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I'm curious about why people like Ultimate Mercy so much. I took it because it seems cool for my PC to be able to bring back the dead with Lay on Hands. It doesn't seem like a very effective or efficient feat though. Here are some potential problems I see with Ultimate Mercy:
Overall I've enjoyed having the feat, but it hasn't been terribly useful. I've certainly saved us some gold, but I probably could have saved more with a crafting feat.
The Glossary on the Paizo PRD appears to have a different and longer definition for Helpless. It also has some other rules for Pinned which include losing your Dex bonus but don't seem to include having a Dex of 0.
PRD Glossary wrote:
If "pinned = helpless" then I guess somebody with Rapid Grappler could pin you as a swift action and CdG you as a full-round action. I don't think that's intended though I couldn't say for sure.
@Jiggy - Unless there's a FAQ I guess JJ's post is probably the closest thing we have to an official ruling. I'll ask the groups I play with to consider it. Of course a group of harpies could still pull a stunt where they all sing and then one stops to go kill the captivated victims. It seems like there should probably be a new saving throw if you get attacked, but the ability doesn't say anything about that.
@Sindalla - I think "held" in this case refers to effects like Hold Person. If you have somebody pinned you can use rope to tie them up though.
It seems like folks disagree pretty strongly. I think it would be interesting to know the official answers to these questions.
If the harpy doesn't need to use a standard action to maintain the captivating song it is a very dangerous monster. If it does need to maintain the song with a standard but can perform a coup de grace on a captivated foe it is a fairly dangerous monster. If it needs to maintain as a standard action and can't perform a coup de grace on a captivated foe it is kind of a goofy monster which might be fun around natural hazards. I think the version which doesn't need to maintain seems pretty dangerous for CR4, especially in groups.
I think that hiding a door by putting a wall which looks like a wall in front of it is significantly different than hiding people by putting a wall which looks like an open area in front of them. One interesting side effect of something like this is that See Invisibility and Glitterdust wouldn't help.
I think it would be fun using harpies to lure victims off cliffs, into pits, and through trapped areas.
@Phosphorus - The text you quoted also says that using a supernatural ability "does not require concentration", so it seems to me like there could still be room for confusion since concentration can refer to maintaining an effect once it is active as well as to casting a spell while distracted. I think it is being used in the latter sense here, but as I'd said before, I've seen multiple DMs rule that the harpy can keep on singing during a full attack.
I haven't run my long running but poorly organized ongoing campaign in a while since we've been busy finishing off a Second Darkness game. Before that there was a new Gunslinger PC blowing away every monster in a single round with 400+ damage. She got eaten by sea serpents though, and I expect things will go back to normal now, whatever normal is at 16th level...
I guess the Second Darkness game is going OK other than the fact the DM thinks my AC is too high. My other group's Kingmaker game seems OK too though that DM also wishes I'd lower my AC and take a PC death once in a while. I guess it is kind of like, "Come on, all the other PCs die once in a while, why not yours too?" We have fun anyhow though, and the other PCs know that if they get killed mine can bring them back at a discount with Ultimate Mercy.
Craft Wondrous Items can be a nice feat for any caster. I'd watch out if the Summoner is taking the feat at the behest of another PC though. Even if you don't use the +25% WBL suggestion from Ultimate Campaign you might find that the Summoner barely has enough downtime in a typical campaign to craft stuff for the Summoner and eidolon, much less for allied PCs. This becomes even more true at higher levels as magic item prices soar.
@MC Templar - The Skilled evolution is another reason besides low cost Haste and lots of Lesser Evolution Surges why I think Craft Wands is great for a Summoner. The Evolved Familiar feat can help lower Charisma familiars get in on the wand jockey action too.
To me a more pressing question about Captivating Song is what sort of action the harpy needs to use to maintain it. If it is a free action then a few failed saves can result in a TPK, which seems bad. This is how I've seem most GMs rule it, but I'm not sure if it is correct.
If maintaining the song is a standard action then the average harpy only gets 1 round of free attacks on 1 victim, which seems pretty weak without coup de grace. Of course victims who fail 2 saves might walk off a cliff, so the monster could still have its uses.
As illusion of walls with paintings of an empty intersection is probably not just kosher but parve. I'm not sure it would do a very good job of fooling anybody though. An illusion of some laundry hanging out to dry, a large wagon blocking the intersection, or something like that might be easier to get away with.
