Also note that when crafting a wand you have to supply the spell prerequisite somehow. I think that using Magic Missile as a spell-like ability would work. Other options might include getting an ally to cast Magic Missile or perhaps buying a "seed" wand of Magic Missile and using it to help you craft others. You could use a scroll too, but that's a tougher Use Magic Device check.
I too am curious about this Magic Missile based Rogue. I'd think that a Scorching Ray based Rogue with Acid Arrow and Magic Missile as backup wands might be more practical. The ranged touch attack cantrips Bizbag mentioned could also be nice for lower levels.
@BigDTBone - Mystic Theurge sounds like kind of a bad plan for a summoning PC since you'll be stuck summoning weaker monsters. Do you feel like having more spells available to summon wimpy stuff makes up for that?
@EsperMagic - I was originally just pointing out that the animal companion might produce better results in game mechanics terms. Later on you said something about not being sure how you'd get the animal companion, so I went into more detail. Maybe it should have been clear what you were saying, but it wasn't clear to me. That said, enjoy heroism.
As an aside, I agree with you about SNA vs SM except that having played a high level Druid I'll have to say that the various giants are pretty nice.
Grapple is an extremely powerful combat option. If you’re a Monk/Druid with a good Wisdom your AC shouldn’t be so low, especially if you can get an ally to cast Mage Armor on you. That said, if the opponent is hitting you too much a pin can be a very effective defense. Remember that besides your free rake attacks you’d also still have your animal companion plus any summoned allies to help apply damage to the pinned foe.
Trip can be a little tougher to pull off, but with the stegosaurus (or a wolf) it is something free you get on your attack. If it happens to work you gain a great advantage, basically +4 to hit and +4 AC against that foe. Anyhow, the chances of it working might be better than you’d think. If you’re really worried about it consider replacing Improved Share Spell with Outflank and having your animal companion take it too. Put an amulet with the menacing enchantment on your animal, move into flank, and get a +6 to hit which I think would apply to the free Trip attempt too. There’s also a Tandem Trip feat somewhere which I’ve heard can be quite effective.
Another feat that merits mention is Powerful Wildshape, which makes you count as one size larger for maneuvers. This lets Grab, Grapple, and Trip work against more foes.
EDIT: Actually, the feat is just called Powerful Shape
Has anybody seen guidelines suggesting what mounts might be appropriate for PCs of a particular level? The idea that anybody with 500gp and some ranks in Ride and Handle Animal can walk into a store and get a tiger seems a little crazy to me. I think elephants only cost around 1,000gp. Obviously these are issues where the DM needs to make a judgement call when deciding what's available and what's reasonable. I just wonder if there's any guidance out there since players and DMs only rarely agree on such matters.
I didn’t think that the 3 attack proposals I’d been kicking around were “massive damage”, but I guess that opinions on what’s “massive” for a bardic performance could vary a lot. Maybe it isn't a question of whether the ability would be overpowered but whether it fits what PDT wants for the archetype. If Bards want to do more concentrated touch attack damage I guess they can just get wands of Scorching Ray. It seems less thematic for a Sound Striker but should be about as effective “on average” (potential buffs are similar, some stuff has resist fire, other stuff has DR Weird Words can't beat. etc)
Anyhow, here are some comments on PDT’s proposal:
Resource Cost - After some initial "sticker shock" at the price of up to 10 rounds of bardic performance I’ve concluded that Sound Strikers probably won't often find themselves within 30 feet of 10 different enemies, especially at higher levels with larger enemies. Being near 2-6 seems more likely, and a cost of 2-6 BP rounds seems less outrageous.
Damage Scaling - PDT’s proposed damage scaling on Weird Words seems alright for an AoE replacement striking lots of foes though kind of lame against just 1 or 2. Adding 1d8 per 2 levels instead of per 4 levels would be nice for fights without hordes of enemies but might push the AoE-like use over the top.
Damage Type - If Weird Words did sonic damage since then it might serve as a nice way to bypass DR and get in at least a little damage on most foes (kind of like Magic Missile). This might make the ability more attractive despite the less than exciting damage potential.
@Mort - My preference would be to change Wordstrike to a ranged touch attack power and make Weird Words an AoE. Based on PDT feedback I'd guess that isn't a likely outcome though. If nothing else it might be too much of a change.
@MechE - I'm also glad that Sean mentioned he feels the Thunder Caller is too strong. I’m inclined to agree though I’m primarily concerned with the potential ability to spam a save vs stun. I’ve been hoping for a while now to see a ruling that Thunder Call can only be used once per round whether due to limitations on bardic performance in general or Thunder Call specifically.
I think a familiar can go into a handy haversack if it wants to. I guess it might be important to determine if it could get back out on its own. I'd probably say yes since you can enter or leave other dimensional spaces like Rope Trick freely. This seems like a potentially dangerous gambit if handy haversacks react to being pierced anything like bags of holding do.
As an aside, I usually give the handy haversack to the familiar and have it act kind of like a caddie.
I’d use a human for both of these to get an extra feat. At higher levels you’ll be wildshaped a lot anyhow. I guess you could always say your PC is a midget. Anyhow...
This build assumes that somebody in your party will be casting Haste or Blessing of Fervor. If not then you might be better off taking Vital Strike instead of INA(Tail). The trick here is to share Strong Jaw with your ankylosaurus companion, increasing his tail attack to 6d6 and yours to 12d6. Your attack has a free Trip on it, and his has a free Stun. Maxing out Strength would be a good idea for both of you.
If you were human you could get a little more advanced with that extra feat:
Sure, your tail would only do 8d6 this way, but you’d have a better chance of tripping somebody, and you’d get a free attack when you did. If you were Hasted it would just about even out...probably not a big deal…
Here’s a build for a grappling Monk/Druid. I put the Monk level at 9th since that lets you get Improved and Greater Grapple all at once:
Halfling Grab-Cat - Monk 1 / Lion Shaman Druid 14
Once again, a human could get a little fancier:
Getting Dragon Style earlier would help you pounce a lot starting at 6th level. You could obviously swap out Dragon Roar for something else. I just thought it might be amusing since you could be a big lion who roars at people. I played something a lot like the "Grab-Cat" build, but it was before Ultimate Combat came out, so I ended up taking Improved Natural Attack rather than the Dragon Style feats. The loss of 1 caster level wasn't really a big deal.
Getting an animal companion is pretty simple. Just take the Animal domain. If you'd be willing to be LG then Erastil has it. If not then there's an elven deity named Ketephys who is CG and has it. As I’d mentioned earlier, flank is a +2, and adding a menacing amulet would make it +4. Summon something behind the enemy and flanking should be fairly easy.
