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All of this talk about stoning people to death for the greater good seems misleading to me. In one old story I heard, somebody asked whoever was without sin to cast the first stone at an adulteress, but apparently nobody stepped up to the plate. I’m with that guy on this one. Pretending that people weren't horny in previous eras doesn't have much to do with the subject of how one should handle horny PCs in a Pathfinder game though, so maybe we should get back on track with a focus on fun.
When sex comes up in our games it is mostly a joke. One time a female PC (played by an actual woman) in a game I was running decided to have sex with an amorous Flail Snail. As an entomologist the player was aware of the details of snail sex and apparently decided it might be fun. The in game details were limited but disturbing. During an undercover adventure I also once roleplayed another PC into allowing himself to be sodomized by drow to help avoid blowing our cover. It was an instant classic. Just using Diplomacy and saying "I rolled a 34, you know you want it!" wouldn't have been as amusing as making people decide how a PC or NPC would feel and act in a certain situation.
Regarding the "half" races, I don't think that the presence of prejudice in Golarion is supposed to imply that it is a good thing. To me it seems to offer something that the PCs can strive against.
@Frodo - It is true that at various points in history folks would stone women to death, drown them, and burn them at the stake for various sexual and religious infractions, real or imagined. In some places they still set them on fire, pour acid on them, etc. Through it all, society's abuse of women couldn't really stop human sexuality from expressing itself in a wide variety of ways though.
Anyhow, while Tolkien maintained a high level of decorum, the fantasy of Pathfinder and Golarion is probably as likely to be based on something like Game of Thrones. As an aside, "Tam Lin" by Fairport Convention is a great song about supernatural fornication in medieval Scotland.
I usually start out thinking a sandbox might be fun and end up swearing I'm just going to run an AP next time. That said, if you can find issues of Dungeon magazine on eBay or are willing to invest in the PDFs they're a great source of canned adventures. There's even a Dungeon Index online you can use to find adventures in the right level range for your party and read a short description of them.
If you see an adventure you like but it is a few levels too low for the party it is easy to fix that up with templates. A similar approach can be used with adventures you create yourself. Perhaps there are CR2 dire wombats in the woods outside town. If the party heads there at 1st level maybe they meet Young dire wombats. If they go at 3rd perhaps they've grown into Giant dire wombats. At 4th level they might be CR4 Advanced Giant dire wombats. Other templates such as fiendish might make more sense for other monsters. You could also scale the number of monsters present up or down to help move the CR even further.
If you tie a different home made or canned adventure to each significant town/area and are prepared to scale it a bit you might be able to arrange the adventures in concentric circles of difficulty and have some hope the party will face them in roughly the right order. Some higher level stuff can rely on "time release" adventure hooks (maybe after 3 years of adventure a lich awakens or Keraptis dares the party to explore White Plume Mountain). That reminds me that WotC used ot have a lot of older edition adventures available for download on their website and probably still have up 3.5 versions of Tomb of Horrors and White Plume Mountain.
For a truly "old school" experience, the 1e AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide also had a great random dungeon generator.
To me "tanking" implies gumming up defensible spots and holding back monsters so that your allies can attack from relative safety behind you. I'm guessing that the Reach Cleric wants to "attack from the back". The Inquisitor might be able to go either way. One or both of them could help buff the Monk into a defensive bulwark. For instance, if the Cleric puts Freedom of Movement, Death Ward, etc on the Monk as needed and the Monk uses ki points to boost AC it might be tough for a lot of monsters to cause the Monk much harm. If the Monk does get hurt the Cleric can probably heal him.
If the Inquisitor is suited to melee then he or she could share frontline melee duties with the Monk. If not perhaps Bane with a bow or repeating heavy crossbow could help cut enemies down more quickly. As some folks have said, one problem with tanking is making sure the enemies engage with the "tank". This is pretty simple in constricted dungeon environments, but it can be tough against mobile enemies in open settings. If you need more protection than one PC can offer you might look at the Cleric's options with Summon Monster. They're more varied and arguably more powerful than what the oft mentioned Druid gets from SNA. Depending on the Cleric's alignment, Sacred Summons might offer a way to lay down some "mini tanks" quickly. A metamagic rod of echoing spell is expensive but can effectively double your highest level spell slots to bring in the big monsters over and over as needed.
I re-skin monsters sometimes, but it is generally as an easy way to provide a new, balanced monster without a lot of work. My interest is in having a cool monster which fits the scene though, not in keeping monster abilities super secret. A lot of parties seem to have a Knowledge specialist who knows everything anyhow.
As far as the player getting annoyed with changes goes, that sounds like a tough situation. On the one hand the GM should have creative freedom. On the other a lot of players don't like to feel that the GM is changing stuff arbitrarily to counter the PCs. I'm trying to imagine how stuff like this might play out at a table somewhere...
GM: "You cast Fireball? Well, these blue skinned giants who live in the distant North are immune to fire!"
I'd like to dissent from the general opinion that house rules must always and only be applied before the campaign begins. A typical campaign at least in the groups I play with can last for years. Punishing the GM and potentially the group for failing to realize that some obscure rule or item was a problem before it became one in his or her game seems kind of rough. Some house rules (though not this one) might involve stuff from new books which wasn't even available when the game began.
That said, not all house rules are good decisions, and if everybody besides the GM hates one it is probably a bad house rule even if it was made up before the campaign starts. By the "you shouldn't change something once it is in play" principle Paizo should never go back to FAQ or errata stuff. I guess some people would agree with that, but I mostly don't.
