Adamantine Dragon wrote:
... If I were playing an undead-slaying beast I doubt I'd be having half as much fun. What's the challenge in killing endless waves of undead if that's what you were specifically designed to do? I'd get bored.
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
I haven't found it so. Yes, the undead encounters are probably much easier than the writers default expectations. However, the most difficult encounters we've had so far are all the necromancers and godling outsiders. My life oracle is not especially strong against those. So I've been needing to figure out strategies to use against them.
I don't think the Life Oracle is that optimized an undead killing machine. It is excellent against groups of weaker undead, but it isn't that hard for casters to take on groups of lower CR opponents. I would say that it is a strong choice for the campaign because it is a full caster with good social skills, but several builds of cleric, paladin, wizard, (and various non-core classes) would be just as powerful against undead, if not more so.
Far from meta-gaming cheese!
Like most discussions of meta/powergaming it really boils down to personal preference and finding gamers who are like minded. I would imagine it also depends on how many PCs there will be, how experienced the players are, and general make-up of the group. As an example, I might find the anti-undead oracle a bit much in a 6 person group that also has a paladin and cleric, but would be fine with that character in a 3 person party with a rogue and wizard. I think it is in everyone's best interest to come up with a balanced party that can function in every encounter, not just stomp a single creature type.
I'm currently GM'ing the Carrion Crown AP, and just want to point out that there is more to it then just undead. Sure, there are a lot of undead, but often the characters can spend several sessions without encountering a major undead creature. If everyone in the party is an undead slayer you might blow past several encounters, but I would say MOST of the encounters don't significantly involve undead, so your not breaking the game.
PS I've been gaming for a long time, and there is nothing "olde school" about just playing a random PC. Then again, there wasn't much you could do to custimize a character back then, and even if you managed to make the frost giant slayer supreme, The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl was all of 8 pages long!
It seems like everyone is missing the long term consequences of this encounter - potential negative level(s)!
Let's just say a group of low level adventures does manage to defeat the wight, but a few of the characters get level drained. If they are lucky, they can reach a cleric who is willing (and happens to have memorized) a restoration spell for them before the 24 hours has passed, and they can "only" spend 380gp to have the temporary negative level removed before it becomes permanent. A permanent negative level costs 1280gp to remove, and you can only remove one per week.
For a third level character, this represents almost half their total wealth, or almost a quarter of total wealth for a fourth level character. To put it into perspective, it's like a single encounter costing a tenth level character 15,000gp!
In my view, a wight could be a high stakes encounter for a second level party if carefully controlled by the GM. Generally, I don't think there should really be any chance of inflicting permanent negative levels until about fifth level.
Hmmm, I'm not so sure about this...
I'm also guessing that the cloaker was using it's engulf ability:
This ability strongly implies that the cloaker and victim share the same square, and seems to create a situation that almost resembles "swallow whole", but the rules don't specifically say any of those things.
I think your GM made the correct call, although technically CMB checks are attack rolls, thus mirror image would function normally.
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Thanks for taking a look at this! Sorry I was AFK for a little there.
This came up while we were battling a Remorhaz during an epic set of encounters in one of the fine Adventure Paths. The question oddly came up again the same session when we encountered a Babau that has the Protective Slime ability. One of the characters is a dagger throwing fighter and the difference between his fortitude save and that of a +1 dagger is very substantial.
Remorhaz and Protective Slime supernatural ability:
Heat and Protective Slime:
Heat (Su) An enraged remorhaz generates heat so intense that anything touching its body takes 8d6 points of fire damage. Creatures striking a remorhaz with natural attacks or unarmed strikes are subject to this damage, but creatures striking with melee weapons are not. The heat can melt or burn weapons; any weapon that strikes a remorhaz is allowed a DC 19 Fortitude save to avoid taking damage. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Protective Slime (Su) A layer of acidic slime coats a babau's skin. Any creature that strikes a babau with a natural attack or unarmed strike takes 1d8 points of acid damage from this slime if it fails a DC 18 Reflex save. A creature that strikes a babau with a melee weapon must make a DC 18 Reflex save or the weapon takes 1d8 points of acid damage; if this damage penetrates the weapon's hardness, the weapon gains the broken condition. Ammunition that strikes a babau is automatically destroyed after it inflicts its damage.