All of this talk about stoning people to death for the greater good seems misleading to me. In one old story I heard, somebody asked whoever was without sin to cast the first stone at an adulteress, but apparently nobody stepped up to the plate. I’m with that guy on this one. Pretending that people weren't horny in previous eras doesn't have much to do with the subject of how one should handle horny PCs in a Pathfinder game though, so maybe we should get back on track with a focus on fun.
When sex comes up in our games it is mostly a joke. One time a female PC (played by an actual woman) in a game I was running decided to have sex with an amorous Flail Snail. As an entomologist the player was aware of the details of snail sex and apparently decided it might be fun. The in game details were limited but disturbing. During an undercover adventure I also once roleplayed another PC into allowing himself to be sodomized by drow to help avoid blowing our cover. It was an instant classic. Just using Diplomacy and saying "I rolled a 34, you know you want it!" wouldn't have been as amusing as making people decide how a PC or NPC would feel and act in a certain situation.
Regarding the "half" races, I don't think that the presence of prejudice in Golarion is supposed to imply that it is a good thing. To me it seems to offer something that the PCs can strive against.
I’d like to express solidarity with CNB on the idea that Adventure Paths should be basically playable as written assuming a 4 PC party using 15 point buy. If there are more than 4 PCs the DM might want to consider making easy changes to encounters by applying a +1 CR template or adding an extra monster. It also looks like the point buy here might have been higher than 15. If so that's even more reason to buff things up a little.
Anyhow, I think there are some positives here. While having an “untouchable” PC might aggravate the DM the PC’s AC won’t generally hop up and kill monsters in a single round. I’ve seen casters sporting a similar AC and or Mirror Images who blow through monster defenses with touch attacks. I’d much rather deal with some buffoon attacking regular AC at +16.
It is tough to offer general advice on running encounters in an AP I'm not familiar with. The advanced template should make this guy miss quite a lot though. Making sure that monsters who can buff do so appropriately could help too. The Shield spell in particular can make a big difference. On the offensive side of things, a CR10 monster is supposed to have an average attack of +18. Flanking for +20 would give such monsters a reasonable chance to hit. If the monsters have any access to buffs that could help too. This PC is also still vulnerable to spells and other special attacks which force saving throws. Enemies shouldn't have any trouble figuring out that they should focus their debuffs and damage on the 5 armed monstrosity. Simple stuff like Aid Another can also turn random mooks into contributing team members.
@Frodo - It is true that at various points in history folks would stone women to death, drown them, and burn them at the stake for various sexual and religious infractions, real or imagined. In some places they still set them on fire, pour acid on them, etc. Through it all, society's abuse of women couldn't really stop human sexuality from expressing itself in a wide variety of ways though.
Anyhow, while Tolkien maintained a high level of decorum, the fantasy of Pathfinder and Golarion is probably as likely to be based on something like Game of Thrones. As an aside, "Tam Lin" by Fairport Convention is a great song about supernatural fornication in medieval Scotland.
The Black Tentacles spell is described as reaching for, targeting, and attacking a "creature" or "creatures". Spectral Hand doesn't seem to be a "creature" though, especially since its description states, "The hand cannot flank targets like a creature can."
Nevertheless, since BT is a magical effect the idea came up that it might be able to affect the incorporeal hand. I suppose there are two questions here:
Another session has passed without a use of Weird Words. With only around 2-3 levels left in the AP it looks like any new Weird Words upgrades might come too late for my PC to enjoy. I might take the Deafening Song Bolt spell at some point to get a thematically similar attack with about 3 times the bang for my action economy buck. Granted, that costs a 5th level spell slot, but standard actions are valuable, and DSB carries a no-save deafness debuff too.
I think Grab is powerful enough already with the exception that Freedom of Movement should probably just provide a hefty bonus against being grappled instead of outright immunity.
@666Bender - There's a magic belt in ultimate Equipment called "anaconda's coils" which gives you +2 Str and constrict for 1d6 plus your Str mod.
I'd think that in PFS it will always be a GM call whether a masterwork tool for UMD can exist or be used on a particular check. For instance, you might say the tool is a lucky rabbit's foot or a "wand koozie", but the GM might say it is a book that you need to consult for a minute before using a magic device or a special magnifying glass which gives you a +2 on UMD checks to use scrolls.
