|Paizo Pathfinder® Paizo Games|
|About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ|
Since I don't see any rules for determining the size category of the Whirlwind I'm guessing that it has the same size category as the creature which created it. If that's not correct I'd be interested in a link to whatever chart is used to calculate this so I can use it in the future.
If you get pushed or pulled through two different Walls of Fire I'd think that you'd take damage twice. Since standing in a Wall of Fire all round would only do 2d6+15 damage I wouldn't be inclined to award extra damage for moving somebody in and out of the same WoF repeatedly though.
Oddly enough I’d say that several of the more troublesome items I’ve come across are all in one current campaign.
- Demon Skull: gave the Barbarian +10 Stealth and some other powers, but also made him fight babau demons in a nightmare to maintain control
- Daemon Skull: My Viking wore this as a helmet for a while. It disguised itself as a horned helm, but it also tempted him with Evil powers like the ability to use Fear once per day or exhale a swarm of flies to devour enemies. He only ever used the fly power once, but Fear synergized too well with his Terrifying Howl for him to ignore it completely. The “helm” also began forcing him to make Will saves to avoid killing NPCs who annoyed him or even turning on the party when they ended up fighting daemons. Luckily he was finally able to remove it recently.
- Magic Rod: That same party’s Bard is currently carrying a magic rod which transforms into any type of melee weapon the user desires. At first it seemed pretty cool since it is highly enchanted, holy, disruptive, and bane against undead and evil outsiders. Lately it hasn’t been quite as beneficial though since the item has been forcing her to make Will saves to avoid spending mythic power to destroy undead foes faster (surging to turn misses into hits, spending a point on Amazing Initiative to get into melee range or make an extra attack, etc). We’re on a quest to return the rod to the tomb of its rightful owner (some ancient servant of a Pharaoh), and by this point the Bard can hardly wait to be rid of it.
The Deck of Many Things is pretty infamous, but I’ve got kind of a “teaser” method to get folks hooked on it. A fortune teller with a name like “Madame Fortuna” shows up in town (usually at a festival or circus). She offers a PC the chance to draw 3 cards from her Deck. If the PC accepts only the “best” result applies, as picked by the PC. Later on in the campaign the fortune teller can show up again to offer more draws, but at that point the “best result only” rule won’t be in place. The fortune teller or other wagons in her caravan can offer similar games with lower stakes, and there’s usually a guy named Sergei who sells discounted magic jewelry which may or may not be cursed.
Healing between combats in parties without Clerics should probably be handled primarily with wands. Our goblin party uses mostly potions of Infernal Healing, but that's only practical because the DM gave the Witch a Blackwick Cauldron as kind of a low level gift.
As Dave Justus mentioned, condition removal is important. Here are a few favorite condition removal spells which came to mind along with who can cast them:
Alchemist has a few spells from that list along with Cure spells and Brew Potion...might not be too bad...
Bards or Skalds can make Cure and other wands cheap if you take Craft Wand at 5th level - no deity required (plus some archetypes potentially expand your spell list)
Cleric looks like the winner for condition removal. Cayden Cailean or a similar deity might fit a Chaotic group as long as they're not downright Evil. If they are there are LOTS of options for deities...
Witch could be nice especially if the familiar can act as a wand jockey to apply a little wand based curing and buffing to PCs during combat without wasting your PC's action on it.
I like shrimp. Shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There's shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich.
I'm not as sure about PFS since I've only played it a couple of times. It didn't make me sick though. Shrimp makes my aunt sick, but sometimes she eats it anyhow.
A Barbarian isn't going to kill anything in one hit with Greater Vital Strike unless you're using the Mythic rules and Mythic Greater Vital Strike. A Druid should have plenty of ways to remain relevant.
If you want combats to be tough use good tactics for the monsters and have some of them "go for the kill" if appropriate. In a homebrew game you can also customize the monsters a little if you want. With a few extra levels and feats a lot of monsters can become a deadly threat. Something as simple as giving the monster a level of Fighter, having it wear armor to boost AC, and giving it the Cleave feat so it can Bite two PCs per round can make a dramatic difference. My players pretty much freaked out over that, like, "His AC is so high!" (ironically the "high" AC was the same AC one of the PCs had) and "How did he Bite twice?" (that's Cleave)
There could still be stuff which "breaks the game", but it probably won't be a high stat unless that's due to it setting a high DC on an overpowered spell. I'd put Greater Forbid Action or any damaging area effect cast as a Dazing Spell onto that list since they don't offer a new save each round like Greater Command, which is a reasonably powerful spell even though it does.
