I actually favored Hillary over Bernie. While I would prefer Hillary to be a bit more progressive on some issues, I think she can actually get a lot of what she promised done. I feel that if somehow Bernie did get the nom and then won the election, Bernie would have a much greater difficulty working with congress and wouldn't be able to follow through with a lot of his campaign platforms.
I really have no idea when this idea that the GOP was suddenly gonna greet Hillary with open arms came from, but I chuckle at it every time. She will probably get a lot more of what she wants from a Republican congress - but they aren't anything an actual progressive should be happy about.
She's going to face the same opposition to health care reforms or minimum wage legislation Bernie would, but they'll be damn happy to agree to any safety net cuts or international trade deals she is keen on.
I'm just going to answer Scott Bett's post in point by point paraphrasing because the quote tags get ridiculous with a post that long.
Point 1: Bernie endorsed Hillary enthusiastically and it makes no difference.
Enthusiasm is largely a matter of opinion, and some Hillary backers would disagree with your assessment. But the point is that leading up to the endorsement they were still battling over rules in the platform and he will continue to push her even so - he endorsed Obama in 08 and still remained a gadfly.
But ultimately, my only point is that an endorsement is not selling out - I could be wrong in my assessment of the relationship at play here, but he said he'd endorse, and he endorsed. I don't think we actually have an argument about whether that was somehow selling out, even though you seem to have backed Hillary from the beginning, anyway, so we're coming at it from very different perspectives.
Point 2: Hillary and Bernie are similarly liberal and their voting records show that.
No two candidates in the 2015/16 election cycle had a closer voting record - you know what they say about lies, damn lies, and statistics, right? You're comparing specifically SENATORS who ran for president in this election cycle - which gives us Clinton, Cruz, Sanders, Paul, Webb (kind of), and Chaffee (kind of) and Rubio. Take out the outliers - very "red" Democrats like Webb and the libertarian Paul - and you're left with 4 traditional Senators to compare.
As for her being 'hardcore liberal,' that REALLY depends on the issues. Abortion? Kind of. Intelligence/Surveillance? Definitely not. Student loans? Not surprisingly, not really. Gender equality? Surprisingly not great! But looking at the email leaks and her attitude on foreign policy it gets really stark . . . her bloodthirst for Syria and unequivocal support for Israel and its rightwing Likud party is seriously scary. What she did in Haiti and Honduras is unequivocally terrible. She's Pro-TPP, pro-fracking, takes money from private prisons (even as she promises to shut them down), takes money from banks, from defense contractors, is appealing to Bush donors, and has the admiration of Dick freaking Cheney. And that 7% difference included the vote for Iraq - which I'm going to circle back to.
Point 3: I'm going to break my rules here and quote because it calls for it:
Scott Betts wrote:
I'm going to reiterate the part you apparently glossed over because it provides important context:
...he was going to win my state either way. Which is the case for MOST of the people who are talking about voting 3rd party...
Even buying the Nader argument (I don't, obviously, but that's a discussion for another thread) no, see, never in our lifetime has a 3rd party candidate in a heavily Red or Blue state made any difference whatsoever. I live in Indiana. Trump will win here, handily. There's not even a question mark about it. You apparently did read this part, because you reference me being in a red state elsewhere in your post, but somehow conveniently left it off your retort?
People in swing states who decide to vote strategically --- look, I get it. As always, I don't agree, but I get it and I will understand why. But when you go on these long tangents against people in Indiana or New York or Wyoming or Oregon, what good does it do? Only a handful of states really will make a difference, and the candidates know this, which is why they spend all of their time there.
So the irony is that we get flamed by party loyalists who lament our dedication to purity and feeding our egos when what we do won't actually result in a victory . . . while basically arguing against people whose votes really aren't going to make a huge difference to assuage your egos and feel like the only adults in the room who can be reasonable about all this pesky 'morality' business.
EDIT: Almost forgot to circle back to Iraq!
It's not really in response to any point, but Dems like to throw around Nader as a precautionary tale about voting 3rd party and how it'll get us another Bush. But the absolute WORST piece of the Bush legacy - the Iraq War - Hillary voted for. And now she's gearing up to get us involved in another quagmire just like it. All of the WORST thing's about Bush's presidency had the seal of approval from way too many Democrats so this attitude that if we'd only elected Democrats we'd all be spared another disaster is preposterous, short sighted, and the kind of black-and-white thinking that leads to things getting progressively worse and worse as we let more slide because, "Well, the other side is just pure EVIL!"