This rules molehill was turned into a rules-lawyering mountain when the GM made the on-the-fly ruling that any weapon that failed it's save only dealt half damage to the Remorhaz. Unfortunately, this bogged the game down as the player of the fighter felt that this was an unfair ruling.
I guess the point of my question boils down to: are there exceptions to the "carried, worn, or held" definition of "attended" and is throwing a melee weapon one of those exceptions.
According to the PRD wrote:
Just wondering if there are any exceptions to this rule related to thrown items, or any other cases where an item is under a characters control or direction but not being grasped, touched, or worn...
Touch Attacks: Touching an opponent with a touch spell is considered to be an armed attack and therefore does not provoke attacks of opportunity. The act of casting a spell, however, does provoke an attack of opportunity. Touch attacks come in two types: melee touch attacks and ranged touch attacks. You can score critical hits with either type of attack as long as the spell deals damage. Your opponent's AC against a touch attack does not include any armor bonus, shield bonus, or natural armor bonus. His size modifier, Dexterity modifier, and deflection bonus (if any) all apply normally.
Holding the Charge: If you don't discharge the spell in the round when you cast the spell, you can hold the charge indefinitely. You can continue to make touch attacks round after round. If you touch anything or anyone while holding a charge, even unintentionally, the spell discharges. If you cast another spell, the touch spell dissipates. You can touch one friend as a standard action or up to six friends as a full-round action. Alternatively, you may make a normal unarmed attack (or an attack with a natural weapon) while holding a charge. In this case, you aren't considered armed and you provoke attacks of opportunity as normal for the attack. If your unarmed attack or natural weapon attack normally doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity, neither does this attack. If the attack hits, you deal normal damage for your unarmed attack or natural weapon and the spell discharges. If the attack misses, you are still holding the charge.
The bold part is the answer. In the case of a vital strike the "normal damage" would be 2X the weapons normal range (2d8 for a longsword), then the spell would discharge as normal.
Benefit: When you use the attack action, you can make one attack at your highest base attack bonus that deals additional damage. Roll the weapon's damage dice for the attack twice and add the results together before adding bonuses from Strength, weapon abilities (such as flaming), precision based damage, and other damage bonuses. These extra weapon damage dice are not multiplied on a critical hit, but are added to the total.
I think you need to use a "weapon" to make a vital strike, and the "weapon's" damage is what gets doubled. Even though you are considered "armed" when delivering a touch spell, you are not using a weapon.
This really just boils down to how you view the game, as there are no specific rules for what can be put into a scabbard, and what "...effects..." monks unarmed strikes are treated as magic weapons.
"A monk's unarmed strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons."
Here is the thing- it doesn't really matter. You can rule it any way you like, and game balance won't be affected. The real issue is whether it seems "cheesy" for the monk to pull his hand, finger, elbow, little toe, etc. out of the scabbard. Before you put too much thought into it, just remember that there will always be far more restrictions on what "non-magical" characters like rogues and fighters can do, vs what casters can do. By the time the scabbard of vigor comes into play, casters have already pulled even with martials, so make the ruling based on what makes the game better for everyone, not the letter of the text.
I would also add that not all automatic guns are the same. There is a huge difference between a small gun like an uzi (capable of holding up to 50 rounds, which could all be fired within 6 seconds), compared to a heavier gun like the German MG42 (can fire 1,200 rnds/minute, or 120 per 6 second combat round)!
LBJ took the IRT down to 4th St USA
Or something like that anyway.
I found combining too many of those things can cause the game to bog down in Harold and Kumar references, caravan rules debates, and trips to the store for ice cream.
That reminds me, I'm out of ice cream...
I think the default answer is - it depends.
Are your players looking for a life and death struggle, or a little break from the tedium of daily life and a taste of success? Will the threat of characters getting killed make the game more fun?
