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DigitalMage's page

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber. FullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 2,043 posts. No reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist. 6 Pathfinder Society characters.

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Andoran *

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Please see my edit at the end...

nosig wrote:
thistledown wrote:
Nosig, the "20gp for stuff" is sufficient for the chronicle side.
But this does not list what you bought? Where are we listing the things we bought? Nowhere?

That is my understanding, and why I have an issue with the new rules for using the ITS (not the ITS itself). As I understand things, anything purchases of items that are individually under 25gp can just be written up collectively on the chronicle sheet as "Misc Purchases 200gp".

In fact I am not sure you even need to do that, you just record the GP spent on the Chronicle sheet and don't even have to highlight the fact that there is a difference between GP spent on the Chronicle sheet and that spent on the ITS.

nosig wrote:
20gp means that my PC could have a flask of Alchemist Fire, or 2 flasks Acid or a dose each of Vermin Repelant and Clearear....or two 1st level spells scribed to a spell book...

And your example shows why I think the ITS does not help with auditing small stuff, it actually makes it worse, the ITS as it stands just helps with auditing the big value items.

nosig wrote:
If you buy something for your PC, shouldn't there be a record someplace of what you bought?

Yes I think there should, my preference is to log everything on the ITS.

EDIT: Actually you are right, v5 of the PFS Guide says in relation to the Chronicle Sheet on page 35:
"Step 8: Have the player note all items purchased or sold, including spellcasting services, in the notes section (V)."

So we do have to record every purchase on the Chronicle Sheet (both stuff that costs under 25gp and stuff over 25gp.

But that does mean categorically that the ITS is extra paperwork, duplicating effort of writing down purchases of items valued at 25+gp.


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I use small round stickers that I put on the bases of my D&D miniatures and then number them (I also use different colours to help differentiate Emerald Claw Soldier 1 from Goblin 1).

I imagine you could do the same with the Pawn bases.


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digitalpacman wrote:
The attacker always has to use his move action, before attacking, to approach the enemy. He never will get the chance to 5 ft step during his attack, because he has to move to begin it.

Not if, as in my example, the attacker uses a round to move adjacent to the defender but doesn't attack. The defender never gets his readied action that round and so doesn't 5 feet step.

Now when the defender gets his next go he can 5 feet step back and ready to attack when being attacked, but if that readied action triggers he cannot 5 feet step again.

DigitalMage wrote:

Round 3

Adam is 10 feet from Blaze (i.e. not adjacent)
Adam again readies to attack Blaze and 5 feet step away.
Blaze starts to catch on to what Adam is doing and moves adjacent to him and readies an action to attack Adam if he attacks her or attempts to move away (she cannot also ready to step up as she moved)

Round 4
Adam and Blaze begin this round adjacent to one another.
Adam didn't get to take his last readied action, but again readies to attack Blaze and 5 feet step away should she attack him.
Blaze readies an action to attack Adam if he attacks her or attempts to move away and to 5 feet step after him if needed.

In round 4 Blaze doesn't have to use her move before the attack unless Adam chooses to move and then ready, in which case Adam cannot 5 feet step as part of the readied action and Blaze would get her standard attack in after moving up and after Adam's readied attack.


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Try the Savage Worlds version of Mars by Adamant Entertainment.

Andoran *

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In PFS? It would likely mean you fail at your mission and thus don't get the prestige point. Of course that means everyone would fail too - so you would probably be annoying every player at the table. In which case the GM could argue you are breaking the "Don't be a jerk" rule.

But either way, even if you don't return the weapon, your character would not get to have it according to PFS rules without spending the money to buy it (if it was even on the Chronicle sheet). So there is really no incentive out of game to withold the item as you're just screwing yourself (and others).


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phantom1592 wrote:
You can SAY you are a suave ladies man who can have any woman he wants... but the number one rule for players should be... they are the PLAYERS. The DM gets to control the npcs... and that includes the ladies in question.

If the player roleplays a confident character who tries to be smooth but always does something to screw up (saying the wrong thing, picking up an empty glass rather than a full one from a waiter's tray and trying to drink from it, mispronouncing or using a wrong term of phrase etc) than that matches the stats and as you say they are playing a character who just thinks they are "all that".

But if the player narrates a great seduction technique and gives an incredibly smooth series of lines that make all the players at the table go "Wow! With that speech I would fall for you! Remind me to take you as my wingman next time I go clubbing!" but the dice roll fails miserably (even by taking 10, i.e. an average roll) then the roleplaying really hasn't matched the stats.

And yes the GM will roleplay their NPCs and not have them succumb to the PC's charms, but the GM is going to have to strive to come up with a reason why not one of the ladies at the ball is even interested ("they are all already married", "the countess apparently has a hatred of elves", "you remind her of her long dead brother" etc).

Why should the GM have to be the one who has to come up with all the explanations to reconcile the player's roleplaying and the results of the mechanics? Isn't it better to have the player, up front, provide a few possible reasons why his seduction attempts may fail if that is what the dice roll ultimately show?

phantom1592 wrote:
If they start spouting out of character knowledge about physics and alchemy and engineering.... then the DM is perfectly in his right to say 'You have no idea'. (Though the more 'polite' way to phrase it would be 'what's your score in engineering?"

So it sounds like you would be happy "encouraging" a player to roleplay their stats, potentially even "forcing" them by satying "Your character wouldn't know that so he didn't say it!". is that correct?


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I think like with other mechanical aspects of the character I like the narrative to be consistent with the ratings.

Suppose we are playing a game of D&D where we are all starting at 1st level and one player wants to play the best swordsman in the land, a noted general in the King's army who women swoon over whenever he set foot in a tavern. Should the other players and/or GM not explain that concept is at odds with playing just a 1st level character in a world where major NPCs are routinely 6th level or more, with some of the generals in the King's army level 9 fighters?

Basically if a player continues to narrate his characters actions in a way that is inconsistent with the results of the mechanics (skill checks etc) then I, both as GM and player, will be annoyed.

Bob "Damnit Dave! You keep describing how your character is handsome, articulate, attention grabbing, persuasive and a serial womaniser able to bed any woman he raises an eyebrow at - but your character's Charisma is 7, you have put only 1 rank into Diplomacy (and as you're a Fighter you don't get a Class skill bonus) and you have no ranks at all in Bluff and Sense Motive! And because of that you keep failing miserably at all the stuff your describe your character as being good at."

Dave "But that's how I want to play my character! I see him as a dashing scoundrel"

Bob "Okay then, but then I shall start playing my Strength 7 Wizard as being powerfully muscled, able to win any arm wrestling challenge, and renowned as a famous Strongman."

Dave "But that doesn't make sense, your lifting capacity is only 60lb as a heavy load! And arm wrestles are just a comparison of Strength stats so any Strength 8 character will beat you!"

Bob "But that's how I want to play my character! And if on the odd occasion my character needs to actually lift anything heavier than 60 lb or accept an arm wrestling challenge and fail, I will write that off as a fluke or a muscular twinge."


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I think as long as a player strives to roleplay the stat in some manner that is fine.

For example if a player roleplays his low charisma character as being fairly good looking but painfully shy with little confidence that is fine - and will even allow for some amusing roleplaying moments if he gets chatted up by an NPC.


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One thing to remember is that "appearance" is not necessarily measured on a scale of attractiveness, but potentially on a scale of how striking and attention grabbing that appearance is.

So even if we argue that if Charisma incorporates an element of appearance, a higher Charisma does not necessarily mean a better looking person, it could just mean that they have a more striking and attention grabbing appearance. Now that may be because they are really good looking or it may be because they just look really odd, or fearsome or just simply alien!


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randomwalker wrote:
Can't remember if being ugly gave a bonus to intimidation, though.

The James Bond RPG didn't have an Intimidation Skill, just Interrogation (indeed Charisma is a Skill based on Willpower).

But no, being ugly doesn't give you any benefits other than saving you character generation points.


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The James Bond RPG has an Appearance description that ran from:
Good Looking

It was most expensive (character generation point wise) to be Normal looking as that had the least Fame points associated with it, if you're Plain or better than average looking you are more memorable and so are more easily recognised.

Bond was Striking!


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I think the point is that the seige of Trenzalore is supposed to be the battle where the Doctor finally dies for good (as suggested in The Name of the Doctor), so for dramatic purposes the only threat that could possibly defeat the Doctor would have to be a combination of all his worse enemies.

It would be a but weak if after defeating the Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angels etc multiple times, the Doctor was taken out by a previously unknown "monster".


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I didn't get excited about it :( Unfortunately most of that lack of excitement stems from my views of the first film - I really didn't find Peter Parker to be a likeable character - he was a bit of a dick. Also I didn't hear the "With great power..." line.