In one of the many recent "extend the adventuring day" threads lately I suggested upping the damage on these abilities to 1d6 plus 1 per level (like 1d6+10 at 10th level). This obviously wouldn't satisfy swoosh, who feels that 5d6+5 would be insufficient at 10th level, but I feel like it might provide a little more incentive to use your caster's built in crossbow substitute.
If you want these abilities to be bottom of the barrel stuff folks use when they want to conserve spells (which seems to be the original intent) I think 1d6 plus 1 per level would make them a little better than they currently are without changing game balance measurably. If you want these abilities to compete with low level attack spells and stand out as noticeable aspects of the PC's arsenal then you'd probably need to amp them up to 1d6/level.
I guess the power level would be somewhere around Ring of Wizardry II if you assume that the PC wanted the ring to cast more low level attack spells (possibly not a bad assumption if that PC is a blaster?) To me that seems like a power up casters probably don't need. I suppose it might make some casters more willing to participate in another fight before resting though.
I feel that every competent PC can be fun if you love to roleplay. I enjoy it so much that sometimes I roleplay in board games. My PCs generally have a unique personality and some quirks. Even as a caster I don't always find that I need a wide variety of actions to take in combat to have some fun. One of my more infamous PCs relied almost exclusively on casting Fireball to deal with nearly every threat, and that was a fun part of his roleplaying. Against golems immune to Fireball he'd basically flip out, buff a little, and chop them up with an adamantine construct bane guisarme (which could also be used to trip)
The worst thing I've found about martials while playing 3 of them to 15th level concurrently in different campaigns is that having a low Will save too often means that you can't participate in the game or become a detriment to your party. Sure, DMs might be able to target low Fort svaes to kill arcane casters, but it seems like they rarely do, perhaps since "The Wizard is dead!" might seem less funny to DMs than, "The martial goes crazy and babbles/attacks himself/tries to kill the party/thinks he's a vampire named Count Sharkula again".
If you don't invest in mobility there can also be some frustrating moments when a melee focused PC can't get into the action. Once you're in melee it can also be entertaining to have different options and active defenses like Body Shield which is hilarious for making enemies hit each other. I've also been having fun debuffing via intimidate, something which isn't strictly limited to martials but can often be mixed into your attack routine.
I'm not sure if there's a formula which works well across all levels, but based on some quick calculations with a suboptimal but competent Warrior build (Power Attack + Weapon Focus + Furious Focus with greatsword) I'd say that even the NPC stand in should be able to inflict around 3*level Damage Per Round against an "average" AC (based on the "Monster Statistics by CR" table)
In games like APs with standard difficulty I'd expect that a PC who inflicts 5*level DPR will seem pretty decent and somebody who gets to 10*level DPR consistently will seem powerful. Of course this could vary by the group and game, and I'm not accounting for DR or incorporeal foes.
I'm not very into just obscuring things from the players, but I’ve often re-skinned monsters to get something which looked and worked the way I want with less work and a better chance of ending up balanced (at least compared to when I go overboard putting class levels on stuff).
Pretty frequently I’ll change a few mechanical aspects of the monster along with the appearance. Back in 3.5 I made a “Styx Serpent” by taking away a Dragon Turtle’s Claws, increasing its Bite damage (Str*1.5, improved Power Attack), changing the breath weapon to acid damage and adding some Int damage to it. I think my real inspiration here was the serpents from Robin Hobb’s liveship traders series.
I collect a lot of miniatures from other games (Mage Knight, Star Wars, Horror Clix, Dreamblade, etc) and often stat up monsters to go with them. A really simple one was re-skinning the Clockwork Leviathan into a Mechanical Crab (that’s a Star Wars crab droid mini, but I thought it looked like a pretty cool Construct). Just take away the Bite, change the Slams to Claws or Pincers, and maybe reflavor Grind to a regular Constrict. The Breath Weapon still fits since the crab droid mini has what look like a couple of guns on it. Clearly those are flamethrowers which spit a 60’ line of fire.
