Fluff for Andar:
This deeply tanned, bald (although you suspect he only shaves his head) and heavily tattoed stranger gazes warily about. His green eyes dart from face to face, as if he were carefully sizing people up. At his side stands an animal that looks like a tiger with red fur.
Shoanti do not normally associate with "Tshameks" - that is, anyone outside their tribe. Andar obviously is an exception to this rule; despite the fact he takes some time to warm up to strangers, his journey and his spiritual quest have left him a changed man. Initially wary, he is a fairly pleasant, if somewhat serious and focused companion. His love of nature shapes his view of the world, and he takes a dim view of things he deems "unnatural", such as guns.
What drives a Shoanti away from his tribe? Most individuals would rather die than leave. Andar is an exception. Hailing from Belkzen, the constant warfare inherent to his people never seemed to interest him as much as it did his brothers and sisters.
Not to say he did not enjoy it, but he always felt another call - that of nature. From an early age, he was apprenticed to the tribe's shaman, and easily and naturally connected to one of its totem animals, the firepelt cougar.
No one was surprised when, one day, he formed a bond with one of the cubs, and started learning the ways of nature magic. What did surprise his kin, however, was when he announced he would be leaving shortly, after having received a vision he would not speak of. Leaving the tribe was unheard of - banishment being considered as worse than death.
Still, his mind was set, and with his faithful companion at his side, Andar started a long journey, that, bit by bit, took him all the way to the Bandit kingdoms, where, little did he know, adventure awaited him.
Firemane, Firepelt Cougar Animal Companion
I have to admit I am -extremely- disappointed by Paizo's decision for its next product of the RPG line. I'm sorry but... a folio? Really? I mean, those products have always seemed to me like the "filler" in a product line, sort of what a producer publishes when they just don't have an idea of what to do next.
Like it or not, there are a lot of people who want to see rules for content past level 20, and I think they have waited long enough. I mean... Three bestiaries, books for ultimate combat/magic and advanced races... Everything has come out that could possibly be considered more important for lower level content. I certainly hope we don't see a Bestiary 4 or a Psionics book before we see an epic level handbook before we see an epic book, or I'll lose hope.
I know it's a difficult book to produce - the ELH is proof of that. That's probably one of the worst RPG books ever made. The epic level magic system was a joke, the monsters were ill-conceived and balanced. The whole system needs to be redone from the ground up, not just adapted, balanced and revised like lower level content was. I therefore understand where the difficulty lies... But still.
I never said that min-maxesd characters are the way to go... Just that you should not look for ways to "nerf" the ones that play them. As I said, simply help the others improve their own characters (maybe give them advice/help them rebuild them), instead of bringing down the hammer on the others.
But let's face it, at lower levels with spells like color spray or sleep casters have always been "glass cannons". As mentioned however, if he relies on a warpony for speed, a couple arrows from archers will probably kill his mount and leave him in bad, bad fix. Also, don't clump enemies. Use a larger number of weaker enemies instead of one strong one. Once in a while, use a powerful enemy immune to mind-affecting spells, probably a templated PC (vampire/dreadknight works well).
Do not ever let PCs use 3.5 edition spells. They only get to use what spells PF has, and make sure you always use the latest erratas. And that you understand the rules (there is a HUGE difference between ability damage and ability drain...).
Help the other players improve their characters instead of nerfing these two. I swear I run into this problem often; I am a veteran, and due to moving I often find myself in groups with people of little experience, and I hate having to pull punches because the others are totally inept at creating useful characters. Having a weak character does not make you a role-player any more than having a strong one make you a munchkin.
I'd rather gouge my eyes out with a rusty pocket knife than allow 3.5 material to mess with the perfection that is PF. As much as I enjoyed 3.5, it was a product that simply had too many open loopholes, and that was a succession of individual and disconnected supplements. What was the point of publishing new classes if they never got any support afterwards? PF is simply superior in each and every aspect, and introducing 3.5 material only serves to bring back an imbalance in gameplay that does nothing but hurt the game.
