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I was originally going to have an eidolon shaped like a giant rooster and make a lot of predictable jokes about it, but when my girlfriend decided to base her PC on Tsunade from the old Kabuki Clash game I decided to go with a toad shaped eidolon instead.
That's a long story, but Chura the Demon Eating Toad has a long tongue (tentacle with Reach and Grab) and a rune on his forehead which says "Tongue" in Japanese. Painting something that detailed on a mini can be a pain, so I've taken to printing stuff out, gluing it to the mini, and smoothing things out with paint and clearcoat.
I'm in the camp which believes that Smite Evil adds damage to spells which require an attack roll such as Scorching Ray. I feel that the damage would apply once per attack rather than once per spell. For instance, a CL12 Scorching Ray cast while smiting as an 8th level Paladin would generate 3 attacks for 4d6+8 each. If you were a 12th level Bard using Inspire Courage you'd add another +3 damage to each ray.
At least that's the way I think it should work. My Paladin 4/Bard 12 has been impacted by several FAQs and erratas so far though, so I wouldn't be surprised if a ruling that Smite Evil doesn't work on spells comes out just in time to stop my PC from Smiting with Deafening Song Bolts next level.
@andreww - The level dip into Oracle actually added a lot of versatility to the PC as she picked up Misfortune and Guiding Star. Awesome Display was also very effective at lower levels. We're 16th level now though.
Meanwhile my Bard, who ended up multiclassing into Paladin, had starting scores like this (17 point buy, human) Str14 Dex14 Con14 Int7 Wis7 Cha18. He's done just fine and produced some amusing RP. I think his Fear spell could be at least as disruptive as "Awesome" Color Spray, but he very rarely uses it (maybe 2-3 times so far in the campaign)
Obviously this is a little off topic, but...
@Eirikrautha - When I saw Awesome Display in play it was very powerful at low levels but eventually tapered off. If it is problematic it is just because it extends the useful life of the already extremely strong Color Spray spell. At least the monsters got a saving throw though. Sometimes they'd make it and give the Color Spraying PC a beatdown. I think it is the "sure thing" part of the old Crane Wing that bothered folks the most.
My PC in the same game has levels of Dirge Bard. Most enemies subject to Color Spray can be affected by Fear as well, but the save is harder to make, and the area is already 30 feet before metamagic. I've used Fear pretty sparingly since it seems more fun to actually fight stuff than just shoot it as it runs away, but I'd think most balance problems which apply to Awesome Display at levels 7+ would apply to the Dirge Bard's Fear at least as much if not more. I greatly prefer Blistering Invective and consider Fear kind of a last resort WMD or a joke to play on hopeless mooks once in a while.
I multiclass with most PCs. Some multiclassed characters I've played or am currently playing include:
Human Monk 1/Druid 18 - This guy did lots of pouncing, lots of grappling, and quite a bit of summoning, all with Wisdom to AC. He'd also turn into a Huge Earth Elemental and punch people, usually with flank from his hyena companion. AC 40+, crushing attacks, and Greater Grapple almost for free easily made up for being behind a caster level.
Gnome Monk1/Summoner 14 - This PC rides around on a toad-like eidolon with Bodyguard and In Harm’s Way. His Wisdom helps give him a very high AC, and his bonus feats allowed him to get Bodyguard at 1st level and still be able to fit feats like Mounted Combat and Augment Summoning into the build. Sure, the eidolon is a level behind, but the master can boost its AC by +3 and Ride away touch attacks.
Human Paladin 4/Bard 12 - This PC features high attack bonuses and AC combined with decent damage, self-healing (rarely needed), and a vast array of buffs. Oath of Vengeance is really great. My girlfriend's Oracle 1/Wizard 1/Sorcerer 14 in the same game also does just fine.
I'd say that an Alchemist 15 (only played from levels 13-15) was probably my most powerful Pathfinder PC overall. The Paladin/Bard is more fun though, and he won't fail a Will save and blow up a party member like the Alchemist.
