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Eacaraxe's page

192 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Balodek wrote:
OWB is awesome, and I don't realistically expect anything to come close to it for a long time. I still want to see the story of Lonesome Road. I have not bought Lonesome Road yet (actually came out 10 days ago) because, indeed, I want to hear some bug reports and maybe wait for a patch till I get it. I love Obsidian, but I know them well enough that you just don't buy on release, ever.

After paying almost as much as I did for the game proper for FO3's add-on packs, I'm just going to wait for the GotY edition so I can get all the packs at once, on disc, for $30.

Then again, I'm personally starting to seriously sour on this "nickel and dime DLC" business model that's developed among certain developer/publishers.

Okay now that's just fake and total crap.

Anyone who knows the true Warhammer 40K lore knows Horus was a hero trying to liberate humanity from a demagogic, tyrannical false emperor.

Treantmonk wrote:
[Emphasis mine] I don't have UM, so let's change the example to a decision between a rogue and a fighter so I'm not guessing about the mechanical differences. [...] Optimizers don't do that. Instead, we pick the best mechanical options within the parameters of the concept. [...] If Ninja does not fulfill the concept, then it's not a question I'm going to ask any more than "should I have made a Wizard?"

Oh yeah, we're absolutely on the same page then. I agree.

My (mechanical) axe to grind with TWF spawns purely from the super-heavy feat investment just to bring it to rough parity with other melee options (my "catch-22" comments earlier in the thread). It's such a commitment across the board (stats, class and feats) the decision to TWF has to be made at the conceptualization phase, at least in my opinion.

Bill Dunn wrote:
Though, again, in the 2nd Trilogy, Drizzt's two-weapon fighting style is described as being distinctive and unusual for Drow. That suggests that the two-weapon style was definitely part of the distinctive concept of the character.

Welcome to the world of Forgotten Realms retcons for the purpose of making signature characters super-special.

The first (short one) is the idea that you're either at the top of the heap or nothing. You can decide to aim "high enough" for your table. [...] There's more than enough variability for barbarian two handed damage fiends, trip monkeys, buffers, archers, wild shaping druids, god wizards, blaster wizards to shine in their place and time.

Well, my commentary was in the context of "straightforward, no-frills physical melee DPR" here, since we're discussing the merits of THF versus TWF. In those cases (apples to apples comparisons) broken down, there'll always be one way of mechanically constructing a character that's innately superior to comparable builds. Maybe that difference is as big as THF versus TWF, or maybe that difference is as topically small as falchion vs. elven curve blade (a damage die step or one extra critical threat, yes I'm aware that difference is in fact bigger than that but I'm discussing face value).

I can't see a reason to make that call. Why take a suboptimal mechanical concept at all? There's a way to make the vast majority of character concepts work if you break it down to essentials and ditch the dross.

You've just answered your own rhetorical question:

Literal slippery slope fallacy :). You can slam the breaks on any time you want, preferably at the exact second it takes away from your character concept.

If you want to make a TWF character, then you've tacitly accepted you're not winning the DPR olympics until after level 11, with a proper build. You can make it work, and you can optimize within the context of TWF; though, at the end of the day it's still suboptimal, so why even waste time with it at all?

The only resolution to that conflict in which TWF has a place is if TWF is a part of your character concept. Which is what the previous argument had at heart, whether TWF actually is or can be a part of a character concept at all. Which, I think we're agreed on the can be part of that; if it is then you've elected for a suboptimal set of mechanics for the sake of concept and already "slammed on the brakes" as you put it.

Sparing that, there's absolutely no point to ever pursue TWF. As you just put it, why use suboptimal mechanics at all?

Looking into this some more, Drizzt fought that way because it was a drow thing. In 1st edition your Dex modifier took off some of the penalty for 2 weapon fighting and drow have high dexterity.

IIRC, this is correct. The drow have, with the exception of newer editions and releases, always been characterized as loving their dual wielding. 'Course back in the day TWF wasn't nearly as remotely mechanically punishing, since it just required proficiency points to build up opposed to any and every feat you could suck up for the first ten levels of growth.

Treantmonk wrote:
You again seem to confuse mechanics and concept. I thought we were on the same page for a moment when you explained your TWF concept (by explaining a concept that would require those particular mechanics) but this last post makes me think we still are not.

No, we're on the same page in terms of ideas, just not language. I'll just capitalize mechanics for the sake of clarification from now on. To wit,

Likewise, if I elect to play a Rogue (class), the question is "how do I make my Rogue (class) the best it can be?" not "should I have chosen a Ninja (class) instead?".

Clearer? The concept presupposes I'm playing a character (without elaborating upon that concept for the sake of brevity and relevance) for whom Rogue is an appropriate class choice (the mechanics). Ergo, the question then posed is the one I mentioned earlier, pertinent to mechanics.

In regards to Drizzt, I think we'll have to agree to disagree. IMO, his concept is "annoying Mary Sue". :)

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Cheapy wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

That sounds easy enough, at least off the top of my head:

- Instead of trapfinding, the rogue's level counts as their BAB for the purposes of dirty trick.
- Instead of their level 2 talent, they get Improved Dirty Trick as a free feat without the need for prerequisites. Instead of their level 6 talent, they get Greater Dirty Trick as a free feat without the need for prerequisites.
- Instead of sneak attack, a successful dirty trick deals d4 points of damage per every odd level. Dirty tricks count as sneak attacks for the purposes of pertinent rogue talents.

That close to what you're doing?

Cheapy wrote:

I didn't miss your point. At level 7, a bard can Inspire Courage, Haste, and Good Hope the entire party. That's extremely good. I have yet to find a set of actions that can be done in one round that can, without fail, swing the favor of combat towards the party by such a wide margin. This is great, and it is always my bard's first turn in combat (unless circumstances are dire, and something else is needed).

Action economy isn't the issue. At all.

The issue is that people think that bards must have inspire courage, or else they are not true bards. Or that if an archetype gives up Inspire Courage, it's generally not worth considering.

Pretty much this. I mean, if buffs were candy then bards would be that nice man that drives through my neighborhood in the van with no windows. The question isn't "why must bards buff the party?" it's "why wouldn't bards buff the party?".

I don't think the sentiment is necessarily that bards are worthless without inspire courage, it's just that many of the replacement performances pale in comparison for an average party. Don't get me wrong, some of them really stand out depending on party composition (disappearing act for a sneaky party? Derring-do for a clumsy party? Dweomercraft for a caster-heavy party? Careful teamwork...period?). Inspire courage isn't the sum total of a bard's ability, don't get me wrong, it's just what you pointed out in particular to which I'm responding.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
You want the optimization to work with the concept but if you imbed the mechanics into the concept that may not happen. [...] Thats how it SHOULD work, but if you insist on making a sub optimal mechanical choices as PART of your concept (ie your concept includes dual wielding) this can't happen.

Well, that's the thing, here. There'll only ever be one mechanical design that's king of the hill. That's really the endgame of optimization/min-maxing, no matter how equivalent different mechanical designs are, there'll always be one just that much better. That's not a value judgment on optimization or the nature of the game, just a simple statement.

The goal here is to make a decision to play something, then work within that constraint to full effect. If I've chosen TWF, then I've made a conscious decision with the knowledge TWF is mechanically inferior to other potential mechanical concepts and it's on my shoulders to build the character well. The question isn't (and IMO, shouldn't be) "what is the best mechanical concept?" but rather "how do I make the mechanical concept I've chosen the best it can be?". Likewise, if I elect to play a rogue, the question is "how do I make my rogue the best it can be?" not "should I have chosen a ninja instead?".

Otherwise, you end up on a slippery slope. Take the halfling TWF'er for example. If TWF is suboptimal and I should go THF'ing for optimization's sake, then perhaps I should reconsider playing a halfling because they have a strength penalty and two bonuses I won't need, small size that causes less damage and a to-hit and AC modifier I no longer need. I want a race with a strength bonus and racials that lend themselves well to melee combat, so half-elf is a natural choice because I can wield an elven curve blade. Since he's a fighter I don't need the high dex any more, so I can drop that down to 12-14 no prob and put that into con and wis, to raise HP and will save. ...and so on and so forth, until I end up with a mechanically homogenized, cookie cutter character that's completely alien to my original idea.

I don't want to play a half-elf THF'er. So, at some point I have to make a conscious decision to stop optimizing for the sake of characterization and just work within the constraint of what I want to do, to get it doing the best job I can. That's a decision that, unless someone plays the most stereotypical, numerically advantageous and cookie cutter of characters and only those, everyone must make. It really doesn't matter on what level that decision is made, so long as the player can build the character to be on rough parity with the other characters in the party.

If a player can do that, they have a viable design and from there it's the GM's job to plan for the overall party power level. If everyone's horribly sub-optimal, then the GM can plan for that; same thing applies for everyone in the party being optimized through the teeth. All the PC's in the party must be on equivalent levels in terms of power for the GM to be able to really take over, though (and it's also the GM's responsibility to guide players as to what level of optimization is preferable).

Treantmonk wrote:
edit: What's that gerbil doing here?

That's one of my brood. See if you can find the other seven eidolons while you're up there will ya?

Don't ask about the one that looks like Gary Busey.

Treantmonk wrote:
Now what this poster appears to be saying is that the first example represents better concept building, not worse, because there is no "split" priorities between concept and optimizing.

