea of "breaking the spell" which has kept it going:
Kanizsa Csillagai - Tu Jesty Fata
Gogol Bordello - Break the Spell

Emphasizing music in addition to or instead of just being a bandana wearing fortune teller might be fun though surely some folks could find that stereotypical or offensive too. I doubt that the OP's intent was to offend anybody though. He (or she?) probably just thinks this would be a fun character to play.

The Gunslinger I've observed in play was a 15th level Pistolero who jumped into a campaign fully formed as a replacement PC for one who died, so she never suffered from a misfire chance. Initially the player was also adding precision damage to both shots in a volley and using weapon cords to reload both guns (since the nerf hadn't been issued yet)

At high levels Gunslingers get some abilities to avoid or suppress misfires. If a PC were using Quick Draw to cycle through multiple guns in the off hand for TWF I'd expect those guns to be either non-magical or of fairly low enchantment levels. Obviously this would be less problematic than the twin +5 double barreled pistols I saw in play before the weapon cord nerf, especially if the Gunslinger in question failed to pick up Clustered Shots.

Thanks for all the suggestions, folks. It seems like most people would rather suggest alternatives to using an awakened animal than ways to stat one up. This makes me think that maybe the awakened animal is a tricky proposition.

Maybe the DM will have a great idea on how he'd like to handle it, or maybe I'd be better off looking at a cohort with enough Druid levels to wildshape into a raven. I don't really mind losing 4 levels from whatever her primary class is, but dumping 3 feats into Shaping Focus, Natural Spell, and Wild Speech might be pretty painful. I already had several ideas like that in the works. I was really posting mostly to see what people thought about statting up awakened animals as cohorts and if there's any generally accepted way of doing it. I guess there's likely not.

@Onyxlion - I think you’re reading way too much into my description of the tengu, a creature from Japanese folklore, as a “Japanese birdman”. I actually don’t have any problem with Asian themed stuff, and I like to reskin things to make my character the way I’ve imagined. There are some mechanical problems with what you’ve suggested though since the tengu’s alternate shape is size Large and the kitsune’s is a fox rather than a bird.

At least one of the players in the game has expressed dismay at reskinning in the past. I might be able to sneak changing a fox into a small dog by him, but changing it into a bird would likely annoy somebody. Perhaps more importantly, I don’t think either feat would allow the cohort to speak while in animal shape, and it is important for the raven which whispers Odin’s wisdom into my Viking’s ear to be able to actually do so (plus cast some spells)

@Te'Shen - Baleful Polymorph isn't a bad idea, but once again I'm not sure if it includes any provision for speech or casting.

There's a Deadly Dealer feat which would allow you to attack people by throwing Harrow cards at them. I'm not sure how effective it would be for most PCs, but if you're looking for style over substance it might be pretty cool.

I think there's some truth to the fact that PCs who stand out will be targeted, even if that's just being done by the campaign's villains as part of the roleplaying. If the Gun Goblin is pumping out 240 DPR and slaughtering everything in sight that's a big problem for the bad guys, and they might reasonably consider sending in some specialists of their own. That said, if you sneak up through the fog you'll probably be unable to sneak attack due to concealment. You also probably won't inflict enough damage to kill the Gunslinger with a single attack. There are also players who don't really care if their PC dies as they'll just whip up another at the same level with full WBL and possibly even the exact same build. IMO that's probably not a good cycle to get into, so the DM might have to step up and "just say No"

@Undone - I think 50 damage per hit and 60 damage per hit are at least in the same ballpark. The 15th level Barbarian I’ve seen in play most recently was a little under equipped as far as weapons go, and that probably accounts for the difference. Come and Get Me is very strong in my opinion, but to this point I haven't seen it become as disruptive as high level Gunslingers. I think the gap in attack accuracy between a Druid + Animal team and the Gunslinger is probably pretty wide though proving that out might require some spreadsheet work. Anyhow, even if PCs get their attack bonuses so high they can easily hit enemy AC it is fairly easy for the DM to raise AC, often without even raising CR much. Raising touch AC in rules legal ways is generally a lot tougher.

