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If you think the DM was wrong in your RAW debate I think that getting a FAQ to clarify the RAW situation would be more helpful than making a "revenge" PC to somehow "prove" to the DM that you really aren't a munchkin since you could have done something much worse but clearly RAW (and you might only find that the DM disagrees with your interpretation of RAW again)
I think that a bullet list of important things to know about the room might be pretty helpful. It would also be nice if the electronic versions of adventures had clickable links to referenced material.
I also miss the way some old school adventures would include a lot of illustrations of rooms, puzzles, monsters, etc. I guess that the expectation levels for artwork have increased a lot since the days of black and white illustrations by Erol Otus, and I understand that adding several pages of full color glossy pictures to a book would probably raise the price. Maybe stuff like this could be available as a web bonus though.
We’ve got an ongoing “Goblin Game” which is currently at 12th level. It included both “We Be Goblins” and “We Be Goblins Too”, but by the time “We Be Goblins Free” came out our PCs had gained too many levels for the DM to feel like ramping the challenge up to our CR range. The DM demanded that all PCs must be goblins and banned Good alignments.
The party is basically a bunch of CE psychopaths with my NE character acting as the “voice of reason” though that pretty much just consists of trying to convince them that we’ll be able to cause even more terror and mayhem in the long run if we have a Plan. With 12 Int my goblins thinks he’s an absolute genius, so the more complicated and ridiculous the Plan is the better. One of my favorites involved using severed giant frog feet to make fake “boggard” footprints around a raided gnome village. It also involved giant frog heads on sticks and actually helped instigate a gnome vs boggard war (weakening both sides as a prelude to a goblin takeover).
Soon we’ll be building siege engines such as zombie throwers and maybe some “skele-bombs” with bloody skeleton shrapnel which reforms into undead monsters behind enemy lines. We're pretty skilled at Craft (Alchemy), and thanks to Background Skills my PC is getting good at Knowledge (Engineering) too.
One odd situation where a group insisted on rolling was the 3d4 which an old group of mine insisted every male PC must roll during character creation. I always thought that the practice was intensely silly, but I also happened to roll pretty well. One PC who rolled an 11 took Craft Rod later in his career and titled himself “The Lord of Rodly Might”. All of the magic rods he crafted were 11 inches long. Another guy rolled a 3 for his half-orc Barbarian and endured a little ridicule from time to time. The 3d4 roll wasn't my "innovation", but it became somewhat of a tradition for a while. I think Small PCs got 2d4 instead.
On a different note, if a player insists on playing a Human who is small enough to fit into the Small size category I wonder how many DMs would adjust the character's size to Small and how many would say that the PC remains Medium despite the description. I guess the field could be further divided into DMs who would adjust physical ability scores and those who wouldn't.
@blackbloodtroll - Even if you rolled over and over you'd never end up skinny or fat since you always get the same height to weight ratio.
We once assembled an all Bard 9th level party to play a module based on the Gamers movies. I can’t recall if we finished the module, but we each had different archetypes, some of which offered different or stacking bonuses. I forget my PC’s archetype at the moment, but it involved pranks and tricks. He also had Intensified Spell and a trait to apply it to Thundering Drums for free, and the results were pretty impressive (at least in a game full of 9th level Bards)
We’ve got an ongoing “Goblin Game” which is currently at 12th level. It included both “We Be Goblins” and “We Be Goblins Too”, but by the time “We Be Goblins Free” came out our PCs had gained too many levels for the DM to feel like ramping the challenge up to our CR range. We’ve been on various homebrew adventures which have included:
Whether or not martials need better things I think that casters could stand a few nerfs. For instance, the "encounter-deciding spell" which Casual Viking mentioned is something which I find kind of boring and sometimes dispiriting.
The Witch (or whoever) uses an SoL spell or power. Then the DM rolls a d20 and either the enemy is effectively vanquished or nothing at all happens. The caster either robs me of the fun of fighting the enemy or fails to provide any meaningful support as I fight the enemy with one less PC making a meaningful contribution. Sometimes SoL spam ensues and it is a race to see which competing track (HP Damage vs SoL). I think it would be great if more spells and powers had their results averaged towards the center with successful saves often still imposing some negatives and failed saves not necessarily taking the foe out of the fight (at least not for long)
Obviously that would be a downgrade to the power of casters, and I suppose some people might object that a Fighter who gets off a full attack could still "easily" take an enemy out in one round, but defenses against that are certainly possible, and it isn't like casters don't have damage dealing options too (summoning in particular)
I think I've probably played more levels as a Bard than any other class, but I haven't found my recent excursion into Fighter and Barbarian particularly unrewarding (other than the low Will of one of my 3 PCs getting hit repeatedly). As I recall, Bards don't have a built in method to fly either. My last one rode a Sylvan Sorcerer's animal companion (which often had Overland Flight on it). He was pretty decent with a bow too almost by accident (Inspire Courage + Good Hope helps a lot)
A Fighter is generally expected to have gear. Most of them wouldn't function very well without armor and a weapon. I'm sure there are certain Fighter builds which would work well naked, but I don't think that's the base assumption.