Spending an extra 4450gp on the Circlet seems like a safer bet and grants an additional +1 on the UMD check. You could still get a headband to increase your Charisma for an even higher bonus. The only other thing I can think of is a wand of Bestow Insight (assuming wands of spells from ARG can even be found in PFS)
Usually seduction seems to be handled with reaction rolls and Diplomacy. We once had a DM who would try to roleplay seduction, but the fact he looked like HBO boxing analyst Max Kellerman made it tough for us to pretend he was a beautiful woman. The beard really threw us off.
Regarding Druids, there was one named Horace Draper with an Int of 7 and a horse animal companion which "didn't say No" though other PCs noted it said, "neigh". We were saddened and amused all at once.
Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
You better believe that in real life uncharismatic wizards with tons of power who can protect their significant others are going to be attracting whomever they want.
I know it is a nitpick, but I don't believe that there are uncharismatic wizards with tons of power "in real life".
Rolling for traits is kind of weird. The DM allowing you to dump the evolutions from the base form is also weird though possibly to your advantage. If you’re interested in an improved familiar then I think the “something something” feat should be Craft Wands.
1: Skill Focus Knowledge (Planes); Spell focus (Conjuration)
A wand of Lesser Evolution Surge might be pretty worthwhile so that you eidolon can gain flight, scent, a swim speed, etc as needed. You can also make a cheap wand of Haste for the familiar to use in nearly every combat. You can also make wands of Summon Monster, including SMV as a 4th level spell, and an invisible familiar using such a wand would remain invisible. With a little investment your eidolon could use wands too. This can come in handy sometimes.
The Sylvan Sorcerer can pull many of the same tricks and gets Mirror Image. The eidolon will probably be better in combat than an Ape companion and is certainly more versatile except that it doesn’t fill the Bodyguard role quite as well since it can’t wear Benevolent armor (or any armor). It might still be worth taking the Bodyguard feat to get In Harm’s Way, which will let the eidolon take bad hits for you or your party members.
Bards get Echolocation as a 4th level spell, but this guy doesn't sound like he'd have 10 levels of Bard. I can't think of a simple way without magic to give an eyeless human echolocation or tremorsense, but if you combine Scent and Greater Blind-Fight with something to obscure vision during the battle that might be enough to make the barbarian pretty scary.
Alternately, maybe the big guy could be some sort of undead. A Graveknight might work well, especially if the PCs don't know what he is.
I usually start out thinking a sandbox might be fun and end up swearing I'm just going to run an AP next time. That said, if you can find issues of Dungeon magazine on eBay or are willing to invest in the PDFs they're a great source of canned adventures. There's even a Dungeon Index online you can use to find adventures in the right level range for your party and read a short description of them.
If you see an adventure you like but it is a few levels too low for the party it is easy to fix that up with templates. A similar approach can be used with adventures you create yourself. Perhaps there are CR2 dire wombats in the woods outside town. If the party heads there at 1st level maybe they meet Young dire wombats. If they go at 3rd perhaps they've grown into Giant dire wombats. At 4th level they might be CR4 Advanced Giant dire wombats. Other templates such as fiendish might make more sense for other monsters. You could also scale the number of monsters present up or down to help move the CR even further.
If you tie a different home made or canned adventure to each significant town/area and are prepared to scale it a bit you might be able to arrange the adventures in concentric circles of difficulty and have some hope the party will face them in roughly the right order. Some higher level stuff can rely on "time release" adventure hooks (maybe after 3 years of adventure a lich awakens or Keraptis dares the party to explore White Plume Mountain). That reminds me that WotC used ot have a lot of older edition adventures available for download on their website and probably still have up 3.5 versions of Tomb of Horrors and White Plume Mountain.
For a truly "old school" experience, the 1e AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide also had a great random dungeon generator.
@Snorter - Maybe they like the penalties. Grab+Constrict is still one of the deadliest monster abilities (unless it is completely negated by Freedom of Movement, which should probably just give you a hefty bonus against it)
@Tangaroa - I think the FAQ request probably needs to be more concise with a clear question to be answered in FAQ.