In terms of this trailer - there seems too many villains so none of them get much screen time in the trailer. Also Harry Osborn looks too pantomime villain to me, almost like emo-Peter in Spider-Man 3.


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R_Chance wrote:
Arikiel wrote:

They might have fixed some things but I don't really care. As long as they're owned by WotC/Hasbro I have no interest in their products.
Why is someone always compelled to state their lack of interest in something? Doesn't that indicate an interest?

I think Arikiel means that he won't be purchasing D&D Next while WotC / Hasbro own it, however I agree that he does care about how D&D Next does otherwise why comment.

If D&D Next was massively successful (it probably won't be) to the point that Pathfinder sales and player network is diminished to some extent, then I think Arikiel and many others would care about that.


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Tacticslion wrote:
I'd like to say that, in general, I agree with this sentiment. I don't agree in all cases and situations, but for the most part, I agree.

I agree with pretty much everything you said there! :)

Diego Rossi wrote:

As a GM, always playing 1 stile NPC and 1 challenge games because the players have narrowed their options to only one is the most unfun thing I can think.

If really there are groups that find fun restricting their options so much, they can have one of them playing GM managing a random melee focused monster that respawn every few round. That seem the whole extent of their gaming interest.

I really think you are overestimating what we are suggesting as an option.

All we are suggesting is that it is possible to play D&D campaigns with a particular focus - mercenary based, investigative, kingdom building, magic focussed etc - and that if your players have expressed a desire to play one of those types of more focused campaigns and you as GM are willing to write your own scenarios or adjust published scenarios then it makes sense to tailor the campaign to meet the desires of the players.

That doesn't mean you can't have traps - just don't make them too common, and maybe not too difficult to defeat / disable / overcome so the players have a chance to do so.

Also make it so that the plot doesn't rely on overcoming the traps - if its a dungeon bash have another tunnel circumvent the traps but requires the PCs to scale a cliff, or cross a river of lava, or encounter monsters or something else.

Ditto for magic stuff, if none of your PCs are magic users, by all means have magical threats, but don't write a scenario that in order to progress requires a PC to dispel some magic or detect magic etc.


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Aelryinth wrote:

And when players choose what's fun and gets crushed for it, is it the game's fault or the player's fault?

smart play is smart play. If the PC's want to play whatever they want and end up with an unbalanced party, let them have their fun - but no GM should feel afraid to pull punches when the PC's can't handle a situation because of their own choices.

If the GM is using a published scenario and makes this clear to their players and also makes it clear that they won't be adjusting the scenario for the actual party's abilities, then yeah it would be smart to cover all the traditional bases.

However, if the GM is writing their own scenario, or is willing to adapt a published scenario, they should see their players choice of characters as a message saying "this is the type of game we want to play" and the smart GM will then write the scenario around that party makeup.


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All these posts, including the quotes from SKR and JJ, just make me realise that this area is royally screwed up.

I really wish it had all been left as it was in 3.5 - it may not be as quick to adjudicate such temporary changes on the fly but I believe everyone would be clear what the changes would be.

Oh, well, I will just continue to GM PFS as best I can, and be thankful that I still run 3.5 outside of PFS.


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James Risner wrote:

This is how I rule in all Pathfinder games including PFS and I believe I'm following the RAW fully.

His Stabilization check would be at +4 and they would need to get a 7 to make it.

He dies at -18 and has 17 turns to make his stabilization check.

The fact that James Risner and I have completely opposite readings of the rules on this matter, both of us believe we are running it by RAW and both of us would rule like this in Pathfinder Society Organised Play (where rule variance really shouldn't happen) shows pretty clearly that Paizo could do with adding Ability Bonuses, Damage and Penalties to the FAQ.


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Crash_00 wrote:

Ability Score Increases

Some spells and abilities increase your ability scores. Ability score increases with a duration of 1 day or less give only temporary benefits. For every two points of increase to a single ability, apply a +1 bonus to the skills and statistics listed with the relevant ability.

If it were written like that, would you be more inclined to understand the reading of the rules that interprets the bonus as being an untyped bonus to skills and certain listed statistics e.g. CMB, CMD etc?

No. That actually would be clearer in my opinion.


Crash_00 wrote:
It makes the distinction between the ability increase (ie the affect causing the increase the to the ability score, such as Bull's Strength) and the temporary bonus (the limited bonus to you modifier) clearer.

What part of that paragraph says the bonus is applied to your ability modifier? It states that the bonus is applied to the skills and statistics listed.

Crash_00 wrote:
As it is now, people read Ability Score Bonuses and think mistakenly, as you do, that it heading is meant to cover the bonus to an ability instead of the bonus (modifier) the ability score gives.

So you feel the heading of "Ability Score Bonuses" is not meant to mean "Bonuses to the Ability Score" but rather "Bonuses derived from the Ability Score", yes?

The trouble is Paizo are quite bad for using the terminology, look at the last paragraph of that section...

PF Core rulebook, page 555 wrote:
Permanent Bonuses: Ability bonuses with a duration greater than 1 day actually increase the relevant ability score after 24 hours.

Here, I believe when they refer to Ability Bonus they mean Ability Score Bonus, and apart from that lack of clarity, the rest of the sentence makes it clear when it means bonus here it is referring to the bonus to the score, not the modifier.

So when they explicitly call the heading of the section "Ability Score Bonuses" I feel they are referring to "Bonuses to the Ability Score" and thus talking about the +4 that Bull's Strength gives.

Similarly the next section is the inverse and has a header of "Ability Score Damage, Penalty, and Drain". By putting "Penalty" in that header on the same level as Damage and Drain I believe Paizo are referring to Penalties to the Ability Score, not penalties derived from Ability Scores.

So yeah, when I read the header "Ability Score Bonuses" as meaning "Bonuses to the Ability Score" I don't believe I am mistaken.

Crash_00 wrote:

Here is, again, a quick question for you to answer.

A.) Does Strength = an ability score?

Strength has an ability score is that what you mean? And when people say that their character has a Strength of 16 they are usually referring to the score, so shorthand Strength usually refers to the Strength Score (but then if someone said their PC had a Strength of +3 I would by context know they are referring to the modifier).

But lets say for sake of argument Strength refers to the Strength Score.

Crash_00 wrote:
B.) Does Strength bonus = a positive modifier from an ability score?

Yes, the Strength bonus is a positive strength modifier

Crash_00 wrote:
If both those are yes, then it should be obvious that Strength bonus, by pure definition is an Ability Score Bonus.

Strength is an ability and it has a Score and a Modifier (which may be a Bonus or a Penalty or a flat +0).

If we, for shorthand, use "Strength" to mean "Strength Score", then you seem to be arguing that "Strength Bonus" could be expanded to mean "Strength Score Bonus", but I wouldn't say that is correct because when we use the word "Strength" in "Strength Bonus" we are not using it as shorthand to mean "Strength Score" rather it is simply a reference to the ability.

If I were to use "Strength" as shorthand to mean "Strength Bonus", when I then say "Strength Score" I don't mean "Strength Bonus Score" because I don't know what that means.

As I said "Strength" is an ability that has both a Score ("Strength Score") and a Modifier ("Strength Modifier") the latter being derived from the Strength Score.

Crash_00 wrote:

Now, let's try the next part.

A.) Does Strength = an ability score?
C.) Does a bonus to strength = a positive modifier from an ability score?

Here is the trap. A.) is true. It is un-debatable.

I seem to be debating that I am afraid. :) But as I said lets say for sake of argument Strength refers to the Strength Score.

In terms of C, if we assume that Strength refers to the Strength score, then I would argue that is not correct, a bonus to Strength means a bonus to the Strength Score.

A positive modifier from an ability is an "ability bonus", not a "bonus to the ability" (that would be recursive thinking).

Crash_00 wrote:
Now, you have four options for B and C. Either 1.) they are both true, 2.) they are both false, 3.) B is true and C is false, or 4.) C is true and B is false.

Okay I feel, going with the Assumption that Strength refers to the Strength Score, that B is true and C is false, so that would be case 3.

Crash_00 wrote:
Case 3 - It is clear in this case (the one I believe to be true) that a strength bonus (an ability score bonus by definition) is multiplied by THF and OHF.

How is it clear that this means the strength bonus (i.e. the bonus to the Score as we agreed) is multiplied by THF and OHF???? The Strength Score, or any Bonus to that score (e.g. the +4 from Bull's Strength) is never multiplied for Two Handed Weapon, or halved for Off Hand Weapon.

Its the Strength Bonus (i.e. the positive modifier as we agreed in B) that gets multiplied.

I am really not following your logic at all here I am afraid - apologies if that is me being dense, but you seem to have left out how you got from A and B being true and C being false to multiplying the ability score bonus(which I don't think is actually what you mean anyway).