There are at least two Fighter archetypes I can think of which offer options for flight without magical gear, but I think it is for the best that those options are contained within archetypes rather than bundled into the base class where they might force players who don't really want magical or quasi-magical (alchemy, ki powers, etc) flight for their PCs. I think that adulterating the Fighter’s “fighter-ness” with mysterious flying and leaping abilities would be a greater affront than allowing the Fighter to be a physical combatant who might need to use equipment to deal with certain problems.
Deciding that options which exist via feats or equipment aren't valid would limit a lot of characters. I guess those limitations could come into play against a player's will in certain games where the DM is very tightfisted with treasure and the PCs don't work together (or perhaps don't include any casters), but I hope that those games are either few and far between or a mutually agreed upon exercise in "gritty low magic adventuring" (or something along those lines)
I think that a team game could certainly include a conversation like:
Fighter: "Witch, cast Fly on me right now so I can go attack the Erinyes in melee!"
Witch: "Give me 375gp and I'll make you a potion of Fly so I don't have to waste my actions in combat. Why don't you just shoot her with your bow?"
Fighter: "I didn't buy a bow..."
Witch: "You have that bow from the last Erinyes we killed, use that!"
Fighter: "That only does 1d8+6 damage since the devil is immune to the fire. Chances are that I'll do no damage at all."
Witch: "Use Deadly Aim!"
Fighter: "I didn't take it. I had to focus solely on achieving the highest DPR possibly under ideal conditions and therefore have no backup plan."
Witch: "Fine, I'll summon a monster to kill the darned thing. It attacks about as well as you do anyhow. Are you happy? Are you happy that you made me show you how useless you are?"
Fighter: "Can I ride on the summoned monster?"
Witch: "Sure, can you make a Ride check?"
Fighter: "No, I spent all my skill ranks on Knowledge (Dungeoneering) so you wouldn't have to."
Witch: "Oh to Hell with it. Ice Tomb! Haha! I win!"
DM: "Does the ice break when the Erinyes falls to the ground?"
Witch: "Nobody knows..."
@Scavion - I really wish that harpoons worked more like I'd expect them to. The idea that you'd need to score a crit to get your harpoon to stick in a whale seems pretty odd and disappointing to me. I actually wrote up some harpooning house rules for a whaling session a while back where the party had to hunt down a Great White Whale to help a ghostly captain's spirit rest (we aren't fans of whale hunting in real life, but it seemed appropriate to the adventure)
@DrDeth - I basically agree with much of what you said, but I'd honestly like to know more about why people feel martial classes aren't satisfactory outside of combat. It seems to me like anybody can put some ranks into social skills and participate in roleplaying, and that's how most of the out of combat time in my groups is spent. Maybe other people have some different experiences which can help me understand the problem though.
I’ve long meant to play a PC called “El Flamingo” based loosely on “Zorro the Gay Blade” along with some confusion between flamingo and flamenco. The time has just never been quite right. One DM in particularly asked me to never play a PC with the original Crane Wing feat, and I respected that wish. The recent changes to Master of Many Styles seem to ensure that the “Flamingo Kick” counterattack (with Snake Fang) isn’t likely to make an appearance any time soon.
Regarding the Demon Mother’s Mask, my goblin PC loves the idea of it and sometimes dreams about making an army of animal headed goblins who ride to attack Sandpoint on a bunch of goblin headed animals. Having convinced some human sailors to become cannibals for the glory of Venklevore he also hopes to have them help create “man-pigs and pig-men” for the glory of Lamashtu and in the process make humanity into swine in a rather literal sense.
If you want to go over the edge into something really weird you could consider the various ways in which ghouls might amuse themselves with paralyzed prey or even allies who like the idea of being helpless.
@Anius - From a power perspective it is difficult for me to imagine a Vivisectionist who is more disruptive than a regular Alchemist with Fast + Force Bombs. From a roleplaying perspective I could certainly imagine that a Vivisectionist who takes the Dr. Moreau theme to extremes might not fit into some non-Evil games very well as a PC.
If you enjoy using plastic dinosaurs as minis or the idea of it then I suggest that you visit your local dollar store. The toy section will probably have various dinosaurs, insects, and other "critters", some of which will likely be sized appropriately to be monsters in your games. I've even found unusual stuff like dinosaur skeletons.