To me "tanking" implies gumming up defensible spots and holding back monsters so that your allies can attack from relative safety behind you. I'm guessing that the Reach Cleric wants to "attack from the back". The Inquisitor might be able to go either way. One or both of them could help buff the Monk into a defensive bulwark. For instance, if the Cleric puts Freedom of Movement, Death Ward, etc on the Monk as needed and the Monk uses ki points to boost AC it might be tough for a lot of monsters to cause the Monk much harm. If the Monk does get hurt the Cleric can probably heal him.
If the Inquisitor is suited to melee then he or she could share frontline melee duties with the Monk. If not perhaps Bane with a bow or repeating heavy crossbow could help cut enemies down more quickly. As some folks have said, one problem with tanking is making sure the enemies engage with the "tank". This is pretty simple in constricted dungeon environments, but it can be tough against mobile enemies in open settings. If you need more protection than one PC can offer you might look at the Cleric's options with Summon Monster. They're more varied and arguably more powerful than what the oft mentioned Druid gets from SNA. Depending on the Cleric's alignment, Sacred Summons might offer a way to lay down some "mini tanks" quickly. A metamagic rod of echoing spell is expensive but can effectively double your highest level spell slots to bring in the big monsters over and over as needed.
If you don't like coup de grace you could try house ruling that it is just a free crit or perhaps a crit with a x1 higher crit modifier (x3 for swords, x4 for axes, etc). That said, if you knew that enemies could be healed from dying back up to dangerous by their Cleric buddy I'd imagine that you might take a moment to slice a throat or two if you weren't being otherwise threatened at the time (no AoO). Some GMs will go the extra mile to CdG PCs even when it is a bad tactical decision, but unless you're dealing with summoned demons and other bloodthirsty psychopaths that's probably going a little overboard (of course some folks like going overboard)
This is the first time I’ve heard the news that SKR is leaving Paizo. I wish him well with whatever other opportunities he’s pursuing.
I’m not sure if Paizo is still considering the matter of Weird Words or not. It is a pretty niche ability after all, and the current PDT proposed rules are playable if perhaps not everybody’s favorite. It would be nice to see some confirmation one way or the other if only to put the matter to rest.
In the continuing saga of my own Weird Words experience, two more sessions have passed without another Weird Word, but the details on that include some potential...
We’ve recently infiltrated the enemy palace. Encounters with literally dozens of mooks might have made PDT Weird Words a pretty sweet go to power if it cost 1 round of BP per outburst. I couldn’t afford to blow my performance rounds at the current rate of 1 round per enemy though. Even without using WW at all I’m still halfway through my daily BP rounds, and we haven’t even seen the King yet (though we think we hear him around the corner). Maybe he’ll be hard enough to hit that a solid 20-30 touch attack damage per round will be appealing. If not then I doubt we’ll see the power used in this dungeon.
I’m certainly enjoying the Dirge Bard archetype more than the Sound Striker. Ray of Enfeeblement has become kind of a signature debuff spell which elicits groans from the GM. Weird Words is more like an amusing threat. I think the old Weird Words was too powerful while the new Weird Words is too expensive to use on groups and not very fun to use on single enemies unless they’re really tough to hurt by other means (very high AC with high SR and energy resistance)
Based on how we run it in local groups I think that a generally accepted practice is that monsters using Grab without any special feats and without taking a -20 on their grapple attempts should generally stick to one grapple+constrict per round. Some GMs like to push it a little bit and give the monster a grapple check for every attack which hit. Whether or not succeeding on one of those should invalidate subsequent attacks is a matter of some debate.
Grappling more than once per round can certainly be a valid part of the game though. Consider the Greater Improved Grapple and Rapid Grappler feats, which allow you to maintain a grapple as a move and then a swift action. If you gain the Constrict ability somehow (perhaps from the "anaconda's coils" belt or because you're a monster or polymorphed into one) I'd assume that you'd get Constrict damage on each successful grapple check just as the ability says.
Even at once per round the big grapple+constrict monsters are some of the deadliest in the game for any PC without Freedom of Movement. Of course Swallow Whole can add even more damage. Advanced Sea Serpents are absolutely hellish, for instance. I slaughtered a PC with them a few months ago and then nearly had my PC slaughtered by one shortly afterwards. Another GM needed a random maritime encounter, and I handed him my monster print outs - it was an epic battle!