I play with a group of friends in their 40's who are OK with their PCs getting killed if the dice, story or situations demand it. With that said, a PC getting killed generally causes that player to have to sit out part of the game. Sometimes the player can switch to a NPC or summoned creature, but it can be tough to keep that player engaged in the game. It also causes lots of issues with story and resurrection plans and such.
I would give the players a warning, and tell them to make some backup characters, save some gp for raise dead components and alert next of kin. If you sense that an encounter will be lethal, make sure that the players understand the situation. Give them some real chances to affect the situation, so they don't feel like victims of circumstance.
EDIT: And of course talk to the players about what kind of game they want to play. If everyone tells you what kind of game they enjoy, it will make your job as GM much easier and more enjoyable for all.
I think the [alignment] templates (celestial, fiendish, half fiend, etc.) smite attacks can be insane if their base creature has a lot of attacks. For example, I have been stating up a fiendish young green dragon. For the most part, the creature is within CR, but if it full attack/smite/power attack, it can do CRAZY damage, with a good chance of hitting for most attacks.
For the rogue, how about allowing them to sneak attack anyone that can't perceive them at the start of their round? For example, on the rogues turn, they move out from behind a wall, approach the enemy, and sneak attack. Combined with spring attack, this could make a viable combat tactic.
I think the real key to fixing the monk class is increasing their AC bonus. Perhaps by as much as +1 per 2 levels, and making it NOT work with mage armor, or other armor bonuses. Also, making wholeness of body heal d6 per level or perhaps d8 per 2 levels would really reduce the monks "MADness". The monk could also use the ability as a swift action for half effect or something.
Great stuff in this thread Dabbler and everyone else!
Well, the answer seems open to me, so I hit the FAQ button.
I would say that Pathfinder uses the word "target" when defining a spell that is cast at a specific character(s). "Upon" is less defined, and I would probably read it as "affected" rather then "targeted".
One additional thought. Every spell that gets added to the game makes the ring a worse item. I would be inclined to make the ring more versatile, rather then less, and even be open to allowing it to apply to any "3rd level arcane evocation spell" rather then a specific spell.
you're the DM, right? why don't you just give him a +2 con instead of a +2con/+2wis/-2cha and call it a day? Will anyone really care?
I have to second this idea. Dwarf bard is a really cool character concept (same with dwarf paladin, sorcerer, oracle etc.) and shouldn't be substandard due to restrictive race rules. If you had experienced players trying to exploit the system, I would obey the race rules to the letter, but for a new player, let them make what they want without arbitrary penalties.
Also, as experienced gamers, you should make an effort to help the player come up with a build that won't seem lame once the player understands the rules better. Figure out what the player wants to do, and help them come up with the stats that will let them do that. Some concepts will be woefully underpowered (gnome monk) so you either need to bend the rules to make it happen, or tell the player that they will struggle to contribute in a meaningful way.
Again, a starting player is the perfect opportunity to bend the rules so they can enjoy the game more.
So some dork figured out how to make a really crappy gun that is worse then almost any gun made in the last few hundred years, and this is some sort of technological revolution?
Someone needs to tell this guy (and the media) it has been possible to make stuff WITHOUT a 3d printer for a long time now.
Great advice so far!
I would add a semi-spoiler from the Runelords adventure path... You are going to be fighting giant type creatures. A lot of them. Not to mention several other big creatures that hit hard. This tends to force players into specific tactics in order to survive. As a monk, you really have no good ranged option, so you are going to need to melee. You also don't have many options for dealing whopping damage (like a raging barbarian power attacking with a greatsword) so you are forced into trading full attacks with these big bruiser opponents. Oh yeah, I should mention that most also have reach, so they will get attacks of opportunity if you move within their threatened area. You can avoid those attacks by using acrobatics, but big creatures have high CMD (Combat Maneuver Defense), so it will be difficult.