In my games, it's just errataed PF material (but you can use everything they've published, which is considerable!), and that is more than enough.
Don't really understand how dumping Wisdom is even remotely a good idea... Fortitude and Will saves are the most punitive in terms of game effects when you don't make a save. Sure, if it's a 15 point buy, you won't be able to boost it, but when I have 25 points, I do it.
Mike Schneider wrote:
Four 1st-level halfling crossbow rogues with a 3rd-level cleric boss, employing snipe & hide tactics (they never indulge melee), are an absolute pain in the ass to any party of 6th level or less.
You're better off with goblin rogues; the little suckers have such a huge Stealth modifier... They can't even find themselves.
It depends on the players. That's the only good answer. I DM'd groups where even APL+3 was a huge challenge. But then again, even regular encounters were a pain, because the players just weren't very good mechanically speaking.
And then I've been in groups with veterans that could take out APL+5 encounters and survive to tell the tale relatively unscathed.
Everything depends on:
Let's face it: an evil mage who summons a dire tiger who then smites evil the party fighter, and the tiger crits... Well, that's just luck, but then you're out of a meat tank. And the rest of the party is soon to follow.
Well. The question we have to ask ourselves, before we even start to think about god stats is: are all gods equal? Is Iomedae more powerful than Rovagug, or she is just of a different class? Because if all gods have the same level of power, then they should all be of a CR above the level of the highest PC (in my opinion; obviously gods, if they are ever thought, should be extremely powerful, almost invicible, if there is only one power level for them).
Now, assuming a fixed level limit for the PCs - something that is in my opinion reasonable - producing an epic-level guide is time-consuming and difficult precisely because balancing that content is a pain in the arse. Let us assume (for the sake of the argument, although I tend to agree with this arbitrary limit, if only for old times' sake) that that limit is 36. Then gods should all be 36+ in CR (if there is only one flavour of them).
But if minor gods are weaker than the major gods, then the CR range should be much broader.
I don't think producing a guide with god stats would be a good marketing move. Many people would boycott it out of principle, and to be honest, I don't think I would buy it either. You just would not get mileage out of it. More rational would be to include a section about gods in an eventual Mythic level adventure guide with guidelines about how to become a god, and how to eventually stat one out (and how to defeat it).
Obviously, as some other posters stated, such a book would need other books to support it. I think right now the most powerful foe you can make up with current bestiary is an advanced gold great wyrm ravener, for a CR of 26 (ok, you could add other templates, but I think it would get extremely cheesy). That does not even begin to cover the later end of the possible spectrum of adventure for mythic level adventures. Which would mean you would need at the very least another bestiary (even a small one) filled with level appropriate foes (or with mythic-level variants of current ones, like worms that walk, adamantite golems, etc...).
Think of the potential: One Mythic Level Adventure Book (would sell very well). One Mythic level Bestiary (smaller one; most people who bought the first would buy the second too). And then, on top of that, Mythic Level Adventuring in Golarion. I think the line has potential...
I don't want a book with only god stats. But I -do- want guidelines for power levels for gods. I think that's only fair. And an example for a god would be very welcome.
If you say "My campaign does not need epic level rules", I'm ok with that. But please don't tell me "We do not need those rules"; people play differently from one another. What you find impossible, tedious, ludicrous or too time-consuming, other people find perfectly fine. Epic level rules are needed; each and every edition had them, they are an integral part of the game.
Well, what is a god but that? Gods like Iomedae and Cayden Callean were mortals; Tar-Baphon did kill a god... Nascent demon lords are CR21+. Treerazer is fully statted, and yet he grants spells to his cult. Once you start, it's difficult to stop...
James himself said there are epic level characters, like Tar-Baphon... And besides, PF RPG is not Golarion. PF is the equivalent of Dungeons and Dragons; it's a ruleset. Not everyone on these boards uses Paizo's setting. Quite a few people play using their own homebrew setting, which probably contain in some cases epic level characters.