I can't agree that the rules for Fighting Defensively are a waste of paper. With 3 ranks in Acrobatics, an already useful skill, you can get +3 to AC and perhaps more importantly CMD in exchange for -4 to attacks. That's great against opponents with low AC but powerful attacks, a description that a lot of melee foes match. I've also found it useful when combined with Smite Evil since the primary foe is often very easy to hit but getting a little extra AC against his or her allies can be nice. Crane Style takes the situationally useful Fighting Defensively and makes it into something you might want to use all the time. Both versions of Crane Wing add something on top of that, but Crane Style seems like a pretty good feat and the beginning of a decent feat tree.
Going back to the +3/-4 trade off anybody with 3 ranks in Acrobatics can get from Fighting Defensively and considering the +4/-1 for Crane Style I think it would make more sense to have a thread complaining about Combat Expertise being subpar. That seems like a bigger problem to me since it has an inconvenient Int 13 prerequisite and serves as the crappy gateway feat to a lot of situationally useful but potentially fun combat maneuver feats which I rarely see used since a lot of players apparently think Combat Expertise is a bad investment for their melee PC. That said, I've recently seen it used pretty effectively by a dragon.
I doubt that the complaints Paizo got from the PFS GMs were based primarily around T-Rex battles. I kind of want to make some t-shirts with a bird beating up a T-Rex though. Maybe there should be an Awakened T-Rex who becomes King of his kind, the T-Rex-Rex, by learning Crane Wing. He probably wasn't using his hands for much anyhow.
Back in 3.5 my drunken master and aspiring "god of cookery", Chow Man Tsui, wielded a Monk's Spade called "The Pizzastick" (like a pizza peel) and used it both to get pizza out of the oven and to shovel coals for BBQ.
I'd also like to correct an earlier post by pointing out that Lubomyr Romanovych's "Cruel Sword of Justice" is actually an Aldori dueling sword rather than a longsword (though mechanically there's no difference since he doesn't use Weapon Finesse)
In HBO's Game of Thrones the Hound recently expressed a rather negative opinion of people who name their weapons. Arya didn't seem discouraged though.
It used to sort of bug me back in 3.5 that you needed to be at least 6th level to do some ground and pound. On the other hand, the fact that braking the pin breaks the grapple in Pathfinder seems a little weird.
Reflecting upon what might be "more realistic" is probably less useful than thinking about how the current rules could be used in play though. If our DM had ruled this way the Inquisitor might have been in some serious trouble.
A couple of people have mentioned that Magic Missile can't destroy Mirror Images. It can bypass them though. I guess Fireball can too, but Magic Missile also bypasses energy resistances. If nothing else it makes a cheap wand to use when you'd otherwise just float around conserving spell slots. You can also lend the wand to somebody with UMD when incorporeal stuff shows up.
Once you give a grappled opponent the Pinned condition do you need to use the "Pin" option each round to keep them pinned, or can you use other options like "Move" or "Damage" without the opponent losing the Pinned condition so long as you successfully maintain the grapple?
Being able to maintain the pin as part of maintaining the grapple would make a lot of monsters with Grab far more threatening. A Gargantuan flying creature with Grab but without Constrict established a grapple against our Inquisitor last session. Each round it used the Damage option to do around 20 damage to him, but he responded by putting Greater Bane on his armor spikes and beating on it for about 80 damage per round. It might have been nice for the monster to stop that damage with a pin, but it might have been a little pointless if it didn't have an ally to help damage the PC (it did, but for whatever reason the DM didn't seem to think of teaming up for the win)
I'm not sure if grapple really needs to be any stronger, and being able to maintain a pin "for free" would make stuff with Constrict even nastier, but I'm curious about how this is "supposed" to work.