I don't want to discourage you, as I like monks as well, but the Runelords adventure path is probably harder on monks then most campaigns. I recommend playing a dwarf (+2 wis,+2 con, +4 to ac vs giants!). I would also consider taking martial weapon proficiency in a reach weapon, and perhaps power attack as well. While I might frown upon it in other cases, I would consider getting a giant bane monk weapon, and flurrying with it. Just keep in mind that some of the encounters around 10-12 level will have several hundred hp worth of creatures to fight against, so 1d10+5 isn't going to cut it.
I see your point, and feel that monks can be a fully playable class. It just takes a little party support (mage armor for example). To be a "melee" character however, requires decent enough defenses to survive trading full attacks with a foe, and decent enough attacks to be relevant - that is, make trading full attacks with you a bad idea for most foes. You don't have to be great at either of these things, and if you have enough other abilities, you can get away with being moderate at these things.
The class described by the OP has one of the worst AC's in the game, the worst skill points in the game, no way of making up for its 3/4 BAB, and some of the weakest spells in the game.
Again, I withhold final judgement since we don't know all the info, but as described in the first post, the class does not qualify as a PC class, and I can't offer help to improve it into something survivable.
Sorry, I didn't mean that it literally could not be played, just that it was woefully underpowered by PC class standards. And hey, I'm probably missing some important aspect that isn't being disclosed.
It is just that I have really been trying to make a good monk lately, and came up with what I thought was a damn good build. High str, high wis, and the ability to power attack and later trip with a ransuer! Good times! But then I realized that there was no one in the group to cast mage armor on me. For the first several levels, I had a 14 or 15 AC - not a viable melee character. Without mage armor, you need a high dex, and weapon finesse, and you can't deal much damage... so you end up with an average AC, and crappy damage. Not much of a melee character.
If you want to judge a melee character compare it with a full BAB character with a greatsword and full plate. No feats, special class abilities, just ability scores, the sword and full plate. If you can't match that damage and AC, you are not good in melee. Even if you can match it, you are still worse then a smiting paladin, a ranger facing favored enemy, or a fighter with his specialized weapon.
I think this is impossible to attempt because this class as presented is unplayable.Medium BAB and d8 are a fairly weak way to start off a melee class.
Monk AC bonus REALLY sucks! It means you won't have armor, and even with a great Dex and Wis, your AC will still be crap.
Perhaps the wisdom based thing would help - can I add wis to hit and damage? Does it replace Str or Dex?
2 skill points, and I'm already MAD? (Multiple Ability score Dependent)
Ranger spells might help a little, but this class needs some serious help to even reach monk levels.
When the boards are discussing weapons or martial arts, there is always a poster or two who is an expert swordsman, or jiujutsu master or something. Well, now it is my turn to play the expert.
I've spent a lot of time in the saddle of a Penny Farthing, and spent the last 20+ years on a variety of other bikes as well. I've also read up on a lot of the history of the bicycle, which is really the history of the industrial revolution in many ways.
Penny Farthings (Highwheel, boneshaker, ordinary, "wheel") are amazing contraptions, but like tall ships, only lasted for a very brief moment in time - the 1880's. At the time, they were hand made and cost something like 6 months wages of the average working man, and were really difficult to learn as a first bicycle. They are direct drive (like a unicycle or bigwheel), so, no coasting or gearing. The bigger the wheel, the faster you can go. They lack decent brakes and the design makes it almost impossible to ride out of the saddle. They are fairly heavy (and it is almost all rotational weight), and have solid rubber tires. The main drawback of the Penny Farthing is that the riders weight is perched up high, and if the front wheel hits an object the rider gets pivoted face first onto the road with his legs caught under the handlebars. Some riders will coast down hills with their legs up over the handlebars, but I never do this as you have much less control, and getting your feet back on the pedals is like sticking your feet into an eggbeater.
Despite all the disadvantages, there was a highwheel boom in the 1880's, they were the hottest thing for the upper classes. There were long waits to get or rent a wheel, and races were well attended. Several people crossed America by highwheel, often riding for miles on train tracks!
On my penny farthing, I can do about 25mph tops, although slowing down is often more work then speeding up. I have ridden it well over 1,000 miles and can ride about as well as most other cyclists in NYC traffic. I've never really crashed it, although I have had to hop off the side of it a few times.
