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Fergie's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 2,680 posts (2,709 including aliases). No reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 4 aliases.

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The Turkey Day Marathon Returns!

On November 14, 2016, Joel Hodgson and Jonah Ray announced on that the 2016 edition of the annual Turkey Day marathon would stream beginning at 12pm ET / 9am PT on Thanksgiving Day (November 24th). The stream will be available to view at and will present the six highest-ranking (available) episodes based on a poll held earlier in the year.

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Just wanted to wish everyone in Paizoland a Happy Halloween!

Anyone dressing up? Partying? Trick or Treating? I'll be in the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade in NYC celebrating with a few million of my drunken friends.

Got a good idea for a costume? Post some pictures of cool costumes you have worn, or would like to wear...

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Anyone else watch Harmonquest?

I was a huge fan of Community, so I had high expectations. I can honestly say I was not disappointed. There was some really funny stuff in there, and it is always enjoyable to watch people with a good sense of humor play the game. I also thought it was cool that they used Pathfinder.

I like the sort of "drunk history" mix of in and out of character, and thought they did a great job of throwing in occasion versions of their real selves in the animated scenes.

I thought it seemed a little short at 23 minutes, but with the crazy format, I'm not sure I would want it to be much longer. I think it would be cool if they got a little more into some of the details of the characters, but I realize that is something that would make most non-gamers eyes glaze over. I think if they can tweak the format a little, this could draw a big audience.

I'm looking forward to the next episode.

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Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, see you in Hell!

I've been toying with the idea of buying stock in a specific company, but have had bad luck with investments in the past due to fees, etc.

I'm not looking to day-trade, or buy millions, but I would like a simple way to buy, hold,and sell a stock without getting hit with fees every month.

What do people recommend? Any advice is appreciated, as I haven't really done this in the past.

The stock is VW, if that matters.

this post got me thinking.

I would say, "optimization rewards offense over defense." Optimization creates a game where PCs are required to one-shot opponents to stay relevant. In this kind of game, initiative and offense is 100%, and defense is irreverent. The GM can easily optimize monsters for similar offensive capability, however, frequently killing characters through rocket-tag is generally considered not fun by players, and is typically very disruptive to a campaign. The default for Pathfinder is that the GM is supposed to lose almost every battle, and optimization requires that lose to be immediate.

Since PCs and monsters have access to most of the same stuff, Pathfinder rules balance offense and defense fairly well, however it is fairly easy to disrupt this balance (within the rules) and encounter design and pacing can have a huge effect. Sadly, even many published adventures feature many single monster encounters or other recipes for disruption.

probably irreverent note:
In historic military terms, a strong defense defeats a strong offense, as it is generally considered more difficult to take ground then defend it. See WWI

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In an attempt to write an optimization guide, I'm trying to learn more about how and why people enjoy the game. Please read over the following lists, and tell me if anything is missing, or if you agree or disagree.

IMPORTANT: This thread is for expressing opinions about what you enjoy. DO NOT POST TO TELL SOMEONE THAT THEY ARE HAVING BADWRONGFUN! You are welcome to express how you have fun or not but don't argue or even debate how someone else has fun!

As a player, I have fun:

  • Controlling the actions of my PC.
  • Customizing my PC with skills, feats, equipment, and other features.
  • Knowing that if I generally play well, and have a little luck, I will do well most of the time.
  • Having my characters decisions and actions affect the environment and story.
  • Getting experience and treasure that allows me to increase the power of my character.
  • Feeling that I can, and occasionally must, do my best to defeat encounters.
  • Knowing that my fellow PCs are supporting me, and that we act in each others best interests.
  • Knowing that my PC is on par with the rest of the party and that we affect the game in fairly equal amounts.
  • Not knowing exactly what to expect, and trying to be ready for anything.
  • Even if bad things happen to my character, or the dice go against me, I still have fun if I am engaged in the game.
  • Feeling that in most opposed circumstances, it is the dice that decide the outcome.*

GMs enjoy the game for different reasons then players.
As a GM I have fun:

  • Presenting a campaign world with locations, encounters, mythos, timeline and NPCs.
  • Presenting a wide variety of encounters that engage the players, and encourage them to have fun playing their characters.
  • Knowing I have general control of the storyline and timeline, with occasional (sometimes unexpected) exceptions.
  • Knowing that players will use wits, teamwork and creativity to solve encounters, and vary their tactics to fit the situation.
  • When everyone at the table participates in the game to the amount they are comfortable with.
  • When players are friendly, kind, and enjoy themselves.
  • While I decided if a roll is needed and add the modifiers, the dice decide the outcome.*

* GM, and even player "Cheating" (i.e. ignoring dice rolls) is a highly debatable topic. Like all issues, discuss it beforehand, and come to a consensus on how your group views it.

Note: I would like this thread to be about how you have fun, not things that ruin your fun. I would also like to keep this as general as possible, so that these ideas about fun can be applied broadly to many situations.

Again, this is a thread for people to express how they have fun. Don't tell another poster that they are doing it wrong.

What is so important about fun?:
I am starting this thread because I am working on a guide for optimizing the game for FUN! You can see it by clicking on my profile. It is a work in progress, so please keep this thread about fun for now.

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At first it was "just" another tragic shooting of a minority kid by a white cop in a area that is 2/3 black, yet 50 out of 53 of the cops are white. But things have gone from a normal level of horrible, to a more serious level of really horrible.

There are deeply disturbing things happening in the aftermath of the shooting. Several factors point towards the adoption of the "Miami Model" by "local" police. The Miami Model is a fairly sophisticated, yet also simple set of tactics that the police have been using for over a decade to clamp down on protest. You can find out about it here:

In Ferguson, the police have really gone for the militarization stuff including the armored personal carriers, what look to me like guns more fit for war then crowd control, as well as masks, no ID, full body armor, etc. The police are making preemptive arrests, blocking off areas, and treating journalists who are not "embedded" as criminals. They are also pushing many of the common propaganda lines of the Miami Model, such as "bad outsiders disrupting local peaceful protests", "good people stay home", "allowed vs forbidden protests" etc. I can say from my own personal experience, as well as following large scale protest events for over ten years, that the whole thing is horse s$+@!

At almost every major event the Miami Model is used, the corporate media play along, a "good protester" march is allowed, then the cops beat up and jail people on a massive scale. Usually the cases are thrown out of court on basic constitutional grounds. Years later, the arrested and assaulted collectively get millions from tax payers, the police in charge get promoted, and the whole thing gets repeated in the next city.

What is happening in Ferguson is especially disturbing because of the rapid nature of the use of the Miami Model. Normally it takes a while to build up, but it seems to have happened overnight in Ferguson. I can basically guarantee that the local cops got some serious assistance from someone at a Federal level, in much the same way that they got help to crush the Occupy movement. I can also guarantee that this isn't the last time a response like this will happen at a smaller and more local level.

Finally, there is the old saying about hard hats making hard heads. When you dress people up like stormtroopers (Nazi stormtroopers, not the fun kind) guess what? They act the part. Expect them to treat the local citizens as enemy combatants, right down to the detention and later advanced interrogation techniques. You didn't expect that stuff to just end overseas did you? The guys doing it over there came home, joined the police, and are willing to please there commanding officers.