Another weird mini I had was a ”Bloodscale Wavecaller” WoW mini. I don’t play WoW, so I wasn’t too sure what the monster “should” be like, but since she’s a “wavecaller” I thought that Bard might work well. I picked an Aboleth for the “base creature”, changed the Tentacles to Claws,exchanged Slime for Rend. and ended up with the
Sea Mother. I went with Skald levels instead of Bard since I decided it might be fun to make her Ulat-Kini (aka Skum) allies Rage. Her Fiend Totem powers also seems like a good way to represent her spiky frills harming PCs who engage with her (while the Skum sort of turn into spiky pufferfish dudes)
I also had a weird D&D 3.5 mini which I wanted to use as a monster in the lab of a mad Vivisectionist. Since I knew around the CR I was aiming for I started out with a Glabrezu and ended up with The Big Mistake
I’ve been running APs lately and haven’t had the creative DMing mood for a while. Perhaps I'll try re-skinning something from the random list to see if I can spark some creativity...tomorrow though...or maybe Sunday. I'm done work now, and there's lots of gaming to do this weekend!
Magic raps? Word up, DM MC!
If you really a “hater” when it come to Detect Magic and think it ruin all yo magic raps you can just kick it back up to a 1st level spell and watch people not use it much til they get a cheap wand later on. Then I guess you can ban the wands and stuff. The game still got Green Slime, and it still ain’t magic.
I hold the extremely unpopular opinion that your gear melds into your new form partially because the designers don't really want you to use it on top of whatever bonuses you gain from being in the new form. The high price of Wild armor helps convince me that this is likely true. The Polymoprhic Pouch Imbicatus mentioned also seems like a magic item specifically for bypassing such limitations.
I think it would be interesting to get some feedback from the developers like, "Yep, we figure the bonuses from X Shape are pretty much good enough on their own" or "Devilkiller has it all wrong. Wildshaping and then donning your equipment is 100% A-OK. We just don't want people to have the flexibility of shifting in between forms during combat and still being fully equipped"
I suppose that you "should" be able to drop the gear, polymorph, and then pick it up again in PFS since I don't see any RAW prohibiting it. I wouldn't be shocked if you ran into table variation, but in general it should probably work.
If only James Risner hadn’t bragged about his awesome PC online maybe PDT never would have known how great the Jingasa was (just kidding, folks...)
More seriously, I wonder if it would have caused less acrimony if the crit negation feature of the Jingasa were changed to work like light fortification. On the one hand, being certain of avoiding one particular crit (at least if you're not flat-footed) can provide some situational value that avoiding 25% of crits might not. On the other, it would still be a cheap alternative to light fortification for folks who have highly enchanted armor.
I think the Jingasa's deflection bonus would be a tough sell in PFS but might still have some appeal for folks with Craft Wondrous Items in the party if DMs can be convinced that additional deflection bonus can be added to the Jingasa for 150% of the cost of adding it to a Ring of Protection (as usual for alternate slot items). CWI is a much more popular feat than Forge Ring, so you'd still be getting the bonus at a 25% discount relative to market prices while freeing up a slot for a Ring Freedom of Movement (speaking of items which might frustrate DMs)
Taking an "easy death" the first time you get wounded when you could rise and fight again with a little help from a 1st level spell seems kind of like wimping out somehow.
Anyhow, since there's lots of magic in Pathfinder the NPC could already be dead when he tells the PCs his story:
I guess any of those could include a request for a proper funeral, pyre, "rune stone to my memory", etc, perhaps waiting until that's completed before telling the PCs a secret, revealing a treasure which might otherwise be missed, etc.
@RedDogMT - If the players can trust you then why would you hide the glory of your dice rolls from them? Let them gaze upon the nat 20s and despair! Thou shalt not fudge!
@Saldiven - There's certainly a difference between players having metagame knowledge and using metagame knowledge. Sometimes it is tough to figure out what a character "should" know though, and sometimes it might be tough to judge whether people are using player knowledge in character or the PC just happened to cast an appropriate spell. I mean, if you have 0 ranks in Knowledge (Planes) you probably shouldn't feel compelled to always cast Lightning Bolt at demons and Fireball at devils, but you also probably shouldn't always do the reverse. That said, different groups feel differently about players who perform actions which they know to be useless or counterproductive.
I have a few minis of giants with dwarves manning gun turrets on their backs and shoulders, and this kind of inspires me to find a use for them in a game soon. I also play a Viking who sometimes has an awakened raven hiding under the wolf fur he wears. Sometimes the raven speaks through the wolf's head and threatens or taunts people. Neither of those really compare to a ferret infested ogre samurai though.