As I believe James mentioned, I also believe that the cutoff at level 36 would be reasonable. There has to be a limit somewhere, I just do not think 20 is it. You get to 36, then you either retire or ascend. At that level of power, you become a living legend (even more than before), someone who can single-handedly reshape your world. You one-round the eldest of elder dragons; you can kill gods (again, I am NOT saying I want the index of gods, statted and ready for engagement; just that there are rules about it, for people who actually like that kind of thing).
No, I am not looking for more of the same. I have played at those levels, both as a player and as a DM, and I understand that adventures at that time need to change. You cannot simply switch the goblins with balors and go with that.
But the solution is not to say "You are level 21 now, the first 20 levels were just for show". The solution is to keep doing more of the same (keep stacking sneak attacks, lay on hands, etc...), while also adding a couple of interesting features for that level of play that were not available before, and combining more interactive, social features into adventures. The monsters/encounters need to be few, but very important. At that level, I would rather have half as many difficult encounters as many lower end ones.
Balancing is more difficult for all the "hybrid" classes. The epic progression for a fighter, a wizard or a cleric is straightforward for me. For an alchemist? Not so much. Which is why I am counting on Paizo so much.
James Jacobs wrote:
I cannot commend you enough for being so proactive in responding to such threads; posts from WotC posters were as rare as hens' teeth. Especially from people as important as Creative Directors. Lots of good ideas in this thread.
The question is: Is there a pre-20 and a post-20? Is being level 22 much like being level 18, except you have your fancy capstone and your lay on hands heals for 11d6 instead of 9d6? Or is hitting 21 like hitting a switch in terms of power? The answer should be the former.
The most important points in such a book would be:
The error that need to be avoided at all costs is an exponential increase of power; keep it geometric, and it should be fine.
This is a silly feat. Itis an auto-kill on anyone. Just imagine a group of rogues with this; as already said, you draw any target into a flank, and he is/she is/it is dead. Not only wizards.
But just imagine: You're a master archer. Or an archwizard. Your whole life, whenever you've been pulled into a fight, you have tried your damned best to keep people as far away from you as possible. And now someone just goes "You copulate with pixies!!!1!1!!" and suddenly, you forget your magic and just go hand to hand with it?
Makes no sense, sorry...
Pretty much this. Just think about the potential for a mythic-level adventure featuring the other Runelords, either reborn into current Golarion, or in the past, where the players have ended up because of some ancient curse/mishap. That would make for such an awesome AP! Thassilon and Azlant are places I'm sure most everyone is interested in.
But first, make the book! :P
The real question isn't about the paladin. If the group is good, and you decide to play a necromancer, you're going to cause a party schism. And not only with the paladins; anyone who is good should object to undead being raised.
I remembered once, I had been playing this NE Elven enchanter. The entire group wasn't evil, but he was good at bluffing and also liked his "meat shields" to keep him safe, so everything worked out. Then two players joined the group; the DM gave them the composition of the group. One of the two insisted on playing a paladin of freedom. The campaign ended after two more sessions.
I hate players who disregard group composition.
James Jacobs wrote:
Well, I live in Europe, and am therefore not present at US conventions; and the few conventions present in Europe I cannot attend either because my work simply does not lend itself to such travels. I can't say anything more than "I would buy it. All the people that play with me would too".I've bought all the hardcover books Paizo has published, and, as mentioned, I think it's the missing link. Apart from psionics, there is nothing left to publish for "big crunch books", since Paizo wisely chose to step away from the "Let's make tons of useless PrCs" trend. Maybe another possibility would be a book for more interpretative play? But other than that, I see nothing.
I don't care what it is called (although "Mythic Adventure" sounds good; I am just extremely eager to see it happen (and willing to pay for it). I just really, really hope I don't have to wait one year or more for it.
EPIC EPIC EPIC EPIC EPIC EPIC EPIC EPIC EPIC!!!!!
I appreciate the enthusiasm!
I am -very- curious as to what Tar-Baphon is packing... He did take down a goddess after all, no mean feat. It is pretty awesome; I think most people would have thought "He is toast now, they sent a god after him!", only for him to take care of her.