One last thing- I had heard something about St Louis reaching an agreement back in the day between The Powers and The People in regards to maintaining a level of peace. Seems like shooting an unarmed teenager violated that agreement, and rather then make peace, The Powers is doubling down on violence. I think this could lead to a much larger scale problem unless some serious negotiation/restitution takes place.

Need help tying it to Ashes at dawn.

OK, so I made the executive decision to not use the Aberrant Promethean as the final encounter. I didn't think the encounter would go well with the three person party - bard, evoker wizard, and barbarian 2/cleric 5 that I am GM'ing.

My plan was to have the Whispering Way turn Caromarc into a vampire. He is under the control of the vampire who created him and has orders to guard the tower and kill anyone who enters. Caromarc is resentful of these orders and what the Whispering Way has done, but is unable to resist the control of his creator. He wishes revenge on the Way, and is being kept from his wife by a fate worse then death. And now some trio of adventurers has come, stolen his wand for speaking with his wife, and buggered off!

The players first encountered him when he was pretending to be trapped in the misery idol. After a few minutes of questions, they freed him and were thanked with a level draining slam attack. The players were unprepared for a vampire encounter, and returned to the city to gather up supplies and info. My plan is to have the final encounter be a battle at the lightning tower with the PCs battling the vampire for control of the bondslave thrall and thus the beast. (Vampire Caromarc had the beast escape from jail and climb up to the tower.)

My big question is how do I tie this in with Ashes at Dawn? Should I have Radvir be the one who turned Caromarc into a vampire, or perhaps Ramoska?

When the PCs return to confront the vampire, should I keep him near the tower? The PCs are all flying around the area like they have Ride of the Valkyries blasting. I would like to have the battle take place around the bondslave and lightning tower but I'm open to suggestions - just keep in mind the vampire can't get much sunlight or immersed in running water. Any tactics that would make this an encounter to remember?

Also, I figured that Caromarc was an old aristocrat 4/alchemist 3/wizard 5. I'll post a build in another post- he has a crazy number of feats, skills, and abilities.

According to the PRD wrote:

Saving Throws: Nonmagical, unattended items never make saving throws. They are considered to have failed their saving throws, so they are always fully affected by spells and other attacks that allow saving throws to resist or negate. An item attended by a character (being grasped, touched, or worn) makes saving throws as the character (that is, using the character's saving throw bonus).

Magic items always get saving throws. A magic item's Fortitude, Reflex, and Will save bonuses are equal to 2 + half its caster level. An attended magic item either makes saving throws as its owner or uses its own saving throw bonus, whichever is better.

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...

There are several ways to make an awesome bard archer, and a whole prestige class for mixing the arcane classes with archery, but what about a divine archer?

What I am thinking about is a character that has at least a 4:5 ratio of cleric to other classes. For example, two levels of fighter, and eight levels of cleric is cool.

I'm open to just about anything Pathfinder, although I would prefer to keep it as close to Core+APG, as possible.

I can come up with a elven cleric that is decent with the bow at first, but really starts to drop off quickly. Without significant buffing, the lack of base attack starts to put a real dent in the concept. Divine favor is about the only meaningful buff, and even that is only good at 1-2 level, and maybe again at 6-7. There is also a slight boost from getting to make your bow holy at 8th level if you take the good domain. But really, that is all I found.

  • What is the best way to get bow proficiency as a cleric (deities weapon, elf, dip into martial class?)

  • Is it worth using a crossbow? (guessing- no.)

  • Is it worth being a small race for the dex boost and size bonus to attacks?

  • Is it better to dip fighter, ranger, paladin or barbarian, (or even bard or rogue)? Or just straight cleric?

  • What domains/deities are best?

Note: Looking to make a playable character from level 1 - 15. Doesn't have to set records, just be a fun character who can do better then 1d8+2. Inquisitor is close to what I'm looking for, but not really an archery cleric.

Looking over the magic item creation rules, it seems there is a precedent for creating rings that enhance skills by +5 for 2,500gp or +10 for 10,000gp. There are also a variety of other ways to increase a skill such as a masterwork tool, feats, etc.

This brings up the question of applying these to other skills such as knowledge, spellcraft, disable device, or perhaps the most powerful - use magic device. I don't think anyone would have a problem with spending a feat on any skill, but what about a masterwork tool (say eyeglasses or goggles) that increase your UMD? How about a ring of UMD?

Should all skills be treated equally, or should some skills be easier then others to increase? What are the skills that should be easier to increase (perhaps those that involve opposed checks)? What skills should be very difficult to increase?

OK, it was yesterday, but I wasn't at the computer, so Happy Birthday to one of my all time favorite rappers!

All hail the Ruler!

Another thread got me thinking about the general assumptions that pop up on the boards during discussions.

The first myth I would like to debunk is the idea that wizards (and sorcerers) are squishy. This idea is often thrown out with the idea that casters need a fighter type to protect them or they will get taken out.

To debunk this myth, I would compare a 10th level fighter with a 10th level wizard.
Max die at 1st level + 9x happy side of average + 14 con + favored class
10 + 54 + 20 + 10= 94
6 + 36 + 20 + 10= 72

Note barbarians come in at 105, and d8 classes at 83.

Both have about equal access to the toughness feat, however, casters have a variety of options for temp hp. Wizards also have an edge in magical Con boosting, especially if they take craft wondrous item as a bonus feat.

In terms of actually taking damage, fighters have the hands down advantage in terms of AC, however casters generally rely on spells such as mirror image and displacement. Casters can also keep a decent AC through the lower levels with mage armor, shield, and protection from evil. Later in the game, casters are only truly squishy against opponents with True Seeing, which is fairly uncommon.

So select a myth, and either prove or disprove it!
Note: Please keep it to specific myths, not stupid statements such as "FighTerZ sUx!" or totally general statements like, "casters are overpowered". I would also like to keep things focused on what is probable, not bizarre corner cases. If you need a detailed specific build with just the right magic items, you are probably only going to prove that it is really difficult to achieve something.

Don't worry though, apparently, he doesn't understand the meaning of the word "emergency".

See, in the days after 9/11/01, Bush declared a state of National Emergency.

And kept it going for 7 more years. Apparently, he didn't know the meaning of the word either.

So finally, Obama get's into office, and well, Hope and Change and all that, so he... keeps it going for 3 more years. A few hours ago, he renewed the state of emergency for another year.

Zee Office of Fatherland Zecurity
" Because the terrorist threat continues, the national emergency declared on September 14, 2001, and the powers and authorities adopted to deal with that emergency must continue in effect beyond September 14, 2012. Therefore, I am continuing in effect for an additional year the national emergency that was declared on September 14, 2001, with respect to the terrorist threat.

This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.


September 11, 2012."

So, until Osama Bin Laden and the hijackers are dead, opps, I mean, until no one feels fear in response to crimes or political actions, you can expect to live the rest of your life in a state of emergency.

Link to a good article:

My parents home in southern New York is in need of a new heat and hot water system. The oil burner, tank, and water storage tank are over 50 years old, and need to be replaced.

I'm looking at various options for heat and hot water, from oil heat, natural gas, solar thermal, or heat pumps. Heat pumps are almost totally unfamiliar to me, although they seem like old and common technology in other parts of the world (Japan and Europe).

Anyone have Solar panels on their roof(PV or thermal)? Anyone know anything about heat pumps? Any Solar installers in the Paizo universe?