I'm not sure whether something like this would be better adjudicated with the mounted combat rules or the vehicle rules though I think maybe the latter would end up making more sense. I'd guess the ferrets might gain some AC bonuses for being "inside the vehicle", but if the DM knows this is coming in advance it might be possible to think of some disadvantages too. I guess swimming could be a problem, for instance, and maybe clever, very small, or incorporeal enemies could get at the ferrets better while also gaining cover from the ogre in his own armor.
Has anybody seen players attempting the infinite free action attack loop in PFS? Short of that I don't think that being able to draw and throw as many throwing shields each round as you could daggers, javelins, etc would be broken even if it might seem a little silly to some folks. As an aside, I feel like better single attack options than non-mythic Vital Strike might help make thrown weapon builds more fun and viable.
@Darksol - I think that PDT generally likes FAQ requests to include a specific question, maybe something like, "Can a PC make an attack with a throwing shield as a free action, or does the free action to unclasp the shield simply prepare the shield to be thrown as one of the PC's attacks?" (that could probably be rewritten a bit more clearly, and perhaps your primary concern is something slightly different)
@Scott Wilhelm - After some of the initial firearm FAQs I've become convinced that any attempt to invoke the limit on free actions seems bound to end in disaster, misery, and people claiming that longbows will stop working.
If Paizo asks, "Do you think we should nerf the super item your super build relies on?" I'd imagine that they might get a lot of negative responses. There's practically nothing in the game which "everybody" agrees is overpowered.
I did see a few items get buffed too like the belt which used to call Unseen Servant but now calls Spiritual Ally (though I suppose somebody who really liked the Unseen Servant ability for some reason might wish that they had just added Spiritual Ally rather than taking Unseen Servant away)
Sharky find that if goblin chief talk with silly Beavis-like accent and keep bringing up Evil Plans soon even players who had bad week at work start thinking about what tortures to inflict on human prisoners, what ways to murder gnomes, etc. Maybe DM have tougher time inspiring people, but even lowly NPCs can get in character and drive story forward (until they get eaten by goblins)
Scientific Answer: This probably isn't really happening, but if you come to suspect that the player might be rolling the dice in some special way so as to influence the outcome I guess you could try a dice rolling tower.
Superstitious Answer: Have people touch the lucky player's dice and then call out low numbers as he rolls.
Spiteful Answer: Have all the monsters focus on killing the amazing PC who never misses before he can attack them.
Unless the goblins have Plane Shift I'd assume that the party could probably get the bag back though it might require some work or perhaps some concessions - "Roofus hide bag and not give it back unless you bring him cake! Magic cake with explosive candles! You also call him King Roofus now!"
I guess Locate Object might be useful in those situations. It was one of the first 2nd level spells I took with my first 3e PC - "Kazaan Dhal never loses his keys!"
I guess if nothing else I guess the Paladin could help prepare the blood as a sacrifice for some mighty demon or devil which is the only one capable of saving the orphange/city/world/farm. The moral implications of this seem unclear to me. I mean, I guess a Paladin could also become sort of a holy prostitute who tries to placate Evil outsiders with sexual favors. At least he or she would be immune to disease ("All our companions are Paladins, so you know they're clean!")
What some groups find clever/amusing/fun others might find offensive/stupid/annoying - I think that's ultimately the case for a lot of this stuff, and if you try to force your opinion on a group of people who don't want it there's likely to be conflict regardless of how people on the boards interpret RAW.
I think that a Paladin who supports his followers on "My holy blood" would be a pretty weird character, but it made me wonder how much nutrition there is in blood anyhow. Assuming that human blood would be relatively close in nutritional value to lamb blood it looks like it is at least a great source of protein.
I'd kind of like to give my mythic Viking PC the ability to raise an animal companion so that he could have goats (or something) to kill and eat each night like Thor. Fighters don't get animal companions though, and it didn't seem worth the feats for the flavor (um - roleplaying flavor, not goat flavor - I can get that at the local Caribbean restaurant)
Even a lot of regular people in the real world will become martyrs rather than betray their beliefs to gain mercy from somebody who has power over them. I'd think a Lawful Good outsider should probably be even more principled.
I guess each DM needs to reach his or her own decision on what's "unreasonable" in a particular game. If you've got a player who wants to turn Planar Binding into an installment of the "Saw" movies that could be interesting for some games and an off putting nuisance for others.