And finally - breaking my no quote rule again, but it's thejeff this time so I'm going to officially pardon myself:
That'll unfortunately still be a hard sell. The Indiana Democratic Party is an enormous mess that was running a proven loser even before they knew Pence was going to be leaving and when I voted in the primaries for my district, most of the Dem candidates didn't even bother creating websites or publishing a platform. The Dems have been hanging by a thread at the state and congressional level for a while now and the 2014 midterms were pretty much the death knell. Unless we get another implosion like Richard Mourdock, it's hard for me to see the Dems winning anything here.
Sorry, I know I'm late to this particular party and the thread has moved on, but as a flag-wavin' member of the #NeverHillary crowd, I just really want to weigh in that Bernie didn't sell out.
Firstly, he endorsed - which is exactly what he said he would do at the beginning. I don't think it could rightly be called selling out to do exactly what you said you would do before you became a household name.
I know a lot of others will argue with me that he shouldn't be held to that word since the primaries were often unfair and there was certainly a rewriting of rules to favor Clinton when her delegates couldn't be bothered to show up. (Nevada still infuriates me.) But what could he do? It was pretty well established the DNC was firmly in Clinton's camp and it was obvious he wouldn't get a fair shake in the media. So he could make a ruckus, placate a few fans, and be banned from the convention and have all of his delegates forfeited to Hillary.
Which brings us back to the endorsement - he endorsed, he didn't concede. That's a small but important distinction. By not conceding he keeps his delegates and will have them at the Convention next week. And it allowed him to keep his delegates while drafting the platform (who, it should be noted, are the ones responsible for the $15 minimum wage and got narrowly voted down on fracking and TPP). If he'd conceded, I'd grant you he sold out. But he endorsed - like he said - and, while he's definitely out of the running for president, is using what leverage he does have to push the Democratic candidate on policy.
Will it be enough for me to vote for Hillary? Probably not. But as much as my refusal to vote for Hillary will be lambasted as an obsession with 'purity,' I never thought Bernie was perfect. But he was a candidate close enough that I could, in fairly good conscience, vote for him - even if that conscience had to wrestle with the use of drones and refusal to use the word 'apartheid' no matter how much the treatment of Palestinians calls for it. But Hillary has just done too much and falls far too short. (BTW, you can stop with the 'Voted the same 93% of the time' statistic. Most votes are symbolic or roll call votes - they're utterly meaningless. Ideologically speaking, they're pretty far apart as a neoliberal and a Social Democrat, even if they're nearer than Trump and Sanders.)
But it doesn't matter, anyway - it seems highly unlikely that Trump will win, and even if he does, he was going to win my state either way. Which is the case for MOST of the people who are talking about voting 3rd party so typically your moralizing about how they're going to wreck the country by not voting for the candidate you prefer is - well, it's kind of ironic, all things considered.
I have to say the two FLGS' I frequent are nothing like this. The owners and staff are right there for the customers as soon as they walk in the door. The other two that I know of but haven't visited have the same level of customer service from what I've been told by friends who patronize them. I guess we just got lucky in that department.
Sadly I had a friend who ran a gaming shop this way - though replace tabletop game with "Minecraft." Ironically he was so lazy some days he'd let his roommate run it (1PM is just TOO early for some people I guess) and those were typically the only days anything was sold.
Was very sad to see it go as none of us, at the time, had a very good setup for hosting games.
Watch Requiem for a Dream. The only thing Connelly (or Leto for that matter) will ever arouse in you ever again is severe existential dread.
The Hyenas from Lion King.
Maybe stretching the 'fantasy' criteria, but I 100% support Scar and The Hyenas. The animals' great society is a brutal caste system that functions on the backs of an ostracized and brutalized minority. Scar is not the leader the Lions may want, but he sure as hell is the one they deserve. Scar turned their own gluttony back on them and forced everyone to live in the world they created for the hyenas. Frankly the end of that movie pisses me off still - the fascists are returned to power, having learned nothing. Hooray?
Loki - Thor was a stupid, drunken lout. Odin has a perfectly good, though adopted, son to claim rulership but instead selfishly just held onto power. I don't blame the guy at all for snapping. But that is honestly the least of my problems with the movie Thor.
I am sure it has been said (a lot) but full attack.
