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Devilkiller's page

1,936 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.

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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.

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@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.

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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.

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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

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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:
#1 - Having powerful monsters split up their attacks evenly between PCs (also leads to the “come into melee with me so there will be more targets” syndrome)
#2 - Offering extra saves to “snap out of” SoL Will effects which don’t usually offer them (in the absence of any previously existing house rule)
#3 - The DM fails to deliver the expected damage for a spell or effect (as in the OP’s case)
#4 - The DM tells somebody “You’re at negative 1” without rolling or at least without announcing a damage total
#5 - Some monsters leave in the middle of the fight for unclear reasons (one monster telling another “run and tell the boss!” is about as good as this gets)
#6 - Ghouls or mummies fail to coup de grace a paralyzed PC, especially if they wouldn’t suffer an AoO to do so
#7 - I’ve seen some DMs try to skip the turn of certain monsters as if they “forgot” them (this is one of the saddest pulled punches)
#8 - NPC ex Machina and its more dispiriting cousin DMPC ex Machina (thanks, Mighty Mouse, but can we just die next time?)
#9 - The enemy decides that he’d rather knock you out and make you his sex toy than kill you, so he starts doing non-lethal damage (I guess the more sensible version is that the enemies decide to capture you for questioning or ransom. That can be a valid plot point, but it is one that frustrates some players and needs to be used with restraint or not at all)
#10 - A shark which could have killed you just bites off a body part and swims away / The monsters mutilate instead of kill a downed PC
#11 - Various ways where monsters who were previously pretty savvy suddenly get very bad at tactics

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)

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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".

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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'm swinging me hammer to make ye all dead!
I'll cave in your skulls as I'm drinking me brew
Cuz smithin and killin are things that I do!
I'll slay your whole tribe and I'll do it today
You'll soon know the truth of these things that I say!"

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.

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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.

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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.

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Otto's Irresistible Danes sounds pretty good to me. There are some who consider D&D (and by extension Pathfinder) a "Wicked Game", and as I recall, the model in Chris Isaak's wonderful video was Danish.

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Which one's worse, Bigby's Groping Hand and Evard's Invasive Tentacles? I've (luckily) never seen either one in play, but I've heard both mentioned around gaming tables.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I guess that's as close to an "inside scoop" as we're likely to get. It sounds pretty reassuring to me though.

The recent Weird Words FAQ bolstered my faith in Paizo's commitment to getting things right even if it took quite a while. Like Rogue Eidolon's post just now, it gave the impression that somebody is listening and posting is worthwhile.


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If the players are "openly boasting" it sounds like they're having fun. If they start actually complaining that they're bored I guess that would be a sign to pump up the challenge.

Charging in headfirst is the most enjoyable style of play for a lot of folks. If their style of having fun annoys you I guess you could take some steps to make it more dangerous. Using monsters with reach (possibly via reach weapons) and Combat Reflexes should make aggressive tactics more dangerous. If the PCs like to actually use the charge action you could have enemies carrying weapons which can be braced against a charge for double damage. I'd point out that the enemies are bracing their weapons since that only seems fair (or at least offer a Perception check to notice), but whether you want to mention that they'll do double damage if they hit really seems like a matter of taste to me.

As far as not fighting everything they meet, perhaps you could have a few NPCs talk to the PCs and offer them hidden treasures, quests with rewards, etc. If the PCs are literally killing every NPC before he or she can get a word in edgewise you could try putting an NPC in a somewhat safe area like a room with a door which has only a small opening the PCs can hear the NPC through. Such bloodthirsty PCs might also be in danger of killing good, innocent, and or socially significant NPCs without bothering to listen to who they are first.

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Sure, it is unrealistic that dragons can fly. It is unrealistic that Wizards can use magic spells. Some would say it is unrealistic that there are deities who intervene in the world. All of those things are on theme for a swords and sorcery world though.

I think that the super fast reloading of muzzle loaders not only seems a little silly but kind of breaks the traditional theme of early guns being slow but deadly. For good or ill the decision was made to allow faster reloads so that guns could be playable. This isn't terribly different from the faster than expected reloading of crossbows, just more pronounced. I would have rather seen a mechanic for guns more like Mythic Vital Strike to let you pool a lot of damage into one big shot. The Gunslinger's Dead Shot deed seems like an attempt at that, but it is too expensive to use and not effective enough. I don't think that "but there's magic" is a great reason to throw verisimilitude out the window, but I guess that "it has to be playable" must be accepted on some level. I just wish it had been done a little differently.