Based on more recent comments it sounds like maybe the “torture” being referred to by the OP isn’t particularly violent or painful. Perhaps it is more like kidnapping somebody and then browbeating them into submission? Anyhow, as Ashiel alluded to, you can simply call the outsider, explain your offer, and let the outsider choose whether to accept, go back where it came from, or run around the local area doing whatever sort of stuff that kind of outsider might want to do.
If you call a Good outsider to perform a task aligned with its ethos maybe that's all which would be needed. If you're calling an Evil outsider you've already cast a spell which Good aligned deities might frown upon and brought a powerful Evil entity onto the Material Plane. The fact you're calling an Evil outsider instead of a Good one also might suggest that you're calling it for an Evil purpose since else it would be safer and easier to contract the services of a Good outsider. I'd think that all of this might raise a few divine eyebrows.
@Starbuck II - You’ve presented an interesting situation since if I say something bad about a small child that probably makes me a jerk. Since you brought it up I’ll guess that your niece is a wonderful and well adjusted child or adult now, but I don’t think the fact somebody is OK now means that everything he or she ever did must have been OK too.
We had a few kids in our neighborhood who sprayed some animals such as frogs with “gum cutter” (a product used to clean engines) and then set them on fire. Those kids were somebody’s nephews. Anyhow, I’m assuming that the caster of Planar Binding probably isn’t a little kid and therefore probably understands the implications of his or her actions.
If you swat a fly I don't think most folks won't think you're a bad person. If you catch the fly, pull off its wings, and maybe stab it to death with a pin or cut it into pieces I think most folks would think that's kind of twisted and you "might have some problems".
I hope that "torture == bad" seems like something most folks should be able to agree on. I guess that the ambiguity comes in when doing something bad would help you prevent something even worse from happening. When is it "worth it" to do something bad?
If there were a credible terrorist threat to blow up NYC but the terrorists said they'd back off if members of Congress raped 1,000 virgins on the White House lawn and then burned them all alive for the glory of Satan should we do it or just let NYC get blown up? In the real world that might be a complex and painful question. In the fantasy world I think the answer should be, "We send a big fricking hero to save the day!" (or perhaps "kill those bastards and save the day!" depending on your exact genre)
One of the things the OP asked about was, "if a good aligned wizard can do this without getting into trouble with his god". I'd guess the implication is that the god in question is Good aligned. I suppose a Wizard doesn't really need to care if "his" god approves of his actions. I mean, if a Wizard worships Sarenrae but makes deals with Shadow Demons by sacrificing virgins to them it won't affect his powers, but I'd guess it might affect his standing in the church of Sarenrae and where his soul goes for its eternal reward.
If he just uses Evil tagged spells to call a succubus "mostly for conversation", to help entertain the troops in a holy war (like an Abyssal USO), or to help save the orphanage that might have less impact, but should him casting Evil tagged spells affect Sarenrae's opinion of him? I think the answer should be "yes". After all, Sarenrae grants divine spells, but she doesn't grant the ones with Evil tags, implying to me that maybe she disapproves of such spells. I guess you could posit that she doesn't mind them or even really digs them but simply lacks the power to grant them since they're outside her Goodly area of power and authority. I could see a PC using that as a rationalization of sorts, but I'm guessing that wouldn't be Paizo's official explanation for why Clerics can't spells from opposed alignments (though I've been surprised before)
Some games seem like they're on constant overdrive, and I wonder if that could be one reason why folks don't feel like they can get the tension they want from the threat of death or defeat. If your PC is dancing on the edge of death in every fight then I guess it wouldn't feel "special" anymore after a few sessions.
I had a Bard with a few Paladin levels. He'd generally try to imprison rather than kill all but the worst humanoid villains. He'd also offer them the option of trial by combat though, a one on one fight against him which ended with their death (which at that point was kind of their own choice - suicide by Paladin)
It just occurred to me that drowning people in holy water and claiming that it "washes their souls clean" might be amusing, but I think it would be more appropriate to a madman than a Paladin (and it might even insult whatever Good deity blessed the water)
I agree that an Eldritch Guardian's Mauler familiar could be a great combatant though I'd probably go with a crab instead of a weasel. This weasel (who might be named Zeke) is a Bard's familiar though, so he probably won't be that tough.
I agree with the Shifty Mongoose's assessment that the it might be nice to keep the opponent busy. The problem I'd expect to see is that an enemy might decide that the easiest way to get rid of the weasel for good is to attack and kill it rather than just pry it off.