During the 1890's the "safety" bike replaced the Penny Farthing. They were cheaper, safer, and could make use of brakes, freewheels (for coasting), and the gearing could be adjusted beyond the length of the riders legs. Not long after inflatable tires were added. Bicycles BOOMED! Hundreds of miles of roads were paved for cyclists, and huge boardwalks were built out to resort towns that sprung up to serve the newly mobile populace. Huge parades were held featuring thousands upon thousands of riders, local riding clubs with their uniforms, trick riding, and women who had a reason to ditch the binding cloths of the Victorian era. Bicycles are often credited with playing a key role in women’s liberation!
Around this time the 1 minute mile (60mph!) was broken, and inventions were made so rapidly that there were two patent offices, one for bicycles, and one for everything else. Strong, lightweight bicycles of amazing quality were made by the thousands. The automobile and airplane industries got their start in bike shops and factories across the country. Stars such as Major Taylor gained huge international success despite serious racial prejudice. There was also a group of black soldiers who took fully laden bicycles across the country as a military exercise.
Bicycles haven't really changed much since the turn of the century. In fact they generally took a huge slide backward after WWII, when they became heavy toys, rather then performance vehicles.
Bicycles were used extensively in WWI and played a key role in some battles (see Rommel’s book Attacks) for an example. They can also be seen frequently in WWII (several designs were made for Paratroopers) In Viet Nam, bicycles were used to great effect by the Viet Cong for transporting material on hidden trails.
While the bicycle has no real place in melee combat, it is great for transporting troops and supplies where larger vehicles are impractical.
In Pathfinder terms, I would say that the ride skill is totally appropriate, and like the idea of mixing some parts of the fly skill for elevation change. Difficult terrain is probably unsuitable for bicycles, except in some odd cases.
Sorry for the long post, but bicycle history is great stuff!
Change the AC bonus to a +1 armor and CMD bonus per 2 monk levels. You might even be able to make it a +1/level bonus, and it wouldn't be too powerful.
Change the wholeness of body to 1d6 healing per 2 levels. (5d6 at level 10) For double the ki, you can do it as a swift action.
Allowing monks to spend a point of ki to get a +4 on a single attack roll.
Probably allowing monks to do their unarmed strike damage whenever using monk weapons would help the class.
Allow monks access to the Greater [Combat maneuver] feats as bonus feats.
Make Shuriken better... better range, more per attack, something.
So the improved AC means you really don't need much dex, the improved healing means you need less con.
Giving monks 6 skill points and a few more knowledge skills - diplomacy heal and knowledge planes or something.
A lot can affect party balance; point buy, use of optional rules (such as traits or hero points), optimization of the classes and builds. How the GM plays the monsters is also highly subjective- do you use the monsters treasure to equip it to increase it's power the way a PC would, or do you just play it straight out of the book?
I think the CR system works about as well as it can be expected to given the vastness of the system. APL+3 should have a good chance of killing a PC. At least at low levels. At higher levels it translates more into a use of resources, rather then deaths.
Finally, this is a game of chance. You can often win or loose an encounter over a single dice roll. In theory it evens out over time and you can stack things in favor, but the dice can be cruel!
...I beg to differ. My last experience of playing a monk felt like playing a character a level behind everyone else above 5th, and two levels behind above 10th. It's not that a monk cannot contribute, it's that they cannot contribute their fair share. They don't bring as much to the party as another class would and could bring, and that's a problem to some.
Full disclosure here: My last experience playing a monk was almost identical. It was back in the 3.5 days and even then one of my earlier characters. I had always wanted to play a monk since AD&D but they were just so horrible back then. Even with Dragon Magazine, they still had nothing to kick about. 2nd edition, still sucked. They seemed soooo good by comparison when I looked at the 3.5 class. I played it up until the high teen levels, and was always like a sidekick to the barbarian. At the end of the campaign, I got a card from the deck of many things that advanced me like 5 levels or something. I STILL sucked!
