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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.
Orcish Rapunzel - If you try the Scarred Witch Doctor I suggest taking the Prehensile Hair hex. This will let you use Constitution for spells, hex DCs, attack rolls, and damage. Buff up your Con as much as possible and you should do OK. Grappling might be surprisingly viable if you wear a Belt of Anaconda's Coils and take the Final Embrace feat (which grants the Grab ability). Hex Strike can also let you apply the Evil Eye to foes via unarmed strikes or even your hair with Feral Combat Training. If you've got +8 to grapple checks from Improved Grapple, the belt, and Grab and then give your foe -4 AC/CMD via Evil Eye that's a pretty big swing in CMB vs CMD. It seems counterintuitive to grapple with a low BAB PC, but I think it could work. Getting all the right feats in order without multiclassing would be the trick. At worst I guess you could use the reach of the hair to hang back and rely on AoOs for extra damage.
Mounted Sorcerer - A human Sylvan Sorcerer might be able to swing the feats for Mounted Combat. Whether or not you want to be a lady from Niger it wouldn't hurt your combat effectiveness to ride on a tiger. Since you can share True Strike your companion should be able to hit stuff or perform combat maneuvers pretty much as needed. I guess a big bad Wolf who trips enemies to give you +4 to hit against them might not be bad, especially if you took Paired Opportunists so that you both got a +4 bonus on any AoOs which might be triggered by the enemy falling down or standing up. If you feel pretty good about your HP and defenses Broken Wing Gambit with Paired Opportunists could be a nice combo too.
Flank Bonuses - If you'd rather flank with your companion than ride on it then the Outflank feat and Menacing weapons or amulets could be helpful. I'd consider staying adjacent and having the animal defend you with Bodyguard though. At worst you should be viable in melee against mooks, allowing you to save your big spells for big monsters.
I think Torger's point was probably that while Quicken Spell is powerful Spell Perfection can make using Quicken Spell free. That seems more powerful than using Quicken Spell for the normal cost just like using metamagic at reduced cost due to a trait seems more powerful than using metamagic at the normal cost.
Of course you could already use metamagic at no spell slot cost by paying the gold cost for a metamagic rod, which is a CRB item, but back to Torger's way of thinking I guess that a rod can only add one free metamagic whereas using a rod combined with Spell Perfection might add two. I guess one could debate what the gold piece value of a 15th level feat should be and how much of a limiting factor Spell Perfection working with just one particular spell is.
As an aside, I think almost everybody agrees that Leadership is a little crazy. This doesn't stop me from taking it when a DM allows it and I think the party could use a little help. Some campaigns are much tougher than others, and some parties are much less competent than others.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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...
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)
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)
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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!"
@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.
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.
The spikes on the klar might be in error
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.
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:
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)
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.
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.
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!"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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)
I've decided to go ahead and "focus on the positive" here as suggested. Two of the unusual benefits of slings which can be gained by investing 3 feats are that you can reload a sling with one hand as a free action and use a sling in melee as a mostly inferior flail. That might open up a few unusual options.
One interesting thing is that the rules for Sling Flail say, "Using a sling in this way does not expend mundane ammunition, but magical or masterwork ammunition loses its special properties after a single hit." To me that implies that the magical properties of the ammunition might apply when the sling is used as a flail. If so that would give you a novel way to stack melee enchantments. Crafting bane bullets of various sorts might provide a minor advantage though some DMs might question whether or not you should be able to drop the "used" bullet and load a new one in between melee attacks. I guess that having a single weapon to enchant for ranged and melee attacks would also save a bit of gold ("Slings: The Miser's Weapon" by Ebenezer Baggins)
As has been pointed out before, you could also use a sling with a shield. This could be interesting when combined with Shield Slam since the sling would give you a way to make follow up attacks on enemies you'd pushed away. Another oddball combo which might be tougher to pull off would be tripping the enemy with Sling Flail and then pushing them away with Shield Slam. I think you'd basically get a +4 on the bull rush attempt, and while you wouldn't be able to get an AoO when the opponent stood up they also might be too far away to stand up and attack you. You'd need a pretty intense selection of feats and MAD attributes to make such a build work, but it might give you some options not every archer has.
Not needing an equipment change to go from ranged to melee mode can be pretty nice, and shields are an easy way to boost AC. Maybe I'll take the time to write up a sling build or two later though honestly it seems like a pretty tough road to follow.
Remember to get Muleback Cords or something similar so your cock can handle heavy loads. Then even if one of the other PCs is too big to ride your cock you could at least pick them up and fly them over obstacles.