On a side note, the artifact that weakened him seems awfully weak compared to... well, to what he actually managed to accomplish.
My issue with this is mostly that he said something to the same effect a year ago, too. It seems the ELH handbook is always a year away; meanwhile, we get "Goblins of Golarion". Never mind that the book is going to rock and that I love the little critters, and that it is only one of the Companion books, I think players would still get more mileage out of a ELH.
As for the higher levels needing help, I just don't see it. I play regularly at those levels and have never had any issues.
As for the "Epic is a feeling, not mechanics!". Well, up to a point. A 1st level campaign might have some epic moments, but I talking about something else.
Well, PF is already a very solid and complete system. And personally, I am getting tired of waiting around for the ELH; as I have previously said, whereas people who enjoy low-level content have had more than their fill, people who enjoy epic-level adventures have had nothing so far, not even one lousy article in an Adventure Path. 0. I do not think it is too much to ask for; especially since I am sure even the people who say they would not buy it, would eventually buy it too (we all know how that goes... We all say "I don't need that" and the next thing you know you're looking for another house because you have too many books in yours).
Could we please have, as the next hardcover book, the epic level one? I do not really see anything left to do apart from that (and psionics, but I would say more people will use the Epic level rules than the psionic ones, especially since mind flayers are not included in PFRG).
I know some people prefer low level options. But nowadays, you have a ton of them, yet absolutely nothing about epic level adventures. I do not think it is too much to ask (and pay for), especially when you see that answers about this from official posters started very early on, and yet we still have heard nothing concrete about it.
Do we really need more classes very few people will ever use (cue the Gunslinger)? I do not mean to insult the good people of Paizo, since they have done such an amazing job most of the time, but I have to admit that one truly had me boggled. From all my years of playing RPGs, I have seen precious few people ever wanting to use guns in a fantasy setting, and many, many more being virulently opposed to their existence, much less to their use.
Yes, some people will tell me "It is an option, do not use it if you do not like it!". But I think those people are also familiar with this strange affliction: feeling compelled to use official content, regardless of contempt.
I know I may sound somewhat childish, or even whiny, but this has been a pet peeve of mine ever since the absolutely abysmal ELH Wizard published and then promptly forgot about. Probably one of the worst products ever published, with extremely little thought and effort put into. Which is why I have such high expectations for its replacement.
Thank you for your time.
PS: I have to admit I really want to see Tar-Baphon statted.
*shrug* It's a matter of opinion. I know as far as my campaign is concerned, I'm right, so if you want to keep saying "OMG Clerics suck!!!" or "OMG they are overpowered!!!", feel free to do so.
What Ashiel said, really. I don't ask my players to roll for diplomacy for every movement they make into a social circle, only when there's actual meaningful interaction. Asking for a drink, or entering a room, does not warrant a Diplomacy roll. It might warrant a Perception roll to see if anyone in particular is observing you, though. Scenes like the one described in the thread would take place exactly the same way in my campaign as they would in his.
The problem is people are STILL comparing PF to 3.5. In 3.5, the cleric and the druid were overpowered killing machines. In PF, they are in line with other classes. Which of course will make some people unhappy, because they had gotten used to CoDzillas, and they still somehow thought that a 3.5 variant would see the light in PF. Thank god it has not.
As for the paying customer... You pay, sure. But the job of Paizo's developers is not to make you the variants YOU like, but to actually develop balanced content for everyone.
The only way I see a character like that survive is if he's a conjurer with a ring of invisibility, uses fly all the time, and just summons monsters, while staying as far away as possible from the actual fight... Because the first time he gets hit by an area of effect spell, it's over.
Amen to that.
And yes, 36 hit points... I'm sorry. No one survives in one of my games for 10 levels with that few hit points. Unless you never participate in fights (which I suppose is a possibility). With all due respect for your DM, of course.
"Intelligence determines how well your character learns and reasons"
That's the first line on intelligence in the core rulebook. Could it be any clearer? I see no fiat involved there.