Often the toys are in garish colors like bright yellow or green, fluorescent pink, etc, but the underlying sculpts are frequently pretty good. If you have even modest painting skills you can end up with several table quality minis for a dollar. You can also find a lot of sub-dollar minis online from lines like Dreamblade, Mage Knight, and Horror Clix. I'm usually happiest showing off the minis I got dirt cheap.
During Saturday's game one of the players was spending a lot of time sorting pawns into alphabetical order. It looked like a nuisance. Then again, finding the right minis is sometimes a nuisance too. Perhaps I'll get some stackable cabinets with small, removable drawers and put monsters with a certain theme in each drawer (fishmen, mushrooms, orcs, drow, etc)
It was definitely a potential nerf for PCs like my girlfriend's Orc (not half-orc) who had a 5 Int and an 18 or 20 Con. I guess I should have been more specific.
Anyhow, the fact that the intended nerf was actually a buff for half-orcs since they don't get the orcish -2 Int only makes the errata look even clumsier in my opinion.
There's more encouragement to stick with MoMS now than there was before, but after playing around with theoretical builds a little I think that bailing out after the 2 level dip still looks pretty appealing. Maybe removing the prereqs besides Monk level for feats in the wildcard slots would be enough to tempt more folks to stick with MoMS levels though. I haven't thought of any particularly overpowered combos that it would allow yet since it isn't like there would be early entry - maybe you'd save a feat or two and some skill ranks though for styles like Boar and Snake you really need the skill ranks to get the most out of the style...doesn't seem too extreme to me...
Anyhow, those are just some thoughts. I'm personally not a foe of multiclassing and don't see why sticking with a single class should always need to be better than mixing several together. Delaying too many of the benefits of a class or archetype until high levels would punish everybody, not just level dippers. Once you've got 4-6 levels into a class that seems like a pretty significant investment to me though. I wouldn't consider Gunslinger 5 and then finishing off with other levels to be plundering Gunslinger any more than I would Paladin 4 with Oath of Vengeance and then other levels to be plundering Paladin. I suppose you could push out the big Smite Evil power from Oath of Vengeance a few levels to stop us dippers, but then the "real" Paladins would suffer too.
As far as Mutagens go it could be tough to beat Mutation Warrior 4 as a buff and bonus feat package, and it doesn't even stop you from participating in the extremely popular Barbarian 2 or 4 programs. I guess that multiclassing flexibility is one of the strengths of martial classes (or perhaps one of the weaknesses depending on how you feel about it)
Making it difficult to identify a creature which has a disease sounds pretty weird.
Fighter: "Hey, is that a dog?"
I was greatly pleased to see the change to double-barreled muskets and even more pleased to see the FAQ clarifying that it applies to other double-barreled guns. This is an issue I’d been discussing on the boards for a long while now.
Litany of Righteousness seems like another good change to me though honestly I would have rather seen it nerfed to just grant bonus damage or only do double damage on the first hit.
I have mixed feelings about the latest update to Crane Wing. It is tough to compare and contrast it with the previous version since I can’t seem to find a copy of that. Anyhow, it seems to me that simply allowing you to apply a +4 dodge bonus to your AC once per round after you are hit would have been more flexible and easier to use during play than giving you a +4 bonus which disappears when you’re hit by 4 or less. That ship has probably sailed, but I do hope that the Combat Trick for Crane Wing gets updated at least via FAQ.
Overall this errata had some good changes and helps to improve my faith in the Pathfinder system. Some folks have brought up the idea that the game might lose players because of rules updates, but the game also might keep players because of rules updates.
I have a lingering distaste for disguised or poorly described monsters after playing with a DM who often refused to describe most monsters beyond something like "He's a big guy" or "It is kind of hairy". It seemed like he was afraid that if he admitted the "big guy" had blue skin one of the players might guess it was a Frost Giant and try using a fire spell.
Whether or not it would be reasonable to try using fire against blue stuff and cold against red stuff is probably a matter of opinion. Fighting sparsely described monsters represented by plastic soldiers isn't great fuel for the imagination though. That's a shame since the DM's story and descriptions of roleplaying encounters were usually detailed and interesting.
Regarding Knowledge skills, there aren't very good guidelines on what information hitting a certain DC should entitle you to. I've always thought it would be nice if the CR of the monster or NPC were part of the information you got for succeeding on a Knowledge check. CR is probably the single most important thing you could know when deciding whether or not to fight something.
Regarding Wrath's suggestion #3, giving the player trouble for selecting an animal companion which might be (just might be) cold blooded seems borderline cruel.