I'm sure most folks on the boards will disagree with my take on this due to reasons like "but there's magic!", "imagine it is anime!", and "the PCs are superheroes!" Such matters of taste can't easily be solved with debate, so I guess I should move on to the mechanical aspects of the Gunslinger which might make it worth playing. First I'll give the OP a more detailed "excuse" why such fast reloading might seem more in theme if you "re-skinned" it though.

The OP mentioned a Gnome. Imagine that when the Gnome crafts alchemical cartridges he is actually doing something like:
- making belted ammunition of some sort
- customizing his gun with special vacuum tubes to suck in the powder and ammo
- crafting little robotic things to assist with rapid reloading

As for the mechanical aspect of the class, with the proper feats and alchemical cartridges you can reload as a free action. This means that you definitely can full attack with a firearm, including stuff like Rapid Shot, Haste, and potentially TWF. With the current rules for double barreled guns you could actually make a full attack with twice the usual number of attacks. I personally think that rule should be changed, but if you're looking for reasons the Gunslinger isn't underpowered I'd say that doubling your attacks is actually very powerful. I'd even call it "overpowered".

Most monsters have a low touch AC. Attacking touch AC is very powerful in a typical game or especially in pre-fab adventures like an AP where the DM isn't as likely to suddenly start running all monsters with Monk levels who live in foggy locations defended by casters with Wind Wall. You also get a free gun at 1st level (significant financial incentive), and at the worst you're a high BAB character with 4 skill points per level who is proficient with all martial weapons. You also get a Dodge bonus to AC when you're wearing light or no armor. Some of the deeds you can get are pretty powerful like the ability to knock a foe prone without any CMB check or saving throw. Sure, it is situational, but when there's a melee goon who can't fly it could be a very nice power to keep him away from you and your allies.

The Pistolero and Musketeer archetypes are probably the best since they eventually get to ignore misfire chance completely. Before you reach that point I'd imagine that there could be some advantages to using Clustered Shots and having Quick Draw available. Even if you stick to single barreled guns you should be able to put plenty of lead in the air.

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I'd think you should be able to buff yourself into a pretty effective Trip machine. If you'd rather go for Brace the biggest concern might be how to convince enemies to charge into double damage.

I can't recall if I've ever seen Brace used successfully by a PC. I guess if nothing else it would be nice against foes with Pounce. If the party likes to stay away and make ranged attacks you could punish any foes who try to close in. Remember that if you've readied an action to attack a foe who moves into your reach you still get an AoO when that foe leaves your threatened square. That's typically 2 attacks. If you have Cornugon Smash and Hurtful you can potentially turn it into 3 attacks.

You just have to convince your party to hold ranks and wait for the enemy to close. Good luck with that!

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I find the idea of DMs hiding their rolls strange and archaic. Around here we let our dice roll proudly onto the table for all to see and fear!

If the DM hides the dice I guess your idea could work, but you're giving the players less information to go on, so it could be frustrating. On the other hand, players would never waste a reroll power on an enemy who rolled fairly high but failed anyhow.

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Janka the goblin Witch didn't set off her share of the fireworks the tribe found right away. Such patience seemed out of character for her Chaotic Evil nature until we took a human prisoner and tied him up for her to interrogate. Then she lubed up a "skyrocket" firework, shoved it someplace the prisoner found very uncomfortable, and lit the fuse while asking for better answers. Unfortunately for the prisoner Janka didn't really care about the answers. The rest of the tribe broke into song: ~Skyrocket in tight! Flaming butt delight!"

This inspired Chief Sharky to create a new Goblin Game called Baby Bombs where goblins strap baby gnomes or puppies to skyrockets and fire them at each other. This is a fun game for Sharky since skyrockets allow a Reflex save and he has Evasion. We’re also beginning to take human and gnome captives for a fiendish breeding program based on the Demon Mother's Mask, which allows worshippers of Lamashtu to interbreed with other species. We hope to make a garden of pregnant and possibly limbless fiendish “melons” tended to by our Witch. If we could actually feed them via vines that would be pretty cool. Squealy Nord will give rise to a race of fiendish pig-men, and the goblins themselves plan to interbreed with animals so that one day a horde of animal headed goblins mounted on goblin headed animals can storm Sandpoint.