Anyhow, it doesn't seem like anybody is contesting the "automatic" nature of the weasel's Bite damage each round. As long as the weasel isn't a Mauler the damage is likely to be pretty insignificant. Even a Mauler with Constrict probably wouldn't do enough damage with a single Bite per round to warrant putting a familiar on the front lines. I expect to see weasel attacks come up mostly in a comedic fashion or perhaps when things are desperate.
It sounds like once a Weasel attaches it automatically maintains the grapple and inflicts Bite damage each round. That's rather different from the Stirge, which makes a CMB check each round to maintain the grapple but gets a +8 on it. Of course the stirge also attaches with a touch attack and does Con damage, so that's not the only difference.
Is it correct to assume that once a Weasel Bites somebody it keeps on doing 1d3-4 damage each round until killed or removed with a successful CMB check? It doesn't seem like that should be tough given the Weasel's CMD of 6, but since somebody is taking a Weasel familiar I'm guessing this will come up at some point.
It sounds like this AP has quite a bit of RP in it. I'm thinking of picking up the "Social Combat" cards so that even if we don't have any players who are comfortable talking in character the RP encounters can be more than me just describing the NPC and having the player with the highest Diplomacy make a single d20 roll. Has anybody used those?
@Melkiador - I wonder if handling some of the rebellion management stuff between sessions might make sense (using dice servers if needed)
@Serisan - Oddly enough, the Humble Bundle only included the first 3 books. I guess maybe that's Paizo's way of getting you to buy the other 3!
I think Mark wanted to avoid rather than engender a Monk debate. In the interest of hypocrisy I'll add to the derail by saying I think the choice to encourage even weapon based Unchained Monks to mix in unarmed strikes seems like a fun one.
I've enjoyed the fact that Vicious Stomp and Enforcer make it useful for one of my current PCs to mix unarmed strikes into the action even though he generally wields a heavy flail. Having more reasons to punch, kick, and slap enemies might help combat feel a little more dynamic.
At first I read the title of this thread as "spiked kilt", and I think that would be more amusing than this expensive dagger hiding mechanism. As a house rule maybe allowing a character to draw the spike hilt dagger as a Swift action if the "host" weapon is currently wielded would be an occasionally useful benefit. It could be nice for making a full attack with the dagger while you're grappled or perhaps making a ranged attack if an enemy you're attacking in melee enemy falls before your full attack is over (something I've sometimes used shurikens for)
Transformative - As long as the "host" weapon remains a one or two-handed sword or hafted weapon I don't see why the transformation should disrupt its ability to conceal a dagger.
Shrinking - The rules for this enchantment seem a little unclear to me since they don't actually state if the weapon becomes a light weapon (as opposed to say a two-handed weapon which happens to be dagger sized and only do 1d4 base damage). The rules also don't say if the weapon's damage type, crit range, etc change. Since the rules are vague and the spiked hilt seems weak I'd probably let you use these together unless you came up with some unexpectedly overpowered combo (and I can't think of one here)
I'm considering having my Viking take the "Divine Source" ability next time he gains a Mythic Tier. It might not be as powerful in game terms as being able to charge through allies or even just gaining another +2 Str, but the idea of my PC being a viable target of worship sort of amuses me since he's well known for bragging and would probably start telling people he's a god.
The fact that the party and their allies include multiple divine casters who would never consider converting to his worship (and in fact think he's kind of a bozo) would be extra roleplaying gravy. I'm not quite sure what his portfolio would be, perhaps demigod of drinking, boasting, and threatening?
I sometimes make old PCs available as deities such as a drunken monk who invented pizza with psychedelic cheese and used his monk's spade as the pizza peel (that stick with a flat end you use to move pizza. Sorry, that's kind of all I have...
I'm currently playing a Viking PC in a game set on Mystara, where the typical Norse pantheon is active. I think that probably makes it a little easier to roleplay since I know more about Norse myths than say myths about Gorum.
If discussing potential shortcomings in RPG products is considered "disrespectful" it seems like that might make it tough for the folks writing them to get honest and potentially useful feedback.
Anyhow, the Misfortune hex affects one enemy, allows a saving throw. Unlike Evil Eye it doesn't do anything if the enemy makes the save, and even if they fail you'd have to spend a Move action each round to extend the duration with Cackle. Unless I'm mistaken the 3pp Combat Precognition ability affects everybody attacking you, allows no saving throw, and lasts for multiple rounds (at least if you have a Wisdom bonus) without any further actions on your part. I think that the 3pp ability sounds better than Misfortune in terms of defending attacks on AC.
