Slavery in the Pathfinder World and it's implications...(series of weird questions regarding a controversial topic)
Imnah, The Half Steel wrote:
Is it 'evil' for a lawful good paladin to uphold the law by capturing and returning slaves to their master, if tasked by authorities?
Yes, absolutely. Even the military - the closest our modern society has to the epitome of lawfulness - has a section in the UCMJ that explicitly commands that soldiers MUST disobey illegal, Unconstitutional, or harmful orders. If you were commanded by your superior officer, for instance, to turn your weapon and open fire on innocent citizens you would not only be allowed to disobey it but be held culpable if you didn't.
Obviously, it doesn't always work out that way, but being lawful is about a lot more than following orders. A Paladin upholds just laws - you can argue all day about how whether he's allowed to lead a revolution or free slaves, but he's under no obligation to perpetuate an evil system.
I won't waste too much time with the fluff or details, but the gist is I've had a character in my head for some time I've been wanting to try out: A Gnome Cavalier with a Paladin dip. (I really want to use that CHA bonus and Cavaliers sort of waste it unless you're playing to really high levels). Well a friend finally invited me to play in a game he's running that would be a perfect fit for my diminutive hero so I've set about building him.
We'll be rolling stats, but I've set it up with a 25 point-buy to mimic the typical allocation of stats:
Level 4 LG Gnome Order of the Sword Cavalier (Gendarme)
STR: 16 (17-2, 4th level increase)
Fort: +6 Ref: +1 Will: +5 <---(Order of the Sword +2 as long as LG)
N Medium Animal (Dog)
AC: 21 (+4 Armor, +4 Natural, +3 Dex) FF: 18 T: 13
The goal, obviously, is for the gnome to be the melee beast and have the dog function entirely as a mount and companion. (I'm aware there are stronger options if I want the beasty doing all the damage.) In particular, I want to keep the mount medium so that I can have use of it indoors and during dungeon crawls. We already have a Ranger/Paladin in our party who has gone almost entirely ranged, so I am trying to avoid putting too much stock into that.
Two questions: When would be the best time to multiclass into Paladin?
Any other suggestions on how to get my melee damage up? Obviously I'll be investing in a Belt of Giant Strength as soon as I have the gold, but I'm wondering if there are some less obvious tricks or trinkets I'm missing. I'm in love with the concept of this character, but I'm very aware he's going to be a one trick pony. That being the case, I want it to be the best trick possible.
Green of Skin, Round of Buttock wrote:
I guess I should emphasize that my banning of specific books usually is about 49% anti-optimization, 51% I-don't-want-to-figure-out-how-this-fits-into-the-campaign-world sentiment on my part. I should have added that we don't play on Golarion. Our world is scratchbuilt by me and, as I said, I tend to want everything that gets used to have an 'ecology' behind it--a specific and plausible-sounding way it fits into the world.
That is why typically the only thing I've banned is the Summoner. If the APs are any indication, even Paizo has trouble fitting that beast into a campaign world.
I immediately thought of this.
Totally inspired now to use that for a double lich boss fight.
I think for sure the Cleric of Asmodeus would get along better with the Paladin of Iomedae. At least between the two, there will be a mutual understanding of the importance of contractual obligations and order. (Also, Lawful Evil doesn't necessarily mean malicious. Just ruthless. A merciless assassin who performs his duties without question, for instance, could still find common ground with a Paladin easily.)
Here's the thing, though: I like Family Guy. I love American Dad. (Honestly a far superior show.) I think even Cleveland Show wasn't really given its fair shake. I found Ted hilarious.
But even loving all of that, Dads is just godawful. The jokes are like 80's sitcom jokes that Family Guy would parody.
Pineapple - my theory is that, if it exists, a human has tried to eat it, shoot it, or have sex with it - or sometimes all three. Just like we figured out pineapples, coconuts, and psychedelic mushrooms, we also figured out from the Darwin Awards that eating nightshade is deadly, live crocodiles don't make good sex toys, and flinging yourself from a trebuchet is a bad idea.