That's all in a campaign spawned by We Be Goblins. The Goblin Game is fun in a twisted kind of way, but honestly I hope to get back to more heroic adventures at some point. In the meantime we'll do our worst.

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Dice break the game. Damn I hate dice. Maybe next week I'll like them better.

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The suggestion of using the Tentacle evolution in creative ways reminds me of some anime an old housemate used to watch. It also reminds me of using Tentacle to give a PC's toad-like eidolon a tongue attack with Reach and Grab. More recently another PC took the Tentacle discovery to give himself a prehensile devil tail. Tentacles have all sorts of uses.

Regarding American Pie, I could imagine somebody having a redheaded eidolon who "looks like a girl from band camp". I could also imagine somebody having a serpentine eidolon named Green Snake who uses a Greater Hat of Disguise to look like Maggie Cheung Man Yuk. Unlike Ms. Beauchamp, Ms. Cheung should be fairly safe to look up on the Internet, and I highly recommend the Green Snake film (which is fantasy not porno though if you'd prefer a familiar instead of an eidolon there is another movie where Diana Pang plays a horny shapeshifting rabbit - unfortunately it is not a very good movie though it does have the always entertaining Elvis Tsui). I heard about all this and Ms. Beauchamp "from a friend" of course...

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I'm a sasquatch in real life, and actually we're pretty much the same as wookies since they were based on us. In the real world we're the ones with the lightsabers though.

Our race actually has a +12 Str and a +4 Int too. We use super science to dwell not in the spaces you know but between them, coming into your world mostly to play pranks which get blamed on leprechauns. That commercial about us taking the remote control was no joke, and we know where your lost socks and underwear go.

Anyhow, we're obviously way too awesome to be balanced with lesser races, but you could check out some old 3e material like Savage Species for some idea on how to construct balanced "monster classes" where PCs gain the abilities of iconic monsters over a number of levels. Another option is to play a Summoner and use the eidolon to represent the monster the player wants as a PC. Since some folks consider the eidolon better than certain base classes it might even be balanced/fun to just let the PC be an unfettered eidolon (possibly with regular point buy or rolled ability scores)

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It is a minor point, but I think that something being clearly RAW legal might actually make it more of a "munchkin-esque scheme". I mean as opposed to doing something in a grey area or normally outside the rules after convincing the DM that "it sure would be cool if..." (permission/agreement from the DM instead of confrontation with the DM wielding a RAW-Hammer)

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If the OP has any more questions about Trip or other maneuvers perhaps we can get back on topic. I just have a hard time containing my recent enthusiasm for Intimidate.

Extended Intimidate Derail:
If you can get some Sneak Attack flavored whipped cream on top of your Intimidating Sundae I guess that's great though most sources of Sneak Attack cut into the BAB you need to Trip people in the first place (and you might have already taken a -1 cut multiclassing into Monk for feats or styles). The stuff I was proposing also has a very heavy feat load to deal with already.

Cornugon Smash is certainly another viable way to fit in your intimidate checks. If you're going to have Improved Unarmed Strike anyhow (like as a prereq for Vicious Stomp) I prefer Enforcer since the duration on the demoralize is basically "the rest of the foe's life". I guess there is some stuff out there immune to non-lethal damage but not demoralization, but it doesn't seem like you'd probably run across it all that often in a typical game (unless there's something I'm missing). They both seem like solid feats though.

As an aside, I think the demoralize mechanic is pretty cloogy since DMs never seem to have the DC calculated and sometimes balk at sharing the monster's numbers so you can help calculate it. It might be nice if it used something more universal like a Will save.

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I sometimes describe NPCs as looking like actors. For instance, wererat Rogue "Pete the Rat" (name shamelessly borrowed from Infocom) looked like Steve Buscemi. Regarding redhead eidolons, if you describe your eidolon as looking just like Bianca Beauchamp people will probably guess where your mind is at without further RP. I wonder whether latex could count as an eidolon's natural armor. Maybe I should go do some research...

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I don't have any PCs past or present who are killed by the FAQ, but my retired Diabolist's imp would now need to take Master Craftsman to qualify for Craft Wondrous Items. Having an invisible devil who can make magic items people really want for 50% off list prices can really help with getting folks to sign contracts including hidden language consigning their souls to Hell.

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Some players aren't shy about making the perma-death solution for their PCs but also want to make it for other players. Their reasons range from schadenfreude through suspension of disbelief to wanting the game to more closely emulate some popular fantasy works like Game of Thrones.