As far as allowing Dex bonuses against guns goes, the idea of somebody "dodging" bullets might seem a little silly, but Dex and dodge bonuses might reflect somebody's ability to juke around and be tough to target. Allowing force effects to protect against bullets isn't a bad idea though it only protects a small portion of monsters and PCs, and the resulting AC might still be too low to make the various penalties for shooting faster count for much.
Using a custom spell to raise the dragon's touch AC would make that encounter much tougher for the Gunslinger but won't do much for other encounters unless you have the dragons start teaching the spell to other high CR monsters. This is one reason why I prefer the idea of just limiting how much AC the gun can bypass. This would also cut down on the double-barreled and TWF shenanigans since those attack penalties might really begin to hurt your chance to hit against high AC foes. Meanwhile, the gun would still give you a nice benefit to help make up for its various drawbacks (price per shot, exotic weapon proficiency, tendency to blow up, lack of stealth, somewhat tortured reload mechanics, etc)
Yeah, I saw 77 new posts and figured there must have been another Crane Wing change. If they made it so you can use the +4 AC after you've been hit I think that would be pretty cool.
In somewhat related news, I recently adjusted the long term build plans for a 1st level PC of mine to include the Crane feats. He's a Feral Gnasher who will be able to grapple without counting as grappled, so with Rapid Grappler and Crane Wing I figure he should be able to grapple an enemy twice per round while still using a standard action for Total Defense. I'll probably start a thread in rules questions to make sure this is all legal though if Crane Wing isn't finalized yet I guess what's legal today might not be legal by 7th level.
A house rule you might consider would be limiting the armor and natural armor piercing capability of guns to their maximum base damage. This would let muskets shoot right through any non-magical armor and most natural armor too, but it would increase a CR16 ancient black dragon's effective AC against your Gunslinger from 8 to 34 (assuming Mage Armor is cast and the Gunslinger is using the 1d8 shotgun as you indicated).
I'm thinking that house rules which reduce his advantage rather than taking it away completely might be more palatable, and other players might tell him that they'd love to have a +8 to hit the dragon. Actually, talking to the other players might be a good idea too. If they feel the Gunslinger is too powerful and marginalizes their PCs they might be willing to give you some support on toning it down. If they think the Gunslinger is just fine and you're just trying to rip the group off maybe it would be better to leave the house rules for a future campaign.
@Odraude - The Mage Armor and Shield spells don't help against firearms making touch attacks. Another house rule I'd considered was allowing magical bonuses to AC such as those and the enhancement bonus on armor to count towards touch or at least gun touch AC. I felt that it didn't do much to help big monsters like dragons though.
A lot of these aren't quite "win button" spells. Icy Prison is definitely a nasty spell, but at least creatures with allies can be freed pretty easily with damage. I don't think Prediction of Failure is that bad as an 8th level spell since Bards can make everybody within 30' shaken as a swift action with Dirge of Doom (and then hit them with Cruel weapons to get sickened too). Meanwhile the Witch could use Evil Eye for another -4 which stacks with those.
In any event, the enemies can at least still try to fight, unlike with Cacophonous Call, which I agree should offer a save every round. Along the same lines, Greater Forbid Action lasts for a round per level, and if you command them not to move even stuff with Greater Teleport has to sit still and get blown away. I'd prefer if any spell which effectively eliminates multiple foes from combat with a failed save offered a new save each round.
Dazzling Display plus Lunge with a Cruel weapon sounds like decent combo. You'd basically make enemies within 30 feet shaken and then hit those within 15 feet and make them sickened too.
Since the fauchard can trip it seems like Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, Greater Trip, etc might be fun depending on what you're fighting.
You also might want to look at the quickdraw light shield so that you can more easily stow the shield to do bigger damage against foes you don't feel threatened by. I suppose that with the Quick Draw feat you could potentially even put the shield away as a free action when your full-attack begins and get it back out as a free action when your full-attack ends. You'd probably still want Phalanx Fighter 3 so you'd threaten with the fauchard one-handed while it isn't your turn. Some groups might find this kind of cheesy though. I find it tough to envision, but I guess maybe it could be explained as kind of like using a two-handed weapon with a buckler and losing the AC bonus (though in this case just for a moment while you attack)
Yeah, it seems like you'd probably be better of just creating regular skeletons and casting Haste on them. I just want to know the options in case a situation comes up where using DotD might be useful or at least amusing. I guess the fast zombie might be worthwhile if it were a creature with a fly speed. At our level these guys would probably never do more than provide flank and perhaps serve as a distraction.