Crash_00 wrote:
It is also clear by the plain logic that any of the ability score modifiers with a positive number are ability score bonuses.

Yep, I think that was what you were stating in B. Not sure what you mean by repeating this here.

Crash_00 wrote:
Not if you read the actual section in context. The bonus applied to the ability is, in the section, referred to as the ability increase or increase to the ability. It is never referred to as a bonus in this section. The only thing that is referred to as a bonus is what stems from the ability increase.

Actually as I stated above, the section on Permanent Bonuses does refer to the increase in ability score being the bonus "Ability bonuses [...]

increase the relevant ability score after 24 hours". But as I stated Paizo should have been clearer on their use of their terms and wrote that as "Ability score bonuses [...] increase the relevant ability score after 24 hours".

Crash_00 wrote:
Every two points of increase (the +4 from Bull's Strength is the increase) gives a +1 bonus (positive ability score modifier).

That use of the word "bonus" is to me the general use as defined on page 11 i.e. "numerical values that are added to checks and statistical scores".

What do you even mean by "(positive ability score modifier"? I simply don't understand what you meant by putting that parenthesised comment after "give a +1 bonus".

Crash_00 wrote:
Again, this is basic english definitions and logic.

You speak of plain English, but I really can't see how you read that "bonus" as being applied to anything other than "the skills and statistics listed with the relevant ability" - no where in that sentence or the Strength list does it say to apply the +1 bonus to the Ability Modifier.

If we look at the list for Strength it says:
"Temporary increases to your Strength score give you a bonus on Strength-based skill checks, melee attack rolls, and weapon damage rolls (if they rely on Strength). The bonus also applies to your Combat Maneuver Bonus (if you are Small or larger) and to your Combat Maneuver Defense."

So putting the general and the Strength specific list together, by my use of "plain English" (ironic because it obviously isn't plain) I get that for every +2 increase to the Strength score a PC will gets a +1 bonus to:
1) Strength-based skill checks
2) melee attack rolls
3) weapon damage rolls (if they rely on Strength)*
4) Combat Maneuver Bonus (if you are Small or larger)
5) Combat Maneuver Defense

Nowhere in that list does it mention adding the bonus to the Strength Modifier, nowhere, literally I cannot find any mention of it, none, nada, zip, zilch.

So if someone casts Bull's Strength on my PC I read the rules as meaning I get the following:
1) +2 untyped bonus to Strength-based skill checks
2) +2 untyped bonus to melee attack rolls
3) +2 untyped bonus to weapon damage rolls (if they rely on Strength)
4) +2 untyped bonus to Combat Maneuver Bonus (if you are Small or larger)
5) +2 untyped bonus to Combat Maneuver Defense

That is it, simply +2 all around, no multiplying or halving, its a simple +2 untyped bonus to those things listed.

*It could be argued that the "(if they rely on Strength)" clause also applies to the preceding "melee attack rolls", but either way that is irrelevant to our discussion.

Please note that I am not saying that my reading of the rules is necessarily logical - it does afterall mean a Strength Score Bonus does not increase carrying capacity nor does it actually help with Strength ability checks (only Strength based Skill checks); but I am struggling to see much support for another reading of the RAW.

Personally, I much prefer the 3.5 way of doing it :)


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If PF 2.0 was to happen and it was to be a small step change (like 3.5 to PF) I would like to see...

Clean up the whole Ability Score Bonus / Penalty mess - make sure its effect on all the other rules makes sense. Ideally just make ability score bonuses and penalties act as if the score has naturally changed (like 3.5).

Clean up the Grappling rules, they are a mess and counter-intuitive.

Consolidate skills further -
rather than Climb and Swim have Athletics,
fold Fly into Acrobatics (if you can fly you effectively have Acrobatics / Aerobatics)
fold Spellcraft into Knowledge (Arcana),
rather than Knowledge (Nobility), Knowledge (Geography) & Knowledge (History) have Knowledge (Kingdoms and Lands),
combine Ride and Handle Animal.

Get rid of Profession and Perform as skills and replace them with a Profession attribute that just indicates what profession the PC practised before becoming an adventurer, e.g. Noble, Wandering Minstrel etc. Then have such PCs gain a minor (+2) or major (+5) bonus to various ability checks when their Profession is relevant. This would avoid players putting skill points into skills that rarely get used just to justify their character's background.

For example, if attending a ball and the PCs want to impress with their dancing, the GM could call for a Dexterity check. A PC with the Noble profession may get a minor (+2) bonus because they would have been taught the dances and attended a few balls. A PC with the Dancer profession would get a major (+5) bonus as it is even more relevant to their profession.

Include some archetypes (alternate class builds) in the core rulebook, perhaps rather than archetypes just have more alternate class abilities.

Scale back the cleric's ability for magical healing in terms of channelling and maybe make it a Swift action (so the cleric can do something else in combat besides heal) and maybe ditto for other healing classes that I am not familiar with. Introduce something like Unearthed Arcana's Reserve Points to allow PCs to recover somewhat after a fight without having to resort to class based magical healing or "happy sticks".

Re-institute the 3.5 Diagonal Reach exception - it seems like most people play with it anyway (even in PFS).

Make the Trip quality of weapons do something, e.g. give a +2 bonus to Trip attempts and / or allowing tripping without provoking an AoO, rather than just allowing the weapon to be dropped to avoid the counter trip.

Drop feats that exist for backwards compatibility only e.g. Stealthy should just be dropped in favour of Skill Focus (Stealth).

Increase the minimum Skill Points per level to be 4 rather than 2.

Add an option for Mook rules.

Allow magic users to have some sort of At Will spells beyond cantrips - maybe allow a number of spells equal to spellcasting ability bonus to be prepared as At Wills for the day, but limited to those spells with a required caster level of half the PC's level (round down).

E.g. a 7th Level wizard with a +4 Intelligence bonus could prepare 4 spells with a spell level no greater than 2 (i.e. the maximum spell level a 3rd level wizard could cast, 3rd level based on half 7th level rounded down) as At Wills.

Or if that is too powerful maybe a Feat that allows one spell to be prepared At Will.

Minor At Will Spell
Pre-requisite: Ability to Cast 4th level spells.
Benefit: The magic user cast one spell of 2nd level at will. Spell casters that prepare spells must nominate one of their prepared spells to be the one able to be cast At Will; this choice can be changed the next time the spellcaster prepares spells. Spontaneous casters can nominate one of their known spells to be cast at will, this spell can be cast at will without using up a daily spell allotment.
This feat can be taken more than once, each time allowing a different spell to be cast At Will.

Major At Will Spell
Pre-requisite: Ability to Cast 6th level spells.
Benefit: As Minor At Will Spell but the at will spell can be of 3rd level or lower.

Greater At Will Spell
Pre-requisite: Ability to Cast 9th level spells.
Benefit: As Minor At Will Spell but the at will spell can be of 4th level or lower.

That is all I can think of for now.


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Crash_00 wrote:

Our definitions are as follows:

Ability Modifier = the number you [add or subtract] to a roll from the ability (positive or negative).
Ability Bonus = A positive ability modifier.
Ability Penalty = A negative ability modifier.

Okay, I agree with all this.

Crash_00 wrote:
If the duration is less than 1 day (24 hours) the increase is a temporary bonus. Ok. That's simple. What is a bonus? A bonus is a, as defined in the rules, positive modifier to the ability score.

And this is where I feel you are perhaps reading a bit too much into the rules.

PF Core Rulebook 6th Printing, page 11 wrote:
Bonus: Bonuses are numerical values that are added to checks and statistical scores. Most bonuses have a type, and as a general rule, bonuses of the same type are not cumulative (do not “stack”)—only the greater bonus granted applies.

The terms bonus is broader than just referring to ability bonuses. An ability bonus is a bonus, but not all bonuses are ability bonuses (some are circumstance bonuses, some are enhancement bonuses, etc and some are untyped).

Crash_00 wrote:
You could try to claim that this is just a random nameless bonus to rolls instead of to the ability modifier, but that ignores the context of the section and the header of Ability Score Bonuses. This temporary bonus is a positive modifier to the ability modifier. There is no wiggle room here for alternate interpretation. These terms are clearly defined.

Okay, so you recognise that the term "bonus" is broader than just ability bonuses, but are arguing that the section header of "Ability Score Bonuses" is context that makes that word "bonus" in the sentence "For every two points of increase to a single ability, apply a +1 bonus to the skills and statistics listed with the relevant ability." read as "ability bonus".

I have a couple of problems with that:

Firstly the section header is "Ability Score Bonuses", i.e. we are talking about bonuses to the Ability Score, not the Modifier. If the section were talking about Ability Modifier Bonuses then I may agree with you, but then that would mean a +4 Strength bonus from Bull's Strength would add +4 to Strength skill checks, damage etc, when actually that is not the case (i.e. the +4 enhancement bonus is to the score, not the modifier). So yeah, I don't agree that gives context for applying a type to the bonus.