Given, although that does bring up another point I don't think anybody gets.
Religious fundamentalism - contrary to conventional opinion, devout belief and scientific curiosity aren't mutually exclusive - otherwise, we wouldn't have Newtonian physics, genetic theory or certain key theories of electromagnetism (or we'd have had them much later than we did). It takes all kinds, and most importantly people understanding that ignorance and stubbornness is not the exclusive province of any group - idiots abound from Sea to Shining Sea. :)
Yes and no. Newton was a product of his era and was able to push the boundaries of what we knew at the time without running into any glaring religious inconsistencies. But how a person of an intellectual curiosity could believe that the earth is 5,000-years-old or that species do not evolve in the face of overwhelming evidence is mind-boggling.
Belief in the supernatural, I grant, is a philosophical difference that by its definition cannot be debated on an empirical foundation. But it's the obviously, plainly false things that get me.
My favorite fluff for that? Vivisectionist alchemist.
Cruel Anatomist You can use Knoweldge (Nature) in place of the Heal skill. The implications are deliciously wicked.
The NPC wrote:
I know quite a few women who are into man-on-man. (Slash fiction is predominately written by female writers.) Honestly, I think 1+1=2 is about as simple and obvious an answer as it'll get. I actually don't get what's hard to get about it.
Things I do not get:
-How anybody could enjoy the program 'Dads' enough that it survived past the pilot
-How we first discovered that pineapples are edible. That is a fruit that seems to shout in big bold spines, "DO NOT TOUCH ME"
-The intelligent people I know who are also religious fundamentalists
Have you considered the "Nightmare Creature" template from Bestiary 4? Even using the sample 'Nightmare Ettercap' beasty they listed would be a sufficient challenge and give you everything you asked for. (It's a limited 10' teleport, but really, a level 4-5 party you don't want to overwhelm anyway.)
And evil people love pacifists, because they won't fight back.
Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Malala Yousafzai.
Fighting back does not always mean fighting with arms.
If nothing else, for a good person, violence should always be the last resort. In most scenarios in these games, it's quite well established that they're in immediate danger or the bad guy is too far gone and too dangerous not to be vanquished.
Now, if this were my game and there were a Paladin in that party and his response to that adventure hook were anything other than to offer the nobleman a peaceful way of resolving his pain, he'd fall like a cartoon character down an elevator shaft. (*whistle SPLAT*)
(Alternative: Pay the X-amount of GP for the ogre and bring him bound before the nobleman. Give the nobleman the sword and offer him the 'gift' of getting to take the ogre's life himself. This is something that could backfire in a big way, but I think would present a fascinating role-play opportunity.)
For a mostly neutral party, though? Yeah, I could see this being a justifiable, if somewhat dark, action. The Ogre and orcs are obviously chaotic evil beasts that are killing, maiming, and tormenting. Is what the party did to them right? Absolutely not. But a case could be made for paying evil unto evil.
This is again one of those things where motivations matter, though. The orcs, while enslaving goblins, are still doing so in a particularly evil way because they do not care one whit about what the goblin's alignment or previous deeds are. They're enslaving them because the orcs are bigger and can do so. If you're enslaving only those you know to be wicked in the first place, well it's not good and no good character should be part of it, but I wouldn't necessarily call it out as evil either.
My introduction to D&D was by reading The Dark Elf Trilogy and when I saw it written I assumed it was pronounced 'dr-oh'. However, once I started playing I never heard it pronounced any way except as 'dr-ow'.
On the one hand, I get the 'common sense' argument for Charisma being a function of Intimidate.
But from a game play perspective, why screw fighters over on the one social provision they should excel at?
No, BG2 and NWN yes, but SoA no :)
Not to quibble, but BG2 is Shadows of Amn.