@Oxylion - Thanks for apologizing. I agree that we don’t know the whole situation, and I suspect that an “audit” of the Gunslinger in the OP’s game might well reduce the DPR and force the Gunslinger closer to melee where there’s more chance of a mishap. Maybe that will be enough to restore a sense of balance. If not I think it would be fair to consider harsher measures.

If thinking about a “gypsy” theme I can see the appeal of a divination focused “fortune teller”. It also might be fun to remember that the Romani (and presumably the Varisians) also tend to be very involved with music. In my mind this makes Bard a very good class for Varisian characters.

I guess if you’re set on a “full caster” then Bards would probably be out of the question. An Evangelist Cleric can use bardic performances and might be pretty good at divinations though not divinations. A dual cursed Heavens Oracle with Awesome Display and Misfortune could be pretty effective on all fronts and would fit your desire to disable people with illusions while you steal their gold very well. I guess Witch could be a fun choice too since Evil Eye and Bestow Curse would be very thematic.

It could also be fun to consider whether your PC might like to have a gypsy vardo (wagon). If so you might find the Sylvan blooded Sorcerer interesting since it gets an animal companion. My girlfriend’s “gypsy” PC in a recent game was Oracle 1 / Wizard (Diviner) 1 / Sorcerer 15 to make use of the Oracle abilities I’ve mentioned plus never being surprised and being able to pre-roll a d20 several rounds per day. My PC had levels primarily as a Dirge Bard since I liked the musical aspect and felt that the added fear and necromancy powers were cool. Our PCs both rode around in a foamboard vardo pulled by her animal companion (first a horse and later a megaloceros “stag”)

@Onyxlion - Calling my observations "crying" seems kind of insulting to me. I also think that a melee PC with a two-handed weapon is a far different case from a Gunslinger attacking touch AC. The ease of scoring hits on touch AC is the root of the "problem" I and some others see with Gunslingers. The DM can certainly take steps to counter this, but it can be challenging and is likely to require significant changes to an AP style adventure like the one which the OP's DM is currently running. Anyhow, just looking at the maximum or "average" damage a PC could do without carefully considering how likely they are to actually inflict that damage against a variety of foes might leave the Gunslinger and the Barbarian looking a lot more balanced in DPR than I've observed them being in both theoretical comparisons and some actual games.

@Undone - I haven't found that the Gunslinger's DPR pales in comparison to the Barbarian. It is possible that I just don't tend to see fully optimized Barbarians, but at higher levels I'd expect around 40-60 damage per hit with 4-5 attacks. It is generally much easier to defend against attacks on AC though, so I'd expect that a fair number of those attacks might miss. A Druid's damage is tougher to calculate since it could include spells and summons. In the right situation a Summoner can deliver absolutely ridiculous damage via stuff like smiting dire tigers. Those are attacks on regular AC which aren't very good at bypassing DR though, so the actual DPR will often fall well short of the sky high "potential" damage. With +5 guns or Force Bombs damage tends to be much more consistent and very difficult for foes to avoid.

I don't have anything against Asian stuff. Ravens "go with" Vikings really well. Halfling sized bird people aren't something I'd usually associate with Vikings though. I'd also been hoping for a Tiny sized helper whereas the Tengu Raven Form feat seems to specify Large size.

I'd actually be pretty happy to find a good solution other than Awaken. I just don't think that Tengu Raven Form is one of them. Sure, I could ask the DM to house rule that you can use Tiny instead of Large size. I could also ask him to house rule that the Tiny bird form is the cohort's "normal" shape and instead of turning into a Large bird it can turn into a beautiful human female with black hair. I'd call her the Bird Woman and give her a familiar called the mystical hen. It all might be pretty cool, but I think it falls a lot further from the RAW tree than asking for an awakened animal with point buy. I don't think the rules ever really say how to generate the ability scores for a cohort, so I might be in a grey area here instead of way off in house rules land.