Secondly if we were to interpret the word "bonus" in the sentence to mean "ability bonus" it would read as:
"For every two points of increase to a single ability, apply a +1 ability bonus to the skills and statistics listed with the relevant ability."
Now, if that were the case, that would seem to read as applying a +1 ability bonus in place of any bonus (or penalty) from the characters actual ability, which I think you will agree isn't what is intended.

To match your interpretation the sentence would have to read:
"For every two points of increase to a single ability, apply a +1 bonus to the ability modifier when making skill checks and calculating the statistics listed with the relevant ability."
If it read like that, it would be clear that for every two points of an ability score bonus, you add +1 to the ability modifier whether that modifier is currently a penalty or a bonus.

Crash_00 wrote:
The only way it is ambiguous is if you ignore part of the rules as they are laid out.

Nope, can't agree with you. You seem to feel that the rules are clear but I feel that you are conflating Ability Score Bonuses with Ability Bonuses and thus reading more into the word "bonus" then you should.

Personally it would have been good if Paizo had avoided the term "bonus" when referring to Ability Score Bonuses and Penalties, and instead referred to such exclusively as Ability Score Increases and Reductions (they pretty much do in the text anyway).

For example by changing only two words in the section (one in the header and one in the first paragraph, see how it reads:

Ability Score Increases
Some spells and abilities increase your ability scores. Ability score increases with a duration of 1 day or less give only temporary benefits. For every two points of increase to a single ability, apply a +1 bonus to the skills and statistics listed with the relevant ability.

If it were written like that, would you be more inclined to understand the reading of the rules that interprets the bonus as being an untyped bonus to skills and certain listed statistics e.g. CMB, CMD etc?


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Psyren wrote:
The common sense response here is clear as good glass - more strength means you're stronger and less strength means you're weaker. It's that simple.

So basically the common sense response is to ignore the changes the Paizo developers specifically from 3.5 when they made Pathfinder and continue to run it like 3.5? And you don't think that is worthy of a FAQ?

Psyren wrote:
So, no matter which side they actually rule on, the RAW in this instance can take a flying leap as far as I'm concerned, because verisimilitude makes my own approach clear.

I take it you don't play in PFS then, yes?


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Andrew R wrote:
DigitalMage wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
I'm just pointing out the folly of imagining that point-buy is entirely controlled by you and that random rolling is entirely random
Did anyone actually suggest that was the case? As I said in my previous post both methods have limitations imposed and some choices the players can make, but the random roll method is the only one that introduces a random element - its that element that I believe some people don't like (I don't particularly like it).
I am saying that.

You're saying that "point-buy is entirely controlled by you and that random rolling is entirely random" or that its the random element that you don't like?

Because as Malachi Silverclaw was pointing out, point buy isn't entirely controlled by the player, e.g. the number of points you get to use to buy abilities is usually decided by the GM, for a home game that may be 15, but for PFS it is 20 points.

Equally, random rolling isn't necessarily completely random, again the GM usually determines the dice rolling formulae, e.g. 4d6 drop lowest (Standard), 3d6 (Classic), 2d6+6 (Heroic), and most of the time the player gets to choose which Ability to assign each rolled result too. And in the Dice Pool method the player even gets to choose how many dice are rolled for each score.

So, point-buy is not entirely controlled by you (the player) and random rolling is not entirely random.

However, random rolling does have an element of randomness that point buy does not - and that is what I think some people (including me) dislike.


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From the way the player reacted I would have assumed something major was up - likely something from their real life. I wouldn't have got mad - after all it is only a game - and asked if they were alright. I personally feel getting mad and yelling at them was not a good move I am afraid.

I would have called a halt to the game for the night and informed the player that if they want to chat to let me know and that if they did want to return to the game they could - just give me a bit of notice.

If it was obvious there was no emotional stuff going on and that maybe the player was simply bored with the game, or had been asked to play in a different game on the same night or something I would have asked if they could do us a favour of a playing an extra session where we could write out their character and do our best to wrap up any loose ends that are tied to their PC.


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GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
I love dnd, it is very useful and mostly plausable, really the three changes I would make to it would be to go classless, add bellcurve instead of straight d20 and to use spontaneous casting instead of the misnamed vancian casting, or perhaps something truly vancian.

Whilst adding more of a bellcurve to the dice rolling may not be too big a deal (Sarah Newton elected to do that in her Monsters and Magic) I think doing away with Classes would be a dealbreaker for many people making such a game "not D&D"; and to some extent also getting rid of Vancian casting.

A lot of people said 4e didn't feel like D&D because of the rules changes it made and yet it had classes and sort of vancian casting (Wizard Daily Spells that could be prepared).

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
I think the big difference here, is I want the rules and rulings to reflect the world, while I believe others want the world to reflect the rules, the suggestion of altering casting times for example is clear that the IC world is less important then their rules balance.

You are correct to some degree, however I am used to there not being a single D&D "world", rather we have Eberron, Faerun, Athas, Golarion etc, so when you say that you "want the rules and rulings to reflect the world", I would ask "which world?"

For me, changing the rules to fit a setting is pretty normal*, and to be constrained to not make any changes whatsoever would straitjacket the creativity of some writers. Sometimes I wish the writers would bend the rules even more than they have!

Straying away from D&D, all those different types of rules can be made and result in a great "world". Earthdawn is a prime example of how to take all the tropes of D&D and explain them in setting, and also bring about a bit more balance by changing how magic works (having to weave threads that takes time).

*Some examples of D&D rules changing to fit the setting:

In Eberron Clerics don't have to have the same alignment as their deity to allow for more corrupt churches and it also introduces Action Points to make play more cinematic.

In Dark Sun, arcane magic defiles the land and Paizo in their 3.5 conversion for Dark Sun made significant changes to the base races, making them all +1 Level Adjustment.

Freeport adds in Insanity Points and new Madnesses.


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The 3.5 method for handling Ability Damage, Penalties and Bonuses.

The 3.5 Exception for Threatened Reach.

The 3.5 Grapple rules.

The 3.5 ruling that only tripping weapons can be used to trip (and that they mean you don't provoke).

If Pathfinder was revised to use all of the above (or an amalgam of the 3.5 and PF rules for Grapple) I would be much happier with the PF ruleset.


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DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Casting alarm around the camp every night goes from being a regular duty of the group wizard to a an expensive thing that doesnt even require a caster at all and is prohibitivly expensive unless you actually have encounters everyday with merchants all over the place to turn loot into ritual componants.

The benefit I found with Rituals, is that you didn't have to prepare them and thus didn't have to guess what you might come up against at the start of everyday.

Also you don't have to choose between preparing a spell that would be very likely to be useful at some point in the day (e.g. a combat spell) versus one that is unlikely to be used unless you encounter a specific type of obstacle, but if encountered the spell would be very useful.

The nearest 3.x got to this was with scrolls, but you need to pre-emptively invest XP, time and money to prepare that specific scroll at some point, whereas with Rituals you can carry some generic Alchemical Reagents (the investment) and should the need arise use them to cast the ritual.

Overall I feel this encourages greater use of the more unusual spells out of combat and means that the GM doesn't have to foreshadow or telegraph to the players what is up ahead so that they can prepare the correct spells.

For example, if a GM wants his villain to teleport the PCs to the middle of a desert as a means to get them out of the way while he assassinates the prince he can do this in 4e as a complete surprise and still know that the PCs will be able to use the Endure Elements ritual to cover 5 PCs as long as they have mastered the ritual and got 20gp worth of components on them.

In 3.x the GM would have to really hint at such a fate early on for the magic user to prepare 5 Endure Elements spells or purchase / make 5 such scrolls (costing a total 125 gp / 62.5gp respectively).

That is the sort of thing that I mean by rituals supporting out of combat stuff - they are more readily available for use in 4e.

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
-all these ways of balanceing lightning bolts are changes to the game world itself. There is a difference between the game world, and the game system.

Yep I agree, my examples were in response to your comment that

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Plausible comes from the world being consistant not the rules of the game. There is no way to have swinging asword be better then slinging lightning bolts. By the very nature of the two, lightning wins.

In a world where magic is more difficult to use, and where the system supports that, there is definitely a way (in fact several as I illustrated) for swinging a sword to be better then slinging lightning bolts, or at least more balanced.

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
I have never lost. Never. Not to the combat instructers, not to the 245 lbs fitness fanatic, I never lost.

Are you referring to physical bouts? If so that is very impressive as I imagine combat instructors are not exactly easy to best. But can I assume then that you have undergone some considerable martial training and that it is not just having a decent brain that allowed you to do that? If not, then perhaps you could give an example of one of the ways that you bested one of the instructors when they were better trained and stronger than you?