Honestly I'd imagine that you can likely make up a lot of the damage loss and beat much of the DR anyhow with a holy weapon. If it is cold iron and you have some silver sheen you've got a lot of bases covered.
You could also be subversive and use the Clustered Shots feat to nearly bypass DR and or play a Paladin and defeat the DR of any evil creature. The latter option includes a chance to see whether your GM is really trying to be a jerk or not by seeing if all foes suddenly stop being evil (like even demons and devils are "special" neutral ones who "aren't quite as bad")
You might try having some goblins sneak up on sleeping gnome children and murder them. Perhaps one of the goblins could even be an evil Cleric who casts Murderous Command to make a gnome girl kill her little brother with a scythe. This happened in one of our games and upset several players, especially the one who suggested killing the gnomes to avoid being caught while raiding their farm. The goblins were our PCs, you see. This was in our "We Be Goblins" inspired prequel, and it left at least one of the players pretty troubled and regretful.
I guess that bad things happening to young/cute/harmless characters can make folks sad, but it might be best to use stuff like that in moderation. Maybe you could go for a different emotion next time, disgust should be easy but is also negative. Maybe something positive would be nice, like giving the players a chance to help save an NPC they like. For the best results perhaps the NPC could be an effective one who is actually kind of helping the PCs out rather than just another wimp who needs to be saved. If the NPC has to be wimpy maybe you could make it an old grandma and she could be useful to the party in other ways such as baking magic cookies, being a sage with a lot of Knowledge skills, etc.
I'm guessing that Paizo felt a "fire and forget" weapon would be pretty tough to build a class around. Maybe having a martial class based around early firearms is part of the "problem" for some of us. If Gunslinger were an archetype of Alchemist maybe it wouldn't stand out quite as much.
I wouldn't be opposed to having fairly devastating "fire and forget" firearms. The fact you'd have people Quick Drawing entire braces of them like Blackbeard would at least have some historical precedent and might help prevent the use of all +5 guns or bullets to easily overcome DR. Heck, I'm not even against the idea of a BLAM-BLAM 6 shot per round TWF Colt 45 cowboy in certain games which choose to have advanced firearms. The rules actually warn GMs that advanced firearms will change the game world. There's just not enough distance between early and advanced firearms once you combine stuff like alchemical cartridges with some Gunslinger abilities to get a machine gun like effect of limitless reloads per round. Depending on how you rule the "double shot" of the double-barreled pistol works it can actually have more offensive firepower than the supposedly more advanced revolver (though the revolver catches up a bit due to the weapon cord nerf)
I'd like to have pirates shoot a pistol once in a while. I wouldn't like to have the players not running Gunslingers feel like "Why is my PC here?" Unfortunately the latter is what we got when we had a Gunslinger in the game for a few sessions. Even if the game balance were better there might be some suspension of disbelief problems not only from somebody being able to load and fire a muzzle loading gun 12 times in 6 seconds but from the idea that people in a world with guns which fire at that rate and pierce armor completely would bother to keep using other weapons. Anyhow, I'd like to see early firearms a lot weaker than they are so that including them or not would be almost purely based on the "flavor" the GM wants for a particular game rather than meditations about game balance.
@Calybos1 - When it comes to being tough and gritty, I actually find "gunslingers" such as The Man With No Name from "A Fistful of Dollars" pretty interchangeable with "warriors" such as the samurai from "Yojimbo" (the former was a remake of the latter, after all)
I don't think there's a slippery slope with the Bard getting thematic spells like Confusion. They fit the theme of Bard very well, and that's why Bards always got early access to them as 3rd level spells, not 4th. I don't see why Bards getting 3rd level spells from the Bard spell list would imply that Wizards should get 4th level spells from the Wizard spell list. That said, Fear can be a really frightening spell to deal with (pun intended), so maybe your decision is actually for the best.
Regarding the extra Bard options, Arcane Dueling obviously reminds one of the Arcane Duelist archetype. It seems very beneficial in P6 since it preserves one of your feats. It looks like the option to emulate some other archetypes is also included, which seems nice for variety. I'm glad to see that Dirge of Doom is included as that's probably my favorite bardic performance lately.
It seems like a shame that the last 2-3 books of an AP seem doomed to need customization under either the standard or P6 systems. I think with a few tweaks the standard Pathfinder system could work pretty well for at least the levels most APs go up to. Of course there could still be a place for E6/P6 since some folks simply enjoy the lower levels of play the most and wish they could go on and on.
Regarding shields, a bullet might punch through them, but it also might be deflected or bounce off, especially if we're talking about a relatively low velocity shot from an antique black powder weapon as opposed to one from a modern rifle. Regarding touch attacks in general, I've always found it extremely odd that shields don't count against them. The idea of a vampire or wight draining your levels through your shield never sat well with me.
Some folks say that sword and board PCs need some help, and some folks say that touch attacks are very powerful. Applying shield bonuses to touch AC would help both situations a bit. It seems like a good house rule to me, and it seems like the sort of thing that would trickle down to subsequent supplements pretty elegantly if it ever got changed in Core.
I’d like to commend Paizo and Jason for having the gumption to make their Crane Wing decision. Right or wrong, they must have known they’d take a lot of heat for this. Nerfing Crane Wing won’t fix all the problems in the game, but restoring its original function won’t fix them either. At least the nerf fixes one potential headache for GMs. Sure, the non-PFS GMs could have just house ruled, but why should they have to? Sure, PFS could have just banned the feat, but now it doesn't have to.