Here’s a feat build out (human for the extra feat)
Of course you might not want an animal companion for some reason. If so then it would be easy enough to swap out Boon Companion for something else. Craft Wondrous Items might still be nice to have so that you could make various stat boosters and maybe some bane amulets to put on summoned monsters. Craft Rod might make more sense at 9th level (Kingmaker is a good campaign for crafting)
My plan is to make our Druid's animal companion rage. Based on the feedback so far it sounds like that should work since folks seem to agree that the "mount" doesn't have to be one which the raging Barbarian has gained from a class feature. The "adjacent" part is still a little confusing, but I don't think the DM is inclined to be strict about it anyhow.
As an aside, the powerful mounts such as mastodons which can be purchased from Animal Archive kind of bother me. I guess the DM is supposed to decide what's "right for the game", but I wish there were some guidelines on what mounts might be appropriate for PCs of a certain level, perhaps based on CR and special abilities such as flight, trample, pounce, etc. Maybe I'll think up some house rules for it.
One thing I'd never considered up until now was a non-Druid using a scroll of Awaken to get an NPC ally. I'd think that should be fine if the game were one which allows the Leadership feat and the PC were willing to take the Awakened creature as a cohort. If not it seems like an awful lot of power to gain for a little gold and a Use Magic Device check.
Since LordBennhana resurrected the thread to ask about Passwall I'd like to try to address his question. I'm not sure, but I don't think that Passwall would help somebody stuck in a Pit spell.
Per Create Pit, the walls of the Pit are made of "coarse stone". Are they 1' thick? 5' thick? Infinitely thick? Infinitely thin? I guess we don't know. Could somebody simply break a hole in the wall? Could a creature with a Burrow speed or Earthglide simply go through the wall of the Pit and into whatever material is beyond? I don't think so. Consider the case where a caster has created a 30' deep Pit in the deck of a ship which is only 20' tall. The spell says that the underlying material is not displaced, so I don't think that somebody swimming beneath the ship would see a 10 foot block of stone walls protruding from the bottom of the ship. The bottom of the pit isn't in the ocean. It is...somewhere else...
@ZomB - The table does indeed say that the modifiers are cumulative. That seems really odd to me though since the table specifically calls out artificial chimneys, which I’d expect would usually have 4 walls. However, I found a thread where James Jacobs says the -15 DC is applicable. That's enough to convince me. That will make it pretty easy for Large stuff to get out of the Pits, but I think they're still very useful spells if perhaps a bit situational.
Yeah, I have informed my girlfriend of the -4 nameless penalties from Bestow Curse, and I'm sure we'll see it being delivered via Spectral Hand next session.
I still think GFA is a much stronger choice than you seem to. That might be based partially on which monsters we expect to face. We already use a lot of debuffs, so I'd expect to see a lot of stuff standing around waiting for death. Our melee tank (my PC) is pretty effective, so just keeping monsters away from the other PCs is actually quite powerful.
We're 13th level right now, and the campaign seems pretty light on undead. This makes mind-affecting spells potentially more useful. The fact I've got the Dirge Bard archetype means my mind-affecting spells work on undead, but that's been more of a disappointment than a benefit since there haven't been many of them to target lately.
You’re right that there are plenty of ways for Forbid Action to fail. The Inquisitor has a judgement which gives +5 to overcome SR though, so SR isn’t a big obstacle here. If he invested in the spell penetration feats the check would be literally an automatic success against almost every creature in our general CR range.
A creature making the saving throw is more likely, but you don't have to affect the whole group for the spell to become "save or lose" on some members of that group. Even with just a 30-50% chance to affect one monster it becomes almost a "sure thing" that you'll get one if you target 2-3.
Ironically, I've always been a little disappointed with Bestow Curse. Don’t get me wrong, it is a pretty solid spell, I just find that I usually have something better to do, like:
I really thought my Witch was going to love Bestow Curse, but after a few things made the saving throw I realized I could spend my actions a lot better on seemingly silly stuff like Dazing Lightning Bolt, the bane of big melee monsters (Whether Dazing Spell itself is broken is probably a topic for another thread)
EDIT: I just glanced at Bestow Curse and noticed it can give a -4 penalty on attacks or saves just like Evil Eye. If you have Cackle then Evil Eye is still a lot more consistent. I guess combining them for a -8 would be really devastating...duly noted...
I’ve been summoning a lot of Bralani recently, and they’re pretty good. The Lillend can be nice too though her Inspire Courage won’t stack with yours the way it does with our party’s Archivist Bard. I guess you could Inspire Greatness instead though, and she has a heap of healing.
I agree with your plan to keep Wisdom fairly high. It affects lots of stuff besides summoning, and helps determines how many summons you’ll get per day at your highest spell levels. Your Str being so low
I hadn’t seen the “Summon Good Monster” feat before. It looks pretty cool, but I wonder why the table of additional monsters has a column for subtypes but nothing in it. I guess this means the monsters wouldn’t work with Sacred Summons whereas I’d think that maybe they should.
Craft Rod is great if you have enough downtime. Craft Wondrous Items is nice too though the two might compete for downtime. If your campaign has some common monster types you might want to craft a few spare amulets with bane versus their creature types. You can then put the amulets on summoned monsters as needed. It only costs 2,000gp and is on average +2 to hit and +9 to damage.
The main quibble I have is with Toughness t 7th level. Your Con looks fine, and you can cast Cure spells and eventually Heal. You also appear to be a back of the party PC based on your low Str. I’d go with an animal companion and Boon Companion. If you don’t want a pet maybe you could consider Extra Channel and crafting a phylactery of positive channeling. It isn’t optimal, but your party could save a lot on healing wands.
I find the Dirge Bard a fun archetype. It does use musical instruments, but it has some interesting options besides buffing the party, including stuff like making dead bodies rise and fight. The archetype also gets bonuses to the DC when generating fear effects, can affect undead with mind-affecting spells, and is able to select a small number of necromancy spells from any arcane spell list.
Even a “normal” Bard can focus on Dirge of Doom instead of Inspire Courage starting at 8th level. The DoD performance makes all enemies within 30’ of the Bard become shaken, so it is great for a melee focused Bard. Grab a weapon with the Cruel enchantment and anybody you hit will also become sickened for 1 round. There are also various bad things you can do to shaken enemies with feats and spells. This could all work out even better if you’ve got a Witch with Evil Eye in the party.
I’m currently playing a sword and board Paladin4/Bard9 who does both buffs and debuffs but is mostly focused on high AC and melee combat. I’ve made some mediocre choices while building the PC, but he still turned out effective enough that he makes the DM gripe a little.
If you DM has banned Summoners it might be at least partially because he or she doesn’t like summoned monsters. You might want to let the DM know your plan. That said, Evangelist is a great choice. CG seems like a good alignment since you’ll be able to summon azatas as a standard action. LG would be OK too since Lantern Archons can be quite useful, especially with Superior Summons.