Awesome Display definitely seems like a strong ability, but my girlfriend's PC in Kingmaker has it, and it hasn't really stood out that much since lower levels. She has a +9 Cha, but getting close to monsters wasn't good for her PC's health. I can't say that it wouldn't be a big problem in other games, just that it hasn't been in ours. Maybe the fact most of her levels are in Sorcerer makes going into melee range a little less of an option.
Charisma is great for Bards. My Paladin/Bard has a 28. Once your Charisma gets high enough you start getting 2 bonus spell slots per level, which is a pretty big deal for a Bard. Charisma also factors into some very useful skills like UMD and Intimidate (with Blistering Invective!)
Wands tend to have very low save DCs, so it is often most effective to use them on you and your party. For instance, my Paladin/Bard crafted a wand of Good Hope and has a familiar who activates it before or during pretty much every battle. This is an enormous boon to the party. We also carry around a pretty wide selection of utility wands. Stuff like Detect Secret Doors and Remove Fear can really come in handy. Delay Poison is great. Stuff which lacks SR like Glitterdust or Acid Arrow can work well too.
Do you plan on activating the wands based on your spell list or with the UMD skill? I've found familiars (generally improved) very useful for activating wands. Eidolons can do it too and recover from getting killed more easily.
@LoneKnave - Having T-Rex used unarmed strikes to get past Crane Wing is a pretty creative solution. I think some groups would question whether T-Rex should be smart enough to think of it, but maybe a frustrated T-Rex would start kicking, tail slapping, or punching furiously with his tiny two fingered fists. I don't have a problem with it, but I'd imagine that my players might. I've sometimes had a monster facing Mirror Images make a successful Spellcraft roll and react by closing its eyes to get a 50% miss chance, and not every player agreed that was fair.
@Lemmy - To me your proposal to scale the AC bonus from Crane Wing with level/BAB seems fairly similar to Paizo’s errata. You'd mostly just be negotiating about the AC bonus except that you seem to doubt that getting an AC bonus of less than infinite will help at levels 12+. Is there something specific at those levels which worries you, perhaps Quickened True Strike? Would an AC bonus equal to BAB be satisfactory, or do you feel like it needs to be immunity to anything but a nat 20 to be worth taking? I’d think that regardless of how big or small the AC bonus is people would want the option to use it reactively.
Also, do you think it is important for the nat 20 to bypass the Crane Wing defense, or is that just a concession to help achieve compromise?
I'd think that especially at lower levels the extra damage from the smite might be apparent. Some DMs might call for a Perception or Heal check to see if you can notice how hurt the creature is by the attack. A while back I tried using similar checks to let players notice DR they didn't figure out with Knowledge checks, but folks seemed to find that pretty annoying.
There's a "Torchbearer" feat which acts as a lower level version of Leadership. If you're considering a DMPC I suggest a Bard, perhaps a Seasinger with a parrot familiar which uses a wand to help buff the party.
Multiclassing into Sylvan Sorcerer and taking Boon Companion could give you another bird with the Bodyguard feat to help improve the party's defenses a little when needed. Using a whip with True Strike could also allow the Bard to intercede in combat once in a while with a very effective Disarm, Trip, etc. Basically the Bard and birds would just hang out behind the PCs granting some bonuses until a little extra help was needed.
@Orfamay Quest - I see the problems with low Dex and Con you mentioned as controls to encourage more balanced characters rather than as flaws. If the defenses of the PCs aren't challenged then there's little reason to focus on anything besides encounter ending offensive power. Anyhow, the groups I play with usually seem to enjoy it when somebody has dumped an important stat and has to suffer the consequences. Once in a while that player is me...
@Deadmanwalking - That seems like a pretty tough fight. I customize things a lot too. I try to stick to the APL to APL+1 range, but sometimes I get a little carried away with tweaking stuff and produce a monster which is nastier than the CR implies. Anyhow, I've been thinking that the next time I run I'll probably just use an AP. I'm sure the AP monsters will go down way easier than my custom built stuff, but it seems like that shouldn't be too much of a disappointment since I can just turn the page and find the next encounter already prepared for me.