I don't really have anything against house rules either, but cohorts are a very powerful option, so it seems like the more I customize the cohort and make up special rules for it the more chance there is that somebody could become annoyed or think I've pulled a fast one. It looks like multiple PCs in this game will be taking cohorts. The party is Mythic, and apparently it is normal for them to be followed around by a train of NPCs.

I feel that the Gunslinger class is indeed ridiculously broken. People can create many excuses for why the Gunslinger isn’t really so bad after all, but if it is doing 240 DPR in your game that sounds like a problem to me. Of course the DM can “fix things” by optimizing combat in various ways, standing on his head, or targeting the PC and intentionally frustrating his abilities. If the Gunslinger is making fellow PCs feel pointless and the DM has to adjust the entire campaign that seems off kilter to me.

One thing you should make sure of is that the goblin isn’t inflicting precision damage with both barrels on a “double shot”. I think this would fall under the volley rules which state you only get sneak attack on one ray of a Scorching Ray spell. If your DM is willing to use house rules I’d also highly suggest ruling that firing both barrels of a double barreled firearm should require a standard action or multiple attacks. That leaves the double barreled guns with a cool power for rounds where you can’t make a full attack without making them quite as ridiculously over the top. If the goblin has two guns you’ll also want to pay close attention to how they’re getting reloaded. People have already mentioned the weapon cord nerd, and I'll mention that it probably happened largely because of two gun exploits.

I suspect that my double barreled house rule is about as far as most DMs would be willing to go. I think it could also be interesting to change the rules for firearms or touch attacks in general though. For instance, if firearms could only ignore the first 10 points of combined armor and natural armor bonuses suddenly dragons would be tough again and going nuts with TWF, Deadly Aim and other penalty to hit for more damage schemes might not work out so well. Any DM who attempts such house rules would probably be forced to walk the plank though.

Of course there’s always the fact that Gunslingers don’t tend to have great Will saves. This is a big weakness and can also make them very dangerous to their allies.

@thegreenteagamer - You can buy firearm ammunition which works underwater. This is one of the few instances where the cost of ammo is actually significant to high level PCs, but it certainly seems like it would be worth it for a pirate themed game which occurs in and around water.

Regarding the tengu, I’m not sure if a Japanese birdman really fits as a cohort for my stereotypical Viking. The raven form is also Large size whereas I am hoping to get a cohort who can be Tiny or smaller to help prevent clogging up the battle map.

There's a list of monsters which can be taken as cohorts and what level they count as for that purpose ( That list seems fairly unforgiving since a Blink Dog counts as 4th level to start and an Azer counts as 5th. I'd considered whether it might make sense to use a Nosoi Psychopomp as a cohort instead of an improved familiar. Looking at the chart I’d think that such a cohort should probably count as 4th or 5th level if it is available at all. Giving up 4-5 class levels for a few nifty powers seems like a bad trade to me, especially when a spellcaster could simply take a Nosoi as an improved familiar (mostly to get spirit sense)

If I were willing to give up that many class levels on the cohort she could also just take 4 Druid levels and the Shaping Focus feat. With Natural Spell and Wild Speech the feat cost would still be kind of staggering though. All of this makes me think that maybe just having an Awakened or otherwise exceptional raven would be simpler and more fun. The DM seems OK with the idea. I don’t think either of us feels quite sure how to best execute it though.

I did a little analysis of a raven's ability scores and concluded that maybe it has -6 Str, +4 Dex, +2 Wis. I figured that using those racial adjustments along with point buy might be "fair". One thing that bothers me is that the Awaken spell by itself would never create a raven with a Charisma of above 10 whereas I was considering Bard as a class for this cohort. It seems possible to me that ravens might exist which have higher (and lower) scores than normal in certain abilities, but the rules seem silent on this matter except to say that monsters with class abilities get to use an elite array for ability scores instead of the standard array.