Crane Wing fans in home games can still work with their GMs if they feel their PC is "too weak". Giving a PC extra powers which the group agrees are helpful seems much less likely to cause acrimony than taking away powers the player desperately wants but the GM and or group think are excessive. Just because the GM has legitimate authority to nerf things doesn't mean that players won't rebel against it. I mean, Paizo has the legitimate authority to nerf things too, but we still have this thread. I'd rather see bitter arguments here online than at tables across the world.
I also have some sympathy for folks who designed their PCs based on the original feat and now feel disenfranchised. Seeing supporters of the nerf called a "vocal" minority" and described with latently insulting terms like "whining" and "immature" by supporters of the original feat while people's GMing skills and "right to GM" are questioned doesn't enhance that good will in any way though.
As an aside, I find the Brawler vs IUS prereq discussion interesting and think I'll start another thread on it.
It seems appropriate that Paladins should be able to Detect Evil. It also seems appropriate that Sorcerers should be able to detect magic. Thinking about a game where the DM house ruled away these “abuses” I imagined the following scenario, an example of play which might be improved by the addition of an evil dwarf Fighter named Gutboy Barrelhouse (but what example of play wouldn’t?):
Paladin: “Is that door/fountain/kitchen appliance magic?”
I don't expect to influence the people who really hate the change much, but it seems like it might be important for those who don't to speak up and support Paizo on changes like these instead of letting some vocal folks on the boards hijack the game to a higher power level. Maybe there's also a chance I can influence some folks who are on the fence.
I agree with Netopalis that if GMs felt like they had to rewrite encounters (or entire APs) specifically to deal with Crane Wing that’s a good indicator it was too strong. The common defense of “it only stopped one attack” seems pretty flimsy to me. The fact that you could use the auto-deflect after you got hit means you’d only deploy it as needed. If you have a high AC that might reasonably be once per round or less. It would probably cut the damage you’re taking in melee dramatically, maybe down to just about nothing.
Anyhow, you can still automatically stop one hit per round. You just have to use Total Defense. If you feel like the new Crane Wing is useless I guess you feel not only that a +4 bonus to AC once a round is useless but that Total Defense is useless too. Crane Style improves Fighting Defensively. Crane Wing improves Total Defense. Crane Riposte improves both a little bit more. All 3 feats do something, and to me it seems like something worthwhile.
If you can get a +7 to AC plus automatically stop 1 hit per round and still get 1 attack that seems pretty nice actually. Sure, you only get 1 attack that round, but you’re trading that offensive power for defensive power. If a Master of Many Styles combines Crane and Snake Styles (aka “Snake in Eagle’s Shadow?) he could use Total Defense to auto block one attack per round and substitute Sense Motive for another. He’d be almost “unhittable”.
Also, he might gets two more attacks assuming that Jason’s statements about Crane Riposte being an exception to the regular AoO rules would also apply to Snake Fang too. Maybe the idea is that these aren’t normal AoOs but a feat based ability which eats up your AoO resource, kind of like Bodyguard. If so then +7 AC and 2-3 attacks per round all at your highest attack bonus sounds pretty good to me.
I could see a Monk/Paladin with this being tons of fun since he could use LoH to heal himself if once in a while when a hit which can’t be deflected sneaks through. With Smite Evil and 2-3 attacks at his highest bonus this guy could still cause significant damage (maybe add a Bane Bandolier too).
The only problem I have with the errata is that it might be nice if you could use the +4 AC as an immediate action when you get hit. I’d certainly still consider taking the Crane feats either way though. The first one especially seems really nice for fighting defensively. I’ve actually considered using it with a sword and board set up to boost AC a little (lots of little boosts equals big AC)
I’d thought about taking Crane Wing with one of my PCs in the recently, but I backed off since I knew it would drive the DM nuts and decided it might be more fun to explore other avenues for that PC. If the errata were in place maybe I would have gone for the Crane feats after all. It seems to me that you’re still getting a +8 AC against your foe’s first attack for just a -2 to hit. I guess you could also combine this with Snake Style and boost AC against two attacks per round.
The original feat was very strong. I think Paizo made the right move here. A lot of DMs will rejoice now that their natural 20s won't be deflected.
The post ninjas have already covered most of this, but here are a few thoughts.
As far as tactics go, the Cleave feat can double your attack rate if any PCs are adjacent to each other. Power Attack is a mized bag. I'd consider starting off without it and adding it on if the hits seem to be coming easily. I guess it depends on the party's AC, but the frost worm wouldn't know anything about that until it attacks a few times.
I'd keep the cold damage the same since it doesn't seem size based. A Medium and Large flaming sword would both do +1d6 fire damage, for instance.
I play mostly for the chance to talk in silly accents, make film and music references, and use customized minis. That said, I'd think that players who like the risk taking aspect of the game would be even more likely to hold the DM to the same standards of integrity as the players when it comes to random number generation. The DMs dice should roll proudly into the middle of the table and confront the players with certain doom (or ridiculous comedy if he has an unlucky streak). I can't imagine that many players want to wonder if their PCs survived "on their own" or just because the DM fudged the dice. I'd imagine even fewer would want to find out that the DM fudged them to death.
Anyhow, players rolling in private seems like a pretty weird practice to me. When we generate ability scores by rolling you either have a witness or use a secure dice server of some sort. I don't think it is to keep people from cheating so much as to keep people from wondering if other people cheated. If you've got two 18s you want folks to know they're legit.