I can't understand why people seem to feel like they need to defend Crane Wing at all costs, and they probably can't understand why I seem to feel like I need to defend ceilings at all costs. I guess I just like ceilings. Apparently many designers do to. In fact, many dungeons already have ceilings, so it often isn't even a change.
Though appearances might suggest the contrary, I wasn't a frothing anti-Crane lunatic before the FAQ. In fact, I was planning to take it with at least one upcoming PC. I probably still will since it fits my PC well anyhow, and I think the DM will find the new version less disruptive. Seeing Crane Wing restored to its former glory would benefit my PC and wouldn't drive me completely nuts or anything. It just seems like a smaller fix could provide a perfectly usable feat for those who want it without annoying those who don't quite as much.
If you could use it reactively I wonder if the new Crane Wing be a worse feat than Snake Sidewind? Dodge? Kirin Strike? Vital Strike? Monkey Moves? Childlike? As is I'd expect people might find it a little frustrating since they might get the feeling that they "always pick the wrong attack". If only there could be some compromise perhaps we'd end up with a feat both the lovers and the haters can agree is "OK" (perhaps unlike some of those feats)
@TriOmegaZero - If your T-Rex is too big for the cave feel free to raise the roof. I guess they're Gargantuan rather than Huge, so maybe 20-40' feet would be good. I'm not sure if a real T-Rex could reach up 40 feet without jumping, but the RAW T-Rex shouldn't have a problem.
It would be nice if you could travel to the past and give the players 15 point buy. That's not likely to work out unless you run into Dr. Who though. Being a "Time Lord" could still help your cause though. What you need to do is prevent the PCs from resting and push them through the dungeon at a steady pace.
Perhaps each level could have a 24 or 48 hour timer on it. When the timer expires something bad happens. Possibilities might include:
The idea is to make the PCs more conservative with their daily powers. This should make easy fights a little more challenging if folks don't want to "waste" powers. At lower levels adding heaping helpings of ability damage can help too though some players could find it oppressive.
Considering the Deathtrap Dungeon sort of theme I'd also consider incorporating traps into encounters, especially having traps which go off just before or as initiative is rolled. This can be as simple as a floor which collapses into acid filled pit with acid resistant monsters in it or something absolutely diabolical.
Is this World's Largest Dungeon?
Lowering the ceiling a bit seems a lot easier than redesigning encounters to include multiple attacks, ranged attacks, and reach weapons.
If we stick to the seemingly iconic single T-Rex fight none of those solutions control the original Crane Wing very well whereas having the T-Rex inside a cavern with a 15-25 foot high ceiling does a pretty good job against flight. Ceilings don't require the DM to select different monsters or smarter tactics. A very dense forest or jungle canopy also might suffice in a lot of cases.
Obviously there are a lot of things which can go wrong with single monster encounters as well as melee only encounters, and I suppose it is fair to point out that Crane Wing was only one of them. Anyhow, I still think the new Crane Wing would be pretty good if you could use the +4 AC bonus reactively upon being hit kind of like the Ride check from Mounted Combat. Heck, maybe a later feat could let you do it twice.
I like the Hero Point system. It helps protect well played PCs from terrible luck and encourages people to take risks they otherwise might not take. Keeping the same PCs in the story longer also seems like it could work out well for a roleplaying heavy group and add extra gravitas to the situation if one of the PCs finally does die despite heroic luck and skill.
Another benefit of Hero Points is that they can allow the DM to run the monsters with solid tactics and "go for the kill" without worrying as much about eliminating PCs from the game.
@Snowbluff - I'd expect that many DMs who are aware of the PDT ruling that you can't stack multiple Words on one target will want to use it. That said, I suppose if you weren't planning on taking any other archetypes then it might not hurt to add a touch attack options to your toolbox in exchange for Suggestion. I wouldn't expect to use this particular tool more than a few times per campaign though.