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
If the 7 stone guy has brains, he will win.

You seem to believe strongly that this is a black and white, clear cut thing. Seriously, to use an absurdly extreme example to try to get the point across - if Stephen Hawking and Arnold Shwarzenegger (in his prime body building days) were put into a wrestling ring and forced to fight one another, would you really expect Stephen Hawking to win? Even without any wrestling training I would expect Arnie to win myself.

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
adam and brenda, you obviously completely missed my point, there is a difference between not spending money that you have, and spending that money in a different way

No, I think you actually completely missed my point, I was responding to your statement:

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
People have the ability to be many times more intelligent then they commonly are. I see glimses of that intelligence on rare occasions, yet they almost never utilize it not in games nor in life, as though they themselves dont realize its there. What other word is there for not useing what is available to you?

In my example Brenda had something that was available to her; the jaw muscles to chew quicker, the teeth to bite the chocolate rather than let it melt, and the ability to cut up steak while eating a mouthful. And yet, Brenda wasn't using that which was available to her - by your definition she was being lazy. But as I hopefully showed Brenda's unwillingness to use what she had was not motivated by laziness.

Basically, your use of the term "lazy" carries with it an implication as to the motivation for the lack of action that will simply not always be true. If a player isn't applying his intelligence it isn't always because they can't be bothered with the effort:

Sometimes people are playing to the genre, e.g. in a Dead of Night con game I did "dumb jock stuff" because that was my character stereotype, I also purposely had my character get mouthy with the local sheriff explaining out of character to another player "Here is where we alienate the local law enforcement".

Maybe someone is player a barbarian with Int of 7, below average, and they feel to use their own above average intellect to direct their character's actions would be bad roleplaying.

And even when someone doesn't want to put the intellectual effort into the game because they use their brain all day and just want some mindless violence in their game to blow off steam (but wants the system to balance things out), that is not necessarily a bad thing, or something that shouldn't be catered for.

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
one, I never said it was bad wrong fun, to have balanced games, and even said that playing lazily (regardless of how you define the term) was a perfectly acceptable and legitimate way of playing

Not explicitly, but the content of your posts did seem to imply that, with such choice comments as:

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
The only time balance is noticed is when people are being lazy


DarkLightHitomi wrote:
well of course not everyone is like me, but they certainly have the potential to be, but instead they stick their heads in sands and complain about getting sand in ther eyes.


DarkLightHitomi wrote:
and I just wished that it wasnt always the center of discussion with rules.

I think this is the root of your issue, you feel that because balance isn't an issue for you, that it should not be discussed as much as it is, or be seen as the "Holy Grail" of game design.

The thing is, if so many people are discussing it, it would appear to be important, and if it is so important, maybe is should be discussed.

And whilst I think design teams see balance as important, I don't necessarily think that it is a goal that sit above all others.

By all means put forth a different opinion, an alternative to having a system balance things out, but try to do so in a way that doesn't (intentionally or unintentionally) belittle those who don't play your way - choose your words carefully. That is all I ask.


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DarkLightHitomi wrote:
And consider the reasons why many GMs like 4e for storytelling, they like the lack of rules for out of combat things. With fewer rules they dont feel constrained to follow them.

Funnily enough I think that 4e has quite a few extra tools to support out of combat play than 3.5 or PF, stuff like Skill Challenges and Rituals.

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
-just because a system works doesnt make the world plausible. Plausible comes from the world being consistant not the rules of the game. There is no way to have swinging asword be better then slinging lightning bolts. By the very nature of the two, lightning wins.

Yeah, its already been said, but there are loads of ways to balance slinging lightning bolts with swinging a sword - basically by making the ability to sling that lightning bolt more difficult.

Having slinging a lightning bolt require a minute of chanting means the swordsman gets time to stab you and disrupt your magic (this method is used in Earthdawn where it can take quite a few rounds to weave the threads of some spells).

Alternatively, have slinging a lightning bolt require rare material components so you can maybe sling just one or two. Or maybe it requires sacrifice and you simply cannot move about and keep twenty virgins by your side to sacrfice in order to lightning bolt the mercenary company hacking down your door.

Or maybe you can sling lightning bolts but to have them hit a target requires you to have placed a magical item on them - then you have to know who your enemies are beforehand, find a way to slip such an item onto their person (or trick them into taking it) and hope they don't discover the item or its purpose before you can sling the lightning bolt.

Or maybe slinging a lightning bolt is severely draining and difficult to control - if you don't take out the fighter with the first bolt you are severely fatugued, and if you miss with the second you are unconscious.

So yeah, plenty of ways that things can be given an in-game reason to be balanced.

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
-Strength is never mighter then intellect. Never. Cant break that rope? Use something sharp. Cant lift that rock? Use ropes and pulleys. Intellect created the gun, now the very idea of warrior is so far dead most soldiers dont even understand it anymore. Intellect made the gun to defeat the sword. Intellect always beats strength.

I disagree, given enough time to plan, given enough materials or tools etc, then intellect can maybe triumph all the time (and even then it is never a guarantee).

But throw a 7 stone genius into a pit with a 16 stone ultimate fighter and tell them only one is coming out alive, then yeah I think you might find that strength may triumph over intellect there.

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Your example with Adam and Brenda sucks, as Brenda isnt even remotely being lazy.

That is the point.

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
She does have something that she isnt using.

Yes, from Adam's perspective she isn't using her jaw muscles to chew faster, she isn't using her teeth to break the chocolate rather than allow it to melt in her mouth, she isn't multitasking by cutting up the rest of her steak while chewing the piece she just put in her mouth. From Adam's perspective, where the goal of eating is to fuel the body as quickly as possible, Brenda is being very lazy.

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Adam isnt useing something Brenda isnt either.

I am not sure I am with you here, what aren't either Adam or Brenda using?

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Adam eats fast to spend more time on other things, Brenda is utilyzing her time to enjoy eating.

Exactly, they get different things out of eating, they attach a different level of importance to things.

Adam would probably argue that seasoning and presentation of the food are superfluous - that you don't need those to eat your food and fuel your body; just like you feel balance isn't necessary in an RPG to enjoy the game with the goal you have in mind.

Brenda, however things plain, boringly presented food is just not a good thing - and while she could enjoy the meal to some degree without that, she enjoys it much more with.

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
When I say people are being lazy in thinking, its because they arent thinking, its not that they are thinking differently, its that they think less, less in amount, less in depth, less in detail.

Or maybe they are thinking in a different way? Maybe they are thinking about how cool it would be if their barbarian PC could jump out of the assembled throngs attending the evil villain's wedding to the princess and challenge him to a fight.

Maybe, they are imagining the sights and sounds of the scene being described by the GM, and composing the songs in their head that their bard character will sing about the fight later.

And maybe, some people are thinking about tactics and ways to overcome the villain without the need for a fight.

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
well of course not everyone is like me, but they certainly have the potential to be, but instead they stick their heads in sands and complain about getting sand in ther eyes.

Seriously? You seriously wrote that? You wrote that and can't see how your posts are coming across as seeming to imply "One True Wayism" and that others are having BADWRONGFUN with their balanced RPGs?

Seriously? I think you need to start applying some of that intellect of yours to reviewing your posts and examining them for phrases that could be taken as being very condescending and / or insulting. Because if you can't see how that last quote of yours could be taken as such you must be incredibly egocentric.

I know I preview my posts, re-review them, edit them and sometimes even delete them altogether before posting (I am considering whether I am being too harsh on you as I write this now), but by your reasoning you must be a "lazy" poster if you cannot be bothered to think as much about what you post, yes?


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DarkLightHitomi wrote:
So really, balance is important when people are lazy, and while I can respect that some people like being lazy in their leisure, there is no reason to assume that pandering to their playstyle is somehow better or the most important thing.

I think that does a disservice to those players who feel balance is important - not everyone has the same play style as yourself, or plays for the same reasons you do.

Saying that if people aren't playing or running a game like you (where balance is unimportant) they are being lazy begins to sound a bit like "one true wayism" and that those people are having BADWRONGFUN.


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Gorbacz wrote:
There are several things I like about the ideas in 4E. Page 42, skill challenges, rituals... it's just that the implementation took the wrong turn in Albuquerque.

Yep, I gotta agree with this :)


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Evil Dave is Evil wrote:
Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:

dunno if this one has been done before or not

Taking 10 takes 10 times longer than trying it normally

Nope, you're thinking of take 20 taking 20 times as long. There's no language like that for take 10.

Using Skills

I believe Darigaaz the Igniter knows that, he was posting it as a Rules Misconception as the thread is requesting.

Maybe all posts to this thread should be in the form:

Misconception: Taking 10 takes 10 times longer than trying it normally.