This might come up more often with Animate Dead in a "non-good" Goblin Game we might start playing soon. How and if casters can cooperate to create variant zombies will be more important there though since the PC with Animate Dead will be a Witch who doesn't have access to Remove Paralysis or Haste but we'll have a Bard who will probably be able to cast Haste.
I'd say that Craft Wands is better than Scribe Scroll in the long run though I'll echo the sentiment that maybe somebody else should pay that feat tax if you're trying to focus on archery.
Since your animal companion will be a little weak (-3 levels) maybe it could serve better as a mount than going directly into melee. Being able to move around and still cast spells or full attack with your bow can be nice.
Spiritual Weapon and Summon Monster spells can be nice for a healer since they give you a way to make attacks even when you spend your turn buffing or healing people.
Dazing Spell is really strong in a lot of encounters. I wonder if it shouldn't offer a new save each round.
I used an Acid Pit to get rid of a Roper a few sessions ago. If somebody doesn't want to "get in the Pit" a Huge or Greater Air Elemental in Whirlwind form can probably encourage them. Of course this is even better outdoors.
Double damage while charging isn't generally part of non-mounted combat. You could consider Vital Strike and Devastating Strike though honestly they're not very exciting. I'd probably consider Spring Attack with a reach weapon instead and rely on AoOs to get your damage back. I guess Lunge also might work pretty well against Medium foes.
There are a bunch of shield related feats. Maybe you'd be better off focusing on those and being a PC with super high AC who sets up in narrow spaces and holds the line, kind of like in 300. I guess you could stick to the heavy or light shield and consider using it as a weapon when people get inside the reach of your longspear. If you can afford to pick up Shield Slam you might be able to knock folks back into spear range or even far enough that they'll have to suffer another AoO to get at you. Once again Lunge could be useful.
If you think longspears are boring you could consider the fauchard, an exotic weapon which does 1d10 damage with an 18-20 crit range and can trip.
I agree that the problem of when and how to cast Haste exists with Animate Dead too. I'd guess that DotD should work however Animate Dead works, only how that works seems to be unclear. It would be nice if the extra spell is subsumed in the casting of Animate Dead since otherwise variant zombies might be much tougher to create than variant skeletons, especially if you needed to use Quicken Spell to cast both spells in the same round. I think "next possible action" sounds problematic since then the variant zombie would start out as a regular zombie for a round before transforming into a fast or plague zombie.
I suppose "ask your GM" might be the best answer here. Sometimes the GM wants to follow whatever's in the book though, and that's tough when the book doesn't really say.
@Weirdo - It is a bit of a side topic, but if one of your party members was Slowed and you cast Haste on the entire party I'd expect that everybody else would be Hasted while the formerly Slowed PC would go back to normal.
We have one GM who will stop to coup de grace any downed PC even if it means the monster getting killed for it. Whether or not a GM "should" use CdG is a matter of play style. If resurrection magic is available in the game and not highly frowned on by the group I don't see a problem with it. If not then it seems a little cruel although some groups enjoy cruel.
Most tables I play at have adopted house rules that CdG is just an auto-crit or maybe an auto-crit with x1 more damage. This might sound really wimpy to some folks, but at low levels or even low hit points it is essentially just as deadly. When some mummies spent their turns doing big damage to our higher level Barbarian instead of courteously ignoring him the effects were nearly deadly too. As GM I also enjoy using Ghouls and feel more fair if a single failed save on paralysis doesn't lead to "save or die". Getting gnawed on for double or triple damage each round isn't something most PCs can take for long, but at least it gives their allies a chance to come save them. I suggested this house rule myself while playing a Witch who was being a little too effective with Slumber.
I wonder what the Perception check to notice the the fore edge painting should be. If it were done with an invisible ink or paint which needs to be magically activated that might make it tougher.
It strikes me that an invisible Arcane Mark could be applied that way as well. If so it might make it a lot tougher to find, at least on an otherwise magic book. Speaking of Arcane Mark, if the BBEG can gain access to Instant Summons it could serve as a quick way to retrieve a phylactery which is in danger of being captured and destroyed.