Anyway, I have seen a couple monks played in Pathfinder (I played a fighter/monk), and built a few as thought experiments. While I find them a little lacking in damage, I think they are better then most 2 weapon builds. Their armor class is good if they can count on mage armor. They are very effective against casters due to their saves, touch AC and other defensive stuff (oh yeah, and arcane casters love making fortitude saves vs stunning fist).
I guess I see monks as being effective in situations where other characters have trouble. I wouldn't want the only martial in the group to be a monk, but I think the monk is good as a fifth party member. I suppose that would be a bummer if you were playing a monk in a four person party.
Well, I don't have much interest in taking out 10 mooks in 20 rounds, but I'm going to stat up a tenth level monk who at least doesn't suck... step 1 - martial weapon proficiency Ransuer, step 2 ?????, step 3 profit!
I think the problem is with action denial builds. This can be anything from a tripper, a caster who spams hold person or blindness, or in this case, a super grapple master.
The game is set up so that monsters must be chipped away to defeat. For most groups the process of reducing a monster is a fun experience. Once you introduce something that bypasses this process, you take much of the fun away. You didn't fight the monsters, you executed them.
There are many ways to solve this problem. You can change most of the encounters so that monsters have high CMD's, and just happen to be greased, or somehow not subject to grapples or whatever. After the first few times this happens things are going to feel contrived and the player will justifiably feel singled out. He may decide to start a new character who specializes in a different form of action denial - and there are many forms worse then CMB checks. The best way to solve this is to sit down with the group and tell them that you feel things are going to just be a repetitive series of pinnings, and that you don't feel that GM'ing that will be much fun. They may argue, but if you explain that your decision was based on things in the AP that they don't know, they can't argue against that. It will help smooth things if you explain that the PC's build is just too damn good. Explain that you want the combats to be different and exciting, and that abilities that essentially bypass combat take that fun away.
Before you do this, figure out what things you don't enjoy in the game. I find as a GM that if I don't like something as a player (such as my PC getting coup de graced) that I won't enjoy having it done to the monsters I control, in almost every combat, every session, for 16 levels.
PS While the single BBEG encounter is a classic, it is really BAD encounter design. I ALWAYS try to throw a little fodder into the combat, or better yet, have it be the BBETwins or BBEFamily or whatever.
Mind if I dissect this comparison?
Not at all, it is rare that anyone responds to me with more then rolled eyes or a sad head shake, so I take it as a complement!
I don't really have the patience to copy past and get all the quotes correct, so I will just respond to a few of the more general points.
Before I begin, I have to say that while the monk isn't 100%, it is still a totally viable class. Virtually all of the classes problems can be fixed by using a decent build (Thanks Treantmonk!) and the addition of a few small buffs or items.
Many of the problems that come up when discussing monks are not problems specific to monks, but rather issues with other parts of the rules that the monk class makes use of. For example, the whole problem with martial characters needing to use a full round action to really shine, while casters can do their thing with a standard action. This imbalance is amplified by monks main attack schtick being based on getting in as many attacks as possible, while most of the full BAB classes can power attack with a two handed weapon and do alright.
Can any character who does the two weapon fighting thing have a chance in Ashiel's Challenge if the monsters can just choose to avoid him? If rangers and rogues are so much better at everything the monk does, how would they do in this challenge? How about any character who isn't a power attacking 2 hander? How is an archer going to keep his bow when many of these opponents could just walk up and sunder it or disarm him (or keep him mobbed)? Why is the monk class to blame when it takes a fairly specific build to have a chance of success?
The last thing I would add is that many classes can do amazing things with a round or four to buff. A low level wizard with a scroll of true strike has a greater chance to hit then any full BAB class, but so what? If you are in a campaign where you always have a potion of fly, invisibility, or whatever to chug, and time to chug it, then skills are pointless and there isn't much point in things other then direct damage if you are a martial character.
Again, monks have some problems, the rules have some problems, but I'm just not seeing the "monks suck, monks can't contribute, etc." substantiated in anything close to an actual gaming environment.