If you really want to be cruel you could also use the "DM controls animal companions" ruling to make the stegosaurus a net liability in combat, constantly lumbering into squares which other PCs were hoping to occupy, cutting off charge lanes, and generally getting itself in trouble. Some people would say that's going too far. Others might say it is what the player gets for having the audacity to select the animal companion class feature and then also present the DM with an Armor Class which is difficult to hit.
How dare that PC or his animal companion try to survive by being hard to hit? Kill them! Kill them now! Send in the low level Kobold Sorcerers with Magic Missiles and Acid Splash! Slay the high AC blasphemers! Using advanced tactics like actually wearing armor to raise your AC is a min/max offense against fun gaming. Make them pay!
(The opinions expressed in this post are not necessarily serious)
Regarding the issue of losing data between sessions, I highly recommend using computerized character sheets but printing them out so you can track stuff like HP, potions, spells per day, etc on the paper version. I usually print out sheets and use them repeatedly for about a level. I'm sure somebody could probably design a decent touch screen sheet for iPad, but paper and pencil seems less likely to have problems with things getting accidentally selected or deselected.
I agree with chaoseffect that letting people know the enemy's AC can be helpful. Even if you don't pre-roll people won't have to keep asking, "Does a 37 hit?" Another thing which the DM can help control is the difficulty of the encounters. If they're too tough it can really slow things down. Not only will each fight last longer, but the players are likely to become stressed. This can make them dawdle over decisions which seem important to the survival of their PCs. It can also cause people to go searching through their options, which can be particularly impactful in the case of certain casters.
I'm not saying that every encounter should be a mook stomping festival, but having more reasonable encounters should tend to lead to quicker play. Just last night we had to spend a fair amount of time cajoling one of the players into participating in a big fight since he felt his PC was in danger and he wasn't sure if he could contribute effectively (at least I figure that's what was going on). That one fight took almost half the session and seemed to put the player in a bad mood.
Conversely, some folks say that they don't have as much fun if their characters aren't seriously threatened. I find that even CR = APL encounters tend to produce some scary moments over time though if the DM plays the monsters as at least somewhat tactically astute.
Somewhere in the gaming Multiverse...
Player 1: "I cast Bull's Strength!"
I really like that movie. As for the bows, I'd think that increased range and decreased accuracy would make sense given that they're basically being used like small siege weapons. If it were a Large longbow it would do 2d6 damage and get a -2 to hit.
I'd suggest making this weapon even slower to reload. Shooting it once per round with Rapid Reload or once per two rounds without it would seem reasonable to me. Otherwise you'll have people with Rapid Reload doing a full attack with Rapid Shot and Manyshot using the footbow (likely while being hauled around on a cart or a Floating Disk - perhaps even just scuttling around prone with a Weasel Belt)
If you wanted to mess around with the Strength bonus I'd suggest that rather than using 1.5 times the user's Str mod you could just allow folks to use a bow with a Str mod higher than the user's by a point or two. Making the footbow an Exotic weapon might help explain why only specially trained soldiers from some particular province/race/etc generally use it.
One problem with Gwen's stance is that it seems to assume DMs would allow you to move your animal companion into flank before the "Flank" trick was introduced. That wasn't always the case. Some DMs may have insisted that animal companions always move to the closest square and attack. Others might have ruled that the animal can flank if it is a type of animal which the DM imagines flanking a lot in nature, commonly something like a wolf. Some DMs might not imagine raptor dinosaurs, lions, hyenas, or apes flanking whereas some of their players might.
Of course there were also DMs who would let you move your animal companion to where you wanted and have it do whatever you wanted without any concern about tricks, ranks in Handle Animal, etc. There were probably even some who said something like, "Well, there isn't a trick for it, so use Push Animal and see if you succeed."
Having a Flank trick to help everybody agree that the animal in question can be ordered to flank seems like a decent idea to me. I'm not sure why the trick specifies that the animal must take AoOs though. That seems kind of punitive and denies options like Spring Attack (sorry, your animal wouldn't suffer an AoO, so it can't move into flank after all?) and possibly even the use of the Acrobatics skill, which I think is on the list of skills animal companions can take and use.
I doubt that Sansa or Theon would be well represented as Barbarians. If she were even a 1st level Sorcerer they could have used Feather Fall though. It could be useful for the Wall up at Castle Black too, but despite fighting like a Wizard poor Sam has no spells - at least not yet...