There are a lot of ways to define "cheating". I've often seen people remain silent about rules they know would affect outcomes in the game, especially if those outcomes would be bad for another player's PC. Sometimes we'll quietly hint at the rule to the relevant player without "outing" it to the DM and let the player decide. Other times somebody will point it out with relish, and in one group the act of pointing out a rule to hurt or mess with another PC has been named after a certain player who really enjoys it.
Failing to remind the DM to take his AoO wouldn't be cheating in most people's book, but failing to mention that energy drain inflicts twice as many negative levels on a critical hit might be. Some players find it very amusing. Others find it mildly amusing but slightly annoying.
@ABCoLD - I think the sharp edged Game Science style dice tend to be a little more consistent, but they don't come in so many interesting colors. We used to have a guy who would melt dice in a skillet, put screws through them, etc. One time in the middle of a game he put a d20 on the floor, grabbed a 22lb weight, and smashed the die. Then he used blu-tack to put it back together and would sometimes roll it as a joke during games. He stated that by displaying the punished dice to the survivors he could inspire better rolling. I doubt he really believed it.
Charisma was valued by even fewer classes back in 1e/2e, so a local DM came up with the "Luck Check", which used a d20 plus your Charisma modifier. If you want to find a certain item in town you might be asked to make a "Luck Check DC15". If a big monster is about to attack a random PC the DM might ask all the players to make opposed Luck Checks to see who gets smashed. This is often called an "Ugly Off". Everybody I know uses this house rule, and it has generated a lot of laughter and fun over the years, especially since everybody feels that the guy who dumped Cha to 7 "had it coming", especially if the bad event is a spell with a Will save and the PC also dumped Wis to 7.
I think this combination is in a grey area. There was a FAQ a while back which allows a Magus using Spell Combat to benefit from the extra attack granted by Haste, but I think it stopped short of making Spell Combat count as a full attack for other purposes such as Fight Defensively. I think without any further FAQs your Kensai might be out of luck.
I was planning a PC called "El Flamingo" based largely on this combo and the film "Zorro the Gay Blade". I've actually had the concept for a long while, but the Crane Wing combo seemed like it would fit it really well.
Fighters can get some benefit out of high Intelligence. An 11 Int might seem "pointless", but it puts you within reach of 13 Int and Combat Expertise with a cheap magic item instead of a very expensive one.
Even just having a 10 will give you an extra skill point each level. If you want or need that for some reason it is probably more efficient to get it from Int than to spend your favored class bonus on it since you'll likely already have a Con of 14 or higher and would need to spend more of your point buy to get the extra HP each level via ability scores.
I agree that there's no reason why a 7 should have to be absolutely debilitating. Using guidelines from older editions we could conclude that a PC with Int 7 would have an IQ of around 70. That is above the range traditionally defined as intellectual disability. Maybe it would be helpful to look at how actual intellectual disability is defined. Here's a description of the IQ range 50-69. This would roughly correlate with Int 5 or 6, so somebody with Int 7 should be at least a little smarter:
In early childhood, mild intellectual disability (IQ 50–69) may not be obvious, and may not be identified until children begin school. Even when poor academic performance is recognized, it may take expert assessment to distinguish mild intellectual disability from learning disability or emotional/behavioral disorders. People with mild intellectual disability are capable of learning reading and mathematics skills to approximately the level of a typical child aged nine to twelve. They can learn self-care and practical skills, such as cooking or using the local mass transit system. As individuals with intellectual disability reach adulthood, many learn to live independently and maintain gainful employment.
Apparently around 90% of all people fall into the 70-130 range. Assuming that the "normal" range for other ability scores is similar one might say that the standard point buy system prevents PCs with "abnormally" low ability scores except in the case of racial modifiers. I think it seems thematically appropriate that you might have a dwarf who would be "abnormally" dour, rude, or taciturn by human standards to the point where it becomes a source of trouble and or comedy.
Anyhow, I think that a moderately low ability score can be a roleplaying boon rather than a hindrance. Many of my most entertaining PCs were defined as much by their flaws as their strengths. A PC with low scores can also benefit RP in general for the party. For instance, our ingenious but very unwise Diabolist and sometimes cruel jesting Bard probably wouldn’t have been able to talk the half-orc Barbarian into doing so much amusing stuff if he had a really high Int or Wis. I can assure you that the half-orc’s player loved the abuse.
If a monster with Combat Reflexes and 15 foot reach is charged by a mounted PC would the monster get:
We've always played using A, possibly because most enemies don't have Combat Reflexes and we never really thought about this very much. I still feel like that might be the right answer since the movement is happening simultaneously and you'd have to "choose" which of the two foes to use your AoO on. I don't know if there's any RAW to support that though, and I wonder what others think and if there's ever been any FAQ or developer input on this.
I got Cthulhu in my Reaper Bones Kickstarter set, so of course there will eventually be an encounter with him. The stars won’t be right until I’ve had a chance to paint him though. With literally hundreds of minis for me to paint that might have to wait for strange aeons to pass.
As folks were saying, this is just Cthulhu here, not Azathoth. Of course if Cthulhu gains his freedom he might bring Azathoth to your world. Then you’d really be out of luck, kind of like if somebody woke Mana-Yood-Sushai. That said, if a party of non-mythic party of 20th level PCs is really able to handle CR30 Cthulhu "easily" it might be time to look at the powers they're using and nerf them a little.
There are lots of ways a Cleric can take part in the game and kill stuff while not also standing by idly while his allies are killed. Any one of these might help a bit, and combining a few might make sense too.