Taking the Heroism subdomain sounds pretty brilliant. Another option you might consider is taking the Animal or Scalykind domains to get an animal companion. This option would work best in a game where you can take the Boon Companion feat. An animal companion like the big cat can be nearly as effective as an eidolon sometimes. If nothing else they can boost your AC a lot with Bodyguard and Benevolent armor. That should help give you time to use a full-round summon when needed. I guess they could also flank with your summoned monsters. With a menacing amulet that would give your critters +4 to hit, as good or better than Heroism.
High Wisdom ensures your higher level summons will be available more often. A metamagic rod of echoing spell could improve on that, and Scribe Scroll might help a bit.
Oops, I listed “Leave it as PDT ruled it” as Option #3 too. I can’t seem to edit the post for some reason, so let’s just call that Option #4.
@kinevon - That sounds more like the 3rd level Wordstrike ability. I don't think that adding a couple of extra words to it would really overshadow everything else the Bard can do though, especially if the cost were significant and he still had to choose between that and other performances.
@Ace - Using 1d8+Cha damage instead of 4d6 will actually be a control on damage rather than a bonus for any Cha under 30. I like the investment into Charisma that this requires as a gentle balancing factor.
@Bigdaddyjug - Regardless of what the original ability actually said, PDT officially clarified that the multiple sound per target use was not intended. I just happen to think that should be reconsidered. Even PDT said the limit made the ability very weak.
James Risner wrote:
Three people isn't concensus, and I honestly don't believe you will get what is being requested.
Three of four people actually would be a consensus. I also recall seeing several people post a while back that they kind of like the “Scorching Ray” model. Even if Paizo doesn’t like any of our proposals the discussion should give them some ideas as to what players and DMs might find appealing.
Blaphers’ point about the spell being language-dependent is a good one as this should help provide some limits or at least the requirement to invest some skill ranks. Our party has a wand of Tongues, but a fair number of tough melee foes like purple worms don't speak a language. Language-dependent is also a limitation on Greater Command though.
I apologize that my math for the rock attacks seemed so off, but I was thinking of the spell for a 13th level Inquisitor rather than a 9th level Cleric. AC can go up quite a bit in those 4 levels, as our party’s certainly has. That said, the giants are far less dangerous throwing rocks than making melee attacks, especially if PCs with lower ACs use Total Defense and or there’s anything to take cover behind.
There are also many monsters with ranged capabilities even more feeble than giants. Looking around CR8-13 I can spot a bunch of fairly likely victims. I’d say that over half of the outsiders could be in trouble, for instance. The fact Greater Forbid Action can stop dimensional travel for multiple creatures for a round per level seems pretty impressive to me.
Adding a save each round would probably make Greater Forbid Action worse than Greater Command to about the same extent that Forbid Action is worse than Command. That seems OK to me though honestly I wasn't so much posting to debate the merits of potential fixes as to verify that the omission of the additional saving throws wasn't just an error (as kaisoku originally wondered).
I find it tough to resist discussing this stuff though. With some time off work, my girlfriend sick, and all my games this week canceled I have more time than usual to sit around on the Internet wasting my time and possibly yours.
Most folks have stopped posting by this point. I can’t be sure who might still be reading. I think we’re pretty close to a consensus of some sort though even if James strongly dissents. I think I see a few options taking shape...
Option #1 - Improve Action Economy - This might be Ace’s proposal or something similar, perhaps even the original PDT rewrite. The key component is that Weird Words would no longer require a standard action. The simplest way to achieve that might be to let the Bard start it as a move action or swift action at the appropriate levels like most other performances. A few other methods have been proposed.
Option #2 - Improve Power - This would be vaguely modeled on Scorching Ray with words at levels 3/7/11, 6/8/12, 6/9/12, or whatever seems reasonable. Each word would cost 1 round of bardic performance, have a range of 30 feet, and do either 1d8+Cha or 4d6 damage.
Option #3 - Split the Ability - As the 3/7/11 variant of Option #2 but with an AoE at 6th level, whether that’s PDT’s version of the ability, something strange and unique, or maybe a clone of Thunder Call (if that wouldn’t be too much power for one archetype). Basically, Wordstrike would be replaced by the ranged touch attack ability while Weird Words becomes an AoE type effect (targets within 30 feet)
If this were an election rather than a discussion I’d vote for #3. I wouldn’t like #1 that much, but I could live with it. I didn’t detail physical vs sonic damage in any of the options since there are some advantages to both and PDT might have some feelings on the matter. Sticking with the original damage type would keep the changes less drastic and hopefully have a less dramatic effect on existing PCs. I guess there's also Option #3, just leave it as PDT ruled it. I think that's pretty unappealing though. Obviously there could be many and minute variations on each of these "options". I'm just trying to organize them a little bit.
Immediate actions do seem to muddy the waters a bit. I think that they're a special situation if they're cast when it isn't your turn since you're effectively using an action from your next turn, which might be part of the next round. Would it be fair to say that means you count as casting the spell the next round? I think so.
It strikes me that most immediate action spells are cast in response to something. The rules for borrowing an action from next round seem nice since that way you don't have to "save" your action in case something happens. The exception is if the thing you want to react to happens during your turn after you've already used your swift action. I wonder if there are any rules on how and when you can end your turn. For instance, if you fell into a pot could you choose to end your turn right then so you could use Feather Fall.
@Are - I didn’t try to say that you’d be able to cast Feather Fall before your turn ended. I just wondered if falling into a pit ends your move action and therefore your turn (thus allowing you to use an immediate action)
Kaisoku - The idea of doing 2 Forbids came up in our group as well. At that point the monsters have failed 2 saves, so they should really expect to be in trouble. That said, it truly does sound worse than Hold Monster with the exception that since it is language-dependent
@blaphers - Most giants don’t have any ranged attacks beside rocks. By the time you have GFA those rocks will probably need a 20 to hit most PCs. Anyhow, the spell can be used against stuff other than giants.
An excuse can be made for why just about anything wouldn't be overpowered. I'd think the easiest one here might be, "It doesn't seem much worse than Fear". Honestly it is a little easier to aim than Fear (a smaller AoE where you need to avoid allies) and gives finer control which could be very useful against many monsters. It certainly seems stronger than Greater Command to me, and for whatever reason I think that's really weird.
@Umbral Reaver - I'm not sure that applies if both effects were created by the same caster. I'm not sure if you can be affected by the same spell twice at one time though.
I know the combo works because I’ve seen it used in play many times. I guess maybe we had a “perfect storm” since the party included both a Sorcerer and a Magus who knew Frigid Touch. When something would get staggered the Cleric would apply Gentle Rest, and the monster would sleep. Using lots of monsters with SR is a reasonably effective counter, but that leaves the DM with the choice of only picking monsters with SR or applying templates to give everything SR. One seems boring. The other seems like it might be unfair and shouldn't be necessary to control a 1st level domain power.