The scrolls of Duplicate Familiar sound nice though a wand would be nice if you can afford it. It looks like the Eldritch Guardian archetype could be combined with the Mutation Warrior. If so then at 4th level you could grow a Tentacle which could hold a wand as well as a buckler. The Tentacle could also have RP purposes. I’d also suggest considering the Gang Up feat since it is a Combat feat your cock and any duplicates would get to share. Stuff like Outflank and a Menacing weapon could be nice too. It also strikes me that if you took Improved Familiar to get a celestial cock it would be able to Smite Evil once a day. I wonder if duplicate familiars would have that ability too. If so that sounds like a nice buff on your otherwise fairly expensive scroll/wand of Duplicate Familiar. Of course there's the question of whether a Fighter with effective Wizard levels would qualify for Improved Familiar, but it would be easy to pick up arcane caster levels through multiclassing with or without a trait to increase caster level.
If you obtained an aurochs/bison companion with Animal Ally your PC’s saga could be a Cock and Bull Story. A Donkey companion wouldn’t be quite as good in combat but could have RP value and might be nice if you want to squeeze into tight spaces. If you could just come up with one more pet which has the Ride skill you could take Cavalry Formation to fit the cock and ass together in one 5’ square. I suppose that a low level eidolon could work for that. She could look however you’d like and ride your cock all day long. With the Skilled evolution the eidolon could be a wand jockey as well as a cock jockey. With Boon Companion you could have up to 4 levels of Summoner or really any class or mix of classes without decreasing the power of your cock. Besides supplying an obedient cock rider the Summoner dip would give you some spells to share with your cock as well as the ability to activate a pretty wide variety of wands and scrolls without even making a UMD check. Disguise Self and Alter Self might help you get your cock into areas where it otherwise might be denied access. A dip into a class which casts True Strike could be powerful for combat maneuvers.
Another multiclass option which might be fun is Monk since it makes it easier to pick up various Combat feats. If you and the cock both got the Snake Fang feat from Master of Many Styles and also took Paired Opportunist you’d both get an AoO at +4 to hit whenever an enemy missed either one of you (well, you’d need Combat Reflexes too). If you’re taking Combat Reflexes anyhow you could consider stuff like Vicious Stomp, which might be nice with Tandem Trip. Obviously there’s no way you can take all of the various feats being discussed here, but the idea of a kung-fu chicken with Crane Style and a “Chicken Wing” defense amuses me. If you want to get carried away with that you could check out Jet Li in "Last Hero in China" (way different than "Hero"...perhaps a bit sillier...just a bit...)
I've always wanted to use Magnificent Mansion, but the one time when I played a caster of the right class and sufficient level it was in a game where the DM banned Rope Trick and Magnificent Mansion (though nothing else) since he didn't want people running off into magical spaces to hide from his monsters.
A friend of mine had the good fortune to play a Sorcerer in a game that went to 19th level and found an online program for drafting houses including gardens and such. His Sorcerer's mansion had rooms for each PC along with an atrium in the center with a garden and pond. My Monk/Druid sometimes slept in the pond while wildshaped into a water elemental and could also turn into a tree in the garden. Such defensive maneuvers might seem unnecessary within the confines of a Magnificent Mansion, but the DM running that game ruled that powerful BBEG casters with access to divine powers could potentially invade our Magnificent Mansion.
That was a different DM from the one who banned the spell. The two didn't even know each other, so I guess maybe Magnificent Mansion is a spell which tends to annoy DMs.
I was once going to make a Gnome Summoner who had an eidolon called the Magic Cock. If you want to ride the cock during battle I'd advise taking Mounted Combat and Trick Riding since this will greatly reduce the chance of your cock getting damaged by monsters. This is especially useful against touch attacks. You wouldn't want to be defenseless when somebody whips out a gun and tries to shoot your cock.
You could also consider investing in the Bodyguard feat as another way to help keep your cock up during tough encounters. Since Bodyguard is a Combat feat your cock would get it too and could return the favor by protecting you as well. If you both wear Benevolent armor you should be able to achieve a significant AC boost.
Since you're getting UMD as a class skill you'll also be able to take advantage of scrolls and wands to help you and your cock. A wand of False Life might not be a terrible investment given the long duration. I suppose that Mirror Image might also be helpful. Even a lowly 1st level spell like Grease could be help prevent enemies from grabbing your cock.
Grappling quasits and imps has been mentioned a few times. It isn’t a bad idea, but getting them grappled and keeping them that way can be surprisingly tough for level 1-2 PCs. The PC with the highest CMB is also likely to be the one who would be best at beating the imp’s DR5. Moving your damage dice down to 1d3 doesn’t help with that. Keeping the imp from disappearing is probably worth it, but he'll probably have about a 1/4 chance of breaking free anyhow.