Summoning - Clerics get the same access to Summon Monster spells that Wizards do plus a unique feat or two to improve their summoning ability. Summon some lantern archons to kill stuff while you heal. Summon some bralani azata to kill stuff while you heal or heal while you kill stuff. This is a key Cleric power just like healing. Some folks don't like summoning because it makes the player's turn longer. If people raise this criticism tell them that you'll gladly omit the part of your turn where you heal them.
Selective Channel - Being able to avoid healing enemies makes healing allies with channel a better option. Be sure to pick up the phylactery of positive channeling so that your channel heals +2d6 more damage.
Quickened Channel - If you channel faster you’ll still have time to cast a spell or maybe make an attack. With the right spell selection you could keep people alive and have fun at the same time.
Wands - Taking the Craft Wands feat can help preserve your spell slots for more interesting stuff than Cure spells. It can also ensure that you always have access to situationally critical spells like Delay Poison. I’ve got a lot of mileage out of wands in many campaigns. They’re a solid option.
Improved Familiar - If somebody in the party (not necessarily you even) has an improved familiar it can use wands of Cure Moderate Wounds and other helpful spells. I’ve used this tactic a lot. Sometimes the familiar gets squashed, but the improved action economy is generally worth the risk. If the familiar is yours it can also deliver touch spells like Cures.
You might want to take a good look at the Cleric spell list too and note spells which are likely to have a serious impact on combats. Something like Greater Command can make a bunch of enemies lose a turn or two and walk around triggering AoOs. If none of this appeals to you I'd agree that maybe playing a "half-healer" like an Inquisitor or Paladin would work best for you. A party made up mostly of such PCs can be quite effective.
If you DM has banned Summoners it might be at least partially because he or she doesn’t like summoned monsters. You might want to let the DM know your plan. That said, Evangelist is a great choice. CG seems like a good alignment since you’ll be able to summon azatas as a standard action. LG would be OK too since Lantern Archons can be quite useful, especially with Superior Summons.
Taking the Heroism subdomain sounds pretty brilliant. Another option you might consider is taking the Animal or Scalykind domains to get an animal companion. This option would work best in a game where you can take the Boon Companion feat. An animal companion like the big cat can be nearly as effective as an eidolon sometimes. If nothing else they can boost your AC a lot with Bodyguard and Benevolent armor. That should help give you time to use a full-round summon when needed. I guess they could also flank with your summoned monsters. With a menacing amulet that would give your critters +4 to hit, as good or better than Heroism.
High Wisdom ensures your higher level summons will be available more often. A metamagic rod of echoing spell could improve on that, and Scribe Scroll might help a bit.
Well, 137ben, your response is pretty much the opposite of what I was hoping for. I'm not too offended by you telling me what to do, but I think the term "auto-sleep" makes it pretty clear what I'm talking about. If you'd prefer to call it "no-save sleep effect" I guess that's fine. Your claim that Gentle Rest is "almost NEVER" useful contradicts what I've seen in play, but rather than just relying on my own anecdotal evidence I'll go ahead and try to refute some of your statements with facts and logic.
First off, while stagger is somewhat less useful at lower levels it isn’t “absolutely no effect” as you’ve repeatedly claimed. Consider the example of a CR2 leopard which attacks with a claw/claw/bite routine. Gentle Rest could be used to reduce the monster to just a bite attack. That’s useful. Staggering a CR1 ghoul to prevent two potentially deadly attacks and make the monster unable to coup de grace seems useful too, and as an added bonus the staggering effect lasts multiple rounds on undead. In fact, about a third of the monsters at CR1 are capable of making multiple attacks per round, and I’m pretty sure that percentage tends to go up with CR1. By CR5 Gentle Rest can prevent a troll from using Rend. That’s useful and might help save a PC’s life.
Your claim that “EVERYTHING” at higher levels has SR is clearly hyperbole and could probably be dismissed as such without further investigation. I’ll take the time to establish some facts regarding SR by consulting the Monster DB from d20pfsrd though. Sorting the 2,473 monsters in the Monster DB shows me that only 689 of them have SR, about 27%. Of the 533 monsters at CRs 8-12 only 189 of them have SR. That’s certainly not everything. In fact, it’s barely over a third (about 35%). Even in the lofty heights of CR 13-17 only about 67% of the monsters have SR (184 of 274). It should be noted that the percentage of foes with meaningful SR in an actual campaign might reasonably be significantly lower since NPCs with class levels are sometimes common foes and often have no or low SR. Even if SR is present it can often be beaten. Sure, it is a defense, but it is a defense which also affects most spells the Cleric might cast. If you have a 60% chance to get through you might as well get through with a no-save sleep effect.
I also don't see why you're putting so little value on sleep effects. A typical party is likely to have at least one PC or pet near an enemy. If the enemy goes to sleep the PC or pet can perform a coup de grace, and considering the Fort save that's almost certain death. Sure, some monsters are immune, but that does nothing at all to help those which aren't. This encourages the sort of limitation on the DM's monster choices which I mentioned earlier.
I’ve seen the auto-sleep combo in play with 2 casters who had Frigid Touch and a Cleric with Gentle Rest. It was absolutely brutal. I wouldn’t say that it “ruined” the campaign, but it probably could have. I think it might have been far worse if I were running an AP and therefore couldn’t easily adjust to use more monsters with a chance to resist the power (OK, a DM running an AP can adjust, but completely overhauling published adventures to deal with overpowered abilities seems like the antithesis of game balance)
It is possible to rationalize just about any power in the game. It is also possible to foil just about any power, especially when people propose stuff like having the DM invent custom magic items which prevent the power from working on certain enemies. “If the DM is arbitrary and unfair then the power won’t work except when he lets it” isn’t really the sort of game balance I want though.