I'm certainly not saying that Gentle Rest sleep combos are good in all encounters, but that when they’re good they seem too good. I guess I'm not convincing anybody here though. Obviously there were some other folks early in the thread who felt Gentle Rest is too powerful, but they've likely become bored with the discussion by now. I'll go ahead and reply to a few points anyhow though if we're going to keep talking I'd rather discuss why adding a save to the sleep effect would be bad. Is the staggered effect which the OP felt is problematic not powerful enough?
@Kyoni - Regarding your suggestion, I think turning the whole thing into a ranged ability with a saving throw is a much bigger change than just adding a saving throw to the sleep effect. I'm not sure if there's any real chance of the ability changing, but I think it is more likely that a small change would be made than a big one. Having "double jeopardy" for a powerful effect like sleep also doesn't seem like a bad thing to me, especially since unlike many sleep effects this one doesn't have hit dice limits and isn't limited to 1 attempt per day.
@Ilja - I’ll grant that a CR6 half-fiend minotaur with SR against a 3 member 4th level party is not particularly susceptible to Gentle Rest. That said, your example party is a PC short and uses pretty bad tactics. Throw in a Magus or something and perhaps they’ll do better. If the Fighter is going to double move and take an AoO why wouldn’t he charge? He could also hang back and ready an action to hit the minotaur with a polearm. Alternately the Fighter could wear full plate +1, carry a heavy or tower shield +1, have an AC of about 28-30 when on full defense. Then he could pretty safely wait for the minotaur to come to him and get in range of the touch attacks. That would become an even better idea at 6th level when the Fighter gains a 2nd attack.
The combo really makes more sense later on when 2nd level spells are no longer a precious resource. A clever party also might add the spell storing property to their weapons and armor and put Frigid Touch in them. The armor could obviously reduce problems with missing the touch attack as well as helping to suppress enemy full attacks. Perhaps that says more about the power of Frigid Touch than it does about Gentle Rest, but the two together can be a little depressing. I’d expect that if DMs used this tactic against PCs there might be some objections.
As Cevah said, if the Paladin readies an action to use Lay on Hands then this could go on for a little while until LoH is all used up and a BBEG suddenly walks into the bar, grinning with the knowledge that his corrupt bartender and violent waiter have robbed the PCs of valuable resources before the upcoming fight.
A human Barbarian with the Heart of the Fields trait can ignore fatigue once per day, which could be a more practical way to fit a once per rage power into an encounter twice.
I guess that 1d8+Cha as a swift action might be better than Arcane Strike depending on how many attacks you have. For an archer with Manyshot it might require some other buffs. I suppose it could be nice for a caster Bard who wants to squeeze out a little bit of extra damage. One weird solution would be to allow a 2nd word as a move action and a 3rd word as a standard action. I find that a little confusing compared to just allowing 3 shots as a standard action though.
@Bigdaddyjug - It seems like PDT does think the current version of Weird Words is overpowered. The days of 10 words on a single target are gone, and they aren’t coming back. If you want better single target damage than the PDT version then I think the Scorching Ray based solution will be about as good as that could possibly get (and honestly it might not even get that good)
@James Risner - I think the nauseate effect is potentially way stronger than the PDT version, especially if you allow the Bard to pick the type of save! Being able to target the foe's weak save with a crippling effect is why Dazing Spell is somewhat frowned upon by several DMs I know. Anyhow, one thing you've said which I actually agree with is that the Weird Words ability can't be all things. A page or so ago I posted a spoiler with the idea to split Weird Words up into two abilities, a ranged attack with 3 words, and an AoE. I don’t think that anybody has ever argued that the AoE-like use of Weird Words was overpowered or even particularly strong. Doing 1d8+Cha to all enemies within 30 feet seems reasonable to me. This could work just like the PDT power for all I care. If they wanted to give Sound Striker a big boost it could even be a clone of the Thunder Call ability.
As for the ranged touch attack power, maybe it would be better as a rewrite of the not very useful Wordstrike ability. It would become just a ranged touch attack which does 1d8+Cha with attacks added at 7th and 11th levels.I think it would be tough to argue that this volley of 3 ranged touch attacks could be “overpowered” since we know that Scorching Ray is a common spell from the Core Rulebook. 1d8+Cha should rarely be more than 4d6, which averages 14. Sure, other buffs could be applied, but almost all of them could be applied to Scorching Ray too. Even a Bard without the Sound Striker archetype can buy a wand of Scorching Ray.
I don't think Greater Teleport would help since the wording of the Forbid Action spell is actually pretty tightly written:
Greater Forbid Action wrote:
"Move: The target can take no act that would cause it to end up in a different location. The target does not resist being moved by others (and thus can be picked up or dragged, or can float along on a raft), but does not consciously attempt to move (including not directing a mount to move)."
I think that a devil using Greater Teleport would clearly "cause it to end up in a different location". Devils and demons are pretty well positioned against GFA since they can at least try to summon help. I guess one could also argue about whether Magic Circle Against Good would help (at least if the GFA caster was good aligned).
While Kaisoku and I have both seen the spell used on giants it isn't tough to imagine other groups of foes falling to it. If it doesn't have decent ranged attacks you tell it not to Move. If it does you tell it not to Attack. Some stuff with ranged attacks will also have very fast movement or teleport, but some stuff is outright immune to mind-affecting too. Most spells have some stuff they won't work on, but that is sometimes less important than what happens to what it does work on.
Anyhow, I guess my question is becoming less whether GFA is overpowered (which it might be) but why it should be so much better than Greater Command, which it otherwise closely resembles. I guess the answer might be "that's just the way it is", but it doesn't stop me from wondering.
I'll go ahead and address some points which were raised.
@Skylancer4 - I agree with you and feel kind of bad clogging up the Rules Questions forum. Is there a "Game Balance" forum?
@Kyoni - Touch attacks are a trivial barrier at higher levels. At lower levels they do provide some control, but the standard stagger effect would still have no save. I've tried to provide some evidence that this is a decent power. Some have proposed that it is flat out overpowered. Obviously opinions vary. The fact that they vary from "useless" to "overpowered" is odd but perhaps not unusual for the message boards. Regarding the Witch's Slumber hex, I think that's a pretty high powered option itself, but at least the enemy gets a saving throw, and if that save succeeds the enemy is immune for 24 hours. The fact that the Gentle Rest combo can act as a no-save "clean up" to failed Slumber attempts doesn't make it any better.