Reality: Taking 10 takes no longer than rolling for the check, it is only Take 20 that involves taking 20 times as long.


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Prepping a PFS scenario I am running at PaizoCon UK this coming weekend makes me appreciate the NPC stat blocks of 4e - where everything you need to know is in that stat block (with the possible exception of a few Keywords).


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DJEternalDarkness wrote:

Here we go, they should just send out an advertisement that says:

Remember when 4th edition came out and they had an awesome OGL?

Neither do we.

Pathfinder, best OGL in the business.

That doesn't make sense. Pathfinder is not an Open Game License, it is an RPG that has a lot of it's content released as Open Game Content under WotC's OGL. And if you're trying to say PF is the best OGC in the business, many would disagree as you're putting it up against stuff like Traveller, RuneQuest/Legend and Fate!

So yeah, I wouldn't advise Paizo to do as you suggest.


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Tuffon wrote:
I would put a sale on the core rule book with a message that says something along the lines " Pathfinder RPG, a game that doesnt need to be rewritten every 3 years"

I think that would be a bad idea, making Paizo seem petty and its not even accurate (I would certainly roll my eyes at it).

But putting a sale on the core book or free PDFs of the core rulebook and maybe the Inner Sea Guide would be a good idea.


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JiCi wrote:

- I got downright pissed off at 4e's announcement, since I had to buy another truckload of books.

- I have heard that Pathfinder books could be bought online at 3 to 4 times cheaper than the actual books.
- I picked up Pathfinder and managed to convert my campaign gradually.
- I sold my D&D books.

This is something I have heard more than a few times and it just bewilders me. No one ever "has" to buy into a new edition, you could stick with the edition you play as long as you have people willing to play*.

But why, if you are so pissed off at the prospect of having to buy new books that you are happy to buy Pathfinder books - effectively a new set of books? Seriously, what makes one unacceptable but the other not?

*I will admit a new edition can reduce that pool of players available as others do move on. I had the very same worry about 4e myself, i.e. that it would mean very few people wanting to play 3.5. But with 4e it was so polarising that actually this didn't seem to be the case - which was great news to me.


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Okay here is a repost from a previous thread, with a few more comments added in.

For context, I actually prefer D&D 3.5 to 4e, however I in turn prefer 4e over PF and PF over 4e Essentials (there are a few things about Essentials that I absolutely hate making me want to sell my Essentials stuff without even really having read it).


Here are what I consider the good stuff:

Consistent Class Structure
All classes have a similar structure (at least pre Essentials) so once you know how to create a Fighter it is not a big leap to know how to create a Wizard.

However, don't be fooled into thinking the same structure means characters all play the same - although most characters have the same number of At Will, Encounter and Daily powers, what those powers can do varies greatly!

For example some At Will Attack powers:
Class one (Wizard - Thunderwave): Affects everyone in a close 3x3 blast, targetting Fortitude and does 1d6 + Intelligence modifier thunder damage, and pushes the targets a number of squares equal to the PC's Wisdom modifier.

Class two (Fighter - Reaping Strike with Greateaxe): Affects one adjacent target, targetting AC and does d12 + Strength modifier damage, and even on a miss does damage equal to Strength modifier.

Class three (Warlord - Commander's Strike): Affects one target adjacent to one of your allies, the ally gets to make a basic melee attack against the target (e.g. a Rogue could make an attack with a dagger, targetting AC and doing d4 + Strength modifier damage)

Pacing of Powers
The At Will, Encounter and Daily classifications of powers is great for pacing purposes.

Having At Will powers (including spells for magic users) means a wizard never runs out of spells; and thus there is no need to rest for a night to continue to contribute magic support.

Encounter Powers give that extra big power that you can safely use in an encounter without having to worry about whether you should have saved it for a later encounter with toughter foes (which may actually never happen and so if you did save the spell you effectively wasted it).

Daily Powers are the big guns that you pull out when facing down a really tough foe - they are Daniel's Crane Kick at the end of The Karate Kid but restricted in their use so you don't see the player constantly using it (i.e. it supports narrative pacing).

General Competency in skills
Every character gets more competent in the adventuring skills even without having to constantly spend resources such as Feats to train in them. So after 10 adventures even the Paladin has learnt to be a bit more stealthy.

This is great because it allows the party to try stuff as a group (e.g. sneaking into a palace) without having such a disparity in skill levels that one PC is going to succeed without breaking a sweat whereas the others simply cannot succeed.

But again, don't think that means all character look the same. Ability modifiers, Skill Training, Skill Focus and some Utility Powers can still give enough level of differentiation.

For example, a 6th level fighter with Cha of 12 will have a +4 Diplomacy bonus (half level + Cha modifier) but the 6th Level Paladin with Cha 16, Skill Training in Diplomacy and Skill Focus in Diplomacy will have a +14 bonus (half level + Cha modifier +5 for trained +3 for focus). And if he has the Diplomacy Skill Power of Haggle he can re-roll a Diplomacy check once an encounter!

NPCs use different rules
In some ways I don't like this, but in other ways I do. If I as GM want to use a Troll against my PCs, but feel the version in the MM is a little too tough there are simple rules that allow me to scale it down without having to unpick feats, skill points, etc. The Monster modification rules assume the Monster probably does have feats, masterwork items etc to gain bonuses but wraps all that up in a simple set of numbers.

Equally if I then decide a want that troll to be able to be a sole foe in a combat I can simply apply the rules to make it a solo monster - worth extra XP but having more HP, greater attacks (an encounter power becomes At will), better defenses and action points. The rules are literally just a quarter of a page.

Also because of these different rules, apart from perhaps having to look up the odd keyword, a monster's stat block is completely self contained - no need to go looking up feats and spells ala Pathfinder, you can just look at the stat block and know how that monster works (and this is a massive boon, when I run a PFS scenario I spend a good few hours making rules booklets that list all the feats, spells and equipment that the NPCs use - in 4e I wouldn't need to do that at all).

The key thing to remember is that the monster stats are there for how they can interact with the PCs, mainly on an in-combat basis (they do have skills however) - how they interact with other NPCs is completely up to the GM.

So while a monster may only be able to Dominate a PC for a round or two of combat there is nothing to stop the GM saying that the monster can dominate the village mayor indefinately. The PCs are the heroes, they don't get dominated for weeks just for a few seconds before digging deep and shaking it off.

Skills before spells
In 4e there are Rituals that allow for detection of secret doors, unlocking of doors, comprehending languages etc. However because rituals take time and cost a bit of money skills are still the best way to resolve such challenges.

What this does is still allows wizards to be able to solve all these types of problems but without outshining the other PCs who have specialised in such areas. So a rogue could pick a lock before the wizard gets a chance to cast Knock, but if the rogue isn't there the wizard can still do it.

Distributed Healing
While I am not a big fan of 4e's rule that everyone regains full HP overnight, I am a big fan of the fact that every character is able to recover some HP by themselves (short rests) and even in combat (second wind).

This means although its nice to have a healer in the group it isn't as "essential" as many people feel it is in PF. In fact I found PF's Channelling just made the disparity in healing ability of a party with a cleric and without even greater - 4e's solution is much more elegant I feel.

This also solves the issue of clerics having to spend actions in combat healing (and thus not getting a chance to do otehr cool stuff), in 4e a PC can take an action themselves to heal a bit (and a cleric's Healing Word power is only a Minor action too).

Also by making HP more a measure of how long you can stay on your feet fighting, not just a measure of luck and health, you can have non-magic users "heal" HP by giving a morale boost (imagine an army sergeant shouting at a private to get back on their feet and stop whinging like a baby). So even if you do want a "healer" in your party it doesn't have to be a cleric.

Consolidated Skills
4e has just the right amount of skills for me, I maybe occassionally wish it had a craft skill or a perform skill, but its easy enough to call for an ability check with a circumstance bonus for a relevant background (in fact this is explicitly called out in PHB2) .

IMHO 3.5 and Pathfinder still have too many skills (Fly? Swim still separate from Athletics), especially when it comes to Knowledges and Professions - to the point that in my experience many don't get used as the chances of a party having a specific skill (e.g. Knowledge Engineering, Professions Baker) are slim.

The layout of the books
I ma not sure about Essenials but for me the original 4e books, PHB, DMG etc have a great layout. A clean white background with black text that is easy to read, with colour coding and symbols to highlight how a power works, e.g. At Will, Basic Melee Attack (but still having words to back that up). Each race and class starts on a new page making it easy to flip through a find something.

Plus the PDFs I have of the PHB, DMG and MM render pretty quickly on my android phone and Eee PC whereas the Paizo pdfs are really poor (so much so that I ended up buying hardcopy when I hadn't planned to, though the Lite versions a better).

Non combat support
Oh, as a final thought, 4e can seem very combat oriented by reading the books as a lot of space is taken up with Powers. But bear in mind, Powers are something 4e has in addition to all the cool stuff like Skill and Feats that PF has.