I'm not sure if you've been following the entire thread, but a while back I suggested limiting the ability to 3 Words total which can be aimed at the same or different targets. I figured this would offer a fairly nice pop of around 60 damage against a single target or 20 damage against 3 targets. This coincidentally seemed to be around the same damage a Bard with a bow would be likely to inflict and perhaps a little less than a Bard with a wand or ring with Scorching Ray might achieve.
Scorching Ray is already a very powerful damage dealing tool. Maybe having something similar which bypasses SR seemed like too much to Paizo. Of course Alchemists and Gunslingers specialize in that, but they're somewhat controversial classes.
The halfling concept sounds a little weird. I guess it could be funny if combined with some naughty behavior on the side. Anyhow, if you're the GM you should already have a pretty good cast of NPCs to roleplay from the AP.
Some players enjoy roleplaying even fairly trivial stuff like purchasing starting equipment or how the PCs meet. Perhaps the archaeologist is seeking out some knowledge from somebody at the circus. Maybe an animal or freak escapes or gets lost. Maybe the fortune teller acosts the group of seemingly random strangers and tells them that they're fated for a great task (I suggest calling her Madame Violetta)
You might want to print out pictures of important NPCs. It also might help (or at least be amusing at times) if certain NPCs have unique voices or mannerisms. Roleplaying out what happens at the tavern between adventures or when a PC visits Ye Olde Magic Shoppe is fun for some players such as myself. If you have NPCs approach specific PCs with special offers and requests that might be nice too. You could even try getting the players to write background stories and consider including some events based on them.
You'll know there's too much roleplaying if the actors say, "Ok, enough talking, let's kill something!"
I've always thought that a baseball bat would count as a club. You can certainly have a metal bat, but you can't use it in MLB. I guess you can also have a metal club, but I'm not sure if you can use it in PFS. I wonder if a Monk of the Empty Hand could throw baseballs instead of shuriken, but that's obviously outside the scope of the current discussion.
@BigDaddyJug - I think Clubber Lang would use solid gold clubs marked A and B which leave "BA" marks on his victims.
@BBT - On Colonel Mustard's advice, I'd stick with the Lead Pipe.
I agree that the glove of storing is an obviously rules legal way to do this. I'd think that a weapon cord would also work except for the fact that a wand isn't a weapon and it is now a move action to get the weapon back in your hand. Certain rods count as weapons. Whether a wand could count as a weapon probably depends on your DM.
FYI, one of the PFS officials pretty much waved off the "may interfere with finer actions" clause during a previous Gunslinger discussion. I'm not aware of any action which a dangling weapon officially interferes with except for using another weapon in that hand. I suspect the text was included to give DMs some leeway to rule against stuff which seems silly or annoying (like reloading a muzzle loader gun 10 times in 6 seconds), but PFS isn't really about leeway I suppose.
The conveyor belts seem like a must. Maybe there could be an Acrobatics check to move separately from the belt's movement or to stand up once you're prone. This would be dangerous both for heavily armored characters and casters, which seems like a nice cross section. Rogues and Monks would have fun with the belts, but there would still be swinging logs and various saws to ruin their days.
I like the idea of bull rushing logs. Maybe various machines could make other sorts of CMB checks against whatever's in their affected area. I guess that might work even better in some kind of automated factory. It strikes me that a lot of stuff like this could be used in other hazardous/exciting terrain such as foundries, grist mills, magic carriage factories, coal mines, etc. The idea of dynamic battlegrounds seems interesting. I've often found that areas with different elevations can challenge parties. Moving terrain and PCs getting pushed into unexpected spots seems even better.