One step towards middle ground which might help is to use Hero Points. With Hero Points players who like to play in an exciting style and dare Death to take them are free to spend their Hero Points willy nilly on acts of derring do or even outright silliness while players who dislike the idea of a forced change of PCs can cautiously hoard their points for a rainy day.

I've only ever had one PC of mine die while using Hero Points, and honestly he was a PC I wasn't all that sad to see go since he had terrible rolled ability scores, used a gimped build, and didn't fit into the campaign well mechanically. I've seen literally dozens of other PC deaths with the Hero Point system in place though. Often you can sense a PC's impending doom closing in as the Hero Points dwindle down.

Honestly most of the games I play in allow resurrection anyhow, but using HP helps prevent the question from coming up as much and gives the wild and crazy guys a little reward for their face-first style of adventuring.

@Gaberlunzie - In about half our games a dead PC's equipment mysteriously disappears/explodes - this is due to the fact we had a player a while back who was really into committing PC suicide so he could use his newest ultimate cheese build, have the highest stat in the party, etc. I've never run it this way, but some DMs got tired of the party getting a WBL bump from frequent deaths.

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I've seen turtles try repeatedly to move through both transparent and opaque walls, so I wouldn't be surprised if an image of a wall didn't have much effect on mindless vermin.

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The knockout gas example is pretty funny to me since it implies that the players should constantly be asking the DM about every crazy possibility.
- Are there spider on the chair? I want to make a Perception check to see if there are spiders on the chair!
- How about thumbtacks? There could be poison thumbtacks!
- Do I hear a dragon flapping up outside? How about a demon? Is there a Vrock out there?
- My PC makes a Perception check on the meal we bought at the inn. Is the food rancid? Will the party get food poisoning if they eat this? Can we have a Fort save if we notice?
- My PC is concerned that the beautiful Princess he's betrothed to might actually be a man. Can I get a Perception check to make sure? I just wanted to make sure I asked. Can the PC check himself too to make sure he wasn't misled from birth?

Skeletons which rise out of piles of bones and statues which everybody guesses are going to come to life often surprise PCs too.

DM: "Surprise! The statue you were watching came to life!"
Shlomo: "I hit it with my readied action!"
DM: "You can't ready an action outside of initiative."
Shlomo: "Ok, I roll initiative, 14!"
DM: "The statue has a surprise round, so it hits you with a Vital Strike for 40 damage!"
Shlomo: "Why am I surprised? Everybody knew the statue was going to come to life!"
DM: "That's metagaming. Anyhow, the statue rolled a 15 initiative, so now it full attacks you for 60 damage!"
Shlomo: "Ouch, I'm down!"
DM: "You've got to be more cautious in this dungeon and stop getting caught by surprise."

@StabbittyDoom - The slugs were coming down a path through the forest and therefore might not have been snapping as many low branches and such as you'd expect. I'd think you should at least get a check, but I suppose some DMs will always rule that if something is quiet and out of sight there's no way to detect it before it surprises you.

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I'd say that Catholicism allows for a separation of procreation and sex. In fact, the Immaculate Conception kind of calls for one. We should probably steer away from too much discussion of real world religions in this thread though. On the other hand, I wonder what the clergy of Erastil and Shelyn would think. Calistria and Urgathoa might have interesting ideas too. Asmodeus might say you get what's in your contract.

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The spikes on the klar might be in error
But even if they're not I'm not in terror
You could put armor spikes on your head
If you're kinky they might be on your bed
Armor spikes could be anywhere
Armor spikes are always fair
Armor spikes occupy your hand
When Two Weapon Fighting is in demand
This poem is the worst I've written
I think I might deserve to be Smitten

Neither a spiked shield or armor spikes do slashing damage, so the klar is kind of weird no matter how you choose to read the RAW.

Regarding the Defending Shield and Shield Master combo, it is a small enough corner case that we might never see a developer comment on it, but I'd expect them to rule it down since there was a previous FAQ demanding that you must attack with a Defending weapon to gain the AC benefit. Attacking with the weapon but not using the lower bonus doesn't seem in line with the spirit of the Defending enchantment to me, and besides that I'm not sure if you really get two separate enhancement bonuses which can be given up or kept separately.