(somewhere in my imagination)
I could see a place for low, mid, and high level builds depending on the role the character is meant to play in a particular campaign. Maybe a 15th level version of Bronn who could kill all of Ramsay Bolton's dogs while dressed in his underwear and wielding a ball peen hammer as an improvised weapon really wouldn't be a great fit for the books or the HBO show, but a 6th level version of the Mountain who just barely scares the PCs when they're low level might not be a great fit for "scariest swordsman in the kingdom" in a lot of campaigns either, especially if the DM has some sort of climactic faceoff against the Mountain planned for levels 10+
As an aside, I guess 6th level is probably about the highest level where jumping off a cliff or jumping out of an airplane would be more likely than not to kill a raging Unchained Barbarian. By 10th level most martial PCs would probably survive such a jump and a lot of them literally couldn't be killed by it without DM fiat or the rarely used "massive damage" rule (which would probably create a 5% chance of dying). I'm not sure whether this could be better used as an argument that 6th level represents the upper bounds of reality or that the falling rules are a little silly.
We used to have a great pamphlet with alternate rules for lava. It had a page or two of fluff and then a rules section which said something like, "If you fall into lava you're dead." I'd expect those alternate rules might likely apply in a game system seeking to closely emulate ASOIF, but the base Pathfinder rules aren't such a system.
Unless your DM is some kind of magical trap pervert you shouldn't really need a Rogue or other PC with the Trapfinding ability. That said, I agree with those who have said you can FIND magical traps just fine using Perception. Many people have a misconception that you need Trapfinding to find magical traps, but it is actually just required to disable them.
Using summoned monsters to set off traps can work well, but it can be tough to get low level monsters who can understand a language to take commands such as "Open that door". The mite from SNA I can work well for this, and the fact that they're Evil and annoying little buggers makes ordering them to go get blown up a little more fun.
If a little Evil doesn't bother you then you could have a crew of undead "doormen" (perhaps with fancy uniforms) to not only set off traps but enhance the party's action economy. Bloody skeletons can set off traps, get blown up, and then return to service in about an hour. Unlike many low level summoned monsters, they can also obey simple verbal commands.
I can't quite understand the situation you're describing. If you want a cohort who will stay in the background I think that a Bard would be ideal, but if you really need the cohort at 3rd level I guess that won't work.
That being the case you could consider a "bodyguard" cohort with the Bodyguard feat. A halfling with the Helpful trait could be very good at this. There are also some feats which allow halflings to share other AC bonuses with allies.
Excluding situations involving small children, I'm not entirely sure why character concepts which offend people's sense of social justice or perhaps are simply too racy or cruel should certainly be excluded but those which offend people's "sense of seriousness" or "sense of theme" certainly shouldn't be. Obviously there's a matter of degrees there, but to claim one type of preference is completely sacrosanct while others are to be summarily dismissed seems a little inconsiderate to me.
I think that the most important factor in determining what sorts of PCs and equipment are appropriate is the preferences of the group you're playing with. Since the DM is generally making a significant investment of effort and possibly money to run the game his or her preferences should be very important too. The individual player's preference matters, but I don't feel that it should trump other concerns, especially at the expense of making other players unhappy or uncomfortable. If you want to play a purple space bunny named Sir Humpsalot that might be fun for some groups and too silly for others. A few might say it would be fine if you rename him to Sir Hopsalot. If the renamed PC starts going up to female NPCs and saying, "Hey baby, wanna hop?" some players might find it funny while some might find it exasperating or perhaps even offensive (I've never met such easily offended folks, but maybe you're playing with little kids or somebody very sensitive)
Meanwhile some other groups would have no problem with an animated object sex toy as a PC's familiar but might not like it if another PC is a Witch who wants to torture and eat children (though that's not at all inconsistent with the rules material for the class). I can understand how violently homophobic PCs might not be fun to have around for most groups, but whether or not a Viking calling a male spellcaster "girly man" (like Hanz and Franz) is over the top offensive might be a matter of taste (and the fact that the PC in question is portrayed as being kind of an idiot may or may not be a sufficient mitigating factor)
Stuff like this can extend to the DM's side of the table as well. Certainly there were rapists in history, and presumably there are rapists in Golarion, but some tables might be uncomfortable with rape. If you're playing with a traumatized recent rape victim then having an NPC try to rape his or her PC probably wouldn't be a great move. At another table a male PC getting raped to death by monkeys (actually bar i'gura) is a treasured comedic memory though.
I always feel like these threads might be attempts to gather info on all the most broken feats to build some kind of super PC. Divine Protection seems awfully strong, but it might be interesting to see it as a free feat for everybody without the prereqs. It would certainly discourage dumping Charisma. Oracles can already get Divine Protection, and Paladins just get +1, so I guess Sorcerers would benefit most. Everybody who chose 12 Cha instead of 7 Cha would get a little boost too though, and PCs in general might be a wittier and more charming bunch.
This thread has inspired a lot of thoughts for me, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to argue through them. Instead I'll comment that I'm not sure if anybody has brought up Gannibal yet. Abram Petrovich Gannibal was a black kid kidnapped from Russia and given to Peter the Great as a gift. He was also famous poet Alexander Pushkin's great-grandfather, and during his life he rose to high rank in the Russian military and became a noble. After running across his story I thought that it could make a great movie. Unfortunately I'm not in the business of making movies, so I guess I'll just have to hope.