Yeah, that's where I was going with that before people got up my butt because I summarized the concept in a single sentence and didn't elaborate by providing a full backstory with character motivation, nicknames, age, hair color, blood type and date he lost his virginity for a throwaway example. [/sarcasm]

Though, to be honest I had in my head more the idea of a sadistic little sucker that likes to climb all over his opponents stabbing the stuffing out of them like a three-foot-tall, pipe-smoking, six-meals-a-day eating Kratos. Unfortunately, that's not terribly well-represented mechanically and wouldn't be a very viable character thanks to lack of mechanical representation (there's no combat maneuver for "climb on their back and stab them in the kidneys until it stops being funny"). So, simple TWF it was.

At least it's a cool, highly amusing, mental image (to me).

Except, as I mentioned before, some mechanics must necessarily be integrated into concept due to the sheer weight of commitment that mechanic takes. No character can be a viable TWF'er with a spare feat here and there; it's something that has to be deliberately planned straight from levels 1-11 or so across stat generation, class, and feat selection.

Treantmonk wrote:
First, I would point out that "conceptionalist" and "optimizers" being presented as mutually exclusive groups in opposition is absurd. [...] On the other hand, if the concept includes the character being really good at what he does (which is undoubtedly a conceptual point), then the best "conceptiionalist" (shouldn't that be "conceptualizer"?) MUST be an optimizer, or the concept will be betrayed.

I think what's at the heart of the matter here is that not all mechanics are created equal.

As BNW (rightly) pointed out, TWF is mechanically inferior to THF, requiring a heavy feat investment (heavier than can be born without bonus feats) just to bring it to rough damage parity with THF with one feat alone. If I remember my numbers and feat progression right offhand.

That creates an odd situation in which players who are, for lack of a better term, "conceptualizers" have to optimize more to bring themselves to rough parity with other mechanical concepts. That, in turn makes the mechanically-inferior concepts less attractive (as I see it) to players who would otherwise diversify feats, stats, skills, race, or class for the sake of characterization. That's a pretty nasty catch-22, in my opinion: do I make a two-handed fighter for the sake of freedom to play what I really want to play, or make a cookie cutter dual wielder just for the sake of viable two-weapon fighting?

Just as one example that's been a constant through the last couple pages. Which is I think where a lot of this miscommunication is originating: for what it takes to be a two-weapon fighter on rough parity with other potential character builds, it really is in a way a concept of itself.

Which is pretty much exactly what you're talking about in terms of different sets of players not being mutually exclusive, and conceptualizers being indirectly forced to be optimizers.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Its possible that happens, but its not automatic. Blaster pistol is a little too ubiquitous in the star wars universe for it to be much of a message. [...] Now if your concept IS belkar then yes, you have to dual wield the daggers.

I think we're finally starting to find common ground, here.

"Two weapon fighting = I want you dead! = fits the concept."

That's really all I was getting at. It fits the concept. Which, combined with what I mentioned earlier in this post regarding two-weapon fighting being a heavy commitment, is something that must be planned for from the earliest steps of character generation and doesn't even come to fruition until the end of mid-levels.

Which goes back to my original point: mechanics and characterization are not always, absolutely mutually exclusive during conceptualization. They can be (and usually are, when done properly) used in conjunction to create a final concept. The race, class, stats, feats and skills have to match up with the characterization, and to do that one must cross-reference them and build together. That's all I was trying to say.

Treantmonk wrote:

Oh, I get it now, Han Solo's concept of "Space Cowboy" requires him to use a blaster pistol, because a "gunslinger" always uses a pistol, and using a Rifle changes the concept

Kinda like Clint Eastwood in the Good, the Bad and the Ugly...wait, he uses a rifle at the beginning of that one.

I guess more like Lee Van Cleef in For a Few Dollars More...wait, he uses a rifle through that one.

No, it doesn't change the character, it merely doesn't fit the character.

Interesting point, in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Blondie never actually fights with a rifle. The only time he uses a rifle is when he's shooting the ropes that are used to hang Tuco. He only fights with pistols. If I remember right, the only time Mortimer actually uses any of his rifles in Few Dollars More is at the beginning when he shoots the horse. The rest of the time, it's an SAA buntline special affixed with a shoulder stock.

I think there's a really subtle statement in there, that any time the main characters use a rifle, they're engaged in dishonorable or otherwise highly morally ambiguous acts. The film's antagonists also use rifles quite a bit, which strikes me as making a statement that using rifles are somehow dishonorable. But, I'm not a film student so I can't speak with much authority on the subject and it's tangential anyhow.

Now, in Outlaw Josey Wales, Wales uses anything and everything available to him, though his staple through the film are the dual 1847 Colt Walkers. That in its own right is still a statement about the character though.

An astute observer would note that a gunslinger can use either a pistol or a rifle and he's still a gunslinger.

Can use a rifle, yes. But is that rifle the best fit for the character? Is a rifle symbolic of the character in some way? Not necessarily, in fact only rarely so.

It's really interesting in Few Dollars More, Mortimer is set up as an ambiguously honorable, antagonistic character for the majority of the movie; as the movie progresses more is learned about him until the film's resolution when he's shown to be highly honorable, he moves from rifles to a modified revolver fired as a carbine, finally down to Manco's own revolver during the final duel. Meanwhile, Manco is off to the side holding the volcanic rifle on El Indio as an interposer in their firefight, enforcing fairness on a firefight El Indio had already won. Just saying.

Heck, Quigley in Quigley Down Under was a rifleman first and foremost. He was also a gunslinger, though you don't find that out until the end of the movie. The Sharps rifle fit his character; the pistol didn't, and only worked as the climax of the film because the character was developed specifically not as a gunslinger, serving as an eleventh-hour characterization twist.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
It CAN be, but it isn't automatically, and it isn't as random or automatic as you're making out to be.

Well halle-frickin'-lujah for finally ceding the point.

The ties you tried to show between dual wielding and a grim halfling are incredibly weak [...] Now, if your halfling was using the chains he was bound with as a flail, spiked chain, or meteor hammer you might have had a point. That's entangling (sorry) the concept and the role play. Grim + Dual wielding is not.

Who said anything about the halfling being a former slave? It surely wasn't me, and I'm the person who originally pulled the concept out as a throwaway example to make a point about concept as summary. How the halfling became grim and why he dual wields was irrelevant; I was outlining a concept in one sentence. Maybe he's just a D-bag that thinks "more stabs = better", maybe he gets off on it.

Like I said, putting words into my mouth.

An iconic weapon becomes iconic because the character uses it. Drizzt dual wields because 2e rangers could dual wield. The mechanical concept lead to the character concept, not the other way around.

Or, you know, a signature weapon could be a reflection or symbol of their personality. Like, you know, Han's blaster. It's characterization through prop.

And calling me a munchkin isn't criticism for disagreeing with your opinion that dual wielding wasn't tied to the concept?

You're the one splitting hairs about optimization here, not me. The point I'm making is that, and I'll quote myself from the very same post as the "grim halfling" concept,

I, emphasis mine wrote:
That's all very true. I know I've personally read something like a PrC or feat which gave me a great idea for a character. There's nothing wrong with building concept and mechanics at once, as long as you remain true to concept and don't solely build for mechanical advantage.

Amazing how you managed to jump all up my business about how mechanics and concept are separate when the basic point I was making was how mechanics can play a role in characterization.

AM BARBARIAN could dip in monk and charge headlong into battle with naught but his swinging cod, or power attack away with an adamantine keen nodachi, for what I care as long as the mechanics stay true to concept.

And calling me a munchkin isn't criticism for disagreeing with your opinion that dual wielding wasn't tied to the concept?

Hey, I'm not the one splitting hairs about optimization here, pulling assumptions that best-fit the points I make straight out of the ether, and making comments like this:

Well, i was trying to avoid accusing you of thinking that bad optimization automatically leads to better role play but if you want to join that camp feel free. It just makes my point that you've got the two mixed up when you put them as the same variable on a line.

Based upon your opinion that dual wielding does not suit a grim, borderline sociopathic halfling, backed by the suggestion to optimize to fit a theme I did not even personally mention. To wit,

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Now, if your halfling was using the chains he was bound with as a flail, spiked chain, or meteor hammer you might have had a point. That's entangling (sorry) the concept and the role play. Grim + Dual wielding is not. Your halfling would not be any better, role play wise, dual wielding than getting a big honking two hander.

The original source of this "the grim halfling was a slave!" assumption. Your statement, not mine. Otherwise known as putting words into my mouth. My statement on the matter:

Eacaraxe wrote:
Perhaps our halfling is a very violent person who loves to get in really close quarters and use his short stature to his advantage in combat [...] Maybe he likes to fight so viscerally because he's borderline psychopathic, just has absolutely no patience or believes in overwhelming an enemy with quantity of attacks over quality.

You'll notice nowhere in there was a base assumption our grim halfling was a slave. In fact, I suggested our grim halfling was just a nutso D-bag. It's nice you picked up the Belkar connection, because that's precisely what I (unintentionally) alluded to. Belkar was a dual-wielding, stab-loving sociopath before he was captured or imprisoned by anybody. In fact, as far as we know so far the first time he was imprisoned (and how he met Roy, IIRC) was because a bunch of drunks brought fists to his knifefight.

Do you think Belkar is a crappy, nonsensical character?

Oh, sheesh. No magus? Well, that makes things a bit more difficult. Only having up to level 12 makes things a lot more difficult, and wanting coherence at level 2 is even tougher. Now, I'll disclaim this post by saying I'm still not too clear on what's PFS legal and what's not, so grain of salt here.