I was thinking of much bigger damage for the big saws and wood chipper though I guess what's appropriate might vary with level. I noticed a "sawblade glaive" for gnomes with a spinning blade which does 1d6 damage plus 2 if you spin it by using the cord on the handle. I guess a Colossal version might do 6d6+2. Maybe the bonus could be a little higher since a sawmill would presumably spin a blade faster than a gnome with a string, perhaps 6d6+6 would work. Obviously that could be pretty lethal at lower levels, but I'd probably give lower level PCs a number of chances to escape from the machinery before suffering such a terrible fate.
@Jaatu - Thanks, I'll check that out.
Our kingdom in Kingmaker has some sawmills. This got me thinking that it might be fun (for the DM if not the PCs) to have a fight in a running sawmill. If the Kingmaker DM doesn't go with this idea I think I'll have to add it to some future adventure myself.
We had a gristmill fight in one game where the DM ruled that you couldn't use fire or lightning spells without the risk of an explosion. I guess there could be similar concerns at a sawmill. What's more interesting to me is the idea of saws, log splitters, conveyor belts, etc. I'm thinking that folks might need to make various Acrobatics checks and Reflex saves to avoid getting chopped up, hit with logs and boards, etc.
Any ideas on hazards and checks to use in such a combat would be appreciated. I'm especially wondering what kind of damage the circular saws should do. I guess there might be a wood chipper type device where the scraps go to get turned into mulch. In case higher level PCs are present it also might be nice to have machinery which might affect flying creatures so they can join the fun. I suppose that some of this stuff could be magical, animated, or operated by enemies in some fashion.
For the record, Weird Words went unused for another session this week. We did have some longer, tougher fights, but nothing was so difficult to hit that touch attacks seemed appealing. There was a situation where I wanted to finish off two injured monsters, but Intensified Thundering Drums at 10d8 seemed to have about twice as much damage potential as the 2d8+8+1d6 from Weird Words.
Since one of the monsters made the saving throw I guess the total damage was actually only about 50% better. If I didn't have Intensified Spell I guess I might have used Weird Words. If nothing else this might be evidence that I've kind of wasted a feat (and a Trait, for that matter)
My Kingmaker PC (currently Paladin 4/Bard 11) never took this feat. It would be pretty cool if it just let you spend a single use of LoH to add Charisma to your charging damage. Spending all of your LoH can allow you to do stuff like bring back the dead. Doing a few extra damage on a charge doesn't seem worth it.
An ability penalty is like ability damage, and Strength damage isn't noted to reduce your carrying capacity. Needing to recalculate capacity on the fly would probably be a nuisance. Obviously a lot of folks don't even like calculating it once.
Scorching Ray does an average of 42 damage. If you're near a Bard it can easily do 60 or more (67.5 with my Bard's standard buffs). I probably wouldn't allow Pit+Wall and Pit+Object combos to do anything exciting, but they certainly shouldn't do more damage than it would take to destroy the Wall or Object. Wall of Force needs to be vertical but seems like it could create a pretty deadly "log splitter" effect above the pit. I'd think that at most it would force a Large creature to squeeze as it comes out of the pit though. Huge creatures are too big to fall into the pit.
@Ravingdork - The ship's deck is the "floor" of that area. While it could be moved or manipulated somehow that's probably not expected. I'm not sure if a throw rug is part of the "floor". If your boots are on the floor do the soles disappear as the pit forms? I'd guess not because the boots are attended. Is a rug you're standing on attended? How about if it is a flying carpet? Fairness is probably a better goal than consistency here.
@Remy - The manhole situation is interesting. I wonder if the cover wouldn't fall into the Pit since it is really a separate object from the street. I guess that the wererats and the ladder would still exist. Perhaps they'd even be able to climb up out of the manhole but if they left the ladder they would need to make a Reflex save to avoid falling into the pit. It seems confusing at best. Perhaps it would be better to rule that you can't cast Create Pit on an open area unless it is "permanently" covered such as by the deck of a ship, not just a hatch or cover. That would be just a house rule to maintain sanity.