To be fair, more than a few DMs fiddle with the encounters in APs like RotRL to make them deadlier since they feel that the group needs more challenge. Sometimes DMs alter the encounters to account for larger parties, and that too can create deaths when more powerful or numerous monsters happen to concentrate their attacks on a particular PC. Other times a player (usually me in our groups) will make a PC who focuses "too much" on AC or other defenses and this "forces" the DM to kill other PCs "by accident".
I think that the best time to rest isn't when you’re out of resources but when you have enough resources left for at least one more good fight. Similarly, if the dungeon seems like it is too dangerous to rest in you should probably think about finding a way back out before you're completely exhausted and or surrounded by foes.
I also think that maybe too few casters consider the wisdom of buying or crafting scrolls and wands. Using them might not be as exciting as casting your highest level spells, but it sure beats standing around shooting a light crossbow for 1d8.
I never said we don't have to be adjacent, just that, "There's nothing about being adjacent to each other which prevents us from using Reach weapons". Since that apparently wasn't clear enough, what I meant is that if we're standing adjacent to each other to qualify for the benefit of Amplified Rage we can still use Reach weapons. We could also qualify for the benefit of Amplified Rage by flanking a common enemy (with or without Reach weapons) rather than being adjacent, but I don't think we concentrate on flanking enough to make Outflank better than Amplified Rage for us, and staying adjacent to each other is probably easier for us to control than keeping a foe in flank anyhow.
Honestly even the bit about Amplified Rage preventing us from charging seems a little suspect to me since in fact we could still charge, and the second orc charging into an adjacent position would even still get a +2 to hit and +3 to damage boost on his or her attack. Even halved that's still a pretty decent bonus, and the PCs in question don't charge a lot anyhow. Of course if they did there's another teamwork feat which could help with that.
@Scott Wilhelm - Stuff like the removal of size restrictions or the need to spend an action maintaining a pin from round to round seem like obviously intentional changes to some people but like potential mistakes or oversights to others. Sure, the size restriction isn't in the RAW, but from what I can see neither is the restriction about not maintaining the grapple with Greater Grapple in the same round when you establish it. Mark apparently put that language into the combat trick for Greater Grapple because of something people were "not seeing" in the CRB though. I guess the FAQ will tell all.
@threemilechild - I'd be interested in knowing the "official" rules for Grapple despite any house rules we might decide to use. You also might find official rulings helpful for your own grappling PC since she'll probably be establishing a lot of grapples during AoOs and might be facing some very big enemies (judging from the DM in questions's general tendencies and recent discovery of Awesome Blow). I guess the question of whether Awesome Blow breaks a grapple is an entirely separate thread though.
I don't really mind that I can't use Mauler on an improved familiar. I do wish I could use Valet though. I've got a cohort with a raven familiar who might be a little cooler as a nosoi psychopomp, but I'm not sure it is worth giving up faster crafting and what amounts to Flyby Attack for delivering touch spells. If improved Maulers were allowed I guess the nosoi could have Str 18 at 9th level though - potentially pretty effective combined with Raging Song and Lesser Beast Totem but not really what I'm looking for even if it were allowed
Regarding the “Lingering” idea, it might be simpler to use the regular Aid Another rules for the bonuses. I find the idea of “insta-ghosts” influencing combat a little odd though. An alternate idea which might make having a positive Charisma very appealing to some players would be to allow the spirit to “linger” for a number of rounds equal to your Cha mod so that if the body is healed to above -Con during that time the PC actually survives rather than dying. A rule like this could also seem like an attack on low Cha PCs though.
@Aleron - The DC of a Luck Check is traditionally kind of arbitrary, but as a general guideline you might think about the rough percentage chance for something bad to happen (or something good not to happen) and divide that by 5 to get the DC of the Luck Check. For instance, if the adventure says there’s a 40% chance that birds craps on each PC it would be a DC 8 Luck Check to avoid getting crapped on. On the other hand, if a Roc is going to crap on a single PC as a touch attack (which might also count as a Trip and or Dirty Trick attempt) you’d have an Ugly Off to see who gets dumped on.
@mplindustries - Ye Olde 2e DM actually used henchmen and followers though he allowed for roleplay to affect that stuff quite a lot too. Anyhow, while the DM felt like people dumped Charisma too much and wanted to give it a boost I’ve rarely if ever seen somebody buy a higher Cha just because of Luck Checks. Being unlucky almost seems like a badge of honor in some ways.