There was also Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, but we'll just pretend that NEVER HAPPENED.
Mostly I dislike alignment based outsider mixes so I dislike aasimar just as much. They show big problems of "look how much I follow my birth alignment" or "look how much I don't follow my birth alignment" roleplay.
I am with you on that. It's why, the few time I've played tieflings, I've always gone with a Neutral alignment. They're not my LEAST favorite (Dwarves. I know they're mechanically great Clerics, Druids, and ESPECIALLY Zen Archers, but I just don't care for the buggers.) but I'll typically only choose them for a role-play challenge or because we're limited in racial options.
Most tieflings I've seen have been Drizzt clones in all but race. "Ooh, I'm a chaotic good (And it's ALWAYS chaotic good) rebel casting off the evil shackles of his forebears!... why yes, I am a duel-wielding Ranger with a big cat companion. Whatever makes you ask?"
Vod Canockers wrote:
Two things about that:
1. We're talking about role-playing adventurers. If you're going to make a TN character, he still needs to find an excuse to be a part of things.
2. Neutrality is not psychopathy. "Ha, I'll let that dragon kill everybody and take the treasure for myself!" is definitely E-V-I-L. I can see the argument for neutral ignoring conceptual evil, because to some degree we all have to do this. I can see the argument for self-preservation, but see number one for that.
This is probably the easiest question in the world to answer:
Think of damn near every single person that you know. Does anybody you encounter in your day to day life really concern themselves with how much good they're doing in the world? Or how they can reign death upon their enemies? Most people are just concerned with paying their bills, keeping themselves and their family fed, and amusing themselves.
TN adventurers simply do what they do for value-neutral (no pun intended) reasons. The good character fights the dragon to save the village and protect innocent lives. The evil character does it so he can extort them later or establish himself as a bigger threat. The neutral character does it for gold, or to test himself, or for thrill.
Calas Dermain wrote:
I hate hardcore, "You will die a lot" games.
But by the same token, I hate how often GM's will mollycoddle players and not let anything bad EVER, EVER happen to them. Death should be a real threat if players are careless or clueless. (A couple of examples from previous experience: strongly hinting there's an anti-magic field up ahead and then having a PC fly into it at a height of 1,000 feet. Or 4 level-6 PC's deciding they need to fight the Ancient Blue Dragon instead of bargain with it as they were instructed by an important NPC.)
People --- almost always family members of course --- who forward you every idiotic, blatantly false chain e-mail as gospel truth.
I am preparing for the onslaught after Halloween passes and we liberals begin our fictional War on Christmas, but just the reminder that I'm related to people who believe this stuff is depressing. Why can't they keep their insanity to themselves?
Inner Heru wrote:
I think Dms who state out the gate "No Evil PCs" are weak and unimaginative.
In some games I do outright ban Evil characters. But that's because sometimes you want to play a Chivalrous black-and-white game without any moral ambiguity.
I do love evil characters, and I usually allow them, but once in a while it's nice to see a group of heroes rush in and save the day for the sake of saving the day.
The "Log Line" as defined by Wikipedia:
"A log line or logline is a brief summary of a television program, film, or motion picture often providing both a synopsis of the program's plot, and an emotional "hook" to stimulate interest."
Unofficially most log lines are under 25 words. So, in one line and less than 25 words, sum up a campaign idea you have/had.
The PC's are thrust into the middle of a civil war, when a powerful - and evil - third faction joins the fray,
I love using Fey as villains. Here's the thing: Most monsters are just evil. If you encounter a Bugbear, you know the solution is to kill it and just keep killing it until it's properly killed.
But dealing with Fey is a different beast altogether. Even quote unquote 'good' Fey are capricious, mercurial creatures that only offer the most cryptic of help or advice. A few, granted, are just plain ol' "Kill on Sight" baddies, but for the most part, you never quite know where you stand.