So 4e has IMHO as much support for non-combat encounters (investigation, exploration, social scenes etc) than PF does but it also has all these cool powers for combat. In terms of spells, powers are the in-combat spells whilst rituals are the out of combat spells (but even then some powers are very useful out of combat too, e.g. Invisibility that can be sustained indefinitely).

In fact it could be argued 4e has more support for non-combat activities as it has the Skill Challenge mechanic. Although there have been teething issue getting the numbers right, and the presentation perhaps doesn't explain quite how to run them as well as they can be run, they are great mechanisms for determining success or failure in prolonged tasks that require a combination of skills to succeed.

I have successfully used Skill Challenges for investigations, tracking of a fleeing person and escape from a fortress.

Luckily Skill Challenges can be used in PF pretty easily too, and if you don't like Skill Challenges you can just fall back to the way you handle such stuff in PF as individual skill checks to determine success are still there.


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DrDeth wrote:
kikidmonkey wrote:

I once played a character that had an Int score below that of a child's, several times throughout the campaign the party would run into puzzles/challenges that the other PC's could not figure out (including characters with Intelligence scores that would make Einstein look like a blathering fool). Since I knew the answers, i came up with ways to have my character reveal them to the rest of the party.

One such example is when there was an idol sitting on a pedestal that would teleport us to the next area. As the rest of the party scrambled around the room trying to find hidden passages and such, I had my character play with the "pretty doll" that someone left behind...

That’s just poor roleplaying and turning your stat dumping, which should be a disadvantage to an advantage. Borderline cheating. Not “good metagaming”.

It depends, if the other players had had a fair crack at the puzzle but were struggling then it was potentially good meta-gaming as the alternative could have been the adventure stalling and players getting bored.

This is especially true if you have a pixel-b@~+%ing GM who isn't ensuring the game keeps going by giving hints, Intelligence checks to figure the puzzle out, or simply other alternatives that don't require the puzzle to be solved.


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Blueluck wrote:
DigitalMage wrote:
In the worse cases the attitude that all metagaming is bad can lead to the situations where someone tries to use "But I'm only doing what my character would do" to excuse being a jerk. . .
Yes! It irritates me so much when someone plays their character in an obviously jerky (self serving, manipulative, greedy, etc.) way and uses "It's what my character would do" as an excuse. It's like when somebody launches an insult then says, "I was just kidding, geez, can't she take a joke?"

Yep, and this is where good meta-gaming should be used; if an action that in-character makes sense, but that out-of-game would make the game less fun then the player needs to meta-game and come up with a different course of action for his character, even if it makes less sense than the original course.


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Rite Publishing wrote:
Things with too many fiddly bits, 3.5 grapple (bad) vs. pathfinder grapple (good)

Funny, but I would actually have that the other way around - PF seems more fiddly to me what with having to keep track of who is the Grappler and Grapplee for example. The CMB / CMD idea is good in principal but flawed (IMHO) in practise. See the following example...

Adam is Medium sized, has BAB of +1, Dex of 16 (+3), Strength of 12 (+1) and is wearing Studded Leather armour (+3 AC).
Blaze is Medium sized, has a BAB of +1, Dex of 12 (+1), Strength of 14 (+2), 1 rank in Escape Artist and a feat that gives +2 to Escape Artist (Stealthy in PF, Agile in 3.5).

If Adam with an AC of 16 (+3 Dex, wearing Studded Leather +3 AC) has managed to Pin Blaze what is Adam's effective AC?

AC would be 11; the grappled condition imposes a -2 to AC due to the -4 Dexterity penalty, and when pinning an opponent the pinner also loses his Dexterity bonus to AC, so a further effective -3 to AC. And yes these do stack due to the way that an ability penalty works in Pathfinder; it does not actually reduce your Ability score, but rather imposes a negative modifier to all related stats, e.g. AC. So you lose your Dex Bonus to Ac and take a -2 AC, the same penalties for being blinded!
3.5 answer: AC would be 13 (i.e. loses dex bonus) against people other than the Blaze. Against Blaze AC remains at 16. This doesn't change from if Adam was just grappling with Blaze.

If Adam with a CMD of 15 (+1 BAB, +3 Dex, +1 Strength) is just grappling Blaze who has CMB of +3 (+1 BAB, +2 Str) and an Escape Artist modifier of +4 (1 rank +2 from Feat and +1 Dex) what would Blaze roll to escape being grappled by Adam and what would be the DC?

Blaze would be best rolling +3 (her CMB) against a DC of 13 (Adam's CMD of 15 less 2 for the -4 Dexterity penalty due to grappling). Blaze could use Escape Artist but that would be at only +2 (+4 from skill rank, feat and Dex, less 2 for the -4 Dexterity penalty due to grappling).
3.5 answer: Blaze would be better off using Escape Artist of +4 (taking a Standard Action) versus Adam's Grapple check using a Grapple bonus of +2 (+1 BAB, +1 Str)

What would Blaze roll to escape if she was instead pinned?

If pinned Blaze would be best rolling +4 (her Escape Artist modifier) against a DC of 10 (Adam's CMD of 15, less 2 for the -4 Dexterity penalty due to grappling, and also -3 due to losing dex bonus to AC, which in turn is applied to CMD). Blaze no longer has the Grappled condition (instead having the Pinned condition) and so does not suffer the -4 Dexterity penalty (I assume the errata text of the Pinned condition means Dex bonus is lost for AC purposes, not for everything like Skills, but again - vagueness!), and as such her Escape Artist skill check is unaffected.
3.5 answer: Blaze would be better off using Escape Artist of +4 (taking a Standard Action) versus Adam's Grapple check using a Grapple bonus of +2 (+1 BAB, +1 Str). So no change from the situation above, however in 3.5 if Blaze breaks the Pin she is still left grappling, and must succeed again to break free completely.

Are Blaze's chances to escape better or worse if she has been pinned?

As Pathfinder changed things so that escaping whilst Pinned means you escape completely (whereas in 3.5 you escape the Pin but are then still grappling) the chance to escape from the grapple is 55% (+3 vs DC of 13, needing a 10 or more to succeed). The chance to escape whilst pinned is 75% (+4 vs DC of 10, needing a 6 or more to succeed).

So yes, its often as easy or easier to escape whilst Pinned than when just Grappled!

3.5 answer: The chances to escape from a Grapple, and to escape from a Pin to just being grappled are the same, combined with the fact that to escape completely a pinned character has to succeed twice, it is never easier to escape whilst Pinned than when just Grappled - which makes sense


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As I only play PF in PFS I am deliberately restricted to just Paizo PF material. However, if it's not PFS I always prefer 3.5 and wouldn't allow any PF material.


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Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
Pathfinder flourishes because:1. Wotc/Hasbro abandoned 3.5 and replaced it with something far inferior

I imagine you mean that in the sense that it is your opinion, I have heard many others say 4e is best version of D&D they have played.

What I would say is that 4e was a very different game in its mechanics and that is what I think meant many weren't happy with (especially as the shift from 3.0 to 3.5 was so minimal). The post from Alexander Augunas (see my quote below) and BPorter's seconding of that idea seems to corroborate that.

Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
3. Pathfinder turned out to be an improvement on 3.5

Again, debatable. Whilst PF improved some things, it IMHO made many others worse. I (and I don't believe I am alone) still prefer 3.5 over PF, to the point that I have recently re-purchased the Core Books and Spell Compendium in the Premium versions,

Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
along with great service and support by the company.

I have to agree with you there, Paizo have great customer service and really connect well with the players (apart from one rather poor Facebook incident I encountered, and no I will not go into details here).

Alexander Augunas wrote:
On a different note, one of the things that bugged me about Dungeons and Dragons was that new "edition" actually meant "entirely new game." If your core mechanics aren't staying pretty much the same and you're getting a massive overhaul, you don't really have a new edition anymore. You have a new game. A new edition should be minor tweaks and changes to the previous edition that cleans it up a little bit.

I think it comes down to semantics, some would say a new version of just tweaks and changes is a revision, not a new edition (see Star Wars D6 2nd Edition and Star Wars D6 2nd Edition Revised and Expanded).

What I will say about 4e being an "entirely new game" is that it gives me reason to play it alongside 3.5 - I get different things out of it. Pathfinder gave me no such enticement, its too close to 3.5 to encourage me to make the shift and learn all the little tweaks and changes. The Organised Play Campaign is the only reason I play PF. So while I prefer 3.x over 4e, I have a hell of a lot more 4e books than PF books.

Anyway... I just wanted to provide the other perspective.


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thejeff wrote:

So, for those saying "There's nothing wrong with rules":

How do you run it?
Can you leave cover and sneak attack if you can reach the target in a round?
Can you cross between two areas of cover without losing stealth?