I think you're right about the Hound Archon. Barring some clarifcation to the contrary a Bite and Slam should both be primary natural attacks except when used in conjunction with manufactured weapons. In fact, the Bite attack listed along with the Greatsword is wrong too. It should be just 1d8+1 instead of 1d8+2 since it is being used as a secondary weapon there. I use these adjusted stats when one of my PCs summons a hound archon, which is often enough that I made a mini for it.
I wonder if somebody at d20pfsrd might not already have the monsters in a database format. There's something which looks a lot like that here
Seven 1's in a row is crazy. My personal best of the worst is seven nat 1's out of 15d20 while fighting some giant spiders in 2e. On the other hand, I once saw somebody roll all 6’s on 5 or 6 sneak attack dice.
It has been many years since I've seen DMs so ashamed of their dice that they roll behind a screen. Still, there are many ways that DMs pull punches and prevent punishing the PCs for their many failures. Here are a few which come to mind:
An honorable mention goes to the DM asking how many hit points you have left before doing something. We’ve got a couple of players who keep their hit point totals completely secret in an attempt to avoid this and increase their PC’s risk of death (yes indeed, some folks like dying). Another potential pulled punch is when the DM has a BBEG not kill the PCs when he or she could. This often happens when the PCs attack a BBEG they’re supposed to fight later in the campaign when he or she appears to make an Evil Speech. I’m trying to avoid this in the future by using some Evil Speech by Proxy ideas like sending a henchman, using a simulacrum (perhaps one which is still powerful enough to give the PCs a serious fight), or sending a familiar, impostor, or illusion.
To avoid the need to pull punches I make most encounter CR = APL and try to use very few encounters of more than CR = APL+1. Coup de grace is house ruled to be just a crit (or in some groups a crit with 1x more damage). I offer new saves each round on a lot of stuff like Dazing Spell and Fear. I've just begun running the Council of Thieves AP for a party of 2 PCs. I let them start at 3rd level since that should theoretically make the APL vs CR work out right, and they absolutely dominated every encounter last night. I figure that my d20 will heat up at some point though. Our groups also use Hero Points, and I think that the players having their own insurance policy really can help the DM avoid making everybody uncomfortable by letting a PC off the hook (especially if other PCs haven't been let off the hook in the past)
My 11th level Small PC can't find enough mithral to make a breastplate or even a chain shirt. Of course he's an Evil and quite possibly insane goblin who lives in a cave, so he doesn't have access to a lot of magic item shops. It is just interesting to see different expectations at work when it comes to item availability.
When I'm running I generally include some NPC casters who can craft stuff which costs more than the city limit, but they rarely if ever have this stuff on hand, so you have to wait around until they craft it for you or come back to pick it up later. The latter option is especially unpopular since it might mean being without a favorite item while it is "in the shop".
Back to Fighters and background skills, I guess that we don't have a detailed breakdown of which skills are on that list yet, and maybe that's part of the reason folks disagree so strongly on whether or not the bonus ranks will really help the Fighter with skills.
I think being able to give your Fighter a little extra personality without sacrificing Perception and such seems nice. I could also imagine mechanical benefits though. For instance, if Craft is a background skill this would make it a lot easier for a Dwarf Fighter to invest in Master Craftsman, which seems like an iconic choice to me. Putting max ranks in a Craft skill would be a pretty big investment for somebody who probably only gets 1-3 skill ranks per level, but if you have extra ranks to put in Craft skills anyhow it would be less of a sacrifice. With the new variant multiclassing maybe you'll also be able to pick up bardic performances, qualify for Discordant Voice with 10 free ranks in Perform, and do some sort of dwarven smithing chant during battle, maybe something like:
"As fer ye goblins I'll hit in the head
I'd bet there are other potential uses out there, and I wouldn't be surprised if Unchained creates even more. Even if it somehow turns out that the Fighter is a big loser in Unchained and unexpectedly emerges even further "behind the curve" than he went in I think I'll still probably like the variant rule for background skills. Even classes with lots of skill ranks like Bards and Rogues might be a little more interesting if every rank weren't chosen to maximize its effect on exploration and combat. That's not to say that they always are now, but if they're not you're often "giving up" something to have that extra RP tidbit.
Regarding balance issues with Paizo material vs 3rd party material, many DMs I know seem to be in a mode where they begrudgingly allow most Paizo materials because they're "official" but are disinclined to allow 3rd party material in the first place. I've rarely played with groups which felt comfortable adding much 3rd party stuff in terms of rules for classes, feats, and spells. I've seen much greater uptake rates for 3rd party monsters, which are more in the DM's toolbox, and I think that most folks I know wouldn't have any problem at all with 3rd party adventures (even if they included a few unique or custom monsters)
I haven't used HeroLab myself and generally don't find doing the math and sheets for my own PCs that troubling. One thing I'd really like to see from Paizo or a 3rd party though would be a very accurate monster customizing tool where you can apply templates, hit dice advancement, etc and get the tool to output an accurate stat block. I've seen fan made template adding tools in the past, but unfortunately they were all pretty glitchy. I'll be running some adventures again soon, and customizing monsters can be a real time sink.