Sure, maybe you should kill that Satyr. But he may also be the only hope you have of finding a guide through the treacherous forest. But he may screw with you a bit on the way. But he might reward your diligence if you impress him. (Note to self: Idea for next session.)
Ditto with evil Druids. I think they get less attention because it's harder to picture the motivations for an evil Druid. What does an evil Druid want? A Cleric of Urgathoa is going to raise an army of zombies. A Cleric of Zon-Kuthon is going to 'enlighten' (re: torture) an entire city's worth of victims to appease his dark god. A Cleric of Asmodeus is going to instill a tyrannical dictatorship and trek with devils.
Evil Druids, though? Harder to pull off. Typically it's a noble goal (e.g. The protection of a sacred Grove) taken to an ideological extreme (e.g. Preemptively destroying every neighboring civilization as a potential threat.) but it seems like Paizo specifically introduced things like 'Plague Druids' just to make it easier to use them as bad guys.
I think Neutral Outsiders get under utilized. You see a lot of Angels vs Demons, Agathions vs Devils, Demons vs Devils, and so on, but very rarely do you get to see the Aeons or Kalyrauts getting involved.
Edit: OH! And evil gnomes. Where are all the evil gnomes? I think an evil gnome has the potential to be absolutely terrifying.
All right, now I think we're getting the point of the shun thread.
Shun! Shun! SHHHUUUUNNNN!
Although I'd like to point out that confession was sort of meant tongue in cheek. If you do enjoy beating games on Insane Hardcore Murder Mode, knock yourself out. To each his own.
Of course, my experience has always been a sort of snobbish disregard for those who don't. I understand this isn't indicative of everybody who enjoys playing that way, but those gamers---those 'Hardcore' gamers who cannot stand that video games have become accessible to the unwashed masses---irritate me to no end.
Yeah, I know, every hobby has them. But still, perhaps my rant came across a bit harsh because there's always seemed to be a stronger undercurrent of it among video gamers than anywhere else I've encountered.
I have zero interest in being challenged in video games, and I really don't get people who do. Seriously. What's the accomplishment there? Are you going to tell your boss you beat Halo on Legendary in one life? Is it going to score you a date with an attractive woman? Is it going to win you a trophy your family and friends give a crap about? No, no, and no.
Some challenge in a game is fun. (The 2008 Prince of Persia was so dull precisely because you couldn't die.) But I have better things to frustrate myself over than playing the same 1/2 hour chunk of Dark Souls just to say I did.
I like R.A. Salvatore, and I like Drizzt. (As if the name weren't an obvious giveaway.) Say what you will, it introduced me to the game we all love and it's always going to hold a special place in my heart because I can't read it without remembering that sense of wonder 13-year-old me felt when I read The Dark Elf Trilogy for the first time. No book before that captured me the way it did, and no book since has. Of course that has a lot more to do with adulthood than anything else.
Forgotten Realms > Dragonlance > Greyhawk > Golarion > Eberron. Eberron is WAY, WAY overrated. But I do love Golarion's gods.
Wizards of the Coast gets way too much flack. I don't like all of their decisions as a gamer, but from a financial perspective, I get it. They're running a business.
I totally allow evil characters at my table. And I play evil whenever I get the opportunity. I get frustrated when it's banned.
I love Paladins, too. But then I'm about the only person I know who prefers Superman to Batman, Captain America to Iron Man, and thinks Wolverine is the worst thing to happen to comic books since well . . . I take that back, Wolverine is actually the worst thing to happen to comic books character wise ever. He single-handedly ruined the 90's.
And Tinker Gnomes are WAAYYYY more annoying than Kender.
Some fun out of combat curses.