There is a lot I love about Pathfinder - but I can pretty much guarantee my group has permanently moved to 5E, and a huge part of that is how much smoother combat is with the Move-Action-Bonus Action setup. Instead of standing still and doing nine attacks or move and do one, you have 2-4 attacks period. Way more meaningful and fun than I stand still for the whole combat and hope I do enough damage before an SoS spell takes me out.
Martin Misthawk wrote:
One of my first house rules was that intelligent undead were not immune to mind affecting.... er, effects. That always rubbed me the wrong way.
Back to the swarm thing, my group always ruled bludgeoning weapons overcame the damage immunity by covering enough surface area to make a dent.
And there's the rub. You cannot fix the problem without undoing the damage the Republicans have done - mainly redrawing the district lines into something resembling sanity and doing away with the gerrymandered mess we currently have.
But as long as Republicans hold majorities, they're not going to do anything about it for obvious reasons. And it'll be almost impossible to take away that majority because they've redrawn everything to make sure they'll stay in power.
Imagine partisan gridlock stomping on a human face forever and ever.
I have to say I'm sick to death of this "country has moved to the right" refrain. First of all, most of the country doesn't participate in the political process AT ALL - if there's been a shift anywhere, it's toward apathy.
But on most of the issues, when broken down, Americans are really more progressive than Congress or the conventional wisdom for sure. Most people do want the rich to pay more, like specific government programs (even my wife's super-Republican, gays-are-causing-the-apocalypse grandfather is worried about Social Security cuts), most Americans are in favor of common sense gun control laws. There are some ways in which that American mean streak shines through - we're overwhelmingly majority in favor or the death penalty no matter how many innocent people we execute (or how many racial biases are revealed in the system, and sadly, often even moreso afterward), and we'd rather let someone die needlessly without access to healthcare rather than see our own taxes increase by a red cent - but ultimately, by most metrics, we are arching toward a more inclusive, progressive society than we had in the 80's.
To the issue of the debates themselves, though, I was kind of shocked O'Malley didn't get more credit. Looking at the debate alone, discounting previous records or gaffes the candidates may have had, O'Malley performed strongly. When asked about climate change, he was the only one to actually mention a proactive plan instead of blaming lobbyists (Sanders, Chaffee), or freaking China. (Clinton - in what was to me the worst answer of the entire night, until Webb made it look like solid gold by comparison to his China/India blaming.)
Webb spent more time complaining about not getting his chance than actually making a case, and in the end, the only reason he's not running as a Republican is because that party has gone down the rabbit hole that if you're not prepared for a Final Solution regarding immigrants or to outright call Climate Change a hoax perpetrated to silence good Christians, you have no place in that clown car.
I like Sanders, I really do. But his performance at the debate was, "Meh." I'll give to him that of all the candidates he was the one who almost straddled the line of telling the truth and admitting that Syria is a situation we have no good answer for. (Prop up a dictator, put troops on the ground and possibly begin a war with Russia, or let civil war reign and concede a large portion of the middle east to Radicals. Sorry if you don't like that but that's the decision America made in 2002 when we planted those seeds.) And his stance on guns is, let's face it, a huge weakness facing down how many high profile mass shootings there have been since Sandy Hook.
Ultimately the real problem with Sanders is that he is just not very popular with the demographic blocs the Democrats actually need to win - the young people and economic populists love him, but they (especially young people and college kids) don't ever vote. Even when Obama was super popular with those blocs, they were not ultimately crucial to his victory. Women and African-Americans actually DO vote, and both are backing Clinton over Sanders by a wide margin.
And as much as I detest Clinton I'll take that sleazy, pandering, take-whatever-side-is-politically expedient over a loony-bin conspiracy theorist like Carson or head-in-the-clouds racist like Trump or - worst of all - a second round of the WORST president in history by any honest metric (or if you can't admit that, at least the worst Republican president), any day of the week.
You know what's sad? I KNEW what that was going to be and I still clicked the damn link.
I do keep alignment, but I have a very specific interpretation that only relates Law to civic laws. I've stated many time that every single person of any alignment has a personal code and to be any sort of adventurer you have to be disciplined. (Screw that monk justification.)
So Paladins do remain Lawful Good for me - they should respect legitimate authority and always look for opportunities to work within the framework of the law if it is possible.
However, if a player wanted her Paladin to be neutral good, I wouldn't flip the table over it.