I agree that the Juju Oracle might fit the bill. I also suggest looking at the Spiritualist class in the Occult Adventures playtest. If you're going to take Bard levels I suggest looking at the Dirge Bard archetype. You can pick up a few select Necromancy spells that way, and it allows your mind-affecting spells to work on undead.

It is true that your Inspire Courage wouldn't help your undead minions, but if you decided to focus on Dirge of Doom instead and armed your minions with Cruel weapons (or amulets) your enemies might end up seriously debuffed. You also eventually get the ability to make dead enemies get up and "dance" for you, fighting as skeletons or zombies.

Depending on the game you're playing in it might be really nice to have a partner in crime, perhaps a Witch who could apply even more debuffs and heal the undead if needed. With the right patron the Witch could also help build the undead armies.

Would you allow a PC to take an Awakened animal as a cohort? If so how would you generate that cohort’s ability scores?

My concept is to get one of Odin's ravens to assist my Viking on his adventures. It would be easy enough to acquire a raven familiar via Eldritch Heritage, and that had been my original plan. A familiar with the same skill ranks as the Viking wouldn't be very good at Knowledge skills though, and those are one of the primary areas our party needs help in.

When toads come into contact with humans they often release some bodily fluids. A lot of frogs and toads can also make fairly loud noises if they want to.

15th level is too long to wait for something like that. Just allowing Weird Words to be performed with the normal action type for a bardic performance would make it more appealing though. I think Paizo was concerned that getting to inflict damage as a move or swift action would be too strong, but really I think it would be fine with the amount of damage being inflicted here.

There was a separate question a while back about whether you can start multiple bardic performances during a single turn. If you can't then a swift action Weird Word would be a fun option which makes the Sound Striker a little more interesting. If you can then you'd more or less have the 3 Words I'd been suggesting (which is another reason I settled on 3). I suspect that the former would be closer to the power balance PDT wanted for this ability.

The pickpocket kids could set up all sorts of roleplaying and even adventures. It could also lead to a PC freaking out and slaughtering a little kid. Depending on the campaign that might be fun or problematic.

If "every caster" has spring loaded wrist sheathes I think that contributes to a certain aura of goofiness. It does make me think of building an NPC named Magus Bickle though.

@Chris Mortika - I'd kind of forgotten about Weaponwand. It is a nice spell in games where it is available.

@Wheldrake - The physical description of wands in the rules says, "A wand is 6 to 12 inches long, 1/4 inch thick, and weighs no more than 1 ounce." A typical human could easily hold several objects like that in one hand based on "common sense". I could accept a DM not allowing that in a game though, and I'd certainly expect that you need to be holding just one wand in a particular hand to use the wand.

Infernal Healing is more cost effective, and if the Paladin doesn't like the "evil" healing that's what Lay on Hands is for.

Folks are getting into some very fancy abilities here. That's great, and I won't try to top it. My simple suggestion is to consider using a shield as one of your two weapons. You can even use a heavy shield with a light weapon in your off hand.

Using a shield will probably help out your AC a lot in the long run, especially if you invest any feats in it. It will also let you make use of the potentially fun Shield Slam feat. Knocking folks prone is a pretty significant debuff. If you're playing a class that's chock full of feats you could also consider Bludgeoner + Enforcer. I guess you could get a similar effect with one less feat using the Merciful property on the shield. Either way, get the Cruel enchantment on your off hand weapon and you'll be a debuffing machine. A prone, shaken, sickened enemy is probably pretty close to a defeated enemy. There's also a Hurtful feat which would allow you to follow the free intimidate from Enforcer with a swift action attack on the same foe.

Most of that stuff besides the AC boost and Shield Slam isn't really shield specific. I like shields though.

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