"May Your Wealth Mutltiply"
You Have Such Pretty Eyes
Looks Like Rain
I hate Star Wars. The Empire Strikes Back was okay-but just okay. Every other movie in that series was a chore. The originals were just as stupid and goofy as the prequels-which while I didn't like those either, were to me of a very similar quality to Episodes 4-6. And the fan base makes me sick. Say what you will about Trekkies, at least as much as they hated Wesley Crusher they didn't drive Wil Wheaton into hiding by sending him an avalanche of death threats. (Though I am sure there were a few at least.)
I think there is such a thing as WrongBadFun, and no I am not going to say when, but there's one particular reason people will do/not do something in their games that I find to be completely unacceptable and we'd all be better off if they stopped.
LotR was a much better movie than book. The movies dragged at some points, but the books were meandering snooze fests. And Tom Bombadil is the worst character and dropping him from the movie was the best thing Peter Jackson did since Dead Alive.
On that note, I can think of 5 pieces of media off the top of my head where the movie was far superior to the book. I know that's blasphemy among nerds, but sometimes a mediocre book makes an awesome movie.
I hate when shy, bookish nerds are the main character because there's always included within this air of self-congratulations. "Ooh look how much smarter we are than everyone else. The muggles will never see it coming, but we're special!" (One reason in particular that I hated Orson Scott Card even before he revealed what a repugnant old codger he is. That sort of intellectual narcissism was all over the Ender series and his Iron Man comics.) I don't think the masses are as stupid as so many educated people I know think and I am so weary of the constant stream of media that insists on reiterating that idea.
I play one too. Although he's evil to the core.
Also more confessions:
Rolling for everything is stupid. If you're strong enough, you should just be able to break something or unseal something or open like a really heavy door. Why would my 8 STR Sorcerer manage to bust open something an 18 STR fighter couldn't because he rolled a 2 and I rolled a 19?
I award role-play xp. I know some people are shy and we can't expect everybody to be a burgeoning thespian, but if you think of something clever or creative, even if you're not speaking in character, I like to reward that.
People are way too squeamish about sex in their games. It is totally possible to include sexuality --- even in frank, explicit terms --- in a game without it being immature or pornographic. It's as much a part of life as eating, drinking, family, sleeping, traveling, fighting, and talking and as much a part of our history as war, conquest, diplomacy, and conspiracy. We should be able to explore desire as easily as we cover the rest of these themes on a daily basis.
FFIX was to me, bar none, the best of the PS1 generation. The materia and junctioning systems in FFVII and FFVIII made every character play the same. I much preferred having an actual job system. And also, if people could just get over how . . . er, 'fabulous' . . . Kuja looked I think they might be able to see he's a much better and more effective villain than lame ol' Sephiroth. (And the only one who ever accomplished anything he set out to do---he killed what basically amounts to a god on his planet and destroyed it.)
I liked Justice League but LOVED Justice League: Unlimited because my favorite hero has always been Ollie Queen as Green Arrow. He's principled, kind of like Bats, but actually so and not so beloved by the fandom that writers are tempted to make him a ridiculously overpowered Mary Sue.
I still love tofu from my brief time as a vegan.
8) I am a straight, conservative, Christian gamer.
For the record, most people don't have a problem with this. I can't say for sure, not knowing you, of course, but what I typically find as a liberal atheist is that gaming tends to transcend those barriers. I've played with people of various political and religious stripes and we've enjoyed each other's company just fine. (Also "straight" is on your list? Like 90% of us are straight, bro. We just have the good sense to act gay in public.)
When somebody feels ostracized it's much more likely they're just obnoxious. I find it's more like people want to air their more odious opinions---things that are derogatory, homophobic, or sexist---and then claim intolerance from the other side when they're called on it. It happens all the time in (American) politics, too. Some jerk will say something incredibly offensive about women or gays, and then when the rest of us are legitimately disgusted by it, they claim we just hate white Conservative heterosexual Christian males. (Even if you happen to meet 4 of 5 of those qualifiers.)
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
*Narrows eyes at Tequila Sunrise, then turns back and quickly scribbles something into well-worn notebook*
I know I'm playing necromancer here, but let me resurrect this point to say that this is not so much a sign of the degeneration of society as a broken society that is recuperating.