Once again the Mohrg has some options and is only prevented from grabbing or paralyzing that one PC. Of course there's also the matter of getting FoM cast before the very stealthy Mohrg gets hold of you in the first place. The Ring of FoM is much more problematic than the spell in this regards.
Yeah, shadows are easy prey for Command Undead and can create more shadows which it can control or even order to fail the save vs your Command Undead. I guess similar tactics could work with vampires, and the master vampire would be a lot more durable. Vampires could also Dominate living beings, potentially extending the empire formed by your 2nd level spell even further. Allowed to run rampant I suppose that Command Undead could trivialize an entire campaign, but I suspect most GMs would counter it in various ways, most commonly, "Hey, that's Evil, cut it out!" (Honestly I don't blame them)
Yeah, this would really rain on the Scorching Ray parade since you'd never get more than one ray. I guess the biggest effect besides selling a lot of lesser matamagic rods of extend spell might be pushing casters to use higher level spells to beat SR. Maybe it would be easier to just boost everything's SR by 4 or make your roll to overcome SR a d20 plus half your caster level and the level of the spell being cast. I guess it depends on exactly what aspect of spellcasting you're trying to nerf.
I was kind of joking about Time Stop though at a minimum it would give you time to cast the other listed spells. Anyhow, Freedom of Movement is even less of an auto-win against a Chuul. That said, I'd rather see FoM grant a bonus to CMD and CMB against grapples rather than complete immunity. Since the Chuul can do just as much damage with 2 Claws as with a grapple and Constrict I guess that Remove Paralysis to thwart the tentacle attack might be almost as good at a lower spell level.
Death Ward also only protects one PC. If you're going to cast the spell 4-5 times I suppose that Magic Missile would get rid of Shadows too. There's a Repose domain power which makes everybody immune to energy drain though, and that really can gut certain encounters. One spell which can certainly cause problems with certain encounters is Command Undead. It is a no save win against any unintelligent undead with a 2nd level spell, plus you potentially gain the undead as an ally. I guess killing a single skeleton or zombie doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but it seems like a shame to neuter those creatures at such a low level when they might still present a reasonable threat to some parties.
I agree that Fly can be very powerful. Luckily there are a lot of places with ceilings where it is tough or impossible to get up out of the reach of ground based melee monsters, especially if they can jump a little.
I’d expect that a lot of GMs might (or even should) disallow Pit+Wall = Death. Though Widen Spell doesn’t work I guess you could just create another Pit adjacent to the first one. If there are no more open spaces left I guess maybe the opponent would have little option but to fall.
One group I’m in has gotten a lot of utility out of using the Pit as an extra space PCs can hide in to get away from area effects, auras, melee attacks, etc. PCs at the bottom can still cast spells up out of the Pit or make ranged attacks against stuff which gets too close. If you have a PC or eidolon who can fly and has high AC the Pit can become like a hallway to defend.
Rain of Frogs seems amusing to me. I'm also not sure if anybody has mentioned Cloudkill yet. It goes down holes, so it would sink into the Pit, filling it to a height of 20 feet. I wonder how Black Tentacles would work if cast into a Pit. Since they spring up from the floor I guess you'd only get a 10'x 10' field of them on the floor of the Pit. How tall would they be though? If they follow the normal rules for AoE spells I guess they'd be 20' tall at the center of the spell. If so that's a lot of difficult terrain for stuff to climb or fly through. Even a 10' tall version might be pretty inconvenient.
The bardic performance Dance of the Dead says that it functions like Animate Dead. I'd imagine that you can create (temporary) Burning Skeletons with this ability if you're willing to pay double the HD cost per skeleton created. I wonder if casting Haste would allow you to create Fast Zombies though.
Honestly, I wonder how Fast Zombies get created in general using Animate Dead. Do you need to cast Haste right before Animate Dead? Right after? In the same round, which might require Quicken Spell for most casters? Can the Haste come from a wand? Can a team of two casters use the spells at the same time?
The Dirge Bard can use Dance of the Dead as a move action when it becomes available and as a swift action a few levels later, so Haste could be cast the same round with minimum fuss. Would Haste have its normal benefits as well as improving the zombies, or would those benefits get subsumed into the Animate Dead effect? I guess the same question applies to the Animate Dead spell itself.