Druids have the single most pointless alignment restriction in the game. At least Barbarians and Monks have a justification. The Druid restriction is just dumb. I squash that.
That being said, justification or no, I still don't enforce the Monk or Barbarian alignments. Barbarian tribes definitely have laws (ones I suspect are usually enforced by death or exile, what with the lack of prisons and all) - for that matter, I could see the tribal lifestyle being VERY traditionalist and with very specific protocol and etiquette, particularly when dealing with elders of spiritual leaders.
And I could see a Monk whose 'discipline' is unpredictability and natural talent, who bucks tradition and flouts expectations.
I am guessing this was probably from my earlier response and the reason is I had to copy+paste and fill in the quote tags myself since I was replying to two separate posts. I always forget the second "h", so, er... my bad.
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
Well that and (spoilers ahead):
Ulfric was a Thalmor agent meant to destabilize the empire and make Skyrim/Cyrodill easier to invade. They even mention that had he simply made his case to Torygg, Skyrim would have seceded as one and presented a much stronger front. So really even if you hate the Thalmor, The Empire is your best bet.
Even though Redguards are my favorite race to play and Hammerfell declared independence, I can never bring myself to side with the racist sleeper agent specifically propped up to further the Elf Nazis' cause. (Though I like to headcanon it's just to reunite Skyrim as Asa united front against the Empire and then the Thalmor.)
Edit: Ooh, and I almost forgot the rank hypocrisy over the Markarth incident.
So yeah I can never see any good reason to go Stormcloak.
Soooo many ways to break Skyrim...
I think Skyrim kind of plays on a gentleman's agreement that you'll do things the 'right' way and have balanced skills. Of course once you've dumped 10 hours buying and selling to raise Speech by 3 points, you say screw it and do the trick to get speech to 100 in one transaction because tedious.
My favorite, although not necessarily most powerful, thing to do is max out illusion so I can get Mayhem from the guy at the college. (Best place so far: Riften, though Whiterun had its moments.) I could almost end the civil war by default just by causing everyone to murder each other.
And yet oddly, despite the genocidal rampage, I can still never find it in me to join with Ulfric. I find him distasteful.
Wait, hold everything - you don't like Pink Floyd?
But . . . why?!
(OK, I made the obvious joke. It's now copyrighted and no one else can make it without paying me a royalty.)
No! No to all of this! What even . . . I mean, wha-? I don't, I can't .... I mean, seriously, what?
Is this what all of our alignment debate has lead to?! Dear god what have we done?
How has nobody mentioned "Feral Child" yet? I would call it the worst option in all of Pathfinder.
It gives up !@#$ing wildshape in exchange for . . . trap sense and a situational bonus to CMD. JUST CMD. So to be clear, Devs, that you consider trap sense to be so freaking amazing that it's worth giving up:
Adding insult to injury is that she could still get the CMD bonus by flying in th first place.
It's sad, too, because a Tarzan type human-only Druid could've been REALLY cool - but instead you get a Druid that trades out one of its most iconic features for what is widely considered one of the most useless rogue features.
Milo v3 wrote:
TIER 1: Arcanist; Tier 2: Shaman, Tier 3: Bloodrager, Investigator, Hunter, Skald; Tier 4: Slayer, Brawler; Tier 5: Swashbuckler?
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
I don't hate elves, but I typically play elves the same way. Why?
Elves are damn near immortal, mystical, and supposedly very intelligent. They never have the problems that humans have and are almost always presented as superior in nearly every way.
My thought was, with the crapsack worlds most RPG lands tend to be, why on earth would these beings let mankind run the show?
Elves in my homebrew world have a continent spanning empire and are largely in charge of things. It's a patrician, gentle sort of tyranny - they see humans less as animals to be broken and more as unruly children that need the adults to corral them for their own safety. They'll even give them some nominal responsibility the way you might let your kid be in "charge" of the family pet or some chore. But it is tyranny nonetheless.
The difference being that they don't mess with Dwarves (the Dwarves have the underground, which holds no interest, and besides, provides a nice bulwark against Drow - who aren't actually evil, per se, but it'd be way too long to explain here) and still kill Orcs and Goblinoids on sight.
captain yesterday wrote:
I always hoped for the day when Artemis Entreri would kill Drizz't, I wouldn't know if it happened yet as I stopped reading his books after The Ghost King the worst book I ever bought, in hard cover :-)
I couldn't read much past The Pirate King. It's clear Salvatore is tired of Drizzt - which I understand and would be fine with, except the newer characters he's attempted to introduce I find very uninteresting.