All of those horrible statistics you keep reading about can largely be blamed on the Baby Boomers. Boomers---not to a one, of course, but statistically as a generation---oversaw the decline of science education in our classrooms and decided to play make believe about the realities of climate change. Even things like Astrology owe their mainstream popularity to middle-aged housewives in the 80s and 90s. (Molly Ivins did some great pieces about this in the Bush I years.)
The youngest generation, by and large, accept the threat of climate change and the science behind it. Fewer are religious, and fewer among them still buy Young Earth Creationism. They're actually MORE family oriented, and almost none believe Birtherism non-sense.
I actually have some hope for the future, believe it or not. Those stats are depressing right now, but they'll get better with each successive generation leaving the superstitions and predilections of its forebears further behind.
I actually just moved to Pittsburgh from Indianapolis for work and would love to get in on a game. I've been playing/GMing for about 3 years or so I'm decently familiar with the rules. I'm in southern Pittsburgh, in the Whitehall area. (Really near West Mifflin and Brentwood). 28 y/o non-smoker, and no kids so I could even host if it were ever necessary. It's a small apartment, but it's only my wife and I (and our cat).
Oh, this isn't one that comes up a lot, but something that has always been a source of contention between my fellow players and me:
-Paladins don't gamble. They just don't, I'm sorry. If you're playing a Paladin and your GM allows it, fine, cool, whatever. I'll let it go. I hate it, though, and not one of my NPC Paladins would ever indulge. To be sure, in my world you'd definitely get some aside glances from the other Paladins if they caught you doing it. It's not "fall-worthy" (something that's just way too abused) but it's just a really terrible way for a champion of light to spend her time-it would be like if you eyed somebody eating from the bins at the grocery; not something you would turn someone into the authorities for, but distasteful and rude. If you win, you're taking money from poor saps having a run of bad luck. If you lose, you're throwing good coin away that could be put to better use vanquishing evil or helping the less fortunate. Since I am apparently the only person in the world who holds this opinion, I'll include it here.
-I love that Paizo is trying to bring back the evil drow, but I find how they did it distasteful.
-I love high level play. More options will always be better than fewer to me.
-I enjoy Vancian magic. Everything else feels almost unnatural to me at this point.
-Enchantment is the best magic school EVER. I don't care if Conjuration or Transmutation are more powerful mechanically speaking, Enchantment is so much more fun. I have never felt so awesome in a game as when my 15th level Sorcerer single handedly defeated what basically amounted to an army with a Mass Hold Person. And even if your main enemies aren't humanoids, almost all of the NPC's are. A creative player can do so, so much with that.
I actually hate having several deities in a setting, and what I hate more is the concept of evil deities. Why on earth would you worship them?! I'm going to worship this god that basically hates everybody---his followers included---so I can wind up in his realm after death where I'll be tortured mercilessly forever and ever. Yay!
(OK, I get it for Zon-Kuthon followers, but the rest of it? Utterly stupid.)
Not only that, but you're objectively told what you're doing is evil. Good and evil are tangible concepts with spells and abilities that detect them. No person we would call 'evil' ever thought of themselves as evil.
And if you objectively KNEW a church is evil, why on earth would you allow them to exist in civilized society? And if they don't, how would there ever be enough worshipers to be considered a major religion? It just begs too many questions.
I condensed my pantheon into 4 deities, all tied to an element, and all covering domains that are normally tied to both good and evil deities. So, for instance, my Fire deity is tied to Glory and Freedom, but also Destruction and Death. My Earth deity is tied to Community and Commerce, but also Tyranny and Slavery. Seems to work fine.
The only thing I did change a bit was how Paladins work. Since there aren't any actual "Good" deities they can commit to, they instead commit to one of 4 Knightly Courts and are blessed by a secret ritual known only to the leaders of those courts. Also depending on which court they get a more specific Paladin code to help clear up some alignment squabbles.