My Sound Striker has seen two more sessions pass without a Weird Word being spoken. On the other hand, since the other PCs now both have the ability to act in the surprise round and some nova potential I often take few or no actions in combat. By the time I've moved into range everything is generally dead. Sometimes I don't even get to move. Hopefully we'll hit some tougher fights soon and "slow but steady" will at least be in the race. I put that in quotes because with a +25 Perception and +10 initiative I wouldn't normally expect my PC to see fights ending before he gets to do much. I guess that's how high level play goes though...
@Under a Bleeding Sun - If there aren’t any other archetypes you’re interested in which give up inspire competence or suggestion then the Sound Striker offers a somewhat interesting attack mode which can be useful once in a while, especially against very high AC foes who also have high SR and or energy resistance (e.g. dragons)
@James Risner - I think the grammar in the original ability was actually rather unclear. I’ll agree that PDT clearly ruled against the “multiple on one” use, but the fact that they had to do so explicitly suggests to me that other folks found the original rules text unclear too.
One way to deal with people who like to do a lot of the talking in social situations without devoting any skill ranks to social skills is to rule that whoever is talking is the one who has to make a Diplomacy roll. When one DM started forcing me to roll I quickly realized that I needed to max out those ranks.
In another game we've got a PC with a Charisma of 6 and no ranks in Diplomacy who frequently talks over my Diplomacy +28 PC. I guess it might kind of suck if the DM forced him to roll since we'd fail in almost every social situation. Then again, maybe the player would either put in some ranks or sit back and let me do my thing more often. On the other hand, his PC has very high Sense Motive whereas mine is just OK, so it isn't like he'd have to sit out the social encounters entirely. We'd each have our role.
Incidentally, the 6 Cha guy beats almost every kind of DR since he has a +3 weapon and Greater Bane. He and another PC have high initiative modifiers and always acts in the surprise round, so it isn't unusual for them to kill all the monsters before I make even a single attack. It has actually become kind of a joke where I raise my arm like I'm about to strike with a sword and then just shrug and say something like, "Very well, let's collect treasure". My PC isn't terrible in combat. He just rarely gets a chance to participate much unless something can survive for 2-3 rounds. If the DM made the monsters tougher to kill it would actually be a fun change for me.
I agree that most in game sexuality should be "off camera". Sometimes we'll give a subtle hint about just how the succubus gets the soul out of the body, but it is strictly for humorous purposes.
@Frodo - As mentioned previously, please consider the lesson of "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her". Misrepresenting Christianity hardly amounts to "defending" it. Stoning people to death for adultery or fornication is barbaric and unacceptable.
I'm not that concerned with tracking who carries each piece of random loot the party finds, but I like being sure that a PC is able to carry the actual gear he or she uses in combat. I'm not a big fan of auto calculating character sheets, but it is trivial to create a spreadsheet for tracking your equipment's weight and value. Once you calculate your encumbrance during character creation you'll have a number for how much you're carrying and should be able to easily add to or subtract from that number as appropriate. You can print out the spreadsheet as your equipment list, access it via your phone, or just write down your encumbrance number. It isn't difficult.
Five minutes or less of record keeping between gaming sessions can keep this information very accurate. Even just calculating it once during character creation will give you a clue though. One of my current PCs ended up taking more Str in point buy specifically so he'd be able to carry more gear at 1st level, and it has affected both his combat and roleplaying aspects dramatically since the increased Strength helped him to become a very effective melee combatant and the decreased Wisdom has made him rather comical and prone to saying ill considered things which sometimes complicate his efforts at Diplomacy. He was also kind of oblivious at 1st level though his Perception eventually got very good.
Regarding excessive Perception rolls, it might help to tell the players that you'll inform them of when they should make a Perception check except to find secret doors. If you go this route you probably shouldn't allow retries though since otherwise when you call for a check and folks roll low they'll likely roll again until they find something. Of course just Secret Door Disease itself can waste quite a lot of time.
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.