I've got a PC who plans to take Shield Master in a few levels and has a pretty low Will save, so I'd kind of like to be proven wrong and get the Guardian enchantment on his shield. If I tried it I'd live in fear of getting FAQ'd though.

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This is going to be a long post. Hopefully you'll have a nice long campaign though. Maybe some of these ideas could be helpful for running it. On the other hand, even if they're not they've been fun to come up with.

Anyhow, the PC faction is small. Perhaps they’d do best to gain allies. The warlord who wants to kill the Darakhul seems like a potential ally to me. Maybe he wants revenge on the ghouls for eating (or converting!) his wife, child, face, etc. Perhaps the ghouls are led by demons/fey/casters who have DR which can be beaten by the cold iron or adamantine found in the PC’s mine. In exchange for the right weapons to help defeat his hated foes the warlord will join the PC cause and perhaps serve as a government official in their kingdom (General, Warden, etc).

Later on the son of the Evil King might learn the PCs are heroes and seek out their help in deposing his father. The dwarven mines could be of use again if the Evil King uses golems to protect his palace. Perhaps the EK is under control of the Grand Vizier or Diplomat, a Wizard or Summoner of some power. Maybe the King is Evil because of the caster’s magic, or maybe the new Queen is secretly a succubus who controls him. I guess both could be true. After the King is defeated or the Evil influence is removed and the King bravely sacrifices himself in a final battle perhaps the son decides the PCs would be better rulers than he would and cedes the formerly Evil kingdom to them.

As for how to work the mines I can think of at least 3 ingredients which could be mixed to achieve the flavor you’re looking for:
#1 - The dwarves who ran these mines were particularly high tech and crafted constructs who do most of the mining work. This could be one reason why the mines weren’t very heavily staffed with dwarves and therefore fell easily to whatever monsters invaded. The old and possibly malfunctioning machines could help to make certain areas of the mines an active battlefield (moving carts, big belts moving buckets of molten metal, etc)
#2 - There are still some dwarves down in the mines. Maybe the surviving dwarves have been trapped below ground by the monsters for quite a while. Perhaps they’re huddled in and near a shrine where some holy item helps preserve them. On the other hand, maybe some of the dwarves have fallen to dark temptations over the years and become duergar. The PCs might be able to make a mining deal with any surviving goodly dwarves after rescuing them. I guess depending on the party maybe they could make a deal with the duergar if any are present (or help to redeem them somehow, kill them off to free the goodly dwarves from their yoke, etc)
#3 - Profit Sharing - Since the metals in question are pretty expensive the PCs might be able to share some of the profits with any miners who come to help out. Personally I’d worry more about farmers though…

Speaking of farmers, Old McDonald would probably like the PCs to clear out a little space in the forest for some slash and burn agriculture. There’s likely to be a fundamentalist Druid or nature themed Oracle (Lunar mystery maybe) around who won’t take kindly to that. Maybe he or she is even friends with some wereboars, werewolves, etc. If the PCs can enlist the help of a more moderate Druid and promise to use sustainable farming practices maybe they can unite forces to see that the nature terrorist faction is defeated and establish a peaceful forest kingdom. I guess the Church of Pandora could help out a lot here.

One would also expect logging to be a big business in the forest. Even what modern day folks would call sustainable logging practices might not be very satisfactory to treants. Perhaps if the PCs help to stop a fiendish fungal blight which threatens to consume the entire forest the tree lords will be inspired to figure out some kind of magical solution though (as long as the PCs promise to keep those rowdy dwarves with ale and axes out of the peaceful forest). In times of war the treants could be powerful allies. Perhaps the fungal blight itself would provide the base materials to grow crops of “shroomwood”, a darkwood analog harvested from light but strong giant mushrooms tended by forest gnomes. There could also be halflings who grow a hemp-like plant to produce pipeweed along with the fiber for clothing, sails, and rope. That could be important if the PCs want to control lakes or oceans one day or trade with kingdoms which do.

As for the Orcs, they could serve as basic enemies and wandering monsters, teaming up with other Evil factions from time to time. For a change of pace some half-orcs could approach the PCs for help defecting. Later on maybe even a fallen orc chief could come to the PCs with a tale of a new and greater Evil which is organizing the orc clans into a great army, perhaps one marshalled by devils, demons, etc. This could be tied back to the Evil Kingdom storyline, the Fungal Forest storyline, or possibly both.