The first thing that immediately pops into mind is an empyreal-blooded sorcerer 4/cleric 3/mystic theurge 5. But, that leaves you with a fairly weak BAB (+6 at level 11). Other than that, sohei 1/empyreal sorcerer 6/EK 5, but that leaves you no healing.

A sohei 1/witch 5/EK 6 could be more what you're looking for, but you'd want to take boon companion to buff up your familiar.

I vaguely remember a bard or rogue archetype that grants proficiency with martial weapons, but damned if I can remember which. You might want to consider that, if there actually is one, instead of sohei for skill ranks and versatility.

Now, moving into really esoteric territory here, a magus 4/urban druid 3/theurge 5 could be something worth looking into, especially with an archetype like staff magus due to druidic weapon restrictions. That'll give you a workable BAB (+7 at 11) with the ability to overcome that weakness with true strike and arcane accuracy (not to mention the ability to stack shillelagh and magus weapon enhancement, what's not to love about whopping somebody upside the head with a spellstrike that deals 2d6 physical damage), moderate healing and damage. That is, if magus is permissible in a limited fashion. Actually, I kind of like that. Might try it myself some day.

Really, the thing here is theurge builds excepted, you're going to end up with combat prowess and either arcane or divine spellcasting. That means if you want both damage and healing, you're going to have to find a spellcasting class that has both--which limits you to witch, alchemist with infusions, and the divine casters. AFAIK there are very few if any PFS-legal martial/divine PrC's, and the ones that exist are all about CRUSADES! and I don't think that quite fits what you're going after.

Without commenting directly on the mechanics, I just wanted to say nice kitbash. Very impressive. Though if I remember my Tyranid model sizes right, you'll probably need to upgrade it to huge at some point.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
As i see it, Dual wielding adds NOTHING to do with the concept [...] I'm saying that if there's no connection that dual wielding is not part of your CHARACTER concept. Its a mustache.

That's your opinion and not objective truth.

In my opinion a character's favored fighting style or weapons can be a reflection of his personality. A person selects a weapon that fits them. It's as much a part of characterization as more topical matters.

Please don't criticize others or treat them as if they are objectively incorrect for not conforming to your opinion of proper characterization. Especially when you couple that criticism with remarks on how that characterization is mechanically sub-optimal in one hand while accusing others of conflating mechanics and characterization in the other, and muddying the waters between munchkinism and role-playing for it. Because, no offense, that's condescending and hypocritical as hell.

Heck, as an edit I'll take it one step further. Maybe our grim halfling doesn't even have TWF. Maybe he dual wields in the sense he carries a weapon in each hand, he just doesn't use them at the same time. Maybe he has a scimitar in one hand, and a sling or sling staff in the other (along with ammo drop), and switch hits. Maybe he carries dual repeating crossbows and New York reloads (slightly different concept than dual wielding proper, but same idea of dual weapons). Jumping to the conclusion he by default takes TWF as a mechanical resolution may be reasonable, but it's still jumping to conclusions my original post may not have necessarily supported.

No, it's like changing Han solo's pistol to a blaster rifle (like Boba Fett's) [...] Doesn't change the character at all. Han Solo's character with a Blaster Rifle would be essentially the same, and we wouldn't think of him much differently, because Han Solo is not about using a blaster pistol rather than a blaster rifle.

See, here's the thing. You have to remember that Star Wars -- at least the original trilogy -- owes much to samurai films and spaghetti westerns of the 50s and 60s. The original film itself is basically a sci-fi adaption of Hidden Fortress for crying out loud. One of the things preserved from those genres is the reflection of character through weapons and fighting style.

Han himself, as another poster mentioned, is a space cowboy. He's a gunslinger. An astute observer would note at a few points in the films, he used a blaster rifle (carbine, actually). How'd he use it? Like a pistol, shooting one handed from the hip or two-handed with a pistol stance for long shots. An astute observer would also notice he chucks the carbine the first opportunity and, to the best of my memory, doesn't so much as touch another rifle the rest of the trilogy even when a rifle would probably suit the job better.

Case in point.

Of course, a not-so-astute observer could notice that his use of a blaster carbine was because of his being in disguise, not by choice. Does Han as a rifleman work? No, because it doesn't fit his character. It's inconsistent with his characterization as a gunslinger. The only time he has a rifle in his hands even, he's still using it like a pistol.

For bonus, I'll even throw in a lampshade of this entire phenomenon: the climax of Quigley Down Under. The entire film sets up Quigley as a rifleman, and includes a very deceptive throwaway line towards the beginning of the movie to set up that characterization. Now, the Sharps is still the character's signature weapon, but the climax hangs the lampshade on it by pointing out appearances and assumptions can be deceptive: Quigley may be foremost a rifleman, but he's not just a rifleman.

But anyhow...

Don't get me wrong, dual wielding could be part of a character concept (so basically I think both you and BNW are wrong by dealing in absolutes, when it really depends). However, dual-wielding itself is just a mechanic, and not a concept in and of itself unless you do something with it to MAKE it part of the concept.

I'm not dealing in absolutes, I'm answering the allegation that "mechanics" (i.e. a signature weapon or style) can never be a part of characterization with examples in which it is, or at the very least weapon or style selection is a reflection or symbol of the character. The point is that something is being done with it to integrate it into the concept as a whole.

Cartigan wrote:
Then either Kobold babies are evil or Paladins can't eat meat.

You're really missing the boat on this whole sapience thing aren't you.

Animals are not sapient. Barring outside influence (divine intervention, druids) they never will be. Animals cannot be taught morality; they can be trained to act in a manner that is a facsimile of moral behavior (as rescue, guardian, or assistance animals, or to only attack upon command which precludes predatorial instinct), but that is not understood as moral in and of itself being rather behavioral conditioning.

It is also true that while races such as kobolds (or humans for that matter) may not necessarily be sapient at birth, and generally must reach adolescence before being considered fully accountable for their actions, they are sapient by their own nature. Sapient races can be taught the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, and have the free will to act morally, immorally, or even amorally. With free will comes accountability, and it is the notion of accountability a paladin acts upon when fighting evil: they are holding evil creatures accountable for their own actions.

There are exceptions. Hatchling chromatic dragons are sapient and accountable. Lesser undead, though mindless and not moral actors themselves, are still evil by merit of their nature and creation. Half-fiends, though still sapient and accountable are still tainted by evil by blood and have a vastly more difficult time betraying their nature to choose the path of good and may require constant guidance and supervision.

Fulfilling a biological necessity is outside the moral spectrum. Barring outside magical influence (such as a ring of sustenance), paladins still have to eat, and not all races are herbivorous or omnivorous. You're making an assertion that would cause someone like a lizardfolk paladin (they're not inherently evil and are not class-restricted, and are carnivorous) to choose between starving to death or violating their code of conduct.

Yes, it's true some races revere animal life like elves and gnomes, and paladins of those races would have a vastly more difficult time morally justifying slaughtering animals for meat (but would likely still do so out of necessity). On the other hand, races which don't share that reverence (like a dwarf paladin for example) would likely have no problem chowing down on a nice juicy mutton roast. That also depends on the deity served: a paladin of a nature deity (assuming there is one that has an order of paladins for argument's sake) may actually be restricted to vegetarianism.

Cutlass wrote:

Looks around, dons his asbestos underwear and proximity suit. Then he says:

I think that the best take on gnomes that I have seen to date is in the Eberron campaign setting. I would recommend that people file the serial numbers and dragonmarks off that and incorporate it into their games.

I've never had problems with gnomes save for what Dragonlance has done to them. Flanderised them all to one stifling (if amusing) archetype.

Ironically, my favorite gnomes have been the Dragonlance setting's gnomes. They were just raw comedic relief in a setting where the closest other thing were the kender, who fill the "annoyingly cute" role and whose antics are just plain annoying. Laura and Tracy Hickman, and Margaret Weis, made no effort to make them anything but comedy relief.

I think that's honestly where gnomes fit best -- comedy relief and light entertainment. It's true that in fantasy that tends to be "that annoying character" more than "the funny character" but I think that is more a characterization issue than a problem with dealing with comedy in fantasy itself. Or, alternatively, the presence of other races which can fill comedic relief roles or a lighter campaign setting overall. GRIMDARK gnomes really only work as a lampshade to GRIMDARKNESS itself.

I think one poster said it best that in standard fantasy, gnomes really have no niche to call their own. To really fit in, there must be a niche to fill in the campaign setting itself. That can be through a number of methods, but that niche must be there.

Trinam wrote:
What about evil baby clerics?

"So, Goo-Goo, what do you do this round?"

"I cast Spiritual Pacifier then suck it as my move action."

I think the only thing we have concluded in this thread is Paladins are required to be vegetarians because animals aren't Evil.

I really hope you're being facetious, but on the off chance you're not...


RAW--emphasis mine wrote:
Animals and other creatures incapable of moral action are neutral. Even deadly vipers and tigers that eat people are neutral because they lack the capacity for morally right or wrong behavior. Dogs may be obedient and cats free-spirited, but they do not have the moral capacity to be truly lawful or chaotic.

This would be because they are not sapient. That is the core of this moral quandry. Animals are always neutral because as non-sapient creatures they cannot, by definition, be moral actors. A creature must be a moral actor before it can truly be considered within the alignment spectrum, which for purposes of mechanics defaults non-sapience to the neutral alignment.