Note: The house has approx 20% shade, which puts us right at the edge of taking advantage of the government rebates and such. Also, we currently have several wood burning stoves that produce the vast majority of the needed heat in the winter, although I'm hoping for something that takes up the slack on cold mornings.

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Sacred Vows

Scared Vows represent a profound offering and commitment to a deity. Sometimes this bond is made at a young age, while others take these vows later in life. If a character willing violates a vow, he looses all benefits until leveling up or an atonement spell and appropriate offering are made. Vows are spiritual connections subject to the deities judgment. Deities generally view the intent of the vow, not the letter of it, and will not tolerate a mortal who abuses vows for personal power. Characters my substitute another force or ideology in place of a deity. A characters level is based on the average party WBL for determining effects of vows.

Restrictions: Not allowed to use any armor or shields or benefit from armor or shield bonuses granted by items or spells.
Benefit: Wis bonus to AC, +1 Armor bonus/3 levels, +1 enhancement bonus to AC at 5th, (+1 to each per additional 4 levels)

Restrictions: Not allowed to benefit from items that provide deflection or NA bonuses.
Benefit:+1 Deflection at 6th and +1 NA at 7th (+1 to each per additional 4 levels)

Restrictions: The character can never be proficient with any manufactured weapons.
Benefits: Unarmed strike damage as per monk of equal level, +1 enhancement bonus to unarmed strike/5 levels, ability to bypass DR/silver at level 4, cold iron at 6, slashing at 8, piercing 10, axiomatic or anarchic at 12, good or evil at 14, and bypass DR/adamantine at level 16. Note: You and your deity must be of appropriate alignment to bypass the opposing alignment, or you gain no benefit at that level.

(Weapon) of (god)
Restrictions: The character can never benefit from enhancement bonus (or equivalent effects) to any other weapon.
Benefits: +1 enhancement bonus to weapon at level 4 and additional +1/3 levels

In the hands of (god)
Restrictions: Not allowed to benefit from items that provide deflection, NA, resistance, or enhancement to ability bonuses.
Benefits: +1 resistance bonus to saves at level 4,+1 Deflection at 6th and +1 NA at 7th (+1 to each per additional 4 levels) +2 to an ability score at level 6, plus an additional + 2 to a different ability score at level 7 (Note: You must alternate between physical and mental ability scores when assigning these bonuses.) every 4 levels past 6 and 7, you may add an additional +2, alternating between mental and physical scores. You may not boost a single score beyond +6 this way.

Restrictions: Not allowed to use scrolls, wands, staffs
Benefits: cast a spell from your class list (not including or exceeding the highest level spells you can cast) 1 each day, plus one casting for ever 3 additional levels.

If a vow grants an enhancement bonus to armor or weapon, you may enchant the weapon with an ability such as flaming (you must make it +1 first, just like normal magic weapon enhancement). If you would like to make the item aligned, you and your deity must be of the same alignment such as good for making a weapon holy. You may choose what enchantments the item has when you attain a level and make the proper offering (Usually 10-25% of WBL per vow in gp and items). Different deities may require destruction, sacrificing, or donations of items and gold, as well as completing other tasks.

What I'm looking for is a single list that contains:

Cover graphic
Name of each mod
Rules system (3.5, Pathfinder)
Intended Level
Where in Golarian the adventure takes place
Type of adventure (event based, dungeon, infiltration,etc)
Perhaps a sentence or paragraph about the mod.
Connections to other mods or APs

Mostly it is that last one that I had no luck with. I recalled when GMing Rise of the Runelords that there was some tie in with Seven Swords of Sin. Right now I'm GMing Carrion Crown and it would be cool to know of a horro tie in, or any adventure that took place in Ustalav.

I know this topic is like beating the whipped froth that was once a dead horse, but I feel the current discussion is lost in a sea of unrelated tangents. I post this in an effort to iron out what the problem is, with in intent to find solutions in game, and create house rules that address the problem without too many unintended consequences.

Note: This comparison generally considers casters to be wizards although almost everything applies to sorcerers, clerics, druids, and even bards. Likewise, martials generally refers to fighters, but also applies to rogues, and to a lesser extent, rangers, paladins, and others. Some classes such as the summoner and alchemist can blur the lines a bit and are not the focus of this post.

Note II: I think Pathfinder has done a great job in narrowing the gap while maintaining backward compatibility, however it still exists, and I would like to see how far we can go while keeping the feel of the game we all know and love.

Ability Scores:
Everything a caster does runs off of a single stat. Save DCs, overcoming SR, concentration, bonus spells, etc. In the case of Int casters, this also gives you a huge boost in total skills, and specifically knowledges and spellcraft (see crafting later.) This allows casters to start with a 20, and often still have a better Con score then the party fighter.

Don't allow casters to start with a primary stat above 17 or 18. Provide players with an array rather then using point-buys.

Economy of actions:
Almost all of a casters spells can be cast in a single standard action. Martial characters must generally spend a full round action to get the full benefit of their abilities.

There are also a huge number of spells that create a lasting effect that is useful round after round. There are even several spells that have a duration of days/level or permanent, which allows a caster to receive benefits from previous castings while still having their full allotment of spells.

In addition, there is the quicken spell feat and rods that allow the caster TWO spells in a round, with nothing similar (two full-attacks) for martials.

This requires house ruling. Making 7th, 8th, and 9th level spells a full round action to cast. Limiting the effects of spells that last for days such as Dominate Person. I prefer this solution to giving full attacks as a standard action (take a look at older dragons with 6 attacks and a 200+ fly speed!)

Casters generally require less equipment, and get more benefit from their equipment then martials. For example, a wizard can get a headband of intellect +4 for the same price as the fighters belt of bodily perfection +2. The martial also requires a variety of expensive weapons, armor, and special items for movement.

But it gets so much worse. While the fighter spends 16,000gp for his belt, the wizard spends 8,000- Half price because he crafted it himself. (He can also get %30 off by making it usable by only wizards or those of his own alignment, thus bringing it down to 5,600gp - although this is up for debate). In effect, the wizard ends up with about twice as much treasure as the fighter, and gets more benefit from them.

This requires house ruling. Limiting the benefits of crafting and restoring WBL across the board, and allowing martials a better option then the Master Craftsman feat.

Bypassing HP:
Martials generally must make attacks that hit the creatures AC, chipping away a creatures HP. Until a creature reaches 0hp, the fighter has not had an effect on the creatures effectiveness in mechanical terms. A caster can pick a creatures weakest save, touch AC, or even bypass saves and even SR altogether. A caster can shut down a creature using a single standard action, with a fairly good chance of success, and an often minimal investment in resources.

This also works in terms of casters defenses. Casters can come up with a decent AC at the low to mid levels, and also have a variety of spells such as mirror image and displacement that work outside the AC/HP system.

Pathfinder has come a long way in giving more options for martial characters to bypass the AC/HP system. Limiting a casters ability scores, and resources makes the Save/SR system more difficult to bypass. Also, putting additional house rule limits on Save-or-Suck/Die magic.

With the exception of Bards and Sorcerers, casters are able to swap out all of their spells each day, depending on what they think they may face. They can also keep a variety of scrolls, wands, and other items that allow them a huge set of back-up of items. Bards and sorcerers get a large benefit from scrolls and wands, perhaps more so because they can Use Magic Device to great benefit thanks to their high Cha.