@Ilja - In dungeon encounters I'd expect that the PCs usually start out within a move or double move of the monsters. Even your 50-80ft average distance is something many PCs can cover in a single round. Even if the CdG guy is running a little behind it would be pretty trivial to execute the combo again once the enemy is prone.
@Kaisoku - Oddly enough, the encounter where I saw this used also involved giants. If somebody jumps to Greater Command that's actually better IMO since the monsters (or PCs for that matter) get a new save each round. If multiple monsters fail the save for multiple rounds that's just how things go. As is it seems kind of easy to lock down melee monsters for ranged execution. Maybe it is just a matter of taste...
@blaphers - The giants could run away if you forbid them to Attack. If you forbid them to Move they wouldn't have much choice but to toss whatever rocks they have handy and then stand there being killed for 13 rounds. Contrast this to Greater Command, where you can force them to do something particularly stupid but they get a new chance to break free each round.
@Corlindale - The fact that Forbid Action seems worse than Command but Greater Forbid Action seems potentially much more devastating than Greater Command is part of what prompted me to post.
I thought you were kind of planning on Monk1/DruidX. The bonus feats from the Monk level would let you master grappling without giving up much summoning. I've played such a build and can vouch that it works well.
The Saurian Shaman sounds like a mechanically solid choice for a Druid archetype though I prefer Lion Shaman myself. The big cat companion is great, the dire tiger wildshape works fine, and cats are some of the best summons. With the ability to apply the young, advanced, and giant templates you’ll have felines on every Summon Nature’s Ally list from II to VIII. Speaking of summoning, you might want to be cautious of Superior Summons depending on your group's style of play since clogging up the table to hordes of summoned creatures sometimes isn't appreciated. One big summon can usually get the job done.
Anyhow, if you're interested in either a pouncing grab-cat build or a heavy hitter dino build let me know and I'll post them. The dino build is a probably single classed Druid who hides behind summoned creatures to use reach attacks from relative safety. I haven't actually played the latter, but I'd guess it would work pretty well.
@Ace - The one use per round clause really helped me understand what you're trying to do with your version. I can see how something like that could fill a viable role in the game by letting you spend an "extra" round of bardic performance to do a little damage as a move or swift action.
I'll agree that if the power of the ability can't go up then the action economy cost should go down. One word as a swift action doesn't appeal to me as much as 3 as a standard action does, but at least it wouldn't be pointless. In fact, the average damage you've claimed would put your ability roughly on par with Magic Missile from a damage perspective. I think you've taken quite a lot of buffs to get there though. Good Hope is a standard action, for instance, and using Arcane Strike as a swift action means you'd have to use Weird Words as a move action, leaving no time for Inspire Courage.
I also suspect there could be harsh comparisons with the Thunder Caller assuming folks can ever agree on whether Thunder Call should work 1 or 3 times per round. Perhaps ironically, I'd be in favor of Thunder Call only working once per round. All things considered I think that would be relatively well balanced with what I've proposed for the Sound Striker though still stronger than what you've proposed.
Feather Fall is an immediate action, so you could certainly cast it as a reaction to falling after your turn ends, such as if you were bull rushed off a cliff. If you somehow managed to cast two spells and then fall before your turn ended I guess that might present an odd situation. The only way I can imagine that happening is maybe if you cast a couple of spells and then moved over an undetected pit trap, failed the save, and began to fall in.
I'm not sure if the correct ruling would be:
That said, I like the "1 spell per round" quasi-rule and would go with answer B for Feather Fall since it would likely produce fewer complaints. Feather Fall is kind of an odd spell and generates a lot of questions.
@Kyoni - I think your change is too much of a departure from the original ability. Mine would apply mostly in corner cases. I happen to think that they’re abusive corner cases. Opinions on game balance and the value of sleep effects is sure to vary widely though. That’s why I thought it might be reasonable to propose that Gentle Rest is “good enough” even without the sleep effect and therefore it shouldn’t be a problem to add a save to just the sleep effect (not the stagger)
I’m not sure why you suspect me of “fudging” saving throws for monsters. I never said that I’d like the sleep effect to have a save so that I could fudge it. Maybe some DMs would like that. I just want the monsters. and PCs for that matter, to have a fair chance against a sleep effect which will likely result in their death.
Regarding our "lonely BBEG" comment, many encounters published by Paizo and other companies only feature one monster. Most DMs I know run mostly published adventures and want them to be as "ready to run" as possible right out of the box. What happens to single foes is important. I’d also like to point out that they’re not always BBEGs. Not every monster should need a supporting cast of mooks. Anyhow, even if a fight has 2-4 foes it would often be pretty efficient to take out 1 per round with a coup de grace combo.
@Lifat - I too suspect that the chance of Gentle Rest being changed after all these years might be small. On the other hand, there have been plenty of new answers in the FAQ for the Core Rulebook this year, some of them less than a month ago. I guess the rulebooks have become living documents to some extent. I know that I for one almost always check the PRD rather than printed materials when questions arise.
More Detailed Analysis:
Opinions seem to vary widely about how tough coup de grace combos are to pull off, so I’ll point out that besides potentially setting up a coup de grace attempt the no-save sleep power deprives the monster of its turn, renders it prone, and potentially allows the PCs to all surround it. Even if they all just run in and whack it with a +4 to hit and then all get an AoO if it tries to stand up that’s a pretty good outcome for the PCs. Adding a save to the sleep effect would probably just mean that sometimes the PCs end up next to a staggered enemy instead of a prone, sleeping enemy. I don’t think it would be a disaster.
I’ll also point out that there’s no reason why monsters can’t use these combos. If the PCs are “foolish” enough to get within melee range of a monster some low level NPCs could open a nearby door, rush in, and start touching people. Soon it would be coup de grace time, and I suspect that at least some players would feel that it was a little unfair since their massive AC and saving throws were bypassed by some street level mooks. If a touch attack does damage the damage usually scales with level. Saving throw DCs generally increase for higher level creatures and powers as well. None of that matters here. If you’re not an elf you’re probably in trouble.
Regarding ghouls and such - I wasn’t trying to prove or even imply that Gentle Rest is overpowered against the leopard and ghoul. I was mostly just trying to counter the argument that is is useless. That said, I think that Gentle Rest could be reasonably useful against those monsters. If you’re not convinced I can go into further detail, offer other examples, etc. My goal isn’t to prove that the no-save stagger effect is overpowered, just that it makes for a decent 1st level domain power all by itself and having the sleep effect be no-save too is probably overkill.