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
(Sorry I cut the description. Brevity and all.)
I've actually never seen a Tiefling played what you would describe as 'emo'---correct me if wrong, but I would imagine you mean full of angst and pseudo-philosophical. (I did notice a lot of appeal for Drow, among those types when I was younger and some of my friends were really into the scene, and now Dhampir among some of the younger players, but I digress.) Tieflings I've always seen played like ludicrous caricatures of 1990s Anti-Heroes. That is, always played as an excuse to act like an anti-social jerkward. Every Tiefling player I've encountered was essentially Wolverine of the setting turned up to 11.
But again, I recognize that is a personal hang-up. Though it has created a pretty large mental block that makes me cringe a little inside at the thought of playing a Tiefling.
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
A bit off topic, but I've always hated the Forgotten Realms Drow as a very intricate, powerful society . . . consisting entirely of stab-happy for the evulz CE psychopaths.
Now, I'm not super familiar with Golarion Drow (other than the whole good elves turning drow when they become evil enough, which bothers me in its own way) but the idea of a bunch of chronic needlessly malicious murderers building a powerful underworld society that rivaled even the most powerful human settlements just bothered me. Every other mundane CE evil 'society' is barely held together under strong leadership or external threat and then disbands or implodes on itself due to the nature of chaotic evil. THAT makes sense. What doesn't make sense is a delicate power scheme in impressive underground labyrinths featuring powerful magic. That screams Lawful Evil and Drow should, over all, be Lawful Evil.
I also agree Tieflings are lame, but I do have to admit that's partially a personal prejudice in that I've never seen one played well. As a race, the are apparently very attractive to angry teenage boys and men who never grew out of being angry teenage boys because that's about the only way I've encountered them.
I like being the good guy. I get enough of grizzled "What's in it for me?" types in modern day cinema and video games.
However, when I am going to play that type, I go straight out evil. I almost never play any sort of neutral character. I like my characters to take a stand, on one side or the other.
I had an inspiration for a CN Synthesist Summoner Gnome who was obsessed with anatomy and physiology. His "Eidolon" was actually going to be the magically altered carcass of a Fire drake that he was attempting to 'upgrade' into a full feldged Red Dragon so he could pilot it from the inside. After defeating an enemy, he would begin dissecting and making notes. I had a vision of him standing knee deep in a Bullet's entrails, holding a tattered, bloodied notebook aloft and furiously scribbling anatomical facts he discovered.
Ever remember going to Red Lobster as a kid and you would be fascinated how when you would pull on that hanging string of sinew on the end of the crab claw you could make it open and close? He would essentially be that writ large.
I didn't play him for two reasons. 1) Synthesists---well, just about every kind of Summoner really---are stupidly over powered and 2) Could you imagine how unpleasant that guy would be to be around? I couldn't fathom a party that would tolerate him.
Short answer: You don't.
Long answer: Munchkining and minmaxing are really matters of play style. Most of my GM friends like epic, glorious battle and reject PC's that aren't swinging at least 1 +4 modifier and encourage the most judicious use of figures to wring every last ounce of capability you can out of a build. Anyone who prefers suboptimal 'flavor' builds gets frustrated and weeded out of those games quickly.
(That's not to say everybody has to play a Master Summoner or God Wizard. But if you have a build in mind, you'd better make sure that you're not going to be outclassed in every factor. I probably wouldn't play any 'Shaman' Druid variants, for instance.)
For me, personally, I prefer a more low powered and tactically minded game, but the majority of people I game with are now used to uberstats and love watching their modifiers and multipliers go up, up, up. Nobody's wrong or munchkining, it's just a matter of preference.