Again Pathfinder has made a good step by allowing fighters to swap out combat feats, and Evil Lincoln has come up with a similar idea for other martial classes. However, the casting and feat systems are so entrenched in the rules, that I don't know if there is a better solution then the stopgap measure that Evil Lincoln came up with.

Control of Movement/Travel, Enchantment, Healing, and Summoning:
While there are some ways to get these effect from other means, casters generally have the same access to these limited effects as martials. In general, if you want to do any of these effects, casters are much better by far then martials.

Short of a house rule giving spell-like abilities to martials, or making these cheap and available in the campaign world, I don't see much solution.

A couple of additional points:

  • Wizards are no longer squishy, even at lower levels. Now that they have d6 hit dice, a favored class bonus to hp, and easy access to a good constitution score, a caster can often have about the same hp as a fighter of equal level.
  • Casters also have many more spells and magical abilities then they did in the original editions of the game. After the mid levels, a caster running out of resources is almost unheard of.
  • Many folks will say the solution to something like an enchanter dominating or bypassing encounters is to simply use mindless creatures constructs and undead. However, solutions that eliminate half the beastiary, or require every encounter to have an enemy caster counterspelling, or other limit are not solutions as much as amputations of large parts of the game. Yes, magic, and especially high level magic requires different challenges, but it should not invalidate huge parts of the system.

So what other issues do casters present that cause trouble with the system?

When adding class levels to monsters, there is this text about CR:

Rulez wrote:
[Non-key] Classes increase a creature's CR by 1 for every 2 class levels added until the number of levels added are equal to (or exceed) the creature's original CR, at which point they are treated as “key” levels (adding 1 to the creature's CR for each level added).

Is it really balanced that adding one level of monk, cleric, or whatever to a monster has no effect on a monsters CR?

You get:
  • +4,+4,+2,+2,-2 to abilities scores.
  • All abilities of the class, including saves, proficiencies, bonus feats, spells, etc, etc.
  • The benefits of increased HD, such as feats at odd levels, bonus to ability scores every 4th level, etc.
  • Treasure equal to a heroic NPC of a level equal to the final CR.

And that doesn't affect the CR at all? Really?

Also, does the level added that brings the total levels equal to a monsters original CR count as 1:1 or is it the level after that? For example, if I add 3 levels of monk to a centaur, is it a CR 4 or 5?

Related rules:

Step 2: Add Class Levels

Once you have determined the creature's role, it's time to add class levels. The first step of this process is to modify the creature's ability scores. Creatures with class levels receive +4, +4, +2, +2, +0, and –2 adjustments to their ability scores, assigned in a manner that enhances their class abilities. Creatures with NPC class levels do not receive adjustments to their ability scores.

Next, add the class levels to the monster, making all of the necessary additions to its HD, hit points, BAB, CMB, CMD, feats, skills, spells, and class features. If the creature possesses class features (such as spellcasting or sneak attack) for the class that is being added, these abilities stack. This functions just like adding class levels to a character without racial Hit Dice.

A monster with class levels always possesses treasure equal to an NPC of a level equal to the monster's final CR (as calculated in Step 3, below). To determine the value of this gear, use the value listed for a heroic NPC of that level, as listed in Table: NPC Gear. Once a total GP value is determined, follow the rules for outfitting an NPC as outlined in that section. Gear should help a monster with class levels remain challenging and retain statistics close to those presented on Table 1-1: Monster Statistics by CR.
Step 3: Determine CR

Determining the final CR for a creature with class levels requires careful consideration. While adding a class level to a monster that stacks with its existing abilities and role generally adds 1 to its CR for each level taken, adding classes that do not stack is more complicated.

Table: Monsters with Class Levels gives general guidelines regarding which core classes add directly to a monster's abilities based on its role. Classes that are marked “key” generally add 1 to a creature's CR for each level added. Classes marked with a “—” increase a creature's CR by 1 for every 2 class levels added until the number of levels added are equal to (or exceed) the creature's original CR, at which point they are treated as “key” levels (adding 1 to the creature's CR for each level added). Creatures that fall into multiple roles treat a class as key if either of its roles treat the class as key. Note that levels in NPC classes are never considered key.

OK, Runelords, Crimson Throne, and Second Darkness have been done, so I'm looking for something new. I'll be playing Pathfinder, so don't see a reason to buy 3.5 material (usually it is just as expensive).

I will be GM and have three experienced players each with 20+ years of D&D (bard, evoker wizard, and cleric/barbarian). The characters just made 2nd level. Despite my limiting the characters to non-optimized builds, they are still generally able to punch above their APL.

We enjoy roleplay and story, as well as hack and slash (~30%/70%). Sometimes there are long gaps between sessions, so complex plots and mysteries can be tough to pull off. I also don't want to wait for things to get good at 15th level. The players like to be given defined goals, and a little railroading is fine. They did express interest in a large dungeon crawl.

I always tweak the stuff I run, but need to have pre-generated stuff as I don't always have prep time.

So what should I get to GM?
AP? Pathfinder mods? 3rd Party?

OK, downloaded the DOS emulators, sound emulators, emulator emulators, and I'm all ready to go.

Anyone played, playing, looking to play these classics?

I played the hell out of 3,4,5, back in the day, but apparently didn't get enough punishment from 6. So, off to gather up Iolo, Shamino, and the rest of the gang and do some virtuous crap for Lord British.

OK, so I made some cool NPCs for a recent adventure using Mites. They are really cool villains, especially the 4th level mite sorcerer!

But how does the CR advancement work for 1/4 CR creatures like mites that have class levels?

PRD rules for CR:

"Determining the final CR for a creature with class levels requires careful consideration. While adding a class level to a monster that stacks with its existing abilities and role generally adds 1 to its CR for each level taken, adding classes that do not stack is more complicated.

Table: Monsters with Class Levels gives general guidelines regarding which core classes add directly to a monster's abilities based on its role. Classes that are marked “key” generally add 1 to a creature's CR for each level added. Classes marked with a “—” increase a creature's CR by 1 for every 2 class levels added until the number of levels added are equal to (or exceed) the creature's original CR, at which point they are treated as “key” levels (adding 1 to the creature's CR for each level added). Creatures that fall into multiple roles treat a class as key if either of its roles treat the class as key. Note that levels in NPC classes are never considered key."

Mites consider "combat" their primary roll, so sorcerer is not "key".

So 1 level of sorcerer doesn't seem to increase the CR at all...*
2 Levels of sorcerer make the CR go up by 1, which for a CR 1/4 creature now makes it a CR 1/3
3 Levels of sorcerer and now the levels added have eclipsed the original CR, so we are now adding at 1:1. So a CR 1/2
4 Levels of sorcerer finally brings this up to a CR 1 creature.

Problem is, we have a 5HD creature that is badass! I'll type up the stats, and while not amazing, it is far more powerful then a CR 1-2 creature. I would estimate the CR to be about a 3.

*That whole 1 CR bump for every two levels thing is just wrong! Considering you get a huge boost to ability scores, and all then benefits of a PC class - Saves, BAB, spells, abilities, etc. A single level of any PC class should always bump the CR up by 1.

After reading up on some various CR 1/3 creatures, ranging from the Village Idiot, to the Goblin, to the Orc, I found some HUGE power differences.