For NPC stats I think the NPC Gallery on the PRD is a pretty good source. As far as NPCs who live in the town in and around the keep go, I'd be careful not to make them too needy or at least to make them very useful to the PCs (like maybe a dwarven smith who can create and improve magic arms and armor at a slight discount)

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The least fun monster of the past week's gaming was probably the CR 11 Mythic Vrock our 8th level but Mythic tier 2 Vikings met. His single round 15d6 Dance of Ruin and nastier than usual Spores might have been a fun challenge, but the Epic DR combined with Mirror Images were a bit of a drag. I guess the problem was really that rolling in the high 20s on a Knowledge (Planes) check didn't reveal that we needed Epic as well as Good to beat the DR and therefore shouldn't bother wasting time to get into position and cast Align Weapon. Perhaps the problem there was really the lack of guidance the rules tend to give on what a Knowledge check should reveal.

I guess a lot of monsters can be less fun if even high Knowledge checks can't tell you how to go about fighting them. Honestly it was still a fun encounter for me since my PC's solution either way was full attack until it dies. The guy who wasted several turns buffing us might have felt otherwise though.

@Ashiel - Your comment about putting Witchfires in the freezer reminds me that Sceaduinar are so un-fun for their CR that after an encounter which featured both of them I was left with the impression that the Witchfire was the lesser of two evils. I also think she might be susceptible to Will-o-Wisp Syndrome, where the encounter can be absolutely devastating if you don’t have a Resist/Protection spell available and pretty much harmless if you do. Of course the monster could always run away and come back later after the spell wears off, but that's not particularly fun for most groups either.

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Firearms have a bunch of mechanical hurdles to jump. If you get over those the DM and or other players might decide you're terribly overpowered while you feel like you've "earned it" since you had to take some special feats, buy a bunch of special equipment, and possibly suffer with the weapon equivalent of a joke cigar for several levels. The stage is set for message boards complaints on both sides.

I'd stop short of terms like "consensus", but I think there's some fairly widespread concern over guns targeting touch AC, and I think many or perhaps even most folks who take a hard look at the current firearm rules can agree that being able to double your number of attacks per round for a -4 penalty to hit is unbalanced. The double shot issue seems like it would be easy to fix with a ruling that firing both barrels of a double barreled gun requires a standard action. The touch attack issue extends beyond firearms and also tends to dredge up debates about the historical interaction between guns and armor.

Those who feel guns should easily bypass armor via touch attacks might do well to consider that the reload rate on early, muzzle loading firearms has been greatly increased to make the weapons playable in the game. It seems a little unfair to me to cling to history (or some version of history) when it comes to the penetrating power of guns but ignore history when it comes to reload rates. I'd rather see a compromise on both aspects to make early firearms both fit their theme and be reasonably effective. I think that getting rid of super fast reload rates but giving Gunslingers a free and improved version of the Dead Shot deed might help a lot. Based on the retracted free action FAQ it seemed like Paizo wanted to limit firearm reloads pretty severely and prevent Gunslingers from finding ways to sneak in more attacks than their BAB would otherwise allow. Switching the fastest reload with Alchemical Cartidges from a free action to a swift action would probably cover a lot of ground.

How to fix the touch AC issue itself, if you even agree it exists, seems like a more complicated question. While the simplest method would be limiting the amount of armor and natural armor a gun can bypass I could imagine other methods like having different types of "touch" attacks which can or can't bypass specific types of defense bonus. The game already has something kind of like this with incorporeal touch.

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Even if the hex trick might be more RAW than RAI I'd be inclined to let it slide as a DM since gathering gold for the "Wand Tax" is a tiresome and mostly thankless task which usually ends up being my job as a player, like, "Come on, guys, everybody needs to split the cost of a few wands..." On the other hand, if word of this trick got out it seems like a representative of the highly profitable wand crafter's guild might try to have witchcraft declared illegal along with the diabolism which created Infernal Healing.

Now I'm imagining a healing wand ad...

"Hi, this is Lord Robilar, and I'd like to tell you about HealingWands.Com. I've lost many hit points over the years, and I sure wish we had wands of Cure Light Wounds back in 1st Edition. Relying on a Witch's Hex for healing is a Gambit that even I wouldn't make though. Why trust a Witch who might hex you into a toad or spend a fortune on potions when you can use the same safe, effective, and affordable healing option so many other PCs have been using since 3rd Edition? Wands of Cure Light Wounds are the go to healing option for serious adventures, and you can heal even faster with wands of Cure Moderate Wounds. Why sit around healing 1d8+1 per round when you can get back in the dungeon in half the time? Visit us on the multiverse wide web at HealingWands.Com, and remember to click the link at the bottom for a free chance to win the Sword of Kas - HealingWands.Com - for all your out of combat healing needs!"