That same rule applies itself across the board to mindless creatures with the sole exception of mindless undead. They register as evil by merit of being negative energy creatures, created through acts of evil, and their general hostiliy towards the living. Though, because they are not sapient, are not of themselves moral actors; they are forced by their very nature and creation to be susceptible to good-aligned weapons and effects.

Kobolds are sapient creatures, therefore their eggs should be treated with the same consideration as any pregnant female demi-human. Hence my own facetious comment regarding kicking an evil pregnant woman in the stomach. Would that be permissible by a paladin's code of conduct? If not, then smashing kobold eggs would be morally impermissible as well.

pres man wrote:

Frankly social skills and abilities are a tricky thing. Do you:

a)ignore them entirely as a group as this is something that should be handled entirely by acting out the scene
b)only roll the dice and let the GM decide how the outcome was reached.
c)roll the dice first and then roleplay the situation as to approximate the already known outcome
d)roleplay the scene first and then roll the check to see how effective the character was truly (perhaps putting in a circumstance bonus/penalty based on what was actually played out)

Or, as my group does it,

E) Use the social skills and modifiers as a general estimate and role-play guidance for how they should role-play out social interactions. That way, we have the skills remain useful while being allowed freedom to role-play out scenarios without having to roll.


F) Use the rolls for quick and fairly trivial interactions (bluffing through a guard checkpoint, bartering for a magical item, pushing sources for information), but when it comes to major interactions role-play them out.

Of the two you mentioned, my group would be more likely to use C or D to resolve the social skill/role-play disparity.

If grim implied dual wielding what if someone wanted to make a grim halfling with dervish dance. Is that a worse character concept? Since I can play a grim halfling with dervish dance grim does not imply dual wielding nor should it. However this does not mean that Grim dual wielding halfling is not a concept., it's not. My point was to demonstrate how a "grim" personality would lend itself to dual wielding, since a big ruckus was made for some reason about the connection between dual wielding as a signature style and a grim personality.

"A grim personality lends itself well to dual wielding" is not logically equivalent to "grim personalities will always be dual wielders".

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Now, if your halfling was using the chains he was bound with as a flail, spiked chain, or meteor hammer you might have had a point. That's entangling (sorry) the concept and the role play. Grim + Dual wielding is not. Your halfling would not be any better, role play wise, dual wielding than getting a big honking two hander.

Let me be clear (because the next section depends on this). I don't like Dual wielding (two weapon fighting). On paper its a feat investment to bring you up to the level of some guy with a greatsword. In practice i find it is far, far worse because setting up full attacks is a pain in the rear and everyone is moving around far too often for it to be reliable.

Now, how exactly would giving this halfling one large honking weapon instead of two smaller ones make role playing WORSE? What about making a mechanically better choice makes the character less 3 dimensional, not at thought out, or less of a person?

...and somehow, I'm the one conflating concept and mechanics. You're the one injecting optimization into this question of concept.

How does a grim character meet with dual wielding, you ask? Perhaps our halfling is a very violent person who loves to get in really close quarters and use his short stature to his advantage in combat. Perhaps getting underfoot and stabbing upwards, or even climbing an opponent using stabbing weapons as climbing implements, all Kratos-style. Dual wielding evokes, at least to me, a much more visceral and frantic style of combat than two-handers that may hit hard but are comparatively slow to swing and require space to use to full effect. Maybe he likes to fight so viscerally because he's borderline psychopathic, just has absolutely no patience or believes in overwhelming an enemy with quantity of attacks over quality.

In short, you're claiming that dual wielding leads to "grim" here. It's not, and you're putting words into my mouth. My original statement was "grim, dual-wielding halfling", in other words a halfling with a grim personality who also happens to dual wield as his signature style. There needn't necessarily be causality there, but since you seem to assume there needs be, that is how a grim personality could lead to someone dual wielding as a signature style. Not the other way around as you seem to have inferred.

If your character KEEPS the weapon it becomes a part of who and what they are, like most of the examples below, they become special because of who had them.

Yes, that's the point. The weapon or style is inseparable from the character. That's why it's a signature. Association is a powerful thing: think of Han Solo, and right there with the Millennium Falcon comes his DL-44 that he used to blow away Greedo. Think of Josey Wales, and right there are the dual Colt 1847s or maybe even the 1874 Sharps rifle. Harry Callahan, .44 Remington magnum. Raistlin, Staff of Magius. Those aren't just tools, they're a part of the character and symbolic of them. That is an integral part of characterization. To drive this home:

Why would it matter if the same person had been using a different gun?

The person to whom I'm alluding with ivory-handled revolvers was George S. Patton, in case you weren't aware. While Patton may be more easily-associated with a crapload of tanks than a revolver, that choice of revolver speaks to Patton's flamboyance, romanticism and eccentricity. The man loved the Colt SAA and kept one (and later, an ivory-handled .357 magnum) as his personal sidearm from the Villa expedition up to his death, even after the development and adoption of the M1911. That wasn't from lack of experience or ignorance of firearms, it was because of his personal preference, vague romanticism on the topic of war, and desire to promulgate a flashy and memorable image for his troops.

Patton's choice of sidearm is a glimpse into his personality. Like an ivory-handled, nickel-plated Colt SAA he was bombastic, flashy, highly recognizable and memorable, with a hint of romantic longing for a bygone era. It's quite frankly difficult to envision him wearing anything else as a sidearm.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
This is where people get the idea that optimizing costs you role play: You've got the two mixed up. Your grim halfling looses none of his grimness if you decide to give him a great sword or a bow.

You're saying that having a signature weapon or style is not part of characterization. Consider that a sec.

Yep, forget about Excalibur, the .44 Remington magnum, the Honjo Masamune, Icingdeath and Twinkle, the Staff of Magius, ivory-handled (not mother of pearl) Colt SAA and S&W .357, a bullwhip, Niten Ichiryu, Durandal, the DL-44 heavy blaster, dual Colt Walker 1847s, the ranger sequoia (damned straight it's my favorite NV character's signature weapon), lightsabers, the quick draw, Hrunting, the Colt Peacemaker with diamondback grips...all those are mechanics and have nothing to do with characterization, pack it in.

For prosperity's sake I only included three weapons that are signatures of Clint Eastwood characters and two for Harrison Ford. Even threw in a couple historical, non-fiction examples too.

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Trinam wrote:

Bear in mind, these kobold babies are just eggs. It's a hatchery.

So the question is actually closer to 'Is it evil to make an omlette.'

I can't believe I'm about to say this...

Would it be morally permissible for a paladin to kick a pregnant, but evil, woman in the stomach really hard then? Do keep in mind those eggs will hatch into sapient creatures that would have rights, too.


Diego Rossi wrote:

As long as you use the two terms as if they were interchangeable you are speaking of something different from the spell limitations.

The spell go to great length to exclude some specific form of attack (those that do indirect harm) and to include other (spells that affect the a foe) even when they don't do harm (if you cast chaos hammer against a chaotic creature your invisibility is broke, even if you don't do any damage).

Yes, that also includes oddities such as breaking invisibility if a foe wanders into the area of effect of an ongoing spell after it's cast. I would further a guess that definition is written such to include hostile spells that do not incur damage, negative modifiers or negative conditions yet are deleterious such as, for example, charm person or suggestion.


Your first prong fail the moment you equate attack (colloquial English) to attack action (game term).

It the rules meaning was an attack action the game term would have been used.

I'm conflating nothing, here. I'm using the spell's own definition of attack:

Invisibility wrote:
For purposes of this spell, an attack includes any spell targeting a foe or whose area or effect includes a foe... If the subject attacks directly, however, it immediately becomes visible along with all its gear.

In this case, the definition of "attack" which by the rules is the sole purview of attack actions (whether it's an AoO, full attack, touch attack delivery for a spell, or any action requiring an attack roll) and by extension combat maneuvers, is extended to include spells which target a foe or include a foe in its area of effect. That's it. A skill check is not an attack roll.

You can check this yourself easily: does an arcane trickster who uses ranged legerdemain to pick-pocket break stealth? Does ranged legerdemain incur the -20 sniping penalty to re-stealth? If indeed sleight of hand were considered an attack, then the answer to both those questions would be yes. It, in fact, does neither...because it's not an attack.

The second depend heavily on your definition of harm. You prefer a very narrow definition, I think we should use a broad definition.

All right, let's use a broad definition for argument's sake (which, by the way, does not impact my position a narrow definition of harm is necessary and supported by the spell's description). It's still indirect, given it only impacts actions taken by the caster in an ancillary fashion; nothing precludes the wizard from using a secondary pouch, casting spells that do not require material components, or using the eschew materials feat. The pickpocket is neither incurring damage, negative modifiers nor imparting a negative condition.

EDIT: As a side note, I started a thread about this under rules questions so we can discontinue the threadjack. We'll see what comes of that.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
No. I'm not.

You're not; he was responding to me.

My point is that targeting in this case is irrelevant. That it targets an attended object is a foregone conclusion. The question is whether sleight of hand A) counts as an attack for the purposes of invisibility, and B) causes direct harm for the purposes of invisibility. Those are the two conditions that need be examined, here; "targeting" by invisibility's rules only comes into play in the case of attack actions, combat maneuvers, spells and spell-like abilities (and the last there is an interpretation, given invisibility's rules only state spells in the first place but omit spell-like abilities).

The question of targeting only enters play in the event sleight of hand A) is considered an attack, or B) causes direct harm. In which case, the question of targeting is irrelevant as either of those conditions break invisibility by merit of the spell's description.

If sleight of hand is neither A) considered an attack under invisibility's special definition, nor B) a source of direct harm, then targeting is irrelevant as it is not an action that triggers the end of the effect by the spell's own description. This is my basic assertion in this discussion.

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

This came up in another thread (the DM wizard hate thread over in general discussion), and I thought I would take it upon myself to seek clarification. The circumstance in particular is an invisible arcane trickster using ranged legerdemain to pickpocket a wizard's spell component pouch, though this could certainly extend to any use of sleight of hand to pick-pocket.

So, here are the background assumptions and info:

- The wizard is unaware of the trickster, allowing the SoH check.
- The trickster is using normal invisibility, as per the 2nd-level spell.
- A spell component pouch is an attended object.
- Sleight of Hand is a skill check.
- Ranged legerdemain is a supernatural ability.

Here is the pertinent excerpt from invisibility:

The spell ends if the subject attacks any creature. For purposes of this spell, an attack includes any spell targeting a foe or whose area or effect includes a foe. Exactly who is a foe depends on the invisible character's perceptions. Actions directed at unattended objects do not break the spell. Causing harm indirectly is not an attack. Thus, an invisible being can open doors, talk, eat, climb stairs, summon monsters and have them attack, cut the ropes holding a rope bridge while enemies are on the bridge, remotely trigger traps, open a portcullis to release attack dogs, and so forth. If the subject attacks directly, however, it immediately becomes visible along with all its gear.

Here is a bullet point summary of the arguments in favor of breaking stealth:

- Sleight of Hand targets a foe, because the component pouch is an attended object. The type of action is irrelevant, only the targeting.
- The action harms the foe. That harm is direct.

Here is a bullet point summary of the arguments against breaking stealth:

- Sleight of hand is not an attack as defined by invisibility, not being a spell, spell-like ability, attack action or combat maneuver. There is evidence for this within ranged legerdemain's description, as using sleight of hand at range would incur the -20 sniping penalty for stealth were it considered an attack, but it does not.
- The action does not incur damage, negative modifiers or negative conditions, which seems to be the threshold of "harm" for invisibility.
- Even if stealing a spell component pouch constitutes "harm", it is not direct because it only prevents a caster from casting spells with material components, not prohibiting spell casting directly as would silence or disruption, forcing caster level or concentration checks, or applying negative modifiers to those checks.

The rules themselves include critical omissions of fact or ambiguous statements either way:

- Skill checks are omitted from invisibility's special targeting rules or for what is considered an attack.
- Invisibility specifies actions against (i.e. attacking) unattended objects do not break stealth. It omits whether this applies to attended objects, but actions such as disarms, sunders or item-targeting spells are already accounted for as attacks and spells.

So, what does everyone think?

wraithstrike wrote:
Targeting has a specific term with invis.

Indeed, it does. Let's examine it, emphasis mine:

Invisibility wrote:
The spell ends if the subject attacks any creature. For purposes of this spell, an attack includes any spell targeting a foe or whose area or effect includes a foe. Exactly who is a foe depends on the invisible character's perceptions. Actions directed at unattended objects do not break the spell. Causing harm indirectly is not an attack. Thus, an invisible being can open doors, talk, eat, climb stairs, summon monsters and have them attack, cut the ropes holding a rope bridge while enemies are on the bridge, remotely trigger traps, open a portcullis to release attack dogs, and so forth. If the subject attacks directly, however, it immediately becomes visible along with all its gear.

By the spell's own definition, sleight of hand does not qualify as an attack. It is not a spell, spell-like ability, attack action or combat maneuver. It is a skill check that requires a standard (or move) action. Moreover, in this particular instance it is supplemented by a supernatural ability, which is again not a spell, spell-like ability, attack action or combat maneuver. Now, targeting in invisibility's case only applies for the purposes of attack actions, combat maneuvers, spells and spell-like abilities, that is positively stated within the rules themselves; moreover, skill checks are distinctly and perhaps even deliberately omitted from this list of what is classified as an attack for the purposes of invisibility. That seems like a damned odd and telling omission to me in an otherwise fairly inclusive list.

Now, if I've missed some portion of the rules in which skill checks count as attacks, I'd love to see a citation so we can get past this entire tangent. But, as I said I can understand an interpretation that claims sleight of hand breaks stealth, which is why I've said repeatedly any ruling on this is RAI and an errata or FAQ entry is necessary to clarify this. Moreover, if indeed sleight of hand were classified as an attack, then ranged legerdemain would incur the -20 sniping stealth penalty for pickpocketing, which would be stated within the rules for ranged legerdemain. It does not.

Nor does sleight of hand do direct harm, direct harm in this case being an immediate incurrence of damage, negative modifier, or negative condition by the pickpocket. So, not only is sleight of hand not an attack, it's not even direct harm as typified in invisibility's rules!

So, the question here of "does this break invisibility?" is answered by a two prong test. The first prong is whether it is considered an attack, and it is not. The second prong is whether it incurs direct harm, and it does not. Considering sleight of hand fails both prongs of this test, the conclusion is that it does not break invisibility.

Yeah, spells all break it, harmless ones, daylight, any spell that targets a foe or includes it in its area.

I actually mentioned that previously, though in the context of an ice storm spell the AE of which a foe entered through no action of the caster's own.

BigNorseWolf wrote:

You don't need to directly harm someone to break invisibility, you just need to target them.

If you target them, and targeting their stuff is targeting them, then you've targeted them.

Targeting breaks invisibility.

Only, according to RAW, in the case of spells, spell-like abilities, physical attacks and combat maneuvers (as those count as physical attacks as well). Sleight of Hand is a skill check. Ranged legerdemain is a supernatural ability. Neither of those are spells, spell-like abilities, physical attacks or combat maneuvers. That causes the discussion to fall back on whether pick-pocketing causes "direct harm", which it does not.

As I said previously, that is a very specific set of positive statements regarding what does and does not break invisibility. The inclusion of positive statements excludes all others.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Targeting a creatures stuff is the same thing as targeting the creature.

That's nice, but you haven't explained how it incurs direct harm in the same sense invisibility's rules use.

As I said, pickpocketing does not directly incur damage, negative modifiers or negative conditions.

Diego Rossi wrote:

a) For purposes of this spell, an attack includes any spell targeting a foe or whose area or effect includes a foe.

Self explanatory. Using the term effect would be better but it still work.


d) Causing harm indirectly is not an attack. Thus, an invisible being can open doors, talk, eat, climb stairs, summon monsters and have them attack, cut the ropes holding a rope bridge while enemies are on the bridge, remotely trigger traps, open a portcullis to release attack dogs, and so forth.


I.e.: target the guy with any effect causing harm (in the broader sense of the term) to him or include the target in a area of effect of something causing harm.
Even auras that give negative modifiers and other similar stuff count for this part of the spell description.


The mess is born of an attempt to avoid some shenanigans with spells while specifying that spells and actions indirectly affecting someone don't break invisibility, but the RAI to me seem very clear: if you target someone with the intent to cause harm to him the invisibility spell is broken.
Same thing is you purposefully use an AaE effect that includes a foe in it.

See, there's a contradiction in there that, I'll grant, is clarified and muddied at the same time by the rules.

If the key is the intent to cause harm, then an action like cutting a rope, releasing attack dogs, summoning monsters who then attack, opening floodgates, et cetera ought to break stealth. Now, these are all things which due to the invisible character's action immediately incur damage, negative modifiers or a negative condition, which seems to be the bar for "harm" in this case which is a narrow definition. But, they don't break invisibility because the acting character is not directly incurring damage, negative modifiers or a negative condition despite obvious intent. The intent to cause harm only affects the determination between "friend and foe", not "direct versus indirect".

Pick-pocketing neither incurs damage, negative modifiers nor a negative condition. That action may directly target a foe's attended item, but is not harmful in the same sense I described above. Moreover, the deleterious effect is indirect; the pick-pocketer is taking an item, which is necessary only when casting spells with material components. That does not incur a concentration check, caster level check to successfully cast, negative modifiers on related checks, or directly prohibit spellcasting by way of a negative condition or effect.

It also needs to be said that auras are passive effects opposed to active effects. The invisibility rules strongly imply that to break invisibility, the invisible character must have taken an action (i.e. use an active effect) that causes harm. Passive effects such as auras do not require action be taken.

Moreover, this gets muddied in the case of ongoing magical effects. According to RAW, an invisible character can cast ice storm as long as there are no foes in its area of effect without breaking invisibility. Yet, if a foe enters ice storm's area of effect through no action of the caster's own the invisibility affect immediately ends. The same thing applies to a foe that sticks their hand in a wall of fire, (for whatever stupid reason) touches a prismatic sphere, or any other ongoing area-effect spell. The only absolution for this instance was the spell effect was initially created by action, even if the linkage between the caster and the harm incurred is indirect (it was the foe's action that incurred damage).

Now, as I said previously, sleight of hand breaking invisibility is certainly a reasonable interpretation of the rules and I fault no one for interpreting it such. I would hope people who interpret the rules as such can say the same for my position. That is why I also mentioned it sorely needs errata or an FAQ entry.

Cartigan wrote:
Concepts take way longer to build than mechanics, in every system. You have to go through all the abilities, classes, feats, etc and see what best fits the concept, even if you don't care if it sucks (I mean, there are two feats that make you better at Perception - one for Elves and similar races that sucks and the basic one anyone can take that comparatively doesn't). Just building something mechanically optimal is easy - it's 99% cookie cutter for any particular mechanical target.

Cookie cutter characters being optimal is true, but class/abilitiy/feat/skill selection is the mechanics. A concept as I see it is a loose outline of the character's nature, goals, and preferred methods, not the mechanical representation. For me personally, the rules are the mechanics and characterization is the concept; now, again for myself and my group that part comes extremely easy, representing that concept through mechanics is the most time-consuming and difficult part. Then again, my group collectively has lots of experience in non-d20 based games (particularly storyteller) so developing concept and characterization on the fly is something we're particularly good at.

It's easy to say "I'm going to play a grim dual-wielding halfling". That's the concept. It's tougher and more time consuming to roll up, select feats and skills, and plan progression from that point forward. That's the mechanics.

Now, you can characterize and develop beyond that point, but at least in my mind that's a slightly different beast than conceptualization. For me, the concept is something that can be summarized in a sentence or two and elaborated upon. If you go beyond that, wonderful, but that's more than what concept evokes of its own right.


I'm not sure I have a problem with people who create a mechanical idea and then come up with a concept to support it. It's not how I do things normally, though I sometimes dip into that style (in my example above, note how I decided on a feat I wanted (lucky halfling), and then worked the concept around it, rather than the other way around.

If we are going to tie concept-building and roleplaying, then I would say the one's who are weak in this area are those that don't come up with a concept at all. Or those who's concept is whatever the fluff in the race and class descriptions say. I'm sure you've played with players like that, "I'm a dwarf? Guess I'm grumpy. I'm a fighter? Guess I'm mercenary."

That's all very true. I know I've personally read something like a PrC or feat which gave me a great idea for a character. There's nothing wrong with building concept and mechanics at once, as long as you remain true to concept and don't solely build for mechanical advantage.

One example I can think offhand from personal experience is a player of mine who once made an aasimar paladin/sorcerer/EK. It was pretty obvious the player hadn't put an iota of thought into how to role-play the character from step one nor knew how to play it well if he had, he just wanted to make a character that stacked charisma out the wazoo and got multiple advantages from it. There was the potential for a solid concept in there, he just didn't even try and that wasn't even on his mind.

The key there as I see it is when a player starts engaging in mental gymnastics to justify optimization, or doesn't bother with concept at all.

Wow, I laughed way harder at this thread than I probably should have.

Now, seriously. You're getting into nature versus nurture when it comes to babies of any race that don't pop out sapient. Now, in the absence of rules on this I'm going to suggest kobold babies aren't sapient when hatched as reptilian humanoids, given sapience upon hatching tends to be reserved for stuff like true dragons, aberrations, some magical beasts, and such. If it's something that is born sapient, then it's all nature and smite away; if it's something that's not born sapient, then you have to consider nurture and killing them is out of the question given that introduces moral ambiguity in the face of which paladins tend to not act decisively in that manner.

The ideal resolution here as I see it would be to take the eggs to someone that can hatch and raise them to be good. Again, that assumes kobolds are not sapient when hatched. That would also reasonably extend to already-hatched young kobolds which may not be of an age of accountability.

Besides, what paladin could resist taking leadership and having an entire tribe of good kobolds as their followers?

Other suggestions:

- Hide it in the Demiplane of Wangst and Mary Sues. Or, as I like to call it, Ravenloft. The Twilight universe in a Spelljammer campaign works too.

- In the hands of a level 1 chicken-infested commoner dual wielding component pouches with the divine guardian template. Good luck getting that artifact, suckers!

- Better yet, make the artifact simply an indestructible 10' adamantine pole with no other features. Its god-killing power is accessed only when...math time...9,835,584 commoners stand in a circle and use a move action to pass the pole along to the next, then when the pole comes around again convert their standard action to a move and pass it again. The last commoner to hold the pole uses their 5' step to aim at the god and drops the pole. That's, uhh...more math time...1.63 petajoules (if I have my math right), or the equivalent of 389 kilotons of TNT, to the face. That'll kill a god.

- Going along with another poster's idea with making the artifact a family of people: they're kender.

- Hiding the artifact in a concept: that concept is Japanese adult videos. Better start warming up that sanity mechanic.

- Hide it in the demiplane of breasts. Guaranteed the PC's will forget about the artifact in nanoseconds.

- To the poster who suggested hiding the artifact in a black hole: make the black hole the artifact!

- The artifact is actually the Higgs boson.

- To use the artifact, the wielder must get it on with Baalzebul. Baalzebul does not know about this requirement.

- Or alternative, since this is Planescape we're talking about, the wielder must watch every episode of Two and a Half Men contiguously to attune the artifact to themselves. Or just kick the Lady of Pain in the squishy bits and run away giggling, same end result.

Diego Rossi wrote:

1) Ranged legerdemain break invisibility, as far as the spell go. You are negatively affecting a target. It will not break stealth, but that is a different matter from the spell.

It will not break greater invisibility.

Okay, huge argument about this. I'll break down my position on this:

First things first, this really needs errata or an FAQ entry. I can understand both sides of the argument. What does and does not break invisibility is usually very clear, being a series of positive statements. Unfortunately, the inclusion of one positive statement excludes others.

Ranged legerdemain, as a supernatural ability is neither a spell nor spell-like ability which means it is not subject to the same targeting rules as listed under invisibility. Though, it does target an attended object carried by a foe. Now, whether a component pouch is attended or not in combat is not up for debate as I see it: it's attended.

The rules for invisibility directly stating actions towards unattended objects does not break invisibility is not logically equal to a statement that actions directed towards attended objects breaks stealth. You're making assumptions based upon an omission: those assumptions may be reasonably-founded, but they are still assumptions that are, in the lack of a clearly-defined rule or errata, interpretation.

Whether theft classifies as indirect harm is very open to interpretation. It's important to note the examples of what classifies as "indirect harm" includes examples of the actions involved incurring damage as a direct, immediate consequence of that action, though linked to the invisible character's actions via chain of causation. That's already an extremely broad base for what determines indirect harm, especially considering theft does not incur damage as a direct, immediate consequence of the invisible character's action.

The point of clarification here is whether actions directed towards attended objects breaks stealth. The thing with combat maneuvers is that they are, for purposes of rules, attacks (being interchangeable with attacks and typically involving an inherently violent action) while sleight of hand is not.

Also key here is this statement, which no one seems to have brought up (emphasis mine):

Of course, the subject is not magically silenced, and certain other conditions can render the recipient detectable (such as swimming in water or stepping in a puddle).

This seems to cut to the "spirit of invisibility" argument some have made. In this case you'll note the use of the word detectable. Being detectable is by no means whatsoever equivalent to "breaking invisibility" in the sense the invisibility affect ceases. Now, in light of the fact the pick-pocketed character gets an opposed perception check to notice they are being pick-pocketed, it already has a built-in means of detection against an invisible pick-pocket. But, that does not necessarily cause the invisibility affect to cease.

So, as I read it, ranged legerdemain for sleight of hand is a supernatural ability that targets an attended object but does not do direct harm nor is an attack. Therefore, in the absence of a stated rule or errata it does not break stealth, but it makes the action detectable via the built-in perception check. However, it sorely needs clarification by the devs.

3) Your "total stealth modifier of +75 to stand still, +55 to move." include the invisibility bonus. Remove that and it become a way more manageable +35. The wizard will probably not make it, but other party members can.

Manageable by someone with the right race/class/feat/item selection perhaps. A DC 45, assuming an average roll by the assassin, to detect is still a freaking tough DC to meet at level 13 with the exception of something like an elf inquisitor with mega-wisdom and a couple feats sunk into raising perception.


Hide in Plain Sight (Su): At 8th level, an assassin can use the Stealth skill even while being observed.

Your assassin is using a ability 5 levels above the level you stated. Maybe your trick don't work so well if you follow the rules.

Oh, derp. Good catch. My original idea was a straight wizard/assassin, I threw in the trickster as an alternate idea and got them conflated somewhere along the lines, totally my fault. So, throw the trickster levels out and at level 13 you have a 5 wizard/8 assassin, who has everything you need including quiet death and HiPS, minus the limited dispels but still with the spell selection, with a comparable death attack save DC. Plus no "steal the component pouch" fracas to tip his hand before he death attacks.

The BEEG knowing his not signature spells smack of GM fiat.

I never said he did. Rather, in my original post I was going with the idea with intelligence-gathering, he'd know the signature spells, prep hard counters, then use dispel to fill the blanks. Really, if an enemy wizard knew a PC wizard's entire spell list why even bother with dispel and chancing losing a counter roll?

As far as people with ranks in spellcraft, I usually give my rogue and spy PC's and NPC's a few ranks. It helps for just that reason: if you're going to spy on a spellcaster, better you know what to look for than not. Anyone can roll to identify a spell with components (V, S, or M) or visible/ongoing effects as long as they have ranks in spellcraft (which RAW is full of crap on that one, I can't identify the spell of origin of black tentacles sprouting out of the ground grasping people?), they just may not be able to do anything with that information save relay it. It's simple to get a spy in a party for short periods of time or observe an outdoors encounter and have someone flee after watching the party buff.

wraithstrike wrote:
If you are going that high of a level why are the PC's not entering rooms with spells up that can detect invisible creatures. See invis would last for a long time. I can't suggest extend spell because I never use it, and I don't want to do the "I am always prepared" thing.

Redundancy. From the rules on see invisibility:

It does not reveal creatures who are simply hiding, concealed, or otherwise hard to see.

We're talking about an NPC with HiPS, hiding and preferably behind cover, under the effect of nondetection and invisible for good measure. As I said, good luck spotting him.

A 20 DC is not hard to beat at level 11 for a wizard. He has better than a 50% change, unless the player ignores character weaknesses and does not try to shore them up. My group does not let weaknesses lie though.

That's a fort save. With buffs, high constitution and great fortitude he might have a 50% chance of success. As death attack is an extraordinary ability, death ward does not protect against it either. It's also important to keep in mind I'm lowballing that fort save DC, with more levels in assassin or a higher intelligence score that goes higher.


I don't know how many of my post you have seen, but I always suggest carrying two spell component pouches and holy symbols. I will sunder them as a GM so I see no reason to not have more than one. I will admit that the average player would be in trouble in that situation though.

It is true that the wizard just lost an action, but it is only a move action. The party should be going after the trickster dude next, assuming the he got the pouch anyway. For simplicity's sake we can assume the pouch was stolen. The trickster will die in round 2.

About that...redundant component pouches is fine, they can just keep getting pick pocketed. Ranged legerdemain is not a limited ability.

About going after him, as I said sleight of hand does not break stealth or invisibility. With the stacked, redundant effects I've mentioned I said, good luck finding him. Unless you want to start slinging around AE's willy-nilly hoping to get a lucky shot and potentially wasting more rounds than you already are.

Here is what I see the BBEG is wasting his actions playing with the party caster. The party can still take on the assassin, and the two melee guys without the wizard. Yeah I know the goal of the GM is not to really win the fight, but just to make it a tough fight. I don't think the fight is any harder though. The party wizard/sorcerer may have just been shutdown.

You're not seeing the entire picture.

The BBEG still has a handful of good spells at the ready. The assassin can still back off, HiPS and prep another death attack. The two melee guys can focus fire one PC and put them in serious jeopardy, while still just being distractions. Once the wizard's down, the BBEG opens up with his good spells, and the assassin preps another death attack on the next likeliest candidate. The fight doesn't end at the wizard being shut down.

But you're right, the point here isn't to TPK the party. I can do that easily against an APL 13 party by chucking a balor lord at them. The point here is to develop a very tough, inventive fight that challenges the party and is a suitable climax scenario while not allowing the party's wizard to "auto-win" the scenario as some on these threads suggest.

It looks like to me the encounter is still on autoloss. Even going back to your spy network post we don't talk to NPC's that don't matter, and we don't tell them which spells we use. Getting that list of spells would require GM Fiat, assuming we had a list of certain spells, other than things like haste. By the time my group gets to level 3 we have anti invis options at the ready. Any high level party getting trumped by invis gets no pity from me.

I hate to say it but you're saying that as if PC's talking to NPC's was the only way to gather intel. It's not.

wraithstrike wrote:
I did not see that part to be honest. I focused in on the part I quoted. Death attack assumes the assassin is not spotted. That is not a given. Even if the wizard dumps perception for some strange reason there is normally one walking radar(high perception character) in the group*.

Okay, let's assume for a BBEG fight for an APL 13 typical party (tank, divine caster, arcane caster, sneaky). Let's figure...oh, the two meat shields are level 11, the assassin is 13, and the abjurer himself is 15 (making for an encounter level 16, APL+3).

Let's assume the assassin is, as I suggested, a wizard 5/assassin 3/trickster 5 (CL 10, ECL between 12-13 if they have knack or practiced spellcaster). At that level we're talking, buffed, 18 dex and 24 int. He has access to HiPS, nondetection, (greater) invisibility, (some) counterspells of his own, flight and for kicks let's assume a dark room with strewn cover. Let's also assume silent spell, focus in stealth and the stealthy feat: at max ranks, with a cloak of elvenkind, we're talking a total stealth modifier of +75 to stand still, +55 to move. Good luck, especially when the party's going to see the two meat shields straight away and go into fight mode before the room can be searched. The death attack save DC is going to be 20, not great odds for a wizard.

Now also keep in mind he's studying first, then moving in to attack. For kicks let's figure the wizard doesn't have eschew materials and our assassin uses ranged legerdemain to pick-pocket the spell component pouch while moving in (which doesn't break stealth or invisibility). Assuming max ranks, that's +20 to steal the pouch, which a wizard doesn't stand a great chance to notice (and stealing the pouch is trivial). Now the wizard loses actions to fish out a replacement pouch, or is limited to spells that don't have material components (on top of being counterspelled).

In regards to the abjurer's counterspells, of course not. I figure, building his spell list specifically for "encounter enders" and dispels, we're talking for a 15th-level wizard probably two dispels, two silenced dispels, one greater dispel and one silenced greater dispel. Plus, improved counterspell increasing the range of hard counters, and dispel magic meta'ed so it occupies a 5th-level slot or two and maybe the 8th-level abjuration slot depending upon the party (disruptive and silent springs immediately to mind, but those are best used as hard dispels rather than counters). That's 6-8 dispels in total at least, enough to be able to counter every round without completely debilitating the abjurer's offensive array (especially if the BBEG can get the PC's to yap for a while during which the death attack is prepped). Now, as far as the dispel checks are concerned, he's at a +15 (+19 for greater) modifier against a DC of 24, using the greaters to counter important spells and the normals to counter less-important spells.

Of course, the NPC's choice in what to dispel may clue them in as to what's coming: "why did he just counterspell blur...oh, crap". But on the other hand, that just forces the wizard to consider an additional venue by which he may be attacked which forces him to split his already limited number of actions between defenses, which leaves him vulnerable to other means of attack and precludes him using support magics, offensive or defensive. Like I said, the point is to force the wizard to prioritize spells and attack through low-priority venues.

So I wonder why many dms cant or wont make the same adjustment when a wizard learns fly or teleport.

Why would they? That would be one less thing to complain about on the internet. :)

Treantmonk wrote:
Basically, my point is being true to a concept does not mean not optimizing it.

This is the sentiment that needs to be spread, in my opinion. Unfortunately, that also comes with more than a few caveats:

For some gamers, the idea of a character concept is an afterthought, if it plays into their thought process at all. A gamer may decide to use an optimization theme or method, then use concept to justify it. At least, in my opinion, "I'm going to play an elf wizard because their stat bonuses and penalties allow me to squeeze more points out of a point-buy (i.e. bonuses in two stats the player wants high, and a penalty that can be overcome by a two-point expenditure)" reflects that; while it is factually accurate and thematically viable, it betrays the notion that concept comes first by suggesting race is being chosen not from concept but rather from mechanics. That's the sentiment that needs to be fought, not simple optimization.

As a GM, one of my long-standing, irrational biases is against players who talk mechanics before concept. I always seem to grit my teeth and think "munchkin" when that happens, despite the fact I recognize that makes little sense in context: a concept is an easy thing to decide and internalize, while mechanics may take discussion and lots of thought. Of course, that's a downside of the d20 system itself opposed to something like the storyteller system because characters take a long time to build in comparison, and feats and classes are not all created equal. That's inherited from my experiences with players for whom concept is not even a consideration, and I have yet to completely shake it.

It's also the GM's duty to provide guidance to all players as to what level of optimization is acceptable in a game, help new players build a viable character, and adapt encounters to the party's power level. Nothing's worse for a game's fun factor than an imbalanced party, and in the vast majority of games high levels of optimization are just plain unnecessary. Let's face it, there are no rewards for grinding encounters as quickly as possible in tabletop RPG's.

Why would you have a DVD copy of Highlander 2 in a RPG?

Ion Raven wrote:
Character Concept is not the the same thing as roleplaying.

I'll echo this sentiment. For me as a GM and a player it's a matter of priority in the concept.

If you can create a character concept and make that concept effective, please by all means do so. Wonderful. If that character concept is not terribly effective, please still play it as long as it's not completely stupid and still is in rough parity with the campaign's power level -- that's where the GM's job comes in to tailor encounters and challenges to suit the party.

If you're using a character concept to justify optimized stats, that's where the line gets crossed. Nobody likes a Mary Sue, whether that sue-ism comes from concept or numerical representation. Especially when that "concept" involves exotic or highly unlikely race and class combinations that conflict or would yield a character ridiculously difficult to role-play.

If you're building a character completely out of whack with the GM's and other players' desired power level or campaign theme, that's another place where the line gets crossed. A slapstick kender bard has little if any place at all in an ultra-dark, Robert E. Howard-inspired campaign. Neither does Solomon Kane in a light and cheery game, Blarg the Window-Licking Barbarian in a game of courtly intrigue and politics, or Steve the Low-Charisma Bard in a high-power campaign.

Doomed Hero wrote:
I've often wondered this myself.

I can't help but figure it was because kender doesn't taste good.

#1: the only outsiders that typically like to go berserk and kill a ton of people if freed are demons, devils, and a handful of "from the beyond" eldritch horrors. Most just prefer to go home; some might be mad enough to kill the summoner then go home, but if that happens you're hardly in a position to really dictate terms. Remember, to most outsiders the prime material plane is a crapsack, hostile, uncomfortable and in some cases just plain repulsive place; how would you feel if some smart-aleck ripped you from your comfortable home in the middle of the night and dumped you in New Jersey?

#2: if you're summoning demons and devils willy-nilly, you're probably not of an alignment or ethical mindset to really give a crap if it goes berserk and kills a ton of people. In fact, better if it gets distracted by Yummy Commoners so you can get the hell out of dodge.

So, to answer your question, the safest place to summon that kind of outsider is in the middle of a small town or hamlet, in plain view, away from heroic adventurers. Better yet if you have enough thousands' of GP worth of silver dust/salt/whatever to encompass the whole town: seriously, with a deal like that not even the hardest of the hardcore of devils could say "no".

TarkXT wrote:
Nooooo~ but it does mean that your scenario straight up fails. You've essentially created a scenario to beat the wizard. That's it. That's all. All you've done is kill the wizard. Which mildly annoys the cleric.

Well see that begs the question: Are wizards in fact the god-characters many on these boards portray them?

If so, the party's pretty well power-screwed given the PC wizard is down and in my scenario there's an NPC wizard still flying around with a couple encounter enders prepped and a wizard (or magus, or vivisectionist) assassin out there, and chances are pretty strong cleric is the second course on the menu.

If not, the party's already a heavy lifter down in what's generally an encounter in the neighborhood of APL+3 or higher. Not phenomenal odds, given the NPC's at this point likely down were just distractions and the genuine threats probably haven't been identified yet.

Bonus points if, as I suggested, our assassin's managed to impersonate the wizard (or disguised himself) and setting up death attack #2 once the NPC meat shields are down and the party still thinks there's only one guy left to deal with. Extra bonus points if the BBEG bugs out after the "tides have turned", the cleric thinks nobody needs a res and eats a death attack healing the party up post-combat. Then the assassin can bug out and depending on party make up, those two can come back for the BBEG's next 15-minute workday against a party down a cleric and a wizard.

TarkXT wrote:
Fortunately this is a team game.

Unfortunately, nothing prohibits antagonists or villains from participating in the exact same teamwork.

This list is required reading for all my BBEG's. Walking around holding the idiot ball as if it were a badge of honor is the patsy's job.

wraithstrike wrote:
How so? Remember you won't realistically be able to counterspell every spell. That means you are wasting actions when the other caster is not. Losing actions is not the way to success.

You did notice that part where I said "the assassin cohort death attacks the wizard" right? Do you think a BBEG is going to go into an encounter unprepared on his own?

The very point here is to force the PC wizard on the defensive/reactionary by throwing encounter enders out, forcing them to respond in turn. After that, back off and start counterspelling. If the wizard falters or gives an opening, punish with another encounter ender.

At that point, cue death attack. PC wizard is in a lose-lose situation: forego normal spell defenses to dispel or react to incoming encounter-ending spells, or let the encounter-enders fly to raise his own defenses to the detriment of his own party. Either way, it's going to be very difficult with a counterspeller breathing down his neck, which inherently forces the PC wizard to carefully select what spells to use when out of fear they may get countered and leave them shrugging and saying "sorry guys, I got nothing". A wizard cannot realistically react to everything at once with absolute precision.

That's what you exploit. Force the wizard to choose between venues of defense, then apply the constraint they are not guaranteed success on spellcasting. That serves a dual purpose, limiting the spellcaster's defense and providing a ready source of frustration which will cloud the PC's judgment. Then, you strike where the wizard is least defended.

As a GM if I have a player who wants to do this, I make sure to inform them that regardless of alignment, actively defrauding one's adventuring companions is a Very Stupid Thing to do and will carry in-character consequences when, not if they get caught.

If they insist after that point, the kid gloves are off, the player was warned and has absolutely no right to complain when their idiocy bites them in the dangly bits.

Now, if this happened in a game in which I was a character, how I'd react in character would vastly differ based upon my alignment and inclination. I've nailed someone with bubonic plague as a druid/blighter before and merrily watched them die. I've destroyed a skimming wizard's spellbook before. Once got together with the party and murdered the skimming character in their sleep, burnt the body and scattered the ashes.

About the nicest I've ever been to a scheming/thieving PC was on an NG cleric. She waited until the wizard ate a nice huge crit down to negative HP, CMW'ed him to stabilize and informed him that unless he confessed and renumerated the party, that would be the last heal he'd ever receive from her, her church, or churches allied with her deity (which that game was a heroic high fantasy FR game and she was a cleric of Lathander, which meant if he wanted healing he'd pretty much have to go to Zhentil Keep).

LilithsThrall wrote:
You're right. And it does get me to asking where people learned theorycrafting.

I haven't even gotten started yet. Thanks to PF's handy-dandy new PrC reqs:

Wizard or magus/assassin who can use an effect to look like the party's wizard, do something to render the body invisible or destroy it (angel of death works best), without PC's noticing thanks to quiet death. Granted we're talking at least mid-levels there, but if successful that's a surefire near-TPK when the "party's wizard" starts death attacking his own buddies.

In regards to the magus/assassin, it's just too bad he wouldn't get sneak attack damage on the spellstrike and attack delivery, as far as I know.

Universalists and transmuters would be nice here, given they can strike at range with class abilities (especially transmuters, with the ability enhancement and telekinetic strike). Or, quick draw a brilliant energy dagger, tag somebody with hand of the apprentice, then re-sheathe.

Heck, forget the wizard/assassin route for a sec. How about a vivisectionist/assassin?

Forget about quiet death and such and weave in levels of arcane trickster with a focus on rays. Use ranged legerdemain to pick-pocket the spell component pouch, then sneak attack with silent ray spells. Right there's a grade-A lesson in why eschew materials isn't just for sorcerers. It's too bad touch of idiocy was errated to be a "penalty" instead of ability damage, else it would get sneak attack damage. Let's see how effective God-wizard is when he's laying down drooling and trying to eat the floor.

Wolfsnap wrote:
You give the counterspelling job to a Vizier or Advisor while the BBEG gets out his Greatsword or his Staff of Napalm and goes to town on anyone within reach.

You think that's nasty, try an abjurer BBEG with an extensive spy network who spends time testing party resources and learning what spells PC wizards favor. When the fur starts to (finally) fly he's got a prepped spell list with a handful of encounter enders and a lot of dispels, silences, mental stat-nukes, anti-magic defenses, fly, greater invisibility and a handful of evasion/get out of jail free cards. A nice big chunk of those, especially the dispels, are silenced and he's carrying a rod or three of silent spell. He's also got three or four cohorts with him, mostly big dumb meat shields for whom he's provided potions and easily-accessed buffs.

Open up with the encounter enders to force the PC spellcasters on the defensive/reactionary, then float around counterspelling everything. Once the PC's are nice and cheesed and out for caster blood, the assassin cohort who's been hiding in plain sight out of the way doing nothing most of the encounter death attacks the party's wizard. Extra nice if the assassin himself has ranks in kn. arcana and spellcraft (as any anti-caster assassin should) and can recognize the PC caster's defenses on his own. Once that's done, our BBEG can open up.

All this blather about action economy and "if you start counterspelling you auto-lose the encounter!" is nonsense.

Tangible Delusions wrote:
And as a player I don't want to be told the story, I want to be part of the story.

Please justify this.

The results of dice, being the determiners of a randomized numerical value, are entirely beyond the control of players or GM's in any legitimate manner, sparing hero point or action point systems which only add limited control under certain circumstances. The only way players themselves can affect this result even indirectly is by stacking modifiers, which is entirely a non-story-related, out-of-universe mechanical factor which scales with character level and challenge rating. That is to say, playing entirely by as-rolled dice results players have no direct control over the core mechanic.

How does fudging dice reduce player choice and impact below this? You're hedging notions of player control or impact with an inherently chaotic system. Hell, one could extrapolate this argument to a logical conclusion by saying that no diced system by merit of being chaotic maximizes player choice and impact on story, and the highest form of story-based role-play are diceless systems.

Robb Smith wrote:
I'll just say it like this: If enemy wizards were all run like PC wizards were run, it would be extremely rare for a to make it past 2nd level.

This is pretty much exactly how it goes. As a player, the vast majority of my characters since the red box have been wizards. I have a pretty good grasp of what wizards can and cannot do, and as a GM I do not coddle my players when they're up against a wizard. Now with a newer player or someone who just has never played a wizard before I'll go easy, but if I have someone who knows the ropes I'm more than happy to throw down.

In my experience and observation, a party with a wizard gone wild is thanks to the GM either not putting the necessary limitations on the PC. Whether that's saying "no, Munchkins-R-Us does not exist and if you want greater teleport you'll have to work for it" or up to and including an enemy NPC wizard on the field throwing out his own encounter enders like candy, forcing the PC wizard to play defensive or engage the wizard one-on-one, the GM has to know the magic game as well and work on the wizard's own level to properly balance them.

Talonhawke wrote:
Now of course 10years later i would have woven a intricate story around the item and made it more than just Phat Lewt but thems the break.

That's what making an item intelligent (with a really high ego and annoying personality or counterproductive purpose) is for. They want to use it, they get to pay the price...

I once remember one of the gaming groups I hung out with finding a dagger named The Kenderblade. The thing had a ridiculously high ego, the personality of a kender, and the purpose of wandering and finding other peoples' possessions and keeping them safe. The PC's eventually flung it into a volcano.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Iterative attacks, god that needs to go. It just clogs up the mechanics and disrupts the flow of combat. There's little I despise more than slamming the brakes on an otherwise exciting, fast-paced combat so Fungo the TWF Ranger can take five minutes to resolve his umpteen attacks, especially if the little turd is exploiting critical threat range and has to roll tons-o-confirms on top of that umpteen attacks, then roll damage for each one. I don't care how its disposed of as long as it is.

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