Though I always liked Entreri better anyway (obviously) and thought that the Sellswords series was better than anything he'd done since The Dark Elf Trilogy.
I confess that now that my group has largely switched to 5E, I miss doing some of the absurd gamebreaking stuff Pathfinder let me get away with.
-Nearly impossible to beat Enchantment DCs.
I know those are all signs of an unbalanced system, but I can't help it - occasionally I want to be an invincible badass.
PIXIE DUST wrote:
*Insert obligatory martials cant have nice things post*
With the news that Pummeling Style getting nerfed hardcore, I am really beginning to wish the devs would listen to the large number of people unhappy with martials continuously being depowered while spellcasters go unmolested.
I'd start a new thread about it, but recent history indicates it would be locked the 2nd page in.
TL;DR: There are rules in place to help the martial/caster power disparity. If you're really worried about it, use them in your game. If you want versatile characters, stop building them to be myopic killing machines and invest some feats and/or skill points in non-combat stuff.
So to rein casters in from godlike to just really overpowered you just have to remember to use all of the convoluted rules centered around spellcasting until they reach midlevels and literally all of those things are easily overcome. Got it.
If you want a good quick fix that doesn't change the game drastically, there are two things you can do that solve a good deal (if not all) of the disparity.
1. Full attack/standard does not exist. Nor does spring attack. If you are a fighter with 2 attacks, you have two attacks. As long as you have movement left, you can attack and keep on moving and split attacks between targets.
2. Combat feats scale with level. Is this feat a prerequisite for something else? Then it's granted automatically once your BAB reaches the appropriate level. Also combat expertise is dead as it should be.
To truly hate takes time, emotional effort, focus on the object of your hate. We call the KKK and the Black Panthers "hate-groups" for a reason - they'd be a lot less trouble if they were simply "don't give a dire-rat's arse about people different then them" groups.
Hey sorry, I know this is semi off-topic, but this is just something I have to address because it's an oft-repeated and yet rarely challenged fallacy and it bothers me a lot.
It's popular to immediately compare the Black Panthers to the Klan for some misguided attempt at 'fairness', but the reality is the two groups could not be more different. The Black Panther Party was a group created by members of an oppressed minority in solidarity against a government that was actively killing them. The Black Panthers worked and interacted with other leftist groups of all races. Their fight wasn't against white people, per se, but white supremacy.
Furthermore their gathering immediately caught the ire of the US government, and in particular Hoover's FBI. They were immediately targeted with arrest, persecution, and murder. (Fred Hampton being the highest profile of these cases.)
I don't want to act as though it was all sunshine and roses - they were revolutionary, after all, and still radical. But they were not an organization founded to promote black supremacy or white genocide.
The Klan, by contrast, was founded by former Confederate soldiers with the express purpose of killing and intimidating black people after the Civil War. The Klan has killed nearly literally thousands of blacks by lynching alone. Despite this foundation of violent extremism and terrorism, it not only was not greeted with the same sort of resistance, but actually enjoyed a long period of legitimacy in the US government. (There was a time when my state, Indiana, had an entire state legislature consisting of Klansmen.)
For further contrast, here is the mission statement of the Klan as provided by a 1920 pamphlet the group released:
WE STAND FOR WHITE SUPREMACY. Distinction among the races is not accidental but designed. This is clearly brought out in the one book that tells authoritatively of the origin of the races. This distinction is not incidental, but is of the vastest import and indicates the wisdom of the divine mind. It is not temporary but is as abiding as the ages that have not yet ceased to roll. The supremacy of the White Race must be maintained, or be overwhelmed by the rising tide of color.
Now in fairness there is a black separatist, antisemitic organization of a much smaller number called the New Black Panther Party that HAS been designated a hate group, but typically when the Black Panthers are brought up the distinction is not being made. (It should also be said for the record that members of the original BPP have denounced them.)
We really need to quit parroting this myth. Without digressing too far into current events, it's a seductive narrative meant to assuage white guilt at the expense of meaningful change - and this sort of mythology we have built around our history is literally deadly.
John Robey wrote:
My only real difficulty has been gauging encounter difficulty. The XP Budget system presented in the DMG requires a lot of tweaking due to the number-of-foes multiplier and can present some pretty strange results if you push it too hard (such as the popular example of a solo lich being a moderate encounter at a given level while a lich accompanied by two kobolds is an epic encounter).