The key thing for me is whether combat has started or not. If combat is ongoing characters have no facing as they are considered to be constantly looking around for incoming threats. So in combat, no, no sneaking up to attack someone if that involves you leaving cover and concealment. Also no moving between two areas of cover.

Before initiative is rolled however its a different story. A guard at a town gate may not be looking around constantly (that state of alertness is hard to keep up) and indeed even if alert may be focusing on the area outside the gate (and so is not observing the area behind him inside the town gate; at least not with his eyes). So in such an instance if this is how the GM describes the scene a PC could sneak up on that guard, or move across open ground behind him (assuming he makes his stealth check).

Now if a PC wanted to approach the guard from outside the town gate (i.e. the area being observed) then that would normally be impossible as it would mean leaving cover or concealment - however there rules say "If your observers are momentarily distracted (such as by a Bluff check), you can attempt to use Stealth."

So if the guards are distracted a PC could sneak up and attack them, or move through open terrain. This distraction could be a Bluff check, but could also simply be a servant bringing the guard his evening meal and that guard turning to the servant for a few seconds, or even just one guard turning to the other to have a chat. The key thing is outside of the strict timing of a combat round PCs can wait for that momentary distraction and then act quickly (and thus have the -10 penalty).

Of course having said all that I play 3.5 mainly (only PF RPG for PFS) and 3.5 has explicit rules for moving between open areas and up on someone (from Complete Adventurer and reprinted, albeit with a slight error due to reformatting, in Rules Compendium):

Complete Adventurer page 101 wrote:

Move between Cover: If you’re already hiding (thanks to cover or concealment) and you have at least 5 ranks in Hide, you can make a Hide check (with a penalty) to try to move across an area that does not offer cover or concealment without revealing yourself. For every 5 ranks in Hide you possess, you can move up to 5 feet between one hiding place and another. For every 5 feet of open space you must cross between hiding places, you take a –5 penalty on your Hide check. If you move at more than one-half your speed, you also take the normal penalty on Hide checks when moving quickly (–10 for moving faster than normal speed, or –5 for moving between half speed and normal speed).

You can also use this option to sneak up on someone from a hiding place. For every 5 feet of open space between you and the target, you take a –5 penalty on your Hide check. If your Hide check succeeds, your target doesn't notice you until you attack or make some other attention-grabbing action. Such a target is treated as being flat-footed with respect to you.


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Yes, it is metagaming, but most likely it is a good type of metagaming, especially if the GM is running a pre-published scenario that is written with the assumption of a "balanced party".


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thaX wrote:

So... read two pages and no one has mentioned my reason for the success.

The one thing Pathfinder does do is concentrate it's efforts into one setting. Though the "kitchen sink" setting (like Eberron) sometimes gets it's detractors, this setting has stirred the imaginations of many through excellent products that treat the setting as a place instead of a generic placemat.

For me, the fact that Pathfinder RPG only has one official (i.e. Paizo created) setting is actually a turn off.

I got into D&D with 3.5 and I bought the 3.0 Forgotten Realms setting book thinking that would be my D&D setting (I liked the map with trade routes etc) - however I got really bored slogging through reading the book (Dale after Dale after Dale!). If FR had been the only D&D setting available I think my love of D&D would have been shortlived, but luckily there was Eberron! :)

I love how Eberron is a kitchen sink setting, but it is done in such a way that it has a cohesive theme and feel. Golarion on the other hand feels like a hodge-podge of mini-settings, and while I can like some individually (Darkmoon Vale for example) as whole it feels "bitty".

So because Golarion is the only setting for PF, and it isn't one I am fond of, my interest in PF isn't as great as it could have been.


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It came up in another thread that errata had changed the Pinned condition in the following manner:
In the Pinned condition, in the second sentence, change "flat-footed" to "denied its Dexterity bonus."

Am I right in taking this to mean the Pinned character is denied its Dexterity bonus to everything, i.e. Reflex Saves, Dex based Skills, AC, CMD, CMB (if have Agile Maneouvres or character is Tiny or smaller) etc?

Or should it actually read as "denied its Dexterity bonus to AC."?

Andoran *

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I must admit the blog entry isn't clear on its intent in regards to the following sentences:

"The addition of a Flank trick and an Aid trick means that pets do not, by default, know how to perform these, even if they know the Attack trick. If you command your companion to attack, it will take the most direct route. If you want your companion to always flank, you now need the Flank trick."

The first sentence could be read as either:
"The addition of a Flank trick and an Aid trick means that pets do not, by default, know how to perform these tricks"
or it could be read as
"The addition of a Flank trick and an Aid trick means that pets do not, by default, know how to perform these actions"
The former I would agree with, the latter I would not necessarily agree with - a wolf could know how to flank (and could thus get a flanking bonus if in the position and possibly choose to flank of its own accord) but it would have to be pushed to perform the Flank trick if the Druid wanted it to always seek a flanking position and stay adjacent to a particular foe.

I actually think the third sentence means the former interpretation is correct but I could see how some GMs may read that as "Without the Flank trick an animal companion will never ever seek out a flanking position unless pushed to do so".

The second sentence does worry me though "If you command your companion to attack, it will take the most direct route" - really? Even if that means moving within a few feet of several sword and fire wielding goblins? An animal companion wouldn't circle around those foes to reach its specified target? What if the animal's direct route meant leaping across a lava filled pit? Would it always risk failing the jump, or might it actually think to circle around?

What is worse is that there is no new trick to get an animal companion to move in a specific route, so theoretically animals never circumvent possible hazards if they don't physically stop their movement.

* * *

Overall my worry with the new tricks is that some (possibly overzealous) GMs will assume that if an animal is not trained in one of the new tricks it will never, ever, take that action of its own accord in order to accomplish another Trick.

For example, I fear a GM may rule that a dog successfully given the Defend command could not attempt to perform the Drag combat manoeuvre to drag a foe off from the person it is guarding because it hasn't been given the Manoeuvre (Drag) trick.

Or that a dog successfully given the Track command will never use its Stealth skill when doing so because it has not also been given the Sneak trick even if Track was taught as part of the Hunting purpose where the idea is to track and sneak up on prey.

Or that a dog told to Guard whilst the party sleep in camp will always do so in absolute silence, never barking to warn off any intruders, because such barking would also likely wake the party - and raising an alarm is part of the new Watch trick.

Hopefully GMs will be able to recognise the difference between:
a) the animal wanting to act in a certain way and being able to do so
b) the character wanting his animal to act in a certain way and being unable to command them to do so


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David Bowles wrote:
Yes, I've rearely seen a push or any kind of handle animal roll at a PFS table.

Perhaps you have, but as you are merely an onlooker and not the person running the PC with animal companion, you haven't recognised it.

For example, in a recent PFS scenario whilst exploring some sewers I had my Druid push his dog animal companion to Stay at an intersection (as his doesn't have the Stay trick). What you as another player may have simply seen is me say "Grelow turns to Barrow holds up a finger and says 'Stay!".

However, in my own mind I had already thought "Push DC is 25, Grelow's Handle Animal skill modifier is +11 but with his companion he gets a +4 making it +15. As we're not in combat or in a stressful situation, I can Take 10 and automatically succeed."

Now of course I could have verbalised all that and explained it to the other players, but it was simply quicker to say "Grelow turns to Barrow holds up a finger and says 'Stay!"

If the GM had been uncertain as to whether I was following the rules he could ask and I would explain, or he may have already glanced at my character sheet and figured it out himself.

Andoran *

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David Bowles wrote:
Even if animals had to eat AOOs, it's still NPC resources going to damage entities that basically don't matter.

Entities that basically don't matter? Is that how you see animal companions? I know damn well that my Druid's animal companion Barrow matters a whole lot to Grelow, and having that animal companion die would be a downer for me as a player too.

So yes, having a GM run an animal companion in a manner that forces it to "eat AoOs" when the player doesn't think that is how the animal would act can be a big deal, almost as bad as the GM running the PC to take those AoOs. You talk about it being like the player has two PCs, and yeah, it is a bit like that - the animal companion means something to the player and that is why they want to run it.


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Kildaere wrote:

Wow Brun, how do you get a trivial Handle Check by 5th leve1? (My druid would like to know)

If CHA is not a dump stat (lets say it is 12) we get a skill of +9 at 5th.
From link we get +4
From Training Harness we get +2
From Skill Focus we get +3.

For a total of +18 … the DC to push a trick is 25 (27 if they are wounded … which is likely in combat).

If you train your animal companion tricks that are most likely to be used in combat, and leave the non-combat tricks untrained, you can Take 10 to push for those latter tricks. I now regret training my animal companion the Perform trick, as now my druid could Take 10 and push him to perform that trick automatically.

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