Regarding positioning - Obviously the PCs won’t always be in range for a coup de grace combo on the 1st round. Many battles involve melee though, and once a PC or pet is in melee with the foe there’s a chance to set up a coup de grace combo. In pretty typical published dungeon adventures around levels 6-11 I’ve often seen the sleep combo play out like:
If the monster doesn’t have any ranged attacks the melee PCs might hang back and wait for it to close (perhaps getting some AoOs as it comes in). The Sorcerer could save a spell by having the Aberrant bloodline. There could be two Clerics or a Cleric and an Inquisitor. Against a foe without significant SR a familiar could apply Frigid Touch from a wand, or it could come out of a Spell Storing Weapon. A Bard could use Terrible Remorse instead. A sado-masochist Cleric or Inquisitor could wear Spell Storing armor to deliver the initial staggering effect when he or she gets hit and then apply Gentle Rest on the next attack. With the right feats that attack could be an AoO so that you could perform the coup de grace yourself on your next turn.
Sure, it requires a little teamwork, but a lot of that teamwork could probably happen in between combats rather than during them.
I've decided to seek knowledge through necromancy by raising this thread from the dead. Our party Inquisitor used Greater Forbid Action last night, and it seemed pretty brutal. I'll grant that 5th level spells are often pretty brutal, but as the OP mentioned, Greater Command offers a new saving throw each round. This seems pretty reasonable to me, and I wonder if Greater Forbid Action should or even was supposed to match Greater Command. The lower level Command and Forbid Action spells are very similar, so the difference in the higher level versions stands out a bit.
Melee focused monsters forbidden to Move can be blown apart from a safe distance. I'd think that being forbidden to Attack for 13 rounds would end up as a death sentence for a lot of creatures even if they had ranged attacks and spells. As an aside, the Inquisitor has been loading his spell storing weapon with Castigate, and I notice that both Castigate and Mass Castigate also offer a new saving throw each round. Once again this seems pretty reasonable to me.
I guess that being very fast or having summoning or dimensional travel abilities could get you out of many forbidden action jams, but there are a lot of foes who won't have those sorts of abilities, and only summoning would let you try to actually win the combat rather than just get away alive. That said, there are some other very strong spells like Fear in the game, so maybe the Greater Forbid Action spell works exactly as intended. I just thought it might be worth checking since it seems a bit off somehow.
I don’t think that getting the other side to admit that they were “wrong” is an important part of compromise. A “consensus” doesn't mean that everybody has to agree though. It just means that there is a general agreement. How PDT would judge when that has happened is not something I have a lot of insight into. I'm guessing that if nothing else they'd want to get an idea of what power level folks seem to be comfortable with for this ability.
@Ace of the Flesh Puppets - I think your version allows multiple uses of Weird Words per round which can happen in conjunction with other bardic performances. If so you're already about 2/3 of the way to my proposed single target damage of 3 attacks for 1d8+Cha.
Being able to combine the ability with other bardic performances might help make up for that lost damage. By the time the 3rd word would be gained you'd get +3 per word from Inspire Courage, for instance, resulting in 2d6+22~29 instead of 3d8+24~37. I won't deny that there's a difference there, but I'd think that being able to give your party +3 to attacks and damage in the meantime would make up for the lost 8 average damage.
If meeting PDT's goal of using "wasted" performance rounds is important I'd suggest that simply charging 1 round per word is a a simpler way of getting rid of rounds faster than combining Weird Words with other performances. Combining performances usually requires something like Virtuoso Performance.
Well, 137ben, your response is pretty much the opposite of what I was hoping for. I'm not too offended by you telling me what to do, but I think the term "auto-sleep" makes it pretty clear what I'm talking about. If you'd prefer to call it "no-save sleep effect" I guess that's fine. Your claim that Gentle Rest is "almost NEVER" useful contradicts what I've seen in play, but rather than just relying on my own anecdotal evidence I'll go ahead and try to refute some of your statements with facts and logic.
First off, while stagger is somewhat less useful at lower levels it isn’t “absolutely no effect” as you’ve repeatedly claimed. Consider the example of a CR2 leopard which attacks with a claw/claw/bite routine. Gentle Rest could be used to reduce the monster to just a bite attack. That’s useful. Staggering a CR1 ghoul to prevent two potentially deadly attacks and make the monster unable to coup de grace seems useful too, and as an added bonus the staggering effect lasts multiple rounds on undead. In fact, about a third of the monsters at CR1 are capable of making multiple attacks per round, and I’m pretty sure that percentage tends to go up with CR1. By CR5 Gentle Rest can prevent a troll from using Rend. That’s useful and might help save a PC’s life.
Your claim that “EVERYTHING” at higher levels has SR is clearly hyperbole and could probably be dismissed as such without further investigation. I’ll take the time to establish some facts regarding SR by consulting the Monster DB from d20pfsrd though. Sorting the 2,473 monsters in the Monster DB shows me that only 689 of them have SR, about 27%. Of the 533 monsters at CRs 8-12 only 189 of them have SR. That’s certainly not everything. In fact, it’s barely over a third (about 35%). Even in the lofty heights of CR 13-17 only about 67% of the monsters have SR (184 of 274). It should be noted that the percentage of foes with meaningful SR in an actual campaign might reasonably be significantly lower since NPCs with class levels are sometimes common foes and often have no or low SR. Even if SR is present it can often be beaten. Sure, it is a defense, but it is a defense which also affects most spells the Cleric might cast. If you have a 60% chance to get through you might as well get through with a no-save sleep effect.
I also don't see why you're putting so little value on sleep effects. A typical party is likely to have at least one PC or pet near an enemy. If the enemy goes to sleep the PC or pet can perform a coup de grace, and considering the Fort save that's almost certain death. Sure, some monsters are immune, but that does nothing at all to help those which aren't. This encourages the sort of limitation on the DM's monster choices which I mentioned earlier.
@666bender - Given your 2nd house rule about not buying or making items the Monk/Druid should be an even stronger choice than normal. You should try to befriend somebody who can cast Mage Armor though. Armor bonuses from items generally don't work in wildshape, but I think those from spells should be ok.
I kind of wish we could stop debating the grammar of the original rules text. I think PDT has pretty much stated that the rule was unclear. It doesn't seem helpful to attribute malicious intent to people who read it one way or the other. Even if we enlisted an army of English teachers to clarify what the rule really said we'd still be left with a discussion of how the power "should" work.
I doubt that the teachers would all agree anyhow. We'd probably just be forced to make sentence diagrams as they scolded us about dangling participles. If I fell asleep in class perhaps they'd attack me with Vocabulary Words(Su), a ranged touch attack ability which lets them do 1d8+Cha damage up to 3 times against the same or different targets. On the other hand, maybe they'd do a little damage against all of us with Iambic Pentameter(Su), an AoE ability which lets them do 1d8+Cha damage to all enemies within 30 feet.
Favoring monsters which are immune to sleep or making sure everything has high SR could really limit the DM’s choices in encounter design and might make it tougher to run published adventures. Sure, the DM can take some steps to counter the auto-sleep combos, but why should he or she have to?