The thing that really struck me was the orc's damage output. Attacking with a falchion +5 (2d4+4/18–20)! This puts it in the CR 2-3 range, which would be fine if almost every other thing about the creature was weak, however...
HP - A quick glance at the numbers shows the orc with a humble 6 hp. But, then you have to add in Ferocity. An orc functionally has almost 18 hp before it drops! Again, these numbers are closer to the CR 1-2 range.

In another thread, String Burka wrote:
Actually, now that I look at it, bugbears are REALLY sub-par for their CR. Some vital statistics:
Bugbear Average for CR
AC 17 14 <---- okay, a fair bit above.
HP 16 20 <- below
Attack 5 4 <- slightly above
Damage 7 10 <- BIG TIME below!
Save 4/1 5/1 <- below

15 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Answered in the FAQ.

In order to settle a little debate, I'm asking the question here, and hoping that a few folks will hit the FAQ button.

Can you take 10 on the intelligence required when casting Contact Other Plane?

This question might also apply to other situations, such as using a spellcraft check while concentrating on Detect Magic for example.

If folks are interested in the comments made so far, they are welcome to read here, but please keep comments in this thread.
The thread that started all the fun

Taking 10:

A skill check represents an attempt to accomplish some goal, usually while under some sort of time pressure or distraction. Sometimes, though, a character can use a skill under more favorable conditions, increasing the odds of success.

Taking 10: When your character is not in immediate danger or distracted, you may choose to take 10. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, calculate your result as if you had rolled a 10. For many routine tasks, taking 10 makes them automatically successful. Distractions or threats (such as combat) make it impossible for a character to take 10. In most cases, taking 10 is purely a safety measure—you know (or expect) that an average roll will succeed but fear that a poor roll might fail, so you elect to settle for the average roll (a 10). Taking 10 is especially useful in situations where a particularly high roll wouldn't help.

Taking 20: ...

Ability Checks and Caster Level Checks: The normal take 10 and take 20 rules apply for ability checks. Neither rule applies to concentration checks or caster level checks.

Contact Other Plane:

School divination; Level sorcerer/wizard 5

Casting Time 10 minutes

Components V

Range personal

Target you

Duration concentration

You send your mind to another plane of existence (an Elemental Plane or some plane farther removed) in order to receive advice and information from powers there. See the accompanying table for possible consequences and results of the attempt. The powers reply in a language you understand, but they resent such contact and give only brief answers to your questions. All questions are answered with “yes,” “no,” “maybe,” “never,” “irrelevant,” or some other one-word answer.

You must concentrate on maintaining the spell (a standard action) in order to ask questions at the rate of one per round. A question is answered by the power during the same round. You may ask one question for every two caster levels.

Contact with minds far removed from your home plane increases the probability that you will incur a decrease in Intelligence and Charisma due to your brain being overwhelmed, but also increases the chance of the power knowing the answer and answering correctly. Once the Outer Planes are reached, the power of the deity contacted determines the effects. (Random results obtained from the table are subject to the personalities of individual deities.) On rare occasions, this divination may be blocked by an act of certain deities or forces.

Avoid Int/Cha Decrease: You must succeed on an Intelligence check against this DC to avoid a decrease in Intelligence and Charisma. If the check fails, your Intelligence and Charisma scores each fall to 8 for the stated duration, and you become unable to cast arcane spells. If you lose Intelligence and Charisma, the effect strikes as soon as the first question is asked, and no answer is received. If a successful contact is made, roll d% to determine the type of answer you gain.

True Answer: You get a true, one-word answer. Questions that cannot be answered in this way are answered randomly.

Don't Know: The entity tells you that it doesn't know.

Lie: The entity intentionally lies to you.

Random Answer: The entity tries to lie but doesn't know the answer, so it makes one up.

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Can't be done. Meow, meow, meow.

OK, now that that is out of the way, let's figure out a few SIMPLE things that could make a low magic version of the game work. Obviously, things will be a little less powerful, and some concepts (inter-planar adventure!) won't work very well in this setting.

Here are the guidelines:

  • Low Magic, NOT No Magic.
  • Must be a simple concept.
  • Must not alter game/class balance too much.
  • Lets put a PC level cap of 16 on this for now.

Here are some of my ideas:
  • All magic items cost 2X. This also applies to paying to have spells cast, as well as crafting.
  • Crafting requires special materials.
  • All spells of level 7 and up take at least a full round to cast.
  • Characters may get some minimal increases to saves, ability scores, hit bonuses, AC, etc. These are not intended to replace magic items, just make it so item are not "required".
  • Full casters get no bonus spells-per-day from high ability scores. Another option would limit the ability modifier full casters can add from ability score to 1/2 caster levels.
  • No spell lasts longer then 24 hours.

Cyclops have the ability to automatically select the result of any die roll, once per day. This is a very good ability, and gives the GM many options to alter the encounter one way or another. Logically it would best be used for an important save, or to threaten a critical hit. Did I mention that this was a very good ability?

Here is where it really starts to push the limits- Cyclops is on the Summon Natures Ally 5 list. With SNA 7 you can get up to 3 Cyclopes. If you have Augment Summons, these creatures are no joke. Hand out a couple of scythes, and things start getting out of control. ("Ahhh, but they aren't proficient!", you might say, but they aren't proficient with the greataxes they are listed with, and that never stopped them.)

Now throw in a cleric with the Aura of destruction ability or a few oils of Bless weapon. And you have all critical threats confirmed. So you have 8d6+40 for each cyclops, no rolls, no saves, no SR.
Note 9d6+21 stock crit damage.

So, I'm thinking of limiting the Flash of insight to defensive use only for summoned cyclops, what does everyone think?

EDIT: Oh yeah, I also forgot about Power Attack! And you might as well throw great cleave and fighting defensively in there as well.
Augmented, Power Attack with Scythe 8d6+64
Regular, Power Attack with Greataxe 9d6+39
If you get 5 of them, that is something like 370 average damage with no rolls for anything but damage.

Yawar: Traits: A humanoid possesses the following traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature's entry).
• Proficient with all simple weapons, or by character class. -SRD

Whenever the discussion of clerics, channel energy, or healing comes up, many folks dismiss healing during combat. It seems accepted knowledge that any action spent healing is a total waste and an amateur mistake. If you can't finish the combat by the second round, you are playing the game wrong.

I understand that single monster damage output generally out-paces the cure spells, and that some encounters benefit from a speedy resolution, but is healing really that ineffective? Is there really another action that is so much better?

My playtest experience with healing in combat - specifically channel energy with the selective channel feat to be a highly effective tactic. Granted, the games I play in/GM are not 100% optimized, however we are experienced gamers and make and play what I would consider effective PCs. We also play fairly by-the-book, with few house rules that meaningfully affect game balance. Our combats seem to last longer then others, but we generally fair pretty well in the Adventure Paths.

I'm just wondering if the "obvious wisdom" that healing isn't effective is based on 3.5 rules, or if folks who have playtested pathfinder healing (specifically channel energy) still think it is a poor tactic?

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Essentially, the most important limitation on spells is that the caster is restricted to a set number of castings per day, with the highest spell levels the most limited. The other limiting factors include casting time, material components, potential targets, versatility, duration, and relevance. What is overpowered on one campaign or setting may be worthless in another, but in general, these spells are better then similar spells of the same level in many circumstances.