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When I saw this thread was necro'd from years ago I hoped that the OP had returned with an epic tale of how the NPC ruling the kingdom went.

That said, I think it would be interesting if cohorts were less powerful but perhaps more survivable kind of like familiars and other pets which gain Evasion. I'd also like to see an option which allowed enough followers so you could crew a ship with them.

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If you’re afraid of perversion watch out if any player asks about using the Civilized Ghoulishness feat for a PC. Whatever roleplaying rich tale the player tells about why his or her PC is a ghoul seeking to blend into normal human society it will probably all end up with paralyzed victims or “partners” being abused in a graphic manner (50 shades of Dorian Grey)

It seems like a real shame that ghouls are Chaotic Evil while Zon-Kuthon is Lawful Evil. Since Urgathoa is Neutral Evil I guess ghoulish gourmets who appreciate combining sex, murder, and cannibalism might be more comfortable in her church. I once had a minor NPC named Chef Diobari (alt spelling Dyobaree) who was a follower or hers. I’d imagine that it wouldn’t take much magic to preserve food in a can and provide a quick and convenient meal that kids love (or at least tolerate because of the unholy amounts of sugar in the sauce)

I agree that it is probably up to the player to decide if the eidolon "wants it" or not. A player who decides that the eidolon is a tortured soul repeatedly raped by a cruel master might not object to the Evil label (even if he writes LN on his sheet). One who just wants all the right guests at the Magical Tea Party and thinks the eidolon would love the Summoner but gets told his PC is a moral abomination might find it a drag.

@MeanMutton - As much as I'd like to engage in a debate regarding the relative demerits of various crimes ranging from rape to genocide I'm guessing that would violate the community standards even worse than the rest of this discussion. Since I've been joking about prostitution, sexual enslavement, and murder I should probably take a moment to point out that I'm not in favor of practicing these activities in real life even if the satirical glorification of them and resulting moral dissonance can be amusing at times.

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@Mark Hoover - If you have Throw Anything maybe you can sling katanas

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Charisma as a dumping is one reason why a tough DM of ages past instituted the "Luck Check", which is a d20 based Charisma check you make when you want to see who gets the extra arrow, who the shambling mound shambles towards, or maybe whether there are some coins or a poisonous spider in the couch cushions that a PC decided to check for treasure. When the DM wants to know which PC a really nasty monster should randomly attack he or she will sometimes call for an "Ugly Off". I guess we're getting way off the original topic though.

Banning the crafting feats might be right for some games but seems heavy handed to me, especially considering the fact that most games are set in worlds fairly chock full of magic items. How to best adjust the feats probably depends on the style of the game in question, but there's probably no need to get really deep into those discussions here unless the OP wants to.

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As far as I can tell, the reload times in Pathfinder aren't meant to be realistic. Realistic reload times would probably make weapons like heavy crossbows and early firearms very unappealing for use in the game.

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If you really insist that the eidolon is a “slave” then all Summoners are slavers by and perhaps the class takes on a darker tone. If you’re really a slaver compelling the eidolon against its will (which I don’t think is at all the case by RAW) I’m still not sure why forcing your slave into sex would be so much worse than forcing it into combat. In combat the eidolon will face pain and fear while it kills people. If sex is worse than killing people it seems like kind of an uptight world.

On the other hand, Summoner might be a great class for a pimp. Maybe the Scarlet Pimp Pernell likes spreading contentment and redistributing wealth wherever he and his sexy eidolons go. He pimps for the rich and pays to the poor. He’s the pimping Communist hero your fantasy countryside needs, and his girls (or whatever you dig) never get tired or bored. I always imagined Pernell being a Bard, but I guess there's always room for new innovation.