Where is the cutout for stupidity for you then? 7 is ok, but 3 isn't? Isn't that arbitrary also? Or now someone with one point of intelligence more than some animals is also not stupid, but simply not educated? "Well, John it's not John is stupid, it's just he's barely sentient!"
Apply limited learning capabilities to language: What you will get is someone either making mistakes while speaking, or using very simple language. Poor reasoning skills either means that he makes false reasonings, or that he sticks to the simple stuff. Is 7 "mentally retarded"? I think it's a fair guess. There, after all, differing degrees of that illness. A 7 can still function in society (as long as he sticks to non-intellectual labor), while a 3 will probably need to be cared of forever.
Are we ever going to see that epic level handbook? I mean, I would have hoped after Ultimate Combat we would see it.
Instead we get a beginner's box? Sigh.
I know when you'll do it you will get it right, I'd just like to see it before the 5th edition comes out :P
Edit: Sorry if I sound a bit "angry", but when I look at the dates of James' comments, and I see August 3 2010, it's now the 12th of May 2011...
If you start playing your character at maximum age, and survive to make it to the level needed to cast that spell, your DM is doing something wrong. And I don't mean cheesy, "I'm the DM and you have a heart attack hurhurhur" kind of stuff.
You have -6 to all three of your physical abilities! A stiff breeze will kill you. Start at first level and a single shot from a goblin will, too. I know you would need to either be extremely lucky or for your DM to be extremely incompetent for you to survive all the way to 13. And a +3 to a mental ability does not represent a +2 to spell DCs, but a +1 by the way.
As a DM I don't usually punish people who min-max, but there are limits to that too. The venerable 1st level wizard would be allowed, but he would also be faced with numerous challenges taking advantage of his physical weakness, you can bet on that.
Look. I don't know anyone (apart from certain people on this board) that is going to argue that someone with Intelligence 7 isn't stupid, he's just not educated. Intelligence 7 is stupid. Someone with Intelligence 7 has problems with reasoning AND learning ("Intelligence determines how well your character learns and reasons"). Notice that even if he'd had access to education, he still would not have learned as much as others, because he has problems with the very act of learning!
People from all walks of life have different levels of intelligence. People who undergo the same education their whole life, going to the same school and university, will still end up with wildly differing IQs. There is a genetic factor in it. It's just not education.
Your character with Int 7 and Cha 7 is stupid and either uncouth or ugly (or all three). If you intend to play him like a suave, intelligent character, then give him the ability scores for it.
If your character has an Intelligence of 7 and a Charisma of 7, you had better play him like he has those scores. Intelligence of 7 is what you would call mentally retarded. He's NOT going to be articulate. He's NOT going to be able to formulate complicated plans. If he behaves like he has a character with normal intelligence and charisma score, I will penalize him heavily for that.
If he has low intelligence but (somehow?) high knowledge scores, he'll be an idiot savant. But nothing else. High intelligence low charisma means he might be articulated and well-spoken, but just comes out wrong in the end because of the vibe he sends (unless he spends point in the appropriate skills).
I played a half-orc barbarian with int 7 and cha 7. He was a great guy, good natured, but dumb as his feet, and I would never have tried to circumvent the scores I myself picked in order to pump him up for hand-to-hand. Anyone trying to do that very thing is being dishonest.
Don't you just love blanket generalizations?
They dealt a "large" amount of d6s to ONE target IF you managed to hit it (which for a wizard is never a certainty). They were designed in order for wizards to be able to deal damage to classes with evasion, or creatures with absurdly high SR (hello mind flayers).
They also had no radius. If for your "blasting" means single target, we have very different definitions.
Scorching ray does the same thing (except the SR bit). Why no screaming about it? Because it allows SR? Because it's an evocation spell?
Besides, the /pit/ series is actually, in many aspects, worse. Dump someone in a hungry pit, seal with a wall of ice, one dead critter, pronto...
There's obviously no accounting for priorities.