Finally, I left out the spells that can be exploited by setting up a business based on casting the spell, such as the 3.5 version of Wall of Iron. If a high level wizard wants to become an NPC iron salesman, go for it.

1. Dominate Person
Where do I begin with this one... This is worse then death, since it basically turns you into the personal hand puppet of the caster. It allows the caster to give you commands and even know what you are seeing, hearing, etc. from anywhere on the plane! And if all of this isn't bad enough, the duration is DAYS/level! You don't even have to memorize or cast this everyday and you can walk around with a pet storm giant or BBEG caster. Dominate Monster is a 9th level spell, considering that humanoids (now with giants!) are the most common type of creature in most games, this is like getting a 9th level spell as an 11th level character.

2. Hold Person
I feel this spell is overpowered because it allows a 3rd level cleric to set up a coup de grace of a humanoid regardless of AC or total HP. Sure there is a save every round, but if the caster times the spell for when an ally is already in melee, the victim is going to need to roll a 20 to survive.

3. Protection from Evil
This 1st level spell basically grants blanket immunity from most of the enchantment school of magic. If you are already enchanted, you get a second chance with a bonus. It also makes you essentially immune from summoned creatures. If it was +2 to AC and saves, it would be a fine 1st level spell, as it is, it is probably the single best spell in the game.

4. Blindness/(but not deafness)
For almost any creature, sight is incredibility important. There isn't much you can do to affect things if you can't see them. This is by far the most powerful save-or-suck spell of the low levels, and basically shuts down any creature that fails the save. Oddly, deafness is probably one of the worst spells.

5. Feeblemind
Int and Cha drop to 1. Arcane casters get -4 on the save. Pretty much any mage vs. mage combat should start (and probably end) with this spell. Many creatures special and spell-like abilities will either become unusable, or lower the DC to the point of uselessness.

6. Haste
Just a great spell if you have a couple of attackers on your side. If you cast it on creatures that have one natural attack (dire wolf), or most 2 handed weapon types, they become twice as nasty as before.

7. Invisibility, Greater
I only included this spell because it turns rogues into auto-sneak attacking killing machines. Considering that your victim is blind to you, this is really nasty. Situational, but super powerful.

8. Liveoak, Spellstaff
Give an 11th level druid a day off, and they get a pet treant, and an extra casting of their highest level spell. No need to memorize that spell each day, you got a treant for 11 days, and the staff is permanent until discharged.

9 Magic Jar
This spell is a strange one to say the least. In ways it is like a super dominate monster, that allows you to inhabit the host, and not die when the body is killed. I think this spell might be best in the hands of witches, and eldritch knights. Some amazing applications for combat and out of combat uses.

10. Planar Ally and Planar Binding spells
These spells allow you to buy power. If you know you got a tough encounter coming up, (especially if you know there is going to be lots of treasure), this is a no-brainer investment. It basically adds a outsider party member for a session or encounter, usually at the cost of some throwaway type treasure. Some GM's will limit this, but that is left fairly vague in the spell description.

Honorable mentions go to Charm Person, Command Undead, and Color Spray.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not crying for these spells to be nerfed or changed. Many of them are classic or built into the game, but they are just better then other spell choices of the same level.

I'm working on a list of the least powerful spells as well, so we can talk about Circle of Death and Command Plants next week.

I have been thinking about running a campaign that did not include the various ability enhancing spells and perhaps items. I think I would leave the various Tomes in the game.

What I am trying to figure out is who gets hurt the most by this.

I'm guessing that characters who have multiple key attributes (such as the monk and paladin) would get harmed the most, although I'm not so sure.

If I was to do this, I would give a fairly generous point buy (with a low score limit of probably 10, and a high score of 15 before race.) or use an array heavily stacked towards the 12-14 range. I might also have to adjust a few things once play hits the 15+ level range, but isn't a pressing consideration.

I was also considering doubling the price of the stat boost items, and any item that contains one of the ability boost spells.

In the last session I GM'd we did the Battle Of Sandpoint.

Since the giants were throwing stones 180'+, and Longtooth was flying at 200', I skipped the 5' grid, and used the full size map of Sandpoint.
This worked fairly well until the giants were on their way out, then things broke down a little. In hindsight I would have used something much smaller then mini's to represent the characters and the giants, but "zooming back" from the grid made for a nice encounter.

Some questions arose when longtooth began attacking:
-Can a dragon attack a single creature with all its attacks? (wings, tail, etc.)
-Can huge dragons do anything about fog cloud or obscuring mist?
-Can a character under a fly spell 5' step?

Note: for a variety of reasons, I used the huge green dragon from the Beastiery as longtooth. For a creature with the air subtype, they don't have many strong aerial abilities... I think I will swap out improved sunder with Hover.

Also, if anyone has some ideas for different spell selection, that would be great. I used mirror image and shield, and feel that the defensive stuff is strong, but I would like something more useful then summon monster I, and alter self.

When I saw that creatures of the giant type (ogres, trolls, giants) were becoming a sub-group of humanoids, I was a little worried. I feel that this change has far reaching consequences that have not been properly addressed by the current rules.

In the last session I DM'd several of the named ogre's fell to Hold Person, quickly followed by a coup de grace. Not a big deal in my book, as I wasn't expecting much toe-to-toe combat between these ogres and my players. When Jaagrath Kreeg was executed without even getting to act, I really began to wonder.

As bad as a death sentence from a second level spell might be, the far more serious trouble is from spells like Dominate Person. Jaagrath has something like a %35 chance to avoid becoming the casters personal hand puppet for the next week and a half.

I'm not sure if it is a problem yet, but I don't see any reason that chapter 4 isn't going to just be a long series of hold person based executions. Hold Person is SO effective, why not use it on every giant?

What do folks think? Is this a problem, or just good playing? Should the monsters take precautions against this? Are there reasonable counter measures? Has anyone else experienced this?

I had been stating up fighting caster character ideas recently, and came to an interesting discovery...

At 9th level just about everyone from bards to eldritch knights to battle clerics are about equal in melee combat.

Here are some basic numbers:
Base attack: +6
Strength: +4
Feats: +1
Weapon bonus: +2
Total = +13

When it comes to damage:
Weapon: 1d12+2 (half-orc for proficiency)
Strength: +6
Total= 1d12+8

Ahh yes, but what about the buffs and feats:
I'll skip bulls strength, and assume that each character has a +2 strength item.

Bard song: +2/+2
Arcane strike: 0/+2
Heroism (2nd level): +2/0 or Good Hope: +2/+2

Divine Favor: +3/+3 or Divine Power: +3/+3 (+hps, more)

Eldritch knight
Arcane strike: 0/+2
Weapon specialization: 0/+2
Heroism (3rd): +2/0

So everyone is at average +3/+3 with one round of buffing.
Total Averages: ~+16 to hit / ~1d12+11 damage.
Fighter Average: ~+18 to hit/ ~1d12+12 damage.

The Bard has the advantage of being able to do bard song as a move action, and many of his buffing abilities affect party members as well.

The clerics buff spells ramp up and provide additional abilities. Righteous Might (5th) is nice, but that would probably be the only spell the cleric could cast at 9th level. There are various domain options that add nice benefits like the destruction and war domains.