Pointing out some situations in which the Gentle Rest might somehow fail or the sleep combo might not work doesn’t change the fact that Gentle Rest would be a pretty good domain power even if it just staggered foes without a save. In fact, the OP is proposing that function alone is overpowered. I’m not willing to go that far since Frigid Touch and some other abilities provide a no-save stagger and Paizo seems committed both to providing ways to stagger foes and providing something for them to do while staggered (Vital Strike etc).
What I will say again though is that since the sleep effect is just an added bonus on top of an already solid domain power perhaps it would be best to offer a saving throw vs the sleep effect. This wouldn’t make the power “worthless”. It wouldn’t even make it “too risky” since worst case you’re next to a staggered foe. The enemy could still fail the save and likely get killed. Gentle Rest would still be a powerful ability. Maybe “everybody” could be happy. Why does Gentle Rest need to have a no-save sleep power built in? It would be difficult to argue that the Repose Domain would be too weak without it, especially when the 8th level power is also very strong though more situational.
Gentle Rest sleep combos are not difficult to pull off unless every enemy has advance knowledge of the PCs and takes care to stay away from melee. Even if the party can’t get in place to set up CdG in the 1st round they can auto-sleep the enemy and surround it while it is prone. Depending on the initiative count they can probably stagger it again before it gets a chance to stand up. Even a no-save trip effect which causes you to lose a turn would be pretty strong. Once again, why does the Repose domain need this added power? Wouldn’t adding a saving throw to the sleep effect be more fair?
@Ilja - The fact that you have to get into melee range with the enemy is not a powerful limiting factor, especially not on the auto-sleep combo. The worst case there is probably that you end up adjacent to a staggered foe. Clerics can be a viable class to stand in melee unless the DM amps up the monsters...perhaps to compensate for stuff like auto-sleep combos...
@Jiggy & Gluttony - Your sarcasm is amusing but doesn’t change the fact that the auto-sleep combos can be used across a wide range of encounters and CRs throughout a campaign to easily kill many if not most monsters not immune to sleep without much if any real challenge. I don't think the comparison to sneak attack is particularly apt since straw men are immune to sleep effects.
@insaneogeddon - I think you’ve hit upon the idea of: Would this power seem fair if the DM used it? I think the answer for “normal” players would be, “Hell no!”
@Karui Kage - I’m glad to see somebody agrees about offering a saving throw vs the sleep effect. It seems almost like a "no brainer" fix to me. A no-save stagger ability which can also trigger a save vs sleep would still be quite powerful IMO without being a "sure win"
I like the removal of the Fort save since it should cut down the number of mostly useless d20 rolls to confirm that most enemies will make the save on most Words. I'm not sure if I like the 1 Word per target limit. Stacking up 10 Words on one target was probably excessive, but it seems like limiting the number of Words might be better than making the Bard split up the Words between multiple enemies who may or may not be there in a particular combat. That seems more like an AoE ability to me, which is more like what the Thunder Caller does.
Like Trogdar and mplindustries, I was thinking of basing the number of words on BAB. I'd want to carefully spell out that Weird Words doesn't work with Haste, Rapid Shot, or especially TWF though. I also suspect that GMs might really hate it when somebody took 6 levels of Bard "just to get iterative touch attacks". Maybe it would be better to just allow one Weird Word per 4 levels, capped at 3. That way you'd get your Words at about the same speed as Scorching Rays, which are already a known quantity in terms of power level and interactions with various buffs.
I'd say that a 12th level Bard blasting somebody for about 3d8+24 is pretty big damage, but I don't think it is crazy, game breaking damage. I can imagine various ways to increase that, but most of them would apply to other touch attack powers too.
As I mentioned in another thread, perhaps limiting how many times per round Alchemical Cartridges can reduce reload time might have been a cleaner fix. I’m guessing that maybe the design team wanted to suggest guidelines for enforcing an existing rule instead of making a rules change. I suppose that this approach also helps to close off any potential “loopholes” somebody might find in rule like that (perhaps due to new material).
I don’t see any reason why somebody using early firearms should expect to be able to fire them as many times per round as they could use some other weapon or weapons. Other weapons mostly can’t make touch attacks, and if they could they wouldn’t qualify for use with Deadly Aim. Early firearms are different from other weapons in a lot of regards, and in general they take longer to use (both in game terms and in real life). Firearms start out as something you can shoot once per round or maybe once per two rounds. If you can eventually get them up to 3-4 shots per round maybe that's enough considering their other advantages. Sure, they have some disadvantages too, but most of those stop working as effective controls by higher levels.
If a 16th level Gunslinger really wants to make 4 BAB based attacks per round plus one from Rapid Shot and another from Haste he or she is free to pick up a longbow and do so since the class is proficient with all martial weapons. I suspect that very few Gunslingers would frequently make that choice though. Guns and bows are different, and each one has some advantages in game terms. Being limited to 3 reloads per round with pistols isn't really so terrible. You can still do well over 100 DPR with touch attacks. Monsters will still die. Things will be a little better balanced. Maybe the DM will get less grey hair.