Hmm, I read the last page or two of the thread that got locked, and most of this thread, and I can't for the life of me figure out what everyone is arguing about.
The only conclusion I have reached is that 10 opponents (of a CR less then half the characters level) vs a single character in an undefined setting, with undefined victory conditions, is about the most useless test of anything related to the actual game.
On a more general note, almost the entire game is played as a co-operative group of PCs vs a wide variety of opponents. To quote Patton, (ok, George C Scott playing Patton) "All this individuality stuff is a bunch of crap!" A measure of a characters value is not his solo performance, but what he is capable of adding to the Team.
If you are playing a solo adventure, you might gain some kind of insight, but the combinations of characters working together is going to be more powerful then either working individually. For example, the wizard throws out a cloudkill, and the monk runs around in it kicking ass.
If you are just doing a straight DPR comparison however, you are missing the point of the monk.
EDIT: I also find the idea of putting the monk up against giants kind of like putting the wizard up against hell hounds in order to prove fireball isn't good. All it does is prove that using the wrong tool for the job is a bad idea.
Pro tip: If you are fighting opponents with +2 reflex, and +4 will saves (who just happen to be humanoid, and lack SR) at 12th level, and you think the answer is to deal hit point damage, you should check your tactics.
"Or ask yourself how many magazine covers you saw with a half-naked woman on the cover, versus a half-naked man?"
Funny, but when I think of (non-porno) magazines, it is the women's mags that have half naked women on the covers, and the sports and body building mags that have half naked men. It seems that sexy women are effective at selling to men and other women. Powerful (wealthy) men also seem to have universal sales appeal, although it is a little more difficult to convey power vs sex appeal.
I see frequent discrimination in media, but it seems that several factors make it more complex. It doesn't take much in our culture to knock someone from icon to - god forbid - human. All a women needs is a few physical flaws, or for the man to be short, and they are right off the front page.
I guess my point is that media presents a super shallow and superficial version of things. After all, it is aimed at selling to people who are weak minded enough to buy based on these images. While sexism is a part of it, it goes deeper into the brain and our desires for belonging, acceptance, success, etc.
I think if you are wondering why people on the internet threaten violence upon those who present no harm to them, the answer is; because they are idiots.
There may be reasons they are idiots, but I don't think your are going to get a rational justification for the threats.
I think there is a valid debate about the place of sexualized images of women (not to mention men, cars, shakeweights, etc.) in media, but it is difficult to keep on track, and the whole kickstarter incident is going to be an even more difficult base.
My last comment would be that you can't fix hundreds or thousands of years of inequality against any group by just declaring a fresh start and playing it forward as equals with no distinctions made. This stuff runs DEEP and it takes a long long time for it to get settled into something that is generally considered tolerable by both sides.
In addition to the EXCELLENT plot stuff going on, the last panels of 879 hold a special meaning for me. A few years ago I stepped out of a gaming session for some fresh air and fainted. Fell face first on the sidewalk and broke a few teeth, and needed a couple of stitches on my chin. A week later I picked up the "-1" and "0" books, and was planning on reading them after dinner. However, during my meal my jaw got stuck OPEN! I rode off to the emergency room and the doctors and interns on duty took turns trying to pop my jaw back into place. But it wasn't dislocated, it was broken! My girlfriend showed up to the hospital later, and I was able to lay there, jaw stuck open and read OOtS. After some morphine and events that I was awake for but don't remember, I woke up the next day with my jaw finally shut...WIRED shut.
Over the next couple of months my days were filled with surgery, super jaw wiring, dental visits, and pain. I could hardly do anything, but my girlfriend had gotten me a few of the Order of the Stick Books. My otherwise miserable days were made a little brighter by escaping into the OOtS world.
When I see Belker on the floor like that with a "thunk!", I can't help but feel like that panel was written for me. I'm sure it is just a classic fall gag, but it means so much to me. The whole thing means so much to me.
Thanks Rich Burlew! For everything!