The EK walks around all day at +2/+2 from feats. He has the most limited self buffing ability with haste and heroism being almost the only options. At later levels I think he would pull ahead as his base attack (and "fighter level" increases non-stop, and he gains access to the various polymorph spells. He also gets interesting options from his wizard school abilities.

The cleric and EK can have Enlarge Person on their spell lists, the bard would need to do an easy UMD check. All three could choose Vital Strike as their 9th level feat, but the EK must choose between Vital Strike and Weapon Specialization.

This is NOT intended to be a direct mathematical DPS comparison!!! Such a comparison really misses the point of choosing any of these classes. How much damage do you do to a frost giant? NONE! You Hold, Charm, or Dominate him. This was based on building 15pt buy characters who are fairly well rounded, and capable of being played from 1st - 20th level.

I haven't figured out the melee Druid, or Dragon Disciple yet, but I would guess they are close.

Doreen Kreeg a.k.a. Goat Girl.
Ogre Witch 9
CE Large humanoid (giant)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +2

AC 18, touch 8, flat-footed 17 (+4 armor, –1 Dex, +6 natural, –1 size)
hp 90 (4d8+9d6+26+13)
Fort +9, Ref +5, Will +7

Speed 40 ft. base

Melee touch +6
+1 Sickle +7 (1d8+4)
Cold iron longspear +7 (2d6+6)
javelin +5 (1d8+4)

Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.

Str 18, Dex 8, Con 15, Int 16, Wis 11, Cha 7
Base Atk +7; CMB +11; CMD 21

Toughness, Combat Casting, Improved Initiative, Deceitful, Lightning Reflexes.

Skills 65 ranks
Craft (poison) +10, Fly +6, Handle Animal +4, Heal +7, Knowledge (Arcana) +10 Knowledge (nature) +10, Knowledge (Planes) +10, Perception +6 (+8 with familiar), Spellcraft +15, Survival +9
Languages Giant, Common, Draconic, Orcish, Goblin

NA +1
Int +2
Pearl of Power Lvl 1
scroll Alter Self (x3)
scroll Dispel Magic (CL9) (x2)
scroll Lightning Bolt (CL9)
scroll Fly
scroll Dimension Door
potion of cure serious wounds (x3)
500 gp in misc coins
[7,800gp total suggested for 9th level NPC]

Witch abilities:
Coven - Live the hag lifestyle, and party with real hags!
Disguise - disguise self.9 hours/day.
Evil Eye - -4 to AC, or ability checks, or attack rolls, or saving throws, or skill checks.
Healing - Cure light Wounds at CL9 1 use per creature.
Level 0 - 4 - Detect Magic, Light, Read Magic, Touch of Fatigue
Level 1 - 5 - Command, Enlarge Person, Grease, Mage Armor, Reduce Person
Level 2 - 5 - Bears Endurance, Fog Cloud, Glitterdust, Hold Person, Touch of Idiocy
Level 3 - 4 - Heroism, Lightning Bolt, Protection from Energy, Vampiric Touch
Level 4 - 2 - Dimension Door, Stoneskin
Level 5 - 1 - Symbol of Pain

The Kreeg's favorite Goblin Girl...
Doreen spends most of her days herding the tribes flock of sickly goats. She uses a mix of fear and shame to maintain a revered place among the tribe despite her physical shortcomings. Doreen does her best to fight from behind her less intellectual brothers, but is willing to step into combat to use her touch spells. If it looks like the combat is going poorly , she uses dimension door to escape, and attempt to join with any nearby hags.

I haven't done the familiar's stats, but from what I I have so far, this could make a mass ogre attack more interesting...
What say you all?

"Range: personal

Target: you

When you cast this spell, you can assume the form of any Small or Medium creature of the humanoid type. If the form you assume has any of the following abilities, you gain the listed ability: darkvision 60 feet, low-light vision, scent, and swim 30 feet.

Small creature: If the form you take is that of a Small humanoid, you gain a +2 size bonus to your Dexterity.

Medium creature: If the form you take is that of a Medium humanoid, you gain a +2 size bonus to your Strength."

OK, sure, this spell is fine, until it is cast by a large or huge creature, or on a familiar...

What does everyone think?

Sorry if this has been discussed already.

I assume that the wood golem does not indeed have a 20 Con?

So my 15th level halfling conjurer, Mezza, just used a Form of the Dragon III spell for the first time.

As his highest level spell, I was tempted to go for the augmented Summon Monster 8, but I really wanted to try Form of the Dragon III. Also, since evocation has been one of the forbidden schools, the idea of 12d8 of acid, cold, fire, or lightning was too good to pass up. Once I stated up everything, I was pleasantly surprised.

15th level wizard with Form of the Dragon III:
(and shield spell, and protection evil cast.)
HP= 156
(96 + 60 from Con enhancement)

AC= 31
+4 Dex, +8 NA, +5 armor (Specialist: conj), + 2 Def, +4 Shield, -2 Size

To hit: +10 Bite, +5 others
Base +7, +5 Str, -2 Size

Bite (2d8+5 Str), 2 Claws (2d5+5), 2 wings (1d8+5?) , tail slapper (2d6+7)
Reach Bite: 15' Others: 10'

And the really fun stuff:
fly 120, Blindsense 60, Darkvision 120', DR 10/magic, immunity to breath energy type.
Breath Weapon:
12d8 Acid, Cold, Electric, Fire
Line 100' or Cone 50'
Reflex save for half DC=
1/2 HD + Con modifer +10= 23 - Traditional breath weapon DC
Spell Level + Int modifer + spell focus trans +10= 26 - Spell DC

And a real shining moment for a halfling with a 10 Str, and 8 Cha.
Frightful presence DC= 26! 150' radius! Save vs shaken for 4d6 rounds
(radius based on youngest dragon to reach huge size)


I thought it was a very nice transformation, and worth my only 8th level spell slot. I wasn't going to hit much with my physical attacks, but I could influence large areas of the battlefield with my size and breath weapon. DR 10/magic, +8 NA, and the +60 hp and +4 Fort save from Con boost add a lot of survivability. My conjurer benefits (Armor bonus and Dimension Steps) worked in Dragon form, and thanks to Eschew Materials (Oddly, NOT a metamagic or wizard bonus feat) I was able to use most of my spells in Dragon form.

I think the breath weapon DC is probably based on the hit dice and con, not spell DC, but it doesn't really say.

Ugghhmmmm, my weasel familiar er... just roams around on the ground I guess, I hope he isn't subject to the frightful presence...

I spent much of the day there, and it was PACKED! In addition to Marvel, DC, Top Cow, image, and all the other comic puplishers, there were also several of the top video game outfits as well - Blizzard, activision, etc. Wizards was there with a big spread pushing their new Players Handbook2, and running a few gaming tables for D&D and Magic the Gathering.

I think the best part was the artists areas, and just the huge amount of creative talent in one space. AI think I saw 1,000's of impressive prints, originals, pages, toys, etc. and most of the artists were friendly and outgoing.

I found a cool title that I was initially attracted to by a poster that featured the dice set we all game with. Many of you may already know about this, but it blew me away!
Mouse Guard!

I'm going back to the convention tomorrow to keep looking for a job as a colorist, I'll post again if I see something good.