@Avh - I've ruled for my games that firing both barrels of the double barreled pistol at once requires a standard action. It can still be nice for firing two shots when you can't make a full attack, and when you can it lets you shoot one more time before reloading. I like the idea that "advanced" revolvers should be superior to "early" double barreled pistols and feel there's a place for early firearms in many games which wouldn't want Wild West style action with 6 shooters.
I’m really glad to see Paizo issue some guidance which tells both GMs and players that it is OK for the GM to impose reasonable limits on the Gunslinger as well as giving some guidelines on what limits might be reasonable. Sure, GMs technically could have imposed some limits before using "Rule 0", but the backlash in this thread (and many others in the past) is a pretty good illustration of the struggles and accusations of unfairness that those GMs might have had to endure. Now GMs can feel that Paizo "has their back" on this issue. That's good to know.
Regarding assertions that this FAQ wasn't needed, I think that guidelines which make it easier for groups to agree on what's reasonable and how things should work seem like a big part of what the rules and official clarifications should ideally be about. Not everything can get an official fix, but I feel like particularly squeaky wheel has been oiled here. Sure, there are probably still other "broken" things in the game, but a plan like "X is broken, so Y should be broken too so it can keep up" wouldn't help lead to a fun game in my opinion.
@FakeHealer - I do still like the idea of requiring a standard action to fire both barrels of the double barreled pistol though I don’t think it fully addresses the game balance concerns with the Pistolero. Something else which might have helped would be changing the rules for Alchemical Cartridges. If they could only be used a certain number of times per round (perhaps based on BAB) that might help neatly address the double double barreled Pistolero issues without causing undue concern about other free actions. Unfortunately it is often more daunting for a GM to outright change a rule than just choose to interpret a vague rule conservatively.
The idea that the Confusion might possibly be addressed by Calm Emotions doesn't change my opinion about Confusion Bombs much since the vast majority of monsters won't have access to Calm Emotions. Similarly, Mirror Image would be a great defense, but unless you're fighting an invading army of Vrocks this probably won't come up in most encounters.
@wraithstrike - The duration of the Confusion from the bombs is 1 round per Alchemist level (the whole fight in most cases). I agree that PCs wouldn't like this trick much if the DM used it.
Thomas Long 175 wrote:
Except the spell, also gotten at 7th level instead of 8th, can wipe out entire encounters with one, versus using about 1/3 of your daily uses. So one spell versus a third of their bombs.
Since an average adventuring day has 3-5 encounters I don't think that using up to 1/3 of your daily Bombs in one of them is a particular harsh disincentive. In fact, I'd surmise that you were likely going to throw Bombs anyhow (since you're an Alchemist built to throw Bombs). You're basically sacrificing 7 average damage per foe (and 2 splash damage) to gain a no save Confusion effect.
Your chance to succeed at hitting a Bestiary monster's Touch AC is much better in almost all cases than your chance for the Bestiary monster to fail a Will Save. Right now I have to go to work, but I'll try to post an analysis of monsters at a couple of given CRs (probably 11 and 16) this evening. My initial work shows that bestowing an effect using a touch attack is much more likely to succeed even if you optimized the Will save.
The chance of success against foes at a particular CR probably averages near 90%, and if you fail you can just expend another use. 20% concealment would help a little, but even 70% is better than your chance for an "average" foe to fail the Will save, and once again you can spam the bombs until you succeed (probably just one extra bomb). Anyhow, I'd better get going.
It struck me that if a Magus can't get an extra attack from Haste while using Spell Combat then maybe a creature with Pounce can't get an extra attack from Haste when pouncing. Pounce says that you can make a "full attack" at the end of a charge, but I'm not sure if that is functionally the same as using the full attack action. I'm not sure, so I figured that I might as well ask...
When pouncing can you get an extra attack from Haste?
Setting aside the debate over archetypes vs bloodlines for a moment, Eldritch Heritage only grants you the 1st level bloodline power, not the bloodline arcana. Animal Companion is a bloodline power which also "counts as your bloodline arcana", so I'm not sure if it would work with Eldritch Heritage even if Wildblooded bloodlines are available via the feat (which seems debatable at best). Basically, you can't give up a bloodline arcana to get Animal Companion when you don't have a bloodline arcana to give up.
That's just my interpretation of the rules. I don't think that a 2 feat chain to get an animal companion at level-4 is overpowered or would lead to any big problems for home games. Actually, there should probably be a feat specifically for gaining an animal companion at level-3. I think there might be one in one of the newer books...not sure of the source and the prereqs though...
What's less clear is if the summoned animals know any "tricks" so that you can control them with Handle Animal. If not then you could only use Handle Animal to "push" them at DC20. Based on the spell descriptions, summoned monsters will attack your foes, but it isn't clear to what extent if any you can direct those attacks without a way to communicate. This can be one advantage of summoning the sometimes seemingly inferior outsiders such as hound archons, azatas, etc
My Summoner is a gnome and sometimes uses Speak with Animals to get summons to do what he wants. Our games are pretty lax about controlling summons, companions, etc. I'd expect that there's a lot of variation from table to table though and wouldn't even be shocked to find out there are DMs who insist on controlling summoned monsters themselves (and perhaps even have them make tactical blunders which hamper the PCs)
Lack of caution has its own punishments, especially when PCs use bad tactics in combat but also when they charge headlong into unexplored areas. The DM sometimes has to pay more attention to punish excessive caution. If the party takes a long time to get through the dungeon there's a better chance that the BBEG will be fully buffed when they arrive. Other enemies might also get a chance to fall back and prepare defenses, ambushes, and other unpleasant surprises for the PCs. That includes enemies who set traps. I've always thought it seems kind of ridiculous how some dungeons have traps in heavily traveled areas where traps would be inconveient and possibly dangerous to the inhabitants. If the trap is one which can be activated and deactivated though we can assume that the monsters leave the trap off most of the time but set it when intruders are around. This can reward both caution and bravery since caution might let you find the trap before it goes off but bravery would help you reach the monster's lair before it gets a chance to set the trap.