Based on what you wrote in this and the other thread (42pt buy, no PC deaths, wealth, rerolls, etc.) it sounds like you haven't been playing "by the numbers" for years now. If your group has been able to deal with all of those things, why would this particular combo be so different then what can be pulled off using other character concepts? For example, direct damage (especially fire damage with a reflex save) is generally far less nasty then Hold, Dominate, Flesh to Stone, Blindness, etc.
As for intentionally limiting your power, I find that it takes an agreement up-front with the GM and other players. The more defined and understood the better. Otherwise, a player is going to feel betrayed when they have been deliberately holding back, only to be killed when the GM decides to throw in a more challenging encounter.
Reminds me of a campaign I played in years ago as a mid-high level wizard. In addition to 3.5 glitterdust, our group kind of stopped using the feeblemind spell as we felt it was a little too vicious. Sure enough, my wizard gets feebleminded by an opponent the GM wanted to be really nasty. Because of things like this, I felt that it was best to give the players a specific limited set of tools (feats, spells, classes, etc.) that they can use however they please, rather then giving them ALL the tools, but saying, "don't build anything too powerful with these."
It looks like you got a good idea for the BBEG, and I can't really improve on that.
However, if it is just that one guy vs. 4 or more PC's, he will probably get stomped. What I would do is throw in some mooks*, and make sure that the BBEG has an escape route or two, and some back-up that can cast some cleric spells on him such as healing, removal of conditions (blinded, sickened, fear, etc) and a few dispel magics sitting around. That way you won't get taken out in the surprise round by a lucky hold person or something.
*For mooks, I like a monk2/Ftr2. Wear light armor, and do 2 weapon fighting with a Katana and short sword. It isn't optimized, but it is a very versatile opponent with great saves and other defenses. The best part is that you get to pick SIX feats, in addition to all the fighter and monk goodies. I like to use orcs as the race, although many other races could also be really cool.
According to the PRD:
You just need to define "easy or difficult" for your particular group. Just off the top of my head, I would say "average" DC's for intimidate or diplomacy would be something like 12+APL. I would also say that the numbers should be less of a deciding factor in roleplaying encounters compared to combat encounters.
When I GM I will often handle things based on what the characters do rather then what the players roll. I make sure that players who put points into charisma diplomacy and intimidate see benefits, and that players who ignore these stats feel the penalties. Basically, I use what the characters do to set the DC, and keep success and failure relative to the situation.
Damn Adamantine Dragon, you started off with a pretty harmless quote and finished it off with a, "...so don't even bother trying!"
That 1hp wizard has made you a bitter, bitter man.
Blackbloodtroll- The problem is that desires and expectations of material goods can lead to a sense of unfulfillment.
I think blackbloodtroll is right.
The GM has an idea of the campaign world they want to present, with its rare magic items and sinister markets. The players have the idea of existing in a campaign world where they charge up their G.P.Express Card during adventures, stop by any old thorp or hamlet and swipe it for any item in the book or their imagination.
As long as players/GMs come to an agreement in advance of where to fall on the above spectrum, things should work out alright. I think the real difference we are talking about here is; sometimes getting the item you want in a large settlement, and almost always getting it. Not really that big a difference.
I generally play in groups with 3 players and a GM, so the idea that each player can show up with their pre-planned character, and expect everything to just work out isn't happening. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect a dwarf fighter, halfling rogue and elf wizard, but I expect the party to be able to handle the challenges of an adventure. They need to be able to participate in combats, heal injuries and conditions, talk to people, and a variety of other tasks. They don't have to do these things well, but they do have to be able to function in an adventuring environment. When I GM I also don't tolerate "lone wolf" characters, morons, insane, or characters who are useless.
When it comes to magic items, I generally allow characters to buy items that are minor (for their level), but not items that are considered powerful for their level. There is a guide for how much gp worth of items characters are expected to have at each level, called Wealth By Level. I have discovered that the game can function with little adjustment at 1/2 WBL or 2X WBL.
As a side note, I often find that optimizers are willing to follow a few constraints if these are presented up front. For example, I always use point buy, but I generally don't allow characters to start with scores over 17 or 18. I also generally don't allow dump stats.