Of all the Enchantments, Dominate Person seems the most brutal and out of balance. As Dominate Monster, it's a solid 9th level spell, but many aspects are just nasty as a 4th level spell. Considering that creatures like vampires and aboleths get this as a special ability, the possibilities to destroy characters, or at least remove all their equipment and march them off into the wilderness for 2 weeks makes this spell crazy.

I think the most exceptional aspect of the spell is it's duration - One DAY/level!
Dominate Animal only lasts 1round/level, which could be harsh against a player, but days? This allows a character to be taken out of the game for not just a combat, but for weeks. It also really increases the ways that a character could be stripped of all his equipment, level drained into a vampire, enslaved in the aboleth city, etc. Basically taken right out of the game.

The other thing that makes this spell exceptionally powerful is that the caster can communicate telepathically AND "get a good idea of what’s going on" from ANYWHERE in the same plane!

Finally, the main safeguard built into this spell is the term, "against its nature" which is extremely vague.

Granted, a Protection from Evil spell will suppress this temporarily, but that only allows a brief window, and there are all manner of scenarios where it is not available, or does not solve the issues.

I like the idea of a spell like Dominate Person, and would like to see it in the rules, but I think it should involve more saving throws, a HD limit, a shorter duration, limited control inputs, or something to make it fit into the game in a better way.

I think we could also do without the -4 penalty for arcane casters vs feeblemind, but that is another topic.

The +2 to AC and saves seems fine, as does the protection from summoned creatures, but this seems a little odd to me:
"Second, the barrier blocks any attempt to possess the warded creature or to exercise mental control over the creature (including enchantment effects that grant the caster ongoing control over the subject."

Is it a little unbalanced that a first level scroll can cancel out a 9th level spell like Dominate Monster?

It also grants immunity to all variations of Charm, Command, Suggestion, and aspects of Hypnotism. That is one hell of a first level spell!

Should the spell scale in some way, such as +1/caster level to will saves vs {the compulsion spells}?

Note: This is not the thread to discuss relative overall strength of melee vs casters, 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th edition rules, why saves break at 30th level, or any unrelated crap. Please keep it focused on Protection from Evil. I'm starting a thread to discuss the power of Dominate spells, so keep altering the Enchantment spells to a different thread - Thank You!

The fine print:
"Second, the barrier blocks any attempt to possess the warded creature
(by a magic jar attack, for example) or to exercise mental control over
the creature (including enchantment [charm] effects and enchantment
[compulsion] effects that grant the caster ongoing control over the
subject, such as dominate person). The protection does not prevent such
effects from targeting the protected creature, but it suppresses the
effect for the duration of the protection from evil effect. If the protection
from evil effect ends before the effect granting mental control does,
the would-be controller would then be able to mentally command the
controlled creature. Likewise, the barrier keeps out a possessing life
force but does not expel one if it is in place before the spell is cast. This
second effect works regardless of alignment."

And the choice for taste, is Caster Choice brand summoned creatures.
Mmmm, mmm, that's good summons!

But seriously, would anyone have a problem with casters being able to summon any animal from the appropriate list and apply their choice of Celestial or Fiendish template?

Or should Monkeys stay CG and Apes LE?

Note: Obviously this would not apply to creatures that don't have either template - no LG Lemures!

I've been part of more then one campaign that went downhill due to over summoning by the caster, and I'm playing a conjurer with augment summons right now, and it is hard to resist flooding every battlefield with summoned creatures.

While ideally it is a matter of player etiquette not to take an undue amount of time and space with summons, when it comes time for your character to shine, game time has a way of passing differently for different players. Also what works great in a three person party (especially without a fighter type) may wreck the game for a larger group.

Perhaps limiting the number of summoning spells that can be active to two? Or even one?

I really think this needs to be part of the rules because a mid-to-high level caster can put enough complex creatures into play that the game just slows to a crawl.

Also, can Summon Swarm ramp up to one swarm per 5 caster levels or something...

The Eldritch Knight seems like a pretty powerful concept when you look at the prestige class - Full BAB progression, d10 hp, and almost full spell progression in Wiz or Sor! Plus the new bonus combat feats... It seems too good to be true. Isn't this the best of everything?

But the reality of playing a Eldritch Knight is a slow exercise in disappointment.
- First off, ability scores- if you want your physical abilities to give you significant bonuses, you might have to put off that18 or 20 Int for another 4 or 8 levels.
- That full BAB, well actually you are THREE down from the fighter, and that is VERY significant difference, especially in terms of getting multiple attacks per round.
- The HP are pretty good, perhaps the best current feature of the prestige class.
- Your caster level being two down is where the disappointment really starts kicking in. All your spells have a little less range, a little less effect, and less chance of beating SR. Oh yeah, you also lack what could have been your highest level of spells, and you have fewer spells. AND you miss out on a few bonus feats, AND your spell like abilities freeze at 6th level.
- The new combat feats are a nice addition, but honestly, what are you going to do with them. Great sword specialization? Two weapon fighting? Improved Grapple? Considering your armor is probably going to be mage armor, your not using a shield, and your STR and CON is going to be mediocre, chances are your going for the ranged stuff. If you go for the longbow, you find yourself at the middle levels with the choice of maybe hitting for 1d8 + 4 at best, or using a wand of magic missile or scorching ray. Hmm, tough choice. If you go for focusing your feats into the ranged touch spells, you have just traded two levels of your primary class for some hp, and a +2 - +5 to hit with ranged touch spells. Are you ready to go back to straight Wizard yet?

These are all conclusions I came to while playing a 3.5 Eldritch Knight from 1st to 16th level. When I replaced him with a 16th level wizard, the power difference really was like going from a poorly built 14th level Wizard to a highly effective 16th level badass Wizard.

Obviously, the core classes should be more powerful, please, Please, PLEASE don't think that I'm trying to make the Eldrict Knight as powerful as the wizard. I just can't see how this prestige class can be anything but a weak wizard who happens to be a little better at shooting ray spells at people. Maybe I'm missing some options that could make this fun to play, but right now I see it as a dead end.

Anyone have any ideas? Armor and shield without spell failure? Tensors Transformation for rnds/level every day? Full spell progression from the start of the prestige class?

I think the Power Attack feat description is great, until the part about 2-handed weapons adding DOUBLE to damage.

I think this makes wielding a 2-handed weapon two to three times more effective then any of the other fighting styles. This becomes more true against creatures with damage reduction.

Don't get me wrong, I think 2-handed weapons should deal more damage, and they do - a larger die, and STR X 1.5. Feats such as Overhand chop even seem well balanced.

The end result of 2-handed Power Attacking being soooo much better is that the characters who choose this style (usually medium sized fighters and barbarians) end up dealing two or three times more damage then a 1-handed attacker, at the expense of armor class. However, since these are the only two fighting classes that can't heal themselves, it falls to the other classes to clean up the mess.

Despite some issues, Channel Energy seems to make the game more fun to play. It seems a shame to limit this fun increase only to groups that have a positive energy cleric (or 4th level and up paladin).

Also, with the addition of more hit points for player characters, a potion of cure light just ain't what it used to be, but the price is.

Since money talks, what is a single use item that has the effect of a 1st level Channel Energy worth in cold hard gp?
(Made by level 3 Cleric - Wis 11, Cha 10 with brew potion or craft wondrous item).

Note: While it could be said that such things can not be bought or sold, other magic items feature channeled positive or negative energy (see cure light wounds potion), why not this?

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