Appraise often feels like a wasted investment since so many DMs either skip it outright or decide to gloss over it if nobody in the party is good at it.
I wonder if Lore is limited to one specific subject or if you get to know about an additional subject when you invest another rank. Spending multiple skill ranks to know all there is to know about owlbears sounds like it might be a little disappointing in the long run, but knowing all there is to know about owlbears as well as being an expert on the history of Cheliax and being able to identify all of the different sorts of devils might be fun.
In the real world the idea that every person is created equal and all people are more alike than different in terms of tendency and potential are deeply entrenched social values. It seems natural to project real world values onto the fantasy world to some extent, but in the fantasy world different races clearly have different abilities. Some are smarter, some are faster, some are stronger, so it doesn't seem strange to propose that maybe some have a greater inherent tendency to be Good or Evil.
I'd say that a goblin raised by humans could end up Neutral or Good but might have a tendency to end up Evil anyhow. Even if you're strictly against the idea that creatures could have inherent negative tendencies you might consider the prejudice and oppression which a goblin living in human society might encounter and the negative reaction that might create. Contrarily you could consider how that goblin's suffering might cause him or her to become a Paladin turning the other cheek to insults, championing the rights of oppressed people, and trying to redeem the goblin race - who would likely be violently disinterested in such salvation...
I like using the Tentacle evolution and discovery for stuff like a prehensile tail or a Tongue attack with Reach and Grab. The latter wasn't a strong mechanical choice compared to putting those evolutions on the more powerful Bite and Claw attacks, but it really fit the theme for my toad-like eidolon. I could imagine that some groups would have been firmly against having a Tentacle grow out of a creature's mouth and work like a Tongue, but the folks I was playing with were fine with it and seemed to like the giant tongue on the eidolon's customized mini.
Orcish Rapunzel - If you try the Scarred Witch Doctor I suggest taking the Prehensile Hair hex. This will let you use Constitution for spells, hex DCs, attack rolls, and damage. Buff up your Con as much as possible and you should do OK. Grappling might be surprisingly viable if you wear a Belt of Anaconda's Coils and take the Final Embrace feat (which grants the Grab ability). Hex Strike can also let you apply the Evil Eye to foes via unarmed strikes or even your hair with Feral Combat Training. If you've got +8 to grapple checks from Improved Grapple, the belt, and Grab and then give your foe -4 AC/CMD via Evil Eye that's a pretty big swing in CMB vs CMD. It seems counterintuitive to grapple with a low BAB PC, but I think it could work. Getting all the right feats in order without multiclassing would be the trick. At worst I guess you could use the reach of the hair to hang back and rely on AoOs for extra damage.
Mounted Sorcerer - A human Sylvan Sorcerer might be able to swing the feats for Mounted Combat. Whether or not you want to be a lady from Niger it wouldn't hurt your combat effectiveness to ride on a tiger. Since you can share True Strike your companion should be able to hit stuff or perform combat maneuvers pretty much as needed. I guess a big bad Wolf who trips enemies to give you +4 to hit against them might not be bad, especially if you took Paired Opportunists so that you both got a +4 bonus on any AoOs which might be triggered by the enemy falling down or standing up. If you feel pretty good about your HP and defenses Broken Wing Gambit with Paired Opportunists could be a nice combo too.
Flank Bonuses - If you'd rather flank with your companion than ride on it then the Outflank feat and Menacing weapons or amulets could be helpful. I'd consider staying adjacent and having the animal defend you with Bodyguard though. At worst you should be viable in melee against mooks, allowing you to save your big spells for big monsters.
I think Torger's point was probably that while Quicken Spell is powerful Spell Perfection can make using Quicken Spell free. That seems more powerful than using Quicken Spell for the normal cost just like using metamagic at reduced cost due to a trait seems more powerful than using metamagic at the normal cost.
Of course you could already use metamagic at no spell slot cost by paying the gold cost for a metamagic rod, which is a CRB item, but back to Torger's way of thinking I guess that a rod can only add one free metamagic whereas using a rod combined with Spell Perfection might add two. I guess one could debate what the gold piece value of a 15th level feat should be and how much of a limiting factor Spell Perfection working with just one particular spell is.
As an aside, I think almost everybody agrees that Leadership is a little crazy. This doesn't stop me from taking it when a DM allows it and I think the party could use a little help. Some campaigns are much tougher than others, and some parties are much less competent than others.