Adding a saving throw to just the sleep effect would help curtail combinations which some of us consider abusive. Even if you don't feel that the auto-sleep combos are abusive perhaps you can empathize with the people who do instead of putting all your efforts into "proving" there isn't a problem. If you can show us that Gentle Rest is not a worthwhile power without the no-save sleep effect perhaps you'll influence us to change our minds. On the other hand, if you can admit that it would be a pretty good power even with a saving throw on the sleep effect maybe we could change your minds instead.
I'm glad to see that the "something like Scorching Rays" theory seems to be gaining a little momentum. Any solution which involves the ability to make up to 3 touch attacks against the same or different foes for somewhere in the 10-14 average damage range (before buffs) will basically have my support.
@SKR - Thanks for clarifying that the attacks are magical. That’s actually quite helpful since it allows the ability to overcome a common form of DR.
@Tels - I always felt that the ranged touch attack solutions we were tossing around before would have included the capability to be enhanced by buffs which enhance weapon attacks (at least based on the FAQ linked by SKR). This is one reason why I’ve been so hot on limiting the number of words/rays/attacks to 3 to ensure that scaling issues don’t get any more out of hand than they already might with the more ubiquitous Scorching Ray (which is already available to Bards in wand form)
A More Radical Proposal(rewrite the archetype):
If somebody let me rewrite the archetype I’d probably move the ranged touch attack power down to 3rd level, start it out at 1 attack at 1d8+Cha, and add another attack at levels 7 and 11 (just like Scorching Ray). Keeping the 30 foot range limitation might make sense since PDT seems concerned that the Sound Striker's abilities shouldn't completely obviate weapon use.
I’d then modify the 6th level power to be basically an AoE which does minor damage such as 1d8+Cha to all enemies within 30 feet. I don’t think it honestly makes much difference if you’ve got 3 enemies or 10 within that range, hitting them all for 1d8+Cha probably isn’t a big deal. I wouldn’t include any saving throw on the ranged touch attack power, and I wouldn’t include any attack roll on the AoE power. Whether to scale up the AoE damage and offer a save for half on that seems like a matter of taste. I guess it would make folks with Stalwart happy.
I fear that these changes might be too much of a departure from the original archetype for PDT to seriously consider them, but it would fix the pointless 3rd level ability as well as the potentially problematic 6th level ability. The archetype would have a pair of distinct and useful powers. I’d be happy to play the resulting archetype and suspect that after some initial shock at losing their overpowered “big gun” most existing Sound Striker players in PFS and elsewhere might grudgingly admit that the archetype was still useful and fun. At least I’m pretty sure they’d like it better than the first PDT revision, which makes the AoE aspect very expensive and the single target aspect frustratingly weak.
Obviously 95% assured damage from a ranged touch attack will always be useful on some practical level, but it is tough making the decision to shoot somebody for about 12 "assured" damage when you could be firing your bow 3-4 times while giving your entire party +2 to attacks and damage. Increasing the single target damage to an effective but not broken level would give the Sound Striker an interesting decision to make each round instead of just making his or her allies groan when the piddly word based ranged touch attack power is deployed.
I’ve seen the auto-sleep combo in play with 2 casters who had Frigid Touch and a Cleric with Gentle Rest. It was absolutely brutal. I wouldn’t say that it “ruined” the campaign, but it probably could have. I think it might have been far worse if I were running an AP and therefore couldn’t easily adjust to use more monsters with a chance to resist the power (OK, a DM running an AP can adjust, but completely overhauling published adventures to deal with overpowered abilities seems like the antithesis of game balance)
It is possible to rationalize just about any power in the game. It is also possible to foil just about any power, especially when people propose stuff like having the DM invent custom magic items which prevent the power from working on certain enemies. “If the DM is arbitrary and unfair then the power won’t work except when he lets it” isn’t really the sort of game balance I want though.
Pointing out some situations in which the Gentle Rest might somehow fail or the sleep combo might not work doesn’t change the fact that Gentle Rest would be a pretty good domain power even if it just staggered foes without a save. In fact, the OP is proposing that function alone is overpowered. I’m not willing to go that far since Frigid Touch and some other abilities provide a no-save stagger and Paizo seems committed both to providing ways to stagger foes and providing something for them to do while staggered (Vital Strike etc).
What I will say again though is that since the sleep effect is just an added bonus on top of an already solid domain power perhaps it would be best to offer a saving throw vs the sleep effect. This wouldn’t make the power “worthless”. It wouldn’t even make it “too risky” since worst case you’re next to a staggered foe. The enemy could still fail the save and likely get killed. Gentle Rest would still be a powerful ability. Maybe “everybody” could be happy. Why does Gentle Rest need to have a no-save sleep power built in? It would be difficult to argue that the Repose Domain would be too weak without it, especially when the 8th level power is also very strong though more situational.
Gentle Rest sleep combos are not difficult to pull off unless every enemy has advance knowledge of the PCs and takes care to stay away from melee. Even if the party can’t get in place to set up CdG in the 1st round they can auto-sleep the enemy and surround it while it is prone. Depending on the initiative count they can probably stagger it again before it gets a chance to stand up. Even a no-save trip effect which causes you to lose a turn would be pretty strong. Once again, why does the Repose domain need this added power? Wouldn’t adding a saving throw to the sleep effect be more fair?
@Ilja - The fact that you have to get into melee range with the enemy is not a powerful limiting factor, especially not on the auto-sleep combo. The worst case there is probably that you end up adjacent to a staggered foe. Clerics can be a viable class to stand in melee unless the DM amps up the monsters...perhaps to compensate for stuff like auto-sleep combos...
@Jiggy & Gluttony - Your sarcasm is amusing but doesn’t change the fact that the auto-sleep combos can be used across a wide range of encounters and CRs throughout a campaign to easily kill many if not most monsters not immune to sleep without much if any real challenge. I don't think the comparison to sneak attack is particularly apt since straw men are immune to sleep effects.
@insaneogeddon - I think you’ve hit upon the idea of: Would this power seem fair if the DM used it? I think the answer for “normal” players would be, “Hell no!”
@Karui Kage - I’m glad to see somebody agrees about offering a saving throw vs the sleep effect. It seems almost like a "no brainer" fix to me. A no-save stagger ability which can also trigger a save vs sleep would still be quite powerful IMO without being a "sure win"
Taking a level of Monk to ease your access to grappling feats works out well. I've personally done it twice in the past, once back in 3.5. I think that 9th level is a great time for the Monk level since you can pick up IUS, Improved Grapple, and Greater Grapple all at once and should already have access to some nice grappling shapes like the dire tiger, which has Grab for +4 grapple and can rake.