Now, of course, the mileage you will get out of such a package will vary wildly depending on the sort of campaign you are playing. It will be absolutely awesomesauce if most of your foes have SR, and completely and utterly useless if you are fighting beings without it. Also, if the DM is a fan of "lots of small creatures" instead of one big one, one feat (or only the rod) should be sufficient.
The moment the spellcaster with both feats (and the rod) start taking on mid- to high- level foes, he will probably be glad he took them.
What Dragonsong said, also. I've been played for 17 years now, and most of the time I've played in homebrew worlds, in which material for any type of specific setting is wasted.
As long as Paizo avoids the trap of "many useless PrCs" (which they, for the moment, seem to be doing), it will be fine. I know they will keep supporting the new classes that are coming out, but I hope after the Gunslinger, they'll give us a break and give up producing any other classes.
I personally feel (and, looking at the boards, I know others do too) that even a class like a Gunslinger is a /very/ acquired taste. I don't think I'll be seeing a lot of those. In fact, most DMs I know probably will not allow it. Firearms in fantasy settings are just polarizing, and I am honestly a bit puzzled as to why Paizo decided to create a 20-level class based on such a concept. From what I gather from the Campaign books, firearms are very rare, expensive and prone to failure, so it's not like there was an "unfilled" niche there.
Matthew Morris wrote:
For me, it's fairly simple really.Is it overpowered for a single target spell to deal some kind of energy damage, while requiring a ranged touch attack (one of the ACs, I hasten to add, that is likely to be fairly high for the rogue), not allowing a save and ignoring SR? I don't think so.
Scorching ray already does that, except for the "ignore SR" part. Make it a 3rd level spell with a similar damage that ignores SR and call it a day. That's already supposedly unfair to most rogues, since they are not known for their spell resistance, and cannot use evasion against it, but I've yet to see rogue players in arms about it.
As I said, they probably needed to be higher level, but casting a spell that requires any kind of "normal" attack roll (ie: not one using the CL as attack modifier or using the casting stat as a bonus) is always a big risk for a wizard. I think that should be enough.
What Lincoln said. I don't so much mind "sub-races" or other cultures, so much as I hated the fact that every single one of them had to have different stats and cater to one class. You could have the elven fighter who was a wild elf, the drow cleric, the star elf sorcerer, the high elf rogue and the gold elf wizard. It's like they wanted elves to always have the best stats modifiers for every class.
Don't get me wrong, I love elves. I'm a big fan. I just thought it was silly.
And Golarion's elves are great. They're not different on a genetic level, just a cultural one. Much better (imo).
Well, I understand how you feel, but you /are/ a minority in this. A vocal minority, needless to say, but I honestly think most players love crunch. Especially balanced crunch. Personally, I can never get enough of it.
But then again, I have to admit I found most APG classes to be very much... Well, pointless (In my opinion only of course). My players don't like them; it's not that they don't fit the stereotype, but just that I never thought I needed an inquisitor class to play an inquisitor. I just played a fanatic cleric, the same way I didn't think I needed a class for an Alchemist; I just played an alchemy-oriented wizard. The Summoner is... Well. He's a summoner, but we already had the druid, and the conjurer, and the sorcerer with an abyssal (or is it infernal? I always mix them up) bloodline. Did we /really/ need a 20 level class that is based on that (besides, is the eidolon really a summon, or just a more powerful animal companion?)? In my opinion, not so much.
Oh, I know others disagree. It's not that the classes are not well made; they are, as most everything made by Paizo is. I just find them, mostly, redundant, the same way I find the Magus to be redundant.
It's a fighter/wizard. We have the Eldritch knight, as well as the arcane strike and the feats that reduce arcane spell failure by 10/20%. Was there any need to make another class based on the same concept? I know they gave him some unique abilities, but in the end, the concept is just that. Like a bladesigner lookalike that now all races can use (because racial prestige classes are bad).
I will continue to buy the Crunch books from the main line, and allow the use of all their content, because I love most of it, and I understand some people have different tastes.