Actually that's not quite true. The DMG specifically points out that you do not include enemies whose CR is significantly below the party's APL as part of the challenge. So 2 Kobolds = CR 1/4, nothing to a 13th level party.
You'd need 16+ Kobolds before it even gets close to making a dent.
In regards to the Dex vs Str, I like the change a lot. STR is still slightly better for damage, and DEX is still slightly better defense - it's just that now you can reasonably do combat styles aside from THF and do decent damage.
TWF is viable. Archery doesn't mean having to focus on STR and DEX as opposed to a THF Barbarian just getting to pump their STR to absurdity. But Power Attack now belongs solely to Great Weapon Fighters. Criticals just doubling dice and not modifiers favors d12 and 2d6 weapons over d4 and d6.
Also, for the record, STR saves are fairly common at low levels. Pretty much every beast with a Trip attack requires a STR save. Prone isn't the worst thing in the world, per se, but it's no picnic.
Things I have learned from this thread:
1. My hatred of katanas is completely justified, but there are way cooler Japanese weapons that sadly are not getting their due.
2. Do NOT Google a "yuri" bow at work with the safe search off.
I feel like a lot of these changes would mean you're no longer playing Pathfinder. Honestly, I love 5E and a lot of the things it changed - but I don't want to turn Pathfinder into 5E. Too many people are eager to turn Pathfinder into something else and that's just not fair.
That being said some changes I would like to see:
1. Combat Expertise is the worst example I have ever seen of a rule remaining simply due to legacy. It's beyond worthless - it is actively detrimental to building martial characters who do anything besides "I hit with my stick!" I have already houseruled it out of my games, as have most GMs I know. Similarly -
2. Too many feats, especially maneuver feats, are nickel and dimed. When a trait is worth more than a feat, the design has failed somewhere.
3. Many of the super high level spells should be relegated to GM options only. The narrative shattering stuff like Simulacrum should not be assumed to be available to players, but as villainous options for BBEGs to use. Players could always take at GM's discretion of course.
4. Get rid of full attack/standard. If you have 2 attacks, you have 2 attacks. Period.
DM Under The Bridge wrote:
Rakshasha aren't used enough. I must correct this in my own games (alas they don't fit for this campaign).
Hear hear. It amazes me, too. Rakshasa are tailor made BBEG's for midlevel campaigns. Why more people don't utilize that I'll never know.
Speaking of things I think are underutilized as BBEG's, another favorite of mine are the Fey. Two reasons:
1. I love traditional fairy tales. Demons/devils and such are cool, absolutely, but it feels very heavy metal - and I'm just more of a Prog guy I guess. And almost all of the traditional folkloric monsters are in the 'Fey' category.
2. Their nature means the line between benevolent and antagonistic likes to blur a lot. Even "helpful" fey are often less than such, and antagonistic fey can show mercy or grant a boon at a whim because it's totally within their nature to be mercurial like that. I especially love having high level Fey as secondary antagonists or Enemy Mine characters.
As an atheist, I would absolutely be devoutly religious in Golatrion. And that's not just to say I would accept the gods as fact - any idiot in that world SHOULD - but would follow one whose ideals matched my own closely.
That's why I really hate misotheistic (NOT atheistic! Please Paizo, if ever Rahadoum gets another treatment, please change that. Atheists struggle with stereotypes of just being bitter god haters and slapping the title on any believer with a chip on their shoulder does not help.) societies in D&D and Pathfinder. It's an unlimited pantheon of deities who directly aid mortals in their lives! You can't find one you like?!
In Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Elsa God-Hater was the only NPC you came across with this attitude, and it was a unique enough view that she took on a name after it. Even in Tamriel, gods are active enough that most people are not stupid enough to not st least pay lip service to SOMETHING, and those gods are far less involved than on Golarion.
But the OPs GM sounds terrible. Even as someone who GMs a lot and does not care for Paladins in my games (nothing against the nature of the class - it's just when it breaks something, it breaks it HARD.) I'd have to walk away from that game on principle. This is obviously one of those GMs who delights in taking powers away and, when he couldn't, punished a player in the most vindictive way possible.
DM Under The Bridge wrote:
I never expect my players to forgive antagonists just because they have sympathetic motivations - but I do like that it gives it a bigger twist than just go here, roll initiative, and try to kill them first. And it's never a "No Win" situation. Whether they choose to forgive or smite, I usually play up the better aspects of either scenario.