I feel like Mirror Image might be a more fitting example. Usually it costs a standard action to deploy, but the Magus can pop it out quickly with Spell Combat. Of course that means that the Magus isn't casting some other spell, but if you're focused on defense then Mirror Image can be pretty powerful (especially if you already have a high AC)
I'd normally think of the SoL effects as the "head shots" since they're a one hit win while stuff like damage slowly wears you down. DM Blake makes a good case for that reversed analogy though. Sometimes my own PCs end up focusing on defense so much that the DM or other players might accuse them of being boring (like Floyd Mayweather some might say)
When playing a Fighter I sometimes feel like Will saves are low blows though. Sure, I can take steps to mitigate the risk like wearing a cup and a +5 cloak of resistance, but when I get hit by a SoL I sometimes have to take a rest whether I want it or not, and it is often more than 5 minutes. If the party isn't well prepared with spells like Protection from Evil those sorts of issues can go on for hours. I think debuffs are better "body blows" for both the PCs and the DM, and I tend to focus on those a lot especially as a PC since I think they're not only more fun than "rocket tag" but also perhaps a little more reliable in the long run.
Simple stuff like intimidation can take offense down a notch. If the DM uses ability damage, ability drain, negative levels, lots of poison, etc that can drain the party's coffers kind of like buying saving throw boosts. If it is clear that the PCs are going to get hit with this stuff fairly consistently they'll often start buying the counters. Going back to the original topic of the thread for a moment I'll nominate True Strike as a great spell to use against players from time to time, especially if the attack it boosts carries a nasty effect like negative levels, a powerful Poison, etc.
Back to the low blows analogy, I didn't mean to say powers which remove a player's control should never be used. Some boxers like Bernard Hopkins would probably consider low blows to be "part of boxing" and something that can be used from time to time to gain an advantage, kind of like holding. If you keep fouling repeatedly in boxing the ref might step in and take a point or even eventually disqualify you though, sort of like if you keep on taking away the player's control he might eventually complain or give up.
A big part of the discussion in this thread is how a DM can challenge characters despite high AC. Saying that you want the players to have effective characters isn't a very good excuse unless there's evidence that having a high AC means a character can't be effective in other ways, something which clearly isn't true. Punishing the other players instead of the one with the high AC also seems pretty backwards to me.
I'm not aware of any builds which can't do anything besides "stand there and not be hit", but I suspect that you also might not enjoy playing a character who is very hard to hit but also very good at hitting back with weapons, spells, or other powers. As I'd mentioned before, many people seem to equate taking lots of damage with having fun. I guess it is some kind of thrill seeking.
I get my enjoyment of the game primarily out of roleplaying, talking in funny voices, and figuring stuff out, so "close calls" to maintain excitement aren't something I need a lot of. They also seem to come up on their own over the course of a campaign without anybody really forcing it. To me it sounds like maybe you're just projecting what you like onto what the players should like.
Anyhow, isn't arbitrarily boosting monster attack bonuses kind of like DMing in "god mode"?
I'd say it should work, and I wouldn't expect too much controversy since your blocking the attack with your weapon. I've seen greater doubts when my PC tries to block a touch attack with Crane Wing since people reason that the monster is still coming into contact with him. The fact that shields don't count against touch attacks strikes me as pretty weird. I mean, incorporeal creatures could reach right through them, but it seems like a shield should be able to obstruct a caster with a held charge...oh well...
Pounce is available at 6th level, but Rake doesn't show up until 8th. Dire Tiger is indeed a fine shape for these sorts of shenanigans. You also get Grab at 8th level, which is why I mentioned picking up Greater Grapple around 9th if possible. In the level 4-5 range I guess a Cheetah with 3 attacks and a free Trip might not be bad if you want a cat theme all along.
If a rational enemy is clearly outclassed and has a viable escape option I'll usually use it unless it seems against the enemy's nature or personality. For instance, demons can teleport, but they might fail to retreat due to their murderous rage.
Another option perhaps less used is villains who die but then come back anyhow whether by getting raised or becoming undead. The players get the satisfaction of defeating the foe and perhaps a bit of a surprise when he or she returns, perhaps as part of a deadly ambush.
Escaped enemies can also act against the party in subtler ways by telling other villains the party's strengths, weaknesses, whereabouts, etc. Stuff like this can make running down that last goblin a little more interesting.