In general, both bravery and caution should be rewarded as appropriate. When somebody is bold enough to charge in and do something which really needs to be done that's great. When somebody takes pointless risks with no potential rewards that's a waste of healing resources. If the Rogue or Druid scouts out the next room and gains valuable intelligence on upcoming enemies that's wonderful. If the "bored" Sorcerer wanders around opening random doors and releasing dangerous monsters that's kind of a pain.
If you want to see more "bravery" in your games you might consider using the hero point systems. That way PCs are less likely to get wiped out by a single minor mistake in a room where the module writer decided to pay homage to the game's Gygaxian heritage. I personally prefer traps which debuff the PCs to those which kill them, but you've got to follow up with combat quickly after the trap goes off. Otherwise higher level PCs will just fix the debuff with spells and wands and everybody will wonder why they had to sit through 5 minutes of doing so. Hit point damage, ability damage, and various status effects like sickened can all be great trap effects if you follow up with monsters who can benefit from the party's disadvantage.
I kind of sympathize with how the OP feels though I'm not sure that this really constitutes a "Rules Question". Anyhow, I'd bet that the staff might find many of our threads "incredibly frustrating" (maybe even this one)
I personally think it would be pretty funny if this thread got answered with "Staff Response: no reply required". Maybe it is really Paizo's way of saying, "We love you guys despite your pedantic rules lawyer ways".
It certainly seems like a nicer answer than, "You guys really get on our nerves sometimes with your whining and demands" or "This has been discussed 17 times. Will you just cut it out?"
Referring to the player as "the offender" makes it seem like maybe he'd be better off if you did just make a house rule rather than making him a criminal for following the FAQ. Maybe you could admit to him that he was correct about the FAQ ruling but tell him that you all hate what the FAQ says and want it to work a different way.
If you go that route then offering him a chance to swap out feats or rebuild the PC if desired might be nice.
The only possible cause for misinterpretation I see is where the feat's description says, "You are descended from a long line of sorcerers". It doesn't say that you yourself are a sorcerer though.
If it said, "You are descended from a long line of sushi chefs" that wouldn't necessarily mean that you are a sushi chef, right? Maybe your family is ashamed because you have a mild shellfish allergy and opened a yakitori stand instead, but you still have a right to embrace your heritage and use your grandfather's tuna knife to slay the fish demons plaguing the land, even if it might give you hives (just for an example of how a similar feat might play out)
Pounce is one of the best attack abilities around. I think you need Beast Shape III to get the rakes though. With your gore that's 6 attacks on a pounce from a saber tooth tiger with horns. I suspect that this will do more damage than 10 attacks from a horned octopus since 8 of those are secondary. It isn't very hard to set up charges if the party is cooperative. Later on Air Walk can also help a lot.
Furious Focus only works with two-handed weapons, so I doubt it will help you here. The Boon Companion feat is like Shaping Focus for the animal companion (+4 levels up to your HD), so I'd highly suggest it. If you're taking Barbarian levels and don't like dying you'll also probably want Raging Vitality.
If the idea of aggravating the DM and other players by being a flying octopus really amuses you maybe you could take levels in Rogue instead of Fighter and Barbarian. If you have your animal companion concentrate on flanking you could do a LOT of sneak attack damage. The idea of an octopus sneaking into places and stealing things also seems vaguely amusing to me.
Diego Rossi wrote:
As Varisian in Golarion have been using them for centuries there is no problem there to find a appropriate wagon with the space and comfort to work on most magic items. the only one that would have some problem are those that require a substantial heat source. You don't want a big fire in a wooden wagon.
Actually, classic gypsy vardos usually had a wood burning stove with an external exhaust pipe which goes through the roof. I think it is safe to assume that Varisian wagons would have something similar.
As for Rope Trick, the rules for crafting magic items say, "Any place suitable for preparing spells is suitable for making items."
What sort of place is suitable for preparing spells though? The rules for that say, "To prepare any spell, a wizard must have enough peace, quiet, and comfort to allow for proper concentration. The wizard's surroundings need not be luxurious, but they must be free from distractions. Exposure to inclement weather prevents the necessary concentration, as does any injury or failed saving throw the character might experience while studying."
Whether you should you be able to craft without the half speed penalty for distractions in a Rope Trick, a vardo, or Secure Shelter is for the DM to decide, but if not then maybe you shouldn't be able to prepare spells there either according to the stuff I quoted above. Maybe Wizards aren't such a powerful class after all. It turns out that the world is full of distractions, from undulating extra-dimensional spaces to Bards who put on rings of sustenance and play all night long so the Wizard will be powerless. Play that funky music half-elf!
If it isn't safe then why is it called Secure Shelter? :)
DM: "Sorry, you're not at home, so you're too scared to Craft"
The Greater Hat of Disguise allows you to use Alter Self. If you use Alter Self to turn into a medium humanoid you gain a +2 size bonus to Strength. The item is from the Pathfinder module Curse of the Riven Sky, so it might not be available in a lot of games. I find the idea of disguising myself as myself with +2 Str or Dex pretty amusing though.