So, what do you do? The obvious answer seems just to bump the CR's. Treat APL +1 as your average encounter and go from there. If it's just 1 or 2 players in a party of 4-5, mix it up. They obviously want that build to feel special and powerful, so let them a couple of times when it isn't going to have much bearing on the story. But every build has a weak spot. Every. Single. One. If they're going to wreck some big boss battle you were planning, take a different approach to it. If they hit too hard, don't let the boss face them directly. If they're too defensively sound, throw a hundred debuffs their way. And there's nothing wrong with specifically targeting the most powerful member of a group to bring him down to a more manageable level---smart players will do that in encounters; there's no reason to assume an intelligent enemy wouldn't do the same.
The only real problem I find is when a Powergamer and a Roleplayer are each doing something very similar. But again, in that case, it would only be common sense for a calculating enemy to neutralize the greatest threat or at least bring him down a few pegs. That's also a good lesson for any gamer to learn: Being powerful may be fun, but it attracts attention.
First of all, where did this encounter take place? Because if it was in the jungle, there's no way a bunch of Level 3 characters would see them coming. (+19 stealth! Even maxed out, a level 3 player would need to roll 8 higher than the DM.) They're ambush hunters. They should ambush and then run. Even a single Kech could wear down an entire party eventually with those tactics.
And if you are feeling particularly evil, remember that the Kech's favorite ambush tactic is while its target is sleeping.
One last thing and then I'll end the thread hijacking:
I'm quite certain most of the debate is between people who have had entirely different experiences with the issue. One thing about Geeks---we can go on and on about things that nobody else cares about. Even other geeks. I forget who said it, but I remember a quote along the lines of, "Nothing is more boring than what turns somebody else on." That was talking about sex, of course, but I'd say the intent could easily be extrapolated and applied here.
I'm betting that the guy who threw a fit over it had probably been exposed to several people shoehorning their Anime and Japanese characters into EVERY SINGLE THING he's tried to run. And not good ones.(El Digusto from Binder of Shame, anyone?) For every thoughtful Eastern inspired character I've come across, personally, I've seen about a dozen whose personality began and ended with "being Japanese". That struck me as much more racist.
Now on topic, the base classes (spoilered for brevity):
Alchemist I like it. I think it's balanced, offers some nice new flavor, and mechanics that would be hard to include by just making another class archetype.
Cavalier Unimpressed. I've never seen one played, I've never seen somebody desire to play one. And now with the Tactician Fighter archetype it's completely useless.
-Samurai Slightly better. I have a friend doing an Eastern game right now with a Paladin/Samurai gestalt. It's not the most powerful, but they synergize well and create a real portrait of somebody who will not quit in the face of insurmountable odds.
Gunslinger Seems wonky. Never played on, though in the right campaign I might. Typically I prefer bows and swords to guns and siege engines.
Inquisitor Love it. Makes for a better bounty hunter than the Ranger. Kind of like a Bard, but way more about destroying than buffing.
Magus I've only seen one played, and even then not well. I like the fluff, though, and if what people are saying is true, it would be nice to have an effective Eldritch Knight.
Oracle I love this, both for versatility and flavor. The idea of somebody being cursed and thrust into greatness is just a wee bit more compelling to me than somebody who chooses it.
Summoner This is the only one I truly hate. I've read and reread it and I'm still not 100% on the rules, and the archetypes just make it worse. It's the one thing I've had to ban at my table, just because the mechanics are so mind-boggling. Not to mention all the horror stories I've read of Summoners completely breaking a game. Unnecessary, unbalanced, unintelligible. Scrap it.
Witch I like it a lot, although I still think it should be a CHA based class. It may not be as powerful as a Wizard, but it still does a lot of cool things a Wizard can't do, and again, I like the fluff a lot better.
I think this is a lot less to do with racism, and more of a backlash against people who insist everything Asian is better whether that should be true or not. I know when I get frustrated about Asian themes, it's usually in response to some very white Otaku talking out of his rear end again about all the ways Eastern blank is better than Western blank.