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I don't know what you consider problematic or what categories "etc" should include, but based on my past experiences here are some game elements I'd look out for:
- Dazing Spell metamagic (offering a new save each round might be a good fix)
- Terrible Remorse spell (be sure you've got the most current version!)
- double barreled guns (make it a standard action to fire both barrels)
- fast bombs (maybe disallow TWF with bombs)
- force bombs (very powerful - just be aware)
- Greater Forbid Action (allow a new save each round as for Greater Command)
- Cacophonous Call (add a new save each round)
- Fear (allow a new save each round to reduce the condition to shaken - if that seems too watered down perhaps try 1d4+1 rounds of frightened and then shaken for the duration)
- Gentle Rest (allow a save against the Sleep effect)
- Awesome Display oracle power (we actually didn't find this one too excessive in play, but you should at least be aware of it)
- Weird Words from the Soundstriker Bard archetype (These are either very powerful or nearly useless depending on how you rule)
- Slumber Hex (I made up a house rule of removing the Fort save from Coup de Grace partially to nerf my own Witch's Slumber Hex, which had been ending encounters in boring ways)

Many or even most people might disagree with anything or everything on that list, but these are things I've seen problems with at first hand, so I'd imagine that they could cause issues in some other games too. Around half the time I was the game breaking offender, but I'll sometimes also suggest house rules to reign things in.

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I'd probably make a Chainsaw Ninja to capitalize on the fact that an invisible Goblin can probably beat most people's Perception checks even when he's taking -10 on Stealth checks for carrying a running chainsaw. I imagine that sneak attack damage is often inflicted in a high-Dex manner.

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I think that save spamming is the biggest culprit here. I'll always remember being a guest at one 3.5 game where the DM had a room with 8-12 SoD Bodaks. "By the rules" of CR it was probably a perfectly fine encounter, but in play it seemed like a slightly nerve wracking "don't roll a 1!" experience.

I agree that SoS can also be pretty boring. I frequently suggest nerfing such spells, often by allowing additional saving throws. For instance, in games where I have influence the Fear spell now allows a new save each round to reduce the condition to shaken. It is still a good spell (especially if you consider the fact that shaken is pretty similar to the effect you'd get from Crushing Despair (minus the damage penalty) and also stacks with it.

I often play with a guy who really loves SoS/SoL/SoD type stuff. He used Phantasmal Killer with a super high DC so much that one DM just started declaring it didn't work on particular monsters. The same PC used Cloak of Dreams so much that my PC got put to sleep by it accidentally a time or two. A subsequent PC took Greater Forbid Action and forbid creatures without ranged attacks (or meaningful ranged attacks) from moving so that the encounter became just a shooting gallery for the PCs.

I never felt that any of that was particularly fun, but for some reason when that fellow's turn came up to DM I built a PC who is ridiculously vulnerable to SoS spells. Now I spend a lot of my game time sitting on the sidelines or trying to kill my party members. My PC does a lot of non-lethal attacks (for Enforcer+Hurtful), so this has served mostly as comedy relief so far. When the DM decides to target the almost always invisible Ninja one of the other PCs is going to die gruesomely though.

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@AndIMustMask - Stop injecting horrible fetishes into our thread! Wait...this thread is kind of a horrible fetish itself...hmm...carry on...err...continue, that is...Anyhow, what's the Lamashtu mask?

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Is it really procreation you're interested in or primarily the activities leading to procreation?

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Just cast Burning Hands on that leech swarm...oh...right...ouch...

Well, maybe pour some acid on them...or...uh...I know, Lightning Bolt...except you don't have it yet...hmm...

Don't enter water until you're at least 5th level!

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I'm sure specters have already been mentioned on this list, but after an encounter with 2 of them, a 10th level necromancer, a CR10 anti-paladin, and a bunch of wights my Monk 2 / Dirty Fighter 8 can think of little else besides how to raise his incorporeal touch AC (and maybe his poor Will save). Taking 2 negative levels every time you get hit by a monster you can only do half damage to does not produce a fun feeling, especially when those negative levels start making you fail a lot of saving throws. My PC survived but now has to limp out of the dungeon with a -6 on most rolls. That might make the Fort saves to get rid of the negative levels pretty tough, and if I fail those I'll need to make a pilgrimage to someplace with a powerful Cleric and pay lots of gold (plus maybe agree to some quest) to get those levels back. Ouch!!!

@Ian Bell - I have to disagree with your assessment of potentially PC ending crit capabilities on a boss monster. My groups all play with the Crit Deck, and folks tend to feel a little more tension when they know that getting critted by the big boss could end their night right then and there. I personally don't like challenging encounters as a player and prefer to just breeze through adventures roleplaying and talking in funny voices, but there really is a certain thrill that comes with facing sudden death (or at least sudden 2 hero point loss)

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