It could also make sense to take the Monk level earlier to gain Wisdom to AC in wildshape long before you can afford wild armor. You also might be able to flurry for decent damage with Shillelagh starting at 2nd level though there's likely to be variation on that from table to table. In my Pathfinder Monk/Druid experience I found that the PC's animal companion was still very helpful despite the lost level. Since your Armor Class could lag a bit at higher levels you might want to consider having the animal companion take the Bodyguard feat.
The only real pain I felt was waiting until 14th level for Heal.
I bought a pack of Litko's dirt cheap magnetic bases, and they work just fine though they're perhaps a little thin since they're really meant to adhere to the bottom of an existing base. I don't think the lack of height is a big problem, and it actually seems ideal for those of us too lazy to remove the broccoli from our Bones.
Another fringe benefit of the magnetic bases is that their sticky surface allows you to quickly base minis with them on demand. This has worked out great for Mage Knight minis I've popped off their bases. It might even provide an easier way than pins to help secure minis which mount and dismount other minis. I've had a bunch of Medium minis based this way for months at a time, and it has worked out OK. One even did a short stint as a PC.
As folks seem to be advising, if you care about getting the details of PC minis right you really should consider modding. You can get a lot of very cheap (often used) minis online. Chopping parts off one for use on another is fun and effective.
I've also got some old plastic sprue frames of spare mini parts an old acquaintance gave me, and they are quite useful. The set includes all sorts of weapons and shields plus capes, heads, and arms (often complete with wielded weapons). I'm not sure where the best place to get such stuff new is, but I the stuff I have was produced by Games Workshop (though back in the 90s)
This trick doesn't really require enough investment to make you a one trick pony. Anyhow, we'll never all agree that the existing ability (or probably any existing ability at all) is overpowered. I wonder if we might possibly agree that adding a saving throw to just the sleep effect wouldn't make the ability "underpowered" though.
A no save stagger multiple times per day as a 1st level domain power seems like a decent ability to me, and there's even an additional longer term stagger which can be used against undead. The sleep effect seems like gravy. I don't think the ability needs such powerful gravy, but adding a saving throw would really help.
@Tels - I’m aware that many Bards seen in actual play won’t have the +8 Charisma modifier that James has proposed. I’ve included the Charisma modifier in the damage more as a control than as a straight up benefit. That said, 4d6 damage per word is in the same ballpark, so I wouldn’t be too upset either way.
@mplindustries - I notice that you referred to Scorching Ray as a weak spell. I personally consider it a fairly strong spell, but I hope we can all agree that it is within the power spectrum generally considered acceptable.
@Millefune - Based on PDT's feedback I think that halving the number of attacks but removing the Fort saves doesn't nerf the potential single target damage output enough. Many foes would have made most or all of the saves anyhow.
Your point about sonic damage and Resist Energy is interesting though. I guess that doing sonic damage vs physical damage is kind of a mixed bag at least in games where the DM puts buff spells on a lot of the monsters. I don't think Clustered Shots would work on Weird Words since CS requires you to use a full-attack action.
I agree that the ability is overpowered. I happen to think that only the sleep part is really overpowered though. There are several low level spells which can stagger an opponent with no saving throw, so I accept that as being fairly "normal". Being able to put a staggered opponent to sleep with no saving throw is outlandish though. Adding a saving throw vs the sleep effect would make the ability powerful but within the bounds of reason.
I guess my stance here might seem kind of extreme, but there's been a profusion of other abilities which stagger foes since the Core book came out, and every new one adds to the potential for Gentle Rest abuse. I've seen a Frigid Touch plus Gentle Rest tag team in action, and it can be pretty ugly. Gentle Rest would be a decent power even without the sleep ability, so offering a save on that part wouldn't make it "worthless" (especially compared to some of the other 1st level domain powers)
I agree that prereqs can usually come from a combination of classes. It just isn't clear that "arcane spellcaster level" means here. I'd imagine that many PCs have been built on the assumption that it means "caster level in any arcane class". I'd also imagine that many others have been built on the assumption that it means something more like "effective wizard level in the class which grants the familiar". I don't see either one as problematic from a game balance perspective and wonder if it might be best to let both work.
If you don't want to hold items with the front feet everything should be fine even if you use the quadraped base form. If you do I'm not sure you're out of luck either though. It strikes me that dragons are quadrapeds but can manipulate items with their front claws.
I wouldn't be surprised if grasping stuff in Claws like a dragon would is permissible too. The eidolon model for dragon-like eidolons is a quadraped with Claws, and I'd imagine it being able to grasp objects (though maybe I'm wrong)
Ultimate Magic wrote:
I wouldn't see allowing a quadraped eidolon with the Claws evolution to grasp items as being overpowered since the Claws themselves have a cost and most worthwhile uses of being able to grasp items will require other abilities which cost skill ranks, evolution points, or feats. I guess going by the strictest interpretation of RAW maybe it wouldn't be possible though.
As a sidebar item, I wonder how folks would feel about an eidolon grasping items with a tentacle. An Alchemist tentacle can grasp, but based on Animal Archive an octopus tentacle apparently can't. The eidolon Tentacle evolution doesn't say anything, so I guess by RAW maybe it can't grasp even though grasping things is kind of what tentacles do.
In last night's session we had an encounter with 2 ropers and a neothelid. Our 13th level Barbarian was hit by 5 roper strands. He made all 5 Fort saves but we drawn 25 feet closer to the roper. At that point he was bitten and grabbed by a neothelid which was hidden behind a cliff. As it happened, the neothelid was adjacent to the roper. If it had not been would it have been able to pull the PC away from the roper despite the strands? Would it have needed to make a CMB check against the roper to do so?
The next round my Monk1/Summoner12 ordered an augmented Huge air elemental in whirlwind form to go pick up the ropers and drop them in a nearby chasm. Both ropers took damage, but only one was swept up in the whirlwind and carried away for a plunge into the 1,000 foot chasm. If I had managed to pick up the roper attached to the Barbarian I was planning to drop him immediately anyhow (the PC speaks Auran and therefore could issue such an order). If the attached roper had been sucked up in the whirlwind would the Barbarian be pulled up too? If so would the fact that he was being grappled by the neothelid would stop that?
Later in the same round my PC cast Acid Pit under the remaining roper, which failed the saving throw. Luckily for the party the falling and acid damage combined were enough to finish off the creature, which had already taken some damage. I wondered in retrospect whether the 50 foot fall should have resulted in the Barbarian being carried along since only about 25 feet of strands remained between him and the monster. Once again I wonder how the fact that the Barbarian was being grappled by a neothelid might have affected this. Should he have just ended up with a roper dangling from him? If so should that have caused some damage?
I’m putting this in the “Advice” section since I don't really expect to find RAW answers to most of the resulting questions. I was not the DM for this encounter, but I’m curious about how other DMs might have ruled on things.