The most straightforward was the cult leader trying to seal off the abyss. The players were having none of the justifications and he ultimately succumbed to a fate worse than death when a Demon lord claimed him for his hubris.
With the priestess it was actually planned from the beginning that the child would actually turn out to be one of the PC's (One of my players had rolled up a tiefling orphan when my backstory included the murder of a noble's tiefling bastard.) As all the players that game were some shad of good, the final showdown came down to trying to divert her before she did something truly irredeemable - making a pact with a lich - and finding and punishing the remaining co-conspirators, which included some high ranking nobles and members of the thieves' guild, so no easy task.
The Inspector had no end, sadly, as my work picked up and I had to stop playing for about two months, causing the game to dissolve. They ended up killing the Drow enclave, which also broke the seals holding the monster in the Underdark, resulting in a very difficult final boss battle. As for the Druid - well, that one is happening now, so I'll let you know lol.
My favorite antagonists are sympathetic ones. Though I'll always have plenty of kill-on-sight irredemable baddies on the way to the final confrontation, I like my final showdowns to be with somebody whose motivations a) make sense and b) let the heroes think outside the box. I've done -
A priestess who murdered the man that killed her child. Framing the PCs for his murder was keeping the authorities busy while she took out the nobles who helped him cover it up.
That's not to say they're all not evil or even pleasant, but I love the how far could anyone go if pushed hard enough story line.
You might check out the one shot module, Up from Darkness, from Rite Publishing for the Kaidan setting of Japanese horror (PFRPG). It starts out exactly as you describe and its definitely story driven. Lots of unique undead and traps, its a very deadly dungeon with a very unique twist. Read Endzeitgeist's review to get a good idea of what I'm talking about. The PCs begin at the lowest level of the dungeon with no memory as to who they are and why they are here...
These were all really helpful, but this post in particular was awesome. I downloaded the PDF and read through it and I have to say, wow. This gave me just about everything I wanted (and some things I didn't know I did until I read through)
The Dread Pirate Hurley wrote:
Gnomes are predisposed to having quirky obsessions. They're on a constant quest for novelty to keep them from Bleaching. It's not difficult to imagine a gnome with decidedly more... gruesome obsessions. I could see Count Rugen from The Princess Bride as a gnome.
(Side note: Already saw the Gnome hate coming to the fore. Man, people really don't like these guys, eh? Makes me sad.)
Truthfully, I think a Bleachling would make a better and far different sort of Gnome villain than the PHB Gnome. If I recall correctly, a gnome that survives its bleaching loses its CHA boost and gets a WIS bonus instead, becomes super connected to the First World and has an ethereal, inscrutable quality about it.
Imagine a hypermeditative, silent summoner-type with impenetrable motives and the appearance of a frail, albino child. I'm seeing a Shaman with a snow owl familiar perched in a lofty position beyond the PC's reach, with Ankou servants bringing the fight to their level while she casts spells from afar. That would actually be scary as hell.
EDIT: Apparently Gnome's ability array doesn't change after Bleaching, though it can speak with animals at will and gets Druid as an additional favored class. So even better - imagine a Summoner whose summons have become twisted mockeries of First World creations.
I wonder if that is to balance that since most Small races are 20ft/round, you have to spend the extra point to get the speed but also the +1 to AC and attack rolls?
I suppose. I actually liked gnomes even in the 3.5 days - one of my first characters ever was a Gnome Cleric of Garl Glittergold. It really seems like most of the hatred is just that they're silly or childish for whatever reason, but I suppose I can understand the hatred for not really doing any schtick particularly well.
Actually I really wish, as Gnomes were the traditional Bard choice from 3.5, that Pathfinder had saved the CHA bonus for them alone and given Halflings INT. +DEX/INT makes halflings the best small race for rogue, magus, wizard, alchemist, witch, investigator, etc. +CON/CHA makes gnomes a great fit for sorcerer, Paladin, cavalier, bard, summoner, and Oracle.
Unpopular opinion here, but I'd personally take your D-team over your A-team to begin with. Let's break down what you have:
1. Bard - Bards are unique in that their efficacy is largely dependent on the party make-up. The more Martials in a party, the better a Bard becomes. Your other party members are a Fighter (Martial), Ranger (Martial), Paladin (Martial, Martial, Martial!). As well the Bard has the almighty UMD which makes up for a LOT of the missing spellcasting. Wizards are technically better, but they're not nearly the team player a bard is. As well any Bard worth their salt should have the Scrolls and Wands to cover your necessities - especially healing.