When I mentioned this thread to my girlfriend she insisted that I also must post that Quasit Summoners are very nasty. I don’t think that is necessarily true, but I did once use a Quaist with 15 levels of Summoner as a monster, he did surprise the party, and one PC did get killed by summoned fiendish dire tigers. After a barrage of mostly touch attacks from the party that Quasit didn’t last long though.
Regarding wish farming with Planar Binding, I’ve never run or played in a game where it was even attempted. I think there’s a pretty common idea across many groups that the DM will either reject wish farming outright or punish the PCs harshly for attempting it. You can only stack another +2 to +3 on your modifiers via wishes anyhow though, and a lot of PCs would likely pick up this bonus on their favorite ability score anyhow (dare I call it the “prime requisite”?)
As a DM I’ve sometimes equipped monsters with gear according to their NPC WBL or even PC WBL when adding +1 CR. That caused some player complaints, particularly when I had a creature wear armor wich made it tough for folks to hit with Power Attack or had something like an Ogre Mage buy some low level wands for use with UMD. The Ogre Mage in the book has a +14 UMD modifier, and wands of Shield are dirt cheap. Mirror Image or CMW wands can be nice too though they’re a little more expensive. Buffing enemy AC can be fairly effective at frustrating the already frequently frustrated low optimization martials. The more serious killers often have ways to bypass AC though.
The water balloons comment seems kind of interesting in terms of firearms:
I guess it could also work for the infamous caster vs martial disparity:
Large mounts can handle 5' hallways pretty easily with the Narrow Frame feat and can often muddle through even without it. Vertical shafts and areas where the PCs have to climb can be tough for many non-flying mounts. My halfling used to lower his "war goat" into dungeons with a block and tackle. He himself planned to carry a "battle ladder" instead of a regular lance since his full plate made him pretty bad at Climb, but the DM deemed that a little too silly.
I thought Maxwell's last name was Edison...
Anyhow, as far as I know the Bull Rush from Shield Slam uses the result of your attack roll as the number you compare to your opponent's CMD to determine the results of the Bull Rush. In other words, you wouldn't get any bonuses from stuff like Improved Bull Rush though things like Weapon Focus (Heavy Shield) and an enchanted shield would help.
If your opponent still has movement remaining it could use that movement to come towards you again. I'm not 100% sure regarding whether that would count as a new action in terms of triggering an AoO (which is usually limited to one per action). Even if it doesn't you'll probably end up being able to push people away before they get a full attack. You'd also be able to stuff charges and therefore avoid being pounced.
I'm running a PC with Shield Slam in one current campaign, and one of my favorite aspects of the feat so far has been the fact that enemies pushed into a solid obstacle fall prone. This is a great debuff which can create a lot of tactical advantages. I think your Druid might be better positioned to exploit this aspect of the feat than my Viking since you might be able to create walls, trees, etc to bounce foes off of.
If you decide to pursue the knocking folks prone aspect of Shield Slam then the combination of Vicious Stomp + Enforcer would be extremely useful. If you throw on Hurtful too you can really pile a lot of damage onto a prone foe quickly.
Tendriculos doesn’t seem as bad as it was in 3.5, where it was my go to example of a monster too nasty for its CR.
I find it mildly disturbing that this thread seems almost like a list of monsters my Viking has fought. The Sceaduinar was definitely the worst, and he was in the same fight with a Witchfire, who isn't much fun herself. That was in the same cave where we ended up fighting a Shadow Demon. A Seugathi in another dungeon might have become a TPK if another PC hadn't rolled high on a bunch of Will saves. Earlier in the campaign it had taken that same party member days to recover from Str damage inflicted by Shadows.
Perhaps the most terrifying monsters I’ve run as a DM have been Sea Serpents with the Advanced template. Sure, they can be largely neutralized by Freedom of Movement, but most PCs don’t have the Ring, and by the time you cast the spell it might be too late. With Grab, Constrict, and Swallow Whole all on one monster the Sea Serpent is a super charged damage machine. Fiendish Dire Tigers can also be pretty nasty, especially as summoned monsters. Big air elementals using their Whirlwind ability against folks who can't fly can also create havoc, but
I guess that not being able to fly leaves you vulnerable to a bunch of things though. I'm a little ashamed to say that one party I'm in had a ton of trouble with an Erinyes around level 8. Sure, you should be able to Fly by level 8, and usually we can, but the devil's at will Fear ability made the PC who casts Fly run away.