2. Fighter - This is the one area a fighter wouldn't be my first choice, either, especially compared to Barbarians. However, you could not have chosen a more ideal party for a Fighter to be a part of. All of his weaknesses are beings shored up by Bardic inspiration and the Paladin's aura. You have the Skills pretty well covered by the Bard and Ranger. And if the job is simply "Go Kill _______", well, great news! Fighters still do that quite competently. I'm not gonna start splitting hairs if the Barbarian one-shots an enemy plus 20 hit points and the Fighter one-shots an enemy plus 10 hit points.
3. Ranger - Druids are (like Wizards) technically better, but you have a high skills class to complement the bard, and a full-BAB switch hitter with full feat trees to back the Fighter. 4th level spellcasting isn't 9th, but it's not too shabby, and it's one of the better 4-level spell lists. Take Boon Companion at level 5 and you're on par with one of the Druid's best class features. And if the favored enemy aligns, I'd easily say the Ranger in his element can surpass the Druid.
4. Paladin - In many ways I prefer this to a Cleric. Paladins passively buff their party just by being around. She's going to have a better way to overcome DR out of the gate. And while the Cleric doesn't have bad saves, the Divine Grace means you can pretty much pump CHA and dump WIS/DEX and still frustrate the hell out of your DM. Self heals as a swift action makes her the tankiest of tanks.
If you're running an open ended campaign with lots of world building and very complex narrative challenges, the A-team is pretty much necessary. If you're running an AP or any sort of straightforward adventure consisting of Go Here - Kill This, I'd take these options over the A-team any day of the week, with the lone exception of the Fighter - and again, even so, a lot of the big drawbacks of a Fighter versus a Barbarian are being greatly mitigated by the makeup of the party. That is how you use party synergy to overcome the issue with Class Tiers.
Very recently I played in a campaign where I challenged myself to never do any direct HP damage. I was a caster who specialized in enchantment and control - after a few sessions it became a running gag that I ALWAYS cast "Grease" - especially once we hit about Level 5 and our other caster was using stuff like Fireball to clear gaggles of minions. Despite this proving very useful (especially in some out of combat situations), I game with people who measure success by how much direct damage you're doing so there were always silly arguments about whether Grease was stupid or, as I insisted, the most useful spell in the game.
Fast forward two years. Our characters are all Level 16 and fighting a Balor with Fighter class levels for control of the World Ending macguffin - something he and a friend developed for this campaign that appeared as a normal Crystal Ball but actually containing the energy of sorta mini-universe. I've burned all of my higher level spells on keeping him and his minions away from this thing, but after the rest of us are unconscious and dying and he's managed to grab the orb I get desperate and do the only thing that comes naturally - I Grease the orb.
Amazingly, our DM Nat 1'd the save and the crystal falls from the BBEG's hands and smashes on the ground. Our DM rolls on a table for random effects and a planar gate opens --- deposting everybody in a 300ft radius onto the plane of Elysium.
Grease. We ended a 2-year campaign against a Balor with grease. Most useful spell in the game.
A Ladder from pretty much any game
In that same vein: A small shrubbery from any early RPG. Infinite HP, regeneration, immunity to all damage types, and you cannot climb over it or teleport past it. It can only be destroyed with a special weapon that can only be wielded by a 10th level character. Imagine the BBEG dropping a few of those outside his door to finish his plans while the party levels up.
Nathanael Love wrote:
Casters are built up as better than martials for their versatility, not because they always kill things better. Barbarians kill things (Especially puny wizards!) damn well.
I just ask myself, "What are orcs?" They're raiders. They don't spend a lot of time in quiet contemplation or study, and their gods are venerated by war and bloodshed - not burning incense and meditating on the universe.
Being simple works because they have the Strength to back it up.
As for Bulls Strength - A) It's limited to so many times per day, B) It's a short duration, C) It is wasted on a spellcaster with no good weapon proficiencies and half BAB and (most importantly) D) As a 2nd level spell, it is easily within the reach of an orc spell caster with 12 Wis to use on an orc Warrior for an even more ridiculous slash chop.
Kobold Cleaver wrote: